The Girl in Black

Se necesita una poca de gracia.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

So this is the new year...

And I don't feel any different
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance

In the distance...

So this is the new year
And I have no resolution
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogues bleed into one

I wish the world was flat like the old days
And I could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes or speedtrains or freeways
There'd be no distance that could hold us back

There'd be no distance that could hold us back...

So this is the new year...

"The New Year" - Death Cab For Cutie

It's been one hell of a wild ride. Here's to hoping the next one's a good one for us all.

Cheers. :-)

Monday, December 26, 2005

*exasperated sigh*

Okay, so I finally found out why the sudden fuss over the semantics of saying Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.

Jesus Christ on a crutch people! WTF???

By raising a stink and insisting that one must say Happy Holidays? I know, I know. The "Jesus is the reason for the season" stuff bugs me too, but come on! Can't we show a little more tolerance than insisting on empty, blanket statements?

It makes me happy to say "Merry Christmas" to people who celebrate it, just like it makes me happy to say "Happy Chanukah" to people who celebrate it, just like it would make me happy to say "Happy Kwanzaa" to people who celebrate it (if I knew any), just like it makes me happy when people wish me a "Happy Winter Solstice."

Atheists? I dunno what to say to them, so I guess maybe "Happy Holidays?" Or I could go the ThinkGeek route and say Have a satisfactory Non-Denominational Capitalist Wintertime Gift Giving Season.

If they even celebrate, that is.

But this goes with my earlier sentiment. It's dark, it's fucking cold, why not throw a party? Does it have to matter who "owns" it? It's not entirely about Jesus, or a tiny bit of oil lasting far longer than expected, or the Seven Principles, or the rebirth of the sun. It's about people getting together and enjoying each other's company. Family, friends, the community. Sheesh.

So, in honor of this, I'm reviving my old line:

That's it, I'm moving to France.

Friday, December 23, 2005

And how was your morning?

I've only been up for two hours and have already been having adventures...

Well, I suppose the adventures began last night. I invited myself to see King Kong with a friend (I'll maybe review it later, but holy hell that movie is over three hours long! Doesn't anyone know what editing is for anymore?). I got home quite tired and went online before bed to check the status of the ThinkGeek package that should have arrived at my apartment yesterday. (It's an Xmas present for my dad from both myself and my brother. If it didn't show up on time, we'd both be screwed.) I looked up the tracking number only to find that for some reason ThinkGeek let me update my billing address, not my shipping address, and the package was delivered to my old apartment from two years ago! Christ on a crutch! WTF??

I sent a frantic email to customer service (Um, if I can't get this package from wherever the hell it went, would you send me another one? Pretty please?) and went to bed knowing I would probably have to knock on some stranger's door the next day. But the thing most worrying me was that DSL claimed that someone "signed" for it, so all kinds of worst-case-scenarios were running through my head. "They sent it to the post office, and is the post office even open today... They just took it for themselves and won't give it to me... They sent it to the complex office and is the office even open today... They just sent it back to where it came from and there's no hope of getting it in time..."

Since I have today off, though, I decided not to wake myself up early. However, my cats decided to try, licking my nose, pawing at me with just a hint of claw. I fended them off until about 9:30, when I dragged myself out of bed, groggy, sinuses clogged, and into the kitchen to make coffee. I was greeted to the sight of black ants throwing themselves a little ant party all over my sink, counter, wall, and wherever else they were hiding. Why, out of all times, did they choose last night to launch their offensive? I had just cleaned all of my dishes, mopped my floor, and didn't have any chocolate slivers or jam stains lying about. Why??? Why now??? But I had to do something, my home was being invaded.

And thus began what I have termed "The Great Ant Massacre of 2005."

Did you know that 409 Orange Clean kills ants instantly when you spray it on them? Plus it's already a kitchen surface cleaner, so it's not like you're spraying Raid everywhere. As the orange-ish chemical rain fell upon them, I could hear tiny shrieks in my head. "Oh god noooo! It burns! Mommy!" I spent the better part of an hour battling these little beasts; spraying, wiping, putting away the clean dishes so as not to get 409 on them, cleaning up the other half of the sink which never gets clean because the dish drainer lives in it, hunting and squishing lone survivors with my fingers and washing them off... I had finally gotten around to getting water boiling for coffee when it hit me. "I need to go find my package. Now."

