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Wednesday, 12 November 2008
I am the farthest north I have ever been
Topic: Catching up

Never having pulled a 24-hourish stint of travel with hair this short (chin length) before, I did not anticipate that it would look quite so bad getting off the first plane, let alone the bus between airports and the next plane. I’m writing this sitting on yet another bus, waiting to depart Skavsta airport for Stockholm, and at long last, a hotel where I can wash my hair – and the rest of me – free of the sticky film of travel.

It’s been nearly two years since I last used my passport, which – well, I would say that’s peculiar, but I didn’t leave Australia for two years, so that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. It is a bit strange to have spent such a long stretch of unbroken time in the States, though. Now I get a week out, in two European cities I’ve never been to before, and while I’m pleased, I do find myself wishing they weren’t northern European cities in November. I can only hope I’ve packed warmly enough.

The trip out to Stockholm has been a bit grueling – while it’s a professional trip, it’s on a pretty limited budget, so instead of flying reasonably directly from DC to Stockholm, I ended up leaving DC for London last night, arriving at Heathrow this morning, transferring to Stanstead airport, well outside the city, this afternoon, to fly Ryanair to “Stockholm” – and now I’ve got another hour+ bus ride ahead of me. Not to mention a conference that starts at 8:30 tomorrow that I have to figure out how to get to. And all I want to do is shower and sleep. Sleep, like I did briefly just now, and came to myself to find six rows of “mmmmmmmmmmmm” marching across my screen.

The bus ride from Heathrow to Stansted might have been a good way to see a bit of the English landscape, but I’ll never know, because I have vague recollections of pulling out of the station, and then I was out like a light, with only a couple brief “huh . . . wha . . . should wake u. . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” moments before we got to the airport. I almost never sleep well on planes, but the hum and sway of a vehicle on the road rock me off to sleep almost against my will. I’m struggling now, but I really don’t want to doze off because I’m afraid I’ll wreck my chances of getting to sleep tonight. And I dearly want to sleep, and hopefully lessen the jet lag.

I can't believe how easily the trip out has gone. Both flights actually came in a bit early, there was next to no wait at immigration, practically no customs, and impressively little delay in securing my checked luggage.  I am not accustomed to this state of affairs. Tiny little Skavsta airport though, with it’s formerly blond finishes greyed and dimmed by time and hardly shown off to their advantage under greasy florescent lights, that felt vaguely familiar from my days schlepping around Eastern Europe.

I am losing the battle to the rocking of the bus. I keep yanking myself awake, trying to focus on the screen, to force my brain to string thoughts together while the landscape rolls by in anonymous darkness, and I wonder whether Sweden would look familiar under sunlight or not. I may never know – my return flight to London is a late one, and I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be dark when I reverse this trip on Friday.

12:01 AM GMT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 23 November 2008 3:30 AM GMT
Saturday, 1 November 2008
I'm not voting for Obama

I can't vote for anybody, I haven't gotten my absentee ballot yet.  Grrrr.  Hopefully it arrives Monday.

Chello has a really lovely reflection on who he's voting for Tuesday over at Diary of a Black Male Feminist.  I'm not exactly Obama's biggest cheerleader, but he has certainly inspired an outpouring of creativity in prose, music, and art the likes of which I've never seen in a political campaign before.

9:06 PM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
When the system breaks
With elections looming, I certainly hope that voter intimidation and deception, problems with voter registration, issues of polling place accessibility and voting machine error do not arise in your district.  If they do, Election Protection 365 has a toll-free hotline you can call to report any voting problems you witness or experience: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

12:01 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 3 February 2008 6:44 PM GMT
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
When life hits like a ton of bricks
Topic: Quotidiana

I moved in the nick of time.  The story of the move itself is something of a saga - things did not go as planned.  But I got here, no one was injured, and no irreparable property damage was done.  But, as I said, I moved in the nick of time, because work went insane as soon as I hit DC.  I haven't even had time to finish unpacking and the walls of my room are distressingly bare.

Then last week I found out that a friend of mine has cancer.  I feel like I've barely stopped to think about it, really, because my days have become a blur of e-mails and checking on the next deadline and trying to find out what's going on with her so I can tell all our friends. Nights have been taken up with meeting my friends here so I don't have to think about what I was doing all day.

I'm learning all kinds of things, some of which may find their way here, because I can't stand not to share information.  Like support groups for young people with cancer, and children's books about dealing with cancer in the family, and ... well, I have to feel like I'm doing something.  Even if it's something that might possibly help someone who ends up here randomly via Google and never comes back again.

Mercifully, it's not all stress and gloom.  Moments like these are what friends square off for, and so many people are stepping up.  Its wonderful to see all the concern for my friend from our college crowd - I'm getting back in touch with people I haven't heard from in years as the news works its way down the lines.  It does me good to know that there's so much support for her.  And my friends here, some of whom barely know me, are looking out for me, too.  I wish there was an easier way than major life crises to be reminded how many generous people I've been fortunate enough to have in my life.

