April 2007

Seriously, every time I get an extra dollar something expensive in my life has to break. I thought that was all over when I got rid of my car, but no. Someone up there really hates me because now that the car is gone, they’ve resorted to destroying my poor little laptop. Yesterday when I tried to close the lid on my laptop it made all kinds of cracking and popping noises. Turns out the hinge is broken and when I tried to close it the keyboard part started popping up to compensate.

I totally thought this was made out of metal for some reason (maybe because it’s silver), but it’s all plastic. It all just broke off in the back. So much for the screws, they’re still in there but the plastic broke and the screws aren’t holding anything together anymore. Cost to repair: at least $150. Fuckers. Whoever you are up there, I shake my fist at you! Do you hear me?!?!

P.S. I have a new Nervous Breakdown in case you didn’t see it already. Go check it out.


The Champagne Campaign

I went out to R15 last night for a friend’s birhtday and learned of a new marketing ploy they have. It’s called the Champagne Campain, where if three girls come in together on a Tuesday night they get a free bottle of champagne, complete with ice bucket. I already loved this bar before, mostly because it’s only about three blocks from my house so I never have to worry about a designated driver, but this makes me love it even more. Seriously, it doesn’t get better than free alcohol. So anybody up for going out with me next Tuesday night?

FREE Books, take 2

My last attempt to pawn my books off on you guys only succeeded in getting rid of about 14 books. Since that time I’ve found about 20 more to add to the list, which means there are new books on there for you to check out. They are listed here. Just message me which books you want and I’ll send them to you for FREE!

Book 6: “No Longer at Ease” by Chinua Achebe

First, can I just say I can’t believe I’m only on book 6 for the year? I feel like I’ve done a ton of reading and it only amounts to six actual books? A quarter of the year is already passed so I better get crackin’ if I want to reach my goal of 52 books.

Now on to the book review…

Chinua Achebe is most well known for his award-winning book “Things Fall Apart,” which is about a Nigerian tribe before and after missionaries showed up in their country. It shows the struggle between the old values and the new values brought upon the people of the tribe and how they react to those changes.

“No Longer at Ease” is about the second generation of Nigerians under white rule. Obi Okonkwo, the main character, receives a scholarship from his tribe so that he can study law in England. The hope is that he will return and be able to help them gain some ground with the government.

He instead studies English, but still receives a high post with the government upon his return. However, even with a well-paid job (at least for a Nigerian) he finds it is not enough to repay the tribe for his college tuition, help his sick mother, and prepare for a wedding. As the book goes on we see Obi becoming less comfortable among his own people and with the traditions of his people. He sees nothing wrong with wanting to marry a forbidden woman and he eventually gets caught taking bribes, something he is adamently opposed to when he first returns from England.

I found this book to be an interesting look at the effects of imperialism and how it changes the people it’s meant to help. Chinua Achebe’s books show imperialism from the imperialized’s point of view rather than the conqueror, which I find to be a more realistic point of view. The author grew up in Nigeria in the 1930’s when the country was experiencing these changes so he has a first-hand knowledge of what imperialism did to his country.

This book got me thinking about the imperialism still going on today, although we prefer the much less threatening name of “globalization.” It makes me sad that as Americans we can’t just visit other countries and enjoy their culture. Instead we want all of the conveniences of home to follow us there, thus forcing our culture onto other nations. It was a sad, sad day for me when I saw the first Starbucks built in Paris. I wonder how long it will take for Wal-Mart to arrive abroad.

Yesterday I ran my second 10K, and even managed to beat my first time by two minutes (final score was 1:16:29). But it was a killer. Every muscle in my body aches today. Even my back muscles ache, which always weirds me out because I don’t feel like they really get used.

Anyway, the half marathon is only a month away and it’s double the length of the 10K. That means it’s time for me to really get serious about running. Unless of course I want to nearly die in May when I try to run 13 miles. It’s going to be HOT in May, especially in the Central Valley so it’s going to be even harder. But I’m determined to make it to the finish line. After yesterday though I’m not sure I’ll be able to run the whole thing. I do know I can at least run half of it. That’s a plus, right?

Oh, funny story. At mile four of yesterday’s race a race authority stopped me make sure I didn’t need medical attention for the severe sunburn on the left side of my face. I made him run next to me because I was determined not to stop. And since the real story would have taken awhile to explain I just told him it was a birth defect that made my face only turn red on one side. I think he felt like he’d offended me by bringing it up. At least it gave me something to laugh about for the rest of the race.

P.S. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find out here.

I was walking around downtown yesterday when I happend upon an anti-abortion gathering. It seems that the Supreme Court decision yesterday has been hailed as some sort of green light for all anti-choice groups to begin gathering the troops and heading out to further chip away at women’s rights. They of course had out the pictures of dead babies and signs reading “All abortions are unconsitutional.” But the above chalked sidewalk is what really bothered me. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more inaccurate statement.

All abortions don’t hurt women. And, in fact, the partial-birth abortions that were banned yesterday actually were less dangerous for women than the types that will have to be performed now that judges have made women’s medical decisions for them, rather than their doctors.

It’s easy enough to stand out on a street corner holding up a picture of a dead baby and to judge the women who opt not to follow through with a pregnancy (which by the way takes TWO parties to have happen in the first place, not just a woman). It’s especially easy because you don’t see anybody standing out on the street corner with a photo of a woman lying dead on her bathroom floor in a pool of blood with a coat hanger next to her. Mostly you don’t see this because it’s less likely to happen now that women have the right to seek medical help for this highly dangerous procedure.

