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


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, May 29, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I had one of those Sethian duplicate dreams after some vision work in the bedroom. It is good not to have washed out any more. I think my head has been with Haldis and the Webleagues more than it should be. You can not serve two masters without stretching yourself as thin as silly putty.

Anyway, both comps are rostered and ready to go so I feel a lovely sense of freedom. My Pretend Brainstorms is not getting the attention it deserves in terms of new conferences going up but it is getting used right now. That is good. I have a full mailbox, but I am practicing what I am preaching and blogging away and using the LOTH boards instead of just looking at what is there beause Brainstorms threw me out. That is very good indeed. I hope I can keep up the good work. Discipline is a learned skill. Maybe I am learning.

Anyway, I had that weird Sethian dream. I dreamed that I remembered the wedding was next week and family was going to Columbus so I had to hurry up and get out of bed and take a shower and catch teh Columbus Shuttle to Atlanta. I got in the shower which was black and very modernistic and turned on the hot water and was not sure how to work the faucet. Then I woke up and remembered Harvey's wedding was last weekend. Whoops! Somewhere there is a parallel version of me worrying about a wedding here in Columbus.

I'm all weddinged out. I don't even want to make the wedding page with the photos I got developed. My New York City photos look excellent but the wedding photos came out all greenish. I ought to get a decent digital camera but I want one that uses regular diskettes. I shouldn't have to install software to process pictures when I already have software that will handle them just fine.

The wedding photos came out all greenish. I think I can retouch them but part of me says why bother. Yes, this is old sibling jealousy but I think I'm right. Harvey got tons of publicity and adjulation for basicly "doing what comes naturally." He could have just quietly gone to a judge or clergy and had the deed done but instead his fiancee's family sponsored a big party and all the rest of us had to pay hundreds of dollars to participate if we came from any distance and there were people there from all over the country.

I've already paid my dues. Why should I give my brother any more publicity and attention than he already got? He had his portion? Why should I give him more. I could always make a page of my photos from New York City and leave the crumby wedding photos out. That might be fun since the photos from the city are interesting and even pretty good. Oh I want to go back to New York in the worst way.

Haldis is no longer angry at Karla and it is not because Karla has agreed to mess around with form mail. Karla was not given a lot of support for implementing form mail and Karla is overworked and overstressed with three teams and two vote exchange collusion boards. Karla has not had technical support in a long time. She is also spending most of her time with the seventy or so fighters who are willing to live under a punitive scheme to exchange votes. These are dedicated, patient, and perhaps addicted souls. Site fighting can stroke the right cognitive buttons on some people and trap them in a heuristic of competition. I know whereof I speak. I've been one of those people though I'm too burnt out ever to do it again, or so I say. Never is way too long a time. Give me two or three years. Two or three years is like a century in the site fighting world.

Anyway, Karla in that insular subculture never had the time or the help to learn the mechanics of form mail or good web design or to sit down and figure things out. She is also used to working with only one kind of fighter, one for whom it is all real, and one who cares so much about those points that he or she will put up with all kinds of garbage to get them. The site fighting world is incestuous, insular...I'm out of adjectives.

Right now I feel like doing web graphics but I know I need to get outside and go get the ingredients for some cookies I want to make in lieu of a birthday cake. Spending one's birthday alone is not that bad. Some adults don't celebrate their birthdays but I celebrate mine. Loud and proud. I am glad I made that birthday dedication page yesterday.

My mother sent me a beautiful peach picotee begonia for my birthday. I also have a big cash gift that I need to deposit. Money makes me feel better. I am thinking of heading out to Wal-Mart to look at containers except it's in the wrong direction and I want to get ingredients to make something sweet for my birthday.

There is a recipe for raisin apricot bars on the back of the Sun-Made golden raisins box so I thought this would be a good recipe to try, especially given my irritable bowel. I'm cramp free or close to it today so I'm not complaining.

I ought to be out and about outside, but I decided to hold the trip to Atlanta until Monday. There is just plain too much food in the house to justify a shopping expedition to Atlanta. I have a huge pot of barley mushroom soup and there are enough salad fixings around to have spinach or spinach/kale salad all the way through the weekend. I have three boxes of herbal tea and six apples left.

I can get the ingredients I need to bake the cookies for my birthday today and bake them tonight. I figure that way I can bring them to the nursing home where I volunteer tomorrow along with a bag of apples for Del who wanted apples and who doesn't get fresh apples that are decent. Del wanted empire apples. I'll see if there are any left. The apples I have in my fridge now are Jonathans.

There's been a bit more mortality among the marigolds on my front porch, but some of the ones I was sure would be eaten are returning with lots of tiny frilly green leaves. That is good. They'll have plenty of foliage to support whatever flowers they choose to make.

I also did a lot of sleeping today. That was good too. I wish I could go to the Fire House tonight but I can't see going out without drinking. I just want my one Guiness Stout. If there were an Olympics for nursing a beer, I could win a gold medal. Still, alcohol is an irritable bowel trigger. I don't want any more cramps like I had Wednesday/Thursday. I just don't want to hurt like that.

Well it's almost time to head out the door. I'm glad it stays light late here and besides the stores are open until ten and after it gets dark there are streetlights. I have all evening to bake the raison apricot bars and plenty of time to just enjoy myself. I also want to check out the containers in K-mart. I could use another set of plastic kitchen storage containers. That might make a good birthday present to myself.

by Eileen Kramer

I have to remember that my Pretend Brainstorms really does work when I use it. The problem is I have to use it. That really should be no problem since it works so well. Unfortunately, I am liable to take the path of least resistance. It is only natural to prefer a live mailing list to an empty board, yet the empty board is the right place to post. It takes discipline to go to the right place. It takes discipline to sign guestbooks. I do enjoy visiting the web pages once I get started so go figure.

My Zahava replacement is not updating right now but I have tons of web pages I can visit so I won't miss her. I left notes for my Zahava replacement and for Doc on Far From Perfect. Hopefully some of them will come and visit this blog.

With cold calling who needs social capital. It was worth to do what I did, say what I said (not that anything I said was that bad and if I had kept my mouth shut what would have been the point of a place like Brainstorms!), and be who I am. Being kicked out of Brainstorms is a price I gladly pay and my pretend version is so much better. I love my Pretend Brainstorms with all my heart and soul. Shout it out. Loud and proud! Passion and enthusiasm are the order of the day.

Actually I did not have time to blog. Haldis held center stage tonight as she is trying to help a colleague implement formmail. Haldis was angry at the colleague earlier this evening but now both she and I feel a bit sorry for her, not that she is pathetic. She is a real go-getter leader type and probably a quick study, but she is working in an environment of no support and where technically skilled colleagues are hard to come by.

Site fighting is a small and defensive culture. The resources are often just not there.

And in other news, I am celebrating my birthday as they would have done on Brainstorms by wishing myself well with a dedication page. Actually those idiots at Brainstorms wouldn't know a dedication page if it bit them on the tush, but I know one and I set myself up with one because I matter. I even like the background music. It's a very good arrangement of tequila and that cake graphic came out surprisingly well despite bieng a bit rough in places. I like doing vector and line work in PSP.

So you want to know about the interview: I blew it. I blew it classicly. It got side tracked. A lot of my spontaneous answers are information literacy related so we ended up talking BI. I also asked some questions that came off as sounding way off base. They were good work related questions and quite reasonable, it was just that they got taken weirdly at the other end. It was a small search committee with only three people on it. I sent them all thankyou e-cards and now I'll wait to get dinged.

I am tired. It has been a long day. I weeded books which I usually enjoy. I also put up a new calendar on my corkboard but I didn't upload it so you are not going to get to see it.

I got home and had surprisingly good home worship. I was very undistracted. I even tried following the bowing and choreography in the siddur. The ArtScroll siddur is an especially good English translation which is important to me since I don't know a lick of Hebrew.

I am debating going up to Atlanta tomorrow. I am thinking of rubbing my face in it as far as the blown interview was concerned. I also know I don't need food that badly so a trip to Atlanta is better planned for next week. I just made a big pot of mushroom barley soup tonight and I have some spinach salad left. On the other hand, I am down to three boxes of tea, one of which is spoken for for work. I probably can make it to next weekend on the existing tea. I can limp along into next week on Columbus groceries. I'll have to find some other great way to amuse myself for my birthday.

I am thinking of baking a cake or a quick bread. That should at least be good to eat. I think I need some whole wheat flour for that though. I'll have to get some. I may also need some eggs. I have not had eggs in the house for months. I eat nut butter sandwiches at lunch and bean soup or salad for dinner. Yes, my diet is about ninty percent of the way to being vegan. Mayonaise is one of the few animal products I consume. Every now and again I'll eat some cheese or fish just to stop the slipping down the slope into something so radical. What pushes me down the slope is my stinking irritable bowel.

I was nearly pain free for most of today. Yay! About 10pm I got hit with a wave of twinges. Now, one big high fiber dinner later, there are no more twinges. I know that I have to eat regularly and it needs to be a high fiber low fat diet. Barley is full of pectin. So too are carrots, apples, corn products etc.... Pectin is soluable fiber that soothes my irritable bowel and teaches it how to push again without cramping.

A vegan diet with plenty of whole grain is just plain better on my poor large intestine. I live alone. I buy what I need and make what I feel like and then turn around and find I've become a really hard core vegetarian. There's no high and noble philosophy behind it. Yes, it works out to be kosher, but it's done for health and aesthetic reasons. The pay back in relief from cramps is an amazingly good reinforcer. I hoep this irritable bowel doesn't get worse as I get older.

By the way, I'm paying for the coca-cola I guzzled in New York. It was better than alcohol since I was in a crowd where I needed to keep my wits about me. I seemed OK until a couple of days ago when the cramps started Wednesday night. Add in a couple of meals with no redeeming value except calories and it was enough to make my gut brain scream.

I hope this irritable bowel is under some control by the time I have my period. It looks like this will be a short month. I suspect that this will be a bad period as well. The irritable bowel will just make it worse. It takes about four to seven days for bad irritable bowel to get back to where it minds its own business. I'm at day two. I'm hoping my period holds off at least four or five days.

Well that's it for tonight. Sorry for the medically depressing stuff. I'll probably boot myself out the door to Atlanta tomorrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I just found my Zahava replacement. She dropped into my lap as good replacements should. She does not have fibromyalgia but she has the gift of gab (more important) and she updates daily. I had to register at Writing.com to leave her comments but it was more than worth the risk to my privacy. Besides, I'm not a big one for privacy anyway. Woo-hoo! Why do these things always pop up when I least expect?

by Eileen Kramer

One thing that is bothering me is that I was promised a birthday on Brainstorms. I guess nobody saw the end coming. I am glad I have my Pretend Brainstorms. Now I have to figure out how to give myself a meaningful birthday on that. I could pretend that all the people in Life Stories were wishing me luck. I could write their fictionalized wishes on this blog. I could send myself cards from them and put the URL's to the cards on this blog.

I forget that RAOK's birthday committee will be hard at work sending me cards and boy will those cards ever be welcome this year. I guess I've had a change of heart as far as the Birthday Committee is concerned. I know I'll bake myself a birthday cake this weekend and I know I'll probably celebrate on all my lists.

With all this, I have no regrets. I'm glad I said what I said and did what I did and am who I am. It is a small price to get kicked out of Brainstorms and one I pay gladly with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. The fact that I have to paste on that smile makes it no less real. Onward and upward and for the record I played by the rules. I got screwed anyway, but I feel righteous and I need to take that to the bank. That's a fact Jack!

And I love my Pretend Brainstorms with all my heart. It is better than the original and I'll have a happy birthday there even if I have to pretend people are wishing me well. Hey I just thought of something, those avatars of mine can send me cards! They'll have a great time at it and so will I! This will be fun afterall! Yippeeee! Enthusiasm and passion are what we need more of in the world. Shout it out, loud and proud and unbowed! Woo hoo! What a fantastic idea if I do say som myself.

I hope my Region Leader in LOTH remembers my birthday. If she doesn't I'll just celebrate on the Region 7 Board anyway. Brainstorms can't lick LOTH's or RAOK's boot soles. For real! Ladies groups are best, kindest, and gentlest communities on the net. They are inclusive, accessible, and judge no one. They respect traditional values and the traditional feminine. Ladies groups are where I live that and my blog of course.

I love this blog because it is mine and nobody can kick me off of it. Woo hoo! This blog rocks.

And here is a graphic gift I made for RAOK Hugs committee. The design in the center is based on an Aki Asuwa Traditional Japanese Pattern. Aki's graphics were totally open source so I can change them as I changed this one and I don't have to give credit. They are better than tubes. The rest of the graphic is vector work and inner bevel. I don't do triangles that often. Well here's the graphic...

Aki Asuwa graphic for Becca

This graphic is part of a RAOK Hugs Committee project for a woman who is ill with Bell's palsy. This is curable/treatable and she should be right as rain real soon, but she is on the comittee so she gets a page. I wonder if those Brainstorms folks would call it social capital. Hey, I can always make a page for myself. I remember giving myself an award. Maybe I should do that again. I bet I would enjoy a whole pile of graphic gifts for my birthday. I'll start working on them tonight! What a fantastic idea! I always come up with good ideas when I blog.

I got hit with an irritable bowel attack last night that is still going on into today. I don't care what I do in the bathroom but it's the cramps that bother me. They don't leave. Sometimes they make my arms and legs hurt. They feel almost as bad as the stomach flu I had last spring.

I also have a phone interview with [I'm not telling you where] tomorrow morning and I'm not at all prepared and psyched. I've come to believe that phone interviews are a waste of time. I have yet to have had a positive experience with them. They are designed to weed people out and I'm sick of being third or fourth in the final four.

Phone interviews started when employers decided to interview two candiates instead of the classic three. It's a money saving and hope crushing measure. Somewhere on this machine is a standard list of interview questions that I need to go over. Most interviews are cookie cutter affairs. I just wish I could figure out what I need to do to get past the phone and through the door. I am surprised this place wants to phone interview me at all. I really don't have the background to be a chemistry librarian, as compared to titans in the field such as Tom at Sci Tech at Syracuse. I feel like such a fake. I can't shake that feeling so don't tell me to do so.

In other news: I put up a new web page today. The second "Just a Page of Pressies Gallery" was full. I also added pressies to this page. That means that the Fourth RAOK gallery page is almost full too. I am surprised at how many graphics I can cook up.

And here is one I made today....

beaded hexagon

The beads are actually Easter eggs but since I got them from a thumbnail they are perfect size. I cleaned them well with the eraser and pasted them patiently. I learned a shortcut for pasting beads: ctrl-E today. This is old technique but it is good to come back to it. PSP 8 is very forgiving software and I needed to make some graphics in the worst way.

I have to think of a graphic for the RAOK Hugs Committee Father's Day page. They have a tie decorating contest too. All I can think of for that is something textured. A friend of mine suggests that I make some grphics involving wicker or a wicker texture. We will see....

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

HELP, I'm TRAPPED in THIS OFFICE! I even feel like working to pass the time. I must really be losing it. It's scarey but not that scarey. I crave pure anger for the first time in weeks.

I did not even feel like blogging. Sometimes I have to remind myself how good my Pretend Brainstorms is. It is simply the best. It was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms and worth it to do what and I do and be who I am! It was worth it!

I can always create fictionalized accounts of the people whom I miss though I have not done that. Instead I prefer to replace them. There are so many people out there who are glad to have me hear their stories. It is not that I am so great. It is just that listeners are in short supply.

Now no Pretend Brainstorms no matter how fantastic it is, is meant to sustain me through a day trapped in this back office. I haven't been on the desk for even an hour. Parkinson's law takes over back here, but sidework is just not really on the agenda. I mean there are limits to how much sidework a person can do and still keep their self respect.

Ghostletters has been active today so my story within a story is stalled. I have not yet voted. Haldis has gone through two weeks of administrative hell at the Webleagues. Between a server move, lack of communication, and the fact that all the bugs are still not out, she is disgusted to say the least. She is going to do her email voting now. This is a chore that she detests. Ideally and not so ideally every round ought to have working form mail. That is not the case at the Webleagues.

I also got to post a recipe all over the place so Ladies Advance looks populated. I'll need to post a CALL FOR FIGHTERS before I go down to the drug store. I hope a lot of the pictures came out. I am an awful photographer. I don't feel like picking up the photos because I am broke. It is going to cost me bucks and I am tired of spending on anything related to this stupid wedding. The trip to New York was great but spending two evenings at social obligations with a smile on my face really sucked. I'd like to have a catered party just for me since it looks like I'm not getting married soon. I have a birthday coming up but this is not enough lead time. Next year maybe though I may treat myself. Why do I have to get married to have a party?

After I get the photos, I then have to spend time making a big web page out of them and that is going to be work. I have other work I want to do, namely job hunting. My life has been trhough some weird changes. I'll put that on the other side of this blog.

Yes, I actually am getting work done today. I'll get more work done in a bit. I have only one large book order left to vet. The other one is ready to go when Becky comes back and will take it. Too much work went into the book order for nursing to place it on her desk. Ordering $4650 worth of books in three weeks when there are no faculty around at the start of summer is not great policy. We are using end of the year money that would otherwise vanish is the official excuse.

I also started a literature search for a paper I hope to give at a conference. I have to write to the woman who is President of BIG (Bibiliographic Instruction association of Georgia) and let her know I want to give this paper. This makes me nervous. Education people talk their own language. Librarians often have no education background, yet we teach.

I have just written the paper proposal. I'll work on the literature search over the next few days. Hopefully I can pull this thing together. I am now waiting for a copy of my proposal to print. I want someone else to read it before I email it. I'm not sure what kind of a response I will see back. They could just tell me to take a hike. It's been known to happen before. Hopefully I have something new, exciting, and different. We will see.

And speaking of being told to take a hike, my boyfriend, Lou broke up with me. He left a message on my machine at 6:41am yesterday morning saying he wanted to end the relationship. Well I won't have to capture him again. I think he is crazy. Quite frankly it doesn't change the facts on the ground too much so I'm not particularly broken up over all this. Some time tonight, I am going to work on resumes I tell myself and get my tail into job hunting. I am not looking forward to this even though two jobs have just appeared that seem tailor made for me. It isn't going to get any better than this.

I also have a phone job interview with [Do you think I'm going to say where it is?] on Friday morninmg at 11:30am. I wish I were more psyched. I haven't gotten past a phone interview yet so I don't have much hope for Friday. Sorry...

Now for some fun. I made this today using a technique that Raylene on the RAOK Board told me about. I might even send it to Jethro.

a cut out old rose

It is an old rose rather than a hybrid T and the shadow is very pronounced yet it is an interesting effect. The background uses a custom washi texture. I am a big one for custom shapes and textures.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This is my Pretend Brainstorms. It is better than the original. It was worth it to be who I am and say what I said and getting kicked out of Brainstorms is a price I pay with a smile on my face. This is my masthead. I put it up from time to time to remind myself that I love my Pretend Brainstorms and that it is great! Time to shout it out loud and proud!

OK, I ran the RAOK guestbook gauntlet tonight and thus missed the drug store. That is OK. I also ran into some very lucky email. I need to find the time to do some resumes. I also saw a call for papers I can actually respond to. I'll get to the drug store tomorrow after work.

I've wanted to blog all day. It feels so good to write. Actually visiting my Pretend Brainstorms feels very good despite the little I've done with it today. I enjoyed reading YB George's posts. I found them gentle and amusing. They were better than Brainstorms' Life Stories ever could be. No I don't let go and move on. I shout it out loud and proud!

The RAOK guestbook had thirteen sites in it tonight that needed responses/visits. Anyone who wants to talk about community in cyberspace needs to spend time caring for and feeding a guestbook. It's gritty work but it is rewarding work. With RAOK the guestbook is in some ways the portal to the organization. It is a place any body can post and the organization's interface with the outside world. It's a place you have to guard with a baseball bat with a sixteen penny nail stuck through it and with a velvet glove as well as an ever ready moderator's note.

You see everything in the guestbook from garden variety vandalism to spam to get rich quick schemes. The most interesting posts have been one from a Russian doctor peddling some quack remedies and the other was from Softcha home of the famous dead piggy. I don't know if the dead piggy still is there.

More often than not, the guestbook entries are ordinary home pages of women and men wanting attention. Having a home page is like being on public access cable. You can get the word out but who is watching? Some home pages especially those dressed up in full graphic sets are quite beautiful. Many are interesting, but again, who's going to watch. The answer is to sign someone's guestbook and leave your URL. People surf from their guestbooks. I don't but I surf web rings and sign guestbooks when I have the time. I think it is important to pay attention to the kind of people who build personal home pages. I would just surf pages for pleasure and sign guestbooks regularly if I had time. Instead, I surf the pages that sign the RAOK guestbook, make sure they are not involved in any illegal or questionable business such as get rich quick schemes and then roudn them up and send them out to the committee. I also sign their guestbook or send the owner an e-card too.

This is extremely rewarding work. I'm glad I cleaned out the RAOK guestbook tonight. It will be another couple of weeks until I can clean it out again, but the Life Stories conference lists plenty of home pages to visit complete with stories to read and guestbooks to sign.

This was actually a fairly productive day at work. I got the pivot tables up on the interloan/data entry project. I also found a source for ordering environmental science books and got ready to order a huge pile of nursing books. Tomorrow I'll be filling out order slips until my hand aches.

I won't be eating my nice penne and pepitas salad for dinner tonight because I got a free supper. I went to the Teen Achievers' banquet. The last thing I did before I left town for Harvey's wedding was help my colleague and supervisor, Erma, make a certificate to be awarded to the student who won a five hundred dollar scholarship to Columbus State University. That student did not show up at the banquet and I ate stuff I shouldn't and I feel not so good now except I am wound up and wired on caffeine.

