November 30, 2003

November 29, 2003

Back to Politics

Sorry about the extended silence (unless of course, you were enjoying the silence, in which case: sorry, I'm back.) but between the Thanksgiving Holiday, redesigning my website, and our 5th anniversary, I was busy with real life.

So, the major points of things I missed while I was out:
The comic book store is now officially open. Comics and anime. If you like either, go support a new independent business in Morgantown.

We had a nice visit with Michael's mom, who came for Thanksgiving. Yesterday we had a quick visit from Andy and Heather, who headed back to Cincinnati, and hopefully avoided the sniper in Columbus.

As far as political events that occured in the past week, as much as I hate to admit it, the president did a good thing by visiting the troops. What we can hope now is that he'll take the visit to heart, and start looking out for the welfare of our soldiers, by doing things like increasing, not decreasing, veteran's benefits, reversing cuts in danger pay for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing home national guard troops, so that they can do the work of helping their various states in times of National Emergency (such as fires and floods and snowstorms)

Posted by Michelle at 08:55 AM | | TrackBack

November 28, 2003

While You're Out Spending Money

The new comic book store at which Erin will be working part time while also continuing to write and also eventually do lawyerly things, opens today.

It's on High Street, where Beads-N-More used to be, where 'Footlocker' used to be (and I can't remember prior to that).

According to Erin, they're have comics and anime. She also mentioned the future possibility of carrying fantasy books. So if you like comics and/or anime, please go and support this new store! (When we were talking to Jim at The Bookshelf a few weeks ago, and the subject cam up, he was quite pleased with this store opening, so there is a recommendation for you!)

Posted by Michelle at 08:32 AM | | TrackBack

November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Enjoy your family and friends and eat lots of pie and stuffing!

Posted by Michelle at 10:13 AM | | TrackBack

"hi" My Posterior

If you want to send me an e-mail to my morgaine account, don't send it with the subject "hi" I have received uncounted pieces of male member enlargement spam, all under the subject "hi", and I opened every stinkin' piece, on the off chance one was valid.

None were.

Posted by Michelle at 10:11 AM | | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

Still Standing By....

Sorry about the silence, I've been learning Cascading Style Sheets and redoing my entire website (Yes, I do have pages in this site other than this one!) Most everything except my old blog archives have been redone, and I'm mostly pleased with the result. I am having trouble with images and external style sheets--I can't figure out how to get images to load from an external style sheet.

If anyone has any suggestions or resources, please let me know.

Posted by Michelle at 11:00 AM | | TrackBack

November 24, 2003

SNOW!

It's snowing! Hoorah! Hoorah!

(dances off)

Posted by Michelle at 04:28 PM | | TrackBack

Updating, Please Stand By...

So I decided that I needed to learn Cascading Style Sheets, thus I am updating my website.

First portion is done, and that is the subpages of the books section. See here and click on the links in the right pane. (That page is formatted using Movable Type, same as this weblog) only the genre links have been updated. Nothing exciting, but I'm still figuring all this out.

Addendum the first:
The main page has been redone. I'm not thrilled with the layout, but it's okay for now.

Posted by Michelle at 01:59 PM | | TrackBack

November 21, 2003

Six Years Ain't Enough

It's been six years since I quit smoking, but still, every once in awhile, I have days like today where I crave a cigarette so much it makes my chest hurt.

Six years, and on days like today that time means nothing.

Posted by Michelle at 04:51 PM | | TrackBack

November 20, 2003

Who Cares

Just finished reading an article for my gerontology class, and it’s another of the depressing disturbing articles that gets up my sense of indignation and frustration at the state of care in the U.S. The article discusses how caring is done in the U.S Initially, caring was done by daughters and wives, but there was a shift, when women started entering the workforce in greater numbers, to paid care giving. Understandable, and although sad, not disturbing per se. What I found disturbing was the manner in which society takes advantage of those caregivers, who are not highly paid:

Virtually all the direct care providers I have talked with—all the nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and home care aides—say they’ve visited clients on their days off. The consider it normal…(This) is also, in effect, a subsidy from the caregiver’s scare free time. Caregiving bureaucracies are betting that caregivers will dip into the well of their own humanity to offset the budget constraints and the stifling rulebooks.

Of course, everybody—taxpayers, insurance companies, agencies—benefits from the free volunteer labor that caregivers provide when they do it on their own time.

If you have an aged relative, then you have most likely worried about the care that relative is receiving or may receive in the future. It is both humbling and disheartening to realize that the quality and amount of that care they receive may be dependant solely upon the generosity of the hired caregiver.

Stone, Deborah. (1999) Care and Trembling. The American Prospect Vol. 43: March/April, 61-67.

Posted by Michelle at 08:05 PM |

Revolutions: Another Prespective

Old Oligarch has posted a review of Matrix: Revolutions from a rather more theological perspective.

Posted by Michelle at 12:06 PM |

Stranded

I was reading around the blogosphere yesterday, and came across a top ten albums if you were stranded on a desert island post, and when I started to consider the idea, decided that if in that situation, I’d ditch the albums and the solar CD player, and add a few more books. After all, I’ve got the tunes and lyrics to too many songs running around my head, and since it’s a desert island, I can sing all I want and offend no one, so I’ll take the books, thanks.

That said, what books would I have?

The beginning is easy:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Joanna Cole Best-loved Folktales from Around the World
Edith Hamilton Mythology
Agatha Christie The Complete Miss Marple Mysteries (If this doesn't exists, it should)
Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchet Good Omens
Marion Zimmer Bradley The Mists of Avalon
William Goldman The Princess Bride
J.R.R. Tolkein The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings
Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson The ILLUMINATUS! Trilogy
Stephen J Gould Bully for Brontosaurus, probably, but I have two other books I have not yet read

Since I ditched the albums and CD player, that should give me at least five or six more books:
Karen Armstrong A History of God
The Complete William Shakespeare (perhaps being on a desert island will give me the opportunity to finally read the entire works)
Guy Gavriel Kay The Fionovar Tapestry
Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game
Steven Brust perhaps To Reign in Hell perhaps something else
Charles de Lint this would have to be a blind grab. Possibly Dreams Underfoot, possibly Jack of Kinrowan, or Tapping the Dream Tree or Memory and Dream

Posted by Michelle at 08:16 AM |

November 19, 2003

My Evening

You know the beginning of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' where the dialogue for the first ten minutes or so is all variations on a theme?

