Friday, February 28, 2003

In Other Good News. . .

I'm hoping to get some posting done this weekend. Maybe I'll even catch up on e-mail.

It's almost March, always one of my favorite months. (In like a lion, out like a lamb.)

My wonderful boss has cleared my schedule for the next couple of weeks, so instead of working on promotional e-mails, I'll be writing up new features for the Help system. This is good news, because (A) the deadline is approaching fast, and (B) I really want to do something different for a while. Also, because it was a rough week, she gave several of us little thank-you gifts with heartfelt notes of encouragement. A lovely mug, Ghirardelli hot chocolate packets, and a Toblerone bar — because chocolate is a pharmaceutical. I give thanks every day that I have a good boss.

Also, my new PageMaker 7.0 arrived at work. I am thrilled beyond words. (Yes, I am a geek.) It will make my work life so much easier. Though I only have a few large documents to lay out every year, they are complex enough in design that I need PageMaker (or Quark or Frame) to do them. (My opinion of Word's formatting would burn a hole right through your monitor and possibly into your brain, were I to express it here.) I literally spent two weeks laying out the bloody things last spring, and they still were not right. Now I can do it properly. I've been using PageMaker since version 4.0, and I think and dream in it.

I went to SF Tuesday, a trip I'll write up later this weekend. But the trip was a good thing. So was finding some books and some beautiful cobalt and silver salt shakers at the Goodwill store in the Mission District. So was dinner with my old friend Jay, where we discussed the perils of dating after ending a long relationship, and I made him laugh so hard I thought he might asphyxiate.

On the SF trip, I missed getting into SF Herb by about sixty seconds. Not good news. But I ordered from them online, and the box arrived today. Definitely good news. I spent some time sniffing ecstatically at the fresh cinnamon, jasmine tea, vanilla powder, dried orange and lemon peel, and black peppercorns as I poured it all into jars and labeled them. That's a good thing to do after a week of too many pixels.

I've also been getting more walking in, which is a wonderful thing. I need the exercise, and I love walking.

My new laptop may be here soon, courtesy of my friend Rob.

So let us all be thankful for whatever good things have come our way this week.
NaNoEdMo Starts at Midnight

March is National Novel Editing Month, and the website is up, too. Witty mouseovers, gleaming new forums just crying out to be scribbled with posts, and many of our old friends from NaNoWriMo.

I have signed up for NaNoEdMo, though I'm still plodding away at writing the novel. Well, no. That's not accurate. I'm still plodding away, *not* writing the novel. This weekend maybe I'll hole up and finish the first wretched draft.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Not Everyone in Silicon Valley Is a Rocket Scientist

One night last week, Sonja and I were standing on the porch when the screaming started. The wordless bellowing was coming from across the street. We ran over — me barefoot, as usual — to find one of our frat-boy neighbors pinned under the right rear wheel of his old Cadillac. The wheel was hung up on his thighs. The engine was still running, the door was closed and locked, the keys inside.

By now one of the guy’s housemates had come out. Sonja ran to get the other one, while the housemate and I tried to lift the car off the trapped boy.

Michele came out onto our porch. I yelled across to her, “Call 911! And get Paul!” Who is not only strong, but used to be an Army medic.

As Paul crossed the street to the scene of the accident, I went across to give Michele details for the emergency services. Sonja and the other housemate came out, and the four people lifted the car off. Naturally, since the car was still in gear, as soon as it was lifted free of him, the car started moving. It turned in a flawless half-circle and smashed into the van in their driveway, then stalled. Sonja had been dragged a little way; her jeans were ripped at the knee, and she was bruised and bleeding.

Paul checked the kid over, while we fetched pillows and a blanket. He told us what had happened: the emergency brake wouldn’t let go, so he decided to disengage it at the wheel. He left the door swinging open, but he must have automatically hit the Lock button as he got out. Unfortunately, he forgot to take the car out of reverse or to turn it off, so the second the brake was off, it started up, running over him. The door swung shut too.

The ambulance came and took the kid away, and we all went inside. About half an hour later, the other roommates came over with a bottle of champagne and an unopened box of Valentine candy, along with a little note scribbled on lined paper, thanking us.
But They Do Teach You How to Read, Which Can Teach You All the Rest

I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.

