April 30, 2004

I Could, But It Would Just Queue Up An Andy Gibb Song

A meme I dare not approach. I know my CD player, and I know how often in the past it has betrayed me.

It's one thing for me to know I'm a dork, and a whole 'nother thing for you people to have within-a-click proof of it.

(Yeah, I know it says to grab the nearest CD. All the CDs are in the changer, though. Easier just to put it on random.)

Posted by Ilyka at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

That Was Me

I don't link Lileks. I figure you either read him already or don't care for him. But this:

These things we knew: Soviet influence in Central America could be blunted by a complete withdrawl of American support; Ronald Reagan was indifferent to the possibility of nuclear war; Europeans were wise rational Vulcans to our crass carnivorous Earthlings, except for isolated throwback horrors like Margaret Thatcher. All new weapons systems were boondoggles that wouldn’t work and would never be needed, and served as penis substitutes for Jack D. Ripper-type generals who probably went home and poured lighter fluid on toy soldiers, lit them with a Zippo and cackled maniacally. A nuclear freeze was the first step to a safer world, because if everyone had 10,237 ICBMs instead of 10,238 we might be less inclined to use them. The Soviets were our enemy only because we thought they were, which forced them to act like our enemy. Soldiers were brainwashed killbots or gung-ho rapist killbots who signed up only because Reagan had personally shuttered the doors of the local steel mill, depriving them of jobs. Of all wars in human history, Vietnam was the most typical. Higher taxes on the rich resulted in fewer poor people. The inexplicable mulishness of big business was the only thing that held back widespread adoption of solar power.
That was me, nevermindhowmany years ago.

It's similar, of course, to P.J. O'Rourke's essay, "Second Thoughts About the 1960s;" at least, the first part:

What I Believed in the Sixties
Everything. You name it and I believed it. I believed love was all you need. I believed you should be here now. I believed drugs could make everyone a better person. I believed I could hitchhike to California with thirty-five cents and people would be glad to feed me. I believed Mao was cute. I believed private property was wrong. I believed my girlfriend was a witch. I believed my parents were Nazi space monsters. I believed the university was putting saltpeter in the cafeteria food. I believed stones had souls. I believed the NLF were the good guys in Vietnam. I believed Lyndon Johnson was plotting to murder all the Negroes. I believed Yoko Ono was an artist. I believed Bob Dylan was a musician. . . . I managed to believe Gandhi and H. Rap Brown at the same time. With the exception of anything my mom and dad said, I believed everything.
And then you grow up, or that's what they used to call it. Now it's called "having second thoughts." I prefer plain old growing up, or, if you want to get dramatic about it, having a head-on collision with a little thing called reality.

Here's to growing up. We could probably all stand to do more of it than we'd like to admit.

Posted by Ilyka at 09:16 AM | Comments (5)

April 29, 2004

Obvious Observation

It doesn't matter how often you poke it with a stick: a dead animal's still dead, and it ain't gettin' up no more.

For something so obvious, you'd be amazed how seldom it registers.

Posted by Ilyka at 09:51 AM | Comments (5)

April 28, 2004

Let's Review!

So there's this multi-blog charity drive to raise money for this Spirit of America fund request, to help the Marines build television stations for Iraqis. That much we should have down by now, right? If not, well, read all about it at the link above, or read why I think it matters here.

And now review all the fabulous offers out there for donating:

The Victory Coalition offers are summarized for you here (along with some offers from other chari-blogging teams).

The Liberty Alliance offers are on display RIGHT here:

  • Val Prieto is willing to dress in drag for $40 and willing to shave his legs for donations of $200.

  • Cox and Forkum have offered for auction a signed print of one of their cartoons.

  • EPoet is offering a unique photo from his tour in Iraq for $10 donations, and both a post on any topic you specify AND an original poem for donations of $50.

  • Personalized audio files, available on a sliding scale ($5, $10, or $20 donations), are available from Dizzy Girl.

  • Hard to top this one--you can bid on a speaking engagement by none other than Chief Wiggles, the man behind Operation Give: Toys for Iraqi Children. Not only that, but you can bid on an old Iraqi dinar and a mint-condition "Operation Iraqi Freedom" patch!

  • Or perhaps you're in the market for a hand-made gun belt, offered by Raging Dave of Four Right Wing Wackos?

  • Dean and Rosemary's offers still stand: A post on the topic of your choice; a post by BOTH Dean and The Queen of All Evil on the topic of your choice; or, if you prefer, Rosemary will, ah, "let it all hang out," if you know what I'm saying (and if you don't, well, you can read about it).

  • My pitiful offers still stand, too. You know how when you're little and you say you don't want to take piano lessons, or go to soccer practice, or whatever, anymore, because piano lessons/soccer practice/chess club/whatever are "not cool" or "totally gay" or "for losers?" And you know how your parents say to you then that one day you'll be sorry, and that it's very important to develop your talents early, instead of wasting them? Your parents were right.

    Finally, you can peruse the offers from the Fighting Fuzzballs on this page.

    Quit goofing off. Help the newly-united blog coalitions meet their goal of $50,000 by tonight. Pick your preferred prize and claim it by donating today!

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)
  • April 27, 2004

    Five Dollars

    People, it's only $5.00. If you can't have charity in your heart, at least have mercy on me and my pride.

    (Oh, and guess which family members I'm no longer speaking to if they don't help me out on this one: Every. Last. One of them.)

    Besides, I know you're dying to find out how bad my poetry is. Here's a hint: It's very, very bad. Almost this bad.

    In fact, maybe I should be offering a deal where you give Spirit of America $5.00 NOT to have me write you any poetry.

    Five dollars, and you can say you participated in the building of Iraqi owned and operated television stations. Five dollars, and you say you helped lay the foundations for freedom in Iraq. Five dollars, and you can take your pick of an interview, a Tarot reading, or . . . er, the poetry. Yes, all right, so I'm rethinking the poetry.

    Five dollars. Do you have any idea what I will think of you if you can't spare $5.00? I have friends I've parted ways with because they can't leave $5.00 tip on a restaurant check. And here you're going to stiff the people of Iraq in this endeavor? No way, buddy. Five bucks. Now. Do it.

    Trust me: We'll all be much, much happier this way.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:47 AM | Comments (1)

    April 26, 2004

    Welcome to the Working Week

    Your working week, in all likelihood, but not mine--mine starts on Tuesdays, making Mondays my day off.

    Aha! Do you begin to suspect you're getting a link roundup? Right you are!

  • I have to lead off with Jim Peacock's excellent explanation of how progressive taxation and tax cuts work. Think you don't need any simple explanations of this subject? Think you're an expert? Well, perhaps you are--but you still may be in the market for an easy way to explain it the clueless around you. Go; steal from Jim. It's what I always do and it works wonders.

  • "Kerry's already pulling some Clintonisms that I don't appreciate... 'I didn't inhale' equates with, 'Well I voted for it, before I voted against it.'" Seems Kerry isn't rocking that 18-29 demographic quite as hard as he'd like.

  • Speaking of His Rockingness: You know the offer of a free web page from Kerry is still open, right? (Link snagged from Judith at Kesher Talk.)

  • In the course of trying--vainly--to find the correct spelling of a cardiac drug during work the other night, I ran across this article, outlining research seeming to indicate a link between poverty and obesity (stories were featured on MSNBC and CNN nearly two months ago about it as well). "Great!" I thought. "Now when I'm with some snide little cretin in the Wal-mart and they start off on 'how poor can these people be really, I mean they're all so fat, I mean compare it to what's happening in Rwanda for the love of Mike,' I'll have an answer!" Alas, no. The article starts off sounding reasonable enough and then degenerates to this howler: "Health researchers say Canada is starting to look more like Lithuania [in terms of stress responses] than Sweden these days. They blame the shift to conservative governments."

  • As well they should! Because as every educated person knows, if it weren't for rogue conservative governments, Canada would have the best health care system in the world!

  • Burnout or no burnout, I can second her on this recommendation. It is still a good field. Sadly, I have known too many women who eschew technical majors because they've got it into their heads that math is too hard, or too boring, or both. Look: I can't add or subtract in my head worth a damn, but I could get through differential equations. It's doable, and it's stupid of women to let fear of math stop them. You conquer fear by doing what you're afraid of--just ask Meryl. Now the thing you have to remember--okay, there are two things to remember. First, you know the Thomas Edison quote that his success was merely 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration?--Math is often 100% perspiration, unless you're majoring in it (and then, yes, you will need a little inspiration; but if you're thinking of doing that, you don't need a pep talk from me anyhow). Otherwise, you just work problems and work problems and work more problems and go back and work all the problems again and again, over and over, until it clicks. So that's the first thing. The second thing is, you're going to meet some of the best guys in the world and they will worship you just for being around. It's a fact, period. (Try to overlook that some of them read Star Wars novels as literature. Reading habits can be improved, but character cannot.) So knock it off with the sociology majors already. Or rather, go ahead and major in sociology if you like--but don't come crying to me that you can't find a job that pays worth a damn when you're done.

  • Indirectly, via a winding road begun from Crabapple Lane's Blog of the Day: It seems discussions on women and blogging happen just as regularly on the left. "But of course those discussions occur on the left," a conservative reader might snort. "Those people are all about rectifying imbalance and inequality, real or perceived, among groups. This is in fact a tenet of transnational progressivism, etc." Perhaps, but that's not what's interesting to me about the piece. First, there's the difference in tone from the male bloggers on the left. On the right, the most timid suggestion that women bloggers face difficulties being taken seriously will arouse not just a stern denial that this is so, but in fact an insistence that if it is so, it's because women bloggers aren't very good: "It isn't true, but if it is true, it's your own damned fault." The reaction from men on the left, however, seems to be a sort of muted obstinacy that nonetheless produces the same ultimate result as the reaction on the right: "Oh. Oh, gee, there are some women bloggers out there. Whoops. I should have looked harder before I wrote my last entry, 'Where Are All the Female Bloggers?'" Two months later, they . . . write another post wondering why more women don't get into blogging. This is where the second interesting bit about the post comes in: an analysis of "muscular" vs. "soft" politics. It's not a half-bad explanation. It is, in fact, similar to what I had in mind myself when I told Spoons in an e-mail that I wanted to write a follow-up post on the subject. Of course, that was before the damn post generated my goofiest comment thread ever and, uh, I got like super-bored with it. But not so bored that I couldn't write you another lengthy paragraph here, huh?

