November 15, 2005

Stupid Things People Say

I'm drowning in them. Posted by Picasa
"I'd like a large black coffee with cream."
"I voted for Bush."
"I think Intelligent Design can be scientifically proven."
"I like Dave Matthews Band."
"Bush is doing a good job."
"Tom Delay is not a criminal." - Bill Kristol
"We have to stop criminalizing politics." - Bill Kristol
"I love emo." - stupid emo kid
"USC is not going to a bowl this year." - ESPN sports announcer
"Survivor is the best show on television."
"Hillary Duff can sing."
"If you don't support the war, you don't support the troops."
"Bring it on." - President Bush
And on and on and on and on and on.

November 02, 2005

Vote for Wilco!

So, that time of year is come again... the time when the Three Rivers Music Festival (held in my delightful hometown of Cola SC) let's music fans vote for who they'd like to see... So of course, being the good music geek that I am I did my duty and voted. And of course being the Wilco fanatic that I am I listed Jeff and the boys as my first, second and favorite choice for alternative group.

So my dear friends, fellow fans or annoyed blog readers... I ask you to assist in my campeign. If you live close enough to SC to come for the festival in April... please visit and vote for the bands you'd like to see (especially Wilco and Emmylou Harris!).

Thank you, you've been a lovely audience.

(How pathetic is it that I'm recruiting strangers to help bring my favorite band to town? However, anyone who votes for the Wilco and tells me about will earn a place on my "List of People With Good Taste in Music". Which, by the way, is sadly a much shorter list than my "List of People With Terrible Taste in Music Who Should Not Be Allowed to Breed" list.)

October 14, 2005

There's a fortune inside your head....

And so it begins. Ole Drunk Boy and Lulu will be here shortly and we will depart for Asheville... home of hippies, over-priced beer and, for tonight at least, WILCO! I love a road trip.... I love being with my buddies (especially since we all work A LOT!)... there's nothing more fun than listening to Lulu and Odb bickering the entire way and hearing Dave laugh at them. Sitting in the back with Lulu making fun of the boys. Listening to loud music, stopping in strange places, visiting a Wal-Mart in every town.

THIS IS BEING YOUNG! Driving for three hours to see a show and go drinking in another town. I've loaded up the Beatles and NMH cds, I've packed the camera bag, a t-shirt and some clean undies and I'm ready to be "on the road again."

Hopefully this time it won't be Lulu and I driving around for two hours trying to find the damn venue. Of course that was Charlotte and this is Asheville... Plus we have the boys to handle that. Odb's even hopeful that Dave will let him drive some. I don't see Dave doing that though. Which I approve of because Odb is so not the good driver.

Okay, Lulu's here and everybody is bitching for me to come on. Here's hoping I survive.

October 12, 2005

Orlando Bloom looks like a rat terrier.

