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Leaving the Party, continued 2002

Thanks, Mike, for the link to Steve Perry's column "Spank the Donkey or Why We Should All Give Up on the Democrats: A Polemical Essay". It's got me thinking and many of the thoughts are uncomfortable ones about party lines I've swallowed. I truly wish I had received more education in rigorous critical thinking or was more naturally inclined to it; perhaps it's hard for it to co-exist with an "assume the best about people" nature.

Posted on November 27, 2002 at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Recipe: Mobster's Holiday 2002

Here's a new recipe of mine, invented just this evening. It's an Italian-Mexican casserole.

1 Oven
1 Baking dish approx. 8" x 11" or bigger (I just found a good one cheap at Ikea)
1 Spatula or wooden spoon
1 Cheese grater
1 Can opener

about 2 cups of uncooked pasta
2 small red onions or one large one
a little vegetable oil or olive oil or butter or some Pam cooking spray
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce (this is the most average can-sized can)
1 16 oz bag of frozen corn niblets
1-2 cups pepper jack cheese (those who don't like it extra spicy probably should split it, half regular jack, half pepper jack)
(optional) half teaspoon cumin
(optional) half teaspoon cilantro
(optional) dried toasted onion bits


Pull the corn out of the freezer and set it on the counter to start defrosting.

Cut off the ends of the onion(s).
Slit the side and peel the dry skin off. (If you make vegetable stock, these bits go in your Stock Parts container in the freezer).
Cut the onion into roughly inch sized chunks. (I cut my small onions in half vertically, then cut the halves horizontally in half, then cut those into 3 even chunks).
Put a couple teaspoons of oil (or whatever) into a frying pan.
Put the heat on medium.
Put the onion in there and let it cook gently (turn the heat down if you need to), stirring it from time to time with the wooden spoon, until the onions get softer and translucent.
If you have some, when the onion is mostly done, sprinkle cumin and dried cilantro on the onions. Stir.

While the onion is cooking:
Turn the oven on to 350 degrees to preheat.
Put about 3 times as much water as you have pasta in a pot.
Add a pinch of salt.
Bring the water to a boil and then add the pasta.
Stir the pasta with the spatula or a wooden spoon.
Cook the pasta for as long as you're supposed to cook that kind of pasta (probably about 8 minutes). Don't overcook it.

While the pasta is cooking (if the onion is done, turn off the heat and transfer the onion to a bowl if it continues to cook in the pan):
Spray Pam or wipe some olive oil in the baking dish.
Open the can of tomato sauce.
Grate the cheese.

When the pasta is done & thoroughly drained, pour it into the pan.
Form a flat layer in the bottom with it.
Evenly spread the cooked onion over the pasta.
Evenly spread the corn over the onion.
Evenly spread the tomato sauce over the corn.
Evenly sprinkle the grated cheese over the sauce.
If you have it, sprinkle some dried toasted onion bits on top of the cheese.

Put the pan in the 350 degree oven and leave it there without peeking for 30 minutes.

When it is done, remove it from the oven using oven mitts to hold the hot pan.
Serve immediately to joyful recipients.

Because the pasta can be a little slippery, a big serving spoon or ladle is recommended for dishing it up.

This can also make a good "bringing lunch to work" dish.

Posted on November 25, 2002 at 09:24 PM in Food and Drink | Permalink | Comments (3)

Serenity on the Desktop 2002

My pal Kevin Fox recommended some pretty Japanese icons and I've now combined them to lovely effect with a beautiful picture of a path in the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden. (I recommend the source: a nice tour of the garden which contains some more gorgeous pictures).

Posted on November 23, 2002 at 10:24 PM in tools | Permalink | Comments (0)

Switching 2002

This afternoon and evening are about choices, changes and letting go. I have decided to no longer own a PC, so I've been going through all my boxed software and setting aside items to sell or give away. I've also come to the realization that I love DVDs and hate tv, so I really don't need all these videos. More things go on the sell or give away piles.

Hard to part with items that are available for Mac or on DVD are going on my Amazon wishlist. Ah, and that has prompted me to update my list, a task which does not seem to go well in Mozilla 1.1. Which means the switch away from Microsoft Internet Explorer won't be happening just yet.

In a month and a half I'll be looking for a new apartment to switch to, but after a sudden shopping trip this evening ("Oh no! I need another teaspon of turmeric for this recipe! And I'm out of frozen organically grown peas! And I want an extra strong Jamaican Ginger Beer!") which was completely successful, I am feeling reluctant to move out of range of my lovely neighborhood market, Nabila's.

[San Francisco readers: If you know of a quiet studio or one-bedroom apartment that will be available in mid to late January or on February 1st which has rent under $1150, no upstairs neighbors, a gas stove, enough room for a California king size bed, more than 6 feet of kitchen counter space (or room for a kitchen table) and an easy route to BART, please drop me an email at this domain. Thanks.]

