MMVIII.

Dec. 31st, 2008 04:52 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
This was .... a hell of a year, really.

I left a job that was slowly killing me even though I had no fallback plan for it. I was more broke than I've ever been, getting by on ramen and peanut butter sandwiches. I put together a spiffy redesign of webmutant and starting shopping my resume around, and now I'm paid quite well at a job I really enjoy.

They turned on the proton beam in the Large Hadron Collider, and the world didn't end. An exploding star halfway across the visible universe became the farthest known object ever visible to the naked eye. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately-developed spaceship to make orbit, and India launched Chandrayaan-1 to the moon. A woman in Spain became the first person to have a successful trachea transplant with a lab-grown replacement. We found snow, real snow, falling on Mars.

We lost George Carlin. And Gary Gygax and Edmund Hillary and Heath Ledger, Arthur C. Clarke and Forrest J. Ackerman and Stan Winston. And Boeing Surplus.

I had my first migraine. That's a club I was perfectly happy not being a member of,

The Merchants of Deva had to cancel our annual party at Norwescon, thanks to untenable new rules and regulations at the hotel. I joined the committee for Steamcon, and made it to an Orycon for the first time in years; it was pretty laid-back and uneventful, but it was nice to have a room at a con for just me and Ahna for a change.

I started using the jQuery Javascript library, and it finally made coding Javascript fun and easy.

I finally got to go to Florida for Halloween Horror Nights, and I got to take [livejournal.com profile] windbourne with me, and we went to DisneyWorld and Epcot while we were at it. I fell asleep on the plane and woke up to find my fear of flying was suddenly, inexplicably gone.

We saw Avenue Q and Phantom. And I saw English Beat, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Goldfrapp, Cold War Kids, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, Vixy and Tony and Tricky Pixie (about a million times), and probably some other bands I'm forgetting. David Tennant announced he was leaving Doctor Who. Steven Moffat was tapped to be the new head writer, which I couldn't be happier about.

.... I got published. I have a story in a book, from a real publisher, a real book I can take down off the shelf and hold in my hands. And best of all, it's a Doctor Who book -- I'm finally, really genuinely a part of my favorite thing in the world. A small part, a footnote of a footnote, but still.

I bought myself a completely adorable little laptop. Used it to finish revisions on my fan-film script, write a new story for Halloween, enjoy having wireless Internet access practically everywhere I went, and now I've fried it stone dead. A short in either the power supply or the motherboard, most likely.

I put together lots of props for the Mercury's Doctor Who night, and everyone's amazed and delighted expressions made all the work totally worth it. That same weekend, my condo burst a pipe and had a terrible flood, and I've been living with a bare concrete floor in my dining room ever since.

The price of petroleum hit $100 per barrel for the first time, this year. Gas reached $4.00 a gallon. Our economy tanked, taking everyone else with it, but at least that brought oil crashing back down to $40 a barrel. Seattle was crippled by the most massive snowstorm in years.

I wasted hours and days of my life on someone I thought was one of my best friends, who turned out not to really be a friend at all. It's the first time I've ever had to explicitly tell someone I was done with them, and the first relationship of any kind I've looked back on with the sense that it was all just -- pointless. I let a lot of my other friendships fade during this time, and I wish to God I could just have that time back again.

I donated money to a political campaign for the first time in my life. I watched in horror as John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, the most calculated and cynical and anti-intellectual such choice I've ever seen, and even deeper horror as so many voters seemed to take her seriously. And then Barack Obama was elected, the country finally waking up from one long post-9/11 nightmare of hate and fear and choosing love and hope instead. Barack Obama didn't get the country to just believe in him -- he gave us a chance to believe in ourselves again.

I literally danced in the streets that night, with thousands of people, thousands, who could finally believe in their country again, who were laughing and crying and cheering and everyone was a friend, that night. It felt like we'd won a revolution without ever having to fire a single shot. It was, honestly, the most joyful and meaningful and profound night of my life and I will never forget it, not ever.

We reached the deep minimum of a long solar cycle, but after a slow start, it looks like Solar Cycle 24 is finally beginning. Maybe the future will be a little brighter.

