...I find mimes distasteful and "human statues" creepy - and yet I have a nigh-undeniable compulsion to lay hands on actual statues - especially stone ones?
Center City Philadelphia's streets are close to teeming with horseties, and tiny statuettes flanking doorways like sleepy guards; if I pass within arms-breadth of them, I splay my fingers out so I can brush them as I walk, fingertips connecting with their cool roughness. Lion statues must be petted between the eys just above the nose, and dogs patted familiarly on the flank. (If they are twin statues at a doorway I only feel the need to pet one) And there have been several instances where this statue has felt the firm press of my lips.
Perhaps it is the fact they bear the wear of history - and I am drawn to old things. It could be that I find a quiet romance in them, as they stand still morning, noon, and night, eyes unblinking - never participating but always observing, and part of me hopes that through a momentary touch I can unleash all their hidden secrets and stories; see what they've seen, know what they know.
Or maybe, just maybe, I should really get out with real live people more.
Behold, Tales for the L337, Part II: Chris Coutts'Hamlet in which Cladius proclaims, "I am inscest Kings and I Win." - [SH] (About as worksafe as an AOL chatroom).
Am having one of those "laugh or cry" moments right now. Which flower is it for forgetfulness again?
Since Wednesday last, I've been having a frantic, fun-filled, mostly-holiday related good time. Morning, noon, and night I've divided my time between work, visiting family and friends, playing various forms of Trivial Pursuit (a game at which I used to excel, I swear), enjoying holiday pagentry, being thankful my friends are not inflammable, and eating. Oh good heavens, the eating.
And frankly - the remainder of this week looks to be much of the same.
I'm not complaining, of course, far from it (although I am giddy from lack of a full night's sleep and my laundry and other chores are weeping from neglect). I've come to terms with the fact that, as an adult faced with the choice of either (a) taking care of my responsibilities or (b) do something fun, I am going to choose the fun. This is what makes me a a rambunctious and erractic dinner guest, as well as a terrible role-model for boring children.
This wild-and-crazy life style means two things:
- Unless Superman flies around the Earth in a direction counter to it's natural rotation, thereby turning back time to give us another two weeks in November, there is no way I am going to finish Nanowrimo this year.
- I've had no time to relentlessly scour the web for links for Monday Morning Madness.
All is not lost however, as I did have time to find the Monday Morning Quiz, and I know that's all you lot come around here for anyway. (yeah, yeah, complain all you want. I'm not giving up my fun for anybody - so unless you want to arrange things financially so that I no longer need to work, you're just gonna have to take what you can get).
And now if you'll all excuse me...I need to have a nice, long nap.
There's Trouble, Right Here in Piper City - With A Captial T and That Rhymes with B and That Stands for "Babes"...
...in Toyland, that is.
Today I went with some friends to see Babes in Toyland at the Kimmel Center. The show was fun - full of music and wacky hi-jinks as holiday shows should be. (Mind you - I didn't understand the motivation of the good guys when - being both lost in the woods and ardently pursued by the caped and mustashioed villian - they decide to take the time for a song-and-dance number to ensure Jack knew his ABC's - but I'm an adult now - so what the heck do I know?). In the end, the pretty young girl married the handsome young lad, the bank didn't forclose on the widow's house, the villain changed his wicked ways, and Jack (although apparently still bad at math) had finally learned his ABCs.
And fair enough. I've nothing against a good, happy ending.
I am, however, troubled, dear friend, by the way they got there. The bad guy was bad - in a Corporate America sort of way (widow was behind on her mortgage and doesn't have the money to pay - he tells her he will foreclose on the house unless he can marry the widow's young daughter, etc).
Oh he was mean; wicked, greedy and tightfisted, I will give you that. But ethically speaking, the good guys were much, much worse.
I don't mean to go all crotchety old woman on y'all - but in my day- the villain in a children's story is won over by the heroic ingenuity of the heros and/or by being shown the error of his ways. Pablum? Sure, but forgivably so in holiday family fare.
But not in Babes in Toyland, no. In Piper Village, the "good guys" save the day through a series of neglient and criminal activites that would make any of their running for future office nearly impossible:
- Wilfull default on debts (Widow has willfully missed several mortgage payments, and apparently has made no attempts at payment provisions until threatened)
- Planned and willful default on oral contract (young daughter agrees to marry banker with intent to obtain deed without following through with the promised nuptuals)
- Medical malpractice/impersonating a physician/practicing medicine without a liscence (widow poses as doctor in Toyland and tries to fool banker into taking personality altering drug (ie gumdrop from the goody gumdrop tree))
- Assault and battery/forcably drugging an unwilling person/administering drugs without a liscence (when banker is not fooled and refuses to take drug because he does not want his personality to change the good guys wrestle him to the ground and force the gumdrop down his throat)
What I learned today was that if you're a good guy, crime does pay - and it's ok to medicate people if they don't behave the way you want them to. So long as you do it in song.