  • The link to the transnational progressivism piece briefly mentioned above comes from Steven den Beste, and I should probably thank Ace of Spades for reminding me of it, causing me to read it again.

  • You should consider how many different news sources you got your information from today. Then, you should consider how miserable you'd be if someone took them all away from you and left you with only Al Jazeera. Then, you should do the right thing and help the U.S. Marines correct that situation in Iraq, by donating to the Spirit of America fund request, which you can read about here. And if you want to win fabulous prizes, you should make your donation through The Liberty Alliance. That is all.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:28 PM | Comments (3)
  • April 25, 2004

    Munuviana Has Him. You Don't.

    Ace of Spades HQ has forsaken Blogspot. Praise be Allah Pixy Misa.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:16 AM | Comments (1)

    April 24, 2004

    Shallow Observation

    I hope audio-blogging never takes off in any real way. I just heard some by the author of a blog I occasionally read and now I swear I can never read that blog again.

    Euww. Just . . . euww.

    The nice thing about writing is that if you sound obnoxious (and full of yourself, and convinced of your superior wit, and just a little fucking effete and I mean, like damn), no one needs to know. If you have a zit on your nose, no one needs to know. If you're an amputee, no one needs to know.

    I like it that way. But then, as a 73 year-old retired truck driver who's hoping that recent gastric bypass I had will help me do something about those extra 180 pounds I've been hauling around for most of my life, I suppose I would.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:12 PM | Comments (7)

    That Was Then, This is Now

    Yesterday (love was such an easy game to play . . . .):
    Quoth the venomous one, bored with the topic of sexism in the blogosphere: "Isn't there any news to focus on?"

    Guess not!

    Well, it's all hypothetical anyway, seeing as how there's no such thing as a desert island.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:22 AM | Comments (1)

    April 23, 2004

    I'll See Your Dead Girl and Raise You One Kitten

    Oh--oh--real cute, Jim. Jim wants to tell you all a pretty story in return for your donating to the Spirit of America Iraqi Television Request via the Volleyball Competition. I mean the Vinegary Constitution. No, I mean--look, never mind.

    A story? A STORY? We're auctioning stories now?

    Look, this is how it is: I think you should donate to help Iraqis get their news from their own countrymen, rather than solely through Arab satellite networks. I've already written about why I think this is important.

    And I think only a total dork would choose to give generously through this Victimy Correlation outfit, particularly when it would be so much more rewarding to give generously through the Almighty, Hell-Raisin', Rollin'-Over-Punks-Like-a-Redneck-Trucker* LIBERTY ALLIANCE, the only party that is on the record as being 100% pro-kitten.

    Could you really live with yourself if you said "no" to the kittens?

    I don't think you could. I know my readers better than that. You are men and women of conscience, valor, generosity, and no-holds-barred kitten appreciation. And that is why you want to click here and scroll down and hit that donation button.

    A story. Honestly. Don't you want more? Don't you deserve more? I think you do. And I think you deserve to CHOOSE how you wish to be rewarded.

    So here's the deal: You go right over here and donate $5.00 (or more) to Spirit of America, and you let me know about it by e-mailing your donation receipt to ilyka[insert at-symbol here]ilyka.mu.nu, and you take your pick of the following:

    1. A poem about the subject of your choice;

    2. A 10-question interview (subject: you!), to be posted on this site once complete; or

    3. A completely confidential 10-card Tarot reading.

    $5.00-you-call-its. Look, if I could send bottles of booze or elegant desserts to you through the internet instead, I would, but I've got to deal in virtual goods here. So those are the virtual goods.

    Now damnit, show me the money, or I drop the f-bomb some more. No, not that f-bomb; this one.

    *with apologies to LL Cool J

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:34 PM | Comments (5)

    Does Not Compute

    I've looked for possible explanations to reconcile the numbers on the North Korean train explosion yesterday and haven't found any. I'm talking about this:

    The toll from a huge train blast at a North Korean railroad station was estimated today at between 54 and 150 dead and 1,249 injured. A total of 1,850 homes were leveled and 6,350 were damaged, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross in Beijing.
    That's 1,850 homes "leveled" and yet less than 1/10 that number killed? Not that I'm sorry it's so low a number, mind you; I'm just wondering if it's at all accurate, particularly given the initial reports of 3000 dead.

    Ah, I see I'm not the only one:

    Remember the early reports of September 11, the first day of the first Gulf War, or the San Francisco earthquake of 1989? All ridiculously far off of the accuracy scale. I wonder why they feel the need to put numbers out even though they must know they can’t be accurate. Who came up with 3000 and what could they have based it on?
    While 3000 may have been an overestimate, I'm sadly doubting "54" is accurate. In general, I tend to mistrust nearly any numbers provided by totalitarian states, and particularly when contrasted with details like this (note: emphasis mine):
    The train exploded Thursday afternoon, hitting Ryongchon, a manufacturing center, with the force of a small nuclear bomb, raining debris over a 10-mile radius and sending acrid smoke over the nearby border with China.
    As for whether it was a bungled assassination attempt on Kim Jong Il--dear God, I hope not. I strongly doubt it, but then, I don't hang out on Democratic Underground, you know?
    Posted by Ilyka at 04:30 PM | Comments (4)

    As Usual, He Has All the Best Lines

    A friend of mine wrote me the other day that he misses my boyfriend's blog. I'd miss it myself, if I didn't have access to the live-and-in-person version. Shortly after he read various responses here and there to the sexism post, I heard this instant classic:

    "You know, if Kevin Drum's only going to post twice a day, the least he can do is show me some tits."

    There are reasons I keep him around. Many, many reasons.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:47 AM | Comments (1)

    This Blog Proudly Supports

    Oh, come on. If you're not curious to find out who I'm backing in the Spirit of America fund drive, just humor me and pretend you are for a minute and click the extended entry already.

    The Liberty Alliance!


    They like kittens!

    And everyone? Rosemary really IS the Queen of All Evil. Of course, when I say "evil," I mean absolutely bribetastic.

    Now go donate before I write another post about sexism. I can do it, you know. I have the technology.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:43 AM | Comments (3)

    April 22, 2004


    (Why yes: I usually AM at least a week behind on blogospheric events. And as a matter of fact I AM going to take the time to explain this as though you'd never heard of the thing before, because even though most of you have, it's important enough that I'm tailoring discussion of it to the "what are you talking about?" crowd.)

    Spirit of America is a not-for-profit organization that raises money to help U.S. citizens--civilian or military--improve the lives of people in other, less fortunate countries. And you know what? That all came out so poorly-worded that I'm just going to crib from their "About" page:

    Spirit of America (SoA) is a nonprofit, charitable organization that helps Americans serving abroad improve the lives of people in need. We enable American military, Foreign Service and reconstruction personnel to submit requests for goods that will help local people. Typically, the requests are for items that established aid organizations and government bureaucracies are not designed to handle and that fall in the gaps between large-scale assistance programs - yet can make an important difference.
    As an example of some of those "goods that will help local people," Spirit of America raised $4,800 to provide dental kits, distributed by U.S. Marines, to Iraqi families in Al Hillah.

    Small thing. But you try not brushing your teeth for three days and see what it does to your outlook on life. You can read about similar Spirit of America efforts on this page.

    More from the "About" page:

    SoA collects the tax-deductible donated funds and procures the goods, or secures the direct donation of the requested goods, and arranges shipment to the requestor. We are now accepting and fulfilling requests from Americans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not seek, require or accept funding from the U.S. Government.
    [Emphasis mine.] And that emphasis is added to point out one thing: You do not need to support our operations in Iraq to donate to this organization. You would not be helping to fund Halliburton, the CIA, or "merceneries." (Misspelling intentional--and would someone please explain to me why an aspiring political consultant would be so averse to using spell check?) You'd be helping kids brush their damn teeth. If you're against dental hygiene . . . uh, actually, if you're against dental hygiene?--Could you please stand at least six paces away from me. Phew.

    Several blogs have started teams of bloggers to participate in a drive to help Spirit of America raise the money to fund independent television stations and news programming in the Sunni Triangle. Currently, Al Jazeera provides most news in the area. Now, I've got family members who dispute the presence of bias in the U.S. media, and that's one thing. We can have that argument all day long as far as I'm concerned. But there's one thing I flatly refuse to argue with anyone, and that's that Al Jazeera is to objective news reporting as decent Mexican food is to Toronto: They don't get anywhere near each other. But don't take my word for it; see what an Iraqi has to say about Arab media:

    Arab satellite channels reported today that Al-Mustansiriyah university was under siege by US troops. We have a neighbour who is a professor there, so as expected we raced to his house when we had heard about it. We congratulated him for his safety, but he looked significantly surprised and asked us what was up? We told him about the siege. He chuckled at us and said "Oh, you mean that". It turned out there was no siege at all, there was an American patrol in the vicinity of the university, and they had witnessed someone climbing on the clock tower trying to paste a large poster of Muqtada Al-Sadr. The patrol called for backup, entered the campus and hollered for the fellow to come down. They teared the poster and removed a few others close to the university's main entry gates. According to our friend, the whole process didn't take any more than 20 minutes. Just to show how the Arab media conveniently distort events.
    Whether you agree with our presence in Iraq or not, there is no disputing that the current portrayal of events in Iraq is having an effect on how the U.S. is perceived there. People are hearing "occupation forces bombed a mosque;" they are not hearing "occupation forces bombed a mosque filled with gunmen actively firing on them." They are getting (if they are lucky) only half the story.

