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.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I did not buy anything from BMG Music today but I want to buy the CD I owe myself and them. It's a vengance victory so there is no point in delaying.

I earned 6,000 points at Neopets. I don't know how many more days I am going to be able to do that. My work schedule means less down time in the office. You can figure out the rest. I have an hour's lunch break and can stay on the work machine after hours so it's not quite what you think. This arrangement lets me know what a unique Neopian I am.

I tell myself that I am going to make it to earn that rainbow paint brush for Ephraim or a disco paint brush for Shanti. I am eighteen days away from making enough NP to buy the thing or to at least try. There are very few rainbow bruces on Neopets. I've never seen one though there is no reason they can't exist. My guess is that this has something to do with the illusion of choice.

Neopia offers lots of choices but most of them are undesirable. Yes, you can have a ruki, a yurble, a bruce, or a tuskaninny. There are fifty pets, but many players consider many pets ugly. The same is true for painted pets. A mutant moehog is not as desirable as a fairy zafara. The most desirable paint brush is the baby, followed by the plushy. There are some painted grarrls but most of them were or are lab rats. Of course Neopets can always say it offers plenty of choice, and it does if one has the imagination or alternate aesthetic to take advantage of it.

As for the poverty issue, I checked the Neorules and there is nothing that would prevent the poor from speaking with disdain against the rich except them are made to feel marginalized. That is my guess. Come on to a board where painted pets are advertised for adoption and others talk about painting and zapping them with the lab ray, if you are many NP away from doing this, you wonder what could be wrong with you. This is especially true if you are told to earn it. A poor person who despairs is morally defective. The fault is his so why should he disdain the rich?

The reason is that for most Neopians, earning it is impossible. It takes two to three hours of work per day to earn 5000NP. Let's say that again. For an object that costs 250,000NP that is 50 days of earning 5000NP. That is a lot of dedication and it means two hours a day playing a repetoire of games. Oh this sounds so virtuous, but when was clocking in and hitting a time clock virtuous. Those with the wealth made it before inflation. They had to or they made it ripping off their fellow Neopians.

I came in, played some interesting games, and played some games that bored me. I collected my interest, and banked my earnings. I had one or two exciting Chemistry for Beginners games. Tomorrow is the first of the month and I want really good scores. A good score will net me a trophy, my first trophy and a rare one. Grand master chemists are hard to come by and I'm one of them.

I also got to see round six of level three of Deckswabber. I wish I had screen viewed it. Tombola gave me no luck, but Koltzan gave Ephraim a bit more movement. He will be quite a bruce, but tomorrow, Bball_fan will get a trip to Koltzan or maybe Shanti. Koltzan who grants random gifts and does not hurt pets, likes Shanti. He also liles Bball_fan. She is my tonu. A tonu is a rhino with a mane. They are rare creatures.

Georgia is skin and bones and a big meow and bright eyes and a cat who still takes pleasure out of life. She came for petting tonight and ate beef and liver canned food with enthusiasm. I found a small amount of vomit in the bedroom, but she held down most of her food today.

I am monitoring Georgia's intake just as I did with Evander. That makes me feel sad inside with a dull ache. There is something about seeing the end coming. It may be a ways off. The vet thinks that she might gain weight. She has more energy. She can drink water from the toilet and she comes up on the counter to be petted. She likes to socialize at my eye level. She likes to watch what I do. She takes several passes at the food without any coaxing.

I tasted the beef and liver cat food. Those jokes about where people serve canned catfood as pate or eat it instead of people food are not that unbelievable. The beef and liver food tasted very good.

The good news and there is good news is that Georgia does not have to be fed separately from Hertzel. She likes the canned food better than he does and eats it enthusiastically enough that she gets her share. She gets more than he does. He doesn't care. Georgia's problem is the hair balls and a generally unthrifty gut. I don't know which has made her so thin. Georgia gets enrecal twice a day. I will ask the vet how much I can give her.

Georgia also does not act like a sick cat, cowering off to get well or just stay safe. She is out all over the apartment except the living room but she goes there too occaisonally. I don't go in the living room that often. She prefers to be in the room with mommy even though the desk top is off limits to her now. She is awake in a floor nest watching the doorway so she can see Hertzel.

I will miss Georgia unbelievably when she is gone. I will weep a thousand tears when she gets to acting sick. The vet sait it is we humans who worry about these things. Cats just enjoy life and Georgia seems to be doing just that. I have to try to enjoy it with her.

I made green pea escarole soup with potatoes, tomatoes, and olives tonight. I have been craving potatoes like they are out of style.

I also got my meds refilled and when I took my first xanax pill it kicked on the way to work. It was great to feel the withdrawal reaction stop like it had never been there. Suddenly I was back in my skin and feeling comfortable there. All the pain left except my sore feet. I felt really good. My bills are paid, including the rent. That felt good. Georgia ate breakfast. That felt good. The sun was out. That was good. I did not even mind having to go to work.

There are four days left in an eleven day week. I am going to be on the desk a lot more. That will be good. I hope it is busy tomorrow morning. I hope I get up early enough to enjoy Georgia eating breakfast. I had en extra hour every day. That was a gift. Once a year there is a twenty-five hour day. You make this up with a twenty-three hour day in the spring, but I don't want to think about that, not tonight...


Saturday, October 30, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I finally slew the malware monster. Yes, for real. Well, I did say that a few days ago. What happened? CTPLX kept reappearing and I kept killing it with the task manager. I finally got disgusted enough to run RegFreeze again and RegFreeze could not kill ctplx.dll but it showed me where it was. Fine, I would slay the thing manually. I could not find it. I reset Windows Explorer to show hidden files and looked again. There it was and its head too CTPLX.exe. I carried off the head of the malware to the recycle bin and then purged the recycle bin. Then I used the uninstall program that came with ctplx and destroyed all the subsidiary files. CTPLX has not bothered me once this evening. I suspect RegFreeze crippled it. I just finished it off but it is dead. I dance on its grave and then I spit where I danced.

My Brother in Spirit, meanwhile, yes none other than YBGeorge is out spreading malware. He does not stick it on your hard drive but the smileys he uses in his email have a link to where you can get them. http://www.smileycentral.com is one of Funwebproducts fine family of malware infested goodies. George is advertising malware. I looked up the removal process because no doubt he is infected and I sent him the URL and a piece of my mind. Benzodiazipene withdrawal no doubt fueled some of this, but hey...there is a point where as much as I want to support those who lack clexpertise (Brainstorms slang is social capital) one has to draw a line. Spreading malware is bad behavior and doing it all over a mailing list is really irresponsible. One can argue that being a bandwidth hog is OK. I don't think one can make the same arguments about malware.

I made 7,000NP at Neopets tonight. I have notes for an essay on speaking Neopian. I am also rethinking the consumer choice angle. Basicly, Neopia pretends to offer lots of consumer choices, but only a few of the choices are desirable. This is a market governed entirely by taste and aesthetics. Do you really want a snot meerca. Wouldn't you rather have a fairy zafara. Mutant kacheeks and moehogs are far more likely to find their way to the pound as do kikos and jetsams and now after the latest craze has worn off, boris like the rukis before them. Neopets purposefully makes some choices less desirable. This is the same princple as the dung and snot products. One by the way sees very few rainbow bruces. I will have an extremely rare pet when I am done. I also have yet to meet another brown grarrl though I wish Rosalita was pink. Pink is not a color that is available for grarrls and it would have been too expensive. Orange is available for grarrls and it is way out of my price range as well since the orange paint brush can be used on grundoes to have an avatar. I want to paint my grundo, Shanti, disco but not all that soon. Ephraim who is the most commonly colored of the pets, is in most need of a paint job and I'm going to buy him one come Hell or high water.

Yes, I have become a real cut throat invidious motivated obsessed Neopian. All of you out there probably knew it would happen. I know what it is I am doing and still can't stop myself. Every morning I wake up and after Georgia has been fed and I am sure she is eating and I am on my way to work I think "the games at Neopia are open." I play the same games every day, each of them three times. This is boring. This is like work. This is like punching a time clock. I get paid. I collect the interest on my bank account and then deposit the winnings. I do this in bits and snatches. I won't say how long it takes.

I am enough of an outlier to know that what I am doing is beyond reach for the vast majority of Neopians. They just don't have the computer time. Time is money. Most of the wealthy players amassed their fortunes before a huge bout of inflation that occured some time in early to mid 2004. By the time I joined in July of 2004, it had already slowed down but it had also done its damage. The wealthy at Neopets marginalize the poor. The poor are left to beg. I even find myself doing it.

Let's do the numbers again. When an item takes five months of playing every day to earn, it is unobtainable. Items get retired in that length of time as do games used to earn the item. Blah blah blah.

And yes, I have to do the RAOK guestbook. I may do the roundup tomorrow though I also have to pay bills. I don't trust this computer enough right now to want to do banking on it. I want to debloat the browser (should have done it first but at least it is going to get done) and clean out the cookies. I am still a very paranoid user who brings up the task manager every fifteen minutes to see if anything ugly has sprouted. I see a few little exploits and such from time to time, usually just one and I don't know what they are. I just know if it looks unfamiliar, I zap it.

Once I've had done with the routine cleanup on this machine, I will take some or all of the steps (Lots of steps and rather complex) in this article. I will also stop supporting the old version of RAOK's guestbook which is how this whole trouble with malware strated.

Let's start with the fact that I am fast succumbing to xanax withdrawal, which means I have a smashing headache and an upset stomach and I feel stiff and my throat is so dry it hurts. I took my last pill last night. I called in my prescription so I can pick it up before work tomorrow. Yes, this is day 6/7 of an eleven day week.

Georgia did not eat as much today as she did Thursday or Friday but she kept everything down and she is eating. It is hard to find a spot in our routine for the brushing. She is less clingy than when she was severely malnourished. She will probably be very skinny for the rest of her life. Who knows how long that will be.

I voted on Thursday. I had to wait about forty-five minutes to use machines in what looked like a converted closet. When I got to the room that had the machines, an electioon worker made me take off my Kerry button and my Majette button. I thought that was rude. After I voted, I ate my lunch. It was a grand lunch. It was an egg salad sub, a wild cherry Pepsi, and a bag of bar-b-que potato chips. You can't ask for better. I then tried to catch the shuttle back to campus from in front of the music library. It pulled a noshow and a professor gave a student and me a ride back to campus. After all that I went to work. Wednesday and Thursday were second shift days.

Somehow I've managed to make all the handouts for my class next spring. Most are adaptions of existing handouts. I get to start class outlines this month (November) and then I get to start converting everything but the outlines to html. This is a manual conversion.

It felt good to vote but it is scarcely a memory now. Because I am working this weekend, I can not campaign for Kerry. That stinks. The campaign events are all scheduled at times that conflict with my work schedule. The wave-by on Macon Road was this morning at 10:30am. I needed to be on campus before 12:30am and it is a forty-five minute walk from Macon Road to Columbus State. The canvassing and such is tomorrow afternoon. I work 2-6pm. There are no Monday night events. There is something Monday morning at 9:45am. I mean, I am going to be at work then. I was stuck voting and I wear my buttons when I am off campus, but that is pretty much all I can do.

And speaking of campaigns there are the creepiest lawn signs for Bush in this town. Now I am a fan of lawn signs. Lawn signs are a reminder because of where they are stuck that no matter how partisan it gets, those people are your neighbors and friends and possibly students or colleagues. One has to respect that. That is why I think a lot of the bashing of Bush supporters is in really bad taste. I have to live with these people, even if their man wins. They are not charicatures. They are just out there. I am not a charicature to them either. If they need help doing research for a paper, I'm going to be the one to help them. And yes, Tuesday night I go down to campaign headquarters and get to watch the action. I hope it goes well into the night. I hope it is long and exicting. I hope in the end it is clean.

