Thursday, March 31, 2005

Make my head stop spinning

I just heard our Pro Death Penalty, Let's Attack Iraq President on the radio saying (possible paraphrase as I can't link yet) that in medical questions medicine about life and death, we should always side for life "especially for those who live at the mercy of others."

Is that irony or just hypocrisy I'm hearing? Does this man not listen to the things he says? This "culture of life" thing is gonna be the "Read my Lips" of Bush II. You'd think his daddy would warn him, although I suspect he has and ol' Dubya ain't listenin' to him either.

Never the end

Terri has died.

I've been following this story for some years and discussing it on other boards, but I have been reluctant to talk about it here, mostly because I do feel strongly about it. Mostly I feel strongly that this is something that can and should be decided within a family or by the individual. I feel the Schindlers made a mistake in taking it so very, very public, but I understand in a small way what might have lead them to do it.

I don't know who is right -- Michael Schiavo, or the Schindlers, or any of the people weighing in on either side. I know I've heard and read a lot of bullshit surrounding this, and a lot of wisdom. I know my own beliefs, which is that death is an inevitable, irrevocable step in each life. It need not be hurried, but it should not be shied away from in fear. It cannot be cheated as yet, although we are capable of making people suffer so greatly they long for it.

I know that, for myself, were I in Terri's position, I would not have wanted 15 more years. I believe my soul would have been imprisoned in a body without a mind, and that would have been a Hell. I am not eager to die, but life at any cost, life in any circumstance, life no matter what -- that is not my choice or desire. If I cannot live my life doing, thinking, communicating, then I am dead.

I find those who claim a "culture of life" completely unbelievable. If every human life -- EVERY SINGLE ONE -- is precious, so precious we cannot afford to let it slip away no matter what, then we need to do far more in this world. We need to remove death penalties -- not just stand vigil, but lobby, campaign, and vote accordingly. We need to more vigorously protest war. We need to eliminate hunger and poverty and so many, many diseases. We need to cease killing those with whom we do not agree. We should not raise our hand against any other person.

Instead, what I see is a "culture of CERTAIN lives". Only some selected lives are precious. Some are not. The actual criteria changes depending on who is making the selections.

It is part of being human to prefer our own lives and the lives of those important to us over all others. This is, I think, built into our genes, built into our cells. The fight to survive, that is human, even if it means killing others not ourselves or not so important to us. That is human, in as much as we are animals and that is animal nature, but it is not necessarily the only thing about us, and perhaps not the best part to elevate.

We also fear death, terribly so. It is the great unknown. We fear death, some of us, so deeply that we cannot tolerate it at all, but again that fear is a personal one. To save our own lives from the death we fear, we will gladly toss others into that abyss.

We progress slowly, I think. It is complex, with many factors, including faith and finance. We aren't going to solve it in the courts or legislature or on the streets. It must be solved inside each person, every time a person faces it.

As for Terri, my beliefs say she is now free to progress to her next stage, that holding her here was no favor to her but balm only to those remaining behind. I have faith that this particular ending is not The End. It is never the end.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A laundry list of little things

1) Being a lazy ass this morning and deciding not to go in to work was wise, as the computers are once more down and I'd be sitting around staring again.
2) Watching my Jonny Quest DVDs is very satisfying to that popsicle/candycorn kid part of me.
3) The birthday party I went to on Saturday night had far too much Easter Candy around for me. I am a sugar addict and I almost made myself sick. Those jellybeans were bad enough, but the "circus peanut"-like bunnies and chickies were da bomb. WE won't even go into the chocolate cake...
4) It is windy outside. I mean, seriously. KIte weather, only I don' t have a kite.
5) No matter how much laundry you do, there's always more, and it needs ironing.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A new stunning development

I just got an acceptance e-mail into a writing workshop I applied for. I've spent the last 2 months telling myself not to worry about it, I wasn't going to get it -- you know, lowering my expectations so as to reduce any dissapointment. I do this all the time, for almost everything.

But I did get in. And I've got no excitement.

I've noticed this before -- it is as if I've pulled the balance out. If I am not set up for huge dissapointment at failure, I can't have huge excitement at success. This sucks, you know. It means I can't have just high points in my life.

