Monday, November 29, 2004

The False Azure Of The Windowpane

As I've noted before, I dig Vladimir Nabokov not just for his subject matter, but his lush, image-centric writing style. Both Nabokov and his wife Vera suffered from Synaethesia, a disease that makes the person associate different sensory responses with various stimuli; for example, in Nabokov's case, letters and words on a page caused him to see colors and other images.

The drug LSD reproduces these effects, but can be unpredictable, and people unused to dealing with the sensory perceptions might experience negative side effects.

Also of note is the video game REZ, which according to its sell sheet

    ...when sound and visual effects ultimately come together, Rez will open your senses to a totally unbelievable experience like nothing you have ever felt before.
REZ is, incidentally, the game that came with a USB-controlled vibrating "sensory device" in its Japanese incarnation. If you think that sounds like a masturbation tool for gamer girls (or, for wives or sigificant others of us gamer guys), then you aren't the first one to use this device for such devious ends.

Now, it is my understanding that you need either a Japanese PS2 to take advantage of this - that, or a modded US version.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Gallery of the Strange

Have some fun with Photoshopped Spider-Man comics. Some of these are priceless.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

We Don't Need No.. Wait a Minute...

The kids singing the chorus in Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall are suing the band for unpaid royalties.


Thursday, November 25, 2004

Saying "Thanks"

Inspired by a post of Jeff's blog, I've been thinking about some of the things I need to give thanks for while carving the turkey today. Most of these are "2004" kinds of things.

Thank you for:

Old friends, with whom I've maintained - and in some cases re-established - contact. There's nothing like sitting down to dinner and picking up where you left off some eight years ago, or picking up the phone, calling 'cross-country, and sharing slices of your world.

New friends, including people at WizKids who have become more than co-workers: they have become confidants, helping hands, and partners-in-crime.

The opportunity to join a group of like-minded writers, who have already helped me improve my craft.

The drive and free time to have finished my first novel, the desire to edit and publish it, and the strength to pick up the pen and start another.

Family, who allow you to fuck up big time and still hug you. And sometimes (pleasantly) surprise you in ways you can never imagine.

My job, for as much as I complain about it, has not only introduced me to a field that I never would have considered, but one in which I can excell. And the company I work for is really fucking cool: we make games for Godsakes!

And most of all my wife, who has seen me through some of the darkest hours in my life, not by providing a beacon at the end of the tunnel, but by standing beside me in the slimy darkness and never losing heart, even when I despaired.

Thank you all. Have a safe and happy holiday, too, and if you're reading this, remember I care about you in return, even if I can't tell you so in person, today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thought for the Day

My pre-Thanksgiving thought of the day:

Since Sears and K-Mart recently merged, might they become "S-Mart?"

Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

Hey, it could happen.

One-Sentence Story Revisited

Espresso Stories is a website devoted entirely to tales told in twenty-five words or less (I discovered it through MeFi.) I'll probably get an account there and post some stuff - but I'm not sure if it's just a glamor site designed to stroke egos, or if it's more of a real place for writers to share an exciting way to hone our skills. Time will tell.

Friday, November 19, 2004

More Phun

More Photarshop Phun Posted by Hello

Fake iPod Ad

Fun with Photoshop. Posted by Hello

It's Chilly In Here

Thanks to Netflix, tonight Liz and I watched Cold Mountain. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but not great. Took itself too seriously at times, and was a little heavy-handed at others. But showed a great deal of restraint as well. It could have stood to be edited a bit, though.

Album Review: Encore by Eminem

Unlike most lefties, I not only like Eminem, I think he's an incredibly talented artist and satirist who used his skills to rise out of Detroit's slums, make a lot of money, and share a little bit of his social outrage with the world. I don't think he's homophobic, and his raps, especially the recent Mosh, have a distinctly political overtone to them.

Today I picked up his new album, Encore. I've got his other three albums, and I'm of the opinion that he's gotten better with age (The Eminem Show being his best work to date). Part of this is because he's become increasingly self-referential, and the more material he has, the more he can reference.

That being said, my initial thoughts about Encore were not good. A few songs into the album, and not only is he referencing himself, he's sampling himself, and the tunes have a high tempo that sounds more like Em's on speed than rapping. They've also got a distinctivly "Total Request Live" or nightclub feel to them, as if they were specifically (over)produced to be chart-topping hits. There's also a lack of cursing, and in some instances silence where you expect a f-bomb - I had to double-check to make sure I didn't have the "sanitized for my protection" version.

About three-quarters of the way through, when the songs get a little more traditional, I realized what he was trying to do: the entire album, or at least the first part of it, is satirizing the music industry. It's supposed to sound overproduced and clubby, and he intentionally left the cursing out (sadly, there's nothing on here that comes close to the shock value of Drips from The Eminem Show.) It's actually pretty slick, but I'm not sure if he really succeeds - a lot of the reviews I've read seem to miss the satire, as so many people often do.

I've gone through the album twice completely, so I'll probably need to give it another listen or two before I make up my mind, but it seems like it's a strong effort, but not quite as good as The Eminem Show. He's certainly toned down the anger, but anger is what he used to build a career, so the results are mixed, but overall, err on the side of being good.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

For Roman

For Roman: the Rules of Shotgun.

Speaking in Quotes

Now you too can Google scholarly articles so you never have to synthesize information again - just quote what smart people have said about something!

Good News From Okieland

Rarely does something good from Oklahoma ever make the national news. This article in the Washington Post is a happy exception (it might require registration, so I'm going to quote the whole thing below).

    Coming Out for One of Their Own
    An Oklahoma Teen Finds Love Where He Least Expected It

    By Anne Hull
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, November 14, 2004; Page D01

    SAND SPRINGS, Okla. -- The fliers arrived three weeks ago. Some came over the fax machines of local churches, and others appeared mysteriously around town. Printed in bold was the heading "Westboro Baptist Church." No seeming cause for alarm. Sand Springs, population 18,500, is a Christian stronghold in the gently rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma.