Another dirty Presidential race is not good for this frayed fabric of democracy. People say they will be out in the streets if it is dirty and if there is no justice. I guess I will be out in the streets too but I don't want to get involved in bashing or nasty stuff. I wouldn't mind participating in a general strike though. The days off from work would be nice.

I don't think those planning to protest a dirty election will have anything planned that is as high class as a general strike and whatever thing they have planned, it won't be in Georgia, and if it is in Georgia, it will most likely be in Atlanta, not Columbus.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I am currently running Blogger in IE. It is doing something weird with the keyboard, but the browser itself is unaffected, so I suspect it is blogger's problem. Currently all of the malware is dead. I ran Spybot and Adaware tonight. I could not get Spybot or Adaware to run completely. RegFreeze which slew the worst offender, also killed a piece of Spybot which I reinstalled, and there is still something lurking in this computer called Z-Demon that is partially confounding AdAware and Spybot but the major problems the ones slowing down the computer are gone. The computer even passed its sleep test, snapping right back to life showing off its pretty screen saver from the Moma.

I am relieved though this blog will have to be a cut and paste job. Well blogger seems to have recovered. I'm not sure what happened. I have to send back another BMG disk. I was smart enough not to open the package. Now that my life may be a bit quieter on the electronic front, I am going to buy the disk I'm supposed to buy from BMG Music and have done with it. I don't begrudge them the disk. I want another CD for sure and BMG Music is a Neopets sponsor. I am all for the commercial side of the net. It is great to see free enterprise triumph. Yes, that is what it is called. I did not make that up.

Now on to today's Neopian news. I hardly played Neopets. I just could not bring myself to start a game. I have my troubles and playing today seemed pointless. I did not mind feeding the pets or making a money tree donation. After that though, I did not even have the stomach to read the trades and auctions board, a prelude to obtaining a paint brush for Ephraim. Neopets in many ways is just like site fighting. You start out wanting success. You play hard. You play to win. You win and then the whole cycle starts all over again. In the end, exhaustion and burn out are the rewards and four painted virtual pets get left rotting.

And once you have played for keeps it is incredibly hard to go back to smelling the roses. How do I explain it to someone who has never waged a campaign. Playing the same games every day for the three allowed times (to send in scores and discarding outrageously bad rounds) is NOT fun. Games and Neopia is supposed to be fun. I haven't heard this one yet but "if it's not fun for you, you should leave." This is a classic bit of defensive cant used by site fighters.

Neopian defensive cant goes a bit like this: "It's only pixels. What is all the fuss about!" This is usually said when someone discovers something that in real life would be totally beyond the pale such as risking your pet's health on the Wheel of Excitement. It is not up to playes to defend every one of Neopets worst actions and qualities. These are not an indictment of the players. We do live in a society where any time spent seriously in a nonmaterial pursuit needs defense but put that aside. To any one who spends hours earning the points to paint a virtual pet, a virtual pet is not just pixels. To any one who regularly visits a board where Neopian secrets are exchanged and tidbits of news are cherished, Neopets is a serious persuit. The bit of cant is a way to say "shut up."

Currently Neopets has ceased to be fun for me. Ambition is one thing. A rat race is another. I'm not ready to grow a long scaley tail. Maybe when things around here get quieter I'll change my mind.

It is official. Georgia weights 4.5lb. She has lost too much weight. The vet is concerned about muscle wasting. She came home with a tube of high calorie supplement which I give twice a day like medicine. Georgia does not think it is a delicacy. She thinks it is medicine, but she licks it off her nose. Georgia also ate a third of a can (maybe more) of 9 Lives Tuna and Cheese cat food. Canned catfood is Georgia's other prescription. Georgia DID NOT receive a rabies shot. If she should bite any one, the vet will explain that her age and frailty make her exempt from the immunization rule. At nearly eighteen, Georgia is the equivalent of a ninty something year old human being.

All of this sounds terribly brave and weirdly up beat. It hit me today that Georgia is very old. I don't want to say anything about her dying. I've dealt with a terribly sick kitty, and Georgia is not acting anything like that. She ate with joy and gusto. There will, however, come a time when things are different. Georgia is a frail old thing and a dainty thing. I did a good job getting her in and out of the crate. She decrated herself and recrated herself, before deciding she would rather look out the window. I think the vet is especially gentle with her.

The important thing is to enjoy the time I have left with my Georgia. When I lose her, there will be a big empty space in my heart. Yes, I have Hertzel. That was not why I got him. I got him as a companion to Georgia. He is a self sufficient boy. He is definitley on the short end of the attention stick these days but that is OK. When I lost Stingie and Evander in 2000, I had other cats to worry about. Georgia and Evander were traumatized by Stingie's death at the hands of two dogs and the feline leukemia is a virally caused cancer that put Georgia at risk of getting lethally sick. I always had to worry about the other cat(s) whenver I lost one. This time it will be different. I won't have to be strong for any other human or feline member of this household so I won't be particularly strong.

Meanwhile, I have a happy and very skinny and very old kitty lying in a nest by the computer room door. My job as her human mommy is to make sure she has as much quality of life as possible. This is not a bad job. All my morbid thoughts fly away when I see Georgia happy.

Sad to say, I won't be seeing all that much of Georgia tomorrow. I will go out early tomorrow morning and walk to downtown Columbus. Then I'll vote and then I'll head back up the hill and work second shift. Yes, we have early voting. Yes, we have touch screens. Yes, I think the bugs are out of them. This will be the third or fourth touch screen election in this town. No, we don't have poll watchers. No New York State where my boyfriend Lou lives, does not have early voting.

Well folks, Georgia just asked for more tuna and cheese cat food and I gave her some. It is good to stay up late. I think I need a night's sleep.


Monday, October 25, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It took three tries to get this computer up and running. I can run Firefox but not IE. The three big software guns will do nothing to stop whatever my computer is infested with. I even know the name of the man, thanks to Allwhois.com, who is responsible. I traced down the contacts for the web site where this computer was hit.

I have also made up my mind to switch to Linux if I have to reformat. I am simply not going to go through this again. All that is a long way off. This computer has a nonworking CD drive. That is the first thing that needs to be fixed. Then I have to learn about how to back up my files for transfer. I will lose my PSP but it is an old version and unless JASC makes a Linux version, I'll be using Gimp instead. All this is a long ways off, but maybe not so long considering what I had to do to get on this machine tonight.

Getting on is important because writing is important. I've already done my play pretend boards. Some days there are better than others. Sometimes the conversation is electric and sometimes it drags. Go figure.

I have another unwanted CD from BMG Music. I'll have to send it back refused and I'll have to order one of my own choosing. I don't mind just putting something in the mail and I'm still very glad I signed on with BMG. Their advertising helps keep Neopets, a commercial site alive, and I heartily approve of the commercial net. I would not even mind the pop-ups if they did not slow down this machine unbearably.

I did a little bit of work reshaping my taste. Puppies still do nothing for me. There was a cute candid shot of a kitten hiding under a blanket of pie crust. It was black and white, probably copyrighted, and rather old but definitely worth sving. There was also a link to a web site about an old man preaching in an empty church on the hill. The man turns out to be Jesus. I thought this was an odd depiction of Jesus, but that is OK. I kind of like weirdness. There was also a rather funny dumb blonde joke too. Traffic at Buddy's Christian Fun Group has been light or as light as it gets. That is OK. It will be too heavy to deal with soon enough. Poster #17 is out of town.

I got 55,000 points at Neoopets today. I found a piece of the secret laboratory map and since I am not collecting map pieces, I sold it. The laboratory map allows you to use the lab ray which randomly changes your pet. People use the ray repeatedly to change their pet in a desirable way. The problem is the changes are random. Pets change sex, species, color, you name it. Not all pets look good in all colors. Pets have personalities. You pay more for paint brushes but you get the change you want.

The lab rat encourages Neopians to regard their pets as commodities. There is even a word for a pet repeatedly subjected to the lab ray, "lab rat." Owners will spare a really beloved pet this fate. It is not that uncommon to find very old, very high level pets that have not even known a paint brush. On the other hand, it is also common for those with the lab rays to have multiple accounts. This allows them to have a nice supply of lab rats and to run adoption agencies where they demand deference in exchange for zapped pets.

Anyway, I can now afford either a split or spotted paint brush. The thing is both of these are scond best. The spotted paint brush would not be second best for Rachamme (Bball_fan104735). She is a tonu and spotted tonus look terrific, but tonus are limited edition already. Bruces on the other hand are quite commoon, well not that common which is good. The pound was full of them tonight. Yes, I still pound surf. I believe in getting an education for both my pets and me. It is easy for Ephraim to meet a clone of himself. I would like to paint Ephraim orange or rainbow. Split is a third choice though not by much.

A rainbow paint brush sells for around 250,000NP. I'm looking at three weeks of hard work. Yes, when you play the same games every day for neopoints, they lose some of their attraction even when brute practice makes you better at them, even when your hands and eyes learn little tricks. Neopets was supposed to be fun though one can say the same thing about site fighting and many other pursuits. I suspect I may or may not be chasing a moving target. Split and even spotted brushes will still be around.

Buying a paint brush is an inherently unpleasant activity. It means trades and wheeling and dealing and waiting around. And once you spend your money for the paintbrsh, you are broke for a long while. I know all this, yet I lash myself along under the yoke. I tell myself Neopets soothes me as routine things can soothe.

One day I'm going to write a full fledged essay on speaking Neopian. I can think of a few really nasty expressions and euphemisms that might be interesting. The "lab rat" is a case in point. Then there is abandoning a pet without taking it to the pound. Neopets can not starve to death and sickness will not kill them. Just leaving a pet and walking away is called "letting your pets rot." "Restocking" is my favorite euphemism. It means buying itmes from primary stores and reselling them in one's own store at a very high markup. Restocking means making money off your fellow players, gouging, ripping off, profiting, or perhaps profiteering.

Topics that are taboo on Neopia: the ethics of making money off of fellow players, the Lawrence curve (distribution of wealth), inflation (For desirable objects Neopia resembles the Weimar Republic. Whereis my wheelboarrow?). Anyway, you get the idea. I don't have enough words yet, but the essay would be interesting and entertaining. One thing that does not happen on Neopets is a bunch of less well off Neopians disdaining the wealthy ones. The Neorules act to prevent this because it would get nasty in short order.

Here is an example of how healthy disdain might work. "Don't you hate it when all those rich players show off their painted and limited edition pets. They are such dirty show offs and you know how they made their money....ripping off fellow players." Or "Look at all that fuss about painted pets, but unpainted ones are just as nice. It's just a color change. It doesn't change what is inside the pet. I wish people wouldn't be so obsessed with what is superficial."

In the real world the poor often disdain the rich, but on Neopets it is the rich who disdain the poor, right down to parodying begging or pretending to offer a free item so as to fool the gullible and enjoy some sport. For some reason, the Neorules don't cut off this kind of thing. It is OK for the rich to pick on the poor but not for the poor to spit in the faces of the rich.

I had a "goals meeting" with my boss today at work. It went fairly well. She even had some good news for me, more desk hours. She also listened when I told her about moving periodicals from the "News Stand" which is for popular magazines to the Current Periodicals shelves where scholarly journals belong.

I was working on the Mental Health webliography today. I will send it to Diana, the systems librarian, tomorrow for mounting.

Georgia did not eat much tonight. Sometimes she just doesn't. She got up on the counter and purred and begged and was very much her usual hyper and social self. I finally picked her up carried her to the food dish, petted her a lot and she took three bites, but she did lick her chops and stop begging. If I see her take a dump in the pan, I'll know something is going in one end. She does not have to eat all the time. Her stomach has been bothering her. She gets hair balls a lot and I dread her going off her feed.

