In search of levity

Jun 28, 2006 at 12:01 AM
I saw this poll at iSOS a bit ago:
























And today his poll is:


















Go Vote!

I think it's snarkishly vapid and perfect. this guys' sense of humor is honed so sharply it passes right past most without being noticed, but I adore every entry he' ever written.

Sorry, but I won't be his first blog insult.

Nude Study

Jun 27, 2006 at 11:38 PM
Here is a nude.

Uncropped version here

Titled "Just plain nude". It is what the lady who volunteered for the class I watched once looked like before they posed her on a table with sheets beneath her. This seemed more real. Nobody I know climbs naked onto tables.

Maybe I'm just hanging with the wrong crowd, though, come to think of it.

The eyes of Ciarra

at 11:00 PM
The eyes of Ciarra - a study I did in 1999. It's bad, but she still shines through my rather blocky sketch work.



I miss her every day.

Australia is a psychiatric secret police state and its people don't even know it

at 12:50 PM
Recent news in Australia?

Now Aussies can be forcibly examined by a psychiatrist in their own homes or anywhere at all (even their place of worship) without warning or legal representation. If found based on that one forced encounter with a psychiatrist to be insane, they are then forced into treatment - all on the basis of a secret complaint. That's right, the cowardly complainant is protected by law but not the individual in question.

What if the person is pissed off that he's being forced to answer personal questions with a complete stranger and the police present? Might that not make a person understandably angry? What if the psychiatrist feels this represents evidence of insanity?

Here's a piece of the article in the Courier-Mail (QLD Newspaper) about Psychiatry in Australia:
Under the Mental Health Act, JEOs can be obtained by anyone provided they are able to convince a JP or magistrate to authorise the document and claim to believe the subject has a mental illness requiring examination.

Doctors or authorised mental health practitioners are then empowered to enter any place to conduct the examination, accompanied by police if they deem it necessary.


What's even worse - and not mentioned in this article - is that the psychiatrist, being state funded, gets more money if he finds you insane than healthy. I wonder how many people are being abused by the system there?

Let's presume that the above is okay with you. You're thinking: " OK. So why is that bad? If a person is insane, shouldn't it be discovered and shouldn't that person get help?"

Maybe, but you're predicating your statement upon the belief that a. government belongs in the field of mental health for the public good, and b. psychiatry belongs in the field of mental health and actually provides real help.

Point A is too obvious to even debate. Look how well government has done at helping people be more moral and socially aware by subsidizing Social Programs and Moral Awareness programs (tongue firmly in cheek).

Here is the basic flaw in all government mandated mental health programs:

They are predicated upon the supposition that psychiatry is an effective science.

For some reason, point B above remains in debate. So let's take a look at this. Is psychiatry a science? Does it help people?

However not one single moment in history can be proven to be the moment that psychiatry moved from an alchemic voodoo of pain and unconsciousness over to being a fact-based science.

So much of psychiatry's definition of crazy is dependent upon the currently chic version of sane. What do people currently think is just eccentricity and what is actually offensive? (Recently, having a disorder became an eccentricity that was somewhat fashionable - look at all the likeable characters with disorders on TV shows if you don't believe me - and the DSM doubled in size.)

So much of the "science" behind psychiatry is really no more than:

taboo versus accepted
rebellion versus conformity

When did we start leaving no room in our society for those who are different than our accepted norms? When did we start applying labels to every one we thought was different than us - before truly confronting what they are.

Most of the time it comes down to simple concepts:

intelligence and artisticness versus stupidity and solidity
Moral convictions versus the lack of them or a clash of morals
Following goals versus failing to know your goals


Rarely does sanity really play a major part in the feel-good-drug pandemic.

Psychiatry has never shown it can erase evil. It has never done anything to help those who are too intelligent or artistic for their peers to appreciate, except muzzle them.

HYPERACTIVITY

A great example of this is the idea that being more active than the others around you as a child is bad. Throughout history, this was a common trait in the childhood anecdotes of effective leaders and those who caused great change in societies. Today this gets you labeled.

And it is nothing more than a label. HYPER-active doesn't even factually exist. For instance, the amount of work it takes to start up a successful home based business automatically makes you hyper-active.

So, in such a commonly bandied term "hyperactive", even, we find the crux of the flaw in psychiatry. What is the degree of activity that is normal? Where is normal defined?

How can something be "hyper" anything when the standard against which "hyper" and "hypo" are compared has not been uniformally set. Is it comparison against some preconceived notion in the psychiatrist's mind? If so, who checks him for beign the standard against which to measure? No one.

Also, even behind this, why is being more active or less active necessarily a negative? If one were alone inn the world, it would not make a huge difference would it? It would not cause you personal harm.

Does being more active than most cause your family harm? Not if they don't mind.

Etc.

An abnormal activity level is a societal, group-think set idea. As such, it will always be measured against the lowest common denominator. Against a basest consistence of what the current fashionable idea of "unflawed" or "sane" is.

SCIENCE MUST BE UPHELD

Psychiatry is definitely not a legitimate science. Where are the laws that dictate sure action and certain result? Where are the observable constants? Where are the proven facts? Where are the consistent results in the same experiment? They don't exist.

Psychiatry cannot promise to cure you. Any medical science should have at least one ailment it can show that it can effect positive change upon. Psychiatry cannot show that it can universally cause improvement in all cases of any particular ailment (see the JAMA for more on that). That's right, I said ANY. Not one.

However, they do show that they can abuse, torture, deny rights, circumvent due process, and imprison for life without recourse for the majority in countries around the world. In America, I don't like what I see - but I see a very watered down version of what other countries around the world have as their psychiatric system. The more power you give these people, the more evil they become. What does that say of their motives?

Science is a word that has affected society greatly by retaining it's true definition. Science is observable law, effective constants, truths that cannot deviate or fail because they are true. Science is impermeable by belief, by opinion, by fashion or whether the truth is popular. It is Science. Science is THE MEANS by which society has furthered itself for millenia.

