December 07, 2002

for crying out loud, could I focus on something?

I just looked back at my blog over the past many days (as far as you can scroll). As I did, I realized quite suddenly that I don't focus on anything in particular. In fact, I really don't know what the heck I've been talking about for the last couple of weeks. I don't remember writing about half of these posts.

This cannot be good. I've talked about, in no particular order, childbirth and children, hospitals, friends, cats and kittens, blogging, blog evolution, sleeping, AKMA, college, turtles, George, bills, death, ice storms, holiday party humor, men and women, women and blogging, bloody lips, hate, love, grief, being a parent, Jamaican vacations, catching a worm in my mouth as a kid, driving while aroused, and various other unrelated topics.

I need to find an area of expertise.

blogging babies into existence

Tom Matrullo and Gary Turner are going to be fathers any day now. Yes, that's right:


This Guy:


and This Guy:


A year ago I didn't know either of them. Now I count them among my best friends, best friends I've never met.

Having not met them, only spoken to them by phone, doesn't mean I don't know them. The more we blog the more we know. I think about Gary and Fiona, about Tom and Wendy, several times a day; pray for them. I send them all the good wishes I can muster, knowing that within a matter of days, more or less, they will be welcoming into the world their children, and I'm feeling as much an aunt-to-be this week as I've felt in a very long time.

But we're not in one another's real world. So I can't go barging onto the maternity floors waving stuffed bears with helium balloons trailing behind. Can only just wait, with everyone else who cares about them in Blogaria. Wait and bite my nails.

Some words of encouragement--Jenna was breech and I had a c-section. Something I didn't want either. If the Turner turns again, or the Matrullo fails to matriculate, though, fear not. A c-section is not the worst thing in the world. It's over quickly. No trauma for the baby. No labor pains. No special pillows to sit on afterward. If you need advice, Dads, on where to look and what to say, and where to not look and what to not say, in the event of the rather daunting task of assisting mom-to-be in the OR, email George. He handled it all very well. Something about not looking in the reflection of the window.

God bless.

prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I've never had a kitten this little before. This kitten is becoming tame, little by little, against all his better judgment. His instincts tell him not to let go--to lie for a while on my leg, but not to relax all the way. As soon as his eyes start to close, he jerks to full alert and bites my hand. Every time. He can't override his instincts. It has been this way consistently until today.

Today he's fallen asleep on me twice. As I type this, he's sleeping on my arm, purring away. Earlier he fell asleep on my leg. I never knew how relaxing a purring kitten sleeping on your arm is. I am likely to fall right back asleep. Again. Lazy day. Sweet kitten. He's right by my cheek. I'm looking down at him, his ears splayed sideways, beyond even purring now. He's sound asleep. He finally let go.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



Slept all day today. Remembering back to college days when I never had a class before 11 a.m., wrote all night long, and slept Saturdays away without a second thought. Feeling like beer, pizza, some wings. Feeling like I have a paper brewing. Feeling like writing the night away. Feeling like making spaghetti in a crock pot and sharing it with the girls in the dorm, waiting for friends to bring the pepperoni and Italian bread.

Looking at this house a mess, bills unpaid, animals and family unfed. Missing my 20s.

Happy Anniversary, AKMA

I've met a lot of priests in my life--some of the best people to have touched my life, during my high school years, happened to be priests. I also abhor many of the past and present practices of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, and rather decidedly ditched Catholicism in my 20s. At any rate, I know a caring person, a good dad, and an empathetic and passionate human being when I read one. AKMA is all of those. Happy 16th, AKMA. Many more to you. Christianity and Blogaria definitely need you.

(p.s., although I finally ate your peanut brittle, I changed your URL on my blogroll. am I still in good standing?)

cat's nuts roasting by an open fire

Shhhh. Somewhere Babies Are Being Born

Gary and Fiona are in the home stretch. I'll be checking in all weekend. Gary, are you taking your laptop to the hospital? M-u-s-t- b-e- t-h-e-r-e w-i-t-h y-o-u t-w-o...

Meanwhile, Tom celebrates the birth of 100 newly-hatched Hawksbill turtles.

Tonight as Jenna and I wound our way down the street in the van, she followed the moon with her eyes the whole way.

She said, "Mama, I wish he would land in our back yard. I want to touch him. He looks so lonely up there."

I said, "Well, he has the stars to keep him company."

She asked, "But do they take care of him? Do they?"

