Thursday, January 12, 2012

idleness is the devil's playground

so, my gig working at a produce stand is on hiatus while the farmers’ markets are being organized for the winter. in an attempt to alleviate the financial burden this imposed on me, i went to the barnes and noble bookstore at columbia university to see if i could get a temp job for january. i was hired immediately, and was slated to work full time for the month. however, there was one caveat: they could not reinstate me at the rate of pay i was receiving when i left 4 years ago.

i worked part time for this store for close to 3 years. when i started, i was paid $9 an hour. a crime, to be sure, for someone as over-educated and talented as me, but a job that i needed at the time (before i was hired full time as a communications associate at my church.) after a stellar performance—which included devising a system of shelving books that was OFFICIALLY ADOPTED AS THE STANDARD FOR ALL EMPLOYEES IN THE STORE—i was given a sparkling review which included a whopping 30-cent raise. so, when i left the store in 2007, i was making $9.30 an hour. again, not great money, but helpful in meeting my monthly expenses. (by the way, the system of shelving i devised didn’t stick: the other employees couldn’t figure out how to do it as efficiently as i did.)

so, back to the caveat: when i was “given my old job back,” i was informed of the decreased pay: they can only pay me $7.50 an hour—a mere 25 cents above minimum wage (because, apparently, barnes and noble was bought out by barnes and noble, inc., and all temporary new-hires are started at this pay rate. how a corporation becomes 2 corporations and then buys itself out is WAY beyond my level of market comprehension, other than to think that it is ultimately based on economic and political sham, but that is another story altogether.)

ANYWAY, i needed the money so i said “no problem.” and, i really meant it. i figured i could do this crappy job for one month, during which i will hopefully get another market job, or land a teaching gig for the semester. so, i show up for work the other day and one of the supervisors sets me up with a team of coworkers to prepare prepackaged boxed sets for one of the larger introductory columbia classes: think plato, ovid, adam smith, john locke, freud, etc.

as the supervisor was explaining which books needed to be put in these boxed sets, referencing a posted list of said books, one of my co-workers started reading the titles off the list. now, i am generally not a judgmental person. the fact that this co-worker couldn’t pronounce plato’s name, or couldn’t pronounce the words “decameron” or “metamorphosis” correctly didn’t ultimately bother me, as i realize there is a vast range of education/knowledge in the general populace. this person is not dumb. he is simply uneducated. it’s a bookstore. what did i expect? i can work with this, i said to myself.

that was, until the fire alarm went off.

all of the employees got our coats and went outside, where we had to stand around idle for about 30 minutes while the building was evacuated and the fire department ascertained what the problem was, if there was a fire. maybe it was drill. who knows. who cares.

i had genuinely shown up for work ready to bust my ass, as i have always done at ANY job. but this 30 minutes of idle time was too much for me to handle. for someone as educated as me, who has a REALLY overactive and underutilized brain, this 30 minutes was a death knell.

my conversation afterwards with the textbook manager went something like this:

“i am sorry. i thought i could do this job for $7.50 an hour, but i simply can’t. i have 2 bachelors and 2 masters degrees. part of my master’s thesis has been published in a journal of academic essays. i have taught at hunter college and the college of new rochelle. i have worked in 4 different bookstores, including part-time in THIS store for about 3 years. i devised a system of shelving books here that was officially adopted as the policy for all employees. i think it is unfair that i am paid the same as someone who doesn’t know who plato is and doesn’t seem to have a grasp of basic english. i understand there are rules, but i am the exception to the rule. is there anything that can be done? i can do this job if you guys can reinstate the rate of pay i had when i left. isn’t there any kind of exception that can be made?”

manager: “sorry. not really. we have to abide by the corporation’s policies, and as a temporary new-hire, we can only pay you $7.50 an hour.”

in the rest of the conversation, i basically articulated a well reasoned argument which i can sum up as such: THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.

i mean, i understand “how it works,” but, come on. really? this is so fraught with the fodder of the current national #OWS conversation that it allows me a chance to examine some problems that i’m sure would resonate with quite a few protesters.

-----------------------------

problem #1: “the corporation just don’t care!”

those of you who have seen “fight club,” do you remember the scene about automobile accidents vs. out-of-court settlements vs. recalls? here is an abbreviated script (thanks to IMDB):

JACK
I'm a recall coordinator. My job is
to apply the formula. It's a story
problem.

