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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well this board is getting a facelift. The reason is I have had it with copyright laws. I can draw and I can do my own stuff from scratch. Why should I mess around asking for permissions. If those who distribute stuff are pissy about how their stuff is used, guess what their stuff is not the be all and end all of existence. I can do just as good a job myself, and I'm saying that even though I think Sol Lewitt whose pencil sketch I used in creating this template is one of the best artists out there. I can make pencil sketches myself that look ropey and have the right colors in them. Art is not a scarce commodity, not with good graphic programs like PSP and a steady wrist.

I tried my hand at mouse drawing today and I hven't forgotten how to do it. That feels good. I made three new graphics. I've nearly completed my second circuit of the Patterage. It really does most of what it is intended to do which thrills me but then again my Pretend Brainstorms just rocks. The one small problem with the Patterage is that it does not have a development/graphics square in its bottom third. This makes it just a bit unbalanced. Otherwise, I feel neither guilty for neglecting stuff nor spread too thin. I come back to low traffic blogs (Lower than Brainstorms boards) when they have updates and I get to spend time with both my avatars, and the fiction list, Ghostletters.

Jethro and the rest of the Brainstormers understimate what resourcefulness and a can-do attitude can do as well as how much social capital they can replace. By the way as part of my revenge against Brainstorms (I live for revenge folks and it's not so bad as the platitudes make out) is to help and support all those about whom I learn who have little social capital. My current project in this regard is a woman who asked for help via RAOK's Angels of Kindness. She complained she was lonely. Well that to me felt like low social capital. I asked if she needed a penpal and now she has one.

I need to find a more systematic way of helping my fellow low social capital folks. This is a cause I can really get behind. Economic revenge is postponed until I get my bills paid but in another couple of days I'll go order that tupperware I wanted. I also plan to get some Avon nail polish and some Amway laundry soap. I will be going to schul more.

I am watching a completely different set of rules create itself on my brother in spirit, YB George's, list. It is not only OK to delete items unread. It is OK to say so. I feel like telling George that in most of the net, saying you are not reading someone's posts and deleting them unread is a rank insult. I was careful to email YB George about my search and destroy policy privately and only after he asked if there should be rules regarding message length. I also diplomatically mentioned no posters by name. YB George thanked me for my constructive criticism. He had no idea that what I had just said was absolutely and patently offensive.

You know I like YB George's way of doing business much better than I like the way all those "intelligent" folks on Brainstorms did business. YB George is unflappable. YB George doesn't have years of internet history hanging on him like a bunch of cobwebs. YB George is sui generis and cutting edge. I am glad and proud to be a member of his group.

As for my Pretend Brainstorms, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the traffic and some of the people on the original Brainstorms though some of my Life Stories blogs are acting as decent replacements. Three turned out well and one turned out not so well. Hopefully my new penpal will make a good Zahava replacement though I kind of have her covered. Cori is irreplaceable though Matthew who eats a Georgia peach on a midnight train is actually close. Doc at Far from Perfect is someone completely new and no substitute for anybody. Connie Giordanno who posts to Godsmanna is my Joe substitute.

As much as I miss the traffic though I like the quiet and lack of strife at my Pretend Brainstorms. I can given the multiplicity of places that makes up my distributed online empire (Who says we need a community all under one roof with the powerful holding the master keys? That's just an assumption. YB George is teaching me what happens to assumptions.) pretty much speak my mind. The left side of this blog is the safety valve for that sort of thing. My avatar blogs are also part of this empire.

And the distributed empire makes a heck of a lot more sense than community. The reason is simple. If something goes wrong and you get booted out or an MSN group or web board fails trial, you don't lose the whole ball of wax. I also keep the master key to a lot of what is here. That is the ultimate insurance against being kicked out. Of course lots of other people have been the way I went before. The web is full of extensive personal web sites and blogs. The security of having one's own turf often beats the politics of restricted and no-crit web boards and lists. Also remote loading and storage are difficult for a lot of average internet users so keeping the expression on one's own web page is technically the easiest thing to do.

I worked second shift today and went grocery shopping and got my meds. I now have a way to get to Milledgeville from Macon but it will cost $130 for a round trip. I am going to look for something cheaper or at least more convenient. I have three avenues open to me. One is Suzette. Another is the lady who always gives me rides to Publix. The third is to write to the woman who is heading up the conference and ask her if any one from Atlanta will give me a ride. I should have no trouble getting to Atlanta from Columbus. I'll be happy to split/pay for gas etc...

I hate begging. I hate begging. I hate begging. Say that three times fast. I never get rides where and when I really need them. That is the way rides work. Everyone giving you a ride thinks it's great charity. The fact is supermarket and drug store trips are routine. This apartment is two miles from the shopping center that has my favorite drug store and supermarket. Two miles is walking distance. I have a backpack and pull cart for hauling groceries. Going grocery shopping on foot is more of a pleasure than a hardship.

Trips to the doctor are another matter but I've been able to get the time off from work to walk to the doctor's from there and it's four miles. Again, I don't go that often so no big deal. The shrink is very close and the vet is around the corner. Other places I can get to and there is Columbus Shuttle or Greyhound to take me to Atlanta. And no I don't drive. I have damaged eye muscles, impaired focusing ability and basicly very little ability to judge distance of moving objects. People tell me that I am missing a third dimmension from my sight. I don't know what it is. I can judge distance of stationary objects by perspective and other clues. I have fairly good 20/30 visual accuity so don't wear glasses. Don't ask me to hit a baseball or a tennis ball though.

Anyway, tomorrow I have some heavy and nasty begging to do. This won't feel pleasant. I am trying not to think about it. I also gave a copy of my presentation to Julie, the former Information Literacy Coordinator. She is going to read it and send me back comments. Julie is moving to a house in the boonies. Why any one who is as ill as Julie wants four acres and a larger house to take care of that is further away from civilization is beyond me. My mother as she got older got herself an apartment. My mom has a touch of arthritis in the shoulder and high blood pressure but she worries about not wanting to take the car out and not wanting to shovel snow and such. Julie is a lot sicker than my mother. Julie has been sick most of her adult life.

I came home tonight and found Georgia, my seventeen year old half Siamese girl pearl of an alpha kitty, had thrown up. It was the first time in three days so I don't feel that bad about it.

I'm going to release the graphics in dribs and drabs. I am not sure if I will be doing much on the graphic bench tomorrow. If I do it's going to be getting the Patter Prompter updated for July. OK here is one graphic.

red canna thinking of you

Yes, I needed and wanted a red canna thinking of you and now I have one. Not bad.

by Eileen Kramer

I'm feeling a tad disappointed with both My Home is Where the Heart Is and Aunt Bee's Parlor. Both of them are super scaird by copyright pigs. I mean our chances of getting caught for working with images found at commercial sites are next to nil. As for print info we probably have some fair use rights or first sale rights. I just don't need the headache of posting stuff and having people question where I got the source material.

My solution if there is a real problem is drawing my own images and scanning them in and supplementing these with mouse draw and good PSP technique. I can draw and I don't need any one to draw images for me. I can also write my own poetry. And I'll make it all public domain. That'll show the pigs.

I know that sounds extreme. I probably won't do that. I'm just not a big enough operator for any one to blow the whistle except in vengance, but I know it puts a scare into what I post to these two groups. It cuts way back on my participation level. Oh well I won't have to go back for a couple of days.

A lot of the unquestioningly pro copyright stance I see is politically motivated. It just makes sense to be on the side of private property rather than too believe that information wants to be free which is an equally ideological statement. This doesn't make copyright pigging any easier to bear.

I am now half way around the patterage at my Pretend Brainstorms which despite its faults is simply the best. It is worth it to be kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am and say what I said and do what I do. I love my avatars and having them was worth being kicked out of Brainstorms for. I still have my pretend version and it is better than the original.

How I long to tell the people who kicked me out of Brainstorms how much I still am a pretend part of their community. Pretended works. Pretend is powerful. I have the power!!!!!!!

Here is a typical letter I would love to write:

Dear John, Corey, and Bob,

Since you wished me well in my search for new communities, I thought I'd let you know how I am doing. I am doing better than well. I am doing stupendous. I didn't go looking for new communities and sweep my Brainstorms experience under the rug or hide it like the skeleton in the proverbial closet. No, I am still a member of Brainstorms just in a pretend way.

That's right if pretend people were good enough for me in fact better than real, then a Pretend Brainstorms is just as much fun. I have my Pretend Brainstorms over at http://tacheiru.
us/silky. I go there every day just as if I were going to Brainstorms. Of course it took a few logistics to get replacements for some of the Life Stories people whose stuff I liked to read, but there are plenty of people who publish their life stories without the aid of a closed system of boards.

Play pretend also helps me deal with low traffic. I have a patterage I follow http://tacheiru.us/silky/patterage.html I follow it faithfully. I also see to it I spend the same amount of time and energy I spent on Brainstorms in my pretend version. I love playing pretend. I even get excited about my pretend community just like a real one. In fact it is better than a real one.

I have my life story and I have others' life stories. I have several domesticly inclined boards that beat the pants of Brainstorms' meager food conference and I have my brother in spirit, YB George filling my inbox. In my Pretend Brainstorms people offer prayers instead of beams. I am happy to answer their requests. I don't get vetted. I don't argue. I write about identity and cyberculture issues all I please and of course I spend time every couple of days just having fun with my avatars.

I intend to go on playing pretend forever. My Pretend Brainstorms is the best. Look out for more letters about it. Onward and upward. My Pretend Brainstorms is great! Off I go with a song in my heart and a spring in my step and a smile on my face and yes-- no regrets.

Eileen H. Kramer and all other aliases and avatars.

You see the great thing about writing a pretend letter like this is that I can write it again and again whenever the mood hits me. Boy did that feel good tonigh! Woo hoo! Shout it loud and proud! Passion and enthusiasm are the order of the day!

I am out of meds. I took my last pill at nine thirty tonight. I don't feel one bit sleepy but I am never one to go to bed early anyway. Who needs to go to bed with the chickens. I work second shift tomorrow anyway.

I wrote the works cited for my presentation and revised it. It is starting to look half-way decent. I need to figure out how to get to Milledgeville, Georgia because there is no public transportation that goes there. That expletive deleteds big time. I wonder if there are any LOTH ladies who live in Macon or other cities in middle or western Georgia who could give me a ride. I would gladly pay for gas.

I made sour rice tonight to go with my spinach, bean, and potato soup. There were not enough potatoes in the pot to fill me up. I have no fresh fruit in the house and need to buy groceries too. Part of me even wants to roam over to Country Life in search of soynut butter. I am out of that as well as out of almond butter. Country Life is our local Adventist vegetarian food store.

All this sort of throws a monkeywrench in my plans for going to the music library to dub a record of hymns to tape. I am not thrilled with the idea of using my morning off to run errands that are boring as opposed to errands that are interesting.

I want the hymns so I can learn the ones we sing at the nursing home on Sunday mornings. The preacher and the residents need a voice. Most old people there are very passive when it comes to singing their own music. In a synagogue that is not reform, everyone sings because unless you sing there is no service. I like to sing. I wonder if it is possible to make both the music library and the other errands. I am going to have to think about this one long and hard. I think I can find the shuttle that runs between the River Center and Columbus State. That would mean I could get a bus right down to the music library, dub the tapes and then walk back up Macon Road or even cross Weyracoba Park to reach Wynton and go from there to Macon.

It is after 1am and I still have to do my nails. I fell asleep on the break room couch at work for three hours today. I had weird dreams where moss covered pavement and magnetic marbles could speak to me. They said interesting things, none of which I can remember now. I just remember that they talked and I liked that a lot.

That is probably why I don't feel sleepy this time of night. Oh well...at least I finally washed those dirty shorts. I have more loose fitting t-shirts that I did in the wash. Those t-shirts are a necessity because I have prickly heat from wearing a bra in hot weather. They say only kids get prickly heat. No, I get it every summer where my clothing is tight against my skin. I never got it when I was a kid or even an adolescent. Here I am at forty something with two prickles on my right breast and boy do those prickles itch!

Well this week is forty percent over. Fourth of July is next weekend so I get to watch fireworks Sunday night. That won't be too bad. I still have bills to pay. June is such a short month. I still have a small amount of laundry to fold. This is going to be a long night.

Yeah and it's going to be a longer night because there is something I want to write here that I just simply forgot about. I guess that happens from time to time and it's part of the hazards of having a two sided blog. Suzette is my boss at the nursing home and she is in her twenties and she has a totally uncultivated mind. It is scarey how uncultivated her mind is. She does not know about the French Revolution or why it was important. Hint, folks it's where we get the word terror in terrorist from.

Suzette is into beauty and spending money and almost living beyond her means. I was never like that even at her age. Suzette is Philipino and from the upper class in her society. I am from the middle class in mine. Suzette makes me think of the difference between being conservative and being a prude. I'm no prude. I have no problem with people having sex or even dirty dancing to "booty music" Heck I've done that myself.

I am a conservative. My unsolicited advice to Suzette was and still is get a four year college degree. Drop the hodge podge of jobs that feed the SUV and the big pieces of furniture. Yes, Suzette was shocked when I paid a colleague to repair two torn old but still good pieces of clothing. Sorry, I don't throw away what is still good. Suzette has offered to donate me her cast-offs.

My reason for my unsolicited advice was that the economy can turn sour and the things of this world that cost money can quickly become out of reach. When material things fail the choice is things of the intellect and/or spirit (Usually it's a combination) or dissipation and despair. I read Rashi to keep from hitting bottom.

Suzette shrugged off my advice. Actually if Suzette could find some sort of self directed education program that was at least somewhat interesting to her, there is no reason she could not/should not persue it. Conversely if the electives/distribution requirements/core required for a four year degree are just so much boring make work what is the point? The idea is to instill the basic facts and habits of learning (It's both folks) that make one hunger for more. Brains shouldn't eat junk food. An education means options in hard times.

God, do I sound conservative or what. I guess I am conservative in the old fashioned sense of the term. One more thing I drink beer if I am out in a bar or club. I drink beer just like a man. Suzette loathes beer and gets "frou frou drinks" including a concotion called Some P*ssy. Fill that one in folks. I don't know why this irks me. It could be that mixed drinks are expensive and that Suzette enjoyed sending the man she was dating to the bar to order this drink as a high school age kid's trick, or maybe middle school age kid's trick. Of course I make any man buying me beer get me the goos stuff. This girl drinks stout. I'd drink Saranac Black and Tan if I could get it but it doesn't get this far into the South.

My feeling about mixed drinks is that in bars they can taste like medicine. You never know what is really in them. Made at home with plenty of high quality mixer they taste pretty good. Also it is good to make them up slightly weak. It's the quality of the mixer that makes the drink. Beer on the other hand is a consistent product. Also beer comes in big twelve ounce bottles or mugs. It takes a long time to nurse a beer. You are therefore more likely to keep your wits about you when drinking beer. You don't get as drunk and it's not fun to get very drunk, a little buzzed is fine.

Suzette never learned this bit of wits-about-you logic. I also figure if I can order a beer, even if it is a fancy imported beer, and drink it with the boys, I am not a little thing needing kid glove treatment. I am a tough grown up woman.

I wondered tonight if I was born middle aged. I wasn't but I like being middle aged. I earn a decent living. I am experiencd in my profession. I don't have to worry about following all the lastest fads. A lot of clothes still look good on me since I still have a decent figure but I don't have to dress like sixteen because sixteen was a long time ago. I was slightly heavy at sixteen and now I weigh less than I did at that age. Yes, I'm between a size six and a size eight. I wish our youth-worshipping culture would get its head screwed on straight. Middle age is a good time of life.