Psychiatry tries to destroy the very definition of science when it calls itself a science and demands scientific funding and scientific status.

If Science loses its meaning, society loses the ability to continue to further its goals.

And that would be insane to allow to happen.

Are portals really back?

Jun 26, 2006 at 2:26 PM
The latest "buzz" in internet search engine news is that "portals are back". People are saying things like "Not since the end of the dot com boom" and "Google is even jumping on board."

There is no new interest in portals from a user perspective though.

SO why is this happening? What is all the "portal" buzz about?

Two things. Feeds. Search engines want to be able to track what blogs and feeds you're actually subscribing to, so they can tell the spam from the good stuff.
In order to do that, they need to be able to see your list of feeds.

The other thing is that they want to know your browsing and buying habits, your demographic information and other goodies. The reason they want this is so they can offer you up as a piece of the pay-per-click and pay-per-view advertising pie. This pie is a multi-billion dollar pie. So our favorite search engines are dropping more and more of our implied anonymity and reach in favor of what their advertisers need - lots of data collected about the advertisement's target market - which is possible YOU. To know this, the search engine wants to know your personal buying habits, your age, gender,race, your favorite websites, what your interests are, your email history, your browser history, your medical history (that last one's probably a joke). You get it.

So they're trying to make you create a personalized or "my____" version of their search engine - which lets them know every little detail about you.

To be fair, they tried lots of other stuff first.

The tried doing this via your browser (through add-on toolbars, but that doesn't capture enough data to sate the appetite of the search engines). They tried doing it through search functions that you download onto your own machine to use locally, but that was too invasive for most people's taste.

So, "My this" and "Personalized that" came about.

All it is is another step away from caring about us, their search market, and more toward being just another advertising service. Google, MSN and Yahoo aer all racing to offer the best PPC ad service, and in order to do this, they've begun to argue over you offers the most data about the target market.

So portals are back.

Hmmmm. Interesting. Public opinion poll on whether we actually want the portals back, anyone?

I'd rather subscribe to feeds via my Feed Demon program and keep my anonymity, thank you!

AOL stands for WTF

at 1:44 PM

I hate AOL.

AOL is the opposite of all things good.

They must be evil because every time I email anyone whose email address ends in "...@aol.com" the email disappears into the endless sucking void of blackest black that is truly at AOL's core.

In case you can't tell, I vocally DIS-recommend them to anybody for any reason ever no matter what. Especially if you care whether you get the emails people send you. Would be use UPS if half our packages never arrived? NO. So wy are people still using this POS email service?

When I originally got internet, I am ashamed to admit I got AOL. I didn't know any better. That's who they aim at: the I-don't-know-any-better crowd.

I sent out the big I'm online now announcement, and then a month later I got calls like:
"I emailed you about Grammy. Why didn't you answer?"
"Desi, are you angry with me? You didn't write back."
"Hey! Just checking what you're bringing to the potluck. Didn't you get the invite?"
I never received emails. Nearly never. Got the SPAM, but not the real emails - I think AOL somehow reversed their SPAM filters or something.

Then when I quit them for broadband, there was no way to stop getting billed. There was no "click here to cancel your AOL subscription" button, no ask off procedure included in their terms and conditions that I could see. It was a nightmare. THis was back in 2000 or so.

I wrote to AOL, called them about a gajillion times to get them to stop my subscription. ("I'm sorry, this is the customer service line, not the service cancellation line. Please call the other number " - and vice versa. Total run-around in circles while geting my leg pulled wild goose chase. I eventually asked my bank to stop honoring AOL but they told me it was my problem for setting up auto-pay, so I had to close the account - no shit. It got that extreme.

But all of that is ancient history, and I had put it behind me. Til last week.

Suddenly AOL returns to the spotlight. I was unable to donate 1/2 size childrens guitars to disabled kids because the guy who wanted them had a @#!!%&!%! AOL email account. I emailed him three times. I mean, come ON! Disabled kids. I was swearing at my computer about this one. I had to give them to the next responder instead.

So, I have decided AOL is the center axis around which all nastiness and yuck revolves at the center of the ugly bits of the internet.

The point is, if you;ve got a choice, take your money and your email address elsewhere.

May I suggest gmail, which rocks and is free. As long as you don't mind that you are a fish in a fishbowl (every email you write is part of the great Google-y-moogle-y experiment in a sense. You will get adwords ads fine-tuned (by computers, not people) to whatever you're yacking about most in addition to becoming part of "The Great Algorithm" (mind the caps and don't forget to make the echo noise).

By the by, about GMail, I never used any of my invites, I wonder how many I'm up to now? Email me if you're not a spamming telemarketing POS, and I'll send you one.

The unUsual Suspects?

at 1:41 PM

My girls made me a line-up of little rabbits. The turtle looks guilty. Book'em, danno.

And the votes are starting to come in

Jun 21, 2006 at 9:46 PM
All of my closest friends were sent a sweet email in which I asked them to write a single sentence about me. For my blog profile (c'mon - it's for perpituity people! who knows me better than you.) So far I've got just Dad (the bit about the sea lions) and my life-long friend Kathy (thanks for the kind words!) who has given birth to other friends of mine.

While so far, the turnout is good, not all the votes are in yet.

Some of you may be holding out because you don't want to

RECOMMENDATIONS


  • Desi and I have been friends for-like-ever and she is so completely the same as she was then.


  • Desi makes great pies on holidays and has a very messy house.


  • Whatever this chick wants, give it to her - she rocks!


  • Desi was nice to me before I stole her man.


  • Desi was always a real pain in the ass and she natters about me all the time.


  • Confession: I'm actually that unknown stalker you used to have.


  • This blog seriously surprises me - she was sooo quiet when I knew her.


