Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keohi does London

Well, actually, he barely leaves Canary Wharf where the Hilton is--walking distance to Stephen's office. Day 1 was jet lag after a crap flight on Virgin. WHAT A BAD AIRLINE. WE WILL NEVER FLY THAT ONE AGAIN. That plus bulkhead seats--the armrest not moving does not go down well with toddler families. That was our error. But the crew at Virgin was AWFUL. Really mean and not nice to the non-English speaking Chinese old man and woman behind us. It doesn't matter if you are stern and mean to them, if people can't understand you, they won't do what you want. Plus they have a bad bonus mileage program. Cheap tickets were the reason we flew Virgin--but that was the first and last time. Stephen had mentioned that most fly Virgin due to inflight entertainment. True, people were watching any number of movies etc...and the little videos on oxygen masks featured hip animated characters. But who cares about that. You can rent a video or buy a HK bootleg of a video for a few bucks. Virgin's food, well actually about ANY airline's food beats Northwest's food. Come to think of it, what has happened to American airline food? Why is it so bad? I had to pay $5 for a bunch of snacks like Ritz crackers and junk food from LA to Memphis a few years back. Really bleak. Flying ain't what it used to be. Actually, the quality of the airline crews seem to have gone down, the inflight cabin people, over the years. I have these hazy memories of the halcyon days of flying in the 70s or later, when people didn't seem to be so stressed out and grumpy on the plane.

Steph's airline food ranking

1. Japan Air
2. Korean Air
3. Malaysian Air
4. British Airways
5. Cathay
6. Virgin
7. Ewa Air
8. United (ask for special meals though)
9. Delta Air
10. Northwest (the PITS!)

Maybe that's what downsizing and greedy corporations do to their employees--make them foul tempered. The food has gone downhill. This wouldn't bug me if the price of the tickets hadn't increased though.

Day 1 with Keohi was getting to London on a limo shuttle service. There was one counter, barely open to deal with this and it opened after we arrived. So traveled fro 56 pounds instead of 95. They really need to deal with the infrastructure from the airport to the city. God. I haven't been to Heathrow since 2002. It reminded me of a cross between the Dallas, Bangkok and the Cedar Rapids airport from 1978. Not good. That's a crazy busy airport and really not set up for the volume of people in any way. What are they going to do about the Olympics? What a nightmare. They gotta update that place.

He's been saying ENGLAND lately and we've told him that he will get or get to do the following here:

1. ride a car
2. drink apple juice
3. eat chips
4. see big rocks on the beach
5. experience BIG COLD (his words)

To this he adds: EAT CAKE. We say YES.
Then he says: ICE CREAM.
No comment from us. He's had it a few times and is getting aggressive about it, so are trying to quell his passion in that area and avoid it altogether.

We stroller around Canary Wharf when Stephen heads into the office. Financial district. Nothing much to see. I spot a BMW/Mini dealership and we go in and Keohi's fantasy comes to pass. The salesperson lets him get into two different minis. If I ever get a car in London (never, but you never know) I'd go back to that place. She was really nice to let a toddler climb in and out of the cars. I asked him: "Where are you going?" He said:" Car, big car. I go Mui Wo. I go Central." He got apple juice and cake. He experienced BIG COLD. No rocks yet.

Last night was rock star stuff--he kind of thrashed the room with room service food strewn on the floor and I tried to give him 2 seconds of time out but it ended with him laughing and running away and laughing some more.

He got up at 4AM. Really up.

So today we jump on the tube and go to the Tate Modern. We only zip through a bit of the main hall and the 3rd floor. Check out the bookstore. Eat some chips at the cafe. Fastest tour ever yet of a museum. He seemed to enjoy it, but was groggy so he agreeably sat in his stroller for most of the time but then demanded "Go home." Head back on the boat down the Thames. Stephen is back for lunch and then out the door again. Keohi crashes out.

Last night in London. Tomorrow is Aldeburgh. Holiday officially begins...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rewrite of February 24 and leaving HK

Okay, here we go again...a rewrite. I'm almost there...

I'm being a travel coordinator now. Dealing with domestic stuff trying to pack, rent a car, figure out how to get to the hotel from the airport without taking a taxi with 3 bags, 3 carry ons, a stroller, a 2 year old, a husband who has to get to work by 9AM from the hotel with a major back problem, and me...after arriving at 4:50AM and a 13 hour flight from Hong Kong to London.
Okay, maybe the money will have to be forked over. 95 pounds! YIKES. For that I could buy an airticket from SF to LA! Why doesn't Heathrow have share-a-cab? Limo shuttles? Whatever. The truth is that many of the sleekest airports are now in Asia as they are the newest. Really efficient, clean, wired, and well-designed. There are other headaches in Asia traveling, but airports and public transport are not one of them. I take that back. There are some really crappy airports. But the Seoul, Tokyo, KL and HK airports are good.

I'm exited to get out of HK for a spell.

