Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Department of Mysteries
So, when is the new Harry Potter book ever going to come out?
How long has it been since Kevin and I waited on line for 3 hours at midnight at Barnes and Nobles for a copy of Book 5?
Well, consider that since the Order of the Phoenix was released, I have graduated from college. (Whoa!) Also, I've wandered Ireland (once with black eyes, once without). I have knocked on a few thousand doors. I washed a bazillion dishes. I made lemonade at the Vegan Cafe. A bunch of people I know and love died. I learned ice hockey and brazillian jiu jitsu. I dug a hole.
So what gives JKR?
Comment discussion question: Fav characters anyone?
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Physical Fitness in the Real World
So I've been reactivating my running routine during the off/on warm weather of the past week, and, just for fun, I decided to look up various military physical fitness standards. This led me to some recruiting pages (no surprises there) which I ended up perusing as well (hey, it's a tough job market!).
There's a really fun quiz at military.com where you check boxes of things you are interested in doing/learning and they tell you what jobs in the military you would enjoy. For example, if you check only, "I'd like to paint a mural," that means there are NO jobs in the military for you. Why they put that in as an option is a mystery...
But if you ALSO check, "Study foreign countries, politics, and the military," then you might want to consider a career as a Photographic Intelligence Officer (mapreader) (naviguesser?). Add "Work to protect the environment," and it sounds to me like you'd make a great Counterintelligence Agent. Cool!
Some who know me know that I gave serious consideration to the Coast Guard before college. But, I don't actually think that I'm actually gonna enlist, though it is occasionally tempting...
PS: So, when I was a high school athlete, I was really good at pushups. Since then I've lost my touch, so to speak. Anyone have any suggestions for working back into the ability to do them easily?
Friday, November 26, 2004
Life Returns to Normal... Sorta
"Get off my porch or I'll have you arrested!"
Back at work again...
Monday, November 22, 2004
The Boys Are Back in Town!
Hang on to your pints...
There's a... NEW U2 ALBUM TOMORROW!!!
FOOKIN 'ELL!!! =D
(Hint: you can hear the whole thing for free at www.mtv.com .)
Ohio is a Jerk
So, I just realized, after watching a certain college football team lose, that Ohio is the source of all things evil this fall:
1) The election. (Duh.)
2) My aunt was airlifted to Toledo, where she died.
3) Ohio St. beat Michigan.
What the fuck, Ohio? Give us a fricken break here.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
"It's Gonna Be Great!" (part 4, appendix) (featuring frequent update action!)
The memorial service program:
Here is the article about my aunt:
Use your copy and paste skills to see the article.
Here is the Ecology Center's website:
Here is the obituary and online guestbook:
(Copy and paste some more.)
Detroit paper's article on activists' responses:
Michigan Environmental Council memorial:
And comments are more than okay. Don't be all: "I can't comment about Kerry's dead aunt."
Don't make me send DeadGrandmaSpoon after y'all. =D
"It's Gonna Be Great!" (part 3)
Oh yeah, so I haven't really mentioned that MB was famous for her dancing. It wasn't that she was this amazing, professional dancer. She just loved to dance. She danced like no one was looking at every opportunity. It didn't matter if anyone else was dancing with her. So, it was universally agreed that a dance party would follow the memorial and that it would be the best damn party in the history of dance parties. Two bars opened their doors for her. One was the Del Rio, a famous Ann Arbor bar that had closed ("but will reopen tonight from 4-7 for food, and then close again") where MB had worked for years and years. The other was the 2nd Ward, a building between tenants, but the owners waived the security deposit and offered to host a dance party til midnight. And oh what a dance party. Dave's band as well as lots of other local artists rotated in and out all night to keep the party hopping. They wrote a stupendous song about Aunt MB dancing that was played at least twice. The floor of the place bounced 6 inches up and down with the weight of the hundreds of dancers and partyers. At one point, the party spilled into the street and cars driving by honked and cheered. One driver asked, "What are you guys dancing about?" and a giddy dancer replied, "It's a wake!"
