new cute thing

one of the things i love about my cat is that he changes his Methods of Cuteness from time to time. it’s magical enough that a creature could remian cute well into his elder years; it just knocks me down that, in addition to that, he continutes to invent new ways of being cute.

so his new cute thing is this: he will lay down next to me while i sit on the sofa. first, he’ll just do Modified Loaf Position… that is, with his hind feet out to the side, and his forelegs out to the front, with his head either up or resting on his forelegs.

he’ll sit like that for a while, and then suddenly he’ll gather himself up, and hurl his head against my leg whilst streching out into the fully sidewise position– ie, both hind and forelegs out to the side. he’ll rub his head against me and look up at me adoringly, purring.

it’s terribly difficult to describe, but trust me, the cute factor is huge.


today at lunch i bought a pair of kenneth cole reaction patent leather flat mary janes. so cute!! i just _love_ black patent, and it seems to be a small trendlet this season.

zappos has “these pointy menswear-style brown heels”: on sale… i think they’d be a really great addition to my shoe wardrobe… except they are kinda similar to another pair i own 🙁 and even on sale, they’re damned pricey.

untidy museum has those black lace-up boots that i’ve wanted forever, on sale. i’ve always thought they were too 19-year-old-punkrock-goth-girl for me to ever get away with, but seeing them in person made me reconsider. i might go back and try em on, but i’d have to be sure i had at least one skirt i could wear them with before even considering buying…

it has a name

unexpectedly discovered in an HCI (human-computer interaction) themed blog that i recently started reading, “OK/Cancel”… in an entry on “enjoyment bandwith,”: ie, the amount of data a human can reasonably enjoy within a lifetime, in the first comment is this happy tidbit of information:

bq. “Volumes have been written on syllogomania (an obsessive-compulsive trash-hoarding disorder) – maybe there’s some “digital parallel” to be found there?”



saturday was kind of a sucky day; i mostly worked on the starlite site and kind of moped around and stuff.

i had a lot of mixed feelings about sunday; sometimes, when i have a lot of plans, instead of looking forward to them, i see them as obligations and dread them instead. that’s at least partially how i was feeling about my grandmother’s 95th birthday party and the whole byrne-stravaganza.

but, as always, when i’m actually _doing_ the things, i have a good time and my mood improved a hundredfold by the end of the day. just call me little ms. mood swing!

gran’s birthday party went really well. i have photos that i won’t have time to process until later. mom put out a great spread, and gran was surrounded by tons and tons of people. we had residents from the retirement home, old friends of hers from the neighborhood, younger members of the neighborhood, and _all_ of her grandchildren were there. we haven’t all been together for probably fifteen years. my stepbrother keith even came; we got to meet his girlfriend june, who i liked.

it’s probably not obvious from the way i speak about her, but gran is actually not a blood relation of mine. she’s my first stepfather’s mother. however, she’s been like a grandmother to me since i was a little kid, and we have found it simplest just to refer to each other as “grandmother” and “granddaughter”.

so one of the most amusing moments of the day came when my mom’s friend deborah was standing next to me and inspecting some beautiful old photos of gran that mom had done up on a piece of posterboard. gran was a redhead and has fair skin, like me. deborah said to me, “I can see the resemblance!” and then when we all started laughing at this, she said, “OH! wait, you’re not related!”

at the end of the party, i relented and had a very small piece of cake, and a glass of punch to wash it down.

big mistake.

i’d had a sandwich earlier, but apparently that wasn’t nearly enough; i went into full-on hypoglycemic shock, which hasn’t happened to me in quite some time. nausea, the shakes, etc. i took my folks up on their offer of dinner at cracker barrell. my favorite meal there is actually pretty sensible– grilled chicken tenderloin sandwich and a salad, and by the end of the meal i was feeling much, much better.

after dinner, i went over to christa’s for the pre-byrne cookout, which was lots of fun. corn-dog was there and he was all over me! odd, i think that little dog likes me or something. as he was clambering into my lap i said, “don’t you know that i’m a cat person?” apparently these distinctions are lost on him. cutie.

the byrne show was great! we occupied basically the entire first row and part of the second, and the first row was thisclose to the stage– i was literally holding on to the stage for balance and leaning up against it at times.