There's nothing in the human experience that compares with the frayed nerves, fierce battles, infinite wonder, and enormous joy of childbirth. Except maybe the raising of those babies.

So says me.

We're cheering for you Gary!

December 06, 2002

most interesting...

Even more interesting than the information posted below on the "accessibility" issue is the realworld situation that had me ask the question. The realworld situation was that I was writing something for a client. I needed to get educated on the issue. Fast. And as I googled, I had an idea--how about asking these smart minds I blog with? So I did. And so did they give me information back.

And what does this mean? It gives me pause. Where I work, clients willingly pay to use our knowledge/research center, where skilled people have research tools at their fingertips to look up answers to any number of questions or conundrums all the live-long day. For the most part, they are generalists with powerful tools at their disposal to help them harvest knowledge across a deep, well-organized network.

What about blogging--are we so different? There are some true experts out here--experts on what I'd now hazzard a guess is every given topic under the sun. Denise knows law inside out. If she doesn't know an answer, she darn sure knows where to get it. Meg knows web design inside out. George knows music. Jennifer knows media. Even the Father of e-Commerce is sitting out there blogging art for angels. And so it goes.

After google, where do you go for information?

Why not us? Why not here?

On Online Accessibility for the Disabled

There's a whole lot going on around the issue of disabled access to online sites. On November 22, Florida's U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz who said that the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) does NOT mandated websites/web-only businesses to be disabled-accessible because they are not considered "places of public accommodation," as defined by the ADA.

In Judge Seitz's 12-Page Opinion, she wrote, "To expand the ADA to cover 'virtual' spaces would be to create new rights without well-defined standards." She dismissed the case saying, "The plain and unambiguous language of the statute and relevant regulations does not include Internet Web sites."

More here.

Did I just hear 300,000 bloggers say, "Wshew"?

No, really. What if?

And should we be?

Granted, most of us don't sell stuff (much) from our blogs, but still--does that mean that we (or more appropriately blogger and other blog interface providers) shouldn't be concerned with how accessible our sites are to the disabled?

Although the Judge dismissed the case, she did give an admonition and a prediction in the footnote of her brief that says more than the dismissal:

"Given the number of visually impaired persons who utilize the Internet for commerce, and the significant amount of business that Southwest obtains through its Internet website, it is unfortunate that the panies have not cooperated to develop a creative solution that benefits both parties and which avoids the costs and polarizing effects of litigation. It is especially surprising that Southwest, a company which prides itself on its consumer relations, has not voluntarily seized the opportunity to employ all available technologies to expand accessibility to its website for visually impaired customers who would be an added source of revenue. That being said, in light of the rapidly developing technology at issue, and the lack of well-defined standards for bringing a virtually infinite number of Internet websites into compliance with the ADA, a precondition for taking the ADA into "virtual" space is a meaningful input from all interested parties via the legislative process. As Congress has created the statutorily defined rights under the ADA, it is the role of Congress, and not this Court, to specifically expand the ADA's definition of "public accommodation" beyond physical, concrete places of public accommodation to include 'virtual' places of public accommodation."

I gather that she is saying: 1) Online business sites have an obligation and responsibility to make their sites accessible. 2) There is money to be made from doing so. 3) (toward the end of the above quote), Congress could expand the ADA's definition of "public accomodation" into the virtual world.

David Weinberger is hipper than most of us, having recently tweeked his site for color-blind readers.

If you want to read up on the accessibility issue, here are some links:

Meg at Manderin Design has a discussion here with a point to this Computerworld article. Thanks Meg!

Macromedia's Accessibility Training page, courtesy of Mr. Tom Matrullo, who knows his micro and macro media. ;-)

And this from Tom as well.

From CNN.com Law Center, November 7th: Should Web-only businesses be required to be disabled-accessible?

george is black, I mean back...

The world's most amazing multi-bassist and multi-tangentialist, King George is back from Florida and finally posting. While I can't vouch for his sanity or the subtleties of his words (cough), I can say he's at the top of RageBoy's blogroll--a mystery that only RB, George and Frank Paynter can unravel. Frank, just how badly do you want that top spot? Should I be looking for Fang outside our garage waiting to pull a sneak attack on George?


where i been

I meant to write yesterday, but things got all topsy turvy. My brother-in-law was in a car accident, and with no car, he had no way to the hospital (the cops dropped him off at home--nice, 63-year-old guy with a head and chest injury). So I spent from 10 a.m. til 5 p.m. in emergency with him. They kept him overnight. He's having a battery of heart tests. Awaiting news.