Add some Venetian blinds and you've got a Ridley Scott film. Posted by Picasa
I am many things. Daughter, sister, lover, friend, state employee and most of all: FILM GEEK EXTRODINAIRE! I've taken filmic elitism to new heights. I can recite every one of Chaplin's films, in filming order with sidenotes on co-stars, production companies and unit directors thrown in for shits and giggles. I have a twenty-minute rant about Quentin Tarantino which includes so much profanity that it makes his films look g-rated. I proudly (and loudly) denounce Steven Spielberg for the Kubrick copying hackneyed schmuck he is... I love movies and I'm sick of the crap they constantly thrust upon us.
Hollywood's complaining that they've been losing money for a few years now. They claim that it's because of Tivo, Digital cable, satellite, the internet etc. etc. Gee, did they never stop to think that maybe we just don't want to pay $10 to see 40 minutes of commercials and a really crappy movie?
I went and saw "Serenity" because I love science fiction (I wish I had a spaceship). It was complete and utter drivel. Here's my brief comment on it from IMDB:
"A legion of obsessed fans have given this movie a high rating and a (hopefully brief) place on the top 200 list. The honest truth is that this movie was, at best, mediocre. Joss Whedon, who generally has a flare for clever dialogue and interesting characters, fell flat on his face with "Serenity".Perhaps part of the problem is that I was not a Firefly fan. Maybe for consistent viewers of the show the characters were well-rounded and deep. Unfortunately, for the non-Firefly viewers the characters were incredibly thin and boring. They were like ink sketches of people, with no depth and no real traits. The ships' captain is painted as a "hard" man (a very John Wayne a la The Cowboys or The Searchers type character) who only looks out for himself and those few he has chosen as crew. And just to drive this point home, he is called Mal, and we're all aware of what that means in Latin I'm sure. Mal is narcissism at it's worst. And his "change" from self-centered, looking out for number one guy to righteous sword of justice and freedom is completely implausible.The other characters, all with cute names like Zoe, Kaylie, River and, my favorite ham-handed choice, strong guy Jane are just as thin and cartoony as Mal. It's hard to care about any of them because they're such generic "shoot 'em up" characters.Obviously the pairing of westerns and science fiction has a long tradition. Star Wars, Heinlein, hell, even the Last Starfighter... Whedon though takes it to an extreme here. It comes off as silly, overwrought and even garish. Characters say ridiculous things which are meant to have a "cowboy" feel. These lines seemed forced and far too obvious. They bog down and stilt an already weak and muddled script. There is also a pervasive "mystic" feel that's hackneyed and overused in this type of film.Perhaps the best overall description is that this film is simply rather juvenile. It's something for teenagers and those with a less mature taste. It seems half-baked. A decent idea never brought to fruition.Basically, if you're a giant sci-fi fan wait for video, it's worth a rental for a few decent space scenes. If you're not a sci-fi junkie, don't bother. Or better yet, rent the Farscape series, especially the two part mini-series, The Peacekeeper Wars. It's vastly superior to Serenity. "
So Serenity was pretty much a waste of money. So I went and saw Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride" a few days later to try and rectify the searing eye damage done by the travesty "Serenity". And "Corpse Bride" was good, well, better than "Serenity" anyway. But it was just a rehash of Burton's earlier films and "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Clever dialogue, a cute story and lots of singing... not his most creative work. Oh, and Tim, you might consider some counseling for that weird death fetish you've got... I swear, he's getting as bad as Tarantino and the toes.
So, disappointed yet again, I headed down to the Nickelodeon, our local art house theater to see a flick called "Heights". It had gotten great reviews and good press. I was excited... I was hopeful... I was pissed off by the time we left. As David said, "Rachel, you didn't tell me this was going to be a movie about gay cowboys eating pudding." "Heights" was, at best self-indulgent, ennui drenched masturbation. Pretension in it's worst form. A "little" film about poor angst ridden, sexually confused Manhattanites with good jobs and famous friends. Yeah, you guys have it so tough... plenty of money, pretty face, famous relatives, stilted dialogue... And you know what else is annoying? When characters in a movie like "Heights" have a conversation about what is "real". I can tell you one thing that's not real... this movie. And on top of that the Nickelodeon has the most uncomfortable seats on the planet. So not only was I sour from seeing a stupid movie, but my back was killing.
And finally, to top off a string of terrible films, we have Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven". Oh boy... I don't even really need to discuss this one. It was "Black Hawk Down" with catapults instead of rocket launchers. A mauldlin, laborious, clunky bit of pseudo-history with plenty of Ridley Scott "Smoke & Mirrors" moments. Will someone please explain to this joker that you don't need a shot of light streaming through shutters while smoke wafts past in every movie? And while you're at it... someone should really tell him that you have to actually develop a character if you want people to give a flying fuck when they die.
So, in summation, WILL-SOMEBODY-PLEASE-MAKE-A-DECENT-MOVIE! I'm going to watch "Me, You and Everyone We Know" tonight. And I swear to God if it's sucks I'm never going to watch another film made after 1975 again.

October 11, 2005

I wish I was a Bene Gesserit.

Where's your stillsuit? Posted by Picasa
"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that
brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me
and through me.
And when it has gone past I
will turn the inner eye to see it's
Where the fear has gone there
will be
Only I will remain.
-The Litany Against Fear
Frank Herbert
I like this little litany a lot. I think it sort of sums up the proper attitude towards life. Why be afraid? What's the worst that could happen, death? ennui? maiming? Hell, life's too short to be scared.

October 10, 2005

The Long and Winding Road

So, haven't posted in awhile... I've been super busy, two jobs, a class, a boyfriend, a dog and writing the great American novel doesn't leave one a lot of time for blogging...

But I'm back. I have an exciting couple of weeks coming up here. David, myself, LuLu and Ole Drunk Boy are heading up to Asheville to (hopefully) see Wilco. If not, well as LuLu put it, "I've got to get out of this town for a few days." And I say, "Amen to that sista..." And then the weekend after Wilco (I like the way that sounds) Dad and I are going to do a little camping. It was initially supposed to be a "Rachel goes into the woods alone and comes to terms with her twenty-fifth birthday thing"... But then it turned into a "Rachel and Dad go into the woods together thing". And that's okay. It'll be cheaper and Dad and I haven't camped together in years. I sometimes think my entire childhood was camping at Edisto or Poinsette with my folks or just with Dad. I was kinda annoyed at first, because I really needed some time alone, but now I've come around. It'll be really good to have a couple of days with Pops. After all, he is my bestest buddy. Besides, sitting around a campfire talking about Kubrick and existentialism while drinking coffee? what's not to like?

See, I turn twenty-five in oh, 12 days. I know, I know... everybody keeps saying, "So?". Well, it's a big deal to me. It's the culmination of something. I haven't figured out what yet... but something. Twenty-five, a quarter of a century. It seems really big to me, ken? I always figured that by twenty-five I'd have a great job with National Geographic or Lonely Planet and be traveling around the world taking pictures of things. Life doesn't always go as you planned. And I'm trying to figure out if I'm sad that I'm not roaming around the globe. It's hard to be bummed when I have a good home, a job I love (it's not National Geographic, but it's Educational Television, which is close), the best boyfriend on the planet and a cute little puppy to love me.