  • Thanks, Desi, for holding up my hair that time.


  • Hey Desi, do you have a copy of ITSE I can borrow - thanks! (yionk)


  • Desi as a movie pitch:
    Overzealous Liza Minelli - but quieter - meets post-Zach Mandy Moore - but snarkier - goes on a cross-country photo spree by car that ends with a gilbert-grape aspect but more heartfelt and superficial at the same time, yada-yada, lots of warm-fuzzies - it's a popcorn pusher for sure. (deep breath)


  • And best of all:

  • Who's Desi?


Throwing a wobbly

at 8:33 PM
My dad and I are both web designers. He's been at it since 1997 or so, and I've been at it just a few years. I love this hilarious time breakdown of the job that he sent me in pie chart form.

Poison Oak AGAIN

at 5:06 PM
Miranda has contracted poison oak again, and in the same places - fingers, neck and mouth. (This leads me to believe that she has a habit of rubbing her neck and scratching around her mouth.)

Considering that I grew up in the Oregon woods, and never once caught poison oak, and that Aurora has not yet caught it, I'm starting to wonder if Miranda's the only one in the family who CAN catch it. How are you supposed to test that anyway? Give yourself poison oak? NO WAY an I doing that.

She probably got the poison oak from petting the dog.

Anyway, last year she nearly had to get taken to the hospital - she puffed up like a pufferfish. Couldn't sleep, couldn't think straight from the itch. She was nearly unrecognizable for the worst of it. Her lips - where she got the worst of it - got big (think Angelina Jolie after cosmetic surgery gone wrong). The same day I was ready to take her to the doctor she miraculously got better.

So, anyway, at two o'clock in the morning she comes into my room and tells me she's got poison oak again. [She says it like she's gonna be in trouble. Why would I get mad? Maybe because she realized it was a major inconvenience last year. She's so sweet.]

I told her "well, we'd better get started right away". So, we got up and scrubbed and scrubbed with cold water and soap in the shower. Let me tell you, nothing wakes you up from a deep sleep like a cold shower. After we got out, she was scrubbed with the poison oak store-bought stuff (from what I remember it does nearly nothing in exchange for the $30.00 it costs). Every little bit helps.

Then we put new sheets on the bed and put her bedding in the wash. She slept with me, with sockies on her hands. The washer and dryer conspired to make that amazing racket as usual. It cut out at 4 AM, but by then I was way past saving my beauty sleep.

This year we've learned from last years errors. We're keeping cornstarch and kaolin clay powder in socks on her hands the entire time she has it, so she can't scratch or spread it around more and that will soak up the oil on her fingers. We'll use the thinnest cotton socks we have, so she doesn't sweat. Get too warm and this will spread the oils. It may seem cruel, but it's more cruel to let her scratch it and spread it and get completely miserable. We're gonna do several drying clay masks and oatmeal baths. This darn poison oak oil is the hardest to remove from the skin of any I've ever come across.

I hate this, we're all in for a very bad week of sleepless nights and general suffering. All I'm losing is sleep. I've got the better end of the deal. Aurora has to pick up the slack on chores, and Miranda has to live with the pain. We're cancelling Friday's play date. Bummer.

But anyone out there who wants to know what to do about poison oak, it is THIS:

Prevent it by washing your hands constantly in cold water and a natural lye-based soap. Hot water and soap won't cut it, and cold water alone won't do it. Neither will a castille-based soap.

If you've already gotten it, take tepid or cool oatmeal baths, and regularly put a good anti-perspirant powder without aluminum in it onto it regularly.

Cool epsom salt soaks may or may not help, but they're a great relaxation soak anyway. Something of a placebo for my little one. I'm a firm believer in placebos for kids. A bandaid and a kiss have solved so many, many ailments.

Future Internet - I'm no switzerland

at 1:31 AM
Hey. There is a major war happening right now over the future of the internet.

Here is some more info about it:


  1. The Future Faster

  2. What is the future of the internet?

  3. Net Neutrality

  4. Get your grubby mitts off my internet



YOU DO THE RESEARCH AND PICK A SIDE. The government is gonna slide this one RIGHT PAST YOU while you're not paying attention!!!

As a libertarian, I feel it is up to us to maintain our freedoms. This wonderful chaotic thing called the internet belongs to US right now, not unclesam/bigbrother. Please help keep it that way.

Out with the old, in with the young

at 12:43 AM
Here is my old blog profile picture if anyone wants it.

Here is the old profile. I'm taking it OUT OUT OUT. Flippant. I have JUST sent an email to my closest friends and family to help me profile myself - like a criminal.

I'm Desi. I've never thrown up. Really. Trust me, that's not always a good thing.

My dining table is a picnic bench. My twin girls love to do science experiments at it while wearing their Sunday best. My mom is the most artistic, vivacious person on the planet. My father is a brilliant man. What am I? I don't know...

But, if my posts don't give you a window into my essence, nothing will.

Nature is doing its thing

Jun 20, 2006 at 8:58 PM

The blackberries are flowering in abundance. Spring has sprung with a vengeance. The number of honeybees is markedly higher than last year (not official, just my own perception).



















I expect a GREAT blackberry harvest this year. Lots and lots of canning will happen. The girls and I are gonna go blackberry hunting several times so we can can tons of them for winter pies. Mmmmm.























Also, the grass in my yard/meadow/orchard is taller than can easily be walked through. Taller than most fences, at least three or four feet - you can see from the picture of the chicken coop from the previous post. And this is in spite of all having been mowed with farming machinery (a Kaboda technically) just a few weeks ago.

Cooped Out - but optimistic

Jun 17, 2006 at 11:26 PM

I'm exhausted. The twins and I just wrestled a roll of chicken wire loose from 5 foot tall grass, cleaned out the chicken coop and cut new chicken wire pieces for the windows. We did a bunch of hard outdoor work, and our little hands are tired.

