Friday, September 30, 2005

Good Things Will Come To You

A few years ago I got a actual fortune cookie, not a statement cookie like they usually give you now. It read, "Good Things Will Come To You." I kept it posted on my desk at work and came across it yesterday when I was clearing up. Good Things Will Come To You. It's my last day today. I know there will be cake and they will be doing some something and people that like me will say goodbye and people that hate me will say goodbye and we will look at each other, our fangs bared trying hard to appear like we don't hate each other. I will cry. I know I will cry. I don't want to fucking cry. Ah, must hop in shower. You have to dress like a girl on your last day. Show last night was fantastic. The air outside smelled like a campfire because of the wildfires. Sad that when Darren and Nate are finally here I am moving away. But it is okay. . . Good Things Are Happening To Me.

The New Pornographers

Seeing The New Pornographers at The Henry Fonda tonight with Darren & Nate, Stephanie my Japanese doppelganger and her boyfriend who's name I am ashamed to say escapes me at the moment, but whom I have met and is very nice. Verrry excited about the show. Fell in love with Neko Case at the 2001 Bumbershoot Festival. I've seen her perform twice since then. Came to The New Pornographers through her and then discovered A. C. Newman's stuff and another group he put together that I LOVE that is no more, Zumpano. But tonight, nevermind the music- the company will be a good time.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Marilyn's home for Nicole's wayward cats

I have a feeling my parents are going to end up keeping George. Mom sent out an e-mail yesterday with a few pictures of him. Hi, Here is our Georgie after less then 24 hours of being in Gramie's house. Tonight while I was sitting in Gary's chair, Garbo was on the arm of the chair & George jumped on my lab to be petted. Garbo got irked & batted him on the head. He's been exploring the house and is a real curious George. Thought you'd like seeing these pictures. Marilyn

slang

Stuart keeps teasing me that I don't know Londoner slang. "Wa'? You don't know what a ruby murray is? She doesn't know what a ruby is. You've had it- loads of times. I can't believe you." "I don't know what a ruby murray is Stu." "I can't believe you! You are such a tourist." "I'm American Stu. I don't know cockney slang." "Yes, you are an American and you always will be." Did a quick bit of research because I am a clever girl and I discovered that a "ruby murray" is a curry. I called him back all pleased that I figured it out. But he had more for me. "Saw a nice whistle I might wear to the wedding." "You want to wear a whistle?" "A whistle and flute. You don't know what a whistle and flute is? Come on, it's obvious." He tortured me for some time. I now know that a whistle and flute is a suit and a kettle is a watch. But I have also been told that I cannot use this slang because it, "Would just be wrong."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Rocky Horror Wedding

In response to my warning of the use of the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in the wedding, my friend Scott e-mailed me: Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious. I was thinking that we could get the wedding guests involved in ceremony. We could all say something in unison at a particular point. Something like the band that used to play at my childhood campground did. When every time they played the line "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucile". The whole campground would yell "Bull Shit!"

DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe

Ah. . . it is a good day. DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post. DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee. "I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County district attorney today," DeLay said. The White House, meanwhile, called DeLay a "good ally," and said President Bush still considered DeLay a friend and effective leader in Congress. GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier (news, bio, voting record) of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt (news, bio, voting record) of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation. Criminal conspiracy is a state felony punishable by six months to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. The potential two-year sentence forces DeLay to step down under House Republican rules. At the White House, press secretary Scott McClellan said the president still considers DeLay "a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people." "I think the president's view is that we need to let the legal process work," McClellan said.

At least something is okay

Picked up the wedding dress. Is very pretty. I am a happy girl.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

People really suck

I got a weird feeling about the people I was giving George to when I talked to the husband, but I let it go. Sunday my mom got the same feeling and I was ready to just hop into the car and take him home. I felt better when I met both of them and assumed I was just overreacting. I told them he is a shy cat with new people and is going to need at least a few weeks to two months to chill out. They are giving up the cat. They haven't even had him 48 hours. They are upset because he is hiding all of the time. Hello! That is what cats do in new environments! Why is it that when you tell people what a situation is and they say, "Yes, yes I understand." And then that situation actually transpires they act surprised. . . I could happily steal this woman's wheelchair and leave her on the side of the road. Is that wrong? To make it worse, one of my work colleagues had a lead for me that I got the day after I told yes to this evil couple from hell. They have already adopted another cat. If I had contacted them, George would be settled. Deep sigh. I would cry if I had the energy. At least I have more ice cream at home. . .

Those wacky Victorians

Something old something new, something borrowed something Blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe! I never knew about the sixpence part until my mother mentioned to me that she is giving me the sixpence that she and my grandmother wore. At first I thought it would be my something old but after a bit of research I discovered that it is its own thing. I may just cheat and keep it that way, unless I can think of a new something old. I was going to wear diamond and sapphire earrings, but there is a bit of blue on my shoes so maybe I will look for some vintage earrings. I love that I will be using the same coin that my grandmother and mom used. Think that is sort of nifty.

the new wedding dude

We have the new wedding guy, Rev Paul and I am so excited about him. My friend Darren hooked me up with him through one of his Unitarian Universalist friends. We will be able to have a ceremony that is spiritual without the G word - something that is aligned to our personalities and interests. My only concern is that Stuart wants to give him a list of words to Rev Paul to fit into the ceremony. For those of you that will be attending, if at some point Rev Paul says, "bugger off" or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", please don't be unduly concerned.

Capote

Another flick I am excited to see is capote. Amazing cast with three of my favorite actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Katherine Keener and another John Sayles guy, Chris Cooper. Capote' Propels Hoffman to Star Status By CHRISTY LEMIRE, AP Movie Critic Tue Sep 27, 8:29 AM ET Truman Capote probably wouldn't have liked "Capote," which chronicles the period in his life when he was researching and writing "In Cold Blood," the book that influenced nonfiction scribes for decades to come. Not that there's anything wrong with the film. On the contrary — it's excellent, and surely one of the year's absolute best, with a performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman that's so simultaneously rich and subtle, they should just give him the Oscar now and get it over with. Better work this year will be hard to find. Hoffman doesn't just look like Capote in his dark-rimmed glasses and dapper suits, and he doesn't just sound like him with his lilting, high-pitched voice. He manages to embody a famous figure fully without once devolving into caricature, something it could have been easy to do in portraying someone as well-known for his idiosyncrasies as his brilliance. But Capote himself probably would have chafed at the insights into the darker parts of his character — his neediness and greed, his selfishness and questionable ethics — that director Bennett Miller and writer Dan Futterman offer in their astonishingly assured feature debut. After all, this is the man who was so fond of being fawned over that he paid a train steward to compliment him on his latest book in front of one of his best friends, Harper Lee — who would go on to garner her own unsolicited praise (along with a Pulitzer) as the writer of "To Kill a Mockingbird." This is the man who was only too happy to attest to the greatness of "In Cold Blood," drink in hand at glittering New York cocktail parties, without having finished it — or knowing how this true story would end. "This is the book I was always meant to write," Capote claims unabashedly. And he was right. But the genius of Futterman's script, adapted from Gerald Clarke's biography, is how it shows that "In Cold Blood" represented both the zenith of Capote's fame and acclaim and the beginning of his social and psychological unraveling. Like last year's "The Motorcycle Diaries" about Che Guevara, as well as this year's "Good Night, and Good Luck" about Edward R. Murrow, "Capote" functions beautifully as a snapshot of a pivotal point in a celebrity's life. In all three instances, focusing on the forces that shaped this person results in a film that's far more incisive than the cursory, greatest-hits collection that so many traditional biopics ultimately become. And what we witness of Capote at the height of his intellectual powers is a jaw-dropping spectacle of ambition, sly manipulation and delicate charm. Sitting at home in his Brooklyn brownstone in November 1959, Capote notices an article in The New York Times about four family members who were brutally slain in their rural Kansas home. He'd made a name for himself writing the glamorous "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but something about this graphic story intrigues him. Impulsively, he heads to this small town to investigate, and possibly write a magazine article. By his side is Lee, who goes by her first name, Nelle, and serves as his research assistant. And while we're discussing actors giving the performance of a lifetime, this is Catherine Keener's. Forget the cynical, acerbic roles she's best known for playing in movies like "Being John Malkovich." There's a quiet confidence to her here, a wisdom and comfort within her own skin that's unlike anything we've seen from her before. She is, to borrow the title of another of her previous films, lovely and amazing. With Nelle's help, Capote ingratiates himself among the initially skeptical locals and collects information from the victims' friends and law enforcement officials. (He never takes notes, repeatedly bragging that he has "94 percent recall of all conversations I have — I tested myself.") He weasels dinner invitations out of the Kansas FBI agent investigating the killings (Chris Cooper, subtly powerful as always) and shmoozes his way into the sheriff's residence inside the jail by bringing his wife breakfast and autographed copies of his books. Basically, he works his butt off but makes it look effortless, and he always gets what he wants. But Capote gets the most and best details for his book by befriending Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), one of the two killers who've been tried, convicted and sentenced to die for the crime. The other, Dick Hickock (Mark Pellegrino), sits in a nearby jail cell but isn't nearly so rich a goldmine. The scenes these two men share begin hesitantly but evolve into a dance of gentle negotiation and suspense. Every moment tingles simultaneously with wrongness and the possibility of discovery, as Capote says and does whatever he must to maintain a relationship that's essentially a veneer for his journalistic aspirations. (And Collins, reserved and unpredictable, provides the sense that he could pounce at any moment.) "It's your friend, Truman, it's OK," Capote assuages Perry, finding himself increasingly obsessed with this person and leaving his longtime romantic partner (Bruce Greenwood) feeling slighted. "If I leave here without understanding you, the world will see you as a monster always, and I don't want that." After a lengthy career of meaty, memorable supporting roles, from comedies like "State and Main" and "Along Came Polly" to dramatic ensemble pieces like "Boogie Nights" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," Hoffman is letting the world see what he is: beyond just a versatile actor — a leading man, a star. "Capote," a Sony Pictures Classics release, is rated R for some violent images and brief strong language. Running time: 115 minutes. Four stars out of four.

