little_tristan: (Default)
I wish Protestants would stop using the term Immaculate Conception. It's peculiarly Catholic doctrine and they don't know what it means. It sounds good but they're really just perpetuating the confusion.

I also wish Supernatural had come up with a different word for what they call purgatory. Purgatory is a real word. It has a long history and a well-defined meaning. The place they're talking about is not it. So far as I can tell, their purgatory is purely an invention for the show--given that the monsters who go there don't exist--so they could have made up a name for it rather than appropriating an unrelated word.

These things don't offend me as a Catholic. They offend me as a student of the English language.

The atmospheric pressure is changing. It's killing my sinuses and I want to go to bed. This is the only time I still miss Steve. But I don't miss being lifted at arm's length.

There was another dust-up with the arch-nemesis this morning. He got all petty about the amount of stuff I had cluttering up the counter in "his" bathroom. (A bottle of body wash, a bottle of hair oil, a razor and a box of replacement blades.) I was taking the dogs out and found my things in a box of trash he'd gathered up and left on the shower chair in the hall.

He said of course I could put the important stuff back in the bathroom, but where? Not on the counter. He just cleaned it! And the medicine cabinet is too shallow and the shelves too close together, and he just cleaned the windowsill, too, and his stuff is under the sink, but I can put it anywhere else if I just tell him where!

I assumed it was a rhetorical question. He did suggest that, since I use those things so rarely, I should just leave them on the chair. In the hall. That gets knocked over at least twice a week by me or the dogs (or Russell, in the dark).

That seemed to be the one last humiliation that it was still possible to avoid, so I took my stuff to my room and am trying to figure out a way to transport it back and forth easily enough that Mark won't get pissed off every single time I take a shower. Or worse, put it back in the bathroom (where it belongs) so I can pick it all out of the trash again in a couple weeks.

In less cranky news, stamps came today so I'm going to mail holiday cards tomorrow. It'll be a good project while I wait for Tammy. This week I'm going to ask her to do the stuff I felt too guilty to ask for last week, since I felt too guilty to ask anyone else, either.

There were two Discover magazines in the mail. I just subscribed a few weeks ago and recently got the November issue. Today I got December and January/February. I forgot they do that, use up as many of the issues you've paid for as they can with ones already printed. It's cost-saving without being a complete ripoff. At least to me. I like missing out on as few as possible.

Sort of on a whim, I subscribed to Mother Jones yesterday. I wasn't even sure what it was until I saw it on Amazon. If asked, I'd have guessed newspaper. I've seen it sourced in a lot of really interesting articles on the web and their information generally holds up. I'm hoping it's less pretentious than The New Yorker. The a-n makes me read some of the articles and explain them to him. He only knows what about half the words mean. It takes forever.

(Off, crankypants! Get back!)

Hours later, my headache is mostly gone and there is promise of food soon. Not food that I love, but certainly edible and nutritious food. If Ranger steals another pork chop right off the broiler pan, I'll try to get a picture.
little_tristan: (No Icon)
I haven't posted about this here because it's been an hourly development kind of thing some days. I did have a lot to say on FB and Twitter, for those who know me there. But now that most of facts are in, I feel like rambling.

It started with this nice young man, Cody Myers, who disappeared from Lafayette, a tiny bedroom community four or five miles from here, (also the place where Herr and Bruder were living when I met them). He passed through here on his way to Newport, home of the famous aquarium and Undersea Gardens, and a place where my family and I have spent many a fine summer day. I keep picturing his route in my mind, driving through my old hometown, past the places where I lived and played and rode my bike. But somewhere along that road, he met his killers, a young couple running from the scene of their last crime.

The day after Cody disappeared, his car was spotted in Salem, driven by strangers. The strangers were identified, then Cody was found down by Corvallis, shot in the head, and finally the killers themselves were arrested in California. But the bodies are still adding up. I had so hoped that, since they were still driving Cody Myers' car, they hadn't had to kill anyone else. But maybe they don't need to justify every murder. Or maybe, after the guy was dead, his car wouldn't start.

