Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

PSA; Starring My Alex

This from the fellow who made that pithy cartoon about voting, Alex Wilson.

Beloved Word--It Starts With a "V"



Today I learned a concise history of the word "Vajayjay." And I howled with laughter for about 10 minutes. Mark your calendars ladies--according to the New York Times, February 12, 2006 was the day your nethers gained a remarkably playful and adorable new name in the American lexicon,"when viewers of the ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy” heard the character Miranda Bailey, a pregnant doctor who had gone into labor, admonish a male intern, “Stop looking at my vajayjay.”"

No wonder Chandra Wilson won an Emmy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UnderArmour

I spelled it wrong (oops! that's actually correct!) on purpose, mainly because no matter who wears it, you look like a processed meat product. I refuse to wear mine without some sort of less-form-fitting garment over the top of it. I don't care who you are or how fit you are - it makes you look really really gross.

And it's not the most convenient of garments wither - it's a bit like climbing back into the womb, really. You look at it and you say - there is no freaking way I'm going to be able to cram myself into that thing. I have to take off my glasses for fear they will literally be crushed as I pop my head out the neckhole. My arms, not so bulging to begin with, come out the armholes toothpick thin.

I'll grant that it feels good once it's on and the seams are all aligned and everything - it feels tight and good and feels like, well, armor. It feels like protection of sorts. But when you try to take it off . . .

I'm a sweaty guy when I get a good workout in - kind of gross, really. Even to me. And UnderArmor - it becomes something much closer to Saran wrap than clothing once it's got some moist to it. I swear I'm going to suffocate one day and they'll find me 1/3 naked with my arms over my head, UnderArmor cocoon from armpit to hands - like Frodo without the arachnid component.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Retired

One of our Tribe has decided to hang up her quill. She has two small kids and feels like she needs to focus her time on them for now. More to the point, her screen name, which no one should be using henceforth - I'll call her B to the P - is her only online handle, and she sort of had a little e-freak-out about privacy.

I heard from her - she's all good, not offended or angry or upset. Just feels a need to be with her kids more, to be less engrossed in the blogging thing, and to keep her handle private. Mad respect to the B to the P for a tough and smart decision.

We'll miss you, B. Drop in anytime.

I Wouldn't Be Adverse to This...


I mean, why not? More dancing, less fighting. I still don't need her to be my VP, but hey. Everybody deserves a good time.

The Death of Respect - American Nightmare part 4


The foundation has been laid in the previous three posts for what is really wrong with America, at least in my view. The rampant consumerism, marketing-driven unrealistic expectations of rewards and image, fundamental competition in all areas of life - these are the columns on which our demise rests.

Respect is dead in the United States, or dying a miserable death. And that will tear us apart.

All of this competition has made us mistrustful of one another, and with good reason - there are far too many people who have learned by example - too many cutthroat assholes who will steal your candy without remorse or penalty. It's 'just business.'

All of this marketing has made us feel like we have rights and privileges that we are owed and guaranteed, even if that means someone else has to suck it up.

All of this consumerism has made us chew up the planet and spit it out like used gum, and then we want another piece, another dose of temporary flavor, another spree so that we have that one more item tucked away - we need it, right? We need a new blender. We need a new set of flatware. We need a new sweater. We need new jeans. We need a new car. We need a bigger house. We need - but do we, or is this just what we are being taught, or more precisely, trained to think?

Because these trappings, in the eyes that the media and marketers give us - these equal success and comfort, and if you don't have them, then you're down the scale somehow. You matter less.

I. Call. Bullshit.

Want an example? Pay close attention to how people drive in this day and age. If they have a big expensive SV, then they will do things like ride the center line, maybe it's becuase they don't know how to drive a truck, but in my mind, it's at least partly because they feel like, in some way, their vehicle should have greater access to the roads, greater freedom of movement. Haven't you seen the Lexus ads? Why don't you yield, then?

In my town, people pass each other on the right, sit in the fast lane, zip through yellow lights, do rolling stops around corners - all of this is just another way of asserting that the laws don't really apply to us - not really. We are privileged and for police to enforce these laws is absolutely senseless to us. But it's not - these laws were written by people who thought that we should respect one another. Now that we don't (as a culture), these laws seem beneath us - too much to ask of us. Are we really so put upon to be five minutes later?

