Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gerbils Vs. Barbie Doll Townhouse

Yep, I'm anti-Xmas. I can't say it was one specific incident that led me to throw in the itchy polyester Santa hat. It may be part of my decline into a bitchy, solitary middle-age. Bill O'Reilly's freak out a while back might have been the last nail in the red and white coffin but the first one was ages ago.

While growing up in rural Nevada, my Dad used to shell out pretty big for my presents. It was the one time of year my Mom would pop a fuse if he failed to spend at least a hundred bucks on me. The rest of the time, he conveniently (and thriftily) forgot he had a third child living with the ex-wife far from the balmy golf courses of California.



When I was 10, the big present I bleated for was a Barbie Doll Townhouse. Not that I actually owned any Barbies. (My staunch feminist leanings were beginning to show). I just wanted a place for Johnny West and family to live and a split-level would be ideal so they could park the plastic ponies downstairs.

When I opened my present, I was a little disappointed in the Townhouse. It was two panels of cardboard printed on one side with some plastic yellow pillars to hold up the other floors.

Johnny West and his pardn'rs weighed more than the whole thing. When I tried to seat Johnny in one of the upper floors, the cardboard sagged perilously.

One day, bored with the whole plastic horse/plastic cowboy collection, I left them strewn in my room. I also had my gerbil family out running free range across the Linoleum. I shut the door of my room and went outside to play in the Siberian-like weather.

When I came back a few hours later, I was shocked to find the house completely collapsed. One yellow pillar was under my bed, and suspiciously, an entire section of printed cardboard had been dragged over to the entrance of the gerbil's cage. My Barbie Doll Townhouse had been reduced to a massive pile of carefully shredded bedding by the industrious gerbils.

Sulking and whining, I kicked the gerbil family rudely out of their fine pile of cardboard and took it out to my Mom where she laughed her ass off. She called the relatives and they all had a good laugh too.

I sulked on the couch and threatened to let our tabby cat, Freddy, have his way with my indolent pet rodents.

I'm not sure if there's anything in this besides some gerbil bedding ... but I don't know that I benefited from being brought up to believe -- like every other kid in America -- that Xmas was just about getting stuff. Just stuff. Usually plastic, guaranteed to break or end up in the back of the closet due to dis-interest.

There are only two presents guaranteed to enthrall children for more than five minutes. A shiny set of keys if they are under three and bedtime story books until they are 12.

If I had kids, I'd stay far from the malls and farther from Toys-R-Us. Forget the lead paint scare. Teach them to play without all the plastic.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Vain Attempt at Motivation ...

In an effort to escape the cubicle prairie, I submitted copies of a short story I wrote about nine months ago.

A really old, professor-y guy up at Hugo House looked it over in October and right away said, "Why haven't you been published?"

Then he told me about this sea of (mostly) college-based literary anthologies floating on the edge of the fiction publishing world. This ain't literature you would find in the airport gift shop. But since I am PRO-art/writing and since I am PRO-independent anything, I'm plowing through a few of these, even if they don't pick my story to print.

The most prestigious of the lot is McSweeney's, which was founded by Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius which sat on the New York Times best seller list for quite a while.

The others are:

Hayden's Ferry Review, which I'm reading right now. Not to brag, but the competition in this one just doesn't look that intimidating. Do these writers really all have PhDs in literature?

This one's based out of Purdue University. You can tell by the very serious font.

This one's out of a Texas university. Note the southwestern motif.

This one's out of Boise State U. I didn't know the literacy rate was high enough in the Potato State to support a college English department, let alone an annual literary anthology. I always thought Idaho was full of meth labs, Mormons, people missing too many teeth, pickups and neo-Nazis. Now, if they'd just build a really big fence around it ...

This one's out of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which makes more sense. They have lots of time to read in Alaska.

So in six months, hopefully, the SASEs containing rejection letters will began to flow in. Yeah, that was 40 bucks in shipping an' copies well spent.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Is it just me ...



... or does anyone else have the urge to lick their TV screen when Lee Pace is on?



Not that I can stand to watch Pushing Daisies. It's this neutered version of "Dead Like Me", may that lovely show R.I.P. And also network commercials make me INSANE. I'll have to buy it on DVD after it gets canceled. Trust me, it will. Inventiveness never goes unpunished in Hollyweird.



