Thursday, September 30, 2004

Are You a Manly Man?


Haha.. okay, so I just had to take this one..



Take this and other free quizlets on Match.com!


Oh yeah?





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Song: Fiona Apple - Sleep to Dream
Book: In between books
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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Put Away Your Hankies...a message from Michael Moore
Monday, September 20th, 2004


Dear Friends,

Enough of the handwringing! Enough of the doomsaying! Do I have to come there and personally calm you down? Stop with all the defeatism, OK? Bush IS a goner -- IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us. Do you ever see them cry, "Oh, it's all over! We are finished! Bush can't win! Waaaaaa!"

Hell no. It's never over for them until the last ballot is shredded. They are never finished -- they just keeping moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying.

They are relentless and that is why we secretly admire them -- they just simply never, ever give up. Only 30% of the country calls itself "Republican," yet the Republicans own it all -- the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and the majority of the governorships. How do you think they've been able to pull that off considering they are a minority? It's because they eat you and me and every other liberal for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day wreaking havoc on the planet.

Look at us -- what a bunch of crybabies. Bush gets a bounce after his convention and you would have thought the Germans had run through Poland again. The Bushies are coming, the Bushies are coming! Yes, they caught Kerry asleep on the Swift Boat thing. Yes, they found the frequency in Dan Rather and ran with it. Suddenly it's like, "THE END IS NEAR! THE SKY IS FALLING!"

No, it is not. If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate -- he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run -- and neither do you or I. People like Kerry run.

Yes, OF COURSE any of us would have run a better, smarter, kick-ass campaign. Of course we would have smacked each and every one of those phony swifty boaty bastards down. But WE are not running for president -- Kerry is. So quit complaining and work with what we have. Oprah just gave 300 women a... Pontiac! Did you see any of them frowning and moaning and screaming, "Oh God, NOT a friggin' Pontiac!" Of course not, they were happy. The Pontiacs all had four wheels, an engine and a gas pedal. You want more than that, well, I can't help you. I had a Pontiac once and it lasted a good year. And it was a VERY good year.

My friends, it is time for a reality check.

1. The polls are wrong. They are all over the map like diarrhea. On Friday, one poll had Bush 13 points ahead -- and another poll had them both tied. There are three reasons why the polls are b.s.: One, they are polling "likely voters." "Likely" means those who have consistently voted in the past few elections. So that cuts out young people who are voting for the first time and a ton of non-voters who are definitely going to vote in THIS election. Second, they are not polling people who use their cell phone as their primary phone. Again, that means they are not talking to young people. Finally, most of the polls are weighted with too many Republicans, as pollster John Zogby revealed last week. You are being snookered if you believe any of these polls.

2. Kerry has brought in the Clinton A-team. Instead of shunning Clinton (as Gore did), Kerry has decided to not make that mistake.

3. Traveling around the country, as I've been doing, I gotta tell ya, there is a hell of a lot of unrest out there. Much of it is not being captured by the mainstream press. But it is simmering and it is real. Do not let those well-produced Bush rallies of angry white people scare you. Turn off the TV! (Except Jon Stewart and Bill Moyers -- everything else is just a sugar-coated lie).

4. Conventional wisdom says if the election is decided on "9/11" (the fear of terrorism), Bush wins. But if it is decided on the job we are doing in Iraq, then Bush loses. And folks, that "job," you might have noticed, has descended into the third level of a hell we used to call Vietnam. There is no way out. It is a full-blown mess of a quagmire and the body bags will sadly only mount higher. Regardless of what Kerry meant by his original war vote, he ain't the one who sent those kids to their deaths -- and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America knows it. Had Bush bothered to show up when he was in the "service" he might have somewhat of a clue as to how to recognize an immoral war that cannot be "won." All he has delivered to Iraq was that plasticized turkey last Thanksgiving. It is this failure of monumental proportions that is going to cook his goose come this November.

So, do not despair. All is not over. Far from it. The Bush people need you to believe that it is over. They need you to slump back into your easy chair and feel that sick pain in your gut as you contemplate another four years of George W. Bush. They need you to wish we had a candidate who didn't windsurf and who was just as smart as we were when WE knew Bush was lying about WMD and Saddam planning 9/11. It's like Karl Rove is hypnotizing you -- "Kerry voted for the war...Kerry voted for the war...Kerrrrrryyy vooootted fooooor theeee warrrrrrrrrr..."

