Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hey!! I Got A Job!!

This just in, I've been hired. Small law firm, wrongful death and PI mostly, decent salary and health insurance. I start Monday. Yay!!

Friday Frights Creepy Kid Smackdown! Joshua v Esther

The "creepy kid" subgenre is one of the few non-supernatural horror genres that actually scares me. I don't have any kids, but I imagine that suddenly realizing your cherubic ten-year-old is a homicidal maniac would be pretty horrifying. Pint-sized killers were a lot more fun before children as young as eight were forced into armed militias and eleven-year-olds were arrested for shooting people, but on some level we knew they existed all along. The subgenre still has strength, even if it has to find it in well-to-do suburban homes instead of the real-life horrors in Africa and Myanmar. But that's the point. Creepy kids are everywhere, and we are not safe.

Psychiatrists haven't settled the question for certain, but it seems that sociopaths are born, not made. Hence, the creepy kid not only exists in real life, but he (they're almost always hes) can start being creepy at any time. I grew up in Salt Lake City in the 1970s and believe me, evil children are no stretch. I knew plenty of 'em. But they're still scary because we expect our homicidal maniacs to be like Jeffrey Dahmer or Jason from the Friday the 13th series, not the cute little fourth grader next door. (Or like Eric Harris, the popular, high-achieving student who killed 13 people at Columbine High School with his friend Dylan Klebold. See previous post.)

The "creepy kid" subgenre started out with the unintentionally funny The Bad Seed in 1956, followed in 1960 by an entire town of possible alien babies in Village of the Damned. Anybody who was alive in the 1970s remembers Regan McNeil and Damian Thorn, and an even-younger evil kid started his murder career by killing everybody in the delivery room in It's Alive. Among my favorite creepy kids: The sweet three-year-old at the end of Pet Sematary that kills and, uh, eats his mother. The roller-blading second grader in the Dawn of the Dead remake who attacks the protagonist's husband, tearing his throat out with her teeth and thundering down the hallway for seconds. The stringy-haired girl in The Ring, dead, psychotic and spoiling for revenge. (And she never sleeps.) But by far the scariest kid I can remember is Nellie Olsen from Little House on the Prairie. Yeah, she didn't kill anybody, but that's just because it was a family show.

(Russian accent) "If I find out you're lying, I'll cut off your tiny hairless prick before you know how to use it."
--Esther to Danny, Orphan

Esther is the latest entry in the creepy-kid Olympics. She's an Orphan from Russia who comes to live with a nice well-to-do couple (Vera Farmiga and the ever-patient Peter Sarsgaard) that have Dark Secrets. Well, of course they do; otherwise there wouldn't be any weaknesses for the creepy kid to exploit. And does she ever. In a short time she has deaf sister Max covering up and lying for her, indifferent brother Danny terrified of her, and Mom convince that she has some psychotic personality disorder. Dad, on the other hand, finds her fascinating - partly because she likes to draw (he's an architect) but also because, unlike anyone else in the family, she actually listens to what he has to say.

As creepy kids go, Esther leaves you an out. Leave her alone and let her do what she wants, and you get to live. Piss her off -- and unfortunately, people do -- and the body count starts to rise. There's one hell of a twist along the lines of The Sixth Sense, where you look back over the whole movie and say, "Aha!" but I ain't sayin' another word about that. Go check out Orphan. And don't piss her off.

"I love her more than anything."
Joshua, referring to the baby sister he just almost pushed down the stairs

On the other hand, we have Joshua, an indie flick from last year. Joshua is a hyperintelligent, unemotional nine-year-old who lives with his train-wreck parents and holy-roller grandmother in a luxurious New York apartment. Mom (Vera Farmiga, the same mom from Orphan) just had a new baby, and she waffles between postpartum depression and flat-out psychosis while oblivious Dad dotes on the family dog and spends most of his time at work. Grandma wants to convert Joshua to Pentecostal Christianity over Mom's objections, and all three of them are so thoroughly dislikeable that I started rooting for the creepy kid fairly early on.

