Monday, December 07, 2009

"it's connecticut for lieberman, not vice versa."

careful readers of c.w.a.j.a.?. will remember that joe lieberman is among my least favorite politicians in the history of ever. and, as you might also recall, i'm pretty impatient with the lack of affordable health care in this country. lieberman is one of the jackasses who's really holding things up. today, however, i watched a video that explains things pretty well:

joe lieberman sucks.

professors say the darndest things

one thing i will miss about this semester: having a class with the professor who explained, "david harvey? david harvey is like YODA."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

support math and science education in a title i middle school with: But Where's the Spleen?

have you ever wished that you could help a new math and science teacher at a middle school in a very challenging area make these subjects more accessible to her students? good news! here's a chance! a good friend of mine has a donors choose project that you can support! check it out:

But Where's the Spleen?

update: the project has been fully funded! yay! she's a great teacher, and i know this will help make her students even more successful.

update update: you can still check out donors choose if you're in the mood to support projects like this!

bad bread

the other night captain awesome and i were walking down the street when we saw some felonious bread*. fortunately, someone had already taken steps to physically corral this anti-social set of slices, so i think we were safe from where we stood.

*obligatory legal disclaimer: it is possible that the bread had been wrongfully accused. still, it was dark and i was glad that we didn't have to find out the hard way that the bread was, indeed, dangerous.

for the very brave, here is a closeup. does it send a shiver down your spine?
thank you, captain awesome, brave photographer.

Friday, November 27, 2009

can we all just agree that the monkey wrench gang is an exceptional piece of literature?

i loved this book so much. and here's a bit of it for you:

"A true autochthonic patriot, Smith swears allegiance only to the land he knows, not to that swarming bulge of real estate, industry and swarming populations of displaced British Islanders and Europeans and misplaced Africans known collectively as the United States; his loyalties phase out toward the borders of the Colorado Plateau."

-edward abbey, the monkey wrench gang p. 358

common problem, etc.

"i'm intimidated by your giant meatleg!"


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

b.f.h. knows me pretty well

a couple of months ago we were talking on the telephone. b.f.h. and i were both pretty tired and because of that she was saying exceptionally (but unintentionally) funny things. she told me that she was going to have to get off the phone, and i answered,

"why are you shutting off the faucet of this brilliance?"

she answered,

"cuz i'm afraid it will show up on a blog somewhere."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

snakes are horrifying, but this story is nice.

once upon a time at a zoo in tokyo there was a snake named aochan that stopped eating its frozen mice. the people who were in charge of feeding it decided to give it a live hamster to eat instead. to everyone's surprise, the snake and the hamster became best friends. the hamster is named gohan, which means snack. zookeepers say that the two appear to enjoy one another's company. i still don't like snakes. via the bbc.

dimensions of compatibility

awhile ago i was commenting to captain awesome that i eat way better meals when i'm not eating alone. (which is true...i'm totally content to have a glass of milk and several chunks of cheese and half a bag of potato chips and some chocolate for dinner, but i'd never serve that to someone, ever.)

me: "if you weren't here, i'd probably have a chikpatty and tater tots for dinner."
captain awesome: "awww, sarah! you should have two chikpatties and tater tots! one is not enough!"

Monday, November 02, 2009

stolen bike!

my friend suzanne's bicycle was stolen out of her garage in el cerrito, california. keep your eyes peeled!

it's a blue nishiki 10 speed, with black bar tape, front and back reflectors, and a silver bottle cage.

Monday, October 26, 2009

a bill with a public option! and, i have more thoughts on health insurance reform.

harry reid has announced that he will introduce to the senate floor a version of the health insurance reform bill that includes a public option.

i think this is a great idea. if you agree, call/email/fax/write your senators and let them know you support it too.

i think the creation of a strong and affordable public option is really the only way to have meaningful health insurance reform. private insurance companies are not in the business to deliver high quality care; they want to make as much money as possible in order to meet their obligations to stockholders and to enrich top executives. that's their right, i think.

but at the same time, health insurance is not something most people can safely or comfortably do without. i understand that it seems unappealing to some folks to think about their tax dollars paying for someone else's care, but i believe that this sort of investment in one another is part of living in a civilized society. and sometimes it doesn't seem fair.

like we think of the things that we don't personally use, or haven't used for a long time. for example, i rarely drive but my taxes go toward massive maintenance projects for highway systems. i haven't taken advantage of a public school district in a decade, but my rent is increased to pay property taxes that go to OUSD. but when i do drive, i'm sure grateful for safe highways. and i definitely benefited from two public school districts at one time. am i paying for things in proportion to my use for them? definitely not. but there are also the fringe benefits associated with living in a place where the people around you have access to safe roads and the opportunity for a good education. i think we as a society are strengthened by social goods like education and infrastructure, and access to proper care.

there's also the matter of corporate profits. we may feel like we're saving money in taxes if there is no additional burden to pay for health care, but if we are paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month to private companies that may or may not allow us treatment that keeps us alive when we need it, is that better? what if we consider the part of that money goes to bonuses and advertising and massive executive salaries? (the CEO of united healthcare west makes $57,000 an hour. an HOUR.)

consider firefighting (another social good we all pay for that only some of us use.) right now, if a person's house catches on fire, they call 911 and the firefighters come, rescue the person's family, make sure the fire's out, and go. and those shiny trucks and skilled first responders aren't free—our tax dollars pay for them. and firefighting services are a public good. what if there were a bunch of different fire companies and you had to sign up with one, usually through work because it would be too expensive otherwise, and send them your premium each month...and then when it was time to call 911 you found that they weren't actually coming because they decided not to cover your fire?

i think a fine for not carrying insurance is totally insane, since many people who are uninsured would like to be but can't afford it. and i think private insurance companies should be allowed to continue to exist, but i do think that a government-run program for which everyone is eligible (like medicare, but for those under 65 too!) is the only viable solution.

and it's way past time. strong public option now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

some thoughts on health care reform.

