Monday, December 31, 2007

Obligatory End of the Year Post

Bear with me, this will hopefully be my last navel-gazing post for a while. Something in the air in December makes me really, really introspective.

Remember when you were a kid, and you always listened to grown-ups complaining about time going soooo fast and not knowing what they were talking about? And then all of a sudden you blinked and you were a grown-up?

Well, all of a sudden, I blinked, and I've been out of college and time just keeps going faster and faster and I want to scream stop! I need to enjoy this! But time doesn't listen, because time is a motherfucker.

December of 2004. I graduated college. (Tip for those of you still in college: Don't graduate a semester early.) I had only just met Jon a couple of months previous, and I was still dating him. I went home to NJ. I was antisocial over "winter break" and played a lot of Super Mario World. I had a definite feeling of "Now what?" And in January, I started looking for jobs, starting with a "part-time" job at B&N. (I was full-time inside of 3 weeks. Wheee.)

December of 2005. I was the head cashier at B&N. I spent my time working, sleeping, or drinking at O'Malley's. I think I was depressed. I was disheartened by my inability to find a real job, but still unwilling to look outside of publishing. I got a wretched cold on Christmas Eve. I got dumped and my brand new boots broke all in the same night. I felt trapped. I hated my job. It was bad.

December of 2006. I was an editorial assistant at Prentice Hall. The job was too easy, and I missed Boston. I'd been applying to jobs in Boston unsuccessfully. I'd been so thrilled to get the job, but I was beyond ready to move on, even though I had only been in the job for 10 months. (See: me going on an interview in January, and telling my boss I was doing so. But without that, we wouldn't have any of the stuff in December of 2007) Living at home was driving me insane)

December of 2007. I'm an assistant editor now, all because I did something kinda stupid and really ballsy. Wow. (For the record, the interview was a disaster.) I moved back to Boston, I've got an awesome group of friends here, I was brave and braved the Midwest. For the first time, life is really looking up in December. Even though the EA job > B&N, and B&N > unemployment, I was so...stuck that December sucked. But I had an awesome year, and I'm looking forward to 2008. (I had to double check this earlier. The thing about working in textbook publishing is that you lose track of what year it is, because our copyright years are so skewed from the calendar year.)

I hope your New Year's Eve is everything you want it to be, and that 2008 is an awesome year for everyone.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"and it goes think of the past..."

Somewhere between Boston and Northvale, something changes. I think it's when I'm crossing the Tappan-Zee Bridge and heading into Rockland County that something in my head reverts and I become some I used to be. It's not just my accent that code shifts, but the way I think changes.

I went to the Palisades mall on Saturday to finish off last minute Christmas shopping. Considering I worked there during Christmas 2 years ago, you'd think I'd know better. I parked down in the Home Depot lot (and it was just like when I worked at B&N) and I started walking up the hill to get to mall proper. And I think, "Man, this is far. I can't believe I used to walk this all the time!" and then I thought, "I can't believe I just thought that, this isn't far at all." I walk farther than that all the time in Boston--I walk at least that far just to get to the T stop. But something flips a switch in my brain and all of a sudden 200 feet is far.

I went out with old friends while I was home, too, and the same thing happened. I'm not that person anymore, but I was when I was with them. How can change be so impermanent? When I read old journal entries, I don't recognize that person anymore. So how can I become that person so easily?

I'm back in Boston, now, so my Jersey accent is mellowing again. You are probably all lucky you didn't hear it while I was home.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

obligatory holiday post

Happy Winter Seasonal Holiday of Your Choice!

You are being spared the rant I was fuming over last night about NORAD's Santa tracker and blatant propaganda and so on. But, there are many more important things to get angry about, and more appropriate occasions.

I hope you enjoy your holiday, whether or not you celebrate Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If It Snowed Cats And Dogs, That Would Hurt. A Lot.

It is, you are no doubt aware, pissing down snow on Boston, and has been since about 1 pm this afternoon. I left work a little early as a result--I'm mostly glad that I beat the rush, though I wonder how many T-riders really stayed it out?