That was coming home from work this evening.

Apparently there is a small leak in the roof that is only a problem when we have pouring rain for a long period of time. Michael went into the attic and said it looks like there is a small leak somewhere in the dormer that is letting water in that is streaming down the inside and then pooling at the edge and thus dripping into the kitchen.

So if it ever stops raining, he gets to climb on the roof and see if he can find the problem.

Because of this, I missed my final fencing class, which was going to be a tournament.

Instead I got to clean up the table and the floor, and do laundry (Michael was filthy when he came out of the attic, so since I had to do one load of laundry anyyway....) The only consolation is the batch of double chocolate cookies.

Yeah, that's right, two weeks in a row.

It's been a rough month, all things considered.

Addendum the First:
What I forgot to add last night was that on the kitchen table were two months worth of New Scientist, two issues of US News and my paperback copy of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. All are now in the basement drying out. I discovered that I could "hang" the magazines from the laundry line on wire coat hangers. Hopefully that will work well.

Posted by Michelle at 09:33 PM |

Wow

If he always writes like this, I should read more of Philosoraptor.

Warning: This is a very, very, very long post.

Posted by Michelle at 04:52 PM |

The Lessons of Afghanistan

I’ve been relatively silent on what is currently happening in Iraq, because there is plenty being said by many who know far more than I, although it seems there is more being said by people who appear to know nothing. But right now I need to put my thoughts in order, to understand for myself how I feel about what is happening, and what should be done.

It is no longer the time or the place to debate what should have happened. Suffice to say I believe we were wrong to go in unilaterally and many of our current problems can be traced back to that action. But right now what matters is not what did happen, but what is happening currently, and what will happen in the future.

There is call in both the U.S. and Iraq for the U.S. to immediately depart and place power into the hands of the Iraqi people, or to rush the timetable for pulling out. The problem with this is that from all reports, much of the country is in chaos, and I fear that the lessons of Afghanistan were not learned by either this administration or by those calling for our immediate withdrawal.

There is also call for the Iraqi people to pay for the repair of their country with future oil revenues, in the call for loans and not grants for the rebuilding of Iraq.

We went into Iraq, against the will and wishes of the international community, and toppled the government. In the process of doing so, much of the infrastructure was destroyed, either inadvertently through military strikes, or through looting and retaliatory strikes from the Iraqi resistance.

It seems to me that, we have broken the country, and now we must buy it. That means staying in place until an international coalition can be put in place to keep the peace, and doing our part to put the country back together, both physically and politically. Leaving now, and forcing the Iraqi people to rebuild themselves what was destroyed as a result of our action will not foster democracy and goodwill in Iraq. Instead it will lead to another Taliban, an al Qaeda puppet government that will be a far greater threat to both the Iraqi people and Americans than Sadaam Hussein ever was, for they will have both dangerous religious ideology and access to the vast oil wealth of Iraq.

By leaving precipitously, we will create a state that is a danger not just to its own people, and to the stability of the entire region, but to the entire world. Leaving now, without rebuilding the country, and without a stable governing structure in place will create further ill will towards the US, and create further suffering for the Iraqi people.

We failed in Afghanistan in the 80s, we must not repeat those mistakes in Iraq.

Posted by Michelle at 12:21 PM |

Mourning

There is a very good editorial in the NY Times, on the respect being given to fallen soldiers by the current administration, written by someone who was in the Reagan administration.

As of Monday the 17th of November, there have been 419 U.S. service personnel killed in Iraq.

You can view an alphabetical listing or you can scroll through a timeline

Listed amont those killed is Rick Hafer of Nitro West Virginia who was killed in the Blackhawk helicopter collision on the 15th.

It is not right that those lives lost should be ignored or forgotten.

Posted by Michelle at 12:07 PM |

November 18, 2003

Burn Rubber, Does Not Mean Warp Speed

It had been a very long time since I'd watched 'Lost Boys', one of my all time favorite movies, but the DVD was on sale at the Mart of Walls Saturday, and I picked it up, and decided tonight was the night to watch it.

I was surprised at how different it was, watching it on DVD, of course it might be because my VHS tape was worn out from so many viewings.

Regardless, I'd forgotten how much I love that movie, and how much it makes me laugh--all the little things, like the way Michael and Sam interact at the beginning of the movie, as well as some of the bits where it looks like they just drove around with a camera and took film of regular people--I mean, everyone looks (relatively speaking) normal, as if you took a video camera and taped people walking around, not like you were in a movie.

I think I'm explaining it wrong, but it's one of the many things I love about the movie. Like the fact that I can point out all the places they screwed up (the phone is off the hook, yet rings, the waves hitting the beach are the same clip we saw earlier, only backwards) and still love the movie.

"Never invite a vampire into your house you silly boy, it renders you powerless"

Posted by Michelle at 09:05 PM |

A Poet? We Know It.

More time wasting here
in haiku and limerick
I love Making Light

Posted by Michelle at 01:37 PM |

November 17, 2003

Must Type...

Sorry. Not feeling witty today. Mostly because things are still insane at work. The new version of GroupWise (our e-mail program) rolled out today for Health Sciences, and I didn't even get to install the thing on my computer until after 2pm, because I was still working on the website. Everyone is flipping out about it, when, in fact, it's the same program, they just made things look a little different, and they added a chat program (sigh). But it looks different, so we have to have classes. To explain the differences.

At least I don't have to teach 'em. Gina got to do a webcast, which looked really nifty--not that I have any desire to do a webcats. I'd rather not have my hair availble for on demand video streaming for anyone who wanders by the site. At least when I teach I can pretend that when they leave the class they'll remember what I said and not how my hair looked. And if nothing else they can't keep coming back again and again to point and laugh.

