Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Absolut NaNo

I crossed the finish line, just barely, around 9:15 pm CST, with a few extra words to spare (to account for any word count funkiness). The last two thousand words were courtesy of Isobel Neville, who literally died for the cause. The novel has been validated and this trek is over. Until next year.
The days of yore

I'm always into neat Royalty sites and here's one on Romanov Russia, including pictures of the mysteriously gone missing Amber Room. It's a very complete site and very well worth pursuing, though I'm going to restrain myself, as the last time I ate up a site like this, I found myself sucked into the NaNo blackhole. No Romanov novels for me!

Tonight, btw, is the last night of NaNo. If all goes well, I will cross 50,000 words tonight. Only some 2,500 more to go...

Monday, November 29, 2004


'Crying' dogs at 5:22 am who keep on crying for literally hours (it was still crying at 8:45 am when I left for work). In case you think I'm heartless, I do feel sorry for these poor, poor dogs who have to sit at home by themselves while their owners go and earn the dog food for the day. But that doesn't change the fact I'm sleepy and cranky. I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

NaNo update

The last 10,000 words are the hardest and don't let anyone else tell you differently. This is when contractions disappear, when characters are consistently referred to by first and last names, where flashbacks appear quite often, and redundancy is encouraged and necessary. I fear my novel. You should too.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Yesterday, at party number three of the weekend, I asked one of our guests, "So, how are things going for you in Denver?" She looked at me blankly and for a freak moment, I wondered if she wasn't the one who lived in Denver. After all, I'd just called a 17-year old girl by her 13-year old sister's name, so it was very possible that I'd gotten cities mixed up too. It turned out, however, that I did get the city right and therefore, I plunged ahead and said, "I was in Denver in May. I thought about giving you a call but there wasn't really time." More blank stares. So I skulked off to the living room where my brother and J. were hanging out.

"I think my conversational skills are lacking," I told my brother.

"Why is that?" he asked.

"Because I just asked S. about Denver and she looked at me as if I'd suddenly sprouted horns and had green skin. Lately, I don't seem to be able to talk to people properly."

My brother considered and then said, "Have you thought that maybe the people you're talking to aren't giving you anything to work with? Maybe they're the bad conversationalists."

My New Year's resolution, therefore, is to not automatically assume everything is my fault, that failures and mistakes can often be shared. That's not to absolve myself of responsibility, mind you, but often I kneejerk apologize and let the other person off easy because I'm so often falling all over myself to say sorry as many times as I possibly can. So maybe that's really two resolutions: 1) Fault can be shared and 2) Stop being the first to apologize.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

As the blender turns

Last weekend, I decided to make soup. The weather was cold and gross -- think dark black clouds that just hung around. The soup started out well enough; I chopped green beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic and had them artfully arranged on a plate. Then came the sauteeing and taking jemima's advice, I used vegetable oil, instead of my usual olive, but I think I must have dumped in a gallon of oil because I swear, the onion slices started doing the backstroke. I kind of gulped and kept going, waiting until the onion was translucent, before adding the carrots, potatoes and green beans, in that order.

I then opened a can of stewed Italian-style tomatoes, which needed to be blended. I grabbed the blender and its assembly from the dishwasher, screwed it together and then put it on the blender stand, tossed in the tomatoes and hit the on button. The blender blended, but when I lifted the jug, the thing started to leak red tomato everywhere. I kind of shrieked and dumped the tomato puree into the soup pot, but so quickly that some of it actually splashed onto the stove and also into the grill in the middle of the stove. Note the jug was leaking the whole time. Distressed, I cleaned up all of the tomato puree and then put the blender in the sink, which is when I realized that I had destroyed the blender assembly.

Now, you have to know the history of the blender to understand how catastrophic this is. My mom's Osterizer came into my possession a couple years ago, on the basis that she would buy a new blender sooner if she didn't actually have one. Plus, I wanted a blender of my own to make soups (this was when I was still delusional enough to think I had culinary skills). So I ran off with the Osterizer, and my mom went on a quest for her blender. She bought and returned no less than five blenders before settling on her lovely, shiny blender. And now, after all of that searching and experimenting, I had broken her less-than-one-year-old blender.

