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Memo to Steve Jobs: I will punch you in the junk [Jun. 12th, 2008|03:51 pm]

O how somehedgehog, wee prickly one that she is, can cause me to giggle when she really gets off on a tear.

Steve-O - for someone who makes such luscious, sleek technology products that always keep me coming back to you, no matter how hard I try to stray, you sure can be a douche at times. Baby, how can you understand me so well, knowing that I want sleek GUIs and attractive industrial design, as well as out-of-the box security and virus protection, and then turn around and commit the technology-boyfriend equivalent of saying "sorry sugar, but the makeup sex after I forgot your last birthday and then pretended to pick up my solid gold iPhone to call you a Wahhhhhhhhmbulance after I called you a crybaby sow was so hot, I just had to do it again this year. By the way, the way your mascara runs when you cry makes you look fat."?

Steve. Steve. We have to talk about the iPhone. You are selling a cell phone. A cell phone. A cell phone, in 2008, by definition, should be able to send picture messages. Even the latest version of the iPhone does not do this, according to all of the marketing literature I've read. Steve, remember who your lovers are, baby. Your fan club are skinny girl-jeans-wearing techie-neo-bohemians who want to send pictures of their semi-ironic kickball league championship to all their dive-bar drinking buddies, not old biddies who want a cell phone that basically consists of one large-text button that reads "PUSH HERE IN CASE OF HIP BREAKAGE." This is just like the time that you rolled out the intel-based macs without bothering to see if the hordes of graphic designers, who nursed you through your pimply awkward years when everyone thought the mac was the sad Fisher-Price kid sister of the PC, would be a bit hurt if all their 1200 dollar Adobe Creative Suite packages suddenly became useless, forcing designers to use the installation CDs as drink coasters for all those vodka sours they had to down while trying to get over their broken hearts.

Oh, sure, you could circumvent the lack of MMS by composing an email, attaching a photograph to it, then switching back to your contact list, writing down your friend's phone number, going back to the email message, entering the phone number into the "to" line, fishing out that piece of paper that has your friend's wireless carrier written on it, cross-checking it against the other piece of paper that has that list of MMS domain names by wireless carrier, appending the appropriate domain name to the phone number, repeating all those steps for the other half-dozen friends you want to send your picture to, and then hitting send. This is the equivalent of selling a car that has no doors, but saying that it's cool because you can always open the trunk, take out the back seat, climb in, and reinstall the seats, after which you bounce up and down in your seat to get the shocks bouncing enough to close the trunk. Actually, I think doing that would take less time and hassle than sending a picture message from an iPhone. A better approximate equivalent might be selling a car that has no doors or trunk or windows, but can only be accessed via an extradimensional rift hidden inside the Great Blood Sacrifice Temple of the ancient Toltecs, long believed to be mere legend, but who some madmen on the edge of accepted scholarship believe was consumed by the primeval jungles of central America to protect humanity from the wrath of Iza'Atl, The All-Devourer.

For all that, you son of a bitch, I'll probably end up buying the new iPhone and trying to find some third-party solution to your MMS BS. From all I hear, the new 3G technology makes it lightning fast...and you've dropped the price by 50%. You asshole. It's always like this with you....fast, cheap, and out of control.
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(no subject) [Jun. 5th, 2008|07:29 pm]

youcantwrite is alive again.

Go get yr swerve on.
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Maggots [Apr. 21st, 2008|04:44 pm]

It isn't unusual for girls to be grossed out by maggots. But my friend is a different sort of girl and has a different sort of reason why.

2 interesting stories from a person I care for back West.

(Name withheld at her request)

More than you wanted to know, I'm sure.Collapse )
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mod request [Apr. 16th, 2008|12:18 am]
Okay so I've had a canful of grim lately and I'd be beholden to y'all if you can dig up something funny. Who on your friends' lists busts you up? Serve us up a sample.

Do it before mengus unleashes some ruthless Marine modding on you.
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Tom DeLay made me a nymphomaniac. [Apr. 6th, 2008|09:00 pm]

From besideserato.