Everyone's growing up. I look at my friends, people I've known for years and I wonder how we all became such different people. Everybody is getting married, having kids, graduating and so on. They all seem like adults. It's uber-Twilight Zone.

Somebody told me when I was younger that twenty-five was when you became an adult. That once you hit twenty-five you would know what you wanted from life, that you would be a person. I had this idea that when my twenty-fifth birthday rolled around I would instantly become an adult. I thought I would feel like an adult. But I don't. Sure, I pay my bills, David and I discuss whether or not getting cable is a good idea and where we should open a bank account. We talk about whether to get another vehicle and adult things of that sort. But I'm not really an adult. I can't wait to go to the fair, I still read comic books and watch cartoons. I love to play video games and watch the Harry Potter movies. I like to play with my toy race cars and I hum the Indiana Jones theme every time I take the dog out to go potty. I go to sleep every night thinking about Star Wars, I quote the Goonies at least once a week. I still have a crush on Johnny Depp. I still think my dad is the smartest man in the whole world. I think fart jokes are funny and I have a Sponge Bob Square Pants Pez Dispenser on my desk next to my Incredibles toy. I sleep with my childhood teddy bear and I think footy pj's are the best thing on the planet. I'm an adult? I think not. I'm still the same Rachel: abrasive, obnoxious, caustic and silly. I'm just a kid who's pretending to be grown up.

Maybe it's like Jeff Tweedy said, "Maybe I'm just a kid, maybe I just don't fit in.."

September 28, 2005

The Men In a Girl's Life Posted by Picasa

August 31, 2005

Beachtree Posted by Picasa

August 24, 2005

Haven't a clue why I'm like this today. Posted by Picasa

Sometimes a girl's feeling a little bummed and she needs some sixities style super pop music to make her feel better. I was a little with the melancholy a couple of days ago so I put in the Autumn Defenses "Circles" while I was driving around. It made me so happy! It's so floaty and light and the lyrics are so personal that I get this feeling that John Stiratt and Pat Sansone are playing just for me. But then all Wilco side projects have that vibe for me. It's why I love Tweedy and the boys. It may sound silly but I have this feeling like they know everywhere I've been and everywhere I'm going... and it makes things a lot less frightening.

August 23, 2005

Beat the Heat.

So David and I are driving down Blossom St. a couple of days ago with the music blasting (per usual) and the dog in the back of the truck. There's a pick up truck in front of us with a 21-22 year old guy sitting in the back. David and I are making jokes, saying we should pull up next to him and let the dog say hi. It was hot, damn hot which is good if you're with a lady but not when you're in the concrete jungle. So as we're sitting behind this truck at a red light we see some sort of milky liquid squirt out the back of the truck. Both of us are like, "What's that?" At which point the dude sitting in the back immediatly begins vomiting, again.

David: "Well he must be drunk. His friends probably made him sit back there."
Me: "Yeah, it's easier to hose out the back than the cab. But you know, sitting back there in the sun and bouncing up and down probably didn't help a lot."
David: "Yeah. I wish we had the camera. We'll never see that again."

Here's my question: Are we horrible people for laughing at this? And who gets drunk at 1:00 in the afternoon when it's like 80 bijillion degrees outside? And why was that guy puking white? I mean what, was he drinking white russians or something? And who would drink a milk based drink on a day that hot?

Just another of life's inane and yet insanely funny moments.

Please Tell My Mother...

My mother and I are so different that it sometimes astonished me that we're related. My mother is more of a girl, into fashion, appearances. popularity and reality shows whereas as I rate somewhere around 47 on the Ripley's Believe it or Not weirdness scale. My mom likes to shop and find fashionable clothes, I like to shop... for books and cds. My mom likes sappy romantic comedies, I like Akira Kurosawa and Stanley Kubrick. For a long time I resented my mother. I felt that she was overbearing and was trying to hard to make me a younger version of her... and then I realized something.

My mother is a cleaning woman. She goes into people's homes and cleans up. There were times as a kid that I was a little ashamed of her job. I felt it was somehow degrading or unworthy of her. She's had some of her customers for decades, especially the elderly folks. I've grown up knowing them, playing in their houses, vacumming or reading their books. There are two in particular who stand out in my mind. Mr. Smith, who's at least 80 and Joan who was in her seventies. I always loved going to Mr. Smithl's because he had a whole wall of books and National Geographics. When I was a kid he would send boxes of books home with my mother for me. Joan's house was my favorite. It was an old house, with a big front porch and squishy old furniture. The best part was that Joan collected turtle figurines. When I was 6 I got a pet turtle, George, (he's still living). When I saw Joan's collection, I started my own.

