A New Year's Message

How to sum up 2008: Up and down, courageous and fearful, belief and disbelief, hope and apathy.

As 2009 approaches, I think "it's just another day, really". I also think "it signals something new". This is the ONE DAY when every one of us marks the end of one year and welcomes in a new one in our own way. It is the one day where most of us are thinking about this past year and our hopes for something better, regardless of how we celebrate, if at all. Some have intentions for good, some have darker intentions. While I want to remain aware of those with less-than intentions, I also want to spit on them and their agenda. It's my life, my planet, too.

My focus is on answering the following question: What now? For myself and Mr. N, that means where do we live? How will we make a living? The old is simply that--old. The tried, no longer true. My other focus is on honing those skills that I already have while exploring new creative means of producing an income.

It is my wish for 2009 that we begin to work (and play) together to form ways of living that take the best of the System (technologically speaking primarily) and form small communities off the grid. Communities where everyone contributes what comes to them naturally, joyfully, easily.

For it is long past time to turn this nation of "Pottersville" back into "Bedford Falls".

A solid, peaceful, creative new year to all.


Movie Reviews

Okie kiddies, it's movie review time again. Here's a run-down of just some of the movies we've watched in recent weeks along with my comments and recommendations.

1) Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This is a quirky film about Peter, a songwriter/composer who lives with film and tv star Sarah Marshall. Sarah breaks up with Peter after a 5 year relationship and so he decides to take a vacation to Hawaii to help mend his broken heart. Unfortunately Peter chooses the same island and resort that Sarah has also decided to visit. Putting the obviously ridiculous coincidence aside, this is a funny little film. It drags a bit in the middle (as many films do) and the ending is predictable. However, there are both funny and odd moments in the film that kept our interest, like the surfing instructor who lays out the same line to all who visit his stand, and some of the moments with customer service employees at the hotel who take pity on Peter. Then there's the very comedic crying scenes of Peter and his lonely cereal bowl moments. And then there's Sarah's new love interest, british rocker Aldous, whose huge ego and blatant self-centeredness coupled with his "love and peace my dear friend" complexity make him quite funny. His ability to stay calm in all situations only adds to his character. And one last little addition: there's nudity in the film, only it isn't female nudity. It's the male this time. Front and back (or as Mr. N pointed out "they showed his penis THREE TIMES"). Quite refreshing when we're so bombarded with female butts and boobs in most films.

2) Definitely, Maybe. This stars Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) as Maya, a young girl whose parents are going through a divorce. While visiting her father, she wants to know how her parents met and how many other girls he dated. (In one scene, she asks her dad, who has just told her about 3 women he slept with prior to marriage, "Dad, what's the male word for slut?" Dad comes back with "They haven't come up with a name yet.") Much of the film dives into dad's past, where Maya has decided to turn it into a game whereby she tries to guess which of the women he is talking about turns out to be her mother. A decent film to rent. Kind of smarmy in a disney sort of way in a few scenes, but overall it's a storyline that kept us wanting to know who the mother is. And the obvious question: Will mom and dad's love for Maya be enough for them to stay together or is divorce inevitable?

3) A Streetcar Named Desire. Ok, so I probably don't need to write about this one or say whether I recommend it or not. If you haven't seen it, see it. If you have, see it again. It's a dark and disturbing look at love and obsession. With the acting brilliant, the black and white film providing the perfect mood (wish more films would opt for that) it's no wonder it's a classic. And for those who haven't seen it and are a Seinfeld fan AND you have wondered why Elaine yelled "Stellllllllaaaaaa" during the episode where she and Jerry went to Florida and she was looped up on pain pills, watch the movie and you will understand. And who cannot resist the young Marlon Brando and that amazing body. Those biceps. Y U M M Y. Although by the end you hate his character so much, he ain't so hot to look at.

4) Burn After Reading. Classified as a "dark comedy", this Coen brother's film (Fargo was another of their films) stars Brad Pitt as a bumbling/sweet gym dude, Frances McDermond as his co-worker and partner-in-crime and obsessed with getting plastic surgery, George Clooney as some married Department of Treasury employee obsessed with sex and discreet affairs and John Malcovich as recently ousted CIA operative whose wife is having an affair with Clooney. Upon his termination/quitting (depending on how you look at it), Malcovich's character decides to pen his memoirs. His wife, thinking that filing for divorce will land her a permanent relationship with Clooney, secretly gathers her husband's financial records and somehow his memoirs end up on the CD. Thereafter, the CD ends up being accidentally left in the locker room of the gym where Pitt and McDermond work. Pitt thinks they're on to something top secret upon finding out the author of the records is Malcovich. He and McDermond cook up a plot to hold the CD for ransom and will return the information to Malcovich in exchange for $50,000. A series of mishaps soon follows. Part of their attempt at the big money includes going to the Russian Embassy, thinking the Russians would be interested in the top secret U.S. Intelligence information they assume is on the disc. This film really held my interest from the get-go. Brilliant comedy. And Pitt and McDermond are excellent together. I hadn't seen Pitt pull off a comedic role like this and I have to say, he was very very good at it. However, the dark really took over near the end with a gruesome murder scene and at that point, the humor dissipated and was replaced by violence. So I guess I am saying watch and enjoy 3/4 of the film but be prepared to watch the comedic element abruptly end and (possibly) prepare yourself to be turned off by the violence in the remaining scenes. Of course I realize some enjoy such films, so it may be to some people's liking. It just seemed to put on the brakes and go off in a whole new direction that didn't follow the energy of the film up until that point.

5) Tripping The Rift: The Movie. This is some CGI/animated flick that Mr. N chose. I watched maybe 10 minutes of it and was not entertained. I found the material stereotypically offensive in its juvenile-like references to sex and the world at large. Mr. N fast-forwarded through most of it and was equally as unimpressed. I would think this would suffice to the male/under 25 crowd. Likely with a lot of beer drinking going on to boot. Not impressed.

6) Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Another Frances Mcdermond film (she now tops my list of favorite actors). Set in 1930's (or so) London, Guinevere Pettigrew (Mcdermond) has once again lost another job as a governess. She seems to have difficulty in keeping her opinion to herself. In order to avoid homelessness, she plots her way into taking the job as a social secretary for an American actress, Delysia Lafosse, who despite being a bit flighty and holding a rather high opinion of herself, is nonetheless innocently good hearted, well-intentioned and likable. Never having worked as a social secretary before, Miss Pettigrew must deal with the competing love interests of Ms. Lafosse, help her keep her social and professional life in order and ensure Ms. Lafosse selects the best man. She pulls it all off beautifully, despite some real comedic mishaps and near-misses. She also finds herself faced with the possibility of finding love herself. A wonderful, refreshing, charming, comedic film with wonderful costumes and even more wonderful music (jazz and big band).


CFL Bulbs: Much Ado About Nothing

We had our first CFL bulb burn out. While it lasted for 3 years, I am not impressed with these things. I'm not falling for this game anymore. I'll give them away or sell the rest. Here's why I am doing so:

1) We replaced all but 2 lights in our house with these bulbs and we did not see our electric bill reduce in any way shape or form.

2) They take several minutes to fully turn themselves on.

3) The lighting is not that good. Fluorescent lighting is something I'm sensitive to to begin with. And that yellowish tint. Ugh.

4) How did we know it burned out? We smelled a strong burning stench and at first thought something was on fire. When Mr. N went to unscrew it, he about burned his hand. The base of the bulb was VERY HOT. 15 minutes later and it is still quite warm. It also had a yellowing mark around the base as though it had overheated.

Think we've ever had that experience with a good 'ole Thomas Edison bulb?


Now that it's burned out, what do we do with it? I haven't a clue. I'm certainly not throwing it away. I want to recycle it. However, upon doing some digging, I discovered that only approximately 25% of cities are equipped to deal with recycling these bulbs. Insane considering this massive movement to get them in every home. Hopefully our local waste removal company is equipped to do just that.

We've replaced the bulb with the good old fashioned incadescent bulb. We will be stocking up on those and buying them on the black market once they are phased out.

These things are nothing but a scam, something I intuitively knew from the get-go, but I decided to try them out anyways. We bought 30 of them.

Break one and you expose yourself to toxic mercury vapors.

Fluorescent bulbs have been associated with health issues in sensitive individuals.

It was one thing when these were presented as an option. However, Uncle Sam wants to phase out the incadescent bulb, where our only choice will be the CFL.

Uncle Sam telling us what kind of light bulb to use goes against the principles of freedom in so many ways, I am astounded so many applaud this agenda. For it is a joke to me that Al Gore and his posse tout responsible carbon footprints while living lavish lives that knock their carbon numbers off the charts. Once I saw Walmart pushing these bulbs, I knew something dark was behind this movement.

The claim about saving the environment is a joke. Want to save the environment? How about we get these buildings in cities and towns all across America to turn out their damn lights when not in use. It's grossly wasteful to have this 24/7 lighting. REQUIRE the Big 3 Automakers to produce high efficiency, reliable vehicles like their European counterparts (maybe then we american's will start buying them again). Grow hemp and use that to power our vehicles and our lives. Stop the worldwide destructive, deplorably irresponsible and reprehensible deforestation practice. Yank the rug out from under Montsanto and their deplorable, big brother controlling and toxic farming "practices". Stop Big Business from polluting our waterways. Yeah that's right: S T O P. End the use of toxic chemical sprays on our crops. No reason not to when viable, organic, environmentally friendly products ALREADY EXIST.

