Friday, May 23, 2008

In recovery – 330

I am starting to feel a bit better. I am able to breathe through my nose again, anyway, so that is nice.

It is amazing to me how debilitating a bad cold/sinus infection can be. I just feel so lazy, and yet lazy is not exactly the right word. I have things I want to do, and I feel a strong need to get them done, but the strongly overriding urge is to just lay still with my eyes closed until the headache goes away, pretty much lending itself to sleep. Almost any food that crosses my mind sounds delicious, but half of my meals have been cold cereal because it is the least effort. When I had soup, the Italian vegetable sounded better, but I chose the chicken noodle because it had a pop-top and I could not bear the thought of having to get out and use the can opener.

This is bad because I have just come back from two weeks vacation and I had a lot of work to do, and did not get much done at all. Monday I was pretty productive, and Tuesday was starting to go downhill, but was not horrible. Wednesday it was strongly suggested that I go home and take care of this. I suppose it was the horrible sound effects, but I do work with a pregnant woman and with a woman who, if she contracts anything, will have it turn into pneumonia. I was probably already well past the contagious stage, but going home sounded good. I should have held out though, because Thursday I had a (preexisting) doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, and it wasn’t worth going in at all. Today I went back, and got some things done, but not everything I had hoped for.
Now I have a three-day weekend to recover, which is good, but getting everything caught up in four days will be a challenge.

I should just be grateful that I don’t get sick more often, especially with my compromised immune system. I don’t remember the last time I had a cold, but I probably hated it as much then.

The funny thing is, I do better with a more serious illness. Like when I had the 104-degree fever, I was typing like lightning. I enter this sort of dream-state, where anything seems possible, like maybe if I go up one more degree, I will start to move things with my mind. Sure, I know there is some hallucination built in, but I am still very productive. So serious diseases have a certain glamour to them, and are great motivators, but it is hard to be heroic with a head cold.

On a related note, I took in doughnuts Tuesday to make up for being gone and because I had a coupon. Jill was knocking on me for that (as an evil pastry temptress) and for the illness, referencing ebola. Well let me just say, if I was spreading ebola, it would totally cancel out the doughnuts.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Poetry Corner – 330.5

I returned to the States safely, but sickly. I feel pretty gross right now, and mainly just want to lie low until it all goes away, but thought I would make a short post to immortalize my poem.

I bought my coworker Jill and sister Julie word-of-the-day calendars for Christmas, and by complete coincidence another coworker has the same one. When I visit Jill’s cubicle, we have built up a tradition of me glancing at the word of the day and using it in a sentence that somehow relates to the conversation, even if it is pretty thin.

Recently she told me there was one I was going to love, but it turned out to be one day further out than she had realized. I did use it in a sentence, but she said that did not get me off the hook because it was too early. I took that as a challenge to go all out, and that would mean using all different forms of the word, and maybe making it rhyme.

On the appropriate day, I tapped out my poem. It is not great poetry, and it is low concept enough that it is not worth improving, but it gets the job done and cleverly ties in some inside jokes about an unsatisfying job interview and Rosetta Stone. (You’ll just have to trust me.)

I actually did do a second draft that day, after realizing I had left out vituperative.

Ode to the word of the day, or Jill’s poem

Without excuse you came in late,
Then giggled, filling me with hate.
You are not hired at this date.
Be glad I don’t vituperate.

For when you sit annoying us
It makes us feel vituperous.

I can’t but think, since you are grating,
‘Tis time to start vituperating.

When our thirst for blood is sated
You will have been vituperated.

Wrath might be my language native
When I feel vituperative.
You’ll still be crying hours later
For you have crossed the Vituperator.

I really do want to edit it, but I won’t. Anyway, when I reentered my office this morning, there were old word sheets taped to everything. Vituperate was on my keyboard. I have recycled the others (sacrosanct was on my recycle bin; am I too preachy about that?), but I am keeping vituperate. It inspired me.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The 2008 Democratic Slate –336.5

Man, I have not been reaching my writing goals at all, and now I will be away from the PC for two weeks. Still, I should get something up here, so I am doing that now, and I can leave up my views on the Democratic candidates for two weeks, instead of my reasons for hating Bush.

(That’s the other bad thing about my identity being out. As against the current administration as I am, what if I end up on the no-fly list or something? I know it’s a little paranoid, but it could happen.)

Anyway, I believe I already mentioned initially supporting John Edwards, but I am throwing my support behind Hillary Clinton. My family, who is primarily supporting Obama, are surprised, but hey, as registered Republicans all they can do right now is vote for Ron Paul, so ha!

I think there are a few things that are not great about how we administer democracy, in that often you are basing decisions on how people campaign, not on how they would govern, and campaigning seems to bring out the worst in people. Hillary has been a bit polarizing all along, and it’s not uncommon for people to dislike her a lot, but ultimately, I think she will do a better job.