Got a chill pill

Feel much better. Eating Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream. Do they have Ben and Jerry's in the UK? My doc gave me a prescription for 30 clonazepam so sleep shouldn't be a problem tonight. The pharmacy thought that it was a fake script because they called my doctor to confirm it. Was rather funny. I am going to horde these things as much as possible. But tonight I will be able to sleep. Life is good.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Can't Sleep - Act III

Day 2 of no sleep caused by cold, hyper active brain, achy mouth post dentist visit (four cavities and a cleaning) and George the cat who kept trying to get me to play fetch with him and didn't understand that my laying down on the bed was not an invitation for me to be one of his big cat toys. Had the big hand off to his new people. Cried a lot. Traffic back home sucked ass. God damn tourists. For those who don't know the freeway from Vegas to LA is an evil thing. Two lanes. Idiot SUVs trying to do 100+. When it is crowded, traffic becomes stop and go. It is a place to avoid at all costs on holiday weekends unless you leave with the roosters. Day 3 of no sleep is being cause by cold, hyper active brain and Gordon the cat that keeps trying to get me to pet him and doesn't understand that my laying down on the bed is not an invitation for me to be his cuddle slave. I haven't let my cats in the bedroom for four years. I had been seeing someone that was allergic and when it went to hell, I kept them out because I slept better. (I am also allergic to cats. I know. Crazy cat lady with three cats that is allergic to cats.) I can't not let Gordon in now that he is alone until I give him to Ophelia. Hyper active brain is caused by the knowledge that I probably can't apply for the jobs that I want because they pay bubcus and that I will have to go for something similar to what I have been doing for the last six years that makes me want to kill myself. Not to mention not being thrilled about the cryo big fun tomorrow, thinking about my last week of work, things I have to do to sell my furniture and then things I have to do to donate the furniture I don't sell, money, hoping there isn't a problem with the visa when I apply and oh yeah. . . the wedding. I may call my doctor and ask for some ativan.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Can't Sleep

I woke up at 1:30 from my cold. Is now 4:12. I can't shut down my brain. Things I have to do. Things I want to do. Things that I hope will happen. Things I am scared of. *Monkeys. A year ago I never saw these forks in the road. I suppose we never really do. . . There are certain things you can plan for- but those often go to hell too don't they? I'm excited. Scared. Beyond freaked out. Happy. I am really happy. *I didn't really think of monkeys. I'm just Punchy. Not Judy. Bah-Hah!!! Okay. Bad punning means bedtime.

Review- Good Night, and Good Luck

A. O. Scott's NY Times Review ofGood Night, and Good Luck Looks like my hunch about this flick being good weren't off. I smell Oscar for David Straithairn. I forgot to mention that it did really well at the Venice Film Festival. . . Opens early October. September 23, 2005 News in Black, White and Shades of Gray By A. O. SCOTT SHOT in a black-and-white palette of cigarette smoke, hair tonic, dark suits and pale button-down shirts, "Good Night, and Good Luck" plunges into a half-forgotten world in which television was new, the cold war was at its peak, and the Surgeon General's report on the dangers of tobacco was still a decade in the future. Though it is a meticulously detailed reconstruction of an era, the film, directed by George Clooney from a script he wrote with Grant Heslov, is concerned with more than nostalgia. Burnishing the legend of Edward R. Murrow, the CBS newsman who in the 1940's and 50's established a standard of journalistic integrity his profession has scrambled to live up to ever since, "Good Night, and Good Luck" is a passionate, thoughtful essay on power, truth-telling and responsibility. It opens the New York Film Festival tonight and will be released nationally on Oct. 7. The title evokes Murrow's trademark sign-off, and I can best sum up my own response by recalling the name of his flagship program: See it now. And be prepared to pay attention. "Good Night, and Good Luck" is not the kind of historical picture that dumbs down its material, or walks you carefully through events that may be unfamiliar. Instead, it unfolds, cinéma-vérité style, in the fast, sometimes frantic present tense, following Murrow and his colleagues as they deal with the petty annoyances and larger anxieties of news gathering at a moment of political turmoil. The story flashes back from a famous, cautionary speech that Murrow gave at an industry convention in 1958 to one of the most notable episodes in his career - his war of words and images with Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. While David Strathairn plays Murrow with sly eloquence and dark wit, Mr. Clooney allows the junior Senator from Wisconsin to play himself (thanks to surviving video clips of his hearings and public appearances), a jolt of documentary truth that highlights some of the movie's themes. Television, it suggests, can be both a potent vehicle for demagoguery and a weapon in the fight against it. Mr. Clooney, who plays Murrow's producer and partner, Fred Friendly, has clearly thought long and hard about the peculiar, ambiguous nature of the medium. It is a subject that comes naturally to him: his father, Nick, was for many years a local television newscaster in Cincinnati, and the younger Mr. Clooney's own star first rose on the small screen. Like "Good Night, and Good Luck," his first film, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2002), used the biography of a television personality (Chuck Barris of "The Gong Show") as a way of exploring the medium's capacity to show the truth, and also to distort and obscure it. Indeed, these two movies can almost be seen as companion pieces. "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" suggests that a man with a hard time telling truth from fiction can find a natural home on the tube, while "Good Night, and Good Luck" demonstrates that a furiously honest, ruthlessly rational person may find it less comfortable. Murrow, as conceived by the filmmakers and incarnated by Mr. Strathairn, is a man of strong ideals and few illusions. He knows that McCarthy will smear him (and offers the Senator airtime to do so), and that sponsors and government officials will pressure his boss, William Paley (Frank Langella), to rein him in. He is aware that his reports are part of a large, capitalist enterprise, and makes some necessary concessions. In addition to his investigative reports - and, in effect, to pay for them - Murrow conducts celebrity interviews, including one with Liberace, which Mr. Clooney has lovingly and mischievously rescued from the archives. From that odd encounter to the kinescopes of the Army-McCarthy hearings, "Good Night, and Good Luck" brilliantly recreates the milieu of early television. (Robert Elswit's smoky cinematography and Stephen Mirrione's suave, snappy editing are crucial to this accomplishment.) It also captures, better than any recent movie I can think of, the weirdly hermetic atmosphere of a news organization at a time of crisis. Nearly all the action takes place inside CBS headquarters (or at the bar where its employees drink after hours), which gives the world outside a detached, almost abstract quality. A telephone rings, an image flickers on a screen, a bulldog edition of the newspaper arrives (sometimes it's this one, whose television critic, Jack Gould, was one of Murrow's champions) - this is what it means for information to be mediated. But its effects are nonetheless real. While the camera never follows Friendly or Murrow home from the office, and the script never delves into psychology, we see how the climate of paranoia and uncertainty seeps into the lives of some of their co-workers. Don Hollenbeck (Ray Wise), an anchor for the New York CBS affiliate, is viciously red-baited by a newspaper columnist, and Joe and Shirley Wershba (Robert Downey Jr. and Patricia Clarkson) skulk around the office like spies (though for reasons that have more to do with office politics than with national security). When Murrow, in March 1954, prepares to broadcast his exposé of McCarthy's methods, the suspense is excruciating, even if we know the outcome. Because we do, it is possible to view "Good Night, and Good Luck" simply as a reassuring story of triumph. But the film does more than ask us, once again, to admire Edward R. Murrow and revile Joseph R. McCarthy. That layer of the story is, as it should be, in stark black-and-white, but there is a lot of gray as well, and quite a few questions that are not so easily resolved. The free press may be the oxygen of a democratic society, but it is always clouded by particles and pollutants, from the vanity or cowardice of individual journalists to the impersonal pressures of state power and the profit motive. And while Mr. Clooney is inclined to glorify, he does not simplify. The scenes between Murrow and Paley, taking place in the latter's cryptlike office, have an almost Shakespearean gravity, and not only because Mr. Strathairn and Mr. Langella perform their roles with such easy authority. McCarthy may serve as the hissable villain, but Paley is a more complicated foil for Murrow - at once patron, antagonist and protector. (Addressed by everyone else, in hushed tones, as "Mr. Paley," he is "Bill" only to Murrow.) Most of the discussion of this movie will turn on its content - on the history it investigates and on its present-day resonance. This is a testament to Mr. Clooney's modesty (as is the fact that, on screen, he makes himself look doughy and pale), but also to his skill. Over the years he has worked with some of the smartest directors around, notably Joel Coen and Steven Soderbergh (who is an executive producer of this film). And while he has clearly learned from them, the cinematic intelligence on display in this film is entirely his own. He has found a cogent subject, an urgent set of ideas and a formally inventive, absolutely convincing way to make them live on screen. "Good Night, and Good Luck" is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Apart from a little rough language, it is as clean as the television broadcasts it describes. Good Night, and Good Luck Opens tonight at the New York Film Festival; nationwide on Oct. 7. Directed by George Clooney; written by Mr. Clooney and Grant Heslov; director of photography, Robert Elswit; edited by Stephen Mirrione; production designer, Jim Bissell; produced by Mr. Heslov; released by Warner Independent Pictures. Running time: 90 minutes. This film is rated PG. Tonight at 8:15 at Alice Tully Hall and at 9 at Avery Fisher Hall, at Lincoln Center, as part of the 43rd New York Film Festival. WITH: David Strathairn (Edward R. Murrow), George Clooney (Fred Friendly), Patricia Clarkson (Shirley Wershba), Robert Downey Jr. (Joe Wershba), Frank Langella (William Paley), Grant Heslov (Don Hewitt), Ray Wise (Don Hollenbeck) and Dianne Reeves (Jazz Singer).

