Thursday, July 31, 2003
Got back in from San Diego last night, where I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning hanging out with the creative types and computers aces (not mutually exclusive groups, of course) who drive the engine of computer graphics. These are the people who make movies like Harry Potter and T3 possible.
People would ask me what I do, and I'd say "oh, I'm just a groupie." Pretty low-key way to spy on 'em.
I've got two reports, but I'm having them vetted by the four guys I know best in the graphics world--wanted to make sure I hadn't given away any company secrets, or somehow made the "characters" in my little story recognizeable. After all, the computer graphics industry is about as incestuous as . . . the blogging world.
"Don't send any stalkers my way," one of the guys requested. I hope I won't.
In the meantime, I'm catching up on reading blogs, and I hope to be back in the swing tonight (tomorrow latest).
7/31/2003 03:56:00 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2003
THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN GEORGIA
Riffing off Kelley's mosquito entry, I gotta say that I'm surprised at some of the reactions she's gotten about being from Georgia from assorted non-Southerners--and a lot of Californians--over the years.
The main problem I think most of us have with the South is our total freakin' inability to see it as anything other than a monolith. Florida is different, because it's . . . Florida. And then there are those states that are "South adjacent," like Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. And Texas, which has a split personality and is part South, part Southwest. (I like West Texas a little better not because I'm a snob, but because they start putting hot sauce at the restaurant tables once you get into the Western part of the state. And you can get Huevos Rancheros. Yes, yes, yes. I do like heat.) But as a group, the Southern states seem to constitute a sort of bloc--at least, that's the stereotype for those of us who just haven't gone there enough.
To the South-challenged, it's difficult for most of us to tell the different variations in accent apart from one another. Which is a little embarrassing. (Nope: can't tell a Tennesee dialect from one that originated in Louisiana. How stupid can you get?)
But Georgia! Here you go, from the bottom of my Golden State heart. Here are all my La-La Land associations:
* There's the song, of course, but that's old. It seems to talk about the old South with the fat sheriffs and people pointing shotguns around. (Which I'm in favor of--the shotguns, that is.)
* One of the smartest guys I knew from the UCLA math department in the 80s--the best friend of a good friend--was from Georgia. He was good-looking, with thick dark hair, a nice jawline, and glasses. Great sense of humor. I believe he became a spook of some sort, using math for the obvious stuff. He was great: always present, always in the moment. No way to slide anything into the coversation under his radar.
* Another friend is at Georgia Tech, loving everything but the weather. His wife works at the CDC, which is a liberal-but-useful organization. (I have a few quarrels with them on firearms-related issues--of course.)
* Some people in the entertainment industry have worked for Ted Turner, which has entailed moving to Atlanta for years at a time. Ted's off his rocker, but he's obviously got a lot of hip people working for him.
* As Kelley has herself pointed out, some of the hottest 80s rock bands came out of Athens.
It's hard to see Georgia as anything but a happening place--a cultural and intellectual hub.
But those mosquitos, Kelley--those do sound bad. Nice dry air here in the desert, by the way ;)
7/27/2003 01:24:00 AM
Saturday, July 26, 2003
THE CAPTION CONTEST TO END THEM ALL
Like a healing balm, it will bring peace to the land. Or at least make James laugh, which is nearly as good.
Frank and Glenn--your links are in the mail.
7/26/2003 02:01:00 AM
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
It seems so random, how traffic on this site varies--yet ultimately always seems to go up. There will be a dip, and I'll figure the blog is going into a decline, and then something will happen that generates a lot of hits--sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. (As when John Walkenbach linked a six-week old entry of mine I thought simply flopped and didn't even bother to follow up on. I'm still getting traffic from his link. You'd better believe I will follow up now, once I get a little more actual mail on the issue.)
Blogging is like the stock market: the general trend is upward. And each time something happens that bumps my numbers up, more people seem to stay on as "regulars," so my personal friends comprise a smaller and smaller fraction of my steady readers. It took me months to get to 1000 hits, and a few more weeks to go from 1000 to 2000. This is all small change compared with the numbers on some of my favorite sites, but I also don't promote my blog as aggressively as some do theirs. And I only put in a few hours a day--and I don't blog every single day, at that.
Now: if I could just get my lazy ass in gear and update my blogroll, more people still will get here--if only from their referrer logs. On the other hand, I just opened the new Harry Potter book. For me, waiting a month displays stellar self-control. The goal now is to keep things in balance: read the book without dropping out of life entirely for a day and a half. We'll see how I do. But if you don't hear from me for the next two nights, you'll know Rowling has me in her clutches.
7/22/2003 01:06:00 PM
Monday, July 21, 2003
MOVERS AND SHAKERS; MY PASSION FOR THE GOLDEN STATE
I spent about 24 hours away from my computer, and I'm just coming out of withdrawal.