In the mean time, let me remind myself that you can't spend a day in the ER without feeling... well... without feeling.

The woman I can't get out of my head is probably 90 years old. She looked so unalive I wondered what possible tests they could be performing on her in the CT-scan room that would tell them anything.

Did she even have a pulse?

There's just no way. No way this woman was alive. But the family who stood around her acted as if she were alive. So maybe she was. She was skin stretched over bones. I never saw her open her eyes. Her head was tilted back on the gurny, arched in private pain, her mouth formed a perfect silent scream, releasing fury up to the florescent lights. Her mouth never twitched. Just strained against itself.

She was death in still life.



She reminded me immediately of the ruins of Pomepei. The living captured in time in media res--in the middle of sleep, of thought, of horrible ends. Everytime I think of the living dead woman I want to scream for her, "LET ME OUT!"



There was an older man, too, and his younger wife was with him. She wore lots of jewelry and patted his side. He couldn't find comfort, not from her, not from the nurses. He was the "difficult patient," the one who kept trying to get out of his bed, to go, he didn't know where, but to go somewhere, trying to go anywhere that might be away from his pain. He didn't seem to know where he was headed, but something on his face said he'd know it when he got there. Over and over he tried to get up. And over and over they stopped him.

Several herniated discs, I overheard them tell his wife. These were at least part of the old man's problems. "I need to go," he kept saying, "Honey, somethings wrong, somethings real wrong." And he would sit up, and they would come lay him down, and three times I grabbed the IV bag off its hanger and handed it to the woman just before he ripped the IV out of his arm. She told me thank you three times, but I just nodded, said, "I'd hate to see him have to have that put in again."

By the time I left, they had sedated him. After the security guard came to hold him in the bed, I guess they figured there was no harm in slipping him a little quiet time into his IV.

Wish I could have had a doggie bag for home.

December 04, 2002

my head might explode

I'm not sure if it's the furvor of last week's blog-opinion frenzy, or if it's waiting for this ice-storm-or-whatever to come-like-huh?, or knowing I have deadlines and Jenna's school is closed again tomorrow because of the ice-storm-that-who-knows-if-it's-even-coming, or if it's the stress of this entire month, or is it year, or what, but my head feels like it's about to explode.

I'm ready.

I've cleaned the house, so if they come in the front door after not hearing from me for a few days, or if the noise from my skull combusting wakes the neighbors and they phone the fire department, and if they use a battering ram to burst through my door in hopes of saving me, everything's pretty well organized.

Bills are paid until the 15th. Not sure all the checks will clear--ah well. Can't get blood from an exploded head.

Jenna's clothes are out. Prescriptions are refilled.

ahhhh. feeling a little better already.

oh the vice is closing again, temples pounding, my neck feels like someone's rammed a steel rod through it.

so my day's been pretty average.

Holy Cow It's Raining!

In many parts of the country, rain is no reason for unbridled panic and maniacal behavior of the driving and shopping variety.

Those parts of the country aren't Atlanta. Too metro to be "southern" and too southern to be "metro," Atlanta's in a tizzy today, expecting some freezing rain (translated by the local news as a major ice storm), maybe, possibly, but then again maybe not, well the roads are a little wet, a couple of drops already fell, and if you look really really hard you can see your breath, and well the wind's blowing, no sun out today, so, yeh, I'm pretty sure a killer ice storm's on the way, which is why my daughter's Pre-K closed at 11 and now she's home looking out the window asking me when the ice is gonna come.

tick-tock-tick... we'll see.

Atlanta bloggers, let me know when you're home safe and sound.


chuckle, chuckle, snort, snort

I just hopped over to Humor Columnist Madeleine Begun Kane's weblog. She posted an official Office Christmas Party Contract for husbands and wives she wrote, which was originally published in Newsday. Denise, I don't know if this will stand up in court, but it made me snort. An excerpt here:

2. Husband shall be diplomatic and refrain from saying any of the following:

a. "For a tightwad, you sure throw one hell of a bash. Just between us guys, how much did it set you back?"

b. "You promoted her just in time. She was working on her resume."

c. "So you're the fellow my Wife keeps complaining about. You seem nice enough to me."

d. "I hate these things. Don't you?" (Last year Husband said this to the President's wife.)

