Thursday, August 23, 2007

I always KNEW I was like The Dalai Lama

This test is to politically-interesting awesomeness what I, apparently, am to zen-ness. That is: totally.

Props to the good folks there for pointing out that Stalin and Gandhi just weren't so dang different after all.

Or maybe that's me seeing the Oneness of everything.

Namaste, people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still drawing like an eight year old

I am in a computer training this week. All week. It is closer to my house and the hours of the training each day are long enough that it counts as a full day but are still significantly shorter than my usual work day. Not too shabby.

What is a bit shabby is my performance in said training. We had to draw a house today, using line and diagonal line functions, circles, squares and polygons. I tried to make mine look very similar to the one in the example: one big window next to a doorknob-less front door of a brick house with a brown triangle roof. Pretty boring. And rudimentary--like South Park-style. Maybe they use the software we're learning?

Anyway, I tried to spice mine up with some nice patterns to 'texturize' my green bushes and gave my remarkably lollipop-like flowers varying colors to add some pizazz. But it didn't stop there, friends: I even added a great big sun in the upper right hand corner with big thick beams that shone down--nay, touched!--the roof of my little house.

Smug with my clever innovation, I looked around at my classmates' work. Their houses all had perfect flowers in front and cobblestone walkways and much much fancier architecture with stained glass windows and what I imagine would be stucco exteriors. Blue skies, distinct bushes versus my green blobs, prettier butterflies with incandescent wings flying around the homes.

So, it's official: I will not quit my day job.

Unless South Park calls.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Just real quick before I go vomit...

Contact: Sarah Clark, Wal-Mart

Dr. John Agwunobi to join Wal-Mart as Senior Vice President and President for the Professional Services Division

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Tuesday, August 7, 2007 --Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dr. John Agwunobi, current Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and an Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, has been named Senior Vice President and President for the Professional Services Division for Wal-Mart in the U.S. effective September 4.

Dr. Agwunobi will oversee the company's health and wellness business unit including pharmacies, vision centers and health care clinics. He is the country's expert on public health, and he will bring new perspective, diverse talents and tremendous expertise to our company in his new role.

He will report to Bill Simon, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Wal-Mart Stores U.S.

"John is the country's expert on public health, and I look forward to his contributions in furthering Wal-Mart's health and wellness efforts," said Simon. "He will bring new perspective, diverse talents and tremendous expertise to our company in his new role." Added Dr. Agwunobi, "Wal-Mart touches many lives in many communities and this position provides me with a new opportunity to reach people in the places where they live, work and shop. I am very excited to join the Wal-Mart team."

Dr. Agwunobi, also a pediatrician, is a seasoned public health professional with experience in health care delivery, managed care and health care policy. As Assistant Secretary for Health, he was responsible for disease prevention, health promotion, women and minority health efforts, the reduction of health disparities, the fight against HIV/AIDS, pandemic influenza planning and vaccine preventable disease initiatives.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Agwunobi served as Florida's Secretary of Health and State Health Officer from October 2001 to September 2005. In this role, he confronted many public health challenges, including leading the state's public health and medical response to four major hurricanes, led the call for a healthier Florida, managed the response to the nation's first-ever intentional anthrax attack, and guided Florida's nationally-recognized efforts to protect the state against bioterrorism.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates [the locations and contact information I don't feel the need to publish here].


Maybe this only seems scandalous to me, but the idea that someone whose career has ostensibly focused on improving the health of the public will now be working for one of the worst purveyors of screwing employees out of decent health (and many other) benefits is pretty atrocious.

One hopes that Agwunobi's new post will lead to better benefits for all involved--workers and patrons alike--but I can't help but suspect that it will only lead to better benefits for himself, paid for by a nakedly politically-motivated move by Wal-Mart.

I think separation of Church and State is a good thing.

I think separation of Corporation and State--at least more separation than we currently see--is even better.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Amp, revealed

So, in the description of this baby, they forgot to mention that time I used it. Some of you may remember: It was that September night, back in '99, when I was touring a lot and doing lots of blow. My SF days. I ran into Blake on the corner, his guitar in hand, and he was all I'm about to go record some kick ass records, wanna come? And I was all, if you quit looking at me all lovey-like that (did I mention that I was his muse for Chesterfield King? Yeah.). He was all you're just so... [I glared] uh, nevermind, yeah, no more love eyes, come one let's go rock out! So I go to what I thought was their studio and bam! it was a new venue that I had somehow missed and it was filled with people all ready for Blake to go on stage. (He was always showing up late. The rest of the band would get so pissed off. (I know: lead singers.))

Anyway, a few songs in, Blake, that dick, was all "hey everyone, I have a special guest for you!" He nods at the lights guy and a huge spotlight shines right on me. Uh, like, if I wanted to be performing wouldn't I be doing it with my own band, Super Pretty Fairy Dust?! Good God this guy was too much. Sooo of course the crowd is like freaking out and of course I'm looking regular hot but not on-stage hot and there's Blake the whole time, smirking. It's enough that he fooled me into to going to YET ANOTHER one of their shows (like their crowds weren't big enough), but now I have to perform? Too much. And he wonders why the love eyes piss me off.

So, at the very insistent star(power)-struck crowd's cheering, I finally get up on stage, flick Blake off, wave at the other guys in the band, take Blake's guitar, turn up the amp proper and rock out. I did one of their songs, Sea Foam Green, in a totally rearranged way so it was all hard and fast and energetic yet longing. There was still haunted, throaty longing.

By the end of the song, I was glistening (and, as my scale confirmed later, had dropped two pounds (on account of the rocking out)). So, song over, I'm catching my breath, flciking my head to the side to get the wet hair off my forehead, take the guitar off, pass it back to dumbfounded Blake (he hadn't known I was working on that cover; I bet he thought I was going to play my band's smash hit, "Blake Loves Me" (that showboater) . So I give his guitar back, turn around and turn the amp back to their respectable levels and am about to leave the stage. I mean, it was only like 10 seconds, but it hit me: the entire audience is silent. I finally look up, kinda shrug and, as if that sparked one giant, collective snapping-out-of-it, they take their mouths off the ground, refocus their rock-dazed eyes and then start yelling and whistling and clapping like crazy. I have to admit, it was a rush. It's true: you just never get used to it. It's like the first time every time. Which is more than I can say about blow.