Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 - My Year in Sarcasm, Snark and Silly

Every year, the bloggers of the world get together and write reflective posts. It's a thing. I've done it.

Some years I write about what I wish things might be like the following year. Sometimes I write summary posts including my favorite posts of the year. Sometimes I write a mini-retrospective on what the year was like for me.

Let's just be honest.

2016 was a fucking dumpster fire.

Seriously.

I mean, sure.....there are good things that happened and I am absolutely certain that there are many people out there who had AMAZEBALL years. I'm certain of this because they're telling anyone who will listen this week. They're the people who have to comment on all the "Hooray 2016 is almost over" posts telling everyone to suck it because they got married or had a baby or got a job and they had a great year, so everyone should just understand that since it didn't blow for them, everyone should be fine, so no more whining.

Yeah.

Just because YOU might have had a good year doesn't make this year any less of a dumpster fire for other people.

Tons of people are legitimately scared about what is going on in this country, and just because it might not affect you doesn't mean you get to decide what is and isn't a big deal for someone else. That's called privilege. (and you're welcome)

Just because some good shit happened to you doesn't diminish the bad shit that went down for other people.

No one shows up on your posts about how great things are and tells you to STFU because "I" had a bad year.

Just saying....

There are also the people sharing all the posts about how we're conditioned as human beings to believe that time frames like years are "good" or "bad" and how we're naturally pessimistic, or how we remember only the bad things when really there were a bunch of good things or whatever.

You do you, man. Let other people feel whatever they want and post whatever they want.

Was 2016 the worst year ever?

Probably not. There have been some really fucking terrible years in history. I mean, if you are the kind of dick who has to bring up every awful thing that has happened historically in an attempt to make your friends who are complaining feel like assholes, then maybe you're the asshole.

It's perspective, you guys, and it's not just about things that happened on a societal level, it's about the stuff that goes down in our real lives too - and SPOILER ALERT - people don't always post about that shit on social media, so you really have no clue what someone might be referencing.

And don't come at people with that silver linings bullshit.

FOR THE LOVE.

Let people feel what they want.

Personally for me, 2011 was the worst year in my life. 1999/2000 comes in a close second. Neither had a damn thing to do with current events. So there.

GODDAMN that was a long introduction to this post...obvs I haven't been writing enough rants lately and I have some unresolved anger to type out.

Obvs.

Anyhow, since it's the time for reflection and that, I wanted to write a year-ender too. But this isn't going to be like my top ten most amazing posts or the top ten great things that happened or the top ten inspirational posts I wrote. Nah.

If you've been around, you've read that shit already.

This post is about me being an asshole. A funny one, hopefully.

And that's the thing about being an asshole. For real. I'm about to drop some hard truth on you right now. If you want to be an asshole, no one is going to stop you. Just own your assholish ways. Don't pretend like you aren't being an asshole, don't try to put it onto other people. just own it.

Yep.

This is me.

I'm a giant asshole.

(occasionally)

(okay, so fairly often)

(I even annoy myself sometimes)

So, in consideration of my ways, I offer to you, some inspiration and humor, done my way. Things I actually said or wrote or did this year, along with a pretty picture of something. Enjoy.















And on that note, Happy New Year.

Hopefully we survive this one. Kidding, not kidding.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 Year End Playlist - All those we lost this year

In case any of you might want the playlist I’m using tonight for work. All songs by artists/band members who died in 2016. And yes, some artists are on there a few times...

  • I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince
  • Faith, George Michael
  • Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane
  • Let’s Dance, David Bowie
  • Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen
  • September, Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Take it Easy, Eagles
  • If We Make it Through December, Merle Haggard
  • People Don’t Get What They Deserve, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
  • Tightrope, Leon Russell
  • We The People, Tribe Called Quest
  • Pretty Women, Alan Rickman
  • Rock Steady, The Whispers
  • Bend Me, Shape Me, The American Breed
  • My Woman’s Love, Jimmy Riley
  • Liar, Rollins Band
  • All the Young Dudes, Mott the Hoople
  • Humanoid, Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • 1999, Prince
  • Under Pressure, Queen & David Bowie
  • Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen
  • Let’s Groove, Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Desperado, Eagles
  • Simple Man, Jimmy Van Zant
  • Something in the Air, Thunderclap Newman
  • Love Rollercoaster, Ohio Players
  • I’d Die Without You, PM Dawn
  • Deception, Christina Grimmie
  • Flashlight, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic
  • Mustang Sally, Wilson Pickett
  • Kryptonite, 3 Doors Down
  • Breakdown, Colourbox
  • Gett Off, Prince
  • Moonage Daydream, David Bowie
  • Set Adrift on Memory Bliss, PM Dawn
  • Shining Star, Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Hotel California, Eagles
  • Okee from Muskogee, Merle Haggard
  • Midnight Rider, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
  • Me & Mrs. Jones, Billy Paul
  • One More Try, George Michael
  • The Space Program, Tribe Called Quest
  • The Whiskey Song, Swamp Dogg & Leon Haywood
  • Unfinished Life, Jimmy Van Zant
  • A Summer Song, Surfer Blood
  • Painkiller, Freestylers
  • Fake King, Prince Buster
  • Inside Out, Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  • You Spin Me Right Round, Dead or Alive
  • Poor Boy, Glenn Yarborough
  • When the Gates Swing Open, Otis Clay
  • 50,000 Names, Joey + Rory
  • My Favorite Things, Florence Henderson
  • Good Morning, Debbie Reynolds
  • I’m the Reason Why You Drink, Candye Kane
  • Va Va Voom, Brett Smiley
  • L.A. Freeway, Guy Clark
  • Tengo Miedo, Emilio Navaira
  • Praying for Time, George Michael

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

That's General Organa to you...