Monday, June 28, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am about third of my way around my second circuit of the patterage. There are one or two rough places in the cycle, but basicly the patterage is doing what it is intended to do. It keeps me from going off on a jag in one direction or another and just keeping at it and then feeling lonely and depressed because nothing is ever as fantastic as you want it to be and that fact kind of catches up with one. With the patterage, I can always move on to the next square and I feel terrific!

The hardest part of the patterage is the RAOK board. I love RAOK and run one committee and am on three others, but the board is small and just spewing does not feel right. There is no safe hole in which I can bury myself.

I am also worried a bit about the LOTH board. I posted a review of Fahrenheit 9/11 on the board and it was a political post. I fear that will get me in trouble but so far no one has seemed to notice. I forget that LOTH is a lot looser about what is allowed than RAOK is.

I thought a lot about the Our Voice project on Sunday. This is where we in our own groups study ourselves so that the big pooh bahs who think they know everything about cyberculture don't marginalize us. Getting the leaders' consent to run a group that may at times become critical will not be easy. It means adopting some of the "intelligent" cultuure.

I've also noticed several political posts both on Secretangelfriends@
yahoogroups.com and on YB George's list. They are proBush and one was very weird ineed. It went on and on about Bush hugging the daughter of a 9/11 victim. Big deal. The man has human feelings. I don't feel like arguing politics on Kaci's list. The other post was a joke about what Kerry would do for the army. The joke included an image that did not appear at all so I just deleted it. I guess I am going to see more of this as I get closer to election day.

I am relieved that Haldis does not have to score Webleagues tonight. I also don't have to score ZOID tonight so after my nails are done and I've had a bath, it's off to bed. This means good vision work. Last night I had contact with Savannah. She is not the easiest spirit to understand and she's a rude kid. Yes, I can call her that in public. She would not keep quiet in Gerry's class. She talked endlessly about this parade with floats in a big city. She also said something snobby about another dead kid named Celeste. I like Savannah but she needs to learn to behave in civilized company. Kids with cancer are frequently spoilt when they are alive. I wonder if this did not happen to Savannah.

I also signed Savannah's page at Caringbridge.org today. I do not tell Lisa, Savannah's mother, of my contact. It is irratic and also it is likely to make her jealous. I think it would be great to get Savannah paired up with Tethi or Prijas or even Lisa from Yonkers. These are all dead kids who were ill for a long while before they died. Sedero who is now an adult would also be a good match for very similar reasons. I think any of them could say the things to her I don't about her rude behavior. Tethi is probably the closest match. Prijas is a moral exemplar. I also don't know all the adults who look after Savannah particularly well. They do let her run a bit wild though she says she is in school. She's not my kid but when she runs amuck in the wrong place and I am with her, she is my problem.

Suppose they gave a class and nobody came? That is what happened to me tonight with the second GALILEO workshop. Right now I am glad there are no more GALILEO workshops until well into July and I've gotten my quota done for the summer.

I integrated the literature search into my outline for my presentation but ran into a problem. Milledgeville is seemingly impossible to get to without a car. I am going to need to make some phone calls and find out if there is a shuttle or livery service that could take me there. My boyfriend may be down here by late July but I don't count on him for anything. I may also write to the woman giving the conference and explain my perdicament. I can meet up with any one in Atlanta or Macon which I can get to by bus no problem. Milledgeville is in the middle of nowhere and I don't drive. I wish I had thought of this sooner. This is not going to be a very practical idea after all.

Tomorrow I have four hours of refernece desk configured so that it cuts up my day. I may have the priviledge of teaching a senior biology student to use CSA indexes in the morning. That is always fun.

Tonight I made soup with Vietnamese spinach, pink beans, potatoes and lots of other vegetables. The soup need some rice to make it more of an entree, but I'll make that tomorrow. I'm a total slacker when it comes to housework or laundry but I will cook. Do I need to say the apartment is a wreack and the bills need to be paid. I'll work on the bills tomorrow or Wednesday.

Wednesday I may go down to the music library and dub a record of hymns on to tape so I can listen to them at home. They sing all these old 19th century Protestant hymns at the nursing home and I don't know any of them. They can use one more voice. I guess I am going to be the voice.

I'm not sure how I am going to feel listening to hymns at home but I guess I will find out. They did not use my calendar at the nursing home but cut it up instead. Some of my illustrations survived but not all of them and my design got wreacked pretty badly. I think I don't have the ear of the right people because I only volunteer there on Sunday. Sorry, I work for a living if you get my drift.

I am already feeling Atlanta deprivation. I keep thinking how great it would be to go back there just to shop. I keep telling myself "no!" It costs too much money. The next trip will be either right before the trip to Milledgeville or the first weekend in August depending on whether I run out of tea and decide not to order Celestial Seasonings tea on the web. Yes, that would be cheaper. I'll just have to do without delicacies that come from the big city.

Of course I don't just travel to Atlanta for food. I like Atlanta. Away from the skyscrapers, the city is beautiful and riding the MARTA trains is fun. I do my best thinking on the MARTA trains. I love being able to walk from point A to point B on streets where one actually sees pedestrians. I love city streets and urban landscape that stretches on for block after block. When I am in Atlanta I feel as if I am at home.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I always feel out of practice if I don't blog for a day. I stayed away from the computer most of yesterday except for a routine search and destroy while I did my nails. The search and destroy is necessitated by my brother in spirit, YB George, and his friends who are lovely people but who have zero understanding of bandwidth. They really are lovely people. They are the salt of the earth. They are people with no social capital and I need to be out there supporting them. I need to remember that search and destroy beats dealing with floaters and due process that got me nowhere and yes...

My MY PRETEND BRAINSTORMS is the best! It is every bit as good as the original and I can't get kicked out. Well you know it was worth it be kicked out. It was worth it to be who I am and do what I do and say what I said. I am psyched tonight to enjoy my Pretend Brainstorms to the hilt. Onward and upward with a song in my heart and a lightness in my step. Passion and joy should always be the order of the day! Yesireeeee! You bet your bippy and all the rest.

There is nothing like a good masthead to get me fired up. While I was in Atlanta yesterday, Haldis figured out what to do with the bit of cut and paste cheer that Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun dumped on the Webleagues' Forum. Check any of the Hemispheres you will see it and the check the actual scores in the upper rounds. Here is the Final Showdown. Here is the Western Confederation, and here is the Eastern Confederation. Look them over and then look at the piece. Both New Southern Hemisphere fighters lost in their respective upper rounds. John (A Knight's Realm) had a defeat of record making proportions in the Final Showdown. He had it because he faced a woman who is probably the world's best site fighter. Now read the cut and paste piece.

Of course if you ask Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun if she believes in truth and honesty she'll say yes, but what she says and what she did are two different things. Haldis was exceedingly angry when she read the piece Thursday night. She felt like asking Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun if she wanted a job in the Bush administration. More than once both she and Thadea thought of writing to either the staff mailing list or leaving the spirit bear a private message on the forum. Since Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun (Why can't she sign her name to an innocuous message or one that is supposed to be innocuous? That ought to tell you something.) may be someone who outranks Thadea and Haldis and since constructive criticism is not all that well tolerated (imagine being told your work expletive deleteds even when it's true) it would likely get Thadea and Haldis in trouble, and since Thadea and Haldis are avatars that would really be courting trouble.

The answer came from an unexpected direction. I thought about why Haldis was so angry. I mean I should be the last person to complain about lying when I say there are more important things than truth. Why should Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun's message bother me. The reason Haldis and I were angry was crystal clear. Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun's canned support was not just fraudulent, it was fraudulent to the point of being ineffective. What is the point of telling a fighter who has worked hard enough to bring in fifty some votes a day but who was still mauled by the titan, Erica of Erica's Creations, that his fight was close. That message tells the fighter that the person writing it is just functionary who doesn't care how the competition really went. Losing is bad. Seeing the support people go through the motions and not care is even worse. Now Webleagues is small. It is a community of about a dozen staff and sixty to seventy fighters. In a community that small those who do support should know how each team is doing. Sorry, that is not a lot to ask.

That is when I realized Haldis was angry because John was not getting the support he needed and the same was true for Brenda who also suffered defeat but never lost her spirit. Tonight Haldis wrote to Cassowari@yahoogroups.com, the New Southern Hemisphere's mailing list a letter that congratulated both Brenda and John on a fight well done. She congratulated John on not losing heart in the face of an overwhelming defeat and she congratulated Brenda on not losing spirit. Brenda won a geographic challenge on the last day of the fighting cycle. She won it during a week in upper levels when the points would not help her win. She won it out of pure spirit. Spirit is loyalty and a certain gung-ho attitude, much like the attitude I show toward my Pretend Brainstorms.

I am nearly three quarters of the way through my patterage. I am nearly done with the inner circle and the three quarters done is the outer circle. It is going to feel wrenching to go over to RAOK instead of doing a search and destroy on my email. Eschewing a full email box for a board that may not be that exciting is hard, but discipline does not come easy, and discipline is what the patterage is all about. Onward and upward. Shout it out. Loud and proud!

I did so much in the last two days I don't know when to start. I went to Atlanta yesterday and saw Fahrenheit 9/11. It cost me a pretty penny but it is worth it. This is the end of my profligacy. Trips to Atlanta cost to much to go up there any more than once a month. My next trip is to Milledgeville, Georgia to do my presentation which thankfully is roughed out and hon my hard drive at work.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is an excellent and superb piece of propaganda. It makes use of several classic propaganda devices. It constantly pokes fun at the Bush administration using music and cinematic tricks, and Lila Lipscomb's conversion story even if it is true (which it probably is) feels overvblown. Ms. Lipscomb feels like a charactature both before and after her conversion which takes place due to the death of her son.

Michael Moore also makes a number of factual errors in the effort to draw a clean picture of class differences. Except for military families the poor (to some degree. The military is picky about whom it takes), working, and middle class fight the wars of the wealthy but do you want a draft? That is the alternative. Most people my age and older have had a relative in the military due to conscription or the threat of it. Moroever, Moore comes from Flit, Michigan but the bulk of military recruits DO NOT come from the swath of economic devestation on I-90. I used to live in Utica, New York which was in the economic dead zone. The reason most recruits don't come from the dead zone is that young people leave and families leave and the area has seen a massive population shrinkage. Utica is down to 30,000 on the 2000 census from 100,000 in the 1970's. Michael Moore never says how successful the Mutt and Jeff Marine recruiters are (Notice the propaganda device. A guy in a stiff blue uniform but with a double chin is funny.)

Moore steers clear of the delicate topic of ISRAEL. Israel was very happy to see us attack Iraq which supported the PLO and similar organizations. One could make a much better case for Saddam Hussein being a threat to Israel (Scud missiles actually landed inside Israel's borders in the 1990 Gulf War) than for his ever being a threat to the US. Saddam's threat to Israel which was not imminent was NOT a good reason for us to wage a preemptive war. There is, however, an active Israel lobby in Washington, and ANSWER one of the groups that organized the anti-war protests this time around is anti-Israel. They've been accused of being anti-semetic. Accusations of this kind are also propaganda devices. Anti-semite is a stop word. After you call someone an anti-semite no further argument or talk is possible.

Still, Moore makes some stupendous points. The Bush family has/had Saudi connections. This was and still may be a conflict of interest. The Saudis would not be our friends if they did not have all that oil. The Saudis would not be the Bush' friends without an influx of money. The crown heads of Europe all slept together and the rich are a club of their own doing business together. If all of this sounds a tad corrupt, it is. And yes, Bush' Saudi connections acted as a conflict of interest in handling 9/11.

And yes, the Bush administration had warning of 9/11 and sat on its tail until the event happened. Yes, Bush did not have a clear mandate. The Supreme Court decided the election. Yes, the claims that supported the war in Iraq are/were fraudulent. We did not find weapons of mass destruction and there was no good strong link between Saddam and Al Quaeda. Also Bush' buddies have been profiteering off the war in Iraq and no we haven't found Osama Bin Laden. Uh...remember Afghanistan?

If you are on the leftie mailing lists I've been on for years, none of this will come as any surprise or be particularly new. If you don't have an ear to the right part of the proverbial ground, however, a lot of this will be new and exciting.

Here are two other things Moore left out, the religious right and their belief that war in the Middle East is part of God's divine plan that leads to an appocalypse in which they and their believing buddies will be raptured while the rest of us face trials and tribulations. This is fine religious belief but should it influence foreign policy?

Also if one wants to go back to Bush as governor of Texas he and his cronies set up a limited partnership and then changed the laws that governed UTIMCO, the pension fund for the University of Texas so that it could invest in the limited partnership. Bush and his business buddies went itno teh limited partnership first and reaped the wealth. The pension fund went in later and took a bath. Bush stole faculty pensions and the whole thing did not blow up until he was running for President. There was a great article in Harper's on this.

In short, we have a corrupt dangerous regime in Washington, one that has serious conflict of interest, and one that is fairly corrupt and venal. Moore is right and Fahrenheit 9/11 with its faults gives enough reasons to vote Bush out of power.

OK, you weren't expecting a movie review. I'm not sure what you were expecting. Today I went to the nursing home. We got to run the cheer cart and hear Grace Youth and a preacher with a good voice and no microphone sing. Protestant hymns are always first person or close to it. It is about the individual's relationship with God in the present moment. Yes, you can write hymns in other ways. Think of the Catholic hymn "Dona Nobis Pachem" It talks about peace for the whole world or the Jewish version of Rock of Ages. The second verse goes: "Children of the martyr race whether free or fettered, wake the echoes with your song, where ye may be scattered. Yours the message cheering, that the time is nearing, which will see all men free, tyrants disappearing. Which will see, all men free, tyrants disappearing." That is a very different message than I am saved.

A lot of Protestant hymns are also mystical. They deal with the afterlife and the appocalypse. Still, I need to learn to sing some of these Protestant hymns. I need a good basic album of them and a lyric sheet. I'm going to ask Roberta Ford, our music librarian, to recommend something.

Two sad things happened at the nursing home today. First, when Shantee and I were doing the cheer cart, one of the patients who shall go nameless, came out to buy some chewing gum. It turned out she had an account and hadn't paid in months. We got her money for June and said we would talk to Suzette who is our boss who in turn said she would talk to Julie who is her boss. In short, the patient, will not have to pay. The patient is one of the few who can walk and talk which means that something else is wrong, probably something mental.

The other sad moment was when Mr. Crabtree joined us at the table at the end of the day. Mr. Crabtree could walk and sounded very together. He is in rehab and hoping to get a permanent room. He is a ham operator but he is legally blind and can not read his medication labels. He wants to stay at the nursing home. He is only sixty-five years old. One would think there would be something less restrictive for him than being institutionalized.

I think of Gorfman a lot when I work at nuring home. Suzette has to keep track of who showed up at services and how they behave. No one in the outside world does that, but services are an activity, and in the nursing home people's lives are monitored in ways that are scarey for us free folks. There is a big reason pepole dread ending up in nursing homes.

Friday, June 25, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This is my first full day using the patterage at my Pretend Brainstorms. Actually it is not a typical day because I ran the RAOK guestbook guantlet. That is done now and I feel I have some traction in my life. That is a good feeling. This blog is a core activity on the patterage wheel. I am now in the center of the wheel.

I craved pure anger a bit today. I can always write to Jethro. He finds me distasteful. That is too bad. I actually have fans, Sweetpea out in California and his friend Monde and my friend, Josh. That is fans enough. Actually I have friends as well as fans and a complete stranger even posted on the Run Amuck Board.

My friend Hugh asked me to look up the definition of the word, amuck/amok and it's Malay for murderous frenzy though in English it just means running around out of control. I got the idea for the Run Amuck Board's name when I was roaming around Atlanta last weekend. I got the idea for the Third Rail's name when I was riding the MARTA train and looking for that third rail which is off to the side of teh MARTA tracks. When I was a kid, my parents always advised me not to go anywhere near railroad tracks because they could have third rails on them. Third rails were and are scarey and dangerous.

