Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Prairie Home Companion Movie

I really hope that this doesn't suck. Prarie Home Companion is one of my favorite things on the planet. I've seen them tape the show twice at The Greek Theatre and it was so much fun to see a show that you love to listen to on the radio. If someone doesn't like The Prairie Home Companion, I pretty much have a clue that there is a gaping hole in their soul. . .

Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides

Jon Armstrong sent me a link to this article from the non-partisan political news siteCapitol Hill Blue. I have a read a number of articles over the years about something called Dry Drunk Syndrome and if the alcoholic doesn't deal with the reasons why they drink, they still continue a lot of the negative behaviors they exhibited when they drank. Not sure if that is what is going on here or what. I do know that if this article is indeed true, it is not really a very Presidential or Christian way to behave. I don't think saying, “I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch! She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!” would score very high on the What Would Jesus Do poll. Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides By DOUG THOMPSON Aug 25, 2005, 06:19 While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him. “I’m not meeting again with that goddamned bitch,” Bush screamed at aides who suggested he meet again with Cindy Sheehan, the war-protesting mother whose son died in Iraq. “She can go to hell as far as I’m concerned!” Bush flashes the bird, something aides say he does often and has been doing since his days as governor of Texas. Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.” White House insiders say Bush is growing increasingly bitter over mounting opposition to his war in Iraq. Polls show a vast majority of Americans now believe the war was a mistake and most doubt the President’s honesty. “Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.” Bush, while setting up for a photo op for signing the recent CAFTA bill, flipped an extended middle finger to reporters. Aides say the President often “flips the bird” to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to “go to hell” or to “go fuck yourself.” His habit of giving people the finger goes back to his days as Texas governor, aides admit, and videos of him doing so before press conferences were widely circulated among TV stations during those days. A recent video showing him shooting the finger to reporters while walking also recently surfaced. Bush’s behavior, according to prominent Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Justin Frank, author of “Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President,” is all too typical of an alcohol-abusing bully who is ruled by fear. To see that fear emerges, Dr. Frank says, all one has to do is confront the President. “To actually directly confront him in a clear way, to bring him out, so you would really see the bully, and you would also see the fear,” he says. Dr. Frank, in his book, speculates that Bush, an alcoholic who brags that he gave up booze without help from groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, may be drinking again. “Two questions that the press seems particularly determined to ignore have hung silently in the air since before Bush took office,” Dr. Frank says. “Is he still drinking? And if not, is he impaired by all the years he did spend drinking? Both questions need to be addressed in any serious assessment of his psychological state.” Last year, Capitol Hill Blue learned the White House physician prescribed anti-depressant drugs for the President to control what aides called “violent mood swings.” As Dr. Frank also notes: “In writing about Bush's halting appearance in a press conference just before the start of the Iraq War, Washington Post media critic Tom Shales speculated that ‘the president may have been ever so slightly medicated.’” Dr. Frank explains Bush’s behavior as all-to-typical of an alcoholic who is still in denial: “The pattern of blame and denial, which recovering alcoholics work so hard to break, seems to be ingrained in the alcoholic personality; it's rarely limited to his or her drinking,” he says. “The habit of placing blame and denying responsibility is so prevalent in George W. Bush's personal history that it is apparently triggered by even the mildest threat.” © Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Okay, well. . . yeah. This sucks ass.

Before I left for London this spring I went to my OB/GYN to do my yearly exam, which is always a blast. My pap came back with some "abnormalities" (which I know happens to everybody) and he wanted to do a Colposcopy. Problem is they weren't able to fit me in before I left. I called and they said that it wouldn't be a big deal to do it when I came back. I come back and because so much time had passed, my doc suggested that we just do another pap and then see if the test was still recommended. Guess who gets to have her you know what stuck under a microscope and biopsies taken of her cervix? I should have just had the test a couple of weeks ago. Now, I need to try and get in ASAP. I leave my job in a month (Jesus, it will be so nice to not have to stay at a job I hate just because there is good medical insurance) so this needs to be somewhat sorted before I leave. I am sure it will be all fine. And if it isn't fine. . . If it is not fine, they have doctors over there too. What I am worried about actually isn't cervical cancer. I'm scared I am presenting with something else. A few years ago I had massive pain in my jaw. I was tired all the time and was taking 15-20 over the counter painkillers just to get through the day. I thought I had the cavity from hell so I went to the dentist-- but no cavity. My dentist sent me to an endodontist because she thought I might need a root canal. The endodontist said I didn't need a root canal. He sent me to an oral surgeon because he thought I might have TMJ. The oral surgeon said that I didn't have TMJ but that there was an odd blob mass thing coming up in my x-ray and he wanted to operate to remove and biopsy it. Big fun. But I got a lot of vicadin out of the entire experience. Turns out that it wasn't cancer. . . Big Yeah! Bad news was it was Langerhans cell histiocytosis a disease so rare my oncologist barely remembered it being discussed in Medical School. (If you want a lesson in fear, sit in the waiting room of people who are really ill then go talk to your doctor and realize you know more about your disease than she does. She wouldn't even speak to a expert in LCH who offered to consult with her-- Dr. Kenneth McClain). Fucking doctors and their fucking egos. Anyway. Basically the disease is certain kinds of white blood cells go nutty. The cells multiply excessively and cause various not fun things. But it isn't cancer. I had more tests than someone in their early 30's wants to deal with and at the end of it we couldn't find anything else so they said that it looked like a one time dealio and that I was in remission and sent me on my way. Knowing that you might present again prickles in the back of your head. Not that I am that stressed about it. The disease is typically not fatal in adults- is more so with children. I'm not really freaked out right now. Just mildly freaked out. I realized this reads like I am extremely freaked out. I would say on the freak-out scale I am at a good solid 4. I am concerned, but not insane. It's just between trying to find homes for the cats, trying to be a bit thinner so I don't look like a gum ball in my dress, thinking about the move, being worried about cash, planning the wedding, just plain stress from leaving my life here. . . well this could push me into a bit of crying if I let it. I know this will be nothing. And even if it is something it will be dealt with and if I have to deal with it in London I will. I just really rather not deal with this bullshit. Can’t I just dump everything in the dumpster, quit my job, get hitched, hop on a plane and not have any fucking drama? It seems like a reasonable goddamn request. Just keep swimming. . . just keep swimming. . .

Monday, August 29, 2005

Wedding favors

Haribo Gummy Frogs I just spent over $300.00 ordering candy for my wedding favors. I was going to do chocolate covered espresso beans which would have cost me only $50.00 but then I had to go and get creative with the bright idea of Pez. So my guests will have Muppet Pez, Tropical Punch Pop Rocks,Bazooka gum, Tootsie Pops and Haribo Gummy Frogs. Going to dump them in little red organza bags and tie them up with little personalized tags. Think that they are funny- candy from when I was a kid. As long as they aren't candy from when I was a kid. . .