And no, Georgia did not have any seizures today. Georgia is lying on my pillow on the bed right now. I guess if she can't have a desk nest, she can have a bed nest. She also drank some water in the bath tub. I hope she eats tomorrow. Yes, I am worried. We had this really tender time on the counter. Lots of purring and petting and sniffing. Georgia got up to the counter by using one of the lower cupboard shelves. She figured all this out because she is a kitty with heart who also misses her desk top nest.

Well here is the good news. Georgia is eating. I just went to check on her and saw her rump placidly down by the food dishes. I'll watch for chop licking, face washing, a head that smells of Iam's etc.... One thing about cats is that they do their own thing on their own schedule. Yes, I feel relieved. The last thing I need is Georgia off her feed.

I made miso peanut butter soup tonight. It's a recipe I've already posted so I won't send it to any lists. I am nice and full and debating whether to eat one of those big expensive cortland apples in the fridge. I also roasted my hubbard squash tonight. It was huge and I had two big pieces. Roast squash is very good.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

No, this is not going to be a mast head. I have been doing a lot of thinking about my Brother in Spirit, YBGeorge and about Ingo my other Brother in Spirit. I am not sure that George is as tolerant of me as I am of him, still I guess I'll find out one of those days. I have a lot to learn about the way George and Poster #17 communicate. I need to throw my old assumptions to the wind. Those assumptions are bad things.

Here they are. There really only is one assumption: "Intelligent conversation is the best way to communicate in a social group on the net." This is absolutely untrue, well not completely. If one has a job to do then some intelligent conversation may do some good on a professional work oriented list, but beyond that...the world changes.

Now intelligent conversation is attractive to those with the gift of glib who can carry it out. I fall into this group. It is great to read long, invloved, well worded posts and to respond in kind. It is great to be free to ask questions and criticize. It is fun to read the questioning and back and forth. In fact, it is not just fun, it is entertaining. What could be wrong with any of that.

First, being on the receiving end of intelligent conversation is not very much fun. The arguments can come thick and fast. Lists can resemble gladiator pits and when the victim cries out "foul" or "abuse" or realized "Hey I'm insulted," those who are having a great time with the sport of criticism and argment remind the victim that this is all good clean fun, a fair fight etc... If the victim can't take it, then it's her own fault. This kind of verbal jousting can often hide high class flame wars (What we have flame wars here???) or the death of a thousand cuts where every little thing the victim says gets nitpicked to death.

Second, while those making intelligent conversation would never admit it, there is always an us and them. In fact, the us are the elite and the them are the trailer park of the net not worth getting to know or undestand. Also while those in charge of intelligent conversation groups may talk about the net being a place of wonderful egalitarian anarchy and their groups as being democratic, their groups just like your typical MSN group are run by oligarchies that make up the rules as they go along and keep the wrong people out. Intelligent conversation groups by and large are bands of some of the net's worst hypocrites.

Third, intelligent conversation is inherently elitist. They are so elitist they consider any other means of discourse not worth persuing or understanding and those who perfer such discourse are not worth dealing with. Do I have to explain how wrong this is. I guess I do. There are other means of communication on the net just as there are other languages than English in the world. There is no-crit that one finds in RAOK and several other venues. No-crit means one must post kindly and only kindly. In a no-crit group, kindness is considered more important than truth and identity is a private matter. No-crit groups can feel like a conversational straight jacket until one realizes that the rules which restrict also protect. There is no receiving end and no flame wars in a no-crit group. No-crit groups, of course have their problems.

There is also exhibitional posting. Buddy's Christian Fun Group is a hot bed for this sort of thing. Posters forward and attach images, words, and music that they think will help others and which say the right thing, might make someone smile etc... Ghostletters is exhibitional because it is a fiction list. Exhibitional grouops such as Buddy's discourage conversation and critique. The up side of this is one is free to post what one feels and know one is safe from criticism. Is this starting to sound good?

Of course both no-crit and exhibitional style groups have a language barrier. I encounter some of this with glurge but I also encounter some of this with a lot of the imagery. I just don't think it is very good. Am I a snob? How does one cure snobbery? I am pondering that. I know the pictures I collect, create, and use in my own graphic work are very different from the ones I see on Buddy's Christian Fun Group. Idealized glamor shots of females and dogs dressed up do not strike me as attractive or uplifting. The old age jokes make me cringe. I'd like to take a claw hammer to the glurge on the RAOK board.

I know this is my old intelligent conversation training getting in the way of learning to appreciate how others see the world. I want nothing to do with the elitist paradigm of places like Brainstorms. I want to rip it from my heart and bury it where it will never rise again. I do not want to live in a world of us and them. I want to live in a world where every body on the net is an "us." I want to live by example to show how narrow minded and wrong places like Brainstorms and their ethos are. That is why George is my Brother in Spirit.

I also have a mission to help those deficient in clexpertise (Clout+ Expertise = Clexpertise) by signing guestbooks and sending e-cards and showing support in the way that those of us in no-crit communities should. I find this easier than learning to like some of the aesthetic dreck (I wish I could rip out my elitist aesthetic sense by its roots) that comes my way.

I know it is possible for me to change my aesthetic tastes. I acquired a taste for beer in high school and college. Can one acquire a taste for conventional beauty? Can one shed a sophisticated skin enough to see the world the way others see it. Having two aesthetic languages has to be better than having one. I think I have an idea of how I can work on broadening my aesthetic perspective. I don't want or expect a conversion though it wouldn't be a bad thing if that happened. There is nothing wrong with traditional and conventional tastes. The tried and true is tried and true for a reason after all.

Here is my plan. Pick out an image or poem from Buddy's Christian Fun Group or another source and write down all the good things about it. These have to be things I genuinely find good. I am teaching myself to appreciate and not lie. After a time I will see more good things in the images. I can also send images I like (I am not in to transgressive art) to Buddy's Christian Fun Group. I have the big book of poetry (World Poetry Norton: New York 1998) on my desk. It has plenty of poems that I can transcribe. I can find plenty of stuff that would be appropriate for George's list so I don't have to remain mute, but the appreciation exercises may help me get more out of forums where I feel locked out and put off by an aesthetic that is just not mine. Learning a language is an exciting thing, and that is how I'm going to view this project. I think tastes and the self are malleable and that I can do this project. I will probably be doing some of this on this blog. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Onward and upward. The place vengance starts is in the heart.

Georgia was herself when I came home. She is a resilient creature. I wish I shared her resilience. On the way to the store this afternoon I met a man who supports Bush "because there is a war on." Basicly he thinks Bush has the resolve to win. I think Bush has the rseolve to make the same mistake over and over again. I call that dumb. Dumb does not belong in the Whitehouse.

I was talking over the election with Mary Fielder, one of the part timers and she said that she hopes that above all it is clean. So do I. A dirty election is unspeakably bad for democracy in this country.

I went out to eat tonight and a had a really good Subway sub and chips and Dr. Pepper. I'm bouncing off the walls but I feel a bit better than before. I also bought myself a really expensive jar of fancy peanut butter in Publix. I want to make miso and peanut butter soup tomorrow night. All of this is helping lift my black mood.

I still feel awful about Georgia's seizure. It was my fault. This desk is strewn with junk to prevent her from leaping up here. Georgia is on guard duty in the hall. She is eating. She is begging. She is greeting. I am the one who remembers and feels bad. She is my baby and I don't want her to suffer like that ever again. Tomorrow I schedule a vet's appointment. As awful as a seizure is. One that strikes after a year of very good health is not an emergency.

My computer is a mess. It is having trouble booting up and getting on the net. IE is unusuable. Thankfully I have Firefox. I feel helpless about all of this. Norton will not configure and the spyware programs do not go entirely through my hard disk. If the comptuer is up for a while, it seems to shut down Windows. I'm not suer what is going on. I'm going to beg and plead for free advice. This is a bad week to do it since all the computer geeks are at a convention at a place called Rock Eagle. I am going to have to limp along for another week. I may ask the gentlemen on Future Culture. This does not feel like a sour hard drive. This feels like corrupted Windows. I think I may be switching to a Linux box sooner than I think. I even know how this computer got infected. That doesn't help me. Very little does.

Tomorrow I stop licking my wounds and start cooking supper. Actually, I did not lick my wounds all day. I did my laundry and even washed the sheets. I bought groceries. The apartment is still messy but I have what to wear to work. One must keep looking on the bright side no matter how rotten one feels.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

It may seem really weird that I am playing Neopets in the middle of the night, but I need it. The games relax me. I've decided to figure out what my pets really want as the savings pile in the bank grows. I realized that Rachamme (real name Bball_fan104735) would look great with a spotted coat and a spotted paintbrush can be had for under 150,000NP. Also a rainbow paintbrush can be had for about the same price as a very expensive petpet I was planning to buy. I realized that Ephraim would look great in rainbow. Of course getting painted scares Rachamme. Her time in the pound and the failed transfer (I snatched her and I did it without remorse.) did a job on her poor little virtual psyche.

Also painting Ephraim rainbow is a bit of a cliche, but one he would not mind. If you ask Ephraim what he wants, he would tell you he wants a piano. Ephraim is my green bruce. A Tonus is a rhino with a mane and a bruce is a penguin. A grarrl (Rosalita) is a monster like the dinosaur who used to eat Sunkist oranges on TV and a grundo (Shanti) is a pudgy little alien. Grundos are born dimwitted but develop just like any other pet if you read to them. Shanti is right now the second smartest grundo in Neopia.

I am somewhere between the haves and have nots in Neopia. That is an OK thing. I am not particularly invidious and way too proud to beg. Begging has its own weird Neopian dynamic and one usually sees it on the boards. Sometimes a cruel Neopian makes sport of the poor among us by advertising a give away of NP or a free item. He or she then gets a spate of the most artless and desparate begging posts. These are amusing to read and of course after enough posts go up, someone figures out that the whole thing is a farce. Sometimes the person who started the thread gives a lesson in the goodness and wholesomeness of hard work and the evils of begging.

This lesson would be a fine thing indeed if the person giving it didn't incite the begging in the first place and if the rate of inflation did not make Neopia seem like the Weimar Republic, at least for high end and desirable items.

And my winner at Neopia for the Thorstein Veblen prize for invidious consumption is the Kaodoterie. Kaodoties are catlike petpets and they are in cages and they demand to be fed a treat. Some treats are expensive. Some are affordable, but if they are affordable, why give them to some game? The reason is that if you feed enough kaodoties you get an award. Yes, you get to have a trophy just by spending money. This is a variation of the dung and packrat avatars without the cheapness of junk items or the wicked sense of humor involved in dung collection.

Now those who feed kaodoties like what they do and have even written guides about how to do it. They insist it is affordable, but if you have a few hundred or few thousand NP to blow on kaodotie treats, why not give those treats to your own pets, or better yet use the money to train them or improve their intelligence, rather than collect a trophy for yourself. Yes, folks that's a rhetorical question.

I am also having content problems with my Brother in Spirit's list. No, I don't find the content objectionable or even dumb most of the time. In many ways looking at air brushed flowers, a Christian devotional, or funny photos makes more sense than the internecine rivalry on one of my lists, the forwarded news articles on several others (Yes, I am interested in current events, but I can do nothing about them), the pleas to sign an online petition (If the ones at GrassFire don't work, the one you have is no better even if the cause is laudible.), the dumb political limmericks on a fourth list etc... It is the shear volume. I don't need twenty air brushed flower sigs. These just aren't that beautiful and neither are the sensuous women. The dog photos have convinced me that I loathe dogs, which I kind of did before. Canines are slobbery brutes. Cats are clean, sweet smelling, intelligent, and don't bark, growl, or chase pedestrians when out of doors. And dogs dressed up in sunglasses or other gear, are a stupid pet trick. As for the URL's, I refuse to click them unless they are obviously someone's personal site. There are too many malware spewing card sites out there and enough malware on my home machine.

