Sunday, April 30, 2006
Where to start? Thursday night....nothing much happened. Had a beer, watched a movie, went to bed.
The fun began on Friday. Headed down to Corvalis with a few people (two of whom were checking out the DUCKS and their uni) to spend a couple/few hours wandering around a large-ish campus. What a sight that was! A sunny warm day, the first real good one in months, it reminded me of my days in college when the sun finally broke thru the midwest gray and the girls we didn't know existed burst forth in skimpy clothing to soak up the rays (these were the worst days for enduring hours of engineering gab). This day was quite similar, only now I felt an aversion of my eyes was necessary so as to not be a perv (can I really now be seen as an old lech? Sad days have fallen). Nothing else of consequence took place on campus. I felt old, the greek system still annoys, and the engineering sector is still not the place to be.
Academia took its toll, and we headed for the hills. Literally (maybe here they call them mountains, the Cascades I believe, but they ain't no mountains!). A hike proceeded towards the highest point in the Cascades (a whopping 4,000-some footer); a nicely graded path, winding thru lots of greenery and awesome trees. I was given a crash course in the foliage by the two nature-dorks in our party. Pretty cool, actually. In fact, we even ate some of the tasty scenery!
Towards the peak, however, things got dicey. Snow had not yet melted from the high plains, and we had to pick and choose our way across the white sludge. This was effortless for myself and M, but the 2 girls, Florida 'natives', had a bit more trouble. Once they transcended the, "Oh my gosh! This is crazy/amazing/freezing/slippery/ack!", M and I ceased laughing and pelting them with snowballs, and on we climbed. Gray clouds began rolling over the blue sky, blotting out the sun. A freezing wind kicked up and our sparse clothing was found to be lacking in warmth. Snow began to fall. A mountain goat tumbled down the scree, it's neck broken and strange teeth marks in its hide. The girls got scared; I hunkered down to think.
"How the hell are we going to get out of here? Think Eagle Scout, think!"
Think I did. Then into action I flew. My trust leatherman tumbled out of its sheath, almost of its own accord, and together we assailed the newly carcassed goat, cleaving its hide from flesh. Using the hide, my spare boot laces, a few vines and a clump of masticated fern (and the LM, of course) I whipped out 2 fairly decent parkas. Fortunately it was cold enough that La Vegan accepted its warmth.
For M and I, the tender flesh of the ex-goat became parka (thanks to the help of trusty intestine, lava rock and urine). So as not to waste our Salvation Animal, we each took a leg for use as walking sticks. The heart was a tasty treat for energy and I stuck the horns on my head to provide some comic humor (always important in dangerous situations)
Thus attired and fortified, we struck out for the car. It was tough going. On one particularly treacherous snow field crossing, K lost her feet and began sliding head over a teakettle for the jumbled mass of rocks 100 feet below. Doffing my meat suit, I took chase. As I began to overtake her, I dug in my heels, grabbed her hands, and earned her undying praise and devotion (A bit awkward, really). The other two made their way down to us, and we bypassed several switchbacks in the process.
Finally the car came into view thru the blowing leaves (the snow had died out earlier on, but the wind was so fierce that it seemed as though spring and summer had been skipped, proceeding directly to fall. yaaay) and we breathed sighs of relief. Too soon.
Our Fresh-Kill outfits had not failed to attract attention. A black bear sow and her 2 cubbies blocked our way, desiring all things meat. The girls quivered. M collapsed, but not before passing me his Billy-Goat Leg Walking Stick and mumbling the words: "Avenge me, my Liege!" Armed with what now had become lethal BCL Clubs, I advanced, taunting that stupid sow and her idiotic progeny.
BAM! Out go the lights on one cub. A swift kick to his spine finished the job.
BAM! BAM! Down goes number two. I kick her for my own satisfaction.
Now Big Mamma Bear. Swirling my clubs as she sliced the air with her razor sharp claws we slammed together sending out shock waves that knocked down the surrounding trees. Flailing furiously we brawled and rolled and bled and sliced and beat each other...I managed to yell at the others to run to the security of the Saturn and get it started. This they did with all due haste. A particularly vicious blow to my sternum almost knocked me out. I fought the encrouching waves of darkness and rolled to the side just as the Bear's Elbow slammed into the ground. As the bear bitch whined over a bruised leg, I took the opportunity to leap off the lowest limb of a tree and knock her out. All three bruins were rolling and returning to consciousness as I fell into the Saturn and we rocketed down the hill.
A tough day, let me tell you.
On a good note, we stopped for a beverage before mounting I-5 NB and I got the tastiest mocha!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Nice to know he's still around
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
A job offer landed at my feet today. And I'm going to accept it. The hyperventilation has not yet started (I am completely ignoring the 2 weeks of provided paid vacation), tho I suspect it will before long.
My last day of 'real' work was sometime in late August of 2004. This job will start the 15th of May 2006. Not a bad first retirement, I don't think.
I need food. Too much coffee today...
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Gas prices go up. So Dubya decides to ease environmental restrictions (global warming is bunk anyway, right?) to keep prices lower this summer.
What will get a majority of people to conserve gas, buy fuel efficient cars, carpool, use public transit? High gas prices (see the 1970s).
Easing the environment rules will allow refiners greater flexibility in providing oil supplies since they will not have to use certain additives such as ethanol to meet clean air standards. The suspension of oil purchases for the federal emergency oil reserve is likely to have only modest impact since relative little extra oil will be involved.
The high cost at the pump has turned into a major political issue, with Democrats and Republicans blaming each other for a problem that is largely out of Congress' control. Republicans are worried that voters paying more than $3 per gallon would punish the party in power. Democrats want to make that happen.
Yeah. Good. Let's play the blame game like a bunch of damn grade schoolers arguing over who has to get the ball that was kicked over the fence into the face of the neighborhood Mean Dog. Such long-term planning made by those concerned with the well-being of their Nation and People!
The president said Democrats in the past have urged higher taxes on fuel and price caps to control fuel expenses, but he said neither approach works. Instead, he called for increased conservation, an expansion of domestic production and increased use of alternative fuels like ethanol.