A new car built by my company leaves
somewhere traveling at 60 miles per
hour. The rear differential locks up.

The car crashes and burns with
everyone trapped inside. Now: do we
initiate a recall?

Take the number of vehicles in the
field, (A), and multiply it by the
probable rate of failure, (B), then
multiply the result by the average
out-of-court settlement, (C). A
times B times C equals X...

If X is less than the cost of a
recall, we don't do one.

BUSINESS WOMAN
Are there a lot of these kinds of
accidents?

JACK
Oh, you wouldn't believe.

BUSINESS WOMAN
... Which... car company do you work
for?

JACK
A major one.

in paying slightly better than minimum wage, the barnes and noble corporation (or barnes and noble, inc., or barnes and noble college division, who the hell knows???) is “applying the formula” to the number of students, number of books sold, and chances that those books are the incorrect books. they are basically saying: we don’t really care if all of our customers get the correct books they need for classes. that is to say, if EVERY student got the incorrect books, then there is no way this store could stay in business, right? (at least one would hope this is the case!)

how this spells out, i don’t know. i’m sure the store makes a killing on general merchandise that students throw in the shopping basket with their textbooks: 3-ring binders, loose leaf paper, bluebooks, pens, pencils, calculators, clocks, dorm refrigerators, sheets and towels, sweatshirts, doormats, shot glasses and stuffed animals with the school logo, etc; and, ultimately, if your professors order their books from this store, then you HAVE to buy them there, so eventually, the store will get your money anyway! (with exceptions, of course. you might find your books online, but then you might be waiting for several weeks and will fall behind in the class reading. of course, those students who stocked up on beer mugs and shot glasses probably don’t care, but some students actually want to do the reading!)

these 2 examples (fight club and the columbia bookstore) illustrate a very simple yet very important fact: CORPORATIONS DONT CARE! THEY JUST WANT YOUR MONEY!

think about insurance. when is the last time you heard a conversation go like this:

person 1: our house caught on fire.
person 2: that’s terrible!
person 1: oh, it’s okay! we called the insurance company, and they immediately sent someone out to assess the damages and we had a huge settlement check by the end of the week! they were so understanding and compassionate, and everything was covered!
person 2: well, of course you did! that’s what insurance companies do! they really just want to help us in our most stated times of crisis! thank god they are so caring and compassionate!

person 3 (me): NOT!

-----------------------------

problem #2: unnecessary bottle-necking

considering the number of uneducated (or under-educated) employees hired by the store—who are basically given a 5-minute crash course by the managers and then set loose to help students find books for the semester—well, you can probably guess that there are quite a few students who will walk out of the store withOUT their correct books. (of course, mind you, this is an IVY LEAGUE INSTITUTION populated with QUITE a few folks who ostensibly got into the school on something OTHER than intelligence (daddy's coattails?), so maybe it serves them right, if they can’t figure out how a simple bookstore works. i was actually quite surprised at the level of downright cluelessness i encountered when working there several years ago.)

i pointed out to my manager that EVERY student who is handed an incorrect textbook will crowd not only the front of the store, seeking a refund or exchange, but also the back of the store, seeking the correct textbooks. (to give you an idea of the bottle-necking this causes, there are currently close to 28,000 students at columbia; and keep in mind that new york businesses and residences are not as spacious as other parts of the country.) wouldn’t it make everyone’s life SO much easier if we just made sure students got the correct books in the first place? maybe someone needs to devise a new formula: the amount of pay required to correct mistakes, versus the $1.80 more per hour that they could have paid someone like ME to help keep those mistakes to a minimum.

this also would cut down on the amount of angry phoning/tweeting/facebook ranting that will ensue, which will give the store a bad reputation—and this is not good marketing. you’ve heard this story before. you probably were one of those people at one time! you and your friends all had similar gripes: “that place is f***ed up! they can’t ever get it right!” (of course, this applies not only to whatever college bookstore you shopped in, but also the college administration, the phone company, your internet provider, that pizza company your ordered from, your insurer, the library, the post office, etc., get the picture?)