I also finished the next bundle of fifty links for Diana who will be in town next week. I am annotating computer science web site links for our systems librarian here at work.

All in all I missed being on the desk today. It is really what I do best when we have customers. It is Maymester now and rather quiet. No I do not get the summer off. Yes, I do have a twelve month position.

It is good to be back at work. I am always fairly productive on the first day of the week and get more and more tired and less attentive as the week wears on. That's just me.

I missed the drug store and have to get my pictures from the wedding and my trip to New York tomorrow. Yes, you will get to see them but I will be making thumbnails and mounting them on a series of web pages. I can code html in my sleep so no problem there. It is fun to be bilingual.

I also started a new story on Ghostletters today. It's a story within a story and one of my characters is telling it. It is set in a Sethian (As in the Seth books by Jane Roberts) parallel world. It stars a man named Castor who has a gift for languages and a beautiful Chicanna wife whom he tenderly loves. The "Dragon Man" has offered Castor a full scholarship, stipend, and cheap apartment if he visits him weekly, at least for starters. The problem is there is something terribly wrong with the "Dragon Man," something about him so wrong that he makes Castor's wife, sick and shakey with fear. Has Castor sold his soul or is something else happening? Stay tuned....

Something weird happened to me last night. As I was heading home from Pbulix with a cart full of groceries a pair of women in a beatup white car pulled up next to me in the La Quinta motel parking lot. One of them asked for money for gas. She was heading for Jonesville, GA for chemo therapy. She looked none too healthy so maybe the story was true. I gave her ten dollars and have about three dollars left in my wallet. I don't feel particularly kind. I sort of feel like a sucker. I hope the woman was telling the truth. I hate being broke.

Monday, May 24, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

PLAN B is a raging scucess. If I could do a PLAN B in Florida I would visit my father. PLAN B Is expensive. PLAN B scks. It sucks whent it works. It sucks because it works.

I survived the wedding. I even enjoyed it. I'm not sure why any one would want such a large, cull, conventional, and expensive ritual but Elizabeth wanted it and she liked it and so did Harvey so that's cool. Maybe she thinks having a baby and gettin married beats working or job hunting. Hey, anything beats job hunting.

The weirdest remark from the wedding was said by my brother's best man: "I think Black singers have lots of soul.&quuot; There were no black wedding guests, no black friends from school, no black colleagues. I winced.

The biggest gaffe was that my mom had to twist arms to get the vegetarian entrees she and I were supposed to have. There were very few vegetarians at the wedding. The plate of steamed buttered vegetables were actually quite good, and not the lackluster entree I'd been promised/warned about.

I hate to say it but to me the Union League Club is just antoher rented hall. That's how we used it. The lovely seasonal flowers were also way too pale. I'd want something with more oomph, and yes the flowers were scentless mtants. this is actually fairly common and it's nobody's fault. The scent just gets bred out of flowers.

Elizabeth is happy. We and this includes me have all conspired to make the couple happy and protect the rital and keep the secret. "Sauve qui peut Elizabeth" is easy to say. No one has warned her. No one has told her. She has heard Harvey make one unnecessary cutting remark to his sister. She knows the sister stayed at a different hotel than the one she and Harvey recommended but the sister doesn't have that mch money. Otherwise we have all conspired to keep her in the dark.

Harvey (judging by his behavior in 2001) is damaged goods. He is not a survivor. He is a victim turned perpertrator. We've just let Elizabeth walk into a trap. How long before he cuts her up verbally? How long before he "loses his temper?" How long before he throws something or slaps her? Elizabeth is unemployed. Elizabeth's family is on the coasts and Harvey and she will reside in Denver. She wants to get pregnant and just might be able to do it. Not working and pregnant or with young baby, she will be exquisitely vulnerable.

I joined the ranks of the enablers tonight. I did a bang up job of saving my own skin. Now I squirm in that skin.

"Sauve qu'il peut Elizabeth"
Fnd the high ground.
It's every man for himself and ever woman too.
Don't expect us to make it easy.

"Sauve qu'il peu Elizabeth"
Do you want to hear a story?
I'm going to tell you so listen up.
There was once a little boy
He was once robust, strong, and healthy.
Too strong to NOT challenge his father.

Some day he would laugh it off in polite company.
Some day he would say it was all in the past.
some day he would say the head games were just good clean fun.
I don't know about the welts on his back.

Nobody rescued the little boy.
Not his friends, not his teachers, not his mother, not his sister
Whose two X chromosomes offered her partial protection.

Maybe she was old enogh when it started with her to understand.
Maybe she realized she would have to rescue herself.
Since she was too awkward for the games,
The excuse of good clean fun did not apply in her case.
Besides she rememered the welts on her brother's back.

To rescue onself sometimes means a hungry belly.
Sometimes it means walking away.
Sometimes it means you're on your own.

Little boys can not rescue themselves, Elizabeth.
And when they grow to be men they still may not be able to do it
Since no one rescued them while they were young.

They may believe all they can do is...
Some day laugh it all off in polite company
After all it was good sport,
And as for those welts....

Well the little boy could always take it out on someone else.
My two X chromosomes did not protect me.
I was eleven when the little boy became bigger than I was.
I did not have the strength for games.
Bt I was old enough to have a sense of justice and self, already formed.

And eventally I took the rescue of a thin wallet and an empty belly.
I turned my back and kept my head down.
I did not rescue the little boy.

Some years ago my mother offered the little boy
Now a man the terms of rescue that were my own.
He turned them down.

Of course, had he taken the road of rsecue
He would not be part of your world.
You would never have met him.
And he ight have had no interst in you.
But he would know and undrestand enough not to play vicious games or "lose his temper."

You've been tricked and trapped, Elizabeth.
there is still no rescue for the little boy.
He probably no longer believes it possible.
And now of course the little boy is your husband.

He'll just "lose his temper."
It's just a game and any self respecting person can play it.
If you don't like it....

"Sauve qu'il peut, Elizabeth."
I hope when the time comes
You know how to rescue yourself.

EHK 5/23/04

I'm just outside of Baltimore, MD. I handled the emotions last night. PLAN B worked. It worked so well I have great memories of New York, like riding the subway in the conductor's car so you could see it approach the stations.

I did every upper Manhattan thing in my trip kit. The Cloisters took less time then expected and the wooden statuary though much fancier reminded me of stuff I've seen in past life memories.

There were also wonderful Medieval musicians there. I bought one of their CD's. then I figured out I could walk to the Dyckman house which is also up in Inwood. Inwood is at the very northern end of Manhattan. It is a Hispanic neighborhood and ver different from midtown. It was clean and at the 207th Street subway station I finally learned how to swipe a metrocard. Yes, this is a larned skill. I lost my Pepsi but that was OK. Call it a cheap lesson.

The Dyckman House was closed by the way. The best thing at the Cloisters was a tie between the ivory carvings and the herb garden which is just a gorgeous little space. The herbs are all labeled and many grow on cute little old fashioned stick or wattle trellises. There are also cherry and quince trees. The cherry tress had green cherries on them and the quince trees had baby quinces.

There were more trees and flowers in upper Manhattan than there are in midtown. I saw a butterfly garden outside of Fort Tryon Park. One day I'm just going to wander all over Fort Tryon Park and follow Riverside Park all the way from Harlem to midtown. Good scenery and a view beats everything except the Subway.

Well the Dyckman House was closed so hwere was I go go? The Dyckman House is a restored seventeenth century Dutch farm house from when upper Manhattan was farm country. The Cloisters are a Medieval museum with architecture and artifacts. It is in Fort Tryon Park. So where was I to go? The answer in my ever-ready trip kit was Fair way Foods, the big one in Harlem. It's about the size of Publix on Macon Road but this has fine and fancy groceries for Manhattanite bellies. Also for Manhattan, this is a good size, well stocked, reasonably priced store. It certainly had items I could not get in Columbus, Georgia or even Atlanta. The pasta department was impressive and they also had a full line of Goya beans. There were five pondsof beans and pasta in my duffle bag.

Anyway to reach Fairway Foods required switching from the A to the 1 sbway at 168th St. This scaird me a bit since I'd heard that the neighborhood here was not good. Still off I came and I started following the signage. I had to ask directions and ended u taking an elevator to an old, beautiful, and unventillated platform. It had a rounded ceiling instead of a square one, tan tiling, and rounded lights. It looked like a very old design.

The train said 3 but it rode like a 1 all the way to 137th St. got off and started following my walking directions. A Dominican man was sellling shaved ice drinks. I asked him what flavors he had. He pointed out only those on the front side of the cart. There were other flavors on the back side but I suspect htey were for the locals and while I would have known their English names he would have known them only in Spanish. I contented my self with a lemon ice and hit Riverside Drive. I figured there would be a crossing leading to 12th Ave. in the next few blocks.

Instead I hit the bridge. I asked a jogger and he told me to look for a walkway down from Riverside Park which was at the bridge's far end. I found the walkway and doubled ack and reached Fairway which even had a toilet. If I lived in the city, I'd shop at Fairway, "the big one" all the time because it at least is a supermarket size supermarket and they do have lovely produce, deli, adn yes DRIED FRUIT New Yorkers drink their herbal tea and eat their dried fruit.

I gotback a bit ahead of schedule I wish I had more time to go mor eplaces. My trip kit was not enough though it was enough for the time I had. It made me feel less like a cheated accessory. Between the rehearsal dinner held at 60th St. and 1st Ave and Fairway which is at 132nd St. and 12th Ave. I got to visit both the east and west sides of Manhattan. I did not get down below 16th St. You can't get everywhere.

I want to visit New York again on my own and with my own money paying for it. Viva PLAN B

Here is a description and definition of PLAN B. PLAN B came into being when I realized that I would have to face another family gathering featuring not only my brother but also my father. Harvey did a job on me back in 2001 when we all stayed together at the Heatherwood for my grandmother's one hundreth birthday. I learned in my brother's presence, my mother tended not to be supporive. I also learned that most of the verbal/psychological abuse happened when I was not in a public place, cars, back bedrooms and other private venues. I was in a room without a TV. I was dependent on my mother and brother for amenities. I was dependent on my mother and grandmother for paying for my lodgings. The occasion was a disaster.

I had to figure out what to do about my brother's wedding so PLAN B was born. PLAN B involved paying my own way. It also involved staying ian a different hotel than the one Harvey and Elizabeth recommended. This meant there would be no chance to encounter Harvey or Daddy in a nonpublic situation. It also meant that I would not be dependent on my mother for support. Planning a fun time site seeing in Manhattan was also part of the PlAN. PLAN B does work. I had a great time at my brother's wedding de to it. I'd recommend PLAN B to any one with a family like mine who can afford the expenses. It was a very good investment.

One added benefit of PlAN B is I got to see New York in my own way and on my own terms. I learned more about the city and got an appreciation for the city that I never had before. I want to go back. I guess that is proof of PLAN B's success.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

No I have NOT grown tired of my Pretend Brainstorms. I've just been busy today running errands and packing and cleaning, all the awful things you have to do to make a trip work right. Most of that is for the right hand side of this blog.

Tonight, this blog replaces Brainstorms Life Online conference and we return once again to the topic of deception/fraud/faked demographics/lying (call it what you will) in online groups and lists. How do you stop it? How do you prevent it?

This topic is germane tonight because I came close to lying through my teeth on a list called Jeanne's Angels etc.... wrote me asking for some info so she could introduce me to the list. Uh oh...there I was a nonChristian, a Jew in fact, on a Christian list. What was I to do? I decided to tell the truth as palatably as I cold manage. It was not easier. It would have been easier to lie.

I guess I learned something. I learned that if you have an open group or even a closed group with easy access, and you don't want liars in your midst, then make it easy for those entering to tell the truth. Now there are groups that ought not to be open. If you are dealing with money, legal matters (such as setting up demonstrations), illegal matters (You'll need to use encryption and other forms of security as well as a closed group but that's a topic for another post), family matters, very sticky support, or selfish grief, run a closed group and vet everyone who comes through the door with a vengance.

Groups like the old Brainstorms fall in the middle. They are closed groups but take any one who knocks on the door. Closed groups though are a different animal. Jeanne's prayer list took me no questions asked. Jeanne did not even have to approve me though she could kick me out. So it goes.

How could Jeanne have kept me from lying? Allow different roles within the group. Ask yourself if you have a group, what harm is done to whatever it is you're doing by having members who lurk. If what you are doing is fairly public probably no harm is done. Allowing lurkers/observers in or saying it's OK to lurk and obsereve makes it easier for those who might not fit to come through the door honestly.

Also have provision for those who might not fit the group's profile but would like to participate anyway. For example, a group that studies the parsha of the week (Weekly Torah portion as it is known in Judaism) could welcome Christians rather than making them feel like pariahs. Perhaps the church fathers wrote something interesting that is worth a read. A Christian who is seriously intrested in studying the Bible in the Jewis manner or in just plain studying the Old Testament is probably no threat. He or she should not have to lie to feel welcome.

Of course if the Christians come in and proselytize it is off topic, but if Jewish members of the same list begin complaining about Jewish ISM (International Solidarity Movement) members or talking abot pro-Israel groups on college campuses, they too are off topic. In either case, the list owner's job would be to keep the discussion on topic rather than throw out the Christians because Christians don't belong.

Caringbridge.org does a wonderful job providing multiple roles. First, nearly any one can have a Caringbridge page. Who among us is in perfect health? If you wanted a page to complain about your acne or describe your plastic surgery, you could have one. There is no rule about how sick you have to be. Also there are whole armies of Caringbridge.org groupies who sign guestbooks, make graphic gifts etc... They too can be part of the group even if they are in blazingly good health and their children are also healthy.

The group Annika joined did not provide multiple roles even though it was clearly an open group. Those who had memorial pages including 9/11 pages (though no one with a 9/11 page in this group had lost any one in the tragedy -- ooops) competed those pages, and often begged for votes. They advertised to the world and tried to woo strangers to their guestbooks. Annika wanted to join the attention seeking seeing how pretty it all looked, yet the only way she could do this was to fake a tragedy in her life and fake it again and again. The group Annika joined offered no role for someone who wants to offer support but who is not bereaved.

Finally, any one running an open group needs to rethink restrictions on conversation. Conversation restrictions on lists and boards are necessary to ensure good behavior as in RAOK and LOTH or to keep a list on topic as at Ghostletters, but beyond a certain point, they begin to reduce the ways that members can gain attention to the point that they will need to lie. For example, if the only ways to get attention are to discuss illness, death, and rites of passage, someone out there will create any or all of those three. If the group allows the posting of recipes, craft ideas, has a current events section, or an assortment of games and trivia, a section for discussing TV shows and movies etc... well maybe the would be liar will have something honest to talk about. Conversation restrictions require a balancing act, but one needs to tip them in the favor of allowing members access so they don't have to fake it to make it.

And it was worth it to be the way I am and get kicked out of Brainstorm. I have my Pretend Brainstorms which is ever bit as good asthe original. I love my Pretend Brainstorms and try to post to it every day.

I'm sorry I was not around today. I was running errands and trying to get ready to travel to New York tomorrow for my brother's wedding. I worked a split shift and went to CVS to get my pills. Then I took myself out to lunch and treated myself to a sandwich in Subway. Subway is my favorite fast food. The veggie delite with Dijon mustard sauce rocks.

I tried on my dress for the wedding before I packed it and discovered that it was a bit big, at least the skirt part was. This is what I get for buying a dress back in January. I ingrew it a bit. I packed it very carefully, wrapping it in plastic.

I spent some time tonight printing off maps of places I might like to visit in New York. I am thinking of either the Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park, the Dyckman House which sounded quite interesting (It's an excavation of a Dutch farm for real!) in Inwood (This is the very northern end of Manhattan), taking the tram to Roosevelt Island, or visiting the big Fairway Foods in Harlem. Harlem is safer than it was when I was a kid and I'll be visiting in daylight. I have subway directions and schedules as well as a subway map in my Lonely Planet guide.

I also have my Greyhound tryptics. Everything is packed right now except my water bottle and toiletries. This is the lull in the action, the calm before the storm.

I got back my evaluation from my boss. She wants me to do more professional development which means research. I want to publish. I was going to do research based on Libr1105 but I watched my students weblogs disintegrate at week five. I learned a lot about disaster recovery. I think that would make a good article. My boss wants me to do something with a questionnaire. Those have to be good or they don't work. You don't just throw something together and try to get it published.

Well one can't be perfect all the time. We have only two full time refernece librarians. I may end up conducting an input refernece survey and see what it is we need. Input measures are a lot more fun than output measures.

I even cleaned up the apartment tonight. It's not totally clean but I vacuumed the whole place out and cleaned the cat litter pans and cleaned up the cat vomit. It has been over two days since Georgia, my blue cream half Siamese alpha female kitty who will be eighteen in December threw up. She is shedding out her winter coat and so I am brushing and brushing and brushing her. This has helped. The hair ends up in the brush and not in her belly.

It is quiet here. I was going to take a hot bath, but I can do that in the morning. My bus does not leave until 1:35pm. I'll call for a cab about 11:30am. That should work out pretty well. I'm not worried. I've made this trip to New York before to bury my grandmother back in August. This is the identical bus. It will be crowded. It will be a long trip. I have plenty of food and water. I am almost looking forward to this wedding. That means I am not thinking straight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Haldis is doing her voting so I'm not going to get anything done until the votes are all tucked in. Haldis is in limbo with no official notice that she is on hold. This is nerve wracking and the same thing is happening to two fighters on her team who are also at the same level but in a different round. Haldis advances up the opposite side of the competiton from her team members so it is as if they are at two different competitions.

I should do the mast head though I did it this morning. The truth is I'm missing Brainstorms. I'm missing the reading. I think some of this is that I'm not out on the desk at work so being stuck in this office I tend to exhaust my email. I signed one guestbook today that advertised on the RAOK board and yesterday I signed Savannah's guestbook. Coming by every few days to leave kind words is good for Lisa who lost her seven year old daughter Savannah.

I caught a bit of Savannah this morning. Yes, I managed to have contact. I struggled for it is more like it. She was soaking up coueiad like a sponge. Coueaid translates back into English as a kind of hospitality given to children. It is their due. They beg for it unashamedly at least among the spirits I deal with. I'm having trouble remembering my contact but at least I am having contact. That is OK. I think all this comes with being preoccupied over the wedding. I wish I could write more about the wedding but a lot of what I am would write has to stay secret.

When I am down and blue I resort to making graphics. I have wanted foxglove graphics for days. It is the season for foxgloves though I am not sure if they are really in bloom.

peach fox glove circle

I like this graphic the better of the two and it was a first attempt. It is a bit rough in a couple of places but the glass effect came out really really well. It is almost clear glass seen only as a shadow and a bit of light reflection.

magenta fox glove circle

You can't ever do the same thing twice. This is a generic foxglove circle with glass effect that did not come out so well. It is rose glass and a darker flower. I had to draw on the stem and leaves. The green border part has been treated with the soft plastic effect which is one of my favorite built in texture effects. I think it looks a little like terry cloth. Now all I need to do is sign some guestbooks.

Sol Lewitt design

And this is a graphic I made yesterday or the day before. The design in the center comes from a piece of a Sol Lewitt wall mural in the High Museum in Atlanta. the rest is just mine. It has interesting texture effects. I am getting closer to needing to open a Creativity Conference at my Pretend Brainstorms.

Of course nothing beats the Christian graphics YBGeorge, my brother in spirit, forwarded me on the Godsmanna@yahoogroups.com list. They are black and gold, colors I don't really care for, but they were so crisply executed with intersting written messages written in a modern font, that I had to send two of them to Jethro for his inspection. I guess I found a reason to email Jethro. I won't make a career out of it. It feels good to stay in touch. It is still strange to me that someone who didn't read my prose and comment on it until things got really ugly was someone who would still stay in touch with me. He's a Brainstormer I had nearly nothing in common with. It is bizarre.

I've managed to make it through most of today and I even managed to find a scale in the Student Health Office. I am still not sure that the scale is working, but I got on it and it was a manual scale so I kept pushing the thing back until the little metal arrow bobbed up and down and....well I weigh 114lb. That's an afternoon weight with no shoes. That's down from 140lb. twenty months ago. I guess it is possible to lose weight at midlife. I never thought it would be. I don't mind that it's taken a long time. I hope the loss is permanent.

I didn't really lose a clothing size or anything like that. I was a small and everything was a bit tight. I'm still a small and everything is a bit loose. I don't wear tight stuff and I hate clothes shopping anyway. I can see some of the weight loss in the mirror now because it has been in the front. I have a long face and it will get a big haggard if I shed more pounds.

Anyway, I feel pretty good about this. I also did some work on the interloan data entry project today, sat at a search committee meeting (You won't hear any more about that. Search Committees are confidential.), and I added some more links to the pile I am annotating for Diana, my colleague, who is in England at Oxford for two weeks.

Before I take off today, I'm going ot order ten books or at least do the slips. I'll vet the huge pile of forty slips tomorrow and start sorting them. Hopefully I'll have made a dent in a huge book order. Tomorrow is my last day of work before going to New York on Thursday. I have the wedding rehearsal dinner at Bouterin on Friday and the wedding itself at the Union League Club on Saturday. My brother is getting married.

No, I'm not thrilled but we've been down that road before here on this blog. When I really feel down I make graphics. I'm not sure how to lay them out with a two column blog but I'll do what I can. I think the other column will get them and I'll add them in as separate images at the LOTH board. Anyway, back to work.

by Eileen Kramer

Let's start today's blog with a quote I got in my email. Since it is from the Godsmanna@yahoogroups.com list, I can't reply to it there. This is what happens when platitudes run amuck. Here is the quote. You might even believe it, but here it is anyway.

