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Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.

Jan. 2004

I'm especially excited to announce that now, as of this very minute (feel the tension build - c'mon, feel it! I'm not doin' this for my health, least you could do is be cooperative) - anyway, you too can leave notes, anonymous or otherwise, in my guestbook! Yes, I, Creme Brulee, have braved the byzantine world of code (and Matt's Awesome Script Archive, it's so very cool) - so that you could make remarks to me, or to one another, or to no one in particular.

I'm not kidding, I'm tickled fuchsia over here.

In typical Brulee fashion, I'm not calling my guestbook a guestbook, but a Scrawl Wall. Kinda like the ones in public bathroom stalls - only, slightly more classy... or whatever. Maybe people who live in places far and wide are not familiar with the habit some have of writing on the walls of the stalls in restrooms, but it's a big thing here - deeply engrained in the culture. I've always found it a curious custom - and so...

Comment away! Click here first though, then start typing.

You can view entries to the Scawl Wall by clicking here - though why you would, before adding to it, is beyond me... But then, so much is beyond me really. The world is vast, and I am but a small inconsequence in the face of the inevitable... (Don't think about it, just pretend it was deep.)

You know those recurring dreams? The ones where you're at work and you look down and realize that you're wearing nothing but your underwear? Yeah, those.

So there I was... sitting in a classroom filled with industrious looking students, crouched over little blue essay books, their faces studies of focused concentration. They were scribbling away like madwomen (they were all women...). They were dressed in different outfits - some professional, some casual. Some were older, some younger...

There was a blue book on the desk in front of me and a couple of pencils. I glanced up at the front of the room - written on a blackboard in large capital letters, I saw this:


Using the lesbian community as an example, list and discuss the societal pressures that cause the heightened defensive responses between members of the same oppressed minority group.

Use a number 2 pencil and answer in 200 words or less.

I hadn't studied for the exam - but I figured, given my experience... that I could wing it pretty easily. Whether I was going to be comfortable doing it in my underwear, well, that was another issue altogether.

"...dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities..."

Oh yeah, that statement right there, deadpanned by the President during the State of the Union address - probably wouldn't have roused much of anyone to invade Iraq last year. But that's what we're left with in the "opposition" - word parsing.

During said speech, he also threatened a constitutional amendment to preserve the "sanctity of marriage". The good folk of the Catholic church have mobilized in Massachusetts, and are rallying all over the state today in support of a constitutional ammendment to the state constitution:

On February 11th, Massachusetts legislators will consider a constitutional amendment designed to undo the recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling on same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. While the exact language may change, as it's currently written the proposed amendment may also make it impossible for the state to grant civil unions or even domestic partnerships to same-sex couples.

You can get up-to-date info on this issue at Mass Equality: http://www.MassEquality.org/about_issue.php

Some fine bloggage on the State of the Union address and things otherwise can be found here at Fanatical Apathy: click here (scroll down to the Jan. 21 entry, "The Static of the Union") - he says cool stuff like, "No, there's no time for a speed-pundit to take in something like that, especially if you're trying to provide broadband commentary with a 56k brain." Heh.

I'm adding a new item to my "Things I Never Wanted To Know" list:

My neighbor wears thong style underwear.

One hazard of collective living, or at least of sharing a washing machine and dryer with one's fellow apartment building dwellers - is that you sometimes happen upon their articles of clothing when they've not yet removed them from the communal washer and dryer ($2.50 to wash, $1.25 to dry). Etiquette suggests that one remove the clothing in a timely fashion and not leave it for sqeamish co-dwellers to happen upon and have to remove to the waiting baskets for you (gak). Such are the horrors that I endure in my daily travail here in a co-dwelling environment (you're amazed at my courage and such, surely).

Several of my neighbors are of the girlie woman variety. I'm more or less comfortable with this reality, but find it rather vexing when I come across their underthings in the washer and dryer. The trappings of the girlish female are as foreign to me as... well, foreign stuff. As I unload the machine, I find myself thinking things like, "That's hardly practical." and "That's got to be uncomfortable."

I try very much to be punctual in removing our clothes from the washer and dryer as I'd rather not burden these women with thoughts like, "Well no wonder they're gay, they probably weren't able to attract men wearing this kind of stuff. There's not a synthetic fiber in the entire load! Poor things." Oh, and Ume thinks that if stangers have touched your laundry (even girlie type ones), you may as well burn it... Such a curious woman, my Ume.

"Martha's Lesbian Nightmare!" the headline screamed at me from the tabloid in the grocery store check-out line.

"Sounds like fan-fiction," I thought. "I wonder if Martha has a fan-fiction following?"

I'm not starting it, if she doesn't (I've always felt vaguely oppressed by the home/life beautification movement) - I'm not a huge Martha fan. My cheerful nemesis, Flan, on the other hand, is a Martha devotee - wouldn't you know it? Has all of her books and subscriptions to the magazines, everything.

