Monday, December 28, 2009

Inevitable back-from-holidays post! + appeal for good juju!

Holidays were busy! Basically good! Got to see/phone relatives and friends I haven't seen in a long time, which was really, really nice.

Helplessly reduced version

AV media:
Saw the Hangover, Dark Knight & Star Trek (thank you Carl!), and (for the second time) Hopscotch. Couldn't keep the slash goggles off, on those last two, I'm afraid (I know; I'm sorry. Yes, even Matthau). About ran out to see Sherlock Holmes; barely kept it in my pants. Will break down soon. Got to play my mom some fantastic music, incl. "Madam George" by Van Morrison, which I sometimes get obsessed with (and which she knew, btw, just not by title). Tried to show her some Kids in the Hall but don't think she was thrilled (alas!). Didn't get to show her Alice. Got to play/sings all those holiday songs Chris and I have been working on - we learned some non-depressed ones this year. (Last year or year before we learned "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," mostly to make me cry.) This year we've been working up the light and non-specific stuff: "No Place Like Home For the Holidays," "Let it Snow," "Santa Baby." Picked up last minute some "White Christmas," "Deck the Halls" and "What Child Is This?" because pretty.

Learned Euchre! Fun! Played that, Hearts, Pinochle galore. Never did send out cards. :\

Readin', Writin' and 'rithma--well, arts an crafts:
Got to read more Sandman (THANK YOU CARL!). Spent the car ride home on digging into various unfinished chapters. Knit another Möbius (that's number four--third for my mom). Started some gloves with some graciously provided yarn from family friend! Drew random pages I'm not sure I'll be able to use, but would like to at some point. Productive car ride!

Acquisitions department:
Light, which is good. Inherited an old sweater of my dad's that no one's worn in.. well, twelve + years, now, and can't seem to take it off (mostly, it's cold). Thirteenth Christmas without my dad, this year. But my sixth Christmas with Chris. That's amazing to think about, too. Chris, who magically remembers everything I say in even vague "Oh, it might be nice to have a..." got someone a flock of chicks for me, through Heifer International, which I think is the most thoughtful and wonderful gift I've gotten in a long, long time.

Among others... Albert.

So we were gone several days, but it was really cold and frosty, and I didn't get a chance to acclimatize Albert to going back outside, and frankly, got selfish and wanted to not have to take down the festive before xmas - and wanted a chance to camp out by the tree with the lights on one night (this will be tonight). So I watered him really well and left him inside.

Our best pals and neighbors house-sat for us, and (totally appropriately) cranked up the heat for the two nights they stayed here from the starvation rations we keep it at, and turned it back down when they left. And the two weeks or so that Albert's been inside is way longer than is suggested. But everything I saw only mentioned the trouble with getting dried out, and I gave him plenty of water, and he seemed springy and healthy.

Apparently the other problem with being inside too long is that a pine tree will start to think it is spring, and break dormancy.

I came home to find Albert covered in beautiful, precious, fluffy sprigs of pale chartreuse all over. He looks impossibly bushy and bright.

How could that be wrong?

Unfortunately, everything I can find now says, "Never let them break dormancy, or they will die when"--mark WILL and WHEN--"you put them outdoors." (Why would you put them outdoors to die if it's inevitable they'd die out there? And how about an "If this happens, you can do x," please?!)

Like a desperate mother, I search for alternative treatments for my doomed and written off and still apparently very happy and healthy (at the moment) baby.

I finally--after pages and pages--found something saying that, if dormancy were to be broken (it was still a cautionary tale), you would have to keep them indoors until chance of frost was over. (Eureka! This, I can do!) ...But that this, too, would cause inevitable death, because surviving an in-home winter and spring is not likely, what with heat and dryness. And that pines tend to need a long wintery rest, which will now have been cut short.


Everybody on the internets is talking doom at my tree.

Everybody on the internets refuses to troubleshoot, and instead, too late, offers me warnings of evil spirits and inevitable death.

So I put it to you that we need to have, on the internets, good juju, and assurances that an Aleppo pine accidentally propelled into an early Spring inside a home that goes really light on the heat and keeps the humidity up and where, in fact, he will get water and be gentled, will not only survive winter but survive Spring, make a peaceful transition back into outdoor life when the temps. aren't so shocking, and, though tired by next winter, will transition into next year's dormancy for a good long rest without much comment beside that. ("Albert will rock the casbah!" in a comment would do very nicely, for instance. Or even just some good wishes generally.)

Or if you have had any experience evading doom or know you some indoorable pine info, please share!

Now, I have spent way too much of my evening online, and need to get to a little gentling-into-sleep-mode and have my (apparently very dangerous) night out by my sweet little Albert. I hope all of y'all have had a wonderful (or at least not-too-stressful) week, whatever you did or did not do with it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Music and Arts demonstration; student rally

Bless our students at CSU Stanislaus. The arts know how to put on a fucking protest.

This carol came after about an hour of gorgeous, mournful, and sometimes seasonal music from the Chamber Singers (slated to be cut next year) and the Wind Ensemble (slated to be cut next year). Wore all black. Marching in and out, and in between songs, they were silent.

Chris said: "They're holding their own wake."

There is hardly a more beautiful sound in the world than this ensemble singing, and next year, if our cuts roll on, it won't be.

Definitely encourage you to listen/watch. Earlier on in their performance, lyrics included "Fare thee well, my own true love..." and "I am tired, I am weak, I am worn... Take my hand... lead me home," and other sounds of loss and homesickness - music is these students' lives, this school and these programs are their home. I wept like a baby.

Less heart-breaking and amazingly optimistic, here, is Chris (the eternal pessimist). The day before the arts demonstration, there was a huge walkout, rally, and march (couple hundred students), most of the speakers for which are posted online, too. So if you want to see my hot honey being a rabble-rouser, you can here, starting at 3:56. (He is also wearing the first thing I ever knit, that rainbowy scarf.)

(At 6:54, you he's moved just off screen, but you can see three of his students running through to blindside group hug him, which made my day. <3)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

...And I'm replying to more innocuous email.

I just received an email from the Office of Alumni Affairs & Annual Giving, asking me to give them money.

The email begins this way:

Your gifts to the CSU Stanislaus Stan Fund directly benefit students in many ways:
1. By recruiting highly qualified faculty who excel as scholars and teachers and work closely with students in the context of a caring community...

(emphasis in original text)



...So I wrote back.

I appreciate the necessity of giving.  I am afraid I cannot give right now, as my husband is one of these highly qualified faculty, and is being eliminated for the next year--along with all other lecturers at Stanislaus and very likely some of our tenure-track faculty--so we cannot really spare any money at all, right now.

By the way: suggesting any money I gave could in any way go toward RECRUITING faculty any year soon, when the only movement in faculty is going to be outward, is disingenuous, if not an outright lie, and I would suggest you reword in future.

Thank you,
(major/grad date)

Also in the process of editing my earlier screed for mailing to my state reps, the board of trustees, and the chancellor. (Editing to add context, and, um, specific recommendations and information re: our campus president.) I'll post it (behind a cut, I suppose) when I have it in order and have sent it. I may look into sending a cleaned up version of the original to papers or... something?

UPDATE: I was sent a very nice note back in response by the head of that office, which was much appreciated. I know it's really hard for the staff in these offices, right now, too, and they're doing the best they can to try to raise money for CSUS in hard times - it was good to hear back.

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNo est finis!

Okay, so not only did I finish 50k within the month, but...

I finished the 50k by last night, with more than 24 hours to spare.

AND, I finished the novel itself today, with some 9 and a quarter hours to go (last year's was not finished until an hour before the deadline for the free copy in June or July or whenever). Maybe this one will be edited in time for the free copy to be a second draft, instead of a first! CRAZY.

Anyway. Love to you all - hope you're all well. I'd like to drop into a little mini coma, now, but instead I have to eat and go to choir to prep for concert Friday/Saturday (after lots of rehearsal this week). Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your day be full of joy and love and delight!

I know it can be hard, but chin up, right?

So much love to you all. <3

Monday, November 23, 2009

Plan for the day:


*Spend (waste) NO MORE than 10 minutes doing this

*Spend (waste) NO MORE than 10 minutes crafting a reply to the vapid, slandering, chock-full-of-utter-bullshit replies left on the story about Stanislaus faculty OVERWHELMINGLY voting no-confidence in Pres. Shirvani, so my brain can rest and let the thing alone. (EDIT: DONE! 1k characters is not much. o.O My mini-essay is now 2 comments and so much leftover. Pasted what it *would* have looked like, below.)

__*Do my work inbox

__*Sort and start ONE load of laundry.

__*Write an absurd amount on my NaNo, in preparation for Thanksgiving hiatus - lets arbitrarily set a goal at 6k, so I don't go, "Oh, 2500, good enough" if I get there. Write as much as possible by the time Chris gets home!


__*Eat, snuggle, do maybe one more load o' wash


__*Choir (two weeks until concert, aaieeee!)

Back home:


Text of original modbee response:

Case in point: honestfaculty/truefaculty/retiredfaculty is behaving in exactly the way Shirvani does when a legitimate, valid process does not go his way: attempt to subvert it illegitimately.

When the results are so solid, there is no avenue left but simple, outright lying about the process.

Shirvani and his have relied heavily on the concept that angry and concerned faculty are simply a vocal minority on the campus, going so far as to draw up what look a lot like hit lists (cross referencing people who are in both governance and union leadership and put themselves out to take the brunt of his disdain) and trying to subvert the legitimacy of faculty, but this vote clearly proves the rest of the faculty are not behind him. 90.9% of the 88% who voted voted no confidence, and that cannot, in any way, be spun in his favor. Even if every non-voter and non-valid balloter would have come out and voted 'confidence,' 'confidence' votes would have been outnumbered by 'no confidence' votes by four times. How's that for a number? In a country where only about half of eligible voters turn out even for major elections, this is a stunning show of democracy.

