Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Amateur Night

Really, Turlock? It's a little early, isn't it?

So it's a quarter to six, and we're already hearing sirens. Seriously, guys: be careful out there and watch out for the amateurs.

...Aaaand it's just occurred to me that not everybody calls this Amateur Night, so a little explanation, if you haven't come across that one: for a lot of people, this is the One Night a year they drink themselves into stupors, and they do not know how to take care of themselves when they do, because they have no real prior experience (amateurs). Seasoned drinkers hopefully know better than to drive around or decide to fire off a celebratory gunshot after a couple bottles of champagne or many a cocktail, and plan ahead to avoid dangerous behaviors, but some of the people who save it all up for one or two nights a year, all the underaged kids mooching at parties, etc, are unprepared for their own potential assholery and ineptitude and don't make those kinds of plans.

Chris and I and our best friend neighbors planned way ahead, and moved into the same townhouse complex, so we live within staggering distance of one another. We're having a domestic pub crawl between our places (which will probably involve a lot of games--planning for Scattergories, Apples to Apples, and Legos VS Lincoln Logs, because we are so still 4 years old), because it doesn't involve crossing a street or getting in cars, just driveways. If we run out of something, we just walk 30 yards in a safe space to the other's place. If anyone decides they need to get naked before wandering home, it's not even on a main drag, and they'll only be out in the open exposed to the elements for a minute. If anyone passes out, they're already in a safe place. Plus, no cab fare required.

Hoping everyone else's plans are as exciting and safe, LOVE

Fred's New Look

Oh! Thought I'd posted this!

I'll eventually upload/link to the pictures of Fred's roots, week by week, but I didn't remember to get one last one of his long, happy roots, before I potted him up, last week.

But after starting as a trodden-upon, wilty, rotty vine in the kinko's dirty parking lot, Fred has now finally graduated to Houseplant, and Mascot extraordinaire, in a pretty Talavera pot, braced upright by his own strength (+ physics of dirt and leverage), instead of a bathroom wall. Yes, he's got a couple scars. Yes, he's small. But he is Strong and he is Beautiful. See him, and be inspired! Take heart! Feel the love! You, too, are Strong and Beautiful.

Chleben in the mail! Chleben in the mail! WOO!!

Okay, am I the only person in the world who is really happy to get a fruitcake for Christmas? Really?

Or is Polish Christmas chleben from Chris's Aunt Mary Jo just not representative of the creature known as fruitcake? It is the only kind I've had. It looks like fruitcake looks. It has tiny, chewy bright bits of bitter candied orange peel and sweet raisins in it. It is in dense loaf form. It is sweet and strange and delicious.

Come on, what's so bad about fruitcake?

(Hope y'all are having nice holidays and are being safe for New Year's Eve. Have a great new year, everybody.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

...and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last...

So, 2008. I've been trying to put it into perspective, but I keep just coming up shocked with, "Wait, that was this year, too?" This year has felt about eight years long. And yet I keep being surprised it's almost over. Maybe I've lost the sense that years do, eventually, end.

It's been a hard year. A really, really hard year.

So, the necessary retrospective follows. This year...

We had to put our Lancelot to sleep. Starting a cycle of panic attacks rooted in "But--but what if..."s and me having to hash through the entire decision making process again, every single time, to shut down the more traitorous and inventive parts of my brain. Frequently. Still. And an occasionally crippling depression.
Relatedly, since then, I have not been able to deal with the concept of, mentions of, fictional portrayals of, euthanasia, or any (attempted) killing of an animal or person out of a sense of it being the right thing or the only thing to do (especially, of course, if it isn't actually as good an idea as it sounded--the horrible murder of Caesar or the suicide of Marc Antony in Rome, Desdemona in Othello, the We3 in We3--but even when there are no choices, like Max in I Am Legend, etc) ...and I seem to be seeing a lot of it, this year, as witnessed here. Even little things... I'm too frayed. Arthur lies like roadkill, a lot (boneless and twisted at odd angles), and being prone to irreverent and macabre humor generally, every time I see that I automatically tease, "Aw, roadkill kitty!" and then feel sick. ("So cold... so cold...." is also common currency in our house, and every time I do it, I have to fight off panic and imagining Lancelot in my arms and probably feeling cold.)
...This has been the hardest thing in my life I've ever had to experience. I've lost my father, two grandparents, and plenty other family and friends to death, and many more friends to every other kind of separation, I've seen so much sickness and wasting, peaceful and not, but I've never been responsible for euthanasia and the impossible guilt of it, and this has come very close to ruining me. I am not built to be in that position. I am incapable.

...We lost a fishy, too.
A friend from the choir passed away.
I didn't get to sing in one of the concerts for said choir, this year, due to my own bad planning.
My uncle was arrested--again--and kicked out for good, and I haven't seen him since before *last* Thanksgiving. I haven't heard from him either, except for when...
...Great Uncle Dick died, and it was proved that there's not even enough civility or communication between branches of my family to really spread the word, or share commemoration plans.
There were root canals and crowns.
..and noticeable worsening of TMJ, weight gain and lack-of-loss, depression, anxiety, paranoia, grief, hopelessness, lethargy.
My 84 year old grandmother was robbed and has been very seriously rocked by it.
Collapse of the housing market, the stock market, the car industry, American industry in general. Also a budget crisis and other moves at the university that are putting Chris's (and a ton of other people's) job at risk, and has meant he's had to fight almost non-stop the entire semester, and most of the semester before, without any real sense of reprieve or rest. His anxiety and exhaustion have become critical, a few times.
Two friends from the CSU system have come up dangerously (potentially terminally) sick.
California caught fire, several times, including once sufficient to force my cousin and her family to evacuate, and coat everyone else I know here in ash.
Countless problems for many, many people in my family, and for friends.
Family politics (and community politics) have come to a few crescendos of the kind that I'm apparently no longer able to cope with or distance myself from enough to not spiral into despair when even something as innocuous as an email about disowning so-and-so, or a political or social fwd. or op-ed or letter to the editor comes up. See: Global Warming, Prop 8, presidential and local elections, and Family Fun.
I frequently just actively ache, related to any or all of the points above.


This was a year of good travel. We went to Puebla, my first time to Mexico, and fell in love. Even after losing Lancelot and friends and family, I felt whole for a while, and ate well, and saw beautiful things, and met beautiful philosophers, and had a good time. We got 300 Pinochle (the rarest combination of cards in Pinochle, suffice it to say) 5 times in 6 games sitting at a little table in our hotel, over two nights of playing.
We went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and saw fantastic plays (though Othello killing Desdemona just before bedtime did traumatize) and I got to meet Chris's wonderful friend Nancy, and stand in the ocean and wash my face with the Pacific, and there's nothing more healing than the ocean.
We went to San Francisco for my birthday, and saw Cabaret, and it was amazing (though also traumatizing).
We went to Pittsburgh, and I got to meet and absolutely fall for Chris's oldest friend Bob, and re-meet and absolutely fall for his best friend from grad school, Dave.
We got to go to Ohio for a pre-Christmas, and it snowed--my first White 'Christmas' ever--and got to meet my nephews, their wives, and their babies (!!!!!). I also got to see three picture albums full, including some dangerously hot pictures of teenage and college Chris (maybe more on this, later).
This has been a good year for new friends.

I finished my first year at work, and was liked well enough that they kept me, and gave me a raise, and told me they loved me.
Presidential election--'nuff said. Barely perceptible loosening of the shoulders and soothing of the nerves.
We've got few friends here, but we've grown closer to them.
Christina goes with me to give blood, now, and they've streamlined the process (except I still have to explain to them every time how Puebla is not a malaria area, and show them on the map where it is). This actually does make a noticeable difference in my life.
I had choir, and it was good.
I learned to knit, knit in the round, and knit cables, and have been wailing on it (although the carpal tunnel is forcing a stop, at the moment).
I've written 57k of a novel, and I did 53k of it in one month. I also wrote a ton of fic, and plenty on several other writing projects.
I've gotten a little better at the guitar, and have been playing piano a little more, and even the flute.
We've written songs.
I've read a lot--a lot--of books, and enjoyed them. (Did I mention I've almost finished writing one of my own? Yes? Well, let's mention that again.)
I'm actively working on how I eat and how I play and work to try to jump-start the thyroid and serotonin and mental habits generally, and I do feel like I'm feeling a little better.
My grandmother has recovered very, very well from last year's stroke, if not from the burglary.
We're saving money to eventually buy a house. The option to do it this summer (or next) is probably gone, but we'll be stabler in two and a half years than we would be in one half of one, and we'll get to live staggering distance from our best friends for two years more than we would have, which is important.

And we got these kittens. These beautiful, wonderful, 13-pounds-each 10-month-old monsters, who love constantly, and love hard, and love wonderfully, and are trying very hard to save the world (or at least us) with that amazing love.

So.. Well...

I guess what I'm getting at is this. All my life I've believed myself to be an optimist, but I can't, even in the face of all of this, get myself to think this year has been a good one, even on balance. I can't manage it. But.. I couldn't get rid of it, either. Everything that happens is by definition reliant on everything else that happened before it to be that way--situations come out of other situations, and no matter how horrible or traumatic something is, you can't have anything else that came after it without it, even if it's not a trade-off you'd have orchestrated. (Chris had to be married miserably and come out to California and be in a tough position for us to meet, for instance. You've got your own examples to work with, I know.) I would not have made these arrangements. Ever. But there's a new year coming, with these loves and these opportunities and these joys, and there's hope.

