Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

On and On and On and On

I was lucky last night. It only took me two hours to get home from a temp assignment, on what is ordinarily a 45 minute commute.

The snow keeps falling, on and on and on and on. You can see from these pictures, in comparison to those two days ago, the snow was deeper last night. I'm using my full Alaska gear with the robber mask, as the wind chill makes it feel like 13 degrees Fahrenheit, or lower. Sometimes it's snow; sometimes it's just hail, accumulating in small pristine pebbles. By 11:30 at night, people were still trying to get home- most freeways and surface streets were at a standstill with a nice sheen of ice covering the roads and providing for multiple accidents. Schools are closed everywhere and power is out to 40,000 homes. The first Seahawks home game ever was played in the snow- a kick-off temperature of 34 degrees Fahrenheit. (We beat the Packers.) Towns hurt worst by the previous flooding are now seeing a couple feet of snow, in one evening. It is rare to see this much snow, this early in the year, and we tied the record for cold set in the storm of '95. But it's in keeping with the prediction that Global Warming will lead to more extreme weather, and hit the Northwest exceptionally hard. With this snowfall our precipitation this month in Seattle is 15.08"- just shy of the record of 15.33" in 1933.

This morning I turned on the news to learn that some people never made it home. They stayed up all night in convenience stores drinking coffee, and then left for their morning commute. Cars are abandoned all over Western Washington. I took the bus in to the same temp job. But we have cable cars, and that means they can't back up or turn right. Our cable car bus stalled because another cable car was stalled in front of us, and that one stalled because a diesel bus had slid and needed to be towed away. We all got out Look ma!  No traffic!and walked to another bus- I walked 1.2 miles on slippery black ice down the hill to my next transfer. On the way I took this picture. Notice anything strange? It's 726 in the morning. In Seattle, on the I-5. What's missing? Gridlock.

Many in the area just didn't even bother coming into work today.

But for all that, I haven't really experienced anything major. The combination of icy roads, power outages, and extreme cold have resulted in a few deaths from this storm as well. And the bad storm comes tomorrow evening.

Sunday, 26 November 2006


Just after a delightful first overseas phone conversation ended, it got suddenly cold. I sat and huddled at the busstop, in a jacket that was far too light for the temperature. And then it stopped raining. And started snowing!

Hey. It's never snowed where I live while I've been blogging. It makes me excited. And it's not that common here. And I love snow! You could stare at it as a whole and see it falling fast, plummeting to the ground. Or you could look closely, following individual flakes, and it goes through time dialation, seeming to take 5 seconds to fall 20 feet. As cars drove by they left whirling vortices in their wake, marked by the pattern of the falling flakes.

Here on Beacon Hill, 400 feet up, the snow is sticking, covering the roofs, cars, and grass. It's slippery, but delightful.

Friday, 24 November 2006

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Here in Seattle, it's the day after Thanksgiving. And our balloons are smaller- about the size of a pomegranate. Thanksgiving Day itself was at a friend of my brother's, with the traditional Finnish Braid Bread. I made a double batch this time, so with half as much sugar as usual (only one cup for ten cups of flour), so it was slightly less sweet than usual.

Afterwards it was a rousing game of Gender Gap, where men try to answer questions about stereotypical women's interests, and women about men's. While I didn't know many answers about women, I knew pretty much none of the men's issues.

The following morning was the parade to welcome in the holiday season. Highlights included an actual Sasquatch sighting. (Here in the NorthWest, it's not that we believe in him. It's just that we know he's real.)

The band I liked the most was the bagpipes, one of my five favorite instruments. (Along with banjo, harpsichord, saxophone, and harp. I'm still waiting to hear a quintet with all five.)

They were followed by an exquisitely painted nutcracker and the Snow Queen. While there were plenty of tributes to the Santa Claus religion, there wasn't a single reference to Jesus, the whole point of the holiday the parade was supposedly initiating.