Lots of people approached the twins and I, some with cool advice and stories, others drunk and less cool but still well-meaning, and some just plain creepy
("Your aunt would dance like this." -creepy dude
*dance dance dance* -me
"Then she would do this." -creepy dude
*dance dance dance*-me
"Then she would dance *sexy*!"
"Ok, peace dude." -me)
The entire midwest environmental activist community was there. The woman who shut down Love Canal came! A lot of people knew my canvass director (which was nice since I missed work all week) and talked to me about conference, being a canvasser, working for the environmental movement, and "when are you coming to Ann Arbor?!". Someone is mailing me a pair of yellow converse all-stars made in America. =D I have a fanclub. MB has a HUGE FUCKING fan club.
Some other favorite moments:
-Uncle John dumping a plate of jelly beans from the bar's second floor window onto people on the sidewalk.
-Aunt Marnie dancing on a table and almost getting her hair stuck in a ceiling fan.
-Karlyn and Claire leading the dancing from the center of the room.
-Uncle John's beer cup label: "Doyle -3 left"
-Dave joining the band to play.
I had a truly amazing conversation with my Uncle Al (uncle owl! hoo hoo!) who isn't really my uncle but everyone who was a friend of my aunts and uncles became an aunt or uncle when I was growing up. I was practically raised by a co-op of college-aged kids, but anyhoo... Al had a conversation with me about figuring out the future which was a conversation I was planning on calling Aunt Mary Beth this week to have. It was really cool, and a little eerie, but mostly cool and helpful. Thanks MB. =)
There isn't much else to say. I will try and post articles to help anyone who wants to understand what a truly special person, amazing activist, and giant fun spirit my aunt was. It has been a fucked up week. She truly believed she could change people's ways of thinking, and she often did. Dave said that his dyed red family was so moved by the memorial and by what she worked to do, that, "I really think there may have been a conversion."
This morning, while the Doyle clan picked at hotel waffles, Uncle John finally asked, "Why is it that whenever there's a really fun funeral that everyone loves, someone in our family had to die?"
I agree. What the fuck? Someone else needs to put the fun in FUNeral. =D
In conclusion, the shout-along chorus to the band's song about Aunt Mary Beth:
"Who's that girl, dancing like there's nobody watching....
Who's that girl!
Who's that girl!
I love you Aunt Mary Beth, and the world is less sparkly and friendly without you with us.
"It's Gonna Be Great!" (part 2)
Tuesday was spent waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. ("Let the games begin..." -my dad)
Dave, JohnFromCanada (JFC), my dad, and I went to the Ecology Center where the "tree hugging squirrel kissers" (Dave's uncle's words) were making plans for the memorial service and wake (and by wake I mean party, but you should already know that dear readers). Apparently, Aunt Mary Beth was bigger than we had even known or imagined really. The whole town knew her. People around the country were calling. They shared the story of when I got arrested and Aunt Mary Beth came bursting into the office to tell everyone. ("She was so proud!")
The family came, everyone broke down simultaneously, and we all decided to go out to eat. It was a crazy, classic, Doyle dinner lacking only MB, but her spirit was there as we all drank too much, joked about dying, and shocked other diners with our complete lack of decorum. Everyone retired to the hotel where some drank more while I and the twins chucked oranges across the hotel pool. My family headed out with Dave to sleep on the farm again. Dave, a well-loved local musician in addition to being a damn good apple farmer, took out his guitar at 5am each morning and played and talked with my dad.
The next morning, Russ from up the road brought homemade pancake mix and bacon over and we shared breakfast with Dave, Russ, JFC, and Dave's Aunt Kay and Uncle John. The family completely adopted us despite our tree-hugging-ness. Dave's dog Lucky Dog ate a plate of pancakes as well. =) It was pouring rain when the twins and family came out to the farm to see the hill where Aunt MB's ashes would be buried, and everyone got soaked and sad. Then it was off to the memorial.
The Ecology Center put together slideshows and picture boards as well as a truly awesome descrition of her (I'll post the Ann Arbor local paper article soon). Then people started arriving.
And arriving and arriving. A line formed that snaked out the Unitarian church's doors. The room had a capacity of 300, and it was overflowing with people. I ended up being the first person in the program who spoke, and it was hard. Paul spoke later, and he said something to the effect of, "With something this absurd, you have to be careful that you don't vaporize." And he was right.