The trouble with Joshua, though, is that he's not overtly creepy. Cold, manipulative and obviously good at what he does, but we don't find out why he's actually doing what he's doing until the very end of the movie. I mean, why would a kid set out to destroy his family? Especially when they're doing such a good job of that all by themselves? And the answer, when it comes, is not satisfying - in fact, you sort of wonder if he was maybe doing the right thing. Joshua is interesting as a sociopathic character study, but not as a horror movie. So I'll give it a MEH (two stars).

Really, it's no contest. Esther wins hands down. I don't know what movie Owen Glieberman saw, but I saw Orphan and it was scary as hell. Brrrr.

July Microfundraiser and Swim for Distance Wrap-Up!

Km swum in July, Swim for Distance Month: 41.1

Playing in the back of my head: "Keep On Rocking In the Free World" by Neil Young

Well, folks, July is (almost) over, and it's my best Swim for Distance Month ever! I logged 41.1 km, which is about 25 1/2 miles. I was only aiming for 40, so those of you who pledged some money by the km for the Childrens Medical Center microfundraiser, relax. I'm not gonna ding ya for the extra k. We'll just call it 40 and you can make your contribution here. If you haven't donated or pledged and you still wish to do so, you can to go to my fundraising page and toss some nominal amount into the basket. So far we have $78 and I know some of the pledges aren't in yet so it's looking pretty good! I'm pleased, anyway, and I'm sure the hospital will be, too. It is not easy to raise money in this economy. It'd be easier if I had a job with a nice law firm that wants to look good by contributing to local charities, but, you know, one thing at a time and all that.

Speaking of which, I have a second interview today and two possible document review projects about to start. So no matter what happens, it looks like I'll be working. We like working. Working is good. I'll keep you posted.

Next up in the great Swim-A-Thon, the Lake Travis Relays. It's in Austin in early October. I really wanted to do the Maui Channel Swim this year, but Maui being in, uh, Hawaii and me being unemployed, that's kind of not going to happen. Austin, though, is doable. Plus, I can take Joan, and she can hang around in Weirdsville while I'm getting wet with the gang.

Now, considering I can get sunburned walking to my car, I'm thinking three or four hours on a Texas lake might be beyond the capacity of even most sunscreens. (I've also gotten sunburned on all of my open water swims to date, though I just got a little pink at the Texas Tough race. And all of those were with heavy sunscreen.) So here's what I want: A burqini.

Is this not the coolest thing ever? It's a swimsuit designed by a Muslim woman to provide modest coverage during competitive or recreational swimming. And, okay, I'm not a Muslim but an outfit like this makes a LOT of sense for us pale folk. It's light, won't drag, and really is meant to be a competitive swimsuit. It comes in colors other than black, too, which is good because it's HOT in Texas in October. I'm not sure where I'm gonna get $200 Australian ($165 US) but the Lord will provide, I guess (says the Buddhist who wants the Muslim swimwear.)

Hey, I got a fan letter from a reader of No Accounting For Reality!! Thanks, Sharon of Frankfort, Kentucky! The paperback will be out shortly here and I'll be able to send you a copy in a few weeks. Still haggling with Lulu trying to get the price down to about $10. I may have to crack and make it $11.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So How's The Job Search Going, You Ask. Part III.

Meters swum in July, Swim for Distance Month: 37.5 (with two days to go)

Playing in the Background: Rain, apparently. Unless the squirrels are throwing acorns at the chimney again.

In case you're keeping track, August will be Month Five of the grand unemployment adventure. As far as the TDI is concerned, though, it's only Week Thirteen. This means I still have thirteen weeks of unemployment payments to go, which, if I use all of them without any breaks, will take me right through late November and into the Christmas seasonal employment rush. So doing okay there. Course I'd prefer to go back to work way before then. Joan would probably also prefer that. I think unemployment is harder on the spouse of the unemployed person than it is on the unemployed person. Sure, you gotta deal with that "what was wrong with me in the first place" thing and the "why doesn't anybody want me" thing, but the spouse, God help her, is placed smack into the middle of a situation that is A. unstable and B. she has no control over. Course none of us have any control over anything, but at least we get to feel like we do once in a while.

