maarmie's musings

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I leave tomorrow after work for a trip to Tampa for Christmas.

This trip will be better than my Thanksgiving trip because 1) I won't be visiting my parents this time and 2) I will be meeting up with my good friend Lili whom I haven't seen since I visited Providence, RI, two Christmases ago. That year, Lili and I hung out with her ex-husband, Robert, much of the time. We had a blast eating, watching movies and MTV (trying to dance like the guy in that Polaroid song? You got to shake it, shake it, shake it), visiting Boston, shopping and acting like general bufoons.

That was the year Lili had to say goodbye to a very good friend of hers she had known for a couple of years. This friend of hers was taking a snowy walk with us in a cemetery one day when she disappeared. We looked everywhere for two hours, left our name and number with the cemetery office in case she happened to be found. I took a photograph of her that day, the last photograph ever taken of her. She has not been found since. Yes, Lili's winter cap she wore on the walk that day was her favorite. A few weeks later, I mailed Lili a photo of her wearing her favorite hat. I think Lili held a funeral service, because I got some sort of weird invitation in the mail a couple weeks later inviting me to a wake.


So, I'm trying to think of fun things Lili and I can fill our time with. There aren't that many gay clubs left in central Florida. That's what Lili and I used to do in Ybor City in the good old days when we first met 11 years ago: go to Masquerade on 7th Avenue and gyrate among all the pretty queers.

Two trips to Tampa ago, Tess and I found this huge club in downtown Tampa that bosts Saturday night as gay night. It's two stories tall with two bars on each floor, a well-hung bar dancer in a g-string, blaring electronic music and beds along one whole wall upstairs. I'm supposing the beds are for the voyeurs and exhibitionists alike. They appealed to me, because I'm both.

Merry Christmas everyone! Happy new year!!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A New Leaf in Cold Winter

Enough already. I've decided to snap out of my depression dilemma and have convinced myself that I'm going to convince myself that life

I'm meeting next week with a photography professor at Florida State University. He has kindly agreed to critique some of my photographs to let me know if I've got what it takes to take pretty pretty pictures. I've gone through all my photos and selected about 20 to show him first. I'm still waiting for my ordered copy of the 2006 photographer's market guidebook to arrive.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


For some reason, I couldn't think up a title for this post. Nothing seemed appropriate. Nothing seemed interesting. Nothing interests me. Nothing is fun. Nothing is funny. I look forward to nothing. I look forward to sleep.

Yes, I am depressed. My therapist wants to put me on anti-depressants and will evaluate me in two weeks to see if I'm doing better by then. I'm supposed to be exercising to release some seratonin, but, of course, I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT.

My days have been bleak lately, adding to the gray skies that have been flying over Tallahassee. What I look forward to most during the day is getting home so I can check my mail. Yes, MY MAIL is the most exciting part of my day.

Thanksgiving. I left Tallahassee at about 2 p.m. Tuesday headed for Tampa. The five days were just a blur of sun and moon punctuated by five hours of slaving in the kitchen to make a turkey dinner (I was the adult this year!), one miserable hour of getting treated like crap by my parents at their L-O-V-E-L-Y home, a night in Ybor City dancing at a club called Czar with a hopping monkey and going to an all-the-meat-you-can-eat Brazilian restaurant with my brother, his wife and friends and my ex. I usually have a good time when I go to Tampa, but this time pretty much sucked. I don't know why. I think it's because I'm depressed. And broke. And because I only got one fucking piece of pumpkin pie on Turkey Day.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"Rape a Woman Day" Gains Popularity

It appears people in the U.K. are as stupid as Americans when it comes to women and rape. CNN reported the results of an opinion poll that shows one-third of otherwise intelligent people across the pond believes women are to blame for being raped if they drink too much, dress provocatively, walk alone at night or have an active (consentual) sex life. Figures. I was raised thinking these same things, so it's no surprise that others do as well. What I'm shocked about is the fact that so many people STILL think these things in 2005.

Also reported in the article is the fact that rapists are prosecuted for their crimes only 5 percent of the (reported) time over there (the figures here probably aren't much higher). It's nice to know that 1) most rapes are never reported (I'm guilty of that one) and 2) even if they are reported, police/hospital staff may not take it seriously (happened to the sister of a friend of mine. Rape kit? Why do you need one of those? A police report? You don't want to go through that trouble, do you?) and 3) even if 1 and 2 happen, your garden variety rapist would probably only get a slap on the wrist, if anything.

Men suck.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

So Much Shit

There's so much stupid shit going on in the world right now that I don't even want to be awake most days. Gay marriage ban in Texas. A continued war in Iraq despite the whole world despising George for it. Unveiled e-mails from horse-trainer Brown who should have been helping to save the people of New Orleans but was, instead, worried about which tie to wear and scheduling adequate time for dinner. A vote on a coal-powered plant for Taylor County that Tallahassee would buy into for profits and additional electricity. I'm so tired of everyone's stupidity. Yawn! I think I'll sleep instead.

But on a brighter note, I spent seven days in Washington, D.C. - also known as The District. Museums visited: The National Gallery of Art (east building only), The Holocaust Museum, The Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History.

Restaurants eaten at: Capital Grille ($120 lunch), Banana Cafe (a Cuban place in the Eastern Market district), Pizzeria Paradiso (a gourmet pizza joint in the Dupont Circle area), Dukam (Ethiopian place in the U-Street area), Ben's Chili Bowl (late-night eatery for drunks, also in the U-Street area), etc., etc., etc.

I had Chinese take-out from some uber rated Chinese place near Chinatown. Peking Garden right here in Tallahassee trumped that meal by a million. Nice to know we have something in this small town that D.C. might not have.

I also saw a concert at a cool bar/club called The Black Cat. The band, which hails from Baltimore, is called Wilderness (Jagjaguwar Records) and should not be underestimated. Check out the band's Web site, if you want, for more info. I was instantly smitten by the lead singer, and the band is one of my new favorites. Also met my favorite homeless guy outside the club. His name is Black Cat Bill, and he sits outside Black Cat in one of those motorized wheelchairs. Big, fat black homeless guy peddling for money and calling, "Black Cat, Black Cat. I'm Black Cat Bill." I told him the club should pay him for promoting the place and that he should wear a Black Cat T-shirt. He laughed. He bummed a smoke off me. Then, Mel gave him $5. He tucked it in his pocket saying he had to hide the bill because it was so big. He didn't want to get mugged. I told him I was going to mug him because I knew he had not only $5 but also a cigarette. He laughed and said, "Don't do that....hahahahahahaah." Sad. Wherever you are, Black Cat Bill, I hope you're warm and safe.

I also went to Baltimore and ate lunch in Little Italy before buying an eclair the size of a baby's arm at another place that sold Italian pastries. What else? Oh, yeah. I almost got killed by a homeless person near the Capitol. As Melonie and I were approaching, the guy was yelling his head off. She and I figured he was just some crazy homeless guy with an advanced form of Tourette's. But, as we got closer, he stared us in the eyes and yelled, "I'm gonna cut you, bitch!" and started coming towards us. Melonie wasn't paying attention to him or what he was saying. Good thing I was, because I turned to Mel and said, "We gotta get outta here. He's coming for us. We gotta go."

We started running and some other bummy looking guy on a bicycle rode by us and told us we were in the wrong part of town. The first weird guy ended up crossing the street and ranting and raving up and down the other side.

Favorite areas of D.C.: Dupont Circle, U-Street, Capitol Hill, Eastern Market. The only major areas I didn't make it to were Georgetown and Foggy Bottom. I wish I had gone there. I hear there's a lot of good music venues. Biggest complaint: Lack of record stores. I don't get it. Good local music scene. Hardly a record store in sight. I didn't go to one the whole time I was there. The one I tried to go to (specializes in underground/local music) wasn't there anymore. This I found out after I made the train ride and mile walk to get there. Ugh! Biggest compliment to D.C.: You have a lot of hot/interesting looking men living there. That's reason enough for me to move.

In one year, it's you and me, D.C. We're gonna have some fun.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Visions of D.C...

I'm going to Washington, D.C., Thursday for eight days of drinking, eating, traipsing through museums, and, apparently, freezing my ass off. It's cold up there, folks. Time to drag out that coat I bought in Montreal.

I've been thinking of moving to a bigger city. I've narrowed it down to D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, or Austin. I'm going to D.C. this week to see if it's a place I'd want to live. I was there last year for four days, but I was there on business, and I was drunk most of the time. It'll be different this time.

I had a hard time sleeping last night. I kept waking up and hearing noises. I was cold. Congested. Couldn't get back to sleep. I remember a pretty good dream that I moved to D.C. and lived in this cool apartment/house kind of thing with a neat staircase up to a second floor and hardwood floors. There were lots of hot guys my age living in the neighborhood and in the same house (maybe more than one apartment in the same house), as I recall. That would be a nice change from Tallahassee where guys are either 20 or 60 or already married or not on the market for one reason or another.

So, D.C., we have a date. Let's see if you fit into my vision of my future.

The Quitter has Quit

Since Sunday at about 5 or 5:30 p.m., I've been a nonsmoker.

I've been sick. Some kind of lung/sinus kind of thing for more than a week now. Of course, I had continued smoking throughout the coughing fits and the three days off work. Just not as much. That's considered conscientious, right?


Sunday at about 5 p.m., I was sitting on my front porch smoking the second-to-the-last cigarette in my last pack of Marlboro Light 100s (box). It tasted like shit. My mouth tasted like shit. I started to feel queasy. I thought, "This will be my last cigarette."

