Monday, December 28, 2009

Say goodbye to another perfectly good decade

We of the Roman Calendar are about to say "goodbye" to the 2000s. I remember 2000 very distinctly. Remember the hysteria? What a thankful let-down that was. In 2000 I welcomed Ethan into my life. In 2000 I was horrified to welcome George W. Bush into my life. In 2002 we moved into our house in Norfolk, where we still reside. In 2001 was 9/11 and the world changed. In 2004 we welcomed Asherah. By this time my parents divorced, irrevocably altering my view of family, and what people are and are not capable of; and how they can change. It was a decade of highs and lows containing the most heart-wrenching lows, and glorious highs.

I am glad it's over.

During this time I lost myself. I suffered a traumatic birthing experience with Ethan, resulting PTSD that manifested as Post-partum depression, and had a year of living hell. I promised myself during that time to speak of this when it was warranted, to de-mystify this illness and help others recognize it and feel less shame if they have or have had it. So there.

During this time I gained a lot of weight, which I now realize was largely a way to insulate myself. To lose myself. Melting away those pounds this past year has been quite a journey. I've had to face myself once again stripped of those layers of security; readjust to being viewed as a "normal" person (weight-wise, in society's eyes) and generally face a lot of internal crap that wasn't too pleasant to face. But here I am.

I've realized more clearly who I am. What I want. What I believe in, and what I'll fight for. I've realized that there are some people who just don't "get" me. That the neat, cozy little community I've created for myself--which is so "normal" for me--is pretty outside the mainstream in many respects. I think this scares people. I've realized that rejection can still hurt; that even when you wear your difference like armour, proudly, there are still some seams in it; and you can still get wounded.

I've also realized that ultimately, this doesn't matter. If you are living your life as you believe it should be lived, and being a good person who is trying to make the world a better place, that's better than most of humanity is doing.

I look forward to the next decade. Do you? I think this will be the decade that I "become" the professional writer I want to be. I will see my son off to college before the decade is up. I will certainly be saying "goodbye" to some loved ones who will have lived long lives. Ari will still be steadfastly by my side; my best friend, my partner in scifi and general geekdom. He will no doubt be continuing to drive me batty every winter, and continue to never surprise me with any gifts :-) Asherah will be a teenager, and if she were truly to "rebel" I suppose that could mean she will be a conservative preppy studying to be a nun. Although Ari is convinced she'll get a tattoo and ride a motorcycle.

Time will tell.

Happy end of decade to you and yours!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I wrote this several weeks ago, but it takes on a certain relevancy considering the recent news headlines.

What do *you* read in it? I'd be interested to know.


The Gods have no need of love
We are immortal;
love lingers not

Passion rides the ebbs and flows
like the curves of a woman's body;
Her lover delights in them

But soon craves the peaks
and shadowed depths of another;
She has become charted territory

Thursday, December 3, 2009

OPINION: On Tiger, Climate Change & Ethics in Science, & Troops

Well, what a news-packed and sad day or two it has been. I won't even mention the health care fiasco bill that is going down in flames or the six suspects in the CA gang-rape case who are are pleading "not guilty"--despite the fact that almost a dozen people looked on as the rape of a 15-year-old girl was occurring. Disgusting.

OK, maybe I will--since I just did.

But on to the big three. I'll begin with the easiest, beause frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about it...

More troops for Afganistan. (

I am torn between wanting all the troops to come home, wanting the horrific violence and injustice to end in Afghanistan, and ambivalence toward President Obama. (What a thankless job, President of the United States. Although I have been an Obama supporter, I always have to wonder a bit about people who would run for a job like this. But back to the point.) Since Obama has been pretty much anti-war during his political career, one can only imagine the kind of intelligence he has access to that would make him want to send in the troops. Perhaps to support the troops that are already there? (Speaking of thankless jobs...) Perhaps because there is good reason to believe that "victory" is close at hand? But I weary of war, and political posturing, and the destruction of lives, families, and culture that are happening all around the globe. I feel ashamed every time I hear of a vet that returns home to the U.S., only to find lost job opportunities, broken famililes, and medical needs not being met by the very country these vets have given their lives for...