•when you consider that we already have socialized bookshelves (libraries), socialized learning places (public schools), socialized fire protection (your local fire department), socialized security forces (police departments), socialized letter and package delivery systems (the u.s. postal service), socialized road fixing (caltrans, at least here in california), socialized environmental monitoring (the e.p.a.), and socialized medicine for old people already (medicare)...socialized medicine for everybody just doesn't seem so unreasonable.

•i've read the gospels quite a few times and i still can't find the part where jesus says that the man found by the good samaritan shouldn't have been lazy enough to not have a job with good coverage and lucky enough not to have a carrier who dropped him when his treatment got expensive.

•if health insurance companies are already doing such a great job, why should competition from a public plan endanger them in any way?

•on this issue (and probably this issue alone) i am turning into a total laissez-faire economics cheerleader. move over thomas friedman, it's my turn to high five the invisible hand! natural competition in the market solves everything!

•if we were to get a public option and you didn't like it, you wouldn't have to use it. that's why the public option is called the public option, not the public mandatory.

•rep. alan grayson is a total badass and i would like to give him a hug and bake him a cake and probably give him a kiss, but only if he would like it and only on the cheek. WATCH THIS OMG HE IS SAYING THE THINGS I'M THINKING BUT HE IS ON TELEVISION:

Rep. Grayson on the Situation Room

•if you want to contact rep. alan grayson and tell him that he is the best ever, you can do so here.

•if you want to contact your congresspeople and ask them why the hell they can't be more like rep. alan grayson, you can do so here.

•stephen helmsley is a bad person (but he's not the only one. anyone who makes their fortune denying care to sick and injured people is, in fact, a bad person):

Greedy Insurance Companies—Unscrupulous United Healthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley

•it's taken me a long time to get around to writing about this. i don't feel like this post represents my best work, or my clearest or best organized thinking about health care reform. but i'm tired. tired, and furious and terrified. i just weathered another coverage-related fiasco, and i'm doing fine now (properly covered, going to get reimbursed for some stuff i needed but couldn't easily afford, etc) but it was a really scary couple of months. yes, months. with terrible nightmares. i'm publishing this in spite of its failure to meet my usual capricious standards because i think it's important, but i've really gotten to the point where, when i'm trying to talk to someone who is arguing against health care reform, all i hear these days is, "sarah, i don't actually care if you die."

Monday, September 14, 2009

my suspicions have been confirmed.

cantaloupe is the best shower snack ever. as we've already established, shower snacks are a wonderful idea after a lot of bicycle riding, but not all foods are well-suited for shower snack candidacy.

cantaloupe, however, is a perfect shower snack. let me tell you why:

1. it is delicious.
2. it is full of sugar and water, two of the things that you need after a long ride (and i suppose that you could salt it if you wanted to. and also sprinkle it with protein powder, making it the ultimate recovery food.)
3. it is actually more enjoyable to eat in the shower. due to the aforementioned delicious sugar and water, cantaloupe is pretty sticky in a non-aquatic environment, requiring the use of a utensil if you are one of the perfectly reasonable people who really prefers not to be sticky in most situations. in the shower, though, cantaloupe juice on your hands can just be rinsed off! it is perfect!
4. it is full of vitamin A and vitamin C and also potassium.

some people have wine cellars...

i have a gatorade cellar.

special note to brother bear: those three on the bottom right (you know, the ones that are colored like actual natural substances) are actually recharge.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

another way of thinking about voting on same-sex marriage

"Sinead's Hand," from MarriagEquality (Ireland)

[did i tear up? yes i did.]

i really wish i knew what movie this was.

during the first week of school i was walking down the hall behind two boys and this is what they said to each other:

boy 1: "did you see the trailer?!? that shit's raw; that shit's hella raw."
boy 2: "it made me wanna cry...and like eat a pretzel."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

dear brain,

what? why? how on earth did you come up with this song to play in my head? i think it's been twelve years since i saw this particular episode of south park and i'm pretty sure i haven't seen it or thought of it since.

this is why we forget people's names two seconds after we hear them.

eric cartman's german dance. seriously, wtf?

Monday, August 31, 2009

margaret atwood is wise.

"Most mothers worry when their daughters reach adolescence, but I was the opposite. I relaxed, I sighed with relief. Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized."