And yet, Joe and Jane America. Use CFC bulbs. Save the environment. Save the planet.

Wake up folks.

This is not about saving the environment or the planet.

It is about placing further restrictions on our lives, our personal choices and about making a lot of money taking advantage of our naivete'.

Nothing more, nothing less.

*this message is the opinion of yours truly, nina and nina only and does not reflect the opinion of blogger, its affiliates and the typical american. nina receives no money from republicans or big oil or right-wing special interest groups, contrary to what some may think when reading some of her posts. no animals were harmed in the creating of this post. however the feelings of certain elitist pond scum were disturbed as hidden truths were exposed.


How About Some Respect For The New Year

Flipping through the television channels and scanning online message boards and blogs, one notices something is sorely missing: Respect.

Disappearing are the days when people used tact and consideration when discussing a topic. Today whoever casts the juciest zinger or the most crass insult will claim victory of some sort. Sarcasm has replaced thoughtful dialogue. Name calling and curse words are tossed around as often as words such as "if", "and" or "but". It's like a disease--a disease that seems to be contagious. I myself have been working on watching the words I say, especially those flippant curse words. I can really fling them when I want to. And yet, in those moments when I actually hear myself, when I hear what others are likely hearing from me, I am disturbed. I sound horrible. This is not something to be proud of or to embrace. So now and then I ask myself the following: Do I wish to create something helpful or something destructive?

Our often out-of-control ego's think we/they know it all. And yet, in reality, who defines what is truth? Who really knows it all--about ANY topic? I have personally come to embrace those who say "this is what I/we believe/think" and raise a sceptical eye towards those who say "this is truth." I have opinions, many of which are still a work-in-progress. On many subjects, what I believe today is different than what I believed 5 years ago. Toss out a thought, any thought and you can come up with an opposite thought. Toss out a "well studied" idea and you can come up with another "well studied" idea with opposite conclusions.

I have a hunch that a lot of these hot topics that are so hotly debated are generated to keep us fighting and arguing with one another. I have an equally strong hunch that this is to keep us from uniting together on things that matter, where we discuss the things that matter to EVERY ONE OF US (well, those of us with souls and a conscience). Where we break down the emotional and mental walls we have built, with plenty of help from the system itself, and discuss what it is we truly need. Not just what we think but what we need.

You want peace? Be peaceful.

You want love? Be loving.

You want respect? Be respectful.

This isn't a perfect formula by any means. But it is a good recipe in which to live life.

Maybe the doctor's oath of "first do no harm" should be on our minds, in our hearts and played out in our actions. Maybe we need to take a breath and think about those words before share our thoughts--both written and spoken.


Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, one and all.

A peaceful new year to you and yours.

My wish is for the awakening to continue.

May it touch your heart, ignite your light
and inspire you to do all you can to be all that you are.

Always Remember Who You Are.

Love and peace,


I Try

Lyrics to one of my songs...

I Try

I try...
to understand life
and all that surrounds it.

I try...
to carry on
with the burdens in my heart.

And even though I smile...
Inside I'm crying.

'Til you came along
and offered a place to fall.

'Til you came along
and shined your light
on my darkened soul.

I try...
To find the meaning
in my life.

And I try...
To see in me
what I see in you.

And even though I smile
inside I'm still searching.

Cause you came along
and showed me a different way.

'Til you came along
I was unaware
of the beauty within.


Scam Alert: National Collector's Mint, Inc.

For the coin collector's out there, may I offer a suggestion: Do not do business with "National Collector's Mint, Inc." Mr. Nina ordered some Morgan Silver Dollars after seeing an ad on television (ah, the great deceiver--television advertisements). Guaranteed to arrive as Fine to Brilliant, with the price guaranteed for ONE WEEK ONLY at $19.90 per coin plus shipping and handling (in our case, $9.50), what we received was not what was advertised. While we are not coin graders, looking at these coins, one could hardly define them as "Fine". Two have chips. Two are heavily tarnished. Two have fairly big dents on the side. Most I soon found out were heavily circulated.

It was then that I decided to do some research on this company. Well, come to find out, National Collector's Mint has been in some hot water with the New York Attorney General's Office. They also have a string of online customer complaints and rip-off/scam alerts. Google "national collector's mint rip-off?" FMI.

And their little "ONE WEEK ONLY" has been playing--ALL YEAR LONG.

Oh yes, people will say "buyer beware" and "why didn't you blah blah blah before buying from these folks?" Yeah, may your piss land on a sparkplug with that b.s. Blame the victim. Enough already. How about we ban together and shut down companies like this instead?

I'm doing my part by alerting the public.



Winter Wonderland

It has been quite beautiful here this week. We've had an unusual weather occurrence: snow lasting for more than a day. No longer do the trees look lonely and barren. They have been kissed with sparkling whiteness. The sounds of kids squealing is once again to be heard, replacing the silent streets that are the norm this time of year. And the dogs, well the dogs, what can I say, they love the snow. Well, most of them do. Upon seeing it was snowing quite heavily last night, this little pooch begged me to venture outdoors, well past the time most people are sleeping. I agreed. Grabbing my camera, we headed outside. She soon grew displeased with me taking pictures of the scenery and decided to come plant herself right next to me where she gave me her best "mama you PROMISED you would play snowball with me!" look. I complied. For who can resist such a face?


Massacre At The Puppy Dog Corral

As you can see, there were no survivors. It was indeed a polyester batting bloodbath. But it left behind one satisfied dog and a nice mess for Mama Nina to clean.


Snow Day

The thrill of victory...

And the agony of defeat. Or shall I say the agony of de snow up de pants.

Today Mr. N and I headed out to the hills to go sledding. Not having been sledding since I was in my early 20's, I was hesitant to strap my ass to a piece of plastic and allow my body to be hurled out of control down a hill. Hesitancy was soon replaced by absolute joy, squeals and thrills.

When I was in my teens, I had the need for speed, be it on my bike, on a skateboard, in my car or on a sled. I was known for taking chances sledding down steep, icy roads that were otherwise not in use by motor vehicles. One such incident had me in front and a girlfriend in back, clinging on to me for dear life.

"You're sure you know how to steer this thing?" she asked.

"Of course," I replied.

And off we went. Things were going fine for the first few moments, but suddenly the sled began to veer towards a parked car.

"Oh my god LOOK OUT FOR THAT CAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR" came my friends scream.

For whatever reason I remained calm. At the very worst I figured we'd bounce off the tire and spin out.

Which is exactly what happened.

My friend was not pleased. I couldn't understand that. I'd had a GREAT time. And we were fine. No injuries.

Ah but that was then and this is now. Things like bodily injury and money and insurance (and lack of) go through your mind when you get on in your adult years. However, that didn't stop Mr. N and I from attempting to capture some of those child-like feelings of youth. Mr. N even made his first attempt head-first. I said a quick prayer when I realized the position on the sled he had taken.

And yet, just as in my youth, we came away from the day with no injuries. Just cold and wet. Tired from the snow tackles and snowball fights. But invigorated and gleeful. And looking forward to the next time out.


Another Corvallis Employer Pandering To The Spanish-Speaking

There aren't many available jobs in Corvallis as those of us looking are well aware of. And as such, it's an employer's wet dream. Unfortunately, some of these employers take advantage of such situations, many of them over the years pandering to the Spanish-Speaking community.

Before I continue I want to make clear (again) that I have nothing against anyone moving to the states. I have nothing against Hispanic people. They are some of the most open-hearted people I have met. Very truly deeply family oriented. My issue is this trend of businesses and government mandating that we become a dual language society. In our private lives, this is of course fine. And doable. However, out in the working world this is unfair and ridiculous. Practicality screams we must have one recognized language in such situations. This trend has put aside a large percentage of our population that does not speak Spanish (or Spanish AND English both)--aside and out of the competitive job market.

Move here and you can receive assistance learning the language. Already live here and want assistance learning Spanish? Don't think so.

Helicopter Transport Services, Inc. located out at the Corvallis Municipal Airport is hiring for a position I would otherwise be qualified for it it weren't for one caveat: Spanish speaking is a must.

I wish to give my thanks to HTSI for continuing this trend of pandering to those who chose to move here and opt not to learn the language. I wish to thank them for making it more difficult for folks like myself to find employment. May a hemmorhoid gigante se conecta a su asno hasta que usted llegue a ser conocedor de lo que sus acciones hacen a este paĆ­s.

For those who think I am exagerrating, here's another little scoop on this issue. I recently purchased some asparagus at Fred Meyer. Attached to the label was a word I had never seen. A new country, a new state, a new city perhaps. It was a combination of "Mexico" and "California". I was stunned. I forgot to save it so I can't recall the exact word. But it was eye-opening for certain.

Breaking News: Mr. N reminded me that I bought two bundles of asparagus, kept one in the refrig and put the other in the freezer. The one in the freezer still had the rubber band and attached labels. The name of the city in California? "CALEXICO." There you have it.


One Of The Youngest Iraqi Victims

This is maddening to me. Maddening not only because of the genocide that's being committed in Iraq (karma cannot come soon enough for every fucker who supported and supports this war) and the families being torn apart, destroyed, and the overwhelming number of children being injured, including this precious little child, but maddening because the father is a gutless fuck who allowed a new wife to enter the family home--a new wife who refused to care for his little girl, his daughter, his baby. That isn't a woman. That is a heartless bitch.