The only posts I find that are absolutely offensive are the old people jokes. I am not old but they give me the willies. I am in my forties in case you are wondering and about to do some serious aging in the next twenty years. If I were a real old person who took care of myself, I'd find the jokes tasteless as well. Think about similar jokes with blacks at the subject and then dive under the table and cringe.

What really boggles me is how any one can find the images with which I am inundated appealing. Once and a while I find a good one and download it, but the majority of them are just plain not that interesting. I mean if you are going to steal copyrighted art or photos and spew it, why not look for something really good and I could send the list some really good stuff, but why bother. I have this blog and the two play pretend boards where I spew to my heart's content. If I sent a blog transcribe (just one) to Buddy's Christian Fun Group I would be told to keep my personal writings to myself. Life is not fair. My willingness to support George is not something he reciporicates by his willingness to support me. I may try putting links to this blog and the two play pretend boards in an email and sending it out. If you don't like it don't click etc.... Now that is an interesting thing to try. I wonder how long it will last. I can always go back to Aunt Bee's Parlor if it all doesn't work out.

Sometimes there are no words for fear. Your brain just keeps playing the same awful clip over and over again, no commentary. You hear your own voice and feel your gut wrench up but you feel nothing because at the time you felt nothing except wishing you could somehow rewind or stop the awful film.

My cat, Georgia, my nearly eighteen year old blue cream half Siamese alpha kitty with a sparkling personality had a seizure today. It was my fault. The typing on the computer can set her off. It has been a year more or less since she had a seizure. I saw her start to twitch as I was typing on Ghostletters and decided I had better get her off the computer desk to avert any further trouble. I picked her up. she felt stiff and a bit twitchy in my arms. I put her down on the carpeted floor and she went into a very violent and full blown seizure. Her legs on one side of her body (I don't know which side twiched. Her mouth jerked. Her tail got puffy. As she came out of the seizure, she growled at her tail. She tried to stand once and was too wobbly to do it. She made a second attempt and walked fairly well but all in circles which was very weird. Her eyes were wide. Whether her balance was off, she was looking for something, or trying to make a nest I can not tell you.

I covered my eyes but then remembered I would have to watch this ordeal and try to remember as many details as possible so I could relate them to the vet. I kept calling her name and when the seizure slowed down, I petted her and talked to her. Georgia was somewhat repsonsive when she walked in circles. She would nuzzle me or glance at me and then go back to walking in circles. When she stopped walking in circles she was nervous in the usual twitchy cat way that cats are nervous. The vet will ask me when she regained consciousness and I don't rightly know. She may have been conscious through a fair amount of the ordeal but scaird out of her wits and clearly not in her right mind. Once Georgia cared enough to take notice of her surroundings she went to the dining room and ate. She ate a lot. I joked that seizures must give her the munchies. Don't ask where black humor comes from at a time like this. After she ate, Georgia returned to her favorite social place which is next to the computer for petting, and next to time. She was purring away. In other words, she was back to her old self, probably in less than an hour.

Since she had more or less recovered, I went out this afternoon to an astronomy lecture. I saw Phil Plait, the "Bad Astronomer" at the Coca-Cola Space Observatory and Museum. This was the right thing to do since Georgia would not benefit one bit from my worrying over her. I tried with some success to block the seizure from my mind. It stayed out but it was never far away. I got home tonight and Georgia came out into the hall greeting me. I had to head straight for the bathroom. Georgia came in and greeted me with pleasant social meows. She also asked for food for her already full dish. I've figured out a way to accomodate her by putting in one or two kibbles. Cats can neither count nor estimate quantity. She thinks she has new food and eats.

I went out to eat tonight at Larry's New York Subs "Home of the Big One." They are too southern a sub shop for my taste. Unlike Subway or Blimpie they don't have olives, green peppers, hot peppers or pickles. This is fine for most Southerners but I like fancy flavored mayonaises which Blimpie and Subway both have and all the trimmings. A sub doesn't taste right without all this stuff. It's the pickles and bread that give a sub its flavor. Also for the same price as a sandwich and drink both Subway and Blimpie also give chips. Now my sub was nice and fresh and the bread was even warm but it still was plain not as good. There is something to be said for the chain sub places.


Friday, October 22, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I had a good and bad day at Neopets today. Tyrannian Miniature Golf paid double neopoints, but then I got it into my head to train Bball_fan, also known as Rachamme, my lucky tonu. Well, I did not have the codestone and had to buy it. Oh well, it's only neopoints. There is stuff about Neopets I will not be writing here. It's stuff I don't want to go public.

I have to set up ZOID tonight. I'm not thrilled with that. I have an inbox full of mail and that feels good. I had a Vengance Victory this week except I really can't take credit for it. Everyone.net enlarged my tacheiru box to 250mb. That meant I can handle YBGEorge's list Buddy's Christian Fun Group. My brother in spirit can spew freely and I will gladly provide a listening ear. Right now I owe two e-cards to two low clexpertise (We need a word to replace the Brainstorms slang, social capital) people. One is Keith on the BCF and the other is Olga who writes periodically. I have to remember to fulfill all my antiBrainstormish obligations. This feels good.

The play pretend boards, Run Amuck, and Third Rail are going great guns. I find them easier to post to than I do this single voice blog and it is not the intimidating double set up that I find daunting. I can get in the groove and write with the best of them and I don't need a LS stall at Brainstorms for that. No sirree!

What has kept this blog silent is a particularly nasty piece of spyware that it took an updated copy of Norton anti-virus to destroy. I think my computer at home is OK but with computer fixing going on there is not much writing going on. The multi voice boards are short and easy so they get done. They also assauge my guilt for doing so much Neopets which is in the end absolutely useless. This blog which often touches on things Neopian does not do that.

I am looking forward to more economic vengance. I still owe myself a record from BMG Music which is a great way of supporting a commercial web site like Neopets. I am very pro commercial internet and I am pro Wal-Mart and pro chain restaurant etc... Aesthetic preferences are easy to change. It feels good to make these small changes and know how important they are.

I am supposed to work in the front page for Tacheiru.us. I have the graphics on the server. I just need to download them, find all the stuff I care about, and make a page with links and graphics. I am not sure why I have no interest in this. I also have images for my userlookup on Neopets. I haven't scanned those yet and will have to wait until some time this weekend.

I have been MIA because my computer had malware trouble and I was struggling to install Norton AntiVirus and make it work. Boy is it slow and running it all the time slows things down, but a periodic scan is good for the computer so a periodic scan it will get.

I am hoping I can go canvassing this weekend. Being that this is election season and it will soon be over, canvassing for Kerry is the only thing worth doing, either that or phone banking. I have a two day weekend which is the last one before an eleven day work week. The weekend after elections, I am going to Atlanta for sure. I am running out of my favorite nut butters and herbal tea. That is serious.

Clear Channel was giving away free cups of soda with ice and helping to advertise for the army. It must be hard to advertise for the army with a war not doing so well in Iraq. Actually the war is doing quite well, but we are taking casualties. The US is supposed to win without taking casualties, especially in a war that we did not have to wage whic his clearly what Iraq is. I feel a bit sorry for the poor recruiting officers who had to sit out in the grey mist that passes for weather around here. I toasted the troops and said they should be brought home and toasted peace and headed over to Auntie Anne's at the mall to get a pretzel. I also got a roll of quarters to do laundry. My bed stinks and I am running out of shirts. I'll do the laundry Saturday night after canvassing. I hope there is something going on this Saturday and Sunday or even this evening. I ought to call headquarters now to find out. They haven't sent an email with a list of planned events. That stinks. The Democrats down here in Georgia are just not that organized.

Anyway this Clear Channel business reminded me of something out of 1984 or maybe Brave New World. It is creepy that it just happened with no one arguing or even caring. Hey who can argue with free soda when you think about it. I hope my computer at home is running decently. It feels good to be blogging again.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This needs to start someplace so it is starting here. Haldis watched a giant awaken on her team as she scored it. Her name is DeePoet. I won't say what her site is like. To her credit she writes her own poetry and she has bought the votes and attention she needs. This is as far away from the world of "intelligent conversation" as it gets. It feels wonderful. DeePoet this is for you!

They, who were at home with rambling prose...laughed.
They laughed when they heard your name.
Behind high gates they snickered and sneered.
"She's no poet."
"Her attention is store bought."
"She could not talk her way in here.

They, behind secret walls and tall gates...laughed
They said, "Thank the deity the world is wide."
"She and the rest of the rabble."
"Don't even know where we live."
"She'd have no appreciation for what goes on here, INSIDE."

Have they forgotten so soon about the empty place at their table?
Tonight, I handed out the honors and she received one from my hand.
I who remember the world of third story clubs behind French windows,
And inside fortifications, where they gather to make
Intelligent conversation.
I haven't forgotten, the words that dismiss those who vote,
Those who listen,
Those who forward,
Write, and appreciate beauty.

My people now by choice.
My people now in pride.

I wish I could convince them there is a war on.
That there are days that those behind the gates and in the towers
do more than sneer.
That there are days when they do more than withhold succor.

There is an empty place at the table in their precincts,
But no empty place in my head as far as their addresses are concerned.
And the day the poet and her friends pick up the battering ram to
Break down the gates
I know who will be there at least pointing them in the right direction.
I wonder if they will be laughing and sneering then.

Eileen H. Kramer and all personnae
October 19, 2004

And none of the above means I don't have trouble when I hit a place that is inundated with glurge. I just know that I am not on the Snopes board and I keep quiet. To each their own taste.

The RAOK guestbook needs doing again. Haldis has a new team member at Webleagues, and as for Neopets, I made 5000NP but had no luck with Coltzan or Tombola. I did not try Wheel of Excitement.

There is a new essay at the World of Neopian Samizdat. I am going to write another essay on the pound when I get a chance.

The weekend was brilliant, but today was a scratch. I had to take minutes at a librarians' meeting at work. The meeting lasted two hours and produced four and a half pages of minutes. I left my lunch home and ended up subsisting on caffeine nad junk food. Then this evening I got my period. I feel good only because I had a decent dinner and napped for an hour and a half. A power nap and a good meal do wonders for one's disposition. I don't feel like going to sleep at all.

Saturday I canvassed for Kerry and the rest of the Democratic slate. We went to an obscure but decent neighborhood out on the east end of Macon Road but on the south side of the street. The people were nice but a bit sleepy. I worked with a graduate student I know from work. He was surprised I liked to canvass. I told him that long ago, this was how I made my living. For every job there is a person. Not all work likes all people, and not all people like all work.

After canvassing Martin bought himself a plate of bar-b-qued pork that comes with white bread and horrible premade cole slaw. He also bought me a Manager's Choice (cherry) slushie at Books-a-Million where he has a card and I had a Subway veggie delight with sweet onion sauce. The last was a mistake. I'm back to chipotl sauce next time around. I'm a big fan of submarine sandwiches.

In the afternoon on Saturday, I supervised kids who were canvassing. Three of them went into one of the houses and I had my heart in my throat. I fetched them out and gave all of them a good talking to. They all came back in one piece. I am grateful for that.

Sunday was a house party for Denise Majette who was running for Senate. She is a Congresswoman from Atlanta. She is fantastic. She has more style and finesse than either of the two clods who are running for President. She even handled a stumping question well. I brought two homemade apple breads. I tried two different recipes. It was the only home made food on the whole buffet. My mother says no one cooks any more and almost no one bakes. That is sad. There are so many quick bread recipes. When Lou lived with me I baked twice a week. One lady said "you're so tiny!" when she found out I baked the breads. I said I did not like baking when I lived alone because I could never finish what I baked. This is alas true. Making it is always more fun than eating it.

