frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Not Today

I've been trying for the past half hour to think of something to write, but my heart isn't in it. Hopefully I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.

Sorry, gang.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Looking Forward to Thanksgiving

At last, Thanksgiving is almost here! I'm particularly excited this year, because I've missed out on Thanksgiving the last two years, being overseas. I missed Christmas too, but I think not having Thanksgiving was harder in a way. I mean, Christmas at least still gets celebrated in other countries. Thanksgiving? Not so much. Which is a bummer, because what a great holiday! Family, friends, food...oh yeah! I am STOKED.

My sister the cowgirl has been unaccountably domestic this season. She went out and bought all all these decorations and candles and things, including raffia. What the heck IS raffia? But all this festivity was not without a price, and I'm not just talking about money--read all about her adventures in bargain shopping on her blog. All I can say is, sanity is a terrible thing to waste on, and I quote from her post, "cheap junk."

But through her heroic efforts, and no thanks whatsoever to me, our dining table looks pretty awesome. It's a good thing the cowgirl is living here actually, because I don't know the first thing about decorating or domestication. (I admit that, at this stage of my life, it is probably a wilful, determined ignorance. I'm stubborn, what can I say.)

So anyway, here's to a happy Thanksgiving. Remember to enjoy it and to find things to be thankful for, even in the midst of family craziness, of which there is always a guaranteed generous portion--at least in our house.

Take care, be safe if you're travelling, and have an awesome holiday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Read This--It Could Save Your Sanity

A few years ago, I did something incredibly stupid. In fact, it might very well be in the top 10 list of stupidest things I've ever done.

I went to the mall the day after Thanksgiving.

Please, if you value your sanity, if you love your life, don't ever ever do this. It's a horrible experience. There is nothing good about it. Nothing, do you hear me? I don't care many sales are going on. I don't care how much money you save. You will have sacrificed your attitude of holiday cheer and goodwill for many many years to come, all for the sake of, oh I don't know, a silver waterpick from Brookstone, or a novelty sweater from Macy's with puffy reindeer pulling a puffy Santa in a puffy sleigh with crinkly golden letters spelling out "Season's Greetings" across the chest. Whatever you buy WILL NOT BE WORTH IT. Trust me.

Going to the mall the day after Thanksgiving is like diving into shark-infested waters with a gaping wound in your leg: you are asking for trouble. If you don't find it in the parking lot (where you will drive around for half an hour before you find a space, at which point someone will appear without warning from another direction and snake it from you, forcing you to drive around for another half an hour before you give up and leave the parking lot to find a spot on the street two blocks away), then you will find it in the stores (where countless numbers of frenzied shoppers will step on your toes as they hurry past, hold up check-out lines by asking the harried cashier questions like "but are you SURE this isn't on sale, I mean even though the tag clearly indicates that there is no discount on this item, still it was on the rack where all the other sale stuff is, can you just check please even though there are 10 billion people waiting in line behind me?", or who will walk really slowly RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, taking up the entire walkway in big groups as you try to hurry from one end of the mall to the other).

You think I'm exaggerating, don't you. Fine. You just go ahead and take yourself down to the Galleria or South Coast Plaza or wherever is closest to you this Friday. If you don't end up feeling like you've descended into the seventh circle of HELL before you've been there for one hour, then you obviously like shopping a lot more than I do. Maybe too much, actually.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Bear With Me

I think that if I weren't human, I would have made a pretty good bear, because I like the idea of hibernating. I think I would be good at it too. For example, I spent a fair amount of time yesterday lying on the floor of my bedroom, my body curled as closely as possible around the standing heater. The rest of the time I was curled up on a couch watching a movie, under a blanket and bundled up in sweats, socks, beanie, and gloves. I moved very little all day.

(If that sounds boring to anyone, well, it's just proof that you were not cut out for bearhood, as I am. Maybe you would be more like a mongoose or a flamingo, I don't know. You tell me.)

In addition to hibernating, I would never again have to worry about gaining holiday pounds, because bears are SUPPOSED to be fat in winter. I wouldn't have to try and find excuses for that extra helping of turkey and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner. I'd just say, "Hey, it's almost time to hibernate, need the padding to keep warm and all." Then the day after Thanksgiving I would go into my room and not come out for 6 months, at which point I'd be skinny again. No dieting! It would be great!