But what about the lucky? I couldn't just abandon the fifth cigarette in the first row that I so diligently turned on its head pack after pack after godforsaken pack. On second thought, yes I could. I decided breaking my last lucky in my last pack of smokes was the luckiest thing I could ever do. I tossed it in the trash, put out my mostly-smoked cigarette and proceeded to vomit for about 10 minutes in the bathroom sink. Lovely feeling as snot shot out of every hole in my head and barely-chewed food from my recent dinner spewed from my stomach out of my mouth.

I haven't smoked since. I know it's only been 1.5 days or so, but I don't even want one. The only time I miss it is when I get in my car. Smoking is a necessity, after all, when one is behind the wheel.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Words to Live By

from the Tao Te Ching

Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.

What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss or gain.
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly."

What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mr. America

(photo of Mr. America won't post. Will try again later)

Meet Mr. America. He's insane. Literally. As best I can tell, anyway.

As I recall, Mr. America is a proud American originally from Yugoslavia who was in Union Square in full regalia during the Republican National Convention. Mr. America loves America. Mr. America loves GW. Mr. America would be willing to SAY (but probably not DO) anything, and I mean anything, to protect the reputation and goodstanding of his fine, fine country. Too bad he's insane. Literally.

I had the good fortune to see Mr. America in action in Union Square one day during the week of the Republican National Convention. Spread all around him on the ground were pairs of military boots and civilian shoes once belonging to those who ended up dying for this fine, fine country in a little-known war in Iraq. Mr. America appeared not to see the shoes and boots for he was too busy screaming...screaming...about what? Oh, yeah. About how much he loves America and stands behind George Bush. Anyone who doesn't, says Mr. America, can go back where they came from or go anywhere else at all - immediately, if not sooner. Reminds me of my former co-workers and managing editor at that paper in South Georgia.

While Mr. America was ranting and raving - at times directly in my face as I stared into those insane blue eyes and felt his hot breath on my nose, cheeks and mouth - Mr. Switzerland came up to see what the hubub was all about, bub. Turns out, Mr. Switzerland was not only NOT neutral, he was ANTI GEORGE BUSH! Mr. America and Mr. Switzerland almost threw punches, but Mr. Switzerland managed to de-escalate the confrontation before ambling away shaking his head. That's more like it.

I used to have audio tape of this mindless freak and the near-altercation, but I left the tape recorder and said tape in a fucking cab on my way to a NOW rally in Central Park. I made a missing item report - as if THAT would ever do any fucking good.


I hate John G. Roberts Jr. for obvious reasons. Another anti-christ here to make our lives hell. I hope you're happy, Bush. I know you are. I'm losing energy for fighting all the injustice. Will maarmie go on? Find out in the next episode of "As maarmie's World Turns."

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of maarmie's life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Photo Orgy

Following are some of the photographs I took during my trip on the AT. They are pretty self-explanatory. All photos taken by maarmie. Rip me off and die.

This is a photo of the conical ceiling and skylight in the yurt at which my friend and I stayed the night before the two-day hike and the night following it. Dahlonega, Georgia. Yurt: A cylindrical structure with a conical ceiling having two windows and a door. This was a more advanced yurt, however, as it had a deck area out front, a canopy bed and a composting toilet, and it was wired for electricity with a free-standing air conditioner, a coffee maker, fridge, microwave and electric heat source. Roughing it, huh?

Exterior shot of above-mentioned yurt.

This is what happened to my knees after I fell on my ass a quarter of a mile into the hike. The bottoms of my shoes were ripping off before the hike began, so I put some magic tape around them to bolster their sturdiness. In retrospect, these weren't the perfect shoes to hike 20 miles in on rugged terrain with 25 pounds on my back. Possible trail name because of the shoes and subsequent fall: Fallnee Down.

About four miles into our hike, we crossed a bridge. This is the view. Heaven. Hence the title of the shot, Organica Orgasmica.

Either this is the highest number of photos that can be in one post, or I'm going crazy. Won't let me upload any more using the button. Won't let me upload any more using HTML code. Hm. More later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Judgment Day

My protest buddy, friend and mother figure, Michael, is going to D.C. Saturday to help surround the White House in protest of the senseless war in Iraq. He has been protesting the war right here in Tallahassee for about three years now, standing in front of the capitol every Thursday and Sunday singin' songs and a carryin' signs, as it were. Now that's diligence.

I have been invited along for the ride, but I don't want to spend the money to fly from Jacksonville for one little day in D.C. I normally would, but I'm going there at the end of October for Halloween madness.

I'm sad that I won't be there, but I'll be there in spirit. I know Michael will be enough force for the two of us, anyway, so my presence isn't really needed. He seems like a quiet guy, but don't get him around irrational police officers who try and quash his civil liberties. He scares even me in those situations. Trust me on this. We protested the Republican National Convention together, and because of his "intensity" with the more - shall we say - militant police officers, I was frightened for our safety (and freedom) on more than one occasion. While I am not as brave, I say YOU GO to Michael. Just don't GO around me unless I am wearing a bulletproof vest or loaded down with armor-piercing bullets and an arsenal.

Precautions, Michael, precautions.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rape Victims on Trial

It seems a new class of villian is emerging in the Middle East: Female rape victims are a whole new kind of scurrilous, sub-human scab that needs to be picked from this planet, according to Pakistani President Pervez "I want to cut his dick off" Musharraf.

Here's their nasty plan that must be foiled, says Musharraf: They decide they want to get away from their homeland to the "good land" so they devise a plan to get an easy ticket to Canada. That easy ticket, my friends, is rape.

The main pig of Pakistan is taking a lot of heat over his comments, comments which show him to be what he is: a heartless and backwards misogynist. At least he's in the Middle East where he belongs, right? Wrong. He was recently on U.S. soil addressing the U.N. General Assembly. Yikes. Maybe he and GW had a congenial chat over bourbon and cigars after.

But Canadian Prime Minster Paul Martin, Amnesty International (yay!) and Pakistani media are condemning his words, which include shit like, and I quote from CNN, "You must understand the environment in Pakistan...This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped."

Tomorrow, this fucker - who obviously has no problem blaming victims for their victimhood - will be in New York City chatting up a group of Pakistani-American women. I hope these women know their places and plan on shutting up and spreading their legs so Pakistan's leader can feel like he's doing what he was born to do.

There are a lot of great men in this world, but this kind of thing makes me glad to be a woman, a woman who DOESN'T live in Pakistan.

Just ask Mukhtaran Mai what it's like to be a woman in Pakistan. Three years ago, her brother, then 12, was chatting up some chick who was off limits to him, and the village council ordered HER gang-raped as a punishment to HIM. This same pig leader banned her (surprise, surprise) from going to a women's rights conference in the U.S. after that. The ban was later lifted when the media cried out causing the rest of the world to cry louder.

Here's what Mai, who has reached the status of human rights icon, said about Musharraf's most recent fumble: "Nobody does it intentionally. A large number of women are molested and insulted in the country. How many of them have made money? Such thinking about women is not good."

Rock on, Mai.

I'm Starting to Think...

...they WANTED the poor people to die.

Hero of the Week

Maureen Dowd, columnist, The New York Times

Thursday, September 15, 2005

...One Nation, Under Buddha


The country is watching you, Michael Newdow. And you look fabulous.

Newdow, an avowed atheist - who also happens to be a lawyer AND a doctor - who has been challenging the constitutionality of the phrase "one nation under god" in the Pledge of Allegiance, got more than his day in court Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton finally cut the guy some slack and ruled that reciting the pledge in public schools is, indeed, unconstitutional because the phrase in question essentially eliminates a child's right to choose what he or she believes as far as religion is concerned.

This ruling happened in Sacramento, and the judge said he would be preventing the recitation of the pledge in Sacramento County. Wow. However, expect appeal after appeal after appeal. Damn I hate those religious groups almost as much as I hate how much white-people religions are so deeply interwoven into the fabric of our government.

This is a major coup for Newdow who will have to be taken more seriously by higher courts now. When the Supreme Court tossed Newdow out on his ear, I wrote about it for the small-town, South Georgia newspaper I was working at at the time. Local reaction. You can imagine what it said. Except....

I found a little, tiny coffee shop on the main drag of the town I was working in that was (and maybe still is) frequented by a group of people not commonly found in a small southern place. They weren't young miscreants, either. They were just like you and me. Well, more like me, anyway - but older.

So, my story ended up being extremely balanced. A Baptist minister on this side, an atheist on the other, a school superintendent here, blah, blah, blah. I gave the pro-pledge side the last word in the article, however, because of my well-known bias against organized religion and brainwashing. Hey. Call me fair.

I can't find the article on-line, so I will get it from home and type it in here. I wrote it, so I feel free to reprint it here. If it's not supposed to be here, let me know. I'll take it down. Silence, however, equals permission in this case.


After All

A poem I wrote for an ex right after he became an ex.

You told me your life
didn't work out as planned
You gave me eyes
but told me not to see

You showed me the way
swept paths of debris
Path's all clear
but road's not clear

Hurt once too long
better disappear
Crush what I want
always crash what I want

I'll never understand
the way you spin
Even earth don't spin
random like you

Those cloudy eyes
them eyes don't see
They told me once
and once won't die

Forward thinking
never got me nowhere
For the first time I fly

For years - maarmie, 2001

Talking About My Dead Rose: It Is You

I've been told I'm a hopeless romantic. Here's a little bit of proof.