So far the Third Rail board is still very empty. Well when I get to the Vestris boards at the top of the patterage wheel, I'll see that the Third Rail is not made so sad looking. Maybe it will get its decorations first.

Yesterday, I enjoyed an hour of pure patter and it was so fulfilling and energizing and wonderful. I may psych myself up here, but if something really sucks, I'm not going to say it's great. The patter did feel good. Some of the reason was that I was listening to midi. That helps a lot. Sound, colored, lights, and music go a long long way.

Haldis encountered something at Webleagues that made her angry. Someone who calls herself Spirit Bear Tumbles of Fun posted a cut and paste encouragement note that must have been written on another planet. The note said that both the confederations and the Final Showdown were close. They weren't. Go see for yourself. The fighter who was beaten in the Final Showdown is on Thadea and Haldis' team and he was beaten by over one hundred votes per day. How do you say slaughter? How do you say insult to injury? How do you say dumb? It's stuff like this that gives site fighting its dumb reputation.

Well the good news is that I got my presentation outlined. It is a rough draft kind of outline because it is missing the references from my literature search that is still kind of unfolding. I got two new interloan articles. There is still one very rare one unfulfilled. I wanred Cheryl in interloan that the article was a rarity. It's the kind of thing I would heartily discourage a student from ordering. Well faculty status has its priviledges.

Last night a woman named Libby Norris gave me a ride part way to Publix and all the way back. She says call me any time you need a ride. She acts as if walking to the supermarket which is two miles from my apartment especially at night is a hardship. I prefer to shop at night because I live in a hot climate. I don't mind staying up late. I would stay up late no matter what. Anyway, I am now in the awkward business of paying her back. I offered her some of my white peaches. She refused them. They are really quite good. I wonder if I should bake her a cake or make her some cookies. I don't even want the rides to the supermarket. I wish these Southerners would get it through their heads that it is OK to walk, especially to routine destinations such as the supermarket. It is not a hardship. If I really needed help I would need an occasional ride to Petsmart, sharing the gas for a trip to Atlanta etc...

Anyway, I am psyched to go to Atlanta tomorrow and debating whether to go to schul tonight. I miss schul. It's the rabbi's fiftieth wedding anniversary so there will be a special oneg. We'll probably be bursting out the doors. I hope I can stomach his sermon. I don't want to face Sam, our kitchen help's (Yes, schuls have kitchen helpers) questions. I can't stand this rabbi. He is the ultimate cheap shot artist, but I also hate being without a house of worship. I am lonely for fellowship. Friday night is just so much more convenient than Saturday morning too.

I am still trying to work all of this out. I tell myself that if I detest it I can walk out. I can stay and gnash my teeth. I can make sure I have a seat near the door. Home worship is excellent and it does make sure I light shabbos candles and pray but it has its limits. You know, I forgot to buy shabbos candles at Publix last night. I'll have to get them during the week next week. I think I'm down to my last two. At least the apartment was clean enough I did not have to do much cleaning for the Shabbos queen. Georgia obliged me by throwing up this morning. I'll take care of that right before home worship tonight if I decide not to go to schul.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Shortly after this blog gets published my Pretend Brainstorms will FINALLY have its own patterage. Working on a patterage is both freeing and binding. I know that's a contradiction in terms.

A patterage is a do-list that makes sure that I hit all the bases in my Pretend Brainstorms. Also it keeps me from getting stuck in a rut which should make using my Pretend Brainstorms more enjoyable. See, even if those jerks at Brainstorms would say that this venture is sick and impossible, I figure sick is just a name they call something they don't understand. As for it being impossible, where there's a will there's a way. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Onward and upward. Woo-hoo! Shout it out loud and proud!

Meanwhile, Haldis has been sweating bullets at the Webleagues. It turned out the the New Southern Hemisphere was seriously glitched. The glitches were small but they were in crucial places. They are now fixed and the team even has a kind of banner page. The page is not complete but team members only need the big banners when they venture into the upper levels. Haldis will be making more banners in the near future.

The most sincere form of flattery was that Lady Fox who runs the Northern Hemisphere put up a bnner page too though she took a different approach. Haldis is still wondering what to do about Lady Fox who cheers by pasting cheers for a defunct team to the forum. She is dutiful but the cheers are always the same. She is engaging in utterly mindless activity and checking out those cheers bores Haldis to tears. Haldis wonders how she can tactfully tell Lady Fox that her human xerox machine act is getting old.

I accidentally wrote the thesis statement for my presentation today. I keep thinking it is a paper but in reality it is a presentation which means an outline and probably something on Power Point or in html. I think most Powerpoint presentations are godawful so I am going to have to stress and strain to do a good one.

I wrote the thesis statement because Deborah Stanley who is in charge of scheduling speakers at the Big Conference at the end of July wanted a title from me and one or two sentences which fast became an opening paragaraph. Writing a thesis statement is always the hardest, though getting my methodology writtenn up along with my literature search will probably be another struggle. I want to do this when I am fresh and not particularly sleep deprived.

I am looking forward to going to see Fahrenheit 9/11 in Atlanta on Saturday. I figured out where the theater is. Now I'd like to know where it is in relation to Whole Foods. Of course if I schedule this right I can take the Greyhound rather than the shuttle. Of course the Greyhound may have raised its ticket prices too. This is a casualty of the price of gas going up and with gas diesel. Do buses run on diesel?

I feel guilty about doing all this travelling to Atlanta. I am starting to feel like a caged beast. I am going grocery shopping directly after work. It thunder stormed last night so I took a nap and never made it to Wal-Mart. I can not clean up the apartment until I go shopping. I need scouring powder, panty hose (not for cleaning but I'm wearing my last pair of flesh colored ones.), light bulbs (no more of those in the house right now either), cat food (I'm down to the bottom of a bag of Iam's. You get the idea.

It thundered and rumbled here at work but it looks like the storm has blown over. I suppose I could check Accuweather to see what is happening for tonight. I do need scouring powder to clean the sink after I get done with the cat litter pans. Thursday night is the night to clean the house for the Shabbos Queen who makes her appearance each Friday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This Pretend Brainstorms is working very well. I got to join a chat today at Aunt Bee's Parlor. It was wonderful to be so absolutely and unequivocally welcome.

OK, I want to talk about truth and identity. Truth is like home, love, mother, and apple pie. Of course we want truth. It's essential for passing money and goods and in a love relationship though not a casual affair if that is all both parties want.

There is nothing more important than truth. Truth is the keystone, cornerstone, fouding stone. I'm tired of stones. If you don't know who someone is well you can just go forget it. This is what people say if you ask them about having a true identity online and in many other venues.

But I think the reason a lot of people say it is the way the question is worded. If you aren't for truth, you are for lying. If you are not with us you are against us. Who wouldn't say they are for truth?

I'll say it. There are often more important things than knowing someone's identity. In most situations where you are not transferring money, hiring someone, taking someone to bed, or making some other committment that has real world import, you don't have to know if someone is giving you fiction or a real story. This means people you talk to on a mailing list, people whose guestbooks you sign, and whose posts you read on blogs. You are getting entertained and enjoying the show. That's all. Your relationship may be very satisfying but it is not deep enough to require truth and you spin your wheels to go look for it.

A person can also tell the truth and still cause a lot of grief. A classic example was the woman who runs the Golden Elite. I know her real name from Internic records. She scored Thadea often one to three days late. Waiting around for scores was a breech of trust. It didn't matter that I knew the woman's name. When the server at Golden Elite failed and she had no back up means of communicating with her fighters she absconded all the same and left Thadea high and dry all the same.

Then there are several people on my brother in spirit's email list who drop huge emails into my box. They are so large I delete them unopened. It's just policy. I can get rid of close to three megs of email in about five minutes. The couple who are the worst offenders could easily overflow many web based inboxes with their unthinkingly large output. They are making a nuiscence of themselves and who cares if they say they are Christians and may in fact be Satanists, atheists, or any number of other faiths.

Then we have the PSYCHO who went after Haldis ten months ago. She may have used her real name and address for her business but she was way too quick with the lashon hara behind Haldis' back but just up close enough to be overheard. Her letters to Haldis and her posts on Haldis' web board were hate filled. Haldis never did anything to this women other than be a college student at an Ivy League institution and a proud little thing but Haldis never had the time to draw breath to offend this woman. She just attacked.

Go ahead and lie your head off. Even those jerks on Brainstorms said my avatars were polite and well behaved. I think it galled them the most to learn that. I'd rather meet well behaved liars thant truthful PSYCHOs any day of the week.

Anyway, nuiscences, irresponsible people, and psychoes are in day to day relations online much worse than liars. Go ahead and lie. See if I care. I'll enjoy the fiction you produce just as if it were truth. Unless we exchange money, physical goods, prepare to meet in real life, or fall in love, I don't need to know you are really who you say you are. Just don't do a lot of damage and we'll get along just fine.

Blogging in the afternoon is different than doing it late at night. I want to make sure I am not silenced and that I get to post every day. We are in the midst of having a canidate in for a position here at work. I am not on the committee that did the interviewing though I did get to watch her do a presentation, sat in on the librarian interview, and we are taking her out to dinner tonight.

I am looking forward to going out to eat. Two of the articles I interloaned during my trip to Georgia Tech arrived today and I am taking notes on one of them. I read both of them. There are two more articles sitting somewhere out there in the ether.

Neither of these articles is all that helpful. I think I am tapping out the field which is a good thing. I can start outlining my paper next week. That will feel very good indeed.

Well I got the note taking done. That does indeed feel good. In other news: I am going to see Fahrenheit 9/11 in Atlanta. I got an advance ticket to the 2pm show at a Cinema near the park that is about a mile and a half east of the Midtown MARTA station. Yes, I checked a map. This is an art house. Now I have more than one reason to go to Atlanta. I ought to do more job hunting. What I wouldn't give for a job in Atlanta. It would surely save me bus or shuttle fare.

A woman in Aunt Bee's Parlor said I had a financial need. I guess she sensed I had a trip to Atlanta planned. Boy this gets to be an expensive addiction. I think I'll post at LOTH to see if any one else is going to take in Michael Moore's new film.

I can't believe I'm going to Atlanta two weekends in a row but I have a need and it's not just food shopping though it makes no sense to go to Atlanta and come home empty handed. With the single tracking on MARTA, planning a double trip is going to be difficult. I don't have a financial problem. I have a time problem.

It looks like rain outside. I have hardly been out except to go to work all week. I did clean up the apartment last night. By clean up I mean I straightened and vacuumed. I do not have enough clenser to attack either the kitchen or the bathroom. I was supposed to be bringing some home from Publix last time I shopped but of course that didn't happen. Somewhere along the line, my canister of scouring powder disappeared. Since we are going out to eat tonight (Several of us from work are eating dinner with the candidate etc...) I won't get back in time to go to Publix. I think I may walk to Wal-Mart instead. They are open twenty-four hours and it's three miles each way. It's a bit lonely but I need the exercise and a good walk. I'm not even afraid of the black thoughts in my head and lately my head has more than its share of them. Go figure.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

OK, let's kick off with the mashead. It was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms. It was worth it to be what I am and do what I do and say what I say and damn it I was polite about the whole business. Well I have my Pretend Brainstorms which is a wonderful consolation. I have been using it and it has grown and flowered, moved from strength to strength. Onward and upward as they say! Woo hoo! Shout it out loud and proud. Passion and enthusiasm are the order of the day. In our ironic society we have forgotten how great happiness can be, and my happiness is important. It matters. I matter and my Pretend Brainstorms matters because it makes me very very very very very happy! Woo hoo!

How is that for an enthusiastic masthead. Well you are probably wondering why no blog last night. Well the email Thadea and Haldis were using to score their team at Webleagues crapped out utterly and completely. Thadea set up a paid account at Manidae to handle the scores so all is well except one day of scores are missing. Thadea also contacted the owner at the Webleagues to try and get back up scores so she can count them and get real scores to her fighters for Monday. Competition goes on. Transitions are hard on everybody.

I'll need to check Thadea's email again. I've been loving my avatars and that feels good. They have been posting away on one of the Silk Purse' new boards. Orelle has a new working Everyone.net box. Her old one crapped out. It says it's full when it is empty. I guess "crapped out" is the word of the day around here. Oh well I won't let little technical glitches get in my way. Quitters never win and winners never quit. No sirree!

I revised Orelle's site for the new email address and fixed one broken link. I can't believe Orelle was thinkinga bout site fighting. Hmmm.... What was I thinking. Well I'm going to wait a bit on that. Orell might make an interesting site fighter. I wonder if her fairly low key pages will get accepted. She has a lot of political stuff on her pages. I'm not sure what the politics of those screening sites are.

One thing I don't have any desire to run is a second competition. Thadea's setting up the the New Southern Hemisphere took care of that.

I am hiding from what is one of the nastier jobs I have to do at work. I have to xerox and collate packages for tonight's GALILEO workshop. I like teaching and with a small group I won't have to teach what is on the outline. We just do what interests the students which usually means getting them their at home use passwords. That is a good thing.

There are things happening at work I can not tell you about. They are taking up a lot of head space that they should take up. We have another interview candidate coming here tomorrow.

Meanwhile at home, my apartment is a wreack. I am going to do some cleaning when I get in tonight after teaching the GALILEO workshop. I am also going to make greens and beans using fresh pink eye peas and snow pea pod sprouts I got in Atlanta over the weekend. Yes, this means another recipe for Ladies Advance. It is great having my own online empire. I don't even mind supporting it.

I am still delaying that awful trip to the xerox room. Oh well....a minute here or there won't matter. The small amounts of minutes won't. I just have one thing more to do and I'm off to the xerox room. I'll write more later.

new picture that uses a new technique

I made this using a double polished stone and crumpled paper texture plus by adjusting the black and white points to dye the photo yellow. It looks like something printed in a newspaper which for the subject matter is very appropriate.

rosey sandstone technique mosque

This uses a similar technique except it uses sandstone and crumpled paper on the bottom layer and then after the layers are blended and merged the color gets adjusted. That was what makes the image so rosey.

stone flower

And gerbera daisies are one of my favorite flowers to work wtih. This uses polished stone for the underlayer and partial transparency to blend with the top layer and a background removal as well. The text on this graphic is warped to make it curve.

I have a hold on new sigs. I have four pages that need graphic upgrades which means I should be making page pieces instead. Also these sigs will fill up my last gallery so before I start new galleries, it's time to fix up what is out there.

Monday, June 21, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I didn't get to work much on the new boards at my Pretend Brainstorms today. I am thinking of writing Jethro again. He doesn't write back but he doesn't throw my email away unopened. I have my friends now. They are not Brainstormers. I am proud to say no to "intelligent conversation" Every time I feel rotten about doing search and destroy on YB George's letters I should remember that we people without social capital have to stick together and support each other. Amen! Shout it out! Loud and Proud!

And speaking of amens, the woman from "Garden of Prayer" who showed up to entertain the nursing home residents this afternoon could not carry a tune. Her voice was awful. I felt sorry for those poor residents though they clearly enjoyed the attention. I guess the ones who want to watch the baseball game or who know what is coming dodge teh activities. A lot of the residents were sleeping in their wheelchairs today. I wonder what kind of sedatives they are given.

I saw the lady who is tortured by nightmares. Her legs are like sticks. She is wasting away. I wonder when they will carry her out of the place feet first if you get my drift.

I always get attacked by doubts after I do a lot of work with my Pretend Brainstorms. How am I going to maintain one MSN group plus two new boards if I can't maintain what I have. I need a good patterage in the worst way. I'll have to work on this. I know I never hit Brainstorms in an organized way but there was always way more than I could do.

