Monday, September 11, 2006

No comment? Life On Earth & Other Accidents, Part 2.

I'll be moving back to my old apartment, Life on Earth and Other Accidents, until they've repaired the roof, put in the plumbing, and equipped this baby with a telecommunication device (as in, the ability to accept comments from "classic" bloggers).

I like it here - it's easier to link and there are nice, easy to do features for page setup. But the fact that Beta has cut my circle of blogging friends out of the loop is just unacceptable. I'm packing my links as we speak....

See you there. Thank you all for going to the trouble of emailing comments. But I want to see YOUR links in my comments section too, so that people can check all of you out with just a click.
And besides, I miss the cross-talk in comments.

See you across the street. The old place with the saggy porch, three-foot high grass and car parts on the lawn.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

In which she lies to herself, yet again.

I've been unfaithful to the Hindenburg. I've dumped the week's stress over at Yottabite, where most of the inhabitants are familiar with my place of employment and understand that ranting and raving like a lunatic after the first week of school is the only sane response to the whole mess. (I am still waiting for a massive show of support on that account, in case any of them can get their noses out of their beer.)

It's 9:26 p.m. In my kitchen sink, there are dishes afloat in cold, greasy water. There are rings on the counter, and blobs of butter, sprinkles of salt. I am soon going to have to stomp the garbage down with my foot if I don't haul it - and my lazy ass - down to the dumpster. It's not that I haven't done anything today. I've been imaginary shopping all day and I'm worn right out.

I must have asked Fire Mountain Gems for a free catalogue because otherwise they wouldn't have my address. It was during a beading black out, I think. Because why, why would an addicted beader want a full color, 530 page catalogue featuring nearly everything a craftswoman could ever lust for, at wholesale prices.

I get up at 7:30 this morning and settle on the couch with my cup of coffee. I'm just going to look at the catalogue for a little while because Weedy is picking me up to run and get my new computer at 10:00.
The phone rings. Well. It doesn't precisely ring. It plays the least annoying tinny ring-tone I could find.
"What time is it?" I shout graciously into the receiver.
"10:15. Are you ready to go?" Ready? Ready? It's WHAT-fifteen?
It can't be. I just sat down. The catalogue is open at fire-polished crystals, page 255. I have a vague recollection of closely studying vermeil clasps and crimp beads. My coffee is gone.
I am still in my robe and I haven't washed or brushed my teeth. Shit. Shit.

Let's survey the results of the day calmly here. Dishes dirty - check. New CPU in box right where I set it down by front door - check. Flash drives still in their little packages - check. (Therefore) nothing transferred from this computer in preparation for the switchover - check. Bank balance not checked - check. Studio not cleaned up - check. Meals not eaten - check. Behind on all necessary tasks - check.

Earlier this evening, I did put the catalogue down. And started on the internet. I found the best frosted acrylic bracelet stands. Like stretched out S's...elegant and simple...and inexpensive. Well, I had to see what else they had, didn't I?

But I'm ok. It's 9:47 now, and after I calculate the cost of buying 1200 4mm cobalt blue crystals, and a few little items I need to go with them, plus exchange, shipping, customs, and tax charges, I'll stop. Just one more page for the road, ok?

Give me those keys back right now.

Three's my lucky number.

I've posted three new blog links. Please welcome (in alphabetical order) Cocaine Jesus & associates at Spilled to Bloodlessness, Edie at Just Write and Goatman at Pretty Moon Beams. Great photographs, digital art, poetry and prose all 'round. These folks are on "classic" blogger, so there shouldn't be a problem with commenting if you are so inclined.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Decline and Fall"

I don't indulge in political commentary. Usually.

Why? Because honestly, at the sound of George W. Bush's or Stephen Harper's voice, I fling myself at the radio to shut it off. Because I can almost feel my blood pressure rising with every syllable. Do I disagree with every single policy of these leaders? No. Many of their policies, but not all.

What I loathe is their arrogance and/or duplicity. Their belief that it is their right to lie openly and then to be praised for their motives when they admit it - or their belief that, once elected, they can do as they damn well please and don't owe an explanation.

Front page of The Globe & Mail, Top Story:

"U.S. President George W. Bush admitted for the first time today that the CIA has been operating clandestine prisons....After his administration spent months refusing to confirm the existence of the widely criticized 'black sites.'...

and further along in the same piece...

"Critics are also leery of a section of the proposed law (new rules for military commissions) that would exempt civilian interrogators of terrorist prisoners from being being subject to the U.S. War Crimes Act for abuses they may commit."