I love when she writes like this. I love that you know right from the first paragraph that you are about to go on a journey that will take you down meandering roads so that you might feel a little unsure that you will come back to where you started. But you have faith because she has taken you down these kinds of roads before and when you get back, it's all worth it.

Do you know anything about the Northern Mariana Islands? Have you ever wondered if you are born to be something or if you are simply a product of your environment?

Oh, and it's about sex.

A Lay For DeLay

music: Madonna - La Isla Bonita
I try to keep off the subject of politics because I enjoy a very varied group of friends and, as I know no one who’s in the market for a new political identity or ideology, I see no reason to bring politics to the table. Politics define our country, culture, heritage, and through these things, whether we like it or not, politics define us.

This makes sense to anyone with the smallest grasp on sociology, but the power of this influence was never clearer to me than after I finished a book that touched, in part, on the socio-political nightmare of the archipelago where I grew up.

“Tom DeLay made me a nymphomaniac.”

This isn’t the best introduction to a new therapist, but I’d ditched Dix and had no time for pleasantries with Dr. Ortíz y López—there should so be a rule for immigrants from Spain and her former colonies to ditch the clunky last names, shouldn’t there? Not only is there not one, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services basically forces immigrants who come from these countries to keep their cumbersome last name traditions, so a bride can’t simply drop her last name and take her husband’s but has to add the dreaded “of” between her maiden name and that of her husband. As if! A rose by any other name would smell a sweet. So too would my heritage remain what it is without the totally uncool mishmash of surnames trailing after my first name like rusty cans. Thus from here on out, Dr. Ortíz y López will be known as O.

“You refer to DeLay, the former congressman,” O replied, moving carefully over the words, as though he was still digesting my statement.

“Yes!” I said, flinging my over-sized purse down on a chair and ripping off my sunglasses. “It was him and the former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and long before them, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—all of them, and more, like a domino effect going back decades, culminating in a high-voltage sex Olympics.”

“And how have you come to this conclusion?”

“Can I read something to you?” I asked him, turning and opening my bag and pulling out the book.

Nobodies,” he mused, looking at the title.

“Yes, Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and The Dark Side of The New Global Economy,” I flipped it open to one of the pages I had marked: “‘Pacific islands hold an understandable allure for city dwellers dreaming of balmy, uncrowded paradise. But the images of sun, sand, slide harps, and crystal waters usually belie a Third World backwardness and low-intensity squalor common, almost by default, to such places.’”

O was silent, waiting for me to tie it together. Or fling myself on the ground and start speaking in tongues so he could have me committed.

“This book,” I started taking a breath, “it details three case studies of modern-day slavery, gonzo style, and devotes an entire chapter to the Northern Marianas, where I grew up. It’s funny, in a review, Forbes opined this chapter was reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary, a creative nonfiction work that exposed the insanity of Puerto Rico of the late 50s, Puerto Rico being another U.S. commonwealth.”

O nodded. He was still waiting for a conclusion. But I could not give it to him any more than I could give it to you now. You have to go back, far back, to understand the root of the issue. Because it doesn’t start with a lobbyist or a congressman. It doesn’t even start with the United States.

“What do you know of the Northern Mariana Islands, doctor?”

“I cannot say I know much,” he confessed. It hardly surprised me. Unless you’re a WWII Pacific stage veteran or trivia junky, the unassuming dots on your map west of the Philippines have no reason to mean anything to you.

So let me tell you a story. During that race for the Spice Islands between Spain and Portugal, Ferdinand Magellan “discovered” the archipelago. Skirmishes with the unruly locals who were fond of thieving from the intruders led the expedition to dub these islands “the Isles of the Thieves.” It wasn’t until Spain claimed them formally nearly 150 years later that they were named for then Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria.

Post-Magellan, the islands were the possession of the crown until Spain sold them to Germany in 1899. After WWI, when a defeated Germany was stripped of all overseas possessions, the Marianas were turned over to the League of Nations to be administered by Japan. Less than two decades later, Japan annexed the islands and withdrew from the League of Nations. By the time war cast another shadow over the Pacific, some 29,692 Japanese military personnel were already stationed on Saipan, the main island of the archipelago.

