29 December 2008

who is in the right when war is the answer?

i am, admittedly, new to the world of foreign policy. it has only been since the award of my fellowship that i've begun to pay as much attention to the world section of the ny times as i have been the op-ed and politics pages. and while there is clearly nothing new to the ongoing battle between israel and the rest of the middle east, i have no idea who is in the right.

it is very clear to me that the ny times is on the side of the israelis, as is most of america. i too find myself in that camp, only because i read, hear, and pay attention to what's being reported around me. i see the word hamas and terrorism springs to mind. when i think of israel, whether it's right or wrong, i think of holocaust retribution, a fresh start after a devastating loss, a new beginning for a people whose entire existence has been fraught with surviving attempts at mass extermination. i can't help but feel that the jewish people deserve their holy land.

and it's not like that land of milk and honey was really all that before israel declared itself a nation in 1948 (i'm not 100% on the facts here, but i think the league of nations created a nation or perhaps confirmed the existence of the british mandate of palestine, after the first world war, with the intent of providing a nation for the jewish people. then in 1947 that stretch of land known as palestine was split in half by the united nations, half to the jews, half to the arabs, and the jews of israel half had to go to war with the surrounding arab nations in order to officially demand its independence. i don't think palestine was officially recognized as its own nation until the late 1980's?). either way, it's been a land embattled in war since the beginning of time. i wouldn't want to live there.

anyway...

okay, so treaty after treaty, followed by wars, outbreaks of violence, terrorist activities, crimes against humanity, et al, by both sides, there exists this 5-ish mile strip of land that separates israel from the mediterannean sea. gaza. gaza was governed by egypt till 1967, when israel kicked its ass and took over the strip of land by military occupation. notwithstanding a few israeli settlements, the people who live there are not israelis. they are arabs, and they don't like israelis. in the '90's, there were a series of negotiations in an effort to transfer government authority over to the palestinians, and by 2005 israel was out of gaza. sort of.

israel still maintains control over airspace, anything in transit, immigration to and from, visitor travel, and issues related to taxation of israeli goods and services. this makes it feel to palestinians that israel hasn't really left their land. even today, it is israel who allows or denies humanitarian aid into the gaza strip.

gaza is in limbo. it is a "territory", owned by no one, governed by fighting palestinians and economically pinned by israel.

in 2006, there were palestinian elections to determine who would rule the gaza strip. the terrorist group hamas won. no real surprise there. the arabs living in the gaza strip don't like the perceived israeli occupation, and they elected (i'm not saying this was a good move) the intolerant, no nonsense, militaristic, "let's just kick their asses" hamas terrorist group to lead. the results of the election led to a lot of internal fighting between hamas and the other palestinian faction (the more moderate group), fatah. economic sanctions were instituted by the western world, even most of the arab world refused to accept hamas leadership, many palestinians fled the gaza strip, and hamas blames it all on israel.

since 2007, when hamas effectively ran out any other palestinian gov't and took the reigns over the gaza strip, they have been poking at israel. they have shot more than 10,000 rockets into towns in southern israel, have in all likelihood been using government funds to purchase military weapons instead of investing in farms, education, and infrastructure, and have waged an ongoing attack against israel.

israelis, though they aren't necessarily being killed by these ongoing rocket and mortar attacks, are suffering psychologically, individually and as a nation. at some point it seems that they have a right to step it up and remind hamas-controlled-gaza that they won't want to mess with the big dogs.

the thing is, how far do they go? when does it stop? the ny times is reporting that nearly 400 palestinians have been killed, many of which are innocent civilians. on the one hand, you wanna tell israel, "ok, enough's enough, you've made your point. back off, and open the roads for humanitarian aid to get back into gaza." and on the other hand, when is it ever okay to take 400 lives for the sake of making a point?

really, who is to blame? i don't know. i still don't know. maybe there isn't a right and a wrong. maybe it's just meant for the madness to go on and on and on. in writing this, i'd hoped to find someone to blame, and someone to make it stop. but i'm right back where i started, with only questions and no answers...

~k

27 December 2008

my great unanswered

so, i meant to use this weekend to finish my novel. and here i am contemplating the great question of my moment…

part of me can’t even believe i’m putting this into my blog where all two of you are going to see what i’m thinking. but as sonya would tell me, ‘we win big and lose big, but always go big’ so i’m just gonna close my eyes and jump big with the hopes that even if you can’t help me, i can listen to myself for a minute and see what it is i am really trying to see.

is it better to be alone or is it better to share life with someone else?

on the one hand, this is a no brainer. like, who wants to spend their entire life alone, right? that way i answer the question with another question with no answer. the thing is, i’ve been living alone (mostly) for almost three years, and i kinda dig it. i like that i’m spending most of this weekend locked away in solitude. i like that in solitude is where i’ve sorta spent this entire past year, which, incidentally, has been the greatest of my life. yeah, i’ve been around lotsa people, in lotsa places, but i did it alone, and gave way to the circumstances to keep myself locked in solitude.

and even today, i like that the only sounds in my apartment are the heater working overtime (that is one noisy bastard, btw) and my fingers tapping the keyboard. i like that i eat what i want, that i drink too much without interference, that i can sit in my sweatpants all day, that i can keep myself safely tucked away from the woes of the world.

i’ve been so disappointed with love the past few years, have been so disappointed in myself for the choices i have and haven’t made, for the way i’ve let the emotions and words of others have such a profound impact on my being true (or not being true, as the case may have been) to myself. and i don’t know if i can really trust me enough to go back out there, give love a fair shot, and keep about me what i’ve grown to love so much this year.

and to be perfectly honest with me and both of you, i’m not 100% sure that i want to share my life. i have these moments where i _know_ i do, where i _know_ i have so much to give and want to share this crazy big heart of mine. and then i have these others, where i feel content with the way things are, with me on my own, and i like the way it feels to be succeeding in life all by myself. and i don’t know if the scared in me is looking for an excuse to “choose” to be alone as opposed to practicing my preachings and taking a real leap of faith, or if this is a serious question to seriously ponder.

i also can’t remember how much i liked sharing my life. i do know that i don’t remember ever being as happy as i am now. and i don’t know if that’s because i am alone, or if it's taken me this long to find the place where i can be happy enough to share. i just don’t know.

oh, and this is a good one to leave a comment if you have anything to share :)

~k

21 December 2008

a letter to a humanitarian

dear humanitarian friend -

in our last conversation and in your blog, you have expressed grave disillusionment in the way some of the rest of us view your work. you don't want to be viewed as someone who is saving the world. i try, but i'm not sure i understand why. is it because you really don't feel that the work you're doing is saving the world or is it that you're not sure you deserve such a label because you chose your path and find love and excitement in your work?

the thing is, you make sacrifices most wouldn't make. you spend weeks living out of a suitcase in dangerous and remote places in africa and the middle east, trying to make inroads with and for people who move as slowly as molasses. you do it because you are trying to do what you can to make those places better for the people inauspiciously resident. you write op-ed pieces and a blog of your own on the atrocities and challenges within the aforementioned parts of the world. you keep your own emotions and even personal reward in check because you have chosen the life of a wandering pauper over that of the wall street lawyer you were educated to become and offered.

look, i understand that martyrdom is not what you seek. i get that maybe it's not fair that you mostly enjoy your work. but really, is it all that great? i mean, sure, there are moments you love what you do, see the results of your labors, look into the eyes of the people you are trying to help, but you suffer. you live a lonely existence for weeks on end. you are exhausted when on the go. you find occasional moments of serenity now that you've found a place you can call home, but don't have the time and energy to forge new friendships, build a relationship, and revel in all of the other elements of a rooted life.

people like us sacrifice a lot to make the world a better place. it's where we find the greatest sense of personal achievement, but the costs to our personal lives are untold. i have no regrets for leaving my life behind to do everything in my power to change the course of my beloved but drowning america (and darlin', my work is far from finished), but i lost as big as i won.

i lost friendships i'll never recover. i lost the freedom to live a carefree life. i will never again look at the woes of the world and not feel responsible to work to correct them. i will never stop working to be the best and most charitable me i can be, and i will never reach my own ideal because i am too mired in the rat race. my relationships suffer terminally because i carry the weight of the world atop my shoulders. someone recently told me i'll never actually have the life i want because i'm too accomplished, too driven, too successful, that i will never find the requisite strength and confidence within the fragile ego of the truly fairer sex to build a successful relationship (the lonely christmas i bring about is set to be like all the others before it, a pity party of epic proportion).

it makes me angry that my talents can mobilize people. it makes me angry as hell that what i do best pays nothing, keeps me up at night, and is pushing me into the pernicious world of american politics. it makes me angry that people now have expectations of me, hopes for me, and are making demands of my time, energy, and passion they don't even realize they want and need. and it thrills me so much that i can't help but throw myself into the thick of it. i am energized by it, i feel accomplished, i feel like i'm contributing, that i'm making the world a little bit better, and i need that. i need it to feel personally, professionally, and intellectually satisfied. and i hate it just as fervidly.

a crossroads lies in my path. in one direction, i see and fear a life of lonely political success. in the other lies personal reward that will dim the fire in my soul. i am being pushed and pulled toward the former, while wanting the latter. i just don't know if i can live with a dim fire in my soul, but i sure as shit don't want to be a fucking martyr either. i really don't.

so, i guess what i'm trying to say is that as much as i try to understand what you're saying, i'm not sure i do. and as much as i love you and want to respect you, i still can't help but see someone changing the world when you stand before me.

