QC-L Version 4.0

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

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

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

temporary illustration

LET'S ROLL THOSE OTHER SITES

The Backfile: this blog's archives.

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

It will have Oneiro, my own little role play.

Unfettered Soul, my flagship site.

The Silk Purse, my play pretend Brainstorms.

Failed Messiah Religious news never sounded so good.

New York Times. Read the news and be smart.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Over the weekend, I received a letter from Howard Rheingold, who founded Brainstorms, apologizing for the pain my ouster from his group caused me. The following is my response to his letter.

Dear Howard,

I can not forgive you for the pain caused by my ouster from Brainstorms for several reasons. First, you were not directly at fault for my expulsion. The open due process part of the proceedings occured largely while you were out of town. Quite simply, you weren't there.

As for the second part of the proceedings, the part that occured after I was locked out, I was not privy to that. I was never one of those members who quibbled about Brainstorms' internal politics. I was just too new a member for that. Now that I am a nonmember, I care about Brainstorms internal politics even less.

Last, the pain of my expulsion was an excellent gift. It taught me that I value personal expression over community. Even without a Brainstorms Life Story thread, I continued to post to my blog and transcribe what I could to the LOTH Region Seven Board. I also made my blog public and came out to most of my email lists about my avatars. I realize I treasured my avatars more than my Brainstorms membership and it was worth it to lose my membership over them.

Haldis is still with the Webleagues along with Thadea. The Webleagues underwent a coup d'etat/reorganization in early June (Just as Haldis was having finals), but Haldis and her aunt survived the transition. Thadea for a while ran two teams, both the Antarcticans and Oceanics, while creating the design for the New Southern Hemisphere, into which the two teams merged in late June http://www.thewebleagues.com/teams/southern

My avatars now have a joint web board of their own and talk to each other every day along with Thadea's husband, Jacob, and Haldis' boyfriend, Ithamar joining in. I have a great time writing their voices, and watching them interact. I love my avatars and I will feel no shame over them. I have not yet come out about them to either RAOK or LOTH, but that is because in those groups, identity is considered a private affair and discussion of it taboo unless problems with it create public embarassment. RAOK and LOTH work on a different paradigm than Brainstorms.

And yes, my expulsion and the pain taught me who my real friends online are and it gave me a new appreciation for both RAOK http://www.theraokgroup.com and Ladies of the Heart http://www.ladies-of-
the-heart.com Yes, I chafed under their conversational restrictions in the past, but now I know that those restrictions, the up front rules instead of fuzzy norms, and the simple hierarchy make for order and a group where any one can feel at home, not just those with social capital.

I have also developed an appreciation for the commercial side of the net, particularly MSN Communities that let any one, even those who are not exceptionally glib or tech savvy start a community. Advertising support is a wonderful thing and Bill Gates really did something right. MSN groups also allow internal storage of graphical sig-files, something important for those who respect craftmaship as I do.

Last but not least, my frequent postings to the LOTH Region 7 Board, which replaced my Brainstorms Life Stories Thread made me one of the Ladies of the Heart's most active members. A few days ago, I became LOTH's State Director for Georgia. I hope as State Director that I can give my gift of self expression (within the conversational limits of LOTH of course) to the twenty or so ladies in my state. I want to teach them that they are important even without social capital. This is a great challenge, and I hope that I am up to the task.

I will probably never join another intellectual discussion group that is not in some way work related. In this way my ouster from Brainstorms was an ending, but it was also the beginning of something wonderful. I am among people I care about and whose values I share, and I am ready to help my friends defend their ideas, find their voice, and deal with third parties who get in the way of their self expression and community. I am still too angry to believe it yet, but I know that some day I'll look upon my expulsion from Brainstorms as one of the best things that ever happened to me. It is a priceless treasure to know where you belong and what is worth defending.

Woo-hoo. Shout it out loud and proud. That letter is better than the mother of all mast heads. What more can I say.

Tonight Lou and I made tuna casserole together. He loved it. I made cheddar dill bread Sunday evening and there is still plenty of that left. Lou won't eat prune plums, also known as little blue plums, because he fears they will give him the trots. Poor Lou.

He was in a good mood today. His employment search is going a bit better and that makes him happy. A friend of mine suggested a new strategy to motivate me for work. I think I need to apply it a bit better. It might work.

I work two second shifts starting tomorrow. I get to sleep in in the morning or I would if I did not have errands to run. BMG music sent me a CD I did not want. They advertised it in email but I did not head it off at the pass. I threw the email out along with a lot of other spam. Oh well....I hope that third class mail is not that expensive. They said to enclose a note with it. I told them simply I did not want the CD I did not order. I do have to order a regular price CD from them but I still got two cheap ones earlier this summer. I think I get money off on the next one after the full price one. I do want to build up my CD collection and I believe in copyright so buying CD's online makes sense. In some ways though, I like Tower Records a lot better than BMG. I think Tower has a better selection.

Jeanne turned all the grass green. There are mystery lillies blooming everywhere. They look like reddish orange spiders on stalks. They are very pretty. I'm sure Lou does not notice them. I have to pay the rent and think I will have to do that by mail. When I get some quiet time I need to check the checking account balance and cut some checks for assorted bills. September is such a short month and bill time comes around before you know it.

It was good to see the sun again. I got to watch a banned book read out on the library porch around noon. Banned Book Week is in large part BS. The reason is simple. I work in a college. We usually don't get calls to ban books, or challenges as they are known. Now we did get an order to destroy some government documents post 9/11 but no one mentioned this at the read out.

Where challenges occur, there is often a cultural conflict. A parent does not want his or her child to read something for English or finds a book he detests has made its way home from the school library in junior's backpack. It does not help that the parent has been fed propaganda like Chick Tracts and Foucs on Family which tell him that there is some kind of a plot against Christian values. The other side has been fedding its propgaganda too that there are a bunch of yahoos out there wanting to decide what everyone wants to read.

Now I'm not saying that the parents issuing the challenges are correct. They've got no business dictating what everyone else reads but for their own child... Teachers should have alternate selections if a child has already read the book, objects to the book on moral grounds etc... Having two or three selections for a class is not a bad idea or a reading list where students can pick and choose. If a sizeable portion of a community has certain values, than books that respect those values can be on teh list. This is not teaching intelligent design or creationism. Students can learn literature just as well from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series as from Harry Potter. There is a wide selection of fiction out there. Letting students choose a more palateable title won't hurt. By the way, it might be nice for those conservative folks who want to ban books to come up with a list of books they recommend so that teachers can have an easy time suggesting alternatives.

When my mother thought I was reading too much science fiction and fantasy (She called it an intellectual diet of chocolate chip cookies) she got me to read other stuff. She had me reading the Jungle at age nine, but she didn't ask for the school to pull its fantasy books from the library shelves. I soon had the habit of getting into my parents' reading matter. It probably wasn't that bad a habit.

What is more insidious than banning books is when libraries, school, academic, or public don't have the money for more and newer materials. Students can't read it if the library can't buy it and put it on the shelves. Say that three times fast. No one ever mentions this during banned books week.

Then we have the easiest way to ban a book. Don't challenge it. Just let it sit on the shelf and gather dust. It happens all the time. My library is full of excellent literature that is never taught and so students don't go searching for it. I'm a big Zola fan but nobody reads him except this poor Francophilic northerner. Let it go out of fashion. Let it disappear. Take it off the required reading list and it's gone just as if you banned it. All that is left is for some overzealous librarian to weed it. Fiction like math does not really age. The books wear out long before the language becomes unreadable.

Again nobody talks about this during banned book week. And yes, school libraries (like public libraries) should practice some cultural sensitivity. If they stock Harry Potter, they should stock CS Lewis and the Left Behind Children's Series. Why not provide something for everyone. This whole culture war thing has me boggled.


Sunday, September 26, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

My newest New Year's Resolution is to redo the patterage. I started some of this by redoing the Life Stories conference at the Silk Purse, my pretend Brainstorms. Time for a masthead all you people out there. It was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms. It is worth it to be who I am, say what I say, and do what I do. My pretend Brainstorms is ten times better than the original and play pretend rocks. It empowers. Everyone should try play pretend and visit my my pretend Brainstorms.

I think the patterage can be simplified without loss. The Third Rail and the Run Amuck Board can be included. I'll be cutting out Ghostletters and the MSN graphics communities temporarily. Neopets is eating up way too much time. With luck the new patterage will help get it tamed. Yes, I sound optimistic, but passion, joy, and optimism are bywords here. Loud and proud. Woo hoo! Let's shout and cheer for joy! Put on that happy face and spread that smile.

OK, I have a vengance victory. I am now the State Director for Georgia in LOTH Region Seven. No I have not come out about the avatars to the powers that be at LOTH. I'm not sure it is necessary. I'd like to do it. The problem is the leadership at LOTH feels distant and official. I'd have better luck wtih Candi at RAOK. Coming out is definitely a part of my new attitude about my avatars. They are more precious than all the titles and all the community and all the social capital (Brainstorms slang). In the end if it is just me and my avatars, I will be happy. It is time to muster my confidence and find a good moment.

I somehow think a good moment is important for all of this. One basicly gets one chance. I've never told and no one has ever asked or brought it to either Kimberly or Candi's attention. I did tell everyone on the Region 7 Board about my ouster from Brainstorms. I may even have told them why. At the time I did not give a lot of details. Both of these are large ladies groups that dismissed the whole business as "drama in another group."

Friday I also had a small vengance victory. I spent five dollars to buy a prepaid phoen card for a soldier in Iraq. I finally found a way to support the military without supporting the war and the military is an old fashioned, traditional, hierarchical, nonBrainstormish institution. Of course going to schul is antiBrainstormish too but paying my dues and giving an extra contribution will be more so. Vengance costs money but it is money well spent.

Meanwhile, I have work to do for both RAOK and LOTH. For RAOK, I woe another guestbook roundup. I plan to do this on my lunch hour at work tomorrow. For LOTH I need to meet and greet all the ladies in my region. This will be ongoing and even get me to make some pressies. I may return to my graphics groups on MSN after all. Vengance is too important to be side tracked by Neopets.

