Friday, April 25, 2003


Just because I'm stumped for something to write about during this, my lunch break from Retail Heaven doesn't mean it's OK for you, my dear readers, to go another day without hearing from me.

Thank goodness for Jill and the girls over at The Friday Five for breaking the ice in Your Humble Blogger's Humble Head.

1. What was the last TV show you watched?

I watched CSI last night up at my parents' house. It's become a Sherrod family tradition to have a large, satisfying meal and then watch quite possibly the grossest things on TV today - Survivor (gross for its exhibitions of really obnoxious behavior, backstabbing, pettiness and that silly guy Rob still fantasizing about a threesome with those girls) and CSI. That they are also the two most insect-intensive programs ever devised (at least the most so outside, e.g., the Discovery Channel and its ilk) is just a happy bonus. That one of the lead characters on CSI is a forensic entomologist just melts my bug-lovin' heart. Gotta love anything that features an entomologist as a lead.

2. What was the last thing you complained about?

A tough decision I'm facing. I have a dear old friend who is in a worse financial pickle than I am, who wants me to move in with her to share expenses until we both "get back on our feet." My first impulse was to say "sure" because she really is very dear to me... but then I looked at the place with an eye to cramming me and the Collie of Folly (who would be one of four, count them, four dogs in one goofy two-story townhouse) in there with whatever stuff might fit and... no, it looked like kind of a bad idea.

"Kind of" changed to "very" when, unable to sleep last night, I whipped out my Sewer King-inspired handy dandy "Am I Wasting My Time Or Should I Just Go On Con Watch" spreadsheet and ran the numbers. I wouldn't even be saving money. And I'd be giving up my autonomy, my backyard full of ducks, my chalkboard-painted walls...

So, nah.

But my friend is kind of counting on me now. And I'm going to have to tell her I've changed my mind - as soon as I can track her down.

I was just complaining about this to my wacky boss at the dust-gatherer store before heading home for lunch. So yeah, that's the last thing.

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?

I told the Collie of Folly she was a very good dog when she didn't argue with me about whether or not it was time to "load up" in the front seat of my car.

She counts as a person, right?

4. What was the last thing you threw away?

The plastic wrap around the last piece of my super duper homemade semi-Sicilian pizza that I made for my #1 reader Wednesday night. I threw the wrapping away and then I ate the pizza cold. Damn, I'm a good cook when I bother. Even the leftovers are lovely.

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?

I was reading a book review at Economist magazine's web page. The review was of an interesting tome examining the political history of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - how it's been interpreted by everyone from Adolf Hitler (who ordered it played on his birthday often) to Ian Smith, who made it Rhodesia's national anthem. Looks interesting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003


...And nobody came?

Well, now I know. Last night marked Rawlins' turn to host a public information session regarding the proposed capital facilities tax and, well, the choir showed up but the pews were empty.

Our good sheriff gave his County Jail Slide and Pony Show, in other words, for a hauntingly empty room at the Jeffrey Center, his audience consisting of, well... the entire membership of the jail planning committee, the mayor of Rawlins, the former mayor of Rawlins, the capital facilities tax campaign coordinator, a deputy sheriff, a county juvenile detention officer, the county treasurer, that amusing man from Elk Mountain who ran for governor, the Oracle, and Your Humble Blogger.

To liven things up, I proposed that the Oracle give the sheriff's talk, the coordinator give the Oracle's talk (on the Saratoga community center, natch), and the sheriff give the coordinator's talk. It could have happened; we've all heard all of these talks enough times to make it quite feasible. Hell, I could probably give the sheriff's talk in my sleep - I've been hearing it for something like three years in more or less its current form, and I've been hearing arguments in favor of a new Carbon County jail over the dinner table at Fort Sherrod since long before I was of voting age, as My Own Dear Personal Dad was the first sheriff who had the guts to say the Yellow Submarine (long the county's affectionate nickname for the current jail, a woefully inadequate and antiquated facility perched like a boil atop the county courthouse with walls painted, in Miss Quote's phrase "daffodil yellow") had to go.

We don't know what to make of this lack of interest, the Oracle and I. We hover between hope and utter disgust. Rumors are in the air that the tax proposal and all the projects planned for it are dooomed, dooooooomed, that Hanna hates our community center project, that the valley hates the overpass for Rawlins, that everybody hates the jail... but we never seem to get a chance to address them head on (hence the persistent belief on the part of certain knucklhead members of the press who shall remain nameless, and a few others, that the Oracle and I are trying to build a duplicate of the $300,000-a-year subsidized day care nightmare known colloquially as the Hanna Rec Center. For the record, we are not. Not even close. We did tour the place, pretty much to establish what we do not want).

What I personally hear most often is individuals approaching me with some version of the following: "Well, Kate, I'm planning to vote yes on the tax, but it sounds like nobody else is" or very seductive words to that effect (well, that and merciless and tireless teasing on the part of the Sewer King about how funny it is that his brother, the Oracle, and I, the two most harrumphingest libertarian types in the whole valley, are campaigning to add an extra penny to the sales tax. A gifted ironist, that Sewer King. Gifted) -- seductive because they suggest that actually most folks are going to vote yes. Ponder that again... everybody who approaches me is saying he or she personally plans to vote yes, but those nameless, faceless, uncounted and possibly merely theoretical "others" oppose it.

If there is one thing I have learned to trust it is my instinct not to trust any blanket statements about what unnamed and unnumbered "others" think. It's too easy to invent these others out of one's own delusions, too easy to project one's own doubts, fears, suspicions, and bad motivations onto these others. I've done it myself, haven't you? "Well, I like that shirt you're wearing, really I do, but 'other people' think you look ridiculous in puce."

So anyway, I'm not going to worry about it. If the tax passes, yay, the jail starts getting built (on top of pilings sunken into that stupid akalai swamp... joyous, by the way, that others, including no less a person than jail committee member Judging Wade is constantly reminded of the bit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" when the king regales his son about his castles, built one by one on top of each other as they sank into the swamp... "But the fourth one, the fourth one stands!"). Of course, the jail will get built one way or the other - the other way being, as the Choir indicated last night, an additional $20 in property taxes for each property owner in the county... which wouldn't be all bad, as that way the mineral companies will pay a good share of it.

And the Schmommunity Center will still happen in some fashion, though caveat voter: the ultimate design and contents of the building will more likely be determined by the wishes of the private donors who cough up the bucks, and what they want might not be what you guys want. And the big money that is possibly floating around for the thing isn't really all that interested in recreation as such. Conferences, meetings, performing arts space, yes. Sports? Less so, at the very least.

Speaking of sports and things, yes, I voted yes on the skate park, after putting a few of the darling kiddies on the spot in the council meeting, the ringleader of which is due to report to me this Friday afternoon about how much money they plan to raise through raffles and whatever to help defray the cost, how soon they plan to have it to us, and when they're going to show up to help put the equipment together on the island.

Yeah, I caved, basically. I have a soft spot for kids, too, and I remember what it was like to be a teenager here with nothing to do but hang out in front of the 7-11 at night or go to keggers or drive up and down the highway (cruising in Saratoga: lock the wheels and hit the gas). And probably what the Former Minister of Fun and his cohort did in the 80s is not possible any longer because of liability and other standards - home-built equipment, Superman insists, ain't gonna cut it and the first boo-boo that pisses off the first mom could cost us a bundle in court if that's what we put in.

All I can say is the little twerps had better use it. I'm going to be watching them. And so are my downtown businessmen who keep complaining about skateboarders and property damage. If the kids have any brains at all, by the way, those businessmen will be the first ones they hit up for help.

!Bah. Onto some writing that pays.