Snow generally turns me into a huge Grinch. There is something about the gray sky, the cold, the wet AND cold things that are coating my jacket and sneaking into my shoes, the need to shovel, the ice, the salt, the--you get the picture--that just makes me absolutely Grumpy. Granted, I can sympathize with Grumpy Bear, the Grinch, and Squidward on the best of days. But snow? Forget it. I just want to crawl into my bed and give everyone the finger until the snow has melted.

No, I don't know why I moved back to Boston either.

But when it's snowing this hard? When a New England city practically shuts down in the face of the rapid accumulation (we're getting 1"-3" an hour)? It does get pretty. And I like the reminder that Nature can kick our asses any time it wants, and there's not much we can do about it, all our technology aside.

Touché, snow. Well-played.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Can I just say how much this terrifies me?

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm sitting on the couch in my mother's house (that sounds weird), with a mug of coffee next to me, my knitting waiting to the side, and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends on the TV.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you enjoy yours.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And Adding Insult to Injury...

I didn't post about it here, but some of you know that there was an electrical fire in my apartment building last Monday. It was in an apartment on the 2nd floor, and I live on the 4th. The firemen evacuated the building at about 8 am, and let us in about 20 minutes or so later. Not terribly disruptive. It was very smoky in my apartment on Monday, but the smoke and smell had dissipated by Tuesday. They sent 4 fire trucks and shut down all of the street, which seemed excessive.

Well, I was woken up at about 2:30 am this morning because my roommates were yelling. I really thought I would kill them if they were yelling about the Philadelphia Eagles again. But no. I came out of my room, and the kitchen floor was an inch deep with water. It was flowing from the bathroom, because the hot water pipe under the sink had burst.

A plumber came out (eventually) and turned the water off in our apartment. He came back this morning at 8 and said he'd be done in a half hour. Great. I called my boss to tell him I'd be late today, and went back to sleep. An hour later, the plumber finished and I was able to get into the shower. I was only about an hour late, and I would've been in sooner, except for my hobbling and the Red Sox parade jamming the T full of overly enthusiastic idiots, most of whom were cutting school.

I'm really hoping this completes the bad luck trifecta and I can get on with my life.

(Oh, and the doctor told me to elevate my ankle, ice it, and take ibuprofen. I'm assuming it's not broken, because they let me leave the hospital without a cast.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Comedy is Tragedy that Happens to Other People. Or to Me.

It's Monday morning, and if yours has started like mine has (forgot my T pass, so I get to pay $4 to take the subway instead!), then you could use a little bit of a laugh. I'm going to invite you to laugh at my expense.

So, yesterday, I realized that I could no longer put off doing laundry any more. I decided to do just the lights/darks, and to do towels/sheets in another trip, because that's a lot to carry to the laundromat. Which is the most expensive laundromat ever, wtf? Anyway. I'm all done with my laundering, and start walking back to my apartment. It's like a five minute walk, not bad. Carrying my laundry in the little pop-up hamper, my brain full of thoughts of tidying my room and actually putting things away where they belong. (No, I'm serious. Stop laughing!)

And then my phone rings. So I dig it out of my pocket and answer it, and it's my friend calling to go to the Garment District and go a-costuming. I still needed a few final touches for my costume (flapper), so I am all for it, and we are just setting up our plans when a family is coming down the sidewalk. I always get out of the way of larger groups by going to the edge of the curb. This is not really the best of ideas when you are a.) on the phone, b.) carrying your laundry, and c.) have a backpack full of detergent on your back.

My right ankle betrayed me. It was always the good ankle--I've sprained my left ankle twice, and my left knee once. Perhaps it was jealous. I don't know. It gave out. I went down. The hamper went flying (though luckily not my expensively cleaned clothes!). The phone went flying...

...and landed an inch from the edge of the sewer grate.

Ladies and gentlemen, I may be the luckiest ankle-sprainer in the world. I haven't gone to the doctor's yet (trying to make an appointment), so I don't have confirmation, but the bruising, swelling, and general pain are usually pretty good indicators.

ETA: Thanks to everyone who helped me yesterday. And didn't laugh (too much) at my gimpiness.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Probably Wasting My Breath...

Always, I mean to post, I mean to post, I never get around to it. Until something lights a fire under my ass. Like this article.

I feel sorry for atheists. They are so much in the minority in American society and they are bound to feel some marginalization if not persecution.

I feel sorry for theists. It must be really hard being told by some book or organization how to live your life, and be denied the opportunity to think objectively about your choices.

