Friday, August 26, 2005

not an easy time

for lots of reasons. things looking up now, perversely. one link that helped:
caution, serious cursing present, don't go if you can't handle it:
angry black b---ch
she's speaking lots of truth to power, incredibly funny and in a voice that is sometimes in my head, yet I do get embarrassed saying these things out loud...I'm a child of my parents, and nothing wrong with that. dealing with Enid's sister and some roving cousins is not in any old way pleasant.

but we persevere.
and sometimes even smile:-)

Friday, August 05, 2005

rejecting the noodly appendage







everyone knows that this is not the true visage of the maker of all. for one, there are too many tentacles. for two, there is no eggplant.

there cannot be a maker of all if its artificial orifice (its ortifice?) is not filled with eggplant.

We have 10,000 pages of material written 10 minutes ago that proves this.


and, despite the unbelievers who attempt to victimize us, we believe, and we are not alone.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Joy. Hope. Determination.

As a complete newbie, I thought that no political letdown would ever compare with the devastation of hope I felt after Gov. Dean lost the primaries. By the time we Gators went to Florida to work on the election last November, I had built up a little emotional armor against being devastated again. So, while I was completely shocked by the outcome Nov. 2, and exhausted by 2 years of increasingly intense focus on winning the election, I didn't have that surreal feeling of living life through a vaseline filter.

Now, I get to have another feeling after an election that, admittedly, we didn't win. Joy. Hope. Determination. Steve Gilliard, as usual, brings my hometown New York flavor to the thing:
Hackett loses 52-48, closest OH-2 election in decades

"...Understand this: yesterday, thousands of Bush-supporting, longtime Republicans went into the booth and voted for a Democrat who attacked the President. A pro-choice moderate against the head of the local pro-life outfit.

These are people who haven't voted Democratic since 1980.

We're realists and we gave the money knowing he was a long shot. At no point did I think he would get this close. I thought 55-45 would send a message that we would fight anywhere, anytime. Those extra three points makes a big difference. In most of the counties he lost 51-49

This sends a completely different message.

This says we can support candidates, get them noticed, and get them competative. Hackett had NO chance before the Net went to support him. What has to be realized is that Schmidt will only have the seat for 14 months, Hackett is in a great position to run again. It often takes two or three runs to win a Congressional seat..."

Paul knows it's true:
A Victory for Democracy:
"...When I won the Democratic primary for this contest, few people believed we had a shot at victory. But DFA put its faith in me—and went to work organizing on the ground and online. Your support helped build the greatest Democratic get-out-the-vote effort this district has ever known.

While we didn't pull out a victory yesterday—we came incredibly close. We got 48 percent of the vote. And in those results rests hope for the future..."

and the Gov. and his 50-State Strategy? Here's proof that it works. The Hackett HQ folks agree that this brand-new DNC helped make Hackett's success happen. Half the state parties have funded boots on the ground 25 States in 5 months. I can't imagine how Gov. Dean got folks to move that fast, decisively, fearlessly. To me, that's what progress looks like, listening, talking, doing solid research just enough to figure out the action to take, then taking action, then measuring the results, learning, then taking action again.

We're climbing up out of a very deep hole, and the only feeling for that is:

Keen Anticipation:-)

Monday, August 01, 2005

living more healthy is hard...

just needing to vent a bit about how 'doing' life seems to mitigate against being healthier in my daily life...which I have it on good authority I have to do, but find it really hard to be consistent.

ah well. munched on a grapefruit for lunch, actually had breakfast, for a change. dinner is a mystery.

and yogajournal seems to help -- when I can't actually get to do it, being reminded of yoga's existence is comforting.

meanwhile, there are two events on Aug. 6 guaranteed to take my mind off whining:
DAJ's election count will end this very interesting Democratic Party election process.
and
the new Apple Store in Shibuya debuts.

onward!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Today, We Fight!

Question#1: what have you done for Paul Hackett today?:-) Our DA-International Chair is on point, when he wrote on Wednesday 7.27.05:
In Southwestern Ohio, a former Marine and Democrat Abroad is entering the last week of his campaign for Congress...


Question#2: what fires up the apathetic person? A competition, a way to join other like-minded folks to help support something or someone we come to believe in. The epic battles of the 2004 election cycle, were, for me, a beginning. I had to hurry up to learn about presidential politics (an ongoing study, and very strange:-).

Now, I'm taking more time to learn about local, because it seems to me, from a newbie perspective, that we (reality-based pragmatic progressives, Democrats) that that is where we take the fight next. And, what's excellently cool about local is that voting is not the only way Americans Abroad can make a real difference!