A friend of mine bought a medical practice in a small town near Palmdale, California. So she packed up her husband and kids and moved them out there this past Saturday. An ambitious move, to be sure: a four-person household moving over two hours away with nary a pro mover in sight. Just two rented U-Haul trucks, four day laborers and another volunteer who provided translations into Spanish. Until my friend employed her "urgent care" Spanish. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
There's one in our crowd of ne'er-do-wells who prides himself on showing up for all household moves, but he was deathly ill with a bad case of the flu. Lucky him.
Before I continue, let me make it clear that S. is one of my dearest friends and has proven her undying loyalty over and over again--over the course of a friendship that started in the 70s, when we were in high school. She was matron of honor at my wedding (no easy task: it was a full-blown Roman Catholic mass). She's a true-blue friend of the kind most people only dream of having.
But moving day was a handful. Highlights:
* The last-minute change that led to my taking her ten-year-old son and his friend on the two-plus-hour drive in my battered old Saturn sedan. (No. I haven't spent time alone with a child since I was such a thing, as far as I can recall. If they hadn't had Game Boys with them, we'd all be dead now.) I had to "unpack" all the stuff I'd crammed into my passenger seat and backseat to fit the boys in. Yes: I ended up teaching them that song about burning down the school and hanging the principal. And I'd do it again, Your Honor, for another desert drive with two antsy little boys.
* The eleventh-hour decision to have one of the day laborers drive my friends' van. And the fateful moment the car full of immigrants chose to follow my own vehicle, rather than one of those driven by my friend or her husband.
* The point at which the day laborers decided to stop following me and instead hitch their star to a passing U-Haul, leading to my calling my friend on her cell, and having to come up behind the white van, honking and flagging it down. For, of course, it was the wrong U-Haul they were behind.
* The moment one of the laborers displayed his lack of knowledge on How to Use a Pocket Knife--and cut his finger. The gash was deep enough to be gross, but not serious. Nonetheless, there was an impressive amount of blood spurting everywhere. So, there's good Old Attila Girl, kneeling next to the laborer and using her white tank top--which she is still wearing--to stem the flow of blood, while yelling for her friend. (I'd say, thank goodness S. is a doctor. But thank S: she's the one who went through Med School. Nonetheless, who else would have been able to take a stranger to her new office at 9:00 p.m. for a tetanus shot? Thank goodness, though, that there are people obsessive-compulsive enough to take an extra change of shirt when driving into the desert. And what if that tank top hadn't been white?--at least, this way, anything cold water doesn't get out Mr. Clorox will.)
* Spending the night in the desert at the nearby home of my friend's mother. That--and our expedition to get pizza, punctuated with a couple of beers while we waited--provided a little needed peace. (How can I whine when S. was going through worse?--because I'm a selfish lump of mayonnaise, and I just do things like that.)
* * * * *
I want to say this, though: I'm in love with the State of California. The hills, the scrub, the desert terrain are all beautiful. I love the high-tech windmills on the hillsides. I loved the drive out there (once I got my "kid legs," and learned how to handle the boys without undue strain). I loved the drive back, with all the rock formations and small towns that dot the landscape. I love the sheer variety of the terrain.
And I love the dry Western air, even though it threatens to kill me like it did so many pioneers in the 1800s. This pioneer girl always travels with a few gallons of water in her trunk and will never be done in by the hot California sun.
If you've never been here, beware: it is not like the Sunshine State, which is surrounded by water and humid as all-get-out. Do not go anywhere without an extra bottle of water in your car/purse.
Sure: we have seaside towns like Santa Monica, where the air is "humid," and "the salt is hard on your car." (You want to see the effect of water and salt on a car? Go to the Eastern/Northern parts of the country.) The humidity is "bad" by the sea, and it's a few degrees cooler than it is inland. Right: the air is still dry compared with the Midwest/East/South. It'll dry out the boogers in your nose in ten seconds. And I do have to throw a jacket and scarf into the car when I head out to the West Side during the transition seasons (spring and fall). That's all. It gets to be 100 degrees here at the height of summer, but it feels like 78 does in your steambath-like part of the world.
But--for best results--stick to SoCal: Once you get past the Central Valley, all bets are off. There's mildew in every corner to make you sneeze, and the sheer snobbery of the Bay Area will chill you to death--if the fog doesn't. It's still all mine, though, and I'd place San Francisco next to any city in the world for food, music, arts, architecture, and other cultural goodies. Don't live there, but do visit it. (Personally, I left my heart near a train station by Palmdale, where houses cost next-to-nothing.)
Think I'm exaggerating? Next time you watch the Rose Bowl parade, look at how I live in January. Every year.
(And my traffic was climbing so steeply before I started bragging. I'm going to be so sorry. If residents of other states don't get me, the Californians surely will, for driving up housing costs yet higher.)