Christians should be the last people to persecute anyone -- including atheists. But that doesn't mean Christians have to accommodate atheism as they tolerate and love atheists.

We have to recognize atheists' full freedom to believe God does not exist, but we don't have to embrace atheism as a social good. In fact, I would argue that atheism has no redeeming social value.

Atheism undermines values. How? Let's look at care for others. Yes, an individual atheist might care for other people. But when have you heard of an entire atheist organization serving the poor, the sick or the hungry?

You do not establish how not having an atheist organization that helps the poor, the sick, or the hungry undermines values. Nor do you state whose values are being undermined. The values of atheists? The values of theists?

So far, at least, atheists haven't demonstrated their concern for others in any organized way.

So we need to be organized for our concern for other people to be worthwhile? Why?

Also, Amnesty International, along with many other organizations who make it a mission to help the poor, the sick, the hungry, and the oppressed, states on its website: “AI is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.”

But more importantly, atheism undermines values such as care for others because it cannot explain why anyone should care for others. If there is no God or anything at all above nature, then nature is all there is. The law of nature is survival of the fittest. Why help the less fit survive unless there is a God who loves them because they are created in his image?

And this is where you REALLY lost me. “Survival of the fittest” is not “the law of nature.” It’s something that has often been said, but rarely by scientists.

As an atheist, I can assure you that I do not structure my life around this “law.” I’m not nice to the less fit because someone (in your case, God) told me to be nice. I’m not nice to them because I think I’ll go to Hell if I’m not. I’m nice to them because I think we only get one chance on this earth, and that’s it. I’m nice to them because I think every form of life on this planet has intrinsic worth and something to add to the greater whole. (Okay, I struggle with mosquitoes.) I’m nice to them because I treat other people the way I want to be treated.

It makes me glad you have your God telling you to be nice to people, because otherwise, you would obviously be out of control.

What argument can atheism marshal against "might makes right"?

Might makes right only benefits the strong. Everyone deserves the chance to live and thrive, because we are all the same, we all share similar genetic code. And if only the strong are thriving, then we have a problem.

Many atheists argue that caring for others can be encouraged based on self-interest.

Which atheists have you been talking to? I’ve never heard this argument before. Please cite your sources.

I don’t care for others based on self-interest. I feel no one should care for others based on self-interest, because humans have strong selfish streaks, and the system would fall apart. People should care for other people because we all deserve the same chances at life. Because we’re all people.

But what answer can an atheist give (that is consistent with atheism) to the question, "What if I figure out a way to be personally happy and fulfilled while oppressing other people?"

There is no answer to that without appeal to someone transcendent to whom we are all accountable.

You are blinded by your own faith. Because you can’t imagine a world where there is no higher being.

Oppressing other people is bad for society, and it’s bad for other people. We should be living our lives for the betterment of ourselves and other people.

And atheism has no answer to social Darwinism -- the idea that society should not help the weak because it's nature's way to weed out the less fit.

Sure we do. Social Darwinism is a bad idea because it’s bad science. It has no value to add to society. ALL people are intrinsically valuable, weak or strong, rich or poor, sick or healthy. If we govern society according to social Darwinism, we lose their contributions.

Helping the weak goes against nature and if nature is all there is, well, why should we fight it? A person might choose to, but not because of any transcendent, objective obligation (such as that all persons are created in God's image).

I still don’t see how “helping the weak goes against nature.” You’ve never established this point, so this whole paragraph is moot.

Not only does atheism undermine values; it also undermines meaning. I'm talking about meaningful reality -- life with meaning and purpose.

German theologian Hans Küng wrote Does God Exist? An Answer for Today. In it, the maverick Catholic thinker argued that atheism can provide no basis for "basic trust" in the meaningfulness of reality.

The only logical option for the atheist is nihilism -- belief that nothing has any objective meaning or purpose.

What? How does this follow?

Küng admitted that atheism is a rational "basic choice" and it cannot be proven wrong in any kind of absolute way.

But most atheists demonstrate their basic trust in the meaningfulness of reality by being outraged at evil and injustice, thereby demonstrating that atheism cannot be lived out consistently.

You haven’t proved that nihilism is the only logical option for atheists—merely stated it. Stating something doesn’t make it so.