I'd probably wake up for Christmas though.

By the way, because I can see my friends rolling their eyes as they read this, I want to make it clear that I am not saying I am fat. I'm just saying I COULD be and it wouldn't matter, because I'd be a bear and it's ok for bears to be fat.

Happy Monday.

Friday, November 19, 2004

No Creative Title Today, Sorry

Yesterday I registered at a temp agency. I got to take a typing test, which was fun. And for once I'm not being sarcastic. I like typing tests because typing is one of the few clerical skills that I do really, really well. In fact, I ROCK at it. I don't rock at a lot of things, especially in an office setting, but typing--oh yeah, baby. Bring it ON.

So in the lobby of this temp agency, they had some washed-out watercolors of palm trees with squiggly watercolor writing underneath. It took me awhile to decipher the words on one of them; for a few minutes I was convinced that it said "such itchy palms." Then I figured out that "itchy" was actually "stately."

This happens to me a lot actually, misreading things. Once I was driving along a street in Concord, CA, and passed a Chinese restaurant called Peking Boy, but at first glance I swear I thought the sign said Peeking Boy. (Coincidentally, this restaurant was next door to an adult entertainment shop--no joke.)

One of the funniest signs I ever saw was on a lonely stretch of road near the top of New Zealand's north island. It was a wooden board with white painted lettering that said, "Will the bastard who stole my blue canvas tarp bring it back?" And no, I didn't misread that one at all.

Funny how I started out talking about one thing, but ended up somewhere completely different. This also happens to me a lot.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Remembering the Leonids

Leonid Meteor Shower

I love shooting stars.

Living in Los Angeles with all the bright lights, it's not easy to catch sight of them, so whenever I do, I get really excited. I'm stoked for the rest of the night!

Right now the Leonid meteor shower is falling, and I'm sad that I probably won't get to see any of it. Then again, I think I saw it at it's best a couple of years ago, in 2001. I'll never forget it...

That year, the meteors were going to be passing through the debris and dust of a comet tail, as they do about every 33 years, so the meteors were supposed to be more spectacular than usual. I was living in the Bay Area at the time, and Mt Tamalpais was probably the closest prime viewing spot, so I invited some friends to go, and we all agreed to meet there at about midnight on the peak night/morning.

I left home a little early, and I was so glad I did! I think the entire population of San Francisco decided to turn out for the event. I hit traffic before I got to the mountain, and I realized pretty quickly that there was no way I was going to find my friends once I arrived, and they weren't going to find me. In fact, soon after I got there, officials closed off the route to the top of the mountain, so some of my friends (including my sister) had to stay down at the bottom and find a spot to watch from there. So I was alone.

It was a freezing November night, or early morning rather. It was very dark; I saw flashlights waving here and there, bouncing over the ground. I heard the muffled sounds of strangers' voices. I got a blanket out of the car, lay down on the grass with hundreds of other people and fixed my eyes on the sky.

I have never seen anything like it.

Shooting stars everywhere I looked, seconds apart. Long ones with glowing trails that faded slowly. Short quick ones. And on that I remember as being more green than white, that seemed to fall through the entire sky in one huge fireball. Whenever the really big ones fell, a loud collective "oooooaaahhh!!" would rise up from the crowd scattered across the mountain.

I was there for about two hours or so, shivering in the pre-dawn air, absolutely in awe of the cosmic display. I couldn't tear myself away. I think I was there til about 3am. Even driving on the way home, along the eerily empty freeways (580 to Berkeley, 24 to Walnut Creek), I still saw a few shooting stars...bidding me a last goodnight.

It remains one of the most beautiful sights I have seen in my life. I hope get the chance to see it again someday, because the thing is, I am never entirely satisfied with just once. I'm greedy, I admit it. I always want more of the good stuff.

But I'm glad to have had at least the once anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

And the Winner in the You've-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me Category...

I find it amazing that with all the stuff going on in our world today, CNN manages to make room on it's FRONT PAGE for a link to a story about a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich which apparently bears the image of--the Virgin Mary.