Carrie Fisher died yesterday at the age of sixty years old, less than a week after suffering a heart attack on board a flight from London.

I've been told by more than a few people that I'm ridiculous for allowing the deaths of celebrities to affect me, and this time was no different. The shamers and mockers ever present in this digital age of ours, ready to pounce on the feelings of others.

I'll never really understand why people care so damned much about who we mourn and why.

I digress. I get distracted by assholes on the internet too easily. It's a character flaw.

That's not what I am here to write about.

I'm here to write about her. I'm here to write about what she represents to people out there like me, the ones who were first exposed to her as kids, the image of that metal bikini ingrained in our minds.

Sure, she was a character in a few movies. That's how most people associate with her.

I've seen more than a few of my male friends, particularly the ones around my age, lament her passing as she held a special place in their, ahem, maturing.

And yeah, she was hot as hell in that bikini.

But if that's all you remember her for, and that's all you think is important about her, I've got news for you.

She was so much more than an object to ogle. SO MUCH MORE.

Even her character, if you want to simplify her for the purposes of this exercise, was more than that. She was feisty and raw and the hardest worker in the series. Seriously, where were Han and Luke for all those years leading into The Force Awakens??? Han bailed on her and their son. Luke disappeared, found some island in the middle of nowhere to sit on and mope until someone came to find him. A woman eventually found him, I might add.

And where was Leia all that time? At home, dealing with all the shit the men ran away from.


OF COURSE SHE WAS BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT STRONG WOMEN DO.

That's General Organa to you, now.

I could go on and on about the character issues, but I won't do that here. That's not what I'm writing this for either.

I'm writing this for everything else she was, to me and to so many others, away from the screen.

She was born into the film industry, the child of stars. She could have loafed around, mooched off of their wealth and influence. She didn't. She worked, and then once she had that fame all to herself, she used it for good. She used her position and her privilege and her money and her fame to help not just herself, but others.

She owned her vices. She talked about them openly in a world where such talk is discouraged for fear of ruining reputations. She dragged her inner struggles out into the light. She wrote about them. She admitted them openly. She fought like hell to be a better person. She screamed aloud to the world that she had mental health issues and that it wasn't something to be ashamed of.

She called out the sexist misogynists in the industry. She demanded better for the women who came after her. She mocked the men who objectified her. She shined a light on the fat shaming ageist world called Hollywood.

Then she proved to all of those who've tried to quiet her that she could still utterly steal the show, even though she was old and she carried more pounds than they, the men of the world, wanted her to.

She went from Leia to Organa right on the screen in front of us, and it literally took my breath away as I sat in that audience in tears.

This was what I came back for all those years later. Her.

She had become the true core of the rebellion. She was the one to be reckoned with. And she didn't give any fucks at all about what you thought she should wear or do with her hair or how much she should weigh.

I've said for quite a long while now that I wanted to be just like her when I grow up.

Not Leia.

Her.

Carrie.

She was strong and capable and complicated. She was a fierce advocate. She called it like she saw it, never pulling any punches. She demanded accountability, from herself and from the industry that she occupied. She was willing to stand up and tell the world who she was. She was an addict. She lived with bipolar disorder. She owned all of it, dared all of us to do the same.

And she did it all regardless of what anyone ever thought of her.

She was a hero.

And she was a hero not for what she did on a screen, but for what she did in real life.

As I wrote on my Facebook page yesterday.


"And she was. 


Past tense.

That's the part that's wrong."

Women like her give me the strength to be who I am. They tell me to swallow that lump of fear and hesitation and to scream out loud to the world that I live with PTSD and anxiety and postpartum depression. They tell me that there isn't weakness in admitting these things, that there is power in them. They tell me that I have the ability to help someone else by chipping away at that stigma we're all taught to obey. They tell me that I don't have to wait until I'm thin enough, I don't have to be pretty enough, I don't need to be older or younger or richer or more famous to make a difference in the lives of others. I don't need to fit into the tiny boxes that society tries to put me in. 

I can be who I am, and I can fight. I have the strength. I have the determination. I have the voice and the skills and the passion already. I don't need permission from anyone to be who I am.

And she taught me that.

Carrie taught me that. 

She taught millions of us.

And she did it boldly, often awkwardly, usually toting her dog along beside her. 

I still want to be like her when I grow up.

Thank you, Carrie, for all that you were and all that you gave and all that you taught us. 

May the force be with you.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What to get for the person who has everything.....for real.....

I have a few people in my life that are impossible to shop for, which always makes the holidays a bit of a challenge. They know who they are.

You know, the people who just buy themselves whatever they ever want or need. The people who have hobbies, but already have whatever they need to engage in those hobbies. The people who always tell you that they don't need anything even though societal norms dictate that there must be a gift exchanged.

Those people.

My two people happen to both be men. They're also related. Neither of them will ever read this post, so we're safe.

And, frankly, they end up usually getting the same thing from us whenever we manage to find something they don't already have, For instance, last year, we got them both freestanding camping hammocks. I cannot even begin to tell you how completely excited we were when we found freestanding camping hammocks.

They are THAT hard to shop for.

Maybe you have someone like this on your list and still can't figure out what to get them this year. Not to fear, I am here to hook you up.

Uncommon Goods is your one-stop online destination for unique and interesting gifts. Committed to sustainability, they offer a wide variety of handmade, recycled and organic products and they are a founding member of B Corporation.

Their website is easy to navigate, with gift guides for everyone on your list.

If you're looking for two impossible to shop for men, like I am, check out these gift ideas.

These glasses are amazing. Like, I want them in my house. Right now.