Yes...Yes...Yesssss....He did! HE DID! No sense in fighting now...what I need is sleep...sleeep...sleeeeeeppppp...

WAKE UP! The majority are with us! More than half of all Americans are pro-choice, want stronger environmental laws, are appalled that assault weapons are back on the street -- and 54% now believe the war is wrong. YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF ANY OF THIS -- YOU JUST HAVE TO GIVE THEM A RAY OF HOPE AND A RIDE TO THE POLLS. CAN YOU DO THAT? WILL YOU DO THAT?

Just for me, please? Buck up. The country is almost back in our hands. Not another negative word until Nov. 3rd! Then you can bitch all you want about how you wish Kerry was still that long-haired kid who once had the courage to stand up for something. Personally, I think that kid is still inside him. Instead of the wailing and gnashing of your teeth, why not hold out a hand to him and help the inner soldier/protester come out and defeat the forces of evil we now so desperately face. Do we have any other choice?

Yours,
Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.commmflint@aol.com

Monday, September 27, 2004

You Might Want To Read This


I just got back from class and as I heard something rather alarming in Sociology, I feel I ought to let everyone know. It's shocking that this is being slipped in under our noses and there's the barest whisper of it in the media (non-shocker).

HR 163 -- "To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes."

Essentially, there are two draft bills (HR 163 and S 89) pending in the House and Congress that will institute a mandatory two-year service for all young persons age 18-26, including women. This is dated to start June of next year, and is not merely a war draft, but would institute a mandatory military system akin to Israel's. It seems our president is gearing up for more war, planning to force young people of all walks of life to fight his pissing contest in the Middle East. He will likely open up two more war zones, North Korea being one of them.

Beyond the fact that we have absolutely no business in Iraq at the moment, and should instead be looking for a way to politely extricate ourselves, why do we need such a military in the long-term? More importantly, why is no one talking about this pending bill? Or how the president, who is pushing for the bills because the volunteer military is spread so thin, has so cleverly concealed them in the undercurrents of all the big election hubub?

There are Democrats behind these bills, and I have read some Republicans attempting to use this to diminish Democrats on the whole -- as if who introduces a bill affects its acceptability. It should also be pointed out that HR 163 and S 89 were brought by the ethnic minority, somewhat of a pre-emptive strike against a Vietnam-style draft, where the majority of people who fought were poor, minorities, or both. This was mainly due to inability to afford college in order to obtain an educational deferment.

With the current climate in the Middle East, and the obvious track the president is on, it doesn't take a genius to deduce that the issue of returning the draft would eventually come up. I can understand where these Senators and Reps are coming from, and frankly, I too want racial, financial, and gender equality when it comes to Selective Service. That does not automatically mean that I, Democrats, or anyone else support this war.

These bills are drafted carefully, with 20/20 hindsight culled from our Vietnam mistakes. It's huge and it's frightening. At a time when most other countries are nullifying similar mandatory service laws, ours is re-implementing them. Those countries still maintaining such laws are those who are in a fairly constant state of war. The implications here is that Bush foresees a future in which a sizeable military is necessary. That alone should be reason enough to cast your vote elsewhere.

These bills have been drafted especially to close all loopholes regarding people seeking to avoid the draft. Behind Americans' back, the U.S. government pressured Canada into an agreement to close their borders to youths seeking to avoid their required service next summer.

It's called the "Smart Border Declaration", brought by Tom Ridge and signed by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierre Pettigrew. The Declaration is presented as an anti-terrorism net and involves a 30-point plan which implements, among other things, a 'pre-clearance agreement'. Even though, in the 60's, Canada left the draft-dodgers alone, this time around they will be sought and deported, facing a hefty fine and jail time when they return.

Aside from making the crossing to Canada difficult, the Service bill includes women and eliminates higher education as a shelter. Should their number come up, underclassmen would only be able to postpone service until the end of their current semester. Seniors will have until the end of the academic year.

Any hardship claimed will have to be extreme hardship. It won't matter if you're married and/or have children, if you both get called up, you both go. Extreme hardship is apparently only applicable in cases where there is no family to care for the child in the parent's absence. People who are deemed not fit or whathaveyou are not excused from duty. They are also required to serve their two years, but in "Homeland Security" positions.

