Friday, September 30, 2005

bring me back a souvenir... 

I'm not much for souvenirs when I travel, but I do like to bring back a little something the few times I go traveling. Usually a piece of jewelry or a coffee mug. This time I brought back an emptied water bottle with the label "US Senate", a lovely pair of earrings bought at a farmers market at Dupont Circle (I blame MusicianMan and another activist because they're the ones that stopped in front of the jewelry cart while we waited for another person - being in DC, I felt the urge to play the blame game) and, best of all, a head cold.

Oh joy.

To be fair, I probably picked it up on one of the airplanes coming home, so maybe I shouldn't put my current stuffed nose, exhaustion and sneezing and coughing on DC's head.

Man, I am one sick and tired lil' puppy.


I forgot to mention something about the trip home. As I waited for my flight to board at DCA, I looked up from my book and saw someone who looked rather familiar walking purposefully to one of the gates across from where I sat. It took less than three seconds to place her: Madeline Albright. One would think that, living in L.A. - where celebrity sightings are de rigeur, it wouldn't be that big a deal. But the former US Secretary of State under Clinton? Pretty cool, actually.


As y'all may be aware, there's a wildfire raging in northwestern Los Angeles county. At one point it came dangerously close to TheFirst's neighborhood, but he assures me that, aside from the overwhelming smell of burnt mountainside, all is well. I'm still crossing my fingers and saying a few prayers, though, both for him (I'm praying for you, TheFirst, so there!) and for all the people living in the nearby neighborhoods.

The weirdest thing, though. Last night I was on the subway and, as the doors opened at the first station in the Valley, I could smell something burning. It concerned me, but no one was evacuating the station, so I didn't think much of it (I was half asleep anyway). I got off the subway not long after and smelled the burning again. It got stronger as I emerged from underground. After a few minutes I realized that I was smelling the Topanga wildfire. A wildfire that was over twenty miles away from my neighborhood. I could still smell it this morning as I left for work. And two of my co-workers and I saw the smoke from JPL as we drove to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles during lunch. At first we thought it was a new fire that had sprung up closer to Pasadena. Turns out it was the Topanga wildfire. JPL is at least thirty miles away from the Topanga wildfire.

That's pretty damned big.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


...here are a few camera phone pictures I took of the march, with one photo from the following day. I've dropped off the disposable cameras to be developed and should be getting the photos back tomorrow. I'll scan those in and do a little uploading.

But first, a little taste:

PDLA Protestors - Photo by Carol Elaine - Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

PDLA Protestors and Tim Carpenter, Head of PDA - Photo by David Swanson - Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

West Virginia Protestors - Photo by Carol Elaine - Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


wanted: evidence of dorkism... 

...and I've found it!

I'm excited because over at Progressive Democrats of America my back can be seen in the first picture on the current update of the index page. The chick in the black suit and heels with the off-white bag? That's me! I know the bag doesn't go with the outfit, but it was the only tote bag I had and it is a PDA tote bag, so there is some connection.

More pictures can be found at Greyling Gentry's Flickr Page, a number of which include me. My favorite? Me as a woman on the go. I'm on the end, having a particularly bad hair day. But I'm on the move, baby! Can't stop me! I'm like a smiling, bad-hair-day shark! And, as always, my camera instinct flashed on, causing me to unwittingly be the only person in that picture to look at the camera instead of listening to Mimi Kennedy.

I'm such a freaking ham.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

back in the game... 

Heidi ho, readerinos!

Back in town after one hell of a weekend. There is way too much to blog about. So much happened in DC that, when I say that the peace march was the least of the weekend (considering how phenomenal that was - except for the hour and a half we stood around before we actually, you know, marched - BTW, there were easily in excess of 100,000 people there), well, ya kinda get the idea.

