Still Weird After All These Years.

Posted in WhatNot on July 18th, 2014 by Diva

I’ve been a fan of “Weird” Al Yankovic since way back in early 1980s, when I first heard My Bologna and Another One Rides the Bus on the Dr. Demento radio show.


Click here for the original song, My Sharona by the Knack


Click here for the original song, Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

I’ve lapsed listening here and there over the years, not because I don’t enjoy his work – I loved White & Nerdy though I’ve never heard the original rap by Chamillionaire all the way through – but because I haven’t kept up with the pop music that forms the basis of his parodies. Parody, like satire, only works if you’re familiar with the original.

Yankovic started releasing videos for tracks from his new album, Mandatory Fun, online this week and I have to say I’m really enjoying it thus far. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard Pharrell’s ubiquitous earworm Happy and Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, but what I love about these first two tracks is the subject matter Yankovic tackles: Being selfishly impolite and screwing up the English language.

Basically, the etiquette-oriented, grammar-correct nerd in me rejoices.

He’s followed these up with Foil, a send-up of Royals by Lorde.

Until yesterday, I had never heard Fancy by Iggy Azalea. Now that I have I can say I haven’t missed much – I’ve had my fill of “be rich and beautiful like me” songs – but I do like Yankovic’s take on it.

Nearly every “Weird” Al album has a non-parody, original track and this morning we got The Sports Song (which for some odd reason won’t embed here, so you’ll have to click the link to see it), which pretty much sums up how I feel about sports. Sure, we go to a few hockey games every year and I did kinda get into the World Cup, it’s not the same as knowing player names, stats, history of teams, and so forth. Sports nerds are still nerds, of course, just a different kind. I doubt many die-hard Raiders or Heat fans can quote Monty Python, Twin Peaks, and obscure 1990s Comedy Central sketch shows.

That sounded way cooler in my head. Heh.

Anyway, this “release a video a day for eight days” is genius. It got my attention, though I highly doubt I’m the target demographic, and regardless of whether some people understand how such viral marketing works.

Getting the word out about a product is hard, but I think this plan is a winner. The album was at #1 on iTunes yesterday.

Take that, Varney.

Sports!

Insult to Head Injury.

Posted in WhatNot on July 16th, 2014 by Diva

I have three siblings, all younger than me. We are each almost exactly three years apart in age, so the youngest of us – for the purposes of the following exchange, I call him Brother 2 – is 39 this year where I am 48.

I received a text from my sister, the second in the line of us, last night. Below is the conversation that ensued. I don’t promise you’ll find it as hilarious as we do; I just wanted to save it here for posterity.

Perhaps to prep you, here is my first Tweet of the evening:


And my second:


I have joined up text messages where it made the story more easily read and made [editorial] notes where necessary.

Enjoy!

***

Sister: I’m in the ER @[local hospital]. Had a lil accident@work. Head got split open thanks to a dolly & a box of paper. Ya, long story… looks like I need stitches. Maybe a CT scan cause that shit hit me hard! Will call u when I can.

Me: Well, you wouldn’t be one of us if you didn’t occasionally trip up & need stitches. *LOL* Keep me posted…

Brother 2: Rest up and take care of yourself first… I’ll take the usual “no news is good news” [family name] approach. I’m sure the docs will say this, but if you develop ANY sort of headache/nausea from here on, get yourself back to the ER.

Sister: Will do everyone. Hate waiting in the waiting area. I’m 5th in line so hopefully I get in back there & get my stitches & ct scan soon. I’m cautious when it comes to head injuries. No Sonny Bono shit for me.

Brother 2: I was thinking Natasha Richardson myself, but same deal. :-)

Sister: That’s Liam Neilsens (sic) wife right? Was thinking about her too, just couldn’t think of her name. Bono died at the scene I think. She left & thought she was fine. Fuck that… I will make sure I’m good b4 I leave this place. No screwing around with blows to the head. That dolly hit me so hard & it happened so fast. Then came the blood… there was so much blood.

Me: So… buy yourself a ski helmet? They’re on sale here. *giggle* And head injuries bleed a LOT. That’s why Mom panicked so bad when Brother 2 fell onto the coffee table and split his.

Sister: I kept myself as calm as I could while 911 was on their way. Got myself to stop shaking… Just kept calm thoughts & didn’t look at all the blood running down my face.

Brother 2: I remember when Brother 1 stabbed me in the head and cut my scalp… that shit bled so heavily…

Me: Wait… Brother 1 stabbed you in the head?!

Brother 2: He was slicing something on the counter and I bent down to get something out of the dishwasher just as he lost control of the knife, which glanced my skull. Always cut toward yourselves, kids! *snerk*

Sister: I remember. Brother 2 bled a lot… twice. :-) I look like a mummy. I’ll take a selfie. Husband’s on his way back to be my advocate & push the staff to get me in back. When I stand I get woosie (sic) so… Told em no neck pain, but now my neck is hurting. Think I’ll mention that.

Me: I’ve never heard that story… and cut away from yourself indeed.