City Map Glasses

Constitution Glass
There is a Declaration of Independence one too!
If you're looking for gifts for kids, I can totally recommend this game. We have it and every single one of the kids will sit and play with it for hours, from the 2 year old all the way up to the teenagers.

Snap Attack Magnetic Game
Looking for a teenager and have no idea what to get them? Start here.  If you have a music lover, there are guitar pick makers and mobile DJ mixers. There are tons of unusual things for science lovers too, from chromosome pillows to Dino Pets and experiment kits.

Have a wine loving woman with everything in your life? I'd bet she doesn't have a wine purse yet. Yes, this is an actual thing. I swear.

Wine Dispensing Tote
There is an entire section of the website devoted to gifts for women and you can check them out here.  I want the literary scarves. Hint, hint.

Here you'll find all the quirky, fun Christmas gifts you could possibly imagine. 

If you're on a budget (and we ALL are these days, right?), the site is searchable by price as well, with 517 awesome gifts for under $25. FIVE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN. Now you officially have no excuse. There has to be something for everyone on this list.

Happy shopping.

If you were to toss a scarf or one of those glasses in your cart and send it my way, that'd be cool with me. Just saying.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

All I want for Christmas, 2016

This is my eighth annual Christmas list. Which is crazy.

There's simply no way I have been doing this for that long.

If you're so inclined, you can read my previous lists here.

2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009


Yes, I really am an enormous child who writes Christmas lists. Every year around this time I think that I won't do it, and then I remember that it's basically the only tradition I've kept for this many years, soooo...

If this is your first perusal of my wishes, I should warn you that some of the things I want are silly. Some are unrealistic. Some are never even a remote possibility. Some require a Tardis to be built and functional and at my disposal. Some are entirely realistic. It's all random. Like me.

1. I want my puppy to stop chewing up clothing, specifically the clothing that someone is actively wearing. She's cute and actually quite smart, but I am SO OVER this puppy stage. 

2. I want new flooring. For the entire house. I need it. We've been in this house for over eleven years with seven permanent residents and at least 8 different dog inhabitants at times. It's been torn up, scratched up, dug up, peed on, barfed on. It's been run over by bikes and scooters and skates. It's seen things...and it shows.

3. I want my left knee to stop being an asshole. I know that I'm overdue for surgery but I don't wanna. I just want it not to hurt.

4. I want a new coat. I've had the same one since we moved here and it's fine. Really. It's functional and does all the things a coat is supposed to do, but when I bought it all those years ago, I prioritized function over style. It's boring. I mean, it's fine. Whatever. 

5. I want my kids to stop swiping my eyeliner and mascara and boots and sweaters (at least without asking first). 

6. I want my van cleaned, and not just a sweep of all the trash tucked into every nook and cranny, but a thorough analysis of what is that smell and why does it exist. I know it wouldn't stay clean longer than 12 hours anyway, so this one is basically an exercise in futility.

7. I still want a wall full of bookshelves with a rolling ladder and a comfortable reading chair and a tiny table beside it. I managed to get my husband to build us a huge storage bench dining room nook, so maybe 2017 is the year I get the bookshelves. p.s. he REALLY FUCKING HATES PINTEREST

8. More tattoos and piercings. Some people start running marathons as they approach 40. Not me. No fucking way. I don't actually hate running, I am just terrible at it and my knees won't let me. Which is fine. I have the pace of a slow, overweight, three legged turtle. I just want more ink and piercings. What? I have gotten three new tattoos this year and...um....five piercings, but I just want more. I have a list. 

9. I want more regular teams at work. I know, I know. This one is totally about practicality and it entirely self-serving, but I'd like another 3-4 regular teams to show up. I know it's a late quiz. I know. I'm tired too. Let's be tired and drink beers and know things together. I'd like to keep my gig, and I'd like a few more teams on a weekly basis to ensure that I do.

10. I want new boots. I got two new pairs two years ago and while they're okay (as in they aren't actually falling apart yet), they're not the greatest. They were the doorbuster black friday online specials and not really designed to be worn as much as I wear them. 

11. I want the walrus Lularoe leggings. This one is totally unnecessary. But, hey. TC. Help a girl out.

12. I want a really amazing pair of Wonder Woman earrings.

13. I want the new Wonder Woman movie to not suck. We need it right about now. Fuck, the world needs Wonder Woman for real. 

14. I want an unlimited budget for homeschooling and music education for my kids. I have carts online that I'm constantly filling and then emptying with curriculum materials. Constantly. It's been a struggle this year as I had to re-evaluate almost everything I'd had prepared, but now I'm to the point where I have the things I didn't get initially and needed, and now I want to be able to get the fun stuff. Also, having teenagers in band is really fucking expensive, especially when they decide to not suck at playing their instruments and their teachers recommend upping the quality of their instruments for better sound quality. p.s. French Horns are $$$$$$ and does anyone know where I can get at least an intermediate quality, decent used one for under $2k? Kthanks.

15. I want to be able to go and get pedicures every six weeks and not be allergic to whatever is in the salon. Again, this is an impossibility, but a girl can dream.

16. I want my kids to all stay the ages they are right now for a while. I know that I'm on borrowed time having them all home and together. I know that it's not going to last much longer. I know that things will be fine and different and amazing in a whole new way as they get older and branch out on their own. I know that. I LIKE IT THE WAY IT IS RIGHT NOW though, so don't try to minimize my feelings, internets. 

