Not The Only One

I read a post on another blog this morning that I thought bore some sharing.  The post is, at least in part, about the civil and economic unrest in Greece, which, to be honest, I’m not very well informed about, but more importantly to me, the post included this paragraph:

I did not like the word faggot used there. I don’t like it that it’s acceptable by somebody in the public eye to use words like that to berate others in the year 2012. I don’t like it that well-known people can go on TV and use this and other similar words without anyone complaining about it. I don’t like it that racist and homophobic language are equally acceptable. That people can feature in mainstream media, using words like faggot (poustis), sissy (aderfi), nigger (arapis) and ape (pithikos) to describe others. Whether it’s done in a serious or a ‘humorous’ way. I loathe that no one calls them out on it.

I say, here, here!  It’s time more people stood up to this!

The entire blog post can be read here.

Sopapillas and Pita Bread

I was going to write a riveting, brilliant, startling revelation of a post, today, about my improved emotional well-being and something that I’ve been giving a lot of though to recently.  It was going to be a amazing and you were going to love it.

But now I’m just pissed off and it’s all your fault.  Yours and yours and…  well, not yours.  You didn’t do it.

It’s all this bullshit I’m seeing everywhere I turn about the bills before the house and congress about censorship of the internet.  I’m just sick of it.

No!  You know what I’m sick of?  I’m sick of vigilante activism.  That’s what I’m sick of.  Occupy this.  Black out that.  Come on!  You want to educate people, then educate people, but this is ridiculous.

Last night I watched a really weird LGBT movie called “The Lost Coast”.  The movie was strange, but it had some really good moments in it.  Early on one of the characters picks up a photograph in another characters apartment and says, “Is this the lost coast?”  I didn’t even know the lost coast was a real place.  (Turns out it’s somewhere north of where I live, here in California.)  I did what I always do when I don’t know something.  I Googled it.  This was last night; about 9:00.  The first result, as is so often the case, was Wikipedia.  So I clicked on the link and the page loaded, and then just as I was starting to read about the lost coast, the screen went black and an annoying message popped up, whining at me about internet censorship and “Imagine a World
Without Free Knowledge”.  There was no way to acknowledge the message and move on.  Just, “nah-neh-nah-neh-nah-nah.  You can’t read my pages.”  Last night.  It annoyed me, but I found what I wanted to know elsewhere.

Today, as I’m reading through the blogs in my reader, I find post after post about these bills and how wretched and horrible and awful the bills are.  Now, I usually open the blogs and read them on people’s sites.  I’m not at all sure that reading in Google Reader counts toward people’s page views on their blog stats and while we like to pretend we’re cool and don’t care about such things, we’re lying.  We all care.  So I like to make sure it counts.  (This, by the way, is the reason you have to come to my blog to read the entire post… just in case you were wondering.)  Anyway, half of these posts have come through just fine in my reader and I could read the entire thing if I wanted, but when I clicked on the blogs themselves the blogs are blacked out “in protest”.  So, I can read teh whole damn post on Google Reader, but I can’t read it on your blogs and show you I’ve been there.  Vigilante Activism Fail!!!

It’s not that you wrote blog posts about it.  They’re your blogs.  You can write what you want.  Personally, I’m annoyed by the glut of posts on the subject, but at least by writing about the bills you’re making an effort to educate me.  It’s the “blacking out” of the pages “in protest” that’s got me pissed.  By the way, I haven’t read any of your anti-sopapilla bill blog posts.  I’ve even dropped a couple anti-pita bread bloggers from my line up.  Enough is enough!

I sent a link to a particularly funny lolcat to K this afternoon.  The lolcats did it right.  There’s a screen that pops up in front of the page and tells you to beware the bogey monster and then at the bottom it asks you  if you’d like to learn more.  You can click a “learn more” button and, imagine that, learn more.  Or you can click on the “no thanks” button and get on with your life.  K wouldn’t look at the lolcat because she wasn’t willing to click the “no thanks” button.  Her loss.