February 24 (update June 2011)

Three days to oxygen;
waste in your nose and throat
choking, gasping, a wrinkled fierce thing:
a bat
a bird
a rat.

You are flesh pickled in blood and vinegar
a squirming animal on my breast
spidery arms and lobster legs
scramble for cover, grab air.
A lizard of sorts
a swollen scrotum
a nut belly
eyes that refuse to open.

A black mole center and front
under a skull cap of red down.
Eyes blue like the dot on your bottom.
A bold coffee stain on your right cheek.
These marks you will carry to the end.

Your beginning is all I will know:
Bleats and dolphin chirps
angry bites and bold eyes
long rubbery feet
the uneven middle toe
the withered black cord.

What is a child?
a birth
and death
of a dream
that disappears.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rewrite # ?? February 24

Rewriting...I've again done a rewrite.

New title and rhythm. It is not done. Title is Keohi's birthday.

Tomorrow he is 2. We celebrated on Sunday--with hats, some balloons and a homemade cake with frosting and candles. He liked it. Stephen's sister was here, so I thought it was good to do on Sunday. Today he got up and wanted to wear the birthday hat and demanded leftover cake for breakfast. I complied.

I can't believe 2 years have passed. Today he patted his milk bottle and stuffed dog and said to both "I love you." This evening we were at the China Bear and we were walking and I said "I love you" and he said "I love you too."

I'm lucky. Very lucky. As a 2nd grader I taught once said, "I feel lucky like a doughnut."

February 24

A three-day descent
to oxygen
waste in your nose
caught in your throat
choking, gasping
a wrinkled fierce thing:
a bat
a bird
a rat

Flesh pickled in blood and vinegar
grabs the air
spidery arms and lobster legs
scrabble for cover.
Warm on my breast
rests a squirming animal
with swollen scrotum
a nut belly
and eyes that refuse to open.

In the center of your head
under your cap of red down
a black mole.
Blue eyes blue
like the dot on your bottom
On your right cheek
a bold coffee stain.
All marks you will carry to the end.

This start is all I will know and remember:
the sound of bleats and dolphin chirps
your angry bites and bold eyes
long thin feet and the uneven middle toe
the drying black cord

What is this Death?
This birth
This Child
This Dream
That disappears.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Dream-a work in progress

Okay, so I posted a very early version of this poem several weeks ago. I'm still reworking it. This is an updated draft. I've had about 5 so far. I still need a new title. The rhythm is not right.
So it is still a work-in-progress. It's interesting to me how you can keep coming back to some stuff for draft after draft, if not actual years. And then there are other pieces that are quite clear after only a draft or two.


Nothing makes me cringe more than old poetry that I wrote from long ago (with the exception of maybe one or two poems) or old drafts of anything. At the same time, I realize it's all part of it.

I started reading a book Art and Fear by Bayles and Orland I checked out from the University of Hong Kong library. I checked out several books after having been a reading potato for a year. Maybe it is the Superbrain Yoga I've been doing (check out youtube) but I'm getting back into the swing of things.

News items that stuck out:

A man died on the steps of a hospital here, Caritas, because the receptionist made his son call an official ambulance rather than just take him into the hospital.

Conjoined twins (the liver) were found in a plastic bag with their birthdates. 8 days old. Still alive.

Grim stuff. There are a billion people here. This is just what happens with a lot of people. Weird tragic shit. No other way to say it.

The Dream

A three-day descent
to oxygen
waste in your nose
caught in your throat
choking, gasping
a wrinkled fierce thing:
a bat
a bird
a rat

A sour pickle in blood and vinegar
spidery arms and lobster legs
scrabbling for cover.
A swollen scrotum and a nut belly
full of angry bites, bleats and dolphin chirps.

In the center of your head
under your cap of red down
a black mole.

On your right cheek
a bold coffee stain.

These marks you will carry to your final ascent.
This start
your end.

Blue eyes blue, like the dot on your bottom
Who are you, exactly?

I only know this:

a child
a birth
a dream

Sunday, February 15, 2009

General Thoughts on being a SAHM...

I am soon approaching the one year mark on my existence as a (more or less) full-time Stay-At-Home-Mom for my two year old son here in Luk Tei Tong Village, Mui Wo, Lantau, HK. I've been an expatriate here since April 2008. I'm a Korean American married to a Brit and we have one son, Keohi.

I have several opinions, which if taken apart, would cancel each other out, I'm sure, but I suppose that is the beauty of complex ideas. I seem to recall that a sign of genius, according to Einstein, was the ability to hold two opposing opinions. In my case, I would say it is perhaps a matter of confusion or indecisiveness, at best vacillating insecurities, as I am hardly a genius.