Located at a strategic position, the United States wasted no time taking over. On June 15, 1944, they assaulted, leading to one of the most brutal and decisive battles of the Pacific stage of WWII. American forces eventually gained control and a year later a B-29 named Enola Gay took off from the island of Tinian and dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

At war’s end, the islands were devastated. They, along with other islands in the region, (collectively known as Micronesia), became the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in the care of the US, which had no idea what to do with them. (Kissinger, in fact, while discussing the fate of the islands then, quipped, “We’re only talking about 90 thousand people—who gives a damn?”)

Located 6,000 miles west of Los Angeles, 3,700 miles west of Hawaii, and having too small a workforce, the islands were difficult to develop, much less be made self-sufficient. Soon, they were almost entirely dependent on the US to keep them afloat with monetary aid, SPAM and other non-perishable goods. They became the ultimate charity case.

In the mid 60s, the UN admitted the islands were so remote as to be almost impossible to manage. E. J. Kahn wrote that a visitor was “likely to be struck less by their innate tropical beauty than by the shabbiness of their man-made establishments.” By the 70s, the United States was encouraging them to determine their political status: did they want independence? Did they want to be federalized completely?

The island of Guam, also in the archipelago of the Mariana Islands chose to defect and become federalized. The rest of the island chain chose to do things their way and become a commonwealth, which means they are technically ruled by the US and must abide by the Constitution, but are exempt from all manner of taxes and duties and have retained control of their immigration, wage laws, and land ownership laws as specified in the Covenant, a nifty document drafted up while the US was still feeling pretty guilty about practically destroying the archipelago’s ecosystem and frail infrastructure.

In fairness to all those involved, the labor, immigration and wage provisions were largely an effort to assist in the development of the islands: in allowing for foreign laborers from Asia to come and work, they were massively increasing the otherwise tiny and unskilled workforce native to the islands. The idea was that this effort would result in the rebuilding of an infrastructure and assist the islands in embracing modernity and thus moving into the future.

That was the idea, anyway. Things don’t always go as planned. Seeing an opportunity in what could only be described as the perfect environment for businesses, a lot of retailers began to move their factories to the islands. In the Marianas, they could pay people relatively little—$3.05 an hour is the current minimum wage—and not be forced to deal with any quotas or duties. And tags on garments could say “Made in the USA,” because technically, it is the USA—what’s not to love?

By the late 90s, the islands were the now-disgraced former congressman Tom Delay’s so-called “perfect petri dish of capitalism,” his own little “Galapagos island.” He and Jack Abramoff were up to their eyeballs in moves to protect the islands from full federalization that would raise wages and endanger the excellent business environment. Congressmen came and went on fact-finding junkets during this time and into the 00s, seldom doing more than golfing, partying and getting lapdances (The New York Times said it best when they titled a piece about it “The Came, They Saw, They Golfed.” Yes).

The islands were rolling in cash. Life was good. For 20 percent of the population, anyway. The other 80 percent, comprised of foreign workers, slaved away day in and day out, making what most of us would call a pittance.

People who argue that it’s better to earn $3.05 an hour than, say, a dollar a day are right. This is not in question. If that’s the argument, they’ve failed to understand the most basic principles of democracy. See, it’s not really about money, it’s about rights. If you have a place and over three-fourths of the people who live there are foreign and therefore not eligible to vote or really effect any kind of change in their benefit, you do not really have a democracy. These people—mostly women—hardly know the language, they don’t have any idea about rights, they don’t understand the law, they don’t know anything. Put simply, they’re second-class citizens.

In the ideal world it could work. We could host guest workers and treat them with dignity and be treated with dignity as a host country and all live like shiny, happy people holding hands.

Sadly, our world is far from ideal. And so in the 00s, the Northern Mariana Islands were ground zero for forced labor in the United States of America and its outlying islands and territories. Workers were locked in their barracks at night, women were forced to make a choice between abortions and deportations, wages were garnished for things employers were legally responsible for—the works.

And so many women left the garment industry and took to the streets. Sex work, which had been somewhat prevalent already, what with all the congressmen visiting and what-have-you, exploded. At one point you could get a blowjob in the Garapan district of Saipan for US$6.00. Thus the islands formerly known as the Isles of Thieves, the petri dish, ground zero for forced labor became the Sex Islands.

