I guess for my first writeup I should write something that actually has a use, but I haven't been able to think of anything lately that I could put up here, so I decided that I might as well just put in a day log.
I was online today (well, I'm still on, since I'm writing this) and I didn't really feel like talking to anyone since I'd just finished playing a certain scene in FFX where Tidus and Yuna have this really beautiful scene together with the water and the lights and everything... anyways, so I wanted to put up an away message, but I'm a bit fickle about those, and I always seem to want a new one to put up. So I randomly started typing words, and came out with this:

Feathers and lemons and silver-white roses.
And maybe something sapphire or emerald.
But never ruby, or red roses.
Kisses, and holding hands.
Whispers, nuzzles, giggles, silent moments.
Secrets.
Special names.
Remember now, don't forget.

And I called it "Give a girl...". And I have no idea why, but it could possibly be because I was kind of angry at a certain someone earlier today for being rather mean, even if he didn't mean to (but maybe he did). And you, if you think you know who I am and you think that this person was you, well then, maybe it was, but I don't think that he would take the time to read this, since he doesn't really care about me.
All right, I'm done moping and being pathetic.
I once promised myself I'd never let another man touch me. There are two kinds of lesbians in this world, the way I see it: those who are born desiring other women, and those who turn away from males for their own reasons. My grandmother was one of the latter- she turned away from my grandfather after a life of hell, and sought solace with another woman whose experiences were similar. I used to think I was one of the former.

But as I let myself get closer to men again, even letting a so called "boyfriend" in my life... I'm not as sure anymore. I can hold another woman in my arms, spend the day with my hand in hers, but when night falls and I dream of futures, Prince Charming is always a *prince*.

If Freud was at all correct, our dreams are supposed to be tied to the depths of our subconcious. But I don't know what my dreams are conveying any more. It terrifies me to think that after a life of trying to change the opinions of others, of trying to hold by my principles, whatever those may be- that when I look to the future, I see the conventional life of a suburban lawyer, married, two and a half kids...

I suppose that for some, that's fine. But whenever that future looms in my thoughts... I think of Laura. How she lived, the conventional life, tied to her family, loyal to her husband. How she died, alone, sealed away in the garage, the engine of her soccer mom SUV delivering her to her final rest, the way she chose that over continued living.

I came so close to Laura's choice already. If that is what a life of convention brings... then I want no part in it. But I look around, and don't always see any other choices, any other paths.

Without my rebellion, be it atheism or bisexuality, or any of my millions of other causes... I don't think I'd have any identity left. If we are the sum of our actions, then that is all there is to me.

Help! I've been kidnapped.

I have been undergoing varied and intricate methods of noder torture, from sleep deprivation to the administration of poisonous substances. I'm only level one, damn it, I never asked for this. I just wanted to watch large men break each other, not lose my health and sanity in some silly urge to see past the veil of Everything.

I suppose it's been educational-- I've heard stories of some old friends I never got to meet, some new gossip, and a precious peek behind the scenes of my favorite little encyclopedia.

We sang songs and talked about firearms. We killed a cut and paste writeup, and made with the node talk.

All in all, a good evening. Today should be better.

(P.S. We're eating everything bagels over here. Jealous?)

I gaze out of my window and see a world of cold greyness. The cloudy sky, the frigid temperature, the ominous feeling of dreariness and lonliness. This view portraits my feelings with remarkable accuracy.

For all of those who spent Valentine's Day alone like me, these feelings I just described are probably still fresh in your minds from yesterday's holiday.

To add to our misery was the avalanche of advertisement after advertisement for the one day out of the year that is made for love. It was as if being alone wasn't enough, they felt we had to endure the pain of seeing happy couples making the most of the day.

My situation is slightly less painful than being completely alone, but I do sympathize with those who are because previous to this year, I have spent countless Valentine's Days quite alone. My girlfriend who means everything to me had to go away this weekend to visit a college. This left me stranded all by myself to wallow in my lonliness.

Thankfully, this dreadful day has passed, so for all of those who were like me and were very much alone yesterday, we have 364 days to plan for the next Valentine's Day.

"Thirty-three. This was the year they got Him."

Thanks, Mom. I was already thinking that.

