Friday, February 27, 2004

Everybody's talking about that new Jesus movie, and in spite of the fact that it's not at all historically accurate, isn't particularly Christian, and shows a rather un-Christian fondness for violence, I kind of want to see it. I mean, it's got Mary Magdelene as a vampire-slaying lesbian. What's not to love?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Wonder how our families would react if Christie and I put a notice on the wedding invites that said, "No gifts necessary, but if you're feeling the urge to give, please donate to Freedom to Marry in our name."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

When I got married, I knew with absolute certainty that this was the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with. Five years later, I spent my anniversary at a concert with a male friend, wondering if I'd ever hold my wife in my arms again. There are a thousand lessons a man could learn from an experience like that, but I tried to narrow my sights to just one: "You never know."

Wait, let me start over.

I spent the two years after my divorce limping through life like a man who'd lost a limb, and the pain of it made me loathe to lean on anyone ever again.

Hmmm. No, still not right.

If you let your fear of getting hurt prevent you from taking chances, you have a 100% chance of missing out on happiness.

No. True, but too flip.

Sunrui Suzuki once referred to Zen practice as "one continuous mistake". If we take the same phrase and apply it to life, it frees us to...

Oh, hell. Not even close.

I got engaged. I'd been thinking about it for weeks, wondering if she'd say yes, wondering if I was rushing, wondering if I'd gone too slow, asking myself why I wanted to ask (was it because I just didn't want to be single anymore? No, not really. Fear of losing her? Definitely not. Pressure from society? Parents? The IRS? No, no, and no. Because I love her, can't imagine anyone better suited to build a life with, and want her to know she's first in my heart? Yeah, that's the one.), going over the whys the whens the hows and wheres until I decided I was, as usual, making things too complicated. So when date night arrived, and we were snuggled up on the couch watching Angel, I waited until the show was over and said, "You know what?"

"What?"

"I think we should get married. Maybe this fall."

"Okay. Sounds great."

"Is that a yes?"

"It's a yes."

So now I have a wedding to plan. Anybody know a good place in mid-Missouri to have a reception (and possibly the wedding, too) for 30-50 people? Not too expensive, please. We're paying for this ourselves, you know.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

A couple of thoughts on the evolving political landscape. First of all, I think Tim Noah comes perilously close to diagnosing exactly what was wrong with the Dean campaign. Tim's thesis is that there were two Howard Deans: the real centrist and the fake liberal, and that what killed his campaign was the tension between the two. There's a certain truth in that. What he doesn't say is that there were also two campaigns: New Media and Old. The Old Media campaign largely featured the liberal Howard Dean, which was slightly at odds with reality. The New Media campaign was a grassroots swelling of support for the real Howard Dean. I've long since given up on Old Media, so all I saw was the real thing, which led to confusion whenever I talked about Dean to my friends that still watch cable news or read newspapers. Could he have won if he'd stuck to the center-left? I dunno. Conventional wisdom says you run to the left for the primaries, then back to the center for the election, but with a high-stakes election like this one, I'm not sure that's the best strategy. Electability turned out to be the key, and he didn't beat that drum hard enough or soon enough.

But I'm glad to see he plans to keep his organization intact in order for them to remain a force in the Democratic party. Lord knows somebody needs to shake things up in that organization. And then there's the post-primary season. Kerry, at least isn't shackled by spending limits, but he doesn't have Dean's ability to raise money from the general public. And if Edwards wins the nomination (which I'm kind of hoping for), then he'll be muzzled from the convention onwards, while Bush cuts loose with a firehose of money.

Josh Marshall says more or less the same thing. In fact, that's what spurred my thinking on the topic. But he doesn't say anything about Dean's organization or MoveOn.org, both of whom will be, as I understand it, free to attack Bush as much as they'd like, as long as they don't say nice things about the Democratic candidate. And that could make this a very interesting race.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Here's a nice breakdown of who looks down on who in Paganism. It all fits my memories pretty well, though I have a couple of quibbles. For instance, everybody looks down on the Randians, and vice versa.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Great line.
Bush: Democrats would endanger the fiscal health of the US.

Josh Marshall: "This is the arsonist in your house telling you that stranger outside with the hose can't be trusted."