    But the message that followed was a rant against a 17-year-old Sand Springs resident named Michael Shackelford and his mother, Janice, the subjects of a recent Washington Post series examining Michael's struggles as a young gay man in the Bible Belt. The fliers posted a photo of Michael, called him a "doomed teenage fag" and announced that followers of Westboro Baptist in Topeka were on their way from Kansas to stage antigay protests in Sand Springs.

    Public theater is the specialty of Westboro Baptist and its minister, Fred Phelps, whose place on the extreme fringe of the antigay movement is symbolized by his Web site, But this time, Phelps picked a formidable target.

    Oklahoma could never be mistaken for a liberal blue state. President Bush grabbed the seven electoral votes here like a sack of candy, winning 60 percent of the popular vote. A state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed by a 3-to-1 margin.

    Sand Springs is the essence of pious Oklahoma. Downtown, a veterinary clinic with loudspeakers on its roof plays a taped carillon of hymns and patriotic songs. Michael and Janice Shackelford attend a large evangelical church where lots of worshipers bring their own Bibles.

    In the eyes of Phelps, any church that allows an openly gay person to attend Sunday worship is weak. "Was there no Gospel preacher in Sand Springs or Broken Arrow to tell Michael . . . that sodomy is a monstrous sin against God that will destroy the life and damn the soul?" the fliers asked.

    When Phelps announced that his group was coming to picket at several churches and the high school, fresh battle lines were drawn. To many here, homosexuality was a sin, but Michael Shackelford was their sinner. Just as the November election was reducing moral issues to red or blue, Sand Springs confronted subtler shades of truth. Janice Shackelford was terrified by the persecution of her son, then surprised by what happened next.

    "This Westboro outfit thought they could come to this town and break it apart," Janice said. "But it has brought the town together. It has opened some doors to talk."

    An Invitation

    After Michael's story was published, competing forces wrestled for his soul. The Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest gay advocacy group, invited Michael to attend its national dinner in Washington last month.

    "Oh, great," Janice remembers thinking. A year and a half after discovering her son was gay, Janice still held hope that he would renounce his homosexuality. She worried for his safety, especially after renting a video at Blockbuster about Matthew Shepard, the young gay man who died after being beaten and lashed to a fence in Wyoming. Mostly Janice worried about Michael's salvation. Attending the dinner in Washington might reinforce his belief that he is gay. "I felt like allowing him to go was condoning the lifestyle," she said, "and it would propel him to that even more."

    Yet something inside told her to let him go. One factor tipped it: Michael would get to meet Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew, who would be attending the event. Part of Janice wished that she could go, too, to see what her son wanted so desperately to see. But she worked two jobs and could find no one to take her shift at the barbecue restaurant where she is a waitress. It was decided that Michael would be accompanied by his 23-year-old sister, Shelly.

    In Washington, a tux was waiting for Michael in his hotel room.

    He brought his disposable camera to the dinner and asked a male model if it was okay to take his picture.

    The next day there was a luncheon and sightseeing of the monuments. A lesbian couple with a 3-year-old daughter took Michael and Shelly to dinner in Dupont Circle. Walking around the gay neighborhood, Michael was in awe. "It was like being around family," he said. "Seeing all those successful people, that could be me."

    Shelly, who shared Janice's views against homosexuality, was also in shock. "Men were holding hands with men, women were holding hands with women, and no one was yelling at them," Shelly said.

    What Michael wanted most was to buy his mother a book on being a Christian parent of a gay child. He found them at Lambda Rising, a gay and lesbian bookstore.

    When they got back home, Janice listened to their stories. "There's a life out there," Michael said, before racing off to the drugstore to have his film developed. Janice wept when Shelly relayed a story that Judy Shepard told about going to identify her son's body. He was covered in blood except for the clean streaks on his face where tears had washed down.

    Janice took the books Michael brought home -- "Always My Child" and "The Gay Face of God," among others -- but was not ready to read them. She piled them on a table in the living room, which is where they were still sitting when she received a call from her pastor.

    "Janice," he said, "We got a fax."

    Janice tried remembering where she had heard of Westboro Baptist -- and then it clicked. While visiting her oldest daughter in Las Vegas, she remembered seeing the group picketing a high school that was staging "The Laramie Project," a play about Matthew Shepard's murder in the town of Laramie.

    Janice listened with growing anxiety as her pastor, Bill Eubanks of Cornerstone Church, explained that Westboro Baptist was coming to protest Cornerstone for allowing Michael to worship there. When Eubanks called Westboro, a woman who identified herself as Fred Phelps's daughter told him that he had not been strong enough in "prescribing the truth about homosexuals."

    Eubanks, 53, has a deep-well Oklahoma accent and a 6-foot-2 frame that makes him a commanding preacher. He pastors a flock of 500, where bluejeans are welcome and men are not embarrassed to brush away tears when praying. The church held a voter registration drive in the run-up to the presidential election. A huge banner, hung from the rafters, said, "Family Under Construction." There was no doubt that "family" referred to a man and woman. Homosexuality is viewed as a sin.

    Eubanks had known Michael was struggling with his sexuality. But to the pastor, seeing Michael in church meant there was still a chance that he would turn away from homosexuality.

    Eubanks was disturbed by the fliers' hateful message, but he saw an opportunity.

    "I get to speak about the grace of God," he said. "No matter what the sin, God loves you. He is saying, 'Come on, come back to the family.' I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I can see the possibility of change."

    A transformation, from gay to straight.

    "These are the hopes, that Michael will change," Eubanks said.