The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation

The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation by Frank Rich ANOTHER week in Iraq, another light at the end of the tunnel. On Monday President Bush saluted the Iraqis for "completing work on a democratic constitution" even as the process was breaking down yet again. But was anyone even listening to his latest premature celebration? We have long since lost count of all the historic turning points and fast-evaporating victories hyped by this president. The toppling of Saddam's statue, "Mission Accomplished," the transfer of sovereignty and the purple fingers all blur into a hallucinatory loop of delusion. One such red-letter day, some may dimly recall, was the adoption of the previous, interim constitution in March 2004, also proclaimed a "historic milestone" by Mr. Bush. Within a month after that fabulous victory, the insurgency boiled over into the war we have today, taking, among many others, the life of Casey Sheehan. It's Casey Sheehan's mother, not those haggling in Baghdad's Green Zone, who really changed the landscape in the war this month. Not because of her bumper-sticker politics or the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus, but because the original, stubborn fact of her grief brought back the dead the administration had tried for so long to lock out of sight. With a shove from Pat Robertson, her 15 minutes are now up, but even Mr. Robertson's antics revealed buyer's remorse about Iraq; his stated motivation for taking out Hugo Chávez by assassination was to avoid "another $200 billion war" to remove a dictator. In the wake of Ms. Sheehan's protest, the facts on the ground in America have changed almost everywhere. The president, for one, has been forced to make what for him is the ultimate sacrifice: jettisoning chunks of vacation to defend the war in any bunker he can find in Utah or Idaho. In the first speech of this offensive, he even felt compelled to take the uncharacteristic step of citing the number of American dead in public (though the number was already out of date by at least five casualties by day's end). For the second, the White House recruited its own mom, Tammy Pruett, for the president to showcase as an antidote to Ms. Sheehan. But in a reversion to the president's hide-the-fallen habit, the chosen mother was not one who had lost a child in Iraq. It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place. When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate. Instead, two conservative Republicans - actually talking about Iraq instead of Ms. Sheehan, unlike the rest of their breed - stepped up to fill this enormous vacuum: Chuck Hagel and Henry Kissinger. Both pointedly invoked Vietnam, the war that forged their political careers. Their timing, like Ms. Sheehan's, was impeccable. Last week Mr. Bush started saying that the best way to honor the dead would be to "finish the task they gave their lives for" - a dangerous rationale that, as David Halberstam points out, was heard as early as 1963 in Vietnam, when American casualties in that fiasco were still inching toward 100. And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years. For his part, Mr. Hagel backed up his assertion that we are bogged down in a new Vietnam with an irrefutable litany of failure: "more dead, more wounded, less electricity in Iraq, less oil being pumped in Iraq, more insurgency attacks, more insurgents coming across the border, more corruption in the government." Mr. Kissinger no doubt counts himself a firm supporter of Mr. Bush, but in Washington Post this month, he drew a damning lesson from Vietnam: "Military success is difficult to sustain unless buttressed by domestic support." Anyone who can read a poll knows that support is gone and is not coming back. The president's approval rating dropped to 36 percent in one survey last week. What's left is the option stated bluntly by Mr. Hagel: "We should start figuring out how we get out of there." He didn't say how we might do that. John McCain has talked about sending more troops to rectify our disastrous failure to secure the country, but he'll have to round them up himself door to door. As the retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey reported to the Senate, the National Guard is "in the stage of meltdown and in 24 months we'll be coming apart." At the Army, according to The Los Angeles Times, officials are now predicting an even worse shortfall of recruits in 2006 than in 2005. The Leo Burnett advertising agency has been handed $350 million for a recruitment campaign that avoids any mention of Iraq. Among Washington's Democrats, the only one with a clue seems to be Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin senator who this month proposed setting a "target date" (as opposed to a deadline) for getting out. Mr. Feingold also made the crucial observation that "the president has presented us with a false choice": either "stay the course" or "cut and run." That false choice, in which Mr. Bush pretends that the only alternative to his reckless conduct of the war is Ms. Sheehan's equally apocalyptic retreat, is used to snuff out any legitimate debate. There are in fact plenty of other choices echoing about, from variations on Mr. Feingold's timetable theme to buying off the Sunni insurgents. But don't expect any of Mr. Feingold's peers to join him or Mr. Hagel in fashioning an exit strategy that might work. If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games. The Democrats are hoping that if they do nothing, they might inherit the earth as the Bush administration goes down the tubes. Whatever the dubious merits of this Kerryesque course as a political strategy, as a moral strategy it's unpatriotic. The earth may not be worth inheriting if Iraq continues to sabotage America's ability to take on Iran and North Korea, let alone Al Qaeda. As another politician from the Vietnam era, Gary Hart, observed last week, the Democrats are too cowardly to admit they made a mistake three years ago, when fear of midterm elections drove them to surrender to the administration's rushed and manipulative Iraq-war sales pitch. So now they are compounding the original error as the same hucksters frantically try to repackage the old damaged goods. IN the new pitch there are no mushroom clouds. Instead we get McCarthyesque rhetoric accusing critics of being soft on the war on terrorism, which the Iraq adventure has itself undermined. Before anyone dare say Vietnam, the president, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld drag in the historian David McCullough and liken 2005 in Iraq to 1776 in America - and, by implication, the original George W. to ours. Before you know it, Ahmad Chalabi will be rehabilitated as Ben Franklin. The marketing campaign will crescendo in two weeks, on the anniversary of 9/11, when a Defense Department "Freedom Walk" will trek from the site of the Pentagon attack through Arlington National Cemetery to a country music concert on the Mall. There the false linkage of Iraq to 9/11 will be hammered in once more, this time with a beat: Clint Black will sing "I Raq and Roll," a ditty whose lyrics focus on Saddam, not the Islamic radicals who actually attacked America. Lest any propaganda opportunity be missed, Arlington's gravestones are being branded with the Pentagon's slogans for military campaigns, like Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Associated Press reported last week - a historic first. If only the administration had thought of doing the same on the fallen's coffins, it might have allowed photographs. Even though their own poll numbers are in a race to the bottom with the president's, don't expect the Democrats to make a peep. Republicans, their minds increasingly focused on November 2006, may well blink first. In yet another echo of Vietnam, it's millions of voters beyond the capital who will force the timetable for our inexorable exit from Iraq.

Weekly Weigh in

My being bad has caught me. 150. Surprised that it was high this week instead of last since I was actually good this week. Well, except for the coffee in the morning and drinking Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I need to cut out any drinking until the wedding I think. Mom said that there is a fortune of booze stashed in the closet now and I ordered more than a few cases of vino from V. Sattui. Stuart said, "All I need is some Rolling Rock and I will be happy." I told him that he will have as much crap beer as he would like.

Tired

I feel terminally exhausted. Friday I saw a 9:45 show of 40-Year-Old Virgin (which is HYSTERICAL) but after staying up until 3:00 AM the day before I felt a bit a mess by the time I finally climbed in bed. Saturday I drove down to Orange to see Nate and Darren. Nate is about to start the MFA Film program in directing at Chapman. It is a bit sucky that just as they move here I am leaving. We were up until wee hours of the morning talking and laughing. Sunday I woke up early and had lunch with Janelle. We were supposed to go to Sunset Junction later, but it was so hot I really couldn't be bothered. And I was feeling a bit blue. Missing Stuart. He was missing me too. I had some messages waiting for me on my machine. I will be so glad when the next three months are over.

Good Night, And Good Luck

I saw the preview forGood Night, And Good Luck today and I am as excited about seeing this movie as I am for Harry Potter. I may need to buy the one sheet before I run away. I love the fact that David Strathairn, such a talented actor is playing Edward R. Murrow . The entire cast rocks. I love that Clooney shot it in black and white. I love the subject matter. A film about McCarthyism is an excellent metaphor for our current times. I may be all wet, but I have good feelings about this flick.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pingu

My adorable fiancé just called me and said the sweetest things. Made me get teary. He said all these sweet things and then he needed to balance the chemistry equation. He said that I have a Pingu walk. I didn't know what Pingu was but after a quick bit of research, I see that he is right. I do have a Pingu walk. I do this bouncy thing and I walk really fast. It is problematic when I have a coffee because I usually splash it all over myself like I am in the throws of an epileptic fit. I try to avoid white clothing for this reason. Thinking of white, I have been sucked into the wedding industrial complex and I am wearing a white dress. (Albeit with a red sash). I found a bridesmaid dress I like and they are going to make alterations for me to make it more Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face-ish. I think we should have a pool to see how long I can go without spilling red wine on myself on my wedding day. I remember when I was seven, I had one of those existential freak out moments- realizing I exist and the odds of me being me are far fewer than never being at all. When I think through the dominos of my life or the triggers and heaps if I may use the term from Backwards and Forwards, it is amazing to see how I got here. All those little places that if I zigged instead of zagged and my life would have been wildly different. I wonder about those alternative lives sometimes. Is she happy? Not that it matters because I am so happy in this moment. Pingu walk and all. . .