Once again, what will promote conservation? High prices at the pumps! Gotta get them lazy people out of their cars.
Portland is a good example (more so than most places in this country that I've seen) of a city with a population whose majority is not only concerned about the environment, but is doing something to back up their words (granted, a lack of funds may also contribute): I've never seen so many people getting around in something that is not their car: buses, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, roller SKAtes, and shockingly enough...on FOOT! Crazy, I know.
There are also investigations being opened to make sure Bad People aren't doing Bad Things to make more money:
"Consumers around the nation have expressed concerns about what they have perceived as anticompetitive or otherwise unfair conduct by the world's major oil companies," said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. Their letter said federal agencies had substantially increased efforts to monitor, detect and prevent any violations of the law.
Not that I expect high moral values from oil companies, but come on. How do our gas prices compare to prices around the world? Let's look:
|Nation||City||Price in USD Regular/Gallon|
|Puerto Rico||San Juan||$1.74|
Monday, April 24, 2006
Andy Young - The Shameless Son
Black History Month 2006 ended on a jarring note. Andrew Young, a
former member of Dr. King's inner circle at SCLC, who went on to serve
three terms in Congress, a stint as UN ambassador and two terms as mayor
of Atlanta before cashing out his Freedom Movement chips for a lucrative
career as an international "business consultant," decisively spat upon
the movement for human rights and economic justice that he spent his
early career helping to build. Young announced
2006 that he would chair Working Families for Wal-Mart, a media
sock-puppet for the ruthless multinational firm. The cynical misuse of
his stature as an icon of the Freedom Movement, preacher, former elected
official, and honored elder in black America to mask and obscure the
crimes of his corporate client marks Mr. Young as nothing more nor less
than a corporate whore.
When Atlanta's WAOK
minutes of live air time the morning of the 27th to justify himself to
an African American hometown crowd, the response was overwhelmingly
negative. How could he do this, one caller after another wondered
incredulously. Wal-Mart does more to depress the wages of working
people on both sides of the Pacific than any other single player in the
game, listeners called in to say. Other callers reminded each other
that Wal-Mart relentlessly discriminates against women and minorities,
ruthlessly crushes unions, and dumps its health care costs onto the
public sector while receiving millions in local government subsides and
tax abatements for each of its thousands of US stores. Andy Young used
to walk with Dr. King. He used to be on our side, more than one
observed. Why, they asked, is this happening?
Read the rest here.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Here you see the deceased undergarment that was my partner and buddy thru many trials, tribulations, and countries (these bad boys got to see some heavy action at times. I.e.-Uzbekistan).
They are being modeled by Lenny the Lemur (he's been renamed b/c I forget his original name)(Looking at that picture one more time, it looks as tho Lenny the L is being scourged. Not to worry. No one was harmed in the making of this post). My heart tried to convince my brain that modeling them myself would be the most illlustrative way to make known the extent to which this pair of undergarments has suffered. However, my brain won out and told the rest of me that no one wanted to witness the catastrophe that would have ensued.
On the good side, I had a day long class yesterday on importing. And I learned a lot. The class only served to get me more excited and determined. Too bad it was a cloudless warm day!
Sad note: My red boxers? The ones I wore all around the world? They are in the trash. Poor fellas. Seems they wanted to finish their reign as Protectors of my Stuff; they took themselves out by splitting completely up the back. I tried valiently to keep them. I wore them one more day, but decided it wasn't worth it. Sniff! A sewing repair job would have been fruitless, as the material is....*choke*....tattering. Sigh! All good things must come to an end, I suppose. Spare a quiet moment for them tonight, will you?
This weather made for a perfect drive down to Eugene, OR. It was a beautiful drive, full of relaxation and happy contented thoughts. C and I snacked and sipped root beer as the green fields whipped by and the warm breeze blew around assorted articles of trash in the Saturn.
Eugene arrived quickly, it seemed; I guided the car thru the nearly empty streets and we cruised thru what we assumed was downtown then past the university area. The university area teemed with trendy-well-dressed looking kids; we decided to bypass the melee in favor of the downtown area. I parked the car, and our walk began.
As we walked around trying to find anything that looked like a main street (I'd been told the night previous that there is no real main downtown in the city), we were beset by a few sketchy crazy types. No one else was around. The place was eerily empty! Not only that, it was unnaturally quiet. A pizza shop fed us, and the stream of super-prep and super-sketch continued to parade past, coming from and going to....nowhere. Here is how I'd describe the feeling in the air:
Similar to a scary flick. You know, an entire town/village/house has been slaughtered, leaving a dead quiet hanging over everything. A couple of strangers arrive and walk around, and only the audience knows what evil lurks around the corner, waiting to disembowl the unknowing strangers. The few survivors that pass the Strangers give them very strange and lingering looks, knowing the evil soon to be encountered. However, before Evil can strike, a tangible wafting evil is discerned by the Strangers. They get a little panicked and prepare to bolt and leave before any harm can befall them.
That's how I would describe our very short time in Eugene. Granted, it was Sunday, but everything appeared to be closed! Maybe we didn't hit the fun areas? Who knows. Not my fave visit. It was decided (very quickly) that we would hit up a town or two on the way back to Portland instead of sticking around any longer. In the car, I was informed just how badly C had been spooked! (I giggled, tho my giggles were perhaps a bit more nervous than I'd like to admit).