I must preface my personal experience by saying that my existence as a stay-at-home mom is not the same as the majority of American women who experience, what I deem to be a rather privileged existence. And I am not going to moan about anything in the way that I felt Naomi Wolf did in her book Misconception. While she made a few good points, overall, she sounded so out of touch with the average working woman I wanted to throw the book out the window when I read it. The woe-is-me-and-my-group-of-friends-we-all-own-expensive-homes-and-are-lonely was insulting. Hers was not a perfect world but she didn't seem to get that she had a much better situation than the burger slinging working person. Also her not-so-subtle dig at one of the few organizations that has helped thousands of women--La Leche League, I found offensive. I say my recent life is one of privilege having having experienced life as both a working and stay-at-home mother. Privilege is the choice of working or not working. Very few have that choice. The reality for middle Americans is that we are now a two income nation--a family that must have two incomes in order to survive. Add to this that many women who could financially afford to stay at home due to their husband's or partner's income continue to work due to their own career interest, and you have a modern family where both parents work full-time. In that sense, my choice, and our choice as a family to have one, the female partner, in this case (although briefly, it was my husband, Stephen) at home full time, no matter how progressive we are as parents and individuals, makes us a rather traditional family in stark economic and social terms.

To continue--my SAHM experience has been different from the majority of American women's for the primary reason that we employ a full-time 6 days-a-week helper. As a result of U.S. colonization of the Philippines (and prior Spanish, Japanese, well, take your pick, that nation has been in the dumps for a while) the country has a horrible economy and its primary source of income are remittances sent back by overseas workers. So due to our exploitation of this country's natural resources and our unlimited use of their land for our military operations, and their country's proximity to Hong Kong (HK), I have been able to join the legions of local and expat HK families and engage too in the exploitation of such labor and employ at a low cost a helper, for less than I paid for a daycare center in LA.

Helpers, or maids as they are called here in HK, are the reason that HK middle-class women are able to work full-time. There is no daycare system here. There are many grandparents who do the job, but at this stage in their economy, it's mostly domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia (another country that has robbed its own people with the help of our government) that have allowed the average HK family to become a two-income household, and thus fairly affluent by international standards. The only people in the US who employ a domestic helper in their homes have bucks. Serious bucks. And as far as I am concerned, they are absent from my discussion about this stay-at-home business because they just don't get the issues because they can buy their way out of them. When you are middle class, you don't have choices in the US and that's what this work or not work business is really about.

In the broad sense--how has my year as a SAHM been?

I would say that being a full-time stay-at-home mom beats the hell out of being a working full-time mother in almost every sense. I add to this, however, an odd caveat, that for some reason, I have found even less time to write and read than I did when working a crazy schedule. I suppose this is because if I happened to have a pocket of 10 minutes of time at work, I might, in defiance of my existence as an overworked and angry teacher, read for 10 minutes instead of grade essays. Had I adored every second of my job, I might not have had the defiance to pump twice a day at work. But work stress makes you realize what really matters. I was not going to let my job get in the way of doing what I had to do for my child--I refused to let a corporation do that. And I was not going to let a job get in the way of what I wanted to read for my own intellectual and emotional pleasure. (Had I loved my job, maybe it would have been different) Having thrown myself fully into this mothering mode has been more fulfilling, so in that sense, less enraged by my work situation and therefore, less likely to defy my condition by doing my own thing for my own intellectual pleasure. I freely acknowledge that my brain has probably been on hold for a while, but I intend on amping it up a bit. It can be done. I just need to get it will happen...

My prior existence was as a full-time teacher at a prep school where I was logging in about 55 (on a great week with no grading--maybe 3 weeks a year total) to 65 hours a week by the time I left. (Year one was 80 hours, year two was 70, year three was slightly better at 65) The school had a good maternity leave policy. So, due to unplanned timing, I was able to get a full salary and take a mat leave of around 5.5 months as it fell over summer holiday. I do commend that institution for its generosity. That said, it is an efficient business model as most women tend to stay at that place due to this situation. Businesses and yes, schools, are not about making people happy. They are about making money and cutting costs. Anyway, the institution also provided basic (not wholly private but they tried) facilities for women who wanted to breastfeed. However, the work schedule was not conducive to women with young infants, and extremely grueling. It was particularly difficult with kids who, like my son Keohi, did not and does not sleep uninterrupted through the night, and who was breastfed his entire first year of life. The schedule was roughly an out the door and in the office by 7-7:35 and then home by 3:00PM (I started to ditch the last period often as it was my free period; going against school policy of staying on campus until the last class was out) and up to 5PM if there were meetings. On Mondays and Fridays, due to my schedule and the fact that I was pumping twice a day, I had exactly eight minutes to eat my lunch standing in the copy room before running to class. It was a stressful situation. After I arrived home, it was Keohi-time until he slept, around 8PM, and then I graded and did lesson prep until 11, then got in bed and got ready for 2-3 feedings a night. Weekends were lesson prep and grading and trying to take one or two naps at tops. Repeat this same thing for the next X months until Thanksgiving, Xmas, and January exam break, after which I left this position, due to Stephen's employ here in HK. When Stephen left, the workload and responsibilities increased as I had to do more stuff like drop Keohi at daycare etc...anyway...I lived for the breaks. Then again, I did too when I wasn't pregnant, and wasn't a mother. Teachers live for breaks. It's the schedule, that's the good thing about teaching, really.