Look.  I get it.  Censorship is bad.  We don’t want these bills to pass and if someone presents me with an unoffensive petition to sign, I’ll sign it.  I sent the e-mails to my representatives.  I’ve done my part.  And the truth is, I don’t really understand what these bills are about.  What is internet piracy?  How are these bills supposed to make things better?  I. Don’t. Know.  What I do know is, blacking out or otherwise inconveniencing half of the internet, isn’t serving any purpose.  I guarantee you the talking heads in Washington, do not care that I couldn’t look up the lost coast last night.  The vast majority of them have not looked for a single website that happened to be part of this ridiculous protest.

IT.  DOES.  NOT.  WORK.

What is the Deal

Watch this video from my favorite Christmas movie.  Don’t worry, it’ll open in a separate window.  I tried to embed it but the person who posted this set it up so it couldn’t be embedded and it was the only clip I could find with the crucial line in it.  If you don’t have much time, skip ahead and watch from 3:03 to about 3:30.  (Thanks a lot, Christmas Dave for ruining the flow of my blog post.)

Go over to YouTube and watch the clip.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Finished?  Great.  Now allow me to branch off into a seemingly completely unrelated topic, only to loop it all back around in then end…

I’ve got a bit of seemingly minimal crap going on in my life.  But of course, “a bit” of seemingly minimal crap can pile on and amount to one big pile of smelly, unpleasant…  stress.

The apartment I have lived in for the last four years has only one built-in source of heat.  It’s a small, gas-burning fireplace with asbestos (probably not asbestos) logs that glow when hot to make it look like they’re on fire.  The flame itself only resembles a smoulder and offers no ambiance to my apartment.  The fireplace gets pretty hot right where it is and according to “them” is supposed to be sufficient to heat my whole apartment.  In reality, it s about 85 degrees at the fireplace and about 65 degrees 8 feet away.  Plus, the fir place puts off an obnoxious odor that gives me a headache.  I choose not to use the fireplace and in the meantime, it is freezing in my apartment.

Yesterday I went to the Orthodontist for what was supposed to be my take-my-braces-off appointment.  Last month, the younger Dr. Tinloy (it’s a father and son practice) told me to pay close attention to my teeth over the next month and see if there was anything else I felt needed to be corrected and this month we’d talk about taking the braces off.  Realizing that literal perfection is not a possibility at my age, without extraction and implants, I’m pretty happy with the way my teeth look these days, but I did notice that the back teeth on the bottom are not in-line with the rest of my teeth.  I didn’t know if it really mattered, or if it was worthwhile (or even possible) to try to correct, but I didn’t want to look back on this experience in a couple of years and wish I had stuck it out and gotten those last two teeth straightened out.  When I pointed this out to the older Dr. Tinloy yesterday, he agreed that it could be done and even said he did think it was worthwhile.  So here I sit with braces still on my teeth and in some respects tighter than they’ve ever been.  I’m aware that after only one year and nearly finished I’m better off than most and my threshold for pain is pretty high so I haven’t had a lot of discomfort, but they’re a hassle and I’m ready to have them off.  In the end though, I chose to continue with the process and finish what I started.

Some time in the last month or so, some ne’er-do-wells managed to sneak some contraptions into the self-service check stands at several of the local Lucky’s grocery stores.  These contraptions record and somehow transmitted or conveyed the information from customer’s credit cards to the ne’er-do-wells who have been using the information fraudulently and causing a lot of trouble and heartache for the owners of those cards and the banks they’re attached to.  Sadly, I frequent two of those Lucky’s grocery stores and while, fortunately, I have not been a victim of any identity theft, or bank fraud, my bank, proactively, decided to cancel my debit card because I shopped at those stores.  They sent a replacement, which I received yesterday, but for several days I was without access to my money…

This was not as much of a hardship as it could have been, because, well…  I really don’t have any money.  I have $38.00 in the bank until payday which is this Friday.  I need to do Christmas shopping (soon, since most of my gifts are going out of state) and I have bills that are coming due soon, but for the moment, I’m OK, financially speaking.  Still $38.00 isn’t much and I would certainly prefer to have more money just hanging around…  I suppose we could all say that, though, no matter how much we actually have “hanging around.”

