Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's WTF Central!

I followed this from The Phantom Professor. Go on and read then come back and discuss.

Back yet? Oh, ok.


Ok ok, if you're too lazy to follow the link here is the story in summary from Gawker "A Dartmouth lecturer is suing her class for discrimination, as she revealed in a series of regrettable and bizarre emails that promptly ended up all over Dartmouth blogs. Priya Venkatesan (Dartmouth '90, MS in Genetics, PhD in literature) emailed members of her Winter '08 Writing 5 class Saturday night to announce her intention to seek damages from them for their being mean to her."

Great WTF, huh?! Can you believe the e-mails? If I'd gotten one of those I'd have shit myself, regardless of the fact I thought my teacher was a dipshit - oh and I've had plenty of dipshit, full-of-themselves, incompetent profs. But, when I found out the prof was a dick/twat I dropped the class. So I'm not sure what the T&C's of Dartmouth's class dropping but if I was confronted with such a confrontational prof I'd do my best to get clear of her before my GPA was affected - not to mention my sanity. (Currently having a cold sweat from flashbacks of UMASS Lowell's statistics class. Fucking prick of a prof he was - who was engaged (sexually not with a ring) to a former student. Sexist pig-beast who thought he was a mutton-chopped God) Ahem.

But when I read this excerpt from Venkatesan's e-mail:

"The feeling that I am getting from the outside world is that Dartmouth is considered a bigoted place, so this may not be news and I may be successful in this lawsuit. I am also writing a book detailing my experiences as your instructor, which will "name names" so to speak. I have all of your evaluation and these will be reproduced in the book.

Have a nice day."

I mean - whoa! What a Cow. No wonder she got no respect. She's a raving LooneyBitch. I'm going to sue you and then write a story about my whole experience and name names, have a nice day. I wonder if she's got a publisher all lined up?And feelings of the "outside world" regarding bigotry really should have no importance unless the feeling inside Dartmouth was the same.

Anyways, from what I read, this centers around one day in class when a student went on a "diatribe" of contrary opinion that earned him an applause from a few other students. So some of these kids are being sued for: clapping. And let's look a bit out-the-box; The class was talking about post-modern patriarchal society blah blah, but they listened to her, a student offered a different/oppositional opinion, and the class applauded his argument; doesn't that sound like they were engaged in subject? Offering up a difference of opinions, weighing the subject, absorbing the information? Where exactly is the fault? If anything this almost works in her favour as a Prof because: isn't that the definition of a good class?? Well, apparently not when you have a Prof who thinks that anyone who doesn't think the same as her will get lower grades and humiliated in class. (So they say)

For the full Sark, go read what IvyGate has to say. Brilliant.

OH - and she teaches a writing class? Yeah. Scary fucking biscuits, Batman.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Discombobulated Kerfuffling fuckabout.

Yeah that's me. Currently my head is in creative overdrive. I don't know what's flicked the switch but I'm writing and I'm in creative food creation mode as well. I've spent hours trawling bento box websites, and flickr pics to find inspiration on getting my kids into the bento lunch trend. They are rather excited about it so perhaps I'm contagious.

I sent Sassy-face away with her first properly made bento this morning. It contained less Japanese focussed foods - not that she minds Japanese food, she loves Japanese food - and more typical lunch items with a twist. Like I made ham, cheese and red pepper sushi rolls and a hard boiled egg that I cracked the shell of and soaked in red food dye to give it a marbled look. To be honest it looked like a bloodshot eyeball which she Loved! She even ate the yolk which she normally throws away. Along with a box of raisins, some spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, carrot shapes and a babybel cheese. She's just psyched to eat the egg-eye in front of her friends. She's like that.

I'm wanting to get some good bento recipes under my belt and into habit. Things like mini quiches (egg and tofu types), mini muffins, mini meat and veg cakes that can be eaten cold, meatballs of various concoctions. The best part of this is it plays into my money saving venture seeing as groceries have skyrocketed in price, and the school lunches have just gone up in price too. It's getting expensive to eat - unless you eat rubbish. Anything that will make you fat, ill and unhealthy is still cheap. Loaded full of chemicals. I think it's a plot to eradicate the poor. Damn them to a chemically induced, fat laden, sugar addicted early death. Don't Become A Victim! So anyway, apart from the mild paranoia, I've been recipe hunting for things I can make into miniature and can be eaten cold.

I haven't read anything this week which is a disappointment even to me. I was waiting around for the Nora Roberts books to come from the the other libraries and they're still not here. I went into the library this morning, because I got the time wrong for my Dr's appointment and the calendar on my phone didn't alert me to this fact because I'd let the battery die again. But when in the library I did pick up three books, one was Perfume by Patrick Suskind which I keep reading about on the internet, Sweetmeat by Luke Sutherland which I'd picked up once before and got one chapter in before something distracted me and then it was due back to the library for someone else and a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman titled Fragile Things.

I've remade my appointment for Thursday. Not looking forward to it because it'll be an internal one and I hate those. I think both areas are going to get looked at. I keep having really really bad painful cramps whenever I have a bowel movement during my period. Drop me to the floor like a sack of potatoes unable to unclench kind of cramps. And they're getting worse. I hope I don't have to poop in a cup or anything, but I know those bum doctors like nothing more than fresh samples. I'll probably be told it's IBS. I'm not prepared for anything worse and don't think my runaway creative mind isn't trying to help me out!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beethoven's in my cup.

While stirring my coffee this morning my spoon chimed within the porcelain cup the first six notes of Beethoven's Fur Elise in perfect pitch and time. It was one of those beautiful moments where magic happens and no one else is present to witness. It was all for me. I got goosebumps.

My treasure for the day.

I'll be swimming in Beethoven's piano for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yay! It's Wednesday!!

It's Bizness Time!

I'm buying their album. I must have it. Hell where can I buy their series?(On Amazon apparently, duh.)

Ok. One more.

"I'm not gonna kill her, man."