    The week before the protest, the pastor announced from the pulpit that they were in the midst of a spiritual battle. He read parts of the flier aloud. "We are family," Eubanks said. "We are going to stand united as a family."

    The response surprised Michael, who thought he would be cast out. People were being nice to him. Only a few weeks earlier he'd been called a "queer" at Arby's. Now there was a new menace in Sand Springs, and it was Fred Phelps.

    As more fliers circulated around Sand Springs, Janice knew it was time to talk to her 88-year-old mother, a fervent Baptist with a weak heart. All this time Janice had never told her mother that Michael was gay. "This would put her in the grave," she had warned Michael.

    After Wednesday night church, Janice drove to her mother's house. The words simply would not come out. Finally, Janice got up and turned the volume down on the TV and sat beside her mother. "I've been keeping a secret from you," Janice said. She stopped again.

    Just tell me, her mother said.

    "Michael seems to think he's gay."

    "Janice," she recalls her mother saying, "I'm a tough old lady. You should have told me sooner."

    And that was that.

    Us and Them

    The Sunday of the protest arrived. Birds hung in the brittle branches of blackjack oaks lining the driveway of Cornerstone Church. The Phelps entourage had left Topeka at 3 that morning and unloaded in front of Cornerstone in time for the 9 o'clock service. There were nine in all. Fred Phelps had sent his 51-year-old son, Fred Phelps Jr., and his daughter, Shirley Phelps Roper, 47. Under the watchful eye of several Sand Springs police officers, they spread out along the public patch of grass in front of the church.

    They raised their signs. Fags Are Worthy of Death. Fags Doom Nation. Fag Church. Your Pastor Is Lying. Others involved obscene drawings and references to excrement. One of the protesters dragged an American flag on the ground.

    A truck roared by from the main road and the driver shouted, LET HE WHO CAST THE FIRST STONE!

    Phelps gestured toward the church marquee that scrolled the message I hate the sin but love the sinner -- God! "It's a play on words, the sin and the sinner," he said. "You can't separate the two. There are some people in this world who are made to be destroyed."

    Shirley Phelps Roper chimed in. "With the right hand they are saying that homosexuality is a sin and they will fix you," she said. "And with the left hand they say that God loves you. They don't own salvation. They don't have the prerogative to fix the heart of man."

    Worshipers drove through the bottleneck, refusing to engage. Michael Shackelford rumbled past in his truck without notice. Janice arrived minutes later in her Oldsmobile, nervously gripping the steering wheel, eyes straight ahead.

    Inside the church, the congregation was standing and the six-piece guitar band was rocking.

    The Lord reigns

    Great is the Almighty

    The music and energy built until Pastor Eubanks bounded onstage. "Welcome to the reign of life," he said. "Amen?"

    "Amen!" the crowd shouted, whistling and clapping.

    "There is darkness and there is light and we are in the middle of the light," Eubanks said, to more thunderous applause. "Say it: God loves us all. All of us!"

    After the service, several people came up to hug Janice. One woman held her in an embrace that lasted two minutes, whispering to Janice the whole time.

    A burly man with a crew cut gave Michael a thumbs-up. "Man, you be who you are," Shannon Watie said, holding his Bible. "We got your back."

    Watie later said that he respected Michael for having the courage to come out. "I have the sin of pride, the sin of lying sometimes," said the 37-year-old father of two. "The reason why Jesus was on the cross was because we all do."

    Watie voted for Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage. Civil unions? He might have considered those. Homosexuality? "That's between the person and God," Watie said.

    Out in the foyer, Eubanks saw Michael and seized the chance. He invited Michael to lunch. There was work to do.

    'A Gathering of the Saints'

    After church, Michael drove the interstate with the windows of his truck rolled down and the stereo blasting Merle Haggard's "Kentucky Gambler," Michael singing every word.

    I wanted more from life, than four kids and a wife

    And a job in a dark Kentucky mine.

    In nearby Tulsa that Sunday night, a vigil was held in response to the Phelps demonstrations. It was organized by Tulsa Oklahomans For Human Rights and held at a gay and lesbian community center. Organizers set out 24 chairs. More than 220 people showed up; the overflow strained to hear from the sidewalk.

    Janice had been nervous to attend the vigil with Michael but there she was, standing in back. Several Tulsa ministers spoke out against Phelps. Most were from churches that Janice was unfamiliar with; Unitarian, Congregational and Diversity Christian.

    The Rev. Russell L. Bennett, president of the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance, took the podium. "You are a gathering of the saints," he said, smiling at the crowd. "Now, in some parts of town, that might be disputed."

    Bennett recited a Bible verse in which Jesus scolds the leaders of his time for worrying more about narrow morality than the bigger picture. "Woe to you, hypocrites," the reverend said. "For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy."

    Janice was quiet, listening to phrases such as "radical inclusivity" and quotes by Robert F. Kennedy about the long arm that bends toward justice. Only once did she feel at home, when a man came up afterward and reached for her hand. "You know, we have been praying for you all week," he said.

    His name was Toby Jenkins and he was a Free Will Baptist pastor for 17 years before accepting that he was gay. Now he preaches at a gay evangelical church in Tulsa. He told Janice that the Bible is not the black-and-white doctrine that many say it is. He asked Janice if they could pray together, and he took her face in his hands and they stood motionless in the crowd, forehead to forehead, eyes closed.

    "I am going to have to think about all this," she said later.

    The next morning, the Phelps protesters were back in Sand Springs, this time picketing in front of Charles Page High, the school that grudgingly started a Gay Straight Alliance last year after an openly gay senior forced the issue.

    Shirley Phelps Roper stood on the sidewalk, holding her God Hates Fags sign and singing "America the Beautiful." Police were standing by, but all was peaceful. Several cars drove by with their own messages painted on the windows: Go Back to Kansas and God Loves Everybody.