I'll work my way up to being excited sometime later tonight. Damn, either they didn't get enough participants and I got lucky or...someone thinks I can write. Damn.
'Spamalot' Debuts to Broadway Laughter

I listened to a Tim Curry Interview on Fresh Air this week. I reflected that Holy Grail is the only Python movie I ever bought myself. I can still sing all the words to the Philosopher's Drinking Song. I used to write them on the blackboard in a Philosophy class I took in college, during break. The instructor hated erasing them. I had to eventually type them up for him. Still have only seen Rocky Horror once, at a midnight show with no cast, so I actually saw the movie. It still counts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An Observation

People who eat milk chocolate as a matter of preference are not particularily passionate about it. I mean, they don't have to have something special or specific. Chocolate in general (which is usually milk) will suit them fine.

Those of us who prefer dark chocolate can be a damn sight more picky. Not just ANYTHING that says it's dark chocolate will necessarily work. I've had a lot of pseudo-dark chocolate in my life and it is always a DISAPPOINTMENT. It just doesn't really qualify.

Dark chocolate lovers are going for a very special flavor experience. I'm constantly looking for the absolute perfect dark chocolate -- just this side of really bitter and dry, mostly pure chocolate liquer, just that absolute creamy, warm, tingly, sensuous experience. Mmmmm...

Oh, yeah, right....anyway, milk chocolate people don't seem to get that passionate, at least not the ones I've known. They don't pick through the entire box for the 3 dark chocolates, rejecting the rest as "just not good enough". They know the names of less well known European chocolatiers. They know there is a bean involved and that beans grown in different climates create different chocolates.

In fact, they are a lot like gourmet coffee lovers. Only fatter. Slightly.

They also may have lower bloodpressure.

AS for so-called "white chocolate" -- it has NO CHOCOLATE IN IT. It's just cocoa butter, vanilla and sugar. Why isn't is called "Vanilla"? Feh! Feh feh feh.

Oh, and notice

at long last, the mystery duplicate posts which I couldn't actually do anything about -- they vanished. Along with the comments, I should note. I don't know why it published that post so many times, or why I could not edit them out, or anything, for that matter.


I don't know anything, I never did know anything, but now I know that I don't know...

Name the movie that line came from, and I'll trade mix CDs with ya.

Mystery Green

We pickedup salads for dinner from the local higher-end grocery store. I got the "bistro greens" which looked pretty good -- all the fancy lettuce and herbs I can never pronounce.

It tasted ok. My only concern is the vine I found in it.

No, really, a vine. A long vine with leaves and little curly stems and leaves and...I ain't eatin' it. I don't know what it is, it didn't taste all that wonderful, and it's a VINE. The whole freaking VINE.

I'm just not that "hip". Bistro may be the in thing right now, but if it requires vine eating, I'll just continue to be uncool in the corner.

Friday, March 18, 2005

There's "old", and then there's "Old"

Tonight is dropping the dog off with MIL and dinner...*sigh*. We won't be home much this weekend and her Royal Dogness needs potty breaks about every 4-6 hours...and she's MUCH too royal to spend a day in the back yard like she spent the first 5 years of her life...so we are having dinner in The Villages.

No, it's a real place. Honest. It is not a movie set left over from the last M. Night Shyamalan production.

The Villages (also known as Hamunaptra -- all the wealth of Florida is there) is one of those places that has a multi-planar existance. Lemme 'splain. ON the surface it is Perfect Town USA. Clean, bright, shining, organized -- everything you could want. There's an actual downtown area (two, really -- they just built another) with a movie theatre and stores and a church you can walk to. Most people walk or travel by golf cart, which have their own "road". There are schools and a hospital and...it's a town.

For people 55 and older. You cannot live in one of The Villages many, many, MANY housing subdivisions if you have children living with you, and if you are under 55. Now there are patches of pre-Villages housing. This is where the workers live. The schools are for the worker's children -- even, I believer, commuting workers from other areas can enroll their children in the schools. These are fine looking schools, too, to fit in with the perfect vision of The Villages.

Then there's the whole creepy feeling of living in a place where everyone is...older. In many of the subdivisions, the houses are IDENTICAL -- you better have your custom name sign hung out front, and maybe a plant, if you want to find your own house. I kid you not, I mean freaking IDENTICAL housing. Same color, same roof, same details, same landscaping. Even for a subdivision, which are known for uniformity, it's rather terrifying. And you can tell these places are not built for anyone to live in very long. The developers are planning for turnover -- ten, fifteen years tops, they think.

Of course, there are rules, lots of rules. This is a retirement community, so everyone has lots of time to be concerned about what everyone else is doing, and to make up rules about it.