Very satisfying, but HARD , work.

This is when I wish I had a big strong man around. Outside of that, I do pretty well for myself, overall. But there are some chores out here in the woods that I wish I had a male around for. No matter how hard life gets, I better wait for a better reason for looking for a new spouse than needing a farmhand.

On the other hand, maybe I should lower - er, simplify - my standards. My ideal man is extremely unlikely to suddenly show up and announce himself at my 6-miles-out-in-the-woods-from-a-kinda-remote-highway front porch.

I already have pretty high (some might say unrealistic) standards. I'm looking for a cross between Paul Bunyan, Paul Gauguin and Linus Pauling.



It just ain't gonna happen - at least not in the middle of the woods like this. Pickings are slimmer than usual out here in the 7th largest methamphetamine-producing county in the US of A.

At first, when I got here a year ago, I was really lonesome. I spent last winter unable to blog because of it - you know it's bad when you can't even BLOG.

Lately, I've noticed I'm getting better at taking care of myself. I can be alone without feeling like something is missing. It was always the sore spot in my personality: I hated being alone. That is very dangerous. I'm not exactly sure how or when, but at some point I slipped into my own skin - I got okay with it. It's strange, but very reassuring. Considering that I'm naturally a bit reclusive, I ought to be at least okay with it. I enjoy the feeling - it's a very positive change that has been happening while I wasn't looking. I actually think it started when I reviewed the Code of Honor.

Right about the same time this happened, I started having an urge to GROW, to prosper rather than merely exist. This is a sign that the condition my life is in is improving. I think the next step for me is a personal admin scale. I need to know what I need and want from myself. What better way than to completely chart it all out. I really feel it would be of benefit to me to work out on paper what the goals, purposes, plans and projects within my own life are. I want to write down what my ideal scene is and start actively working toward it. It's a very proactive solution to not being where you want to be in life. Otherwise, I'm just griping.

I hate whiners, I hate complaints - and I despise incompetence. So, if I'm not doing something about that which sucketh about my own life, then what AM I doing?

Blogging milestone reached

at 8:13 PM
I do believe I just approved my very first non-spam comment. Yay!

Study

at 5:42 PM

Here is a study I did of Aurora. She was scrunching her lips up - this was her "dubious" look when she was littler.

Major 70s flashback involving... koalas?

Jun 15, 2006 at 12:08 AM

Hi -

Whe I was a tiny little girl, we lived in a tiny old apartment in LA that was built in the 30s or so. I remember the chipped paint, the crack in the ceiling, and sleeping in that bunkbed like it was yesterday. I remember the old musty smell of our apartment and the weird smoke smell (later I was told it was hash) from the neighbor's apartment. I remember the grates on every air vent (I love those cast iron grills so much better than the modern aluminum crap), and the plaster walls that you could pop small sections of away if you tried, so I was told not to. It took all of my willpower to not crack off small pieces of paint or wall. We moved into it when I was 2 and out of it when I was 5, so that was where we lived when I was forming my opinion of what things looked like.

In spite of all of this, the place was a palace to me. Those hardwood floors were a ball room to me - I was always twirling and whirling and asking mom to look-look-look. The hallways were endless and spooky. The windows were HUGE. Sweeping panoramic views of the Chevron station or the vacant lot from every window. I loved it. On a relatively SMOGless day. I could see the top of the Capitol building. It was perfect, to me. We even had a cement yard to play in.

Childhood imagination is something else, isn't it?

I can't remember the last place I lived as well as I can that apartment.

In any case, I have that apartment stamped indelibly into the background of a memory of my first piggy bank, which was actually a koala-bank. Strangely, and for unrelated reasons, I also had a picture on my wall from the San Diego zoo of koalas. So koala bears will forever be linked with Los Angeles in the 1970s to me.

Anyway, all of this came to mind because my children found the exact same koala piggy bank (or at least a duplicate) at a garage sale.

I let them buy it, because it brought back every little detail of that childhood, and of that room.

Alberto a Dud in Tampa Bay

Jun 14, 2006 at 2:09 AM

After a few days of waiting, wondering and looking at interesting but entirely useless charts (like this one), the "official" (drumroll, please) report from Tampa Bay is in.

Here are the quotes of note, provided verbatim:

The litle sister Libby said:
"Oh yeah, it rained a bunch.
Nothing much. Don't worry."


The older sister Kendra said:
"Please leave a message and I will REE-turn your call..."

Why doesn't she ever pick up! Oh well. She's a "no comment" then.

The un-posted Rick said:
"It was gay, and it was over like yesterday. It's just windy now.
Totally lame."


The mom said:
"Hi, honey."


The ex-husband Steve did not return calls before it was time to put this report to bed. Probably because this reporter yelled at him recently. (Sorry.)

Jokus Longoverus reporting.

Goodnight one and all. Thankfully, we will all sleep better tonight knowing that Alberto was about as minimal as a hurricane gets.

Libby is coming

Jun 13, 2006 at 11:30 PM

My little sister is coming to visit. She's seventeen now. She told me today she's moving out and rooming with another teenager, a friend of hers named "Ryan", who is moving to Florida apparently just to live with her - but she says it's platonic. Beats me, I would be dubious, but I've roomed platonically - it can be done.

I told her if she needs to move in with me ever for any reason, she's totally welcome. I do not want her to ever feel alone, even if she is. She's always got me.

Anyway, she's coming to visit for two weeks early in July.

a. She's wonderful and I can't wait to see her.

b. She's the escort for my girls, and when she leaves again, she's taking my daughters with her for their visitation time with their dad over the summer.

So, the sooner she comes the sooner my girls go away. Quite a dichotomy.

Tucker is very forgiving

at 10:53 AM

My dog is very forgiving.



As you can see, my little ones like to treat him like a kid. (And the only part of my dog that you can actually see here (because he's all black) is that spotted tongue. How droll.)