Friday, September 23, 2005

Count Down

One week left. One week at this job that I have at for 6 years. Strange. . . Two weeks before Stuart arrives. Three weeks before we are hitched and I go to the consulate for my visa appointment. Five weeks before I am moved out of my apartment and on a plane back to London. I really am not too freaked right now. If I don't think about everything in big chunks but in little baby steps of things I need to do, everything is okay. Next week I need to take pictures of my furniture and spam co-workers with them to try to get rid of some stuff so I don't have as much to drop off at whatever charity will getting it all.

Great People

One of the things that will be hard about leaving is all of the great people that I work with as well as advertisers I really enjoy talking to. One of those folks is Charles Kessler. He has a newsletter that he sends out called The Cool Tricks and Trinkets Newsletter which "offers weekly insights into new, cool, useful, fun, unusual and interesting sites on the Internet." The last time I spoke with him he asked if I was doing any online projects so I told him about the blog and he included it in the newsletter that he sent out today. He is really a dear.

No Way Out: Many Poor Stuck in Houston

No Way Out: Many Poor Stuck in Houston By DEBORAH HASTINGS, AP National Writer 1 hour, 4 minutes ago HOUSTON - Wilma Skinner would like to scream at the officials of this city. If only someone would pick up their phone. "I done called for a shelter, I done called for help. There ain't none. No one answers," she said, standing in blistering heat outside a check-cashing store that had just run out of its main commodity. "Everyone just says, 'Get out, get out.' I've got no way of getting out. And now I've got no money." With Hurricane Rita breathing down Houston's neck, those with cars were stuck in gridlock trying to get out. Those like Skinner — poor, and with a broken-down car — were simply stuck, and fuming at being abandoned, they say. "All the banks are closed and I just got off work," said Thomas Visor, holding his sweaty paycheck as he, too, tried to get inside the store, where more than 100 people, all of them black or Hispanic, fretted in line. "This is crazy. How are you supposed to evacuate a hurricane if you don't have money? Answer me that?" Some of those who did have money, and did try to get out, didn't get very far. Judie Anderson of La Porte, Texas, covered just 45 miles in 12 hours. She had been on the road since 10 p.m. Wednesday, headed toward Oklahoma, which by Thursday was still very far away. "This is the worst planning I've ever seen," she said. "They say, 'We've learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina.' Well, you couldn't prove it by me." On Bellaire Boulevard in southwest Houston, a weeping woman and her young daughter stood on the sidewalk, surrounded by plastic bags full of clothes and blankets. "I'd like to go, but nobody come get me," the woman said in broken English. When asked her name, she looked frightened. "No se, no se," she said: Spanish for "I don't know." Her daughter, who appeared to be about 9, whispered in English, "We're from Mexico." For the poor and the disenfranchised, the mighty evacuation orders that preceded Rita were something they could only ignore. Eddie McKinney, 64, who had no home, no teeth and a torn shirt, stood outside the EZ Pawn shop, drinking a beer under a sign that said, "No Loitering." "We got no other choice but to stay here. We're homeless and we're broke," he said. "I thought about going to Dallas, but now it's too late. I got no way to get there." Where will he stay? "A nice white man gave me a motel room for three days. Just walked up and said, 'Here.' So my buddy and me will stick it out," he said, pointing to another homeless man. "We got a half-gallon of whiskey and a room." In Deer Park, a working-class suburb of refineries south of Houston, Stacy and Troy Curtis, waited for help outside the police station. Less than three weeks ago, the couple left New Orleans after it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. With no vehicle, and little money, they tried to get their lives together while staying at a hotel in Deer Park. Stacy Curtis, a nursing assistant in New Orleans, had a job interview scheduled for Thursday. But most businesses had shut down because the neighborhood will likely flood if the hurricane hits Galveston Bay. The streets were empty Thursday afternoon. "We're stuck here," Stacy Curtis said. "Got no other place to go." An emergency official eventually sent a van to take the couple to a shelter at a recreation center. Monica Holmes, who has debilitating lupus, sat in her car at a Houston gas station that had no gas. "We can't go nowhere," she said, tapping a fingernail against the dashboard fuel gauge. "Look here," she said. "I'm right on E." Her husband, a security guard, had a paycheck, but no way to cash it. "We were going to try to go to Nacogdoches" in east Texas, not far from the Louisiana border, she said. "But even if we could get on the road, we're not going to get out. These people that left yesterday, they're still on the beltway. They haven't even got out of Houston." So she and her husband will hunker down in their Missouri City home, just to the south. "We'll be fine," she said. "You can't be scared of what God can do. I'm covered." As always, there were those who chose to stay, no matter how dire the warnings. John Benson, a 47-year-old surfer and lifelong Galveston resident, said he thinks his town "is going to take on a lot of water. But as far as the winds, I think here on the island, it will be a little bit less than they anticipated." Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Wednesday for the area. Benson said he planned to use his surfboard as transportation after the hurricane. "The main thing is you have a contingency plan," he said, and thumped his board. "You got buoyancy." Skinner, accompanied by her 6-year-old grandson, Dageneral Bellard, would settle for a bus. "They got them for the outlying areas, for the Gulf and Galveston, but they ain't made no preparations for us in the city, for the poor people here. There ain't no (evacuation) buses here. I got nowhere to go." ___ EDITOR'S NOTE — Associated Press writers Pam Easton in Galveston and Tim Whitmire in Deer Park contributed to this report

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I think I need a valium

The shipping company that I used told me to put my shipment in Stuart’s name since I would not be in the UK when it arrived. Stuart called me all in a panic because he can’t fill out the form to get the stuff out of customs because the wording on the form says things like, how long have you been out of the country, etc. He asked me to sort it out to get it back into my name and for me to fill out the form. He then said, “Confirm with me that you have taken care of this.” I know his subtext was, I am worried about this. Can you let me know what happens so I don’t need to worry. The problem is when I hear the word “confirm” in that context, I read the subtext to be, “I am worried about this. And what I am really worried about is that you will screw this up. Please check back with me so I can look over your work to make sure that you didn’t screw up.” I got really snippy. Then I started to cry. Poor Stuart kept saying, “There is no reason to be upset.” Which just made me cry more. I know it will be fine.