Please, won't somebody think of the children?
It is my hope that in a week's time, when the handsome young lad turns eighteen and comes into his inheritance, that the villain sues him, his wife, her mother, and Jack and Jill for every cent they've got.
Why didn't I take today off so I could have an extra-long weekend?
- Well, Blow Me Down: Anime Popeye. It makes my brain hurt. - [MF]
- Make Beautfiul Music: (or just a lot of noise) with zefranks's Sequencer
- It Would Be Awesome if We Could Dance: You Must Obey the Dance Commander; although I'm not sure why (or what's happening, exactly). Still, it's kind of a catchy ditty.
- You Think That Spandex Pays for Itself?: Superhero Dayjobs
- Clickity Clickity: Interesting, interactive oddities at Vector Park. Haven't played through all these yet - but they promise to frustrate.
On my morning commute to work a few weeks ago, an elderly woman, wearing one of those strange brightly-colored, quilted coat and hat sets (that look as though they've been repurposed from someone's horrible couch, and which elderly women seem to like to wear with large,garish broaches depicting cats and dogs with bejewled eyes) wobbled her way up to the driver to ask for her stop. Although she was very friendly, she was also very loud, and her answers did not match the questions the driver asked her in attempts to be friendly.
I watched this woman; alone, tiny, hard of hearing, clinging tenatiously to the silver bars so her bird-like body wouldn't be thrown to the ground when the bus came to a stop, not quiet able to fully interact with the world around her, and came to the realization that I could be her some day. Time is, after all, steadily marching on.
Then a few days later as I was coming home from work, there was a women, I'd say about the same age as the first; her hair was the color of a silver fox, cut short, and completely free from covering. She wore soft cotton slacks and a shirt one could comfortably slouch in. When I came in she was saying to an elderly gentleman and a younger woman that if they went to a particular vacation spot, they "really had to try the white water rafting. It is an incredible experience." For the rest of her bus journey, she and the others discussed poetry, food, and travel. I desperately wanted to be included in their conversation. As it was, I pretended to read my book and listened greedily.
When she said good night to her friends and got off the bus, I imagined she went off to some grand adventure. I think I'd much rather be her someday.
Well, let's face it, I really want to be myself - but the kind of self who does wear comfortable clothes and doesn't wear large broaches. I might still wear hats, though. I do so love hats.
On another note: A very happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. And to those of you from other nations - just because you're not American doesn't mean you can't celebrate the things that make you happy by being gluttonous with those you love.
How did courtship disintergrate from this into this?
Gone, the giddy thrill of a heavy, scented, hand-addressed envelope; the secret delight of keeping your lovers' sweet nothings concealed within a pocket or breast, to be taken out and relived whenever the moment strikes; the thoughtful, deliberate scribblings of passion and desire. I see a future now when grandchildren brave dusty attics and open ancient trunks to laugh at grandma and grandpas discarded cocktail napkins - embarrassed at the bohemian frankness they used to express the shock they felt when their eyes met across the crowded room. "Hi. U R a QT. - Bob" "Thnx. U R hot 2."
This is sad news for Love.
Then, if you're really stuck for writing material, take your characters and put them in a story. (Hey - what can I say, my Nanowrimo count was languishing. I'll never finish, but I want to get as close as I can - and I am willing to accept inspiration from anywhere!)
Here are my super arch-nemesis:
The gallant Twaoonsi Ranger (Twaoonsi-Ranger, Twaoonsiranger, Ranger Twaoonsi, Ranger-Twaoonsi, Rangertwaoonsi)
Power(s): Super strength, Precognition
Source of powers: Extra-terrestrial demonic
Weapon: Fire Discs
Transportation: Air Zebra
The satanic Jefdds Warriorr (Jefdds-Warrior, Jefddswarrior, Warrior Jefdds, Warrior-Jefdds, Warriorjefdds)
Power(s): Danger sense, Light generation/control, Super-human weight-guessing accuracy
Source of powers: Extra-terrestrial mutant curse
Weapon: Star Bullets
And here is their cheesy tale.
Please feel free to post the pictures and tales of your own heros in the comments (or post a link if you decide to do it on your blog.) I could do with a good read. Or even a bad one.
Being a Queen fan, I feel a bit guilty, but I am currently digging on A Night at the Hip-Hopera. (I recommend headphones if listening at the office.)
- Monday Morning Quiz: Take it bravely, bravely.