-----------------------------

problem #3: the general manager of the entire store is absolutely powerless (a woman, in this particular situation, so at least barnes and noble is willing to put women in managerial positions; oh, no wait... i forgot: as women demographically tend to make less than men doing the exact same job, maybe this is just another way for B&N to save a few bucks!) anyway, her hands are tied. she is constrained by the corporate rules. she couldn’t pay me my original rate of pay if she wanted to!

so, she is hired to run the store as smoothly as possible. and then has every possible obstacle thrown in her way by the parent company? does she stand a chance of losing her job if enough students filed complaints about the store? possibly so. and that would be an egregious crime, as far as i’m concerned.

have you ever been on one end of a phone conversation, trying to have some problem fixed, only to be told “sorry, the computer won’t allow me to do that," or "i just don't have the power to do that"? well, i have. in fact, it feels like i’ve heard that many times. i think we've probably all had this experience throughout our lives. it's called "bureaucratic nightmare."

this *thing* we have created has, simply put, grown too big for its britches. that sound you hear? that's the tearing of the national fabric. might get ugly.

but don’t fret for me. while i was outside during that 30-minute fire alarm thinking WAY too much, i also pulled out my phone and did some number crunching on the calculator. the prognosis: after taxes, that job really isn’t worth my time. i can make as much money playing and singing in the subway.

if you want to come throw a dollar (or two) in my mandolin case, i’ll be somewhere near one of the 42nd street stations.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

conspiracy theories

as usual, i am posting something that is WAY overdue. or dated, at least. this was written closer to when the frightful bed bug epidemic of 200? occurred. anyway, better late than never.

-------------------------------------------

i love a good conspiracy theory.

how’s this for one? new york is facing a bed bug epidemic right now. in addition to the nuisance it creates for residential buildings, actual businesses—even historic businesses—are having to shut their doors and clean out their establishments. now, in our current national financial state, it occurs to me that one way to stimulate the economy would be to have some kind of public occurrence in which there exists a state of panic and fear. the media blows the event out of proportion, and a solution is provided by the government—which usually involves going out and buying stuff, right?

i mean, in addition to plastic coverings for your bed and box spring, there are actually bed bug sniffing dogs for hire! (and this is only if you’re being overly cautious; for those who actually GET bed bugs—well, you know the cost involved. [kind of makes you wonder if, maybe, this wasn't accidental, maybe?])

my point is, SPEND MONEY! that’ll fix whatever the current panic is all about!

------------------------------------

for starters, think back a bit. think red scare. not only does the typical american family need to stock a full kitchen for a family of four (including not ONLY food, but also all the THINGS necessary to open, prepare, eat, serve and clean) but you also better have an emergency shelter stocked and ready to go as well! i mean, are you gonna have time to move everything from one kitchen to the other as mushroom clouds blossom on the horizon? your government—and your media—want you to know that no such time exists, so you will definitely need food and water to survive in your underground shelter. but, then we’re back to that ole’ open/prepare/eat/serve/clean impasse again... so, you’d better stock up on all that for the shelter too!

while you’re at it, just in case, why not make your potential new 24/7 living quarters actually pleasant and habitable? you can then host all your nuclear neighbors and fallout friends in a comfy environment! become the best interior shelter designer in all of town! amaze your friends! piss off your enemies!

have you seen our latest line of nuclear fallout furniture suites? they are currently 60% off!

a few of the colors/patterns to choose from:

*fallout blue(s)

*earthen oak (for those who can’t afford the radiation-resistant paneling, and are actually just living in a hole they dug in the ground, with maybe a steel door overhead; cause let’s face it, who the hell can keep up with the joneses anymore?)

*halcyon hue

*checkered red (like the apron grandma used to wear on the farm, back when people actually grew their own food!) (hell, back when food was even REAL!)

the point is, as long as you have everything that is on “their” official LIST, then you will weather any storm.

------------------------------------

great. the world will be repopulated by automatons who shop on command.

