Saturday, August 27, 2011


It's late, I'm tired, and while I'm certain there are things I could write about, I'm in no fit shape to do it.  I'm tired.

I'm tired, and I'm just now going into my weekend.  And when I say "my weekend," I'm not referring to those two days in a row that I get to not work like everyone else.  No, my weekend in this instance is my Saturday and Sunday shifts.

I don't like working Sunday.  I'll get that out of the way now.  I really hate it.  Sunday means brunch, and I just hate it.  I don't want to do it anymore.  Actually, I'd be happy with just every other Sunday off, but that's been impossible for too long.

For too long we had cooks that weren't available Sunday's for valid reasons, one only had his kids on the weekend, and one was in a halfway house and only had Sundays as a relatively free day.  But there are the other cooks that can work Sundays that do sometimes get one off but aren't at the level one needs to be to be able to work certain stations.

And it's not that they can't.  I know they can, but no one has wanted to, and because I'm a sort of pushover sometimes I've been doing it with little complaint.

Actually there's lots of complaint Sunday.  I wage war on people's aural senses with my bitching, but I also make them great eggs and frittatas, so they can't really complain.

Sunday would be less hellish if I didn't have to be there at eight in the morning, and that would be slightly less onerous if I didn't just leave the damn place at ten the night before.  My usual Saturday shift is noon to ten with usually about an hour break somewhere near the middle.

Last Saturday I rode from downtown to another part of town to get my fancy tobaccy, and with plenty of time left in my hour circled a small section of downtown blocks for a few minutes.  There's your obligatory bicycle reference.  Actually, I plan on spending my next Saturday break riding to the downtown library.  Now that I'm paid up with them I can once again raid the wonderful cd collection.

So, yeah, my weekend, which is your weekend, sees me working noon to ten Saturday and eight to sometime between three and four Sunday.  And those can be the busiest shifts of our week.  And as you can see I really do need to get to bed.  There has to be something else to write about, but honestly my brain has turned itself off to prepare for my Sat/Sun overload.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So far today I've mostly cleaned a bathroom and partly cleaned a kitchen.  I've gone through the stuff I've been pulling out of my pockets for most of 2011 and throwing on the floor of my bedroom as well.

I've pulled this house in around me like moldering blanket that I can't seem to replace with a fresh new blanket.  I've lived here since shortly before The Boy was born, and that's the longest I've lived any one place since I hightailed it out of Georgia so many years ago.

Momma came over today to look at some of the repair work we have to do.  We looked at the holes in the drywall and didn't get past the one I kicked when we fought shortly after telling her that I had to come out.  That was the same night she broke the French press, though to be honest she's broken more than one, though only one in anger.  I also kicked a dent in the oven that night, but we aren't keeping score anyway.  A good relationship is not a competition, even when it is.

I've sat on the back porch of this house in that same white chair and read so many books late at night, smoking too many cigarettes, always of course drinking just enough beer.  The blogging I miss so much all happened in the exact same five square feet of space that will soon see an end to such.

We've eaten so many meals at the table directly to my left, the table is never clean for very long.  I have pictures of that table full of Momma, Big Brother, and The Boy all engrossed in their own lunch and their own book.

I don't approach new very well.  I always seem to get in in my own way and find a place for myself, but getting to that point is hard for me.  Starting the ball rolling has always been one of those talents I lack.

And this house is not the place I need to be.  The deal we've had here is unbeatable in a monetary sense, but I can't continue to accept that deal.  I have to move on, and I really should have done this a long time ago, much like the cleaning.  It's hard to cast off comfort, or maybe it's just hard for me.

It's time, and I'm making ready.  It's time for me to grow up a little bit more and to cast off this place.  It offers a kind of comfort, but it's leaden with problem.  I can imagine how that sounds, but if you were privy to all my own info, and if I really went into the issues inherent in living here and the situation and family, and if you don't get the point . . .

And so begins my journey out of the suburbs finally.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

aaahhhh sweet, sweet books

Part of what I need to do with myself is to find those things that I've forgotten about.  I've let the tumult of the last few years get the better of me, and I feel I've let too many things go away.  Essentially I need to look at habits and ways I accomplish or fail to accomplish things.  I have less good habits that need adjustment, and I've stopped a lot of things that are just good for me.

There are of course other things like the bike.  I am truly in love with that machine, though right now I still need to look at his rear derailleur so that we can get those two gears back, and his chain needs to be looked at.  Having been in a bit of rain lately we might need to look into some oil, and a general wipe down would be nice.