~k

20 December 2008

things are about to get interesting...

i say that as if a boring moment has even touched my life in the past year, but what i mean is that local political activism appears to be setting its sights on a big chunk of my life (as opposed to the national political scene that's held my life without ransom since january of last year).

random thought: i really wish i didn't hate the la times... i really am going to have to start reading the damn thing.

so, agendas are starting to roll out, activists are trying to come together, a few of us are working on building a bridge, and a small-scale coup d'├ętat is likely in order so the better leaders can better bridge the activists. in hypothtical speak, let's just assume that there's a particular congressional district in ripe shape to be assumed by leaders with smaller egos and better intent, so as to unify, empower, respect, and include its residents in a well-oiled machine of progressive activists. and let's just further assume that the person currently holding the self-appointed leadership role is more akin to the likes of anwar sadat. a belevolent dictator is, after all, still a dictator, even if he is wearing the enlightened hat. and such a leader needs to go...

and we've got shit to do here. we need to get prop 8 repealed. we need to set a progressive agenda of our own on issues from healthcare, the environment, education, and economic reform. we need to solidify our movement so we can present ourselves as either a threat or a tremendous support network to our local politicians, and start making ourselves seen, heard, and recognized as a power with which a reckoning will be demanded. and we can, for there is great power in numbers, especially in numbers of educated, informed, enlightened citizens.

all of this makes me go gooey in the knees. and wonder if i'll ever again have a quiet night at home alone (i fondly remember when i used to get 4 or 5 such nights each week) or find someone i'll want to fall crazy madly in love with.

oh the woes of an enlightened activist...

~k

16 December 2008

what i want

so much is up in the air right now, so much is going on, so many offers are coming and going, and so many questions are being asked without answers. it gets a girl wondering what it is she really wants.

there's the obama administration position i'm being recommended for, a nalp position i was nominated to assume, a congressional seat i've had my eye on, and a national security fellowship i've got my name all over. but then there's my real life, my real job, my friends, and everything else that's been me all these weeks and months. so what is it i really want, and why am i trying so hard to consider and make room for all this other bullshit?

for the sake of full disclosure, i should admit that i'm a wee bit drunk right now. naeun and i had a coupla drinks and a fat bowl of pho ga tonight, and i'm still buzzed. she made me think, and she made me think about what i want out of my life. exactly which direction i want to point my future and start moving toward.

that's easy. it really is. i've said it all along, and even though i let ambition or politics or the "i know i'm a bad ass, let's prove it to the world" ego get in the way, i know what i want. i want to fall crazy, madly in love with some amazing man and create a family. i want to be a mom. i want to write historical fiction novels and political commentary to pay the pay the bills while i have my babies and raise them to be the enlightened future of our country and the world. that is _exactly_ what i want. i don't care where or when it happens, but that's what i want. that's what will give my life even more meaning than it has today (which is a lot).

the obama job would be impossible to turn down. shit, i might even have to pack up my life and move to dc if it comes through. nalp is easy. my day job is just that. it has no meaning, no long term potential, no career card. the congressional race decided for me when my congressman decided not to accept the job obama was offering. and the fellowship is mine. i wanted it. i want it. i got it. and i couldn't be more thrilled. it's going to teach me to think critically about national security, will give me the resources and connections to start writing and publishing op-ed pieces and being a liason to the media and polticians on national security issues. this is my segway into writing political commentary and advising politicians on important political matters. it's right. it feels right. and it's the right door to walk through.

and my first novel. well, it's done. it just needs for me to let go and go to publish. it will. it's good. i can write. it's the one thing i do that i know i do well. and there's no reason i shouldn't be paid for it.

so that is it. what i want is easy. i want to fall in love, madly, crazy, hopelessly in love, i want to bring children into that love affair, and i want to be paid to write, while my lover and i raise the leaders of tomorrow.

it really is that simple...

~k

13 December 2008

the simultaneous seven

stages of grief, that is...

so, i'm equal parts pissed off and hurting. and i'm so sick and tired of being told how amazing and wonderful i am, but... i don't get that. but what?

the latest version of the story is, "i love you, i want to be in a relationship with you, but i can't. oh, and will you come spend the holidays with me and my family in the midwest?" i don't even understand what that means. you want to be in a relationship, but you can't (sidebar, i never asked for a relationship, but assumed we were moving slowly in that direction (i also never mentioned anything remotely related to a timeline or being in some kind of hurry)). and you can't be in a relationship, but you want me to spend the holidays with your family in another state? you want to further complicate the incomprehensible status of our relationship by involving your family? are you kidding me?

i also don't understand why all of these selfish fucking pricks out there think they can rip our hearts out of our chests and then act completely dumbfounded when we don't want to be friends. yeah, that's what i want to do. i want to be broken up with, suffer through the pangs of the loss of a lover, and then continue to try to be your friend, only to watch you move on to another woman, while asking myself what she's got that i don't. no, i don't want to be your friend. are you high?

shock. i went into this with the impression that we were both looking for something serious. and i didn't imagine that conversation. we had it. at the beginning, before things got even remotely intense.

the other night when i reminded him that i didn't just wake up one day and start asking for things that weren't on the table, he said, "i was looking for something serious. i do want something serious."

to which i responded, "just not with me?"

"yes, with you," he said.

what? you want to be in a serious relationship. you want it to be with me. and we're breaking up. am i missing something?

denial. in my book, denial ties in very closely to the shock and disbelief stage. he can't possibly be serious, right? he can't possibly want to spend the rest of his life in the same trench my ex-husband now occupies, kicking himself in the ass for letting me get away (or in the case of my ex husband, pushing me away with a 2-ton bulldozer, and then doing too little too late to try to get me to come back). he can't possibly tell me he loves me in one breath, but can't be with me in the next. he can't possibly expect me to find any comfort in the words, "you're amazing and i know i'll never find anyone i will have as much fun with as i do you". all that does is make no sense whatsoever. why would you want to stop seeing the person you have more fun with than you've ever had, especially if love is part of the package?

bargaining. not happening. i'm not going to sacrifice any of my integrity, happiness, or self-respect just to have a moment of his attention or affections. fuck that.

angry? yeah, you betcha.

depression. i hurt and lotsa willful tears have escaped my stubborn ducts. he kinda broke my heart. i tried so hard not to even give him access, yet he wiggled his way in, and once there, couldn't take the heat. it got time to jump off the cliff, and it appears as though i'm standing here alone. when i turn around to see how far he's run in the other direction, i no longer even see the dot on the horizon that was the man standing next to me just five minutes ago.

acceptance. do i have a choice?

and hope. that's what i do. i have more love and more hope in this tiny little body than my entire neighborhood could hold in its lake. i do believe that all the wonderful we were is nothing compared to the wonderful that awaits. and if i fell in love, i can do it again, and next time it hopefully won't be with a coward.

~k

11 December 2008

contemplating "self interest rightly understood"

a child of the french revolution, alexis de tocqueville believed that democracy in america worked because local liberty encouraged individuals to be involved, to associate with one another to define, address, and deal with their collective needs and aspirations. it worked because self interests were realized by making the community a better place. sadly, however, we have seen this philosophy run amuck the past eight years, by and for an administration so mired in their own egocentric philosophies, that the country, the world, and the individuals who fell prey to its promises of wealth, have let the can turn to shit.


though things will undoubtedly get worse before they can get better, I’m a hopeless believer that enlightenment is just around the next bend. I mean, that’s why obama won. it was the community organizing, the belief that “yes we can” make the country better that riled up a nation, that got us knocking on doors and making phone calls, to elect a new direction for our country and ourselves. it was that collective we that came together to restore the ideals that made american democracy the envy of the world in the first place, as opposed to the symbol of greed, hatred, and imperialism that has terrorized us since 2001.


this morning, while I was reading joseph stiglitz’s article, “capitalist fools” in the latest issue of vanity fair, (http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2009/01/stiglitz200901?currentPage=1), it sorta dawned on me that it was enlightened self interest that won the campaign, and will turn the country around. to quote the author, "The truth is most of the individual mistakes [in the recent history that brought about the demise of the american economy] boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal... The embrace by America—and much of the rest of the world—of this flawed economic philosophy made it inevitable that we would eventually arrive at the place we are today."


markets aren't self-adjusting, not when the factors that impact the fluidity of the market are in the control of individuals. and in the case at hand, the individuals controlling the factors that've impacted the fluidity of the market have been motivated by greed (and not just greed, but disgustingly blind-sided eregious greed). we let individualism without bounds rule the roost without any regulation or oversight, simply believing that the markets would self-adjust, and the only thing that adjusted was the safety of our money in the banks, and the discrepancy in income between the poorest and wealthiest in this country.


choices weren't made within the ideologies central to the american philosophy of democracy, that enlightened self-interest would lead individuals to further the interests of the group. instead, we empowered the egoists to destroy the america we were, for the sake of a few bucks. that's over, and a new america has spoken. the old america, the real america, the america that inspired a world to believe in freedom. we're taking it back, and we're going to watch over, regulate, and influence with a self interest rightly understood...


