The Wind
(17-26 April 2003)

26 April 2003
-"Bend it Like Beckham" is truly stellar.  Everyone should see it.
-It took just 2 hours at work today for 3 students to use 1 ream of paper.  That's 83 pages per person per hour.  Mighty research!

-Today I discovered a new route home from Concord involving California Route 4 instead of Route 24.  What a difference!  While it normally takes me 50-60 minutes to get home from Concord on Saturdays (horrendous I know), using the (longer mileage) Route 4 path took just 40 minutes!  & it was almost all low-traffic, plus no Caldecott Tunnel.  Hurrah.

25 April 2003
-Today I saw a Toyota Highlander with a license plate frame that said "There Can Be Only One".
-I am really pumped about this book thing.  I should be dancing around.

24 April 2003
-I am pleased to announce that Loosely Based has been accepted for publication by Virtualbookworm Publishing, a small independent publisher.  It should be noted that this is not the "big-time", that this is a small print-on-demand publisher, meaning they don't do a big run of books right away, but print them up as they are requested.  However, it should also be noted that within a matter of months, you will be able to buy Loosely Based on & similar websites, & at least request it at physical bookstores.  So while it is not Random House, or even a University press, it is an enormous step in the right direction.  Soon, I will begin marketing the book in a variety of ways, including a division of this website & a mailing list.
-Helen's (my boss at JMMC) favorite expression for me is "Well, we wouldn't want you to feel like you're not needed..."  This is not a real danger, given that every time I leave for a day or two, work piles up that makes subsequent days very busy.  However, I love working there when I feel like there's always something to do... because the default down-time jobs are really boring, but the main jobs are great.  Regardless, it's hard to imagine how things stayed afloat there before my position was created a year or so ago.
-US Redefines WMD Again... nuclear weapons excluded from updated definition.  "So North Korea has nukes," said President Bush in a terse news conference earlier today.  "It's not like nukes are weapons of mass destruction!  Esoteric biochemical weapons that may not exist... that's the threat I was elected to obliterate!  You can't come crying to me about nukes!  I mean, France has nuclear weapons & they're a bigger threat to national security than North Korea!  No more questions on that one please."  The standard of pre-empting a theoretical future threat in the Middle East but barely checking a current threat in Northeast Asia defied explanation.  Ari Fleischer gave it a stab as well... "Three key differences between Iraq and North Korea:  One, the UN has taken action against Iraq in the past.  Two, the US has fought a war against Iraq in the past.  Three, Iraq is ruled by a maniacal dictator."
-US Redefines Democracy Again... majority rule excluded from updated definition.  At the predictable yet somehow shocking realization that Iraq's population is 60% Shiite & generally favors an Iranian-style government, the United States & Imperator Jay Garner are suddenly balking.  "Don't mistake democracy for majority rule," warned Garner.  "Remember that democracy ultimately must be interpreted by the United States Supreme Court."  Administration officials are urging calm amongst pro-democracy watchdogs who fear that the US isn't really living up to a claim of giving Iraq back to the people.  "We would never demand that a country elect a new Prime Minister against the people's wishes in order for their Middle Eastern peace process to move forward," said one spokesperson.  There really isn't much need for concern... if they don't like the government, they'll just do what they did in Iraq last time:  Prop up some pro-US dictator to take control.