Talking About My Dead Rose: It Is You
O, red rose, come speak to me,
Now the wind
Whips through the trees, now
The shutters snap,
Snap go the shutters,
The only sounds I hear.

All the sweet Marjories and the not-
so-sweet Janes speak to me,
Like you should, from their
Quaint graves.
Lost souls; forgotten memories
Like the ones you give me, o rose.

Your bittersweet stench, still
Hot under my nose,
Fills my head,
A dizzying scent. I remember
Who I gave you to, now,
She is gone, gone now, gone, too.

All shriveled and crushed and sad
And flat you are,
All darkly brooding
In your allotted corner. Throwing
Accusations my way.
O, remembrances of a fresh you.

1993 - maarmie

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Undecidedly Unplural

Last night, I was talking with a friend on the phone, and, somehow, the conversation turned to definitions. And, somehow, I got my mind set on finding the perfect word that would describe or define me - or at least come very, very close.

I started with geek. Gangly? Antisocial? A freak? Not quite. Nerd? Similar, but not as severe. No. Outcast? Close. Then, my friend - who is excessively charming and has an entirely brilliant mind - had an idea as I began using many words to describe myself hoping that one of us could come up with the next word that would spark the next word and so on.

Luckily, he's a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. Luckily, there was a word Mr. Holmes used frequently that stuck in my friend's brain. Singular. BINGO.

Only the definitions that could be used in this context are included here, but this is according to Webster.

Singular - Sin´gu`lar. Pronunciation: sĭņ´gũ`lẽr
Separate or apart from others; single; distinct.

(Logic) Existing by itself; single; individual.

Standing by itself; out of the ordinary course; unusual; uncommon; strange; as, a singular phenomenon.

Distinguished as existing in a very high degree; rarely equaled; eminent; extraordinary; exceptional; as, a man of singular gravity or attainments.

Departing from general usage or expectations; odd; whimsical; - often implying disapproval or censure.

Being alone; belonging to, or being, that of which there is but one; unique.

Related Words
abnormal, absurd, alone, anomalous, atypical, conspicuous, curious, deviant, different, distinct, divergent, dotty, dual, erratic, esoteric, freakish, funny, idiosyncratic, irregular, isolated, kinky, kooky, lone, notable, noteworthy, nutty, oddball, off, offbeat, one and only, outlandish, outre, outstanding, quaint, queer, quintessential, quirky, screwy, separate, significant, special, superior, twisted, unanalyzable, unconventional, unimaginable, unique, unordinary, wacky, weird, whimsical, whole, wondrous

The related words certainly do ring a bell. Now, for a lovely quote about singularity.

To be singular in anything that is wise and worthy, is not a disparagement, but a praise. - Tillotson.


Four items on which I must comment:

Sept. 11

It's good to remember those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Sunday marks the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that changed New York for, oh, a whole couple months at least.

People became (more) guarded and fearful as government officials spread their propanda about imminent future terrorist attacks and dedicated billions of dollars to homeland security, money yanked from other programs that actually do some good in this country. The terror alert went from yellow, to orange to red and back again. Americans were kept on their toes believing every goddamn lie and piece of shit speculation the government fed them. God knows what the government was actually doing while Ma and Pa Kettle were sitting on their porches, shotguns in hand and waiting for Osama to step foot in their neck of the woods.

So, here we are. Terror mostly forgotten. Not forgotten are those who died, including firefighters and other professionals who lost their lives trying to save people trapped in the wreckage that used to be the REAL nexus of evil in this country. Why are they dead? Because our government is staffed by bullies who foolishly think they can continue to kick sand in the faces of all the children on the playground and not have to pay the piper, so to speak. Ignoramuses that they are, they don't learn from their mistakes, either. Hopefully, more people don't have to die as a result of their continued idiocy.


Former Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede has escaped criminal charges for secretly audiotaping interviews with Arthur E. Teele Jr. - Miami's former city commissioner who decided to blow his brains out in the Herald's lobby a while back after his nefariousness was exposed in the pages of one of Florida's largest newspapers - but is still without his job. The Herald refuses to take him back.

While I'm sure he was good at his job and that he will be missed, the Herald has not only a right but also a duty to uphold its standards. After all the bullshit that's been going on at major and minor news outlets lately, media overseers need to be stringent and public about their "no tolerance" policies and weed out even minor infractors.

The public's faith in journalism has been shaken, and rightfully so. Hopefully, if managers stay diligent, that faith will one day be restored.

Culprit Fingered

The six-month-old mystery of The Chili Finger Caper has come to an end, and the culprits will soon be sentenced. Anna Ayala, who in March allegedly found a fingertip in her bowl of Wendy's chili, has pleaded guilty, along with husband Jaime Placencia, to conspiring to file a false claim and attempted grand theft.

Looking for a big buttload of quick cash, Ayala prepped herself to file a lawsuit against the chain for the alleged incident and was busted after she withdrew her claim. The fingertip? It belonged to a co-worker of hers who lost it in an accident. According to the Associated Press, Ayala faces up to 10 years in state prison. Her hubby faces up to 13 years.

Good. Phony lawsuits suck.

Coup for Cane Cutters

Sugar-cane cutters, more than 1,000 of them, successfully earned the right to recover lost wages when a federal court judge in West Palm Beach determined Thursday they are owed back pay after they were paid per pound when, by law, they should have been paid a fixed rate per hour of work. Also, they say, they were shortchanged on their timesheets and underpaid what was offered via contract.

What can I say? The company they got $5 million from is Osceola Farms, a subsidiary of Flo-Sun Inc., one of the largest sugar cane producers in the country which happens to be, in my opinion, one of the biggest piece of shit companies out there. The company is destroying the environment, fucking over its employees (most of them coming from the Caribbean and, no doubt, living in slave camps) and making a bundle in the process. I have a big problem with that. It's good that the judge felt the same way and made the workers victorious in this landmark class-action suit.

To many more employment lawsuits! Workers unite!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


From CNN. No commentary necessary.

Bush: 'I take responsibility' for U.S. failures on Katrina
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- President Bush on Tuesday said he takes responsibility for the federal government's failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Bush said he wants to know what went right and what went wrong so that he can determine whether the United States was prepared for another storm, or an attack.

"I'm not going to defend the process going in, but I am going to defend the people who are on the front line of saving lives," Bush said.

Earlier in the day, the White House announced the president will address the nation Thursday night about recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Brown Has Stepped Down

Good boy. You did the right thing. Were you "let go" or did you really resign? It doesn't matter at this point. Run free, FORMER director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Run like the wind.

Monday, September 12, 2005

(White) House Surrounded

Mad as hell? Visible? Cohesive? GWB, there's a hole in your bucket, and it's getting ready to be filled.

About 100,000 anti-war protestors are expected to surround the White House for a rally on Sept. 24. According to the Washington Post, this will be the first time a protest has completely surrounded America's holiest of houses in more than a decade.

This happening and other anti-war events will take place throughout three days (Sept. 24 - 26) and will be sponsored by United for Justice with Peace and the ANSWER coalition. Umbrella groups include the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, the DeKalb Interfaith Network for Peace and Justice, Grandmothers for Peace, Historians Against the War, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War (KNOW), Texans for Peace, Korea Truth Commission and dozens more, according to the Post. According to the article, people's rage about the continuing war has recently been fueled by the minimal response to the Katrina disaster, the minimal response being blamed on a lack of resources due to the war. The groups stress they are not anti-soldier. They are anti-war. There's a difference, for you fuckers who can't see that.

Buses, vans and carpools, people, are carting in folks from all over the country for this powwow. I'm sanctioning a jump on this bandwagon if you can get time off work. I'd love to be there to talk to people, add to the mayhem and take photographs.

I got this info off Michael Moore's Web site. It's worth checking out.

My Favorite Quote - Ever

"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - - Albert Einstein

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Application Essay for the Guardian Ad Litem Program

While my parents never failed to provide my brother and I with the basic necessities of life - food, shelter and clothing - they consistently failed to provide psychological and emotional support. Cold, demeaning and emotionally neglectful, my parents were neither mentally nor emotionally equipped to handle the immense task of the raising of children in a positive way.

By the time I was six months old and my brother, Brian, was age four, our biological mother had left. By the time I was seven years old, our father had settled in Florida and remarried three times, the last time to a woman who didn't have children of her own and seemed to think of my brother and I as mere accessories to the life for which she had signed up.

While my parents were fastidiously occupied with their marriage and demanding career climbs, my brother and I were busy raising ourselves. He left home at age 18 to get married and join the military. I finished high school with a string of honors and advanced placement classes behind me. However, having felt like an unwanted guest in my own house for many years, I forewent college after graduation, and, at age 18 and saddled with incredibly low self esteem and the tendency to involve myself in romantic relationships that would batter my body and bruise my esteem all the more, left home to be homeless.

Three years later, I wrenched myself from a physically and emotionally abusive boyfriend and, not long afterward, started community college without the support of my parents. Five years later, I graduated from college with a degree in communications and have lived all over the country since then working mostly at various newspapers writing about crime, politics, education, art, the environment and people who are both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. Most proudly, though, I have written about the debilitating personal and social effects of domestic violence and childhood abuse and the experience of it as seen through the eyes of the overwhelmingly strong and courageous women and children who have lived and survived it. I also have written about domestic violence and childhood neglect as seen through the lens of my own experience.

Throughout these moves and endeavors, I have learned more about myself, others and society and have come to have a better understanding of the inner and outer forces that make me - and others like me - who we are and of the inner and outer forces that compel others to hurt and neglect those they profess to love.

