Friday, May 9, 2008

Let the Bloodbath Begin

(with apologies to any Cambodian friends....)

And so SockWars begins....

For the time being, I am no longer Elizabeth, E, Miss Mummzzz, Miz Eliz, Mom, Mama, Hey You, or Mmoooooooooooomm.

As the Khmer Rouge had Pol Pot, Maison Cou Rouge has "Purl Pot".

Watch out target....I'm after you.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

SOCK WARS IN Tminus 10 hours 58 minutes

Yes I am participating in that most vicious of extreme knitting....SOCK WARS!!!!
For those of you who missed the Wall Street Journal front page article after the Sock Wars II, click on the link here to an article from Reuters a few days ago..or read it below.....

Don't bother to try to reach me this weekend...I'll be knitting a pair of socks.....
My nom-de-guerre is "Purl Pot" (as in a take-off of Pol Pot, the vicious Khmer Rouge leader)
There are 1156 knitters participating as of 1500 hrs this afternoon.

Die-hard knitters prepare for sock battle
TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - There may be nothing scary about socks, but a cut-throat competition involving hundreds of furiously fast knitters with pointy needles is enough to send even accomplished enthusiasts' pulse racing.
Sock Wars III, billed by its organizers as the "bloodiest death-by-knitting tournament," enlists players from around the world to take part in a game that shows knitting is no longer just a grandmothers' hobby.
It was started by Julie Gardner, a 31-year-old freelance TV and film production manager in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a couple years ago after she heard about StreetWars, a game that uses mock weapons and is popular on college campuses.
Gardner was excited about pitting knitters against each other with a sudden-death spin.
"I love the fact that we have had competitors ranging from teenagers knitting their first socks through to silver surfer great grannies in their 70s," she said.
Around 1,000 women -- and some men -- have already signed up for this year's tournament, which starts May 9. The deadline for applications on is May 3.
Each contestant must knit a pair of socks from the same original pattern for another player in a specific size and mail it to another contestant, or target.
When the targets receive the finished socks from their assassins they are "killed", or out of the game, and must mail their assassins their unfinished socks. The assassins must then finish that pair of socks and mail them to their new targets. The last sock-knitter left wins.
Knitters from the United States, Canada, Britain, the Netherland and Australia took part in last year's contest.
"I think it's brilliant," said Amy Singer, the author of knitting books and editor of, an online knitting magazine based in Toronto.
Knitting's feisty new image has been boosted over the last decade by books such as "Stitch and Bitch", "Chicks with Sticks" and "The Friday Night Knitting Club" -- a bestselling novel that has been turned into a new film starring real-life knitter Julia Roberts -- as well as the Internet, knitting clubs and cafes.
Fans insist it's not just a fad.
"Knitting is not the new yoga, knitting is the new knitting," said Singer.
The prize for the past two tournaments has been a pair of socks. This year, every competitor is promised a pair of socks, while the grand prize winner will also receive a $500 supply of yarn.

More Thoughts on Burma

Over the past two days, I've been working in the garden, clearing out leaves, pruning back plants and planting summer flowers. I've had a great deal of quiet time to reflect and to think about Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar, the Burmese people, the military junta, children, death, life, hope, despair, and the future.
One of the joys of travel is the chance to meet people from other lands, other cultures, other ways of thinking. But, as in all things, there is a yang of sadness to that yin of joy. Never have I felt that more than the past few days, as a country where I visited- just 35 days ago- has been devastated.

A Burmese girl who sold me some sketches. She's wearing thanaka, traditional makeup made from tree bark. Is she alive?
I thought I had become too old and too cynical to care anymore about governments and politicians and rulers and power. But I haven't. I'm furious.

Just a teenaged guy celebrating his birthday. Is he alive?

I'm furious at a group of power-mad, bloodthirsty, petty military generals who are stalling relief workers with visa paperwork. I know from firsthand experience the a Myanmese visa can be approved quickly--officials took less than one hour to approve 800 when the Serenity docked. The visa applications were not submitted ahead of time and I never personally appeared before any governmental apparatchik.

Remember the little girl celebrating her birthday? Her mom is in the center...isn't she lovely?

I'm furious that the same military types want international aid, but don't want help distributing it. Guess whose pockets will be lined, whose families and friends will be given water, food, and drugs first.
Isn't she adorable? Her mom was one of our puppeteer performers . She tagged along. I hope she and her mom are okay.

I'm furious that organizations who have people already in place, such as Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF, can not get access to their own supplies because the planes have not been given authorization to land.

This group of young people greeted us at the dock with music and dance. It was so low to the water at high tide, I wonder if it was destroyed.

Who do these men think they are? Their countrymen, the people who share their culture and history, are dying daily...the children- the Burmese future- are DYING-and they are doing NOTHING to help.

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said yesterday "It's not a matter of politics. It's a matter of a humanitarian crisis."

I don't normally jump on the "one world" bandwagon. I learned a while ago that I can't change the world-so I try to make a difference where I live. But I "lived" in Burma for three days. So in my own small way, I must try to effect change.
I can speak up. I can donate what I can to help. I can make others aware of the real situation.
I encourage everyone to sit up and take notice. Every little bit can save lives. Skip lunch today and send a donation to UNICEF (where you can earmark your $$$ directly to Myanmar relief) or Doctors Without Borders or the International Red Cross or any other charity you see fit.
If every friend I have sent just $10, imagine the hundreds of lives we could save. Imagine the snowball effect if everyone I know talked to just two people about the political attrocities in Myanmar, and then those two talked to two people.

The Irrawaddy Delta just 4 weeks ago. This doesn't even exist anymore-everything was swept away and it is all under water.

We can make a difference. Like the Nike commercial says "Just Do It".

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Myanmar Destruction

I know that I haven't even finished up with tales of my wonderful trip, much less talking about everything else going on, but I had to write about the cyclone in Myanmar.

(You can read the latest story on CNN.)

The devastation is horrific. My heart goes out to all those I met in Yangon- our guide Zhero, the monk at the Pagoda who gave me flowers, the little girl who showed my mom and me how to pour water on our birth day's Buddha, and the boys and girls who were celebrating their birthdays. Take a look at the pictures from my post of that day because so much of what you will see is now gone. Reports say that half of the stupas at the Pagoda itself were destroyed, over 20,000 have been killed, and 100,000 are homeless.

The Democratic Voice of Burma has information on its website. The situation is more desperate than the military junta government is telling the world.

Maybe this is the way that great change will finally come to the Burmese people. If the government really botches the handling of Myanmar post-cyclone--as it seems headed to do- hopefully the rest of the world will sit up and take notice. Shame that it takes a catastrophe of such epic proportions to effect change.

Blessings and prayers to the Burmese people.