The United States of Christianity.
kitten   February 27, 2002

So apparently, Bush thinks it is the government's duty to "promote marraige", as part of the welfare reform package.

"Stable families should be the central goal of American welfare policy," Bush said. "Building and preserving families are not always possible - I recognize that - but they should always be our goal."
Excuse me, Mr Bush, but as I see it, the primary goal of welfare policy should be to get the recipients off welfare as soon as possible. Whether they're single, married, divorced, or polygamous is really none of the government's concern.
Then again, this is the same government that tries to legislate consensual sex between adults, so I really shouldn't be surprised.
Bush defended the proposal, saying his administration will give "unprecedented support to strengthening marriages," which in turn will improve the lives for millions of children.
For a party that claims to want to have a throwback to some 1940s idealistic concept of values, this is truly bizarre. The way I've always had it, and understood it to be traditionally, is that marriage is a bond between two people who wish to spend their lives together. Y'know, because they love each other.
Certainly, this is not the way it always is. But adding just one more "incentive" to get married for a reason other than love seems a bit out of place with the Good Old Fashioned Values that Bush and his lackeys espouse. If the person in question doesn't want to get married for whatever reason, well, we'll just bribe them with various welfare incentives. Then later, we can point at the increase of the American Nuclear Family during the Bush administration and use that as a platform for re-election.
"We will work to strengthen marriage," he said. "The most effective, direct way to improve the lives of children is to encourage the stability of American families."
Bend over, single working mothers. Bush would like to shaft you.
The president said his new plan has three other main goals: Empowering states to seek new and innovative solutions to help welfare recipients achieve independence.
After the conference, Bush was heard to remark, "We will proactively utilize hands-on, innovative approaches to the e-marriage paradigm, which will supercharge the e-solution integration with welfare-based applications."
Bush said the nation's "War on Poverty," launched in the 1960s, did little to reduce poverty among children. From 1965 to 1995, federal and state spending on low income and poor families went from $40 billion to more $350 billion a year, he said.
Unlike, say, the War on Drugs, which receives even more funding, and has negligible results as well. Yet the War on Drugs is touted as a Wonderful Thing(tm).

Anyway, the real fun stuff starts here:

As part of this family-driven initiative, Bush also said the administration will allocate $135 million to advocate abstinence for America's youth -- a proposal that drew shouts of "amen" from the crowd.
Sigh. And what, pray tell, is the government going to do about teen sex (not that it should even be their business..)? It's going to be the same as their methods of educating youth on the dangers of drug use: "Uh, sex is bad, mm-kay?"
"This is trying to make a stable family unit, and I think it's only right that the government gets involved, to help families help themselves," he said.
He continued, "Help us help you help us help you."
What possible justification can Bush offer for making it the government's business to involve itself in family affairs? Would a more stable family be better for America's youth? Probably. Are stable marriages a good thing? Probably. Is it the role of a government to influence life choices such as this? Hell no, it isn't, and I for one am getting very bloody tired of the government sticking it's fat bulbous head into situations where it need not be.

Thanks, Bush, but your government should do the following things: establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the blessings of liberty. And stay the fuck out of everything else.
Notice that I deliberately left out "promote the general welfare", that being the ham-fisted, all-encompassing battle cry for any politician who wants to introduce legistlation regarding matters that are not the government's legitimate concern. "Promote the general welfare" means, to me, "make sure your citizens aren't all lying in gutters". It does not mean "legislate your personal vision of ethics and morality on everyone".

God, I'm bitter.

Walking on broken glass. Walking on broken dreams.
kitten   February 21, 2002

If this wasn't an obvious one, I don't know what is:

[justinfinity] holy crap, there is a girl in a red shirt
[justinfinity] and she's looking back at me
[justinfinity] except the ugly girl in the way keeps leaning forward and exposing her crack
[justinfinity] i'm sitting here with my mt. dew, chocolate milk, pop-tarts, and iBook
[justinfinity] with my messed up hair and all
[justinfinity] and she's unnerving me :-P
[justinfinity] usually i'm the last one to look away
[jungly] kick her
[justinfinity] no!
[kitten] Justin, if I were you I'd run.
[goodbye] throw the laptop at her and scream in klingon.
[kitten] Girls in red shirts who look at you are bad news.
[kitten] Take it from me.
[justinfinity] i knew you'd say that

And I'll just leave it at that.

