Still accepting valiant praise

I don't know why I do this, but whenever I'm reading adult blogs-- as in, like, blogs written by those who get paid in part or whole for their writing and are generally rather talented people I admire quite a lot-- I scan their blogroll, as if one day I will miraculously appear as some beacon of hope for other young writers out there. Or something.

It's a fantasy of mine that reminds me of when I was twelve and secretly hoped that Rider Strong would quit "Boy Meets World" and move back to Sonoma County because he was completely in love with me. Okay, so the chances were a little better than average since I used to jump on his trampoline when I was three, but still.

Yeah, this is just like that, except for the in love part.

In other news, the Prog Blog's contest period has ended, which means I'll either start recycling favorites here, or stop bugging all three of you about reading it, or both.

Yaman emailed me his objections and approval to my Alter Ego's post about his case, for which I am grateful because at least it was worth reading for someone. I have a feeling that my minute and his 15 minutes of fame on the issue are rapidly coming to a close, but at least we're moving on.


SLAPP in the face

I've written a rather lengthy piece on the Kaplan/Salahi debacle over at the prog blog (Alter Ego link on right). Read if you wish. If you know the breakdown of events, the first and last couple paragraphs are really the only interesting parts; middle is just outline of events.

I'll publish it here after the Prog Blog contest period is over, so I can encourage as MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE to read it OVER THERE. AT THE PROG BLOG. WHERE I GET MONEY FOR MORE PEOPLE WHO READ (or fewer people who read often).

Hint, hint.


It shouldn't be this hot before noon.

It's got to be at least 85 outside already, and it's barely 10AM.

In other news, I've been approved to go to the Netherlands next spring, which is very exciting for my roommate who had feared he would have to jump off a cliff if I, in fact, were sharing a room with him for the whole year.


Oops, I did it again

I forgot to announce Isabel's birthday.

Happy birthday, Isabel!

At least I remembered to wish her well on Facebook.


Give me money, or just read my blogs


For those of you interested in me being able to afford college by winning a scholarship, the contest period for my Alter Ego blog ends in four days!

You can help by reading that blog, found in the Procrastination Station. That link takes you to my user page, which has my most recent blog entries. Don't worry, I'll be posting more soon, hopefully tonight.

I get "points" for how many people read it, so feel free to skim around and return to the ones that interest you, or even join and comment (don't worry, they haven't spammed me yet). Topics are usually current events, and I encourage you all to explore the site as thoroughly as pleases you. If you hit the "track" button on my user profile, it shows what other blogs I've participated in recently. Every once in a while, one of my posts ends up in the highest rated posts column, which is a convenient way to see what topics or posts are most popular to other users who rated them.

Once the contest is over, I imagine I'll merge that blog with this one, so I'm not stretching myself too thin or writing the same things twice.

But enough about me. Happy reading, and thanks!

This coffee mug

So I have this coffee mug I bought at Honk's $1.05 (this is the name of the store. I kid you not. Everything is $1.05), and beneath the condensation collecting in front of the cheap plastic insulator is the phrase, written on an equally cheap camoflauge paper background in block letters of varying degrees of bold, "Work is for people who don't know how to hunt."

And how true that is, this coffee mug.

Because if I were to hunt, I would probably accidentally hunt myself.


At least I probably offend everyone equally

I've been doing some research on the Yaman Salahi/Lee Kaplan thing, because, apparently, glossing over it simply wasn't enough.

An anonymous commenter posted on "First Amendment, blah blah" with two links to show me just how awful Yaman Salahi really is. Unfortunately, presenting me with Lee Kaplan's websites defending himself doesn't gain Kaplan or his anonymous defender any sympathy from me, especially since many points conflict with what I've already read. Not that I'm picking sides, but there are clearly gray areas which cannot be resolved by either Kaplan's or Salahi's websites.