I just realized that between this blog and the website at work, I rarely make any changes to my website anymore. Though I suppose that school might have something to do with it.

Perhaps it's time to overhaul the site again... After all, I think Erin is two design changes up on me.

Posted by Michelle at 09:35 PM |

November 16, 2003

Backyard Brawl et al

So the Backyard Brawl made the National News all over the place. This morning the fact that there were not fires in the streets actually made the NPR top headline.

Which leads me to consider the ideas I have about the news.

I live just past Sunnyside, a few blocks from the stadium. It is, after a win, loud outside my house as every drives past going home, and we have had problems with people traipsing through the yard, mostly because they were walking through my plants. But that's it. After the Virginia Tech game I was able to get to sleep, although I did have a fan for white noise.

But to hear the news you'd have thought the whole town was going up in flames.

I was thinking about the riots in Cincinnati, and how they were close to where Susan lives, yet when I talked to her at the time she said there wasn't anything going on by her house, and I remember thinking she was lucky, but now I wonder how much of the reporting was akin to the reporting on what happened here following the VA Tech game. Yes, people were stupid. There is no denying that. Yes there were fires and misbehavior, which I do not condone (See the discussion that followed this post on Erin's blog ) but is it possible that things were blown out of proportion?

Or have I just become that sound of a sleeper?

Regardless: We trounced Pitt! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Other big news: Brian and Stacie has found a buyer for their house. It was on the market for four days. Congratulations y'all! And good luck on buying a home in Parkersburg!

Now: Off to study!

Posted by Michelle at 05:52 PM |

November 15, 2003

I (HEART) Statistics

I love looking at web statistics.

iaea.JPG

If you are arriving at my site from the International Atomic Energy Agency, please let me know how and why you got here. I am really curious.


search.JPG

Why did I get 150 hits searching for the net worth of the Paris Hilton? Do that mean people CARE? Also, I am happy that many other people are happy because they eat lard.

Posted by Michelle at 09:25 PM |

Brrr....

So I'm getting ready for the RMH tailgate. We're setting up at noon and qutting after halftime or whenever we run out of food, whichever comes first. It's 40 F with a windchill of 34.

I'm wearing:
Normal undergarments
Tights
Jeans
Turtleneck
Long sleeve polo
One pair of socks

I am off to gather:
Sweatshirt
Two pairs of gloves
2nd pair of socks
Hat
Scarf
Coat
I'm not sure if I'm going to wear boots or old sneakers.

I'm hoping we run out of food at 8pm.

Posted by Michelle at 10:50 AM |

November 14, 2003

Guilty Pleasure

To unwind this evening, we went to the bookstore (that probably tells you absolutely everything you need to know about us) and having had a drink with dinner, my defenses down, I purchased an issue of 'Cricket'.

'Cricket' was everything good about my childhood. It is why I so love the mail, for once a month, something wonderful arrived, just for me. I still have every issue I ever recieved (in fact I can see them from where I sit now. About 10 years worth of childhood reading pleasure, sitting ignored).

Some of the stories are still deeply embedded in my mind, such as the tales illustrated (I think) by Quentin Blake (?) about the wonderful one acre farm that grew whatever was planted amazingly quickly. I can't remeber any particular plot, only things growing miraculously, and evil character who was tall and thin--an evil Abe Lincoln perhaps--and the father calling out for the children Will, Jill, Hester, Chester and so on and so forth to little Clarinda.

They have always been, to me, the quintesential American folktale, even if they had only just been written.

I intend to read it from cover to cover. And if it is as good as I remember, I'm going to buy myself a subscription.

Everyone needs something to look forward to in the mail.

Posted by Michelle at 10:44 PM |

Meant to Post Earlier...

...But as we know, I was having issues.

If you have not already read this, check out this comment thread on Electrolite.

The bits about milk.

And when I was little, and my father was in graduate school and we were poor, my parents used to mix reconstituted powdered milk with the 2% milk, to stretch it out. Since Chico dairy had returnable plastic jugs, it wasn't difficult at all. And I was young enough that I didn't know any better.

But you can still find powdered milk in my house.

It's a required ingredient for peanut butter balls.

Posted by Michelle at 07:26 AM |

Geeky Goodness

Yesterday's lesson learned was that I have GOT to learn Cascading Style sheets. Just not sure when. But depsite that I discovered that you can still do a whole lot really quickly, just using tables.

So if that gives you any idea as to how my day was yesterday, I came home and made double chocolate cookies. And Gina came by and got some on her way home from work (which tells you how bad HER day was, since she typically leaves an hour before I do).

Chocolate may not make everything better, but it certainly helps a whole lot.

Tomorrow is the last RMH tailgate. Come by if you're at the game. We're setting up at noon, and won't run after halftime, since there will be no passouts for this game (see Gina's 'Raised by Wolves' comment). Which is perfectly fine since the weather will be quite brisk I'm sure.

I've still had the last Matrix movie on my mind, but haven't had the time to put any more thoughts together. Which should explain quite clearly why I almost never go to the movies.

But most importantly:

It's FRIDAY!

Posted by Michelle at 07:17 AM |

November 13, 2003

Today's Song

This is where the party ends
I can't stand here listening to you
And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend

It was the loveliest party that I've ever attended
If anything was broken I'm sure it could be mended
My head can't tolerate this bobbing and pretending
Listen to some bullet-head and the madness that he's saying

This is where the party ends
I'll just sit here wondering how you
Can stand by your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
You and your racist friend

Out from the kitchen to the bedroom to the hallway
Your friend apologizes, he could see it my way
He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking
Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding

This is where the party ends
I can't stand here listening to you
And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend

They Might Be Giants (1990)

Posted by Michelle at 09:56 PM |

Jim on the Primaries

Jim sent me this response to Primary problems while comments were down. Here's what he said, and as a bonus my response!:

I really wanted to reply to your primary election posting. I know exactly what to do. You're right (probably thought I'd never say that, huh?) in that the smaller states get very little attention and after the Iowa Caucus, NH and SC primaries, the frontrunner is the "anointed" candidate thanks to excellent marketing and a salivating press. We don't do this for the election. We don't do this for local or state primaries. I could only imagine campaigning in 42 distinct county districts over several weeks to get the county council primary win. What do we do? Simple. The primary is held like any other election and all 50 states put the presidential primary on the ballot the first Tuesday on May. One day - one vote - one winner without interference from the press and PR machines! That means WV becomes just as significant as Iowa and the candidates will need to get their message to the country - not just the first few states and then push for Super Tuesday.
The problem with having the parimaries all on one day is that the small states still get screwed, as we've seen in the general elections. California, Texas, New York--the big states get the visits and the attention paid to their issues, while the small states are all but forgotten.