Growing up there, you don’t notice. You have a bunch of kids your age, all sons and daughters of diplomats or business people, and you more or less live in a bubble full of your little kid drama. It’s not until your hormones kick in and you move out of your peer group that you realize just how warped the female-to-male ratio is. I’m not kidding you. Even the CIA Factbook recognizes the Northern Marianas as having the highest female-to-male sex ratio in the world.

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a huge issue if all the women were like you. But they aren’t. They’re exotic, and they’re desperate. No liberated, corn-fed American woman can compete with an army of Chinese, Thai, Malay, Russian, Vietnamese and Filipina girls who are willing to do anything you ask to ensure their own survival.

It makes me think of Nancy Etcoff’s book, Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, only it’s not really about beauty, it’s less graceful than that. The income disparity sets the stakes higher.

This kind of competition calls for meta-evolution among all participants, of both self and game. Which makes me wonder—did I become so sexually aggressive as a result of the constant competition? Did my obsession with developing skills in seduction, allure and sex originate with the need to continuously improve my “product” so as not to fall out of the running? Is this really just Darwin at work?

Imagine Sex And The Island with all male protagonists, sitting in a bar instead of a deli, talking crudely about the girls who love them, making incredible nicknames. The show wouldn’t last a week in the US. But that’s how it is out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a loser and have no game, no ambition, no job, no assets, none of the things that make a man desirable in the US. In the Marianas, if you have a penis and a blue passport, you are god.
“Three or four blowjobs into Saipan, most white men’s reactions to the island evolve from, ‘Gee, this is wrong’ to ‘Well, it’s complicated,’” writes Bowe in his book. “I sat in on countless and endless conversations comparing the sexual merits of Thais versus Filipinas, Russians versus Chinese, replete with body parts and the likening of women to various breeds of dog and sex acts to animal behavior. Were people so bored by the smallness of island life that they had nothing else to talk about or do? I asked a friend of mine—a white guy from the mainland whom I’ll call Fred—about this…. He laughed at my confusion. What was it about Saipan that made everyone, particularly the men, obsess, dream, and talk about sex all the time? He grinned and barked like an old man, ‘It’s kulcha!’ It took me a year to get what he was talking about. During that time, I met a Bangladeshi who, in his own words, spelled out the same patently obvious thing: Saipan’s primary appeal wasn’t that you could exploit poor Asians. It was that you could fuck them. What was wrong with Saipan if not a sort of ravenous celebration of enhanced sexual power? Did I see it now? The Bangladeshi asked. ‘It’s not really about dollarland. It’s all about sexland.’”
O said nothing. I studied his face’s symmetry—the perfect symmetry of youth, before everything starts to bulge and sag. His skin is taught and tan, his lips full. I turned to look ahead, at the wall, the boring landscapes.

“In mid-April of last year,” I mused, turning to him again, “some evolutionary biologists in Germany showed that some sexually reproducing mites had evolved from asexual mites. This is a big deal, right, because we’ve been saying for over 100 years that evolution doesn’t retrace its steps and once a species goes beyond a trait, the genes that dictate how this works are scrapped and there’s no going back to previous drafts. These mites, though, that had once developed in unfertlized eggs and produced only sterile males were found to have taken up sex again, in what many consider the first reversal from asexuality to sexuality in the animal kingdom.”

“You’re full of different sets of data,” O said. It sounded like a diagnosis. You are full of stupid trivia. Not negative or positive. Just, you know, obvious. Like, hey, you’re a schizophrenic. It’s OK, that’s who you are.

“I mention the mite thing,” I hurried to add so as to avoid a possible ADD diagnosis, “because the evolutionary biologist heading the team who made the discovery, Katja Domes, when asked what caused the return to sex, immediately zeroed in on the environment. If plenty of resources are available to a species, asexual reproduction becomes preferable. But if the environment is harsher, with more predators and scarcer resources, sex becomes the choice mode of reproduction.”

Such a harsh life, Domes told LiveScience, “may also be an explanation for the origin of sex in the first place.”