And as for the bandwidth issue, I am going to drop both Godsmanna and Buddy's Christian Fungroup. There is a Christian group called Aunt Bee's Parlor that came my way via the RAOK guestbook. I signed up for it and have been minimally active. I'll get to read Christian postings loud and proud (This is my Joe Lennon substitute and in this case an improved substitute) and I won't have a bloated email box.

There's less blog here because I am not getting the computer time on weekends that I used to. I'm giving a great deal of it to Lou. That is all right. I don't mind. Last night I was doing some other things. I have a couple of boards I write to. They are personal boards. I also play Neopets. I know, shame...shame....

Yom Kippur was a pretty good service. It was only a pretty good service because when your expectations are in the toilet bowl anything will be good. Yom Kippur is a penitential service yet our rabbi did not speak of repentence, forgiveness, or even sin. He spoke of family as the source of immortality. Why does this stink? I don't have kids. So my personal immortality is worthless. It had better not be. I want my portion in paradise and that is pretty important. Second, a lot of Jews in our congregation did not get their faith through family. They married into the faith, became religious as adults, converted etc... Maybe their children live far away. Maybe their children have chosen a different path. This is not always a bad thing. This is the United States, the land of individualism. Appeals to family and tribe may stoke the warm fuzzies of the old folks, but they fall on pretty deaf ears.

Having my own book helped with the service. I could not do some of the responsive readings but I got to read the full korbanos (the description of the temple sacrifices) and the full martyrology.

Today Lou vacuumed the apartment and I attacked the kitchen. It was filthy. It will be clean now for a few days and dirty for a few weeks until I attack it again. I am not much of a housekeeper. Anyway, I motivated Lou to vacuum only he refused to move any furniture. I am not talking about heavy stuff. I am talking about puttling the chair out from the desk in the computer room and the chairs at the dining room table so one can vacuum underneath. He also won't vacuum the bedroom since he finds it spooky in there. It's too feminine for him. He wants to exorcise the place.

I did get Lou to help plan the week's menu and he took me grocery shopping. He really can be such a dear. I am going to teach Lou to make tuna casserole Tuesday night. This is my totally from scratch casserole that uses a white sauce made on the stove. Actually this is my salmon casserole, but Lou wanted tuna. I discovered that Publix does not have its own brand of tuna. When I ate a lot of canned fish it was always sardines. Tuna was feh so I used to get sardines. Lou likes tuna. I had him get the chunk light in oil which has the most flavor. I just realized we'll need soft bread crumbs to top the casserole. Well we have plenty of bread. I'll go dig the blender out of the pantry.

I baked cheddar dill bread tonight and made spinach salad with home made blue cheese dressing. We had a lot of cheese that was getting old. Lou is fussy and won't eat the rindie pieces of cheese. The blue cheese was still good but past its prime. It was expensive French bleu from Atlanta and the cheddar I used for the bread was old too. There is sitll some smokey cheese in the fridge that Lou won't touch because it involves eating the smoked rind which is actually quite tastey. If you give Lou a bartlett pear, he performs surgery on it, cutting off all the little nicked places. A ripe bartlett pear has little nicked places. That is how you know it is sweet and good.

I got my period Thursday night. It was a weird one with lots of drawing cramps and with restart cramps and sweaties this morning. I am tense and tired right now. The work week is starting. I hope I am not out on the desk first thing Monday morning. I am just not in the mood but come tomorrow that may change. It is definitely good to be writing blog again.


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This was another day I did not open the flood gates into the whinge box. I know, all that effort in vain, but I was too tired to even hang out on Neopets at the end of the day. the bandwidth is just beyond what I or any one should have to handle. I guess this is turning into a revenge defeat. I am going to need to find a new mailing list or group for those with low social capital to support. That is going to take some work and I said I was not seeking out any new communities but was going to dedicate myself to play pretend and vengance. Gack, this is one tough decision.

Rosalita ate my pets' bicycle on Neopets. Grarrls eat anything though a bicycle mustbe a tad indigestible. All that said, I put Rosalita in the beauty contest starting on Friday. It's a bad week because it is Yom Kippur on Saturday. Yom Kippur could not have come at a worse time. I'll talk more about that on the right side of the blog. There are two new books in the safe deposit box. Thankfully Rosalita did not eat those. They are for her. Grarrls can not help it if they have a self-sufficient streak. Somewhere in the art supplies I have some images of Shanti that need to get scanned. She is also going in the beauty contest. I'll have to make some real glamour shots of my girls. We'll see how all this goes. I've decided the beauty contest board is a healthier place to hang out than the fan club board. Of course all of Neopets distracts from my vengance work big time.

I got my period tonight. I wondered why I had a headache and my legs and arms ached. Well I went to the john and.... I'm not that badly crampy yet in the traditional way but that will come. I just need to have my period for Yom Kippur. I am exhausted from getting my computer time at home late at night. Right now I am fighting to keep my eyes open and too tired to drag myself to the kitchen to get a glass of hot tea wtih which to wash down 400mg of Naproxen (Yes, ladies. It kills cramps dead.) Even my toes hurt.

It is hard to believe I made cinamon raisin bran bread. The recipe was on the box of miller's bran I bought when Lou and I went grocery shopping over the weekend. This Saturday of course grocery shopping is out. It is Yom Kippur. Sleep deprived, menstuating, and otherwise unprepared, I face the world's most gruelling Jewish holiday, a twenty-four hour waterless fast.

The new flavor of tea I am drinking taastes weird. I much prefer Celestial Seasonings strawberry kiwi to their new Tropic of Strawberry, but they probably retired the old strawberry. What I really want is the Cranberry Apple Zinger I have at work.

The apartment is a wreack. I managed to cook and bake this evening. Lou told me we were out of cheese biscuits so it was time for more quick bread. Lou offered to make the lima bean soup, but he simply does not know how to make soup with good stock. When I make soup that does not have a red stock he loads it up with either chili sauce, paprika, or both. He has no appreciation for a good vegetable stock, so how can he be trusted to make one. If I can get up early, I'll start the soup and rice before I go to work. That way I can do some house cleaning and cat litter pan cleaning. I need to have an early supper Friday night due to the impending and dreaded fast.

It feels like this week has been nothing but catching up since the storm closed everything for a day and created three wasted lazy days. I wish I could talk more about work. The sleep deprivation blocks a lot of the negative feelings, but not the fact that in the middle of it all, I have one very big legitimate grievance.

I loathe my schul and my rabbi and plan to spend a lot of Yom Kippur reading my own machzor in the library. I'll be saying yizkor for the second time for my grandmother. I think she may actually care about such stuff. Yizkor is not a part of the service I care all that much about. I'm not sure I'll stay for the whole thing. I don't want to leave my nonJewish boyfriend alone all Saturday so after the break I may just stay up at the apartment and hang out in my room and not do much but read Nanna or the mazchor (prayer book) or Scriptures or sleep. They say it's great if you can take a nap. I never can. I usually walk myself to woozy exhaustion. I hope it does not rain Saturday and the weather is not too hot.

I've been so tired the last few days I haven't even been able to bring myself to draw anything. That is bad. Also the RAOK guestbook finally needs tending. I'll deal with that probably on Sunday some time. It will be a very short roundup, and it will be done.


by Eileen Kramer

I guess it is time to turn off the music and blog away. Maybe I'll leave the music on. This blog is the heart of my vengance work. This blog and my two play pretend boards are the heart of my vengance work. This blog is more important than sleeping. This blog is more important than a lot of things. That is good.

It looks like the vengance work is going to change complexion again. Change is not defeat. Change in this case especially is not defeat or lack of ardor, letting go, or moving on. I am very probably going to be LOTH's State Director in Georgia. I am getting the job by default and because I am active. I am active because I transcribe both recipes and the right side of my blog to the LOTH boards. That qualifies me. Also I've been a Kringle's elf and want to be one again this Christmas. Taking a leading role in LOTH is a stand against secret organizations like Brainstorms. LOTH takes any one with two X chromosomes or who thinks that they should actually have them. You don't have to prove why you should be a member. LOTH is open and fairly public. LOTH doesn't believe in verbal battle or strife. I am prod to be taking a leadership role there. It is on the front lines against the Brainstorms of the world and I am more than ready to take up arms. Woo hoo! Passion and enthusiams are the order of the day. Shout it out! Loud and proud! If I become State Director this is a class A VENGANCE VICTORY.

I have a sad Neopian tale to tell. I put a pet in the pound tonight. I adopted her by accident. I hit the wrong button. She was a level three blue female tuskaninny. I really did not have the neopoints to give her a good start in life. I was not ready to increase my family today and while she was decently named and had pretty good statistics, she was blue, a color I detest for tuskaninnies. So back in the pound she went. I got treated to a moral lecture on the evil act I was about to perpetrate. This was total bull you know what because Neopets even gave me a secret avatar.

Besides, what I did was not so evil. Floor817 had a home within an hour. She is now with a young man from Portugal and she was his second pet not his third. Besides the pound is a much better alternative than letting pets "rot." Hopefully they go to new and interested owners. For level one pets, however, the pound is simply an awful deal for adoption. It wasn't even that great for a level three. And the pound is utterly no kill. In twenty-four hours, nearly every pet I've tracked gets a new home, usually with a newbie or fairly inexperienced player. The problem is Neopia gives you fifty points for creating a new pet and at the pound you pay upwards of seventy-five NP. How do you say ripoff? All the moral suasion in the world doesn't disguise it, especially when that moral suasion is fake. And yes, players have been known to create and abandon a pet just to get the Doctor Death avatar. I wish I didn't have that avatar. I'm glad Floor817 has an owner. I did groom her and read to her before realizing that I was just not ready.

Neopets is not the "real world". The pets can not reproduce and there is no overpopulation problem. Creating a pet rather than adopting one is not an irresponsible act. If you want to do good, help a fellow player, not a cast off virtual creation.

Lou made pasta and sauce (red sauce) for supper and helped me cut and seed a squash. He wants to be useful and learn how to cook. He is a gem of a boyfriend. People either really admire Lou or think he is a bum.