In speaking of those old habit that were good I have to get to my real story.  I finally paid the library off and found the two "lost" books.  When I've read books lately they've been rereads, and while I have no problem with reading a book again, there's nothing quite like reading a book you've never read before, and to make it even better add a new author to that list as well.

Or add an old friend like J.R.R. Tolkien when you discover his The Book of Lost Tales.  I'm only a couple of pages into his son's foreword in which he's spoken about The Silmarillion more than not and has even discussed other people's discussion of it.  I'm not sure why I bother with forewords sometimes, and sometimes while reading I won't get why I bother.  Either way I'm a fan of Tolkien, and better yet I'm sure Big Brother will be happy to get his hands on it also.

He's certainly happy to have the library back.  He's rereread so many books lately.  The Boy has yet to finish a chapter book on his own, but I know the day is coming.  I feel like I hate that he doesn't love reading as much as his brother and I do, but I also get that his interest just doesn't right now and may never.  Or maybe he just needs to find the right book.

He happened upon Shiloh which is about a boy and a dog if the cover has any truth to it.  I feel like it might be one of those books I should have read by now, and I do plan to read it before it's due back.  The Boy picked it up because his teacher is reading it to the class, and he happened to see it.  He likes his teacher and loves dogs, so perhaps this culmination of influence will be that catalyst.  or not.

I've already finished The Wanderer by Sharon Creech.  Sophie is a young girl about to sail across the ocean with three uncles and two male cousins to visit their grandfather.  It's a story about a girl getting to make her own decisions though not without having to put up a fight.  It's about the family and about the idea of family as Sophie's story comes out.  It's about the power in the act of fixing up the boat and setting sail to test people especially as this family is thrown together to actually perform this feat.

The Wanderer is also about the sea.  Sophie is drawn to the sea in a way I can almost feel I understand.  I've never spent that much time near the sea, and I've never been in it on a boat.  All my sea experience involves freshwater.  But seafaring adventures tend to make some of the best books in my opinion, and this one has become a favorite.  It is a kid's book, ages whenever they can read on up to well past my few years.  There's nothing questionable or violent or sexy in this book, and I may be wrong, but I kinda feel like Cody might be gay.

And speaking of Cody, he's the second narrator.   Most of the book is Sophie's journal about the voyage.  Throughout the book though we also get to read Cody's "dog-log."  I enjoyed having the second point of view as well as a bit more of the family background.  Even with Cody's dog-log the story is still Sophie's.

I hope Big Brother reads it.  I'll definitely suggest it to him, and if I put off our next library visit just long enough he'll have read all his own and may be willing to give it a try.  He picked four books total.  He was already reading The Wizard of Oz, not a library book, as that's the book he was reading most recently at my house and is the one still on the dining table.  He's also reading whichever Artemis Fowl book he's up to, and I had to go look next to his bed to remember that.  Along with that Artemis Fowl he grabbed The 39 Clues, How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, and The Land of the Silver Apples.

I won't bore you with all his books, but The Land of the Silver Apples is a sequel to a book that we actually own, Sea of Trolls, written by Nancy Farmer, and as I google I see that both books are part of a trilogy.  Big Brother and I both enjoyed Sea of Trolls, so it looks like I have yet another option of reading material for the next three weeks.

I'm so happy to have paid off the library.  I love going there.  I love the librarians.  I don't know about the people on the computers, though they do make me appreciate having one.  This is not only one of the best things I've done for myself in a while, but it's also one of those habits that was always a good one.  It's honestly been at least a year since we've been regular library users, and I'd say it may have been a good bit longer.  I'm not delving into the story right now, but the main point is that I sucked in my pride and blew out whatever shame I'd built up in letting the situation get out of hand.  The librarians, though shocked, were not mean when I humbly approached to find out exactly what I needed to do as the computer told them the full weight of my transgressions.

And just now, rereading and editing, that last paragraph has me forming a plan.  Working my Saturday split shift I usually get about an hour break in the middle.  I can ride to the downtown library for music and set whatever mood I want for the ensuing Saturday night shift.  This is gonna be fun.

round back

Alleys are suddenly THE cool place to have someone take pictures of your.  They're so gritty and urban, and people I imagine come from the palatial and seriously suburban west side of town have been showing up in my alley lately.  I kind of don't like all of them.

The particular alley I claim as my own is behind where I work.  There is another alley we walk to daily to retrieve the rolling trash cans into which we put our trash.  We then return them to their alley, and the trucks come by whenever and dump all the cans.  Sometimes you show up between trucks and find all the cans full.  Sometimes you can empty one or two less full cans into others and get what you need.