Outlawing abortion won’t only hurt women, it will hurt the millions of children who will be born unwanted and unloved. There are already too many children in foster care who can’t find permanent homes. Do we really want to add to it? And if the children aren’t given up for adoption what kind of life can they expect? An unwanted baby that couldn’t be aborted is likely to be born to an absent father and a low-income mother who resents having to raise it.

Two more thoughts that are driving me mad: How is it that the people who want to outlaw abortion under the guise of “sanctity of life,” are often the same people who support an unnecessary war? What happened to sanctity of life in this case? Or does sanctity of life only qualify if you are in one of three groups: Christian, white or American?

Secondly, how can we outlaw abortion while also keeping our children in the dark about preventive pregnancy? Abstinence is not prevention. It’s proven that these abstinence programs don’t work. And I wonder how much more likely it is for women to get pregnant if they have had abstinence training instead of sex ed.

We can’t outlaw abortion without thinking strongly about how we’re going to prevent unwanted pregnancies in this country. And even then I’m against it because it puts women without a choice about what happens in their life. If they get pregnant they can say goodbye to any hope of a career or goal fulfillment. And what do men get? Court orders to pay child support, which they likely won’t do. I honestly believe banning abortion would mean relegating women to the status of second-class citizens (as if they already aren’t).

Unfortunately I don’t think many people put rational thought into their views on abortion, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of this:

I had some other issues I wanted to discuss today, but I think I’ve already given you all a mouthful and I have tons of work to do. You can begin sending the hate mail and death threats now.

I’m sure most of you have read already that, in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court decided today to ban partial birth abortions, essentially changing their minds on a decision only made seven years ago.

From The New York Times:

The majority upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, whose very name can set off heated debate. The procedure addressed is known medically as “intact dilation and evacuation” or “D and X,” short for dilation and extraction. It involves partly removing an intact fetus, then destroying the skull to complete the abortion.

Doctors and other abortion-rights advocates who challenged the law maintained that the procedure is often the safest to use late in the pregnancy, because it minimizes the chances of injury to the uterus.

Granted, I’m not a big fan of this procedure, but if it’s safer for the woman than other forms of late-term abortion I think it ought to be allowed. For the record, they did NOT outlaw late-term abortions, they’ve just made it more dangerous.

Again from NYT:

But Eve Gartner of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the ruling “flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women’s health and safety.” The ruling sends the signal that “politicians, not doctors,” will make health-care decisions for women.

Things like this make me remember why I’m looking forward to Jan. 20, 2009.

As I’ve been walking around town in my iPod cocoon, I’ve realized there’s something I’ve been missing about my car: singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite songs. It just doesn’t work the same when I’m walking down the street. Instead of being able to drive off quickly for my Pink immitation, I get weird looks from strangers.

The best time for a car-singing session is on a bad day. I used to get in my car and turn my iPod up full volume while I rocked out to angry music like Eminem. I find that lately I’m even having to bite my tongue for Carrie Underwood songs. I’m telling you I’ve been feeling supressed. I think it’s time for a weekend drive to the coast with the girls with some majorly bad, top-of-the-lungs singing.

Oh, and it’s Friday the 13th in case you all didn’t know. Are you superstitious? When I was a kid I was scared to death of Friday the 13th, but I’ve never had anything bad happen to me. And actually, today’s been a really good day. So I think I’m changing the meaning of Friday the 13th to being a good luck day. Woo hoo for me!

P.S. Am I the only person who’s never really heard of Kurt Vonnegut before? What kind of writer am I?

Interstate Travel:

As most of you know, I just returned from Oregon yesterday. Tony and I visited for five days and quite enjoyed all of the quirks that are Portland. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share with you though because Tony accidently left our camera at the airport security checkpoint in Sacramento. Luckily it was recovered, but not until we returned home.

While we were there we had a discussion about how the U.S. international borders are not the only borders that matter. Every time we cross a state border it’s like entering into a whole new country. Granted, the federal laws remain intact and we have the same president. But governmental organization and the English language are about as much as most states have in common. It’s intriguing to learn the laws of other states and wonder how they came about their decision to outlaw shopping carts or plastic bags.

For those of you who don’t know, which I doubt there are many, Oregon has some very interesting and often controversial laws. One of the most controversial is their support of euthanasia. They also have a very successful needle trade-in program.

But it’s the quirky laws that I love best about Oregon. For instance, if you cross the state line into Oregon, you are no longer aloud to pump your own gas. Instead, an attendant meets you at your car, asks you how much gas you want, pumps it, and takes your cash. Oregon is also well known for it’s lack of sales tax. And while I was there I learned that Portland has a law against sitting on the sidewalk, ostensibly to keep homeless people from gathering on city streets. They also have a law that if someone has overpowering body odor on a public bus or tram, you can request that they be removed – and they must oblige! I think that’s by far my favorite of the Oregon laws.

Anyway, I was just thinking how weird it is that different states and cities have such different laws even though we’re all the same country. I think it’s cool that our founding fathers thought far enough ahead to realize that it would be impossible for one president to control an entire nation the size of the U.S.

The Most Important Person Who Never Lived:

I just picked up three more books from the public library (yay for free reading), one of which is “The 101 most influential people who never lived.” Some of the people written about in the book include Prince Charming, Hercules and Uncle Sam. One of the main reasons I decided to read this book was because I wanted to know who the authors considered to be the most influential person who never lived. I’ll tell you right now, it isn’t anyone I’d thought of.

I’m not going to spoil it for you, but I was wondering who you’d consider the most influential person who never lived. Uncle Tom? Mickey Mouse? And why would you pick them as opposed to any other fictional character?

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