Monday, May 31, 2010

While remembering those who have served honorably...

...let's not forget to include soldiers with Gulf War Syndrome. Earlier this year, the VA finally recognized it as a real and pernicious physical illness.

One soldier's perspective:

http://www.cfids.org/cfidslink/2010/020304.asp

Gratitude and sorrow:

Between continued failed attempts to contain BP's spill, the Israeli military's immoral and stupid attack on the ship bringing aid supplies to Gaza, the gunman who killed 12 in a Pakistani hospital and now the tropical storm in Central America that's claimed 115 so far, the news today has been a fucking horror show.

I feel grateful for all I have and awful for those who are suffering.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Where's my parade?

This past week, I finished another chapter of final draft, had another pitch accepted and explained Twitter to both my parents.

Friday, May 28, 2010

In fairness:

Bumbershoot has amended its original and asinine plan re graphic design artists and the festival's logo. (See my May 24th entry.)

Update:

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/05/bumbershoot_abandons_logo_comp.php

And now, perhaps the most diametrically opposite links ever:

1) The Wall Street Journal's meticulously detailed account of the staggering ineptitude of BP and the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704026204575266560930780190.html?mod=wsj_share_twitter


2) Bad Postcards, via actor and writer, Stephen Fry, who is a delight to follow on Twitter:

http://bad-postcards.tumblr.com/


Side note: when I worked in publicity at the Seattle International Film Festival in 1998 and Fry was one of the guests in conjunction with his lead role in the gorgeous and heartbreaking Wilde, he got my name right on the first try. There are still people in my building who mangle it.

Let's wrap this fucker:

If you haven't already, contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell when the full Senate votes on it in June.

And House of Representatives? High fives on last night's 234 to 194 vote. Ponies and snowcones, Speaker Pelosi.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My new Seattle Weekly feature on the Inside Out Jazz Awards is online and on stands now:

Really enjoyed writing this one!

David Pierre-Louis, owner of Lucid Lounge and the event's organizer, is wholly invigorating. All proceeds are going to Haiti and I got to speak with the legendary Clarence Wilcox:

http://www.seattleweekly.com/2010-05-26/music/206-swing-at-inside-out-jazz-awards-show/

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

State Department, I'm on it:

Starting a fund to get Kim Jong-Il some Paxil and a blowjob in the hopes it will calm him down.

Who's in?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today's "what the hell?" moments:

1) Bumbershoot, one of the best and most kaleidoscopic arts festivals in the nation, apparently sees no contradiction in profoundly disrespecting graphic design artists:

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2010/05/bumbershoots_logo_contest_has.php


2) Last week on Facebook, a forum in which I usually generate scads of comments, I posted that BP executives should, fittingly, be boiled alive in oil. No response. Zilch. I'm sorry: does someone have a better idea?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fell asleep uncharacteristically early tonight and...

...awoke later with horrific nightmares.

No way to understand how relentless and all-encompassing grief is until you're in it.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book, Nomad:

Compelling review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's new book, Nomad, and an examination of the corrosive and misogynist effects of Islam--or any religion--carried to the extreme. From Tunku Varadarajan at The Daily Beast:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-05-22/ayaan-hirsi-alis-new-book-nomad-reviewed/?cid=topic:mainpromo1

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Just received a small but fun accolade from Smith Magazine:

Sort of the literary equivalent of a Frango:

http://www.smithmag.net/sixwordbook/2010/05/21/broke-my-toe-watching-american-idol%E2%80%94the-best-six-words-of-the-week/

Friends; calzones; Woody Allen before he was openly pervy:

Capped off a stressful and sad week with dinner last night at Via Tribunali. Companion and I cracked each other up, ran into a writer friend I adore, too, and I scarfed a calzone the size of a baby who'd eaten its twin.

Will be writing all day and again tomorrow, but between Xander's death, several deadlines and having all the windows in my unit replaced yesterday as part of a building-wide project that's been run as smoothly as the Warren Commission, I will induldge in two more hours of respite.

Love and Death, which I've seen scads of times and was lucky enough to first view at a Woody Allen film fest my folks took my brother and me to as kids, and I will be nestled in bed for the next two hours. And my unopened box of Dilletante truffles might get deflowered.

Too late. It's a grown-up now, but I was suitably gentle.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A fun little jaunt:

Cab driver this afternoon, unprompted: "The Greeks! All they do is talk! And ruin the world's economy!"

Then I told him my nationality.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Xander 1998-2010

Had to euthanize my beloved bunny, Xander, at 4:30 p.m. today.

In the last day and a half, he'd lost use of one of his hind legs and it would have be spectacularly cruel to let him suffer. Also, once I got him to the vet, it turned out the little guy had fluid in chest cavity, which is a sign of cancer, so as my vet said, "You read the signs perfectly." Xander was 12, literally almost 130 in rabbit years and he had a wonderful life. He was the last of his three siblings and a deeply sweet and brave creature. Also, in light of TJ's death--the atomic bomb nonpareil of my life so far--as deeply as it hurts to lose Xander, I've got perspective.

Turning in early tonight.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So, there's that:

The world's economy is built on quicksand and the weather has tenor-like mood swings, but at least the Napolean Dynamite craze has finally died out.

My father and large swaths of my extended family on both sides...

...grew up without the right to free speech. It's rarely far from my mind that half the things I write would land me in jail in vast chunks of the world.

Horrified by the ongoing abuse and torture of journalists in Russia. From today's New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/world/europe/18impunity.html?hp

Sunday, May 16, 2010

So:

This week will make seven and a half months and it makes no more sense now than it did the second week of October. The worst of the shock has subsided and there are now scattered moments when I don't feel I'm screaming inside, but still.