And don't hate me for borrowing your fan pics off Flickr. It's a form of flattery ... and also I don't live within a 1,000 miles of Hollywood so it's not like I can stalk him with a camera phone.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oh, Pommie Geeks


It's been way, way too long since I visited www.b3ta.com. I shouldn't stay away so much. They're doing ninjas again!

In an effort to avoid paying Flickr their damn yearly fee, I've opened multiple accounts but, of course, can't get the little shits to 'link' to one another. Grrr. But you should visit and comment on them. I don't have ninjas but I do have actual knights in actual shining armor that they probably paid a lot of money for.

This is the main Flickr account with herb photos

This is the secondary account with juicy pics from my rockin' new digital camera

And this is the third or back-up account which has a little of both of the above acct's pics


Good luck fellow digital camera ninjas!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mess with my mind

I read this article in L.A. Weekly and really liked it. The author -- who's white, male and apparently a member of that elite Hollywood writer posse -- did a good job of revealing the underlying uber creepiness of the Web. People not portraying themselves accurately as a friend used to say.

On top of this, I'm taking a lit class at the Hugo House and reading Don DeLillo who is just fucking up my mind to no end.



And I'm spending quality time in Flickr dragging photo images around (that's St. John's Wort above) and tidying up my profile. I've got a new camera on order from Amazon and I'm tempted to 'go pro' on the Flickr site and pay for a full account.

I'm also slowly getting away from MySpace. What a black hole of stupidity that site has become.

And to think DeLillo predicted this in 1985, even before William Gibson. I get a headache just thinking about it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oh Vancouver

I finally went to freakin' Canada. I mean B.C. is like right there and I've been up here for almost four years so I was really over due for a trip. Unfortunately I had reservations at THE worst youth hostel in all of North America. This caused me to cut my trip way short. I was PMSing real bad, terrified my big backpack was going to disappear if I left it in that toilet of a hostel for even five minutes and I didn't want to get mugged. Yup, I accidentally got the tour of Canada's biggest skid row.

But, in the words of Arnold, "I'll be baaack." Next time either a much nicer hostel or, fuck it, I'll spring for a hotel.



I'm guessing the Couve is about three times the size of Seattle. Their suburb, Burnaby, was like basically what Tacoma is to Seattle. Gorgeous city all in all despite the heroin junkie problem down in Gastown/Hastings.

The aquarium was unbelievably crowded, even on a Tuesday! The belugas were large, smelly and made growling and clicking noises but I heard no 'singing' per se. They had a sea lion that was so big, he looked like he would just eat the other seals if they forgot his lunch.

The people were predictably cool and indifferent to tourists, just like here. Lots of pretty, slim people. Yes, just like Australia, Canada is where they keep all the really pretty white people. Must be all those English, Scottish and Irish genes. Bizarrely, they all looked like they did the Fake Bake thing.

My Vancouver pics on Flickr.

Anyhow, here's the beginning of more photos soon to come. I'm trying Flickr out and so you can click on the upper right to view as a slide show or you can leave comments. Somebody please tell me what the name of that one gothic-style building is.

Friday, August 03, 2007

HE TOUCHED A DEAD SQUIRREL !

So there I am laid out like a broken NFL player. The first week of July I had my nose completely closed off and tape up to my ears. (The creepy nervous exhaustion that went on for four days courtesy those nasty, filthy anesthesia drugs was NOT helping.) I'm sprawled on St. Claire's sofa in the sweet haven of Lake Stevens. And this woman has cable. So what to do when I can't do anything else? I stare vacantly at the boob tube.

There I am surfing while high on Extra-Strength Tylenol and Valium and all of the sudden I saw HIM on Discovery's Man Versus Wild. This freaky, plastically pretty Brit named "Bear" Grylls (real name Edward - thanks Wikipedia). See "Bear" used to be in the British Special Forces which makes him a lean, mean ... uh, freak ... poncey ... machine?



Don't get me started about how he whips his teeny willie out and, yes, pees on his own t-shirt, because afterward HE PUTS IT ON HIS HEAD. Well, it's "beastly hot" he explains. "Bear" and camera crew are in southern Utah in the middle of summer. (I was in southern Utah in August, mister, and not once did I pee on my clothes. They have Quicky Marts full of bottled water.)