The loving thing to do would be to allow this child to be put up for adoption. The other loving thing to do would be for the Rosie O'Donnell's and Brad/Angelina's of the world--the multi- millionaires who are very much in favor of adoption--to create a fund enabling those who would like to adopt but cannot simply due to money the chance to do just that. If such things existed, I would be first in line to adopt this little girl.


I don't normally do this. But today, I am.

Today was a fucking lousy day. Frustrating as hell. And a reminder that hey, when it comes to me trying to record some fucking music for some fucking god damn holiday gifts, I am alone in trying to fucking learn how to do this.

So I read. And re-read. Then went to record. Hours I spent. First I hook up the USB cable from the piano to the computer. I go back to my keyboard manual and try to find SOMETHING that tells me what to do once I've done this. Nothing. Not a god damn thing. Just essentially says "hook it up". Uh yeah and NEXT I do WHAT????

Nothing shows up on my computer that says "houston we've got a keyboard hooked up". "Houston we are ready to upload some files." Just that little "kachung" noise it makes when hooking up external hardware equipment.

One word of note: I am not tech saavy. AT ALL. You either are or are not. I don't learn these things well on my own, IF at all. And yet finding someone who IS tech saavy who can just be kind and generous and offer to help you out for no cost is, well you know. People don't do a thing for free anymore. If I am told ONE MORE TIME to "RTFM" (read the fucking manual) I am going to intentionally cause myself to vomit on the person's face.

So here I am thinking "wtf"?

So I decide to call Yamaha (keyboard dealer).

They're closed for the day.


So I think about it and decide "screw this". I'll just load up the recorded material onto my jump drive.

Which I do.

All goes well.

I then upload it all onto the computer and dump it on a blank CD.

All still going well.

That is until I actually played it. The piano only pieces sound wonderful. However, the pieces with piano AND drum sound awful. The drum sounds like someone is scratching nails on a chalkboard. WTF?? It doesn't sound this way when played on my Yamaha at all.

I've spent 2 hours online researching this and have come up empty handed. I try looking up things on recording and faulty jump drives. NADA.

Apparently I am the only damn person on this hell hole who has ever had this problem.

Also up my ass today is a friend who is, for the millionth time, suicidal. Suicidal people are the most selfish you will find. So focused on their own lives and suffering, they can't--they won't--find it in their hearts to let you know how they are. Silence is what you get. What I'm getting. She has reasons to dismiss all of my suggestions. So what do I say? Fine. Go ahead. Do it.

Hearing someone say "I hate my life I want to die" over and over again wears on you. Don't these people GET that? I've dealt with the desire of wanting to just go to sleep and not wake up. I battle with it some days. But I do not spread this little information to those around me over and over and over again. Why? Uh, because, my selfishness doesn't bypass into the category of insanity and I happen to THINK about the feelings of others and about what I say even when I am at my most low.

Calling one of those suicide hotlines or shelters is a waste of time. My friend's in a horrible relationship, has health problems that interfere with her ability to work, certainly full time, no car and no family support. In a nutshell, she's on her own, no place to go, no place to live. Hotlines just gives you someone to talk to and talk isn't usually what these people need. Shelter's offer temporary housing. So while I have anger and frustration and pain aimed at her, I have even more for this fucked up system of ours.

In a loving system, such folks would have a place to go stay and HEAL and recooperate before they're told "Get your ass out into the world and support yourself. We'll let you stay here for a few weeks." In a loving system, money wouldn't ever ever be an issue for such folks.

It breaks my heart. And it enrages me.

Our local shelter/agency, CARDV, SUCKS. I know one of their former counselor's and she said it was the most unhealthy, dysfunctional agency she had ever worked for. A friend of mine went there a few years ago seeking advice and help. Her experience was deplorable. She became so disgusted she walked out. They have a very high staff turnover. That speaks volumes right there about an agency. Community Outreach also has a very high staff turnover. A former friend once worked there and had similar things to say about the place.

Also on my mind is my DESIRE to help people in need by landing employment at one of these god damn agencies. Something I've sought to do off and on for close to 15 years. And with each god damn attempt, I'm told "no". Why? Experience. I don't have it. Education, yep. Experience IN such an agency? Nope.

Well excuse me you fucking pious assholes, but how in the FUCK am I supposed to GET experience if no one will hire me? And.......perhaps the fact that your agencies have a HIGH TURNOVER and the fact that you ONLY higher people with experience, doesn't that mean perhaps you should open yourselves up to those like me who HAVE the education AND the desire and passion and REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE?

A social worker once told me I was too idealistic and passionate to work in the field. WTF? Slap me in the face, why don'tcha. She was serious. She herself was idealistic and passionate but she said these qualities got her into more trouble with co-workers and management. The "help the people" system, private and public, is broken. It is (by and large) run by burned out, broken people who follow too many god damn rules instead of listening to the needs of the clients and fighting within to change the system. And hell, here in this town, to work at such an agency, if you are female, you often have to be fat, over 50 and have some sort of strange body odor.

I have had a couple of interviews though. On one such occasion, after such an interview with Community Outreach, I was told I came in 1st for personality match and 2nd for skills.

That's right. C.O. went for the one with the skills over personality.

Apparently these dumb fucks don't realize SKILLS can be taught and thus learned but PERSONALITY fits cannot.

So there you have it. A multi-faceted insight to my inner dialogue, which on the one hand feels way too stupid to be a part of this system and on the other hand, feels way too wise brilliant and wonderful to be a part of this same system.


Craigslist Top 5 Secrets

I've been following a thread on the Corvallis Craiglist rants and rave section called "My Top 5 Secrets". While I no longer post in this particular space due to my refusal to hand my phone number over to Craigslist management, I check in now and then to see if there's anything worth reading. Usually there isn't. This topic, however, is eye-opening. It is sad. It is comforting.

We all have secrets, stories, that tell of our lives. We all hide them. And yet it's really no big surprise because in truth, we are so much more alike than we are different.

People spoke of wanting to die, of being unhappy, of cheating on their spouse, of wanting their ex dead, of being broke, of working long hours with little to show for it. Ex-meth addicts and current porn addicts share their dirty laundry.

Why do we keep such things to ourselves? Why do we find it easier to post such things, anonymously, online? It's simple: We fear the reaction/potential reaction and judgment from others. We all want people to like us. We all want to be accepted, embraced, wanted. If I tell you this dirty little secret about myself, you may not want me in your life anymore. Or, you may just encourage me to open up even more, which can be equally as uncomfortable as rejection.

As a species, I would conclude most of us are tired of the world around us. Our stuff, while in and of itself is not a "bad" thing, doesn't satisfy us. Neither do our addictions. And neither does isolation. All such things merely keep us feeling safe due to the familiarity and in comfort zones we feel we and we alone control. Some go out to clubs and bars or to parties where alcohol and other mind-numbing/altering drugs are the norm. Such environments don't allow for us to truly relax and open up.

Nope. The only way to do that is to just take a risk and start opening up with those around you. Wouldn't it be refreshing when in getting to know another we would share our life stories, what we most fear, what we most desire and things like that. Real conversations. Not just topic/subject-based. Real relating from the heart rather than the mind only.

If we were to do that, we would see how alike we are. We would help in creating a new world, one we want to be a part of instead of one we do what we can to run from in our own ways. As the line in the movie "Contact" states: "The only thing we have found that makes the loneliness bearable is each other." I would add that it isn't just being with another/others that reduces or eliminates the loneliness (for we've all likely been in situations where we've been with another/other's and felt very lonely), but it is the relating and connecting we do with one another.


Things That Make Me Go "Aaawww"

To balance out the post below, even out my energy output.

1) Anything my dog does. She is perfect.

2) Children playing outside on a sunny day, squealing with delight.

3) Seeing couples out in public holding hands, kissing.

4) Mr. Nina's smile first thing in the morning. Adorably little boy innocent.

5) Hearing of any story where someone has unexpectedly helped another in need.

6) A sleeping baby.

7) When someone says to me: "Thank you so much. That was so kind of you." Or along those lines.

8) Being told "you are important to me."

9) Puppies and kitties playing.

10) Receiving an unexpected letter from a friend or family member in the mail.

Things That Make Me Go "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!"

1) Stubbing my toe on the door jam. Especially distressing when it's 3am and I don't want to awaken anybody.

2) All of these Hollywood Gala Benefits and World Government Gatherings addressing hunger whilst participants enjoy 18 course meals.

3) Listening to Mr. Billionaire himself, Bill Gates, proclaim the U.S. needs to double it's Foreign Aid whilst neglecting to campaign for a double or tripling of Aid here for the poor, homeless and hungry here at home.

4) Listening to these helmet head, zero facial lines, pimples or flaws due to the 20 pounds of pan make-up spew from the teleprompter some of the same lines I write about (only I do so much more eloquently) whilst getting paid $500,000 a year. Me? Zero.

5) The continuation of the two-party system and those who still see differences between the two parties.

6) All of this talk about 2012.

7) Being woken up by drunk, obnoxiously loud, inconsiderate college children.

8) Gas prices up 50%. Food prices up over 30%. Gas prices drop over 50%. Food prices, still remain the same.

9) This movement afoot calling for people to grow their own food thinking we can all survive on potatoes and carrots, beans and tomato's, not to mention the space needed for such a thing is not doable for many if not most American's.

10) This movement afoot calling for people to reduce spending, cut back and live simply. This movement is basically being aimed at the middle income folks and lower when it is the upper middle class and beyond who needs to be cutting the fuck back. For many of us, we are living as simply as we can and frankly, many of us are tired of it and would like to be living a bit more abundantly.

