Call him Mr Raider.
kitten   February 26, 2004

George Bush has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Fear ye not, for such an amendment will never get passed, and I'm not really even sure how serious the "proposal" is. Nevertheless, unless you have been on Mars for the past few weeks, in a cave, with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears, you are aware of the turmoil this issue has caused, particularly in San Fransisco and Massachusetts.

Progressive and sane thinkers realize that there are more important issues facing this nation and the world in general than who is having sex with whom, but many people, primarily fuelled by religious fervor, are declaring that homosexual marriage destroys the "sanctity" of marriage, cheapens it in the eyes of society, and is probably responsible for the World Trade Center attacks.

Of course, I suppose one could make the same argument about every divorce that has ever occured, or the endless numbers of Hollywood marriages that dissolve within months.

However, some remain staunchly opposed to the entire idea, citing that God intended a man to be with a woman, drawing on various Biblical texts to support the idea that a man should never engage in carnal relations with a man (though I do not recall the Bible saying the same of women).

Basing the definition of what constitutes a proper marriage on the Bible is an interesting concept. Let us examine it in detail.

Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and as many women as you'd like. (Gen xxix 17-28, II Sam iii 2-5)

Marriage should not interfere with a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam v 13, I Kings xi 3; II Chron xi 21)

A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be stoned to death. (Deut xxii 13-21)

Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen xxiv 3, Num xxv 1-9, Ezra ix 12, Neh x 30)

Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut xxii 19, Mark x 9)

If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he will be punished by Yaweh.

Wives are required to be subservient and obedient to their husbands. (Eph v 22-24)

Yes indeed, using the Bible as our guidance to define marriage seems to be an excellent idea.

Stealing cigarettes from Nineties girls.
kitten   February 24, 2004

Just to demonstrate, as if more demonstration were needed, how my internal clock is on Tokyo time.

Died around 0400 last night while reading Gibson's Pattern Recognition. I've read it before, but I can barely afford to pay attention these days, nevermind buy new books. This time, though, it's alright - Gibson is meant to be read more than once, and I pick up on more with each iteration. Literally fell asleep while reading - book still open in the bed next to me - something that almost never happens.

Wake up at 1900. Class at 1100, ends around 1600, and I wake up at 1900. Fantastic. Probably missed the chance to get coffee with a certain someone, too.

Fall out of bed, and somehow manage to find my way to the shower. Shock myself with hot water, though not completely into full awareness. Shave.

Clothes.

Molly is where I left her, sleeping lightly on the bed. Pour some food into her dish, and wonder why the hell she didn't wake me up this morning for breakfast. It is rare she lets me oversleep this much. By ten in the morning she's usually jumping on me and stabbing me in the head.

Online - DSL working for once - to see if I've missed any earth-shaking events. The way my interaction with other humans goes, if the city were on fire, I wouldn't know about it until I checked google news. But today, nothing much has happened.

The headlines, in fact, haven't changed much since the last time I checked, which was when I went to bed.

2000 by this time, and the landscaping clowns are outside with their leafblowers. Why they're doing this at 8 in the evening, I cannot say, but I suspect it's all part of a global conspiracy designed specifically to annoy me. They move along fairly quickly.

Nothing much to do. Watch some Homestar Runner, play some Quake. Crack out Open Office and pretend I'm a writer, as I work on a long-term project codenamed Forty-Eight Minutes Of Crap.

Bryan is supposed to be a part of this project, but predictably, hasn't done much of anything except change the entire document to boldface for some undisclosed reason. He's not online at the moment for me to hassle him about it, though.

Nobody is online, in fact - at least, nobody from this continent. The Germans and some other assorted Europeans are around. I tell them I missed class by waking up nine hours late and get laughed at.

It's 2030 and still light outside. I make a big point of griping that darkness should fall by 5, as is proper.

Before long it's 2100 hours and Lady Night shows no sign of making her appearance. The sky is still a cold steel bowl hung heavy with aluminium clouds and if anything, the brightness has kicked up by several lumens.

