QC-L Version 4.0

Yes, welcome to my lair of evil thoughts and incorrect speech where I don't let go and move on and I talk about whatever I please. On a blog no one ever tells you to shut up. If you don't like what I say, just go elsewhere.

This blog now has a new background and a new theme. It is also using a remotely loaded style sheet. That is a first. It is lush, heavy, and uses a background that has a theme I have never used here before, though I have used it for pressies. Let the show go on! It always does anyway. And yes, we are powered by Blogger.

I am putting a temporary illustration here until I have a logo for this design. Watch this space.

temporary illustration

LET'S ROLL THOSE OTHER SITES

The Backfile: this blog's archives.

Ajayu, home of my story, The Sneezeweed Chronicles. Yes, I do fiction.

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I went to schul today. Saturday morning service was not as awful as Friday night. The rabbi's sermon featured a cheap shot at Pharaoh and the Egyptians. There is a study group in the works, but it is several weeks away. A congregant named AJ who is influential wants a palce to "talk more."

AJ is a secret saint. His wife, Florence, is badly afflicted with Parkinsonism but he gets her dressed (I guess they have help) in fine and elegant clothes and brings her wheel chair and all to schul There someone turns the pages for her since her hands don't really work.

The roughest spot in the service was when I got called to help wrap up the Torah. I have a strange Hebrew name, Chaia Yitzhak. My mother has no Hebrew name and I lied rather than go through the long explanation. The solution is that my mom needs a Hebrew name that I can use when called to do things in schul. I could also ask the rabbi what it is I can do in this situation. I'm going to talk to my mother tomorrow. I'm also going to see if her English name translates into Hebrew.

My tulips are growing exponentially. This is the forced tulips I bought for shabbos. It looks like they may be bicolors. What luck!

It has been warm and sunny. I froze in the schul though and my back prickled. That's how I know I have the flu. I spike and break fevers. Otherwise, it does't feel much worse than a cold. I'm going to eat those naproxen tonight and make sure I get something to drink over the long walk to the Unitarian Church. I can't afford to get sick, but I can't afford to sit idle either. Besides, the worst of this flu bug could be today. I may be healthy by Monday. I have to think positive.

I wonder if I will have such spiritual weekends when I'm back on the regular two day weekend or when I am working the weekend as I will be two Saturdays from now.

And no I still haven't figured out the difference between spaghetti and vermicelli. Why do little things like that bother me. I went grocery shopping today and bought a bok choi that is now bok slaw. I won't have to cook for a couple of days at least. I will miss the cooking but in an odd way it's a relief.

Webleagues is down so there will be no scoring there this week. ZOID, my comp, is up and running and ready for voting. The beginning of the month is the start of fighting cycles, but I have half a reprieve. That feels good.

It's funny how my spiritual life has come alive due to adversity. I hope I am well enough to make the walk tomorrow.


Friday, January 30, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I just wrote two letters to Ghostletters so I am feeling a bit better than last night. Actually I am feeling a lot better. Lou is not keen on going to the wedding in New York in May. That's Harvey's wedding. I will be very angry if he stands me up on this. Lou can get weirdly shy at times. I did some looking at alternative wedding venues and now I could care less about the whole wedding business. I know I have to get shoes for the wedding as well as an evening purse. I may try Burnham's on Sunday since I am very tough to fit. I'm a seven and a half AA with a quad A heel and a low boney instep. I walk out of slip ons and tend to like oxfords and sandals with buckles and straps.

I've had night sweats for two nights running now. It's not hormones. I am sleeping well and I just know my body well enough to know it's not that. I think it's that cold I never got rid of. I have sniffles and the runny ear is back along with the hoarse throat. At least it's not in my chest. I woke up sweaty and then a while later woke up cold, almost shivering. I don't have a thermometer in the house, but I suspect I get a low grade fever at night.

I don't need a bug. I don't need to be sick. I ought to feel great with all the clementines I am eating. There is a big five pound wooden box of them in the fridge. The box is cute as anything with a piece of red netting on the top, talk about innovative packaging. Anyway, getting sick is not convenient.

Tomorrow, in a few hours I guess, I go to schul for Saturday morning services By not writing a letter, I left this option open. If the services stinks, I will walk away. Put quite simply Congregation Shearith Israel is the only vaguely traditional Jewish house of worship in an eighty mile radius. The phrase, "cut off from my people" has been going through my head. Stare that phrase in the eyes some time and then try to imagine it happening. I am not a coward. I plan to go to the Unitarians on Sunday, all seven miles away, and I don't have a car, but Unitarians are not Jews. I am a Jew. It is very inconvenient being a Jew but I am stuck with it for now.

I worshiped alone tonight. I got out the old siddur I swiped from the Orthodox schul in Utica. I like Orthodox services and their siddur pulls no punches. It is more mystical, more romantic, more poetic, and great for solo reading, not this responsive stuff because the rabbi is afraid we can't be trusted to read along on our own. There is nothing worse than hearing the Sabbath Psalm read out in a Columbus, GA accent, led by a volunteer who reads every other line while we respond back with the lines left out. It is much nicer to do your own reading.

Anyway, I decided to get some fresh flowers. When I went down to Publix to get kitty litter, I also bought a forced tulip. Don't ask me what color it is. It hasn't opened yet. I also bought shabbos candles so I could light candles. You can't have fresh flowers and a dirty apartment so I cleaned the place. It looks pretty good. It even smells good for a change. I made vermicelli with greens and beans (Italian style this time. Yes, I still had more kale and more frozen edamamme) I don't know the difference between spaghetti, thin spaghetti and vermicelli. I guess I could find out.

Anyway, it was a good dinner. It was a good home service. I still haven't read the parsha for this week so I guess that comes after I get this blog posted. The schul is on the tri-ennial cycle which is something those Jews who assimilated with the Assyrian Greeks invented. I'm not supposed to know that but I do. I learned tonight how watered down my Friday prayer service has been. It's going to be interesting to do Saturday morning now that the rabbi has the timing right. He nearly ran out of time the last time I went on a Saturday. Now it goes into the afternoon with the study session after the kiddush. We'll see how long I last. This time I'm not arguing with the rabbi. If I get pissed off, I'm walking out. He gets one shot. He's had three months worth of shots so I'm giving him one more. I'm not uncharitable. Cheap shots don't cut it.

One nice thing about praying solo tonight was the presence of Hertzel, my white boy of joy kitty. He's the younger of my two fur kids. Hertzel purred through the whole thing and let me pet him from time to time. He ended up on the floor kneeding at the air in boy kitty ecstasy. He even took a break to eat from the food bowls. I think he enjoyed the service as much as I did.


by Eileen Kramer

I feel like a heel for no good reason. I feel like life has passed me by for no good reason. OK, want to hear a bad reason. My brother is getting married with hooplah and adulation and Harvey managed to send Uncle Steve both flowers and a fruit basket. Yes, I could have done a better job with the flowers. I can do flowers better than even my mother. Harvey acted like a big man and I am getting upstaged.

OK, I said it was a bad reason. It is a bad reason. First of all, Harvey overdid it. He hardly knows Uncle Steve and Harvey sent neither flowers nor fruit to my mother when he could not make it to Grandma's (my mother's mother) funeral this summer. Second, neither Harvey nor I heard anything about arrangements. How was I to know whether Pat's family wasn't going to handle things and Pat's body be shipped to a small town somewhere else where the shiva sitting is going to happen. I'm not as liberal with my money as my "wealthy" younger sibling and besides that I have met Uncle Steve about four or five times and Aunt Pat once or twice. I did not care for Aunt Pat, and Uncle Steve refused to even consent to put my brother up when he came cross country from Wyoming in an old truck. Distant nefews and nieces send sympathy cards or write sympathy letters on stationary.

As it turns out Aunt Pat was cremated, not what good Jews are supposed to do but Uncle Steve is an atheist. The funeral is tomorrow. I'll send the letter in the morning when I can buy stamps. I have to pay bills anyway.

As for the wedding, I (and that means Lou and I) could do it better for less money and with more flair, if not more class. There comes a point when what is expensive and classy is not that much better than what is an ordinary priced novelty and in fact it can be downright dull. That's the trouble with lots of money and a conservative nature.

OK, so much for bad reasons. Life is not passing me by because I don't get to plan an expensive party and make lots of other people spend oodles of dollars. Say that ten times fast. My class went well this week. I got most of the mathematics webliography done (It's not up so no URL sorry...) and I sort of learned how to do a pivot table. It's going to be fun to do a dog and pony show at the next librarians' faculty meeting. I had interesting reference questions at work and even did one thing right by refusing to sign off on a list of gift books that had price values. Don't ask me where I got the presence of mind to do that. It goes against my grain.

I just finished an eleven day week. I came up with the idea of making beans and greens on the spur of the moment. My PSP8 knowledge has exploded exponentially. I have two partial solutions to the schul problem. I didn't bang my head like my mom did.

Tomorrow will be my first Friday for not going to services deliberately. I will be going to Saturday morning services. There is no other alternative for Jewish worship in Columbus, Georgia. The Unitarians may provide better speakers and sermons and a better political feel but they don't pray as Jews. If I find the Saturday services loathesome, I don't have to go back. If they work out better than Friday (and they well could) I will accept that the rabbi is a performer who plays to two different crowds and let it go at that. The conversation with Natalie last week was off the record. It can be made to vanish.

Tomorrow is a day for running minor errands. I need to buy cat litter and clean cat boxes, pay my bills, and maybe sneak in to work to do graphics. I need to get shabbos candles since I'll be home to light them. I'll buy groceries Saturday afternoon or evening. I still have some work to do for the Webleagues, but it should be small work. I'm glad I wrote that sympathy letter.

I'm glad I wrote this blog. I printed out the first eight chapters of To Make the Circle Whole tonight. It comes to thirty-two pages. That means the novel is about one hundred and fifty pages long. It is in desperate need of revision. I don't even know really where to begin. I see one serious mistake as I read besides the small ones. Fixing it should be a challenge. The plot is a spiral and Kohana slowly circles down and down. I miss To Make the Circle Whole. I guess that is reason enough to start revising it. If I get it revised, I might be able to get it published. That really is wishful thinking.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm eating greens and beans over pasta ears and I am way too keyed up to go to sleep. Part of it is working second shift which feels very natural to me, and part of it is I really need to talk and I really itch to do more PSP8 graphics. I found my inner light today along with my inner foreshadow. Those are good things to find.

I also did some plan B type wedding planning. I picked a hotel and I priced it. It is pricey, $165/night. It is also only eight blocks to the Union League Club, for real. Then I decided that just for the heck of it I should price rooms at the Barclay Intercontinental Hotel where Harvey and Elizabeth would like everybody to stay. The lady who was going to tell me about all the luxury available to me, got cut short by my begging to know "what does it cost?" She said she had a room with a king size bed for $239/night. Everything is relative.

I also laid down the law with Harvey. I told him I was going to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding but not the photo shoot the afternoon before the wedding. "Well I guess you won't be in the pictures," he said. I said that I didn't care and that the evenings were his but I could think of lots more fun things to do than stand around and have my picture taken and wait around while other people have their pictures taken.

Harvey told my mom that the wedding was a two day party. I can see how he has been seduced along with his fiancee by the idea of two days of adulation devoted to he and his bride, but asking friends and family to go through a two day party and recommending a two hundred dollar plus a night hotel without giving budget alternatives is bordering on imposition.

I did compliment Elizabeth on the Save the Date cards. They were gorgeous, cream and blue. She said she went through "several iterations" on them. I asked Harvey if the wedding invitations would have the same color scheme. Harvey said he didn't know and then he said the invitations would be very traditional. "This is a wedding at the Union League Club." So....do they have rules for invitations. One would think if one were spending that much money one could have any kind of wedding invitation one wanted. I then asked Harvey if the invitations had an embossed flower in them. Harvey suddenly said he did not know what that was. He still did not know when I told him that it was usually a rose or a calla lily.

Finally, he put on Elizabeth. I'm three years older than either of them and a lot less conservative. Maybe it comes from having a less rowdy youth than either of them. I stay up late, eat late at night, exercise but don't get up at five am to do it. If I were going to spend or (if willing parents were going to spend for me) lots of money on a wedding, I sure as heck would not do what Elizabeth and Harvey are doing. I might make everyone drive upstate to Ellenville New York because that is the home of Howe Caverns which has a heart shaped bridal altar. There is a restaurant that could handle some kind of a meal and there is a motel on the grounds.

I can really see the allure of a nontraditional wedding, since going the traditional route is a crashing bore. Anyway, Harvey with his expensive accomodations and two day party is Groomzilla and Elizabeth who is not working and who is doing nothing but wedding planning full time is Bridezilla. The pair are evenly matched and would make perfect guests on the Phil Hendre show except Harvey and Elizabeth are real.

When Harvey said "this wedding's at the Union League Club" all I could think of was Ted's of Beverly Hills saying how he was a great driver beause he had his racing gloves and Ferrrari scarf and so he could drive his Ferrari around the neighborhood at eighty miles per hour.

Anyway, I looked at wedding invitations today. I never see exactly what I'd want for Lou and me, but I always see lots of neat stuff. Lou says he wants to marry me. I said he has to live with me first without running away. I promise not to turn into Bridezilla. One Bridezilla in the family will be more than enough.

By the way I did not email Julie to ask what funeral arrangements are planned for Aunt Pat. We weren't close but I feel guilty about not asking. Julie either did not know or did not tell. Telling about arrangements is common courtesy.