Monday, 6 October 2008
Laugh or you might cry
Topic: Editorializing

I have to say this for Sarah Palin - her nomination has done a world of good for at least one woman.  Tina Fey's Palin impression should end up in SNL history alongside Chevy Chase's Gerald Ford and Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush.  And I'm pleased that in their send-up of the Vice-Presidential debate the writers went after both VP candidates for the absurdity of their statements about same-sex marriage during Thursday's debate (at about 8 minutes in to the video, which I'm sending you to Diary of an Anxious Black Woman to watch because that's where I saw it, and I can't figure out how to embed the video, and she's an awesome writer who should have more traffic, even if it's only the three people who still read here, what with my repeated month-long hiatuses.  Hiati?  Whatever.  I'm trying to get back to writing, really I am, but work is a bit nuts right now).  Not that the double-speak on same-sex marriage wasn't an easy target to hit, but I'm glad they took a shot at it.  It truly was surreal to hear Biden talking about how there should be no difference in the rights of straight and gay couples and then say 5 seconds later that he opposes same-sex marriage.  This is what makes me nuts about elections - moral courage and consistency apparently render candidates unelectable.  

1:59 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 6 October 2008 2:18 AM BST
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Good morning, Baltimore, and goodbye
Topic: Quotidiana

It figures that the day I'd pick to move would end up muggy and potentially rainy.  I sit here, surrounded by boxes, grumbling that my neighbor downstairs had the audacity to commandeer the washing machine when I wanted to use it, and waiting on my friends to show up to begin the moving.  Nearly everything is done, and with surprisingly little stress - I may finally be getting good at this moving thing. 

Wish me luck with moving truck - it's a scary thing to be driving when you barely drive at all. 

1:44 PM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 8 September 2008
The same level of scrutiny will not be forthcoming
Topic: Editorializing

In the interests of fairness, I figure that since Obama got dragged across the coals for his association with Pastor Wright, that Palin ought to come in for some critique based on her association with a church that actively seeks the conversion of Jewish people and holds conferences for the "pray away the gay" movement.  And I'm perfectly willing to bet that this never makes the mainstream media. After all, when it comes to what we look for in a leader, membership in a church rife with anti-Semitism and homophobia is nowhere near as outrageous as attending the church of a pastor who harshly critiques institutional racism in the United States </bitter sarcasm, on a very temporary basis>. 

I want this election to be over so that (hopefully) I can stop feeling sullied by everything associated with it.  

Thursday, 4 September 2008
Shenanigans at the RNC
Topic: Events

Amy Goodman got arrested for no damn good reason.

ICE agents are entering jail and pulling out arrestees with “foreign-sounding names"


4:37 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Topic: Editorializing

Earlier, I quickly pointed to a recent post by Zuzu at Shakesville that I now want to return to a greater length, because she's looking downright prophetic today.

Zuzu made a really interesting case for how the choice of Palin could be a real asset to the McCain campaign if one takes a really Machiavellian perspective. What if McCain's purpose in choosing Palin was less to attract women's votes to his party, than to attempt to deny them to his opponent by waving a red flag in front of the misogynist blowhards (of both sexes) in the Democratic party?

what the Republicans will do that the Democrats will not is call out the misogyny against their candidate. I've said it before -- the Republicans would never, in a million years, stand by and let the media and the party rank-and-file treat one of their female candidates the way that Clinton got treated during the primary.

Thus, they turn a Democratic strength into a weakness. Or, rather, expose it as a weakness.

Now, as to why I don't think that McCain actually thinks that disaffected Democratic women will flock to him just because he picked a wingnut gun-nut creationist woman with some ethical problems as a running mate: because he doesn't have to get them to vote for him. He has to get them to stay home in swing states.

 And today, from the Associated Press (on Yahoo News):

McCain's campaign made a shrewd appeal to women by casting Palin as a victim of familiar circumstances.

"How do we balance our career, in her case a political career, with that of motherhood and continue to have a very fine family?" asked former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, one of dozens of women dispatched to media outlets by the McCain campaign.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani toted his feminist talking points around to no fewer than five morning TV interviews.

"The scrutiny you are giving her is so darn unfair. It is really indecent," he told MSNBC's morning crew. "She is being asked questions like, can you, as a mother ... be vice president? Whoever asked a man?"

And in the New York Post:

John McCain, Fred Thompson and former Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Lieberman galloped to the defense of embattled Sarah Palin yesterday, trying to shield her from attacks that she's not veep material, as well as from the firestorm over her pregnant teenage daughter.

"Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit," said Thompson, a former presidential hopeful, "Law & Order" star and Tennessee senator.

Clearly Zuzu's analysis was sharp.  Now we have to hope the GOP strategy doesn't have the desired effect on liberal women voters. 

4:27 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 4 September 2008 4:28 AM BST
Monday, 1 September 2008
Very, very important
Topic: PSAs
As Gustav rolls through the Gulf, there's been a lot of talk about how much more prepared New Orleans is this time around.  But that doesn't still mean that system won't fail people, potentially a lot of people.  BfP has been doing a hell of a job making sure her readers know about these people at risk and the organizations working to protect and assist them.  Go have a look, and do what you can to offer your support. 

3:36 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink

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