The whole hostage episode ended the next day (Monday) at about 2:30pm. I’d just gotten back from the grocery when a VERY loud boom rocked my building. It was a concussion grenade that the SWAT team used to blow out the back door. They also used 10 teargas canisters.

The woman that had been held ran out of the apartment when the perpetrator fell asleep. He immediately shot himself behind the right ear. He did not die immediately, but he never regained consciousness and died a couple of days later. Thankfully.

I got an interesting call the other day, from an old associate that I worked with at SoftKey (aka The Learning Company). It seems that he is managing some small computer stores up in Knoxville and he wants me to manage for him when they open here in Atlanta. The pay is very good for retail ($45k). I’m interested in the income, but selling frankenstein PC boxes is not my idea of joy. I will NOT have to work on them at all (supposedly). I’ll just bet that they will put the first one way out in bumfuck Alpharetta or somewhere else equally as repugnant. And they’ll want me to drive all that way in the lovely Atlanta gridlock as well. Ummm, no thanks. I would be an unbearable bitch if I had to deal with that everyday! (Go ahead. Laugh. I know you will anyway!)

The most fabulous holiday of the year is only a few days away! Samhain (pronounced SOW ahn, like cow on. Eh, it’s Gaelic, don’t ask…), or Halloween, is my very favourite holiday. For Wicca and other nature based religions, Samhain is a festival of the harvest and the traditional slaughter of the animals that will not make it through the winter. Of course, very few of us prepare our own meat, so that part is not practised much any more, but the harvest and ensuing celebration of the generous Earth is practised extensively. If you’d like more info on Wicca or other non-mainstream religions, please visit the ultimate Craft site: Witchvox.

In Mexico, Oct. 31st is the Day of the Dead, a very important religious occasion to revere and hang out with your dead ancestors. Food and drink is taken out to the family plots and everyone spends the night out in the cemeteries. Skulls and skeletons made of sugar are a favourite treat. Don’t ya just love the way Catholicism and the tribal religions blended down there? I think it’s fascinating.

For my little tribe here in Decatur, Halloween is not religious, but just a damn good party! My friend Jody has the Wild Kingdom Halloween Party every year (this is the 4th), complete with a theme and everything. Last year it was Prom Night. This year it is Celebrities. I have no idea who I’m gonna be . I was gonna do latex again this year, but it’s too cold, so I must go thrifting and see what I can scrounge up. Andy is gonna be Einstein. Very appropriate, since he is a neuroscientist and he is way too smart for his own good. I’ll try to post pix…

Well, that’s all for this week. It has been blissfully uneventful other than getting a new furnace today that sounds like a freaking freight train. I’ll prolly get NO sleep tonight due the frightful noise. Even the cats are freaked out by it!

Om shanti.

Extra: Mustang Theft and Jesus Freaks

We got the Mustang back from the jaws of oblivion. Thursday October 14 we came home after a Thrashers game to find a voicemail from the cops telling us that they had the car. Of course we couldn’t get any other info until the next day, but it was back home by Friday afternoon.

It appears that the slack asses at Emory University Police Department just couldn’t manage to put all those pesky numbers into the stolen car database, so our car sat at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in south Atlanta for a week before it was towed to a lot. There was minimal damage, which is a damn good thing since it was not covered for theft. We’ll get whatever the insurance company decides to give us for the damages and I guess Andy will ask for a new car stereo for Christmas.

I was accosted by a Jesus Freak the other day at the laundromat. Believe it or not, that is the first time I’ve actually had to fend off a fire and brimstone fundamentalist christian with a gleam in his eye. And let me tell you, it was the most annoying AND the most fun thing I’ve had happen in a while!

I was stuffing a washer when this guy pulls up in a big truck with a Jesus Saves license plate. I noticed, but hey, this is the Bible Belt baybee and you learn to overlook these things. But then the guy walked in and he was wearing a Jesus Saves T shirt as well. Ok, NOW I am decidedly not looking at him and trying to look busy with the laundry.

He gets his clothes and chats with the Taiwanese guy who runs the place then he leaves. “Whew!” I think, as I add laundry soap.

Then he comes back in. “Oh, BALLS!!”, I think, as he approaches.

“That isn’t your little red Honda out there is it?”, he asks.

“Yes, it is”, I reply, thinking that perhaps he had tagged it while backing out or something.

“But you look like a very intelligent woman”, he says.

Seeing the evangelical gleam in his eye, I cringe inwardly and say, “Ummm, yes?”

“Well, I just noticed that you have that blasphemous evolution fish on your car…”, he ventures.

Feeling my blood start to boil and the FIGHT response start to well up, I cut him off, “Look, DON’T accost me, please.”

“Wha–?” he replies.

“I said, do NOT accost me!” I exclaim.

“Well, you don’t have to be hostile…” he sniffs. “I was just saying that you couldn’t possibly believe that because you look so intelligent.”

Uh-oh, he went there. He actually went there! Taming my anger as best I could, I respond, “I have multiple Degrees, if you must know. You are judging me and implying that I am not intelligent because I have different views than you. Your intolerance simply indicates your inherent intellectual ineptitude and I do NOT want to hear it. I do not harass anyone for their personal views and neither should you.”

He stands there, mouth agape. I assume he is trying to figure out what I just said, seeing as how many of the words are multisyllabic. After a moment, he says, “Believing in that stuff will send you to hell!”

“What if I don’t believe in hell?”, I retort.

Totally aghast at this, he asserts, “Well, I can show you in the Bible where–“.

I cut him off with, “Oh, you mean that book written and edited by King James and his friends?”

Losing all semblance of civility (and sense, I might add), he strides toward the door and shouts, “You’ll burn in hell for that!! You’re a lost soul!!”

To which I look at him and say, “Oooo, I’m SOOOO scared!!”, thus throwing him into a frenzy of shouting Hallelujahs all the way to his truck.

Can you believe that shit? Here it is 1999, and these freaks still have the balls to publicly accost people!

I must say, tho, that I felt immense satisfaction in the knowledge that I upset him far more than he upset me.

Well, that’s it for the Extra edition of the Rant this week.


There is a sharpshooter at the corner of my building. He is laying in the grass with a scoped rifle. He has been there since about 7am this morning. My little quiet street in Decatur has become a SWAT zone. We can’t leave and people who are out can’t come in.

You see, it all started at about 5:45am this morning when I awoke to the terrifying screams of a female. My first thought was that someone was being raped over at the MARTA parking lot, then I heard her screech “My mother’s in there!”. I jumped out of bed and called 911, with the thought that someone was bleeding to death or somesuch.

With my heart pounding in my ears, I pulled on some clothes and rushed out into the darkness to help in whatever way I could. The thought that I might be in danger didn’t cross my mind at the time.

The screaming stopped as I crossed the street and approached a small cluster of women from the neighborhood. In the center of this cluster was a 9 year old girl that I knew from a nearby building. Then I realized that she was the one that had been screaming for help.

The little girl told us that her mother was ‘going to be killed’ by a man that used to be the mother’s boyfriend. She said that the man had been released from jail and had come back to her home. She said that he had a gun and he’d threatened to kill her, her mother and himself. When he grabbed her mother, the little girl had fled in horror and screamed for help.

As everyone in Atlanta knows by now, thanks to the oh-so-vigilant media, the perpetrator had been banished by the little girl’s mother almost a year ago and he had a restraining order to stay away from our street. We all risked our lives to rescue that little girl and we didn’t even realize the danger at the time. Even as the first officers rushed around the building, we stood across the street in plain view of the place where all the gun waving had occurred. The cops came and took the little girl away and shooed us back into our homes.

It is currently 2:45 in the afternoon and the perp is still holed up with the little girl’s mother and we watch the news to find out what is happening 2 doors down. The sharpshooter is still in the grass and SWAT team people tromp back and forth behind my house. At least the media are at the other end of the street.

I feel like I am in some sort of bizarre dream. I worry about the little girl and her mother. The 9 year old girl has always impressed me with her intelligence and bearing. I’ve always thought her to be very mature for her age, but when this trauma happened, I was jolted back to reality. She is just a little girl who doesn’t know if she’ll have a mother or not until this is over. And that is just not fair.

Mustang theft follow-up and a Jesus Freak anecdote in the Extra edition.


It’s been a very “challenging” week. My partner’s car was stolen. I’m stressed out. We are having serious issues, brought about by all of this shit. [the issues have been addressed and won’t be aired here, sorry]

Pt. 2:

OK. I still feel totally ragged out, but at least I can explain what’s up. My SO’s car was stolen from a parking deck at Emory University last Wednesday night. The car is a 1967 Mustang (289), bright fucking YELLOW with big ole racing stripes. And very nice rims. We never thought this car would be a target for theft because it’s bright fucking YELLOW and it is not worth that much money. WRONG! Welcome to Atlanta: 3rd highest crime rate in the US, down from 1st place just a coupla years ago. I hate this town. It’s a pit. Smog, sprawl, crime, conservatism, buckle of the bible belt. Bah. I cannot get to the west coast fast enough! San Francisco may have some crime and smog, but the attitude is better and it’s NOT here. It’s worth every penny to live there. So now you know why I have those San Fran links on the other page! :-)

I read Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) recently. It was very engrossing, but seeing the A&E special last night really helped clarify what the kimono look like and how some of the words are pronounced. The book is written from the point of view of a geisha who was sold into that life when she was 9. It was interesting to me that Mr. Golden could capture the voice of a woman so well. Madonna really dug it, you know.

I still need more work. I was very busy last week, but I’m still behind with some bills. I’ve just paid off my car and now the Mustang is gone, so at least we’ll have fewer bills now. Ha. Small comfort.

Oh, Michelle and I saw American Beauty on Saturday. It is great–go see it now. Kevin Spacey is brilliant and Annette Bening is even pretty good. The plot is nice and twisty, not at all what I expected.

So, I think that’s all I have to say for now. I know it’s blather, but I just can’t articulate the blue funk I’m in. I’m gonna try to get the surprise that I promised up this week. If I can pull out of this funk, that is.

Industry of the Web

I’d like to expound some more about my view of the money machine called the web. I’ve touched on this before, but I was replying to a newsgroup post today that was asking for opinions and ended up with some good stuff that I wanted to pass along. The question was if a graphic designer could call him/herself a web designer just because he/she already knows graphic design. Here is my reply plus some more of my thoughts on the matter.

I think that there are 2 classes of web people: the techie programmers and the front end designers. Unfortunately the web industry is still very immature and flat, so the lines of who does what are very blurry. I am trying to change careers from Mac tech to web design and it has been very difficult so far.

The web is still cloaked in so much mystery to most of the public (and businesses) that all the HR people know to do is ask for every known web skill and throw lots of money at these 20 year old web designers/hackers, then hope for the best. I have a friend who is one of these 23 year old high end designers with 5 years experience who just got rid of a $55k per year job because the job is so far below her level of expertise it’s laughable. The HR person HAD to have a high end designer with server programming skills–so that the well paid programmer could do some web design and a lot of vanilla graphic design for POWERPOINT presentations!! I kid you not. $55k to do freaking powerpoint crap.

You see, here is the rub: people who are crossing over from other kinds of graphic design or whatever are overlooked because we don’t have years of WEB experience. Nevermind that we can do the job. It’s all about how much web programming you know and how much Flash you can cram into your online portfolio so you’ll impress the HR people who have absolutely no idea what they are hiring for in the first place.

What an immature industry! In a few years, when the web is no big deal, the industry will mature and have layers like all other industries and the job descriptions will start to solidify. Then, someone who wants to join the boundless energy and creativity that IS the web will be able to get an entry level job that doesn’t require 3-5 years of Java application programming. (!)

It’s a clusterfuck right now, with everyone trying to cash in on the web and precious few people who really know what’s up, so you see job descriptions that cover 3 different jobs and skillsets. And of course no one in HR wants to risk hiring a crossover talent because HR doesn’t know that Photoshop is Photoshop and layout skills CAN translate to the web. Or that doing press release updates does not require backend server support skills.

I know this is ragging HR mercilessly, but come on, now, people, how many HR and/or recruiters have you ever met that have a clue about what the hell they are recruiting for??? Personally, I have only been helped by ONE and hindered by too many to count.

I have proof (via a very talented web geek friend) that these idiotic hiring practices are being perpetuated. This friend is the one who is ditching the well-paid but stupid position at an unnamed large company and the silly woman who is hiring to refill the position is AGAIN hiring a very over qualified web designer/programmer to do their stupid shit. Amazing.

Meanwhile, there are hoardes of us wannabes who would happily do the grunt work for half the pay just to bask in the glow of the web’s movers and shakers.

But, you know, despite the craziness, I’m still hot for the web and I’m gonna jump in with both feet! I know that one way or another, I’m gonna find my web niche!