Mama Monster put this excellent post on her blog,a nd I have mad respect for her for her choice that day. I am so jaded that I see a man stand by the side of a road, read erports of professional panhandlers making more than I do - I can't help but feel like I'm being cheated, and that, in itself, is an example of the death of respect. I don't consciously look at them with contempt, but it's there, somewhere, because of the media portrayal of, hopefully, one case out of ten thousand.

And everyone does deserve the same respect and compassion - we all do. But we're all using different measures and attitudes to make up our minds. We have different levels of education and understanding. The media treats us all like sheep, dumbs it down to an eighth grade reading level, simplifies things until true meaning is completely glossed over. We lie to each other in an attempt at currying favor. We manipulate facts to make them support this conclusion or that one. We've lost the fundamental need for Truth with ourselves and one another - we have no respect anymore even for that.

Ever fudge your taxes? Ever lie to a cop to get out of a ticket? Ever take more change than you were due with an inward smirk?

I have done all of these things, and probably worse. Because I'm no shiny pillar of towering strength in a world of weakness. I want new jeans. I'd be stoked to win that lottery thing. I am mistrustful and suspicious and jaded. I am materialistic and snobbish and self-important. I am a product of this society, and it shocks me that the next batch is coming out worse than I am.

Because I can see myself clearly, and make some amends for myself - give a little back to the world in some sense. I hope. And I'm trying to re-learn respect. I'm really trying. Because I don't like being part of the problem.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Alan...This One's For You

Survival of the Witless - American Nightmare part 3


So where was I?

Ah yes, media and advertising and commercialism and how they have twisted our country into something that will ultimately betray us. Have I not said that out loud yet?

It's coming. It is. It may take another hundred years, or we may realize it as a culture beforehand and avert the crisis, but I really do think it's coming.

Appearances, as we all know, can be brutally deceiving. And our culture, despite what we may all protest, is all about appearances. Perfect home, whiter teeth, sleek clothing lines, sporty physique, trappings, accessories, glitz, glamour. Plenty of mothers of girls understand and teach that the magazine images aren't realistic, but then, we have teenage girls having plastic surgery. We have Air Jordans for infants. We have Britney Spears as a role model.

Let me back up a minute - just yesterday I witnessed something pretty terrifying, on some gut level. My nephew, who will be 3 on Monday, cracked his head on something - a grill, I think. And he's Tonka tough, but he got all manner of attention about it, and it bothered him. He didn't want that kind of attention, and he had a little meltdown. I figured it out when he looked over at me, pulling his contorted face from his dad's legs, saw me looking at him, and wailed harder and reburied his face. He was embarrassed, plain and simple. It really bothered me. How does a kid learn embarrassment? I've seen it in animals before, so maybe it's a natural emotion, but it's also, on some level, learned, and it's shame-based.

I hate and lament that - kids should be totally unselfconscious until they are, I don't know, 12 maybe. Maybe 13. To be fair, I'm not a parent, and not really qualified to discuss it. But I'm not really qualified to discuss education either, and yet. . .

It's the next tree to fall in this clear-cutting of the forest. Because this culture of appearances has taught us that if everything LOOKS ok, then it is quite likely that everything IS ok. Education is the root of our entire culture - this is where we teach our kids a common framework of approaching the world, how to be respectful of others, the basic building blocks that will be used one day to build a career and to add to our society in some way. And now, we judge our teachers not buy what they do with our nation's children, but how well they prepare our children for one specific thing - achievement tests. It no longer matters on a fundamental level if a child is respectful of the rights of others - they need to be able to perform on a standard test - this is shoved down their throats, pushing aside other concerns. I believe teaching is a calling, and I have had wonderful teachers who inspired me to performs, and I have made other teachers literally cry with frustration at my antics and disinterest. The teachers aren't the problem unless they buy into the culture.

The culture says things like - your school needs to be performing at X performance level or we will penalize you. How is this a motivation to the only people who can really make a school successful - the kids? The parents, in some cases, are no better. They will go and argue grades with a teacher - you're hurting junior's chances of getting into a Good School, they insist. And the Good School - that's part of the image of success that the media has shoved down our throats.

So it stops becoming a matter of how the child actually performs, how much the child has actually learned. It becomes a sickening blend of performance, spin, negotiation - this is the underpinning for our future, and we are haggling about it. We dumb down our testing progressively to even the playing field and boost test scores. No child left behind? WTF are you talking about?