Do-over

Yet another remake. Just read that there are remaking the German film Bella Martha and Catherine Zeta-Jones is playing the lead, Scott Hicks is directing. Now I am sure that it will be a fine film. It's just that I really like the German version. There are layers of things happening with class and different countries that transplanting the story to the US will lose. But what the hell do I know. It is a sweet story. It will make money if they don't fuck it up. Oh, hell, what am I saying, it will make money even if they do. So, go rent the German version. It is called Mostly Martha here for some odd reason. Sometimes, yes there are really great remakes or they at least don't suck ass-- but some unnecessary remakes that I can quickly think of. . . La Femme Nikita Tortilla Soup Psycho The In Laws (which firmly falls into the "What the Fuck were you thinking?" category) Stepford Wives Charlie and the Chocolate Factory The Italian Job The Planet of the Apes The Truth about Charlie The Pink Panther - I know it isn't out yet but the making of this movie is a sin and Mr. Martin should be ashamed of himself. You've got Mail (I didn't even like the original Shop Around The Corner) Maybe someone will remake You've Got Mail in a few years and they will lambaste the main character for going to Starbucks while she claims to be against big soulless chains. And they will have scenes where people break up and it isn't a simple easy thing. Ephron did that in Sleepless in Seattle too. People break up and it is no big deal. HER: I can't marry you. I care about you and it kills me to do this to you. Kills me. Kills, kills, kills me. But, you see? You see. . . I have this thing. A thing. For a guy. A guy. A guy I heard on the radio and I just know he is the perfect man for me and you are just so obviously not. HIM: Well. Obviously you must get up from this table and go to him. Oh, no. I'll be okay. I'll find someone more like me. You know, someone with lactose intolerance. Anyway. If I gave myself more time, I could think of more. . . I am off to Ye Rustic Inn for a pint. . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I will say, "I didn't forget you."

A few years ago I read The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness by Simon Wiesenthal. In the first part he recounts his life in the camps and how one day a dying Nazi asked him for forgiveness. The second section is essays written by a variety of people answering the question of "What would you do." I don't know what I would do. Would I forgive a dying man after I had seen so much death knowing there was more to see? Would I have had the strength to even survive the camps? Would I have had the strength to stand up to the Nazis? I don't know.

Category Five

Rita is now a Category Five. Oy.

Lots of news. . .

I have gotten a slew of news in the last 24 hours. 1. Jolie can't buy my car. Am disappointed. . . but now I won't feel guilty for adding miles by driving the couple of road trips to bring my cats to their new homes. Did I say cats as in plural? Yes indeedie. I have already reported that the lovely Ophelia and her husband Peter are taking Gordon. Today I received the splendid news that-- 2. George will have a home in Las Vegas! My mom's friend and neighbor Julie has been tireless in hitting up her friends to take my cats and her efforts paid off. I will be buying her a gift certificate from somewhere as a big thank you. The couple that will be taking George sounded very nice on the phone. They are Canadian and came to Vegas so that the husband could finish his Masters in music. His wife suffers from MS so she is home all day and they are looking for a pet that will be a good companion for her. So, I am going to drive in this weekend for the kitty exchange. 3. Test from the colposcopy came back and the cells are pre-cancerous so they are going to do a fancy little procedure where they put my cervix on ice or the fancy dancy medical terminology, cryosurgery. Is no big deal. I will just have to get checked out in a few months to make sure all is good. The part that blows chunks (stop reading mom) is that I will need to wait two to three weeks after the procedure to have sex. Just what you want to hear when you are about to get married. 4. My wedding dress came in today and I had my first fitting. It is going to be very pretty. Simple. Elegant. I think I will want to have my hair pulled back a la Breakfast at Tiffany. My shoes that I ordered from chineselaundry.com also came in and they fit and look very nice on my feetsies. 5. The wedding officiant, Herr Flick backed out a week ago. He was concerned that he wouldn't be able to get to my moms house by 6:30. Dan asked his friend that is a Judge if he can do it but no dice. That isn't the news. The news is that the reason the judge can't marry us is because he is going to be attending a DUI conference. Who knew that Judges go to DUI conferences? I bet there will be a lot of drinking.

Political Quiz

You are a

Social Liberal
(71% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(8% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist




Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"The Recruiters War"

You may recall in mid-August I had a one of many "Praying for George Bush to Die" moments (reference to aTodd Snider song. If you don't know him, check him out.) I mentioned that Michael Bronner's excellent article "The Recruiter’s War" published in that months Vanity Fair was a must read and that I had been unable to locate a copy of it online. Mr. Bronner somehow saw my post and e-mailed me a PDF of the article, so if anyone would like to read it, just shoot me an e-mail and I will forward it along!

Tit Top

I have never been one of those women who use their tits to get ahead. There was a girl in undergrad that I used to joke didn’t act with verbs, she acted with her tits. Actually I've hated them, hated that I have been a 36 D since I was 14. You do get used to it, but trust me it really is a pain in the ass. The last few years I've wanted to pull the 3-4 K for a reduction or at least a lift. You can’t be this big for 20 years without gravity being an evil fuck. During the last two days I have experienced scientific proof that men are complete cave man goats. Sunday evening I met my old college friend Marie for dinner. I wore a Banana Republic top with cap butterfly sleeves, a bit of a plunging neckline and a mock wrap around silhouette. I'll admit it. . . my tits look great in this top, okay? When it was time to go the valet brought out my car even before I gave him my slip. I'm not saying the breasts made me stick out in his memory. . . but you never know. Today I wore the same outfit, I figured I only wore what I wore Sunday night for a few hours. . . A French (married) guy in the office was very attentive when I ran into him in the coffee room. Other men were also rather interested in me when I ran into them. I wondered. .. it the tits, or is it me? Just now I was walking home and as a guy passed me (and I swear to god I am not making this up) and he said, "oh yeah, that's real! That's what I am taking about! I mean no disrespect. I mean no disrespect, but your man at home must be really happy." So, yeah. It's the tits. I didn't look at his face. I have no idea what this man looks like, this man that said these things to me tonight. I've learned to not look the people that will say these things as you pass them in the street in the eye. I've learned to not see the men. . . These men that, "mean no disrespect." I said, "Thank you." It seemed the polite thing to do after a random stranger compliments you on the size of your breasts at 12:30 AM on Hollywood Boulevard. What else should you say? I wish I were a 32 B. Really.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Night Terrors

One of the first things I warned Stuart about before I slept with him is that I snore and I experience night terrors. I am certain that he would contend that the snoring is a far more terrifying thing. What I get isn't strictly night terrors. It is hypnagogic sleep paralysis but night terrors is easier to say. It happens to a lot more people than you realize and is a good explanation of how why mentally healthy people claim to have been abducted by aliens. I have yet to be abducted by aliens. When I was a kid I would see a witchy hag, banshee beast thing float toward me and I knew it planned on killing me. As an adult, I wake up with the knowledge that something is in the room, that it is laying on top of me and it is waiting, torturing me with my own fear and it plans on killing me. I never see it, I just feel it. Usually it is just a heavy faceless big bad, but a few recent ones have been real people. What I mean is, in my head the thing laying on me is someone I know or actually I know they aren't the person but they are pretending to be. Before I left for London the thing was my Mom. (Sorry Mom!) It was laying on top of me chattering away and at first I was terrified and then I thought, oh it is just Mom and I ignored the babble. This pissed it off so it started to choke me. A few nights ago the thing was Stuart. It was laughing at me before it started to choke me. Last night was a weird mixture of a nightmare/movie I was creating but I wasn't the main character. For some bizarre reason I had cast Tobey Maguire. Nothing against Mr. Maguire but it seemed weird. . . In the middle of the movie dream, I felt the familiar thing in the room, the weight on my body but it was telling me to hide. That there were people in the apartment. Or that they weren't there yet and they would be soon and that I must hide. The problem is I am paralyzed when this all happens. I can't move. I can't hide. Where will I hide? Under the bed? The monsters always look under the bed. Then I hear things in the apartment. I can't move. They are in the hallway, they are at the door. . . I can't move. They're in my room- I can't move! I finally move. The weight lifts. It isn't so much waking up because I have been awake. I have been awake and paralyzed knowing that I am going to die. Two things you think you get rid of when you become an adult. Zits and nightmares.

Failure

When we were in Vegas, Stuart felt like I failed him because he didn't realize that drinks were free in casinos while you gamble. I thought that I had been clear about it but I guess I didn't stress it enough. Later he was upset that I waited to tell him about 99 cent breakfasts. (He wasn't really upset, upset. He just accused me of "mincing". He often uses the word mince to mean, "you are dancing around the subject". I am not sure if this is a Britishism or a Stuartism.) I discovered today that he failed me with something when I was in London. I just found out this evening that in the UK one can walk up to their happy little Boots pharmacy and ask for and get Tylenol with codeine. Never mind that this would have been a lovely thing to have known about when I had bird flu during my first fortnight in London, I could have brought the stuff back to LA and made a little black market of the stuff. Oh, the things I have to learn. So many new nice over the counter drugs to discover.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bless Me Father. . .

logo_68x100
,
.
I have sinned.

I am a Yankee fan. It started because my boyfriend eleven years ago was (is) a rabid, dyed in pin stripes, entire day ruined if the Yanks lose freak.

One of the nice things about Stuart is he isn't addicted to sports. He could really care less. After being with people who let their mood be dictated by the outcome of a sporting event, this is a wonderful thing. There should be a word that has the definition: the frustration and sorrow of the partners of sports addicts.

I used to hate baseball. My college boyfriend was a huge baseball fan. It always annoyed me that he never had a team but he loved the game. Not sure why that bugged me but toward the end the way he walked and ate his food got on my nerves, so it may have more to do with that.