Everything finally wrapped up right below the Needle.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Catastrophic Collapse

This past Thursday evening a 210' crane inexplicably collapsed in the middle of the night in Bellevue, across the lake from Seattle. In the process it killed one person and seriously injured three, destroying 25 condos enough to condemn them and damaging a number of other buildings, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The crane was being operated at the time- but the operator survived. The man killed was in his apartment at 730 when the crane crashed into it.
I called in this morning to report availability to my four temp agencies, which so far has been an exercise in futility. I just learned that one of those agencies, Apple One, was under the crane, and that office is now being housed in Seattle. No one was injured from Apple One. But I was in that office just a couple weeks prior for application and testing.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Visiting the Largest Church in the World

When I was very young, I knew there were Protestants, and they were the Christians. Later on I learned there were Catholics, and about the Reformation, and the glorious Martin Luther. It wasn't until I got to college that I learned that there was this third branch, the Orthodox. Soon I learned that they were actually two different groups with the same name, divided into Chalcedonian Orthodox (those who believed Jesus is one person, two natures), and Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox (the so-called Monophysites, like the majority of Egyptian Christians, believing Jesus is one person, one nature). It is said Protestants and Catholics have different answers; the Orthodox have different questions.

Then in grad school I found out that there were other groups: the Quakers with their non-sacramental theology and placement of the Holy Spirit above either the Bible or tradition deservedly were a separate branch; and then the Nestorians, who believe that Christ is two natures, and two people.

The Nestorians don't like that term, as common as it is in the West to describe them, as it has bad historical allusions, and isn't completely accurate, unless one's historical allusions are accurate, and in this matter, they often are not. So they prefer the term The Church of Theodore of Mopsuetia, which is far too cumbersome to write all the time. There is also the Assyrian Orthodox Church, not to be confused with the Syrian Orthodox Church, which is a Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Church. But it is often confusing to use those two terms. Other names include the Chaldean Syrian Church, or it's official name, The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East. But they aren't Catholic, though there is a Chaldean Catholic Church, who is actually Roman Catholic.

The Roman Catholics of this rite are a result in a split from the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, after the church started having hereditary Patriarchs, uncle to nephew. Those that didn't agree with this became Roman Catholics; those that did stayed with the same church. That worked for 250 years, until those previously with the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East lost there Patriarch, and decided to accept the Roman Catholic one. Happily for the sake of confusion, a hundred years earlier the Roman Catholic group had decided to leave the Roman Pope and fully commit to their previous line of thinking- but keeping their own Patriarch. Now therefore the previous Roman Catholics are the official Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, and the previous members of the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East are Roman Catholics, of the Chaldean Catholic Church. Again, happily, a shorthand for the name of this group is simply the incredibly accurate Church of the East.

This church has been in mutual anathema with the rest of the Church for some 1500 years. And this is why they don't like to be called Nestorians. Theodore of Mopsuetia responded to Apollinaris's claims that there was one nature in one person. (Like what is described by the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox, but they say there is one nature in one person, and that nature has two natures.) Theodore said that there were two natures, and really stressed those to the point where it could easily be seen as saying there was two people. In fact, many followers of him did, a century after his death, so they were anathematized, as were some works Theodore wrote- but not Theodore himself, as you can't anathematize someone now dead.

Nestorius was an immediate disciple of Theodore. He went further than Theodore went in claiming two people within Christ- or less far than Theodore, depending on which scholar you read, and which of Nestorius' writings you read. Nestorius was anathematized, though it appears he fully accepted one person in Christ. A document unearthed only in the 1800's indicates that Nestorius was clearly not a Nestorian. It would seem now that there was a lot of politicking going on at the time, especially by one Cyril the not-so-Great, a lot of cultural supremacy wars, and a lot of confusion in different languages of Latin, Greek, and Syriac.