It's the skewed yardstick again, insisting that academic performance is the only viable measure of a child's progress and worth, and THAT is the worst bullshit of them all. THAT is what makes parents twist the logic and limits to accommodate their special flower. What is wrong with this country - we have some deep need to distill everything down to something simple and straightforward, to package it tidily, to make things easier. It's not supposed to be easy - this is not a binary world, with either this or that choice. There should be, accordingly, no yardstick whatsoever in this regard. Either you have the 'right' shoes or you don't. Either you're manly enough or you're not. Either you succeed according to this measure, or you are not succeeding at all.

What we're doing is gutting our future. We're raising a bunch of whiny spoiled brats and one day they're going to have to work hard, and the future of the country will rest on them. And while we're cheating our kids, we're simultaneously teaching them that the system can be gamed, and that in this life, all that matters is the trappings - the reach on the yardstick. And that's killing the one thing in this country that could possibly save us from all of this.

Respect. Respect for each other, for our limitations, for the natural order of things, for varying levels of ability in varied areas. For individual differences, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Tune in next time for some thoughts on the death of respect and its implications for our future. Part 4.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Digging for the Roots - American Nightmare part 2


So in this post, I railed about our culture being cutthroat and materialistic. And I touched on its underpinnings, which I am starting to believe are the root of the problem.

Let me take a minor step backwards at this point, and clarify something - I don't believe in the idea of a single cause for any given circumstance. In my own blog, I call it multiplex causality, a phrase I stole from a science fiction novel I've been rereading sporadically. Go ahead and call me a nerd.

I don't mind it. In fact, it's a decent entry point for this next part of the discussion. Why does the term 'nerd' have any other meaning than someone who reads a lot or knows a lot about some esoteric subject? Instead, the mental image that it draws up is what? Some guy with chunky glasses and few social graces. You can credit the eighties movie series 'Revenge of the Nerds' in part for this. The word itself is considered a bit of an insult, but why? Because it sets us apart - it sets someone apart from the person invoking the term. It's a way, frankly, of saying "I am better than you."

That's the fundamental nature of competition - superiority in one form or another. Competition. Winners on one hand and losers on the other. But you see, I don' subscribe to the idea that being a nerd is a bad thing, and it's hilariously deflating to those who would seek to use this term as a means of elevating themselves. At some point in life, you will want a nerd on your side - if you have a need for deeper understanding of their particular brand of knowledge, for example. Like if you have a computer virus, or your company's website isn't working right, or you've got to file your taxes - in these instances, you actually WANT someone with deep, specific knowledge.

So why do we have pejorative terms for them at all? To make ourselves feel better - better about ourselves and better than someone else. To compete, not for dollars, like the last rant, but for social status. We want to be cooler, more hip, more mainstream, perhaps. We want to be the model of the American Dream - fit, attractive, successful, well-groomed - to define some quality by which we can measure ourselves and someone else and come out on top. Once again, it's all about competition.

And again, competition is fine. We do need it on some level. If we had no urge to compete, then the most aggressive people would be the only ones procreating, and in my narrow view, we'd be diminishing as a species as a result. Competition is part of the natural order of things, but it's not the only part.

The American culture is, in my present view, competitive to a level that has become toxic. Entertainers and sports figures are prime examples - look at any music video and see for yourself - is the good life anything but perfect skies, beautiful homes, outrageous wealth and personal delights? Is it ever portrayed as anything else? Really, how many entertainers do you really think got into show business for love of the art? How many lawyers really practice primarily for the cause of justice? How many athletes play for love of the game? How many doctors are motivated by public health? Why, in fact, does elective plastic surgery exist at all?

Media. Advertising. Marketing. These are out of control in this country. But I've pointed the finger at them already - they are already on the hook. And like I said, it isn't ever distilled to a single root cause. But our competitive nature will rarely allow us to see the other side of the problem. It's sharing your chair with you right now. It's us, each and every one of us. myself included. No one is completely exempt or immune to it - you can't be and continue to exist in our culture. But I see a TV show with a guy driving a silver Porsche Cayman S, and I want one. I go to the website for Adidas and I see a guy who's got beautiful women hanging on his arms, and he's wearing an $80 sweatshirt, and I want one. We're all infected with this virus, each and every one of us, in one way or another.

Because the media is cheating us in other ways as well. It's not just convincing us that this product or that service is the missing link between ourselves and ultimate fulfillment - they're also convincing us that success in this country can be achieved easily and equally. That we're good enough and smart enough as we are.

Maybe that used to be true. I'm not sure it is anymore, but that's for part three.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The American Nightmare?




America's got problems.

