Lately I've gotten really into making the bed each morning. It only takes a minute, and the room looks so much tidier. I think this means I've got too much time on my hands, or maybe my brain. At least I'm not fretting about imaginary baby symptoms like the woman at the ad hoc mothers' coffee group that I'm begrudgingly attending. Her baby had an upset stomach, and I asked her what that meant, and she hedged something about unusual poop. She thinks it's an oversupply problem, ie her milk production is somehow so volcanic that it's churning this baby's stomach into a molten lava pit cauldron, or something. Being around babies too much is a kind of sensory-deprivation zone where you start hallucinating symptoms out of sheer boredom.
I'm looking forward to returning to work, but it really is too bad that there's no feasible part-time version of my job. That I can't teach two courses per semester while we've got small children. I'm not looking forward to trying to keep all my plates spinning. (Or better yet, that Jammies work part-time. That would actually fit our personalities much better.)
I feel a little more composed now.
There is once again (for now, ha) an unfoggedbot. It is in pretty betaish shape. You are welcome to try to use it. It lives on jabber/gmail chat and is known as firstname.lastname@example.org (you can even send it email!!!). The way it works is: if you send it a message containing a link to a post, to a post's comment thread, or to an individual comment, it will send you messages whenever a new comment is posted to that thread. If you send it a message saying "subscribe posts", it will send you a message whenever there's a new post. It is completely imaginable that at some point in the future, if you send it a message saying "subscriptions", it will tell you what you're subscribed to, but it doesn't do that yet. To unsubscribe to something just send it another message of the same form as that used to subscribe to it.
The form of the messages is suboptimal at the moment: the reason so many people got nothing this morning was that pidgin and adium use an XMPP extension that allows for html formatting, but if you send a message in that form to gmail or (I gather) ichat, it's just ignored. (This is why people could get subscription confirmations; they were not sent as formatted text.) So now the messages don't contain any html. This makes them kind of ugly, since they're also not processed to remove the markup present in comments, and it's not possible to make a pretty link to the comment or post in question. C'est la vie. It's important to bear our sublunary condition in mind. Nevertheless, if anyone knows how to make a single xmpp message bear two payloads between which the client can discriminate, depending on its html-displaying capabilities, it would be swell to know about that. The method described here doesn't work; Message objects don't have an add_element method.
Now, remember, don't make fun of me or I'll delete the whole blog. I can do it, too.
I confess I recently watched a whole bunch of Julia Nunes' videos, including this one [on reflection this one is actually a better example] to give you an example. The songs are good, but the real gems are the blurbs after songs where she basically just vlogs what's going on. It totally makes you (well, me, at least) want her to be your (er, my) new best friend.
I don't know how much confidence I have in the cops. But generally, unless I am sure I've witnessed a crime, I'm not calling the cops. I called them last year because some fool chained a rottweiler to the fence of a local playground, and then left. I would call them if I saw a mugging or a shooting. I probably would not call them if I saw a drug deal. And I probably would not answer any questions about any drug deal I may have thought I saw.
My basic perspective is that cops are men (or women) with guns and the legal right to shoot you, without the usual repercussions. I tend to use a lot of discretion when it comes to introducing that kind of element into a situation. It's just no way to tell how things will go down.
What about you? When would you call the police? The times I've called the cops (to my best recollection and aside from car accidents) were:
* In DC, about a year ago when some kids alerted me to a guy who had been beaten up bleeding in the alley.
* Visiting my parents at Christmas a few years ago, from my cell phone when a road rager got out of his car and started beating another car with some kind of tire iron.
* When I lived in New Orleans and a car raced around a corner, threw a gun out the window, and sped off.
* Also in New Orleans, when I saw someone suspicious climb in the first floor window of a house.
* When my identity was stolen in college (fortunately before identity theft became quite as much of a life-screwer).
I think that's it.
So, for those of you who have experienced or thought about such things, what was your wedding ceremony like? or your hypothetical future ceremony? Please specify if you're including details that you'd prefer we not copy; I'm in pilfering mode.
(Just so's we get holier-than-thou points, we've already decided that we're including a blurb about marriage being a union which is still denied to gay people, and how we disapprove.)