The church in the East that arose then claimed allegiance to Theodore of Mopsuetia, but in the West they were seen as following Nestorius. The Church of the East didn't want to be seen that way, but they had the unhappy misfortune to be under the Persian Empire, arch-rivals to the Roman/Byzantine Empire. This brought in issues of allegiance and cut off trade, including theological contact. A number of times the churches were close to healing the rift, only to have war and ethnic mistrust get in the way. The two churches spoke different languages, so it became confusing when the Church of the East said in Syriac that they didn't follow Nestorius, or even Theodore that much, but more Basil the Great, who said that there were two essences in one person. But that word essence would get translated with word for the oneness of the Trinity in Greek. And not only was there a language divide, but naturally a strong cultural divide, in how they viewed the world.

Thankfully, about ten years ago, the Roman Church and the Church of the East withdrew their mutual anathemas and came back into communion. (The Non-Chalcedonian Churches have yet to reconcile with the Church of the East.) Turns out everyone can now agree it was just a silly misunderstanding about language, and perhaps cultural emphasis on different aspects of Christ. Lest you think however that the issues at heart weren't important, the other 4 branches of Christianity think the Protestant divisions are squabbles over nothing compared to the unifying theological error of Protestantism.

It's a shame though that it took 1500 years so straighten out this little misunderstanding. Because the Church of the East was isolated during that time, and went it's own way. They are said to be The Martyr's Church, for more have died from their church than any other. And it is the blood of the martyrs that is the seed of the church. Constantly under oppression from a first Zorastrian and then Muslim government in Persia, they grew in theology, sustained themselves, and branched out. They planted themselves in India and by 635 in China. They were planted through as businessmen full of the Gospel, sharing about Christ through business contacts, all up and down the Silk Road, throughout Central Asia and down to the island of Suqutra. By 1200, despite repeated persecutions, the church was eight million strong and at one point the largest in the world. The majority of the Christian Church lived in Asia. Christianity was an Asian religion. We don't know about it because they were anathematized at the time, and therefore not considered Christian.

What happened to such a large church? (Consider for a moment that world population in 1000 AD was around 300 million.) There were repeated attacks by the Zorastrian Persians, and then Genghis Khan arrived, followed by Timur the Lame. (Actually because he was lame in one leg, but a conveniently ironic moniker nonetheless.) Timur killed millions in Persia, and it just so happened that millions of those killed were Assyrian Christians. Then the Muslims came into power- or more precisely the Mongols went Muslim (despite some intriguing historical possibilities that they almost decided for Christianity, a number of times). And the combined knell of all this decimated the Church of the East- the only truly Semitic church, attached to the roots of the Church, speaking Syriac as it's liturgy. Because of the mutual anathemas it had no other group to rely on, and it never recovered it's missiological fervor. Thus the Church lost out on winning a substantial part of the world and changing the course of history.

In WWI and WWII the church was further decimated, and this continued under the regimes of Saddam Hussein and George Bush II. Turns out the center of the ancient church, where most of it's members lived, had the unfortunate chance to be in Kurdistan. Today a scant 700,000 to 1 million remain there in Iraq- still bombed and attacked by Kurds, Shi'i, Sunni, and Americans. Most of those of the unique ethnicity remaining are actually part of the Chaldean Catholic Church, such as Tariq Aziz, former Foreign Minister to Saddam.

I had to share all of that before I could get to the good part. For there's one other way this church is unique. After all of this persecution and decimation (though in truth a good more than a mere tenth of the people), the center of the church left. The See of Babylon moved to safer place- Chicago.
The only church in apostolic succession with it's headquarters in America, or the New World for that matter, is the Church of the East. And they have only one parish in all of their church that is ethnically white- not Chaldean, Indian, or Chinese. (In 2003 it was amazingly discovered that one Assyrian Church remained in China, unable to communicate with it's Patriarch for 800 years.) That one parish church happens to be in my city.