This above position was not easy for a working mom. And I wasn't working at McDonald's or in a situation like many American women who are really out on their own raising young children slugging it out with menial pay positions. I had it much better than most. But the experience almost made me conclude (again, as I have thought this for many years), that most American women who hold down full-time jobs and raise families are trying to function in a patriarchal system of corporate America that is absolutely anti-family in its work schedule, set-up, and general framework. In fact, I would say, very boldly, that unless you have a certain level of income, trying to raise a kid and work full-time and get ahead in the US as a middle class person is next to impossible. In this modern economy, staying above water is a huge challenge even if your husband is working. The average American woman isn't like me with a high school teacher income augmented by two master's degrees, family that has the financial ability to fly in from across the country to pitch in, and a husband that can clean and cook something other than chili, steak, and reheated pizza. The problem that U.S. women face is the economy and the second problem is that men are still in charge of the workforce and how it operates, or have appointed women who embrace a structure that is in denial of female biology and potential needs. It's a sexist set-up, this work thing. The majority of women (and men), it should be added, in senior positions in my previous school or employ, had or have much much older children, if any at all--the latter being the more obvious status. For a school that catered to adolescents, I found that rather peculiar in a multitude of ways.

As an industrialized nation we are leagues behind almost every modern developed nation. In 2003 I was working for Save the Children-Hong Kong and came across the U.N. report on women and children. The US ranked #11 in terms of offering a decent life for women and children. Sweden was well ahead of the game, as was Australia, Canada, and most European (northern European) countries. To give you an idea of what #11 means--China was #40. The 2007 report is here:

To continue with this convoluted narrative: When Keohi had to go to daycare after Stephen left for HK the schedule became harder. Fortunately, for a period of time, I had family to help out and I had the financial ability to hire for the month (no longer, the month killed us financially) while we were transitioning and selling our worldly possessions in order to relocate, Marta, a lovely exclusively Spanish speaking (I speak no Spanish, but having spent so long with people who don't speak English I really didn't care) mother-of-four, cleaner and cook extraordinaire. Had I been able to afford Marta full-time, things might have been different all around. But, for teachers in the US, a full-time nanny is usually not affordable unless both parties are making a good amount. We were also in a situation that placed me as the primary breadwinner. Thanks to my family, Keohi was only in daycare for five weeks total. This was a good daycare, the best we could afford with a nice woman in charge, and my colleague's son loved this place. But every child is different. Keohi cried every day, for hours on end unless he was being carried, but given the number of kids there, this was not possible for the daycare owner to do very frequently. By the time we left LA, if I approached a door and rang a doorbell, he started to cry. So, the misery level was felt all around. (He has since rebounded and is perfectly fine these days). So the model of a working mom happily dropping off her kid at daycare was one that just did not work for our family. I wonder how many families it has also failed for. I was just lucky enough to be able to leave the US, a middle-class economic migrant, and figure out something else....

Before leaving the States, and while pregnant, I remember having a few conversations with women who were either pregnant and not working, or pregnant and had wealthy spouses. These were both older mothers like myself, and also younger mothers. One asked me how I was enjoying my pregnancy. First of all, who the hell would enjoy working over 70 hours a week while lugging around an extra 45 pounds in body weight? What a stupid question. You can enjoy pregnancy if you have a) lots of money in the bank b) you are at a job where you have a sofa to sit on during the day in private c) you are not working 70 hours a week. I read pregnancy magazines and most depicted an unrealistic and preposterous situation of a leisurely lovely pregnancy where the woman would sit in a field of flowers and knit a sweater. HAHAHAHA. The majority of American women are working a minimum (if they are incredibly lucky) 40 hour (plus) weeks. They can look forward to at the most 12 weeks of maternity leave. What a joke. Pregnancy with a serious job basically sucks. Make that pregnancy with any job. Like I said, the workforce is not set up for women, despite our obvious contribution to the economy and proven abilities.

I also figured out that the women who claim that they enjoyed their pregnancy were a) not in a stressful work situation b) enjoying for the first time in their relationship, any bit of leverage they had with their partner. I can think of more than one case where the relationship was clearly not equal. My observations were this: If you are in an unequal relationship to begin with, pregnancy is often one way of winning an argument. After all, both parties would agree that it is not good to release stressful chemicals and brain damage that baby, right? Better to have a calm environment. (Yeah, I read that crap about stress being good during pregnancy. That's ridiculous. That's just some corporate nonsense designed to make overworked full time working pregnant mothers-to-be feel better that they are exhausted). To continue: So if you are with a jerk, now that you are pregnant, the jerk will shut up. At least for some months. Now, if you are already in an equitable situation, where you don't have an oppressive spouse, pregnancy is not a big deal in this sense. You don't have to deal with power plays, so this I-am-a-fertile-goddess pose is not happening and a stupid waste of time. Had I been raised in a society that worshipped fertility (like Bali) and was allowed to sit around for 9 months and look at different types of baby socks, maybe I'd feel different about pregnancy? Hard to say. Meet a woman who announces that she loves being pregnant and I guarantee that woman is not working 70 hours a week. Yes, yes, all of that joy of a changing body aside, it's bloody hard work if you are working full-time. Period.