    We do not, in this country, live in a one-news-source environment. We are lucky to be able to read and watch the news from many sources and compose our views from among them. Iraqis should have the same opportunity.

    The Spirit of America fundraising effort is not to provide Iraqis with "MarineTV." Its stated aim:

    The donated equipment will be the property of the Iraqi stations. The stations can create their own news and choose their own programming with the agreement that they will prohibit airing of anti-coalition messages that incite the local population. The stations also agree to sell airtime at a fair market price so that the Marines can communicate their information efficiently and quickly when needed.

    For example, images were recently broadcast of a mosque in Fallujah damaged during fighting. With these stations the Marines could have provided the full picture by airing video of combatants firing on them from the mosque grounds. These stations would have enabled Iraqis to understand the complete picture. News of reconstruction projects and humanitarian assistance that balances the news of conflict will also be provided on these stations. The stations will be free to criticize the Coalition.

    I think it's a fine cause, obviously, and I hope others will agree and donate.

    That only leaves me one decision: Which blogging team do I join?

    There are three, participating in a mock war to see who can raise the most money. They are:

    The Victory Coalition, led by A Small Victory and Wizbang

    The Liberty Alliance, led by Dean's World

    The Fighting Fusileers, led by Castle Argghhh! (Look, I didn't name them. Don't roll your eyes at me like that.)

    I have pros and cons for all three of 'em, but I'll just list the pros here:

    Victory Coalition:

  • Jim and Meryl are already on board and, well, I love Jim and Meryl. Also, they will be mad at me if I pick someone else's team.
  • Michele has the coolest logos and artwork for it. Cartoon dead girls and Dave Chapelle as Rick James? You can't top that.
  • I'm pretty sure if you took away my access to the ASV comment sections I would suffer DTs. Or get more housework done; I'm not certain which. Anyway, A Small Victory is one of my very favoritest blogs and has been so for, like, forever, and therefore I feel a certain loyalty to it.

    Liberty Alliance:

  • They're in third place. That's a polite way of saying LAST place. I am all about the underdog. Look at that sad little boy. Folks, that ain't right.
  • Dean, UNLIKE CERTAIN OTHER TEAM LEADERS, has me blogrolled. In fact, Dean has me blogrolled despite the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I have said anything remotely nice about him, but I need a calculator for all the times I've called him a chauvinist asshole. Now that's a man.
  • Did I mention Dean has me blogrolled?

    Fighting Fusileers:

  • It's the incentive package I like here. Very generous, and very original. In fact, it's gorgeous. (You people with your puny offers like, "I'll write a post about whatever you want if you donate"--bah! Didn't you learn anything from how swell that tactic worked for Treacher?)
  • I don't know, I've just always thought e-Claire was cool. Maybe I'm a sucker for names that are puns.
  • Castle Argghhh! is a blog by "one of Jonah's military guys." Does this mean they have an "in" with Jonah Goldberg? Have I mentioned that I have a total fangirl crush on Jonah Goldberg? Yeah, I'm not exactly sure why either--but it's probably something to do with his beginning his bio with the line, "First God created pepper-jack cheese, hard pretzels, and beer." I like a man who has his priorities in order.

    So there are good reasons to sign up with all of 'em. And by the end of the day, I'll have decided which.

    Hope the suspense doesn't kill anyone.

    And remember: I am highly bribable. Highly.

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:21 PM | Comments (14)
  • April 21, 2004

    Album Covers That Hurt

    In a just world, songs that hurt would be required to sport album covers that hurt every bit as much, if not more.

    (Okay, I'm voting "more." I'd sooner suffer a few stirring rounds of "Mr. Roboto" than ever feast my eyes on the McKeithen family again.)

    Thanks, of a sort, to Joyce of Spades.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

    Beyond Parody

    In an e-mail to someone the other day, I mocked Instapundit's habit of linking pieces by female bloggers with a "sex hook" attached, i.e.:

    BOTTOMS UP: [Name of female blogger] sees a connection between Iraqi liberation and sodomy.
    But you know something? In retrospect, I needn't have bothered.

    Lest someone get the wrong idea: The issue isn't so much that it's sexist. The issue is that it's stupid and annoying.

    And speaking of stupid and annoying, the next person who sends me over to BuzzMachine gets a kick in the head. Apparently now old man Jarvis is on some tear about a "citizen's media" association, or something. You know, so we can filter out all those unethical, irresponsible little people whose willingness to throw the contents of their heads onscreen at any time made blog-reading such a joy in the first place.

    Someone over at The Truth Laid Bear, in the comments to this post, described the formation of such an association as "NECESSARY." Yes, in all caps and everything.

    I remember when companies thought Aeron chairs were NECESSARY, too.

    Ugh. No more blog entries about blogging. It leaves me with such a creepy aftertaste. Worse, I'm afraid I'll start thinking any of it matters, and then where would we be?

    Posted by Ilyka at 06:13 PM | Comments (8)

    I Should Have Done This Ages Ago

    Gone looking for conservative blogs authored by women, I mean. Look at all this time I've been without Whomping Willow! And just look at that willow whomp on Al Franken:

    First of all, we might be right-winged to varying degrees, but most conservatives I know are too damned ornery to agree on much of anything let alone form a conspiracy. Sorry, Al, we're just normal people in possession of common sense, with unlimited access to information and just enough time on our hands to call bullshit when we see it.
    Whomp on.

    It's a shame about Franken; I used to like him, and I still return occasionally to this for a laugh. Why Not Me? was uneven, but had its moments. And I might get some grief for saying so, but Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot is worth reading just for the pranking done to Limbaugh's research assistant.

    But when you're reduced to titling your books Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, your schtick has moved beyond tired and into the grave.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:36 AM | Comments (3)

    April 20, 2004

    Isolated Incidents

    I'm sure it isn't a new observation, but for all the talk about it, there are ultimately only two ways of looking at September 11:

    1. As a crime;
    2. As a declaration of war.

    If you look at it as a crime, you're likely to think hunting down Osama bin Laden is Job 1. And you're likely to be persuaded by guys like Richard Clarke who say we botched Job 1 and went into Iraq to distract from that.

    If you look at it as a declaration of war, you're likely to think it's time we quit leaving parts of the Middle East to fester in a sludge of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, totalitarianism and theocracy, and then you're likely to formulate plans that seek to correct that.

    It's ironic to me that many of the people who wailed about "root causes" can't figure out that root causes are exactly what we're overseas trying to address.

    We just don't think "not ratifying Kyoto" counts as one of those root causes.

    I asked once whether anyone thought it was crucial that we capture bin Laden, and I said that personally, I didn't think it was. Everything I've read about al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist networks characterizes it as a loosely-networked organization, more flat than hierarchic, operating on a system of low-level rules (and in that sense sharing a characteristic of emergent systems). And if you know even the tiniest thimbleful about emergent systems, you know that such systems do not require a leader.

    It doesn't matter whether bin Laden's alive or dead. It matters as an emotional issue only, as a matter of pride: "We got bin Laden! USA! USA!"

    But it's not going to change the operation of al Qaeda one bit.

    The only thing that's going to change the operation of al Qaeda is for it to lose popular support among Muslims. And that's only going to happen if Muslims decide that blowing themselves up for the sake of jihad isn't as good a deal as staying alive is. And they're only going to decide that when their countries are as peaceful and as happy and as stable as most free Western nations are.

    Now you can argue whether George W. Bush had any business attempting to bring such conditions about in the Middle East, or whether it was a fool's dream from the beginning, or even whether it was a good idea but botched in execution; but if you do not view the events of September 11 as an isolated incident--if you view them instead as a call to arms, you can't really argue that hauling Osama before some international kangaroo court is an effective solution to the problem of radical Islamist terrorism.

    WHY I LOVE COMMENTS UPDATE 04/22/2004: In the comments below, Bernard notes a potential negative ramification of nabbing bin Laden. Feel free to disagree, of course, but it's something I hadn't considered, so I thought I'd point it out. Thanks, man.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:28 PM | Comments (8)

    Songs That Hurt

    I shouldn't read threads like this. Like it's not enough that I date a guy whose brain is leased out to the jukebox from hell?

    I'll be mentally bopping along to something good, and that's about when he'll bust out with a verse or two from "I Go to Extremes."

    Or "We Built This City."

    Or "Everybody Have Fun Tonight."

    Or--you know something, I'm not giving him any more ideas. His supply of bad songs is inexhaustible, but I don't see why I should go reminding him of ones he hasn't tormented me with in awhile.

    The one I had to get serious with him about--I mean the one that had me four inches from his face screaming "this isn't funny anymore, you asshole!"--wasn't even a proper song. It was the theme to the show Family Ties:

    And there ain't no nothin'
    We can't love each other through
    Find me the man or woman who wrote those lyrics so I can beat that individual. Ain't. No. Nothin'. Look, I have enough trouble forgiving the double preposition in "Live and Let Die." I only manage it because it's a good song. But the theme to Family Ties is a very, very bad song, and so to its creators I say, don't go wreaking triple negatives on my eardrums like that unless you want me to hurt you.

    Note to all those who nominated Alanis Morissette's "Ironic:" Remind me to tell you about the time one of my former employers hired a Chinese-American programmer who liked to code while listening to music, but (a) would not wear headphones and (b) only had four MP3 and (c) would pick one of the four each day and play it on loop for, you know, the full fucking eight hours of the day and finally (d) was placed in the only office with any room in it, namely, mine.

    Luckily for me, he sucked as a developer and was fired soon . . . but not nearly soon enough.