All my Christian friends have taken their 33rd birthdays pretty heavily. Not midlife-crisis heavily, talking about death all of the time like a fifty year old, but hard nonetheless. It's natural, if you strive to model yourself on Jesus, to ask the difficult questions now. In particular, the really hard one.

If I died now, what will I have done? Will it be enough?

Nobody expects me to die this year, much less rise from the dead. But whenever you hear of a contemporary dying (usually a celebrity), you ask yourself these questions. It's kind of the reverse of my Thanksgiving stocktake at the end of last year.

OK, this is what I have received. What have I given back?

I don't know. I have a half-share in the birth and raising of the EasterBunny, who I hope will leave the world a better place than he finds it. That's something. I try to be a loving wife, a good friend, smart and competent at work, a responsible citizen and a compassionate stranger. I buy fairtrade and take public transport instead of owning a car. I argue for peace in times of war, and for justice in times of greed.

But is it enough?

People's Parade of Tejas

"Please try to understand before one of us dies." - Fawlty to Manuel


The time is one thirty pm. So it's my lunchtime and I rush to the kitchenette and start my frozen food thing in the microwave oven. Since I lost the interest in watching the food going round and round when I was five years old, I decide to go upstairs and outside to have a smoke. I head for the front door of the place and it's all glass doors so I get quite an eyeful as I head into the vestibule.

Standing there holding to the doors are about eight ushers and members of security. Now understand my job is downstairs so I've been oblivious to all this until this moment. Actually, I'd heard someone earlier mention there was a crowd outside but I didn't imagine this. Close to a thousand people are standing on the street in downtown Dallas, holding banners and signs all saying sentiments that I can't help but agree with: "DROP BUSH NOT BOMBS" they say. "THOU SHALT NOT KILL" was a common and popular phrase. And there was this large wide banner that ran the girth of the two lane street: "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE." Well these are all fine sentiments, but it's a bit disturbing seeing all these security people standing by the doors, as if they expected trouble.

One of the ushers offers to open the door and let me outside, with a proper understanding that they would remember me and let me back in, but I just choose to stand there a moment and observe the display. It seems a bit rowdy, but overall the intent is obviously a peaceful protest. It's no more rowdy than any situation which would bring a thousand people out in the streets of Dallas on a Saturday afternoon. In fact I recall some years ago when the Dallas Cowboys won the Superbowl there was a much more rowdy display on the streets of downtown, with one young woman getting trampled and then hospitalized, and a small number of young people getting chastised by police and carted off to the ..well wherever they cart off particularly rowdy people. I stand there and after a moment decide this doesn't look like a Dallas Cowboys parade, so I decide to brave the human element and make my way outside.

I go to my usual place a few steps away from the front doors where the large ashtray / trash can has been placed. I often find it amusing that smokers are asked to loiter outside the property by a trash bin. I take it as a silent sentiment of those who decide where smoking areas are to go. We smokers are in their minds akin to refuse they wish they could throw out. If one looks close enough, one can find protests in all kinds of places.

I'm standing there, smoking a cigarette, taking in the afternoon's free entertainment. I saw all ages there. Parents pushing baby carriages. Teenagers with strange smirks on their faces as if they knew something the rest of us didn't know. Long-haired boomers who probably recalled the similar protests of the late 1960s regarding Vietnam. Silver-haired yet quite healthy looking types in sport sweats who could probably have marched the whole lot of teenagers into the ground. I found myself trying to guess just how many people were standing there before me and I could only guess roughly a thousand. I counted they were at least ten abreast for each line (for lack of a better word) of people in the crowd that passed for a parade. If they stood ten abreast across the street, then I guessed every ten lines of people would make a hundred. Breaking that down and mentally doing a Madden in my head marking each crowd of one hundred, I counted at least ten little 'blocks' of people that I could see, and there appreared to be people beyond my sight, so there may have been more than a thousand, but just not in my immediate view.

Far more people than the piddly couple score of protesters who came out when that Florida madness happened during the last presidential election. Had we been able to get Gore instead of Bush back then, perhaps this protest would not have been necessary. Somewhere down the way there's some man just out of my view shouting orders through a megaphone, and all the megaphone seems to be doing is distorting his voice so that it's impossible to make out a word that he's saying, but he occasionally makes this weird cheering sound and then everybody in the crowd joins him in cheering. Well, I think, at least they're having a good time about it all.