I guess I can't ask for more than that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No on 8 Protests!

Hey, guys, I'm a half hour late for most of you (our area is being silly and not starting 'til noon PST), but...

Go protest! If you've got a little time, get out there--there are national (actually, INTERNATIONAL) protests today starting 10:30 am, PST, against Prop 8 and the repeal of gay rights, and they're in every state. 300 cities.

You can look for your nearest protest location here:

Show the love! Love to all of you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Meme time!

If you saw ME in a police car, what would you think I got arrested for?

Answer me, then post to your own blog and see how many crimes you get accused of.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Soooo behind on NaNoWriMoing. SO behind. Alas! It'll get done or it won't, I suppose. At least I finally caught up on a little work, today. Some cleaning (Chris was a wonder of clean), errands.

Anyway, in case you haven't seen this, here's Keith Olbermann's comment on Prop 8. It was really beautiful and I cried a lot.

Transcript and video link here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Time to stop crying/start thinking, I guess.

So, on a personal level, how do we go about petitioning to have domestic partnership benefits extended to different-sexed couples? Lobbying? Ballot measure? Lawsuit? Our DP from Berkeley isn't recognized by the rest of the state, and I don't want to lose my teeth but I don't currently wish to have any association with the institution of marriage as it stands, either. If rights of union are being ghettoized, I'd rather live in the slums.

And with regards to making the institution more noble: Can we counter-amend?

For instance:

Repeal Sec. 7.5 of Article I of the California Constitution ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."), and replace it with (OR) amend Sec. 7.5 of Article I of the California Constitution to read, "In accordance with the 14th Amendment of the United States constitution, viz that 'No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,' the right to marry in California shall not be abridged on basis of race, ethnicity, creed, color, religion or religious background, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, or political affiliation. Marriage shall be hereby defined as between any two competent and consenting adults. In accordance with Article IV of the Constitution of the United States, viz 'Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State,' all marriages performed in other states, regardless of the identity of the parties, shall be valid and recognized in California, and will accord all associated rights."

How does that sound? I'd vote for it.

And should we wait a few years? In 2000 (during the primaries) Prop 22 made it 61%/39%, and Prop 8 only made it 52%/48%, this year, which is a hell of a lot of progress (maybe I should try to take hope from that). Maybe waiting would mean more young people will be of age and voting and more hostile people would be, um. Not voting. Plus, presidential election years draw more of the whole population, esp. more young people.

EDIT: I'm refusing to get my hopes up, but: there are apparently in the neighborhood of several million absentee votes yet to be counted. Absentee voting used to be the domain of the elderly and invalid, but it has also recently become (at least here) the best option for getting the young and forgetful, lazy, overworked, or travel-prone to remember to vote. So that's a whole lot of wiggle room that could go either way. Will keep you updated if I hear more. Though you probably will hear it, too.

A ringing endorsement, at 4% and holding

All decisions for who will be allowed to marry at all must apparently be determined by whom a clergyman must marry. Since they cannot make their own autonomous decisions about whom among the legally allowed they will perform a marriage ceremony for, we'll have to make it uniformly unobjectionable to them.

Clearly, because clergy could be forced to marry people outside of their own faith, we must by 4% pass a constitutional amendment to prohibit anyone of different faiths marrying. In fact, all intermarriage between specific congregations should probably be forbidden.

Furthermore, atheists and agnostics must be forbidden the right to marry at all, even civilly at the county registrar office, because we can't allow them to force religious leaders to marry them, either.

We might have to eliminate civil marriage ceremonies altogether, just to be sure they don't open the door to anything else problematic.

Who knew that a priest, preacher, minister, etc. has NEVER made the decision to deny ANY couple their services in marriage? Every 90's sitcom with a teenage couple getting assessed (and sometimes denied) by their religious advisor for marriage suitability was wrong, apparently. And when my best friend and her fiance (now husband) had to go through the same thing, the pastor must have just been pulling their legs, seeking to pretend (if only for a moment) that as a professional, he had the right to decide how to apply his services.

Maybe we should revisit that 1948 bit of activism by judges, too, and by 4% make a constitutional amendment to undo what they did when they legalized different-raced marriages, too. There are surely still religious leaders who are uncomfortable about being forced to do that, day in and day out. But how they have suffered in silence!

This is becoming complicated. Perhaps we ought to just install some kind of broader protection for them. A.. a kind of wall between religion and politics, a... a separation, if you will.....

Edit: In case you're wondering just which rights have been taken away, here, this is a good comparison of marriage and domestic partnerships. The rule: never get sick, injured, or moved over state lines. Maybe better just not to travel at all.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Oh, and!

I remembered, I remembered!

John Charles Daly urging everyone to go vote. 50+ years ago. But, still... It's lovely. That man makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

Picture Post!

Okay, because I'm behind, this is a quickie.

Me at Halloween. I was a black-and-white fairy, and I made my wings with cardboard, craft paper, and watercolor. I was supposed to be wearing white gloves, to make me monochrome, but I forgot for the pictures. :(

Here's one of Christina (who was also a fairy!) and I together.

And here is a fresh picture of Fred!

Kitten pictures should be seen, too:

Arthur cuddling preciously.

Arthur for some reason suffering a feather boa.

And Alex being a wonderful shlunk.

And for ultimate sweetness, the two of them cuddling with an illegal amount of cute.


I also want to pimp my knitting. First sock, woohoo!

Also, I think I am NaNoWriMoing. ...What? It can be a verb...

Edit: Holy crap, I don't want to do work today. o.o I have to practice up for choir (don't want to), I should start scanning receipts for work finances (nope), do a loooot of stuff in the database (meh), clean (bah), EDIT EDIT: AND LAUNDRY... Gotta' bring the houseplants I set out to get rained on back in.

What do I want to do? Put on Tin Man or Reefer Madness and knit the next sock. And write, maybe.

Crap crap crap.

Maybe if I make some tea, I will be inclined to clean up a little bit. At least bring the plants in, set some different ones out. Then, if I slack or craft, I won't feel too bad.

This is my plan, for now.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Tale of Fred, the new mascot.

So I was making copies for work at The Kinko's, Thursday, and as I was crossing the parking lot by their dumpster, there was a pathetic scrap of plant on the ground.

(This is a recreation of finding him. That's my kitchen floor, instead of the dirty asphalt.)

This is a close-up of his mangled-ness.

Now, his lower end was rotted black. His top end was rotted black. In the middle, he was all wilted, one of his leaves was torn, and I suppose the vine fell off or was plucked off. When I found him, he'd been stepped on and dropped and just hadn't even made it into the dumpster when they went to throw him away. I said, "Oh no!" And he said his name was Fred, and I felt very sad for him. And a little upset.

To me, this is the best analogy for throwing away a piece of pothos:

The screw fell out of my glasses. I have the screw. I have the screwdriver. I have the glasses. I will throw them away, because they are broken.

A pothos is the easiest plant in the world to save. You cannot kill a pothos. If you kill a pothos, you can make more pothos plants from the corpse. If you have a live pothos, you can make an exponential number of pothos. Four and a half years ago, Chris and I had one small pothos plant. Now, that plant has vines that are 8-10 feet long, and they're only that short because I kept cutting pieces from them to make new pothos. (There's one in the living room that's very bushy, there's one in the study/office thing there's another one in the music/craft room along with The Mama plant, there's one at Christina's...) If a limb breaks or rots off, you cut off the bad bits, you snap off a couple of leaves to leave the little root nubs open, and you stick the ends in a glass of water. And then it gets new roots, and you stick it in the dirt again. It just does.

So I rearranged my purse and my pack of copies and I picked up this wilty dirty thing, and walked home. When we got there, I knew he'd be my mascot. So I gave him a bath, to freshen him and get the footprints off.

I trimmed the rotted parts off.

I popped off a leaf.

And then I stuck him in a glass of water.

Here is a picture.

Looking very snazzy in his nice glass in the bathroom!

And here is a close-up of the places his roots will grow.

I will keep taking pictures of him every few days. He already looks a lot better--his leaves aren't curling and wilted anymore, and he looks full of Life. He's scarring over at the top end, but that's to be expected, I suppose.

So please, root him on (as he ROOTS hahahahaetc). He just needs a little Love.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Prop 8 again.

I wouldn't have put it quite this way, myself, but I do like to obey a meme:

Copy this sentence into your blog if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.

I did put it this way, though, as a facebook status a little while back:
Lauren 's marriage's core is threatened by DENYING loving, committed couples the right to marry, NOT by recognizing it. Please help defeat Prop 8.

I also put this there, trying to address some of the misinformation on what people are putting out about why-they-need-prop-8:
Chris and I were in the closet for two years, about our marriage. We only felt proud enough of it to admit to having it at all when CA finally overturned its ban on same-sex couples being allowed to join us. While marriage was a segregated, inequitable institution, we didn't want any part of it. "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire" creates legally recognized bonds--if my friends who've been together for 6 years (or 10 years or 20 years), taking care of one another, loving one another, respecting and committing, are not allowed at least the same rights as those marrying for money, convenience, or insurance, then THAT is a threat to the real core of marriage. Prop 8 has nothing to do with what children will be taught in schools--they cannot be forced to learn anything their parents don't want them to learn. And Prop 8 has nothing to do with what a preacher can say in church--there's a separation of church and state and protection for free speech, and unless he's inciting to riot, any minister is safe, regardless of the government's stance on marriage--just like now. And Prop 8 will not protect a church from being forced to marry same sex couples--because they can't be forced to marry anyone, regardless, as it is. All Prop 8 does is take away a precious right from one minority of the population. It wasn't right when loving, different-raced couples weren't allowed to marry, and it's not right that loving, same-gendered couples aren't--it's just segregation being run on a different line. Separate is inherently unequal, when did we forget that?