“It just seems so appropriate for the oppressive, abusive environment of the islands. It all comes back to the sociopolitical situation. Birthed of colonization and reared by unchecked capitalism. So in closing, I’m not really the embodiment of Venus. I’m just a product of my environment like everyone else.”

“Does this bother you?” O looked at me with slight amusement.

“Doesn’t everyone wanna be special?”

“Yes, I suppose we do…”

“So,” I interject, looking at him. “How’s that for an introduction? Is this what you had in mind?”

I wrote the author of the book about it, he said: “I think especially after being raised on this island, it’s very hard to go into the world of functioning. Life is less sexy. Less sensual. More practical. Here, your girl or boyfriend is halfway dressed all day long. To take those clothes off and have sex takes 15 seconds. Sex is always closer. There is less to achieve, less reason to be in the race. There [in the mainland], it’s all about the race. The payoff for being efficient is much greater than here, so efficiency, rather than, say, pleasure, becomes the dominant ideology. At least, until the ice caps melt.”
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Meet lj user = dimethirwen [Feb. 15th, 2008|09:33 am]

dimethirwen is a prolific journalizer. She's one of those lj friends that I do not interact with much, but whose entries I always read, and man, I'm glad I read this.

Lengthy, but delicious. Enjoy.

Girl Scouts and their sex shopsCollapse )
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<3 H@ppy V@l3nt1n3s D@y <3 [Jan. 31st, 2008|10:22 am]

Geek love.

hungryandhollow shares his foray into an somewhat homoerotic eRelationship consisting of beating shit up, collecting cool stuff and trolling on forums. Such is the world of WoW. True love does exist, y'all. It just comes bundled with strained vision and seven empty bags of Ruffles at 3am.

Even if you don't get the Warcraft lingo, it's worth it.

Musings On My Bizarre WoW "Romance"

I still remember when I met Justin. It was two and a half years ago, in the Gurubashi Arena. It was August, and Ben and I, both living in empty college towns for the summer break, were playing WoW as always. I was eFamous, but not yet at my peak, only two months past when I burst out of nowhere, springing fully-formed from the skull of Bas and Outbackjack like a gnomish Athena. I was about level 50, with Ben's priest around 55, and we had decided I would be the first non-60 to win the Arena Grand Master trinket. At the time, it was an incredible item for PvP (player-vs-player combat), and we were proud to say that the only people on the server who had one were members of < M E R C I L E S S >. We were the best guild on the server when it came to PvP.

So there we were, in the Arena, waiting for the chest to drop and the fight to start, like it did every three hours. Next to us was an unguilded Warlock named Liance. He had intended it to be pronounced Lee-ahns, but I would make him famous as Lee-ahn-say. I'd seen him on the forums, and he had some pretty good posts. I told him so, and he said he loved my posts. Then three random level-60 characters showed up, obviously a team, and said they'd shitstomp us. There hadn't been any "us" a second ago, but now there was. We destroyed them - it was an hour before we let them leave. We come here all the time, I told Liance, I'm gonna win the Arena Grand Master. Next time we came back, she was there. Soon she asked to join Merciless. She said her real name was Justin.

Those were the "glory days", when the gear disparity was low and skill mattered a lot more. The three of us, and often another member of Merciless or two, went to the Arena constantly. One weekend we won 6 Arenas in a row, one every three hours, and crashed. Liance started posting more on the forums. He was great. He could have been better than I was, the King of the Trolls at that time, but he didn't want to.

Liance and I played together more than anyone else. But, on the voice chat, Liance never spoke. He never had a mic, even though you can get one for under $10. He was an Australian, a year younger than me, in college. Didn't talk much about his real life, which was unusual in such a small and close-knit group as Merciless. He said he'd made his character a female because male warlocks always looked stupid. Before long, we thought otherwise. We thought he was secretly a girl.

Now, this isn't unheard of. The vast majority of female WoW-players on our server weren't taken seriously at all, as at least half of them used flirting to replace talent. Leah, the only female of our founding ten members of Merciless, often pretended to be a man when she played with strangers. And Liance never talked, not for half a year. And he was decidedly feminine. No one would say anything to his face, but they teased me a lot about my eWife. And, unable to speak, no one ever heard Liance pronounce her own name - so my pronunciation, assumed to be correct, became standard.