So when I started dating The Yankee fan, I kept my heart hard against baseball. I was happy that there was the strike that year.

I became addicted in 1996. It was an amazing come from behind year and I started to understand more of the nuances of the game. I even found myself having a favorite player, Paul O'Neill renowned for his intensity and abuse of water coolers.

I haven't been with The Yankee Fan for a really long time but we are still friends and the Yankees are still my team, but the last few years I have been terrible about paying attention.

I can't tell you the name of who plays what position anymore beyond Bernie, Jorge and Jeter and I have no clue who is in the bullpen besides Rivera.

I am a very bad fan.

But that is not why I have sinned.

I don't want them to go the post season this year. And if they do go, I hope they get knocked out fast.

Why?

My wedding is Oct 15. There will be at least eight Yankee, five Red Sox and one Astro fan in my mother’s house that evening (The Astro fan will be without a doubt rooting for whomever is playing against the Yankees.)

I really don't want to compete with a baseball game.

Then again, if that happens and the gavones watch the game, Stuart and I can always sneak off into a dark corner and snog.

Hell, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing. . .

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Poker and Politics

I couldn't agree with Mamet more. It has driven me ape-shit how passive the Democrats have been. Poker party In politics as in poker, the only way to win is to seize the initiative. The Democrats need to make bold wagers or risk being rolled over again. By David Mamet September 16, 2005 ONE NEEDS TO know but three words to play poker: call, raise or fold. Fold means keep the money, I'm out of the hand; call means to match your opponents' bet. That leaves raise, which is the only way to win at poker. The raiser puts his opponent on the defensive, seizing the initiative. Initiative is only important if one wants to win. The military axiom is "he who imposes the terms of the battle imposes the terms of the peace." The gambling equivalent is: "Don't call unless you could raise"; that is, to merely match one's opponent's bet is effective only if it makes the opponent question the caller's motives. And that can only occur if the caller has acted aggressively enough in the past to cause his opponents to wonder if the mere call is a ruse de guerre. If you are branded as passive, the table will roll right over you — your opponents will steal antes without fear. Why? Because the addicted caller has never exhibited what, in the wider world, is known as courage. In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt. For example, take a player who has never acted with initiative — he has never raised, merely called. Now, at the end of the evening, he is dealt a royal flush. The hand, per se, is unbeatable, but the passive player has never acted aggressively; his current bet (on the sure thing) will signal to the other players that his hand is unbeatable, and they will fold. His patient, passive quest for certainty has won nothing. The Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country. Committed Democrats watched while Al Gore frittered away the sure-thing election of 2000. They watched, passively, while the Bush administration concocted a phony war; they, in the main, voted for the war knowing it was purposeless, out of fear of being thought weak. They then ran a candidate who refused to stand up to accusations of lack of patriotism. The Republicans, like the perpetual raiser at the poker table, became increasingly bold as the Democrats signaled their absolute reluctance to seize the initiative. John Kerry lost the 2004 election combating an indictment of his Vietnam War record. A decorated war hero muddled himself in merely "calling" the attacks of a man with, curiously, a vanishing record of military attendance. Even if the Democrats and Kerry had prevailed (that is, succeeded in nullifying the Republicans arguably absurd accusations), they would have been back only where they started before the accusations began. Control of the initiative is control of the battle. In the alley, at the poker table or in politics. One must raise. The American public chose Bush over Kerry in 2004. How, the undecided electorate rightly wondered, could one believe that Kerry would stand up for America when he could not stand up to Bush? A possible response to the Swift boat veterans would have been: "I served. He didn't. I didn't bring up the subject, but, if all George Bush has to show for his time in the Guard is a scrap of paper with some doodling on it, I say the man was a deserter." This would have been a raise. Here the initiative has been seized, and the opponent must now fume and bluster and scream unfair. In combat, in politics, in poker, there is no certainty; there is only likelihood, and the likelihood is that aggression will prevail. The press, quiescent during five years of aggressive behavior by the White House, has, perhaps, begun to recover its pride. In speaking of Karl Rove, Scott McClellan and the White House's Valerie Plame disgrace, they have begun to use words such as "other than true," "fabricated." The word that they circle, still, is "lie." The word the Democratic constituency, heartsick over the behavior of its party leaders, has been forced to consider applying to them is "coward." One may sit at the poker table all night and never bet and still go home broke, having anted away one's stake. The Democrats are anteing away their time at the table. They may be bold and risk defeat, or be passive and ensure it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DAVID MAMET is a screenwriter, novelist and the author of award-winning plays, including "Glengarry Glen Ross."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Books

I need to be stopped. I simply cannot buy any more books. Last week I bought the new Vonnegut, A Man without a Country and today I made the mistake of walking into Brand Books. I told myself I would just look around. I bought a copy of Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country. I had had a copy when it came out but I had given it away as a gift when I was broke. I also bought A Walk in the Woods which I already have a copy of but the dust cover is ripped. I know I am pathetic. I also bought a copy of The World According to Garp. I have always wanted to read John Irving and I haven't gotten around to it. So no more. I will buy no more books. I really mean it this time.

iTunes thinks I am out of it

Okay. I'm old. Not really old. I'm not 80. I still get carded, you know, when it is dim inside and the bouncer is just trying to make me feel good-- but more and more I discover that I am not part of the hip, the now, the (do the young people still say fly?? And would that be correct use of the word?) I have never been a hip chick. I like music from the 80's more now than when it was the 80's. I probably know all the words to Sinatra, Bennett and Billie Holliday tunes (which is its own kinda cool- nostalgia-cool). But what hit me today was flipping through the celebrity playlists on iTunes and realizing I don't have a flippen clue who a lot of these celebrities are. . . I am a fairly informed pop-culture person but I don't know who Dishwalla, Lifehouse and the Alkeline Trio are. Then again I am a weirdo with music. I stumble onto wildly esoteric groups like The Mountain Goats (who I love) but for someone to be considered for a iTunes celebrity playlist, I imagine a rather broad commercial appeal and I have no clue who some of these people are which makes me feel very 35. Which isn't really old. 35. And I don't really care that I don't know who Bow Wow is. . . it just feels a wee bit odd there are these artists that some marketing wonk has decided we should think they are important and the trickle down hasn't gotten to me yet.

George's Personal Ad

I put an ad on Craig's List for Georgie George the Fetching Cat - Pics My old lady is moving to London and she can't bring me with her. Will you love me and squeeze me and hug me and call me George? I'm four, spunky and have silky fur I use catnip socially. I love to cuddle and will talk to you but please remember sometimes I need alone time. Some of my favorite things to do are play fetch and to jump in the air when you swing a toy over my head. I will purr when you rub my belly I may be shy with your friends but will give you all the love you need My old lady isn't happy about giving me up so she is going to want references to make sure you will treat me good.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kittie update

My friend Ophelia and her family are going to take Gordon. I am so pleased. I had adopted him from the Amanda Foundation six years ago and the person who had adopted him before me had given him back because her other cat didn't like him. The last thing I wanted to do to him was put him back into a shelter situation. So good news. Two cats down, one to go.

Kitties

I asked the barista during my morning coffee run if they know anyone that can take a cat to let me know. I can see me grabbing strangers as I walk by them on the street. . . "Wanna cat? Come on! You know you do." My friend Steve said that my description of them in my templated e-mail I have been sending out sounds like kitty personals. I may need to write one like that. . . a kitty personal ad

Burglar smears naked victim with frosting

This sounds like something from Ally McBeal. . . Prosecutor: Burglar smears naked victim with frosting Spokane County Prosecutors are hoping to convict a suspected burglar who allegedly left his naked victim smeared with chocolate frosting. The homeowner had met Michael Kay earlier in the day while the two were drinking beer together. The victim had just been fired and eventually went inside, closed his front door and passed out on the bed. Kay is accused of breaking into the residence several hours later, rummaging through the kitchen and then smearing the sleeping resident with frosting. Kay then allegedly opened the man's dog pen hoping his pets would go after the desert topping. Kay's defense attorney says his client denies stealing anything except a few beers. Prosecutors say they hardly consider this a harmless prank and took the case to court saying all of us have the right to feel safe and secure in our homes.

Biz speak

I really love business speak. It is so delicious in a sufficiently vague kind a way. You know some of the usual ones: Think outside the box Sweet spot Push the envelope We'll get the evil do-ers My friend at work who shall remain nameless has a boss that speaks a whole new language of business speak. She called me today with a couple of his quotes. "Stay tight on the product so we don't get feature creep." -I have no clue what this means. The closest guess I have is keep control of the product so we define how it expands, but I don't even really know what that means myself. "We need a rough swag." -I'm guessing he means, "We need a rough draft." I guess. Why didn't he say, we need a rough draft. Maybe a rough swag has more bows on it than a rough draft, I dunno. I look forward to more crazy biz speak from this person! My friend will be our reporter.