So I spent half an hour downloading at least a hundred images of documents from the Alameda County Courthouse. Skimming the terrible images (thanks, Alameda County!) doesn't entirely explain to me why judgment favored Lee Kaplan twice-- once in default, which I understand, and once during the appeal, which is the source of the hundreds of poorly-scanned documents I am planning to edit for legibility sometime this week.

Look for updates, but for now, the commentary by each party on these documents is at least on par with Student Action's magic chalk. Though Kaplan's commentary is equally unprofessional, Salahi's sarcasm has made my day:

From Yaman Salahi's Attachment B, page 1 of 2, refuting claims from stoptheism.com:

-In response to "Salahi has not condemed the so-called Iraqi resistance for mutilating and beheading US soldiers in Iraq":
"Neither have I denied the existence of leprechauns," and

-In response to "[using the Internet for personal attacks] is a less violent form of terrorism to silence exposure of the ISM":
"Mr. Kaplan would consider it terrorism if I farted in his presence."

Missed one, one page after the aforementioned quotes:

"Mr. Kaplan engages in so many logical fallacies, not to mention his distortion of the truth, that I cannot mark every detail here without developing migraine headaches."


California is a big state

Which is why I probably don't know your second cousin who lives in Bakersfield.

Or even your friend in San Francisco.

Or your mom in San Diego.

Or your crazy uncle in San Quentin.


Why didn't anyone tell me I had a typo?

I just noticed two apostrophes instead of just one in the "Can't get enough of me?" section.


First Amendment, blah blah

I don't know much of anything about Lee Kaplan-- okay, so I thought he was the guy who ran the Kaplan Test Prep agency, and for how little I've looked into it, he probably still could be-- but he has turned out to be a really stand-up guy after suing a UC Berkeley student for $7500 in California small claims court for defamation and "business interference." He claims damages of over $40,000, but because he would probably lose in a real trial, he went for the small claims maximum, and won.

The basic issues here are strangely familiar. Several years ago, Dooce (see "I want her job" on right) was fired for writing about her job on the Internet, which is partially why I do not write about my job on the Internet, and probably won't until after my contract is over. But it seems odd to me, especially after the entire Free Speech Movement, that writing about other people is still such a big deal. Aren't people entitled to their own opinions? I fail to see how a "new" medium-- the Internet-- is any different than an editorial column.

Granted, I have done absolutely no research on the facts of the case beyond reading Yaman Salahi's kaplanwatch.com, but at present I tend to sympathize with my classmate blogger shelling out a year's worth of tuition to a highly-paid investigative journalist, rather than the highly-paid investigative journalist.

Some people just can't hold their arsenic

Check this daring headline:

"Cancer death rates remain high decades after exposure to arsenic, new study finds"

Here's the full article, if you're so inclined: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/06/12_arsenic.shtml


Why is Europe cool enough to have separate Vodka, Beer, and Wine Belts?

We only have the Bible Belt.

It's like America wants everything to match with one belt color (probably red), but Europeans are fashionable enough to coordinate with either black, brown, or navy. Not sure which is which, but read for yourself:


It seems the EU is cracking down on its definition of "vodka." But they don't seem especially worried about it, since they were throwing down shots at the meeting to debate the very topic-- whether vodka made from grapes, citrus, or sugar beets is really vodka at all. The European Vodka Alliance is ready to stumble with its case on over to the World Trade Organization, should results of the debate prove unfavorable. If they remember, that is.

I suppose this appropriately follows closely on the heels of this article, as well as several other recent articles about the Russians and their drinking habits:


I dunno, man. I think they lack God, or capitalism, or America, or something. Right. Here, our 12-step programs work, sorta.

Missed opportunities

I gotta tell you, I'm actually kind of sad that Bob Barker has retired and that I never even considered attending his show during some crazy spring break whim.

Would have been a great story to tell the kids. Or the cats.


Morning People

Eventually, I'd like to reach a point in my career (whatever that is) when I choose my own hours. And by "choose my own hours," I mean "never work before 11AM."

I have to be at work at 8 tomorrow, which means that if I want my morning snooze hour, I have to set my alarm for 6:30. Lame.