Joan died a short while ago. She'd been sick for a long time. My mother had taken her to doctor's appointments, checked her medications and all the other little things. She asked for nothing in return. My mother called me to tell me she had died. I could hear in my mom's voice how sad she was and how angry. Joan's daughter in law had come in and thrown out all of the journals Joan had kept. And my mother thought this horrible and cruel. My mother spoke about what a good lady Joan had been and how much she had always liked me. And then she told me how old Mr. Smith had gotten and how sick he was. And I had an epiphany. My mother didn't clean houses because there was nothing else she could do or because the hours let her be home with my brother and I when we were kids. She did it because she loved people. Because she liked taking care of them, loving them and protecting them. She did it because she was one of those people with a heart so big that she had to find more people to bring into it. And I knew, that as long as I lived I could never be that kind and giving. All I could do was try to give even a little back.

Maybe that's part of growing up. Being able to see your parents as people. To step back and see them for what they truly are... not the person who made you do your homework or wear a dress. Maybe adulthood is being able to put aside prejudice and the memories of old hurt and just see the beauty and the goodness that's inside everyone.

I've finally seen my mother. Defender of the weak, protector of the elderly and the best mopper on the planet. There is no way to say thank you for these things. How do you say to someone, "Thank you for showing me what it takes to be a great person?" or "Not all heros get medals, some just are and don't expect anyone to notice."? Is there any way to tell someone how happy you are that they shaped you? That you are an okay person because of them? If there's a way voice these feelings I haven't figured it out yet. So, all I can say is this, I am proud to be my mother's daughter.

August 12, 2005

Maggie Dog Posted by Picasa

August 09, 2005

Time is on my side.

'"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.'

- Bob Dylan
"My Back Pages"

Well, the observant among you may have noticed that the title of this blog is "Quarter of a Century". Perhaps two of the five people who've read this have even wondered what was meant by it. Here's your answer, in the form of another song quote:

"And now, a quarter of my life is almost past,
I think I've come to see myself at last..."

-Joe Cocker
"Darling Be Home Soon"

The basic question I'm trying to find an answer to is this: When do you become an adult? At what point do things fall into place? Is this it? I'm almost twenty-five, I have a college degree, I'm considered reasonably intelligent - and yet, I spend half my time looking around and mumbling, "What the hell...?".
So. When does it kick in? At what point will I understand credit, consolidating loans, 401k's, insurance, savings, purchasing a home and the point of all these things? Call me an underachievers but all I really want is a job I like, a place to keep my movies/computer/books/cds/boyfriend/puppy and lots of free time to play with said movies/computer/books/cds/boyfriend/puppy. Is that so much to ask? I'd like to have more money, but I'm not willing to work 70 hours a week to get it. Time is far more valuable than money, because we have such a limited amount of it... I mean, in the greater scheme of things our lives are not even cosmic blinks. Maybe that's why so many songwriters use time as a topic...

"Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find that ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

- Pink Floyd

Well, I can sympathize with that ditty. It's how I feel now. I have this feeling like everyone was trying to hurry me so much that I missed some cue. I have this feeling like time is bearing down on me, that there is something else I should be doing, some goal I should be roaring towards, but I can't figure out what it is... What's the point of life if you waste all your time making connections, working, paying bills and being a productive member of society? Isn't it important to waste a few hours or days lying on an isolated beach and thinking about what your alien counterparts are doing? Isn't it important to blow off work so you can go drive go-carts with your friends sometimes? I mean otherwise, what the hell is the point? The time I spend doing nothing with my friends is more valuable to me than any time I ever spent in a classroom or an office (and I enjoyed school and still enjoy my job). Everyone is constantly careening around at this frenetic pace trying to "make" something of their life, but wait, isn't it enough to be alive? To enjoy those moments?

"Do I dare Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions
which a minute will reverse."

Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock
T.S. Elliott

See, now this one makes a lot of sense to me. I cannot disturb the universe. My minute is eons for the big black vastness we call the universe. I don't control or influence it in any way. I can make all the money I want, have all kinds of power, cram every minute full of social climbing and "networking" and it doesn't mean a damn thing. People rush around because they're terrified to confront how incredibly small and insignificant they are... They regret past actions because they know they'll never have that time again. I say, what's to regret? The fact that I spent 3 years smoking pot and watching movies isn't going to destroy the world or even my life. And hey, it was a really fun time.

Our time is not unlimited. But our decisions about how to use that time are... What's the point of a life without joy? A life without wasted time? Wasting time is my favorite pastime.

July 18, 2005

Florida Sucks.

Perhaps you've heard the old adage, "Even though it sucks, sometimes you have to go to Florida." Okay, maybe it's not an adage, maybe I made it up. Prove it.