I am not advocating or agreeing with dodging military requirements. However, as someone who sincerely believes that harming any living creature is morally wrong, I do feel that an individual has a right to hold a true moral objection to said service without being punished for it. Give them non-violent service options, as an example. As it stands now, one cannot claim Conscientious Objector status without the federal government completely cutting them off. Forget about getting federal financial aid for school or ever getting a government job.

Before you think this is solely a bill that has not yet been signed and therefore is still hypothetical, you should know that you are already paying for it. Since the bill was drafted in January 2003, $28 million has been added to the 2004 Selective Service. The Pentagon quietly began a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide. On May 31, 2005, the Selective Service must report to Bush or Kerry that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation. The draft could begin as early as June 15, 2005.

Lastly, these bills affect people currently enlisted, as well. They extend military service for those already active. A guy in my class spoke up to say that he'd already done a stint in Iraq with the Army Reserves, and was being shipped back in January. A friend of mine spent a year there (extended from the original 'three months') and, recently returned, he's grateful to be back. Knowing his wife and daughter, and how long he was away, I couldn't imagine what it would be like for him to be called up again.

Oh, my Sociology professor did find one loophole, which I was amused by. Apparently, there is nothing in the bills about what to do if people claim gayness to avoid the military. Seems a rather obvious one for me.. I mean, you can't be gay and be in the military, so what do they plan on doing? You know people will try it.

Anyway, sorry to get all rambly on you, but frankly, this news scares me more than anything I've heard this year. I'm out of the SS age range, so that isn't my motivation in the least. It's what these bills say about where we're headed in the next four years.

Please tell as many people as you know, spread the word, get them talking. Why are our representatives not telling constituents about these bills? Why is the media not covering this story?



References:
- The bill
- Selective Service System annual performance plan - Fiscal Year 2004
- The Smart Border Declaration



Currently Playing...
Song: Sheryl Crow & Stevie Nicks - Strong Enough
Book: Frankie & Stankie by Barbara Trapido
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

What Country Are You?




You're Chile!

You're really skinny, and kind of bumpy in frame, but you're not as rough a person as you used to be.  You like long, long, long walks on the beach and avoiding having your rights violated, just like anybody else does.  You're even willing to stand up to those with more power and influence than you, trying to bring them to justice.  Fight the man!
Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid



I was hoping I'd be Holland, but ah well. (swiped from martha)



Currently Playing...
Song: Grateful Dead - Shakedown Street
Book: Frankie & Stankie by Barbara Trapido
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Message From God


"I thought it was an interesting coincidence that a state with questionable presidential election results would be pummeled by hurricanes just before the next election. Then I thought it was an interesting coincidence that the storms spared Miami, who voted for Gore in 2000. Just out of curiosity, I overlaid two maps: one of the tracks of the hurricanes of 2004, and one of the election results of 2000.

This is no longer an interesting coincidence. It is an unmistakable message from God. I hope everyone is listening."




Currently Playing...
Song: Billy Bragg & Wilco - All You Fascists
Book: Frankie & Stankie by Barbara Trapido
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Monday, September 20, 2004

Bubble Magnets!


After reading rebecky's post about bubble magnets, I knew I had to make them. I feel like a huge geek for being this excited about magnets, but I love making things and these are so simple and easy. I am a perfectionist, and when I undertake any task, I usually perform it to rigid standards. This crafts project is no different; I researched the whole thing and decided I would use the best materials.

I made an "A" magnet for Angie and an "S" magnet for her niece. They're fun: How to Make Bubble Magnets



Currently Playing...
Song: Electric Six - She's White
Book: Frankie & Stankie by Barbara Trapido
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Politics, What?


I never intended my blog to be a political one, but if you're a regular reader, you might have noticed a certain trend in the past few months. When I created this site, my idea was to keep an online journal that also included a handy place to organize all my bookmarks and sites I visit regularly. I meant to share silly, weird, and/or fun websites because I used to stumble across them with some regularity.

I reckon the political content will subside somewhat once the election passes, but if The Shrub gets elected again, no promises. Really, if there's a God, s/he has to disallow another term for The Axis of Evil.

But anyway.. I attended the protest of Bush's visit to Parkersburg, WV a few weeks ago. There were about a thousand protesters, but Bush never saw any of us because he snuck in and out of the back way.