—Neil Gaiman, Sandman

Friday, February 21, 2003

Friday Five

1. What is your most prized material possession?

My writings. I have everything from Zip disks backing up yesterday’s work to old 5.25 Apple IIe floppies holding 1985’s journals and stories, plus dozens of paper journals, typed and handwritten.

2. What item, that you currently own, have you had the longest?

Probably Lullaby. I don’t know who gave her to me, but I have had her since I was born. Lullaby was toy designed to look like a baby in a hood -- basically a little plastic face peeking out of this soft-bodied yellow cloth doll. Originally she had a key on her back. You could wind her up, and she played Brahms’ Lullaby.

Unfortunately, when I was 3 or 4, she fell victim to Lisa’s passion for dissecting toys that made interesting sounds. She cut open the doll and removed the music box. The formerly plump doll grew emaciated as she lost her heart/voice and then most of her stuffing. She still has a slit up her back. My mother always promised to sew her up, but she never did.

I say “probably,” because I don’t know if I have her. I am still unpacking from the epic move to the west coast. Between the damage in storage, the things my husband kept, and the stuff I sold, I literally don’t know what I have and what I don’t.

3. Are you a packrat?

Yes. There’s a phrase from Pratchett, I think, about poor women hoarding: “powerless to replace, they could only save.”

4. Do you prefer a spic-and-span clean house? Or is some clutter necessary to avoid the appearance of a museum?

I like to have a house that’s clean, warm, welcoming, and comfortable. Not too formal. Books stacked on the coffee table are fine. I feel like a house that’s too rigidly clean can be hostile, but so can a house where people are leaving dirty dishes around.

5. Do the rooms in your house have a theme? Or is it a mixture of knick-knacks here and there?

The theme is: “Four people from three households, plus three cats, plus we’re all too busy to get the pictures hung properly.”
The Two Towers

Brilliantly revisioned.

And the LOTR as done by the young Elijah Wood. He was an adorable child.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Yes, I Owe You E-Mail

I admit it. I am evil. I haven't written a California Report (e-mail home to my family) in weeks. Plus, I have stacks of unanswered e-mail, which I promise I will get to when I have some spare time and energy. I also have several posts I need to write.

I've been dealing with too much Real Life lately, including:

  • tight deadlines for fiction that I hope may eventually get me some cash

  • heavy workload, short deadlines, and emergency copywriting at work

  • weirdness with Gabriel (she's OK, but still miffed)

  • the physical and emotional fallout from two allergic reactions in the space of three days

  • plus all the usual time demands

I'm actually doing well. I'm happy, too. I just don't have much of anything to spare. And it's always the thoughtful replies that end up getting skipped.

I'm sorry. I will improve. I will become virtuous. Honest.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Somebody Finally Explains Junior High

Wow. Impressive essay on Why Nerds Are Unpopular. Paul Graham mentions several ssues I've always considered particularly important, such as lack of purpose, the bland horror of suburbia, and the difference between farm families (for example), where the kids understand what the adults do (and see them doing it up close) and families where the parents are just figures in an office somewhere else.

You don't even need to ask if I was a nerd.
And in a Similar Vein . . .

A selection of slogans from signs at the SF peace demonstrations. The full list is here. The media estimated 200,000 demonstrators just in SF.

