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OT'er of the week #3 - Dev F

OT'er of the week Dev F 2009

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#1 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:35 AM

In keeping with the idea that the former OT'er should pick someone with whom you often disagree,
I chose Dev F because he's also damned articulate and now I know why - those literature majors.  :vulcan:
He introduces himself below -
=============================================================================

Okay, here's my brief bio:

I was born September 28, 1977, in Baltimore, Maryland, and I spent my preschool years living with my parents and my kid sister in one of Baltimore's predominantly gay neighborhoods -- though I don't remember being aware of that at the time. My folks were fairly bohemian back then: my mom, a librarian, was the dedicated breadwinner who chafed at gender stereotyping (I remember she had a big thing about how little boys shouldn't be forced to wear ties), and my dad, a former social worker, was the househusband who volunteered at a health-food co-op and remodeled a home for us to live in himself after he and my mom bought it for $2,000 at public auction. But in other ways my parents were pretty traditional -- teetotalers who took us to mass every Sunday and worried about whether we could get a good education in the city.

That's why, when I was five years old, we left Baltimore for the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There I attended a Catholic grade school and then an all-boys Catholic high school. In other words, I spent eight years having Catholicism drilled into me, and four years having it drilled out of me.  (Though to this day, even though I'm no longer at all religious, I still consider myself very Catholic.) In school I was always the quiet, nerdy kid; I was picked on for it, of course, but not so much that I feel scarred by it or anything.

When it came time for college, I decided to be a nerd among nerds, so I moved out here to attend the University of Chicago. I majored in English, with an emphasis on nineteenth century American gothic literature; I wrote my senior paper on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." To this day, my brain is still stuck in "lit crit" mode -- I tend to close-read everything and look for thematic threads everywhere. It probably seems like I'm taking things too seriously sometimes -- when I, say, wax pretentious about the thematic content of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -- but it's actually just something I find fun to think and talk about. Once a nerd, always a nerd. . . .

After college, a lot of my friends and I all stuck around Chicago. I answered an ad in the newspaper and got a job as an assistant editor at a tiny book publishing house. Turned out I was actually the only editor, so I had to learn everything I could about the publishing business as fast as I could, mostly by reading over old files and getting yelled at by the boss. But I did learn a lot, and eventually I got a job with a better Chicago publisher, which is where I am now. Like they say, it doesn't pay much, but at least the work is grueling.  

Actually, the pay is decent enough, the work is challenging but stimulating, and I'm actually very good at it, so I could see myself doing it for the long haul. Which is a problem, because what I really want to do is write. I'm an apiring screenwriter, current emphasis on "aspiring," less emphasis on "write." In between my two publishing jobs I actually took some time off to work on my writing, but eventually the money ran out, and now that I'm back at work I find it hard to find the time or energy. I know, I know -- I just need to make the time.

My hobbies include pub trivia (I have a freakishly good memory for anything that's completely unimportant), Ultimate Frisbee (a friend cajoled me into joining his league a few years ago; it's the first time I've ever played an organized sport, and I'm still . . . not great at it), and general hang-outery (going to the movies, watching TV shows on DVD, etc.).

=============================================================================

1 -- Do you now have an aversion to wearing ties,
and is it actually a rebellious act for you rather than being something "stuffy"?

2 -- What does the "F" stand for?  :)

3 -- What kinds of material have you edited, and what do you enjoy most working on?

4 -- How did you come about frequenting Ex Isle?  Were you an Andromeda fan?

Edited by Nittany Lioness, 20 July 2009 - 06:37 AM.

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#2 SparkyCola

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:44 AM

How much travelling have you done?

What's your current love-life situation? (you don't have to answer that if you don't want to, of course!)

How close are you to your family, what does your sister do? Do you get on with her?

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#3 Dev F

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:04 AM

Thanks, Nittany! And thanks to Drew for not just coming up with the great idea for this feature but actually taking the initiative to get it off the ground!

View PostNittany Lioness, on Jul 20 2009, 06:35 AM, said:

1 -- Do you now have an aversion to wearing ties,
and is it actually a rebellious act for you rather than being something "stuffy"?
I'm definitely not a big fan, though I think now it's more because we had uniforms in high school and I had to wear a blazer and tie every freaking day, so it seems like someone else's form of authority more than an act of rebellion. :)

If my folks' example did seed some desire for rebellion, it's probably more evident in my argumentative nature. My mom tends to avoid confrontation (itself an act of rebellion against her own mom, my late and much beloved grandmother, who was one of the great masters of the guilt trip), and my dad is a very logical, introspective person who tends to respond to arguments with noncommittal comments along the lines of "Well . . . that's definitely one way of looking at it." It's the kind of stuff that drove me crazy as a kid, and that's probably why I tend to be pretty blunt and unapologetic about offering my opinion.