What an opportunity- to be able to partake in this liturgy, in the only place in the world where I can understand it! I've been a couple times before, four years ago, and thought I'd visit again. The exterior is fairly nondescript in North Seattle. The service was relaxing if sparse. We began with 10, and ended with 20- although they said a good number were missing today. It was good to breath in incense again, after so long a liturgical pause. (The Eastern Churches say the Catholics have left tradition, and with good reason.) The liturgy was more similar to Coptic Orthodox services I've been to than the Greek Orthodox service I attended in Casablanca. There I found that much of liturgy is cultural- the Greeks sing Hellenic hymns; the Arabs, both Orthodox and Muslim, chant. This was chanting.

But in line with the philosophy of the Church of

the East, everything was done with respect forthe dominant culture. The entire liturgy was in English- most Orthodox churches will do a service in a liturgical language, or predominantly in English, as in the heavily missiological-focused Antiochian Orthodox. And there is a certain sence of mystery present. Non-Western churches prefer the term mystery to that of sacrament, a legal notion, and I agree with them. This was mystical, which I'm learning is the dependence on analogy. Their exhortation to worship declared, "In the tabernacles of the faithful Church we see as in a mystery the living Lamb of God, borne upon the exalted Altar and united with it in love. The people of the Lamb become one in spirit in the unconquerable Kingdom and will receive there a wondrous crown and an imperishable robe of glory as they draw near to the Father with the Son. He is the true head and we are his precious body."

This is poetry, come as liturgy. It was call and response, naturally, but more an entrance into the Holy of Holies, as the insence wafter our prayers to our Lord. Three scriptures were read, and the Kiss of Peace exchanged- the priest to the deacon, the deacon to us at the head of each role, clasping both hands with his, wishing peace to us, to which we respond, "To you and to your Nestorian Crossspirit." Much genuflecting and crossing, all with the focal point of the Nestorian cross above and the mystery of His flesh and blood below. No sermon- the presence of God was focused on. And then wonder of wonders! I waited for the congregation to go through the taking of the mystery, knowing that traditional churches only allow their members to partake. But I had forgotten- a deacon came up to me to say that as long as I had been baptized I could partake, regardless of church affiliation. And as Grace would have it, the repeatitions of the Lord's Prayer had encouraged me to pray through again forgiveness for key people that have hurt me, so that, for the first time in a year, I was able to partake in communion. (But they give you a rather large piece of bread, and then not enough time to swallow it before drinking of the global goblet.)

Afterwards there was coffee downstairs. Since I was offered, I couldn't refuse, so I figured I'd try it with some sugar. I started off with 5 tablespoons, and you know what? It tasted exactly like the Berber coffee I had in Merzuga- the only time I've ever liked coffee! I do believe I've found the way to enjoy coffee.

I spoke with the Father on duty and asked him some about his church- particularly on how he would describe it was different from other churches. Surprisingly, the nature of Christ, even in emphasis, he didn't feel was an issue at all- he felt that all of the churches in apostolic succession were in agreement on this. Rather he pointed to things like the nature of the liturgy, the huge number of martyrs and its unique history, and that priests, bishops, and patriarchs can be married. (Most of the Orthodox allow priests but not bishops to marry; the patriarch technically can marry in the Church of the East but in practice steps down if he does so.) After 1500 years of separation, it appears that now the rank and file of this church see themselves as one with the rest of the Church.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

An Amazing Trip to the Amazon

I wanted to visit Amazon today to see if they had any jobs available. It was 3:30, and getting dark, and I hoped to get out there before it was too cold. Amazon's only eight blocks away, so I figured I'd just walk it. Little did I know.

It was a heavy drizzle outside, as we're in the midst of our third storm right now, so I took my new umbrella. The difference in this storm is much higher winds- gusts up to 90 mph, coming from all directions at the top of Beacon Hill. About two blocks out of the house a gust came up in front of me, twisting the umbrella in my hands, reversing it inside-out. Fairly easy to fix, directing the umbrella against the wind. But then a few steps later, another gust of wind, again twisting the umbrella inside-out. And then buffeted by winds from the right, and then the left, and the umbrella was half-stripped of it's metal fittings, with the metal pulled apart. Another gust, and the metal supporting rod bent in two. I was left with a tattered remnant, holding it at an angle to shelter me the remainder of the walk, with the cloth shaking in the wind like an unfastened sail, occasionally keeping the rain off.

