beautiful monsters: April 2005 Archives

April 29, 2005

five kinds of happy

(for the Stonesoup Friday theme)

Effervescent Happiness is the bubbly feeling you get when you wake up and it’s your 5th birthday and you just know that there will be frost on the ground, and a cake the shape of a volcano, and a bright new bicycle with a real bell.

Happiness Mash is that warm contented kind of happiness you experience in the comfortable company of good friend and hearty food. Take some mates along to Cordoba Nights (where the Purple Onion used to be) and try the pure de papas – potatoes mashed with béchamel and nutmeg. The friendly service (complimentary home-made pâté and Spanish lessons) will enhance this variety of happiness.

Tidy Happiness is when everything is in its place. When you’ve been living out of bags for months, and finally you have your own house, and you have shelves, and storage bins, and everything belongs somewhere, and is easily found. And you’ve just bought new spice racks. I should have made something, but don’t really have the space or energy for carpentry. But bought spice storage systems are so pathetic, most only hold 6-8 spices, 16 at best. Huh. Who can survive on 16 spices in this day and age? And afford to pay a couple of hundred bucks for the little rack and jars? I found some cheap ones that hold 14 spices each. So if you put three racks in a row that’s 42 spices, which is livable. And now there’s bench space for chopping things up and making cups of tea. Hurrah! Also new (actually old) bookshelves that are customisable. Sapphy is very pleased with them.


Scentual Happiness is the kind that can only be triggered by smell. When you open a packet of aniseed and it smell like Christmas. Or when you cut open an orange...


I read a poem today, with recurring ginkgoes,
after Eduardo quoted the poet on his blog
saying that recurring motifs are all about
childhood trauma. So I’m wondering,
what’s up with the ginkgo?

I have decided to defy logic and claim
a new motif. Maybe oranges, because I remember
the scent on Colette’s hands.


My mother planted a ginkgo tree
outside our house in Windsor Street.
In autumn I pressed the yellow leaves
between the pages of Britannica.

(The newsreader tells me the surface of Titan
is like Crème Brûlée, with tangerine rivers
and marmalade skies. I dip bread in eggs and wonder
if orange scented shampoo would change anything,
and what do crushed orange leaves smell like?)

Years later I found a leaf between Fauvism
and favela. It was split up the middle like a hoof print,
still so yellow. In a dish on the dresser I let it gather dust
until the colour left it.


There were days when it seemed I would
burst. I made small incisions, a way of letting the juice
flow out slowly. Bright splashes that fell
on the ground like rose petals.
The scars on my arms
are fading, now they merely keep track
like stamps in a passport.


I remember Colette cutting the oranges
into segments, sun on her black hair,
the scent of beeswax candles, the silver
candle snuffer like a bell.

Outside the window
a wooden horse swung
under the ginkgo tree.

I’m struggling to come up with a fifth kind of happiness. I’m impressed that I’ve managed to come up with four. Though two of them are really just memories of happiness in the past. And all of them are related to food, which is ironic, given that I am struggling with an eating disorder, and food is making me miserable and destroying my life. Huh.


maybe number five is that little fluttering that stirs in your chest every so often when you dare to hope that maybe, just maybe, there might be happiness waiting, just around the next corner.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 11:20 PM | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

wishful thinking

If wishes were horses… then if you wished for something really small, like, “I wish we had more jam”, then would that be a really small horse? A wee horse the size of a mouse… and it would make such cute little tapping noises as it trotted across the table.

And if someone wished for something nasty, like “I wish he were dead,” there’d be a clap of thunder and a dark death-coach horse would appear from the billowing clouds. And you’d know it was time to scamper.

But… I wonder if wishes would even be horses these days. I mean, what kind of beggar dreams of pony rides anymore?

Maybe wishes are cars. No wonder there’s a fossil fuel crisis.

(for the Friday Theme)

Posted by Fionnaigh at 10:52 AM | TrackBack

April 04, 2005

I can't believe

That there is a World Rock Paper Scissors Society. With World Championships. Online training. An official strategy guide. And t-shirts. Not to mention promotional posters dating back to the 30's. It's a joke, right? Tell me it's a joke.


This weekend I went to see I heart Huckabees, which had Dustin Hoffman, and showed promise, but ended up being grueling. Lots of shouting, I got really sick of the shouting. And I really didn’t get the rolling in the mud thing.

I have to agree with Roger Ebert, who says “I went to see "I Heart Huckabees" at the Toronto Film Festival. It was on the screen, and I was in my chair, and nothing was happening between us. There was clearly a movie being shown, but what was its purpose and why were the characters so inexplicable?”

The highlight of the whole movie was when the actors were ranting about how we're all nothing, and everything is meaningless. And then suddenly the movie stopped, and the screen went black. And someone in front of us said, "Wow. Everything is nothing." Priceless.


I also went to see Hate Crimes at Bats, which was possibly even more grueling. Bullying, a suicide attempt, KKK types, sexual abuse of an intellectually disabled 15 year old, several beatings, and then someone gets shot. Yeah, I was depressed by the time I left. The actors were good. The music between scenes was too loud, and started to grate after the first few times. And for the last half hour I was trying to work out if I could somehow escape.

I should have stayed at home and watched Buffy.


I can't believe the pope is dead. He seemed like he might keep going forever, you know, like the queen. And my grandmother.

Geez, the wikipedia site is updated pretty smartly. Under the entry for pope it already says "Currently, the office of Pope is vacant, a condition known as sede vacante, or the vacant seat. The most recent Pope was Pope John Paul II, who was elected at the age of 58 in 1978. He was the first non-Italian to be elected to the Pontificate since Adrian VI, who was briefly pope in 1522-23. Pope John Paul II died at the age of 84 on April 2 at 19:37 GMT, 2005. A conclave will assemble between April 17 and April 22 to conduct a Papal Election to elect a new Pope."

It will be interesting to see what happens next. The whole election process is weird. In fact, the whole Catholic thing is kinda weird, but I guess that's just because I didn't grow up with it.

From the BBC site: “They say that during his reign, the Vatican exercised too much power, and was less likely to tolerate dissent. They want to see a different kind of papacy, with bishops around the world having a greater say in how the Church is run. That would be a challenge to the authority of the Church's central bureaucracy, the Curia. "Many bishops and cardinals felt that at the end of the reign of John Paul II, the Curia got out of hand," said Father Thomas Reese. "They felt it was imposing its will on the local bishops, and really not being sensitive and listening to their concerns. So I think there is going to be a backlash in the conclave against the Curia."

OK, so he reinforced an oppressive patriarchal legacy. But he did good in other areas. The whole pope thing is a pretty weird gig - and a tough one. I'm glad he can rest now.

His last message was "Love converts hearts and gives peace."

Posted by Fionnaigh at 12:50 AM | TrackBack

April 01, 2005

Arm the Homeless stage firearms giveaways for Phoenix vagrants

A movement that aims to provide firearms to homeless people is gathering force in the US. Activists from the Phoenix Arizona branch of the organization distribue free, legal firearms, and run training workshops on firearm safety. The handouts - technically a series of transfers between private citizens - are completely legal under Arizona's loose gun laws (Arm the Homeless requires all firearm recipients to sign a form stating they are not convicted felons).

Pete Whippit, 33, a Marine Recon combat veteran and the founder of Arm the Homeless, is a passionate supporter of the second amendment. “I wanted to make a statement to really let people know that the Second Amendment is not just for rich people in this country,” he said. “Homeless people live in the most dangerous areas of America, and they need sidearms and shotguns the most. They have to be able to protect themselves, and they have no means to do it.”

Whippit says Arm the Homeless accumulated its stockpile of weapons through numerous, scattered purchases at Valley area "cash and carry" gun shows, where private, small volume dealers are not required to register sales, and handgun buyers can avoid the background checks mandated by the 1993 Brady Bill.

Arm the Homeless spent more than $25,000 on the guns, not including the SKS, Mac-10 and three Tec-9s, which ATH members donated from private collections.

Arm the Homeless, which is a 501c4 tax-exempt organization, has also received more than $10,000 in direct cash donations from Second Amendment fanatics--much of that generated through the group's Web site:

"All the weapons we're giving away are used weapons, but they're good used weapons," said Honey Hawk, the gun group's "minister of information". The giveaways are promoted solely though word of mouth, on a "classified, need-to-know basis." "There's not a Saturday Night Special in the lot."

Arm the Homeless could have provided each gun recipient with more than one box of ammo, she said, but "we didn't want them selling bullets for booze."

Also, Hawk said, two days before the giveaway, Arm the Homeless mailed a letter to every address listed under "Pawnbrokers" in the yellow pages. The communique informed pawn shop owners of the group's action, and asked them not to purchase any weapons from homeless people.

"We thought this thing through," Hawk said. "We didn't just come down here and start handing out guns. This is not some haphazard distribution of dangerous weaponry. This is a well-organized political and social service action."

Read more here and here.

Posted by Fionnaigh at 11:22 AM | TrackBack