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2 -- What does the "F" stand for?  :)
The "Dev" stands for my first name, Devon; the "F" is just the first letter of my last name. "Dev F" has been my primary online handle since I was a dumb high school kid on AOL's Star Trek boards.

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3 -- What kinds of material have you edited, and what do you enjoy most working on?
Whereas the big publishers can afford to be picky about what they publish, and the university presses have a niche market that allows them to be very specialized, small general-market publishers like the two I've worked for have to be pretty catch-as-catch-can. I've worked on nonfiction, mostly (fiction is a really tough sell), but the subjects have ranged from pop culture and current events to children's activity books, from broadcast journalism to casino gambling. For the duration of a project I'll become an expert on a weirdly specific topic like NASCAR drivers or zombie movies, and then I'll forget almost everything once I'm done, retaining just enough that it'll occasionally help me win a pub quiz round or seem very knowledgeable at a cocktail party. :)

My favorite projects are the ones that have to do with something I already find interesting but am curious to know more about -- film, journalism, quirky histories or travelogues.

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4 -- How did you come about frequenting Ex Isle?  Were you an Andromeda fan?
Yep, I came over here from Slipstream BBS. I started following the show because of Robert, whose work I admired on DS9 (and also, strangely enough, because of Ash, whom I knew because he wrote some of the best online Trek reviews back in the day).

View PostSparkyCola, on Jul 20 2009, 06:44 AM, said:

How much travelling have you done?
Not much at all. I went to Canada a couple of times. :)

My sister is a hardcore world traveler -- she's been to Gaza and Afghanistan and all sorts of places -- but I've never had much of the wanderlust.

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What's your current love-life situation? (you don't have to answer that if you don't want to, of course!)
I'm single, both now and most of the time. :) I value my privacy and find dating to be sort of a pain in the butt, so I generally only make a move if I already find someone especially cute and cool and interesting. (Which, of course, can lead to some lopsided personal dynamics, so I don't suggest the kids try this at home. :p)

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How close are you to your family, what does your sister do? Do you get on with her?
We're all pretty close; my folks came out to visit me last week, as a matter of fact. I also have a fairly large extended family whom I see pretty regularly when I go home to visit; most of them are much more conservative than we are, but they're all good people. :) (One of my uncles is an extremely successful businessman, and it's always interesting to hear his opinions on fiscal policy and the like.)

My sister is a lawyer. We had our problems growing up -- she's the younger by a year and a half, and I kind of resented that she expected equal treatment even though I didn't get to do X or Y at her age! -- but now that we don't have to live together we get along great. :D

#4 Nonny

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 02:58 PM

Quote

(Though to this day, even though I'm no longer at all religious, I still consider myself very Catholic.)
We have much in common.    :)   I have always enjoyed your avatar and title.   :)

Can't think of a question.   :(
Posted Image


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"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

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#5 SparkyCola

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 03:02 PM

^ That comment surprises me, both about you and Dev, Nonny!

Interesting :)

Don't suppose either of you could expand on that?

Btw Dev - it's a shame you've never been to Devon, UK :p (it really is a nice county, too :D)

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#6 Nonny

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 03:23 PM

I joke about being a recovering Catholic, but there's a serious side to that, Sparky.  I was in Catholic school in the 50s and early 60s, and find myself still confronting stuff I was told back then.  While watching Hidalgo yesterday, I was struck by how much I resented that the beautiful, intelligent, independent-minded daughter of the sheik was taught that she was "born worthless," but just now I realized that much of my resentment is that that particular bit of nastiness came through from the nuns, loud and clear.  

OTOH when I'm at a family wedding or funeral, I feel a nostalgic pull, because it is the culture that produced me, well, without the Latin.  I can still sing a lot of the hymns I learned as a child, and they were all in Latin.
Posted Image


The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#7 Bad Wolf

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 03:41 PM

I get what you mean Dev about not being religious but still feeling Catholic.  I still have to fight  visceral thought that red is for sluts whenever I buy or wear clothes.  It's weird.

Anyways, I'll ask you the same question I asked Nittany:  what are your views on spirituality?
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#8 Nonny

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 04:00 PM

View PostBad Wolf, on Jul 20 2009, 01:41 PM, said:

I get what you mean Dev about not being religious but still feeling Catholic.  I still have to fight  visceral thought that red is for sluts whenever I buy or wear clothes.  It's weird.
:lol:   That too!
Posted Image


The once and future Nonny

"Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world." Can anyone tell me who I am quoting?  I found this with no attribution.