What makes something evil or unjust if nothing like God exists -- if nature is all there is? Only subjective choice either by an individual or a society. But that can change and it often does. Without God, the social prophet has no way out of relativism.

Of course it changes. Up until the 19th century, most people didn’t see a problem with owning slaves! Most THEISTS didn’t see a problem with owning slaves. Even the Bible mentions slavery without condemnation.

Baylor and universities like it exist to promote objective values and meaningful existence.

For them atheism is not benign, but the enemy -- even if atheists themselves are not.

That’s funny, I thought universities existed to promote higher learning and critical thinking. It was critical thinking that led me to atheism.

“Atheism is not benign, but the enemy.” Wow. Just, wow. That’s such a dangerous, close-minded way of thinking. That sentence is antithetical to the pursuit of higher learning and critical thinking, and is therefore antithetical to universities. Universities are places where these things should be debated, not where they should be stifled.

Finally, let me repeat that I have nothing against atheists as persons and neither does Baylor University.

But in my opinion, they are people of character and virtue in spite of their philosophy of life -- not because of it.

And in my opinion, a professor should be capable of formulating a better argument than this. If I handed this in as a paper in high school, I would have failed it, and rightfully so. You make sweeping generalizations without backing them up. Too many straw man arguments to count. And you get paid to teach?

PS, thanks for respecting my (lack of) belief system! Might really does make right, huh? Would you have written this letter if Christianity was the minority religion? Didn't think so.

Maybe I should write a letter to the editor of the Lariat about how Christianity is dangerous and damaging to society.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Day of Sad Tidings

I just logged in to Google Reader to find not one, but two blog posts about a sad event that has been slowly approaching.

I knew James Rigney, better known to most of us as Robert Jordan, was battling cancer, and that it was a rare and rather deadly form of cancer. So I am not too surprised to find that he died yesterday, at 2:45 pm.

Warning, there are Spoilers ahead...

I started reading Robert Jordan's books at age 10...I picked up the first 18 chapters of the first book of the Wheel of Time series, The Eye of the World, as a free give away at the Encore Books in Closter. Which is now a Starbucks. My grandfather had taken us there so I could stock up on Babysitter Club books and other kids books before going on vacation to Maine with my dad's family. I read those chapters while in Maine...I read the part where Rand is carrying a wounded Tam through the woods of the Two Rivers, desperately trying to back to Emond's Field, to get his father to the Wisdom, as Trollocs ravaged the surrounding countryside, while in the main lodge of the fishing camp we were staying at. I then had to walk back through the dark woods at night to get back to our cabin on the lake. It was deliciously creepy. I didn't pursue the series until I was 13 or 14, and I picked up The Great Hunt, and then the Eye of the World, in Tower Records. Very soon after, I was googling everything I could find about the Wheel of Time on the internet--except no one knew what Google was back then. I think I was using Yahoo! or Excite. Anyway. I found the archives of the Usenet group devoted to Robert Jordan, and started lurking...the Lord of Chaos was the last book to be released (the first three books are the tightest and best written, but I think Lord of Chaos is my favorite) and Usenet was swamped with questions about "Who Killed Asmodean?" And then there was a little post by someone with the username "Aman A'vron" who was recruiting for a new message board system for the Wheel of Time. I didn't quite understand what role playing was at the time, but I checked out the Tripod based web pages, and whatever primitive forum was up, and started my first character.

I spent most of high school and college at the White Tower Online, and made some fantastic friends. We had something great, and it's all because of the Wheel of Time, no matter how badly the last 5 books have sucked. I don't keep in touch with enough you. I miss you all.

x-posted to my other blog.

Friday, September 7, 2007

In which the knittin', writtin' fool has hopefully learned something

My friend and I were having a conversation a while back, and it made me want very much to immediately sit down and write a blog post. I didn't, however (I think I went to bed), but the idea has been bouncing around inside my skull for the last few weeks, so we here we go.

I've seen a lot of trepidation from knitters in various internet watering holes who feel like they can't try new things. Some of these "beginners" have been knitting well past the point when I would consider them such, some have knit fairly advanced things. My aunt, for instance, saw me knitting cables on my Central Park Hoodie while we were on vacation this past July. She was knitting last July when we were on vacation, so she's been knitting at least a year. She said, "Oh, you're much braver than I am!" The knitters I am referring to seem to develop some sort of mental block about something being "hard." Whether or not it is actually hard or not is beside the point.

