Archive for » September, 2006 «

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006 | Author:


Originally uploaded by bukowskigrl.

I know that it is a week early, but my birthday present arrived via FedEx and knowing what it was going to be, via Juan’s not so subtle hints, I couldn’t stand it being in the house and not being played with (even an ipod has a dream!). Of course, I was not expecting the Cadillac of ipods, he had called up the mantra of my good friend Becca “30 gigs for 30 years” which I would have been thrilled to receive. However, opening the card and seeing the inscription: I love you so much. You deserve the best I can affrod, an 80 gig iPod. Happy 30th birthday: I swear I thought I was a 5 year old at Christmas. Needless to say I have done nothing but play with it since. So, I post this image, courtesy of Apple, so everyone can know I have now entered the Pod generation of technology.

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006 | Author:

anderson cooper

Originally uploaded by bukowskigrl.

So, I just returned from my first book club meeting and it was Fabulous! We read Anderson Cooper’s memoir “Dispatches From the Edge”. Normally I am not a non-fiction, biography or memoir fan, with the exception of material discussing Emily Hahn or great adventures in general, and I especially stay away from anything discussing war and human suffering. It isn’t that I’m indifferent, quite the opposite. I am so sensitive to the suffering that I can barely watch the news. Immersing myself in tragedy is difficult and I have found that tragedy, sadness and/or disappointment often drives me to overwork myself.

This book is so much more than a war correspondent looking to capitalize on his experiences, inflame the world at large or anger those in power. This book threads together tragedies that occurred all over the world (Sri Lanka, Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Louisiana) and demonstrates the depths of human misery and the hope that people find in darkest hours.

What I loved most about this book is similar to what I loved about Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”: that the author assists the reader in relating these truths back to their lives. It is not enough that I watch the news and know tragedies happen. It is not enough that I am told global warming is going to kill the human race, maybe sooner than later. What this memoir does is find a way to relate these foreign experiences to my existence. What I treasure about these two examples is that Al and Anderson weave their own experiences and driving forces into the story. For Al, his education and the death of his sister…not preying on people’s emotions, but rather emphasizing that these are first hand issues.
For Anderson, the death of his brother and father. How painful to lose a parent at 10 and a brother to suicide at 23. How would that force you to run into the fire a hundred times, trying to find solace in hiding from your own tragedy.

This book also serves to push me further into my address of a question I have been debating for years now and it is about consumerism. Let me start by saying: I LOVE MY COUNTRY. I am proud that I am an American and I am not ignorant to the rights and privileges that it provides me. However, I believe that we as Americans have gotten “soft” so to speak. I read about mother’s in Africa watching their children die from malnutrition and the doctors telling AC “they don’t want your sympathy, they want you to do your job” and I get angry. Angry because after 9/11 people laid on their couches and used the bombings as an excuse to get out of work. They enrolled in therapy and stated they are just “too emotional” to get through their day. I had students at the university telling me they just needed more time on their 5 page papers because they have just been too depressed to do the work since 9/11 (this is in march of 02) and I think, “What have we become?”. Mothers in Africa watch their children die and walk 10 miles home to their 1 room homes to care for their other children, do the wash and move on with their life and we use tragedy as an excuse. Granted, we’ve seen so little true devastation in our country how could we not be a little weak. How does this relate to consumerism you ask? If we lived in a country where we didn’t surround ourselves with things: decorated pillows, fancy electronics, 20 different creams for every part of our anatomy, frivolous expenditures in general, would we stop cutting ourselves off from the world and start to fear? I think we sometimes are so comfortable due to our spending that we often use things to cushion our emotions as well as our bottoms. It may be a frivolous thought, but think of the African mother that walked her 2 year old child 10 miles to see a doctor for malnutrition in the middle of a national famine. She watched her child die, walked home and cared for her family. She has not photograph, no crudely drawn art work, no birth certificate, nothing that indicates he existed and that she has the right to mourn. In America we drive our child to the ER, we fret, we pay, we hope, we receive support from dozens of people, our child dies and we blame the world. We drink ourselves stupid, we curse God, we take weeks off of work. Is this wrong? NO! by no means am I implying that it is wrong to mourn and grieve. I only suggest that if tragedy were a part of our everyday grieving, would we be better for it? If we truly mourned the victims of Katrina? If we prayed daily for the deaths of children from curable diseases, from hunger, would we put our own pain in perspective? Would we be able to separate what is lasting from what is unnecessary?

