Saturday, November 30, 2002

yo MF. happy b.day dawg.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Geek knitting!

Wow, it's been quiet round here lately.

I just finished reading "Cold Sassy Tree" which was an excellent book. If you liked "To Kill a Mockingbird" then you'll like this one, too. It's about many things: life, death, love, religion (but not overbearingly so).

My family is in town for Turkey Day. I'm going over there tomorrow to do some cooking. One of my aunt's is in charge of the turkey but I do all of the side dishes and the desserts. My aunts really want blueberry cheesecake (I make it with a whipped cream filling so it's light, then I line the pie crust with bananas) but I really have been itching to make a sweet potato pie. So I'll be doing both. Then on Friday I am making a turkey, sausage and oyster gumbo.

I started my Christmas shopping last week. My best friend's mom has lost about 40 pounds over the last several months, and I've been trying to figure out what to get her. In the past it's mostly been candles and frou lotions, but you can only give so much of that. So, I decided to give her some sexy underware, and my note will read, "A skinny mama is a sexy mama." She'll laugh.

I've recently learned that many women don't do much of anything to make themselves feel like women. I.e., the occassional manicure/pedicure, bubble baths or even facial masks. I don't get it. And facial masks are so cheap, less than $5 for a tube that will last a few months. That's less than pennies a day.

And while I am going on about nothing (avoiding work as you can imagine) . . . why do people throw their passive aggressive shit at me? I just want to say, "If you got something, then throw it god damn it!" I swear.

Monday, November 25, 2002


Today at work I declared in my best tv evangelist voice "I do believe I am PO-SESSED by the HOLIDAY SPIRIT!" Blame the four hours I spent yesterday in a refrigerated truck, moving turkeys around and dealing with a manager who a) just gets in the way and b) just quit smoking.

I head home tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Speaking of grandparents, my only surviving one, my grandmother, is not doing so hot. Her diabetes/blood sugar has gotten so bad that she has to cut out some of the fruit out of her diet. Can you imagine? FRUIT!!!

Had a great weekend. Met my best friend and her husband in Lake Charles.

I always talk about how people from South Louisiana are so incredibly nice and that you somehow find yourself at people's parties/weddings or thier kids' Baptisms/plays, whatever -- where you don't even know the host. This weekend was no different. I went to my best friend's husband's cousin's wedding. I met the cousin once, at my best friend's wedding two and a half years ago.

Let me tell you: South Lousiana weddings are the way to go. I haven't been to one in about two plus years, and this one was fab. Some of the food included: crabmeat/shrimp/crawfish/spinach dip, egg/shrimp/chicken salad sandwiches, honey baked ham, stuffed turkey, tamales, roast, meatballs, little Smokies, jalapeno poppers stuffed with crabmeat, crawfish etouffee, crawfish fettucinni, boudin, rice dressing, red velvet cake, choc cake, Italian creme cake, German choc cake, pecan pie tarts, fig tarts, choc covered strawberries, fudge (white and milk choc), brownie bites, plus the wedding and groom's cake.

I told my friends that whatever they bought the bride and groom, they got their money's worth out of whatever I ate.

There was a Cajun/zydeco band, too. I managed to dance with the bride's 65 year old grandfather. His wife told me that when he got drunk, that she woke up the next morning with his hang overs. Too much!

Being at that wedding made me forgot how much I miss home. It was in a small town off the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. The wedding started at 6, so when we were driving down there, we saw the sun set into the water. It was so incredibly picturesque, like those wetlands commercials, or those calendar pictures.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Mike, sorry to hear about the grandma. It was rough when my grandmother started going senile - it turned out that she had developed a morbid fear of theft and started hiding things, but her short-term memory was failing and she wouldn't remember hiding things and would accuse my mother of stealing (and later, in her care home, would tell my mother the nurses were stealing from her). It's apparently pretty common. Do your grandparents have a physician they go to regularly? Sometimes memory loss can be improved with diet (get those omega-3 fatty acids and suchlike) and activities like crossword puzzles. The family doctor may be able to help.

I raked most of the yard this afternoon. If I wasn't planning to move, I'd chop down the trees and kill the grass myself.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Knitting cramps: if you are just knitting knitting knitting for an hour, try taking a break every few rows. Lay the knitting down, look at it, admire the good and catch the unintentionals (I started knitting myself a hat while watching a Hitchcock film and got halfway before I realized I'd gotten it twisted...ack...the knitting, not the film). Are you concious of your posture? Are you in a relaxed, supported position, not getting hunched up or tense in the shoulders?

Congrats on teaching a class!

It snowed in flurries today! Tomorrow I have got to get the gutters cleaned and the yard raked.

Hey Mike, a conversation with a friend directed me to Evil Feet. I find it to be both hilarious and sweet, and you are sure to develop obsessive crushes on the models (they have names like Jesyca and deSadie, if that gives you a clue).

Kanui - that's totally stinky of your friends' parents. How mature of them.
Okay - I have a knitting question for you. I've been knitting, and I find that my hands start cramping when I knit for an hour or more. Do you get that? Do you start every project with hand stretches? Am I holding my needles wrong?
Retail is hell during the holidays. Season of joy, hardly.
Class went well last night. Though I was exhausted by the end. Being asked questions and asked for help for four hours took a lot out of me. But I did bring myself an apple (an apple for the teacher - a little joke for myself) to eat on the way home.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

My sort-of roommate (now living with the boyfriend) is with child, so his parents are boycotting Thanksgiving dinner. One more reason to love the holidays! I'm biting my tongue and knitting booties.

One of these days, I will no longer work retail during the holidays.