Now cortland apples, a delicacy worth of the name, taste like something worth eating any time. They just taste like apples should and they are not too watery or too sweet. They leave the mouth tasting sweet and the stomach calm. They even soothe the bowel with their pectin (soluble fiber!), and apples are fun to eat because you have to bite and chew on them. There is much to be said for being hard, sweet, and crunchy, but not too crunchy.

I get to make blue cheese slaw tomorrow night. I am looking forward to this. I am not vegan, but with my IBS I hardly ever eat cheese. Cheese is binding and so not great for IBS. What I did today at work was not great for my IBS. I'll be back on the wagon after a vicious bout of cramps. That hasn't happened yet. It takes a good forty-eight hours before today's punishment and this weekend's indiscretions hit home.

I can't tell if I have a good period or a bad one yet. 400mg of naproxen means no more headache and no more cramps. I suspect this is a good period. It is a bit early, but otherwise normal. I have no drawing pains in the arms and legs either which means this may be a really good period. Of course I could wake up all sore, probably not badly crampy, just sore.

I want to revise my goals at work. The ones I wrote four months ago look stale. I think I can add something with more imagination. I'm not sure what I want to add. I hope I get inspired tomorrow.


Sunday, October 17, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I have not been on Neopets at all today. I suspect all four of my Neopets are hungry. I'll need to stop and feed them before I go to sleep. I'll also take Ephraim to Coltzan for a blessing. Coltzan likes little green bruces. I have again been bitten by the paintbrush bug. Part of me wants to get dressed, go over to work, sneak in with my pass key (which is legal) and earn as many NP as I can. I want to buy a gold, orange, spotted, and/or silver paintbrush. Silver and spotted are lower priorities than orange or gold. Orange is my first choice. Fat chance. Good luck. Buying paintbrushes is a miserable experience and saving for them a gruelling one. Bball_fan104735, my tonu, is in training school and due to become level four.

I did double duty on my double voice blogs. This felt fantastic. Both blogs are discussing politics. I even found something for my play pretend Brainstormers to do so I can discuss their lives instead of my own. The blog has also automatically archived itself. As for my avatars, they talk both Judaism and politics. They are polite and never bash. This is an off week for ZOID and Webleagues is ready to pop open late tomorrow night. I am grateful to be away from web site competitions for a bit.

I was actually grateful to be away from the computer, but since I don't have to be anywhere until 4pm tomorow afternoon, I will go over to work early and take a whack at earning some more Neopoints. I might even try Chemistry for Beginners here at the house if I feel so lucky. I'll probably use the money towards training. While I was taking Bball_fan to training school last night, I found myself awarded with the codestone avatar which I did not think I could earn since I did not have enough codestones. I felt sweetly lucky indeed. I also now have the carrot avatar but that was because I fed a carrot to Ephraim. Lucky me. Rosalita, my brown grarrl, is in the beauty contest and I don't feel at all like advertising her. Earning NP, talking on this blog, and talking on the multivoice boards takes priority. I enjoy the drawings and putting the picture on display but not much else about the beauty contest. Maybe I will have a change of heart as far as advertising is concerned.

It surprises me how easily I brush my self expression aside to play mindlness Neopian games. I've been had. I'm addicted. I am sad about that.

This morning I got up and went canvassing for the Democrats. We left over a half hour late and it was the first cool autumn morning which was kind of refreshing. We went canvassing south of Macon Road but east of the Winn Dixie supermarket near the cheap but respectable motel run by the Indians. If you don't know this neighborhood, that's OK. I didn't either until today.

Martin and I worked as a team. Martin is a graduate student at CSU. Martin is an exMarine and Martin has that self-important maleness about him that is almost comical. Martin goes to do routine clerical work that just might not be necessary. Instead of saying "I need to do some work with volunteer time sheets" he says "I have to do an Excel Document." Then of course he asks for help; for females are supposed to be born with clerical skills. I'm good with Excel, not great and I could help. Martin and I had lunch together. Being the only guy who is interested in me and not married has its advantages but that still doesn't make you God's gift to manhood.

In the afternoon I got to supervise high school kids' canvassing. The kids were young eager, anything but lazy, and full of energy. Three of them also went into someone's house and parked themselves there with a sociable old wealthy gentleman. They vanished. I panicked. I hunted for them. I finally knocked on the door of the last house they had gone in to to see if the person they had last talked to could tell me which way they went. They went into his lovely living room and parked themselves on his white velvet couch where they admired the shells and the coffee table books, talked politics, and world events etc... I explained that going into people's houses is a big no-no. The kids were lucky. I can still feel my heart in my throat.

I came home tonight and took a nap. I then got up and made apple cheddar walnut bread that is cooling on top of the fridge. I talked to my boyfriend on the phone and did some computer stuff that needed catching up on and then started making the Maine apple bread. That is in the oven right now and due to be checked. Both breads are for a Denise Majette house party tomorrow. You've heard of Barak Obama who is running for Senate in Illinois and who will probably be the third black Senator since Reconstruction. Well Denise Majette is going for number four but she doesn't gete half the publicity and her campaign is underfunded and I could not get a Majette yard sign for in front of my apartment though with my anti-War and pro-Kerry yard sign, my little front space is getting to look like a sign museum.

Going to check on the bread...be right back. Well I think it will take another five minutes at least. I did not like the way the cake tester looked when I inserted it. Georgia begged fiercely all during the baking. She is my half Siamese blue cream female alpha kitty who turns eighteen in December. She has a very loud meow. I took the stool out of the kitchen so she couldn't leap to the counter. She managed to get up on the counter anyway.

It feels good to be on the web again and on my blog. I have no idea what awaits me in my inbox. I suspect that may be my next stop but this blog after all has another half.


Friday, October 15, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I finally got to tell my story about Neopian gambling on Nothing But Neopets. I have been having a very profitable time on Neopets. I've been pulling down 6000NP per day at games of skill. It surprises me to be this far in over my head. I know I don't want to sneak in to work to play. It is too public. It just is so things will slow down over the weekend. Both the new pets, Bball_fan104735 (Rachamme) and Ephraim are level three and very clever. Green is the second most popular color for bruces but there are still very few green male bruces. Some day I want to paint Ephraim orange. It will take forever to save and Neopets has constant temptations to derail any savings event.

It amazes me that hooked as I am I can lash with so much fury at Neopets. I am in a very real way biting the hand that feeds me. That is a bad metaphor and an innapropriate one. Neopets has ensared me but offered me no succor. There is no where to have a good conversation except via Neomail if you find a person you can trust. Trust doesn't happen. Saying you don't trust someone is ugly, but not trusting is the norm and common sense especially when snitching is encouraged.

Neopets has left me clicking a mouse and arrow keys in pointless games to earn Neopoints. This is powerful repeated small reenforcement along with the intermittent reenforcement of Tombola and Coltzan's shrine. The reward for doing well (no not doing good) is irresistable. The progress is there day by day. I thrive on that sort of thing. Yet, just because Neopets pushes my buttons and strokes the right places in my ego, does not mean I know I am being manipulated. The way to stop it is walk away, but Neopets is way too enticing to leave. Besides I want to see if I can obtain either an orange paint brush for Ephraim or a pirakeet (a very very expensive petpet). I am about a quarter of the way to this second goal and about fifteen percent of the way to the paintbrush. The pirakeet is likely to suffer less from price inflation. Saving for the long term makes inflation a big worry.

Pushing my buttons does not make me loyal. Instead I feel somewhat victimized. Yes, I'm a willing victim but that is still how I feel. I have no love for the people who run those games. The faces behind the curtain do not walk among us on Neopets. They are not of us. For all I know some of them are Brainstormers or members of other secret communities. In other words, they are the enemy and I have lived among the enemy. Their job in this case is to run a profitable web site. That means the corporate sponsors come ahead of the users. Say that five times fast! That means my pet can be redrawn or changed into another species (That last happened back in 1999-2000) and there is nothing I can do about it. That means my favorite games can be closed. Look what happened to the Australian adult users. Upset parents who were worried about games of chance (They had every right to be upset) complained to Neopets' corporate sponsor and now the games of chance are blocked to ALL Australian users.

I don't really feel sorry for the Australian adult Neopians. The hand that gives can take away and if you are not paying or running the show or know those who run the show then this is the result in the end. Back up everything you create. Keep copies on your hard drive and in parallel. Learn to create because that will be yours. The drawings I create for the Neopian beauty contest will be mine when I'm booted out of the site and I have my pets web pages pretty much backed up (need to do that). They will also remain with me. Since I nearly all of my writing outside the walls (Neopets knows its boundaries) chances of my getting kicked out are slim.

The ironic thing about Neopets is that a virtual pet site is very easy to create. An MSN Group will work but regular web pages and some remotely hosted boards will work as well. To create games of chance get a java random number program and you can throw for random events, and you are in business. All you need are the users. It won't look as slick as Neopia. There is also FurryMuck where users role play their virtual creations. In other words, users can do better.

In other news, Haldis scored webleagues and I scored ZOID. I scored ZOID a bit late but I got it scored plus I made two very spiffy pencils for it. Haldis made braid shields for her team at Webleagues. I was done with the whole mess by 1am and that feels good. Scoring feels good. Haldis gave out two record setting Confederation Level Leaden Haldis' A Leaden Haldis is an award for defeat at upper levels. It is either fifty points for the Confederations or one hundred points for the Final Showdown PLUS the average number of votes per day by which you were defeated. Record setting Leaden Haldis' are not entirely happy events.

I had a very fierce attack of irritable bowel cramps tonight. I got hit as I was cleaning litter pans. I was glad I was not out walking somewhere. I got the pans on the intake vent to dry and then crawled into bed hoping it would hurt less if I lay down. I lay on my side with my legs drawn up. Georgia, my nearly eighteen year old blue cream half Siamese female alpha kitty sat by the pillow and nuzzled my fingers. Then I dozed off and awoke at 11pm with ZOID to score and dinner to eat. I had one more small (not so bad) bout of cramps and now I'm pretty much OK which leaves me feeling light headed with relief.

I started a new book tonight called Tickets to the Devil. It is about people at a bridge tournement. They are modern people and they seem to be a bunch of conniving con artists. The book feels like great fun and it is not that light a bit of light reading. I'd like to be reading right now but this blog comes first.

I am going canvassing Saturday morning for the Democrats. Yay, I finally get to do some campaigning. There is a house party Sunday. I have to bake something. I am looking for an apple cake recipe. I have a can of pumpkin and may make pumpkin bread instead. I am thinking of making either apple bread or apple kuchen. I'm not sure I want to attempt meurbre teig which is the pastry needed for kuchen. I should do some looking on RecipeSource. They are always helpful.

It does not feel like two in the morning. Today was the last day of an eleven day week and I am slowly realizing I can sleep in in the morning though I don't want to sleep all day. I still have to clean up cat vomit and maybe do laundry and clean a bit. I need a new dinner entree and will probably make macaroni and pepitas salad. I hope I can digest it. My intestines are just slightly sore now. I think it is more the memory of that awful pain earlier tonight. I'll just chalk it up to a stress reaction.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

This is just a one sided blog tonight and it's all Neopian. I am hurting with my side of a dialog that will never happen. Some time this evening Neopets Australia blocked access to all games of chance. They did this in response, to McDonalds, a corporate sponsor who came under heat when concerned parents learned there were games on the site. The whole thing started with this rather flawed but partially accurate story.

I wrote to Seven.com.au and told them where the errors in their story were and that gambling on Neopets was a lot more invidious than the description in their article. I particularly pointed out the Wheel of Excitement where players risk their pets' health to gain wealth. Kids might play poker or twenty-one with family members. Mom might buy junior a scratch card on a trip to the supermarket. In many families, depending on cultural background, gambling is an accepted form of recreation. I come from a background that has a fairly benign view of gambling. Of course solo gambling in front of a computer screen is quite different from the friendly family card game. No one I know, however, would condone something like the Wheel of Excitement in real life. Neopets also encourages gambling with an avatar for winners and two free games to whet the appetite for more, and Neopets' consumer culture creates desire for Neopoints that motivates gambling.