Sometimes I wonder on which planet Lou dwells. Last Saturday morning I made grits for breakfast. They were for my breakfast. Lou does not like grits. We got to talking about corn and how most of the world eats it as flour. He asked how corn meal was made and the different types. I remember showing him pictures of Indian corn and explaining about how masa harina is soaked in lye during processing to change corn's chemistry. Lou knew none of this. How does someone live for fifty plus years on earth and not know?

Then tonight, Lou told me of a creature he had seen that looked like a cross between a cat and a dog. It was a cat size dog with a reddish coat and a big fluffy tail. It was a red fox, I told him. One sees them every so often. They are fairly secretive and live in the woods near the complex. I also told Lou that a fox out in the day time is a sick fox. Foxes are big vectors for rabies. How could Lou not know what a fox looks like?

And yes, Lou can spend hours talking philosophy, military history, politics, speculative history, and human origins with his guy friends, but until he met me he had no idea that monarch butterflies flew south for the winter, where corn meal comes from, or that the little brown nicks on a ripe bartlett pear just mean it is good to eat and not in need of surgery.

I suspect this is in part a guy thing. There are outdoorsy guys, I know, but they are a special case and Lou is not one of those. I love Lou. I worry about him. He wants to make a go of this. I wish I were fresher in the morning and not rushed to get out to work. Lou is a fairly early riser and gets up nice and fresh.

And yes, there is stuff going on at work, that I don't feel comfortable discussing here. It looks like I tell all here, but I don't. I can't. It's not personal stuff. It is jst stuff stuff and it is not good stuff.

I took a short walk tonight and met a skinny half Siamese neutered tom cat. He wanted his bony back rubbed but he did not purr or meow. I walked home and finished up single load of emergency laundry. I now have enough clothes to wear. I also got to take a bath and the roast squash will be easy to make tomorrow night. Thursday night, I get to make lima bean escarole soup with rice. That may be the last meal I eat before Yom Kippur. I am not looking forward to the fast. Fasting hurts. Wish me luck.

I'm on desk first thing in the morning. I hope I am awake enough to function. I need to stop junk fooding at work. Blech.


Monday, September 20, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Well my new year's resolution has come with a bit of a price. I am pooped, unfocused, and busy junkfooding. I'm still not whinging about the bandwidth on my brother in spirit, YB George's list though. I also did both my multivoice blogs today. This means the revenge work is hanging in there.

I have to realize that it is OK when less revenge work gets done because my real life boyfriend is in the house. It is not that he needs to use the computer. It is that there is one computer and we have to share it. We have to spend time together I would otherwise devote to revenge work. That is the way it goes. It is not through lack of ardor that the revenge work is getting done. If I were still on Brainstorms I would be doing that less, so it's kind of a wash. I also did Neopets less. Some of this of course was Hurricane Ivan. Such is life in that department. It is OK to let it go when I would also be letting other parts of my online life go.

I now have the name of a man who knows a Unitarian soldier in Iraq and the soldier could use support so I am one email away from doing some real life vengance. Supporting the troops is supporting the military, one of the least Brainstormish and most hierarchical institutions out there.

Going to schul on Rosh HaShannah and going again on Yom Kippur is also good revenge work. Revenge work is everywhere if you look for it. That is the beauty of revenge.

Right now there is eschatology brewing in my inbox from the Godsmanna group. I also discussed the group on my hard core play pretend Brainstorms blog, Third Rail. I also discussed my brother in spirit, YB George's, group. I am looking forward to reading the mail from that group tonight in my beautiful Pegasus mail box. I call it the whinge box because I no longer have to whinge about bandwidth. I tried sending email with stationary. It did a half way job. It will take large sig files and I made two of them. With not much doing in the RAOK department graphics wise and not really liking my graphic groups, making big obnoxious siggies feels good. I may post them below the main table.

I was able to start a fresh nest egg on Neopets. I've decided I want to have a go at creating a jetsam (read shark). It is limited edition and they may release some of them on Jetsam Day which is October 16th. I also made sketches of Rosalita to use with her pet look up and as a board avatar on a Neopets related site. I need to scan those and probably resize them and make sure the background is transparent. I'm in a go slow mode with Neopets, but I am earning a fair amount of NP for my utter lack of effort. I am currently stockpiling books and I won or found another codestone today. I think I am starting to collect the things. I have six different ones. The problem is that I probably will need a different one when I go to train Shanti. Rosalita is now level nine, thanks to Coltzan. Shanti got nothing from Mr. Coltzan today. Thankyou Mr. Coltzan.

I actually got something done today at work, a lot of xeroxing and collating. Any xeroxing and collating is a lot. I also went over an outline for a class I am going to teach in a week and a half and updated one or two handouts. I should start grooming a webliography. We are doing a journal review. They want to get rid of bound journals, not all of them, just ones that have subscriptions on JSTOR. This is what I call a "face first" project.

With Lou in the house, I pick up all kinds of bad habits. One of them is napping, though I think that came from eating noon dinner, and not sleeping in as I am wont to do on weekends and then making up the sleep whenever. I am also junkfooding today due to exhaustion. I was up late last night because the only computer time I get at home is when Lou is asleep. I can keep later hours, but I pay a price for them.

By the way, to clarify something on this blog, I am not talking about suing anybody. County judges (like Justices of the Peace) do a very important civil function, the same civil function some clergy do, and they don't refuse to do it because it's an interfaith couple or due to a personal snit.

With Lou, I get a lot less exercise. I used to walk to do all my errands. I have a backpack and a pull cart so it is no big deal. The climate here is good and I don't drive a car. None of this was any big deal, but now I have to beg to go out and walk and it is hard to walk where you have no where to go. Lou is not well. I don't want to go into any more than that.

I don't have to cook tonight. I have been cooking up a storm all weekend long. I made greens and potatoes and peanuts. I made chinese cabbage salad. I made corn bread. I made cheese biscuits using a recipe in the Joy of Cooking which Lou remembered to bring all the way from Utica. I don't think all this cooking will make me fat. I just don't eat most of what I make. I enjoy cooking for Lou and me.

Lou has been through a lot. That is what I tell myself. I tell myself it will get better, but I don't really know how to make it better. I love Lou. Things happen to people. That is all there is to it. Sometimes things are not as complicated as we make them out to be.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I haven't been on Neopets all day. I'm about to fix that. I have a hunch I'll find two ravenous pets including one who is a thief. I'm going to try to play Tombola, TLC the pets, and maybe even try a bit of chemistry for beginners. I'm not quite so broke now, due to some fairly favorable random events, but one can't rely on those forever.

Thadea needed to set up her team at webleagues. She is dealing with a discontented fighter. It feels very unfair. I'll let it rest there. I hope the whole unpleasant business is over.

I did not get to write or even begin two Neopian samizdat essays today. I barely got to send some email and do Thadea's work. The reason for all this is Lou. With him in the house, I lose a lot of computer time. I don't miss the computer time, and I'm glad to have my boyfriend around.

It also means that this blog gets sorely neglected. That is not good.

The last two days have been Rosh HaShannah so I have been thinking a lot about different things and I thought about my vengence work. No, I am not giving it up! I decided that with Neopets figured into the mix, I am not doing enough of it. I figured this out after reading the story of Hannah and Elkannah which is the haftorah for day one. Well, Hannah is a first class whinger. She whinges and whinges because she can't conceive a child. She does not care that her wealthy husband gives her the choicest portion and loves her more than ten sons. She's a born ingrate.

Well Hannah makes a devil's bargain to conceive. She vows she will give the baby to the Lord. What this means is that when the child is two years old, after she has had plenty of time to get attached to him and know him, she turns him over to the high priest, she gives him away. Now what kind of a mother is that. She maks a big prayer of thanks to god after she gives up the kid too. Could the wanting and waiting be worth more than the actual getting in the end? My rabbi never tackled that question, but I resolved not to whinge like Hannah.

One thing I have been perpetually whinging about has been forwards in my emails. They come via the infamous poster #17. I know who she is but I won't use her name here because she is on the list run by my brother in spirit, YB George. I realized that rather than confront poster #17, I'd give her a bit more of a chance and give YB George's monster of a list, Buddy's Christian Fun Group, another shot. I reactivated my Yahoomail box and sent the list in there where it has 100mb to spill into and where it won't bust my Inner Circle.

This means I read plenty of forwards and look at plenty of graphics, but this is a list where I can send stuff, and once I get back on a computer with really good graphics software I can even make graphics for the list. This sounds like fun. YB George is my brother in spirit. The list he has built does not require social capital. Any one can send. Others can delete but the sending is what is important. Everyone has a right to speak. No one needs to acclaim of the crowd or high status. No one on this list would last a week in Brainstorms either. I think it is great that those nonsocial capital folks have a list and it is a list worth supporting as part of my vengance work. Stop whinging and keep on with the vengance. That is my new year's resolution. Happy 5765 to all of you.

I survived the hurricane which was a tropical storm, but a fairly hefty one, this far north and east. I survived Rosh HaShannah. The services Thursday were lackluster. If you want to know what kind of a survey a rabbi gives during a hurricane, he gives a dawg. He leaves out one of the three stories that is part of the parsha. He leaves out Hannah's unnatural act toward her child. He leaves out all the whinging, and ridicule and great stuff like that. He talks about how children are our future and how they deserve Jewish names and a Jewish education etc...

Blech! I don't have kids so you know where that leaves me. Besides, what if you are the kind of Jewish parent who named her daughter Cimamon. You liked the name. It was trendy and there is probably even a way to translate it into Hebrew. Maybe you did not want to name for anybody. Maybe there was nobody to name for that you liked, knew. or cared about. Maybe you just named as you pleased and against custom because you wanted to avoid one of those ugly fights over which side of the family's dead realtiave gets named after.

And Jewish education in Columbus, Georgia is itself a dicey proposition. Jews are such a tiny minority. Is it fair, right, good etc... to raise a child to be part of a very tiny minority like this? If a child comes from a a town with no schul, such as Americus, you effectively are raising the child to either be a solo practitioner or to leave the town in search of a city with a larger Jewish population when he or she gets old enough. It is very common in my schul for the old people to have children in Atlanta or New York. Most Jews in Columbus arrive as adults from elsewhere drawn by a prosperous economy. Most Jewish young people leave Columbus due to it cultural aridity.

