Monday, November 29, 2004

all my spanish speakers in da house say "si"

At this time of the month I get to sit down and wade through all of the appeals I've received in the past 30 days and decide who we're going to help. (My favorite part of the job, to be sure.) Trouble is, I've received a letter in Spanish and I don't speak a word of it. The letter is from Guatemala but appears to have been walked into the US and mailed from Los Angeles, strangely enough. There is little punctuation or capitalization and it's tough to make out some of the letters, as it appears to have been folded and unfolded many times. If anyone can give me the gist of the letter (I'm assuming it's an appeal but I may be wrong...I don't know if a lot of these words are misspelled or what, but the translators are balking at it) I would certainly appreciate it. (Email me if you can.

Me es grato escribirles estas cuantas lineas para saludarlos muy atentamente y esperando que mi peticion sea oida pues el odjeco de mi precente espara contarles mis penas aqui en Guatemala. pues yo soy Guatemalteca soy madre. Soltera tengo dos ninos una hembray un baron y yo la ilucion mas grande. que he tenido es el sueno americano pero aqui en guatemala vivimos muy oprimidos en lo economico y yo quiciera superarme. Pues tengo amis hijos y quiciera darles. Algo bueno pero quiciera ganarlo con el sodor de mifiente pero quiciera que esta intitucion on empresa o como se llame me ayudara a subir pero yo. No se como pedirles o enque me pueden ayudar pues no quiciera irme mojada pues se que uno de mujer pasa muchos obstaculos por eso yo quiciera que mi peticion fuera oida aqui con ustedes y espero en dios que me escuchen pues mi nombie es (name omitted) y mi direccion. Aldea la esperanza ixhuatan stu Rosa disculpen mis borrones pero son mis nervios. Me suscribo de ustedes. Atentamento.

Little help, anyone?

Monday, November 22, 2004

you know what they say...

Time flies when you're suffering from massive carpal tunnel in your wrist and are out of Diet Coke!

What? I have no idea - that was my way of saying I'm really freaking surprised that it's noon already.

I'm blogging from work (work!!!) when I should actually be working (working!!!) even though, clearly, I am not (not!!!).

And why am I wasting valuable time? Because I'm the only chick in the office today, wheee! I was able to hog the bathroom first thing this morning and play around with my makeup and it was all downhill from there. Should I cut my hair in bangs? Maybe layer it a bit? Does this clip make my ears look big? What about this lip liner...too dark?

Then, before I knew it, it was eleven o'clock.


Did you see that? No, of course you didn't. What you don't know - what you have no way of knowing if I don't tell you, is that it's now nearly five a.m. the day after I wrote that. Time really does fly, dontcha know?

I thought I'd be smart alecky about posting from work but it backfired and I became uber-busy. Then I was busy not so much. Then I became vaguely tired and I may have approximately napped, but I'm primarily awake. At four-thirty, I woke, which was actually alright because I'd forgotten I'd left a pie to warm in the oven. Sure beats waking up at quarter to five with sweaty, raging nightmares, which is what I've been prone to doing for the past few weeks. Not cool. Monsters have teeth! And they bite! And they scare me!!!

There are entirely too many .edu domains in my stats log. You people really should know better.

I think videos are the worst thing to ever happen to music. Now I get to see what big old dorks The Killers and Franz Ferdinand really are so they don't seem nearly as blistering as they once did. I'm pleased to see Scott Weiland back in the game, but not with Slash and Duff McKagen. (I'm sure I've misspelled a few names there but I'm too lazy to google. Just be impressed that I can still recognize Duff on site, yo.) I sat, bewildered, watching that video going, "Is that Scott? No, that's not Scott. Wait - I'd recognize that hip swivel anywhere - that's what all of my adolescent dreams were made of! Hang on...what happened to the dude that sang 'Lady Picture Show' and who is this guy mimicking a drug overdose with a groupie from Great White?" Then I felt dirty and a little ashamed. But then a video came on which featured a chick who had a butt to the moon, so I was happy again.

.Edu people - should that be "whom" or "who" up there? It probably doesn't matter since I change tense more often than people change water. What does that even mean? I dunno, but it's five in the morning!

I feel really bad about the pie. I'd made it to impress Paulo, who gobbles lobby and will be with us during this Thanksgiving break. It was a wicked good meat pie and I wanted him to say, "This is better than all the meat pies in all of England!" to me, and then rub my feet in appreciation and not make fun of my toes. Alas, 'tis not to be.

Two of the funnier things I've heard lately - first, from my banker: "English people scare me. If you're not careful, they'll kidnap you and put you in their band or on their soccer team. You're just walking around and bam - you're suddenly the drummer for The Verve."

Second, from the dude at the liquor store: "You get better looking each time I see you, and yet, I still don't find you attractive."

Did I happen to mention that it's five? ()

Saturday, November 20, 2004

update yer ferkin blog!