- Vindicated at Last!: I've always said there was something shifty about Charlie's Uncle Joe. (Charlie won, you know - yet Grampa Joe sings "I've got a golden ticket.") Nice to know I'm not alone in my distrust for the lazy layabout; other folks Say No to Grandpa Joe - [JWB]
- Creepiest. Dolls. Ever.: Toddlerpedes. (This image alone is bound to give me some long-term nightmares). - [JWB]
- An Speaking of Nightmares: When did people start marking them into movies? I am very confused. - [SH]
- Like Neo - Only, You Know, Smart: This monkey knows Kung-Fu - [MF]
- What is This Song About?: SongMeanings invites Internet denizens (many of whom seem unfamiliar with the literary conceits of metaphor, simile and allusion) to deconstruct and discuss the meaning of their favorite song lyrics. Seems like a good way to start a flame war (but at least it will have a killer soundtrack). - [MF]
It is STILL TOO EARLY to play winter holiday music.
We need body rockin, not perfection
Let me get some action from the back section
That is all.
We now return you to your regular broadcast day.
- I Always Loved the Part Where Scout Turned Into a Robot to Fight Boo Radley and His Band of Pirates: How to Kill a Mockingbird - a flash book report. It is awesome. - [BC]
- Fun with Mash-Ups: The Grey Video. Worth it to see Ringo on decks. - [BB]
- My Ant Can Beat Up Your Ant: Ant Kendo - [BC]
- Woo Hoo: New stuff from John Cleese - [ErB]
I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back person. Worn in jeans, sweatshirts and sneaks are my favorite uniform; I can go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just even if there are dirty dishes languishing in my sink; and when I wake up, I rarely make my bed in the morning.
The one thing I am even remotely obsessive compulsive about is my books. My personal library is broken down by fiction and non-fiction, then into categories (biography, history, children's, genre fiction), then alphabetically by author and series.* No. I'm not kidding. Maybe it's because I volunteered in my grade school library - or because I worked in a bookstore after college; but the rest of my housekeeping can go to hell in a handbasket so long as my books are organized.
I realize that there are many schools of thought regarding the proper classification and categorization of books, but I really can't get my head around this:
For one amazing week in November, Adobe Bookshop in San Francisco has agreed to allow its estimated 20,000 books to be reclassified by color. -TMIT (Photos here).
I am, right now, resisting the urge to rush to the airport, fly to San Francisco and start rearranging those books.
Honestly - I don't know why I find this so upsetting. I'm an ardent browser, and love to wander used bookstores - which are rarely well organized. Wandering stacks that are not well sorted is a great way to discover a reading treasure.
Still, I find myself sitting here, heart palpitating, muscles agitated, fingers itching to sort. I mean surely, it wouldn't hurt the installation too much if I separated each color by category. (Sky blue fiction here, azure gardening books there, purple purple prose in a box in that corner...). I ask the universe for so little in the way of order...
You'll have to excuse me. I need to go find something to alphabatize before I explode.
*A shout out to Yagathai who was an enormous help in my most recent library reorganization project. He may be the only non-librarian I know who might be more bothered by this art installation than I am.
This weekend as I was out walking, I noticed that nestled among the music schools, convertered brownstones and specialty shops in my neighborhood were several international consulate buildings. Thanks to television and the movies, I always expect these international seats of governement to be a city block large, surrounded by tall iron fences whose entrace is flanked by armed uniformed guards; not inconspicuous buildings one could easily mistake for a private residence were it not for the unassuming sign outside that announced it's consulary nature.
I began to wonder - I know embassy buildings, no matter where they exist, are considered to rest on their own home soil. Does the same hold true for consulates? And if so - is that only true inside the building, or can I have travelled to Panama simply by walking up the two stone steps to the consulates door? Have I visited Romania by virtue of walking past their building on the sidewalk.
Can I go in and visit without a Visa? Will they stamp my passport?
Mind you, this could never take the place of true travel for me - but I rather like the idea of going into work one Monday and being able to answer the water cooler question "What did you do this weekend," by saying "I toured the world."
Ok - so my PC speakers are broadcasting some kind of static, despite the fact that I currently have no programs with audio running. There is some ebbing and flowing, and some pauses - so I don't know if I am accidentally intercepting some radio signal or what. (Or, for that matter, if these speakers could even do that.)
Weirder still is the fact that the pitch and volume do not change when I adjust the speaker volume - but the noise does stop when I turn the speakers off.
Anyone have any ideas?
Note to future self: If trying to send a desperate message of warning from the future, do not do so using PC speakers. Your signal is just awful and I'll ignore it anyway. Try a postcard. I love to get mail. Hugs and kisses, You (Me)
Update: Ok - there are now occasions where I get what sounds like rhythmic beeping (similar to Morse Code) within the static - and sounded very distincly like someone was either talking exctiedly - or humming - like into a kazoo.
