Wednesday, February 17, 2010

worst excuse in the world

Wanna hear what might me my tip top all time fave song by The Specials? You should wanna. It's not happy and full of blooming flowers, but it's HERE, and it's awesome. Just go listen. You've got fuck all else to do.

Monday, February 15, 2010

on standing

Of the people I consider friends is one young lady we'll call BK for short. We were at the same place recently, the old watering hole, and happened to exit the bathrooms at the same time. She being a woman and I being a man, we actually met in the hallway outside the loos and threw our arms around each other and made our way to where the bulk of our friends were congregated.

Our path took as past some of the pool tables and through the dart playing area. I don't know why the dartboards are where they are here, but then I've never known that. As we wended our way past the dartboards I overheard someone comment that he was having some difficulty, upon seeing BK and I, with ascertaining which of us was the boy and which the girl.

I should think it would have been obvious, but what if the two of us are so gay that one can't easily tell gender difference? I think that I look like a boy and that BK looks like a girl, but rather than bother with the like, I raised my hand behind BK, who didn't seem to have heard the exchange, and raised that time proven middle finger. I hoped this was the end of the situation and assumed so as no alarm was raised upon being shot the bird by the homosexual.

This fellow had a friend who witnessed the situation and approached BK a few moments later with an apology for his friend's behavior. I was willing to accept this gent's apology, but BK, upon hearing finally of the exchange, had other ideas.

She was suddenly tracing her steps back toward the dart players and wondering exactly who had, moments ago, expressed an opinion rooted in ignorance. I began to intercede, to attempt to bring BK back into the circle of our friends, but as I watched her ire grow, I began to enjoy what I was seeing. The obvious offender was suddenly unwilling to express his doubt when faced with an actual person he'd so easily demeaned moments ago. He ducked and pleaded ignorance, the guilt full in his face.

And I think that's the lesson to be learned. It's BK's lesson, and it's all about being willing to go back, to get in someone's face, and to ask that immortal question, "What did you say?"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

grass roots healthcare

I wasn't as busy helping out as some people last week as we built up what may become our own grass roots health care, but in the end I like to think I did my part.

A good friend was recently diagnosed with cancer. Her husband is a good guy, and they have two young and lovely daughters. She does have health insurance, but the family doesn't make much money, and she won't be able to work during her chemo.

My contribution to helping has included watching her youngest daughter on chemo day or day after chemo day, and I've taken a couple of meals to them on chemo day or day after day. I also donated some food for the art auction that was held to raise money to help out.

There's two sides to this art auction. The one side is that it shouldn't be necessary to do this, that people who get sick should be able to get care and not worry about losing anything. They shouldn't have to worry about their kids' well being. The other side is that an amazing community has formed around this. So many people donated art to the fund raising auction. Momma and her employer donated a sushi party. A number of friends created clothing and fashion accessories. A number of services were donated such as spa treatments and a massage. People that don't even know my friend that well have given time and money to help. A number of local businesses donated gift certificates, and some lucky someone ended up paying exactly the amount of the tattoo that they won in the auction. Of course there were a number of boxes of wine and twelve packs of PBR donated because that's how we roll.

Even now, two days after the event, I can still feel everything I felt then, having ridden the emotional roller coaster, the sadness of the necessity and the joy of friends and community, really the creation of a family, all gathered around this amazing person.

But I still can't help but feel angry. I'm reasonably well as far as I know, but I haven't visited a doctor in longer than I can remember. My doctor's front door for the past decade and a half has had a red sign with the word "Emergency" over it. That's no way to live.

I really don't have any plan to put on the table. I don't have any answers as to how to make it work, but I think I know what we need. We need a medical system that includes every single person in this country, and I do mean every single. I don't care if you're brown and are here illegally. I don't care if you can afford to pay or not. I don't care. I just know that we should all be able to go to the doctor whenever we need, and we should never face the chance of losing anything because of a sudden illness or a previously undiscovered condition.

And to the right winger that inevitably tells me they won't damn well be forced to pay for someone else to get health care I say, "Fuck You!" If we really have to hold art auctions and benefit concerts to take care of a sick friend then something is wrong with our system. If your health insurance tries to tell you that you can't have the chemo that will hopefully make you well again then something is wrong.

In just over a month there's another local event designed to help raise money for someone else who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Some of the people involved with that were at the auction, and many people involved with the auction are already planning to attend the next event and are figuring out what they can do to help. I don't know how far I can run in a pair of heels, but it might be worthwhile to find out. Who knows when it will be my turn to need some help.

Friday, February 12, 2010

but am I?

As usual I'm getting drunk for the big day.

Actually, the big day is tomorrow, and I'm not getting drunk for that. I'm getting drunk because it's what I do. I'm really good at it, and it's something I feel I know how to do, so I go with it. You are more than fucking welcome to come along, but I'm not saying shit. Do what you gotta do.