a$$es of evil - bush, cheney, blair
how many lives per gallon?
sometimes the french are right
bush: let us prey
orphans make great terrorists
empty war heads found in white house
cockroaches for armageddon
who would jesus bomb?
go solar not ballistic
mend your fuelish ways
code green - go for peace
be a patriot - ride a bike.
duct tape is not the answer
balm iraq
war = terrorism with a big budget
roll joints, not tanks
suck dick cheney
what's this "homeland" scheisse?
if war is inevitable - start drafting SUV drivers
war makes the victor stupid and the vanquished vengeful [nietzsche]
there are alternatives to war AND oil
don't let a rogue president make us a rogue nation
no dubya dubya III
our country has been hijacked by lunatics
killing for peace = fucking for virginity
quick, let's bomb more iraqi children before they starve to death
when the rich wage war it's the poor who die [sartre]
democracy RIP - 1776-2000... ah well, we had a good run.
preemptive war = terrorism
bush + ashcroft + rumsfield = terrorist network
our tax dollars should educate american children, not kill iraqi children
we want our constitution back
defend iraq against US imperialist attack
we have nothing to fear but bush himself
collateral damage has a face
now boys, don't hit ... use your words!
no ruler has the right to ignore the will of the world
i went to the gulf war and all i got was this lousy syndrome
abort the bush die-nasty
let iraqi children have a future, mr. bush
bush lost
war, greed, hypocrisy - we demand a change in policy
george bush = son of satan
draft the bush twins
hey - red neck, go back to texas
bush - endangering america, enraging the world
yep, let's kill the desperately poor on behalf of the obscenely rich
21st century bush doctrine - accept US imperialism or die
impeach the son of a bush
stop mad cowboy disease
first casualty of war: the truth
shut down the war machine
got terror?
i didn't bring my children into the world to kill for the rich
listen to old europe
buck fush
bush = white kkknight for oil industry
engineers against drafting
bush hates america
murdering innocent children is in the highest moral tradition of our country
save the humans
preemptive peace
smush bush
the only bush i trust is the one on me
the last time someone listened to a bush they ended up wandering through the desert for 40 years
dissent - the essence of democracy
stop the blair bush project
support our troops. bring them home
bush, enron, cheney, halliburton
bad plan, dude
jews for burning bush

There is a truth about wars you do not know

This is from the Best of Craigslist. Go there to read the whole thing. (Ellipses in original.)

In a piney woods at Fort Gordon, Georgia in July, 1965, 300 or so close friends and I, Viet Nam vets to be, were lectured on the care and feeding of the M-30 machine gun by two Mutt and Jeff sergeants. The bus back to the base was late, a small group of us clustered around asking questions. We learned that they had been buddies all through Korea, gunner and assistant gunner. We were all pretty sure of our destination, we wanted to know. . . what is war really like?
"Sarg. . . what about Korea, what was it about?"
"It was fucked."

I remember thinking. . . well, why didn’t you tell somebody. . . why didn’t you tell us?

Okay. I’m telling.

I knew plenty soldiers who wanted to be John Wayne. [snip] You still hear from those types now and then. The warriors. Most are gone, names on that black granite wall with so many of my friends.

I remember the ones who were overwhelmed by the random brutal shredding of human bodies, friends and foe. The hard ass curled up and crying in the bed of a truck cause he knew he couldn’t go back out again and didn’t know what to do. I remember a guy I’d known since Basic, ROTC type, who shot two Vietnamese farmers dead because he knew it would get him assigned to the rear. It worked.

In spite of all the books and movies, war has always been the same. Insanity, pure and simple. When the talking stops, when the diplomats give up and go home, people are maimed, burned, killed in the most ugly ways imaginable. There are no heroes, there is no glory, there is only destruction and death.


The time has come to give peace a chance. I'd love to be proud to be an American.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Lengthy Ranting About Allergies

I'm recovering from my second semi-serious allergic reaction of the week. The first was Tuesday night. It rained in the night, and *something* bloomed. I woke up around 2AM itching and covered in hives, took a lot of Benadryl, and slept through the next day. I was apparently quite entertaining in the morning. Michele was trying to talk to me, and I was answering in a dream. Did I want some tea? "My head fell off." And so on.

Last night was a bit more serious. Paul made a wonderful steak dinner for everyone — well, steak for them, portabella mushrooms for me, since I don't eat large slabs of meat. He also made smashed potatoes, the portabellas (done in way too much lime juice — not one of his more successful experiments, I'm afraid), and lovely fresh asparagus stir-fried with onions and (unfortunately) marinated artichoke hearts.

We try to label anything coming into the house that's dangerous for me, using ugly Day-Glo green stickers. But the stickers just mean that something is definitely unsafe — their absence doesn't mean something is definitely safe. And of course, usually I check anything I eat. But last night was unusual. Paul doesn't cook all that often. We were all relaxing and having a good time together. He said everything was Lynn-safe and listed what was in each dish — though he said "artichoke hearts," not "marinated artichoke hearts." He thought they were OK, since there was no green sticker.

