October 04, 2006
The fact we have long enjoyed scribbling random utterances on barnaps or in notebooks while getting convivial in a bar has been mentioned before -- by me and by Melusine, the Marquis, and Kallisti. Usually, Melusine and the Marquis tend to share their drunken scrawlings in their LJs not long after the scribblings had been scribbled.
Me, on the other hand, I have a different system. I let mine ferment. I usually keep little notebooks on me -- especially in the old days when I was frequenting various gin joints with my lovely cohorts. Something always was said that prompted me to make an entry, even if later on, it was obvious that I seem to get easily amused when a tad tipsy.
Now, the problem with my notebook system is that I tend to throw them somewhere after I'm home and then they usually get pushed aside or lost in some mess -- and only will resurface later when I'm digging around in stuff looking for something else. Thus, sometimes the notebooks will have, for example, a half a dozen entries from 1998 and then skip to 2003 and then turn into a grocery list. But, actually, I think it's fun finding entries from years ago and sometimes remembering the context and sometimes having absolutely no clue.
So, anyway, an OLD notebook just resurfaced in my mess today, and there were three entries in it from 1999 that I decided to type up and share with Melusine and Kallisti, as they're the quoted here. And I thought "what the hell", I share it in the blog -- as I haven't posted much of anything in a while. So, enjoy the random out-of-context quotes. Or don't. Heh.
(M is Melusine, K is Kallisti, and I'm B where the names are abbreviated, although I'm sure you coulda figured that one out!)
Feb 5, 1999
"I'm going to go look at the chandelier."
"I didn't give birth to anything. I was under pressure, man."
"I'm working on my alcoholism. I'll just have a pint."
"Waking up the next morning can make you a coward again."
"I will use every astrological barb to destroy the 16-year-old übergoth who doesn't think I'm cool."
"They go on Egypt binges."
"I don't want to walk home with the hiccups. They're very revealing."
"You don't have to mention that nothing else happened but this."
"I want to buy a mess of pumpkin seeds. I'm NOT writing this down."
"Having the hiccups is a lot like premature ejaculation. It's not a complete act."
"I LOVE keeping notes."
Feb 15, 1999
"It's very easy to impress neophytes."
"Tongue in cheek. That's what we like."
"We might as well exploit ourselves over and over again."
"We have inexhaustible material."
"Just remind me a lot."
And then we had a conversation with a well-groomed boy, who bummed a cigarette, about "Suffering is Hip" and the proletariat.
"It [my bladder] just has a small capacity."
"This will redeem you. You've had Rick James come onto you. You MUST enrapture Clive Barker."
-- B to M
"God, I love beer."
(some other scribblings of wrong, very wrong alternate teletubby names here .... this I remember as it was the night we came up with Beezelbubby, which Kallisti later brought to life here.)
"We're just wrong."
"Sick and wrong."
"We need awards."
"I thought you said we needed beer."
"We don't take ourselves seriously. We deserve everything."
Sept 12, 1999
Snakebites & Harp
"Yes, there are many different ways to combine words."
-- Bat, after seeing "Fallopian Testimonies" and "Follicular Marmalade" written on the wall in the bathroom.
Melusine ponders why she gets approached: "It's because I don't care," she decides.
"It's because you look good in a bar."
"He's just a little off. It might be drugs."
July 27, 2006
Well. As I've gotten a couple of inquiries in recent days about whether I'm alive or not, I thought I'd just affirm that I am. Apparently, when one doesn't update a blog in almost a year, some people start to wonder.
September 04, 2005
More Hurricane Aftermath News
As mentioned in my previous post, the Marquis has been posting regular updates on the situation in New Orleans and specifically any news about our friends in his LiveJournal. Kallisti, who is here in the San Francisco Bay Area where I am, also has been posting updates and news. I'm especially appreciative of their efforts, as I found myself busy being one of the regular phone contacts (and subsequent relayer of news to various people who then relayed it on to others -- we had quite the phone/online/etc. communication chain going by the end of the week!) So, I was pretty occupied with that and doubtless probably far too freaked out myself to even attempt to post anything coherent about it all online. But I fortunately was able to relay what little I was hearing along to one or both of them all week and let them take care of the important online updating. I definitely did end up referring plenty of people to their online journals, so they could keep up on the latest.
I'd say they, the Marquis and Melusine and Michele as well as others, should know how many many people love them and asked about them and also waited on pins and needles for each little bit of news that could be relayed.