No matter what I needed, Liance would help. We spent probably 40 hours one month, while I was on winter break and she was on summer break, raiding boring dungeons to get me the gear I needed for The Big Dungeon. She gave me money anytime I had gone broke buying better armor or trinkets. If I was playing, she was playing next to me.

Eventually, she left Merciless. She wanted to go raid dungeons, and we didn't do that if we could help it. She joined a new guild, but unless they were raiding a dungeon, we were off fighting together. She was everything you could ask for in an eFriend.

Roleplayers on WoW are despicable things. The worst of all their hideous behavior is the in-game wedding. Yes, they will actually host a fucking wedding with their characters. So when Valentine's Day rolled around, with Liance and I the equivalent of the server's Prom King and Queen, I "proposed". In a mockery of the typical RP wedding, our "ceremony" consisted of an hour-long free-for-all fight in the Arena. People loved it. For the occasion, Justin finally bought a mic. He was a male after all. We went on to celebrate a six-month anniversary, even bigger than the wedding, and then a one-year anniversary.

A month after our "anniversary", I retired from WoW. Eventually, Liance transferred to a different server. We kept in touch on AIM a bit. After all, for a year and a half we'd played together constantly - and considering we were both playing 20 or 30 hours a week, that adds up fast. I've never been as good of friends with anyone on the internet, before or since.

So this Saturday, I started playing again. I sent him an IM immediately, knowing he had another character on Dethecus still. Let's go kill some n00bs sometime, I told him, load up your shaman or your warrior. Instead, he left his guild and his server, transferred Liance back to Dethecus and rejoined Merciless. We're back, he said, with a little practice we'll be the best warrior-warlock combo on the server again. And, you know, it makes me wonder a bit. I am not vain enough to think Justin fell madly in eLove with me. I'm 95% sure he's not even gay. But every now and then, I wonder. All those raids he went on, not needing anything, just helping me. All the gold, all the gear. Transferring back. At this point I don't know if he's my eLover, or my lieutenant, or my disciple. But I have to admit, hanging out with OBJ and Corey and Leah, it still didn't feel quite like the good old days until Liance came back.

We're celebrating our two-year anniversary this Valentine's Day in the Arena. There will be free-for-all PvP and a battle for the chest. All are invited.
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in the garden in the house of love [Jan. 30th, 2008|07:59 pm]

the amazing, glamorous and heartwrenchingly raw claudelemonde posts about the nature of love.

i've been talking to a lot of people lately (oooookay hi, this is a silly beginning, i talk to a lot of people all of the time, let's start again)

a lot of recent conversations w/ people i love have centered around certainty, and lack thereof. we envy the certainty of those with a complete faith, we stand in awe of those who are certain in love, we are drawn to those who are certain about themselves. not that you can't stumble, make a side-step, fall; but that you believe in the overall impetus of the life you are building, in your choices, even that what you like you really like, all the way, of your own choosing--that certainty is attractive, and enviable, and has an air of magic to it; it has a strength.

i have become more sure-footed in many things; i've always known what i like, and i am sure of who i am, unassailably, which means that though it can hurt when a loved one disagrees or shouts me down, i am still me. i can consider opposing points, empathetically, sympathetically, and try to do so deeply; but feeling whether or not something "fits" is still an easy swoop of a decision, usually. to not be a bully, but to know quietly inside what fits for you. this makes it easy to be interested in other people, particularly those who have their own legend (as in maps), aesthetics, guidelines, and themes firmly footed. it's part of why i love, too, to give gifts; finding something that someone will love but they don't know it yet--there's an exquisite, last-piece-of-the-5000-piece-puzzle satisfaction there.