Having the primaries in reverse order of population size would allow the smaller states not only to get visits from the candidates, but also to have their problems and issues placed in the national spotlight, if only for a moment.

We know all about the financial, political and environmental problems that California has been having, and we know all about the trials and tribulations of the Texas state legislature. Can you tell me anything about what has happened in, say, Rhode Island or North Dakota in the past year or so?

I listen to the news on a regular basis and I don't have a clue what is happening in those states.

Although all problems won't be addressed by changing the primaries, it will give more attention to the smaller states that are not Iowa and New Hampshire.

Posted by Michelle at 07:42 AM |

There IS Joy In Mudville

Comments are fixed!

Category Archives are fixed!

No more crashing!

No more implausible denial!

Life is good!

You are now free to comment as much as you like to any past posts, but please be kind--it's been a rough week.

Posted by Michelle at 07:19 AM |

November 12, 2003

ACK!

In tonight's fencing class, we actually got to fence--as opposed to just learning stuff as we've been doing previous weeks. Of course I didn't *realize* we were supposed to actually be fencing, and so got humiliated. (sigh)

That's what happens when you get volunteered.

Then next week is the last class, and we're having a 'tournament'. Interesting thing about the class is there are only three 'adults' who have made it through the class, all the rest simply stopped showing up through the semester. Of course every single kid has made every single class, which says something, but I'm not sure what.

Posted by Michelle at 07:49 PM |

Woof

Gina's response to today's headline article in the D.A. Uninvited on Mountaineer field:

"...if they didn't HURT the police officers, and act like they were RAISED BY WOLVES..."

Posted by Michelle at 10:51 AM |

November 11, 2003

Gore Or Less In Hell

More blathering about the Matrix, specifically, fighting in the Real World and Persephone. (And whoo! What a dress! Only in the Matrix could you wear that still be able to move.)

Gore Or Less

There was a distinct difference in the fight scenes that occurred in Zion compared to the fight scenes that occurred in the Matrix. The fight scenes in the Matrix were always surreal, and long, and despite taking terrible punishment, characters never look seriously hurt. This was not the case in the real world, as was exemplified by the fight scenes that took place in the real world.

In the Matrix, you occasionally see blood when a character spits blood in the middle of a fight, but nothing more than that. The fights that occurred in the real world were grueling. Bane/Smith looks horrible after just a few moments fighting with Trinity, something that would have not even have phased him in the Matrix. The fighting too, is different, more of a down and dirty brawl than the almost beautiful and artistic scenes that occur in the Matrix. In the Matrix, when someone takes a blow you barely notice it. The character simply looks as if they got the wind knocked out of them, but when Bane/Smith and Neo fight in the Logos is was graphic and painful and I had to look away.

At first I wondered why Neo was fighting so badly, for his training should have been as effective in his real body as in the Matrix, except that his real body was unable to ignore the blows the way the mind was in the Matrix. It was, I think, necessary to do, to not only distinguish between the real and the Matrix, but also do completely dispel the idea that Zion was simply another Matrix. If it had been, then Neo would have been able to ignore the blows he received there are easily as he ignored the punishment his body took in the Matrix.

Though to be honest, the wimp in me could have done without all the blood and gore.


Queen of Hell

When I first saw the S/M party scene, I couldn’t figure out why they were there. The second time, I saw the elevator button, the red one, which was worn so it looked as if it said “HELl”. At that point, I immediately understood why unlike the scene in the restaurant, Persephone looked so content and happy. She was in her element. This was not the territory of the Merovignian, but her place and her power. Which was interesting. It was simply unexpected for her element to be not one of refinement and beauty, but of sadism and pain. I completely forgot that she is, after all, Queen of Hell.

It also seems to mean that if Persephone had wanted to, she could have controlled what happened, but she didn’t. Once again Persephone allowed someone to save their love from Hell, but unlike Orpheus, Trinity didn’t look back.

Posted by Michelle at 07:03 PM |

Veterans Day

Veterans Day


The 11th hour of the 11th day of the11th month.

Please Remember those who gave their health and their lives for our country.


The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Day Home Page
The Origins of Veterans Day from the VFW.

The virtual wall (Vietnam Memorial) , a digital legacy for rememberance
National Park's Service web site for the Vietnam Memorial in D.C.
This year the wall celebrates it's 20th anniversary, with ceremonies that include reading all the names of those list.

Data on Veterans from the US Census Bureau


"A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle."
-- George William Curtis

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."
-- John Philpot Curran Speech upon the Right of Election (1790)

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by Michelle at 06:55 AM |

November 10, 2003

Frustration, Take II

I am screamingly annoyed with an idiot in my History class. She made the comment that “Nation of Islam” (think Louis Farakan) could be compared to “Islam in the Middle East”, then when I tried to explain to her that Nation of Islam does not follow the Qur’an and does not follow the five pillars of Islam, and that the racism espoused by Nation of Islam is contrary to the Qur’an and the teachings of Islam, she accused me of “doing what the media does” and portraying Nation of Islam as violent when they aren’t violent any more.

Right.

And because the KKK is no longer actively involved in lynchings we should see them as a mainstream group that reflects the values of traditional American society.

What a frogging moron.

Of course I can’t say that in class, so I’m (for once) going to sit on my hands (literally in this case) and just ignore her, for if she can’t even respond to the points I was making, then there is no sense in continuing the discussion.

But it’s still maddening as hell.