Jemain has the sexiest lips.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Evil Mind

I woke up bright as a scared wee button at five this morning. Had a dream I was talking to my doctor about getting a tummy tuck. I've not had any complaints recently about my belly, so why, dear subconscious, did you have give me a horrible dream that has implanted the idea that I need a tummy tuck into my head? The Dr. in my dream was agreeing with me! He was saying he'd not seen post-pregnancy overhang like this for years and Oh - you didn't have cesareans? How unfortunate for you. Of course we'll fix this for you, you poor thing.

What?? I thought the floppy belly skin was a badge of honor. Battle scars! Something to be accepted but NO - now I'm thinking maybe I should think about doing something with it. I mean, sure 100 crunches a day won't do a thing for post-pregnancy belly hang. Are people looking at my belly? I mean I have big boobs so I figured the eyes always got hung up there and never traveled farther down to notice the belly.

Why? How can a dream suddenly make me feel so insecure about something I didn't previously acknowledge as an issue? I've been trying for hours to talk myself around this but it's got roots now. I kind of wish I'd had the teeth falling out dream instead. Tummy tuck?? Major abdominal surgery purely for vanity's sake?

Come on!! I mean, sure it would be nice to go on top and not feel my belly skin move. It would be nice to not have a muffin-top from superfluous skin. It would be nice to not have to wear control top anything. Would be good to see the muscle tone I've got under there and work so hard for. But where is the acceptance of self? Apparently it was doing sit-ups on the upstairs landing with me at 5:15 this morning as I tried to sweat those demon images and dialogue away.

Maybe this has bothered more than I acknowledged. Maybe I've repressed my belly disgust? Maybe I'm returning to belly disgust after a phase of loving myself regardless of belly flub?

Oh it doesn't matter, I'd never have a tummy tuck anyways so this is just wasted anxiety.

Love me - love my Shar Pei stomach. Or else.

Bring back Hugh Grant, please.

This was all I could think about in the gym today. (Although I don't drink beer)

Monday, April 21, 2008

SBD Series Dilemmas For Dumbasses (Like Me)

Well according to my feed reader, everyone's been kissing the blarney! Folks who manage one post a week were shouting out three times over the weekend. What's gotten into everyone?? I decided to take a break from the computer because the tension headaches weren't clearing up after drowning myself in filtered water - so not dehydrated then. Must be reading all those small, blurry fonts on the 'puter screen again. Why doesn't everyone use such small fonts? You all know how much I hate wearing my glasses. Have a care, you know.

So I read Black Rose by Nora Roberts. I know I said I was going to read Face The Fire but when I got a chapter or two into it and I figured out it was part three of a series and closed it. It took several page flippings from front to back and back again to find the snippet that says "Read this one first, then this one and finally the one in your hand, dumbass Dear Customer (Unless you got this in a library, where you're just cheap)." I'll go get the other two and read them in correct order.

Which kind of brings me to the complaint part of this post. When an author writes a series isn't in their best interest to advertise as such on the books? Bold and clear somewhere in/on the books? I found it really hard to figure out if the book I was reading was an independent or part of a series, and then just where in the series was this particular book in my hand? It was so hard! And even then I wasn't completely convinced of the series placement. I know I can be a bit lazy but I don't think I should be flipping pages to find out how to read the series. It should say on the back blurb "First in a series, read the other amazing stories blah blah blah"

Take Black Rose for instance; it's obviously part of a series, not that it didn't stand on it's own, because the characters kept referencing previous meetings and occurances. It's not until after the last page, where I expected a wrap up chapter and got nothing! It's not really finished, ha ha. You've got to get book three. Then there's a couple paragraphs promoting the other two books in the series - but it doesn't tell me which one is first, middle or last! How frustrating!

I know if I wrote a series, I'd want my reader to read them in order, even if they got it out of sequence I would at least guide them to the first and last books so they can get their bearings. I'm not saying this is Nora's issue as she wrote the books but the publisher probably made the decision to leave me flapping about wondering which book came first? Who do I write my letter of complaint to? Where do I start? I hate making false starts on books! Help us out a bit Messrs. Publishers, agents and writing world assorted folks.

So in reading Black Rose I think I got the middle of the series. I think it may start with Stella and Logan and then finish with Hayley and Harper. So I don't want to do the book review of this one because I don't feel like I'm finished with the story yet. So I'm going to have to go back to the library. Serves me right for just pulling books off the shelf randomly, I know, but even if I hadn't, I still would've had to ask the librarians how to read the books in the correct sequence.

What was that? Hmm-mm. Oh. Really? You mean, when you list all the titles the author has ever written, you're listing them in reading order? Oh, ok. That makes sense. No really it does. I'm sorry. I get a bit ahead of myself sometimes - can't see the answers for looking at them. I thought it was just alphabetical, or date of publication - but of course they'd be published in order. I'm sure this kind of thing happens to everyone sometimes. Right? It's happened to you I'm sure. No really...think about it. It has right? Of course it has. We're all dumbasses at some point. Ha ha ha.


Friday, April 18, 2008

I dunno.

Three nights in a row I've had dreams about Hugh Grant* . I do not know why. The last one was we were supposed to be somewhere, I forget where, and he was driving this landscaping truck that was full of decorative pillows at the back. The doofus was in such a panicked rush he forgot to strap them down so pillows were spilling all over the road. He's driving like he's running from the Mob, or something ; running red lights, two-wheeled turns, burning rubber, slamming brakes. I'm in the back trying to keep the pillows from escaping, not seatbelted or secured in any way, being thrown all over the back of this open-top, framed flat bed truck trying to yell to him to be careful, but he's doing his sputtering, can't talk coherently too busy thinking thing. Cars are swerving all over the road trying to avoid driving over the fluffy decorative pillows. Sincerely at that moment I despised him.

