Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Doing what we can

I just spent a half hour or so calling people in "swing states" to encourage them to vote. There's this organization votercall where you can register and they give you a list of names and number of low income and minority registered voters. They give you a script and you call people and ask if they need help getting to the polls or information about where their polling place is.

So that's the strategy for trying to effect some sort of positive momentum. Barring the success of that effort, I also began contingency planning today. I think that I can, indeed, emigrate to Canada as a skilled worker.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


So in the search for intelligent commentary about tonight's debate or even in search of public opinion (two things so very unrelated at this point in history), I found myself surfing by the McEnroe show and stopping to hear Robert Sullivan talk about rats. Did you know that the LA rats (black rats) are thinner than the NY rats (brown rats) and that the former prefer a vegetarian diet while the latter prefer meat? What's more, LA rats ("ship rats") don't swim well, and NY rats ("water rats") do. LA rat packs have dominant males and females (which are general the most aggressive rats) and are "polygynous," which means the boy rats mate with more than one girl rat at one time, while NY rat packs are dominated by males and are "polygynandrous," which basically means what's good for the goose is good for the gander. In fact, according to Animal Diversity Web, "Once a female enters her six-hour estrus period, she may mate as many as five-hundred times with competing males."

Peter Pan

I wish LA had a weekly as great as the Voice. Their latest piece on Kerry and Bush is pretty insightful, I think.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Descending into the abyss

So admittedly, I got a little distracted today at work. I've been saying for some time now that I would post some of the online "finds" of recent weeks, and I visited memepool in anticipation of such a post tonight, just to make sure I wasn't missing anything really great. Well, you know how these things go... First I followed a memepool link to the Unfortunate Animal of the Month Club. This one is my personal favorite, though I am also really fond of frankenbunny. Well, Cat Grey's links page (Cat Grey being the creator of the unfortunate animals), took me to another site, which in turn took me here. Who knew that goths had their own ebay-ish haunts? Somehow I got on an animal expedition of sorts and from link to link found myself admiring the tiger man and feeling somewhat astonished at the wide variety of fetishes there are in the world. In my defense, let me say that I used to work here and have even published a book about the Internet. That is to say, I used to surf the web for a living (and of course, write grants, as every writer for a nonprofit must do except those of us lucky enough to work for places that don't accept outside donations--let's hear it for the traditions). Of course, I don't surf the web for a living now, so there's really no excuse for my behavior today. I just got sucked into the perversity, what can I say?

Many of the other recent sites I have loved, have had to do with politics, shocking I'm sure. There's the Dishonest Dubya action figure, the George W. Bush speechwriter, and highlights from the first debate, Faces of Frustration. Thank god the Democratic Party has finally overcome the desire to take the high road, I say. On the less satirical and more sobering side of things, the Cost of War site I think is very effective, Convince Your Mom is cute, and this story by The Washington Post explains a thing or two (sorry, you have to register for that one, I think). Most depressing of all is the Iraq Body Count site.

Which reminds me of my ideas for the Kerry campaign. First, the next time an anti-abortion person asks him a question about her tax dollars going to fund abortion, I think Kerry should politely point out that regardless of his stance on abortion, he is the best candidate for anyone who cares passionately about the sanctity of life since we perhaps could have avoided the deaths of 13,000-and-counting people if we had managed not to go to war. (And on this note, let me say as an aside, that it really would be nice to have a Democratic candidate that wasn't quite so much of a hawk. Bring back the doves!)

My other idea, and this one I have held onto since "liberal" became an epithet during the Dukakis campaign, is for Kerry to read the dictionary definition of "liberalism" the next time Bush accuses him of being the most liberal man in the Senate (and if that's true the country is far worse off than even I imagined). Merriam-Webster says it's "a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties." Similarly, the American Heritage Dictionary defines it this way: "A political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority." I think Kerry should just read that and ask Bush what part of that definition he is trying to distance himself from. I actually emailed that suggestion to the Kerry campaign, so if you hear him define liberalism during tomorrow's debate, you know where he got that idea from.

If you watched the last debate, you know that Kerry handled the accusation by stating that he didn't believe in labels. Frankly, I still do believe in the efficacy of labels (nice wiggling on that one, John), and I know the most liberal person in the Senate is my former senator, Russ Feingold,who was the only one out of the hundred of them with the guts to vote against the Patriot Act. If you're curious about how liberal your Senators are, check it out at Progressive Punch.

Okay, that's enough out of me for one night.
Shirts for the men, and shirts for the ladies.