So I'm teaching my photo class tonight. My teacher has to photograph something at work and can't make it and doesn't want to cancel class. So from 6pm to 10pm tonight, it'll be Ms. Stephanie. Well, no, not really. We'll just be printing. But I'm looking forward to the experience. See how I like this teaching stuff. Though I was planning on getting a lot of printing done myself, so hopefully everyone will be low-maintanence.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Hola kids. I have been meaning to post about my Vancouver trip, but I have been feeling like dog ass lately (I caught some sort of a cold/virus). I was making international phone calls on Monday trying to find a new freakin' primary care physician. Boy was that a lot of fun! Anyways I somehow managed, and we are good to go with drugs and O.J.

Vancouver, even in spite of the constant rain, is so breathtaking that the word beautiful can't even begin to do it justice.

On my first day, I took a bus tour to Victoria to visit the provincial government, Buchart Gardens, the Royal B.C. Museum (there was a special exhibit on the Queen's Jubilee), the Empress Hotel and drove up the coast line. I love me some water and mountains . . . .

In Vancouver, we went to a hockey game on one night. The best part was that they brought out these 5 and 6 year olds to play on the ice. The goalie was sooooooo tiny, you can only imagine how the protective gear just minisculed him. He was so overloaded that his coach had to physically pick him up and put him onto the ice. When the little guy skated to the goal, he fell at least three times. And we all clapped for him when he finally made it out there. Once he was there, he blocked at least two shots.

I did some shopping of course. I bought me some Euro trash shoes that typically don't fall into my fashion comfort zone but I decided what the hell. And I admired all of the cute umbrellas that they sold up there. As my friend points out, if you are forced to carry an umbrella four straight months, you may as well be fashionable about it.

We drove up to Whistler one day. Whistler is that famous ski resort (I'm not a skier but everyone and their dog who is raves about it). They're bidding for the 2010 winter olympics as it turns out. It's really cute. They have all of these stores and restaurants built up in a way that makes you think of the Swiss Alps. They call it Whistler Village or something like that.

My favorite place by far was Granville Island. It's such a conglomeration of things because it has an art school, farmers' market, specialty boutiques, boucheries/seafood markets (selling everything from chorizo to Indian candy to salmon jerky), a bakery that sold various breads and desserts like mango cheesecake, an herbal tea place, and the list goes on. The best store was called Paper Ya, because I'm such the stationary junkie. Foodwise, the Soup Stock was cute. They always have three fresh soups and a breakfasty type soup on a daily basis.

My only complaint was that I was not able to see the bears. We planned on going up on Sunday, but I started getting really sick on Sat. night. There's always a next time . . . .

Today I rented "State and Main" which was a pleasant surprise. It's a well-thought out, smart movie.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Things broken:
Car
Heater in our house
Socks
Blue pants

Things fixed:
Hair
Button on grey pants
WIndows Media Player codec problems

Habits gained:
Bed making
Twice daily teeth brushing

Habits broken:
Staying up too late
Daily soda intake
Extruded Fantasy Product boycott

Babies played with (this week):
Grace
Hudson

CDs purchased (with credit):
Anomoanon - Asleep Many Years in the Wood
Teenage Fanclub - Howdy! and Songs from Northern Britian
Glenn Gould - A State of Wonder
Pearl Jam - Binuaral and Riot Act

CDs ordered:
Morrissey - Vauxhall and I
Rolling Stones - Between the Buttons (UK) and Their Satanic Majesties Request

So long.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Dear Prince,

I'm so sorry. A few weeks ago I was in line at Edritos (a local tex-mex joint) when a woman in her late 40s/early 50s started clumsily singing the chorus to "Raspberry Beret." I thought to myself, is this what Prince has become? Are you really that easy listening? Does time really kill all controversy, or does a good pop song ultimately reveal itself to the unsuspecting, oblivious masses without any regard for the ship it sailed in on? I haven't forgot your performance on Letterman years ago when you sang into a microphone, highly phalacized, shaped also like a gun. At the end of the performance you touched your finger to your butt and then to your head and collapsed as if fainting from your own perversity. If it's any consollation, I still find your antics unsettling, uncomfortable today, and it's great. You occupy this space so that I don't have to, because I can't. Still, it's hard to reconcile, this woman's stumbling around your artifacts, barely singing the chorus without even including the hand claps, a blatent disrespect for the mighty lexicon I know you represent. Was that really you in the new Missy Elliot video, I don't believe it, you shouldn't either. Hang in there Prince, you've got you're name back, everything else will come soon. I have my fingers crossed, unfortunately I think that's all I may ever be able to do for you.

J.T.

***********************

Recovering my journals now, my unsent letters to celebrities, months on Robot Penisula, getting finger prints to sing, wrestling baryton performers into a half submission, watching a piece I wrote born to the incubator, alive, kicking but for only so long. Organizing electronic music concerts with surprise pieces by myself, sometimes I almost believe what good the people say about me, but I know better. Designing a new batch of bots for a Candy Store exhibition at the moment, organizing a second electronic music concert downtown, generating some excitement somewhere. Tony Conrad mentioned my name on the Radio sometime last week, it was just the Buff State college radio station, when asked who he thought was doing some interesting stuff around here he said "J.T." at least that's what he told me, it's certainly not the same as winning film competitions, or organizing music tours, or writing a novel or writing a song like 'sick day' or magically transferring polaroids or painting thirty paintings with only 12 days left or deciding to apply to teach the whole of america. I'm starting two new fictional art movements. The Recentists and the Post-Paralogistics, I'm not sure what they represent but the manifestos will be available shortly. You're welcome to join either movement or both, although their theories are quite oppositional, even confrontational, you'd have to come to terms with yourself, I'm doing it too. Does Lake Effect have a manifesto, it seems like any one of you could write one. I mean everyone should, maybe this is a lake effect manifesto. Maybe I'm writing a Lake Effect manifesto right now. Maybe right now you're reading a Lake Effect manifesto, maybe every post is a Lake Effect manifesto, how does it make you feel, does it make you feel. All Lake Effectors feel. Lake Effectors make it snow, Lake Effectors are snow, light, massive, individual, downward flowing notions of upwardness, ascendant, weightless and heavy, relentless and fluffy. Forces of nature and circumstance, a combination of Geographical and Geothermal conditions. Moisture and Air, Currents and Luck . It snowed here for two days straight, which lake effector did that. Nothing stuck. Nothing sticks anymore. Lake Effectors always stick. It's about our stickyness, how we accumulate. Lake Effectors exact change, Lake Effectors have exact change. Lake Effectors pay in exact change, when they can. I'm trying, I'm trying,