"Hate is more toxin than chemical, it poisons from inside out and its a fast acting poison and before you know it you're filled with it and the hate is in charge and you can't control it anymore."

If you agree with this, maybe I can change your mind. Hate is a wonderful thing. Hate is a necessary thing. Hate is not a poison unless you bottle it up, use it to do something illegal, or don't combine it with discipline.

Hate is necesary because people do that which is hateful, loathesome, and detestable. It is natural to at leats hate the actions if not the perpetrators of those actions but sometimes one hates both. It depends on the situation. The next question is what one does with this emotion.

Well breaking the law is just dumb. Getting arrested because you do a hate motivated act is not worth the trouble. There's an old saying one should not get one's hands dirty.

Doing nothing and stewing over your hate or worse feeling guilty about it doesn't do much either, but unrequited passion and love can make one feel just as sick and poisoned. The problem is the bottling up of the emotion and not the emotion itself.

So what can one do with one's hate? Act upon it in a legal and socially acceptible (well not to everybody) means. Let's start with grudges. Grudges are wonderful things. I've got a few people on my grudge list from Brainstorms. Woe be to Bob Watson (Library Bob) if he ever faces me across an interview table. If I'm on the other side of the table from Bob I don't expect fair treatment either. Bob is going to have to put on an impecable performance to get past my grudge. Contrary to the world of platitudes, a grudge is light to carry. It just gets filed away, like a note card. I'll take it out when I need it and can act on it.

Grudges keep the sh*t heads in line because in a small close knit society everyone needs favors from everybody else. Behave badly, earn the ire, hatred, dislike and loathing of your fellow townspeople and favors will be begrudged. Grudges are an excellent form of social control. Their opposite is not good feeling and peace. It is anomie where those who wish can commit hateful acts without fear of this simple, effective, and legal means of retaliation.

Then there are other methods of retaliation. In the United States you have the right of free speech. That includes picketing, writing letters to the editor, etc... There are also blogs where you can write out your passion as I am doing here. If someone throws you out and expects it to silence you. Well you can let your hate shine through by writing and writing and writing. If you feel you are not important enough to write for yourself, then set aside time and make yourself do it. Discipline is very important. Putting up a web page that warns people about the hateful person is a service. Remember truth (and you've been done wrong so you have truth on your side) is a defense against libel in the United States.

Writing and publishing and knowing you have the means to deny the object of your hatred favors are all empowering and liberating ways to act on your hatred. If you do these things than hatred doesn't poison you at all. It motivates you and you shine in the glow of your liberating self expression.

By the way, the above platitude above hatred is a great piece of writing of the powerful to the powerless. The powerless person has many reasons to hate those in power because those in power can lord it over, oppress, rob him etc... Telling him to be content in his lot and that God will reward him is a ploy so old it is stale.

And now for today's masthead. I love my Pretend Brainstorms. It is better than the real thing. I will not be shamed, silenced, move on, or let go. I am the rock that will not be moved and I come here every day to write and write I will! Loud, proud, and unbowed!

OK, I got a new head. The beautician wanted to play with my hair after she gave it a trim and I didn't argue with her. I put the part back in. She wanted to teach me how to use rollers. I said "no." I'll be getting ready rather quickly for the wedding and I'll be in a hotel room in a strange city. There's a time and a place for everything.

The beautitian whose name was Christine put goopy in my hair too and sprayed it. My hair though very beautiful and several inches shorter (I was surprised at how much she cut.) with no split ends (Yay!) does not smell like my hair. A good shampoo with Pert and an air dry will take care of that.

I have to get money for the bus ticket tonight and buy a bunch of odds and ends for the wedding and the bus trip. I need soda water, brown stockings, dried fruit, a collapsible umbrella, a travel bottle for shampoo, and a refill of my presecription medications. It is not much once I write it down, except the refill. I am unused to having to run errands every evening though. I'll be glad to be getting on the bus on Thursday and be on my way to this wedding.

I found two shades of nail polish that actually go with the brick colored suit dress I am wearing to the wedding. I have all the other doo-dads. I am glad Lou is not down here to outfit. I have a bunch of stuff to do here at work but not that much. I'll be getting on it once this blog is published and exported.

I Savannah's page yesterday and I'm glad about that. I somehow think it takes some fortitude to withstand that kind of sadness. I don't really have it. I can think of nothing clever or original to say in the guestbook. I'm glad I keep a stable of pressies for such occaisions. Here is the other stable. I have two pages and may soon have a third, though I may put it elsewhere. It depends what I put on it.

Sometimes a picture is better than a thousand words. I made lima bean salad with ranch dressing for dinner tonight. I could not eat any main course but I had a big dish of the salad and was full. I guess this lack of appetite will pass. It doesn't really surprise me. By the way I have no idea what I weigh. I tried on the dress for the wedding a month ago and it still fit and fit well. I've been eating a lot of matzoh though. I guess I could find a scale on this campus somewhere.

Monday, May 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Hoon, ElDon, and any one else who finds me a crashing bore, I have never had either a psychology or a linguistics course. At Jerry Swatez' urging, I've read some sociology which I thought was fascinating, but that is my social science background beyond what one can read in political magazines. You'll have to put up with me. There is no point in my posting in a language I can not understand.

That said, I was reading YB George's mail this morning and it hit. I thought of YB George and I thought about Fairy Flutterby who does lovely graphic and quilt work at RAOK. It hit with a bang. I do not know either YB George's last name and I know nothing about Flutterby though I admire her craftsmanship. I know that sounds awful and awkward, but that is the best translation back into the academic/hard talker language that I know. I admire YB George's willingness to seize the soapbox unapologeticly. I like his unapolagetic zealous Christianity which has little enough hellfire in it to appeal to me, as a nonChristian. I like faith since I know how important faith is.

Yet, I admire these people and their identity does not matter. That is a strange thing to say and something the people on Brainstorms did not understand. It is a profound cultural difference. It is not tolerating fraud or making a fertile ground for it. Any place online that does not practice routine harm reduction, leaves themselves wide open for all sorts of damage including that caused by fraud.

But let's start with that first sentence again. In soft talker culture identity does not matter. How can this be? Think about resumes and you'll get a clue. For those of a certain class or with a certain level of traditional achievement being seen and out there and visible matters a lot. One has credentials and deeds one wants to tie to one's name. One's name, one's full name, one's address, one's affiliation, one's identity are all important. They are tied to one's status and one shows off. From that showing off, one gets something called social capital. I still think this is status and power. Some people say it is credibility, especially when you want to keep "those people" out of the club. You need something to distinguish yourself from those people.

But suppose you don't have a resume of traditional achievements. Suppose you are not a professional, well educated, have not written a book or newspaper articles etc.... Suppose you are an ordinary working or middle class person. What do you gain by being out there so visibly? Very little. Perhaps the only people who would bother with you are those out to do you ill. Your last name disappears as does a lot of personal information. Your identity becomes a private matter and one not discussed or even asked about.

Fraud becomes an issue only when money and physical goods start to change hands or when humiliation becomes an issue. If others feel humiliated for having dealt with a false identity, then there is trouble, but as long as they are spared this, the rules about identity remaining private and being unimportant because nobody should say who they are on the net, prevail. Speaking of identity and questioning identity are taboo.

That is the culture in Ladies Groups. That is now my culture. I did not realize how native I had gone. I have worked hard at it. I still have vestiges of the old culture. I can talk and write a blue streak and feel comfortable within the written word. I am loathe to apologize for breathing or taking up space or writing a long post. Grace mentioned that I said many negative things about ladies groups on Brainstorms. Yes, I said them, but that was because it is hard to say positive things that are real in the language of the hard talker/academic side of the net. And yes, I chafe under the conversational restrictions.

I now appreciate those conversational restrictions in a way I did not before. Yes, I do respect them as surprising as it sounds. Rules up front protect newbies and other vulnerable members. They protect the powerless from the powerful. There are other places for frank and open discussion if one feels that need and one is ready to gird up one's loins for verbal battle, or there is this blog. In a ladies group, protecting the vulnerable takes precedence. I was vulnerable on Brainstorms and now I understand.

Conversational restriction is also a good form of harm reduction. In an environment where peole have a hard time (There is nothing wrong with people for having a hard time doing this. Sharp prose that cuts like a knife is a hard talker skill. It is not universal!) parsing aggression from actual harm, frequently make mistakes that can ignite flame wars. Placing restrictions on topics of discussion makes for a more pleasant atmosphere for all. It keeps the proselytizing Christian (or Wiccan), the person who must post political glurge and drivel, the person who would beg for money and scam, and the endlessly begging vote exchanging site fighter, from leaving their verbal turds on the web board. It also prevents manipulative tactics such as public resignations or drama from other smaller less well policed groups from spilling on to the community boards.

Those ordinary middle and working class ladies have found their own means if harm reduction that does not require strict and open interest in one's public identity. Ladies groups also value many other ideas I support, ideas that were at least partially alien to Brainstorms. On Brainstorms one received and requested beams. What happened to prayers? On a ladies group one requests prayers. The P word is not tabboo.

Ladies groups value craftsmanship. Yes, that is the word and it is not a dirty word though it is not one they would use. PSP8 often works hand in hand with words to tell the story. This means people make pressies for guestbooks, gifts for pages, etc.... One thing that Brainstormers never caught on to was graphic size. Size is always specified for pressies 230*230 is the traditional limit. Gifts can be larger 300*300. Let me set up a page and I take oversize gifts and just fill in two slots with fancy table code or use thumbnails to take care of the size problem, but that is an exception that proves the rule. Gifts, calling ards, and pressies are elaborate and small. One would not think this a good thing but it is when one sees its absence.

Ladies group members build wonderful lush graphic pages. I've adopted some of their ideas though I use a ring table rather than layered tables to do a bordered designs and rely on simpler designs and flatter, brighter colors. The graphics are useful because they act as landmarks. They set a tone that supplements the words. It has taken me a year or two to find my own graphic tone but I use it and use it happily.

I like it much better that my online world is not just words on a screen. Words were never meant to stand alone. It was only the invention of the printing press that made everything monochrome and made illustrations expensive. That is a period of five hundred years, and it was an abberation and anomaly. Before this text was illumninated and supplemented by pictures.

And yes there are days when the pictures make me want to grit my teeth and cringe but so what. There are days when I really admire the work I see. Even on the worst days, unless the page crashes my browser or unless it is a poem projected on the screen in flash (which I find annoying!), I am glad for the graphics.

I tried several times to explain some of this on Brainstorms and I have tried to do it here, but the words never come out quite right. I think this is one of the better jobs. It is very hard to translate between my soft-talker ladies group culture and the hard talker culture on Brainstorms and elsewhere. My experience on Brainstorms taught me though that I have crossed the line. I made my choice. It is a choice I would have made anyway. Demographics are part of the reason. I am female. I am traditionally relgiious. I am also dealing with class and small town living and family issues that make me feel closer to my fellow RAOKsters and to LOTH sisters. I would like the words to come out really right some day. Maybe some day more people would be tempted to take off their armor, put down their swords, drop their sad sacks, and make the same conversion I made.

I know I have joined a culture that is doing it right. My conversion is still an ongoing process. These things take work. I am working at it all the harder now, not because I have nowhere else to go but because I like where I am. It is where I should have stayed.

by Eileen Kramer

Note: this is a divided blog. The left hand side stays on this blog. The right hand side gets exported to other venues, nobably boards at LOTH and RAOK. This way I can say what I want, and export my words which are appropriate for export.

Well, I'm no longer disinvited to the wedding though I don't feel like going. Going to New York will be great. New York City is wonderful and to be my own master on my own dime there will be a dream come true.

Let's go with the masthead: It was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms. This blog is part of my Pretend Brainstorms which beats the real thing by a mile. The masthead feels just like a masthead on a day when one is largely off the net and away from one's Pretend Brainstorms and can not do it the justice it deserves.

Haldis has been sweating bullets this weekend. The Webleagues switched servers Thursday night and Haldis lost her FTP access. She was due to roster her team a day early. She is going to Oxford (That's Oxford, Mississippi, the home of Ole' Miss) for a training/orientation/cleanup weekend for a dream summer job working in an engineering/technology firm's office and sometimes in the field. This will be a great summer for Halids.

Anyway, traditional competitions live by their FTP access. They need reseller accounts. ZOID is small enough that the trustees have access to a common simple account. This cuts expenses. The Webleagues is on a provider that specializes in competitions. Oh well....Haldis and most of the staff lost their FTP access. Haldis' own site which fights at Webleages for the Africans, is not rostered right now because the Eastern Hemisphere is one area where the staff person who sets it up has lost FTP access. At least the Antarcticans are working and even scored. They lost the last s in their team name though. I think this is only temporary so I'll leave the Avatar Central conference alone for now.

The Silk Purse needs a lot of work and probably won't get it until after the wedding. One of the trialed topics has failed. Courage Without Fears is a mental health related group but it is way to saacharine and platitudinous (if there is such a word) for my tastse. I got warned in chat and treated to a bunch of cliches. This isn't a real mental health group in my opinion. I can simply do better elsewhere. They were inviting people from all over and I was just one random invitee.

I lost Jethro's phone number. I think I have his work number but I would never use it, well maybe not never but probably not. I can email him if I feel the urge, but beyond the old Brainstorms, we have nothing in common. He is bound to the community by bonds of confidentiality and without his willingness to breach those bonds, he is only half a friend. I don't need half friends.

I still miss Cori (two faced thing that she is), Joe (coward!!!!), and a couple of the others. I don't really miss Zahava since I can find many women with similar stories. I could make up a Cori, Susan Hazan, and Joe character. Actually Joe is replaced with the Christian lists I joined. I prefer my Christian clergy open and fearless.

This shouldn't sound so down. My Pretend Brainstorms is great. I was out today and not on the net and then phone calling and napping and then Haldis needed the computer to do her Webleagues stuff so I just haven't been around today.

It looks like I am no longer disinvited to my brother's wedding. I am not all that thrilled with this. My brother and I are not close and this wedding is a chore. I am going because I have no choice. Nothing has changed. Now on to other news....

I have gained new respect for the nursing home where I volunteer on Sundays. It's the little things that make me gain respect. It's watching nurses and mobility aids walk wheelchair bound patients. Often the patients wear belts and use canes or walkers but they get walked. This means some of them may walk again. That is a good thing indeed. Also the patients are never called by their first name. That is a Southern thing but it is also a thing of respect. Up north my grandma was as often Sibyl as Mrs. Senecoff.

I also met a woman named Jan Bowen who is a nurse by trade and who comes from a long line of nurses and who was visiting her mother. She brought her mother strawberries and bananas and when her mother had had her fill she fed them to the other patients, many of whom could not feed themselves. She asked me to help and I said I had never fed another human being before. I have hand fed a sick cat, and hand nursed a kitten, and done lots of mounding up of food for an older cat, but I was a three when my brother was born and none of the old people in my family ever got so sick for any length of time that they could not feed themselves. Besides that would have been the job of the aid or paid companion. Well I learned and it wasn't so horrible.

Most of what I see at the nursing home is physical disability rather than Alzheimers. I see a lot of people with half a leg or a whole leg missing (I think this is due to diabetes). I see people with arthritis and parkinsons. I suspect some people have had strokes. One very young patient is brain injured due to a hole in his heart. It is amazing how much physical disability can take its toll. These people are a lot worse than I remember my grandfather to be. He had osteoarthritis that destroyed his knees and multi-infract dementia but he could still feed himself and carry on a reasonable conversation despite loss of short term memory. My grandmother had an ostomy, osteoarthritis in her back and hips, a broken hip which they wired together, and a couple of strokes but she was pretty much all there or mostly there. I think these people are worse. My grandfather lived to be ninty-one and my grandmother lived to be a hundred and two.

There aren't really any lessons in this. Live long enough and you get old and infirm. I have a lot of aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents who have made it past ninty. I also think I've got the longevity genes. I have the phenotype (very good blood cholesterol and low blood pressure). There has been no cancer in my family for four generations. What happens if you live into your ninties in my family is osteoarthritis and osteoporosis which means hips, knees, back, and wrists are all at risk, which means you can get badly disabled. I look at those people in the nursing home where I volunteer and I think this is going to be me fifty years from now. It's a sobering thought.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well my brother disinvited me to my wedding. One thing I've learned from playing pretend Brainstorms is that the power of pretend is a great thing and it is there for me or any human being to take advantage of. Sorry for the screwball grammar this fine morning, and yes it is still morning. Graduation went fast.

I am grateful for that. Right now I have plans for a pretend wedding celebration. It's simple though I'd like a digital camera to take snap shots of it. I'll need a ceramic bride and groom and a little paper chupa for them to stand beneath, some paper wedding decorations, cake, wine, food and music. I can have a pretend wedding right in my hotel room. I can even take pictures. I think I can get a copy of a Jewish wedding ceremony on the web so I won't miss anything much. I'll have all the elements except the people. Remember half a loaf always beats none. I may even bring Mr. Wonderful so I won't be alone in the room while I have my pretend party. I intend to eat, drink, dance and celebrate. I don't need other people to do it with.

Now that all of you have heard my great pretend plans you are probably wanting to know what fueld the disinvite. Well I'm going to have to leave some stuff out since though this blog is a very frank place even I have secrets. Let's start with Friday morning. Lou calls and says he is not coming to Georgia. He is breaking up with me and he is not coming with me to Harvey's wedding. Harvey is my little brother who is getting married. I knew from talking to my mother last night that I had to call the Stollers, Harvey's intended's family because they are in charge of planning the thing. I had to tell them Lou wasn't coming. I also knew this was terribly late notice.

About 6pm last night I made the call. I apologized for the lateness of the call and then said that it probably didn't do much good now since the seating arrangements were probably made in stone. I found out they were still planning seating, so I asked Mrs. Stoler if I could sit with someone other than my mother. I did not tell her why and I won't tell you why either. It may be buried somewhere back earlier on this blog, but I won't tell you here. I said instead that there was an uncle I had not seen in many years toward whom I had warm feelings. This is not a lie. I would love to sit next to Uncle Henry an Aunt Judy.

Well around midnight Harvey left a phone message complaining that my seating request was innapropriate and that I was "airing my family's dirty linen in public" etc... I was not invited to the wedding. I called him back to give him a piece of my mind and he in turn said he would call the cops if I showed up. I told him I was coming to New York anyway. There is a lot to see and do in New York besides this wedding. I figure I deserve a vacation in New York and I love the city.

This morning I finally got through to my mom an dropped the bomb. She says she will speak to my brother. She thinks dad and she will make him see reason. As far as I'm concerned the wedding is a private party and Harvey can invite whom he wants. The problem with the disinvite is that it is over the phone. I told Harvey to give it to me in writing.

The reason for this is simple. If I obey the disinvite and no show, then I'll be a now show and people will say "what kind of a sister no shows at her brother's wedding." If Harvey is asked, he can say he has no idea what happened. The phone call can be made to vanish way too conveniently. This leaves me not only not invited but holding the blame. Harvey is free to invite whom he likes but he is not free to do it without taking responsibility for his actions.

An alternative scenario involves my claiming an excuse such as illness to back out at the last moment. A twisted ankle or broken bone will do the job nicely. It will heal and be taken care of. I broke my foot ten years ago and know something about how debilitating a reacent fracture can be. Harvey could ask me to call in with that excuse. This gets both of us off the hook. It also enables Harvey to hide his rash and crazy behavior

Right now my mother has told me not to call her again until Sunday night. She has also told me not to call dad. I expect if Harvey calls dad, dad will call me. I don't like being this cut off from communication or support but that is where this blog comes in.

This blog is my best friend in the whole world. Whenever I need someone to talk to I just have to bring up Blogger and pour it out. My blog never gets impatient with me and is always there to listen as I type away. I love my blog and my pretend Brainstorms.

Well you probably wonder where I've gone. I went to graduation this morning. It went fast, mercifully so. I hate it that graduation is an obligation but that is life.

The big news is that late last night Harvey disinvited me to his wedding. He disinvited me because I asked the family who is hosting, his intended's parents not to seat me next to my mother. They were still working on the seating arrangements. I said I had an uncle I had warm feelings towards whom I had not seen in years. They also said that had lots of tables full of contemporaries. The woman on the other end of the line did not think the request odd. After all I'll see plenty of my mother at the reception.

Anyway, the Stollers relayed the information to Harvey who hit the roof and called me around midnight 10pm mountain time (He's in Denver) and told me I was not invited to the wedding.

What does one do in a case like this? I've already secured the days off and a hotel reservation. I'm going to go to New York City anyway. I deserve a vacation so why not treat myself. I told Harvey I would be in the city anyway.

I also spoke to my mom. She told me not to call my dad yet. I don't know what is going on behind the scenes. I'm glad I have my blogs and boards to post to. Sometimes they are my best friends. I am still looking forward to my vacation in New York next week. I am going to have a great time, wedding or no wedding. In fact, I am going to have a better time without the wedding or rehearsal dinner to deal with. I'll be able to go where I want without having to worry about getting back at a decent hour for evening festivities. I'll be able to eat what I want not just what is served me or on a restaurant menu. I might not even have to dress up though I'm thinking of putting on the dress I was wearing to the wedding just so I can enjoy being dressed up. Sometimes getting dressed up just plain feels good.