So when the question of faculty support can no longer be effectively questioned, now some find the need to lie.

So here is the process:

Votes were counted in full view of reporters. Ballots are NOT open; they are NOT identifiable in any way, and they are individually sealed inside of envelopes which are ALSO not identifiable in any way. The only mark a person has to give of their identity is on a second envelope, just to prove that they are the ones turning in an envelope with a ballot inside (equivalent to giving your name at a polling place and being marked off), and as soon as they are marked off, that envelope is discarded, leaving only unmarked envelopes with private ballots inside, and no way to tell who made which vote. (We can probably guess that some of the 23 "confidence" votes included Shirvani and some of the other academic administrators who were eligible to vote, but even that can't be confirmed.)

They even made the wise decision to not include ANY potentially biasing literature with the ballot, or any of the myriad reasons one might have voted "no confidence" on the president--for instance, the ways in which he tries daily to subvert campus governance (i.e. democracy), to dismantle any protections faculty have in place for the well being of the campus, its students, and programs (including Shirvani recently creating out of thin air a policy for "elimination of programs due to budget exigency," because the "program discontinuation" policy in place would have forced him to make sure students got graduated out of their programs before they were pulled out from under them).

We have honest faculty and an honest process; I'm ashamed to see so much blatant disdain from our community.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A break in NaNo hiatus, because I haven't had the heart to write anything else but this, today.

How dare they?
A reflection on the likelihood we will have to leave our home after this year, if we want to eat.

How dare they?

This administration does not care about California. They do not care about the CSU, and they do not care about this school. This is a stepping stone, from the lower positions they held before to the higher positions or more prestigious universities they hope to join soon. Administrations come and go in three or four or five years; the faculty, the staff, the community, we are the ones who stay for ten, twenty, thirty years, as long as we are able, as long as we are allowed.

I am a third generation Californian, on both sides. My great grand-parents came from Ontario, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Beruit, many places far and wide, and set down roots deep in this promise land, and two of my grandparents were born here, and all of their children, and all of their children, and even most of theirs, after them. I'm the first on my mother's side to even leave spitting distance of the counties my grandmothers were born in before me, since they got here. I was born in this state, raised here, and wish to die here, when it comes to it. This is an amazing and precious place, a resource and a garden, fierce and beautiful.

The CSU is a treasure, too, that belongs to us, here, in California--a proud and lovely creation of our proud and lovely state, to be defended at all costs. Myself and my cousins, my mother and my aunts who were first generation college students, come down from farmers and sailors and soldiers who valued the educations they didn't get, and strove to learn, and impressed upon us all the value of learning, of schooling, we are all products of the CSU when we couldn't have afforded anything else and couldn't have hoped for anything as wonderful.

How dare they push me out of my home? How dare they push my family out of the CSU? We, who had California and the CSU in our blood and our bones before we could read, and who know in our blood and our bones what a treasure we have?

And more important than blood ties are the ties of choosing. My partner adopted California and the CSU, and now has come to love them, now that he has been here 11 years--twice as long as the President of the university, and well over ten times as long as the interim Provost, and three times as long as the Provost before him. Those who have settled here--have meant to make their lives, here--have learned the best of it, have learned the pride and wonder, have taken it up as surely as those of us who knew it all along. And those of us with California in our veins and in the sweet earth of our flesh who have chosen to stay, have learned such awe-filled love, cannot be uprooted. If my body goes, the best of me is still here, longing for the paradise that is this place.

We want to stay. We want to be let to cherish this state, this system, to feed it and better it and make it stronger, ever stronger, ever safer from assaults from the short-sighted and far-reaching. We want to guard it and let it bloom ever brighter.

How dare they push us out, these come-latelies and leave-soons? How dare they take that wicked sword and cleave us from our homes, maim and dismember our universities as if they were nothing more than paper accounts and spools of ugly numbers? How dare they attempt to destroy what has taken us so many generations and so many hearts and so many commitments to build, as if it was theirs to crush? How dare they not lay down their bodies and their swords and their money to defend this?

How dare they?

When they take the CSU--when they cut away the teachers, the programs, the connections we cling to--and force us out, cast us to the wind, tetherless, they destroy more than a tradition, more than some quaint way of doing things, outdated or perverse. They destroy wonders. They destroy monuments and lives and blood oaths and sacred connections to a precious thing far grander than they. When we find a new place to live and work, I will still be homeless, because I will have been cut from my home, the home of my blood and the home of my choosing, the home where my heart and my head and my body have found perfect place, my home of ages. And when they are gone, tired of their broken toy, eager to find new systems to "restructure" and "improve," their damage will lay bloody and mangled and glaring behind them in the sun, for California and her lost, scattered children, blood and adopted alike, to mourn.

How dare they?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

So freaking domestic. Also: a fount of trivia.

In the last couple days: knit a hat for a friend, a cowl for myself. Worked on a shawl I'm making. Started an adorable knitted wig, in a sort of violet/lilac color. Baked snickerdoodles, and improvised a delish' spiced chocolate almond bark.

Carved a pumpkin into an owl as per a VERY cute picture a friend shared (he came out SO CUTE!!) and cut my thumb open pretty well, during the process. Alas. I may try to post a picture of him tomorrow! (But not of my thumb.) Maybe I can get one of him alongside the adorable ratty face pumpkin best friend did (and which included dried spaghetti noodles for whiskers).

Random observation: I think the name my mother called me more than any other throughout my growing up (including my given name) was Pumpkin. (Followed closely or equalled by Sweetpea.)

We did campus things, including big big politics, talks on faculty shared governance, and senate meetings. I did work things (although there are a few I have to do tomorrow morning, because I completely missed them, today).

I picked the NaNo I'm going to write, this year (from amidst WAY too many choices). Mostly (but not entirely) unrelated to that, I did way more random internet research than is strictly reasonable, and often by whim or by popping link to link (and then wondering what path, exactly, I took to go from Rastafarian English to false etymology surrounding Caesarean sections to harime laws among the Romani to laws regulating name changes in Germany).

Before I start wondering too hard, I'm going to go to bed. But it's been a fairly bustling week!

Hope you all have a lovely Halloween! (And any and everything else you may celebrate this time of year!) LOVE!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

At least we know.

So there are still plans in the works. But as things stand, Chris has no work for Fall. He's out of a job.

Which means, if he finds a new one, we have to go to it. Which would mean I would be out of my beautiful, wonderful, beloved (but definitely-won't-sustain-us) job.

I'd finally put some roots down in this backward fucking little town, and it was growing on me, backward and fucked up though it is. I have a knitting group. I'm in a choir. I love my job. My best friend is staggering distance from my front door. The area's finally nurturing the arts, a little. My garden is growing me flowers.

And the alternative: him NOT finding a job? is a hell of a lot worse than losing/leaving all of those things.

I've been feeling pretty fucking low, I gotta' admit.

It's been a few days, now, since we found out, and the worst of the depression (aided by a bout of gloom, rain, wind, and general storminess and lack of sun and my subsequent plummeting energy and instinct for hibernation) is easing up. I let myself have my beaten, dejected few days, let myself binge on comfort food and neglect work and mope and cry, and the worst of it, at least, seems to be out of my system.

The sun came out, and I went out to sit in it. I did my work, I got shit done, I didn't kidnap leftover chicken and dumplings from Best Friend's fridge (seriously something I was considering). I'm not feeling quite so resentful when people remind me this could work out for the better, in the end - because, of course, it could.

...I had a lot more written below, about prospects and rationalizing about the worst case scenarios. But suffice it to say, I know that whatever happens, we'll roll with it. We'll hit the ground running, because it's what we do. Shitty times have always brought out the optimist in me.

We've got a lot to be grateful for.

Love to you all, and as much joy as you can hold.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Things Is Tough All Over

"But Chris is secure, right?"

I don't know how many times I've heard this, now. All summer, all through the start of the choir season, people have asked this or something similar; they've asked how we're doing, and I've told them a little about the budget crisis and the terror this inspires and the carnage already wreaked across our campus and how it doesn't make for peace of mind, or else they've heard some about it already and want to know where we fall in it. And then they want to be reassured that Chris is safe. "But he's all right, isn't he? He's pretty protected? Chris is still secure, right?"

"....No," I say, like I'm apologizing. "He's not."

Chris is a lecturer--contingent. Some systems call this "adjunct." Non-tenure-line. Not even probationary. We call it "visiting" on our campus--he's been "visiting" for 11 years, now, full time (some people call lecturers "part timers," too--often tenure-line people teaching significantly fewer courses per year than a full-time lecturer does, but I digress).

In short: no tenure. No expectation of tenure. No way to get tenure.

He does have three year contracts (the grail in the CFA collective bargaining agreements): if they've kept you for six years, when they could have simply failed to rehire you without penalty beforehand, and there are no "serious conduct issues" or records of bad performance, you're automatically rolled over into three year contracts, which have, themselves, a similar expectation of being rolled over. If you're between three year contracts, you've got a lot less protection--if there's just not work, they can essentially give you a contract for no work and no pay, without actually laying you off--but there is still some protection. There's also a layoff order, and an order of preference for work, and a lot of good structure in place to make sure the contract means something, when people start getting bumped off the ranks.

But when you've already gone through the order by department--say, this department--and have dumped absolutely everyone in the first couple of groups? When the only person left with less "preference for work" than Chris has already been reduced to part time (and he was only protected by two tenure-track profs being off on sabbatical, anyway, who are going to be back next year), and there are more cuts to come...?