Attila Girl: losing popularity contests since March of 2003.
7/21/2003 12:37:00 AM
Sunday, July 20, 2003
Life for the Living
An old friend of mine used to hypothesize that people drive the way they have sex. And what exactly does that say about Russell Weller?
So I'm over it. Okay?
Both Mikal and HunSpouse seem to feel I may have been overwrought regarding the accident at Farmers' Market in Santa Monica. Hey: isn't someone in society supposed to feel all the pent-up grief we couldn't let ourselves feel and still keep going? That's why we have artists and chicks, no? Oh--no for real? Sheesh.
Once again, Phil Carter's got a great perspective on the tragedy. He'd have a nice little blog if he'd knock off the military and political jazz.
7/20/2003 11:22:00 PM
Saturday, July 19, 2003
NOT TOO LATE TO WEIGH IN
ON THE NIGERIAN E-MAIL CONFERENCE
The author of that satirical web site noticed that I was taking comments on whether it was racist or offensive in any way. At the time I started my unscientific survey, I just got a few mails asserting that it's funny, and that's that, and I should get a life (which I considered doing). More recently, now that John Walkenbach has thrown down the gauntlet by linking me, I'm getting hate mail from his loyal readers. (Hey, guys: I never said it was racist. I quoted a friend who had a problem with it in my original post. I thought this friend was likely a minority in his perception of the site. So far, I appear to be right on that.)
But feel free to send me POLITE notes supporting JW's creation.
In the meantime, I'm going to solicit, one more time, dissenting voices. If you thought there was some ooky subtext about third-worlders in the site, tell me. And tell me why.
I'll keep the unscientific survey open one more week, and then write something brilliant on the issue.
7/19/2003 05:25:00 AM
Friday, July 18, 2003
Well, two men I respect disagree with my approach to the "What Now?" question vis a vis the Santa Monica Farmer's Market tragedy. My leanings had been toward reducing our risk from elderly drivers by screening them more carefully. I wasn't against erecting better barriers to prevent people from driving onto Arizona--God knows the City of Santa Monica can well afford it--but I had a few quesitons:
1) Do we really want, as a society, to gear toward any possible disaster that might be caused by any irresponsible (or disturbed) individual? Or do we want individual responsibility to be the foundation of our culture? For it seems that the undercurrent in a lot of gun control philosophy (for example) is, "people cannot be trusted with anything that gives them lethal power over others." In that case, of course, none of us should be driving at all. Ever.
2) I was also concerned about the standard of perceived safety for these types of public events going so high that it would be nigh impossible to ever have them (unless you are a rich city like Santa Monica is). If cement barriers are required--or those costly retractable ones Sta Mon uses to block off the Promenade itself--it will be increasingly difficult to host any type of block party or small streetscape event. The idea of cars-as-blocking-devices has come up, but one can't see through cars to the merriment beyond and be motivated to stop off at the farmers' market/fair/block party on a whim that way.
I'm afraid I felt that making hefty barriers a requirement for this type of event could take us further toward a nanny state, in which it's assumed that anyone will, could, and should do anything they are not physically prevented from doing. That individuals, by definition, never do anything wrong: only corporations and government agencies can.
But among the things I read today there was enough to make me think about softening my stance--particularly when you consider possible terrrorist threats.
We'll start with general coverage, and friend Mikal, who alludes to the event in an "ain't it strange" spirit. I found out later from his dad that Mike's sister usually goes to the street markets on Wednesdays. Like a handful of others we know, she just didn't this week. I'm thankful--but for all the people I didn't lose, someone else did lose a loved one.
Another Michael--one of my loyal readers from the South--approached this from a rational, risk-management perspective (and with no chips on his shoulder to impede his vision!):
The probibilty of such accident is is high when a normal open-to-traffic street is blocked like this one was, with just flimsy visual barracades.
The old man's driving skills are a secondary issue, it would have very easy to block the street with temp concrete barriers or large trucks. The approving authority is responsible and liable.
Not only accidents, this market could easily attract a terrorist. An easily stolen 18 wheeler driven through the crowd could have killed hundreds.
Cars running into buildings is not rare; things adjacent to roadways
have to be designed with that fact in mind.
"If a thing is possible, it is probable. Given a large enough population of events, every probable (or possible) thing will happen. " (The Law of Large numbers, condensed!)
I've never seen an 18-wheeler in downtown Santa Monica; I don't think they're allowed there. And, see my concern above about vehicles as roadblocks: I wonder how they can be made aesthetically appealing so as to draw people into an event rather than put them off. But I see that this is probably a solvable problem.
And then there is Phil Carter's take. He also appears to be thinking a little more clearly--and broadly--than I have been. (But then, he doesn't have PMS making him all weepy and whatnot. That's my excuse this week.) [This link also courtesy of Michael.]