The good news is there is just as much here to do and I am enjoying myself. Some of my new MSN groups are great and they make for plenty of interesting place to post. True one of the groups is being trialed but that is just a necessity. Trials do not always work out.

The apartment is still a wreack. I need a patterage or house cleaning though in the real world, a patterage is a do-list. I feel as if I have accomplished nothing though yesterday's literature search was a success. I'll talk more about all this on the right side of the blog.

I made it home from Atlanta in one piece though I'm still tired today. I'm not sure why. I just go through phases like this. I got a weird and very male (Sorry all of you with Y chromosomes) set of directions from the Georgia Tech campus to the neighborhoods on the other side of I-85. They were not good directions but I knew something of the area near the unmarked and supposedly secret (except it's an open secret) Israeli Consulate on Spring Street. Atlanta is a very beautiful city. I wish I lived there.

Anyway, the directions involved right and left hand turns and no landmarks. The problem was I was travelling on foot and did not need to be anywhere near the parking lot and the other problem was the roads curved. Fortunately, I kind of knew where I needed to go. Georgia Tech is on the west side of I-85 that runs in a canyon through the middle of Atlanta.

I had supper in a Subway store where the sleepy counter person did not make up my sandwich right, but I was ravenously hungry. I walked to the N-4 MARTA station and transferred at Five Points to the eastbound line and went to the DeKalb Farmer's Market. I caught a bus at the Avon Dale Station (E-7) to the market but walked back. I talked to my boyfriend on the pretty landscaped market grounds and then went inside to buy daikon radish, short grain brown rice, pink eyed purple hull peas that I will have to shuck and snow pea sprouts and colored bell peppers. The snow pea sprouts and pink eyed peas were not planned. I wanted daikon, red radish and black radish but they did not have either black or red radishes and they did have fresh pink eyed peas.

In addition I could not resist buying a bag of bronze colored pluots. Pluots are a cross between apricots and plums. I'm not sure they are kosher because they are a hybrid but nectarines are OK so pluots should be too. I'm slipping. Anyway, pluots are a prime delicacy and we can't get them in Columbus.

I asked the lady at customer service how long my snow pea sprouts (which are leaves and stems from pea plants. Pea greens if you will) will keep and she said a week. I left the market 8:35pm and got into the Avon Dale station at 9pm. The train came at 9:15pm. All the trains were late that night.

"I'm going to miss the 10pm shuttle home I thought. There is one at 11pm fortunately. Then I got off at Five Points to transfer to the South Bound line and found myself amid chaos. Due to single tracking on the north-south line, trains were only running every twenty minutes and our southbound train ws forty minutes late. There was an 11pm shuttle. I got home at 1am and set up the boards and did search and destroy in my email. It was 5am when I went to bed.

Needless to say, I showed up at the nursing home at 2:15pm and helped with the afternoon activity. I tried calling in to explain that I was just too tired and needed to sleep but could not get through on the switchboard. I woke up at noon today and napped tonight. I am wide awake now, bright eyed, and bushy tailed but with no circadian rhythm.

I got done all the postcards for the LOTH postcard swap. I guess I do have some traction and am digging in. Tomorrow one of the search committees interviews a candidate which means I get to go out to eat. It is just a question of where. We rotate between two places. We have kiss of deathed so many restaurants at work it is ridiculous but that is the story of another post.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well I think I may have a customer for my first community board at My Pretend Brainstorms. Some day I am going to have to stop calling it that, not because it isn't but because if I want to sell the community it takes a bit too much explaining. I still love my Pretend Brainstorms with all my heart and soul. It was worth it to be kicked out of Brainstorms over my avatars. I am still as proud of them as ever and won't let those bastards at Brainstorms silence me. That is why I invited my first customer to the board. She too makes avatars but has had far less luck with them than I have had.

I think the avatars may use the new board as well. It's going to be called We Run Amuck or the Run Amuck Board. I have the generic vestris template files at home. I am not at home at the moment and Haldis and Thadea have been doing way ttoo much web work of late.

I also now have this. You won't believe what it takes to do native code in MSN. It is one of the least friendly places to code. Remote loading and file storage make MSN a natural for graphic groups but it shouldn't have to be that hard. Brainstorms offered a lot of this stuff but you had to go under their bar. Forget that. Anyone can have a community on MSN. Viva MSN!

Well not really, I have been doing a lot of thinking about my revenge project against the secret elites who think they are the official voice of the net. Yes, Brainstormers in your hidey hole, I used to be one of you. I am not bound by confidentiality. I'll be starting the Our Voice project as soon as I can figure out a way to talk to the participants without scaring them. If we write and publish about ourselves we are on the map. It is that simple. We don't exist and we are not worthy of existence to the elites. Quite often the elites come home to play at places like Brainstorms after spending their work days maanging the rest of us like cattle. Well no more.

Oh well this project has a great case of the gonnas. I must have one great case of the gonnas which is odd. My apartment is a wreack again too but here I am in Atlanta.

Anyway I did get the PSP Souk up and running. The problem is it looks like Our Sigs'n Designs may still be active. The original manager reappeared and I offered to help her. Why not...

A very interesting exercise is walking around MSN Groups and seeing the high gates and walls in place. There are reasons for this but it still feels weird. It's also weird to hear how group managers speak of MSN. "MSN won't let us do this. MSN will take down the group if we do that..." I've never heard of any one getting sent a warning from MSN. I suppose they do get sent but maybe they don't. MSN is a mysterious malevolent presence that gives out free space for groups or those willing to start them and then imposes all sorts of weird rules after the fact. We all know who works in the front office dealing with the rabble of whom I am now a proud member. It's those secret elites.

Greetings from the librayr of Georgia Institute of Technology in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia. I came up here to do some research and with electronic sources, the research went lickety split and here I am. Nothing I wanted was in the library or available full text. Most of what I want is too old. I wil have to do interlibrary loan and I can fill out the forms here. I guess that is the next thing I do.

I got four fairly good references. One looks a trifle rare. FirstSearch indicates that fewer than a hundred libraries in the world get this item. I'm going to interloan it anyway. Being a librarian has its priviledges some time.

I got a bit motion sick coming in to Atlanta on the shuttle. I feel better now. Sitting still or walking seems to banish the upset stomach I got from too many passive motion bumps. I am NOT looking forward to the ride home tonight.

I made vegetarian (actually vegan) risotto last night and had pretty good home worship. I thought I would be a bit distracted and I was exhausted, but all in all it went fairly well. I also set http://groups.msn.com/pspsouk up yesterday. It's a public group so you get accepted instantly. Don't expect it to be too active though. It just won't happen for a while. The fact that I have to interloan the articles means that I'll have to wait for them. I'm not thrilled with that. It is curious that the article I really liked that is a small piece in the American Biology Teacher published back in 1991 was cited as late as 1999. Apparently other people liked it too.

It is also interesting that there is a branch of research that deals with examining student papers to assess library skills/information literacy that has grown up in the life sciences and it runs parallel to the articles in information literacy/academic librarianship journals. Anyway today's research score is four references no articles in hand.

A more pressing problem is I'm lost. I took the bus to this campus which was a mistake. I knew how to walk here but the bus went a way with which I'm not familiar. I can see that I'm less than ten blocks from the North Street MARTA station but other than that, I'm in an utterly unfamiliar part of Atlanta. I've never been on this campus before though I've seen pictures of its Information Commons, after which we modeled our own Information Commons.

It is much more impressive in the pictures than in real life. This library looks like Carpenter, the engineering library at Cornell. It even smells the same except the librarians in Carpenter tried to get rid of the stink by bringing in flowers from their gardens. There are only two of us in the Information Commons right now. Oh well, I need to publish this blog and get it posted and shared and then I'll order the references through my own library and see if there is a campus map online. It would definitely be worth ten cents to print it off.

Friday, June 18, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It looks as if Our Sigs n' Designs, a small group with much promise is going to run derelict. This was a topic that I had added to Things Creative at my Pretend Brainstorms. I really do love all this playing pretend here. It is simply the best. Everyone should try it.

Anyway that leaves another MSN group whose leader and I had a small confrontation (at least it still feels small) over a pulled post on her board. I'm not sure if it has blown over. All this drives home the importance of owning the real estate. Often the best defense against bastards online is private property, best of all rented property, but for a sig-tag or PSP group one needs it to be seen and one needs for members who DON'T have remote loading to have a place to upload their graphics.

All this is driving me toward the belly of the beast, yes MSN Groups. An MSN group gets indexed and has a chance of being seen. MSN has storage options that are good for those wanting to display their graphics. MSN is a familiar interface to a lot of users and given the contaminated state of the net a relatively benign one. MSN also is a place where ordinary users can get together without having to deal with the elite and where an ordinary user with no social capital can start a group of her own. This makes me want to support MSN Groups in the worst way. If only I can get past that big ugly stripe.

Now I have a zillion other things to do so setting up a group of my own is not going to happen any time fast. I also need to learn something about the indexing at MSN before I even choose a group name. I also want to make sur Our Sigs 'n Designs is really derelict before I start putting up another group.

I also had a third group (No point putting up a link since you can't see anythng here unless you are a member. I know...shades of Brainstorms but it's a place no Brainstormer would show her face. Yay!) It fell in my lap via a guestbook signature. It's a conservative group that has a cross on its prayer board. It does PSP and recipes. It always amazes me how we grown women revert back to being girls around the picnic table with the crayons and paper.

I have also decided I'm really going to set up a Vestris board for politics and/or religion at Silk Purse. I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do some recruiting. My goal is to educate about those hidden elite and create an alternative to them and then have a portion of the ordinary folk on the net mobilized and not docile. No we can't throw rocks or stuff like that but if we can learn to handle our own resources we may be able to at least call the elite to account and ferret them out of their hidey holes and make their life uncomfortable.

Our first goal is going to have to be to seize the language. We have graphics and color on our side but we can also reclaim words. The story needs to be in our own words. We have our own communities and our own rules. They are not the rules created by the people who have been around since the 1980's and early 1990's on the net. We are the cutting edge.

It looks like I may be a visiting scholar tomorrow. It looks like I will be a "visiting scholar" tomorrow. It is just a question of where. It will either be Auburn or Georgia State University or possibly Georgia Tech. It depends on who has Social Science Citation Index and decent Saturday hours. Greyhound buses run both east and west. There is also Columbus Shuttle that goes to Atlanta.

I have fallen off the caffeine wagon which means I am doing a job on my irritable bowel. I remind myself of the time I got hit with cramps walking down Macon Road at night. A different kind of person would be afraid to go out again. I just kept walking knowing I had to get home. It felt very much like hitting bottom. I know where the bottom is and it is a matter of time until I hit it again.

Last night Georgia barfed again. She is my seventeen and a half year old half Siamese blue-cream alpha female kitty. I have two alpha kitties which makes for an even match. Georgia barfed at 3am. At 5am she was eating again and within half an hour she was her old social self. This was her third bout of hairballs this week. At least she is not throwing up every day, though I have become a bit (and I mean only a bit) lax in brushing her. I did not get her left side last night. She is shedding that thick coat of hers like crazy.

I also made cole slaw with cheese last night. That means I get to publish a recipe later today or this evening. I didn't feel much like eating. I forget what caffeine does to my appetite.

Right now I want to learn about making masks in PSP. I've never had need for them so I didn't learn them. There is a lot about PSP that I just plain don't know.

I know I am facing a very short weekend and that my apartment could be cleaner. I know I have work to do. I sometimes think Fridays are worse than Mondays. Monday at least is the start of something. By Friday I am tried, strung out, and not thinking particularly straight. Oh well have a great weekend everybody. You'll probably hear more from me later today if you're on the LOTH board and again on Saturday night.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I may though I hope I don't lose one of my topics in one of my conferences at my Pretend Brainstorms. Group leaders can act like petty gods.

I've been toying with the idea of getting an MSN Group to be part of my Pretend Brainstorms. I know this is blasphemy, but MSN has a publicity apparatus and someone might find my group and come in. A vestris board within tacheiru.us doesn't get that kind of publicity.

If I lose the topic, it's no great loss. It is active but I make a lot of my own activity and there are tons of equivalent groups. In fact this topic parallels another one way too closely.

And yes, I have no regrets about getting kicked out of Brainstorms. It was worth it to be who I am and do what I do and say what I said and i was even polite through the whole business and only exploded at the end when I had nothing to lose. Corey, Bob, and one other floater wished me well. I am tempted to write back and tell them I'm doing spectacularly and that they should be ectstatic for me. Every day I do my Pretend Brainstorms and look forward to it with tons of excitement. That is true.

True, I can't do pure anger. I am a gutless wonder sometimes. I am that much closer to putting up vestris boards and that way I'll be able to have pretend Brainstorms interaction in its full glory. I am psyched for this. I even invited a woman who has had a hard time with her personnae to come and join me on one of the boards when I get it built. I am hoping she'll write me back. I know another fellow avatar person to invite. The really successful ones are in hiding, but we need our own community where we can shout it out loud and proud!

And no I haven't given up on writing a Brainstorms Sucks page but it has to be a more general kind of thing. There is an elite on the net who make decisions for people with sites at some of the providers and decisions that are not always in the users' best interest. These are corporate decisions and system decisions.

Sauve qu'il peut is the attitude of that crowd. Get savvy or don't complain. This crowd has nothing to do with my buddies at LOTH or RAOK whom they often consider dumb. This crowd hangs out in places like Brainstorms, Wallop, Ryze, and the Well. There are also some of them at Cafe Utne in which I have a membership. I can sometimes get in with this crowd, but I've had a conversion, and since I got booted off of Brainstorms, the elite crowd is my enemy and it is also the enemy of my friends. It has to be. Anyone who thinks your dumb and who wants nothing to do with you and who might be making decisions that effect you is an enemy and nothing less.

The question is how to fight such enemies. Awareness is a weapon that my people need. Getting the ZOID mailing list the you know what out of Yahoogroups would also be an excellent idea. Paid server space and seeing that everyone has access to it and that as many of us learn html as possible is another weapon. This frees us from their artificial communities. Also writing our own stories about our communities but using their language makes sure that their story is not the story of record. This enemy needs to be fought. One day they'll step into the trailer park of the web and find that we trailer denziens are not nearly as docile as we once were. A Brainstorms Sucks page needs to be more than a Brainstorms Sucks page. It needs to be a plan to fight this enemy.

On the economic real life revenge front, my bills from my brother's wedding and Father's Day are still settling out. I haven't called Fort Benning and found out what local organizations support the families of soldiers but I do want to get involved. And I need to start going to schul on Saturday morning. I need to learn submission to religious authority. I have been fairly dilligent in my home worship. Traditional religion is an anathma to Howard and the Brainstorms crowd as is anything that supports the military (I don't mean the war. I mean the soldiers and their families. I don't support the war either but I do support the troops!) and direct marketing. I need to support all those things vigorously. That is another way we can fight the enemy.

I also want to start supporting site fighters in a big way, not just Haldis' support list. Site Fighting is hierarchical and something the enemy despises. Supporting it is a great way to take a stand.

I went grocery shopping this morning but I did manage to meditate and had some contact which was kind of interesting because it answered a long standing question I had. Well maybe the question I had was not that long standing.

Erma had a class of education graduate students to whom she gave a tour tonight. I acted as reinforcement and helped them sign in to the computer system, get Netlibrary passwords and GALILEO passwords for home use. I also helped another user crop and rotate photographs. That was interesting because I don't do that much PSP work out in the Information Commons. Sometimes our community member patrons have the most interesting questions.

I worked second shift today so my time off was mainly this morning. Blogging at night is more a habit of mine. It goes back to when I was a member of Brainstorms. I would write my big Life Story (one of the Conferences within Brainstorms) post at night and it would be a blog entry that I pasted back into Brainstorms. No you aren't going to get a link to this nefarious private community. Anyway, my getting booted out of Brainstorms did not silence me.