I would like one of two outcomes. The first and most desirable outcome would be for my brother to disinvite me in writing and publicly to all concerned. This lets my family and the Stollers know that my absence at the wedding is not a "no show" on my part, but a disivinte by Harvey. A wedding is a private party. I respect Harvey's right to invite whom he chooses, but he has to take responsibility for his decisions.

The second and less desirable outcome is having to attend the wedding and rehearsal dinner. My brother and I are not close. I am doing this out of familial duty. Getting let off the hook would be nice but being put on it after being yelled at by my stupid control freak of a brother who has no busines speaking to me the way he did on the phone, is really not fun. This wedding is a chore. That is why I have other fun events planned for my time in the city. Having my trip to New York be a pure vacation would be much better.

The third outcome (Yes we have a third outcome) is for a behind the scenes agreement to be reached. Harvey does not send out the formal disinvites but we both agree that I should feign an illness to get out of going to the wedding. A fractured bone or twisted ankle would work well. So too would a case of tonsilitis. I could still even go to the city. New York is big and anonymous and I'd have a fine time amusing myself. No one would ever know I was not home sick. This of course enables Harvey's rash and capricious behavior but it also frees me of my obligation and stops me from looking like a "no show."

I'm really glad all of you ladies are here to read this. I did get through to my mother but she doesn't want me calling me back until Sunday night. I am so glad these boards are here where I can post. I am also glad I have my blog. There is nothing beter than being able to pour out one's heart in writing. There is nothing worse than keeping silent.

Friday, May 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

What's going on here. Well I'm back to good online hygeine. Always back up. Always make sure you own some of the real estate. This protected most of what I wrote and made for Brainstorms. I was very lucky. Of course with old Brainstorms I posted my blog directly into Life Stories. With LOTH Region 7 that is impossible. LOTH is a group where conversation and mood are restricted and I'll respect their rules, but this is my blog. A lot of stuff here is too dark and angry for LOTH.

A lot of it deals with revenge, discipline, and my pretend Brainstorms. I still want to write that but obviously I can't copy it. At the same time I am writing entries to the LOTH boards that I am not backing up. The remedy is the two column format. The sweet stuff for LOTH goes to the right. The real strong stuff stays on the left. I'm not sure how this is going to work though the idea is aesthetically elegant as well as practical.

It makes LOTH Region 7 that much more like the Brainstorms Life Stories board and thus improves my Pretend Brainstorms. That is a good thing. I've been thinking today about Yahoogroups. I think that those big groups published on the front of the Yahoogroups site may be run by shils who work for the company. The reason I think this is tht Tripod/Angelfire, Geocities/Yahoo, and AOL all have paid community personnel.

Of course someone who is paid to run a community for a big company has a conflict of interest from day one. He or she serves one master while the membership has been lured in. Think of company unions and such and you'll have the idea.

By the way, I don't need intelligent conversation. I can have it here by myself. All I have to do is remember to come here a couple of times a day and let my mind run. This feels so good. I am so glad this blog is here. I can write and write and no one tells me to shut up. OK back to writing...

Of course shils running big Yahoogroups are every bit as fake as Thadea, Haldis, and Orelle. But Thadea, Haldis, and Orelle are me working for me. I am a solo act. I like being a solo act, but I am not out to help some big company make money. My day job finances my online passions. I think I want to keep it that way.

OK, I have some good news. The rabbi finally found his way on to campus and brought back the now overdue library book I lent him last winter. This is the last library book I lend to this rabbi who can not find his way in to or out of a paper bag.

I worked on webliographies this morning and got ten more links added to the latest collection that I will give back to Diana when she returns from England. Diana is our systems librarian. I also ordered ten books and tried to clean up a book order that is going way over budget. One of the professors I emailed was actually around. This was a kind of small miracle since this is the day before graduation.

Yes, they hold graduation on a Saturday morning. Yes, talk about cultural sensitivity. It has been ages since I was able to go to a Saturday morning service at schul.

Anyway, here is more news. The second professor emailed me and it looks like the chemistry and geology book order is under budget again. It is also my first subject to go under the wire which is where it is going on Monday.

It hasn't sunk in yet that I have an evening off or even half an evening off. I know I want to do home worship and I ought to take a walk outside. It has been ages since I got any exercise. It has rained on and off this week. There was a joke on Brainstorms about Mercury being in retrograde. I'm not sure... I'm not a believer in astrology.

Being boyfriend free means a nice easy week next week planning all the fun stuff I'll do in New York for the time I don't have to be at the wedding or the rehearsal dinner. Of course I still have to call the Stoller's, Harvey's fiancee's family and tell them that Lou is not coming. I would think it is so late now that there is already a table setting planned for him and what not but I'll see. It's the polite thing to do and I guess one must be polite.

by Eileen Kramer

Blogger has been having fits. Let's see if it has recovered. It looks like it has so I'm back in business. My blog looks a lot better now. Well the big news is that Lou is not coming down to Georgia and not coming with me to my brother's wedding. I'll leave a message on the Stoller's answering machine tonight. The no show is not that big a deal because I already paid in gifts about what it would cost to have us both. Now I've overpaid. I regret that the gifts had Lou's name on them.

If you expect me to sound all broken up over this, don't. Lou was so crippled up (bad back and feet) and would have been so spooked by New York that he would have been an utter drag, unable to walk anywhere and in New York one must do a lot of walking. Also I was NOT looking forward to a mad scramble early next week trying to get Lou outfitted for the wedding that he has known about for months. He needed a new suit and a pair of comfortable shoes so he could walk. So this is a really good riddance situation. I'll work on my job hunt so I can get out of this benighted burgh, Columbus.

Onward and upward as they say. I just have to make one phone call and this burden is off my neck. No, I didn't tell Lou not to come. He thought it up himself but I am greatly relieved. By the way he is breaking up with me but we will still stay friends. I, however, want to stay broken up so I'll be looking for a singles group and somebody else who is actually physically present. Lou has been hiding in Upstate New York more than he has been here the last five years so I'm kind of glad he's officially out of the picture.

by Eileen Kramer

Call me crazy, but I tried phoning Jethro tonight and he said he had just come in and had to feed the cats. I said fine and asked if I could call back in twenty to thirty minutes. I waited a bit longer and Jethro was online. He still probably is. I still want to try. Call me crazy. I'll say it again.

Tonight, I really wanted to write on my Pretend Brainstorms in the Life Stories conference. That wanting was sweet. I also got my first comment on this blog's comment system. Thankyou Matthew. I think I'm going to need to publicize this blog a bit more. I signed three guestbooks today.

I like web pages with guestbooks every bit as much as I like blogs with comments. Guestbook culture is glyphic and friendly. It's my kind of culture and my kind of space. As head of the RAOK guestbook committee, all too often, looking at guestbooks gets to be a chore. I forgot how much fun it is just to visit pages and sign them. Of course in a busy day finding the pages is a bit difficult but I have some good page locating links up in Life Stories now so I'll have plenty of reading matter and they want me there.

I still haven't gotten tired of the Godsmanna@yahoogroups.com list. I particularly like YBGeorge. Right now on the list though they are passing around religious questions. I wonder if I should tell them I am a nonChristian who enjoys the frank expression of faith that is often missing in my own religion. I long ago made peace with Christianity and I enjoy reading inspirational stuff. Sometimes it is a bit simplistic but so what. Other times it is very soothing. After Brainstorms the unapologetic mention of religion is wonderful. It feels like warm sunshine.

I signed up for the Progressive Review, a Topica based newsletter. I rather liked one article so I figured why not subscribe to the whole feed. It comes once a day as a huge digest. I'm going to have to slaughter some trees to really enjoy it, sort of as I used to do with LOTH Tidbits.

Topica is piss poor at delivering email on discussion lists which is why I paid for l-soft/ease for Ladies Advance. I don't think the Progressive Review is a discussion list though. Ghostletters is on Topica. I've thought of an interesting plot turn for my story and I'm going to get to play it out. I'll be sad to go up north and be without a computer. There is so much in me that needs to come out and the lack of conversation is nowhere as important as the self expression. It is almost as if I want to just run my own radio station and broadcast daily. Sure it takes discipline, but the fruits of discipline are sweet.

I don't need a community that keeps out those people. Those people are in the majority. I am one of those people now. Those people are my sisters. I embrace those people. That is the way it is going to be.

I am thinking of writing a two part blog entry of what is safe to publish on the LOTH board and what is only for this blog alone. This way all the material will also reside here. This was a precaution that made my ouster from Brainstorms much less of a disaster, but they could get the whole Life Story every day. LOTH is different.

I could lose a lot of my material should something as benign as an massive archiving or general purge were to occur on any LOTH board. Having control of the real estate is in the end more important than social capital. Social capital is bullshit unless there is something else to be rationed out, server access, money, references for a job etc... Without scarcity social capital loses its value. Think of the wild west with tons of homestead land for free. Stake your claim. It may cost a few bucks for really good accomodations but to be god in a little domain, the price is dirt cheap.

Teri and company, you don't have the power to silence me. You don't have the power to keep me from being read. I know where the guestbooks and comment places are. You don't have the power to discomfort me. I can build a comfortable aggregated site that feels better than Brainstorms because it has decorative borders and music. You don't have the power to withhold money or references from me since I asked you for neither. I did not even ask for the spotlight though you were sure angry at the attention I got. Too bad, you were the ones who gave it. Was I a thief? You called me energy creature. I would have been content to be ignored and just post my thoughts in peace. All I asked was to be tolerated. You couldn't even handle that.

I don't know what that says about you. By the way Teri, I finally got around to Googling you. It's interesting to see what comments about you survive in public space. You have gone to ground the last few years. I suspect you just have a different less public job. Oh well...what was there was interesting to read.

I haven't Googled you yet, Barbara Fischer. It should be interesting to see what I come up with there. I don't know why I didn't do this while I was still inside Brainstorms. I guess I felt credentials didn't matter. Well Teri, it's not people like you sitting in the back office who deal with fraud day to day, it's the ordinary folks on the ground who don't have shielded Caucus communities who are finding strategies to deal with the problem. RAOK's Angels of Kindness ration out the support given to those who ask. Anyone can ask. If they are lying fine, they get their ration and that is it. There is no long term committment and no betrayal. LOTH's Kringles Kids demands activity of the person involved as well as a real life address from which thankyou notes are posted. Other places just don't ask. Who cares if Dr. Tom is a seventh grader who some day dreams of being premed. He has to buy his votes via vote exchange just like everyone else.

I didn't intend for tonight's post to go this way, but this is my space to say whatever I please. I don't have to let go or move on. I am the rock that will not be moved. It was worth it to be thrown off of Brainstorms for my avatars. I love them and I love my Pretend Brainstorms. They are both the best. Let me shout it loud and proud.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Howard Rheingold is more or less picket proof. He does most of his speaking in front of private groups which means he has no public schedule. He did offer to get me in to one of his events or rather the person I am at my Ghostletters address. He then asked Vijaya Naipul, one of my Ghostletters characters in whose name I have that mailbox, where she lived. I blinked. This was not going to be easy. I wanted somewhere close to where I lived so I said Opelika, Alabama, a town about fifteen miles west of Columbus.

It took a long time for a letter to come back. Howard said he was not speaking anywhere near there and asked Vijaya what her interests were. It took me a long time to realize I could probably bluff my way through this. I also have a friend in Opelika who could act as a mail drop for anything physical. It pays to think ahead but I wasn't thinking far enough ahead. I was not sure I could bluff having "interests." Remember, all I wanted was a speaking schedule so I could leaflet and/or picket if it were possible. This is what one gets for asking a simple question etc....

I decided to confess the whole thing to Howard and wrote out a long letter explaining that I was still angry and that I felt I had been treated unjustly and that since he was owner/founder he was the one who was going to take the heat.... etc... Well, I didn't send the letter. Something in me said "wait." I emailed the letter to msyelf to keep as a draft. It is not a bad sort of letter and I could have mailed it, but I didn't.

I went home, washed my hair, and took a nap and also meditated. I had some spirit contact but we did not discuss the letter. After I woke up I realized that Howard Rheingold really had no idea where Opelika, Alabama is. It is off his psychological map as is a whole portion of my world. Then I remembered a long and ugly argument I had near the beginning of my time at Brainstorms about why opt-in could be every bit as suckie as opt-out. People who sign guestbooks and send e-cards see a lot of opt-in by deceit. No one on Brainstorms did that enough to understand.

Then I remembered another conversation on Brainstorms. It seems that every conversation I had on Brainstorms outside of Life Stories was pretty fractious. I don't know if I chose a bad conference or if I just no longer fit in to their insular and parochial community. Just because people are articulate and willing to write fearlessly does not mean they are open to a different culture and I have adopted a different culture. Now I embrace that culture.

Anyway, I was discussing the ethics of infiltrating Flowgo/Funstun's board to let them know about my E-card Education Center. I remember complaining that I suspected that the board at Flowgo/Funstun was full of shils, in other words, fakes and frauds created by the company to make a false sense of community and keep order. I had been around enough MSN communities and around RAOK and LOTH enough to know what less forthright writers sounded like and the sound at the Flowgo/Funstun board was off. This was more a velvet glove concealing a psycho fist rather than a mask concealing a freelancer, yet Teri Myers believed that shils were perfectly OK. It was just freelance fakers like my personnae and I she detested. How do you say double standard?

I also realize now that outside of Life Stories I have no good memories of Brainstorms. They weren't wiped out. They were just never there. What I was defending was the chance to have others make comments on my blog. Well my blog now comes equipped with a comment board. There are no comments there but I can always add some. I can even create people to make the comments. That won't be so bad. Also I have access to an infinite number of life stories via web pages with guestbooks and blogs with commenters. Brainstorms is an anachronism. The world of Life Stories on the net is decentralized.

A few links can bring it under one roof and as for the rest, I have my own groups plus ladies groups. Those people know where Opelika, Alabama is and if they don't they get out Mapquest and look it up or take the road atlas off the shelf and even if they have to do that, it's not foreign territory. I can learn the lingo. I can restrict my conversation. I can post as much as I like. I can congratulate and comiserate. I have friends.

My ladies group buddies don't ask too many questions and they don't judge. The first is a prerequisite of the last. They would never dream of vetting anybody. Of course I would never dream of telling the story of Haldis, Thadea, and Orell with all their bloody detail on the RAOK or LOTH boards, but then again, those boards offer no frank invitation to do so. There is a fundamental right to privacy and space where things are simply not said or discussed. This gives everyone a lot more space and for what I can't discuss at my ladies groups there is this wonderful blog.

I will need to keep up my discipline to retain what was good at Brainstorms. What was good is fortunately what is replaceable and what has been replaced. I probably will still order Tupperware, go to schul regularly, and find out about what is being done locally to support families with soldiers deployed overseas.

I will keep blogging. Tonight I checked the guestbook at Unfettered Soul and found it full of posts from places I had visited. I don't remember this enthusiastic a response to my Life Story on Brainstorms or to my responses to other people's life stories. It felt wonderful to see my guestbook full. I realize I was probably the only Brainstormer to have a guestook. Guestbooks are distributed and don't need to be under a roof or behind a gate. The same is true of blogs with comment facilities.

I will need to maintain my discipline to not miss Brainstorms. I will need to find new Life Stories but Kindness Speaks is due out in the next twenty-four hours and I know of some other great places to find web pages that are happy to have people sign guestbooks. Getting kicked out of Brainstorms was one of the best things that has happened to me.

Finally, a channeling note. I spoke to Gerry briefly about C. Diane Bradley. He was surprised I knew. I did not ask to see her. Then I mentioned something we have sometimes discussed where Gerry hopes someday to have Bill Moore, himself, and me all seated at the same picnic table and talking civilly. "That's not going to happen for a while," he said.

I don't ever want to sit at a picnic table with the folks from Brainstorms. There were no ladies groups when I got kicked off QC-L in 1995 and I wouldn't have wanted to join one then. I was still too much the intellectual snob who needed to learn a different way to communicate and be. I was not ready. In 2004, I am a member of two ladies groups plus I have my own plus I have my blog. The Brainstorms folks can keep their picnic table. I have no desire to make peace with them. Good riddance is all I can say. And Teri Myers, you are a stinking hypocrite!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This whole vengance business has gotten very sticky, but I'm going to finesse it. It is very difficult to get a public speaking schedule for Howard Rheingold. The guy must have an army of enemies because he takes very simple precautions to shield himself from them, and I'm a law abiding enemy and ultimately harmless. I only want to be heard and have him see me getting heard. That should be simple enough. Of course writing him directly might solve matters rather than trying to crash an event, but it won't get to the wider audience to know I was screwed. This means I do need to put up a "Brainstorms Sucks" web page. Someone has to do it, and that someone is going to be me.

I did get to hear Howard on NPR today. His voice is interesting. He was talking about cell phones so an email response or a phone call on my cell phone to tell my tale of woe on national radio, a great idea in theory by the way, would have been useless. Had the conversation been about community on the net, then I would have had a shot. I only caught ten minutes of Howard, but that was enough. I might catch more of him tomorrow when they replay the show. It helps to learn about one's enemy and Howard is just an enemy of convenience. He is public and visible. The real bastards are not where I can get them and they are private people. And again, I don't want to harm Howard but I want the world to know what a shit pile Brainstorms is and that Howard is the owner. The owner ultimately has responsibility.

Anyway, a call or email about Brainstorms would not have been germane so missing some of Howard was no great loss. I feel relieved that I did not really miss an opportunity. I just learned that WCT means West Coast Time. It looks an awful lot like WebCT, software we use at work.

It's been dead here at work today. It's a good time to get into mischief and I need to do just a bit of mischief to make the vengance work out properly. There, the mischief will go as plans. This is nothing illegal. Remember, none of this is worth breaking the law for.

I've got the news playing in my earphones. I am glad to be hearing it now. I've seen a lot of email about it. Yeah, smartmob shit. Such is life. Anyway, I still have other vengance tasks. I haven't ordered my Tupperware yet. I did trial Courage Without Fears and I am working to find my voice in that community. I'm not into sadness. I'm into anger. Anger and vengance make me feel strong.

Anyway, I learned today that C. Diane Bradley, a member of QC-l@psuvm.psu.edu died. I learned it from two colleagues. She died of ovarian cancer which took her real fast. That is sad in its own way even though I don't particularly miss her. C. Diane Bradley came close to making my life rather inconvenient because she knew about my job situation back in 1997. I had to out myself to prevent myself from becoming a blackmail target. That is a scarey thing. I don't personally dislike C. Diane Bradley. It was more she was a friend my enemy which made her an enemy too. It wasn't anything personal. All people of substance have enemies by the way.

I must sound dispicible on this blog but such is life. It is my blog and I can sound as rotten and vicious and fierce here as I want. That is why I have this blog. No one tells mne to shut up. Anyway, I'm off to buy some Tupperware...maybe not. This news is interesting. I want to hear it undistracted for a while. War news is always the most interesting to me.

Wow! I need an awful lot of Tupperware containers. It should be interesting to place this order. I just figured out what I need to hold all the staples I tend to have when I have a big house full. I have an ugly habit of hording food. I'm not breaking that habit any time soon.

by Eileen Kramer

I am beginning my morning with my brother in spirit, YB George. I understand YB. What he does on the Godsmanna@yahoogroups.com mailing list, I do here on my blog. Today is the day for vengance and like junk food that I am now enjoying vengance makes me feel good. Howard Rheingold does not list his speaking engagements on his site, but I can either make a call with my cell phone or send a letter to see where or if he is speaking in the Southeastern US this summer. I can take it from there. If the venues turn out to be too private or the times and locations inconvenient, hey I tried, but if I don't make inquiries, I'll never know. An opportunity just passed up without investigation is a bad thing.

Meanwhile, vengance is a many splendored thing. Besides putting in an order for that Tupperware (I finally did figure out what pieces I needed and their set won't do it.) I'm going to be aggressively trialing Courage Without Fears. I had my doubts about this group because it's members are not articulate and I called the group "noisey." That is the kind of thing people on Brainstorms would say. That is the kind of attitude common in this place, and the slip in judgement that led me to join in the first place. Those people would never make it at Brainstorms. They are my people! Therefore, it is my job to do my best to spend time there and embrace them.

Of course I'll take a trip to LOTH Region 7 and look through some of my email first and get some work done, but I'll definitely start the trialling.

OK, other news: I had a rough night or rather a rough morning. I awoke to Georgia trying to retch a hair ball. I got her on to the floor to do it there otherwise it would have been on the bed next to me. Then Georgia, my blue cream, half Siamese, seventeen year old alpha kitty, proceeded to yowl. These were pitiful wails. They got me out of bed to find Georgia in the hall. She gave a friendly meow. She just wanted me up and was doing her best to get me out of bed. I crawled back into bed and proceeded to hear yowling again. This time Georgia was in the bathroom where the echo amplifies her already loud voice. Then Hertzel, my boy of joy white kitty, wanted to snuggle with me. Fine. Georgia later joined us burbling and mewing cheerfully. She has a real meow vocabulary. Needless to say I did not get to sleep or meditate this morning so I'm in a foul mood.

In such a mood, vengance is a soothing balm. Off to do some serious vengance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I need to keep my anger against Brainstorms alive even with them gone. To make it disappear is to give them the upper hand. For me the fight goes on as long as I want it to. I do not let go. I am the rock who will not be moved. It was worth it to be kicked off for my avatars. I did nothing wrong. There I'll repeat that as many times as I want. My pretend Brainstorms is great too!

There, now with all that said, what was I doing away. Well first I rediscovered an old friend, Ghostletters. It's a fiction list and that is always fun. I neglected it during the ordeal on Brainstorms. I told them the Brainstorms story as a Scribe's Note and then started posting. In a way I feel my going back to Ghostletters is like moving on, something I refuse to do so it's a betrayal of my anger and grief. Still, it is not an intellectual forum so I guess it is OK. It will be part of the new Creativity Conference.