So, just in case you haven't taken a look at the afore-mentioned LiveJournal updates for the latest, the big news is that Melusine got out of the city on Friday and made it to Baton Rouge. Where she actually later that evening made a point of posting an entry in her own LiveJournal.
One random and weird bit of slightly amusing news is that Liz (Melusine) and the people she had been holed up with during the hurricane were stopped while they were making their way (by foot) out of the city on Friday and interviewed by NBC's Dateline. Kallisti mentions the segment here in one of her LiveJournal entries.
I taped the segment, too, and here are some screen captures. Liz is the one in the reddish shirt. Her cats, Claudius and Lola, are what's covered up in the shopping cart.
We're still worried and waiting for word on various other people we know and love who we heard made it through the hurricane itself, but we haven't heard yet how they've been faring during this pretty terrible aftermath ordeal. All we can do right now is just hope they pop up safe and soon -- and doubtless with some amazing stories to tell.
August 30, 2005
Hurricane Katrina & My Friends
As anyone who reads this regularly would know, I have a bunch of friends who live in New Orleans, including (especially) my co-editors, Melusine and the Marquis. As I've been getting some queries as to how they are in the aftermath of Katrina, I thought I'd post a note here to say that I've now heard from (or about) all my friends who live there -- and they're all okay, thus far.
Melusine (aka Hespeth aka Liz) happened to have stayed in her apartment in the French Quarter. I've been hearing periodically from her from the day before the hurricane hit.
The Marquis lives in New Orleans but was visiting in NY when Katrina started moving towards the Gulf Coast. So, for the past few days, he's been freaked out and frustrated to be so far away from home while this has been going on. He started compiling all sorts of news from the official news sources as well as all sorts of bits and pieces everyone we know who's not in the city has heard from those who are still in New Orleans. So, for that, see his LiveJournal.
"It's feeling very Mad Max around here." -- Melusine
Yeah, from the last thing I heard, it sounds like the aftermath is shaping up to be quite a bizarre thing.
Hardly really know what else to say about it right now. Other than "yow."
June 26, 2005
I really have been fascinated by the recent news story about the lions rescuing that 12-year-old Ethiopian girl from her kidnappers. I've done a few news searches in the past couple of days to see if there has been anything more reported on it. The story seems to have captivated tons of other people besides me, as the basic AP story was widely cited and reprinted after it came out. But, so far, not much additional information to the story has turned up in the news yet. One of the reasons I was scouring through the news reports was that I was hoping to find one that mentioned whether the lions were male or female. I did find one or two that mentioned the answer to that, but unfortunately the answer was that the gender of the lions was unknown, as reported in this one: BBC NEWS | Africa | Kidnapped girl 'rescued' by lions.
There was also this brief follow-up news report: Ethiopian 'lions' tale' thrills public but experts scoff - Yahoo! News. An excerpt from that one:
"Experts expressed extreme doubts about the report which was first carried by the official Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) on Tuesday and then picked up by state-run media, saying it was most likely too good to be true. In fact, they said, far from displaying highly unusual empathy with a human being, the lions were almost certainly preparing to eat or attack the girl when they were surprised by police searching for the missing youngster."
Hmm. Well, I'm no wildlife expert, but I (playing armchair animal behaviorist here) am inclined myself to scoff a bit at those experts' scoffing. Somehow it doesn't seem logical that the lions would just sit around with their intended food for 12 hours. If the lions had chased off the men to make it easy for them to eat the girl, well then, I think they would have killed and eaten the girl shortly after the men had been chased off. And gone on their merry satiated way.
However, I tend to agree that the lions probably didn't mistake the girl's sounds for a lion cub's cries nor took "pity" on the girl's helpless situation in the way we humans understand taking pity. Well, perhaps the sounds of distress could have attracted the lions' attention to some extent -- but it could have interested them not because it sounded like a lion cub but because it sounded like some already-injured prey they could easily scavenge. But as the lions, before actually appearing on the scene, most likely would have already ascertained by smell that the source of the cries wasn't one of their own and as they didn't attempt to eat the girl, it does then seem apparent that their reasons for intervening were neither of those.
So, what brought them onto the scene? Well, if I may indulge in a little hypothesizing here, I think there could be a slightly rational explanation, although this explanation would only make sense if the lions happened to have all been female and probably only if the place where this occurred happened to have been part of those lionesses's territory. But -- if they were all lionesses and if this took place on their territory --then I think it's entirely possible that what prompted the lions' actions and their seeming "sympathy" could have been an instinctual response triggered by the various pheromones that were in play at that moment.