It seemed the only media present was a local TV station, and after watching their coverage of the event (both the speech and the protest), I'm rather outraged. I have no issues with media wanting to be supportive of the President, but they were outright fawning and went so far as to misrepresent the demonstrating crowd, making it seem as if we were crazy and out of control, when in fact, the protest was peaceful and everyone followed police directions (in fact, I don't think there were any arrests).

Not only this, but the President snuck in and out of the back, not even bothering to come down the route they said he would arrive. Of course, this route was where the protesters were, and subsequently, we never even got to see him. This is the second time in two visits to our town that he has purposely dodged protesters. The fact that he came in and out of a back route is more significant when you compare these visits to Reagan's visit here in '84. Supporters lined the streets after tickets sold out, and I don't believe there were many protesters, if any. Reagan's motorcade came up the street in front of the high school (the same route they told us The Shrub was coming), whereas Bush snuck in the back.

After hearing this misrepresentation by WTAP, I'm very outraged. (check out the articles: 1 and 2; streaming video should be somewhere, listed as Bush Arrives/Departs MOV Airport, you'll see just how bumbling and slavish our local newscasters are) It's one thing to support the President, but another to completely misrepresent what happened outside of the speech. Not only was coverage of the demonstrators limited, but it was almost totally negative. My Sociology teacher said that one of the news people had actually called the protesters 'immoral' and that the channel would probably be facing FCC complaints as a result.

One thing that really angered me about the news coverage was that the newscasters didn't bother to mention that *ALL* the in-your-face verbal and physical intimidation efforts were by the Republicans leaving the speech. All the protesters were behind yellow police tape, and the Bushies could have walked around us to avoid us -- the police had set up a secure exit zone far away from us -- yet many of them insisted on walking *through* us, so they could harass, yell, and get in our faces. I had a sign that said 'Leave No Billionaire Behind', and one man of about age 70 told me he wanted to shove it up my ass. For the record, none of the protesters that I witnessed were making threats or swearing at anyone in such a fashion.

The reporters repeatedly described the demonstrators as 'rowdy', as if they expected tea and cookies at a protest. "Why do you suppose the protesters are so angry?" "Well, we think it's because the President didn't come the way they thought he would." Oh, nevermind the fact that he's the Face of Evil, and lies spring from his mouth quicker than he can mouth-breathe. Maybe it's because we're down two million jobs, in a war for which we have absolutely no justification, or maybe it's because Bush and his cronies are all making a tidy profit from us. Gee, I dunno..

I find it somewhat amusing, in kind of an ironic way, as I protested the Gulf War in San Francisco back when I was still in high school, and that is more my idea of a 'rowdy' crowd than the thousand-or-so protesters yesterday obeying the police and behaving peacefully. After all, there were plenty of arrests then, true civil disobedience as we even walked on the Bay Bridge, stopping traffic. I have to wonder at the local media, if this event consisted of an out-of-control crowd! We were truthfully very well-behaved.

Some photos of the protest can be found here.



Currently Playing...
Song: David Gray - Please Forgive Me
Book: Frankie and Stankie by Barbara Trapido
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Rant


I haven't bitched about my job in a while, so lest you think that everything is champagne and roses in that department, I'm going to vent a little bit here. I'm a little riled up, as I come fresh from having to close the restaurant essentially by myself. You see, the other closer in smoking, Theresa, decided she would close herself and gleefully stroll out of the restaurant despite being told by the manager she needed to come back and help me with closing duties.

Ah yes, I suppose the life of one so ballsy and indifferent to anyone else must be exciting. After all, imagine having the power (over your boss too, apparently) to decide when you're done with work. That must be nice.

You see, Theresa is not a fun person to work with and she is not popular at work, due to her intrinsically self-serving motivations. I hate being her roommate and I find she is lazy in her work across the board, which causes the overflow work to fall on everyone else. In essence, Theresa is one that would screw ya. There are a lot of people at work, but I do know the ones I can trust. There are a handful of others that will totally screw you and not give a shit about it.

So tonight, Theresa cleaned her room early and got my signature on her goal card in return. She took my signature and used it to cash out, and instead of even asking me if there was anything else I needed before she left, she told me to have a good night, and went to leave. I went to ask the manager if he'd closed her and let her go, and he said no, he hadn't. I explained to him that she'd closed herself without doing any of the closing stuff (dumping pitchers, bread, soup, etc.), and that she was leaving. He asked about my signature, and I told him that that was just for cleaning her room, that she hadn't done anything to help me at all.