Sister: Haaa! I’m not too concerned w/laceration… more w/the blow. Think metal 2 wheel dolly popping fwd when 50#’s of paper dropped onto it. Ya.. like a metal pipe to the head. I still can’t believe it happened.

Brother 2: Wow. Congrats on the concussion, I guess. Have Husband kick some ass for you… how the hell are people getting priority over head trauma?

Me: I think Husband will have the staff there in line shortly. Sometimes having an asshole around comes in handy (yeah, I said it). And woozie is def concussion territory, be careful there.

Sister: Priority 123=Heart attack/strokes/severe car accidents. I was brought in by ambulance (no lites/sirens again damnit! [allusion to a previous emergency room visit]) They assessed me in back… I’m about to go tell them my pain levels at a solid 9 now. Brother 1’s not on this thread… I had text message going on with him b4 this happened. Tempted to fwd some of it to him. Especially the cutting Brother 2’s skull part.

(A moment passes, then)

Ya… I’m not feeling good right now. Afraid to stand up tho. Husband should be back soon. And he’d take [being called an asshole] as a compliment. [This] is a Catholic hospital. So u know what the waiting rms full of, right?

Me: Quit concentrating on your phone, prob making your head hurt.

Brother 2: Priests with their dicks stuck in choir boys?

Me: Guaranteed if you stand up and pass out you’ll get priority… LOL Brother 2

Sister: One word: Bored

Me: Pope says that’s only 2% of the clergy – so mathematically there would only be one in a full emergency room. At a Catholic hosp, anyway. Less at Cedars-Sainai (sic). I’m sick, by the way. Quarterly strep. Seeing a specialist bec 4x/year is a bit much.

Sister: Indeed! Thanks for the laughs. ;-) That sucks… Ya, too often. Let me know what happens.

(After awhile)

Sister, this time with photo of head bandage: How’s this? Please don’t post on “Hot or Not” :-) Paramedic did this.

Brother 2: ALLAH HU AKBAR! LOL

Me: It’s like the old-timey cartoon toothache wraps. Also note it looks a lot like a ski helmet… Just cracked my man up with Brother 2’s comment.

Sister: Might wanna pick [me up] a helmet. [Daugther’s] with me now. Asked if that was like Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

(A few moments then)

Sister: Praise Allah… I’m finally in back, waiting on ER doc o’the night.

Me: Yep, that kid is def one of us. Tell her SILENCE I KILL YOU. My man says he’ll be disappointed if you don’t say WHAT’S UP DOC (he immed thought of Bugs Bunny, too)

Sister: I will so do that! Thanks (my man)… it does look like a [circa] 1900’s toothache patient don’t it?

Me: I need to shower (just now feeling up to it, think laugher has something to do with it), but keep texting. Want to know what the doctor says.

Sister: Ok

(Finally my other brother joins in the conversation … and all the exclamation points are verbatim)

Brother 1: OMG you look like Joan Crawford in mommy dearest!!!!! Looks like her sleep guard apparel!!!!

Me: HAHAHAHA NO WIRE HANGERS

(Is this where I mention Brother 1 is gay?)

Sister: Love it! :-) Just wanna get the f outta here now… come on Doc. Lets move this along. This happened at 3pm. Was in the ER before 4… I’m hungry & cold… My wound is still bleeding & hair’s matted down…

Brother 1: I knew you’d know where to find the doctors and the drugs!!

Brother 1 sends pics of his partner’s birthday dinner, then: Oh ya sorry hope you feel better soon sis… Love ya now beat it… (Txt later cya)

Sister: Happy birthday Partner! Hope you’re having a wonderful birthday my dear

(This speaks to my family: my sister is seeping blood out of her head in an emergency room and still sends well wishes to a family member. Jeebus, we are a polite bunch. Then, quite awhile later)

Me: Doc say anything important?

Sister: That I did a very good job! Gash is approx 2-1/2” long, through to the skull… took 4 staples to close it. Gonna take a pic

Brother 2: Hopefully they didn’t go too deep and now you can’t do simple math. Quick, what’s 6 X 7?

Me: Holy crap, OUCH! Well, Mom always said if you’re gonna screw up, do it big.

Sister: ?

Sister: 42

Brother 1: OMG!!!! LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: What day is it and who’s the President? How many fingers am I holding up?

Sister: I’m Batman…

Brother 1: Omfg!!!!

Brother 1 (again): Sis, Sis???

Me: Man & I both are laughing our asses off here, but srsly, glad you’re ok.

Brother 1: LOGAO [yeah, I don’t get this one either]

Me: (from my man) two words: worker’s comp

Brother 1: Laughing our goddamn asses off! Sorry Sister love you but how in the fuck did you manage to tear your head open in the way you did??!!! I mean damn girl!

Brother 1 (again): Ooopp good one Sister 1 [that would be me]!

Brother 2: Word! Get some of that Gubment money!

Me: Don’t go directly back to work tomorrow. And avoid MRI machines and magnets.

Brother 1: Holy crap! Milk it, milk iiiiiiiittt!

Me: My man says to go to a piercing studio and see what they’d charge for head staples. Someone will see yours & think it’s intentional.