"NO BLOOD FOR OIL," "WHO WOULD JESUS BOMB?," "PEACE WORKS WAR DON'T" and "NO WAR IN IRAQ" the signs read to anyone who dared to read, which besides me and the security detail inside, didn't look like many people were looking. The interested audience was all inside the parade, so there were very few left interested enough to pay attention. I couldn't help but contemplate how futile and fruitless this endeavour was going to be for these people. I've read there were protests all over the world today. Yet the Bush War Machine still trudges on. The United Nations is talking about tripling the weapons inspectors, but Bush's recent presidential address still sounds like a politically correct way of demanding a pre-emptive strike. The weapons inspectors themselves are insisting there's been no evidence of actual weapons of mass destruction, yet Powell claims that's because Saddam's men are playing Hide The Sausage.

Daddy Bush got his little war. There's no indication from what I can see that little Baby Bush isn't going to buy his own little war too. Put his name in the history books. I just hope that history judges him fairly. HARSHLY, but fair.

As I stood there puffing away, getting that much closer to dying of lung cancer provided Dallas doesn't get inundated by some new strain of the ancient smallpox, I notice a dozen dark-skinned gentlemen walking towards me, in the opposite direction which the parade is facing. One of them has a megaphone. Perhaps he was the guy shouting orders earlier which no one could understand. They walk past me, and I glance over to see where they're going. Turns out they stop right behind me, and face the building. They line up in one line as if they were about to be inspected by a drill sergeant.

Then something happens which pretty much just floors me. They start praying. Turns out they're all muslim. Okay. I shoulda guessed that I suppose. Very quiet. Very solemn. Not twenty feet away from them there's a thousand people shouting and waving banners which pretty much say to these guys, "gee we're really sorry that the leader of our free nation is such a nit, but here! Look at our signs! Honestly, we don't want to turn the sandy country of your origin into glass with nuclear warheads but even though half of us voted the bastard into office please don't take it personally."

These guys are praying. Checking in with God. Or Allah. Or Jehovah. Or whoever the heck one chooses to call the Big Guy Upstairs. They stand and pray. Then in unison they kneeled and prayed. Then they bowed to the ground as if to kiss the ground and they pray. Then they stand back up again. I hear some stuff that I don't understand but sounded pleasant and I hoped was relatively positive and goodnatured despite the madness of the early 21st century. I looked up towards the sky and gave my God half a wink. I'll agree with any positive sentiments these gents may have which don't mean to cause harm to either this country or any other, so long as it means a peaceful solution to all this foolishness and that there's no killing. And I can't help but get a warm and fuzzy feeling in the pit of my gut as they gathered their things and walked away.

And then the warm and fuzzy feeling in my gut reminds me that my frozen lunch is still in the microwave oven inside getting cold, so I put out my cigarette and make my way downstairs.

Human beings. I'll never understand them.

I was there at the peace protests too but in London, which was one of the biggest protests in Europe. We left Oxford (where I study) for London at 9:30. There were over 1500 of us from Oxford- students and ordinary residents alike. When we reached London we had little inkling of the huge numbers that were already amassing.

We met the other Oxford groups, got our band, complete with pots and pans stolen from JCR kitchens, ready and headed for Embankment. Progress was slow, we were slowly coming to grips with the fact that there were probably more than the expected 400,000. There was a wide variety of slogans on display- from the simple "Drop Bush not Bombs" to the more innovative poster showing female genitalia and proclaiming "The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own"!

As we marched past the Thames, there were some people on loudspeakers egging us on and telling us that in fact there were a million of us in London on that day. It was rather easy to get lost and we would occasionally stop to make sure that everyone from our group could be found. I was marching with this Jamaican girl who was telling me all about a protest she had seen at Ramallah where a group calling themselves "The British Grandmothers' Association" had opened picnic baskets and begun making tea right in front of the Israeli soldiers and refused to budge. To our amusement, as she was narrating this story, we saw a slogan that said "Make Tea not War".

At one point, just before we reached the Big Ben, there was a police diversion with a Ministry of Defence notice. Someone had very creatively covered the word defence with the word "War" taken from that morning's Daily Mirror newspaper.

Everytime we crossed a major public building, like Westminster there would be a huge cheer from the crowd. There were people with these one pound whistles (with fluroscent ribbons to add to the effect!), which make an incredible racket but are remarkably effective. There was also the human voice to add to the commotion.