~k

10 December 2008

one whirlwind week

if i could sum up my life in one word, it would be "magical". there are a lot of reasons for this, but i think primarily it's because i've been blessed with a kick ass pair of permanent rose-colored glasses.

yeah, shitty stuff happens. i hit big snags in relationships (not sure why the boys seem to be so scared of me and my ginormous heart). i have trouble getting along with people who have a different political philosophy (sorry, dad). my rent is too high for a place without parking (but worth every penny). i'm worth more dead than i am alive. my family lives way too far away, and when i go visit them i spend half the flight home bawling my eyes out. i walk with a cane and sometimes it sucks (most of the time it sucks). it costs me almost $400 to replace a tire on my car (something i feel i have to do far more often than seems reasonable). i can't wear sexy, strappy, 4" shoes, and sometimes that bums the shit outta me. i don't yet have a ticket for obama's inaugural speech (but i'll be there anyway). sometimes i think i'm in over my head at the day job, i'm responsible for way more than i should be, and i have to go to three office holiday parties, in three cities, in one week. traffic pisses me off. being disappointed by my friends weighs heavily in my heart. and i'm 34, single, childless, and don't see that changing anytime soon.

thank god i'm hot!

all joking aside, i really do suffer the same woes of any one who lives a life. there are days i'm sad, lonely, feel sorry for myself, and want to crawl into a hole and die. there are days i pick up the newspaper and wonder if things are ever going to get better. and don't tell anyone, but some days i wonder if those nutbag christian folks are right and the world is going to end any day now.

but then i have weeks like i've had this week (and it's only wednesday), and i remember why it is that i can sum up my life in that one "magical" word.

on monday, i got a call from obama (not personally, but someone on the team). i have to pick one position that i want, out of the 3,300 listed in the plum book, write the best cover letter of my entire life, attach my resume and a list of the reasons i'm the right gal for the gig, and someone who has been asked to make 36 recommendations is going to recommend me for the appointee position of my choice. this doesn't mean i'll get the position i've chosen as my number one (in case you're wondering, it's _special assistant to the president for presidential personnel_), but it does mean that someone high up in the obama team thinks highly enough of me and my contributions that i'm one of their 36.

on tuesday, i got a call from the director of a fellowship program to which i applied. we scheduled an interview for today.

today i found out i'm a finalist for that fellowship. i also found out this was the year of the most number and most amazingly qualified of applicants. and i'm a finalist. and she is going to recommend to the board that i get the los angeles fellowship (http://www.trumanproject.org/programs/fellowship). it doesn't mean i'll get it. but it does mean that in a year when the number of applicants was highest and the calibre of applicants astounding, i'm a finalist.

i guess (and not that i ever really doubted it) that the sum of all things in my life is that hard work and believing in myself pays off. it's nice for me to wake up every day and think i'm awesome, it's even better when my friends and family (and boys breaking up with me) tell me how wonderful and amazing i am, but it's even better when my awesomeness is recognized on a much grander scale than my own delusions of grandeur. and that's what's happened this week.

it reinforces my belief that anything is possible, and tightens the screws on those rose-colored glasses i refuse to stop wearing. and if i don't get the obama job, yay, i don't have to pack up my life and move to the east coast. if i don't get the fellowship, i can reapply next year. either way or not at all, i already have an incredible life i wouldn't trade in for a dump truck full of gold bricks. a life that's, in a word, magical...

~k

04 December 2008

my favorite things about los angeles (in no particular order)

my friends (this is first, everything else is in no particular order)
my apartment
the rare but pure beauty of a clear day
spending the few rainy days cuddled up with a good movie
the scent of jasmine in unexpected places
that it can be both hot and cold in the same day
philippe's
the hollywood sign
silver lake
basketball in pauley pavilion
farmer's markets
taco stands
the grove
slippery shrimp
the vista
angelenos, no matter from whence they came
venice beach
diversity in all things
4100
the music box steps
blossom
the view from my neighbor's deck
ucla
the greek theatre
chateauneuf du pape by the glass
the wiltern
art & soul tattoo (scott, in particular)
the ancelle on gramercy
cobras and matadors
pink's
shisha bars
california chicken cafe
the sportsman's lodge
hollywood blvd.
grauman's chinese theatre
3rd street promenade
the crisp ocean breeze on an otherwise hot day
the waves crashing onto the shore
melrose
grace
june gloom
lacma
the pantages
the getty villa
air hockey at yankee doodle on the promenade
killer shrimp
sushi
that tommy's burger is always open
el cholo
the oh-so-random after hours scene
the pch
ucla extension
that it's 80 degrees on christmas
if it exists, it can be found here (and probably at a rummage sale)
bacon-wrapped hotdogs from a grill on the sidewalk
the joy in finding biscuits & gravy and grits on a breakfast menu
the edison bar
25 degrees
ethel on 3rd
parties at the museum of natural history
knott's scary farm
sample sales in random downtown warehouses
larchmont village
the smell and feel of the bodhi tree bookstore after lunch at good urth
versailles
the awkward bustle of downtown
universal studios
cayenne cafe
gorilla thursdays
ordering spaghetti off the menu at valentino
the way the city smells on a foggy morning
the sunsets in october
sitting on my deck on a warm summer night
how completely crazy some seemingly ordinary nights can turn
that there is a park on stoner avenue
walking through the library for cocktails on the roof of the standard
the sunset junction
star of india
the red lion tavern
being able to give directions to anywhere in the city
knowing that leonardo dicaprio lives here somewhere
the b dash
seeing my office building in every car commercial
having my groceries delivered
401 north sycamore
baja fresh
the cat & the fiddle
westwood village
brunch
sunsets over the ocean

~k

30 November 2008

i can't help it, i can't...

1) i am trained to think critically and argue.

2) i am liberal.

3) i see the world through the lens of my experience and that's _never_ going to change.

4) all of the above are a deadly combo when politics comes into the discussion.

5) i think george w. bush is the biggest fucking moron on earth.

6) i think the economy is tanking because regulation (code word for a legal requirement that the books aren't being cooked to overvalue assets) was cast aside to allow the market to work itself out, fluctuate, and adjust according to the fluidity of a "free market". the only problem is that the element of greed was not considered, and as rich greedy assholes saw nothing but dollar signs standing in the way of the lessons of history (see 1762 when a housing bubble popped, credit crunched, and the resulting depression helped pave the road to the american revolution, for one; see the great depression, resulting from the bank failures following risky (see unregulated) investments in the railroad industry as example b), and those super-smart ivy-league educated business people ignored all signs of the inevitable end to the exorbitantly rising value of real estate, the blossoming 'burst' of the housing bubble, and the crunch for credit strangling the global market today (along with all of those grossly over-valued mortgage securities all wrapped up into tight little bundles of neatly packaged shit-pies sold to investors (ahem, us) as 'assets' (awesome!)).

7) i think the patriot act is an abomination, and i have seen the current administration spend eight years redlining the constitution to suit its agenda of greed and imperialism.

8) i think guns are neat-o, but i don't want one (for shit's sake, i can't even check the air pressure in my tires). i also don't see the problem in asking people to fill out a form, get a background check, and wait a few days before walking out of the gun store with a semi-automatic 12-guage shotgun.

9) i think education in the u.s. is _clearly_ benefiting the upper class. i think anyone who thinks otherwise is choosing blindness over sensibility. kids who go to public high school in beverly hills get better teachers, more money, better technology, better after-school and in-school programs, better books, more teachers, more electives, more safety, more opportunities. kids who go to public high school in compton, on the other hand, have to dodge bullets, peel their crack-whore moms up off the sidewalk, fight the pressure to join gangs their drug-pushing friends making an easy buck belong to, and search high and low for any support, encouragement, and opportunity to rise above all that to get an education (all of which takes place in a segment of society that does not value an education). dude, that one kid who makes it out of compton and into college has more character, strength, and maturity than all the beverly hills kids put together. for all the others who don't make it to college, is it the kids' fault for being born into compton instead of beverly hills, for not having equal access to eductation, for spending his/her formative years being woo'd to the dark side?

10) i think health care in this country is shameful as it, much like the above referenced crashing "free market", is motivated by greed. pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, manufacturers of medical technology keep prices _so_ high that only the most fortunate of americans, who work for companies with a big bank account, can actually afford to be healthy. and shit, with my six-figure salary, and company sponsored health insurance, i can still barely keep up with the bills rolling in from my twice-yearly no-issue doctor visits. so, like education, health care is really only accessible to the upper class.

11) i think legal reform is necessary to bring down the costs of medical malpractice insurance (or the entirety of the field should be scrapped in favor of socialist health care).

12) i think anyone who doesn't believe in climate change or see the urgent necessity in preserving natural resources and eliminating our addiction to fossil fuels is stupid.