I threw on some clothes, tied back my hair, and ran out the door, sleep/sinus fuzziness still plaguing me, the inklings of a caffeine headache creeping into my head. Fortunately this apartment is five minutes away from my current one, which was enough time to hear the entirety of "Until the End of the World" by U2 and not entirely enough time to smoke a cigarette. I pulled into the parking lot and seemed to get some funny looks from a guy on a golf cart, but I ignored it. As I got out, I saw a piece of paper in the window with passages highlighted in pink. "Oh god," I thought "something's wrong..." I walked closer, my breathing getting tense, not knowing what to expect...

The paper was a little "For sale by owner" notice. (The apartments went condo last year. I found out when I tried to move back into them after I left the two bedroom my ex and I shared.) It was uninhabited! And there, in the little garden by the door, secluded from the parking lot view by the little wall out front, was my package! It had stayed there all of yesterday, and overnight, and was waiting for me to claim it, unharmed! My brother and I were saved!

I grabbed it and hurried back home, wondering if anyone had a) noticed me running off with it or b) noticed it was even there in the first place. But it didn't matter, I had my father's Xmas gift safely in my minivan, and I was speeding home to finally have my precious coffee.

Now I just have to finish waking up and get ready for the rest of the day...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

On the longest night of the year...

the sun is reborn!

Only I had to go to bed early last night, because I wasn't feeling well after eating two holiday meals in one day (company lunch, dinner with friends).

Anyway, happy Solstice everybody! :-D

And merry Xmas, merry Christmas, happy Kwanza, happy Chanukah, happy non-denominational commercial winter holiday, and happy Christmahanukwanzakah too!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Little lights in the darkness

Over the years, my taste in holiday lighting decorations has changed.

When I was a child, I loved all different kinds of lights. The simple, elegant "gingerbread" houses. The gaudy, tacky "as many lights as possible" houses. The trees and candy canes on lamp posts. The oversized toyland decorations in the shopping malls. Christmas was wondrous and magical to me. I wanted it to last every day.

This childlike wonder lasted through high school, but throughout my college years I became disenchanted. Christmas Day with my family was suddenly something more to be endured than cherished. I was all at the same time depressed, and establishing myself as a person separate from my family, and realizing that I didn't really care for my grandparents all that much. Holiday decorating lost its charm. Christmas became empty and commercial. I wasn't even a Christian anymore, and the "festive" displays seemed more like a desperate ploy to distract people from the hopelessness of their everyday lives.

Goodwill shouldn't just be seasonal, should it? And why spend so much time and money on decorating trees and houses and wrapping presents if it's all just taken down or wripped apart and thrown away later anyway? What's the point?

At the same time, though, I learned of other, older holidays. The ones the idea of Christmas is based on. There's a common thread of a celebration in the wintertime, and of a birth (or rebirth) of a "god-type person." The ones I know of are Mithras, and the sun itself. I'm sure there are more.

"Christmas" with my family has gotten better. We meet my grandparents for dinner the night before, and I've come to appreciate the time I spend with my parents and brother. And I've always loved gift giving. And wrapping presents is something fun and creative to do. We always play little "guessing games" with some of the tags we put on our presents. It's cute.

But a lot of the "magic" is still absent for me. All-day Christmas music-a-thons on the radio just aren't my taste. And "Jesus is the reason for the season?" *sigh* Actually, Jesus wasn't born in December, it was a ploy by the catholic church to stop the "pagan" festivities that the people in England insisted on having. Before they made it official, the church really wasn't into an all out bash to celebrate the birth of the messiah.

So I went out to run some errands last night, and I drove by city hall (or what I'm fairly certain is city hall. It's the building that the infamous "giant asparagus" is in front of). All of the trees in the plaza were lit with cheerful, white lights. In the lobby of the building, which you can see through huge plate glass windows, was a giant tree just as tastefully lit and decorated. The entire scene looked so warm and inviting. And it hit me.

People need to celebrate in the winter. The days just keep getting darker, colder. Whether it's religious, spiritual, natural...whatever explanation you want, that's what's happening. And on one specific day, the darkest day, it all reverses. The sun is "born" again, and we all know everything's going to be alright.

But in those dark, lonely nights, when the world is dying for a time, we need light. We need people, good cheer, and hope. Some people get that through the Jesus connection. Some people get it through some other spiritual means. Some people choose to ignore it altogether. (And interestingly enough, Chanukah is apparently the least important Jewish holiday, and is mainly celebrated so that the Jewish kids don't feel left out when their goyish counterparts are a partying.)