17. Last year I wished for Donald Trump to disappear from the face of the Earth and that didn't exactly go as planned. Since I write one of these every year, and I hope we're all here to do this again in 12 months, I'm writing this list just to cover the next 365. So. I want him to waffle on the crazy shit he promised to do. I want him to reveal himself to be even more of a liar than he already has when it comes to all the things he promised to do to illegal immigrants, refugees, Muslims and more. I want him to stop naming assholes to Cabinet positions. I want him to stop thinking he can just call anyone he wants and fuck up decades of international relations. I want him to wait at least a year before being impeached because Pence is a walking dumpster fire. I want him to admit that he is at least partially responsible for the increase in hate crimes and tell people to knock it the fuck off. I could go on here, but I'll stop. I just hope I'm writing this list next year. 

18. I want the keyboard warriors of the world to go outside and find a person in real life to talk to. Yelling at me in all caps isn't going to do anything.

19. I want world peace, an end to hunger, freedom for all, true equality and for Citizens United to be overturned. I want Ginsburg to stay on the Supreme Court forever. Someone get her some vitamins immediately. 

20. The last few years, my last wish has been reserved for Daryl Dixon sitting under my tree with his crossbow. I still have mad love for Daryl, even if Negan has given me a permanent 703 Easy Street earworm. But. In the past year, my husband discovered tattoos. So, I'd just like him to get more of those....because.....well.....


I know, right???

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

It's Tuesday, and I should be writing the Things That Piss Me Off post for this week and last, but the truth is that I'm weary. I just don't have it in me at the moment to rage at the level that would be required to produce a post like that one.

Maybe tomorrow.

I know why I'm quiet.

It's Thanksgiving week.

It always has this effect on me, and I've reached a point in my life where I have just accepted that part of my reality. Thanksgiving is hard for a lot of people. A lot of them.

Never mind that celebrating it in any form this year seems more wrong than it already ordinarily would because of what is happening at Standing Rock. If you aren't angry about the events taking place there, you aren't paying attention. The last few nights have been particularly egregious in terms of the violations of human rights taking place, all in the name of the almighty dollar, all for the benefit of a corporation.

We've decided as a society that people are expendable.

Here, in the supposed land of the free where we're all said to be equal.

The aftermath of the election has only really just begun, I'm afraid, and it looks a lot more like 1930's Germany around here than it did two weeks ago.

I feel like I'm a broken record these days, and I'm sick to death of saying it, but I'll put it here too. If you voted for him, you either support his and his running partner's racist, misogynistic, homophobic and Islamophobic views, or you're content to accept them as part of the package deal. I honestly don't care what your reasons for voting for him might have been. I know that you had to accept that those entire segments of society could be leveraged in order to do it.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

I stood in a room this week on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, holding the name of a trans person killed in this past year for simply living their life. This has been the most violent year on record against the transgender community. I can't even fully articulate how eerily similar it was to my days working in an AIDS legal aid group, when the phone would ring every so often to tell us that another contact needed that box checked in the database. Another life, ended.


This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

I have friends who are quite literally planning to leave the country. Not because they don't want to live in a country like this one, but because they're afraid they won't survive it. This isn't some passing grievance with the political system, this is legitimate fear of intimidation, of further oppression, of violence. Their lives are endangered simply because of who they are.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

There are men and women saluting our new President elect in this new world order, proclaiming that the white nationalism movement is back and stronger than ever and ready to reassert its dominance. Their rolls have increased over 600% in the past few years. They're vocal and enabled now. They're hosting events in Washington, DC. They're the Klan. The Nazis. Neo-nazis. Stop believing that names like Alt-Right are acceptable. Call them what they are.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

Though it appears that the ACA will survive, at least in some pieces now, it's become obvious that the GOP led Congress fully intends to rapidly move to destroy Medicare as we know it. Ironically, they want to move it to more of a privatized system, one that looks shockingly like the ACA that they've spent years trying to dismantle. This is a very uncertain time, and these are lives being discussed as if all that matters is the number on the bottom of a balance sheet.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

While your future President was throwing a tantrum on Twitter about the cast of Hamilton asking his VP for consideration in the most respectable, most eloquent manner, the media largely ignored the fact that he just settled a $25 million dollar fraud lawsuit. Just like they've ignored the corollary to his tantrum, which is that he can't stomach criticism and wants to be able to determine what other people say about him, threatening libel lawsuits against anyone who doesn't please him. He and his followers rail against safe spaces, whine about how political correctness is ruining everything, but then they turn around and beg for the same thing in, as one of my friends so-aptly named the theater, the house that gay built? No.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

The media has largely ignored the very disturbing backgrounds and views of all the old white men he's naming in his transition. Just like they've given him a pass on the highly suspicious contacts with the Russian government prior to the election. Just like they've given him a pass on the issue of using a cell phone to discuss unknown things with world leaders. Just like they've given him a pass that his conflicts of interest are many and multiplying. Just like they're given him a pass that he's already been negotiating ways that he can use his new position to profit. Just like they've given him a pass on the presence of his adult children in meetings they have no business being in. Just like they've given him a pass on his insistence that he lives part time in NYC and his wife and son intend to remain there, all at the cost to the taxpayers. He is supposed to work for us now, right? Not so much.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

The media, the one he's worked overtime to convince people is biased and wrong and opposed to everything he does...they've normalized him and everything about him even as he's told large portions of the citizenry that they're somehow the ones lying about him. They've sat in the corner while he berated them and refused in large part to challenge him. They've glossed over the inflammatory things he said in exchange for sound bytes. In this digital age full of talking heads on television, the people of reason find themselves looking to Dan Rather's Facebook page for responsible journalism. This is wrong. This is all wrong.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

The hate crimes in the past two weeks have been so simultaneously disturbing and so entirely predictable. Of course the racists would feel empowered. Of course men and even school aged boys would start grabbing women's and girls' genitals because they believe they have that right now. Of course children would start chanting "build a wall" to their Latinx classmates. Of course swastikas would start appearing all over the nation. Of course. Nothing about this is surprising when a candidate ran on hate and won. People too quickly forget that his entrance into politics was the creation of the birther movement, one rooted in nothing but racism. People don't seem to comprehend that his entrance into the Presidential race began with accusations about illegal immigrants that were entirely unfounded. Net migration from Mexico has been at or near zero for over a decade. This was just racism. And it worked.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

I've come to see his selection of Pence as a brilliant strategic move. He's essentially impeachment insurance, because anyone who pays attention to politics understands that Pence is an existential threat to women and the LGBTQ community in particular, but he's quieter about it. He is a dangerous, dangerous man, and it's no simple coincidence that he is in the position he is, where he can appear to balance the chaos of the other. His mere placement beside Trump makes him appear moderate, centerist. His version of radicalism is normalized just by proximity. And it's frightening to think what might happen if he ever finds himself in that highest office.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics.

