March 27, 2003

Beach Life Here I Come

So I've modified my Kauai plans. One week here in Princeville, and then I'm staying indefinitely time at the hostel in Kapaa. Come and visit!!!

March 25, 2003

Too Many Thoughts

I might be considered OCD since purchasing bath time crayons so that I can jot down ideas rolling around in my head on my shower walls. Of course my roomie took it in another direction and I was greeted with a drippy "REDRUM" in red crayon this morning.
Name That Affliction

Is there a named condition yet, where conversation, without fail, prompts one to extract key words from the dialogue and then instinctively sing a line from a song with those words in it or that best relates to the topic or mood? I am the world's biggest sufferer. It's reactionary, I have no control. How do you people stand it?
Seniors on the Web

Anyone else find it disturbing that I got this link from my grandpa?
Let's Rewind
I'm Getting Leid!!!

As unemployed as I can be I made arrangements to go play on Kauai in May. Your Majesty needs to make some serious coin in April. Suggestions greatly appreciated minus the selling of body parts and sexual favors.

March 24, 2003

Therapy Review

Today Lucy and I chatted about the evolution of friendships and how each relationship serves an outlet for our many facets. I'm not just a kind of person. I am a leader, a student, a performer, a pillar, a diplomat, an acquaintance, a muse. For the most part I wasn't comfortable being all parts of myself (the good, the bad and the ugly) with people until just four years ago. This is still unchartered territory, discovering new ways that I express myself with every new relationship. I'm also facing mixed emotions about distancing myself from friendships that have time invested, but aren't healthy, and others phasing me out of their lives. I'm taking a break from a friend of almost two decades because I no longer feel that this person enriches my life in a positive way. To this person I feel like I am an ear, a cheerleader, a last resort. I have fond memories, but I need space to see what qualities I miss, if any. Another friend has gradually stopped inviting to do things, and our conversations get progressively more awkward. a is to b what b is to c. I've recently made a friend who evokes yet another dimension of Reese, and I'm intrigued by this one. It's calmer; less showy. Without my typical antics I feel exposed. As with any unfamiliar situation, my first instinct is to go back to what's comfortable. Vulnerability is my biggest challenge. I accept.
Ay Oh. Oh Ay.

I went out in North Beach last night. It's the first time since I've been in the city, and boy do I know why. I only went because a friend put us on the VIP list for a fairly new club called Chi Chi. YIKES! The women were dressed like strippers complete with the clear heeled chase-me-catch-me-fuck-me pumps, and the men were condescending cheeseballs. I was approached by a guy with his shirt unbuttoned obscenely low and gold chains nestled in his chest hair. I joked with my friend that it wouldn't be long before I heard a "How YOU doin'"? 45 minutes. My friend joked that the night wouldn't be complete without a drunk girl screaming out of the sunroof of a limo. A Mustang would have to do.
Other Axis of Evil Wannabees
by John Cleese

Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil", Libya, China and Syria today announced that they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil", which they said would be more evil than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of in his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new Axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are just as evil ... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong il. Everybody knows we're the best evils at being evil ... we're the best."

Diplomats from Syria denied they were jealous over being excluded, although they conceded they did ask if they could join the Axis of Evil. "They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "An axis can't have more than three countries", explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So, you can only have three, and a secret handshake. Ours is wickedly cool."

International reaction to Bush's Axis of Evil declaration was swift, as within minutes, France surrendered. Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what has become a game of geopolitical chairs. Cuba, Sudan, and Serbia announced that they had formed the, "Axis of Somewhat Evil", forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the "Axis of Occasionally Evil", while Bulgaria, Indonesia, and Russia established the "Axis of Not So Much Evil Really as Just Generally Disagreeable".

With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the "Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics". Canada, Mexico, and Australia formed the "Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Some Nasty Thoughts About America", while Scotland, New Zealand, and Spain established the "Axis of Countries That Want Sheep to Wear Lipstick". "That's not a threat, really, just something we like to do", said Scottish Executive First Minister Jack McConnell.

While wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious Bush granted approval for most axis, although he rejected the establishment of the "Axis of Counties Whose Names End in Guay", accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chadguay denied the charges.

Israel, meanwhile, insisted it didn't want to join any Axis, but privately world leaders said that's only because no one asked them.
Saturday I Fled

I rode out to Pt. Reyes with a friend, in his little Alfa Romeo, top down, fog on our faces and heat on our toes. We sat for a spell on the beach and snacked and gabbed and I appreciated the calming effect of the waves. No more city sounds, no cell phones, no email, just wide open ocean. We saw four little seals playing in the surf and many varieties of birds. Ah yes the birds. My friend is an involuntary wealth of ornithologic knowledge. I find it amusing. We continued on to the lighthouse for a nice view of the fog, and I toyed with the idea of climbing over the safety fence and plumitting to my death to retrieve what looked like a small plastic cricket with a snap on his chest, (perhaps it will be curiosity and not vanity that will be my demise) then headed back with dinner as our goal. We made our way to the Pt. Reyes Station. Earlier we had been talking about different restaurants in the city and I mentioned that I heard Brothers-In-Law on Divisadero was the best place for barbecue. I took a moment to relish in how much I miss 'the pig' but haven't had much since I started eating meat again last year. I get a little skeezed out thinking of the process. But Niman Ranch meats, that's different! And Niman Ranch Spare Ribs they offered. And Niman Ranch Spare Ribs are what I ordered, and ate with greasy delight. I rounded out my decadence with the tartest Lemon Pot de Creme in the universe, and left fat and happy. All I need is a little reprieve.