I have to get up at a decent hour tomorrow and make some semblance of good food happen. I was actually drunk when I took on this role, and now I'm less drunk and thinking about how I'm going to go about this.

I have to have horse doovers for any number of people in about three and seven hundredths of an hour or more or less. I don't even know anymore.

No, seriously . . . I have all day to plan for this thing that, had I taken it on earlier, I'd have a list down my arm. I'd be all kinds of Sarah Palin on this thing. I would so be . . .

I'm sorry, but I've ruined this whole post. It was going to be about how bad ass I am, about how I can kill with enough of a hardened look, how skin crawls off a salmon filet at my command, about how chicken wings mix the butter and Texas Pete before throwing themselves in the oil because I have such dominance over foodstuffs.

But then I got political about some dumb hair brained . . .

I'm sorry, but I've done it again. I'm walking away before it gets nasty. I really do have shit to do tomorrow, and this isn't getting me closer. I'm going to go inhale the fumes of the tobacco plant and then force myself to approach sleep.

Also, I'm not nearly as drunk as I said. Really! I mean, seriously, come on, right? Could I really do this otherwise?


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

homeschool reason number something thousand

Yes, once in a while you just have to post because you stumble on or remember another reason that homeschooling is a great option.

We have a friend who is spending today recovering from a chemo treatment. She has two daughters, one of whom is at school. The other is here with us.

She's absolutely adorable as only a three year old girl can be, and my eleven and six year old boys have spent their day enjoying her company. Big Brother played go fish with her and didn't mind that he spent the entire game helping her understand what was going on. When she found a book she wanted read to her I had all three kids closing in on me to enjoy a book I haven't read since The Boy was as young as our visiting friend.

So, added to the reasons one might consider or choose to homeschool is, in my opinion, one that proves that the socialization question is only relevant when asked in a way that shows the actuality of socialization as hsers. I love that my boys don't have a problem playing with a much younger girl because they never learned that it's uncool to do so.

And now it's time to get my list together. Momma is running errands, and I need to text her a grocery list so that I can make food for the young lady we're hanging out with and her family. They're vegetarian which makes the job sort of a fun challenge. There's actually no challenge today because I've known for the last couple of days what I was cooking, but the idea of creating veg food is a fun challenge as I'm happily omnivorous.

Now, to work!

Monday, February 08, 2010

taxing fun with taxation

That time is once again drawing near, that particular day halfway through April when the US, in one big group, rushes out late at night to the post office to get a bunch of paperwork and documentation in the mail. It's tax season.

Momma and I, though not together, have continued to file our taxes as married, filing jointly. We are still legally married as we haven't really felt a pressing need to actually finalize the dissolution of our marriage with divorce. We both know it's coming, but the need to truly end the thing isn't a huge concern. We haven't really even looked into, so neither of us are really sure what exactly it's going to take.

We both have our W2's, and I'm not even going to mention how sadly pathetic the number in box 1 is on my own. Momma has three, having worked at three different places over the course of oh nine, and I'm not going to mention her collection of boxes 1.

We haven't really discussed filing our taxes this year other than my suggestion that, while she's at work tonight, I'd be willing to begin the e-file process. She asked that I wait in order to actually discuss how we'll go about it this year.

We may choose to file as we have, but we've discussed that their exists the option of married, filing separately.

I don't want to mess with the IRS, nor do I want to do anything illegal. What I do want, and I'm sure what we all want, is to get the largest possible sum of money in the form of a refund. I'd love to get enough money to buy myself a bed, and I have a couple other ideas for spending money I don't even have yet. I'm sure Momma has ideas of her own.

So I won't work on the taxes just yet. I will feed the boys, and I've got a couple of errands to run, and later tonight those same boys get their shower/bath night, and I could stand to wash a couple of dishes, and there's already plenty of laundry piling up needing to be washed, and there's still clothes needing to be folded from the last time that I did laundry. I was nice enough to throw them on the sofa where the dogs were nice enough to sleep on them several times over the last week, so they might not even be clean anymore.

Errands and chores and taxes do not necessarily a fun night make, but they aint gonna do themselves.

Friday, February 05, 2010

but he's not evil

Girl group night seems to have descended on me, as happens on occasion. It started on the nefarious FAcebook, that veritable eyesore of horrid grammar. I sometimes just ramble through the Fb bramble, landing where I may.

You might find that looking at pictures sends you to photos at an aunt's profile where she's posted a video that mentions a particular group by name.

You weren't necessarily interested in this band at that moment, but it's a band you've recently discovered, though your own birth happened seven-ish years after their heyday. It seems I should have known of The Shangri-Las at least a little, but I never did till . . . hmm . . . something else to blame on coming out. Maybe I'll write a little something about all that, but this isn't that sometime.