"It's Gonna Be Great!" (part 1)
"Even if it was totally going to be a disaster, it was going to be great!" Aunt Mary Beth (Mary Beth Doyle's) colleagues offered, as a summary of her attitude towards her activism work.
"She always said, 'It has to be fun.' and 'It's going to be great!'"
They sat around the table at the Ecology Center's office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, shell shocked, but taking a break from planning the best party Ann Arbor had ever seen (and that's saying a lot) to tell my dad and I about her work.
My thoughts are not completely together yet because I just got home from Michigan, but basically, you can't really understand the depths of my grief, my family's grief, and MB's extended family of friends' grief because Aunt Mary Beth was not an ordinary person, or even an extraordinary person. She was one of those human beings who the entire world (literally) grieved to lose. The governor of Michigan declared Wednesday, the day of the memorial, Mary Beth Doyle Day, and a state senator delivered a plaque at the service. People flew in from across the country and around the world. Letters and flowers and messages flowed. Everyone knew her. Everyone who knew her loved her.
On Monday, my dad and I flew to Michigan and were greeted by Dave, the farmer Aunt Mary Beth was in love with who she was surely going to marry. His family welcomed us onto the farm, and Dave gave us a tour of the land and the hill on which he was going to lay her ashes as well as the lake she kayaked on and the shooting range where she shot beer cans. He sported a "Support Greenpeace Action" button, a gift from one of her friends, and proudly showed us the "Tipton Recycles" program (i.e. the recycling bins MB brought out to the farm and brought back to Ann Arbor every time she drove back and forth). Her Ann Arbor friends drove out with a hot dinner, and we all ate and talked and shared stories.
We had spent the afternoon out at her house in Ann Arbor that she had finally finished painting ("It looks like a kid's coloring book." -Dave) and met her housemate, Paul, who missed rent fairly often but had been a good friend for over 20 years. He sat with me, my dad, Dave, and Dave's friend 'John from Canada' while we met with the man from the cremation society. He was like a cartoon. He pulled up in a black car with a black suit and pale skin, nervously opened a briefcase, and went through the numbers with us.
"Let's talk about the container for her remains." -Cremation dude
"Well... it comes in a cardboard box right?" -dad
"Umm.. well yeah, but we have urns you can use instead." -cremation dude
"Cardboard is recycleable though! Aunt Mary Beth would love that." -me
"That's true..." -Dave
"We could decorate it with glitter!" -dad
"What the fuck is wrong with you people?" -cremation dude
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
This website is fun:
NJ did *its* part!
You Can Canvass *Anything*
So, I have been told many times that one can canvass anything, not just money. The joke is that if you asked every contact for a left shoe, someone would give it to you. So I have canvassed some weird stuff. One night, I decided I wasn't dressed warmly enough, so I canvassed a winter coat. I have canvassed tons of bananas and apples, cans of soda, halloween candy, fudgcicles (the same night I needed the coat, that was weird), newspapers, religious tracts, etc....
Last night I was trying to canvass a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker because some jerk put a W sticker over my Kerry sticker on the minivan the day AFTER the election. Jerks.
It turns out, Dems need these as part of the grieving process. People really didn't want to let go. It took me like 3 tries before I finally scored one. I also acquired a cd by some dude's band.
Some dude: "You'll really love this. My friend played it for some kids who like hip hop, and they really loved it too."
Me: "What kind of music is it?"
SD: "I can't describe it, but it's just the type someone like you would love."
Me: "Sounds great to me! Now about that fundraiser..."
Last night, I also canvassed...... A RIDE ON A SEGUE!!!!! (WOOOOOO!)
Loyal readers know that this is not the first time I have ridden one, but I got the guy to stop and give all the other canvassers rides, too! Huzzah! This one was all tricked out (pimp my segue!) with blue glow lights on the underside and headlights and taillights (alas, no flaming muffler). Apparently, a segue can go about 8 miles before it needs to be recharged. That actually isn't all that far when ya think about it, but for this guy, who has a 6.5 mile commute, it's perfect *and* environmentally friendly. Cool.