I still think part of the solution here has to be making elderly drivers take driving tests periodically when they renew--it's not a vision question, but one of reflexes, which can degrade as we get older. After all, this is just a particularly dramatic, large-scale example of something that happens all the time: older drivers taking out younger people. But your respective points are taken: in the Age of Terrorism, allowing unscreened vehicles near large numbers of people is probably a no-no. (UPDATE: How to curb cuts affect this? In this city we have pieces cut from the corner of each curb--driveway-style--so that people in wheelchairs can more easily cross the street. Does this feature make it easier for motorists to drive right up onto public sidewalks? Which should win out, in your opinion: handicap access, or public safety? 800 words, on my desk, Sunday morning latest. Thanks.)
Now I'm going to go out--cranky, paranoid, sad and PMS-y--for a belated birthday dinner with my kind, generous husband. If he's lucky, I'll snap out of it. If he's really lucky, I'll really snap out of it. ;)
7/18/2003 05:37:00 PM
BAY CITY BLUES
I had lunch with my dad today, which placed me on the West Side. So I did a little shopping, and proceeded to the scene of the crime--Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica. As I parked, it occurred to me that I ought to have brought flowers. (Being the ethical person I am, I didn't pilfer any from the landscaping along the Promenade, because What If Everyone Did That?)
The death toll hit ten today, and two more of the injured died--including a seven-month-old child.
A friend had driven down to the mall mid-morning, and told me everything was cleaned up--that you'd never know about yesterday's carnage if it weren't for the news vans.
But I was on foot, so I saw more.
I actually parked a few blocks away, and walked along the Promenade--Santa Monica's outdoor mall/pedestrian center. It looked like it always does: Same vendors in carts. Same people collecting signatures where Santa Monica Place (the indoor mall) ends. Same people walking along and shopping. Everything normal. For two blocks.
And then there's Arizona Ave, the street that's blocked off on Wednesday mornings for the Farmers' Market. It's perpendicular to the Promenade (Third Street). As I approached it, I began to feel a sort of eeriness. And there were the news vans--four or five of 'em.
I walked up to Fourth, where the barriers start on market days. Crossed the street, and started to walk back, tracing the driver's course with my eyes. About every yard or so there was a patch of something that looked like a cross between tar and black paint--but it wasn't tacky to the touch. There were these rectangular patches of black stuff scattered along on both sides of the street--perhaps a bit more on the North side, which is presumably where Weller at least started, since he would have been driving on the right-hand side of the street before he saw that the street was blocked off and tried to hit his brakes. (It was the acclerator pedal instead, of course.)
In a few places there was a little sand poured over the black patches, presubably to help it cover up what was underneath. At first I thought these black squares were there to cover the blood, but The Spouse tells me most street crime scenes are usually hosed off afterward by the fire department. Later I read that there were a lot of marks in orange paint that were used in mapping out the crime scene, and that these had been painted over.
As I got back to the point where Arizona crosses Third, I had to be more careful to avoid the cameras--I certainly didn't want to speak to anyone about this, if they were doing chick-on-the-street interviews.
We have a few dolphin statues there on the Promenade. They are actually piggy banks for the homeless--they were installed so that people could put money in them, rather than giving them directly to panhandlers (and risking having the money wasted on drugs).
But this particular dolphin was the focal point of what was clearly the main shrine for the dead and dying--it was surrounded by flowers, signs, notes, teddy bears, candles, and a picture of the toddler who died in the crash. Next to this gathering, one of the Promenade street musicians played Amazing Grace on what I remember as a trumpet. People were gathered around, just listening and grieving. I paused and then continued my walk.
On I walked, past Second Avenue--where one forlorn news crew parked, having lost out on the "premium" positioning to the competition (or maybe they prefer working where the crowds are lighter).
As I approached Ocean I wondered exactly where along that block the car had come to rest. And what had finally stopped it. And when Weller actually took his foot off the accelerator.
I crossed the street and walked back up the other side. There were still, off to the side, a set of stacked street partitions and a sign saying "road blocked" that mentioned the farmers' market. I knew why the city's people had been too busy to retreive those signs, and felt weepy again. I passed a few tourists as I blinked back the tears.
Against a wall on the South side of the street--right after I passed Second again--there was another small shrine: just a bouquet and a few candles. I made the sign of the cross over it and went on.
And then, at Third, I went back to the main shrine where the crowds were, said a prayer, and set off for my car once more.
Life goes on, Folks. Somehow.
And where do we go from here? Well, for one thing we have to think about monitoring elderly drivers a little more carefully. Tom Hayden had some ideas once, but the senior lobby killed them. We need to dust off his bill and pass it for real.
After two gin and tonics, a little carby food and (gasp! this is unusual for me) some television, I went scouting around for Bloggy News on the disaster. Not too much out there, save for one personal account by another southern Californian, Peach on the Beach.