Lions rely on their highly-developed sense of smell as their way to gather information and assess what is going on in their environment. Thus, this is why I think the key to the lions' unusual behavior in this situation could possibly be explained by pheromones. What pheromones might have been given off by the humans, especially the males, in this situation? Might those pheromones be somewhat similar to the sorts of pheromones male lions give off when outsider male lions infiltrate an established pride of lions? At least, might they have been similar enough that they could have signaled to the lions some of the same kinds of threats they are wired to respond to when outsider male lions kill off the young as part of their strategy when infiltrating an existing pride? (See this piece on African Lion Infanticide by David Shelburne for a detailed description of this particular behavioral response.)
Notable, too, is the fact reported that these lions stayed with the girl for twelve hours after they'd chased off the kidnappers and before the people searching for the girl arrived. If these were lionesses, the fact they could spare twelve hours staying with the girl probably indicates that these lionesses did not have cubs of their own that they had to get back to. Could this mean that perhaps these lionesses had recently lost their own young during a male lion takeover in their own pride? And, if so, might such a recent traumatic event have made the lionesses hypersensitive to the point where their response could have been triggered by somewhat similar pheromonal signals given off by the humans in this situation?
Anyway, just my little armchair hypothesis here. Whatever it was that prompted the lions' extraordinary behavior in this situation, it certainly is a captivating story.
June 21, 2005
I think the silly quote "coinage" from my previous entry -- "Hell is other people, but some animals are more equal than others" -- might have been onto something. It seemed somehow fitting for this AP News story (link via Instapundit.com), which I saw later on this afternoon: Lions Rescue, Guard Beaten Ethiopian Girl.
"A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday....
"'...."They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,' Wondimu said."
Today, in addition to being Summer Solstice, is Jean-Paul Sartre's centennial birthday.
George Orwell's 102nd birthday is on the 25th.
So, to commemorate both, let me mix up a couple of thinks:
Hell is other people, but some animals are more equal than others.
June 16, 2005
Measuring Incremental Movements
Tuesday's West Coast tsunami warning (that I posted an entry about) was big news in all the usual places yesterday. But really there was not much for news outlets to say after reporting that an earthquake had occurred, causing no damage and a tsunami warning had been issued for a tsunami that thankfully didn't happen. Oh, wait, that's not quite accurate because technically a tsunami did occur. A tsunami, measuring a whole one centimeter, did hit the coast. The machines that take such measurements picked that up, and lucky that they did as otherwise we never would have known. Ahem.
But. Believe me, I'm not complaining -- I much prefer that what the news ended up having to report in this case was basically that nothing happened.
I sometimes can't help but marvel -- vacillating between admiration and disdain -- at the ingenuity of the press when they find themselves having to report these "nothing happened" stories, especially when they somehow feel obliged to continue doing so through a news cycle or two (or three or four or five).
But, then, sometimes I also kinda like Henry James's novels, too.
Well. As I was just in the middle of composing this entry about nothing happening, something happened. Southern California just got hit with another earthquake. No real damage, no injuries reported at this moment.
And so the press has more fodder for this topic for some news cycles for a while. As there's a whole lot of shaking going on, even if (so far) it's been causing little tangible damage. Well, in California, at any rate, where most of the recent quakes have been located. The recent quake in Chile actually did cause some real damage and killed at least 8 people (from the last news report I saw on it).
And that itself, I predict, will end up being fodder for the world media's news cycles in the very near future -- as I think they'll probably very shortly become preoccupied with being irritated at our press's preoccupation with reporting how nothing has happened around here really. And then they'll take that opportunity to bitch about how the U.S. doesn't notice and doesn't care when earthquakes (or anything) happen elsewhere, etc. etc. etc.
But I think they're wrong -- at least about people here not noticing or caring about earthquakes. I think people who live in regions regularly affected by earthquakes, big or small, do take notice when quakes are reported anywhere. It's a weird but real bond people share when they experience the same kinds of natural (or unnatural) disasters.
True, our national news media doesn't usually devote much intense focus to earthquakes occurring in other parts of the world unless they're huge catastrophic disasters, but actually our national media doesn't devote much intense focus on our own country's earthquakes unless they're huge catastrophic disasters either. And, ya know, neither does the same foreign news media who bitch about what our news media covers either. So there.