This dovetails nicely into the discussion that some have about how tough it is to be a stay-at-home mom. With one kid, it's not easy, and the more you have the harder it gets, and while it varies, it is often dependent (again) on your economic situation and your personal tolerance level of cleanliness and what you can deal with in terms of eating and mess. However, it's not the drudgery of it that sucks. (And let's face it, a lot of stuff that goes along with parenting full-time is sheer drudgery--mop floors, dishes, laundry, the list goes on...parenting is only part of the package. People rarely say a "great mother" is one who has a floor with food stuck all over it for 3 weeks. When people comment on parenting, they are often commenting on how well someone CLEANS. You could be screaming and beating your kid, but if your house looks clean, people will probably label you a good mother.) The most difficult aspect about being a full-time mom is having a partner who is absent due to the crazy work schedule that allows you to be a SAHM. After all, one of you must go down into the salt mines and do the 70-80 hours a weekr. Misery. This makes for all kinds of complications unless your partner happens to be so enthralled with his work and a traditional role that he eschews almost all aspects of childrearing. But if you are married to a 21st century kind of man, it makes the SAHM set-up very difficult. The traditional role of working father and stay-at-home mother is incredibly stressful to people who have never embraced the idea that boys wear blue and girls wear pink, or males are rectangle figures and females are triangle figures. Traditional job hats make for the imposition, without intent, of behavior that is also at odds with progressive people. To me, the most stressful part of being a SAHM, is watching your spouse work himself into the ground and nearly collapse from exhaustion.

As a SAHM, I also became restless. Part of it is isolation to where we live, no doubt (a village of a few hundred, in a town of a few thousand). While at first I was relieved to have the luxury of parenting as my sole priority after my crazy work schedule, I soon found I became in this small village, and so in the fall, began lecturing once a week at the community college. I took in some freelance work. We got a helper. Now I didn't have to cycle to the store 3 times a day to fill my front basket in order to get enough groceries for one day. Someone else helped out with hanging up the laundry. So life got better all around--for me. Not for my spouse.

I hear quite a few stories about women who are bored and eager to work and get away from their small kids. I understand this. Small children can be exhausting. Every person is different. There is nothing worse than doing what you don't want to do. But I tell you this--when faced with 65 hours a week versus staying at home, the choice is fairly clear for me. Part-time work is the ideal, but that ideal is hard to come by and is not a real solution for the majority of American women. Workplaces don't offer that flexibility. So even if part of the population might be able to squeeze by on one income and a part-time income, they couldn't because it's difficult to get a part-time situation. For most women in today's world, it's the 65 hour week and then another 20 once they get home of the drudgery stuff of parenting and running the household. They can't just do 20 hours a week out of the house. The only women who can do that have enough money to rely on one income. Again, I know that I speak from privilege as our household is not relying on the small amount of money that I bring in. This situation is main reason we are here in Hong Kong, both of us continents away from our family. Here, only one of us descends into the salt mines. If I was back in the U.S., we'd both be down in the salt mines and Keohi would be in daycare full time.

So a year later, where does this leave me?

Mixed feelings about it all. Concluding everything and nothing. I do think the following needs to be implemented on a national level in the US, if not every country.

a) one to two year guaranteed mat leave policy and full health insurance coverage for all costs relating to childbirth and childcare. This does not include in-vitro fertilization. That should come out of the individual's pocket. Until there are subsidies for adoption, I do not support any subsidies for fertility treatments. I also support paternity leave and think men who do not take it are losers buying into the sexist system. If you don't take it as a man, you will not pave the way for more progressive family policies. Shame on you.

b) onsite daycare facilities available at all businesses/heavily subsidized daycare available for families. I might have felt different about my job if I had been able to pop in and see my child during the day for even a few minutes. Maybe he would have survived daycare too.

c)cooking instruction and cleaning instruction for men who refuse or don't know how to when their wives are working full time. (haha) If both parties are working full-time, men need to step up to the plate more. (I add this for women who don't have a partner who participates in this kind of stuff; fortunately, Stephen always liked to cook and was a lot cleaner than I was)

d) adjustment of the general picture of families in the US. Wealthy women and men need to wake-up and recognize the reality of what is going on in the average American household and make some decent policies for their employees.

e) more family friendly policies in general need to be enacted on the federal and state level. I read about a big exam given at the university in Norway--lactating women were allowed to leave to take short breaks to nurse their children. I doubt a single U.S. institution of any sort would allow this. Let's face it, American institutions and businesses are not family friendly. And that's putting it politely.

f) passing of a federal law, punishable by some horrible cruel means, which forbids working more than 40 hours a week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ice Cream

I could not resist posting this. Received from my friend Brian Lewis. I personally love Guantanamallow.