Virgin Mary sandwich back on eBay

The owner of the sandwich, a woman named Diana Duyser, put the sandwich up for sale on eBay last week. You know how high the bidding went? Over $20,000. For a sandwich. A sandwich that has been sitting on its owner's nightstand for about 10 years. Oh yes, and she took a bite out of it too before she noticed the face in the bread staring back at her.

I am a born skeptic when it comes to manifestations of the miraculous in the present day, and sometimes this saddens me, because I want very much to believe in them. But in this case...I'm sorry, I just refuse. The shroud of Turin is one thing (perhaps), but the Sandwich of Diana is another altogether, and I for one am not buying it.

However, that won't make a difference to Ms Duyer, because in the second round of bidding, she's already being offered over $16,000 (eBay took the sandwich off of their site at first because they thought it was a joke).

I guess from now on I should pay more attention to my food before scarfing it down. I think once I found a potato chip in the shape of Africa. That has to be worth at least a couple hundred, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sticking With It

Last night I picked up a book about holiness and the fear of God. After reading only a few pages, I wanted to hurl it across the room, not because I am opposed to holiness or God, but because I am tired of being confronted with my inability to be perfect in my life, especially when it comes to the area of my faith.

The book wasn't even about that, really. But somehow that's what I got out of it, and it set off yet another of my "temper tantrum" prayers to God, wherein I basically tell him to leave me alone because we would both probably be better off if he did. He doesn't let me get away with that attitude for long, but I'm not always thankful for his interference in my pity parties. At least, not right away.

I think this may explain why I go through what some call a "crisis of faith" about every two minutes or so. For me, the nature of my personal faith crisis has little to do with wondering about whether or not God actually exists, and a great deal to do with whether or not I want him to, because sometimes I think my life would be much easier if he didn't.

You would think that years of being a Christian, being active in church life, leading a high school youth group, leading Bible studies, playing and singing in a worship band, and being a missionary for nearly two years would cure a person of any lingering doubts about how great it is to follow God, but in my case that's far from the truth. I don't always think it's great. Sometimes it seems terribly hard.

Someone may ask, "So why do you stick with it?" Well, I guess it's like the apostle Peter said to Jesus ages ago, when Jesus asked him and some of the other disciples if they wanted to call it quits. A bunch of the disciples had, in fact, decided that following Jesus was too hard, and they said forget it. So Jesus turned to his inner circle and said, "What about you guys?" And Peter said, "Well, where would we go?"

Where would I go if I left Jesus?

The thought depresses me, because in spite of my struggles I feel like the world will be a lot emptier and lonelier without him. I don't WANT to go anywhere else. Even though sometimes I kick and scream and want to have my way, at the end of the day what I really want is to curl up in the arms of a God who loves me, who knows all about my imperfections and failures and unholiness and will take me anyway. I don't always know if I really believe God is like that, but when I look at his son Jesus, I get an idea that yeah, maybe he is.

So I'm not leaving him, not anytime soon. I'll hang on with gritted teeth and clenched knuckles and I guess if I fall along the way, or have trouble walking, well, I'll do my best to crawl. I have a feeling I'm going to have some bloody knees by the time I get to the end of this crazy road, but by the grace of God, I'll get there.

Here's hoping...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Tough Decisions

Tough Decisions
Originally uploaded by grackyfrogg.
In dating, as in politics, sometimes you are faced with choosing between the lesser of two evils.

The good thing about dating is that you can decide NOT to choose, without someone screaming at you about how you are shirking your civic duty.

All Thumbs

On Saturday I went to a friend's house. When I got there, practically the first thing he said to me was, "You have GOT to see this movie we rented last night, it's hilARious."

"Great," I said. "What is it?"

"I'm not going to tell you."

Immediately my suspicions were aroused. The last time I watched what he assured me was a "hilarious" movie, I didn't actually laugh all that much. And conversely, I watched _Waiting for Guffman_ after he told me it was totally lame, and I cracked up, laughing out loud at some scenes even though I was by myself when I saw it. I watched it a second time to make sure I'd seen it correctly, and still laughed, which is a good indication that I do in fact think it's pretty comical.

So I was a little concerned that our ideas of what constitutes a "hilarious" movie might be slightly divergent. My fears were not alleviated at all when the DVD selection screen came on and I saw the titles "Thumb Wars" and "Thumbtanic."

"You are kidding me, right?" I groaned, thinking longingly of _Fargo_, which was at that moment playing on cable.