Something is very wrong here, and in some distant part of my brain, a gear slowly turns.

I check the atomic clock online. Yes, 9 o'clock, just as I suspected.

Something still isn't quite right.


< kitten> er...
< kitten> What the.
< kitten> It's 9..AM?
< kitten> I'm so confused.
< Torka> Haha.
< kitten> ...guess that means I have to go to class after all.

No, there wasn't a point to any of this except to illustrate my complete lack of chronological sense. Move along.

They were made to let each other down.
kitten   February 21, 2004

For sanity's sake, four in the morning is probably not the best time to comb through old textfiles, logs, emails, and other assorted oddities of the past.

Not sure any time is, really.

But at this hour and in this weather I suspect there are better things I could be doing with my time. Sleeping, likesay. Wrapped around a girl, preferably.

Antisocial I may be, but when the planets align properly, I maybe click with someone and she with me, and these digital archives from years gone by serve as a reminder - as if one was needed - of just how little that aspect of hope I harbor has changed over the years.

They take a Polaroid and let you go.
kitten   February 20, 2004

Many people find absolutely nothing in the world of work that interests them. They're forced to take jobs they don't care about - maybe even hate - just to stay alive, and would gladly bypass it entirely if somehow they were given a stipend of 20 or 30 thousand a year.

Despite what indoctrination facilities^H^H^H^H^H schools and popular culture tell us, there is not "something for everyone". The idea that anyone unhappy with their job can just "get a new job" is a childish one; as stated above, there are many thousands, perhaps millions, who find nothing of interest in the working world. I for one don't want to be a bartender or a doctor or a bus driver or a manager or a programmer or a waiter or a teacher or a janitor or a graphic designer or an executive or a botanist or a zookeeper or a cop or a politician or a firefighter or damn near anything else you could possibly name. I'm studying to join the ranks of a certain profession only because it is the one that disinterests me the least - not because I really, really want to do it.

People like me, and uncountable thousands of others, are simply frustrated and fed up with the notion that we should get up every day on someone else's schedule, idle in traffic day in and day out for hours on end, toil away at a job we don't care about, all so we have enough money to stay alive and do it again the next day.

Maybe it's just me being bitter, but I think there's a reason Fight Club resonated in so many.

Singles Awareness Day.
kitten   February 14, 2004

Roses are red. Violets are blue...

More...

A fable.
kitten   February 9, 2004

It has been eight or nine months since this rant and the followup were written, and yet to this day, it remains one of the top most-requested archive posts, and I still occasionally receive email and IMs about it. I don't know if these people are behind the curve or simply hold grudges for a long time, but either way, I find it amusing.

Here is a fable to help illustrate the thinking of some of the detractors.

THE WEEKEND MECHANIC: A FABLE BY KITTEN

I like working on my car; I'm not that great at it, but on the weekends I like to spend a few hours changing the oil, cleaning the spark plugs, checking the timing, adjusting the belt tension, etc. This is basically just something I've picked up from here and there, and I'm not planning on becoming a professional mechanic.

One morning my friend comes over while I'm fiddling about under the hood. "Whatcha working on?" he asks me. My friend, though not a professional mechanic himself and having no aspirations to be one, knows quite a bit about cars; much more than than most people, in fact.

"Oh, not much," I tell him. "Changed the oil a while ago - now I'm just checking to see that the intake is clean."

"Er," he says after watching me a moment, "the intake?"

"Yes," I say, pointing at the fuel injector. "The intake."

"Dude," he tells me, "that's not the intake. Intake is where the air comes into the engine," and points to the actual intake.

"No," I tell him, "this is where the engine intakes fuel, right? So it's the intake."

"I'm telling you," he replies, "intake means this part here. It's the air intake, get it? What you're looking at is the fuel injector. That's got nothing to do with the intake."

"Oh," I say, briefly embarassed at my mistake. Then I get annoyed with him for being such a know-it-all. "Aw, piss off anyway. I call this the intake, okay? It makes perfect sense to me."