At Amazon I found out that job listings are online or on a phone jobline, so I headed back. But this time, into the rain, and without an umbrella. (The Amazon receptionist had been kind enough to put it into the trash for me.) And I discovered that not only was it raining, and windy, but incredibly cold. Cold like I experienced on a fishing trawler in Autumn in the Bering Sea. Within half a block my face felt frozen off, and I ducked into a busstop shelter to warm up my face, vigorously rubbing it with my hands. A woman was in there as well, waiting for the bus.

As I left, I heard her behind me, clicking her mouth, like a Moroccan guy trying to get a woman's attention. I turned around, and she was gesturing with her eyes, and continued clicking. I thought at first she was saying hello to a friend getting out of the car, but she continued, and walked over to me.

"Due Date?" she said. I couldn't understand her, and she had to repeat it a couple times. My first thought was something related to due diligence, and I couldn't figure out why she was wanting to make sure that it was done. Finally she was clear. "Do you wanna date?"

Ah! "No, I'm sorry, I'm a Christian. But thank you for asking." I'm really not sure...why I said thank you. It just felt like it was important to be polite.

It's not the first time this has occurred. In Dearborn, Michigan, a woman indicated with her hand that she needed a ride, as I was heading home. I picked her up, and told her I was just going to the South End, asking where she was going. She laid her hand on my leg and said, "Whereever you're going, honey." I immediately dropped her off and called my girlfriend to let her know what had happened.

I'm not sure why this happens to me. I must have a certain quality. I sometimes have very interesting days. Maybe it comes from all those years living in a brothel as a baby.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Enter the Bog

Today I finally made it out to the bog. Hylebos Wetlands is a bog, or a wetland filled with peat- plant life up to 15,000 years old. The accumulation of peat leads to sinkholes, like this 20' one. 20' deep sinkholeMost of the bogs in this area were mined for their peat, and so Hylebos is one of the few bogs remaining.

The bog reminded me of the refuge I visited with Stacy and her brother back in July- but wetter. As you approach you drive by some of the oldest buildings in the Puget Sound, log cabins going back to the 1880's.

My brother Kent and I walked through the dark woods after this recent storm, the air filled with dampness and life. Birds twittered all around us, though the only sign of animal life we saw was a splash in the pond. It is like from a movie dark and dreary, with moss creeping down around you, and overgrowth everywhere. We talked, and walked in silence, on boards with matting so that you don't slip, interspersed with flooded walkways from the recent storms.
Everywhere water is dripping, transpiring, filling the ground and rising up, alive. You can feel Upturned rootsthe age of the place. And even in the death, there is life. Trees as knowledgable as the Ents but taller, grow, age, and die, roots exposed, progressing through stages of rot, until finally they become the fertilized foundation of new saplings.

New saplings from rotting log.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Homage to the Rain

I write this just after a brilliant white flash, simultaneous to a small click on my computer making me thank God for built-in transformers, followed by a near immediate peal of thunder (indicating close proximity), and then numerous car alarms. This just after claiming that NW storms are without thunder and lightning.

The storms continue. Today was actually a rather Snowfall on Olympics in the background.shocking day, in that it was mostly free of rain, although bitingly cold. Since my last report sadly now two have died from flooding, and the flooding's gotten worse, then better, then worse, then not so bad, and then really bad again. Rivers are 30 feet above floodstage, and just as they started to recede, we've got another storm, the third in a week, coming in tonight. Wind gusts predicted to be up to 60 mph. I guess it just started up. So far houses have washed down the river- and these are houses that were originally 70 feet away from the riverbank. Slopes are open, as we have gotten at least a couple feet of sticking snow in the last week. Many of the mountain passes are now closed if you don't have chains.