------------------------------------

think Y2K: the millennium bug (tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999!).

now, i have to admit, this one had me pretty convinced. (this was really my genesis as a slight conspiracy theorist and part-time apocalyptic nut, but hey, attention to this kind of stuff is more fringe [and more interesting] than, say, the current fascination with justin bieber’s hair, or who katy perry is sleeping with—and i would much rather dwell on the fringes....)

now, being an eagle scout, my preparation was minimal and efficient. i had a shit ton of matches, a pocketknife, lots of rope, paper, toothpicks, paperclips, shoestrings, weed, water purification tablets, a hammer, screwdriver, scissors, some random maps and a compass, and a big plastic bag ostensibly full of the most random useless shit that could actually probably come in pretty handy in an apocalyptic scenario. everything i needed fit in a 10x10x12 cardboard box. put me out in the woods with that and i think i’d stand as good a chance as most of us, with my vast wilderness experience. (boy scouts ain’t just about getting popped with wet towels by pedophile scoutmasters, people!*)

what did YOU buy? let me guess. gallons upon gallons of bottled water, an attic full of canned goods... what else? plastic covering for the windows? (which requires tape, right?) and didn’t “they” actually make quite a bit of profit on gas masks or some such nonsense? regardless, think of our panicked american public, driven to paranoia by the media and the government. YOU yourself may not have been that worried; but, this country is pretty big and pretty diverse, no? and those people have a lot of money when you put them all together, right? even poor people can buy bottled water and powered generators. would our economy not flourish with such an infusion of apprehensive and anxious apocalyptic spending?

------------------------------------

think swine flu. hand sanitizer: i would imagine that every church, school and hospital promptly went out and bought bottles upon bottles of hand sanitizer when this one broke in the headlines. now, how many churches, schools and hospitals do you think there are in the united states? WAY too many to count. and with bottles of hand sanitizer scattered liberally in each of these (better safe than sorry!), i imagine the shareholders for Purell made out quite handsomely. wouldn’t you?

------------------------------------

what else.... there was that one isolated incident where some crazy person was going to build an on-plane bomb from scratch with household bathroom items such as deodorant, lotion and toothpaste, right? and what was the result? anyone who wants to carry any of these things on the plane now has to put them in a ziplock plastic bag. however, the airport will NOT provide these for you; and they are not sold individually. so, how many millions upon millions of air travelers had to go out and buy ziplock bags for flying? (it is NOT fair to assume that everyone has these lying around in the kitchen. some folks don’t use them because they think this product wasteful. for some folks, this is a luxury item which their already-constrained budget precludes having. and some folks, like me, simply just don’t have them around.)

why not just say you can’t bring these personal items on board? wouldn’t this actually prevent someone from making a bomb through these means, which was the primary concern? doesn’t this make the most sense overall to you? not if your annual bonus depends on how well the S C Johnson Wax corporation does.

------------------------------------

flu shots. what’s in those anyway? EVERY year, we're told that we need to go out and get these! how much does it cost to produce these? what’s to keep them from stimulating the economy by just injecting saline into your arm and charging money for it? remember when there was going to be a supposed shortage of flu shots? quick! run out and get yours before they’re all gone!

who the hell knows WHAT they are injecting into your arm? you don’t! you’re not a scientist. your just afraid of germs. don't even get me started on the topic of vaccines.

------------------------------------

whatever the emergency du jour, the government has an official list of things you should have on hand—all of which precipitates a stimulation of the economy in one way or another.

here, let’s examine “their” official list (sorry, i don’t have the official site this is from. my bad. but, it is basically cut and paste from the CDC or some other government websites. i’m sure you can find them if you look):

“You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours, or it might take days. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
Local maps
Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:
Prescription medications and glasses
Infant formula and diapers
Pet food and extra water for your pet
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
Cash or traveler's checks and change
You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) - PDF, 277Kb) developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov.
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
Fire Extinguisher
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
Paper and pencil
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children”




now, some of these make sense. but, come on. imagine facing a disaster if you live in a 3rd world country. don’t you think those folks might laugh at us, reading this list?

we really are ridiculously spoiled.



---






* regarding pedophile scoutmasters, i want to be clear right off the bat: MY scoutmasters were honorable, decent men, and this comment is not directed at them.**

** however, with the recent attention paid to potential (ha!) (oh wait, sorry. innocent until proven guilty! right?) sex abuse cases at both penn state and syracuse, this got me thinking about how the floodgates might be about to break open. (as well they should.)