**************

$.02

Surrogate parenting is a tricky issue, tricky because at one level somebody is paying for the use of a woman's body, it's not hard to equate it at a very basic level to other types of payment for use situations (read prostitution). On the other hand the reasons for surrogate parenting aren't quite so hedonistic, so exploitative (is that a word) or is it? At the least, it's less immediate. There is something selfish, something narcisistic, something about pleasure, involved with the desire to have children, and noteably the desire for heridity. The creation of life is far less problematic for most, especially in the context of the psuedo-naturalistic facade that surrogate parenting fosters. The ethical dividing line on surrogate parenting seems quite different than that of prostitution or abortion. It might be worth continuously re-examining personal ethical positions on alternative birthing as much as people do with various forms of birth control and sexual practices.

Saying that reproductive politics is a discourse that is exclusive to women is a bit dangerous. I know that it's men who have almost exclusively made legal policy on issues regarding women's reproductive rights, and there's been very little that's satisfying or justifiable about that, and clearly is something that still needs to be rectified. To remove men from the discussion entirely seems reactionary though, stooping to a level that is in opposition to the feminist cause. Regardless of the amount of care, respect, thoughtfulness, emotion or candor a man puts into an argument about reproductive rights, in particular, it seems to be met with a level of skepticism, a consistant "knee jerk" dismissal. Disallowing men the "right" or any credibility to discuss reproductive and sexual-polictical issues heightens the mystification or re-mystification of the female body (in conjuction with an increasing marginalization of the male body), something that I would argue contributes largely to current problems.

***************

I'll leave you with this for the moment, from Jean Baudrillard's "The Ecliptic of Sex" (I'm really sorry that it came down to some French critical theory)

"Ours is a culture of premature ejaculation. Increasingly, all seduction, all manner of seduction (which is itself a highly ritualised process) disappears behind the naturalised sexual imperative, behind the imperative and immediate realisation of desire. Our center of gravity has in fact shifted towards a libidinal economy, which only allows for the naturalisation of a desire attached either to drives or to a mechanical functioning, but above all to the imaginary of repression and liberation.

Nowadays, one no longer says 'You have a soul and you must save it,' but:
'You have a sexual nature, and you must try to put it to good use.'
'You have an unconscious, and it, [id] must speak.'
'You have a body, and you must enjoy it.'
'You have a libido, and you must expend it.' Etc..."

Baudrillard positions his entire discussion around the idea that if the masculine and feminine can really be put into a type of opposition it is this; The masculine is production and the feminine is
seduction, and in this regard if there has been a war of the sexes it has continuously been won by the feminine. While I don't buy it all (in fact I've been struggling with much of it lately, he asks good questions, I'll give him that much) the above quote surfaces as a type of relief, a realisation that these conflicts of body, libido, sexual nature are generated from external cultural, largerly economic forces as much as self-inspection and self reflection. It also asks the question of what our current culture finds appropriate to prostelitize without any sort of backlash, the role that desire has come to play, a reinterpretation of what "the pursuit of happiness" entails.

*********

Zoe Beloff said in a conference call to my seminar class with Tony Conrad "that which is repressed always returns"

********

Sweet Kate, today I made eyes at you, and I think you made them back. What could possibly happen next (I wonder all the time)? We must forget it all, even Baudrillard, and just smile and smile.

we screened our film again tonight.
boys think i'm an untouchable. other boys are gay (disguised as not so gay boys). other boys are taken. other boys are too far away. i'm sad and lonely. except not that sad cuz i have a somewhat successful short film and i might get a teaching gig come Jan. hmmm. maybe i'm too preoccupied with boys.

You may remember my applying to the Teach for America program earlier this year. I didn't get to the interview phase, which is what 80% of applicants get to, so I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that they had expected 3,000 applicants. They got 11,000. So I'm going to apply again in Feb. I'm rewriting my letter of intent and my essay, ack gag aiiiiieeeeeeee.

There is an ad posted on the co-op bulletin board offering $30,000 for a surrogate mother.


I know that this discussion is practically over, but I have to add this for good measure.

Z writes, "I'd like to know in advance when my lack of ovaries excludes me from the discussion."

Funny you should say that, Z. My initial thought was, "Men shouldn't even be involved in this debate, because they don't count and aren't affected."

Of course that was the knee jerk reaction, from the stubborn ass, independent single woman.

My point is that Louise is not the only person on the board to go off on emotional rants.

I think we all love Z, curmudgin and all (you all know that I spell for shit so bear with me).

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Zach, I love you.

"I meant this to imply that she was talking out of her ass, that that she was stupid or lesser than me. Again, not "cutting Louise down."

On an entirely different note, it snowed today - just barely. Teensy tiny little specks, so small you had to strain to see them, but they were definitely there.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Upma writes- "obviously, you don't whole heartedly believe in your argument because half of it is spent cutting Louise down."