-margaret atwood, cat's eye, p. 129

Saturday, August 29, 2009

because i didn't want the "nerd party" label to get lonely:

i am so happy to be in school. i am so happy to be in classes where i get to read sentences (that is a single sentence, dudes!) like this:

"But the point is that between what Ryle calls the "thin description" of what the rehearser (parodist, winker, twitcher . . .) is doing ("rapidly contracting his right eyelids") and the "thick description" of what he is doing ("practicing a burlesque of a friend faking a wink to deceive an innocent into thinking a conspiracy is in motion") lies the object of ethnography: a stratified hierarchy of meaningful structures in terms of which twitches, winks, fake-winks, parodies, rehearsals of parodies are produced, perceived, and interpreted, and without which they would not (not even the zero-form twitches, which, as a cultural category, are as much nonwinks as winks are nontwitches) in fact exist, no matter what anyone did or didn't do with his eyelids" (Clifford Geertz, "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture," in The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays by Clifford Geertz), 7.

life advice from clifford geertz

yeah, he was a distinguished cultural anthropologist, but i've just dicovered that "Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture*," which appears in "The Interpretation of Cultures" also contains some reasonable advice for life:

"Eclecticism is self-defeating not because there is only one direction in which it is useful to move, but because there are so many: it is necessary to choose" (5).

you're welcome.

*a pdf, but free if you need to get your nerd on. i understand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

riding a lot makes everything way more awesome.

i'm pretty good at appreciating eating and sleeping times, but especially in the last few weeks, as i've returned from ecuador and had time to be more focused on riding, i have become an eating and sleeping superstar. i'm not just hungry anymore, i'm ridiculously hungry, and whatever i'm eating is the best food ever*. and at bedtime (or, um, during the afternoon sometimes) i'm not just sleepy, i'm super sleepy, and i've been sleeping better than ever (which is amazing.)

*"best food ever" does not always apply to energy bars/sports fruit snacks. those are just excellent.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

agreed, sometimes.

"Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened."

-margaret atwood, cat's eye, p. 240.

yo tampoco / me neither

leido en un pared en quito, ecuador: "no soy gordita horrorosa"


read on a wall in quito, ecuador: "i am not a horrifying little fat one"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

i'm not entirely sure that will help.

"i'm gonna look up the venus nipple, cuz you're making fun of me!"


i may never frost a cupcake with a knife again as long as i live.

a few years ago i received a fantastic birthday present from some of the most excellent (and craftiest) friends i have. it was a bunch of baking supplies—a frosting knife that is vaguely reminiscent of a magic wand, a set of silicone baking cups with legs, a cupcake display stand that reminds me of a chandelier...and a frosting applicator that definitely resembles a caulk gun.

i've used the frosting knife a lot, and the cupcake tree too, but not the baking cups or the frosting applicator. i'm kind of afraid of putting anything as plasticky as silicone into the oven, to be honest, and the frosting applicator seemed like a lot of effort.

the other day, though, i was making cupcakes for my gardensitters (who kept things alive and happy while i was in ecuador, yay!) and i had some time, so i decided to try the frosting applicator. and this is what happened:

(i'm pretty sure the blurriness is due to waves of deliciousness emanating from this cupcake.)

as these photographs clearly indicate, these cupcakes are approximately 1000% more delicious than they would have been if they had simply been frosted with a knife, even my perfect funny shaped frosting knife or the magic wand-looking one.

frosting applicators are totally worth the trouble.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

arrest made in sf hit and run

the driver who hit andrew bennett and his four year old son robby has turned herself in. streetsblog, which has been covering this story from the beginning (i'm pretty sure it still hasn't turned up in the chronicle), has the update.

the short version: she's 16, and she's facing felony hit-and-run charges. robby bennett is still processing what happened, although his only physical injuries were abrasions. andrew bennett is seeing lots of doctors to try to heal from his broken back.

yes, yes you did.

"i made her exhale like a pony container!" -b.f.h.

Friday, July 03, 2009

internet, help catch a hit-and-run driver who hurt a 4 year old and broke his dad's back.

yesterday a woman ran a red light and hit a father and his four year old son who were riding their bicycles on a green. the father's back is broken. his son is not seriously injured, thank god.

don't depend on the police to find the driver. there were witnesses who left before the cops arrived, and we need to find them. help find her.
Contact Andrew Bennett at (415) 939-4700 OR with any information on the below.

Hit and Run of Two Cyclists, One aged Four, at 18th And Valencia

On Wednesday, July 1st 2009 at 11:30am a Silver PT Cruiser sped through at red light going westbound on 18th across Valencia in the Mission District of San Francisco.

This vehicle struck an adult riding a grey steel frame bicycle which had a blue childrens add on tandem bike ridden by a four year old boy. The cyclists were traveling through the intersection on the green light going northbound on Valencia at 18th street, July 1/2009 at 11:30am

The driver sped up to run a red light causing severe injury to at least one of the cyclists.

Many people witnessed the accident and gave aid, several said that they got a plate # but when SFPD interviewed, the only people present had incomplete information. It is believed that witnesses with complete info left the scene believing that those remaining had complete info.

Unless more information is gained, the driver will not be found. If you witnessed this accident, or know someone who did, please, please come forward by contacting Andrew Bennett at (415) 939-4700 OR AND by calling the SFPD hit and Run Unit at (415) 553-1641. Case Number 090669569 (ask for Inspector Custer).