There were three things that struck me in particular: first, the presence of a huge group of Kurds with a large banner saying "The Kurds dont want war, do u?" and flags with the face of Abdullah Ocalan on them (he looks rather like Saddam and that caused a fair bit of confusion at first). Considering the fact, that if anyone has a stake in the war, it is them, I was amazed to see so many of them there and taking such a brave and well thought out public stance.

Next, I was very impressed with the way the London Police handled it all. Knowing that they were hopelessly outnumbered, they stuck to directing people and being helpful. There was little of the hostility that protesters in NY or Athens faced. A friend walking with me, told me how in Washington D.C. for the protests against the World Bank and WTO, they had been confronted with snipers on roof tops. He was astounded by how tolerant the police were here.

Finally, I was amazed by the diversity of the people around me. Yes, London is a cosmopolitan city- but the sheer range of age, sex, race, ethnicity, hair styles, opinions, creativity and most importantly, hope, that was on display was both mindboggling and heartwarming.

By the time we reached Hyde Park, the main speeches were over. I was told that the speakers weren't too impressive. But the speakers were never really the point of the march- it was about numbers, it was about feeling, and it was about democracy at its best. As we marched, we heard from people around us, how other cities had responded as well. As news spread that Rome and Barcelona were matching London in terms of numbers, people began talking about how this march could change the way politicians treated their electorate for ever. This is an era of globalisation, of instant communication, of being constantly in contact. And that's what the march in London was about. Right from its conception, to its organization, to its eventual execution, it was about being in touch- with the people, with sentiments, and with cities across the world and what they felt.

I must of course mention the various bands that were playing with livened up the atmosphere. Everytime we passed under a bridge, the noise would reverberate and so people under the bridge would just pump up the volume and begin clapping and cheering rhythmically. It was all very heady.

There is a great deal of confusion about the exact numbers in London on that day. All I know is that the first group of marchers, reached Hyde Park at 1, (when we hadn't even started!), that we reached only at 5:15 p.m. and that when we left at 7, there were still hundreds of people streaming in. As I end this little note, I will not pontificate about the significance of the march. Enough has been said about that. This is just my personal memo about a day that I will never forget.

Make Tea Not War

On Saturday the 15th of February 2003, London saw its biggest ever political demonstration as around two million people - that's about one in thirty of the people in Britain - turned out to protest against the planned war on Iraq. Tens of thousands more attended the parallel demonstrations going on in Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast and elsewhere in the UK, while somewhere between five and thirty million more (!) stood up to make their voices heard at protests in 600 other towns and cities in 60 countries throughout every continent. Barcelona and Rome, like London, saw their biggest ever marches, with more than a million each, and millions more marched around Europe; Sydney and Melbourne also saw their biggest ever marches, with hundreds of thousands each; New York saw something close to a million despite a court order banning it from taking place, while smaller protests took place in almost a hundred locations up and down the US. San Francisco's demonstrations the next day also managed several hundred thousand people.

The London march dwarfed anything the capital has seen in the way of mass protest, with several times as many people as either the second of the year's big marches against the war in Afghanistan or the pro-fox-hunting, pro-rich-landowner Countryside Alliance march which preceded it, both of which had something in the region of 400,000 attendees. The biggest of the CND rallies against The Bomb only managed 400,000, or 250,000 if you take the police figure; the Poll Tax demonstrations managed maybe 300,000 at their peak.

The crowd gathered to march at two main starting points, the Embankment and Gower Street, and ended up in Hyde Park. Long before I had even reached Embankment, the streets thronged with marchers, stretching out for miles ahead in the general direction of Hyde Park, taking in the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square on the way. The atmosphere was generally peaceful and friendly; seeing so many people turn up helped put everyone in a good mood, I guess, and most people seem to understand that peace is important when what you're demonstrating against is war.

An extraordinarily diverse group, the protesters came from almost every imaginable background - from first-time demonstrators to people who have already dedicated decades of their lives to political activism; from young Arab Muslims to white middle-class grandmothers; from old trade-unionists and anarchist groups to people who have never been affiliated with any organisation bigger than their local golf club.

It is hard to guess how much difference the demonstrations are likely to make; Britain's New Labour government are certainly well-practiced in ignoring massive displays of public dissent, but perhaps the sheer, stunning, unprecedent scale of this one will at least give them pause for thought, especially when opinion polls are suggesting that most of the population oppose a war even if the UN agrees to it, and the Labour Party itself is deeply divided on the issue.

