Monday, December 31, 2007

dopey new year

I'm chock full o'hyoscyamine which means I'll ring in the new year sleepy, oh so sleepy. I've been meaning to post my resolution before now but didn't get around to it. Right now A____'s out visiting a friend, to return in a while with chinese food (which means more drugs for me but mmmm....beef on a stick!) so this seems like as good a time as any for a new year's post, scattered and doped as I may be.

As I mentioned last year, I am keeping my resolutions very simple these days. Cut and dry. No grand "going to change my luck" or emotionally grow shit. No, because things go bad - they invariably do (that's not cynicism, things invariably go right too but we notice the bad so much more) - and then I get all superstitious about having brought the bad on myself. Then I feel stupid for feeling superstitious like that. Then I feel neurotic. Then I go and blog about it and it's like neurotic at 11.

So my resolution this year is to drink more water. Or, well, fluid which doesn't dehydrate me.

The resolution is in fact related to how I will spend this new year's eve since while most of the meds I take on any given day have a dehydrating effect, the hyoscyamine is right up there as the worst culprit of the bunch. I can't just blame the drugs though. Even since my much younger adulthood, I've always been one of those people who doesn't drink enough water. I have historically drank far too much coffee - a friend and I could go through two pots of dark roast, then have double espresso drinks in the evening and end the night over bottomless cups at the Fleetwood Diner. Although I have stopped that, these days I drink what is probably a somewhat rather unhealthy volume of coffee tempered with the occasional ginger ale - a concession to realizing I don't feel well anymore when I'm on a continuous caffeine drip regimen. Talking over cigarettes and drinking coffee might seem to be the perfect setting for the counter culture existence, but it loses its romance when you find that some post 30 body shut down means coffee past 3 PM makes you super cranky, tweaked, and not even remotely conversational.

Trying to find out how much fluid one should get a day, however, has not turned out to be as simple as I thought it should be. It seems there's more than one approach to determining an ideal fluid intake. Moreover, the entire issue of fluid intake recommendations apparently is a contested issue. What's a medication dehydrated, intestinally malabsorbing, coffee swilling woman to do? Ask my doctor I suppose. No appointments in the near future, but when I see her next I'll certainly ask. In the meantime, I think I'll go with the conservative "replacement approach" to my resolution.

As for getting something other than just a high hydration level at the cost of rock bottom sodium levels (yes, I know my sodium level...chalk it up under "neurotic" if you just can't imagine haltingly walking a few yards in my orthopedic gimp-girl shoes) I suppose there's always gatorade ("It's got electrolytes!"). I started typing it as "gagorade", which sums up my sentiments on the beverage nicely. Nah. I just can't do it. More water is about the best I'm going to get until there is a tastier option. I'll leave the electrolytes to bananas oh and the tons of salt I now feel free to dump on my food.

Ok well that's it for tonight. I'm pooped. Gonna go lie on the couch and read.

Happy New Year!

7 AM Monday

I'm awake and honestly, no one's more surprised than me. Ok, maybe my intestine is slightly more surprised but I'm not sure parts count.

Sitting here while the car thaws out, drinking coffee and water, checking the weather to see if the promised overnight snow was a washout or if it's merely delayed.

What do people normally do when they're up this early? Aside from drink coffee. Eat I suppose. Er, maybe not. When I'm up this early, my gut tends to feel like I tried to swallow a cast iron pan whole around 4 PM yesterday. This morning it feels like cast iron pan washed down with a bit of dirty oven mitt.

The reason for today's way too early rising is that Max has an 8:30 appointment to have his sutures removed. Although I don't believe I've made any suspicious moves such as prepping the cat carrier, I think he's come to associate my getting up before 9 with him going to the vet since at the moment, he's hiding under and behind the christmas tree. Trying to blend in? Or just making it very hard to extract him? I think the latter.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


From Wikipedia:
A very remarkable planetary/galactic configuration occurs on December 23rd and 24th 2007. The configuration on December 23 — Mars, Earth, Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, Galactic Centre — is shown in the graphic simulation linked below (here); it becomes even more remarkable in that it will be accompanied by the Full Moon (conjunct Mars) at about 2 a.m. on December 24 when a simultaneous Venus square Neptune occurs. It is even more remarkable in that the Pluto/Sun conjunction appears exactly on the Winter Solstice, just past conjunction with the Galactic Centre.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Where the boys are