The "Wedding Cake"

Long time readers will recall that we are having Krispy Kreme donuts rather than a wedding cake. When I was in Vegas over Labor Day weekend we bought a bunch of ribbon and crafty stuff from Michael's and Mom just finished making it all pretty! I am thinking regular glazed on the bottom, the next level chocolate glazed, the next two layers assorted cream and jelly filled and four sprinkled donuts around the topper. If you are curious about the holder thingy, it is a mini cup cake tree and I ordered it from www.cupcaketree.com. The Internet has been a great thing planning this. Nearly everything has been purchased online. Garbo is also doing really well in her new house and she decided to let my mom take a ton of photos of her. She is such a little diva. . .

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

About a Traveling Treefrog

Library Bitch got tagged with these questions and rather than pass it on to four other bloggers he suggested whomever would like to do it, to do it. . . and so I have. Feel free to do it yourself fellow bloggers! 10 Years Ago I was 25. I was in a Seattle First Hill studio apartment with one cat and many cockroaches. I had graduated from UNLV with my MFA in playwrighting that summer and was working at the now defunct furniture store, Chicken and Egg Furniture. In my spare time I was doing an internship in the Literary Department in the also now defunct Group Theatre. Was so depressing. There were years of scripts that were stacked up in boxes that had just been ignored. I tried to read through them and write coverage but it was all just so terrible. Personally I thought everything should have been tossed out since so much time had passed from when they had been sent in. I also dramaturged a not very good musical based on the true story of a troupe that put on a production of Hair in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war (which was still going in 95 you will recall). I learned more about that conflict than I cared to ever know and I did my research the old fashioned way in the library reading hard copies of books and magazines. The Internet was a baby beast then and I didn’t have a computer with a modem. I tried to write but I had nothing to say. A few colleges did my play Color of Bruise that year because of the bit of buzz it had gotten at the regional Kennedy Center American College Festival the year before which was good for my beer and ice cream budget. My friend Jesse Berger chose one of my one-acts for his production for the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. So. . . I wasn't writing but I still felt successful. I somehow managed to lose thirty pounds anyway just by walking to and from work. Five Years Ago Been living in LA since fall 1997 and was working at the job I am still at today for a year. Was working a ton of overtime and I let the job become more important than my writing. I had just turned 30 and I was okay with that. I had just gotten the cast off my ankle from when I broke it by catching a bit of New York City sidewalk just. . . right. I was in the middle of a really bad relationship with someone who was a really good friend. I tried to write but I had nothing to say. My screenplay All You Can Eat made the quarter final of the Nicholl Fellowship and a few agents and production companies wanted me to send it to them but I listened to advice that it wasn't ready and I didn't send it out. (To make it worse, different drafts made the quarterfinals in 99 and 00). I somehow managed to gain lots of weight (office job plus a bad relationship equals an enormous ass). I was rather unhappy. One Year Ago I was ready to walk out of my job and sell oranges on the side of the road, I hated it so much. I tried to figure out how I could work at a bookstore and pay my rent and car payment and student loans and cable and DSL and electricity and cell phone and food and beer. I was driving co-workers crazy with my bitching about how fucked up the job was and how there was zero parity. (I think that if I had not cared about my job-- If I had actually not tried to do right by the company, I would probably be a Vice President by now.) But, I was writing again and I actually had something to say. In a writing workshop the teacher, Kerry Madden said my stuff reminded her of Raymond Carver, which is sort of like someone telling a baseball player that they are like Shoeless Joe. Yesterday I had a great day at work (like I said, I should have stopped caring years ago) and then had dinner and margaritas with Jolie. Talked to Stuart a few times on the phone and he told me that he had bought me a present. Not that I NEED a present but I adore his compulsion to buy me just because gifts. Boys, trust me. Just because gifts are the key to nearly anything you want. 5 Snacks I enjoy 1. Onion dip & potato chips 2. Ben and Jerry's Phish Food Ice Cream 3. pepperoni and jalapeno jack cheese 4. olives- the green ones stuffed with garlic you can get at Whole Foods 5. peanut butter 5 Songs I Know All The Words To 1. Galileo- Indigo Girls 2. Crazy Willie Nelson 3. You're so Vain- Carly Simon 4. The Telephone Hour- from Bye Bye Birdie 5. A Little Sugar in my Bowl- Nina Simone If I Had A Million Dollars ... Okay- I can't hear this without thinking off Office Space so. . . Peter: What would you do if you had a million dollars? Lawrence: I'll tell you what I'd do, man - two chicks at the same time, man. Peter: That's it? If you had a million dollars, you'd do two chicks at the same time? Lawrence: Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. And I think if I had a million dollars I could hook that up, 'cause chicks dig dudes with money. Peter: Well, not all chicks. Lawrence: Well, the kind of chicks that'd double up on me do. Peter: Good point. Lawrence: What about you ... what would you do? Peter: Besides two chicks at the same time? Lawrence: Well yeah. Peter: Nothing. Lawrence: Nothing, huh? Peter: I'd relax, sit on my ass all day. I would do nothing. Lawrence: Well you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Just take a look at my cousin, he's broke — don't do shit. Okay, seriously. 1. Would pay off my bills. 2. Give my mom and one sister some cash and set up a college fund for my nephews. 3. Give some cash to Amnesty International and Cities of Asylum. 4. Put the rest in a fund and live on it and travel the globe with Stuart (and sometimes we would ditch each other because we are both people that need alone time) and try to practice random acts of kindness. 5. Eat a really great steak. 5 Things I like to do 1. Cook. I even like reading cookbooks 2. Going to the movies by myself 3. Book readings 4. Sleeping in late after a very late night. 5. Kissing in elevators Five Bad Habits 1. Slob 2. Procrastinator 3. Probably drink too much 4. Really bad with money 5. Have a see red go straight to jail, do not pass go button that if someone hits they are dead as far as I am concerned. Frankly, I don't really think this is a bad thing. Some people just shouldn't be in your life if they cross a line. 5 Things I Will Never Wear Again (unless it is for a fancy dress party) 1. Florescent clothing 2. banana clips 3. stonewash jeans 4. blue mascara 5. A plaid Jcrew hat I bought I bought a few years ago that Stuart says looks like a chav hat. Five Favorite Toys 1. ITunes 2. iPod 3. Chefs knife 4. TiVo 5. my blog

Jobs

I've taken to looking at jobs under the Arts and Heritage subheading on The Guardian job Web site. I really don't want to do what I am doing now in London. I am certain I could walk into a number of places and get a similar gig, but I am fairly certain that while I would make a decent salary I would want to kill myself and or others. I've been in this business for six years and it was initially a way to pay the bills after I graduated from The American Film Institute. (Yes. I wanted to be a Screenwriter. You pick up a rock in this town and you will find a screenwriter. Now I don't want to be a screenwriter. I want to write fiction which is just as hard to break into for even less pay. . .) I let myself get off the writing track because this gig just takes so much out of you. And, I am really, really lazy. So I have been looking at the Guardian jobs and it is hard because I see things I would like to apply for but I can't because I won't be there until November. I know this is silly, but I have this feeling that the moment I get there, any job that I would want or will be good for will be gone and I will end up in a Kebab shop. . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Take back your country

To those in the know, besides being a talented actor, Viggo Mortensen is one smart cookie. He posted the following on the home page of Perceval Press his small publishing house. (Thanks to Joe and Jackie for showing this to me.) In the often and rightly quoted words of Bill Clinton, "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America." We see now how individuals and groups around the country are acting in any way they can to help their fellow citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi and other devastated places near the Gulf of Mexico. They refuse to stand idly by and wait for President Bush and his morally-bankrupt, pirate administration to respond in an appropriately urgent and compassionate manner to the escalating agony and desperation of our fellow citizens. This agony and desperation was caused in large part by a near complete absence of adequate federal government funding, preparedness, and leadership. We the people will continue to help Americans and non-Americans alike, with or without the participation or approval of George W. Bush and his Neo-Conservative cohorts. While it is true that what is most important right now is to rescue, feed, house, and in any way possible care for those immediately affected by the disaster, it is equally true that in the long run those directly responsible for aggravating the tragic situation must be held accountable. The mounting evidence of the Bush administration's criminal mismanagement of the nation, as well as its consistently arrogant disregard for our planet's people and natural environments must be confronted immediately. Those who voted for Bush last year, or who have continually supported his outlaw administration in its destructively dishonest conduct, including not only extremist conservatives but also politically-calculating democrats, need not hang their heads or avert their eyes now. What they can and ought to do is join the increasing numbers of Americans who are demanding that presidential impeachment proceedings be initiated as soon as possible. Members of the Bush Administration responsible for the blatant lies and self-serving manipulations that have fanned the flames of disaster from Iraq to New Orleans must be prosecuted as our laws require. We must insist on this. Furthermore, we must not allow these disgracefully unpatriotic public servants to be pardoned by any future president as Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon. Please call or write your government representatives and help get the scoundrels out of government and in prison where they belong. Do not allow the subject to be changed, do not be distracted. The time to act is now. Take back your country. - Viggo Mortensen