Please reread what I wrote. I call Weez's post asinine, not Louise herself. L is smart and I respect her opinions on most subjects. If she doesn't know this already, then I'm sorry I haven't said it before. After that, I say that Louise is "buggin.'" I meant this to imply that she was talking out of her ass, that that she was stupid or lesser than me. Again, not "cutting Louise down."

Then she wrote: "argue like a man. (who, by the way, can never be pregnant)."

I'd like to know in advance when my lack of ovaries excludes me from the discussion.

---

Joe writes: "Surrogate birthing isn't necessarily unethical, but at the same time it's only emotionally clean and safe on paper."

Good point.

---

Weez writes: "Upma, I actually appreciate Zach going at me full force, cheap shots and all."

Yes, "buggin the fuck out." I am truly going for the cheap shots. I hope I get into heaven after that one.

Then: "Well, for the tiny segment of the population that can afford it."

Sure. But, we're not discussing the morality of pricing surrogate parenting out of the hands of most people. When we do, K, you and I will be on the same side.

"The offer that Mike is asking about is highly unusual"

You have the facts and I don't. No argument.

"This brings me back to ... why ... it sounds awfully suspicious. I leaped to a conclusion based on the money involved: to me, $750K does not sound like 'please be a part of my unique and special family.' It also sounds like this is not being arranged through a professional program. Again, I don't know this; it's speculation."

And I don't know either. My assumption was different from yours, but that's no big deal. If your point was that the whole thing sounds poorly handled and ripe for problems, then I probably wouldn't have replied at all. But, you then said that these people probably shouldn't be parents because they want to attempt surrogating a child. I think you are wrong and I said so. I'm not sure exactly what you think disqualifies them from parenthood. If you'd care to elaborate I'd be willing to listen.

"However, I ask why those resources would be devoted specifically to a biological child." then: "'A parent's biological attachment to a child doesn't end with birth, you know.'" Did I say that it would? What about attachment to a child, period? Why would "biological" be more desirable - it certainly seems to be for these parents."

You're thinking of this logically, which is fine, but it puts you in the position having to ask questions that, truth be told, you probably already know the answers to. Children, adopted or biological, if they're lucky, are loved and treated as such by their parents. If an adopted child feel secondary in some way, then the parents need to try to fix that problem. They all have first steps and first days of school regardless of their genetics. And that alone is probably worth it to a couple who just want a child. (I have two adopted cousins I love just as much as anyone else in my family, so I do have some perspective on what I'm saying.) But, I'm telling you that the satisfaction and happiness I get from seeing my brother's features on Grace's face is irreplacable. It means a lot to me to notice little things, like the fact that my grandmother and I have practically the same handwriting. You know, if I couldn't have children of my own, I might consider something like a surrogate program. If you think that makes me unfit, then bite me.

"On the other hand, I don't think it should be banned or made illegal."

How gracious of you.

---

Sorry for all the quoting and sorry to anyone who feels like I wasn't being nice to Kainui. She's a tough egg. She can take it.

Upma, I actually appreciate Zach going at me full force, cheap shots and all. It teaches me to focus, hold my ground, and think out what I want to say for maximum clarity. Sure, I get mad, but then I take a deep breath and think about what he's saying.

Such as: "It's a viable option for couples unable to bear children." Well, for the tiny segment of the population that can afford it. The offer that Mike is asking about is highly unusual: the Center for Surrogate Parenting, which claims to be the "largest and oldest private surrogacy program in the world" has a total estimated cost for in-vitro fertilization and implantation of about $67,000 - $75,000. That's including the $18,000 - $20,000 payment to the surrogate mother. Based on comparisons to other programs, this is an average industry estimate, which includes counseling, sessions with psychologists, and attorneys for everyone involved. Implantations don't always take the first time, so there could also be the additional cost of trying again (perhaps repeatedly). Going an independent route could mean a lower cost - not much lower, though.

This brings me back to my question of why this person is willing to pay $750,000 to the surrogate mother alone. Without more information, it sounds awfully suspicious. True, I made the assumption that Mike's friend would not be an active participant in the life of the child. I leaped to a conclusion based on the money involved: to me, $750K does not sound like "please be a part of my unique and special family." It also sounds like this is not being arranged through a professional program. Again, I don't know this; it's speculation. Those who want a biological child of their own have a right to use their resources as they choose. However, I ask why those resources would be devoted specifically to a biological child. I don't need to tell you about overpopulation, strained natural resources, or all the children out there that could be cared for with that kind of money.

Here's another potential argument: $750K is fair payment, no matter what the future situation. $20,000 for at least a year of painful medical procedures, a pregnancy and labor isn't much.

I didn't make myself clear on the "if you can't biologically bear, there's probably a good reason" - the increased risk of serious complications and a much higher mortality rate for both mother and child.

Zach says :"A parent's biological attachment to a child doesn't end with birth, you know." Did I say that it would? What about attachment to a child, period? Why would "biological" be more desirable - it certainly seems to be for these parents. Yes, I do think it's selfish and arrogant. On the other hand, I don't think it should be banned or made illegal. It's a choice for people to make.

A tangent: a line from the movie Parenthood: "You need a license to buy a gun, but anyone can have a kid." At the very least, the process of surrogate parenting through a program tries to make sure that all parties are fully prepared and aware.

Holy shit, y'all managed to get a response out of me from fucking Canada. I only planned on doing a quickie check, but here I am (!!!!).

Lots of emotions flying around right now, so let's try to be grown ups.

Here are my initial comments, that still need baking.