No, no, friend, the piece de resistance came when (I'm shaking as I type this) "Bear" ... touched ... a ... dead ... squirrel. This wasn't just some random carrion like "Bear" would dine on. Oh, no. This was the most putrid, greenish, blow-fly ridden, swollen sack of maggots ever to grace a pond in the southwest. It was the kind of carrion other dead things would try and creep away from on their maggoty little feet. It was that skeevy. "Bear" doesn't just touch the stinking carcass, he gets in the damn water with it, he fucking takes a bath with the thing!

Suddenly, Claire who is crashing around in her kitchen, hears me croak in the most pathetic, nasal voice: "OHMIGOD! COME QUICK! YER MISSING IT! HE TOUCHED A DEAD SQUIRREL! OHMIFUCKINGGOD! GROSS! EEEK!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Primal Fear & the Little Things

Feeling 90% better this week. Not even on Tylenol anymore. The surgical packing is all outta my nose and it's healing great, just gross skin peeling inside and out and it itches like mad.

I had SOOO much apprehension about this procedure. Still pondering why? Seems like I sailed thru my orthopedic foot surgery in June 2004 and that was far more invasive than this -- they had to break, cut and re-align bones in my right foot followed by six weeks on crutches alone in a three-story walkup. That seems like a cakewalk compared to this.

Have decided there's just something primal/caveman about any sort of dental or facial surgery. The little cave person inside of me was looking at the anesthesiologist and the surgeon last Tuesday and mentally shrieking: "GET AWAY FROM MY FACE!"

It didn't help that every fucking disclaimer/cautionary form (fear file) I had to sign said things like: "Patient is having this procedure to repair compromised airways. Patient understands that medications given during surgery will SUPPRESS breathing and patient may DIE." Between last Thursday the 5th and Saturday night, I got it into my tiny, drug-adled mind that I could not go to sleep or I would DIE. I even remember telling my surrogate nanny, 'watch me while I'm asleep and make sure my lips don't turn blue okay?'

All it takes is a little anesthesia and one bad trip on some oxycodone and I am Paranoid Fear's cowering little bitch.

Course the flip side has been the mornings have never looked more beautiful, the breeze has never felt sweeter, my bed has never looked more relaxing and inviting. Even things like insanely loud traffic and herds of school kids disembarking from buses in front of the Key Arena seem some how precious and worth witnessing.

As Tyler would have said in Fight Club "How's that for a near-life experience?!"


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Deviate Septums ...



... just flat-out suck. I miss my nose.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Three (Eyeball) Monty

After killing myself for this menial, albeit good-paying job, I've got bennies now. Aetna is cutting nearly $400 a month from my gross earnings to allow me the privilege of only having to do the co-pay thing at the doctor's. Oh, lucky me.

So I went to a Fred Meyer's Optical yesterday for an exam ($70) and then picked out a pair of frames that will hold their fucking shape and theoretically have titanium in them (more expensive!) (All eyeglass frames in the world are made by a half-dozen slaves in a shed somewhere outside of Beijing where they're all chained to some antique metal lathes with little pictures of Chairman Mao glued to the side.)



In honor of my reaching 294 in dog years, I'm now blind close up and at a distance. "Progressive bi-focals" cost more than regular near-sided lenses, apparently three times more.

The conversation went like this: "You have the standard $300 benefit from Aetna. So minus the exam, that's $230 left over. Plus your frames at $149.95 ($150), plus the progressive lenses, plus the anti-scratch plan, minus the reduced glare, minus the (stylish!) thinned edges, leaves you with a total not covered of $284."

Before you accuse me of being a dupe for going to a department store optical dept., you should know I checked out two private eyeglass places. One wanted $140 for the initial exam and the other wanted $300+ for their "cheap" frames which were on sale (keep the image of the slaves chained to a lathe in China in the back of your mind because, trust me, they're not seeing any of this markup profit).

I came out of the eyeglass place feeling ass raped. Is it just me or has a visit to the optician now turned into a game of Three-Card Monty?

Makes me wanna go watch a movie about America's healthcare system (what system?!).