We have boys. They moved in quickly, as boys often do on account of their usually having little in the way of furniture, dishes, or pots and pans. Why spend money on glasses when you can buy packages of keg cups every month on your mom and dad's Sam's Club card? Why own a baking dish when you can't cook ramen in it? Why own more than the one orange plastic plate you stole from the dining hall last year when a hot pocket's flavor is in some magical way enhanced by its being eaten off a swath of paper towel, a smoothed out grocery bag, or the surface of your hardened mac and cheese specked orange plastic plate?

Thus, because they pretty much aggregated here rather than moved in per se, it's hard to know when the boys officially arrived. I can tell you by when they were here. I believe it was last week, before the storms, that I first heard cars screeching in and out of the parking lot and later (after the storms) tires fiercely spinning on the snow and ice. These are the telltale noises of someone who doesn't understand that not all acceleration need be full to be fully effective. I know they were here last week when the sounds of heavy feet - made heavier by attitude than gravity - shook my apartment, when male hoots and grunts and hollars punctuated loud late night conversations in the hall and on the porch, and when I could hear the giggles and 1:00 AM playful stairwell protests of one or two young women behaving in a way which apparently counts as "coy" and therefore desirable in our post-Larry Flint-iconized culture. This "coy" sounds a lot like what we in my time called "skanky" but I'm more sympathetic to the girls.

Not with boys. I have a BOYS intolerance. I believe there should be a place were I can buy product to get rid of them. A boy spray or powder. Perhaps a boy-bomb (à la flea bomb folks, I'm not talking Ted Kaczynski shit here).

A____ told me this morning "I just worry about you." I said I don't know what that means. It's not specific. He said he worries that sometimes my reactions to things, e.g. the boys on the stairs at 2:00 last night, will make those things worse.

That's not worried about me. That's worried about the ramifications, implications, and overall fall out from my typical reaction to things like BOYS in my personal space, which reaction is admittedly intense at any time of the day and it highly amplified if it starts after I've turned off the lights and settled down to try to go to sleep.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Boo-boo kitty

Max is recovering well. His biopsy results are back and it's all good. (Huge sighs of relief!)
He's stuck with his lovely blue poncho for a while, at least until the sutures come out next week.

Although I know he dislikes being shaved, his wrist shave makes it look like he's wearing a mitten, or maybe one Ug boot. And that's kinda cute.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What's cooking?

Fire Controlled at White House Compound
By Associated Press
December 19, 2007

WASHINGTON - Thick black smoke billowed from a fire Wednesday on the White House compound in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The blaze appeared to be located in Vice President Dick Cheney's suite of ceremonial offices on the second floor of the building. Cheney and President Bush were across the street in the West Wing of the White House when the blaze broke out. It appeared to be under control within an hour.

I'm instantly imagining the many foul things Icky Dick Cheney might have been up to in there.

Tuesday Poetry - better late than never...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

art and cats

My cat's only dalliance with art (of any human sort) was the time he decorated himself with my green watercolor paint. When I paint, I like at least some of the paints to be quite viscous. This results in my often having somewhat heavy, sticky glops of paint on whatever is passing for a palette. Max found a slightly old palette and stepped into one such blob which had nearly dried through but retained a soft sticky center. He had tracked green paint around my office for a while, leaving little dark green partial toe prints here and there, before I realized what had happened.

Since he seemed fine with my attempts to wipe the paint off his paw, I got ambitious and dunked his paw in water to dilute the blob. That was decidedly not ok.

During the struggle that followed, Max ended up with green paint streaks all across his snowy white chest and neck. Then he took off out of the house and stayed out so late I went looking for him. As I scanned under cars and peeked into back yards around the neighborhood, I couldn't help imagining the "lost cat" flier I'd have to post if Max didn't come home that night: "Lost - Enormous Orange and White and Green Cat"

Thanks to A____ for the link below.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Now I'm going to have to drive by this cheery holiday display and see what all the fuss is about.