Hurricane Alberto is heading to my family

Jun 12, 2006 at 6:18 PM
I hate hurricane season.

The first named storm of the 2006 hurricane season is headed directly toward my mom and sisters. Today I am focusing on postulating that they are completely safe, and that the hurricane will have minimal impact where ever it lands.

It's been a while since a hurricane actually hit the central west-coast of FL where my maternal family lives and where I used to live so I'm sending my hope and love that way today.

Here are the people I want safe: Mama, Kendie, Libby, Jamie, Christian, Grammy Edie in my family. Outside of that are my ex Stevie and his daughter Ciarra Nicole, my friends at ex-work Axiom, Mike and Lexie and their Brand new son Koen (pronounced Co-hen), Damara and her boys and her new love - and the numerous kids I know and love but am not related to: Katey Elise, Brennan, Jessica, Jenny, and the brand new premie Brandyn - who needs security and safety right now most.

SAFETY and SECURITY to you all in abundance.

Rising Crime in Northwest

at 3:12 PM
I just heard on the local news that
"rising violent crime in the northwest is being blamed by officials on the increased accessibility of guns".


Excuse me?!@!!

Every time someone says something that irresponsible, another person believes it and a little bit more of our gun rights go OUT THE WINDOW.

Argh. This kind of blatant stupidity really irks me.

I own guns. I also have emotions.

Am I more likely to commit violent crime because I have a gun?

NO.

I was never likely to commit a violent crime, because I am sane. Sanity (or the lack of it) is "the why". The gun is not WHY, people, it is HOW. WHY does not equal HOW. Not by a long shot.

So, why is violent crime rising?

If you gave me a shot at it, I would say that it is rising because of increased rates of INSANITY. Why is insanity epidemic? Because it is government subsidized. If you want to put a stop to the insanity, put a stop to the insanity mongers.

Sketch

at 1:56 PM

I once drew Miranda deep in thought while playing. It's untitled.

My children are perfect

at 2:57 AM
Aurora and Miranda each brought me (separately and unaware of each others contributions) buttercups that they picked from outside.



Sigh... They smelled lovely.

This kind of thing makes up for countless uncleaned rooms and knocked over laundry piles.

Six months since I quit smoking

at 1:37 AM
It's been six months now since I quit smoking. Six months and three days to be exact. I rock. Here's the picture of me burning the remainder of my last pack in my woodstove



That was the difference between quittin and just agonizing myself again. I actually decided to be a non-smoker, to proactively stop smoking.

And it worked. I may have to do the same with dove chocolates now - i am totally addicted.

Cars and Guns

Jun 10, 2006 at 12:59 PM
I just had a good conversation with Rick (my work-friend turned best-friend, turned roomie, turned boyfriend, turned cheater).

We talked about guns (which kind to look at next - he says ruger even though he's scared of guns - I say glock) and about cars (which kind to get from a trade-in - he says anything Japanese is better than my POS Ford).

I'm hoping we can go back to the kind of tight friends we were before we tried to turn that pure, great friendship into a THING. We were GREAT roomies.

The space between word GIRL (or BOY) and the word FRIEND means all the difference in our friendship. Beats me why. But I'm glad he's placed me firmly back on the platonic side of the fence in his own mind.

Sometimes that perfect chemistry of a good friendship just goes to hell in a handbasket as anything else. We worked together, played together, lived together for years - YEARS - to absolute harmony and then he turned out to be a terrible boyfriend. He's just a little insane on the subject.

It took a while - many months - for me to recover from that, to knock him off his pedestal, put him on solidly imperfect ground and still like him afterwards.

But, anyway, on the phone, it felt good to have him act like a real person again. Instead of a reticent ex. Our situation is improving, his tone is improving. He's gonna get on course, study about ethics, which rocks.

Good for Rick.

Canine and Human Intelligence

at 12:18 PM
OK. I own a black labrador, but I am very glad he cannot read. Cause I'm about to talk up another breed.

I met the most amazing dog, and he was a malamute. (I am decidedly closer to the top of that mythical, theoretical "bell curve" than most but this dog was arguably smarter than me.) His original owner was dead, and when she died suddenly, her daughter came to get him. She sat him down to explain, and he understood - he mourned her. How could anyone claim dogs have no souls? The spiritual component that is so blatantly obvious in life is undeniable. How any of you can be materialistic is beyond me. And this dog was another tiny fragment of proof toward that end.

I want a malamute for my next dog. But I'm not entirely sure I'm a good enough dog owner to have an animal that smart for a pet. It would require more commitment than my last marriage did. A dog lives at least ten years. The average marriage now lasts somewhere between seven and eight years.

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About my marriage (skip this)

My marriage to Stevie (I'm the only person who calls him that) lasted seven and a half years (three and a half years of eye-rolling sighing and otherwise emoting, three years of living apart). It was utterly predictable in it's downfall. It was like watching a glass of wine fall from across the room, even though I was holding it. It was obvious the marriage would fail because of how it began.

One look at my wedding pictures and you see tight smiles on tired faces, and something in the eyes of everyone there that said "this marriage worries me".

In the end, worry was exactly what it was -- worry in a marriage wrapper. A pumpkin is a pumpkin no matter how often you call it a carriage (or marriage). There were too many times when the matter was unresolvable because I was stubborn or he was thickheaded. Being married to him made me feel like a brick wall: dense, unforgiving.

Anyone with half a brain of sense would never have done it, but I was impulsive and very independent at the time. I had already shown that I was gonna do whatever I wanted no matter what my parents said. I had moved into my own apartment, joined our religious order for a little while, traveled the country for another little while, gotten engaged but not married a handful of times -- and all between the ages of 14 and 18. And none of them at the same time.