The six things I love in this world, besides my brother and my good friends, are truth, justice, equality, wisdom, humor and beauty. In my life, I have encountered each of these things - things that make life worth living - many times in the most unexpected of places. However, I, too, have encountered the flip side of these concepts and ideals: lies, ignorance, abuses of power and blind indifference to atrocity. I'm not entirely sure where my professional life is headed, and I could say that, in my volunteer life, what I want most is to help vulnerable people who don't have the power to help themselves in an effort to wipe out abuse and injustice. Abuse and injustice will never be wiped out in my opinion, however, so my goal here is to be a voice for those who are voiceless and to help America's most vulnerable population find its way through situations it didn't choose to safer, more nurturing places.

Brown Made a Boo Boo

FEMA Director Brown has made a series of big boo boos, and he now has to pay for them. It seems Chertoff is sending Brown back to D.C. with his tail between his legs and has, hopefully, appointed someone more competent to head up New Orleans disaster relief. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief and rescue efforts, has been chosen to head things up. The right man for the job, finally? We can only hope. Brown, quit lying on your resume, and go do your thing with horses like you were bred to do. Leave the big jobs to people who are actually willing and able to accomplish something.

Readers Respond

Finally. A dissenting viewpoint. I. Love. It.

Reader: "Whine. Bitch. Moan. Why doesn't the government take care of me? Did the Feds respond as quickly as they could or should have? No. More importantly, did the STATE respond as quickly as they should have? No. It is important to remember that the Feds can't, don't, and SHOULDN'T just go storming into state taking autonomous action. The state has primary police power over its citizens and the primary duty to provide for the general welfare in situations like this. The Feds certainly have immense resources that can be brought to bear, but the primary onus is upon the state."

maarmie: Good point. But when people are trying to leave New Orleans on foot (sometimes the only transportation the people had) and they are being turned back by police, there's something wrong. When Wal-Mart (oh, how I hate that company, but it actually did something nice) is sending semi-truck loads of water to the area and those are being turned away, there's something wrong.

R: "Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Bush. What I'm doing is trying to provide the Civics lesson that the schools seem to have stopped giving so many years ago. Why so much focus on the Feds and nearly none on the governor of Louisiana? They knew that they had all these people living where people shouldn't live - they knew their levy system was only rated to Category 3 - they knew what would happen if those levies failed."

m: Yes, everyone knew. A little, tiny unknown magazine called National Geographic last year carried a HUGE article about what would happen if a cateogry whatever hurricane struck New Orleans. Officials and engineers have been publicly discussing the situation for years. Why weren't steps taken to prepare? I guess everyone involved dropped the ball.

R: "But ignore the government for a minute. Only bleeding heart, pansy ass liberals blame everything on the government without at least asking the personal responsibility question. Did these poor victims not know a hurricane was coming? Did they not know that they lived below sea level and were virtually surrounded by billions of gallons of water that desperately wanted to be where they were? Did they not know that standard practice for hurricane preparedness is to have 7 days of food, water, medicine, and necessities on hand? If they couldn't afford to flee, I guess I have to accept that. With that much advance notice though, I find it hard to believe that they couldn't find *some way* to leave."

m: Admittedly, some people did not want to leave the area they and their families had lived in for generations and generations. That's their own problem, I guess. But, again, from what I understand, some people WANTED to leave and were not allowed that most basic of civil liberties.

R: "I mean we're not talking World Trade Center here that just hits out of the blue and you'd never expect it in a million years. We're talking about something that happens every fucking year - we even have a fucking season for it - "hurricane season". So these people sit the fuck back and do nothing for themselves and expect that the moment the shit hits the fan that the mommy state will be there for them to kiss it and make it better. Sorry, but it just doesn't fucking work like that. Shit takes time. You want it faster? Provide for yourself."

m: Well said. And off-duty emergency workers, nurses, etc. as well as companies and average citizens have done just that. They have done more than prove their altruism, though. They have proven that we, as average people who possess great skills, can do a better job of getting things done than this government we place so much trust in.

R: "Of course *some* people were prepared, did have a week of food, water, and medicine, and while they certainly weren't the most comfortable they've ever been, they had the buffer to then be able to wait for relief to arrive and not die in the process. When you depend upon someone else for your basic survival you are setting yourself up for grave disappointment. Don't like it? Tough shit. Fucking do something about it. There's not one single mother fucking person in this country that can't go to college if they want to. Too lazy? Don't go. But don't bitch about the result of your decision."

m: I agree. However, there are so many social ills and things that keep people from reaching their full potential. I'm not making excuses for laziness or resignation. I'm simply understanding of it. When you are born into a life that, from the very beginning, has so many chips stacked against it, you can tend to not put a lot of value on it. Your parents don't. None of your relatives do. Your teachers don't. Society doesn't. So it takes a very strong person to, from the time he or she is a child, not believe that he or she is worthless when so many people who claim to be nurturers and protectors are telling her or him, consciously or subconsciously, this is so. Laziness tends to breed laziness. Resignation tends to breed resignation. Violence tends to breed violence. Ignorance tends to breed ignorance. There are cycles to everything.

R: "And with regard to the piece of shit miscreants shooting at the people who are trying to help, and looting merchandise businesses, and committing all manner of rape and robbery, the National Guard should shoot every single one of them. Now if someone is looting a grocery store because their food stocks were destroyed or they were unprepared, that's fine - if you have to choose between that minor crime and dying, you commit the crime. But stealing TVs has no benefit to survival."

m: I agree. They should be prosecuted for the crimes they committed just as people would who weren't in that situation.

R: "Come on people - think. Are you really so fucking lame that you expect to have no preparedness for an event you know is going to occur, and then bitch that the mommy state wasn't fast enough for you?"

Thank you for your comments. Everyone is entitled to his or her own viewpoint on maarmie's musings.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Shmurricane

J: Back to you, maarmie, with more about the hurricane.

m: Thanks, John. This not just in but just being reported. President Bush isn't the only incompetent moron who bungled the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Sure, he didn't come off his important vacation for days after the city was on its way to being in ruins and thousands of people were dead and dying, but FEMA dropped the ball, too, by not responding in a diligent fashion. It seems FEMA director Michael Brown was more concerned about connecting with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to get the PR machine up and running again - to save the president the embarrassment he is due for his callous indifference to all this human suffering. Brown wasn't so much interested in damage control in New Orleans, John, but with damage control of the president's approval rating and with how the nation viewed his intense lapse of judgment. Bush rewarded Brown's quick action with a two thumbs-up at a press conference while the city drowned. The first lady, ever an astute observer and understander of the human condition, remarked that the poor people who were forced into the Superdome were faring much better there than they had been before Katrina struck. It's good to know that the top woman in this country cares so much about the health and safety of one of its most vulnerable populations.

J: maarmie, have you learned of any new developments?

m: No, John. I've had my head up my ass for the last week, so let me regurgitate what I've learned from Oprah and The Daily Show. You know, Jon Stewart is such a card.

J: Yes, he is.

m: Yes, indeed, he is.

J: (silence)

m: Yes, indeedy. He is, isn't he?

J: (unsure) Yes. He is.

m: Yeah. That's what I thought. He's pretty funny.

J: (tense) Well, what did he say, maarmie? Our viewers want to know.

m: Well, John, the venerable Mr. Stewart came back from his own week of vacation and asked if anything had happened while he was gone. See? Funny stuff! Then, in Jon Stewartlike fashion, he excoriated the prez.

J: Excoriated?

m: It's a verb, John, and it, apparently, has two definitions. But don't worry, John. Stewart didn't tear the skin off Bush. He denounced him. Yep, that's what he did.

J: He did?

m: Strongly.

J: Wow.

m: Yeah. Wow. Oprah, on the other hand, took a more......conservative stance where blaming the government was concerned. She did a whole show on location in the affected areas, John. It was amazing. She did the show with her hair pulled back, and, get this! NO MAKEUP! She was one of us for a day, John. One of us.

J: (incredulous) One of us? That's amazing, maarmie.

m: Yeah. Truly. Truly, truly amazing, John.

J: (on the edge of his seat, eager for enlightenment) What did she say?

m: She rallied all her superstar friends together to give aid to those in need, John. They were all over the place down there. Matthew McConaughey, Lisa Marie Presley, Chris Rock. You name them, they were there. McConaughey has a thing for animals, see. And he flew in on a chopper and landed at this hospital in downtown New Orleans where an anesthesiologist was holed up with, like, 50 dogs, 18 cats and two hamsters. So. Cute. These doggie woggies were so cutie wutie and they had these big, sad eyes. They missed mommy and daddy.

J: (unsure) Cutie wutie?

m: So majorly cute, John.

J: Go on.

m: So he went to this hospital where the doc was holed up without electricity, food or water and took the animals out by boat so the doctor could get to safer ground. Not only did he hold and pet the animals, but he returned them to their rightful owners. That's a good soul, there, John. A good one.

J: Darn good. That's heartwarming, maarmie.

m: Yep. And the kid of the King of Rock was passing out food and diapers to those left homeless and in shelters, John. She went to Target HERSELF, John, and bought diapers, socks, T-shirts, toothpaste. Whatever she thought they would need. She spent thousands there. The camera showed the total while the lady was ringing stuff up.

J: Thousands? That's generous.

m: Way.

J: (on edge of seat again) And Chris Rock? What did he do? Did he entertain with one of his routines? They need a good diversion, you know.

m: Yeah, I know. A comedy routine would've been just what the doctor ordered, John. But he was so selfish that all he did was go talk to poor people left with nothing and pack box after box with food to pass out to the stranded.