A Moral Moment

Oh how I wish that Al Gore had the fire he has shown the last few years back in 2000. Ed. note: The following is a transcript of a speech given by former Vice President Al Gore at Sierra Club's National Environmental Convention and Expo in San Francisco on Sept. 9. I know that you are deeply concerned, as I am, about the direction in which our country has been moving. About the erosion of social capital. About the lack of respect for a very basic principle, and that is that we, as Americans, have to put ourselves and our ability to seek out the truth because we know it will make us free. And then on the basis of truth, as we share it to the best of our abilities with one another, we act to try to form a more perfect union and provide for the general welfare and make this country worthy of the principles upon which it was founded. My heart is heavy for another reason today, and many have mentioned this, but I want to tell you personally that my heart is heavy because of the suffering that the people of the Gulf Coast have been enduring. The losses that they've suffered in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, New Orleans in particular, but other cities as well, and rural areas. We are here thinking of them, thinking as well of the many brave men and women who have exceeded the limits of exhaustion as they do their duty in responding to this crisis, to the families of those responders and the families of the victims. When I received the invitation that you generously extended for me to come and speak to you, I did not at first accept, because I was trying to resolve a scheduling conflict. The Fifty State Insurance Commissioners were meeting in New Orleans, and asked me to speak about global warming and hurricanes. I was supposed to be there today and tomorrow morning. And of course as we all watched this tragedy unfold, we had a lot of different thoughts and feelings. But then, all those feelings were mixed in with puzzlement at why there was no immediate response; why there was not an adequate plan in place. We are now told that this is not a time to point fingers, even as some of those saying, "Don't point fingers," are themselves pointing fingers at the victims of the tragedy, who did not -- many of whom could not -- evacuate the city of New Orleans, because they didn't have automobiles, and they did not have adequate public transportation. We're told this is not a time to hold our national government accountable because there are more important matters that confront us. This is not an either/or choice. They are linked together. As our nation belatedly finds effective ways to help those who have been so hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, it is important that we learn the right lessons of what has happened, lest we are spoon-fed the wrong lessons from what happened. If we do not absorb the right lessons, we are, in the historian's phrase, doomed to repeat the mistakes that have already been made. All of us know that our nation -- all of us, the United States of America -- failed the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast when this hurricane was approaching them, and when it struck. When the corpses of American citizens are floating in toxic floodwaters five days after a hurricane strikes, it is time not only to respond directly to the victims of the catastrophe but to hold the processes of our nation accountable, and the leaders of our nation accountable, for the failures that have taken place. [applause] The Bible in which I believe, in my own faith tradition, says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Four years ago in August of 2001, President Bush received a dire warning: "Al Qaeda determined to attack inside the US." No meetings were called, no alarms were sounded, no one was brought together to say, "What else do we know about this imminent threat? What can we do to prepare our nation for what we have been warned is about to take place?" If there had been preparations, they would have found a lot of information collected by the FBI, and CIA and NSA -- including the names of most of the terrorists who flew those planes into the WTC and the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania; the warnings of FBI field offices that there were suspicious characters getting flight training without expressing any curiosity about the part of the training that has to do with landing. They would have found directors of FBI field offices in a state of agitation about the fact that there was no plan in place and no effective response. Instead, it was vacation time, not a time for preparation. Or protecting the American people. Four years later, there were dire warnings, three days before Hurricane Katrina hit NOLA, that if it followed the path it was then on, the levees would break, and the city of New Orleans would drown, and thousands of people would be at risk. It was once again vacation time. And the preparations were not made, the plans were not laid, the response then was not forthcoming. In the early days of the unfolding catastrophe, the President compared our ongoing efforts in Iraq to World War II and victory over Japan. Let me cite one difference between those two historical events: When imperial Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt did not invade Indonesia [applause]. I personally believe that the very fact that there has been no accountability for the horrendous misjudgments and outright falsehoods that laid the basis for this horrible tragedy that we have ongoing in Iraq, the fact that there was no accountability for those mistakes, misjudgments and dissembling, is one of the principal reasons why there was no fear of being held accountable for a cavalier, lackluster, mistaken, inadequate response to the onrushing tragedy that was clearly visible. For those who were watching television, for those who were reading the news, what happened was not only knowable, it was known in advance, in great and painstaking detail. They did tabletop planning exercises, they identified exactly what the scientific evidence showed would take place. Where there is no vision, the people perish. It's not only that there is no vision; it's that there has been a misguided vision. One of the principle philosophical guides for this administration has been the man who said famously that he wants to render the government of the United States so weak and helpless that you can drown it in a bathtub. There were warnings three years ago from the last director in the Clinton-Gore administration of FEMA that FEMA was being rendered weak and helpless, unable to respond in the event of a catastrophe. The budget was cut, the resources sent elsewhere. Carl [Pope] said he was embarrassed. The word is a tricky word. What did you feel after the invasion of Iraq when you saw American soldiers holding dog leashes attached to helpless prisoners, 99 percent of whom, by the way, were innocent of any connection to violence against our troops, much less terrorism -- innocent prisoners who were being tortured in our name -- what did you feel? I don't know the words. I don't know the words but I want you to draw a line connecting the feelings you had when you saw the visual images providing evidence that our soldiers, acting in our name, with our authority, were torturing helpless people and that it was a matter of policy. Now, they pointed fingers at the privates and corporals that were in charge, but I want you to draw a line between the emotions that you felt when you absorbed that news, and the emotions that you felt over the last 10 days when you saw those corpses in the water, when you saw people without food, water, medicine -- our fellow citizens left helpless. And of course in both cases the story is complex and many factors are involved, but I want you draw a line connecting the feelings that you had then and now. And I want you to draw another line, connecting those responsible for both of those unbelievable tragedies that embarrassed our nation in the eyes of the world. There are scientific warnings now of another onrushing catastrophe. We were warned of an imminent attack by Al Qaeda; we didn't respond. We were warned the levees would break in New Orleans; we didn't respond. Now, the scientific community is warning us that the average hurricane will continue to get stronger because of global warming. A scientist at MIT has published a study well before this tragedy showing that since the 1970s, hurricanes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific have increased in duration, and in intensity, by about 50 percent. The newscasters told us after Hurricane Katrina went over the southern tip of Florida that there was a particular danger for the Gulf Coast of the hurricanes becoming much stronger because it was passing over unusually warm waters in the gulf. The waters in the gulf have been unusually warm. The oceans generally have been getting warmer. And the pattern is exactly consistent with what scientists have predicted for 20 years. Two thousand scientists, in 100 countries, engaged in the most elaborate, well-organized scientific collaboration in the history of humankind, have produced long-since a consensus that we will face a string of terrible catastrophes unless we act to prepare ourselves and deal with the underlying causes of global warming. [applause] It is important to learn the lessons of what happens when scientific evidence and clear authoritative warnings are ignored, in order to induce our leaders not to do it again and not to ignore the scientists again and not to leave us unprotected in the face of those threats that are facing us right now. [applause] The president says that he is not sure that global warming is a real threat. He says that he is not ready to do anything meaningful to prepare us for a threat that he's not certain is real. He tells us that he believes the science of global warming is in dispute. This is the same president who said last week, "Nobody could have predicted that the levees would break." It's important to establish accountability in order to make our democracy work. And the uncertainty and lack of resolution, the willful misunderstanding of what the scientific community is saying, the preference for what a few supporters in the coal and oil industry -- far from all, but a few -- want him to do -- ignore the science -- that is a serious problem. The President talked about the analogies to World War II -- let me give another analogy to World War II. Winston Churchill, when the storm was gathering on continental Europe, provided warnings of what was at stake. And he said this about the government then in power in England -- which wasn't sure that the threat was real -- he said, "They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent." He continued, "The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences." Ladies and gentlemen, the warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences. Churchill also said this, and he directed it at the people of his country who were looking for any way to avoid having to really confront the threat that he was warning of and asking them to prepare for. He said that he understood why there was a natural desire to deny the reality of the situation and to search for vain hope that it wasn't really as serious as some claimed it was. He said they should know the truth. And after the appeasement by Neville Chamberlain, he sad, "This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This only the first sip, the first foretaste, of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year -- unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we rise again and take our stand for freedom." It is time now for us to recover our moral health in America and stand again to rise for freedom, demand accountability for poor decisions, missed judgments, lack of planning, lack of preparation and willful denial of the obvious truth about serious and imminent threats that are facing the American people. [applause] Abraham Lincoln said, "The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country." We must disenthrall ourselves with the sound-and-light show that has diverted the attentions of our great democracy from the important issues and challenges of our day. We must disenthrall ourselves from the Michael Jackson trial and the Aruba search and the latest sequential obsession with celebrity trials or whatever relative triviality dominates the conversation of democracy instead of making room for us as free American citizens to talk with one another about our true situation, and then save our country. We must resist those wrong lessons. Some are now saying, including in the current administration, that the pitiful response by government proves that we cannot ever rely on the government. They have in the past proposed more unilateral power for themselves as the solution for a catastrophe of their own creation, and we should not acquiesce in allowing them to investigate themselves and giving them more power to abuse and misuse, the way they have so recently done. The fact that an administration can't manage its own way out of a horse show doesn't mean that all government programs should be abolished. FEMA worked extremely well during the previous administration. [applause] A hundred years ago, Upton Sinclair wrote, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding." Here's what I think we here understand about Hurricane Katrina and global warming. Yes, it is true that no single hurricane can be blamed on global warming. Hurricanes have come for a long time, and will continue to come in the future. Yes, it is true that the science does not definitively tell us that global warming increases the frequency of hurricanes -- because yes, it is true there is a multi-decadal cycle, 20 to 40 years that profoundly affects the number of hurricanes that come in any single hurricane season. But it is also true that the science is extremely clear now, that warmer oceans make the average hurricane stronger -- not only makes the winds stronger, but dramatically increases the moisture from the oceans evaporating into the storm, thus magnifying its destructive power -- makes the duration, as well as the intensity of the hurricane, stronger. Last year we had a lot of hurricanes. Last year, Japan set an all-time record for typhoons: 10. The previous record was seven. Last year the science textbooks had to be rewritten. They said, "It's impossible to have a hurricane in the South Atlantic." We had the first one last year, in Brazil. We had an all-time record last year for tornadoes in the United States: 1,717. Largely because hurricanes spawned tornadoes. Last year we had record temperatures in many cities. This year 200 cities in the Western United States broke all-time records. Reno: 39 days consecutively above 100 degrees. The scientists are telling us that what the science tells them is that this -- unless we act quickly and dramatically -- that Tucson tied its all-time record for consecutive days above 100 degrees. This, in Churchill's phrase, is only the first sip of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year until there is a supreme recovery of moral health. We have to rise with this occasion. We have to connect the dots. When the Superfund sites aren't cleaned up, we get a toxic gumbo in a flood. When there is not adequate public transportation for the poor, it is difficult to evacuate a city. When there is no ability to give medical care to poor people, its difficult to get hospitals to take refugees in the middle of a crisis. When the wetlands are turned over to the developers then the storm surges from the ocean threaten the coastal cities more. When there is no effort to restrain the global warming pollution gases then global warming gets worse, with all of the consequences that the scientific community has warned us about. My friends, the truth is that our circumstances are not only new; they are completely different than they have ever been in all of human history. The relationship between humankind and the earth had been utterly transformed in the last 100 years. We have quadrupled the population of our planet. The population in many ways is a success story. The demographic transition has been occurring more quickly than was hoped for, but the reality of our new relationship with the planet brings with it a moral responsibility to accept our new circumstances and to deal with the consequences of the relationship we have with this planet. And it's not just population. By any means, the power of the technologies now at our disposal vastly magnifies the average impact that individuals can have on the natural world. Multiply that by six and a half billion people, and then stir into that toxic mixture a mindset and an attitude that says its okay to ignore scientific evidence, that we don't have to take responsibility for the future consequences of present actions, and you get a collision between our civilization and the earth. The refugees that we have seen -- I don't like that word when applied to American citizens in our own country, but the refugees that we have seen could well be the first sip of that bitter cup because sea-level rise in countries around the world will mobilize millions of environmental refugees. The other problems are known to you, but here is what I want to close with: This is a moral moment. This is not ultimately about any scientific debate or political dialogue. Ultimately it is about who we are as human beings. It is about our capacity to transcend our own limitations; to rise to this new occasion; to see with our hearts, as well as our heads, the unprecedented response that is now called for; to disenthrall ourselves; to shed the illusions that have been our accomplices in ignoring the warnings that were clearly given; and hearing the ones that are clearly given now. Where there is no vision, the people perish. And Lincoln said at another moment of supreme challenge that the question facing the people of the United States of America ultimately was whether or not this government, conceived in liberty, dedicated to freedom, of the people, by the people, and for the people -- or any government so conceived -- would perish from this earth. There is another side to this moral challenge. Where there is vision, the people prosper and flourish, and the natural world recovers, and our communities recover. The good news is we know what to do. The good news is, we have everything we need now to respond to the challenge of global warming. We have all the technologies we need, more are being developed, and as they become available and become more affordable when produced in scale, they will make it easier to respond. But we should not wait, we cannot wait, we must not wait, we have every thing we need -- save perhaps political will. And in our democracy, political will is a renewable resource. [sustained applause] I know that you are debating as an organization and talking among yourselves about your own priorities. I would urge you to make global warming your priority. I would urge you to focus on a unified theme. I would urge you to work with other groups in ways that have not been done in the past, even though there have been Herculean efforts on your part and the part of others. I would urge you to make this a moral moment, to make this a moral cause. There are those who would say that the problem is too big and we can't solve it. There are many people who go from denial to despair without pausing on the intermediate step of actually solving the problem. To those who say it's too big for us, I say that we have accepted and successfully met such challenges in the past. We declared our liberty, and then won it. We designed a country that respected and safeguarded the freedom of individuals. We freed the slaves. We gave women the right to vote. We took on Jim Crow and segregation. We cured great diseases. We have landed on the moon. We have won two wars in the Pacific and the Atlantic simultaneously. We brought down Communism, we brought down apartheid, we have even solved a global environmental crisis before -- the hole in the stratospheric ozone layer -- because we had leadership and because we had vision and because people who exercise moral authority in their local communities empowered our nation's government "of the people by the people and for the people" to take ethical actions even thought they were difficult. This is another such time. This is your moment. This is the time for those who see and understand and care and are willing to work to say this time the warnings will not be ignored. This time we will prepare. This time we will rise to the occasion. And we will prevail. Thank you. Good luck to you, God bless you. [sustained applause] © 2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/25349/