Ever since this started, though, I've been waiting to hear from the killers. There can be no adequate defense for what they've done. Nothing excuses or justifies these crimes to society, to the average person. But the killers always have a reason. It always seems right to them, and that fascinates me. So I've been eager to hear what they would say.

Now it's turned out to be this. Avenging an alleged crime against someone else from ten or fifteen or twenty years ago, and "his name made them think he was Jewish". Even when I know going in that there isn't an acceptable reason, I still feel disappointed. It's impossible, I guess, to lower one's expectations so much that some little weasel can't come along and squirm under.
little_tristan: (Ranger)
Yesterday I got into all kinds of trouble when the old man found out I've been leaving the back door unlocked during the day. I go in and out a lot and the latch is kind of a bitch. You know how it is. True, there have been a lot of robberies in the area lately (20 in the last month!), and they all involve unlocked doors, but only between the hours of 1 and 4 in the morning. Which is when our house is waking up, and we lock the doors at night anyway. I explained all that (and wasn't he disappointed that I had heard the facts already), and that there's too much activity here for daytime burglars. Too many cars out front, too many voices inside, not to mention his radio cranked up so you can hear it across the street and down the block, and him standing in the window in his underwear all day. We're just bad targets.

When I added that, besides, no one wants to mess with my dog, he had what he must've thought was the final answer. He said all it would take was a pellet gun. He told me that when he lived in Albuquerque, someone broke into his trailer, killed his white German Shepherd with a pellet gun and stole everything in the place. I stuck to my theory in spite of that (he wasn't home, Albuquerque is a cesspool, our retired neighbors are outside all day and crime on the block is way down), but he wasn't having it.

Now here's what's interesting about his little dog story. It's. Not. True. I told the boys about it this morning and both of them were stunned by the length and breadth of the lie. He never lived in a trailer in Albq, and he never owned any such dog. The boys had a white Shepherd when they were kids in Texas, living with their mom, but he never did. And all his years in Albq, he lived in a motel that was essentially a concrete fortress. Bruder had a room there for a while to run his business out of, just because it was so impossible to break into.

So this is what we've come to. He's making up dead dogs to try to scare me into thinking someone will kill MY dog, so he can have his way about something that doesn't matter.
little_tristan: (Daria: Mr. D)
All weekend, Herr and Bruder have been worrying about going to work today. They were supposed to start working split shifts, with one of them running a morning crew, then an overlap from about noon to three, and the other running an afternoon/evening crew. They badly didn't want to do this for several reasons: a) it's a long commute and with both of them driving themselves, it would double our gas consumption without increasing pay; b) Bruder really shouldn't be driving in the dark, and in Oregon in February, almost everyone goes to and from work in the dark; c) they're so co-dependent (a term they actually agree with) that they only really work effectively together. Dividing them doesn't spread the productivity, it reduces it. So they've been pretty upset about the whole thing.

Turns out, though, that they should have been worried about something else. Yesterday they were given such a huge stack of work that takes two people, that only they can do, to keep both of them there all day. The crew will work two shifts, but the boys will have to be there for both. Why? Because they aren't allowed to have charge of any employees who are actually smart enough to learn to change the heads on the manufacturing machines, and they don't have any say in the production schedules, so they can't plan the best way to, you know, produce.

The ex-partner gets the orders and they go through at least three members of the office staff, none of whom actually understand or care about what they're writing down. And they don't get into trouble when they screw it up, the boys do. The numbers get transposed, letter codes get mixed up, truncated, or left off altogether, and when one of the boys catches a mistake (which is hard to do when they don't know what it's supposed to be), they get into trouble for contacting the ex-partner for clarification. They're not supposed to go directly to her, they're supposed to go to the office staff, who, when presented with two sheets of paper that are supposed to say the same thing and yet don't, aren't even capable of understanding why that's a problem. ("Oh, I wrote down 22 DPT here when she said 22 T. So?" "So, DPT and T are two radically different kinds of trays. The customer wanted DPT and we just made nine pallets of T." "So?") These are the conversations they have at least twice a month. The waste of time, soil, and paper that costs $800 a roll is tremendous.