Anyway, my mom accepted the loss of her lovely, shiny blender with equanimity and I vowed to find her a replacement part for her assembly. The conclusion of the story is that Monday, when eating some of the leftover soup for lunch, my mom found a piece of the rubber ring in her food. ::headdesk::

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Let's hope your culinary delights are less adventureous than mine! Travel safely and be well.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Shoe fly job

My first job search took place during my senior year of college. I had a beautiful new suit (purchased at Petite Sophisticate; who knew this purchase would signify the beginning of a decade-long addiction?), resumes printed on cream-colored linen paper, and what I hoped were killer interview skills (which included staring very hard at the interviewer and hoping he or she would blink first). Since I was in the business school at the time, we had our own career center. To put in for a position, you would drop your resume into an envelope next to a job posting. If you were lucky, when you came back the following week, you would see your name listed on a new piece of paper, saying you'd be selected for an interview.

When I bought my suit, I'd traveled out to West Springfield, which is where all the haute-couture was. I hadn't thought, at the time, to purchase shoes. So on my first interview, I went all dressed up but with my black dress shoes on with the half-inch heel (most recently immortalized as the basket-weave style shoes here). I felt rather self-conscious, as all the other women who were lined up, waiting for their interview, were wearing shoes with heels of at least 3 inches or more. I had to console myself with the thought that at least my pantyhose hadn't 'run', like another girl's had at the knee.

Interviews came and went, and for a long spell, I got lots of first interviews and no second interviews. But I was optimistic. It was still early in the first semester and I still had a whole six months to go before I really had to worry about unemployment. I won't lie though and say it wasn't somewhat ego-shattering when I saw the same people over and over getting second interviews. One of them was a woman named Colleen, who was also a marketing major. She was tall, lithe, pretty, a sorority girl who always seemed to have her hair perfectly in place, in spite of the harsh western Massachusetts wind. Somehow she managed to avoid having white salt spots on her black pumps, and never ever did her lipstick smear off the corner of her lips. I also think she was immune to chapped lips. My friend Sarah and I -- blessed with unruly hair and an inability to apply make-up -- were irrationally annoyed with Colleen.

One day, I landed that magic second interview. I nearly flipped when the company -- a large semiconductor company -- telephoned. I called Sarah and she said, "I bet Colleen got an interview with them too." The interview was to take place at the company's headquarters in New Hampshire. It would be an all-day thing and I just knew that this was my job, and I decided I finally had to do something about the shoe problem, especially if Colleen was going to be there. We didn't have a whole lot of selection in terms of shoe stores in Amherst or Hadley, and I didn't have to time to bus it all the way to West Springfield and my friend was unavailable to give me a ride. So I ended up going to a Major Discount Retailer and purchased the only pair of professional-looking pair of black high heels they had; the only problem was they were a size 9 and my foot is a size 8.

It turned out that Colleen hadn't been granted a second interview with the company, and I thought I was doing well with the interview until the moment we were walking out from the Mexican restaurant where we had lunch and I realized that my size 9 heels were flip-flopping on my feet and I was in danger of tripping on the snowy pavement. I slowed my gait considerably, and for the rest of the afternoon, all I could think about were how obscenely large my shoes were and I was going to fall flat on my face. And I did, figuratively, because my mind wandered for the rest of the afternoon, as I wondered if the recruiter had noticed that my shoes were too big, and I kept worrying whether they would actually fall off. A few weeks later, I got a 'Dear Seema' letter from the company. It was the first of many rejections I would receive that year.

Incidentally, I ran into Colleen again about three years ago at Logan Airport. I had had a crazy day in the city, having been up since 5 am, and had just learned that my plane back had been delayed for hours and I wouldn't get home until close to midnight. I was a nervous wreck and as I slumped in my chair, the woman sitting next to me said, "You were at SOM at UMASS, weren't you?" And it was Colleen, wearing a nicely tailored suit, not a hair out of place, and writing thank you notes in her lovely handwriting. Picture me in my faded blue jeans, with the fraying cuffs, a purple t-shirt with a newly acquired oil stain on it (courtesy of lunch in the North End), and my hair going every which way. She was wearing shiny black shoes and I was wearing sneakers. I wanted to explain to Colleen there was a reason I looked this awful, that I'd started my day at 5 am at the beginning of the Green Line, that this was my second trip to Logan that day, that I'd gone all the way to Alewife, and then back to South Station, and to the North End, back to South Station, and now to Logan. But she spoke first.