But the most icky layer for me is the idea that we as a society want to segregate people by age and put everyone into their own "zones", so to speak. We shove all the older people into their perfect little villages. They WANT to live together like that, with only occasional visits from the rest of the world. Everyone understands them there. Why should they want to live in a mixed-age environment?

Oh, and The Villages is overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly Republican, and overwhelmingly middle-upper to upper income. Did I mention that thing about segregation?

It is interesting to note that you may only legally segregate/discriminate by age if you are doing so against people YOUNGER than you are. There are laws in place that prevent descriminating against an older person for a job, for housing, for whatever -- but you can do it like this, for "retirement". I wonder if anyone has tried to start an apartment complex just for people 20-39? I wonder how the 40+ group (of which I am now a member) would react to that? Nothing gets someone's blood boiling like telling them they are "old".

I suspect that as the members of the "youth culture" from the 50's and 60's now are climbing that mountain to "old", our whole perception will change. I suspect that The Villages is already becoming outdated, an ideal of people from another era. Putting older people into their own little towns will cease to be a viable or attractive option.

Feh. It's one of the few areas with descent restaurants in all of Lake County, too. They've got the one and only Panera's in this area there. Damned priveledged classes!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nothing like

realizing the post you'd made yesterday didn't actually publish. Ah.

Today, I've nothing in particular to say. Just want to get that rant down a bit. Rants are not sustainable in my life. I can't stay that worked up for very long. I want a nap.

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Moment of Eye Rolling

Warning -- A rant follows which is bound to offend SOMEONE, although I'd think by now anyone who'd be offended would be off watching wrestling or somehting.

Yahoo! News - Judge Says Calif. Can't Ban Gay Marriage

What makes my stomach hurt isn't the idea of gays marrying -- line 'em up and register 'em already, sheesh, is it that hard? -- but that some people feel their personal beliefs and way of life are so threatened by the actions of others that they have to maginalize and legislate and...that this, kind of nit picking has to go on at all.

If two men or two women get married and have a family, it has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH MY MARRIAGE. People who have "open marriages" have NOTHING to do with my marriage. People who get divorced, or live together without that recognition from the state, or who think they married Elvis HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH MY MARRIAGE. As far as the "state" is concerned, marriage is a method of controlling property, collecting taxes, keeping track of statistics, and distributing resources. That's it. That's how it SHOULD be, dammit all!

Those who have moral or religious objections -- and there are fine people who just can't reconcile the ideas, no matter how much you point out things Biblical, and that's ok, everyone has to find their own path to Heaven -- are entitled to NOT GET MARRIED TO A PERSON OF THE SAME SEX IF THEY DON'T WANT TO. But that's ALL they are entitled to. They should not be forced or required to do so. Their religious organization does not have to perform the ceremony, provide a blessing, or sanctify the union if they see doing so as a problem, and I find I disagree with those people who feel opposite to that.

You can't MAKE anyone respect you, trust you, love you, or buy you ice cream. That's the truth in this world. But once you've set up a rule and said that "everyone is equal under the law", you don't get to put "This Gender Only" or "This Religion Only" or any other such statement on top of it. That runs counter to "everyone is equal under the law".

I think it's important to note that, not only are so many things we think "have always been" HAVEN'T always been in all places everywhere for all time, but tended to arise from one small place at one small time among one small group. Every tradition was once a new idea and things people thought were carved in stone have crumbled and become useless ideas. So let's try to stick to the ideas that do last -- that things which bring people together, which allow them to be happy and contribute to the growth and health of the group as a whole, even amid differences, are the things we need to preserve. All the effort spent on denying gay rights could be put toward practicing acceptance, love and tolerance.

Ok, I think I've gotten my eyes back in the right position.

And another word from our sponser

Nifty! Neato!

As part of my ongoing campaign to help Husband make us rich and famous, I bring you this little blurb from Independent Forecast: Then & Now: " and command you to go forth, scroll down, and read the nice comments :>

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Permanent Enthusiasms

It's an open secret that I'm a huge Tori Amos fan. I just got her latest album, The Beekeeper , and I've been listening to it constantly since it went into the stereo. (her last two releases did not garner this kind of treatment, surprisingly enough.)

I'd swear she's read "The Secret Life of Bees" before working on this project.

Anyway, I'm all full of enthusiasm for this album. My favorites so far are "Toast", "Driving to Ireland", and "Sleeps with Butterflies", but I actually haven't found a song I DON'T like, or even have a less-than-enthusiastic reaction to. OK, it's arty and conceptual. It doesn't set off my "load of pretension" alarms. I don't even mind the complete lack of punctuation :> Music can often get by without it. I love, love, love this album and intend to listen to it excessively.