But. That's what the news is: bitch, bitch, bitch, ohmygod something horrible's happened o' the humanity, bitch, bitch, bitch, release poll and research study data out of context, bitch, bitch, bitch, oh wow look at that, bitch, bitch, bitch, speculate, condemn, wring hands, gossip about celebrities, pontificate, weep, leap for joy, grouse about those who leap for joy, bitch, bitch, bitch, o' the humanity, o' the humanity, o' the humanity.
Anyway. This current focused news flurry is an aberration caused by the spate of quakes that have happened in somewhat close proximity within a short period of time. And unless another one hits soon and causes enough mayhem to satisfy the "if it bleeds, it leads" blood lust of the news media, I predict the attention is certain to be pretty short-lived.
Hmm. I actually had been composing an entirely different entry here today that only was meant to begin with referring to the news' coverage of Tuesday's quake in a rather peripheral way. But the earth keeps moving and sidetracking my train of thought. It'll do that.
June 14, 2005
Tonight was the first time I'd ever heard the Emergency Broadcast System on TV announce a local tsunami warning.
Fortunately, this tsunami warning was only briefly in effect, but initially hearing that the warning had been issued for all the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico after a 7.0 earthquake hit in the ocean off the coast in Northern California was definitely attention-getting.
Learned quickly the earthquake had hit at 7:50 pm (Pacific Time) about 90 miles southwest of the coastal town of Crescent City (which is about 300 miles north of San Francisco).
Crescent City happens to be significant -- historically, tsunami-wise -- because as this breaking news article points out:
"Crescent City was the site of the only known tsunami to kill people in the continental United States. Eleven people died and 29 city blocks were washed away when a tsunami hit Crescent City in 1964."
Well, about five minutes after I'd heard the Emergency Broadcast System announce the tsunami warning, the local news station I'd subsequently turned to was announcing the warning had been cancelled. The seismologist they were interviewing was saying the earthquake wasn't a "subduction" kind of earthquake, which are the types more associated with tsunamis -- see the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program site for what all that actually means.
Haven't heard of any reports of any damage or injuries (as of yet), so hopefully all it will have done is caused the whole west coast just a bit of an adrenaline rush ....
Yup, can certainly attest to the fact it added a little drama to an otherwise quiet Tuesday evening!
The USGS site is really rather fascinating (as well as sometimes anxiety-producing). They have lists of significant world quakes by year going back over a decade. Even to a non-seismologist layperson like me, it'd be hard to miss seeing patterns in earthquake activity in different spots in the world as they've occurred year by year. And, looking at the site tonight after hearing of tonight's quake, I couldn't help but be struck by seeing a pattern in just the last week here on this USGS page that lists all the significant quakes worldwide for 2005:
January 01 -- Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra -- 6.6M
January 16 -- State of Yap, Micronesia -- 6.6M
February 05 -- Celebes Sea -- 7.1M
February 08 -- Vanuatu -- 6.8M
February 10 -- Arkansas -- 4.1M
February 19 -- Sulawesi, Indonesia -- 6.5M
February 22 -- Central Iran -- 6.4M
February 26 -- Simeulue, Indonesia -- 6.8M
March 02 -- Banda Sea -- 7.1M
March 06 -- St. Lawrence Valley, Reg., Quebec, Canada -- 5.4M
March 20 -- Kyushu, Japan -- 6.6M
March 28 -- Northern Sumatra, Indonesia -- 8.7M
April 10 -- Kepulauan Mentawai Region, Indonesia -- 6.7M
April 11 -- Southeast of the Loyalty Islands -- 6.6M
May 01 -- Arkansas -- 4.1M
May 06 -- Central California -- 4.1M
May 14 -- Nias Region, Indonesia -- 6.8M
May 19 -- Simeulue, Indonesia -- 6.7M
June 12 -- Southern California -- 5.2M
June 13 -- Tarapaca, Chile -- 7.8M
June 14 -- Rat Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska -- 6.6M
June 15 -- Off the Coast of Northern California -- 7.0M
Hmm. Yes. it's a bit curious to see how the plates on the west coast of North and South America seem to have been acting up, daily, for the past few days. I don't know enough about seismology to know if that means anything noteworthy, and although I am pretty sure that all the plates active in these recent quakes are not directly connected with each other ....still....
It does make me want to quote Dorothy Parker and just say "What fresh hell is this?"
As one never knows, does one?