Thursday, April 29, 2004

I Am Angry

Every time I sit down and read the news, I think I need to stop reading the news because it never fails to infuriate me.

At the risk of sounding just as partisan as those on the Right who rant and rave about all the stupid shit Liberals say and linking to notoriously lefty sources, here's a short list:

I'm angry about Help America Vote and black people who get erroneously branded as felons.

I'm angry about TV station-owning corporations that think the news from Iraq needs to be a little more cheery.

I'm angry about angry liberals who make us all sound like jackasses.

I'm angry about Bush's basically worthless testimony before the 9/11 panel.

I'm angry that John Kerry is my best choice for president this coming election.

I'm angry that art is getting kids in trouble.

I'm angry that due process is disappearing at GWB's whim.

And that's just 10 minutes of trying to remember everything I read that made me angry today.

'How to Grow Up'

I wanted to make the zine thing its own post, so here it goes.

I really want your contributions. If you have anything, ever, please pass it along.

Some ideas include:
  • Comics/cartoons
  • Letters exchanged between friends (either made-up, paraphrased, or copied verbatim--please make sure I can obtain permission from all parties, though)
  • Photos of people doing goofy things
  • Imagined, paraphrased, or dictated dialogues
  • Photos of inanimate objects that are goofy
  • Doodles from your class notes that are exceptionally odd
  • "One time, when I was..."-type stories
  • Tales of the Terror that is doing Weird Grown-Up Things for the first time, like a job interview, or even something more mundane
  • Reviews of albums, movies, etc. that have personal meaning to you
EVERYONE I KNOW is capable of submitting at LEAST one of the above. So PLEASE DO.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

My Arm Hates Me

No, I haven't been masturbating excessively.


I did, however, try to carry--on my own--one large suitcase containing a fancy video camera plus gear, one larger suitcase containing a shotgun mic, cables, and analog sound mixer, and one very heavy tripod, none of which had shoulder straps or anything of the sort to, say, facilitate single-person carrying functions. No. No, indeed.

I got tsked for five minutes by the guy who showed us how to use the cameras and sound mixers. At first, I took it as gentle teasing and told him it wasn't very encouraging. He continued his tsking. Then I gathered the things together for the first time and prepared to leave. His tsking escalated and he noted that *that* was why.

Oh. Duh.

So this was an exciting adventure in killing myself slowly with expensive media gear. I took the elevator downstairs and knew I was fucked. I called Chris, who ended up not being on campus, and didn't have the phone numbers of anyone else who might be on campus and willing to help me. So I took the bus. From north campus to south. Two stops. Pathetic. But, really, one shouldn't try to carry this stuff alone, so I don't know what I was thinking.

By the time I got to work, my left elbow--under which I'd tucked the heavy tripod--was about spasming with unhappiness and my whole arm felt heavy. Not a good sign.

It's ridiculously sore today, and that's after I got a ride home after work (with help carrying gear to the car), a ride to campus just prior to our filming plan, and so I only had to carry the whole shebang into the HUB and down a flight of stairs once I got there.

Anyway, we got about ten minutes of footage down so far. Yay. And that may be unusable because of the angle of things and stuff... it's hard to explain, but the shot isn't set up in the best of ways, nor is the space particularly helpful, and blah. The sound should be good, though. We taped the Muslim men praying in the basement of the HUB, so there is chanting and whatnot.

Oh, and there was a chair shoved into the middle of my shot mid-prayer. Annnhhh.

For Friday, I have it arranged so at least one other person will be around to help pick up and return gear.

Anyway, I am taking off this weekend. Heading to Portland Saturday with my mom so I can meet my new niece, who's name is Puthyda--pronounced "puh-tea-dah" and meaning "angel" in Khmer. Also, I am driving home with Christine, who is stealing her mom's car. We are going to go to Burgerville FOR REALS. I am getting a berry smoothie. Their smoothies are like fat-free frozen yogurt milkshakes and as such are divine.