Still whether young people should play games of chance is an open question among civilized people, and as with alcohol, there are good and bad ways to gamble. It was time for a dialog about this and about other aspects of life inside Neopia's high walls and behind its locked gate. Neopets is a public site, very much deserving of public scrutiny. People need to hear that McDonalds and General Mills can advertise but ordinary users can be thrown out for starting a Bible Study or prayer circle. (substitute the religion of your choice.) Discuss the news of the day and you also can get booted out, and we are not talking flame fests or arguments, just ordinary discussion. What kind of a place is Neopets where kids can't have a good conversation over what are probably wholesome topics yet they can gamble? Those are questions that need to come out. Just because something bills itself as safe and beneficial and has big corporate sponsors behind it doesn't mean it is so.

Of course, Neopets took the easy way out. They caved in to the sponsor, McDonalds', demands. Now Australian users can no longer play games of chance. This is heavy handed and sad. I feel bad for the Australian Neopians, among them adults and teens or children whose parents don't mind young people playing games of chance. I feel sad for them because some of them trusted the Neopets Team. Neopets after all has provided them with a clean well lighted space, but the fruits of trusting any one to give you a space is that betrayal is the norm. Neopets never existed for the good of the users and it's not going to start existing that way now.

I also know that the cave in forestalls further dialog. My letter is yesterday's news and that is what Neopets wants. The last thing they need is Neopians like me crawling out of the woodwork and explaining some of Neopia's less savory aspects, people on the news discussing what makes a good game of chance and what makes for destructive gambling behavior, and a big dialog on what makes a good online community in general. Cave in and there will be no questions. As with most online subcultures, no one is going to go peering inside Neopia's walls to see what really happens there.

All this leaves me sad. This ought to be on my samizdat site, but it is just my tired and raw emotions. I need a place to unload and this blog is always here for me.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I want to get out and take a walk before the black mood sets in. I have to score tonight at 10:30pm (ZOID). Haldis scores and casts extra votes right after so I have more computer ahead of me. I never get sick of my 'puter.

Sometimes the vengance work gets arid. Solo stuff is great, but it can make the social stuff in some groups pale by comparison. I am making up my mind to be more of a participant at both LOTH and RAOK. Sparse boards are the main barrier. It is not that conversation in a no-crit environment is not real. It is just that it is harder to do. Well, you know my saying. Quitters never win and winners never quit and I'm not quitter. No sireee!

My two youngest Neopets are two intelligence raises away from genius level. They are both level three. I'd like to earn a bit more cash before putting one or the other of them in training school again. Most likely it will be Bball_fan104735 (also known as Rachamme) who will go first followed by her younger brother. We had no luck at Coltzan's shrine this morning and I thought he liked little male bruces. We won a scotch egg at tombola which is useful food so I won't complain. I just spun the Wheel of Excitement. I hope I don't end up sitting by the Healing Pool with sick pets or with all my NP stolen. Well, nothing resembling luck tonight. I have to make my own luck. I should remember what my mother told me about gambling: The house always wins. I am tempted to go out kitchen questing. That is fun but it is often a class-A rip off.

No more gambling. It is time to drag some of my tired funds to the bank or else blow them on books for the next intelligence raise. OK, no more gambling and I mean it. I mean if I'm going to gamble I know what it ought to be and there would be four very angry pets waiting for me. Well I've been to the bank. I guess that is a good thing.

One thing I need to do is fix the opening page to http://tacheiru.us The old one is not much better than a place holder. I also think I did the illustrations on the cheap. They are not unattractive. I just want something a lot better. The problem is my graphic well is dry. I guess I could ask Monde who is a graphics expert and Serenity too on the ZOID list. Hey there is a topic for an e-mail.

I finally confronted my Brother in Spirit, YBGeorge, about the bandwidth of what he sends. It took three letters of explanation with the last one like a minitutorial and none of this convinced him. He hasn't had any complaints before. This is more than possible. People just avoid him and the lists where he spews and where Ron and Melba spew. In a no-crit environment evasion is far more likely than confrontation, and YBGeorge is totally a product of no-crit fora. No one has ever brought to his attention that there are more civilized ways of doing things and required him to do them.

Now I have not changed my spots about graphics. I think sig-files and stationary are great in moderation and it only stands to reason that graphic lists have bigger bandwidth. How much is too much is a question civilized people can debate but when bandwidth requires multiple downloads per day to an inbox on my hard drive or when it confounds the server it is too much. In the case of YBGeorge's monster list, Buddy's Christian Fun Group, the list produces 10mb of email per day. Setting up a second tacheiru box (6mb I think is what they give but I could clean it out at work) for only this list would be the only way I could handle it. There is a point where too much is simply that. I think the dividing line is 6mb per day, which is what standard inboxes used to hold.

By the way, I went looking for a stroke support list for YBGeorge to show him as an example on how his excessive bandwidth would not be welcome in many places and found four or five lists I would be interested in. I think one of them might even help me in my vengance work. One is a role play list. One is religiously oriented and may cover some Jewish issues as well as prayer requests and be a bit less sectarian than the loud and proud Christian environments where I usually hang out. They are heading towards the "intelligent discussion" paradigm, but there is a good chance the lists are dead anyway.

I got one assignment for my class next semester done and started planning on another. The problem is the database for it searches slowly. It just does and it is clunky in so many ways. I don't think we have a handout for this so the handout is going to come first. This clunky database which shall remain nameless is the up and coming thing so who am I to stand in its way. I'm even teaching it in my class.

I just thought it might be nice to have a choice of two assignments for the last classes. The problem is I have to go over both databases in class. That is not so easy. I want to leave enough slack in the schedule. I want this class to go smoothly. Now if only I can get Lenoir 126, the science building's lab for this. We'll see. This class needs a computer lab since everything is hands on.

I don't really want to go home tonight. I don't want to shop for cat litter. I don't feel like cooking and don't have to cook. I don't even want to wash my hair. I guess the black thoughts have come to stay. I don't really like when I get like this. I wish there were something I could do about it. I am watching several new email list subscriptions to traditoinal listserv type lists try and take. I guess I want more email. That is not so bad. I guess it had to happen some time.


Sunday, October 10, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Haldis opened the gates at Webleagues and I scored ZOID. It always makes me feel good to score and it makes Haldis feel good too. As a scorer and rosterer in a website competition, the world turns around you. You are the fulcrum point, the center of the circle. The wheel rolls but only if you spin and we just spun wonderfully. Everything is ship shape. Participation at ZOID is low but who cares. The range is tight and the competition may be interesting this cycle.

I just visited this web site. Mr. lackaff is all wet when it comes to ladies groups and most small communities that aren't started by technogeeks. I guess I am going to have to write him an email and set him straight.

I want to write about RAOK and LOTH on this board, but I can't for much the same reason I can't publish certain things about my job. I'll just have to let it go at that.

Last night at about 11:10pm I created Ephraim ressurecting TL. My Neofamily is now complete except for two petpets, and they will be expensive ones. I want to show off my wealth somehow, but that is a ways away. I need to keep playing the games.

That is not tonight's big issue though. Tonight's big issue is MALWARE. My computer swallowed a belly full of it late Saturday night and it took three hours two failed downloads and two incomplete but effective cleanings to rid my hard drive of it. As a result, my computer is running with definitely more pep, but I don't care.

I feel violated in the worst way. Someone came in and bashed up my property, in this case my hard drive, just as surely as a thief could come in and ramsack my apartment, only the thief if he is caught ends up behind bars.

Worse yet, the malware included popups for reputable companies, notably AOL. Excuse me since when does a reputable company purchase advertising distributed through such dishonest means?

Worse yet, the threat of malware makes it hard for me to work among those with what Brainstorms would call low social capital. I need a new word for this. There is no point in speaking Brainstorms slang outside the walls. Let's call this thing clout and expertise. If you lack those, you often use remotely loaded applications, free web sites with guestbooks from some of the big names or Site Fights Spriit Books. These last throw malware. Usually you can keep it off your hard drive by just saying "no" but I said "no" last night and it still found its way in. If you have no clout and expertise you work with third parties who in this postdotcom bubble world often resort to dubious means of advertising. The problem is you put visitors' and guestbook signers' computers at risk. If I sound scaird, I am. The more I think about this the more afraid I get.

I'm still thinking about that bat mitzvah I saw Friday night. I'm glad I have no children. Jews make a big fuss about "educating" the next generation. I'm not sure they are really educating any one in this town. It may well be they resort to indoctrination. Real education encourages people to think for themselves and make up their own minds, and given the practical nature of some people's minds, they might chuck Judaism choosing a religion that is more popular so they can worship with other young people.

Blanche did not do this, but Blanche's sister showed no interest in the schul. Blanche's family is interfaith and Angela chose to follow her grandmother's Christianity mixed with her own occult beliefs. Blanche also kept going to services, but Blanche has health problems as does her mom so the family is not typical in any sense.

Hannah, the girl bat mitzvahed on Friday and Saturday, is a different case. She even wanted to go stay with her relatives though it would have meant she was bat mitzvahed in dirty clothes the next day. If you don't care enogh to wear clean clothes (and thirteen year olds have BO so if they sweat into something it is dirty.) for something, how much do you really care about it? Hannah went through the motions. Hannah did what was expected. Hannah will get some gifts, maybe some big ones, as an inducement to go through the motions. Hannah got dragged.

My mother made it a point not to drag any of us kids over religion, but if one values continuity over individual faith, then drag away by all means. So what if the newly bat mitzvahed teen has no use for the schul and doesn't go to the student schul when in college (Some colleges have good student schuls and some don't. The one at Cornell was excellent. Actually Cornell had more than one.) When she gets married and has children, she'll remember that it's OK to drag them and she'll do what was done to her.

And no I'm not jealous I did not receive a religious upbringing. I have my own issues with that and I'll let all of you read them. I'm not sure it wouldn't have spoiled things. I just don't think this business of rites of passage and passing on the faith is all it is cooked up to be.

Now on to my own issues. I knew I believed in God from the time I was twelve years old and I wanted to be a Christian from the time I was fourteen. I was a Christian while I was in high school. I prayed to Jesus every night and kept a cross hidden behind a picture on the wall. My mother would have had a fit if she knew I had a cross on my wall. Christianity is more accesesible than Judaism and I learned they woiuld take any one which they will. My mother did not once offer to take me to a church to hear services on Sunday. She also did not offer to take me to a synagogue or suggest I go to one for services. Any one can go to services. You don't have to be a member. Not driving or suggesting one within walking distance or giving me permission to go there (I was actually forbidden from attending a church within walking distance during one of the summers at Highland Lakes) was an active block to what I was seeking. It hurt. I remember my teens as a very spiritually hungry time. I complained and my mother said: "when you're eighteen you can..."

I could not wait. Usually this allows the "passing fancy" of religion to self destruct but I was too hungry and determined for that. Getting my faith squared away (being able to practice Christianity openly in my case) when I went away to Cornell was at the top of my list of priorities.

Well you may ask what happened. His name was David Gershbein. He was the President of Young Israel for two years and he would show up at the Messianic Jewish zaps and argue and dispute and he invited me to YI and presto, the Jewish outreach got to me. Also Joy, who was a first year, invited me to reform services and later I went to conservative and then to Orthodox. I even showed up for morning minyan. Thanks to excellent outreach and a fairly large Jewish population, I returned to the faith of my ancestors. I am very much a Jew by choice and have been one since I was nineteen years old.

Had I grown up in western Georgia rather than New York State, I would be Christian today. I suspect that UGA (or Georgia Tech or Georgia State) does not have the depth and breadth of Jewish outreach that Cornell does. Hilel never impressed me, and without a conventional religious background there was no way it ever could.