Anyway, we did have to go to Florida. David and I went down to visit his family in Orlando and Naples, Florida a couple of weeks ago.. We were supposed to stop and see the shuttle launch also, but of course, it was delayed. I can honestly say that this is the first time I've ever been to Florida without going to Disney World. To be perfectly frank, I didn't know anybody went to Florida unless it was to go to Disney World. I mean, what's the point of visiting an icky, humid, bug-ridden dong-shaped state unless it's to go to "The Happiest Place on Earth"? Oh yeah, people live there too...

You may be wondering, "Why such adament dislike for a state she's never lived in?" One word: grandparents. Ever summer when I was a kid my cousin and I were schlepped off to Ochkeechobee Florida for two weeks with the grandparents. Now I love my Grandmother and father, they're cool. But dear lord, two-three weeks in Florida IN THE SUMMER IN AN OLD PEOPLE'S NEIGHBORHOOD? WHEN YOU'RE 6,7,8,9,10 and on up! ARRRGGGGHHHHH!

See, people have this idea that Florida is all sunny beaches and Disney. But it's not, there's a dark side to Florida, populated with old men wearing knee socks with shorts and lunch at 10:30 in the morning at the Golden Corral. And your grandmother introducing you to every human shaped object she's ever met reciting every accomplishment you've ever had all while standing in the above mentioned Golden Corral. Not to mention the cheek-pinching, kissing, prodding and exclamations of "Lord Evelina she looks just like Debbie and listen to the way she talks... Lord, sounds just like a little Yankee."

While Florida may be a haven for every child's dream vacation, it also hides a terrible nightmare. Hot, sweaty, swampy, buggy back woods towns where the most exciting thing that happens all week is when your PaPa lets you drive the riding lawnmower with him. And there's nothing to do but fish for crappy in the pond and hit kumquats with a baseball bat. And it's always a hundred degrees in your grandparents house

Now for all that I dislike Florida, I really like road trips. Something about being on the road with good music, snackies, cigarettes and the person you love best in the world really appeals to me. Granted, when I purchased a light pick up truck 14 hour car rides were not my first thought. My truck is not built for road-tripping. It's tiny (no king cabs here) and has a bench seat. It's also a stick shift (which sucks giant donkey nuts when you hit traffic). Oh and no automatic locks, windows or anything else. But for some reason, when I'm cruising down the road with my baby and the stereo's turned up loud I don't mind all of those inconveniences. Because for a few hours it's just us, just us singing along and sharing snackies, just us making jokes and taking pictures, it's just us being close and young and in love... And really, isn't that worth going to Florida?

June 16, 2005

Get Pissed.

Downing Street - memos and brits oh my! Posted by Hello

"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." - excerpt from the "not as infamous as it should be" Downing Street Memo

I thought Downing Street was where Sherlock Holmes lived. Apparently I was wrong.

Now, exactly what is the Downing Street Memo you might ask? (Hey, not everyone listens to NPR.) The memo contains the minutes of the Prime Ministers Meeting from July 23, 2002. And it basically says that intelligence information was built around President Bush's firm decision to attack Iraq. Basically it throws out Bush's claim that war in Iraq was a "last resort". It also implies that much of the so-called "intelligence" used to justify the war was slanted or skewed to support Bush's war mongering.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm glad Saddam's gone. The guy was a class A son of a bitch. Here's my problem: I'm sick of being lied to. Cheney claimed that Iraq was linked to 9/11, Bush claimed Saddam had WMD's (I'm so sick of that acronym) and they both claimed that Iraq was producing and supporting terrorists. Well, gee, I thought that the overwhelming majority of the suicide flyers into buildings were from Saudi Arabia... and we've done what about the Saudi's involvement?

And here's my other issue. Bush and his cronies are constantly whining about the liberal media etc... and yet the Downing Street Memo has gotten incredibly little press in the U.S. Sure, a semen-stained dress and the press can't get enough of it. A memo that basically proves (not that we weren't already aware) that our President is a scumbag and liar goes virtually unnoticed. Yeah, that makes sense. Clinton's indiscretions wasted how much money? His extramarital affair got how many people killed? Did Clinton's indiscretion turn the rest of the world against us? I think not.

I've got to admit that I'm just floored. Do people just not care anymore? Are we so convinced that all politicians are corrupt that we don't even bother anymore? Am I the only who thinks it's about time for a little restructuring? People, the longer we take it and the less we say the more it happens. We should be in the streets rioting, but instead most people are buying SUV's and people like me are afraid to open our mouths. I'm sick of hearing that I'm unpatriotic because I'm not willing to give Emperor Bush free rein. Screw you. I'm the true patriot. A true patriot questions everything their government does. If we don't keep them in line, who will?

Does anyone really think that the war in Iraq has helped stop, slow down or even tickle terrorism? No, we've just pissed them off more. The war in Iraq is going so well that every week dozens more bodies hit the sandy soil.