For fun, comment on things you'd like to see me try and canvass:
Monday, November 08, 2004
This Just In: Bush Voters Are Massively Uninformed
New rule: You must pass a basic current events test in order to vote.
Seriously. How fucking hard is it to get these basic facts right?
(Please use your copy and paste function to view this report as its web address is too fookin long.)
My dad met a woman in his class yesterday from Vietnam who, in response to comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq said, "Yeah, but they attacked us first."
When my dad explained to her that Iraq did not, in fact, knock the twin towers over she broke down in tears.
I am having less and less of a problem with disenfranchising large portions of our electorate until they get their facts straight.
Friday, November 05, 2004
And I Feel Fine
I went to see R.E.M. tonight. They walked out and started the set with It's the End of the World As We Know It. Michael Stipe said, "I really don't know what to say today, so I won't say much. I'll just let the music speak for itself."
Later in the set, he introduced a song with, "This is a song about Ohio." The crowd responded with a chorus of boos.
The setlist was urgent and angry. They threw in some old/awesomes like Cuyahoga and Life and How to Live It. Drive was stupendous. (Smack. Crack. Bush. Whacked.)
The seats were 11th row center, but throughout the show, I made friends with the ushers, until right before the second encore, they personally escorted Kevin and me into the front row where Michael Stipe waved to us and the opening band, who we ended up standing next to, and sang "Man on the Moon," then proceeded to take his pants off and jump around in boxer shorts.
Michael Stipe likes salt.
That's right red voters. A gay man covered in eyeliner took his pants off and jumped around and 20,000 people cheered. Bite us.
Love, the blue voters.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
"We're Built for this Shit." Part 3
Werd, so after 3 hours of sleep, I was totally ready for a day of speakers and workshops. Sort of. Much 'eggs'n'OJ' was consumed by the *very* hungover crew Saturday morning as we prepared to learn how to be better activists.
"Canvassers are the unsung heroes of American democracy." -Ralph Nader
"Ralph Nader is the reason we lost Florida in 2000 and spent the last 4 years on damage control instead of moving our agenda forward. Jerk." -canvassers
(Okay, we don't really think that. He did found Clean Water Action and all....)
So yeah, I spent most of the day learning about the actual workings of the canvass operation nation-wide. There weren't lectures about that, but that's what I wanted to understand. Turns out, Clean Water Action, along with lots of other progressive canvass crews, are under this massive for-profit corporate umbrella group called Hudson Bay Company (HBC). How weird is that? There are other massive canvass umbrellas too, like PAN (Progressive somethin somethin). So, north Jersey NJEF is under HBC, but south Jersey's NJEF office is under PAN. Bizarreness abounds. I was a little miffed by this. I was also a little miffed by the fact that everyone knew everyone else already due to past conferences or cross-trains (where you spend a few weeks at another canvass operation). So I spent a lot of time wandering around introducing myself to people with varying success. This was far too much sober time in a row.
Oh! I also learned that like, the skills I learned at Wes put me waaaaay above the organizing curve. Let that be a lesson 05ers!
So, after a lot of awkward sober small talk, NJ reconvened at our cabin to prepare for the closing speaker. And by "prepare" I mean drink more beer and learn dice! Chris, a jack of all trades illicit, offered to show me and his very cool girlfriend from Texas how to play, so we sat on the back porch, basking in the warm red state air and sipping (more or less) beer. Chris, after deciding that the reason we were wrecking him was that the table was not good, retrieved a cardboard beer box and flattened it for a better surface.
"Now we're playing authentically Newark dice." -me
"Where do you think I learned this?" -Chris
The rest of team North Jersey returned in time to catch the closing speaker who was absolutely hilarious. He had been a canvasser years ago and had worked his way up the ladder to be... umm.. something else. I forget. But anyhoo, canvassing 20 years ago was the same as canvassing now. Rich people are mean to you, and every once in about 200 doors someone gives you hot chocalate and a $100. After that, kegs were wheeled in. Everyone drank, hacked, and prepared for the talent show (which was a rich display of in-jokes that I will spare you).