Five minutes later, I was laughing my head off at a spoof of the Titanic movie with all the characters played by--no joke--people's THUMBS.

Don't ask me why this was funny, but it was. If the thumbs' little faces had merely been drawn on, I wouldn't have been half as amused. But thanks to the wonders of cinematic technology, these thumbs had real eyes and mouths and they make these weird faces, and it is just too hysterical to even describe. On the same DVD is a spoof of _Star Wars_ called "Thumb Wars." If you have seen _Star Wars (original trilogy)_ and _Titanic_, I really think you need to see these movies. The satire is great, and come on, it's a chance to see people's THUMBS, acting!! With little faces!! It's not something you see every day, trust me (if you do, that's weird).

One of the best bits is during the spoof of the Titanic sex scene. Those of you who have seen Titanic (many of you more than 10 you realize that equates to about 30 HOURS of your LIFE dedicated to watching a ship go down as a dramatic backdrop to one of the most cliche'd love stories in movie history?) will remember that the sex scene takes place in a steamy car, which only gets steamier as Leonardo and Kate get down to business, and then there is the beyond-cheesy moment where you see this HAND come up and hit the window in what you can only assume is a moment of severe ecstasy, and then the hand drags slowly down the steamy window (blech). Well, in "Thumbtanic", the thumb playing Kate doesn't exactly have hands...or she does, but they are useless and don't really do anything besides wiggle around when she moves. So when the big moment comes, instead of a hand, "Kate" hits the window with her whole FACE (the thumb! haha!) and then falls slowly down the steamy window.

If you don't think this is funny, I don't think there is any help for you. I am laughing just thinking about it.

The moviemakers also get points for giving Princess Leia in "Thumb Wars" cinnamon rolls for hair, complete with icing.

But I admit it's very hard to do justice to these short flicks by writing about them--they really have to be seen to be believed and appreciated. I know they sound stupid; well, I'm not saying they aren't! But they are still FUNNY!

So I urge you to find a gullible friend that you can convince to rent this movie with you. You can find it at Blockbuster, as a 1-week rental. And don't talk to me about a waste of watched _Titanic_ more than 10 times, remember?

Ok everyone, have a great day and may the THUMB be with you!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Singin' the Cowgirl Blues

My sister is a real cowgirl. She has boots and wranglers and a cowboy (er, cowgirl) hat. She also has spurs and a horse.

I remember when she was still going through school, in the animal-science program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. One day I got an e-mail from her that said, "I castrated a pig today." Whoa. Now how many people do YOU know who can say that?

So she's a cowgirl for sure, but right now she is a salesperson. She does a good job, as far as I can tell. Better than I would do, anyway. I mean, she actually sells stuff, whereas I couldn't sell a steak to a starving man. I'd feel bad that he was starving and would probably give it to him for free. Giving things away is not salespersonly behavior.

But the point of all this is that my sister has a blog now. Check it out cowgirltunes. I like the part about the adhesive caulk. Don't ask me, just read it, ok? Tell her the frogg sent ya.

Friday, November 12, 2004


As you can see, I have changed the look of my blog. I was bored with the old template. I don't know if I like this one but at least it's something different. I'll probably keep it for awhile.

I used to go through the same thing with my hair. Getting bored with it, I mean. Back when I was in college, and for a few years after that, I used to change my hair color every couple of months. I used Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Haircolor in varying shades of reds. One time I colored it Burgundy. I kind of liked it, but I think Rosewood was my all-time favorite.

But of course the inevitable day came when I had a "hair disaster." My boyfriend at the time had helped me to put some cool highlights in my hair one day, with bleach. I had never tried to lighten my hair before. He did a good job, but I wasn't satisfied...the highlights were too subtle, and I wanted dramatic! So I took some of the extra bleaching powder and developer, and one night on my own I tried to add some more highlights.

Well, to make a long story kind of short, I messed up. I was sloppy with the application so that sections of hair that I did NOT want to color, got colored! I tried to fix it somehow, and ended up with hair that was very blond on top and very brown underneath. Talk about dramatic! By no stretch of the imagination could it be considered a "good look." I realized I was going to have to dye the whole thing to cover it up. But what color?