Friday, August 26, 2005

Giving Gifts

I love to give gifts. Not just any gift. For me one of the joys of getting to know a person is discovering things they dig, then matching gifts to that person. I’m really good at it. I will usually spend more than is reasonable to get the perfect present. It upsets my mother, but I didn’t see her complaining too hard the year she got earrings from Tiffany. One year, my friend Mike mentioned that he was reading some short stories of his great –great-great something or other grandfather, the 1933 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Ivan Bunin. I found a English first edition of one of his books for Mike’s Christmas present. Another year, Joe mentioned that he was looking for a bag- something that he could easily fit books and scripts into. I found the perfect one. Dan loves Gabriel Garcia Marquez so I found an English 1st Edition of Love in the Time of Cholera. (I think the first line of Cholera is even more amazing than Solitude. “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” Ah, it kills me every time I read it.) Yes, we are book people. Stuart likes to give gifts too and is also fantastic at it. This one day in London he told me to meet him in the stairwell at work and he gave me a lovely bracelet that sets off metal detectors when I fly. It makes a little tinkling sound when I move my wrist and it makes me think of him. The problem is. . . he hates receiving gifts. He had told me this before but I didn’t think he was serious. I figured when he witnessed my gift giving kung-fu, he would be fine. Yesterday I was shopping online for Stuart’s wedding present. He likes antiquities and I found a great Web site that sells them www.medusa-art.com. I found a Late Ptomaic Period 664-30 BC stone frog that represents the goddess Heket. I thought, “perfecto!” I love frogs. He likes really really old shit. Wedding present that is both these things. Kismet. I was up late last night and when he came on IM I first teased him by telling him that I was going to drag him to Disneyland when he flies here for the wedding. (I wouldn't really do that to him.) That didn't go over so well. Then I teased him with the knowledge that I had bought his present. Cut To: He really doesn’t like getting gifts. Really. He hates gifts. There must be a word for this. And there must also be a word for the frustration of the person that loves to give gifts that can’t because the object of their gift giving hates gifts. We had a rather heated IM exchange—not helped by the fact that I had a bottle of wine for dinner. (I got home at 9:30 and had intended to have a steak, salad and a one glass of wine for dinner, but a friend called needing to chat and after being on the phone for over an hour it was too late to eat so it seemed a reasonable decision at the time to drink the entire bottle.) I must say that Stu didn’t get angry with me, just frustrated. I didn’t get to bed until after 3:00 AM. The alarm this morning at 6:30-7 came rather early. Condos could be built in the bags under my eyes. I look like a chubby Ileana Douglas. I am going to keep the frog. But in my mind it is a wedding gift. He can call it what he wants. I am going to try and respect his anti-gift wishes. Part of loving someone is putting up the things that make you want to murder them. I told him I am going to put, "We loved him even though he was a incredible pain in the ass" on his headstone. And once in a while I am going to do it anyway. A gift will be purchased. It will be wrapped. It will be given with love. If he can't handle that part of me that incites murderous thoughts? Well. . .He can murder me.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Henry Ford

One of my coworkers included a Henry Ford quote on a e-mail that he sent out to the team. I replied adding a bit to it. . . Henry Ford: Teamwork Quotes "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success" Henry said as he wrote out a check to the Nazi party. . .

Goblet of Fire Preview

Joe found a Goblet of Fire preview on a French site. C'est très fantasic. And the American one doesn't suck either. I will get to see this in London. So excited.

Lack of Accountability

Woman: How do you write women so well? Melvin: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability. -Jack in As Good As it Gets I am wildly stressed out. I have the complexion of a teenager. I was absolutely fine then between hormones, crap I have been eating and high stress. . . I am going to be a fat pimply bride. Stuart will take one look at my fat ass and blotchy face and he will say. “Well. Now that I think of it, this doesn’t seem such a good idea.” I got a facial yesterday so hopefully it will clear up. The esthetician had this adorable Yorkshire accent. She kept calling me "Love." I used to get massages from a woman that got feelings about things. She would read your aura and base the essential oils she used on you on what she sensed you needed. I always felt like she could read my mind, which made the massage a more stressful experience that it should have been. Once she said, "I get the sense that you are really hard on yourself." This made me a little uncomfortable because I knew she was right but I retorted, "Isn't everyone?" "Yeah, but I get the sense that you are really hard on yourself." I think the world would be a better place if more people were hard on themselves. If more people were accountable for their corner of the world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

FUBAR

I came to a decision last week that even if were offered the position that I applied for in the UK that I wouldn't take it. Given some things that I know are coming up, I didn't want to deal with high work drama when I am dealing with so many life drama issues. . . International move, wedding, controlling my urge to throttle my alcoholic sister for what she is doing to her son and my mother. . . Best decision I ever made. I came in this morning and NOTHING works. External and internal systems down. . . down. . . down. . . The thought of walking out the door on September 30th and not being stressed out by this place and the systems being down every time we do a launch fills me with glee. GLEE! I have already composed my Sayonara e-mail. (I think I may be ready to leave.) I've removed all references to my company name. Any work people that read this, I won't be sending this out for another month. It is with: A. deep regret B. indifference C. utter unadulterated joy that I announce I am taking my stapler and leaving. I’ve decided to leave to: A. spend more time with my family. B. sell oranges on the side of the road. C. go to Google. D. join the French Foreign Legion. E. become a professional killer. F. bowl midgets. G. sell Star Maps. H. get a job writing something besides business e-mails so my 90K in student loans is not quite as pathetic and sad. I. run for President of the United States. J. get married to someone I just met, move to the UK and celebrate the Christmas holidays in Budapest eating borscht. It is amazing to me that I have blinked and BLAM- six years gone. What shocks me the most about the last few years is: A. (removed because it names my company) B. How many gray hairs I have. C. Scott Carlson hasn’t recently put on a dress. D. All the above. I will miss: A. Michael Amezcua’s beef jerky. Wait. That sounded wrong. B. The annoying questions Tommy “Why” Lee asks C. Some amazing, talented, kind people. I hope you know who you are. D. All the above. I will not miss: A. Replication delays. B. The elevators C. (The name of a evil client which I have removed to protect him) D. All the above. Please, A. don’t be a stranger. B. do not contact me under any circumstances. C. feel free to come visit the land that modern dentistry forgot. I’ll buy you a pint and some crisps. You can reach me at: A. I can’t be reached. Please don’t try. I never really liked you. You scare me. B. I can’t be reached. I suffer from technophobia. It has been necessary for me to be severely medicated to do this gig the last six years. That’s why you saw me sobbing in the bathroom like Holly Hunter in Broadcast News. Please leave me in peace. Unless you have a homing pigeon. I can communicate with pigeons. I like pigeons. C. travelingtreefrog236@yahoo.co.uk. I wish: A. for a pony. B. that zombies attack you in the dead of night and chew your face off. C. you all the best. And so: A. Take care, B. Cheers, C. Bite Me, A. Nicole B. Nic C. The Finance Liaison Nazi

I am a book whore

"Hello. My name is Nicole." "Hi Nicole!" "I am a bookaholic." I just shipped all of my stuff to the UK. Boxes and boxes of mostly books. Novels, non-fiction, fiction, cookbooks. . . you name it- I may very well have it. Last Tuesday I bought a copy of, We Thought You Would Be Prettier : True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive by Laurie Notaro because I love her stuff and she makes me giggle. (I need to write her a "I am a huge fan and if you ever want to get drunk together, it will be a blast" letter.) I'm already done reading it if course. The way I read I consumed it in two days and that is only with reading on my lunch hour and for the few hours I was at the airport high on a couple of bloody marys. Today I bought The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction. Now it must be said. I have been waiting for AGES for someone to by me America. I thought I would get it for Christmas but no go. I thought someone would buy it on my birthday but zipporeno- so today, I bought the book I have wanted for months. My restraint should be commended because beyond the politics being right up my proverbial alley, Jon Stewart is my number one celebrity crush. He even beats out George Clooney and John Cusack. My crush goes back to 1999 when he was in a sweet but forgettable flick called Playing by Heart. It's funny that he ends up with Stuart's number one celebrity crush, Gillian Anderson in that movie. AnyWAY. After that movie I was a goner. And then when he got the Daily Show gig. . . forgetaboutit. Maybe I just have a thing for short Jews. I also had a crush on Rob Morrow during the Northern Exposure years for a long time. Now, I know that my celebrity crush will go nowhere. One, he is married. Two, he has a small child. Three. I am not an insane stalker and I know that liking the look of someone and respecting their work does not mean diddley. (God help me if I ever meet him though. I will be a simpering idiot.) But that is not the point of this post. The point, my dear darling reader is, "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL AM I DOING BUYING ANY BOOKS???!!! I am moving to London. I need to schlep this shit across the Atlantic." There must be something wrong with me. . . Beyond the obvious I mean. . . But really. . . There MUST be. Today I read about this book and I considered buying it, It nearly weighs five pounds. I need electric shock therapy.

Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans

Okay. . . eww. Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans By DAVID PACE, Associated Press Writer ARLINGTON, Va. - Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts. Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names. The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served. Families are supposed to have final approval over what goes on the tombstones. That hasn't always happened. Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said "Operation Iraqi Freedom" ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval. "I was a little taken aback," Robert McCaffrey said, describing his reaction when he first saw the operation name on Patrick's tombstone. "They certainly didn't ask my wife; they didn't ask me." He said Patrick's widow told him she had not been asked either. "In one way, I feel it's taking advantage to a small degree," McCaffrey said. "Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact." The owner of the company that has been making gravestones for Arlington and other national cemeteries for nearly two decades is uncomfortable, too. "It just seems a little brazen that that's put on stones," said Jeff Martell, owner of Granite Industries of Vermont. "It seems like it might be connected to politics." The Department of Veterans Affairs says it isn't. "The headstone is not a PR purpose. It is to let the country know and the people that visit the cemetery know who served this country and made the country free for us," VA official Steve Muro said. Since 1997, the government has been paying for virtually everything inscribed on the gravestones. Before that, families had to pay the gravestone makers separately for any inscription beyond the basics. It wasn't until the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 that the department instructed national cemetery directors and funeral homes across the country to advise families of fallen soldiers and Marines that they could have operation names like "Enduring Freedom" or "Iraqi Freedom" included on the headstones. VA officials say neither the Pentagon nor White House exerted any pressure to get families to include the operation names. They say families always had the option of including information like battle or operation names, but didn't always know it. "It's just the right thing to do and it always has been, but it hasn't always been followed," said Dave Schettler, director of the VA's memorial programs service. VA officials say they don't know how many families of the more than 2,000 soldiers and Marines who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan have opted to include the operation names. At Arlington, the nation's most prestigious national cemetery, all but a few of the 193 gravestones of Iraq and Afghanistan dead carry the operation names. War casualties are also buried in many of the 121 other national cemeteries and numerous state and private graveyards. The interment service supervisor at Arlington, Vicki Tanner, said cemetery representatives show families a mock-up of the headstone with "Operation Iraqi Freedom" or "Operation Enduring Freedom" already included, and ask their approval. Former Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam and headed the Veterans Administration under President Carter, called the practice "a little bit of glorified advertising." "I think it's a little bit of gilding the lily," Cleland said, while insisting that he's not criticizing families who want that information included. "Most of the headstones out there at Arlington and around the nation just say World War II or Korea or Vietnam, one simple statement," he said. "It's not, shall we say, a designated theme or a designated operation by somebody in the Pentagon. It is what it is. And I think there's power in simplicity." The Pentagon in the late 1980s began selecting operation names with themes that would help generate public support for conflicts. Gregory C. Sieminski, an Army officer writing in a 1995 Army War College publication, said the Pentagon decision to call the 1989 invasion of Panama "Operation Just Cause" initiated a trend of naming operations "with an eye toward shaping domestic and international perceptions about the activities they describe." Mainline veterans groups are taking the change in stride. American Legion spokesman Donald Mooney said the organization hasn't heard any complaints from its members. "I'm concerned that we do what the families want," said Bob Wallace, executive director of Veterans of Foreign Wars. "I don't think there's any critical motivation behind this."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Harry Potter Plot

This is really funny and an excellent example of how both stories are the classic Hero's Journey. (Joseph Campbell, Jung, etc, etc. . .)

Groovy Blog

I found a fantastic blog today. Paige Pooler is an illustrator and her stuff is really fabulous. A special thank you to her because she explains in one of her posts how to put a banner on your blog . . .so I was able to play with the html to put sleepy lamb in my banner.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Police knew Brazilian was 'not bomb risk'

Tony Thompson, Martin Bright , Gaby Hinsliff and Tom Phillips in Gonzaga, Brazil Sunday August 21, 2005 Observer Police officers from the team involved in the fatal shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes did not believe he posed 'an immediate threat'. Senior sources in the Metropolitan Police have told The Observer that members of the surveillance team who followed de Menezes into Stockwell underground station in London felt that he was not about to detonate a bomb, was not armed and was not acting suspiciously. It was only when they were joined by armed officers that his threat was deemed so great that he was shot seven times. Sources said that the surveillance officers wanted to detain de Menezes, but were told to hand over the operation to the firearms team. The two teams have fallen out over the circumstances surrounding the incident, raising fresh questions about how the operation was handled. A police source said: 'There is no way those three guys would have been on the train carriage with him [de Menezes] if they believed he was carrying a bomb. Nothing he did gave the surveillance team the impression that he was carrying a device.' Last night, Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair admitted he was told that shooting created 'a difficulty'. In an interview with the News of the World, Blair said that an officer came to him the day after the shooting and said the equivalent of 'Houston, we have a problem'. 'He didn't use those words but he said "We have some difficulty here, there is a lack of connection". 'I thought "That's dreadful, what are we going to do about that?".' The Observer can also reveal that the de Menezes family was offered £15,000 after the shooting. The ex gratia payment, which does not affect legal action by the family or compensation, is a fraction of the $1 million (£560,000) reported to have been offered the family. Police yesterday denied they had made the offer, which the family has described as 'offensive'. Members of the firearms unit are said to be furious that de Menezes was not properly identified when he left his flat, the first problem in the chain of events that led to the Brazilian's death. Specialist officers with the firearms team active that day had received training in how to deal with suicide bombers. A key element was advice that a potential bomber will detonate at the first inkling he has been identified. They are trained to react at the first sign of any action. The Observer now understands that seconds before the firearms team entered the tube train carriage, a member of the surveillance squad using the codename Hotel 3 moved to the doorway and shouted: 'He's in here.' De Menezes, in all likelihood alarmed by the activity, stood and moved towards the doorway. He was grabbed and pushed back to his seat. The first shots were then fired while Hotel 3 was holding him. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to investigate if the firearms officers, with only seconds to decide whether to shoot, mistakenly interpreted de Menezes's movement as an aggressive act. For the firearms officers involved in the death to avoid any legal action, they will have to state that they believed their lives and those of the passengers were in immediate danger. Such a view is unlikely to be supported by members of the surveillance unit. For reasons as yet unclear, members of the firearms team have yet to submit their own account of the events to the IPCC. The two members of the team believed to have fired the fatal shots are known to have gone on holiday immediately after the shooting. In one case, the holiday had been pre-booked, in the other the leave was authorised by Blair, who yesterday received the backing of the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke: 'I am very happy with the conduct, not only of Sir Ian Blair, but the whole Metropolitan Police in relation to this inquiry.' Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the accuracy of the police intelligence that led to the raid on the block of flats occupied by de Menezes. It was initially suggested that the flat was connected to the man known as Hussein Osman, who was arrested in Italy. On the Saturday after the shooting, officers raided the flat in a high-profile operation watched by the world's media. As a result, a man, identified only as 'C', was arrested 'on suspicion of the commission, instigation or preparation of acts of terrorism'. But he was released on 30 July with no charge, raising the possibility that the flats had no connection with the bombings. The IPCC is also expected to look into selective briefings to the media over the days following the shootings. The parents of de Menezes said they have rejected all financial offers made by the police. 'I feel hurt and offended,' Jean's mother, Maria Otoni de Menezes, told The Observer this weekend. 'I didn't think it was right to talk about money so soon after my son's death.' One document seen by The Observer and handed to the family on 1 August by the Met's assistant deputy commissioner, John Yates, sets out a final settlement, on top of an agreement to pay repatriation and legal fees. 'The MPS offers £15,000 by way of compensation to you for the death of Jean Charles,' says the document, dated 27 July. 'This ... extra gratia paymen ... means it is paid without any consideration of legal liability or responsibility.' Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

Comment Spam

I am annoyed and bit surprised by a new way spammers try and get people to randomly click on their shit. I've had a few comments posted like: Anonymous said... Very nice blog. Best Wishes to you Payday Loans Cash Advance Debt Consolidation 5:37 AM and. . . Anonymous said... The essence of a blog can be many things. You have certainly captured at least one of them. It will be interesting to see how your blog evolves over time. The nascar scanner site. 5:48 AM Like someone is stupid enough to click on hyperlinks in a comment. I erase the dumb things but they still make me grumpy.