From the north, e'en unto the east, a portion of life.
kitten   February 17, 2002

I think I'm going to start talking like this from now on:

[ry4n] kitten: you killed my brother last winter.
[kitten] And in the snow did his corpse rot.
[kitten] No longer shall his spirit be chained to this mortal
coil, e'er he sails unto the sky.
[kitten] And when the sky shines down on you, you shall know this
to be true: That thy brother, hark'ning above, was brought to his grave
by a fight over love.
[kitten] The admission of guilt is scarcely past my lips when I
feel the pangs of pleasure at having watched the blood seep from his body.
[kitten] I like the way his face looked like a trainwreck as he
crumpled into the frozen river.
[ry4n] kitten: you really are a sick fuck aren't you?
[kitten] Some would say that a sick fuck am I, but the black
contrast of truth, black and blacker still, is my witness.
[kitten] For I am more twisted, more sprained and convoluted than
any spring-wound necromancer's dream.

Collection of Collateral (with interest, you owe me)
kitten   February 14, 2002


beauty is
this gray cracked room
with bending floorboards torn apart and
tilted sunlight through dusty glass

or the broken fallen look upon your ashen face
as the profile of the gun finds meaning in your brain

and beauty is the gentle steel rain
of emptied shell casings
one after another
a brass cascade upon the asphalt
each delivering swift heavymetal vengeance

and beauty is watching you crumple
and beauty is knowing you'll come back for more
and beauty is watching you bleed
and beauty is knowing you'll be ignored
and beauty is watching you burn
and beauty is knowing i caused it
and beauty is seeing you'll never learn
and beauty is knowing
and beauty is watching
and beauty is seeing
and beauty is
and beauty

Lies fall out like fire from your lips.
kitten   February 12, 2002

It's interesting to me that, without fail, those who say they want something "real" never do.

Oh, they pay lip service to the idea. But unfailingly, unfalteringly, unswervingly and no joke, almost every person I have ever heard utter a desire for that which is real - real people, down to earth, something to sink their metaphorical teeth into - is either lying or demented.

Because they don't.

What they want is something new, something ever-changing, no matter what. It's style over substance with these people, and what's "real" may pass them over because they're too busy looking for the next quick fix. Like burnt and much-used heroin spoons, ruining themselves and anybody who dares get close to them as they steamroll over the Real to get to the New.

Dystopic novelty junkies.

. . . . .

Yeah, I'm still standing in line, waiting my turn, hands clasped behind my back, hopeful, forever.

You want what's real? You want something solid, an anchorpoint in the midst of all the howling chaos and frozen madness?

Maybe you should look and see what's been standing right in front of you the entire time; maybe if you weren't too busy looking ahead, your eyes could focus on what's actually there. While your focus is glued to the horizon on that stretching asphalt lane, you don't notice the empty fuel tank blinking at you less than two feet from your thousand-yard gaze.

Maybe I'm not good enough, but at least I know where I stand: right there, in front of you. But to keep pushing me away - back behind that yellow line! - and then to sit and wonder why I don't come back?

Well, fuck that.

One day you'll bleed, and I'm not going to be there to hold you. Don't come round wondering why.

. . . . .

Yes, this is vague. Do with it what you will. I'm so fucking tired of caring.

At last, we are recognized.
kitten   February 8, 2002

Standing in line at the bank yesterday, and this emo-looking guy wanders over and asks if that's my car outside, the one with emblazoned in large white letters on the back window. And he wanted to know what it was about. I gave him the standard answer I give when I don't have a lot of time to go into it, which is something on the order of "Half of it is a personal weblog, and half is a forum dedicated to online fiction." Most people, they just sort of stare blankly at me, but he seemed to think it was a fairly cool idea.