The problems seem to be economic, but they aren't. Not really. Instead, I think they're systemic and endemic to the American culture. This culture of accumulation.

I personally think our yardstick is seriously fubared. Our measure of success has everything to do with competition - with outdoing one another, constantly advancing our standards of living, extending ourselves beyond reason, pushing past our limits and striving for more more more.

In some ways, this is really a very good thing. When applied to things like science and art, they advance our culture and our health. But altruism in America is mostly dead - it's cutthroat, me-before-you, gimme-gimme-gimme. It's 10,000 square foot houses and $250,000 cars. It's $50,000 watches and pants that cost a cool 3 grand. Shoes that top some folks monthly pay. We're striving to set ourselves apart from one another, to define ourselves by our access to the exclusive.

And we're doing a pretty good job, really. But that's really the very basis of the problem - our yardstick.

I'm pretty anti-advertising, in many ways. This has to be tongue-in-cheek because it's what puts food in my belly - just in the interests of full disclosure. Advertising has really served to deteriorate our culture in fundamental ways. I don't think anyone could really fathom how much money is used to convince us of various viewpoints, of the quality of various goods and services, of the indispensibility of things like coffee makers, bagless vacuum cleaners, dandruff shampoos, tiny bottles of exorbitently priced odors. . .

If you were to really buy into these ads, then every day you would wake up completely refreshed in a perfectly tidy home on gazillion threadcount perfectly pressed sheets with the whitest teeth ever seen, then slide your sculpted body into clothes that fit perfectly, eat a balanced breakfast of some ceral, a few eggs,a piece of organic, perfectly ripe fruit, and hand picked cruelty-free coffee, then get in your freshly washed and waxed performance sports car, where you would drive through a perfect day with your freshly-cut hair wafting artfully in the perfect spring/fall day down mountain roads that are deserted except for you. You'd arrive at your space-age office where everything would be working perfectly all the time, and your incredibly attractive personal assistant would hand you the paper, and you'd have time to read it. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Now, I can't speak for you good people, but I do things like poop, leave stubble in the sink, neglect to load the dishwasher, leave unfolded laundry lying around for a few hours . . . My sofa is faded and my rug has some kind of something embedded semi-permanently in it. Most of my jeans are a least a little frayed and don't fit exactly right. My hair rarely receives more attention than shampoo and a towel. My glasses are smudged almost constantly. I iron when required, and not my sheets.

So the dream is just that - a dream. But they make it all look SO good, don't they? That's the idea - your life could be like this if you just buy this car or hire these lawyers or chew this particular brand of gum. The very powerful underlying assumption is that your life isn't good enough as it is. It's more than an assumption - it's nearly an imperative - they really WANT you to indulge in envy, in greed. The whole premise of advertising is to create a wanting of sorts.

And that's becoem the core of America - wanting. We all want a big ass flatscreen, a shiny exotic car, bigger boobs, flatter stomachs, clothes that make us look like movie stars. I confess - I want this stuff too - it's worked on me to an extent. But I'm sometimes consumed with an anti-competitiveness. What about cooperation?

I concede that the world's effort at communism have failed, because there's no motivation to really perform when everyone gets the same rewards. So the capitalism system has an upside. But it really bugs me sometimes. Is altruism dead? I mean, Bill Gates gives away tons and tons of money, but would he is he only made $50K a year?

It just seems to me that we're more intent on stepping on each other lately than helping each other out. There are recent examples in my personal life that prove this isn't true universally - Whaupwit treated me to dinner, and also a tank of gas this past week when the prospect of buying it myself was alarmingly prohibitive. So I know the world isn't all dour and bullshit. But it does feel like something is almost fundamentally wrong.

Discuss.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dirty Sayings that Aren't

Let's try to come up with a ginormous list of things that sound dirty, but aren't.

Like:

Buttering the Muffin
Grooming the Poodle
Bruising the Banana

GO!

Hoping This Is Outdated....

...yet, funny as hell with a side-helping of angry,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time Travel



I'm reading The Time Traveler's Wife, which is very good, but it makes me wonder . .

Presuming that no matter what you did, nothing about the present would actually change, what would you go back and do? In the novel, the Traveler has no real control over where and when he goes, he arrives naked, regardless of time, place, season. . . but if you could go back and witness any event, or suggest to your former self a course of action that would, in fact, result in a different future - the present you in the past cannot directly change anything, but you could influence yourself to do so - what would you do?