War On Christmas: The Flip Side.

There is a flip side to this issue and it is one that is going on at the moment.

Up in Olympia, Washington, at the State Capitol, a battle between Christianity and Aethiesm is ensuing. A Nativity Scene was first put in place. Recently, a sign stating things such as "There is no god. There is no devil. There is no heaven. There is no hell. There is only the natural world" was erected. As you may already have heard, this story spread like wildfire. Even Bill O'Reilly jumped on the band wagon with his usual over-reactionary commentary.

As a result, the Governor's office reportedly began receiving upwards of 200 calls per hour, most wanting the sign removed.

This is no different than those wanting to see the quieting of the religious aspects of Christmas.

However, what I have not yet seen discussed is the obvious: I thought we had a Separation of Church and State in this country. Therefore, a Nativity Scene does not belong in a State building. And as such, neither does this sign.

That being said, if we were truly enlightened, if we were truly able to stand side by side as Jews, Christian's, Muslims, Hindu's, Buddhist, Athiest's, Wiccan, Agnostics and the thousands of other religious philosophies and labels we embrace while ceasing to impose our belief and our will on those wearing different labels, we wouldn't NEED the Separation of Church and State to begin with. We would truly honor the diversity and be open to seeing and celebrating the likeness. We would be able to see symbols and statues and signs and statements all over the planet, each proclaiming "This is what I believe" and not take offense.

But we are not yet there. Therefore, we are not as enlightened as we could be. And we are not yet free.

So what say you. Could you allow yourself to become comfortable with the side-by-side display of different religious philosophies? Maybe that question could be worked into our focus and explored, thoughtfully, this time of year.

War On Christmas?

That term comes up this time of year. I used to think it was nonsense. Now I see there is some truth in it. And if you understand the agenda behind the political-correctness movement, you'll come to agree with me. (And for the record, I celebrate Christmas, but not as a Christian.)

In this era of "political-correctness", we have seen a growing extremism take place where freedom's are being squashed. Can't say this, can't say that. Certain words and phrases are now labeled "hate speech".

As I often say: Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from being offended.

What we see happening with Christmas is quite similar. Those who celebrate the religious aspect of it sometimes find themselves fearful to acknowledge this, fearful due to the "we must say Happy Holidays" politically correct crowd. Fearful due to the societal brainwashing that says we have to keep certain things to ourselves lest we MAY offend another.

Ridiculous hogwash.

Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, Summer and Winter Solstice, 4th of July, etc. However, I think the choice to wish another "Happy___ Day" should NEVER be imposed upon. Let us take the wish as it is--a wish. We all make assumptions about one another, therefore we will all assume, at one point or another, that those around us are celebrating the same recognized holiday as we are. It isn't a crime to do so. The crime only comes in when the greeting triggers an emotional response and a verbal argument ensues, which then leads to threats, physical attack and/or other imposition's of one's will.

And doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose of the celebration?


Tidbits of (Obvious) Absurd Bullshit

There's so much absurd bullshit these days, it's difficult to decide which tidbits to toss out there at ya'all....

Well, it seems that since GM owns half of GMAC Financial Services (who just happen to give out loans to buyers seeking GM autos), they (GM) are not only asking for money for themselves, but they want to see the Federal Reserve classify GMAC as a bank holding company so that GMAC can also dip into some of that bank money bailout. I heard the term "double dipping" being used. Anyone else have a Seinfeld moment with that one?

Britney Spears was the most searched name on Google for 2008. Can it get anymore pathetic than that, folks?

I've been watching some clips here and there of the Bush "Exit Interviews". Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric and Brian Williams drew straws to determine who got the first shot. Charlie won. And boy, did he toss some tough journalist questions. However, they weren't quite tough enough for yours truly. Therefore, I decided to put myself in that "let's draw straws" ring. And wouldn't you know it? I won. I get to interview him next. Here's just some of the questions I'll be asking. Feel free to offer your comments.

1) Your approval rating has been around 20% for quite some time. Why do you think that is? How does that make you feeeeeeeeeeeel? And have you also noticed that the media folks keep saying "Approval ratings are at an all time low" and yet that figure really doesn't change? Are you in on that one?

2) There are a lot of Americans, oh hell who am I kidding, there are a lot of earthlings who are afraid of Dick Cheney. I mean you gotta admit, there's just something off about the guy. You can confide in me, Mr. President. Do you have nightmares about Dick? And do you ever go hunting with him?

3) Tony Blair. Is he gonna come out of the closet or do you think he'll stay put?

4) Can you say "weapons of mass destruction" 5 times really fast?

5) Watch my mouth move as I form the following word. I'll say it slowly a few times to help you out. Then repeat it after me. "nu-clee-er". (This one's a trick. It's not actually a question but rather a statement of request. We'll see if he notices.)

6) I gotta ask you, how on earth did you manage to pull off two presidential election wins when you failed at every single business venture in your previous years?

Anyone notice Obama seems to be the President and Bush has taken on the new role of that annoying relative who has long past worn out his welcome?

There's talk about turning wastewater into drinking water. Uh huh. Ok, so let me get this straight. Folks want to see whether it is humanly possible to turn poop and pee and other things we normally want OUT of our body into drinking water.

...giving the reader time to process that...

Yikes. Or as my cousin used to say when she was a child "Grody to the max!" We can't even turn river water into healthy drinking water. Shouldn't we try and master that one first? The obvious question is: Who will be the guinea pigs for that little experiment? Feel free to offer your suggestions.


Craigslist's Hassle And Thoughts on Civility

To post on Craigslist, you are now required to have an account, which includes providing them your phone number.

So much for privacy.

My support for Craigslist just went into the toilet, which is likely a good thing for me given there is very little in the way of intelligent, respectful communication (most consisting of juvenile insults and other such nonsense). That and their help wanted section is full of misleading ads. I followed up on one recently, which said hey we'll pay you $42,000 a year for data entry in our offices in Corvallis/Albany. I had already determined these ads were bogus, but decided to follow up, with one question. Where are you located? Corvallis or Albany? I received no response. Of course I didn't. But my spam folder did increase.

Something has happened to our society since the birth of online communications and other technology. People are free to mislead others with false ads. Proper spelling and grammar has gone out the window, so much that some college professors are calling for an inclusion and recognition of such words and tossing out their formerly spelled and pronounced counterparts. And need I speak about the behavior of disagreeing folks interacting with one another? Then there's the bully mentality that has permeated the internet like an out-of-control virus. Two extreme recent cases include the young girl who thought she was corresponding with a boy who was interested in her, when in fact it was a neighbor girl down the street who had nothing better to do with her time than to mislead and abuse someone. When the neighbor girl told the young girl that he/she was no longer interested and began telling the young girl how worthless she was, the young girl killed herself. And we all know of the teenage male who killed himself live on the internet while people cheered him on. As someone who was the victim of repeated childhood bullying all the way through, believe it or not, my junior year of college, I know the lasting, deep scars these experiences leave. It paints a world that is unsafe and unkind in the deep recesses of the mind.

Is this the legacy we wish to leave as a species? Have we become so aloof and apathetic as we go about our daily lives, addicted to our little gadgets? Do we really believe it's ok to lie to others, take advantage of desperate folks, all to make a dollar? And good lord, where did the behavior of cheering on a deeply pained suicidal person originate? Mom and Dad America, are you paying any attention at all to what your kids are doing?

The original post I was going to speak of on Craigslist was about karma. Life has taught me there is indeed something to this concept, although it isn't a perfect system. We all know of way too many examples to know some people just seem to escape karma (usually those with the most money and power). So while the Universe may respond in its nonjudmental way, it is also up to us, you and me, to see to it that people are held accountable for harmful behaviors. Doing so in a firm, grounded, unwaivering and civilized manner is the way to do so.

Yes, some civility would be a nice thing these days. And perhaps less glorified/sensationalized attention given to those who are in need of such behavior. I believe partly what has happened is that some have it in their minds that freedom means the right to do whatever one wants, without consequence or consideration for others. That is certainly not what freedom is about.

In so far as young kids bullying one another through technological means: Perhaps we need to monitor our children's technology activity to ensure they are being treated with respect and to ensure they are treating others with the same respect. We wouldn't let a child operate a vehicle without knowing how to drive responsibly. As such, we shouldn't let kids operate a computer, cell phone, etc. without knowing how to operate them responsibly.

A Return of Civility. By Earthmama Nina.


No Roses For The Beavs

I watched the Civil War game on television yesterday. The first one all season. I'm not much of a sports fan. While I enjoy watching people with real talent display that talent, I usually get bored after 30 minutes or so and want something new. And I have a prejudice/issue with someone getting paid millions of dollars a year while my reality of job selection is more of the hourly kind of rate, implying clearly and loudly by society that what I contribute has much less value.

It's really quite crazy, if not downright disrespectfully ridiculous. What happened for us to allow "value" to become so extremely variable and categorized?

So back to it. I watched the game simply because I thought it would be kinda cool to see a local sports team go to the Rose Bowl. At first, my enthusiasm was quite high and yet I noticed something about my behavior that troubled me. I would boo the Duck's if they would score a touchdown. And I got caught up a few times in that frantic crowd behavior of jeers and hollers when the Beaver's would score.

I stopped myself and wondered "where is this coming from?" Is this authentic me or is this something more?

I thought back to Black Friday and the deplorable display by certain customer's at that Walmart Store back east, trampling that poor store clerk just to get inside and get a good deal.