13) i think our addiction to fossil fuels is the only reason we wage a war in iraq.

14) i think the claim that we fight the war to spread democracy, to free people of a tyrannical, evil leader, is gobbledygook. if that were really the reason, why aren't we waging similar wars in somalia, rwanda, or darfur where genocide is as rampant as aids? oh, yeah, cuz there's no oil to drill?

15) i think our addiction to fossil fuel is the primary reason terrorists target americans, and i agree with former CIA director Jim Woolsey who said, "we are funding the rope for hanging outselves" for our (via the dipshit in chief) refusal to do anything significant post 9/11 to reduce our gasoline consumption.

16) i think the big 3 should not get a dime of taxpayer bailout money (see #'s 12-15).

17) i think if someone is against gay marriage, they should not get one and shut the fuck up.

18) i think religions' greatest contribution to the world is the spread of hate.

19) i think sean hannity should take a long walk off a short cliff.

20) i think i can be intolerant of the views of others. and while i probably don't really stand on the moral high ground from which i find myself looking down at the world, it is where i perch. and i'm okay with it. i accept me, flaws and all, liberalism and all, judgmentalism and all.

sorry.

~k

24 November 2008

finding me

i really was lost for a long time. i lived my life in a self-created bubble. i let the world see who i thought i wanted to be, who i even convinced myself i was, because i was too afraid to be the real me. i assumed the role of the person i thought the world wanted, because i was too afraid the world would reject the real me.

after falling all the way to the bottom of the firey pit of rocks from whence i've spent the last three years climbing, landing on my ass, tending to my wounds, and ascending to its rim with bleeding hands, and a tear-stained face, i have chosen to fear no more. i am who i am, i like who i am, and i don't give a damn if no one else or the world feels the same.

i embarked upon the campaign journey because i believed in obama's message of empowerment, and i believed that as president, he would be able to inspire a new generation of leadership. obama inspired me to believe that i can make the world a better place by believing in me. but i already believed that, i always had. since my days as a wayward kid, it had been my driving force, and i'd just forgotten. i mean, i've always been pretty fearless, have always taken the world by the reigns, never really doubted that i would someday be everything i wanted to be, everything i could be. and even though it was obama who reminded me that someday i could be, it wasn't until this past weekend that i realized that someday is today.

it was an epiphany weekend. it happened in a moment no one orchestrated. but a moment in time that hit me to my core when he said, "why don't you ever put your arms around me? why do you push me away instead of pull me closer to you?" he meant it physically. but it was a physical manifestation of my greatest fears living deep within my barricaded soul. i haven't been able to pull him closer, because the closer i feel myself get to him, the more i look for ways to push him away. i didn't want to love him. i'm too scared. i'm not ready. i'm too afraid that the minute i really open myself up again, and dare to risk my heart, i will encounter another crushing blow.

the thing is, who cares if i do. if i don't try, i'll never know. and even today, after all the heartache and pain i endured by living through the betrayel of another, it was worth it. the depth of emotion we shared, the complete and utter reckless abandon of all sensibility for the few moments of godlike joy we gave one another, the mad and crazy love that's been the inspiration behind the greatest stories ever told, is worth every bit of potential heartache it can bring.

i will spend the rest of my days striving to be a better me, and i'll probably never fully realize the ideal i know i can be (i do have a great many faults, after all), but i will try to always embrace opportunities to expand my horizons, experience new things, and do so with an eye toward bettering myself, instead of with an insular nose in the air (i am being way too hard on myself in this assessment, because i've always been fairly open-minded, but with a certain closed-minded air that i'm trying really hard to overcome). but i will always be okay with and love, adore, and accept the me i am today, and that day. and while i will never approach love with the reckless abandon that once called my shots, i will not let fear stand in my way of having another shot at that mad, crazy love that inspires the world's greatest feats.

~k

16 November 2008

my return from paradise

just this morning i returned from my week in kauai, sun-kissed and feeling settled in mind, heart, and soul for the first time in a very long time. i've got my eye back on the ball, and i know what i want from my life, and which direction to set my sail.

when i left on this trip, i hoped to accomplish two goals. the first was to get a better feel for hallway boy and our relationship (i mean, we'd never spent more than 24 hours together before embarking on a 6-day, 6-night baller vaca together), and secondly, to figure out what the hell i want to do now that the campaign no longer holds my life without ransom. and i feel pretty confident that i found the answers i sought.

let's start with hallway boy. i s'pose the best place is his sense of humor, our sense of humor. i have never in my life laughed as much as i do when i'm with him. he is _the_ funniest boy i have ever met, and even though he would probably say that it's because i'm a top-notch peanut gallery, i will tell you it's because his sharp tongue and even sharper wit keeps me in stitches. the guy doesn't miss a beat. and it helps that he laughs at all of my jokes too, even the ones most people don't get or just miss. it's kinda awesome.

jubilance or none, hallway boy and i spent six days and six nights together, ate every meal together, and had a great time all day, every day. we were equal parts adventurous and lazy. we checked out the entire island of kauai (by jeep, helicopter, and kayak), he helped me in and out of the ocean (i'm a ginormous chicken when it comes to sharks, waves, rocks, and mother nature possessing control over and above my comfort level), and he saved both our lives (maybe i'm being slightly over-dramatic here) when the cross currents between the wailua river and the pacific ocean tried to own our kayak. we were on the same page about everything. we only had one argument the whole time, and get this, it was over the patriot act. we've been dating long enough now that we're no longer on our best behavior, and we only spat once and it was over something political (we vehemently disagree on the security vs. liberty debate). it was wonderful, he was wonderful, the island was stunning, and the vacation was the best i've had in a very long time (i hesitate to say 'ever' only because i've had some great vacations, but the hesitation is very slight, because nothing went wrong in a situation that coulda been disastrous).

and for the me part.

i hate to write it, admit it to the universe, and at the same time be okay with it. but i know what i want and i need to be okay with being me. so here goes. i want to be a writer and a wife and a mom. i love my life here, i love my day job, i love the stories that brew in my head, and i love my friends, my apartment, my town (even if it reeks of smoke right now). i don't want to move to the other side of the country to start a new life in a new career, especially one as pernicious as politics. i don't want to be someone's bitch, even if it is in the obama administration. the fact is, i can do more here. i can volunteer here, be an active member of my community, and change the world one life at a time, one life i can empower at a time. there, i said it. it's out there. i admitted it. now i can stop fretting about not doing enough to change the world, and just live my life and be happy.

and so i once again find paulo coelho ringing in my head, "it's true; life really is generous to those who pursue their personal legend..." and now i am setting my sail back in the direction of my personal legend.

look out world.

~k

07 November 2008

a day in a surreal life

surreal - having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic

today is friday. tuesday was three days ago. it feels like three weeks. and i'm three weeks of tired in three days...

this week has been a whirlwind of epic proportion. i'm in the middle of a tornado, and it's not the eye.

on tuesday, we won. the collective we made a statement to the country and the world that we are different. we have torn down the barriers of race, worked through the hate and bigotry, said 'no' to the failed policies of george w. bush, and made it abundantly clear that we want change.

on tuesday, i won. i won the greatest achievement of my life. for the first time in my entire life, i gave my _everything_ and found, at the end of a long, exhausting and great journey, that giving everything can and does pay back in spades. i won. though my contributions, in the grand scheme of things, are/were fairly miniscule, i know i made a difference. and i couldn't be more proud that i did change the world (a little bit). i know this, even if i can't really feel and know what that means.

winning the election is and was the greatest feeling of accomplishment i've ever known. the sweet taste of victory still lingers, three days later. but it was seeing indiana turn blue that gave me a real and personal sense of unrivaled pride and joy. it was the most rewarding piece of the electoral thumping we handed to the republican party. and it will be with me till the end of my days. indiana went blue. indiana. i did that. obviously i wasn't alone as it took a large army of soldiers of change, but i was a big part of that, and it makes it all the more personal.

in the three days since tuesday, i have had a conference call with barack obama in which he praised this victory as "ours" and said that he expected to see many of us in washington in january, i applied for one of those washington positions, hopped onto a plane to san francisco to get back to that day job work i've long been relegating to the back burner, ran a meeting i've been anticipating for weeks, and booked a trip to spend a week in paradise with hallway boy (though he's the one that did the actual planning and booking of that trip).

i'm tired. i'm emotionally and mentally drained. it hasn't even registered (not really) that this journey has ended, that this thing is over, that we won, that barack obama is our next president. i'm swirling about some cloudy, beautiful dream in which america and i have taken a step in the right direction, but can't even wake up enough to truly savor what that means, or where i play in to whatever comes next. i'm simply floating in the peripheral wave of the celebratory mood of our country, without allowing its meaning, its end, and its beginning to really sink in...

i think i'm just stuck in the blues of what now. i'm three days this side of tuesday and i don't know who or what i am or what and who i'm meant to be and how i'm meant to play a role in the world we're destined to change. i just know i'm tired, i can't see through the fuzz of the past week and the past nine months, and i can't see tomorrow or any day beyond... 'what now?' is all i really see, know, and feel. what now???