She was still in the cafe and the manager went and asked her if she was his other closer, she answered him yes. He then told her she needed to come back and help me close, and when he walked away, Theresa walked out the door and left. That bitch fuckin' screwed me of about half an hour of my time. I had the last three tables, I was busy with them as well as checking everyone else out. I hadn't even gotten to start cleaning my room, much less the closing stuff. So I was left to dump everything, put the salad stuff away, and clean up by myself, then I still had to cash out and clean my room. I swear if she'd helped me, I would have gotten out at about quarter after 10.

And then I got pulled over for speeding on the way home. I had a lovely chat with the officer, who was very nice, and he told me I'd been going 35 in a 25. Whoops. I was all pissed at Theresa and also having to sit at a light that never changed for five minutes.. I saw him turn around, and knew I was in trouble.. I tried to pull into a side street, but he had his lights on as he turned the corner. Haha.. I'm so dumb. Ah well.. he didn't give me a ticket and only told me to make sure I get my car inspected soon. I am grateful for him being nice, but as I told him, it's a new windshield and I just tried to get it inspected and had a couple things I needed to replace first.

I'm not quite done with my rant, though. I want to bitch a little bit about the moronic people I wait on. I'm trying to get a cheap tablet on eBay so I can create my own comics about all the retarded, mind-bending things I experience at work. You wouldn't believe the things people ask me, the way they act, or the things they say. Waiting tables in WV has been a truly humbling experience for me. Never before have I been forced to serve people for whom I generally have such contempt.

When I make my generalizations, please accept that not everyone in WV is bad, and as a general rule, I find West Virginians to be welcoming and kind. However, a great many of them are ignorant, obese, brainwashed, and uncultured. They think Olive Garden is a fancy restaurant because we wear ties and use cloth napkins. They're lazy and don't want to read (whether it be signs, or a menu), they want everything handed to them, they want it pointed to and spelled out. I can't count the times when people order soup and salad and ask, "Well, what kind of soup do you have?" when I ask them what soup they want. How do you order something and have no idea what it is? Is it dealer's choice? What the hell? Before I order soup, I make sure there's a variety I like. I don't just go around ordering soup willy-nilly. Or the people that have just been looking at the menu, ordering soup and salad, and then ask me what kinds of soup we have. It's on the menu, that thing you were just using to find the cheapest items, in big letters.. right there.

Those of you who have never waited tables or worked in the service industry will never fully understand what it means to be a waiter/waitress. What the job takes (a great deal of skill and patience, for example), what it's really like dealing with restaurant guests. The great amount of unnecessary shit and annoyances we have to put up with. The drama, which really could rival any reality show on the air. You could put a camera in any restaurant in America and you'd have plenty to watch. The Restaurant is real; restaurant life is just explosive and dramatic, just as full of big egos and indestructable attitudes.

Those attitudes do not just belong to the staff, oh no. Some of the people I wait on are downright cold and rude for no reason whatsoever, people who feel like the price of their dinner also includes the use of me as their personal shit receptacle. I am frustrated and stupefied both at this kind of person. I, for one, do not believe in ill-treatment of people unless you know them and they've done something to warrant your superiority.

What makes it worse is that I know I'm better than most of these people. I sure as hell am smarter. I don't usually feel superior to people because I'm smarter, but these asshats who take out their shoulder-chips on me really could use a mental smack-down. How I wish and fantasize I could verbally lash some of these folks, just to tell them straight out what a fucker they're being.

Oh, that reminds me. I got told off by a manager on Sunday for using the F-word in the alley. Nevermind all the other rampant language and blatant sexual comments and gestures that fly around that place like panties on prom night. No, apparently my use of the F-word was somehow worse than everyone else's. So I got yelled at, which really topped off my incredibly shitty day.

I'd overslept and was late to work, got past Big Boss unscathed, clocked on, and was immediately triple sat (one of which was a party of 6) and slammed for the next couple of hours. One of the first tables was an older couple, they ordered soup/salad and spaghetti and meat sauce. I was rushing around trying to get everyone everything all at once, and my food was taking forever. I'd sent all three tables as soon as they got their salads, I didn't care that a couple of the tickets had quick things and would be out fast.