Of course, money helps local campaigns enormously. And, if you're from that locale, haven't you been feeling that you love your life outside of the States, that home is where you are now, but that you could do just a little bit more, be a mensch to folks who are struggling with the results of the worst administration in modern American history?

Being willing to travel also helps: When Lauren and Chris and I went to Iowa for the Dean campaign, it was likely that the primary was already lost (the craven reaction to the Gov's appropriately rallying the troops was an indication of another problem, and it wasn't his). I had never voted before, no interest at all in politics. Lauren and Chris had been involved in local Philly activism like escorting women to health clinics targeted by anti-choice nuts. We didn't know what it would be like. But we believed in supporting America's better angels, and we thought Howard could awaken that sleeping giant...as he had helped awaken us.

I'll tell you about a memory: 4:30 am, we (5 volunteers who were staying at the same campsite, Wesley Woods) were driving past the frozen fields of Iowa, exhausted, hyperaware, on the way to stand on subzero degree street corners and raise our signs to do drivetime visibility. Just as the sun crested the horizon, somebody in the silent car, (I still don't know who it was) began to softly sing, under their breath, 'oh beautiful for spacious skies...' and as the sun rose, pale pink and cold, one by one we joined in, this group of everyday people who came together out of a great sense of hope that even our little mite of power could make a difference. And it did, although we couldn't possibly have predicted what happened. Talk about joy, and hope, and determination? Yes.

Trusted talk helps, especially to your American friends and family wherever they they may be. If you're comfortable blogging, you can spread the word that way. Your story is important, and the reasons why you support a local candidate are the reasons I believe other people will want to hear.

I'll end with the DailyKos post that fired me up this morning: THINK BOLDLY: Go for a 75 Seat House Gain in '06


crossposted at: www.demsjapan.jp

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

laughing matters

time to dive into the pile of work, but, in another thanks to himself, here is a list of questions that snopes had no way to answer...some samples, and my responses thereof:

Is it true that a girl cannot get pregnant if her mate smokes the seeds of marijuana when he smokes marijuana, please tell me if this is true because a lot of people tell me it is true and a lot of people tell me it's not and I don't know whaether to believe it or not because this town lies a lot. thanks.

perhaps a resident of DC?


can you tell me how i would analyze the effect each statistic has on the world.


I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

Is it true that you are more likely to die from a champagne cork than a poisonous spider?

let's hope not.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

quickly, quickly...

I know this is bad form, but I truly don't have time to post more, so:

Some things of note:
This is heartening
Progressives and Democrats working together? Who'da thunk it? It helps when DP folks don't nurdle on about being 'more progressive than thou' and Progressive Party folks don't throw endless stink bombs at the DP...people are dying, we all have more important things to do.

Is HRC kidding?
Oh, for heaven's sake. I'm so hoping the Gov. doesn't get pulled into saying something pro this stupidity. But it may happen. why stupidity? Is HRC really going to tell me what I can do with my body? She has a better chance than Tim Roemer, and that's none at all. I think all these folks need to get a life, and stop trying to legislate anyone's but their own.run for president, lose your common sense...

in-depth interview with the Gov.
speaking of the Gov: this is my own blog, so I can say it - I sometimes so wish he hadn't taken this job. I understand why, and it was the right servant-leader thing to do, and renewed my faith in the possibility of reform...but I still want him to be president, and '08, we're going to need someone very like him, who governs as a regular person, not a pundit, or a political junkie.

gambarimasu!

Monday, July 25, 2005

a wonderful afternoon...expanded

I'm laughing out loud, because, since the writer himself decided to talk about his afternoon, I feel more relaxed about posting a quick pic, and saying that I'm very glad
Neil Gaiman is going to ask for translations of his awesome blog.

still smiling. have a safe trip Neil, see you back at Worldcon!

(many thanks for the pic and advice on gonpachi to Lauren at Fujiamamas, and her marvelous food blog in a fancy glass

a wonderful afternoon

I spent one yesterday, with one of the most important writer-thinkers of my generation. it was a private day for him, so no names here. we walked around tokyo streets, talking about, if I remember:
the tragic stupidity of american politics, and how it would be great to have being elected be more like jury duty (hmmm...not a bad idea), what a blessing kids are, how important it is to not be seduced by fame, and how easy it would be, especially if one is young and still forming. and how horrible it would feel to be afraid to lose fame. plus lots of bemused sightseeing at cosplay girls and boys in Harajuku, and the wretched user-interface at the post office bank machine, and trying to tell my story in as little time as possible so that I could hear more of his...and wanting to give him the list of things I think could be done better with his work here, but not wanting to be too forward...

it was fantastic, and a much-needed break from my regular life, within my regular life, a chance to explore nooks and crannies of tokyo that I had forgotten, and to talk about all manner of things with someone whose work and worldview I love.

many, many thanks...

