Monday, September 28, 2009

UC Apocalypse

Two things coincided this morning to depress me about the state of our "higher education" institution that we call the University of California. First, an email from the music librarian including the following information:

Hours for Fall Quarter will be Monday, Thursday (10-8); Tuesday, Wednesday (10-6); Friday (10-5); Sunday (1-5)...all print reserves (books, scores, printed articles) will be located in [another building that is only approximately near the music building]

This reads as: the Music Library will now be essentially useless except as a storage facility. Nothing can be checked out before 10 AM or after 6 PM most days. Any book you decide is essential for your students to read will be removed from the building so as to ensure that they will never actually read it. Thanks, UC Library, for prioritizing the arts!

Second, this post by Dean Dad about our beloved (hah!) president's interview with the Times. Gee, he sounds like a real winner, doesn't he?

Way to go, California. Way to go.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

'Tis the Season

It's officially fall now, folks, and that means it's Election Season! In honor of this, my favorite season, I give you a quick round-up of LGBT-related political issues in these United States!

On or before Novemeber 3rd, in Maine, vote No on Question 1 to keep marriage legal for all Mainers.

On or before Novemeber 3rd, in Washington (State, not DC), Approve Referendum 71 to keep domestic partnerships legal!

On or before Novemeber 3rd, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, vote Yes on Ordinance 1856 to keep non-discrimination the official policy of the City of Kalamazoo, even for LGBT Kalamazooians (that can't be the right word). The opposition to this is particularly disgusting and transphobic.

All three of these campaigns need help. Financially, if you're not local to them, but also through volunteering your time if you are there. As happened in California last year, people are feeling very confident that the good guys can't help but win. That's just not true. Forget about logic, about reason, about everything you thought you knew about simple human decency, and believe that we are at risk of losing ALL of these fights. If you are in California, I can hook you up with a way to help out in Maine.

In non-ballot-based LGBT politics, try calling your federal representative and senators about supporting ENDA (HR 3017 and S 1584), the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that has a chance of being the first federal law explicitly granting rights to LGBT Americans. Once you've covered that issue, be sure to mention to them that the Uniting American Families Act will make it possible for gay people to sponsor their partners for immigration. If they're still listening, you can bring up Jerry Nadler's proposed Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and allow state-recognized marriages to be recognized federally. Politicians need an earful of passionate advocacy to make the medicine go down in the most uncomfortable but effective way.

Those are the hot-ticket items for the politically-oriented LGBT community at the moment, but there are lots more issues to get worked up about. Try this one on for size. It may be the most important one we've got right now.

Fun with Fotos!

Check out this picture, from the front page of

It strikes me that they're in a classic Western showdown set up. The camera is from the perspective of Billy Gates, the villainous cowboy (and, most likely, cattle rustler) who's been terrorizing the impoverished, one-horse town of Europe for far too long, and he's keepin' his eagle eye fixed on the shootin' hand of Sheriff Neelie Kroes, Europe's antitrust chief. If I had photoshop and some skillz, I'd add in the tumbleweeds and the holster on her belt. Plus, I'd edit out the guy on his cell phone.

I'd say the photographer is painting a pretty nice portrait (mixed-media metaphors are fun!) of what an antitrust chief does. She's bringing the rule of law back to this here town, where for too long the common folk have been forced to use Internet Explorer.

Things I find interesting about the photo:

1) The sheriff is a woman, at the center of the shot, and looks to be much more confident than any of the men around her
2) The attitude seems to be pro-anti-trust. Which is somewhat unusual in modern American mainstream media.
3) Look at the giant Polish sign! Don't forget about Poland!

My favorite quote from the accompanying article:
Inside her office, her tough image is reinforced by the presence of a cube-shaped, metallic sculpture of prickly rose thorns, and a brick on her conference table with the word “no” inscribed on it.

Can I PLEASE have an office like that!?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Am I to go through the weary round again?

Sometimes, insomnia happens. It comes in bursts, usually a week at a time or so. As it is currently 5:03 AM and I have yet to sleep, I must assume that now is one of those times. A few days ago I went to sleep at 6:00 AM; I think tonight I might outdo even that dismal affair.

When I'm in the grip of this condition, I always feel like I should be able to use my extra waking hours productively. Sadly, that is never the case. When I can't sleep, I also can't think, or do anything useful. I stare at screens, blankly. I skim books and magazines and newspapers, never taking in any of the words. Eventually, I eat, but I don't really enjoy it.