Atheist Protests Location Of Tree
By David Owens
Courant Staff Writer
December 14, 2007
VERNON — The leader of the atheist organization that placed a display in Central Park in Rockville has asked town officials to move a Christmas tree placed in the park by town employees that partially obscures the atheist display.

Dennis P. Himes of Vernon, who is state director of American Atheists Inc., wrote a letter to Town Administrator Christopher Clark and sent copies to Mayor Jason L. McCoy and the press.

In the letter, Himes said he expected McCoy to order the tree be moved away from the atheists' display. He also asked that the workers who installed the tree be admonished.
The Connecticut Valley Atheists placed a three-sided display in Central Park on Dec. 1, after first applying to the town for a permit. Permits also were issued for placement of a creche and a menorah. Until this week, the atheists' display was the only one in the park. It is a three-sided structure that on two sides features an image of the twin towers of the World Trade Center and is framed by the words "Imagine No Religion."

The sign was a topic at Tuesday's town council meeting, where some speakers expressed anger that it was in the park.

Justin Schwarz of Brooklyn Street said the sign is offensive and told the council he plans to speak with a lawyer about trying to get it removed. Schwarz on Thursday said he views the sign as "hate speech."

"I find the 'Imagine No Religion' offensive, as a Christian and as a human being," Schwarz said Thursday. Schwarz said a friend who is an atheist apologized to him for the sign.

"This group, they're out to force their will upon other people at the wrong time of the year," he said.

The Rev. Raymond Grezel, pastor of the Rockville Church of the Nazarene, asked the town council Tuesday whether the atheists' display is "appropriate." He urged the council to examine the town's policy and consider the ramifications of allowing any group to display its views.

He raised the issue of a white supremacist organization placing a display in the park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. McCoy said Thursday such a display would likely not pass muster.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Loathing examined

I was re-reading this post and thinking it's this kind of negative attitude that makes it hard to fit in at the various support lists and communities.

I remember I was once on a Lyme Disease list. Some good info on there, some bad, and people at all stages of dealing with the acute illness or its sometimes long lasting effects. There were many of the latter, I think because they would be most likely to be looking for explanations and answers and advocacy tools - thus they'd be likely to find such lists and groups.

I did not fit in. I did not sign my emails with e-hugs and angel kisses. I didn't offer prayers or express my belief in a higher power. I did connect with some people though, usually over the difficulty of dealing with the healthy people around you who don't understand what this disease can do and how long it can do it for. In one such an exchange, my sarcastic humor so angered one of the angel-fluffybunny-ehuggers that she flamed the shit out of me both off and on list. Definitely an authority issue at heart, but played out in the arena of my "negativity".

I was just trying to make some other poor guy smile and nothing I had suggested was that off color. Just, er, some light comic aggressive steam blowing.

Then there's the issue of my family history. I was thinking that probably this blog is not readily identified as a survivor's blog, I mean not if you aren't into reading and such. (oh hell, more fucking negativity). But I don't have buttons and banners and sexual and physical abuse survivor blogrolls, links to Tory Amos pictures, inspirational finger paintings by abused children, sometimes cryptic water color images of hearts, teddy bears, angels, and hands. This is the type of thing I've seen which immediately mark a blog as being in the hinterlands of survivorhood*.

But I do freely disclose this aspect of my history. Sometimes it's important for someone I'm close to or becoming close to to know about. Sometimes it's political. Sometimes I've just had it with someone's ignorant idiot rambling on the subjects and I need to weigh in with some expertise behind the words to give it that extra punch I want. Ah, more negativity. Sometimes I truly think "Aha, a chance to inform and educate" although that one has fallen a bit into disuse after I realized it can be traumatic for me to open my experiences up to someone who is uninformed. They don't usually mean anything bad, but they do sometimes not understand that when, where, and how I talk about things (as well as which things) is entirely and necessarily at my discretion. E.g., my friend who continued a conversation about a topic involving my mom into a stairwell at school. It had started quietly in a room, just him, me, and another close friend. Then we went to get lunch. I recall trying to put it off when we were in the hall. Once we had gotten into the stair well though, he yelled some very detailed comment, not lacking a bit of judgment, which bounced and echoed off the bare concrete.

So what is my problem? What's with all the loathing? I guess I'd wonder more specifically what's with all the stigma against it? And what is with it coming from the survivors themselves even? My sister had some experience with that in a group.

