Archive for September, 2008

Quote of the Day

September 30, 2008

“Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good.”
– Phillip Pullman

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Man, Why Do I Feel Like a Crazy Bitch?

September 30, 2008

Hum do hum do ho dee hum

I think I’ll check my blood sugar…

Boo bop wooo

56.

Yup, that would be why I feel like an angry, snarling bitch.

And that would be why I don’t act on feelings that feel totally rational anymore (at least until after I check my blood sugar).

Welcome to living with crazy land.

And yet…

September 30, 2008

The sugar cookies need work.

I subbed half the flour with almond flour, the other half is whole wheat, and of course, I used Splenda. I’m thinking they need some kind of additional topping, though the texture came out really nice – very chewy and good.

It’s the almond meal, I think, that gives it the “off” taste. Still, I could eat five cookies without poisoning myself, so really, that’s gotta be a win.

Full recipe to follow when I finally get it right.

Thoughts on Impending Economic Collapse

September 29, 2008

I have survived two death threats, a chronic illness (which, let’s face it, threatens to kill me every day), South Africa, depression, chronic-illness-induced Crazy, the mental breakdowns of loved ones, a job layoff, my parents’ concurrent layoffs when I was still financially dependent on them, several big city and land mass moves, and much more.

I still owe just under 10K in credit cards, I have 19K in student loans, about $600 in savings and $200-odd in the bank at any one time.

This is the best place I’ve been in, financially, in the last two years.

I’ve lived through some tough shit. I’m prepared for things to be worse.

I know that, in time, things get better. `Til then, I’ve got good friends and good food, and when the food runs out, friends and family band together to weather it out.

But no, it won’t be good times. Good stories, maybe. But not good times. I’m as prepared for that as I’m going to get.

Tonight, I baked diabetic-friendly sugar cookies.

They weren’t bad.

The Cult of Loving Kindness

September 29, 2008

The third book in Paul Park’s Starbridge Chronicles arrived today. I am continally in awe of writers who write so well that they make this shit look easy.
What stunned me even more is when I discovered this was actually his first series. Dammit, man.

Heroes and Monsters

September 29, 2008

A TED talk by Philip Zimbardo, most famously known for the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, about power and corruption. And power and redemption. Includes an overview of the Millgram experiment, for those unfamiliar with it. That one still terrifies the crap out of me.

This is about the power of institutions and how they affect behavior, and it has just as many implications about your behavior in the workplace, on the street, as it would if you were running the trains or overseeing the prisoners.

There are two bigs points in this one – it’s not the people you have to change: it’s the system and the basis of power. Power heirarchies encourage evil by allowing its perpetrators to either be anonymous or shift responsibility to someone in authority. If you’re looking for the root of evil, don’t look at the individual: look at the institution and what it allows and encourages the individual to do.

The second point, and most important because it’s the solution: is how the promotion of heroism is the antidote to the abuses of power. Heroes are deviants: they are always going against the herd. They act when others are passive. Heros question authority, heirarchy, power. They aren’t afraid to say, “This is wrong.”

And those are the sorts of people we need to celebrate and encourage; not abusers of power.

This is why it’s important to write good heroes. This is why people get so pissed off about misogyny in the comic book world in particular. If our fantasy heroes preach conformity and misogyny, what hope is there for real heroes?

Standing passively by while people commit abuses just makes you another member of the Millgram experiment. And if that’s true, how much of a step to the right is it, really, to turn you into a torturer at Abu Ghraib?

I think about this stuff all the time. It’s why I confronted the guys harrassing the girl at the bus stop in South Africa. It’s why I was the first one to get up when the guy on the train in Chicago went into a seizure, and it’s why I was the first one to notice the girl passing out on the train not long afterward. It’s why I confronted one of the guys at my last job about a sexist slap about the unfortunateness of having a girl, and it’s why I spoke up at my current job about an incident I observed as being an abuse of power.

Somebody has to be the first one to move. Somebody has to shake it up. And yeah, it’s really hard to do. But watching this stuff over and over again?

I’m reminded of why I do it.

Babylon

September 29, 2008

I started writing the opening to Babylon today in first person. I don’t think that’s going to work.

But I did finally find the right soundtrack for the novel, which is a big accomplishment in itself.

Writing begins in earnest on October 7th, when my month-of-WoW reward for finishing book 2 runs out.

Here we go again.

Tonight’s Adventures in Cookery

September 29, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman cooks.

No, this is not my photo – I’ve totally stolen hers. But mine actually almost looked like this! Only in a wok! (I really need to get a proper digital camera).

I swapped out the spaghetti with spaghetti squash to make it diabetic friendly and added about twice the amount of red pepper and seasoning salt that she has in her recipe. I also just cooked up four chicken breasts in a cup of chicken broth instead of boiling it off the bone because, srsly, I just don’t have the kitchen hardware to do that (read: big ass pot).

This actually turned out really well. I knew this was the recipe for me when she’s like, “Now add 2 cups of cheese! OK, now top the whole thing with another cup of cheese!”

Dinner was tasty. It’s all boxed up in the fridge for lunches and dinners this week.

Cutting costs, cutting costs… oh, the glamorous writing life.

Bug Sculptures!

September 28, 2008

Bugs!

Wild at Heart

September 28, 2008

I think I may have actually liked this Lynch movie. In the way you find it interesting to, say, examine some particularly strange yet somehow appealing malformation.

Laura Dern still annoys me, and I still have no idea what Lynch sees in Isabella Rossillini. As ever, the main female character is brutalized and overly sexualized. I’m starting to think that this isn’t even a critique you can make of a Lynch film – it’s, like, the definition of a Lynch film. Which makes me wonder where he gets this obsession, or if it’s just lazy misogyny. I’d like to think it’s not, since so much else you see in Lynch film’s isn’t lazy – but I won’t rule it out. Sometimes there are just gaping holes in our assumptions where our reasoning should be.

Basic premise is: girl and guy love each other and have mad sex. The girl’s mother is jealous of this cause she wants to screw the guy. So she puts out a hit on the guy. Guy and girl run away and go on a road trip through the south. At one point, Willem Dafoe blows off his own head with a shotgun, Laura Palmer plays the Good Fairy, and misc. Twin Peaks actors get cameos. It’s the sheer out and out weirdness that makes this movie watchable.

I did like the weird integration of elements from The Wizard of Oz, the red shoes, the crystal ball (the wicked witch mother thing was kind of lazy,but she’s a reaaal creepy character), and I think it failed on one level because it’s not, in the end, Lulu’s (Dorothy’s) story – it’s her boyfriend’s story (and, really, the Good Fairy talks to *him* in the end, so is he supposed to be Dorothy? That might be worse). It’s Lulu’s job to just love him and endure. He’s the one with all the action. It’s his actions that are the driving force of the story (unlike Wizard of Oz, which puts Dorothy in a more active role).

So that does kind of lean toward lazy misogyny, doesn’t it?

Kind of disappointing, but the film has the same weird Lynchian obsessions with red things, wacky characters, character actors, and family secrets. This is probably the closest thing Lynch has got out there to a a love story that I’ve seen. A wacky, head-blowed-off, manslaughtering, brutalized woman, fucked up guy love story.

And, ok, now that I’ve written all that, I’m not sure why I said I liked the movie. Maybe it’s more accurate to say I found it… interesting? Just like mangled bodies at the scene of a wreck – so freakin’ weird and messed up that you can’t help looking.