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pilates O' Death

Pilates is a form of exercise long touted by the svelte, celebrity set. A couple summers ago I bought a DVD of 'beginners' pilates off a discounted book rack. Tried it at home exactly twice. Actually made it half way through the dreary dialogue put one by two, highly toned, tanned and blonde Aussie bimbos. Bimbettes? Bimbii?


Fast forward to here and now and after 1.5 months of sitting on my ever-widening ass at Boeing all day, I decided to join a gym. So I'm going to this 24hr Yuppie Gymboree and today I tried my first real live pilates. Like, in front of other people. Dear Gawd.

The instructor was this friendly, cheerful Asian guy of indeterminate sexual orientation (read: half the male population of Puget Sound) but as soon as the crooning Enya CD started, he turned mean. (Right after it hit me that I was THE oldest, fattest one in the studio).

I vaguely remember him saying something about lying on your back with knees tucked and bent and arms near your head and doing this NIGHTMARISH variation on a stomach crunch. I was supposed to flex my left ribs down toward my left hip and then again on the opposite side. I don't know about most of you, but on me, that part of my body (lats?) is nothing but 100% cellulite.

It wasn't so much a matter of using muscles I didn't know I had as trying to use muscles I haven't had since summer 1996 when I was a lean, mean USFS firefighting machine.

But that's okay because I have wine. Oh, yes. And I have aspirin and ice packs. And I just got the seventh season of "Buffy" on DVD today.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Free-Range Psychos

For anybody that might care, I was sorta attacked on Wednesday afternoon. Broad daylight, nice neighborhood, birds chirping, all that.

I had just ridden one of the Boeing Field metro buses back up to downtown, hopped off at the downtown library and was hoofin' it up between Virginia Mason and Harborview Medical Center when this 6'2" black guy with pupils the size of dinner plates came pogoing down the sidewalk.

Got two inches from my nose, started screaming at me, shoved me, yes, it was great fun. Fortunately I had my ear buds in and was listening to my mp3 player so I missed half of the "GONNA FUCK U UP WHITE BITCH" comments. Apparently my wearing sunglasses set him off, tho, probably just the mere fact I was 1) female and 2) a pedestrian would have been enough.

Anyhoo, after a few minutes of "GONNA FUCK U UP!" he bounded down the sidewalk screaming over his shoulder at me.

I was gonna call the Seattle P.D. but as they have the same Catch-n-Release policy as the Portland P.D. I just blew it off.

Irony was I had my stun gun with me, in my freakin' hoodie pocket the whole time. It's this ridiculous dildo-looking thing, 'stun baton' I think the box said.

I just kept flashing on these videos I'd seen on YouTube of idiot drunk kids playing with stun guns. They'd down a shot of tequila, zap themselves and then giggle. I was seriously concerned that Batshit Psycho would have done the same thing since he was obviously flying on the Seattle meth-heroin-cocaine-PCP cocktail so loved by our colorful street people.

Yes, in the Pacific Northwest we don't have mental hospitals anymore. Why that would require actually have a national health plan and an infrastructure for social services and we ain't even got that. Yep, round here all our violent crazies are FREE RANGE -- like the chicken farms only more thrilling.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Geek World



It's official. I've attended my first computer convention. I don't know if that makes me a geek tho'. I still can't write XML for shit and I don't know that I ever want to learn Javascript. The only script I wanna write is the kind for movies.



Saturday, April 28th I caught a free charter bus ride courtesy Pogolinux to Bellingham, Wash., the City of Subdued Excitement. Bellingham is 15 miles south of Vancouver, B.C. and the air was filled with the sounds of 'oh geez' and 'aye'. There was also rabid talk about MySQL. I just kept wondering: Sequel to what?

Anyhoo, I found the outdoor sculptures at Bellingham Technical College more interesting than endless pics of true geeks standing behind their various tables gushing geekspeak and drooling over the latest Linux distro. ('Distro' = OS or platform).

And I won't talk about how I spent five hours camped out back in RE Lectronics room coercing three Linux geeks into helping me get that damn, cursed Toshiba laptop working. Suffice it to say, in the end, I donated it to RE Lectronics for parts and they are now supposed to set me up with a trade in.

Tho', I think this will involve me renting a car Memorial Day weekend and driving up there to further coerce them into dusting off an old Dell or Compaq laptop and installing Ubuntu on it for me.