The night before that it was weird conversations with Hugh in a cafe/bar and he kept putting his hand on mine, but with a lit cigarette in his hand and I was worried he was going to drop ash on me and burn my hand. I kept thinking if I drink more liquor it will all be fine, even if he burns me I'll not feel it and maybe, hopefully forget the entire evening.

and the night before that it was just a replay of Sense and Sensibility as I watched it on Sunday afternoon since my SBD friends were talking about it. I've owned it for a year yet never watched it and was fascinated about this noise Emma Thompson makes when Edward (Hugh Grant) comes to see her with his big news - but I didn't get it. See I was mislead by the link to Vicar of Dibley who makes it sound like Emma barks, versus the emotional burst of crying, disbelieving, coughing, sputtering joy. She so didn't bark like a seal! *lol* I had to watch it like a dozen times and then double check I had a proper version, correct scene. I did. I'm just silly. I was looking all over the DVD for the Barking Emma. Like she was giving birth or something, indeed.

So yeah, what's all this about me and Hugh lately?

*(Is that not the best picture?! I laugh. I laugh so loud. And hard. Laugh with me, now. Does he not look absolutely ridiculous and with full knowledge of the ludicrous pose, whitest of white torso and the leather? Who thinks Hugh Grant = Leather??)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I used to do this a lot. I should do it again...

Thanks From Me.

Why can't you all come and have coffee with me?? The world never felt so big than when I realize all my friends are so far away. If you want to read it bigger, all sizes are at Flicker, just click the pic.

*I stole reams of paper from school As A Kid. I no longer pilfer paper from schools or anywhere else.

* There is no spell check on this notebook. Perhaps this is therapy of a kind.

My First Laugh of The Morning

I keep giggling over this everytime I replay the dialogue in my head.

His Dad thinks you're a shit. *LOL*

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Inspiration, Wherefore Art Thou?

I, just need a moment really. Honest just a sec *ScRReeAAM!*

Okay! So here we are in the mud pit again. I'm so stuuuuuuck. I'm still setting up barriers to my own creativity because I'm afaid of where it'll end up - more to the point I'm afraid that if I open up, let all those creative juices flow (erk, that sounds icky. Flowing juices. *snigger*) and I feel great, proud, inspired and confident that it will only take one negative comment to knock me back into the mud pit. So maybe wallowing in the mud isn't so bad. Sure it's mud, but you know - look at my complexion!

Baby steps. Fucking baby steps. I keep leaping ahead to try and form a completed project and yet forget the wee steps needed to build it properly. OR I dive headlong into something else creative, yeah, and tell myself it's maybe my truer calling. Fuck that I'm supposed to write. I know it. Deep in my very soul I'm a writer, and yet I'm too fucking terrified to submit a dmned thing. I'm too terrified to even write just now! Do you know what it's like to have all those ideas running about my head, all those people who want me to write their story and I Just Can't? Will they shut up? NO. Will they give me a break? NO. They are seriously becoming "The voices in my head" and they're getting pissed off at me.

It's not even that I can't take critique - I can! honest and true. I can. I love it, I long for it. I just don't want to find out that I'm not really a writer. I'm certain I am, so to find out really I'm a financier or animal trainer or lobbyist, would crush me. I mean, Crush.

I'm such a pussy, it makes me sick.

What's brought on this new rush of writer's panic? I found my old Psion 5, which was my first ever portable word processor. I wanted it so bad, to develop my writing, that I took out my first ever loan from the bank to buy it (It cost me £500). Took three years to pay it off. This was before I understood the trap of interest rates, but that's not for now. I loved it, I wrote in it all the time. It had many many outpourings of of heart with in, including my pregnancy diary. then one day I went to use it and the batteries had died. All files erased. Just gone. I was so unbearably crushed I locked the Psion in the closet and forgot it. I hated it. The fucking traitor! That was in 1999.

I just found it again. The thing still makes me feel sick to my stomach. I know I'm more angry at myself but it just represents my biggest disappointment in my life. Where I failed so spectacularly that I've never forgiven myself. I never took the time to properly understand the technology on how to back up the files to the PC. I can't begin to tell you how even being near that thing makes me feel. Despair, doesn't even touch on it. I didn't even have handwritten copies, or rough drafts: nothing. All gone. Like it never existed. And my memory is so unreliable.

I need to find a way to get over this. It's what's stopping me from going on. It's what's holding me back. But I'm not sure where to even begin to try and untangle the mess. I have the beginning, and I know where I want to end; with a finished manuscript. But how to fix the middle, I just can't see it. I'm too close.

Any advice? Apart from "Get the fuck over yourself and move on!" which hasn't worked as I say it to myself all the time. Please, I've got mud in places no woman should have mud.

Monday, April 14, 2008

SBD Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts

Last week I talked about Somebody To Love by Jude Deveraux which had a depressed Hero seeking the truth about his girlfriend's suicide and along the way he buys an old haunted mansion, meets a local, falls in love and they solve the dead-ex mystery and set the ghosts free. It was ok. I was left wanting to read something else right away so I went to the library and scanned the sparse shelves for something that grabbed my attention. Upon reaching the R's, I found about ten Nora Roberts books. Ten! My small library has a virtual shrine to Roberts. So I randomly grabbed five books and checked them out. The first one I decided on, because I liked the purple foil of the title, was Midnight Bayou.

Well, I don't know how I did this, but I managed to pick up almost the exact same book! How could that happen? This time around we have Declan, who's just run away from Boston to escape the fury of the families he's disappointed by deciding he didn't want to marry after all and called off The Society Wedding Of The Year three weeks before d-day. Besides, he also doesn't want to be a lawyer anymore, he wants to be a master Carpenter. He has warm fuzzy memories of drunkenly breaking into a broken down mansion in New Orleans with his best friend and ever since he's known he must have that house.

The house is full of angry ghosts and it's a ruin but Declan doesn't care - he ain't afraid of no ghosts! But he does get queasy and fall down on the floor in a faint if he goes into the third floor nursery. He'll just decorate that room last.