For a few weeks, ever since the very sniffly, coughy, non-hand-washy DMV worker, I’ve been struggling with cold-like symptoms.  First it was a couple of weeks of running nose and sniffles.  Then just as that was dwindling away, I started coughing… TWO. WEEKS. LATER.  The cough has persisted.  It’s not constant, though it is a nuisance.  It’s not productive and despite my best efforts it’s not offering any kind of relief to the irritation that causes it in the first place.  While I have not been short of breath, I have had a hard time getting a full, deep breath and when I try, it just makes me cough some more.  Also, after nearly three weeks of coughing, I have muscular pain in my chest and back when I cough.  Monday, I finally broke down and called my health care provider.  I wasn’t sure there was any point in me going in – I don’t go to the doctor for the common cold…  though maybe I should.  After a conversation with an “Advice Nurse” it was determined that I could probably make do with a “phone appointment” and a little while later, I spoke with a doctor who, after discussing my symptoms said, “it sounds like you’ve got bronchitis” and proceeded to put in three prescriptions for me; two inhalers and one bottle of pills.  Now, what I’m about to say is going to sound really ungrateful, so let me just specify that I KNOW I’m luckier than many people when it comes to health care coverage and yet, even for me, an employee of my healthcare provider, costs have gone up.  Everything is relative and compared to the coverage I used to have – $5.00 for prescriptions and $0.00 for everything else – the increased expenses suck.

Remember that my ATM/Debit card was cancelled and I did not have access to the $38.00 in the bank.  I happened to have very full jars of change on my dresser which I took to a coinstar machine and cashed in.  It gave me enough cash that I should have been able to get through this week without any fears of running out of lunch money.  My three prescriptions on Monday night cost me $45.00 and I had to pay another $1.00 for parking.  I had $49.00 cash in my pocket.  Suddenly, I didn’t have any more money for the week.

Monday, I reminded K of a task she needed to complete for me this week.  It’s a task that will take her all of 20 minutes to complete and normally she wouldn’t have to do it right now, but she’s on vacation next week and I’m taking another two weeks stay-cation starting at Christmas.  What she needs to do for me needs to be done and announced before I go on vacation, therefore, she needs to do it this week.  Her response?  “See this is why I asked you last week if there was anything else I owed you.”  After thinking of a number of less friendly things to say, I simply said, “You’re welcome,” and left it at that.  I chose not to make her attitude, my problem.

Yesterday, I had about an hour and a half between my Orthodontist appointment and my bi-weekly appointment with Deb and while I was at home I had a thought that caught me a little by surprise and when I expressed the thought to Deb, “With all this stuff going on, I’m not stressed out about it.  I’m doing just fine,” I got a mental picture of The Grinch in the scene above…

To paraphrase a little bit, “I’ve got all this crap going on, and I’m fineWhat is the DEAL?!?!?”

I Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself

I don’t often publish unoriginal material on my blog.  I also, don’t often publish political material on my blog, though it has been known to happen.

I just read this article on DaveRamsey.com and had to share it.  Dave Ramsey is a financial guru with his own radio show and books and stuff.  One of my all time favorite bill boards is one on 5th street, in Oakland.  It’s for Dave’s radio show and features a huge picture of Dave’s mug and the tag line says, “Act your wage!”  I think that’s brilliant.  A few years ago, I read a book by Dave called The Total Money Makeover.  It changed my life.  It would change my life more, but I haven’t done a really good job of following it’s recommendations.

Anyway, Dave has some comments regarding the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the off shoots that have sprouted up around the country and while I have not said anything about them because I have nothing nice to say, this article from Dave’s website helped to put into polite and friendly words, all the things I’ve been thinking for weeks but couldn’t think of a nice way to say.