I got the grading done but the grades for the written work are not on the spreadsheet. Also I have xeroxing and collating to do tomorrow. Oh wow. My favorite tasks. At least this Wednesday is not as chaotic as the last Wednesday that I worked second shift. I wish I could talk to Lou on the phone tonight but I got in too late and he likes to go to bed with the chickens. I miss him right now. I don't know if he knows all the walking we'll have to do in the city. He's in absolutely retched physical shape.

The restaurant for the rehearsal dinner is about thirty-five blocks (two miles) from the hotel. We can walk out and cab in to save money. The restaurant is called Bouterin (Yes, folks this is show off that green stuff weekend!) and it specializes in Provencal cuisine. It has all kinds of fish dishes, pate, and its specialty is seven hour lamb stew you can eat with a spoon and also white bean soup. Perhaps if it weren't a come down they could rename the place the House of Cholent. If I ate meat, I'd order that lamb stew. As it is there are plenty of fish with fins and scales on the menu. Hopefully we'll be able to order off the menu. I forget that in the northeast it's FISH not seafood.

I even have Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding gift picked out though not ordered. I guess a part of me is getting psyched. One last sad thought. I may spend the day of the wedding walking the boardwalk and the beach at Coney Island. The Aquarium is neat to visit and even in winter the beach is one of the most romantic spots in New York. Now if Harvey were smart, he'd do the photo shoot at Coney Island or the New York Botanical Gardens/Bronx Zoo. The backdrop would be superb. By the way you can do weddings right in the Botanical Gardens. Now that would beat the pants off the Union League Club.

Maybe I really am a romantic at heart. Oh well....I guess it's time to publish today's entry. And yes, I am thinking of Saturday morning services at schul. My conversation with Natalie was off the record and alone in her car. There really is only one vaguely traditional schul in Columbus. I'm not sure I'm ready to go it alone. Sunday I can always try the Unitarian church in addition. And yeah....this means no more bar nights.


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am luckier than most people. That does not make me very lucky because quite frankly life just plain sucks for some folks. My Uncle Stevie lost his second wife, Pat, yesterday. My mother liked Pat. I did not. That's just the way it was.

My mother passed out in front of the Italian restaurant near her apartment building and she managed to hit her head and get a nasty concussion that had her barfing for much of the next day. She was in the hospital getting ever test known to man and then some. She's home exhausted, bruised, with stitches on her neck and EEG gel in her hair which she HATES. Poor mom. Poor Uncle Steve.

Part of me is tempted to go back to schul this weekend. Part of me knows it's the only game in town. Part of me is very pragmatic. How do you say "no" to all of that? There are other games. I still haven't squared away things with the spirits enough to beg for permission to go back to Temple of Isis. I can't join a group whose leader dissed one of my spirit friends. I am trying to tell myself that I'll enjoy the early morning walk to the Unitarian Church way out in North Columbus. It seems to be where the liberal Columbusites hang out. I'm hoping that Unitarians pray. If I find this service terrible, the next alternative is Atlanta once a month with an overnight stay.

Class went well. At least it went smoothley. I caught one straggler in the back, a student who mised the first two classes and still couldn't log on. I had him drive my machine and got him set up with a blog tonight. Finding the "death in the family" email in my inbox was a bit of a shock. Finding out my mother had suffered a concussion was also a shock. Then finding the phone call from Harvey, my little shitty brother on my answering machine was shock number three. Putting it succinctly my left ear feels like cauliflower. Harvey, however, was civil on the phone and I got to speak to his fiancee, Elizabeth.

She has a pretty voice and I think she may civilize my brother. We talked about wedding invitations. I got a "save the day" invitation that was blue and cream. The wedding invitation will be boring black and cream with a pearlized border. There are so many pretty invitations out there and they have to go the boring route. Oh well....When it's Lou and I we're going to have a rocket ship on our wedding invitation. Why not? Lou is into model rocketry though it's been years since he shot off a rocket.

Lou had his speaking engagement tonight at a library in Whitesboro and he got snowed out. He had only a dozen people in the audience. He didn't make any money. As I say, some people are not as lucky as I am not that I am all that lucky. I'm not.

I got to show my supervisor, Erma, the glories of the rainbow pivot table in Excel. The data entry project looks as if it may evolve into a cute dog and pony show for the next librarian faculty meeting. I like that idea.

I stayed out of the sesame chips. I wonder if I can meditate and have spirit contact tonight. Last night was a near washout. Learning to make time for contact again is a priority if I'm going to mess with my schedule. Maybe tomorrow I'll go out for some kind of a walk before work. I still have a trace of my old cold but when it's gone, I guess it's time to get active at the Y. I also have to still call about Toastmasters and ask Erma about AAUW. It hurts to acknowledge the gaping hole in my life. That hurt takes priority over everything else, even the death of my Aunt Pat.

One weird last note. Harvey did not invite either Uncle Steve or any of the cousins, Julie, Danny, Heidi, or Amy to the wedding. Well, I was not invited to Danny's wedding and I did get an invite to Amy's wedding that I turned down because I was not going to spend over three hundred dollars to attend the wedding of a cousin I had met only once.

I got to brag about my dress for the wedding over the phone too. That's why I stayed out of the sesame chips tonight. I'm going to keep dieting which means I may ingrow the dress a bit. Such is life. Ingrowing a dress is much less embarassing than outgrowing one. Also I told Harvey that I would not be attending the photo shoot. The evenings were his and dad's. The afternoons are mine. It's good to feel my secret plan B unfolding. Long live the five P's!!!!


Monday, January 26, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Today I discovered my inner wicker (several of them) and my inner batik. These go with my inner and outer bevel on PSP8. I also did the world's worst (well maybe not the world's worst but it sure was clumsy) Chem Abs search and a very good CAS search. I taught a student to search Ecology Abstracts.

Today started with thunder storms which gave me nightmares before they woke me up. I'm scaird of thunder and lightening. I am glad my two cats were in bed with me. I needed them.

For most of the day my web sites (not ZOID but all the rest) were down due to a colossal hardware failure at http://www.readyhosting.com Normally Readyhosting.com is among the most stable providers around. It wasn't stable today. Well at least my web sites are back and here I am blogging away.

I still need to make at least three more images for the postcard mill. http://tacheiru.us/unfettered/plaunch.html With Corbis gone, sprucing up the postcard mill is a necessity, and the default All Yours images which I've never used, are pretty ugly and crude. There's a few good ones tucked in somewhere but they need hard looking. My own artwork is simply better. At least I like it because it is mine.

I wish I could say more about what is happening at work. Work feels very very sad. Erma can feel it. I can feel it. That's all I can say.

It was cold and wet and raw this evening. Normally I don't mind the cold but mixed with the wet, it was bitter and miserable. I hope tomorrow the weather is better even if it doesn't get as warm. I was so glad to make it in the house. Hertzel rolled on the floor and wiggled his hips and put his boy kitty belly in the air to greet me. It was good to see him and good to see Georgia as well. I ate sesame chips which I shouldn't. I guess this is the end of the munchies, given my lack of self control.

I think it is also the end of bar nights. If I have to get up very early on Sunday mornings to walk to the Unitarian church I'll have to not stay out so late on Saturday nights. Oh well....I'm going to have to try a lot of new things. I will miss the schul in the worst way, but I can't go back.

I think I am learning why many Jews are disillusioned from synagogues. The problem is I'm a fairly observant and traditioinalist Jew. Still I can't abide Christian bashing and tearing others down to make the congregation feel good. There are limits to how much one should sacrifice for a social outlet. I am hoping the Unitarians can provide a semblence of religious fellowship.

I am blanking on teaching tomorrow. Two students are not doing anything. I hope they show up for class. Otherwise I will have to try and track them down via email, a dicey proposition since most students do not use their campus email. This is not a task to which I look forward.

At least I hear neither thunder nor rain outside. My hair is clean and the bed reasonably so. Georgia, my seventeen year old blue cream half Siamese alpha girl kitty, is resting on my pillow with her tail and a paw sticking out of her ball like a young cat. I'll have to disrupt her when I come to join her.

I also think I found a picture to replace the red headed woodpecker. It's an old photograph of King Christian X of Denmark riding unarmed on a horse through the streets of Copenhagen despite the Nazi occupation, a demonstration of sovereignty and solidarity with his people. I think this would be a very good thing to put on my blog though I'll probably want to massage the photograph a bit with PSP8.


Sunday, January 25, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

antelope heart fun Are you up for some fun? It's about time for some fun. The tail end of sadness, anger, and frustration is graphics and when I finally treated myself to a PSP8 session, I went whole hog. My postcard mill now features four of my own images. I'll be making more over time. It's great to have a custom page one as the good folks at All Yours.net call it. Yes, there is a spam disclaimer over the top of the site. No, it's not legally spam. It's just a royal pain in the you know where. I've had the postcard mill since 1999, and I'm not about to give it up now.

red gerbera diamondI worked today and it didn't rain so hard I couldn't have made it to the Unitarian church. I'll do that next Sunday. I realize that I will need to be celebrating shabbos at home, something I am unused to and something that will feel decidedly funny since I live alone. I also need to get my spiritual life in order. I'm getting contact but the memory and recall are poor these days. If I'm going to mess around with my schedule, I have to have my contact and I have to be able to go the Y early in the morning to swim or head out right after work. This is a multi-pronged attack.

I don't feel up to writing the rabbi tonight. I would like to give him a peace of my mind. I also know I can't go back. Being part of a house of worship that likes the Christian bashing, the self righteousness, and the classism that the rabbi caters to is a very bad thing. Principals count.

Rabbis are only human, but the pulpit and for that matter the shabbos table are not the place for racial epithets and Christian bashing. You don't build people up by putting others down. You don't tell lies and bubba meishas to bolster your point. I've been here before but it pays to come back again and again. I've been to enough schuls and heard enough rabbis to know this is NOT what Judaism should be about. The racial epithets came from a couple of rabbis up north by the way. The one they used was schvartze in an otherwise English conversation. Literally translated schvartze means black but so too does nigger.

my favorite of the new graphics I don't mean to keep going here. It's just this is a big piece of my life that needs working out. I also redid Unfettered Soul's front page today. It's a fairly minimalist design. Those who use IE will be able to see the pretty colored scroll bar. Yes, this page now has a CSS. The bright red maple leaves are a byproduuct of the top secret project of unspeakable, absolute, nefarious, and diabolical evil.

I spoke to Lou last night on the phone and forgot to do it today. He told me: "When I'm trapped at your place, don't make me eat soy." I told him that was fine with me, but I sometimes want soy products for my own health. Hey, I haven't had the flu yet though I think the citrus fruit I'm eating is helping too.

I tried a new flavor of Celestial Seasonings tea, Peach Apricot Honeybush. It tastes like regular apricot flavored black tea but without the sharp bite and a bit more smoothness. It is not bad and I'll probably buy it again. It came from Atlanta which is the source of most good things. Buying trips to Atlanta have spoiled me.

Well tomorrow night I clean off the dining room table so that it's not too bad to clean Friday. I'm also going to need candles for shabbos. I have a siddur here at the house. I don't have anything fancy planned for shabbos dinner, but I can improvise. Friday is a long week away. And yes, I'm teaching Tuesday. I'm blanking on that. It's one of my favorite classes I tell myself. I enjoy teaching boolean searching. I hope I do a good job. The class is still more than a day away.


Saturday, January 24, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Ah....I didn't go to the FireHouse tonight. I have work tomorrow in the afternoon. The cold has not turned into anything worse and is a good deal better but the FireHouse is smokey. Breathing bad air for several hours could send this poor cold into my chest. I work this weekend. I teach Tuesday. We are obscenely shortstaffed. I can't afford to be sick.

I made a big pot of miso and cabbage and beansprout soup and I made roasted kabocha squash. I still have some Atlanta food left. I ate way too many sesame chips but I didn't get my post beer munchies so I had them with supper. I am full and nearly content.

Twenty-four hours post decision not to go back to Friday night services I just feel more right. OK, I slow burn, but I'm not as angry as I was this morning. I'm just confident. I also realize how absolutely nonconstructive the rabbi's sermon last night was. Talk of anti-semitism is waving the bloody shirt. It also stops all dialog because if an opinion is anti-semitic or in support of anti-semites it is worthless. It's a word one should use sparingly.

As for the identity issue, when it comes to the present audience in the schul, it's a moot point. Jews who show up to go to services are and want to be practicing Jews. They may practice in diverse ways, but that is not an identity problem except in a very broad sense. They also have found various ways to make peace with the dominant surrounding cultuure. My tree and stockings and Christmas dinner represent one way to live in this culture. Jews who go skiing on the holiday have another coping mechanism. There are probably third and fourth ways of facing Christmas.

Seeing an anti-Semite under every bush cuts off a worthwhile discussion on adaptation and assimilation. Adaptation and assiimilation as well as practice issues are a separate topic from assuring continuity from one generation to another. I think though that how we keep Judaism alive in ourselves and how we coexist may hold the clues to how the religion can be successfully passed on.

I know the rabbi's message doesn't sit well with the young. One rarely sees people in their twenties or thirties (unless they have children of their own who have to attend as part of their Hebrew school requirement) at Friday night services. Are those people over at the reform temple? I don't think so, having gone there once. They just don't go.

Manufacturing enemies to keep the tribe together is a very bad strategy because sooner or later young people will see through this cheap trick and when they do, will they believe anything the rabbi says?

The sad thing is that anti-semitism happens in specific times and specific places. Here in Columbus there is a country club that is NJA (No Jews Allowed). The Roman Catholic church and to some extent the Russian and Ukranian Orthodox churches also have blood on their hands, though how much there is at the local level is any one's guess. Is the local church with the onion dome sitll liable for the pogroms facilitated/ordered about a hundred years ago in the Ukraine, Poland, and Russia eighty to a hundred and twenty years ago? Is the archdioses of Atlanta responsible for Pope JohnPaul II's shaking hands with Waldheim or Pius XII's cozying up to the Nazis?