"But it's wrong," he says. "I'm just saying, if you're gonna work on your car, it wouldn't hurt to know what things are called. It could come in handy."

"What the hell does it matter?" I shoot back. "I'm not a professional, I'm just doing this for fun!"

"Dude, what's your malfunction? All I did was say you got the name wrong. Calm down."

"I AM calm, you pedant!" I shout. "I'll call it whatever the hell I want to, I don't care if it's wrong! It doesn't matter what I call it!"

"It's gonna matter when you need to find the right tool, or ask someone for help with it, or if you ever talk to someone who DOES know what it's called," my friend says.

"Yeah, well, I've always called this an intake, and you know what I mean anyway, don't you?"

"Sure," replies my friend. "I know now, because I'm looking right at it, but if you called me on the phone, I wouldn't have known. And it's not that big a deal anyway," he adds. "Just understand that the intake is this part here, and now you know. I was just trying to help."

"I don't NEED your help or you telling me what things are called, okay?" I inform him. "As far as I'm concerned this thing is still an intake, and I don't care if that's not really what it is."

"Well, excuse the fuck out of me for telling you otherwise, your Highness," says my friend, understandably annoyed with my shitty attitude. "You said the wrong thing, I corrected you, if you want to keep using the wrong word and sounding like an idiot, be my guest."

"Woah, Mister Attitude, you think you're better than everyone because you know what an intake is?"

"Y'know," says my friend, "I'd have thought that since you like working on cars, you might want to learn something about them, but I guess you don't."

He turns to leave.

"See ya later," he says over his shoulder, "hopefully after you've had a few Valium."

A single gesture.
kitten   February 8, 2004

Seeing you still pains me, though I try not to show it, and pretend I'm not looking at the curve of your hips as you stretch, or the way your nose crinkles when you smile.

I wonder why I bother.

Diamonds in your soul.
kitten   February 3, 2004

A Volvo is uniquely designed to be very difficult to break into using conventional means. Coat hangers, for example, cannot be bent around the closed windows due to cleverly arranged metal ridges and other obstacles.

This is an important fact to understand when you've locked your keys inside one, while the engine is still running.

I stopped into a gas station on my way to class this morning, through sheets of near-freezing rain that blatters against the windshield in heavy drops that refuse to be swept away by the wipers, which instead simply smear grime and grit around the glass, further obscuring any attempts at vision.

Dropped a few dollars on the counter: for coffee, and for cigarettes, my two vices and the only things that will keep me going for the rest of the day. Went back outside, pulled on the handle to my car, and felt my heart twist as I realized.

A Volvo is also intelligently designed to prevent this exact occurance. The driver's side door cannot be locked while the door is open. In order to lock one's keys in the car, one must undertake a very specific series of steps meant to completely circumvent the effort those Swedish engineers put into protecting you from your own stupidity.

I took those steps, and this was the result. A feeble whimper choked its way up from my throat, followed by a roar of rage that drew contemptous looks from passerby.

Dejected, I went back into the gas station, and asked to use the phone. The woman behind the counter peered at me in a manner that suggested I had asked to slay her first born son. Reluctantly, she allowed me to use the phone, but only if she dialed the numbers. I suppose this is some measure of security beyond my ken.

Naturally the first few people I called were unavailable. I finally caved and called a locksmith. Told them where I was, what model car, asked how much it would cost. Weary from asking the unpleasant registermonkey to continue dialing, I went back outside and begged a coathanger from a stranger, bent it straight, and attempted to do what I've done so many times before on so many other cars, though never for my own, hoping I could get this done before the locksmiths arrived, thus saving me from having to pay them.

And this is where I discovered Volvo's dedication to tamper prevention.

All in black, the collar of my long coat turned up against the wind and stinging rain, I stood out there for an hour in sub-freezing temperatures, bending the wire hanger this way and that against my hand, a process which would normally prove painful, but now failed to affect my chilled hands. The difficulty of this undertaking was compounded by the rapidly failing dexterity in my cold-numbed fingers and the carbon monoxide smog from my own engine, still idling, draining the fuel into nothingness.