He falls in love at first sight with Lena. She's Cajun, confident sexy and smart. A self-made woman who runs her own bar. She is her own pride and joy. A pessimist in Realist's clothing. She falls in love with no man, they are her toys until they run away. they always run away. (sigh)

What I'll say is, this book flows so much better than Deveraux's. The description is better, the writing is much more polished and easy. It gave me the escapism I absolutely needed. However, it goes down a route I didn't really like.

Declan and other folks too can see and hear the ghosts. They slam doors, throw vases and sometimes if you go into one of the rooms you can see it exactly as it was a hundred years ago when a terrible murder took place in Manet Hall. A clock chimes midnight, a baby cries. Declan in particular is absorbed into this mess as not only does he see them, they come into his dreams, and he sleepwalks. He's found himself in the nursery, on the front lawn, almost in the pond and in the old bedroom that remains freezing cold.

***Spoilers Ahead!!

I don't mind ghost stories, but I get a bit frustrated when opinions are made into facts. No one knows for certain about ghosts; real, fake, imagined whatever. So when the last quarter of this story leaps into the whole reincarnation angle; that Declan and Lena are the reincarnated souls of Abigail and Lucian Manet - she being the murdered new mother and Lucian the grieving father who commits suicide, it's just a bit too much for me. The baby is Lena's Great-Great-Grandmother. There was a chapter where Declan is having full recall of his previous life and he's so pissed off at Lena for being a disappointing Husband...oh yes. They swapped. Isn't that a funny trick of Fate? (And to Nora's credit, I never saw it coming.) He has to endure his memories (as Abigail) of giving birth, being raped and then being strangled to death - thankfully not all on the same night! I know women say that men don't know what it's like to be pregnant and give birth to the point of cliche, so I found this storyline a let down. Lena doesn't have the recall Declan does, but that doesn't stop her apologizing to him/her all the time during his recall. It was weird. It pulled me right out of the story and ruined the magic. My suspension of disbelief was stretched to capacity.

***Spoiler over

What I did like about it is how very well plotted it is. Supporting characters are enjoyable and very well fleshed out. I love the small town feel. I love when I can a read a book and feel a welcome part of the action to the point that I kept thinking, I should see New Orleans! Then I remember this is pre-Katrina and then I feel sad. Then I remember they have gators there and I'm petrified of gators so I'm not going there.

That was something that freaked me out in the book, Lena walks her Grandmama's dog, Rufus, and throws a ball into the pond for him to swim after! Are you sick in the fucking head? Gators?! Gators are going to eat your dog! Don't throw the ball into the water for the love of Rufus, you sicko! So I may not have bonded as well to Lena as I could have due to her obvious leans towards animal cruelty. They never say the gators are in the pond, but in the bayou and I honestly have no clue what the difference is but still...gators can walk across land and slip into ponds. I've seen them! on TV.

I still give it a B- with points off for reincarnation - I would rather there have been no answer and the ghosts were just erased with the burgeoning love from the living people or some shit. I mean voodoo and a gris-gris is stupid but reincarnation is fact? And for gator bating with a chocolate Lab.

Nora's obvious skill as a writer saved her. I have four more to get through. Going to start Face The Fire this afternoon and I have no clue what it's about. Like I said, I just took the books off the library shelf. Each will be a complete surprise.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jamie, You Wanker.

I was in the grocery store getting a few necessaries (necessities?) for making pizza. I was getting some pasta sauce when I noticed Jamie Oliver has his own brand of sauce out now. It costs £1.79, which is almost the most expensive. Loyd Grossman (A snooty Boston cheflike food critic who makes me nauseas) sauces cost £1.59, my favourite Ragu £1.15 so you can see, this stuff from Jamie must be special.

I saw an advert on TV tonight with Jamie Oliver advertising for Sainsbury's supermarket, where he tells us it's so simple to just make our own sauce with onion, tomato, basil, garlic - easy and cheap.

You fucking wanker, how dare you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

For Jill

Ikea sucks now, don' it.

She said and then She said back...

My Beloved Beth said in comments from my previous post

"For the sake of form, and to help acclimatize your psyche to discord, I submit the following:

You're wrong about Clinton - she isn't a flip-flopper so much as she's just a straight-up liar. Calling her anything else is simply contributing to her "I misspoke I'm sleep deprived you're picking on me because I'm a girl" fantasy world. It's quite easy to know why she changes her mind on any point whatsoever: just ask what the most politically expedient thing to do or say is, and there you'll find the Rosetta stone to all her words and actions.

McCain is the flip-flopper and he seems to be more than a little mentally unhinged. And you can't be paying all that much attention if you're lumping him into the Just Another Republican category, because he's roundly despised by nearly the entire Republican party for loudly rejecting vast continents of their ideology. He's mostly (politically) a decent and rational guy. I don't necessarily agree with him on most issues, but he's not irrational. Except apparently when he decides to get mad. Then he's a fucking whacko.

The idea that experience is vitally important is, in a word, bollocks. "Experienced" unfailingly means "hermetically sealed inside the D.C. bubble for decades" - and when the worst problems with our government is a lack of, well, GOVERNANCE due to
1. breathtaking levels of corruption,
2. an Us vs Them mentality both at home and abroad, and
3. unwavering conviction that I Know What Is Right For The Unwashed Masses -
then why the bloody fucking hell would you want a Washington insider to head up the government? Personally, I plan to use my ballot to vote for a bunch of completely new-to-me names. Goodbye, incumbents, may the door hit your ass on the way out, and slam on the fingers of as many of your fat cat lobbyist followers as humanly possible.

And furthermore, a President is a leader who provides vision and direction - not a grad student outlining a 400-page thesis. Obama has plenty of quite detailed policy plans, but he doesn't cling to each minute point as though it's lifeblood, cramming it down the throats of anyone who stumbles across his path. Considering that every bit of legislation has to go through an ideologically varied (to say the least) Congress, I think it's far more realistic *not* to be dogmatic about each and every fine detail of any plan. A leader provides the the blueprint, and the many representatives of the people work together to figure out how to make it real. Anything else is too much like nagging the architect (who is presenting a blueprint for a lovely and structurally sound house) with questions about the brand of paint that will be used on the hall closet door when said closet actually exists two years from now.