And for God's sake learn the difference between expression of faith and anti-semitism and also the difference between expression of faith and proselytizing. If you want to be taken seriously when real anti-semitism rears its ugly head, you can't go crying wolf all the time.

One more thing, the Christmas pogroms of which the rabbi spoke didn't really exist. The two cases I found after a Google search were in the Ukraine in the 1880's and right after the Revolution 1918-1920. Both of these had strong political motivations rather than religious ones. The 1880's pogroms were in response to the assassination of Czar Alexander II and the pogroms 1918-1920 were perpetrated by the White Army during the Russian Civil War. And it gets even better. Yes the pogroms happened around December 25th. There's only one problem. Ukranians celebrate Christmas on January 7th.

I feel like one of the Snopes' tonight. This is the second time I've caught the rabbi using a bubba meisha (old wives' tale) to make a point. You can't get away with that and expect continuity.

Well the Unitarian Church is seven miles from my home and I have to be at work at 2pm. If I go tomorrow I'll have to take a cab back to make it into work. That is fine with me except they are predicting rain. I don't want to show up for work or services as a drowned rat.

In other news, the top secret project of absolute, unthinkable, diabolical, and nefarious evil while not complete is functional and at a kind of nice plateau. I gave it work out late Friday afternoon. It holds its own quite nicely. It's a good day when evil works out quite well.

I can hear the rain outside. I guess I am a victim of the weather after all. My spirit friend CanDo talked to me about my shcul perdicament. She showed me an image of a white tent set in a flat brown expanse. The tent was zipped up and a light was on inside; for it glowed. I wanted to go in but could not. I thought about painting the outside of the tent. Interestingly enough there were no shadows indicating any body moving around inside the tent. I just realized this now.

If my cold clears up I'll join the Y and Monday I work on joining Toastmasters. The Y costs money. I'll also make sure I attend AITP meetings more frequently. I might even pay the dues though they are quite expensive.

On a last note, they have Christmas trees in Denmark. When the Nazis invaded Denmark and asked that all Jews wear a yellow star, the king of Denmark, Christian X, sewed a yellow star on his own coat. The Danes also protected and sent their Jews to Sweeden. Maybe my Christmas tree is a Danish Christmas tree.


Friday, January 23, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

No Dror Feiler. Too bad, he would have been a safe target. Instead the target was Jews who put up Christmas trees. Whoops -- got me. I stood up the rabbi. On the way home Natalie Kamminsky informed me that Friday night services were "not a debate club but designed for peace." Peaceful for her maybe but not for me. Sitting there and listening to the rabbi's smug claptrap is not peaceful.

The rabbi plays to the lowest common denominator, to classism, to smugness, the anti-semitism card. He tried the race card but I sort of caught him there. Now anti-semitism exists. I don't think it is particularly prevalent in the American south and that shouldn't get me branded as being frivolous, uncaring etc... What we Jews are in much of the South is an invisible minority.

Invisibility can hurt too, but it is a different hurt than people actively discriminating against you or threatening you with physical harm because you are Jewish. If it hurts to be invisible than you have to figure out why and maybe find a way to be more visible.

And expressing Christian faith and pride in Christianity DOES NOT mean you are saying Jews are bad. Jews just don't figure into the equation. We don't count. That is what being invisible is all about. They don't hate us in particular. We are just marginalized through our small numbers, and maybe as far as Columbus is concerned, for buying into the classist system. I bought into it partially and went to the schul.

Anyway I told Natalie that if I had to keep quiet, I was through with the schul, at least Friday night services. Saturday services allow more discussion and she suggested them as an alternative. At least we won't cross paths. By the way if Natalie's peace is so fragile she needs a schul to give it to her and a few harsh words from me upset it, she doesn't have much peace anyway but that's her problem, not mine.

My problem is Natalie is as old as the hills and highly placed on the board. Her polite admonition for me to shut up and not say everything I think may have some teeth behind it. I don't feel like getting bitten.

Being unschuled is scarey. I guess I need to get my job hunt back on track and find a job in a larger city where there is a choice of synagogues. I find the rabbi and his sermons loathesome and I can't see dragging myself down to schul to sit through them quietly.

I'm going over my choices in my head now. First, I can go to the Unitarian Fellowship. It's not really Christian but it's not Jewish either. I don't like the Reform Temple because it's a lot of the same people. The Unitarian church is about six to seven miles from the apartment. Services are Sunday morning at 10:30am. I remember the Ethical Humanist Society and know that the sermons won't be that inspiring but the political center of the powers that be will be father to the left.

I can return to the Temple of Isis. I'm Spiritualist as well as Jewish. At least the rabbi did not mess with that tonight. The problem is Cassonya dissed one of my spirit partners. I have to have some loyalty to him. I even felt guilty sitting and chewing the fat on the Temple of Isis' front porch on New Year's Day. On the other hand, the Temple of Isis is much less classist than the schul. In fact it is downright vulgar. If I'm going to swallow my pride and sit through something, I'd rather it be Cassonya and Norma's service, though it makes the intellectual in me bristle.

I can become a solitary practitioner. You are not supposed to do this in Judaism. I can join other secular organizations for a social outlet. There is the Y. They have a pool. There is Toastmasteres. There is the AAUW. There are campaigns for which to volunteer.

I can try Saturday morning services which are more of a study group and have less of a feel good quality, but I ask myself will this erase the Friday night crap. Here is an example. The Christmas tree is Christian and a religious symbol (It's origins are pagan but let's leave that alone for now), the symbol of Christ's birth, the holiday where the Christians would rush out of their churches and have pogroms on Christmas day, and pogroms h

Let's sort this all out. Now it is true that Christians have accused Jews of being Christ killers, but Christmas is a holiday of feasting with family and midnight mass and pretty singing and in northern Europe there is a pagan tie in with the solstice and the return of the light. I suspect everyone was too busy getting smashed and feasting back in Eastern Europe to be in the mood for a pogrom. Now Easter with the blood libel is another matter but Christmas and Easter are two very different holidays. When your god is a little baby in the manger it's time for partying. When he's been executed by the Romans, I could see being in the mood for a little blood letting.

By the way, the Inquisition (both Papal and Spanish) was a Southern European thing and I don't think they waited around for Christmas to hold their Auto de Fes. And to make matters even more interesting, Jews and Orthodox Christians fought side by side against the Ottoman Turks and earlier against the Crusaders from the west.

Also most Christians in the South are Protestant! Say that ten times fast. Protestants did organize pogroms against Jews.

And as for the Nazis, and let's throw in Stalin and the Communist government of the Soviet Union, Nazism and Communism are twentieth century SECULAR ideologies that have very little in common with the local Russian Orthodox or in Poland Roman Catholic priests who were in cahoots with the local landowners.

Do I have to say that Christian bashing is a cheap shot.

Want more cheap shots...here is the rabbi's other famous technique. Put up a straw man and tear him up. We are good. We are kind. We have mercy and we practice restraint and "self regulation" We are a good community. We know who we are.... but those other guys..... Let's see, the straw man is usually a celebrity and he has gone bad. We won't go bad like that. The straw man is a cautionary example. The restauranter in Haifa who put up a glittering Christmas tree was a straw man. Whoops.....I had a tree in my apartment at Christmas, an "ooooh white tree!" white tree.

Then there is the good guy. There's always one of those. He is the example to follow. At this point, my bullshit meeter is hitting the red zone.

Quite simply put the Prime Minister of Israel, Pete Rose, Kobi Bryant (Yes, he's not beyond the pale and he may be innocent...), Michael Jackson (I'm not scaird to mention him either), the athletic staff of Columbus State University who never checked to see that Jed Bedford, the captain of the Columbus State basketball team who died in mid December of 2003 had a heart defect, the executives of Enron, etc... are just like you and me. They are human! Humans do dumb things! Humans sin!

Human nature is dumb, bumbling, and sometimes disgustingly venal and expedient. The wrong environment coarsens it and the right environment keeps us on the straight and narrow, though the environment is just an excuse. The big time scandals that make the paper are just the unlucky few who get caught. The rest of us just haven't been caught yet. Maybe we can catch ourselves. Maybe faith helps, but there is no us and them as far as most evil is concerned.

This is the main reason the rabbi makes me so angry and so unhappy. Seeing the congregation fall for his fallacy makes me angrier yet, and finally let's return to the restaraunter with his beautiful Christmas tree. He confessed that to him Christmas was not about the birth of Jesus. Hang out in a shopping mall and the restauranter is not so far off, and yes the Christmas decorations are wonderful. The restauranter was shallow according to the rabbi for not caring about pogroms and enjoying decoration and kistch. He had committed a crime against the tribe. If the tribe doesn't stick together we as Jews die out.

Sorry I just don't buy this. The tribe serves me. I don't serve it. Enjoying yourself and assimilating is not a crime against the tribe. The tribe is not a human being. If the tribe does not serve its members interests it's time for the tribe to change. Of course the existence of a tribe keeps the rabbi in business and what the rabbi suggested we do was easy. He forgot that someone in the congregation might put up a tree at Christmas. This is America. Pogroms didn't happen here. That's a fact jack or rather Max!

I feel better writing all of this out. I've got a big problem. Maybe I will wake up Sunday early and make that big long hike to the Unitarian congregation. It's all one god anyway and it may be deeper and more intellectual than the spiritualists. Also next weekend is the Saturday pot luck at the Temple of Isis. There is always the Y to join. And there's one more choice. There's weekday morning services which are sermon free. I'd still get to pray with a group and have a place to go. Just the time of my going would be different. In all fairness I can give the rabbi one more try with Saturday morning services. I'm not sure I'm ready to be fair or maybe it is way too far past that point.


by Eileen Kramer

Where do I begin. It's been a very long day. Scoring two comps has a good way to leave you exhausted and weirdly satisfied. It blots out the rest of the day. That is good.

I finally learned to set up a pivot table for the data analysis project. Now we can see the data in rainbow charts of varying compositions. It's time with a bit of revision for the dog and pony show. This will be weirdly fun. The trouble is nobody noticed.

I lost a colleague today. There is a revolving door on reference row and she went throgh it. Actually she is on disability. I will miss her. She was not a bad colleague. She is being replaced with part timers (Yeah folks passive voice! but when you're gone you don't get more passive.). I don't know if this is a good strategy. If part timers cost less to hire than full timers then this could become a long term situation. I don't want to say more on this though I know a bit more.

I also got claimed by my top secret project of diabolical, nefarious, and absolute evil. The road ahead is a long, ugly slog as far as the project is concerned but that is OK. I'm ready.

I work this weekend and I think I am coming down with something. My ear is runny and it hurts a bit when I swallow. I think it's the runny ear. I hope this is only a cold. I can live wtih a cold. I really don't want to be sick in a house with no food. I hope I don't have to scrap bar night to go shopping.

I am now in charge of the GALILEO workshops. I inherited this from the colleague who left. She was our bibliographic instruction/information literacy librarian. Now no one is in charge of information literacy/library instruction. I'm glad I am way out of the loop on all of this. It is a good safe place to be.

I feel sort of like my Uncle Stevie felt when he lost his older sister, Lila. He went from being a little brother to only child to older brother when my mother came along. You are not supposed to have turnover like that in a family. Well, reference is family...sort of. I've gone from being new person to second most senior by doing nothing but staying put. I'm not ready to out senior any body. I don't want the responsiblity and I don't want the political heat. The woman who is more senior than I am has been scorched terribly by politics. I don't want to say more on this topic.

I am thinking more about the ending of To Make the Circle Whole http://tacheiru.us/circle I know now who and what drove Peter to suicide. I did not know this for most of the story, but I think this will make sense. Kohana will also end the story stuck being a barnboss. Poor Kohana.

My runny ear is bothering me a lot and I can feel it hurting in my throat if that makes sense at all. I don't dread the flu as much as I dread tonsilitis. I know I don't want surgery. I've had tonsilitis close to a dozen times in my life. The last time I was in high school. It means losing a week of my life.

There I just took 400mg of Naproxen. Goodbye ear ache and sore throat. There's plenty of herbal tea in the cupboard and a big brand new container of miso in the fridge. If I get stuck in the house, at least there will be soup and tea. Right now that is a comforting thought. I need to go to work tomorrow and I work this weekend. Somehow I have to survive to teach Tuesday and set up for the next Tuesday. This is not the time to get dreadfully sick.

I wish I could end on a more upbeat note than this. I'm cold. It is late. I had spirit contact last night, but run a good chance of washing out. Oh well...I can always come home and die rather than go to schul tomorrow. What a way to spend a weekend, even a working weekend.


Thursday, January 22, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Oh I forgot what a grind correcting student work is. It's the same piece of work over and over again though the answers to the first assignment were vaguely amusing and most students got it and most students handed in work. That is pretty good. I hope class three goes better than class two. Everything for next week is xeroxed already. I think collating and xeroxing are two of the worst tasks that are part of my job and giving them to a student doesn't cut it. I mean if it's torture, why inflict in on others?

The other good news is students like their blogs. Several students have already started decorating them. My students are of the sort who accept the world as it is rather than get angry at it. That saddens me. I think college students should be more idealistic than that.

As for the top secret project of unspeakable evil, it is fast losing its luster. Sometimes this happens when one meets evil even more nefarious than oneself. Let's say I've just been outeviled and leave it at that. I'll do a bit more work on the project anyway to tie up the loose ends.