This is probably the longest I've been out of work since college, when I distinctly recall spending most of one Christmas break at home watching the "screaming dog of the day" $1 rentals from the local video store (most of them scummy horror films with the occasional blowing-things-up-for-no-reason actionfests) because I was the only one who didn't have a job. And yes, this does suck, but the suckage is only in moderation. Plenty of things suck worse. If you wanna know how worse, pick up the book Columbine by David Cullen. I'm reading it now and, yeah. That sucks worse. Hard enough to go through high school at all but imagine being the survivor of a school shooting and having the media follow you everywhere you go for the next two or three years until you either graduate ("an astonishing success after such tragedy") or fail to ("another victim of the inexplicable violence"). Eesh. It's my new Book o'the Decade, so check it out. Of your local library. Or wherever.

I had an interview today with a recruiter (yes, another one; I think there's like 50 in town all trying to fill the same 3 jobs) and left very reassured. She told me she had a woman last week with identical credentials to mine plus an M frickin' BA, and said woman hadn't had an interview since April. I've had scads of interviews; therefore, I am doing something right. The competition is just really frickin' fierce right now. Firms are interviewing nine and ten people just because they can. In making the decisions, it sometimes comes down to irrational things like looks and handwriting. (I'm not kidding. Someone Who Would Know told me this.) Since I don't look like Marilyn Monroe and my handwriting is, uh, interesting, I'm out of luck if they're going by that. But who knows if they are? Ya just don't. It's a jungle out there.

That aside, though, I've come upon some truisms about the whole looking-for-work thing. Item One, it does not benefit you whatsoever to take a full-time job you don't want unless it has health benefits. If it does, taking it for that reason is probably okay, because health benefits are expensive. Otherwise, though, you're just making it difficult to keep looking (which you're going to do because you don't want the job.) Unless paying the mortgage is becoming impossible (which it isn't, in my case), it's better to find a part-time job or a temp gig so you have time for interviews.

Item Two, if you can, take a part-time job or a temp gig so you have time for interviews. (Nice segue, huh?) In Texas, at least, having a part-time job does not disqualify you for unemployment benefits. There's some formula by which they continue to pay you a lesser amount, and don't ask me what it is but it's on the TDI web page someplace. If you make too much money in a given week to qualify for an unemployment payment, they'll just postpone your unemployment benefits for that week. Which is how I got to 13 weeks when I've really been out of work for 18.

Item Three, I can't afford to think about any of this stuff. Not how long I've been out of work, not how much longer it's gonna take me to find a job, not how I'm going to pay the bills next month. If I do I will make myself crazy and there are plenty of things out there to make me crazy without my help. I gotta concentrate my mental energy on What I'm Doing Today. (And "How am I going to pay This Particular Bill?", which, remarkably, hasn't been a problem yet. And shouldn't be as long as I continue to take em one at a time.)

When you think about it, none of us should be wasting mental energy on the future anyway. As Mariko put it in Shogun (another Book O'the Decade if there ever was one, but I read it years ago), "There are twenty tomorrows between that day and this one. Anything can happen on any of those days." That philosophy is both shockingly Buddhist and would fit in well with the whole Twelve Step thing. One day at a time and all that. And the most important thing to do at any given time is what you're doing at that moment.

But I will still make this prediction: I predict that in the immediate future, I will get up and make myself a quesadilla. Oo, I'm right. That's a hit!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Frights Double Feature!

Meters swum in July Swim for Distance Month: 21.8
Playing in the background: A really sad episode of Deadliest Catch. Two people have died already.

Cook: Man, that is one freaky dude.
Freaky Dude: I heard that.
Cook: With great hearing.
--from Dead and Deader

Last night I tuned in Chiller, the occasionally scary cable channel, and caught a movie called Dead and Deader. This sucker just screams "direct to video", but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The premise, if you will: A soldier comes back from some southeast Asian country (I think it was Cambodia but they said Laos a couple of times so maybe they didn't know either) carrying a mysterious bug (and a literal bug in this case, a scorpion) that seems to cause zombification in everybody but him. These are your classic zombies, the brainless not-all-that-fast-moving type that, uh, want to feed on human flesh. Naturally there's an evil scientist and the clueless military personnel that aren't protecting the innocent public. There's also a wiseacre cook that gets dragged along for the adventure, a lascivious fat chick whose personality actually improves once she's a zombie, and a pretty girl (there's always a pretty girl in movies like this.) And of course there's the Big Mystery of why our hero, despite being obviously dead, hasn't turned into a zombie. And I ain't gonna spoil that one for you, folks. The script is fantastic, with a lot of rapid-fire one-liners and one screamingly funny discussion about who's the best James Bond. And, yeah, can't take it seriously as a horror film at all, but it still merits a GREAT (three stars).