You've been -- interesting, 2008, I'll give you that. Still, I won't be sorry to see you go tonight. Even if you do cling to life for one extra second.
icebluenothing: (Default)
Every vote is going to be important in this upcoming election.  I'm sure most if not all of you are registered to vote. But if you're not, please note: October 4th is the last day you can register to vote in Washington State.

Also, even if you are registered, your voter registration may be marked as Inactive.
.... And once you've done that, please consider reposting all of this information in your LiveJournal, weblog, everywhere.  Thanks.

Quotage.

Sep. 26th, 2005 10:58 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] saheeb138: "What is a trade embargo, besides a giant cock-block?"

Vote.

Sep. 28th, 2004 09:59 am
icebluenothing: (Default)
If you're not registered to vote yet, you need to do it soon. The deadline in Washington is this Saturday, October 2nd.

You can get the form online at:

http://moveonpac.org/vote/

Politics.

Dec. 14th, 2003 12:46 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
Not something I post about often, if at all, usually, but ....

I'm a little startled at how many people on my friends list are so elated at the capture of Saddam Hussein. I mean, especially since so many of them are the same people who will be highly irritated if Bush rides to re-election on the strength of this particular little victory. Saddam Imprisoned is an even better photo-op than Bush Delivering Turkey, kids.

The first post I read about it didn't mention just who exactly we'd captured, and I have to admit I was stupidly hopeful for a moment. For a brief moment, I thought we'd laid hands on Osama bin Laden. And then I remembered we are at war with Eastasia; we have always been at war with Eastasia.

Seventh.

Dec. 7th, 2003 06:32 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
It's a fairly typical question I get asked throughout the day as a cashier: "What's the date today? ... Is today the seventh?"

Ordinarily the question doesn't bother me. But today --

Maybe it's because I'm the child of two World War II veterans. Whatever the reason, I know. I know what today is.

---

On the other hand, it's strangely calming to think that someday, decades from now, September 11th could come and go quietly, unnoticed, a bright cold fall day like any other. With enough time, the blood washes off.

icebluenothing: (candle)
Pray for Peace

Pray to whoever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or marble or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the Bo tree in scorching heat,
Yahweh, Allah, raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekinhah, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, Record Keeper
of time before, time now, time ahead, pray. Bow down
to terriers and shepherds and siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Pray to the bus driver who takes you to work,
pray on the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus
and for everyone riding buses all over the world.
If you haven't been on a bus in a long time,
climb the few steps, drop some silver, and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latté and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already a prayer.
Skin and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile case we are poured into,
each caress a season of peace.

If you're hungry, pray. If you're tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.
Pray to the angels and the ghost of your grandfather.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else's legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheel chair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer that as the earth revolves
we will do less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas, pray for peace.
With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.
Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds for peace, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Gnaw your crust
of prayer, scoop your prayer water from the gutter.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.

-- Ellen Bass

Capitol.

Aug. 15th, 2002 12:02 am
icebluenothing: (Default)
Woke up late this morning, feeling lazy and under-exercised, so set out with the intention of a long walk. Rounded the corner down the hill and set my eyes on the dome of the capitol bulding and decided that was as good a destination as any.

This probably isn't the best possible time to be visiting Olympia; the city isn't at it's best. Traffic is rerouted around construction, and repairs to earthquake damage. Even the capitol building, which looked so pristine and majestic to me in the dark when I went clubbing, has a scaffolding on it.

Capitol Lake is mostly drained away. The edges of the lake look dry and surreal, like some post-apocalyptic blasted landscape. Looking down at it, I half-expected to find some small Statue of Liberty buried in the sand.

I made my way to the capitol grounds. I'd been there when I was a child. I remembered the gardens; I'd forgotten the memorials on the grounds. There were so many of them. Memorials to those who served in World War II, at home and abroad; memorials to prisoners of war, past and present.