I did disable my network connection in case it was just someone screwing around - but that made no difference.
When I was very little - my "imaginary friend" was actually a flying saucer filled with robots - whose names were all very long series of letters and numbers - and who would contact me through some unexplained mental link. (What can I say, I was a weird kid. Couldn't have an invisible bunny or bear like everyone else.) They would get in touch with me when they were in trouble (fair weather friends indeed!) - usually needing to navigate an asteroid belt or in need of evasive manuevers during a battle - and I would solve their problems by taking mental control of the steering mechanisms and also by perfoming really elaborate mathematical problems.
I don't know why that is. I was never ever any good at math.
I'm having this strange, sudden, clearly-I-need-to-get-to-bed moment in which I am afraid it is the robots are trying to contact me once again through my PC speakers - and boy are they going to be pissed to find our (a) I don't remember how to fly their damn saucer and (b) I was making up most of the math. I hope they're not coming for interstellar revenge.
Maybe they're just trying to give me the medals and hazard pay; they clearly owe me in arrears.
- Monday Morning Quiz: is here.
- The Empire Loves You: Star Wars YMCA. I have no idea why either. - [BH]
- Fantastic Photoshop: If Pirates Ruled the World - [BB]
- Cookies and Tang Are Forbidden: Man, I wish I had the power to put peanut butter in a SIMS pants. Strangerhood Episode II - [LF]
- I Wonder If He Animates His Answers During the Interview Process Too: Best Resume Ever. - [JWB]
I am a buffalo wings fan. Give me some extra hot wings, an order of fries, a beer and a DVD and I'll count that as a perfect Friday night.
What can I say? I'm a low maintenance girl.
Once upon a time there was reliable wings establishment near my apartment. I could call ahead while still on my way home - savoring the moment I could stop in and pick up my order of wings (unbreaded and fresh from the fryer, tossed in sauce that was hot and not barbecuey); hot salted fries that didn't collapsed when dipped; and a tub of blue cheese. Then I'd whisk them home to be devoured at my decadent, finger-licking leisure.
Then one day, mysteriously, they closed. Now I see the building is up for sale.
I have lost about five pounds since they locked their doors for ever. But even that is not enough to stop my mourning for the hot-sauce ladden goodness to which I had become so accustomed.
Today, to try and help quell my growing wings craving, I took a chance and orderd some "Buffalo Chicken tenders" from a local restauant.
They promised: juicy tenders tossed in hot sauce and served with blue cheese and crip celery.
They delivered: four flat breaded - chicken cutlets (soggy from being microwaved from frozen to room temperature), unceremoniously piled on a shallow, oily pool of red sauce that may have once met cayanne pepper in passing; and order of flacid, seasonless fries; and a side of honey mustard sauce.
This was worse than having had no wings at all.
I can not return to the practice of pizza-place-buffalo-wings-roulette to try and get my fix. My heart (and arteries) simply can not take the disappointment.
If you are familiar with the Center City Philadelphia and know where I can get good wings, I beseech you to let me know.
- How Many Pictures Make Up One Hour?: 100, if you're looking at 10X10 which breaks down the top stories and images from top news sources every hour into 100 concepts and snapshots. It's an intriguing way to view the news. - [BH]
- I Don't Know Who Billy Harvey Is: But the interface on his website is a thing of beauty. (Be sure to check on items in the "rooms." Some of them give you extra audio bits.) It may even be enough to get me to take a chance on his new album. - [WHIK-E]
- Holy CosPlay Batman!: City of Heros fans dress as in-game personas. There are some impressive reproductions here. - [SH]
- The Early Bird Clearly Had Too Much Coffee: Bird: can you find the worm in 60 seconds? - [SN]
- Ba-da-da-da-daaa: Ronald McDonald looks very different in Japan. [BB]
For the entertainment of those of you with whom I watched Jesus of Montreal last night, as well as anyone who finds the word "pants" funny (you know who you are):
Internal Whinging, Made Public for Your Amusement (or My Humiliation. I Get Those Confused A Lot These Days...)
You know, it's not until you've been single for some time that you can truly appreciate the salacious thrill a puritanical Victorian felt when a young lady accidentally exposed a bit of ankle.
Recently, the mere site of a gentleman's neck made my universe wobble and blur for a moment.
Hey hormones - I didn't really like being fourteen all that much the first time around. Do we really need to go through all this again?
Stupid Biological Imperative.
That is all.
to Feanor and Poppy on their recent nuptials!
I wish them life-long laughter, love, and happiness.
