Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

can we all just agree that it's kind of nice to know what all the fuss is about?

and for the record, can we add that it was two days ago already? thank you.

can we all just agree that this article is refreshing?

this one. [dangit, blogger, i really want to be able to put hyperlinks in my headlines! we've been over this before; i have a format to follow!] infuriating too, to be sure.

but there's something amazing about reading things like, "President Hamid Karzai called Thursday for a reassessment of the U.S.-led coalition’s strategy for fighting terrorism, saying the current approach of hunting down militants does not focus on the root causes such as money, training, and motivation."

not that karzai is the only one making such arguments...but i think it's about time that he join the chorus.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

can we all just agree that the howard jarvis taxpayers association is ridiculous?

first of all, they're "dedicated to protecting proposition 13," which was the 1978 ballot measure that has caused california schools and libraries (and, by extension, kids and families and the economy and literacy levels and quality of life) to suffer ever since. the prop 13 debate is an ugly one, but i'm prepared to defend the "prop 13 bad" side of things, yes.

ever since i started reading the arguments for and against propositions (many years before i started voting, yes yes, nerd! i know.) i noticed that those folks are always on the opposite side of issues as i am. which, yeah, pretty much makes them lame. but in the last election booklet, they really tipped their hand.

in their argument against proposition 81 (library bonds), they do the predictable thing, throwing out lots of numbers and statistics that, divorced from any sort of context, seem to clearly indicate that california politicians are out-of-control compulsive spenders ("it is never enough. did you realize that, prior to 1986, the state only owed $4 billion in bonds?" [THIS WAS BECAUSE, IN PRE-PROP 13 CALIFORNIA, WE HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO DO THINGS. ] "california and its taxpayers built our entire freeway system, the entire university system, our water system, and all of our grade and high schools without borrowing a 1988, the politicians told us our libraries were in trouble, and needed more money" [BECAUSE OF THE EFFECTS OF PROP 13, GUYS!])

they goes on to complain and complain about borrowing (which i'm not necessarily arguing in favor of), but then things get interesting. or appalling. "we spent $9 billion on illegal alien [sic] welfare last year, yet the state can't find one dime in money for libraries, and has to borrow money again? something is wrong. we are going to be told how important libraries are, and how we have to borrow the money again. these politicians want our children and our grandchildren to keep paying more and more, so they can keep giving more and more of their money to illegal aliens [sic] and self-indulgent bureaucrats...instead of letting them borrow the money, we need to tell them to take the money away from the illegals [sic], and give it to us in libraries."

so there you have it. it's the fault of "illegals [sic]" that california libraries are in trouble. without getting too far into the issue of whether or not undocumented immigrants represent a net gain or loss to california's economy (it's a net gain, just like in every other state), i think it's important to stop and realize the degree to which this organization relies on the tired practice of immigrant-blaming to advance its allegedly taxpayer-friendly agenda.

but seriously, i want people to stop and think logically about the tax situation. i'll freely concede that nobody likes paying taxes. but i am unendingly frustrated by the pathologically short-sighted view that lower taxes=better.

taxes, in addition to paying for massive bureaucracies and office supplies at dmv and the governator's salary, pay for fire stations and battered women's shelters and toilet paper at public schools and children's books at libraries.

countries with higher tax rates than the united states also have things like universal health care (that means that everybody can go to the doctor when they get sick, not just the people who have health insurance and/or the capacity to pay for it out of pocket.) they have programs that allow every single kid to go to the dentist twice a year (and i can tell you from experience that the result of kids not being able to go to the dentist is horrible. tooth decay can actually be fatal.) they have libraries that are accessible and inviting to everyone.

it is a tradeoff, like every economic decision. but i am sick of the argument that lower taxes will somehow improve my life. if i made a lot of money and if i had absolutely no concern for any sort of common good or for the living conditions of my neighbors, then maybe. but since neither of those states of affairs are likely, i'm tired of people trying to convince me that paying fewer taxes will make me happier.

and i know that immigrant-bashing is totally chic right now, but that doesn't mean that i like it any better.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

can we all just agree that the international code of signals for communication at sea via flag is fascinating?

so tonight i was having some serious quality time with the dictionary, and i have a rad illustrated dictionary, which often causes people to laugh at me (but i know it's just out of jealousy)...and i happened to stumble across the international code of signals in the entry for flags! here is a delightful picture, courtesy of the sheldrake yacht club*. each flag stands for a letter of the alphabet in addition to having a specific meaning. here it goes!