04 November 2008

game day

i'm sitting in ballroom in the basement of the century plaza hotel, surrounded by at least 200 volunteers, who've made more than 30,000 calls in the past seven and a half hours. the energy in this room is almost as exhilarating as the remarkable scene before me. just close your eyes and imagine a room full of 200 people, in all different sizes, shapes, colors, and background. accents a plenty, representing cities and countries around the world, white middle-aged business men in their suits and ties sitting next to young african american athletes in their ucla sweatpants. big-name actors camped out next to small store clerks, retired folks, and kids who've taken the day off high school. a room truly representative of the melting pot this country claims to be, making calls to elect Barack Obama our next president.

i'm pretty sure this is the most beautiful thing i have ever seen in my life. not just this moment, not just this day, not just this gotv weekend, but the whole thing. the whole journey. this campaign, rooted in the grassy knolls of every hill in america, is about folks of all walks of life choosing hope over fear, unity over division, and the promise of change over the power of the status quo. it's about all of us choosing america's better history. today.

no matter what happens today (though all bullshitting aside, i will be more devastated than i've ever been if we don't win this thing), something extraordinary has been happening in america these past twenty months. we've seen communities coming together for the betterment of neighborhoods, cities, the country, our families and our own selves. i've been here for nine months of it, have seen it with my own eyes, and felt something magical stirring in my own soul. this is the america i want to call home, americans i want to call my friends and family, this is a place i can be proud to call my country, and i hope and pray with every exhale of breath that we win today.

we have to win today. it's our time. it feels right. it feels necessary. it feels now. it feels like we really are one people, believing in and fighting for the country we can just glimpse through the tunnel of darkness, at the end of which lies that higher ideal where equal opportunity exists, and every american has the potential to be its best and brightest. and that together, we can do this. YES WE CAN!

we're almost there. it's 2pm on the west coast. i'm 10 hours into today. the polls will start closing in a coupla hours on the east coast. i'm reminding myself to keep breathing, and i'm fighting back tears with every ounce of resolve i can muster. the finish line is there. i can see it. i can feel it, the final stretch of a long and stormy race...

02 November 2008

gotmfv

it's my 4th and final gotv for this campaign. i spent this afternoon and evening helping to set up for tomorrow and tuesday's big, official phone bank at the century plaza hotel. my job is the on-site motivator. cuz that's what i do best. and i have to be "on" for the next 48 hours. i report for duty at 5:30 tomorrow morning, and i'll be there till wednesday, getting out the mother fucking vote.

this is a real mixed moment for me. as i've discussed is great and painful detail in prior blogs, this gotv weekend marks the end of the greatest journey of my life. and that thought terrifies me. but i am so excited that a new dawn is about to break for america, and for me, that i look to tuesday with as much joyful anticipation as i do fearful.

i can hear and feel the excitement on meet the press, i feel in the air, i could see it in the faces of people responding to the shirts hallway boy and i wore today (we were obama'd out while running around), i feel it deep in my soul. i'm still scared shitless that dems won't get to the polls on tuesday, and even though it's frazzled at its ends, my faith is feeling very strong. and i feel that this isn't just another presidential election, it's not about a man running for office, but this is a time in america's fate where a new leadership is meant to take the reigns, a younger, fresher, open-minded, and courageously daring america, governed of the people, by the people, and for the people. the people of today. the people who see the modern world for what it is, who know and understand the internet, a global economy, and that diplomacy is a more effective means of spreading democracy than a damn stupid war. i mean, an evolved mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially for such nonsense as oil, money, and greed.

so, assuming my gut's not too far off, looks like the dems will have a chance to begin to crack away at the wall of shit george bush and cronies have built around america, and that a new light will soon begin to emerge. that can only mean that a bright new light will emerge for me as well...

i keep saying this, but when i look to my future, i still have no idea what to see on the other side of tuesday. no idea at all, cept for the very near short-term.

i will go back to my day job, which has been on the back-burner for the past few months and needs a lot of my attention. i've got a novel sitting on my coffee table that i'm committed to sending out by the end of this year (yep, december 31. right here, in writing, novel off my table, out of my hands, into the universe, by the end of this year). and i've got some loose ends in need of tying in my personal life. add to that, a resume tossed into the stack of wanna-be obama administration staffers, and i've got potential roads going every which way. it seems i am going to have to tend to some decisions, instead of jumping off cliffs and hoping for a smooth landing.

i know what i want. it's what i've wanted all along. i want to write, i want to travel a lot, and i want to do it with my lover and our kids. now i've got to make the desisions that get me there the right way... or i guess i could just close my eyes and jump off another cliff...

29 October 2008

a life coming to an end

it's been a very long time since i lost someone i love. my mamaw-daddy died when i was 11 (i think), and i still remember that pain. i mean, it's hard not to be crazy in love with a grandpa who never would've believed any person who tried to tell him i wasn't who hung the moon, and even though i was only a kid, there are times today i can go back to that loss, and feel as sad and confused as i did in the days following his death (which itself followed a very long and painful battle with lung cancer). the most beautiful and surprising thing about that loss - 23 years ago - is that it was the last for me.

i was at hallway boy's last night when i got the call from my mom that my other grandpa had been admitted to the hospital, and wouldn't be going home...

what i felt in that moment, in the hours that followed, and what i still feel today, is very much a mixed bag. on the one hand, we should all be so lucky to live a long, healthy, happy, fulfilled life as my pa has had. he's 87 years old, until very recently had been jovial and sprite since the day i met him, way back when i made my grand entrance, in november of some unnamed year in the 70's :). he was (and is) as proud of me as anyone ever has been, and i of him. he's a good man, my pa. and he's had a really good life.

on the other hand, his life is ending, and it breaks my heart. it hurts to know that in a matter of days or weeks, i will lose someone who has been one of my life's greatest driving forces. he's always been there for me, supportive of my endeavors, and probably my biggest fan. and he's going to be gone. i can't help but selfishly be sad for my own loss, as well as the loss my granny, my brothers and cousins, and my mom and her siblings will all soon feel. it is just sad. and it hurts.

last night when i got the news, i'm glad i wasn't alone. i'm glad hallway boy was there to comfort me, to encourage me to talk about my pa, to tell him stories about our trips to the donut shop, and that drawer full of molding donut holes i collected during his frequent visits to my hospital room after my car accident. but it was hard for me to be true to my emotions with hallway boy, because i'm trying so hard to keep me close to the vest. i mean, i tried so hard to be strong because i didn't want to cry in front of him. he knew it too, he saw me fighting back the tears, and finally told me to let go, "it's okay to cry". and i did and the floodgates opened. and he pet me while i cried, and comforted me, and told me it's okay to be sad.

the mixed bag here is that i'm not really sure i am ready to be so vulnerable with him. i mean, maybe it's time. we've been dating for a few months now, maybe it's time to start knocking a few of those cinder blocks to the ground. but i feel safer and my heart feels a bit more secure, when i keep a good distance between hallway boy and my emotions, when he doesn't see how much i feel (i.e. _everything_) and how much more of a role my feelings play in my decision making than things as silly as reason and sense. playing the tough girl helps me keep me closer to me, even if it isn't really me, and it scares the shit out of me to let him see the emotional volcano that lies below the surface of my "baller" exterior... or maybe it's just that he scares the shit out of me...

26 October 2008

"we're both mavericks"

O
M
G

denial ain't just a river in egypt... mcsame appeared on this morning's meet the press, ranting like a madman, turning every conversation into an opportunity to issue an ill-advised smackdown on obama's tax plan, turned a blind eye toward every damning poll, and praised his vice-presidential candidate as a, "dynamic person with executive experience, leadership, reform, exactly what waRshington needs. i'm so proud of the way she ignites the crowds [uh, more like racially incites crowds], the way she has conducted herself is incredibly admirable... we're both mavericks".

hmmmm. i've been wondering if mccain regrets his decision to invite palin to join his ticket, but it sounds to me like he's still her biggest (blindest) fan. but why should i be surprised? the republican party put the biggest dumbass on earth in the white house two terms in a row, and sat back while he made a fool of america by waging tyrannical wars, as though imperialism were the tried and true means of spreading democracy, flushed our economy down the toilet, set mandates that encouraged our auto industry to bury itself in suv manufacturing while the rest of the world moved toward fuel efficient vehicles (clearly an insightful move by a harvard-trained business genius), and created the largest discrepancy in wealth in this country since the gilded age. ya gotta love a government that ignores the lessons of history, because it's either too dumb to see its own limitations and ask for help, or too greedy to care.

and then that same party goes on to find the only dipshit on earth with the ability to make george w. bush look like he has a single working brain cell in that monkey head of his. and they make her the vice-presidential candidate, to the oldest ass presidential candidate in history. i'm not complaining, though, because i want the fools to lose, and i want to see their party implode completely, and have to send the next eight years figuring out the way the world really works today and having to reinvent themselves in a newer, fresher identity, one that will be able to move the country forward in a changing world (i may be a democrat, and a liberal one at that, but i am an american first, and this republican party is made up of blind fools who cannot see that we live in a global market that requires greater governmental involvement and that needs to change if we're to make real progress).

i'm only going to touch all of the clips from interviews with mccain the past several years, that show a clear trend toward flip-flopping on many issues, from agreeing with bush, to being opposed to reducing taxes, to being in favor of spreading the wealth, but i will point out my favorite line in mcdenial's interview with tom this morning, "we're gonna do well in this campaign, my friend".

uh huh, we'll see about that, maverick...