Monday, February 16, 2004

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Now that's what I call a weekend. Much puttering, much cooking, a liberal sprinkling of Playstation 2 time, three bottles of wine, and a couple of movies. And some other fun stuff that's none of your damn business (it was, after all, Valentine's Day). Saturday night's dinner, for the curious, was duck a l'orange with asparagus and orzo rissotto. The duck recipe and confidence-building instructions came via James Peterson's Duck Cookbook, which I enthusiastically recommend.

Here in Columbia, the only duck I found was the frozen whole bird (I was hoping to find just the breasts, but no such luck), so I had to cut it up myself, which was daunting, but not as scary (or as gory) as I'd feared. Yes, when you start with the whole animal, it's impossible to kid yourself about the fact that your dinner used to be a living being, but I'm just weird enough to call that a good thing. Also, the extra bits of fat went into the freezer for later, as did the rest of the bird that wasn't the breasts. Today the carcass, legs and wings went into a pot of boiling water on the stove and, after a day of simmering, formed the basis for tonight's duck stew, which will feed Christie and I for the better part of the week.

Long story short? Duck is good, and not that difficult. Eat more duck.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Not bad, but there are some significant holes I need to fill, and a few places I haven't been in way too long:


create your own visited states map

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Slow blogging
I'm trying to write a help file for a revised application while extracting huge amounts of data, cleaning up another huge bucketload of bits, and build a set of demo templates for yet another new application, all for a tradeshow that starts at the end of next week, all while planning a kickass Valentine's Day Romantic Dinner to Beat the Band, so I may be a bit aloof for a few days. Don't think it means I don't love you.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

A woman and her adult son are talking religion:

Him: I haven't been to a lot of gay weddings, but the ones I've been to, I can totally see Jesus there. Laughing, dancing, having fun. He'd be behind the bar, making wine.

Her: And everyone was wearing sandals.

Him: Well, they were lesbian weddings, so yeah.

Friday, February 06, 2004

The Buddahbrot set: a modified Mandelbrot set producing fractal Buddhas. Georgeous.
Oh, and here's a nice article on Bush's poor performance in Republican primaries.
Mix 3 parts rock and roll with 1 part "Let's put on a show!", garnish with a small piece of cheese and one cherry tomato. Serve chilled.
If you're in or near Columbia, Missouri tonight, check out Hedwig and the Angry Inch at 9 o'clock at the Missouri Theatre. John Gilbreth has the pipes and the 'tude for a note-perfect Hedwig, and Bockman's Euphio kicks ass as the Angry Inch. The expected small town connection comes from the fact that the director, Christy LeMaster, was one of three dozen or so poor unfortunate souls stuck with me as a freshman comp. teacher at Truman.

Anyway, it's a good time, and has the kind of spirit that we need more of in the world. The Pedestrian Theater Company, as near as I can figure, wanted to see a live production of Hedwig here in town and decided the only way they were going to make that happen was if they did it themselves. That'd be worth supporting even if they didn't kick ass, but they do, so go treat yourself.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Brilliant reading of LOTR as a dating manual. Includes such gems as "if you're the only girl among 100 guys you'll still fall for the only one who has a girlfriend" and "When overused, terms of endearment such as 'precious' lose their meaning".
Ooh, this pisses me off. Anybody remember when Gore got reamed by the press for making fundraising phone calls from his office, but on the DNC's credit card. So why haven't I heard a peep about Bush arranging "official events" to correspond with Republican fundraisers so that he can stick taxpayers with the travel costs? Let alone spending $30 million of taxpayers' money to promote their side of a legislative fight (which is blatantly illegal).
A friend of a friend created this map of campaign contributions to the major presidential candidates, superimposed over a map of the US. This is good information design. Not only does it put a simple graphical overlay on a complex subject, but the visuals are quite striking, like a series of cancers on the body politic (pardon the overblown rhetoric).

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

And this morning I'm leaning toward Dean. Luckily Missouri has a proportional primary, so whoever I vote for will get his share of the delegates. It'd be ridiculous to go winner-takes-all this early.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Well, tomorrow's the big primary here in Missouri, and, while I have a Dean sign in my yard, I'm seriously thinking of voting for Edwards. He's been my second choice for a long time, and he's leading Dean by quite a bit in the polls hereabouts. So there's that. But strategic voting (which I'm not a big fan of) aside, there's the way Dean's campaign blew through $40 million, which doesn't speak well for their fiscal responsibility. Of course, anybody's better than Bush, and the whole point of primaries is to register the preferences of voters, so whoever you like, be sure to vote. No matter how much the weather sucks.