An hour. Time to admit defeat.

Back inside with my now-worthless coffee, I ask to use the phone one more time to find out where the hemmorhaging fuck the locksmith is. The clown at the register rewarded me with another incredulous look, appalled at my request to use the phone again, and queried, "Do you have any money?"

A real human-rights type, this one.

Being a spiky haired man in black, on rare occasion, can be useful, as I turned the full force of my glower against her and Vader-voiced her into giving me the damned phone. Called the locksmith one more time, demanded to know what the holdup was.

"Ah," says the woman on the other end of the phone, "you didn't actually ask to book the locksmith."

"So...?" I manage.

"You just asked for the price, you need to book them to come out."

I'd like to thank the Academy... Maintaining this level of grace when all you'd really like to do is rip the phone out of the wall and smash it through the display case of Red Bull, requires as much acting skill as I've ever had to muster.

"Alright," I said, smooth as venom. "Then please, book a locksmith to come out here as soon as possible."

"Thirty to forty five," the woman responds, and hangs up.

Nothing to do now but wait. People enter and exit the gas station, barely noticing me leaning up against a stack of Sprite and Mountain Dew. I make idle eye contact with a few random people, and generally slouch about.

Twenty minutes go by this way until a fast-talking and quite possibly insane man offers to help. It's clear he has no idea what he's doing, but I figure it can't hurt. He has that sketchy look of someone who, just possibly, might have a great deal of expertise in unlocking cars that he shouldn't be unlocking. I'm only half-listening to his over-enthusiastic ramblings as my attention is caught my an incredibly cute red-haired girl walking in.

The psycho snaps me back to attention as he races out into the parking lot towards my car. I follow, and watch as he jams the coat hanger this way, then that way, and then in the sunroof, to no avail. He finally gets the idea that maybe if he had a screwdriver, he could pry open the sunroof and get the coat hanger through it enough to snag the door handle.

My cute redhead is just walking out at this point and getting into a small truck that matches her hair. The lunatic asks if she has a screwdriver, and she opens a little toolkit in the truck to reveal an assortment of masonry tools. He grabs a chisel and leaps onto the roof of my car, attempting to leverage the chisel against the sunroof. The girl's eyes meet mine and she asks, "Did you lock yourself out of your car?"

"Yes," I admit. "Yes, I did."

"I'm sorry," she allows.

"Well, thanks for letting me use the chisel," I begin, even though I'm not the one using it; this fact is punctuated by the frenzied grunting coming from the next parking space as the guy is still trying to jimmy open the roof. It occurs to me that she didn't come here to wait around while strangers used her toolkit, although I'm also wondering what a thin and seemingly fragile girl is doing with a truck full of masonry tools. "I'm not keeping you, am I?" I start to say, but I'm interupted by the triumphant whooping of the lunatic, who had just pried the sunroof open a bit and could now almost get the coathanger in place.

He returns the chisel to the girl, who puts it away, and just about then is when the locksmith shows up. I figure I've wasted enough time and energy on this, and the coathanger probably can't reach the handle from the sunroof anyway, so it's time to let the professionals handle it. I talk to them a moment, the guy is carrying on about some totally unrelated matter.

Takes the locksmith about two minutes to slide a flexible piece of plastic into the door, and on this plastic is a string which, when pulled, causes the plastic to flex and bend into a shape appropriate for grabbing a door lock. Pop, the door is open.

I open my wallet and hand him sixty five dollars. I don't really have sixty five dollars to spare. The only reason I had sixty five dollars on me is because I had planned to use it to pay the gas bill after class. But I don't really have any options at this point. My money is gone, and so is the half-tank of fuel I had, uselessly spent into the atmosphere as the car idled for two hours. The girl is gone, too.

I'd missed class by a good two hours, and I drove back home in the rain.