(As in, apparently, SEVERE cuts to come, despite the absence of a concrete budget for the next year, in what is probably a punitive, tyrannical, never-let-a-good-crisis-go-to-waste move by people with more power than the rest of us?)

Then, no. Chris is not secure.

The BEST we can hope for, at this point, is that he only get reduced to part time, next year. But for all we know, there could be nothing, as soon as Spring. 30% (...for instance) out of 10 tenure-line and 2 and a half lecturers (or 6 tenure-line and 1 and a half lecturers, depending on what we're counting as this department for these purposes) is pretty bad odds, either way, isn't it?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Speak Truth to Bullshit

....I suppose I should be saving these. I've been getting uppity lately, and it seems worth documenting for a rainy day. It's probably basically shouting in the dark, but I've been doing it just the same: I've been replying to the form emails from my various representatives. Generally only if they say "Keep in touch," or give me a text box. But sometimes if they even just don't say "do-not-reply."


Well, I've been getting a lot of anathema by email, lately. I think it's mostly because I sent a letter and got sucked into the CA Representatives mailing list, and some reps have identified my location as likely to bear fruit. Unfortunately, I can't unsubscribe from individual assemblypeople without losing the whole list (and I do appreciate some updates), so I just keep getting it.

Perhaps there's something wrong with me that I keep reading it. I know better than to read comments online (mostly), or to seek out blogs. But I suppose this is different: this is something people in a position of some power and with some control over the flow of information are flooding the inboxes of the unsuspecting with.

This is higher stakes, somehow.

Unfortunately, I'm missing my favorite snagged opportunity for uppityism, lately, the one that started me on the Fussbucket jag. I'd gotten a charming push-poll survey from Daryll Issa in Orange County trying to woo me to his version of health care reform, i.e. forbidding public option, resisting socializing any aspect, resisting any regulation, and creating a bigger cookie for programs and corps already causing problems, etc. For context: in my ideal world, we'd have fully socialized single-payer, but I'm willing to start with the co-op option and regulation, I really am.

You know those phone surveys where they phrase a question like, "Do you support allowing [mundane thing x having nothing to do with kittens] bearing in mind it will certainly lead to the torture and murder of 4000 kittens according to [unrelated person y who will lose money if mundane thing x comes to pass]?" And you don't know how to answer, because you support mundane thing x (but not the torture and murder of kittens)? This was one of those. I slogged through and picked the loaded-with-bad-connotations answers responsibly, and cringed a lot.

But then it had a Text Box. Something like, "What would you like to see me (as a representative) do? What are your thoughts on my plan?"

So I told him.

I'm not aggressive; I don't seek out opportunities to piss on people's cornflakes. But being completely irresponsible, propagandizing in difficult times, fear/hate-mongering, and then asking me what I think about it? What if he wants to use the results of that paragon-of-bad-statistics-taking survey to make a point?

I mean, really.

This probably solidified my place on the mailing list, just by responding. But then again, maybe it bumped me off of it. We can but hope.

A day or so after that, I got a helpful letter from California Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (context: I actually actively campaigned for his opponent, doing volunteer work in his office). He was warning me about a dangerous bill that would early-parole non-violent offenders from our prison system (I'm a prison abolitionist at heart, and definitely a rehab-over-punishment enthusiast). He asked for my support, to protect our communities. The letter literally included statistics a non-sociological, nonscientific, non-research body produced guestimating the number of extra crimes, and violent felonies specifically, that would be committed if we released NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS ONLY. Because, clearly, letting out the leukemia patients that got snagged in the raid on the (legal-in-CA) medical marijuana clinic is going to lead to a spike in gun violence. Bear in mind also that our prisons are in violation of every law on the book, most cells occupied at double or triple capacity, etc, and we really cannot sustain them as-is.

....So I replied.

I DO support the early release of non-violent offenders.  We're keeping prisoners in a state of appalling overcrowding, which is immoral, illegal, and inhumane.  We will soon spend more to imprison people than we do to get them higher education.  If we did more with education and rehabilitation and less with misguided punitive measures, the recidivism rate would go down.  

Your email is misleading and offensive, and fear-mongering at best.  Drop three-strikes and overly harsh terms for victimless crimes.  EDUCATE.  THAT is how to make our communities safer and reduce prison overcrowding and overspending.

Thank you,

And then I rested a little easier, content with my conscience. I continued on my merry way, dreaming my dreamy-dreams.

Today, I got another (this one my own fault, I suppose), and from the US House of Reps. A week or so ago I'd sent a form letter to my local congressman asking him to support the repeal of DOMA (the "Defense of Marriage Act," which inexplicably made it legal to ignore the full faith and credit clause in the Constitution, despite the fact that nothing else, not even pursuing serial murderers, gets this benefit). As I do.

I expected either no response (since I'm in a hotbed of Marriage=One Man + One Woman activism and Rep. Radanovich is all over that mess), or a form letter thanking me for my input but-we-disagree. I've gotten plenty of those before. Some of the fancier ones have come on paper with lip-service to some key issue, even if the sender and I are diametrically opposed on how to deal with it.

It means that at least some overworked staffer either skimmed the note for my position, or an email reader program did. It got stacked in an unofficial litmus test pile, somewhere. Some sites even let you scroll down a menu with "issue" and "Support/Oppose?" so it knows which form letter to send in response, and presumably to keep a tally.

Rep. Radanovich (or rather, his office) sent Chris and I identical form letters back to our form letters that, I shit you not, told us to "Rest assured, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the 111th Congress to strengthen the family unit and protect marriage in its traditional form." It was a letter comforting us that he, too, wants to protect hetero-only marriage, and telling us how instrumental he's going to be in supporting a re-up of a Protection of Marriage bid, and telling us how dangerous he knows same-sex marriage can be, and what a good idea it was to buck full faith and credit to protect states from having to respect the laws of other states.

...They don't even have the decency to install a good form-reader, or else to come up with the blank "Thank you for your input"? Seriously?

....So I replied:

My husband and I both sent letters encouraging the repeal of DOMA, NOT support of the Marriage Protection Act (and both received identical copies of this letter in response).  I didn't expect a personalized letter (my original wasn't, either, and I apologize for that), but I do suggest you at least tailor an alternate form letter for those who've sent you opposition, instead of support.  Sending out something that essentially says, "Don't worry, I've got your back by supporting something you find hateful and disingenuous" does not inspire confidence in the constituency.  I will not, for instance, "rest assured" after your letter--your so-called Marriage Protection Act would not "strengthen the family unit and protect marriage," as you say, but would instead DENY protections to families and couples.  See what I mean?

Please at least work up a blank for disagreement.  It doesn't even need to be issue-specific.  "Thank you for your input on this important issue" or, "We differ on this important issue, but your input in the democratic process is valued" would be, while less personalized, far less insulting than being told to rest assured you'd do exactly the opposite of what would let me rest assured.

Thank you for considering this.


...I think the (clear) indication that no one will actually read this email released me of my sense of required politeness and sincerity. I don't suppose anyone will be bothered by this letter, then, either.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Assortment of things

CSN were wonderful! Can't seem to make myself write about it. Don't feel like I need to - but here is what they played:

Helplessly Hoping
Wasted on the Way
Ruby Tuesday (Rolling Stones)
You Can Close Your Eyes (James Taylor)
Girl from the North Country (Bob Dylan)
Midnight Rider (Allman Brothers)
Dream For Him (David Crosby)
In Your Name (Graham Nash)
Uncle John's Band (Grateful Dead)
Our House
Southern Cross


Love the One You're With (Stephen Stills)
Marrakesh Express
Rock & Roll Woman (Buffalo Springfield)
Long Time Gone
Just a Song Before I Go
Bluebird Revisited
Wooden Ships

For What It's Worth (which is "Stop, Hey, What's that Sound..." if you, like me, can never remember the title) (Buffalo Springfield)
Teach Your Children

Replete with sing-alongs! Fucking awesome tracklist. No Suite Judy Blue Eyes or Almost Cut My Hair, but Crosby had a serious sore throat so I don't expect them to get their really-high-stuff on. AMAZED they did Deja Vu and Cathedral, and they were stunning. They did a lot of covers--they're talking about releasing an album of them, which I would be SO all over. <3

LOVED IT. Had a lovely birthday. Spending too much time online, right now, instead of working. I should at least be writing, if I'm going to shirk my duties. But instead, I'm stealing things from other blogs. Since it was just the day, after all, I followed a link to an astrology-y birthday profiler linked and found my birthday. Which is fairly spookily accurate, as these things can be (in the same way they can be utterly divorced from reality).

The Day of Restless Drive

restless drive to begin all sorts of new projects. Usually they bring the one they are working on to completion but immediately set out on a new one without rest.
capable of handling several projects at the same time
low boredom threshold
outgoing and dynamic types at one time, and solitary and unapproachable at another.
tend to oscillate
Whether in a broad social context or on a personal level, the issues and ideas with which those born on this day are most often involve fairness and equality – in general, matters pertaining to the delegation and exercise of power. In putting forth their arguments, they can be very ironic... Their humor, however, is not for everyone as it is liable to be off-beat, sardonic, and perhaps even macabre.

can display a disturbing lack of stability. Although they may be involved in quite respectable professions, one often gets the idea that the profession itself, or whatever work they do in general, lends the consistency their lives so desperately need
can be at risk when their restless nature brings them into conflict with the powers that be.
think for themselves and will not tolerate others...trying to tell them what to do

warm heart
may find it difficult to open all the way
few friends whom they allow [close]
can often have a greater effect on those around them than they realize, and indeed can register a high degree of shock value
should seek to be more aware of their effect on others

must beware of the depressive effects of isolation
taste in food tends to the exotic, they must be attentive to the effects of spicy, unusual, or rich foods on their body

...And if you take me as already following the must-do's/must-be-aware-of's they give additionally, to a fault? i.e. paranoid about my affect on and reception by others? And trying to exercise absolute patience towards others when they don't behave the way I think would be Better For Them? Seriously, baby.