    We don't mention that song, okay? Ever.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:03 PM | Comments (5)

    Let's Just Get This Over with Already

    More "about me" stuff. Previous edition here, first one here, yada yada yada, and yes, I'm as tired of this whole schtick as you are, but I'm trying to be better about finishing what I start. More importantly, my beloved aunt tells me they're her favorite thing about this site, and I'm afraid all other opinions take a back seat to my beloved aunt's on, well, just about everything, except maybe politics.

    (Okay, except definitely politics. But whatever, right?)

    41.···I spent my childhood in California. California in the 1970s was a nice place for a kid, but I wouldn't want to live there now, and in any event, I couldn't afford to.

    42.···I'm terrible with money. My check card quit working and the bank couldn't explain why, so rather than asking them to send me a new one, I just quit using it, and for someone like me, it's better, even though sometimes it's a pain in the ass, because I've never been able to get it through my skull that using check cards is still spending "real" money.

    43.···Ditto for credit cards. Kids, don't get one. Credit cards are the devil, period end. I had a friend tell me that when the government is doing security clearances, one of their red flags is high debt, because they figure you could be bribed to spy for the other team more easily if you're carrying a lot of debt, so I guess I'm never getting a security clearance, even though I really don't think I'm very corruptible.

    44.···I try to keep a clean kitchen and a clean bathroom, but I don't dust except when there's a dire need for it, like when I'm moving, or . . . no, I think that's it. I say that this is because when I was little, my chore used to be dusting the house and I hated it, but when I say that my mother says I shouldn't blame everything on my parents, even though my dad blames his refusal to eat any vegetables whatsoever on his parents and no one's ever questioned that one for a minute.

    45.···My favorite season is winter, but I think that might be because I've spent most of my life in the sunbelt. I'm pretty sure that after a few years in Minnesota, I'd be telling you my favorite season was summer. The grass is always greener.

    46.···I can't stand people who are polite to the point of refusing to say what they really mean. I'm talking about the kind of people who spend 45 minutes deciding to where to go for dinner because they're all going, "Oh, no, really, I can eat anything--you pick." [Update: I still can't believe I got an entire post out of this one.]

    47.···I have a short attention span for most things, but if I'm into something, I'm really, really, really into it, and you have to get quite mean with me to get me to stop doing whatever it is I'm really into.

    48.···You also have to not care when I yell at you for making me stop doing whatever it was I was doing.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:08 AM | Comments (6)

    Quick One

    I'm bad about other people's linkfests, even when I've been graciously included in 'em, so apologies if you've already been there and read 'em . . . but you should know the Snark Hunt and the Cul-de-Sac are back, baby.

    And here I'd like to go on a spiel about is-it-link-whoring-or-isn't-it (short answer: neither the Snark nor the Sac--if you cross them, do you get a Snack?--are link-whore tactics, in my book), but (a) I think I might've done that once on the old blog already and (b) my boyfriend is literally threatening to cut off my fingers if I don't get off the damn computer already.

    I will just say that Kelley's address of the link-whoring topic cracked me up because, people, no one compiles reading material from 170 blogs just to link whore. She works hard for the bloggage, that one.

    As for Kate, well, hell, I think by now we all know the respect I have for her. And she always has a theme (a gourmet one, this time--mmm!). Me, I'm like "hi ppl i cant be arsed to blog today so here go read this." It's pathetic. Meanwhile, Kate is like Martha Stewart if Martha Stewart were neither woefully unsexy nor from Connecticut.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

    April 19, 2004

    Helen Will Know What I Mean

    Amish Tech Support links an article describing a condition called "Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome," in which people who "use vibrating tools for hours on end" may develop "numb fingers especially susceptible to cold," as well as "pain, tingling, [and] numbness."

    Laurence being Laurence, he then wonders what effect this will have on the porn industry.

    I wouldn't worry about it myself. If you've got the vibrating tools, who needs fingers?

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

    April 18, 2004

    The Death of Sexism and Other Myths

    This is long, but it could be longer. This could be a bloody book, but I thought instead I'd keep it (relatively) short and rely instead on those mainstays of the limited vocabulary, cuss words.

    A question to all the retards in the house:

    As a man, do you LIKE it when a woman displays interest in you solely for your money, your position, your earning ability?

    If you haven't got any wealth or status, humor me and imagine if you did. And let's just call it what it is and restate the question thusly:

    Do you like golddiggers?

    How does it make you feel when a woman uses you for money? How does it make you feel when you see one of your male friends being "played" by a woman for his money?

    Okay, we'll break it down further. Word association: What adjectives come to mind at the mention of the following semi-famous women who've had the "golddigger" tag applied to them?

    Courtney Love.

    Yoko Ono.

    Marla Maples Trump.

    Note: I did not ask you whether you'd sleep with any of these women. "I'd hit it" is not an answer. Guys, I already know you'd hit it--every woman on that list including Yoko, and don't try to tell me any different. I've seen debates over whether you'd have an undercover tussle with Hillary Clinton, for God's sake. Hillary. Clinton. So don't tell me Yoko's out of bounds just 'cause she's got a little more leg hair than you do.

    No, I'm just wondering if you could honestly state that you think you would like or respect any of these women.

    All I know is, I don't know a single man out there who could honestly say he'd want to spend two minutes out of the sack with a woman who was just after his money. Well, funny thing: I don't know a single woman out there who'd want to spend two minutes out of the sack with a guy who was just after her body.

    In fact, I know women who cultivate guys who are just after their bodies purely for emergency booty calls. The guys think they're using them. The women know better (one friend described such a night as "cheaper than buying batteries." Work it out; I'll be here when you get done). But there is no "like" or "respect" by either party involved in these setups. The guys leave thinking, "Ho." The women lock the door behind 'em thinking, "Sucker."

    Now what I want you to do is, I want you to summon up that feeling of being worth no more than your wallet, and I want you to fucking get it through your head try to understand that this very I'm-only-as-good-as-my-bank-account feeling is nearly identical to the I'm-only-as-good-as-my-looks feeling an awful lot of women struggle against . . . are you following me here? Okay: I want you to consider all that and then I want you to tell me why the fuck I should celebrate statements like this:

    The reality is that women have a much EASIER time making it in the blogging world than men do. The average male blogger will link a piece written by a female blogger, especially one who's attractive, over an equally well written piece on the same topic by a man, 9 times out of 10.
    You tell me why I should cheer and shout, "Hooray for me! Hooray for womanhood!" "Especially one who's attractive"--and that's supposed to be the good news.

    Here's my radical feminist proposition: How about you just read what folks write and link it based on merit?

    Of course, some of you claim you do exactly that. Like John Hawkins, who says he's "not even sure there are 35 readable blogs written by women on the right side of the blogosphere." What. The fuck. Ever.

    Never mind the teensy possibility that if readable, female-authored conservative blogs are in fact rare, then telling women to perk up and be happy about how much more likely they are to be linked "especially if they're attractive" is maybe not the best way to encourage women to lean right. You guys really don't have any idea how much you turn women off with that shit, do you? You're really that stupid on this one. "Women resent being treated as sex objects" was a basic principle figured out by the Democrats years ago and you're still sticking your fingers in your ears and hollering "I ain't trying to hear that." But no, that's right, it's the Democrats who are stupid.

    Did I say what the fuck ever already? Right, okay. Sorry.

    And I guess I better clarify right now that while the posts I've linked above originally referenced a post at A Small Victory, my words here have nothing to do with that initial post, which has already been misinterpreted by too many, too often. In fact, I don't care what Michele thinks about the argument, such as it is, that Spoons and Hawkins are making. This is solely what I think about those arguments.

    And I think both Hawkins and Spoons, if they desire any claim to intelligence at all, need to recognize the circular logic they're using. "The blogosphere isn't sexist because attractive women actually have a gender advantage when it comes to being linked" is the very definition of sexism. "Sexism" isn't just discrimination on the basis of sex; it's also the act of reducing a complex human being to a set of four circles and a triangle. To borrow from the guy we all love to hate (or rather from his 1992 campaign), it's the objectification, stupid.

    How 'bout if I say a guy driving a Mercedes is likely to be more popular with women than a guy driving an Econoline van: Are you going to dispute that? No? Me neither. But do you like that fact? No? Me neither. But it is how it is. I personally believe 50 more years of increasing financial independence for women will change that; feminism's opponents disagree. But for now, them's the facts on the ground, as it were.

    And it also remains a fact that you guys prefer your female bloggers to do more than just share your political values. You'd prefer that they be attractive, write about sex often, advertise that they have boobies, and make you feel "funny in the pants." And you'll link them often if they meet those criteria, sure--but very, very seldom if they don't.

    How do I know? I know because that fool Hawkins doubts that there are "even 35 readable blogs written by women on the right side of the blogosphere." A man who'd been looking for reading material instead of jerking material would know better.

    I suggest he pry open that charming aperture south of his tailbone, remove his head from it, and expand his reading horizons. I've even given him a partial list to get started.

    Put it down to my nurturing side.

    UPDATE 04/23/2004: Interesting how quickly people will go off on tangents (and sometimes, off the rails completely); comments to this post include discussion of such way-to-miss-the-point subjects as evolutionary development of relations between the sexes, which bloggers are or are not showing their boobies, and the relative lack of women in the sciences--and that's just in these comments. Visit some of the sites who have tracked back, and revel in the speculation that I'm just a fat disgruntled chick, brainwashed by the left, or should maybe start batting for the other team. All fun stuff, sure; but ultimately, one woman sums it up best:

    But yes, there definitely is a difference in the way readers react to male bloggers and female bloggers.

    That is to be expected as it is that way in real life. What I don't appreciate, however, is when it's more often about the looks or body parts than it is about the content and how I should be happy anyone linked to me because I had a photo up.

    That kind of attitude will set me on fire any day of the week no matter who said it and how much I enjoy their writing.

    I don't care if someone notices I'm a female. I'm DAMN proud I'm a female. What I don't appreciate is when I'm treated like a little girl. Fuck. That.