    As school let out that afternoon, dozens of people from Tulsa Oklahomans For Human Rights arrived with brooms. In silence, they swept the sidewalk where the Phelps protesters had been. Michael was there, sweeping.

    A group of students walked by. One of them, a girl with long, silky hair and a backpack, was obviously fed up with all the protests and counter-protests. "Leave our homos alone," she said, to no one in particular.
You know, it's stories like this that prevent me from becoming a complete cynic.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Dress Like Grunts, Not Like Girls

A school in (surprise, surprise) Texas has banned a traditional "cross-dressing" day, that actually sounds more like a Sadie Hawkins day.

    The Liberty Legal Institute came to the aid of parent Delana Davies, who was concerned about officially sanctioned cross-dressing. Davies said having boys dress like girls is part of an effort to push a homosexual agenda in public schools.

    Still, the tradition is being scrapped and the district will hold "Camo Day" instead -- with black boots and Army camouflage to be worn by everyone who wants to participate.
So, it's bad to dress like girls, but it's OK to dress like soldiers.

Jesus H. Fucking Christ, can we go form our own country now and let these people steep in their own bullshit?

Strange Politik

I picked up a copy of The Stranger this weekend (Seattle's largest, and arguably best, indie newspaper, for those who don't live here), and found a compelling article on what they refer to as the Urban Archipelago. This article is now online, and contains some pretty interesting observations:

    Take a look at the second map. This map shows a county-by-county red/blue breakdown, and it provides a clearer picture of the bind the Democrats finds themselves in. The majority of the blue states--Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware--are, geographically speaking, not blue states. They are blue cities.

    Look at our famously blue West Coast. But for the cities--Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego--the West Coast would be a deep, dark red. The same is true for other nominally blue states. Illinois is almost entirely red--Chicago turns the state blue. Michigan is almost entirely red--Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo turn it blue. And on and on. What tips these states into the blue column? Their urban areas do, their big, populous counties.

    It's time for the Democrats to face reality: They are the party of urban America. If the cities elected our president, if urban voters determined the outcome, John F. Kerry would have won by a landslide. Urban voters are the Democratic base.

    It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map. Denver and Boulder are our islands in Colorado; Austin is our island in Texas; Las Vegas is our island in Nevada; Miami and Fort Lauderdale are our islands in Florida. Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans. They--rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs--are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers. Red Virginia prohibits any contract between same-sex couples. Compassionate? Texas allows the death penalty to be applied to teenaged criminals and has historically executed the mentally retarded. (When the Supreme Court ruled executions of the mentally retarded unconstitutional in 2002, Texas officials, including Governor Rick Perry, responded by claiming that the state had no mentally retarded inmates on death row--a claim the state was able to make because it does not test inmates for mental retardation.) Dumb? The Sierra Club has reported that Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Tennessee squander over half of their federal transportation money on building new roads rather than public transit.
I especially like this:
    To all those who live in cities--to all those depressed Kerry supporters out there--we say take heart. Clearly we can't control national politics right now--we can barely get a hearing. We can, however, stay engaged in our cities, and make our voices heard in the urban areas we dominate, and make each and every one, to quote Ronald Reagan (and John Winthrop, the 17th-century Puritan Reagan was parroting), "a city on a hill." This is not a retreat; it is a long-term strategy for the Democratic Party to cater to and build on its base.

    To red-state voters, to the rural voters, residents of small, dying towns, and soulless sprawling exburbs, we say this: Fuck off. Your issues are no longer our issues. We're going to battle our bleeding-heart instincts and ignore pangs of misplaced empathy. We will no longer concern ourselves with a health care crisis that disproportionately impacts rural areas. Instead we will work toward winning health care one blue state at a time.

    When it comes to the environment, our new policy is this: Let the heartland live with the consequences of handing the national government to the rape-and-pillage party. The only time urbanists should concern themselves with the environment is when we are impacted--directly, not spiritually (the depressing awareness that there is no unspoiled wilderness out there doesn't count). Air pollution, for instance: We should be aggressive. If coal is to be burned, it has to be burned as cleanly as possible so as not to foul the air we all have to breathe. But if West Virginia wants to elect politicians who allow mining companies to lop off the tops off mountains and dump the waste into valleys and streams, thus causing floods that destroy the homes of the yokels who vote for those politicians, it no longer matters to us. Fuck the mountains in West Virginia--send us the power generated by cleanly burned coal, you rubes, and be sure to wear lifejackets to bed.

    Wal-Mart is a rapacious corporation that pays sub-poverty-level wages, offers health benefits to its employees that are so expensive few can afford them, and destroys small towns and rural jobs. Liberals in big cities who have never seen the inside of a Wal-Mart spend a lot of time worrying about the impact Wal-Mart is having on the heartland. No more. We will do what we can to keep Wal-Mart out of our cities and, if at all possible, out of our states. We will pass laws mandating a living wage for full-time work, upping the minimum wage for part-time work, and requiring large corporations to either offer health benefits or pay into state- or city-run funds to provide health care for uninsured workers. That will reform Wal-Mart in our blue cities and states or, better yet, keep Wal-Mart out entirely. And when we see something on the front page of the national section of the New York Times about the damage Wal-Mart is doing to the heartland, we will turn the page. Wal-Mart is not an urban issue.

    Neither is gun control. Our new position: We'll fight to keep guns off the streets of our cities, but the more guns lying around out there in the heartland, the better. Most cities have strong gun-control laws--laws that are, of course, undermined by the fact that our cities aren't walled. Yet. But why should liberals in cities fund organizations that attempt, to take one example, to get trigger locks onto the handguns of NRA members out there in red states? If red-state dads aren't concerned enough about their own children to put trigger locks on their own guns, it's not our problem. If a kid in a red state finds his daddy's handgun and blows his head off, we'll feel terrible (we're like that), but we'll try to look on the bright side: At least he won't grow up to vote like his dad.