After some consideration at the local Sav-On, I finally settled on some shade called "Copper Penny" which looked absolutely fabulous on the box--a rich, gleaming, light auburn. On me, though, it was simply orange. I was horrified yet again, but what could I do? I mean, short of going to a salon and forking out the big bucks to have a professional try to salvage the horrible mess I'd created--I couldn't afford that. Stark two-tone colored hair wasn't quite "in" yet, so I stuck with the orange. That was also quite dramatic, especially in the sunlight.

I think I took a break from the whole hair coloring thing for awhile after that.

SFO International

San Francisco is a scary airport to fly into, if you are in a window seat. Up until the last possible second, it looks like the plane is going to be doing a nice big bellyflop into the ocean. Just as you start fumbling for that flotation device they always talk about on the safety video everyone ignores while wondering if you remember how to inflate it with those little red tubes because you are sure yours will be the one that doesn't inflate all the way when you pull the cord (and you're trying to remember which cord it was in the first place, dang why didn't you pay attention to the video!), suddenly the runway appears beneath the plane, which means you will be landing on LAND after all, and that's when you realize that you have been holding your breath for a really, really long time because it comes out in a gasping sigh of relief that makes the other passengers stare at you, and move slightly away, as best they can with their seat belts on.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Keeping It Real

Ok, I want to set something straight about Christianity, because the other day I was watching Joel Osteen on tv and he really irritated me.

I don't normally watch televangelists, for several reasons. Mostly because when I watch TV I want to be entertained, not sermonized. Also, I admit that I am probably prejudiced and judgmental. But a friend of mine introduced me to Joel Osteen's show, and I have seen it a few times now. And every single gosh-darned time I get mad. Here's this young, Billy-from-Melrose-Place lookalike pacing back and forth on a massive velvety stage in front of his vast, sparkling, upper-middle-class audience at his church in Houston, TX, and he is basically running a self-help seminar with the words "God" and "prayer" occasionally thrown in to make it sound religious! He rambles on (and on and on) about the power of positive thinking, about how God just wants to rain down blessings (generally of a financial nature) on each one of us, and how we just have to CLAIM THE PROMISES that God gives us in his Word (many of which, if he quotes them at all, are taken out of context). It drives me absolutely nuts, because he is not telling the truth about Christianity.

So, here's the truth. To paraphrase a quote from one of my favorite movies, _The Princess Bride_: "Christianity is pain...anyone who says different is selling something."

Please don't misunderstand me on this. I am not saying "Christianity is _a_pain" (as in, a pain in the...butt). Sometimes it can be! But that's not what I mean. I also don't mean, "Christianity is _only_ pain and you will always be depressed and sad and pathetic if you are a Christian." That would be completely ridiculous, and if I said that, I would be lying, on the opposite extreme of Mr Osteen's feel-good theology.

So what AM I saying? Well. I have been a Christian for a long time now--somewhere in the neighborhood of 26 years. And if there is one thing that I have learned, it's that God is not about being our "happiness genie." God is about growing us up into men and women of character and faith and strength and courage. These virtues don't come without a price, and that price is usually exacted in blood, sweat, and/or tears. I'm not trying to scare anyone by saying this, I'm just telling the truth. God promises not to leave or abandon those who take the path of following his son Jesus, but he does NOT promise that the path won't wind through some pretty murky territory.

Look, if someone comes along and all they tell you about Christianity is that God wants to bless you and make you happy all the time, don't buy it. God DOES want to bless us, but his blessings aren't always what we're looking for. Believe me, I know this from experience. And on the flipside, if someone comes along and all they can tell you is how miserable you will be as a Christian, don't buy that either. Christianity isn't about extremes, or it shouldn't be. It's about being real, and it encompasses ALL aspects of the human experience--pain, joy, elation, despair. If you don't believe me, just read the Psalms in the Bible. I can tell you that they weren't written by someone who was just coasting along on cloud 9, naming and claiming promises of health, wealth, and invulnerability when he wasn't busy writing songs all about how great life is!

In the end, I guess I get mad at people like Joel Osteen because they are taking the easy way of telling people what they want to hear. True Christianity is not what people want to hear. That was made pretty obvious 2000 years ago when the Man who started it all got nailed to a cross in a Roman execution. But Joel never talks about that either. His audience sits there dutifully taking notes with Bibles open on their laps, and he tells them absolutely nothing at all.