Fatal miscarriages are forever.

Stupid is stupid, this I believe. And ignorance is the worst kind of stupid, since ignorance is a choice.  Suzanne Brockmann

All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings. Diderot

#9 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 11:09 PM

Is there a particular sub-genre of science fiction that is your favorite?

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#10 Dev F

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 01:09 AM

View PostNonny, on Jul 20 2009, 02:58 PM, said:

Quote

(Though to this day, even though I'm no longer at all religious, I still consider myself very Catholic.)
We have much in common.    :)   I have always enjoyed your avatar and title.   :)
Thank you!

I've actually been thinking of changing my avatar lately, since I've had this one forever. I wanted to use my favorite panel from Watchmen, but it becomes illegible if you scale it down. So for now the Space Pope shall continue to reign. :)

View PostSparkyCola, on Jul 20 2009, 03:02 PM, said:

That comment surprises me, both about you and Dev, Nonny!

Interesting :)

Don't suppose either of you could expand on that?
Despite the many ways in which I disagree with the Church, and even despite the fact that I'm no longer a believer, there's a lot about Catholicism that still resonates with me in a way other religions don't. The way it emphasizes the glory and majesty of the divine. The way it celebrates human achievement, lets great men and women have some of the credit for achieving greatness (while winking at the fact that the very idea is sort of blasphemous :)).

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Btw Dev - it's a shame you've never been to Devon, UK :p (it really is a nice county, too :D )
Hee. Well, I have been to Devon Street in Chicago. Great Indian food up there -- though they do pronounce the name wrong, "Duh-VOHN" instead of "DEH-vuhn." :p

View PostBad Wolf, on Jul 20 2009, 03:41 PM, said:

Anyways, I'll ask you the same question I asked Nittany:  what are your views on spirituality?
I'm an atheist, not of the "God definitely doesn't exist!" variety, but more of the "I don't personally see any need to privilege the notion that God exists" type.

However, I also consider myself a moralist: I have faith in the rightness of basic principles of human behavior despite the fact that, like the existence of God, their rightness cannot rationally be proven. Basically, my belief is that when you're talking about what is -- how the universe works, whether God exists -- your inquiry ought to be bound by what's rational. But when you're talking about what should be -- how one ought to behave, what goals one should work toward -- that's something reason alone can never justify, and a leap of faith is always required.

In a lot of ways, though, I see God and religion as sort of the perfect metaphor for that leap of faith that morality or any human choice requires. So I'm maybe not as hostile toward religion as an atheist who thinks reason is everything and God is just a delusion.

View PostQueenTiye, on Jul 20 2009, 11:09 PM, said:

Is there a particular sub-genre of science fiction that is your favorite?
Well, I tend to go in for soft sci-fi and fantasy more than the hard stuff; stories that get too focused on technology and scientific plausibility tend to lose me, since I'm more interested in the emotional resonance and the social themes. I'm also not a big fan of stories that are escapist or overly idealistic; with my background in gothic lit, I tend to get more out of the stories that explore the screwed-up people we are, not the more perfect people we could be. (One of my professors used to describe gothic literature as "literature that attempts to heal the wounds of society by reenacting the wounding"; that's sort of what I look for in all my fiction.)

I'm also a huge fan of stories that build whole worlds around them. It's one of the main reasons I'm a fan of SF -- because few other genres afford such an opportunity for world-building. Whereas creators of a cop show or a courtroom drama can just assume that people know what the world's like outside the precinct or the courtroom, the world outside Deep Space Nine or the battlestar Galactica has to be constructed from the ground up. (That's also why I'm so fond of period pieces like Deadwood and Mad Men.)

#11 Jid

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 03:06 AM

A couple quick ones:

-What are your preferred tastes in music?

-Being as your job entails a fair bit of reading, do you still read for enjoyment?  What are your favourite books/series of books?
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#12 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:50 AM

Ooh!  A Deadwood fan.
I am watching the re-airing of the entire series on Direct TV's exclusive channels.
I am hooked although there's some clunkiness in this first season.  They're airing them in order.

I thought about starting a thread for it in GM, but figured since it's been off air for years, nobody would be interested.  :D

I like McShane as Swerengean well enough, but the characters have made passing reference to his Cockney accent, and Swerengean himself has referred to his British roots, but I swear to God the actor doesn't use *any* accent.  
It's aggravating that nobody acknowledges that.  :D  He talks just like any of the other characters.

Since you love metaphor (me too, it's more than half the reason I love Whedon's stuff so much) what do you feel is the idea behind the black horse running through the forest and mud of the town in the opening credits?