J: (with disappointment) Oh.

m: That's all we have time for, now, John. When I get more news, you will, too.

J: Thanks a bunch, maarmie. (dripping with falsity with rueful eyes trained on the camera) In these trying times, we need to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Even celebrities can forget their posh lives for at least a day to give so freely of themselves. Dear viewers, you can, too.

m: So true, John. So true.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Notes from the AT

Friday, Sept. 2
Tripped over a root one-quarter of a mile in and fell on left knee. Hurt bad. Stayed on ass for cigarette/water break. Lunch at Stover Creek Shelter 1.5 miles in. Apple, cheese, dried fruit, Ritz, ham, tuna. Peed in woods. At shelter, someone left behind tablets of water purifier, a pot, a pacifier and a lost dog sign. Yellow lab named Bailey. Lost in July. Last seen on Springer Mountain summit. For next time: knee pads and Ben Gay.

Later that day
Made it the five miles to Hawk Mountain Shelter. It's amazing the energy a well-timed granola bar or two can give you. The incline had us stopping every few minutes to catch our breaths. At one point, I was on the ground internally bargaining for a reprieve. Charlene is filling the platypus with water. I'm decompressing. Three aspirin, tons of cigarettes, the rest of my two liters of water. Then, I will be centered. Turkey tetrazzini for dinner. Yum! This shelter has a loft. This is all I crave.

Saturday, Sept. 3
Survived my FIRST NIGHT EVER in the woods. By 9 p.m., sun down. Scared. Staring into the darkness. Fatigue overcame, and I tried for sleep. Woke up at every crack, creak and rustle. Sat up nervously clutching my knife, and, twice, clutching Charlene to wake her up with "there's something out there" and "I heard a noise." Yesterday, no sign of any mammal. Just bees, gnats, flies, butterflies, daddy longlegs and a weird bug that didn't run or fly when prodded. Body efficient. Didn't take much food yesterday to be satisfied. Only peed once though drank at least two liters of water. 4 a.m. Waking up Charlene for the third time. Praying for 6 a.m. and the promise of sunlight. It was 4. 6:30 a.m. Sun coming up. Fear dissipating. Heard mice. Saw a chipmunk this morning. No birds yet. Hear planes. Helicopters. Shit and peed in the privvy. Helped Char get water from stream. Breakfast of freeze-dried scrambled eggs with salt, strong black tea (no sugar) and brown sugar oatmeal. Handful of dried fruit. 7.5 miles to Springer. It's a beautiful day.

Sunday, Sept. 4
Hiked about 9 miles from Hawk Mountain Shelter to Springer Mountain Shelter including a stop at a waterfall for lunch. Passed lots of people on trail - most doing day or short hikes. Met two lesbians at Hawk Mountain on their way to Springer. One had been doing the trail in sections for 15 years and was completing the last eight miles to Springer, the southern terminus. The trek back, though longer, was not as rough. Shoulders and back noticeably stronger. More sure footed. Never fell. Never even stumbled. Got to Springer Shelter after a .9-mile climb that was up, up, up and rocky. Not expecting that. The .9 felt like 5.9. A man and his very talkative boy were eating dinner (mashed potatoes and ramen) and the lesbians were packing up dinner while we heated our water for freeze-dried lasagna. Dinner was good. Sat up til 12:30 with Peter and his dog, Mickey, after building a confessional fire. Talked about books, relationships, meeting people and breakups. He's post-dumped from a long-distance relationship with what sounds like an immature woman who manipulated him and then dumped him for another guy - did it in a way to con him into still being her "friend." He sent her a letter putting her in her place. Hasn't heard from her since. He's sweet, smart and cute. He'll have no problems meeting someone else who is fantastic. Ready for breakfast and a water run. Today we go to Springer summit, back to Dahlonega. Springer shelter is known for its bears, and we hung our food last night. Char and I slept in the loft. Peter and Mickey slept on the ground floor. I felt safe. Up around 7. Got food and water. Cooked breakfast. Last leg of journey. It's been good.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Bears and Love the Trail

Update on 2.5-day AT hike to come. But, for now, I want to rant about the devastation in New Orleans, etc.

George W. Bush is a fucking fucker who needs to go fuck himself and every one of his cronies as well as those who pull his strings. PEOPLE ARE DEAD! PEOPLE ARE DYING! PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY! PEOPLE ARE HURT! PEOPLE ARE SCARED! This includes WOMEN, MEN, CHILDREN, ELDERLY PEOPLE, DISABLED PEOPLE, ANIMALS, ETC., ETC., ETC. Hello? Is anyone out there? Is the President watching? Or did he unplug his TV and go on vacation - AGAIN?

Once again, I am saddened and ashamed to be an American. I am ashamed that, in this country, we care more about spreading our fucking regime around the globe than about taking care of our own citizens. That we care more about rich people than we do about those who need our help. That we care more about big businesses than about the very people who make those businesses possible: employees and consumers. Jesus fucking Christ, folks. Does it bother you that this government DOES. NOT. FUCKING. GIVE. A. RAT'S. ASS. ABOUT. YOU. AND. NEVER. WILL.

Fuck you, Georgie. You're not my president. You never were. You never will be. You deserve prison for this and many other acts of heartlessness and cowardice. I hope you one day rot.

Links to news articles about Hurricane Katrina

The Times-Picayune is keeping its readers up-to-date via the Internet

Latest Times article with links to other Times coverage

E. Coli update from CNN with links to other CNN coverage

The hurricane according to with links to other coverage

Nothing beats the BBC

The New Yorker goes hurricane

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hiking the AT (aka Conquering all Fear)

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Smokies - photo/maarmie

Tomorrow, I set out on my four-day adventure. A colleague of mine who grew up in North Carolina and knows a lot of the Appalachian Trail like the back of her hand is graciously dragging me on an AT adventure to make me less of a chickenshit and to make me prove to myself that my balls are bigger than a pair of peas.

My first experience with the AT came a couple of months ago when I traveled to Hot Springs, N.C., on a solo adventure that involved whitewater rafting (level 1-4 rapids!), horseback riding, a 90-minute massage, a dip in natural hot springs, and days of driving hundreds of miles through the Smoky Mountain National Forest and along the part of the Blue Ridge Parkway that starts at the northern end of the SMNF (in Tennessee) and runs southeast until it goes northeast to Asheville, which sits 37 miles southeast of Hot Springs.

I found a part of the trail that runs through Hot Springs (one of the few downtowns through which the AT actually runs) and followed it into the woods at the edge of town. I wanted to go the 1.6 miles to Lover's Leap, a high ridge that is good for the scenery and taking pictures. I sat at the foot of that trail and decided that NO. WAY. IN. HELL. was I ever going to attempt it. I cried. I bargained. I pleaded to whatever god may exist for the courage to attempt it alone. You're not understanding me correctly, I'm presuming. This wasn't just any trail. It was a footpath that was wide enough for exactly one foot which ran straight up over this stream into THE THICKEST WOODS I HAVE EVER SEEN. Bears? Snakes? Crazy mountain men with hatchets and penchants for young girls who are dumb enough to venture into the wilderness alone? I don't think so.

So, I sat at the foot of this trail and yelled at myself and berated myself into such a tizzy that I had to take a shit. I walked over to the edge of the woods, took down my pants and proved to myself that I could, indeed, shit in the woods. It was exhilerating and is something I will, no doubt, need to do sometime during these three days and two nights on the trail.

I finally convinced myself to take one step, then another, then another, until I was deep in the woods. With every step, I yelled out "helllooooo!" in an effort to scare off any black bears that may have been waiting just around each turn. The steps became more and more painful the further away from the clearing and parking lot I got. After I had gone about a quarter of a mile, I realized enough was enough, and I turned around and practically ran back to my car. I sat there for an hour longer and bargained and pleaded and yelled at myself and subjected myself to torture. All I wanted was that 1.6 miles. I never got it.

Now I will.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Chump has Jumped, an online slang dictionary by the people and for the people, has a new entry that has recently been used by The New York Times' own Maureen Dowd to describe the prez. According to her, Bush has "jumped the couch."

The term "jumping the couch" brings to mind recent Cruise-crazy behavior on the Oprah show when speaking of his lovely new paramour from that TV show that involves lots of young privileged snots acting morose. That's what the term intends to bring to mind according to the two definitions listed on

1. Jumping the Couch

The defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end. Inspired by Tom Cruise's behaviour on Oprah. Source: Asher77, Melbourne Australia, Aug 8, 2005

2. Jumping the Couch

1. The realization that someone has gone off the deep end. 2. Acting wildly foolish.Source: LucySkyDiamonds, S.A., El Salvador, Aug 5, 2005

Dowd espouses that Bush has definitely and irrevocably jumped the couch as evidenced by the continued bloodshed in Iraq, oblivious to the growing tide of Americans who not only oppose it but are likely soon to visibly oppose it. Anyone heard of Vietnam?

Disgustingly, White House reporters would rather grill out with our idiot president than grill him with questions about his decisions and indecisions. They attended a cookout at his ranch on Aug. 25. To get to the waiting food, drinks and the cool water of his swimming pool, they had to sidestep Cindy Sheehan and the multiplying numbers of average citizens who have traveled to Crawford, Texas, to perhaps cause the president to raise an eyebrow or at least think about the ongoing atrocity abroad. That hasn't happened yet.