I tend to feel frustration towards this attitude, because I just. don't. get it. When push comes to shove, it's sticks and some string. Maybe it's 2 sticks, or 4/5 sticks, or 1 stick that is connected by a bendy tube. Maybe it's really fancy string that was pretty expensive. But part of the beauty of knitting is that it is loops, pulled through other loops. If you make a mistake, you just tug on it, and the offending loop is now an unoffensive straight bit of string! No harm, no foul. Sure, sometimes you lose many loops to a mistake, even rows of them. And it may have taken you a long time to make those loops, and it will take you a long time to make them again. But, if you make a mistake, it's not an irredeemable. (In fact, if you make a mistake, chances are most people won't notice. Or you could call it a design feature.)

So, my frustration is that people are afraid to branch out in their knitting, to take chances. is that any different from me and my writing? Have I submitted any of my poems to any journals? (One, and it was for a college publication.) Do I ever sit down and force myself to write? No, I whine and think how I wish I was writing more. The hypocrisy bothers me. Knitting is pulling loops through loops. Writing is put letters, words, and punctuation into an order that makes sense. If I write something that isn't good, it isn't the end of the world. I can hit backspace to fix mistakes. I can edit and rework a draft (and frankly, if it's saved in Word, that's a lot easier than dropping a stitch down a few rows to fix a mistake and then pulling it back up.)

A knitter is someone who knits. A writer is someone who writes. I'm a knitter. I want to be a writer. The only way to be a writer is to start writing.

So...wish me luck.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Dream Swatch

I have many things to discuss here, but instead, I have FO pics!

This is the Dream Swatch, fairly heavily modified.

I did 3 repeats instead of 4. I wrapped the yarn 4 times instead of 3. And I made it just big enough for my head, and seamed it up into a circle. The yarn is one of the KH colorways from Blackthorne Fibers.

And apparently, it's fall. The students are back, that fall feel is in the air, it gets dark early, and the leaves

have started changing colors.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You can take the girl out of the East, but you can't take the East out of the girl...

So the Midwest isn't quite as scary as I thought it'd be. So okay, I was right outside Chicago, but still. There was a dude with a mullet and a 10-gallon at Karaoke, singing country songs. And a woman named Debbie who wanted us to come transvestite-watching at Denny's with her. And scary drunk girls in the bathroom. And... Okay, the Midwest is still a scary place, and I was in one of the tamer parts!

It's incredibly flat. Our hotel was on "Bunker Hill Road." As a Boston-resident, this offends me. The hotel was actually super-nice. The company was fantastic. There was karaoke and hilarity and boob pictures.

And there was knitting. So much knitting that I shouldn't be posting this, because the pain in my elbows and wrists is phenomenal. Besides the lack of carpal tunnel symptoms, it hasn't been this bad since the problems started. I got some work done on my Central Park Hoodie, and started the Dream Swatch.

I also acquired yarn!

This is enough Malabrigo to make a sweater for me. 2 hanks Natural, 2 hanks Bobby Blue, 4 hanks Marrongon. I bought it a Fishbed, in East Dundee, IL.

Also from Fishbed, Laine du Nord in colorway 4015.

Angelia, from A Perfect Yarn made a custom (or rather, several custom) color for, which is where I met my crazy internet knitting friends. This is my version:

What could draw knitters far and wide, from Canada and California, from England and Elgin, IL, to Algonquin? Fiber Fest!

Where I bought Socks that Rock mediumweight in Downpour...

...and 1,000 yards of Spirit Trails, hand-dyed, laceweight, 100% Bombay silk.

I am currently accepting suggestions for sweater/sweater vest patterns that do Malabrigo justice, and lace patterns that do my Spirit Trails justice.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm sitting in Logan Airport, having paid their rather exorbitant fee for wireless internet access. Because I wanted to finish downloading the World of Warcraft expansion pack. HUGE NERD.