I'm still thinking about how to tie up To Make the Circle Whole http://tacheiru.us/circle I think I don't want an earth shattering ending. I think I do want some crucial conversations to happen and for Kohana to be part of them, but that's it. There it will end. The title is ironic because the circle can never be made whole.

green valentineAnd I went hog wild with the graphics. They are looking for these things for a Valentines Day holiday page for the RAOK Hugs Committee. I don't know who would send such a page but it is fun to have someone else appreciate your graphics. I'm also learning to bevel with the best of them. This graphic uses an outer bevel and an emboss.

ride in my car for Valentines DayThis one was made for the same page with a heart found on a clip art site rather than stored as a shape. Yes, now I can make as many vector hearts as my heart desires. This uses a neat technique of spraying a black and white graphic on a colored background. There is an awful lot you can do without going to three dimmensions.

kente valentineBut of course faking three dimmensions can be lots of fun too. The heart was made using an inner bevel, a preset shape, and a cut out. It is at that point where technique almost overrides good sense.

I tell myself the next batch of graphics will be for my postcard mill. I have it in good shape now. That is a relief. I think I can get it to be a top notch personal post card mill. Right now it works and that is all one can say for it. That's not much.

The rest of this week is going to be excedingly mellow. There is a Rite of Passage lecture tomorrow where a math professor is going to try to do something a bit out of the ordinary. I hope he succeeds and that the food is good. I did not pack any lunch since free lunch comes as part of the deal.

I have pictures of the marquee display that goes with these lectures. I designed a graphic of a butterfly that breaks out of a crysalis. I owe my goals a manual on how to make graphics for the marquee. It's really not that hard. Face it. It's not every amateur graphics person who gets her work up in lights. I'm kind of special.

I miss my spirits because I washed out last night. That comes from keeping late hours. Lately my vision work has been dealing with water, rain, rivers that sort of thing. Water is a pleasant symbol though I also think it is somewhere just plain old real water, just not in this world. I miss the water and the spirits who seem to like it. Oh well here it is 1:35am. It's another night of burning that candle at both ends.

I am blanking on next Tuesday's class though Saturday comes before Tuesday. I work this weekend so a six mile each way triip downtown to go carousing (for all the carousing I do....) is out, but I can go to the Fire House and nurse a Guiness and dance to raunchy music and watch the PDA's on the dance floor. I even have munchies to come home to because beer without munchies is like land without rain. I am oddly enough looking forward to Saturday night. I am also looking forward to going to schul on Friday, and yes, I've got to go buy cat litter. Do I ever learn? That last is no fun though cleaning cat litter pans is not nearly as bad as it sounds.


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I lost four or five more students today. I'm down to a class census of about twenty. That is nice and comfortable. I'd rather see students head for the door before they straggle. I've done a good job scaring them off. I also think I did a rotten job teaching today. The one good thing is my students have shining lights among them. They are hard working and motiviated and deserve better than me. I also lost my three hardest to reach students. I offered to help them catch up. I offered in the best of faith but they vanished in a puff of smoke almost at the end of class and then I found their drop notices in my email. I drove them off.

Then there was the student who insisted I give the Registrar a written explanation why a student was dropping too late for a refund. She wanted to use the room snafu for an excuse. Now I did tell my boss about it for fear she had heard about it from others, but I don't want that kind of thing bruited about the administration building. I finally gave her a very terse letter.

I still can't figure out who put through the room switch, but when I went to put up the right signage today, I found the incorrect sign on the door of 408 CCT so I don't think Emil, the student, whom I sent to tape up signs, never took down the incorrect sign. I don't think Emil ever bothered to tape up signs in the first place. I went to talk to the secretary on the fourth floor of CCT and she is out of town for the week. Usually secretaries are at the bottoms of messes like this.

Between the beaurocratic SNAFU and my attempts at scaring my students, they are dropping like flies. I hope no one complains. I had a lot of drops the first time I ever taught Libr1105. That time the class was just at the wrong time of day. The reason I am scaring my students is I am scaird myself. I also figure students who run scaird will give better performance. Think of yourself and how much more on the ball you stayed when you ran a bit scaird. Running scaird beats being bushwacked any day of the week.

I wish running scaird would improve my teaching performance. So far, I've shone once and fallen flat on my face once. I'm batting five hundred, but this is not major league baseball.

Tomorrow I pull off the dropped students' blogs and get rid of the empty spaces in the table on the syllabus. I currently only have one blogless student and I have never seen him or heard from him. I am hoping my one unregistered student gets herself registered. She is doing the work so she needs to fill out the paper work.

The weird thing about all this running scaird is I'm not scaird of grading any more. I have plenty of time to do it tomorrow and not that many written assignments in the folder.

In other news, I really really really want to write the next chapter of To Make the Circle Whole http://tacheiru.us/circle I wrote chapter thirty-nine and cleaned up the template a bit. The story has at most two chapters left. I am still figuring out how to tie up all the loose ends. I've lived with these characters since my fibro-adenoma was diagnosed last summer. I created the story because this was the one I always wanted to write but many of the characters just appeared on the scene. They are in many ways like real people now. This makes the ending of the story very hard to write. I am wondering now if Kohana will ever solve the entire mystery or know for certain who drove Peter, her mentor and predecessor, to suicide.

As for the project of unspeakable, absolute, and nefarious evil, it has moved from deadlineless amorphous undertaking to a project whose time has come. I took it for a not so dry run this morning and it worked quite well. Evil can be lots of fun. You'll just have to trust me on this one.

The RAOK Guestbook and the E-Card Education Center both need roundups and updates. This is going to wait.

I got the physics webliography done today but it's not up yet. Somehow that feels good. I also scored two web site competitions. I did it with surprising efficiency. That felt excellent.

Though, it's one am, I don't feel at all like sleeping. I wish the eczema on my left fingers would stop itching.

I bridged twice today and went back to look at the site where the death bed drama was there for all the world to see. The widow is at least posting about the memorial service. Beyond that, who knows if the site will stay active. I'm glad someone else adopted it. I think Andrew's illness and Judy's bereavement blog are just out of my league. One has to know one's limits. I should take my own advice http://tacheiru.us/advance/support.html on this one. I'm not sure where bridging fits in with my own practical philosophy of giving support to strangers on the net. That's one very good question.

Finally, I'm kind of glad Kerry won the Iowa caucuses. Everyone had written him off and Dean was the front runner. Well, Kerry, is not half bad as a candidate goes. He is a kind of anti-Bush, eloquent as Hell and if any one comes down on him for being soft on defense, he just has to remind them that Bush went AWOL while Kerry went to Viet Nam and returned to become part of Operation Winter Soldier. If character counts, Kerry has it in spades. Actually if Kucinich is still in the race, he'll get my vote if he's on the ballot super Tuesday and come the election I'll back whomever survives this race. I may even work for that candidate. It is ten months until the election and a lot can happen. We have a shot if we believe we have a shot at sending the mad cowboy in the White House back to the ranch in Texas. Yeeee haw!

By the way, I heard the replies to the State of the Union Address. I could not stomach W tonight, sorry. I must be terribly out of step. I don't worry about terrorism. Why should I when we are excellent at poisoning ourselves with contaminated meat (Mad Cow! Mad Cow! Mad Cow!) and fouling our environment with global warming. We're killing ourselves off if we don't do something about it. Who needs to go to Mars when we need to clean up our filthy nest. It's the only nest we have.

What a terribly depressing way to end this blog. Oh well, I guess I really do need my sleep.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I missed the opportunity to write the next chapter of To Make the Circle Whole. I must have missed a whole lot of other opportunities today, but that is the way today went. The top secret project of unspeakable and nefarious evil called, and I responded to its siren song. I just said "enough" for now and tied off the loose ends on the project. Of course there remains a lot more to do, but with work and teaching and what not, it's not going to happen any time soon.

The odd part of all this is that the top secret project of absolute and unspeakable evil has no deadline, not with what I know now about wreacking my diabolical little schemes. Still I want to have things in order before the end of the month. Go figure.

Yeah, I would have done better using my pass key to slip into work to work with my PSP, but instead today wast he day for evil. How do I feel on a day that evil reigns? Not all that bad. I am trying not to think about teaching tomrrow. I scaird four students into dropping last week. I have one student who came to class and is unregistered. I have to speak to her. I'll have to deal with missing paperwork and explaining to students that you get a written assignment and a question of the week for your blog most weeks and a research cycle (bloggable) and a question of the week for your blog some other weeks. Now that should not be so hard. Should it?

I made salad today and late tonight I found out that a woman listed on http://www.sharethelove.org had picked up a sympathy card I sent her. That was good and much better than Aidan's mom. I'm scaird to go to her family's web site again. She had writing that made her husband's ordeal and death come alive. She is a pro. The site sits unadopted because it lacks a guestbook and its board which is not active requires registration. The woman could easily go mute and not expect continued support. I don't know how the site made it to Sharethelove.org There is only so much I am up for in the world of vicarious illness groupiedom.

I'll stick with Aidan for now and visit other sites and sign their guestbooks on the days when no one has signed after me (as is happening now) or when it's only been a day or two. Aidan's mother at least is updating the site which is a good sign and Aidan continues to recover from his surgery.

At least tonight my bed won't stink. Those sheets got unbelievably foul, but no more. I did laundry today and now I have plenty of clothes to wear and a bed that smells sweet. I have to get out in the cold and buy cat litter tomorrow night. It's not that cold here, but it is cold for Georgia if you know what I mean.

I'll probably look back on this weekend and say that I am several steps ahead of where I was on Friday night. That means it wasn't a bad three day weekend. Of course a four day week still often has five days of work in it.

I have to do something about that data analysis with Erma. My guess is I'll do manual counts, enter them back on the spread sheet and make some pretty charts. The charts can be pasted into Word documents or even web pages. This should impress the director. Alternatively, I could read up on pivot table charts in Excel. I also have a third idea but it is a strange one. For all I know, it might work though.

Thinking of work late at night with the morning a few hours away is bizarre beyond belief. I mean it just plain doesn't feel real. The worst part is I work this coming weekend. I'm blanking on that too. I think I need to blank to survive or maybe it is just a habit. Is it a good habit? I don't blank on ordinary stuff like cleaning litter boxes. I blank on the stuff that makes me scaird and turns my life upside down. I guess that's the only way to go or maybe the only way for me to go.

One image keeps repeating itself from Saturday night's ride home from Atlanta. We passed a place near the airport where all kinds of white vehicles, mainly trucks, were parked in a lot with a high chain link fence topped with barbed wire all around it. Inside the lot was a building of white cinder block with large windows. Through the windows, I could see a bluish light and in the light sat men and women at big tables like cafeteria tables. Don't ask me what they were doing there. Maybe it was a factory or a dispatch center. Maybe they had come into the cold blue light to be warm or dry since it was pouring rain by then. Go figure on all of this. The image stays with me though.


Sunday, January 18, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I just realized that this red headed woodpecker is going to need to be retired. It was put here the weekend after my first mammogram when the found the firbro-adenoma in my left breast. Well, since it turns out that I'm fine, the waiting is over. The woodpecker which I saw while walking was a symbol of hope during that time. While hope never goes out of style, I got the thing for which I hoped, so maybe it's time for something different.

I did NOT go in to work to play with PSP8 today. The reason was I did not want everyone and her brother knowing I wanted to go in to work to play with the software, so I hid out here. I went grocery shopping and made soup tonight. I washed my hair and generally took it easy.

I wrote chapter thirty eight for To Make the Circle Whole, http://tacheiru.us/circle The template for the blog is a mess, just outdated, but the story is now within one to three chapters of reaching its end. I guess that is appropriate too. I care more about Circle than I care about any other story I have ever written. What I will do with it when completed is any one's guess. First I have to find out if I have enough of it to publish it in the conventional way. Then I have to revise it. I wonder if revising it will make me hate it. If I get it revised, I am going to try to sell it and yes, I want to publish it. I wonder if Circle will make me a Southern author since the story is set right here in Columbus, Georgia.

The story will or may end in such a way that sequels are possible. I don't plan any more murders. I did for a while, but they are really not necessary. I do know that Kohana will not be going to the police or to Benjamin Crow with murder charges.

Meanwhile, I have added more to the top secret project of unspeakable and nefarious evil. Sorry, folks no details. It is coming along though which is a good thing. I really don't have a deadline on this project.

Bulbmeister.com is back in business for e-cards. They crashed last week and I thought they were gone for good. Well they're back and I sent Ladies Advance http://tacheiru.us/advance one of their fine e-cards.

When I get back to doing more PSP (perhaps tomorrow) I may make some publicly useable graphics for e-cards. I do have my own postcard mill on my web site and the images will work with that. Sorry purists, it's remotely loaded but the cards and the pick up letter are ad-free.

I was planning to bridge today (as in sign the guestbook at Aiden, my adopted kid's site) but never got around to it. I may still bridge before I go to sleep. I think Aidan's mom is afraid of me or doesn't like me. If I send her Corbis cards she never opens them. I've sent her one and it was never opened. She must be suspicious of strangers. I adopted Aidan at a time when his aunt Tracy ran the site. Then the site passed into Aidan's mother's control. I came with the site more or less. Oh well, she doesn't pull the entries from the guestbook and for all I know she is just too busy to care. Having a sick kid on your hands must be quite time absorbing.

Here is Aidan's web page http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan Aidan seems to be recovering from his selective dorsal rhizotomy (I did my homework yes I did!) quite well, needing little pain medication and eating. The hard part will be when he learns to walk again with only half the sensory nerve fibers comimg from his legs that a normal human being has. Are sensory nerve fibers redundant? I guess they must be. I had neurobiology a very long time ago. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

If you like medical stuff, Caringbridge.org is the place for you. You should read about some of the cutting edge therapies those sick kids and adults are receiving. It's absolutely fascinating. Of course some of what I read would make good fodder for a class on medical ethics. When do you say "no more?" There are issues of informed consent, substituted judgement etc...