Posted by Michelle at 10:03 PM |

Frustration

I'm not getting any more feedback from my webhost, and am getting extremely frustrated. I'm still all excited about 'Revolutions' and still want to talk about it, but am totally denied. Grr....

It has been five days, I've gotten two messages, neither of which was helpful, and although things stopped crashing continually, the comments are still broken and I am having various and sundry other problems.

I am seriously starting to consider looking for another webhost. If anyone has any suggestions, please e-mail me with your recommendation and experience at morgaine@homemail.com. Thanks!

Posted by Michelle at 07:28 AM |

November 09, 2003

Ain't That the Truth

In women's fashions, camouflage prints are just another trope. They have very little practical use. If a woman really wants to disappear into the background, all she has to do is put on a cleaning service uniform.

This rest of the post is also fantastic.

Reminds me that it's been a very long time since Andy took me shooting.

Posted by Michelle at 09:38 PM |

All She Wrote

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be studying, not writing about 'The Matrix' but it's more fun to write about 'The Matrix" than about school stuff.

But really, I must get back to school stuff for now. Papers do not write themselves. Especially if the author is writing about other things that are completely unrelated.

Posted by Michelle at 02:25 PM |

Love and Revolutions

In all the hoopla over the summer before the release of ‘Matrix: Reloaded’ one of the things Keanu Reeves was quoted as saying was that ‘The Matrix’ was really a love story, which struck me as hokey at the time, and ridiculous after seeing ‘Reloaded’

After seeing ‘Revolutions’ I have to revise my idea about that statement because he did get it right, although not, I think, in the traditional sense of ‘love story’ where the theme is the love between two people. Yeah, there was that, and we even had a sex scene in ‘Reloaded’ but that didn’t make it a love story. Love was seemingly incidental to the plot on those movies, and it was only with Neo’s conversation at the train station that I began to understand that this was, in fact, a love story, only it was much more broader than Neo’s love for Trinity.

This of course, all comes back to the religious themes echoed earlier in the movies, with Neo being the one, the worship and adulation of the people of Zion for Neo as their savior and so on and so forth. It was all good and well to say that those were religious themes, but they didn’t get you anywhere, and all ideology, theology and religion in the world couldn’t take away the fact that it was an action movie with lots of guns and kung fu. Not really an ideal espoused by many religions. But in Revolutions Neo finally—finally!—got the point. That it’s not about fighting and warfare and who wins, but it’s instead about sacrifice and love and peace.

There was no way that the humans could ever have truly “won” and the attack on Zion made that clear. Neo was able to control the machines in the real world to a small degree, but not enough to make a difference in the war. And even if they could have won the war, it didn’t matter, for humans were—and are—dependant upon machines. Sure, you could, as Neo said in ‘Reloaded’ just turn off the machines, but where would that leave you? Dead. Resolution required mutual survival and that required peace, and it was for that end that Neo changed things and made a difference.

Even if Neo is not dead (and I don’t think he is—but that doesn’t mean I want another movie, for I don’t) he sacrificed and suffered much so that there would be peace between humans and the machines. This sacrifice for others, this willingness to give everything for others, is the true love that is embodied by the major religions, and this is the love to which Keanu Reeves was referring. Not the love of Neo for Trinity, but the love that Neo eventually realized for both the humans and the machines, that allowed him to bring and end to the war.

The scene in the train station, where Neo is forced to consider the idea that two programs love their progeny and are willing to sacrifice everything for her, that scene was the culmination of the scene Neo has with Councilor Hamman, where Neo finally realizes that the machines can’t just be turned off, that the machines can’t just be destroyed, that they were in some strange way no different in their feelings and desires than the humans. They machines were, however, better able to subvert individual desire for the good of the group. The scenes with the sentinels make this quite clear. Acting alone, they were able to do some damage, but acting in concert they were absolutely devastating. The sacrifice of a few sentinels was required for the greater good of all the machines.

The scene where the sentinels reanimate the drill I think best exemplifies this. When the drill “comes back to life” you see sentinels falling off, lifeless, as the drill again begins to work. Those machines were, in essence, doing what Neo did. Sacrificing themselves for the greater good. If you saw the “Aeon Flux” short in the ‘Animatrix’ (sorry about the lack of names, I don’t have a copy of ‘Animatrix’) then this probably makes more sense. The machines did have the ability to feel love—or something akin to love—and that feeling could be subverted by the humans. If the machines did not already have the sense of ‘love’ or self-sacrifice for the good of the group, then the humans would never have been able to subvert them.

The ultra disturbing “Renaissance I & II” from the ‘Animatrix’ also make clear why ending the war required peace and not domination and destruction. Just as the humans eventually regrouped and fought back to regain independence, so would the machines, for after their long era of slavery and domination, never would they accept such treatment again.

They would fight for their freedom, just as the humans did. It’s where Smith missed something in his programming. Unlike the Oracle who understood sacrifice, who understood love, Smith, and the Architect for that matter, didn’t understand those concepts. All that mattered was the end objective. For the Architect it was balancing the equation, making the Matrix work just as he wanted it to work. For Smith it was escaping what, to him, had become a prison, which would be achieved only though the complete destruction of the Matrix.

They didn’t understand love, they didn’t feel love, and in the end they failed.

Posted by Michelle at 02:20 PM |

One Flu Over

Michael and I got our flu shots yesterday. We went to the doctor's office, where the shots were being offered to anyone in the community, expecting to pay $15 a shot, but they sent us to "check in" saying that our insurance would cover it.

Who am I to argue with that?

This is the first time Michael has gotten the flu shot, and to be honest I was a bit surprised he went. he never gets sick. Ever. It's disgusting. Now I'm pretty healthy, but my job seems to expose me to anything going around town, since you don't get a day off from school if you're sick (a lot like minimum wage work in fact, it's good training I suppose), so I want to take no chances.

Michael decided that with everything that's going on this year, school, working full time, and now being on call every other week after hours, it would probably be best that he get the shot.

It wasn't bad at all. It's a very thin needle, and since I'm used to giving blood, this was nothing really.