(by the way, is it just me, or is it interesting how this current national scandal diverts attention away from the catholic church? just saying.)

it also got me thinking about my own past, and how there were 3 such “abbreviated” instances in my own life—abbreviated meaning i wasn’t sexually assaulted, but . . . well, there was just something not right about it:

one with a scoutmaster type (i don’t know what his “rank” was; this was a man i had never met popping me with a towel in the shower, for christ’s sake. in the presence of others, mind you, but bizarre nonetheless.) one with a “person of the cloth” (of a monastic order, i believe. not as bizarre, but several instances that just didn’t sit right.) one with a choral conductor. this was the most bizarre, as it wasn’t directed just at me, but several of us high school singer-types; the strangest thing he did was shower with the curtain 1/2 open, and, well, he just spent a LOT of time in the bathroom.

so—how many of us have had these unwanted sexual advances directed at us in our most formative years? geez, it’s no wonder our culture is so screwed up. (obviously, this is another post that needs attention at some point. so, put that on your to-do list and smoke it!)

anyway, um; ew?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TIME

wow, i'm actually getting into some kind of rhythm. i've written in my journal 5 out of the last 7 days, and have posted something on here almost every day. however, the 2 don't / won't necessarily coincide; for instance, my journaling today was rather soporific, so for today's post, i'm digging into the old journals again__where, by the way, i'm finding LOTS of REALLY good stuff!
this one is from 6/23/05:

TIME.
lack of time.
why is there never enough of it?

living in NYC, even without full-time work, there is never enough time to do everything i want to. at least that's the way it seems. but, perhaps for too long i have been having a relationship with time in a negative sense. (father time?)

perhaps i need to expunge that timeless (ha!) and eternal cliche in parentheses above__of time as having a masculine quality. perhaps i need to start to embrace a new conception of time, as the schedulistic (?) embodiment of the feminine. that might work better for one such as myself: a libra; a devotee of eros; a lover of women. one for whom the masculine no longer represents my best interests.

(that's the end of the original post; i actually have quite a few new ideas coming to me right now; unfortunately, though, the people who call the shots in this culture [read: the people who cut the paychecks] are totally in line with father time, and i don't have time to write any more, as i have to get to work. one last question, though... they make grandfather clocks, right? is there such a thing as a grandmother clock?)

Monday, July 18, 2011

an open letter to the diocese of chicago youth, circa 1995-2000

from around 1995-2000, i was a paid musician for church youth conferences in the episcopal diocese of chicago. not only did these years cultivate an intense love affair with deep-dish pizza (suck it, new york, you've got NOTHING), but it also proved fairly formative to my own spiritual development.

i watched many young people__literally hundreds__grow up; but i also watched many of them grow spiritually. and i know for a fact that I was instrumental in this for many of them. it is one of many experiences that i remember sometimes, once in a while, reminding me why i am here. i think the letter i spontaneously wrote them tonight speaks to this. i'm not here to work and to make money and to have things... i'm here to... well, just read the letter. you'll get the drift. i figured i'd post it here, so others can have a glimpse into a very important part of a particular time period in my life.

and, i'm really kind of diggin the fact that this makes like 4 days in a row that i've posted something!

i've already asked sue cromer, the director of youth & young adult ministries for the diocese of chicago, to send this to anyone who knows me.

a quick shout out to her: she has done great things up there.

----------------------------------------

hello old diocese of chicagoans-

i just wanted to say thanks to all of you. for memories. for friendships. for your singing. for your hugs. for your little jesus-love notes (some of which i still have in my guitar case!) for your tears.

for helping me to better understand what the whole christianity thing is all about.

you see, as you all have surely experienced by now, life is kinda nuts. the world is full of terrible people who do terrible things; but, then, it’s also full of good people who do terrible things, right? as i course through this short life at breakneck speed, i have seen quite a bit. i imagine you have as well.

at times, i have wanted to give up. and at other times i feel like i have been given up on.

i imagine i am not alone in such thinking.

i don’t know where most of you are now; geographically, physically, mentally, psychologically, spiritually. i have been all over the map myself. and, if any of you remained true to your episcopal roots, then you have had a similar path. one which involves thought. and action. and compassion.

but who has time for all of those things these days, anyway? hell, i sometimes go an entire day without thinking about the fact that i AM.

but, right now__tonight__i know that i am. you are all part of the reason why i can say that.

i hope that many__if not all__ of you turned out to be good people trying to do good things. if the world doesn’t have that, then what chance have we got? but that’s what faith is for me, when i can slow down and stop to think about it. faith is doing good things. it’s not about belief, as far as i’m concerned. it’s about spreading goodness, happiness, understanding, compassion, and love. my faith tells me that i have impacted each of you in a positive way__through my music, my listening, my camaraderie, my humor, my intellect: my total being. and, i hope that this impact impressed upon each of you enough that you, too, have gone on to impact others in similar fashion.