Well. Can't live with the Geneva Convention and can't give the appearance of overlooking it? Hire a sadist. As long as the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, I always say.

And lest my American friends think I'm only pissed at their politicians, this was The Globe's political cartoon of the day...

Prime Minister Harper stands at his office window, hands clasped peacefully behind his back, gazing outside. A telephone/answering machine sits where it's been dumped, at the bottom of a fish tank, with its message playing in a cartoon bubble above the tank:
"Hello, you have reached the 'Stephen Harper, Public Feedback Hotline.' Your call is important to us..."

Good ol' Steve. Canned a progressive, desperately needed national daycare program, lowered the amount of basic tax exemption (after cutting a massive 1% off Goods & Services Tax), killed Kyoto Accord. Most memorable photo op? Harper shaking hands with his seven year old son, as he sees him off to school. What warmth. Eyes like Night of the Living Dead. His handlers keep him away from the media in droves.

The difference between GWB and Stephen Harper, as far as I can see, is that GWB is determined to appear as honest, upright and a defender of All That Is Right. Harper doesn't give a flying f-ck what any of us think of his policies. With the possible exception of George W. Bush. He's all buddy-buddy with Bush.

To quote Louise (in Thelma & Louise) - "You get what you settle for." But please, I'd like to know, where are the alternatives? A Canadian joke -
"What do you call the NDP once they are elected?Answer: Liberals."
You could revise it into American form, I expect.
What do you call the Democrats once they are elected? Republicans.

Turn it around any way you like.

There is something suspicious (to me) about people who aspire to political power. A handful may actually mean to do good. Then, of course, there's the question of who gets to decide the "good." Maybe one percent of those noble souls don't fall to wheeling and dealing corruptly once they get power. But that one percent is, apparently, dead.

I don't want to feel this jaded. I would love to step up to the voting booth, feeling like - at last, an honest man, an honest woman. At last, with this vote, I'm not settling.

But I don't expect it to happen soon.

And I keep coming back to a section of Alden Nowlan's poem, "Decline and Fall":

...How may of his
contemporaries knew
Caligula was insane,
or Nero, or Tiberius?
Their courtiers must
have known. Others
must have at least
suspected. But no doubt
there were many who
said, You know, I believe
the emperor is crazy,
said it without being
altogether convinced
of it as I'm saying
it even now.
The evidence is there
but the mind cannot
bring itself
wholly to believe in
a dynasty of mad men.

Other than that, folks, it's a beautiful day. The ducks have finally returned to the creek at Mac Run after the Digging For Sewers Episode that screwed the entire water system up. I note there is a second, newly dumped shopping cart resting in the shallows but the ducks don't seem to care.

It occurs to me that ducks are a superior species to humans. Not a George W. Duck amongst them. And Stephen Duck would never have reneged on commitment to the Kyoto Accord.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The situation with "comments"

I'm taking comment moderation down. "Anyone" can comment (after typing the codes - I can do without the bots commenting). I've done everything I can think of to stop the problems with commenting. If your blog is a "classic" blogspot, try logging in as "other" or "anonymous." One of the techno wizards in the Blogger Help group thinks this may work until Blogger moves everyone into Beta (after testing is completed).

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Witch trials and coffee breaks

Anonymous invites me to give up on Blogger already and join Yottabite. The invitation thereby destroying his anonymity, by the way.

Join? Well, I sort of did join, actually and lurk around under an older assumed name that provides me with about the same amount of anonymity as he has, if you read over three words of any entry.

But join? As in join? Another group? Officially? Blather on for virtual miles about my endless ill-considered opinions, crack-pot theories in shared space? Post poetry, some of it quite awful, and all those little fits of despair and inappropriate amusement? Vent politically incorrect sentiments where the other citizens have to put up with me hogging the bandwidth?

I am certifiably paranoid when it comes to joining. I suffer Unreasonable Fear of Groups. There is always the suspicion in my mind that at some point, during the coffee break of a meeting or gathering, when I am trying not to spill pastry crumbs on my shirt, the entire group will turn to me and announce that I am to be hanged momentarily. If you've read Kafka's, The Trial, you'll understand this. Or if you've attended an impromptu lynching or witchcraft trial lately. Or if you were kicked out of Campfire Girls. There is a certain basis for this fear. And that is - I am guilty. Completely and utterly guilty. Of something. I just know it.

The closest I come to identifying with a group is this little circle (including the Yottabite folks) of bloggers and friends.