My parents served in World War II. I can't get my mind around the scale of it all. I read somewhere the other day that 20,000 people died in the invasion of Normany, soldiers with an average projected lifespan of another 60 years; that's 1,200,000 years of potential human experience wiped out with a single stroke. This is above and beyond my imagining. This is not history, surely, it's myth; these are the acts of gods written here, in this place.

This is not what I came here expecting to find. I came here to find life, and hope, a sense of commonwealth; instead I've found a necropolis, a sepulchre. This place belongs to the dead. I see children here, enjoying the garden, not knowing, at play among the boneyard. I see a huge statue of an angel guiding soldiers, a terrifying and dangerous vision of our certainty that God is on our side.

The capitol dome is beyond all this. I can't get in. There must be another entrance, I'm sure, but the entrance I know, the one I remember from childhood, up all those steps, is blocked now, by a chainlink fence.

I know, intellectually I know, that this is because of the construction. I can see the workers on the other side. But even this illusion of being kept out is too much.

I stand under the shade of a tree. I can't look at the capitol; I can't look away. I am very close to tears, and I feel like a man who's lost his faith in God trying to enter a cathedral. It's all been too much, living in a city where we voted against building a baseball stadium, and they built it anyway, and where we voted for a monorail and they haven't bothered to build one; and living in a country where we voted for a president, and another man was appointed instead. My faith, my belief in Democracy, as something real and present in my life, has been shaken and perhaps shattered.

In the end, I had to just walk away from it all; I couldn't go inside. I walked back through the town, understanding it a little better now, I think. I think I know why this place is so vibrant and alive, with its music and its activism and its art. It has to be; this town has to generate so much heat and light and love, to escape the gravity of its heart.

My flag.

Oct. 30th, 2001 02:43 am
icebluenothing: (Default)
C-ko asked me the other night where I got it -- the simple, small, American flag cloisonne pin I've taken to wearing on the collar of my trenchcoat.

I admitted to her that it wasn't something I'd run out and bought in a sudden fit of patriotic fervor -- that it was, in fact, something my mother had given me as a present years ago. "Uhh, thanks," I told my mother, and promptly tossed it in the back of a drawer and forgot about it. I found it recently and decided to start wearing it.

I've never been particularly drawn to the American flag. It's an unappealing, garish symbol, one that's too busy, trying to do too much. (So, in a way, it's completely appropriate.) I think a much older flag, the Gadsden flag from Revolutionary times, is much more emotionally evocative symbol, with its rattlesnake, and its simple message. One that's certainly appropriate for our Current Situation.

But a lot of people have been wearing and displaying flags lately, in support and solidarity for all the souls we lost on September 11th; it's felt like one long, strange, funereal Independence Day. Except the theme has been more like interdependence. I can get behind that. I wanted to wear a flag, too.

A lot of people have sneered at this kind of thing, all this flag-waving. Yes, the flag is often flown by those with small, aggressive minds. A lot of people think the flag means, support the president, no matter what. A lot of people think the flag means, war is the best solution. Or they think it means, our God can beat up your Allah. Or, sit down, shut up, and keep in line.

But my own small, quiet point is -- the flag doesn't belong to them. It belongs to all of us. It belongs to me, and to anyone in the world who wants to come here and call this land home and this banner theirs, no matter whether they believe in one God or many or none at all. If we abandon the flag to the usual flag-wavers, to the conformist mouth-breathers -- then they've won.

I nearly lost my flag tonight.

I got home and got out of the truck and my seatbelt somehow caught the pin, snagged it, and sent it flying, out into the dark. I heard it fall -- under the car next to me, I thought.

And for a moment, the little Zen wannabe in me thought, oh, well, there it goes. You'll never find it, but don't worry, it doesn't really matter. You shouldn't be so attached to little material possessions.

I found myself getting really angry with this voice, and decided firmly that just giving up like that was completely inappropriate. Giving up, I decided, was not what the goddamn flag was about.

I marched into my apartment, grabbed a Maglite, and came back out and got down on my hands and knees in the cold and rain and looked for my flag in the dark, found it under a neighbor's car and strained out to reach it, brought it back inside.

I hadn't known this little pin meant so much to me. But it looks like it does.

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