Both my behavior and the behavior of the Walmart customer's seem to fall under the category of barbarian/solidly ego behavior where we just act and respond without thoughtful contemplation, focused on such things such as winner's and losers, who is right and who is wrong and me first me first.

It was then that I began to lose interest in the game. I watched it now and then for awhile, but my wild enthusiasm or whatever you want to call it was quieted. I began to look at the players as people. I began to appreciate the skill of the Duck's defense and how they simply played much better ball. When looking at it this way, through eyes of appreciation, while I still would have preferred at the time the Beaver's to win and felt a little sadness when they lost (I always feel empathy for the losing team no matter who it is), I enjoyed the experience more and most importantly, I felt in control of my reactions.

And ok, I gotta admit: I was grateful for the loss if only because we did not have to be subject to the loud obnoxious disrespectful cat calls and screams of drunk college students at all hours of the night and morning. Mayor Tomlinson says college student's don't cause any real problem in this community. He may come live in my neighborhood for a month and/or speak with some of the local officers who have told me calls to 911 increase sharply once the students return to get a clearer perspective. But that's a subject for another post, another day.

Bottom line: Sports is not the issue. It's human behavior that is. While we share some things with our animal friends, we're different in our own way. We were given a frontal cortex for a reason. Let us use it more.


Turkey: To Eat Or Not To Eat

I don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Instead, I celebrate eating with others for whose company I enjoy. This year a dear friend whom I haven't seen in years is here to celebrate the eating fest with us.

And yet I ponder, do we eat the proverbial turkey or not?

I'm a meat eater. I've tried tofu as a meat substitute and it just isn't the same thing. I've tried going vegetarian. I've tried even just cutting out red meat. I began to feel weak and under-nourished. No amount of legumes, nuts, beans, etc. was giving me the protein my body kept telling me it needed. My body simply craves the protein meat offers. The last time I tried eating a tofu hot dog, my colon reacted rather violently, first by asking HEY WHAT IN THE HELL IS THAT then by answering itself by saying I AM REMOVING THIS STUFF IMMEDIATELY! DO NOT PUT THAT CRAP THROUGH ME EVER AGAIN YOU HEAR? It was painful, both for my colon and for yours truly.

However, I've gotta admit, ever since I accidentally saw a brief portion of that Sarah Palin clip (will she NEVER go away???) speaking to the news cameras while some farm hand behind her stuffed turkeys head first into this "off with the head" vat, the idea of eating one kinda lost its appeal.

After I regained my composure and stopped crying, I asked Mr. Nina, "Isn't there a more humane way of preparing a turkey to eat?"

And yet, in truth, can we ever really attach the word "humane" to "intentional death"?

Our government loves to use the phrase "collateral damage" to describe the intentional death of civilians when such deaths result from their defined version of justified military intervention. So maybe we could say turkey's are collateral damage resulting from the human need to eat meat.

While that could be defined as an attempt at sick and twisted humor, it isn't too far from the truth. Some of us don't eat meat. Some of us do. As a result, animals must die. And until I can find some protein that satisfies my body in the way meat does, I will remain a meat eater. I will struggle with some guilt now and then as well as wish for different bodily needs. And this year, hopefully find a way to remove those graphic images I saw from my conscience.

Obama: Hope. Change.

i was inspired to write this piece last week after reading an excellent analysis on Rense about obama. at the time, i wasn't sure whether i should post it, my suspicion factor in particular high mode that day. his overuse of the word "change" was something that was already bothering me. every political figure running for prez thinks he/she has the golden wand for change. obama used it so much during his campaign, often surrounded by elusive promises and flowery words (the man CAN orate, afterall), that i quickly became sceptical. his use of the word "hope" was also bothering me for i had this inner suspicion he was playing on the fears and deep frustrations of the people to garner votes. then when i read in the Rense piece about the term "hope" and how it's a term used that makes reference to the future instead of the here and now, i thought YES. brilliant. wish i had thought of it first. for more reading, check out this piece on pugs in space's blog, a letter written by the man who received my vote, Ralph Nader.

Hope. Change.

These two words have been tossed around a lot the past many months. They are the two words that Obama used to get himself voted in as our next President-elect.

It was a brilliant move, really, for it is quite easy to prey upon the desperation of the masses. Feed them the right words, spoken by someone who truly knows how to orate, and the desperate will believe anything.

Sad, disheartening and frustrating it was and is to me that many Obama supporters somehow are convinced they are of the fully awake and aware crowd, pointing out to the McCain supporters how blind and naive they are. And yet they are every bit as unaware as those they are accusing.

Hope. It's something we think about in the future. It has nothing to do with the here and now.

Hope for a better world...tomorrow or the next day or the next month or next year.

Hope for an end to war...tomorrow or the next day or the next month or next year.

Hope for an end to poverty...tomorrow or the next day or the next month or next year. Etc. etc. etc.

While hope is important, the real word we are looking for is N O W. Equality, respect, and justice. N O W. Not tomorrow. Not the next day. Not next month. Not next year. N O W. NOW is doable. NOW is possible.

But Obama never said such words. Instead he infused our minds with "hope" that maybe things will be better in the future. Sort of like attaching a piece of cheese to a string and giving it to a very hungry mouse and telling him "this is yours" and each time he moves to take a bite, the string is moved just a bit more.

Haven't we had enough of these Political Frauds filling our minds with the lies of "hope"? Haven't we had enough of being told hope lies in the distant future just as soon as we bomb this country or bail out this corrupt industry or cover up yet another lie?

Then there's the word change. Oh yes, Obama was a master at convincing the masses he was the candidate to enact change. He was the one to steer our country in a different direction. And yet taking just an hour or two in learning who is behind him, who is advising him and anyone with a modicum of intelligence will soon realize he's only a new front. Only this time he's a brilliant front. Obama mania has swept not only this nation but the globe. And I do not exagerrate when I use the term "mania". The more of these videos I have watched of people's reaction to this man, the more concerned I become. People crying and screaming all over one man as though he's the Messiah.

Most think the past 8 years have come to an end. Truthfully though, they really havn't. We just now have a more educated, brilliant speaker at the forefront instead of a simpleton even the most die-hard conservative of Republicans could no longer stomach. You may install another Oz with different coloring, different intelligence quotient's, different political affiliation. But the real power of Oz was never Oz himself. The real power of Oz was the blind faith put on him by the people. People awoke quickly to the reality of the Oz of the past 8 years. But this time around, a new generation of slumbering folks has been spawned. For we have been presented with some new factors: intelligence, the ability to orate and skin color. All of this means we have a mass of people who will be much easier to fool this time around.

And that's something that should give us all pause.


Brenden Foster

For those who are not aware of this young boy's story, 11 year old Brenden Foster, whose wish was to feed the homeless, died on Friday after a three year battle with leukemia. Mr. Nina made me aware of this young boy after seeing his story on CNN earlier this week. Today a portion of the interview was rebroadcast. What I heard was one of the most "get my attention" moments I believe I've ever had.

The interviewer was asking Brenden what made him the saddest.

Now most of us would think he would say something like "leaving behind my family" or "not being able to play baseball anymore". Nope.

What made Brenden the saddest?

When people give up.

Those four little words he spoke put me to my knees.

I mean my god, you know?

Later on, Mr. Nina and I spoke about this beautiful child. Mr. N said he felt insignificant compared to this boy.

I thought about that. I thought about how common it is to find ourselves feeling small when we're in the face of Love in all its power and possibility. And yet really, why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we let ourselves go to that place of smallness? Love is grand, isn't it? It is awesome and amazing. It's what will save us. It's truly all we have.

So please don't let yourself fall into the trap that a sense of humbleness is meant to keep you small and meek. You are Love. You are meant to SHINE and SHINE BRIGHTLY. Be Grand. Be Awesome. Be the Amazing being you are. And maybe, just maybe, we can create a world where children like Brenden Foster will no longer need to hold the wish to see the homeless fed.


Uniquely American: Elitist Auto Execs Arrive In Private Jets With A Tin Cup

Ah yes, only in America will you see rich elitist big wigs begging Uncle Sam for money whilst out amongst the people, the poor and neglected and homeless are all too often spit upon for asking for the help from the same folks.

And hey, Obama wants to help bail out these faggots (let it be hereby known that my defintion of a faggot is one who owns a business and becomes obscenely wealthy running it, refusing to share the wealth with the workers, and then finds themselves in a bit of a pickle financially and rather than taking any accountability for their own actions runs crying to the government to be saved). If people had voted for Nader instead, no way in hell would this pussy ass whining and crying be tolerated. Hit the road jack. Nader knows the real role of the Government. Obama only knows business as usual.

Here's some little advice for these whiney faggots: How 'bout making cars that match your asian counterparts in terms of reliability and durability. I'm a Honda girl. You couldn't pay me to buy a car made by GM, Chrysler, et. al. And for the folks of GM: Perhaps ya'll should have cashed in on that electric car of the 90's afterall.

What is truly the most pitiful of this display of elitist begging is how they presented themselves. Arriving in their Armani suits having transported themselves on private jets does not present the picture of someone who knows the first thing about financial OR environmental responsibility. Why not carpool? They all have the same agenda, afterall. It is one thing for an out-of-work/disabled/fallen-on-hard-times individual to request financial help. It's altogether something different, of the obscenely ridiculous variety, for some corporate big wig elitist to request the same.