"A / diver down; keep clear
B / dangerous cargo
C / yes (affirmative)
D / am maneuvering with difficulty
E / altering course to starboard
F / disabled
G / want a pilot
H / pilot on board
I / altering my course to port
J / on fire; keep clear
K / desire to communicate
L / stop instantly
M / am stopped
N / no (negative)
O / man overboard
P / about to sail
Q / request pratique [which is, of course, 'clearance granted to a ship to proceed into port after compliance with health regulations or quarantine.' thanks trusty electronic dictionary friend!]
R / no meaning [i like this one. imagine the conversations that take place between young beginning sailors and crusty weathered sea captains. 'excuse me, captain, sir?' 'harumpf. what?' 'what does this flag mean?' 'ah, yes. that flag. it doesn't mean anything. except R.' {oh gosh it's so piratey i can hardly contain myself!}]
S / engines going astern
T / keep clear of me
U / you are running into danger
V / require assistance
W / require medical assistance
X / stop your intentions
Y / am dragging anchor
Z / require a tug"

i think that there is vast, untapped potential for these symbols to be used in everyday life.
like maybe posted on a person's bedroom or office door? (see especially J, K, P, T, V, W)
or perhaps in a bar? (see especially B, D, G, J, K, L, N, P, T, U, V, X, Z)
or as a t-shirt design? (see especially B, H, J, K, L, R, T, U, X)

*i don't have any sort of special relationship with the sheldrake yacht club. i just found their picture with a google images search, and i figured that since they've only had 13,223 visitors in the last ten years, it might be nice to link to them.

Monday, June 19, 2006

can we all just agree that canoeing is rad (though a little tricky to spell)?

i went canoeing this weekend with g and my dad and my uncle and it was great! (even though there were snakes. okay, a snake. and i didn't see it. and it was tiny. but i did see a giant gross skin that a snake had shed...bleh!)

but the river was beautiful, and we saw a bunch of fish, and ate delicious strawberries, and talked and laughed and sat in silence, and none of us got very sunburned, and it was good.

(but "canoeing" is a tricky word. "oei" is a strange letter combination, at least for english.)

Friday, June 16, 2006

can we all just agree that popsicles are amazing?

so today i woke up with a really persistant headache (it didn't go away, even with a lot of squash for breakfast [yum!] and drinking lots of water and a little self-facial massage) and then running lots of errands in hot summery weather didn't exactly help (86 but feels like 85? are you serious, it feels much hotter than that, dude!)

but i just ate a lime popsicle and i feel so much better! i'm going to find my trusty mickey mouse popsicle molds soon and then i will have lots of popsicles all summer. woo!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

can we all just agree that it's pretty horrifying when your eyes start growing new blood vessels where they don't belong?

seriously, it just happened to me. it's called corneal neovascularization, and it happens when you wear contacts for a long time (13 years) for great lengths of time (all day, just about every day) and your corneas (which do NOT have blood vessels in them) don't get enough oxygen (they become hypoxic).

it happens because, unlike much of the rest of the body, the cornea does not get oxygen from the bloodstream. it relies on contact with the air and with tears (which are oxygenated) to fulfill its oxygen needs.