I won't let it silence me. I have LOTH and that is much much better. I finally got everything together for the postcard swap and will be sending cards tomorrow or Friday.

Saturday I may go to either Auburn, Alabama or to Atlanta. I will be a "visiting scholar." I want to use Social Science Citation Index which we don't have at Columbus State. I have a great literature search but it is old stuff. I think I can find something better with this database. The problem is finding out which libraries are open on Saturday.

Then next week I want to go see Fahrenheit 9/11. It's playing in Montgomery, Alabama. I have to figure out how to get from the Greyhound bus station to the movie. Getting a bus home won't be that hard. It will be a late night but I don't care. I'd invite Suzette whom I work for at the nursing home but I don't think political movies are her thing.

I know this sounds like I live a busy life but that has only been lately and it has been without the aid of Brainstorms to goad me as it was this spring. I have been out nearly every night this week plus I went to see a free concert and to a Democratic party bar-b-que over the weekend. All I had was tea in case any one is curious. I got to pay half price. I have some great anti-Bush bumper stickers. I want a Kerry for President button very badly.

And if any one is curious, I finally did buy my dad a Father's Day present. I got him a Big Baby Swiss from the Swiss Colony. They were much cheaper than Zabars and I didn't want to get him tea breads from Wolferman's again. One thing I can always buy my dad is food. The swiss cheese weighs two pounds and baby swiss tastes like jarlsberg which is very mild. My dad likes jarlsberg so the cheese should be a hit. I don't care if I fatten my father up.

The internet is great for long distance gift giving. I order most of my presents over the net. I know I owe it to groups like LOTH and RAOK that I now observe the "greeting card holidays." They weren't greeting card holidays to start out with and besides I believe in what they stood for and still do stand for. It is important to uphold tradition in one's life and I am happy to do it.

I wish I had been more on the ball about Mother's Day. My mother doesn't observe it but I do. Now if I could get my boyfriend to give me a Mother's Day gift. According to some sources any woman who does anything nurturing is elegible to be honored. I like that. Of course I had just been kicked out of Brainstorms around Mother's Day and I didn't fully have my plan of revenge together. I hadn't had the full change of heart that is part of revenge. Now I have it and I'm staying with it. Tradition is my thing and I'm ready to defend it with my actions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am so happy with my Pretend Brainstorms I could dance and sing but then I couldn't be telling you all about it on this blog. Now you say what is new or exciting about that. You all know I love my Pretend Brainstorms with all my heart and soul. I love it to death. I think it is the best, but this is different.

There is a difference between loving something and devoting oneself to it and actually see it giving satisfaction and looking good. I spruced up Things Creative and Things Domestic. They now have midi and Things Creative has the beginning of a graphic quilt and a style sheet. This makes my Pretend Brainstorms a more exciting and enticing place to be not that I wouldn't be there anyway.

I have also made peace with my brother in spirit, YB George. How did that happen? I realized that my way of doing things or the way that people on so-called intelligent mailing lists do things is not the only way. YB George and his friends want to send large files and graphics. Their attitude is take care of it at your end. Well why not. Doing a search and destroy mission is not that difficult and letters from George's list that are too large, that fall in my Inbox instead of my Inner Circle get deleted unopened. Letters printed in pale colored font also get deleted unread. There is still plenty to read and I've been on enough lists and boards where people cringe at even the modest use of graphics to know that this arrangement is much better. I'm glad I made peace with YB George.

I'm not blogging my avatars, but I'll get to doing that. I wrote to Ghostletters today and made graphics for RAOK Hugs Committee. They are still working on the page for the woman who is separated from her children. Part of me says that this may be a case of "bed made lie" Admitting what this woman did is not a conventional attention ploy because she had to admit something shameful and status lowering so I don't think there is any fraud involved. There may be other issues though. If there are, then there are. None of us are sending her any money. We are just making and exhibiting our art in support of her because she has "social capital." In this case, seniority and at one point a leadership post that she gave up on when she had her third child.

I don't usually talk about the weather but it has been incredibly violent here. We had thunder storms on Sunday and last night and again today. In fact during one of the thunder storms a siren went off. I came out of my office half suspecting we'd have to evacuate the building which means we all go in the basement. It turns out my suspicions were correct. We had a tornado warning.

Not only did we have a tornado warning, this one didn't come from NOAA. It came from the local air port where there were two funnel clouds. I don't know if they touched down or if there was any damage. We were in the basement for all of about twenty minutes. One student worried about a presentation he had to do at 2:30pm. Several others got out their cell phones and made calls. I had my lunch break. Then before 2pm it was all over. We were back upstairs because they sounded the all clear. There are more thunder storms predicted for later in the week.

I revised the Information Services web page today. This one is not quite ready for prime time but it is close. Yes, I made those graphics.

I also read two fairly good articles, annotated links for Diana our systems librarian, and worked on the data entry/interloan project. None of that feels like much but it is something.

This evening I went for a walk to the post office which is down Gentian Road. It is a lonely walk though I saw a nice copper colored sunset. The post office actually has a stamp machine that is available 24/7 and I needed postcard stamps so I can send out my postcards for the swap. I'll be doing that before the weekend. I also bought regular stamps because some of the postcards I have are oversized.

On my way back from the post office I spoke to my boyfriend, Lou, on the cell phone. He has a speaking engagement in New Hartford, New York on the 24th of June. It is about UFO's which he thinks were experimental World War II stealth aircraft and special reconnaisance ballons and rocket powered planes. Lou talked to the Mayor of New Hartford and got him to declare June 24th UFO Day in honor of the first UFO sighting that happened on that date I don't know how many years ago. Anyway, if you are in the Utica area, you can catch Lou on the radio at 8:15am on the Bill and Jim show on WIDX, Utica's Clear Channel Affiliate. Yes, Lou has got himself some very nice publicity.

Monday, June 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Thadea got to cut a team member at the Webleagues tonight. The fighter dropped by request on Saturday only no one knew it. Actually she DBR'd to a former team manager who was manager before Karla took over the Oceanics.

Haldis is still deciding whether to cut a second fighter. She needs to make one more attempt at contacting the fighter and then if the fighter doesn't respons, she's off the team.

My avatars are precious to me. Talking about them was an excellent reason to get kicked off of Brainstorms (Sorry bastards no free link for you!). It was worth it to get kicked off of Brainstorms for talking about my avatars. I love my avatars every bit as much as I love my Pretend Brainstorms.

Getting thrown out of Brainstorms made me feel how important it is to be proud of my avatars and how precious they are to me. Once I establish a good patterage instead of this hit or miss impulsive stuff (Impulsive stuff is fine when there is traffic but in a pretend community everything has to be done a bit more symmetrically. Patter helps me get up off my tail and get going. I don't feel so sad when I think of all the great things I can do in my Pretend Brainstorms.) I'll blog them all regularly. I'll even learn to blog Orelle. Now there is a worthy project!

I also decided what to do for a logo for the Things Creative and Things Domestic conferences. Both are going to get graphic quilts. Since I don't have much use for big sigs, I'll make quilt squares instead and then put up a twelve patch quilt for each conference. Projects like this will make my Pretend Brainstorms come alive! It will also make it ten times better than the original Brainstorms. It is better now, but not just ten times better.

I guess being "out" and talking openly about my avatars on my blog is a good thing. I didn't let those bastards at Brainstorms intimidate me into silence. Even if my world collapses, I'll still have this blog and tons of guestbooks to sign, and my own galler of pressies. I can even think up good web page projects by the cart load so Hugs Committee is really not all that necessary and I can talk about it all here! What a deal! Why should I ever be afraid! They can throw me out but I have the power to play pretend and do it productively!

Besides being fairly productive at work today was a day for doing graphics for RAOK HugsCommittee. The graphics are for a woman who is hopeflly temporarily separated from her children. This is traumatic both for her and the kids. The Commitee is making a web page to celebreat the kids' birthdays. The birthdays all fall within a space of two weeks. It's one of those things. In my family everyone's birthday falls in the space of two months. I suspect the woman who will be receiving the page shot to have spring/summer babies. My mother planned it that way for both my brother and me.

Anyway, I made a birthday graphic for each child. Now some of you out there might wonder what a three year old and certainly a one year old would do with a birthday graphic. The six year old can read his/hers, but the one year old.... probably can't even talk. OK, the graphics aren't for the children. They are for the woman who is getting the page. That is why they are designed to appeal to an adult. Besides, I don't do neotenous designs. (Netotenous means retaining characters of infancy. In other words, babyish or cutesy).

Jesse's birthday graphic

I'm getting very good at extricating images from their backgrounds and now that I know how to make tubes, a project like this just generates them. Sandpipers make me nostalgic for the very first years I was self aware and my family vacationed at the shore.

Jewels' birthday graphic

That bird is called a grosbeak. This is an evening grosbeak. No I'm not an expert on birds. I hope Jewels' mommy appreciates the graphic.

Jasmine's birthday graphic

Would you believe I did that one first. The bird in this one is a pine grosbeak. I started out looking for graphics of finches. I don't know what gave me the idea of using birds. I now have tons of bird tubes. Tubes are reusable pictures for those too lazy to scrape a graphic.

Anyway you can have the tubes by visiting my PSP Goodie Page. Yes, the page needs some decoration badly but at least nearly all the links work. I've got tubes, textures, patterns, and shapes. Here is what my newest tubes look like:

bird tubes not to scale

And if you think the graphics were all work and no play, think again. I made border and frame pieces plus a short, plump seprator bar for the Information Services web page. Hopefully that page will get a face lift and a textual revision some time this week.

I also did laundry tonight and I even did my bed sheets which means I get a clean place to sleep and plenty of choices of what to wear to work. I ought to feel good about that. I also managed to avoid the rain which it seems we always need. It hasn't rained tonight. I don't know what tomorrow's weather will bring. I am off Wednesday morning because I work Wednesday night. I hope the weather is good early on Wednesday.

by Eileen Kramer

I want to address someting Jethro wrote to me in a an email. No, his real name is nto Jethro but because he stuck up for me at the old Brainstorms as opposed to my great and wonderful Pretend Brainstorms which has replaced it and which is much better, I kind of respect his privacy.

Anyway, let's start with what I saw today. First I watched the old preacher do Sunday School. The lesson was on doing God's will isntead of one's own which was BS (and that's in its usual colloquial barnyard sense) because in a nursing home, patients have to fight to do their own thing and keep their autonomy. A nursing home is where one never wants to end up. This was over at the nursing home where I volunteer.

Then in the afternoon we had gospel singers from something called Mt. Pilgrim. I got to hear more gospel music.I like gospel music but the preaching that is with it is creepy. If you listen too closely actually gospel music which can sound terrific is creepy because when it comes to the world view of certain Christians nly one moment matters and that is the moment you accept god and the time inside that relationship. All other moments and concerns pale by comparison.

The idea that there are other parts of religion that might matter, other moments that might matter, is just off the map. That is why other religions including Judaism and Islam but also extending to other flavors of Christianity are not on the map. There is Christianity and perdition and when "perdition" gets organized as in the Free Thought Society at Columbus State, it is just too weird for words.

Well with Brainstorms and identity I was dealing with the equivalent of Bornagain Christians who considered truth about one's personal details as important as being saved. The idea that in other cultures identity just plain may not be such a big deal is unfathomable just as the idea that personal salvation is not a particularly big deal for Jews is unfathomable to bornagains.

I said it before and I'll say it again, in many places on the net correct and detailed identity do not matter. Identity is considered a private issue. People do not use their last names, disclose their home towns, and all that is OK. When goods get swapped or postcards get mailed in real life, or when there has been major group or individual humiliation, identity becomes important but for ordinary membership and talking on web boards and signing guestbooks it just isn't necessary. In fact, many of the ladies fear disclosing their identity rather than seeing the benefits of disclosure.

Without a record of accomplishments or status , one's identity is more a snare than a bond. Staying safe takes precedence over being seen. That is the way a lot of the online world works. Trust still exists but it exists through conversational limits, private property, and privacy. Within those limits people give freely and are quite open. There is less digging, fewer games, and more explicit rules. That is why there needs to be a right side to this blog and I need to continue my work as a member of LOTH, RAOK etc...

Ordinary people on the net also need to be warned (yeah passive voice) about the kind of people who lurk in places like Brainstorms. They are often (as Terri Myers was and still is) lurk behind the scenes at the places that provide free web space and community. There is a secret elite out there, and they do not share the ideals and decency of a common member of RAOK or LOTH.

I volunteered at the nursing home today. It was very passive but there was a point in the middle of the day when Suzette dropped me back in the library and I let myself in with my pass key and I made the calendar for July. It will probably need revisions and it will need to go on a floppy diskette. It was fun learning how to put the clip art into individual calendar cells using Microsoft Publisher. Microsoft Publisher and I are slowly, and that's the operative word folks, slowly, becoming friends. I am learning that Microsoft's clip art is awful, but I have other sources of clip art so that is no problem.

Georgia's runny eye got better this evening. She was brooping again and even begging loudly. I think begging for Georgia is mainly social since she will beg no matter what I am doing up there on the counter. She has to come up and see and possibly sniff. It just fascinates her. I pet her when she begs so she gets attention and finally when she realizes she is not going to get any food that is different from what she already has, she goes and eats what is in her dish. She is eating well and hasn't thrown up in two days, but her eye was really bothering her. Since it is intermittent and the discharge is clear and the eye looks normal when she is not squinting it, she's not going to the vet tomorrow.

Georgia is my seventeen and a half year old blue cream half Siamese alpha kitty girl. Shontee and I also got to do the cheer cart at the nursing home. Mainly employees buy goodies off the cheer cart. Why we have this cheer cart is a mystery. There are vending machines and the employees can always bring food from home. I guess it is a tradition.

Anyway Shontee and I took out the cheer cart from its berth and we found out it had no cash drawer. We asked Suzette, our boss, to go look and she found a shoe box with a metal box in it. The cash drawer apparently has broken. I think Rhonda and I had a hand in that several weeks ago though it was an accident. We ended up picking up spilled coins from all over the floor.

You see a lot of awful stuff at the nursing home. I saw one lady tied in her bed by a strap around her waist. She was tossing and turning and kicking. The bed had been placed low and sides up to prevent falls. I don't know what was wrong with the lady besides that she was a restless sleeper. I wonder if she was tortured by bad dreams.

There is no privacy in the nursing home. Residents live with their doors open. Yes, this reminds me vaguely of a college dormitory. Some residents even have their rooms fixed up with stuff from home. Others are in bed and it almost looks likea hospital. People here are much sicker than they were at my grandma's assisted living place in Michigan. They are even sicker than they were at Douglas Gardens where nearly everybody was up and in the lounge for the day. I think the really sick ones were on another floor. Douglas Gardens was the nursing home where my grandfather ended up.

I always wonder about how much medication (and I mean psych meds) they give the residents at the nursing home where I volunteer. I know to get into a nursing home you used to basicly have to be destructive to yourself or others. You can be quite frail but if your people have money you can be cared for with aids at home or in an assisted living.

Most of the patients I see are extremely physically messed up for want of a better words. I see legs swollen with edema, feet and legs missing due to diabetes, hands stiff with arthritis and parkinsonism. The mental stuff I can only guess about. A lot of patients can barely talk, but that doesn't mean there is nothing inside. One of my grandma's strokes gave her dysarthyrria. The words come out garbled but the person understands and is trying to speak and making sense once you get past the poor pronunciation. How much crazy there is on top of all the physical impairment is any body's guess.