The overwhelming majority of Americans feel as though government does not belong to us, we're not welcome there, shout all you want but they'll keep on doing what they do and if you don't like it - well, they just shrug and keep on. They do what they want and we should just play with our iPods and be happy. So when a politician says "we" and "us" instead of "I" and "me", we feel like maybe we DO matter. Or maybe we can MAKE ourselves matter, we just need the encouragement to try. It's far more realistic and responsible than "I'LL take care of this mess." Fuck that - I'd much rather hear "LET'S fix this mess." It's OUR country to fix, after all.

There is no way for us to clean up the mess in Iraq. A You Break It You Buy It policy would be dandy, sure, but we are by definition the elephant in the china shop. We've been there for 5 years and it's all still chaos and bloodshed and little progress to be seen. We're fucking PAYING Iraqis not to fight. That's a solution? That's how we fix it? No it's not, but no one else has come up with anything that keeps the lid (partially) on. The Iraqi police and militia don't get any stronger and the Iraqi politicians don't get any less corrupt just because we're there. An open-ended stay has done and will continue to do exactly nothing for anyone. Oh, except it allows all those contractors to get richer. All we're doing is waiting for it to explode again. And it will, whether we're there or not.

I'm totally with you on the abortion thing, though.

See? That wasn't so bad, was it? Easy-peasey. And I still totally adore you! Cmon cmon, yell back. You know you want to, and I'm as full of shit as the next person. I just learned to let it out. Open your mouth and bitch more, it's good for your skin!


So I reply, with Love too!

I jumped into the election miasma not very long ago. I felt like "Shit, elections are coming, the candidates are talking, I should probably give some of my attention." So I went to their websites, read what they had to say, then went and read what their critics had to say. Taking every negative with a percentage of bullshit allocated on all candidates to try and find a median of reality. I'm at a slight disadvantage informationwise because of being outside of the country. My head isn't swimming in American politics every day. It's an occasional headline but usually a byline, page 12 or something in the foreign section. I have to use the internet to get information, and the internet, being a major artery of information, is full of bullshit, emotional propaganda and lies.

I envy and admire your ability to be so aware and entrenched. Thank you SO MUCH for giving me some concrete direction to follow.

Clinton is a liar. You're right. I just didn't have the gumption to say it outright. So there's the chaff cut. I can easily ignore the "Because I'm a woman," crap because it's so disingenuous. I think America is ready for a woman president, just not her. Does the fact that after I read that a dozen times on various feminist websites wasn't enough to convince me, but it was Jackie Mason on YouTube who did? Even I shake my head at that. No, really. But there's my confession.

What I read about McCain that turned me off were his views on abortion, wishy-washy "Leave it to the State" views on Creationism in schools and gay marriage. It seemed a standard theme across the Republican candidates which is all I needed to know I didn't want to vote that way. On gay marriage, I think gay couples who are in love and want to promise devotion to each other and be recognized by the state as legally married should be able to and have the same rights and legal protections as hetero couples. I think trying to force religion to accept them is a useless venture. It's another reason why separation of church and state is imperative. My vow was that I knew of no legal impediment to my marriage and to forsake all others until death do us part. Where is the problem if same sex couples promise the same thing?

I also agree that incumbents should be ousted, new blood and new ideas are needed and a fresh new outlook would be cleansing of the dread and dirge from DC. I don't think there has ever been an election where people hadn't wanted that. I just don't have unwavering conviction that Obama is our guy (yet) for the sole reason of I had not heard of him before. I accept that's my failing in not following American politics. But I have watched his speeches and I felt like he says a lot but makes few points. Perhaps I've watched the wrong speeches? I hear the words "hope" and "change" a lot, but everyone has hope. Where's he going to make the change? Perhaps I'm looking at candidate websites and being too critical of the way issues and content are presented. Perhaps I'm being a bit lazy in wanting a bullet point breakdown instead of wading through layers of hope and inspiration to find the nuggets of promise within. I zone out waffle. Politicians waffle. Obama waffles. That's where I worry he's hiding his lack of experience behind his abilities as an amazing orator. Absolutely, a president should provide vision and direction. Obama has lots of vision, but I need to see more of his direction. As it stands, I do see him as the best candidate by a far margin. I just don't like that niggling feeling of not being 100% committed to him. I don't think I should have to make a decision until the very last minute.

I wasn't making issue over "We" vs "I", it was over the "Could do should do" vs "Can do will do." His website has more assertive language than he uses when speaking. So who do I like, Obama or his speech maker and web designer?

I just don't know what it is about Obama that makes me unsure. Sometimes I listen to him and he comes across like a cold reader/medium, saying "The issues" but not stating any issues, leaving the listener to assume the issues in question are the ones the individual feels are important. When he speaks, I zone out. Is it the tone of his voice? The look in his eye? I don't know, but he's a bit of nytol for me. Chamomile tea. I listen, I get the warm fuzzy and then I think - what the hell has he been saying for the past five minutes again? I forgot! He demands a lot of my focussed attention. When other candidates come out throwing hammers that clunk me on the head and make it really easy for me to say no, Obama doesn't. I'm suspicious of his smoothness. I'm frustrated by my inability to maintain focus and alertness when he speaks. Am I lazy? Am I easily programmed? Am I a Loony Tune?