but in talking about certainty, i think mostly the areas where i'm least certain. i don't think i've ever felt truly in love, healthily; i've felt comfort, and relief, and paranoia, and desire, but not this real true thing everyone goes on and on about. i don't think i usually have much of a grip on a certain career path or life's work. and while i have faith, trust, belief, i don't have a 100% sure idea about God, what he is, what happens when we die. but i also have realized that i need room for those uncertainties. i wouldn't want a faith like the DMV, full of paperwork and A-B-C steps and guarantees and headcounts. i wouldn't want a love that worked like stereo instructions. i love the grand mysteries, the surges (even if they aren't true) of wonder that grip you sometimes like a waterspout. i need to believe that what's about to happen is something i can't even conceive of with my organic little human mind, that finally that wave will come in and lift me out to sea. i hope they never catch Nessie. i'm not afraid to die. i'm going to fall in love, tonight.
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10 things I've learned in 5 decades [Dec. 19th, 2007|08:16 pm]

[music |more wild + crazy Sagittarians plz, kthxbye.]

_perihelion_ delights me by having commemorated His Day, and by the manner in which he chose to do so.

Said man has startled me with his actual age throughout the entire time I have known him, due to his looks, his tastes, and his often disarmingly carefree public persona. It is as though he were perpetually a twenty-three year old, and that twenty-three year old preternaturally wise. This is even without mentioning the hypnotic and appealing way in which he dances (all true). By far the most generous person I know, it's intriguing to me that this is his first point.

Check it out.

half a century of life, laid out for your edification. laid out in lessons learned. you might wish it a bit more positive . . . but, hey, its my life.

1) be generous. in fact, be generous beyond reason. some people will tell you that your generosity will be returned 3-fold. those people are on crack. other people will tell you that your generosity will be returned in kind. they also are delusional. what will happen is that your generosity will be returned in unexpected ways. and the unexpected will change your life.

2) in my experience, most people think of other people as just some cheap knockoff of themselves. they count other people's successes as luck that they've not gotten. other people's failures as a lack of work that they've committed to. these people ignore the sheer diversity of the human experience. the massive differences in psychology, physiology, philosophy and personal history that characterize us all. in other words, they are dumb-asses.

3) suffer not an asshole lightly. not only will this improve the quality of your life but that of those around you was well. it's true, this will garner you some enemies. but really, that's not such a bad thing. as surely as a man without friends is ill-defined, a man without enemies is just as ill-defined.

4) hope is a cheat. hope is what brought about the light-bringer's fall. don't wait for it. don't pursue it. don't look to it for fulfillment. your life is in your hands. yours and yours alone. all other hands have their own agenda.

5) the trouble with oaths of the form of "death before dishonor" is that eventually, given enough time and abrasion, they separate the world into just two sorts of people . . . the dead and the forsworn. [1]

6) work as hard as you play and play as hard as you work. both are required for a full life. if you find yourself just waiting for your workday to be over, never engaged and excited. if you find yourself doing the same things over and over again in your playtime, waiting and hoping for for something more. your only living half a life. get off your ass and do something about it.

7) go with your strengths. life is full of potential and possibilities. but not all of those are yours. carefully map out which possibilities are yours and which (I'm sorry) are not. ardently pursue to the point of mania those which are yours. let go of those that aren't. don't just ignore, suppress or deny them. let them go.

8) always have a plan B. especially when making plans of a long term or permanent nature. relying on the continuance of some preexisting condition for your long term plans is just setting yourself up for failure if things fall through and you don't have a backup plan. and that's nobodies fault but your own.

9) I've never found the fountain-of-youth. but I did find the fountain-of-age. and I decided not to drink. over extending yourself will age you, prematurely. choose your responsibilities with care and deliberation . . . or get buried under a life of forever trying to catch up.

10) the universe is vast. time is long. everything changes. learn, grow, adapt and flourish . . . or be left behind.

[1] credit Lois McMaster Bujold
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another daisy702 post [Nov. 30th, 2007|10:35 am]

The lovely hey_jupiter posted this today and I just had to share it. Enjoy!

My brother, my sister, and I were spoiled kids. Don't get me wrong, we weren't rich. We didn't have mountains of expensive toys, but we pretty much got what we wanted. Did I mention that both sides of my family are Catholic? You know what that means! Lots of people, because back in the day Catholic = no birth control. That meant that we cleaned up because we had lots of family members, and at the time we were the only children in the family. I've always been dumb when it comes to family tree things. You know, this cousin twice removed and blah blah blah. So I have siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles and a metric shit-ton of people I just call "cousins."