Imagine this all in a high degree of stress and not being able to get caught up. Lots and lots of refills. Well, twenty minutes later, everyone was finishing up the salad, and no sign of my food. I stood in the alley and waited for it, but even the things that usually took two minutes to make were nowhere to be seen. So I headed back out to do my rounds and let everyone know I was waiting on the food while I cleared plates. I get back in the dining room and the guy in the older couple is standing up and says urgently, "I need to go."

I apologized about how long it was taking and told him I'd sent their food a long time ago, he replied, "I'm sure you did." (sarcasm?)

He asked if they could pay for the salad and soup, so they could just go, the whole time asking all rushed and brusque. I asked him to wait for a moment while I had the ticket changed. I went back to Big Boss and he said he would comp it, and then started stomping around and yelling at the line guys about the order. I went back out and told them the manager said there'd be no charge, and told them to have a good afternoon. The man said, "The manager.. where is he? I want to talk to him."

Ugh.. give me a freakin' break here. You go into a restaurant and expect to have two courses finished in twenty minutes? What kind of crack are you smoking?? But I told them sure, and went and told Big Boss. I don't know what the guy's problem was, but I wasn't worried because I hadn't done anything wrong. All of this put me behind and I was struggling, rushing around with the food coming up, drink refills, and then Big Boss came up and wanted a rehash of what happened. I was so behind and totally on the verge of tears out of frustration and anger against those stupid fucking people.

On top of it, they didn't even tip me. What fuckin' assholes.



Currently Playing...
Song: Morcheeba - Blindfold
Book: A Friend of the Family by Lisa Jewell
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Questionable


Margaret Cho posted some interesting things about the 9/11 Pentagon attack. I've been personally wondering why the government (and subsequently everyone else) has been focused only on New York (and to a lesser extent, the PA plane), yet no one ever mentions the Pentagon attack.

I don't know about you, but I take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt. So watch this and judge for yourself. It does seem a bit fishy, doesn't it? And just in case you want to hear the other side, Snopes.com debunks the 'urban legend'.

Thanks, Margaret.

Lastly, I plan a real post very soon.. I spent Sunday protesting Bush's visit to our town and have lots to talk about. Unfortunately, my computer is really messed up, and I'm being given no choice but to reformat my C drive. I've spent the past week wrangling with it, and been unable to locate the cause of my problems. And then last night, I uninstalled AOL (that I'd installed for the iPod trial), and apparently that was the straw that broke the camel's back. I've been getting Blue Screens of Death for the past 7 days, and quite the concentrated amount last night. I was trying to browse some of my regular websites today, and both IE and Firefox keep unexpectedly quitting.

So that's the cause for my non-posting.. much behind-the-scenes banging with a monkey wrench has been occurring. Thankfully, now that I have a 160 GB HD as storage in addition to my 30 GB boot drive, I can most likely just copy over the stuff I want to save, rather than having to burn an assload of CDs like I did last time. And more importantly, all my music is on the G drive, so I won't have to spend hours burning those to disk.

I am glad to know that it doesn't seem to be a problem with my video card, as I wondered, so I can put the old crusty thing back in there, and not have to deal anymore with the crappy video card that came combined with my motherboard.



Currently Playing...
Song: Trespassers William - I Know
Book: A Friend of the Family by Lisa Jewell
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Must Read: Dubya's Missing Year


There is a compelling article at Salon.com about the year Bush missed in the National Guard. It truly speaks volumes about his character.

Mandatory reading for everyone:

George W. Bush's Missing Year

(click on the "Day Pass" button for free access to the full article)




Currently Playing...
Song: Indigo Girls - Tangled Up In Blue
Book: HP and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Gmail


I have two Gmail invitations to give away.. just comment or email me (address at the top) if you want one!



Currently Playing...
Song: Ani DiFranco - Fixing Her Hair
Book: HP and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Open Letter To All Non-Americans


Hi. My name is Alena, and I'm an American. Wait -- before you click away, stop for a moment and let me apologize to you. I'm writing this letter to you because I am deeply ashamed of my country's behavior. It shames me to know exactly how my country and my people look to you from the outside, and no matter what I do or say, every day it only gets worse.

I am not the only American that feels this way, but there is a climate of fear and political dishonor in our country that makes it difficult to speak out and be truly heard. Our fair country is currently lost, and almost all of us feel that loss in our daily lives. Some people don't even realize what they have lost, because it's easier to be blissfully oblivious in the mainstream, easy to simply believe what they're told the most often.