Pizza and Random Celebrity Sightings

Had a celebrity sighting today which isn’t unusual in Los Angeles. I was walking on Larchmont to get some pizza from Village Pizza because I figured I had fallen so far off my diet I might as well have some of the best pizza in LA. I am a bit of a pizza snob. I’m one of those annoying people that doesn’t consider Pizza Hut to be pizza. Dough, sauce and cheese does not equal pizza. It is barely food. Sitting outside at one of the restaurants was Peter Dinklage. He looked right at me and I looked right at him and I managed to control myself from shrieking, “I love you!” The first thing I ever saw him in was Living In Oblivion (which is a really great little movie if you haven’t seen it) and I think it is a sin that he wasn’t nominated forThe Station Agent. I’ve only attacked a celebrity once. I was in the Apple store in Old Town Pasadena and Dennis Haysbert came in with a boy I assumed was his son. I wasn’t going to say anything to him then I decided what the hell. I really think he is wonderful. So I walked up to him and said, “I’m terribly sorry to bother you but I really enjoyed your work in Far From Heaven. “ He stuck out his hand and shook mine and graciously said, “Thank you.” I just really wanted to tell him how much I respected his work on that movie. He is someone else that was looked over when Oscar nominations went out. My favorite celebrity sighting occurred four years ago. I was in Quality waiting for Mike to meet me for breakfast. I was writing in my moleskine journal when he showed up. “Can I see your journal?” “What? Why?” “I want to write something.” He took my journal wrote something and handed it back to me. I looked at the page . JULIA ROBERTS --> I slowly turned to my right and there four feet from me was. . . Julia Roberts. I have always been more Inspector Clouseau than Sherlock Holmes.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Honorable Marine died in dishonorable war

This essay from the Lexington Herald-Leader made me cry. Posted on Fri, Aug. 12, 2005 By Missy Comley Beattie He is number 1,828, 1,829 or 1,830. We don't know for sure, because so many died last week. Marine Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley died when his vehicle was hit head on by a suicide bomber. His death admits his family to a club no one wants to join: the grieving, questioning families who have heard the dreaded ring of the doorbell followed by a messenger's words, "We regretfully inform you that your son ..." You realize that nothing you've thought, done or felt has prepared you for this reality. The feeling is so much worse than a broken heart. It is an evisceration. As I write, Chase is being flown to Dover Air Force Base. His 6-foot-4 body is in a coffin draped with the American flag. He loved his family, his country, his Sayre classmates and his life, but we don't think he loved his mission in Iraq. When he was recruited, he told us he would be deployed to Japan. He called every week when he wasn't in the field to tell us he was counting the days until his return. He tried to sound upbeat, probably for our benefit, but his father could detect in Chase's voice more than a hint of futility and will never say, "my son died doing what he loved." For those of you who still trust the Bush administration -- and your percentage diminishes every day -- let me tell you that my nephew Chase Johnson Comley did not die to preserve your freedoms. He was not presented flowers by grateful Iraqis, welcoming him as their liberator. He died fighting a senseless war for oil and contracts, ensuring the increased wealth of President Bush and his administration's friends. He died long after Bush, in his testosterone-charged, theatrical, soldier-for-a-day role, announced on an aircraft carrier beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner that major combat was over. He died in a country erupting into civil war and turned into a hellhole by Bush, a place where democracy has no chance of prevailing, a country that will become a theocracy like Saudi Arabia. Have we won the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people? Apparently not. Have we spent more than half a trillion dollars -- an amount that continues to rise -- in a war that King Abdullah advised Bush against because it would disrupt the Middle East? Apparently so. Consider what the money spent on this could have done for health care, our children's education or a true humanitarian intervention in Sudan. And then think about Bush's inauguration. Picture the lavish parties, the couture gown worn by Laura Bush. And imagine the cost of the security for the event. And then think about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he visits our troops. Picture his heavily armored vehicle, a machine impregnable to almost anything the insurgents toss in its path, while our troops are not provided sufficient armor to survive an improvised explosive device. Think of the mismanagement of this entire war effort. Consider what we've lost. Too much. Think of what we've gained. Nothing. And think of someone who says, "We will not cut and run," but who did just that years ago when he was called. Think about a man who speaks about a culture of life when the words fit a wedge issue such as abortion or the right to die when medical effort has failed. Then think about this war, Bush's not-so-intelligently designed culture of death. Think, too, about naming a campaign "Shock and Awe" as if it's a movie and, therefore, unreal. And then think that this, perhaps. is one of the problems. For many Americans, the war is an abstraction. But it is not an abstraction for the innocent Iraqis whose lives have been devastated by our smart bombs. And it certainly is not an abstraction for those of us who have heard the words that change lives forever. So think of my family's grief -- grief that will never end. Think of all the families. Think of the wounded, the maimed, the psychologically scarred. And then consider: The preservation of our freedom rests not on U.S. imperialism but on actively changing foreign policies that are conquest-oriented and that dehumanize our own young who become fodder for endless war as well as people in other countries who are so geographically distant that they become abstract. The answer is not Bush's mantra: "They're jealous of our freedoms." And, finally, think about flowers: The flowers for Chase Comley will be presented not by grateful Iraqis but by loved ones honoring him as he's lowered to his grave and buried in our hearts. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Missy Comley Beattie of New York is the aunt of Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley of Lexington who was killed in Iraq last weekend.

Weekly Weigh in

149. I have been very bad. Copious amounts of ice cream have been consumed.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jeffery Scrotum Bag Barnes

Having worked in customer service this cracks me up. On the other end, Comcast is my cable company and there is a special level in hell for some of the people that I talked to from there. . . . Woman Gets Cable Bill With Derogatory Name LaChania Govan said she got bounced around by her cable company when she called to complain. She made dozens of calls and was even transferred to a person who spoke Spanish — a language she doesn't understand. But when she got her August bill from Comcast she had no trouble understanding she'd made somebody mad. It was addressed to "Bitch Dog." "I was like you got to be freaking kidding me," said Govan, 25. "I was so mad I couldn't even cuss." Govan said the only thing she did to Comcast employees that might be considered rude came after a few dozen calls when she felt she was treated shabbily. "I did tell them, 'You know what, it has to be a qualification to work for your company that you have to be rude,'" she said. Govan said she talked to a supervisor and he offered her two months free service, which she turned down. Finally Wednesday, about two weeks after she got her bill, somebody from the company left a message on her answering machine in which the caller apologized. Comcast officials said it shouldn't have happened. "We only use the actual customers names on the bill," said Patricia Andrews-Keenan, a Comcast spokeswoman. Company officials went through the records and identified two people who were involved with the name change and fired them, Andrews-Keenan said. It's unknown why the employees did it. In another case, Peoples Energy customer Jefferoy Barnes started getting letters addressed to "Jeffery Scrotum Bag Barnes." "I had no bad words at all. I guess the earliest letter is dated in May and from then on up until now my name has been listed as Jeffery Scrotum Bag Barnes and I have no idea why." Barnes said he received an apologetic call from a company official. He also has contacted an attorney to determine if he can take legal action. A Peoples Energy spokeswoman called the letter inexcusable.

Sound and Fury. . .