Yesterday I braved the storm for my first ever experience in a monorail. Well, minus Disneyland, of course. It just opened after a year. I'm not quite sure how, but there's only two tracks, less than a mile between Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, with two trains- and a year ago they collided. To celebrate their reopening, the first week is free on the monorail.

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

O Happy Day!

Today I voted. In person. For the 1st time in 5 years (3 years in Morocco, the year before on the high seas in Alaska in November). Here's how dedicated I am to this proposition. Having lived overseas, and planning to return, I didn't have a permament address. So I cleared it with the Registrar of Voters here, and picked an address that I was staying at briefly. This had the happy side effect of allowing me to vote for Jim McDermott, one of the most liberal members of congress, a consistent friend of Arabs, consistently against the war, and an all around nice guy. (I've communicated with him before by email.) And then I waited for my absentee ballot, since I'd be going to Yemen and unable to vote.

And waited. And it never came to that address. So I tried again. And waited. And it never came. By this time I was not going to Yemen, so could vote in person, so called, and confirmed that I could vote in person. And then waited for that wonderous day, a day we shall call Today.

The nice thing is that Line 36 goes right by my house, and it turns out goes within half a mile of the polling place. So I hopped on the bus and wended my way. Close to the polling place, suddenly the streets began to receive 3 signs at every intersection. I don't know why. But they did. Which made it difficult to know if my stop, on 9th & Armour, had come or not. When I asked the driver, he hadn't heard of Armour. And then we were suddenly on 10th, and he said he wouldn't be returning to 9th. So I figured I'd missed my stop, and got out, to walk back to where it must have been.

It was a long walk, over the hill. But if I hadn't done it, I would have missed the moose.

And then, just as I had walked the entire length of the street, the same busdriver pulled up, after his 20 minute mandated rest stop, to say he'd made a mistake. 3 stops beyond me, there it was, Armour and 9th. I needed to catch the next bus, and go back from whence I'd come. Just wait there.

Which isn't too bad. Except for one other thing I haven't mentioned. Right now we're experiencing the Puget Sound's worst storm in decades. Seriously. Except with Global Warming, there' s likely to be more and more of them in the future. 25 rivers and climbing are flooded, some around 55 feet high. Some won't crest until later tonight. If you're from the MidWest, NorthWest storms are a little different. They're excellent female basketball players. They also are without thunder and lightning. I can't remember the last time I've heard it. There's not an intense downpour- more like a drizzle, alternating between light and heavy, that goes on, and on, and on, till the chill creeps into your bones and you grow mold all over your skin. This one's been going on for three days. Some polling places have closed, roads have been washed out, neighborhoods completely flooded, cars washed into houses, and people stranded, having to be rescued. Thankfully only one fatality so far. Yesterday there was a slump not far from where I live on Beacon Hill. Yesterday morning we had more rain between 9 and 9:05 then we had in the entire month of August. As of last night it was 10 inches in 2 days. It's so bad there's been a run on umbrellas, in a city where it's possitively hshuma to be spotted with an umbrella. That's what I was walking in. I'm really dedicated to the franchise.

After I took the bus back to the right stop, and got out and found my bearings, I realized I had to walk around an entire cemetary to get to the polling place. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong direction, and had to walk around the whole cemetary to get there. (There appeared to be long lines to vote in the cemetary as well.) Then I got to the polling place, on the 6th floor of a Seattle Pacific University dorm.

But they didn't have my name listed. Now keep in mind, I had confirmed 3 times online, as well as over the phone with the county registrar, that I existed, and at this polling place. But they had no listing. Except...there are two polling places, both on the same street, both without address numbers, 2 blocks from each other. I was at the other one.

At the correct polling station they did have me on the rolls. To see how I voted, you'll have to view the video. But naturally I increased taxes every chance I got.