They are going to bas mitzvah a young girl October 8th. There are no other teens at the schul right now. The one closest in age to her is about twenty and going to school at Mercer University in Atlanta. The next one closest in age is her own younger sister. I really am not sure this is the right thing to do. There is something very bad about creating more Jews and then leaving them bereft of fellowship and sixty year old ladies are not fellowship for a thirteen year old girl.

I did home worship on Friday instead of going to schul. I was not sure I could read all the way through the machzor on my own, but I managed to stay with it. I did not go to schul because Lou slept in and I did not want to walk out and leave him like that. I leave him alone enough when I work. Yes, I had both days off for Rosh HaShannah due to the hurricane. They closed down the campus for four days straight so I was also off this weekend. I lose my Friday off but this is an eleven day week. I was surprised that the home worship worked out as well as it did. I don't think I would have wanted to do it both days. I liked the balance though.

Today Lou and I went shopping. I bought a necklace to give to the young girl who is getting bas mitzvahed October 8th. I know the family but I am not invited to anything except the service at the synagogue. That is fine. I did not buy too expensive a gift. Lou did not approve of my choice, a quartz necklace. They had a jewelry fair at the mall so I wanted to get the gift at one of the booths.

We also went grocery shopping. I made Lou sit down and we worked out the menu. We spend a lot of money on food but not as much as some people because we cook mainly from scratch. I made peanut stew with brocoli rabbe and potatoes for a main course tonight and corn bread for both tomorrow and a side dish. We have plenty of fresh fruit. I'm a big fan of greens even if they irritate my irritable bowel. I also had a cherry pepsi just for the you know what of it. I figure my intestines are such a mess nothing could make them worse. Some time tomorrow the attack will come with painfully regular timing. That is just the way it goes.

By the way, I suspect there is at least one member of Brainstorms reading this blog. Well he gets a shout out. If he's read my mast head on the left hand side, he knows how I feel. It is worth it to say what I want and do what I do. No apologies and vengance is important. By the way, if it comes down to it, there is always the county judge. I hope the person reading this blog understands.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Rosalita was painted brown a little after 1pm today Eastern Daylight time. Yes, this is a momentous occasion. Yes, I am now a wealthy but broke Neopian with a painted pet, and I did not have to kiss any one's hind quarters to get a painted creature. She is a creature who because she is a part of myself, is a creature I have come to love. Rosalita is the high achiever, all around package person I waish I was. Rosalita is strong, atheltic, smart, and even handsome well maybe not handsome but I think she is beautiful. Cinamon brown is a great color. It is a nonstandard color. Rosalita even harmonizes with my userlookup. Hey, that's an added bonus.

Meanwhile, something disgustingly Brainstormish is happening in my inbox. Since the list is a closed list with partial bonds of confidentiality (Boy is this sounding familiar) I don't feel comfortable discussing it here. I feel slimed reading the emails though, and I feel slimed by both sides of the dispute. Games like this lead nowhere. I learned that a long time ago.

That is why I support organizations like RAOK and LOTH. One has to choose wisely in this world. I just visited the RAOK board this afternoon. It was a good place to go though a bit quiet...a bit too quiet. When one is careful what one says, the old fashioned glibness that goes with relishing a good fight goes. That is OK. That is why I have a blog and two play pretend boards. If everyone played pretend instead of looking for fights, the net would be full of interesting stuff and a lot more people would be a lot less hurt. There would be more creativity and less strife too. Let's hear it for RAOK, LOTH, and play pretend.

I want another big cup of hot cranberry apple zinger tea. There is tea in the break room. There is always tea in the break room. I feel exhausted. I'm not sure how much work I did today. I feel dirty and as if I did not measure up but that is only subjective. I framed the syllabus for the course I am teaching in the spring. I don't have most of the assignments. I have not plugged in the dates yet, but I figured out which class goes where, revised the grading and room location. I do have to check to make sure the room is reserved etc... All this sounds like a lot of work. All this work makes my work feel as if it is a drop in the bucket.

It is always cold at work. I am sitting huddled in a sweater. I have no idea what the sky looks like, because this office has no windows. Hurricane Ivan which will be tropical storm Ivan will be coming through some time on Wednesday. As with Frances, Columbus, Georgia is directly in the path of the storm. I am prepared to hear the wind howl. I am working a split shift on Wednesday and will probably walk to and/or from work in the storm in the afternoon. This actually sounds fairly exciting though I loathe spending the evening like a drowned rat.

I managed to get half a day off for Rosh HaShannah. I'll be able to put in an appearance at schul and sneak away early. That is good. I'll bring the machzor to work or read it in the evening at home. Spending a day or so away from the computer will be good. I probably won't have a sermon to rage about and that will also be good because I don't think I will miss it. I know you surely won't miss it.

I want to cook tonight, but Jesse Jackson is speaking at the college. My boyfriend and I are going to hear him. Hopefully we'll get in. Hopefully, he won't get too tired walking.

And for the record, Lou bought a plunger and gave the one I borrowed back to our neighbor and handyman's assistant, Gene. Gene said we still needed to speak to Herb but the sink works better than it has in weeks. When I was using the plunger I heard something go pop. I think the problem is fixed and if it breaks again, we have our own plunger. We used to plunge drains all the time in the Prospect of Whitby when I was a student and it worked. I also used to plunge out stuffed up toilets as the guys in Kappa Phi Delta boggled at my gusto for such dirty work. The fact is I hated stuffed up toilets more than plunging. I also did toilet surgery. As a woman, it was important for me to have working clean toilets. I guess it is from having to sit down every time I go.


Monday, September 13, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I've kept up with both my single and multivoice blogs. I've also played a lot of Neopets. It is important to keep Neopets from replacing Brainstorms. It is important that I not seek elsewhere and keep playing pretend. I do not want to let go and move on and I won't.

I am currently nearly broke on Neopets because someone was trading a brown paintbrush for 93,000NP. I was able to put the funds together and encumber them in a trade. Now all I have to do is wait for the trader to logon and accept my offer. This is an "auto" trade so there will be no haggling. I will be broke, but when it is over, Rosalita, will be painted brown. I will now be a truely wealthy and high status pet owner. Of course I will also be a broke high status pet owner. This will feel very very strange for a while. It will be a long time until I have a lot of NP again. I will need to recover from buying the paintbrush before I can enlarge the family as well. That is OK.

I still am doing a lot of pound surfing even though I know from the pound stats I compiled yesterday that those who make any use of the pound are a tiny fraction of all Neopians. I also added to my Neoadventure today and I am getting work done too if any one believes it. I get a lot more done when I have had enough sleep. That is basicly it. I am impatient about the trade so I write neoadventure which is a children's story about my grarrl and grundo to kill time and take up for the waiting. So far I was surprised to find my Neoadventure had a three star rating. I did not think it was even that good. I am one of very few Neopians with a working Neoadventure. I guess this proves Neopets looks different to everyone that is on it.

Also, I got a new personal best at Chemistry for Beginners. I scored 779 points, enough to make me the thirty-second best player in all of Neopia. I am on the high scoring chart. I feel so good about this. If I can have another super game like the one I had this morning, I might just score enough to win a trophy.

I also tried to challenge a player to two games but she didn't like the ones I played. I challenged her to chemistry for beginners and to glophone. She refused both challenges.

I am looking over Ovid now and the more I look the less I like. I can't go into all the reasons. Ovid is a full text database of journal articles that is missing subject headings. It is also easy to fall into the pay per view side of Ovid by choosing the wrong database. This can be very annoying.

I got the nursing webliography done and shipped off to Diana. Lou tried to sell his book today and tonight he is supposed to make pasta and sauce. The problem with Lou's pasta and sauce is not that it tastes delicious but that there is rarely enough for more than one time. Usually there is half a thing of pasta sauce left which is annoying too. There is not enough to use in something else and usually I have to remember to break it down into a smaller container. Tomorrow night, I get to cook kasha and speckled lima beans. We have moqua squash salad for tonight. Yes, I probably owe a recipe transcribe. Well, they can't say I'm not active at My Home is Where the Heart Is.

It is grey outside. It was supposed to rain today. Lou was also supposed to pick up a plunger because our drain got plugged up last night in the kitchen sink. I still had a load of dishes to do and my hair to do and there was this sink full of... I had tried baking soda and lime juice to clear the drain. I tried poking around with a cake tester. I tried plunging with a cup. Finally I went to Gene's and got the plunger. Gene told me to get Herb. I said Herb, our maintenance man, would yell at me and accuse me of abusing the apartment. I don't need to hear that. Gene said I would have to put up with that. I plunged the sink and it is working fine now, but we can't borrow Gene's plunger indefinitely. I would bet all of you out there any amount of money that Lou did not buy a plunger today. We are going to Walmart tonight to get a plunger.

Thursday and Friday are Rosh HaShannah. That means I leave Lou alone for a lot of the day. That means I have afternoons off to just hang out. I work this weekend too. I am going to have to stop worrying about Lou escaping back north. If he goes then he goes. I can't rip up my whole spiritual and religious life just because Lou is hanging out in the apartment. I've invited Lou as a guest at services but if he wants to go home early, I won't go with him. Rosh HaShannah means a lot to me. I even have my own machzor this year so I can read the parts cut out of the conservative version. I have wanted my own machzor for a very long time. Now I have it, and I'm going to use it.


Sunday, September 12, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I've come to a decision about Neopets. I want to paint Rosalita brown instead of white. Brown paint brushes are at the high end of buyability 95,000-100,000NP (always divide by 10 if NP numbers boggle you. An NP is worth about ten cents.) rather than 200,000 NP. I will then acquire or maybe before I'll get a red female tuskanniny and a yellow female techo. This will round out my family. I'll need to purchase petpets, books, training etc.. I know I want at least one desert petpet and maybe another desert or robot petpet. There is no use in having ordinary petpets.

I miss the fast connection for playing the games. I am currently about 20,000NP shy of my goal. That is closer than I've been in a while. Of course I can still pound fish though I'll probably hatch out the last two members of my neofamily.