Following that, it was off to the many parties being thrown that night. Eric and I headed into the night, already thoroughly buzzed and armed with more beer, and started a dance party at, *i think* the Nebraska phone canvassers' cabin. At some point, I tried to get that closing speaker somewhat important guy to tell me a story he had told last year that had become legend. (All I know is it involves the line, "Dude. The burb broke in half!") Later in the night, he offered some sage-like (at least i thought so at the time) advice while we passed a bottle of Wild Turkey back and forth. At some point, David texted KT and Chris (he has since sworn he does not know how to use the text function of his cell phone) with the message, "Party! Woo!" so, of course, KT and Chris wandered drunkenly over (and fell in a ditch). Some kid whose name I never caught and I danced for like 6 hours straight. (When the fuck did 6am happen?) We all tried to find punk rock hoodie, but we failed. Alas.
Drunkenly, Eric, KT, and I stumbled back to our cabin. I fell in a ditch. Eric fell in a ditch. KT decided, "We need to start driving home Right Now," and proceeded to begin packing the burb. David walked in a few minutes later, took one look at KT's frantic packing, and crashed into bed alongside Eric. (Awww.) I passed out on a couch. We all swore we would get up and leave at 8am.
At 8am, I woke up on the couch and moved to my bed.
At 9am, Florida came into our cabin looking for Eric. "He's sleeping with David."
I went back to sleep.
At 10am, Chris ran into my room, pulling his pants on and looking for a shirt. "Get up Kerry! It's 10:00am! I set my alarm for 10Pm by accident!" (KT had set her alarm for some random arse drunk time.)
Everyone hurriedly packed the burb and piled in. After about 15 minutes, David realized he had nothing to drink. "Can we stop for like, a second, so I can buy some water?" "NO!"
At this point, after about a half hour of driving, KT became too sleepy to drive, so I took over with Chris as my navi-guesser. ("Don't tell David we stopped.") The exchange took place at the edge of some army shooting range with rusted signs warning blue staters to stay far away. Crickets chirped. The sun was warm. The road was dusty and empty in that stereotypical road trip kinda way. We pulled back onto the highway and Chris asked me if I was hungover yet. "Haven't you slept like, 6 hours since Wednesday?"
I explained that my grandmother had always said Irish people do not get hungover, they 'feel under the weather'.
"But I am really pushing the limits of that this weekend," I added. "I slept less and drank more than I have ever done in a small period of time."
Chris considered that, and replied, "We're built for this shit."
And with an exchange of mischievous grins, we cranked Blind Melon and sped across the state of Kentucky.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Kevin and his comrades in Columbia have proposed the formation of the:
United Coasts of America.
We will ask Canada to join.
And coasts include Great Lakes coasts as well.
Barack Obama will be our president from the capital in Illinois.
Because then: "We can have better healthcare, water, and mooses, and they can keep the war."
Alright, what the shit?
Did you not vote yesterday?
P. Diddy is looking for you.
Now we're all fucked.
.....On the other hand, I won't have to worry about finding a job in the environmental movement...... Assuming we aren't all rounded up and shipped to the Gitmo in the next 4 years....
We could all join Canada! Werd, Canada touches almost all the blue areas!
BLUE STATES UNITE!!! SECESSION 04!!!
In conclusion, America is too dumb to be trusted with democracy. If this was 200 years ago, the role of the electoral college would be to rescue us from the masses. Maybe it will still do it's job! =D
I hope the Bush voters are happy when their sons get their legs blown off in Iraq and their daughters bleed to death in back alley abortion clinics. At least they can take comfort in the notion that marriage will be between a man and a woman in Ohio as they bask in the glow of the burning Cuyahoga River, in flames once again due to Bush's environmental policies. Thank the one true white male American Christian god for that.
........On a positive note: Mad props to all of my fellow PA volunteers. We proved that PA is a blue state. Let there be no mistake. The energy throughout Allentown was electric, and we got phone calls from Philly where Susan Sarandon stopped by to see Tara, among other people. =D
Good thing the Republicans didn't decide to cheat in PA. No one can tell me something shady didn't happen in Florida. The exit polls said Kerry was winning by a landslide for a reason.... What the shit happened?