But again, only in America will you find this elitist sense of pretentious entitlement. And whilst we continue to install the same 'ole same 'ole talking heads, this behavior will only continue.


Doggy Fashion Day

Every home must have a princess.


Proposition 8: The Fearful Have Spoken. Freedom Still Remains A Distant Dream.

Some days I have these moments....who am I kidding....every day I have these moments where I'll hear something that astounds me internally, where upon I will have some thought that goes something like this: "I cannot believe it is 2008 and we're still talking about this issue."

One of those issues for me is homosexuality and the right to marry. And I present myself as a heterosexual, married female who loves men. Well, most of them.

For all of the finger-pointing that goes on from those who oppose gay marriage and homosexuality, what we have is a very frightened person who is not in touch with his/her own sexuality. A person who is more interested in quoting a couple of bible passages (as interpreted through his/her own point of view) than in remembering the real messages of Jesus: Love. Acceptance. Tolerance. Compassion. Freedom. Even some of the New World Order proponents engage in temporary insanity when they say homosexuality is part OF the New World Order to destroy the family.

It's an old argument, but I present it again: Since when did the heterosexual family claim success in the marriage AND family department? Isn't that still a giant work in progress?

And uh, since when does two same-gender individuals who are in love cause harm?

Afterall, isn't Love what we're all striving for? Who says it has to look a certain way? As long as it's Love, it abides by respect. Tolerance. Empathy. Compassion. The "do no harm" mantra surrounds Love.

Two people in love is damaging and harmful again in what way?

Remember when this same fearful mentality said the races should not mix and marry? Some said this would destroy marriage. This would cause all sorts of scary diseases. Well, we finally relaxed as a society and embraced this tradition. Hasn't this allowed for Love to continue along it's fluorishing, albeit it challenging path?

The citizens of California made the fearful choice to ban gay marriage. What a sad day this is for us all.

What a sad day this is for those who believe in Love.

What a sad day this if for those who understand freedom. Who truly deeply understand it. Who know freedom means the right to live and do as one pleases in so long as that choice is not unnecessarily harming another/others and/or imposing his/her will on others.

To live freely does not mean being free from being offended. And we all know that two same-gender people who wish to live in love as spouses are not causing unnecessary harm other than simply offending those who disagree with their lifestyle. To deny these people the right to be recognized as a married couple, that is causing unnecessary harm by announcing that they do not have the right to marry whomever legal aged adult they wish. To tell two adults "you may not marry" falls under the guise of parental authority. This is a classic example of imposing one's will on another.

And that, my friends, is contrary to the principles of freedom.

So what's it going to be? Are we going to be a nation that walks the talk of the principles of love and freedom? Or are we going to continue along shouting the words while carrying with us a suitcase of fearful behaviors that destroy these principles.

Settled On Obama. Wishing For Nadar, McKinney, Kucinich, etc...

I haven't really known what to say after last week's election. I temporarily fell into a hopeful state, lasting about 15 minutes. Likely this state was due to the little swoop of energy that spread through the country when it was announced Obama was to be Number 44. Perhaps the momentary lapse of reason was also due to knowing those damn annoying political ads were over and that I wouldn't have to see anymore Palin jokes or references.

For those who have been paying attention for enough time, we all know an Obama presidency, while tweaking things a bit here and there, is not going to offer up the change this country needs.

Not as long as the Banks continue to hold us hostage with credit debt and mortgages.
Not as long as Big Business continues to be on the government corporate welfare payroll.
Not as long as our government continues along it's road to Imperialism.
Not as long as Nafta remains a part of U.S. policy.
Not as long as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.

etc. etc. etc.

What I don't comprehend is why people voted for either of the two major candidates. What I especially don't understand is why people voted for Obama when many of these same people were shouting at the top of their lungs speaking out against the wall street government bailout. Obama voted for it. Now he's saying he supports bailing out the automotive industry.

What I don't comprehend is why people voted for either of the two major candidates. What I especially don't understand is why people voted for Obama when many of these same people were shouting at the top of their lungs, speaking out against the Iraq war from the beginning, when our new VP Elect has been a staunch supporter of the war since the beginning.

If we want change, then we withdraw from Nafta.

If we want change, then we get the banks out of the housing business.

If we want change, then we get the insurance companies out of the health care business.

If we want change, then we tear to shreads the document titled The Patriot Act.

If we want change, then we stop invading other nations who pose no threat to us and who have made no strike against us first. Although seriously folks, isn't it the classic schoolyard, childhood tale to say "well he hit me FIRST" as reason to harm back. After thousands of years, you would think we (well, we really meaning the unbalanced male energy of arrogance, dominance, control and absolute power) would have "gotten" this by now. We need a strong infusion of the feminine energy to bring back to whole this inbalance. (I am not speaking of gender here--but of energy and behavior patterns).

If we want change, then we recognize our issues, our defensive patterns that keep us blocked and locked into states of judgment.

If we want change, then we not only believe in but we embrace and live out the values of respect.

If we want change, then we look within to determine where, how and why we have chosen to accept certain values that go contrary to respect. Empathy. Love. Kindness.

Perhaps as a good place to begin, if we want change, we break down this archaic, heavily controlled, deeply corrupt Two Party System. For come 2012, I hold a high expectation for those folks who voted for Obama will come to these above realizations and if anything, at the very least, will be diligently, vocally and assertively supporting 3rd and beyond party candidates.

For those who are apathetic (a most understandable state of mind), you help continue business as usual as well. I hold a high expectation for you as well that you will begin to find hope and belief in this country and most importantly, the people, and will begin your support for the dismantling of the two party system and support 3rd and beyond party candidates. I read on David Icke that to vote was to give them permission to continue on business as usual. Therefore, don't vote. Yes, if you vote for one of the major candidates this is true. But if the majority of voters would vote for other candidates, that would send a message that states "we no longer support this business as usual".

My wish is that this wave of hope and enthusiasm continues in a way that is grounded in reality and solid in it's desire for real change. My hope is that it inspires all of us, especially those who voted for Obama, to be that public watchdog, to be vigilant in ensuring he sticks to his plan and puts his listening ear to the attention of the people instead of just his advisors and financial contributors.

While I believe he has some sense of idealism, I'm also aware of the puppet factor. Therefore, my eyes will be less on him and more on his supporters and their actions and what they will do if....or when....he gives indication he's a business as usual political figure.


Kitty Tails.

In all of its glorious mystery, the universal life energy has a way of reminding us how all life is connected. ALL life. That means even our fur baby friends pick up on our emotions and thoughts and as such are connected to us. And the most mysterious of all is that these fur children need not even be ours for that connection to be experienced. Which leads me to tell you a little story about a little cat who has decided to make our place her temporary home until her mama is able to care for her again. It wasn't planned. At least not on our part. But like animals often do, they tend to pick us. Little kitty certainly did just that.

Our union began one afternoon many weeks ago. I was outside in the yard going about my business of unexciting yardwork when I heard this crying sound. I quickly realized it was a cat in some sort of distress. I determined the location: under the house. Following the sound, I walked to one of the vents and sure enough, there was this sweet little face with beautiful light green eyes looking up at me, meowing at me, making it clear she was in need of help. NOW. Realizing that she didn't appear to be injured, I knew what she wanted was simply to be out from under the house. Considering the vents on our side of the house are closed, I set off to the other side of the house to find the open vent in which she entered. By the time I got to the other side of the house, she came trotting around the corner, walked right up to me and began what is by now her very familiar meow cry.

I have a cat allergy so I'm careful in how I handle cats. I never know which ones will affect me and to what degree. I felt such an immediate bond with this little creature that I decided to risk it, so I picked her up and wondered who she belonged to. She had a collar, but no identity tags. Well fed and groomed, she was obviously not a stray. Just as I began to put together some sort of a plan to find her owner, our new neighbor opened the front door, looked at me holding this cat and said "Oh, THERE she is!"

"Ah, so she's your cat," I said.

"Well, no. We're just cat sitting for her until her own comes to get her," he said.

"Oh, ok," I said, handing him the cat.

I went back home and thought no more of it.

That is until the next day when she appeared at our patio door, crying again. So I went outside and gave her some attention. That didn't stop the meowing. So I picked her up. Nope. That was not what she wanted.

Now I'm used to dogs and dogs don't cry. At least mine doesn't.

Maybe she's hungry? I thought.

We just happened to have some canned cat food. Our home, wherever that has been, has been a place that the occasional stray or lost pet will find. As such, I keep extra cat food on hand for just such an occasion.

So I popped open a can, placed it on a plate, put it in front of her and watched this cat eat as though she hadn't eaten in days. Her crying? Completely stopped.

After she was done, she looked up at me, gave me a little meow as if to say "thank you" and took off.

Thinking that was the end of it, I went back inside.

Wrong again.

She showed up again the next day. And she was there when we went to bed later in the evening.

What does this cat think this is? I thought. The Hilton?

So I paid the neighbors a visit.

"Your cat keeps coming into our yard and she seems hungry. Are you not feeding her?"

I was told for whatever reason, little kitty likes to run out the door whenever they open it. And she is impossible to catch (something I have since discovered to be true). The end result is a cat who had been spending most of the nights outside, sometimes going all day without food.

What to do?

It was becoming obvious she liked being over at our place, despite our having a dog. (More on that relationship in a bit.) I'm not sure if she just doesn't like her new pet sitters or if it's due to their having a cat, but she seemed to pick our place at her new living quarters. I certainly didn't feel ok knowing this little creature was going all day without food plus not having a place to sleep at night. And it didn't seem as though these young boys were interested in changing their behavior. So I took it upon myself to take care of the cat until the owner returns. Or if that doesn't happen, find her a new home.