So. I sit down, start eating, and in five minutes or so I was violently itching. I didn't even have an artichoke heart — but I ate two stalks of asparagus that had touched them, and they were marinated with "spices," one or more of which must have been on my forbidden list.

So: another night doped to the gills with Benadryl. I'm still itchy and rashy. And another evening ruined by Lynn's stupid allergies.

Oh God, for the days when I could waltz into any restaurant and eat anything. When I devoured fine meals of Indian food or Mexican food or Chinese food without being terrified that a stray flake of cilantro or slice of celery would kill me. When I could eat at a buffet or salad bar without being afraid that something had touched celery.

It's damned hard, and I feel terrible about it. On one hand, I have to be an absolute termagant about the spice thing, or people don't take it seriously. I really and truly can die from celery and all its cousins, which include parsley, cumin, anise, coriander, cilantro. . . . half the spices around. People act as though I simply don't care for celery. (I loved it right up to the point when I started reacting to it, in my early thirties.) Believe me, it's serious. The buckwheat allergy is, too — anybody who saw me gasping for air in the ER after that little episode knows I have to be totally serious about eradicating any trace of buckwheat from my diet. I can't be polite about it. It will kill me.

On the other hand, when someone does inadvertently give me an allergic reaction, I honestly don't want them to feel bad. I certainly don't hold it against them. I hold it against myself — I'm the one with the weird problems, and I am responsible for every bite that goes into this mouth. I have to be.

After the buckwheat reaction last April, when I spent the evening in the ER and the subsequent 3 days knocked out by Benadryl, it was a good six months before food gave me any pleasure again. Until that started coming back, I hadn't realized it was gone. I did realize that I could scarcely be persuaded to eat anything other than the most basic foods, stuff I was absolutely certain held no risks. But only when I started inhaling deeply, savoring homemade food, and saying, "It's like sex!" did I realize how completely that pleasure had been gone for me.

I can't even enter restaurants that use those spices heavily — Boston Market, plenty of seafood restaurants, Indian restaurants. I brown-bag it to friends' parties. There are only a handful of people I'll trust to cook for me now, because they're as paranoid about food as I have to be. And because I know how hurtful it is to someone who cares about me when I have a bad reaction to food. Sonja has never quite forgiven herself for making the meal with the buckwheat noodles, though neither of us knew about the buckwheat allergy — it was brand new.

I don't want my friends to feel bad. I don't want to be a bloody boring drag when everyone wants to go out to eat. And yet I do seriously have to be frightened. I had a mild reaction on Thanksgiving to something that had apparently touched celery at some point (probably the potatoes). My upper lip swelled grotesquely, and I got itchy. But this was a visible reaction — and Antony actually apologized to me. He thought all these years I'd been making an unnecessary fuss about celery. Only seeing this intensity and speed of reaction made him realize that the problem was serious. But the really serious reactions aren't that visible. You just go into anaphylactic shock. And die.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Official Announcement

Joe Barron puts up with a lot of shit from me. And he does it with good humor. Thanks and hugs to one of my oldest friends.

That is all.
I Don't Need Another Valentine

"Baseball . . . breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again and it blossoms in summer, filling the afternoons and evenings and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it. Rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops." — A. Bartlett Giamatti, Renaissance scholar and Commissioner of Baseball

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training today.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Why Am I Not Surprised?

The final book of Narnia, you're a sometimes disturbing story about the end of the world and the beginning of a new one. Your characters include an evil monkey, a misguided donkey, stubborn dwarves and all the human characters from the previous books. You manage to be heartbreaking and beautiful at once.

Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

Full Competency Mode

One of the things that's a little strange for anyone who lives with me (but that seems normal to me) is that I'm much more expressive of emotion about small things than big ones. That is, more expressive of *negative* emotion. I’m pretty good at expressing the full range of pleasures, and I’ve always been open and enthusiastic. It’s the hard things — anger, pain, grief, despair — that silence me.

All my profanities are reserved for minor mechanical annoyances (well, and politicians); I use words to the stove I would under no circumstances use to another human being, no matter what they were doing to me. In fact, you can tell if I’m addressing a person or an inanimate object by vocabulary alone.