OH. And. Guys. I am making a zine, I think. The title is How to Grow Up. A lady at Bulldog told me that because I was buying three other zines, or something, I should make a zine for them to sell. And I always meant to do that, y'know? So far, I am making Lauren do comics--y'all will love Lauren's comics if you haven't seen them already--and Chris will write stories about lessons learned in his youth, which will be high-larious. Anyway, it's not a theme issue this time around, so if you want to write (nonfiction, please, and no poetry) or send me art or photos of weird shit in exchange for, umm... well, nothing, really, but I could give you a copy of the zine when it comes out... yeah, e-mail me your idea or the whole thing sometime soonish. I would love to hear from you, whoever you are.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Referral Logs

I love them.

Without them, I'd never know people are reaching with searches for "peanut butter and jelly, that's what I like in my belly." It's good to know other people remember that line and I'm not crazy or a musical visionary.

Or that lots of people are finding my 11th grade literature review of Ken Kesey's works.

Or that "shaved pits gallery" gets you my site, somehow.

Or that these two photos seem to get stuck in google's image search an awful lot.

Thank you, google.

New and Newer

I have updated the links a couple times now, most recently to add links to things you might want to listen to. One displays my interest in liberal political issues (hello, duh), one in a local indie rock station (I have gotten lazy and cheap), one in the best damn radio show currently in production, and one in my boyfriend's pretty music.

The newer news is that I have a new niece. I'll have to get back to you on the name and how it's spelled, but she was born at 1:30 in the morning yesterday, and I'm sure she's lovely.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Movies and Such

Saw Kill Bill Vol. 2 over the weekend. Walked out of the theater feeling a little dazed. That pair of movies is what makes going to see movies worth it for me. Just great stuff. I'd never argue it's the best movie ever made or be offended if someone else disliked it, but I sure enjoyed myself. Hurrah.

Also rented The Triplets of Belleville on PAL DVD. Yay for cheap region-free players! The movie was lovely--see it if you haven't, or wait for the Region 1 to come out--and Kevin tells me it's his favorite movie of the year. Big words from someone who usually whines when I want to watch a damn movie.

In other matters, a prof from my department spoke to my class today about his latest hippie to-do: The September Project. They're trying to organize events at every public library in the country on Sept. 11 to... they're not really clear, but create some kind of civic engagement and discussion of issues among citizens. Seems like a noble, if ambiguous, goal, one I'll rightly support. There's nothing like the energy of 30,000 people gathered in earnest for... something. There was a lot more discussion than that, but I don't feel like blathering about it right now. Maybe some other time, especially if I decide to get involved. Which I might.

Nothing much else going on, I don't think. I finished the New York Times crossword today and that made me get the them to Happy Days stuck in my head. I saw some weird, half-erased grafitti in the restroom--it read, in sloppy red letters: "I want some fucking juce (sic) right now." No idea.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Weird Dreams

For people who hate reading about other peoples' dreams... you know what to do.

I had two odd dreams last night.

The first revolved around a guy--who happened to be Theo from The Cosby Show--who was pregnant with my kid. Apparently we were former lovers, a long while estranged, but reunited in a sense to discuss the kid-thing. He asked me if I'd consider getting back together with him, and my eyes welled up. I told him I'd thought of the same thing, but didn't want to ask, since the circumstances of our breakup were my fault (I think I cheated), and anyway I'd love to. A few minutes later, after much hugging and crying, I backed out, remembering Kevin, and how in love we were, and how I couldn't possibly leave him. Theo said he understood, but he was, naturally, hurt. The dream ended with me telling him how very serious the relationship was, and thinking how I wished I could still have something to do with the kid.

Later, I dreamed that I was traveling the globe again. One night, after some weird workshop in a place that was partially house and partially woods, I tried to walk across the house through the woods to where some other people were standing and was attacked by some vicious cats--they later said the black ones were panthers and the paler, multicolored ones were coyotes, but neither had the size or look of their supposed namesakes. I shooed away the first two when the third bit my hand and clamped down. I started yelling "help" after a few moments of confusion. My group leader got the beast's jaw detached from my hand and applied a band-aid to a small part of the wound. My hands and legs began feeling numb. I asked if anyone would take me to the hospital--a middle-aged white woman said she would, in a bit. I waited while she filed her nails, growing increasingly anxious about the spreading poison and the jiggly piece of bone visible in my wrist. Everyone brushed me off when I requested help.