March 22, 2003

Corporate America divvies up the post-Saddam spoils
Think of it as a for-profit Marshall Plan
by Arianna Huffington

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner in Iraq. Yes, I know that the first smart bomb has yet to be dropped on Baghdad. But that's just a formality. The war has already been won. The conquering heroes are not generals in fatigues but CEOs in suits, and the shock troops are not an advance guard of commandos but legions of lobbyists.
The Bush administration is currently in the process of doling out over $1.5 billion in government contracts to American companies lining up to cash in on the rebuilding of postwar Iraq. Bombs away! The more destruction the better -- at least for the lucky few in the rebuilding business.

The United Nations has traditionally overseen the reconstruction of war zones like Afghanistan or Kosovo. But in keeping with its unilateral, the-world-is-our-sandbox approach to this invasion, the White House has decided to nail a "Made in the USA" sign on this Iraqi fixer-upper. Postwar Iraq will be rebuilt using red, white, and blueprints.

Talk about advance planning: Even as the people of Iraq are girding themselves for the thousands of bombs expected to rain down on them during the first 24 hours of the attack, the administration is already picking and choosing who will be given the lucrative job of cleaning up the rubble. Postwar rebuilding is a solitary bright spot in our own carpet-bombed economy.

To further expedite matters, the war-powers-that-be invoked "urgent circumstances" clauses that allowed them to subvert the requisite competitive bidding process -- the free market be damned -- and invite a select group of companies to bid on the rebuilding projects. No British companies were included, which has left many of them seething and meeting with government officials in London to find out where they stand.

So just which companies were given first crack at the post-Saddam spoils?

Well, given Team Bush's track record, it will probably not fill you with "shock and awe" to learn that the common denominator among the chosen few is a proven willingness to make large campaign donations to the Grand Old Party. Between them, the bidders -- a quartet of well-connected corporate consortiums that includes Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp., and, of course, Vice President Cheney's old cronies at Halliburton -- have donated a combined $2.8 million over the past two election cycles, 68 percent of which went to Republicans.

The insider track given these fat cat donors proves afresh that splurging on a politician is one of the soundest and safest investments you can make. Where else will a $2.8 million ante offer you a one-in-four shot at raking in a $1.5 billion payoff?

And that $1.5 billion is just for starters. The president is planning to give post-Saddam Iraq an extreme makeover -- a wide-ranging overhaul that will include the transformation of the country's educational, health-care, and banking systems -- all funded by taxpayer dollars and administered by private U.S. contractors. Think of it as a for-profit Marshall Plan.

"The administration's goal," reads one of the reconstruction contracts that are up for bids, "is to provide tangible evidence to the people of Iraq that the U.S. will support efforts to bring the country to political security and economic prosperity."

As a first step toward Iraqi prosperity, the president's ambitious postwar plan earmarks $100 million to ensure that Iraq's 25,000 schools have all the supplies and support necessary to "function at a standard level of quality" -- including books and supplies for 4.1 million Iraqi schoolchildren.

I'm sure those schools in Oregon that are being forced to shut down a month early due to inadequate funding, or the low-income students in California who are suing the state in a desperate effort to obtain adequate textbooks and qualified teachers of their own, would love to see the same kind of "tangible evidence" of President Bush's support.

The same goes for our flatlining public health-care system. While more than a million poor Americans are about to lose their access to publicly funded medical care, the president is in the market for a corporate contractor to oversee a $100 million upgrade of Iraq's hospitals and clinics.

And the White House has announced its intention to redesign Iraq's financial rules and banking system after it bombs the country halfway to oblivion. Too bad the administration keeps watering down reforms for the financial rules and banking system here at home.

That's another way corporate America is profiting from the looming war. With all eyes on Iraq, few are paying attention to how little is being done to reform and redesign our own financial rules.

The new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, for instance, is getting away with an enforcement regime every bit as limp as that of his predecessor, the supremely spineless Harvey Pitt.

Last week, in his first congressional testimony since assuming control of the watchdog agency, William Donaldson made it clear that, despite a massive increase in the SEC's budget, we shouldn't expect too much in the way of fundamental reform -- stressing that one of his top priorities would be boosting the morale of the agency.

I don't know about you, but I would feel a whole lot better if he'd made boosting the morale of a badly burned public Job No. 1. Tossing a slew of corporate crooks in the slammer would be a good start.

Maybe America's beleaguered investors should band together with this country's "left behind" schoolchildren and start stockpiling a couple of plywood drones with overly long wingspans, some high-strength aluminum tubes, and a few discarded canisters of chemical gas.

Apparently, that's the only way to get this administration's attention.

March 21, 2003

Freudian Slip

Since I've had my days free I've been popping up to my roof to catch some rays. Usually only about 30 minutes, front side up. I just feel happier when I have a little color. I just got done laying out today when my roomie called and asked how my day was going. I told him what I had accomplished including the sun bathing and he asked "Wasn't it too cold"? I said "Yeah it was a little chilly but I needed about an hour on my back". His reply, "Don't we all honey"!