I begin to think that my first decade or so was for learning about the world around me, my teens were for learning that world didn't revolve around me, my twenties were for trying new things and my thirties have shaped up to be about focusing on the things I like and which really matter to me. I hypothesize that my forties will be about living that optimized life and seeing if it is as good as I hoped, perhaps adding to it or paring it down further. How about you? What are the themes of your life so far?

Posted on November 23, 2002 at 08:22 PM in simplicity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Enough. The party has failed me. 2002

Yesterday's passage of the Homeland Security bill by the senate without the removal of all the unsavory corporation benefits tacked onto it was the last straw. My senators, both Democrats, voted for it and I'm thoroughly disgusted with them.

For most of my adult life I have been registered as a Democrat. There were a few forays into the Green party, but the desire to have more influence in the primaries lured me back to the donkey. It's been a lukewarm commitment born of expedience not inspiration. I voted for Gray Davis so that Simon wouldn't win, for Gore trying to stop Bush Jr. from taking office.


It's time to vote my conscience and to try to convince others too disgusted to vote to register and vote theirs. Disapproval without actively supporting alternatives is a waste of time. I'm registering Green.

If you agree, do the same. Do it now.

Posted on November 20, 2002 at 12:59 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (6)

Survival Tip 2002

One of the best things you can learn to do for yourself is to omit the unnecessary without guilt. When work is hard or you have family stress or you're feeling sick, let go of things your gut tells you you don't need to do.

My new job, though I love it, is really hard. I'm doing better at it than I expected and enjoying it more too. Still, it is a mental workout. That's been the main source of if not stress at least wiped-out-ness.

It's not that I have nothing more to say or I didn't want to come to your party or I don't like to write email to you or whatever it was I didn't do; it's just that I needed to retreat and recharge.

I recommend it. Watch a movie. Do some fun project around home. Go for a walk. Do whatever whole-lotta-nothing strikes your fancy. You deserve it. I certainly do. ;)

Posted on November 19, 2002 at 09:50 PM in worry vs. clarity | Permalink | Comments (3)

Ode to my Mac 2002

I just had to restart my Windows machine at work again. I left it on overnight and apparently that's a bit too much run-time for it to tolerate.

I think I'll buy my Macintosh some flowers on the way home.

Posted on November 13, 2002 at 02:27 PM in tools | Permalink | Comments (2)

A Bit O' Edmond 2002

Sorry for my sparse posts here. I was away from home in the evenings all weekend. Edmond was staying at my place to conduct his continued job search and so I stayed over at Chris's place. This meant I got more than my usual allotment of fun gaming (Unexploded Cow, Parts Unknown, Acquire) and a great movie (Real Genius), but not much web time.

Go have some fun. I recommend it. :)

Posted on November 11, 2002 at 11:51 AM in friends & family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Okay, enough whining. Let's get to it. 2002

Hooray for Molly Ivins. Brighten Up, There's Always Another Election, she says and puts things into perspective.

Another reason to be of good cheer about the larger picture is that the Democrats deserved to lose. What a gutless campaign. It's one thing to point out that the economy is a mess; it's another to have no useful plan whatever to offer. How could they let themselves be buffaloed by Republicans on taxes, with all the facts and fairness on their side? One had only to say, "Every single nickel of tax relief in that package will stay in it, but instead of giving 50 percent of the cut to the richest 1 percent of Americans, we're going to put that tax relief into a payroll tax cut, it's going to the bottom 99 percent of the people." Payroll taxes stop at $84,900 a year--anything you make over that is untaxed, a patently ridiculous system. If you cut payroll taxes, the money goes into the pockets of people who go right out and spend it, thus ginning up the economy, rather than to those who just put it in offshore tax shelters.

Further, any party so brain-dead it can't even make an issue out of Enron and corporate sleaze deserves to be out of office.

Damn straight.

Posted on November 7, 2002 at 12:57 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Oh no, here we go again. 2002

I lived in Europe during the 1985-1986 school year. Reagan was the U.S. President at the time and I always felt I should be apologizing for America. It was a bittersweet compliment when people mistook me for a Canadian.

During the 90s, I forgot what it was like to feel my government was acting in complete contradiction to my sense of what was right, just or desirable. Now that feeling is returning. I dread the next two years. I hope the Alaskan wilderness survives it, but I know Big Oil is in charge and there isn't much hope of maintaining the environmental status quo, let alone making any progress. Cars just took a completely unnecessary backwards step in fuel efficiency apparently because Americans are feeling frightened and inadequate and need to compensate by driving tanks.

I remember watching the election results in 1992 when B.J. and I were living in Hawaii. We were eating breakfast out somewhere that had a tv and I remember us looking at each other in astonishment as someone we had voted for actually got elected President. He didn't turn out quite as good as I'd hoped, but Clinton was a damned lot better than either Bush. His scandalous $100,000 profit is chickenshit compared to the money the current crowd is making. Billions of dollars, people's savings completely gone, talented people out of work for over a year? That's worth raising a damn stink about.