If I'm moderately upset about something, I can talk about it. Though I rarely yell, I do sound angry, and I’ll say I am angry. I am really clear about my feelings. I fight fair, though: I don't attack people, call names, or any of that ugliness. I focus on behavior and its effects.

If I'm extremely upset, I go into Full Competency Mode. For as long as the crisis lasts (minutes, months), I'll speak in calm tones, show zero affect, and deal with the problem. When it’s over, then I withdraw to deal with the emotion alone. Sometimes in that solitude, I abandon myself to the darkness, at least for a while. Other times I find ways to move away from it — ways I can’t seem to manage when I have to deal with the presence of another human being.

Though I withdraw, I always come back. Pursuing me into that silence, despair, anger, tears is a Bad Idea. I'm very clear about warning people, but not everyone believes me. Michele knows not to follow me or try to touch me when I withdraw. (Billy never believed me that solitude was what I wanted and needed — no matter how often I told him.) Because she has always been trustworthy, over the years I've started to be able to share some of those painful times with Michele. I can even sometimes accept comfort from her. Letting someone touch me when I’m upset is a real step in intimacy.

The silencing extends into writing as well as speaking. I was able to post about my father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, to start working it through in writing, because I wasn’t devastated by it. When Diane was killed a week later, I carefully informed a few friends, shut down, stopped posting at all for months, and did not discuss her death publicly for more than six months — and only then because someone else let it slip. It took me nine months to cry for her.

And when I did, when I let myself experience all the weight of grief for her, for my dying father, for the marriage ending around me, for all the other stresses — then I went into years of silence, despair, emotional exile.

I spent most of my first twenty-one years in Full Competency Mode. Let’s be clear: this is a kind of dissociation. I was possessed of deep emotion, which I did not express. I intellectualized. Translating feelings to thought seemed safer. And I learned far too early that though I could not ignore or forget what happened to me, I could bear the pain more easily by separating myself from my body. Not as floating above; I was in my flesh when I was hurt and raped. But it was “my flesh,” something separate from “me.” I kept narrative memory and the feelings apart. If they came together, I would be crushed under their weight. I nearly choked to death on all the truths I didn’t utter, all the lies I went along with.

"The ordinary response to atrocities is to banish them from consciousness. . . . The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma." — Dr Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery
Presidential Advice

One night, George W. Bush was awakened by George Washington's ghost in the White House. Bush asked: "George, what is the best thing I could do to help the country?"

"Set an honest and honorable example, just as I did," Washington advised.

The next night, the ghost of Thomas Jefferson moved through the dark bedroom. "Tom, what is the best thing I could do to help the country?"

"Found universities and great libraries, just as I did," Jefferson advised.

Bush wasn't sleeping well the next night either, and saw another figure moving in the shadows. It was Abraham Lincoln's ghost.

"Abe, what is the best thing I could do to help the country?" Bush asked.

"Go see a play."

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

California Vehicular

When I left Jackson to go to college, I remember being uncomfortable with a number of things in the The Big City. (Eastern's campus is a beautiful estate set in a peaceful and prosperous old suburb of Philadelphia, but compared to downtown Jackson, it's a city.) I was mildly and weirdly uncomfortable with the number of sunny days, having grown accustomed to Jackson's sensible ratio of 6 cloudy days out of 7. I had also forgotten how to cross a city street, though I spent four years in elementary school living in Ardmore, just about ten miles down the Main Line from Eastern.

And I was uncomfortable with the cars. It seemed like one out of every three cars was a Mercedes or Cadillac. Yes, the Main Line is a wealthy area — though God knows there is poverty there as well. (This is something I know firsthand. Trust me.) But there are prosperous farmers in Jackson. They just don't show off their money with expensive cars, designer underwear, fancy jewelry, or any of the other popular ways to show off wealth (incidentally draining you of it).