My life is so much more care-free and efficient now that computers are in it. I can just smell the chip sets smoking.

Here's some legit pics from Brian Lane of the various vendors/sponsors and ubergeeks.



Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Rob & Bob have the same job!"

This week has been weird ... and also a goofy testament to everything you've ever heard about the so-called Perfect Resume (like The Perfect Cheer maybe?). I got a contract gig with Boeing this morning.



It's down in that dusty, swampy, kinda sleazy area known as Boeing Field. The Field is home to several top-secret federal offices (seriously, don't tell anyone), frogs, a few eagles, one or two great horned owls and homeless guys that live in the weeds by the Duwamish and are so dirty they're blacker than that terrifying homeless person in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive.

Anyhoozle, this was weird because literally within a half hour of accepting the gig, I got five query emails from other headhunters for tech writing/DTP jobs.

Suddenly, inexplicably my resume no longer has virtual B.O.

Go figure. Saturn has stopped sitting on my astrological southwest node ... errr something.

And the goofy title of this post is a direct quote from my ditzy headhunter: "I'm not sure who's doing the intake paperwork this week. Rob and Bob have the same job. Hey that rhymes! Ta-heee!"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Honey, I don’t want your Bubba

Several years ago, one of my reporter friends wrote an article about a brothel in Battle Mountain. While interviewing one of the madams, he asked her what one of the biggest misconceptions was about hooking in a Nevada backwater like B.M. She said small town women universally believe hookers want to ‘steal’ their husbands away. The sweetest quote was: “Honey, I don’t want your Bubba.” I love that.

What’s weird is, I’ve found a disproportionate number of young Smug Marrieds (thanks Helen Fielding) seem to adopt a similar mentality toward all single women every where. Course this isn’t new.

It started in, oh, 1985. I was working a crap landscaping job in Sacramento. I had a co-worker who was a weekend mechanic and I had a question about my disintegrating Chevy Nova. I kept asking my cousin – who was his supervisor – to talk to the grease monkey for me. When she finally cornered him and asked him the question (having to do with the water pump) he blurted out: “I’m MARRIED, ya know!”

Um, that’s great. My question was about my freakin’ car, not your weenie, you dick.

In 2004, a (gasp) married co-worker agree to stop by to try and fix something on my computer. He showed up in a winter jacket, looking extra sweaty and nervous. It was July. The whole time he was in my studio apartment (about 7 ½ minutes) he kept glancing nervously at my bed (it’s a studio, you can’t miss it), my dirty laundry and me. Either the aroma of dirty laundry and the sight of a floppy, used bed is more seductive than a bucket of Calvin Klein perfume or I’m inhabiting a Guy Lair and no one ever told me.

What does go on in their tiny guy minds, I wonder? Do they jack off to fantasies of me (or insert ANY single woman) answering the door in a crouchless teddy with enough makeup on to make John Waters envious?

Fast forward to today and once again I’m dealing with this same weird, pointlessly awkward shit. Recently I had to meet a fellow student to go over a group project that was due in a few days. When my co-student showed up he brought his wife and their brand-new baby. His wife immediately sized me up. WTF? Even if we hypothesized for a second that this guy was single, he’s … just … not … my … type. He’s twitchy, doesn’t wash his hair and we have as much chemistry as a couple of flat sodas.

First thing they do upon arriving at our agreed coffee shop of choice? She plops the baby down in the middle of the table. It’s like: SEE? WE BREED! Yeah, so? You and every Yuppie from here to Ashland, Oregon. And he introduced her to me like three times before she reluctantly disappeared with baby on board to run errands. It was like someone saying to me at a party (in a bar, at a seminar, insert social event here): Hi, I’m MARRIED! This is MY SPOUSE! Did I mention we're MARRIED?!

So I’m hoping some married men, or their wives, can clue me in on what exactly is going on here. The second the ring gets jammed painfully onto his finger do all single women like me everywhere magically, miraculously transform into Kim Baysinger or Britney Spears look-alikes? Does answering the door in baggy sweats and a t-shirt send a secret signal of wild, rampant sexual promiscuity only married men can sense, kinda like whistles only dogs can hear? Do moldering piles of dirty laundry offer a whiff of untold lustful romps yet to come?