This week is Thanksgiving, a holiday where we are bound by obligations to sit around tables with our family members, and this Thanksgiving is bound to be a difficult one. I've seen so many insist that we are supposed to set aside our differences, agree to disagree, embrace the opinions of others and tolerate them and love them anyway...but here's the problem with that suggestion.

This isn't just politics. This was never just politics. 

I wish you all peace this week. Keep yourself safe. If it's too much, don't go. You're not required to get over anything, sure as hell not because of a day on the calendar.
xo

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the election distraction edition

I promised myself last week that I would write something this week and that I would try my best to not make it election heavy, so we'll see how that works out.

Fortunately, I ran across a bumper sticker in the parking lot this weekend that gave me all kinds of material.

*sarcasm*


The Bumper Sticker
The bumper sticker, slapped on the back of a totally ordinary late model Toyota sedan, said this:

"Guns don't kill people. Dads with pretty daughters do."

As we walked towards the car and to the place we were headed, my teenage son and I both audibly sighed at the same time, which tells me that I'm doing something right.

Layers. So many layers to discuss here.

It's amazing how something containing so few words can communicate so much, isn't it?

I mean, first you have the whole "guns don't kill people" argument, one that tends to be a perennial favorite of the pro-gun folks. I really don't want to get into that entire debate here because, frankly, I'm worn out from pre-election arguing, but c'mon.

No one honestly believes that guns kill people. They are inanimate objects. This argument attempts to mock those who advocate for restrictions on the types of guns available for sale, insisting that somehow the guns themselves have nothing to do with the commission of any hypothetical harm.

Right.

Guns don't kill people, but they damned well make it easier to kill people. They make it faster and more efficient to kill people.

Anyhow.

The second part of the sticker is really where my loathing begins to shine, though, because it is so very complexly layered with generations (okay, so really all the generations in recorded history, and in all likelihood all the generations before then too) of patriarchy.

Not just any patriarchy, nope.

The kind of patriarchy that treats women as property, daughters in particular. The sexuality of a daughter held up on some pedestal as her most valued asset, the one where the dutiful father serves are armed protector.

As if that whole thing isn't gross enough, this particular bumper sticker takes the misogyny one level further, implying that only the pretty girls are worth defending.

FUCK THIS SHIT.

Seriously.

Fuck this shit.

It's disgusting, it's misogynistic. It implies that women aren't capable of making their own choices, that their fathers are the gatekeepers of their hearts and vaginas, but only if they're cute enough to be worth defending.

I posted about this on my personal page, and as I totally expected, I had people tell me that I'm wrong here. That it's just a cute joke. That all parents of all kids feel that way.

It's not a joke. Fathers actually kill the kids their teenage daughters date or attempt to date. There is a whole phenomenon in the days of social media where fathers with shotguns wedge themselves between their daughters and the boys who made the mistake of asking them to a dance, then posting that threat online with some "cute" caption about how "he'll do to him whatever he does to her".

Mmmmhmmmm.

So, we're all at once assuming that teenage boys are incapable of avoiding sexually assaulting girls, and that their fathers will repay that assault directly to the offending boy?

For real?

That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works!

If assault happens, it should be reported, and the legal system should take care of doling out the appropriate punishment. (of course this assumes that sexual assault is taken seriously by the legal system in the first place...) This isn't vigilante world, you guys.

As for the argument that all parents love their children and want the best for them and want to protect them, sure. I totally agree. Most parents do all those things.

But this bumper sticker doesn't say any of those things.

Nope.

It says something different altogether.

Rawr.

A teeny bit of election ranting
Okay, so I lied. There is going to be an election rant, but this one doesn't actually have much to do with the candidates or the other things we are all voting on today.

Nope.

It has to do with the suffragettes thing that is going on. The professions of love and adoration towards Susan B. Anthony on this historic day when women are voting for a woman for President of the United States and how we are all supposed to be wearing white pantsuits as some sign of solidarity.

Nah.

White feminism in full effect.

This day is a historic one, and with any luck, the outcome of the election will be too, but as white feminists are oft to do, they've taken this whole thing and made it about them.

They've pushed aside the harsh reality that the 19th Amendment didn't really do what so many think it did. It granted white women the right to vote. It wasn't something that was truly extended to minority women in many places until the Voting Rights Act was signed.

Forty five years later.

Susan B. Anthony, like so many of the other historical figures we were taught about in school, was a problematic person. Sure, she accomplished a lot for white women, but she did so while deliberately excluding all the other women. The movement intentionally didn't encompass black women or women of any other racial or ethnic category, the movement intentionally excluded them.

As I shared on social media earlier today, we've only ever been taught about the positive aspects of these figures. We've been spoon fed the list of their accomplishments as though those achievements were enough to erase the harms they also perpetrated.