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#13 Dev F

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 02:29 AM

View PostJid, on Jul 21 2009, 03:06 AM, said:

A couple quick ones:

-What are your preferred tastes in music?
I'm one of those strange people who doesn't listen to a lot of music or know much about particular genres or bands. But based on what kinds of songs I enjoy when, say, I hear them on TV or in the soundtrack of a film or at a bar or wherever, I would say that I probably prefer alternative rock/indie rock sorts of things, and I'm definitely not a fan of most pop and hip-hop. :)

Quote

-Being as your job entails a fair bit of reading, do you still read for enjoyment?  What are your favourite books/series of books?
I do sometimes find it hard to read for enjoyment, but I'm still partial to my old specialty, nineteenth-century gothic lit. I'm especially drawn to the Romantics, particularly Poe and Washington Irving; stories like "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" seem so simple on the surface, but if you look deeper you find an astonishing depth of emotional material, much of it deeply effed up. :)

I'm also a big fan of Frank Norris, an American novelist from around 1900. His most famous novel is McTeague, a very strange story about a miner-turned-dentist whose life is destroyed when the love of his life wins the lottery. It's exactingly detailed but totally ludicrous, pitiless and brutal but frequently hilarious -- in fact, it reminds me a lot of the work of the Coen brothers, my favorite filmmakers. (I could watch Miller's Crossing once a week and never grow tired of it.)

View PostNittany Lioness, on Jul 21 2009, 06:50 AM, said:

Ooh!  A Deadwood fan.
I am watching the re-airing of the entire series on Direct TV's exclusive channels.
I am hooked although there's some clunkiness in this first season.  They're airing them in order.
Yeah, I think it does take a while to get a good feel for the series -- or even just to figure out who's who and what the heck they're doing! -- but once I did, I really grew to love season 1. Deadwood is one of those shows that really rewards multiple viewings. For instance (making sure not to give away any spoilers), there's a major event that takes place early in the season, and if you go back and watch everything that leads up to it, you notice all the ways that various characters are in some way responsible for what happens.

Quote

I like McShane as Swerengean well enough, but the characters have made passing reference to his Cockney accent, and Swerengean himself has referred to his British roots, but I swear to God the actor doesn't use *any* accent.
I think they say he has a "limey" accent, not necessarily a Cockney accent. But it definitely doesn't sound all that British, just maybe a little more flat and refined than the average prospector's.

In some commentary track or interview, the creator of Deadwood mentions that as originally written, the scene had Swearingen remarking on Ellsworth's "limey damn accent." But once they decided to cast a Brit as Swearengen, they decided to swap the two characers' lines. But it doesn't totally fit with a) McShane's choice not to use his natural accent in the role, or b) later revelations about the character's background.

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Since you love metaphor (me too, it's more than half the reason I love Whedon's stuff so much) what do you feel is the idea behind the black horse running through the forest and mud of the town in the opening credits?
In the DVD commentaries, the writers also make fun of the horse and the fact that no one quite knows what it means, but I think you could argue that it represents the main subject of the series -- mankind teetering on the brink of civilization. It's half in the forest, half in the town. It's an animal but it's domesticated, or it's an animal that should be domesticated but it's running wild. . . . Just sort of an impressionistic image of the space between anarchy and law that Deadwood inhabits.

Or something like that. :)

#14 Nittany Lioness

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 08:13 AM

Ahh, yep - it was limey, not Cockney.  The mustang as the symbol of the west did cross my mind when noodling about what symbolism they might've been thinking of with that black horse, and the forest, then town definately seems to have meaning, yeppers.  

Oh, and the mud - my god the mud.  I thought I noticed that once Bullock's hardware store was erected, and things started getting established more and the tents as lessoning,
the muddy streets were shown drying up.  Which I think is a nice bit o' metaphor there too - form out of the ooze - the town evolves ...
But then this last episode this week has the mud in full force again (the two young theives getting beat up in the street are COVERED.)

Say - I'll start a thread in GM for this.  :)

I'm cold Howard.jpg


#15 sierraleone

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 11:59 AM

Who is the most important person (to you) younger than you and your sister, and why?
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#16 SparkyCola

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 05:34 PM

Why do you have an interest in politics? (Any significant people or events which started your interest?)

How well does your online persona match up with your real life personality?

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#17 Dev F

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 11:08 PM

View Postsierraleone, on Jul 23 2009, 11:59 AM, said:

Who is the most important person (to you) younger than you and your sister, and why?
Ooh, what an interesting question! I'm gonna have to ruminate on that one a little longer. . . .