I'm on my way to Chicago, where a large number of knitters from are descending on Crystal Lake, IL for Fiber Fest. Watch out, Midwest. In the mean time, my flight is delayed at least an hour--I have rotten luck flying. I brought my laptop with the idea that I would watch episodes of the Tick while on board, but I've been here for about an hour and I'm already down to 64% on the ole laptop battery, so I don't see that happening.

At least Terminal B is nicer than Terminal C--there's a Legal Sea Food and a Fox "SkyBox" and a few fast food-type places (McDonald's, ABP, etc.) in addition to the Hudson News. C just has the Hudson News. I'll probably go get some chowder soon, but I kinda want to wait until the Burning Crusade finishes downloading. HUGE NERD.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 Challenge

The lovely Julie of Dotmom's Knots recently posted a short story she wrote in answer to's Creative Writing Challenge. (Haha, get it?)

The rules: Write a creative, less than 750-word creative composition (short story, poem, prose, etc.), correctly using the 10 given words, linking them back to their respective pages, and posting it on your blog. Deadline is July 31st.

I have no delusions of grandeur, because I knocked this off pretty quickly, but it was fun and a good way of kicking my lazy writer's butt into gear. Never you mind that I shouldn't be writing poetry--or blog posts--at work.

For all intents and purposes,

the brown recluse spider
is quixotic, bouncing like a yo-yo
from its tangled web,
lurking in its quest to lure prey
into waiting fangs. Poison abrogates
opposition, the bite perfunctory,
the death a quid pro quo exchange--
quick release from pain, a tasty snack--
at least, the spider thinks so,
as he dreams of tropical pleasure gardens in Belize,
where mosquitoes the size of Chihuahuas
await intrepid spiders.
Alas! the ubiquitous honey trade
will trigger its melissophobia.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A General Note to the Magazine and Newspaper Publishing World

Dear Magazine and Newspaper publishers,

Okay. We get the picture. You are all in a panic about losing your jobs. Your industries are in flux, and no one knows what the future is going to hold.

Stop writing articles everyday that say either "print is dead!" or "long live print!" It makes you all look very silly. It hurts your credibility with advertisers (and hey, since when have advertisers been the important people in this equation? Shouldn't you, you know, I don't know, maybe be publishing things that PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO READ????) You only win points if your prediction is correct. It's boring reading--article after article of people weighing in on the topic, saying the same things in different ways.

Lighten up. Instead of freaking out about the future, and wasting hours on these repetitive articles, maybe you could try to do something constructive with your time, like helping to shape the industry in the years to come. Life is change--stop nattering about how things are changing, have changed, and will change, and start actually changing things.



Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Neither here nor there nor anywhere

I feel a bit.. I don't know. I need to finish packing, I have stuff to take care of (getting my rent check for my sublet sent out, stuff like that) and figure out and I don't want to do any of it. I need to finish wrapping up my old job, and start tackling projects for my new job (okay, I need to be given the projects first) and the first makes me want to cry with boredom and the second with fear. I'm half chomping at the bit, ready to start the new job, half convinced I can't do it and I'm going to fail miserably. I hate in-between stages, living in more than one state. I'm currently an editorial assistant/assistant editor, I work for Boston and New Jersey, live in NJ but need to get to Boston. I hate living with boxes and around boxes and out of and into boxes. I have friends I need to see before I leave and I'm in a hermit phase. There's just too much for me to do and think about. So instead I play WoW. Great.

I had to do the whole in-between-stage thing in 2005. I had to pack up most of my stuff and move out of what had been my bedroom, the entire downstairs of our old house, and into my old bedroom, a much smaller room after G-pa moved in with us. But we were waiting on selling our house and buying a new one, so I spent the summer in that in-between stuff. We had stuff in storage, more than half our life was packed up. And then we finally moved in October and it was like life started moving again. (Okay, so it ground to a bit of a halt for the horror of Holiday 2005. That was the longest month of December ever. But it also really started to move again in January, because that's when I got this job.)

I'm stuck again, and time is running out and not moving and god I just want this all over.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Things That Get My Goat

A lot on my plate right now, and I've gotten sucked into WoW. But that's not why I'm here.

I'm here because of close-minded people who forget that what makes America a great country is that it is a free, democratic society, and that we have the right to free speech. Maureen Johnson, a YA author, has had her book Bermudez Triangle banned in Bartlesville, OK.

