TransAmerica

Went with Nancy & David and their friend Deana to see TransAmerica. Felicity Huffman certainly did an Oscar-worthy job, I got a great walk out of it to downtown Berkeley, good conversation with Deana, a fellow knitter, and can check one more Oscar movie off my list. Plus there was gelatto. Scharffenberger flavor, no less.

Of course, it’s now 4am, and I’m still awake, so the day didn’t go completely as planned. I decided I’m going to get exactly 8 hours of sleep every night, but I guess not starting until tomorrow night. Why am I up so late? Working on my Knitting Projects page. Check it out again and leave me a comment!

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Being obsessive…

…is something I know intimately. I spent more time working on my knitting page so that it would be more compatible with the general look of this new site. I went back and forth among font sizes and colors and families (yes, fonts have families too) and just oh so many tiny details. So please click the Knitting Projects link to see the updated pages.

Being obsessive is why I am back on Depakote again. (Well, the generic form of valproic acid.) Since yesterday. It’s got 3 main uses: convulsions, mania, and migraines. I don’t have convulsions or migraines. Before 4am this morning, I was up for 25 hours straight. The thing that finally got me to fall asleep was sitting in front of the TV with a glass of wine watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on DVD.

A few nice things today… Michael and I made turkey burgers for dinner and then went to see Goodnight & Good Luck at the California theater. The Oscar race has begun again, and that means a lot of movie-watching for the obsessed. It was good, but slow. Langorous, even. Michael thought Brokeback Mountain was a better film, and I agree.

Okay, so enough about me. Crappy things in the news this past week:

Samuel Alito was sworn in to replace Sandra Day O’Conner.

Coretta Scott King died. She went to the same college as my mom, Antioch. But my mother didn’t know her personally.

A whole ferry full of Egyptians died on their way home from Mecca.

Betty Friedan died today.

I’m going to bed now and hope to fall asleep. Goodnight and good luck.

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A brand new web site…

Why did I suddenly get the urge to update my web site? Because the hosting for my domain name, “herweirdest.com,” was up for renewal, and I just didn’t want it anymore. (Anyone interested in purchasing “herweirdest.com”? I own it through September 2009.)

A new domain name called for a new web site look. So here it is. I’m hoping it will be easier to navigate and update. All the old pages from the previous site are linked on the side bar. I’ll be giving notice here as I add/update pages.

Or not. We’ll see if creating a new home page motivates me to blog again.

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back for more whining…

Reading The Plague, by Camus, and spending many hours playing game after game of Internet Spades. Which is just great for irritated, blurry eyes. And I wonder why I’m getting depressed again. Also, the days are getting shorter, Winter will be upon us before you know it, and we’ve never really had Summer! Michael was on the Internet yesterday and found a house in Hilo, HI for $179K. He wants to move there and get involved in the Hawaii independence movement. I just want to get involved in SOMETHING. Anything besides all this wasting of time. The days are slipping by so fast. I’ll be 40 in less than 4 months. Yeah, I know, there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go — as the Advaita Vendanta people say. Still, why do I have the nagging sensation that I’M WASTING MY LIFE?!?!?

(Did you miss me?)

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waiting…

Back for a limited engagement. Sitting at Sue’s desk at In-House Staffing waiting for Helen and enjoying 85 degree weather. Just came from the eye doctor. My left eye is healing very well from the laser surgery last month. My right eye is scheduled for the same procedure in a couple of weeks. What else do you need to know?

Michael is walking over here to meet me and Helen. We’re going to hang out with her and her husband, Mark, this evening and talk about wedding plans. Yeah, that’s right. Wedding. Ours. Marriage. Husband and wife. But NOT mother and father. (Hey, why do we never say “wife and husband?”) So, all you right wing bigots out there who just had your convention in NY City this week, you think marriage has to be heterosexual for procreation purposes? We’re not procreating!

Wow. It’s really hot in here.

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bye for now…

I’m just not interested in writing these days. I’m interested in sunshine, fresh air, planting a cactus garden, reading books, watching movies, putting together a DVD of old Terry home movies, breathing, sleeping, hot showers, long long walks, Fantasia Barrino, eating food with my friends… a lot of things. But one of those things is not writing. So bye for now. I’ll write again when… when I write again.

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Bush doctrine working?

My dad sent me an e-mail today with the subject line: Bush doctrine working? Inside was a link to an article:

http://web.archive.org/web/20081202150020/http://www.deanesmay.com/archives/006331.html and the request, “Comment on this please.” Because I’m a good daughter who always does what her dad asks, here is my comment.

Dean Esmay, the article’s author, writes, “But in a part of the world where power has always come first and foremost through the extension of brutality, it is violence and fear that are the fastest way to get respect. They don’t think, ‘Oh, you’re a bully, that makes me mad, I’m going to hit you back.’ They think, ‘Oh. You’re tough. I’d better treat you with respect.'”

This is relevant to an ongoing discussion that Michael and I have been having on the general topic: Can You Dismantle the Master’s House Using the Master’s Tools? Perhaps you can do it, but then what have you got? Another master whose house can be as easily brought down? An ongoing cycle, or worse, spiral of escalating violence? We, as a nation, won our independence from imperialism through violence: the Revolutionary War. Or did we? Once we threw Britain off our backs, didn’t we in turn become the Imperialists?

But let’s look at the question a little deeper. Dean gives the example of the psychologist who stands up to her patient:

“Dr. Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist who’s worked extensively with violent criminals, says it pretty well:

“‘In my private practice, I don’t work with terrorists but I do work with violent people. I used to believe (as many of my colleagues still do) that empathizing with my patients and increasing their self-esteem would help them on the path to self-actualization. Of course, for some anxiety-ridden patients who need faith in themselves, the technique of empathy and support works. However, for those patients with serious violent tendencies, just the opposite is true. With those patients, I’ve found that setting clear boundaries and making judgments about their immoral behavior works like a charm.’