A coupla brief points:

* Up front I want to say that I was not amongst the protestors that were arrested in front of the White House with Cindy Sheehan, as I was in a meeting with MusicianMan and Maxine Waters in her office when that happened - however, had I not been lobbying all day, I have no doubt that I would have been amongst that group and I would have been proud to have been arrested;

* Stayed with a group of six other L.A. folks - all but one of whom I either knew or at least had met, including dear Randy, my fellow contributor over at SoCal Progressives - at the rowhouse of a terrifically nice woman not far from Dupont Circle, so it felt like one big sleepover party;

* After walking around DC - not for sightseeing, because I didn't have time - I can unequivocally say that the East Coast feels like home. Maybe it's my early years spent in Rhode Island, but I swear it's in my DNA;

* Though I didn't have time for sightseeing, I did see a lot of historical buildings - I'll get the pictures developed this week and post them on the moblog;

* Lobbying congress members (or, more specifically, their aides - at least the aides for Representative Howard Berman, who is my representative, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, who isn't much of a Democrat, quite frankly) can be disappointing;

* Phil Donahue doesn't look too bad these days and seems pretty damned neat (yes, I met him yesterday, though we didn't converse much);

* It is very cool to sit in the office of Representative Maxine Waters and observe her chatting with Margot Kidder and a talk show host from Montana whom I know I've seen before (apparently she is also an actress) - I got in on that meeting because I basically tagged along with MusicianMan all day long and he knows Maxine due to several events he's provided organization and technical assistance with;

* Maxine Waters most certainly rocks;

* Representative John Conyers has a huge office that is very, very nice and has an incredible view of the Capitol Building - no, I didn't meet him, but MusicianMan and I ran into Mimi Kennedy (whom we had already seen several times yesterday), who was on her way to meet with one of Conyers' top staffers, who happened to be a friend of hers - as a result, I sat in with the three of them in Conyers' office for over forty minutes and I have the pictures to prove it;

* I'm still in crush with Mimi Kennedy;

* Event housing coordinators dressed in black double breasted suits, white dress shirts, pearl grey pin-dotted ties and shiny black shoes make mighty fine eye candy, especially when they are excellent speakers with several terrific points - what? I'm just sayin';

* There are a lot of smokin' hot political activists out there - mmm, mmm, good;

* Progressive Democrats of America is one hell of an organization and one I'm becoming involved with - these people are firebrands in the best sense;

* I've met a lot of incredible people this week, my head is still spinning, I'm still checking out all my suitcases and my "U.S. Senate" water bottle to prove that I actually was there;

* I've barely scratched the surface of the weekend - I didn't even touch on PDA Strategy Day, for which I volunteered in the hall outside the meeting room, where the literature/swag/registration/snack bar tables are, so I didn't get a chance to see many speakers or panels - but what I did see (including Cindy Sheehan and John Bonifaz [who started AfterDowningStreet.org]) was fantastic.

There's tons more that I know I'm missing, but I have only one more thing to say about this weekend:


Thursday, September 22, 2005

musical interlude... 

Crazy world
Full of crazy contradictions like a child
First you drive me wild
And then you win my heart with your wicked art
One minute tender, gentle
Then temperamental as a summer storm
Just when I believe your heart's getting warmer
You're cold and you're cruel
And I, like a fool, try to cope
Try to hang on, to hope

Crazy world
Everyday the same old roller coaster ride

But I've got my pride
I won't give in
Even though I know I'll never win
Oh, how I love this crazy world
Crazy World (from the soundtrack of Victor/Victoria)

I'm going to be away for a few days and I doubt I'll have time (or a place) to update y'all on the goings-on of the weekend, so I thought I'd leave you with a musical interlude. Especially since I haven't done one in awhile.

I love Victor/Victoria. I loved it when it first came on HBO, lo those many years ago. And twenty-three years later I still love this movie. And its music.

Sometimes people ask me why I still stay in the game. Why I take the trouble to be politically involved. "All politicians suck," they say, "and corporations own our country." And I say that I once thought the same.

Why, even though I am becoming increasingly convinced that Mr. Right-for-Me doesn't exist - a thought I've carried with me for several months now, which is a whole other entry I may write someday - why is there a little bit of me that still thinks maybe he will show up?

Why do I stay in the game?

See the lyrics above. As I grow older, and my wounds turn into cynical scars - as I look at the world with an eye as jaded as any beautiful stone and harden my heart so that the cruelty of the world, and its people, doesn't cause it to bleed and my tears to fall in a constant stream - even though I know that the chances of my winning are slim to none, I refuse to give in.

There's still a sliver of rose-colored optimism that won't let me give in. And sheer obstinacy that's hanging onto that optimism.

Perhaps I'm a fool, but I do love this crazy world.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

for fuck's sake... 

I'm going to crosspost this to SoCal Progressives, but I thought it worthy of mentioning here, too:

Apparently the US has won the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, because the FBI is now turning its attention to the War on Porn:
"Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as 'one of the top priorities' of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of 'the Director.' That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III."