The Iraq issue isn't going to be resolved for another decade and banking on any one candidate to resolve it in the next four years is a wasted vote. You're right, it's going to explode again. They knew that before going in that once Hussein was removed a civil war would break out, Iran and Iraq would start slinging the shit again - none of this was not predicted. To think that America will completely withdraw from Iraq is ludicrous. We still have military presence in Japan and Germany, so what makes anyone think we'll be out of the Middle East any time soon. Well, because Obama says so. Obama is promising 16 months (approximately) guaranteed to get military out of Iraq. He says we will not have a military base in Iraq, but will keep troops there to keep al Qaeda cells from setting up bases and to protect our consulate and embassy. Where do they expect to put those troops if not on a base? He makes that a definitive statement and I really want to know how he plans to make that happen, but I've not found his Sept. 2007 plan. Not even mentioning the other candidates opinions of Iraq because they aren't contenders for my vote at this time, but for fairness:

Hillary says "The most important part of Hillary's plan is the first: to end our military engagement in Iraq's civil war and immediately start bringing our troops home." which I read as let the strong and passionate kill each other off for a while and then we can deal with the weak and scared. Think that's harsh? Well her second phase talks about redeployment of troops to stabilize Iraq's government. Bring them home just to send them back in again? It's not a very well thought out plan apart from trying to get a lot of hoorays in the first year, but to end up back at square one by year four - ripe for a re-election.

McCain is all for staying in Iraq, building it's defense against insurgents, training their army and helping them develop and establish a stable government they will be able to run independently all the while trying to encourage tolerance and cohesion for Shia, Sunni and Kurds. At least he mentions them.

Back to Obama, since I can't listen to Obama because of the induced snooze - and I don't mean he's boring, it's like he's a drug with meditative muzak - I need that 400 page thesis to try and decipher where he's coming from. I have to pinch myself and bypass all of his Glorious New America to try and get the facts. Politics has had smooth talkers and snake oil salesmen for generations, I need to be sure I'm not being seduced by the good talk. I absolutely need him to break down his plan, remove the inspiration, hope, change and tell me straight: What are you going to do? And I mean that from every politician, not just Obama. Most of the others, like I said, throw hammers, Obama throws velvet pillows.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Henry Rollins: A Love Letter To Ann Coulter

Hahaha! He rocks.

Why Can't I Let It Out?

So here I confess: I'm a coward. I don't know how it happened, it's come along for a long time I think. But I've gotten myself into such a censored corner that I really feel I need my backbone back.

I've been deliberately not posting things that I fear will offend, cause controversy and as a result, cause discussion. I'm rather afraid of debate. I never used to be, I really like debate when it's fair and respectful, but how often do we read folks saying such vile and vicious things in response to an expressed opinion purely in an attempt to bully the opponent into silence. Even the anxiety of facing a possible bully makes me not want to bother expressing my opinions.

Sure I can talk about book reviews because I'm careful to critique honestly and I research, and I know most of the time anything negative I may say has been said ten times more hurtful than what I'll come up with. Plus the authors rarely read what I have to say so it's almost like being anonymous. I never set out to hurt people, and then somehow I sometimes say one little thing, nothing even critique or negative and get "You very bad lady, you burn in hell and die die die!" so I walk about with that and think WTF! WTF X 10??! I should just brush it off, ignore it, not worthy of my attention but I just can't. I've never been able to. It affects me. For years I played the ditz to appear far less threatening than an intelligent person would. I am an intelligent person. I do have opinions. Occasionally they bubble up and I blurt them out - it always comes as a surprise to people when I get angry about something. I'm not the type, they say. Fuck that. I totally am the type.

I'm full of opinions. Not all of them rainbows and cheesecake either. But can I debate them? And win? I'm never confident enough and I despise that. If I get into a debate I want to win it! but - we never win debates. You can't change someone's mind while in debate - no one ever backslides in a debate and says "You know, you are so fucking RIGHT! why didn't I see that before?" and yet that's the outcome I daydream about all the time.

I also love/hate the fact that I change my opinions all the time. One minute I'm gung-ho about a topic, and then as the story unfolds I change that opinion. New information. An informed opinion. I know it's normal - it's expected! I just wish I could foresee all the angles ahead of time. I will always say "I used to think this way, but after such and such I now think this instead."

So, what do I think?

I think there are no decent political candidates for president this election. Clinton is a human pancake for the amount of opinion flipping on issues she does and never explains why she's changed her mind. Obama is inexperienced and doesn't have a clear plan for if he does become president. He uses a lot of passive language which leaves me feeling insecure about his abilities. too many "we should, we can" and not enough "We will". I know we should take campaign promises with a liberal dose of skepticsm, which to me says - make promises, not wishywashy moans about how shit things have been and how nice they could be. As Eliza Doolittle says, Show Me! It's no good being a practicing Idealist. What we need is an Ideal Pract-tol...o...gist? No, that's wrong. Then again, an expert in assholes is exactly what we need in a President.

Republicans are a scary lot of fucking weirdos and don't even deserve my attention. Misogynistic, war mongering, hate spreading followers and promoters of god?? Seriously, God must be cringing about the pricks who claim to represent him and his Word. The fact they are deliberately going against what the founding fathers created in this new democracy with separation of church and state by trying to snake slide religion into schools. They have religion in our schools in the UK, but they teach all religions, not just Christianity. Are we so sure that if creation is going to be taught in American schools that other views and beliefs would be given equal attention? Hell no. Easy answer - the bastards wouldn't allow it. Can you see the protests "I don't want my kid taught cultist Hindu! Shintoism is the Devil!No Islam in Our Schools!" then again, all those Christian extremists will pull their kids out of the system and home school them so maybe twenty years from now, schools will be better in their absence. There I go, arguing against and then come round to support.

I am pro-choice. I've seen the fetus movies and I don't care. It's a woman's choice. If a woman can live with her choice then it is up to her, because: It's her choice.

Iraq war shouldn't have been given the go ahead. The weapons of mass destruction was a lie and a hoax and the guy who made that report later committed suicide. Should we leave Iraq immediately? No! We went and made a big fucking mess now you have to clean it the fuck up. Know that every death is blood on your hands and don't you dare try and wash it off before the job is done.

I heard a report this week that says the Cold War is officially over. I'd like to correct that by saying the threat of war with Russia is over, but the Cold War was about stopping the spread of Communism. Considering all the attention China is getting and going to get over the Olympic season, I think the Cold War is going to get re-lit. Complete with new lies, racism and paranoia.

