Friday, November 25, 2005

Buy Blue

An interesting talk on WPR this morning with the guy who runs the website Buy Blue. I'm still pretty much undecided how I feel about this. Many would probably say, "who cares?" Well, I care, and I don't want my very hard earned money going to a corporation who will support things I do not believe in. But in terms of practicality, it's frankly impossible to limit one's purchases solely to those businesses whose ideals align with your own. Sometimes one is forced to shop at the Big Evil W when that is the only place open for 50 miles and you need an emergency supply while travelling. (For those of you scratching your head at the moment, you obviously live out east in a congested area and have never been west of the Hudson river, let alone The Mississippi.) And what about "blue" companies that, despite their politically correct leanings according to the website, you prefer not to patronize? One comes to mind--Starbucks (no connection to the husband of the last name). Starbucks is the Wal-Mart of coffee shops--put up a Starbucks and put Mom and Pop's Java Joint out of business. Despite that, they're ranked blue. I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Literally.

Personally, I would want someone to buy my jewelry or graphics or fonts or art, because they LIKE it, not because I'm sympatico with their political agenda. Likewise, I wouldn't want someone not buying from me because they disagree with me on political issues. The politics isn't the point. The piece of art is.

Nonetheless, I found it an interesting website with a few surprises. For example, Whole Foods (YES! The Whole Knee Situation!), a Granola Giant who you would *think* would be a blue company is in fact rated bad on labor and human rights issues (kinda explains the ambivalence about a fallen customer, huh?) And eBay, who despite all these bad rumours I've heard of how "Republican" they are, are in fact a blue company, not only in terms of the majority of their political contributions, but also in terms of their practices when it comes to labor and human rights, corporate and social responsibility, and the environment. Makes me feel not as bad about paying my listing fees.

Posted by Ann on 11/25/05@09:25 AM CST ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

New Corpse


Bad apples fall that slithers--manufactured landscapes: their aquatic disorders.

Posted by Ann on 11/25/05@09:03 AM CST ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Feral Thanksgivings

When I was a kid, we never went anywhere for Thanksgiving. It was just me and my parents eating a silly bird. Even when we lived in southern Massachusetts and my dad's parents lived in the Boston area, we stayed at home. They didn't come down to see us either as they physically couldn't. My mom didn't like her in-laws much. Shortly after we moved to Colorado, my dad's mom died, so our once dinner for three now included my grandfather. I didn't like my grandfather much. He was ancient and from another century, loud and pompous, smelled like an old person and he scared me. For about five years or so until he died, I had to endure him for Thanksgiving. I then decided I hated Thanksgiving, for that reason and for many others. At some point in high school, I think I might've gone to a friend's house for Thanksgiving, but I can't recall preciseley. If I did, it was a welcome relief to get away from Grandpa.

In early college, I think it was back to me and my parents again, mom slaving away in the kitchen all day, getting crabby if anyone talked to her while she was busy, and dad being grumpy and incommunicable. Then things changed in 1982 when my grandmother came to live with us. Now I had to endure an old person again. See, it's not that I disliked old people, I just wasn't used to them. Unlike people with normal family structures who have brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins and a couple sets of grandparents ad infinitum that they see at Christmas and Thanksgiving and in the summer for family reunions and off and on throughout the year, I just had 3, then 2, then 1 grandparent(s) (my mom's dad died before I was three) that I rarely saw. They were practically strangers, and strangers were strange. Essentially, I was a feral animal when it came to strangers, captive, yet feral, not the lash out and bite feral kind (unless seriously provoked) but the run and hide feral kind, or maybe it was the freeze in the headlights and withdraw inside feral kind.

1982 was when Stan and I got together. After Thanksgiving that year he told me a terrifying tale of how he was coming back from the small town on the eastern plains where his parents lived. On his way home after the Thanksgiving holidays, he was chased by some Dekes and Delberts from Nebrasks who wanted to kill him because he had his brights on (which were stuck). He managed to evade them thanks to an unintentional intervention from a trucker. He drove for miles and miles with his lights off in pitch black night to lose them.