That's what Alfie said to me, and I'm powerless to resist commands which utilize poor grammar and bastardized words.

This may surprise some (many) people, but I have the fantastical ability to be rather professional when I need to. I've even been called "gracious" by an ambassador, yo. He's obviously never seen my ass on a dodge ball court.

But at the same time, I pride myself on the ability to be laid back. I'm so laid back that I'm horizontal. Yet, there are people with which I share a working relationship that simply do not seem to appreciate that.

There's a guy who's been working for me for a few months now and I think he may be on a power trip because lately I'm feeling like I'm working for him. There's been a weird shift in our relationship that I am not entirely comfortable with. Because he's too gat danged professional all the time. It's driving me to distraction. Just once I'd like to answer his, "How are you?" by lifting my shirt up, giving my tummy a slap and saying, "Man, I'm so bloated. I pigged out on salsa and Tang last night while watching reruns of SNL. How you doin'?" But I can't do that. The tassels on his loafers render me powerless.

There's one guy I work with whom I only see about once a week, but he responds really well to my laid-back nature. The last time I saw him I had my back turned to the door while working on my other computer and I heard a "think fast!" I looked up just in time to see a Subway sandwich explode against the wall in a magnificent spray of green pepper and mayo. He then left. It would appear that the gentleman in question drove a hundred miles round-trip simply to throw a sandwich at my head and that's just swell.

But this other guy? I just couldn't see it. Even if I related the sandwich-to-the-head story I bet he'd say something like, "And how did you respond to that? Do you think this is acceptable behavior?" Well hell yes, I think it's acceptable. In fact, I think it's awesome. But, apparently, I am a loser.

I was in a meeting with him last week and a truck driver guy showed up to cart a load of stuff for me. The truck driver was our usual guy but he didn't know this other dude. Truck Driver poked his head into the room and said, "Hey there, good looking!" to me. Other guy about swallowed his tongue, I swear.

I'm approachable - so shoot me.

I just woke from a dream where I was pouring tequila down this guy's throat in a bid to make him loosen up. That was my whole dream. I was at a bar with this guy and grabbed him around the head and poured a bottle of tequila down his neck. I didn't get a chance to see if he finally managed to loosen up, as I was awoken by an intense craving for Little Debbie snack cakes, but now I can't help but entertain the thought of him singing karaoke and accidentally using the womens' restroom rather than the mens'.

I bet he showers with his clothes on. I should ask him. Because I'm the consummate professional, that's why. ()

Saturday, November 13, 2004

and he built my hot rod, too

So last night I finally saw The Passion of the Christ. When it started, Andy grumbled, "Oh, great. I love reading movies." I told him he shouldn't have quit studying Aramaic in school and then he wouldn't have to read so many movies. He was unimpressed.

When the movie came on, Samantha said, "Holy crap - Aragorn was Jesus?!?" I chastised her for being disrespectful but really I was thinking the same thing. I kept expecting Frodo to jump out to save him. Jesus of Gondor!

But I didn't say it, because that would be wrong.

I was actually very moved and sobbed like a little bitch during most of the film. Whether you believe Jesus was the son of God or not, that was a pretty horrific way to die. The suffering is almost beyond comprehension, and I can understand how the idea of God allowing his flesh incarnate to die that way for the sake of all mankind still resonates deeply today.

Which brings me to a conversation I was having with Smeggy Smeg about religion. He's a regular Charlie Churchy but he has brains with it, so it's quite a nice mix. I was telling him about a co-worker who is a die-hard evangelical Christian and it's getting on my nerves. Every other phrase out of her mouth is "thank you Jesus!" This is fine in moderation, but the other day she got her sweater snagged on the door. A brief moment of panic ensued where she said something like, "No, no, no! Don't you dare unravel on me!" to her shirt. She unhooked herself and saw there was no damage and said, "Thank you Jesus!"

Jesus died one of the most horrible deaths imaginable to save your soul from eternal damnation and the fires of Hell...and he unsnagged your shirt.

Praise the Lord!

That irritates me to no end. Most of the people I have associations with are like this. During prayer time (sometimes twice a day) we go around the room and vocalize a prayer. I believe that most of the time people are praying for the sake of the audience rather than to God. They sound like auctioneers half the time, and the other half of the time they sound like they're leaving a message on an answering machine. It's kind of pathetic, really, and gives off a really arrogant vibe.

I wasn't raised in a particularly religious household but I was taught that when you pray, you pray for yourself last. I was taught that you don't pray for specific things - it's not a Christmas list you're delivering, it's your humble thanks to God.

People, I've heard prayers for money. I'm not kidding.

It's really going too far when you say grace over a bag of popcorn, then say "Thank you Jesus" before every single piece you eat.

If I were Jesus I'd be constantly pissed off. I'd be all, "It's fecking popcorn, you moron, now shut the hell up! For this, I died on the cross?" (He was Jewish, you know, so I'm sure he has that backwards question thing going on.)