Doh!

Utility Error Blamed for L.A. Blackout Several workers who were installing an automated transmission system hooked up the wrong wires, according to Ron Deaton, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. "They connected it to another line that was not expecting that much electricity," he said. No injuries were reported. When it happened the entire floor yelled "Oh!" because all of our computers went dead. We thought it was just our building at first but no. . . Rather glad it was a Homer Simpson moment and not something more diabolical.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A new home for my VW bug

My friend Jolie may buy my car! I didn't feel like dealing with selling it to a private person so I was going to sell it back the Dealer and just suck up the fact that they would pay me a lot less than I would want. I suppose I will have to start locking it again. I have taken to not locking it hoping that someone may steal it. I have also contemplated driving it to an unsavory neighborhood and leaving it. I thought this was an original idea until Joe told me that a character did this on Desperate Housewives. I even thought about trying to hire someone to steal it, but then I thought when you are trying to move out of the country, it may not be a good idea to commit insurance fraud. I mentioned to my mom my car fantasy and she admitted that she had thought of it as well. "You know who you know who could help you!" "Who Mom?" "Joe!" "Joe? Why do you think JOE could help me?" Joe is Italian. I had a feeling I knew why she thought Joe could help me. "Well, he is Sicilian." "He isn't Sicilian, but he even if he was, that doesn't mean he would automatically know someone who could steal my car! It's not as if he has a Luca Brasi in his family!" Okay, I didn't say that, but I thought it. She then launched into a long story about someone in our family telling her a long story and the punch line was, "Never trust a Sicilian." "I can't believe you Mom." "Well! That's what he told me." My mom. You gotta love her. I keep thinking of that song from Avenue Q "Everyone's A Little Bit Racist" and Wolf Blitzer's now famous, "They are so Black." Little things we think about people. . . like my Italian friend would know someone who could steal my car. Now if he was a *Mexican, I could understand. . . *Just to be extra, extra careful, the above comment was my using irony to make a joke. I do not think that a Mexican would be more likely than any other group to steal my car. In fact, some of my best friends are **Mexicans. **This is another use of irony.

Damn, damn, fuck, piss, shit.

The person that Paul was hoping would take one of my cats has decided to adopt a cat from a shelter because it looked like a cat that she used to have. While I am happy for that cat I could just scream. For me, if I knew there was someone in a desperate situation and I wanted to adopt a cat, this would have been a no brainer. . . but I don't know this person, so I should control my wishes that their house develops a termite infestation. I am so stressed out. I'm fine. I cry. It lasts a minute. I wipe my eyes then a few hours later I see a thing on the TV showing a three year old from New Orleans who is separated from his parents-- and then I cry again and feel like a guilty piece of shit that I am feeling stressed about what I am stressed about- because it ultimately will result in my getting to wake each morning next to the man I have fallen in love with. But. . if there is anyone in LA (or hell anywhere on the west coast) reading this that can take one or both of my boys, please e-mail me. travelingtreefrog236@yahoo.co.uk