Colleen said she was on her way to Atlanta, that she had recently gotten married, and she was an executive with a start-up. Then she asked me what I was up to, and I said I'd been to Boston for a friend's wedding, that I had a job at an insurance company I enjoyed and I was looking forward to starting my MBA in the fall. She nodded and said, "I always knew you'd be successful." And I felt like telling her, "Don't you know I'm the girl who wore mismatched shoes to her baccalaureate? Don't you remember I'm the one who didn't wear high heels for her first few job interviews and I could never get my lipstick to go on right?" But that's not what Colleen remembered about me, so maybe the shoes weren't as big of deal as I'd made them out to be. I realized I was trying too hard and being hyper-aware of every little inconsequential detail, rather than on the big picture. It's a lesson I'm still learning.

I never wore those size 9 shoes again, by the way, and when the annual Christmas drive came around, I put them in a plastic bag and dropped them into the barrel, hoping they'd prove lucky for someone else.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

All blogged out of a job

And yet another blogger gets canned for blogging however indirectly about her workplace. Another reason why anonymity is good and not talking about your workplace is even better. Theoretically, a company cannot come after you for your legal, after hours activities, but if you do anything that can put the company in a bad light, they can terminate you (after all, your employment contract is 'at-will', ie you can leave at any time and they can let you go any time). Another lesson to the wise in all of this is, if you're gonna sell ads on your blog, for God's sake, don't approach your employer.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Good day

This wasn't the blog post you were supposed to get today, but blogger decided to start its maintenance at the exact time I hit 'publish' and alas, that post was gone. It was of a highly personal, confessional nature -- not the usual type of stuff you see in this blog -- and I can't help but think that Blogger was giving me a sign of some kind.

I've had a good day today. I didn't realize how much I needed a 'mental health day' until I woke up this morning and realized I didn't have to go to work. It was also weird to be out and about with the other people who didn't have to go to work. I went to a yoga class, and it was not crowded, the teacher was nice, and didn't laugh when I finally, finally lost my balance on that evil pose -- the one when you balance on one arm and leg and hold the other arm and leg in the air; you try it, you'll fall over at first, I promise. Then I treated myself to a nice French lunch, because I had a hankering for potato soup. Then came an X-Files indulgence (g), and a nice nap, and then playing on the Internet. No writing got done, but that's okay.

Maybe another day, when I feel braver, I will reconstitute the post Blogger ate.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Oh for the love of Tom

It's good to have loyal friends, isn't it, Mr. DeLay? So much for 'hardwork, loyalty and perserverance.'

Live to eat

A few years ago, S. and I treated ourselves to an amazingly exorbitant dinner. We were celebrating her new job at an internet start-up and my promotion at Very Big Insurance Company. We went to an Italian restaurant which had only 14 tables and one 'seating'. We had no reservations and were in luck when we grabbed the last table. Dinner was very leisurely -- if memory serves, we spent about three hours at the restaurant, from appetizers to dessert. We also ordered a bottle of wine and they actually brought us two bottles and allowed to select the one we wanted. The waitress came by every 30 or 40 minutes and so we didn't feel as if we were being rushed at all. Due to the unique 'one seating' nature of the restaurant, the ambiance and pace was all very European. And despite the $120+ bill for just the two of us, we both thought that was a marvelous evening.

Work pressures are getting to both of us now, so S. suggested this morning we needed another exorbitant dinner out. I've spent the last 10 or 15 minutes going through restaurant menus and sending her IMs. "Is a restaurant with a $275 bottle of wine expensive enough for you?" I asked. She IM'd me back, "Getting mighty close." What ideally I'd like is an ambiance similar to our first expensive dining experience, with a slow, easy pace, and just really good food. Unfortunately the restaurant we dined at in the Big City to the West has closed and the restaurant that lives there now has bottles of wine considerably cheaper than $275.