And yes, I think Nemisis' web site is godawful. The colors are not safe and I think indiscriminate use of i-frames is annoying. Yes, Nemisis, I'm talking about you.

Finally, I'm cleaning the trash out of my inbox. I just scoop out the debris with a shovel after removing the few things that come from those I know that have somehow slipped the whitelist. Otherwise, it's crush, kill, destroy, and don't look back.


by Eileen Kramer

I did not make the 7:30am bus to Atlanta, but I did make the 1:35pm which left on time. The buses were wonderfully uncrowded. Bus travel in January can be a pleasure. I bought everything in Atlanta I wanted except pasta. I simply did not have the room for it. Celestial Seasonings came out with a new flavor of tea called Honeybush Apricot Peach and I bought that.

I am learning how not to get rooked in Whole Foods. The whole place is one big marketing con job. They had gorgeous Chinese cabbages in the DeKalb Farmer's market so I brought one home. It is two and a half feet long. Tomorrow I need to get green salad olives and carrots and possibly onions so I can cook some of the food I bought. I am going to make lima bean black olive soup and I'm also making Chinese cabbage salad with traditional thousand island dressing.

There are very good cortland apples and blood oranges in the fridge. Lunches should be excellent for the next week and a half. I won't have to worry about the skimpy selection of herbal tea at Publix, and I will have excellent munchies to eat after a munchie deprived evening of carousing (yeah, all the carousing I do.)

I even permitted myself a look in the beer department at the DeKalb Farmer's market. They have at least four or five varieties of dark beer besides the inevitable Guiness. The problem is I live alone and so can't have beer in the house. Now, I wonder what kind of a faux pas it would be to bring some munchies to a munchie deprived (not even a machine or munchies for sale) bar such as the Fire House.

On the way out to the Farmer's Market and on the way back to the Greyhound Station, I ran into scads of cheerleaders. Some of them were as young as elementary school. All had their hair styled and many of them wore glitter or makeup. It was almost surreal.

Cheerleaders (though for some reason I insist the ones from my high school were different and that was maybe because I knew them and saw them in class) press buttons even though I am forty-one years old. I have never been that athletic and though people tell me I'm decent looking I've never been that glamorously beautiful. Do I feel jealous? I guess a part of me does, though if I had an ounce of atheltic ability or maybe more than an ounce, I would have swam competitively, something I did when I was eleven and liked. Swimming is a much more serious sport than cheerleading. After all is cheerleading in the Olympics?

There of course is that whole issue of cheerleding and feminine stereotypes, though college cheerleading teams can be co-ed. That changes matters, though not completely. After all why do male football and basketball players need cheerleaders to cheer them on. There's something not quite right there. I don't think cheerleaders do their thing for the female teams.

The bus coming back to Columbus left on time and had only half a dozen people on it. Coming back to Columbus is always the worst part of a buying trip. I don't always hate it here. If I did, life would be intolerable. It's just I would rather live in Atlanta any day of the week. The students at work and sometimes my colleagues make living in Columbus worthwhile.

I had a very strange dream last night. It was about New Year's Eve. Lou and I walked to this church to go to a party that wasn't there. The church was cozy inside like a living room and there were things to read and we were welcome to stay. There might even have been food to eat in the church kitchen. We had walked through what looked like Ardsley, New York where I grew up to get to this church.

One of the people at the church mentioned that I had missed Pam Yuill's (Yes, she's a former colleague of mine who is now working on another graduate degree) New Year's Eve party. Lou and I had been invited. I remembered that I had spent New Year's Eve at the Fire House and felt very very embarassed. It wasn't until I woke up that I realized that Pam has not invited me to anything at her house since before she became involved with her present husband and now she is too busy with family to invite a former colleague to anything.

Don't ask me what this dream means. Yes, I missed getting invited. I miss getting invited. I don't really think it's my fault though. People just forget how at loose ends I am. I have taken to going out alone and that helps. I'm no longer at loose ends because I have picked up the ends myself. Maybe I will go out to the Fire House or somewhere similar next weekend, even though I'm working. I have a whole shift of all early days to decide.

Tomorrow I'm thinking of going in to work to play with my PSP 8. I want to see what else I can make it do and I want more graphics. There should be a touch of absurdity on this blog more often.


Saturday, January 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Yes that's olive loafOK, a touch of the absurd for this very brief blog. Last night I got a phone call from my doctor. The receptionist left the good news in my answering machine. My fibro-adenoma is not growing so it's benign and now becomes part of my baseline. In other words, I don't have anything wrong with me that medical science did not create. That's a big relief.

I was too busy playing with my inner bevel on PSP 8 to make it to schul, but I did manage to make it to Dillards and yes, I bought the dress. The really good news is it was on sale one third off so it was not quite as outrageous. My indecision earlier in the week paid off!

I have the money to go to Atlanta but I won't have much sleep. I don't care. I want what they have in Atlanta. I don't look forward to losing my weekly ration of loud music and stout beer. That's all the bar thing has amounted to so far.

I wrote to the email addresses of one of my JDate profile people I get sent. I'm not a member and membership is a rip off, but I figured if the guy really wanted to meet women, he'd want to meet me. I haven't heard from him. I don't particularly like online dating. I want to meet the candidate in the flesh. I like blind dates. They are fun. It's always nice to meet someone new unless he stands you up or does something totally cloddish, but most blind dates are on their best behavior.

Then of course there are the jerks who cruise ICQ. I leave my ICQ off most of the time for that reason. Those guys must have a rejection complex, though one was actually nice and I offered to meet him at the museum the next day. You should have seen him run. I don't know what he wanted but a flesh meet was not it.

Georgia, my seventeen year old blue cream alpha kitty girl, had a fight with Hertzel, my impetuous all white alpha kitty boy. Hertzel will be five this spring. He was two when I got him. He decided to try and bite Georgia's tail. He didn't succeed. Georgia fled into the space between the fridge and the wall, turned around in there, and came out swinging. Hertzel fled to the couch. I told Hertzel it wasn't nice to try and bite other kitties' tails. I don't think a word of it sunk in.

Brainstorms is down tonight. I miss it. 'Nuff said.

I tell myself I'll feel rested on less than three hours sleep. I also tell myself I'll feel good with a house full of commestibles from Atlanta. This is the way life goes down here. I'm used to it by now.


Friday, January 16, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

My circadian rhythms are gone but I am here. I took a nap last night and awoke at 3am to score my team at Webleagues. Thank goodness that is all squared away. I'd like to sleep more than anything right now. Unfortunately, I am due on the desk in half an hour. The Hugs Committee from RAOK is looking for Valentine's Graphics so I am going to have to do my part to pitch in. This may be fun or it may be boring and sickening. It is up to me.

I scrambled around with the phone tree for my class Wednesday night and now all but five of them have blogs. Two of the remaining five have had some contact with me. One student's mother called me somewhat irately and said that her son claimed not to be registered. I rechecked the roster and told her he was listed. Could he have registered and forgotten? Two of the remaining five do not have working or listed phone numbers so I emailed them. So far neither of these have opened their mail. One student got a second message plus an email which he likewise has not opened. There is a limit ot how much you can chase people.

I started working on the physics webliography at work. It's good to be doing this sort of stuff again. Mostly it's just putting in little revisions and flattening out a nested html table. Not bad work if you can get it.

I need to check my students' blogs to see that they are introducing themselves on them. That will mean more grading, but next week I'll be grading real written work. I'm not scaird of the workload any more. I had my baptism by fire or so to speak. I do need to talk to someone in CCT and find out how the room SNAFU happened. I am going to have to put on my good political face for that.

Aidan's mother never opened her e-card and now my adopted Carinbridge kid is off having a selective dorsal rhyzotomy in St.Louis. I'm not sure I'd let my child have this surgery. There are other methods for improving gait in a child with cerebral palsy. If the boy could eventually run around and play the usual childhood games on braced legs, I would not go for the surgery which has a variety of weird side effects, mostly dealing with muscle weakness. He would not have to play the games well, just be able to play along. I fear Aidan's mother is chasing a nonexistent cure. Oh well, Aidan is a good medical ethics class candidate and a very real little boy. His web page is at http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan.

I still haven't bought the dress but am thinking of doing it between one and three pm this afternoon. I think it will depend on how much work I get done. I have to set up ZOID tonight. I would like to go to schul and I want to go to Atlanta tomorrow which means I disappear for a day, but that is OK. I haven't been to the big city in over a month. It also means no bar this weekend. I think I will miss the FireHouse and/or the Loft and/or any other good places around here. I don't think I've found the really good ones yet.

If Columbus is the second largest city in Georgia, that is not saying much for the state which is very rural or very soulless or both. I can almost taste the arrival in Atlanta tomorrow morning. This will be the last or next to last trip where I can buy chametz. It is strange to think about Passover during the winter but when you stock up on food, you have to think that way.

And no I have not had time to work on my nefarious top secret project of ultimate evil. The project sits sidelined but not forgotten. Maybe I'll get time to work on it Sunday or Monday. Monday I get a day off from work. I'm looking forward to that.

I'm also thinking of valentine graphics to make for Autumn and for the Just a Page of Pressies and I also need a new graphic look for the front page of Unfettered Soul. The present look is over a year old. It was nice at the time. I just don't see anything that currently inspires me. Oh well, when I feel down I make pressies and go Bridging. What can I say.


Thursday, January 15, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I love the sweet smell of my cat's fur when I bury my nose in her coat. This has been a busy day and that is an understatement. I got my student's blogs graded. There were fifteen of them which meant half the class fell through the cracks on Tuesday. CINS also checked my office computer for its intermittent (It should be available whenever I want it!) access to what is called the pseudo F drive. It's a network drive that I can open files on and save files to when I boot up, but if I give it a few minutes of activity, guess what happens....My computer which has nonstandard sounds says: "Great horny toads!" Yes, that's Foghorn Leghorn, my favorite rooster.

I also got the syllabus cleaned up and uploaded the missing files and hooked in the students' blogs. We had a meeting and then it was nearly desk time. That was when I got the bright idea of calling the straggling students. Right now half of them have appointments and two are unreachable. With luck, I should be able to get the vast majority of the class up to speed.

On the way out of work, the phone on the reference desk rang again. Daryl, our student employee, had already locked up the receiver in the work room and I would have had to borrow the master key from circulation and fuss with a half functional lock so I grabbed the phone receiver from my office phone, plugged the thing in and got my seventh appointment. Yay!

I bought groceries this morning. I did not buy the expensive dress and I cooked when I got home at 10pm. I am just now eating supper. What do you call a meal eaten in the middle of the night. I made bok choi salad, commonly known as bok slaw and a curried kidney bean dish that was inspired by a recipe of Zorba Pastor On Your Health. I guess I won't be getting much sleep tonight. I don't care.

At least I'm not in trouble for the room SNAFU. I was waiting to hear that from the boss today, but she just wanted the marquee fixed. I misspelled something. This happens fairly often because I quite simply don't spell particularly well. I don't know when I'm going to have time to deal with the marquee since most of tomorrow will be dealing with students.

At some point all of this is going to catch up with me. Thursday the Antarcticans at Webleagues has to be put to bed and Friday I have to set up for ZOID. Webleagues Antarcticans gets set up weekly.

I haven't had time to work on To Make the Circle Whole or my top secret project of super evil. The Bulbmeister site went down. Hopefully that is not permanent. Otherwise the E-Card Education Center needs a revision. This is not a good year for free e-cards.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well I guess I had a reason to be scaird about my first class. I hit a SNAFU that was only in very small part my own making. I made a late room switch because CCT 408 was not a lab. I got the room. I changed the print syllabus and forgot to upload the web version but that can be fixed tomorrow. Well the registrar got in the act and told everyone the room was CCT 408 not Woodall 158. They even put up cute little pink signs. I found one and I sent Emil to put up extra signs directing students to the right room over at CCT.Well the good folks at CCT ripped down the signs or Emil didn't put them up the right way or something. As a result, half my class walked in late. That was the bad news.

As a result of this chaos, my students don't know what they are doing. Half of them don't read the syllabus. I think between fifteen and twenty of them have blogs. I was working with four kinds of email (Nearly all the students have home email now!) and one kind of software. The students have no html knowledge. They have a written tutorial but in chaos written stuff flies to the winds. Students enjoyed the blog set up though. I could feel the positive energy in the room.

I am going to have to round up the stragglers. That is going to be harder than linking the blogs to the web syllabus and making repairs. Nothing is ever perfect the first day, but I've never had a SNAFU like this. Next time if I have to do a late room change I will know and find out whom to notify.

I also think I'm going to drop the first assignment to this course after this semester. The first assignment is about two years old and it's a nice assignment or was at a time when students were very noncomputer savvy. In two years that has changed. I had no login problems. This will be the last time for this assignment.

Oh well...one more thing to live and learn. I finally cleared the old salsa from Christmas, the old salad dressings, and the mouldy cheese from the fridge. The fridge looks empty. I'm due to go grocery shopping tomorrow morning though I may go to the mall and buy the dress instead.

I fell asleep in my office after the class. I slept in my chair. I think this wa a stress reaction. It has to be stressful to nearly lose half your class because they got sent to the wrong room. I'm still not feeling the stress. I think I slept it off.

I came home and had supper and scored WebLeagues. It feels good to be writing blog. I'm still debating getting the dress. It is a lot of money. It is too much money, but am I going to find another dress that good? It's only January the wedding is not until late May.

I could always get up early but I gave up doing mornings a long time ago, and I work second shift tomorrow. I had no spirit contact last night which leaves me feeling sad and a bit bereft. I feel as if I owe myself this simple pleasure.