Just as the public is coming out more visibly against the war, so are pop culture icons. Green Day has an anti-war song, and so does the Rolling Stones. In the Washington Post, Gary Hart started off a recent op-ed piece with this line from an anti-Vietnam War song, "Waist-deep in the Big Muddy, and the big fool said to push on."

Enough said.

We are mad as hell, George, and, soon, we will be cohesive enough to possibly do something about it. Do you really want to keep pushing your luck?

Friday, August 19, 2005

maarmie is Never Outdated

maarmie's back, for now, at least, to bring you a very important update. It seems the term "minority" and to whom it is applied is being questioned and challenged as of late. In today's newspaper, demographers are pondering the notion of the term "minority" as being outdated in today's society.

It seems there are places in this country - Texas, California, New Mexico, Hawaii and Washington, D.C., to be specific - where blacks outnumber whites, and Hispanics (I hate that word) outnumber everyone. Can the term "minority" be applied in these places the same way it has always been?

I say "yes." A conditional "yes."

I used to get annoyed, and still sometimes do, when women are referred to as "minorities." After all, we make up 52 percent of the population, so, clearly, we're in the majority. However, the balance of power in this world has some power in deciding what constitutes a majority and what constitutes a minority, in my opinion.

When I lived in NYC, I saw a want ad in the newspaper proclaiming at the bottom that women and other minorities were encouraged to apply. I was livid. I called the phone number to explain to the HR director that there are more women than men. However, taking into account the unequal hiring practices and pay rate decisions that are still alive and well in 2005, women are a group that needs special protection under the law as are blacks, gays, lesbians, disabled people and individuals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Where there is power, there continues to be older, white males. All others are minorities and should be protected as such until the balance of power has shifted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I've been yawning all day, and I can't think of anything better to do on this rainy Florida afternoon than crawl under my desk and snooze the rest of the workday away. I probably wouldn't normally be this tired, although I've been staying up later than normal watching all the cable TV I can get my eyes on. Last night was special, though, and I stayed up well past my bedtime so I could rock out with Pigface at the Beta Bar, a small venue that attracts off-the-beaten-path groups for all-ages shows.

Pigface is one of my favorite bands. One of my former editors and some of my friends make fun of the band just because of its name. I try and get people to listen to the music before knocking it for its moniker alone, but it's hard to get some people to open their minds enough to let in something new.

I suppose Pigface, a revolving band that features singers and musicians from diverse existing bands, creates what is considered to be industrial music, but I feel that many of the group's songs transcend the "industrial" label.

Oddly enough, Pigface doesn't appear to have a very big following in Tallahassee. The group was supposed to play this time last year, but cancelled the show after only a handful of tickets were sold. I bought my ticket for this year's show on Saturday, two days beforehand, and held ticket number 8. I was worried the show would be cancelled again this year, but it wasn't, and now I have an official Pigface T-shirt.

The show was pretty cool, but about half the crowd left after Sheep on Drugs, the last of three opening bands, was through. The main act didn't play any of my favorite songs, but the group sounded and looked great.

The most irritating part of the evening involved this band member who thought he was cool with his head-to-toe tattoos and bald head with devil horns attached to it, a long goatee and a gold cape. During the show, he swallowed long metal crosses, passed condoms between his mouth and his nose (in his mouth, out his nose and in his nose, out his mouth), shot sparks in the air with a sander and a hatchet, hammered 8-inch long nails into his face, brandished a large whip and cracked it on stage for effect and ran around the audience with a fake chainsaw acting like he was cutting all our legs off while a stage hand chased around behind him shooting him with water from a super soaker.

The devil-man seemed nice, though, and I ended up just feeling sorry for him: He was evidently trying so hard to appear "evil," but he just came off as some hideous joke.

All in all, it was a good evening full of she-males (slightly and more-than-slightly feminine guys wearing makeup and fishnets - YUM!) and hot women dressed in fetish gear. I'll take that any night of the week.

Another good note: The two assholes who were really drunk and started this awful, mean-spirited mosh pit were thrown out on their asses. The bouncers from Beta Bar grabbed the two worst offenders. The first was forcefully made to push the front door open with his face on his way out; the second was dragged out the door backward and kicking and screaming. I hope those jerks learned their lesson about civility. I know it's just a Pigface show, but manners, my friends, are what makes this world go 'round.

Friday, April 22, 2005

10 Questions to Ask a Man Before You Get in Too Deep

1. Are you gay?
2. Are you still attached to your mother by an umbilical cord?
3. Have you had any severe head trauma?
4. Do you like to wear women's underwear? (A "yes" answer to this one isn't necessarily bad)
5. Are you a pedophile?
6. Are you neurotic/a narcissist/a sociopath?
7. Are more than 80 percent of your thoughts of a violent nature?
8. Do you spend more than 30 percent of your waking life grounded in reality?
9. Are you a goddamn liar?
10. Do you cry like a fucking banshee whenever a woman challenges you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Buyer's Remorse

As you all know, I signed a lease for my own apartment recently and entered the place with only a computer desk for furniture. My clothes are still in suitcases, my books are still in boxes, my TV rests on a huge rubber bin, my DVD player and VCR sit on the ground, I don't have a chair for my desk, I sleep on the floor, and I yearn for a kitchen table.

What was my first furniture purchase? A bed would have been the logical choice. After all, I wake up every night with a horrible pain in my back from trying to sleep on top of this ratty body pillow I have. But I've never been known for being all that logical in my personal life.

No, not a bed. A dresser. And not just any dresser. An expensive-ass dresser. It cost $265 at this antique store. I don't know how old it is (the lady said it's from England and is between 30 and 70 years old - is it still considered an antique?) I don't know what kind of wood it's made out of (for all I know, it's stained plywood slapped together with rusty nails.) Yes, it's gorgeous and all, but I could have used that money to fly to NY or to do a million other things. Why did I buy a dresser?

My first serious case of buyer's remorse hit me about four years ago after I bought my first nearly-new car. I put $1,500 down on a three-year-old Chevy Prizm (which, I'm convinced, is the best, most durable car in the world). The day of my purchase, I tooled around Portland, happy with the knowledge that I could easily go grocery shopping WHENEVER I FELT LIKE IT. The next day, however, I called the car dealership and told them that I wanted to give it back. "Give it back?" said the female voice on the other end of the line. "You can't do that."

The female voice said I could trade the car for something else, but that I was stuck with it. So I called the Attorney General's office and found out about a little something called the buyer's remorse law. Apparently, in some states, people have three days in which to return large items (like a car) if they are feeling they made a mistake. Unfortunately, Oregon isn't one of those states. Needless to say, I still have the car, and it's been wonderful to me. Five payments to go, and it's all mine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Talking About My Gray Spot on Blogspot

I found a big patch of gray hair this weekend located at my right temple. I have known of gray hairs there for a while (I spotted the first one when I lived in NYC and pulled it out - it was followed by many others, so I stopped pulling) but never in such abundance. I usually dye my hair to give my brown hair a kick and to cover the gray. I guess I'll stop fighting. It seems the gray is going to win in the end no matter what I do.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn

Profound change will only be created through profound sacrifice and a profound understanding of that sacrifice as a means to an uncertain end. - maarmie

Andrea Dworkin, touted as the "Malcolm X" of the women's movement, died Saturday at her home in Washington, D.C. The one-time prostitute, rape victim and battered wife led the crusade against pornography and violence against women as an unwavering advocate for women amid a slew of detrators, including other women and firm backers of the First Amendment.

Though considered radical even among feminists, Dworkin never lost sight of her goals and the sacrifices she had to make (and the criticism she had to take) along the way. For this, on behalf of women everywhere, I am grateful.


Memorial and on-line catalog

Dworkin quotes

Article on her controversial life and views

Monday, April 11, 2005

Call Me Lucy Jr.

I've always had an appreciation for comedians. Good ones, anyway.

"I Love Lucy" was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. Sure, I had a crush on Ricky Ricardo, but it was Lucy that held my full attention during every episode. Her timing was impeccable. Her facial expressions were priceless. Few stand-up comedians grab hold of me today as Lucy did all those years ago.

A good comic can transform the world. I believe that a good sense of humor and the ability to make others laugh is borne out of childhoods filled with loneliness, sadness and angst, however. That loneliness, that sadness, that angst can be transformed into good comedy if one has a propensity toward it.

I've heard many times that I should venture into the world of stand-up comedy, that I possess "the gift." Not only can I tell stories, people say, but I tell stories in a way that makes people want to listen. I have the ability to act out the characters through my face and my voice. Making people laugh and being the center of attention, in turn, makes me happy.

Jokes, however, are a different story. Sure, I can spin a funny yarn. But actual jokes don't really seem to exist anymore. Funny stories have replaced the knock knock joke and those silly questions followed by even sillier answers. After Princess Diana met her tragic fate, I made up my first actual joke. I don't remember it now, and I wonder if it was ever as funny as I remember it being. That said, here's my second original joke - one I made up Saturday night after a few beers and a couple tokes off a pipe in the presence of a group of friends, one of whom happens to have grown up Amish.

Q: How many Amish people does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Lightbulb? What's a lightbulb?
(Insert a nasal "wah wah wah" after the punchline)

I wonder if anyone at a comedy club would laugh at that one. Keep in mind the drink minimum.

Since I am career-challenged at this point, I am actually considering a venture into the world of stand-up comedy. I'm planning on writing a five-minute routine and trying it out on my closest friends. Who knows? Maybe, eventually, my loneliness, sadness and angst will finally be of good use to large numbers of people. It would certainly benefit me most in the event of a success. After all, all the world loves a clown.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Apartment Update I

I have finally finished unpacking things at my new apartment, one I don't share with anybody else. I can't tell you how great it is to finally have my own place after living in a ratty duplex with a revolving door.