Here is a link to the original article.

By Dave Ramsey

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Yeah, that’s great. But what do you want? What are your goals? What are your demands? What result are you looking for?

The beauty of being vague is that anyone who has any emotion can get caught up in the excitement and join your crusade. They’ll just get mad at something and assume that you’re both mad about the same thing. Put a few hundred of these people together, and boom. You’ve got a crowd, a headline and a lot of attention … but no message.

A lot of people on Twitter are saying I totally agree with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demands and goals. The only problem is that I have no idea what their demands and goals are. And neither does anyone else.

The Hardest (And Most Important) Thing I’ve Ever Done

Have you seen this?

Karin and I talked about it the other day.  She said it brought a tear to her eye.

I said, “hmmmm.”

“Didn’t do anything to you?” she asked.

It didn’t.  As we know, I’m not quick to emotional reactions to things.

But I admit, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  And I watched it again, that day.

And again the next day.  And several times since then.  I don’t really know how to explain how the video affected me, but it did affect me.

On Sunday, I sent the following e-mail to my sister:

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to you to know that when I think about our family, you are the person who means the most to me (well, you and your kids.)  You are the ones that I care the most about.  And you are the ones that I would most hate to lose.

Because of this, I have felt for some time that if I was ever going to share what I am about to share, you would be the one I needed to tell first.

I hope that what I’m going to tell you won’t change things (though I imagine it will), but for the last two years, ever since I asked you if you and David had a guardianship decision in place for your children, I have felt like it was only right for you to know this…

In the next few days I’m going to send the following e-mail to mom.  For the most part, though, I wanted to say all the same things to you… just… first.  Here goes…

There is something I have wanted to tell you for a long time, but I’ve been too afraid of how you would react.

It has seemed like it’s been more important not to upset or offend you, than it has been to be honest with you.  But now, somehow that seems wrong; it doesn’t seem fair to you and it is certainly not fair to me.

I want you to know that I love you very much, and it is because I love you that it has been so hard for me to tell you that I am gay.

I’m not going to drag this out.  I know you don’t approve.  I know you think it’s wrong and all I can say to that is that I did a lot of soul-searching, research and praying in the process of coming to terms with this for myself and I did not arrive at this conclusion easily or take it lightly.  I believe that I am right with God.  I do not believe that to be gay is a sin, an “abomination”, or that he will condemn me for it.  While I know you strongly believe that your perspective is the right one, I strongly believe that mine is and I’ve finally reached a point where I’m ready to accept that we will disagree on that.

I know that you are disappointed.  You’re hurt and you’re probably angry.  I’m sorry for that.  I know that this is something that you’re going to need some time to get used to.  I wish this were easier for both of us.  I only hope that you can still love me and show me that love, in spite of this disappointment.  That will be for you to decide, though.

For the record, I still want to be your children’s designated guardian, but I realize I’ve just made it a much tougher decision…

I love you.

~~~~~

I sent the e-mail to my sister around 6:00 yesterday evening hoping she would e-mail a response.  I put the computer down and went about doing some household chores.  About 30 minutes later, she called me, but I didn’t answer the phone.

I hoped she would send a response via e-mail since I didn’t answer the phone, but she did not.

Around 10:30 last night, when it was clear I would get no response from my sister that night and before I could change my mind and wimp out, I sent the e-mail to my mother.  I knew she wouldn’t see it before this morning and while I hoped she, too, would e-mail a response and not telephone me, as of now, I’ve not heard from her at all.  While I realized it’s possible she simply hasn’t seen the e-mail, the much more likely answer (and what I should have anticipated to start with) is that she won’t acknowledge it for a couple of days while she “mulls over” the “correct response.”

Erin called me again this morning, first my cell phone, then my work number.  She finally left a message on my work phone in which she said she wasnt’s sure she still had right numbers for me since she hadn’t reached me, that she had received my e-mail and that she wanted to “visit” with me so I should give her a call when I had time.

I sent her a text message and said, “Call me a wimp, but for the moment, I would rather have you say what you have to say in writing.  I don’t regret telling you, but you can’t begin to imagine how difficult this is for me.”

Her response was, “So does that mean you are ignoring my calls?”  😎

“Some of them.  Others I wasn’t around for,” I said.

To which she replied, “Wimp!   OK, I’ll e-mail you as soon as I can.”