That means we had to invest in more cat food. Canned can get to be expensive, so we supplemented it with some dry kibble I bought in bulk. We then hauled out our dog kennel, put in some pillows and a cover, a blanket and some fleece I bought at the local sewing/craft store. It's sitting next to the house and given the rains are about to return, we have a protective tarp over the side to cover the slats. So now she has 2-4 meals a day (cats eating habits are different from dogs I have discovered) and a warm place to bed at night. She cries at our door sometimes to come in and we will let her, for a few minutes, until the dog has her disgusted, she will then cry to go outside. And now and then when she's sleepy, we'll pick her up and bring her inside, hold her in our laps on a blanket until we start to sneeze or feel wheezy (mr. n it turns out also has some cat allergies) then we'll place her outside in her kennel. I like to cover her up.

It's been a pain in the ass as well as a blessing. Just when I think my god she's hungry AGAIN I will look at her face, that sweet little face and watch her little paws bat at the food dish as I bring it outside and my heart melts. Completely.

She is quite vocal and has no insecurities whatsoever about telling you what she wants and does not want. For her happiness though I hope her owner returns soon for she is indeed an indoor cat who needs to be the only animal in the home.

In the interim, our dog is adjusting. She makes it known to little kitty that it is SHE that is princess. SHE that is the center of the human's lives. In short, she was here first and is not about to give up her seat on the animal throne. But thankfully, little kitty is amazingly docile. She's a true pacifist and as such, has no interest in the dog and cat battle. Therefore, there seems to be a mutual understanding between the two of them. Dog says "I will tolerate you". Kitty says "Yes you will."

Aside from the food differences, cats are also very nervous creatures. They also have amazingly short attention spans. I have to watch how I open doors and move things outside. A chair being dragged along concrete won't phase our dog. But this little cat? She'll leap straight up in the air and take off as though she's just come in contact with the world's biggest most meanest dog. And as far as her attention span, I will be crouched down, petting her and talking to her and she'll be digging it, then in a flash, she's running away from me, going after who knows what.

And her sleeping habits are also just as unpredictable. Sometimes she will be out most of the night and sleep most of the day. Other times she's full of energy during the day and is out like a light for the night. I check on her every night. Sometimes she's sleeping in her kennel. Other nights she's nowhere to be seen. Our dog? Same sleeping habits every single day, no exception.

So there you have it. Adventures in kittyland. Kitty tales, or tails as I like to refer to this experience. I know it won't last long, which is why I'm closing up this post so I can go get in some kitty laptime snuggles before bedtime. That is, if she will let me. Afterall, cats really do rule their universe. Including the homes in which they choose to live in.

Write For Us! We Pay Nothing!

I run across ads quite frequently, usually from start-up publications, seeking writers to write for them for free. I found such an ad today. It's so insulting not to mention a very poor way of doing business. It's one thing to ask friends, family and those supporting you in this venture to donate time and work the first few issues until enough advertising revenue comes in. It is quite altogether different when asking complete strangers to work without any financial reward while your little project gets off the ground.

Unfortunately, this happens all too often in the creative fields. We simply do not value artistic expression in the same way we do other fields. I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked to play the piano for free. Nor can I share the number of times I have submitted my writings to publications who, for whatever reason, do not pay. Some publications love to say what a great opportunity it is to write for them. What great exposure.


This giving-away-of-my-talents-for-free crap has not helped in my creative pursuits whatsoever.

Hence, I made the decision a couple of years ago that if you desire my work, you will pay me for it. And hey, I'm flexible. I'm open to payment. I'm even open to bartering to some degree.

So I am making a request to such folks who think it is acceptable or even wise to seek writers who will write for free. KNOCK IT OFF. If you cannot afford to pay those who work for you, then you need to find the time to do the work yourself. Or ask friends and family for such help until you have built your business, your publication, to the point where you can offer payment. But please, please, please stop insulting us with your false promises and silly insinuations. You may convince the newbies and the naive optimist. But you don't fool those of us who have been around the block a few times. We're wise to your tactics.


Political Dribble For Thursday

It's difficult for me to take seriously this election. With the obvious corrupt two-party dominance, with the bogus polling and likelihood of more voter manipulation, how else is one to think?

Of the most comical to me is this Sarah Palin business. While I never did much like Hillary Clinton, as a woman, she is smart. She is well-read and well-spoken. And most importantly, she knows the role of the President and Vice President. Sarah Palin, it seems, doesn't know what her role would be. At least according to the Constitution. Yes, while she has said the VP presides over the Senate, she is under the illusion that the VP has influence over the Senate. She believes the VP has a special set of powers that allow her to influence policy. I'm waiting for someone to photoshop some super hero costume over one of her photos. Women of America: THIS IS NOT THE ROLE MODEL WE FEMALES NEED. You want to get excited about a woman in politics, look to Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate.

There are the references to Obama being a terrorist, to his being an Arab, to his being a Muslim. My questions of course are who cares if he were of Arab descent (Constitution says NOTHING about one being EUROPEAN--only one being born in the United States) or a Muslim. It's silly to me when people say "well you don't worship MY god", implying as though there are hundreds of "god's" in the cosmos. Imagine the cause for confusion: Jesus: "oh, hey, Allah, this muslim sent up a prayer and it came to me instead." (hint: maybe there's just one continous ball of energy of which we're all a part of.) And then there's this whole terrorist reference, which is tossed at ANYBODY who speaks out against the government, against the war, against whatever political/social agenda is being presented, when in reality the thinking amongst us knows real terrorism is the individual or group of individuals who seek to strip away the freedoms from others and who seek to impose their will upon others through violent, harmful means.

Sort of changes the spectrum of things when thought of in this manner, doesn't it?

I am going to vote though, if for anything to put out an energy of "regardless of what you criminals opt to do, I'm still putting out a vote of conscience anyway". Some may say it won't count, but that depends upon how you look at it. Knowing how my candidate doesn't stand a chance of being elected (largely due to the fear and apathy of our society), I still know I am making a stand for what I believe in and in that way, my vote does count. It counts to me and that is what matters most to me at the end of the day.


Socialism and Redistributing The Wealth: A Lot Of Ridiculous Hysteria

The more time passes, the more I observe the political scene and all of the people supporting it with a sense of bewilderment. The question I most ask of myself is: Do these people really believe or even hear their own words?

The next question: Do these people even know how to think for themselves?

Socialism. A nasty word to some. And in some ways, I can understand the outcries against. Who wants government to control capital and production? In order to do that in a way that is truly socialistic, it would have to be a fair system where ALL benefit. And are our government representatives enlightened enough to be in charge of such a system?


And yet, when do we ever hear or read such questions or insights? All we hear is caveman speak: "Socialism is evil!"

Perhaps in truth it isn't socialism that is "evil" but rather those who haven't been able to release or even acknowledge the need to release greed and the fear that surrounds it.

Rugged individualism rules. We're only responsible for our own asses. Every man/woman/child for him/herself. And my favorite: the self-made man.

All short-sighted, narrow viewpoints, the last being a blatant lie.

Socialism, according to some, would chip away at these illusions. And yet I ask, is that such an awful thing?

Then there's the whole "redistribution of the wealth" that's being tossed around like a hot potato. It's pointed out, but it isn't handled with any real thoughtful dialogue for any real length of time. Instead it's passed off to the next pundit long before any real consideration is given.

Redistributing the wealth can be a rather scary concept. Imagine all workers who help create wealth for an individual or group of individuals actually get to share in that wealth.

Again, I ask, is that such an awful thing?

We (well, 90% of us) are a religious folk here in America. Let me rephrase that. We claim to be a religious folk. We claim to love Jesus. We claim to worship Jesus. We claim the desire to walk the path of this man, real or myth, God or not. And yet when it comes to these two principles, isn't it obvious by now that those who claim to define wealth distribution and socialism as "evil" and also claim to be a follower of Christ are a bit hypocritical?

Didn't Jesus condemn greed? Didn't he speak out against using others for any means, including financial gain? Didn't he speak frequently on sharing? On prosperity for all?

Which is it going to be for you, Joe and Jane America? You can't have it both ways. You cannot have capitalism the way it is and rugged individualism and be a follower of Christ. You simply cannot.

It's time to make a choice. Greed or love.


A Bedtime Story

For you all.
From me, Nina.

Once upon a time, a beautiful angel set off to visit the earth. Never having been, she could only go by the words of other angel's who had already paid the planet a visit. While all enjoyed experiencing the textures, sounds and sights, most proclaimed they could never return. For you see, the lack of light and love was terribly missing and as such, well, made the angels feel rather sick.

This beautiful angel, while a realist, was also the proverbial optimist with a heart of pure radiant joy and kindness. When asking the other angels what they had done to inject some light and love into the planet, she was met with a sense of apathy and dismissal. There was really nothing that could be done, they said. Just pray.

Determined to prove them wrong, and knowing angelic prayer was simply not enough, she set her intention to locate herself on earth. And in the blink of an eye, she found herself in the middle of what appeared to be a large city. She looked around in awe at the crowd of people milling around her. She jumped at the sound of a horn blasting itself off to her right. She gazed skyward and was amazed at the heights of the buildings. Why, some appeared to almost reach the heavens!

Then there were the smells. Oh, the smells! What a glorious, strange concoction of smells she experienced. Heavy, sweet bitterness hit her senses hard.

