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.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where Bowers of Flowers Bloom in the Spring!

California's top court overturns ban on gay marriage

And then a little of my faith in my state is restored.

Now we just have to vote down the new proposed ban (this time in the form of a constitutional amendment) in November. Or hope it doesn't get on the ballot in the first place.

(Subject line from the song, "California, Here I Come," which is, I now find, NOT our official state song. Alas!)

California, here I come--right back where I started from
Where Bowers of flowers bloom in the spring
Each morning at dawning, birdies sing an' everything
A sunkist miss said, "Don't be late"--that's why I can hardly wait
Open up that Golden Gate,
California, here I come!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pictures of Lily.... Or, wait, not...

Okay, I can't help it:

Me with Arthur!

Various notes:
*OMG TOES! Kitten toes! LOOK!
*Best seat in the house, right? (alt:) It's good to be the King.
*Not just an empty jug of wine on the sink, but an empty bottle of vodka, too. Classy. Also, a coffee/espresso maker: we don't have a microwave, but we have an espresso maker. I guess that's just the kinda' peoples we are.
*There is a piano in the background, there, upper left of the photo, and the belly of one of Chris's guitars to the lower right (or the hip, I suppose?).

That picture makes me feel So Warm and Fuzzy. Aaaah. <3


They get neutered Friday. Concerts went well; last choir rehearsal/meeting was Monday--next is on my birthday. :) We're going to do Poulenc's Gloria and Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy) in the Spring!!! And it's working-the-butt-off-time at work. But Chris's school year is almost over, work is progressing well, I'm happy as ever to get volunteered. I'm spending way too much time fussing with Facebook, and it makes me feel a little dirty. :\ But I'm about ready to let it fall back into obscurity. I've got work to do and junk to write and kittens to love--no time for that!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sexist green; kittens

I just saw a commercial for greening up that suggested men skip the shave, to save water. Hold off as long as you can, look manly, and then when you really need to shave, switch to a recycled plastic razor. (It really did phrase it that way--look manly!)

And then, "Girls, don't think we forgot you!"

I thought, joy! Are they actually going to acknowledge the fact that women's shaving--on account of how it covers vastly more surface area--is necessarily going to involve a greater number of razors being thrown out, vastly more water, more chemical products? Is it actually going to advocate cutting back? Only going to the knee? Not doing it or doing it less in winter? Stopping altogether, if you dare?

Nah. It suggested not washing your hair every day, and just hiding it on the days you don't with a hat or an up-do.


This is as much as we can possibly stand to even consider?

Chris and I shower--together--three times a week (when he doesn't need the water, I use it; when I don't, he does--so no waste). I only wash my hair twice a week. I don't shave at all. I did used to shave, and shower and wash my hair daily, back in The Day. I also had bad, dry, *and* spotty skin (best of both worlds, right?), mangled splitty hair, ingrown hairs, bumps, cuts, burns, and poor body image, because my body is not meant to be treated that way.

I don't really get spots, anymore. My hair--all of it--is soft, and nice, and feels good, and looks good. My skin is great. And I have obviously not had razor burns in something like five or six years.

I know that's not going to work for everyone. But christ, it's an option, isn't it? Any little bit of it is. Your body adapts. The more often you scrub? The more oil your skin and hair produce, to try to heal. If you back off, it'll tend to adjust accordingly.

Ah, well.

On a completely unrelated topic:
The kittens are so fricking cute. And Chris is really cute about them. His post on their litter boxing.

I'm so in love. With all three of them. <3

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Apologies in Advance

My brain was stuck in a feedback loop of thinking about this, and it was stopping me sleeping. And thinking. And everything. It's too early in the morning for this, but I need to be able to get on with my day.

Obama says public tired of hearing about his former pastor

Big surprise, huh?

So Obama is taking heat for his pastor, when McCain can blithely take endorsements from Hagee?

Some people are saying the difference is that Obama was actually a member of the congregation, had known Wright for twenty years, so this man really must have had influence on him. But frankly, I have family members, whom I love and care about, and whom I have known for well over twenty years, whose political influence on me is absolutely nil. This is because I like to think I'm fairly free-thinking, and when it becomes evident to me that someone I know has a very different political position from one I have, I don't put all of my own convictions aside and let theirs write them over. A matriarch is not going to make me "not trust Arabs" just because she doesn't (I am, btw, Syrian in significant portion--from the other side of the family). An aunt is not going to make me anti-union (I am, in fact, the official union groupie for my particular favorite). An older cousin sending me anti-Obama propaganda has clearly not diminished my support for him (I spammed back the list with correct information which I assume was ignored, but at least the effort was made).

Is someone really going to tell me that, even though I'm openly and actively opposed to the things these older people in a position to be respected are in support of, that I'm secretly anti-Arab (me), anti-Union (Chris), and anti-Obama (whom I voted for and will again)?


I feel, somehow, that this is not a compelling argument.

So what IS different about Wright and Farrakhan, and Hagee?