I'll keep you informed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Waiting for jemima

The NaNoing continues and I'm happy to report, despite taking the weekend off, I am on track to finish precisely on November 30. However, I've got to start thinking about upping the word count -- probably closer to 2300 or 2500 words a day so I can take two weekends off in a row. We'll see -- if I don't get there, I may have to actually fit in some late writing time amidst all the festivities.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Two things you must know about my day today:
  1. I had two cups of coffee in rapid succession
  2. The city I live in smells like gym socks

I had two cups of coffee this morning because I had to be work at the ungodly, should be illegal hour of 8:30 for an orientation class. I dragged myself half-asleep into the conference room, equipped with coffee and a cheese-filled croissant -- by the way, these should also be illegal, just for the sheer goodness of them. During the first hour or so, I finished off my cup of coffee and all would have been good if the computer equipment hadn't chosen to fail right there and then. All of us made a dash for the kitchen and/or bathroom, and instead of going for the decaf like I should have or even a cup of tea, I poured myself another cup of coffee.

I was halfway through the second cup when the jitters hit; it was almost as if all of my red blood cells had decided to take on the white blood cells, and with the platelets and plasma hanging off to the side cheering madly, my arteries and veins were suddenly turned into the biological version of the Grand Prix.

People, you could have put me on one of those hamster wheels and I would have generated enough electricity to power this sprawling Hummer-inhabited metropolis.

After class was over, I thought the best thing to do to relieve the jitters was to head across the street to the Vietnamese restaurant which makes The World's Best Vegetable Spring Rolls (tm). As I stepped out into the gray, muggy day, I got the full aromatic assault: wet gym socks.

Think of your gym locker room. Think of the way it smells after an aerobics class lets out. Think of all of those sweaty people in their sweaty clothes and then imagine the air conditioning going out and then, for good measure, air circulation suddenly stops because your sports club is just evil that way. Think about that and now you know how this city smells.

To make a long story short, I did get my spring rolls, which tasted lovely, and I got rid of the jitters. But I'm afraid, given the current weather reports, the gym sock smell is here to stay for the next week or so. Oh, if there were ever a city that needed a Glade plug-in.

Friday, November 12, 2004


Forgive me, for I am weak, but fellow 'blues', here's a Guide To Recovery 11/10/04 and a Winner takes all, to put it all in perspective.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Black shoes

Someone recently suggested I treat myself to a new pair of shoes. Whenever you get news, this person said, of a good nature, one should buy new shoes. I'm a rare species of woman: I'm not terribly into shoes. My shoe buying habits tend to be of the last minute, and only when my existing shoes have started to come across at the seams, and the big toe is sticking out the front end. Once, I wore a pair of loaters even though the sole had virtually separated from the moccasin and water was seeping in, soaking my feet. I also still have a pair of sandals that because of an incident involving gallons and gallons of rain and a plastic bag were nearly consumed by bacteria; I dropped the sandals into a bucket of bleach, scrapped off the bacteria, and voila, I can still wear them.

Added to my inability to actually stop wearing shoes until they fall apart, I also have a tendency to buy black shoes because I'm firmly of the belief that you can never go wrong with black; it matches everything and is mostly always appropriate. I do have one pair of navy pumps, but only because I have two or three navy suits. But everything else -- from loafers to dress shoes to high heels to sandals -- it's all black, baby.

Years ago, I read the poem Ithaka at my high school baccalaureate. I wore a new dress that day -- black with little pink flowers. It was my biggest public speaking gig ever. I was nervous. Yes, I'd recently graduated from the Dale Carnegie class, but I was still most happy when no one noticed me at all. And somehow, peer pressure did me in and I had volunteered to read a poem in front of my 200 fellow students and their friends and family. Before I left the house, I made sure my dress wasn't caught in my hose, that I had a copy of the poem, and in a moment of vanity, left my glasses at home; I wasn't driving, and I figured if I couldn't see the audience, I couldn't freak out. The last thing I wanted to do was freak out in front of 80 gazillion people.