but, just so you know, in those times when i do think of all of you__and there are MANY of you__i don’t only think of the positive impact i had on you. i also think of how you all impacted me. you were all (well, most!) significantly younger than me, at least in episcopal years. ;-) the youth are what drive the spirit of the church. and as far as i’m concerned, if the church doesn’t have the youth, it is going to die. there are many other churches (and non-religious organizations) out there, inspiring their youth to hate and intolerance and bigotry and closed-mindedness.

so, i ask you, please take a moment, reflect on who you were, and ask yourself: is that still part of who you are? if the answer is yes, then the world will be a better place. because as far as i am concerned, as a whole, you were all golden.

i hope you still are.

much love and peace-
david bryan
p.s. i play mandolin now!
p.p.s. yes, i still sing songs about chicken

Sunday, July 17, 2011

why the hell am i doing something productive so early??

7/17/11 7:30 am, already at church, 45 minutes before i need to be!

just got to church__i was able to drag myself out of bed early enough to catch the bus. yes, i'm tired as hell (alarm went off at 6:20) but the payoff is that i'm here with enough time not only to write today, but to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. and i do always appreciate the slow pace of the city on a sunday morning.

there is a woman sitting on the steps who has recently taken up residence at st. bart's__one of the many persons we see here on a daily basis. she is unquestionably mentally ill__i would guess she is a paranoid schizophrenic (i have personally witnessed her screaming at passersby for no apparent reason; the police were even here just yesterday, attempting to ameliorate some situation in which she played a part.)

i am saddened by this woman. sad that she is ostensibly homeless; sad that mental illness exists on such a noticeable level in NYC, not to mention the entire country, even the world; saddened by the social ostracizing that typically surrounds such people.

i am saddened even more by the dog this woman always has with her__looking so lethargic, as if s/he hasn't had any food or water for days. i have wanted to bring this woman some water for her dog, but hear that others have tried, and that she yells at them, saying the water has been poisoned__even though it's bottled. yes, it makes me sad that this poor defenseless animal seems to suffer due to this woman's illness.

yet, who am i to even think such thoughts? maybe the dog, too, is mentally ill. does mental illness exist in animals? i don't know. should someone call the ASPCA? i can't answer that. what i feel i can answer is that if the ASPCA does take away this poor woman's only worldly companion, then her worst fears will be actualized, her paranoia vindicated.

perhaps it is harmful to leave things as they are. but i, for one, will not call the ASPCA, unless i see her physically beating the animal. that dog is the only thing she has. and we, as a society, have failed this woman. and her dog. just as we have failed so many__too many__others. all i can do is leave her alone with her mental illness. and her best friend (who is perhaps her only friend.)

i guess it counts for something__anything__that i simply care.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

is this what progress looks like?

well, it seems i finally have a bit of momentum in my life. 2 days out 3 writing in my journal; 4 or 5 resumes sent off for jobs out of the city; 3 consecutive daily posts here in my blog; biking with a bit more regularity; finding time to make it to the farmers' markets to get fresh healthy food and drop off compost; and, i just had my annual physical, and it seems my cholesterol has "improved significantly"! (which comes as a supreme shock, considering my unrestrained love of CHEESE)

good. all time well spent.

so, i'm announcing to the universe, that it is time for CHANGE. i'm sure there are a few more changes i could/should make, but BABY STEPS, right?? i can't do everything all at once.

i also can't do it all by myself. so, great spirit of whoever/whatever/wherever, how about a little helping hand? or, hell, at least stand on the sidelines, cheer me on, and hand me one of those refreshing, cool cups of water!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Muse

from 8/11/05

the muse.

the muse sleeps til noon; doesn't want to have to answer to anyone else.

lazy? marching to the beat of his/her own drum? or liberated? living/thinking/breathing/BEING outside of the box? outside of the realm of structure imposed by others__those who say "dress this way," "cut your hair this length," or "you must appear this way to your colleagues."

perhaps the muse is the only free spirit remaining in this moribund world__a world that can no longer hold up under all the structures that have been imposed by the forces that seek__through control of others__their OWN safety and security.

i want no part in such a world.

i choose to LIVE.