On the general topic of stigma about survivor anger, I think it's fair to say what happened in my family is FUCKED up. And I think that a normal reaction to something that fucked up is to have negative feelings about it. I'm not a perpetrator, my attitudes and outbursts are not of that nature at all. When I do pick fights with people, it's usually someone I think is picking on someone else (or me) or has violated some kind of very important trust. Often a person in a position of some authority and who is using it either maliciously or so selfishly and for such limited ego gratification goals that they are exploiting others or putting them at risk of emotional harm or even more overt, socially acceptable damage.

Ibid on the health stuff. I do wonder if that will fade somewhat in time. I think some of it has already, although it's difficult in the context of academia, where pain and fatigue are practices to be engaged in for social and sometimes professional reward, always done and interpreted with the implicit understanding that the level of energy is more or less renewable. It isn't for me. It can mean I will not be able to get up the next day. It can mean a fever for weeks, a leg that hurts so much I can't sleep (adding to the exhaustion).

I'm watching another student who was diagnosed with a growth on his pituitary gland a few years back go through this shit too. He was sick. He's still not well, but he's better than he was. His dad had endocrine problems too which resulted in a line of troubling related health issues which this kid grew up watching. Being diagnosed with something like what Dad had was scary. And now this kid is being told he's progressing too slowly. The worst part about it is that the telling is usually not direct, and so he attributes his feelings of guilt, low self efficacy, and low self worth to himself. "It's not like anyone is saying it" he told me a week ago. I told him that in my experience, that sinking feeling that you're going to be judged as insufficient due to medical problems is not all "in your head" and is based on some signals you are picking up from the people around you.

Again, more of my negativity. Spreading the loathing, it would seem. If you're a fluffybunny-ehugger at least.

* There's a request not to copy or link to a site I found recently for incest survivors, so I can't give you a full description of the steps that particular site gave for the survivor recovery process. I found them bothersome in a way which touches on some of what I've mentioned above. If you're curious and you look up incest + survivors you'll probably find some of what I'm talking about. You'll also find some which isn't pro-anger denial, I did. But I've learned my lesson to stay away from any support communities or group since I know my "negativity" can always be waved about as a reason to invalidate what I feel, think, or say. And I could do without that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'm sure he had a point...

Man nearly dies downing vodka at airport
Wed Dec 12
Associate Press
BERLIN - A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing two pints of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new rules about carrying liquids aboard a plane, police said Wednesday.
New airport rules prohibit passengers from carrying larger quantities of liquid onto planes, and he was told at a security check he would have to either throw out the bottle of vodka or pay a fee to have his carry-on bag checked.

Instead, he chugged the vodka — and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Poetry

Why We Play Basketball by Sherman Alexie
(from the YouTube note: animated by the Native Lens youth in May 2005)

Cover of Bowie's God Knows I'm Good (lyrics here)

The loathing

It has begun. I have the loathing. It came upon me yesterday evening when I wasn't looking at a clock. It had been dark for hours but this time of year my body's apparent blithering optimism fails me and my internal clock. "Too early" is about all I get out when I consider the light and the hours between 3:30 and 10:00 PM. So I tend not to consider them.

I was on the carpet in the living room and it was dark outside. The cat in his blue soft e-collar, which looks like a cardinal's cape (except blue not red) was alternately snuggling and biting. I thought of the invitation I had gotten to a grad student potluck end of the semester weeeee thing going on this Friday. This Friday my cat is not having surgery because we pushed it to Monday. This Friday our grades are due. And somewhere in there I suppose I ought to buy a tree...but when? Before any frivolous extras like tree decorating, I should probably clean. And what if things don't work out well for Max? Will I really want to come home to a half decorated christmas tree next Monday?

I think it was the last bit, the nod to "things to do" which are at least in principle enjoyable. It was that last bit which heralded in the loathing. Not that the thought of a tree irritates or even upsets me. I like lying under christmas trees and looking up the lights. I like turning off the lamps and letting christmas tree glow, a light which certainly has it's own peculiar - dare I say magical quality, illuminate the room. What got the loathing going was, I think, the somewhat well worn but still unexpected path running from things cat and health related, things school related, and The Rest - which lead me into an accounting of what The Rest is and can be for me. The answer tends to come out as not a whole lot. And then my automatic questioning begins(why? am I ok with that? if not what needs to be different? how can I make it different?), turning me back to what will necessarily be a closer and more pointed examination (or at least consideration) of things health related and things school/profession related and the interactions between the two.