I was like a ship with the latest computers and no guidance system. I hopped into every whim of mine with both feet. My quick mind found a way to wrap itself around whatever whim I was presently feeling. If something caught my eye - a twinkle in the sea - I went off that a-way. Then this a-way. No one owned me.

Anyway, when I announced I was pregnant (and, by the way, getting married) my parents were probably just hoping I would stick to something - anything. And I did. I stuck to motherhood. Steve tried, but - God bless him - he just doesn't have whatever it is I need. Steve couldn't make himself into a different person, and I simply married the wrong person. Simple as that.

There is way more about this. I was firmly resolved about only one thing. I was not going to kill the life inside of me. I am WAY anti-abortion. But that's my personal decision on it. I had pressure to marry from my mother who had stopped thinking of me and was focused on the life in my womb. There was the pressure of my ex-fiancee who simply thought we were on a break. Pressure from Steve who was in love with me but was positively (as I was destined to hear endlessly over the next few years) absolutely sure I didn't love him. Stevie'd been chasing me for four years already and probably hadn't figured on what he'd do if he caught me. Pressure from the Headmistress of the school I worked at who had told me I had to quit teaching or get married. The parents didn't want to have to explain that babies can happen even without a husband. I actually agreed with that one at the time, despite the rock-and-hard-place it put me.

My rock had always been my older sister, and she was in Switzerland at the time. I had nowhere to go. I thought.

For someone intelligent, I sure wasn't smart.

I went ahead and said "I do" - even though it was impossible to miss that this was not a marriage that could work. I did it because I was stubborn - I am still stubborn. It's the curse of intelligence that you know you're right. Too much faith in the steady, reassuring click of your own gears. I knew it was obvious from the state I was in that I had already chosen this man. I was NOT going to be wrong. I was not going to admit I had made a mistake, even to myself.

Of course I lied to myself, we all do when we marry the wrong man. The jitters are from nervousness, not gut instinct, right? Bull.

So, that's why the tight smiles and worried faces in the photo. Don't get me wrong. Steve's great - in the eyes of most people. I am probably the only person who should have been able to settle for that.

What each of us all take for granted - that guidance system, that sense of knowing what you're gonna do with yourself called common sense - I was missing that. And not for lack of anyone trying. And not for lack of learning about life. I just had to cognite on it, had to realize I had never taken on the Code of Honor, shrugged my shoulders into it, made it fit my life, made it my own. It had always been a hypothetical, a sort of "interesting idea". Lots of falling on my face later, I found out why it was written.

I would like to think that I would do better now. But I'm not filled with chagrin. The pieces of that tripping, stumbling adventure that made my life hard also molded who I am right now. And I like who I am now.

-----------------------

Back to the dog again...

So, if I'm gonna get a new dog, I'm gonna think it through, so I don't end up wanting to pass it off to someone else. That's just such a cop-out. Don't get one unless you're sure it's the right dog.

But doesn't that make me a bit pretentious? Wanting to surround myself with only intelligent humans, and then hesitating about whether to get a truly intelligent pet? Am I perhaps the domesticated animal version of a plantation owner? Trying to find a way to keep my own personal house in order, rather than do the right thing?

Or perhaps - and I prefer the way this one makes me feel about myself - I simply know that I give my dog a great deal of control over his own life and I need to really carefully consider the consequences of having a truly intelligent animal around - it's like having another family member.

Tucker is sweet and loving and smart enough to know the difference between friend and foe. Smart enough to recognize the commands that I have chosen as important (my step-mother scoffs at this because I never taught him to stay or jump or balance a treat on his nose like their dog can - but I never cared about that).

Tucker can follow the course of my conversations to a greater or lesser degree. But he's still definitely in the class of "dog". I would have placed this malamute into the wolf category if I didn't know better. He understood and complied like a three year old child to very complex communications. I was awed.

I don't know... I just think you must consider your dogs very carefully. It's still hard for me to imagine that my puppy, my little wagging tail, is getting old enough for it to be time to start thinking about the next one. He's only as old as my children are - and they're still young.

Odd Nostalgia

Jun 9, 2006 at 7:41 PM
One is not normally interested in the minutia of someone else's life. The baking of pies, the spreading of tableclothes, the planting of dahlias. These things are not book material. Yet the book "The Stone Diaries" won a pulitzer in 1995 for just that.

It follows the life of one Daisy Goodwill Flett, including her family photos, her family tree, her birth, marriages, and even - eventually - her death.

In conveying the remarkable about the unremarkable, in making you wistful for the sunshine of a walk in late afternoon, it does something unique in book writing. It interests you and engages you in a totally unremarkable life. It somehow leaves you feeling as though the book was something greater than the sum of its parts.

Yes, I know I'm reviewing a book that has been published for eleven years. But I liked it and it's my blog. Besides, the book, having come out, pre-blog, is probably not actually already known about in the bnlog world, since it was published before we all had our global "blog-awakening", it's probably new news to you.

It's my blog and I'll say what ever I wanna. Hmph.

Have a great weekend.

Fitting Father's Day Present

at 6:09 PM
Dad, if you're subscribing (and you better be!), then don't read this one.

I got my dad a box of winchester 22 bullets for Father's day.

After an endless parade of neckties and gift certificates, I've begun to have a mission to get him presents he can actually use. He loves his little 22 revolvers. They barely feel like they're even doing anything when you shoot them (tiny little pop and an itsy bitsy bullet hole) but he likes them. Go figure. I love my S&W specifically because it is really loud and never misfires. I want a gun that scares the crap out of anything I point it at and goes bang. I really hate the sight (which is adjustable, therefore slips) and I'm really trying to find a used Glock, but I digress...

Bullets seemed a good present, since he goes through a bajillion whenever he goes shooting.