One of the cyclists has a fractured spine. We need your help in bringing the driver who hit a father and son and left the scene to justice. An injury to one is an injury to all.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

david rees is awesome.

by now, i hope you are aware of the excellence of david rees. he started writing get your war on shortly after september 11, and i am not exaggerating when i say that g.y.w.o. was a key part of my continued post september 11-existence. it's already starting to seem like a distant memory to me, but for the record, 9/2001-1/2009 were some pretty messed up times to be alive. g.y.w.o. said what i was thinking, but in cleverer ways and with a lot more profanity (a lot more), and reassured me that i wasn't the only one who was running out of ways to explain how disgusted i was with my country. for that i will be forever grateful. brother bear and i were talking about this the other night, in fact:

sarah: i have such a crush on david rees
a celebrity crush
he's married and all
but i was just looking at gywo the other day
and thinking about how that was seriously and truly one of the things that got me through the entire bush clusterfuck
i will tell my grandchildren that some day
"granny why does this comic book have so many curse words and no funny jokes?"
brother bear: heh heh

anyway, you should go look at g.y.w.o., and also its friends, my new fighting technique is unstoppable, my new filing technique is unstoppable, and adventures of confessions of st. augustine bear. there is a handy link over there in the sidebar to his website, where you can find all of these comics, order books (seriously, do it!), and learn more about the mine detection and removal team in afghanistan that he's been supporting ever since he started making money from g.y.w.o.

and also, david rees has recently written a very thought-provoking article, asking a question that's been at the forefront of everyone's minds these days: "Is Mark Sanford America's First Emo Governor?"

i hope you get a chance to look at that too; rees presents a pretty compelling case.

i also encourage you to watch this talk by david rees, delivered at columbia university in 2005. if you don't have time for all 70 minutes, watch the first few, where he thanks his sponsor, the thomas friedman metaphor illustration service. it made me laugh until i cried the first time i saw it. (granted, it was 2005 and we were all under a lot more stress, but still, the point is, it is funny.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

summer reading: mario vargas llosa's death in the andes

the dad picked this book up for me at a sidewalk sale and sent it to me when i got back from perú. and it is excellent.

i was waiting to read it until after the semester ended, because i suspected it might be one of those books that kept me up until 4:00 in the morning, and i was correct.

death in the andes
is beautiful and horrifying and confusing and fascinating. and it makes me really miss perú.

you should definitely read it.

keep calling on this kid

last sunday the pastor asked the kids why their dads were special. the best answer:

"he lets me eat spam and rice-a-roni that my mom doesn't like!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

song of the moment

cocorosie, "werewolf"

cocorosie is super weird, it's true. this is the song i can't get enough of at the moment. if you find yourself in a similar position, you can download both "werewolf" and "rainbowarriors" here.

eight hundred!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

free movie advice:

if you are going to watch "let the right one in," which is a dark and disturbing and gory and beautiful swedish movie (shocking, i know), you really ought to consider making sure your viewing companion is way braver than you so that she or he can tell you what you missed when your eyes were both covered and closed (and in certain extra-serious circumstances, when you were also hiding your entire face), and also when it is safe to open your eyes again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

thank you, garden!

the year's first zucchini.

lots of lettuce.

a juicy lemon.

two amazing sugar snap peas (i ate the other one directly after cutting it.)

an artichoke from the most delicious artichoke plant on earth.

more to come.

Friday, June 05, 2009


although obama has not magically fixed all of america's problems and ensured a pony in every yard and cupcakes in every lunchbox, he is presently off in the middle east and europe not alienating and insulting everyone. which is cool, and somewhat of a departure from the approach of a certain recent american president.

and then there's this photograph.

this exchange took place a few weeks ago, i guess, when the young man pictured was visiting the white house. he wanted to know if obama's hair felt "like his" (a pretty reasonable question, especially for a little guy who is plenty old enough to notice these kinds of differences.) this is obama (right) bending down so that his guest (middle) can feel it for himself. and me (not pictured) getting teary.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

it's sunbeam, not terrorist.

like anyone else with a heart, i was disgusted to read about the murder of dr. george tiller, who was gunned down this morning in his church. he was serving as an usher. he leaves behind his wife, four children, and ten grandchildren.

violence against abortion providers, seekers, and supporters, is terrorism and should be identified as such. the fact that anti-abortion terrorists are frequently white and christian should not stop them from being treated like their non-white and non-christian counterparts. it is a striking, though not altogether surprising, example of incredible double standards to do otherwise.

mark juergensmeyer, a ucsb professor in global and international studies, sociology, and religious studies, and director of ucsb's orfalea center for global and international studies, has studied religious violence extensively. i'd recommend his book, terror in the mind of god: the global rise of religious violence (berkeley: university of california press, 2001), in which he explains that every religion has within it the potential for violence. juergensmeyer calls religion "crucial," noting that "it gives moral justifications for killing and provides images of cosmic war that allow activists to believe that they are waging spiritual scenarios" (xi).

and this is precisely what anti-abortion terrorists are doing. and what they have been doing for years. and what they are likely to continue to do.

the ap complied a timeline of selected acts of anti-abortion terrorism in the last 16 years:
Recent cases of abortion-related violence

A look at recent cases of abortion-related violence:

May 31, 2009: Prominent late-term abortion provider George Tiller is shot and killed in a Wichita church where he was serving as an usher. The gunman fled but a city official said a suspect is in custody.

