thE dUMP

As I have previously mentioned, I am getting ready to move. To Los Angeles.

My Parents are getting ready to move to Sacramento

My Brother is finishing moving to a new, cheaper apartment.

My other brother is trying starting to move into an old, cheaper apartment.

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.

Green family on the move!

Anyway, this creates a problem, or at least a difficulty. We are ALL moving, and we would all normally help each other with the moves. But it’s a little difficult choreographing everybody’s different moves. I mean, when it comes down to it, you are responsible for your own stuff. And when it really comes down to it, you are Liable for your own lease. So you can’t wait on everybody else to be done.

Well, we are doing our best to help each other out, and all of us are suffering extended bouts of sore moving-muscles. There is so much to be done!

Dad, the man for the job, has been making multiple trips IN ONE DAY to Sacramento, getting all his stuff taken over there. My brother has been coming to terms with the excessive amount of personal possessions he owns.

And there are the inevitable trips to the DUMP.

Ah, the dump. I remember the dump as a child. Dumps in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in Alaska were a big pit in the ground. I am sure that many people bypassed the dump altogether and just threw their stuff in a ravine, on or off their property, whatever. But we did not do that. Keep America clean! or something…There were a lot of signs up on the way to the dump:

“Watch out for bears.”

Bears were very attracted to the dump. It was a smorgasbord for them. But the reason that you had to be careful of the bears is that there was absolutely no separation of the trash. No separation of YOU from the trash, and no separation of the trash from amongst itself. There was simply a huge pile, or a huge amount of trash in a hole. The bears would go through it, tossing aside balls of disposable diapers to get at that lovely bit of uneaten cheeseburger. I knew of and knew personally many people who also sorted through the trash for treasures. I myself could not help glancing at the strange items mixed in with the nasty cans and plastic. There could very well be perfectly good items in this pile. If I recall correctly, there were posted days when people were allowed in to scavenge. Why not?

The dump in Santa Clara was not this type of bear-friendly free-for-all dump. It made me think of some kind of industrial-age hell nightmare.

The stench was quite amazing. I am not sure if all dumps are this smelly–I know that all dumps are odorous–but it was stinky. This one had the added benefit of having a sewage treatment plant next door. Why not? Good city planning to put the two together, if you ask me.
Have one big ball of stink instead of two.

Wow, it was stinky.

But it wasn’t enough just to dump it and run. NO! There were types and classifications of trash, and each had to be handled in its special way. Concrete was special, it must be put THERE. Dirt is something else, and must go over THERE. Cardboard goes here, and paper there. Ordinary trash goes in a different place. And, oh my goodness! Nothing toxic. You are only allowed to throw away poisonous things once a month, between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM on a Saturday.

Regular trash had to be put in a different place from all of these.

And they couldn’t leave any of the trash alone! There were huge bulldozers pushing it around, and scooping it up to move it to a whole nother place. For a reason that I could not understand, there was a complicated trash blower, that took the regular trash from a hidden area down below and brought it up through a tube, blowing it out of the open mouth about 40 feet in the air. The trash shot out in an arc, landing on a pile that the bulldozer could then play with.

The wood trash section was run through a gigantic chipper; a big pile of damp-looking wood mulch lay around the back.

It was mysterious, appalling and impressive.

So was the stench. Because of the difficulty of understanding their sorting system, we had to be there a long time, dropping off the multitude of different kinds of trash in all of its correct drop-off receptacles. It was powerful. I really wished I had an Altoid. That might have helped.

But it descended into your stomach through your nose and mouth and sat there evilly.
It was quite a place. It took me half the day to recover.


I think a lot of people do this…I know I do…You get together with your friends, and talk about different movies you have seen…Then you talk about movies you would like to see made. Or which actor or actress would best portray a certain character.

I got in one of these conversations recently. Me and Chris were talking about which actor would best portray the Devil. I don’t remember how it came up. But we tossed out ideas..Keanu? One of the Baldwins? Sean Connery? Who could really do this job well?