It wasn't until recently that I myself learned about Ida B. Wells. The child of former slaves fought to be included in the suffrage demonstrations led by white women, refusing to allow them to segregate her out. She wasn't just fighting for the right to vote either, she led movements against lynchings, and consistently fought for the rights of black women throughout her life. She was one of the founding members of the NAACP. In her final days, she even ran for office, fed up with the choice in candidates.

You may not have ever heard her name, and that reason is a simple one.

The history we were taught was whitewashed. The accomplishments of white leaders celebrated, the terrible things they did discarded. Everyone else, relegated to a footnote, if they were included at all.

Our history was written by those with a vested interest in making sure that only one version of these stories was told, and that history is disingenuous. It is incomplete. It is flawed. And it is extraordinarily imperfect. Perpetuating the belief that only the good should be remembered, that only the suffrage of the white women mattered, is wrong.

I'll be celebrating the history of this moment, certainly, but I won't be thanking Susan B. Anthony. I'll be thanking each and every woman who fought this fight so that we could all be here today, and I'm making damned sure that my children are told the full truth that I wasn't.

If that makes you uncomfortable, too bad. You've been raised to believe partial truths at best. Real history is messy. Learn it anyway.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the gratitude edition

Howdy, Hive!

How's everyone doing today? Still cramming candy in your mouth as fast as humanly possible? That's what I thought.

Anyhow, I'm trying to actually do the #NANOWRIMO challenge this year, which I'm virtually certain I will fail at, but hey....if starting things I won't finish isn't basically my mantra in life, I don't know what is.

That's self deprecating humor for anyone new here. It's also kinda my thing.

Welcome.

There's some candy to the left.


Holy logo, Batman.

Sorry, I'm trying out image sizes since I've gone and changed the whole layout of the old blog.

No, I'm not really sorry.

That was a lie.

Let's just get to it.

Gratitude
This is a weird thing to be ranting about, right???

It's the first of November, and that means that on all medias social, people will be writing the things that they are grateful for this month. Maybe they do it every day, maybe they do it once. Maybe those posts are deep and emotional and meaningful. Maybe they are shallow and material based.

Whatever.

Let people be grateful for what they are grateful for.

You know and I know what is going to happen, though.....eventually, maybe even today already, people started showing up in the comments of those gratitude posts to shit on whatever the original poster was grateful for.

For the love.

Leave people alone. You can do this thing where you scroll by all the shit that annoys you online. Honest.

And then, for a hot second, maybe think about why it annoys you that someone else is grateful for the things they have, the people in their lives...for whatever it is they're grateful for. It probably says more about you than it does about them.

Besides which, it's social media....the land of perfectly posed photos and people lying to themselves by lying to everyone else online about how great their lives are. You can only believe a fraction of what you read on Facebook anyway because most people aren't so forthcoming about the shitty realities of life. They only post the good.

WHICH IS FINE. They can do that.

Just don't let that distortion of reality creep under your skin.

Post whatever you want.

As for me, this was my first post for the month of gratitude.


Day 1: I'm thankful someone in the neighborhood was handing these out last night and that whichever house previously handed out religious propaganda on Halloween either moved or gave up. 

(p.s. they might not all be this snarky, you've been warned)

The Pipeline
Yeah, that one. If you aren't pissed about it, then either you aren't paying attention, or I'm just going to assume you have stock in the O&G industry.

It's routed through the places it is because white people were concerned about the effects of it on their water supply.

Social media showings of support are great and all, but they'll only do so much.

(and tbh I don't think any Native Peoples are really going to believe that the white people online have their back unless they do more, you know what I mean?)

Call your representatives. Email them. Tell them to stop the pipeline.

If you're able, donate money to the legal fund fighting the pipeline.

Stop Appropriating EVERYTHING white people
Yeah, I'm calling you out.

I see you. The people condemning the blackface costumes, but painting your face like a sugar skull for Halloween.

I see you.

I see you, those claiming to be "colorblind" (which totally isn't a thing, btw), and then wearing that cute native inspired knockoff jewelry from that large chain retailer.

I see that geisha "costume".

There is absolutely nothing in the universe wrong with learning about other cultures and traditions, with appreciating them. In fact, DO THIS MORE. Learn.

------hold on a second.

While we're at this point in the conversation, the one about learning....do it yourself. If you're reading this post, you are already on the internet and know how to use it. That search button opens up a whole big world of information for you if you're willing and able to use it. It isn't someone else's job to teach you what is and is not appropriate. It isn't someone else's job to unteach the history lessons you learned back in school decades ago and teach you the accurate version. It isn't someone else's job to teach you anything, and it sure isn't the responsibility of the groups you "borrow" from to do it. Do your own work. Do it every day.

----------------------

Moving on.

I can't speak for other racial and ethnic groups, but I'd hazard a guess that most people probably wouldn't even have an issue with white people participating (to a reasonable degree and without centering it around them) in those traditions.

Some things just don't belong to you, white people. They just don't.

What you can't do, what you shouldn't do, what you totally have to stop doing, is taking bits and pieces of other cultures and claiming that you can just use them at will, for fashion, for costumes, for show.

Appreciate and learn.

Stop stealing.

Rawr.

The Damned Election
Well, by this time next week, by the grace of Thor, we'll have an idea who wins. Or at least I hope to Thor we do.

I sincerely hope that this fucking election doesn't come down to one state and fighting over electoral college votes and allegations of poll abuses.

I just want it over.

I've stopped looking at polls because it's making me anxious.

I've stopped trying to talk to anyone who has been convinced by certain members of the news media about what they should do.

I voted (though I haven't dropped it off yet because I WANT MY STICKER DAMMIT). And I did my voting like the dinosaur I am....with all the pamphlets and text of the propositions and my own goddamn research.

Oh, the swears.

Where is Key and Peele when I need them??? I really need to channel my inner Luther.