Good thing I woke up before anything worse happened. It was almost a conscious decision.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Possibly Maybe

For some reason, I wanted to post that I love this song.

Bjork. Many odes have been composed to your beauty and brilliance. To them I can add little but chime in with my support.

As much as I definitely enjoy solitude,
I wouldn't mind spending a little time with you...

I don't know. So good it makes me want to cry.

Additionally, some people should listen to the Books, for they are kinda rad.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Ugh. I was dumb this morning and couldn't locate the plastic tub of leftover red curry, just the rice, so I could only pack one meager meal for my 12-hour day. I ate it very slowly--one piece of sauceless spinach and cheese whole wheat pizza at lunch, one piece at the 3:30 dinner with a side of peanut Clif bar and water. Now I am all lethargic and dreaming of the meal it will take every last ounce of energy to prepare in the event that I actually make it home someday.

Today there have been some amusing stories in the news. Like Jack Nicholson wanting to buy a(nother) castle, but in Iceland, until he learned that there were no castles in Iceland [citation here]. And the new president of my university is getting paid twice as much as the president of the country--oh, wait, that's not amusing, just disgusting.

My group project is really interesting, but it seems sort of amorphous and disorganized, at least mentally, so far. The one guy in our group is silent and seems willing to do only the absolute minimum required. He will die. Otherwise, though, I like the people in my group and we have good discussions and some synchronicity of thought.

Did I tell you our topic? Probably not.

The focus is something along the lines of: Muslims in the Middle East are fighting to reassert Islamic values amid Western influences because they view it as an assault on their beliefs and way of life. There's a secondary focus that views the Christian Right in the United States as a parallel. Obviously this is just one idea we're exploring; there are at least a dozen related ideas that we'll get into. And I'm loathe to discuss it on this site because, honestly, my knowledge of these issues is practically nothing, really, and it's not a subject I'm interested in debating online, just researching.

I do have opinions, at least loosely held, but y'know, I'm a white girl from a shade-grown, liberal town. What do I know about the realities of life there? Of the life of my politicians or military officials? I don't know. I just don't want to get into it. I'll show y'all the project when it's done, sure. I'm just not going to talk like I know from where I speak, because I don't, and without tons of reading and/or experience I'm unlikely ever to have, I never will. I'll just listen.

I can call it "objectivity," not that I believe in the concept, really. But it's what journalists are supposed to do.

In my copy editing class, some students argued with the instructor over whether or not it was reasonable to think that Congress censored President Clinton after the Lewinsky mess. This was a single sentence in an AP Stylebook exercise; we had to mark it so that "United States" was abbreviated, congress and president were capitalized, and the word "censored" replaced with "censured," because that's what the Congress did, and that was all in the damn stylebook. Why argue over something that indicates that you had no idea what those words meant? Just note to yourself that you were ignorant about something and move on. I do it all the time. I am pretty ignorant about a lot of details.

But the big picture, man, I know it all. Right.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 this weekend. Chris is working until 5 Friday, so we're probably going to catch a Saturday matinee at either the Neptune or the Oak Tree. None of this paying-full-price garbage. Also, Rachel has informed me she will be in town and wishes to grace me with her presence, so I'll look forward to that.

My brother got into his fancy-schmancy music camp this summer and gets to spend two months in Aspen, Colo., studying bass with the principal bassist for the New York Philharmonic who moonlights as a teacher at Julliard. And he might get to do something with Edgar Meyer. I mean, yeah, wow. And I might get to be mom's driving partner. I've never been to Colorado.

Wow, I need food. Brain is dying, quickly.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Calming Down

After my SUCCESS with Java!!

Woo-hoo, crosswords!

I Am Win!

Hey dude I rule! I got it working! Janeane Garofalo is ticking my ears with her witty political insights, or whatever!

Gosh, liberals can be just as harpie as conservatives! Shocking!!!