The day gets better. Salem seemed like a nice place to stop, so the nose of the Saturn was put on the trail and off we went. About 20 miles or so from Salem, traffic on the interstate inexplicably came to a stop; no movement was discernible down the line. Quite a few vehicles were bailing off on the ramp adjacent to THE Saturn, so I popped over into the right lane in case our discussions convinced us to do the same. An opening arrived: traffic was barely moving and coming to a stop in the right lane, and I had plenty of room in front of the semi coming up (he should have been slowing to a stop, as the rest of traffic was stopped). I nosed over, and got most of the car into the right lane before being forced to stop by the unmoving car in front of me. The short fat ass at the wheel of the truck laid on his horn for a while, and got right up on my rear bumper. Ok, I thought. That's strange. We proceeded to move slowly. Again, the sh*t for brains got on his horn. I stuck my head out to get a good look, wondering what was burning up his bum. The Saturn's temp guage was rising, and I have a known hanging muffler so I thought maybe I had an issue to looking into. But none of the many cars passing me in the left lane had anything to say. Until Bitch pulled up. She rolled down her window in order to say: "I just thought I'd let you know, that semis can't stop on a dime!" To say the least, I was perplexed. I let her know that this fact was not new to me, and that I hadn't even been touching my brakes, much less jumping on them. She thought it fit to let me know that I'd cut the truck behind me off! Huh. Interesting how she had such a clear view of the 'incident' despite being at least a truck length BEHIND the rear of the supposed victim! (The left lane was moving much quicker than the right lane). I let her know that I disagreed, and we parted ways. I think my new friend should spend some time on the Borman Expressway outside Chicago. A semi moving MAYBE 5mph doesn't really need a 1/4 mile to come to a complete stop. She should get a gander at the stuff they pull and worry about her own crappy driving (it's true. She had very little proficiency).
Oof. Backups (in the middle of nowhere) continue until we get off in Salem. Where all went reasonably well. Some coffee hit the gullet and a used bookstore made some money off of us. Tho for some reason, the strange stares we had been getting in Eugene continued!
Pulling up to the apartment in Portland was a relief. What a strange day that was.
An interesting state this is.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
How am I celebrating? Not in the most respectful or reverential of ways. I have a class that starts in half an hour (I gotta get moving!) and goes until 430pm. All inside. Bummer. At least it's light until 9 or so, which leaves me some time to do something!
Thursday, April 20, 2006
"You've got to have some faith in what you're trying to do. It's easy to have faith as long as it goes along with what you already know."
-Ken Kesey in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acide Test" by Tom Wolfe
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Tonight I managed to avoid the rant I broke into in a letter today (be ready, DT. This one may end up a bit of a doozy), that flew out over two pages before I'd regained the sight in my eyes, mumbling, "what happened?" out into the crowded coffee shop.
There's a far off storm rumbling on the horizon. The damn thing appears to be stuck, perhaps behind a tornado or oversized Big Boy, I'm not sure. Whatever the case, I'm ready and impatient for the damn thing to strike.
Castro-good or bad, depends on who you talk to. I found an article on the BBC exploring possible outcomes following Castro's death. Some say big upheaval and violence, others say no, Raul (Fidel's brother) is poised to take over.
Here are the things in the article that frustrated me (I'll decline to comment on the good/bad debate, as I have no first hand knowledge):
In Washington, the Bush administration has appointed Caleb McCarry as "transition co-ordinator" for Cuba.
He says his job is to help Cubans "recover their freedom after 47 years of brutal dictatorship".
To achieve this, Mr McCarry has a budget of $59m to "hasten the transition" and to ensure that neither Raul Castro nor any of the other "pretenders", from Vice President Carlos Lage to Foreign Minister Perez Roque, automatically continue the current system.
We are providing support for a process of transition that helps Cubans recover their sovereignty
Caleb McCarry, US transition co-ordinator
"They are planning for a continued dictatorship," says Mr McCarry.
"We are providing support for a process of transition that helps Cubans recover their sovereignty and hold free and fair elections."
What? With our huge deficit, we've alloted $59 million not for needed humanitarian purposes (or US schools, infrastructure, retirement funds, etc etc etc), but to ensure an ascencion to power of someone of OUR liking? What the shit is that? Seriously. The arrogance kills me. Who are we (who've had no contact-and hence no working, first-hand knowledge) to decide who is best to rule the Cubans? Hell, we can't even get one decent candidate in our own damn country!
I'll end comments on the US idiocy here, as my pulse is already dangerously high.
Let's move on to the Cuban ex-pats, the ones chomping at the bit to get back to Cuba and right the wrongs they see done to them. They want to improve the island, improve the quality of life for the people there, yeah? Granted, the comments in the article probably did not come from a large sampling, but check out what was selected:
As well as these official initiatives, many in the Miami Cuban-American exile community are already dreaming of a return to Cuba.
These range from Lombardo Perez, who is drawing up plans for car dealerships throughout the island, to Jose Cancela, a media consultant who says he has pledges of up to a billion dollars from people interested in investing in the media of a non-Communist Cuba.
Fucking car dealerships? THAT is the extent of his big plans for his home country? Wow. Way to work to get life started again down there! Let me as you this, Lombardo: with what money will your cars be bought? A vast majority of the people there have nothing! Oh wait....I guess the (ruling?) elite could benefit...(thank god a stratification of social classes won't be greatly worsened)
Others in the Miami Cuban community are still hoping that the US will not wait for a natural end to Fidel Castro's days in power.
According to a recent poll, as many as one in three of those questioned said they would favour armed intervention by the US to bring about regime change in Cuba.
"How come the US went so many miles from our shores to get rid of a tyrant, and they don't understand the risk of having somebody spreading communism and violence around this hemisphere?" complains Remedios Diaz, a business woman who is one of the founders of the Cuban Liberty Council.
A valid question, really, especially given our recent exploits and the constant propaganda about Castro's evil actions. But wait! Remedios has more to say!
She looks forward to a day soon when she can market her products freely throughout Cuba, and is not worried if change there is brought about by force.
(My head is now bloodied and slightly cracked from its impacts with various objects within the apartment)
What she's basically saying (as far as I can tell, assuming her words haven't been butchered, as is possible) is that she doesn't care if people have to die, just open up that damn market so she can make more money!
You've got to be fucking kidding me. I mean seriously, to risk major bloodshed and loss of life just to make some money? It's not like that is a common occurance in this world (um....)
Let me end on a different, somewhat cheerier note:
To most though, the idea of armed conflict is the worst possible scenario for any transition after Castro.