Surrogate birthing isn't necessarily unethical, but at the same time it's only emotionally clean and safe on paper. It takes very big human beings to form healthy relationships around such a complex arrangement. Not saying that it can't be done, but my guess is that it is near impossible. Hell, divorces can be emtionally safe and clean on paper, but how many people do you know are still on friendly, good terms with their ex-husband/wife?

Perhpas the $750K might include hospital and doctor's fees. Not sure how much it costs to have a baby, but I know that expecting mothers are in and out of the doctor's office, particulary toward the end. Lots of tests, monitoring, special diets, leave from work, shortened work hours, etc.

Canada, by the way, is fab. People are sooooo incredibly friendly here. Gotta love it!

zach. i have so much to say to you right now. but my head hurts, and i'm cranky and my slumlord is really pissin me off. i don't want to take all of that out on you. all i will tell you at the moment is obviously, you don't whole heartedly believe in your argument because half of it is spent cutting Louise down. that's classy. argue like a man. (who, by the way, can never be pregnant).

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Kainui wrote: "Anyone willing to pay that much has probably got something wrong with them. Seriously... Ethically, my stance is that someone willing to go to such extremes to have a child that is biologically their own shouldn't be a parent. Why is adoption or fostering not an option?"

K - Your whole post was just asinine. First of all, surrogate birthing is not an ethical problem. It's a viable option for couples unable to bear children. It's medically safe and can be emotionally safe as well. With counselling, boundries, and adequate communication, surrogates can have very loving relationships with both the parents and the child. There is nothing unethical about being a surrogate or having a surrogate carry your child. Second, adoption and fostering are both noble and worthwhile things, and maybe this couple should be considering them, but, really, implying that they shouldn't be parents because they are exploring their options to become biological parents? That's ridiculous. A parent's biological attachment to a child doesn't end with birth, you know. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a child that is part you and part your partner. It's not selfish or arrogant or anything like that. It's perfectly normal. They're not back-alley child thieves because they've decided to attempt surrogate parenting.

If I were advising your friend, Mike, I would tell her that if the couple want her to disappear after the child's birth, then she probably shouldn't do it. If, on the other hand, they're willing to allow a certain amount of continued connection with the child, then she should consider it. Assuming that's what she wants, too. I'd guess that the couple are offering your friend so much money because they know her and are certain she's the person they'd like to do this with. And I guess they can afford it.

"When a woman is unable to bear - there is probably a very, very good reason why."

What the fuck does this mean? Kainui, you're bugging the fuck out.

Mike: as Upma said, there's a lot more than money at stake. And $750,000 is really, really high - high enough to sound suspicious. Anyone willing to pay that much has probably got something wrong with them. Seriously. You have to ask why someone would want to do this in the first place, and then why there is so much money involved. The process itself is also physically disruptive and painful (just the part where she's prepped for implantation, mind, all before the actual pregnancy itself). Emotionally, your friend is asking for a boatload of trouble. Pregnancy involves a number of hormonal changes, some of which are intended for bonding. Regardless of how she feels logically, once her brain and body are flooded by these hormonal changes, she may feel differently. You didn't say if the woman who is paying is unable to bear; I'm going to assume so. When a woman is unable to bear - there is probably a very, very good reason why. Ethically, my stance is that someone willing to go to such extremes to have a child that is biologically their own shouldn't be a parent. Why is adoption or fostering not an option? $750,000 would go a long way towards adopting a child or caring for a foster. And - how does your friend know this woman? Is she even proven to be good for that much money?

I am in the world of North Carolina. All morning I've been talking to the state archive, various historical societies, trying to track down all the random photos from sites I need to find. Zach - you don't happen to have a beautiful stock library of images from your state? Like of the Giant Chair and Giant chest of drawers in High Point? Or of the infamous white squirrel found in Brevard? The chicken coop at the Historic Latta Plantation? Or a wild boar running free? Or a film set at the Screen Gems studio? Or people camping on the Outer Banks? No....too bad. Guess it's back to the phone calling and research.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

so our film screened again tonight.. people love our film! it's CRAZY!

ethical dilemma- i already told mike, but i'll just post it here too: money's tempting, but money never buys happiness. plus there are too many situations where the surrogate mom becomes too attached... she'll end up using the 750,000 on therapy or court costs, depending on the biological (and that's a tricky one too... are there two biological moms?) mom's reason for not wanting/being able to do it herself, i have to vote no. keep in mind, this is from a woman who has no desire to ever be pregnant herself. (i think i just jinxed myself ... i'll probably have 10 kids now. better get started).


Zach, I hope that things pick up for you soon.

Last night a friend of mine and I went to this place called Antonio's Flying Pizza. They have this huge ass billboard of a sign. Everyone I know in Houston has passed and seen the sign, but no one has ever gone in. Finally we bit the bullet last night. The pizza was good, but more importantly the mussels in marinara was AMAZING. I was sopping up the marinara with my bread. It was so tasty, and I had never had the dish before. Hmmmmm, good.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

The last time I was really happy was the winter and spring of 2000. I was working full-time as a projectionist at the Terrace, but I was getting paid as a manager. I had my own little world up there. I read books and played guitar and looked after the movies. It was really wonderful. During January, I lived on the couch at Aycock St, with the guys I live with now. It was an exciting time. First time ever in a house that was an active community of its own. Brian Dingledine wrote a whole bunch of Days of War, Night of Love on the other couch that January. For all his faults, having a real live romantic anarchist mooch the same people you're mooching is an experence. Then, I was living by myself for a while, which was nice. I was taking a class on English modernists and loving it. I had money and friends and always something to do. I remember one night just lying on the roof of my apartment listening to "Backstreets" by Springsteen. It was a very happy couple of months.