Correlation is not causation. CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. 
Forget Luther, I'm going full Hulk now.

There are so many studies that have been released in the past few weeks about all the shit that new parents are already worried about. SIDS. Breastfeeding. Epidurals. Postpartum depression. Where babies should sleep and with whom.

There's a long damn list.

I so wish that the researchers could understand the potential damage they are doing with the release of these studies, particularly the ones that are small sample sizes, funded by someone with  horse in the race, and show tenuous connections that may or may not be attributed to an actual connection but could just be because this study is totally flawed.

I SO WISH THAT.

Every time one of these studies come out, parents start second guessing themselves. Parents do this anyway, but imagine the following types of second guessing:

"I tried everything to breastfeed and it didn't work, now my baby is going to ________?" (fill in that blank with about a million things)

"What if that Tylenol I took when I was pregnant that one time caused her to have autism?"

"Have I ruined my child's emotional stability because I had postpartum depression?"

"Would my baby have died from SIDS if he was still in my room?"

Pretty awful, right?

Yeah. Pretty awful.

As archaic as it was, I almost long for the days when I was in grad school and most people didn't have access to every study ever published. When you had to peruse academic journals in university libraries and probably had a basic level of understanding about study design and statistics before you read anything. When you understood the conflict of interest inherent in study funding. By the time information about a study would become public knowledge, it'd have been interpreted already - and discounted or lauded by those who possess the ability to be truly critical of it. People weren't emotionally manipulated every other day by whatever became a trending story online.

Those were the days.

I really am a dinosaur.

Get off my lawn.

Oh, and before anyone starts in on me about this section, it really isn't me making an argument in favor of academic elitism as much as it sounds....it has more to do with responsible journalism and strenuous critique within the health care industry.

Birth Control
While we're at it, let's talk about the study for male birth control that was halted because the side effects were too bad.

.......

For real.

And....before anyone starts to come at me with the stats on the suicide risks being elevated and how the study stoppage was legit because of that, I want to see your research on the emotional stability of women throughout history who used hormonal birth control methods with mental health issues that were attributed to something else.

I'd love to see that study.

The study on men was stopped because it could be. Men could quit the BC because they could.

Women have to deal with the actual physical consequences of pregnancy, so we don't get an out. We're supposed to be grateful that we're able to not get pregnant, and suck it up and deal with the side effects.

So, there's that.

Happy Tuesday.

p.s. That was 1500 words, so I'm counting this as my contribution to NANOWRIMO for the day.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It's not a birthday. You are just leveling up.

Brace yourselves, readers. I'm about to write something that will probably be mushy and sweet. It won't last long. Regular Kelly will return shortly.

Beeeeeeeeep.

------------------

Dear Mr. Hive,

It is your birthday tomorrow. The big one. The one that starts with a four and ends with a zero. I won't type out the actual number here. I'm not a monster.

I know that birthdays and you don't always get along so well. I know that you try your best to age gracefully and all that, but we're years past the "at your age" conversation from the doctor.

We're decades past that whole thing that happened where we were in our early twenties and had to deal with the fact that we weren't invincible. 

At least, not anymore.

We thought we were, sure, just like most young people do.

We thought we had all the time in the world.

We had these magnificent plans. 

Yeah, well...life had other plans. 

And here we are now. Healthy and well and still traveling along on this planet together, even if there were times it might not seem like it'd have remained that way.

I know that you want nothing more in the entire universe than to attend a Cub Scout Pack Meeting on your birthday. I know that you really want a house full of teenagers over to celebrate the day of your birth. 

Sure.

I'm kidding.

I know you'd probably pretend it isn't happening at all. 

(Hey, it's better than the year we had to sit on the floor of the gym and watch squaredancing for your birthday, amiright???)

Our birthdays don't generally carry much significance around here, yours and mine. We're mom and dad before any of that other stuff, and mom and dad have obligations.

This is what life is like when you have a small herd of children. This is what life is like when you're able to have all these kids that you were never supposed to be able to have. This is what life is like when you fought like hell to keep your family together after traveling to and from hell a few times together. 

This is what life is like.

It's messy and busy and complicated. It has the constant hum of dishwashers and dryers in the background. It's juggling work schedules and volunteer positions and running to the grocery store five minutes before dinner is supposed to be ready because some kid already ate that thing we're supposed to be eating right now. It's signing checks and creating meal  and holiday spreadsheets and somehow making all the magic happen for these little people, some of whom aren't so little anymore. It's usually sticky. It's always oppressively crowded. It's screaming at the television when you know the name of the Disney movie first. It's gloating when you beat a teenager driving go-carts. It's getting lost in corn mazes on purpose. It's teaching a kid to play chess even when you know he's going to be able to destroy you soon. It's ordering headphones for yourself, then just handing them over when they arrive because someone else needs them. It's laughing and crying and screaming and playing and napping on the couch with someone tucked beside you. It's somehow reconciling the fact that we have teenagers and a baby at the same time and coming to grips with how we became the people who do things like that.



And you know what?

It's pretty goddamn amazing.

The most amazing thing about all of it, though, is that I get to do all of it with you.

I get to witness your evolution, as a husband, as a father, as a man. You haven't just grown older. You've grown.

I get to see who you are now, I get to watch you be the person you are now, I get to stand by your side when the pride at the people they're becoming washes over you and overwhelms you. 

There is so much more to who you are than this man who happens to be a father. You are kind. You are nerdy on levels I haven't even realized. The outdoors calls your name even louder than it calls mine. You don't just love your hobbies; love isn't strong enough of a word. It's something bigger than all that. You are humble. You are strong. You are passionate about what you do, and you're damn good at it. Then there's the issue of that beard.

