This week.

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Life

That was quite a week, wasn’t it? Someone’s been busy. All I did was go to work, get a haircut, and try not to lose my damned mind over every New York Times app notification. Even my trusty Lamy 2000 fell apart.

At least Zen has had a great week. In between “spa treatments” (read: subcutaneous fluids) she’s been hand-fed baby food and otherwise fussed over pretty much non-stop.

Work

For every task I completed, I added three more to my to-do list. And next week begins with catalog upgrades, which means downtime, which means falling even further behind. January: snowed under on both metaphorical and literal levels.

Media

I started reading again! Currently I’m alternating between Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me and Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass.

FunkyPlaid and I watched an episode of Daredevil, but were too bored to continue. We moved on to Black Mirror, which is terrific but probably not the best thing to be watching at the moment.

Aurally, it’s mostly movie soundtracks and Jelly Roll Morton for me.

On the Internet

Ink o’ the Week

Noodler’s Ottoman Azure: deep sapphire blue with plenty of shading for capturing the nuances of melancholy.

Featured photo: the sign we put up in our yard.

Day 48 of Project 365: The gluten question.

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File Feb 18, 09 44 54

Yesterday I ordered a supposedly gluten-free dish from a menu of a local chain of Italian restaurants. We had never been to the restaurant before, so I relied on the menu and the server to be accurate. They weren’t. Today I felt miserable with all of the symptoms of accidental gluten ingestion, like coming down with a very short but intense flu.

Today I also read about how some conservative politician — a Presidential hopeful, natch — promised that he wouldn’t provide gluten-free MREs to the military.

After testing my digestive system with some certified gluten-free oatmeal, I determined that I could make it to a late dinner with friends at a restaurant I’ve eaten at several times before. On an extensive menu, there were still only a few choices for me, but I ordered something I knew would be safe for me to eat. “Safe” means that it will not cause me short-term discomfort or long-term physical damage. I even got to enjoy dessert, pictured above, and suffered no nasty side-effects.

I am lucky to have supportive family and friends who understand the medical necessity of my gluten-free diet, but some people don’t have the same support system. This is my periodic reminder that eating gluten-free is not a choice for many of us. (Considering how expensive gluten-free options can be, it is an expensive non-choice.) If someone tries to tell you that eating gluten-free is about losing weight or being politically correct, they are lying to you. Educate yourself.

Writing from: a no-longer-sick room in Marin. Listening to: my own irritated thoughts about that politician.

some wordplay with your gunplay

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Campers may now pack heat along with their sleeping bags when they travel to national parks.

The Bush administration on Friday struck down federal regulations banning loaded guns in most national forests, a move that was widely seen as a parting shot on behalf of the National Rifle Association.

The ruling overturned a 25-year-old federal regulation severely restricting concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The new rule, which would take effect in January, would apparently allow anyone who already has a concealed weapons permit in his or her state to also tote a gun in federal parks within state boundaries.

Guns will be allowed in national parks: Thanks, SFGate, for “pack heat along with their sleeping bags” and “parting shot”, because what good is a ridiculously stupid law change without some wordplay to take the sting out of it?

Sorry, that was a loaded question.

I know, I know: I’m fired!

now what

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I was at work when the news came, when the world changed. I was at work and we are not supposed to show our emotions on our sleeves, our choices on our lapels, but we couldn’t help it, and we clapped our hands and laughed and said yes.

My father called and said, “Thank you, California!” and I replied, “Thank you, Pennsylvania!” and for a few minutes it was like we were in the same place.

I sent my mother a text that read, “Yes, we can, and yes, we did! Congratulations on a new America, mooms.” She replied that she was with me, and for a few minutes, she was.

Continue reading

no on prop 8

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Attention California voters: Proposition 8 is about discrimination, fair and simple.  Vote NO on Prop 8.

Scalzi said it much better than I ever could:

This is why every single potential supporter of Proposition 8 should be looked square in the eye and asked if they are truly and seriously ready to say that that they personally are prepared to destroy already existing, already legal marriages — if they are truly and seriously ready to say that they know better than the people in a marriage whether that marriage should be allowed to exist — if they are truly and seriously ready to say to two married people, “you two don’t deserve to be married, and I intend to kill your marriage now.”

we can

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I know what I said last November about voting or not voting, but you might want to watch this before Tuesday.