    She claims she's "not the best writer out there," which I'm putting down to modesty. Serenity writes with verve, clarity, and heart. See for yourself.

    (Despite the numbering, these are truly in no particular order--I merely enumerate them because frankly, I'm starting to doubt whether some folks out there have mastered the basics of counting.)

    1. Baldilocks

    2. e-Claire

    3. Electric Venom

    4. The Bitch Girls

    5. Asymmetrical Information

    6. Molly's Musings

    7. On the Third Hand

    8. Jessica's Well

    9. Redsugar Muse

    10. Cut on the Bias

    11. Emuse

    12. Greatest Jeneration

    13. Serenity's Journal

    14. Suburban Blight

    15. Liquid Courage

    16. Res Ipsa Loquitur

    17. Miss Apropos

    18. Angelweave

    19. Across the Atlantic

    20. Big Arm Woman

    21. She Who Will Be Obeyed

    22. TulipGirl

    23. Julie Neidlinger

    24. Absinthe & Cookies

    25. Dizzy Girl

    26. LilacRose

    27. Annika's Journal

    28. Mamamontezz

    29. The Patriette

    30. The Irish Lass

    31. Mad Minerva

    32. Yale Diva

    33. OkieMinnie Me

    34. Little Miss Attila

    35. Small Dead Animals

    Posted by Ilyka at 09:44 PM | Comments (33)

    This Says Nothing Good About Me

    You know your reading habits have gone to hell when you play this game (link spotted here and here, among other places) and you get the following result:

    After you discover Flight, your Workers can construct Airfields.
    Well, hey, they said "the closest book." I'm at the computer. Where all the computer books are. And obviously, the most important book to have by the computer is the mini-manual for Civilization III: Play the World.


    Researching the origins of this was a trip. The farthest back I could track the game's origins was here, though the post in which it appears calls it a "Q & A meme" in which the author has decided to participate, so this likely is not the original. What's interesting is that between here and here, the original instruction to "Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says," becomes:

    1. Grab the nearest book. 2. Open the book to page 23. 3. Find the fifth sentence. 4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
    Also, the remaining questions in the original (or the nearest I can get to the original, anyway) die the death of the unmemetic.

    I know! It's almost as fascinating as those Airfield-constructing Workers!

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:40 PM | Comments (3)

    April 13, 2004

    And This is How Punk We Keep it Around Here

    So punk that five minutes after posting that last one, the DSL went out because it turns out service providers like to be paid, in full and on time, and I'd done neither for, uh, a while. That's right: I was too busy keeping it real for you.

    Expect blogging to be light, etc. Dialup sucks.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:37 AM | Comments (8)

    April 12, 2004

    Do I Feel Her on That or Do I FEEL Her on That?

    I was actually going to just do up an open-thread post on the subject of--well, look, it was just a one-liner, really:

    "Premise: Nick Denton is to blogging as Dick Clark is to rock-and-roll. Discuss."

    But then I realized I didn't really have anything else to offer, and posting just a snarky inside-blogging remark like that would be so . . . so . . . Wonkette.

    Well, minus the sodomy, I mean.

    I wouldn't give a fig about Wonkette, but then when I see things like this, I get really irked and my penchant for bad analogies goes into overdrive.

    See, I figure if blogging is anything, it's punk. It's putting the creativity back in the hands of the fans instead of the starmakers. It's the big finger to the media, in the same way that the Sex Pistols were the big finger to prog-rock dinosaurs and dirty, dirty hippies.

    If you look at it like that, you realize you have to make a decision: Are you playing for the bucks or are you playing for the fans?

    I'm not saying you can't do both to an extent. On the other end of the spectrum from Wonkette you've got bloggers who moan that their work is e'er unappreciated, overlooked, forsaken--when the sad fact of the matter is, their work just isn't very good. Or, alternately, their work's not bad, but they won't do the things you have to do to get noticed.

    I tried getting my boyfriend into blogging. He immediately complained that no one read him. I said, you've been at this for three days. Give it time.

    A week later, same thing: No one reads him. No one links him. I said, do you give any links OUT? You gotta give to get, honey bunches of oats. Do you try to leave comments at other bloggers' sites, not to whore your work, but to provide a little feedback while still getting your name out there? Are you approaching this cooperatively, or are you approaching this ivory-tower style?

    So I understand that you have to try to hit a happy medium, where you're focused enough on gathering readers that you'll send the trackback, leave the comment, maybe even drop an e-mail . . . but not so focused on it that you become a total whore.

    But I think at some point, and especially if you're female . . . at some point you have to accept that a certain portion of the crowd--a LARGE portion of the crowd--just wants the schlock. A certain portion of the crowd just wants Justin Timberlake to rip your bra off in public.

    So what? You don't have to play to them.

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:29 PM | Comments (12)

    April 11, 2004

    Even with Assistance, I Can't Draw

    It doesn't really get any easier than this, does it? And yet my results were, how you say, terrible.

    Fun timewaster, though. I figure if I keep practicing, I'll soon be ready to advance to fingerpainting. Thanks, Kate!


    Looks nothing like me.

    Oh--other than the split ends. I definitely do have exactly that many split ends.

    Posted by Ilyka at 01:54 AM | Comments (6)

    Reason Enough

    . . . not to give up on Iraq: It would be bad strategery:

    It is the most foolish and selfish thing to say "pull the troops out", or "replace them with the UN or NATO". Someone has to see us through this mess to the end. Only a deluded utopian (or an idiot peace activist) would believe that Iraqis would all cosily sit down and settle down their endless disputes without AK-47's, RPG's, or mortars in the event of coalition troops abandoning Iraq. Please please don't get me wrong, I am not in the least saying that I enjoy being occupied by a foreign force, I am not a dreamer who believes that the USA is here for altruistic reasons, I am not saying that I am happy with what my bleeding country is going through, believe me when I say it tears my heart every day to witness all the bloodshed, it pains me immensely to see that we have no leaders whomsoever with the interest and well-being of Iraq as their primary goal, it kills me to see how blind and ignorant we have all become. Iraqis are dying inside every day, and we are committing suicide over and over and over. Some people call me a traitor or a collaborator for all the above and for speaking the truth as opposed to rhetorical, fiery speeches which have been our downfall.
    I don't call him a collaborator. I call Zeyad a man with no illusions. He certainly doesn't open the post with anything like optimism:
    A whole year has passed now and I can't help but feel that we are back at the starting point again. The sense of an impending disaster, the ominous silence, the breakdown of most governmental facilities, the absence of any police or security forces, contradicting news reports, rumours everywhere, and a complete disruption in the flow of everyday life chores. All signs indicate that it's all spiralling out of control, and any statements by CPA and US officials suggesting otherwise are blatantly absurd.
    Goddamnit, get more troops over there, and to hell with what the New York Times will say about it. If those commission hearings this last week have taught me anything, it's that there is no "win" with the appeasement crowd. Nothing is good enough, nothing is sufficient or even barely adequate, and if anyone connected to Bush does it, it's not only not good enough, it's outrageous! and evil! and criminally negligent!

    I'm not playing those games anymore. If you expect me to believe that any attempt by the Bush administration to prevent September 11 would have been greeted with anything other than cries of horror and consternation and moans of "Oh, oh, this is terrible . . . how could we let the Supreme Court select us this RIGHT-WING WARMONGER?" you're high, and I mean, you have got some primo stuff in that pipe.

    Take your bitterness about the 2000 election, if you have any, and shove it straight up your ass. Better yet, why don't you e-mail Zeyad and try to get him to care about it?

    "Hi, Zeyad. I'm sitting in my comfy home typing this to you in your miserable circumstances just to tell you that everything would be okey-doke in your world if only Gore had become president. But don't worry. We will elect Kerry this time and he will send the troops home and your countrymen can finally really get down to business on that whole 'killing each other' thing. I guess that's more a win for me than for you, but I am scared there will be a draft, you see. Well that's all for now. Bye."

    See how far you get with that one.

    Posted by Ilyka at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)

    April 09, 2004

    Linking with Reservations

    Feministe has an open thread going about abortion. I'll link it, but I want to make something very clear first:

    I don't know if I have an especially diverse blogroll or readership or not, but I do know that I have a few of you who are socially conservative. And I have mad, mad love for y'all, even if we don't always agree with each other on every little thing. And you've all been consistently respectful and mannerly in sharing your opinions with me, and that basically backs up a little generalization I've come to subscribe to over the years, which is: In general, once a discussion heats up, you're safer counting on conservatives to stay civil than you are counting on liberals to do so.

    But that's "in general." Sadly, it just isn't always true.

    So what I'm asking here is, if you want to participate in the thread, for the love of all that is holy behave. Do not go over there and bring the hate. If I find out you went to Ms. Lauren's site and started calling everyone a feminazi babykiller and you got there from here, it will be the last time you have access to this site, period. Are we clear? I am trying to link to what has thus far been a very civil, if a bit one-sided in viewpoint, discussion. I am not trying to start a holy war.

    If I know anything from reading Feministe, it's that Ms. Lauren is scrupulously fair. In fact, I'll just steal a comment she left in that thread:

    By the way I do have a specific intent in asking these questions, almost purely of curiosity and not allowing myself any judgement. I wish there were more anti-abortion answers, to be honest, because that is the side I'm most curious about. There has been something on my mind lately and I'm looking for a sounding board.
    [Emphasis added.]

    So make your case, whatever it is, but don't get any ideas about denouncing nobody over there, all right? Prove my silly generalizations right and don't be a dick.

    The whole thing actually reminded me of a little quote from old P.J.:

    No one is fond of taking responsibility for his actions, but consider how much you'd have to hate free will to come up with a political platform that advocates killing unborn babies but not convicted murderers. A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal point of view.
    It will come as no surprise to most of you that your girl is more of a callous pragmatist than a devout Christian.