...And today, after getting the link to a new No on 8 ad which is good, so you should watch it, I linked it with this:

So, some of the public thought it was wrong or unnatural for certain people to get married. Then some activist judges on the CA Supreme Court decided that perhaps they knew better than everyone else, and that tradition shouldn't be the strongest determination of what new laws were enacted or which old laws were removed, so they blatantly ignored the will of the public--when IN 1948 they repealed California's anti-miscegenation laws. Afterwards, preachers didn't get sued for saying racist things in church, unless they incited to riot. No preacher was forced to marry a couple they didn't think should be married. And there are still schools that are de facto segregated, where images of happy, well-adjusted mixed-race families are not shown, and it is never mentioned.

...Which I thought was kinda' clever.

I haven't been posting too much here, because I figure most of you are probably already sympathetic. And facebook people I'm not so sure about (plus, more Californians). But, still. I'm starting to get pretty scared. I can't do much, but I'm doing what I can.

It's really close. It could still go either way. I keep thinking of printing up a flyer to put in every mailbox of houses with a "Yes on 8" sign in the yard. Or to tape over their signs... ....but it seems a little futile. Just got an email from my man Carl, who helps keep me connected to the real world (that is, non-Turlock), who said there were a lot of pro-8 signs down near my old neighborhood. I'm hoping it was concerted protest, but I'm still pretty appalled. And I keep crying.

Please, California... we're better than this. We don't need to be like this. (This goes for you, too, nation.)

P.S. Hopefully later, I will tell you happier things, about Halloweening, fairy wings, and Fred, my new mascot.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They found it, they found it!!!

Okay, seriously, anonymous Wilco informants for the win!

The Song #1 link, for 10/25, is the one I heard. It doesn't sound quite as good as having been there (there can be something very permeating about live music, and the rhythm came through more in person) but the sound quality's still really good! You can play it with Quicktime on the website or open it through iTunes, though it remains streaming, so I can't imagine this'll be a permanent download--might want to jump on it if you're interested!

It eats my brain. I love it. It can be my special brain-eating friend. I want to eat it.

...nnnhungry. Breakfast didn't take the first time. Nauseableh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bridge School Concert!

So I have some of the worst blisters on my feet I've ever had. I strained my knees badly, and my left one may have Something Wrong with it (I'm not sure if it's all because of my shoes, the way we were sitting on the ground, or the little spill I took off the curb in the dark on the walk back to the hotel). I either caught a bug or so upset my body with my food habits for the weekend that it was behaving like it's been poisoned, so I'm weak as a kitten, more dehydrated than I can ever recall being (incl. when I've had real live food poisoning), and very food wary. I can't walk without listing to port or starboard, and I'm spending my day sipping bubblegum flavored generic pedialyte and cuddling my cats.

But I had an absolutely amazing time. (Copious links to lyrics and youtube to follow.)

I spent a lot of time bawling, first of all (but that usually tends to constitute a good time, for me): Death Cab for Cutie did one called "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." Lyrics. Video/music. I'd never heard it before, but that didn't stop me completely melting down. And Sarah McLachlan did "Adia" (lyrics, video, only she played her own piano) and "Angel" (lyrics, video). Adia is one of my favorite songs, and Angel is on the ASPCA ad that always turns me into a sobbing wreck. So, weeping.

This concert is almost always entirely acoustic (well, amplified, but with no electric instruments), and live, and no session musicians, etc, so it really shows a very raw, sincere version of what's going on. If someone was mostly the result of sound engineering and multiple tracks and so on, it would be evident. But everyone was amazing.

I didn't take notes the whole time, this time, since I figured it'd be better to just relax and enjoy, though I did scribble down a bit of lyric if I wanted to be able to find the song again. Everyone did several songs. Neil Young did Sugar Mountain and one or two others at the beginning, as per usual, which was great. Then Band of Horses, whom I enjoyed, and Cat Power and the Dirty Delta Blues Band (she did one that was "Lord, Help the Poor and the Needy" video) that was quite good and even funkier than in that link, as well as CCR's "Fortunate Son" *with* Neil Young). Then Death Cab for Cutie, who did several, incl. "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" (lyrics, video), "Grapevine Fires" (lyrics) which pleased the apocalypse-lover in my soul, and the one I mentioned before.

Wilco was amazing, and started our politics for the night (other than the frequent admonitions from the video screens to vote). Jeff Tweedy, their lead (who's starting to look like a cross between Ewan McGregor-circa-Velvet Goldmine and Harvey Keitel--EDIT: this is a good thing, btw), said, "I'm wearing a flag pin," very gruffly. The audience mixed giggles and cheers for this, and the close-up showed he was, indeed, wearing one. "I know you people in this Anti-American state can't understand that, but I'm proud of my country." It wasn't entirely clear whether he was scolding the Bay Area for real or spoofing the recent rhetoric (though we were guessing the former). And then he amended, "...Especially this state. No on 8!" So we screamed ourselves silly while he started playing "California Stars" (lyrics, video). (EDIT: 8 is the appalling constitutional amendment on our ballot this year, trying to remove the rights of same-sex couples to marry. So Tweedy = win.) They also did "War on War," "Forget the Flowers" (<3), and a new one that I really liked, and if I find out what it's called once it's out, I'll mention. And he did another one I don't know, and said, "Take that, Norah." More on that came out later.

EDIT!: Got a note saying that the one they were feuding over was "Jesus Etc." from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and (intriguingly) that the new one didn't have a name yet. Hmmm. Also, I gotta' say, they kinda' got the short stick in this entry--I really, really loved their set. We've got a couple of their albums, but other than Mermaid Avenue (which was them with Billy Bragg doing Woody Guthrie stuff), which I do love, I didn't really know any of their music, hadn't pursued it. I'd heard California Stars in the car on the way to the concert, and I enjoyed it a lot, but I'm going to have to start listening to them more, now. They absolutely won me over. (Seeing people live can be the very thing.) The new untitled song they did was actually what pushed me over from enjoying my night to having a blast, and I was probably bugging my blanket mates by dancing pretty wildly in place. And singing along. (What? I sing along to songs I don't know. And I'm good at it.) It had a kind of.. almost early Beatles-ish sensibility, but with this great drive and momentum and menace. WE WANTS IT, PRECIOUS.

They were followed by Sarah McLachlan.

I didn't know much Sarah McLachlan, but I hoped she'd do Adia (one of my absolute favorite songs), Better than Ice Cream, and Angel (all of which she did--plus Building a Mystery, two brand new ones, and a few more I didn't know but that were good--one is "World on Fire"). She called for a singalong to Better Than Ice Cream, and I was the only one near me who joined in (Come on, people! SING, DAMNIT!). I wasn't looking to be impressed, but she was incredible--emotional and intense and sincere, and better--better--than in studio recordings. I was really wowed. She played solo, her own guitar and piano, with only occasion simplified changes in the piano for Adia. I have a whole lot more respect for her, now. (And, like I said before, she made me cry a whole lot.)

Norah Jones I sacrificed a lot of because I didn't think I'd safely be able to pick my way across hundreds of bodies in the dark on the lawn back to our spot, and I got scolded away from hanging around on walkways. But she was playing guitar and piano, and had a banjo player and an upright bass player (both women), and they did a really wonderful, funky set with some old, old covers. It was really cool, and I'm sorry I missed so much of it. I did catch enough to know she did "Sinkin' Soon" and "Sunrise." And I caught her explaining her feud with Wilco--she and hers had been planning to do their favorite Wilco song at the concert, and Wilco went ahead and did it themselves (hence "Take that, Norah!"). And she said, "But we've been practicing and practicing and practicing, so we're going to do it anyway." Afterwards she said, "Take that, Tweedy!" She got a lot of catcalls. She is really, really cute.

Jack Johnson was the same way as McLachlan--incredibly talented, clearly not suffering from being away from a studio, playing his own instruments, etc, and really, really mellow (he told us he hadn't played in a few months because he'd been with his kids, and that one of them peed on him yesterday--that, in fact, the jeans he was wearing still had pee on them). He got razzed by his pianist for that. They were all really excellent musicians, very together, very clean. It was absolutely lovely. He did my favorite of his, too, "Breakdown." (Lyrics, video.) He also did "Better When We're Together," "Banana Pancakes," "Times Like These," "Brushfire Fairytales," "Flake," "Go On," "Upside Down," "Mudfootball," and one more that might have been a Neil Young song, actually. He got a random big cheer, because the camera did a closeup of the soundhole on his guitar. There was one of the red white and blue drawn portraits of Obama's face.

And then Neil Young closed things off. (He got extra love for his "Hippies for Obama" pin.) He did "Lonesome Me," "Mother Earth," "The Needle and the Damage Done" (a favorite!!), "Heart of Gold" (ditto), "Old Man" (also ditto), and an amazing cover of the Beatles' "Day in the Life". Then everyone came out for "Comes a Time." I might be forgetting a couple, too.