April 2007: Authorities say Paul Ross Evans placed a homemade bomb in the parking lot of the Austin Women's Health Center in Texas. A bomb squad disposes of the device, which contained two pounds of nails. There are no injuries.

Oct. 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian is fatally shot in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, N.Y. Militant abortion opponent James Kopp is convicted of the murder in 2003 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Jan. 29, 1998: A bomb explodes just outside a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic, killing a police officer and wounding several others. Eric Rudolph later pleads guilty to that incident and the deadly bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He justifies the Alabama bombing in an essay from prison, writing that Jesus would condone "militant action in defense of the innocent."

Jan. 16, 1997: Two bomb blasts an hour apart rock an Atlanta building containing an abortion clinic. Seven people are injured. Rudolph is charged by federal authorities in October 1998.

Dec. 30, 1994: John Salvi opens fire with a rifle inside two Boston-area abortion clinics, killing two receptionists and wounding five others. Sentenced to life without parole, he kills himself in prison in 1996.

Nov. 8, 1994: Dr. Garson Romalis, who performs abortions in Vancouver, Canada, is shot in the leg while eating breakfast at home.

July 29, 1994: Dr. John Bayard Britton and his volunteer escort, James H. Barrett, are slain outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic. Barrett's wife, June, is wounded in the attack. Paul J. Hill, 40, a former minister and anti-abortion activist, is later convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Aug. 19, 1993: Dr. George Tiller is shot in the arms as he drives out of parking lot at his Wichita, Kan., clinic. Rachelle "Shelley" Shannon is later convicted and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn is shot to death outside Pensacola, Fla., clinic, becoming the first U.S. doctor killed during an anti-abortion demonstration. Michael Griffin is convicted and serving a life sentence.

these people and their accomplices are obviously able to justify their actions to themselves, most of them blaming it on jesus, but here's the thing: killing people is wrong. no exceptions. if you can find me the part in the gospels where jesus kills someone because he doesn't approve of their choices, then i'll consider re-thinking this. but i've read those books quite a few times, and i still don't see the part where killing (or even injuring) someone is acceptable. ever.

the less openly-militant wing of the anti-abortion movement is also alive and well. randall terry, the former leader of "operation rescue" has been back in the news again, telling reporters at notre dame that "Obama is the premier promoter of child killing in the western hemisphere. When you have that kind of epic thing going on, it demands a response from the whole Catholic world." obama promotes child killing? more than anyone else in the western hemisphere? really? expect to see more of this rhetoric, as the militant right struggles to come to terms with the fact that bush never made good on his promises to them, and obama isn't even going to pretend like he'll give them what they want.

i don't have a lot of patience for people who want to restrict abortion rights, even through peaceful means. it is an issue of basic bodily autonomy for a woman or a girl to decide whether or not she is going to carry a fetus to term. and making abortion illegal will not magically end abortion; it will just drive it underground. anyone who is genuinely concerned for the health and well-being of women wants to avoid this at all costs.

rest in peace, dr. tiller. and may your family find comfort and healing in this time of unacceptable loss.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

you too can get one of these stickers, for free (free shipping, even!) here.

you can also order 5 for $5 or 50 stickers for $25, with proceeds going to the fight for marriage equality.

or, if you already ordered a sticker a few weeks ago like i did, you can just sit and watch the number of stickers ordered going up in real time. that feels pretty good, actually. (today i looked around noon and 27,000something had been ordered. less than three hours later, it's just reached 37,000).

from the "wtf srsly?!?" section of my favorite state:

"California Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage"

ugh. i feel gross. after watching the public arguments about proposition 8, i wasn't feeling very optimistic anyway, but having it confirmed is pretty discouraging.

i don't really have the energy to write much about it right now; sometimes i'm ready to argue about it for hours but right now i'm just sad. another day.

but anti-equality folks: you should be ashamed of yourselves. maybe you think gays are icky, that the bible is against homosexuality, or perhaps you just lack any sort of meaningful capacity for empathy or fail to place any value on fairness—whatever's wrong with you that makes you want to deny basic rights and recognition to other people, people who are just like you, with hopes and dreams and families and crushes, i hope you get that looked at.

from the "wtf srsly?!?" section of the newspaper:

"Tinkling in the pool causes disgust and discomfort"

okay dudes, i know that there are some amazingly dense and inconsiderate people out there, but this article makes me think i should never leave the house again. as the title suggests, it really is an article about how peeing in swimming pools is gross and makes other people upset and, in large quantities, sweat and urine can contribute to health problems. (i don't want to come off as a public pool urination defender or anything, but i still can't think of anything that, in large enough quantities, doesn't contribute to health problems.)

the really totally insane part, though, is the part about poop. yes, offers "pool etiquette" tips. and yes, the first one is, "Don't swim when you have diarrhea." i'd like to add to that one. don't swim when you have diarrhea, and if it took reading this article to get you to realize that, don't swim ever. the fourth suggestion, though ungrammatical, is also something that should be beyond obvious to anyone over the age of five who has access to sinks: "Wash your hands after using toilet or changing diapers."

um. yes. yuck. i'll leave you with some more of this article's reflections on poop:

The most common recreational water illness is spread through diarrhea. One of the most persistent problems is Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes diarrhea and can be found in infected stools.