Here's an idea: QUIT BUYING SUV'S YOU GIANT FLAMING PRICK MONKEY MOTHERFUCKER YUPPIE SCUM. Want to stop or at least slow down terrorism? Be more fuel efficient. WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY'RE GETTING THE MONEY YOU SCHMUCKS?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Okay, I feel better, I need to cut back on the caffeine (she says as she lifts her jumbo size coffee).

My basic point is that it's ridiculous that this has gotten almost no press in the States. Are people so blind in their loyalty to Bush that they can't see facts? I guess not considering no one got pissed about Cheney's old company Halliburton making a fat profit from the war. How many young men and women have to die before we hold our president accountable for his lies? How many? A few thousand more? Maybe another 10,000 civilians?

The world changed after 9/11. I realize the truth of that statement. I realize that when people are afraid they'll do just about anything to feel safe. Including giving a Jesus Freak Lying Rich White Oil Man absolution for all his crimes. But no matter what people think, Bush is not making us safer. He is only making the government more corrupt, taking away freedoms and blowing billions on a war that was not justified by his lies.

The time has come my intelligent friends. The time when we stand up and say, "This is a load of bull-hooey. Stop lying to us, stop silencing the questioners and just admit that you lied." That's all I want; an admission and a resignation. Nixon was impeached for what amounted to breaking and entering, but Bush can flat out lie (repeatedly) to the American people and it's cool?

And doesn't anyone wonder why the news outlets aren't screaming about this memo?

So. Go read the memo, write some letters, do some sceaming and pitch a hissy. Remember, this is the United States of America, you have the right to cry bullshit. You are the only defense against corruption and tyranny. It sucks and it's a tough job, but if we don't do it, who will?

June 14, 2005

Don't F**k With My NPR.

So, it's been established that I love coffee and I'm a little weird. Let's go on and drop the final piece of my geeky trinity in place. NPR. I love NPR the way I love coffee. In fact, I enjoy NPR best with a cup of coffee. According to my boyfriend I'm the only person on the planet who does a little dance on Friday morning because it's "Science Friday" on NPR. What can I say? I like being informed in an entertaining way... I like literate humor and stories that don't always make the mainstream. Note: PBS also rules!

Now, I may not be the most objective commentator on the following issue, but I'll do my best. NPR is under attack. According to certain "officials" NPR is too left-leaning. According to some schmuck, "The bias is noticeable", says Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media. Go check out his blog and judge it's fairness for yourself. Pay particular attention to the words used to describe protesters. Conservatives have long complained about this, going back, literally decades."So here's something funny. NPR is accused by government officials (especially those great guys at the FCC, who believe me are really holding the airwaves in the public trust, Clear Channel not withstanding) of being too liberal and biased, so what's the first thing NPR does? They have the accusers and their supporters on several of their shows to discuss the issue. There was no whining, no downplay, no spin. Just an honest assessment.

See, that's the beauty of NPR, they bring in folks from both sides and have a reasonable, intelligent, enlightened debate which (shock and horror) they actually allow the public to take part in. Gee, they seem pretty biased to me. And then of course there is the Ready to Learn fiasco... oh, you didn't hear about that... yeah, suprisingly enough the "liberal" media didn't give it much coverage. RTL is a programming line up on PBS. It was sponsored by the Presidents Ready to Learn Iniative. The line up features subversive shows which encourage learning and social skills like "Clifford the Big Red Dog", "Arthur", "Postcards from Buster", "Zoom" and "Between the Lions". Our wonderful government officials have decided to cut the promised support down to about nothing because on an episode of "Postcards from Buster" a child with two mommies was shown for about 2.3 seconds. "Postcards from Buster" also featured a Muslim family... we should lynch that unpatriotic cartoon bunny... how dare he show diversity and acceptance of others? Let's go on and toss freedom of speech out the window.

Apparently NPR (and PBS by association) are terrible propaganda machines which are brainwashing our citizens into seeing all sides of an issue. So here's my question: What about Fox News? Apparently propaganda and misinformation are okay as long as it falls on the "right" side. And wait, before you say it... someone is going to comment that Fox News is a private station and yadda yadda yadda... that's true and all, but once again, what about the airwaves being held in the public trust? Is it in the publics best interest to allow misinformation and bias from any news source be it public or private? I think not. I love NPR because they look at all sides of an issue. Because they take on stories no one else wants to touch. Because in a world of slant, misinformation, gilding, mud-slinging and political division NPR at least tries to be fair. Which is more than you can say for any other news outlet, be it right or left.

I also like NPR because it appeals to me on a more intellectual level. It's more in depth, more researched and just more interesting all around. With all the hooey that's going on in the world isn't it nice to know that there is a place where ethics and decency are still important? Where everyone gets a shot to make their arguement? Where you can voice your opinion whatever it is?