* A lot of these people are way better than I realized.
* Acoustic does fantastic by some normally non-acoustic people.
* I love hippie musicians.
* Mountainview wants to kill me.
* I love it anyway.

(If you're curious, this was last year's post.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mountain View, here we come!

We're going to the Bridge School Concert, again, this year!

So what's that?

It's a concert whose proceeds go to the Bridge School, a school that works with severely disabled children. For $40, we can sit on the grass a mile away, but the screens and speakers are good, and it's an FT of music. The line up this time (since ZZ Top backed out, and Josh Groban and Smashing Pumpkins'll only be there Sunday) is this (copied from the Bridge School site):

• Neil Young
• Wilco
• Jack Johnson
• Death Cab for Cutie
• Norah Jones
• Cat Power
• Sarah McLachlan (Saturday only)
• Band of Horses (Saturday only)

Last year, the concert started mid-afternoon, and went until after 1 am. Neil Young and his wife, Tom Waits with the Kronos Quartet, My Morning Jacket, Jerry Lee Lewis, Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara, Metallica, and John Mayer all played (and Eddie Vedder and Flea had backed out). Everyone did about a half dozen songs each, very little downtime, and it was really, really fantastic. So we're looking forward to this year much!

I'll let you know how it was when we get back. :)


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh, please do this.. I'd do it for you...

I love this game. My galpal Raechel and I started playing a version of this long distance through media mail. (There's an increasingly elaborate story about a goat in Mexico, my missing toes, and being framed for crimes that keeps developing every time we send a cheapy notebook back and forth. Good times.) So I about had a happy conniption when I saw this meme.


If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or ever) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and me.

It can be anything you want - good or bad - BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

When you're finished, post this little paragraph in your blog and see what your friends come up with.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Chinese Guitar

I've got a certain fascination with the apocalyptic. Urban decay, destruction of populations, reclamation by nature... Anything that suggests it has a hold on me. Neighborhoods in Detroit, where trees grow through abandoned houses, gardens gone feral... I tell my ficus, have always told it, stories about other ficus trees that grew so big and so strong that they pushed down walls and broke open rooves, stories about forests eating cities and birds nesting in office buildings. I tell it to help it grow.

This isn't necessarily healthy, but it's calming, in its way. When we're all gone, or much reduced, it'll all get on without us.

Is it horrible to be so soothed by these images? To take so much comfort in the quiet of them?

Models I've seen even say we couldn't actually reverse the path our planet is on--that we've passed tipping points, or that we'll at best be beyond all hope of return within a handful of years. The best we can hope for is to slow it down, soften the blow a little, but our hope as a species is fairly marginal, certainly here, certainly in the long term. I try not to get too alarmist about it, and I try to raise false hope, because being nihilist tends to put a damper on potentially-helpful action (models have been wrong before), but with every disaster, I feel like the planet has just had enough and is trying to shake us off. Wonder if maybe we should stop trying and let it. We overcame the carrying capacity, so now we have severe overpopulation, where hordes of people are just starving more slowly, starving longer, rather than perishing outright. Plagues knocked us back, and we came up with vaccines, or at least preventative care. All of our innovation "revolutions" that have saved so many individuals--none of whom I could have picked out to give back to the earth, none of whom I could deny this chance at living--have pushed us further and further beyond the point of hope as a species. Now we have wasting, slow, incurable things, stronger things, demons of easy momentum that have crept up so gently that we pretend we couldn't have known.

It's very strange to think about.

It's been coming up a lot, lately. Minor disasters (like the collapse of the American or World economy) have been a frequent topic around the homestead--what will we feed the cats on? Will we be able to stake out a piece of earth sufficient to feed us? How much rainwater could we collect, if irrigation fails, how much capacity do we need to be able to get through summer? Seeds?--but the larger ones, too, the looming unfathomable.

Strangely enough, getting to talk about it at the conference was very bracing. Most people don't want to think about it, so we don't get much chance, and maybe it just served to focus the attention. I'm not sure.

Everything else seems a little trivial, comparatively, I have to say. Saddling up and working, or even going to choir tonight, seem like strangely over-normal activities, so they're hard to comprehend just now. (Maybe it's a good sign that I'm at least keeping up with the more mindless activities, like doing memes.) But maybe I'm just tired.

I don't want it to happen. Of course I don't. But I feel... pretty good. Calm, and as prepared as I might be to give it a good try, and if I fail, then I made that good try.

I try to trick myself into thinking Chris and I have got a better chance than we might--we have some previous skill with growing food without petroleum, with making clothing, with salvaging old and ruined things into useful things, with living with very little, and I just have to work on making fire without Implements to get the basics covered. I even fancy myself having a better immune system, from not beating it back with antibiotics, not overwashing, courting minor illness for the sake of antibodies. But I know things are a lot more random than that. And what we have helps after the fall, not during.

Maybe other people make it and I don't. Maybe I make it, and others I love don't. Maybe everyone but the already disadvantaged do, as is often the case in disasters. Maybe no one makes it at all.

But at that point, I don't suppose anyone will much mind.


I'm preempting Chris here and posting one of our songs from the most recent set we put together. It was too big to load on our soundclick page, because it's some six and a half minutes, but I got a file sharing account. It can be downloaded here: Paper Cats, "Chinese Guitar." It's for one of these kinds of images, and it's very sweet and gentle. Chris wrote the guitar part, and I started humming an old kind of melody over it. He asked for the image, and I wrote him the lyrics for it, with a little input. That's my flute in the beginning, trying to sound much older than it actually is (...come to think, it's actually 16 or 17 years old, but that's still not much). And it's his Chinese-made Ibanez arch-top, Rosebud, playing the lead.

Here are the lyrics.

I've still got this old Chinese guitar
from the days long, long before
the breakers all gave, and swept all away
the ways of long before

Oh, a chinese guitar
my old chinese guitar.

I sat alone on a cliff 'bove the waves
'til the day that you found me
I was play'n' something old, something sweet, something low,
looking down over the sea

past my chinese guitar
my old chinese guitar.

You had this banged up old flute in your hand
And said, "Who could ask for more?
She's tired but she's fine, and the sound's pretty full
though she sticks at six and four

Maybe she'd sing with your guitar
with your old chinese guitar."

"Old man," I said, "you sure come a long way,
'cause I ha'n't seen you before.
Been watching for years, but what else would I do?
Been waiting by this shore,

with my chinese guitar.
Playing chinese guitar."

So I took you down where the town used to be
and we found an old lawnchair
Put it up next to mine 'neath that sweet twisting tree
with shade for us to share


Now we play up here, to the sea, to the birds,
but I don't think they much listen
But maybe there's someone else out there somewhere
with a nine-string mandolin

who'll hear my old guitar
my old chinese guitar.

See, I've still got this old Chinese guitar
From the days long before
The wood's cherry red, there's a dent in the side,
but the sound carries pretty far...


(Pretty picture of a tree growing through the rotted paper of an abandoned book depository.)



Now with more self-promotion! (Yes, there is an upload of *us* doing a song, crazy times, people.)

I forgot to point out that at the time of last night's posting, we'd been up and moving for 24 hours, on three hours bad sleep. Our flight left Pittsburgh 6 am EDT, so we had to leave the hotel at 4 am EDT, so we were going to wake up at 3:30 am EDT. Except neither of us slept well, and after going to bed at midnight, we woke up at more like 2:40 am. That is, we got up at 11:40 pm the night before, California time.

One decent night's sleep was not adequate to fix that. But at least it's a start. I can at least, now, meme.

Put the iPod/iTunes/whatever on random, and answer these questions in order with the titles of the songs that come up.

I did this twice, so I'm adding a couple from the second time around if they were fun, too. Trying to give you most of the youtube links, at least, and (as I said) one real live download.

1. IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY?" YOU SAY? "Somewhere, A Place for Us," Tom Waits. (..Hm.)
Alt: "Send in the Clowns," Judy Collins

2. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF? "Entr'Acte," Cabaret. (Heeeee, okay, I really like that.)
Alt: "Loser," Beck (as part of "The Alternative Polka," Weird Al Yancovic) - both fun.

3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? "Come on, Eileen," Dexy's Midnight Runners. (Not sure what that even means. "You in that dress" is fun.)

4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? "Friday Night," Lily Allen. (Actually, I guess this works--I still feel the weekend.)
Alt: "I Love L.A.," Randy Newman - which is actually perfect, too--I'm so disoriented I don't know where I am.

5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE? "Hallelujah," Jeff Buckley. (?)

6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? "Listen to the Band," Meredith Ochs (but I linked the original Monkees).
(!!! This is actually true! This song is something I've clung to since I was about 13.)

7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? "24," Jem. (But.. but I'm 25.)
Alt: "She's Electric," Oasis (Yay!)

8. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? "Michigan Blackhawk," the Monkees. (Is that like a black sheep?)
Alt: "Natural One," Folk Implosion (Awesome.)

9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT OFTEN? "Straight Shooter," the Mamas and the Papas. (..okay, I don't drink *that* much.)

10. WHAT IS 2 + 2? "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." (I love this question. Why couldn't "24" have come up for this one?)

11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? "Dreams," Fleetwood Mac

12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? "Step Into My Office, Baby," Belle and Sebastian. (I don't use acronyms online. If I did, I would say LOL! OMFG!)

13. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY? "Ben," Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. (That's... really pathetic. ::cries:: )

14. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? "Take on Me," the A-Has. (Not sure what that means.)
Alt: "Jealous Guy," Youssou N'Dour (but linked John Lennon) (Ooooh, kinky)

15. WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE? "Little Boxes," Malvina Reynolds (with the opener to Weeds, since it's all I could find). (This doesn't work, either.)

16. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? "Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine," Bessie Smith (Dirty. <3) href="">"On the Radio," Regina Spektor (That would be fantastic. I sang this song all the time, in Pittsburgh, and it was wonderful live.)

17. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? "Sheep Go to Heaven (Goats Go to Hell)," Cake (I SWEAR TO THE MOOSE.)

18. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? "Like the Weather," 10,000 Maniacs
Alt: "Honey, Honey," ABBA (That's more like it!)

19. WHAT IS YOUR SECRET VICE? "Purple People Eater" Sheb Wooley (Yay, eating people!) (...this was the least typo'd video I could find that had the right version of the song.)

20. WHAT DOES THIS MEME MEAN TO YOU? "It's a Small World," Paper Cats Okay, I think this is genius, and I even uploaded the file. We performed at a staff picnic on campus that was themed "it's a small world," last year, and thought, it would be fucking funny to sing that song, but in such a way that no one knew what it was at first. Hoping for that perfect groan moment, you know?  And also so it wouldn't eat their brains for the rest of the day. And I think it's actually very pretty. Pretty enough to share. First verse Spanish, first chorus French, then to English.

Alt: "Dig It," from Holes. (...I really love this, too, actually. <3>

Sunday, October 19, 2008


1) Back home safe and sound. Exhausted, but generally good.
2) I love Pittsburgh.
3) I love academics. Kind of like how I love politics. ...Pretty much just like that, actually. Further: Academic conferences follow the same general rules of behavior as online fan communities do, only with less hugging (unless I'm involved), and more--yes, more--wankery. Perhaps more on this later. They're also like Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You," at least if you're prone to social anxiety and taking open bars up on their offers.
4) I got to meet Chris's oldest friend, Bob--34 years worth--and re-meet one of his best friends from grad school, Dave. And it was really, really fucking nice. I had a fantastic time. (Maybe more on this, too.) I've been facebook bingeing and blog-trawling for most of the night,* actually, since that, broken up only by fitful naps I didn't mean to take and consequent nightmares, and a compulsive playing and re-playing of an IQ-y brain game. And wine.
5) I got to meet an online Hockey Friend, and that was fantastic, too! When we saw the game with Dave, we met up with her first, and I got to get my fangirl-meets-actual-sport-interest on, which was great. It was a good game, despite the loss, and I have a face/voice to put to the blog!
6) Between the flights (San Jose -> Atlanta -> Pittsburgh and back the same route) and the conference sessions (wherein I need to run interference to keep my brain roughly on the task at hand), I knit a long, wide, ribbed scarf for an xmas present, drew two sketches of scenes in Pittsburgh (one w/ Mellon arena and conference-goer's silhouettes I'm actually quite pleased with, for what it is--may post this), scribbled on things I'm writing/plotted, and read a novel. Consequently, I felt very productive, and seem to have sustained a minor shoulder injury from the above abuse (as they were performed in very cramped quarters, and I am me). Also, speaking of Chris's college pals: the book was "Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break," by Steve Sherrill, and it filled me with this sad, diffuse warmth. It was really lovely.

Overall, I have a sense of health and thriving, despite the bone-deep tired.

So goodnight, and LOVE.

*Bob's blog turned up this quote from The Long Emergency and it'll give you a sense of the way conversation went while we were there, but it's also gorgeous, and strangely soothing in the face of collapse, so I had to repost it:

If it happens that the human race doesn't make it [through the Long Emergency], then the fact that we were here once will not be altered, that once upon a time we peopled this astonishing blue planet, and wondered intelligently at everything about it and the other things who lived here with us on it, and that we celebrated the beauty of it in music and art, architecture, literature, and dance, and that there were times when we approached something godlike in our abilities and aspirations. We emerged out of a depthless mystery, and back into mystery we returned, and in the end the mystery is all there is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you, oo-oo-oo

To paraphrase Greenspan: As goes California, so goes the nation, bitches! Could you guess that the part he didn't say was "bitches?"

So Connecticut has joined my illustrious motherland in overturning its ban on gay marriage.

Can we get a domino effect on this, please?

(Now CA just needs to crush Prop 8--proposed constitutional amendment "hereby defining marriage in the state of California as between one man and one woman." It won't stop any other state from trying to write over their own decisions with their own ballot measures, but it'd sure be a discouraging start!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Precious Right

I'll post this back up at the beginning of November, I'm sure, but for now I'm just so happy I managed to capture it on my little iSight camera.

Brief closer to a 1950's game show, one night.

(...yes, we've been watching a lot of What's My Line?, DVRd from the Game Show Network. It's... really sweet, actually.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Well, I can't stop now...

I thought this was supposed to be Economics, tonight? We have to listen to Questions From the Gallery?

...This is going to diminish the ability for a successful drinking game. However, the need will probably arise more than before. So, anyway, here's a short set.


*Any time the phrase "Main Street" is used.
*If Keating Five comes up (Kudos, Obama, for finally mentioning it!)
*If Ayers or the Weathermen come up.
*Any time McCain says "Miss Congeniality" or "Maverick."
*Any time McCain actually looks at Obama.

EDIT: The audience questions are bust, they've all been vetted. Still drink for "What are you going to do for me?" But here're a few added ones:

McCain mentioning suspending his campaign.
If any candidate shakes the hand of a questioner during the course of an answer.
If a candidate asks a questioner a question.
Any outright lies.

EDIT: Oh, good, John, that's true. You HAVE voted against a lot of spending. Including spending on the veterans and troops you support so much. Things like body armor.

E2: I love Obama's "Are you fucking kidding me?" look in response to McCain's OUTRIGHT LIES ABOUT HIS TAX PLANS. McCain, I have insurance--it's better than what I could get with a $5000 tax credit if the insurance was cut. And I don't have kids. LEAVE ME ALONE.


Friday, October 3, 2008

I can think of a better reason.

Okay, Time author. Your description of woman-on-woman hate was pretty funny. But I could barely have managed to be more disappointed by this article. (Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin)

I actually love that she's attractive, and confident. If I knew nothing about her politics, I'd think she was adorable. I still kind of do. Embarrassment isn't really an issue, either. A small part of me actually deeply loves Sarah Palin.

So you know what? It really is just a matter of hating on the policies.

Oh, it takes other forms out of a kind of defensiveness. There might even be a degree of repressed misogyny in the way I want to get into a dogfight-cum-grudgefuck with her. But then again, maybe it's just the way my brain, overloaded with anger and insult, is choosing to combine "she's attractive, confident, and with the potential for fragility underneath" with "that's the most appalling set of politics I've come across in a long time." Plus, me = dog.

I respect approximately two things she's ever done. I'm all in on closing loopholes on oil company tax policy, for instance.

...okay, one thing she's done.

Otherwise? She's a menace on just about every issue I hold dear. And even on ones about which I just have Views. I don't think I even have to get into that, here, do I? (Though, Times author, I was impressed with the way in which you so readily dismissed the impact of actual politics on my political views! Well done!) Now I will admit that I am insulted, too, and that that's probably ramping up the level of disdain--the choice to appoint her as running mate was a pretty weak pander. If there wasn't the buzz (hopefully overblown) about displaced Hillary supporters looking to McCain, would he have chosen her? There would have been plenty of other options for people who would have roused the Base for him. Although I suppose choosing a woman with anything that actually looks like a record of defending women's rights wouldn't have worked in McCain's favor with said Base. In the end, she's the political equivalent of a trophy wife, and that really doesn't do anything to resonate with my feminism.

And now supposing she did become leader of the nation. The executive record she suggests is so important is terrifying. It's full of grudges being played out in politics, friendships being the primary decider on who gets what post (as opposed to competence), general corruption and calculated secrecy checked against legal loopholes--in short, a good replica of the Bush White House. That's not something I'm looking forward to repeating.

And as for competence: I understand that she's having to do a lot of learning very quickly, and she's making leaps. I can forgive misspeaking, and I thought she did very well in the debate, especially compared to Everything Else She's Said So Far. But while experience isn't the be all and end all for me, having a solid grasp of the political situations around you is pretty fucking crucial. Demonstrating a capacity to think critically about them--and to not rely on (more Bush-esque ploys) appealing to "the American people's common sense" or "common values" or anything else that is a stand in in today's rhetoric for Not Actually Thinking--is pretty fucking crucial.

So, while I'm delighted at your attempt to dumb down my political feelings to that classic Petty Woman-y Getting-My-Hate-On, I think in the end that--in this case-I'm still going to want to "just elect a man" into office, "like we've always done." You know, the man with the policies I support, the most similar sense of values, the capacity to improve our country's standing in the view of the rest of the world, the ability to potentially inspire us to live up to higher standards rather than down to pettiness and populism-for-its-own-sake, the one with better record on women's issues...

On second thought, you must be right. My girly anger machine must just be getting in the way of my ability to be loyal to the sex, and look past how perfect she is to the leader underneath. I just hate her because she's pretty.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So there's a VP debate, tonight...