Ben & Jerry created "Yes Pecan!" ice cream flavor for Obama.

They then asked people to fill in the blank to the following:

For George W. they created "_________".

Here are some of their favorite responses:

Grape Depression

Abu Grape

Cluster Fud

Nut'n Accomplished

Iraqi Road

Chock 'n Awe


Impeach Cobbler



Good Riddance You Lousy Motherfucker. .. Swirl

Heck of a Job, Brownie!

Neocon Politan

RockyRoad to Fascism

The Reese's-cession

Cookie D'oh!

The Housing Crunch

Nougalar Proliferation

Death by Chocolate... and Torture

Credit Crunch

Country Pumpkin

Chunky Monkey in Chief

George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate

WM Delicious

Chocolate Chimp

Bloody Sundae

Caramel Preemptive Stripe

I broke the law and am responsible for the deaths of thousands... with nuts

Friday, February 6, 2009

Marriage by Renee Simms

Written by my friend Renee Simms. She has been anthologized and widely published as a poet and short fiction writer...


This burning,
this desire.

This feather on a pond
this pond life underneath
this rabbit in a hat
this hot sauce burn on mouth

this salted licorice
this insomnia walk of ghosts
this turning turning

this blue light
this African rock
this love.

This jellyfish.
This doubling doubling egg
this trampoline laughter
these balloon soft skulls

this family SUV
these tires worn thin
these beads on a string
this microscopic language

this you
with morning frost
and midnight moon
and noon lunch

this 24/7 dance-off
this roadburn hurt
this flowering bush
this sweet sour sweet
these toes
and tongue
an ear

your spleen
my bone
our atoms this experiment

this explosion!
this everywhere

that loops and turns
and soars

a kite
in hand

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

No Nukes...

Sent to me by Stephen.

I confess: I've had and used microwaves in the past and have dismissed previous reports as misinformation. Guess I've been misinformed. I'm just a two-burner gal these days. I will say that the microwave was rather handy, although I didn't use it all that much. Mom used to try to convince me that it was better for cooking bacon than the pan as it meant less grease.

But I like bacon grease...this consumption of grease has actually been on a slow and steady rise since meeting Stephen, having become now, a big fan of the British AM fry-up. Yes, I have a fondness for fried bread. YIKES.

The Effects of Microwave Apparatus on Food and Humans

Reprinted from Perceptions Magazine, June 1996 - unable to locate source

Microwave cooking ovens were originally researched and developed by German scientists to support mobile operations during the invasion of the Soviet Union. Had they perfected electronic equipment to prepare meals on a mass scale, the Nazis could have eliminated the logistical problems connected with cooking fuels while producing edible products in far less time than they could using traditional campfires.

After the war, the Allies discovered the medical research and documentation concerning those apparatuses. The papers and experimental microwave equipment were transferred to the U.S. War Department and classified for reference and scientific investigation. The Soviet Union also retrieved some of the devices and began an experiment on them separately. The Russians – who have done the most diligent research into the biological effects of microwave ovens – have OUTLAWED THEIR USE and issued an international warning about the biological and environmental damage that can result form the use of this and similar-frequency electronic apparatus.

Medical Research Summary

The most significant German research concerned with the biological effects of microwaves was done at the Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin in 1942-43, during the Barbarossa military campaign. Beginning in 1957 and continuing up to the present, Russian studies in the field have been conducted at the Institute of Radio Technology. In most research, the foods were exposed to microwave propagation at an energy potential of 100 kilowatts per cubic centimeter per second to the point considered acceptable for sanitary normal ingestion. The observations made by the German and Russian microwave researchers will be presented here in three categories: cancer-causing effects, destruction of nutritive value and biological effects of direct exposure of humans to microwave emissions.

Effects on Microwaved Foods

The following effects have been observed when foods are subjected to microwave emissions.

Meats: Heating prepared meats sufficiently to insure sanitary ingestion creates d-nitrosodiethanolamine, a well-known cancer-causing agent.

Proteins: Active-protein, biomolecular compounds are destabilized.

Increase in Radioactivity: A “binding effect” between the microwaved food and any atmospheric radioactivity is created, causing a marked increase in the amount of alpha and beta particle saturation in the food.

Milk and Cereals: Cancer-causing agents are created in the protein-hydrolysate compounds in milk and cereal grains.

Frozen Foods: Microwaves used to thaw frozen foods alter the catabolism (breakdown) of the glucoside and galactoside elements (see Note 1).

Vegetables: Even extremely brief exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables to microwaves alter alkaloid catabolism (see Note 2).

Resulting Effects on the Human Body

Digestive System: The unstable catabolism of microwaved foods alters their elemental food substances, causing disorders in the digestive system.

Lymphatic Systems: Due to chemical alterations within food substances, malfunctions occur in the lymphatic system, causing a degeneration of the body’s ability to protect itself against certain forms of neoplastics (cancerous growths).

Blood: A higher-than-normal percentage of cancerous cells in blood serum (cytomas) can be seen in subjects ingesting microwaved foods.