I know I am a bit behind in finally posting these, but they are too good to keep to myself even if they are late. Pics from my friends in NYC of the anti-RNC protests.

Monday, October 04, 2004


So today is my NA birthday. I have been clean 19 years. Happily for me, where I live that isn't such a very long time. In fact, I feel like I can almost play with the big kids, like I am almost old enough where I don't have to eat at the card table with the youngsters, you know? I had a really great day at work. Went to the Indian buffet with a bunch of coworkers to celebrate my birthday and U's, who is my "sister in recovery" with a nineteen years and three days today. Got an array of gifts: lucky bamboo and a gold cat from Japan that waves (I'm not sure if it's waving out the bad luck or waving in the good). I am sure I have placed these things in the wrong corners and completely messed up my chi and fucked up the feng shui, but hey. Admittedly my office is beginning to look like a set for some sort of wannabe cool indy film or something. Last week two of my coworkers brought me a plastic severed foot that expands in water and the next day JS gave me an early birthday gift: farm animal pencil toppers with nose erasers that "sniff out mistakes." Sort of a David Lynch meets Spensers Gifts kind of combination that made me think hmm... And there were an array of other nice things today. K got me a leather belt from the skate shop that has my name on the back. I feel like I am stinting it to wear it without a back tattoo that says something like "delicious" with some sort of goth border or something.

After work I met J at the little step meeting, which grew right out of its room tonight. It was a recovery battle of the bulge. J gave me a cake and we went out to follow your heart with P and J. I bought my favorite vitamins (MegaFoods Unstress) and my favorite yogurt (Brown Cow full fat, thank you very much, with the cream layer on top). J gave me a pink cat clock that will go on my table at work next to the magic 8 ball and the punk duck. Let it never be said I take myself too seriously.

Really the thing was though not the stuff or the cake but just the feeling of being so loved and at home. I got so many calls and emails and cards. Sitting at Follow Your Heart eating potato soup and talking with P and J and J I just felt so content. I remember when I was using I felt so incapable of enacting any change in my life. I didn't feel like an agent at all, and I was so desperately unhappy but I just felt like a victim of circumstance...like an object in misery will remain in misery until acted on by an outside force...the physics of addiction. I remember there was a Kate Bush song that was popular that had a lyric like "I just know that something good is going to happen but I don't know what," and I used to hear that and think something good will happen. I used to go out to clubs and get totally obliterated and wait for something to happen, but I didn't know how to make anything good happen in my life. And tonight I just thought about how much I love my life. Exactly as it is.

And it's a funny thing. Even though I know that I understand how to affect change in my life now. I have a life I love in part because I have worked to get one. But at the same time, I think about how unlikely it is for someone like me to be happy. I wouldn't have bet on that horse. I hear people say in meetings all the time "I deserve this," or "I deserve to be happy," or whatnot. And I don't know; I don't feel like I "deserve" a life as good as the one I have. I am grateful for it and I cherish it, but I think I am more lucky than deserving. So many people don't make it. I always think about Meredith on my birthday, my friend who killed herself when I had five months clean. She was 21, and she jumped out of a ninth-story dormitory window. She and I used to live in the dorm and we would sit in my room, on the ninth floor, and talk about what it would be like to jump. I still miss her and I think about how it could have been me. What am I trying to say here? Just I guess that it's all a blessing. And I guess I think living a life that makes me happy is a privilege not a right for me.

On a related but different note, I got the bound copies of my dissertation in the mail today. I paraded them around like pictures of grandchildren to show everyone in the office. They are baby blue. Then of course, I had to look myself up in the UW library catalog. I now have two entries next to my name. I confess: I've done a vanity search for myself in Google before. I am a validation slut. There, I've admitted it.

I have been collecting websites to post, but they are all at work. Too many of them are political. I think that's part of why I have been so bad about posting here. With the election looming, sometimes I feel like politics is the only thing worth talking about and yet politics depresses me so much sometimes I have to turn off democracy now on the radio lest I swerve into oncoming traffic. More on that note later. In the meantime, here are two sites that made me laugh so much I almost hurt myself: famous films reenacted in thirty seconds by animated bunnies and Strindberg and Helium.

P.S. So I just ran spell check, and it suggested I replace "fucked" with "bucked" or "bucket," "Spensers" with "Spenserian," and "P.S." with "POOH," which I guess is the shit you forgot to say in the main body of the message. Anyway, I thought it was pretty funny. Spenserian gifts...that's like when you write your girlfriend an inscrutable and overly long poem because you don't want to spring for a piece of jewelry, right?