Monthly Archives: May 2007

Grappling with leftovers

After a weekend of too much food and too much energy that led to too much time at the gym, I ended it with a low key tennis game at the Berkeley Community Center.  As usual, it takes about an hour of playing before I warm up to a decent rally.  I flip flop back and forth between frustration and focus and then frustration and why can’t I hit the ball with that same power but straight?  And a girl wanders off the basketball court onto the tennis court, and usually I don’t hit when anyone is standing behind my opponent b/c by not trying to hit that person I will hit that person.  But this girl wandered into the corner of the court and stood there.  So we hit a little more before the girl wandered away with one of our tennis balls.  What?

So while she is wandering off the court boy and I stop to pick up stray balls and I am thinking, 3, I should have four, I motion to boy you have 5? huh? 4? seriously, she just wandered on the court to steal our tennis ball?  because if this 10 yr old girl would have just asked, I have like 20 old balls in the car, she could have walked off with 20 instead of 1.  So I motion to boy in our mysterious tennis court sign language that she just walked off with one of our balls.  His response “they start stealing young around here…”

And I flash back to an incident back in Louisiana when I was helping my then preggers best friend move into her new apartment with her 4 yr old following us around and someone comes to the door and says through the screen door “you gotta move your car, this guys lives in this quad gotta big truck and he needs more space.”  So my friend goes to the door introduces herself as the new neighbor, clarifies that moving the car would indeed be giving up her spot for this guy’s car, and asks this girl if she was in fact honking at us before she came to knock to get our attention – she was.  And as my friend and her daughter closed the door on this she said to me “and that’s the difference between a black person and a n-i-g” and you know how to spell the rest so that your kid won’t hear the word. 

So I stand on the tennis court, thinking about this, thinking I don’t want to believe it b/c I am not that person anymore.  (also why I believe racism goes into recovery but never goes away.)  I let a 10 yr old get me down on society.  So I took it out on the court and left it there. 

Now all I’m left with is a sore forearm that makes my chopsticks tremble every time I bring food to my mouth.
 

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The best vegan snausages

tofurky.jpg

Tofurky is where it’s at.  yum yum yum.  with a side of fresh sliced pineapple for a tasty summer treat. 

and yes, I am open to commercial deals…

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Why the act like a bum weekend is ending early…

because today I ate like I was preparing for the Coney Island hot dog eating contest, but without meat….

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No one even flinched…

when I asked Kate’s new Puerto Rican boyfriend if he watches Telemundo.  And I fully intended to judge him by his answer.

He passed. 

And as Kate puts it, “It is really nice having someone so fit yet so loving of me and my roundness…”

I respect that.

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unofficial start of summer

Even knowing that I have to work through the summer, the last day of work before Memorial Day still feels like the last day of school.

So you can count on me being a bum for the next 3 days and watching re-runs of MTV’s real world/road rules as an ode to those high school days of summer.

Come Monday night I’ll be working on my exciting tale of Al’s Memorial Day weekend, ooooh and we went kayaking and hiking and me and boy just don’t have enough time to do everything, to tell people at work.  But for tonite, I’m stayin’ up late with some pringles. 

 Weekends Rule

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Sounds like a good idea…

Book publishing has more politics involved in it than I expected.  Most things in life do.  But when talking with a colleague, I realized there is a way around it…  Book publishing for the better good.

I was sitting in a meeting going over what certification titles we publish on (not the sexiest topic) and when the question was raised about titles that cover basic computer skills, the response was along the lines of a 10 yr old can figure out how to use a computer these days, so while that topic may sell in a developing country, the market certainly isn’t big enough for it.

umm, hello, social responsibility?  I wanted to say something, but I smirked instead.  Just another business out for a buck.

Not really wanting the people I was in the meeting with to think I was smirking from a daydream, I brought up the social responsibilty issue when I could talk one on one with my colleague.  I was relieved when he gave me his answer, I was relieved because he had considered this, and he presented what I think is an idea that should be explored.

The technology book publishing market has fast turn over for obvious reasons.  While the goal is to not let this happen, sometimes the content is dated at pub date.  Not to mention we sit on ebooks full of dated content.  What about sending all this dated material to developing countries?  Not sure how this would work, or where the material currently sits, but we’re a global publishing house, there’s gotta be a way…

We could send titles we might shred to schools in Africa, set up a database of ebooks full of dated material that developing countries could access through subscription at their schools.  There are probably copyright issues and more politics than I realize in considering this, but the idea of it made me think humanity exists in book publishing, we just have to dig for the ideas. 

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heroes, losers, and humanity

If someone asked me a year ago for an example of someone I admire, I would’ve had a lame answer – Bill Cosby and Oprah.  Pretty lame, because truth be told I liked Bill Cosby the Huxtable not so much the person he is today.  I’m suspicious of the sunglasses.  And Oprah?  so cliche, so main stream…  (and another reason I was proud to say these were my heroes was because they are both black, and having come from a racist Louisiana background, I was asserting my distance from such a place, but it has been 7 yrs passed since I have left that state, time to move on….)  aww man, I just realized my new hero is black, too.  Seriously, never even thought about it prior to that.  but you know what, she’s still my hero.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of he Infidel and The Caged Virgin.  This woman broke out of an oppressive society and became a refugee in Holland, sought education, entered into government, expressed her views of women in Islam in a film that got Theo Van Gogh murdered, and has since come to America.  I’ve never been so inspired by anyone.  When she discovered her personal freedom in Holland and went to school, I was amazed by her determination and I kept thinking She’s doing something, why isn’t everyone doing something? 

I sat with that feeling for a while…  Why isn’t everyone doing something?  I was really upset by this, frustrated…  I’m not a person with strong convictions.  I keep most of my beliefs to myself and enjoy discussing religion and politics on a general level, but you’ll never see me running for office.  (I will, however, judge the crap out of you if you have stupid silly beliefs… Christians, you know who you are…)

But this book moved me to take a stronger stance.  I am in the middle of The Caged Virgin and looking forward to The Truth about Muhammad by Robert Spencer.  I’m also looking at a section about the Muslim world and why they are so far behind in technology from The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman

So this is what I can say now.  I am an atheist.  I am an atheist because I believe what matters is what is happening on this Earth and what is happening with humanity.  Morals and values are more obvious to me in how they relate to humanity, not religion.  In fact, I think the true worth of a person is what is left when you strip them of religion.  If someone has no self-worth after their religion is gone, that person is worthless to me.  This is not to say a person of high self worth is good or bad, it takes a pretty confident person to kill someone and think they can get away with it.  It’s just a starting point.  This person has potential to help humanity get to a better place.

In the mean time I am still struggling with two things: is humanity worth helping when there are so many worthless individuals? (I love humanity, but in general, I hate people) and what can I do to help humanity that isn’t politics but will allow me to live with myself?   

 Don’t even get me started about lazy flubs who complain about life never giving them a break…  Are ya stupid?  yes, you are.

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