Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It Was a Dark and Stormy Hiatus; the Vacation Came in a Torrent, with Occasional Bursts of Travel Reportage

The Generik Brand is going dark for a while, loyal readers.

As some of you already know, in less than two weeks I'll be off with the wife on the Mr. and Mrs. Generik's You Can't Spend It When You're Dead European Tour, with stops in such popular destinations as London, Paris, Rome, Prague and many more. During that time I will have only sporadic internet access at best (I'm not lugging the laptop all over western Europe), and so will not be posting much for the next couple months. I'm hoping to find a few internet cafes along the way, if only to read some email and keep people apprised of our progress across the continent and back, but I have no idea when or if that will happen with any regularity. You may see regular dispatches here on the blog, or you may see this particular post sitting atop the heap for weeks, like the last post at Dark Window or The Token Reader or Scaramouche. (And where the heck are those guys, anyway?)

The vacation officially begins May 28th, and I'm scheduled to be back at work August 1st. But before that happens, I have to move my office from the building I've been in for the past eight years or so to another building across the street, and I have to have it done before I leave. So there's all that packing and stuff to do, which I absolutely hate. I also hate giving up this office, which has afforded me a measure of privacy that I won't have in the new one. But the decision is out of my hands, and if I want to keep my job -- which I do, I do I do I do -- I'll make the move.

Not only that, but on the home front, we're getting some much-needed repairs done in our kitchen while we're gone (like a new sink and new shelves and maybe a new stove), so we have to pack up everything in there and have it out of the way before we go. Yikes.

The reservations are booked, the hotels and apartments and Eurail pass and all that is all taken care of, but I still feel like it's almost coming too fast for me. I haven't had time to re-learn my high school French! I don't know how to speak Czech! I still need to get some Euros for when we land in Dublin! Yeesh. These have been my concerns lately, and that's why I've been neglecting this site more than I like.

It's not like there isn't plenty of news out there to expound on, either. My outrage meter has been running in the red for so long I don't know what it's like to just be angry any more. The Downing Street memo is damning evidence, a smoking gun that leaves no room for dispute about how we were lied into the Iraq war, yet there are no serious calls for impeachment or war crimes trials of Bush and his evil henchmen. Bill Frist is still calling for the nuclear option in the Senate, willing to erase 217 years of tradition and protection of minority rights in a naked grab for absolute power. The Idiot Preznit is still pushing his ridiculous Social Security destruction plan. Low-level soldiers are being convicted of abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib, while the administration that condoned and encouraged those practices -- and that perpetuates them even today at Guantanamo and other spots, and engages in extraordinary rendition, sending American citizens to other countries to be tortured -- is somehow unaccountable. The Christian fascists are getting more and more powerful, their grassroot strategy having been successful beyond their wildest dreams; school boards, media outlets, women's clinics, city and state governments and the judiciary at all levels live in fear of their well-organized wrath. I have little doubt but that Bush will order bombings of Iran in June, as soon as I'm out of the country, and I won't be surprised at all to see anti-American demonstrations throughout my trip.

It's gotten so scary that I long for the days of even bad presidents like Nixon or Ford or Reagan. Well, sort of. I considered sewing a maple leaf on my luggage, and practicing saying "oot" and "aboot" and "eh?" while I'm gone, but that's a difficult fiction to maintain. I definitely will keep my red circle and slash over Bush's face pin on my backpack for the duration, just in case anyone wonders where I stand. In the end, though, I trust that most of the people I'll come into contact with will realize that not every American is a bloodthirsty right-wing idiot. And if they do think that, I'll be happy to help disabuse them of that notion.

So check in every once in a while if you feel the urge, maybe I'll have a nice travelogue post up about Dublin or Edinburgh or Venice or some place, but otherwise this is it for the time being. Good luck fighting the theocratic fascists trying to take over America; resist them on all fronts, and I'll be back to help man the barricades in August. Ciao. Au revoir. Hasta luego. See ya.
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