I've never read Bermudez Triangle. But it is about three girls who are friends. One goes away over the summer, and the other two begin a relationship. The book is about how relationships affect (effect? Can't remember, too lazy to check.) their friendships.

The Objection, officially, is underage drinking, sexual content, and homosexual content. But there is no sex in the book, only kissing, according to everything I can find. So really, the objection is homosexuality.

I’m shocked and appalled at the lack of discretion, and moral decline in the selection of books at the Mid-High library. Homosexual content, unprotected sex, underage drinking, and reckless promiscuity are not values that belong in a school library. I understand there are parents or teens who are dealing with these issues, but not all parents want their kids exposed to this material. Personally, I would not endorse any of these types of book as “14-and-15-year-old-friendly.” Giving teenagers knowledge without guidance is irresponsible and dangerous. As a parent, I screen my 15-year-old’s television, Internet, video game, magazines, and books. There are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her. Parents are a child’s best line of defense in a world that rushes to grow them up too soon. This book, “The Bermudez Triangle” has no moral fiber, and wrongly promotes a “do whomever you want to discover yourself” mentality. There’s no mention of the myriad of diseases, pregnancy, destruction of friendships and lives that are very real consequences of a “sexual free-for-all” decision. I ask that his material be removed at once. You have a responsibility to the children at school to protect them and educate them. Let’s raise the bar a little higher, respect moral values and a parent’s right to guard that which has been entrusted to their care.

Let's leave aside the fact that she's screening everything that her daughter consumes, meaning her daughter will never learn to think on her own because her mother is underestimating her daughter's faculties of judgment and intelligence.

Let's instead focus on the fact that she is promoting close-minded, bigoted thinking. That she is limiting the flow of ideas and information for not just her daughter, but for the entire Bartlesville school district.

Let's instead focus on the fact that only two people involved in the decision had read the book--the librarian protesting it, and one parent, presumably the banner. NONE of the committee members who made the decision read the book. What kind of message is that sending? How irresponsible! Bartlesville School Board, you should be ashamed of yourselves. What happened to the right to a fair trial? It's just a book, you say, but once you start dismissing fairness in one area, it follows in others. Once you start limiting people's access to information, books, and ideas, you don't stop. You start to think you know better than everyone else.

You don't. You know just as much, and are just as equipped to make decisions for other people as the other people are. Less, in fact, because you aren't them and don't know what they want, need, and can or cannot handle. I'm not arguing with a mother's right to control what her child does while that child is a minor. I'm arguing with that mother's insistence on controlling what OTHER children have access to. I'm arguing with people making decisions in ignorance.

So far, a few bloggers and the Human Rights Campaign have picked up the cause. Mediabistro has an article, as well. Get the word out. Stop book banning. Take a look at the most frequently challenged books--you might be surprised at what's on the list.

x-posted to my el-jay, since no one reads this.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Beantown Bound

So for those of you who don't know me, (though I'm pretty sure no strangers are reading this, at least not yet) I went to Boston University, graduated in December of 2005 and moved home jobless. I got a job down here in NJ, as an editorial assistant at Prentice Hall. Despite an utter hatred for all things Red Sox, I absolutely love Boston and miss it to death. I also love working in publishing, and opportunities in Boston are very limited in comparison with New York. So I had mostly resigned myself to living in NYC.

BUT I just got promoted to Assistant Editor, for another list--located in Boston! I'm so freaking excited. The job is kind of "more of the same," but more intensely, and with less administrative crap. Poo on administrative crap. (Haha, get it?) It's weird, because I didn't even really formally interview. My editor gave me rave reviews, there were a couple of phone calls to an editor up there, plus the Editorial Director (like an Editor-in-Chief, but responsible for more $$), and bam, I was offered the job on Thursday.

So I start May 1st from the office down here, and am going to spend May traveling up to find a sublet for the summer, and probably also training a replacement, assuming my editor hires someone before I move. I just kind of shut down when I think about HOW MUCH I have to do in the mean time. I have a big list of stuff my editor wants done before I leave, plus I have to find a sublet in Boston, possibly buy furniture, figure out what exactly I have and need for apartment living (I still have a lot of stuff from my college apartment, but a Swiffer, for instance, will need to be purchased, because I don't know what happened to mine), pack, say goodbye to everyone down here, start figuring out what to do with my car, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and learn how to do my new job! They want me in Boston in June, hopefully, so that's a lot on my plate. Have started looking over craigslist, have done so math to figure out what I can afford, etc. I think I'm going to need to move fast to find a good place for the summer, though.