The marches worldwide provided a valuable reminder that however easy it might be for the news media to paint the leaders of France, Germany and so on as 'isolated' when they disagree with the United States and Britain in the UN, the truth is that they have the bulk of world opinion on their side.


The full list of 603 cities: http://unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=725
The Guardian on protests around the world: http://www.guardian.co.uk/antiwar/story/0,12809,897098,00.html
My pictures (and this piece): http://fergusmurray.members.beeb.net/peacefeb.htm

Bombin the SLC

pre-emptive strike on the city

Ridding Joel's Bike, rejuvenated by biking form a slightly disappointing screening of "Do You Copy?" After the Tabernacle's cheese piano musac Joel and I go to the Lazy Moon but while the brothers were outgoing and friendly the ladies at the bar had that "recently beaten look"

They smoked alot which sucked. Then Joel and i start running to the next bar. A beggar asked us for a dollar... "only if you can catch us!" Saddly, he didn't try.

We ran to the Bayou With its beer guide to Beervana (a higher state of drunken enlightenment im sure) many brews available on tap and on the bottle, but it's still filled with people that force me to have conversations like this:

  • "Im an ad rep, we're bringing Jared from Subway to the Rockies to a big way," said the sprightly mid aged lady.
  • "Why? are people fat here?" I looked around
  • "Actually they are fairly thin compared to the nation, but I don't think they know that."
  • "I wont tell them. Jared must be really working well for you."
  • "yea but he's got tangles too..."
  • "What do you mean?"
  • "well he went from a kind fat person to a pretentious less fat person"
  • "is he just not very nice?"
  • "total asshole"
The munitions are set loose

Feb 20th 205am @ Poolhall Junkies after the 2nd Screening @ Brewvies

Mike, Bjorn, Jen, Joel, Frank, revphil, Shawn: 7 ready to ride, two eager to fuck. Bjorn stays only to finish the beer and cheeze bread pie. I can't blame him if I was in his situation would I do any different? (that being, having no reason to go home so might as well delve into the excess... well yes I have a little more restraint... I should work to get rid of that) ledgable drunken writing ends

Now I have to re-concentrate my thoughts.... up to the university campus with the Wheelie Boys. It's my fortune at rolling with SLC's newest bike gang on their inaugural ride. Over steps and back down zigzaging though a concrete canyon. Over boulders and up to an overdone pedestrian bridge with spires to the sky. Then charge up to the dorm on top of the hill. *sob* No one would even talk to us.

"Do you ride bikes?" Silence as they walk by.

"Do you speak English?"

Then up to the hills and Mountain that span above us. Many a mile up and up and up... then nothing but the intoxicants we carried and the bomb back down. First the "Superman" then the "Right-Ride" then wheelies then pavement. But what is that? ... oh its a gate. The sounds of metal impacting metal and a second later a body descends from above. A predictable thud as the form impacts the dirt road. Followed by silence... then a "Ugh" then laughter.

it should be noted that this was written hastly in a bar and discovered in my office more than a year later There is this note distinct from the page

----------------------------------
-and he catch-
--
-me in a lie-
--
-a butt Bombing ...a-
--
-mortal sin if there is one.-
----------------------------------

This is just a reminder to myself:

You have this guy. He's sleeping in the next room. You know why?

Because he voluntarily decided not to go with the guys last night to a strip bar.

When you asked him "Well, why for-goodness-sake NOT?" this man (who is sleeping like a kitten, like a tiger cub, curled up around the warm space that was recently you) said - with the clear direct gaze you fell in love with maybe before you even fell in love with his eyes - this man said,

"Well, it wouldn't be very right, would it?"

You blinked at him and for a minute it felt like algebra all over again. You said (and you were honestly puzzled, shame on you!),

"But honey, I'd have never known!"

And he grinned. And it was a big grin, cause he'd caught you trying to fool your own self again. He thinks that is The! Funniest! Thing! when you do that.

"I would, though," he laughed, and then he put his arms where they should always be (which is to say around you).

"Silly," he mumbled, through his own silly sweet grin and a mouthful of your hair. "Silly, silly girl."

Best. Valentine's. Ever.

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