When I got home from the nursing home tonight I took a nap. I had no spirit contact last night because I didn't sleep in this morning and got to bed late. I had none when I took my nap. I guess I was just tired. I hope the Christians didn't do anything to me in that regard. We all need our moments. I give them theirs. I suspect with some discipline the contact will come back.

I made bok-slaw tonight. The recipe is recycled so it can't go on Ladies Advance. It was good anyway. I used the rice vinegar I bought in Atlanta. It is milder than cider vinegar and I miss the taste of lemons and/or apples in my salad dressing.

We had two magnificent thunder storms today. The grass, flowers, and plants really needed the rain so I am glad we got a good soaking. The thunder boomed and crashed. I think it woke me up from my nap tonight too.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well I went to a gospel concert tonight and did a lot of thinking about a lot of things. First among them, I thought about this Pretend Brainstorms. I didn't think about taking it down. I realized it needed a complex patter prompter. The one at Ladies Advance is simple. This would be multiple activites for each day. For example, I blog daily but I only do grapics, Ghostletters, or a current events topic on certain days.

Second I realized my Pretend Brainstorms needed two Vestris boards, one for current events and another for religion and spirituality. The current events board is a bigger must because most general current events fora I know about are crap holes full of flamage. No thanks and I don't want to join any more fora for "intelligent conversation." I want to be where the ordinary foks without social capital go. The ordinary folks are my people! And I'm proud to be among them.

I even have a new respect for site fighting. It's an activity any one who wants to meet people and be persistent can do. The interaction is all structured. No games beyond vote exchange and everyone has a nice safe time. True fighters and even staff get burnt out but everything has its downside.

I decided both the patter prompter which is going to take real work and the boards which take a different kind of work are a ways off. First, Things Creative and Things Domestic both need logos and midis. Finish what you start first is my motto.

I went to a gospel concert tonight. Yes, I told you that. It got me thinking about Christianity. I am a Christianity fan. I get it from my mother. It's not my religion but a lot of it is similar enough to Judaism that when I'm semi-unschuled as I am right now it fills a gap for my need for religion.

That said, Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity is decidedly weird. Protestant Christians, especially charismatics and some of the bornagains would like to deny both history and the facts on the ground. Yes, we Jews aren't even on the map. That's demographics not anti-semitism but it's also that weird Christian mindset. There is either Christianity or perdition and forget that Christianity comes in as many flavors as Baskin Robins ice cream. Christianity is not a religion with a history and a geography, something that Judaism very clearly is, but it exists only in the moment in which one has a relationship with God.

Now it is true Christians (of all stripes) have done some pretty embarassing stuff. Let's start with the Crusades and the Salem Witch Trials and by the time Protestants came on the scene we had the 100 years war all over Europe and a Civil War in England. The Christians were busy slaughtering each other.

But we Jews don't have a great history either and neither do the Moslems but both Jews and Moslems are pretty accepting of their history. I think Moslems are because they have all those shrines in Iraq and they have the history of how Mohammed and his new movement got their hands bloody etc... Jews have all the war chapters in Deuteronomy and there are also Jewish war tales in the Apocrypha. Every now and again a rabbi gives the "straight dope" on Channaukah. It's like getting let into the club. It's fun to hear and doesn't make me feel one ounce ashamed.

I also discovered that there is gospel music I actually dislike. There is a certain genre of gospel that repeats the same line over and over again as opposed to singing songs with real lyrics in them. This just feels dumb. It's supposed to stir up the audience but I don't get stirred up. There are also species of gospel that come close to sounding almost operatic. I wish the music in my schul were this free form and eclectic and invited audience participation and emotion. Judaism can be really dry at times.

Another really dumb thing I heard tonight, a group called Two by Two from Atlanta cranked out a rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. This song has been so parodied ("My eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school...." is something every school kid used to sing on the bus) I don't know how any one can sing it with a straight face.

I had a busy day. I went to a gospel concert this evening and some of the music made me cry. Randy, my colleague from work, who told me about the concert was surprised and happy to see me there. I was the only white face in the room. I thought that odd since gospel music cuts across race lines though blacks usually perform it. This is also the buckle of the Bible belt down here in Columbus.

I also went to the bar-b-que at Democratic headquarters and did not hae to pay the full twenty dollars since I only had tea. I had my own sandwich and met some interesting people inclding Alice Pate who teaches history at Columbus State. She is very active in Democratic circles. A lot of us are doing the local campaign thing as a warm up to campaigning for Kerry. A win is possible and might even be possible here in Muscogee County despite what the nice woman at the peace rally in Atlanta said some months ago when she tried to get me to join and work for the Green Party. She had to dig through her pile of petitions to find one for Muscogee County.

I still remember that rally. I would like to spend a whole day just wandering around Atlanta. Oh well...I'm not due to go up for another two weeks. I haven't been dinged by either the phone interviewers yet. No I don't give prospective employers or prospective dingers names on this blog. I give lots of other info but not that.

I also got lots of postcards at the Columbus Museum today and walked in some posh neighborhood south of Macon Road. The postcards are reasonably priced so some time this week I'll send them out along wit my La Brea cards on the LOTH postcard swap. That will feel very good.

I also need to do laundry because my hamper is overflowing. Tomorrow night is a bad night for it but I'll try anyway. I also need to make bok-slaw and if I come up with a different enough recipe, I'll mount it at Ladies Advance where I have a food and recipe board.

Friday, June 11, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

When my avatars get tired, all I want to do is sleep. I was up to 3am because Thadea was scoring at the Webleagues Haldis is having a well earned rest and good time before going to Mississippi.

This was the last week, Webleagues ran in its old format. Next week is a transition week and the week after we are down to four mega-teams. Thankfully, my industrious avatars have done most of their work already. The problem is there are twenty-four hours in a day. I want to curl up and go to sleep basking in the light at the end of the tunnel. As Haldis says: "woe is me."

My Pretend Brainstorms has become that much more useful and interesting. The problem with working on it is that I always see more of what I need to restore the entire experience. I want a Society/Current Events conference. The problem is that most of the boards I know of where this kind of thing gets discussed are awful. I'm not ready to do read only conferences. I'm just not. I'm thinking of putting up another Agnes board for that conference and then writing to it. I can create characters to write back if there is a problem so I won't be alone. I don't mind playing all the voices. Sometimes it is just more pleasant that way. I think this is one of those times.

And when I don't miss specific people, I don't miss the original Brainstorms. I tell myself when I miss those people, not one of them, not Lavinia/Zahava, Joe Lennon, or Cori Samuels has ever bothered to email me privately. I was even only a cause to defend for Jethro. We otherwise had nothing in common. I should write to Jethro once a week. We agreed to keep in touch.

I also got in touch with my father last night so when my finances are in order I'm ordering his Father's Day gift. I'm sticking with traditional values and those who honor them from now on. No more Brainstormish types for me! Oh and once I'm sure that my finances are in order, I'm ordering some Tupperware.

my best tapa sig yet

I ought to be working. I am even looking at interesting sites for Diana, the systems librarian. I am supposed to be annotating links but I didn't get to blog last night, and I am determined not to be silenced. The links are to places offering free and shareware. Yes, who let me off inside the candy store. I had to stop and sample the goods. This is good since I am hunting for midi and sometimes get disgusted enough to compose my own with Musinum which is good software for making a kind of ambient algorithmic midi. What I'd really like to do is turn some of my MP3's into midi. Midi are smaller. They fit well on web pages and they add atmosphere.

I'm almost done collecting this week's ration of files. I get to leave work early today because I worked last Sunday. Unfortunately, I have a doctor's appointment. I get weighed so that is not a bad thing. The problem is that I am blazingly healthy and won't be able to get to the museum and buy postcards for the LOTH postcard swap.

I actually have interesting things to do at work so I'm not complaining. One of the things that ought to be on my plate is redesigning the Information Services web page It was done in red, cream, and blue because at the time I was told that it would have to have a big CSU stripe on the top and that stripe is red and blue. The original green and light green design was not going to clash with the stripe. Now of course I can do a lot better than this so it's going to be interesting to see what I come up with.

And yes, I'm working on my paper but I'm running out of fresh articles for my literature search. I need to send for more articles via interlibrary loan. This is a nasty beaurocratic process that involves filling out forms. I've got forms in my office so I have no excuse.

I am hoping and praying that things stay calm online. I want to do home worship this evening. Somehow in all of this the apartment and my hair are clean. My hair is cleaner than the apartment but I did vacuum the rear half of the apartment and clean the cat litter pans and cat vomit and mop one of the bathroom floors. I also made a big pot of pink bean and chard soup with rice. The rice is in the pasta safe. There is leftover fried rappini too.

I am going to the Democrats bar-b-que on Saturday even though I can't eat any of the food. Bar-b-que smells good but the sight of it just grosses me out. I'm kosher besides and pork and treif chicken is not my thing.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Oh boy! The big news tonight is my Pretend Brainstorms got a revision! Woo hoo! I added two new conferences, Things Domestic and Things Creative. Now that these conferences are up the groups attached through them will get a lot more play. There is just something about going into a Pretend Brainstorms conference that makes me want to work more with the groups that are tucked inside. It feels like I'm in Brainstorms or actually a new and improved version of it.

I also added images to my QC-L comment and feedback board too. It was about time. That board had languished for weeks without them. I wrote a pretend comment from Kori/Cori on it. I am thinking if I want to do that sort of thing I need a special board for it. I may also want a board for political topics. I mean if real people want to come in and post, I'll need boards that don't require LOTH and RAOK passwords and that don't have all those conversational restrictions.

That is a future plan. I still have to make illustrations and add midi to the two new conferences. The QC-L board doesn't get midi.

And one more cool thing: this group sent around a head's up, respond or be kicked out letter and it looks a lot nicer and much more active than when I first joined it long ago. I was pleased enough to add it to the Things Creative conference. Way to go!

My Joe replacement is not working out. YB George was my brother in spirit when he was just a guy forwarding stuff. I could comment to him privately but now he has a list and he is a list owner and is making rules and the list is no-crit. I feel stifled before I even start. This was not what I wanted when I told YB George to send me stuff. I am thinking of finding another list, one of Christian clergy to act as a better Joe replacement. Yes, replacements are demographic. My mom supported my not trying to contact Joe. It was awkward enough with Jethro. I should write to Jethro and let him know what new things I'm involved in. I'll make a note to do that. I also have to track my father down and figure out if he's gone north for the summer so I can find out where to send him a Father's Day Gift.

As part of my reaffirmation of traditional values I am celebrating both Mother's Day and Father's Day. I didn't do Mother's Day this year because my mother doesn't observe it but watching the women at RAOK and participating in a Hugs Committee project, I had a big change of heart. I think if I'd been booted out of Brainstorms a couple of weeks earlier I would have celebrated Mother's Day this year.

Oh well it is good to learn correct traditional values and to be among those who hold them. That is one of the biggest benefits of my being booted out of Brainstorms, that and my Pretend Brainstorms. Shout it out! Loud and proud!

It is now 2am and I'll probably be up for another hour. I am just going to have to learn to work with sleep deprivation. I need to bathe and do my nails. Such is life.

It is important that I blog. Self expression and not being silenced is one of the most important parts of my day.

I was able to take notes on two articles and send a packet of fifty annotated links to Diana, the Systems Librarian, today. I also found out that there must be nearly no competition to prestent papers at BIG.I would think ever two bit academic or school librarian who does some kind of teaching would have a project they would want to present but apparently not.

My literature search feels half you know whatted so I'm going to do some interlibrary loans tomorrow. I also did not have to go over to Richardson and scavenge books with Erma. I'm kind of glad I didn't have to go.

I gave the CALA web page another revision today and cleaned up the office a bit. After work I went grocery shopping.

Tomorrow I have to call my father or Uncle Henry from work and see if I can find out where my father is living these days. Having a dad who owns more than one house is crazy making. I really do want to send him something from Wolferman's for Father's Day.

I also have to get working on the LOTH postcard swap. I found my cards I bought at La Brea and at the Greyhound Bus station in Charlotte, North Carolina. It isn't enough post cards so I'll go to the museum (the Columbus Museum) on Friday and get a few more. I need twenty cards in all and lots of postage. This is going to feel like work before it's over, but it's a labor of love.

The apartment is still a wreack but at least I have fresh fruit. Tomorrow night it looks as though I cook and clean at the same time. I need to clean so I can welcome the Shabbos Queen. I blew off home worship last week and missed it terribly. I don't want to do the same this week.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It must be sleep deprivation. I craved pure anger tonight. I guess that is a good thing since I have no desire to move on though I must admit circumstances are kind of forcing me into it. I dreamt about getting readmitted to Brainstorms under another name a couple of nights ago. I wanted to talk but feared I'd blow my cover. I enjoyed reading Cori's, Zahava's, and Joe's posts. The people with whom I had the most friendly interaction were the people who did not defend me. I only got defended because I was an issue. I was someone's idea of justice. I did not want to be any one's sense of justice. I just wanted boards to hang out on.

I am toying with creating fictional Joe, Zahava, and Cori to hang out with. All it would take is another Vestris board. The problem is that my Pretend Brainstorms needs work. I need to get two new conferences up and running now that my avatars have their online lives under control.

Also, on a more fundamental level, who needs time with people even the pretend versions of people who have nothing to do with me. There are tons of people out there with web pages that proudly tell of their lives and guestbooks just waiting for a signature. There are tons of blots and online diaries begging for readers. I can replace Joe, Zahava, and Cori, not perfectly but with reasonable substitutes and these folks will welcome me, big plus, big time.

I unfortunately still don't have a taste for bad poetry and there is such a thing. One of my brother in spirit, YB George's friends, writes it. I bite my tongue while reading it. I am developing a new taste for and sensitivity to sentiment and tradition in expression. YB George's people are my people though I can't write or find the material George is forwarding. I hope he can handle my own.

Now for something really weird: EvelynC from LOTH claims to be a YaYa Sister, something Zahava claimed to be but Evelyn's definition is a bit different from Zahava's. All I know is I'm no YaYa and that is OK with me. I like Evelyn. She posts on all kinds of interesting subjects on the LOTH board. Meeting Evelyn is a big benefit of my Pretend Brainstorms.

Also I have to remember to reaffirm my allegiance to traditional values. Father's Day is coming up and I am damn sure I am going to celebrate. I didn't send my dad anything for his birthday. It's June 8th so it gets into double dipping big time. My problem is my dad has multiple houses and I'm not sure where he lives this time of year. Anyway, I want to send him a gift. I also am involved with the Father's Day activities at RAOK. Thank God for RAOK. I don't want to be like those folks on Brainstorms. No more! I'm a traditionalist and proud of it!

I went a revival tonight at a church on Norris Rd. It was a Black church but that didn't really bother me. All the technology did. Instead of an alter with a wooden cross and flowers, they had an image of a cross shot by data projector on to a screen behind the pulpit.

Then the sermon started and the preacher (Her name was Mary Lee) started talking about how we could all have instant miracles if we had the secret of faith that God had given her. She started teaching on verses in Hebrews in which she explained that the yearly sacrifices in the Temple could not cure sin or death but she had a way. Wait a minute, what she was discussing was not a straw man but the Yom Kippur services which are still done right here in Columbus. True we only read about the korbanos but it's the same idea. It gets rid of the previous year's sins between man and God but not betwen man and man and besides all that human beings have to go back every year because we are weak vessels. Anyway, suffice it to say, she had a live straw man and I vamoosed.

Well the good news today and the big good news is that I'm going to give a paper at BIG in Milledgeville. I have to find out how to get there and oh yes, I have to write the paper. I'm writing about World of Troubles as an assessment tool. World of Troubles is my end of course paper that was too much work and not taught well enough but as an assessment tool of both me and my students, it worked. It worked all too well.