(It's all about being an equinox/cusp baby, I bet. I am the pendulum.)

Which reminds me: Happy Equinox! (A day late, anyway.) Enjoy autumn! Though I know some of you are already probably under heaps of snow and rain. We're, alternately, still lingering around 100˚F, after only a brief reprieve.

I should really be working. Writing. Something.

But, but, it's Celebrate Bisexuality day, too, apparently! (To echo friend who brought it to my attention: We have a day?!) Via BiNet:

"The day is an opportunity for bisexual, fluid, pansexual and generally queer-identified people and their families, friends and supporters to recognize and celebrate their history, community and culture and the contributions bisexual/pansexual people have made to both the greater LGBT Community as well as to mainstream culture."

Well! Wow! Pan-pride, baby!

Okay, okay, NOW to work. LOVE!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Crosby, Stills & Nash, tonight, at Ironstone Vineyards!

If you do not already know and love CSN/CSN&Y, well... well, you should.

Maybe you know them from their other projects. David Crosby was a member of the Byrds, Stephen Stills was a member of Manassas, Graham Nash was a member of the Hollies, and Neil Young worked with Crazy Horse, in addition to being Neil Young (he, however, will not be there tonight).

Or you may know them, without knowing you know them. If you ever listen to Oldies/Classic rock stations on the radio, you have probably heard plenty of "Teach Your Children," and "Our House," those sweet and earnest numbers. But maybe you've heard "Carry On/Questions," "Long Time Gone," or Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" (And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden...). Different stations pick a different one or two and only rotate those, alas.

"Suite Judy Blue Eyes"? (It's getting to the point where I'm no fun anymore...)
Almost Cut My Hair"? (from whence Lettin' my freak-flag fly)
Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With"? Graham Nash's (I get the) "Urge for Going"? "Chicago"? (We can change the world...) Maybe "Just a Song Before I Go"? "Southern Cross," "Wasted on the Way"...?

Or maybe you know them. Maybe, like me, you love on "Military Madness," "Prison Song," "Deja Vu," "Guinnevere," "Horses Through a Rainstorm," their cover of "Blackbird," Manassas' "Johnny's Garden," "Marrakesh Express," "Helplessly Hoping," "Lady of the Island," "Laughing"...

...CSN(Y) is one of my favorite groups ever. Of all time. I was reared on them, and several years ago a lot of my family and I went to see them, and they played many of the above, and many not of the above. Graham Nash was barefoot. Stephen Stills went from rough voice and hard-to-make-out words in his new songs to perfect, crisp "Southern Cross" like it hadn't been thirty years. David Crosby joked about how it hurt to sing "Almost Cut My Hair," now that they're balding. I'm guessing he'll make the same joke, again. I wonder if they'll still play "Military Madness," and work up a chant in the crowd, like they did in LA. I wonder if we'll get another contact high (outdoor arena, after all). I wonder how they'll have changed, and how they'll have not.

I feel so, so warm and fuzzy.

Oh! I have to go! Enjoy the links if you follow 'em! Well worth the listen!

Monday, August 31, 2009


All right, I'm roasting a duck. Finally. Or rather, attempting to roast a duck, a la Barbara Kafka.

I have never roasted anything, before. I have baked things, and I did braise a brisket in the oven, once. But that's it. That's the extent. I have today performed feats of Preparation I never dreamt I'd manage.

Let's just see if I managed it, oh, say, well. It was an Experience, to say the list.

But but but: this method is magic. It's two-fold, to deal with the Heaping Helpings of Fat, so it involves a poaching with all the sundry extras before the high-heat roasting.

Which means: free duck stock. Before even roasting the duck. I can add back the carcass etc. and double-stock it. (I cannot waste anything, so this is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I wish I knew what to do with rendered duck fat, then I wouldn't even have to chuck *that.*)

It smells really good, poaching away. Really ducky, but really good. I am very much looking forward to the roasting part!

Various other life tidbits:
Show is delightful and I love it. Chris is coming Saturday, and Sunday's the last performance ( :(! ). It turns out our two main leads, Bobby and Polly, are pro's, Bobby (Jody Madaras) having done the role some 200+ times, including Euro tours and a lot of choreography. Polly (Natalie Wisdom) is fantastic, too, gorgeous voice and fabulous dancer. I'm really impressed with them both, and with everyone local in our cast.

I've even broken through my formerly often crippling shyness and anxiety and gone to a couple of cast things, formal and informal. This is good for me. It's really strange, too - seeing a little bit of the underbelly of the thing, interpersonal strife. But, I haven't seen any real viciousness, which is comforting. And anyway, I love it; so long as I don't get too wrapped up, it's fascinating. I love people.

More seriously: I am not in the parts of CA that are currently burning. I am well. I *think* my relatives who are in those parts are okay, and so far the friends I have who are in the very thick of it are still in voluntary evac instead of mandatory, and are doing okay. If you are in one of those areas, PLEASE be safe, and I'm thinking of you.

I'm gonna' go back to checking on my duck, and maybe see if my mom's heard anything about my people in Pasadena. LOVE.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Emotional coaster a bit.

Loved Julie&Julia. Apart from the frustrations that come from true stories (when people sometimes don't behave quite how you want them to), it was delightful. I love the idea. The food was gorgeous. Meryl Streep was unsurprisingly brilliant. It makes me want to cook--it's making me want to have a project. And I want the roast duck recipe. (Though I may actually take Barbara Kafka, queen of roasting all things, over Julia in this matter, if we've got hers. If you ever want to know how to roast anything, and have it come out better than anyone's you've ever had? Go to Kafka.)

I spent the movie in and out of tears, basically unrelatedly. I started crying on the way out of the get-together this morning (had to beat a hasty retreat), and just... it's been drop of a hat, since then. I'd guess at least a dozen times, during the flick? And mostly inappropriately. However, I definitely needed the joy and delight and giggling, and I got a lot of that, too, so that's good.

Now we're listening to some Maurice Chevalier (spent some time with Charles Trenet, earlier), and the utter sweetness promises to help. So does Chris's cooking (if you aren't well aware of this by now, Chris is the Philosopher Chef, Saucier Than Thou - a whiz at French cooking - all cooking, reared on Julia Child's show as a kid, and born on her birthday). I've successfully campaigned for some Pommes de Terre à la Maitre'd'hotel to go along with the lamp loin chops sautéed in butter and dressed in pan sauce, and a Child recipe for green beans. Cap it off with a little cognitive dissonance in the form of a Chilean Cabernet, and I think we'll be able to stave off the demons a little longer.

Show; campus

It's weird to think of it this way, but I was having a similar reaction to opening night of Crazy For You to the one I had at the end of doing Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Giddy tears and trembling excitement, and a whole lot of greedy, basking love for the audience and its standing ovation. Even if I was down in the pit. I could still crane 'round and see them.

(Btw, they moved us from backstage to down in the pit with the orchestra, mic'd. Which is a great thing. Besides, I like calling myself a "pit singer" more than a "backstage singer." I'm also defaulting to Backup Girl.)

The show was fantastic. It was a blast. A whirling, frantic putting-together, and a beautiful opening night. The theater has more than its fair share of technical difficulties, and some things blew up at the last minute--missing actors, breaking props--but they still got it off in great order. Everybody stepped up and were brilliant. I've said this before, but I've never really been much for dance shows (I can take a lot of Fosse, but chorus lines and follies have never thrilled), but I sat in awe of this group. These girls are professional quality dancers (there's a 15 y.o. teaching dance classes already, and a girl who just got accepted into the Rockettes, for instance), and they're stunning. The choreography and acrobatics were gorgeous, huge, clever, funny, delightful. There's a bit where the girls are bells, if that makes any sense, and a pinwheel, and and and...

I love it. I'm in love. I'm giddy. I even got over enough of my crisis-level shyness to go with my carpool mates to the cast party, and chat and be silly and play games in the pool. The acting was great, the comedy was spot on (even the cheesy parts - and the physical comedy was PERFECT), the music was grand, and, if I do say so myself, the singing went well. Giddy giddy giddy!


Well, be fair; I was giddy. The budget crisis has taken its toll. Chris is a union rep for our campus, for contingent lecturers (think: the college faculty equivalent of highly vulnerable wage slaves, with next to no protections, who make up the majority and do most of the work; the adage is that every lecturer is fifteen seconds from utter humiliation). There's been a slash-and-burn going on, and a lot of people are up in the air, and we spent the morning with a handful of lecturers who've been on tenterhooks and probably let go from the university-but-not-necessarily-completely, trying to hash out their rights and contracts and potential outcomes--the culmination of which was a last minute email (received by one of them by iPhone) with the nail in the coffin for all of them. Their small hope was a false one; they have no work, and no rehiring rights, and no continued affiliation with the university or the committees they man, this Fall. Which is to say, in a week and a half. They have no health insurance, they will not be getting a check this month. They're not even at the top of the rehire-if-we-get-some-money list. They have to give back their keys, and clear out their offices. This week.

These are people we know. Our campus, with its 400 faculty, has lost 187--no, wait.. now it's 192, after this morning, isn't it?--of its faculty. Cut in half. Everyone the university could cut without declaring an official layoff, they cut. Fellow lecturer reps from other campuses are working with the union through the summer, even though their teaching jobs are no longer waiting for them in Fall. These are dedicated, passionate teachers, and most of the people we were with today graduated from this campus, went through the very programs they're teaching in, worked most intensively with the most vulnerable students, in the most fundamental classes.