23 April 2003
-Today is sort of an easy loping day.  Which is not bad at all.  Work was very busy at JMMC & very slow at CU-Fairfield, which is pretty much just how I like it.  Though the weather persists in being bleh.
-Lisha muses that Monday's post about the 90,000 dead from medical error implies that I think medical care is bad for people.  Not exactly.  If I really believed that, I'd have a very hard time working for a hospital.  What I think is telling about that statistic is the borderline cases.  Obviously, if you are missing an apendage &/or bleeding in multiple locations or something else clearly potentially life-threatening, by all means seek medical help.  But the obvious defaulting to medical authority in all matters medical is what I am warning against.  I realize the irony of this sentiment given the events of a couple months ago, but I think that incident only strengthened my original intuitions against the action I ended up taking.  All I'm really railing against is the faith that many put in medical care as an institution... that it is the be all, end all, should be resorted to in any case of more than minor discomfort, & that it knows better what's good for you than you do.  Clearly something with that many errors doesn't have all the answers.
-I don't really want to comment on the Laci Peterson case, because I don't really think it's news.  Yes, it's sad, but like all missing persons cases of people you hadn't heard of before they became news, it's utterly arbitrary & inane.  These people are a tiny tiny portion of people in their situation & the fact that they become national headliners for the bulk of a given month is ridiculous.  The Chandra Levy thing was a little different because she was killed by a Congressman, but it still was overblown.  I remember thinking in early September how crazy it was that it was the national headline story...  Anyway, I'm getting bogged down.  This particular post is about a small facet of the Peterson thing, because it's been charged as a double-murder.  Unless the case is that Laci had the kid & then they were killed, this is very strange.  Now, abortion is the issue I'm probably least sure of where I stand on in the world... all of my feelings conflict on it & I flip flop a lot.  Today, I'm probably fairly anti-abortion, & I guess I'd be considered rabidly so in the context of most of my other beliefs.  Regardless of which, abortion is legal in this society.  At that point, a fetus can't be considered a baby/person till birth.  End of discussion.  Even if it adds to the emotional appeal of the case & even if the baby has a name already (I was named long before I was born because of the gender-flexibility of my name), it's still not legally a person till it sees daylight.  If you don't like that in this case, maybe it's time to think about abortion laws again.
-I just thought of a good parallel to the way missing persons are handled in our society... it would be like reporting on PoW's without announcing the total number of people in captivity & just saying that Pvt. Joe Smith was missing.  Every night, giving Joe Smith updates & Where's Joe Smith? reports without mentioning the 1,000 other PoW's or referencing that the concept of PoW applied to anyone else.  This is not a reflection of my feelings about war or PoW's, but I think the fact that no one would consider reporting on PoW's that way indicates how flawed the other reporting is.  At least a lot of the media are starting to admit that & run articles about their own myopia alongside the Peterson headlines.

22 April 2003
-US Promises "Objective" Weapons Inspections... just like they completed their "objectives" in Iraq War II.  The United States dismissed claims by Hans Blix that he would be returning to Iraq to conduct weapons inspections.  "This is US territory now," said Military Governor Jay Garner, "And we all know that a weapons inspection in the US would be like election observers in the US... completely necessary but entirely unwelcome by our government."  Covering for Garner's candid remarks, Ari Fleischer made his usual run at damage-control.  "What he meant to say," said Fleischer, "is that Blix sounds like an awfully French name, don't you think?  We all know that the French are objectionable, so I think that Blix would be more objectionable than objective.  We, on the other hand, will reach our objectives of planting WMD in Iraq."
-Today I heard Paul Harvey on the radio.  This shocked me, because I associate Paul Harvey with my grandfather Paul, who revered Mr. Harvey.  Somehow, when I heard Harvey (which was only really around Paul), he seemed even older than my grandfather.  So with my grandfather dead for almost 12 years now, I guess I assumed that Paul Harvey was long gone.  It was almost metaphysically challenging to hear his voice.  Needless to say, Paul Harvey & I don't really agree on political issues either.
-Having mid-day time off is functionally useless, but does make the day seem less hectic.  Especially after skull-pulverizingly boring customer service orientations.
-Updates in for SOTW/QuizStats.  I don't think there's a link between sars and vegetarians but apparently one searcher does...