What I really wanted to get will take some work. There was a UDT knife that was salvaged from the ocean bottom. The salvaged knife cost less than a brand new USMC-quality knife. THat makes NO sense. THe history of an item is half of what makes it great. Where was it lost and why? What mission was our daring frogman on when he dropped his knife? Was he endangered by the loss? Did get disciplined for that lost knife? These things crossed my mind, and then I realized that since it was salvaged, it was most likely lost in a training ground - and the guy probably just went and got a new one.

I don't get to have that train of thought with a NEW knife. It was simply manufactured, placed in a box and shipped. BORING. Who wants that? The items I've always wanted most, anything I've ever stared into a glass case and coveted - had some historical significance. Someone loved it, hated it, wore it somewhere important, DID something with it.

This obsession with having some significance to the items I own is probably why most of the furniture I've ever bought was ancient. Some people looked at it as junk - but to me that chez lounge from Louisiana had a story.

Probably the same reason I collect old money. I love the train of thought, the voyages of memory that each crumpled, yellowed slip of cloth (money is actually printed on thin cloth, usually) takes me on. I take it in my hands, and rub smooth the edges because I enjoy holding money from foreign lands. I rub my coins (even though I know it's bad to get my finger-oils on them) because I love the idea that I am holding something that was held in 1860 by some long-dead person who bought something with it. What did they buy? Possibly they got a whole dinner for my one coin worth of money. Or maybe a bit of snuff. Goodness knows people bought different goods back then. I love it. You can't ask for a better mystery than the history of a common object like money.

I really wanted to get him the UDT knife, still gleaming after years underwater. The handle had rotted away and been replaced with a new strange aluminum one. I am going to search out what a replacement handle would cost, and maybe get it for him for his birthday. I can take a whole new voyage of memory to find out how to get an era-appropriate handle on it. Presumably a leather one, but I don't know what the Teams used then. See? What fun. Then I'll buy it when I can actually do it justice. Probably give it to my Dad as a B-day present later this year. That handle is a joke, and is probably why no one else has snapped up this gem.

In case you don't know this already, UDT stands for Underwater Demolitions Teams - and they were part of the whole "frogmen" thing that came before the SEALs. Now everyone's heard of SEALs. But back then not very many people knew about these boys. They did a thankless, unrecognized, difficult job with tools that would never be used today for fear of hypothermia or breakdown at the critical moment, and they were great at it. I have an extreme admiration for anyone that competent and that capable.

Anyway, that's all for today. (one note - Libby comes to visit in 31 days!)

My Animal Kingdom

Jun 8, 2006 at 12:51 PM
Tucker, my dog, barks constantly at these lovely little sugar water addicts. He can't understand why they are OK with me.

The constant humming here makes it sound like I live in a beehive.



The cat, agonizingly named "Star" by my children, but whom I just call "Cat" is slowly going crazy. Here she is waiting for them to come back.



I'm none too fond of cats, but I think her patience is admirable. She waited all day. And, as if to to reward me for putting up the hummingbird feeders in the first place that brought such a plethora of game for her to stalk, she spent several hours laying in my lap purring at me last night.

A few days ago, a group of about a half-dozen turkeys wandered down from the upper meadow into our yard to forage. They had somewhere around forty babies with them and were going very slowly, clucking all the way, so the babies would keep up. It was like watching a badly organized cattle herd with several cowboys - all wanting to go in different directions.

The twins rounded up a few of the babies and played with them. You can see that Aurora was perhaps not as gentle with the chick she caught as she ought to have been.



But no harm no fowl.

Five dollar silver certificate

Jun 7, 2006 at 1:36 PM
Does anyone know if this is worth anything?



Someone once laughed and told me this silver certificate was only worth five bucks (face value) because it has been handled so much. I don't really care, it is about the only american money in my paper money collection. I LOVE collecting money from around the world. Never in very large denominations, and usually only coins, but still even a peso or a canadian penny is exotic to me.

I shall have to post all of my various bills and countries.

44 Questions to Ask Yourself

Jun 6, 2006 at 11:15 AM
Recent arrests made in our war have me thinking.

While I am VERY much in agreement with catching our enemy and arresting real criminals and crazies before they can do damage to ethical, productive, good people (who wouldn't be?), I am terribly bothered by the charges I have just heard, and the fact that our enemies in a war, are being arrested.

Let's break that down into two points:

1. Arresting your enemy in wartime.

Aren't you supposed to separate peacetime terms from wartime terms? Aren't we supposed to separate these two ideas - in protection of the return to peace afterwards?

Notice the terminology in use recently:
arrest, warrants, crime

These are peacetime terms.

If we are at war, shouldn't we use our separate rules of war against our enemy? Shouldn't we be applying war terms to them? What about "prisoner of war" - if we're capturing our enemy? When did they become "detainees" - that bland, oblique term that hazes the grey line between peace and war even further?

Doesn't this result in a yawning limbo-land between the two? A grey area in the middle between peace and war into which civility and freedoms might very well fall - where our war is within? Where the police are also our soldiers againsdt the enemy that may become one of us? What happens when this enemy is beaten? Do we stop making up new crimes that would only have been crimes in a war environ?

When civilians get arrested and charged in civilian court systems for new crimes that are caused by a war mentality, is not acceptable. I do not accept that.

2. Arrested for studying?

OK - let me disclaim now that I am NOT pro-criminal. Punishment for crime is as important to society as is reward for achievement. I demand that people who committ crimes get charged. I also demand that people who have not yet committed a crime be allowed to continue unfettered. No grey area. Planning a crime is a crime. Arrest once you have solid proof that a crime is planned.

Nine recent arrests in the war on terror were said to be "for receiving training from a terrorist organization". That is not planning a crime. That is learning. If it has deeper meaning, why is the charge "receiving training"? Regardless of what THESE people did, that crime is now there to arrest others with.

Yes, we can tell these people are up to something, in this specific case. I agree.