Asked him how he knew it was my car, and he replies, "You just look like the kind of guy who would do something like that." Heh. I was wearing a gray button-up, black pants and the black longcoat, so I don't know. Maybe it was the hair that did it. Yess.

And last night, I get spammed on AIM from a girl who apparently was driving behind me at some point in the not-too-distant past and saw the self-promoting ad. Says she's been combing through Walled City (which is where she got my AIM name, likely), and made a few generous comments on it. I thought it was kind of cool, myself - at least, it proves that my "rolling ads" are good for more than just attracting undue attention from local law enforcement.

So, shoutouts to David and Cassi, if the mindless self-serving nonsense around here hasn't scared them off yet: Welcome to the Walled City. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The ocean haunts me like a symphony.
kitten   February 6, 2002

The collar on my black coat is turned up against the wind and rain of this winter storm, and standing outside with a cigarette clutched like a talisman, I can see my own reflection in the mirrored windows of the building across the street.

Sometimes I wonder why those windows are mirrored.

The foundation of this building, like any other, has settled over time, worn itself into the earth, and the rainwater - not yet cold enough to crystallize and ice - collects in the parking lot and drifts slowly in the general direction of the building. An excellent dual representation of the beauty of gravity, that inverse square.

Images of pool tables and gridwork and volleyballs spring to mind.

Ever watch those puddles of darkned water as the raindrops cascade into them from above? Those asphalt-lined puddles are so black, and brilliant are the reflections of their resulting ripples, as they refract the ambient luminosity in their perfect tiny circles, roiling outward from point of impact like minature novas in far reaches of space - hundreds of them, each flaring forth a blinding white, and then dying.

Beautiful, in it's own way, beautiful and sad. Those tiny novas, ripples of water, quickly lose momentum and sink back into the sea from whence they came. Some of the larger ones have enough power behind them to affect the course of others. It's a rudimentary facsimile of life cycles: The circles are born, they grow with fierce energy and direction behind them, ever outward, changing others, and as they age, they lose that ambition and quietly discorporate into that which gave them life.

Brief little life cycles, those. Brief and brittle.

But short-lived as they are, some are dealt an even more sorrowful fate: the tiniest raindrops, plunging earthward and causing such insignificant ripples that they're easily dismissed, easily missed. The outward pressure on those ripples they create are powerless, lackluster, and are almost immediately consumed back into the unforgiving waters. Those tiniest raindrops, they lose their spark immediately, and their ripples are felt by no one.

The cigarette makes an audible hiss as I snap the remainder into the puddle, and the fire is extinguished. It slowly toils towards the building's gravity, carried along by the gentle current, and all around it, tiny lives are being built and destroyed; some affecting others, some dying without ever being noticed.

Sometimes I wonder, as I view those mirrored windows, if I am the large or small raindrops. Sometimes I wonder if my ripples make a difference to anyone.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm making ripples at all.

Nicely summed up.
Now I see that you found somebody new And that I never meant that much to you To hear that tears me up inside And to see you cuts me like a knife
Poison, Every Rose Has It's Thorn
Would you be here right now, if I'd only let you know?

It's a scene of cliches, perhaps, but it's there nonetheless. But I'm inside my car, experiencing it all through the windshield, and that only makes it seem more like a film.

Those people outside, I think they're just acting, a sort of pantomime of real life staged for my benefit. It's like the end of a 1950s movie about the 1940s soldier getting ready to ship off. He's standing on the asphalt, looking up into the eyes of the woman he's maybe saying goodbye to. From inside my shell, my bubble, my tenth-row center-stage seating, I can't tell, but that's what I imagine is going on here. This movie doesn't come with dialogue, and there's no subtitles, either.

She's standing on the driver's seat of her car, up on her toes, leaning way out of the sunroof, leaning towards him, and he reaches up to her, to take her face in his hands.

Their lips press together. The winter chill whips all around them. I wonder if they notice.