Want to know the biggest reason for why I've never bothered to offer up my opinions so much? Because I don't think anyone cares. What's that popular saying? "Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. We just don't want to hear them."

But, then if you want to know mine, ask me. Go on - ask my opinion on something. For a rare time I feel like being engaged. Encourage me to overcome my self-imposed gagging order and become a noisy asshole. You get to be one too. One, Two three and unclench!

Monday, April 07, 2008

SBD Someone To Love by Jude Deveraux

Ahoy Friends! I have an SBD - I do! I actually managed to read a couple books this weekend as I was held down by a cold of massive snotty proportions. Who thought it would be a good idea to make the sinuses a conduit of clearing gloop by clogging it up and preventing breathing? Major design flaw in the human being. But I awoke this morning with a ton of energy, after a sinex assisted slumber and I even pre-wrote my SBD - see, I can be prepared.

I've become a bit blah about my local library. It's woefully small, and if I want something 99% of the time I have to request it in from another locale and then it's in demand so I can only have it for a week. So when perusing the shelves on Thursday begging them to show me something I would like and would not make me cringe with frustration I saw, glowing down on me; A Jude Deveraux Book! I love Jude Deveraux! She wrote The Duchess which was wonderful (When I was in high school, or early college, but I do remember thinking it was wild, weird and had Egyptians and Olde English Titled people in it but I remembered title and author of that one so it must've impressed) So I saw, shining down remember, Someone To Love and I even remembered seeing it on Amazon and folks raved about it*! I'm sure I did.

The Story is about American, Jace Montgomery, who is still grieving the suicide of his fiancee (Where's the fucking accent grave?) these three years. He was blamed for pushing her into a marriage she really didn't want, but he knew she did love him and he loved her and we are left wondering; Hero or Dickhead? But we carry on. One day Jace is rifling through his library when he finds a book with a letter in it, with a picture of an English Estate and an invitation to meet on a certain date, the date before Stacy, the Fiancee, died as it turns out. So Jace makes inquiries into the estate, Priory House. It's for sale - can he rent it? No. Can he come stay in it? No. Ok...can he buy it? Suuuure, Will cost you £4 million, but it does have a ghost in it, that ok? Sure, I'm American and I ain't afraid of no ghost.

Jace decides this ghost thing will play in his favor. While he investigates Stacy's suicide, he'll pretend to be a writer who's researching the ghost. That's a great cover! (Except his first foray into the village he doesn't have so much as a pen to take notes on his hand with. Ever hear of an interviewer who has to run across the street and buy pens, notebooks and order laptop, fax and assorted doohickeys to make one's job plausible?? It's 2002 FFS! A dictaphone man! Pocket recorder! You could've picked one up at Heathrow.)

It's not long before the lady Ghost makes herself known to Jace. Where previously only wee kids could see her (And yet it seems it's the men in the house who get freaked by her and run away. There can be no discrepancies in a Deveraux!) Jace gets to see her quite a bit. And talk to her too. And she shares dreams with him, like portals into her past. He kind of likes her. She's not stuck up, she's rather *cough* feisty.

So Jace, the Prince of Subtle, begins his forays into town and meets the locals. Now, poor man must have "English are Wankers" on his t-shirt become a lot of folks are rather rude to him. They come and bully him with these out-of-nowhere prissy-fits. Huffy much, village types? I can see this of Scottish folks, but the English? They get in a piss-fizzle about nothing? It was stereotyping, and that's never good. (There were a few "English" errors, like saying soda instead of fizzy juice and candy wrappers instead of sweet wrappers.) I was beginning to wonder if Poor Jude had a bad experience at the hand of some local eccentric who played hot and cold with her and she decided to use them in a story - but made them a whole village.) but he does eventually find the local constable who has a few ideas that the suicide in the village a few years back was really a murder.

So after 100 pages we finally get to meet our Heroine; no the ghost wasn't the heroine! Which I was really relived bout because I don't think the dead and the living should be having romantic relations. (I had been worried that "Despondant man falls in love with wronged spirit and they find a love than transcends time and the laws of physics." was going to occur because I find that a bit icky. I've seen The Entity and it scared the crap out of me and ruined the idea of Living and Ghost "doing it", forever. Ghost and Mrs. Muir never shagged, and he waited until she passed away and they went into the light together. It was great. Oh shit, did I just ruin the ending for everyone? Who cares, go watch it.) So Hooray for a real - Living! - Heroine.

She's Feisty (stop it) and Spunky (cut it out) and quick witted (Oh Dear God, please. No more.) and a vile, nasty and mean journalist who just printed a whole paranoid bunch o'lies in the local newspaper about Jace and how he's going to use his American Ways and Wiles to turn Priory house into a Ghost Center and pervert the legends and annoy its townsfolk. Tour buses in your flowerbeds, Annoying tourists and Anarchy In The Village!

Jace confronts her, he's not going to take this laying down! No, he's going to sit. And have Tea. and think, gee she's kind of nice...would she like to come have dinner with me in my big house? Or maybe watch me pull dead ivy vines from the gazebo with my shirt off while my muscled torso is grubby streaked with dirt and sweaty glistening with hard exertion? Yeah okay!

So, anyways, they have great dialogue and rapport and the mystery of the Dead Fiancee and The Ghosts (There are a few by now) get better and lots of questions are there to be answered. Answers which seem to come: From nowhere. I don't like sudden information. I like information given early in a blase way that becomes critical later on to the point that I have to back track to double check and then think "Ahhh. Damned clever! You ingenious Writer, you." but this was pull shit out their butts kind of answers. I know it's not a long novel, perhaps it was originally planned on being a longer novel but the publishers just wanted a 250 pager, so most of the good stuff was left out in editing leaving a fleshless skeleton. Jude can get forgiveness. On it goes; easy turns, follow the trail, get an answer. Fine. Ok. I get that is isn't supposed to be a challenging novel but an easy read. A Saturday afternoon bit of escapism. A one-star crossword that leaves you feeling a bit smug for getting all the answers quickly and you did it in pen.