Second, real life intervened. This happens occaisionally. We interviewed a candidate today. I was not all that focused over the interview but the candidate was good. That is all I can say. Sometimes these all day interviews are intrinsicly boring. This one was for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the candidate and which I can't mention here on this blog.

More importantly, I graded what I think are the last of my students' papers. This means the grades go up with all the students who bothered with anything going under the wire. That is a big relief. I'll hold on to the grades until 11am and then let them rip. Libr1105 is alnost history!

I finally figured out what song I want for the Avatar conference. It is different from the theme of happiness. I am also thinking of doing a pretend Brainstorms dialog featuring fictional Brainstorms characters on Ghostletters. This would be a good safe venue complete with audience and without judgement at least none to my face, but the again I already have a Ghostletters story.

I haven't visited Brainstorms and tried futilely to log in or just to stare at the community entrance and grieve. I guess it would make me too sad. I feel weak that I can no muster such pure anger and grief, but I try to be as strong as I can in my anger and to keep it stoked up well.

I haven't gone midi hunting yet for the song I want for Avatar Central but I will do that soon. I also need to figure out what Tupperware containers I need and order them. I am going to shoot for attending Thursday minyan so I can make contact with the rabbi and try and get that book back. Friday services are asking a bit much. I am going to hate having to get up so early Thursday morning but I'll manage somehow and I'll tell them I might be a bit late to work but such is life. Who knows, if someone givesme a ride, I might end up being early. I will stand for that pledge because I want to honor our beautiful ROTC cadets. I can do a hundred legal things for revenge. It is just a matter of remembering and revenge is a very good thing.

And yes, I believe in "know your enemy" so reading Smart Mobs would be a good idea. The problem is getting a copy. Our interloan librarian is retiring and I'll be damned if I'm going to pay good money for that book. We don't have the book in our library. I suppose I could try the Bradley. I'll have to tell this blog how it feels. Of course I'll need to take notes on how to stop smart mobs from doing their dirty work. Hierarchy is much better. Explicit leadership with explicit rules is much better for the little guy who doesn't get betrayed, screwed, and stabbed in the back by nonexistent leaders in an invisible hierarchy based on social capital which is a euphemism for power, seniority, and rank.

It is not that Howard Rheingold did anything to me. We were always civil, but he is the most visible member of Brainstorms in the public world so he is a target and his ideas are a target. I have had experience writing anti-new age shit before. It tends to be fairly effective.

I never joined Brainstorms because of Howard, just because I never joined RAOK due to Candi but they are the symbols of their organizations so that is where the attack must be. Now of course picketing a Rheingold speaking engagement and passing out leaflets about what happened to me at Brainstorms might be very good and a lot of fun (notice the correct spelling). It might make a great vacation. I suppose I could find out where Howard Rheingold's speaking engagements are. He better not be coming to Atlanta. I guess I am going to find out.

With my luck, Rheingold will show up in Atlanta the weekend I have to be in New York for my brother's wedding. Well it looks like he doesn't list his appearances on his web site. I'll have to make a phone call and ask about possible speaking engagements. I think I can picket some engagements and not others. If he speaks on private property like in a hotel conference room I'm screwed.

I'm almost certain that Howard Rheingold is not the commencement speaker at Columbus State where I work. I guess I can check or should. I'm fully prepared for negative results for this one. My guess is Howard Rheingold is too small a potato to be featured as a Hunter lecturer and not local enough to be a commencement speaker, but I'll keep my eyes peeled for any one speaking our campus to make sure it's not him because if it is.... I'm going to learn my rights, run off my leaflets and start picketing.

Meanwhile, I'm still fighting with myself over Friday night schul attendance. I just wish I could go Saturday morning, but I've had one meeting or appointment after another on Saturdays so I'm just stuck with no access to the schul and I know that it is very important to preserve schuls because they are hierarchical institutions and not mobs with shadowy leaders. The problem is Max Roth is a cheap shot artist. How do I go to schul and avoid the rabbi. I suspect I will be getting up very early in the morning on Thursday.

by Eileen Kramer

I took a nap so everything is running behind. I made some very needed updates on My Pretend Brainstorms which needed it real bad. I'm putting a hold on conference creation largely due to the fact that I need to trial new topics before I put them in a conference. It looks like the next conference will be Creativity followed by Food. Four conferences is a lot for something as small as the Silk Purse.

I really do love my Pretend Brainstorms in the best way imaginable. I also love my revenge plan though tonight's nap wiped it out. I have to go through my kitchen and take inventory and figure out exactly which Tupperware containers I need and order them. I want the best and am willing to pay for it. Revenge by shopping is just wonderful and I will be saluting the flag at graduation when those wonderful ROTC cadets present the colors. Some things are so easy to do.

People who say revenge s*cks have no idea that it can be easy and legal and my time is mine. I choose how I spend it. It's my money too. I don't have to do anything destructive. I just have to change where I shop and find some new activities and I'm in the vengance business big time. What could be better.

I rejoined Ghostletters tonight after a two week absence. This is a fiction writing email list. I was gone futilely defending myself on Brainstorms. I gave them the Brainstorms story. Since my ouster is supposed to be secret, telling it is another form of revenge. I only hope my tale of woe does not make people curious. Of course any one joining Brainstorms on account of my tale of woe had better lie at the door. Any community that isn't giving away Proud Member Banners is bad news.

I also am going to become more active at SuperPackinPSP, an MSN group where I cut some PSP teeth. RAOK though I love them dearly is not giving me enough graphic work to do. I need to get back to doing more graphics. Besides the character separation problem with Haldis no longer exists. The web site is no longer being fought at the Webleagues.

This doesn't mean I am going elsewhere or forgetting Brainstorms. It is just I am filling in spaces that need it. I am still going to post Brainstorms style to LOTH Region 7 which is where I'm going next. I am making sure to do my posts four times a day though sometimes I miss a time or two especially since we are interviewing a candidate tomorrow at work.

This interview falls on the last possible day for grading students' stuff. I need it like I need a hole in the head. I am going to be preoccupied. Also another search committee on which I am (as a full timer I get on all kinds of search committees) is starting up. Plus I have this huge book order to deal with. I hate ordering books. There is so much paper work involved.

I did some weeding today and enjoyed that. I dozed off this evening and woke up around 2:45am and realized Haldis needed to score her team and that there were some updates I wanted to do for My Pretend Brainstorms. I think I ought to just call the Silk Purse that since I call it that over here anyway and that's what it is.

Playing Pretend is powerful which is why adults have a hard time when kids do it. It is their power. They can't have the thing they want in real life so they use pretend to get the next best thing. Half a loaf beats none and an eighty percent replacement beats moving on and letting go which I don't believe in anyway, but if you want kids to have nothing and want to exercise all kinds of power over them you are going to squelch pretend play real fast. Well, I've just discovered the power of pretend and I'm not letting go! Woo hoo!

It's off to LOTH Region 7 and RAOK.

Monday, May 10, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am fighting to keep my eyes open. This is a form of grief worse than tears. It is harder to fight with discipline, yet fight I must. I have been thinking of new methods for revenge. I did write to an Avon Rep and told her I was interested in buying from her. I have a conversion table from a Tupperware web site. I am also thinking of other hierarchical instiutions I can support. The church (in my case the synagogue) and the military come to mind. I have a beef with the rabbi and I think he is a cheap shot artist. Perhaps, though it is time for me to learn submission. After all the schul is better than many other places. Then again, Saturday mornings will open up again in about three weeks, and there is always Thursday or Monday morning minyan.

I missed minyan today but I am going to try to shoot for the one on Thursday. I'll see how I do. I do need that book back. Actually calling the rabbi at home tonight might not be a bad idea either. I am not sure how I'll like getting up so early in the morning, but the truth is I miss the schul.

My relationship with the military is more complicated. I have nothing against soldiers. Everyone who protested or is against the present war(s) says that so why should you believe me. I know there are organizations that send care packages to soldiers and there is always the USO. Revenge may be as simple as cutting a check, though I'd like to do the care package thing. I think a phone call to Fort Benning will solve my problem. I don't have to discuss politics with whoever is on the other end of the line and certainly even if our troops aren't fighting for anything but Haliburton, the poor grunts in the field certainly do deserve care packages.

I am also going back to standing for the Pledge, something I wasn't doing for the last few years. The pledge at graduation is presented by a ROTC cadet in a shining silver helmet that looks like a salad bowl. Well, the military is hierarchical. It is the old way of doing things. It is antithetical to Howard of Brainstorms' smart mobs. It is time I honor those cadets by standing up.

Actually it is time to honor the old order in many ways. I should have renew my appreciation for holidays like Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. I will be sending my dad a gift and making sure to write him regularly. I can reform my own life big time as a fighter against this new way of doing things of which Howard is champion. I missed the boat with that this year. I guess I just didn't think of this until it was too late. Well next year, my mother is getting cards and gifts. I am going to tell her I want to observe mother's day and if she is uninterested, I'll attend a Mother's Day service at a local church where they do it right.

Motherhood is important. Where would we all be without our mothers, pure and simple. Even I who don't want kids should know that. It's strange all the things you forget when you hang out with degenerate new age types. Well no more.

You know I believe discipline is working. My eyes are wide open and I feel good. Discipline defeats tears. I have to keep remembering that. I think I'm going to check to see if that student sent me anything, then call Rabbi Roth, and then go home.

by Eileen Kramer

Well, I just did some very vital maintenance on this blog. I added a comment board. This makes me feel very very good. I want to shout it out, loud and proud.

I just learned two great and perfectly legal ways to take revenge against Brainstorms. There is nothing wrong with great and legal revenge especially when it's my time and my money. First Howard Rheingold, the grand pooh bah of Brainstorms' thing is Smart Mobs. I'll have to get the book to read up more on these, but from a post I read this morning on my PLGnet mailing list, smart mobs are antithetical to such hierarchical modes of action as direct marketing. Well since I loathe Howard for being part of the group who kicked me out of Brainstorms, I'm going to do what I can to support hierarchy and that means patronizing direct marketers every chance I get. It's my paycheck and I can put it to use however I want.

I've wanted some Tupperware for the longest time. They make very good kitchen containers. Avon has jewelry and someone's always selling it. Mary Kay makes nail polish. Amway sells vitamins and laundry products. Well, I'm going to start doing some serious consuming and with every paycheck, I'm putting my money where my mouth is. The market is a wonderful place to get revenge.

Another hierarchical type of organization is web site competitions. Well, I'm going to find ten more fighters to support. Votes help make web site competitions run, which reminds me I've got to run myself.

Well I have two new ways of getting vengance, and I'm going to be out there every day and every month getting mine. Woo hoo!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well Mother's Day is over and it is a relief. Everyone should spend Mother's Day at the First Circle of Hell Nusring home or any local nursing home. The place was half empty because family that never visits otherwise came and took their elderly mothers, mother-in-laws, and aunts for the holiday. Yeah, what do they do the rest of the time.

Then our afternoon church program canceled. Gee I don't have that great an opinion of Bornagain Christians but this was a nice bit of hypocrisy at its best. Boo hiss! We brought up the cookies, and punch and a fancy table cloth. This was supposed to be refreshments for the visitors only. I told Suzette that if any resident came with their visitors we would not refuse them so if a resident came without family in tow, we could not discriminate. Also if a resident did not have visitors (for example a male resident and we do have those) didn't that resident need cookies and punch more. Also our poor staff who had to work the holiday deserved refreshments, especially since we did not run the world famous Cheer Cart.

I'm glad Mother's Day is over. Yay! I haven't been around my Pretend Brainstorms as much as I would like but I did do some working behind the scenes. I cleaned up the guest board for the RAOK Guestbook Committee and I also made blank template vestris board pieces including a set for this blog. Yes, this blog is getting comments via a vestris board. I have to add the decorations, upload, and then activate the board and put the links in the template. My guess is all this is going to be in place by the end of the week. It's about seventy-five percent of the way there.

The way I see it, those nice blogs in Life Stories all have comment areas. Blogger does not provide them so rather than mess with one more remotely loaded piece of software, why not use my Agnes/Vestris to provide the comments. I also want to put a board in Avatar Central but that is the next project.

Not much will happen on these projects during the week. I have grading and goals tomorrow. I'm glad I made myself take a day off from work. One day away from that office made a big difference. I hope I see Federia, my sick student, tomorrow or if she can't come in she gets the paper to me. I don't want to fail her or give her an incomplete. Tomorrow I hope I can send another five students under the wire. There are fourteen students, one of whom just forgot about the course and is going to fail, though I'll happy to write petitions saying she attended class #3 and vanished. Wednesday by noon all this is over.

Tuesday we have an interview candidate at work. I hope she does a good job but she makes me that much busier. Don't expect me around here more than once a day and hopefully I'll steal the time to get the vestris board, up, running and integrated so you can leave your comments. I figure all those nice people who are in my Life Stories conference at my pretend Brainstorms have either guestbooks or comment areas. My blog is still strictly a solo performance. I am going to do something about that, busy week or not.

I still need a Cori replacement for my Life Stories page. I am very pissed off at Cori because she was always sweet and civil to me and yet she went behind my back and voted for my ouster. I was unable to watch the proceedings. They made sure of that, the dirty scum. Yes, I am acting like a spurned lover. Some of them build shrines and don't throw out all their ex's memoribilia. Well, I'm that kind of spurned lover.

Still I would like a Cori replacement or if worse comes to worse a pretend Cori. There is a second Vestris board in the works for my pretend Brainstorms and I may create a Cori character so I can continue to read her posts. She'll be fake but fake is much better than nothing. On the other hand, I may find myself a good Cori replacement. With this busy week, though, that is unlikely.

The next big obstacle to my my pretend Brainstorms comes the weekend of the 22nd. I'm going to be away for four days. The history of pretend groups like this is that an absence of four days breaks the illusion and causes a loss of interest. Now there are ways around this. One of them is to keep a notebook and jog possible posts and transcribe the stuff when I get home. I found a notebook with plenty of space left in it so I'll probably pack that and just write my blogs longhand and then find a spot. I think my hotel has an internet hook up as well. I can get on late at night and at least keep this blog going. Pretend groups have survived brief absences before. I look forward to my brother's wedding as a test of my dedication. I think I'll stick with it. After all I won't be shut up or shamed.

by Eileen Kramer

Discipline is not easy but discipline is starting to feel good. Today marks the beginning of a full blown patterage in LOTH Region 7. This enables frequent posting even when no one else posts. It feels very much like posting to LS in the original Brainstorms which is terrific, not the original Brainstorms of course. I wonder what a Google search of "brainstorms sucks" would come up with. If Brainstorms has thrown out a lot of people, there must be hundreds of us disgruntled exmembers out there.

Actually what astounds me about my ouster more than anything else is that I now hold a queen sized grudge against the entire leadership. Grudges are very bad things. They are not bad for the people holding them. Grudges are bad in the way that all natural consequences are bad and they are good in the way that all natural consequences are good.

Grudges are easy to carry despite what one may read about them in glurge literature. The problem comes if you are the victim of a grudge. Don't expect any favors. Perhaps you should not even expect a fair hearing. In close knit small town societies the fear of creating a grudge or being the victim of one is a powerful form of social control because you are likely to bump into the the holder of that grudge against you when you need her most and then.... The neighbor whom you have angered because their dog pees on your lawn could turn out to be a business contact or your child's teacher. The neighbor who always blasts his car stereo until you chewed her out one day could turn out ot be your new boss.

After the two week ordeal, closed door decision, and discrimination against a law abiding member those guys at Brainstorms have gone their merry way leaving a queen sized grudge behind. I've said that before, but one of the Brainstorms Floaters is named Librarian Bob (His real name is Bob Watson). Well, I'm a librarian too. I believe he is an academic librarian which is even better.

In academic libraries you are essentially hired by your potential colleagues. This is called a search committee. Well, Bob, some day you may face me on the other side of an interview table. You are going to have to work just a little big harder at trying to get hired. I'm not going to forget. John Williams is an academic. Let him come and speak at my university, I may spend an evening passing out leaflets saying what he did or I may just meet him and try and remind him of what he did in public. Who knows.... The problem is given the elite nature of Brainstorms and the fact that I am in academia in the United States, the chances of running into me again are good and the chances of running over me in a situation where I matter are also good and then guess what........ It's so easy to say no or to tell my tale of woe. "I know this person...." it begins.

It still astounds me how Brainstorms so managed to absolutely poison my memory of being there that I really don't miss it. What I remember were those last two weeks. Two weeks must be a very long time. I was there five months but except for bits and snippets that feel like very weird exceptions, I have no good memories of the place. The ordeal managed to erase most of them.

Howard Rheingold better not be a Hunter Lecturer at Columbus State University is all I can say. And I've seen online shit come back to kick people. It nearly happened right where I work. The sitation is complicated but the librarian's name is C Diane Bradley. I recognized her as a member of the original QC-L. This blog is my pretend QC-L as in QC-L@psuvm.psu.edu Well, in 1997 I nearly lost my job at Utica College due to a civil rights complaint over a letter I sent to an email discussion list about a whore house I built on a MUCK in my own time. I sent the letter at work but built the whore house at 10:30 at night at home. Anyway, my union went to bat for me and in the middle of it, Bill Moore who was an old enemy of mine from the original QC-L list and who was a concealed subscriber on another list where I didn't know where he was sent a nonsupportive email. Bill meanwhile knew of my situation and may have told it to C Diane Bradley.

I was a relatively new hire at my present job at this point (I think this was 1998/99.) and we were going to interview C Diane Bradley. I had not told my new employer about almost losing my job fifteen months before I interviewed. My references some of whom had been on the union grievance committee had also kept their mouths shut. The whole incident effectively vanished, until Ms. Bradley surfaced. There was a very good chance given her closeness to Bill Moore that she knew about me and she was going to have a secret to hold over my head.

I remember how it felt having to out myself preemptively and explain the whole awkward situation. Ms. Bradley got a job elsewhere before we could interview her and we never faced each other across the table but stuff like this can happen and happen easily which is why I am surprised at the whole grudge hole at least one floater dug himself. I'm not lowering a ladder any time soon.

Well I'm going to run that search. Let's see if I come up empty handed. I do. That is going to have to get fixed. I guess I have to do the Brainstorms Sucks page and tell my story on the web. That's another project. I still didn't get to those vestris board pages that need fixing tonight. Once I have them fixed, I'll have some decent template pages as well and then I'll be able to set up some vestris boards within my pretend Brainstorms.

I still want to write to those who kicked me out and let them know how well it is going with my Pretend Brainstorms. I really do like it better than the original but that is maybe because the last two weeks there have wiped out most of the good memories. What I am remembering is nerve wracking stomach churning defensive games that I don't think any one should have to play and that I despise.

Pretend Brainstorms is just all smooth sailing, posting and reading. There is even a person on the Godsmanna list, YBGeorge who is a frequent poster. I understand him. I know how good what he is doing feels. I feel it as I blog away here or work at my patterage in LOTH Region 7. I would have looked down on YBGeorge a few weeks ago, but now he and I are brothers. I understand him thoroughly just like I understand John Geer who circulates political forwards. I am on his distribution list. He pulled off the mailing list we both were on because he was sick of the arguments. He does not need community. He just wants a place to speak. John and YBGeorge have it right.

I added two more topics to my Life Stories conference and music to that conference as well. I need time now to do some reading there, just relax and visit the pages and sign the guestbooks. When I run out of pages, there will always be more. The only question is do I work from the top up or the bottom down.

One small problem with ladies groups this weekend is avoiding all the Mother's Day crap. Oh well, I guess we need a good Mother's Day rant. Here it is. Once there was a holiday that someone wanted on the books. It was near the end of the 19th century and the idea of having a holiday to honor mothers was a sweet idea. There would be speaches, poems, articles in the right kind of magazine and such. The President signed it into law and that was that....No it wasn't.

Soon the greeting card companies sensed a great way to make a buck as did restaurants and other businesses. Mom needed to be bought a gift taken out to eat, bought flowers, etc... Just a simple card would not do nor would articles in a magazine etc...

But there was one small problem. Not everyone has a mother. Some mothers are estranged and others are dead. Not every female has reproduced. So what to do....expand the definition of mother's day. If you've lost your mother you can still send something to an aunt or mother in law or your wife because she may be a mother. Ooops.... And as for all those females not yet mothers who may not even want to have children, well if you have one ounce of nurturing instinct you are a mother, and deserving of gifts and someone spending more money to make greedy businesses happy.

No thankyou. I told my boyfriend I was not a mother and not his mother who is dead. I told him not to dare spend a dime on me. My own mother who has a lot of good sense, abhors Mother's Day and says it is just a commercial holiday and demands I do nothing for it. I'm glad. I'm off the hook and my mother is right. What a relief.

Finally let me talk about mothers. I love my mother, but mothers are people and like all people they are all different. Some are good at some things and others are good at others. In our culture we believe a mother's love is eternal and perfect. It is neither of these things though most mothers are loving. I remember hearing from kids at Cornell how mothers turned their bedrooms into plant rooms. At some point mothers push their kids out of the nest. My mother said she'd wait until I was settled with a permanent job to take down my bedroom.

Some mothers give up cooking when their kids get older. Maybe they never liked doing that anyway. When I nearly lost my job in 1997, one of the hardest calls I placed was to my mother, yet she was absolutely fantastic. She was an assistant personnel administrator and she was great with levelheaded advice. She also wasn't angry at me.