I know it's Thursday. And don't think that by my doing this I mean to suggest that the whole thing is risible--I certainly didn't mean that last time. It's really just a way of expressing frustration/snark with the rhetoric in a way that doesn't necessarily result in wallowing/hair-tearing, and provides a road to soothe said frustration at that.

That said, here's another drinking game.

See, I think the problem with the debate game for the last time was that I'd been thinking of it in terms of two separate speeches, as opposed to a debate. It's hard not to. That may be a problem with this set of rules, too, but I'm hoping I'll have gotten a little closer.


Any time Biden mixes a metaphor--big drink if there are at least three things that don't go together in the sentence.

Any time Palin uses job interview level stalling tactics (e.g. "In what way?" "That's a good question..." "That's a very important question." "You know, I've been thinking about that a lot..." "Excuse me, could you repeat the question?") or defers from answering a question entirely.

Any time either of them says something unequivocally, factually false.

If either of them says flat out, "That is a lie."

Any time either of them uses an insultingly cliche aphorism or a painfully folksy metaphor.

If Biden slams his fist on the podium or extends it for emphasis, or if Palin raises her arm and points very high.

If Biden says something that could be (fairly or unfairly) construed as sexist, or Palin says something that could be (fairly or unfairly) construed as racist.

If Palin uses the phrases "tax and spend" or "cut and run, or Biden uses the phrases "four more years" or "out of touch."

If Palin suggests Obama doesn't have enough experience. If Biden suggests Palin HAS enough experience (extra points if it's backhanded--e.g. refers to her history of croneyism, jingoist rhetoric, or excessive secrecy in comparison to behavior of Cheney or Bush).

Any time the following phrases are used: "What ______ doesn't seem to understand..." "Bridge to Nowhere," "pork barrel," "pet project," "your tax dollars," "irresponsible spending," "Main Street," "Corporate Welfare," "Socialized _____," "what America needs."

...Besides, when there's pineapple in the house, there needs to be an excuse for Piña Coladas.

EDIT: Wish I'd mentioned referencing the suspension of McCain's campaign, the "woman in Kansas" story, and "bringing people to the table"/"bipartisan efforts." And excessive references to Alaska--that one I'd intended to and left out. EDIT again: "Gosh darn it," "doggone it"...

And I'm actually drinking something called a Mixed Metaphor, instead of a boat drink. Chris suggested I make one up--it's vanilla vodka, pastis (like absinthe or an anisette), and lemon/lime.

EDIT 2: "referred to raping the outer coast" -- Hey, Sarah, what about your stance on how to treat rape victims?
And she didn't have her "noo-klee-ur" phonetic card.

EDIT 3: Gwen Ifill, oh my God, you actually asked a hot-button issue. I love you.

EDIT 4: Sarah Palin doesn't understand that "two state policy" means giving Palestine its own country. I think she thought that meant multinational effort. (I'm nearly certain of this.)

EDIT 5: From my mother: "She's Dolores Umbridge. She's smarmy and she's scary--she's Dolores Umbridge."

EDIT 6: I'm sorry, Palin, as far as emotional impact and pulling on heartstrings are concerned, that answer had nothing on "my wife and daughter are dead and I had to take care of my children alone." (Me = kinda' crying a little.)

McCain's support of troops and veterans.

His most unimpeachable stance, right? How could a veteran--a POW--be anything but sympathetic and supportive? Especially after this statement during the first debate:

"I know the veterans, I know them well, and I know that they know that I'll take care of them, and I have been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans, and I love them, and I'll take care of them, and they know that I'll take care of them."

..and his suggestion that if he started a spending freeze, it would cover everything *but* defense and veterans' programs.

Well, non-partisan veterans' groups are looking at this claim of support. It apparently upset a lot of troops and vets.

So someone compiled a thorough list for his voting record and statements on troops and vets issues.

Please look at that. Even if it's not your hot-button issue. Even if you just skim it. It's pretty incredible.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate Drinking Game!

I had to do it. Coming in just under the wire, a Presidential Debate Drinking Game! Pretty simple, but it should hold for these debates. Let me know if you actually do it, eh? I'm pausing it on DVR so I have a little more time to get set up, here.


Any time McCain mentions his time as a POW.
Any time McCain uses the phrase "brave Americans" to refer to troops.

Any time Obama refers to McCain as "my esteemed ____" or "my respected_____".
Any time Obama mentions his father, or his (white) grandmother. (Take a big slug if he mentions them both in the same sentence.)
Any time Obama uses the word "dreams."

Any use of the phrase "9/11"

If McCain accuses Obama's tax plan of raising taxes "on Americans."
If Obama mentions the "Bush economy."*
If Obama brings up McCain's comments about $5 mil being rich or not remembering how many houses he owns.
If McCain brings up Obama's sex-ed bill.

Any "I met a woman in Kansas..." kind of story. Take a good slug if it involves dying of cancer or losing a house.

If Obama calls McCain "out of touch" or McCain calls Obama "elitist."
If either candidate accuses the other of "socializing" anything.* (Extra drink if he follows it with the phrase "on our backs" or "on the backs of _____ Americans.")

Any time anyone mentions Palin.*

Any time McCain contends Palin has as much (or more) relevant experience as (/than) Obama.

Any time an animal is mentioned, whether referring to a literal animal or as a metaphor.
Any incredibly folksy metaphor is used.
Drink twice if anyone uses an obscenity or loses their temper.

Any time Jim Lehrer refers to "Main Street."*

Special bonus drink for the incredible disappearing scandal: If Jim Lehrer asks about John McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal, finish your drink and get a new one.*


*Contributed by my lovely Chris.

And now for a sillier work thing:

I have too much fun with my status messages online. I don't think anyone really gets them, other than sometimes identifying that they're song lines? But there's a theme.

So far I've used:

"Cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it..." (from Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man")

"So come on, Virginia, show me a sign,/ Send up a signal, I'll throw you the line..." (from Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young")

"She gave me some dictation,/ but my strength is in administration..." (from Belle and Sebastian's "Step Into My Office, Baby")

And now, more surreally:

You can talk to me
You can talk to me-e
You can talk to me--if you're lonely you can talk to me.

Hey! Woof! Hey, Bulldog!

(...which is the Beatles' "Hey Bulldog!")

Hey, be nice--no REM sleep, remember?

So, apart from all being parts of songs that are generally fairly naughty (okay, kind of a lot naughty), the lines themselves are all "I'm here to help," and "grab me if you need me!" Get it? Get it??


Because that's basically my function, go-to girl. Cast your dancing spell my way! Send up a signal! My strength is in administration! You can talk to me! All in all, that I'm there and very, very flexible. Work-wise.

...but it's all a little obtuse, I guess. Still, I'm noticing more people with more elaborate status messages, now. It was all fuera de la oficina and not at my desk and Busy (on the phone), before. Unfortunately, my Spanish isn't good enough, especially with idiomatic things, to really understand most of the new ones. Something about a baby with a head like a coconut...? Idunno.

But, anyway, I'm way too easily amused.

My boss's bank just bought my bank.

(Bitching re: private corps as related to us specifically has been redacted, just in case. But it was there. Oh, it was there.)

Okay. So in the midst of all this shit, my wonderful little non-profit is pretty safe, I think. (...Fretting...) Luckily, work didn't wind up building anything on money that would have disappeared, now. (...Snarking...) Apparently appropriate regulation is all right, for a non-profit. (...Kvetching...)

As for Chris and I, we're thinking of going credit union when this all settles down a little. Credit Unions don't buy up every bad mortgage they can get their hands on, willy nilly, and then expect the rest of us to pay for their fuck-ups. I'm ready for non-profit banking, baby.

Until then (to the tune of "California..."), FDIC, here I come...

(I am unaccountably really amused by the whole fucking thing.)

Also edit: We're not actually going to FDIC. We are, currently, okay.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Women's Rights in 2008?

My God, I just started a forward. Never before, in all my life.... To touch on just one tiny piece of this year's politics, I researched and wrote sent out something to a handful of people that I hope will actually be forwarded. It's specifically about Palin (and McCain) on women's rights, to touch on this idea some people have that a vote for McCain/Palin could possibly, somehow further the cause of gender equality.

I'm posting it here. If any of y'all feel like it's worth sending out? *Please* go ahead and C&P and pass it on.


Subject: Women's Rights in 2008?

I don't usually do this, but I had to speak up--this affects us all. Please send this anyone you know who cares about women's welfare.

"In picking Palin, Republicans are lending credence to the sexist assumption that women voters are too stupid to investigate or care about the issues, and merely want to vote for someone who looks like them ... McCain has turned the idea of the first woman in the White House from a true moment of change to an empty pander." - Ann Friedman, American Prospect

Here are some things to think about, if you're on the fence about whether electing Palin to the White House will advance the cause of gender equality and safety of women:

Despite mounting evidence that (1) it does not lower the number of teen pregnancies, (2) it actually increases instances of unprotected sex, and (3) consequently increases the spread of venereal disease in teenagers, Sarah Palin is a proponent of abstinence only education. (Though her own family's behavior is considered sacrosanct, her 17 year old unwed daughter is pregnant, presumably despite copious instruction to be abstinent until marriage.)

Sarah Palin cut funding for transitional homes for teenage mothers without places to live or the ability to care for their babies--putting girls with newborns and no support on the street, without the education or resources to actually take care of those children.

