December 20th, 2004


(no subject)

Early morning insomnia. Not surprising I suppose; I can't remember the last time I slept through a night.

Holidays are tough on the recently-singled. I don't know if it's connected or not, but I know that I feel less lonely when there is some noise, so I fond myself very often leaving the television on in the background just so there is the sound of human voices. I've found that If I have on the ambient/trance music that I like so much, my mood is far too easily swayed (which is great if I'm writing but not so much if I'm doing laundry).

Dos Manos y Los Lobos.

That may not make sense to anyone.

A long time ago, I was a wolf. Or I thought of myself as a wolf, but I was really some mongrel dog, alone and living in a heap of strewn litter.

People use the phrase "Lone Wolf" a lot, but it's really misleading. Canines in any form are pack animals, bound together through instinct stronger than thought.

A lone wolf is a reject, shunned, alone against his nature. A Ronin. And quite possibly insane.

Thus the howling of the lone wolf, late at night when the moon is full. And the answering call of the other lonely souls in the distance, because even in their loneliness, there is a sense of kinship, of belonging that drives them to be together. Even though they may never see each other, something bonds them across all of those miles of emptiness.

Frohe Weinachten

Read an interesting article in the paper today about a family who went
to court to sue over the right to provide Christian Christmas cards at
school. There was more to it than that, but the gist was that this
family felt that it was an issue of religious freedom.

And they won.

I'm okay with that. I do believe that religious freedom is a good thing.

Though I think that next year, I'm going to start sending out Samhain
cards. And I think a Saturnalia party would be an interesting addition
to the curriculum.

The winter solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the
Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god
Dionysos was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day.
Later in the ritual, Dionysos would be reborn as a baby.

Now why do I expect that there would be resistance to such things?

I'm not having much of a Christmas celebration this year. Many reasons,
though the primary one is the whole breakup thing, and being very
family-poor. It just doesn't seem like a great time to be celebratory.
It is however a time for deep reflection and meditation, and I should
begin that cycle tonight.

Then again, it's not like I haven't already been doing my share of

I've had to make one of those executive decisions at work. It has to do
with the direction that I'm taking when developing code to an interface:
when we've had several meetings to define an interface and have
agreement on it down to the level of the code templates, I am
deciding to program to that interface even though it means that I have
to work with my own modified local copy of the code. I have chosen to do
this even though I know that it is going to be a significant problem
when it comes time for integration, because I have made it very clear
that this needs to be done, and if it is not done now, it will need to
be done later.

So it will be done later. Surprise, surprise.

I have a little sign up on the side of my cube. It says "Integration
will take a very long time". Now instead of saying it, I just point to
the sign.

It's going to be an interesting time.

Just Say No

Report: U.S. Rentals Unaffordable to Poor


WASHINGTON (AP) - Most Americans who rely on just a full-time job earning the federal minimum wage cannot afford the rent and utilities on a one- or two-bedroom apartment, an advocacy group on low-income housing reported Monday.

For a two-bedroom rental alone, the typical worker must earn at least $15.37 an hour - nearly three times the federal minimum wage, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said in its annual ``Out of Reach'' report.

That figure assumes that a family spends no more than 30 percent of its gross income on rent and utilities - anything more is generally considered unaffordable by the government.

Yet many poor Americans are paying more than they can afford because wage increases haven't kept up with increases in rent and utilities, said Danilo Pelletiere, the coalition's research director.

The median hourly wage in the United States is about $14, and more than one-quarter of the population earns less than $10 an hour, the report said.

``A lot of people continue to be squeezed out,'' said Judy Levey, executive director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky. ``Housing here is relatively inexpensive, but because the wages are so low, people can't afford housing,''

The report quoted federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data that showed hourly wages rising about 2.6 percent over the past year, slower than the 2.9 percent rise in rents recorded in the Consumer Price Index.

In addition, Pelletiere said, government spending on Section 8 rental vouchers, which helps 2 million Americans - mainly poor - pay rent hasn't kept up with demand.

The study analyzed data from the Census Bureau and the Housing and Urban Development Department to derive the hourly wage figures.

In only four of the nation's 3,066 counties could a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage afford a typical one-bedroom apartment, the coalition said. Three were in Illinois: Clay, Crawford and Wayne counties; the other was Washington County, Fla.

California topped all states in the hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment, at $21.24, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and New York.

States with more residents in rural areas were generally the most affordable, although no state's housing wage was lower than the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, which has not changed since 1997.

West Virginia was the lowest at $9.31 an hour for a two-bedroom rental, followed by North Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

Pelletiere said the coalition's data for 2004 could not be compared with previous years because of changes in the way that HUD calculated ``Fair Market Rents,'' which is the cost of rent and most utilities for a typical apartment. The fair rent varies widely by metropolitan area.

Overall, though, utility costs appear to be rising at a faster rate than rents, Pelletiere said. Add in stagnant wages and the housing situation for the nation's poor ``has gotten worse over the last year,'' he said.

On the Net:

National Low Income Housing Coalition:


(no subject)

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