    We won't demand that the federal government impose reasonable fuel-efficiency standards on all cars sold in the United States. We will, however, strive to pass state laws, as California has done, imposing fuel-efficiency standards on cars sold in our states.

    We officially no longer give a shit when family farms fail. Fewer family farms equal fewer rural voters. We will, however, continue to support small faggy organic farms, as we are willing to pay more for free-range chicken and beef from non-cannibal cows.

    We won't concern ourselves if red states restrict choice. We'll just make sure that abortion remains safe and legal in the cities where we live, and the states we control, and when your daughter or sister or mother dies in a botched abortion, we'll try not to feel too awful about it.

    In short, we're through with you people. We're going to demand that the Democrats focus on building their party in the cities while at the same time advancing a smart urban-growth agenda that builds the cities themselves. The more attractive we make the cities--politically, aesthetically, socially--the more residents and voters cities will attract, gradually increasing the electoral clout of liberals and progressives. For Democrats, party building and city building is the same thing. We will strive to turn red states blue one city at a time.

    From here on out, we're glad red-state rubes live in areas where guns are more powerful and more plentiful, cars are larger and faster, and people are fatter and slower and dumber. This is not a recipe for repopulating the Great Plains. And when you look for ways to revive your failing towns and dying rural counties, don't even think about tourism. Who wants to go to small-town America now? You people scare us. We'll island-hop from now on, thank you, spending our time and our money in blue cities. If an urbanite is dying to have a country experience, rural Vermont is lovely. Maple syrup, rolling hills, fly-fishing--everything you could want. Country bumpkins in red rural areas who depend on tourists from urban areas but vote Republican can forget our money.

    You've made your choice, red America, and we urban Americans are going to make a different choice. We are going to make Seattle--and New York, Chicago, and the rest--a great place to live, a progressive place. Again, we'll quote Ronald Reagan: We will make each of our cities--each and every one--a shining city on a hill. You can have your shitholes.
Just short of starting our own country, Dan Savage has a great idea, one I voiced not long ago: if they insist on fucking themselves, who are we to say they shouldn't?

The only problem is, of course, that they won't be content with only fucking themselves, they'll want to come and fuck us as well. Which is why I still think the seperate country thing is a good idea. I should flesh that out some more, to respond to some (excellent) reader points about my plan.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Cuts Like a Knife

For some reason, I always thought there were three different cuts of meat: steaks, roasts, and ground meat. Turns out I was quite wrong.

Monday, November 15, 2004

iPod Utilities

It's annoying not to be able to copy your iPod's contents to another computer.

Until now.

Ripples in a Pond

Many people misunderstand the law of Karma, especially as it relates to action and reaction. The typical definition of "karma" usually involves the universe taking vengeance upon bad person for negative actions, or rewarding positive actions, kind of like a cosmic Santa Claus. The best example that comes to mind is when you say something bad about someone behind their back, and then turn around and bang your knee on a desk - the person to which you're speaking might say, "well, that's instant karma for you!"

Except that's not what karma is. While karma is a law of cosmic cause and effect, it is best understood not as the universe, or some higher power, wreaking vengeance upon the wicked (this is, in fact, a very incorrect Judeo-Christian understanding of Karma, and it never fails to amaze me how many Western Buddhists still hold this belief). The imagery my Buddhism professor used to describe karma was "ripples in a pond," with your action acting like a force that causes waves in the cosmic water. Eventually, those waves will bounce off the shore and come back to their point of origin.

A more practical way to describe Karma is to imagine yourself having a good day or a bad day. On a good day, you might smile at people you meet on the street, in the office, at home, and so on. Someone having a marginal day might see you smile, and think "hey, things aren't so bad," and start smiling. Then someone else might see them smile, and the cycle continues. If you're having a bad day, and someone cuts you off in traffic, you flip them the bird. Then you cut someone else off. That person flips you the bird, and if they were having a neutral day, now they're having a worse one.

Therefore, Karma isn't necessarily something you see the results of right away, like, say, Calvinist Christianity (if you do good, God gives you money!) But it's a general law of cause and effect: if you spread positive-ness, then others will be more inclined to do the same. If you spread negativity, hatred, and so on, it's only going to cause others to do so as well.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately because a few days ago, I began thinking about the war in Iraq again, with the renewed offensive in Fallujah. While Mosul is falling, we're attacking Fallujah, and although we're missing statistics on civilian casualties, the number being floated around a couple of weeks ago was that one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed since the invasion.

While that number is certainly sobering, what worries me about it isn't the people who died, it's the cause-and-effect of the whole thing. That has worried me since we invaded Afghanistan. The terrorists are people who have somehow been wronged by the United States; an Arab businessman, comfortable in his home with his wife and kids, will no more pick up a gun to kill an abstract enemy villified by a fundamentalist sect than an American businessman with a house, wife, and kids would have done what Tim McVeigh did. The terrorists are orphans created by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, by Saddam's genocidal acts against the Kurds, by American support of both sides in the Iran-Iraq war, and by American weapons in the first Gulf War. Al Qaeda cannot recruit if there is no one out there who has been hurt, personally, by us. And a hundred thousand dead - that's a lot of orphans with nothing left to lose, and with a hell of a lot to hate. With each civilian fatality, we should be afraid simply because that person might have five children to swell Al Qaeda's ranks.

But the problem is that all killing begets more killing. Hate begets more hate, and violence begets more violence - by creating orphans, creating hatred, creating enemies, whatever. The hardliners in the Middle East are repsonding to American military action, a large part of which is a result of our support of Israel and its military actions. Israel was created as a result of Sho'ah in Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was a result of economic hardship brought on by a mixture of shitty economies and punitive policies following the First World War, which was a result of... you get the idea.