But the creation of a crime of "receiving training" definitely raises a huge red flag. These people were being trained by a group known to have created other criminals - that is a very obvious bad thing, and it makes it really easy to know who to watch for the beginning of real crimes. It, in itself, is not arrestable.

How is receiving training - partaking in knowledge - a crime? Are we back to biblical times, the tree of knowledge? Are we back to believing that certain knowledge is dangerous?

While it might seem that it is terribly obvious that certain kinds of training are a step in the direction of a heinous crime, this begs the question of who defines which training is criminal?

Since there is no division between civil crime and war crime anymore, when does this new kind of crime start making it so that taboo subjects become criminal to train on?

Examples of areas of society presently taboo, disliked, or that make people uncomfortable that might be under the microscope of this law at some date in the future.

  • Religions. THis may seem far-fetched, unless you've taken a good hard look at the mental health arena. The anti-spiritual crowd currently has a firm grip on government. Psychiatry is the cause celebré of the anti-spiritual crowd, prayer is not allowed in schools, religions are not allowed to place their art in public places (where - God forbid - someone might see it and feel spiritual!). Psychiatry is actually known to have categorized religious fervor (often caused by receiving training in your religion) as an insanity. When does study - which after all leads to "Religious Fervor Disease" or "Spiritual Disorder" or what have you - of religious works become a crime?

  • Weapons and physical mastery. What isn't considered within the realm of a possible crime tool that you could learn in the martial arts and outdoor activities. Rappel? Martial arts? Self defense? Hunting? Swordsmanship? SCUBA? What about those weekend warriors who go to executive boot camps to improve their grasp on reality? Are they getting profiled as training with militants? This study actually can be linked to immediate crimes. Does the study of weaponry and personal physical mastery lead to the crimes that some people who have studied them become proficient in? You tell me. Does my black belt and gun ownership make me more likely to commit a violent crime? When do we start searching amongst ourselves for criminals before they happen by carefully tagging our study history for the proverbial red flag?

  • Alternative government. How about the fact that nearly every troublemaker against a government has studied the enemies of that government? Does agreeing with a taboo or alternate system of government make you a criminal? Does studying world history - which involves learning about the alternate forms of government that have affected world history - make you likely to become an anti-government militant? Since you can't tell the merely interested from the obsessed, wouldn't the mere study become a crime, if we're making "training" a crime?

  • Sciences. Knowing our world that intimately makes you have an edge against your "potential victim", makes the area of possible impingement quite a lot bigger, doesn't it? Think of the knowledge imparted in a study of advanced computer electronics, bio-chemistry, particle physics, or other sciences. Is a masters degree in applied astrophysics a warning sign of capability to harm others? Will we start arresting anyone who studies these sciences?


What about someone with a history of deeply held spiritual beliefs, martial arts training, a gun license, an interest in astro-physics, and who holds an irreverent view of government?

Oh, wait that's me! I'm a deeply spiritual person (as a Scientologist), I have a black belt (15 years ago) and a handgun license (single female in the woods needs one), I am Libertarian (I don't agree with the abuse of power but I'm not anti-government, I love my country). I have a hobby of reading about astrophysics that stemmed from my childhood addiction to Sci-Fi books - I wanted to know what they were talking about. I'm sure the government knows all this already, since I've bought most of my books through Amazon by credit card or from B & N on my membership card. Does my knowledge of computers make me a target?

Where do we draw the line, if mere training can get you arrested?

When did we stop waiting for the obvious future criminal to commit his crime? When did we start arresting those who are merely extremely likely to commit a crime because they've learned how?

I am fine with finding and obliterating the enemy, as long as the enemyt is not confused with the populace and the enemy is either outright killed, as one does with a war enemy, or charged and tried with war tribunals, war crimes, WAR anything.

Stop making civil charges against war criminals. It is not allowable to blur the lines, to push back our rights as a people, to allow new strange complicities to emerge as arrestable crimes so that we can catch our war enemy within our borders.

Keep the division obvious so that civilians on our side are not considered open targets. If the enemy soldiers are treated as civilians, so will our civilians be treated like soldiers by our enemy. If the enemy has decided there is no difference, that makes them bad. If we do it, that makes us foolish.

We want our peacetime laws and our peacetime lives and our peace. Stand up and say that you refuse to lose freedoms for the sake of safety.

The fear of loss results only in the loss of freedom. Unless people wake up and demand to keep what we have - a free society in the west, a free world - we will lose our freedoms through encroachment and the slow ebb of awareness from generation to generation of what was lost.

The laws that protect my freedom are ultimately not something I am willing to lose, even in wartime. If we lose that, the purpose and point of the entire war is gone. Every casualty of war, every veteran will be negated their glory. Every person who has ever fought for freedom will have failed.

I refuse to allow civil crimes and war crimes to co-mingle in terminology, in forum, in consideration. Please don't allow this to slip past you.

Are you gonna let this happen?

Celebration of Twinhood

at 10:20 AM


My lovely twins. Nine years old and they still lose their teeth within days of each other, reach every milestone nearly together. Same tooth, too!


Further proof:

Look at this amazing game of Scrabble. I think it's very intelligently worked out - these are little girls, so the words are not terribly high brow on their own. But they are definitely interwoven, and the words are being packed in like a crossword.

And I interrupted the game at bedtime - they hadn't started playing it until eight-fifteen.



It shows how well my children think together. Scrabble, to them, is not a competition, it is a goal to be reached together... while competing.

It doesn't matter too often who wins. The other is always fleetingly disappointed, and the one who won always checks on the other to see if it's ok. Then everything's fine and they're on to something else.

They don't argue, they still need to be touching when sleeping, and they still finish each other's sentences.

Here they are taking a walk through a meadow of lillies.

Target refunded my money

Jun 5, 2006 at 10:51 AM
Hey - just to make it clear, Target gave me a speedy and welcome refund for that problem last month as soon as I brought it up. At least they got that part completely profesionally pulled off.