Still, I feel that it's a shame that Martha has, allegedly, screwed up and will, probably, go to the pokie. She was such a high-profile, successful, businesswoman. We need all of those we can get. Ah well.

I bought a book that appears to have a problem... Technically, I guess I've got the problem - and the problem is mold. And the best thing to do seems to be to throw the offending title away - but it's a good book and I'd at least like to read it... But it's toxic with, as I've said, mold.

I suppose things could be worse, I could have a library with mold - now there's a headache. I was reading on some library sites where they quarantine offending items and collections and whatnot - then they have to clean them with a single haired brush or something equally maddening (if you really want to know, you can click here for that info). I'm not up for those kinds of exacting conservation measures... and yet, it gives me an idea for mine own mold problem. I'll quarantine it, and whatnot, while reading it (all the time wearing a particulate mask and gloves) - then I'll get rid of it! Huzzah! My brain power is unstoppable for sure... Now, where'd I put that book?

palimpsest n. a parchment, tablet, etc. that has been written upon or inscribed two or three times, the previous text or texts having been imperfectly erased and remaining, therefore, still partly visible

Good description of how I'm feeling today.

Here's a good place for an odd tale: Reuters' "Oddly Enough" page: click here

It's "oddly enough" stories like this one what keep you friendly and such to wait people: click here

I need a nap...
Study: Sleeping on It Helps in Problem Solving by Patricia Reaney (Reuters, 01.21.04): click here

Oye! Here we go with the voting technology again...
Risks Seen in Pentagon's Internet Voting Plan by Andy Sullivan (CommonDreams, 01.21.04): click here

In case you've missed this voting technology ishew - here you go:
Voting Machine Controversy by Julie Carr Smyth (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 09.28.03): click here

This site seems to have a detailed discussion of the electronic voting debacle: www.blackboxvoting.org

Oopsie! Don't you just hate when that happens?
Ex-Arms Hunter Kay Says No WMD Stockpiles in Iraq (Reuters, 01.23.04): click here

O'Neill Has Done His Country a Favor by Robert B. Reich (Newsday / Long Island, NY, 01.16.04): click here

A Rebel Republican by Sidney Blumenthal (Guardian/UK, 01.15.04): click here

The Awful Truth by Paul Krugman (New York Times, 01.13.04): click here

A little bit of history is a good thing, yes?
Ollie North Visit a Reminder of Lies, Scandal under Reagan by Donna Vukelich (Madison Capital Times, 01.13.04): click here

Bush's Deception on Iraq by Bill Maxwell (St Petersburg Times (Florida), 01.11.04): click here

You can hardly call these guys screaming liberals (they lay out the facts rather well...):
Memo for the President: Your State-of-the-Union Address by Ray McGovern (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, 01.15.04): click here

Really interesting conversation - The pursuit of justice, and action in the face of evil, a conversation with Michael Ignatieff, author of "Charlie Johnson in the Flames" and director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. (The Connection, 01.19.04, RealAudio): click here

You can find links to and info on Michael Ignatieff's books: here

Ooh! Here's a good conversation on high-tech jobs going offshore. Apparently, it's a capitalist thing... go figure. Companies migrate towards cheaper labor and we'll all just have to get used to it, like the folks in agriculture and manufacturing... Going Offshore (The Connection, 01.22.04): click here

Spammers' Scavenging E-Mail Virus Surfaces on Net (Reuters, 01.19.04): click here

No Exit: The nation's mentally ill used to be locked in asylums. Now they're stowed in prisons. by Sasha Abramsky and Jamie Fellner (American Prospect, 01.08.04): click here

I awoke this morning to a temperature so unreasonable, that I had to make note of it.

It's not that I've not experienced colder, after all, I was recently in upstate NY, but there's reasons I don't live there - the cold, chief among them (the snow being the primary one)... But I digress... I've experienced colder, as I've said - I once walked across a frozen lake in a blizzard with a pair of socks for mittens and rubber boots, with no insulation, on my feet. No, it's not a false memory that I got from reading Shackelton's adventures or some such, just my childhood. But now that I think on it, that was more stupid than cold (walking across the lake in the blizzard, not my childhood). The colder experience was when I walked across the ice of that same lake and it was frozen in layers and the top layer was thin and you'd walk a step, break through, step into five inches of water, then hit the thick ice below and take another step. That was COLD! Of course, it may too have been more stupid than cold, but bored children in the country do all manner of things to survive boredom - and most of those things have an air of stupidity about them. But I digress (probably because my brain's froze)... I've experienced colder - the look in my elderly neighbor's eyes, for example, is Arctic. Maybe that's because he's from Portugal and hates anybody who's born here, because he thinks we're making him suffer through the cold weather out of spite... doesn't go very far to explain his attitude in the summer though... But I digress... like I said, probably because my brain's froze... though it does appear to be thawing with all of the reminiscing and whatnot... The fact that I've experienced colder does not, as far as I can tell, make experiencing this cold any less impactful, not really. It does, however, go to show that I've experienced colder and survived it, which probably indicates that I'll make it through this time (huddled, as I am, up against this heater an' all).