But my friends, something shocking happens in the last two pages. Something that should never happen. Something so awful, icky, squicky and "Oh Dear Lord, No!" that I get that tight feeling in my stomach and pinched, pale look on my face. (No it wasn't gas, I assure you) Those last few paragraphs made me think; Who are these people? I thought I knew you! But No, apparently not! OH, and it gets continues on into an epilogue. And epilogue that made my skin crawl and the cream in my coffee sour. I'll just say: Foursomes with ghosts? I give it a big: Hell No!! (Highlight the space for spoiler.)

I don't know what Jude was trying to do with this, and why it was published "as is" is confusing. Banking on the name? Come on. Was this supposed to be a Mystery come Paranormal come Romance? Too many comes. (Oh here's that dreadful feeling again) Overstretched and underachieved.

* I doubled checked this and no, it wasn't.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lunch with the Dead.

The weather was reporting rain, but all I saw was gorgeous blue sky. I waiting until 10AM for rain to come, it didn't, so I packed bento boxes (my first try at hot dog octopuses.) and got the three of us ready to head off on a hike to St. Bridget's Kirk (St. Bridget of Ireland, not Sweden - I think). It's about two and a bit miles from my house along the coastal path, so a four and a bit mile walk all-together.The kirk is an abandoned ruin of an 11th century church that was last used in the 1830's. I feel it was hanging on for probably a couple centuries before the locals gave up on it and built a new one entirely.

It's a small kirk and it's dripping in Gothic themes of skulls, crossbones, winged skulls and hourglasses. Sorry mate, times up. The earth is swallowing up the dead and their graves, the wind has erased most of the inscriptions and yet the souls there still get an amazing view across the river and regular visitors sit on their tombs to eat packed lunches.

We saw lots of people on the coastal path, and many more dogs. We've never seen so many friendly pooches! One moment I was talking to Shorty, and then the next I looked down to see a very tall black lab lumbering along with me. I surmised later that the dogs were smelling the promise of hot dogs in my back pack, otherwise I'm sure we wouldn't have been as interesting. Many balls were dropped at our feet to be thrown, one wee three legged Yorkie was ecstatic to show us his new toy which he carried his mouth, but we were warned not to try and take it by the owner. He just wanted to say "Look at my toy! Look isn't it great! Let me lean against you so you can get a better view!"

By the time we were getting back home it was clouding over and we'd spent four hours out in fresh air having lots of fun and exercise. The kids were tired by the time we got back, Shorty was very happy to see her own beach as her wee legs had worked the hardest, and she didn't start moaning until twenty minutes from home. I consider that a success. I wasn't going to carry her, and she did amazingly well. Sassy was fascinated with everything. One of the beaches we happened on was covered in white, strange bones from some sea creature including a jaw bone of a fish which she pocketed. Ew. In fact, the last picture with her, she is holding a different bone.

Anyways, here's some pictures:

St. Bridget's KirkSt. Bridget's KirkSt. Bridget's KirkSt. Bridget's KirkSt. Bridget's KirkSt. Bridget's KirkSt. Bridget's KirkPICT0032

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I get bored, I make sushi.

What would you do on a wet and dreary day when the kids are climbing the walls and constantly asking for snacks? You make sushi don't you? Well...I do. We can't get enough.

Sushi making day!Sushi making day!Sushi making day!Sushi making day!Sushi making day!Sushi making day!

Yes I cheat and use a mould as opposed to screwing around with a rolling mat and driving myself infuckingsane. I did that for years and always felt like a complete hack. But even if I screwed it up; ugly sushi still tasted great. My only problem is I love the seasoned rice so much I keep nipping spoonfuls. I must down a ton of rice during prep.

Oh yeah, after six weeks of Atkins induction, I decided rice would be ok once in a while. I was getting to a point where my energy was really low all the time and the magic Atkins Energy never came to find me. I need more carbs in my diet. The ones I've missed the most, oddly enough, aren't the sweets and chocolate, but oatmeal and rice. I love curry with rice, stir-fry with rice; I love rice so I have a small amount of rice - and that feels ok. I can live without pasta which is great - I actually prefer pasta sauce on salad. It sounds weird but something about the hot, meaty sauce on the crispy leaves is just fabulous. And bread is a complete turn off now. I'd never say no to a Cinnabon, but bread is yuck.

I'm going to move back to the bodybuilder's diet which is a 40% protein 40% carb and 20% fat, six small meals a day diet. I had success with this diet in 2006 and I think the messing about, trying other things, pushing the limits of my food sensitivities and addictions, struggling with anxiety - well I'm done now. I know that I have a low tolerance for carbs and even small amounts set me onto ravenous binges and depressive mood swings. I also know I can live without it. So back to the green veg, chicken breast, lean fish and porridge diet. The one that makes me crave butter. *rofl* I can't win!! I'll ease back into this diet by cutting back the fats that I enjoyed on Atkins (Farewell Beloved Bacon! You too cream in my coffee. I loved you more than you know) and that will probably be all I need to do as the Atkins plan follows along close enough. I'll look into The Zone diet a bit more but I know that one does focus on calorie reduction to achieve it's weight loss and that doesn't work for me. Cutting calories for me will equal failure. I need at least 1300 calories a day or the cravings start to overrun and drive me mental. 1500 and I keep my full sanity, and that's with my exercise regime.

So, I waffle on about food a bit now don't I?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

BBC gets its Fool On!

Aren't they sweet!!

That's the thing!!

For Real

Logos that make you look twice
Some companies get away with cheeky logos. I've mentioned the dodgy logo for Head Athletics for years. Husband says it's supposed to be a whale with a blowhole - but to have that logo for a company called Head?? Are you kidding me?

Logos that make you look twice
Now my friend Pter has shown me A-Style. Goodness me! Funny thing is, this was a logo first, product later. The inventor of the logo patented it in 1991 and then had fun spraypainting is all over Europe. Folks began to like the cheeky logo and demand for branding bubbled forth and now They are Fashion