Sarah Palin is anti-choice. Even in cases of rape and incest. She has said that even if her own daughter was raped, she would be against her receiving an abortion.

As Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin made sure that women who were raped had to pay for their own rape kits--that is, if you are raped, you have to pay the police to collect the semen from your body and analyze it. The police are not expected to, in the course of their investigations, collect the physical evidence of the crime--it is a luxury that you have to pay for separately. (This is not the case if, for instance, your car gets stolen or your home gets broken into--police work is covered by your taxes. But your being raped nullifies your rights to a 'free' and thorough investigation.) The kits cost up to $1200.

And for just a few notes on McCain's policies, if you're fairly certain he'll make it through all four years himself, without granting any powers to Palin on the way:

John McCain is against birth control. He has never supported any legislation that would reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. He voted against health insurance--even plans that cover Viagra--having to cover birth control.

McCain also supports a the overturn of Roe v. Wade and a constitutional ban on abortion.

McCain voted against (and helped defeat) a bill that supported equal pay for women doing equal work.

And on the more personal and anecdotal side of things, when McCain's first wife was disfigured by a car accident, he began cheating on her, then divorced her, and married a younger heiress. In view of reporters, when said heiress teased him about losing his hair, he called her a trollop and a cu*t.
(If these sound a little hard to believe, here are some articles: )

Please think about this for the upcoming elections, and send this on to anyone you know who might think women are PEOPLE, who deserve equal pay or equal protection under the law.

Monday, August 18, 2008


So everything's going okay, now, pretty much. Chris had a fantastic birthday bash incl. a ten course meal he made, because he is amazing. We had a great time, and are still hungover, two days later. We're also probably coming down with something, but let's hope it's just a matter of being exhausted.

Two days before the party, not to be outdone by my Little Eye Incident, Zach (my Baby Brother) wound up in the emergency room. With horrible pain that turned out to be appendicitis. So they had to cut him open. But they did it lacroscopically (I think?) and he was able to go home the next day. He's not feeling so hot, but he's healing, and going to be fine. (We're not going to discuss just How freaked out I was when I heard my brother was about to be cut open, because he is Fine and is going to be Fine. Yes.)

What else... Turned out I hadn't actually messed up at work (yay!), so to make up for it, I missed a meeting I was supposed to join for the first time (first item on the agenda: "Welcome Lauren!") and felt pretty rotten about it, but between stress and lacking a computer, it was pretty tough to remember and no one had any grief for me (I'm so lucky, I work with just the best people). But I have got my new computer, now. Well, new to me. He's refurbished (and christ, he's a He, I'm not sure how that happened--I've never had a machine or vessel that wasn't, as is decreed by tradition and the love of a good engineer, a She, but there it is) but he looks absolutely pristine, so I'm not sure who could've dared send him back or for what.

His name is Marlowe.

Here is Marlowe's self portrait:

...because Marlowe, being one of these fancy dan new MacBooks, has a little camera in his face. He makes his own flash by turning the screen bright glowing white.

He's bottom of the Mac line, but where my Ophelia had a 400 Mhz processer, 320 MB RAM (maxed out!), and 15 GB space, Marlowe has EDIT: a 2.1 GHz processor, (the 800Mhz is his bus speed, I'm just a flake) 1 G of RAM (expandable), and 120 GB space. Also, he can burn CDs. That may not sound like much to y'all, but Ophelia predated that mess, because she was Old School (she also had a non-Intel processor, which a small stubborn part of me insists on favoring). Also, Marlowe's speakers work. And he's Recycled.

He's really beautiful, with a glossy screen and bushy tail and perky ears. He's light and small and lovely. I'm still missing what for many years had been my sole lifeline to the world, and afterwards, the repository of all my little brain could write, and I can't even bring myself to send her away, so I'm just going to have to keep her. But I'm warming to this wonderful little gleaming orphan in my lap.

So send a little love his way, if you would, because he's still feeling shy and out of place.

Well, I'm going to go have dinner, and then probably vegetate, because whoof. But LOVE to y'all.

Post script, couple things, just for posterity: I forgot to mention Carol, Pat, and Jean, more close family friends, all in my grandmother's neighborhood, who died in the earlier part of the year, and Medora (probably the coolest 90 year old you'll ever meet) who went last year from the same street. It's been a tough year for my grandma, too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! — Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remembered.

....And this update is being posted from Chris's computer. Because about two hours ago, with a clanging hurdy-gurdy kind of noise, Ophelia stopped turning over.

The last thing I did with her was read a little excerpt from "Where the Truth Lies," in which the narrator was describing a waitress as having "eyes like a murder victim," and subsequently referring to her as Ophelia.

She slowed down, and sensing danger I went to snag the last few files I hadn't backed up the updates of, but I never was able to get email up, or even the flash drive to register. I've got almost everything, though. Just not her. So here's to the end of an era, ladies and gentlemen--if you'll excuse me, I'll go pour one out for my homegirl and mourn and see what Apple can do me in a refurbished MacBook.

O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
Th' expectation and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th' observ'd of all observers, quite, quite down!

Monday, August 4, 2008

One of those weeks.

Eleven years ago today, my father died. I was not quite fourteen, my brother was not quite eleven. I was due to start high school, Zach to start middle school. It was a Monday that year, too. I got called, that morning, to come to a Key Club meeting.

Suffice it to say, I didn't go.

I've been thinking a lot about the people I've lost, lately. It's probably not a healthy cycle. Every person I lose, I back myself up through time and catalogue all the others. Seven and eight saw Grandpa John and Grandma Eunie go (that left me Grandma Jane, as my great grandparents and Grandpa Bob had died before I was born). Then our close neighbor Sam, whose wife had Alzheimer's, and who kept having to be told again and again that her husband had died. My father's friend Rodney passed away, and then my father a few years after that. Some slightly more distant relatives next. My high school friend Manny, the same age as me, died of cancer when we were only nineteen. Then Uncle Bob (really my father's uncle), then my father's sister, Aunt Linda (that happened while I was leaving my ex, to move in with Chris). She was the same age as Daddy had been. Friend Nancy from the choir, right as our Lancelot was dying. (And the number of close animal friends we're not going to get into.) And now--

Well, I had my first good day in about two weeks, yesterday. My friend Christina took me out to see "Mamma Mia!" and it's basically happiness encapsulated. But I still cried at "Dancing Queen." I've been doing that, lately.

A Thursday and a half ago, I found out my great Uncle Dick, whom I loved very much, who pierced my ears when I was eleven and was my ear/nose/throat doc when I was a kid (we had such bad ears!), had died. Almost a week before. No one remembered to tell me. So I found out via an emailed obituary from a family member I haven't heard from since September. I'd already missed the funeral. I hadn't seen Uncle Dick in more than a year. They put him to sea, where my Grandpa John is. I didn't get to go to his funeral, either.

The next day, puffy-eyed and sore, I went to put eyedrops in, and put in an earwax removal drop in my left eye instead (I grabbed the wrong bottle, they look remarkably similar). The drops contain carbomide peroxide, which can cause blindness and other serious corneal damage. So I spent Friday in the ER and picking up prescriptions. My insurance didn't think I needed to see an ophthalmologist, though. Now I'm not sure if the increased blurriness in my left eye is just that my astigmatisms in that one have gotten a little worse and I'm paying more attention, now, or whether I've got some lasting damage.

That meant I had to take a couple of days off from straining my eyes at working, considering the work I had lined up, to be due in about a week, was a large stack of small print business cards whose info had to be put into an online database. Plus another PDF file of cards, plus a more urgent list of contacts. I got the list in, and had to stop. Life happened generally, and slowed me down further, although not unpleasantly.

But then I found out there'd been a mix-up (my fault, at least partially and possibly mostly) and I hadn't sent a supply to a coworker that was needed... well, the day before I heard about it, basically. That started another chain of stress. And guilt. And waiting to get the supplies, and running out of ways to send them, and not being able to get ahold of other coworkers who were busy, or deathly ill, and whom I hated having to disturb anyway. I spent six hours unable to leave, or be indisposed for more than a few minutes at a time, waiting to hear back, and never did (because busy, deathly ill). So I finished the stacks of cards, and strained my eyes, and had to stop.

That part is as fixed as I can get it, at least, now.

I'm upset I've knocked the shine off of myself, at work, though. I want to tell them everything about what had been happening, why I've been stressed, why I'm having trouble with these things, why I'm not dealing in my usual incredibly cheerful, energetic way, but how do I do that without being dramatic? Without sounding self-pitying? They've got enough to deal with, themselves. They're not calling me out. I don't think they're mad. Lee finally told me it wasn't really a big deal, and not to worry too much. I just said I'd been having a shitty week. But I want to be better than that, for them. I want them to keep thinking I could never do any wrong by them.

Ah, well. The scales have to fall some time, I guess.

Anyway. I've got the aftershocks of stress. I'm feeling very low. And my eyes still hurt.

And I think I just hallucinated the smell of my dad's aftershave. Or maybe my uncle's.

I think I'm going to go try to get a little sunshine.