Yesterday the boss, who is also an owner, showed up on the factory floor and lectured them about "not catching these red flags". For some reason, they're expected to know instinctively when they've been given a wrong order, and further, what it should be. But still without checking with anyone. The bosses have been ranting and harassing about stupid shit like this ever since the boys got there, and they've finally started getting angry and yelling back. It's very interesting. They probably won't quit, and I'm pretty sure they're too important to be fired, and that alone might be why the small, petty, partial-owner boss is being such a wanker. He put up money to buy in, but he doesn't seem to serve a purpose. I'm coming to think that he doesn't like people who have actual skills.
little_tristan: (Crazy Reject)
Listening to this song makes me paranoid, like Jonathan Coulton is following me around somehow. I know at least 5 people in RL that it could be about, and I bet you do, too. That's why I live online.

little_tristan: (Cool Reject)
Anybody interested in reading This and telling me what you think is wrong with it? I know what I think, but I could be wrong.
little_tristan: (Blair with Gun)
The book I just read on suicides of the rich and famous (Death Becomes Them), sent me on a mission to learn more about some of these people. At the moment, I'm reading up on photographer and wristcutter Diane Arbus. Which led to Diane Arbus, a retrospective of her most famous works, assembled after her death by a daughter and a friend. It's a lovely book, 12x12 square, with a single photo on the right page and its title on the left. The photos, from the charming to the grotesque, are all powerful and impressive. She was one of those artists who could be loved or hated but never ignored.

And she clearly had a profound effect on one of the previous borrowers of this book, which belongs to my local library, because many of the photos are missing. I see the title on the left, Man and Woman in the Woods at Nudist Camp, and on the right is a photo of a forest scene painted on a living room wall, the neatly sliced remains of a page between them. She photographed often at nudist camps, and the evidence remains in the captions, but many of the photos are gone. Was it a misguided attempt at editing, like The Gun Seller Post-It debacle, or are they tacked to some thieving vandal's bedroom wall right now? The world will never know. Just as I may never know what those photos looked like. Thanks a lot, people. May your special hell be an eternity spent roasting over flaming piles of books you love.
little_tristan: (Quincy Instructive)
Today I'm making an exception. As most of you know, the New York senate voted yesterday not to allow same sex marriage. According to this article, 62 people debated the matter for three hours and then voted it down. All 30 Republicans voted no, as expected, because Republicans pretty much act as a herd and do as they're told, but so did 8 Democrats. The most I can say for them is that at least they voted their own beliefs. Would that they had simply followed the Democratic herd instead, because that would have made it 32-30 in favor and this would be done. At least in New York. At least until the appeal. Because it's never really done, and I'm wondering why.
Both raving and drowning... )
little_tristan: (Ponderous)
Okay, went outside. It was yesterday, but I was too tired to write about it last night. We went to the coast, because Herr wanted to see waves. I directed him to Lincoln City (go up to Adams Street, turn left and drive 50 miles) because that's where we always went when I was a kid. I think I was about ten before I realized there was ocean in other towns. We took some bread (not enough, as it turned out) and fed the seagulls at the D River Wayside. They got really aggressive, not just fighting on the ground for the bits I threw out the window, but clambering around on the roof of the van and pecking the windshield. Herr started putting bits of bread on a stick and holding them out the wing window for the gulls to swoop down and grab. They must have been lined up on the roof like a taxiway at JFK. Luckily, I had the video camera.