Our alley is very narrow.  Toward one end is a bar that has bands most nights, so at some point most days there is some sort of vehicle disgorging the various equipment a band needs.  Toward the other end of the alley are more restaurants.  Counting my own place of employment there are two ice cream places and four restaurants with servers and sitting down with a menu.

Because of all the restaurants you'll often find people smoking in the alley.  I don't know if the percentage of smokers among restaurant staff members is higher than the average for other businesses, but I can see it being entirely possible.  A cigarette provides an occasional small break in a job not know for too horribly many breaks of any length.

Any number of homeless people sometimes use the alley as their bathroom, and during large enough events on the square I've seen not homeless people pee in the alley.  I've also seen what I'm mostly sure was dog shit one day in the alley, and one day it smelled remarkably zoo like.  It wasn't even that horrid a smell because it had more an animal sort of odor than just gross shit stink.  Fairly recently someone changed a bandage in the alley and were nice enough to leave their potentially hazardous bio waste for us.

And one day a family or two was down there taking pictures.  The large and lumpy dad was dutifully hauling strollers and bags of props and trying to keep the kids not in the current photo busy.  And they had bags of props, clothes, hats, big letters.  I'm sure there were favorite stuffed animals as well.

And of course you have the happy smiling couples.  They all look so stupid being lined up against the graffiti just so.  And of course they don't think to confirm outfits and color schemes till they get there.

Then there are the random single people.  You can't ever really know what they're doing or why.  They're digging the gritty, urban landscape and standing in front of a door of course, but what's their motivation.

I missed the day that a bunch of girls were having pictures made.  They had bags of clothes and were blocking doors and being in the way, and they were changing right there in the alley.  OMG, ya'll.  Again, I didn't witness this, so . . .

And when you do drive west through the land of stripmalls to the homes of these people, you can see those pictures on the mantelpiece.  It's so gritty and urban tucked away here in a several acre subdivision named after an English sounding word that doesn't in any way describe the actual place.

I wonder if the ironic hipster kids are going to start taking couples photos in front of big box retail stores?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

phoning it in

After far to much time and money I've finally paid off the library and returned the books that kept getting misplaced only to turn up randomly to haunt me with my misdeed.  I admire the grace of the three librarians I dealt with today in our return to being respectable users of the library.

I do feel like an ass, and have, for letting this thing get so bad, but at some point fines piled up to a point, and the two books were misplaced, and the fines got worse, and feeling at the time as if I just couldn't afford it.  With school about to start again I know that the library will come in handy soon enough, and I'm just tired of not having a book to read.

Between the books at Momma's and those I still have left I've read nearly all of what we have that I want to read.  There are a few of the boys' books I may or may not read, and most of what I have I've definitely read.  I've even reread.  I  even almost read the Whoopie Goldberg book that I think might have come from Momma's grandmother.  I got stuck on the fart chapter.

Box Turtle Bulletin has been posting a Daily Agenda featuring current news as well as bits of LGBT history.  For instance, I learned a few days ago that James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924.  I should mention that I also learned then of James Baldwin, and though he isn't the reason I so suddenly decided to finally take care of my library tab his first book, Go Tell It on the Mountain, is my own welcome back gift from them.

So far Big Brother has read two of his three books.  He too has been rereading books, so I can only imagine how much he's wanted something new.  I'm sometimes jealous of his ability to find time to read until I realize that's sometimes all I see him doing, and still I don't mind.  He's now taken to having at least two books going, one at Momma's house and one here.

The Boy has long had two books going, but these have always been the books that Momma or I are reading as his bedtime book.  There it's Farmer Boy, while here we're on to A Horse and his Boy at mine.  Having begun to slowly start reading more on his own The Boy has a couple of books with bookmarks sticking out of them between here and Momma's, and he got two more books today, both of which he's read some of.  They're also both about dogs.  He also got a library card.  Yay him!

I also depopsited my check, bought stamps, failed to find a wallet at the one store I bothered to visit, and did not even think about bicycle tires till too late to do anything.  I definitely need to get into action about the tire.  I've got a spot on my front tire that's ripped down to the bead, and though I think I'm okay for the most part, in reality I know that it won't take much to get through that.

I also took the boys for Mexican.  We went to a local favorite and filled ourselves with all sorts of beef and tortillas and beans and cheese and salsa, and Big Brother even got a ceviche tostada but didn't eat the tortilla.  I don't know what's wrong with that kid sometimes.  Also I don't care for ceviche.

Then we came home and were lazy, and I've suddenly remembered that I was supposed to go to the store for cereal.  It's now too late to bother with that, so I'll just have to get up in the morning and do something about it.

