February 10th, 2008

State of the Universe

A week ago I moved out of the Market Street apartment and in with my best friend B. It's way cool 'cuz we get along great and have a lot of common interests; rooming with her is fun. Also she's a seamstress and I'm hopefully going to get to help her out with making clothes and stuff.

Last night we went to Fields Books to see the Tibetan artist Romio Shrestha - B has been a big fan of his for a long time. It was fun and I enjoyed hanging out in Fields. (Not as big as Powell's but nice and cozy and lots to explore!) Towards the end of the event I started getting nauseous and realized I hadn't been drinking enough water and was becoming dehydrated, so we had to hurry home. But it was a great evening.

I'm starting the apartment hunt this week. The long-term plan is to find a place where G can move in with me later; we've talked it over and we are definitely on the same page, so it's really nice.

I am officiallly a CrackBerry user now. My first experience with BlackBerry was frustrating, probably because I had a lot of other stuff going on and didn't take the time to learn to use the thing properly. Anyway, second time around and it's fun. Last night I successfully downloaded some Wolfram ringtones (http://tones.wolfram.com/) which was the big milestone!

Seeing TNG this afternoon ... going to take him to Japantown, which is right next door to where I'm staying with B. He'll love J-town, especially the bookstores. Manga heaven!

American Woman jailed by Saudi fascist thugs ...

... for sitting with a man in Starbucks. Her name is Yara, no last name given. Here's the story at the Times:
A 37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.

Yara, who does not want her last name published for fear of retribution, was bruised and crying when she was freed from a day in prison after she was strip-searched, threatened and forced to sign false confessions by the Kingdom's “Mutaween” police. ...

Muslims Against Sharia has more:
Two weeks before Yara, an American businesswoman, was arrested by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at Starbucks, she said she strolled past the very same cafe with another businessman: Neil Bush.

Bush, President George W. Bush's younger brother and CEO of the education software company Ignite!, was in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, speaking at an economic forum hosted by King Abdullah for hundreds of influential business leaders.

Yara, who does not want her last name revealed because of safety concerns, is a managing partner at a Saudi financial company. She went to hear Bush speak, and she said she invited him later to tour her company's offices, to give him a sense of what life was really like for women living in the capital.

"I was boasting about Riyadh, telling him it doesn't deserve its bad reputation," she said. "I told him I never experienced any harassment. I'd had no trouble as a woman. It was business as usual."

But on Monday, Yara learned that she had been wrong. She was thrown in jail, strip-searched, threatened and forced to sign false confessions by the kingdom’s “Mutaween” police. “When I was arrested, it was like going through an avalanche,” she said. “All of my beliefs were completely destroyed.”...

Neocon Express comments: 'This is why when Laura Bush goes over to Saudi Arabia and proudly wares the very symbols of gender oppression...it's an act of ignorance, and a national disgrace! This has never been a matter of quaint cultural difference. It's a matter of life or death for millions of subjugated women in the world of Islam.'

Meanwhile, in Iran, two sisters face stoning for "adultery":
Two Iranian sisters convicted of adultery face being stoned to death after the supreme court upheld the death sentences against them, the Etemad newspaper Monday quoted their lawyer as saying.

The two were found guilty of adultery -- a capital crime in Islamic Iran -- after the husband of one sister presented video evidence showing them in the company of other men while he was away.

"Branch 23 of the supreme court has confirmed the stoning sentence," said their lawyer, Jabbar Solati.

The penal court of Tehran province had already sentenced the sisters identified only as Zohreh, 27, and Azar (no age given) to stoning, the daily said.

Solati explained that the two sisters had initially been tried for "illegal relations" and received 99 lashes. However in a second trial they were convicted of "adultery."

The pair admitted they were in the video presented by the husband but argued that there was no adultery as none of the footage showed them engaged in a sexual act with other men. ...