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing... -Macbeth's soliloquy in act 5, scene 5 I came across a blog recently of a single mom with an alcoholic abusive ex husband that refused to pay her child support. She was struggling to make ends meet by cleaning houses and was trying to go to school to be a paralegal. She wrote for only March and April and then it stops. I felt rather ashamed that I was off in London having the time of my life while at the exact same time this woman was freaking out about just surviving. I sent her an e-mail telling her that I hope that she was okay. I haven’t heard from her. There is something very wrong that this woman is struggling as hard as she can to take care of her daughter and to put herself into a position to earn more and it isn’t enough. No health insurance, not enough food, do I pay the gas or the electric bill bullshit. It makes me feel ashamed about the stuff I whine about in my own life. I have tried to stay away from writing my own thoughts on politics. Why? To be frank, my mom reads this and there is really no need to upset her. We have come to an understanding that we fundamentally disagree and that is okay. We still love each other. So, I edit myself from raging when W takes a week of vacation for every soldier killed in Iraq. What I have done is occasionally post articles that others have composed that I think are interesting and are better written than anything I could throw together. When I was in London, there was a different worldview from American essays, which I found valuable. There have been quite a few things I have come across recently. Some old. Some new. Sadly, they all make me really blue. E.L. Doctorow’s essay, The Unfeeling President was originally published on Thursday, September 9, 2004 by the Easthampton Star / Long Island, New York. Maureen Dowd’s August 17th NY Times Op-Ed about The President’s insistence to be on vacation while things spiral even more out of control in Iraq. You will have to register to read it, but it is free. Marc Cooper’s article Sour Grapes was published in the August 12-18 edition on the LA Weekly. There have been a number of farm workers that have died this year because of the conditions that they are forced to work in. Where is the union? What have we learned since 1939 when The Grapes of Wrath was published? I can’t find an online copy of “The Recruiter’s War by Michael Bronner, so if you can pick up the September copy of Vanity Fair (You may have seen it. The one with Jennifer Aniston on the cover. And yes, that is why I bought the magazine. To read her interview. Yes, I can admit there is a part of me that is a star fucker.) But the article I am encouraging you to read is about Marine Corps recruiters. The Vanity Fair blurb: It's a different kind of hell for military recruiters "trolling" strip malls and high schools in an increasingly desperate effort to fill their quotas. With army and Marine sources, Michael Bronner lays bare a system of manipulation, fraud, and, in one case, fatal pressure. Portraits by Harry Benson. An interview with Cindy Sheehan from October 7, 2004 long before her recent attempt to speak to the President. I’m sorry, but it makes my stomach turn that he called her “Mom.” He couldn’t take the time to use his short-term memory to memorize her name and the name of her son that died? I really respect what this woman is doing, taking action. The most I have done is a few Peace Marches before the war, forwarding a bunch of e-mails, this blog, drunken conversations with other liberals where we solve world hunger, war and try to understand the popularity of Jessica Simpson, and oh yeah. I voted. (It really bothers me how many Americans choose to not vote. People have been beaten so you can vote. Gone to jail. Died. So you. Yes you. No, not the white guy with property- sit down. You were always set up. But the rest of you. You should be ashamed of yourself.) Anyway, I respect her, but I worry for her. She seems to be so consumed with hate that she hasn’t been able to mourn her son. Okay. This idiot is sound and furyed out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hello, My Name is Dumb Ass

I left my ATM card in the machine. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I need this

I will need to find something like this in London when I finally get off the boat. School offers crash soccer course for women A German adult education center is offering a women-only crash course on the basics of soccer to prepare them for next year's World Cup. The Training Center in the southern city of Nuremberg promises those who enroll in the course, entitled "Understand Soccer -- Women Want to Know Now!," an overview of the game's rules and language, as well as a potted history of some of the soccer's leading players. Nuremberg will be one of the 12 host cities for World Cup matches in 2006 and was also a venue for Confederations Cup matches in June 2005. "Ever wonder why men love soccer so much?" the school's website asks. "Do you want to know why referees call off-sides? With nothing but the World Cup on the airwaves, you now have the chance to understand what everyone's talking about." The course, taught by two women, includes an excursion to a Bundesliga match.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Addendum

Movers showed up at 7:00 PM. Really nice guys but by the time they were done at 10:30 I was ready to pass out. Stuart wanted to know how many boxes so I said 30 which is actually rather less than what it really is. He freaked slightly and kept accusing me of taking a piss. I'm going to try and arrange it so it doesn't arrive until I get there. Now I just need to sell or donate everything else and find Gordon and George a new home. . .

Evil movers from hell

I stayed up to 3:30 AM yesterday finishing my additions to the Great Tower of Crap. Movers were supposed to be here at 10:00 so I woke up at 7:00 so I could throw out a bunch of trash that you always discover that you have when you open the closets where you stuff the Christmas decorations. My plan was to go back to bed after they left. 1:30 still no movers. I call and they changed the time on me to 3-5. Fine. Whatever. Bastards. Sleep is for the week. It is now after 6PM no mover guys. My contact at Southern Wind said this company has never bailed on him before and if they don't show up they will knock some money off my quote and he will sort it that they come on a Saturday. I don't have a lot of vacation time to take and sit on my ass and get nothing flippen done. Anyhoo. I am relaxing on the sofa watching Being There, one of my favorite flicks. I have Thai food from Sanamluang. It will all work out. Eventually.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Stuff

My crap is all stacked waiting to be put in boxes and taken away by the movers. I am a little frightened by the size of it all. Especially when you consider that I am selling or giving away so much other stuff. Stu and Jen are going to shit. Garbo thought she would go exploring when the pile was in its infancy.

My apologies to Cleveland

I found out that as a joke, Stuart is telling people at his new work that I am from Cleveland. “Cleveland? You said I was from Cleveland? That is a terrible place to be from!” “I know! That is what everyone says.” My fiancé and his perverse sense of humor. Being from Vegas is bad enough. I say this having never been to Cleveland because I knew people who were from Cleveland and I am basing my assessment on their word. I did find a blog entry talking about all the cool things there so what the hell do I know. Maybe I should embrace my new Midwestern status and continue the ruse. All I can say is at least I wasn’t born in Slough like some people I know. I need to finish up my packing tonight. My flight home was delayed an hour and a half so I have a lot to do before the movers come tomorrow. I’m blasting (as much as you can blast at 11:30 at night) a new CD that came in the mail yesterday from KCRW for being an angel. (Donation level) It’s my new favorite --Free The Bees by The Bees. The Bees and The Zutons, Who Killed The Zutons are my favorite albums this year. How funny that they are both from the UK. I am sad to be home. It was too short a visit.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Weekly Weigh In

146

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Houston, we are a go

He's checked in. Gone through security. He has his food vouchers. Yes, because there is no food being served on the eleven hour flight he has fifteen quid in food vouchers to spend anywhere in the airport. He was babbling something about buying wine gums. I have no idea what wine gums are, but given this is a man that considers a Diet Coke and a pack of small cheddars a substantial breakfast and thinks laughing cow cheese and butter on a bap (white roll) is haute cuisine, it can't be at all good. I also have no clue what cheddars are, but I am inferring they are a cheesy cracker processed product goldfish thingy that is guaranteed to cause heart disease and cancer of the pancreas. I told him that if he gets off the plane strung out on sugar I am going to be fucking pissed and to buy some proper food. He said he would. I don't trust him.

Stuart Screwed Up

One of Stuart's little phrases to me that is a running joke is, "So you screwed up." He'll throw it in when I am telling a story or whenever. I usually have NOT screwed up. Today he screwed up. He called me Friday afternoon (Friday evening his time) to check the British Airways site for info about his flight. Has it been cancelled, etc. The friend he is staying with until our flat is ready lives out in BFE zone 6 and she doesn't have Internet access. The wireless network he was drafting on had gotten wise so he was shut off to the world. He called me a couple of times in the afternoon and each time was progressively more lashed. I asked him if he had set his alarm and he said he did. The plan was that he was going to call me at 6:00AM (10:00 PM for me) and I would check BA to see if the trip was a go. 10:00 PM. No Stu. I call him at 10:15. The phone rang and then went to a busy signal. I finally woke him up at 11:20. He had fallen asleep (passed out more like it) in his clothes and was still rather lashed. He's on a train now into London and he is going to catch the Heathrow Express. Crossing fingers that the Web site isn't wrong and the flight is still on and if it is still on, that he gets there in time to not get bumped. I'm kinda amused by the whole thing. My mood will change rather abruptly if he doesn't get on the plane. If he does get on the plane I hope that he brushes his teeth between now and when I see him.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Strike

Fuck-fuckity-fuck-fuck. I heard about the strike last night on NPR when I was driving home. I'm a major socialist liberal type. I'm all for workers striking in order to affect change. Years ago I didn't cross the picket line at MoMA when I was in NYC- which set off a chain of events that resulted in my breaking my ankle by catching a bad patch of pavement in Greenwich Village but I digress. But God dammit. I was supposed to be meeting up with my better half. Won't know until late tonight if our plans are still on. My friends Doug and Jamie were supposed to leave today for their vacation in London and Paris but it is off now. BA is refunding them their flight because they wouldn't be able to fly together and there was no guarantee they would be able to get on their flight home. Doug is being Zen about it. And their baby has a sinus infection right now so a ten- eleven hour flight would not be the best thing for her and other passengers.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

UNACCEPTABLE!