I am at a disadvantage. I don’t remember actors names..I just can’t keep up with the celebrity hype. When I see a movie, i think of the people as the characters they portray, and that is that. Some extremely famous people have pierced the void of my ignorance, so just coming up with the name of an actor was an accomplishment for me ( Tom Hanks! no wait…he couldn’t play the devil!).

Thinking of any person from the screen, who seemed evil or potentially evil, I remembered one annoying character from a TV commercial. A vacuous-sounding, California accented young blonde guy from the Dell computers commercials.

It is HE.

Can’t you hear it?

“Dude! You’re going to Hell!”

…i’m still laughing…


well, this looks like it will be another busy day of packing. I’m making some progress. I woke up early, because I was excited.

Of course, the first thing I do every morning is check my email. Since I was already sitting at my desk, I started my packing by trying to clean off my desk. The detritus of my last year of college had piled up alarmingly.

But as I was searching through which things to keep and which to throw away, I found some scraps of musings. I surprise myself sometimes by writing down really great interesting stuff, stuff that is mysterious and possibly profound. I find that when I read it later, the meaning is somewhat opaque, as if it were written by another person entirely. I don’t know what the author was thinking when she wrote it. And the author was me!

Here is a little scrap. Maybe I’ll post some more of this type of thing, if I run across them again.

Notes from a scrap of paper, probably from 2001, fall

I have fought so hard to learn what I know. I fought hard, but at the point when I actually learned what I know I had, for that moment, stopped fighting.
I don’t know all of what I know yet. But when people ask me questions I know the answers to, I am often embarrassed. The answers are rushing out my mouth; I want to share the joy of finding the answer with someone else. But I wonder if the person asking really wants to know the answer. If he wanted to know it is obviously there [waiting to be found out]. But if he only wants affirmation that the answer is unknowable, my giving an answer will anger him.

Sometimes, I only shrug.


TIme is going by a little fast, now.

It looks like I will be moving to LA. A law firm is about to make me a job offer…I sort of gave them the impression that I already live there.

That made it easier to get the job.

I am pretty excited, and I have a lot to do.

This is the reason why I have not written on my blog for a while. When my mind is whirling, it’s a little bit hard to take the time to be contemplative and write all these great thoughts down.

I guess I don’t have time to write anything long and profound tonight, either.

I am sorting through all my books. LORD, I have a lot of books.

I cannot take them all. I suspect whatever apartment I find next will be smaller, anyway. So..I have a new theory:

If I can easily find a book in any library, I should not have my own copy.

There can be exceptions, of course. Especially sentimental books, for example. Or exceptionally beautiful books.

Since every member of my family is moving this month (except my youngest brother), I have had some time to think about the fact that there must be some way to reduce possessions. Really. All my stuff takes up so much space.

Shouldn’t I be able to outsource some of my storage to the local library?

what’s news

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a great love of politics or the news. That amounts to the same thing.

I remember as a child, I was deeply irritated at the news. I didn’t understand why there was never anything GOOD on TV at six o’clock. The news was really boring, and had nothing to do with me.

In the seventh grade, my teacher had been a photojournalist. He was very excited about the news, and he had us get very involved in current events. We followed the story of what was happening with Khadafi. He made it sound very exciting, and we were supposed to clip articles out of the paper that told us what was going on.

That made the news interesting. But they stopped talking about Khadafi, so I lost interest. No one explained to me about anyone else.

But then a few years later, a new excitement hit. My born-again Christian family was getting swept up in the new Christian craze:

Pat Robertson for President.

Suddenly, ELECTIONS were important. Not only was it important to become registered to vote, but all kinds of strategy was discussed. Electoral votes and all kinds of other things.

Wow. I remember we went to a rally, to get support for Robertson for president. It was hard for me to understand what the big deal was. And even more, why we had to rally about it.

“It’s a political rally! For Pat Robertson for President!”