at the first rockin’ song he played, christa stood up, the rest of us in the front stood up, and then a little ways into the song i looked back and the rest of the house had gotten up too! we ran into our old pal dave t. after the show; he said he was up in the front of the first balcony, and he could recognize us from there. i think he said we basically looked like crazy people. HAH! we are crazy people! it was a total blast. i was actually airborne through parts of the show– lots of jumping up and down.

when we were talking to dave, we decided that it would be great if we could get a big room with a video monitor and do byrne-aerobics, because that stuff is just great to dance to!

after the show, a few of us decided to stick around. we went back and hung by the tour buses, and sure enough we eventually got to meet the band and david.

see, i can call him david now, because for a few moments he and i stood next to each other in companionable silence. i successfully resisted all stupid fangirl impulses to babble, because it was pretty obvious that he was tired and kind of down and not up for a lot of fan crap.

we also got to meet the folks from the string group, the bass player, and the rest of the band.

we waited for a while to see if david would come back, but it was getting late, cold, and my body was starting to feel the ill effects of eating badly all day– i was feeling kind of sick. so we took off around 1am.

new drool

just when things were looking grim… i’ve found “these.”: i’m just a sucker for a quasi-victorian boot, i guess.

so help me, i am seriously digging on “these,”: too. but what would one _wear_ these with??

the gun shop.

“ruby posted about the gun shop”:

since this is the second time this has come up, and since my blog has been devoted to a lot of starlite stuff lately, i’ve decided to go on record with my position on this in my blog, rather than just posting a comment to ruby’s blog.

first, it really is rather insulting for anyone to assume that the save our starlite folks have not “thought critically” about the gun shop. i made my peace with the gun shop long ago, back in the mid-90’s when i ran my first WXDU fundraiser out there. it’s not my favorite thing about the starlite, but it honestly doesn’t bother me that much.

i think it’s also important to clarify the financial relationship between the gun shop and the theater. i haven’t asked bob about this because honestly, i don’t care that much, but i am certain that the gun shop subsidizes the starlite– as does the video store and the flea market. the theater doesn’t make enough money to support itself just by showing films, so he uses the facility for other businesses.

so at worst, the two have a symbiotic relationship– the starlite provides the facility for the gun shop, the gun shop helps pay bob’s living. however, i think it’s more likely that the gun shop subsidizes the starlite and makes it possible for bob to keep showing films there.

so that means that letting the starlite slip away into oblivion won’t necessarily also cause the gun shop to go away… but getting rid of the gun shop probably means that the starlite will go away.

so… by helping to rebuild the screen at the starlite, i am not affecting the gun shop one way or another. i’m not “supporting this drive-in/gun shop” because combining the two in that way is disingenuous and misleading. i’m not helping to keep the gun shop in business, because it would stick around even if the starlite screen were never rebuilt. i’m _definitely_ not subsidizing the gun shop, which is how one person put it to me in an e-mail several days ago.


i first moved to “old north durham”: about 10 years ago. i was a renter. gunshots were a regular part of life– at least weekly i’d hear a few rounds go off, then a car go rushing past on mangum st.

after a while, the gunshots started to go away. now they are almost never heard. five years ago, i bought a house in OND. i love that neighborhood very much. it makes me thrilled to the core to see derelict houses being restored, to see that the reports of murders on 300 Trinity have dwindled to nothing. to see that the neighborhood can come together to make that block a better place for the people who live there– most of whom are renters.

a couple of years ago, i finally heard the story of the gunfire in OND and how it went away.

there was a small block of apartments near my place on lynch st that were occupied by drug dealers. the gunfire was centered around those apartments. a group of OND residents banded together, bought the apartments, evicted the tenants, renovated the apartments, and now i believe they are usually occupied by TROSA guys. the gunfire went away.

essentially the same thing happened on 300 Trinity. the landlord was threatened with having his property taken away because of neglect. he’s cleaned up his act. the neighborhood also went in and put in permanent plantings with stone surrounds, and had the city take action to get people parking on the street instead of on the grass (which is really just compacted dirt at this point). things have really improved– and by things, i mean that people don’t _get shot_ on that block every other month the way they used to.