December 03, 2002

Today's "Ask a Blogger" Question from Allied...

Does anyone know where I can find the latest, greatest, most up to date info on online accesibility legislation/issues/thinking? That is, what sites are, aren't, should, shouldn't are supposed to but aren't, wish they could, etc..... around making sites friendly/usable for the disabled. Legislation? Thinking? Debating? How-Tos?

Found one pretty current article here, but am betting there's a blogger or six out there talking about this stuff.

Thanks. If you leave them in the comment box, I'll push them all up into a post for anyone else who wants to learn more about this topic.

Tangent over.

And out.

Have I Told You Today How Much I Hate You?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Bix is pondering a threatening phone call he received letting him know that some soldiers will be "coming to get him" because of some posts and comments he made over the morality/immorality of soldiering. Elaine, mother-to-bix, discusses it here.

While the particular debate wouldn't have caught my attention, the threatening phone call Bix received did. Damn terrorists. I mean nationalists. I mean terrorists. I mean nationalists. I mean...

Jeez louise the guy write's a weblog. Is that a reason to want to come and get *anyone*?

Now I'm off to put my daughter to bed. Am I allowed to say how lucky I am to be doing so without setting off anyone's "ism" alarm, igniting World War III, or inciting threats of violence?

Jeneane's phrase of the evening: Take a powder or drink the Kool-Aid.

Virtual Darwinism--Blogging Does the Extinction Two Step

I once said, more than a year ago on my first blog, that "the net is filled with potholes and assholes just like the real world."

How foretelling.

When did they open the door to this world and start letting just anybody in? (oh, jeesh, 'scuse me. that was the point of it, huh.)

The email exchanges flying around this week, and posts on girlism and sexism and feminism and selfishness -- all of the posturing that is going on -- seems like some kind of sped-up virtual Darwinism gone awry.

Are we in a battle of survival of the fittest? And what is a "fit" blogger.

Shudder.

The current mandate seems something like this: Evolve and become a big-blog media whore/gigolo who uses their blog to pander to some [insert your label here] bunch or another. Come in, come on, and argue with us. Draw the line in the sand. Rant and bitch and show how much you know.

But don't show your feelings. Don't be vulnerable. That's so unevolved.

Dat's how da dinosaurs got gone.

What will this place look like in 10 years, which is probably the equivilant of 1,000 years offline? If it evolves in the direction it seems to be going, then go turn on your TV right now. Turn to one of the aimless news channels. You'll be looking at your online future.

How fucking exciting.

If those of us who write about "more than" any one topic, any one passion, but who write passionately, decide to give up (which I've heard more than one good blogger express this week), then this place won't be any different from that place.

Great, just great.

Jeneane's phrase of the day: If you don't want to know me, then blow me.

December 02, 2002

lay down with a child

If you're wondering about the significance of girlism or feminism or sexism or racism or barbarism, if you're wondering about when the war will start or who in blogland is picking fights with whom, who's spouting silliness or who's dangerous or who means what by which comment, or who's making themselves feel better for their puny life by taking shots at an article you appeared in, or who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't. If you're wondering why you care or don't care, you need to do one simple thing.

Lay down with a child; watch them let go of the day.

Not a pet. Not a lover. A child.

Listen to her stories, to her final fury of lucid thoughts before she gives in to sleep; listen to her questions, always profound at this time of the night, about God and oceans, about life and death, about how she'll never be 90 years old.

Be quiet and listen to her. Sketch her face with your eyes as she stares out the window at the stars from the universe that is her covers. Follow her breath with your own, in and out, and wait for the moment when she releases the day.

Then rest there longer. Let her dreams climb into yours, feel the softness of her small hands, and feel so blessed for that moment, and feel sadness for anyone who hasn't experienced it, ache for anyone who has had it and lost it, and realize that sadness will one day be yours, when you don't have her night time anymore.

Touch her hair, brush her cheek gently, and kiss her softly as you rise.

And wonder how anyone makes it through the day without this waiting for them at the end of it.

and lastly, a friendly challenge to Halley

Regarding the post below and all the hubub over girlism, I want to pose a challenge to Halley, blog sister to blog sister.

You say "I posted it as an example of this new trend I'm seeing."

Show me more evidence. That's what I want. And I want to know about the trend from experience or recollection. Don't pull up short and tell it from a big media perspective--not from a women's magazine perspective, not the cartoon network's perspective, not from a record label's perspective.