Hark, is that a chorus of bursting water pipes coming from the northeastern part of the US?

I hope you're all cozy and comfy wherever it is that you are (and I don't want any notes about how warm it is where you are and that you're laying out on a blanket sipping on tropical drinks and such - someone I know already pulled that on me when she called recently from Hawaii - I swear, she went just to gloat back toward the northeast - "Hope you get bit by something tropical, and it hurts!" That's what I said. Not because I'm bitter, mind, just 'cause I'm bitter cold.)

Oh, by the way, it's seven degrees below zero (that's minus 21 celsius for you folks in metric parts).

It's a new year and whatnot! Hurrah.

No big wisdom culled from 2003 - must have been busy assimilating everything I learned in 2002. If you're curious what I absorbed in the way of wisdom in 2002 (click here) - I was way smart last year.

I'm glad to see a new year (the old one was getting old and whatnot). It's not that I didn't enjoy 2003, because I didn't, it's just that it's one of those years I'm not going to uncork (mental-wise) and say - "Now that was a good year!" It's more like one of those years that I'll look back on and think, "That which didn't kill me, tired me out."

And it's not like 2003 was without it's high points - after all, I did manage to rid myself of a pesky wart in 2003... I also managed to avoid surgery on my leg and discovered that the pain and excruciatingly repetitive motion of physical therapy can be made infinitely more palatable by a pretty physical therapist...

Or at least I imagine that the pain and repetitive motion of physical therapy could be more bearable if you had a pretty physical therapist. Because, with a pretty physical therapist strapping you into various weight training contraptions and massaging your various tuckered out parts afterward, well... it'd be, like I said, more bearable - I imagine. And I have to imagine it, because if it were the actual truth, I'd get in trouble and whatnot. Ume would say, "But you told me she was a horrific looking beast of a woman - a terrible harpy with poor posture and bad breath. 'Not in the least bit attractive', that's what you said."

That being what I said and the case as reported... I can imagine, after my traumatic experience with the beast-like harpy lady - that with a pretty, kind, fun-loving type of physical therapist person, who was completely puzzled by me, yet humored my whining (when she wasn't snickering at me) - I might not have the deep emotional scars that I'm sure that I do have from the whole harpy experience - and can therefore appreciate how lucky those people who get the pretty ones must be...

Speaking of Ume, the shining star of my entire existence (and I'm not just saying that 'cuz she's, like, here, and capable of withholding when peeved) - she's made it all bearable - the torturous physical therapy, the persistent wart, all of it. We've been through a lot, Ume and I. I'm lucky to have had such a fabulous and sweet partner in crime. I'm not sure that I could have rid myself of that pesky wart without her loving support ("Says here on the box, Brulee, you're supposed to apply this stuff every other day - I haven't seen you do it in a week.").

I can hear you now people, you're thinking that I don't credit the woman enough! But then you have no idea what we went through with that wart - do you? And just so you're not sitting there thinking - "That scallywag Brulee's got an STD, so she deserves that darned wart and doesn't deserve a woman as fine as Ume" - let me tell you this: I too thought I had an STD. Because I had a wart. Because a doctor convinced me that there was only one way I could have got that wart-causing virus. I insisted to the doctor that it wasn't so! That I was most scrupulous and whatnot! The doctor was in no way convinced by my whatnot and insisted that I had an STD. I left the doctor's office with a much lower opinion of myself - I may not remember the risky behaviors I'd engaged in, but by golly I was suffering the consequences! I had the wart to prove it.

How to tell Ume, I wondered? How do I break it to my heart of hearts that I, Creme Brulee, was not a most fastidious and loyal sort - but (according to the implied judgment of the doctor) a risk-taking, promiscuous, disease-ridden STD type? I got home, looked my beloved in the eye and said, "Ume, that quack thinks that because I've got a wart on my foot that I've got an STD."

Anyway, after a long treatment and much ado, the wart is gone - and our love, Ume's and mine, lives on! Right into 2004. Now you all can have a marvey time celebrating the fact that I am, for now, wartless.

I await the sounds of your rejoicing.

A pleasant thought:

Remember Ashcroft's song and dance tour across America to promote Patriot Act II? Wonder what happened to that? I guess without another huge attack, they can't bulldoze it through on the back of a fear truck... I mean, muster support for it. Besides, I guess he's too busy recusing himself from the whole Valerie Plame leak thing an' all - that's gotta tucker ya out and stuff. I'm just pleased not to have to hear about Patriot II every five minutes. Let's hope it stays that way - 'cuz you know that thing's just sitting in a drawer waiting for an opportune moment.

2003 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov.- Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - May- April - March - Feb. - Jan.

2002 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov.- Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - May - April - March - Feb. - Jan.

2001 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov. - Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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