But no, Dubya is the media darling and if you dis him the conservatives will tell you that you're biased towards the elite (really, someone said that to me). How a millionaire with political connections out the wazoo isn't elite, I'm not sure, but apparently "elite" is conservative speak for educated and able to recognize shades of grey. Dubya and Cheney, for all their money and power, are supposedly common men, ordinary guys. Part of it must have something to do with being unable to correctly pronounce the word "nuclear".

I'm sad and angry and a bit disgusted with humankind and Americans in particular. And what to do about it? Get more involved. Fight the blankets of stupidity and apathy they keep trying to throw over us (oh and they're so cozy underneath, sure they are). Act locally. Don't keep your mouth shut. Don't give up.

So, how do you keep going? Simplify your life. Cut out the noise. Connect with people who matter to you. Do what you like doing. Create instead of consuming. Be kind.

And in my case, cook. Especially food from strange places with new flavors and spices. Enjoy beauty and freedom, because they are precious things and are at risk. Most of all, love. As Bruce Cockburn says

Anything can happen
To put out the light
Is it any wonder
I don't want to say goodnight?

Posted on November 6, 2002 at 11:49 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Simianese Liberation Army 2002


Art by Crazy Uncle Joe


[Shared on Flickr on March 1, 2004.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 08:26 PM in friends & family, SXSW | Permalink | Comments (0)

Argh. 2002

I am having a heck of a time recovering from being out of the office for most of a week. My desk is almost completely covered in papers each representing something I should be doing. Very daunting and exhausting.

My circumstances are not helped by having had 3 successive mild nightmares wake me up in the early morning which has left me groggy all day from sleep disruption.

I need an extra two days in between today and tomorrow so I can sleep in and still get a grip on things. I hate having 200+ messages in my inbox! Bleah.

On the bright side, I will get to play with the Sims Online beta test tonight.

Oh well, I guess I'll see how much I can get done in two and a half hours.

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 02:54 PM in work | Permalink | Comments (0)

Body square 2002


from the Vigeland sculpture park in Oslo, Norway


[Found on the web. Shared on Flickr on March 21, 2004.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 09:08 AM in creativity, travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Young Ian 2002


Ian McKellen


[Found on the web. Shared on Flickr on March 21, 2004.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 09:08 AM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (0)

nude-sdraiato 2002



[Found on the web. Shared on Flickr on March 21, 2004.

rvacapinta commented: "This is Modigliani and it is a great painting."]


Posted on November 4, 2002 at 09:08 AM in creativity, sex | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friedrich wanderer-sea-fog 2002


[Found on the web. Shared on Flickr on March 21, 2004.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 09:07 AM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (0)

itch_Baham 2002



[Found on the web. Shared on Flickr on March 21, 2004.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 09:07 AM in creativity, sex | Permalink | Comments (0)

olympia 2002



[Found on the web. Shared on Flickr on March 21, 2004.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 09:06 AM in creativity | Permalink | Comments (0)

Boys in Corsets! 2002


Corset Corps, San Francisco. Affiliated with Dark Garden, I believe.


[Shared on Flickr on March 10, 2004. Image file I have dates to 11/4/2002, but I am near certain that date marks a significant computer migration boundary—my move back to Mac from my time in the Windows wilderness—and I must have downloaded it long before that.]

Posted on November 4, 2002 at 08:33 AM in sex | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tough Choices 2002

I'm going through the ballot and figuring out my vote. Mostly the choices are pretty straightforward, but I've run up against the really painful one. Governor.

As much as I have been angered by many things about his governorship, I feel I must vote for Gray Davis in order to keep Bill Simon from being elected. I hate to make a decision on those grounds, but I don't believe it's an invalid approach. As the Rolling Stones said, you can't always get what you want, so sometimes you need to be sure you don't get what you definitely don't want.

Why am I willing to give up voting for a candidate I agree with more but who doesn't have much of a chance of winning? Because Bill Simon has policies I find repugnant and he would be bad for California.
- Simon opposes state funding for open space preservation.
- Simon wants to decrease capital gains, property and corporate taxes.
- Simon is "pro-life", a.ka. anti-choice.
- Simon opposes domestic partnerships between same-sex couples.
- Simon wants to "eliminate regulatory obstacles to economic expansion".

Further, when I read a statement like "We need to free women from the burdens of overregulation and underinvestment so they have time and flexibility to pursue both career and family" on his campaign site, I have strong doubts that he represents my interests. The idea of a woman who doesn't have raising children on the top of her priorities is apparently alien to him.

Posted on November 3, 2002 at 03:53 PM in politics & philosophy | Permalink | Comments (4)

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