However, when my boy of joy kitty, Evander got sick with leukemia she canceled her visits rather than come to a house where there was a dying kitty being nursed. My boyfriend came down for a few days and helped me stock up on stuff I needed, something my mother with a rental car could have done. I don't drive etc.... She also could have assisted in the nursing. Some mothers would be very good at this. Evander was a great patient. His morale was good most of the time and he was easy to take care of. Still this was not my mother's cup of tea. I was on my own when it came to nursing my sweet boy kitty.

My mom is great for some things and awful for others. Her having reproduced probably doesn't change this. I am great at some things and awful at others. If I had kids I would be a decent cook and my kids would probably eat nutritious food because I would fix it for them because I consider it important and they would learn to cook. I, however, can not thread a needle decently. My kids would make trips to the tailors to have their pants shortened and their clothes fixed. Having kids wouldn't teach me to sew. If someone doesn't have the patience for spectator sports, they won't have that much more of it if they watch their kid play. They'll probably do it but their lack of enjoyment will show sooner or later. The kid will know mom's enthusiasms are elsewhere. That's just the way it is. It doesn't mean mothers are bad or monsters. They're just people, nothing special.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This started out as a maintenance stop, but you can't just do maintenance without doing some posting. I went to a Democratic Party Committee meeting this morning and I had trouble keeping my eyes open. I know that is some of the emotional fall out from getting booted from Brainstorms. It is autonomic crap that can't be helped. I forced myself to keep my eyes open, a great use of discipline.

I am also going to have to figure out how to patter at LOTH Region 7 since it is a low response area. I've had some experience with patter before. The problem is working out a double cycle (Ladies Advance already has patter and it is unrestricted.) and working with restricted conversation. Religion and politics are off limits at LOTH and RAOK. I still haven't figured out how to patter on the RAOK list. Yes, patter is the word of the day.

At what point does fantasy become functional. I am close to that point. It's a matter of discipline so I have a worry. My discipline is going to have to break and of course for very good reason the 20th through 24th of May while I'm away at Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding. Of course I am going and of course I get to write back.

Another nagging problem coming up is my birthday. They were going to celebrate it on Brainstorms. Well I'll have to celebrate it on my pretend Brainstorms. I have time to figure out the ways and means. Half the fun of this is the planning. Fantasy can be very very exciting you know.

Fortunately, my fellow RAOKsters will send me cards and gifts. Of course the best gifts are those you give yourself and often the ones I really prefer. I know that sounds weird but your own gifts are custom made and often just what you need. Having to privately (I'm not giving those folks on a committee any public recognition!) thank all these strangers who send me cards just because they have to is a drag. Still, I will appreciate the cards this year with new vigor. I have not lost RAOK and I love RAOK to pieces. This is where I should have stayed and become active. Of course then I wouldn't have had my pretend Brainstorms. What a shame that would have been!

by Eileen Kramer

Well, Jethro emailed me. I finally broke down and called him. I hate figuring that difference in time zones. The time was right and there was juice in the cell phone. Well he sent me a nice polite letter and didn't tell me to shove off. That's a relief.

I made no attempt to get in touch with Joe Lennon today. He knows where I am and has my email. He doesn't want to get involved. I've been thinking about my Pretend Brainstorms. I realized for the first time that I've come out in public about my avatars. I even gave the web page address (the main Silk Purse) address to a woman whose site I wanted to link.

I'm not sure I even want to link the MSN Group any more. I'm not that fond of it. I'm also not that fond of Courage Without Fears. Sometimes groups just get too noisey. This one feels like it needs to run on an even keel. When too many hungries get together, they begin to devour each other. I don't like the vibes. That's for tne next edit. Also one of the Life Stories pages is to scant in content to make a good page, so out it's going to go.

This is getting to be a blog that is covered with Silk Purse administrivia. Setting up a major web site tends to do that. I printed off the vestris board pages that have problems. They are aesthetic. The board works. I am going to get that board fixed before adding any vestris/agnes boards to my Pretend Brainstorms. I also found a midi for Life Stories.

Here it is...

Just clcick and you can hear Happy Talk. I'm stumped as to what to choose for the third midi. Happiness is the theme for Pretend Brainstorms. Well this will take some thought.

In other news, I nabbed the last box of shabbos candles at Publix. Home worship was less emotional and more distracted than last week, but I got through it. Georgia ate from her dish while it was going on which made me happy. She hasn't barfed at all today. Georgia is my blue cream, half Siamese, alpha female kitty. She is resting while I type. I have to watch her to see that she doesn't get twitchy. If she gets twitchy I have to put her on the floor. Georgia's head is wet because she has been drinking water at the sink. Georgia is getting sloppy in her old age.

Georgia is purring right now too....very softly. I realized tonight that I am going to have to come out about my avatars and pretty much do it everywhere. I don't want to deal with people who discriminate against me because of this so let those bastards go and let me know who my real friends are. The reason I need to come out is that if someone finds out by accident and does it in a time of anger he or she is likely to tell everyone and soon there is a huge scandal and the whole thing burns like wild fire and takes down about half of my internet association through second and third hand reports that cross boundaries where they shouldn't. In plain English snitching.

I'm out on nearly all my mailing lists. I am not out at either RAOK or LOTH and I'm of course not out at the Webleagues. Of these three, RAOK is the least of the problems. LOTH has so many layers of beaurocracy it is almost not worth the trouble. Webleagues could really piss some people off. Haldis does not really like Amaranthine or Lady Orelinde or Alice. I don't like them either. They run an uncollegial organization and they don't treat fighters or lower level staff well. Amaranthine's lack of technical knowledge is appalling. It is way less than mine. You can see the fuse going into the keg of powder.....How do you say earth shattering kaboom.

Ditching the team and quitting and giving time for a replacement may take Haldis out of orbit and beyond the reach of an angry and vengeful Amaranthine. Yes, this would be no good deed goes unpunished. This would also prevent Haldis from having to out herself. I'm not sure I'm ready to let the Antarcticans land in the hands of incompetents.

I don't have to do any of this tomorrow but I'm on the path to outing myself because if I'm going to let the world know about the way I was wronged on Brainstorms I'm also going to have to come out. So be it. I pay for the domains and the person who gives me the space is wise to the whole business. The sites are mine forever and ever. It won't kill off Thadea, Haldis, or Orelle if I come out. Haldis should never have been given that team. You don't just give competition teams to people you don't really know, even if you exchange votes with their aunt.

I don't want anybody else to go in Brainstorms and get eaten the way I was. I was screwed. I want to keep others from being hurt. My story needs to be told. It needs to go far and wide and Brainstorms is neither so special or unique that it can't be duplicated with a pretend version. Sorry. It's just a bunch of boards. I can aggregate boards and web pages have the same feel. That's all I need. I'm just one person. The pretend Brainstorms is much better than a Brainstorms Sucks page that just gathers dust. It is something that gets used all the time and that I can point to and invite people to see because it is changing and growing.

It is not the same old story again and again and people coming to see the new stuff get exposed to the message to avoid Brainstorms and that it is a bad place. In other words, there is a method to my madness.

I did not buy any flowers for shabbos. The reason is this is Mother's Day weekend. Yes, it's time for a Mother's Day rant. Basicly this is a holiday invented by the greeting card people. It actually wasn't but it is about a hundred years old. Some teacher had the idea about a day honoring mothers. Now it is a day honoring all females. Well, I don't want to be honored. I dont' have kids. I'm not a mother. Taking care of cats does not make you their mother, even hand rearing a kitten does not make you a mother. Sorry, I don't want to be included in Mother's Day.

Anyway the store was stocked with flowers but the prices were jacked up and all the good ones gone and the ones left in the florist's department were in sorry shape. Everyone's scrambling to buy gifts. It's a good thing Lou is not here because going out to eat this weekend would be a nightmare and he'd even want to buy me a gift. Excuse me, Lou, I'm NOT your mother!

Friday, May 07, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I finally decided I was a coward for not signing Savannah's guestbook and bridged anyway. I feel much better. Bridging is like being washed with clean water. Savannah's site makes a great Life Story anyway for my pretend Brainstorms Life Stories conference. When I go bridging, I don't miss Brainstorms one bit!

by Eileen Kramer

It's great to be here and writing. I joined another MSN group or rather applied to join. Yes, it's one I can get booted out of. This is what makes pretend groups oh so much better. It was advertised on one of the sites in my Pretend Brainstorms Life Stories conference. The site does not have much there. I got through it in five minutes. That means it needs replacement and I will replace it. I stopped by Savannah's site but did not sign the guestbook. I think I did that Tuesday and it is Friday. Three days is barely enough time.

Other than that, my pretend Brainstorms is working great. I have been to LOTH Region 7 twice today and this is time number two for this blog. Playing pretend takes discipline but soon I'll be so used to it I won't miss the real Brainstorms at all. I have some great blogs to read in my Life Stories Conference and I read them. Gerry suggested I not neglect to read the news too. He has given up on telling me to clean the apartment. I straightened it up anyway. It looks a lot more presentable so it will be ready for home worship. I dead headed a lot more marigolds today. I see lots of new buds though so I hope they look less green and more orange and yellow soon.

I love the smell of marigold leaves on my fingers. There is something really appealing about that pleasant bitter odor. I still have to buy shabbos candles today and I am debating about going to Friday night services. I can't stand Friday night services due to the rabbi's sermons. I am thinking of a way I can suddenly need to use the bathroom but there is none. I can't go to schul Saturday morning because I have a Democratic party committee meeting. I'm a Democratic committee woman. Anyone who says I should get another outlet doesn't realize I have a life and I write about it here.

And I've been thinking of setting up a Vestris board for my pretend Brainstorms. I have Agnes installed in my server space. Setting up the board would take time. It would be a nice place for user feedback or for blog comments. It takes work and right now I want to be a guest at my own party so to speak. If my pretend Brainstorms is all work and no play, it won't feel like Brainstorms. I have to get in and use the conferences so I'm going to put off working on a Vestris board until after I put in the grades for Libr1105.

Midi hunting is another matter. That is pleasure. I might do some of that especially on the home machine whee I don't have to wear earphones. Of course if I set up one Vestris board, I can set up five or six and have something similar to Caucus.....Ah I dream big don't I. This is taking up a lot of my time, but I have the time to give. Remember what I said about energy last night. One should give energy freely. One can always find more especially for a labor of love like my Pretend Brainstorms.

Well they are closeing the building in less than half an hour so I'd best be on my way. I am going to get shabbos candles and flowers and maybe a cold drink to enjoy in celebration. If you wait for others to celebrate yourself, it never happens. I matter. I am worth it. My pretend Brainstorms is worth it and anything worth doing is worth talking about and shouting from the roof tops loud and proud.

by Eileen Kramer

Even when I'm dog tired I can write. I was reading some of an attempt at writing a novel I started some ten years ago. It was fun to find the story because it is about a kid. I guess all of us have a kid inside them. This kid is younger than Haldis who is a very young adult. Her world literally comes apart as she enters adolescence. It's a real armageddon tale. No it's not on the web. No one even knew there was going to be a web back in 1994. All we had were hypercards which I played with and found interesting. I guess that sort of got me ready to learn to code html.

Anyway, I'm here and I matter and that's what's important. I came in through my fake Brainstorms, the Silk Purse tonight and I loved being able to go to Life Stories and write away just like the real thing. Well, maybe not quite. Part of me wonders what it would take to set up a small version of Caucus in my server space. I know....don't even go there. It probably costs money. I would bet Caucus is not freeware for starters and that it is terribly complex to run.

Besides I did something I never thought I would do this afternoon. I took this blog public. Well I'm a dedicated RAOKster now and I'll keep my mouth shut about those who might snitch if I say something critical even though this is very much my space. I mean one has to be off the clock some time.

I'm not only off tomorrow but I also get to sleep in. Actually I may poke my face in at work and grade anything anybody drops off. I'd like to see if any more of my students go under the wire. So far five went under, all of them with A's. The F's will go under the wire last. That is the way it is.

I am going to try to call the schul again and see if I can get back that book from the rabbi. I might even show up for Friday night services though I swore I would stay away. This apartment is still a wreack. I did the very barest minimum of cleaning up. I'll try and do a bit more tomorrow and I'll also get some shabbos candles. I thought I bought some at Publix but I seem to have lost them.

I also get to make salad tomorrow. I have two small almost cute nappa cabbages and the top of some anise and some carrots nad some canned crushed pineapple. You would not believe what canned crushed pineapple costs in this town. It costs more than grapefruit sections and more than a dollar a can. It's like gold or something.

I always feel like walking wounded at the end of an eleven day week. This was an especially rough week due to the transition from Brainstorms to Pretend Brainstorms, but I'm transitioning excellently. After I get done on this blog it's off to LOTH Region 7 for one more chit chat post and then on to the RAOK board. I signed one guestbook today and added a whole bunch of Life Stories. I do have to go midi hunting. I'm not sure where that will lead.

Tonight I saw one post in the RAOK guestbook. That guestbook has slowed way down. There are people out there who say guestbooks are dead as in passe. Sometimes the RAOK guestbook hops. Sometimes nothing happens. The RAOK guestbook is special because it's a premium Alxnet guestbook that I pay for. There are no ads, no banner, no pop-ups and lots of fancy design to make it a very comfortable place to post. It even plays music if you remember to turn it on, and of course it takes html and users can leave their graphics there. In short, it is one very spiffy guestbook.

This sounds really weird, but I am enjoying Barbara Williams' email group, Godsmanna@yahoogroups.com a lot. One of the things that surprises me a lot about that group is the low amount of glurge. Most of the devotionals and poetry are either original or new enough to me that they are palateable and even uplifting. I'm finding I like and need stuff like this.

It's about my taste and my speed. It would be nice if they made a Jewish variety of it, but the Christian variety of it is pretty good at that. I really like it a lot better than posts about dogs and Krispy Kreme doughnuts and cups with Taz on them. I also like it better than my rabbi in his tailored suits which suit him well and talk about Investors Business Daily. I wish I were Christian. I would be able to dig in to a steady diet of this stuff instead of having to sniff at it suspiciously.

My email is full of political stuff about Michael Moore. I don't feel sorry for him though it must be a pain in the butt not getting his films released without a fight, part of me thinks he's a celebrity and he'll get his film released with extra publicity from the fight. I don't have much sympathy for celebrities and I don't like being compared to Michael Moore as one person on one list did to me. I'm not Brainstorms' version of Michael More. Besides I'm still on Brainstorms, just the pretend version and it's the best, better than the real thing any day of the week for sure.

I like saying good things about my pretend Brainstorms. I can't say enough good things about it. Every time I tinker with it, it just gets better. I guess that's the way of tinkering with things. I love writing in this blog too. I will write here even if I have no audience, thogh I have taken this blog public so now the whole world can see what is here. I think that is so cool.

This blog is the place where I can post and post. This is my second time here today. No one ever tells you to shut up on a blog or that they've heard it before. You know by now I'm quite fond of repitition.

This is my second weekend on my pretend Brainstorms and I wonder how I'll go through it. I wanted to call Jethro tonight. I really thought about it, but my boyfriend who is in Utica, New York likes to go to bed early so he got the phone call. Then I had competitions to score and put to bed and now it is 11pm in California and too late. It is just as well. I sent Jethro two emails. I'll leave it at that.

I thought about looking up Joe Lennon's phone number. He's the minister whose pretend Brainstorms equivalent is the brave and passionate Barbara Williams. It was too late to call him as a total stranger by the time I settled in at the computer but it would not have been too late to get his phone number. I didn't do it. I'm still debating whether calling him will do any good. He may just want to hide under the bed and I don't want to insult him for that. I don't need cowards and I suspect that is what Joe is. I'll stick with Barbara and her bunch.

I signed one guestbook at a site all decorated with pictures of real cats and with San Rio Hello Kitty. It was cute as can be. I forgot about all the good stuff I was missing. When I wrote to Jethro I sent him the two URL's of projects I had contributed to for RAOK. Only when you see the graphics do you get all the message with RAOK.

I liked the pet of the week put out by an animal rescue group that was on this site and the articles against declawing cats that were all on the site where I signed the guestbook . It's been ages since I read stuff like that. It feels refreshing and very satisfying.

I also signed a guestbook at what looks to be a static site. Sites that are small and used up or larger sites that finally get used up and don't have updates get booted from the Life Stories conference as they would get buried on the Life Stories conference at Brainstorms. I have other sources of pages and can easily replace what does not get updates or that I read through and doesn't look likely to get updated.

I liked the cats too much to get rid of their owner's site so I'll leave them there. I think I know some more sites I could add just becuase I really like the owners. If I keep my eyes open I'll find more sites all the time. There are so many people with life stories begging to be read. There was nothing at all that made the Brainstorms life stories special except they were all conveniently gathered together.

We all tend to think we are unique and special but we are not. I'm a bit unusual as a never married forty-one year old but I'm not that unusual and I'm certainly not unique. Put another way, there are only so many plots for stories, even in diaries and blogs. It may not be possible to replace human beings, but stories are sure replaceable. What I am replacing is not a human being, but a human being's story. I can find similar enough stories for most of the ones I would otherwise be missing.

As of tonight, I Corey replacement still eludes me. I haven't been through all the blogs and pages I put in Life Stories so I don't know for sure, but she is probably the hardest one to find due to her not fitting neatly into a category on Blogarama or a webring type. I may try something called Blogwise tomorrow and see if they have a college student section. I think one has to look demographically. Too bad Mary from LOTH doesn't have a web page. She might make a very good Corey substitute.

Right now I am eating myself up with curiosity about Jeanne, one of the moderators on the Godmanna@yahoogroups.com list. She has a web page and several other groups. I wonder what she writes on her page. I bet it is big with a nice life story on it or maybe even a blog. Too bad my Life Stories conference is so full. Too bad my computer is so slow. Actually this time of night it's not too bad.

uncommon courageAnyway I had one last thing to show off. I gave myself an award this evening. I enjoyed making it and displaying it. I made to reward myself for creating my pretend Brainstorms. I figured such a move took uncommon courage. I loved making the award and after I put it up to proudly display it at the front page of my flagship web site I felt really good. It is amazing how good it feels to give yourself an award. I think think this is something everybody should try.

Of course you have to get past the idea that an award is bogus because someone else doesn't give it to you. I mean why shouldn't you make yourself an award from time to time when you feel you deserve one. I suppose the next thing I might attempt is buying myself an uplifting greeting card once in a while. I bet there are people who do just that.

I am still enjoying my Mr. Wonderful doll. I have him on the dining room table and whenever I walk in the room I squeeze his hand. It doesn't matter that he repeats sixteen phrases all in the same order. His voice is soothing and his words are so sweet. I just like hearing them. One night I went through his whole sequence.

As for pure anger, I still think about it but I think my pretend Brainstorms is just a better idea for the long haul. I've had a lot of experience with pretend replacements online and so I can make a go of it. I'm not much of a solitary diary keeper so bringing up the Brainstorms entrance and keeping a solitary diary of imagined interaction would probably not be satisfying for me though it would be a good alternative for some people with the right kind of will and talents. My talents go in another direction.

You know I still can't get over how wonderful it is that I can write whatever I please on this blog, within reason of course, but I can write just what I feel most of the time no matter how weird it is. It's only weird because those in power would cringe at how wonderful pretend stuff is. They have to talk it down or more people might try to do just what I have done, the next time they get kicked out. What a shame. They'll get told to be ashamed, move on, let go. They don't realize how wonderful pretending is.

Of course pretending takes lots of energy, but you know something, the more energy you expend the more you have. I find I have whole resevoirs of energy I did not know existed. Oh well, have a great night. I'm going to go post at LOTH and RAOK.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, just did a quick template retouch. I'm going to do a couple of things before I do a huge republish. Hang on tight. I'm taking QC-L public!

by Eileen Kramer

Good afternoon out there! I tried one more time with Elaine and her page still froze up my browser so I am spending this brief lunch break surfing for my Zahava replacement for the Silk Purse, my Pretend Brainstorms. I am at the point where discipline is feeling good and I am looking forward to doing tasks for RAOK and LOTH. I kind of always did like making graphics for these groups so no problem there but now it is with a double kind of love and cherishing. That is what discipline is all about. The point is that my Pretend Brainstorms is really working for me despite a few bugs like the lack of a Zahava and a Corey substitute.

My Joe substitute is working out beyond my wildest dreams. I thought Barbara Williams' mailing list would be awful. I would feel smothered and all that, but guess what, maybe it's the mindset with which I joined and the reason why I joined, but I find a lot of the inspirational posts uplifting especially when they include the psalms and Old Testament quotes. I have forgotten how close Judaism and Protestantism are. Anyway, Barbara Williams, with her fearless and assertive and passionate Christianity wouldn't last two minutes on Brainstorms which is why I am a big fan of hers.

Anyway, this is interview time. What I am looking for in a Zahava replacement is a guestbook, preferably one that takes graphics. Remember this is how you respond on Brainstorms so this makes a good equivalent reponse area. I also looking for a good sized site with preferably several pages of "my story" or "about me" or in the best case scenario, a frequently updated blog. Basicly there has to be enough material to read and a place to respond. Graphics and music are a plus!

The Corey replacement is going to be more difficult because web rings for what I am looking for don't exist. I only replaced Joe because Haldis knew Barbara. I'd also like a Blanka replacement while I am at it and maybe a replacement for Howard. That should take care of all the Life Stories I followed well. I'll be throwing in a few miscellaneous ones so I have plenty of material. The life stories up in the conference now come from Kindness Speaks where members left their web pages posted. Presumably they want visits and from Caringbridge.org sites that I follow.