There was a girl, Lisa, my second love. The first person to take my clothes off. The first person I took clothes off of. We had a gross mis/lack of communication. I would fix that. She thought I rejected her because she was a virgin, when I was, in fact, nervous about my own virginity. I would find myself, take myself aside, tell myself that it was coming, and to be bold, and to be brave, and to be gentle, and to communicate instead of infer.

And then I'd find my 16 year old self at boarding school and beat the fuck out of him for smoking dope, tell him I'd be watching and would haunt him forever, and then return to the present/future to see if anything changed.

I wouldn't do anything cliche like go back and kill Hitler, but I might do a little research and go back and invest in Microsoft; just a few thousand hastily made on small, non-consequential track bets. Leave it in a trust in my future name.

Then I'd buy us all nice lives, or at least the trappings of them.

You?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

It's Alan's Birthday!




Happy Birthday Alan! Much love to my northerly Tribesman. May the day be fruitful and offer you myriad delights. Buttercream is authorized. ;)

Happy Birthday, my man.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Alex Wilson Is A Clever, Creative Guy



See Alex Write! Write Alex Write!

To Be or To Do.....Do Be Doo Be Doo....



Alright, a little fun and nonsense.

I lived with this guy in 1993-94 for almost exactly a year. I admit, I wasn't acting like Keeper material at the time and was upset when my cake wouldn't sit still for me to eat it. The Cake announced it was moving out one night after I got home from a Metallica concert.

I noticed on the phone bill almost a month later, that he had been calling his ex girlfriend who lived in NYC at the time.

She was just wild. And if I were into girls (not saying I've never been there but not so much after the teenage years - and I only attract bi-curious. The diehards avoid me), she would have been my type across the board. She was rail thin (which looking back made me identify her with a lanky male) and had this stick straight long hair that changed colors as she saw fit. You couldn't contain her at all. She transformed the air around her as she created her path with every step. People turned heads thinking she was some funky model. She was a much cooler Avril Lavigne (Sk8ter Boi days)a decade before Avril would be famous.

A couple of months later while he was back with her, he met me out for a round of drinks that escalated into angry arguments which of course equated brutally raw and pissed off sex.

So ha.

Only, as time went by and they also broke up, she and I hooked up as friends. Out at the club, shaking our white groove thangs (do white women have groove things? If we don't, please don't point this out to me - I like my myths and I'm still f*cked up over the Santa Claus thing), she leaned close into me and said she'd 'heard' about me. She'd heard? Heard what? Closer....drunk breath hitting me gently on the lips "About you and Jenn". Meaning, my ex told her that I did women.

Quick story about me and "Jenn". To annoy the humourless Cake during his Dungeons and Dragons game sessions, she and I would prance around the male company flirting with all of them. A bit distracting I suppose, he'd throw a $20 at me and tell me to go out for a couple of hours. Jenn and I, when not out, would go upstairs directly above the sacred game space and make ludicrous noises....pretending to be all involved in some sensuous act amongst ourselves. Then we'd go downstairs and laugh. Ha ha....bye guys.

This is where Cake got the big idea and passed it on to Funky Virgo woman who was in all possibilities, hitting on me.

I was flattered. She was my real life girl crush. And when I break it down, is a same sex crush really the person that you want to Be as opposed to Do? Now I'm a free spirit but she was soaring.

I was told by an onlooker on a different bar night that the two of us were talking so closely, the fact that we didn't kiss was a flaw. I remember that night. We talked about how Cake cheated on both of us with each other. Ha ha, *clink* let's toast. Later on she would tell me that Cake was never allowed to bring up either of us with the woman who is now his wife.

Same sex crushes. Who's yours? I could probably come up with a decent list. I'm going to be a bit obvious and throw Angelina on the the top of the list. Hey, she was there since a LONG time ago! I can't help if she's the inaugerated MILF leader.

Kate Hudson was another one of mine. I realized that when I'd say how much I liked her but hadn't seen a thing she was in. But I don't need crushes to really appreciate a woman's body. There are those women who's thighs I'd love to sink my teeth into, like a teething ring. Beyonce and Rhianna are tops there and if Britney were cleaned up a bit, yep, her too. I like looking at women with meat on their bones....so yes, Scarlett Johansson was Eye Heaven for me until she figured out what her hot potential was. Salma Hayek has crazy ass curves. Christina Applegate is gorgeous.

Let's hear it.

The Neighbor's Neighbor

I sit in my backyard and fiddle with my uku some nights - the past three running, although the twigs are running low now. And each night - an owl, once from the neighbor's yard across the way, then from down the street, and last night from the cathedral ceiling of canopy high above my head.