There is also a lot about Christianity that I still find exceedingly attractive and it's more than Christmas trees. Protestant Christianity is a faith of the individual not the tribe. It is a loud and proud religion with plenty of sining, praise, prayer, reverence and worship. I often find myself hanging out with Christians on the net because I like their style. With Judaism being arid and sterile, and I can imagine few things more arid and sterile than a schul full of old people (My mother called the women biddies), down here in Columbus, I would have found myself a nice lively church or I'd be counting down the days until I went away to school and could practice openly and the second part of the story that happened to me would simply not happen this far south.

It is not that bad to know you are a creature of your environment. I guess we all are. I can live with that.


Saturday, October 09, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I haven't had time to get on Neopets today. I think I do want a petpet for Rachamme (bball_fan104735 How I hate that name though there are worse names.) I think I want a blurtle and I want a very expensive Krawk Island petpet for Ephraim who has yet to be born, but it is also important that both pets are trained and educated. That is where the patrimony comes in. I deposited no neopoints in the bank yesterday but I do have thirteen books in the safe deposit box. That makes for one intelligence raise for Rachamme and three for Ephraim. That will make them both clever and give them a running start. There are also codestones in the safety deposit box as a the result of a trade last summer and some lucky wins at Tombola. The stones are for training the two pets. Rachamme is already level two. You can't rely on Coltzan's blessings though they are nice when you have a family of four pets. Paying for an orange paintbrush is far away. I think there is less inflation for Krawk Island petpets.

The pound on Neopets is no longer no kill. There is now a mechanism for reporting pet names that are offensive. Oh well.... This is what happened to TL and why he is going to be Ephraim tonight or Sunday. I won't print TL's name on this blog. I just used his initials because his name was truely nasty. Actually I do have his old name written on his web page. This is not the version of the page I'll create for him. Neopets has gotten a lot more puritanical and this page would violate the Neorules.

In other news: I need to become an instigator on the RAOK Community Board. This means the board needs a patterage. After working with multi-voice boards for a matter of months, and Ladies Advance for two years, I think I have the technique down pat. Patterages work well unless something else comes along. That is what happend to the patterage at My Pretend Brainstorms though it stil beats the original by a mile. It is simply the best and it was worth it to get kicked off Brainstorms. It is worth it to do what I did and say what I said. I was polite until it no longer mattered. There is not much point in being polite when no one notices.

I also have to sign up to adopt my Kringles Kid. I want one of the older ones. I've made up my mind about that already. I also want a girl. That is pretty much it. I still have to commit and it is thirty-five bucks worth of commitment. I also have to order something from BMG Music. This is great economic revenge. I am psyched. I am not sure what I want but I have some ideas. I think I want the soundtrack to the Wiz.

Georgia got sick last night. Georgia is my nearly eighteen year old half Siamese blue cream alpha female kitty. She threw up a hair ball and then strained to go all over the apartment. I ended up locking her in the bathroom that had one of the litter pans twice. She peed in the pan and I feared she had a UTI. She then seemed OK but I found a turd, a nice firm one, in the dressing room near the green litter pan. I disposed of the turd and by then Georgia was sulking by the bed. She eventually perked up and came to visit me in the computer room, and this morning she ate breakfast. I don't think she has a UTI. She just had a bad spell of the inflamatory bowel disease that is the underlying cause for her hair balls. I think at some point Georgia will end up on steroids or some other medication.

I left the house at 10:30am this morning and have not been home since. I hope Georgia is doing alright. I did call Lou. He says he misses me and wants to come back. I'm not sure I want him back. This is not Kramer's hotel. He just runs away way too much.

I had brunch today at Subway and visited a store called Finds and Consigns. It is run by a lady from my schul. She had nice stuff, but way overpriced. The store was filled with rich folks browsing. I needed a bedroom lamp so wanted to check out her prices. They are high.

I went to Hannah's bat mitzvah last night. The service was abbreviated and the dinner though quite expensive and tasted OK, felt done on the cheap. It did not help that people ate their way through it like steam rollers because those in Hanna's family wanted to get to some kind of private celebration. The food was mostly premade and there was lots of pasta and cheese. This was supposed to be a vegetarian/dairy meal since Hannah dislikes meat. There are much better ways to do vegetarian food. If the family can not afford two really elaborate meals, why don't they just offer snacks to the public, do a good job of laying them out, and save the fancy stuff for their private party, or just have one good meal. I gave Hannah's mother her present. I've paid back my debt of honor to Hannah's family.

The sad thing is there is almost no support for a Jewish teen in Columbus. There may be a Jewish teens group in the temple but there is no one close to Hannah's own age in our schul. I wish people would think about this stuff. Also it looked like Hannah was being tortured up there on the bimah. Poor Hannah. If she's not comfortable, she shouldn't be doing all this stuff. Putting kids through rites of passage to please family and because that is what is done is not a great idea.

I've thought of learning Hebrew again and if I get good enough to read it, I'll finally celebrate my bas mitzvah. My parents never did that with me, but for me this would be different. I wanted it and never got it and chose to become religious as an adult. Making a choice for someone else is another matter especially when that choice has almost no community support. I made my choice before coming to Columbus. If I lived in Columbus Georgia, I probably would have converted to some form of Christianity, due to the lack of community for Jewish young people. Making a kid a solo practitioner to follow your religion is really not a great idea. Are parents really that selfish and chauvinistic?


Thursday, October 07, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

Here all of you. Have a look for yourself.

Rachamme sitting

This is my yellow tonu. She is the third rarest pet in Neopia and she is mine. She was sitting in the grey area of the pound waiting someone to take her home. Usually limited edition pets and painted ones sitting in the grey area rather than right up front are teases. They aren't there. Still I adore tonus. A tonu was my first choice of pet back in July. I could not create one so I ended up with Rosalita and I learned how fantastic grarrls are, but there was this yellow tonu. I ran her username through the search engine and she had not been adopted. I clicked and I got her.

Usually limited edition or painted pets in the pound are there for someone to pick up. That someone is connected via AIM or Yahoo messenger (for some reason never ICQ) who knows the precise minute and second, runs the search engine, and obtains the transferred pet. This is why fancy pets in the grey area are teases. Well, I just got lucky and someone waiting for their yellow female tonu is out of luck. I don't feel sorry for him or her. I got lucky. I got astoundingly lucky.

For a super precious limited edition pet, Bball_fan104735 or Rachamme as I call her, was not treated all that well. She was born around Tonu Day when one can create a limited number of tonus and then her owner never did much with her. She may have had some trips to Coltzan but I think her stats were just good. Her owner never read to her and never trained her. Rachamme is now level two and bright. She also has her own custom pet page. I'd get her a petpet too if she could decide what she wants. Ephraim who has yet to be born wants a piano which is an expensive purchase. I would like to paint Ephraim orange which is an undertaking that is horrificly expensive. A piano and a petpet (in fact two petpets) are within reach as is lots of training and reading.

Rachamme's appearance means that I have to create Ephraim sooner rather than later. Like Rosalita and Shanti who are at rough parity, Ephraim needs to develop in parity with Rachamme. In other words, the family is roughly going to be two sets of neopet twins. They will all be very different from eachother. Ephraim and Rosalita are both ZZ/ZW creatures (Rosalita is more closely related to present day birds than she is to reptiles) and both are atypical sex and species combinations. Rachamme and Shanti are both female (XX) and both mammals. Rosalita and Rachamme are both large. Shanti and Ephraim are both small. Rosalita and Shanti are older. Rachamme and Ephraim are both younger but older than they seem. Shanti is a primate while Ephraim was one in his last incarnation. Rachamme is a large ungulate and Rosalita a warm blooded reptile, both of whom have little in common with their human owner. I think balance in a Neofamily is a good thing and something one should think about.

It has been hard to get back here and blog. The multivoice boards are somewhat easier. I fear who could be reading this. I don't care if Rodney Rickard reads what I write. I fear that Lou will and I want to give him a bit of privacy. That makes it hard. OK, on to the right side of the blog.

Lou ran out on me again. I don't know how many times I've done this or how often I've said it will be the last time. It is the last time. It is always on a fairly flimsy pretext. It is always for longer than I care to think about. I am not taking him back. I am not broken up. I can't go into all the details because I respect Lou's privacy, but as long as I was here I would try to work through the problems I saw. Now that Lou is gone, though, I don't want those problems in my life.

I don't know what a normal boyfriend is even like any more or if they are all like this. I know they are not. I am not sure I will be happy with a normal boyfriend. I can't even picture one. I know I need to go out to the Fire House Saturday night. I tell myself that since I'm working Sunday (I'm also working Saturday) this won't be such a good idea. I wish there was a singles group at my schul. There may be one up in Atlanta but that is a long way to go. Getting out again doesn't feel right.

I ask myself was it my fault. I don't think it really was. I made sure I got home reasonably on time. I paid Lou a fair amount of attention. I made some things he liked to eat. I offered to do what I could for him. I think some of his personality traits reflect my own but big fat hairy deal. I don't want another second chance. I'm not going to get another second chance. This would have been a capture weekend. It is fall break. I am working. I worked last night because one of the part timers threw her back.

I am in the middle of an eleven day week. It hasn't sunk in yet which is good. Hannah's bas mitzvah is tomorrow and I'm going directly from work and bringing the gift that I dragged Lou through a crafts fair to buy. In the kitchen is all the food that Lou an I bought in Atlanta. When it is gone, I will go to Atlanta on the shuttle which runs at good hours and gives me a whole day there. I have the backpack. I will need less groceries. The less I buy will last longer.

I know I should go out and walk tonight. I can walk all I want now that Lou is gone. I could go to Publix and get some oil and some eggs. I would like to keep baking, but have no one to bake for. That stinks. I don't need to go to Publix so badly and I'm going all the way to schul tomorrow. Also, the Democratic headquarters is not staffed. I want to volunteer. There is a houseparty but I have to invite two people to come with me. I know no one who goes with me on those exploits. I mean, the people I know are already involved or they are uninterested.

Just an interesting political footnote: Penny who works downstairs today reacted quite interestingly to the report that said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. She said the weapons were hidden in a cave in Syria and Israel knew aobut them. Some people have a hard time believing the truth when they hear it. The ironic thing about all this is when we went to war last year, I wasn't sure there weren't weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I figured it was betting odds there weren't and that was good enough for me, but I listened to the news every night hoping that they did not find any. They didn't. Told ya so, seems really stale now.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

by Eileen Kramer


I put up a second board for RAOK today. It is not officially linked in. It will be an open rather than secret board so I will have the link when it becomes official. It is a Vestris Board.

Meanwhile, I read my intro in the Region 7 Newsletter. Seven is my LOTH Region. Seven consists of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. I have a list of my membership, but have done nothing to contact them. I also need to adopt a Kringles Kid for the holidays. This is a needy boy or girl whose mother, grandmother, or aunt is active in LOTH. A Kringles Kid is a pricey proposition, but it is worth the effort and the expense. A Kringles Kid is vengance work.

I have done nothing to contact the ladies in my region. Most of them do not visit the board or if they do, they seldom post there. I'm not sure why I have a block about this. I feel ashamed of doing nothing as Georgia State Director.

Today I drew my soon-to-be, Neopet, a green male bruce (penguin) whom I will name Ephraim. This comes from the passage in Jeremiah where Rachel weeps for her lost children including Ephraim who has strayed, been chastised, and is returning home. Ephraim is the reincarnation of my human looking brucke, TwatLicker. That is what he was called. I did not name him that. I adopted him from the pound. When my account was purged, Neopets killed him due to his untoward name. My other three pets with decent names, are all living on Mystery Island in permanent retirement. I've tried to obtain my old account back, but heard no answer from the Neopets Team. I feel funny recreating Felicite who is very much alive. Nia1 though I loved him was a mistake. Yes, you can love a virtual pet. He is a part of yourself.