Friday, July 22, 2005

the secret sharers



secrets released:
When I think of postcards, there's almost nothing as moving and blessed as the secret sharers at postsecret

secrets from home
part of my Proprioceptive Writing assignment is to write 5 postcards to people with whom I have/had a difficult relationship, and/or friends and family I haven't spoken with in years. The family part is a resolution I made for this year anyway, but it's really hard to do, for a variety of reasons. I thought I'd make this handmade art into a postcard and use that, but a friend suggested making it easier and sending regular Japan-themed postcards instead. I think I was putting obstacles in the way, so I found 5 postcards I've gotten over the years...now to think about what to say.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

bio 2: work related

for more info on my work background, please see the two bio links on the right.

Terri

wiki'd


I've been into wikis for about a year. Now, when I say 'into', it means that I read them for fun: wikipedia.org; and for information dkosopedia.com

but I haven't been moved to really edit any, or to start one myself in a serious way. Which is very different from my reaction to blogs - as soon as I saw a movable type blog, I started diving into it to figure out how to do one for demsjapan.

Actually, I'm a programmer wannabe - I don't have time in my life to study this stuff, although there are such nifty tools to learn:-). But at some point, I probably will try creating new multimedia tools, because it's another area that I really love working in.

anyway, I've wondered why I didn't get more active with wikis. Then, in the personal democracy newsletter, there was a new article about the tough part of getting regular folks to use the things. here's a good point about adoption of tools like this among non-tech folks: "Engineers, who generally think HTML is trivial [to learn], assume that wiki markup is easy to learn; and it probably is compared to HTML," says Ken Norton, vice president of products at hosted-wiki provider JotSpot. "What they don't understand is that regular users don't want to have to learn a new way to author documents.... It's not that they're not capable of learning; they simply don't want to be bothered."

Man, that phrase 'don't want to have to learn a new way' felt like a kick in the gut, because it's such a hard way of thinking for me to understand when it comes to cool tech tools! But then, my do unto others etc inclination kicks in, and I realize that there are so many activities I feel exactly the same way about. Like, I just can't be bothered, much as I love the 'Mac OS', to actually read the manuals, short and sweet as they are. I want things to be so intuitive that I can figure it out, or ask Tom...anyway, it just goes to show me that that, to go outside of the tech and tech wannabe box, wikis are going to have a get a lot simpler and more user-friendly, even across platforms. Like email.

and blogs.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Wednesday Wire's Out

I heart John McQueen. He's filled with integrity and the willingness, even after experiencing so much of politics, to believe that progressive thinking can still win in the Democratic Party. He writes political analysis that even a non-wonky person like me can understand. And, although he may be considered an 'old guard' kinda guy, his work with tech guy/Deaniac Chris Shannon on the Wednesday Wire is a model of a good idea and people of good will leading to great results. So, if you're interested in political analysis for everyday people, check it out...

This week, in the Wednesday Wire:

"...7. State By State.

GEORGIA: Zig Zag the Klepto! Zell Miller left the governorship of Georgia in 1999 and took $60,000 in office entertainment funds with him. He also demanded $20,000 for "unused leave." He was forced by public pressure to pay back the $60K and says that he did not know that he, as a "constitutional officer" of the state, was ineligible to collect for unused leave. No living former Gov, other than Zig Zag, even thought to take the money.

CALIFORNIA. Seems that Duke Cunningham not only had two boats and two California houses that folks were trying to help him financially with, he also had a house in Northern Virginia that also has "funny money" tied to it. I think we are getting over the shock of one man's overwhelming greed, but there is another question that bothers me: When you leave the office, Duke, how do you decide which house to go to? Do you have five sets of house slippers?

CONNECTICUT. Joe Lieberman has an opponent in his own party, at least until the state Dem convention next May. Fairfield Univ. Prof. John Ormer has raised $1000! If he gets 2% of Dem voters on a petition, or 15% at the state convention, he will force a primary. Republicans don't have a clue who to put up against Joe L, who is more popular among Republicans than Democrats. Joe has $1.5 million so far in his campaign war chest against Ormer and Nobody..."

the Democratic Party and Mass Movements

I am way, way out of my depth on the history and academic theory here, and trying to at least learn enough to define terms, from a regular person's viewpoint. But, it seems to me that there is much to save in the Democratic Party's ideals, and much to jettison in it's practices. The people I want to ignite are those who are not politically focused, because that is, I think, most people (most Americans). Mass movements, especially the Civil Rights and the Women's movements, ignited folks and made profound change happen that was broader and more lasting than the results of politics (that's probably why the radical right hates those movements so). So, when the black commentator says it's time to to build a mass movement, it resonates with me.