Belgian monks run out of the world's best beer Monks at a Belgian abbey have been forced to stop selling their famous beer after it was voted the best in the world and was promptly sold out. The abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in western Belgium is home to some 30 Cistercian and Trappist monks who lead a life of seclusion, prayer, manual labour -- and beer-brewing. A survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries on the RateBeer Web site (www.ratebeer.com) in June rated the Westvleteren 12 beer as the world's best. But the abbey only has a limited brewing capacity, and was not able to cope with the beer's sudden popularity. "Our shop is closed because all our beer has been sold out," said a message on the abbey's answering machine, which it calls the "beer phone". And the abbey has no intention of boosting its capacity to satisfy market demand. "We are not brewers, we are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks," the father abbot said on the abbey's Web site. Monk Mark Bode told De Morgen daily: "Outsiders don't understand why we are not raising production. But for us life in the abbey comes first, not the brewery."

Dove Ads

The Dove ads were out when I was in London. It was always more than a little depressing to see the comments people would scrawl on them in the tube station. In Los Angeles one of the advertising gimmicks are postcards in trendy neighborhoods of various products or Indy movies. My friend Joe cleaned them out of the Stacy postcard and said, "She is my new dream girl." Seth Stevenson in his Slate article on the Dove ads writes, "If the women in these ads lacked self-esteem, they wouldn't be up on a billboard in their skivvies. Hey, good for them. I even have a favorite Dove chick: Stacy (the student). She's the one who poses with her backside to the camera, showing off her ample bottom. I see Stacy every day—she's on the bus stop shelter next to my house. "Check out this fiiiiiiiine bedonkadonk," she seems to say to me, grinning slyly over her shoulder. I think I may have a crush on her. But I've said too much already." It is an interesting article but it closes with, "Overall Grade: D. Sadly, this is not a winning play for the long haul. If Dove keeps running ads like this, women will get bored with the feel-good, politically correct message. Eventually (though perhaps only subconsciously), they'll come to think of Dove as the brand for fat girls. Talk about "real beauty" all you want—once you're the brand for fat girls, you're toast." Can I just say something here? THESE WOMEN ARE NOT FAT! Something has happened to the idealized silhouette over the last 15 years and if you don't look like your head is a gigantic lollypop stuck on a stick figure, you are considered obese. Look at old Playboys from the 60's and 70's. Compare that to the Pamela Anderson plastic blow-up dolls that are the rage now. And we all know this, but I will say it again. . .Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 people. I know that personal taste plays into things. I once knew someone that thought that Catherine Zeta-Jones looked like a big cow in Chicago. I think he is a freak because he thinks Pamela Anderson is attractive. Zeta-Jones looked amazing in that movie. I've been fat. At my heaviest I was 200 pounds. Am I exactly where I want to be at the moment? No. But that doesn't mean I don't think I am unattractive. I also know that men find me attractive as well. If you want to see fat, pick an American town. ANY American town. Walk down the street. You will find some hefty people. Why? Personally I think the connection is tied to our addiction to fast food and sugar but what do I know. . . What I find interesting about the Dove ads is that it seems that people find them attractive and then feel like they ought not to because they aren't a negative six. We have been trained to find one silhouette more attractive than others. Take a look at the women in the first season of "Friends". They're thin. Beautiful. But compared to our current idealized esthetic they look a bit heavy don't they? Our culture is so twisted. When I get to my goal weight of 125-135 I will always have big tits and a big ass. And I am happy about that.

Grumpy People

It is funny the people who are excited for you when you do an out of character thing like get engaged quickly and the people that say sideways snarky things. One of my sisters, who has never been the cookie with the most chips, said something like, “I had my beautiful wedding and I was divorced a year later.” She slid it in to the conversation so it wasn’t obvious that it was a dig, but I am not an idiot. I held my tongue on my theories as to why her marriage failed- chief among them extreme levels of drug use by both parties and a certain mental unbalance independent of that drug use. Today someone asked me a question about my plans and my cats and one of my colleges interjected, “When I moved to Iceland I gave my cat to my parents. Cost me $700.00 to ship my stuff then I had to ship it all when I came back.” She had moved to Iceland to be with her boyfriend and then it went south. I’m sure this woman and my sister were not trying to be mean. I’m sure it is unconscious cynicism. I just want to walk into this thinking positive results and not be afraid of the potential negatives. You can’t live your life that way. I think there is one ride on this Ferris wheel and I wanna make the most of it while I’m on it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

What kind of drunk are you?

I'm So Drunk!
What Kind of Drunk Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Very bad.

I am a bad dieting person. Sunday I was over at Doug and Jamie’s watching Six Feet Under after Jamie's bowling birthday party. I really like bowling. Have only done it three times in my entire life but it's fun. Do they have bowling in the UK? They must. There were these really great lanes near where I live that they tore down to build a school. Was where they filmed The Big Lebowski. They were retro, ratty and run down with cheap beer. Had my 32nd birthday party there and it was a lot of fun. But at Doug and Jamie's after 15 days of being on the wagon I had two glasses of wine. Given that I can normally drink an entire bottle by myself, I guess that isn't bad. What is bad. . . Linda and Dog Mike are moving back to Chicago so last night we had a leaving do for Linda at The Cheese Cake Factory which is the quintessential American restaurant. Mish mash of various things with enormous portions that could feed an entire village in Guam. And as the name implies, they have cheesecake. I am addicted to their banana cream cheese cake and I succumbed. I woke up with a sugar headache. The scales still said 146 this morning but I don't believe them. Cheesecake is sneaky stuff. So no more bad stuff. Really. My co-worker Dathan thinks I am going about this all wrong. Since I am leaving soon, he things I ought to go to every restaurant that I love and eat whatever I want. This is a dangerous suggestion. My office is a hop skip and a jump from Porto's which is a Cuban bakery that has these Potato Balls that are over the moon. Mashed potato filled with seasoned ground beef, breaded, and then fried. I only had them once five years ago and I have never tried them again because I know that if I do, I will never want to eat anything else.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A little sad

I always feel a bit sad when people I don't know but respect pass away. I was really blue in June when Anne Bancroft died not only because I admire her work and spirit but also because I love Mel Brooks so much and I could only imagine the hell that he was in. This last week there have been three people whose work I respect who have died. Little Milton was an amazing Blues man. Think a blend of B.B King and Bobby Blue Bland. If you don't know Little Milton go find a copy of the song We're going to make it and you will see why he was so great. The Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer from the Buena Vista Social Club passed away this weekend. So mad that I never saw him perform. There were a number of times that he was in LA over the last few years and I never made it. Before Buena Vista Social Club he made his living shining shoes.

And last night Peter Jennings. Class act all the way. My favorite news anchor. Smart. Curious. A consummate newsman. Gentlemen- you will be missed.