so the point i am making at great length here is that the solution to gun violence is not to shut down a tiny gun shop out in east durham. ond residents didn’t approach our problems by shutting down one gun shop, or all the gun shops in the vicinity of ond, because _it wouldn’t have done a damn bit of good!_ we still would have had just as many guns in our neighborhood, just as many people dying from gun violence.


i went to a quaker college for two years, and the experience solidified my position as a pacifist.

i have held fast to this position, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11 when the word “revenge” was on the lips of half of america. i reconnected with old guilford friends at that time just because we all needed to be in touch with other people who believed in nonviolence.

when i first met ray ubinger, who is a libertarian, and who is a great believer in the right to bear arms, i vehemently disagreed with the notion that, in our modern world, an arm-bearing populace would ever be require to ensure liberty in this country.

as of the last two years, i’m not so sure about that. particularly now that tom ridge pops up in the news from time to time saying that the terrorists may want to disrupt our election– so therefore he’d better be ready to postpone it!– i’m extremely wary of this administration in a way i’ve never been about our government before. i think the libertarians may not be crackpots after all.

i think the possibility exists that an armed revolution might be needed in this country, even in this modern world, because our checks and balances aren’t checking and balancing any more, and i see a risk of our right to vote being removed under the guise of keeping us “safe”.

would i participate in such a revolution? i don’t know. i don’t honestly know if i could bear an arm against a fellow human being. i might not. i might be a pacifist so deep through that i could not. but i would sure as hell want those who _are_ able to do so, to do so, should such a need arise.

my belief that we still require a constitutional right to bear arms has evolved. i think that’s still a good thing to have in the constitution, and therefore, i _do_ want it to be legal to sell arms.

old starlite photos

this is pretty cool. the dude who is helping me with the web site extracted these from the starlite folks the other night and scanned them in. “old pics of the starlite from the 1960’s, when it appears to have been temporarily derelict.”:

on being “sensitive”

i spent about the first half of my life-so-far being sensitive.* or “over-sensitive” according to others. i was made aware that other people often found my sensitivity frustrating. they wished i’d develop a “thicker skin”, that i would let things bother me less.

i have responded to this pressure on the part of the people around me, who have included everyone from my grandmother, to my sixth grade teacher, to friends and other family members and, indeed, managers at work, by making myself _seem_ less sensitive.

it does not actually seem possible to make oneself less sensitive. instead, i can only control my visible response to that which bothers me.

yesterday, i started making a list in my mind of the things that cause me stress at work. they include: the sound of a–‘s voice (she’s in the office next to me, and her voice is loud and often carries an edge of panic to it), the temperature of the building (it’s usually too cold, and never within my control), the hideous starkness of the walls, the way the men have ego conflicts all the time, the way the water tastes in the breakroom, the way other people behave in the bathroom, the sound of people coughing (i always wonder if they’re really throwing up), worrying about my pager (will i hear it? will i forget it? will i feel it vibrating in my pocket?), using my pager, the way my arms hurt sometimes, my back hurting, being interrupted when i’m concentrating, worrying if i will offend someone in an email, having to call people who are overseas and may not speak english well… etc.

that’s an awful lot of overhead. i don’t really know if these things bother other people or not. over the years, i’ve successfully adjusted my threshold of irritation– i can endure more of this without showing many signs of being bothered. however, _it still bothers me._

i had an anatomy teacher in high school– actually, he was one of my all-time favorite teachers– who said that the definition of being alive was that you are “irritable”. not irritable in the sense of being crotchety and a pain in the butt, but irritable in that you are sensitive to stimulus, that the world around you can get a response from your nervous system. this was probably the first day of class.

i don’t really have anywhere to go with this. i’m glad i’ve gotten other people off my case for the most part. i didn’t set out to be sensitive or cultivate it. i have noticed that other people are more sensitive than i am and somehow get away with living that way. maybe i should have been more strong-minded and not tried to suppress my responses. i think working in an office environtment for years on end had a lot to do with it. my main point here is that i can’t actually make myself less sensitive, i can only make myself appear less sensitive to others.

i might get into a whole discussion of how my first manager here wanted me to be more “receptive” all the time (this was back when i was a secretary), and the lasting influence that’s had on my personality. i guess that’s another topic altogether although i will say that i really hate that fucking word.


* some might argue that i’m still over-sensitive. to that i say, “bite me”.