And once that circuit is complete, we have loathing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hello collar?

Max is a very unhappy kitty right now. The vet shaved Max' tail and butt and cleaned the wound Max has fussed at so much that it is now about 1.5 times as big as it originally was. Max has surgery scheduled for next week. They're going to remove the growth, as well as another one that's closer to the base of his tail (fortunately it's more dorsal than the open one). And Max got a shot of antibiotic. He's one pissed off cat. I'm sure he's in pain and to make it all worse I won't let him lick and bite at his tail.

We tried the elizabethan collar. Wow did that not work. So now we're on to the "soft collar", or we will be in a few hours after we get it from the vet. Man I'm really hoping that's better. One of Bubblewench's kitty's had a tail injury recently, maybe she can weigh in with some advice on how to keep the cat away from an injured tail.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

sick kitty

My cat Max is sick. He's been biting at his tail. Actually, he's been biting at a lump on his tail which the vet saw once a while ago (pre-biting) and said it didn't look too bad. But now, oh boy does it look bad. He's got an appointment for late this week to see the vet, but tonight I discovered his tail was bleeding. No details since I know my constitution for ick is higher than some, but the short story is it's looking ugly and he won't leave it alone.

A___ awesomely came up with a good bandage from a nonstick pad, a bandaid, and a small section of elastic bandage, and of all things duct tape (no tape is actually stuck TO my cat, just around the bandage to hold it together). So far Max hasn't fussed at it too much, but he's clearly cranky (ok, crankier), which means he's in pain.

I feel like a bad pet mom for not getting him in sooner.

I'm also worried about leaving this bandage on - it's snug but I don't think it's too tight and we cleaned the wound before we dressed it. But I know it's not good to leave bandages on long (for sure > 24 hours is a big fat no-no). I'd love to change it tonight...ok well "love" is perhaps the worng word. I'd feel better if I could change it tonight but A____'s out of town for the evening and there's no way I can wrestle nearly 20 pounds of cranky, pained furry fury into acquiescence long enough to do the dressing change alone.

It's going to be a long night I think.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

power and privilege

There's a fine line between "dictator" and chief executive. Apparently it's a matter of party affiliation when interpreting whether the head of the executive branch of government is engaging in constitutional "evisceration" or merely evoking "executive privilege", "executive power", and "inherent powers" of the executive branch.

GOP health-care suit called Scrooge-like
By David Mendell, Tribune staff reporter
December 7, 2007

Gov. Rod Blagojevich forcefully defended his legal ability to broadly expand state health care coverage Thursday, excoriating those who are suing to halt the expansion as "Scrooge-like" in the holiday season.

A business group led by prominent Republicans has sued the Blagojevich administration to block the governor's health-care expansion. One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is Ron Gidwitz, a GOP candidate for governor last year whose family built and then sold Helene Curtis, the maker of Finesse and Suave shampoos.

"I find it almost Dickens-like," Blagojevich said of the suit. "It is mind-boggling to me that the heir of a shampoo fortune would actually go out of his way to take away health care through the courts from the very people who made that shampoo for his dad and allowed him to inherit all that money. Yeah, it is Scrooge-like in many ways."

The group sued after Blagojevich unilaterally increased the number of Illinoisans who could receive state-subsidized health care by 147,000. The governor's action came after a legislative rulemaking body turned down the expansion. Lawmakers were worried about a lack of money to pay for the program, among other issues. Gidwitz responded that by expanding the program without the consent of lawmakers, the governor is "not just running roughshod over the constitution, he is eviscerating it." Blagojevich is acting "more like Hugo Chavez" than a democratically elected governor, Gidwitz said, referring to the socialist leader of Venezuela.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"TAing doth murder sleep"

Let me tell ya, when sleep has come the last week, it does feel like "the death of each day's life". I feel this most each next morning when I wake, still hopeful at that moment of rising consciousness that it will not hurt. What am I doing each day which would account for such a descent each night and subsequent exhuming each morning? Why, I'm "wrapping up the semester". Sounds so cheery, doesn't it? Sounds like it should have yellow gingham curtains tied back with little light blue eyelet lace ribbons. Sounds neat and homey, like something I'd find in a jar with a hand drawn label promising the sweet reward for good honest hard work.