Currently, however, my life sucks. Hard.

The one bright light is a new job at the local record store. They can't afford help, so they pay in store credit. So, I'm not paying my rent or anything. But, its good to be out of the house, seeing people and listening to music and talking shit.

Monday, November 11, 2002

my head hurts. our film is screening 3, maybe 4 times in the next 10 days in Philadelphia. it's total craziness.
can someone please tell the warm weather to stay? pleeeeze?

My future as a crazy old lady is getting clearer. Thanks to a) the "holiday season" and b) reading Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods by Gary Paul Nabhan (a good read and mighty depressing for me), I am in a froth over food. Mainly of, again, the fake meat variety. People want to know about the UnTurkeys and Tofurkeys: "does it look like a turkey? does it taste like turkey?" - and what I really want to say is ENOUGH WITH THE FAKE DEAD BIRD. KILL ONE OR HAVE SOME SQUASH AND STUFFING. If having a "traditional" turkey on the table is so damn important, have it. Otherwise, why bother with something that is costly, doesn't taste all that great (the stuffing and gravy for both is good, on the other hand), and focus your time, money, and tastebuds on a harvest-themed dinner. It is very possible to have a great meal without fake meat. Have a layered casserole, have stuffed squash, roasted veggies, make that pie, and do it with locally grown organic if possible. I know I'm being reactionary and silly - and 40 years from now, I'll be trying to live off of what I can forage plus sprouts from seeds I've collected in the wild. And I'll have 50 cats, a towering stack of New Yorkers next to a towering stack of New York Times Sunday editions, and a yarn collection the likes of which have yet to be seen. :P

Steph, I am glad that you and the boy are ok. What a freak of nature event. Might I add that people on campus drive and walk without paying mind to anything. It's very, very scary and very, very dumb I might add.

This post may be a little incoherent b/c I'm exhausted.

My zydeco tour was yesterday. As you all probably know I was stressed beyond all belief over the last two months, because a club owner flaked on me. It seemed like it was never going to come together, and we were coming down to the wire. Luckily though my other committee member pulled a nice save and managed to pull a rabbit out of her hat. A little over fifty people showed up for the tour so we were completely sold out.

One of my music friends is THE SOURCE on Houston zydeco and blues music, in addition to some singer/songwriter stuff. He's even writing a book. Seriously, he's one the of the coolest human beings that I know. We asked him to give people an overview of how zydeco started, about the local church dances, and just local zydeco culture.

We started off at this one dive, where we rented the entire place out. The band is a traditional zydeco band that fuses some newer techniques in. The lead singer is the accordion player, and he sometimes sings in French. He's the band leader and is probably in his early fifties. Great guy and great band. And we ate a huge bowl of gumbo while we were there.

The second place is my all-time favorite. It's the one with the long-standing zydeco tradition, since the 50's at least that is has been in the same family. They booked an up and coming band whom I had never heard before. They and the club were the hits of the definite tour.

The third place has been booking zydeco bands since the 80's. And it just so happened that that traditional zydeco band (from the first bar) was playing there as well. I know it seems redundant, but we wanted to give people a feel for the most prominent zydeco spots in town, so we hit it anyways. I was happy though, because they played my all-time favorite swamp pop song "Mathilda," and they played "Jambalaya (on the Bayou)."

The fourth place was a more obvious choice. It's a big dive, but not nearly as much of a dive as the other three places. It's in a completely different league, considering the fact that it is located in a snooty area of town. Regardless though, it's always a hodge podge mix of individuals. Bikers, doctors, lawyers, bums, drunks, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, you name it, they're there. I also love the fact that there is very rarely a cover, and at the end of every month they play host to a zydeco jam session.

The first three clubs of the tour were certainly off the beaten path. When I gave the tour introduction I told them, "This tour is not for the faint at heart, and if you're looking for the real zydeco then this is the place for you to be." It was all worth it because everyone fell in love with the second place on the tour, and I think that some of the braver souls will return.

The only I wish I could have added was a zydeco church dance. I have yet to go to one of these, but I bet that they keep you talking and dancing for days.

And lake effectors, if you are ever feeling fat and lonely, go to a zydecoe/blues dive, because rest assure that some man (or several men) will ask you to dance. Of course the ones that I approached me, I agreed on the condition that they would dance with me in the same way they would dance with their grandmother. I got some funny looks but they agreed.

The last piece of good news. My committee and I put the tour together for a local arts foundation. Well the founder of the foundation was on the tour, and first thing this morning she called the current director and raved about how great everything went. Whewhoo!

I'm off to Vancouver on Wed. so peace out if I don't post before then.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Thanks, you guys. I was pretty shaken up for the next few days and not wanting to drive down that street, but I'm feeling much better now. I still get flashes of the accident coming back, but I'm sure in time, that will fade. I really appreciate the support. You bloggers (bloggies, what do we call ourselves?) are the best.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

Steph, I'm glad things worked out to be okay in the end.

Friday, November 08, 2002

oh steph, i'm so sorry that happened to you. i can't imagine how shaken you must've been... i'm sending you lots and lots and lots of hugs right now. i'm glad you are ok. wait, are you ok?? and of course i'm glad the boy is ok too.