I know, I know: Blair talked to Congress today. There's big, serious news out there.
But 10 people got snuffed yesterday for the crime of wanting fresh produce, and it's worth mentioning that we all only have today.
Hug your kids, kiss your spouses. Over and out.
7/18/2003 02:33:00 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2003
TRAGEDY BY THE SEA
I hate watching TV and doing other things at the same time, but I can't help it tonight. I'm blogging and monitoring the news at the same time.
I heard this afternoon that a car had driven onto the Promenade in Santa Monica, but didn't realize people had died. It was only when I left for a dinner engagement that I turned on the radio and found out the scale of the event: a car sped onto the street that intersects the Promenade, Arizona Ave. It's closed every Wednesday morning for a farmer's market. I've been to that farmer's market, and friends of mine are fond of it as well. As far as I know, none of my friends were hurt, but eight people have died--including a toddler. One person still may die at a local hospital, and around 40 have been injured. Around 15 of them are considered to be in "serious" condition.
As I understand it, the driver was elderly, and tried to hit the brakes--but stomped on the accelerator instead. He plowed through the booths on one side of the street. For two blocks--almost the entire length of the market. Just before 2:00 p.m. (As I recall it shuts down around 2:00 or 2:30; someone spot me on this, okay?)
That explains how people couldn't get out of the way: they were in those tents with the tables in front, and couldn't even see him until he was crashing through and into them. They were imprisoned. And he was going pretty fast: the estimates appear to be around 55 mph.
When the car came to a stop it was almost at Ocean Ave., which looks out over the beach from high on the Santa Monica bluffs. There was a woman underneath the car, and a man--according to some accounts--on top.
I've made most of my phone calls. One friend was apparently there at the farmer's market, but left five minutes before this happened. Another friend's mother was nearby, so she saw part of the chaos but remained unhurt. Others weren't at the market or the Promenade, but saw all the helicoptors flying overhead. Santa Monica is a small city, and needed help with a tragedy of this scale: LA sent in some of its emergency personnel, and the California Highway Patrol contributed its accident investigation people.
And there's virtually nothing on the news, probably because I started looking for it around 11:30, after I'd had dinner, bought groceries, come home, and greeted my husband.
I wouldn't want to be an elderly driver in this state after this: expect a reign of terror for those who are over 70 and still want to get behind a wheel. Good. (Sorry, Grandma. [My grandmother's in her 90s and still drives.]) We have to devise better ways of testing how good people's reflexes are as they age.
Now that the shock of it is starting to wear off, I'm just devastated that this happened in my adopted home town. (Born in Whittier, I lived in Santa Monica from 12-18, and around the West Side of L.A.--nearby--until I was in my early 30s. My mother still owns a house there. I went to Santa Monica High School. Most of my close friends still live there, or somewhere on the West Side.) Which is stupid, of course: like being relieved that (apparently) no one I know was hurt: it just means you're glad someone else's family and friends died. But if you can't be stupid and irrational after something like this happens, when can you?
I'll be on the West Side tomorrow, visiting my father. (Luckily, he goes to the farmer's market in Beverly Hills; same vendors. Wonder how it will look this weekend. Or the one in Westwood tomorrow, for that matter.) I may go to downtown Santa Monica afterward, and weep. And say a prayer.
Eight people dead. Maybe nine. And one poor hapless old guy in shock for having caused it. Forty injured.
Where are you, God? No--really. Where the fuck are you?
7/17/2003 12:49:00 AM
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
A SPLENDID LITTLE WAR?
My traffic is slipping. I understand that the moral and responsible way to increase it is to 1) go back to writing political essays; 2) start posting again on Kate's Slutertarians site; and 3) stop taking a day or two off here and there.
But why be moral and responsible when you can go cheap and dirty, and pull the rest of the blogosphere in after in you in a pointless and bitter dispute that will have all who know us lining up to take sides?
Yes. It's come to this: I feel it's time to declare war on another blogger. I won't approach it quite like Frank at IMAO is handling his campaign against Glenn at Instapundit, for that looks . . . one-sided. No: the idea is to pick someone just a few levels above me. A primate, say. Or a mammal. And suddenly go off on them for no particular reason--while inserting enough real-looking objections to what they are doing that they will feel compelled to respond. Others will then link to each of us, and discuss who's right, and who's wrong. Who has a point, but is overstating the case. That kind of thing. And everytime the issue gets discussed, all the bloggers involved will feel compelled to link my original entry. (Insert obligatory villain laugh.)
I really need the other person to be articulate enough to put up a spirited defense. Someone feisty and intelligent. With enough time on their hands to hit the ball back in my court again and again with long, lavish (and Attila-link-filled) entries.