The baccalaureate was held on the campus of a local college. As my family and I walked from the car to the church, I looked down and noticed, for the first time, that I was wearing two different shoes. On my left foot, I was wearing the aforementioned black moccasin that was falling apart and on my right foot, I was wearing my black dress shoe (basket-weave pattern, if you were really wondering). So much for freaking out at the podium -- I freaked out right there in the parking lot. My mother reassured me, saying that if I hadn't noticed that I was wearing two different shoes, no one else would either; after all they were both black, weren't they?

The key point to keep in mind was, I was not wearing my glasses and I was assuming the 80 gazillion people in the audience all had 20/20 vision and instead of listening to my reading of "Ithaka", they would all be pointing at my mismatched -- albeit black -- shoes and laughing; you know the old adage: You can learn a lot from a person from her shoes. I could just see us all at our 25th high school reunion and the class president saying, "Remember Seema? She couldn't even match her shoes for baccalaureate, is it any surprise she's matching David Hasslehoff's record as the world's oldest lifeguard?"

I'm happy to report I got through that incident without anyone noticing -- or remarking, as the case might be -- on my mis-matched shoes and I didn't faint or freak out at the podium when I read the poem. Also, I stopped lifeguarding after my sophomore year of college, so David Hasslehoff never had to worry about competition from me. Now, I never, ever leave the house without giving my shoes a once-over, because just like people wake up in a cold sweat thinking they've missed an important exam, I always think of myself as the girl with two different shoes on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


While I'd vowed to set this blog 'politics free', I couldn't resist this particular site: Sorry Everybody.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Nothing to see here

NaNo is one of those brain-eating endeavours and I'll be darned if I have more than two brain cells to rub together at this point in my word count (not to mention, time of the evening). My current word count is just over 16,000 words and I'm pushing to hit the 20,000 mark by Thursday (Friday/Saturday are definitely out writing-wise). To remain on schedule, I need to hit 25,005 words by Monday. It's around this time when Stuff (tm) starts happening to your characters, when descriptions become curiously long, when people suddenly go around calling each other by their full names (by 35,000 words, you start inserting middle names as well). There are plenty of ideas in the forums for those of you interested in just how nutty this project can get.

Some other time, we'll talk about the psychology.

Monday, November 08, 2004

New music

I picked up some new tunes over the weekend, including Yash Chopra's Veer Zaara, Devdas (aka the most expensive film ever made), and Kabhi Khushi Kahbie Gham. I've been pretty happy in general with the selections. "Veer Zaara" is excellent -- somehow, Lata's 75-year old voice seems to fit the score well. I also picked up a compilation of A.R. Rahman's hits (includes selections from "Rangeela" and "Bombay", among others), but I haven't listened to it yet. I've got "O Mere Sona Re" in the car, which was packaged as a 'revival' of some classic duets, incuding the title track (which I think I actually prefer the modern version of) and one of my all-time favorites, "Sawan Ka Mahina."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

My fingers are tired

I am caught up. For those of you wondering, that's 8,000+ words done this weekend, many of them used more than once, especially the word 'countenance'; it sounds very 15th century, doesn't it?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