That's been my day so far.  The boys have been quiet enough for long enough that I have to assume they're asleep.  They should be, though they didn't do anything more today than ride around and wish I'd buy them something.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

they (maybe) should

It's one of those things people tend to say, people who aren't especially supportive of LGBT people, when they are discussing gay pride events.  They might suggest that there should also be a straight pride event, and it probably draws chuckles of approval, though of course it doesn't happen.

It is even arguable that pretty much every day is straight pride.  The few images we see of gay people in a positive light are the couple of sitcoms that have openly gay characters, but then those aren't people I admire or look to for affirmation.  I don't watch Glee, though I have.  It's not really that good a show, and it's not really that accurate for most gay kids.  Also, if I want to hear actors singing Foreigner songs I'll . . . um,  yeah, never want for that ever.

So what would happen if someone did in fact host/sponsor a straight pride event?  We've never known because it's always been mentioned in an off the cuff joking sort of way.

Until now.  According to Towleroad, religious leaders in Sao Paolo Brazil have decided to petition the government for just such an event, and the legislation has made it as far as the mayor.  Will he sign it, or won't he?

Of more concern might be what would this event actually look like?  I can't help but feel that part of the idea behind this would be to exclude gay people and to make a show of this exclusion.  Gay pride, while possibly seeming to exclude people does just the opposite.  An idea behind gay pride is simply increasing visibility of LGBT people, but another idea is to provide an outlet for all people to show their support for the equal rights of their gay friends and family members.

The few pride events I've attended have mostly been here in Knoxville, and they don't seem to feature a huge amount of straight people, but everyone who is open and fair minded is welcome.  It's an inclusive gathering of people wanting to stand proudly and proclaim that everyone deserves fairness and equality.  It's also a  party and the only time outside of a gay bar that we can feel like we are in the majority.  It does wonders to think of yourself surrounded by your community, and for so many it's a first.

So what could possibly be the point of hetero pride?  It can't be welcoming and openness.  It can't be support for a minority that is often mistreated and maligned.

But still I say go for it.  What can it hurt?  What do they hope to accomplish?  Whatever their goals it's better that they are aired in the sunshine rather that to continue to grow in the malicious darkness.

uppity fags

All signs point to the likelihood that Lawrence King was gay.  At fifteen he seemed pretty sure of it, and he seemed secure enough in himself to do what all teenagers do, play with self expression.  But probably because he was gay his self expression led to playing with gender based expressions such as high heeled boots, scarves, pink nail polish.

Another kid around the same age, Brandon McInerney, had a big enough problem with Lawrence King that he eventually took a gun to school and shot him in the back of the head two times.  And now a couple of years later he's finally being tried.

I've avoided this subject for the last couple of years because too often when I consider my opinion I can't help but think of them both as children when this happened.  They both had a rough childhood with significant family issues.  I'm no expert on this situation, though I'll also admit that I could never give all the links to all the posts I've read about this since it happened.  I can't imagine at fifteen you don't know what a gunshot to the back of the head means, but I can't accept that a fifteen year old has the same mental competency as an adult who one can argue at least has grown up enough to understand consequences, and I can't imagine the input of the people around him to bring him to where he was.

McInerney's lawyers have already introduced the gay panic defense.  Gay panic, for anyone unsure, is what happens when a hapless heterosexual is preyed upon by a perverse homosexual, and because gay=awful, they couldn't help but react by beating the crap out of said homosexual.  I think it has a cousin in the idea that women dressed inappropriately invite rape.  See also, "If he hadna been all faggoty and shit I wouldna had to whoop his ass.  He's askin fer it being all faggoty."

Which brings me, in a long and winding sort of fashion, to this article from Ventura County Star.  Several teachers have admitted to having done nothing to stop this other than to make Lawrence King stop being so faggoty.  He was told to remove a scarf, makeup, and nail polish at different times, and a teacher worried that he was going to be dragged behind a shed and beaten to death.

They complain that the lesbian principle made it all okay and didn't listen to them when they tried to warn her that Lawrence King was asking for a whoopin'.  They blame her for not being aware of the problems.

I blame them all for letting the students be bullies and especially bullies to someone who was obviously struggling.  This poor little boy who so obviously needed for the people around him to stop chasing him and hitting and pushing him wanted what every other fifteen year old wants, to make sense of an increasingly peculiar world, or maybe that's just us gays.

The article ends in a very telling fashion with this question and answer between a teacher and the DA:
Brown said she once saw a group of boys chasing King, which she described as a potentially unpleasant situation. Fox asked her if she stepped in to stop the chasing.
"No," Brown said.