EDIT: Oh, just insult to injury, but I forgot to mention: in the midst of all this--of all the computer work I've had to do?--my poor old 7.5 year old laptop was trying to die, and required backing up, wiping, reinstalling, etc. Which took another couple of days out of my time to finish that work. She's okay, now, but I'm not sure for how much longer.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bullet point version of all the posts I almost meant to write

Alive, not burned up in the fires or anything (just breathed way more smoke than is healthy). Carlin sadness, fruit happiness. Depressed recollections of lost family. Happy musings on the kittens ( =my babies, see, 'cause...) Building a cat tower. Had my year review--got an unexpected raise and a whole lot of praise. Had my fourth anniversary (of moving in together--the big one) with Chris, yesterday, truly fabulous. Sex, love, rock and roll.

Kept starting to write about everything here, but the actual will to do it seems to have gone out. But I'm still trying to keep up with everyone else. Love!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I was a conscientious objector, but I couldn't beat the draft.

Chris and I are married. We have been for two years and thirteen days and an hour or so. We got in the car on June 3rd, 2006, with our witness, Christina, all of us looking trashy and muttering, and drove down to Madera to get a marriage license (Merced's office was closed, that weekend), and get hitched in a civil ceremony.

Let's back up a bit, now, to explain.

Chris and I never wanted to be married. All of my life, my perception of marriage had been that it's the excuse people in bad relationships use to stay in them. It's expensive to divorce. Everything is owned together, so everything has to be divided up. It often comes with houses and children and other things impossible to split up. So a lot of people who are bad to one another, who are unhealthy for one another, stay together in spite of it, because they're married.

I figured, I want to stay with him because we should be together, not because there was a hell of a large legal tangle there to get through to get out.

I understand that that only comes into play if one does want to leave, so I'm starting to mellow on the idea, but it just always had such a poisonous connotation for me, I wanted nothing to do with it, myself.

Chris didn't want to be married because he'd just come out of a nasty divorce, from a marriage he hadn't really wanted to enter in the first place. It wasn't something that spoke volumes of joy to him, either.

And neither of us, frankly, really liked the connotations of the "traditional" marriage and wedding; the transfer of woman as property from one male (father 'giving away') to another (the husband that 'takes' the bride), or the whole bit about obeying. Whatever proponents, "defenders" say, the tradition of marriage has been an economic one, not a romantic one.

And the so-called tradition of one-man-one-woman is recent, too; how is it that people toting the Bible as their defense of that idea don't remember Jacob's dozen simultaneous wives? Marriage to the widow of your brother? The not-quite-married but clearly deeply devoted and bonded pairs of male saints in the middle ages? What about the countries around the world that do, now, allow same-sex marriage? What about the ancient civilizations that did?

The idea that there is some sanctity of marriage, when heterosexual marriages have a 50/50 chance and things like "Who wants to marry a millionaire?" encourage strangers to gold dig and hitch up, let alone a sanctity that could be harmed by allowing devoted couples to be Official, has always been appalling to the both of us.

We didn't want to be apart of an institution so hypocritical, an institution that was being used to separate out ways of loving into legitimate and illegitimate.

We tried to get a domestic partnership, instead. Marriage Lite™, we said, Marriage! The Home Game™, is the thing for us. There's solidarity with those whose beloveds don't happen to be of a different sex than them, and there's an easy out--either person can sign a piece of paper to dissolve a DP, and it's over, so none of the staying together for the sake of avoiding a legal mess. And DPs confer insurance benefits, in California.

I desperately needed insurance. (Aye, there's the rub.)

See, my teeth were starting to give out. Half of them had cavities, and now, three root canals, plus of a dozen fillings, and three crowns later, they're in order. But you can understand, I suppose, why leaving me without insurance (after I'd been without it for 5 years already) would have been a problem. Plus, my mother chided me, what if you get hit by a bus? What if you break your arm? What if something happens?

So we looked into DPs. But we discovered a certain problem with them.

In California, DPs are only recognized between same-sexed couples, much the way marriages were only recognized between different-sexed couples. We managed to get one in Berkeley, on January 3rd, 2006, and Berkeley, Long Beach, and San Francisco will recognize it, but no one else does. So it didn't do to get me onto the insurance. If one of us had been arrested in Long Beach, we'd have had visiting rights, though. That's something.

But anyway, this further confirmed to us that we didn't want to be married.

The ONLY reason I can imagine that different-sexed couples would be barred from domestic partnerships the way same-sexed have been barred from marriage is because, whatever the anti-gay-marriage crowd says, DPs ARE a weaker institution, and same-sex couples were being ghettoized to them. "Stay over here, heterosexuals, this is the real thing. Leave the play version for Them."

But I'm not het, and I don't appreciate being muscled towards patriarchy in any case. "Separate is inherently unequal," remember that, folks? Forty years ago, we figured that out. We had rules, then, too, about which consenting adults could marry which consenting adults, it was just divided over a color line, instead of a gender one.

We Did Not Want to Be Married.


But... we adore one another. We use terms like "life partner," and "lover," and "beloved" to connote one another. And a lot of sillier things, too. We don't intend to come apart, we don't intend to ever stop being together, we hardly even spend any time apart. Four years later, and we still brush our teeth together and go to bed at the same time, and eat breakfast together, and take walks together, and don't even bathe separately. We do the shopping together, and moon doe-eyed at each other, and kiss, and profess love, and hold hands when we walk. There is nothing worse in my world than the spectre of separation from my beau.

So that meant we need to be healthy, so neither of us fell apart.

So that meant I needed insurance.

So that meant that we went ahead and drove down to Madera, with our witness, who was sworn to secrecy. And the ceremony was actually very pretty--no religion (we're not religious), no "obey," no gender essentialism, no condescension, just love and respect and cherishing. It was perfect for us. Christina's cell phone went off during the vows, which felt fittingly undermining to the severity and weight of the whole thing. We laughed a lot about it. We took pictures in front of the cannon inexplicably sitting in front of the court house ("shotgunned" into marriage, see?) and signed the papers and got me protected by the state. I didn't--and won't--change my name. I told my mother. Chris told his parents.

We wanted to boycott marriage, we wanted to remain in solidarity, but we didn't have much choice, so we at least weren't going to admit to it. Not without the long explanation of why it was we weren't open about it, and a discussion of guilt and the inequality of the institution. Between those occasions and loose-lipped family, it's spread further than we'd like. But we've tried, damnit.

So. Why are we coming out now?

In the state of California, until 5 pm this afternoon, you could only be married if you were a different-sexed couple. And as we've thought more about the institution, and the fact that, once you divorce it from all that "tradition," it doesn't have to be as patriarchal and economical and stifling as it has wanted to be, the segregation of it has become the central issue in our avoidance.

And right now, at least for a few months, at least in our corner of the country, it's not an issue, anymore.

I love my state. I love my judiciary. I love San Francisco and West Hollywood and all the courthouses staying open after hours to help people who love one another get the same recognition, responsibility, and protection as everyone else has been entitled to, at the first possible moment. (I don't love Kern County, but that's not surprising, or the ballot measure set to come up in November to write "one man, one woman" into the state constitution. But otherwise.) I love New York for recognizing the new marriages. I am full of love, right now.

I love Chris. My conscientious, wonderful, beautiful love.

I'm still not sure I can call him my husband, except to quiet down confused salesmen and telemarketers, but maybe once in a while I will. My spouse, for sure. My partner for always. My love.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A meme! A me-eme! BURN HER!!

I LOVE this game. I'm such a sucker.

1. Think of 10 short bits of interesting stuff about yourself. And they've gotta be true.
2. Come up with 5 false statements regarding yourself, but for fun's sake keep them in the threshold of believability.
3. Jumble them all up together and list them in any order.
4. Post them on your blog and let people guess which the five false ones are!

(Hey, if there are some you think are definitely true, go ahead and gimme those, too.)

I've also categorized these for you, just 'cause I realized there were themes. /OCD.

1) I once asked an orthodontist to take out a tooth that he told me did not exist.
2) My hair was straight until puberty.
3) I have only taken anti-depressants when also taking birth-control.

4) I love to vacuum and do it all the time.
5) I am crazy about food hygiene--I don't lick spoons, I don't share glasses, I don't eat raw cookie dough, I never eat anything off of the floor, etc.
6) The sound of someone sniffing wetly (as in, instead of blowing their nose) or scratching upset skin loudly causes me to become a twitching, tic-ridden ball of barely contained violence.
7) I really don't care for scented candles, incense, potpourri, essential oil diffusers, etc.--gimme Febreeze and Glade air fresheners any day.

Brain and neuroses:
8) I liked driving rack-and-pinion (i.e. without power steering), in an old VW bug. I preferred it to the relative safety and comfort of power steering and anti-lock brakes.
9) I sometimes make Chris check the shower for monsters. Sometimes he has me check the closet.
10) I can say "goodbye" in eight languages, "I Love You" in nine, "thank you" in ten, and a greeting in eleven. Often in multiple ways.
11) 4, 14, 140, 1400 does it: I had a 4.0 GPA for most semesters in of all schooling, 14 units of requirements already met on entry into college (from AP and an early class), an IQ tested at 140, and 1400 on my SATs. Exactly.

12) Most of my houseplants are poisonous to cats.
13) The type of flower I cannot stop buying is the one I'm most allergic to. Bunches at the store, five different kinds to plant in the yard, etc. It's almost always around.
14) I'm great with African violets, but total crap with Jade plants.
15) I can't take the smell of really perfume-y flowers--I find jasmine, wisteria, gardenias, magnolias, stock, and mums really cloying and avoid them.