But I think that there's a common, subconscious thread.

Or maybe just that all those Western Europeans got it right. It's dark, it's fucking cold, why not? And although I still don't go for the tacky displays as much, or the crass manipulation of the emotional reasons behind giving of gifts and family togetherness, I feel a little bit warmer inside. For me, there's a light in the darkness. There's always hope that the sun will come back. Everything's going to be alright.

So I say unto you: light your lights, your luminary bags, your gaudy blinkers, your candles! Let's celebrate.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Okay okay!

So I did more than just "toss in a few graphics." I were having fun!

Anyway, it has come to my attention that some of the nifty nifties about the Blogger CSS template don't seem to work as well in Internet Explorer.

See, I don't use Internet Explorer. After converting to Firefox (which, by the by, is a much cooler name for a browser, isn't it?) I haven't looked back. If you don't have it, you should try it. Seriously! It's free, there are less pop-ups, and you get tabbed browsing!

Just what is tabbed browsing you ask?

Suppose you are browsing the 'net and you want to look at another web page, but you want to keep the page you're on open. Normally, if you were using IE, you would have to open up another window. Open up enough windows, and after a while your computer slows down and all kinds of icky, bothersome things.

But thanks to Firefox's tabbed browsing system, you have the option of opening a new window or a new tab, which stays in the window you already have open.

It totally changes the way you get around the internet!

Think about it! You can keep multiple tabs open in the same window, so, like, if you're paying bills or something, and want to keep an eye on your bank statement at the same time, you open a tab for your bank website, and tabs for the sites of whatever bills you're going to pay.

Or:

You want to comparison shop between Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Simple! Open tabs for each one. Hell, open tabs for each product you want to look at and click between them that way!

Last scenario:

You're doing a Google search (everyone here does use Google mostly, right?) for a topic, and you don't want to lose the results page. Open new tabs for each result you want to check out and you're gold!

Tabbed browsing is the best thing ever!

And Firefox has a bunch of other apparently cool features that I haven't really messed around with.

Drawbacks:

Not everything works correctly in Firefox. I myself have trouble viewing Quicktime movies, and I hear tell that some sites designed to look good on IE end up being unreadable on Firefox (but I don't go to these sites, so I haven't encountered any problems).

But still!!! This is such a cooler browser!

And you'd see my blog's site all pretty pretty like I mean it to be if you use Firefox. I have to figure out how to get Explorer to allow cookies so I can log into Blogger from Explorer and try to figure out what's wrong with the code. And frankly, I really don't feel like going through all that trouble.

It's much easier if you'll just download Firefox. ;-)

Fun with graphics

So I'm messing around with graphics on the site, trying to make my template a little more "personal." Mostly I'm just having fun digging up little things I've got lying around on my computer and turning them into things that fit in here. Eventually I'll probably do something more streamlined. But anyway...

What d'you guys think?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A manifesto for living my life

Explanation: This hasn't come out of the blue. This is something I've been kicking around in my head for a while, and recent personal events have inspired me to put it into writing. This is just a personal statement on behalf of myself, and I say why not share it with the masses?

I choose positivity.

I choose to no longer believe anyone's perceptions of myself or what they think I should be if these perceptions hold me down. I choose to let go of my own preconceived notions of who I think I should be in accordance to what society deems "appropriate."

I choose to make decisions for myself. To no longer weep over a life lived "alone." I choose to stand up for myself and be heard, no matter who the person is who is not listening. And I choose to disregard those who refuse to listen to me, or see me as I truly am.

I choose respect.

I choose to align myself with my highest potential. To walk the sometimes difficult path to discovering what that potential is, regardless of how "strange" others may deem it. I choose to set my own terms for how I see the world, and give myself the ability to still look and listen to reality, and adjust my thinking when necessary.

I choose to learn.

I choose to believe in a greater good for all. To help those who ask, whenever they are ready. I choose to no longer give energy to those who refuse to change for the better, no matter their reason. When they are ready, I will be there for them.

I choose to walk the lighter path.

I choose a love for myself that is honest. I choose to have friends who are supportive. I will always choose the better path for myself, and I am willing to let go of those who will follow me no longer. I will do what must be done, go where I need to, and I will not wait for those who are not willing to go with me.

I choose to live.

And so now my question is, are you with me?
 
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