My previous posting should have made clear how I feel about misguided feelings of entitlement. Although I definitely find Obama’s political philosophies more palatable than those of George W. Bush, and I in no way think Obama is evil, I think it is really presumptuous of him to be running for president now.

What is his past experience? Six years in the state legislature is not a bad start, but I don’t like the way he got in there (which was by getting the other candidates’ petitions ruled out legally so he basically ran unopposed). It is perfectly legal, but feels wrong. He hasn’t completed a full Senate term—not even close really. Basically, he made a speech that got a lot of press, largely due to Oprah. Okay, making compelling speeches is a good presidential quality, but there needs to be more.

True, Hillary has not spent a lot of time in the Senate either, but it has been more, and she did win a real election. Also, being First Lady is decent preparation for the presidency, because you are very involved in the diplomatic side of things. In addition, she was more involved in things than traditional first ladies. I know some people have derided that her only accomplishment from that was a health plan that did not get approved, but I think that had more to do with the political environment at the time than deficiencies in the plan. People seem to be coming around more to realize that the current health system is not working, and that should make us more willing to consider alternatives.

I don’t agree with her on everything, but that never happens anyway. Like the gas tax holiday, for example, I think will do more harm than good. I understand the appeal, but I think the tax part is $.18 per gallon, and to really feel relief the price has to go down much further than that, but the highway department will feel it. Nonetheless, I think she can do a good job.
Obama could probably be okay too, and if he wins the nomination I will vote for him. And if he could end up being her running mate, then I would also consider serving as vice president to be a reasonably good training ground for a future president. I don’t know if he can see himself in that role, but really, he should be paying more dues, and it’s not like he has one foot in the grave and needs to be rushing.

One thing that I believe has also been unfortunate in this election is the role of the media. I feel like the early coverage was skewed, and I don’t think it was even a deliberate attempt to control the public, but more that their predictions would be way off base, and then they would be confounded and try and explain why things were going a certain way, and stayed off base. Maybe it was that they were trying too hard to simplify things, but I think tagging John Edwards as angry hurt his chances, and I don’t think angry is accurate. It creates an image of someone really hot under the collar, ready to foam at the mouth, as opposed to just caring about social injustice.

Honestly, I think the issue has corrected itself a bit, if for no other reason than that they got tired of continually being wrong, but there are a few flaps that I would like to address.

Reverend Wright: He is not a reason to not vote for Obama. A lot of different factors can go into people’s decisions of where to go to church, and a socially involved dynamic organization where the preacher would sometimes get fiery is not an unreasonable choice. I believe the way Obama handled the initial controversy was fair and respectful, and also that distancing himself more as the Reverend flames out in a spiral of ever more embarrassing narcissism is correct.

Bittergate: I think when the news media was making it sound like Obama could not lose, it was easy for him to be mellow and gracious, and Hillary, perpetually cast as the underdog, was a bit more desperate and appeared worse. As a clear victory continues to elude him, he starts making mistakes too, and this was a big one.

He started out okay, “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter,” and if he had just made a little change here, and said something like that it makes sense that they will vote for whoever seems most likely to help, but I know that I can do the job. We can grow the economy, we can come through the hard times, and we can have a working class who knows prosperity again, he would have been fine.

Instead he said, “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Unfortunately, this translates as, “Well you now uneducated rednecks won’t vote for a black man,” and it is insulting.

Honestly, I don’t think any good can come from telling people why they didn’t vote for you. If you are right, you reinforced their thinking, and if you are wrong, you’ve offended them. With luck, you can probably do both. Let the media do that.

Geraldine Ferraro: I’m not a big fan, but I think her comments were accurate. Even with a great speech, I don’t believe Obama could have captured the public’s imagination the same way if he were white. I equally believe that if she was a man she would not have been the running mate in her year. Was she really that distinguished otherwise?

It is nonetheless incredible that we do have a black man and a woman as viable candidates, and very few people are having a problem with that. That is huge growth from the 80’s. So many times when voting I feel like I am choosing the lesser of two evils, and this was nice in that not only do I feel okay about either one in November (but more so Hillary), but also between Novick/Merkeley and Kroger/McPherson, I will be comfortable supporting either candidate in November. It’s kind of cool.

Sure, there are still plenty of problems out there. Diebold can still muck up everything, and McCain could throw a wrench into it all by selecting Condi as his running mate, but we will just have to wait and see.

Actually, I would kind of love it if Hillary won the primary, and then chose Jesse Jackson Jr. as her running mate, though I believe at this time he is supporting Obama. However, even as a way of sidelining him, I could not support anyone who brought Ralph Nader onto his or her ticket.