The more I consider, the less effective military intervention in the Middle East becomes. We can change the nature of the ripples on the pond, and right now, all we're doing is sowing hatred and negativity. I have always felt this way, but I realized that the same principles must be applied to myself, my job, my daily interactions with people, and my relationships first. Because the ripples work upwards, too: the more positiveness my own actions create, the more chance we have to affect larger things in a positive way.

Sounds kind of mushy and weak, doesn't it? With all the crap going on at work these days, I found myself returning to the things I think I've neglected too long. Of course, getting out of the habits into which I've fallen will be difficult, but I don't think it will be impossible.

Chapter One Done

Got the first chapter of my new novel finished. 2500 great words. I'm hoping to start writing these with more regularity.

You're Not Cleared For That

Someone else has claimed to have discovered Atlantis. It's an interesting story, anyway; things like this make me want to take my alternate career path, the one I'd do if money and time were not concerns: underwater archaeology.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

World's Best....

Presenting this morning's random Internet find: the World's Best Cat Litter.

Altered Angels

A few months ago, on Jon's recommendation, I picked up Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. I'm not the biggest fan of "cyberpunk" stuff, mostly because I find a lot of it fairly unoriginal, and one of the standard-bearers for the genre, William Gibson, has a writing style I find insufferably overwrought and self-indulged. But Altered Carbon was more detective story than it was cyberpunk tale, meaning the mystery aspect served as the framework for the book, rather than the nifty-but-awful-techie-future that serves as the framework for other tales in the genre, with story playing second fiddle.

Not that Carbon didn't include some of that, but it wasn't so overbearing as to be distracting.

Morgan put out a sequel, and I picked it up last week, since Tuesday was a one-DVD day (Shrek 2) and there haven't been any good new DVDs for a while, and there won't be any good DVDs for a while. It's called Broken Angels, and while it's a little more cyberpunky than Carbon, it's still not overbearingly so. I was half-expecting a shitty sequel, one cobbled together to fulfil a contract, or to make more money, but Morgan has crafted another fantastic mystery. This one takes place on a backwater planet embroiled in a civil war, more reminiscant of Firefly than anything else, and I discovered my doubts were unfounded about three pages in, when Morgan got the hook in my lip and started tugging.

I'll post more when I'm done reading it, but I encourage anyone who hasn't read Altered Carbon to get a copy and give it a whirl.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Oh, I Wish I Was In The Land Of Cotton

Here are a couple of interesting maps, for comparison's sake.

Fascism Revisited

The other day I posted a sermon about fascism that quoted the 14 points of a fascist government. Today, I offer an alternate view of what's happening in America: the re-emergence of Puritanism. I think Puritanism ultimate has the more compelling argument, because fascist states tend to move towards the government and patriotism as a means of replacing religion, rather than the government being tied to a religion.


Long ago, I suggested a site to Steve Jackson's Illuminated Site of the Week, and promptly forgot about it. Apparently in October, they deemed my site worthy. I suppose I should note I never would have found this without doing a vanity search on Microsoft's new search engine.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Useful Science

I respect these scientists and what they have achieved. I'm kind of curious what this process might be able to do to tequila.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Hurt The Ones You Love the Most

I've been reflecting a lot lately about the relationship my job creates to other people I interact with - and not necessarily my co-workers, although I've managed to inadvertantly trigger two catfights with as many people in as many days. Instead, I find myself once again amazed at the willingness of our customers to accept the worst possible solution, without getting the facts.

Case in point: this weekend, our website was hacked. I learned about it Saturday night. I couldn't do anything until Monday morning, because hey, I try not to work on the weekends (I do have a family I care about), and frankly, they don't fucking pay me enough. So Monday morning, I started working with our one remaining database programmer (our other one is on vacation) to try to fix the problem. We've got it mostly fixed now, but work has been progressing slowly, mostly because our programmer has to do his other job as well. I worked a little bit over yesterday night and tonight to try to get things squared away - so I took time I could have been spending with my wife, and instead tried to get us up and running again.

So today, I hop on our forums, because I like to be abused. And one of our adoring fans has suggested that everyone at WizKids has caught a disease that made us all incompetent.

Shortly after deleting the post and warning the user, my faith in humanity took another serious blow. I'm tellin' ya, that will is gonna crumble completely some day. I'm not even bothering to fix it anymore.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

One Nation, With Liberty Etc.

Since the election, I've given serious thought to the proposal Andrew Sullivan made on his website about shifting responsibilities for many social issues to the states - so that people in "blue" don't get steamrolled by people in "red" states (and vice-versa).

But I got to thinking: wouldn't it be great if we could do that on economic issues as well? Statistically speaking, those in blue states pay more in taxes, while those in red states receive more in welfare - how is that fair? But this underscores the whole red/blue dualism I've seen people helpfully trying to shatter by providing the so-called "purple" maps, where the colors blend, showing us really as one happy rainbow country.

Except we're not one happy rainbow country. Bush ran as a uniter, not a divider, and he has managed to divide the country in a way that we haven't seen since the years before the American Civil War. The kind of vitrol I linked to a couple of days ago is a fine example of this; neo-cons want to curbstomp us. I refuse to use the term conservative, because I believe most real conservatives are as appaled as us lib'ruls of the Bush administration, its fiscal irresponsibilities, and its disregard for personal liberties.

But where is it written that red and blue have to get along - Liberals are from Mars, Conservatives are from Venus? It's true that America has a history of compromise, but we also have a history for killing each other when we're divided, a la 1861-1865. For such a young democratic nation to have such a bloody conflict is unique, especially considering the principles upon which the country was founded.

I think we gave the relationship a real shot, and it failed. My proposal: let's divide the country into two countries. Seriously.

I'm not the only one who suggested this, as this conservative columnist shows. My proposal is a little different than his, so let me outline.