Whine, whine, whine. I should just medicate myself and be done with it, but I don't really trust pills, especially those that affect my sleep cycle. Those particular pills and I have a spotty history. Remind me to tell you about the time that I took one Benadryl and passed out on the floor of an Irish pub. Hilarity, of course, ensued, as it is wont to do.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I am sitting in the airport in Portland, Oregon, having reached the end of my five-day vacation visiting Violesbian in Eugene. The trip was (has been) excellent, and is rather neatly chronicled by the new items in my luggage and on my person:

Approximately one pint of blackberries, picked in the alleys and along the streets of Eugene, in the Friendly Neighborhood
Assorted gifts of the handmade variety, purchased at the Saturday Market in Eugene (details of which will not be divulged until they have been presented)
6 books from Powell's "City of Books" in Portland
1 dozen (correction: 11) doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut in Portland

And innumerable cat hairs from Isabelle and Sophie, affixed to my sweatshirt.

My flight boards--I must cut this shorter than intended. Thanks for the free wireless, Portland Airport!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quick hit

Today, in the tourist town of Sisters, Oregon, a small boy dressed like Adam Lambert told me I looked like John Lennon.

Monday, September 14, 2009


The inside of my head is a mess. Thoughts are disjointed:

That woman who was murdered at Yale was engaged to be married to an acquaintance of mine from high school. I still think of him as about 14, since I haven't seen him in years; I never met her. I have a very good friend studying at Yale right now and I don't want her to be murdered. I don't want anyone to be murdered. I hate that this might be some kind of serial killer of women students.

A very close relative may have prostate cancer. A more distant relative definitely has bladder cancer and is having many organs removed. Mom's prognosis isn't the greatest right now either.

I intended to keep this list of disjointed thoughts going a lot longer, but they've all gotten tangled.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The System Is Down

I have been having problems with the internet. Not the usual problems, like I can't go to sleep because there's so much on it, or commenters on various blogs make me want to punch holes in the walls, or similar there-is-too-much-internet-and-there-are-too-many-people issues. No, these recent problems have been of a more technical nature.

Exhibit A: Facebook News Feed. Yesterday and today, Facebook decided to recycle a bizarre selection of posts from the last week and tell me that those were the ONLY posts I'd be allowed to see. They were non-chronological, and mostly came from people whose posts I generally ignore.

Exhibit B: Gmail. Yesterday, I couldn't get a secure connection, and so my browser flipped out and kept shouting long strings of letters and numbers at me in the place that usually says "" A few days ago it was down entirely. Today it disconnected me in the middle of writing an email and refused to save a draft or allow me to attach files.

Exhibit C: Pepvan. For those of you who have never had the joy of working with the system that runs basically all left-of-center voter-related campaigns, you won't understand. It's a steaming pile of system errors and buttons that lead nowhere, held together with twine and silly putty. Don't get me wrong; it's far, far better than non-computerized systems, and it's a godsend for keeping track of not just voters but also volunteers, but it's got problems. If any of you are programmers, you could probably do a great deal of good for political leftists by donating your time to fixing it. I hear the Republican version is sleek, smooth, and elegant.

Exhibit D: Safari: sometimes the scroll bar is missing. I don't know why. I just have to quit and reopen or there's no way for me to see anything below the top of a web page.

Exhibit E: Adium: Normally a wonderful instant message program (handling my gchat(s), AIM, Facebook chat, and the like), it has decided of late to stutter. I will receive an "instant" message at 5:17 PM. Then again at 7:08, the same message, no longer instant. 7:42, another reprise. 9:30, a final encore. This all seems to be through Facebook chat, so perhaps it is related to the eternally looping news feed. Irregardless, its iteration is irritation itself!

How's that for some vocalic alliteration? Did it cause you to miss the fact that irregardless isn't a word at all? It sure fooled my spellcheck...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Word of the day!

The title of my last blog entry, in conjunction with a recent game of Facebook Scrabble with Z2, reminds me of a great word I never really have the chance to use:


Why doesn't that come up more in conversation? Anyone?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


There are many things to get angry about in this article in the New York Times about Obama's upcoming health care speech. John Boehner, of course, is always worth a face-reddening rage. Olympia Snowe, as usual, remaining unique among Republicans in being open to discussion? Another signal to get mad as hell. Death panels, ditto. So, yes, I expected this article to make me angry

But here's the thing that got me mad in a totally un-expected way. I was sideswiped by

White House officials said Congress could also drop proposals requiring the government to create school-based health clinics and collect nationwide data on health and health care by race, sex, sexual orientation and “gender identity.”

Supporters of the House bill said such data would help reduce “health disparities,” but critics said they feared the government could assemble a database that posed a threat to personal privacy.

After my recent post on scare quotes, this ground my gears. "Gender identity" and "health disparities"!? Health disparities is at least in a grammatical position that might allow for it being an actual quote, but gender identity is not. It's just Sheryl Gay Stolberg (no pun intended) and Carl Hulse--or their editor--diminishing the lived experience of trans people in an all-too-common way. People of differing races, sexes, and even orientations are totally real, while trans people are something the Democrats must have just made up for this health care bill.

Let's not even address the actual issue being raised in that section of the article. I'm already angry enough.