(via John Hodgman)

vote today

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TalkLeft said it best: “We get the Government we elect.”

San Franciscans, I recommend Smart Voter. Californians, I recommend the 2006 California Progressive Voter Guide. And Americans, just get off your whiny, self-aggrandizing asses and vote.

patriot act, close to home

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As you might know, I have a sign on my office door that reads: “The FBI has not been here. Watch closely for the removal of this sign.” It’s been on my door for a while now; I put it up shortly after the ALA‘s response to the Patriot Act.

Sometime between 6 p.m. last night and 8:30 a.m. this morning, the sign was removed.

There are two options, as I see them: it was removed accurately, or it was removed as a prank. The former is terrifying to realize, as it could mean that the meager privacy of this library’s patrons is no more.

The latter is just pathetic and ignorant, not to mention unethical. Many patrons check the status of this sign, some on a daily basis, for years now. They have come to rely on its accuracy. And some college student pulled it down for a laugh.

Either way, the future for this country looks bleak: have your reading list scoured and evaluated for “un-American” content, or suffer for the abject lack of ethics in tomorrow’s legislators and leaders. Go team.

who’s sorry

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Yesterday, Greg wrote a thought-provoking post about “Sorry, everybody.” I don’t agree with him, but it certainly made me think, particularly about apologies and why they’re important to me.

The reason why I don’t agree with Greg is very simple: in my opinion, apologizing is not a sign of weakness, of weeniedom. It’s the opposite. I am a strong person, and yet I apologize for my failures. That’s not a waste of anyone’s time. If those of us who could have done more don’t take responsibility for that fact, and feel bad about the repercussions for the rest of the world, how are we going to improve in the next four years? This stage, this disappointment in our apathy and acceptance of the consequences, is just as important as the next one: kicking ass. Maybe you’d like to skip this step, but I wouldn’t. Without it, I’m merely hard and cold and vindictive without the nice squishy center of compassion.

And I heart you too, Greg, for more than my favorite post of yours. I heart you for making me think, and for being my “little online friend” despite disagreeing with me. So if I were sorry about linking to “Apologies Accepted” today, I’d want you to forgive me.

Good thing I’m not.

extinguishing the effigy

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I’m nauseated by some folks’ reactions to the election, particularly those in the Bay Area. We are so isolated here that it is quite easy for us all to say “this is not my America” or “I’m moving to Canada” or burn effigies of Bush. This last has me especially upset. Burning someone in effigy, to me, is an act of abject hatred. Is this what we want to become? Because, you know, we’re already over halfway there in the eyes of the rest of the world. Let’s not push it over the edge with thoughtless “Fuck America” signs and flag-burning.

Sure, I’m angry at the bamboozlement of over half the country by the media. I work in a library; don’t you think I know how many people no longer think for themselves? Sure, I’m disappointed that Kerry wasn’t elected. But do you think for one second I’m going to let some people who shouldn’t even be in power take away my patriotism, my self-respect?

Get a grip. Whine all you want in your journals and to your friends — everyone knows I sure do — but holding hands and dancing around the burning Bush as waves lap the most beautiful coastline of the most privileged city in America isn’t anything but a grand act of political masturbation. And while you’re wanking off, there are people without food, shelter, medicine, or the ability to vote dying in our streets.

You want to know what I do? That’s fair, since I’m dissing your jack-off love-in. As a volunteer, I teach English as a second language to naturalized citizens. I’ve done this for four years now, and it is a difficult gift of my time, but it is satisfying. I have translated and explained ballot measures to my students, held informal Q&A sessions on the differences between political parties. And despite their troubles with this twisted tongue, my students vote. They care enough to vote because they worked hard to gain the tools that help them make their own decisions. See that, and you’ll understand why those of us who were born citizens with all the necessary tools already in our grasps shouldn’t be reaching for our phalluses instead.

Comparing 9/11 to this past election, as I’ve heard more than a few people do now, is folly. One was a horrific tragedy that should have made us rethink our conduct in the rest of the world; the other was a miserable disappointment that should make us rethink our conduct in our own country. Dividing ourselves along party lines is exactly what those in power want. It takes no effort at all to pluck a vote from a loyal partisan; what we all must become is loyal Americans, believing in the goodness of our country first, and questioning everything else.