HERE is Give Him a Great Big Kiss, and if you saw me listening to this song you'd probably think I was gay. I can't help it. Also, I'm really falling in love with this group every time I hear them. And Mary Weiss is probably still just as hot.

Oddly enough, we run across another musical reference on the Fb courtesy of someone I know from blogland. Perhaps you already know, but apparently there's a movie about The Runaways. This is another band I was barely familiar with before recently, and it's only barely thanks to the movie.

I've run across a couple of references to a movie in my Google reader thanks to some of the gay centric feeds I enjoy. Apparently there's some lesbianity on display at some point in the film and all the usual anti-gay suspects are up in arms that any one should ever dare present gayfords as a normal every day part of human life.

Which is not to say that a movie about The Runaways is ever going to really represent the normal every day of human life for the most part. I've already mentioned my mostly not familiarity with the band. I have listened to them via our friend YouTube somewhat more than usual recently, and I still can't decide.

Were they a run of the mill band that just happened to be girls? Were they an awesome band that broke stereotypes? Maybe it just takes me listening until I hear the song, that one song that makes me get it. Mama Weer All Crazee Now, apparently, is the name of the song that finally sucks me in. I really do hate it when people intentionally misspell things, but there's really nothing I can do. The song is still amazing, or maybe I just love a great sing-a-long chorus.

I haven't really got much more that stems directly from this line of reasoning. I've run into The Bangles because somebody in one band was in another and eventually whatever. I'm hearing them right this moment, but I'm not really feeling The Bangles right now. You can google them yourself if you want.

So where do I go? Well, we could end up with a video of a 78, its slow spin and an earlier musical revolution that allowed Mary Ford to sing backup for herself doing Tennessee Waltz, a song I truly love. I'm not entirely convinced it's a Tennessee thing, and I'm not entirely convinced it's not. Either way, HERE it is.

So, who are your favorite women in rock? Or better yet, who in rock and roll do you think did their part to tear down gender based nonsense that allows or even necessitates the need to point out when girls rock?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

hat racks

Some combination of my alarm clock and the chainsaws next door woke me up around the time I needed to be up, while an insufferable need to urinate finally dragged me to remove myself from lying down with the blanket pulled up to my chin.

The neighbors lost a big limb on their nearly/mostly dead tree recently, and they've decided today was the day to get rid of the whole thing. We also lost a tree recently but never did lose a branch really until the whole tree and all the branches fell across the driveway.

One thing these trees shared was that they'd both been topped at some point in the past. If you aren't aware, topping a tree involves removing everything from the tree above a certain point. You can read about it HERE.

I can't say that I noticed so many trees treated in this way in other places I've lived, but it's all too common in my little town. And I'd never considered it too much, but I've grown to hate the sight of them, and I decided long ago that it can't possibly be healthy. Now, according to the views expressed in the link above I have some justification for my ire.

These two yards should have nice healthy trees still growing. One of those two trees should be in this yard, shading the big windows in the front when the summer sun sets in such a way as to shine right in, making this part of the house a greenhouse and making the ac work that much harder. I don't plan to be here by that point in the year, but it's always going to be someone's problem.

I don't know the reason either of these trees were topped. It isn't a question of power lines. It shouldn't have been a question of safety.

I just don't get it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

corn bread

The thing that started life as an idea to make a white chili (chicken and white beans) turned into a reality that was more a brown (reddish) broth soup that was good nonetheless. It did get its share of both chicken and white beans, and it tastes unmistakably not unlike chili, but it doesn't meet my own criteria, so I'll just call it soup.

I did make cornbread to go with it. I have a square skillet, so my cornbread has corners. That seems to be a positive in the "creates crustiness" category. There's also bacon fat in the refrigerator, so it was that much better.

An easy assumption would be that, by my age, my mother had cooked way more corn bread than I have currently. It never became as much a part of my repertoire as hers, but then my eating habits have changed drastically, and often for the worse, and my general familial style is also quite different that how I was raised.

My whole point here is that, while Mom very likely didn't, I needed a recipe for cornbread. The last one consumed in this house was made by Momma. She used on odd cookbook, one with a title containing any of the words ladies, church, society or settlers. I could be wrong, but I'm not.

There several recipes in this book, a book put together by having a bunch of ladies, probably members of some group or society, send in recipes they felt best represented themselves and their reasons behind putting together a cookbook. Often, several pages in a row will contain very similar recipes, such as we find for corn bread.

I glanced at the book after finding my way half way through putting together the Joy of Cooking's recipe for Southern cornbread. I'm not sure what Mrs. Joy thought she was up to, but some of what she suggests about Southern cornbread do not ring true when one reads recipes by actual southern people, people with a desire to be and remain as true as possible to some ideal of southern-ness.

None of that is actually the point. I liked it well enough as something to go in a bowl of soup that happens to be not entirely unlike a white chili, and I have enough left for something else. Maybe a little molasses and butter for breakfast in the morning is a not at all bad idea.