On to climate change, and ethics in science. And data. And data manipulation. (

First, I must say that I am sad and disappointed and angry. All at once. In my world, there should be a special kind of hell for a "special" kind of traitor. What kind of traitor? Traitors like women who hate women (Hello, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter.) Like supposed liberals who do things like compromise on womens' health issues, or conservatives who decry "invasive government" but are the first to want to get into your bedroom, dictate who you can and can't marry, and force-feed you their idea of religion.

In a similar vein, I am SO mad at Phil Jones. Because I personally believe (REALLY believe, in the depths of my soul) that humans are having an impact on the climate, and that the impact is largely negative for human life and other life on which humans most rely. I also believe that a world's climate is an incredibly complex system that cannot be modeled well. However, on virtually any local level, a motivated person can find evidence that human activity is altering the world. (But for some perspective, humans always HAVE impacted their environment. It's what we do. We are animals that are consummate tool-makers, and our particular brand of intelligence motivates us to seek out what is new and novel, and adapt it to our liking. Other animals do as well. Just not on the scale we do.) So why did Phil Jones take actions that appear to be tantamount to fudging data and squashing research?

It remains to be seen the extent to which the above happened. But it does seem pretty clear that our friend Phil is probably not the greatest guy, and it is also a shame that he did not have enough faith in his research to let it speak for itself. Granted, there are global climate changes that occur irregardless of human activity--there were before humans ever got here. But again, it seems pretty clear that we are having a negative impact.

Perhaps he lost sight of what is truly important due to political pressure or his own need to be King of the Hill. Science is political. And every academic and others who collect and make sense of data for a living know that data need to be manipulated--not in the negative sense of the word--but "data manipulation" is, essentially, the process of going through your data, trying to make sense of it, and making it presentable and understandable for a variety of audiences. Most data can be made to support any position. It is a matter of what you keep, what you throw away, how you code it, and what statistics you use on it. Nevertheless, Phil has clearly now done exactly what a person in his position should NOT be doing--giving reasons for the opposition to throw out the human-environment impact theory en masse.

So I appeal to those of you who may not be convinced that we are having a negative impact--don't smugly sit back, feel vindicated, and throw your recyclables out with the trash. Do you really need scientists to tell you what you can probably see with your own eyes? What logic dictates? For example: Yes, carbon dioxide is "natural." It is in our atmosphere whether we are here or not. But we evolved within this ecosystem that had a certain ratio of CO to oxygen and other gases. If we upset that ratio when we could do otherwise, how can the result be anything but bad for us??

This is our only planet. Whether you believe we were given stewardship of it by God or Gaia; whether you believe we are here purposefully or by happenstance, we are here. Don't trash this wonderful gift that we will hand down to our children. Don't blindly decide to be "pro" or "anti" on this issue simply because your political affiliation, or religious affiliation--or any affiliation, for that matter--tells you to. Think. Feel. Then decide.

On to Tiger...

I thought I would end up writing the most about this, but I don't think that may happen after seeing everything I've already written above :-) Here is my one question to you all: Why are you surprised?

Powerful men always have--and always will--act in ways that are "outside" of what the rest of society is expected to adhere to. (Those on the "inside" however--the other power-brokers--know that they can behave any way they want, while publicly supporting "what is right.") Why do powerful men do this? They do it because they are powerful. They do it because they can. To wield power is to be attractive, and women (and some men, I don't want to discriminate *grin*)like attractive men.

So, I am not the least bit surprised that Tiger cheated on his wife. He is gorgeous, athletic, smart, and personable. He clearly has women throwing themselves at him. And at some point, the temptation must just have been too great. At some point, he decided the rules did not have to apply to him. Who can blame him? This is a person that has been told for his entire life that he is exceptional. You do the math.

I would have way more respect for Tiger and other powerful men if they were just honest from the get-go. If you fall in love with someone and want them to be your life-partner and have a family with them, but are not sure you want to be faithful, say so. There are plenty of women who, given the choice, would choose to be living a very comfortable life with someone they care about, even if it means he may not always be faithful. Not everyone of course--but let's face it--many women would.

So let's stop being so shocked when our public icons let us down. I am not saying they are necessarily bad people, I do think there is something about power and celebrity that alters a person's judgement on certain matters.

We are only animals, after all.

As an aside, take a note here Tiger et al. Don't sleep with someone you don't trust. As this situation has once again shown, today's declaration of lust is tomorrow's paycheck, talk-show circuit, and book deal.