A part of me feels very good about the class. It was fun to see students helping each other and taking leadership roles. It is something I don't see enough of. If the students can do this more it will help give them an attitude of "can do." I think they are overwhelmed with paperwork. Oh well, I do this to students a lot.

A part of me is planning out that food run to Atlanta for Saturday. I need a lot of staples rather than produce. I need tea. It's a long hectic day. I'd like to go to Atlanta to do something other than shop, but my life gets into a very routine rut very fast. I'd also like to find some other dance club other than the Fire House. It's not that I dislike the Fire House. I just fear it may be the only dance club in Columbus. That is way too possible.

I'm not a prude but that crude sexual music used by Clear Channel is just designed to sell, liquor or something. It's a sad use of sex.

And I'm not a prude but it is annoying to go searching for a Yahoogroup on an everyday subject and find adult groups mixed into the same category. It's annoying. Yes, you have a choice, but constantly being exposed to something to which you say "no!" is an annoyance not a choice.

It got warm today for the first time in over a week. I enjoyed the feel of the Southern winter. I don't know how long it will stay this warm or when it will really begin to warm into subtropical spring. Yes, I am spoilt by living this far south.

The trees down by the McDonalds near Publix on Macon Road have fat buds on them already. Up north the trees don't have buds like that until March or April. I will watch those buds get plumper and plumper.

I realize that next week I'll be grading assignments. That will change my life, less time to fart around. I have surrendered to this class. So be it.


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I need to be asleep. I teach tomorrow!. Did all of you hear that. I'm scaird. I'm so scaird. I've blocked it. Tonight I was especially scaird that the spam filter at Columbus State would block the confirmation emails from Templatedepot.com that the students need to receive to set up their blogs. Yes, I thought of this as I was walking down to Macon Road to buy medication and kitty litter.

I went through the board creation process using my work address and got a confirmation letter from Templatedepot.com I don't know whether this is a good omen or not. I don't believe in omens anyway.

Erma and I started content analysis of the interloan data today. That sounds dry but it was not that bad. We need to do a literature search and see who else has done what we are now up to our elbows in doing. Yes, why didn't we think of this earlier.

Erma went with me on her lunch break and I tried on the dress at Dillards. Erma's first remark was "That looks great on you." I laughed with relief. The dress is a lot of money and I did not have the cash. They are holding it for me at Dillards. I have sticker shock. I also figured out where my hotel has to be and there are several good ones in the Let's Go book. Lou may or may not come for the wedding. So far I am planning to capture him at spring break. This means we would either drive or take the bus to New York for Harvey's wedding.

I got a preinvitation to the wedding yesterady. I think it comes from the hotel which is trying to get us to stay there. I don't think Harvey and Elizabeth sent it. I've never heard of a preinvitation for a wedding. This is going to be such a swanky affair that much of the classiness will be lost on me because I am NOT one of the cognosenti.

The food in Publix looked sad tonight, especially in produce. I am glad I am going to Atlanta this weekend. Columbus, Georgia is really the end of the earth. Beyond here, you simply fall off.

I'm still scaird. I've never taught Libr1105 with blogs before. No one has here at Columbus State. This is totally uncharted territory. I'm doing it in a way that feels comfortable for me. I know a lot about remotely hosted software and so far some of my hunches have turned out right. I'm glad I got to beta test Templatedepot.com on a couple of students. I'm glad but that does not make me any less scaird. I hope I can sleep tonight.


Sunday, January 11, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I haven't blogged in what feels like ages. It's been quite a weekend. Right now I am having a fantasy about taking the rabbi from my schul to the Fire House. He is a guy in his seventies and while Jews are not usually prudish I think he'd act like a real prude if he could get a bunch of smug middle aged and older adults nodding along self righteously with him.

Nothing that goes on at the Fire House shocks me except the weird liquid in things that look like syringes that I see some of the waitresses selling. That reminds me of funnel beer which is beyond the pale of decorum. The dirty dancing I saw Saturday night is just another variant of PDAs (public displays of affection) done to fast numbers. They don't even play any slow numbers which used to be the way to do PDAs on the dance floor. PDAs have been around for a very long time. There is nothing wrong with PDAs on a dance floor. It is good because you can go home and wash your hands of the guy you do them with if that is your thing. I'm not sure I want to go as far as to dirty dance though. I just like to hug and snuggle and get spun. Dancing can be quite romantic.

Yes, I was at the Firehouse Saturday night and what I don't understand is the food thing. Yes, they serve food in the grille. The menu is high priced and it's just not my thing. They have hot elaborate manuchies but no where in the whole premises is there so much as a snack machine or a basket of pretzels or a corn popper. Yes, I think people drink more slowly and drink less when they can munch something but it is pleasanter that way.

The other half of the food thing is even weirder. At one am there was suppose to be a breakfast buffet, a free one too. I went up into the grille to get some food because I was very hungry. Well the buffet wasn't out and still wasn't out at 1:20am. I lost patience and went home, but as I sat there, I noticed no stampede to get into the grille and wait for the food to come out. It was like no one cared. Here were all these munchie deprived souls dancing and finally someone offers them food and no one comes in to get it.

I got to watch pool players, riders on the mechanical bull, and I got to see the inside of the DJ's booth at the Fire House on Saturday night. I also got to dance with one very handsome and gallant man and with a very drunk young man. I did a lot of dancing by myself too. I think the dancing is good because it keeps up my expectations and I'll need high ones should Lou ever come back to live with me.

I realized around 1am that the DJ plays the same eight or nine songs over and over again, using two turntables. The lights are controlled by a computer. I wonder how the DJ would have fit into the rabbi's sermon. Now the music at the Fire House is a mishmash of techno, hip-hop, and pop. A lot of it is very sexually explicit and crude without being interestingly violent as is gangsta rap and some hip hop. There are no slow numbers. The lines that stand out in my head are "It'sy bitsy teeny weeny shriveled little short short man...Don't want no short short man." The man in question is a portion of the male anatomy. The singer is female. Then there's the vocodered who talks about a woman who is "naked and soaking wet." Talk about lack of subtlety.

It's Clear Channel hard at work. It's the lowest common denominator that sells. It's the Wal-Mart of going out not that Wal-Mart is not a bad place. Wal-Mart has what you want at a reasonable price. The Fire House has loud music, good lights, about average priced drinks, pool tables and a dance floor.

What ends this kind of partying for most of the younger crowd is reproduction. Since I've bypassed that, I just go out and dance music hasn't changed that much since my time. The generation gap for music comes about ten years before my time. You don't lose your energy until you hit your fifties or sixties.

My tolerance for alcohol is gone. I'm kind of glad of that because one beer gets me wonderfully buzzed. With the medication I am on and my irritable bowel I have real limits on how much I can drink anyway, so having a low tolerance is great. It means no hangovers and no getting sick. The amount of alcohol necessary to do either of these is way above what it takes to get me smashed which I don't want to do anyway. Buzzed is just fine.

I met a young woman from work at the Fire House. She is a recent graduate of CSU and I helped her in the library. She was surprised to find any one my age at the Fire House. I didn't want to tell her that her generation hasn't thought up anything new as far as music is concerned so there's no generation gap as far as entertainment is concerned.

Lisa said she preferred dancing to oldies to what she heard on the dance floor which she said sounded "black" to her. I think it doesn't sound like good rap music but instead more like techno, but not good techno either. I'm not sure what kind of music I would like them to play at the Fire House. Unlike the Loft, the sound system at the Fire House is excellent. You hear every word. I think a mixed cut tape or DJ spinning mixed cuts from the 1980's would make me unbearably sad with nostalgia. I'm greatful for the mishmash just for being different. I'd like some modern techno maybe with a bit of indie rock thrown in. I want to stay current bt that's not the same thing as being young.

I don't think I'm as young as I feel. I think there just plain needs to be a revolution among the young like there was in the late 1960's/early 1970's where the music is no longer commercially coopted as it is today and where people are out doing something so new and different that people my age are at a loss. I mean if you can recycle oldies among the young, then their music should cross back to people my age. This lack of change is very sad.

Today I went to Wal-Mart to get cat food and just to get out of the apartment. On the way, I passed through Dillards and there by the doorway was a salmon colored suit that was so handsome I just had to try it on. It looked like it was made for me. It cost $150.00 I think I want to wear this to my brother's wedding in May. I want someone from work to look at it though and give their opinion. We'll see how that goes.

I'm not sure how to arrange it and the dress may be gone by the time I get down to the store with a colleague. I'll just keep my fingers crossed. I also know of a store way down town that has evening dresses that I think are for me. I forgot how much fun trying on a dress can be.

Georgia threw up this morning and I'm not sure where she did it. I just heard the retching. Her stomach was making awful noises when she was on the bed. She was lying next to my ear and I heard it growling. Then I heard the retching and felt relieved. I still haven't stepped in the hair ball yet. I usually find them as if I have a radar for the things.

This is what happens with seventeen year old cats. Georgia is otherwise healthy. I was able to get a seven pound bag of Iam's Active Maturity Hairball Control Formula (which works but not a hundred percent) at Wal-Mart for only eleven dollars. That is a very good price. The cat food is in a cupboard over the kitchen sink. This means no trip to Petsmart next weekend.

Next weekend I don't go to any bars. Next weekend, I go to Atlanta to buy food I can't get in Columbus. This will be my first trip since the 19th of December, nearly a month.

On Tuesday I teach. All I can think about is I somehow got the dates in my course wrong due to the Leap Year. I'll just apologize. Everything will just be a day off in the syllabus as in no big deal if that is true. I am blanking about teaching but I am scaird. Public speaking scares me and I'm not sure if my students will all get their blogs set up the way they're supposed to. I wonder how it will feel when I am lashing myself along with the students. I've taught before but I remember none of it right now. The course has been radically revised and this is a new semester and a new world. All semesters are new worlds. Wish me luck.


Saturday, January 10, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well I have a hunch Corbis is dying more quickly than I thought. It is sad because I'm not sure what it is going to morph into. I know the e-cards will be gone. There's no money in free e-cards and it is doubtful the folks who come for the free stuff will ever pay for images. I always wondered how Corbis made money anyway.

Schul was OK tonight. The rabbi's sermons have changed. He gets a lot of his material from the Wall Street Journal and George Will is among his favorite columnists. I think his sermons are smug but smug sells. As for his source material, it's taken him a few weeks to get his finger on the pulse of the ones who have the bucks and the power but boy is it in the right place. The problem is once you change styles, my rabbi could be a dead ringer for Phil Hendre. His speech tonight where he castigated Pete Rose of all people (Athletes and musicianss are human too. It is possible to make ordinary mistakes while being a star.) He held up Yo Yo Ma as a good guy. Well, violinists can gamble all the please. Baseball players have some restrictions. Pete Rose committed the crime of being caught. There are plenty just as evil and more evil that go unpunished. Also, a lifetime ban is a bit much.

The rabbi is no longer pagan bashing. I guess that just didn't sell especially when I called him on it. And yes, I admire the rabbi's shrewd character. Face it, he can get fired if he doesn't please the ones in power. There's a great talent to giving those in power what they want and people like being led.

The thing that irritates me most about the rabbi is his belief that we just can't read along on our own. We have to do everything responsively. I cringe at this.We just aren't that stupid but then those in power like it easy. Yes, you can call all of this behavior sucking up, but this is a schul with a revolving door on it as far as rabbis are concerned and any rabbi that can keep from going through that door, gets my kudos purely for staying power.

And no I don't get a choice of schul. There is Shearith Israel (my schul) and a reform temple which makes mince meat of the liturgy. That is all there is for Jewish worship in Columbus. Love it. loathe it, but if you leave it you have no where else to go.

By the way, my rabbi wouldn't be caught dead wearing a cute cartoon tie. It doesn't go with the whole performance. Elegantly tailored suits and conservative ties are his thing. He has the silken voice of a radio announcer though he has never worked in radio. He is in his seventies. He left his old congregation in Boynton Beach, FL because it was having financial troubles. I guess our congregation is a bit more solvent.

Maybe some day I'll work in a bigger city and have a choice of synagogues. Yes, I do some spiritualist practice on my own, and yes I approve of the general spiffiness and formality of the schul. I guess I won't be going to Saturday morning services. No I never sleep. Yes, I put chapter thirty seven into To Make the Circle Whole. Yes, I need to clean up that blog because it needs a new panel in the navigation table. I will feel very sad when I get to the end of the story.


Friday, January 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Here I am blogging because this blog is important. This blog is important because I think it's important and I am the only one who matters as far as this kind of thing is concerned. I have my mammogram today at 1:30pm. That's the news. That's the news that trumps all other news except the headlines at Yahoo and the BBC and Corbis e-cards' impending doom. Sorry there are no sick cats at the moment in my house. I'm the one who is going to the vet.

The test takes place in the basement of the medical center about an hour and a half from here on foot. So far no one has offered me a ride, so I assume I am walking. It is painful and they try to preserve your modesty with a stupid hospital gown which only makes it worse. I am hoping and praying that the thing, the fibro-adenoma hasn't grown. I would much rather be off the hook healthwise than end up with a Caringbridge.org site.

I really dread all the medical stuff I might have to go through if this thing is not behaving itself. The thought is that I am going to be violated. The idea of a disease inside me is not as violating as what doctors will do with their knives and poisons. Yes, I am scaird of doctors. Yes, I am scaird period.

I was listening to some very harsh industrial music, but I switched it off. I have ear phones hooked up to my computer. They helped the data entry go easily. I'll do some weeding this morning and make an appointment to get the marquee up at the student union. I don't want to work because this feels like the last morning before the world ends. I at least had the presence of mind to get a temporary health insurance card. Who knows what kind of beaurocracy they'll put me through today at the Breast Care Clinic. They made me jump through a bunch of hoops last time. I imagine it will be the same way today. I just hope the rain clears up. No one has offered me a ride to the clinic so I'll be walking. I usually like walking, but today it's going to feel like the last mile.