So my day yesterday was horribly bad. I was driving into work when this little kid, about 10 or 11, darted across the street in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes and laid on the horn. And there was that moment, you always see in movies, when we were staring at each other through my windshield. But he seemed to get out of the way but fell in the road, where incoming traffic was headed. I was frozen. Then he got up and ran off. Had I hurt him? Was he okay? My car wasn't moving. A woman driving by yelled out her window, "pull over" Right, I pulled over and went running after the little boy. He had just gone a block to a nearby grocery store. He was with a group of friends. I think he thought I was going to yell at him because he was avoiding my eye.
"Are you okay? Are you hurt?"
"I'm fine," he said.
"I'm not mad at you, I just want to make sure you're okay"
"I just hit my elbow when I fell down. I'm really sorry I ran in front of your car. I didn't see if because of the sun."
"You're sure you're okay?"
Then he started walking away. I walked back to my car incredibly freaked out and not sure what to do next. I started driving around the block, but felt really bad and went back to the grocery store. In the meantime, someone had called EMS and the police, thank goodness. I pulled in, and went to talk to one of the firemen (oh, there was a firetruck there as well).
"Are you all here about a boy getting hit by a car?"
"Yes"
"Is he okay?"
The EMS had checked him out and the boy was fine. He said I hadn't hit him with my car, he had just fallen running out of the way. So I went to talk to the police.
"Is there anything you need from me? Are you sure he's okay?"
The police said he was fine, and he was, enjoying being the center of attention talking to the cops.
"You can leave."
And they let the boy walk off with his friends to go to school. And I walked back to my car.
And proceeded to start crying hysterically. I cried all the way to work. I'm so glad the kid was okay but I was so shaken. It could have been so much worse. I was a zombie most of the workday yesterday and I still feel drained from the experience today.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Congrats UPMA!

Yes Z, the Martians, the ones who built the pyramids and currently own Coca-Cola. Thank you.

um. i have news for you guys. remember that little film project i told you about a couple weeks ago and i was all sorts of excited n stuff?
well. WE WON!
my head has been spinning for the last 3 hours since we found out, it's all sorts of crazy. we won 4 different categories. i'll tell you all the details in the mass e i send out tonight.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Don't forget the Martians. They invented the rapidly expanding despotic empire when they impregnated the earth with life 6000 years ago.

Okay Z, let me rephrase that: the ROMANS have been at this a lot longer.

At the risk of a long distance smack from Weez, the nerd in me, again, feels compelled to mention that the US has been at "this" about a hundred years longer than the Italians. Italy wasn't a country until the 1860s. Before that it was a bunch of autonomous states built around the old city-states. A big part of the reason they have such a loopy government (dozens of political parties and a new government for nearly ever year of their post-WWII existance) is the strong feeling on independence in those provinces. Which leads to one of the funnier ironies of Italian-American pride issues. The only Italians proud to be Italians are the ones who live in the US. Italians in Italy are proud to be Sicilian or Sardinian or Venusian.

Z - right on the money. Calling the US a "multi-party" is my hope springing eternal yet again. I admit, I like the *idea* of voting Green/Lib...if only more of their candidates didn't strike me as being, well...

Not that I envy Italy, with it's ridiculous number of political parties. Been at this a lot longer than we have!



weez-I agree with you wholeheartedly that Dems are sometimes as bad or worse than Republicans (I'm talking about politicians here, not voters), but I feel compelled to mention that the US doesn't really have a "multi-party system." First, the obvious, if anything its a "two-party" system. But, really its hardly even that. Dems and Reps disagree on some very important issues sure, but really they aren't very far apart on most things. The Democrats support a lot of progressive ideas, but they rarely work to achieve them. Most elected Democrats are product of the same money-focused education as the Republicans. The Republicans may want to keep the minium wage to poverty levels, but the Democrats gave us NAFTA. Motherfuckers, neck and neck.

Indiana had the lowest voter turnout since 1994. ! It turned out that the woman who was so upset yesterday...just really wanted someone to tell her who to vote for. Ack.

Hawai'i has a Republican governor, and I'm GLAD. Hawai'i has been in a Democratic stranglehold for 50+ years, and let me tell you, just being a Dem does not make a person good, ethical, or moral. I can tell you right now why people went Rep for governor - the former gov made a bunch of promises, especially about education, and then turned around and...didn't even use Vaseline, if you get my meaning. The University of Hawai'i Professorial Assembly had united behind him and pretty much got his butt into office. They now detest him. I like having a multi-party system. Hopefully, having a Republican governor will help in getting rid of a lot of the deeply entrenched corruption in that state system (hey, hope springs eternal...).

The pendulum always swings back.

Oh man, the Republicans took back the Senate. Guys, we (being mostly working class and/or women and minorities) are in some deep shit for the next two years. Bush is now completely unopposed by Congress. What a sad day.

i'm fairly stisfied with the election story for PA. the greens had a great performance, and the democrats (for the most part) won. it's the first time in 90 years that someone from Philadelphia will be in the governers mansion, and that is good news for Philly and the rest of PA, i think.
overall, i'm very unhappy. i don't understand a lot of things about The United States and the people of this country. If i get started on all of that now, i'm going to be very late for work so maybe i'll rant about it later. but i'll just be preaching to the choir so maybe i'll save my breath.

I'm not happy with the election turnout. Also, I feel like I ran into too many people yesterday who didn't plan on voting. That's depressing as well. I usually read the League of Woman voters guide and check out who the Austin Chronicle endorses.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I think all major daily papers publish a voters' guide, as does the League of Women Voters. In general, the public library has a copy of the guide published by the League of Women Voters. Otherwise, you can go to the County Clerk of Court web site or the Secretary of State's web site. There are also various local area civic groups and PAC's that do stuff on a smaller scale. I tend to go to the non-partisan places for research. And those voters guides (from the newspapers and LWV) include a sample ballot.

I'm a big nerd, so I always read through the voters' guide, write down who I'm voting for for each office, then I bring that sheet into the polls with me. The worse thing in the world is to just guess about who might be a good representative based on name or party affiliation alone. What the hell is that anyways?