If I recall correctly, that was probably the last Thanksgiving Stan and I ate apart. I suspect for the following years until we moved in 1989, we spent the holiday seasons on the road a lot, alternating every-other-year at his parents, and then at mine, and also switching off for Christmas too. I experienced feral animal in the headlights syndrome a lot at his parents, as they usually had other relatives there too. Fortunately, Stan, who was another feral soul, would run and hide with me a lot. If anything it was his sister that would lash out and bite, but that's another story alltogether.

As I look back on that time, I truly miss those holidays on the road. The desolate eastern plains of Colorado, although creepy in their grey decay and stark solitude, offered a strange comfort while inside an old Chevy or a plush second hand Ford with the heater blowing, insulated and protected in my bubble until I had to get out and pee at the Fort Morgan McDonald's.

Then we moved to Madison. 45,000 students enrolled at the UW, and I felt I was the only one staying in town. The place is desolate this time of year. The first year Stan fixed a bird with a pommegranite sauce. It was delicious. I forgot what we did the next year as by then we had our own house. But I think it was the following year we went to a friend's sister's house with her husband and mother and step-dad and possibly some other relatives of hers. Talk about feeling like a charity case. Poor Ann and Stan have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving, I could just hear her thought-processes saying. Poor Ann and Stan only have one juice pitcher. Poor Ann and Stan...

Poor Ann and Stan for having ever gotten involved with that person, but I digress. That would take up a whole novel. And maybe some day it will.

The following years it was just Stan and I again. At this point, I was becoming particularly bothered by Thanksgiving. It was depressing. See, I wasn't depressed that I couldn't afford to travel to see my parents. I didn't want to see my parents at a time when society or the media dictates "thou must travel to see family." I wanted to see them, or not see them, on my own terms. And even if someone gave me money for plane fare, I'd just spend it on art supplies. Maybe it wasn't Thanksgiving I hated as much as the media hype, and those who subscribed to the notion that there's something wrong with you if you're not surrounded by at least 8.6 other people during this holiday.

In the mid-90s, Thanksgiving changed again, if ever so shortly. In either '94 or '95 we spent the day with Tim, Marilyn and Paula, people Stan worked with at the time. We got a little drunk, laughed a lot and ate turkey Marilyn fixed. It was probably the best Thanksgiving I ever had. No family to worry about, just fun people. Paula is now living with her long-time boyfriend, but sadly, the others haven't fared so well. Tim is still very sick, and Marilyn died of lung cancer a few years ago.

We tried to recapture that Thanksgiving the following year, either '95 or '96, but Tim wasn't there, there was a larger "work crowd", so it was more like big time party instead of an intimate get-together. I remember a particularly annoying couple that I'll call Trish and Fritz. Trish was a typical Wisconsin woman who talked about uninteresting women things. Fritz yabbered on and on about modems, and finally asked us, "So, are you two in a band?" The year after that we invited Tim and his roommate Matt over. We actually found a Thanksgiving when all of us had off! That was the last Thanksgiving with other people. Ever. After that, Tim started going to his parents more, and he'd come back and complain about it. Why he'd now consistently choose to go eat with his family that didn't understand him and who drove him crazy, rather than choosing to eat with us, who he claimed to be his best friends, is a bit odd; but then again I don't understand the inner workings of mama's boys, which Tim, by his own admission, is.

And now I've come full circle. Alone, with just my pets and Stan...