And they're just... gone, now.

(This doesn't even get into the issue of the hundreds of classes cut on our campus alone--classes that were full, and whose students have not even been informed of the cuts and schedule changes and who will most likely get to campus on day one with no idea their classes and teachers are gone and that several of their class days will be furloughed &c, but who have been pulled for an extra $500 for this semester, or $1000 for the year, already. Or all the students who just aren't going to be accepted at all, come Spring and next year, despite state law dictating that this system accept all eligible students. And all the basic remedial classes the bulk of new students will need to complete in their first year to be kept on at the university, but which will be unavailable to them, since they've been cut. And--)

...Sorry for the whiplash. That kinda' where we're at, right now.

I think we're going to spend some of my blood on Julie&Julia (...I can get comp movie tickets, with all the blood donations I've racked up), try to get something a little joyful going.

Love, all.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

...Okay, no, really.

We were just out in Modesto, and saw several posters printed out and stuck on trees, with President Obama's face on them done up to look like the Joker, and "Socialism" written under them.

I just... need to point something out, here.

Among developed nations, we have the highest or nearly highest infant mortality rates, death rates from preventable and treatable illness, and costs per capita to provide health care to our people.

Comparable nations with single-payer health care have much lower infant death rates than we do, far fewer deaths per capita from preventable and treatable illness, and longer life spans, and they spend a hell of a lot less per capita to do it.

This all seems very simple, to me.

The system we have now still covers people who aren't insured privately--but we do it by picking up the pieces when someone who couldn't afford to get preventative care or get a small problem like an infection or a minor wound or a bad flu looked at winds up on death's door (which is to say, in the ER) with a far more expensive problem. What could have cost a few dollars to treat or prevent costs thousands to the revered taxpayers. The prevalence of untreated disease means that it's a lot easier for diseases to spread like wildfire, too--so this isn't just the problem of the person who's sick. This is your problem, too. Yes, there are clinics, but they're overworked, understaffed, underfunded. Yes, there are some safety net programs in place, like Medicare and Medicaid and Medical, but they're increasingly underfunded, and are sloughing otherwise eligible people off of their rolls, ever day. And the ERs and Medicare and clinics are all a lot more expensive per capita to run than a central program with a strong emphasis on prevention would be.

The public option doesn't eliminate private health care, if you've got it and you like it. HMOs and the like already limit your choice of doctors and services, and while they don't run your requested services past a bureaucrat (who incidentally has no profit motive), they DO run your requested services past a mid-level businessman who wants to (1) make the largest profit possible from serving you, and (2) spend the least amount possible on you to do it. This is the nature of having shareholders; their job is not to keep you healthy or happy, their job is to produce profit. Any service they can avoid giving you, they will. The more they can charge to give you the services they do, the better. And the fewest at risk (read: in need) people they can insure...

This is really not limiting our options. It just means that people with nothing but desperation can be healthier, and fewer people die for no reason. Some people running private health care companies may lose a little off of their multi-billion-dollar profit margins. I can live with that.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Story of my life:

I am too afraid to try to do something. Usually something involving an interview, an audition, or otherwise throwing myself out bodily in front of uninterested parties.

Said thing throws itself at me, and allows me (just that once) to bypass some portion of the terror--the decision to consider or try at all, of course, and maybe part of an audition, or an application, or whatever it is, too. Volunteer work, the choir, a gig, the knitting group, an open mic night, my job. Anything I want to do and am afraid to go ask to be a part of.

Well, as of tonight, I'm in a musical. That opens in two weeks.

A friend from the choir emailed about a dozen of us to see if she could snag some backstage singers to fill out the sound of the chorus and dance line, and I appear to be one of three (there are eight Girls/Chorus/Follies we'll be behind - I am not insignificant, here). I'm (most likely) singing the high soprano part. I may be the only person singing the high Bflats in large groups, when the girls who have to actually dance and act and be out on stage are too SRSLYBUSY to knock out those notes, or I'll be one of two. (Or I may not get to do all of them--sadness!--but that's okay, too. But Bflats are yummy.)

I'm kinda' in shock. Went to part of a rehearsal, tonight, going to most of one tomorrow. It rehearses 6 days a week, 6-11pm, though I'm missing a lot of next week. The week after that is dress/tech week. And then there are shows.


...There really isn't too much material to learn. I get to keep the score onhand (because who'll care, when I'm backstage?), and it's not too tough. It's a Gershwin thing I've never actually seen or heard of, called Crazy for You, and it seems to be a redux of other stuff of theirs, with a new plot combining them. But it's got a lot of their songs that I do know (which is not many). But I'm not singing in most of those ("Someone to Watch Over Me," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," etc, don't have chorus). But I am singing in "I Got Rhythm." And I think also "Nice Work If You Can Get It." And a handful of things I hadn't heard before today, but that I'm picking up quickly. Hopefully quickly enough.

OH CHRIST OH FUCK OH FUCK WISH ME LUCK. I know you're not supposed to, but I think I don't mind. This is SO COOL.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

County fair! County fair!

Briefy update: went to the county fair, didn't ride any rides or play any games (v. v. expensive!), but pet copious animals, listened to much music. More on the last two:

I have, before, pet the noses of police horses and must have once a goat (because I remember him trying to eat my clothes). There are probably petting zoo memories of my early youth I've just lost, by now. But in my memory, this is the first time I've ever touched a cow. I pet a cow, tonight, and I pet so many wonderful young goats and sheep (and was nibbled on to my heart's content by both), and even a llama and an emu and a piglet.

Still on the lookout for chicken-, goose-, and duck-handling opportunities (we didn't find the petting zoo until it was about to close, and they were all already in bed).

....I haven't had much farm-type experience.

Mind you, I have held/pet cockatoos, cockatiels, conures, macaws, green parrots, African Grays, sparrows, a crow, boas, pythons, corn snakes, bearded dragons, alligator lizards, iguanas, salamanders, toads, frogs, wild field rats, pet rats, mice, hamsters of all descriptions, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits, turtles, tortoises, all kinds of spiders and insects and crawlies generally, butterflies and giant moths and iridescent beetles, sea slugs, skates and rays, muscles, abalone, fish and bottom dwellers, cats, dogs, wolf mutts and half-coyotes. So I'm really not low on animal interactions, just... particularly domestic ones. I have stroked more sea slugs than I can count, but never a chick or a duckling. Maybe we'll have to go back, break down and pay for some rides and pet as many birds as will sit still. <3

Areas with titles like "Meat Goats! No petting" were comparatively quite, quite depressing. The Petting Zoo was a seriously healing experience after that. We couldn't find it until so so late!!

Music: one of Chris's students was playing as part of a band there, One-oh-One Percent, and they were fantastic. Great listening to them, very talented, great and varied repertoire. V. impressed.

Rick Springfield blew my socks off (or would have, if I had been wearing any). For one thing, ain't no way he's 60 on the 23rd, even if he is. He stripped down shirtless, and it was a lovely thing. He was a lovely thing. He played for an hour and a half, and never stopped moving, barely stopped singing, one song right into the next. EVERYTHING was a prop. He flung guitars wildly--literally flinging them in arcs through the air, across the stage--switching out almost every song, for a while. He played "What's Victoria's Secret?" and a lot of things that were familiar to me, but that I didn't really know, or didn't know were his, and he covered Paul McCartney and Wing's "Jet," from Band on the Run. During "Don't Talk to Strangers," he caused many people to talk to strangers, and appealed to anyone he landed on to sing along (micing them embarrassingly, but only teasing them moderately). Was teasing and jovial generally. Fixed on "lady in the pink shirt" early on in the show ("do you even know who the hell I am?"), and returned to tease her frequently (hugged her, cheered her, had her sing, and sang "Marylou" to her, that being her name). Chatted with little kids and got them on stage to dance and sing along ("Don't Talk to Strangers" lasted about 20 minutes, what with falderal). During "Human Touch" he waded probably 30 rows into the audience, and shook every hand and touched and was touched by everyone available. Went from blazing energy of that right into "Jessie's Girl," and was fabulous. After that, introducing the band, they were playing the Beatles' "She's so Heavy," from Abbey Road, and I was highly, highly impressed.

Voice got a little weak in the low, quieter register (he never stopped leaping around; I am 34 years younger and half his activity would have winded me immediately), but he wailed on everything else. Amazing music + voice. It was loud; my ears hurt, and the bass beat very literally felt like a heart beat--I kept getting a reflexive panic that I was getting seriously arrhythmic--but that's all I could say against it. We had a great time.

I want more of all of this music. And I want more critter cuddling, have I mentioned that?

Can I have a pygmy goat, please? Or a sheep? I promise I will pretend I have an agricultural excuse, I will.. Iunno, I'll make yarn, it'll be great. Please? And two chickens?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I know I cry over spilt milk, but...

...over Burnt Toast? Really?

Burnt Toast is a "domestic TV opera" that ran on the CBC. Hour long, made up of 8 vignettes on love. Comedic vignettes! Silly, even! Using some opera singers and some comic actors dubbed by opera singers. I watched the 8th first (, no reason... ::..cough::), but then I went back to the first, which is "Nothing Ever Happens In the Park."

Video of "Nothing Ever Happens In the Park."

It's described as a love hexagon--six people in the park, each in love with someone else, who is in turn in love with someone different. And when they've each been around with a verse (with some often very silly lyrics--the ones from and for the hot dog vendor, for instance - "You don't need ketchup, mustard ... you just need me," "You feed them all. Would you feed me, too?"), they come together in ... in that thing in musicals and opera that I don't know the name for, when all the different, distinct, individual parts of the song previously start intertwining and singing over one another and the themes blend and twist into something grand and lovely..