Dissident voices in Cuba stress that there must be dialogue and reconciliation, and that changing Cuban society to a more open, Western-style democracy needs to be undertaken gradually.
For her part, National Assembly member Kenia Serrano sounds a warning on behalf of all those who still believe in Fidel Castro's revolution: "If there is an intervention, we will fight immediately.
"In every neighbourhood, in every corner of this country, we are going to have people ready to fight."
Patria o muerte, eh?
On the news webpage I have set-up, it's good news all around! Here are the top stories being reported by Reuters, World News:
Israel calls Mideast terror "declarations of war"
US to urge other world powers to act against Iran
Nepal events reaching a climax, say dimplomats
Israel weighs hitting Hamas leaders, institutions
Insurgents mount bold attacks in Baghdad, Ramadi
Wow. All sorts of good news to be found! The AP top stories are very similar.
Hell, if the Apocalypse isn't impending, these news guys sure have a way of making it sound as though it is...
Venezuela using its oil to benefit Latin Americans
The Failure of Hugo-Bashing April 04, 2006 By Mark Weisbrot
It was yet another public relations coup for Venezuela: Vila Isabel, the samba
club sponsored mainly by the Venezuelan government, won the parade competition
in Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval last week. A float with a giant likeness of Simon
Bolivar, combined with thousands of ornately costumed participants parading
down the avenue, trumpeted the winning theme: Latin American unity.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just last month called for "a united
front" against Venezuela, continuing a long-term policy of trying to isolate
the country. But Washington has been spitting into the wind. Venezuela's
influence in the hemisphere has continued to rise while the U.S. has succeeded
only in isolating itself more than at any time in at least half a century. It
might be worth asking why.
First, Venezuela is a democracy -- despite the best efforts of the Bush team to
use President Hugo Chavez's close relations with Cuba's Fidel Castro as
evidence to the contrary. Its elections are transparent and have been certified
by observers from the Organization of American States, the Carter Center and
the European Union. Freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of
association prevail, at least as compared with the rest of the hemisphere.
In fact, most of the media remains controlled by the opposition, which attacks
the government endlessly on major TV channels. It is the most vigorous and
partisan opposition media in the hemisphere, one that has not been censored
Like all of Latin America, Venezuela has governance problems: a weak state,
limited rule of law, corruption and incompetent government. But no reputable
human rights organization has alleged that Venezuela under Chavez has
deteriorated with regard to civil liberties, human rights or democracy, as
compared with prior governments. Nor does the country compare unfavorably on
these criteria with its neighbors in the region. In Peru, the government has
shut down opposition TV stations; in Colombia, union organizers are murdered
Read the rest here
Emailing an old friend in Chengdu
Drinking a cup of Joe
A flood of sorts, not as gushing as it once was
Monday, April 17, 2006
Now I'm sitting on the coach, eating some pretzels. The sun and blue sky are out, and it looks gorgeous.
What could this mean?
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I've been trying my hand at preaching today (being Easter and all, I've been moved). It's going well, tho the reception I'm getting is less than glorious. Which means I must be holy, right? My fave oration was to a buddy back in CO. Today is not only Easter, but his birthday as well as the Holy Father in Rome's birthday. What a day of wonderness! Back to my story. Laying in bed in torn up underwear, I grabbed the cell and made the call. In a booming voice I congratulated him on making it to his ripe Old Age, and segued into extolling the wonder and awe and grandeur of this Holy Day. All was going well until I mentioned the Holy Underwear, at which point his mind began to wander and he hung up on me. Can't blame a brother for trying, eh?
I should get back to my book now. A fairly appropriate book, really: "The Last Temptation of Christ". I'm going to try and get to easter sunday (in the book. I made it in real life) before the day's end. Seems like a necessary endeavor...
Gimme some o' that damn fried chicken!
Saturday, April 15, 2006
The article that raised my ire the most today comes from the New York Times. The title is: "U.S. Program is Directed at Altering Iran's Politics".
As the Bush administration confronts the Tehran government over its suspected nuclear weapons program and accusations that it supports terrorism, a newly created office of Iranian affairs in the State Department is poring over applications for a rapidly expanding program to change the political process inside Iran.
Forgive me if I am wrong, but wasn't Iran's last election an example of democracy at work? Wasn't their (apparently crazy) president fairly elected? If that is the case, what exactly are we trying to change? Isn't 'democracy' how we want the entire world to function? I guess perhaps a caveat needs to be added that those elected have to have our approval...
The project, which will spend $7 million in the current fiscal year, would become many times larger next year if Congress approves a broad request for $85 million that the Bush administration has requested for scholarships, exchange programs, radio and television broadcasts and other activities aimed at shaking up Iran's political system.
The effort, overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, a deputy assistant secretary of state who is a daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, has been denounced by Iran's leaders as meddling in their internal affairs.
Hm. That's a lot of money to create instability (another foe of ours. The world must be stable!) in another country. Maybe we should take that money and, I don't know, give it to the schools here in the US?
Imagine. The audacity of Iran's leaders to accuse us of meddling. Don't they know that our govt knows what is best for everyone? Silly little third-worlders (if they are or not, does it matter? How is that ancient country depicted?)!
Just wait. We haven't gotten to my favorite part yet.
Administration officials said a few top American officials had been traveling the country, particularly to Los Angeles, to meet with Iranian exile organizations, many of them supporters of the monarchy of Shah Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in 1979. Some of the Los Angeles groups operate satellite radio and television stations that beam programs into Iran.
But State Department officials said they were not likely to enlist groups associated with the monarchy because, in their view, they do not seem to have much support in Iran.