Which means, of course, Husband will simply hate this one :> Well, he might like "Goodbye to Pisces". And possibly "Martha's Foolish Ginger". Maybe "The Power of Orange Knickers"....the titles alone are enough to either make you recoil in confusion or open your arms wide.

In a sideswipe of mild negative coincidence which isn't actually irony, she's in concert in Orlando on the same weekend the OGC is performing, so there's no way I could go, even if I felt like fighting for it. I'm so NOT a rock/pop concert attendee -- too much noise, too many people, and the particular joys of seeing a performer and hearing the music live are offset and often ruined by the behavior of the crowd and the painful volume of the sound system. So I'll just wave that way on that day, and give my respects to Ms Amos.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pontification

As if I don't do enough sounding off while standing on my own virtual soapbox, I've been having a lot of fun over here.

the adventures of a boy and his computer - Compulsory Patriotism

I never know

if it's snippets from a real life, the machinations of a terribly bored mind, or a giant writing exercise. What's more, I reallly, really don't care.

Acerbia: Sin City Dweller

Go take a bite.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

And now, a word from our sponser

See that cool animated gif to the left? Yeah, that's the one. Husband made it. Isn't is pretty? Isn't it hypnotic? Stare at it for a while.
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OK, that's enough.

That is the advertisement for Husband's NEW COMIC, Lineage, coming out in May from Approbation Comics as part of Myriad (an anthology book). (warning, their splash page has music).

Now that you are under the hypnotic power of the GIF, you must run to your local book or comic store and ORDER THIS BOOK (the Diamond Distributor Order number should be on the site) so that Husband won't explode. You see, if Husband explodes, I will spend the rest of my life, Isis-like, gathering up all the pieces and reassembling them without instructions or even a picture on the box lid and I'd have no time to regale you all with my wit, wisdom, and gory health details. And THEN what would you do?

OK?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Things you think after midnight

I'm watching The History Channel, about -- what else? -- World War II. They have covered the Rape of Nanking, and the firebombing of Tokyo and some other things and I'm thinking, like it's a brand new thought...

One person's pain does not cancel, equal, equate to, justify, or balance the pain of another.

Yet we operate in this world as if it does -- as if my suffering is lesser or greater or more important or deserved or undeserved when compared to someone else's. It simply isn't true.

We've heard it all before, all the variations of "Make them suffer as they have made us suffer." Somehow, creating more pain and horror is supposed to erase or ease the pain and horror already existing.

I understand the impulse. When someone is hurt, especially when that hurt is percieved as coming through action of another(whether it does or not is another arguement, what matters here is perception), there is a desire to hurt back somehow. You hit me, I hit you back. Why did you hit me? Someone else hit you? If I can't hit you, I may turn and hit someone else. Action, reaction.

No one stops to say "why?" It is as if this is some eternal koan humanity is supposed to solve, this issue of "who hit first?" Who caused the first pain to another, or was percieved to have caused it?

It's an animal reaction, something belonging to the reptile part of our brains, I suspect. Unfortunately, those who work hard to overcome it are rare and very hard to emulate, because causing pain is a method of gaining power, fear of pain being what it is. Even when we consider ourselves "civilized" and "advanced" we still succumb to that rule of "you hit me, I hit you back" mentality, reducing the entire world to one big, bloody, kindergarten sandbox.

Mostly, I think, because we don't realise that someone else's pain will never erase our own. There might be a few moments of satisfaction for having power over another, but whatever pain we sustain, whatever the injury was, we have to heal it in other ways. And you can get addicted to that power to the point that you are constantly picking at your wound, never letting it heal, so you can always justify hurting someone else because your pain is still present and real.

Two wrongs do not make right, isn't that the saying? My suffering does not justify my causing suffering to anyone else, really, even to the person who made me suffer. I don't know exactly what the answer is, but I know it's a more enlightened one than we've started using.

I'll get back to you on it after I've evolved some more.

Friday, March 04, 2005

From the "I didn't go to sleep yet" file

Amazing the things you find when you wander your referal listings..

Where does the responsibility end? Don't miss the comments, either.

I think this is classic and I also hope it's real, just because it's sooo good that if it is a big ol' internet fake, someone needs swatting. Then again, even if the specifics are made up, the generalities are true to life. I've heard these kinds of arguments before -- usually by Darwin Award runner-ups with lawsuits.