Thursday, January 08, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well it's late at night in this drafty apartment that is like a swiss cheese full of cold air. The wind was down tonight so the walk to and from the supermarket was a pleasure. It looks like I'm going to be making pareve borsht tomorrow night which is good. Publix had decent looking beets, with good uncrushed and unwilted tops. That is something one seldom sees. They also had parsnips but I didn't buy them. I also noticed watercress. The anise looked awful so I didn't get that. They were also out of my favorite kind of bread and I had to buy something else. Such are the hazards of shopping late at night. We don't have a decent twenty-four hour supermarket here in Columbus.

Before I shopped, I napped on the breakroom couch and got a trance so deep I thought I was awake. I must have sounded very funny to the spirits I was talking too because I feared that I was listening to the janitorial crew playing the radio or colleagues talking or something. I awoke in a dead silent building. I want to do all this again tonight. Yes, it is after two in the morning. So what!

I'm behind on data entry at work, but I made a good start at writing an article on http://www.netlibrary.com for the library's newsletter. I need to revise my draft copy and take screen shot illustrations, then spell check it, and proofread it and send it to the archivist.

What I really feel like doing is writing Ghostletters where Naama is reading a very different story about Noah's Ark and making pressies because I am actually using the ones I have at Caringbridge.org

It looks as if Aidan's site has switched hands. His mother or maybe both is parents are now in charge. I like this because I think the mother is a much better writer than Aunt Tracy. Here is the web site http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan I sent the mother a Corbis card in case she wonders what I'm doing in the guestbook and offered her some custom web graphics.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy, the surgery Aidan is having, is controversial. Studies show very little long term increase in function, even for kids who are already walking with braces which Aidan is doing. In England and Scotland the surgery is far from the norm. There must be other ways to treat cerebral palsy that are not as drastic. This surgery can have very nasty but usually short lived side effects as well.

What Aidan's parents want is to fix their broken kid. It doesn't work that way. This operation will not cure Aidan. He may do better afterwards but he will never be completely "normal." I keep a lot of this to myself. Putting it on the blog counts as keeping it to myself since I'll be you know what'd if I'd give Aidan's mom the URL for this blog.

I just sign the guestbook twice a week and kind of keep an eye on things. And yes, I do wish the page were color safe.

I made savoy-slaw tonight with creamy mustard flavored dressing and fresh dill. It was delicious I missed salad. I don't feel much like cooking tomorrow but after a day at work, it is good to get in the kitchen. Even the dual putting to bed of web site competitions doesn't bother me. I'm not thinking at all about Friday's mammogram.

Hopefully that will amount to a big nothing. Then it will be over. I will end up celebrating in schul. I don't know where I want to go for Saturday's bar night. Part of me wants to go back to the Fire House. Part of me wants to try a bar across the street from the Loft. It's called the Bone Yard and there looked like there was lots of action there. At some point these weekly excursions are going to end up somewhere between magical and a chore. Each one is going to be different. I'm going to have to accept that.

>

I was about to publish my blog but it didn't take. George came to join me and she made a perfect quarter circle sit up blocking the screen. I got to put my face against her silky fur and hear her purr. Soon we'll be in bed together and she will make her nest near my head. She is such a good cat. There is something great about having an old sweet cat like Georgia.


Tuesday, January 06, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This was another down day. I napped in the breakroom this evening. I wanted spirit contact but just could not surface into the right space. I hope that makes sense. I don't know how I'll do tonight. I'll get to bed late and find myself tortured by the worries of the day.

What worries. Well scoring two competitions (Yes, the holidays are over big time) hurts. It's drudgery and then there's all the politics. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

I finally did clean those litter pans. All the stuff is xeroxed and collated for class one next week. I still don't believe that next week at this time, I will have taught my first class. I hope to God it is not a disaster. Yes, I can use your prayers on this one.

I have a new diversion. Caringbridge.org Here is my adopted kid there: http://www.caringbridge.org/il/aidan I go to lots of other Caringbridge.org sites too and sign guestbooks. The sites are linked together and they publish each other's links in guestbooks.

Now somewhere out there there could be Caringbridge.org members whose grief and pain are selfish things. They don't band together with other members and their sites are only for family and friends. They keep their URL's a closely guarded secret.

And yes, many many more children on this planet die of infectious disease than cancer. Malaria and TB are big killers, but those kids don't get web pages.

There is much to be said for exhibitionists and voyeurs getting together. On the other hand, I've done a lot of thinking about what attracts me to Caringbridge.org Well grief does not have to be selfish. It's that simple. I've been raised to believe it does, but there is another way of doing things and it is a way I like better.

OK, time for a weird confession. It really bugs me that Tracy does not do more with Aidan's page. Now I'm not sure what Tracy can do. I've offered my graphic services and probably html help as well. I mean if you are going to publish, do it up. I wondered how much html coding Caringbridge allows. I know there is one way to find out. The only problem is that the kind of fraud I would have to commit, violates my standards of ethics big time. Faking serious illness is undue theft of attention. Case closed.

Now some of that may change. I have a mamogram on Friday. It got rescheduled. If my fibro-adenoma has grown, guess for what I qualify. I will have genuinely (hopefully temporarily) joined the ranks of the sick. Hopefully, the thing will vanish into my baseline and I won't join the ranks of the sick. A chance to legitimately play with Caringbridge.org's web page editor is a pretty chintzy consolation prize. I'd rather be healthy any day of the week.

Any way, I'm now finally unused to the cold. I think it was the warm spell we had before. This is catch a cold weather big time. I have some sniffles and that is about all I ever get. Besides spending a day in bed is a fantasy. I have to get up to score, vote, and use the computer. I'm tied to this machine as if by an umbillicus. Well I have to score a web site competition for the second time tonight...be back in a bit.

Well that is taken care of. I need my sleep if I'm to have spirit contact. Well tomorrow I'll have to go out to buy groceries. I'm running out of all sorts of routine things. That means I'll get to cook again too. I have this thing about cooking fancy stuff from scratch. At least it is good soup weather.


by Eileen Kramer

Why am I writing this thing? I need to be in bed. Well, I'm writing this because today was a pretty good day. No today was a very good day. I got my room for Libr1105. It is Woodall 158, a hideous cavernous place with an external entrance but beggars can't be choosers.

I did not have any meetings. I took my weedies to the shelf over in technical services. Weedies are books that are due to be withdrawn. I was able to swap our old pile of cards for a fresh batch so I could do more data entry on the big spread sheet. I listened to the BBC while I did this. I have two more piles within the new pile to do, but they'll get done. The webliography is ready to be proofread and revised and sent on. I still have to xerox and collate the materials for my first class, but I got the twenty-six page syllabus xeroxed and collated. It is also on the web at http://library.colstate.edu/libr1105/kramer/emerald Yes, that's a nice long URL.

I was going to clean the litter pans tonight, but just couldn't do it. I did get some litter and some more naproxen though. The latter is a necessity because I'm still sore and bloated and crampy. I know I'm crampy because I felt that way even with 400mg of naproxen inside me. If cramps get through that kind of heavy medication, they are serious cramps. Mostly though I'm just incredibly sore. I call this kind of thing "adult cramps."

The world of hurt I was fearing Saturday night are what I call "adolescent cramps." Instead of just being sore and a bit twingey for two or three days, adolescent cramps last only a few hours but try to stand up straight. Don't try it. The pain won't let you. It's as if someone stuck a knife about half way in between the belly button and pubis and twisted it and wriggled it around for good measure. The only good news about adolescent cramps is they fade in less than six hours. Needless to say, I'd rather have adult cramps.

Anyway, the cats have litter. I'll do their pans tomorrow. They don't care if the pans are dirty. In fact, I think they find it interesting. If the rest of the week keeps up as well as today, it won't be too bad a week. I'm glad it wasn't raining tonight. It's due to get cold here tomorrow but it never gets as cold as it does up north.

My mammogram is rescheduled for Friday afternoon. This is due to shortstaffing at work. We are down one and a half people in reference. Julie is not well and we had a colleague implode. She just had a break down and quit. What gets done gets done and what doesn't gets tossed to the winds. Actually I've gotten a lot done so far.


Sunday, January 04, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well today has been one big sleeping and computer jag. After walking twelve miles last night to go to a bar and hear a band, I moved not an inch. That is a very weird feeling. I'm afraid I'll turn into a huge blob of fat like Mr. Creosote from the Monty Python movie. Oh well, I did feel bloated all day. I figured it was the beer interacting with my irritable bowel. Yes, this can go on for a whole day afterwards.

When I walked home last night, I was sure I was going to spend two hours in the middle of the night in a world of hurt. The cramps started while I was still downtown, but they subsided after about forty-five minutes. Irritable bowel cramps and menstrual cramps are very similar, but menstrual cramps can become worse. There were no vending machines and nothing open at one in the morning so nowhere to buy anything to take pain medication with. Untreated menstrual cramps can get bad enough to make me throw up. This happened once when I was sixteen, but it was one time too many.

Well no period and no pain last night, but I felt crappy and sore all day and so bloated. Well at seven pm. I got the good news. This was a thirty-two day month which is about normal for me. This is very very good news, not because I slept with anybody, but because I have a follow up mmogram on the 6th and feared I would have to cancel the appointment because I had not yet gotten my period and was all tender on top.

This whole mammogram thing is a crock of manure. In many countries they don't do mammograms on women my age. I'm forty-one in case any body is wondering. There is good reason. When I had a mammogram last summer, they found a fibro-adenoma, a little bitty benign tumor that has been there since I was a teenager. That is what they are going to check. With luck it will still be there unchanged and become my baseline. My doctor says you have to worry the many to catch the few. Well, chances are very good that I am one of the worried many.

Tomorrow afternoon I find out if I have my room for Libr1105. I may not have it until Tuesday. I have the wrong kind of room and was lucky to find out about that last week, but no one was around last week. We are all such a spoilt bunch of academics.

I suspect there is some kind of a meeting on Monday. Two hours of this is not something I am looking forward to. I also have to go talk to the boss about the fact that there is no way that we have the entire pile of cards for the notorious data entry project. Yes, I want to enter more data. I get to listen to Epitonic.com and here all that nice new music while I am entering the data so it's sweet stuff.

I've got another webliography cooking. This is Women, Children, and the Elderly's Health. This is the old version. The new version is ready for the new additions, a table flattening, and removal of the outdated links. This big webliography is actually going to grow.

Then once I have my room, I can start xeroxing syllabi and collating them and getting ready. The Libr1105 syllabus for spring of 2004 (at least my section any way) is thirty pages long. This is what happens when you don't have a text book. The first few classes are going to be the hardest. I'm blanking on teaching again. I'm blanking because I am scaird.

I can't say I'm sad to see the holidays go, now that the tree is down, it's the point of no return. This is the first down day I've had in a long time. I was all over the computer. I have a secret project. No I'm not plotting for vengance or anything particularly evil, well maybe it is evil, but it's not evil to any one who could possibly be reading this blog. If it is evil to any one who finds and reads this (and this is not a fully public blog) this secret little project was and still is a labor of love. That won't be much of a defense in a court of law though, so the details of the secret project have to stay secret.

I also updated the E-card Education Center http://tacheiru.us/eec to bring it into line with current events. Corbis' e-cards will cease to exist January 29th. These are my favorite e-cards in the whole world. Corbis has a huge pile of images and the database just wails. I do tons of support work for my ladies groups and seeing Corbis gone will be sad indeed.

In a totally controversial move I promoted AllPosters.com to the Hall of Honor. Corbis is going to need a replacement and right now the pickings are a trifle on the slim side. I'm hoping to get together a batch of publicly usable images for use with my postcard mill. This again is no replacement for the loss of a major player.

Anyway, I'm debating about trying a sports bar next weekend. I'm not much into sports though I suppose I could start following the basketball and hockey teams at Hamilton College. I'm a bit of a Continentals fan having lived in Central New York and the Continentals are a good team or at least were. I can also follow Big Red hockey. I can get WVBR over the net so I can hear the games and I'm not sure about WHCL. This won't really equip me for the sports bar scene but it's better than nothing. Anyway, there are billiard/pool tables in the union and once I learn the rules for pool, I'm going to do some practicing this week. Hopefully the sports bar will have pool tables. Of course I'm not sure I'll get time to practice. This is typically the week with all kinds of demands on your time. It will feel weird to be busy again at work.


by Eileen Kramer

I'm not sick this time around from tonight's carousing such as it was. I got cramps walking the six miles back (Yes, this involved a twelve mile round trip) to the apartment. No, I'm not sure tonight's adventure was worth it. For starters, there was nobody else unattached at the Loft.

Good things: The opening act was a blues singer named Garry Plumber. He had sweet eyes and a good rapport with the audience and played guitar very well. I enjoyed listening to him. Something was screwy with the sound system and I could not understand the singer for the main act which was a band out of Atlanta called Thirteen Stories. They had good drum and base. They get points for trying. The cover charge was only $5.00 plus I spent $4.00 for a beer.

I'm discovering I'm a beer snob. I've been one for quite some time but it's never been much of a problem up north. What drove the snobbery is that I'm on medication so there is an absolute limit to how much I can have. Also drinks in a bar are expensive, so if you're going to have one make it good. The only dark beer available in the two bars I have visited is Guiness which is bitter but fun to drink and Killians. Up north I drank a local (FX Matt in Utica made it and I lived in Utica) stout called Saranac Black and Tan. Here I am not sure you can even get Saranac in the stores. Miller at one point even had a dark beer. Maybe they still do.