In the kitchen with Seema

Today's lesson: Charcoal pancakes in 9 easy steps

  1. Use leftover pancake mix, if you have it. Ideally, the mix should have a gray tinge to it. If it doesn't have a gray tinge to it, let sit for a week -- covered -- in the fridge and come back to this recipe next Saturday.
  2. Put stainless steel pan on stove, turn burner up to HIGH
  3. Find olive oil and don't measure the amount needed to grease pan because the pan is very, very HOT. Dump in liberal amounts of olive oil.
  4. Stir up the batter to make sure that gray mixes with the beige colored part of the mix so that everything is gray
  5. Dump batter into stove. Watch in fascination as olive oil bubbles OVER the edges of the batter.
  6. Try to flip the pancake over. Realize that the oil is keeping the pancake from solidifying. Fight with the pancake until you manage to somehow peel it up off the pan and realize it's kind of flat and fried. Realize pancake has absorbed a bottle's worth of olive oil. Remember olive oil is good for the heart.
  7. Drink a bottle of red wine while you make the second pancake. This time, turn on the fan over the stove just to avoid setting off the fire alarm (unless, of course, you are wondering if the batteries in your detector are still good, in which case, this step is optional. Not the red wine though -- it's good for your heart*).
  8. Struggle to flip the pancake again. When the burner is on HIGH, you see, things cook faster than the speed of light, especially gray pancake batter. Panic when you see the charcoal, flip into a plate. Burn fingers pulling off the burned bits. Realized it's neither cooked nor fried all the way through.
  9. Eat anyway, dosed heavily with Vermont maple syrup, with a side of orange juice. Serve in front of the television, preferably in front of an episode of the X-Files you haven't seen before. Think, "This is the worst damn breakfast I've ever had," but keep eating anyway because of children in Africa and all that.

Tune in next time, viewers, when we talk about how to make absolutely tasteless Indian food!

Friday, November 05, 2004

101 ways to procrastinate writing your novel

I'm still shaking off the election doldrums and have spent the last couple of days, reading and responding to blogs, and generally commiserating with the other 48% of Americans who wondered what the hell happened on November 2. All of this, you see, is an excellent way of avoiding NaNoWriMo, that annual 50,000-word slug fest. I'm about 3,000 words behind at this point; I suppose that's what the weekend is for, to make it all up. In the meantime, for any of you participating in the annual event or just looking for writing tips in general, here's a nice link on plot and story.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

An open letter

Dear America,

I'm finally able to pull myself together and write to you. I admit, after seeing the results of the presidential election this morning, I felt as I've been kicked in the gut and this tremendous sense of despair and sadness came over me. My reaction stunned me and honestly, many of my fellow liberals said the same thing. No one expected to get overwhelmed by emotion, no one expected to feel as if they had suddenly lost all hope. That's not what America is supposed to be about, but somehow, for the 55,554,114 of us who cast our vote for John Kerry, we've been feeling anything but hopeful -- no matter what CNN says.

Now that I've been through the five stages of grief over this election, I feel like I can finally tell you, the 51 percent of of you who selected George W. Bush as our president, why this election mattered so much to the rest of us, why we took the results as hard as we did. Contrary to popular belief, this election could never have been about who could handle Iraq, terrorism or the economy better -- whoever took office would be stuck with a royal mess to clean up. Perhaps Bush is better on Iraq; after all, who better to manage a debacle than the person who got us into it in the first place? Maybe the economy will perk up, maybe it won't -- President Bush, for the record, you can keep my next tax cut; just make it so my health insurance premiums go down and that I no longer hear of friends and family getting laid off. And terrorism, ah, for the love of Pete, America, don't fall into the trap of believing this is a war that can be won. You cannot win against those who have nothing to lose, who are fueled by hatred, who see glory in death, and have no heart, not even for their own fellow countrymen. And so perhaps Bush may not mess up so badly these next four years as he did the previous four, when I look at these issues in this particular light. Yes, America, I'm rationalizing, because without hope, it's all I've got left.

I've been thinking about my unanticipated emotional response to Kerry's loss long and hard because while I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, I didn't sink into despondency when the Supreme Court finally handed him the White House. I felt sad, yes, when Al Gore conceded, but nothing like the tears that threatened when I returned to my desk and found an IM from a co-worker waiting. She wrote, "Kerry is conceding. I can't believe he won't wait for Ohio." But what was there to wait for? Statistically, Ohio could not be won. We didn't need a replay of 2000 when the election was declared in the courts, and Kerry recognized our system did not need another such blow. And in that moment, as that tenuous hope called Ohio drifted away, I sank into my chair, and just stared at the screen, thinking about the elation in all of those red states and wondered why I felt so out-of-control sad.

America, this election mattered because we now have a Republican majority in Congress and a Republican president in power -- a president whom I once thought could be a moderate, but now I know differently and the disconnect between what Bush promised us in 2000 and what he delivered rankles hard. I did not feel this despair back then because I believed Bush when he said he could be a uniter, I believed him when he said he could be compassionate conservative -- I fell in the same trap as so many people, America, and I didn't even vote for the guy. This time around, America, I'm afraid I don't have the ability to extend the benefit of the doubt; I've seen what he's done, what's he's capable of, and America, frankly, I'm frightened.

