Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Things I Can't Stand And The Past Is Where It's At

Find out who won in the 2004 Bloggie Awards. (Scroll down the screen to see the winners).

The same county in Tennessee that tried a teacher in 1925 for teaching evolution is now actively trying to ban gays from even living there.

Is Jesus freaking taking over?! What the fuck is going on?!

Things that I can't stand, no matter how I look at them:
1. When I go to use a public toilet and I sit down on the seat and the seat is all warm from someone else's butt. It's disgusting. Not only have I unthinkingly sat down on a public toilet seat, but the last person did as well. It's like I am sitting on their butt. Directly on it. Why don't I and the last stranger to use that toilet just drop our pants and press our warm butts together, because that would be more direct, and if there's something I've learned in life, it's that directness is better than taking the long way 'round.
2. As animals, we humans are truly disgusting. Today, I am a very good example of how disgusting we are. My bathroom is still a mess. The bathtub is supposedly in working condition, but the walls are half knocked out, there is brown silty dust all over the tub and the floor and everything else, and the bathroom door has been removed. Needless to say, I am still having to bathe in the kitchen sink, which is great for some parts of me but not for others. I have found that without my having done any heavy labour or having been subjected to hot weather or any exercise of any kind, my skin has produced a layer of grime that easily collects thickly under my fingernails. We seem to produce our own dirt. I wouldn't mind if I happened to be picking up the grunge from the world apart from my physical self, but that I produce so much smelly waste all over my skin all on my own, that we all do, is disgusting. It reminds me of snails and their slimy trails.
3. Those spider web tattoos that use the point of the elbow as their center don't make any sense to me. It's your elbow. I know that while you were busy covering your arms with tattoos that you were probably at a loss about what to do with that oddly-shaped elbow part, but the spider web thing is just stupid. Creativity is the key here, not following the elbow-ornamenting herd. It's like drawing a bullseye around it. I can't think of a single culture that bothers to spend any time on elbow accentuation. That stupid tattoo makes me stare at your elbows, and that just makes me look creepy.
4. I am often given really small and petty tasks to do at work. I know that this is because my bosses are trying to keep me busy while I stand around during this slow time at work, but instead of making me feel vital and interested in my job, these mindless tasks only serve to increase my discontent. My mind can't help but wonder what it is I am spending my time doing when life is so short. I don't mind the tasks themselves, but they do get depressing. Or maybe I just don't feel like individually wrapping thirty faulty insulated coffee mugs that we can't sell in red and green cellophane with ribbon as presents for our new load of ESL students from Japan or Korea or wherever. Poor kids. We suck already, and they haven't even arrived yet.
5. The smell on my hands after handling rubber bands is obnoxious. It follows my every move, even wafting up from the keyboard as I type. (By the way, I found out that "typist" is no longer used to describe someone who types on a keyboard. The person is a "keyboarder". Only those who type on actual typewriters are "typists"). Rubber, rubber everywhere, and my only alternative at the moment is using this really perfumey hand sanitizer gel that smells like chemical peaches.

Apparently the swastika and the star of David are unacceptable symbols, and Microsoft issued a critical update to remove them from your computer.

If we were to declare what were planets and what were not planets today, Pluto would not have made it to planethood.

Yay! They are not closing down half of the library service in my city. I don’t have to move away now with my head hung low in deep shame.

Lately, I have had the distinct impression that the past is somehow more real than present, despite how it seems to shift and distort according to the viewpoint. This impression has grown out of my recent experience of the present. The present never really seems to be here. By the time my brain has put together all the information from my senses and then taken a second to think about it, the moment has already passed. It has become past before I was ever really present. It could be argued that the past can be manipulated in its retelling or remembering to suit the individual, but the same can be said of the present. I'm getting kind of lost here. Let me try something else.
The past has happened. I know that there is not much in the way of physical proof to make that an absolute truth, but collectively we can agree on its having occurred (don't nit-pick with finer philosophical points, because I'm not interested). The present, as far as I know, has never been here in a way that I am physically capable of discerning. I can make every effort to act as well as I possibly can as situations arise, but moments in time do not have meaning for me until after the fact. It is in the past that I see my life. Certainly, the decisions I make now are incredibly important, but it is the past and my vision of it that has molded me and continues to mold me.
Forget it. What I really mean is . . . Given that I have started writing about my first serious episode of mental illness, leading up to that and definitely over the last week I have been thinking a lot about my past, especially regarding my adult life from the age of twenty on. I have started to see things about myself that I never saw before as I go over some of the details of my past friendships, loveships, living styles, difficulties, and joys. I used to imagine my younger self as being a near saint. She was unfairly beaten down by life, she was wrongly abused of her sense of power; she hid, waiting for her time to come forth and prove her beauty. This was obviously not the case, and I have long known the truth about that notion at this point in my life. I am so glad that I have taken a second look again. This particular second look is one of many I have taken. This time around I have learned: I was not nearly as giving as I had once thought (minus), but I still had genuine interest in people (plus); I lied, cheated, and stole more than I had convinced myself I had (minus), but my passions for things were not small (plus); (I have thought of a third minus/plus pair, but it's too embarrassingly personal, and I'm still getting used to taking a look at myself, let alone you looking). As I am able to take a more objective look at my past and who I was in it, it is becoming clearer and clearer to me who the person is that I am now, complete with the things about myself I am really pleased to know and the things I need to work on.
I have been using the past to come to my present self. Everything is the past . . . yeah . . . the past seems more real to me . . . yeah, that's where I started. The past seems more real because my present is so fleeting and only seems to congeal, solidify, when it has receded from me. And I'm learning from it, too, I am. I'm patting myself on the head.
ALSO, IF IT ISN'T OBVIOUS, I REALLY LIKE TO TALK ABOUT MYSELF OUT LOUD TO ALL OF YOU. MODESTY IS NOT MY STRONG POINT.

The fire that ripped through the Central Manezh Exhibition Hall in Moscow may not have been an accident.

This is a line of work I hadn’t thought of getting into.

Noam Chomsky has reluctantly backed the United States’ Democratic party presidential contender John Kerry, calling him “Bush-lite”.

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