The traffic light is green, but I don't bother looking away, because I know this line of cars isn't going anywhere. The pedestrians have the right of way in this city, but somewhere along the line this has been twisted into allowing them to wander all over the streets without any regard to the traffic flow.

Under ordinary circumstances, I would be furious with them, pounding on the steering wheel under waves of agonized cigarette smoke escaping my lungs along with the screams: Don't fucking hold up traffic. You only have the right of way when the flashing blue neon hunchback says you do.

But right here, watching my little movie through the foggy glass, watching the little pawns do their little dance and show me what I'll never have, I'm not sure I care.

These things maybe should come with a better soundtrack than Poison, but that's what's on right now. And it hurts, because the music influences my interpretation of the show, but maybe that's how it's supposed to be.

They've finally broken their embrace just as the light flashes yellow, and then red again. I find a bit of quiet contentment in that somehow - like the show is timed with just the right rhythms. Green, red, go, stop, those tiny bits of silicon directing multi-ton steel monsters with radiator jaws and sheetmetal faces and xenon eyes.

And apparently, directing my little actors as well.

He steps back, away from the car, and her head swivels to follow him, misty-eyed, as he unlocks his own car without looking back, and rumbles off into traffic, joining the rest of us in the afternoon gridlock hell.

And Poison, aptly named at the moment, for dripping pain and venom into my cerebral cortex with lyrics that are mocked by many, but to me, they speak volumes, trite as they may be. It swells and crescendos and I can barely understand the power-ballad sting of DeVille's lyrics, but four lines have stuck with me for months now, burning and etching themselves into my mind, like someone forgot to remove the branding iron from my flesh when they were done pronouncing ownership of me.

Now I hear you found somebody new
And that I never meant that much to you
To hear that tears me up inside
And to see you cuts me like a knife

The light is green again, but I don't feel like I've been given any kind of signal at all.

All I ever needed..
kitten   February 5, 2002

Standing in the center of the living room with a blanket wrapped round me and a shaking cup of coffee in my right hand. Or, to be accurate, it is not the cup that shakes, but my hand, and I am at a loss to explain why.

At 3am, I wonder about these things, making myself that cup of coffee alone, and over the gentle rumble of the percolation, that water pump drawing on empty now, I expect to see ice and snow through the window, but the weather - not surprisingly - refuses to cooperate with my mood.

There isn't much in the living room in the way of decor, and consequently, not much to dampen sound. So when the wind courses through the trees, and through the metalwork and ubiquitous chickenwire dishes on the roof, I hear it, echoing through the chimney - a ghostly version of the wind itself, manifested right here, in my living room.

The chimney operates that way, providing me these ghosts of the outside world; when it rains, the lashing of water on metal reverberates into the room, and an airplane miles overhead? Yeah, those engines can be felt, right here, in this room.

Not sure I'm comfortable with it. But it does make the room seem more cavernous somehow, more than just four off-white walls and a ceiling. Standing here with my eyes closed, I could almost imagine I'm elsewhere, outside, with the wind and the rain and the airplane in the sky (farther away now, a silent silver thread in the blackness).

And I was there, once - under a thatched-roof open structure, out on a forgotten lake. There was coffee there, too - a thermos of coffee, a blanket, and a small transistor radio quietly murmering New Wave hits of the 1980s at us as we sipped our coffee.

Or by the river, with the moon's reflective surface bright enough to read by, with a bottle of wine and an autumn rustle of leaves crackling underfoot and always, the long black coat, alternatively flaring back with the wind or wrapping itself round me like a second skin, and in the distance, someone has a bonfire, smoldering and jettisonning smoke into the air like an offering to some nameless pagan god.

And the river again, a different portion of that river which wends its way throughout this city, this city of strife and political bickering and cracked asphalt while the homeless push their shopping carts and the parents complain about how expensive the exlusive upper-tier preschools are. This time it's a simple aluminium bench on the lower side, and across the hundred-foot chasm of dark waters, a seeming wall of flora and forestry arises from the mist, punctuated erraticly by a lonely illuminated room in an otherwise darkened house. Watch long enough, and maybe a car will pass through those streets so far on the other side, and when those headlights are aimed just right, filtering through the tops of the trees and lancing across the sky, it's like the halo of an angel. Were I a religious man I'd almost say it was spiritual, halogen and leaves and slowly tumbling water, and the sky seems so sad.