Our states would include California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, D.C., and the New England states. Since the fundamentalist Christians would only ruin Vegas, I also propose that we get Nevada. For ease of travel, we'll also divide Idaho into two areas: we'll get the panhandle, along with North Dakota and Montana. They get everything else.

For two years, the government gives tax breaks to Reds who want to leave Blue states, and Blues who want to leave Red states.

After those two years, we agree to part ways. They can become their own country and run it how they wish, and we can become our own country and run it how we wish.

The hell with "coming together" and "finding common ground." If they really really want to run their country this way, let 'em. But we should not have to suffer. And if they feel our way of doing it is suffering, I see no reason to force them into it.

Living Under Fascism

I'm not the largest fan of organized religion on the planet, but this sermon from a Unitarian-Universalist church is compelling for many reasons - most of them scary. Of special interest is the fourteen points of fascism.

    In an essay coyly titled “Fascism Anyone?,” Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies social and political agendas common to fascist regimes. His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 “identifying characteristics of fascism.” (The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. Read it at See how familiar they sound.

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    4. Supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

    6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    This list will be familiar to students of political science. But it should be familiar to students of religion as well, for much of it mirrors the social and political agenda of religious fundamentalisms worldwide. It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. They both come from very primitive parts of us that have always been the default setting of our species: amity toward our in-group, enmity toward out-groups, hierarchical deference to alpha male figures, a powerful identification with our territory, and so forth. It is that brutal default setting that all civilizations have tried to raise us above, but it is always a fragile thing, civilization, and has to be achieved over and over and over again.
Sounds familiar.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Incredible Four

Last night, Liz and I went to the casino up in Tulalip with Jon and another couple. Jon knows a bit about blackjack, and it was great to learn from someone who has been at a table before. My problem with vices like gambling is that there's a certain etiquette involved, and I'm always scared I'm going to do something wrong. Luckily there was a moron at the table who was obviously a lot worse off than me, so I didn't feel bad. I lost the (pretty small) amount of money I'd set aside for the evening, but still had a great time.

Today, we met up with a group of WizKids folks to watch The Incredibles. It captured everything I like about comic books - a great story, a sense of those who are different banding together, and using your talents for good. The main characters were essentially a riff on the Fantastic Four, which may be part of the reason I liked it so much (FF is my favorite comic).

For some reason, I'm feeling very emotional this evening. Typically, my emotions are very much in check, but tonight, I feel a lot more like that dam has sprung a few leaks. I think I'm gonna do a little work on my next novel, and provide an outlet for it. I don't always like feeling this way, which is why I tend to keep a pretty tight cap on things. It's kind of frustrating, since I think it's related to something out of my control, and I feel like I could just crumble at any moment - and I don't like that sort of weakness either.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

It's Tulalip Baby!

This evening, we're going to the casino in Tulalip with Jon, and he's gonna teach me how to be a whale at blackjack. That's the plan, anyway. I'm looking forward to it.

It's started getting cold here. Might be time to turn on the heat. My fingers and toes feel perpetually chilly.

Recommended Reading: Zizek

Roger recommended this excellent column from Zizek. As do I.

From a Soldier's POV

An American soldier just back from Iraq had this to say about the election:

    If you voted for Bush, didn't vote, or voted no on gay marriage, I hope you get drafted.
    I hope they stick you in my unit, and you go with me to Iraq when my unit goes back in September. I will laugh when you see what soldiers in that country face on a daily basis. I hope you work with gay soldiers too. I did. One of them saved my life. Think he shouldn't have the right to get married? Fuck you. He fought just as hard as I did and on most days, did his job better than me. Don't tell me gays don't have the same rights you do.
    Think the war in Iraq is a good thing? I'll donate my M-16 to you and you can go in my place.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Smoking Out a Neo-Nazi

The link below scares me. So I wrote him a little email:

    Thank you for revealing what conservatives really want - to viciously murder and maim liberals like Edward Norton's neo-Nazi character in American History X.

    I'll give you my address, if you'd like. I'll lay down, with my head on the curb, so you can come up and put your boot to my skull and destroy my dumb liberal brain. You can watch it flow all over the sidewalk, and know that you murdered someone simply because I feel that two people who love each other should be able to share medical benefits, and that I feel that children should have access to affordable health care. I mean, we libs - Dims - whatever you want to call us - really are so stupid that we can't be allowed to go on, right? Scatter us to the wind, kill us - you're right and we're wrong, simply becuase more of you voted.

    I must ask: would murdering me make you feel powerful? Would it make you feel good?

    Heck, I won't even tell the cops if you want to kill me. So whaddya say?
I wonder what the Neo-Nazi will say... All responses will be shared.

Liberals: Arm Yourselves

And here is an excellent example of why I feel the need to protect myself and my family from neo-cons. It's not even the administration I fear, at least in the immediate future, it's people like this - so drunk on their new-found "power" and looking to, ahem, put my head to the concrete and curb-stomp me (a reference to what a neo-Nazi does in American History X.

We are one random encounter away from some psychotic right-wing nutcase like this from being murdered or maimed for our political beliefs. It's right there, in black and white. They hate us for what we believe. They hate us for wanting to give children access to basic health care, for wanting to allow two people who love each other to share medical benefits. For that, they want to "curb-stomp" us.

This liberal's ideas will be protected by Smith and Wesson.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Open Letter

My friend Roger wrote an email. Below is my response. I thought posting it here was better than trying to retype all this

My friend (and my friends),

I can assure you that I will not give up. Many people in the office - I have the benefit of working in a liberal office, in a fairly liberal industry - have suggested moving to Canada, which is only an enticing two hours from Seattle. I've been there twice, to Victoria and Vancouver, and it's great. I'm planning on going next summer, to see if I can fulfil one of my childhood dreams: to drive to the Yukon (I was strange, even as a child). My good friend Roman is now a Canadian citizen. But I absolutely will not move to another country.