I admit I'd like to check out on the Ongoing National Health-Care Discussion. To the extent I have a pony in the race, it's kind of a crappy pony, but Christ on a stop sign, the opposition is ridiculous. I don't even know where to begin.
Kids love contemplating hypothetical scenarios inverting some aspect of life, and then it has to end in, "And everybody would be so confused!" They seem to love this way more than I do, although I vaguely remember that I used to love it, too. I made up a joke when I was about eight that involved a mother being abruptly called upon, even though she was in the shower, and so she had to run about the house in her robe, while her hair was all lathered up and dripping big foamy suds everywhere. Everyone was certainly confused, which was what made the joke so cutting.
Anyone else listen to the recent This American Life episode about the guy in the mental institution? If not, you should go check it out. Short story: guy commits a crime and (supposedly) "fakes crazy" so he'll get put in a cushy mental institution instead of a prison. Instead of a chill, quirky nuthouse, he essentially ends up in Arkham. He goes to the staff and says "um, excuse me I think there's been a mistake -- I was only pretending to be crazy. isn't that a hoot! you should let me out now." and they don't believe him. And everything he does to try to convince them that he's not crazy so he can get released just makes them think he's even more crazy and keep him longer. And the whole story gets crazier from there.
Oh! And there are Scientologists.
Apparently there are only those three clips.
Is what you will be in for tomorrow, from three to six p.m. Pacific, if you tune in to KZSU either on the air at 90.1 on the FM dial or online here. Aggressive, arrhythmic, atonal, vaguely jazzy stuff perpetrated by the likes of Cold Bleak Heat; Crimetime Orchestra; P'elvis; Weasel Walter, Mick Barr, and Sam Hillmer; Naked Future; Mandarin Movie; Zu, and more, and related stuff by the likes of Zs; Yakuza; Bruise with Derek Bailey; the Rempis Percussion Quartet; Dock Boggs; John Zorn; Nurse with Wound, and more.
Would I call it an all-out aural assault? No. I have class.
A slight variation on our first ever ATM:
I live in a little apartment in a perfect location. The building has 6 apartments, including mine, in a big, four story rowhouse. Mine is a 1.5 bedroom on the second floor front, and there are two more like it on the third and fourth floors, two tiny terrible studios at the back of the 2nd and 3rd floors, and one strangely shaped apartment on the first floor that has had the same guy living in it for longer than anyone else in the building. The landlord is irritating and really difficult to communicate with, but generally fixes things when they break. The apartment and the building are not very nice but, as I said, the location is amazing and the rent is like half of what I would pay for another apartment around here. I have lived in this apartment on the second floor for 5 years. I never really chat with my neighbors, and always assumed it was just an unfriendly building. Plus, the guy downstairs is kind of odd. He's like 45 and quite skinny, and several times a year he plays opera so loud that i can't sleep most of the night (it turns out that pounding bass from opera is just as distracting as pounding bass from any other musical genre). And, a couple of times a year, a young scary looking guy (strung out) bangs on the door to the building for like a half hour trying to get into that first floor apartment. I just ignore him. So, tonight, I got to talking with my upstairs neighbor for the first time in a while. She's very nice and it became clear that she's pretty friendly with everyone in the building, but said she's thinking of moving out because of the crack dealer downstairs. So, that was a little surprising, but kind of not really. Cause she mentioned a bunch of evidence that he's probably dealing crack, and was possibly prostituting a girl for a while from the apartment. Everything she mentioned sounded right -- like things I've seen but just not really payed attention to about the strung out people who really want to get into his apartment, and some possible smells. And now, I wonder, should I feel unsafe? My apartment itself has two doors -- one to a hallway, and one to a fire escape. Anyone in the building can get to either of them quite easily, though they're always locked. So, my question is: if he has a low level crack business going on downstairs that hasn't bothered me for the last 5 years, can I continue to ignore it and go on living in my comfy, cheap apartment? Or, is it stupid to knowingly live directly above a probable crack dealer? Also, is it weird that when she was telling me about her concerns, I realized that I had always assumed he is a low level crack addict who sometimes shares crack with his younger, scarier looking boyfriends, and that assumption didn't really bother me? Obviously, if I see any evidence of prostitution, I'll call the police. But, otherwise, is it ok for me to go back to feeling fine about the place?