Well, it honestly took a little time for me to remember who Par Robertson was at first.

“You know! He’s the preacher on TV”

Oh. But I remember thinking there was something funny about that. Sure, maybe he was a really good preacher, but that did not really tell us if he would be a good president.

I asked, “Has he ever held public office before?”


“Well, Maybe he shouldn’t just jump into being president. I think it must be a hard job. I mean, the president is really important. He has to make difficult decisions.”

Well, actually, that had been considered. There was something of a debate about whether Robertson had a chance, and whether we would be “throwing the vote away” by choosing a candidate that was not a republican or a democrat.

“Perhaps voting for George Bush would be better than letting a democrat win.”

I thought that was a good idea. George Bush had been vice president, and that seemed to be good training for the job of president. I felt much more comfortable with that idea.

So why was everyone trying to elect Robertson?
To abolish abortions.

Now, whatever I may feel about that situation now, and however I felt about it then, I certainly realized that there was more than just one issue involved in being president.

As important as that one issue was to all the people at the rally by the lake, I felt like it was foolish not to consider the other responsibilities the president shouldered.

That was my earliest political conviction.

One-issue politics is stupid.

You are going to miss something important, and not further your cause by ignoring complexity. Nothing is quite that simple, and you will seem a fool if you don’t see the other side and other issues. The person in power to effect the changes you wish to occur knows that it’s more complicated than a one-issue activist gives credit for.

Fools are easily dismissed. You hurt your own cause by not fully understanding the issue.

This leads me up to the issue at hand. I just got a newsletter from a Woman’s studies program. They are quite concerned with the “war on terrorism.” One article in particular, concerned me.

It was called “Race, Gender, and the War” by Andrea Smith. She was reporting on a forum of the same name. She reports:
This forum provided an opportunity to more fully explore the gender dimensions of the war. Some critical questions raised included: Why would George Bush, who has so solidly supported the Christian Right’s anti-feminist agenda, actually care about the status of women in Afghanistan? How can state violence provide true peace and security for anyone, including women?

This paragraph bothers me. It seems to indicate a tried-and convicted mentality, prejudging the issue before they have talked about it.

Granted, I was not there; I have not heard the discussion. But such questions are set up to receive negative answers. They seem rhetorical, not inviting true questions. Even if the forums included open and free discussion, this author did not give that impression.

This group has already decided that “if they are not in total agreement with us, they are against us.” Bush’s alignment with the Christian Right on matters of abortion may be well understood. But, God help us! There are many more issues that face women’s lives today than just that one.

Diplomacy requires talking out, understanding each other’s position, and working on broadening the places of agreement. It’s not a matter of one person shouting down the other.

In terms of attitude, I see very little different in the political tactics of the far right and this women’s rights group. Neither one is behaving in a politically savvy way.

Especially in light of the second question “How can state violence provide true peace…?”

I assume the alternative to state violence would be diplomatic negotiation. But the lack of diplomatic skills is writ large in the actions and speeches of this group.

I am very interested in the welfare of women all over the world. I am disappointed that this group does not demonstrate proficiency in the methods they approve of.


Goodness. TIme flies. It’s been almost a week. A lot has happened.

Last friday I went to a bellydancing party. It was marvelous. And for the enlightenment of the male readers, whose little minds are spinning, this was an entirely female experience.

The women were wearing the most elegant and revealing of costumes, and since it was an all-female party, the sexual overtones were lacking. We could simply enjoy the beauty of the female form, and be entranced by the graceful movements of the dance.

I was very much entranced. I tried to learn a few basic bellydance movements, but I confess, I was not a quick student. Even though I have learned the basics of a number of different dance steps, I was not quite up to all the subtle movements the bellydancers used.

It made me want to learn.

Even more, it made me want to get one of the fabulous outfits!


What with all my free unemployed time, I have been working on reading all those books I’ve been meaning to get around to reading, and finding out all about those subjects I’ve been meaning to learn about, and seeing those movies I’ve been meaning to see.