Throughout my year-and-a-half stay at the duplex, I shared my space with a variety of college-aged females (and one male) who all have their own peculiarities (as if I don't). Every single one of them drove me nuts. Eating disorders. Strong religious affiliations. Bad taste in art and home decor (picture a southwestern motif mixed with the rebel flag and crosses that say "Jesus is the man of this house). Horrible taste in television shows (old westerns and sports). Mom complexes. Criminal histories. Bad attitudes. The works.

The only thing I liked about my old place more than my new place is the presence of a washing machine and dryer. The availability of these appliances should not be underestimated. One good thing and one good thing only can come from me being forced to wash my clothes at the laundromat: that I will meet a really hot single guy and break my two-year record of no penetration.

Ok. I guess the secret is out now. I haven't had sexual intercourse with a man for two years now. I'm practically a virgin again. While I was packing up my stuff at my old place, I found under my bed a box of condoms I bought about a year ago. A dozen. Two bonus condoms. That equals 14. There are 14 left. Good thing they don't expire until 2007. A girl can dream, right?

I know what all you guys out there are thinking. Yep, she's ugly. That's why she can't get laid. Well, hate to break it to you, but that's just not true. I'm actually quite decent looking, and, when I put on makeup and wear my contact lenses, I can actually be considered attractive. So, it's not that I'm physically offensive. I'm just real picky these days, and I'm not so fond of men right now.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Covered Up Cover-up

Kudos to Nigel Jaquiss and Willamette Week (JUST a weekly rag - hah!) for winning a 2005 Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting for breaking the 30-year secret regarding former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's three-year sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl, a one-time babysitter who is the daughter of a former employee.

While I am glad to see the truth exposed about a highly regarded leader and public figure, I am saddened by what appears to be shoddy journalism that borders on a cover-up by my former employer and one of the most highly regarded papers in the country: The Oregonian. According to followup articles by Willamette Week and other news sources as well as journalism ombudsman American Journalism Review, The Oregonian first got wind of the abuse about 18 years ago yet failed to dig into it and finally reported on it only after Willamette Week published its own story. Horrifyingly enough, The Oregonian, in its article, referred to the assault as an affair, however, and had the nerve to publish an op-ed favorable to Goldschmidt written by one of Goldschmidt's friends who served as a runner between the victim and her assailant in the years following the abuse.

Many people have had knowledge of Goldschmidt's abusive and pedophilic past since the time it happened. One of the top reasons given by this myriad of monsters for not coming forward (aside from the obvious unspoken reason: the professional gain and wealth those close to Goldschmidt have enjoyed throughout the years) is that during Goldschmidt's tenure as governor, he brought about changes that helped make Portland a city people notice. Who wanted to be responsible for turning rumor into fact? Who wanted to fell a hero? Who wanted to be the one to break the news that the city's saint is really a sinner?

Apparently, Willamette Week has no problem with any of the above and is deserving of its Pulitzer. In my opinion, WW did the right thing - even more so because Goldschmidt had, before now, been held in such high regard. After all, saints don't deserve saint status if they're really cretins in disguise.

My heart goes out to the victim of the abuse, from all accounts an attractive and intelligent woman who, since the abuse, spiralled downward from getting poor grades in high school to suffering PTSD after a brutal rape in Seattle (compounded, I'm sure, by Goldschmidt's previous abuse) to drug use and a prison stint.

A settlement nearly a decade ago provided the victim with $250,000 of Goldschmidt's hard-earned (or ill-gotten) cash. That's little consolation for a life ruined by someone many years older and in a position of power who cared more about getting his dick wet than in what the consequences would be as a result of this unjustifiable crime.

One other note: Goldschmidt and his league of cronies aren't the only ones who should pay for the crime and its cover-up. The victim's mother isn't deserving of having the title "mom" considering she went back to work for her daughter's assailant even after she found out about the abuse. Years earlier, she also learned of sexual assaults committed against her daughter by an elder relative as well - and failed to do anything to stop it. I'm not a firm believer in the death penalty, but...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Why Me? Your Guide to Bullying in the Workplace

Happy April Fool's Day. As proof that the unexpected should be expected on the prankster's holiest day of days, two dozen tulips were delivered to my office today. I told the delivery lady that she must be in the wrong office. But, no, she was in the right place. I asked her who could possibly be sending me flowers. She said that I must have done something nice. I replied, "I've never done anything nice." She got a big laugh. I was being serious.

The card didn't contain a message, so, a few hours later, I called the flower shop to find out who sent them. Surprisingly, I didn't even have to bribe the lady who answered the phone. She told me right away. Now I know that if I'm ever going to stalk someone and send them anonymous flowers that I should pay in cash and not leave behind any trace of my name.

Today's topic is workplace bullying. Click on the headline above for a comprehensive guide on bullying: what it is, who bullies, how bullies pick their targets, characteristics their targets possess, how it affects the targets and how to handle the bullying. It's the best resource on the Internet for this kind of thing, and it helped me understand the dynamics in my previous workplace after I got fired by my sociopathic former boss - hereafter referred to as SFB, which could also stand for short fucking bastard and still be accurate.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Media = Farce

They've gone and done it again, by god. Those golldurn reporters are nothing but anarchist communists who want to turn the world to their leftist agendas, and one bad apple equals a million.

Increasingly, members of the media who don't or don't appear to be holding their journalistic ethics close to their hearts are wearing their woes on their sleeves as they're outed by traditional and non-traditional media sources far and wide. Most recently, it's Mike Vasilinda who's got some 'splainin to do as he's held up in the spotlight for owning and running a Tallahassee, Fla., production company - Mike Vasilinda Productions Inc. - that turns a profit off the same government and agencies he also covers as an "independent" reporter.

Things aren't as they appear, counters Vasilinda in news reports on what he's been doing and doing very publicly for many years now. While Vasilinda claims to be as committed and impartial journalist as ever there was, any dim-witted mass media consumer has a right to wonder aloud if the size of a production contract at Vasilinda Productions affects what's covered, uncovered and discovered in Florida government by Vasilinda-the-reporter-not-Vasilinda-the-businessman - and what's not.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

How to Piss Me Off - updated regularly

Be a potential boyfriend who turns into a good friend who turns into a friend who turns into an acquaintance all the while becoming more and more of an arrogant asshole, dismissing me more and more and hurting my feelings more and more only to disappear when I finally call you on your stupid bullshit. Advice: Grow up and grow a conscience. No wonder your ex-wife cheated on you.

Host a going-away party before your move to New Jersey only to leave the party 10 minutes after some of your co-workers get there to see you off so you can go screw the dumb bitch who ripped apart your marriage, broke your shit and beat you up.

Run and hide when it's time for you to be the President of the United States of America and basically throw thousands of scared and dying people to the wolves because you don't know what the fuck to do. Why don't you do the country a favor and resign so we can get a COMPETENT president? Thanks a bunch if you do.

Be an ex-boyfriend I rarely see and then get all pissy when I don't accept your hostility and send me this as an e-mail:
"Do you know what it means to treat someone like shit? If you don't have a clue, then I can understand why you don't think that's what your doing. Otherwise, you ought to review your recent communication with me and reconsider."
Not only do you have an error in your text that crosses the boundaries of both spelling and grammar, but you also need to find someone else to vent on. It's not going to be me anymore. I owe you nothing.

Say and do things you know aren't right then lie about the whole situation to protect your smarmy ass while seriously hurting people in the process. Maybe if you weren't so full of shit yourself, you'd have less trouble trusting anyone else.

Upset my friend by calling up the random guy who asked her out at a club and metaphorically piss on her leg by informing him that you're her "boyfriend." I know you're young and relatively inexperienced, but the way to a woman's heart isn't by beating her over the head with a club and dragging her back to the cave by her hair.

Constantly blame me for someone else's mistakes. If you want to punish someone to make yourself feel mightier and more adequate, punish the person who actually erred and pick on someone your own size, you cowardly motherfucker.

Promise for two weeks that you're coming for the weekend on Friday and then not bothering to call and say you won't be here. I know it's embarassing that you don't have money or good credit to rent a car, but I deserve a damn phone call. Geesh!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oh Marilyn, My Marilyn

My fascination with Marilyn Monroe runs deep.

All the elements are there: A virtual orphan who spent her life looking for a father figure and marrying men who seemed to fit the bill. An on-screen persona that could light up an entire city though her personal life was filled with desperation, depression and angst. A public face that epitomized the notion of "dumb blonde" though she was incredibly intelligent and a voracious reader. She was obstinate. She showed up late to the set and kept others waiting, sometimes for hours. Sometimes, she didn't show up at all. She was a huge drinker and popped enormous amounts of pills. She was a wreck. She was fabulous. She was her own woman. She's my Marilyn.

I started collecting Marilyn Monroe memorabilia when I was in high school. At its height, my collection consisted of about $1,000 worth of books, oodles of stamps (one set given to me by my brother that was cancelled in Hollywood), pens, magnets, a tie, mugs. You name it; I had it. I sold all my Marilyn books when I moved from Portland to Florida, a decision I regret.