I made sure I did a double wammy on my multi-voice boards this morning. It is important to keep my memory of Brainstorms fresh so the Third Rail board lets me play pretend to help me remember. There will come a time in October when my time away from Brainstorms will equal the duration of my time there. That is a strange thought but that is why there is Third Rail. Playing pretend is great. I look forward to it every day. There is no shortage of play pretend topics.

I got a remembering September 11th post from the queen of all forwarders Ron and Melba(also known as poster #17 and the Lord is My Rock).It was nothing but patriotic bric-a-brac and illustrations. September 11th is only three years old. No one is going to forget it for at least a generation, and most likely not for several centuries. The images add nothing. Most people only experienced the tragedy on TV. They know no one who was hurt, killed, or inconvenienced by it. If you don't have relatives or friends who either travelled to New York or Washington to do rescue work or cleanup or who lived in those cities, you are likely to be separated from the tragedy by at least three degrees. You have nothing to add but a me-too, and those by definition are a yawn. I suspect there are more 9/11 posts in my inbox. I dread opening up my email.

I fell asleep at 9pm last night and woke up at 4am. I could not go back. My intestimes were mildly crampy and bloated with irritable bowel. I drank a 20oz Pepsi on Friday so I know what is causing the cramps. Lou got up and we talked a bit. He is now back in bed. I just heard him cough.

There is cheddar dill bread from yesterday for breakfast and I am oddly hungry. I may even get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. It rained yesterday and I had a nap in the middle of the day. Lou and I went out grocery shopping. I am still trying to get a handle on food for two people who do not eat the same way. This is not as easy as it looks or sounds.

Lou also went for coffee. I went for a walk in light rain and got soaking wet. I don't like sitting in coffee shops. Dunkin Doughnuts smells terrible. It even has a drive in window. Go figure on that one. Why would any one get a box of Dunkin Doughnuts to eat with coffee when one can go to the supermarket and buy graham crackers (the cinamon ones are best) to have with their coffee or some other sort of sweet for a lot less money? I know there are people who adore Krispy Kreme's but to me doughnuts are just not anything to write home about, and Krispy Kreme places make Dunkin Doughnuts smell good by comparison.

Today it looks grey out. This is not hurricane Ivan. He comes by on Wednesday when I am working a split shift. I have to score a web site competition Wednesday afternoon. I am hoping we do not have a power outage then. I don't pray about hurricanes. God made the weather and so it has to be His will be done. I suppose I could pray over the power not going out since that is subject to human error. Maybe the power will hold since they had to trim a lot of trees back after Frances came through here. Ivan is a category five storm, one with a name likely to be retired.

Lou thinks that the storms are not natural disasters but that the government is manipulating the weather. I think this is bovine excrement and told Lou so. He is used to hearing me say things like that.

Lou also showed me photos of a picture of a man who had a religious vision back in the 1950's. These are photos taken of a photograph pasted on a shrine where the man had his vision. The man's name was Charlie Grestel and he saw a vision of Jesus carving little angels out of little wooden logs. Lou thinks there is a ghost in the photos. I just think it is an artifact of the photography. Lou thinks I am a party pooper.

I wonder if it is possible to get cabin fever here in Georgia. The answer is yes if you don't go out often enough, but now the answer may be yes because the sky is always overcast. I can't remember such a rainy September even in Upstate New York.


Saturday, September 11, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I've gone crazy with Neopets. So far there is no harm done and there probably won't be. It is easy to come to your senses when you can still feel the damage, but I think I really have. OK, let's start with the basics. Scarcity produces wanting. Other people wanting legitimizes your own wanting, and soon you are wanting like crazy and while you might not be dumb enough to beg and articulate that wanting for all to see, you absorb it like water into a sponge.

OK, what do I mean. It all started Wednesday night when someone on the fan club board announced that tomorrow was Draik Day. Draiks are limited edition pets that are quite a bit nicer looking than scorchios and high status. The eggs could be had open market in the food store at Merridell for about 60-100k neopoints. I had 75k to my name so this was something worth trying. Neopets is on the west coast so a new day begins at three am. Yes, I had work in the morning. Yes, I stayed up and stayed up through two restocks and saw not one single draik egg. I don't know any one who found one but that doesn't mean they were not released. In a population of over a million active members twenty draik eggs is a drop in the bucket, and the Neopets Team is famous for releasing new anything in very small quantities except nonlimited edition pets.

The next day I ran over to the fan club board at Neopia and low and behold someone was asking for pets up for adoption. After the previous night's foolishness I replied somewhat acidly that the Neopian Pound was full of pets. Then of course someone was hawking their painted pet wares. I had to look. I saw a mutant techo and he was a handsome thing with tale spikes and even a small promiment forehead. I had to have him. I apologized to the owner and applied. This meant I gave a piece of Rosalita's web page to a small role play story involving the techo and Rosalita. The problem is the woman who was in charge of the adoptions had an unreadable user lookup. Her name was written in small sccrunchy font so I used her userID instead. Big mistake. I did not get my techo.

I realized it was time to come to my senses. Here is what my senses said: First they said, there are over sixty pets in the pound. They also said other things about the pound, none of them good. They also said that I can hatch out a standard color techo and get 50NP for my troubles. Senses have a hard time being heard throgh a haze of exhaustion.

I did try to adopt a mutant mohog from the pound but someone else got him first. Most painted pets in the pound are just teases anyway, and this also includes limited edition pets. Actually a trip through the pound is morally instructive. The pound is full of yesterday's hot nonlimited edition pets and also oddly enough skeiths and pteris whom people seem to create for the avatar and then abandon. This is not a subject that people discuss on the fan club or any other board. I don't have statistics yet, but the pound is full of yurbles (lions) pet number forty-eight and rukis (ants) pet number forty-nine. People created them when they were hot and dumped them when they were not.

And all this talk about orphanages and adoption agencies that rescue pets, paint them, and give them homes is hot air. The pound already does this and does not ask users to go through a ritual of deference (an application) to get the pet. Also rescuers seldom adopt pets with the worst names. These are left for low investment users and newbies.

And last but not least, a point brush or pieces of the lab map are out of the price range of most users. I sort of have the research to prove this one. Your average neopian selling semolina (as close to a random sample as I could get N=37) usually does not have any painted pets and can usually afford only one petpet. He or she has a two room Neohome in Neopia Central. Usually the home is furnished. 100,000NP plus paintbrshes are simply out of range.

Most of the showing off and fan club board talk though would make it seem like everyone has 500,000NP at their disposal. That is because the wealthiest players do all the talking. Poor players beg and are yelled at unless they make ritual deference. Straight begging gets laughed at. The Neorules and fear of reprisals which is how the rules are enforced keep the following discussions from emerging: "Painting pets is really dumb. It just changes the outside. You are better off putting your money into training and reading to your pets. Who wants a dumb pet." or "Do you know how those rich Neopians made their money...ripping the rest of us off!" or "It's not fair. The Neopets Team should allow more base colors for pets or they should release more paint brushes so the price drops to a quarter of what it is right now." This last would meet with a reply that lowering prices is not fair to those who worked hard to buy the more expensive item. The standard reply is that those hard working souls lacked the patience to wait until the price dropped. Of course they will be playing ice hockey in the infernal regions on the day that one hears any arguments like what I just wrote down.

One more sour note in this off key song: Someone was advertising that they painted pets for free on Neopia. They had a Geocities site and asked for userid, password, and a few other details. Yeah.....if you want to know that paint brushes are out of range, just look at the site. The poor don't want something for nothing. They want the something, and when they can not have the something they are fat prey for those who are less than honest. And yes, the Neopets Team could cut all of this off at the roots. They could realease more base colors and more paint brushes to drop the rpice. They could make dropping pets off at the pound prohibitively expensive or impose a random waiting period before a pound pet is released for adoption. This would prevent pound transfers. This would deprive the wealthiest Neopians of an endless stream of pets to zap and show off. Cheaper paint brushes would also make other people's painted pets less desirable.

Once again, they'll be playing ice hockey you know where before any of this happens. So where does that leave me. I let all of you know I was going all moralistic. I've gone all moralistic before and was moderately successful. I do very little gambling on Neopia, especially gambling that puts pets in danger. I consider that unethical. We all know who always wins at the gaming tables and wheels. Say it three times fast.

Well this time around, I decided no more chasing after painted pets. I am going to take down the application and that is that. If I want to adopt, the pound has over sixty pets and if I want to choose the name and get the right color and sex combination guess what, I can hatch out my own pet. I've seen lots of pets in the pound and learned that tuskaninnies make up well in red and are handsome things and I've seen that techoes make up well in yellow.

Now there are two added complications. I have only four slots. I have two full and while Rosalita is a fantastic pet, she is also the most common color for a grarrl. She should have been yellow. She'd also look great in white and oddly enough in brown too. Well, a brown paint brush is a buyable item. It is a hair under 100,000NP and I have 75,000NP to my name. I am close. The other pets will be level one freebies. I will need to spend a lot of money training and reading afterwards. Freebies will not longer suffice. It looks like my paintbrush dream is not eliminated but it is going to get scaled back. I intend to paint Rosalita brown. White pets are scarce so Shanti can stay as she is. The others will make up well and be fairly rare creatures. Sorry, I read the stats so I know. I started out moral and ended up an aesthetically minded smart consumer. What can I say.

Now that was the first complication. The second one is that I am awaiting a yellow grndo whom I promised to adopt. Her name is Cosmica. She has a good name, good color (one of the less common ones), and good stats. Her owner was surprised I liked her so. He considers her disposible and generic. We were supposed to transfer her to me through the pound (just like a high class painted pet) yesterday. The owner never released her. There is no harm in giving him a few more days while I earn the paint brush money.

We'll see how all this holds up. I learned about tuskaninnies in the pound. I see very few owners with them. I still don't even have two names picked out. I suspect I won't be getting Cosmica. I won't pester the owner. He may have decided that if someone else wanted his pet she is worth keeping after all.