So, what kind of Democratic Party can work with righteous mass movements, not stifle them? I wonder if that is the kind of change in the Democratic Party that Howard Dean is looking to create?

Being 47, when the Commentator says 'Nobody ever heard of a mass movement of old or even middle-aged people', I think they're being short-sighted. I think the Dean campaign was the beginning of a mass movement that us 30+ were/are thrilled to participate in, even if we had never done so before. The media, as usual, focused in on the youngest people, and I guess that's to be expected. bit disappointing, though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

why I recoil at horsetrading...

here's the thing: an ineffectual Democratic Party that can't reach out to people and draw them in with honesty and joy, that can't use modern tools to fight against right wing extremism, that treats politics like a game of cards when liars are playing speed chess: this is a Democratic Party that can't stop tragedies like this:

Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Mothers for Peace
image: Cindy Sheehan points to a picture of her son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, while visiting members of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 15, 2005. Sheehan's son, Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. REUTERS/Mannie Garcia

so, politics, to me, is not a game. For me, politics is a necessary part of making the American dream a reality - that we fulfill the promise that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr gave his life for.

When I see politics being played, and the scorecard being kept, and the petty triumphs of ego, and the vindictive secrecy and the rest of it, it reminds me why I hated politics for most of my life. But, it also reminds me that it doesn't have to be that way. Politics can be a higher endeavor, a way to lift eyes and hearts, to tell the truth of what government is supposed to be about and how the people own it. I think the Democratic Party is now being forced to do the hard work of finding a populism that it may not ever have envisioned, and making it work for that large group of people who, like me, were never interested in politics. That, IMO, is one of our key 'secret' weapons. To persuade everyone everywhere to be a full-on activist is a waste of time, because it's not likely to happen. But to ask everyone everywhere to do their little bit, in keeping with who they are, is realistic and doable. That's what I want to help the Democratic Party become. So we never again have to suffer preventable tragedies like this senseless, immoral war.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

bit of a bio


here's the short bio I used for the first skills building workshop . I heard that a great time was had by all at the second, sorry I couldn't make it. I hope to be giving another blogging workshop for the Fall workshop.

Terri was born in Harlem in 1958, grew up in Queens and Manhattan, attended the High School of Music & Art as a voice and piano major, went to Fordham University for 2 years as an English major, was Manager, then Director of Business Affairs for CBS Records International for 10 years, was General Manager of Paisley Park Music for 2 years. Left the corporate world to run a non-profit, Medius Entertainment, whose mandate was to promote cultural exchange by bringing excellent Japanese underground bands to the US. After almost 11 years of artist management (Pizzicato Five, Buffalo Daughter, FEED), Terri and her business partner decided the music business was moving in too mercenary a direction, and they moved into bi-cultural multimedia production and brand management.

Terri wrote the Kobunsha – released “Bush in Wonderland”, in 2003, and voted for the first time in the 2004 presidential election. She is a diehard Howard Dean Democrat, who, inspired by the campaign, has become politically active in a number of organizations:
Democrats Abroad Japan (current co-chair, with Brent O'Leary)
Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad - in formation (communications officer)
AfricanAmericansforDemocracy (steering committee member)

She is determined to turn active citizenship into something that attracts people who are apathetic about politics, and gets them to stay involved in the ways that fit them best.

Monday, July 11, 2005

mountains, molehills, etc...

since this is the only personal blog I'm going to do for a while, sometimes it won't be about politics...at least not directly:-). some song stuff w/o a melody for the moment:

4 Foot Mountain


there seems to be
a 4 foot mountain
hunched in the middle
of your parlor floor

I keep my eye on
Your 4 foot mountain
In case it’s necessary to
Break for the door

Because you don’t know
Where you found it
And I don’t know
Why you don’t set it free

High empty space
The perfect place
To squeeze your attention
And make my plea
For your


4 foot mountain
4 foot mountain
4 foot mountain
just set it free


you read the paper
tiny rocks begin to fall
the vapor rises
matter of protocol

you shuffle forward
when dirt begins to roll
your mind is elsewhere
nature will take its toll

that 4 foot mountain
is moving down to 3
you start at noises
flirt with catastrophe

and the 4 foot mountain
just tumbled down to 2
just one decision
one lens to see it through

the

4 foot mountain
4 foot mountain
4 foot mountain
just set it free

C2005estraven

still willing...

from Famous Quotes About America

"
France was a land, England was a people, but America, having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter -- it was the graves at Shiloh and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart."
Unknown Source