Let me pause for a moment to say, this is not the most cheery chapter of history, this current moment. The economy by itself is a drag, but then there’s that pernicious TERRORIST nonsense, leading to all kinds of ominous rumblings from the Middle East and elsewhere.

So, escapism into good literature and good movies seems like a good idea.


Have you ever noticed that the most recommended movies, books, etc, are extremely depressing?

I’m sort of stuck in the middle of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It’s a cheery book about the fall of the Russian aristocracy, and the section I am dealing with has to do with a poor woman’s fall into prostitution, the contemplated suicide of another young man, and his sister’s pending marriage to a cruel man she does not love.

But it hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet.

I have been meaning to watch The Godfather for some time. “They” say that it’s absolutely essential for understanding so many other films. It’s about murder, family betrayal and mob crime, I understand.

I rented One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest earlier. I’d read the book not long ago, and I figured I would see the film.

Schindler’s List is another one I’ve been meaning to see.

Do you see the trend here? I mean, really! What’s up with all these depressing movies and books?

I guess we believe in tragedy more than comedy.

Last time I went to the library, I specifically went for light-hearted reading and videos. I am just oppressed by all these horrible situations. It makes me too sad.

I checked out Bridget Jones’ Diary. It is making me laugh out loud! Her problems are so pathetic as to not really be problems, so I can freely laugh.

I actually have a great respect for good comedy. I admire the artistry of stand-up comedians, who can tell the awful truth of something, and make you laugh at its absurdity.

That’s a real gift. I think that Life is Beautiful did that, but it was so heartbreaking, that I ended up crying before I was done laughing.

Whoopi Goldberg does that with her routines, sometimes.

Alice in Wonderland does that, although some of the message is lost in modern readings. Gulliver’s Travels was pretty funny.

I’m going to have to focus on the brighter side. I just can’t take all this gloom and tragedy anymore.

Sheesh…It’s been too long. I

Sheesh…It’s been too long.

I have been having an over-abundance of thoughts lately. You would think that would result on MORE blogging, not less…

But sometimes certain trails of thought need to come to some sort of conclusion, or at least a pause, before you can write them down. Mine have been awfully meandering.

Anyway, I will write more later on those walks in the woods.

RIGHT NOW, i am excited to share the news that my beautiful friend of faith, hope and love has published her informal survey of new music. Go check it out!

Communist Manifesto

I finished reading the communist manifesto. It was short, as I already said, and it was pretty good. Once you got used to the weird German sentence structure, Marx and Engels had good stuff to say. I think their assessment of their contemporary situation was accurate.

It seems that with the industrialization of Europe, the capitalists (aka large business owners) were in charge of everything the way feudal nobility had been. Okay. But industrialization had led to a consolidation of population, and all those workers (of the former serf class) were squished into really nasty living conditions. At least as serfs, the lower classes had a patch of land they could feel secure living on. As industrial age factory workers, they didn’t even have that.

As Marx said, nine-tenth of the population was doing the work and one tenth was owning the property. In his opinion, working towards a society where the benefits of property were shared was simply fair.

I think his assessment of the worker-boss relationship was correct for his time.

But while he felt that the 9/10ths would naturally rebel and take over the 1/10th, and that they should logically ask for shared ownership, it did not work out that way.

Everyone now says “Communism failed.” I’m not so sure that’s true. But one thing that is true, is that Marx did not look at the way wealth was distributed in America. We don’t have the same disparity of property. Sure, We have a very few very wealthy class. But we also have a high percentage of property owners.

I looked it up. 64% of Americans own their own home. And our government highly encourages the population to own property. There are all kinds of assistance and even subsidy programs. This seems to be a way of redistributing the wealth, across a broader and more fair section of society.

Also, our government has done a lot to make certain kinds of property common. City Parks, libraries, schools, all kinds of things are essentially communal property.