Which reminds me -- this has been around a while, but it's still fun.

Almost post Argh

Not quite well yet. About 2 days of fairly high fever which made really sleeping difficult even with drugs, and since that broke I've been sleeping almost around the clock.

The cats do their best to discourage this by crowding onto the bed. It's a little hard to imagine that even 6 cats can make a queen sized bed crowded -- only two of them are particularily large cats -- but they do. Husband has given up the bed entirely and has been sleeping on the couch, since the cats refuse to leave me. Well, and he doesn't want this crud, although I think he already has it. But he also has Iron Man Immune System. In AD&D terms, my friends say my "con is less than 13".

Feh. Anyway, I've done a lot of sleeping, which involved a lot of fever- and drug-induced dreaming, very little of which I can remember, except for some weird Star Trek-esque one about a woman (not me -- I was just watching) being left behind on some secret military base on a planet while the Enterprise took everyone else off the base just before having to leave to escape detection. She was supposed to be the last one out and she didn't make it, and she went into this whole thing about being left behind, and she only had about 24 hours before the air ran out, etc. There was drama, and they did come back for her, but it really WAS like an episode of the show (NextGen style). I remember it pretty clearly in part because she was inside a crawl space operating a sort of elevator to get everyone out, and the elevator was JUST like the one I'd seen on TV during a show about the St. Louis Arch.

What did people dream about before tv and movies?

I know I'm not quite well yet because the Husband, in his ongoing attempts to cheer me, brought me a lovely Lindt Excellence Extra Fine Dark Chocolate bar last night and I haven't even peeled off the foil yet. This is 70% cocoa and the ingredient list is only 4 items long -- all of which I can pronounce. This is amazing chocolate, folks, and I'm IGNORING It. It's just sitting on my desk, staring at me. Interestingly enough, this chocolate bar contains 3 grams of protein and 10% of the US RDA for Iron in each fatty, delicious serving, and even now I don't feel like eating any.

I also dreamed about kissing John Cleese, about a cage of lovely little birds that became invisible, and about a house numbering problem that I still don't quite understand, but about which I knew exactly what to do in the dream.

Back in the real world, Cooljerk is telling us all about the mysteries of Lost and Found on the Japanese Train system, which is kinda interesting. He's also feeling unappreciated, so do me a favor and go appreciate him. He's Canadian, so he's less likely (as far as I can tell) to get all defensive if some strange woman asks equally strange (as in unknown, not weird, although you can be that, too, if it makes you happy) to go read him, like a pity campaign. Then again, he might. It's hard to tell in the blogging world -- are you a hit whore, or one of the proud and lonely unread?

My ears are stopped up. Must be nap time. I mean, geez, I've been awake almost an hour.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Another in a list of ARGH

I'm still sick. No fever now, but I'm freezing.

The ROOFERS (mythical creatures in Florida -- sitings are reported in the local papers. Neightors gather around to watch. Some of them take pictures and burn candles in front of them, hoping to have a visititation to their houses soon) have arrived and are at this moment stomping over my head scraping off our evil bad hurricane permiable shingles in a black and grey rain outside the windows. Soon the roof will be naked and the pounding of air hammers will begin. Pound poundy pound, like I've been hearing for weeks all over the neighborhood, only this time right on top of my head.

I'm debating heavy sedation.

This latest bout of dissease means another missed rehearsal for chorus. That's 4 this season. I don't know the songs and I'm having doubts that I'll sing in the concert at this point, unless I get well fast and have time to buckle down and learn my music. If my voice comes back. So far, I can't even do frog imitations.

Oh, and my back hurts. My head hurts. Whine whine, poor me, pitiful, wah.

By the way, read The Devil's Panties. It's (not) Satanic Porn. And Jen feels about David Mack the same way I do (just put him and some butter on toast and leave me in the room, eh?) (Oh, and yes, I DO read Kabuki...occasionally...it's pricy and cuts into my manga budget...must read manga....manga preeeetttyyyy)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Home is where the Kleenex is

I have congeek plague. Argh.

It snowed overnight right before we left and was still coming down when we drove out of Roanoke. Four inches and more. 29 degrees that morning.



These are NOT the shoes to wear when traipsing around in 4+ inches of snow.



*sigh* The code for the photos is refusing to remain proper. Blogger has some auto-correction nonsense that simply won't let me copy in the proper tag and leave it alone. Damn thing.

Update: Nothing I do will make those damn pictures show up. Blogger hasn't responded to my pleas for help as yet. There's no love.