Hacking It Up Oldschool

I confess: I am nothing but a geek hanger-on. I run Linux only because I think Microsoft is despicable and can't afford a yummy Mac; when it comes to making almost anything work in my system, I haven't a fucking clue what I'm doing. I try. I try, then fail, then whine at my boyfriend to make it work, because he is Linux-proficient.

However, even he can't get Java to work. Which is so frustrating because my crossword addiction has been forcibly cut off. I don't know what to do with my hands anymore.

I guess I'll just have to take up smoking or knitting or something.

Anyway, my current debacle involves getting something to stream RealAudio so I can listen to Air America Radio like a good pinko, as well as This American Life archives. Google and its results are being uncooperative and unhelpful.

"Download this thing!" Bash can't execute this file. "Register here and then download this other thing!" I have no idea what I'm looking at. But I am determined that I will figure it out before Kevin wakes up, by gumb, because I must figure something out for myself on this wretched machine.

However, Kevin did get that $40 CyberHome player that can be s3kr3tly turned into a region-free player and it worked, which is so rad. We rented the R2 PAL second season of The Office and it played. VCDs are also working. We have yet to test mpg on CD that it supposedly also plays, but those two alone make it more than worth the $40. ***AWESOME***

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Thinking, Thinking

The weather has turned spring-like here in the great Pacific Northwest, and no one I know is complaining about it. We've plenty else to complain about, to be sure, but not the weather.

I swear to god I've had things to talk about the past few days, but wasn't really at a place to blog about them--and now that I've got all the time in the world to blog my brains out, I've got nothin'. What bullshit.

My computer is evidently working. Yay. I don't have powered speakers unless I plug it into my ancient, power-sucking stereo, though, so that doesn't make me happy. And when I do that, xmms (linux sound player) gets angry and won't do anything and I am too ennnggh to do anything about it. Also, at present, my power supply and heat sink don't fit in my case at the same time. So the insides of my computer are a major crumb-magnet. Always a good thing!

My boss made the mistake of introducing me to the LA Times Online crossword puzzles, so that's a huge time-suck at work. It doesn't work at home because the x-java-vm shit is confusing and I can't figure it out. The Seattle Times decided that giving me the paper for free wasn't working for them anymore, so I don't have a hard copy, except for the Daily and its grainy-but-still-really-hard New York Times crossword on weekdays. Chris's Christian Science Monitor apparently has a weekly (very easy) crossword, but I feel bad stealing his paper unless it's been abandoned on the dining table all week.

I am the biggest dork in the universe for so avidly seeking out motherfucking crosswords like this, for serious. Like I don't have anything better to do.

School is good. I honestly feel excited about my two classes. I've applied to graduate, which took all of a minute in each advising session. My psych adviser took the opportunity to harass me about going to the Career Center and Career Fairs and blah. I should get my resume fixed up all purty, yes, but I have looked at the Career Fair. It's big corporate or government stuff for which I have no interest or qualification. So it was smile-and-nod time.

I still don't know what I'm going to do when I'm done. I guess I better get cracking on that.

Yesterday my Digital Journalism workshop was about shooting. With video cameras. While returning heat sinks at Fry's last night, I checked out a camera that seemed like the equivalent of the newer one we get to use and it was about $3,000. And extremely cool. It's a high-quality miniDV Sony PD170. It does a lot of stuff.

Let's see, what else. Not that much going on. This week's rentals included a Frontline documentary about Islam in the 21st century (useful for my group project), The Ben Stiller Show, and Kurt and Courtney, which sucked. I read a dopey piece of chicklit entitled Good In Bed, bought at a thrift store, as well as the new issue of Bitch.

And I am addicted to the fruit-flavored Xylichew gum that is evilly expensive but great because it isn't sweetened with aspartame, nor does it make my teeth feel like rot. And dammit, I need gum, or I will bite my nails constantly. Or snack. I just don't need that.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

So Much Stupid Crap, So Little Time

Nothing like a few days that feel like a waste to make you angry at life.