Brain: Their residual magnetism effect can render the psychoneural-receptor components of the brain more subject to influence of artificially induced, microwave-radio-frequency fields from transmission stations and TV relay networks.

Free Radicals: Certain trace minerals molecular formations in plant substances (in particular, raw-root vegetables) form cancer-causing free radicals.

Increased Incidence of Stomach and Intestinal Cancers: A statistically higher percentage of cancerous growths result in these organisms, plus a generalized breakdown of the peripheral cellular tissues and a gradual degeneration of digestive and excretory functions.

Microwaves Reduce Food Values

Microwave exposure caused significant decreases in the nutritive value of all foods studied. The following are the most important findings to date.

Vitamins And Minerals Made Useless: In every food tested, the bioavailability (see Note 3) of the following vital nutrients decreased: Vitamin B Complex, vitamins C and E, essential minerals and lipotropics.

Vital Energy Fields Devastated: The vital energy field content of all foods tested dropped 60 to 90 percent.

Digestibility of Fruits and Vegetables Reduced: Microwaving lowers the metabolic behavior and integration process capability of alkaloids, glucosides, alactosides, and nitrilosides (see Note 4).

Meat Proteins Worthless: It destroys the nutritive value of nucleoproteins (see Note 5) in meats.

All Food Damaged: It greatly accelerates the structural disintegration of all foods tested.

Biological Effects of Microwaves

Exposure to microwave emissions also has a negative effects upon the general biological welfare of humans. This was not discovered until the Russians experimented with highly sophisticated equipment and discovered that humans can be adversely affected without even ingesting the foods that have been subjected to microwave radiation.

Merely Entering the Energy Fields of the Food causes such harmful side-effects that the Soviets outlawed all much microwave apparatus in 1976. Here are the effects observed in humans having ‘direct’ exposure to microwaves, that is, without their having consumed the Irradiated [microwaved] food substances.

Life-energy Field Breakdown: Persons near microwave ovens in operation experience a breakdown in their life-energy fields which increases relative to the length of exposure.

Cellular Energy Decreases: The cellular-voltage parallels of individuals using the apparatus degenerate – especially in their blood and lymphatic serums.

Destabilized Metabolism: The external energy activated potentials of food utilization are both destablilized and degenerated.

Cell Damage: Internal cellular-membrane potentials during catabolic processes into the blood serum from the digestive process degenerate and destabilize.

Brain Circuitry Destruction: Electrical impulses in the junction potentials of the cerebrum degenerate and break down.

Nervous System: Nerve/electrical circuits degenerate and break down while energy field symmetry is lost in the neuro-lexuses (nerve centers) in both the front and rear of the central and autonomic nervous systems.

Loss of Bioelectric Strength: The bio-electric strengths within the ascending reticular (see Note 6) activating system (the system which controls the function of waking consciousness) go out of valance and lose their proper circuiting.

Loss of Vital Energies: Humans, animals, and plants located within a 500 meter radius of the equipment in operation suffer a long term, cumulative loss of vital energies.

Nervous and Lymphatic System Damage: Long-lasting residual and magnetic ‘deposits’ become located throughout the nervous and lymphatic systems.

Hormone Imbalances: The production of hormones and maintenance of hormonal balance in both males and females becomes destabilized and interrupted.

Brainwave Disruption: Levels of disturbance in alpha-, delta-, and theta-wave signal patterns are markedly higher than normal.

Psychological Disorders: Because of the disarranged brain waves, negative psychological effects will also result. These include loss of memory and the ability to concentrate, suppressed emotional threshold, deceleration of intellective processes and interruptive sleep episodes in a statistically higher percentage of individuals subjected to continual rang-emission field effects of microwave apparatus, from either cooking apparatus or transmission stations.

Potential Use In Mind Control

Due to the creation of random, residual magnetic deposits and binding within the biological systems of the body (nervous and lymphatic systems damage) which can ultimately affect the neurological systems (primarily the brain and nerve centers), longer-term depolarization of tissue neuroelectronic circuits can result. Because these effects can cause virtually irremissible damage to the neuroelectrical integrity of the various components of the nervous system (see Note 7), ingestion of microwaved foods is clearly contraindicated in all respects. Their residual magnetism effect can render the psychoneural-receptor components of the brain more subject to influence by artificially induced, microwave-radio-frequency fields from transmission stations and TV relay networks.

Soviet neuropsychologists at Uralyera and Novosibirsk (see Note 8) have theorized the possibility of psychotelemetric influence (i.e., affecting human behavior by transmitting radio signals at controlled frequencies), causing subjects to comply – involuntarily and subliminally – with commands received through microwave transmissions acting upon their psychological energy fields. For this reason, and due to the 28 other contradictions listed above, the use of microwave apparatus in any form is definitely ill-advised. Present scientific opinion in many countries clearly opposes them, as exemplified by the mentioned Soviet Ban.


1. Two groups of glycosides, the first containing glucose and the second containing galactose. Glycosides are a group of sugar derivatives found widely in plants. Galactose is a white, crystalline sugar that results when lactose (milk sugar) reacts with water.

2. Colorless, crystalline and bitter organic substantial, e.g., caffeine, morphine and strychnine. Found in plants they have alkaline properties, contain nitrogen and can have a strong toxic effect on the human system.

3. The measure of how readily the body can access and use the nutrient.

4. Organic compounds in laetrile (vitamin B17) that contain trivalent nitrogen attached to one carbon atom.

5. A substance composed of a single basic protein (usually a histone or protamine) combined with a nucleic acid (such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) –protein complex or ribonucleic acid (RNA)-protein complex).

6. Netlike.

7. L. R. Luria, NoVosibirsk. 1975.

8. Perov and Luda 1974, 1975 and 1976.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I See Dead People

Ghosts and Nursery Rhymes.

We’ve been reading a book of nursery rhymes Keohi calls “Rhymes. Rhyme Book.” There are well over a hundred rhymes, unfortunately, most have been revised and reformed to be acceptable to the modern sensibility and in the process, have been truncated and distorted. Some remain as they were. As a parent, you can see why people would want to have more pleasant sounding rhymes, but as a writer you think that this revisionist rhyme practice is perfectly awful. A mon avis: Best to keep the rhyme about the old woman in the shoe whipping her kids rather than saying that she kissed them. If you don’t like the rhyme, then don’t read it to your kid, is what I say.

Last night I sing the ole standard: “Rock a bye baby on the treetop/When the wind blows the cradle will rock…” Keohi starts to cry, teary eyed. Sputtering. I pick him up and rock him. He looks around the room, looks up to the drawers and searches the walls with his eyes. He cries: “I see ghosts.” I say: “No ghosts. No ghosts when Mommy is here. The ghosts are all gone.” We’re fine until we get to the page again which he wants me to sing and then he says the same thing. Then he says: “Shadow book, shadow book.” I say:” No shadow book.” The Shadow Book is the Insight Guide to Bali which features pictures of masks and dancers who are often enacting religious stories. There are also photos of trance dancers and rituals. He was obsessed with this book and I had to turn it around on the shelf as he would demand that the book be taken down. Human isn’t it, to try to scare yourself? He would get scared and say “Shadow” and then want to look at the book again. The night that he spent looking at the book, he had nightmares. So the book is off limits, but he likes to ask for it.

He says and has said since he was about 15 months: “Shadow” and also as of several months ago, started to use the word “ghost” and as far as I can see (or at least perceive) uses the words correctly. We live near a temple with pictures of the dead on the walls in the shrine. We are in the valley and a graveyard is directly above our village. To see ghosts? Shadows? What is it that he is seeing if not this? Not so unusual. His habit is disturbing enough that C has had some stress about it when Stephen and I are both out.

“I don’t like the paranormal” she said. “Maybe he has a third eye. Maybe it’s a ghost. Ooooh.”

The ghost comes back again tonight. His eyes become red when I get to the page and sing a few notes. We turn to another page. All is fine. No problem. Stephen takes the rhyme book later and looks at the lyrics. “Well, it’s a pretty awful rhyme” is his response.

What’s unpleasant about the rhyme is the ending: “When the bough breaks and the cradle will fall and down will come baby cradle and all.”

I guess I’ll be skipping it from now on. Don’t want to do any revisionist singing.

I sang this song prior to Keohi when he was quite young. He never seemed to like it much. The singing was prompted by my reading of The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. He put the lyrics and the song in the book—honestly, I cannot remember why it as included, although it had something to do with Australia and the outback. But I do remember one thing about Chatwin’s book that served to guide me in a certain direction when it came to Keohi’s sleeping patterns.

(I report he still does not sleep through the night and wakes up 2-3 times on average. After 2 years, I am craving 8 hours of sleep straight and am hoping that it comes soon. I add to this however, that he is still nursing and in our bed, so that is probably the reason for his sleep pattern. Habit.)

To get back to the Chatwin book. Chatwin explored this idea of the human instinct to survive, if there is one at all, and our animal nature. Should a baby, an animal be in peril of being devoured by a predator, the baby animal’s only survival action would be to cry out for its mother (or father) as a protector. So crying clearly serves a purpose. It is only when the baby realizes that the mother has abandoned it that it will be silent. Because to be silent is ultimately the only way that it can save itself from the jaws of a predator should the baby truly is abandoned. The last resort is a sort of disguise, silence as camouflage. This is why, Chatwin notes, if you are in a hospital and see a baby nursery, usually the babies in the nursery are quiet. Under most normal circumstances, any baby or mammal would cry if left alone and apart from its parents. But such babies might instinctively feel that they have been abandoned and are silent to protect themselves.

Interesting idea.

as a P.S. to this. I have decided to add a link--not sure if I am doing it right, but a click through from the title of this blog: I see Dead People. I'll try to link to a book or some site that does not encourage you to buy anything other than books.