Please e-mail me suggestions for candidate bloggers who might be able to handle this matter with panache and flair. I might even be able to conduct a war on two fronts, if two bloggers appear to be equally qualified.
I had thought of Laurence at Amish Tech Support. Or maybe Pejman--but I think he lives in L.A., and I might run into him sometime (which could be awkward, if he misinterprets this--for it's just business--and begins to harbor Hard Feelings). Kelley's good, but we don't really disagree on anything. James is too level-headed to play along. And David Strain is sweet, and wouldn't be able to get into it. I could go after Da Goddess, but I fear she'd actually hurt me (for all fear her power).
So I'll want your list of "suitables" in by the end of the week. Chop chop.
7/15/2003 12:09:00 AM
Monday, July 14, 2003
I SAID I WANTED MORE TRAFFIC . . . BUT . . .
Someone actually found me by searching for "gay marine circle jerk" via Google.
Okay. Sure. I like to think of myself as one-stop shopping for all gay marines looking for a circle jerk action--or compulsive circle-jerkers who are thinking of enlisting in the USMC. Either way . . . I'm your man. Yup.
7/14/2003 11:34:00 PM
Friday, July 11, 2003
THE FRIDAY FIVE
I remembered! I remembered!
1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it?
Her name was Mandy, and she lived in West L.A. I was 7-8 or so.
2. Are you still in touch with this person?
No. My family moved to Maryland and we didn't stay in touch. I think there was a little contact between our moms when we were young teens, but it ended there.
3. Do you have a current close friend?
Yes. A couple of 'em are even female.
4. How did you become friends with this person?
We met at a party. I decided I wanted to become "best friends," and sort of pursued it. I remembered Dennis Prager asserting that "we should date for our friends," and that made sense to me. It's hard for me to find chicks who are smart, quirky, and a good mesh with me. So when I got to know Caroline, I decided to stick to her like glue. So far, it's worked out pretty well. It could be that she ranks higher in my pantheon of friends than I do in hers--but I could well be wrong. And it doesn't matter anyway.
5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why?
Most of 'em. At least from when I was 16 on. There's Mickie, Jackie, Kerry, and Allen/Allyn (last I knew, he was going to adopt the spelling my brother uses--the one with a "y"). Of course, many of my friends tend to change their names every 15 minutes; this makes 'em harder to find.
To take Kerry for a moment: I felt like I sort of got cheated out of the continuity of being her friend, because our significant others at that time got in the way. It was one thing for her girlfriend to decide we couldn't all live together, and another for her to forbid Kerry to be my friend. And something entirely different for Kerry to let things drop after she and Annie broke up. But perhaps she was embarrassed about what had happened. Or fed up with (primarily) heterosexual women. Who knows?
Not knowing is always the hardest thing.
On the whole, though, I've been really lucky: I have people in my life whom I've known since the late 70s. A handful of these are still close friends, on the "ask me a favor any time" level. And I have e-mail addresses of 20-30 people from high school and college. I'm still in touch (on a more than collegiate level) with people from my past four jobs.
I've nothing to complain about at all.
7/11/2003 04:40:00 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Quizilla is spinning out of control. Her latest quiz labels Kelley a "liberal idiot," which says volumes. I did much better:
You are a Fucking Idiot. You're all about screwing
people over. Your celebrity icon is Heidi
What Kind Of Idiot Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Hey. Fleiss was just providing people with a service they wanted: everyone went away happy. I fail to see how that's screwing people over. (Screwing them, maybe--indirectly. But screwing them over? No.)
Of course, there is the obvious question: How exactly did we expect gratifying or illuminating results from a quiz with that particular title?
Note to self: Must kick Quizilla habit.
7/10/2003 11:47:00 PM
Try this fun little site. I especially recommend translating Sully into "redneck."
Hat tip to Rudy, the father of a high school pal--whom I know, oddly enough, only through e-mail.
7/10/2003 06:55:00 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME
Tra la la la. I worked today, and then a friend bought me a plate of linguini. And then I came home. When my husband got here, he gave me some nice presents and we talked a little bit.
Turns out he had some bad news a few weeks ago that I just found out about tonight--and this fills in a few of the apparent gaps in why things have been so tense between us for the past week/month. Not all of it. In fact, I'd say I'm 95% in the wrong, here. (Which isn't pleasant; I'd like to say it isn't so. Really.) But had I known about what was going on with him, I would have better understood his going into "home improvement" mode around here, and trying to Get Things Taken Care Of. Including things that I had said I would take care of. (For years and years it's been largely okay for us to take responsibility for various subtasks, and do them on our own timetables--but suddenly it all had to be done now. And I never understood why until tonight [even when I knew which things I'd genuinely messed up]: a piece of the puzzle finally fell into place.)