"With Crypto, if you have diarrhea, it's very watery," Hlavsa said. "It's not a formed stool sitting in the pool or floating on top. It could be very watery, and no one [in a pool] would know."

During the past two decades, Crypto has become one of the most common causes of waterborne illness.

Unlike E. coli and salmonella, Crypto can resist chlorine. In 2007, the parasite sickened more than 1,200 people who had visited recreational water facilities in Utah.

According to the CDC, if someone swallows water that has been contaminated with feces, he or she may become sick even if very little water is consumed.

The agency also recommends that people shower before a swim, because most people have traces of feces on their bottoms, which can contaminate recreational water. In the Water Quality survey, 35 percent reported skipping a shower before swimming.

Recreational water illnesses have been on the rise for the past two decades, according to the CDC. From 2005 to 2006, the agency reported 78 outbreaks of recreational water illnesses associated with swimming pools, water parks, hot tubs, lakes, rivers and oceans that affected 4,412 people and resulted in 116 hospitalizations and five deaths.

so. happy summertime, wash your hands and your booty, and safe swimming.

basically, all the important stuff.

i just found a "don't forget to pack this" list for myself, left over from one of the school camping trips i went on this semester (by the way, if you're seeking a field of study, you should know that geography classes usually include at least one field trip. just sayin'.) the list:


the nephews' mama knows me pretty well.

me: blah blah blah possibility that probably isn't going to end up working out blah blah blah " would be fun, but it's not keeping me up at night."

nephews' mama: "well, to be perfectly honest, nothing really does."

Friday, May 08, 2009

my life, in a status message:

"Index Terms: preimplantation embryo; recombinant granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor" i'm not a scientist but i'm pretty sure this article on andean glaciation has the wrong search terms attached to it.

(in case you didn't know, i'm not going to miss this paper when i'm finally finished writing it.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

a quick question for the smokers:

when you throw your cigarette butts on the ground, just who do you think is going to pick them up?

the nephews' mama is made of strategy.

"you have to decide, choose your days when you feel like scraping peanut butter out of the folds of somebody's ear."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the best bike video on earth.

seriously, if you've never seen a bike video before, that's okay. just watch this one.

at first, my jaw dropped. then, i found myself saying, "what?!?" to an empty room. and then, i yelled it. watch this movie now.

danny macaskill, inspired bicycles april 2009

truly amazing. go see!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

my favorite geography game site on the entire internons

is definitely and thanks to the countries of africa mapping game, i finally know them all! (warning: if you try to tell me that you can't keep track of african geography because "it keeps changing!" i will judge you. you know what else has changed? european geography. and more recently and dramatically than african geography. but i see many more people prepared to give up on knowing where anything in africa is at all than people who have just decided that it doesn't matter where, say, the czech republic is. don't be lame. learn africa.)

next up: finally, really, once and for all, figure out where delaware is. (i am still not entirely convinced of the existance of delaware and therefore keep forgetting where it is, ruining my score on the states of the u.s.a. mapping game. yeah, i'm working on it.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

diagnosis: stop looking at webmd.

i am amazingly sick! and the other night i decided to take a look at america's favorite medical information source substitution website.

according to webmd, i am suffering from one or more of the following:
  • malaria
  • non-hodgkin's lymphoma
  • leukemia
  • menopause

Thursday, April 02, 2009

in which my relationship with the jesus is distilled into two songs.

in related news, grooveshark has caused me to realize that pedro the lion's achilles heel comes closest to summarizing my own personal theology than anything else i've read or heard lately. please enjoy a selection below.

the fleecing:

foregone conclusions:

can we all just agree that grooveshark is totally amazing?

seriously, dudes! i am still not sure how grooveshark works (probably witchcraft and/or magic, like most things on the internons) but what i do know is that you can type a song title or artist or album name into a box and then it will play the song for you. you should probably try it out right now.

well, everyone likes something different, don't they?

"i thought the idea of scour area polygons was really interesting."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

where would i go if i were in albuquerque on march 11 or march 13?

i'm so glad you asked! unfortunately, i continue to not be in albuquerque, but maybe you will be. from the always excellent, rad and radical mike butler:

Food Not Bombs Albuquerque Facing Fines and Arrests!!

Hey Comp@s,
Food Not Bombs Albuquerque was recently notified that we are facing having to pay $3,000.00 in fines and we will be "forcibly removed" from the area near the UNM Bookstore if we continue to share free healthy food. We are asking for all of our friends and supporters to bring video cameras, cameras, instruments like drums and guitar, and join us as we share a free healthy meal with the community Wednesday March 11 @ 11am and Friday March 13 @ 12 noon at the UNM Bookstore.
Thanks so much for your support in the past and we hope to
see you in the streets!
Mike Butler
Food Not Bombs Albuquerque
(505) 242-0497 or

Thursday, March 05, 2009

just so you know, kenneth starr is just as much of a jackass as you remembered.

i went to san francisco today to watch the arguments about proposition 8 before the california supreme court. i was expecting miserable weather and tons of people; the crowd wasn't ever very big and the weather was absolutely magnificent.