And then there's the fact that I wonder the Yottabite folks put up with my hit and run entries, as it is. Considering the generation gap of 90 years between the rest of the members and me. And you know how we get. Oh yes indeed, we are just full advice and eager to share the teaspoon of wisdom we've accumulated in a gallon size bucket of words. Besides, no one likes a smart ass.

But here's the thing - at the very same time I'm looking to see if the get-away car is available, I am genuinely touched and pleased to be asked.

Go figure.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lots of words, no theme, but no one dies either.

It's 8:09 p.m. and how that happened, I'll never know. I got up at 5:oo this morning, started beading a Victorian style bracelet, stopped to wash, condition, rinse, dry and iron my hair - and by then it was noon and I was starving. I made a Balanced Breakfast. Eggs, a tomato, carrot & orange juice, whole grain toast, then I resumed work on the bracelet (which, I might add, kept growing details I hadn't planned originally).

So, it's 8:09 p.m. now and I'm eating nacho pieces from the bottom of the bag and washing them down with red wine. This is known as an Unbalanced Lupper (Lunch/supper) - or I-start-out-with-sensible intentions-but-crap-out-the-minute-I'm-obsessing.

No one I know died today. I didn't listen to the news. The sun shone. One Scorpio friend called to chat. Another recently left a cranky voice mail demanding to know how many damn times my phone actually rang before voice mail clicked in. The talk with Scorpio A was fun, the message from Scorpio B has had me snickering for days. What was that darling? Duty call? Oh for gawdsake, let's have the voice mail before she answers and I'm stuck talking on the phone! And friend coyo emails, so I am happily informed that he is not dead, he's just working on the great American Indian Novel. All is well inside the Hindenburg.

Back to the bracelet. While I stitched I thought about how difficult it is to sell work because of the flood of beadwork from the third world - where people are paid approximately two cents an hour. I don't begrudge those far-off beaders a livelihood by any means, but they are the Wal-mart of craft. No one wants to pay for 8 to 40 hours of North American labor when they can get something that kind of looks the same for $3.00. And I suspect that the people buying their stuff are not exactly practicing fair trade principals either.

Meanwhile, I'm driven to attempting to hit the "art" market. It's the only way I can make a small living doing what I love. (What I love besides writing, I mean - in that case, I can make no living and die for art). It's ok. I'd rather do one-off than production any day...but this whole art thing requires sacrifice, you know. I have to attend openings. I have to be nice. I have to pay professional photographers who hate me for being such a techno-boob. I have to write resumes and artist statements that exceed, "I really like beading. Leave me alone." Yang, yang. I'm honored actually to be asked for all this tedious stuff I hate having to make up. And the last opening was interesting. But.

Wal-mart. I am ashamed to say I buy things from Wal-mart. Why? Because the products are cheaper than the equivilent and better-made Canadian-made products and I can't afford my own principals. I do, however, hate them for their takeover of the world and their explotation - which means I am adrift between the need to consume a few things while incurring less expense and the icky feeling that I am contributing to...

Us becoming a society of consumers who are not-so-slowly forgetting how to do anything and everything for ourselves. When I grew up (restrain yourselves here, people) - I was taught what were basic lifeskills at the time. Cooking (no microwaves) and sewing (hand and machine) among them. How to dye shoes when you were stuck for an occasion. How to - hang on - darn socks. That's right - darn socks. Not throw them out. Fix them. Shoe and appliance repair was not a foreign concept either. I could knit (badly) at age 11. I could hem a skirt. I saved up for things I needed. I knew how to hang wet laundry on a clothesline, wax a floor with actual wax and use a ringer washer. I could amuse myself without television. Really. It's true.

We are becoming a society of helpless boobs. Everything is done for us - and cheaply too - which is where the trap lies. Here's another admission - I buy that cheap beadwork. I bought, for example, an ankle cuff. I was in a devil-may-care mood last summer, so I plunked down my six bucks and put the thing on. A block later, I had this tickling sensation on my foot. And there was my ankle bracelet, trailing beads behind me as it disintigrated. The revenge of the slave-wage worker.

My point? Damned if I know. I'm just happy to be bleating on, considering the prospect of three more days to call my very own. I'm wearing the bracelet with a shitty old T-shirt and tights.
I'm a happy woman. I'd be even happier if you visited my bead blog and clicked on the pictures with the white backgrounds that I've bought and almost finished paying for.

Or. You could just blow it off and go to Wal-mart instead.