"Congress began funding the obscenity initiative in fiscal 2005 and specified that the FBI must devote 10 agents to adult pornography. The bureau decided to create a dedicated squad only in the Washington Field Office. 'All other field offices may investigate obscenity cases pursuant to this initiative if resources are available,' the directive from headquarters said. 'Field offices should not, however, divert resources from higher priority matters, such as public corruption.' "
Will someone please give me a fucking break?

No, really, I'd like a fucking break. Though I suppose that's what these last four months have been...

(PS - this is my 666th post - it seems worth commemorating.)

killing me softly... 

...is my LAUNCHcast station.

The skies over Los Angeles have decided to open up and pour its watery contents all over our heads today. Why? Who knows? Perhaps in belated sympathy of the victims of Katrina. Perhaps in sympathy of what Hurricane Rita may or may not bring for the citizens of Houston (tip o' the hat to Ray for that link).

All I know is the day started with the sound of rain on my rooftop and it has continued to rain off and on since. Now I sit at work, listening to KGDS, and Rain by Patti Griffin trickles into my eardrums.

And now the music has shifted to a new song: Things She Said by Toy Matinee.

Freakin' A, LAUNCHcast, have a heart. And stop breaking mine, 'k?

And now it's moved on to Action/Adventure by Andrew Bird, whose music is always painfully beautiful.

I don't stand a chance.

Monday, September 19, 2005

smack my hand... 

...and call me a bad girl!

Once again I've stepped away from my blogging duties for a little too long. For awhile there I didn't know what else to post except Katrina resource links. When I tried to write entries that expressed my feelings regarding the hurricane and its horrific aftermath, I found myself unable to lay it out. Anything non-Katrina related seemed too frivolous. It still sorta does. Ray mentioned in a comment that perhaps such feelings stem from growing up in the area.

Thing is, I didn't really grow up there. I didn't really grow up anywhere in particular. But I lived in Norfolk, Virginia when I was 9 and Pensacola, Florida when I was 10, so I remember the hurricane warnings of my youth. I even remember living through a tropical storm, though Wikipedia doesn't support my memories. Even though I only lived in Pensacola for about a year (by the time I turned 11 my family and I were living in El Centro, California - yes, there is a naval base in the desert of Imperial Valley), I still feel a certain connection to the Gulf Coast. And I still think, "There, but for the grace of G-d or whatever..."

It's definite: I'm going to Washington, DC this weekend for Grassroots Action on the Hill. I've had my plane tickets for a few weeks now (round trip for under $250 - pretty sweet!) and I spoke with MusicianMan last night regarding housing, so it's all set! I'll be staying with a few other people that I know from a few of the groups, so I'll be amongst familiar faces, which is always nice. And I've volunteered to help out with Monday's activities, though I've yet to hear from the woman organizing that. I hope I hear from her soon, because I would really like to help out with that.

In other news: as I mentioned in my last entry, my bike was stolen. My beloved one-speed dorky blue bike with the double baskets over the back tire was stolen from the MetroRail station down the street from my house. I would say it was my fault, sort of, except that when I said so to MusicianMan he pretty much took me to task for assuming the blame that belonged to, as he said, "evil people in this world." So, no, it wasn't my fault. But it's something I suspected might happen, as it was a Friday night I fell asleep on ModelGirl's sofa while I was watching her cats, which meant I didn't get back to my neck of the woods until 9am the next morning, only to find my adored bicycle gone. And I had just gotten the flat tire and broken spokes fixed the week before.

MusicianMan told me to hang on to his bicycle for a little while longer, but I've been afraid to ride it and lock it anywhere, so I've just used it when I've had time on the weekends to ride for only exercise. Between my stolen bike and Sarriah's tale of a probably dead bicyclist, I've been a little leery of my usual riding in traffic.

Of course, this started off a week in which I not only lost my barely used $58 monthly bus pass, but I also endured an extremely pissy week of PMS. Every time something new happened that annoyed the crap out of me (and trust me, there were many, many things that annoyed the crap out of me - I feel sorry for my poor officemate) I just had to remind myself that at least my home hadn't been swept away by floods and I hadn't lost family in a disaster. It sorta helped.