The Cure at Troy

Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted or endured

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
Double take of feeling.
If there's fire on the mountain
Or lightening and storm
And a god speaks from the sky.

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth cry
Of new life at its term.

-Seamus Heaney

22 October 2008

yeah, what he said, vote NO on prop 8!

Recently the LA Times published a full-page ad from S.R. Grubb in support of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that would prohibit marriage between non-heterosexual couples. The ad suggested that somehow such a prohibition would safeguard “straight” marriages and was what Jesus would have us do. As I reject both suggestions, I am compelled to respond.

I am a 54-year old straight male, married to my one and only wife for the last 14 years. In 14 years of marriage my wife and I have dealt with the strains that afflict any marriage -- demands of too much work, too little money, a child to try to raise to be a whole person who values the good in everyone. Along the way we have had our share of disagreements, some quite vocal. Never once did we argue about the behavior of other consenting adults unrelated to our marriage. Put most simply, it is not a threat to our marriage that others with different sexual preferences than our own would seek to express their love using the same terms by which my wife and I have tried to do these past 14 years. Quite frankly, I cannot understand how that is a threat to anyone's marriage -- and indeed, I have never once heard anyone claim that their heterosexual marriage was undone because a homosexual couple was allowed to wed.

I am similarly unimpressed by the ad’s selective citations to the Bible, for as it is well known, "the Devil can quote scripture." Rather, it is worth noting two things: First, the citation to Matthew says nothing about homosexuality -- and indeed, Jesus never said *anything* about homosexuality. He did, however, have a great many things to say about not judging lest you be judged and loving your neighbor.

Second the citation to Leviticus is not persuasive. Jesus frequently ignored or flatly contradicted Leviticus as not binding upon the New Covenant that he brought forth – for example, think of his rejection of the Levitical admonition of "an eye for an eye" and replacing it with tolerance and acceptance of those who do you ill -- "turn the other cheek."

At bottom, Jesus preached love and acceptance of our brothers and sisters. I doubt sincerely that He would approve of the New Law that the ad’s author advocates out of prejudice thinly disguised as Christianity. As for myself, I will vote No on Proposition 8.

(this was a letter to the editor of the LA Times, written by my friend Jim Jenal)

21 October 2008

the calm before the storm...

or just a lone night of calm in the midst of a storm?

i am at home tonight, curled up with a good book (yes dad, tom friedman does write good books), in an apartment bereft of the bother of another (for the first time in weeks), ignoring the news on television and the internet, steering clear of my campaign and work inboxes, and simply enjoying the energy of me, in the solitude of my own soul (well, and that of hot, flat, and crowded).

i've somehow even managed to empty my head of the noise of the past several days, weeks, and months, so that even my fingertips tell a tale of calm. with the election but two weeks away, it's hard for me to find peace, and even harder to find a breath of life outside the madness. even when i'm not inundated with emails, calls, responsiblities weighing atop my shoulders, stress about what i haven't done enough of, or the cries of help from states far and wide, i still feel it all. it's all in the air about me, the energy overwhelming any chance i have at a moment of solitude and peace. but tonight is different. tonight is mine.

it doesn't mean that tonight i haven't been stopped in my tracks by the reality (i have bumped into a calendar) that in 14 days, my life's purpose these past nine months will come to a screetching halt. 'tis something i try to push from my thoughts every day, because its verity terrifies. push as i may, it's still there. it hovers, it floats in and out of my consciousness, settles in at night when i close my eyes, inflitrates my dreams and those long moments of darkness sans sleep at night. it catches me off guard when i inhale a lovely scent of jasmine (though out of season now, i do have some bottled jasmine lying about), take a deep breath, or feel a tear of stress roll down my tepid cheek. never far from my idealism, hope for the future, or ever-adjusting confidence that 15 days from today, i will wake to the dawn of a new america, is the fear that for a girl who's spent her whole life searching for a way to make the world a better place, and found it in organizing communities around a presidential candidate, that once the candidate is the president, i'll have lost my means to that end which has brought such beauty and meaning to my life.

i mean, then what?

i'll go back to work. get back to writing novels i don't have the balls to sell. see if i can't get back into my circle of friends (i do miss you guys). focus more on my budding romance. celebrate my birthday. sleep in on the weekends. read a book. watch some television. see a movie. buy a handbag. maybe play some goofy golf or some skee-ball. maybe i'll even hop on the freeway and go ride a roller coaster. go back to life as usual. a life i always enjoyed, but never felt quite measured up to my greater ideal. has my search for my greater ideal been satisfied by a nine-month march through the ongoing battles that've made up this historic campaign? can i return to life as usual without feeling the loss i fight off now, in these final days of my life's greatest journey?

the hopeless optimist in me knows that the end of one journey marks the beginning of another, but the very teensy slice of realism can't help but wonder how any journey can surpass the beauty and wonder of the one i'll soon be ending, and there's just no denying that i'll never be satisfied with less than the greater ideal i've been being these past nine months...

11 October 2008

with 24 days to go...

i have my moments of great fear, that after this hard-fought campaign, and the passion and dedication of so many americans working toward a better america, that we could be outvoted on november 4th. that 24 days from now, americans will pull the lever inside the sanctity of their private booth, and say to the world, "yes, we like america as it stands today, and we're voting for four more years". i do have that fear, and it's that fear that keeps me going and fighting as though we are ten points behind in every poll in every state in which we battle day in and day out.

today, however, i have a new hope. it's been inspired by the dozens of articles i've spent this afternoon reading. oh, the joy. this is the loveliest afternoon i've had in weeks. it's my first saturday off since i can remember, there's a perfect crispness in the air that screams 'summer is finally over', i had brunch with two of the most amazing people i've ever met, i'm lying in bed all cuddled up with some snuggly blankets, i've survived the first battle of a new relationship, and tears of joy are falling from my eyes as i read and read and read more and more and more of the rhetoric (from the left and the right) endorsing obama and denouncing the mccain, the once touted maverick has become.

from bob herbert (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/11/opinion/11herbert.html?hp) to christopher buckley (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-10-10/the-conservative-case-for-obama), from the huffington post to the star tribune of minneapolis, st. paul, my hope is reignited, my fear subsided. folks from all walks of life, all political affiliations, and all racial and socio-ethnic backgrounds are coming to see the disastrous impact of the republican machine's favor-the-rich mentality. they are beginning to see the hope i've felt all along, they are able to look past the disappointment of their own party's past failures (as i do those of my democratic party), and america is starting to believe that the collective "we" can fix this if we choose the right leader.

'that one' is the right leader. and the collective 'we' can fix this mess if we allow ourselves to believe in and be the greatest we can be, and be led by the greatest of us who is stepping up to lead the way... i am so desperately trying to believe that america too will believe. that on november 4th, when that lever is pulled, all hesitations will fall to the wayside, all racial fears will be suspended, and all hope for the future will win the day by electing barack obama for president.

i hope... and 'in the unlikely story that is america, there has never been anything false about hope'

24 September 2008

Dear Iraqi Friends (dubya's version)

so, tom friedman wrote a very enlightened letter on behalf of our dipshit in chief. it was so well written, and so considerate of the american people and the world at large, no rational person could ever really think it might actually've been written by dubya (see the original here, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/24/opinion/24friedman.html?ref=opinion), so i'm dumbing it down to make the concept a bit more believable (and i'll even use standard capitalization where appropriate)...

From: George W. Bush

To: President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashadani

Dear Sirs, I'm writing you because America just ran out of money and you have a bunch in our banks. And about that money in our banks, you might want to make a big withdrawel because our banks aren't doing so good. That's why I'm writing.

Lots of folks here in America are upset right now because they are losing their jobs and their money in the banks and the stock markets isn't doing so hot. They are really mad and they won't let my government have the funds to bail out the colapsing mortgage lenders. they don't get that they shouldn't have taken out loans they could not afford, but that doesn't matter anyway because they think I'm sending all of America's money to help you guys figure out who is in charge of what in Iraq.

They say they understand how important it is to have a democratic government in the middle east, but they can't wait anymore for you guys to stop fighting on our dime. and they really need for you to pony up, make some decisions, and get your government working and oust them terrorists. so, i'm real sorry because my friends in the oil business have been real pleased with our relationships with you all, but the american people aren't going to let me write a big check to my wall street friends, if i don't make you start spending your own money and stop spending our money.

so i will keep hoping the best for you, but can't give you no more money from America. Good luck and God speed.