Whether we recognize the problems or not, the majority of us feel rather helpless to change them. We are as outraged as you; we speak out, write, protest, petition. Our voices are being silenced all over the country. The opposition is well-funded and well-connected.

I admit that our country is a country of non-thinkers. Not everyone by any means, because we have stunning culture and plenty of brilliant artists and thinkers. However, a good many of us are people who prefer to be absorbed in their own lives rather than in the world at large. This section of the population is sheep who like to follow, to not question, or think. They're lazy, but not only that, they appear to enjoy being manipulated by institutions that want to make money from them. On top of that, our President is a cowboy from Texas, which probably doesn't mean much to you, but all I can say is: the big swaggery attitude is all Texas. He consequently has acted the part, only this time his ranch is the planet.

He has a lot of money, connected family, and many enormously rich friends. In our country, that can buy a fellow a lot, including an entire election. Don't blame us, we didn't vote for him! (For the record, Gore won the popular vote by 539,947 votes, but thanks to our outdated Electoral College system, the guy who lost the popular vote made it into office and look where we are now.)

So I want you to know that I am very sorry for our actions. I do not believe in war, and I don't believe in pushing around other countries. I don't believe in bullying, in mocking and boycotting (je suis désolée), especially when the point of view expressed is logical (as opposed to the one backed by billions of dollars).

Please know that many Americans are saddened by the war and think it should end. Many of us are aware our President is vacuum-headed buffoon, and we are working to fire him. Many of us hate what has happened to our reputation, and we mourn the loss of our international friends. And, lastly, most of us are afraid.

Please do not judge us too harshly. I feel our losses and it saddens me; besides, we are not all pompous, gluttonous cretins. We are trying to stand up and speak out. We find it difficult because we are daily being oppressed, our liberties silently stolen away from us, our voices squelched. Above all, please know that I am sincerely sorry. Forgive our leaders, who unfortunately speak in our name (hopefully, not for too much longer).

Pray for us.


Bright Blessings to You,

Alena

Thursday, September 02, 2004

We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore
By Garrison Keillor
August 26, 2004


Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned—and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today’s. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.

In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. “Bipartisanship is another term of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.

Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.

Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy —- the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president’s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.

The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.

Our beloved land has been fogged with fear —- fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.

There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn’t the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it’s 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn’t the “end of innocence,” or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn’t prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time.

Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place or getting off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office on the 90th floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those people with a little economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama, cruise to victory in November and proceed to get some serious nation-changing done in his second term.

This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of the Deadheads. They will wave enormous flags and wow over and over the footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and bodies being carried out and they will lie about their economic policies with astonishing enthusiasm.

The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.

This is a great country, and it wasn’t made so by angry people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go and we’re not getting any younger.

Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It’s a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I r00l


Take that, HTML, I just kicked your ass. It would appear that I fixed the problem, though that means I probably broke something else in the process. I have a unique way of 'fixing' things. Just ask my mom how I 'fixed' her dishwasher -- that story includes me being electrocuted.

The HTML validator thinger was quite useful, as it alerted me to some stuff that needed cleaning up. Tonight's problem turned out to be mysteriously missing code in a totally different area. One that I haven't touched in at least six months, so who the hell knows, but part of the code just packed up and ditched me like a cheap hooker.

My brain is tired.. time for some Harry Potter and bed. And is it just me, or is The Order of the Phoenix harder (i.e. less enjoyable) to read than the others? Angie said something about it being written like a screenplay, but I can't put my finger on it.



Currently Playing...
Song: Bush - The Chemicals Between Us
Book: HP and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Bugger


Monday, I was lucky. I bought a soda at school, and won a free Mr. Pibb. Then, when I got a soda using the cap, that cap was also a winner. So essentially, my $1 investment has been a good one.

About an hour ago, I posted and then went to add to the Links section. I don't know what I did, but I obviously did something, because the left table is trying to take over the rest of the page. I tried to reason with it, I even combed through the code for an hour, used an online HTML analyzer, tweaked here and there.. nothing worked. I'm not entirely convinced it's me, considering all I did was cut and paste some code, and all of it looks fine and with proper tags. Occasionally Blogger hiccups in such a way where I'm tweaking and something bad happens and I automatically assume it's something I did. For I can be careless in my code-slinging, I know this. I mean, last time, my cut and paste excluded one character, and when I failed to notice, caused all sorts of table havoc.