Allow me to quote public broadcasting guru Bill Moyers (you sexy journalist you...) "This is a moment when public media outlets can make a powerful case for themselves. Public radio, public TV, cable access, public DBS channels, media arts centers, youth media projects, nonprofit Internet news services ... low-power radio and webcasting are all part of a nearly invisible feature of today's media map: the public media sector. They exist not to make a profit, not to push an ideology, not to serve customers, but to create a public - a group of people who can talk productively with those who don't share their views, and defend the interests of the people who have to live with the consequences of corporate and governmental power." In polls done by Gallup and other media surveying/polling companies, those surveyed consistently rank PBS/NPR as deserving of the tax money they receive (which is one dollar, per year, per person). Those surveyed consistently say (to the tune of over 80%) that PBS/NPR are valuable and useful tools.

I for one appreciate Ira Flatow's calm moderating as opposed to Bill O'Rielly's shrieking and pandering. Why isn't the government attacking Fox News and MSNBC for bias? Wait, someone's going to make the comment that those are private news companies. That's true, but keep in mind that the FCC is supposed to hold the airwaves in the public trust. Is it in the public's interest or their trust to allow propaganda machines like Fox News to spout whatever slanted, biased and often unsubstantiated "news" they want? I think not.

Is it really so wrong that I prefer literate humor and intelligent newscasts? Is it so evil that there are media outlets (public ones no less) that strive to maintain ethical integrity? Oh, and for the record, the Teletubbies are not homosexuals. The jury is still out on Bert and Ernie. Mr. Rogers has been helping shape Junior Pinko Commie Scum Liberals for decades.

Well, that's it really. I have to go because Talk of the Nation is coming on and I need my daily dose of "liberal" (aka intelligent) brainwashing. Neil Conan is going to teach us how to perform voodoo curses on little dolls of Dick Cheney. Then Ira's going to teach us how to build an AK-47 out of a coke can so that we can stage our proletariat uprising cheaply.

Moral of the Story: NPR rules, whining Republicans drool.

June 09, 2005

L is for the way you look at me...

True love. Posted by Hello
Since I have two jobs I don't get to spend nearly as much time as I'd like with both puppy and boyfriend. So on nights when I don't work at the coffee shop I like to take Wolfman Jack out for a long walk. Sometimes it turns into a journey of 2 hours. Yesterday afternoon I put on my headphones, turned on the mini-disc player and clipped his leash on. We headed out into an overcast world to walk where we would.

We headed across the train tracks, around the mill and over to Blossom St. We walked up to the Horseshoe (which is on the USC campus) around the statehouse and back through 5 points. I ran into a friend outside of the Hunter Gatherer (local bar). While I chugged a soda water Jack had a nice cup of water. We were about a mile from the house when it started to rain. I mean rain as in the heavens cracked upon and the wrath of God fell upon the city. As we hit the corner of Blossom and Assembly (one of the busiest intersections in downtown) I hit a spot of slick mud and gravity did the rest. I fell hard and shouted, "Ow". The dog, thinking I was hurt, freaked out and began to jump all over me and lick my face, whining and barking. His little feet left muddy paw prints all over my shirt and I couldn't wipe my eyes because of his frantic licking. My first thought was, "Oh Christ. Like 50 people just saw that. I must look like such a moron." But after a moment I realized that I didn't care. More than anything it made me happy that my puppy was worried about me, that he cared if I was hurt. And I thought, "This is what love is... being worried about someone, wanting to kiss them, love them and make sure they're not hurt." So I pulled myself to my feet, said, "Good dog Jack", patted him on the head and began the long walk home through the rain. Sparklehorse's "Left My Baby on the Side of the Highway" was playing on the mini-disc and Jack was frolicking in the rain. People driving by waved, honked and laughed. And it was okay. We were happy walking in the rain, together.