It's awful for both of us to be sad at the same time--and both worried about money, and both insecure, and both unsure of the future. In the past my husband has been my rock, and I've been able to lean on him in key ways. It kills me that I probably can't do that for him as effectively as he does it for me. I think I'm too childish, too self-centered, and too young to be the person I'd like to be for him. (Or perhaps that's my perfectionism speaking: only the perfect wife is an adequate wife. Wouldn't be the first time I fell into that trap.)
It's not that I don't bring a lot to the relationship, but that I'm acutely aware of what I don't bring. And being depressed/unhappy about the feeling of not contributing enough to the household has made me less effective in going out there and getting things done--so there's a vicious cycle going. (Not to mention that when money is tight, procrastination begins to look like a really good idea--since most things that can be accomplished require spending at least something. It's a leap of faith to throw money around.)
We're both freelancing, and we do need to keep going. Things will probably pick up for both of us in the next year. (Of course, how we'll be able to afford adopting a child is not clear. But where there's a will . . .)
* * *
Ah, yes. The birthday. My father has recommended that I just start subtracting at a certain point, and refuse to get older. That would make me 39 this year, but the gap between how old I am and how old I look may be narrowing a bit. So let's just say 41, well-preserved, and ready to do what I have to do.
* * *
I know there's been a lot of evolution lately, and very little in the way of political discourse in this blog. With the end of two freelance assignments this week--and the breakthrough in my marriage, however sad and painful--I should be able to stay on top of the news a bit better, and actually comment on it in the coming weeks. In the meantime, read Andrew Sullivan, David Horowitz, Iberian Notes, and Outside The Beltway. They got some fine minds, those guys.
Quite the kitty blog, huh? You'd never know I'm allergic to cats.
7/10/2003 01:09:00 AM
Monday, July 07, 2003
SPIRITUAL CLEANSING IN THE HEALING WATERS OF THE NILE
While I was in the Bay Area my mother accused me of being addicted to the World Wide Web. So I yelled at her and threatened to hit her if she ever brought it up again.
If that doesn't establish, once and for all, that I don't have a blogging problem, I fail to see what possibly could.
7/07/2003 01:32:00 AM
Saturday, July 05, 2003
SURE. I'LL PLAY ALONG.
I guess Acidman has a few questions for the chicks among us.
1. Do you have a personal hero? If so, who is it?
Much as it pains me to say it, that would probably be my husband.
2. What is your favorite book of all time and what made it so fucking good?
The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers. Read the fucking thing, and you'll know.
3. What does “diversity” mean to you?
Being around people who aren't short, and whose moms didn't date college professors, or who went to college, or who didn't. You know.
4. What is the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Quit drinking for 11 years.
5. Do you regret doing it?
6. Can you drive a stick shift?
Of course. What kind of a stupid question is that? /b>
7. What’s the highest speed you ever traveled in a car?
Somewhere around 105.
8. Were you driving, or riding at the time?
Driving, of course. Alone.
9. Which is better: snakes or spiders?
Conceptually, snakes. If it's going to sneak up on me, I'll take the spider.
10. What is the most disgusting thing you ever ate?
If it disgusts me, I don't eat it. Is this a difficult thing to grasp?
11. Have you ever shit your pants? Be HONEST!
12. Was losing your virginity an enjoyable experience?
Of course not. ('Nother stupid question.)
13. Should oral sex be outlawed or encouraged?
Encouraged. Especially for heterosexual men.
14. Name one man with a fine ass.
My husband. And a friend who teaches math. (There. That's two.)
15. Do you watch golf on television? If not, will you iron my shirts?
No. No. Gee--did you write this yourself?
16. Who is Martha Burk?
I dunno. Kind of rings a bell. But I couldn't say.
17. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I'd wake up in the morning full of vim and vigor.
18. Do you eat raw oysters?
That sounds like shellfish to me.
19. Are you claustrophobic?
Most of the time. Yes.
20. If you rode a motorcycle, would you wear a helmet even if the law said you didn‘t have to?
Most of the time.
21. Name five great Presidents.
Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Reagan, Bush '43.
22. Name three shitty Presidents.
Nixon, Carter, Clinton.
23. Now call me fanny and slap my ass. Just kidding.
I'll save it till I can slap your face.
24. This is the 4th of July. Did you set off any fireworks?
In a way.
25. If you could have dinner and conversation with anyone in the history of the planet, who would you choose?
Virginia Woolf. Of course.
And I believe that would be "whom."
7/05/2003 04:05:00 AM
OF MOUSY GIRLS AND THEIR MEN
I've been wondering lately why, exactly, it is that we get married. I mean, it's all about giving an ungodly amount of power to one individual. Right?
I did it because I thought the Attila-spouse walked a foot above the ground. Turns out he's just tall. (I'm joking, here--does it show?)
What am I getting at? I guess I mean this--marriage--is the hardest thing I've ever done, and ever expect to do. And I'm starting to think it's harder even than raising kids (which sound heretical, and I have no way of knowing or proving it anyway, at this point).