Oh, and the thighs. Damn. Those thighs. 

(look away, kids...)

You are my safe place to land, and I hope that I am yours. 

This number tomorrow, it's just that. A number. 

Numbers are kinda your thing, though. You can manipulate them in ways that amaze me, you can make them seem bigger than they are, you can make them disappear. You can insist that they aren't material. 

And they aren't material.

You aren't getting older. 

Nah.

You're just leveling up.

I love you, honey. 

Happy birthday.

p.s. find a bird statue...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the OMG spoilers edition

I can't even believe how long it has been since I wrote one of these posts. It's been a fairly epic week as far as assholery goes, so buckle up.

Let's hope nothing else happens in the time it takes me to write this out.

For the love.


Enlistment Bonuses - just kidding, give it back
If you haven't heard about this one, it's pretty ridiculous. Back in the 90's, as an incentive for current soldiers to re-enlist in the military, they were offered bonuses. Many of them had already served through multiple deployments, often to combat zones. The bonuses probably pushed more than a few of them to re-up for another term of duty, which was the point, right?

All well and good. No one reasonably would take issue with enlistment bonuses, right?

Well, it turns out that there are allegations of fraud involved and many of the bonuses paid may not have been eligible in the first place, though none of that is alleged to be the fault of those who received the bonuses and re-enlisted because of them. The federal government wants the money back, decades later. Plus processing fees. I wish I was kidding.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED SCIENCE EDUCATION YOU GUYS
In a shockingly sad story this week, a meninist with a tiny little man brain tried to argue that tampons should be taxed because they are a luxury item. 

Wait. Let me back up a second. 

Essentially, women have been advocating for the taxes on menstruation products to be dropped for a while now, saying that they should be seen as a necessity and therefore exempt from most sales taxes. This charming little fella made a doody of a rant online saying how he thought they should still be taxed because tampons aren't necessary and that women should really just learn how to control their bladders.

I'll wait.

Go ahead. Laugh your ass off.

Maybe wipe the spit off of your computer screen.

Yeah, this dude honestly believes that period blood comes out of our urethras, ladies. 

***and other signs that we need science....

My Raging Anxiety and Weirdness and Forgetfulness
I still haven't written about the conference I attended, and I will. I swear. I am in the stage of dealing with the conference aftereffects where I'm just mostly pissed at myself for not meeting all the people I should have met, or talking to all the people I should have talked to, or taking pictures with all the people I should have taken pictures with. 

Yeah. 

That. 

I literally went to my room and put myself to bed early rather than interacting with people. And I hate myself for it.

Rawr.

Slavery language is on the ballot and there are really people arguing that we should keep it....
I live in Colorado. Our state constitution, like the constitutions of most states, is modeled after the US Constitution. And tucked within the 13th Amendment is a little clause that most people don't even realize exists. The Amendment, the one that supposedly freed the slaves and abolished slavery, only partially did that. 

Instead, the language persists to this day that slavery (i.e. forced labor) is permissible during imprisonment. 

There is an entire documentary about the history of this portion of the amendment, and the implications of it and how it has been used and continues to be used today....including the resurrection of chain gangs in Arizona recently. It's called 13th, and is playing on Netflix. I highly recommend that you drop whatever you are doing and go watch it right now.

This language is in the state constitution here currently, and there is a ballot measure to have it stricken from the document. There are actually people who don't see a problem with it, quite a few of them who believe that compulsory labor is perfectly fine for those who are incarcerated. 

SMDH.

OMG SPOILERS
So, this is the part where I am not going to tell you who died on The Walking Dead this week, because I don't do that whole spoiler thing, but HOLY SHIT the internet for the past 36 hours. My god, people.

For real, there are people online who maintain radio silence through every kind of horrific news story and injustice in the world, who are content to ignore major inequalities in the world....but throw a time zone differential and a television show into the mix and suddenly they've never been more angry in their lives?

Really?

It's a show. It airs in different time zones. If you don't want to know what happens, then stay off the internet for a few hours. It's called self control. You can't expect the rest of the world to protect your precious anticipation. It doesn't work like that.

Also...it'd be nice if you could get this fired up about shit that matters, people.

It's particularly amusing that so many of those pissed at the internet right now, to the point of unfriending people loudly and making threats, are the type of people who generally are all about personal responsibility, pretty frequently the ones who refuse to believe in things like privilege and unfairness. Hmm. 

Mmmmhmmmmm.

Also, let's talk about the violence for a second because that's the other thing everyone is fired up about. IT IS A VIOLENT SHOW. This isn't new information. If you've read the comics, you knew what was going to happen and how. If you've seen the show at all, you know that the zombies aren't the monsters, the people are. People have been waiting with bated breath for literal months to find out who was going to get their head bashed in with a baseball bat, and then they freak out when it actually goes down? 

No. You don't get to complain now.

There is a whole side of this that isn't being talked about much, and it requires me to write spoilers, so if you haven't watched it yet, skip to the next section. 
.
.
.
.
.
.
The fact that Glenn died has some people really upset. He was the only Asian-American character on the show, the emotional center of the group, and a soon to be father. People of color haven't fared well on this show (or really any show in the history of time if we are being honest...) He was the one that met Lucille in the comics, though, so for people who've read them, this is finally a means to get the show back on track with the comics. However, it is worth asking why the stories were written this way to begin with. It's particularly troubling when you realize that Glenn's death is eerily similar to an actual crime that took place. Vincent Chin was beaten to death with a baseball bat in a horrific hate crime. 

Suddenly, fiction isn't so fictional anymore...

This Week in Racism
I'm doing this as a bulleted list because it's so bad. Holy shit. This election is really bringing out the worst in people.





America, 2016.

Get your shit together.

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