Anyway, I need a break from combing through code. As if my poor brain didn't have enough, wrestling with a graphing calculator for over an hour. Mayhap said problem will fix itself, as occasionally things do, and if it doesn't, I'll have to dive back in.



Currently Playing...
Song: Wyclef Jean - If I Was President
Book: HP and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!

Let's Play WTF


In this case, I want to know Who the Fuck sings this song, and what's the name of it?

Neither the file name or the track tag is helpful, and I've tied repeatedly to backwards-find the song and/or artist by Googling the lyrics. No dice. As I am rather anal about the organization of all things pertaining to the innards of my computer, it irks me that this file still remains at the Miscellaneous portion of my library, due to its lacking a proper tag.

I like the song, and don't want to delete it, so if you by some miracle actually know this song, please let me know.

In other news, school has started and it's good so far. I'm pissed at myself for having been such a lazy-ass last semester, as well as not sticking through my summer Algebra course (even though I still don't think I could have made it), so I am trying to be serious about this semester. In Intermediate Algebra, I'm being introduced to the wonderful world of graphing calculators. I got the one in the middle, the translucent blueberry iMac-y colored one. What you can't see are the sparkle-glittery buttons, and that just makes the calculator for me.

I feel like such a geek, that I can be this excited over how cool my calculator is. I feel overly special that mine is a hip blue with sparkly keys, when most of the free world has to use the boring, nerdy black ones. I play with it gratuitously in class when I'm bored, just so everyone else notices how cool it is. I may be a dork, but I'm a dork with a COOL FRIPPIN' CALCULATOR! (and yes, I'm stealing the word 'frippin'' from Tory, thanks for asking)

The manual is ginormous; I'm talking book-sized. I have not yet bothered to do more than randomly flip through to see the various things my calculator can do. I am not ashamed to admit that the manual scared me, and that I decided to let my teacher carry the burden of helping me figuring the damn thing out.

My calculator may be cool, but let me tell you, it's confusing as hell. We spent most of today's time covering how to graph quadratic equations, and I swear I got a brain overload headache. I forsee possible battles with Bluey, whereupon I am sorely tempted to run it over with my car. I did pretty much figure out what the teacher was talking about, and I believe I could graph a quadratic equation if you asked me to.

At one point during the homework review today, I took to playing with the applications installed on my calculator. I knew there were games, but all I seemed to have were science and math applications. Damn it, what, do they think I want some education crap on my calculator? So I looked up at the girl that took my desk and said, "Where my games is at?" She laughed and explained I'd have to plunk down another $15 for a USB cable -- god forbid a $100 calculator ship with related cables -- to connect to my computer and download the games from the internet. Damn you, Texas Instruments.

She then said she had a connector cable and games, and would put them on my calculator for me. And after class she did! So now I have games, which I'm sure will occupy me during boring homework review, offering a much-needed break from the mind-bending task of doodling the hell out of my margins.

By the way, I have had this girl in several of my classes and I have always gotten some strong blips off the old gaydar. Let's put it this way, she could be straight, but I would be very surprised. Anyway, when she took the desk I'd wanted, I joked with her about it. We'd never previously talked, but after I joked with her, she started talking to me more, laughing at my jokes and crap. Lord knows I love an audience, and I couldn't help playing to the crowd all throughout class. She might even have been flirting, but I didn't want to jump to any conclusions. Just something I took notice of.

I felt rather foolish in Sociology today, when my teacher asked us to think about marriage for a few moments. He then began asking us what our image of it consisted of. I thought people were raising their hands to agree with his questions, and was all riled up thinking about my definition, so when he got to the, "A marriage between yourself and someone of the same gender?" part, I raised my hand, kind of proudly. And then after a beat, I got that I shouldn't have raised my hand, blushed hard, and was like, Oh, I get it, rhetorical question, ha ha.. It's not even that I truly care if my classmates know I'm gay, but I tell ya, in that moment, I felt like a total tool.



Currently Playing...
Song: Neil Young - Pocohontas
Book: HP and the Order of the Phoenix
Obsessing Over: iPods! Help me get one free by clicking here -- then get one yourself!