I Bridged today by the way. I stopped at Aidan's site which has finally had an update. I also stopped at Savannah's site to see if there were any updates. I signed her guestbook a few days ago so don't feel it's respectful to go back for another day or two. This is why the Life Stories Conference is always going to need lots of pages. Well seeking out candidates for this page is lots of fun. It's part of what makes my Pretend Brainstorms so great!

by Eileen Kramer

I am eating canned grapefruit sections which I probably shouldn't since I'm a bit constipated and have my period which is not a great combination. Yes, to whiches in one sentence.

Oh well this is late even for me because I napped tonight. I need to find a way to transfer in part of this blog to LOTH Region 7 Chit Chat. The problem is LOTH is a restricted conversation zone and this blog is more or less wide open as it gets. This was not a problem with Brainstorms and this log is part of my Pretend Brainstorms, the Silk Purse. It is right there in the Life Stories Conference.

So for right now it's ephemeral and separate postings at Region 7 but at least I post double. Brainstorms could not take that away and I post here now twice as often as I did before. I love this blog with all my heart and all my soul. Yes indeed!

I almost called Jethro tonight. (No that's not his real name but he knows who he is.) I really felt the urge. The cell phone was there on the counter and full of juice. I told myself "no." I told myself that it was Jethro and Celeste's dinner hour which it was since they are in California. I told myself that nothing I had to say was important enough to disturb someone's dinner. Then I went to sleep and had a nap and am out now blogging so that is all she wrote.

I had agreed with myself earlier in the week to only communicate with Jethro and/or Celeste via email. They don't need me interrputing their lives with cell phone calls. Besides I don't keep my composure well on the phone. The nice thing about pure anger is that one has it by onself and one has it resolutely. I can't have absolutely pure anger but I have my pretend Brainstorms and I can tell them all about that in email because I am proud of it and because I am busy with it right now so I know it works.

Actually, my pretend Brainstorms has a few problems. My replacement for Zahava Weinstein (I will never have contact with her again in the forseeable future because she is moving and has a hidden email address etc....) fell through with a resounding crash. Elaine Ruiz indeed would do the job quite well except that her web page crashes my browser at work. I'll need to find another woman with fibromyalgia and shadows in her past to take Zahava's place. There are tons of web rings out there that list sites of women like this and sticking one or two in the Life Stories Conference topic list should fill the bill quite nicely.

As for the replacement for Joe, Barbara and friends are all I could ask for and more. She is passionate about her faith and makes no compromises. I read her poetry today and discovered I liked it. I can feel her passion for her faith shining throgh and she does not apologize for following a traditional religion. In a forum where people sent beams instead of prayers, she'd ask why they weren't sending prayers and she'd certainly send prayers herself. Barbara Williams and her buddies are my kind of people. That's why I joined their mailing list. I may even tell them why I subscribed some day. I don't care if I have nothing in common with them. I love reading what they write.

So actually the caption at the bottom of the table in the Life Stories Conference is bass-ackwards. I'll fix it some time tomorrow after I find a better Zahava substitute. I am so thankful for free (and affordable) web site providers and guestbook makers. It means you can have an LS without relying on someone to set up a server and a board. That is one of the best things out there. Of course blogger is even better and it's ad free and costs nothing. Google is one of my favorite companies.

Now on to different news, my mother is unsure she wants a web site. Her boyfriend wants a "simple web page." She asked where her old web page was. She had forgotten the URL. I told her the whole business had been purged long ago by its free space provider. She hadn't even cared. She says she is not sure she wants a web page anyway.

Boy am I glad I have Orelle, my mother substitute. Orelle is graphicly aware, net savvy, and she has a web page! She also would never forget where her web page is! Orelle is the only one of my personnae I haven't blogged yet because she is the hardest one to blog. I don't really know much of what old people think about except for my parents and I don't want to think like them and I don't want Orelle to think like them either. I do fine with Orelle's back story but I just can't get her to think in present tense. Actually I can because I have some idea what Orelle is doing with her life. Her snakes had babies six weeks ago and there were twenty-nine little snakelets in the litter. These are tame garter snakes, and all are going to good homes.

After that though, I'm not sure what to do with Orelle. She doesn't work. I don't want to write about an old person's aches and pains and neither does Orelle who is too proud and vain. She doesn't have tons of grandchildren and only procreated once. I think I need to spend some time in Orelle's mailbox and get her a new mailbox so that she doesn't have to deal with all the spam she is facing right now. That is a fairly long range project though.

Getting Orelle's blog up and running is going to happen somehow. She's next on the list so in I go to blog her some time in the next forty-eight hours. I've already blogged Haldis and Thadea and I'm giving up on the Straw Hut. It's just too many blogs to keep going.

I want to get back to Ghostletters once the dust settles. I'm having trouble with such a full plate. There's an administrative start up curve with the Pretend Brainstorms but I'm determined to get and keep that going so that's priority number one. That's what dedication and discipline mean.

I did water my marigolds tonight, and right now Hertzel is sitting in Georgia's nest looking wise. Georgia is sprawled on the floor near the doorway. Hertzel is my white boy of joy kitty. He is twelve pounds of enthusiastic and passionate (the way I am about my Pretend Brainstorms) late neutered tom cat love. He has a wise and sad look on his face. I love petting his big silky tom cat head with the big bones and insertions for all those neck muscles.

Something just made Hertzel all excited. He went on point like a dog and then leaped off the desk with a small cat grunt. Now he is exploring whatever invisible thing attracted his attention.

And speaking of invisible things, I washed out and ended up napping instead of meditating. I guess I just plain needed the sleep. That happens sometimes.

I want to do some job hunting this three day weekend. I think it's time to put more resumes in the fire since I have had two very good nibbles at two very large institutions. Success feeds success. Strength grows into strength. I also want to add some pressies to the Just a Pressie gallery. Those jerks on Brainstorms did me a favor by disdaining my link. I don't have to take it down. I may put up a link to the Silk Purse instead but call it Brainstorms since it is my pretend Brainstorms. One of the great things about the net is you can have a pretend anything that is more or less functional. It was harder some ten years ago with Club Dirt Ball but today most of the tools for setting up shop are free or low cost.

Anyway I've been using my pretend Brainstorms just like the real thing and it works more or less like the real thing though I have to use right click in some places to get back easily to the conference pages.

And writing about my pretend Brainstorms beats writing about grading at work which I don't want to write about because it got depressing today. I'm failing at least one student. I may be failing a second. That is as much as I can say.

I'll be doing some web ring hunting for my Zahava replacement tomorrow and I'll be signing some guestbooks and carefully reading About Me's and inspirational poetry and looking at gorgeous pictures and lush web sets. This beats Brainstorms Life Stories by a mile. I love my Pretend Brainstorms. It's the best!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

No time for ChowHound today. I did a ton of grading at work. It kept dribbling in and I kept turning it around. I also made sense of some projects that felt challenging. I still have to talk to Diana about the new integrated webliography database. I don't think it's a good idea. Indexing screw ups mean sites will vanish. In a hierarchical system, sites can be overlooked but the annotations help users decide rather than a badly constructed index. I have to say that palateably to Diana.

That is tomorrow's job. Also I want to get up into the stacks and weed. Haldis' awards are done for the self voting fighters and the one upper level fighter who is presumed self voting. Haldis will not be getting that fighter back. That is sad.

Anyway, the Avatar Conference is up at the Silk Purse, my pretend Brainstorms, and it rocks. It has some really great graphics and all the avatar links I could want. I even blogged as Haldis today! Woo hoo!

Because I was building, I didn't get to do any Life Stories. Well, I'll visit there next and sign one guestbook and visit one site or maybe I'll explore more of a site that I visited yesterday. That would be an excellent thing. I have an evening on my own tonight and have washed out the last two nights for spirit contact. I may spend some time in bed meditating or if worse comes to worse napping. I may or may not see Savannah. I can't tell her mother anyway so it's just between us and those who sometimes read this blog.

I'm glad I brought Barbara Williams into my pretend Brainstorms, the Silk Purse. She makes a great addition to the Life Stories Conference. She also is right now an excellent replacement for Joe Lennon. I am still despite all the stuff I have written about him, thinking of calling Joe and asking that we keep in touch. It can't hurt. I doubt we have a lot in common. His life story was proof enough of that. He is way too much a regular guy and he is married and lives a regular life, something I don't.

I like Rev. Williams' (Yes, she is ordained!) passion and I'm glad there are no jokes on her mailing list. I have gotten some of that today but it is time to take a look at what some of the other Life Stories in the conference have to offer. This is going to be fun since they are much prettier than the Brainstorms' variety. I think I need a good Life Stories break and then an evening trying to talk to the spirits, but I have to water my marigolds first. Such is life.

There's also junk food in the break room calling out its name to me. I keep saying "no." OK, off to the Life Stories conference. Woo hoo! My pretend Brainstorms is the best!

by Eileen Kramer

This feels so good! Nothing beats one's own blog and don't forget it!

OK, what is up tonight. Lots of things. I found a web board (Community is a conceited expression. It's a web board!) that might fit well into my pretend Brainstorms. It's called Chow Hound. It would be a replacement for the Food conference at Brainstorms. Actually, it is not a replacement. It is an improvement. It is much, much busier. It is great to be among so many like minded people. The LOTH recipe board is a place where I am by far the most active poster. Apparently there are just not that many people who cook or who are interested in food.

a doll called Faith Meanwhile, I made one doll to use as a decoration for the Avatar Conference at the Silk Purse. I think some of Thadea's old banners are lying around and some of them are quite cute. I will do what I can do dig them out when I get a spare moment. I don't think they are on this computer but I could be wrong. The banners which are old sig files will look great. Also Haldis has plenty of sig-files that she will happily donate. Orelle can add a few things in time. This should make the Avatar Conference quite beautiful.

All this building is wonderful, but part of me wants to sit outside the door at Brainstorms and work on this pretend venture in a purer form. To sit, get locked out and then write either using wordpad or paper pretend adventures in the land beyond the gate, a kind of throwing myself down at the gate. I may be alone but that will not dampen my anger or make me stuff it or stifle me. I will take it as far as I want for as long as I want. Only discipline will quench the fire, but anger will fuel the discipline.

Of course a working pretend Brainstorms is the best revenge. I can go on and on here because this is my blog and no one tells me to shut up here! Woo hoo for blogs!

I am always free to create and interact with fictional versions of BS'ers either on this or another blog, but there are plenty of real life replacements who will happily step up to the plate. The web is a place full of people who want attention. Well I'm ready to give it.

As for finding a replacement for Joe, the minister, I'm still looking. I think Blogarama provides a better choice.

If that doesn't work, I have another even better option. That's the Christian lady who is a friend of Haldis, or rather Haldis tolerates her emails. I am not Haldis. I am going to read her page diligently. She updates often. I am going to listen and maybe even subscribe to one of her groups. She is a Christian who takes no prisoners and makes no compromises. I like people who are brave in their faith.

I am also deciding what graphic to include on the Life Stories Conference web site. They have a house at Brainstorms. I don't know if I should have one too. I mean I don't need a stinking front porch. Maybe a bathroom would be cool. I'm not sure what should belong there. I'm also not sure what kind of border to put on the Avatar conference page either.

Community creation is hard work even when it is a custom community for one, but those are the best kind. I am posting endlessly to LOTH and RAOK boards and it is a wonderful feeling. It feels like being back home.

I am going to have to do something about the LOTH/RAOK language barrier. I'm afraid to post poems at LOTH because they might be too gloomey. They like light verse that is uplifting. It's time to read some half decent inspirational books and check out Best Loved Poems of the American People for the right kind of verse. This means I will need to change my tastes a bit, but so what. That is a small price to pay.

I will further change my tastes and learn a lot by spending time on both Barbara Williams' pages and at Elaine Ruiz' web site. Elaine Ruiz is already featured in the Life Stories conference. She is not well these days but she is prolific when she gets back on her feet and she is a great poster to RAOKCircleofFriends mailing list. The day I can post confidently to that list will be a red letter day but as I learn more and change my tastes, I will be able to do it.

I'm bringing up Barbara Williams' web site right now. This feels like I am interviewing her. I know she is a retched coder but that is not going to stop me. At least she decorates sincerely and from the heart. I am not sure if I am ready for her e-group yet. This is going to take guts, but change always does and dealing with gutsy people requires you become one yourself.

In case any of you are curious, Here is Barbara's main web page. Her group is on the bottom. She has a guestbook. I guess some time tomorrow, she is in. Tonight, I break my last link with the real Brainstorms. While writing pretend Brainstorms outside their door every night would be wonderful and pure, I just can't keep that up. I am sure there are people who can and these people discover the wonderful satisfaction of keeping a diary. The diary soon beats the original group etc.... I am just not that pure. Pretend Brainstorms will have to be good enough for me and I'll adjust the links accordingly.

Well it looks like Barb's site has all the links to all her other pages. It is large enough to be lots of Life Story reading for lots of time to come. She is someone diverse and Silk Purse is a tolerant little pretend community. I guess I am going tolet her in before I go to bed. I am also joining her mailing list. Others were intolerant of me. I will be tolerant of others. That will show them and it will show me. That is why I love my Pretend Brainstorms so much.

OK, I have some work to do on two pages before I hit the hay. With a song in my heart, lightness in my step, and discipline out the wazooney I'm off hopping and a bopping to make one more round of posts at my super terrific Pretend Brainstorms. Let's have joy! By the way, I did not cry tonight. My discipline and enthusiasm are working! Hooray!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, I need to unwind but I like all this nervous energy. Passion and excitement are important to me. I got an email scheduling a phone interview for the end of May. It will be during the day which I am not pleased about. I like the intimacy of a quiet office.

Second, I added my first conference to the Silk Purse. This is definitely a big step forward. I am now not only able to post until I drop to forums with an audience, I can be an audience for others life stories. These stories are mainly on web pages and through journals at Caringbridge.org.

They are not that different than the stories I read at Brainstorms Life Stories, especially the ones I really liked. There is not as much talk of work perhaps or of food, but not that many people talk about food anyway or of a particular craft and the pages are large. I will be able to go back and read several times before running out of material. Updates are less frequent for this type of Life Story. One of my favorite Life Stories, no make that two concerned a woman who was older than I was and who had a mysterious long term chronic illness. She also had had domestic troubles earlier in her life. I don't want to go into awful detail. Well a lot of what I read on web pages is not so differen though she would say it is.

All right it is quite different. It is better decorated. I really missed those glossy graphics and crafted illustrations. They are a site for sore eyes. I don't know why I didn't just start doing this without joining Brainstorms. I suspect Brainstorms gave me the discipline to blog daily. One of the best decisions I made last week was to continue to blog daily. It also gave me a new way of looking at those web page stories. I guess I can consider Brainstorms like training wheels. Guess what. I'm riding a two wheeler.

Anyway, Zahava has been successfully replaced. Joe will be harder to find. Clergy people are rarer. I have a possible candidate but she may not be that interested and she knows Haldis.

I also want to try some graphics. A lot of people at LOTH make cartoon dolls and I want to do it too. I haven't done it in ages and most of them were under Thadea's name. I have some base bodies socked away. I'm not even sure what i want my cartoon doll to look like. I'm not sure how they'll come out in PSP8. I know I need a lot of resolution, the graphic kind. I guess I'm going to go try.

by Eileen Kramer

Let's see if I can add something

Here is what I miss about Brainstorms. I miss being able to say "goodbye" and get email addresses for two people. One email I can get over the phone. I hesitate to do this because it could be another Jethro and Celeste situation. Without that Brainstorms board, do I really want these people in my life.

The person whose email address I want but can't get is a case in point. On the web board she was fine. I could walk away from her if I got too busy. In my inbox I'm not sure her story would not get old real fast. She has fibromyalgia and something happened to her daughter and she has job troubles. Her articulate manner saved her from being another web page drama queen but not by all that much. I am not sure personal email from her would be that great.

The second thing I miss from Brainstorms is the large Jewish population. I thought of this as I was eating matzoh tonight. How many folks out there would understand a cupboard full of leftover matzoh and what it means? I also thought of this as I saw a cross casually used in graphics. Christian smother is a problem I will be contending with again as a Jew in an environment that is sometimes interfaith in name only. One of the prerequisites of being in ladies groups is an acceptance of the prevalance of conservative Christianity.

The third thing I miss is an active community with lots of posts. Command of the written word is a hard won skill. I am a confident and articulate writer but I move among those with different skills.

There was also a very good thread on the Passion of Christ. I think I went to see the movie partially due to Brainstorms. That is saying a lot.

Here is how I am going to replace what I have lost. Discipline means solutions. Discipline defeats tears, through discipline all things are possible. Let's start with problem number two. I am publishing a lot of personal stuff at LOTH's Region Seven board. That can include religious things. There is also the LOTH Spirit Worker Private Lounge where I can post based on Jewish spirituality. I may be the only Jew but I can use my role to educate. I can also create Jewish web graphics. There one problem is solved if I just follow through on this solution. Everything is in the follow through.

RAOK runs with the false belief that we are all one. I can fix some of that by being very open and up front about my religion. That is the way to go there. There are also opportunities to make Jewish holiday themed graphics. I can have a picture album with the MSN Group and put Jewish themed graphics in there too. Again, follow through is the key and dilligence. Am I ready to do it! You bet!

Problem one is harder to solve. The address of the woman from Boston is impossible to obtain without special arm twisting and there are many others in both RAOK and LOTH who are sick and who need attention and who are the victims of abuse etc..... I am going to take a second look at some of their pages. I think it is time for some guestbook signing and card sending. These people want my attention and are open about it. They do not hide access to themselves in the walls of a closed community. These are my people. They are less articulate than Ms. Boston but they are my people now. Discipline says embrace them and embrace them I will.

The minister right here in Georgia is more of a problem. A phone call will tell me if he will give me his email address. If he turns me down than I am just going to have to live with that, but I have a different problem. I don't know if the minister and I have much to talk about. I think he self-censored his posts heavily to make them appealing. If he is really like that in real life, he'll make my skin crawl and if he was self-censoring, then who needs him. He is legitimizing and putting up with a system that couldn't handle the fact that someone operating in a very different universe which most of the net is outside their hallowed gates might just know something more than they do. At Brainstorms it was kowtow to the fine articulate gods or take the heat and get beat when they couldn't win a fair fight. The minister both kowtowed and was a coward. I don't need rank cowards like that in my online life.

Problem number three can be dealt with by discipline. I can post and supply all the talk I need. I've been making lists of possible topics and responding to others' posts. I can read the news and I am on some mailing lists that discuss current events.

Last, I saw Passion of Christ in March. It shouldn't have taken an intellectual group to get me to see it. From here on out I am going to listen to the cultural tastes of my fellow RAOKsters and LOTHlings with a more open ear.

I guess all problems are solveable with discipline. They won't solve one hundred percent but the key is dilligence. This is a battle and I'm going to win! You bet!

My boyfriend says that anger is a turd. It has to pass without being forced. I am starting to cry . I guess I have to cry. I am going to keep writing tears or no tears. Maybe discipline and tears sometimes must coexist. Maybe writing is a form of discipline.

I played by the rules these last two weeks at Brainstorms. I suffered but I suffered nobly. I was civil. I did not let them throw me out on a technicality.

And yes, I could have kept my membership if like Joe Lennon I had stayed in Life Stories and/or self-censored heavily, but then what would have been the point. I might as well have been in a ladies group but without the gentle atmosphere that honored graphics. It would have been the worst of all worlds. In 2001, I swore to throw away my sword and my armor and not look back. I violated my vow with Brainstorms and I paid. No more intellectual groups that are not work related. The ones I have can stay but no new ones and no new activity in old ones where I'm active.

The rules are made up as they go along, the attacks that masquerade as a fair fight, and the secret decision making and the victim blaming, the self righteousness that theirs is the only way to do things. Their talk of community and social capital, something no one in ladies groups ever discusses, is all so much bullshit. Social capital is power and while it exists in ladies groups not talking about it gives it less value.

Community is a dime a dozen. MSN groups are free for the taking and if they are willing to do the bulk of the posting and a lot of cold calling, they can get something going where they are free to post and they call the shots. Tonight, I was looking at the sponsored links in my newest MSN Group and I thought isn't that great! I loved seeing that advertising because it meant that groups were free to create and required no special expertise. It meant any one could have one and we do not have to rely on high and mighty folks like the ones who run Brainstorms or the Well. Anyone can create community or build it. It is no longer precious or in the hands of a few well established bigwigs. I love sponsored links. I love MSN Groups. I am going to participate in them more.

By the way, I stopped crying as I wrote about solutions so I think my discipline is working. I hope it bears more fruit, but it is bearing some. I will head out tonight before I lay down and I will do some posting in RAOK and LOTH. I also want to write to Future Culture, a mailing list that is tolerant of my personnae. I can talk about them there all I want though occasionally I'm told I'm boring people. I also own the ZOID list and I'm clean on that list. I'm clean on Ladies Advance as well. I want to do some avatar talk tonight big time.

As for work it was boring. I had a two hour meeting and four hours of desk shift and a lot of grading. I made it to Big Lots to buy grapefruit sections and they had both white and red ones. I also bought more canned yellow tomatoes. They have a real delicate flavor. I'm not sure what to do with them. My thought is tofu would go well with them as does potatoes. It is new to think of tomatoes as a mild ingredient. I made green pea potato soup tonight and sliced up the vegetables for the medley but did not get to cook it. My stove only has one large burner and I really need two. How would a family of three or four live in this two bedroom apartment with such an inadequate stove?