It was also pleasant and easy to grade. World of Troubles is what I call a scripted paper, one in which students have to answer several questions. This keeps students on the straight and narrow. I did a half-assed literature search and have been reading. Now I have to really start taking notes, making an outline etc... I'm expected to do a thirty to forty minute presentation at the Big Meeting in Milledgevile in Late July.

There is also going to be a woman from the SAILS project at Kent State there. She is the star speaker. I have to find out about the SAILS project. I think SAILS has something to do with Information Literacy. That is where the I and the L in the acronym come from. I guess every field has its big name acronyms.

I realize I have morphed into an information literacy librarian from a science librarian and that scares me. I knew something like this would happen some time. Well if I get this paper together, it will make Callie happy. I'll be doing something that shows outside the library. I guess I can put it on my resume too.

This should make my job more interesting for a while which is an added plus. This is a night for pluses.

In other news: the apartment is an absolute wreack. I slept for two and a half hours this evening to make up for the fact that I was so beat I could not think straight. I need some kind of a plan to put the apartment back to rights and work on assorted online projects. Chris at RAOK Hugs Committee wants me to do her online scavenger hunt. I don't do hunts in the best of times, though as someone who believes that traditional holidays and values are important, this is a good way for me to participate.

At times like this I wish I were Christian. Churches have services that honor both Mother's Day and Father's Day and these too would be great ways to participate in these holidays that I've neglected. Of course right now I don't know where my father is living. It's not what you think. He has two houses, at least and he winters in Florida. I don't know when his winter ends and his summer begins or where he is spending the summer or if he is even home to receive a gift. This means I have to call him on the cell phone and try to reach him and get his address. What a mess. I should send him a gift.

Anyway, I need some kind of a plan to put this apartment back to rights and then I need to start working on my online projects. I also have to remember to have discipline to visit and sign guestbooks regularly even when not working as head of RAOK's guestbook committee. I lead a busy life, and discipline like this is not always easy to find.

I also want to get my spiritual life back in order. It's been nearly three days without contact and I'm scaird I'm losing my ability to have contact. I adore my spirit friends and talking to them always makes me feel better.

Also some time in the next few days I have to buy groceries. Most of that lovely food I bought in Atlanta is gone, at least the fruits and vegetables are. There were both white and yellow peaches and nectarines at Publix so I'll have decent fruit. I even saw chard at Publix. Wonders never cease. I would like some chard soup. Maybe I'll make that this weekend. I know I will be doing home worship on Friday, barring the bottom dropping out of my world again and everything getting way too busy on that day.

Tonight, Erma and I snuck on to the third floor of Richardson, the old administration building. Erma is a colleague of mine and sort of my supervisor at work. Someone had given Erma a call that they had seen library books in a hallway over there. These were old Books in Print that we did not want back and old MLA Bibliography. The MLA Bibliographies did not have a library stamp on them but they were stamped John Fleishchauer. Erma said he was gone. I asked if John Fleishchauer had retired or died. She said he was dead.

Well there was his old stuff in the hall and it was stuff no one wanted. Actually we librarians should go through this box of freebies for books suitible for our book sale. We could probably make a few dollars off of this junk. I suggested this to Erma. We may be making a trip back into Richardson tomorrow. I'll have to get with Erma on this.

Oh and here are the ties I made for the RAOK Father's Day Contest. I have to remember to vote every day starting on Sunday.

cock a doodle doo!   flowered three-d tie extravaganza

Monday, June 07, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

The worst is over for the avatars and me. I may make another page but the New Southern Hemisphere is more or less complete. Thadea (It will most likely be her because Haldis is in transport a lot over the next two weeks.) can roster and run the thing right now.

In what is very good news, BoomBoom is reconciling the spirit points for fighters and updating them. This is a necessity for the reorganization to be successful.

This ought to be the light at the end of the tunnel and I ought to feel relieved but I don't. Identity issues have nothing to do with it. It's a hard and sad fact of life that there are only twenty-four hours in a day. I'm suffering from sleep deprivation. The apartment is a wreack. I'm not thinking at all straight. I did not lay down to take a nap tonight because I needed to run errands and then if I laid down to sleep, I knew I would never get up in time to score. Scoring is at midnight eastern time.

I need to catch up on being me. My Pretend Brainstorms will work if I believe it will work and if I use it. That takes discipline and that is not always easy with a full inbox begging for attention. My Zahava replacement is not as prolific as the original and I do have a potential Cori replacement and it's a he but it's close enough. His name is Matthew and His blog is called "On a Midnight Train to Georgia Eating a Peach." Like me, Matthew is a displaced northerner. Matthew is also about Cori's age and he has a gentle witty writing style.

My Joe replacement is giving me no end of trouble. Wading into the Inner Circle (my inbox is for spam most of the time) and hosing it down twice a day is no fun. George and his friends are both prolific and undisciplined, a bad combination. I automatically delete anything that is over 100k. I try and delete the duplicates. George crossposts both to budyschristianfungroup@yahoogroups.com and godsmana@yahoogroups.com

I am dealing with this anger at George badly. I am playing poisoned pea on his list. No, I'm not taking cheap shots at Christianity or forwarding left of center posts. I don't want to get thrown out, but I've been forwarding things I think are good and my taste is not that of George and his friends. You can listen to stuff that is not your taste but try giving it to anybody and you have no way of finding or even picking that stuff out. I have no idea where George gets his supply.

By the way, in case any of you out there think me a glutton for punishment, only a small proportion of what George sends is glurge, and the glurge he sends is old and uninteresting. There is no political glurge. One of the women in Godsmana or Jean's group sends patriotic drivel from time to time but even that is old hat and harmless. Most of George's posts are clean jokes and cute illustrations. George also does not send Flowgo/Funstun cards.

Yet there I am pushing limits, gently and politely. I've posted two recipes and one poem from the New Republic. I've posted nothing in poor taste and this is quite honestly the material I think decent enough to pass along. It's a simple difference in taste.

George as an ordinary emailer with a buddy list was fine. George with his own group has become a monster. I still prefer him to Joe who pretended to be a regular guy instead of a proud Christian. George and his buddies ask for prayers not beams. They are my kind of people or they would be if they behaved a bit better in my Inner Circle.

There was a cat on my lap, but I put her off so I could type. She got twitchy. It was Georgia. My typing fascinated her. Georgia and Hertzel demolished their food and there is no fresh cat vomit on the carpeting. I think getting that plant out of the apartment did the trick. I brushed Georgia tonight and got two brushfuls of fur off of her. That is fur that won't end up in her delicate stomach.

I bought a new tea kettle tonight at K-mart. It is bright red and it was not at all expensive. I left my old tea kettle on the stove Sunday. It was a small miracle I did not set my apartment on fire. Anyway, my tea tasted funny last night. It does not taste funny now but I may be too tired and quite frankly too thirsty to tell the difference tonight.

I made six general Information Commons handouts into web pages and sent them along with illustrations to Diana, the systems librarian. I sent the last four after she left. She leaves at 5pm. She has all of them though.

Tomorrow I try to mount the GIL handouts as standard shtml pages. I don't really know how to code shtml. I just use the "frame" Diana made and edit it to fit the page. Mostly this means editing meta tags and leaving the rest of the frame alone. I also have some web work to do for CALA. I'm that fine organization's webmistress. I can never make the meetings though so go figure. The meetings are always on a night when I am working. It is almost guaranteed.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I want to write about my brother in spirit, YB George. Yes, he is still my brother in spirit and I respect what he does and want to support it, but I sure wish he would not make it so difficult. I'm still dealing with huge tripilicate posts from three groups where he sends things. He has taken over my mailbox. This is not fun any more. He is also now a group owner who after saying he did not want to ask why he owned anything forbade chat in favor of large emails.

I suggested more plain text could ease the volume/bandwidth problem. I'll see where that gets me. Technical advice and recipes are all I have. YB George's stuff is genuine and gentle. Some of it is glurge, but that I delete. It's old glurge and I've seen it before. A lot of YB George's jokes though, simply aren't funny.

The ones I can't particularly can't stand are about old people and sometimes middle aged folks. They say that no one ever thinks of themselves as old. I say that is bull danky. Any one who is thoughtful as they hit their thirties and forties starts to realize that if things go on as they do at their present rate, you are going to age. The choice is between aging and dying young so aging is a pretty good choice.

So where does one learn about what to expect. In our youth oriented culture one simply does not learn at all. This is a scarey proposition. I know nothing of what to expect as a woman in my forties and I feel forty-two. I am forty-two. I even thought it was impossible to lose weight after forty. Surprise! I was able to lose twenty-six pounds in twenty months. I'm the same size I was in grad school and high school. In college I was smaller.

So much for the myth of middle age spread. My hair is also not thinning yet. This is probably genetic. My father DOES NOT have pattern baldness (Yes, two recessive genes there bb). He is seventy years old. My mother's hair thinned but she took birth control pills so go figure on all of this, but my hair is still nice and full and I have no grey ones either. Now my father's hair is still black on top and his mother's hair also had a lot of black in it well into her seventies. My mother went grey in her late fifties. Her hair was still brown at my age too I think.

I get my period every month with the only difference I notice being that it sometimes has trouble getting started as in it makes two or three attempts. Otherwise it is just as it was when I was in my thirties. If I were sleeping with Lou (He's up north) I would still have to worry about birth control.

I know nothing of what it should be like to be in one's forties. All I know are the worthless jokes and the books about menopause which I am clearly not encountering yet and which scares me you know whatless. I'm scaird of losing my hair if you must know, of needing to wear glasses again, etc... Also not having married and had kids, I don't have the same life experiences of most people in their forties. I remember when midlife crises were fashionable. I think I ought to have one, but I'm too busy with web site competitions.

Speaking of which, I got up three more pages for the New Southern Hemisphere. It's time to give Thadea a pat on the back and a round of applause. That cheering page is a lot more complicated than it looks. This leaves only the banner page and it is awaiting some banners and some avatars.

I meant to take a long walk today but was too down. It's too much time at the computer and working this afternoon and a general malaise I get when I don't do home worship. I feel bereft and lost tonight, almost on cue.

I tried to take a long walk after work and decided to cut it short just as a lady with a car pulls up and gives me a ride home. Her name is Libby Norris and she thought nothing of a person taking a walk. She asked me if I was going to church. I told her I had been at work and I'm Jewish. Surprise! I'm off the psychological map. She was listening to a religious radio broadcast. Protestant Christianity with its dead hymns (sorry Jewish religious music got its tunes in the 1920's and thus sounds a lot more modern) just passes me by. What is Christianity without its long and bloody history and I have nothing against Christians. It is just that the history is part of Christianity.

Anyway, it still surprises me that none of the nursing home patients knew Dona Nobis Pachem. This is an old standby but it is a Roman Catholic hymn. We sang it in high school. We also sang Gloria in Excelsius Deo. Latin hymns were supposed to be good for our singing skills.

I hate to say it but I miss the nursing home today. I got to sleep in a bit and meditated in bed which felt good. I even had interesting spirit contact, but I missed pushing the patients and hanging out down in activities. At least I'll be free to go to the nursing home next weekend.

Georgia barfed tonight even though I had been brushing her. She had been barfing a lot the last day or two and tonight I found out why. She was eating the begonia my mother bought me for my birthday. It was supposed to be a kalinchoe. Thankfully it wasn't. Those are poisonous. Georgia is still with us but was barfing a lot. I put the plant on the porch. I forgot that plants and Georgia have never mixed. Georgia is not off her feed and her stools are firm. Yay! Thank goodness for small blessings.

My cats are relaxed and watching each other. Georgia is by the doorway and Hertzel, my boy of joy white kitty, is by the desk. They seem calm, content, and not as keyed up as they were earlier in the evening when they were fighting. Some time this week I need to go down to Publix and buy cat food. I also ought to clean up this apartment. I know...there's always things to do...

Saturday, June 05, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm in over my head with the avatars. If any one ever wondered why I talked about Thadea, Haldis, and Orelle on Brainstorms (Sorry those bastards don't get a free link) the reason is they have a way of doing what they are doing now.

Actually it is my doing and the Webleagues' doing. We are unwitting conspirators. It all began on my birthday with a coup d'etat. Webleagues is due to go from eight teams to four teams with Thadea and Haldis (yay!) in charge of one of those megateams. The catch is we have to work on the teams while the competition is live. Here is what Thadea has created so far. Boom-Boom and Karla are a bit father along and the other team managing teams are a bit further behind.

All that would be well and good but Karla, another team manager, asked Thadea if she wanted info on the Oceanics, the team that is due to become part of Thadea and Haldis' mega team along with Haldis' Antarcticans. Thadea said yes and then was asked if she would score them. She said yes and then went in and....

The code for the Oceanics and several other teams is atrocious. I think it was done with some kind of table wizard in an editor. It's hard to get through all that mess to score. Also the formmail for the ballot was nonexistent so Thadea recoded the team or rather the parts that have to receive updates frequently. She put in a decent clock and formmail and check off style ballots. All this will if you believe it save time later on.

Anyway, Thadea, Haldis, and I now have two active teams, one whole competition, and one team thats aborning. That's too much stuff. There are only twenty-four hours in the day. This business is putting the squeeze on everything else in my life. I went for a walk this afternoon and tried to sort it all out.

And the Webleagues is still as incompetently managed as ever. Someone is forgetting to record spirit points in the spirit point bank. According to Haldis, records this has been going on for about eight weeks. There are thirteen fighters on the Antarcticans. The spirit point form only has five slots so you have to go through it three times and it is a remotely loaded thing that leads to an opt-in by deceit spam trap. Also the Bravenet link page (Yes, that's what they're using) for adding fighters has no provision for removing mistakes or removing fighters who are no longer on the team. So far no one has noticed the problem or made any attempt to clean it up.

Part of the problem is that the Webleagues is run by people who were very good site fighters. Site fighters are different from the rest of us. Site fighters are very hard working, patient, obedient, and compliant and assume the rest of the world is that way. When you are a site fighter, it's OK if it hurts. You are supposed to work your tail off voting and it's OK if the owner of the collusion board badgers you to vote because you are going to get that magic one hundred percent compliance (It's actually closer to seventy percent but site fighting vote exchange compliance has always been excellent.) It's supposed to hurt so you can just take one more burden on your back. That is the best way I can describe it.

One of the reasons that I am not a very good site fighter (and neither is Thadea or Haldis for that matter) is I burn out, I hurt, and I cut and run. It took a long time with Thadea. I can still remember the contours of burn out. It actually has a shape. I remember all the productivity aids (the wall of silence used to keep out the embedded midi), the paper voteries (voting lists) and then the ink saver, accessing the Site Fights via Lynx to avoid a hail of pop-ups that took over my screen any other way. Site fighters are expected to put up with all this and manage all this.

Very good site fighters as managers are atrocious managers by and large. The Golden Elite is another story and that is because one of Sahara Elite's reforms is politeness to fighters. Constantly badgering fighters to vote and cutting them when they don't only gives you a culled team. Bragging about how you get your team to do this and that is the wrong attitude. Now Karla runs the Open Door Vote Exchange Board. This is a collusion board. It used to be the net's premiere collusion vote exchange board but Vote From Your Heart has eclipsed it. The way these boards work is you vote for everyone on the board and they vote with you. They have to. They have to report every day to the board manager that they've voted and sometimes they have to find the hidden page and fill out a form saying they found it. If they don't they get warnings and put on a shame list etc... Vote exchange used to and should be a private agreement. Being responsible to a third party is one more layer of beaurocracy. Thadea disliked the "punitive atmosphere" of collusion boards. Her last campaign was much more pleasant because she used the boards only to harvest candidates for vote exchange which she arranged privately.