I don’t want your Bubba.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Mullet Vs. RuPaul

I saw '300' the other evening. It's based on Frank Miller's black-and-white-and-homophobic-all-over comic books.

Miller is the misogynistic author/graphic novelist who wrote the inspiration for 'Sin City'. In 'Sin City', Mickey Rourke looked more Republican than usual and I saw Jessica Alba's camel toe more times than I wanted to. Plus Toby Maguire was a serial amputator of broad's gams. I know, funny. Toby Maguire as a serial killer. Heehee.

(Free back rubs for hot Greek men!)


So in Miller's vision of the Battle of Thermopylae, King Leonidas is a raging hetero who only yearns for his skinny-as-a-boy wife. Yeah, right. The Greeks loved young, Abercrombie&Fitch-ish punks. I mean loved them. But Miller and director Zack Snyder were havin' none of that! So they made Persian King Xerxes a gold-lame drag queen. Which is weird given Xerxes had a full beard, was about 50 and had a hundred wives, twice as many concubines and rugrats runnin' all over Asia minor.

But the kicker is one of the New People on 'Lost' played Xerxes. Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro who rocks a mullet on 'Lost' is flamin' mo' Xerxes in Snyder/Miller's version of this story. Imagine that. A Brazilian soap opera star playing an ancient Persian emperor ... and playing him gay! VIVA CARNIVALE!

Oh well, Dan Savage said it way better than I just did but then his tolerance for ganja is much greater than mine.

Peace out and bring on the rippling abs!

Monday, March 12, 2007

For Your Edification

Gawd, I should be posting something deep, thoughtful and edifying. But after that last phone call from another asshat IT headhunter I just wanna beat my head against the wall. And then go to Candy Mountain ...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Literal Shitstorm

About five days ago, when Seattle was having a nice warm spell (55 F!) I went for a jog down at Myrtle Edwards Park along the water. As usual, the wind coming across from the Olympic Peninsula was fierce but at least not really cold.

On my way back home, I walked under some young cottonwoods at the north end of the park. Amid the wind and sideways rain I didn't realize that about 50 starlings were sitting in the trees. All of the sudden I was caught in a literal shitstorm. First one foul glob of guano hit the shoulder of my fleece hoodie (I'd JUST washed it) then I got some in my hair and finally one wad of bird shit hit the side of my glasses and my face.



Gasping with grossness and cussing the birds out, I staggered behind a short, stubby fir tree and cleaned the worst of the shit off. I got home and promptly took a shower. My fleece hoodie went back into the dirty laundry pile and I forgot about it and went to class.

Wednesday night, coming home from class, I started coughing. It felt like an asthma cough. Thursday morning I was feeling pretty bad. Friday, I was in such bad shape I had to have someone fill in for me at the yoga studio on custodian detail. Yesterday, I stupidly went to yoga and tried to workout and then clean. I nearly blacked out I was so dizzy. When I took my temp last night at 7:30pm, it was 101.6 F.

While groggily coughing up phlegm in the shower this a.m., I remember the shitstorm of a few days ago. Did that cause this?!

But then again, I'm reading a lot in one of my holistic MySpace groups about the dangers of dairy products, how they weaken our immune system and how Starbuck's now sells more milk than coffee.

I am sooo all done with lattes. Never fucking again.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Fellow Yogi

I knew Rick Linville only in passing. And I passed him a lot coming and going from the Bikram yoga studio up in CapHill.


He was a tall, ghostly-pale, unassuming guy. He was famous for freaking newcomers out with his noisy deep breathing during the beginning posture and he repeatedly dazzled 20-yr-old athletes with his deft ability to do "doubles", as in doing one hot yoga class right after another. That's like going into a 98-degree room at 4:40pm, doing the exercises and then staying for a second round to finally leave at 8:40pm.

I went to a small memorial at the studio for him last night. There were a lot of candles and flowers, one of the studio owners set up a small shrine in Rick's old position on the floor complete with a basketball and a bottle of his favorite soda. Rick had insulin diabetes (which he monitored with the occasional soda) and end-stage hepatitis which was destroying his liver. He had been coming religiously to the Sweatbox for four years straight and credited it with extending his life.

