Friday, April 18, 2008

Sometimes I Wish I Were Charlene*

Catching up on TV from the DVR list tonight, I'm watching last night's Colbert Report.

Incidentally, this is one of CJ's favorite shows. He loves the eagle, and gets very excited whenever we watch "Bear Pore".

Anyway, I read the article on Yahoo this morning about the Colbert Bump in reference to Hillary's appearance last night. I didn't know that John Edwards also made an appearance and did one of the funniest and smartest monologues I've seen in sometime.

Oh, John. I'm so sad things didn't work out this year. I would have voted for you, if you hadn't dropped out five days before our primary.

I'm still behind you, and I'll see you in four years. You'll get my vote, and you won't even have to buy me a jet-ski.

*a cyber cookie to whomever gets the reference.

But Not the Hippie-potamus

I typically check the blogroll either at night, shortly before bed, or at work while I eat salad at my desk for lunch. This means I usually don't have the chance to respond as I would like. The past couple days, I've read several interesting blog posts from people I know (or knew, like Roy) and people I don't know (like Steph, and Rae) on the meanings of the word, "hippie".

The posts piqued my interests for two reasons. One, I've been reading the article on Larry Brilliant in the most recent Rolling Stone. Brilliant is the executive in charge of DotOrg, Google's recent launch into the world of corporate philanthropy. Brilliant is not a typical Silicon Valley CEO--he travelled across Europe to New Delhi with Wavy Gravy in the 70s, toking the entire way, arriving at an ashram of a guru. At the guru's urging, Brilliant travelled back into India and helped medical workers eradicate smallpox from the known world. In the 80s, Brilliant founded the Seva Foundation, dedicated to healing the blind, and ponied up the money for The Well, an early bulletin board think tank dedicated to the digitized sharing of ideas. He was friends with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, and won a TED aware for his work at using technology to develop early warning systems to detect pandemics. (I'm going my memory here, so if I got a detail wrong, please don't bust my balls over it). Anyway, Brilliant is an old hippie functioning in the corporate world.

The second reason is that I might be a hippie myself. I had some very eloquent thoughts on this subject morning, but instead of blogging I had to complete over 40 process and subprocess flows, so my thoughts may be rougher than the genius that struck me earlier. Bear with me.

Members of the M-Clan can vouch for my hair length since they've seen me most recently. I may have cut an inch off since then, but not much. I own a hybrid vehicle, replaced all my bulbs with CFLs, recycle my junk mail, cans, and plastics, and until the soft real estate market set in, had plans to mount solar panels to the roof of my house. I don't wear makeup, hate wearing dresses, and decline to shave my legs. My dream is to have a little patch of land to grow my own veggies and be as self-sufficient as possible, but reality is that I have to work.

My work is in the corporate realm--information technology--translating very geeky things into common English, driving project plans, defining processes, and leading a team of analysts doing the same types of things I do. A very non-hippie job. A very yuppie job.

I am a study of contradictions. I am a nerd, a geek, a dweeb, and a moron. I am a twisted freak, a loving mother, a decent cook, and an indecent wife. I'm a raving humans right liberal with a fiscal conservative bent. I mutter obscenities under my breath when I pay my quarterly HOA dues and tsk-tsk judgingly when my neighbors leave their trash cans outside their garage doors. I turn my music up, tell the kids to get off my xeriscaped non-lawn, refuse to grow up, and mourn the spoiled nature of teenagers today.

The things is, I don't necessarily apply these labels to myself because I defined their meanings and truly understand what they represent. These are labels placed on me by others in an attempt to define who I am. It seems very common to me that as a people, we categorize and generalize in an attempt to bring order and obtain easy explanations to complicated issues. As part of that process, we label each other because it is easier to understand a label than it is to understand the complexities of each human brain.

And yes, I know that I'm generalizing human behavior, and I get the irony. I think this particular generalization is valid. I'm been thinking about the need to categorize, understand, and explain a lot the past few weeks since Battlestar Galactica came back, but that's another post.

I guess my point is that I am all of things while not being any of these at the same time. I just am who I am, which doesn't seem to be acceptable for those who have to apply a label.