He shatters the night - this is no hoot hoot hoot. This is a Barred Owl, and he is definitely letting any suitable females know that he's shed his down, and he's ready to provide in every possible way. It's thrilling and a little unnerving. He called last night, and I played him a note in return, and he called again. Goose bumps.



Sound Clip here.

I've always looked at owls as amazing - the whole 360 degree head thing, the fact that they are silent in flight. But I also assumed they were as ghostly as they seem in flight, but this guy, he's a teenager, and he's horny, or hungry, or something. Whatever it is, he's damned assertive.

I'm glad to have him as a neighbor. I imagine the squirrels have other thoughts about it. I need him to leave enough to keep my acorn removal to a minimum, as it's almost artillery season in my back yard. Wear your safety helmets, kids.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An Ode To Fireboy's Autumnal Post


On my walk back from getting a hot cup of coffee this morning (why did I say it was hot? Obviously. Does anyone ever say they are getting a cold cup of coffee? I haven't seen it but I bet they do. Tonya Tangient signing off.) I saw these two leaves on the ground. Fall and Summer holding hands. Fall on top since Summer is handing over the baton. I smiled like an ass because I projected warm and fuzzy feelings onto these deciduous throwaways. You can smile with me.
Or maliciously because of me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October

I love October in my mid-Atlantic state. The weather turns abruptly crisp this month, and the furnace gets relit from its long summer dormancy. The sweaters and wool socks find their way into the drawers. The leaves change and fall. Someday soon we will see our breath in the air. The squirrels and chipmunks are a frenzied lot, collecting and hoarding and prepping - time is almost up. Birds are soaring overhead, making early decisions for warmer climes. The days get shorter and shorter - dawn comes slower, dusk comes faster. The firepit becomes a comfort instead of a wood-burning utility.

It's a great time to be with the ones you love, to be close and cuddled and warm. To daydream about the meals we will eat, and the gifts we will give, and the joys we will share. It is a perfect time to begin to relfect on the year as it passed, on the seasons as they meld, on the quickening days of the winter to come.

It is bittersweet at times, but mostly, it's just sublime.

Happy autumn everyone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Joys Of Punishment



Tipped off of a comments conversation that I had with Alan on my own blog, I had to bring this past my Tribe for comment.

My stubborn Humanling pulled a stunt that can be read about here. She's going to be ten in January. I understand that our curiosity never wanes, unless we are status quo (which I highly doubt any of this group is - right or left brained) but judgement is of course, invited to the party.

After I noted that Humanling was ok from her escapade with Time Travel to when she was two and was legit for an act like this, I was just angry with her. But we went on with our merry lives and there was no punishment since I was happy to have not had to carry her struggling to breathe body down a winding fire escape where surely I would have banged her head and my elbows numerous times, further pissing me off.

How were we all punished as kids? Boopila, Mama Monster & Whatupwit - are you comfortable with sharing punishment tactics here? Views of course, you don't have to admit to the child slave labor that they obviously deserve sometimes. =)

Humanling has a worn out tread in the carpet from the Go To Your Room episodes. It wouldn't be as bad but she's like a horizontal buoy, treading straight back out after a moment, "Can I come out now?" Things have been taken away and she's been put into an airspace with no other beings.

One morning, her mouth was brimming with piss & vinegar and we were in a hurry to get out the door. It was winter, because I remember that I was wearing cotton gloves. She spat some bullshit out at me within a one foot facial range and I couldn't find my happy space. So I gave her a light (and I seriously mean light - and WITH a cotton glove on) back tap to the mouth. It was like a nerf slap.

Wouldn't you know she went to school, told the first adult she saw and I got a phone call at 2:30 that afternoon at my desk at work. I had to sit in a corporate room of people who would love to have been on a feeding frenzy of gossip had they heard any of the conversation. The nurse from her school called me. When I answered, she said "We had a hard morning this morning didn't we?"

If I've any connection to a violent and explosive nature, this would surely be the way to set me off.

I've now got the nurse from the school who knows nearly nothing of my life or HL's life, on a leg up about to serve me. And I can't do a thing. I'm at work. And she's got the ability to transform my words into something unlawful and threaten my situation.

She mentioned to me that it was 'fortunate' that there were no bruises and that HL, when asked, said that this never happens.