Give them something real, man--you owe it to them.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Eleventh Commandment

Last night, my dad asked me if I'd eaten any fruit during the day. He's been on this kick lately of preaching fruit-eating to people, because it's good for you. Eating fruit, I mean. He said, "Those who love me keep my commandments." I said, "You're commanding me to eat fruit?"

He tried to make me eat an apple before I went to bed, but I wouldn't do it.

It's a good thing I wrote my age on my profile here. I thought for a moment I'd turned 12 again, without noticing.

I bet you are wondering why on earth I'm up at 3.45am. I was wondering the same thing, and then I remembered that I have this flight to catch. Off to Seattle...

(PS I love you Dad.)

Monday, November 08, 2004

It's Not Nice to be Rude

The other day, a woman flipped me off as I was pulling out of our driveway.

You have to understand that our house is situated on a very odd corner. People coming from the left can't see the driveway until they are practically in front of it. So it's always a bit of a gamble every time anyone makes that left turn. If someone is coming around the corner too fast, they just might hit the one coming out of the driveway.

Well, it hasn't happened yet, but it almost did on Saturday, with this woman. She came barrelling around that corner, definitely too fast, driving one of those I'm-a-car-but-I-wish-I-was-a-house sort of cars, a big brown Buick or Cadillac or something. I had just put my foot on the accelerator after looking both ways, and had begun to move out of the driveway into the street. If I had stopped, she would still have had to swerve around the front end of my car, probably. Then she has the nerve to scream and yell and make obscene gestures because SHE almost hit ME.

I think that when you get to be a certain age, you really shouldn't be relying on juvenile physical reactions to get your emotional point across. In other words, she really looked too old to be flipping people off. She also looked like she might have been a hippie once, or maybe she still is, and that annoyed me because hippies were supposed to be all about peace and love and happy thoughts. She definitely didn't look like she was thinking happy thoughts that morning, nor was she "spreading the love."

My brother was with me and wanted me to stop and ask if she was alright, because it looked like she might be bursting a blood vessel, but I said forget it. I was too irritated and incredulous to care. (My attitude may not have been entirely Christ-like right then, I admit.)

The thing that troubled me most about the whole encounter as I kept thinking about it was that it wasn't even 10 in the morning at that point. So this woman was furiously angry before the day had even properly begun. And not just any day--a Saturday! Of course, maybe she was mad that she had to be up before 10 on a Saturday. We won't ever know.

All this to say, life is too short, people. It really is. The Bible says that our days are but a breath, and that's true. Time goes so fast, so don't waste it flipping people off and yelling at them. Even if they are the ones at fault (not that I am saying I was at fault, because I WASN'T).

That's my moral and spiritual lesson for the day, which I am taking the time to share, in spite of the fact that I have a deadline looming on an article I'm writing for the local paper. See how much I care about you guys, putting you before my career? Feel special.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Writer's Block

I am not feeling creative today. The muse is not merely elusive, she's checked out and gone to Tahiti. (Stupid muse. She never takes ME to Tahiti.)

Of course, there are some people who say you shouldn't rely on muses, because they are terribly fickle. Writing is work, they say, and you just have to treat it like any other job, which means you do it even when you don't feel like it. Sit down at a certain time every day, crack your knuckles, and go for it. Stare at that blank page til you go blind, and then write your name over and over again. Eventually, the experts assure me, you will get bored of that and start rearranging the letters of your name to form other words, and then you will start making up new words out of friends' names, and suddenly a story will start flowing out of you, and angels will start singing as heavenly light falls around youand you will think, "Wow, where did all THIS come from?? I'm sure glad I sat down and did my work of staring at the blank page for awhile! I'm sure glad I didn't give up!"

Me, I usually give up. Five minutes of writer's block is about all I can take. After that I start looking around and noticing how dirty my room is, for example. This never seems to catch my attention until I sit down to write. Or I will go play the piano. Or the guitar. (I don't actually know how to play the guitar all that well, but I'll strum through the good ol' G-C-D-Em chords until my fingers fall off rather than continue facing that horrible white wasteland, The Blank Page.)

In short, I often find myself doing ANYTHING to avoid writing, which is troubling to me since I tell everyone that I am a writer. How can you be a writer and NOT write? It's a mystery.