It was an awesome memorial. We did a 'silent' workout and got to listen to Brian Eno CDs, who Rick liked and it was perfect tunes for the event.

I'm certain Rick is enjoying perfect workouts now in a much nicer studio complete with cosmic sunlight.

Namaste

Friday, February 02, 2007

I ... Must ... Emulate

I'm supposed to emulate this guy's writing for my White Papers class.

I still feel kinda sleazy and dirty when I write marketing or ad drivel. It's like a Ganette-Urinal flashback or something and that daft shit, Sloane, is leering down at me asking me how the advertorials for the car dealership insert are coming. Ewww.

Oh well, if things go right, in a couple months I'll be writing for either a place that does genetic mutations or Gates of Borg out at the assimilation center in Redmond.

I'll try and post the link to my white paper when it's done so all of you (all two of you) can point at it and laugh.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

S.A.M. ... sudden art malaise?

Here's what they've done to my backyard. I'm not thrilled about it. Yeah, yeah at least not another 10-story condo but still. An eraser?!

Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Jesus, the Communist! (Like the musical only with more red)

About three months ago I saw an ad for an anti-Bush/anti-war group meeting. The Seattle chapter of the World Can't Wait had about a dozen members, including a half dozen core members. WCW was mostly middle-aged women and a smattering of idealistic, twenty something college guys. You know the kind -- they make their own punk clothes, are vegan, and write poetry worse than mine when they aren't reading Abbie Hoffman.

The big rally happened right after that first meeting on Oct. 5th. The WCW paid for a permit to meet in a Capital Hill park, had a string of not-terribly-good guest speakers and then we marched downtown. By the time we got downtown, there were about 1,000 people in the group. It was a gorgeous day and the whole thing was fairly successful; aside with WCW being a little pushy with the collection buckets at the rally in the park. They had me and several others wander through the crowd three times to beg for money presumably so WCW could pay for the rally. At least I think that's what the money was for. I've never heard a solid figure on how much was raised that day or what the total cost of the event was.

Afterwards, I went to their weekly meetings every Sunday in a very pretty and very drafty church in Ballard. They were usually two-hour bitchfests about the Bush Regime. Later, I went out in storms to put fliers up on phone poles, light poles, bulletin boards, etc.

The group got some members to fork over for some orange jumpsuits ala Gitmo style and started doing Thursday night vigils in the brutal cold in downtown Seattle. We were there to remind the holiday shoppers that hundreds of foreign nationals were being held illegally in Guantanamo by the Bush Regime and that the Military Commissions Act was an illegal trick that defied every known international law. Fair enough. I went to one of those and held a sign with a 70-year-old woman who had left another activist group because she said: "They were just all about the salmon and protecting the salmon habitat and I was just sick of fish activism." She was a nice lady but I'm not sure she should have been standing outside in the cold when she looked frail enough to blow away.

Things started to get weird. First I had to listen to a very authoritarian twenty something member scold myself and another meeting attendee for 'showing up late'. Well, shit. It's Sunday. It's awful weather out and we're here. (Citizen Alert was always grateful when anybody showed up.)

Then I found out that most of the 'core members' were also communists. That's fine. But they're members of a national organization called the Revolutionary Communist Party. I did a little reading on this group -- and it wasn't easy finding anything on them. The covertness of the RCP weirded me out to no end. I'd met tons of socialists when I was in the UK and especially Australia. Their socialist leanings were no big secret. They wanted national healthcare (the continuation of it) and more corporate accountability. What's wrong with that?!

Every time I asked one of the RCP members what they were about, why they were in WCW, I ran head first into the dreaded Smug Smile. If you've never experienced this, you've never been anywhere near Utah where the Mormons invented and perfected the Smug Smile. The Smug Smile basically sez: "You're wrong, I'm right. You're a sad, misguided unbeliever and you're going to hell. I, however, am going to heaven when I die. My own, personal heaven ... since we've already got most of Idaho by proxy."

I was getting that vibe from the RCP. So I did more reading and finally stumbled upon some truly creepy stuff. Like, for example, the RCP has founded numerous anti-war/anti-establishment groups since the 1980s. Most of these groups steam along for a few years and then just cease to exist. The websites come down, the meetings stop. No explanation. Coming from an environmentalist background I was shocked. The group I was in off and on from 1992-2002, had been in around since the late 1970s when it was founded to stop the MX missile system from being brought into Nevada by the Reagan administration.