Also - I now *totally* know who to go to when I want someone to keep a secret. :)
Congratulations you two!
What local folks are going to come see this with me?
At last, those two turbulent cultures - the knitters and the gangstas - have come together: Gangsta Knitter. - [CT]
(I'm going to babble a bit. Fun stuff at the end.)
Damn, I hate when vacations are over. I love my life - but right now even the idea of getting back to my life proper is exhausting. Actually, I find vacations exhausting - possibly because - much like the rest of my life - I try to cram as much into them as possible, so I don't "miss out" on anything.
Mind you, I didn't get to everything I intended. For example - the intense cleaning of the apartment and/or catching up on my laundry? Hah! Visiting all the historical sites in the city? As if! Sleeping in every day...well...ok, I did sleep in a lot.
But not nearly as late I as I wanted to.
One of the best days on my vacation was on Thursday. I had originally intended to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art that day - then walk along Kelly Drive. However, by Wednesday I was almost unnaturally tired - and had begun to develop this strange new affect - every time I tilt my head foreword (such as to tie my shoe) or back (say- when I laugh) I get a rush of pressure in my ears. (I can only assume this is indicative of an upcoming cold.) By Wednesday night I had decided to postpone my Art Museum plans for a future sunny Sunday - and instead go to the Rosenbach - which I also adore (hello - book musuem!) - and has the added bonus of being closer to home and a shorter experience overall.
Thursday morning I woke up tired, and cranky, to a gray, rainy day. It was all I could do to get out of bed and put on the coffee. I didn't want to check my email, or watch tv, and I most certainly did not want to go to the museum. After some hemming and hawing and insistence of general malaise, I gave myself permission to not have to do anything improving that day.
Strangely enough - once I had given myself permission to do nothing, I became much more willing to do something. (What do you know? I'm my own bratty, spoiled child!) I pulled on some clothes, grabbed my umbrella, and set out to run some errands. Those quickly done, I did what every sane, tired person who is clearly coming down with a cold does. I walked around the city in the pouring rain for hours. I walked until my umbrella was drenched to uselessness, and water squished right out of my shoes. Then I walked a little more.
I am a natural wanderer - insteading of considering my lack of a sense of direction a handicap, I embrace it. I figure if I can walk somewhere, I can always walk back. (To date, I have never wandered into an alternate dimension that requires me to be saved by an unwitting and charming hero through a series of Deus ex Machina. (One, however, can only hope.)) This particular day I wandered around an older part of the city - admiring the old carriage houses (and mourning the modernization of some) - I wandered through neighborhoods I had previously only passed by - and tried to get a good look at the world around me. Despite my love for techno-gadgets - I am one of those people who feel most at home in my own skin when I am around buildings and areas that have been weathered with by the passage of time and history. Sure, the buildings may be drafty, the floors creaky and the paint worn - but there's something about being near them that bring me peace.
Maybe I have an old soul.
Granted, the US is a young country - with not nearly as much behind us as we'd like to think - but a American historical cities go - Philadelphia is no slouch. Since I was "vacationing" at home, I was determined that I would try and spend some time "seeing" Philly as a tourist would. There's a great many things here to be appreciated that I've become blind to in the course of day-to-day life. So, while I was on vacation I made special effort to pay attention to the city around me. For starters, I did not wear my MP3 player for the entirety of my vacation. Not once. (I hadn't realized what a shield it is against the world until I went without it.) Secondly, I tried to go out walking every day, and took my camera with me everywhere I went. I gave myself little assignments: I looked for things that were election related - and, inspired by these projects, took special note of architectural features and the street memes I encountered. And really, anything that caught my eye. )I even started an ongoing photography project called Philly Behind Fences - which I am sure I will lose interest in and let fizzle any day now.)
I did, in fact, visit some spots of historical note (I did that and toured the Mason's lodge on the election day - not sure if there is some subliminal signifcance to that) - however the amount of security I had to go through to get to the Liberty Bell soured me to the remainder of my planned visit to historical sites. Welcome to Philadelphia, keeping liberty safely behind bars for your protection.
Overall, I had a grand time. This city is really beautiful if you open up your eyes to it.
That being said, tomorrow I will happily return to my cocoon of my technogadgets, books, and other "block out the world" protections. But I'm keeping my digital camera with me to now; just in case.
Also - a special thanks to Yagathai for his HP Lovecraft film fesitval and Feanor & Poppy for hosting the WTF get together (where we unsuccessfully attempted to not talk about the election) which ended my vacation on the perfect note.
Now - back to our regularly scheduled blogging.
- Monday Morning Quiz: Quiz it (quiz it good!)