Morning people have this insane capacity to be perky and alert at ungodly hours; a capacity I can never hope to have and that I secretly hope I can suck out of an unsuspecting Morning Person I drugged earlier with two doses of Ambien. I'm not sure why the Ambien is necessary, but Morning People seem to be so damn responsible all the time, I figure they deserve a day off from operating heavy machinery and, you know, functioning.


An email from my sister

"I confess. I used you shamelessly in a conversation with our real
estate agent this afternoon. I said, 'My sister who lives in Berkeley
says she's always wondered about your office, because isn't it
supposed to be 'Maison Nouvelle'?' Heather sighed as if she had heard
that a thousand times before and said, 'It's because it's from a
poem.' "

If I actually knew French grammar, this is exactly the kind of thing I would use Jenna for to ask my real estate agent why the name of their company uses poor grammar.

We are such nerds.


Wise up

Aimee Mann kind of said it right.

There's something so disappointing, empowering... so dynamic about listening to that song, especially while people are fighting. You can hear the disappointment in her anger, the empowerment that releasing that anger brings.

And from him, the steady piano ingrains the utterly patronizing feeling that being an idiot isn't all it's cracked up to be.


What's a Mormon Ringtone?

Not sure, but neither is this guy:


Things for which I am grateful

I complain a lot here, and while that may be the basic premise of this blog, I don't wish readers who don't know me personally to think that I am a jaded, cynical cat lady. Which I may very well still become, but as I have not yet reached that point I'd like to take this opportunity to list some things in my life for which I am very grateful:

-Good men.
Those I choose to associate with, as friends, roommates, or otherwise, are not jerks. And even if they are, they'll get it when I tell them they're being jerks. They won't mislead me, or be two-faced, or be hypocritical-- at least not habitually or intentionally. I don't tell them often enough how much I appreciate and love them, so I hope they know who they are.
-My family.
They are amazing, and I hardly give them the credit they deserve when I say that I love them and their quirks immensely. Especially the cats.
I love it, love it, love it. Another dream job of mine is to be a food reviewer. Mmm.
-Hot drinks.
Denying pleasure is just kind of silly, frankly, and I don't understand why the Mormons won't let themselves have hot drinks (except cocoa, which is apparently not hot). Besides, hot drinks are better for you.
-Cold drinks.
These are really good, too.

I suppose there are other things, but this seems like good enough fodder for a sappy Sunday post. More to complain about anon.


I'm not evil; I just don't get it.

I had a meaningful heart-to-heart with a fallen Mormon last night (over margaritas, mind you), and I left feeling more confused about LDS believers than before.

As it turns out, the South Park episode about Joseph Smith is more true than most Mormons know. Did you know that Joseph Smith actually stuck his seer stone ("peep stone", as Smith called it) into a hat to translate those gold tablets he found? Stuck his head, into a hat. In a hat. In order to translate tablets. That only he and his peep stone could translate. Once. I wonder if the term, "peep show" came from this phenomenon? But I digress.

The entire Mormon faith is predicated on a guy who stuck his head and a stone in a hat.

I am a pretty open-minded person, to which end I try to understand things that I don't before I unabashedly judge them. However, you have to admit that the single fact that an entire religion is based on confidence in one person's ability to translate texts using hats and stones is odd. Perhaps not unique to this religion-- after all, holy texts had to be translated from the divine language at some point, right?-- but nevertheless unique to this Godless wench.

I've also been told that many Mormons don't know this single fact-- that the doctrines and entire scriptures are edited to omit historical events in the church (like the fact that Joseph Smith also had several wives, the youngest of whom was 14 and some of whom were already married to other men). This is, again, not necessarily unique to LDS, but can you imagine the day when a devout Mormon, who practically memorized his scriptures, is given a new set? Especially right after a mission.

"I'm sorry, Adam, your version of the scriptures is wrong. Here's a new edition."
"But, Elder John, I just taught that entire village in Africa about the scriptures I knew! What do I do now?"
"The church knows no end to proper education. You must go back, preferably take a wife, and lead a ward there."

