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Miscellaneous Rambling

The new podcast is up: Episode 22: History of the Old Testament in 8 Minutes, Gin and Tonics, Three Ho-Hum Derrida Conclusions. Show Notes:

The Old Testament. I summarize the OT in about eight minutes. The segment is closer to 11, but I throw in a couple of decidedly un-OT anecdotes.

Words. A short look at a few unusual words.

Lightning Segments. The ideal gin and tonic, The Adventures of Beer Man, Ira Gershwin, More.

Radical Derrida? I know Derrida was radical, but I'm not sure three of his main conclusions–words don't carry ultimate meaning, no text outside the text, and condemnation of binaries–are all that startling. I explain why, pulling from my personal experience, the Warren Court, and Lao Tzu.

Ceiling. Trastevere

So I podcasted about introverts last month. That triggered a lot of emails and conversation. One friend suggested I take a Myers Briggs personality test, which I did (link to test). According to the test, I am an INFJ, which is the rarest personality on earth. That, in turn, has prompted me to review all sorts of online materials regarding INFJ's. I've found it interesting, but a bit bothersome. I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why it's bothersome, but I think it might come down to this: all the materials seem to be laudatory. If I am, indeed, an INJF, I believe my personality type comes with a helluva lot more downsides than upsides, but to review those online materials, you'd think I'm a powerhouse of traits. I also question the objectivity of these tests (especially since, when I watch videos "about myself," I think, "Only half of those things really seem to apply to me, albeit strongly; the other half either don't apply or only somewhat").

Anyway, I've found the exercise fascinating. It has definitely helped explain a lot of things about myself (why I detest small talk, why I lean strongly toward staying at home, why I couldn't care less about pop culture and trends, etc.), but I've only scratched the surface and, given that I think every personality type takes a back seat to the gospels (of which I've only scratched the surface . . . sign), I'm not sure I'll scratch much deeper.

Ceiling. Trastevere

One thing I realized from the personality test exploration is this: I derive energy from gardening. I normally come back from long gardening sessions with an immense feeling of exhilaration: covered in dirt, jobs left undone due to darkness, whatever. It didn't matter. After a few hours by myself at the site, I felt energized and happy. It was a feeling that I was aware of, but it never occurred to me to question why I felt energized, but now I know: I apparently derive energy from being by myself. Solitary activities, in other words, feed my soul, and few things are more solitary than gardening.

I'm also reminded of the one time I came back from the produce site absolutely demoralized: a lot of kids from the neighborhood came over to help. This then led to their parents coming over. For an hour, I was torn among working on my beds and small talk and answering questions from the kids. I hate to admit it, but I was rattled when I got home, like everything had come crashing down . . . yet the kids did nothing wrong, the parents were merely being polite. But I was on the verge of abandoning the whole project. It was one of the worst experiences of my ten years as an avid gardener, and I didn't know why.