21 April 2003
Happy Birthday to Elias-Axel Pettersson
-I learned a few things at my 8-hour orientation session (4 more tomorrow!) for being an official JMMC employee.  But the really important one is the following fact:  Every year, 90,000 (ninety-thousand) people are killed in the USA every year by hospital error.  NINETY-THOUSAND!  This comes from two respectable sources (one of them the CDC) & is so accepted as a stat that it is incorporated into a hospital orientation for its employees.  For those of you scoring at home, this is DOUBLE the number of Americans killed in car accidents annually.  So everyone who used to make fun, or call me crazy for my concerns about medical care, listen up.  It took me working at a hospital to have my fullest proof for how reasonable it is to be scared of medical care.  Three-hundreths of a percent of the population is culled by that care each year.
-Insurance is sick.  It should be illegal.

20 April 2003
[from Clovis, California]

-DuBose Heyward's The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes has made my Easter.  What a fantastic book, & oh, memory!
-The degree to which talking about having children scares me is overwhelming.  The suffocating responsibility, guilt, & failure innate in the process is terrifying.
-I love animals.
-Seems like people have calmed down a little.  Which is a relief.

19 April 2003
[from Clovis, California]

-I haven't colored eggs in something like a decade.  Though all the trendy new dye strategies are quite weird.
-Boggle & baseball.  These make up for 400 dogs.  Also, I don't believe that Megan is really talking - she won't talk to me.

18 April 2003
-Good Friday is the only day of the year that I really miss being a Christian.  I miss it in the same way that Ramadan makes me wish I were a Muslim or Yom Kippur makes me wish I were a Jew.  I've got a thing for brooding, introspective spirituality, & as I always used to say, fasting is fun!  Of course, I wouldn't want to be associated with those religions the rest of the time, & it takes the point out of it to just show up for one day (or month) a year, when one would be highly suspect to do so.  I don't think it quite feels the same on a one-day-only basis either.  Besides, the big problem I have with the theology surrounding Good Friday & Yom Kippur is the whole pure redemption aspect.  I certainly don't believe in hell or damnation, but I do believe strongly in responsibility.  & the "dying for sins" or "absolution of wrongs" concepts because of a single day of reflection bothers me a whole lot.  A lifetime of reflection probably isn't enough for any given wrong, let alone one day making up for a whole year.  But I do like the brave imagery of Jesus facing unjust execution, of the betrayal, of the things in life that, no matter how much things work out in the end, just don't make sense in the immediate present.  In the smorgasbord that is my religious perspective, these are keepers.

17 April 2003
Happy Birthday to Kate Myers
-When one is very busy at a job, it gets easier to forget why that job is boring as all get-out the rest of the time.  Not enough to salvage the whole experience, but enough to make for a pretty good day.
-US Defends All-Important Right to Loot... may be added to new Iraqi bill of rights under the Garner Regime.  While US troops were busy defending oil wells on behalf of the "people of Iraq" (hereafter "Exxon-Mobil Corporation"), other Iraqis were looting historical museums of their artifacts, some of them more than ten times as old as the United States of America.  "See how oppressive this outgoing regime was?" a senior military advisor asked, while watching the national historical treasures being scurried away.  "Under the old regime, they thought those things belonged in museums!  Bo-ring!  We know they belong where they are, in the hands of the Iraqi people... any random Iraqi people!"  When asked about this being a double-standard with the concept of protecting oil fields from similar looters, he simply said, "Well, that oil is a REAL national treasure.  You can't be too careful with treasure!"
-Qatar Officially Changes Name to Gutter... expects similar changes by other Middle Eastern nations.  After Wolf Blitzer began the media blitz of mispronouncing the national name, officials in Qatar became more frustrated with linguistic butchery than US military butchery.  "'Cutter' was pretty bad," said a high-ranking Qatari diplomat, "but we knew we'd end up in the 'Gutter' soon enough."  Meanwhile, US linguists deny any attempt to demean Muslim countries through mispronunciation.  "We didn't try to alter Sodom Hussein's name to make it sound more like, well, Gomorrah, for a random example," said the White House Spokesperson on English.  "And we are very grateful to the people of the Gutter for helping us with this war."

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