Plus we'll be visiting our grandmothers this winter, so it would be best that we not take any cooties with us to them. All in all, it wasn't bad, and I think that the medical community is finally getting past the swine flu debacle of the 780s, and getting people to realize the importance of immunization, especially for the elderly.

So if you haven't considered it before, you might think about getting a flu shot. It's not just good for keeping you healthy, it's also good for raising the general level of helath in the community.

Posted by Michelle at 09:11 AM |

November 08, 2003

Technically Difficult

Comments are still broken. Have not yet heard anything from the webhosting company as to when things will be fixed, but it is definitely not just me, since others are complaining of simiar problems.

It doesn't make things better, but it does make me less paranoid.

Posted by Michelle at 11:55 AM |

Sights of Revolutions

Now that I’ve slept on it, I have some further thoughts on Matrix Revolutions.

Once again, don't click to read more if you have not yet seen Revolutions and are planning to do so.

And Mark just called, so we're going to go see another matinee today with Mark and Allie. Yeah, we're geeks.

I was struck by the emphasis on eyes, and not just the obvious “Bring me the eyes of the Oracle” and Neo losing his sight in the fight with Bane/Smith but also the use of sunglasses. In the final fight, both Neo and Smith lose their sunglasses and you can see their eyes, which reminded me of the scenes with sunglasses in the first movie: Smith removing his glasses to “make a deal” with Neo, Neo moving from no sunglasses to sunglasses, Morpheus removing his sunglasses when he enters the Oracle’s apartment, Smith’s glasses being broken in his first fight with Neo.

I noticed, seeing the movie a second time, that when Trinity and Morpheus go to see the Oracle in 'Revolutions', they do NOT remove their sunglasses, perhaps as an expression of their distrust and displeasure with the Oracle in what they saw as her failure to tell them important information. I think the change of actors for the Oracle's character clouded this scene, because initially I was just checking out the Oracle and not paying any attention to the other characters.

I was really surprised that the image Neo saw of Bane after losing his sight was not just of Smith, but of Smith with his sunglasses. How odd that Smith’s residual identity required sunglasses. (And by the way, Bane did a great job of channeling Hugo Weaving’s Mr. Smith)

This reminds me of why I was so impressed with Carrie-Anne Moss in 'Reloaded'. The scene as she is falling, as you watch her face, there is a shift when she is shot. She changes from the all powerful Trinity of the Matrix, to the vulnerable Trinity of Zion. I’m not quite sure what it is that changes about her, but perhaps it is the look in her eyes.

I think that the glasses did make a huge difference in moving characters from the Zion personas to their powerful Matrix personas, although it is more than the sunglasses. Wearing the glasses, you can’t truly see emotions—they’re hidden, the soul (for eyes are the window to the soul) is hidden. In that I find it interesting that the Merovignian does not wear sunglasses, for his eyes betray him, at least in Reloaded. But then neither the Architect nor the Oracle wore sunglasses, perhaps their power and control are great enough that they do not need to hide behind sunglasses. After all, the Oracle, sitting passively, waiting, giving nothing away, when Smith came for her, did seem to frustrate Smith. He could see her clearly, yet he saw nothing. (And I did like the new Oracle, except that she was completely unbelievable as a smoker. Better that they had not had her smoke at all then had her obviously not knowing how to smoke.)

Perhaps that was a sign of the Merogivnian’s weakness, that despite all his seeming power and influence, despite his desire for knowledge and his facade of control, he did not really have control, he didn’t have the power that allowed the Oracle to walk in the open, eyes unveiled.

Perhaps that was a sign of Neo’s arriving at his full powers towards the end. Despite losing his sunglasses, Smith could not read him, and just as Smith was frustrated by his inability to read the Oracle, so was he frustrated by his inability to understand Neo, which in the end cost him everything as he was destroyed.

Posted by Michelle at 11:51 AM |

November 07, 2003

Revolutions

Well, we saw it, and it didn’t suck. I was quite pleased with how things turned out, but I’m not yet sure how I feel about the movie as a whole.

Do not click to read more if you have not yet seen the movie but plan to. I talk about the end as well as many important bits.

One again there were lots of bits that attempted to make me motion sick. Lots of them. During the Zion battle bits I looked away frequently, so I can’t tell you whether is was excessively gorey or not, because I wasn’t looking. There wasn’t a lot of action in the Matrix, but then I don’t think there should have been. This movie was about the real world, so it made sense (to me anyway) to set the movie there.

Though I did like the scene where Trinity, Seraph and Morpheus go to visit the Merovignian. Trinity definitely kicks butt, although I really did not get the point of the big S&M park. Perhaps that was Persephone’s punishment for her betrayal. Hard to say.

Many of the questions I had were answered:
Yes, the Oracle is the mother of the Matrix, and neener neener to everyone who said she wasn’t.
No, there WASN’T a Matrix within a Matrix JUST LIKE I TOLD YOU! HA!

Although there were plenty of questions left unanswered, since I’m still not certain how Neo managed to do what he did in the real world. Since it didn’t explain clearly, I’ll just assume I was right in my previous assumptions.

I really liked the ending. It didn’t give you one of those tidying everything up scenes where everyone gathers together and hugs and is happy, but then Trinity is dead and Neo, if not dead, is seriously damaged goods. Michael seemed to think Neo was dead, I think the last scene as Neo was lying still, when everything shifted to how Neo saw it after he was blinded, was Neo’s view, so he’s still alive.

What I particularly liked was that Neo finally got it. He finally figured out that humans and machines have to coexist for the world to continue.

And I think that’s why I liked the ending. There was still lots of work to do. Things weren’t all peachy-keen and wonderful, but there was hope. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and it wasn’t a happy ending for everyone, and I liked that.

Like I said, it’ll take a bit to sink in some more, and I’ll write more later, but all in all I was pleased. And I’ll have to go get Michael soon, so I’d best end here for now.

Michael’s comment was that the women in the Matrix can really drive, but they can’t park worth shit.

Posted by Michelle at 04:54 PM |

Fun Day!