    Anyway: Go, have at it--and be good. I'm so not kidding about that last part.

    Oh, and if you have issues with my answers to her questions, you bring that up with me here. As in, "here, not there." Capisce?

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:32 PM | Comments (4)

    This Economy . . . Sucks?

    I had two messages from recruiters this week. Two. No, it's not a big number, but let's put it another way: That's two more recruiters than have called me in the preceding (counting on fingers) . . . two years.

    When recruiters are calling me, things just can't be that bad. I'm sorry if that doesn't fit someone's world view that Bush deliberately sent the economy into a tailspin in order for Halliburton to reap billions and billions in profits, but trust me on this one.

    The one of 'em was looking for a Mac developer, which I'm not and never was. No need to call him back. Can't these guys read? Oh, wait: Head hunter. Right.

    The other one was looking for a contract position. I've always been too chicken to go the contract route, but that doesn't matter. What matters is how the interview would go:

    Recruiter: So I see your last position was at Company McScrewed!

    Me: Yeah.

    Recruiter: And you left there in, let's see . . . early 2002?

    Me: That's right.

    Well . . . so! Tell me about what projects you've been working on in the interim?

    I build a lot of Sim houses.


    And I got a blog.

    Oh . . . ha ha! No, but your development projects. What software have you been working on lately?


    Well, you know, it doesn't have to have been paid work. Any spare time projects you've been working on? Anything you've written as a hobby?


    Anything, ah, for school, maybe?

    Quit going.

    Oh. Ah . . . is there any particular reason, you know, that you haven't been programming? Any . . . extenuating circumstances?

    Well, frankly, I used to blame it on burnout.

    Oh! Yes, burnout! Ha! Ha! You know, I hear that one quite oft--

    --but lately, I dunno, lately I'm more inclined to blame the freebasing.

    The--I'm sorry? Did you say--

    You know, if there's one thing I've learned in this life, it's that I should have listened to Richard Pryor.

    I--uh, can you hold a minute? I--I have another call.

    Hey, wait! I did write one program, come to think of it. Just a little doohickey I did up in VB. I know VB is for losers, but I was in a hurry to get to my dealer's, you know? Anyway, it calculates the probability that I'll set myself on fire while hitting the pipe. And so far, it's been dead on every time.


    Posted by Ilyka at 06:31 AM | Comments (6)

    April 08, 2004

    Odds & Sods

    (That title is a little too too, isn't it? Oh well. You get what you get around here.)

    In between the drudgery of chores and errands I will most likely be checking in here, for the transcripts of the Condoleeza Rice testimony. And someone remind me to put up a link to the Command Post on my blogroll. Oh, and to snag that flag graphic Jim did up (in response to this). I swear I am the laziest person about site maintenance. Not good. Not good at all.

    Other things:

  • This is an apology. In fact, if ever you're in doubt about how to apologize to someone, just use that as a template. Note the brevity. Apologies need not contain the story of your childhood.

  • "Welcome to the internet (wear a cup)." Am I linking it because it arose out of an offhand comment I made in an e-mail to Jim? You bet I'm linking it because of that. But also, because I feel guilty that I can't afford to buy Jim's CafePress stuff, but maybe some of you can, and might. Anyway, the whole elegant line of items is here.

  • Don't tell S-Train which black folks to like and which to scorn. In fact, if you want my advice, you don't tell S-Train anything. That's why I love him.

  • Idle question of such shallowness and froth that I should be ashamed of it, but I'm not: is wankette.blogspot.com taken? (If the permalinks are sketchy, search out the post titled "Wonkette Accuses Republican Women of Being Lesbian; Invents Stunning New Pun on Name 'Bush'.")

  • I'm not proud of this, but I'm bad enough with numbers that I can't follow the math in this article from 09/2003. (Also, I know I snagged the link to it from somewhere this past week, but do you think I remember where I found it? Ha!) I can, however, work out the reasoning, and now I wish I'd found the damn thing earlier. So . . . do I get partial credit? No? Boy. You people aren't nearly as kind as my bus driver. He always tells me how special I am. Some day I will drive that bus myself.

    Posted by Ilyka at 07:45 PM | Comments (1)
  • April 07, 2004

    Ilyka's Law of Comments

    The dumber the post, the greater the number of comments.

    What, you doubt me?

    UPDATE 04/07/2004: And three trackbacks? Somewhere, some dude who just concluded four hours of research, drafting, editing, and posting, in an attempt to become the next God of Blogdom Foreign Policy, is crying.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:08 AM | Comments (8)

    Conversation III

    Driving through the parking lot of the massive strip mall that is home to Target:

    Me: You just missed that stop sign.

    Boyfriend: Shit. Sorry.

    Me: I don't think anyone noticed.

    Me: Here's another one. You have to stop at this one--there's a grandma about to cross. It's a sin to run over somebody's grandma.

    Boyfriend: What's she wearing?

    Me: Holy crumb! She's totally wearing her housedress!

    Me: [awestruck]

    Me: It's got the pockets and everything! Look! It's a button-up! I only have, what, about 30 of those things at home? Her hair's all done, her makeup's on, she's got her tennis shoes on, and she's wearing her housedress to Target. This woman just became my personal hero.

    Boyfriend: Don't get any ideas.

    Me: I won't. You have to be somebody's grandma to pull that look off.

    Boyfriend: Remember that the next time you want to wear yours all day long.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:09 AM | Comments (4)

    April 06, 2004

    Opinions Sought

    I'm putting it to a vote: Am I capable of summoning the requisite nastiness, meanspiritedness, and all-around love of the cheap shot to apply for a position at the recently-downsized Amish Tech Support?

    Or am I more likely to win the award for "Most Likely to be Pink-Slipped by Lair and to Cry Like a Little Sissy Girl for Weeks Over It?"

    I'm thinking that someone who's prone to saying to hell with her readers periodically, not to say monthly, is probably not the ideal candidate for the job.

    Oh, and then there was the time I said mean things about Lair. I'm not sure if that goes in the plus or the minus column.

    But Meryl Yourish suggested I apply once, so I thought I'd ask you losers what you thought of the idea. You may leave your suggestions in the comments.

    And don't be kind. Be honest.

    UPDATE 04/06/2004: Voting's closed, and I'm afraid I forgot to tell you all about the part where, as a former boss of mine loved to say, this is not a democracy. My one vote overrides all your silly votes, see. And apparently, the blog Amish move a lot faster than the offline ones. Looks like it's just about staffed up again.

    Oh well. You snooze, you lose.

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:49 PM | Comments (12)

    April 05, 2004


    Pray for Zeyad (or do whatever it is you hepcat atheists do in times of trouble . . . reason for him, maybe), and for everyone suffering in Baghdad today.

    I have no further words for this; at least, not today.

    Posted by Ilyka at 11:04 PM | Comments (2)

    More Truth Than Parody II

    It's "The Passion of the Kos," via Yehudit in the comments at Little Green Footballs:

    Our men and women in uniform are there under orders, trying to make the best of an impossible situation. They are merely the uneducated cow-dice in Bush's slaughterhouse Yahtze cup, too naively dumb to realize that those empty recruiter promises of junior college and free Humvees were just deathbait. The war is not their fault, and I will always defend their bovine honor and brave stupidity to the end of my days.

    Keep on keepin' on, Iowahawk.

    (I now return to trying to keep this a Kos-free weblog from here on out. Sad enough that the whole affair's end result has been to produce juvenile catfight fantasies for the terminally nerdy.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

    Go Away

    It's my day off today and I can't be bothered with you people. It's not that I don't love you all madly. It's that I just need some space. Okay? Okay?! Can I please just have my space now?

    Ahem. Anyway, a link roundup:

    This is hilarious: Swirlspice presents the Sunday Night Sex Show drinking game. I'm adding this to my growing list of reasons I need to get cable.

    At Amish Tech Support, Laurence Simon asks: "Did I miss the brutal crime wave of drag queens ruthlessly injecting themselves with silicone, causing a grave risk to the safety of the public at large?" Well. I guess we all did, then.

    How to write like a wanker: Tim Blair offers a prime example. I mean, I'm talking serious Morford territory here, but with worse punctuation. You have to read it; it doesn't even matter whether you know anything about Australian politics, and you know why that is? Because repeated mentions of The Artist Continually Known as Meat Loaf automatically create comedy gold. That's why. And if you don't agree you're just wrong.

    I owe tremendous thanks to another Australian for not only providing me with a 100%-journalspace-free web site, but also for providing me with links on the subject of Type C/Type M arguments. What the hell am I talking about? Well, you start here to find out. And then you read a dissenting opinion here, and then you read a rebuttal to the dissent here, and then you start studying for the exam I am going to give later on about it. Number-2 pencils only.

    I like Dean's update on alcoholism and AA, because it's reminded me of a similar phenomenon I see with diet and nutrition: people get positively religious about The Best Way to Improve Oneself. I'm going to argue that this is a larger problem than just AA; try, for example, telling people that using this low-carbohydrate diet, you successfully lost 50 pounds over the course of about 18 months, successfully kept that weight off for another seven years, then proceeded to gain it back, foolishly, by increasing the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Now, to me, the obvious conclusion to draw from this is that limiting carbohydrates helps me lose weight safely and effectively. But you'd be surprised how many others think the logical conclusion is that low-carb diets don't work and are unhealthy for you and by the way, Dr. Atkins was obese. Ohhhh-kay. These are the kind of people I back away from slowly--and I haven't even brought up the rabidly Atkins-indoctrinated who shriek that I cannot possibly lose weight on that diet when that diet never puts you into ketosis, and that the only way into fit-and-trim heaven is through Our Lord and Savior, Dr. Robert C. Atkins.

    Anyway, Dean's final question seems well worth asking to me: "is the goal to get people into AA, or is it to help them?" I suppose if I were to rework that for my own purposes, I'd ask, "Is the goal to get people to eat what you tell them to, or is it to help them lose weight?"