This woman has no idea that everything that I do is for the child. And seriously, 97% of my life belongs to this beautiful and sometimes tinged with evil, little girl. She sleeps with me at night (I keep her close due to possibility of seizure activity - which I work on eliminating with a strict diet), almost everything she eats is whole food, chopped, cooked and served by me. Her dad has approximately eight hours of time total with her during one of the earth's rotations of the sun. I'm not complaining. This is my life and I love every bit of it.

I was humiliated. I cried all the way home that day. I called my mother. Yes, the big guns. I actually had to call my mother and talk.

Alan, this is the big Why of how Humanling lived without incident after her stint as Doubting Thomas on the quality control of the Krazy Kitty bead people. She will never get a spank ever. Because then I will be the single mom who had her kid taken away for abuse.

I live in a small town where you can't tie your shoe without someone you know sticking out of the laces.

I got the spank. The belt. The peanut butter glass jar thrown at my head that dented the wall because I ducked. The sturdy plastic rolling pin with roaches inside (read: weed bits, not indestructable insects). I'm not complaining at all. My parents split up when I was nine. They did what they thought was right. Or my mom did. My dad was scary on his own optometric powers. And only once did he ever give me corporal punishment, which was so bad that I completely passed out and my mother never again shared with him any Top Level bad deed that I'd performed.

I didn't run to any adult to share. I was keeper of secrets. I intuitively knew that this would not be playground information.

My story isn't dramatic...I'm sure its way more Candyland than many many folks out there.

So what are your views? How were you handled as a child?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Michael Moore Sounds the Alarm

This is from a newsletter that Michael Moore sends to his subscribers. I am not one, but at a hobby Yahoo Group I frequent, this was posted. (The poster was soundly rebuked for bringing politics into the funplace.) He had bunches of links in the letter, but for the sake of brevity, I'm only recreating one link--the one that struck me the most--Wall St is already planning how to make more money on the bailout money they're about to get.

The other thing of importance is that the 700 Billions of dollars is a figure pulled out of the air. Unless the NPR Quiz Show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" only got their facts from Michael Moore, they verified for me the fact that when asked how the treasurer dude arrived at the figure, he said ~ "I just went for a really big number."

And now Mr. Moore;

Friends,

Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:


"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."


Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How I Met The Neighbor and Shades in the Same Day

I was about to give my credit card number to Match.com and plunge back into the freezing waters of dating. But I wanted information. Success rates. Testimonials. So I went to a blog-search site--maybe it was called Blogsearch--and I used "match.com" as the phrase. Out of the first dozen or so blogs which mentioned "match.com" by name one was "Don't Panic," by some guy, and one was "Inevitable Regeneration," by some girl.

I had read some others, but these two were stunners. The girl was the best writer I'd found in blogland yet. And I know some GOOD ones, let me tell you!! The guy also wrote like a Pulitzer winner, but there was an extra dimension. He went deep. There was soul there. A sounding that caught me.

Shades and Ned.

So I may not have found "the love of my life" from Match.com, but it did lead me to one of the most substantial relationships I've ever had. I talk to you guys more than I do my proximity friends. And that's fine with me.

More than fine.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Right or Left Brained?



Ok, so one of my bosses came to work about a month ago raving about this self test to see whether you are right brained or left brained. What's the difference? We'll get there.

So interlock your fingers as if you are going to put your hands in your lap. One thumb will be over the other thumb. Note which thumb is on top.

For me, the left thumb is on top. This makes me almost extinct at my job. I work in Accounts Recievable. I don't know how I've managed to fool these people that I can stay organized long enough or pay attention for more than 10 minutes at a time for over 10 years. In fact, once a certain minute bit of time goes by, the speaker often looks at me and says "are you still with us?". My feet shake in a sort of chair treadmill simulation. People ask if I have to pee. No. I don't. But I'll fake it if it gets me out of this meeting.

I digress.

If your left thumb was on top, you are right-brained. If your right thumb is on top, you are left brained. Obviously this shows your main tendency - not that if you are like me, right brained, you can't get your head out of the lost land of Atlantis to sign your name.

Here is the basic explanation of what's what:

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
uses feeling
"big picture" oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can "get it" (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking

So what is our group made of? And do you feel that it fits?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dick Dale knows a New Age Girl



I'm Shades of Scorpio (my Liver making mother named me Dawn at birth). I've been known by these circles as Shades.

I'm doped up happy to be here with my Tribe on one blog.