- Be Your Own Proverb: The Proverb Generator. And remember, Sarcasmo Makes the World Go Round. - [LF]
- Someone Help Me (I Can't Stop Looking): See The Greatest Pictures Ever. Just don't blame me if when you can't wash these images from your brain. - [CT]
- Holy Cow Do I Suck at This Game: Pearls Before Swine & [Pearles Before Swine II. How I hate his hideous, hideous, mocking laughter. - [BC]
- Some One Set Us Up the Frog: Ah, the Internet - the only place where plea from a child for his lost pet could become a meme (click each image to get to the next). Sigh. I really hope he finds Hopkin. - [BB]
- You Are So Punk Rawk: The Dirty Punk F*ckiin Anarchy Machine - [SH]
- Read to Me: Children's Books All Grown Up, from Something Awful
- For the Easily Amused: Play with this flash Spider - [JWB]
- Alternate Versions: Submitted for your amusement:
- Spoken Word Banaphone: In both regular and Ferlinghetti-esque flavors. -[BB]
- Zombie Badgers: Creepiest Badger Badger animation ever.
- It's The Old Ones, Charlie Brown: The Great Old Pumpkin. - [BC]
- By the Power of Bowling: He-Man and the Masters of Lebowski. [gab]
I am SO TIRED of this partisan ankle-biting. Why do we have to try and simplfiy (and divide) ourselves between Red and Blue, Right and Wrong, Us and Them?? After all - it didn't work so splendidly when we did in on a global scale (remember the so-called "Axis of Evil?") - so why are we so willing to do it domestically?
Partisan pundits be damned. From now on I no longer accept the label of liberal or a Democrat or an Urban American. From now on I am a Purple American.
That is all.
Meet Blendie. Then read all about it here. - [ErB]
I can't really back any technology that would require developing a sore throat just to make a margarita.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies. (Looks to be based on the recent remake).
A warm, sincere, four-year long hug.
or is this election result kicking in anyone else's Fight or Flight instinct?
I feel like I either need to (a) find a job and new life in another country* (b) start becoming a more politically active citizen or (c) possibly some combination of both.
I don't feel like I can just sit still and complain anymore.
*International readers - please feel free to send any job-postings for a largely unqualified but terribly charming American gal my way!
My Fellow Americans:
Election day is here - and I can not beseech you enough to please take some time out of your day and vote. I wouldn't presume to tell you who to vote for - that choice is yours and yours alone; vote Kerry, vote Bush, vote Nader, write in Jon Stewart or Martin Sheen or even SpongeBob Squarepants - but please, please vote. Particularly now - while we as a nation are forcibly "spreading democracy" it is incumbent upon us to practice what we preach. The whole world is watching, and although our responsibility to vote is not to please them - it behooves us to demonstrate that we appreciate the freedoms that define us as the United States of America - those freedoms we frequently claim to hold so dear.
And now a message to our politicians, their advisors, and the folks with their hands inside the political & media conglomerates: I realize you don't read this blog, and care very little about my opinion other than as a little blip in a big swing state, but while I still have my freedom to speech, I'd like to let you in on a little secret.
The American People are not stupid. We are not oblivious to your machinations.
And some of (like, say, me) are really pissed off..
I'll admit, this time I've played your little games; I devoured all the spin, watched all the debates, discussed all the controversy; I've kept an eye on the polls, worried about the Swing States, and considered the Plight of the Middle Class.
I did all this not because I believe any of it matters - but because I am so emotionally invested in the outcome of this election that I've become an slave to the informational feed; desperate to hear any tidbit and modicum of news that might make a difference to this country's current political and social climate. But, even while I was doing it, I recognized it for what it is: insulting, polarizing, heavy-handed twaddle designed to psychologically manipulate my opinions based on my gender, race, tax bracket and educational level rather than...say...a party's political platform and relevant facts. Your attempts at spin have been shameless, clumsy, and tremendously insulting. Here is what I wish for in recompense:
- Stop Telling Me What It Means to Be "An American": An American is anyone - who through birth or naturalization is a citizen of the United States of America*, (allegedly) subject to the same laws and (presumably) privy to the same rights as every other American citizen. To suggest I or any other American is less than American due a maintaining an opinion (or value system, or lifestyle or religious belief) that is different than yours is absurd and offensive. The proliferation of different cultures is one of the many things that makes America good...and the advertised right of every American citizen to express themselves about their differences without fear of retribution is part of what makes this country great; the "with us or against us" mandate is one of the least American things I have ever heard.