    Dumb things found via b3ta: an animated pigeon story I can't stop watching, though I don't know why exactly that is; a very odd game that proves, again, that the Japanese have too much time on their hands (for the lazy, the solution is here--scroll down to "WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?"); and--no, on second thought, that was about it.

    Finally, Helen went to Terezin, and I think you should read about it, and I can't really say anything more about it than that. Go. Go now.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

    April 04, 2004

    Must . . . Maintain . . . Sense of . . . Humor

    Favorite recent FARK photoshop entries:

    From Less Famous TIME-LIFE Music Compilations: Circumcising to the Oldies.

    From Curious George Titles That Didn't Make the Cut: Curious George Blows the Butcher.

    From Unlikely Sequels to a Favorite Book: A Farewell to Legs.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:08 AM | Comments (1)

    April 03, 2004

    Repost, Or, Jim Asks Too Nicely to be Refused

    (It's the stepchild of the cousin of the incredible disappearing post from last night, back from the dead. Thanks go to the usual suspects.)

    I wasn't going to say anything about the dustup at Daily Kos because I felt it had been covered better and more thoroughly elsewhere.

    But something flashed into my head just now that won't go away. Now you know I can stretch analogies to the breaking point and this isn't any different, so bear with me a minute while I try to lay it out.

    As revenge for this incident, I made my boyfriend rent Nighthawks the other night. This is an almost-forgotten 1981 film about a terrorist. It stars two guys. One of them is Sylvester Stallone. If you guessed that he's the one I have a huge crush on, you don't know me at all.

    No, the whole point of Nighthawks is Rutger Hauer. This is the guy Anne Rice had in mind for the role of Lestat in Interview with the Vampire. Instead, she got Tom Cruise and a whole boatload of money to do an about-face of her earlier criticism of that casting choice, and claim that Tom Cruise "is my Lestat." And of course he isn't, but--look, let's not get me started on that asshole Tom Cruise when I've got Rutger to think about. Talk about a thrill kill.

    Anyway, there's a scene where Hauer has a bunch of people, including wives and family members of some UN diplomats, trapped on the Roosevelt Island sky car. And he gives them a little lecture, and forgive me for being too lazy to look it up (if it's even available) so I can quote it perfectly for you, but the gist of it is this:

    "I work for the oppressed. I care about the downtrodden and helpless. I don't care about you people, the privileged."

    And then he blows a woman's brains out.

    What I don't like about the entry that appeared on Daily Kos is that he expressed precisely that sentiment.

    In other words, Kos sounds just like a bad 1981 film terrorist.

    And he won't apologize for it because he thinks he has the moral high ground here. He stands for the oppressed! The downtrodden! The helpless!

    No, you don't, Mr. Zuniga. Because the most oppressed, most downtrodden, most helpless, most victimized thing you can be in this life is an individual human being. And there were four of those murdered in Fallujah.

    There are more individual human beings out there with more individual stories in them than a small mind like yours could ever imagine.

    Remember that the next time you claim that we can overlook the lives of a few in favor of others more oppressed. Because that begs one question:

    Who decides who's oppressed enough to merit living?

    As for this:

    Oh, they're [the right wing] doing their best to turn me into the devil,
    No, darlin'. Your own words did that.

    Just fancy anyone lifting a finger to help do what you've done so effectively all by yourself.

    But this is how it must be for you because this is the logic you live by. You must demonstrate that you are oppressed, that you are victimized, that you are downtrodden, in order for your life to have value. For you, it is not that you were endowed with certain unalienable rights--for then you would have to extend acknowledgement of those rights to others. Then you would have to acknowledge their humanity. Then you would have to feel guilt and shame for your callous remarks of the other day. Then you would have to acknowledge your own culpability, and then you might feel moved to make amends for it.

    You would be a better person for doing so, I believe. But you would lose that intoxicating sense of how ultimately just and right you are. You would be faced with your own humanity and its inherent fallibility.

    No, it can only be that you would have rights, you would have justice, you would have morality, if only all those miserable oppressive pigs didn't keep trying to rob you of them.

    It has to be this way for you. Otherwise, you might have to count yourself among the privileged. And then you might be tempted to blow your own brains out, because everyone knows the privileged have no humanity:

    They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.
    Get used to seeing those words everywhere, Kos. Get used to seeing them again and again and again. And when you tire of seeing them, remember this:

    George W. Bush did not write them.

    Donald Rumsfeld did not write them.

    Dick Cheney did not write them.

    Condoleeza Rice did not write them.

    Halliburton did not write them.

    The right wing did not write them.

    You wrote them.

    And maybe, if you ever want to take a break from lying underneath the jackboots of oppression, you could acknowledge that properly, without excuses, without justifications, and with an apology to the families of those you dismissed.

    But I won't hold my breath waiting for it.

    ONE REALLY STUPID UPDATE: I just realized that last night's version of this included a link to the creator of worlds, and that I'm still listed in the trackbacks for it. So here's the link. Peace be upon him, indeed.

    AN UPDATE I CAN'T RESIST even though we've probably all had enough of this already: It's a fisking to end all fiskings. "You've neutered yourself and are too numb to feel it." Terrific--my male cats now have a reason to be jealous of Kos.

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:19 PM | Comments (10)

    Well Slap my Behind and Call Me Kos

    I decided to delete that last one. Talk about your overwhelming melodrama. Who needs it?

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:26 AM | Comments (3)

    April 02, 2004

    L is Other People

    I'm going to contribute to the Letter of the Day today (albeit a little late) 'cause, frankly, I got nothing else at the moment, and I've been lucky enough to run across three posts from others who hit it out of the park. So let's go:

    L is for lying--submit your instance of Bush doing so to Jim and win the Snooze Button Dreams "Find the Lie Challenge." (Read the rules!)

    L is for the lump in my throat I got reading this. I hate when she makes me cry like that.

    L is for letting the voices of moderate Muslims be heard. Yes, I believe there are many of them. And yes, I know I gave Jim two of these. You would too if you had any appreciation for what a hell of a guy he is.

    That's your lovely link roundup for Friday. Have a good weekend!

    Posted by Ilyka at 05:43 PM | Comments (2)

    More Truth than Parody

    God bless you, Tim Blair . . . I needed a laugh today, and this delivered.

    You know, I've spent a lot of foolish money in my time (shut up, parental units), but the only sum I regret is the $30.00 I paid for a subscription to Salon once upon a time.

    Never again.

    And don't miss the letter from the editor, "David Talbot:"

    Whether it's uncovering the crooked schemes of the Bush administration and its fat-cat cronies, putting the Bushies' hypocrisy on display for all the world to see, or chronicling the many ways that George W. Bush is trying to ruin us, Salon.com offers a diverse array of news and views you can't find anywhere else.


    Posted by Ilyka at 05:18 AM | Comments (1)

    April 01, 2004

    You Can't Always Give What You Want

    One of the posts I lost through my own dumbness (users = lusers, woot!) was about multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis and my experience working for the Division of TB Control in Maricopa County once upon a time. Actually, it wasn't so much about my experience as it was about the experiences, as they were related to me, of the visiting RNs who had to drive all over creation forcing patients with tuberculosis to take their INH.

    Yeah, forcing. Believe it or not, there exist people who have active tuberculosis and won't take the cure for it.

    Why not? Who knows? Oh, they had reasons--don't get me wrong. But you read 'em over and tell me if they sound like very reasonable reasons:

    "It makes my pee turn dark." (This is a known side effect and is not harmful.)

    "My cousin got out of jail and needed a car so I gave him mine but now he's back in jail because he used it in a robbery and the car was impounded and I don't have the money to get it out so I got no way to get to the pharmacy and even if I did I got no money." (Next time KEEP THE CAR. Blood is thicker than water, but TB is deadlier than either.)

    "The doctor said not to take this medication while drinking alcohol." (Not drinking the alcohol--or getting help to keep from drinking the alcohol--somehow never registers as an option.)

    I'm sure there were others I've forgotten. The point is, the ultimate reason these people wouldn't take their medication--thus endangering everyone around them, because TB is an airborne pathogen--is because they didn't want to. Period.

    You can't save people from themselves without a lot of time and money. And if TB weren't contagious, I like to think the county would have let these fools die coughing up blood. TB is contagious, however, so Maricopa County spent the time and the money. And the nurses all got ulcers and became experts on checking to make sure those pills were swallowed and not just hiding in the cheek or under the tongue.

    I left the TB Control division to work for the county's HIV/AIDS clinic because the pay was better there, but also, because it was only about 100% less depressing. The AIDS patients wanted treatment. They were (literally) dying for treatment. The TB morons didn't want any treatment. You'd tell them they could wind up needing a pneumonectomy if they didn't start taking their medications and they'd be all, so what? I got another lung still, don't I?

    Yeah, they were the minority. Most people took the INH or the Rifampin or whatever and life went on. But a stubbornly stupid minority can make life miserable for the majority. That's mainly what I learned at the Division of TB Control.

    And that's what I think's going on in Iraq, insofar as anyone in this country can tell what's going on in Iraq. This guy says we can't, because we aren't getting the whole story, because most journalists don't speak Arabic and they're too sissy to go into the really dangerous areas, unlike his own badass self. A few paragraphs down our hero, His Almighty Badazzness (and probably a distant cousin of this guy), relates sitting by as soldiers mistake a father of six for a Saddam supporter, even after the journalist recognizes a CD found in the father's belongings as being anti-Saddam. The soldiers, who can't read Arabic, only see Saddam's picture and conclude the father's a Baathist. I'll give you a cookie if you answer the following question correctly:

    The journalist speaks up and clears up the misunderstanding between the soldiers and the father:

    Journalists wonder why people like me hate 'em so much.