I tell you all of that to tell you about the year Adopt-a-family was born in our household. It was a couple of days after Christmas when my brother and I declared "We're bored!" As my Dad looked at us both siting in the middle of piles of brand new toys, something in his mind SNAPPED. I'm sure if I was hypnotized by a professional, I could go back and actually *hear* the snap. I remember being really nervous because he was so calm. "Oh Linda" he called to my mother. "Would you come here and bring some boxes?" Every toy we'd gotten was put into boxes. We hadn't even played with 90% of them! Oh I know it sounds like a made up tale meant to teach greedy little brats a lesson, but I assure you that this is true. We got in the car & took all of our toys to Children's Hospital. My father took us room after room and made us hand our toys over to these kids and smile. AND SMILE! This was back before the days of HIPAA and privacy.. we were able to just walk around like Santa Effing Claus and give away our loot. A week later my father told us that he'd decided that from now on my parents were going to spend HALF as much money on us each year for Christmas, and the other half would go to helping out a needy family. He also foosnickered BOTH sets of my grandparents to do the same and give HIM the money. Half the money from three big Christmas spenders for 3 kids and you've got a healthy chunk of change for that time.

We thought he'd forget about it when Christmas rolled around. Ohhh no. He remembered. He contacted a Catholic church & got info about a family who needed help. The parents put together a wishlist for the kids & gave it to the church, who gave it to my father. We were all part of it. We'd go shopping to pick out things for the kids and a little something for the parents. It was FANTASTIC. Back then, they'd give you the address to take it to the family yourself. We'd take the stuff to the parents (usually no kids around so it could be from Santa) and they'd be so happy. My mother would always cry because she was so poor when she was a kid & knew what it was like to have strangers come to give you things.

The year that really, really convinced me to do it myself as an adult was when I was 15. We were taking presents over about a week before Christmas. The kids were not there except for their baby. We were carrying stuff in and my father was taking a sack from the grocery store into the kitchen. The wife told my dad how much she appreciated it, but she couldn't cook a turkey because she didn't have a stove. OMG, it's making me all teary to think about it even now. All they had was a hotplate. They couldn't bake anything at all. All they ate had to be able to be fixed that way. My Dad took us kids home and he & my mom left again. Later Mom told us they got a new stove for the family. They'd talked about it & decided not to give each other any presents that year and buy the stove instead. Mom said she'll never, ever forget the look the Mom's face when she realized she wasn't going to have to cook anymore on that damned hotplate.

Now you give your presents directly to the church or charity you go through to get your family. That's for the best, I think. That way the family doesn't have to feel like strangers are invading their homes. I always try to picture the scene on Christmas day when they open the presents I bought for them. That makes happier than any present I've gotten since I started doing it. I can't tell you how grateful I am to be able to be blessed enough to be able to do it. I know I'm very, very lucky and I feel a NEED to try to repay that luck. I'm sure if I had kids of my own, it would be really hard to keep the tradition going. This year I have a single dad and three little girls. I'm going to have SO much fun shopping for those girls. It's going to be insanely fun. I only wish they could go with me.

I jokingly asked my Dad a few years ago if my brother and I being ungrateful was a good thing after all. He said that we were unbelievable, ungrateful brats and he wished there were still gypsies that would take kids. Then he said that it wasn't *us* that made him make up his mind for the next year. It was my Mom. That night after visiting the hospital she had cried and told my Dad all about how when she was a little girl they would have to stand in their living room and take charity from people in their church. Food, clothes, and a few toys. She said that although it was somewhat humiliating, it was such a relief to know they wouldn't be without a Christmas dinner and warmer clothes. He said that for days he kept visualizing the little girl version of my mother doing without while he was unwrapping present after present. He said it made him think of the first Christmas after they'd met when she watched him unwrap presents and said "Are all of those for you!?" with wonder in her eyes. He said the thought of her as a girl going without KILLED him, and that's why we started adopting families. That kills me.
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