Sincerely,
George

23 September 2008

it's been a while, and the economy has since hit the shitter

si haven't written in over a week, because there's been so much to absorb, things i don't really understand and have been trying to better get my arms around. namely, the economy.

i read the ny times, and get the bulk of my information, news, and opinions from the best paper in the country, which also happens to lean liberal (yay!). i've been reading the business section, in addition to my usuals (i.e. the opinion page and the main section) because i'm treading in political waters i don't really get, and i want to. i need to. i have a 401k, i have an ira, i have a bank account with an ever-devolving washington mutual, as well as a savings account and money market account elsewhere. i have money in a market that is tanking more and more every day. and i'm being led by a government of dipshits who decry socialism when it involves taking money from the rich to give to the poor, but don't think twice when socialist policies take money from the poor to give to the rich. and that's the way i see this new bailout plan proposed by dubya and his cronies...

if i'm wrong, tell me. if i'm way off base, tell me. if you can point me in a direction that can show that i'm misunderstanding hank paulson's plan and that backward socialism isn't what's in play here, please do.

if our government wants to involve itself in this economic crises and do something to ward off a pending depression (do a history lesson and you'll quickly discover that the gilded age depressed when banks collapsed after risky investments in railroads and the great depression when banks collapsed after risky investments in farms and you'll see that we're in a similar and predictable predicament now via risky real estate investments), i support the endeavor. however, i would be much more supportive of a plan that gives that $700,000,000,000 (did i get those zero's right?) to the borrowers who are now losing their homes, with a trickle up effect, than the lenders who set up this risky scam and already have millions in the bank while begging taxpayers for golden parachutes out of this debacle they created.

$700 billion bucks is what richie rich is asking for to bail out his golden buddies on wall street, but how exactly is that meant to trickle down to wall street? are poory mcpoorstein and average mcjoe going to benefit from richie rich's bail-out? i dunno, can't see how. maybe i'll benefit a bit while my 401k and ira stabilize, but with my 6-figure salary and job security, i'm not worried about my investments. if they tank, i'll cry. i'll feel shitty about the money i lost in the market, but i'll still wake up tomorrow with a job, a roof over my head, and an opportunity to restock those lost funds.

and i don't have that much. i'm not getting a $40 million severance package for tanking a company and costing 20,000 jobs (see carly fiorina, a big mccain economic advisor till her gaffe (see freudian slip) that mccain and palin are both economic dummies with no business running a company (and this coming from one of the greatest failures in corporate american leadership)). i just don't understand how and why anyone can argue that this bailout is a good idea. it essentially gives a boat-load of MY MONEY (and yours, my fellow tax-payers) to the very people who created this mess, while letting the homeowners who've already suffered the loss of their homes, jobs, hope, and money, lose everything else, without any regulation or oversight to make sure good ole hank doesn't crown himself king of the free world. how is that going to help america? how is that going to help anyone who doesn't already have pockets lined with gold?

how is that going to keep henry paulson, jr. from becoming king of the once great democracy known as America?

13 September 2008

camp obama

i gave another weekend to obama this weekend, but it's been different. this one has been the most inspired, energetic, and hopeful i've had in a while. and it's mostly because the newest campers are so full of something so powerful, my deepest fears for this election have been laid to rest - at least for the weekend...

i told my story of self today. with every bit of confidence, power, and self-empowered strength i could muster, i told my story - a story that began 16 years ago this month when i woke to find myself buried in wires, tubes, and excruciating pain. lying in a bed in a tiny hospital room without a memory of the night that had brought about my new beginning (and end of what had been). i told a room of 300+ strangers of the great gift i possessed, of self-empowerment, of knowing that i alone owned my destiny. that my belief in my ability to change my life was the reason i was walking, depsite a doctor's prognosis to the contrary. that i believed in me, that i believed in us, that i believed we were the change we've been waiting for, and that barack obama was our leader. that all it took for a greater america and a greater world was us, getting off our asses, and leading the way. they stood and cheered, as i stood in awe of a standing ovation for my story of self. i am pretty sure i was hugged and admired by more strangers today than ever before in my life. and i can't lie. it was fucking awesome!

the reason i was able to tell such an impassioned story is because that room was so full of positive energy and forward thinking, at a time i've become bitter and scared, and angry with myself for all i have sacrificed for this campaign, and this country that i'm not sure deserves my heart and soul. i'm bitter because i've given up so much of my personal life, i've given to the point where my own heart feels heavy and at times empty of feeling. i've given financially and emotionally, physically and mentally. i've walked on the edge of my sanity because i believe i am making a difference in helping lead america in a better direction. and i'm bitter because sometimes i don't feel appreciated, by myself, the campaign, my friends and family, and those i stand beside in this trying time.

i'm angry because the stupidity of the masses is buying into the lies and hypocrisy as twisted by the republicans. i've never seen more bullshit strewn about or more turns made in the paths of truth to suit the plays of the sorely losing. the denial, the fabrications, the self-sighteous indignation of mccain and palin, all at the expense of those who seek to speak and find the truth. yeah, i'm a liberal and i see things differently than the other team. but i'm not masking reality in shades of gray, just off enough to fool those who don't have the time or intellectual ability to dig deep enough to see those false claims for the truth-skirting lines of shit they are.

i'm talking about the "blessing" of bristol's teenage pregnancy, when a black teen-ager in that same situation is portrayed as a piece of trash. i'm talking about creationism vs. evolution. i'm talking about the bridge to nowhere and the pork barrel spending. i'm talking about tim kaine not having near enough experience (as mayor of a town of 200,000 and governor of a state as insignificant as virginia) to be considered as obama's veep while palin (mayor of a town of 6,300 and governor of the state right next to russia) is perfectly suited for the job (in the words of karl rove). i'm talking about hypocricy that makes me sick, and the dipshits who buy it that make me even sicker.

i'm talking about sadness for america, over pride for country. i'm talking about dummies in the middle being controlled by the monies on the coasts with oilrigs. i'm talking about a country i want so desperately to be good enough to deserve this heart of mine, to be worthy of the blood i'd bleed for her great flag to once again wave in pride and glory. i'm talking about my aching heart that breaks a bit more every day i turn on the news to see stupidity winning over intellect, greed defeating empathy, lies triumphant over truth, and selfish entitlement squashing brotherhood of man (or whatever p.c. term i'm supposed to use here to encomass all the world's children). i'm talking about disappointment in my fellow americans for thinking that it's a good idea to extend the horrors of the past eight years for another four.

i fear too early, for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars, that's bitterly begun his fearful date with the republicans' revels, and will expire the term of a despised life closed in our breasts, by some vile forfeit of this great country's untimely death. but he that hath the steerage of our course, direct our sail... for my sail will continue blowing left, in all the hope and wonder i can muster and carry these next 52 days... oh mighty america, please do not fall asunder under the heavy weight of the lies from the right...

30 August 2008

the restlessness

i'm feeling very unsettled, as though at its most fundamental level, my life doesn't quite make sense right now.

it really doesn't. i'm a walking, talking contradiction, and every few steps i take i have to remind myself to keep breathing.

i just got home, after spending a week working in sacramento (where some douchebag red-neck said, "handicap's first") and san francisco (where i've found some great new friends). it feels amazing to be home, in my space, in my fabulous apartment in the hills, with all the beautiful energy that flows here. but i can't wait to leave town again in a few hours, to get somewhere i can maybe rest. because i want to rest, and i can't do that here, even though "here" is where i'm centered and synergized, where all of my elements line up and feel their brightest and best. and maybe rest isn't meant to be. for now. maybe i'm fooling myself to believe that there's a place i can rest, that my mind is capable of turning off, and that i'll find it if i just look hard enough.

i don't know.

i blame the restlessness, the sleeplessness, the frantic energy i'm constantly burning on the campaign. i tell myself and others i'll sleep after november 4th, that it's "change" adrenalin pumping through my veins. but is that even possible? is it really the campaign itself, or is it but the reason i use to help make sense of what otherwise doesn't?

i don't spend much time with my friends. the ones on the second tier (not that i love less, but see much less often), shit, i haven't seen in weeks, if not months. i haven't seen a movie since there will be blood (which blew). i haven't seen my bff for more than a five minute walk-by since july. i haven't been shopping in so long, i don't even remember when i last spent an afternoon trying on half of anthropologie. i haven't been to the super-market or a farmer's market in many weeks. i haven't been on the inside of a mall this entire summer, haven't been to lacma since dali, i've done none of la's summer-y events, haven't even been to a cemetery screening this season, and have hit none of my usual favorite places...

my excuse is the campaign...

the campaign gives me a great mechanism for remaining comfortably numb (back to that). it's my excuse for not having time for my friends, not having time to sleep, or doing the things that used to make me me. it's my excuse for shutting down and backing out. it's my excuse for seeing people, especially the ones in my closest life, as agents of pain, instead of conduits of love. and it's a great and wondrous excuse, because it gives me so much pride and joy to feel like i'm making a difference in the world, and helping to move our country in a new and more enlightened direction. but at the end of the day, i have to wonder at what cost?

and what will my excuse be after november 4th?