so apparently i either need to
1. cry more (like a LOT more)
2. not wear my contact lenses NEARLY as much (impractical!)
3. switch to new contacts (that are twice as expensive)

i decided on 3 with a side of 2 (and picked out fun new glasses to make 2 more practical), so the immediate health concern is not an issue anymore...but dude! not to belabor the point, but it is pretty gross. i mean, high five to my eyes and all for finding a creative (if icky) solution to a serious problem, but A NEW BLOOD VESSEL MUTATION? come ON dudes, couldn't you have just sent me an email or something? bleh!

this concludes your ocular health bulletin for the day (but oh man, did i have to look at some NASTY photos when i was fact-checking myself. that is the degree to which i am committed to high-quality and accurate health information here at c.w.a.j.a.?)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

can we all just agree that it's fun when people get to your bloguito by typing search terms that are confusingly poetic?

or perhaps poetically confusing...either way, i enjoyed seeing that "feet barefoot "my feet" "play frisbee"" gets you 233 results, of which c.w.a.j.a.? is number 9.

for the record, i like all of those things (feet barefoot, my feet, and play[ing] frisbee [even though playing frisbee can be dangerous; i have a new lump a few inches below the old one {which still hasn't gone away!} from playing last weekend. i'm hoping to play this weekend too, and maybe i'll get hit between the two existing lumps so that the lower half of my left shin will stop being lumpy and just be larger than before. i'll keep you posted.])

can we all just agree...

editor's note: hooray! it's the return of the mid-month guest blogger! (you surely remember reading the first one, yes?) this one comes to us from N, who is both awesome and teeny bit mysterious...but pretty concise and reasonable. it makes me want to send him cookies in the mail. thanks, N!
that when Tucker Carlson and Keith Olbermann think you're're probably insane?

[update: i'm having a bit of trouble with the "insane" link; you may have to scroll around a bit on the page to which it takes you, but what you're looking for is a post headlined, "Olbermann slams Coulter: Shameless." sorry about that!]
editor's note: thanks for the observation, buddy! keep on keeping on!

can we all just agree that exchanges like this are awesome [volume 3]?

me: so what's up?

friend: "i'm tryin to e-mail myself a picture of a lemming but it's not working"

Friday, June 09, 2006

can we all just agree that new glasses are exciting?

oh man, it's the first new pair in five years, which seemed like a good plan while vision insurance was still part of my life...but they are fun! and the case is fancy and magnetic. woo!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

can we all just agree that autofill + word verification = silly times indeed!

blogger, in a despicable act of flagrant anti-robot discrimination, has recently begun requiring word verification before i can post. (which is usually not a problem for me, since i'm not a robot [i'm really more of a pirate girl, if i have to commit] except when it uses a font that is normally unreadable [you know, one of those skinny, serif-intensive ones] and it squishes the letters really close together.)

but sometimes, when i start to type the nonsensical and often q-heavy string of letters, auto fill helpfully tries to save me some effort. and i want to tell it, "no, silly auto fill! i don't mean 'qjhyb' or 'qmnpq,' i mean 'qrnjcpf'! duh!"

also sometimes i wonder if some naughty programmer is playing a trick, like when i had to type "asefukz" this morning. gracious me!

update: i just found out today, 1/15/07, that my blog had been flagged as a spam blog, and that was the reason for the word verification requirement. and once i got over having inordinately hurt feelings about that, i clicked through the link requesting that a person review it, so hopefully soon i won't have to type in a random, nonsensical string of letters. which will be nice, because it's been a real pain to type it at least once but often twice while i go back and add labels to 217 posts. yes.

can we all just agree that agreement is pretty excellent?

it's not just me!

can we all just agree that election day is kind of exciting?

can we all just agree that it's wonderful to be loved?

can we all just agree that it is highly unadvisable to eat leftover thai food and a piece of cake immediately before going to bed at the end of an

anxiety-heavy weekend?

i promise you, incredible dreams will result, but they won't be the good kind of incredible.

you've been warned.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

can we all just agree that getting in a car crash sucks?

but, i should add, that everyone walking away and no kids involved and no airbags deploying and most of all a very kind and very calm person to help you out makes things much better.