On the up side, besides being very excited - and maybe a little nervous - about flying to DC this Friday (I'll fly back home on the following Tuesday), I also attended an event at Agape in Culver City (which is a huge spiritual center in Los Angeles - Boychik used to be a member before he became disillusioned with some of the people there) which featured Cindy Sheehan, Arianna Huffington and Maxine Waters, amongst others. I had already seen both Arianna and Maxine (yeah, we're on a first name basis now, uh huh), but this was the first time I'd seen Cindy. I was impressed. She's a passionate individual, which is easy to see if you've seen any interviews on TV, but she's also a grieving mother who is just looking for answers and is deeply unsatisfied with the bullshit she's been told. It's not an act, she's not being yanked around by leftie organizations - she is exactly what she appears to be. It just so happens she's a grieving mother who is sincere and is not afraid to get in peoples' faces, which is one of the reasons she's emerged as a leader and a symbol for the anti-war movement.

I went with GroovyLady, who is a new friend of mine that I've met via SoCal Grassroots. We connected pretty early on this year and have hung out a few times, gone to a few events and realized that we just really like each other. She's responsible for taking care of her teenage grandson, which means she has her hands full, but she still can make time for the political stuff and friends and all, and she is, in fact, a very groovy, spiritual lady. So it's all pretty good.

Yesterday was interesting, too. Not the whole day, as I used it for errands and shopping, mostly. But at one point I was walking by a theatre in my neighborhood and I noticed a hand written sign through the window: The Boys Next Door 2:00pm-5:00pm. I thought it might be an audition, so I peeked my head in, as it's a play I love and one I was in back in 1992. Turns out it was a rehearsal, but the producer/director spoke with me, letting me know that he was holding additional auditions in October for understudies since he's interested in moving it off-Broadway and after we spoke for a few minutes he took asked the stage manager to take down my information. I'll make sure I see the play when it opens locally just as a reminder. Will something come of it? Who knows? But I still think it's kinda cool.

Unfortunately my schedule and money situation have thus precluded me from going back to improv classes, but I am going to try to work it for the next intermediate session. I really want to get back to it.

So that's what's going on right now. Thought I should update y'all, since it's been ten days. Though the real reason I wrote today is because it's Talk Like A Pirate Day, doncha know. So feel free to walk around work, telling co-workers to shiver yer timbers and calling 'em all mateys. They'll understand, never you fear.


Friday, September 09, 2005

want another katrina resource? 

Well, ya got one!

The ever-faboo GraceD has put together a new blog in partnership with a SuperMom in Mississippi to help Hurricane Katrina victims directly. It's Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief! and is immensely wonderful.

GraceD, you rock.

(I promise, at some point I will post non-Katrina related stuff. After all, I have stories about my beloved one-speed bike being stolen and me losing my brand new and barely used bus pass, all in the same week. Still, nowhere near as bad as losing my home in a hurricane or being stranded with no food or water thanks to government incompetence. A girl's gotta keep perspective, ya know.)

Thursday, September 08, 2005

john scalzi nails it... 

Being Poor.

For all of those people up in arms because of the New Orleans residents who "chose not to evacuate" before Hurricane Katrina hit.

As someone who grew up not that far north of the poverty line, John's words - and the subsequent comments - resonate strongly with me. If something like Katrina had hit when my family lived in Pensacola, FL and my dad was overseas, you can bet my family might have been one that "chose not to evacuate."

It's fucking hard to evacuate when:Then again, since we were a military family, we might have been lucky enough to have been evacuated by the Navy. Those left behind in Louisiana and Mississppi didn't have that luxury.

Thank you, John.

[9/8/05 - 3:56pm - Edited to link to an entry by Cherie Priest - more excellent insight. Thank you, Cherie.]

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

another katrina resource... 

I'm sorry I'm not posting much else, but I feel odd blogging about anything insubstantial right now and all political related blogging is going on SoCal Grassroots blog. Anywho, the wesbite for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has provided a page for children who have gone missing during Hurrincane Katrina. Please check it out.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

more katrina aftermath help... 

If any of y'all are able/willing to offer housing for displaced Katrina survivors, go to Hurricane Housing, sponsored by MoveOn.org and sign up.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? www.blogwise.com Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com Listed on BlogShares Free Image Hosting at ImageShack.us

Listed on LABlogs.com

Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
This is my blogchalk:
United States, California, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, English, Carol, Female, 36-40.

WWW all the fun of the fair...