June 07, 2005

Light and Sweet

CAFFEINE! Posted by Hello
I love coffee. French Roast, Columbian, Brazilian, Turkish, Gas Station and Espresso (no flavored coffees for me thank you), I love them all. So it only makes sense that when I needed a second job I went where the coffee lived. My friend, we'll call her Dorothy, works at my favorite local sugar shack and she set me up with a three night a week gig. And for the most part I enjoy it. I hate working 8 hours at one job and then 6.5 at another... But, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
The job's not bad. The boss is super laid back. The other employees are nifty. A lot of the customers are fun. The problem is.................. A lot of the customers are also poo-headed jerk faces. Allow me to illustrate.
Good Barista/Customer Exchange
Me: "Hi ______. The usual today?"
Customer: "Yes please."
Me: "How's your bike, kid, dog, job, class etc?"
Customer: "Good, terrible, fun, adorable etc?"
Me: "That's great. See you tomorrow."
Change or a dollar goes in the tip jar.
Bad Barista/Customer Exchange
Me: "Hi..."
Customer: "Give me a skinny latte."
Me: "Alright."
Customer: "I'm in a hurry."
Me: "It takes a minute to make the espresso sir."
Me: "Okay sir. Have a nice night."
Customer: "I wanted that iced."
Me: "Okay sir, in the future just let me know before I make it."
Customer: "I did."
Me: "No... Okay sir. Sorry about that."
Customer: "Sheesh."
Tip jar remains sadly empty and bare.
Alternate Scenario - a customer asks you to make four milkshakes and not a penny goes into the jar. Look, if I make you a coffee it's one thing, but milkshakes are a pain.
The part that bothers me the worst is the lack of greeting. I say "hi" and receive in return a demand. Look, I know it takes 1.3 seconds to say "hi", "hello", "yo" or even nod, but is that so much to ask? This is a society, let's act like it. A greeting is just polite. We don't have to chat, but acknowledgement of the fact that I'm human is nice.
And the strange thing is it's the older adults who act this way. We're forever hearing about "kids these days" and the lack of manners and blah blah blah. But the majority of the younger folks who come in say hi and thanks. If the manners of young people are so bad maybe it's because they don't have any good examples.
Look, I'm going to let you in on a secret. If you're nice to the server, they're nice to you. We like our regulars (for the most part), we like friendly customers. And if the barista is happy, you're happier. For instance, last night a regular came in. He's a highschooler, a really nice guy, a big music fan. He's always polite, always chats, is always helpful. He gets a water last night. I ask him "why no coffee tonight"? He tells me he's broke "as a joke" until he gets his allowance. I spot him the cup of coffee, he puts his fifty cents in the jar and we're all happy. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.
I guess the moral of the story is: Do you really want to piss off the person who provides your caffeine?
So act like a human, remember we're human and we can all caffinate happily.

June 06, 2005

Gas Station Gallery of Art

Local Pump'N'Pay Posted by Hello

I hate going to the gas station after dark. I'm not afraid of getting robbed, mugged or molested. I'm afraid of the situations I might witness. The conversations I might hear and be scarred by. It happened last night. It was dark and stormy out (no really), David and I decided late night snackies were in order. We tried the Shiv Mart... But they close early. We considered the corner Amoco, but there were a gang of hooligans loitering about outside. And so we drove to the Kangaroo station up the road. As we pulled into the parking space a wave of customers rolled in. I was able to dart from the car and enter the store first. I was alone in the store for the first couple of minutes. Because it wasn't my usual gas station I was having trouble finding what I wanted. (I might add that this gas station does not have Swiss Cake Rolls. What the hell kind of gas station doesn't have Swiss Cake Rolls?) Suddenly I heard a noise. It was schh, schh, schh. The non-diegetic sound you hear when the killer is stalking poor Jamie Lee Curtis... And I could not, for the life of me, figure out where it was coming from.

Finally I saw a young man standing behind a stack of boxes in the middle of an aisle. Other than the clerk he was the only one in the store. So he must be making the creepy killer noise. As he began to move towards the counter I followed him. I have this weird tick where if it's at all possible, I'd rather be at the end of a line in a gas station.

So I'm standing behind this guy who looked to be 23 or 24. He was dressed in typical frat boy fashion, blue and white checkered shirt from the Gap and khakis. He was, of course, purchasing a suitcase of Bud Lite. To our right was a shelf full of the "made in Taiwan" crap that most gas stations sell. I hear the young man say, "How much for the poker playing dogs?"

At this strange statement my head shot up. I looked to see what he was referring to. It was a cheesy 2-D picture of poker playing dogs. Sort of a perverted version of a bas relief, but with garish dogs instead of saints...

"Those are $20." The woman replied.
"Oh,"said the young man, "I don't have that much on me. It's cool though."
"Yeah, there's four of them. They're real nice."
"Hmm, I'll have to talk to my roommates."
"Oh, you should. They're hand-painted you know. They'll be worth something one day."
"I'll tell them that. You might see me tomorrow night."
"Don't forget to tell them there's four, 'cause you want the whole collection you know."

So here's my question: Was this guy serious? Or was he just messing with this clerk? And exactly where does one hang a loud bas relief of dogs playing poker? I mean, is that like a den piece or a hallway piece? And when the roommates move out who keeps the dogs? Do they divvy them up? 'Cause you don't want to split the set up, they might be worth something one day.

Channeling Shirley Temple

I had beautiful hair when I was a kid. It was long, fine, straight as a pin and the color of shiny brass.

And then, everything changed.

It grew darker, thicker and began to wave and kink. It also got big. I mean really big. So big that my hair probably has it's own gravity well. None of this would be a problem except that I have no freaking idea what to do about it. I'm not that kind of girl. I sometimes think that I missed some class on how to be female in school.

I've tried to learn how to dry it, curl it, straighten it, style it or something. But none of it works. I have some natural disinclination towards hair doing. I try to use a curling iron and I end up burned (literally). I try to dry it straight and I end up with one flat side and one giant curl side. What's a girl supposed to do?

So I've decided to just let it be, let my freak flag fly, accept the fact that an evil Shirley Temple has set up shop in my hair and she doesn't want to leave. Besides, I have giant boobs, surely that outweighs my giant hair?