I hate April Fools. The "jokes" are not really funny, and usually, I forget about this little "holiday" until I am brought back to reality and have to disbelieve everything anyone says all day, which is a pain in the ass. In addition, this year, a few remarkably stupid things happened that made me question my sanity.

For one, at work, I found out that the week before, when I'd been doing installs, I had disabled the security program incorrectly, voiding all the work I'd done. This meant 20 machines had to have virus software and security updates reinstalled, a program one class needed had to be upgraded again, and another program (an Excel add-on) that was totally wasted. That one was the worst, because its nonexistence was the reason we learned of my big mistake in the first place. The instructor said they couldn't find the program on any of the machines but the one my boss did. I'd done all the others. And the kicker was we couldn't just go back and install it again because the license codes were submitted online and limited, so once I installed them the first time, that was it: no more licenses. So my boss had to call the company and get them to give us something to work with--another version of the software and new license codes--and made sure I did it right this time. Bleh. It was a pretty big screw-up and I felt so badly. Fortunately, I didn't get in a lot of trouble because my boss is a nice man and I was helpful in righting the situation, or something.

Then I got a call from Rachel (!) who was on campus with her mom for new student weekend--she'll be attending grad school here in the fall. I called her back and told her to swing by my work before 3, so she did. Which was nice. We made plans to see a late showing of Good-bye, Lenin! later.

And then I went home and couldn't find my car keys. I turned my room upside-down, but no car keys. I began thinking perhaps Kevin stole them as some stupid April Fools prank, but he swore up and down he wouldn't do that. Rachel called, and I told her I couldn't make it due to the lack of car keys, so that was sucky.

On the good side of things, we picked project groups (a.k.a., production crews) for my digital journalism class. I'm in a group of five focusing on Islam in Iraq. We have to write two stories, a "breadth" story and a "depth" story, on that subject, and create a multimedia project with a web interface for it. There is an art student and semi-professional web designer in my group, so hooray. The rest of us were pretty well able to divide up the tasks we'd like to learn, which was mostly everything--I'll get to learn a little bit about shooting and editing film, which I'm pretty excited about.

Steph and I were fiending for a lazy but cheesy dinner that night and decided to call a place in Lake City for which we'd received a delivery menu in the mail, addressed to "Resident." We chose cheesy pasta dishes (that came with salad and bread) and phoned in the order. The guy on the phone had the most hilariously stereotypical Italian accent--he actually said things like, "It'sa no problema!" The food arrived quickly and was appropriately satisfying, if not the most health-conscious choice I could've made.

Trouble continued the next morning, when I got up to use the computer and the wireless card was suddenly not being detected. Then the machine froze up, and refused to respond to rebooting requests. This was problematic. Kevin couldn't get it to work and suggested my motherboard might be on the way out.

This meant a painful, two-hour trip to Fry's, my most hated place to be short of maybe Wal-Mart, McDonald's, or Hell, where my credit card took a beating to the tune of $250. I had to replace my ancient motherboard, and of course my processor, RAM, heatsink, and power supply had to go as well. We were going with the cheapest reasonable choices, too. It just sucked. I am grateful for Kevin and Chris, who tirelessly debated my options so I didn't have to, but man, do I hate spending any amount of time at that store, let alone two hours. Or spending so much money I don't really have to spare.

An aside: one of the girls in my project group came to class on Friday and nervously admitted that she hadn't been able to get any research done on our topic yet. I interjected, "Oh, me neither, my computer blew up this morning." Never have I been so glad I chose that metaphor over another common description when she told me her excuse was that her grandmother died unexpectedly last night.

The new motherboard seems to have done the trick, although the heatsink we first bought is about as loud as a jet engine. This meant another trip to Fry's today to pick another (and, of course, slightly more expensive) heatsink that purports to be "quiet."

I also found my car keys. They were hanging on a nail in the wall. So I wouldn't lose them.

Kevin's crazy Canadian friend Simon is in town this weekend, so I finally got to meet him. He's... interesting. And I am now very bored. But I did finish David Sedaris's "Naked" this morning, while being naked, so the day wasn't a total loss.