June 6th, 2006

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Of apples and malls and nasty toilets.

I think everyone should begin each and every goddamn day with something that scares the absolute bejeezus out of them. It's better than coffee, really. To wit, please note that President Asshole has now removed from the US Army Field Manual any reference to Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits torture and "outrages on personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment" against prisoners. There. I've done my vile deed for the day. I suppose I should take heart in the knowledge that world history will remember this Administration as the thugs and bullies and outlaws they are, but I'm not that optimistic. Or certain there's any substantial amount of "history" remaining for such remembrances. Besides, hindsight's not much consolation for tortured and degraded prisoners.

Yesterday was not so much a disaster as a dratted nuisance. We made it to the Apple Store about two p.m. Oh, how I fondly do recall those days of yore, when Apple was much less popular, there were no iPods, and you could walk right up the bored geek @ the Genius Bar and get down to business. Now the Apple Store's swamped with people, half of them waiting in line for technical support. Which meant we were at the mall until almost 5 p.m., waiting, waiting, waiting, for a tech to see us and tell us what we already knew, that the logic board on Spooky's iBook was fried. When our turn finally came, it took maybe five minutes. The good news is the repairs will only cost $290 (despite the fact that the logic board's a $700 part) and that we'll have it back early next week, at the latest. But the whole day was lost. No proofreading, and everything that should have been done yesterday must, instead, be done today. At least I got a scoop of red apple Jelly Bellies out of the affair, as the Sweet Factory is directly across the mall from the Apple Store.

And frell me dead, but mall's just keep getting more unpleasant. I'd not been inside one in almost a year. The photo below (behind the cut, because, you know...), taken in the unbelievably filthy women's restroom @ Macy's, nicely sums up yesterday. And no, I don't make a habit of taking photos in public restrooms, but I was very, very, very bored.

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I did learn yesterday that the CEM of Daughter of Hounds should reach me on June 30 or the following Monday. So, now I know when to lay in extra pills and booze. And speaking of Daughter of Hounds, it occurred to me last night that I could place the appendices online, with a note in the acknowledgments/author's note, directing readers to the appropriate URL. I got the idea from the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, as many authors are now including URLs at the ends of papers, directing readers to supplemental material, usually elaborate and lengthy character matrices or colour figures, thus cutting down significantly on page and printing costs.

To help pay for the iBook repairs, Spooky will be auctioning Snapdragon, the new doll, on eBay very soon. As soon as she's finished with Snapdragon's clothes. I really will hate to see her go, now that I've based a character in Joey LaFaye upon her. Anyway, details to come.

Nothing much else to say about yesterday, really. Last night, we made it through Chapter 15 ("Old Craft, New Craft") of The Triumph of the Moon. I wasn't quite sleepy when we went to bed, so Spooky read me Robert McCluskey's Lentil, which did the trick, and no frelling Ambien was required. Okay. Time to dance...
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Enough Rope?

Just some news items and links, because, you know, it just keeps getting more absurd. I think it's healthier, for me, to say absurd, when I mean worse. And it is. Absurd. Worse and absurd.

The thing about Charles Rangel repeatedly calling for a reinstatement of the draft is more than slightly old news, but I believe that Congress was supposed to convene to debate the bill today. There's no chance of it passing, of course, if only because it calls for mandatory service for men and women ages 18 to 42. Part of me thinks, yeah, maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing. Maybe a draft would finally galvanize a serious resistance against President Asshole and Co. Especially if all those good Republican and "Democrat" moms were to suddenly find themselves having to pack their daughters off to Iraq.

Likewise, we'll not the see the anti-gay marriage amendment passed. Now, is it odd that I find no comfort in this? Whether it passes or not, whether there's a draft or not, the men and women running this nation would have things that way if they could. And consider this CNN poll on the question of an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. 50% of those who responded support such an amendment. 50%. I live in a country where perhaps half the populace would deny me the right to marry the person I love because we're of the same gender. I live in a country where, perhaps, half the nation so loathes who and what I am that they will openly and freely admit that I should be denied simple civil rights. Because, they say, I'm a threat to cisgendered heterosexual marriage, which we apparently need, because their god said so and, hey, there are only 6.5 billion people in the world.

Sometimes, the anger gets out. It's unseemly. But there you go.

How about a tiny and more or less irrelevant bit of "good" news to put things in perspective? The Santa Marta Harlequin frog and the San Lorenzo Harlequin frog, both native to Colombia, aren't extinct after all. Well, aren't extinct yet. I think the thing that always astounds me most about what humans have done to amphibians is that these guys have been around since the goddamn Palaeozoic. They've survived megavolcanoes and ice ages and global droughts and cometary/asteroid impacts. They survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. But they probably won't survive Homo sapiens very much longer. I mean, isn't that genuinely fucking astounding? Too bad no one's keeping score out there...