One of the best characteristics I arrived with on Neopia is a lack of the dominent aesthetic. The dominent aesthetic likes fairy and cute animals. A few boys go in for the fire and darigan looks (think dragon), but most want their pets cute. Lupes (wolves), kougras (tigers), and shoryus (something that looks like a Pokemon prize), are the favorite creatures. Cybunnies also have a following. Being fond of grarrls, grundos, techoes, skeiths, and also oddly enough tuskaninnies makes me able to pick up and appreciate bargains. The consumer market place rewards those with refined and unusual tastes.

Will I stay moral on Neopets. Who knows....By the way, I like doing the multivoice boards better than I like writing single voice blog. I'm not sure why.

I need to get up and start fixing breakfast. Lou is in the bathroom sulking, a ritual he goes through every morning. My bed is unmade right now. I planned to get up and go back to sleep to meditate but Lou is up now so no go there. I also want to make cheddar dill bread. I have yet to grate the cheese because I've been on the machine. I could make the quick bread when I get home. The recipe calls for self-rising flour and I went on the Cook's Thesaurus and got the substitution last night. It's flour with some baking powder and salt.

The apartment is a wreack. Lou prommised to both look after his car and vacuum. You know what has happened here. Lou wants to grocery shop. We are not shopping until some menues have been planned. Lou and I no longer eat the same food so all this gets really weird really fast.

I am teaching Libr1105 in the spring. I am teaching Libr1105 in the spring. I am teaching Libr1105 in the spring. I wish I could talk more about this but I don't have to give that big final project any more. I feel relieved in some ways. I wish I could write more about this but while Neopets is cool for this blog, work is not.

I want to do some walking today. When I lived alone I had submarine supper on Saturday. I don't live alone any more. I blew off home worship last night to make dinner and talk to Lou. I just did. I am blowing off schul to write. I just missed meditating. You get the idea.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I've been on a site clean up with Haldis. Part of it was to get and keep her site in fighting trim. Like any good site fighter, and in our case site fighting administrator, I have a conscience about such things. Haldis made the upper division at the Webleagues. She may be winning. She may be losing, but she is there so the site got a cleanup and I finally got her spirit page into decent shape. In fact, Haldis is extremely proud of her creation and she entered it into Webleagues' spirit page contest.

Well when you start voting for one thing, you vote for everything in sight. In this case, Haldis started voting at the Between the Storms topsite only to find she was winning! Not only is she winning, she is the only one participating. Stuff on the net runs derelict. The information highway has a zillion empty barns along the roadside and Haldis has found one. Haldis needs a real topsite. She also has a vote exchange list and would be willing to trade her topsite/spirit page votes which are never email for regular nonemail votes. Email voting is a pain in the butt.

Finding a topsite is not an easy task. There is a pretty good one where all the fighters hang out or a fair number of them. The woman who runs it, however, dissed Thadea back in 2002. That is a memory that stays with me and like me, Thadea and Haldis have long memories. It is a kind of revenge served cold that Haldis and Thadea score some of the people who would otherwise have nothing to do with them.

Tomorrow I start rostering early for Webleagues. Thadea and Haldis could not get next week off due to Rosh HaShannah. Lou by the way, doesn't even know how close we are to the High Holy Days. I have my own machzor so I'm psyched. Haldis and Thadea who are both observant are also psyched. It is great to be here talking about my avatars loud and proud. Somet things are things one has to remember to be grateful for. Sorry for the tortured grammar.

I'm out of the fiscal hole on Neopets and even managed to go shopping. It looks like I may be a bit past the half way point towards getting a paint brush if I want a silver one. If I want a white one, I'm about forty percent of the way there. What I fear in this mad race is inflation. By the time I have the money, the price will be beyond my reach. I don't want to be chasing a moving target. I am chasing a moving target. This is madness.

If it goes as badly as all that, I will end up with a krawk. A krawk is the most exclusive Neopet. It costs 500,000NP and it is an open market purchase. I suspect the price of doubloons, secondary currency, needed to purchase a krawk, is advancing more slowly than the price of paint brushes. We will see. Neopets was supposed to be fun.

Neopets is fun. It is just I who gravitate toward the competitive center of gravity and get sucked into this vortex. I want to be the best. I want to be as wealthy as any old timer. I want to show off. I can not help myself. I am powerless. This is not addiction. In the right place and at the right time, this is a very adatpive set of skills. On Neopets or in a web site competition, I run with the bait and eat myself alive while doing it.

I can see outside myself just enough to not forget I am down in the groove no matter how deep I go. That is my problem. I see those who can walk into the pound and adopt a level one pet (and I've seen several to my liking, correct gender and color and species and not atrociously named, but I hesitate...always and say I'll come back in a few hours) and not worry about all they will have to do. I sense committment and say I'd rather get 50NP or name it myself and I wonder about the new addition to my family.

One of the things everyone should understand about Neopets is that it is a totally customizable experience. Each player who stays and is successful, takes the parts that work for him or her and leaves the rest. This means that my Neopian experience is tailor made to my needs. I play very few games with plot content and do almost no gambling. I play Tyrannean Miniature Golf, two pattern recognition games Chemistry for Beginners and Glophone, Destructo-match (also a pattern recognition game) and somtimes Deckswabber (a chasing game) or Word Poker. My trip into Neopets is like punching a time clock. I make my money. I always get cash, my preferred prize. I invest 3000NP - 4000NP in the bank towards that paintbrush and spend the remaining 1000NP as I see fit. Today I bought two veggie sausages, two tiger squash corndogs, a book, and an abacus (a toy). I liked this better than any prize combination I could have won. Being able to pick and choose what I want is very important to me. Someone else playing Neopets would see an entirely different world and have an entirely different experience.

I also want to mention the pets. A nonhuman pesonna is in many ways more real than a human one. Rosalita is a female grarrl. She deals with issues of body image and feminity in general. She stands about three feet tall but weights more than I do by about ten pounds. She has a voracious appetite and is as strong as a small tank. She is also fleet on her feet and blazingly smart. She is an all around over achiever without being beautiful. She is a full pragmatist. She does not care if she gets painted though she knows it is a good thing, because she is a dreadfully common color. The color looks good on her and well trained female grarrls who were born as such are extremely rare already. She does not understand why the rest of the world at Neopets is not as pragmatic as she is. Grarrls make great pets because of their strength, hardiness, and the fact that they are born fairly smart. Yet, the pound is full of misbegotten ill named but otherwise wonderful specimens.

Shanti, my white grundo, is a different case. She too is also strong and smart. Like all grundos she came into the world dimwitted, in other words, barely sentient. That was a long time ago, but it gives her a different view of the world than Rosalita. Shanti is more likely to look back on the road over which she has come and be a bit philosophical. She remembers nothing of the first days of her life other than sickness and pain. I was a bad owner and spun the Wheel of Excitement and put my pets at risk. The cure for Shanti and Rosalita, bloated Shanti and left her miserable for the first three days of her existence. Shanti thinks silver is purer than white though she also understands that asking for a paint brush is crass. She too sees members of her own species not as well cared for as she is. Any trip through the pound is a sobering experience.

The ironic thing about Shanti is that she was a wholly wanted and chosen creature. Rosalita whom I wouldn't trade for all the tonus in the world, is not. I wanted a tonu when Rosalita was born. I still do, but I am glad I started out with a grarrl. A tonu is a limited addition pet. I think of it as a manticore though I know it is not one. It is a lion with a big horn on its head. I have been stalking the pound to try and get one. Fat chance. I am not in the pound tonight and that is a very good thing.

I saw the sun on my way home from work. It was not out for that long, but it was out and it made a nice sunset. Lou says he is making pasta with sauce (that means tomato sauce...made from tomatoes and paste, not from a jar. Heaven forbid! Even I don't make that!) for supper tomorrow night. I have to remind him though.

I got the general medicine webliography done at work today and I need to clean litter pans, carpet etc... tomorrow in the apartment. Georgia and Hertzel are off somewhere doing their cat things. Georgia is sleeping in the computer room doorway. I suspect Hertzel is on my bed.

I'm more than half way through Zola's Nana. Nana is different from his other books due to the way he had to describe sex back in the 19th Century among respectable people as opposed to miners or peasants. Nana is a nice complex character. She is not a prostitute with a heart of gold. She is voracious. She wants to make love for love's sake but has to do it for pay and can't seem to keep the two separate. I don't know if any body can. This is one weird kind of tragic flaw. I like the theater people and the rich hypocritical people, many of whom flock after Nana and some of whom bed her for a price until she gets sick of them. I have no idea how the book ends, but I have a hunch it is not good. Zola has a habit of leaving piles of dead bodies around at the end of his novels. That is what makes Zola a great author.

I went walking after work today. I am determined to continue to take exercise. Lou could sit in the dark apartment all day long. He doesn't, but he could. He won't go walking with me, so I go walking for a half hour after work alone. I don't think of amnything good when I walk. Because I have been playing a lot of Neopets lately, visions of yurbles (lions), the poor man's tonu (lion with a horn) run through my brain. I also think of how hungry I am. That does not say much for going for a walk. Maybe tomorrow's walk will be better.

I got up the Patter Prompter for Ladies Advance today. It won't be up for long, but the border image is hand sketched. Ladies Advance is currently patterless. I also owe a bill to LSoft for the list and haven't seen their invoice yet. I may phone them if I don't hear anything by the twentieth. I do want to pay the list rent because I love the list. Ladies Advance is one special group. It will be two years old in November. What is it I say about quitters. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Ladies Advance is testimony to that fact.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Hurricane Frances, or rather Tropical Storm Frances, as she was known here in Western Georgia, almost meant Haldis did not get to score her team at Webleagues Monday night. This would have been in her words "a major public embarassment." Quite simply both Thadea and Haldis live in Iowa City, Iowa right now which is nowhere near the path Frances took. We had a power outage in the complex from 10pm to 11:30pm Eastern time. I was very relieved when the power went on because I would have had to think of some very weird explanation for Haldis being unable to score. Blackouts are great adventures, but I am glad we did not have one of those lengthy outages like they had in Florida.

Haldis also has a new spirit page on her web site. She even entered it in the spirit page competition at Webleagues. This felt good. The spirit page uses style sheets, fancy tabling, and a scanned image. In other words, it is a spiffy piece of work.