It occurs to me, standing in my living room, that much of my memories twirl through this night, or that night; always night in my mind, a Gotham City of neural pathways.

It also occurs to me that the coffee is not hot any longer, and so when my still-shaking hand twitches the liquid over the ceramic lip of the cup, it doesn't hurt so much.

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Without a hand to touch your face.
kitten   February 4, 2002

I applied to adopt a kitten yesterday.

I don't really know why I stopped by the pet store - PetSmart, to be exact, and they really don't sell animals except for fish, a few birds, and on occasion, hamsters and gerbils. But on weekends, they allow local adoption agencies to set up shop in the parking lot out front.

So I'm standing there looking at the various pens and cages set up for the dogs that need a home, and trying to get out of the way of dozens of little kids and cooing adults who are acting like the place is a zoo. The dogs, of course, pay little attention to the people gawking at them.

But set up on top of one of the cages (which held an enormous German shephard), was a smaller cage, very unassuming, half-hidden by towels. Most people didn't even notice it, or maybe they weren't interested in what was inside.


Three of them, to be exact - stupid little tabby kittens, all bunched together and all over each other, sleeping. I say "sleeping" but I've never seen a cat really sleep - they always seem to be aware of their envionment, occasionally opening their eyes to look around and see what's new.

And what was new to this gray-and-black kitten was me, cause I was sort of half-holding the cage, almost in a defensive manner, like everyone else had just better back off, because these are mine.

And the kitten looked at me and yawned, and made squeaky noises, and went back to sleep.

So I approached the girl in charge of this operation and asked how I can get the kitten. She hands me a two-page application, rife with every conceivable question that could possibly be asked about one's lifestyle, household, environment, job, and so forth.

And I'm sitting there on the curb, black coat splayed behind me on the sidewalk, and ignoring the random passerby who are giving me odd looks. Dressed all in black with spiky hair and the ever-present candy necklace, I maybe dont' look like the type to want to adopt a kitten.

But yeah. The kittens get spayed on Wednesday or thereabouts, and then I should receive a phone call when my application is 'approved'. I'm not sure exactly what they look for in the answers, but I'm certain my answers were just fine. So.

I suppose I should start looking for a bed and litterbox and a few toys and dishes and food and other necessities for her: Molly, the steppin' razor.


Seems like I've been here before.
kitten   February 3, 2002

This is something you never, ever want to hear at a party (or anywhere else for that matter):

"Hey, I've got something in my car that would go great with this beer."

The evening pretty much went downhill from there..

Shut up and reboot.
kitten   February 1, 2002

Y'know, if I'd wanted to deal with idiots calling me about technical questions, I'd have gone to work as a tech jockey at Earthlink or something.

This is what I had to deal with today:

"This is kitten."
"Yeah, my Mindspring is broken."
sigh "Well, what's the exact problem?"
"It doesn't work."
"Oh-kay. Uh, you mean you can't dial in? Or you can't check your email?"
@$#% "Which?"
"I can't connect. It won't dial in. It keeps popping up a window."
"Well, what's the window say?"
"It says login, then password, then server."
"Uh.. and what's it say next to 'server'?"
"It says, pop dot mindspring dot com."
argh "So it's an email problem?"
"Uh huh."
"Not a dialup problem."
"No, I can dial in just fine."
die "So when you try to check your email, it gives you an error messege?"
"Yes. Says that the password is invalid."
please die "Okay, what login and password are you using?"
"The login says stuff."
"Is your password correct?"
"I don't know. There's nothing in the password thing."
"Well, try typing your password there."
"Okay. ...Hey, it works."
"Have a nice day."

It's enough to drive a crazy person nuts. I should start collecting a fee for this.