I want to hear about you. Not about celebrities like Britney and Cybil, who are--esentially--wrapped and packaged to make you feel girly all over. Okay? Not about Cybil, or Janet, or Britney, or the Power Puff Girls.

Scratch deeper.

Write from the place that's stirring this all up in you.

I want to hear about Halley. I want you to make it Real.

Then I think maybe I'll get it.

That's all on this one for today.

Girlist, Feminist--No Wonder Men Are Confused.

Everyone has their own take about why Halley's Girlsim thing either troubles or intrigues them.

Halley's original post about the end of Feminism and the beginning of Girlism stirred up a lot of conversation--some rather intense--in places like THIS, THIS, and THIS.

Today Halley revisits "Girlsim" on her blog and says this:

"I also posted a comment about Cybill Shepard from More Magazine about how she screens new guys she wants to date. She used to ask how they felt about abortion (classic Feminist issue) and now she asks how often they mastrubate (classic Girlist issue). I posted it as an example of this new trend I'm seeing.

Girlism is about owning your own sexuality as a woman and letting men understand that it's something you like -- sex. And it's something you like on YOUR terms, not on their terms. Women don't need men to define female sexuality. We need to define it ourselves and we need to own it and then teach men how it is. It's beyond Feminism.

Feminism talked about women owning their sexuality in a lesbian context only which was cool, but created no context within which heterosexual women could own their sexuality and enjoy it with heterosexual men. That's what's changing. That's what Cybill's remark suggests. Will anyone really argue with me that the feminist version of female sexuality wasn't strident and unattractive? Girlism is about being sexy and attractive AND liberated. Some men have picked up on my Cybill Shepard post.

First, Jonathon does a great job of conveying some of my thoughts. I love when that happens.

But why not add my two cents here. Against my better judgment.

[[Disclaimer: I love Halley. I'm just seriously concerned she has been abducted by Alien Beings.]]

Here's what bothers me re: this type of "girlism." Hang with me guys (who have, in comments across blogs, leaned heavily in Halley's favor--look closely--you've been duped again.)

First of all, although I'm neither a Feminist nor a Girlist, I am a woman. As such, I can't say that I believe Halley's definition of the early women's movement as being ONLY about sexuality within a lesbian context, nor that it does much good for her to further they notion that feminism, or lesbian feminsim, sexuality is "strident and unattractive." To whom? To men? I doubt they much care.

But Halley does seem to care. She talks about it this way--and this is the bit that gives me the most pause:

"Girlism is about owning your own sexuality as a woman and letting men understand that it's something you like -- sex. And it's something you like on YOUR terms, not on their terms. Women don't need men to define female sexuality. We need to define it ourselves and we need to own it and then teach men how it is."

Unless you're having sex Cybil Shepard's way, what is this "owning" of sexuality? What is this sex as something you like on YOUR terms, not on their terms? What is this singular and one-sided description of sex?

If this is the way we all begin to look at sex, aren't we just having sex with ourselves? Where's the other person in all of this? Where's the intimacy, the love, the foreplay, the afterplay. Where is anyone but "the girl"?

And if a man needs to be taught that "you have a say," in your sexuality, if you need to "teach him" that, then what kind of man is he?

More questions than answers perhaps. But suffice it to say that I really have a problem with either side--feminist or girlist--that takes the relationship out of the equation.

A relationship, and sex, and (God forbid) love--am I the only one that sees this as a part of the deal?--involve two human beings with two human hearts and human baggage and needs and wants and desires that are complex, and sometimes they are musical and sometimes they are unworkable, sometimes they transcend and sometimes they battle one another.

It's NOT as simple as labels, and it's NOT as simple as owning our own sexuality, and it's NOT as empty headed as Cybil Idiot Shepard.

What's missing from Girlism is, in short, relationship and emotional intimacy.

As for Ms. Shepard and More Magazine, anybody who can use abortion and masturbation in the same sentence, flippantly, as a yardstick to measure men by, is someone I need to see LESS of, not More of.

more later. maybe.

You Give Her Back, Damn You!

It's quite clear. I haven't wanted to say anything until I was sure. But now I'm pretty certain. There's no other explanation really. I've fished and fished for one, reaching far back into my psyche, where I pulled out three yo-yos and some cheese curls. No matter how I look at it, there's only one answer.



Halley's been abducted by aliens!