Los Angeles, California. Home of the stars. In 2002, I visited a friend who had an internship at the Los Angeles Times and was living in Burbank in a huge apartment complex across the street from Warner Brothers Studios. During a visit to Mann's Chinese Theatre, I scanned the rows of names and handprints. I had to find Marilyn. I had thought about this day since high school. Even then, I had a feeling our hands would be the same size. Finally, I found her famous signature and squatted in front of it. I stretched out my arms and placed my hands where hers had once been. A perfect match. We're alike in more ways than this. Perhaps that's why I have such a fascination with her. Though my knowledge of her, I learn more about myself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

No Commies Here

In case you haven't guessed it by now, I'm not what you would call a patriot. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

Not one to commit my undying loyalty to any one group, I have lived most of my life on the fringes of this group or that group and have felt like Colin Wilson's consummate "outsider" ever since I have been conscious of myself.

It all started in middle school with the dreaded "Pledge of Allegiance." It just so happened that the daily chanting of it fell during my PE class. The other students unfailingly did what was expected of them: They stopped changing long enough to pay their respects to this country by placing their right hands over their left breasts and reciting the words I refuse to utter now just as I refused to utter then. The PE teacher took notice of my apparent disdain and disrespect and commanded me to do as the others did. Again, I refused. She threatened to have a parent/teacher conference, and chastised me in front of the group. I'm not sure how it all ended, but I'm guessing that I paused during "The Pledge," and, hand on heart, thought of other things while the others did their patriotic duty.

Much to my shock and horror, my days of being expected to say these words I didn't mean didn't end with high school. At city council meetings during my city government reporting days in South Georgia, not only was "The Pledge" recited but there was also a prayer - A PRAYER - given at every meeting. Not wanting to appear overly adversarial (though, indeed I was), I stood for the prayer but kept my eyes open, and put my hand on my heart while facing in the general direction of the flag. But, still, I refused to say the words.

I pledge allegiance
To the flag
Of the United States of America...

(If I say these words, I'm telling a lie.)

...And to the republic
For which it stands
One nation
Under god
With liberty and justice for all.

Liberty and justice for all? I know that's a crock. How can people say there's liberty and justice for all and feel good about it? And mean it? Meanwhile, minor drug offenders rot in prisons while rapists and murderers either go free or serve lesser sentences. Meanwhile, a frighteningly large percentage of the population is racist, sexist, classist and any other -ist you can imagine. Meanwhile, women are still looked at and treated as property by men (and other WOMEN!) on the the the the bedrooms. Meanwhile, children are beaten and starved and twisted by their demonic parents. Meanwhile, poor people languish without adequate food, shelter or education. Meanwhile, the literacy rate in this country is abysmal. Meanwhile, the rich get richer on the backs of the poor while we spend billions of dollars to go kill "enemies" that don't exist.

I'm not saying all this to make you, dear reader, think I don't care about this country. In fact, I am a deeply concerned citizen who cares passionately about what goes on here - and what doesn't. I am patriotic - just not in the close-my-eyes-don't-ask-any-questions-unfailingly-trust-whatever-anyone-in-power-has-to-say-to-me kind of way. I question the status quo. I object to that which I disagree. I speak my mind. I am a dissenter. All in a feeble attempt to get others to question their own views and motivations and to get them thinking about what they stand for, who they are and what it takes to build a cohesive society filled with liberty and justice for all.

Believe it or not, I haven't always been this way. I grew up the daughter of middle class bankers who (still) tow the line and now vote Republican. Along the way, I bent and broke. I fell apart and rebuilt myself several times. I morphed. Outward appearances shifted. My taste in music broadened. My interests expanded. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to find the truth that could never be found within the confines of my parent's home. The evening news after dinner. Three hours of sitcoms. Ice cream at nine. Then bed. Hooters on Friday nights; golf on Sundays. I grew up in that world and vowed never to make it mine.

I have since moved from one coast to the other and back again. Along the way, I have seen some amazing places and met some amazing people who are doing amazing things for themselves and others. And with an open mind and no firm allegiances to anything except my core set of values and beliefs - those that will never change - I continue to evolve.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Here a Republican, There a Republican...

Cables, Brooklyn Bridge - photo/maarmie

Republicans: They're sneaky, and they're good. And now, they're the ones in charge.

The biggest error one can ever make is underestimating one's enemy, and Democrats have long underestimated their nemesis at their own peril. While a Republican may seem to be little more than an unthreatening slow talker who doesn't know the difference between his or her head and a hard, dry turd, don't let appearances be deceiving. Behind that dumber-than-a-sack-of-rocks exterior beats the heart of a pack of rabid wolves.

At best, Republicans are selfish and exclusionary. At worst, they are as informed as they are intelligent, and they rely on the bible as a mandate for how others (read liberals) should live their lives. Oh, did I forget to mention they're hypocrites? Not all; just most. They rarely practice what they preach, it seems, and the basic tenets of the religion they all Baaaaaah over like sheep are ignored out of their own loathsome self interest.

Considering my obvious disdain for all things Republican (don't get me wrong, Democrats are no better), I thought it fitting to journey to New York City this past August/September to protest the Republican National Convention. When I got back from my foray into activism, my boss fired me. I can't help but think my termination had at least something to do with my trip (one he sanctioned after he accused me of somehow making money off my adventure while taking money out of the pocket of the company!). But what the fuck. I had a great fucking time while a great fucking time was to be had.

Desperately wanting to go protest in NY but not wanting to go alone, a local activist friend of mine put out his feelers and found three others from this city who had already made plans to go and had booked hotel rooms far enough in advance to get lodging across the street from Madison Square Garden. I met up with two of them a few days before the trip and have since forged a great friendship with one of the two, a stay-at-home dad named Michael who put his wife through medical school and who thought enough of his 15-year-old daughter and what a great experience it would be for her to bring her along. Though they were strangers when we started the trip, they all now occupy special places in my heart.


The day we flew into Newark was fabulous, and we troublemakers were ready to obnoxiously comb the city. After we got to the hotel and put our stuff in our rooms, we put on our protest gear and hit the streets. Throughout the entire four days, Michael wore a bright yellow tarp that, on both sides, read "Fascists repent." This slogan caught on quickly, and we saw signs popping up all over town that demanded the same. I won't say that Michael - a long-haired, sandal-wearing hippie type - didn't more than slightly resemble one of those drooling homeless guys you see roaming the streets of New York with a crazed look in their eyes and conversations for one. But he certainly grabbed lots of attention, including the notice of the Jay Leno Show just three hours after we arrived.

Some goombah from The Sopranos and that gay intern freak were standing on the street behind Madison Square Garden looking for unsuspecting protestors to make fools of for that night's show. We walked by and were almost a block away when I heard, "Hey, get that fascists repent guy. Get that fascists repent guy." One of the camera guys ran up to us and asked Michael to be on the show. That was the last thing Michael wanted, he said, but 30 seconds of peer pressure was all it took for him to sign the release form.

The two tried their hardest to make Michael trip up, to inflame his emotions, to make him look a fool. They even pulled two delegates walking by into the mix in an attempt to come away with something televisionworthy. Their attempts failed. Michael was articulate and kept his cool. Needless to say, the footage likely never made it to the small screen.

Rallies and protests

I hadn't been to NYC for a little more than a year, but I stuck to my purpose for being there and didn't wander off to any of my favorite museums, galleries or clubs while I was there. Except for a matinee viewing of "Avenue Q" and a few meals at some of my favorite restaurants in the city, my cohorts and I were diligent in our quest - our quest to protest. This meant that we had to be on our feet for about 16 hours a day while we attended protest after protest and rally after rally. Coincidentally, however, the rallys and protests were held throughout Manhattan, so we had a chance to see a lot of the city in the process.

- more to come -

Roommates No More!

That's it. I'm out. After this month, no more roommates. No more dogs. No more cats. No more piles of dirty dishes in the sink and clothes left in the dryer and bad decor and self-righteous attitudes and notes found taped to my bedroom door imploring - commanding! - that I clean the bathroom by such and such a day, or else!

April 1 will be my first night spent in my new apartment, a tiny little place just big enough for me and my meager belongings. A space in which I can cook fabulous meals (even if just for one), write that book I've always wanted to write and learn how to play my electric guitar, one I bought six months ago in an attempt to cheer myself while snared in the clutches of a sociopathic former boss.

My new apartment is tiny but cute. It's a little efficiency built on the back of a house close to downtown and within walking distance of my favorite coffee shop, one that sits near a lake infested with a certain type of duck people see as more of a parasite than a feathered creature drawn to water. This place marginally reminds me of an apartment I rented long ago. Unlike that place, though, this one has a front door that shuts AND locks, central heat and air and a proper kitchen instead of a strip of space separating the living area from the sleeping area that just happens to contain a stove and sink. And in this place, my refrigerator (a new one!) is in the kitchen where it belongs - not in the living room.

My first night there will be joyous. I think I'll crank up some Amon Tobin, cook a lovely dinner in my underwear, walk around naked, watch a little "Daily Show" then noisily masturbate before I drift off to sleep. What more could a girl want? Ah, the good life in amerikkka.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Marriage or Bust!

I'm going to Paris this summer. Not just to roam around the Louvre and sip espresso at a trendy cafe. I'm going for the express purpose of finding a husband. Yes, it's time to abandon these here United States, and that's going to require some fancy footwork on my part considering I'll only have 30 days at my disposal.

J'ai un mois chercher un mari. Translation: I have one month to find a husband. That's not the only phrase I'm going to need to know when I hop a plane to Orley, but it's certainly going to be the most important. The plan is to bedazzle and bewitch as many men as possible in one month, and to try and convince some poor sucker to take the plunge. I need to get fluent in French, and living there is the only way I'm going to be able to do it. - more to come -