~~~~~

The tone of her texts suggests playfulness (trust me, this is her being playful), but her message on voice mail was less than comforting.  She didn’t say anything about loving me, or not being particularly surprised, or anything remotely encouraging or supportive.

I have to believe that this is not a surprise to either of them, though maybe not what they wanted to hear.  But I also know that, whether they accept it or not, this was the right thing to do.  I’m pretty wrecked over the whole thing right now, but I know that once the initial storm blows over, I’ll feel much better for having done it…

Blow storm, blow!

Speaking Too Soon

As if in answer to my complaint, yesterday, that my sister was having all the fun, mother nature decided fair’s fair at about 11:30 last night.

20110824-125850.jpg

See that star? Yeah, that’s roughly where my house is.

Now lest ye be worried, this was only a 3.6. Hardly more than a little joy ride!

Weeeeeee!!!!

Disaster and Mayhem In the (Not-Middle) East

A few minutes before 11:00 this morning, I’m sitting at my desk doing my daily Fish Wrangler tournament and pretending to work, counting down the minutes until I can leave.  I’ll go to the gym, but everyone thinks I’m going to my Therapist (or to my ambiguous bi-tuesday-ly appointment) (Deb is off this month.)  Suddenly I receive a text message from my sister who lives in Albany, New York.

“I think we just had an earthquake.  How do I find out?”

I refer her to USGS.gov which is where I always go when I think there’s been an earthquake.  If you look at the map of the US on that website you’ll see literally hundreds of little colored dots all along the west coast.  Depending on the week you might see one or two dots in other parts of the country.  (And honestly?  The vast majority of those dots on the west coast went unnoticed.)

Anyway, I refer her and then I go to look for myself.  Before I even get that far, I see a breaking news e-mail from MSNBC saying “Pentagon and the Capital Evacuated After Apparent Earthquake.”  I click on it and sure enough, 5.8 earthquake in Virginia.

I text my sister back:

“5.8 Earthquake in Virginia.  You have all the fun.  :)”

I start reading the stories, because as we know by now, disaster and mayhem is kind of my thing, (hey did you see that outdoor concert stage collapse?!?) but there wasn’t much to it.  The earthquake was shallow so it was felt over a wide area.

I report to my co-workers on this unusual event.  Unusual, to us, in that it happened on the other side of the country.  Not long after that, K tells me that a friend of hers, who used to live here, but now lives in Philadelphia felt the earthquakes as well.  The friend works with another California native and the two sit and watch as their co-workers decry the end of the world…

Later, K and I have this exchange:

K:  “OMG! Fox news had a new crawl on ‘No tsunami expected after east coast earthquake.’  Really?”
Me: “Of course!  Tsunami’s are all the rage.”
K:  “It’s the new black?”
Me:  “Tsunami’s are the new black.   That’s what I’m going to call my book.  I’m sure I won’t get in any trouble with Jen Lancaster.”

And then:

K:  “They are cancelling schools tomorrow back east, now.”
Me:  “It’s the end of the world you know.  Nobody want’s to be in school during Armageddon.”

Later, I discover that in spite of my making light of the situation, there was indeed some devastation back east; showing here:

Photo found here.

Excuse me while I briefly get political here.  Someone I don’t know was retreated by Wil Wheaton on twitter today when he wrote:

@markos god is punishing VA for not allowing gay marriage. RT by @wilw

It’s really only funny because, let’s face it.  If this had happened in Iowa, Pat Robertson would be saying “God is punishing Iowa for allowing gay marriage.”

I wonder if the rest of the country knows, California is pointing and laughing at them right now?