Despite the right-wing jingosim that questions my patriotism, I love the United States. I love it for everything it is and everything it can be. I love the fact that we were founded on the simple notion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I love that my ancestors came here on tiny ships, escaping a miserable peasant's existence in Poland, Hungary, and Lebanon to try to make a better life. I've stood on Ellis Island, and I touched their names on the wall there, and I imagined them, a hundred years ago, standing on that spot and seeing the New York of opportunity I saw. I love that they could find honest labor, working so their children could go to college, their grandchildren could contribute to society, and their great-grandchildren could become artists. I love that I can say what I want without fear of reprisal from the government. I love our system of government, because I see, as James Madison did, a system ruled not by the tyrranical hand of the majority, but one that inherantly exists to protect the rights of the minorities, whomever they may be.

I look around, and while many states have passed laws banning gay marriage, I recall that Washington state, where I now live, was one of the first states to do so - and was one of the first states to repeal this decision. I see that while emotion, anger, and hatred have catapulted a political party into control, I also see that progressives, who seemed hopelessly mired in infighting as many as two years ago, came together in a way we have not done in a generation. In 2000, Ralph Nader promised us a third choice, an alternative to two candidates who agreed 34 times in one "debate." In 2004, we had John Kerry, labelled as "the most liberal senator in America," because he was, surprise, liberal. And this "liberal" received 48% of the vote, which means that there are a hell of a lot of Americans who do not see liberals as being bad. Nader succeeded.

This is not to say that the road ahead will not be hard. It's going to be a difficult fight, but it's a Revolution we must embrace now, because if we do not, our Brave New World has already been decided for us. We must re-take our language, changing words like "liberal" into something positive. We must stand united, not allowing ourselves to succumb to infighting again. We must continue to organize on grassroots levels, both online and in our backyards. We must seek out others who believe as we do, and empower ourselves to make a change. We must demand accountability of our elected officials. The neo-cons have a mess they must deal with for the next four years. There are questions to be answered about the pretenses for war in Iraq. There is the matter of unguarded, missing explosives. And, no matter how you spin it, the economy still sucks and the defecit has almost reached its cap.

2004 was just the beginning. We are fighting a well-oiled political machine that has been organizing since Goldwater's defeat in 1964, and has quietly subverted the media to its own ends. But they do not own the Internet, and more importantly, they do not own the power of thought. Information and reason are our weapons, and our will to overcome our strength.

My wife pointed out to me that it's the people in the so-called "red" states who are the ones we're trying to fight for. People who are poor, and have been taken advantage of by the neo-conservative movement. On one hand, it's tempting to leave them to fend for themselves - they deserve the tyrant for whom they voted. But on the other hand, the neo-con's decisions will influence us as well, and in order to protect our own interests and rights, we must fight back, and we must carry the people in the red states with us.

I refuse to move to another country. I love the United States, I love the principles upon which it was founded, and the opportunities it has. I do not like the execution of many of these things, but that does not mean the ideal itself is not worth fighting for. I won't leave. I will fight. This is not the end - this is the beginning

My parting words are from Barack Obama, who will, I predict, one day be president.

"That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles."

I learned long ago that miracles do not happen, and prayers are not answered, unless you buckle down, roll back your sleeves, and get to work.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Attention Humorless Government Dipshits

A friend pointed out that the post I made last night about purchasing a firearm could be seen as a threat against the lives of people in the current Presidential administration, or in politics.

It is not. It is a declaration of self-protection. I am a pacifist, and I do not believe in using violence to solve problems, which is one of the reasons I oppose the shiteater in the White House to begin with.

The reason I would own a gun is for the time when a government goon squad would come to my house and drag me, my wife, or any other member of my family, or my friends, off into the night because of our political beliefs, sexual preferences, religious leanings, and so forth.

The very fact that I can imagine this possibilty should be cause for alarm.

Perhaps, Humorless Government Dipshits, if you're actually reading the ravings of some Northwest Lib'rul on a blog whose readers number in the tens, and were thinking of coming to my house, you might be part of the problem.

I hope that clarifies everything. Now please, go back to making strippers cover up instead of finding Osama bin Laden, and leave people like me to wonder how the fuck 53% of our countrymen could be so stupid.

To-Do List For Tomorrow

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

In the next few days, I plan to purchase my first firearm, in order to exercise my Second Amendment rights against tyrrany.

My dad turned out to be right: they weren't going to let it go. The war against East Eurasia will continue, and the sheep complacently go into the night.

It's too bad Iceland is closed to immigration.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Selection

I joined a election watch chatroom at work so I can keep any eye on things while I finish these last press releases. Early exit polls are looking good, but this one won't be over until it's over, rover.


Today is Election Day in the US. If you live here, go vote!

I'm trying not to look at websites, exit polls, etc. as I get my work done today.

It's hard.

Electorally Speaking

In twenty-four hours, we'll either have a good idea of who is going to be the next President, or we'll be watching our nation descend into a hell of lawsuits, accusations, slander, and assholery. The polls cannot be trusted: depending on which source you believe, both candidates will win. Republican vote supression in Ohio has started, Florida cannot get its shit together, and early exit polls are encouraging, as are responses to Republican Get Out the Vote programs. Karl Rove is up to his old push-polling tricks, and I doubt I'll get much sleep tonight.

Seriously, I'm curious to see how this all pans out. The last time I watched an election, I was working in my college's writing center, tutoring exchange students and streaming CNN live over the Internet. Now, CNN doesn't even allow streaming without paying, I'll still be working because I'm on the west coast. Unless the world goes to hell, I might have a good idea of what's going on before I leave. I might do a little liveblogging; it depends on how busy I am. We'll see.