26 August 2008

comfortably numb

hallway boy busted me feeling a bit more for him that i wanted him to know. yeah, we have this amazing connection that rises above games, bullshit, and a need to be something we're not, but i wasn't ready for him to know (struggling to be okay with it myself). one of the things i like most about him is his confidence in and absolute acceptance for who he is. it makes him the hottest boy i've ever met (compounded by other levels of hotness he personifies that i have never seen in another human being).

to make a long story short, i left a diary window open on my computer, in which i'd been berating myself for letting him get to me, for wanting more of him, wanting to give him more than i really want to want to give, for falling for him, for losing my power to control my feelings for others, for giving me hope that more is out there than the detachment i've been feeling for life since pouring myself into the campaign. he saw the diary (if i believed in such things, i'd say it was an accident). and because we've started this thing with no secrets, no questions off limits, no rules about which discussions are or aren't on the table, and there doesn't seem to be much of anything we can't talk about (though he's better with the spoken word than me, as his level of comfort with himself is more finely tuned than mine), he asked me about it.

i was pretty uncomfortable with the discussion. relinquishing so much power was not in the cards i was ready to put into play. but i'm trying to be even better when it comes to rolling with the punches (not that this is something i'd ever consider a weakness of mine, but always striving to be better), so i engaged. yes, i admitted i'm falling for him, but that i'm hanging on to a really solid branch, and i refuse to fall any deeper into that bottomless ravine below my dangling feet until he gives me the go ahead, something he's no more ready to do than i am.

the thing i find the most telling - about myself and where i am right now - is the absolute verity of my assessment of that place i'm in... a previously foreign place, where i have become comfortably numb.

these words aren't my own, but describe where i've settled, where others have come to fit within the confines of the un-availability i've defined for myself after the tumultuous coupla years i've endured, and where he's breaking through:

"there is no pain, you are receding.
a distant ship's smoke on the horizon,
you are only coming through in waves,
your lips move but i can't hear what you're sayin

when i was a child, i had a fever.
my hands felt just like two balloons.
now i've got that feeling once again,
i can't explain,
you would not understand.
this is not how i am.
i have become comfortably numb...

there is no pain, you are receding.
a distant ships smoke on the horizon.
you are only coming through in waves.
your lips move but i can't hear what you're sayin.

when i was a child, i caught a fleeting glimpse out
of the corner of my eye.
i turned to look but it was gone.
i cannot put my finger on it now.
the child is grown, the dream is gone.

i have become comfortably numb."

life is simpler when i'm comfortably numb. the power i feel in the palms of my hands, and the intensity in my gaze, makes me invincible (and unreachable). it's simpler when i am in control of my feelings, when the fleeting desires of others mean near to nothing to me, and the willingness of my heart to be open to those occasional waves of something more, something i've allowed myself here and again, come just often enough to remind me that i remain capable of feeling something greater than uninspired consistency .

hallway boy doesn't let me maintain possession of that power. little by little, and unbeknownst to him, he strips it from me, by habitually surprising me with what is so unmistakably genuine about him. he's like no one i've ever known, so beautiful, raw, real, self-aware and self-assured, and self-deprecating enough that there's no question his confidence is absolute (especially since i know he'll back up that mouth of his with whatever it takes). i'm nuts about him, and i revel in those moments we're together and i know he feels the same fascination with me and this exploratory journey upon which we have chosen to embark.

i've no idea where it'll go, but it doesn't matter. regardless of whether we've got five minutes or five hundred years, when he cruises through my day, he brings a wave of raw and unhindered energy i've never before experienced and it knocks me on my ass. in a word, he is uh_may_zing!, a welcome and inspired break from a life otherwise spent comfortably numb.

19 August 2008

i hurt somone today

so, i try really hard to be a good person. it's kinda my number one rule. i don't like being hurt so i don't intentionally hurt others. unfortunately, however, i also try really hard to put me first (life, love, and failures have taught me, time and again, that the only person who can make me happy is me) and that often times means others will get hurt by virtue of having to come second to my own need for happiness. and that happened tonight.

there is someone from my past i care a great deal about. his feelings, his heart, and his future mean a lot to me. i once loved him as madly as any person can love another, and we hurt each other beyond repair. i just didn't know that till now. i couldn't accept that i could love that deeply and feel so strongly for someone and those feelings fade and die. but they did and it's time for both of us to move on. as fair as it isn't, and as painful as it's been, it's over. it's simply over. admitting that to myself was almost as painful as it was admitting it to him...

but i know this because i'm falling again. after dating the unavailable, the uninterested, the too interested, and the simply annoying, i have finally seen the light that is a second chance, and it's turned me upside down and around and around. i didn't see it coming, i didn't see him coming, i even tried to let my own fear of falling keep me from the edge. but he makes it impossible, hallway boy...

regardless of whether or not hallway boy and i have a future, i know that somewhere and with some time, i'm capable of love again. i see it, feel it, and know it's within reach. just as i know it's time to let my first great love go find his next love. he can't wait for me, because what we had has died. it's gone. it's over. i can never love someone who hurt me so deeply, who cut slits into my heart i thought would forever keep me from loving completely and trusting with my whole heart and soul.

and i really wasn't sure. i mean, i always hoped and part of me always wanted to know that i'd love again, that i'd trust again, that i'd hand my heart to another on a silver platter without thinking or blinking. the hope came in waves, just as did the hopelessness. but i know it's there. i know i can, i know it's worth it, i'm worth it, and that person from my past is also worth having the same opportunity. i have so much love in me, so much love to offer, so much i want to share, that i believe in my second chance, whene'er the stars are ready to get all lined up just right. and hallway boy, if it turns out you're not the guy for me, i will never forget that you opened a door in me i feared was jammed shut forever.

all of this beauty, all of this wonder, all of this awe and surprise, all of the love i feel building in my heart and in my soul, the future i'm glimpsing, and the passion that's been ignited doesn't mean i don't hurt in the deepest depths of my soul for hurting someone today, someone i once loved with every ounce of my being. i'm so so sorry i hurt you, my first true love. i'm sorry i hurt you today. i'm sorry i hurt you any day. and i'm sorry that our love is gone...

16 August 2008

week in review

i guess there's no better place to start than with, "i'm exhausted"...

notwithstanding my short blaze on the campaign trail, i can't remember a time in my professional life i've worked harder (so much so that i've recently (and frequently) been accused of being a baller - shocker, i know!). i'm putting in more hours than i even want to count, sleeping very little, traveling a bit too much, and really digging it all. the job's going well and i'm happy with the firm, my position, the level of work i'm doing, and the results i'm seeing. it feels like the right fit on an intellectual level, as well as a personal level, and it's nice to be challenged while knowing that i'm making an impact.

things are going well on the campaign trail too. after much internal wrangling, it seems as if i'm feeling some direction of my own as the campaign delivers its marching orders. i'm a phone girl. as much as that realization blows (because the phone annoys the shit out of me), i do well with persuasion and recruitment calls. and if i can crank out a few hundred calls each week, or recruit the people to crank out the hundreds of calls, i will be making a huge difference in the results of this election. and it's where i'm good. so onward i march into phone banking training and coordinating, for the next 80 days or so.

i spent today facilitating at camp obama (tomorrow too), working with, training, and guiding a new generation of volunteers. it was hell having to be downtown at 7:30 on a saturday morning (after a fairly late - but worth every second and then some - friday night), but it's beyond inspiring to see so many people signing up to get the right guy elected president. and i'm back at it tomorrow...

my personal life, what little time i have for one, is also in a good place. i'm happy and i look and feel good. i'm tired, but i'm taking care of me, and i feel empowered and in control of my destiny. i'm happy. even though i'm tired, i'm really, really happy...

06 August 2008

iraq has how much of a surplus?

are you f'ing kidding me?

today’s ny times reports that the iraqi government has a surplus of $79 billion dollars, with another $50 billion expected to accumulate by the end of 2008, sitting in the bank, while the us has spent $23.2 billion of our taxpayers’ dollars in iraqi security, oil, electricity, and water since the 2003 invasion. further, $453.6 million is owed iraq by us banks in interest earned on that fat surplus sitting in the reserves. are you fucking kidding me?

look, i don’t need to get started again on my weekly rant about spending us dollars here in the us, as opposed to iraq or wherever else our government sees fit to abuse our money, but this little tiddy just fuels the fire i’ve been raging for months.

i don’t even know what else i can say that hasn’t been said in any number of the 71 blog entries sitting below this one. but i’m flabbergasted beyond what i was this even this morning, before i picked up today’s paper in the st. louis airport. now i’m sitting in a seat, en route to dallas, “on my way” to san francisco, a raging ball of fire. my already boundless fury with the ineptitude of our current administration grows every single day, my ability to comprehend why anyone in this country could even consider voting for another republican jumps by leaps and bounds, and my patience with the douchebag administration, already running on the shortest fuse of my adult life, just shrunk by yet another mile.

how is it even within the realm of possibility that we could allow the iraqi government to squelch american taxpayers’ “generosity” (i use this term very loosely as i have neither voted for nor supported any act related to our iraqi occupation) while squirreling its own billions at the expense of american interest dollars? hasn’t america suffered enough for the greater good of the iraqi people? hasn’t the american economy suffered enough for the loss of jobs, safety, security, infrastructure, and sanity for the sake of iraq’s development?