I'm sorry if I've been offensive, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Because I hate to be offensive AND wrong.


Life lessons

I've learned a lot of things this summer, and I've only been here for about three weeks.

Like, for example, that electric stoves get hot on all the burners, even if only one is on. Thus, unless I'm going for the awesome exploding-glass effect, it's bad to leave a cooling casserole on one burner and boil water on another. I decided it was a performative D-Day reenactment... flying glass, surprise explosion, burning flesh (er, lasagna)...

I'm just lucky that the roommates called me over to the television to watch a supremely boring scene of Smallville.

TV saved my life!

All in all, my preferences of stoves have this score:
-Electric Stoves: 0
-Gas Stoves: 5 million


Day late, dollar short

But here you go, anyway:

Happy Birthday, Jenna!

Sorry, I forgot that I was planning to say happy birthday to people I know. Despite that they may or may not read this. Just because I'm that awesome.

Which also means I forgot:
Engelbert Humperdinck

And likely many others.

Ruffling Feathers

I've learned quickly that around here, it's just not a good idea to discuss anything political or religious around anyone who's from Utah. All I can really say is, most of the staff members have pictures of the Bush family on their wall. Right next to the office copy of the Book of Mormon.

And my alter ego has discovered that it's not a good idea to tell gay people to have patience with their cause. Look, I'm a 21st century fag hag (read: single, two of my best friends and roommates are gay), so it's not like I'm unsympathetic. But when I say that it's kind of a waste of time and money and energy to pass a bill in the state assembly that is expected to be vetoed, I mean it. Yeah, it's important to "keep the issue on the political radar," but the reason it isn't supported in politics is because it isn't supported socially. So work on the social problem first, then the political problem will either solve itself or come shortly after. It's just going to keep getting shut down until you've run out of money to push it.

Also, it's really gross that a lot of dead people's ashes are spread in SF Bay. It's already like the East River of the west. I still don't understand how anyone can swim in that thing.


Selling Out

As you may have noticed, I've applied for Google AdSense, an advertising section of Google that posts targeted ads on this website and then sends me money if enough Viewers Like You (does this sound like a PBS pledge drive yet?) click on all the ads, or something like that. I'm hoping that simply writing about it does not consititute a violation of Google's terms, which include some touchy prohibitions against the content of my blog "promoting" or "graphically pointing to" the ads themselves. Kind of like Fight Club.


The point of signing up and cluttering my blog is to earn coffee money, because it's one of my biggest food expenses, and that's kind of silly, especially for someone who loves food so dearly. I'm not entirely sure how much money this will actually bring in, because anyone who would appreciate my dry humor probably doesn't pay attention to the ads. Or maybe you do, which is better for me anyway.

So that's me, and that's me selling out for caffeine. I'm in college. I need it, okay?! I can stop any time; I just don't want to, yet. No judging!

It's a small, small world.

I always manage to find someone I know from somewhere. Even when I leave the state.

One of my sister's friends, who sang at her wedding, is performing in all of the shows here. We kind of stared at each other for a minute, and then I asked if he knew Becca. Then almost three years ago of memories came back.

Either I know too many people, or this is just weird.


Summertime, and the livin' ain't bad

Bonfire's a-burnin'; laundry piles are high...

Note: always good to go camping with Eagle Scouts. They know how to avoid burning the whole damn canyon down.
Note: avoid standing downwind of bonfire. Smoky hair and clothes just aren't as tasty as smoky gouda.

As for why I haven't posted much lately, besides exclaiming the amazing taste of meat:

There's something about being in the midst of something completely different that completely strips me of my creative impulses. When things are comfortable, I have a blank slate to doodle tomes of seemingly coherent babble. I suppose I'm paying more attention to getting my bearings and taking in the sights than reflecting upon them. Which begs the question-- do I have to know something in order to think of something interesting to say about it?


In the meantime, I'm putting my feet up on a Saturday night, and every little thing's gonna be alright.