I'm sensitive, of course: when you marry a guy you're giving him power over your moods, your decisions, your feelings, and usually your finances.
Rational Attila would like to know why we do this in the first place.
Emotional Attila Girl replies that we were meant to have someone there to check us, serve as a sort of critic, and that the woman does this for the man as much as the man does it for the woman. That, ideally, each does it for the other in equal measure. (Feel free to swap genders around. But I think for heterosexuals it's easier to feel that the Other--being really Other--has some sort of mysterious power over one. Just a theory. But I'm in pain tonight.)
* * *
Emotional Attila asks why the Hun-spouse chose today to confront her on a deep character flaw of hers, and all over the issue of why she didn't stop at Kinko's and make some copies.
Rational Attila explains that we all reach our limits at different moments, and sometimes it happens when we wouldn't even ordinarily give the issue at hand a second thought. And that what matters is the underlying issue of Attila-Girl procrastination. Which should be addressed.
* * *
Emotional Attila wants to know why it happened when she was up against a particularly ugly deadline.
Rational Attila opines that these things crop up when they crop up. And that she'd rather hear about them than not. That it's good Hun-Boy spoke up.
I'm a one-woman battlefield.
Now you all be good. And hug your spouses extra hard, before the next storm hits.
I'll just keep going. That's the plan. (Other than writing my husband notes reminding him of things he promised to do around the house, and never got around to. You know how it is. I can dish it out . . . )
I can hear Acidman cackling out there. Just like a nudist witch.
7/05/2003 02:50:00 AM
SO, WHAT'S THE PROTOCOL, HERE?
Will someone tell me what the minimum respectable number of "hits" is, so I can start disclosing that number on my SiteMeter button? I just don't want to embarass myself . . . I was so excited when I crossed the 1K mark, and now I'm just galloping along, here, but. You know.
7/05/2003 02:29:00 AM
Thursday, July 03, 2003
I PLEAD "REAL WORK."
Well, the magazine I'm freelancing for is shipping (going off to the printer) next week, so I have to be in the office there on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Meanwhile, I have a book-length manuscript to finish proofreading, with a Wednesday deadline. So I'll be working all weekend, just when I wanted to:
-blog about the situation in Iran;
-blog about the country, in honor of the 4th;
-catch up on the gay rights issues I need to write about for Slutertarians (time well-spent, as it's all in Moveable Type--which I'd like to get acquainted with);
-install an Amazon button (and maybe a PayPal one as well) so that you guys can all wish me a happy birthday this Wednesday with some cold, hard cash.
But let's just say that July is my birthday month, the lovely ruby is my birthstone, and you should be saving your pennies to help me buy one in the next few weeks. (Okay: I'll come clean. Any money you see fit to send my way will get spent on site upgrades, and my upcoming move. I'm going to be making the Big Move soon--away from Blogger, away from my non-functioning Help button, and away from the headaches of people being unable to link my entries properly. If there's any left over, I'll buy a guitar. Or maybe a Mercedes; I haven't completely decided.)
So don't lose faith, my loyal readers (are you there, Mom?). I'll check in when I can, and I'll blog more thoroughly toward the end of the week.
7/03/2003 09:29:00 PM
GOOGLE OVERTAKES MASTURBATION AS NATION'S FAVORITE HOBBY
Here are some recent Google searches people have 1) actually undertaken, and 2) used to link to me:
* attila -stockbroker -hun (with hyphens, thank you very much);
* force jewish cleavage pussy (I so wish I were making this one up);
* little miss parody pictures (which also gave them http://www.bcdb.com/pages/Warner_Bros_/Television/Animaniacs/more3.html --go now, and vote for Dot: Dot’s Poetry Corner/Little Miss Muffet);
* microbes on parade pictures (this will also take you to Misogyny Man, FWIW);
* little miss tart;
* tank tops us flag sexy;
* little miss blair (lots of searches for this; presumably it's someone's handle out there, and the various searchers get rescued when they find wonderful me instead);
* moxiepop fired;
* public libraries implication "filters";
* little miss attila (But I'm not the only Attila around. Tons of people use that name. I'm going to hunt them down, start a flame war with them, and then . . . aw. Can't joke about it. Not any more.).
Now. Let's see. Anton says I should do something-or-other with my archives when I post. So that my permalinks will work. Ah--the joys of Blogger. Let's see if I can get this right.
UPDATE: My spies tell me that if I hadn't had my head in the sand for the past week, I would have seen the news stories about this girl, and would understand the "Little Miss Blair" searches: people simply couldn't remember the brat's last name.
Of course, I need to remember that I wasn't the most gracious creature alive at 18. (Nor am I now. But I do try to behave myself most of the time.)
7/03/2003 01:44:00 AM