I managed to catch up on all my multivoice boards today. It was more important to do this than play Neopets though I did some of that too. It is also easier to write multivoice than single voice some of the time. I figure that multivoice keeps Brainstorms alive in me in a play pretend way and keeps me sharp for that opportunity for vengance which I still want very badly. Opportunities are a long time in coming. I managed to get in a couple of critiques of Alan Sondheim over the years. I figure the crew that runs Brainstorms is not as private as they think they are. They deserve to be exposed for the rank hypcrites and shit heads that they are.

Right now I can't keep my eyes out of the Neopian Pound. What I am looking for is a tonu. It was my first choice for pet but they are limited edition. I saw a kiko in the pound Sunday night but did not adopt him. He was blue and blue kiko are ugly. Just because something is limited edition does not make it beautiful. I would not mind a jetsam either. I've seen very few of them anywhere. Of course most pound pets are the most outrageous kind of throwaways. It is a sad thing walking through the pound.

I made myself out of the neopoint hole I created bringing Shanti up to eighth level. I can't stand not being able to train and improve my pets because I am saving for that stupid paintbrush. I've just hit a rash of pets with insulting names. My skin is starting to crawl. This is worse than the luck I had gambling and with the freebies this evening. In other words, I had no luck. I've sort of made my own. I tried the new Petpet Sitter game. The game exists to sell and promote petpets, an extravegant use of neopoints but it scores well and is not that hard.

Hurricane, or rather Tropical Storm Frances, has come and gone. She left a lot of scattered leaves and small branches all around the complex and knocked out power for an hour and a half last night. She howled. I remember wind howling from Utica, New York. The wind there howled all winter. It was just something one accepted. Here howling wind is a novelty.

There were about a million people in Georgia without power but most people were only without it for a few hours. The storm did batter the marigolds in the container garden. Those few hardy specimens have been through quite enough.

Lou is going to have the brakes on his car fixed tomorrow. He found out when there is no line at the Goodyear place out on Milgen Road, and he is going early tomorrow morning. There was a Mexican restaurant across from the Goodyear place and I got a menu. I was not thrilled. I can make better Mexican food at home and I can sort of make better Chinese food at home too. Restaurant food, when you come down to it, is just not that good.

I got to try the blue cheese I bought in the DeKalb Farmer's Market. Lou thought the roquefort looked runny and I decided not to buy the cheapest blue. Much to my surprise this blue cheese tasted much better than the Treasure Cave I am used to. It was creamy and not runny. It was a waste to make blue cheese dressing with it. I think it would be good on toast or baked potato, not that I'm buying any potatoes soon. The honey roasted peanut butter that comes out of the machine at Whole Foods is also heavenly. I ate better than I possibly could at any restaurant tonight.

I also had no work today. They closed the campus until 4pm and it was not my night to work so I didn't have to go in. I have my art spplies in my backpack. I know I sh ould draw something to scan for a border for the Ladies Advance Patter Prompter that is woefully behind. I also have the general medicine webliography to work on. It just needs revision and then it has to be proof read, the changes from the proof read inserted, and the whole business sent to Diana, the systems librarian. This is really not such a bad job.

I lost my circadian rhythm over the Labor Day break. I slept three hours this morning. It is going to feel strange to sleep at night and work by day again. I have turned into quite a nightowl.

I do know it will be good to see the sun and moon again. Even after Frances stopped pounding us the sky was grey all day and the wind blew in weird directions. I am hoping to see the sun again by the end of the week. I never thought I would miss the fierce brain-baking Georgia sun but there is a first time for everything.


by Eileen Kramer

Hurricane Frances, or rather Tropical Storm Frances, as she was known here in Western Georgia, almost meant Haldis did not get to score her team at Webleagues Monday night. This would have been in her words "a major public embarassment." Quite simply both Thadea and Haldis live in Iowa City, Iowa right now which is nowhere near the path Frances took. We had a power outage in the complex from 10pm to 11:30pm Eastern time. I was very relieved when the power went on because I would have had to think of some very weird explanation for Haldis being unable to score. Blackouts are great adventures, but I am glad we did not have one of those lengthy outages like they had in Florida.

Haldis also has a new spirit page on her web site. She even entered it in the spirit page competition at Webleagues. This felt good. The spirit page uses style sheets, fancy tabling, and a scanned image. In other words, it is a spiffy piece of work.

I managed to catch up on all my multivoice boards today. It was more important to do this than play Neopets though I did some of that too. It is also easier to write multivoice than single voice some of the time. I figure that multivoice keeps Brainstorms alive in me in a play pretend way and keeps me sharp for that opportunity for vengance which I still want very badly. Opportunities are a long time in coming. I managed to get in a couple of critiques of Alan Sondheim over the years. I figure the crew that runs Brainstorms is not as private as they think they are. They deserve to be exposed for the rank hypcrites and shit heads that they are.

Right now I can't keep my eyes out of the Neopian Pound. What I am looking for is a tonu. It was my first choice for pet but they are limited edition. I saw a kiko in the pound Sunday night but did not adopt him. He was blue and blue kiko are ugly. Just because something is limited edition does not make it beautiful. I would not mind a jetsam either. I've seen very few of them anywhere. Of course most pound pets are the most outrageous kind of throwaways. It is a sad thing walking through the pound.

I made myself out of the neopoint hole I created bringing Shanti up to eighth level. I can't stand not being able to train and improve my pets because I am saving for that stupid paintbrush. I've just hit a rash of pets with insulting names. My skin is starting to crawl. This is worse than the luck I had gambling and with the freebies this evening. In other words, I had no luck. I've sort of made my own. I tried the new Petpet Sitter game. The game exists to sell and promote petpets, an extravegant use of neopoints but it scores well and is not that hard.

Hurricane, or rather Tropical Storm Frances, has come and gone. She left a lot of scattered leaves and small branches all around the complex and knocked out power for an hour and a half last night. She howled. I remember wind howling from Utica, New York. The wind there howled all winter. It was just something one accepted. Here howling wind is a novelty.

There were about a million people in Georgia without power but most people were only without it for a few hours. The storm did batter the marigolds in the container garden. Those few hardy specimens have been through quite enough.

Lou is going to have the brakes on his car fixed tomorrow. He found out when there is no line at the Goodyear place out on Milgen Road, and he is going early tomorrow morning. There was a Mexican restaurant across from the Goodyear place and I got a menu. I was not thrilled. I can make better Mexican food at home and I can sort of make better Chinese food at home too. Restaurant food, when you come down to it, is just not that good.

I got to try the blue cheese I bought in the DeKalb Farmer's Market. Lou thought the roquefort looked runny and I decided not to buy the cheapest blue. Much to my surprise this blue cheese tasted much better than the Treasure Cave I am used to. It was creamy and not runny. It was a waste to make blue cheese dressing with it. I think it would be good on toast or baked potato, not that I'm buying any potatoes soon. The honey roasted peanut butter that comes out of the machine at Whole Foods is also heavenly. I ate better than I possibly could at any restaurant tonight.

I also had no work today. They closed the campus until 4pm and it was not my night to work so I didn't have to go in. I have my art spplies in my backpack. I know I sh ould draw something to scan for a border for the Ladies Advance Patter Prompter that is woefully behind. I also have the general medicine webliography to work on. It just needs revision and then it has to be proof read, the changes from the proof read inserted, and the whole business sent to Diana, the systems librarian. This is really not such a bad job.

I lost my circadian rhythm over the Labor Day break. I slept three hours this morning. It is going to feel strange to sleep at night and work by day again. I have turned into quite a nightowl.

I do know it will be good to see the sun and moon again. Even after Frances stopped pounding us the sky was grey all day and the wind blew in weird directions. I am hoping to see the sun again by the end of the week. I never thought I would miss the fierce brain-baking Georgia sun but there is a first time for everything.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I've been spending a lot of time in the pound on Neopets. I've been doing that for a lot of reasons. The connection from home is too slow for many of the games and it is interesting to see the world of Neopia from the bottom up instead of the top down. I've seen the wealthiest Neopians who have wealth in both skills and Neopoints. Their user-lookups are fully filled out (or concealed) and customized. Their pets are often painted and they have large neohomes, neodecks, and even galleries for stores. Often they have multiple accounts and often they give away pets they have painted or morphed with the lab ray so they can fill another of their four slots and do it again. They demand deference from the prospective adoptees in the form of an application. Never mind that these wealthy ones are not doing this themselves.

The wealthy ones use the pound as the transfer point for their precious creations. The means is simple. The wealthy one selects her adoptee by Neomail and gives her the time for the adoption. This must be done quickly or someone else, a stranger, will snatch the pet. Often the wealthy one and the adoptee use some form of outside instant messaging to coordinate their efforts. At a given time, the painted pet goes to the pound and then the adoptee does a name search, finds it, pays a fairly hefty fee (over 500NP) and adopts the creature for far less than it would cost to paint one of their own pets. Since a casual visitor to the pound does not know the painted pet's name, they probably won't find it by accident, though I have seen painted pets in the pound twice and a limited edition pet once. It is possible with a very fast computer to do a pound snatch, but that is only in theory.

The pound search engine facilitates this kind of wealthy and selective adoption by allowing search on a creature's name only. For everyone else, one must watch the pets presented at random three at a time. There is no way to search by color, sex, or species, or even level.

Now of course most of what goes on in the Neopian Pound is NOT wealthy owners passing off painted creations to deserving adoptees. The vast overwheling by orders of magnitude majority of pets are generic and level one. Many do not even have names. A grarrl named Grarrl0030neo does not reall have a name. He is like a dog named "dog." There are also pets with derogatory names such as Fatboy or Garbagecanman or I_like_my_farts.

Who adopts such creatures? It isn't me. Each pet needs a fair investment of time to modify its pet page and userlookup. Also each pet means that the blessings of Coltzan and other once per day freebies spread that much thinner. If you create a pet it is either free as in the case of grundos or you receive 50NP. There are some pets such as krawks and draiks that cost a lot (over 100,000NP) more but let's leave these out. Why should I spend around 75NP or more at the pound when I can choose a pet's name, sex, and species and either spend nothing or get 50NP in return? Why should any one adopt an ordinary generic pound pet?