Apart from the really obvious one?

Why are they dangerous radicals whose support needs to be cast off, when Hagee is a good man whose support is an honor? (Here's a fun article, by the way, chock full of actual Hagee quotes, about how gay sin caused hurricane Katrina, how Muslims are mandated to kill Christians and Jews, and how we have to seek war with Iran to cause more deaths to bring about the Rapture. I am not over-simplifying.)

I really do think most of it comes down to the image, the familiarity or lack thereof. If your audience is primarily white and Christian (which is going to be the case in a country approximately 73.9% white and 76.5% Christian--those are the real demographic numbers, honest), it's more likely that more of them will not feel as much kinship with a black man in a dashiki as with a white man in a suit; the image is more likely to be alarming, because of associations people have built up with "radical" minority groups. The churches the bulk of the audience went to will more likely have been helmed by someone like Hagee or Robertson than by Wright (and let me clarify--I don't mean that the majority of white, Christian churches are headed by people with positions like Hagee, just more than are headed by people with positions like Wright's). The image there is more familiar. Someone that reminds you of family--whether or not it's family you agree with--is generally given more leeway than someone who does not.

And frankly, I'm not surprised that they're up in arms about something that addresses their own demographic in the negative, instead of the demographic of someone else. It's a lot easier to ignore digs at Muslims and lesbians than digs at straight, white, Christian men, isn't it?

But other than that?

The most generous reason I can think of is that people commenting can construe what's happening in Wright and Farrakhan's positions as specifically racist (as opposed to some other kind of prejudice)--which makes them look like open game. Hagee may be openly bigoted, and waging his verbal assaults on minorities and others that America's in a position to do grave damage to, to the point of actually advocating violence and oppressive legislation, but since that's not directly on a black/white divide, it's left alone. The media's not allowed to comment on these merely "controversial" positions that might be held by your average American, like anything having to do with gay rights, abortion, Islam, or war. The media's allowed to (encouraged to) practice absolute moral relativism in relation to these things ("Gays: trying to raise families, or indoctrinating children? Both positions commonly held today: who's to say who's right? (We report, you decide!)"). But they are allowed to weigh in on something as closed-book as black-vs-white. Not as many people at the moment are open proponents of racial tension (they just have their Opinions, right?) so anyone commenting about race in an unfamiliar way is fair game for attack from something you can pretend is a moral high ground.

Ah, but... Giuliani didn't have to denounce Pat Buchanan. Who made this statement. I'll save you some time: the best bit is where he says African-Americans should be grateful that their ancestors were kidnapped and enslaved, because it gave them the chance to be Christianized and brought up in this great nation.


So maybe Wright's statements are controversial and upsetting. I'll grant that. But I really think there is something qualitatively different (and less deplorable) about the things he's said and the things Hagee says--namely, the spirit and direction of the anger. Wright's anger is directed towards a real history of oppression that has been experienced--maybe it's not helpful, maybe it's divisive, but there is at least a legitimate context--and Hagee's is directed at the repeal of the historical oppressions of others that he'd rather perpetuate.

If you're going to go ballistic about something, I'd much rather it be about Tuskegee than about a gay parade. I really believe that's a better place to come from.

But maybe I'm just betraying my bias, here.

The black men I know and have known still get harassed regularly by the cops, and I don't. People who are far more law-abiding and hard working than I am--ones who work more than part time, who've never smoked pot and don't drink (like I do)--get stopped on the street. If they've got the money to drive a decent car to work, they've been accused of having stolen it (DWB), and if they walk home, they're accused of skulking and suspicious behavior (...Walking.. While Black??). This is today. Not thirty years ago--now. It's still systemic, and not just in the deep south--this is liberal, diverse, southern California we're talking about, here.

Their parents, aunts, grandparents went to schools that were still segregated de jure, and much less often had gotten the chance to go to college afterwards, so that's the background they've had for support for school--that's going to get better every year, I know, every generation, but it's still there. My family was full of college graduates--thriving in the school system is just going to take less work with that background, because it's not having to build much farther than your parents had the opportunity to go. Even Chris went to a school that was segregated in everything but name--with almost all black students forced into remedial classes, which were literally held in a different building on the campus. And most school districts today are still de facto segregated, with the poorer schools in minority areas receiving less funding, and so not performing as well, which further decreases their funding, which makes any improvement that much more difficult, and so in, in a feedback loop. With the same credit and income, a person of color will regularly get a loan with worse terms and higher payments than a white person, so foreclosures are hitting them harder, further forcing that feedback loop.


What is happening to white, Evangelical Christians of means "at the hands of" LGBT and Muslims? Secularization of schools they're not sending their children to (as mandated by the constitution)? Having to see people they don't know treated with some modicum of respect?

I'm sorry, Hagee, I just don't buy it.

(Oh, but, btw, Rev. Wright: I was raised on rock and motown, in Los Angeles. I clap on 2 and 4, not 1 and 3.)