Had a wonderful lunch yesterday with a newer friend who is one of the most intelligent, engaging, caring and funniest individuals I've known. Feel very lucky she reached out to me after he died.

Just turned in a piece for KOMO4.com's Capitol Hill blog and am working on my Seattle Weekly feature re the Lucid Lounge jazz club and Inside Out Jazz Awards due Tuesday. Maintaining traction on the novel and am quite pleased with the past week's output.

Momentum both in spite of and because of myself.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A few from Goodfellas spring to mind, too:

Really want to tell an editor her mother sucks the devil's cock in hell. Disturbing when lines from The Exorcist are totally apt.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More headway:

Yesterday one of my doctors showed me the latest newsletter from Johns Hopkins. It was devoted to CFIDS and the newest research breakthroughs.

Today a feature in the Guardian U.K. effectively illustrates the more pernicious aspects of the illness. (Note: in the U.K., CFIDS/CFS is frequently referred to as M.E., for Myalgic Encepholopathy.)

As most of you know, it's what I've had for the past 19 years and thus far, despite enormous progress as to its etiology (the Centers for Disease Control announced in April 2006 that five genetic markers had been isolated in those of us with CFIDS; it appears almost certain the trigger is the XMRV retrovirus or another, similar virus) there is still no effective treatment.

Fingers remain unendingly crossed.

The Guardian U.K. piece:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/may/13/me-chronic-fatigue-syndrome

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

A 48 word recap of the past 24 hours:

Enjoyed splendid Mother's Day; bantered with brother; was pleased by Elena Kagan's nomination then saddened by Lena Horne's death; read devastating NYT piece on backsliding AIDS crisis in Uganda; had more nightmares; wrote most of today in pajamas while birds trilled soothingly outside window; am in massive pain.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

And, also, because she's learned to navigate the Internet...

...with ease and her customary intelligence and never sends my brother and me emails with clip art drawings of hearts with bows around them and "jokes".

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Finding Adam Kellner:

A FB friend of mine just wrote this piece about her friend's adult son, Adam Kellner, who vanished from his mother's home in Stevenson Ranch, California (30 miles north of Los Angeles) three years ago. He disappeared without his wallet, license, keys or medications. (He has schizophrenia but was functioning well, under the circumstances.)

My loved one was missing four and a half days before his body was found and I can't fathom the even lower depths of hell in which Kellner's family has lived for three years.

Please help get the word out:

http://www.jewishjournal.com/gina_nahai/article/family_still_asking_where_is_adam_20100505/

Friday, May 07, 2010

Also: serf tossing

Britain's election just yielded a stalemate in Parliament between the Labour and Conservative parties. Possible tie breakers: scone eating contest; tweed scavenger hunt; rapid-fire mocking of French.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Again with the odds and sods:

  • Had dinner at the Tamarind Tree and saw the A Guide to Visitors show last night with some delightful friends and colleagues. Fantastic meal and company and AGTV, per usual, was stellar. Also, at one point, the house manager's dog, Zack, curled up at my feet while I stroked his neck. More performances should include ridiculously sweet canines traipsing about.
  • I am so fucking sick right now that Glenn Beck could walk through the door, go on a tirade then raid my fridge and I wouldn't react. Okay, not really on that last part, but you get my point.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Slightly in advance of Mother's Day, a fraction of the excellent things my mom has said or done:

  • She (and my dad) read to my brother and me nearly every night from as early as I can remember.
  • She taught my brother and me how to roller-skate.
  • When she went back to school when I was ten and George was eight, she logged two years of a 4.0 at North Seattle Community College then transferred to the University of Washington for her next two years and graduated summa cum laude. And she helped us with our homework each night before she even got a chance to start hers.
  • Her homemade lasagna remains unparalleled. I'm certain it could end wars if everyone just got a slice.
  • Because she was raised in a traditional Greek household (code for "sexist as hell"), she taught me I could be anything as long as I devoted myself to the task at hand. And, of course, never let my slip show.
  • Once when my brother was in high school and didn't want to help in the kitchen, she told him, "Just because you have a penis doesn't mean you can't unload a dishwasher."
  • We laugh about it now, but when I was a junior in high school, she said she knew times were changing and she'd understand if I had premarital sex, "if, for instance, you're twenty-seven and engaged."
  • When George and I were in junior high, she decided we were old enough to see R-rated movies, but she wanted our first to be a good one so she took us to see The Shining.
  • She taught us "the N-word" was the worst word we could utter and, more importantly, taught us why.
  • When she was a deputy prosecuting attorney, I frequently visited her office and encountered several defense attorneys who said Mom had repeatedly and thoroughly trumped them in court, but they liked her anyway because she played fair and was a class act.
  • She instilled in me a lifelong appreciation of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
  • Many years ago, she put a Maniati (Spartan) curse on someone who broke my heart. Subsequently, his career went off the rails.
  • She taught me this same Maniati curse that has been passed down for centuries. I, too, have used it sparingly, but to great effect.
  • My father is equally wonderful, but Mom will always be the glue.

Monday, May 03, 2010

My new favorite sentence:

"But it is also true that the mega-dosage of reality programming has lowered the lowest common denominator to pre-literacy."--James Wolcott, Vanity Fair

Sunday, May 02, 2010

This sounds all goopy-sweet caramel sauce but...

...I could not be more fucking sincere: it's only noon and I've already had three delightful and meaningful encounters with some of the world's most loving individuals and I'm reminded again how fortunate I am.