This is where my ragin disbelief comes into play. Imagine-supporters of the Shah do not seem to have much support in Iran. Maybe that's because people there HATE the Shah as evidenced by their undertaking the effort to kick him out of power! Questionable, isn't it, how TOP American officials, who should know this, could find any logical reason to meet with groups loyal to the Shah. I can only imagine that these officials have probably also forgotten the role of the US in installing the Shah in power in the first place? Is our govt still thickheaded enough to believe that they "help into power" (an act contrary to the democracy espoused continually) a person that will be good for that country? How can that be done, when our officials (i.e.-Dubya) don't know a damn thing about the country? You can't know the country unless you know the people, right? In my mind, knowing the proportionally small wealthy elite does not constitute an accurate knowledge of the mindset of the people. Hence, people are put into power who don't reflect the wants of the people and things go to hell. Forcing the US to 'help out' again. How many times must me play this (unwanted) role and muck up other countries? Why the shit can't our history be remembered, at least by those in power? Do we have to keep repeating all the mistakes made in the past?
I'm going to go read my book. Screw this infuriating news crap
Thursday, April 13, 2006
-Frederick Douglass; quoted on the inside cover of Robert Moore, Reconstruction: The Promise and Betrayal of Democracy, 1988.
This I followed up with a long nap on the couch. And almost oversleeping and missing my class. As it was, I showed up a few minutes late. Typically this is a problematic approach to attending class, but since the prof was 20 minutes late I had no need to sweat.
My homework was correct! I have retained some skills of comprehension and critical thought! A relief, to be sure.
"American Psycho" finished off my night. A crazy tale of love and romance and exciting chase scenese and chainsaws glistening with newly splilt blood....ah!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Not only that, I've made a possible business contact in tonight's class. He gave me his card and email address and *home* phone number! Ah, the excitement and tittylation of it all!
It gets better. I witnessed live Curling practice!! Yes, it was as exciting as you are imagining. And then some.
Dinner tonight (at 10mp) consisted of margerine-y and cheesy mashed taters. Home-made, of course. And a biscuit and spinach salad. With a brownie for a pre-emptive dessert. Not bad, eh?
Good thing I finished my homework (for tomorrow night's class) already-tomorrow I'm heading out for a round of frisbee golf. On an actual course with a bag full of 'clubs'! The excitement here is non-stop I tell you. Yeah, perhaps I should hang around here all day, again, waiting for promised phone calls that never come, but I'm taking a break form that to regain the little sanity I cling to in desperation.
What else...the shankers are healing nicely, as are my rotted out arches.
Started a new book: "The Last Temptation of Christ". So far, I really like it. Quick has been the read up to this point. Whatever shall I read next? The history-type book has one chapter left, and I can't fall in the number of on-going books with which I am involved, you know? That would be OH so gauche!
My Spider Solitaire game is not going well.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
What isn't a disappointment, is playing darts in my undies while playing darts (a couch is a great backstop. Saves the wall from garnering holes due to mislaid darts). Fortunately I have the place to myself or I might be in the process of scaring.
Monday, April 10, 2006
The author lists six instances in which the US govt attempted to "subvert foreign governments":
"1. our assistance to the shah's faction in Iran in deposing Prime Minister Mussadegh and returning the shah to the throne in 1953;
2. our role in brining down the elected government of Guatemala in 1954;
3. our rigging of the 1957 election in Lebanon, which entrenched the Christians on top and led to the Muslim revolt and civil war the next year;
4. our involvement in the assassination of Patrice Lumumbu in Zaire in 1961;
5. our repeated attempts to murder Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba and bring down his government by terror and sabotage; and
6. our role in bringing down the elected government of Chile in 1973.
The U.S. government calls actions such as these "state-sponsored terrorism" when other countries do them to us. We would be indignant to learn of Cuban or Libyan attempts to influence our politics or destabillize our economy. Our government expressed outrage at Iraq's Saddam Hussein for trying to arrage the assassination of former President Bush when he visited Kuwait in 1993 and retaliated with a bombing attack on Baghdad, yet the United States has repeatedly orchestrated similar assassination attempts.
In 1990 Warren Cohen resigned from the historical committee that he headed at the State Department to protest the government's deletion from its official history of U.S. foreign relations of "all mention of the C.I.A. coup that put Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlevi in power in Iran in 1953".
...The only specific U.S. action in Iran that A History of the Republic (one of the textbooks) reports, for example, is our assistance in wiping out malaria! When these textbooks' authors laster describe the successful attempt in 1979 by the people of Iran to overthrow the shah, their accounts cannot explain why Iranians might be so upset with the United States. Of the twelve textbooks, only Life and Liberty and The American Pageant explain the shah's unpopularity owing to our identification with the shah and his policies. Thus only two books give students a basis for understanding why Iranians held Americans hostage for more than a year during the Carter administration."
Huh. Perhaps a more critical look at our history in the world might also explain why the Muslim world (for example) seems so incensed with the US (and the Western World) even prior to the invasion of Iraq?
The oppressed will rise up, will they not?
Saw Syriana. I will see it again, and purchasing of it will happen by me at some point.
Great piece of work. A bit depressing tho, due to its relevance and plausibility. A good 'fire-me-up'
sorta flick. Fortunately or not, the only recipient of my ire roght now is good ole Mr. Guinness. He doesn't add to my consternation, only eases the pain. (My friend took off. She bolted before my still sluggish mouth (from hours of non-use) could get up a head of steam and rave on).
See it. George Clooney continues to impress me
Our govt, way of life, corp's, etc do not
-Ed Abbey; Eco Defense, from One Life at a Time Please, 1988
Yup, sure we're represented by those with our best interests in mind. Not that Ed is perhaps the most unbiased voice out there, but can this statement be refuted?
"Historically, social class is intertwined with all kinds of events and processes in our past. Our governing system was established by rich men, following theories that emphasized government as a bulwark of the propertied class. Although rich himself, James Madison worried about social inequality and wrote The Federalist #10 to explain how the proposed government would not succomb to the influence of the affluent. Madison did not fully succeed, according to Edward Pessen, who examined the social-class backgrounds of all American presidents through Reagan. Pessen found that more than 40 percent hailed from the upper class, mostly from the upper fringes of that elite group, and another 15 percent originated in families located between the upper and upper-middle-classes. More than 25 percent came from a solid upper-middle-class background, leaving just six presidents, or 15 percent, to come from the middle and lower-middle classes and just one, Andrew Johnson, representing any part of the lower class."