"At some point you have to decide how it benefits you to continue to be such a fucking prick."
--Dr. Prashar, Ghost Town

Tonight we saw Ghost Town on DVD. Ricky Gervais, the funny guy from Shaun of the Dead and The Office (UK version), is a misanthropic dentist (is there any other kind?) who suddenly becomes able to See Dead People. And they annoy him. Much hilarity ensues. Again, the genius of this movie is the script, which is just brilliant. If the flick has a problem, it's that it doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up. A romantic comedy? A mild horror movie? A moral tale? Well, it's kind of all of those things. Mostly it's a comedy with ghosts. Ah, so what. It was fun. Ghost Town gets an AWESOME (four stars).

A Friday Frights night of comedies? Something must be wrong with me. Hey, Orphan comes out next week. We can be scared then. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Procrastination, Perfectionism and Paranoia

Kilometers swum in July: 20 (halfway there!!)
Playing in the background: Sounds like Jonn Serrie.

It occurred to me the other day that procrastination and perfectionism are approximately the same thing. One is avoiding doing something, and the other is avoiding finishing the thing by trying over and over again to get it "right." And both are cheap excuses. (I'll get to paranoia in a second. What? Why are you staring at me? Who said that?)

Cheap excuses, you ask. Yes, says I. For what? For not doing something that scares you. If you don't ever start, then, obviously, you don't get it done. If you start it but then can't finish because you're trying to get it just right, you don't get it done either. And they both work for not having to do something that scares you. At least for a little while.

Y'all probably remember Scaley, my stressed-out, query-letter writing T-Rex. Scaley is the ultimate creation of a brain (mine) doing everything it can to avoid being scared. Ironic because what it's most afraid of is being scared. I mean, everybody hates being afraid. It scares us. Well, Scaley's tale (tail?) is now the subject of an essay I'm floggin' around to various literary journals and stuff like that. Two rejections and counting. Obviously I gotta write query letters to journals about this essay I wrote about writing query letters. And a very strange thing has happened. Nothing.

Look. Scaley not only resides in my brain, he's taken the penthouse suite, is tossing his garbage out the window and is sending out for pizza on a regular basis. Yet, on the subject of his own existence, he could care less. I mean, if the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, why is writing about fear not scary? What's more, if writing query letters is scary, then why is writing query letters about writing query letters not only not scary but not even all that interesting?

No wonder I like scary movies. It's not that the movies themselves are all that scary. It's that we're afraid of the fright we're gonna get when what we know is gonna happen, happens. Like the ever-popular "reflection of something scary in the mirror when the pretty girl who's fixing her hair looks away for a second" shot. I've seen this shot in every scary movie from "The Amityville Horror" (little half-seen pig creature) to "Thirteen Ghosts" (psychotic dead teenage girl) to "Mirrors" (holy crap, don't get me started). Every darn time somebody looks into the mirror in a scary movie, you can just count on having the bejabbers scared out of you in the next ten to fifteen seconds. But we still look, don't we? And we still go, "AAAAAH!" when it happens. Even though we know it's gonna happen.

Which brings me back to procrastination and perfectionism. The whole thing with Scaley and query letters (about things other than himself) is that I'm scared of scaring myself. Scaring myself how? Well, I don't quite have a grip on that yet, except to say, if I can't write a query letter, who's to say that I can write anything else? A novel? A blog post? A frick'n laundry list? So I procrastinate. And I agonize over the things. And both are amazingly effective as far as not getting Mindbender published, folks.

So here's the deal. I'm almost done with Soulmender. Well, maybe a month or two out, depending on how long it takes me to write the one story thread I've been avoiding because I don't know how in hell to do it. (Scaley had a brilliant idea on this one; start at the end and work backwards, like in Memento. What the hell, it's worth a shot.) I might possibly have a completed trilogy with no publisher for the first (and arguably best) volume if I'm not careful. And so, dear readers, I would like you to please nag me. Check back into this spot now and again and post me a comment along the lines of "Hey Jen, have you sent out any query letters this week?" (Kind of like, "Have you hugged your paranoid dinosaur today?") Because procrastination is a disease of amnesia. The less you think about something, the less you think about something. Constant reminders can do wonders.

I never did get back to paranoia, did I? Okay, let's just say that when I write a post like this, I'm paranoid that I really am as crazy as I feel sometimes. Eesh. Even Scaley's clueless brontosaurus buddy Clyde would freak out about that one.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Frights: The Orphanage

Playing in the background: It's pretty quiet, actually. I should be in bed.

This was a pretty tame week for horror movies. Nothing at the dollar theater, Orphan doesn't come out until July 24, nothing on pay per view that I haven't already seen and Netflix said they sent me Away From Her, which is a weepie about Alzheimer's disease. I thought I was gonna be reduced to watching one of the Masters of Horror installments on Netflix Direct (seen about six, haven't liked any of them. Except Fair Haired Child. That one was okay.)

Luckily, Netflix made a mistake and sent Guillermo Del Toro's The Orphanage instead. The Orphanage gets a WOW (5 stars). Like Pan's Labyrinth, it's scary, suspenseful and as is often the case in his work, heartbreakingly sad. In fact I'm not sure it qualifies as a horror film. It's more of a tragedy/drama with some creepy stuff going on. But, there was enough creepy stuff going on to make me happy.

For the record, it's never a good idea to invite your kid's imaginary friend back to the house to play. You never know when the imaginary friend might turn out to be--okay, I'm not sayin' another word. This one is definitely worth a view. And I know I'm a hopeless geek here, but it was just awesome to hear people speaking Castilian even if I had to use the subtitles. Donde estais, ninos? Estais bien? Oo, I have chills. The kids are definitely not all right.

Okay, I'm off to bed now. One more swim day this week and I get a fishy sticker. And, uh, yes, that would be 6:30 am tomorrow. Good thing I don't think about this stuff very much.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Something About Buddhism. No, Really.

July Swim for Distance Total to Date: 11 k (whoo hoo!)
Playing in the background: Brilliant guitarist Pat Methaney

In between swimming and writing and oh yeah, looking for a job, I also read stuff once in a while. Recently I've been plodding through Zen, Its History and Teachings, by Osho. Sound like heavy reading? Well, it is, kind of, but the book itself is of moderate size. It also has nice color photos of various soothing things like river rocks, gardens, spiral patterns in the ground, fish, etc. (nothing enhances a book on religion like nifty photos, in my humble opinion). It's also divided into reasonable chapters, which is nice when your main reading time is the last five or six minutes before you fall asleep.

A few words about Osho: That I'm reading his book doesn't mean I'm espousing his philosophy, or even that I agree with most of the stuff he writes. Osho used to be Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian philosophy professor who slipped into religious prophethood at some point, caused trouble virtually everywhere he went and is kind of notorious for founding a commune in Oregon and driving Rolls-Royces. Well, the commune itself got to be kind of notorious when some of its members staged the first bioterror attack on U.S. soil by poisioning about 800 people to influence a local election. Stuff like that tends to get you kicked out of the country, whether you had anything to do with it or not. Osho wandered around various parts of the world for the next five years before returning to India, where he died in 1990. The definitive bio of the guy is called Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic, and I think that pretty much sums it up.

Moving on: If you want to get a good grasp on where Zen came from, you can do a lot worse than read this thing. Buddhism, like Christianity, doesn't fit into a convenient "this is what we believe" box. Most religions that spread out over large regions and different kinds of people don't so much "take" as they "go native." Just as you can go into an Irish Catholic parish and have a very different experience than you can in a Norwegian Lutheran church, Thai Buddhism is not Burmese Buddhism is sure as heck not Tibetan Buddhism and so on. In Osho's view, Zen is a fusion of Buddhism and Taoism, so complete that it's impossible to tell what came from what. Like most things about Zen, it just is.

I came across this passage yesterday, and somehow it's very soothing to me:

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinion for or against.
The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.

--Sosen, as quoted by Osho.

Interpret that however you want, but what I get out of it is, "There are much easier ways to get through life than to drag yourself kicking and screaming." In short, things just are. Which, oddly enough, echoes something I've heard over and over again at OA meetings: "Surrendering doesn't mean I take no action. It means I take the action and surrender the results" or, alternatively, "I'm in charge of the planning committee, not the results committee."

Hmm. I wonder if the Twelve Steps aren't America's contribution to Buddhism. That would be a great idea if Mel Ash hadn't thought of it first. (Hi, Mel!)

Buy No Accounting For Reality between July 1 and July 31 and $1 per copy goes to Childrens Medical Center! Follow the old fundraising efforts here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July Swim for Distance Update

Playing in the background: Cicadas. Millions and millions of cicadas.

Just a quick update here. As of today I've clocked in at 4.3k, including the unimaginably huge total for today alone (that's a mile and a half, for those of you who like to keep track of these things.) So I'm on track to hit 40k by the end of the month. Yay!

Confidential to Governor Sanford: I'm really, really sorry. I didn't realize, when Joan and I got legally married in California a year ago today, that our doing so would force you to fly to Argentina and boink a woman not your wife. I think you ought to sue the California Supreme Court for alienation of affection. Or maybe the company that made the zipper on your pants, which was plainly defective. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July Microfundraiser!!

July Swim for Distance total to date: 1.9k

Playing in the background: The air conditioner. I shouldn't complain, though. This is the first month our electric bill's gone over a hundred.

What, you may ask, is a microfundraiser? Well, I'll tell you. Microfundraising is when you solicit small amounts of money from friends and family members who are just as broke as you are, but who might want to make some contribution or other to a worthy cause and feel better knowing that their contribution is being lumped in with a bunch of others to make a bigger difference. Does that sound like you? Of course it does. Read on:

When I swam the Texas Tough open water race a week or so ago, I somehow got shanghaied into raising money for Childrens Medical Center Dallas as I was celebrating my not-lastness. Well, that's okay. Childrens is a pretty darn nifty place, and they're having just as hard a time in this economy as everybody else. The hospital is listed in U.S. News and World Report's Best Hospitals issue. It's a not-for-profit Level One trauma center for pediatrics and also the pediatric teaching hospital for UT Southwestern. You can read more about 'em here.

(By the way, does the term 'shanghaied' have any negative connotations against people of Asian descent? If so, let's say I got hoodwinked into this fundraising thing. Unless that has negative connotations against people who, uh, wear hoods or something.)

There are a couple of ways you can help me with this endeavour. One, you can sponsor me for Dallas Aquatic Masters' Swim For Distance Month and pledge some amount of money (but no more than a quarter, please) for every kilometer I swim in the month of July. Last July I managed 34 kilometers (about 21 miles) and this July I'd like to make it all the way to 40 (about 25 miles). As of today I'm almost at, uh, two. Still, if I were to make it to 40, and you'd pledged a quarter per kilometer, that would be $10.00. (See what I mean about microfundraising? If I were hosting $100-a-plate dinners for y'all to listen to me talk, or something, I don't think it would go over as well. I'm just sayin'.) What's more, you don't have to pay me directly. You can just go to my fundraising page at the end of the month, click on the link and follow the instructions.

If kilometer swimming is too uncertain, buy my book. For the month of July, $1 of every copy sold will go to Childrens. Here's my Lulu storefront, which has the details. You also get a nifty tale for your trouble, and the price is still only four bucks. Cheap! Tell your friends. To commemorate your historic contribution to Childrens and my literary career, print out the cover page and mail it with a self-addressed stamped envelope to me at 1920 Abrams, No. 117, Dallas, Texas 75214. I'll sign it to you, your wife, your husband, your best friend's cousin's sister, or even just my name so you can sell it on e-bay once I'm rich and famous. That's entirely up to you. So tell your friends. Lots of em. That's the problem with microfundraising: You gotta hit up a lot of folks. Luckily, I know a lot of folks.

If neither of those options float your boat, you still have the option of contributing directly by going to my fundraising page. You can also check out how we're doing on the little contribute-o-meter at the bottom of the page. No more than $10.00, please. I think it's more fun one of the other ways, though. Besides, you oughta get something for your money, even if it's just me swimming for the benefit of all beings.

So that's what I'm up to this month, besides looking for work and driving myself bats here at home. Further posts on Buddhism, politics, writing, scary movies and other things of great interest to follow. Watch this space.