Oh! How could I have forgotten!!! Gaaah! Yes, there was another Thanksgiving from Hell somewhere in there...somewhere...somewhere..., ah here it is maybe, sandwiched somewhere in between the creepy "Poor Ann and Stan only have one juice pitcher" and the fun Tim-Marilyn-Paula time was a very creepy...now was it Thanksgiving or Halloween? My mind's failing me. Were there two times? Maybe we were never there for Thanksgiving. Maybe it SEEMS like Thanksgiving because it was grey and cold and depressing and it involved a chilly trip across the southeastern farmlands of Wisconsin. And I remember sitting in their living room after the meal with Stan, them, their kid, and a fellow art grad student we brought with us from Madison at their request (I'll call her Melody), just sitting, full, not saying a word, except for Melody who interjected the silences every 20 minutes or so with variations on "yeah, those pumpkins we carved sure turned out well." No, I'm hoping that wasn't Thanksgiving. Despite the way I've felt about Thanksgiving, being my most disliked holiday of my past, not because of what the holiday stands for in the purest sense, but because what the media hype has made it into, despite the fact that Thanksgiving depresses me because of its cold greyness and its personal symbolism of death (grandparents and pets), despite all that, I still wouldn't want that memory as part of my Thanksgiving memories. No, that was just a fall dinner, not related to Thanksgiving, that I went to with people I no longer know. And I'll just leave it at that.

As I was saying, I've come full circle. I am alone again with just my immediate family: Stan and the pets. But instead of feeling like a societal outcast, I rather enjoy it. I wouldn't be able to compose this entry if I was frantically getting ready for a flight. I wouldn't be able snuggle with my dogs on a cold November morning if I was flying across country. Instead of waiting for mom and dad and in-laws and distant relatives once removed to arrive at my doorstep, I'll only be waiting for Stan to return from his shift, as people in institutions need to eat on Thanksgiving too. (Something that the media fails to mention is all the people working jobs on Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and all the holidays, so that they can put food on their table, and provide services to those in need and society in general so that the world doesn't completely shut down).

For the first time, I think Thanksgiving might just be turning around to be my favorite holiday. Not just because I learned to appreciate the comfort in being sad, not just because I enjoy solitude and cold fall days, but because I actually feel sincerely thankful for something. I have all four animals with me today. All the cats and the Pug came out of anaesthesia after teeth cleaning, the fleas didn't take over, Plato's abscess didn't cause complications, Caligula's cancer was fully excised, Persephone's conditions are being medicated, Lucifer Sam's high fever was brought down with medical attention, and Stan was able to catch him before he completely fell off the retaining wall on his leash, and Persephone came back home after disappearing. With a different outcome to any one of those scenarios, I could've felt quite differently. And I'm thankful that I don't.

Posted by Ann on 11/23/05@10:11 AM CST ..::Link::..10 Screamers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

DREAM: Parking and Stairways

Two parts of the dream that I can remember, but I don't know which sequence came first.

In one sequence I was travelling somewhere with someone who I think was Stan, but they seemed different, like the wrong gender and really defective. Since the identity/gender of this person is unclear, I'll call them Stanette. The part I remember clearly is Stanette, me, and possibly a 3rd person are in our red van, except it seemed higher--maybe it was a pickup. We were parked in a parking lot. It was cold and rainy. Stanette tried backing out of the parking spot, first turning to the right, but then turning to the left, wedging us back in the spot. I got very frustrated and ordered Stanette to get out, and I was taking over driving because Stanette needed sleep. I was actually hoping my threat to drive would make Stanette shape up, because it was dark and I was wearing glasses, I probably wouldn't be any better of a driver myself. I think I take off and head south down a road which was like Shields or Taft Hill in my dream version of Fort Collins from somewhere around Elizabeth.

I also had another sequence that I was with Stan and two other people. I'm not sure who the two other people were, but we all were in a large building, like either an administrative office type building or a museum. There were open stairways that labyrinthed around the center part of this vast building, stairways that were very mid-century, with flat aluminum handrails, and possibly made of concrete but covered with a veneer of tan or fleshy-colored faux stone composite, with no-skid strips near the edges of each step. I'm sure I've been on staircases like this, but I'm not sure what the material is they're made out of. The other two people (females, I think) are walking way ahead of us. We're trying to catch up to them, but it looks as if they're trying to lose us on purpose. The stairways just keep going on forever, and they're interconnected, and as you'll take one staircase and it ends up a dead end, so you have to backtrack.

Posted by Ann on 11/22/05@08:43 AM CST ..::Link::..5 Screamers.
By Ann @ 09:25 AM CST:11:25:05 ..::Link::..Whisper or Scream?

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November 2005



11.20.2005 - 11.26.2005
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