-"Lies My Teacher Told Me", James W. Loewen (1995)
- "The Log Cabin Myth", Edward Pessen (1984)
Anyone can become President, indeed.
Total spending by Presidential candidates (in millions):
2004 $717.9 (!!)
What an encouraging trend that is, eh?
"Anyone running for president has to raise a lot of money. But candidates with a realistic chance of winning the election must collect enormous sums for their campaigns. President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, for example, raised a total of nearly half a billion dollars in private contributions during the presidential primary season.
As the Republican and Democratic nominees, Bush and Kerry each received $74.6 million in government funding for the general election. In return, they could not raise or spend private funds after accepting their party's nomination. They were entitled to government matching funds during the primaries, but turned them down to free themselves of federally mandated spending limits. Their decision (and that of Howard Dean, who also rejected matching funds) helped to make this presidential election the most expensive in history."
So, without money, you don't stand a chance. Let's ignore that aspect for a minute. Can anyone think of anything that could be done with almost $720 million? Could any charity benefit? Or the impoverished? Perhaps the public school system? If candidates are spending an inordinate amount of their time worrying about (re)election and are working or raising funds, how much time and energy is left to be applied to their current job of say, President of the USA or Senator? Misguided money and energy, perhaps? At least that campaign money was used to promote the good of the candidate and not to sling mud...
Yup, I continue to have total faith in our elected officials and the manner in which our Federal government is functioning.
Let me end my rant with a definition. Of democracy. Scratch that. I found a couple of sites that are inclined to point out that we, in fact, live in a republic ("...and to the Republic, for which it stands", not a democracy. Check them out: here and here. Call it semantics or even a moot point, but perhaps we should stop preaching 'democracy' to the rest of the world (especially those countries in which we force the idea...)
The weekend was good. Had two paddling practices on Saturday which left me tired and soaked (the only rain that fell all weekend fell during our practices. My rain gear is not waterproof like it is supposed to be. Which is good to know) and....had dinner with some friends last night. That was the long and short of the excitement.
Finished another book, and started "The Last Temptation of Christ" this morning. I'll let you know how it is. Going to see Syriana with a New Friend from paddling tonight. Should be fun.
Patience, patience, brother. Breathe deep.
And stop drinking so much damn coffee
Friday, April 07, 2006
THIS is one plastic surgery you won't be able to point out during red-carpet arrivals. Forget the lip injections and the breast implants; the hottest place for stars to get shot up with collagen this year is ... the G spot. That elusive female pleasure point - whose very existence was the subject of medical debate for years, and continues to confound many a well-intentioned man - is the pet project of Dr. David Matlock, Beverly Hills OB-GYN, laser surgeon and passionate defender of a woman's right to orgasms.
Lots of them....
Sure, Matlock's quick-fix sex shot may sound like just another expansion of the cosmetic surgery empire.
But there is one major difference. This procedure is all about utility, not vanity - after all, it's not as if anyone is going to be impressed with the looks of a new and improved G spot.
Matlock posits himself as a die-hard feminist, fighting for the rights of women to get their fair share of what until now has been an almost entirely male-dominated niche marketplace.
Okay, I guess some sense can be found in that.
Everyone except sex therapists, who are generally skeptical about the merits of sticking a needle into such a nerve-rich area of the body. "Intuitively, I would shy away from injecting anything into the G spot," says Dr. Laura Berman, a sex therapist whose new book is "The Passion Prescription." "We don't know the long-term effects," she cautions. Besides, she says, the effect of the G-Shot can be had more naturally. "You can achieve the same ends with some education, and pelvic strength. If you strengthen your muscles, and learn how to utilize them, you're essentially doing the same thing." Plus, when you're using your muscles, you have the ability to turn it off and on - unlike the G-Shot, which keeps the patient in a near-constant state of sexual arousal for four months. Oh wait... What will they think of next?
Huh. There's the other side of the story. At least this country isn't scared of sex and talking about it. If it were a taboo subject, then maybe the elusive G-spot would go undiscovered in most women due to a lack of discussion between partners and a fear of some good ole' grunt work.
Everyone except sex therapists, who are generally skeptical about the merits of sticking a needle into such a nerve-rich area of the body.
"Intuitively, I would shy away from injecting anything into the G spot," says Dr. Laura Berman, a sex therapist whose new book is "The Passion Prescription."
"We don't know the long-term effects," she cautions.
Besides, she says, the effect of the G-Shot can be had more naturally.
"You can achieve the same ends with some education, and pelvic strength. If you strengthen your muscles, and learn how to utilize them, you're essentially doing the same thing."
Plus, when you're using your muscles, you have the ability to turn it off and on - unlike the G-Shot, which keeps the patient in a near-constant state of sexual arousal for four months.
What will they think of next?
Today has been a productive day, if nothing else. Hit up the coffee shop for a couple cups of life-giving nutrient and reading. Did laundry, vacuumed the place and finally did up my taxes! Thrilling I tell you. I am getting money back (not hard to do when you don't make enough to be taxed)! What else did I do. Showered, that was long overdue (when you sit around by yourself all day, it's hard (for me) to really motivate and focus on high levels of personal cleanliness). Ate a couple times. Bought a bunch of food to make up my excellent stir-fry for dinner tonight.
And I've read some news. Let me tell ya-the stuff never gets any better, ya know? It's rarely positive, most often it's depressing. Gets old, ya know? How involved do I want to get in this stuff? What world/life events can I affect? I need to work on trying to stay more neutral and not worked up about things I can have no hand in helping. Or, I need to figure out what I need to do and on what level I CAN work towards mitigating the overwhelming idiocy that exists out there.
What to do now....Perhaps I'll throw in a movie. I rented Magnolia the other night and haven't watched it yet. I'm up for some mind-bending fun.
My new paddle got de-virginized last night and it was awesome! I'd by lying if I said I didn't enjoy riding my bicycle to and back from practice with the wooden implement strapped onto the bike (alongside the crotch-crushing bar)! One of my new friends on the team gave me her old set of frisbee-golf discs, so I was riding home with the paddle strapped on, my bike lock across the handlebars, and the discs hanging on the right handle bar. I was loaded down. No worries, I made it without tipping over or hitting anything!