Monday, May 03, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Savannah died early Friday morning. Sunday morning I found myself with a little girl though Savannah is not really that little during spirit contact. I felt that uh-oh sensation since I did not have the news officially from living people and I have a real aversion to bad news coming this way. Savannah might be out of body rather than dead was my reasoning. I did not ask her what had happened. She seemed calm, almost dazed. She had long reddish brown hair worn in braids with bangs. She had on a light blue long sleeved turtle neck sweater and blue jeans and shoes and socks.

We met walking on a berm of earth by a stream. The trees were not fully in leaf and then we wound up in my apartment. I recognized Savannah instantly but I did not greet her properly. I did not like that she was all alone wandering around God knows where, especially given a really good chance that she was newly dead. I did not like her in my apartment either. I explained that she would not be able to pick anything up here. Her hands would go through things. This is a very unpleasant sensation.

Savannah took this news calmly but she wasn't going anywhere. We stood there in the living room and I realized that Savannah did not either know or feel the need to make a distress call. This is something I know. I made the distress call to Merib and to Gerry. Merib picked up. A moment later we were wandering somewhere that was all grey and white. It was night or twilight or just cloudy where we were. The landscape was all salt and pepper colored rocks and the paths between the rocks were bright white alabaster or marble. Savannah did not like it here. She complained the stone was cold which it was. I knew Merib was around and I knew Merib would NEVER pick up on a distress call to bring me into somewhere unsafe especially since I let him know I had a newly dead kid with me.

I found Merib sitting on some pieces of alabaster that were piled up like a bench. He had open books and pads, a sign he had come out to this spot to work. He likes quiet. I don't know if I greeted him properly. I was pretty addled. I did introduce Savannah and he greeted her very warmly. He also got us out of the monochrome landscape and into what looked like a painting studio. He told Savannah and me that he was trying to learn to paint. He wasn't good at it and frequently gave up and just did work at an art studio table that was all spattered with paint.

I asked Savannah to take us to the people who looked after her. I still did not like her wandering around all by herself. Merib is more comfortable though his Home Base Counselors followed Merib as he bounced all over the universe for a week. The bouncing around for Merib is normal. Savannah did tell us about where she currently resides. The image was of a building that could have resemebled an Italian Renaissance mansion. It was in a big paved courtyard that was pale tan in color. The building it self was chocolate brown, two or three stories tall with galleries and lots of windows. Savannah thought it impressive. I thought it a bit odd and forbidding.

I got to see Savannah again this morning. This time I found her on top of a bunch of empty bleachers. It was early spring where she was or much further north than Columbus Georgia is. It is certainly further north of Arkansas which is where Savannah comes from. I greeted Savannah properly this time and she greeted me back in Hebrew "aleichem" I blinked and asked Savannah how she knew I was Jewish. She had no answer. She then flashed me an image of a large house. It was of very bright red brick and gabled. In Savannah's image one could not see that it was attached to a big wall or rampart but after a couple of seconds I knew that. I told Savannah that this was the house on the ramparts where I used to play the piano back in 1931/1932. I told her that I had gotten run over by a freight train when I was older than she is now and younger than her older sister Cassie. Playing the piano helped make me feel better. I did my fair share of bouncing around too.

At this point Arla came and met us. Arla is Gerry's Home Base Counselor and as close to royalty as bya sabe have. I made the right greeting. I don't know what Savannah made of all this Arla is a little woman with long brown hair and bangs. She is a student of Gerry's from another life. The three of us ended up in a theater. Can-Do was on stage wearing a funny sort of green bonnet and costume. She said she usually does not do acting, preferring choreography and directing but she had gotten into doing something on the big stage. She was rhearsing.

Then Can-Do said something to me in Universal. She just rattled it off and I confessed that I was lost. She began to translate "I am alone in the big city...." the passage began. It was about being a dead newbie kid and it is a classic. I could remember sitting in school back in the 1930's and translating it from Universal to English. I must have told this to Savannah who sat and listened.

Then it was Savannah's turn to tell stories. She told about sitting on the toilet nude and examining her private parts. She wanted to see that they were all there and she was glad to be able to just sit on a toilet and find all of herself. Can-Do has a similar story. Can-Do also had cancer like Savannah but Can-Do died in 1930 at the age of 60.

We went to visit Aki after that. Aki Grey is very tall and has very long very red hair that she wears braided and pinned up. Aki is also Merib's colleague. I was glad to see her. We were on the third floor of Thios House where Merib used to live right after he died. He lives somewhere else in Pa-Bio now. Aki said Merib was off working and explained the new project which is a flying robot. Aki likes working with Merib. Savannah liked to hear all this grownup talk. Aki also explained that she died at the age of eight from a freak bicycle accident out in California.

Savannah told us all about eating pistachio nuts, something she now could do which required peeling the nuts and getting at the meats. She did not say who gave her the nuts.

I lost my link and got it back and found myself with Savannah again and this time inside an apartment with avacado colored cloth wall paper and a big modern painting in the living room (yeah pun. I know) This was Savannah's home base. I asked her to introduce me to whoever looked after her and she still refused. I don't know why. Anyway, she said the place was called Sebastien North though she did not say if that place referred to the whole location or just the big house. Go figure. I lost my link and had to go to work.

I usually don't write spirit contact log on my blog but I have to write it somewhere and this is the best place for it right now. Anyway, I finally signed the guestbook on Savannah's mother's page and left a sympathy graphic. Savannah said nothing about missing her family and showed not one bit of schavi which means sympathy for the living. This doesn't bother me. Newbies can be selfish. I'd rather deal with a spirit who is not hurting all over the place. And I think there is someone looking after Savannah, just a very shy spirit. That happens sometimes.

I know this blog got very weird today. I feel I have no where else where I'm really comfortable writing this stuff. I may send it to the Channeling Basket but that is it more or less. Well at least it's out of my system.

by Eileen Kramer

It's amazing how well discipline works sometimes and how poorly it works at other times. I got the graphic made tonight. I did it on my PSP5. It does not look fancy but it is a novel shape and it has some shading and a cute image in it. Besides, it didn't need to say much so I could use an old fashioned font. It was just a fun flat graphic. I sometimes forget graphics don't need a lot of special effects to be good.

One big bonus of the way I conducted myself on Brainstorms was that I remotely loaded all images. Everything stayed in my server space. I started feeling bad about a gift I gave Susan Hazan in Life Stories until I remembered I still had a copy of it on my server space. What a relief. I estimate that I kept seventy-five percent of my words and it's the seventy-five percent that matters and one hundred percent of any images I created.

If I had to choose between keeping the contacts and keeping my work, I would choose the results I have. It is not that I don't cherish the contacts, but one of the most awful parts of being kicked out of any community is having no access to my own work. Usually this has been recipes, but with Brainstorms it would have been all of my Life Story posts which essentially were partially public blog entries. That's as if this blog had been wiped out.

I lost a lot of recipes when I got booted from Ladies Retreat and when The Labor of Love Closed down, I lost Thadea's recipes. I've become very paranoid about losing work. This time the simple precaution of remote loading and backing up has saved me immeasurable grief.

I'm a little teapot short and stout! I've just been back from posting at both RAOK and LOTH. I posted to Ladies Advance several times today. This did not feel like enough. I nearly came undone on the phone talking to Celeste and Jethro tonight, two friends of mine from Brainstorms [Names changed], but after supper once I started on the graphic I felt a lot better. Go figure. This was discipline working its magic.

I think it will work more magic in the days to come. I'll stop talking about it as the magic becomes more common place and the habits of discipline stop being so all fired special. I've only been practicing discipline for five days. It's going to take way more time than that.

Fortunately on my blog no one can tell me to shut up so here is where I come to talk all of this out and I talk it out far better in writing than I do it any other way.

I realized when talking to Jethro and Celeste tonight that there is nothing that binds me to them any more since I got booted from Brainstorms. Their only bind is that they sympathized with me. Now they move on to other things. We did not frequent the same conferences even. That I kind of came undone talking to them on the phone was also not good. I will do better sticking to email. I mean I have a right to feel crappy about all this.

Part of what confidentiality and closed communities do is leave those they expel to face their pain alone. No one understands because the expelled individual has not been able to share her pain or her community experience with outsiders and outsiders don't understand the investment or the time spent that has been lost. Fortunately, I have a blog and I can cry for as long or as much as I want.

The only thing that can effectively drown these tears is discipline. I did nothing that I regret. I followed all the rules. I was polite. I obeyed confidentiality until it no longer bound me. I can come here every day and write about this and no one can stop it. I can reread these posts as much as I need to. Rereading and reflection are good things, but in the end discipline is the way out of the hole.

Onward and upward! Let's have some other news. I'm listening to the Merry Macs decrepities who did not sound half bad. When I loaded in the CD I wasn't sure what I would hear. I thought that all pop music written before 1955 was a vast wasteland of easy listening. Much to my surprise this stuff has interesting vocal and instrumental arrangements and also a beat. It dates from the late thirties through world war two before there were LP's and even stereo sound. I wonder what people from the 1930's would think of a walkman and the idea of always having great collections of recorded music at the ready.

Mairzy Doats a song I remember from my childhood is playing on the stereo now. That is a great tune. My mother taught it to me when I was a little kid. She learned it in her own childhood. My mother is seventy years old. Some of the people in the First Circle of Hell nursing home are only a few years older than my mother. Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing as is continuity. I've been on a musical time machine ride for the last hour or so.

Georgia barfed today. She seems fine now though. She even made a leap to the stove without the aid of the stool. She is lazy and needs to be able to do her own leaping while she still can. She is after all a rather old cat. She'll be eighteen in December. Too bad cats can't vote. She's more intelligent than some humans I know.

I finished both the beet and moqua squash salad (I did not put up the recipe for this because it turns a weird pink color and has too many exotic ingredients in it.) and the barley soup so I'll be making both soup and vegetable medley tomorrow night. I'm glad the soup is going to include potatoes because I won't have to make pasta too! I like to cook. I hope it aids in discipline. I'm also planning to haul my rear end out to Big Lots in search of the elusive canned grapefruit sections.

Joe on Life Stories may like doughnuts and try to win fans with posts about sweet treats, but I like all kinds of things and no Joe, bagels don't need cream cheese of they are really good. Canned fruit is up there with the best of the sweet treats, and grapefruit sections in light syrup are just plain good. Oh well, I have cooking to do tomorrow including peeling that big waxy rutabega on top of the fridge.

In case any of you are wondering four things really interest me in no particular order: politics, religion, computers, and food. I will do other things if they are convenient but the big four are the ones I will go out of my way to do. Oh well it is after 1am. I need to have breakfast at home because I have an hour of desk followed by two hours of meeting and then grading, grading, grading tomorrow. This eleven day week has finally hit and I feel like shit, except when discipline makes me feel better.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

So now that I've told where do I go and what do I do. Tonight I go out to pay the rent. Then when the rent is paid I'm going to have to figure out how to get the old creativity machine turned on. Discipline and creativity don't really work together as well as I would like. I owe one graphic to the RAOK Hugs Committee. Graphics are a big part of the language at RAOK and something I tried to bring to my posts at Brainstorms.

Brainstorms' graphics were sad things, unadorned and awkwardly too large for bulletin board or guestbook space. Carefully crafting something with PSP was unheard of. I have to make at least one Mother's Day graphic tonight and my brain feels squeezed out and dry. Mother's Day is an ambivalent holiday for me. I am 42 and childless and unmarried. How do you say shut out. I also get on with my mother some of the time and sometimes quite frankly I'm glad I live far from family. Well, I also want to be near my PSP 8 insted of the PSP5 I have at home. Oh well.....that means I'll do some of the graphics either late tonight letting myself in with a pass key or else Monday afternoon. Chris, the head of RAOK's Hugs Committee, works fast. I can not always keep up with her. I think making this graphic is important. I think it is another part of discipline.

If you are wondering why I still talk about discipline the answer is simple. Brainstorms inflicted a wound by throwing me out. Discipline prevents the wound from being a big one. They can't take my voice from me or my pride if I fight to keep those things. Discipline is the fight. The fight is still on here and it will be until I get used to things and have fully replaced what I lost during these two weeks.

by Eileen Kramer


That is what counts. The story I am about to tell counts for nothing. That is an odd thing to say since it took two ugly weeks to unfold and made this blog very cryptic. Well I no longer have to self-censor. I'm going to name the names! Today it became final. I got kicked out of a community called BRAINSTORMS. I had spent way too much time hanging around their posts seduced by people who could handle the written word with skill. It was lovely intelligent conversation. I forgot that intellectual communities and I usually don't agree online. I long ago cast my lot elsewhere. So be it.

About two weeks ago a flame war started on Brainstorms over three personnae I maintain largely for site fighting, though I also just plain love working with them. The oldest is Orelle. The one who is my age is Thadea and the youngest and right now most active is Haldis. She manages this team at the Webleagues. She signed up to fight last summer and was offered two team leadership positions. She ended up taking one. They don't hand out team leadership posts every day.

Anyway, several members of Brainstorms got upset. Mike thought my behavior with personnae was just unethical and feared I could create one and run it in Brainstorms. Terri and Barbara had been in a community where a member used personnae for a scam. Needless to say this kind of behavior gave both me and my personnae a bad name.

I was open about my personnae as I am being open here. I realized that I can survive those consequences because I can always create a place to post and that self expression is way more important to me than community or social capital. Social capital is another word for power. If I don't have power, I get along just fine. Look at me here posting away, proud, unbowed and unsilenced.

Well, the whole thing ended around 11:30am this morning with a final ding letter. I'm out of Brainstorms and freed from my bonds of confidentiality. Yippeee! Brainstorms is over but I am not and I am very important. I am the most important person in the world to me and self expression is where it is at. To keep my voice loud, proud, and unbowed, is where discipline comes in.

Discipline means I can create the kind of community life I had at Brainstorms in my ladies groups. I make sure I post daily or more than daily on the LOTH and RAOK boards. I have a fake Brainstorms right here. It looks and feels a bit like the inside of Brainstorms but with a different name and a lot of graphic enhancement and of course music. The theme song for the Silk Purse is "Put on a Happy Face" from the musical, Bye Bye Birdie.

Well to recap: Brainstorms is bye bye birdie but I'm not. I have my discipline and I'm going to be using it. Discipline still defeats tears. I love posting to LOTH and RAOK. Ladies groups rock. That was where I should have been active in the first place. I made a big mistake ever joining Brainstorms. I won't miss them one bit eventually, not if I remain dilligent with my discipline.

by Eileen Kramer

Well here it is half way through the working weekend. I am not worried about working Sunday. Instead, I am looking forward to a walk to Big Lots tomorrow morning. No I did not do resumes tonight. I had good reason. I went shopping instead and I sat for a while outside Publix talking to Lou on my cell phone. The good news is that he deposited my check which means he will be returning to Columbus. Yeah make all the jokes you want about Kramer's motel. That's what I run though not really.

Today the discipline bore fruit, and I mean real fruit. I felt good about what I was doing with my discipline efforts and thinking a lot less about what I am missing. I even got invited to join an MSN group tonight. I qualify for it more or less and since it fits in with my regime of discipline I decided why not.

I am also feeling more optimistic about my phone interview but of course I know that this is the end. Phone interviews and I just don't get along.

We ran out of MLA style guide cheat sheets at work and I had to make a fresh batch on the fly. Erma came in with her sister after work and we talked for a while and shared my uglifruit. That was my lunch/snack. I hung out on my computer and watched some computer movies that Harvey's fiancee, Elizabeth, sent me. The movies were about 10mb all together. I have 25mb in my mailbox. This is way to much stuff to send via email. The movies were real short too. I also posted a bit more to LOTH and RAOK and I intend to hit those boards again before I go to bed.

I'm not sure I'll post to my new group yet. I'm just checking it out. It thundered and lighteninged tonight but did not rain enough to be a nuiscence. Some jerk in an SUV with patriotic stickers on it offered me a ride, and I turned him down. I am picky about the people from whom I choose rides.

Anyway, the groceries are in. I get to cook some time tomorrow though I'm going to at least pay the rent tomorrow as well. The reason for my trip to Big Lots tomorrow is that there were no canned grapefruit sections at Publix and no decent peelable citrus either. Canned grapefruit sections are something that is very hard to get in Columbus, GA. I'm not sure why. I think this is just not a canned grapefruit section eating town. Big Lots had some very good ones though two weeks ago. Who knows if they have them now. If they don't I'll get some tropical fruit salad at Fred's on a different night.

Apple season is more or less over. I'm surprised I found decent apples at Publix and orange/tangerine season may or may not be over but it too is winding down. Peaches don't come along until June. Fresh apricots come along a bit before.

I get to work with Teresa tomorrow whom I like. That will be a relief. Monday is a two hour library faculty meeting. You can guess what I think of meetings. I have a paper to grade that I promised the student I would not grade on the desk.

And yes, I want better spirit contact. I think I need that so I can work on reviving The Channeling Basket. Maybe with the discipline this will improve. I'd also like to start writing another story but my well of creative inspiration is dry as a desert. I hope I spelled that right but I can't spell to save my skin.

I suspect the new MSN group is in fact very new. I don't know how they got my name or from whom. It was bizarre to see the invite. I have my suspicions about who may have invited me. That makes me feel twice as weird.

OK, the heck with discipline, it is time for another poem.

Inbox Shuffle

My inbox is a garbage pit,
Yet you have me digging in there for gold.
It doesn't matter that I come up empty handed
As long as the garbage pile stays manageable.

I'm not even sure I want to find the buried treasure.
I'm not sure if I will ever find it or if it even exists.
I sometimes wonder at what point do I stop.

You did not plan to have me do all this watching and waiting,
But you are so darn good at forgetting small details
I guess I am just a small detail

Who makes a fool of herself digging through
The garbage pile of her inbox.

Eileen H. Kramer

And yes, Harvey and Elizabeth's wedding is twenty days away.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

There is a lot of stuff I want to write down right now, but I am still painfully sworn to silence. That sucks mightily and indescribably because I'm supposed to be blogging. Instead I am violating my discipline in a whole new way other than crying. I'd be better off in tears.

I'm glad for several things I did in the last five months that I also can't fully describe on this blog. I don't feel like writing about the job interview with [can't say that here either. I know, why do I blog when everything is censored or self-censored. It feels as if it is World War II in here.] It lasted over an hour. It was a big search committee with six to eight people on it. They even laughed at one point. That doesn't mean squat. It's time to send out more resumes. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow morning or tomorrow night. That will feel good.

I'll need more stamps so I'll have to walk out and shop after work. That will be good too. I want to buy some flowers to put in the newish red vase. I was going to do that today but the skies opened up with pouring rain after work. I did eat one of my uglifruit though. Oh you can't get uglifruit in Columbus. I imported mine from Atlanta. I'm glad I went to Atlanta last weekend. I won't get to go again until after the wedding. I taped all of Gigi tonight or the last bit of it. I may try taping part of the Merry Macs Mairzy Doats tomorrow. I'll also see about ordering more CD's. I am still working on building a palatable (Remember I'm paying for it) collection of old time music to play at the First Circle of Hell nursing home.

I won't be at the nursing home this Sunday. I work this weekend. Somehow that fact has absolutely not sunk in. It seems perfectly all right that I do not have an afternoon Saturday or Sunday. That is bizarre because I am looking back to the Atlanta trip last Saturday and that lovely long MARTA ride into the city from the airport. It doesn't occur to me I won't be able to do that until some time in June.

Blanking things out is good sometimes. Maybe it is good tonight. Discipline is yielding fruit and I had a job interview at 6pm. I did not know it was raining until the job interview finished. I saw the sky get greyer and greyer all day but it just didn't register. Erma goes to eat in the cafeteria but she had a doctor's appointment instead. Erma is the only full time refernece librarian besides me. She has a bad back and bad knees, lupus, and high blood pressure. She is on an exchange diet for her kidneys.

Erma noticed the rain today. We need this rain. Georgia (the state not my beautiful cat) can get dry and dusty and hot. And yes, two of my marigolds are definitely dead. The others seem OK and that is good. I may just take the empty pot out of there. There is a good chance nothing will ever grow in that pot. There may be something wrong with the soil or not enough of it or something. Container gardens are weird delicate things anyway.

We have a book order at work. I have all of seven hundred dollars to spend or toss to faculty. I often toss whole orders to faculty. They are small and faculty are good at selecting upper division materials. My faculty have learned to leap when the funds come out. It has taken several years. This mad scramble means slips that are less than six months old. I ask for orders that are under six months old specifically. This means a zero percent failure rate. Orders that fail don't get do-overs. The money returns to the general pot. This is great for sporadic funding. It does not work with a steady stream.

I did not have the pleasure of telling the the search committee about my time on a collection development short rein. It made sense. Faculty can take a smart direct approach.

I would be happy to be on a short rein any day of the week. A short rein works as follows. Say there are fourteen faculty in the college of science. The budget is split into fifteen parts. You get two parts and every faculty member gets one part. This sounds awful, but it prevents hogs from buying tons of whimmy books. It makes sure everyone gets some funding and some input, and since the librarian has a double portion she can't really complain.

With the short rein, you give up a small amount of power and in turn get a lot of respect and faculty participation. The scramble is also good for the same reasons. Faculty learn how we really operate and get maximum books for bucks. They learn to work together and the mathematicians even cooperate with each other. I think it's a myth about professors having big egoes. They are often the ones to team teach and team order books. I'd like to see librarians pull off what the math department is doing. Kudos to the Columbus State math department.

And no I can't spell. I feel better now. I stopped violating my discipline and I'm not crying or longing for what I may not be able to have. Tomorrow is another day and that will be the day for doing the right things. Discipline defeats tears. On with discipline. On with the job hunt. From discipline there is power.