After adjusting to the sensations around her, she noticed the people. Most looked, well, sad. It was almost as though most were sleep-walking. Half awake. Most surprising to her was how, in spite of the large numbers of people walking right past one another, even at times bumping into one another, not one person looked another in the eye and offered acknowledgement. There were no greetings. No smiles.

But why, she wondered. Don't these people realize what a beautiful, amazing gift it is to be alive? Don't these people realize how many beautiful, amazing people are walking right past them?

A sense of darkness overcome the angel. Looking around, desperately hoping for some ray of light to exit from one of these humans, she remembered the words of her angel friends. She began to understand why they did not desire to return. Maybe this really was how the people were. Maybe there was no hope for love to govern this species and the planet.

Threatening to get lost in this thought, she turned her thoughts to love and using her intention, asked to be shown SOME sign of love. Some ray of hope.

And just then, she looked down and saw a child looking up at her with a look of inquisitiveness.

"Are you an angel?" the child asked.

"Why yes I am," the angel responded gently, with a smile.

"I thought so," the child said, returning the smile.

Looking out at the swarm of the crowd, the angel asked why the people seemed to be ignoring one another, to be ignoring her.

"Oh well, big people don't talk to people they don't know. And, they don't believe in angels," the child responded.

"They don't?" asked the angel, rather flabbergasted.

"Nah. They believe in cars and money and jobs. Stuff like that," the child said non-chalantly.

The angel thought about that. Where she came from there is no judgment, there is no right or wrong. And yet she suddenly realized that maybe the reason people seemed to be so sullen was that instead of believing in themselves and in one another, in love, they instead believed in things.

Suddenly, the angel had an idea. Looking down at her new friend, she asked the child to help her with something. Whispering in the child's ear of her plan, the child nodded enthusiastically, agreeing to help.

Taking one side of the street, the small child began approaching people, saying hello and offering them a small card that said "always remember how amazing and beautiful you are". That was it. It wasn't a plan designed out of the intellect. It wasn't one that would win a nobel peace prize. It was simple. And yet sometimes, simpleness is the most effective teacher.

The responses varied. Some ignored the offering of the card. Some seemed not to notice either the child or the angel altogether. Most of the rest took the card, stuffing it into their pockets. I say "most of" because one person, an elderly gentleman, took the card, stopped and read it. Looking down into the eyes of the child he began to weep.

"No one has ever told me that," he said, his voice trembling, burying his eyes and nose into a hankerchief. Looking up, he suddenly saw a beautiful, well, being before him. Was this an angel? And if so why was he suddenly seeing her now?

"My, my god, are you, are you what I think you are?" he asked increduously, his voice small.

The angel smiled, took his hand and nodded.

Well, by this time, a small crowd had gathered to see what all of the commotion was about. One by one, the small child handed each of them a card, which each read. And no sooner had they read the words on the card and felt what it meant to them in their hearts, did they see the angel.

Well, you can imagine what happened next. Tears of pain flowed from every person, followed by tears of joy and then laughter. While each of them experienced it in their own way, each felt something new and alive within as a result. Suddenly people were talking with one another, laughing, some even hugging, but every single person was offering up those around them some form of acknowledgement.

Love In Action, is what the angel and her child friend decided to call it. It was an activity the angel took upon herself to deliver daily to cities and towns and villages all across the planet. There was certainly a need for such a message, as she soon discovered.

On the last day of her mission, as she silently said good-bye to the earth and all of its beautiful people, she looked around the planet and saw and sensed a lighter sensation. The bleakness had diminished, replaced by the embracing of inner love and joy, spreading out across the globe as people shared them. Oh, yes, there was still darkness. There were still people, often people of great earthly power she discovered, who refused or were not willing to embrace the light. And yet, a new movement had been created amongst the people.

For instead of believing in things, they returned to believing in themselves and in one another.


Sunday Thoughts: Ode To Corvallis

The mister picked up the Gazette Times today.

Why did you do that? I asked.

I mean, it isn't like the GT even makes any real effort to pass itself as a legitimate piece of journalism. If you want regurgitated crap with local fluff fillers, well then this is your rag.

On the front page was a brilliant piece about our beloved college students. Oh yes, it is that time of year again when 20,000 bright eyed, eager students fill our streets and our stores. When they aren't studying, they're usually filling their bodies with alcohol, seeing how loud that stereo really does go and staying up all night, their place of preference for drunken yells seemingly to be in our quiet residential streets.

According to the paper, well let me be more specific, according to our own Mayor Tomlinson, such students are quite rare. Overall, there isn't really any real problem with noise coming from our college students.

He must never have lived in a college kid-filled neighborhood.

Oh but wait, I am mistaken. He says he once did live "close to" the University. According to our politically correct Mayor, he claims the students provided a great energy and weren't any trouble. And when likely was this? Twenty years ago when the student population was half of what it is today? When instead of a neighborhood consisting of 50% students, you had perhaps 20%?

My my, how our memory eludes us as we age. If Mayor Tomlinson has that positive of a memory and is that enthusiastic about including our beloved college students in our neighborhoods, perhaps he would like to swap houses with the mister and I. Perhaps after being woken up every night for one week between the hours of 1-4am would have him singing a different tune. Doubtful though. I say doubtful because people in this community are great at putting on a happy face rather than dive into anything of REAL substance. It's easier, or so it seems, to carry signs and write letters to the editor--all using words only--than it is to show any REAL emotional truth to pressing issues.

Imagine our Mayor speaking the truth: There are noise issues with our students and we need to enforce the local laws. Let us make the message clear to the students: you are welcome to reside in this community as long as you abide by said laws. Imagine the shocks and surprised guffaws over such a thing. And also imagine the silent (or vocal) cheers of those who have lived this.

The truth spoken. Sigh. One can dream...

Also of note in this amazing hit piece of journalism was the concern expressed about Corvallis turning into an Elitist/Gated Community.

Newsflash: It already is.

Corvallis Government, Big Business and the like cater and I mean cater to the money makers in this town. Passing itself off as some progressive, enlightened community, Corvallis is simply a reflection, albeit it a smaller one, of our current society where we give a lot of lip service to ideas such as ending homelessness and poverty, dealing with drug and alcohol abuse, creating affordable housing for all, establishing health care for all and alternative, clean energy and yet continue to shake our heads in confusion as to what to do about our social ills while we go about building riverfront condos around homeless individuals and kissing the asses of the big wigs at our University and places like HP. THOSE behaviors, now that's easy to do. It is when your pockets are being lined. But being the elite and their talking puppets, even those who ARE NOT elite and are still under their illusional spell, well they don't want to share. To share money is "unamerican". They think that the term "redistributing the wealth" is a communist sin. Equality and freedom: two values we chant in our western world, two values your typical human knows nothing of. Ask a child though. They will usually offer up a more truthful definition than most adults.

Problems are easy to fix. And yet what slows this fixing down? It isn't necessarily government gridlock. It's deeper than that. It's people's emotional and mental blocks. Emotional and Mental Gridlock. That may be THE disease behind all of our current difficulties and struggles. Our chants we tell ourselves. Staunch convervatives chant the do it on your own speech. Liberals chant the buddist/new age/zen philosophy of the only one having any effect on your life is YOU. (That philosophy is like saying the only person on the highway is me. Simplistic and grossly naive.)

Yep, problems are easy to fix once we remove the chokeholds of political correctiveness AND System influences of who we are and how we SHOULD be.

For instance, when have any of you heard ANY of the System puppets talk about establishing a sliding scale fee on all goods and services?

When have any of them talked about the EMOTIONAL scars that lead people to abuse drugs and alcohol? Oh wait, I forgot. Yes, some do. And yet even after treatment, loving support followed by living wage employment is simply not offered. Although, if you happen to go through certain treatment centers that focus on Jesus Christ, well as long as you convert, you're loved. If you're rich or an elitist, well you can abuse whatever substance you want. The System doesn't care. Oh sure, now and then the System will feign concern by offering up some drunken celebrity or political or business figure as a scape goat. See, we care. We really do, the System monkey's chant.


When have ANY of them once admitted this little truth: We could have had clean, sustainable and even affordable if not free energy over 50 years ago.

Will we ever hear these words: Housing for all? No problemo. Remove the banks. Embrace the part of love that says housing is a right. Same for health care (remove the insurance companies). How about opening up the markets so that they are TRULY free to let the small investor launch his clean, cheap energy idea?

Do not let the guises of professional titles, political parties, academic credentials and the like fool you. Do not let flowery phrases fool you, especially phrases and words used repeatedly by the System monkeys. They love doing that one. And it works. (We have a band wagon of Americans who now love Sarah Palin because she can say "John McCain is a MAVERICK.")

Underneath all of this garbage of chants is a human being who has been brainwashed since birth to crush, forget about and deny those idealistic traits of love. The result? A puppet. Nothing more, nothing less.

Until we remove the sticks the System and others, whom, through the System, have shoved up our asses, we'll continue to walk around asleep or even half awake.

It's time for the labels to be removed. The signs to be put down. The letters to the editor to cease. It's time to do the real work. It's time to remember again who we really are. And along with that, to stop the bullshit excuses, the chants, the quoting of others and the phony smiles. Metaphorically speaking, it is time to tell that little obnoxious, loud youngster that there is such a thing as courtesy and respect and while certain people (ahem) may deny this small but blatant problem staring us right in the face, I see it. And smiling at it does not make it go away.