I asked a couple of the 'core members' of the RCP what they were doing in the WCW. They assured me that they weren't looking for fresh communist recruits and that they only wanted to work with democrats, republicans, whoever to stop the Bush regime. But every single time I asked them WHAT their best-case scenario was they got cagey. I'd get the Smug Smile. What did the RCP want? A multi-party system? An abolishment of the electoral college? A few seats along side some libertarians and greens in the Senate? They always got super vague and would say things like 'well, that's the first step'. First step to what?

In December I went to a WCW meeting and one of the 'core group' (and RCP member!) announced that he was starting a Seattle chapter of a communist youth brigade. He was looking for members. He was doing exactly what the other RCP folks had told me they would never, do -- using WCW as a place to fish for new members for the RCP. This terribly idealistic kid wanted myself and the half dozen present to start working on fund raising so he and some other 'core group' members (RCP members too!) could fly to NYC and attend a meeting at WCW's national headquarters. I'm just wondering how close the WCW's New York office is to the RCP's national office ...?

I visited the website this guy had put up for the little youth brigade. It has rifles and bayonets as part of the motif.

Because politics -- any version of it -- always has a complicated history, I did a little more research. I learned that Mao, the former 'benevolent dictator' of communist China, was one of the RCP's favorite philosophers and they quote him a lot. I also learned he killed an estimated 15 million Chinese during his Great Upward Movement which was basically a food-for-bombs exchange with the Soviet Union. Chinese starved to death so Mao could arm his 'People's Army' against any real or imagined internal threats ... to him. Like Tibet, for example. A country where today it's illegal to teach the Tibetan language, they have 60% unemployment, thousands of ethnic Chinese were forced to moved there in the 70s and take over Tibetan farms and businesses. Oh yeah, and under Mao, hundreds of thousands of Tibetan Buddhists were executed or imprisoned because 'religion is poison.' And this guy is their rock star.

Then I discovered that the RCP has also founded NION (Not In Our Name), and they've been linked to ANSWER (Act Now Stop War End Racism). So why so many anti-war groups? Why can't the RCP just march under their own banner?

I learned RCP was founded by a 70s activist, Bob Avakian, who has been 'in exile' from the U.S. for decades and gives lectures on the pros of communism via an undisclosed location ala Cheney. He's supposedly an eloquent speaker. Personally, I can barely sit through a six minute lecture let alone a six hour DVD of one. If Mao is the Old Testament god to the RCP, then Avakian is their Jesus Christ. When they talk about him their eyes get real glassy and they get dreamy little grins. (Imagine that politics is your poison ... err drug.)

Finally, I found a couple of websites alleging that the RCP is the only communist party in America that continues to call for the 'violent over throw of the government.' That's right. Rifles and bayonets! Molotov cocktails hitting cop cars. They don't want any seats in Congress. They want to burn Congress to the ground.

Some would argue they're not above using scapegoats to get what they want. What's especially alarming about the RCP is that other, extreme Leftist groups are afraid of them. Anarchists hate the RCP and any of it's off shoots like the WCW with a purple passion. I've had several tell me that the RCP 'sets them up' at protests to get 'taken down by the cops.' An event some what like this occurred on Oct. 5th right here in Rain City. I wrote angry letters to feckless TV reporters over it because of their shoddy coverage of it. Afterwards, I read in a local weekly newspaper that the cops 'received an anonymous tip' that Anarchists were going to be joining the Oct. 5th rally. Hmmm ... wonder who called them???

So I'm done with the World Can't Wait, comrades. I'm all for the removal of the zit that is BushCo from America's ass but I support our democracy, however shabby it's looking, because I am a member of a democracy-by-representation society, not a displaced worker from the Hunan Province looking to re-educate my wayward Tibetan neighbors by forcing them to read the Little Red Book at gunpoint.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Heureux Nouveau Année ... eh?

Maybe it's because I'm stuck on the Dole while I'm waiting for my worker retraining classes to kick in, but I've been staring a lot more wistfully north these days. I don't know ... is the moss really greener on the other side?



I've just got this nagging curiousity about Our Neighbors to the North, those Molson Drinkers ...