Instead, it's a pack a day, caffeine embalmed, tendon twisting grind which leaves me wanting to write things like 'Ok now I KNOW you're just filling up space" in the comment sections of certain student papers. It's the emergency brake left on. It's the smell of what you forgot you were cooking and were reminded of by the smoke alarm telling you and your neighbors that tonight's dinner is way past done.

On that note, I'm off to stumble into bed. Gute nacht, apparently.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tuesday poetry

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Monday, December 03, 2007

there ought to be a law...

What kind of adult intentionally deceives a kid into believing that the adult is a peer so that the adult can coax the kid to let down his or her guard, share secrets, and form attachments with the persona the adult has created? One answer which springs to mind readily is "the creepy kind who has to register with police."

So why is it that the case of Lori Drew participating in the creation of an online identity for exactly the purpose of deceiving 13 year old Megan Meier into believing this identity belonged to a same aged peer isn't being discussed in that light?

Over and above, or perhaps under and throughout, the more widely discussed themes of internet bullying, there is the characterization of Drew's behavior as a deliberate pattern of kid stalking.

While internet bullying is troubling (absence of certain channels in the interaction leads to a reduced immediate accountability load), I can't help feeling there's something about the term which implies some level of equality among the players and which, moreover, seems to invite a sort of "kids will be kids/people can be cruel but is it right to try to legislate good manners?" argument. Perhaps for those reasons I bristle at the treatment Drew's behavior has gotten, the bullying "issues" it has apparently raised, again.

This was more than bullying. Lori Drew engaged in a deliberate process of intentionally deceiving a minor into believing she was communicating with a peer, a peer the minor clearly had romantic interest in. It's not like Drew created a profile and Megan stumbled upon it, or Drew was pretending to be a kid for some reason independent of luring in a minor, or Drew created a female profile. No. Drew put out bait for Megan. Drew used the profile of a cute boy who said nice things to an insecure 13 year old presumably (because face it, big main stream presumptions of het until proven otherwise) straight girl. Lori Drew carried on this behavior, communicating with Megan, pretending to be a 13 year old the whole time. Lori Drew was part of making the Megan bait profile available and letting others use it to communicate with Megan. She pretty much pimped the profile.

Such deliberate deception of a minor, with such striking predatory overtones seems like it is something law enforcement should consider illegal or at least suspicious behavior. What I've seen in the news reports on Lori Drew's victimizing of Megan Meier is that there are no laws which apply here.

Should there be a law?

Arguably in many situations there is an assumed right to engage in pretense, online and in general. All of us engage in some level of it, to greater and lesser degrees and for better or worse reasons. And yes, some people will want to pretend to be younger than they are and while I personally think that sort of thing is deceptive and, well, lame, it doesn't take a degrees in legal ethics or criminal law to see that a 50 year old woman fudging facts by 5 or so years on her (adult) singles dating profile is a universe away from a 30-something year old woman pretending to be a minor for the purposes of initiating contact and carrying on a damaging relationship with a minor.

Is it just me or doesn't it seem like that sort of intentional, deliberate deception of a child should be, if not illegal, then at least cause for the FBI to seize your shit and comb through it looking for kiddie porn and the like. To me, it's the equivalent of hanging around the edge of the school yard luring kids over with candy and the like.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More grading...

Not exactly "grading" in that I'm not assigning grades at the moment. I'm "reviewing", where my linguistic training and the knowledge endowment from English teacher parents makes it impossible for me to leave a dangling participle...well, dangling.

Hence, more toys. These allow me to stay at the computer and not get sucked into something truly rewarding while providing enough distraction to keep what's left of my sanity somewhat intact.
(this applet is so cool it's now permanently on the footer of the blog)

Created by Anu Garg.

I feel like I should dedicate this post to my sister, for whom spirograph was a beautiful childhood obsession.