“‘Those patients who threatened me backed down only when I got up in their face and told them forcefully to stop — the slightest hint of fear or intimidation (or sympathy!) on my part was met with increased threats. In the real world of private practice, confronting real murderers, I learned to act in ways that were different from what I had been taught in graduate school.'”

What is Doctor Smith doing that makes her powerful? Is she lashing out with brutality and violence? Or is she standing up to those who are violent and brutal out of a clear and strong sense of purpose? If she had to use physical force, would it be motivated by a lust for brutality or by a deep sense of care and concern for the well-being of both herself and her patient?

See, I think that while sometimes the tools look the same on the outside, maybe what’s important is HOW they are used. Two people could use the same gun in self-defense. One person aims to disable, kill only if unavoidable, so shoots only as many times as necessary. The other person, out of anger and vengeance, shoots to kill and then pumps another couple of rounds for good measure. They have both achieved the short-term goal of self-preservation. But is the attacker gone? In the first case, yes. In the second, the victim has become the attacker, and the cycle continues.

What do you think is going on in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison today?!?!? We take young boys who have not yet developed a deep sense of self and their place in the world, who are often impoverished financially, intellectually, and (for lack of a better word — don’t cringe Michael) spiritually, and send them out to dismantle the tyrants’ kingdoms using the tyrants’ tools. GUESS WHAT THEY BECOME? Why should this result shock us? It’s common sense. Cause and effect. To liberate Iraq, we send an army of slaves. Is it no wonder the slaves get out of hand when given a little of the master’s power?

Bush’s language of liberation: what hypocrisy! What hubris! When we ourselves are a nation of slaves. Slaves to our big cars and houses and designer labels. Slaves to an American Dream that is manufactured by Madison Avenue. We are a nation of hungry ghosts: with huge stomachs and tiny mouths, we can never get full. Can never have enough. Always eating, eating, eating. Like the monkey whose paw is caught in the trap and could free himself if only he’d let go of the banana. But he just won’t let go of that banana. Most of us have no clue what “liberation” actually means, much less how to free someone else.

So, okay, in practical terms, if the goal is not to “liberate” the Iraqi people but simply to oust one tyrannical regime, we have done that. As far as true liberation, I’m afraid that we are as far from it as we have ever been. That’s human. And eventually, either by our own actions or the natural forces of the universe (of which our own actions are, of course, a part, so what I’m really saying is either sooner or later), humanity will be gone. And ultimately, what will any of our efforts have achieved?

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a thought…

Ever wish your life didn’t suck so bad? Be glad you don’t have Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.

Just finished reading Faust. Why? Because of something Jonathan Franzen said in an essay about how it helps to connect with history. To realize that people have always been as f****d up as they are now and that our current problems aren’t so extraordinary. That Goethe, either he was ahead of his time or humans just haven’t changed all that much. I think it’s the latter.

Each little person lives a life, makes mistakes, has revelations, feels special and unique, dies. The next one comes along and does and thinks and feels the same things. And dies. Yes, of course there is change. But from a universal perspective, it’s ultimately meaningless. In Faust, everyone gets saved, regardless of their actions. The Lord even loves Mephisto; at least he tells him: I never hated those who were like you. Negation and creation equally necessary.

Next up: Prince, by Ib Michael, recommended by Mark.

Eye Update: 12 straight days of no pain. This morning, Day #13, a nice little bit of cornea-ripping. But at least my flesh is not turning into bone!

American Idol Update: Paula Abdul looked like a drag queen tonight. Jasmine’s flower was back in her hair. (My dad must have said something to her.) 2 different performers did Barbra Streisand songs. (Were you peeing on yourself, Mark?) I voted for Fantasia 35 times.

Blog Excuse Update: I haven’t been blogging so much lately because… um… I’ve been writing a lot more in my private journal and… I’m putting together something really great for later (yeah, right)… the weather has been too warm to stay inside at the computer… I’m off caffeine again and can’t focus too well… Can’t stop listening to stupid things on the news, like Donald Rumsfeld explaining that “It wasn’t torture; it was abuse.” Oh! My bad… I have too many DVDs to watch and not enough time (next up Elephant and then the original Solaris followed by the George Clooney remake)… and… nobody’s really reading this anymore anyway. Right?

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freaky friday…

Oh my God, Steve! On your recommendation, I started Augusten Burroughs’s Running With Scissors this morning on Bart. It’s now 2:30am, and I just finished it. Each chapter is more horrifyingly unbelievable than the last. I wonder if he and Chuck Pahlaniuk know each other. Except that these stories are supposedly true. I have my doubts. I guess it’s possible that so many disturbingly weird things could happen in one house in the course of 5 years to a kid who just happens to have an active imagination as well as a compulsive need to write everything down. But regardless of my skepticism, I’ll concede that Burroughs is one hell of a storyteller. Mark and Tomi, this has to be the next reading assignment of the Twisted Scribblers Book Club.

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the last days…

 

End Cowell Street Sign 

Funny street sign (near Michael’s office) or Prophecy? After last night’s American Idol results show, I don’t know if he/it can last another season. The 3 best singers got the smallest number of votes. The worst singers, the most. When oh when will they stop voting for that dreadful John Stevens? I’m so sad that Jennifer Hudson is gone. A big voice and a big heart. Well, I guess it’s to be expected, when you’ve got people like my dad voting for Jasmine because he likes the flower in her hair vs. people like me who don’t even bother to vote. But I’m crazy. That’s been established. What’s everyone else’s problem?

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