I have a keen sense of optimism, OCD and suspicion. I love these guys and their sense of humour, along with their honesty. I'd like to call our brand of honesty TMI at times for others but oh well. I'd check to see if we care, but I'd be wasting my time.

I heart Jazz music, world music, TOP 40 (oh yes I do), music from commercials, trip hop, electronica, some gospel bluegrass and I am absolutely addicted to A Better Today's radio archives by Steve Mariboli.

I am currently so far into the Quantum Bee Gee, Gregg Braden, that I'd have to be pried out with surgical tools. He rocks - he rocks so much that I'll faint with enthusiasm right now if I go into it. I love the marriage of spirituality & the On Paperness of Science....although I'll believe in the fairies without the I.d. check.

I'm a gluten free, dairy free vegetarian single mama who tries really hard to feed me and my Humanling (she's 9) only non processed foods. I TRY I said. I didn't say I'm 100%. I don't recall my name being Jesus. Although I have to say that he completely rocks too and there is no better teacher on how to be to your fellow humans. My girl is medicated for epilepsy. Her neuro doesn't believe in anything except that it happens and its genetic. I believe her. And I believe in a million other things. I believe in the diet, in the environment, the power of energy healing. And that's my personal mission - with my energy to bring up other's energy whenever possible. Any meeting, any passerby. *Disclaimer - I may or may not do this with my freshly steaming dung of a divorce but then again, I did so well on D-Day that I can only get better from there.

At 17 I became a mama with my older girlie, Miz Eye. She currently lives in AZ with her boyfriend and is one creative MoFo. She's amazing. She's 21 and is still in the phase of figuring out what she wants but seems to be set on marrying the boy she's with, Keef. I used to say that good relationships skipped a generation in my family since my mother and daughter seemed eternally bliss kissed, but I'm now in a relationship with someone who lives in Alan's neighborhood, who for now, is called :doot:. I'm starting to want to change the name but :doot: it is for the time being.

Alan actually found Fireboy and I on the same day. I'm still amazed by the short but very cool story. He'll tell it if he wants.

I create jewelry and read like an addict as much as possible. I'm mostly into books of the spiritual, energetic and non fiction sense, but will indulge here and there in fictional stories and a ton of graphic novels (yes. With pictures. And no, not THAT kind of graphic.)

I'm also at work right now and should probably seal up this Handshake of Eternity.

One last thing - both Fireboy and Alan crack me the Eff up. If only they could be present whenever I read their comments sometimes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Neighbor

I'm your neighbor Ned, but sometimes I go by Overmonkey, Overmonk, or just The Neighbor. I live around the corner, or across the street, or in the adjacent town, or state, or country, or continent. I may ask to borrow a cup of sugar or your new BMW. I think I'm funny sometimes, and sometimes I'm right. I work with computers all day long, and play with computers a lot in my off hours. But I'm trying to renew the concept of the renaissance man - I run adventure races, listen to lots of really excellent music, cook for myself and sometimes my cat, and wax philosophic about relationships, politics, religion, and whatever else I can think of. I speak fluent English, and less fluent German, Russian, and French. I can tell Spanish speakers that I don't know how to speak Spanish, in Spanish with a convincing I-speak-excellent-Spanish accent, which I find marvelously amusing.

I sometimes live life as the Fireboy, a reference to my astrological profile. I am a Triple Fire Sign - Sun sign Aires, Moon Sign Sagittarius, and Ascendant Leo. (edited for A Shade of Scorpio)

My weakness used to be marijuana, but I quit that, and only miss it sometimes. Now my weakness is my easy easy heart. I live in a less great city than Alan, but it's not so bad. My cat's name is Myrtle. My car's name is Turbo Ducky. My house's name is Chez Ned. My penis's name is Mr. Winky. My computers are Lyle, Yolanda, Warpmonger and Ichabod.

This is my fifth year of blogging, but my first group blog. My other efforts are private to protect the innocent.

I am profane. Be warned.

No fear.

I do not fear your pen.

Let's spread some knowledge!

I'm known as Alan. It's my real name. I do stuff like audio drama, classic Bob-Newhart style therapy, and live in the greatest city in the world (up for debate, I know, but hey). Yet, I'm not sure I've ever been in better company than this right here.

My weakness is buttercream icing, but I've done without it for t-minus two days now. Or has it been three?

First post!

w00t!

I'll work on the design as we go - suggestions are welcome, and I think we can add as many authors as we please, majority rule - sound like a plan?

This is going to be fun.

Oh, and I'm a grammar nerd. Don't make me copy edit.