Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quotes from Us at Tonight's Dinner Party.

"So it's like five humans from all different cultures, and an Argentinian?"*

*Said with innocent intent, by C.

Me, to dog: "Yes, it's pork liver pate with bacon. I am enjoying it. It's so much better than anything you've ever tasted."
Passing man: "It's not better than anything my dogs have ever tasted. I feed them exclusively on raw, organic meats and free range eggs."
Me: "Is this your dog?"
PM: "No..."
Me: "Then excuse me, we're in the middle of a conversation. So tasty... so much better than kibble... "

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Advanced Letter Writing Techniques

The spousal unit and I were talking about my unreasonable hatred of Part of this distaste is shattered hopes. I feel that the germ of the project is truly excellent- it was a nettle in the seats of our esteemed Congresspeople during the Clinton impeachment- a reminder that a majority of the population would really prefer that they focus on something a bit more germane to our interests. After the trial, moveon had a wonderful opportunity; they could forever encourage lawmakers to stop shilly-shallying and blustering and get down to business. If constituents and their representatives are like a married couple, moveon could be that gentle kick under the table when the conversation goes astray. Regardless of political affiliation, I think that's a very good idea.

Instead it became a mailing list to rally liberal supporters. Good job taking the best name, jerks. I suppose this is an unreasonable cause for hatred- but what good is it doing? It is unequivocally left wing in every single cause it supports- why would any Republican take notice of their petitions? None of the people who sign them would ever consider voting Republican- why waste time courting them? Why would Blue Dog Democrats try to suck up to people who identify right there on the petition title as extreme left? For that matter, why consider the voting habits of someone who can't be bothered to write their own damn letter?

So, four readers, here's my primer in writing to your representatives. Figure out who they are, using a little bit of the Google and a little bit of Wikipedia. Find their e-mail address. (After you write them the first time, you'll only have to track down contact information when there's a new occupant. For me, that was 1992. Ah, democracy.) Send them a note- three sentences is fine. A human being will read it. A note will be made on a spreadsheet. You will probably be put on an infrequent mailing list which will tell you all about your Senator's efforts in job creation.

The advanced techniques are thus: Google stalk the people you'll be writing to. Figure out a little bit about who they are, where they stand, and why they vote the way that they do.

Occasionally, you'll be writing to someone who is in complete agreement with you on your chosen issue. Tell them you know their history and know they will do the right thing. Tell them you're proud to have such a person protecting your rights.

Otherwise, be a little bit crazy. Many Congresspeople read five or ten letters every day, just to keep their finger on the pulse. If your letter is anything but staid and dull, it's more likely to get bounced up to the important people. Be loopy. Be silly. Don't worry too much about composition.

If you're writing to someone you disagree with, be very polite. Narrow your letter down to a single issue. Make the appeal as a member of your local culture- or as a Proud American. Make your appeal as a way to preserve traditional values. Treat them with great respect. It doesn't have to make sense. Example: Sir, public radio allows me to drive around in mah TRUCK, loving America. Please note slight loopiness.

Keep it short. Too long: didn't read is a thing. One paragraph is plenty. (This is obviously hard for me.)

Last but not least, consider sending it via snail mail. People ascribe more importance to physical letters. I don't know why. Perhaps send them a pretty postcard of where you live.

But for goodness' sake, try to raise the level of effort to "half-assed". Five notes like this are equal to fifty names on an Astroturf petition. And even if you lose, remember it's not the worst thing. We survived a Civil War. We can survive a little partisan infighting.

Never Attribute to Malice that which Can Be Attributed to Stupidity.

I was doing a flylady approved living room blitz- although it's meant for emergencies, it's the only way I clean; probably because my living quarters are in a near constant state of emergency. I was six minutes into my alloted fifteen, moving frenetically, when I found something that stopped me dead.

C has been missing some clothing. I understand other people look for things that are missing- we nudge things with our toes and say "Eh eh." pathetically. (Or C knows exactly where it is among the piles of detritus.) Happily, I have found it. Unhappily, I am now concerned about other things.

The clothing- a quick analysis proved it to be dirty- was found piled into a sealed giant tupperware in our living room. I'm a little concerned that we didn't check the giant tupperware when saying "Eh eh."- that seems lazy even for us- but I'm more concerned that someone filled a tub with dirty laundry, arranged it into a comfortable nest, and then sealed the top. I thought I might have done it as an unconscious passive-aggressive act to purge C's wardrobe of anime and video game t-shirts, but I don't see anything I might theoretically hate.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writing here is twelve times more fun than writing essays.

I mentioned much earlier that I tried the no shampoo challenge.* Unlike everyone else who tried it, I discovered that I, a person with long fine light colored hair, was pretty much the original market for shampoo.

*Part of the "I'm miserable and isolated, so I may as well abandon societal conventions" phase. Fun times.

This last month, one of the hippy beauty blogs I follow introduced a "no soap" challenge. I was repulsed. I read about it- out of morbid curiousity- and found that I am in year 16 of the no soap challenge. They allow soap for pits and bits, and to remove chemicals and grime, they encourage washing hands... what else do people soap? I know that every summer my skin goes to hell because of daily Technu baths and poison oak and sunburn and sunscreen-caused acne- I do terrible things to it, but I don't needlessly scrub it down with miscablizers every day. You've gotta make peace with your skin bacteria.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why I'll be posting here again.

I have a bad habit of putting off important things. I have a worse habit of realizing how terrible postponing action on those things is in the middle of heartfelt confessions from friends. Last week I peeled off of a conversation on how hard it is marshaling applications for grad school to register for the GRE. It needed doing, alright?

So I'm doing that Friday, because once I stop putting things off, I must do them immediately. I suspect this is unwise. Still, I will be relearning math this week, and re-entering a world where it's OK to pick apart logical flaws in arguments.