Grant it, not everyone is going to be familiar with family court judge seat 230854DGKXO or ammendment 9, but the information is so easily accessible if you make that extra effort. People forget the fact that they don't have to live their lives with their heads permanently shoved inside of their assholes, and they think that ignorance is the easiest route to go.

One of the women at work came in today in tears because she went to the polls, got a list of the candidates, and realized there were way more candidates than she had thought, she didn't know anything about them, and she couldn't find anyone who did..."Nobody cares! It sucks! It's scary!" I refrained from pointing out that if she had cared enough, she would have done her research before hitting the voting booth, and instead directed her to the public library - sure enough, they had a handy sheet of all the candidates and what they stood for, and faxed it to her immediately after she called. [side rant: I can't believe how many people don't use the public library system!] In Hawai'i, the daily papers run an entire section at least a week before the elections with all the standard info on all the candidates plus info on where to vote, how to register, etc., and that's on top of all the other coverage. I haven't kept up with the daily paper here (and I'm not registered to vote in the state of Indiana - meaning this is the first time since I turned 18 I have not voted) - what is it like where you are?

Quotes of the day:

"Bush doesn't know if he should pick his butt or wind his clock." -- James Carville

"The only difference between the Iraqi government and ours is that we have one more choice (i.e., this country focuses too much on the party system such that the Democrats and Republicans are the only ones with a shot in elections)." -- Jesse "the Body" Ventura

Monday, November 04, 2002

*guiltily, slickly, and ever-so-slyly ignoring angie joe's ponderance of camera whereabouts*

i've never had eggnog.

I am no longer drinking a quart of Organic Valley chocolate milk for lunch - because SILK NOG is in season! The only soy drink I will buy gleefully! It's almost better than egg nog, if only because it's not quite as rich, so I don't feel ill after drinking an entire quart.

I have been putting in a lot of overtime at work. I am just a little manic right now. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Thanks, Mike.

Hey, have you guys heard of a band called the House Martins or Martians or something like that? With an album that's something like "The Man who wouldn't smile?" I want to get it but can't remember all the details.
(to cop Upma's style) my weekend
day of the dead parade
queso & gossip with a friend
sleeping in and getting cozy during cold, rainy weather
saw two bad movies
watched Angel on tv
started reading (and debating whether to do) The Artist's Way
made cyanotypes - got a really cool one of a bird and the chicago skyline

I hate to be the pest, but who has the camera? (you know that I'm the slave driver of the group).

Don't forget to vote tomorrow. Lots of important races and issues. Oregon for example has universal health care on their ballot. Oklahoma has cock fighting. Now I'm inpsired to e-mail you an article on referendums. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

By this time next week my zydeco tour will be wrapping up. Only a few final phone calls to make, then we're all set. Thank God.

Louise, I LOVED that smart ass costume. Funny, I'll have to keep that one in my back pocket for next year.

Weekend consisted of:
softball
eating tapas, paella and flan while listening to a Flamingo guitarist jam
watching the Italian flick "Mediteraino" which was sweet
buying 3 new CD's (I-10 Chronciles, Ryan Adams' Gold and Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions)
wedding dress shopping with and for my friend Katherine

Here's a question for everyone. What is your favorite(s) line from a song? Someone asked me that over the weekend, and I went blank. I still have to think about it!

Hey Upma, your movie was rad. You guys did a great job.

what a great weekend after such a whirlwind month.
shopping and spending too much money and not getting enough stuff
lunch with an old friend
cooking thai food
watching trading spaces
sleeping in
making taco salad
drinking coffee and eatin cannolli's

tonight is leftover thai and Alias.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

K-I'm comfortable with trickery.

Z, you tricked me.

Went to a post-Halloween party tonight, the sort where you have to wear a costume or they will dress you there.

I wore a black turtleneck, wool blanket wrap thing, exotic scarf, big hoop earrings and lots of eyeliner: community college art instructor.

Halloween party rules:
1. There will be at least one kitty-cat. Kitty-cats are always female, have black fur, and are essentially sluts with furry ears who will freeze their little over-exposed butts off.
2. Fairies. Or nymphs, sprites, etc. Lots of glittery eyeshadow, leaves, flowers. Subset: random nature goddess
3. A minimum of one wiseass (the guy wearing a shirt that said "Mr" and had Smarties glued all over his pants).
4. The Crow.
5. People who just dress the way they used to in high school (cue the punks, goths, and hippies).
6. People who just wear their parents or grandparents clothing (cue the punks, goths, and hippies).
7. The costume that nobody guesses correctly. Tonight, it was the woman who went as a generic 80's pop star....instead of getting a Cyndi Lauper/Madonna/Debbie Gibson thing...people thought she was Roseanne Barr.
8. The guy who thinks that just wearing a stupid wig is a costume.
9. At least three men will wear dresses.
10. Indiana bonus: hillbillies/farmers.

Friday, November 01, 2002

New colors chosen by Kainui.

My hair is pretty thick and it's getting longer. When I sleep I toss and turn from one side to the other, so that when I wake up in the morning my hair is matted to both sides of my head with kind of a poof in the middle. Basically, when I wake up I look like a groggy, fat elvis. Some mornings I even have a nice tight curl up front.

One of my neighbors is crazy about Netflicks.

I called my dad last night, and he was taking two 4-year old girls trick or treating. He made them say hello big sister to me in Chinese. They sounded so cute. Both dressed up as Barbie. Probably the cutest costume I've seen this year though is a little girl dressed as Madelaine. SOOOOOOOOOO cute. Anyways, my dad was lecturing me about how I tend to be "snappy" blah, blah. Next thing I know he's snapping at one of the little girls (not really badly). Gee, I wonder where I get it from.