Silicon Valley has so many expensive cars I don't even look twice at a Jaguar or Range Rover. I do look at the Cadillac Escalade, but only to curse it as possibly the ugliest conveyance ever designed. There were tumbrils with more grace and style. Nor do I notice the cars on the other end of the spectrum — the thirty-year-old Gremlins (look, it's a pregnant roller skate!), the 1964 Falcons, the innumerable old Beetles, the many cars from the 70s and 80s that continue rolling rustlessly along California's salt-free highways. Recently I've spotted a number of the tiny little Cooper Minis, a British car approximately the size of a can of Spam.

Twice, recently, I've really looked at a vehicle. The other day I spotted a gorgeous 1930s-era Rolls-Royce sportscar. That I noticed. And today I saw someone chugging along the sidewalk on a Segway, the motorized scooter that's supposed to change the world.

I myself drive a truck — a Ford Ranger new the year I got married, which had a Phillies sticker on it even before I bought it. (Clearly it was Meant to Be.) Every household needs a utility vehicle, and the Ranger is ours. But what I would really love is to live someplace near enough to public transit that I could take that to work. It's just a dream.
Lenten Meditation

About six weeks ago, Margaret (our rector) announced that All Saints is putting together a booklet of daily Lenten meditations written by members of the congregation. There was a big sign-up sheet with the various verses available. Michele chose I Corinthians 1:25 (on the foolishness of the Gospel), and I chose Psalm 16:10. Unfortunately, the subject of my verse hit home again, hard, in the time when I was considering what to write.

Psalm 16:10
“For you will not abandon me to the grave, nor let your holy one see the Pit.”

Six tall men — her uncles, her friends — carried the coffin up the hill from the church. Under a grand old oak, the pit was already dug. Machinery creaked and groaned as the box was lowered into the ground. Nobody screamed, “Don’t put Diane in there!” But all of us felt the terrible wrongness of it. How could we abandon her to the grave? She was only 22.

Leaving a beloved child in the earth may be the worst thing any of us ever have to do, but this verse offers hope for all deaths, physical and spiritual. “The pit” implies “insatiability” and “hiddenness,” and is sometimes used to mean “corruption” as well. Death is greedy and unstoppable. It takes the people we love, and they don’t come back. We cannot know what happens to the person’s spirit, and we try hard not to think about what is happening to the flesh.

But even in that place, Someone is waiting to comfort and console, Someone who understands loss and suffering on a scale we can’t even imagine. Whether the grave where we lie is physical death; or the darkness of despair or addiction; or the emptiness of a materialistic life, God will not abandon us to the loneliness of death and the horrors of corruption. God, the loving parent, willingly allowed His Son to die for us, and God will resurrect us.

Death is hard enough as it is. The horrors of death without hope — without faith in God, without the knowledge of love and redemption — that would be unbearable.

Do I believe? I've had to keep asking myself. In the midst of loss, terror, pain, suffering; scarred, grieving, hurt; yelling at God, when a friend lost his mother, his job, and even his cat within a short space of time, "Why can't You pick on someone Your own size?"

Yes, I believe. I believe that God created us and loves us. I believe that the sinless death of Jesus the Christ makes redemption possible — that God, seeing the misery of a fallen world, reached out, tore open the veil, and let Grace in. I don't even pretend to know how it all works, but it makes a dreadful kind of sense to me. He died to build the bridge. To change the world so love could come in. Every healing has its price, and Jesus paid this one.

So what about the suffering I went through? the undeserved pain of my childhood? the scars I still endure? It prepared me to deal with others' pain. Maybe that's not enough of a purpose, but it's what I've got.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Antony's Wake

I'm leaving in a few minutes for Antony's wake. I still need to change, but I keep putting it off. I've been working on a longer post, talking about coping with pain and nightmares and loss. Not done yet. But let me say this:

Antony loved life. He was vividly alive when he was here. So was Diane, whose death six years ago today still aches in me. They both had enthusiasm. They appreciated so much.

Live. Live well, live hard, live consciously. The next breath you draw may be your last. Does that sound morbid? It isn't. When you really know that, you'll be astonished at how beautiful the colors of life are. How much joy you can get from small things. Every beautiful tree ro rock, every song, every touch, every story — it all glows.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Signs of the Times

Here are some of the signs carried by some of the protesters at the recent peace march in DC.

Drunken frat boy drives country into ditch.