I didn't mean to make some of my most contentious posts in awhile while comments were down—it just sort of happened that way. I just realized that I made a long post about the Patriot Act, and then a snarky post where I accuse WVU of deliberately trying to remove riflery because of anti-gun issues, and didn’t even give people a chance to call me a complete moron for saying so. Sorry.

I got mail from the tech support people this morning saying that my problem had been “escalated to an administrator” (whatever that means) so I am hoping this means that things will be fixed soon, both the comments, and Movable Type crashing as I attempt to save posts or rebuild the site.

Other than that, I’ve taken the day off from work. I’m getting a haircut and then Michael and I are off to see Matrix Revolutions. I’m setting my expectations at “suck” as usual, that way, at the worst I’ll have my expectations met, but I could be pleasantly surprised.

Plus I have a presentation to tweak, a paper to write, and a half a pan of brownies to eat.

Posted by Michelle at 07:29 AM |

November 06, 2003

WVU and Guns

Okay, it was bad enough when they dropped the Rifle team, now it seems as if they are trying to get rid of the rifle club as well, according to an article in the DA.

“The University has decided that the club must come up with $3.5 million to keep their rifle range from being destroyed and to become a self-supporting team recognized by the University.”

It’s beginning to look suspiciously like the University is going out of its way to get rid of riflery entirely, especially since destroying the range will remove not just the riflery club, but will also remove the Riflery Physical Education class as well.

Could it be that WVU, the flagstaff school for a state with high gun ownership, is attempting to make WVU a gun free school?

Here is an interesting tidbit from a DoJ study:
Gun ownership was highest among middle-aged, college- educated people of rural small-town America.”

With statistics like that, it’s hard to understand why there is such a push to ban guns in the US, although bare numbers don’t really tell us a whole lot, although I'm not sure those numbers really reflect West Virgnia's population.

As the article states, there doesn't seem to be a strong rationale for getting rid of the Rifle Team or attempting to get rid of the Rifle Club. It has men and women, so it's not Title IX, and it has a record of championships and of being one of the best teams in the country. And it's not an expensive team, especially since the range already exists.

So it's hard to understand what rationale the university has of getting rid of this strong and traditional program.

Unless it's just the fact that they use guns.

"The team has brought much prestige to this University," (Cindy) Frich said. "WVU has won 14 national championships, 13 of which were won by the rifle team.
"People of WVU should not be ashamed of their Appalachian roots," she said. "Gun culture is a part of West Virginia and has brought us a great amount of acclaim. After all, the WVU mascot is the Mountaineer.”

So there you go, if you have any spare change lying around, or a million or so you wanted to send to a good cause, the riflery team could use your help.

Posted by Michelle at 12:24 PM |

Patriot Act Panel

Last night was a panel sponsored by the ACLU on the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

Stunningly. the room was full to overflowing, and despite the students at the table where I was sitting who were talking about being there only to get bonus points for their history class, and who left after the second speaker (the students who took their seats left some time during the 4th speaker) the room remained full through the presentation.

Unfortunately, I was not expecting the talk to last as long as it did, so I was unable to stay for the question and answer session (although I was pleased that I had not received a ticket, despite my meter being expired for an hour), but when I left there were still many students left. Perhaps Mark, who also came to the talk, will be able to fill me in on what I missed.

The first speaker, history professor, Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, spoke about civil liberties in wartime, starting with the Civil War. I was reminded of Rhenquist’s book ‘All the Laws But One’ which looked at the suspension of Habeas Corpus by Lincoln during the Civil War. Although several of the incidents she discussed I knew: suspension of the Socialist party during WWI, the interment of Japanese in WWII, the attacks on Communism during the McCarthy era. What I found interesting about her portion of the talk was that although during each of these times there was a suspension of civil liberties, typically for specific groups, this suspension was typically followed by a backlash, such as what happened when Senator Welch finally stood up to McCarthy. This is not to say that the suspension of civil liberties is a good thing ever—it’s never a good thing, but it struck me that I had been considering the problems with the Patriot Act as a long term permanent problem, and I’m not sure that history would bear that out.

The next speaker was law professor Bob Bastress who talked about some of the specific measures of the USA Patriot Act and how this has changed things like wire traps and the reading of e-mail. The major problem, as he emphasized, was not the powers that were given to the enforcement agencies, but the fact that there is no accountability when these actions are taken. Someone who has been searched does not have to be immediately informed of the search, and some of the tapping regulations can be carried on indefinitely without proof of cause. In other words, you don’t have to be guilty of something to have one of these taps used upon you. It just has to be said that you may have pertinent information.

He was followed by the gentleman from the Muslim Student Association. (I apologize that I don’t have any more names, but there was no handout listing the names of the different speakers). He spoke about the problems that Arab and Muslim Americans have had following September 11th, and interestingly most of those problems have stemmed not from the Patriot Act, but from regulations enacted by Attorney General John Ashcroft. One of the more disturbing incidents he mentioned was the enactment of regulation requiring immigrants from a list of countries to come and check in at immigration offices and be fingerprinted. The problem was that this regulation was enacted, but no effort was made to inform visitors of these laws, not public service announcements, not contact with colleges and universities, not contact with embassies. See: this story for other problems.

The speaker from the American Library Association was very interesting, and discussed how the Patriot Act effects libraries. Although libraries are not mentioned specifically, they are a target of the Patriot Act, in that the government has been given the right to go to libraries and booksellers and demand reading or purchase lists. This has not yet happened, but that does not mean it could not happen. She was also very displeased with the words and actions of John Ashcroft, who has mocked the ALA with his comment "According to these breathless reports and baseless hysteria, some have convinced the American Library Association that under the bipartisan Patriot Act, the FBI is not fighting terrorism. Instead agents are checking how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel." She said that the members of the ALA were quite capable of reading the Patriot Act themselves and making up their own minds upon the subject. One of the problems with that portion of the law, she said, was not that it gave the FBI the right to the information, but that when this information was taken, not only are librarians not required to be informed of this, but they are in fact forbidden to discuss whether the FBI has searched their records. It is this level of secrecy that is so disturbing.