And then I was just crying.

I mean, unrequited love. Lots. And everyone's looking at someone else, who isn't looking at them, and there's a gorgeous duet part.. And opera, and that thing that always gets me when it happens ("Down Once More" in Phantom of the Opera, "One Day More" in Les Miserables, ooooooooh...),but... seriously, Burnt Toast...?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy 5th, My Love

Chris and I have now been together for a half a decade.

I am stunned and delighted by this fact. (How has it been five years?)

I love you fiercely, mister.

Thursday, June 25, 2009




Some of you may remember my obsessing over the New Wilco Song that we heard at the Bridge School Concert last year. I kept it to a relative minimum here, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I have hunted for it, tried to figure out when it would be released, what it would be called, etc., ever since. I still sing it, because one listen at the concert (and then 8+ listens when someone got a bootleg online for about a week) meant I had memorized a vast portion of it before it was gone.

But it's finally being released. It's called "I'll Fight." It is fabulous. It has a Beatles-y, almost mod kind of momentum to it, but still this intrinsically Wilco-y character. It has a fantastic sense of... not stop-time, exactly, but of using brief moments of sparing instrumentation to dramatic effect. You can supposedly listen to it on their site, but the Java script doesn't seem to be working (at least for us). However, the lyrics are up online, and clearly a lot of people *have* heard it, and one might possibly be able to find it by dint of file-sharing services. (...We've already pre-ordered the album from their site, so I don't feel bad about my impatience. I'm getting to LISTEN TO THIS SONG.)

That something so dark and grisly can forcibly make me dance/sway should speak volumes. I want the song to not end, when it ends. I want it to roll on and on. I want to be swallowed up in this song.

....I'm not saying necessarily anyone else will feel this way about it? And maybe the context of the slightly rawer, rougher performance, live, in a huge mob of people is giving this more power over me than it might otherwise have? But... I think I'm okay with that.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mainstream cheesecake photos letting you down?

I found myself debating on whether or not to share. But everybody deserves access to some good Pretty, and who am I to not aid in the cause?

I love it all. I do. I appreciate smut, porn, erotica, pinups, art nudes, Suggestive Photography, etc... No matter how commercial or how indy, how cliched or trashy or high brow... You name it, I like it. I love bodies. I love people enjoying their bodies. That's it. And I think it takes all kinds.

Unfortunately, "all kinds" is hard to find. Especially where men are concerned.*

By happy accident, today, however, I came across a site with a section called Stripsters--which is, in fact, hipsters stripped or stripping. They inevitably wind up in their underwear, or nude but carefully obscured, so I suppose this is almost SFW, but probably not quite, so pursue at your own risk.

In any case, these are decidedly untrashy but decidedly sexy art photos, mostly of men--slender, often scruffy, tattooed, pierced, or devestatingly arty men--and they're getting their sexy on. (There are a few gals, too, but the boys are the focus, here.) So if you're like me and think, say, Alan Cumming trumps George Clooney any day, enjoy!


*Now, I hear ya'. You're saying, "But, Lauren! As far as mainstream porn is concerned, the array of 'acceptable' types for men is much larger than that for women, to begin with!" and I agree. But men like these--certainly not the slender shaggy ones, the pretty-but-unclean ones--need not apply, in any case. And I haven't found anything catering to those who want to see these men, until now.

Whereas, when looking for women with tattoos, piercings, a variety of body types, technicolor hair, goth or punk or burlesque or pinup sensibilities... one need only look as far as Suicide Girls. (Don't let the name turn you off; there is no suicide involved, I promise.) While they also definitely fall into the category of art nudes, they are often quite nude, and so, NSFW.

SG is not free, which makes me a little sad, but they've got a big, fantastic public gallery to check out, so all hope is not lost.

SG Gallery.

So go forth, my sisters and brothers, and love you on some pretty.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

o/` Somewhere, under the sun...o/`

I was glancing over previous entries, so I thought I should give a couple updates:

First of all, they dedicated our concerts to Bob Danziger. It was lovely, though it made it a little hard to sing the first movement of the Gloria. Still, it was very nice.

My mood has been strange and fussy, for reasons I can't accurately identify. Might be the concert post-partem stress, or the billow of anxiety whiplash after being crammed in so tight with so many people, and trying to socialize afterwards. Or the stress of the shake-up of healthier habits when the crunch came.

Healthier habits I've been building up, like eating better, drinking water, getting enough exercise, getting sun. (SUN I LOVE YOU WARM SUN BRIGHT LOVE--)

...Do you ever forget to drink any water for too long, and you don't really realize you're thirsty, but as soon as you happen to take a sip of water, you can't stop? Because your body has realized its desperation and makes you guzzle, even if that doesn't work as well a taking it a sip at a time?

That's me with the Sun. (With water, too, incidentally, but that's a different problem.) I've got at least some degree of Vitamin D deficiency, and sunshine is the best way to fix that (because we're plants, apparently), and it's good for the serotonin levels, the keratosis pilaris, etc, so I've been trying to get more, recently, but I'd slipped more often, lately, and it's been too hot or too cold or not enough time or whathaveyou. But today it was so nice, and Chris reminded me at just the right time, so rather than trying to shove my clothing away from the sunless bits, I found an old sparse hand-me-down bikini that I managed to fit into again (well, "fit" is probably a strong word), and laid out in the sun, on a towel and turning at regular intervals and everything. (Redheads don't tan. Redheads don't sunbathe. So this is very unusual behavior.)

And I don't think I'd realized quite what a sun worshipper I am.

I stayed out there until I thought I'd gotten a safe and easy twenty minutes or so. (I've always been pale and burned like a leaf, but it's been getting better as I've allowed a little more and little more sun. Toughening up just bit by bit!) But then when I came back inside, I couldn't settle down. I got antsy. I kept looking out the backdoor at the sun, kept looking at my bikini'd body and my towel, the book I was reading... I put on a little sunscreen on places I thought were pinker than others, got my laptop and some water, and went back out, though I stayed in the shade. I just wanted to be out there. ...But then I crept back into the sun, just bits of me.

And when I thought my laptop would get too hot, I went back inside.

...And put down my laptop, put on some more sunscreen and went back out, again.

This happened twice more, late into the afternoon. When we had to close the sliding door and blinds to keep the heat out of the kitchen, I got between them and leaned into the hot glass. I couldn't make myself get dressed until the last minute, until I had to get it together and go to my knitting group.

I've paid for it, a little. It never seems to occur to me that color shows after more time than I realize, and though I may look fine, or even still dead pale, a while after I've sunned, I may show up burnt, later. Places that were blinding white, that I made sure didn't get screened, that I made sure got sunshine, *because* they were so pale, are now a little angry at this sudden change, especially around the edges. I have odd, awkward patches of bright red, luckily ones which will normally be covered by clothes. But I finally evened out the more visible parts of me, a bit. I've got color beyond my usual pointilism tan (where the freckles crowd together and make you look browner, if you squint from a long way away?), so we'll see if a redhead can't get a little bit of a tan, after all. And I'm taking care of the redder bits, and I've definitely gotten my D for the day. The annoying but harmless little bumps I've had on my arms since I was 12 and on my legs for several years are virtually gone, even if they're just on vacation. My skin feels good, my head feels better, my body feels vital and alive.

...But I can't stop thinking about going out and doing it again tomorrow. Oh, I'll cover up the burns, and I'll sunscreen the pink areas, I may even tell myself to be good, but I know me. It'll start as "Oh, I should water those," and turn into a as-close-as-I-can-get-to-naked sunbath. The craving's on me, and I'm nothing against a craving. And I'll take a Sun craving over a junk foody craving, anyday.

I feel desperate for it, right now, in the dark.

Sunlight, I promise I'll meet you in the morning, and we'll roll around in the grass, some more. I don't even care if anyone catches us!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The concerts!

Friday night, we kinda' crapped up the Poulenc. There's no denying it. It didn't turn up in the review, thank goodness, but we knew. We sopranos were flat, flat, flat. The cardinal rule of "only sing as soft as you can sing WELL" had been forgotten.

So Daniel reminded us. A lot. But in a helpfully "You can totally do this" kind of way.

So on Saturday night, we totally did. We nailed it. Daniel told us how much he loved us, when we were leaving the stage for intermission. It was creepy and beautiful and I adored it.

On Friday night, the Beethoven was excellent--even the 16 measures of forte high A's after several measures of more A's and G's, even the fast bits with the frickin' high B's. You could hear AND UNDERSTAND our German. We were great. The bass soloist loved on us to Daniel, as did the occasionally adversarial brass section.

But on Saturday night, we blew the doors off the place. When we burst in on our first big "Freude schöner götterfunken," my mother up in the balcony said we drowned out the orchestra.

This is the same symphony orchestra they usually have to mike us over, so that we're not drowned out by the brass alone. But this time, instead of 80 of us, there were 180 of us.

Blew the doors off.

I kept talking to people about how exciting it was to get to do this, how much I was looking forward to it, to this opportunity--how many times do you get to be in a group of 180 wailing on "Ode to Joy"? How often do you get to be part of something so big? And Friday night, I'd been enthusiastic, but measured. I almost felt like I was missing something in the experience, like I wasn't letting myself commit to the point of breaking.

Saturday, I put everything into that huge burst, and was gasping by the time we had a break in singing. My voice started to go towards the end, but I managed to keep it alive through the many more measures of (guess!) high A's. I felt possessed. I felt filled past my seams with it. We were enormous and beautiful. And after the last götterfunkens with the huge orchestra attack, it was all I could do to keep from bawling. On Friday night, people got up for an ovation. On Saturday night, they shot up as one.