And then I got on the bus to go home. No, just kidding. Of course, it wasn't that easy. The online recommendation was for a street that was very far away, very hard to find- in part because the bus stop was actually not at the intersection specified. And then I got there, and the bus was just pulling up, and I ran to catch it- but I of course couldn't get on, as the busdriver was on his 20 minute lunch break, so I had to wait outside. (If you'll recall, there's still a rain storm.)

Then, I got to go home. Where it's warm. And everyone knows your name.

So why is it a happy day? Rumsfield, the architect of violence, is stepping down. And surprisingly, most of the initatives went the way I voted- which considering my maverick personality, is quite rare indeed. I'm not so sure how I feel about being in the majority. But at least the iniative to restrict touching in strip clubs, which I voted for, does not seem to be passing...

But the main reason to be joyous- we won the House tonight! And then later the Senate! Which means setting the agenda: an increase in the minimum wage, an end to cut and spend, working to help the poor, enacting social justice policies, working to protect the environment, heading towards universal health care, preparing the U.S. for Global Warming, and overhauling our educational system. But one thing above all. The party that controls either house can start investigations into possible illegal acts from any other branch of government. Things like illegal wire taps, suppression of scientific research into Global Warming, secret overseas American prisons, domestic spying, detainment of foreign nationals, allocation of Iraqi contracts through the Spoils System, and detainment without warrant within these United States. Oh- and maybe advocating casus belli through deceit. More allegations of cover-ups than any recent administration.

You have to understand. I didn't vote for Clinton either time, as I found him too conservative. I'm not into sports that much- elections are my big sporting event. So, really, except for when I was 19 and 21 14 years ago, this is the first time my team has won. And that's why it's a most glorious, wonderous day.

Finally, I figured a work-around from the bug in the Blogger system that didn't allow tags to show up. This is important because I recognize that I have a rather diverse readership, and an equally diverse series of topics- meaning that not everyone who reads my blog is understandably necessarily interested in every post. Now you don't have to read it. Just go to the bottom of a new post and read the tags. (Sorry, I still haven't figured out how to get around the Blogger bug that puts the tags at the bottom.) They're a listing of the primary topics of that particular post. If you find it interesting, read on! If very interested in a particular topic, click on the topic, and you'll see all my posts relating to that particular item. If not at all interested, visit someone else's blog today :-)

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

The Greatest Holiday of the Year

When I was growing up the community would have pagents, times when we would all get dressed up and pretend. But perhaps the biggest holiday of the year was Halloween. And it's continued to be my favorite holiday. Well, along with my birthday. Oh, yeah. And Christmas.

My favorite part of this holiday is the dressing up, and pretending- and creating the most imaginative costume possible. I've been a Portugese Man-o-War, a dragon, a Mad Artist, Worf, Dukakis, and Lonnie Frisbee. I won awards for a twice-worn costume of a leper- complete with toilet paper and sheet wrap, ketchup for blood, and shaving cream for puss. It had the added benefit that the combination of shaving cream and ketchup produced an odor not unlike decaying flesh. This year I went as Black Smoke. If you don't know what that is, then I'm sorry, but you're just Lost. Kind of hard to be Black Smoke. It involved some wigs, a batman outfit, women's lace gloves, a black feather boa, and some Swisher Sweets, which I got hooked on back when I was living with the Allelous community at Fuller.

To prepare I also created my signature pumpkin, as I do every year when I'm in the U.S.

I spent the evening giving out candy with Kent at his place. It was actually my first time ever really doing that for a Halloween. Lots of costumes, most of them rather standad princesses or something occultish. The older kids don't get it though. They come up with a bag and no costume and just hold up their bag- dont even ask "Trick or Treat". Where's the Spirit of Halloween? Dead, I tell you! I told many kids I wanted the trick rather than the treat, and they just looked at me with blank, dazed faces. What are they teaching kids in schools these days?