As I was walking on the stevens creek trail today, I was enjoying the incredible beauty of the trees and flowers. I was delighted that such a wonderful paved bike trail was accessible to everyone. When I looked up at the weeping willow tree, I remembered that I had traveled through a paved road in the middle of a similar forest in Moscow. I was told that it was the hunting grounds of the csar. That would have been the kind of park that Marx was familiar with: the kind that said KEEP OUT.

While our monetary system is undeniably capitalist, and the whole population understands and expects that, there is still a lot of practical communism at work.

Marx certainly didn’t predict that turn of events. I have a lot of respect for his hypothesis, because it seemed to be based on some very logical steps.

But it’s hard to predict the future. No two ways about it. The best guess can be wrong. It seems like you have to keep a keen eye about you. All your best theories of how the world works could be very wrong; things change all the time.

My clever boyfriend sent me this link today, talking about silly assumptions. It juxtaposes two types of people, the statists and the dynamists. That is, people who assume things are staying the same, and people who realize things are changing.

Well, it doesn’t take much to realize things are changing. It’s important to keep up.


All of these horrible occurances with the executives and accounting firms at Enron and WorldCom and Xerox, and I forget who else, have been on the news.

Some people say, We need better government protection!

Well, that a good idea to have. But the problem was not that what these folks did was legal. It was clearly illegal. So we already have government protection. There are all kinds of laws on the books about not lying and not stealing.

But it someone decides to lie and steal, they choose to ignore those laws.

I am concerned about the moral fiber of the people in charge of large corporations.

Isn’t it funny that we are so concerned with their dishonesty?

I guess it makes sense, because we have moved away from the system of pensions for retirement to a system of personal investments. 401Ks and investment portfolios are supposed to take the burden of responsibility off the companies and put it on the backs of individual workers.

Well, when that happened, there was a a tremendous explosion of money in the stock market. That’s what you DO when you invest, right? That’s what all the experts tell you to do anyway.

Well, now that a lot of money is in the hands of a lot of people with very little knowledge, it is easy for the execs to fudge the books. Who’s gonna know, right? And they are just trying to build up the stock…

I happened to be reading the Communist manifesto today. Just as a refresher, Marx and Engels defined the Bourgeoisie as those who employ the laborers. Sounds like Enron, WorldCom, etc.

So here are some of his earlier statements:

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has…left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’…It has resolved personal worth into exchange value and in indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom–free trade. In one word…it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid laborers.

I just had to look it up…indefeasible means “cannot be undone.”

Well, I find this remarkably current. Aren’t we all complaining about the way the medical system is becoming more commercialized and less concerned with healing sick people? I remember something that that Chris Rock said:

They ain’t never gonna find a cure for AIDS! There’s no money in a cure. They’ll give you a treatment. That’s how drug dealers work, they get you on the come back.


Well, when Enron, WorldCom and ESPECIALLY arthur anderson took a look at their balance sheets and their desires for profit, all the people who were affected by their deceitful schemes were merely numbers on a page. I suspect that the numbers on the page were more real to them than any person.

Nothing left between man and man than cash payment.

Personal worth reduced to exchange value.

I don’t know that much about communism. I decided to read the Communist Manifesto, because I realized that the history of the 20th century has been incredibly affected by communism and I am woefully ignorant about it.

It’s not very long, and I haven’t gotten very far into it. I may have more to say about it later.

But..My initial response to this is that we ought to give more value to non-tangible commodities. “Soft Money” as they sometimes call it.

I had the same problem when I was working in video conferencing. How do you measure the return on investment for quick communication? Everyone looked at how much it cost to upgrade communications equipment, but few people would believe that if you made it easier to talk and have meetings, that the company would be more efficient and more profitable.

It seems simple.

It also seems simple that relationships between people are of value. That honesty and diligence and dedication result in greater profitability seems basic.

I wonder if Arthur Anderson had an algorithm to track the value of the company’s honesty assets?