Just a thought. In Peace…..

Friday, September 08th, 2006 | Author:

So, on the way home today I get pulled over by the friendly neighborhood sheriff department. The officer was a woman with a major chip. I was polite, as always, and it seemed like she wanted me to give her some ammo for attitude. Of course, I am a major dumbass, my plates are expired. I can never remember to take care of these things on time. So, she takes my license and last registration to make sure I’m not some crazy drug addict on the run or something. When she returns she lets me know she is letting me off way easy by only citing me for having expired plates (which according to her is a $400 fine and a potential car towing, but according to Utah laws, statutes and fines available online is a $20 fine. Exaggeration needed to enhance feeling of power and control….I think so), but is ticketing me for having not changed my address with the Driver’s License Division. I apologize and tell her the truth “I thought when I registered my car it was automatically udpated”, but no…apparently Utah, land of the mentally challenged and the inbreeding capital of the world maintains its ability to keep its minimum wage paid state workforce busy by having two separate divisions….one for cars and one for people who drive cars. So all the drivers license division does is take pictures and print out licenses. Un-F*****G- believable. I cannot wait for Juan to get his MPA so I can bitch on a daily basis about inefficiency in governments and have someone either agree with me or provide a solid reason why they waste my time and money. Quite frankly, I was appalled that, regarding the efficiency issue, the state would waste money on overhead, training, benefits and salaries for two different divisions….at least regarding this issue. BUT, I digress. I apologize if you were offended by my profanity, but I am damn mad about the whole thing. To make matters worse I am informed that I can simply log on to the Utah Department licensing webpage and update it tonight. So, I did this, first thing, when I got home. 2nd F******G rant for this blog this evening….you google Utah DMV and you get the DMV webpage. It is lovely……well organized and easy to use. Of course, as I peruse trying to find the place to update my address I find a link in like negative eight point font directing me to the DRIVERS LICENSE DIVISION webpage. So, I click it and discover they have their own webpage that is almost impossible to find etc. So, I take the 1 minute it takes to upgrade and correct my issue. Fabulous.
3rd point: When I politely ask the officer about directions for taking care of the citation as soon as possible I am directed to call the court house and they will assist me. When I ask if she knows the price of the ticket she gives me an EXASPERATED sigh and tells me she doesn’t know call the court house. Now, I am no stranger to not knowing everything when it comes to my job. But give me a F******G break. If you are going to take the time to look up code 53-3-216 of the Utah code (which I doubt she knew firsthand) have the decency to have the price for the ticket next to the code. Is customer service a concept that is too “Fantastic” and “new” for government offices? Seriously…..please let me know. I work with screwed up kids who tell me horror stories that happen at the hands of the police that I dismiss on a daily basis. I invite police officers to interact and have positive experiences with our kids. I defend police officers and consequence my clients for calling them names like “pig” and “bacon”, they know better than to dog law enforcement. But in this one interaction, I wonder if their experiences and mistrust of police officers has little to do with actual abuse/brutality and everything to do with incompetence and poor “customer service” when it comes to dealing with law enforcement. Because in the moment when she let out that long exasperated breath, I fully understood why my clients HATE police officers. It is not that they enforce the law, but that they have power that is morphed into power and control that coupled with ignorance for basic human courtesy makes interacting with them dreadful.
4th point: So, as I mentioned before, I looked up this code in the Utah statutes online and discovered it is a $40 fine. That is fine. Coupled with a mandatory $30 emissions and safety inspection and $80 to register my car, I will be enjoying cable and the public library as entertainment for the next two weeks. I don’t mind paying to respect and honor the law, I am grateful to live in a society that does a lot for those who can afford it. I do have to say I understand the need for safety and emissions….we live in a canyon that traps nasty air..get it. But, now that my car is over 5 years old (manufacturing date) I am required to have a test every year. You would think that they would at least do some type of service fee cap to make sure the price isn’t so hefty for five minutes worth of work.
Anyway, I apologize for all who read this and are bored, but for those of you who are poor social workers like me and need a break from those they defend to their clients on a daily basis…….I salute you! Keep fighting the good fight and may you find peace in the acts of a pure heart.