I cried all the way out to the car. I was so happy, so ecstatic, and all the stress of it broke open to let go and I cried and cried. Strangers stopped passing chorus members to tell us how wonderful we were. The soloists stopped in the hall to shake our hands--and the soloists were amaaaaazing. The orchestra was amaaaaaazing. Everything was brilliant. The narcissist in me went, despite the love, fairly unsated (I was going to meet Chris/Mom/Zach in the lobby, but they came out and caught me outside, and carried me off). I realized when we were gone that I was mad at them for taking me away from the basking. I wanted to linger and be surrounded by people who were full of that music, who loved us for it. I wanted to find the other people I knew who I'd heard would be there, and let them tell me how good we were. I wanted to make Chris turn the car around.

I'm suffering post-partum. I don't get to have this back, again. But it's something I get to always have, too.

But actually holding that in my arms, living in that throng... I feel so disconnected to be out of it. That part of it I don't get to have, anymore.

Until next time.

(Please, please, please. Again, and again, and once more...)


VIDEO of us rehearsing!!!

This turned up on the Modesto Bee site, and it's got pieces of one of our last rehearsals before the concert, and interviews with our lovely Maestro and our wonderful Soprano soloist. I'm not sure you can see me in there, because I haven't watched it all yet, but you can see and hear us some! Enjoy!! WOO!


Aha, I apparently do exist!:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Final rehearsal, concerts...

...are tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow night, and Saturday night, respectively. My mama and brother are coming up to hear me sing (WOO!) and stay the night Saturday. I am going to be dead dog beat by Sunday morning. I was fine, and now I'm terrified. I'm not sure if I'm too terrified or not terrified enough. (We totally crapped up the Poulenc, but hopefully the old adage of "bad dress rehearsal = good concert" holds out. However, we rocked the Beethoven. Yikes...)

Must remember:
- to actually follow the score for the Poulenc, this time.
- the last minute phrasing changes for the Poulenc, the last minute (literally--as we were leaving tonight) Oops-there's-a-wrong-note-in-your-score-fix-it change for Beethoven.
- to bring food and dress to cram in tomorrow between rehearsal (4-6:30) and call (7:00).
- to smile
- to enjoy myself
- to not get lazy
- to not freak out, surrounded by a freefloating cloud of anxiety
- to sleep, now, rather than sit up writing in blogger instead

Wish me luck! Think happy thoughts!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

If Music Be the Food of Love...

Last night we were at the faculty recognition awards. We wound up sitting near some music faculty, and talking about the Music for the Elementary School Teacher class, which, like all classes in the Music department, require attending live music performances. We talked about how sometimes it's the first time students have ever even seen live music--the woman I was talking to (who'd have to be leaving to go teach that class) recalled a response written by a student that mentioned seeing a "really big red clarinet."

I laughed and clapped, because I knew exactly what she was meant: "Oh! Bob Danziger's bassoon!" I almost said, but didn't, for some reason. It got a little busy, a little loud, and it slipped my mind. Maybe I thought it would sound a little familiar, or like I was trying to sound involved, if I identified a faculty member by a poor description of their instrument. I don't really know.

But I loved Dr. Danziger, and his bassoon. I took Music of World Cultures from him in my very first semester at Stanislaus, and had the most wonderful experience--he was so warm and dynamic, and introduced us all to so much fantastic music. He was free with encouragement, friendly, talented--a joy to be around, always. I got lucky enough to have him for my advisor for the Music concentration in my degree, and to just get to see him around campus, sometimes. I really only had maybe two classes from him, but he stands out as one of my favorite teachers on the campus, one I always think of when I remember, despite all its problems, how great this campus really can be. It has had people like him there.

He told us, during class, about this bassoon (bassoon being his instrument of choice). He'd had it commissioned in Germany five years earlier, and it was going to be done any day--he was going to have to fly to Germany to collect it and bring it home. The next semester, waiting for a concert to begin, I saw the most beautiful red bassoon on the stage, and I knew that was it--that he'd gotten his beautiful new baby and loved it, and that he'd be playing it for us that night.

Any time I've seen a stage with a red bassoon, since, I've felt a little better, because I knew I'd be seeing him play--I've never seen another bassoon that really looked like it. And it was such a joy to be around him, even just to hear him. He played with the school ensembles, and we still go see those, and with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, so any nerves I'd have during a concert, I could just look around the stage and find the red bassoon--and know a sweet, warm, wonderful person would be nearby, soon, playing with us. It calmed me down and made me happy.

I wish I could find a more recent picture of him--one taken with the red one.

I just found out this afternoon that he died Monday night. Here is is lovely obituary.

It just occurred to me, writing this, that in a week and a half, when we sing Poulenc's Gloria, and Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy), he isn't going to be there with us. His bassoon isn't going to be on the stage.

But the obit, and the letter Chris got from the school president, both closed with this:

"If Music be the food of love, play on."

So I'm going to go back to crying, now, but then I'm going to go back to singing, too. He will be very, very, very missed. He was loved very much.

EDIT to add: I'd been blanking on the other class I took with him. Not what was in it--I had a couple vivid memories--but what it actually was. I remembered, after looking through the class schedule*: it was Music for the Elementary School Teacher. (The woman I'd been talking to had been surprised when I said I took that class from M., because that was the version for music majors--Music in Elementary Schools. I'd forgotten I'd actually taken both, trying to reach my units. It was just his night to be evoked, I guess.)

He'd advised that could be okay to take both--I'd taken his first. He also told me I should consolidate my student loans as soon as I graduated (I forgot and didn't, but I keep starting to), and that when I was in his classes, he'd used my scantron tests as the key to grade the others, because I always aced them (remember how I said he was encouraging?). He also said I should learn the bassoon. :) He'd taught us recorder in the Music for the Elementary (etc) class, and I'd immediately picked it up, along with the alto recorder, and he knew I played flute, a little clarinet, etc... And not that I'd ever say this to an aficionado of one woodwind or another, but they're all essentially the same instrument. Maybe he thought I'd pick it up quickly. ...I'd kind of like to. Or the oboe. I've never tried a double-reed wind. I wished he could teach me.

My brain keeps playing tricks on me: for about twenty minutes, I kept thinking we should try to get to a couple more concerts on campus, soon, before we lost the chance to see him again. S'not fair.

I couldn't think of what music to put on--just knew I needed music. I'm listening to ABBA's "Thank You For the Music," now.

Thank you for the music,
the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it?
I ask in all honesty,
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance, what are we?
So I say thank you for the music,
for giving it to me.

...He taught us Jewish songs and dances he had learned living in Israel. I still remember--and can sing--the refrain to Simkhes Toyre. He taught us about early music--which I did my project on, for Music of World Cultures. He used "Down in the jungle, living in a tent, best part is: no rent" as part of teaching us the ta/ti ti/tiri tiri/timri ta method of rhythm. He taught us about (and had us use) Orff instruments. I had never gotten to have music ed, in school--other people remember these things from being a kid, but they were all new to me, and it was like learning all of these things new. It was like getting to be a kid, and just revel in music, again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good Day, Sunshine!

I actually feel good--really good--for the first time in a long time. I actually managed to be physically and mentally active, get exercise AND work done, AND an errand attempted (but no score), all before 10, which has been generally unheard of, for me. It's a gorgeous morning (and yes, I have been singing, humming, and whistling "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" all morning), because it's bright blue and utterly temperate and the SUN IS OUT AGAIN FINALLY OH GOD I'VE MISSED YOU SUN LOVE ME SUN WARM ME WARM BRIGHT LOVE JOY SUN LOVE

....May need the sunshine a bit more than I had previously realized.

AND--AND!--we have fantastic news out of two more on the Eastern seaboard. When I woke up this morning, it was all up in the air--will this get veto'd, will it pass other votes, etc--but at least one appears to be confirmed:

MAINE has legalized same-sex marriage!

And DC's City Council has voted to recognize same-sex marriage--but this is up to the legislature to approve. (Can we get them a little statehood, yet, please?) A bill has also been passed in New Hampshire, but awaits a signing or veto from their governor.

See, California? New England hasn't fallen into the ocean. It's really OK.

Now, I'm going to modify my sourdough blueberry muffin plan (to account for my failure to attain muffin cups) and then go into my back yard to get some more SUN and maybe try to plant some more seeds.

EDIT: Did I mention there are actually lots of cheerful chirping birdies singing, too? It's crazy fantastic.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reno recap:

Background: We are not gamblers, and we are not really vacation takers; our friends had an extra free room voucher, and there was free parking, free drinks when you gamble, and gorgeous heated pools and jacuzzis (also free to guests). How could we say no?? The bathroom in our room alone was as big as my bedroom, and there was much gorgeousness to be experienced. So, while was lost a grand total of $29.09 on various bettings, there is no way on earth we would have been able to obtain even the drinks--even a handful of our drinks--in any similar place for that much, let alone a gorgeous room, more drinks than was probably advisable, disco dancing, and fireside and ocean themed bars and glass flowery chandeliers. Plus, we got to take a little road trip, see our friends, people watch, and look at All The Sparkly Lights. I even got to swim for a little while, something for which I have been exceedingly desperate for many, many, many, many months. Many. Srsly.

Played: penny slots, $5 blackjack and roulette. One $0.25 slot that still had a crank arm.

Watched: Penguins vs. Capitals, the Kentucky Derby (cried), Hatton vs. Pacquiao (cried), and the last 20 minutes of the stock car race.

Dodged: hundreds of strangely vaguely menacing but supposedly good-time-guy freemasons moving en masse, a very sweet flirt, and my own dog impulse to feel up all the cocktail waitresses.

Trip: Success!