So today, I leave you with this meditation: if a writer is walking through a forest, and there are trees around, does she exist? And if a tree falls on her, will she tell a story about it?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Post Election Day Blues

So. Kerry is conceding before all the votes are in, Bush is planning his victory speech, and I'm still unemployed. But it is sunny and warm outside. I love California.

My youngest sister voted for the first time yesterday. She was so cute! We walked into the polling place and when she said she'd never done it before, all these adorable old people started smiling and clapping. When she finished and had cast her ballot, this woman even told her that "you did that very well." No one told ME that. At least I still got a sticker.

You are probably wondering who I voted for, aren't you? Well. I wrote in my post yesterday, as a joke, that I would vote for my friend Steve but the longer I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So I did it. And before you start yelling at me about throwing away my vote, let me just say that the electoral college has already ensured that my votes will be pretty worthless in California unless I always vote Democrat. So at least I voted for someone that I trust and like, and who my conscience would not trouble me about later. This also frees me up to criticize whoever does end up as the President with total impunity, because I didn't vote for either of them--BUT I still did my civic duty and voted. I have the sticker to prove it.

(I like criticism. It is fun when it is directed by me at other people. It is not as fun the other way around though. Please don't do it. I get sad. Thank you.)

I'm going to go look for jobs now. Well, after I work on my tan, since it is so nice and sunny outside. I love California, except when it makes my votes worthless and good people like Steve can't become President. Then I hate it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Election Day Blues

Well. Here we are, countdown to Election 2004, and I still don't know who I'm going to vote for, Bush or Kerry.

It's been interesting to be a Christian lately, because overwhelmingly, most Christians seem to be staunch supporters of Bush. I, however, am not, which might just possibly be a cardinal sin in some quarters.

Most of the people I have heard praising Bush do so on the basis of the Iraq war, and the fact that we have brought peace to the land, and established a democratic government. I wonder though...I just read an article on the BBC web site recently, about how the civilian deaths in Iraq are well over 10,000 since the war began. That's not really much better than Saddam's record, is it? And what about the soldiers still being killed in battles and skirmishes and bombings? Not exactly a shining testimony to peace.

And anyway, how did Iraq win the freedom lottery? There are lots of other countries suffering under oppressive or corrupt governments. What about Sudan? What about Saudi Arabia (which, by the way, has the highest rate of persecution of Christians in the world)? Are we going to free other nations too, or was Iraq just lucky?

Well, we have to remember that the rallying cry for the Iraq war was not initially about liberation. It was about the legendary weapons of mass destruction...which, in fact, turned out to BE legendary, for all practical purposes. When that became apparent, the rhetoric changed dramatically to the whole "liberating Iraq" mantra. Nobody really stopped to ask if the Iraqis were asking to be liberated. Even if they were, did they want the US to do it?

But this is all a bit beside the original point, which was something along the lines of: as a Christian, is it a foregone conclusion that I must vote for Bush, who also claims to be a Christian? You know, support the home team: all for one, one for all. He's one of the family, so to speak, so you've got to support him. Well, I am not going to question the genuineness of the guy's faith, because to do so means I have to question my own. After all, I am not perfect (shhh! don't tell!), and I don't always do "the right thing." But I believe that Christianity is about grace, and grace is about getting what you don't deserve, in the best possible way. If there is grace for me, there has to be grace for Bush. Otherwise, Christianity is just another religious system and what's really the point? We all know you can't be good all the time, we don't need another system to tell us that.

So I don't question his Christianity. But I DO question, and I have a right to question, his ability to make wise decisions. I question his commitment to my civil liberties. I question his understanding of diplomacy and our position in the global community. And these are reasons why I lean toward voting "No" for Bush.

And yet...I can't quite bring myself to vote "Yes" for Kerry, who appears to me to have elevated being-swayed-by-public-opinion to an art form. Or maybe it's teling-people-what-they-want-to-hear. Whatever the case, I'm in a definite quandary.

I think I'll vote for me. Oh wait, I'm not over 35. Well, I'll vote for my friend Steve then. Maybe you should too. He's pretty cool. He even has a blog: blah, blah, blog..... Comment on one of his posts, it will make him feel happy.