The sad or maybe not so sad fact is most fighters never exchange votes. Most left to their own devices do not vote for themselves every day. Many get bored with the whole business of coming and voting daily. There is enough site fighter in me to find this attitude lazy and uncompetitive but that's how most people are. There are only about seventy people in the whole world on collusion boards and there are only about two hundred vote exchanging fighters in the whole world. That's it. Then there is everybody else who does not think like a site fighter.

So what do you do with these people? You want them to do the activities you offer. You want them to stay. If they are in multiple competitions, you want them to rank yours first so you treat them politely and respectfully. You don't badger them. You let them take up space. They make the team look larger and they harm no one. You teach them about ballot stuffing. You offer activities they might enjoy and offer several of them. You answer questions and hope the whole business clicks. Sometimes it does. I have one fighter on my team who has been there for six months with a modest campaign. This was her first competition. I have another fighter with a real campaign who participates in spirit activities of her own free will. I have two other fighters who somtimes participate. The rest take up space but they don't complain or say "get me off the team," something they could do.

What the Webleagues needs is a disgruntled team member who gets angry before slamming the door on the way out. Not everyone in web competitions is a serious site fighter to whom one can do anything and they'll come crawling back and ask how high when you tell them to jump.

In other news my brother in spirit, YB George (He is Still my brother in spriit, is clogging my inbox with posts, many of them over 100k in triplicate. He has started his own Yahoogroup. He is on Godsmana, plus he has a buddy list and I am on all three. The buddy list will stop in a week. It's just sifting through the email that gets stressful. I still admire George for the way he speaks his mind and doesn't care what others think. I also realize I need to support my fellow peopel with low social capital who want to speak so I am glad to have YB George in my inbox. If all us low social capital folks support each other and listen to each other and respect the right of each other to speak, those in power are going to be mighty lonely when they find we prefer our own company to theirs.

Today as promised I cooked up a storm. I made roasted beet root. Yes, they cook better if you cut them in eighths, especially if you have big beets and mine were the size of softballs. They also came without tops. Topless beet root is an Atlanta delicacy. Indians (from India) seem to like it as do I.

I need to live back in the days of big backyard gardens or small truck farms. I love summer with all its fresh produce. I also think this is a northern thing. You only have one short growing season so fresh fruits and vegetables in season are special and from them come special seasonal dishes.

I also made zucchini, yellow tomato, and tofu sauce to put over lemon pepper angel hair. I brought the pasta all the way back from New York City. There may be a place to buy it in Atlanta but I don't know where to get it there. If I go to New York, I always buy a couple of boxes and bring it home. The zucchini were "Mexican zucchini." That's what they called them in the DeKalb Farmer's Market last week. They look like small coussas. They were totally nonbitter. That is a big plus. The zucchini I buy at Publix are often bitter.

Anyway, I'll probably publish both these recipes on my recipe board. I heard a radio special on Ronald Regan tonight. The man lived to ninty-three, which is the record for a US President. His death was not unexpected or surprising. He had to go some time. The special was surprisingly sympathetic. I didn't listen long enough for them to get to Irangate, but that is how I remember Regan, as a fairly destructive US President. Of course Ronny Ray-gun does not even compare to W for pure destructiveness. Bush is simply incompetent and bought and paid for by oil and other business interests. Blech...

I blew off home worship Friday night. It is odd but the times when I need God the most are the times I don't do the mitzvah of prayer as I should. Go figure. I don't feel bereft right now but I felt it Friday night. Now I am too full of good food to feel bereft.

Also I finally found those cute and expensive cards I bought at La Brea for the Ladies of the Heart postcard swap. La Brea was a cute little store in New York where the clerk at the counter wore black. I remember how scaird you know whatless I was as I walked from my hotel to Bouterin for the rehearsal dinner.

The further away I get from the wedding the more it feels like a moment suspended in time. I hardly think of my trip to New York any more though I had a great day before the wedding and the time surrounding the wedding. Plan B worked. I would like to go back to New York but now I'm here in Georgia and the every day part of life just overwhelms everything and my time on the net just overwhelms everything.

Harvey, my brother, must still be in Italy with Elizabeth, his wife. I wonder what kind of a trip they are having. Staying in budget European hotels and eating street food is an eye opener. Just walking around a lot is an eye opener. I don't think they'll see in Italy the equivalent of the things I saw in France. Harvey will see the Mediterranean which I hear is polluted. Harvey is not much of an ocean swimmer anyway, ever since he saw the movie, Jaws, as a kid. I was on a swim team. I was lousy but I didn't mind the hard work. I liked what swimming did to my barely adolescent body. I never made it past the b-team. It was something to do for a summer. I still enjoy swimming laps or distance swimming in that social way that adults who are good swimmers do. I don't have anywhere convenient to swim in Georgia but if there were a pool on campus, I'd arrange to swim on my lunch break.

Swimming though I enjoy it is not among the four big things that motivate me. Those are (in no particularl order: food, religion, politics, and computers.

Georgia barfed this morning. She barfed five times or something. This was the first time in four days though. I'll brush her before I go to sleep.

I have to work tomorrow and I need to remember to water the marigolds before I go to sleep. They are thirsty. I'll be up for quite a while. I want to enjoy this night of freedom where I can sleep late in the morning.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I'm up to my eyeballs in avatars. On my birthday the Webleagues had a coup d'etat and Haldis and Thadea survived it. I guess that says something. Anyway, the competition is going from eight teams to four and Haldis has to get a new team ready. There is only one problem. She has finals the end of the week and she is running a team already. Fortunately, Thadea stepped into the breech. The only problem is there is one brain, one pair of hands, and twenty-four hours in the day. I'm full time employed. Suffice it to say, I haven't gotten very much sleep.

Haldis' team manager (Yes she is fighting and voting through all of this.) had an attack of amnesia last night. It comes from managing three teams plus a collusion vote exchange board. Thadea fought in what turned out to be a good situation. Haldis is in a situation that is far from good but because she is an administrator she must put up and shut up most of the time.

I'm hoping to have Thadea get up more of the new team. It is going up so fast, she is doing a garbagey job of it. Also, to make matters worse, none of the fighters know what is happening unless they are also staff. This is going to get sprung on them with roughly a week's notice. Poor fighters. That doesn't say it with enough emotion. The administrator in me boils.

I forget what a pleasure it is to come over here and post. These days YB George, my brother in spirit (He still is) has taken to monopolizing my mailbox. I have taken to throwing out any post he sends that is over 100kb. It's just too large. I joined his Yahoogroup and then I asked him to join Ladies Advance. For the second time he refused. Well I am going to ask him next week. I just hope he doesn't send 100kb posts there. The list will take attachments but that's never been a problem...until now.

Actually I should be feeling pretty good. My bills are paid. Say that three times fast. I got a fair amount of work done today, including reading two professional articles, one of which is a gem. I have to go buy kitty litter tonight since I'm out of it, and I don't want the Shabbos Queen visiting a dirty apartment, not that the apartment will be pristine (It definitely won't), but it needs the cat litter, cat vomit, and one thing more looked after.

There isn't as much cat vomit as there has been other weeks. I am brushing Georgia twice a day or whenever I think about it. Georgia is my seventeen year old half Siamese blue-cream, alpha female kitty. My boy kitty, Hertzel, is also an alpha. They are co-alphas, a great arrangement since they get on well and seldom fight. Well all the brushing is making a difference. More food is staying down, and I'll have less "cat yack" to clean up.

In other news: I've been cramp free for two days now. Getting my period may have had something to do with it. It's been nine days though since I've consumed any caffeine. It took until yesterday to be completely pain free and not feeling a little bit funny but the cramps are gone! Now if I can remember how rotten I felt at this time last week, I'll stay away from that Coca-Cola and from alcohol too.

I also put up the marquee for the GALILEO workshops. I also got the rolled up banners from Jon downstairs. They have to go up outside. I may put them up this afternoon before the day is out.

I haven't written Ghostletters or done any graphics in ages. I feel overextended and very very tired. I keep telling myself the weekend is coming. The only problem is I work Sunday. I did manage to fix the Patter Prompter page for Ladies Advance. I got to include a link to The Spitting Myth and another about the My Lai Massacre on the page. This page always gets a little political, well maybe more than a little political. Well I need to get back to work... I'll try to post here more regularly no matter how busy I become.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Here is a calendar
for June

I have a ton of electronic birthday cards I have to open and also guestbook and board signings I have to look at. Saying thankyou so many times (and I am determined to do it privately because those who are committee members are doing it as a job. Sorry I sign guestbooks this way. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is just a job and an unpaid one at that.) is going to be a chore. The problem with all online birthday celebrations is that I usually go somewhere for my birthday. Since my birthday nearly always falls on a day when things are open, I can plan ahead and have a special day. Suzette, of course, made it more special.

Yesterday and Saturday were fun too. I'll write more about them on the right side of this blog. I realize I would have this same problem were I still on Brainstorms minus the Birthday Committee members who will get thanked privately and individually. It's probably better that way anyway.

I had a great birthday. I got tons of e-cards, the already mentioned presents, some cash, and to top it all off, Suzette from the nursing home where I volunteer and I went up to Atlanta. I got to go to the Asian Square shopping center and the Ranch 99 Market. I introduced her to Whole Foods and the DeKalb Farmer's Market.

Suzette is Philippino and from the upper class in a way that even Americans who were wealthy for about half their childhoods (That's me in case you don't know) usually are not. Usually those Americans are middle class and behave in middle class ways. Suzette has never pained furniture to make a bedroom set, does not believe in repairing torn clothes that still are otherwise good, and has probably never taken a long haul Greyhound bus or even a short haul one regularly. Some of this is Southern by the way. Suzette drives a Pathfinder SUV that is not yet fully paid up, and Suzette through what is really no fault of her own has gotten herself in financial troble. She is upbeat and optimistic.

The scarey thing about Suzette and her friends (I visited their house last night) is that they do not have much regard for education or learning as ends in themselves. The borax furniture is there and it is big. The computers are there, but I notice no books and not even a copy of the newspaper. The music that blasted throughout my trip to Atlanta was some fairly raunchy rap music. I don't dislike rap music but a steady diet of it to the exculsion of other stuff is not wholesome.

There has been another coup d'etat at the Webleagues and Haldis and Thadea have survived it. I reconnected Thadea with the Webleagues staff list and cleaned out her inbox last night. Haldis has finals the end of the week so the task of team design goes to Thadea. Do not ask my why Haldis is surviving two coups. I know why in a way. Haldis works. Haldis works consistently. Haldis does what she is supposed to do. Sometimes being a good grunt and a good administrator is enough.

I don't like coups. I don't like the one that took out Aloka as team manager at the Africans. I thought it was sneaky. This coup claims Calum as team manager at the South Americans. This coup reminds both Haldis and I that we serve at the pleaseure of Amaranthine, Boom-Boom, Lady Alice, and possibly Lady Orelinde. Yes, those feudal titles seem weirdly apt this fine morning.

Thadea does not have her FTP access to the new team site yet and the first job is round names and a clock face for the voting page since the page will look and feel in some ways like the present Antarcticans' vote page I have come up with two themes as I thought about them last night. One is Aboriginal art. The other is a sun baked utterly parched desert and a person wtih bare feet and a staff walking the desert. A third idea is to set the rounds nad theme in Papua New Guinea. Web design like this always excites me. The fact that Thadea will have to do this project in bits and pieces has not yet sunken in. It is going to have to sooner or later.

It has dawned on me that Protestant Christianity has no history, or at least very little history that it wants to own. It started in the 1500's and spent the first hundred and fifty years of its lifetime fighting other Christians and getting mixed up in Politics. Protestants even took their turn at burning witches, or rather hanging them right here in the New World. So for most Protestants the religious history they want to remember happened right here in the United States and so you are looking at two to three hundred years of history if you are lucky.

Also some Protestants call themselves Christians which means that all other types of Christian (This includes Catholics, Orthodox, Old Catholics, Quakers, Jehova's Witnesses, and Mormons) don't exist. It also erases history which of course involves those other types of Christians and different types of Protestantism which have historical roots.

The problem is history is important. It tells you where your people came from and where your religion came from and why things are done a certain way. The songs used in most Jewish services date from Germany in the 1920's when Orthodox Judaism was fighting for its life against the secular world. They updated the tunes and the Conservative and other Jewish movements adopted them because good tunes are worth their weight in gold. In Western and Central Europe women are far more likely to attend schal schudis and other synagogue based services than they are in Eastern Europe. This is again among Orthodox Jews. I learned a lot of this history from Rabbi Engel in Utica years ago. It has sort of stood me in good stead.

Finally, I learned something when I went to the Asian Square Market in Atlanta yesterday. Asians are essentially off my psychological map. Yes, there is an Asian grocery on Warm Springs Road and an Indian Grocery down near the Radisson but walking through Ranch 99, and looking at the restaurant menus (No vegetarian option here) and into the gift shops, I realized that this was territory off my psychological map. Asians do not particularly like or make salads, so the cabbages come wrapped in plastic so shoppers can not taste to see if they are bitter. And Asians (this store serves all types of Asians but probably not Japanese) use every part of the pig and the cow but the oink and the moo, something Europeans and Americans did a generation ago, but now get squeamish about. The gifts in the crowded gift shops appeared like schtick to me. I could not tell what was genuinely beautiful and what was stereotype.

I was off my psychological map. I realized in one of those weird flashes that I was off the psychological map of a lot of people at Brainstorms. How do you handle someone who is off the psychological map. You can just throw them out if you have a private group which is what those bastards at Brainstorms did. That is why I have my pretend Brainstorms which I love with all my heart and all my soul and which is ten times better than the original.

RAOK and LOTH were off my psychological map several years ago. That has changed and with them I have moved off my original map. Keeping things off the map is the best way to keep them hidden and there is a whole internet out there populated by the elites who do not want to let the hoi polloi in. Don't go looking for proud member pages or dedication pages or group graphics or web rings. Don't look for sites on Geocities. If there is a domain name it is professinally related. There may even be no contact information. These guys want to hide in their own private clubs.

People like my friends in RAOK and LOTH are not even interesting to them. They don't notice the visuals and consider them a distraction. The idea of making visuals for a purpose and for careful adornment is beyond them or maybe beneath them. They can talk up a storm and do so unapolagetically but they also play some of the most vicious games around. They consider their games good sport.

I want no part of this elite. The problem, however, is they are sometimes in paid positions of authority creating "community" for people who given a few resources are quite good at creating authentic community for themselves. Sometimes these elite even get paid to do this. These people frequently make policy that effects you. They never ask you. They just make it. These are dangerous people, an enemy if you will, but like cockroaches they hide under the refrigerator. Well I got a good look at them. I don't forget enemies.

Sunday volunteering at the nursing home was decidedly weird. First, the minister and pianist who were supposed to lead Sunday school did not come. Suzette and I had to improvise. I even came up with a five minute sermon on the Book of Ruth. I kept it simple and even explained to the assembled old folks who have more wits about them than it appears that Ha'Shem rewarded Ruth for her kindness, loyalty, and love not only by fixing her up with a hsuband, Boaz (What a sweet sexy tender love story that is!) but also by making her the ancestor of Perez who is the ancestor of David who in turn is the ancestor of Jesus. Kindness is rewarded across many generations. I also sang "Listen my Friends" which has thirteen verses and which was created by the Lubavitchers and which has spread round the world.

I don't know a lot of Protestant Christian hymns but I got to watch a Protestant preacher do some glurge and spirituals, some of which were quite good in the afternoon. He gave the nursing home a ceramic racoon he named Old Coon and which I've renamed Chris, after a character within the story within a story I am writing on Ghostletters.

Then after we got done with the services we ended up putting up calendars in the residents' rooms. I got to see what they watched on TV and what kinds of decorations and pictures they had on their walls. I got to see the sick ones who were asleep and the wakeful ones and the ones who complained. I liked the ones who complained best of all. At least they cared enough to complain. That says something.