Although I did nearly run over another friend of mine as I pulled up to the apartment-some of the old roomies were stopping by to see if I wanted to head out for a drink with all of them. Well, yeah! Of course I do! Off we went. Of the five people in the car, I was the only one who hadn't had the worst week ever. Lucky me! The bar we went to is called the Space Bar, or something like that. Space scenes painted all over the walls, but at its core it is a dive bar. I was happy.
I'm 2 days behind in newspapers. Should I continue to plow thru or take a break? Time will tell...
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Last night. Hoo boy. For a night that started out calm and tranquil, it sure took a turn. For the better or worse I haven’t yet decided.
After my movie finished (which was awesome, by the way. My new fave Bill Murray performance. The Man is incredible!), I felt no trace of the tiredness required for quick and seamless sleep exploration. Instead of ramping into bed, I tossed on my clogs, a woolen hat and my trusty quilted flannel and headed out into the dark misty night to explore what there was to be explored at 1AM in Portland, OR.
Fate or luck or bad manners steered my feet towards Belmont, a major E/W thoro that passed within blocks of the Apartment. Nearing the corner of 34th/Belmont, a car pulled up and I was shouted at:
“Hey! Get in! We’re headed to a party!”
Assuming it was people I knew (it looked like some paddler types) in I jumped only to discover to my Shock and Awe that I knew none of the people in the car. Huh. Panic was unnecessary as I knew not yet if these were friend or foe. A bottle of wine was pushed my way, and I pulled a swig. Grimacing, I noticed that the Nalgene from which I had quaffed seemed to have been stuffed full of Franzia, that horrendous wine that comes in a bladder in a box. Laughter emerged from all corners and fast friends became the order of the night.
Roaring down the road. Ramping railroad tracks and blowing thru orange lights. I came to know the folks in the car within which I rode, and I found myself excited at having ventured out in the Working Man’s Evil Hours. The music could be heard houses away. Piling out of the car I blundered behind my new pals into a run-down house on the edge of a field. Emo music blasted from speakers mounted on every wall and it was all I could do to resist the erotic swinging and swaying of the “much-younger-than-me” crowd swelling the walls of the house, bipping and bopping to tunes I had no familiarity with. However, I did recognize the bottle making its way towards me and I snagged it. Shortish pants, black shoes and bowl-looking cuts gazed at me quizzically and angrily; I made my way out onto the back porch amidst the ruffians thereabouts. Towering over them, I slugged from the glass container in my hands relishing my relative height, until they decided to stand up, deferential to the old man hangin’ with the kids on the outskirts of town and decency. Cheers, Mate.
Soon enough I was beckoned inside by the girl in my ride most gifted with beauty brains and cleavage to match. Thinking myself in store for some unwarranted ‘attention’, a smile splayed my lips like a warm knife thru butter. Disappointment arrived in time to stave off my declarations of “No, thanks, I can’t!”. Instead of wanting to get down and diggity with me, all this young vixen wanted was for me to witness some snake dancing.
Yup, dancing with snakes. And I’ll tell you one thing. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched an 85lb shaggy kid (I know he was 85lbs. I was able to wrangle an answer out of him before the MEDS carted him off) try to gyrate and fight stand up under the weight of an 18 foot, 150lb Anaconda draped across his shoulders, and around his torso, thru his legs and up and over both feet, curling back up to repeat the process three times. The poorly planned bastard managed to make one full rotation (which I still declare was due to the snake's writhing and twitching rather than the efforts of said Kid) before crashing to the floor, eliciting laughs from the ladies, guffaws from the guys. The party raged on as Anaconda rapturously wrapped windingly around the wimp. As the rest of the house seemed not to mind the Kid’s plight, I found my Eagle Scout-self kicking into true form-I grabbed some lighter fluid from the counter to my right and lit a streaming flow from the Kid to the front porch. To illuminate his escape path, of course. No worries. A little singed hair is good for everyone. Except for perhaps some women you want to woo. The Snake scuttled off to the keg and Kid limped onto the porch.
In the relative sanity of the front porch, me and Mr. 85lbs got to chatting until he learned my age, then he ran off screaming. Well, perhaps it wasn’t my age so much as my efforts to get his permission to pool some LF on the brim of his hat prior to lighting it on fire. Rookie.
Timing, for once, was on my side this night. Kid ran off, my friends hustled onto the porch and we dashed to the car, tearing out onto the blacktop just as the Po-Po pulled in. Somehow I found the wheel in my hand, a dangerous predicament given my newly found desire for daring deeds.
Mt. Hood loomed large in the windshield, and I vowed to run the car into Her side before night’s end. Whooping and hollering on all sides confirmed the prudence of my plans.
Two hours later, I abandoned all hope and turned the car back towards town. Blocks from my house I pulled to the curb and waved “bye-bye” to the gang. (But not before writing ‘Butthead’ ‘Tool’ and ‘Sexy Mama’ on various sleeping heads.). Receding into the shadows, I hoisted a large-ish melon above my head and lofted it at the windshield where it splattered gore and awoke the car’s innards. Confusion showed on all faces and I giggled as they drove away.
Turning to walk home, I realized the folly of my actions: I live in southeast Portland and had stopped the car in northwest. A long walk home, to be sure.
Fortunately, Ben the Bum fell in stride beside me, passing his stash off now and then to sustain me along the way. A wonderful conversation made the time pass by like the ages 28-30. Politics, religion, women and native vegetation wove intermittently around our tongues producing only minor fracases every two blocks or so. Unfortunately I had to shove BB into a bush beside the bar blocks from my abode so as to prevent him from crawling into bed with me (as he professed a need of doing).
Run run run! Word to the wise. Don’t look back for too long when moving quickly in a forward direction. Trees don’t dodge. That’s all I have to say.