Feeling Samantha

Been working on packing this weekend. Not really packing, more packing staging. The movers will actually pack the stuff for me into boxes but I need to have everything ready for them so it is easy. The clothes I am shipping are in bags in my closet and I have started to stack the books up in the corner. I will need to finish the rest of it after work this week because I am going to San Francisco this weekend. It feels odd knowing that someone will be packing my stuff. I feel slightly uncomfortable about it, yet pleased at the same time. It is also freeing knowing I am not shipping everything. The majority of my possessions are being sold on eBay, at a yard sale or donated to the Salvation Army. Knowing that the movers will be handling my stuff and detailing the contents of the boxes on a manifest has presented me with a problem that makes me feel rather Sex in the City. What am I going to do to with the sex toys? Not that I have that extensive a collection, but enough that I have a bit of a dilemma. There must be other people who have wondered how to traffic their dildos. I can't be the only one. Do I face the embarrassment of the movers or do I face the embarrassment of customs. I lean toward customs. What would Samantha do? Okay, bad idea. Samantha would put everything into her pocketbook and then take each item out one by one for the x-ray machine.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Weekly Weigh In

146

White House Denies Existance of Karl Rove

God, I love The Onion. I want to work for them when I grow up. This rare photo depicts the man Bush Administration critics are calling "Karl Rove." WASHINGTON, DC—The White House denied rumors of wrongdoing by anyone named Karl Rove Monday, saying the alleged deputy chief of staff does not exist. . "To my knowledge, no one by the name of Karl Rove works for this president, his staff, or for that matter, anyone on earth, since he is not a real person," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Monday. Despite White House denials, allegations have surfaced in recent weeks that Karl Rove is the man who leaked covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press. He is rumored to be President Bush's senior advisor, chief political strategist, architect of the president's 2000 and 2004 election victories, and the current deputy White House chief of staff, as well as a frequent guest on televised political talk shows. "None of these allegations are supported by the facts," McClellan said. "The opponents of this administration have created a mythical figure in order to discredit the president. All they have done is divert attention from the important work at hand—the war in Iraq and the war on terror. In doing so, they have dishonored the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform." "This time," he added, "the Democrats have gone too far." According to fringe journalist Lou Dubose, author of Boy Genius: Karl Rove, The Brains Behind The Remarkable Political Triumph Of George W. Bush, Rove was born Dec. 25, 1950 in Denver, CO. Dubose alleges that Rove lived in Colorado with his family until 1963, when he moved to Salt Lake City, UT. According to Dubose, the shadowy figure entered politics in college, quickly moving through the ranks to become the chairman of the College Republican National Committee at age 22. The White House has called such reports "nonsense." McClellan reiterated his denial of Karl Rove's existence 33 times during the press conference. When pressed, he distributed a list of "real, actual political figures about whom I'd be happy to comment." The list included only President George W. Bush and Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. Rumors of the figure's existence were given a boost early this month when, as part of the official investigation into the CIA leak, a Time magazine reporter named Rove as the source of the leak. "This is a very clever fiction concocted by those on the other side of the aisle," Vice President Dick Cheney said. "It's preposterous at its core." The phantom advisor has come under heavy fire in recent weeks from critics of the administration, who say he should be fired for his role in the scandal. President Bush has pledged that anyone in his administration found to be involved in the CIA leak will be dismissed. "There is no such organization as the CIA," McClellan said. "This is tinfoil-hat stuff." Initially demanding that the alleged Rove be fired, Democrats say they are now focusing their efforts on proving the figure's existence. "I believe this deputy White House chief of staff is real, despite White House claims to the contrary," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said. "But to disprove this wild ghost story, we must begin an exhaustive fact-finding mission, for which I pledge all the time and resources of the entire Democratic party."

Finally

It took three hours but I finally cleaned my iTunes up of two days playing time of music that I violently dislike. Paul had used my computer to download gobs of music around Christmas for mix CDs he made people. He took a pass at removing the things that he thought I would hate but it nowhere came near to what I needed gone. I am sure that I am going to offend someone here but I am afraid I do not get the allure of Serge Gainsbourg and how much Drum & Base, Electronic and Ethiopian tunes does a girl need really? The bad part was I wandered over to the iTunes music store and had to buy a few things. I am now happily blasting Neil Diamond.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Got the marriage dude

I hired our wedding officiant. He was really nice on the phone and he had no problem doing a civil ceremony without the G word. When I showed Stuart the guys Web site he said that he looked like Herr Flick from 'Allo 'Allo. The reference was lost on me being American but Stuart was kind enough to fill in the gaps. I don't think he looks like Herr Flick. However, I do hope that he wears a Hawaiian shirt when I suggest it.

Movies

One of my favorite things to do is to go to the movies by myself. Crazy thing is I haven't done it since March- maybe even longer. Tonight I went to see The March of the Penguins. You can't help but anthropomorphize the cute things. It is really amazing that they manage to survive. What they go through to breed is amazing. I really am amazed at some of the shots the filmmakers were able to get. The conditions on Antarctica are terrible. Good stuff. Next on my list- Junebug and Broken Flowers .

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cats

george
george,
originally uploaded by nicdthomas.
I was about to create a “free to a good home” ad onCraig’s List for my kitties when I clicked on their disclaimer which takes you to a warning from PETA.

“As you may be aware, animals given away for free can, and unfortunately often do, meet gruesome fates. They can end up in the hands of animal abusers like Barry Herbeck, a Wisconsin man who was convicted last year of torturing and killing animals he obtained through "free to good home" ads. He confessed to taking his kids with him when responding to the ads so people would be comfortable turning animals over to him. People known as "bunchers," who obtain animals illegally from random sources to sell to research facilities for profit, often acquire animals by answering "free to good home" ads. Small animals advertised as "free to good home" are sometimes acquired by individuals who intend to use them as bait in training other animals to fight. Gerbils, hamsters, and young kittens are often acquired to be used as snake food.
Animal protection organizations all over the United States work diligently to educate people about the proper procedure for placing animals and frequently assist people in finding good homes for their animals. We routinely contact individuals who place "free to good home" advertisements to alert them to the potential perils for their animals and continuously receive appreciative calls from people who say they never knew these dangers existed.”

What kind of sick fucks are out there in the world?? I have been stressing about finding a home for my babies but I never thought that there were people out there that would respond to just do this kind of sick shit. I know I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am.

How am I going to give them up?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

car

The VW dealer where I bought my beetle may buy it back from me. I called to find out if they do that and they do. I'm a bit upside down on the loan so hopefully what they will offer me will not be too ridgoddamniculous. I know it will be less than I would get if I sold it myself, but the drama of dealing with paying the loan off and all that it will be worth it to me. Unless what they offer is so beyond impossible. . . Will be nice to knock selling the car off my to do list.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Something I won't miss

Police helicopter are circling over my apartment. It sounds like a World War II dog fight out there. My first night in my building me and my boyfriend at the time woke up from being dead asleep because it sounded like they were right outside. I am happy that the Air Support Division is there because they catch the bad guys and maybe give budding bad guys pause, but I really won’t miss my neighborhood helicopters. I’ve never had a problem in my little neighborhood (I should knock on wood now) although a college friend that lived in New York City that stayed with me a few years ago said that my neighborhood made her more nervous than New York. But I’ve never had a problem and I have been paying stupid cheap rent for a one bedroom apartment so I’m not complaining. There is a part of me that has wondered if The Armenian Mob has kept my little street free from baddies. After living here eight years I get a nod and a grunt from the old Armenian men that play backgammon on the street. I really don’t have a sense of Armenian culture. Only once did I try to buy vegetables from the guy that sells things from the back of a van. I wasn’t made to feel welcome so. . . what are you going to do. The nut I would love to crack is the Armenian Wedding. Every year around now you see the same thing a few times on a Saturday afternoon. There will be all these car horns blaring. If you look out your window you will see a couple white limos parked outside one of the apartment buildings (always the same building). Everyone pours out of the limo, bride, groom, the entire wedding party. Musicians start to play—a clarinet is the lead instrument. They play this upbeat Russian/Middle Eastern/Godfatherish song. Everyone dances, holding hands around a white something that looks like a cake or a pile of tulle. At some point they have enough and they all go inside the apartment building. About fifteen minutes later they are back outside getting into the limos, again horns blaring and they drive away. I would love to know what the whole thing is about. I imagine that they do this on every street in Little Armenia, paying respect to who knows who. I will miss the Armenian Weddings.