View PostSparkyCola, on Jul 23 2009, 05:34 PM, said:

Why do you have an interest in politics? (Any significant people or events which started your interest?)
I can't remember a time when I didn't really dislike Ronald Reagan, so to some extent I have my parents to thank/blame for instilling me with strong political leanings.

The first major political event I have any real memory of is the presidential election of 1988, when George H. W. Bush wiped the floor with Mike Dukakis. I would only have been ten or eleven at the time, but I remember being angered by the way in which Dukasis's liberal convictions were used against him, with comments about him being a "card-carrying member of the ACLU" and whatnot. It's hard for me to say, though, whether this was a cause of my later convictions or the effect of my earlier ones. :)

I do think I was pretty strongly affected by the 1992 election, which was the first presidential race I followed closely. It was actually Ross Perot who first captured my attention; I was really excited by the notion that a true outsider could enter the race and turn politics as usual on its head. Of course, then he dropped out of the race, got back in the race, accused the Republicans of threatening to ruin his daughter's wedding or something, and selected dangerously underqualified running mate, and I realized that there might also be a downside to the whole "brash outsider" thing. :p But by that point it was too late -- I'd caught the political bug. I've been following politics pretty closely ever since.

Quote

How well does your online persona match up with your real life personality?
I'd say my online persona is a pretty decent part of who I am in real life, but not the whole ball of wax. I use online venues mostly as a forum for debate, whereas in real life I'm not always spoilin' for a rhetorical showdown. On the one hand, my real-life self might occasionally back down from an argument for the sake of amity; on the other, he might rant without concern for crafting a persuasive argument just because he's cranky. :)

#18 SparkyCola

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 04:42 AM

^ :D

I like that question, I wish I'd asked Nittany and Specs now. Btw:

Quote

Basically, my belief is that when you're talking about what is -- how the universe works, whether God exists -- your inquiry ought to be bound by what's rational. But when you're talking about what should be -- how one ought to behave, what goals one should work toward -- that's something reason alone can never justify, and a leap of faith is always required.

In a lot of ways, though, I see God and religion as sort of the perfect metaphor for that leap of faith that morality or any human choice requires. So I'm maybe not as hostile toward religion as an atheist who thinks reason is everything and God is just a delusion.

I like this answer, I've been pondering it for a day or two (not non-stop obviously :hehe: ) and I basically agree completely. :)

Now I'm gonna get all "interviewy" on you :devil:

What are your personality strengths and weaknesses?

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#19 Dev F

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 06:15 PM

View Postsierraleone, on Jul 23 2009, 11:59 AM, said:

Who is the most important person (to you) younger than you and your sister, and why?
Getting back to this question after some thought. . . .

I don't know if I can point to any one younger person, but a lot of my friends are quite a few years younger than I am -- in their mid-to-late twenties at this point. Me, I've gotten somewhat complacent over the years, settled into a routine and a job that I don't really want to be doing for the rest of my life. And I find myself inspired by these young'uns who still enthusiastically pursue their dreams. (Just recently, one of them took it upon himself to organize a writer's workshop and encouraged me to join; I'm hoping it will provide the kick in the butt I need to get back into writing regularly. :) )

View PostSparkyCola, on Jul 24 2009, 04:42 AM, said:

I like that question, I wish I'd asked Nittany and Specs now.
Well, you could always go back and ask them now. :)

Quote

Quote

Basically, my belief is that when you're talking about what is -- how the universe works, whether God exists -- your inquiry ought to be bound by what's rational. But when you're talking about what should be -- how one ought to behave, what goals one should work toward -- that's something reason alone can never justify, and a leap of faith is always required.

In a lot of ways, though, I see God and religion as sort of the perfect metaphor for that leap of faith that morality or any human choice requires. So I'm maybe not as hostile toward religion as an atheist who thinks reason is everything and God is just a delusion.

I like this answer, I've been pondering it for a day or two (not non-stop obviously :hehe: ) and I basically agree completely. :)
Aw, why not nonstop? :p I mean, thanks! :D

Quote

Now I'm gonna get all "interviewy" on you :devil:

What are your personality strengths and weaknesses?
Heh. For the most part, my strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa. One of my main strengths is that I'm particularly observant and detail oriented -- I notice everything, consider all the implications of each choice. And one of my major weaknesses is that I overthink things -- I stress about what every little thing means and what every remotely possible outcome of each choice might be. On the one hand, despite my tendency to overthink, I'm extremely decisive, such that once I make a choice, I see it through, and I don't spend much time fretting about it once it's settled and done. On the other, I can be compulsive and impatient, such that once I make a choice, I have to see it through or it drives me crazy, and I'm always anxious for things to be settled and done.



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