Finally I found myself in bed, covered from chin to beyond my toe with an excessive amount of bedding, happy to no longer be courting disaster with random strangers. Sleep came quickly and made a very short appearance, staying only for a minimal number of hours. But so it goes. Now I can move on with my life, hoping that coherent thoughts will permeate the fog within my cranial cavity allowing me to do homework and my taxes. Wish me luck.
Kevin Costner has a Casino. The Lawrence Arms declares it so! Who am I to argue?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
It was funny watching the professor attempt to convince us that accounting is a vibrant and exciting career....I didn't buy it.
The apartment is all mine again tonight. Since I don't feel like reading anymore (that's an all-day activity lately) or going out (well, I do feel like going out, but there is the money issue with which to be concerned) I am going to watch a movie. I just hit up the rad movie place down the way and came home with 2 brain burners: "Where the Buffalo Roam"-a movie based on a Hunter Thompson book and starring Bill Murray(!) and Magnolia. Don't think I'll get them both in tonight, but you never know.
I have a glass of wine and a crossword. Maybe I should dim the lights to really set the mood?
No thanks, I don't want any popcorn. My stomach is already fit to burst from the gargantuan pile os spaghetti I ate.
Sat in a coffee shop for a couple hours this morning, and range thru 3 of the books I'm reading right now. All this after sleeping until 10am! That was nice.
Only a few more hours until I head off to "Principles of Accounting 1". Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Man, props to Mom for heading back to school! I wandered around campus yesterday and felt quite old. Not that Mom is old, of course, being younger than me. Regardless. Good on her!
I think I'd better shower before class. Might help me fit in better. But when you are alone all day doing nothing, it's hard to motivate to get in the dribbling shower because who do I have to impress/not offend?
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Saw it at a $3 movie house that serves beer and pizza (and all the movie regulars)! For a grand total of $14 I was able to get 2 tickets, 2 beers and a large popcorn. Good deal. Cool little place, long narrow theater with comfy seats and tables.
Despite all the media attention this movie has gotten (most of which I have ignored), I didn't really know what to expect from it.
Here is the short version of my thoughts:
I really liked it. The only thing I did not like, was the repeated use of the same lame-ass pseudo-country sad damn music that played in virtually every scene that included both of the main characters. That got old. Even with a small budget, they could have at least varied things a bit and played, I don't know, at least 2 songs?
Yes, it was a movie about two cowboys and their love for each other. Or to break it down more simply, it was a movie about an essentially forbidden love. Could have been a mixed-race couple, differing religious backgrounds, young (legal) man/woman and older woman/man. Hell, coulda been a hippy and a conservative (no "Dharma/Greg" references allowed here). The basic premise (to me) is that these 2 people really love each other but can't be together because of what their society thinks. Again I have to throw this out: why the hell does it matter, and whose business is it, what two consenting adults do behind closed doors? Why is it anyone's business except theirs? Oh yeah, it IS NOT anyone else's business. For fuck's sake, if your relationship/world view/religious faith/feeling of well-being is threatened or hurt by someone else's relationship, then you have plenty of your own problems and should focus on them.
Does a gay couple ruin the 'sanctity of marriage'? No. If you think it does, you have your own problems with your marriage.
Does it ruin society? No, see the previous answer.
Hell, why not shun adulterers and cast them out of society as well? What about hetero-couples who engage in anal sex? Or swingers, threesomes, etc etc.
It's sad that people in love can't openly express their love or be with the one they love because of society at large (Of course I speak of love between consenting adults). It's absolutely disgusting that they have to fear violence for being in love.
A good movie, but sad. Made me sad not simply because of the characters. More so because of the state of things in the 'real' world. If two people love each other, let them. I can't see how it is anyone else's business.
Man, I feel like one big wandering ramble today. I suppose that is what I get for leaving my bed before the sun made an appearance. Maybe I'll try posting more coherently on this later
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Second interview tomorrow, and this week I should hear back from the interview I had last week.
Wednesday night I start classes! Accounting 1. I am excited about it, but this was tempered somewhat when I checked for required books and was reminded of the exorbitant cost of college texts. What a bunch of crumb bums! Ah well. It will be worth it.
My week is filling up! That boosts me up to three nights a week of commitment. And Saturday mornings (negotiable). Man, once I get employed I'll really be roped in. Fromz zero to 100 kinda quickly. I expect more terror, but I could use it.
Didn't make it to the coast today. Was supposed to head out, do some hiking, peer for whales. Got an early call highlighting the conditions out that way-very dark and rainy. Hence, I am still in the apartment.
But I am clean. And so is my underwear (wait. Where is my UW? A crud! I guess it either fell off or I forgot about it. Huh. Who'da thunk it?). Belly is full (too full) and my Pepsi (cold but flat as Nebraska) just finished its trickling down my throat.
Cats are catarwauling outside the window and dogs bark mightily the neighborhood round. The trees outside the window are lashed against the wooden house by galing winds and traffic snarls to a halt. The old geezer next door made the mistake of going outside to check the scene. He is now in a tree 4 houses down, his robe up over his head and his loose-knit boxers sagging to his knees. A lone branch whips him across his flanks. Inside it's warm and gooshy, a fire crackles and pops in the corner, a fight I'm taking seriously as no fireplace exists in this house. Bookshelves are toppling over and the stereo flickers from station to station, alternately blaring and whispering "Shot to the Heart" over to "Paul Harvey". A steel bear trap just said hello to my upper thigh and pygmy tossed darts whistle around my ears, thudding conclusively into the gaping doors. Swirling spinning my head calls it quits and I sink to the floor exhausted, bleeding and confused. A brief return to consciousness and I find my entire self tied to the floor with miniscule ropings and trappings, small men and women and shrunken vietnamese pot-bellied pigs capering about my torso victoriously, drunkenly in randy merriment. Slipping back into the darkness I find peace.
Days later I come to and all is well. No sign of any of the destruction wreaked when last I saw the light.
And that was my weekend.
Some fly high
Some fly Low
As it turns
My watch sings loud
Alls I know
I'm not stinkeriffic
Another sig day passes by
Much different than the rest
'Blank' wall staring