- Stop Telling Me When to Be Afraid and What to Be Afraid Of: Although I do still check behind my shower curtain before bed, I was never really afraid of the bogey man - and just because you spin a colorwheel and tell me their is a monster in my closet doesn't mean I'm going to pull a blanket over my head and let you do whatever you please with the Bill of Rights. Perhaps you're confused - the idiom is "Fight fire with fire" not "Fight terror with terror" (and for that matter, nor is it "Fight an Idea with Guns"). And before you think I'm playing the partisan card here - both major political camps are playing the fear card; they just each focus on different fears.
- Stop Pandering: Here are some things that will not influence or sway my vote: (1) a politician drinking a beer and and/or hunting for sport (2) a politician wearing a sweater instead of a suit and using more simplified language in public addresses (3) a politician's military record (4) a politician kissing a baby (although, I'll be honest, at this point I am not sure if that's meant to demonstrate the softer/family values side of the candidate - or their balls-out bravery since there is a shortage of flu shots this year and kissing strange babies is a great way to pick up germs) (5) the candidate learning a few catch phrases in another language (5) a candidate "ah, garsh, this is a hard job" - ing all over the TV. NONE OF THAT IS RELEVANT. Know what is? Platform, Promises, & Performance. In fact, know what would really impress me? A candidate that focused on his/her current job (the two major Presidential players are both currently employed as public servants, yes?) rather than running around kissing babies, shooting wildlife, and/or trying to guffaw and down-home-charm their way through every whistle-stop in the country.
- Stop Polarizing the Vote: Quit dividing up the vote. It's not the Women vote or the Minority Vote or the Middle Class vote or the Swing State vote. It is the American vote. Not only does breaking down the vote suggest some votes are lesser (or more) important than others (what makes the Minority vote different from the "regular" vote in the grand scheme of things?) - it's also debasing. Every time I hear about a candidate trying to appeal to the "Women vote" my ire rises. Here's a clue for you - I don't vote with my mammary glands, my womb or my genitalia. Instead, when making voting decisions I appeal to a body part which is available to all American citizens regardless of class, race, sex, etc - the brain; - I strive to fill mine with available facts (which I attempt to cull from a variety of sources - national and international - conservative and liberal and in between) in order to make the most informed decision possible.
Is it any wonder voter registration has been down? Based on candidate visit concentration and media reporting for the last month, one could easily assume that the only votes that counted were those of female & racial minority middle class voters in the swing states. Even I am finding it hard to remember that anyone else's vote matters. This practice of publically stressing only specific voting demographics helps to create and sustain the idea of the Apathetic American. Who would want to vote if everything around them suggested their vote didn't count?
The recent fervor surrounding Jon Stewart's recent Crossfire appearance was because he spoke for so many of us who are tired of being played by a system that is supposed work for us - not on us. Take it as a sign you pollsters and spinsters, you politicians and journalists - We are on to You. We aren't turning to satire and foreign informational sources because we are frivolous and lazy - it's because we are looking for some perspective, and an alternative, non-partisan view of the facts. Don't believe our hype about your hype? Don't worry. You'll see soon enough when we take our purchasing power and innovations elsewhere. No one with the ability and desire to think for themselves - regardless of their political leanings- appreciates being told how to act or what to think, no matter how pin-stripped the suit or how red the tie of the person doing the telling. Satire doesn't tell us what to think - instead it encourages us to think. We are a considerate constituency. And as a member, I suggest you consider this: If you want to be taken seriously by the world community - you might start by showing respect for your fellow Americans.
We are, you know, your fellow Americans - not your lesser Americans. I don't care how much money your make, where you went to school or who your Daddy is. We are all the same under the Constitution. And my vote is always going to go with the team working to keep it that way.
How I long for the idea of America I grew up believing in. I despair at ever getting it back.
And thus ends my election day rant. Happy voting. And happy nail-biting while the results drip in.
* I realize that people of other nations who live on the North, Central, and South American continents also qualify as "Americans" - but not the kind we're discussing here. I certainly mean no disrespect to any other inhabitants of those continents.
To those of you who were quick to remind me (you vultures -won't let me get away with anything will you?!) yes, today marked the start of the 2004 Nanowrimo happening, and no, I didn't forget. In fact, I woke up this morning in a panic - realizing I had no plot, no characters, and no inspiration.
As I lay there, I considered conceding from the get go. I am tired, and busy, and let's face it - these days I have been a total writing slacker. And there is no shaming admitting one's weaknesses.
And then I thought, "Nah, I'm off this week, which could give me a good head start, I might as least give it a go."
Lacking anything resembling a plot outline or character study - I toyed with the idea of writing a series of essays to meet the 50,000 word mark. Then I realized that's just blogging, and I do that anyway. I also considered meta-writing (writing about my Nanowrimo writing experience) but I feared in the end I might find myself introspectively discovering my indulgent narcissistic nature - and I am simply not prepared to face that kind of existential realization.