i ran into a friend from the dorms; he'd been looking at me funny and it was because he recognized me. we stood together for a bit. then he had to leave and i ended up next to an older woman who gave me the rundown on everything. she knew the names of all the justices and how they'd voted, how they were likely to vote, and big issues with which they might be concerned. she was awesome.

and kenneth starr? awful. what a horrible dude. he kept talking about how eliminating marriage rights didn't erode the bundle of rights so graciously granted by the state...and we kept hissing. because at that point, it was about all we could do.

and then i left the protest and had lunch with jesse danger.

help a friend of friends (or a friend of a friend of friends)

today i've seen this story in several places on the internets. hollis hawthorne, a 31 year old san francisco woman, has been in a horrible motorcycle accident in india. she is seriously injured, and her friends and family are trying desperately to raise $200,000 to pay for an air ambulance from india to stanford.

i don't know hollis, but i do know a number of people who do. you can read more and donate here, should you feel inclined. i did.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

can we all just agree that pancakes are fantastic?

i made some pancakes for shrove tuesday last week and remembered about how great they are. i just had some with pecans and dried berries in them, with applesauce and plain yogurt. yes.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

mouse-over text is a magical thing (nsfw)

xkcd is brilliant, but you already knew that. until i recently got a new version of firefox, i could only read the first few words of the mouse-over text, but now i can read it all! which has meant that i've needed to go back to the beginning to read all of the mouse-over text. and oh man, some of it is so funny! observe:

funny, no?

now try looking at this:

while thinking about the fact that the mouse-over text says, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a BITCH ASS FUCK DAMN"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

nsfw, but hilarious.

i try to keep c.w.a.j.a.?. family-friendly, and i think i'm generally pretty successful. but this makes me laugh every time, and i also believe it to be true:

(if you can think of it, there's porn of it. no exceptions.) i hope your boss isn't standing behind you right now, or if she or he is, that they also find this funny.

in related news, i've thought about it some and i'm pretty sure that the internet is 75% porn, 20% cat pictures, and 5% everything else.

Friday, February 27, 2009

this is an amazing movie.

it starts a little slow but then it gets amazing, i promise.

fr. eckle i guess? to daft punk's "better harder faster stronger"

ingredients for a beautiful day:

1. good friend
2. long bicycle ride with amazing scenery and nice weather
3. large quantities of blueberry pancakes and sweet potatoes with rosemary
4. hot shower

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

heima is a beautiful film.

today at work we screened heima: a film by sigur rós. and i was reminded again of what a beautiful film it is. if you have not seen it, i would definitely recommend it.

sigur rós, after becoming really famous and spending more than a year on the road, decided that they wanted to return to their home country of iceland and play a series of free, unannounced concerts. heima is footage of those shows, interviews with the band (they are endearingly modest and shy), and incredible scenery of iceland.

here is the trailer. i hope that you like it:

heima trailer, sigur rós

well, if you say so.

the kids i babysit really like to play a game with grapes wherein one eats most of the grapes on ones small bunch and then asks someone else what kind of vehicle it represents, based on the number of grapes that remain (these correspond to the number of wheels on the vehicle, so four is a car, three is a tricycle, etc.) this is what transpired tonight:

three year old: [holding up a stem with two grapes left] "what is this?"

me: "a bicycle."

three year old: [holding up a stem with one grape left] "what is this?"

me: "a unicycle."

three year old: [holding up a stem without any grapes left] "what is this?"

me: "a sled."

three year old: [looking at me with a mixture of disgust and pity] "IT'S A REINDEER."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

b.f.h.=awesome proto-cyclist

b.f.h. and i went test riding all day today and it was great. despite a totally reasonable uneasiness around bicycles, she's decided that it's time to get one and start riding around sometimes. it's really exciting to watch!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

laundry magic!

today i wanted to wash a load of white laundry (i rarely sort my laundry; cold water uses less energy and the load rarely includes brand new stuff anyway) and i was kind of hoping to make my whites brighter, or some other bleach commercial-worthy sentiment.

here is the secret (the internet told me about this and it was correct!): one cup of baking soda dissolved in the water before you add your clothes, then one cup of vinegar added to the rinse water. it didn't even smell vinegary, but it got some blue stains out of several white items (that whole not-sorting-laundry thing is almost always just fine. almost.) and maybe it's my imagination but the whole load seems whiter and brighter.

and now you know.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

additional substantiation for my previously-articulated claim that the milagro beanfield waris an excellent book:

"As everyone knows, Smokey the Bear is a symbol of the United States Forest Service. And for almost a hundred years the United States Forest Service had been the greatest landholder in Chamisa County, although most of the land it held had once not so very long ago belonged to the people of Milagro. And, since the Forest Service's management of its recently acquired property tended to benefit Ladd Devine the Third, big timber and mining companies, and out-of-state hunters and tourists before it benefited the poor people of Milagro, the poor people of Milagro tended to look upon Smokey the Bear as a kind of ursine Daddy Warbucks, Adolf Hitler, colonialist Uncle Sam, and Ladd Devine all rolled into one."
-from john nichols' the milagro beanfield war, p. 272

the milagro beanfield war is an excellent book.

i remember mamacita and the dad reading it and enjoying it back in the 80's, and i found it at the best bookstore ever awhile ago. it kind of reminds me of edward abbey; the profound injustices of land and resource allocation in the american west are a centerpiece of the book, but there's a magical realism flavor to the whole operation that is reminiscent of isabel allende.

this description makes me think of a good friend:
The sheriff would have liked a mind that could deal with abstract thoughts and ideas. Instead, he possessed a mind capable of tinkering with things just enough to make them impossibly confusing and himself so dissatisfied with his own intellectual inadequacies that he would never be happy.
-from john nichols' the milagro beanfield war, p. 234

Thursday, February 05, 2009

ayn randy irony

i'm a member of a list called freecycle, which allows people to offer and request free things. i haven't given or gotten anything yet, but the other day i saw a posting that made me laugh: a free copy of atlas shrugged.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

i can't say they didn't warn me.

