Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How To Go Insane

Today? Not so fun.

I wanted to replant a certain flowerbed for my mother. To do this, I needed a plastic liner (there's a pine tree there), dirt (it's sandy), mulch, flower bulbs and a wheelbarrow.

Step 1. Fetch old wheelbarrow. Realize old wheelbarrow, thanks to years in the rain and sometimes snow, has a massive hole in it. Rusted clean though. Sigh in frustration.

Step 2. Decide to buy a new wheelbarrow. Call mother for permission. Mother says to check credit account first.

Step 3. Go to bank. Ten minutes later, teller says she can't give the info to me because my name isn't on the account. It's on the card, but it's not on the account. Growl internally, call mother again. Mother promises to check via phone.

Step 4. Continue to local hardware store. Hardware store does not have an appropriate wheelbarrow, as wanted plastic one that would not rust like old one. Mother calls in hardware store and says that the account is all screwy but I should be able to pay for things.

Step 5. Go across street to Home Depot. See ideal wheelbarrow out front, ask for it disassembled so it would fit in car. Ask twice about the handles because they are very poorly labeled. Take wheelbarrow home.

Step 6. Realize wheelbarrow handles are wrong size. Sigh, go back to Home Depot, ask to exchange.

Step 7. Am told that their shipper does not send the the right size, so I will have to drill new holes. Ask them to drill it for me; do not think this an unreasonable request as it's not my fault their shipper sucks.

Step 8. Clerk says no, I have to do it myself, because they apparently HAVE NO POWER TOOLS OR PEOPLE CAPABLE OF OPERATING THEM. The latter honestly would not surprise me, considering that this is a store that has staff that think it's fair to sell someone a wheelbarrow and not TELL them at the time of purchase that it requires drilling extra holes.

Step 9. Get home, new handles in tow. Find drill. Realize drillhead is MINUSCULE. Hunt through dusty cardboard boxes of discarded ancient power tools in basement until find box of drill heads.

Step 10. Realize that half the heads are missing, including the one that is the right size. Check boxes in basement again, to no avail. Decide to drill a hair larger.

Step 11. Can't figure out how to get old head off. Wrestle with it for half an hour before realizing that the key is right there, attached to the power cord.

Step 12. In frustration, go play Empire Earth for an hour.

Step 13. Attach new head and begin drilling. Realize that having a table to support the handle might help about when the drill skids off with only a scratch to the wooden handle.

Step 14. Haul over clamp table, clamp in handle, begin drilling again. Smell smoke. Blow shavings away from drill head. Drill stalls. Try again. Same problem. Decide to switch to next-smaller drill head. Go to change them and burn hand on hot drill head. Swear repeatedly and go get ice.

Step 15. Father returns home. Explain what I am doing. Father says I should return the barrow and get a different one. Point out that there are no different ones that I can transport. Suggests another store. Point out that local hardware store didn't have plastic. Suggests metal. Point out rusted old one. Suggests finding another store. Point out that I need to do this before I get back to school, so I don't have enough time for that. Contemplate patricide, or at least a good throttling.

Step 16. Drill has cooled. Switch to new drill-head. Works fine, except produces lots of smoke and burning smell. Blow on it repeatedly.

Step 15. Finish drilling, carefully avoid touching drill. Attempt to put bolt in. Fail. Realize I have to redrill it with a bigger one. Give up for the evening, as alternative involves massive property damage.

Step 16: Mother and sister repeat what father said about returning it, getting different one, because I couldn't POSSIBLY have thought this through.

And that my friends, is my recipe for crazy.

So What if I Condemn 65% of the World to Die?

You know what we need? A plague.

I'm not talking about influenza, or SARS, or AIDs, or whatever. I'm talking about a real plague. And not like the Bubonic one, because we can fix that now. No, we need a disease which:

-Is a virus. This will make things a lot easier because viruses are harder to fight.

-Has a gestation time of several years in which there are no real symptoms, ensuring it reaches everywhere on earth.

-When it stops gestating, a person dies quickly and relatively painlessly. Basically, if you get symptoms, you're dead. That way I won't feel bad about how people are in agony because of this plague I engineered people won't have to suffer too much.

-Spreads really easily, through breathing the same air or touching the same surfaces; lives for a long time outside the body (like 24 hours or more), and is resistant to disinfectants.

-Reduces the population by 65% worldwide and renders an addition 15% impotent. 20% means a little less than 1 billion people left.

-Attacks the elderly and the severely ill (cancer-weakened immune system, AIDS, etc) most of all. Not that I don't like old people, but if we're slicing up the population of the planet it's probably best that we not have more of them than we have people to care for them.

-Affects people less if they get good health care but still have a strong immune system-- so a person who was raised on antibacterials isn't safe, but the people who played in dirt as kids have a bit more protection. That's pretty much a given, a strong immune system always means more resistance and good health care too. This can't make us go extinct, and honestly, as terrible as it seems, the world would be better off if a little bit more of the deaths were coming from third-world nations that can't support their massive populations anyway.

-Has a lesser impact on Native Americans, gypsies, aborigines and other such underrepresented races; it still needs to affect them, just at a decreased rate so they aren't obliterated. Affects the Chinese and Indians a bit more, but not by much. Absolutely can't affect Caucasians differently from Africans, though, that would be disastrous politically. Also, Ashkenazi Jews will have high resistance, because I'm so sick of Ashkenazi Jews always being the highest-risk group for everything. Plus Ryter's Ashkenazi and it would be nice if he didn't die.

-The bodies have to still carry enough traces of the virus after death to warrant cremation just to be sure. Otherwise, the world would be a cemetery.

-Can't have any affect on non-humans.

-After a few years, scientists need to find a vaccine that can be mass-produced inexpensively and administered to new children, so the outbreak doesn't happen again.

What's my reasoning for the need for this plague? Well, think about it. The world never comes together as well as it does while recovering from tragedy. So there would be looting and panic, and then afterwards people would start to band together on account of not having anything left.

There would be more food and first-world nations would probably give their massive amounts of excess the first couple years to the third-world nations, with the alternative being to let it rot. After a season or two they'd stop producing as much, sure, but the land in third-world nations can often support 20% of it's current human population.

It would be centuries before we'd have to seriously worry about population again.

Countries would throw money into sciences, trying to ensure we were prepared for another such outbreak.

Huge tracts of land would be left unused. Eventually nature would reclaim it. People would start to clump, especially from towns and cities that lost huge amounts of their population; they'd probably head to a few key areas in each country and build new lives there. Like in this country, suburbanites would move towards the coastal cities. That would offer even more land that would be reclaimed.

Also, it would be several generations before people would return to ideas of real war, because their armies would be so reduced.

Maybe this wouldn't all happen, but that's how I see it going down. I don't know, a worldwide plague, maybe not one with this many deaths but a big one, might do us a lot of good.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Last night, as we wilted in the heat, Ryter got himself a glass of $50 Zaya rum because he was pretty stressed out and the heat wasn't helping matters. He offered me a sip (just a sip, he knows I don't drink). I declined, mentioning that it seemed a waste to give $50 rum to someone who thus far has found almost no type of alcohol she can tolerate, including fruity sweet liquor, and isn't really too fond of the one she can tolerate, which is champagne.

He said he really just wanted to see my face when I tasted it, and wouldn't consider it a waste.

With trepidation I took a sip; immediately I jerked back, cried "UGH!," frantically scraped at my tongue with my teeth, and hurried to the fridge for some iced green tea while my eyes watered and my mouth felt like it was on fire. Ryter cracked up and said, "On the plus side, your mouth is now sanitized, as that was 40% alcohol."

I don't think I will ever learn if I can "hold my liquor," as I seem incapable of even "holding it" in my mouth...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Bet I Get Called Naive For This

I've noticed something, in reading online forums and in talking to people. Very few issues are as hotly debated as that of Israel and Palestine. Threads on this topic are more vehemently debated than gay marriage. I think this is because in any given group, people tend to be either staunchly conservative, staunchly liberal, or moderate and not particularly opinionated on subjects like homosexuality, feminism, racism etc. But 90% of the people who know more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict than the name have an opinion on it, and your normal political alliances don't really apply-- it's not like conservatives are pro-Israel and liberals are pro-Palestine or vice-versa. If it's at all important to them, it's REALLY REALLY so.

Of course, the time to really worry is if they're truly, deeply passionate about it, because then they will be furious if you disagree. I've discovered a system for knowing when not to talk about the conflict:

-If you believe that Palestine is right, or that Palestine might have some decent points of grievance, don't talk to someone who is Jewish, of Jewish ancestry, or has ever expressed any anti-Muslim opinions.

-If you believe that Israel is right, or that Israel might have some decent points, don't talk to anyone who is Muslim, anti-Semitic, or a conspiracy theorist because WHY are 90% the conspiracy theorists anti-semitic too?? Must be because "the Jews control the banks and the media" and all that jazz.

This causes a problem for me, because since I am not part of a major religion and the one I was loosely raised as is secular Protestant, I actually have a much more impartial view than most people I talk to. I think both have grievances, because I believe that the UN had no right to make Israel a country all those years ago and encourage Jews to move there, so the Palestinians have a legitimate complaint, especially since many laws are biased against them. At the same time, that doesn't give them the right to terrorize the Jewish people any more than living there gives the Jews the right to "fight back." The Israelis have a legitimate complaint in that all their neighbors are ready to kill them, they're much more progressive and can better handle the land than most of the Palestinians, and they've been there for so long it's not fair to kick them out.

Besides, everything in the Middle East is tied up with religion. You can't kick anyone out. And they can't live together, clearly. At this point the two groups have pretty much equal claims to the land, whatever they may want to do with it-- and although I know Palestine would enact Sharia law, I still say that it was their land to begin with and they have equal claim to it.

If I were Empress of the World... I'd wall off all the major holy sites. Jerusalem especially. Completely wall it off. Then impose martial UN law over the land, saying it no longer belongs to any nation. Ban Jews or Muslims or anyone who is known to have a stong side in the issue from that military service. Set up a number of gates, all strongly policed, sort of like the Vatican-- make sure that if you want to get in you haven't a single weapon on you and no history of terrorism. Inside the walls, put soldiers everywhere, with non-lethal weapons.

Then, split the rest of the land.

Make sure there is a clear, protected road from whichever country doesn't contain Jerusalem to the city; then force a mass exodus. Tell people which area is which. Allow the governments to evict their enemies from their land. Make sure the land is divided by population and if you can, make sure they get comparable shares of the most fertile land. Will people be happy? No. Which is why you police the border like crazy and impose a major UN presence in the area for at least two generations.

Of course, this would hardly solve the problem but it would certainly hold of the inevitable. I would also pump aid money into this new Palestine with certain stipulations-- namely, that it has to go towards building schools and educating the populace (or as I would put it, "making sure you are at the same level or higher than your enemies so you can protect yourselves"), that it can't be used to manufacture weapons or it will ALL go away, and that all women must be educated under an improved curriculum until the age of 18, regardless of if they are married before then. Forcing them to educate their women or forfeit large quantities of aid would lead to a generally more educated populace, women marrying later (a man doesn't want a wife who has to go to school every day and can't watch his children), giving birth later, and hopefully getting a bit of empowerment thrown in with it all.

So clearly I can't just be Empress of the World, I also have to be God, because that's pretty much the only way this would happen. Ryter's probably right, just pull out of the region in a military sense, give money to the Kurds, and force major civil war that will drastically decrease their numbers.

Bah. Being an optimist is hard in this world.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In Which I Am A Bit Emo, I'm Afraid

Tonight, while I visited Ryter and comforted him because he was dealing with anxiety after a not-so-good doctor's visit, my mother accidentally fed my father meat in a marinade with too much sugar content and he lost feeling in his feet from the diabetes. He complained to her, she flipped out and angrily scrubbed the remaining marinade from the leftover meat, while he continued to complain every now and then because he couldn't walk right and was hurting.

She then drove off to go scream bloody murder in the car, parked in some lot somewhere. My sister cried and was petrified that she would hit a tree, she was so upset. This is not the first time this has happened. One of these days my mother will drive off angry and hit something and wind up in the hospital or worse. She needs therapy more than I did when I attempted suicide, and she will refuse to go because she thinks it's a waste of her time because honestly, I think her will to live is wholly rested on the fact that we need her, but she wouldn't really mind too much if she died. And my mother always tells me to throw out clothes that I still know I can mend.

Now, because my sister will cry, my father clearly has the tact of a walrus and my brother wouldn't know how to start, I have the task of going to her tomorrow and trying, yet again, to convince her to see a psychiatrist, knowing that if I do not the next time she drives off angry she may not come back.

God... I just want someone, anyone, ONE person in my life to be more stable than me. I just want someone who can be a rock for me. Someone who I will always know what to expect from. I don't want to be the responsible one in this family. I don't want to talk to my dad about how he needs to change his ways or he will lose his "perfect" children in all but the most perfunctory sense, I don't want to convince my mother to go into therapy, I don't want to have to protect my sister from them both and I don't want this life.

I wish the functionality we present was the functionality we possessed.

We're so 1955...

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I dreamed last night that I had decided to become a fashion designer, and my designs were pretty well-liked and I'd been signed up to work with a major label, so I was bound to be successful. Then I went to tell my dad. He had a golden retriever with him, which I knew was "his dog" although he doesn't have a dog. The dog had a scarf around her neck and was quite cute, running around our feet. Then I told Daddy about my new job, and he flipped out, telling me to go back to my original plan and I was an idiot for giving up my life like this and I should go back to studying biology. The dog ran off, scared.

I cried, explained to him that this was a good thing, etc but he just stayed mad, so I stormed off in a huff and drove away. I had just left his line of sight when I heard a thump and I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw a flash of golden hair and the red scarf around it's neck, crumpled in the street.

I tried to brake but couldn't, the car lost control, and I was crying and scared and then I drove off the shoulder...

And woke up, and spent several minutes repeating "It was just a dream," over and over again in my head until I calmed down.

Then I fell back asleep and my next dream involved Clark Kent from Smallville. No it was not dirty, thankyouverymuch.

Friday, August 10, 2007

"It was tragic and delicious."

This week has been a bit insane for me. Why? Well, let's recap.

Monday night, after I got my last paycheck from the Discovery store, I went down to Cape Cod with my folks, saw Order of the Phoenix, and spent the night, because on Tuesday Ryter was coming down to join me, Mummy, Daddy, my great-aunt (the one who took me to the Revels), her significant other to whom she is not married, my grandfather, Shrewd, and Shrewd' s college friend Spaz, who I can actually call Spaz on here despite that ALSO being how I think of her in real life (she and my sister have the same name, Spaz is her nickname, etc) on account of it not being a REAL name. We were having our big annual lobstah feed.

It could have been worse. My great aunt didn't interrogate Ryter nearly as bad as I had expected, and he made a good impression on my family for showing up, staying all the way until dessert, generally being personable and, in the case of my father, turning down that second glass of champagne. My aunt has voiced her approval. Plus we got to build a sandcastle-- Ryter is quite the accomplished sand-castle constructionist. And we got to scare the crap out of the teenage boy who didn't realize the architect was on the beach and thought it would be funny to destroy the thing.

Boy: YARGH! [kick, kick, jump, swipe]
Ryter: [glowers]
Me: That's not very nice.
Boy: Oh, it's my castle, I made it.
Me: No, you didn't.
Boy: Yes I did!
Me: Uhm, no, he did. [points to Ryter]
Boy: [dawning horror and anticipation of a smack down, followed by frantic attempts to "fix it"]

It was pretty hilarious. Almost made up for the kid's assholery.

I think Ryter was expecting the park to be, like, overun with unwashed toddlers and hillbillies, so he was pleasantly surprised to find that it's not the sort of place trailer trash affords-- most people who go there are like my family, with enough money for a summer place but not enough for a full-sized cottage they can only visit for a few weeks and weekends. The problem was, what with it being a three and a half hour drive down from Durham, and his hamstrings acting up, it wasn't really a fun day for him-- I mean, he flatly stated that the only reason he was going was because it was important to me that he go.

I wish there was a way to make the experiences that are fun for me be fun for him, too. I like everything, anything he wants to do is usually fun for me, but the reverse is not so, and he's usually dealing with pain at the same time which makes things even more difficult. Basically thus far the only things I've suggested that he's been able to get enthusiastic about are making pizzas with weird toppings and going to the orchards in my hometown and stargazing (there's no ambient light, so the night sky is amazing on clear nights-- so amazing that last time we went we saw several shooting stars, clear as a bell). Most of my ideas he either tries and winds up disliking (the planetarium in Concord, for example), or KNOWS he won't like (hiking, or the Chatham band concert). Vivacia wants to go to Old Home Days in our town, and see the fireworks, and she suggested I invite him, but I don't think I'll have much success. Unfortunately, if Ryter doesn't come along it looks right now like it will wind up being Vivacia, her boyfriend Closer, me, and my former boyfriend Mack, and that would be awwwwwwkward. Well, for me anyway. And yet I can't picture Ryter wanting to go to an Old Home Days thing, even if we do spend a lot of the time hanging out on the swings at the elementary school and chatting.


Then Wednesday I spent the WHOLE DAY cleaning my house. I even washed the kitchen window, the hardest one to clean because it basically involves squatting in the sink and leaning backwards out the window with a bottle of glass cleaner and a paper towel and no means of support. The house is basically clean. If Shrewd doesn't mess it up too much, it will be clean for my folks to come home to, which is what I was hoping for-- last weekend Mummy complained bitterly about coming home to a filthy house, and all I could think was, You didn't say you were coming home today!

I should have gone to the gym. But I didn't. I've been really bad about that lately.


Then yesterday I drove back to the Cape on my own, so that I would have a car. I've never driven that route before. It's two and a half hours and it's very boring when you haven't got anyone to talk to, and you can't fall asleep. Plus it goes through Boston and is kind of a stressful drive in parts. I kept myself alert and focused by playing the street sign alphabet game in my head. Remember that game? You have to find all the letters of the alphabet in order by reading street signs... yeah. Then I got to Z and started again with license plates, that was MUCH harder.

I was planning on going to the Chatham band concert tonight, but it rained so that wouldn't have been fun. Instead I crocheted and then Mummy and I visited with my great-aunt, I shared some family gossip Bisobrina had told me that I probably shouldn't have, then we went to a glass museum for a while before Daddy joined us and we all went to the Lobster Hut for dinner. Then I drove back here.

I'm a bit bummed. I wanted to see the band concert. But I can go when The Brother is back, he'll want to go too. He's still in California with his drum corps, but if they win the next competition, they'll win the big World Championship thing for their division. My mom is REALLY EXCITED. He comes back Sunday.

Meanwhile, I will continue to clean the house. Next task-- windows. Daddy promised me $200 if I do all of them except the ones holding air conditioners.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Just a cool little video for you...

Stolen from The Atheist Jew's blog, this is far and away the best video I have EVER seen to explain the origin of life according to biologists. As in, you don't need a course in biology to understand it.

In Which I Follow the Trend Lately and Talk About Harry Potter


relating to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

A week or so ago I finished Deathly Hallows, then last night I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in theaters. Deathly Hallows... I liked it. It was what I had hoped for, resolution and redemption and all that fun stuff. I've since read several online discussion threads in which people reveal that they really don't understand the novels at all, especially not the nuances of the last three, which are not children's books, not like the first few.

I have an enormous respect for Rowling, and not just because she's managed to create a set of seven books that all together have sold over 300 million copies and are published in 64 languages, but more because she is a very powerful writer. She is a thinking writer; she has unbelievable levels of detail and clearly really knows this world she has created at a level only the most die-hard fans can even think about approaching.

I really appreciate, though, the themes she's chosen. Specifically, bigotry. Good versus evil, the power of love-- those are common themes in fantasy and children's lit and had that been her only focus the stories would not have been quite as powerful. But how she handled bigotry in the novels struck a chord with me.

In the first book, you don't see it that much-- there's just a taste of it, mostly through a few little references by Malfoy. It's enough so that you know that there is bigotry in this world, but it's far from the center of the plot. Which, if you think about it, is how most children start out understanding racism and prejudice. They know it's there, they see it occasionally, but it's not that big in their lives. Bigotry is a pretty adult theme, especially at the level which Rowling explores it, and she does not show it in it's entirety in the first book.

Then, the second book-- bam. That's when you learn about the most obvious form of bigotry in Rowling's world-- that against the Muggle-born, the children of non-wizards who have magic. Most wizards accept that to be against Muggle-born wizards is bigoted and unfair. Thus, the supporting characters, the major influences in Harry's life, can all say, "This is wrong" with definitive authority. Also, there is the introduction of the concept of house elves, as a bit of a comparison-- house elves are accepted as inferior by most wizards, and indeed, they consider themselves so as well. But the house elf she introduces is Dobby, who everyone describes as weird, not your average house-elf; also, the nature of how house-elves are viewed by those wizards who are not "evil" is glossed over.

However, the third book blurs the line. There you have the question of werewolves-- Lupin, an old friend of Harry's father, is clearly a good guy. And yet the bigotry against him just because he is a werewolf-- bigotry from everyone who doesn't know him, not just from evil wizards-- is obvious, clear, and raises questions about the real nature of this world. Rowling is beginning to show that it's not just the Muggle-born that are targeted.

The fourth book focuses on the house-elves again, through Hermione, and we begin to see just how disdainful even good wizards like Ron are of the creatures. Then you see the anti-giant bigotry surrounding Hagrid. The fifth book again focuses on the elves with Sirius' relationship to his intolerable house elf Kreacher, and Umbridge's disdain for pretty much everyone who isn't a fully human wizard (I know, she's not fond of Muggle-born either, but that doesn't show up until the seventh book).

The seventh book, in fact, is where it all comes together. Wizards in Rowling's world may accept Muggle-born, mostly, but anyone who isn't fully human is inferior, and the Muggle-born aren't very liked either. And, ultimately, the fact that Hermione sees this as the bigotry it is, and convinces Harry and Ron the same, saves them. They have an ability that Voldemort does not have-- the ability to see the value not only of the strong, but of the weak, the "inferior." House-elves are the most important example-- they are powerfully magical creatures, very strong and capable of many things that wizards are incapable of. But Voldemort looks at them and sees weak, sniveling little servants. He can't appreciate their magic and their importance, which hurts him in the end as it hurt the Malfoys in the second book. The ability of the three main characters to see all intelligent magical creatures as equal and worthy of respect serves them well and differentiates them, the "good," from the Death Eater, the "evil."

Okay, so I like how she approaches bigotry-- what's my point?

The movies? Aren't touching that AT ALL. Okay, they got the bit where the pureblood Death Eaters don't like Muggle-borns, sure. But the house-elves rarely appear (in the second movie, there's really no way to avoid Dobby, and the fifth one Rowling TOLD them they should put Kreacher in, or they would have trouble sorting out the plot holes later on); and Umbridge's animosity towards half-breeds was only touched on in the very end of the fifth movie, so it seemed like it was just thrown in there.

The movies are clearly focusing on the love and good vs. evil themes, because those are themes that are common and everyone recognizes. They're ignoring the more controversial message-- that you must treat EVERYONE with respect, even if they seem at first glance to be weaker than you. I think they're backing themselves into a corner in the movie series-- they CAN'T do the seventh book while ignoring/minimizing bigotry and if they put it in, it will seem odd to those who haven't read the books but who see the movies (and yes, such people exist). I'm curious as to how they will squirm out of this one.

Also, I would like to note that the only form of bigotry that Rowling's characters do not seem to recognize as evil is bigotry against Muggles themselves. It's like they want you to treat all magical beings as the same, but as soon as a being doesn't have magic, they are unworthy and unequal, unable to so much as know the magical world exists. I wish I could ask Rowling about that.


Monday, August 6, 2007

Are you the sweet invention of a lover's dream, or are you really as wonderful as you seem?

I've been thinking a lot about afterlives lately, not in the least because I wandered around a cemetery today. Now, before people start saying "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU THINK THAT," keep in mind there is a world of difference between what I WANT to believe and what I actually DO believe.

I want to believe that there really is a Heaven like the Western Monotheists believe, and a Hell like the Muslims and Christians believe, because I want to imagine the looks on the faces of the very hypocritical, judgmental fundie types when they get to the pearly gates and realize that they've been denied access to that exclusive club.

Personally, I don't know what happens when we die. When I feel sciency, I think maybe nothing happens, and we just... die. When I feel more spiritual, and think there's a soul that needs to be dealt with, I think maybe reincarnation.

But I want to believe that since my god is generally good, and evil is a result of mistakes (I don't believe in an infallible god, I think we're all an experiment, of sorts, trial-and-error until my god gets the right results) like harmful genetic mutations, or else because of free will, like a parent abusing their son so the son grows up to hit his wife, etc; thus, there is no one who really belongs in a Hell. My god understands that humans are ultimately destined to make mistakes, and can find a bit of good even in the worst of humans.

So if there is a heaven-- and though I don't think there is, I sort of want there to be, like how I want to find a genie or gain telekinesis-- and we are all admitted there, what would happen? The Christian idea of Heaven as devoid of "sin" and fluffy clouds and angel choirs and no sex seems boring and unpleasant. I think heaven would have to be unique for each person, so that if you want the fluffy angel-clouds you see them, and if you want a 24-hour eternal rave with lots of alcohol, no hangovers, and lots of skimpily-clad loose women, you see that, too. And if you'd really rather just cease existing, that's certainly okay as well.

Of course, the problem with this is that Person A (Jane Average) might want a heaven where Person B (George Clooney) is their personal servant, masseuse, and lover, but perhaps Mr. Clooney would rather lounge on a beach with nymphets or whatever, and really doesn't know who Jane Average is, anyway. So I figure this heaven wouldn't be a tangible place, regardless, so Jane can have Georgie massage her and whisper sweet nothings, but that doesn't mean he's seeing the same thing. The George Clooney with Jane is not the real thing, but rather the ideal Jane wants. We see what we want, we interact with who we want, etc.

And sometimes the heavens would overlap, so two people could share the same one, but they'd never know for sure if they were sharing or the other person saw something different, and it wouldn't really matter, regardless. Such matters aren't really important, long-term. Eternity counts as long-term, right?

Even though I don't think this will happen, it's fun to think about. What would your personal heaven be like? I think mine would be a little beach house that was always miraculously clean, with a big wraparound porch that I could sit on and look at the ocean, and a beach where no one walked to disturb the view from my floor-to-ceiling windows. And if I wanted I could walk down a sandy path through the dunes lined with roses, and come out on a little downtown street, where the shops were constantly changing based on what I wanted to look for, and everything was free and fit me perfectly and I looked fabulous in it all.

And at the end of the street there would be a library, an enormous, massive, incredible library, with every book ever written and some that were just repeated aloud, all accessible and in a language I can understand. I would never get a headache, reading, and if I finished, say, Shakespeare's Taming of the Shew, and wondered, Is this actually a feminist doctrine or can I take it at face value? I would simply look up, and Shakespeare himself would be there, ready to talk, and I could get every question I had answered. He would, of course, speak modern English, but in a British accent, because it's my heaven and Shakespeare can talk in modern British English if I want him too. You know who else will talk in modern English? Hesiod. So there.

Anyway, presumably I would not ALWAYS want to read, and I could go back to my little beach-house in the dunes (maybe taking a book with me), and it would get JUST cool enough for a nice fire and some candles, and if I felt like it, a certain someone would wander out of the kitchen with some mugs of hot cocoa with little marshmallows that didn't melt in the heat like REAL ones, and we would debate the nature of the universe while curled up together on a sofa with cocoa.

My heaven has no cherubs or saints, just a little house, a warm fire, all the knowledge in the world and all the love that I need.

Incidentally, my hell would be if they just left me in my body, fully aware and feeling everything but unable to do anything, react in any way... and then my wishes to be cremated were ignored, and I would feel, be aware of, my own decomposition.

Anyone else know what their heaven would be like, if there was a heaven and they could actually get in?