Ah, so much sport! And right on the brink of the holiday season, so it's just going to get worse.

Lord give me strength. ()

Saturday, November 06, 2004

being gay is the new nader

When I heard that so many states had the gay marriage amendment on the ballot, part of me knew that the election was a done deal. All of those newly registered voters, whom I'd originally credited to Puff Daddy, were actually of the "thems gays ain't gonn sully up the sanctity of my marriage, nosiree bob!" persuasion. This was reinforced when the exit polls showed that the majority of Bush supporters cited "moral values" as their top concern.

That's right. Gay marriage ranked higher than terrorism. The nation is now on purple alert.

I couldn't believe that so many states are now moving towards amending their constitutions to limit civil rights based on sexuality. I thought, "How can you restrict the rights of someone based on something they have no control over?" Then it dawned on me - these voters are people who believe homosexuality is a choice.

I grew up with a gay brother and, believe me, that boy wasn't choosing nuthin.

I don't want to go into a tirade about gay rights or how I believe you're born how you're born or how you can't legislate morality - I believe I've done my fair share of that in the past on here - but I will say this:

To all of my gay brothers and sisters out there: Marry each other. I'm sure that most committed lesbian couples know committed gay men...pair up! It's a gay marriage and there ain't shit anyone can do about it! Because if this past election has proven anything to me, it's that I won't see a legally recognized proper gay marriage in my lifetime. Sad, but probably true. But I've found you the best loophole you're probably going to get.

Moving on.

Well, I still haven't managed to help Sudan, but not for lack of trying. I've made some fascinating contacts along the way, though, including one of the "Lost Boys". I mean the Sudanese rather than the vampires or the Peter Pan clan. The Lost Boys of Sudan were a band of boys (primarily) whose families were attacked and killed. The girls of the Sudan people are considered the property of the father, so the majority of them died along with their parents, but many of the boys fled - trekking for miles and miles across barren, harsh terrain until they reached the border to Kenya. Many of them died along the way. Relief organizations knew what was going on (even if the rest of the world didn't) and would fly in low and drop water and rice near the boys. They couldn't land because of the risk - nevermind the risk that the kids were taking, but that's another tirade for another day.

The boy I know is now a man and was relocated to the United States a few years back. The Kenyan government didn't want these boys, and since they couldn't readily prove they were orphans they weren't afforded the same assistance as regular orphans. Many of them were given asylum in the US, and I'm lucky enough to know one of them.

During his trek across Sudan he woke up after a brief nap and found vultures eating his brothers eyes out. He's the last person in his family. He has the facial modification of his tribe but he had to look up the history of his people on the internet to even find out the significance of the scarring.

Last week, the government-sanctioned military surrounded the refugee camps in Darfur. They wouldn't allow humanitarian workers into the camps and no one knew what was going on. They had destroyed everything, including water pumps - leaving thousands of people with no source of drinking water - and looted all of the relief for the people. They carried on killing and raping the people that they've been killing and raping for years. And no one has even tried to stop them. Before too long, Sudan will consist of nothing more than the military and the rebels, who will then kill each other off. Sudan will no long exist in any meaningful sense. That's not some doomsday prophesy - the UN agrees with me.

But, hey, no one listens to the UN anyway, right? We're all a bunch of morons.

So until I can pull together a meaningful way to help Sudan I have to turn my attention elsewhere - like so many others, I know, I know - and am getting relief into Baghdad, Mombasa, Dodoma, Pristina and Tegucigalpa instead. Gotta keep myself busy, you see.

Wow, I've gone and depressed myself here, so I will leave you with one of the funniest things I've said in a long time - funny to me, anyway. From comments at Andy's where he misquoted...

"Actually, Samuel Johnson first came up with this definition for his famed dictionary: "patriotism - Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name." The quote you're thinking of is from "The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce, which states, "In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary, patriotism is defined as the last refuge of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit that it is the first."


Oh yeah - I can still bring the funny. ()



Ordinary people don't get time to think
not that it's their fault
cos you have to hustle and bustle about your work
just to make sure the food gets bought
governments threaten you with recession
then they threaten you with war
how the other side wants to take away
all the things you ain't got no more
keep us divided with their greed and hate
keep you struggling to put the food on your plate.

Imagine if tomorrow the workers went on strike
not just British Leyland but the whole world
who would earn their profits?
who would make their bombs?
you'd see the hands of oppression fumble
and their systems crash to the ground
and you men in uniform will have to learn the lesson too
not to turn against your own kind
whenever governments tell you to.

Get the trans-global express moving
and see our marvellous leaders quiver
they know that if it happens
their lazy days are over
the day the working people join together
we'll all rest much more easy
the responsibility you must bear
when it's your own future in your hands
maybe a hard one to face up to
but at least you will own yourself