"note: when the travellers arrives to the country they cant stay in the country more time than the allowed by the authorities either cant realize and paid or lucrative activy without the righ migratory documents. this card must be returned to the migratory authority when the foreigner exit the country."

don't worry, folks, your faithful foreigner followed all the rules and is home safe and happy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

¿podemos estar de acuerdo que viajando es magnífico? / can we all just agree that traveling is magnificent?

como ya les avisé, me voy al perú. no se si voy a escribir algo mientras estoy viajando, pero al derecho hay enlaces a blogs mucho más bueno que c.w.a.j.a.?. si necesites algo para leer. prometo que les contaré algunos cuentitos interesantes al regresar; no les olvidaré.


like i already told you, i'm going to peru. i don't know if i'm going to write anything while i'm traveling, but to the right are links to blogs much better than c.w.a.j.a.?. if you need something to read. i promise i'll tell you some interesting stories when i return; i won't forget you.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

sometimes the only answer is no answer.

five year old, conversationally: "well, you know mr. skippy with his pineapple bottom."

preschoolers are excellent scientists.

it is dinner time, and mom has left us with the usual instructions: those who eat good dinners can have dessert. she had time to tell us what constituted a good dinner, which is lucky for the kids because her ideas of a good dinner are much more lenient than mine.

five year old, holding up an orange slice and pointing at the peel with exaggerated wide eyes: "do we have to eat even THIS part?"

i knew that he was being silly, and i answered, "no. that part isn't very good to eat." i was just about to tell them about orange zest and its applications for recipes (because i love that part of hanging out with kids! the hey-here's-a-thing-i-know! part!) when i was interrupted by the almost four year old, who made a horrible face and announced very seriously: "YOU ARE RIGHT."

and i admire that kind of commitment to hypothesis testing, i really do.

truly, individual perception is an incredible thing.

the almost-four year old had chosen guava juice for her dinner drink. the five year old was definitely not on team guava.

five year old: "i've had guava juice before, and it tastes like...[looks warily over to me, sees that i'm paying attention] tastes like...[looks at me again, trying to decide if it's worth getting in trouble for using "bathroom talk" in his quest to describe the flavor of guava juice][realizes that i'm not going to let him get away with a scatological comparison]...WOOD.

almost-four year old, immediately: "no. to me it tastes like PRINCESSES."

Monday, January 05, 2009

possibly the most ridiculous text message not intended for me i've received to date:

"Who's hot... You!
Who's fine... You!
Who's cute.. You!
Who's sexy.. You!
Who's a liar..ME!!
Hahaha jk."

i would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of several important points:
  1. ellipses consist of three dots, and should have a space neither before nor after.
  2. capital letters are not necessary after ellipses.
  3. question marks (?) are required when one is asking a question.
  4. exclamation points, which must be used sparingly, should appear singly (!) or in groups of three (!!!).
  5. words written in all capital letters tend to evoke shouting. shouting is rather uncouth.
  6. "jk," while not quite as bad as "lol*," is still a totally stupid thing to write.
thus, corrected, this misdirected text message would actually read:

"Who's hot? You!
Who's fine? You!
Who's cute? You!
Who's sexy? You!
Who's a liar? Me!!!
Hahaha. I'm sorry for accidentally sending this text message to you when I clearly intended to send it to someone else. I'm extra sorry for accidentally sending this text message to you when you were kind of hoping for a text message from someone you'd recently begun to find rather shiny but who actually didn't end up sending you anything today at all.. JK LOL!!"

*"lol" is the bane of my internet existence.

this is one way to deal with the government auctioning off public land to be destroyed by oil and gas companies:

(ap story, via huffington post) a 27 year old university of utah student named tim dechristopher went to a bureau of land management auction in december and starting bidding on parcels of federal land that were being sold to oil and gas companies. he won 13 of them, and managed to make others much more expensive than they would have been otherwise.

"I thought I could be effective by making bids, driving up prices for others and winning some bids myself," the Salt Lake City man said.
DeChristopher snapped up 22,500 acres of land around Arches and Canyonlands parks but said he could afford to pay for only a few of those acres. He owes $1.7 million on all of his leases.

he's expecting federal charges, he says, and he's "willing to deal with that."

somewhere, edward abbey is smiling.

i am glad that you made it back okay.

me: "are you getting ready to the frozen white north?"

jesse danger: "yes. it's super frozen right now too
like a billionteen and a half below zero."

note to self: don't make that guy mad.

ralph: "i hope a pigeon pees on her."

Thursday, January 01, 2009