The final speaker was from the ACLU. He discussed the consequences of allowing the government to retain these powers unrestricted.

There was also talk of PATRIOT II although little of substance was mentioned.

You can also read what the DA had to say about the panel discussion, although it sounds like the reporter did not stay past the first two speakers.

(To read this post with hyperlinks, please go here. Currently the hyperlinks for this post are crashing the weblog)

Posted by Michelle at 08:01 AM |

Technical Issues

It looks like the majority of the weblog is back up and functional, however comments are still busted.

Old comments can be viewed by clicking on the permalink for that post (the time) but posting comments is still broken.

The most disturbing part about the whole thing, was that it started as I tried to write about Tuesday night's panel on the Patriot Act. The post should be available later today, as I managed to save it elsewhere.

But jeesh! Talk about messing with someone who is already paranoid...

ADDENDUM:
Comments are still dysfunctinal, and the category archives are gone. No clue as to when they'll return. I got the monthly archives back, but the same process failed for category archives.

Until comments are returned, feel free to e-mail me your comments and I can add them to the post until the blog if fully functional.

If you don't already know my e-mail address, you can send comments to morgaine@homemail.com. Please make sure you use a subject, and make it one that doesn't look like someone wanting to extend my anatomy or sell me medication I don't need.

Posted by Michelle at 07:24 AM |

November 05, 2003

Technical Difficulties

Please stand by whilst I throttle my computer....


.....still throttling....


And using lots of bad words to boot!

Posted by Michelle at 01:04 PM |

November 04, 2003

Ernest Bucklew, Killed in Iraq

Here is the news on Ernest Bucklew who was killed in Iraq. The DP article says he was a graduate of West Preston in 88. That was the year my friend Del graduated from WP and one year before Andy graduated, but I don't know whether either knew well him or not.

I have no memorial words, for I did not know him. I only wish his family and friends solace.

(This is an interesting quote that was left out of the DP article:
Bucklew’s e-mails from Iraq had been growing worse, according to his uncle. The last e-mail Smith received said: “this is a letter from hell.”

“Personally, I see no use for the war,” Smith said. “This country shouldn’t be starting wars; we should be defending ourselves and others. I think all these boys should be sent home.”)

Posted by Michelle at 06:05 PM |

A. James Manchin

In hadn't written anything on the passing of A. James Manchin, because I didn't have much to say, but he was a promiment WV politician, and so I give you posts by two WV bloggers who did have something to say abou this death:

S at Hillbilly Sophisticate and John Cole at Balloon Juice.

You can also read article at the Charleston Gazette.

Posted by Michelle at 05:42 PM |

Presentable

So I did tidy up my presentation a bit yesterday, and decided that I was pleased with it and besides a bit of tweaking, it was done. What I had forgotten was that the topic for last night's class was death and dying.

Basically, every subject I cover in my presentation, we discussed in detail last night.

So, back to the drawing board....

Posted by Michelle at 08:15 AM |

Learn the Technology

We arrived home yesterday to new messages on the answering machine (a less common occurrence after the Do Not Call List went into effect) and the first two messges were this long bizarre series of sounds and noises. Nothing distinguishable, and nothing that made sesnse. So I grab the caller ID and start flipping through.

Apparently, even though Michael's father doesn't call, he does have Michael on his speed dial on the cell phone.

Posted by Michelle at 07:34 AM |

November 03, 2003

At Least He Had the Sense to Sell Them

I was highly amused by a post I found at Monkeys In My Pants on a gentleman who was selling a bunch of Beanie Babies his wife left after divorcing him. (I'm linking to the blog entry because I have no idea how long e-bay keeps items available after the sale has finished.)

And good for him, he got $860 for 'em.

(As you can see, I'm failing miserably at working on my presentation.)

Posted by Michelle at 12:15 PM |

Honorifics

There is a fascinating post over at languagehat on the decline of the use of honorifics in Japanese.

I suppose I knew that Japanese used honorifics, but I certainly didn't know the extent to which they existed.

Posted by Michelle at 11:45 AM |

Week's End/Week's Beginning

What a strange end to October and a stranger beginning to November.

Yesterday the temperature was 80 degrees. On the second of November. If we're supposed to have a cold and snowy winter, this certainly isn't a good start to it. I am amused, however, by the people who gripe all winter long about the cold and snow, yet are now griping that it is too warm from November. Whatever. Consistency is too much to ask I suppose. Now I like snow, and I eagerly await its arrival, but it was also nice to take advantage of yesterday's warm temperatures and plant bulbs (Far preferable to doing so when it's only 40 degrees out) and the weather was far more pleasant for the football game. If I have to be on my feet for that long, I'd rather at least not be freezing.

Which reminds me, the Pitt game will be the last RMH tailgate this year, and possibly ever, so you have been warned that this is your last opportunity to get inexpensive food before the football game and support the RMH. Not sure what I'll do instead. I'd considered volunteering at Morgantown Hospice, but that panned out when Michael went back to school and we were still trying to get things done on the house. I may try to contact them again and see if they could use help even if it was only a couple of weekends a month.

We shall see.

Of course we still have to finish making Christmas presents, purchasing Christmas presents, and survive finals, so why I'm worried about this now I don't know.

I'm trying to work on my presentation for my gerontology class. Just a ten minute talk on my area of interest, but of course this weeks topic for class is death and dying, so my material will be fresh on everyone's minds for my talk. I'm also having a hard time finding a balance between too broad and boring, to too specific and overwhelming. I'd like to focus more on the subjects of PAS (Physician Assisted Suicide) and euthanasia as compared to palliative care and pain and symptom management, but that is a shift from what I had done previously.

The only good thing about this week is that I am taking the entire day off on Friday, and in the afternoon Michael and I are going to see 'Matrix: Revolutions'. Feel free to join us. I'm hoping not to walk out pissed off by the ending, but even more I'm trying to avoid hearing or reading anything about the movie because I don't want to know! So don't tell me ANYTHING!

But after I've seen the movie, assume that anything I write about it may contain spoilers, and vary your reading accordingly.

Posted by Michelle at 08:00 AM |