Having a local brewery though is a very spoiling experience. I see all these people drinking Budweiser and Coors and I forget that there is no brewery in Atlanta. If we wanted ordinary beer back in Utica, there was always Utica Club which was Matt's discount brand. It was excellent beer.

I'll have to check the beer department in Publix and see if we can get either Matt's, Saranac, or any American microbrews down here. It could also be that I have not found the right bar as far as the beer is concerned. It looks like Saranac Beer is not available in Columbus.

In other news, I got the Christmas tree taken down this afternoon. This is always a sad event. I don't do endings well. At least I don't have to throw the white tree away. It is sleeping now in the pantry until next year. And yes this is the "oooooh white tree!" white tree. Well, it only took me an hour and a half to get everything put away and the tree dismantled. I guess knowing I was going out tonight helped.

On my way to the Loft and back, I saw two opposums which are much more common down here than they are in the north, and there was a rainbow around the moon. The moon bow was a full three hundred and sixty degrees and even had some color to it. Here is a link about moon bows. Actually they call a moon bow a ring around the moon, but the one I saw tonight really had color to it just like a rainbow.

I'm glad I didn't let today's good weather go to waste. I'm glad I went out. I am trying not to think about work on Monday or how late I'll sleep. I know the cats will wake me up. Georgia has decided she adores Pirate's Booty which is a cheese flavored snack. She is lactose intolerant so giving her a couple of pieces that she plays with as much as eats, is a good way to give her cheese she can eat. Yes, I ate junk food when I came home. There were no munchies in the bar. There was not even a snack machine.

The whole inside of the Loft was decorated like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. I found that interesting. I'm not sure I'll go back. I may try some other places for a bit. I may go back to the Fire House. Yes, I want to be held by some guy on the dance floor. It's just fending off those wandering hands I can't stand.


Saturday, January 03, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK read this and weep. I'm luckier than most users in that I have both my own postcard mill, albeit remotely loaded and remote loading of graphics because I pay for web space. There are still a few other good e-card providers out there, but Corbis' absence will leave a big hole.

All this started out as a routine attempt to send a card. I decided a card would have a better chance of NOT being considered spam. I went in face first and Adopted a kid at Caringbridge.org His name is Aiden P. and he is two years old and afflicted with cerebral palsy. The web site is maintained by his aunt whose name is Tracy. My entry was the third in the guestbook. This is a new site.

Do I feel like a voyueristic groupie. You bet your bippy. That's how this game works. There's a role for everybody. Yes, there are real sick kids in this somewhere, just as my moochie neighbor had a genuine dying boyfriend who is now a genuine dead boyfriend, but when this goes on the web it morphs into performance. Caringbridge has no directory, but some of the members fix that. They list friends' sites or they list a whole slew of them and then there is the Adopt-a-kid service listed above.

RAOKsters find their way to a Caringbridge guestbook. A Caringbridge member, (We've had them a few times) finds her way to RAOK's guestbook. The URL for the site becomes excedingly public. A few links within the site and there are a bunch of families of sick kids out there going for all the attention they can grab and a bunch of folks like me anxious to do good through the web and serve as audience.

Carinbrige is a lot more wholesome than fighting a sick kid or memorial site. Caringbridge has those as well. Adopt-a-kid and the internal links ask for ongoing support, NOT daily web site competition votes.

Anyway, with poor little Aidan's guestbook as lonely as it is, Tracy is going to think she is getting stalked if I don't write to her and tell her that I've adopted her nephew. I figured a card would be less likely to be mistaken for spam. Well you know the rest of the story.

I put up my Brainstorms/Caringbridge dedication page today. Necessity is the mother that is driving this invention. Brainstorms does not need RAOK advertised all over it and my RAOK pressies are not suitible for small children, particularly boys, and there seem to be at least as many sick little boys as girls, so I set out to create some graphics that had more kid appeal. This is quite different from making neotonous graphics. I don't think real kids like babyish designs. Teen and adult women might, but the circle at Caringbridge that advertises is all parents of young kids and if the kids are going to get anything out of the posts, they need to see illustrations they like. Anyway the page is at http://tacheiru.us/unfettered/btcb.html

And yes there are sympathy images there too. The reason is that not all the Caringbridge kids make it and the sites can stay up if they are active, and the mothers keep them active. I decided I could beef up my selection of sympathy graphics. It's good to have these around.

I must sound awfully cynical, but I don't really think I am. I'm just practical. If I were a real cynic, I would have taken on a kid with stage 4 cancer or a set of bereaved parents. I know my Aidan will probably not die and will probably improve. That is a big relief.

Now on to other news. The Loft costs only $2.00 and the show begins at 9pm on Saturday night. It's six miles each way on foot, but hey, the walking is good for me. The band will probably be better than either the band at the Fire House (How do you say age stratification?) or the DJ at the Fire House. The music on the dance floor was nice rhythm but a mishmash of stuff. If I don't meet someone, at least I'll have an evening out which beats staying home hands down.

I went to schul tonight and the little schul which they insist on using instead of the big, beautiful main sanctuary upstairs (We have some old people in the congregation who have trouble with stairs, sad to say) was jam packed. A man was in from Oregon. He had lost his ninty year old mother, fairly unexpectedly. I was glad he had a place to go. My mother had no such place when grandma died this summer. The rabbi's sermon wandered. At least we sang a familiar tune to DoDi Lee (Yeah I think it's Lecha Dodi).

The rabbi knows his audience. He is learning them more week by week. The rabbi is a performer. I can't be too hard on him for that reason. I know one wrong move and he's out on his rear end. Poor rabbi. He's an old guy too. He couldn't help me with a basic quesiton, the kind I might ask if I were having a child. I asked about a Hebrew name for a little girl that means dawn in English. I need this for Ghostletters, but one would think a rabbi would know such a thing. Hebrew names are supposed to be an area of rabbinical expertise.

Oh well, I don't feel like going to sleep. I never do. Get me on a roll drawing or writing and I stay that way. I have still to send Tracy her card introducing myself. I figure I can offer her graphic gifts, a custom background, an appreciative audience. I think the last one is most important. It's fun to be an active and appreciated voyeur. It's strange how vice mixes with virtue and virtue floats to the top like the head on a mug of beer. Bottoms up!


Thursday, January 01, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Blogger is down so this will be a rogue unacrhived post. It appears to be Blogger and not the rest of the net. Well, I have a New Year's resolution. I'm going to go out to a bar or some other form of entertainment (but not a movie or restaurant) once per week. My goal is to meet a potential new boyfriend and also to have a good night out.

This is a good idea for a lot of reasons. First, I like going out. Going out, especially at night, is much better for me than staying in. Second, I'm bar-o-phobic. Bartenders intimidate me. I learned to drink at frat and co-op house parties in college so bars are really outside my league. Being bar-o-phobic is dumb. Unless one believes all bars to be dens of perdition, being able to go into a bar and have a good time is not such a bad idea. Third, one can meet people in bars. I'm not hubby hunting. I'm looking for a good time that night and someone to date over a period of time. Lower expectations will make a pleasant experience.

Related to resolution number one is resolution number two. I'm going to learn to play pool and/or billiards since so many bars have pool tables. It is nice to have something other to do than drink and a lot of men play pool.

Now for some more juicy news. I ran Wahbi's phone number through Google with both a 334 and 706 area code and got nothing back. It is a cell phone number. I know because my cell phone number gives similar results. I then called Wahbi's number and found it wasn't working. He gave me a nonworking number. He did not want to be reached. Did I scare him? Yes, I was hoping to find out where he lived. I wanted to take a long walk. I thought I might meet Wahbi for dinner tonight, but that was not to be. Such is life.

I walked to the river today or started out that way. I ended up on the front porch of the Temple of Isis, a place I swore I would never frequent again after Cassonya and Norma, the two ladies in charge dissed my spirit friends, one of whom was fairly newly dead and who had told an excellent story that is what I call lore. Lore stories are excellent and rare things. I have to have some loyalty to my spirit friends...well I just sat for a few minutes on the Temple of Isis porch and chewed the fat. I don't think that was being disloyal to anybody. I won't attend their services any more though. I am sticking to the schul.

And yes going to schul is going out too. There is on one level not a lot of difference between religious and social going out. I'm not a hypocrite to talk about religious matters in one post and going to bars in another. I'm single. I'm never married. I took no oath of celibacy so there's no way I should be acting like a nun. Anyway, there is no such thing as Jewish nuns.

And yes, I did talk to Lou today and our talk was friendly. That is the weird part about all this. I have known Lou for fifteen years and here I am getting ready to find someone new. This may end with us being "just friends." I feel sad about that but on with the future as they say.

OK, I want to share some weird feelings about New Years. The weather was great today in the 60's and all, so it was a great day from that standpoint and I like getting a day off from work, but I think New Year's is a bogus holiday. The real new year the one with all the serious soul searching starts in late September. This is just a secular holiday. I refuse to get caught up in all the hoopla except to go out and party and to sleep in.

I have to go to work tomorrow. That also feels strange. I have schul and then after schul, I'll need to set up ZOID. Then two more days off. Some time everything will snap back to normal, but that some time feels very far away. I am going to try calling Lou one more time.


by Eileen Kramer

First this is all to let you know I am sick to my stomach after a night of carousing and such sickness makes me feel pretty good in a twisted sort of way. Yes, I did go to the Fire House and paid an outrageous twenty-five dollar cover charge. For that I got to dance and look around in a big disco where they played rap music and a mix of other cuts. I'm not sure what to call this style of music.

I like dance music and the disco was first rate with all the usual disco effects: neon lights, strobes, and even a fog machine. Anyway, I bought a beer and after nursing it a bit, went out on the dance floor and up to me he strode. He was my one night, prince charming. His name is Wahbi and he is Iraqi-American. He serves with the US forces as a translator. He goes back to the Middle East this weekend. He was surpised that I was well informed. I think he was cute. He has small very round ears and a cute accent and a missing tooth. I wish he didn't smoke. Blech....

We drank over in the grille and danced on the dance floor. Wahbi kept trying to cop a feel. I didn't object to this, but his hands wandered way to aggressively and I had to resort to all those tactics you learn with a first boyfriend when you want to enjoy time with a boy but he's just pushing way too fast. Wahbi also squeezed my breasts too hard. He says he has a two year old daughter by his exgirlfriend/exwife. She may have had breasts like a stone, but I don't.

Wahbi kept begging to go home to my apartment. I told him that I preferred to go home alone. With what Wahbi was doing all over the dance floor I could only imagine us alone in the apartment. I told him once we got outside in cold (for Columbus) night that we both needed to know eachother better and be a bit more sober before this went further. I also (continuous hand pressure had not helped) told Wahbi about the breast squeezing, and said he did not have to try that hard to cop a feel. I enjoyed dancing close, and wanted to be touched. I did not care if he rubbed against me, but I did not want his hands under my shirt or below my waist or any attempt to get between my legs. It's not that I'm a prude. It's just too much too fast. Pressure can really spoil a good thing. Remember this is all on a public dance floor.

Then Wahbi said he wanted to go be with his friends. I requested that he introduce me to them. He refused. We split up. I have his full name and phone number. Thinking about it now that the beer and party atmosphere has receded, I think there was probably a girlfriend among them. Also Wahbi wanted to get laid and I was looking to start a relationship, one that included the physical, but a relationship all the same. Wahbi also has my info. I was the one who insisted we swap it. A noisey bar is just not the place to know if someone is right for you. I wanted to have the option to arrange a quiet date later. I guess I was thinking boyfriend from the get-go.

Oh well, it was nice to have a dance partner even if I did have to restrain his wandering hands. And yes, I've been to better parties and seen more sophisticated things done on dance floors, conga lines, circles, bump tag etc... You can have all kinds of physical fun without so blatantly obviously copping a feel. I saw none of that. The DJ cursed a lot which I thought was ugly and was no help in organizing any of those dance floor games. Eventually the dance flor got slippery with spilt beer and confetti. I was afraid of broken glass there.

I bought another beer and retreated to one of the balconies so I could watch the festivities. By then about half the people were using the dance floor as a short cut and quite a few were milling around pooped. People had the weird habit of bringing their beer with them on the dance floor. I mean a purse one protects but not a beer. Yes, they're afraid of being poisoned by someone slipping something in their drink. Go figure.

What I didn't like about the evening was the amount of money it cost and the lack of imagination. A home party or the parties I attended in college were just a lot better, but it's got to be a home party that rocks. I've been to some absolutely dead home parties including one that pooped out long before midnight. The money was another issue. For twenty-five dollars there was niether free food nor free drink. The beers were $3.75 a piece and the breakfast buffet had I stayed would have cost $8.00. I went home and fixed myself a meal. Free pretzels and popcorn would have gone a long way to civilizing what was a fairly unruly crowd.

And yes the place reeked of cigarettes and pheromone. Dirty dancing is in with this crowd. I can understand. It is safe clothed sex and the old time PDA's we used to do on the frat house couch or the Whitby living room floor when I was in college. I also don't think everyone was younger than I was. Wahbi was thirty-seven. I was at the old end of the range but not the oldest person there.

I think it would be interesting to know what a lot of people's day time selves were. There were clearly some very young folks. Were they students, working people? Where did they work? I saw at least one woman with grey roots so I know there were other people my own age there. I don't have any grey hairs yet except on my face. What brought out all these people to spend twenty-five plus God knows what for drinks for an evening of fun.

I was desperate, and with all my griping, going to the Firehouse beat staying home by a mile. I do wonder what the place is like on an ordinary Friday or Saturday night. I think their selection of beers stank and their price was outrageous. I don't know any good bars in Columbus. Bars intimidate me. I still feel intimidated. I guess I better crawl off and digest my food.