I am both more and less sensitive to smoke than I realized.
I enjoy random winning way too much, and am easily delighted by flashing screens and sound effects.
I am a kinda' sore loser, when there's not a human I'm losing to. I am generally not at all sore when there are humans involved.
I want to play more cards.
Boxing is essentially tragic and really probably not for me.
Craps is fun to watch.
Gamblers (in Reno, this weekend, at least) are not as visibly superstitious as I would have guessed.
Probability is still just as fun as when I was taking AP Stats in high school, and I am way too happy to get my geek on about it.
I compulsively count changes in amounts of money and keep running tallies. I do not count cards, except for in pinochle.
I still don't get Nascar.
Underdog stories--even if the underdogs are actually horses--make me absurdly happy.
Anything shiny, neon, or sparkly makes me very happy--I am, essentially, a crow.
Going without seeing the sunshine for 3 days wreaks havoc on my brain chemistry, and makes me very unhappy.
It is hard to be menacing in something as goofy as a jester hat, but if you manage it, you graduate up to Really Scary.
Cow bell is always a good move in music, and usually sexy. I need a cow bell.
You will not get carded until you ask for a Shirley Temple.
Even if they are flighty carders, casino cocktail servers are freaking hot.

Now, my nose and eyes are settling down, the smoke is almost out of my laundry, and my kitties are approaching almost-recovered-from-petting-deficiency. I think I'm going let my brain melt a little. LOVE.

Friday, May 1, 2009

o/`Ju-ust to watch him die... o/`

Okay, so I'M GOING TO RENO. But I'm a little worried about it, because you know what happened the last time...

(Video. Or, lyrics, if you prefer.)

(Oh, you knew that was coming. Right? ....Right..?)

...I've been fairly insufferable, lately, frankly. Chris and I learned to play/sing this, respectively, and we do it pretty much every night, but that doesn't stop me from singing it most days, lately, too. Or making the "You remember what happened the last time I was in Reno..." joke. Over. And. Over.

This is not unusual for me, generally speaking. For one, I am the human jukebox, and if there's an applicable song line (or movie quote), I produce it, with no ability to stop myself. It's my cryptonite--that and female trios. No resistance. (When we were in New York, imagine how often I sang "On Broadway," "59th Street Bridge Song," "Thank You Lord For Sending Me the F-Train"... even "Take the A-Train," people. I am lucky no one killed me.) And I enable myself over much - I make themed mixes, so I have plenty ammunition for many topics. I made a "Talking about the Weather" mix, a Garden mix, an epic traveling mix, and a sugar and sweets mix; we've been working on a jailbait mix, a card playing mix (see below), and (tada!) a prison mix--and most of those, we're learning to sing and play. Hence the heavy emphasis on "Folsom Prison Blues" in our nightly guitar-ing-and-singing.

But I'm also especially vulnerable to that one, it seems; Chris has been brushing up on his fingerpicking, and there's an incredibly insidious, catchy picking pattern he's worked up for "Folsom." I can hear it from across the house, from downstairs, from out in the yard, and I start singing. I can be mid sentence in a conversation. I can have food in my mouth. It doesn't matter; the pattern says "It's time to jump in," and I jump in. It's like double-dutch (do you remember playing double-dutch?); I hear the rhythm and start rocking foot to foot until I can hop in, and then I can't stop for anything. I sometimes think Chris thinks this is funny.

Anyway! This all comes up because of this:

A little while ago, I was downloading "Poker Face," since I saw it mentioned today! ::blows kisses:: And I've been vaguely curious about this Lady Gaga person, anyway (since burlesque is for the win). So, I played it and enjoyed it, and started thinking about that cards playing mix we've been talking about making, and thinking, "Hey, that should go on it!" (even though we don't play poker--most card songs are poker songs, and we've accepted that). I thought, "Maybe I should put together that mix--what with us going to a place of card-playing and gamling. It would be useful on the road." Then the song ended, and I was a little late getting to my iTunes to stop it going on to whatever was next (it's always on random).

And it decided to play me "Folsom Prison Blues" (the version what I have linked above).

IT IS FATE. Cards/gambling mix ahoy!

ETA: So far, Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler," Garth Brooks' "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House," AC/DC's "She's Got the Jack," Motorhead's "The Ace of Spades," Bob Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" (LOVE!), Bob Seger's "Still the Same"... the Eagles' "Desperado" has a Queen of Diamonds/Hearts verse, so that counts... Possibly "Viva Las Vegas" and "Folsom Prison Blues" just for the.. y'know.. Vegas and Reno references...

...Um. Why are so many of the cards songs gooey modern country and hair metal/arena rock? Any other suggestions, guys?

ETA afterwards: Found a handy list, with a lot I know and love and had completely forgotten. Added Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues," Steve Miller Band's "The Joker," "House of the Rising Sun" (this one was Joan Baez), The Pogues' "Bottle of Smoke," ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All," and (duh!) "Luck Be a Lady Tonight" -- Marlon Brando's version from the movie (my favorite--sorry, Frank). And somehow forgot to add (even though I had it) Suzanne Vega's "No Cheap Thrill."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

After the Cuts

I give up. They're in bathroom stalls on campus and being posted on facebook by people I do not know, but whom I now de facto like (Save Our Classes - CSU Stanislaus--good job, guys!) I should at least be able to share them with you. Though whether they mean much out of context, I couldn't say. So, this is a set of political cartoons called "After the Cuts," about the situation faculty and staff at the CSU--particularly contingent--face with the budget cuts.

Disclaimer: This is NOT an official production of any faculty or staff agency or group. Strips may be reprinted at will for campus posting, but not for profit. Higher res/larger scans are available upon request. © Me and concept contributors, all rights reserved etc etc etc.

That said:

After the Cuts 1:
Will Teach For Food.

After the Cuts 2:
New Positions - Department Chair

After the Cuts 3:
New Positions - Supplemental Security


There was a question about student-centric ones, so we started plotting. Here's the first:
After the Cuts 4 - Student Edition!
The New Wait List

Ask and ye shall receive!

ETA 2, weeks later:

Just thought I should have the fifth one linked here. This one hasn't shown up anywhere, but I feel like I should still give it a little love. :)
After the Cuts 5
Classes Are Consolidated

A List

1) I think I need a seam ripper. I need to accept the fact that I am not built appropriate to... um... any clothing, especially long tops, and that it will be easier on me to modify them if I can just rip the seams and resew, rather than pinch some places, cut open and re-hem others, and try to dart to fix the places where they bunch in between. Also, it will probably look better. It's one thing to cut up t-shirts, but nicer things I should do properly, I think.

2) I am drawing political cartoons. This is my first time ever trying them. It is fun, but also depressing. (This is because the point is essentially, "What happens to all of the people at the university who get laid off, if you cut all our funding?" = Bleak. But also sometimes snarky. Maybe I will link, but I am Shy.)

3) I had better get over feeling Shy, because there's been a certain amount of copying and distributing. (TERROR.) There's a kind of poster blitz going down on campus. There's also Facebook networking, which is kind of weird and wonderful. Also, students with Facebook are a Force, just have to say.

4) I don't know how I still feel shy, when I'm such a praise whore. Regardez:

Look! I modified the Bunny pattern to make a rat for my best gal pal, who has a cute white rat who is (quite charmingly) named Bunny. (That is said gal pal's lap, by the way, that the knit ratty is on.) It is SO CUTE. There is also, now, a fleet of bunnies. (...If you can have a fleet of three.) Sweetness ahoy!

...ETA, already:
5) ....Re: 2: I also need to make more of the cartoons. They have started turning up places on campus without us having put them there, after all of three hours. puffed up, right now:: Granted, they were given to people who wanted to also engage in sign-putting-up, and it is certainly they who have arranged it? But Chris just walked into the bathroom and saw one there. That's... well, awesome, frankly.


How did I not hear about this for a whole 24 hours??

Vermont legalizes same-sex marriage

And with the legislature, no less! Good job, Vermont!!

(We're now up to 8% of the states. That's... well, that's definitely a good start.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

More craftiness! And kitties! And pic-spam!

So, I thought I'd try to make Sculpey molds for candles. This did not work.

I made a fish (which almost worked, but not quite), and an egg, which really didn't work at all. But I can melt them down and make them Better on another day. It was a Learning Experience.

However, I *did* knit a really precious bunny, and took way too many pictures of him. But that's 'cause he's precious.

But you know what else is precious? This picture I managed to sneak on Alex of him cuddling with his own favorite stuffed animal, Pudding the Bunny:

This picture is basically a lie, because Alex spends as much of his day as he can trying to eviscerate that bunny. But I thought, hey, it's Easter coming up, he's sleepy, maybe he'll cuddle if he doesn't realize what he's got. But he did, indeed, try to kill Puddin' when he woke up.

And for more Alex sweetness, you should also see this:

I gave him the remote, because I thought he needed it. Considering he was reclining to look at the TV (which was off). That cat is a loaf. Seriously.

Arthur is equally wonderful, delightful, sweet, and silly. The sweetest cuddlebunny ever, perhaps:


But he's harder to catch in the act, generally. I have some more of him lying like a slab of butterflied meat, with his back legs out behind him--not straight, but with insides of his legs flattened to the ground--somewhere, but not online, yet, I don't think.

You should maybe also know that every night I have to sing him the "Wiiiiiith six in the bed, and the little one said, 'Roll over! Roll over!' So they all rolled over, and one fell out, then there's five in the bed, and the little one said..." song. Usually twice. So he can roll around on his back at the top of the stairs, before bed, and get pets and kisses for it. (Yes: I have trained my cat to roll over. In as much as a cat can be trained to do something like that.) It's... How can they be SO CUTE?

They're a year and a couple months now, and it's not wearing off. They're enormous (Arthur's somewhere around 14 pounds, I think, and Alex around 16), but they're still sweet dorks. <3