Clicky for more story... )
little_tristan: (Look it Up)
I am having the damnedest time right now trying to get a copy of Micheal Leunig's Second Leunig. I'm hoping that it's the same (essentially) as The Second Penguin Leunig, which I saw back in '97 when a friend borrowed it from another friend (of his, not mine). I'm hoping that book was simply a Penguin reissue of Second Leunig, because SL sells for three or four dollars, and SPL for twenty or thirty. Thing is, I still can't get it. I ordered a copy from an Amazon Marketplace seller in early August and never got it. After repeated emails asking when they'd sent it (they never would tell me), they agreed to send a replacement, and then didn't have one. They didn't want to give a refund, so I accepted another book (Walking After Midnight: Gay Men's Life Stories). This took until mid-October, when I ordered another Second Leunig from another seller. This one is in the US (Leunig is easier to get from overseas, generally) so I thought it would be quick and easy. But now it's been a month, it's way past the target arrival date, and of course, it isn't here. I've ordered hundreds (literally, hundreds) of Marketplace books over the last few years and never had one fail to arrive. Ever. Even BookMooch has only had one lost in the mail. But this is apparently not meant to be. Soon I will have ordered, and had lost, every cheap copy on the internet. Apologies to anyone else who may have wanted one.

It's here!

Aug. 19th, 2009 12:16 pm
little_tristan: (Home)
The new fridge is here! It's so big and black and cold--of course all the food spoiled, but we can buy more and now we have a place to put it. I'm very excited. The old man was no help, of course. I don't know why he thought he would be. Some mistaken idea of authority by virtue of testicles or something. But he just stood in the middle of our (very small) kitchen and shouted pointless questions that he can't hear the answers to anyway. Mostly asking the two burly guys what they needed him to do. When I suggested getting out of the way, he got pissed and isn't over it yet. But I don't care, because I have a new fridge!

There was also some word today on what might be wrong with our van. I don't even remember how long it's been in the shop this time. But the fuel leaks are fixed and they have a couple of theories about what might be diminishing the engine power. Herr is totally paranoid about not being able to afford it but I don't see what choice we have. Other than continuing to drive it until it breaks down completely. That's what he usually does. Which is why we both lost invaluable information when our respective computers died, why we had to buy a spur of the moment washing machine, and why my big orange Roy cat has no fur on his tummy. All of these things gave us plenty of warning (even Roy), but Herr doesn't believe in prevention, or fixing anything until it's really and truly dead. And then it's usually too late.

Absolute proof: Today he had a work ordered physical. It was his first since 1984, and that one was required for his flight training. Once every 25 years, and then only under duress. And that, my friends, is why a perfectly good refrigerator died of a terminal dust clog. Why see a doctor when you're not sick, or vacuum under an appliance that's still running?
little_tristan: (Doom)
Okay, so I don't really consider copying CDs to be a crime.  I'm pretty sure the courts are on my side here, to some extent at least, because of the digital revolution.  You can't have someone buy a CD and then tell them they can't put it on their computer or MP3 player.  So the lines got blurred there.

I started doing it in total innocence, when I borrowed blues CDs from the library and they were too scratched to play on my stereo.  My computer could read them, but the speakers sucked.  So I made new copies and played them on the stereo.  That got me thinking that the libraries are screwing up here.  They should make copies and put THOSE on the shelves.  Then, when they get wrecked or stolen, the librarian can just make a new one.  The good blanks cost about a quarter now, depending on the quantity purchased.

Eventually I moved up to a good stereo system that plugged into my computer and started borrowing discs from everyone to rip, but not burn.  I mean, I had thousands of albums.  I could never burn them all if I wanted to.  This was great until last fall, when my hard drive self-destructed.  I couldn't recover anything and the loss was huge.  At least I had my stories on CD, but the music was gone for good.  Ever since then, I've been rebuilding the collection a little at a time, ripping my own discs when I want to hear them, and going to the library when I realize something's missing.

Bringing me to my point.  Yesterday, I remembered Clarity by Jimmy Eat World.  It was one of my favorites two years ago and suddenly I really wanted to hear it again.  So I logged onto the library computer and found--nothing.  All of the Jimmy CDs have been stolen from their respective libraries in the two years since I ripped them.  Clarity, Bleed American, the self-titled album, all gone.  And gone so long that their home libraries aren't even listed anymore.  Leading me to wonder, am I the ONLY person in the state who's figured out that you can rip and return?  You don't HAVE to steal the entire original disc anymore.  This is the 21st century, people.  We have options now.

I opted to use my subscription service to download it from Napster.

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