In that vein, you might enjoy this. By the way here is a picture of Ephraim.

Ephraim dancing

Ephraim's date of birth will be some time on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. I am in the middle of an eleven day week and I want to be past the worst of it before the birth. I'd also like to paint Ephraim orange some day. That is a very expensive proposition, and one which requires a long term savings plan. I am not the most conscientious neopoint earner. I guess that is a good thing. Male bruces are fairly rare and green is also a rare color. I can enjoy Ephraim unpainted. I think he would want a piano as much as he would want a paint job.

Lou had a close encounter with a roach tonight. Roaches down here are the huge, sluggish, American kind as opposed to the sneaky little German cockroaches that live in the Northeast. The roach walked over the cover on the day bed in the living room and up on to Lou's hips. Lou was wearing his underware and the roach walked right across his white underpants. I told Lou there was a roach on him and not only did he brush the thing off, he went ballistic. He turned on all the living room lights and killed the roach with a scouring powder can while Hertzel, the cat, watched. Hertzel is my white boy of joy kitty.

I made beans and greens tonight with kale and fresh cranberry beans I bought in Atlanta over the weekend. The squash pan looks like a war hit it. Last night Lou made pasta with anchovy and caper sauce that was delicious. We ate all the sauce and all the pasta. I woke up with my irritable bowel bothering me because I ate cheese and Coca-cola at the rabbi's but I could not resist either the coke or the brie. They had cheese and Doritos at the lecture today at work and again I could not resist. I don't want to describe what my intestines feels like. On fire, is a very good description. I am afraid to go out for a walk when I am in pain like this. There I admit it. I think the fresh air might do me good.

I got stopped by a cop last night as I was walking down by Gentian school. It was around 11:30pm. He asked what I was doing out that time of the night. I told him I wanted some air. I think some air might be good for this irritable bowel. The problem is I might end up doubled over out there in the dark. I hate to think of how sick I'll be when I wake up tomorrow. The pain with irritable bowel can come and go, but it comes at the worst times. Murphy, of Murphy's Law fame, must have had irritable bowel.

I heard the Vice Presidential debate. It was a lot of hot arguing, a lot of preaching to the choir and a lot of not answering the questions. Edwards says he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. I suppot gay marriage and think Edwards is a stinking coward. I also think Kerry is a coward on this issue, but both of them know that the progressive vote has no where else to go so they are pandering to the undecided middle. There was a pretty good article on Counterpunch about what would happen if everybody stayed home election day. Too bad it's a fantasy. The Bush supporters would vote for their man anyway.

It is great to walk down Auburn Ave and see a mix of Bush and Kerry lawn signs where last election the neighborhood was solidly Bush. Maybe the message is getting through. Maybe we can win this one. Whoever wins just gets stuck with the mess in Iraq. What a prize.


Sunday, October 03, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I want more Neopoints than I am earning. I could sneak over to work, let myself in with the pass key and go to it, but I don't want to get started down that slope. Neopets is not a good replacement for Brainstorms. It is a poor choice for revenge work even though it is the commercial internet. In short, I spend enough time there. I'll log in today, make sure the pets are fed and I've visited Coltzan and Tombola and that is it. Time spent on Neopets is not time spenet blogging or using my multivoice boards. That is not good.

I think ironically enough that I've found a good Joe Lennon replacement even though it is not my brother in spiit, YB George. Monsters just sometimes create themselves. One has to marvel at them and then I hate to say it, move on. Aunt Bee's Parlor (This is a closed MSN Group) plus the LOTH Spirit Workers fills the void quite nicely. I try to visit the Parlor as often as I would have read Joe Lennon's life story. This works out quite well. I can even sicken myself on Christian glurge which but there are also prayer requests, testimony, and no one is shy about using the two p words, &qout;prayer" and "praise."

Aunt Bee runs her parlor with an iron fist. I don't know why online administrators think this is necessary. Haldis has encountered this phenomenon on the Webleagues. I guess a small amount of power tempts those in charge to use it. It is some kind of ego stroke. Fine, I don't pay attention to the politics at Aunt Bee's any more than I paid attention to the politics at the original Brainstorms. At least Aunt Bee does not get into the garbage of meta discussions, norms, and democracy. Her word and the word of her friends is law. I like that. There is much to be said for calling a spade a spade. If a small group runs a place, let them have their oligarchy and call it what it is. I may not care for all the ways that Aunt Bee and her crew throw their weight around, but at least they are up front about it.

I need to redo the patter for Ladies Advance but I have to make sure the mailing list is still there. If it is there by Wednesday, I'll redo the patter late Wednesday afternoon. I think I am going to replace Current Events with a Rip Tear Shred thread where a glurge gets ripped asunder and poetry with a rant day or something like that.

I think it is wise to just wait and see if l-advance@home.ease.lsoft.com is frozen. It is not heat in winter or electricity. I don't want to pay l-soft twice and I swear they never sent me a bill. I could have thrown their reminder letter out in all the spam I receive, but I think I never got it because I do look for stuff like that in the river of unwanted ugly I receive.

Yesterday, I passed up an opportunity to come out about the avatars to Candi, the leader of RAOK. In an email, Candi asked me what a Vestris board was and I could have pointed her to both the Run Amuck Board and the Third Rail. The problem is she would have asked more questions and I would have had a lot of explaining to do. Coming out by accident is not a good way to come out. I still ought to come out to her and to the leadership of LOTH.

I fear that Joe Lennon spoke to Lou's friend, Rodney Rickard, and there is no telling when or if Brainstormers may speak to the leadership at either RAOK or LOTH. Making myself blackmail proof would be a very good idea. I have to remind myself that my avatars are more precious to me than either my leadership positions in RAOK or LOTH. I love my avatars with all my heart and soul. They are worth anything that happens to me over them.

Lou went to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship this morning and I stayed home. The Christian minister they had last week preached a fine lecture but whoever they have this week will bore me to tears and besides, I want some time to myself. With Lou I go everywhere in the car and I intend to use some of this time to take well deserved and necessary exercise. We are a fat country because we walk nowhere and go in cars everywhere. People even believe walking is not safe and will give me rides if it looks the least bit inconvenient. I refuse the rides which shocks those giving them but usually I am glad to be outside, even at night and in the rain. I after all have a desk job.

Anyway, I know it's weird to write about exercise while you are sitting at a computer, but my fingers are getting a work out typing this blog. Lou and I went to Atlanta yesterday. We shopped at Whole Foods and at the DeKalb Farmer's Market. As a result, we have a lot of fruit that doesn't make it to Columbus in the house. That is fine with me. At Whole Foods, they had white (lumina) pumpkins, milk pumpkins, orange pumpkins, and hubbard squashes sitting outside. They were all good quality and reasonably priced. I bought a hubbard squash. I thought of getting a white pumpking but with our warm climate it would rot before Halloween. Whole Foods calls a hubbard squash a blue pumpkin. Weird huh.... By 9pm the hubbard squash was in the big roasting pan and now there is a large pan of roast hubbard squash in my fridge.

I also bought fresh cranberry beans, beet root, fancy black olives (two kinds) and fresh ground honey roasted peanut butter. When we got back from the store, I made the squash and a loaf of cranberry orange bran bread. I have a box of miller's bran I bought at Publix. I make bran bread fairly often. I also had some orange zest in my freezer from Passover and I used it in place of cinamon and the craisins in place of raisins. I ought to put the recipe up on the LOTH boards and on the Ladies Advance board. I make a lot of quick breads now that Lou is living with me.

I finished Nana at work and have not yet replaced it. I am not sure if I am ready for more Zola or want to try a different author. There is one book left by Dawn Powell in the library. The rest I'll have to borrow via universal borrowing (GIL Express). It feels good to have a novel to read especially when Lou gets on the computer here. We don't have a TV and while I can listen to music when I work in the kitchen, I don't always work in the kitchen.

Well I have an hour and a half to get some exercise so I better get going. I just took my meds. My irritable bowel bothered me a little this morning but it feels better now. I had a hot bath for my prickly heat that is all over my shoulders. Hopefully, that should get better too. Well, I'll see all of you later.


Friday, October 01, 2004

by Eileen Kramer

I had very good luck on Neopets yesterday. Shanti gained a level and the day before Rosalita aquired the ability of smokescreen because I won a bottled fire faerie at Tombola. Tombola was closed yesterday but I made 200NP (cost 150NP but every little bit helps) at the Wheel of Excitement. Yes, I'm degenerating to gambling. That is not good for me or the pets.

I just got word from Donna, my Regional Director at LOTH that I have to write an introduction. My problem is I have no resume. I am single, childless, not particularly ill...in other words my only claim to the post of State Director is that I am active. So be it. I have ten minutes until I am desked so no introduction is going out right now. I may try to draft one while I am out on the desk. That should be interesting.

Howard Rheingold has not written me back. I don't really expect him to, but it is nerve wracking not knowing if he will. I really want him and all the Brainstormers gone and out of my affairs. I guess they could threaten my play pretend Brainstorms and that is all I have and I love it and I cherish it and it was worth it to get kicked out of Brainstorms and do what I did and say what I said which was actually quite polite and decent for all the good it did me. People who screw you once are likely to do it again and again. People who screw you once are bad news. Actually Howard didn't screw me, flat out. It's his friends I'm worried about: Terri Myers, Zahava Weisman, Joe Lennon, Mike Sellers, John Williams. Yes, I'm going to name all the names. They can keep their real Brainstorms. I want my play pretend!

Here it is my lunch break and I still haven't written my intro. I also want to start a mask decorating activity for October for our region. I haven't gotten that up either. I'm also supposed to do more with LOTH Spirit Workers. That and Aunt Bee is now my Joe Lennon replacement. It is a pleasant fit. I rather like it. Actually it's an improvement and not a replacement.

Ah here it is midafternoon. Lou called to say he was depressed. I say you're not depressed unless you have health insurance. I'm almost finished with Nana and want a new desk book by the time I leave work today. A desk book is a novel one reads on the reference desk and at home. I'm not sure what I'll read next.

I started working on something I call the data entry project. It is a statistical analysis of interlibrary loan subjects. In other words, it involves a ton of scut work and data entry. Technically the project belongs to both a colleague and me. In reality, the data entry gives the colleague hives. I enjoy it because I can listen to the BBC as I do it. I then do the pivot tables and we present the results at Librarian Faculty meetings. I have to be careful what I say about work topics on this blog, but I can talk about basic stuff like this.

I also wrote another assignment for my class next spring. When I actually really start working on this class, a lot of the work is going to be done. I guess that is a good thing. I am saving decorating the class' Vestris board for a time when I really need something fun to do.

Lou and I have nothing planned for the weekend. I want to go to Atlanta but Lou won't be up to the drive tomorrow, not in the mood he is in. We either go this weekend of the weekend of the 15th.

I can't find any apples in Publix that are good for both eating out of hand and cooking. This means no Jonathan, IdaRed, or Cortland apples. There are three or four other kinds commonly grown that also works. Basicly these are tart, firm fleshed red apples. I used to live in Upstate New York so I am a connosuier of apples. I can't spell. Such is life.

I think there will be better apples up in Atlanta. We are low on herbal tea but not out of it. I will probably have to buy tea locally next week if we don't go to Atlanta. I am not in the mood to push it though I would love the trip.

I am walking late at night to get exercise. Lou insists on using the car for all errands so I no longer walk to the store. Walking places is the one form of exercise I can deal with. I was one of those kids who hated gym in school. I also hate going to the gym. It is cold in there, smells funny, and is noisey. Outside, especially down here in Georgia is much nicer.

OK, I have to write a profile for LOTH so this is all the blog I'm going to do today. I guess it is kind of short and sweet.