The fear stems because those of us who are socially liberal see the very real possibility of erosion in our constitutionally-guaranteed rights due to the fact checks and balances have been all but wiped out. I tried to take heart in the fact Barack Obama was sent to Washington, D.C., in a landslide and I smiled at my co-worker who has been wandering around the office proclaiming, "Clinton/Edwards '08." I have to say, at this moment, 2008 seems a helluva long way away.

A lot can happen in four years. A new Supreme Court Justice -- maybe even as many as three -- will be appointed. The issues of abortion, affirmative action, death penalty, the issue of religion in public forums and gay marriage will be among those on the court's docket. Already, 11 states -- including two 'blue' ones -- have approved anti-gay marriage amendments to their state constitutions. For shame on you, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah, for essentially creating a second-class citizenery. For shame on you for falling into a trap of social values, for believing what other responsible, mature and law-abiding adults do in their own time has a bearing on your life and values.

I'm not surprised to see states like Mississippi, Georgia and Arkansas embracing such an amendment, but Oregon, Oregon... and with a conservative government in power with the ability to appoint similar-minded justices who will have long-term effect on the policies of this nation, who knows how long such state-sanctioned intolerance will go on? You see, America, this is what those of us who supporting Kerry feared the most and what we will continue to fear through the next four years.

America, the majority has spoken and you have selected George W. Bush as your president. Some of you will insist he is my president as well; he is in the sense that he leads the American people and I am an American. But in no way does he or the party he represents stand for my values or beliefs; as such, he isn't 'my' president at all. So many people decided this race based on 'morals' -- morals dictated by religion -- rather than what made economic sense. So many people cast their vote on whether gays should be allowed to have the same rights as the rest of us, rather than looking askance at a man who led us into war on a lie -- a war which has yielded us nothing but chaos, increased threat of attack, and more than 100,000 dead, Iraqi and American/coalition casualties together.

America, I love you, I honestly do, even though I'm not feeling very kindly towards 51 percent of you (and especially the one of you who stole my Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker not once, but twice). I'm a relatively mild-mannered person, so don't worry, I'll get over my righteous indignation and despair soon enough, so I can start talking and living with you again, hopefully in peace and respect. I do want us to be able to moderate this divide, America. I want us to be able to see we're so evenly divided, that some compromise ought to be made, that we ought to somehow figure out we're all in this handbasket together and we've got to make it work.

But I do want you to know, America, that I do not want you to dicate how I live my life or what decisions I can and cannot make concerning my own health. America, you've chosen someone who has advocated smaller government but greater intrusion in our personal lives. You've chosen someone who has said it is okay that a certain segment of our population cannot have the same rights as the rest of us. You've chosen someone who prefers giving tax-breaks to the rich, rather than helping me -- us -- figure out why my health insurance premiums have risen 15 percent in one year. Forgive me, America, for I don't understand what you were thinking.


p.s. No, I didn't select the previous poems purely on a whim.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Another poem

I'm so, so, so sorry to wimp out on you guys, but I've just been so caught up in the election, that I haven't had time to come up with new material. I've also started my NaNoWriMo novel, and in an attempt to match the good pace set by jemima, I've fallen short on the creativity side. But I do like poetry and tonight, rather than sharing an entire poem with you, I'm sharing one of my favorite stanzas with all of y'all (complete poem can be found here:

The Lady's Yes

Yes !" I answered you last night ;
" No !" this morning, Sir, I say !
Colours, seen by candle-light,
Will not look the same by day.

-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I Voted... Did You?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Monday poetry

The NaNoWriMo word count is zero; I'm already 1,667 words behind. It's also late, so I cannot give you the proper blog entry you deserve; but as Ms. Austen once said, it's rarely my good fortune to treat people as they deserve. So, on election eve, I have no politics for you, no insight, no predictions, only poetry. Enjoy!

Ozymandias of Egypt

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley