Archive for August, 2005

It’s my homework, really

Instead of bobbing up and down in the ocean like a fat little seal, I’m working like a maniac on the long poem. And C. keeps looking over from her novel-writing to chide me for surfing idly about Banlon shirts, or “consoladores anales” – (consoler? consolation? what a funny cool name for a dildo!) But I swear I was researching for this translation!!!!

Occasionally the DRAE is kinda cool and has slang for words I need to know, like “piruja”, but if they don’t then I’m stuck googling. And oh, the medical terms in this poem. I mean… “glanders”. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly considering a childhood of reading horse-books, I knew about glanders. When stuck, or when he does something maddening like spell an already obscure word wrong on purpose or for dialect/lisping, I have good results from googling the word + “SIDA”.

big waves

Oh, I could get in the car right now and drive all the way to corona del mar for the perfect-for-me shore-breakish boogie board surf and perfect beach. OMG I want to be in my wetsuit and little foot-security booties, bobbing around squinting out to sea. My skin would be all fresh and salty feeling, and my sinuses hosed out with the huge nozzle of the entire ocean. Then I would eat fries with vinegar even though that would be magic, because it’s the wrong side of the continent for that kind of thing.

It would be even more perfect with some 10 year old children just a little deeper in the water as an early warning system so that while they are being eaten by sharks, I can swim quickly to land.

different ways to lose it

General Dilbert starts to lose touch with reality as he and his tiny, armed paramilitary squads consider seriously going out to restore order to the city and snipe at looters, because they’re really really outraged that policemen in uniform have been looting DVDs from Walmart. Wow, crimes against property! So outrageous! He’s turning vigilante! He’s going to save the world from those desperate, panicking refugees, by shooting them! Because, now they’re just animals!

Earlier, he said this:

When people freak out (women especially, sorry if you think that’s sexist, but I’m telling you how it is), it adds an element of stress and wastes time and effort that could be directed elsewhere. Stay calm, use your head, set your priorities, act, evaluate your situation constantly, and remember that everyone is in this together. It’s easy to want to step on everyone else to effect your own survival, but remember that every person who dies becomes a sanitation risk to you.

and was answered rather interestingly, thus:

I think there’s a tendency to notice people of the other gender “freaking out” more than people of your own gender. As a trained emergency worker (firefighter/EMT) I notice that when men freak out, they become over controlling in a “take charge” way even when they have no idea what they are doing. It’s men’s way of having a hysterical reaction, and it gets people killed on a regular basis.

For both genders, training and information will help keep them calm and allow them to manage a crisis in an effective manner.

What a perfect example of a guy with guns and military training, utterly losing touch with the point of society and having no respect for human life. Only specific people deserve help, or respect, or refugee status. Not those bad people who are panicking and poor and quite stupid. Great. Ethics now reduced utterly to who’s got the most guns.

The real looters and property criminals are going to be the banks who end up owning all the people’s houses as they can’t pay their mortgages. FEMA is not going to save people’s middle class, property-owning status. Most of the national money to rebuild will go to an insane plan to restore the low-lying areas which have only been there since the 1910 levee plan (as Rook points out.) So the tax money will go to make things nice for the banks and very-wealthy developers who have the capital to ride it out, and who will end up owning everything. Now THAT’s looting.

Projects and manuscripts

– quite a lot of assorted translations and poems, never sent anywhere
– Perlllongher. half-done draft of long poem. 10 poems by him done. others in draft stage.
– anthology of turn of century poets translations, as a manuscript to be sent out with query letter.
– my own manuscripts: artless and m0ther frrrankenstein. Not ever sent anywhere. In fact i doubt anyone else has read them through at all.
– Anthology done the short way, as thesis, with intro. (this should be #1 priority.)
– ibarb0ourou translations, half-way accepted by ggroan anteger press, but no contract yet, and not 100% done on my end, maybe a week of solid work necessary on it.
– Arv3lo Torrealba translations, self-published, still good, rejected from umpteen places, I stopped sending it out in 2002 or so.
– w1ttig project, needs fixing up, in theory was going to work like mad on it all thru september and get it done.
– write longish essay on perllongher and… i don’t even remember but i had a whole idea and pitched it and the foetry plash people said they for sure want it.

How many stories, novels, manuscripts, are in my binders and notebooks buried, finished or unfinished, I’m sick at heart to think of at the moment. I’m sending some of this crap out into the world today. There are probably 6 more major projects that are 80% complete that I’m forgetting to list. goddamn it.

– query letter sent to utpress
– proposal+sample to field
– a few translations to aggggni, bitter o.

new thought: just prepare one short burst of poems. then send it to at least 3 places.

Well, at least I’m tracking everything i send out – that’s progress. It’s in one big flat file, just where i sent it, the date, and the titles, then accepted/rejected and a quick summary of any response like “send something else”


oh for god’s sake. meanwhile here is El Primo example of all that I hate and loathe and mock in today’s page-poet world… has garden flowers, dead parent, dullness in abundance, only lacks coffee and toothbrush. and I hear this sort of poem ALL the time. It makes me crazy. I call it “humdrum” because after it’s read aloud, everyone in the room quietly goes, “Hummmm. (!)” and nods sagely & appreciatively. It equivalent in spoken-word land has much the same “confession of having an emotion about my family relationships” flavor, but with a little more gutter and less middle class in it, for the setting. That’s the main difference. they try to jerk the oomph out of one tiny nuance of emotion and what they REALLY are is a paragraph in a novel. (or, you can think of it as Testimony.) And it would be an okay novel, probably. So write your novel already! Because it ain’t poetry worth a damn. I know, I keep saying I’m not going to be nasty, but this poem just provoked the hell out of me with its Xtreme boringness. I’ve said the same thing much more nicely and with More Pomposity (TM) in my real-name essays in the last few years.

Dear Everyone,


off the list

A story by elizabeth stuart phelps: The Lady of Shallott. reported on the FSFFU list to be very much worth a look – I’ll read it later.

meanwhile, Poppins

yah… and by the way whoever put a half-open carton of chocolate milk into Moomin’s backpack, you better not have done that on purpose. goddamn what a mess.

C. came down and it was funny to see Moomin run to meet her but then neither of them know what to do. Hug? somehow, no. but the eager running was sweet – as if Dr. Who himself were going to be in her backpack in the tardis, ready to pop out to greet him. we had ice cream and hung in the new ice cream place, where th ere is often free wireless. Rook met us there…

Took c. to millbrae where it is always hard to say goodbye but she wants to run and get on BART if its there and be home quick as possible to chill out and sleep.

Who knew Mary Poppins was such an awesome book – like nesbit or the best “magic” books of Andre Norton? My goodness. the disney version has its charms and (major) annoyances… but the book is just all lovely. And it’s a series, and the main branch has at least 3 of them!

A train is going by very loudly… freight with a loud haunting whistle just like the ones behind our NW Houssston subdivision out by the 88 lumber. I like to hear the deep rumbling and the anguished chords past midnight…

the people’s revolutionary hero of cube farm #650

I’m totally fascinated with Interdictor‘s LJ, which I think I came across while reading katrinacane. He started out super gruff about how “they” were going to keep their 10 story office building datacenter up, come hell or high water, and how he’d be damned if he was going to evacuate for a hurricane and a couple of broken windows. You know the drill. Then during the hurricane he was one of the few people posting regularly anywhere on the net! And just after, he was feeling kind of smug and making comments about how no one would ever evacuate again or take it seriously because everything was more or less fine. And dude, where’s the beer, are any bars open? Are any hot chicks going to send me naked photos, because hey man, I could die here! You know I almost did. People on Wall Street were trading massive amounts of oil futures based on what he said about the levees holding…

Then the levees burst and hell or high water started happening and it turned more into a several-weeks post-fall-of-civilization survival situation.

Now cnn and slate are all quoting him! He’s formed paramilitary squads, and has teams with cool names which patrol and have the approaches to the building secured. They somehow have obtained giant 55 gallon drums of extra diesel for their generator. Ha, so much for my namby pamby vision of how they’d make all the cubes and offices into refugee camps and hospital beds, and go out looking for people to rescue and stuff.

Okay, which leads me to want to say something which I hope won’t offend Interdictor, because I think he is way cool, and I’m not in his shoes, and the situation is super scary and I’m possibly talking out my ass; it’s not that I’ve considered it and am claiming to be Right. But I think that while making a tiny secure enclave is a good idea for your own survival, on some level it is a failure of vision and leadership if you are not also trying to help other people. I would not barricade myself inside my house with my kid and a lot of canned food, in other words. I would be out there trying to organize my whole block and beyond. Yes, that would put my own self and family at risk. But either you have a lot of paranoid armed camps, or you organize as much government as you can handle. Hmm, maybe you can’t make more government than you have the force to back up.

So, also for example, to get off Interdictor’s ass for a minute — because I am digging on him very much despite us being pretty much the sort of people who would shoot each other during revolutions — I read that a Children’s Hospital is under siege by (armed?) looters. The hospital staff locked their doors, and people are trying to get in, and the hospital staff “fears for their safety and the safety of the 100 children inside”.

Okay. So, you have a hospital, and it has a generator maybe, and lots of medical supplies. And you have 100 patients and who knows how many staff, and some supply of food and water. Do you lock the doors, or do you open them? Are the people outside Dangerous Looters? Or are they desperate refugees?

I would tend to see them as refugees in need of help, and I would share my resources. If you lock people out and hoard your resources, you are treating those people as if you think they are lawless animals. You think the Dangerous Looters might not be willing to smash the windows of the children’s hospital to ask for, to demand, to take, insulin or something for their own kids, for themselves? And somehow, they’re drug addicts looking for a fix, and therefore it’s okay to not treat them as refugees? And your Responsibilty is only, by some magic of priority and proximity, to the people already in your walls? I disagree with this mindset very strongly. Behold how I troll them, the boys with guns! Mamá marimacha, socialista! to the rescue!

On the other hand I would not want to turn my 55-gallon drums of diesel fuel over to, say, the military or red cross workers, unless I were sure it was going to be used properly by people who weren’t morons. (I’d say give it to a hospital, and then get out, or stay and help the hospital.) And if you are likely to be surrounded by incompetence then I could see staying in your fairly secure buildilng and just trying to pull your people through safely. But, pulling through as in getting OUT. I’m a fan of up-and-leaving. I remember being embarrassed to tell Riverbend, early on, that what the hell – get out now. When it is your country, and a matter of exile, I kind of get it that you might not want to. (But I would, for lack of sufficient nationalist fervor.) Why get all nationalism-gung-ho over your city? Your … your data service center? Or, is it that loyalty to the data, to keeping information flowing, what makes Interdictor so damn cool??

Here is what I love about Interdictor…

I have a lot of people telling us to abandon ship and get out. Guys, that’s not gonna happen. I’ll eat roaches and drink the funky Quarter sludge in the gutters of Bourbon Street long before I abandon my city. I’ve got resources and will and so does my team, and we’re here until this is over.

I’m totally calling him General Dilbert! He is the hero of cube farm internet guys! He’s a First Gulf War vet who’s like, a sys admin or something I guess, going a little bonkers, mostly in a good way! So, the siege mentality, and if I were stuck there I’d have a little of it, but only till rescued. (Interdictor’s all like, They’ll rescue me over my dead body! Rescue is for pussies! Me and my ice machine and my colo thingie are staying here on the Mosquito Coast forEVER!”)

But on the other hand whatever ACTUAL military guys and rescue workers come into the area, I would think that soon they’ll be making everyone evacuate (by “soon” I mean “in a few weeks”) and won’t tolerate any enclaves of (armed?) survivalist nerds. I’m picturing some hideous situation where the Real Military is trying to herd “Camp Crystal” (can this be for real???!!!! hahah…. ) into the Superdome and they refuse to leave. Hello, made-for-TV movie! (And if I were a military officer I’d commandeer their sweet set-up so fast it wouldn’t even be funny… but I’d let them stay and draft them to work and give them medals later, or something.)

Meanwhile, the Something Awful hurricane coverage is the best… it’s completely tasteless and hilarious.

As most of my predictions of doom are coming true, I will add some more. This, combined with the handy war, will drive the number of people living below poverty level way, way up. and the gap between rich and poor will widen dramatically, something I’ve been watching for. The time of prosperity and lots of rights and ideals and protections and freedoms and people raised with a sense of entitlement to that, well, what if that was a blip in history, a freak occurrence? It doesn’t have to be, but I fear for it. People act like “oh, nothing awful will happen here in the U.S.” but duh, it can and is and will, and is awful for many people already. And if you think of anything to do with the great depression and consider the word “Hoovervilles” and then think about the future it is kind of scary. Where are the million refugees from the hurricane going to go? The rich ones like you and me, sure, they’ll find places, and have friends with space who trust them. Where will the poor go? I’m sort of picturing the favelas of St. Louis. Not that that will be allowed and probably instead there will be some massively unsavory camps run by the military and half the people in those camps will end up in jail so they better start building more jails quick. That would make our society so much better! woot!

liveblogging from the trial

liveblogging of trial of gwen araujo’s killers

*** I’ll mark this up and fix the typos later today, and add links, and summarize ***

Oh, look, someone has a marvelous, well-written, detailed blog of the trial: Justice for Gwen Araujo
and here’s a SF Chronicle article on the trial’s ending
and the Transgender Law Center page

i come in at 11 when the judge was giving instructions to the jury. about not basing verdict on circumstantial evidence, etc.

Not many people here in the courtroom. Most of them on what is clearly gwen’s side.

Now, this is the sort of event that deep reporting, or layered reporting, would be useful. There are reporters here, and they’re writing articles, but their notes might also be made public information.

i wish i’d come yesterday…

personally i’m feeling such a wave of sadness and hate. i am sitting right behind people who are beyond evil.

the judge is harry r. sheppard. he seems very fair.

the jurors are reading along, mostly, with the instructions. i notice the judge is reading very clearly and sensibly. very skillfully to make the info make as much sense as possible.

whether a witness has been convicted of a felony or not… it factors in to their believability.

what they CAN consider as evidence and what they can’t.

There are around 30 people here other than camerapeople and laywers. and security.

testimony to the good char. of the defendants. good reputation or character. the questions and answers aren’t evidence.
motive need not be shown.

i feel sick…

i thought of bringing kleenex, but not a barf bag.

woman i sat next to asked me to stop typing as the noise bothers her. i move to an isolated spot. she’s upset (not at me obviously but at the trial )

i wish now also i’d made an effort to dress nicely? is that even possible for me considering the hair. is it important? i.e. not jeans?

now i’m looking at the jury which is 10 guys, 4 women. (suckage.)
most of them look 30-50ish.

judge is talking about aiding and abetting. the crime of the aider or abettor can be less, same, or greater than person primarily committing the crime. testimony of accomplices.

it’s hard to keep all this straight. I wonder if the jury has … simple charts of what is and isn’t admissible evidence. as this long document is hard to parse.

I’m thinking about how it’s important that the judge be the one to read all the instructions.
The weight and authority of their position.

if the crime of murder or involuntary manslaughter was committed, anyone who was there, they are by law an accomplice because they were there. ie, their testimony is under different rules of how you consider it. am i understanding this right?

the rules of evaluating testimony.
now here is something that is missing from basic education. it should be in early high school that you study rules of evaluating evidence.
murder first degree, second degree, involuntary manslaughter, hate crime, kidnapping. there must be specific intent or mental state… in the perpetrator…
specific intent or mental state for definition of the crime.
assault with deadly weapon,
this is lesser crime than murder or kidnapping.
“there must exist a union or joint operation… criminal intent.”
what “general criminal intent”. when you act in an unlawful way… er, blah blah….

oh man they just said edward araujo not gwuen. that’s so disrespectful!

rules of when someone is voluntarily intoxicated, they are still responsible for their actions. ie for the effects of of the voluntary intoxication. their actions are not less criminal because they are drunk.

there’s net here, but i can’t see out.
Oops, it costs 7 bucks. i guess i’ll pay it.

Karen talks about coming here nearly every day for quite a while.

lunch with karen and shelly. Shelly is making a documentary about gwen, the crime, and the trial. She’s so right on!

karen tells a bunch of her story. how she feels from following the trial how much she wants to help teenage trans people.

We talk about teenagers. Shelley has 5 kids and knows quite a lot about parenting. Karen talks about her street-wisdom.

Karen also talks about the book she is writing or wants to write, “Crashing through Gender Barriers”.

She says the closing arguments for the defense were unbelievably nuts. Well, she used a more diplomatic word than “nuts”, but I can’t think of it. Something about the sanctity of the home violated by gwen’s gender identity or something. er yeah. The sanctity!

Shelly tells how the judge ruled that the A&G pool had to let her in as independent media. He is stern and yet fair. (as one figures judges should be…)

They both talk about the way the media covered the trial and about GenderPAC talking to AP to make guidelines about how to do journalism about trans people. It took 6 months for the media, editors, etc. to meet with them or listen, and was a slow process. They were responsive to education but it’s still in progress. There are guidelines in place, but the AP reporters like Michelle ?? weren’t following them. the editors, not the individual reporters, need to be convinced by the community of how to write respectfully. Not putting Gwen’s name in quotes, not saying crossdresser when she identified as trans. I would say that whatever reporter conferences or continuing education exist should be targets for this sort of education. also, schools of journalism.

Shelly talks about reasons the prosecution would have to ignore gender issues, to say “edward” not gwen, etc.

we talk about teenage prostitutes in SF. about how to help people and what kind of work it is possible to do. foster parent system. youth trans projects.

back at the trial.

first degree. willful. deliberate. formed, arrived at, determined, weighing for and against course of action. what “premeditated” means. clear, deliberate intent on part of defendant to kill…

2nd degree murder defined.

judge says:
time lapse between provocation and fatal blow. this is crucial. the fact of a remote provocation does not reduce the effect to manslaughter. slayer must be acting under direct influence of “heat of passion” which … if time has elapsed for angry passion to end, and reason to return, it doesn’t affect the verdict. the time is not measured by the standard fo the accused, but the time it would take the average or ordinarily reasonable person to have cooled their passion and reason to return. neither fear, nor… etc. constitute a heat of passion referred to in the law of manslaughter. (when judgement gives way to emotion.)
Murder requires malice.

Hmm… You know, when you have beaten someone up, and then afterwards you tie them up, and gag them, and then beat them up some more and kill them, er, that’s a long time lapse and pretty much full of malice.

“mere preparation” – planning the offense, is not sufficient to constitute intent.
but if acts indicate intent to commit specific crime of murder… then they do.

How confusing!

Every person who detains another person… w/out consent… is guilty of kidnapping.


judge talks about hate crime. cause … direct consequence, the death of the victim, without which the death would not have occurred. “cause in fact”. mutliple motives. “acted in concert”. group crime. personally engaged in it, also the aided and abetted. voluntarily acting in concert – does not require prearrangement. people have burden to prove this acting in concert.
there is a special form for the jury to fill out about the hate crime part.

social organization, be prepared

Just a thought on disaster survival. How long you think until the national guard has to shoot someone who’s unruly in the superdome? You want to bet they don’t already have a jail or holding tank set up in there? If you were 150 national guardspeople, and you had 10K refugees, what’s the first thing you do after sanitation and food? Jail! I’m just saying, for those of you who haven’t thought about it.

Meanwhile, martial law, gas leaks, the whole thing about snakes and fire ants…

I think about emergency kits and first aid kits. It seems like they are usually full of flashlights and bandaids and aspirin. When what they should have is a ton of plastic baggies, sutures, antibiotic cream and pills, epinephrine, sterno, and water purification tablets. And instructions/advice/models for organizing the people around you, pooling resources, communication structures, and leadership.

Sorry, I’m a little bit obsessed b/c I always think about this!!! Ever since I was a kid and would just out of boredom in random situations think, “What if there were a fall-of-civilization disaster right now, while I’m on the school bus or in class? Who would lead? What objects or resources or knowledge would become important?” And reading stuff like Shackleton’s expedition, or Scott’s…

Hygiene and staying clean are important. Sponge baths, or ‘air/sun baths’ and airing out your clothes and blankets. Inspection of yourself and other people for bugs or even minor cuts is important, i.e. you must put antibiotic cream on cuts right away.

But it’s the communication and organizing that are usually not obvious, but are the most important! As everyone thinks right away of rationing… sure… yes… good… But how are you making those decisions about rationing? For example look at scott’s expedition – wasn’t it Evans who died first, because they were splitting rations evenly although Evans was like a head taller than the others and needed more food? That was bad decision making.

Well, my best wishes and whatever help I can offer to the people affected by the hurricane right now who are facing these questions right now.