Bush/Cheney: Malice in Blunderland

Let's bomb Texas, they have oil too.

How did our oil get under their sand?

If you can't pronounce it, don't bomb it.

Daddy, can I start the war now?

1000 points of light and one dim bulb.

Sacrifice our SUV's, not our children.

Preemptive impeachment.

No George, I said Mac Attack.

It's the economy stupid.

Stop the Bushit.

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld: the asses of evil.

$1 billion a day to kill people -- what a bargain.

Consume --> Consume --> Bomb --> Bomb --> Consume --> Consume

Disarm Bush too.

Big brother isn't coming -- he's already here.

Empires fall.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind (Gandhi).

Impeach the squatters.

Mainstream white guys for peace. (Sign held by three mainstream-looking white guys)

Hans Blix -- look over here.

Let Exxon send their own troops.

Destroy Florida. [It could happen again]

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.

We can't afford to rule the world.

War is so 20th century!

9-11-01: 15 Saudis, 0 Iraqis.

Drop Bush not bombs.

I asked for universal health care and all I got was this lousy stealth bomber.

America's problems won't be solved in Iraq.

War is not a family value.

Colorfully dressed drag queen carrying a sign that says: I am the bomb.

Picture of the peace symbol: back by popular demand.

A picture of Bush with a red-stained upper lip: Got blood?

A picture of Bush saying "Why should I care what the American people think? They didn't vote for me."

A picture of Bush saying "Ask me about my lobotomy."

Beneath a picture of a menacing soldier pointing his rifle/bayonet toward the viewer: Say it! One Nation under God. Say it!

What would Jesus bomb?

A village in Texas is missing its idiot!

George W. Bush likes to kill people and that's messed up.
A Serious Public Service Announcement

If you ever drive, read this.

If you ever drink and drive, read it again. Then hand your keys over to someone else, or get a designated driver, or quit drinking.

She's someone I know from LiveJournal. Her sister died this week, and she is in agony.

I am grieving this week for Diane, whose death in a car accident had nothing to do with drinking. But I know what kind of horrific pain we've all been going through for six years because she fainted at the wheel of her car on her way to work one Saturday morning.

I am also grieving for Antony, whose memorial service will be tomorrow. No, no drunk driving there — Antony hated alcohol, didn't touch the stuff.

But I know what loss feels like. I know how easily someone 40 or 22 or any age at all can just die, even without the lethal combination of a few exciting chemicals and a speeding mass of steel and plastic.

We take so many things for granted. Just living. A drink or two. The privilege of roaring down the road at whatever speed the engine can reach. The solid integrity of a car at rest. But you can lose the first and the last all too easily -- just combine the ones in the middle.

There is enough grief in the world. Don't add any more.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

If I Still Played D&D, I Would Be. . . .

I Am A: Chaotic Good Elf Ranger Druid

Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Druids are a special variety of Cleric who serves the Earth, and can call upon the power in the earth to accomplish their goals. They tend to be somewhat fanatical about defending natural settings.

Solonor Thelandria is the Chaotic Good elven god of archery and the hunt. He is also known as the Keen Eye, the Great Archer, and the Forest Hunter. His followers respect nature, and only hunt when needed, but are quick to defend the forest from intruders. Their favorite weapon is the bow, and they tend to be extremely talented with it. Solonor Thelandria's symbol is an arrow with green fletchings.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Impressively accurate.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Bad News for Freedom

From Molly Ivins:

"The U.S. now ranks 17th, below Costa Rica and Slovenia, on the worldwide index of press freedom established by the Reporters Without Borders."
And You Should Collect These!

Don't blame me, I heard about them from a Republican.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

I Think I'm Collecting These

Yet another 404.
Beyond Cool

My friend Joe just interviewed Peter Max. I'll provide a link when the story is published. (Yes, I got to read it, and it's a good interview — tough, meaty, evocative.) In the meantime, I am lost in awe at the opportunities available to prizewinning reporters.

Joe, I salute you.
Just Announced on the Public Address System

"There is Jamba Juice Coldbuster in the kitchen. I repeat, there is Jamba Juice Coldbuster in the kitchen."

I love California.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

With no words of my own to speak. . . .

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, — but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay