24 January 2003

For some reason, someone must have declared it "Communicate With M'rissa Day" yesterday. Not that I'm complaining. I loved it. Maybe it could kick of "Communicate With M'rissa Week." That would be good, too. I got e-mails from a bunch of people I never hear from, as well as some from people I do. Got a New Year's card from a woman who used to baby-sit me in the summer when she was a teenager -- our families know each other, and we've kept in touch. She freaked out when she met Mark, because "oh my gosh, he's a man." She hadn't met a couple of the guys I dated prior to Mark, I think, so in her mind, the key word in "M'rissa's boyfriend" was "boy." And then there was Mark all bearded and serious (and three years older than me). Kinda spooked her. Anyway, she's pregnant now, and I'm thrilled for her and her husband. I know she'll make a great mom, because she's willing to play with kids or (this is key) just let them be by themselves and read for awhile, and she'll tell embarrassing stories on herself in a way that makes them funny. And she could handle three or four hours accidentally locked in a bedroom with a six-year-old who had to pee, and frankly, I don't know of much more of a parenting trial-by-fire than that.

And I talked on the phone to Michelle and to C.J. La Michelle had good news: she passed her quals! Yay, Michelle! Nobody else was particularly worried, I think, but it's easy not to be worried when it's not your career. So I'm hoping she and Scott celebrated muchly last night. Or they could wait for tonight; that would be all right with me.

I worked some, and felt like warmed-over poo all day. (I've figured out a deadline for when I'll call the doctor if I don't feel better.) Went and bought groceries twice (from the same cashier, even). Finished Metropolitan, which did improve over the course of the book. The main character stopped doing such stunningly stupid things, and Williams introduced other major characters who didn't do stunningly stupid things. A definite improvement. I still had very little patience for Aiah, but I wouldn't automatically ignore other Williams books.

I also started reading The Dark Romance of Dian Fossey, but I stopped and went for Analog instead before bed. Scary, scary lady. I'll go back to it today, I'm sure. Also back to new stuff, and editing. Maybe the Dian Fossey stuff will help me write the troll encounter. One sometimes doesn't know. (I hate the phrase "you never know." Because sometimes, I know. And Scott tries to amend it so, "You never know sometimes." Meaning, "You never know about some things," but that's different.)

David's going to come down and head over to Half Price Books with me. Or I'm going to head over with him. Whatever.

I'm not sure I should be happy: the SuperBowl coverage was bumped to the bottom of the front page for two days in a row now, but it was only because an SJSU frat boy was knifed to death by another SJSU frat boy. I think I'd have preferred the SuperBowl coverage to the knifing (not to the coverage of the knifing, mind you), but nobody consulted with me. They rarely do. The frat members quoted seemed to have a very shaky grasp on the concept of stereotypes. They said they hoped that this fatal knifing wouldn't cause anyone to stereotype them as frats or gangs. Um. First of all, they are frats. It's short for "fraternity." That's what the word means. It's not a stereotype. It's a label -- and, in this case, an indisputably accurate one. They chose it themselves. And in the second place, what are we supposed to call groups of people who get into violent confrontations with each other over distinctions that seem trivial to outsiders? Garden party societies? I think "gangs" is pretty appropriate here. If they'd been talking about not stereotyping other, uninvolved fraternities as violent and thuggish, okay, that might have made sense. But I really think that they've crossed the line in their behavior. People would no longer be making unfounded assumptions if they called these groups gangs. They'd be making observations.

Sometimes it seems that "stereotype" has come to mean "any unpleasant label" to a lot of people in this country. And you don't get to weasel out of any negative label by claiming it's a stereotype. Sometimes people are violent, ignorant, petty, greedy, or any number of other things that are sometimes involved in stereotypes. It's an unfortunate fact. And there's a big difference between saying "Asian guys are thugs" and saying "those Asian guys over there are thugs." One is a stereotype. In the case of this fraternity, the other is an observation with data to back it up.

Oh, hey, and it's Mindy's birthday. Cool. One of my oldest friends is now just a little older.

La la la. Babble babble. I'm going to work a little more on Dwarf's Blood Mead before David gets here. Maybe read a little more about Dian Fossey. It's a plan. We didn't have homemade pizza last Friday (we got take-and-bake instead), and we have the stuff this Friday, so I'm thinking it sounds like a good, cozy weekend meal. And there are still mushrooms leftover from last night's stuffing thereof. So. Go on ahead and celebrate Communicate With M'rissa Week. It's fun. And all the cool kids are doing it.

Well, many of them, anyway.

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