    Personally, I don't doubt that the kind of things this reporter describes in the article go on. I see no reason to mistrust his reportage, even if I do think he needs to take his vaunted journalistic objectivity and shove it up his ass instead of watching some poor old guy cower on the ground and taking notes on it. But whatever.

    My point is, if you read that article, you can't be too surprised by this news. See, my thinking is, you can't give people democracy. They have to want it. They have to want it bad enough to die for it. They have to be the AIDS patients who sign up for experimental protocols that might kill them just as surely as AIDS is killing them, and not the tuberculosis patients who won't take INH because it turns their pee dark. (I know being HIV-positive doesn't necessarily kill you right away anymore, but it just about did back when I was working in the clinic.)

    Otherwise, we're just sending people overseas to die for people who don't care anyway.

    This is about the point where someone pipes up with "What about Germany and Japan? We gave them democracy!"

    And that's about the point where your typical antiwar fellow shouts, "Yeah, 60 years ago! Times have changed! And Iraq isn't Germany or Japan! Apples and oranges!" Well, I'm not going to do that. (In fact, I don't get people who think that because x number of years have gone by, we can suspend the laws of human nature. Human nature doesn't change. You can carrot-and-stick it into some semblance of civilized behavior, yes--but it fundamentally does not change.)

    I don't see the harm in bringiing up Germany and Japan. I don't see any harm in comparing and contrasting the occupations there with the one in Iraq and asking, "Okay, what's different? What's similar? What did we do then that might work now? What should we avoid? What didn't we do then that we should be doing now?" Etc. This is called a-n-a-l-y-s-i-s by a-b-s-t-r-a-c-t-i-o-n. You go in knowing the situations aren't identical and you pick out the parts that are similar enough to justify reuse.

    There are nonetheless several problems with relying on analysis:

  • At some point, you're going to run into a few things you did then that wouldn't work now. You're going to have some obstacles in situation B that you never encountered in situation A. Because your situation A data can't help you here, there are going to be arguments about the best course to take in situation B.
  • One of the things that's going to come up in the course of those arguments is that some guy is going to piss on the parade just at the point the group thinks it has finally hit on the best course to take in situation B. You know the guy. The guy who says, "Uh, that won't work." Or the guy who waits until you've already implemented your solution and then says, "This isn't working."
  • When that happens, the natural human response is to shoot the messenger. Oh, yes, it is. Don't tell me how much you love hearing about new problems. Even if you think you do, you don't. No one wants to be told his solution sucks. This is why when you work for some company and the company merges or gets bought or whatever, and the new CEO calls a company-wide meeting and in the middle of his usual new-CEO spiel that everyone's tuning out while trying to look interested, he says, "And I want you to know that I have a strict open-door policy and that you can come to me with problems any time," it's all the whole room can do not to roll their eyes in unison, because everyone knows it's bullshit.
  • I'll grant that maybe one guy in a million wants to hear his solution doesn't work. One guy in a million is so in love with the problem-solving process that he's delighted to hear his solution doesn't work, because now he has a new problem to solve. And there are people who can train themselves not to rip your head off when you come to them and complain that their solution doesn't work. But inwardly? Inwardly they're wishing you'd kept your mouth shut.

    Blogwise, I'm seeing lots of shoot-the-messenger. I saw it when Zeyad posted the story about his cousin. I see it in the responses to his linking of that Reason article. The line of reasoning against such reporting on the bad news in Iraq goes, "Oh, you can't trust that reporter, because he works for [insert name of non-National-Review/FOX News/Washington Times media enterprise here], and everyone knows they're against the war."

    Or, "Oh, that story can't be true because none of the military folks I've known and worked with would ever do such a thing."

    Or, "Well, criticizing OUR BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN who DIED for you just PROVES how loathesome and ANTI-AMERICAN you people really are. YOU ALL MAKE ME SICK."

    Or even--I've seen this one more than I want to--"Oh, they just always have to focus on the negative. They don't tell you the good news."

    Look, I agree there's probably good news that doesn't get out because, I don't know if you've noticed, good news seldom gets out anywhere. Did your 5:00 p.m. local news carry thirty minutes of stories about people helping each other out, mending fences, making new friends, discovering their soul mates? Or was it five minutes of what's fucked up internationally, five minutes of what's fucked up nationally, five minutes of what's fucked up locally, and 10 minutes of what's fucked up with your health? ("YOU could be AT RISK for CANCER! An important health alert--NEXT!")

    And frankly I don't mind if a bunch of people on the internet want to stick their heads in the sand and repeat "Everything's FIIIIINNNE!" No harm, no foul. I only mind if it's the people in a position to make a difference doing it.

    And maybe there's no difference to be made there anyway, because maybe you can't always give people what you want to give them.

    But you can sure as shit hire a bunch of frazzled nurses to shove it down their bloody-minded little throats.

    It just takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of ulcer medication. Or in this case, a lot of soldiers.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:19 PM | Comments (2)

    Spam Sushi

    Who else, I ask you, is going to give you elegant recipes for lamb piccata, roast leg of lamb, and . . . Spam sushi?! (See comments to the post for that one.) Apparently it's something called "musubi." I had to look it up on account of this is kind of a Spam-free household I've got going on here.

    Oh, you nutty Hawaiians.

    But actually everyone has something they eat that other people might think is kind of lowbrow. I have some Jamie Oliver cookbook that includes a recipe for a "Fish Stick Buttie." This is a disgusting concoction, favored by Brits as a low rent comfort food, in which frozen fish sticks are cooked and then mushed between bread slices with too much ketchup. I suppose it's no different from a fast-food fish sandwich in this country, really. Maybe it's the ketchup I balk at. And somehow, to me, a breaded fish patty is okay but the sticks are like, wrong somehow.

    So what's the most potentially-disgusting-to-others thing you eat? I'll go first, but I have to warn you: it's truly disgusting.

    Yes, it's Fritos and cottage cheese! (Or, as my boyfriend refers to it, "curds and whey." Yeah, he thinks he's funny.) Because it's my very most favorite disgusting snack, there are lots and lots of rules about how to make it, too.

    1. The cottage cheese should be Breakstone's. All other cottage cheeses are inferior.

    2. The cottage cheese should not be nonfat. It should be 2%, small curd.

    3. The Fritos must be plain. Old. Regular. Fritos. Not "Scoops." I swear to you that I can pass a blind taste test between the two, so don't try to play me like that. No chili flavor, either. Plain. Old. Regular. Fritos.

    4. Now having met requirements 1-3 above, you open up the cottage cheese container and drain off the excess liquid. Overly-wet cottage cheese is sad cottage cheese.

    5. Put one heeeeeeaaaping tablespoon of the cottage cheese into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

    6. Sprinkle enough Fritos (regular!) over the cottage cheese to attain a 60/40 ratio of Fritos to cheese and, no, I'm not kidding about this and yes, your margin of error in this matter is relatively small.

    7. You will want to be mixing these in with a fork and adding more Fritos, if necessary. Use a light touch so as not to break too many of the Fritos. Be thorough enough so that all Fritos are coated equally.

    8. Place in serving bowl and watch boyfriend flee from room screaming, "And you bitch at me for eating sunflower seeds?!?"

    9. To hell with him anyway. Let's eat!

    I told you it was disgusting.

    By the way, this remains the only way in which I will consume cottage cheese at all, and if you were going to say "cottage cheese is, like, to vomit," well, I agree with you . . . unless you marry it to the Fritos first. A 60/40 ratio, please.

    Posted by Ilyka at 04:41 AM | Comments (5)

    Remember These?

    My really vapid lists of stuff about myself? The ones that began here and were most recently here?

    Hey, it's not all greatness* around here, you know. Sometimes you get what you get.

    33. I finally passed freshman English on the third try, but victory was bittersweet because in the middle of the semester I had to go to the dean when the teacher accused me of plagiarism. She couldn't and didn't cite the source I ostensibly plagiarized, because there wasn't one. It turned out she just didn't believe a freshman English student could use this word correctly; therefore, I must have borrowed my material from elsewhere. She backed off when I went to the dean, and I finally passed Freshman English, but I thought I saw her the other day, and I was surprised by how much I still wanted to choke the life out of her--slowly. Not just because I didn't like being called a cheater, but because she was pretentious in other ways, like the time she said teaching freshman English was beneath her because, as a Literature major, she aspired to Higher Things. Whatever, you twat.

    34. My boyfriend is an English major. I can't decide which is harder to forgive him for--being a Cowboys fan, or that. I realize that's only peripherally about me. I'm sorry.

    35. I like Texas, but I don't love it, because it has no mountains. I can live inland, but it's hard living without mountains.

    36. The best thing about Texas is the people. The worst thing about Texas is the people. What I find is that I like the natives, but I hate the people who move here from everywhere else, and especially the ones who come from the so-called "blue states" and set about trying to make things in Texas "more progressive," because the whole reason they came to Texas in the first place is because they could (1) find a job and (2) buy a house more easily, and the whole reason they couldn't do that where they came from is because they made everything there too progressive.

    37. If I were condemned and needed a last meal, it would come from here, especially since everything there is cooked in lard and I wouldn't be needing my arteries much longer at that point anyway.

    38. I'd much rather tell someone what I think than what I feel, which is why I get so touchy when someone says women are more emotional than men, because I'm not, unless tequila is involved, and then--look out.

    39. I have this fascination with the former Eastern bloc, because when I was little, all those places were a great mystery to me. I'd like to learn Russian and Polish just because I like the way the languages sound.

    40. I get very defensive when people who haven't spent much time in New York criticize it, but I'm also starting to get very defensive when people who haven't spent much time in Texas criticize it, too. The short version is that one of the things I love about the U.S. is that if you don't like a place, you can go somewhere else you like better--but in the meantime, keep your mouth shut if you don't really know what you're talking about.

    *Oh, save it.

    Posted by Ilyka at 02:30 AM | Comments (7)