Charity is the motive I suppose, but a sweet gesture followed by a lot of effort. As far as I know, the pound is a no-kill operation. I have no idea how many pets are in there. That would be a good bean counting study. Meanwhile, I decided to learn who adopts. I wrote down the names of pets I might want, mainly grarrls, skeiths, grundos, and occasionally techos. I then came back several hours later and searched the pound. Usually the pets were gone.

I then searched on the pets using Neopets ever ready and ever handy database and was able to find their owners. Almost universally the people who adopt pound pets are members with less than six months experience and most often they are newbies. Often these newbies are kids. A surprising number of letters sent to these newbies (I'm looking for grarrl and skeith owners for role playing) fail because the kids lack parental permission so they play without contact of other players. As pets in the hands of kids with crippled memberships, the pound pets don't have all that great a future.

I am glad they are not real flesh and blood creatures. This is something I have to remind myself about. Now why don't I adopt....I've almost done it, but I am allowed four pets and have two slots left. I have a lot of NP in the bank where it doesn't burn a hole in my pocket. I could use the money and some codestones I also have in the safe deposit box to bring two additional pets up to speed, but the pound would still be there. There would still be kids badly naming (Names can't be changed) and abandoning their creations when they got bored with them and my gesture would if anything just make room for more of the same.

Now why do newbies adopt from the pound? Well the pound advertises with a big sign, bigger than the Create A Pet graphic at Pet Central which is where you come into when you first log in. It is quite possible that newbies adopt by mistake as well as out of charitable reasons. And given that a lot of younger Neopians are inummerate it doesn't click that it is cheaper to create a pet than adopt one.

Yes, and there wouldn't have to be a pound on Neopia. Those who run the place could take all kinds of measures to prevent kids from disowning their virtual pets. A prohibitive drop off fee would be a start. Permitting name change certificates or sex change certificates that are reasonably priced so that misnamed or missexed pets can be fixed up and kept. Simply delaying the pet creation process until after sign up would help owners create pets more carefully so they might be less likely to abandon.

Nearly all first pets are created on impulse. Rosalita clearly was. She is a very common color, a not particularly common species, and a very unusual species and sex combination. I was just plain lucky. Her name comes from a song by Bruce Springsteen that was going through my head when I created her. This was my second time through Neopia. I was lucky with Felicite, the first Neopet I ever created. I've lost access to her because the account I had in 2000 was purged due to inactivity. I'd like to get her back, but I can see how a lot of newbies aren't so lucky.

I don't have to say that there is a gulf of a world between the kids abandoning and adopting ordinary pets in the pound and the rarified world of Fan Club board adoptions of painted precious creatures. Since Neopets is so customizable and diverse, the worlds rarely ever meet. Wealthwise I stand between the world. I have about half of what I need for a paintbrush, though part of me wants to chuck the whole entrprise of the long slog of saving up. I'm also just a bit too ruthless, fiscally savvy, and fussy to adopt an ordinary level one pet from the pound.

I did a bean count study to get what I think may be the average wealth of an average Neopian, but I'm not sure my sample was random enough. Random samples are hard to come by in Neopia. According ot my survey I am within one standard deviation of mean wealth. Don't ask me where ordinary Neopians fit in to Fan Club and Guild Adoptions and the bottom of the pound. I just plain don't know.

Lou found that the kitty bathroom which he uses is full of ants. He insisted we buy some traps, so we got them at K-Mart this morning. The ants are now history. The poison worked that fast. I've made my second pan of corn bread. Lou keeps earlier horus than I do and he's sleeping in the living room.

This is a long weekend so in some ways it's a real blessing that we can be together. We are home a lot and not going out much. We went to Atlanta to Whole Foods and the DeKalb Farmer's Market yesterday. The fridge is fully stocked. I'll post some recipes when I get a chance.

Since I've been spending most of my time with my boyfriend, this blog has suffered in the worst way. So too have some web boards where I try to write every day and a mailing list, to which I contribute and which I own. I don't know what do do about this. I just put up with it. I guess things will settle out in due time.

Hurricane Frances is supposed to cross the Gulf after passing through Western Florida (Pummeling it is more like it.) and come north up the Georgia-Alabama border late Monday/early Tuesday. By the time it reaches Columbus it will just be a good soaking rain storm with a few extra winds thrown in. Still, we got a warning at work from the systems librarian to UNPLUG our computers to protect them from power surges. Work on Tuesday will be interesting to say the least.

Actually no one knows what Frances will be like when she comes inland. The eye of the hurricane is huge and this is one of those slow wet soaking storms. The hurricane will pick up fresh strength as it goes over the Gulf so again no one knows. Lou and I bought flashlights at K-mart along with the ant traps.

Today was sunny and warm. We are eating out a lot less than we usually do when we are together. I guess this is a good thing except I miss the getting taken out aspect. Lou wants to lose weight, so staying away from all you can eat joints is a very good idea.

I have prickly heat all over my stomach, back, and even breasts. I have been having night sweats again and that sets it off. Once you prickle in one place, you get more prickles. That means I need a bath TONIGHT to work on the prickles. Middle aged women are not supposed to get prickly heat. What can I say.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I had a very interesting play pretend experience today. Play pretend is a great alternative when someone hangs up on you on the phone. Just keep up the conversation. With a cell phone this is great. I've even used a cell phone to pray. This gives you an endless conversation where no one hangs up. This was on the land line though. I think my boyfriend got cut off. He is in North Carolina on his way to see me and I'll tell all of you that quite frankly, I'm a bundle of nerves. Well, he got cut off just as I said something not too nice about a mutual friend of ours who can't make time to visit us on his way east from New Mexico to North Augusta Georgia on the border with the South Carolina coast.

I just held on to the receiver and decided to have a play pretend conversation. Part of me wanted to see the principles of play pretend at work away from the net. The phone gives you an interesting platform for talking. I like to see how play pretend works in different mediums. I started by psyching myself up because one way phone conversations feel a little strange. I reminded myself that quitters never win and winners never quit. It is amazing how these little epigrams inspire me. I just have to remember them and remind myself of them. I reminded myself of how great play pretend is, and then I carried on the conversation.

If you are curious what I talked about, I told my play pretend version of my boyfriend the story of the empty chair which is a piece of glurge except it is a great tale about play pretend too. In this case play pretend gives an old man a new lease on spiritual life. See someone has been on to this before me.

Anyway, doing play pretend on a land line has a little quirk. If you talk to a dial tone you get that godawful noise that phones make when they are left off the hook, so I just held down the hang up button to keep that noise from disturbing my pretend play. Well I let the button up just a little bit and the phone rang. Lou must have assumed there was a malfunction at my end. In a way I think there was one at his end too. If he is so angry at me and so hair trigger (and he is not. At least that is how I remember him) that the slightest bad thing said about Rodney pisses him off to the point of hanging up a phone, I really don't want him here. Well before I could do anything, I just hung up on the one ring by accident. I guess I ended up with a play pretend call instead of a real one, but such is life. Who is to say we wouldn't have gotten cut off again. I hope Lou is still heading south, but if he isn't I have my Mr. Wonderful doll and plans for a play pretend boyfriend that is a bit more portable, since our society has taboos against taking a Mr. Wonderful doll on dates and such.

Anyway, that is hardly an appropriate masthead for this blog and this blog needs a masthead because I haven't run one up in a while. It was worth it to be kicked off of Brainstorms. My Pretend Brainstorms is better than the original any day of the week. It was worth it to be who I am and do what I did (which wasn't that bad) and say what I said which I was led to believe was OK and they changed the rules in mid stream. I don't want to forget, move on, or let go. Getting booted out of Brainstorms taught me about the wonderful world of play pretend. It made me an advocate for both having avatars and playing pretend. I wish everyone would learn to play pretend. The world would be a better place. Woo hoo. Yes ineed! You bet your bippy! Passion, enthusiasm, and joy are the rules of the day here. Get used to it.

Lou just called me from Statesville, North Carolina. This puts him more than a day's journey back to Utica and two thirds of the way to Georgia. He will if all goes as hoiped for, be here about eight or nine o'clock tonight. I hope he has a key to the apartment. I have to work tonight. I may have a kitty key somewhere in the bathroom and can bury it outside for him. It will feel great to see him again and a little scarey. I will always be scaird he'll run off because he has done it so many times before.

I've been spending my half day off cleaning the apartment and washing bedding. Lou has a clean bathroom, clean towels, and the place is vacuumed. I cleaned off the bedding that had the most cat hair on it. I have to go over and fetch it from the dryer. I suspect it may be done.... Be right back.

OK, I have to put all the bedding, towels, and one litter pan together and then get dressed. Today is the last day of an eleven day week, except I also work a little less than half a day tomorrow. I have an 11am class for the senior chemistry seminar and I have a phone interview with [I'm not telling you where] but I qualify for the job in spades. The problem is getting past whatever they are going to ask on the phone I need to go through the generic interview questions in writing and then be ready for when they talk to me on the phone. The big problem is I have no questions for them right now and that is scarey. I hope I get that fixed soon.

I am one bundle of nerves. Crawling the walls does not describe how I feel. It is too much excitement and too many changes at once. If Lou does not arrive, I am going to Atlanta Saturday anyway. Tonight I have one comp to put to bed just as Lou arrives. I am going to put it to bed as he unpacks. Oh lord, I haven't taken his dresser out of the closet. Well, we'll have to do that together on Friday. I do want to insist that he unpacks. Yes, it's crazy around here. You've finally caught on.

As for yesterday, the mammalogy class offered a rather weird and pleasant surprise. The professor assigned mammals that were interesting rather than easy to find. She explained what they were to the students. She lit up and some of the students caught her enthusiasm. The problem was that they weren't on the prescribed list of full text journals so we ended up using CSA Life Sciences collection with interloans and students hit pay dirt all over the room. It is great to hear a student say: " I really want to know about the brainstem of vampire bats." Animals are probably the most interesting thing out there. Do I feel good about this class? Yes. I hope the students felt good about it too. I liked feeling how flexible I became for this professor. There is nothing that says freshman can't or shouldn't use CSA. One forgets to aim high sometimes. It was great to remember.