So my grand Nanowrimo cop-out will instead be a series of individual vignettes with no planned relation (although one might evolve). I plan to use these to develop ideas for other outstanding projects as well as mine for new ideas for short stories, essays, and possibly a piece of solo interactive fiction. At the very least, my hope is that it gets me back in the habit of writing regularly.
I have started a Nanowrimo blog; partially to make it easier for me to maintain my word count and pieces even if I do some writing from places other than my home - and partially to keep me motivated and honest. (And certainly not at all a sign of my overwhelming ego or need for constant validation from the international online community). If you are terribly bored and can't find anything exploitive to watch on the Internets or TV - you are certainly welcome to read; but I beg you to remember that this is (a) unedited text (b) about quantity not quality and (c) going to be very, very, very crappy stuff.
Also, this may mean that blogging will be light - as I should be focusing my attention on the project at hand. (More likely though blogging will be heavy, as I will be seeking distraction at almost every turn.)
Ah, autumn! My Halloween weekend has been absolutely sublime. There was fantasy and revelry and more dancing than my feet will ever forgive.
The parade is sponsored by The Rosenbach Museum (a lovely little book museum nestled in the heart of Center City. Go see it if you haven't) - and put on by Spiral Q. It was a charming community event (complete with costumed children and a carpet of autumn leaves) which I was privileged to attended with Feanor, Vis Major, Mouserobot and Alex the Girl) and of which I have sadly few pictures since I have adamantly ignored the manual that came with my camera - I screwed up some of the settings while trying to adjust it for the night light. You can find a few blurry ones here - or some really nice ones over at Feanor's (where he also wrote up the events of the evening).
After the parade we made our way to TrackerNeil's annual party - where the company was excellent, the hosts charming, the costumes phenomenal, and the costume contest categories being both unusual and fun2. Werewolf was played, karaoke was sung, the Time Warp was danced, and many sweet things were consumed. It was revelry of the highest order.
This evening being Halloween proper, I joined Lyn, Babs, Tim and Cyn to cap off the weekend at Dracula's Ball. The club was packed, and the dancing frequent. I wore the same costume as the night before - but took the makeup from "Regency Style Lady at Masquerade" to "More Ghoul than Girl." (The best thing said to me this evening was when I answered my door and Cyn said, "Wow. You look really dead.") I realize that when most girls get dressed up in their best clothes on a Saturday night and take great care with their hair and makeup it's called "clubbing" or "dating" - but frankly I only seem to really enjoy that sort of thing when the dressing up is in period clothes and the makeup is styled after one of the damned.3 I wish I could have snapped more pictures; some of the costumes really were amazing but with the theme the atmosphere is kept fairly dark, and one doesn't like to keep flashing about in the faces of strangers.
I must admit, being there made me long for a corset. I abhor restrictive clothing as a rule - but seeing some of those people in their finery made me covet a rib-cage being tightly pressed by herring bone. For that shape - I could learn to take many shallow breaths..
This Halloween I got to indulge in two of my long standing fantasies - to have a Venation mask and to wear a velvet cape. (Yes - these are things I've always wanted to do. I blame a lifetime of fantasy fiction and Labyrinth.) I am, in fact, now in love with my velvet cape; I adore its stately weight on my shoulders as I walk down the street, its elegant billow, and natural tendency towards mystery as it conceals anything that is carried beneath. I am comfortable in that cape like I've never been in any coat. I feel like I've worn one forever. I spent a few extra minutes on my front steps when I cam home tonight, I was so loathe to remove it, and I am already trying to work out what events I may wear it to in the future.4
My weary feet and I are now off to bed with a the promise of muscle spasms and a contented sigh. I hope all everyone out there who chooses to celebrate Halloween had a truly fantastical time.
1Note to self: Because you dance like a total spaz.
2I'm paraphrasing, but they were along the lines of (1) Most likely to find themselves with a harem of disgruntled Babylon 5 fans (2) Least likely to be able to take over the world with a feather boa, evil robots, and the song "Summer Nights" (3) Least likely to be invited to Britney Spears' next wedding and (4) Least likely to go to Britney Spears' next wedding "even if that bitch said, 'Please.' The winners and runners-up are here. I'll let you work out who won what for yourselves.
3Does that make me weird?
4For example - I have a black tie affair to go to for work next week - and although it's a stretch I think I can wear it there. I will bypass, however, wearing it to pick up groceries. It's not that I wouldn't be comfortable in it at the grocery store, mind you - but I do fear it would get in caught in the turnstyles near the doors. Also - I'd like the opportunity to start dating again sometime this century - so for now - cape on special occasions only.