Oh, and I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now. Oops.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

In Which the Knitter Actually Knits

So you've got the pseudo-intellectual-ese, now for some knitting.

This is my WiP, the Central Park Hoodie from the Fall 2006 Knit Scene, in Knit Picks Swish Navy. I'm fearing it will be too small--that's the front panels and the back knit as one piece. Fretfretfret.

A close-up of the cables:

I like this project. It's my first sweater. The Swish shows the cables nicely, and is soft. I'm just afraid about the sizing issues--I'd heard that the CPH runs small, so I'm knitting the largest size, and it still looks small. I'm also knitting very, very slowly on it, because after a weekend spent on the couch, knitting like a demon and on my laptop for inordinate amounts of time, I started getting tingling and pain in my hands and wrists, which I fear is early symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. More fretting!

I am proud of the photography. It's actually in natural light, with no flash! The color is a bit washed out. My photography skillz are pretty craptastic.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Poetry Spam!

"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land"

And, because Geoffrey Chaucer told me to the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Bifil that in that seson on a day,
In southwerk at the tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye,
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste.
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse,
To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.
But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
To telle yow al the condicioun
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
And eek in what array that they were inne;
And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.

The Cruellest Month

Continuing the theme from yesterday, April is National Poetry Month. Read a poem, be it Dr. Suess or Goethe or William Carlos Williams. Write a haiku, who cares!

Though there are people who say that National Poetry Month is bad for poetry. Charles Bernstein writes:

National Poetry Month is about making poetry safe for readers by promoting examples of the art form at its most bland and its most morally "positive." The message is: Poetry is good for you. But, unfortunately, promoting poetry as if it were an "easy listening" station just reinforces the idea that poetry is culturally irrelevant and has done a disservice not only to poetry deemed too controversial or difficult to promote but also to the poetry it puts forward in this way. "Accessibility" has become a kind of Moral Imperative based on the condescending notion that readers are intellectually challenged, and mustn't be presented with anything but Safe Poetry. As if poetry will turn people off to poetry.

And he's not all wrong. It's like the poetry given to you in middle school. Watered down, flat. Boring. Unstimulating. Unimaginative. Good poetry should make you want to wrestle with it. It's an art form that engages the brain, as well as the imagination and the ear. It should be accessible on a multitude of levels, with subsequent readings adding new layers of meaning for the enjoyer of poetry.

But he's not all right, either. National Poetry Month is like the Oprah Book Club. I want to think the Book Club is bad, because people are only buying the book because Oprah told them to buy it. They're being sheep, they're not exercising their own judgment, they listen to her because she's a celebrity. She gets people to read and buy books that otherwise they wouldn't have bought or read. And she tends to pick really good books. (I am choosing to ignore James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, and Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, both of which lost her endorsement anyway.) Many of these people are not readers, and wouldn't be if not for Oprah. Readers who do buy the book are likely to buy it whether or not Oprah recommended it. Similarly, National Poetry Month just might get teachers to talk about and encourage poetry in schools. It might cause someone to pause at a National Poetry Month table or endcap, and find someone new. Maybe someone will hear a poetry reading. Maybe one or all of these things will change something about a person, and suddenly, they will be poetry readers, or critics, or writers.

The problem isn't poetry, or National Poetry Month. The problem has to do with how our society is structured. With our schools. With allowing people to become frustrated and give up before they've even tried. Not enough teachers push their students. And we don't have enough good teachers because our society doesn't care about education. But that's a rant for another day.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Not with a bang but a whimper

I spent some time trying to think about what I would do with this blog. Should it be knitting exclusive? Should it have any knitting? Should I make a (pseudo) intellectual blog? Should I just post whatever I wanted to post, whenever?

I don't think I could stay monogamous to one topic, and after typing "intellectural" elsewhere on teh intarnetz, I decided that probably wouldn't be the best of ideas.

I've got nothing of substance to post tonight.

This is the way the blog starts
This is the way the blog starts
This is the way the blog starts
Not with a bang but a whimper.