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
How to: Vote Early, Vote Often!
So, this may be a really close election. As a citizen, it is your duty to make sure you exercise your right to vote..... as much as possible!
Here is a citizen's guide to being a *really* dedicated participant in democracy!
1) Register your dead relatives! (Note: this only works in states with same day registration at this point.)
Poll Worker: "Thanks for your vote Dead Grandma Spoon!"
2) Wear a funny disguise and vote again! Glasses with a nose and mustache attached are key.
3) No dead relatives? Knock off a neighbor! (Only if they plan on voting for a candidate other than yours.)
4) Jump a Green Party member on their way to the polls! Their vote wouldn't have mattered anyway. Plus, they are notoriously easy to beat up.
5) "Help" an elderly voter with their absentee ballot.
So, now you have your mission! You had better vote at least once.
Don't know where? www.mypollingplace.com
I'll be in PA using slightly more legitimate means to increase my voter power like phone banking other Kerry supporters. But I mean, if the Republicans are sending out flyers telling black people they'll get arrested for trying to vote with an unpaid parking ticket, then it's totally okay if Dead Grandma Spoon votes.... a few times....
KICK THE VOTE'S ARSE TOMORROW!
Monday, November 01, 2004
"We're Built for This Shit." Part 2.
So I drove for a while as the mist, and the sun, rose over Kentucky.
I successfully avoided running red lights.... and running deer. Finally, after over an hour of sleep-driving down an empty highway, we pulled over to swap drivers. KT, who had spent nearly the entire drive sleeping while her intrepid crew maintained caffeine IVs, was surprised by being called on to drive. I got out of the driver's seat and fell down in the gas station parking lot when my legs gave out. Chris smoked a ciggarette next to a propane tank with a "No Smoking" sign on it. Life was good.
We arrived at the conference site within the next hour or so (Friday morning). It was right along the Kentucky Dam, ironic due to its fame for being both an environmentally destructive dam and a nuclear power plant. Apparently, we used to hold the conference in Ohio but were kicked out. Cool.
We were fairly early, so we had some time to check out our cabin/condo thingy. Screened porch. Cute little kitchen. We put the Kerry/Edwards yard sign we has swiped in Allentown up and placed a pumpkin on the front steps. Awwwww.
Then it was on to the all-important decision of what to do next. We could a) buy food or b) buy alcohol. The fact that we were in a dry county made this a crucial decision. Should we buy the groceries first and let them sit in a hot van while we trekked out to buy the beer and back? OR..... Should we go out the buy the beer and risk it getting warm while we did the grocery shopping? Clearly, we opted to protect the coldness level of the beer. After confusing/offending the locals several times (I was on nearly permanent damage control at the grocery store.), we returned home to take a much-needed nap. And by "take a nap" I mean introduce ourselves to the Florida canvass crew next door, get hopelessly drunk, and follow them to the other cabins to meet all the other canvass teams as they arrived. Ooops.
The fact that I had not slept since Wednesday night became more and more important by the time we got to the opening speakers Friday night. I already know about globalizationfreetradeWTOFTAAGATTNAFTAFUCKME, so I was a little bored and employing the crucial "stay awake during a lecture trick" of occasionally picking my water bottle off the floor and drinking from it. On one of these attempts, I managed to crack my head on the back of David's chair, causing a cool bruise above my eyebrow. Chris and me traded keeping the other one awake. When the speaker mentioned "New Jersey!" we were all caught completely off guard and wondered if we were supposed to wave when we realized, just in time, that the speaker was talking about port security in Port Elizabeth. Close call.
Post-speaker was a blur of dinner, drinking games, people mentioning that I hadn't slept yet, people congratulating me for this, and finally a party at some other group's cabin. Some kid with a mohawk sang "We Didn't Start the Fire." I convinced Eric it was a good idea to drink one of those little bottles of whiskey (it's a bad idea!). Swapped some stories. Got story-trumped (YES! Finally!). Wandered home around 4:30am or 5. Slept for 3 hours. Prepared for DAY TWO.