Brother 1: We are glad you’re okay, (remains to be seen). Hope I see you and the Niece out here for some r&r soon. Take care and hope it doesn’t hurt too bad. :-(

Sister: I could start a new fad

Brother 1: Sister 1 you’re fuckin sick!!! Love it!!!!

Sister: I’m outside waiting for Emily* to pick me up I got out of there before they tried to collect their $100 copay. I’ll explain how the accident happened later my cell phone battery is super low

(*This is where my sister’s phone corrected her husband’s name to Emily. We don’t know why, but it was hilarious.)

Me: That [one] was [from] my man, but I laughed, so we’re both going to hell.

Brother 1: It hurts! Laughing way too hard here!!!!

Sister (who was now on massive drugs and just noticed the auto-correct): Who the fuck is Emily????? Did anyone else catch that or was it just me?

Brother 1: Ya who is she? It’s just you….. NOT

Sister: Jesus… fucking voice text! My new tattoo/staple artist… Emily

Brother 1: Sister, they give you some black pills or dark orange?

Me: Sister can taste colors now.

Brother 1: Seriously?? (Sister 1). Ha!

Sister: I can taste the whole mother fucking rainbow right now

Me: You know us. We laugh at funerals. And head wounds.

Brother 1: Oooo skittles, I like those.

Brother 1 (again): Um, ya… We are all going to hell you know! I mean Brother 2 told me that when he caught me smoking weed years ago!

Brother 1 (again): Sorry Sister. Sleep well, and heal quick.

Me: Ok, your battery is low, I’ve got a cold, & my man’s got a 6am flight, but call if you need anything. Really. *hug*

Brother 1: Love ya. I’m out. I’ll fall tomorrow.

Brother 1 (again): *CALL

Me: And tell your daughter she can’t have head staples until she’s 21.

Brother 1: DAMIT GET WELL ALL!!!! Cya.

Me: :-)

Brother 1: Ouch! Omfg!!!! Love ya. I’m out. I’ll fall tomorrow. [He didn’t catch the typo the second time.]

Sister: Just for the record and shits and giggles later, I am saving this entire thread. Thank you all and I will talk to you all soon

Me: So am I. :-)

Brother 1: Okay! Sweet! ;-) Just for the record Sister 1 was the most brutal, well Brother 2 had some great comments, Brother 1 not so much! :-(

(quite a bit later)

Sister sends first photo of the staples: Ok… here ya go. Husband says it looks more like 2” to him. Right on the top of my head… couldn’t have done better if I tried.

Brother 1: Partner says use a ball peen hammer next time! Nice part though. Damn, you did a doosey (sic) there! Ouch. How are you feeling?

Sister (another, better photo): This ones better… Tired & got a headache. Other than that, peachy! Gonna lay down. Love to all…

Me: Yikes… and wrong direction for the mohawk I pictured in my head.

Brother 1: OMG! Brother 2’s [cut to the head] was better! No I’m sorry that has to hurt. Damn! Partner: what were you doing under the box to begin with?

Brother 2: Dayum… yeah, I think you earned yourself some vicodin-fueled sleep. Take it easy there, lumpy. I kid because I care. :-)

Me: What Brother 2 said. The caring part. :-)

Brother 1: OMFG Brother 2! Partner: “you cannot fit your skull in the paper tray of the copy machine!”

Me: Whew! Thank your Partner for me, cuz that was totally on my calendar for tomorrow. :-)

Brother 1: Partner: “no selfies using the copy machine!” Dude that’s not cool, we have cell phones for that now! Partner: “which part, stuffing her head in paper tray, or using copy machine for a selfie?” Not cool dudes.

Sister: I’ll explain exactly what happened after I pop my vicodins… maybe tomorrow. Emily’s calling me.

Me: Really, g’night. 4am will be here before I know…… zzzzzzz

Brother 1: Lmfuckingao

Me: Emily again?

Brother 1: I love you Sister…

Sister: Was gonna call [Aunt] today & wish her a happy hatch day right before it happened. It’s her fault.

Brother 2: Love you all, but the phone is going on mute. Driving to Seattle tomorrow.

Brother 1: At least my Partner took vacation or I’d be up at crack of dawn driving his ass to LAX/ONT! Good night. Love ya Sister!

Sister: When I did a voice text earlier you guys, I was trying to say Husband is picking me up but the voice text said Emily

Brother 2: G’night John Boy…

Brother 1: Dude go to sleep! And my Partner says “use the legal size tray next time, it’s larger!”

Me: Figured, because I can’t picture you with an Emily. Maybe a Sue or a Terry…

Sister: Night all….

Me: G’night.

Brother 1: Gud night.

***

For the record, she’s fine. Husband woke her up every two hours as prescribed for potential concussion. She said today the top of her head felt like it was on fire and she had a massive headache, but all is well.

Good thing. I don’t know what I’d do without any of those jerks.

Or 21st century text technology.

Nowhere Men.

Posted in WhatNot on July 16th, 2014 by Diva

Last fall, my man and I talked about the deadlines for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and decided the GOP was going to lose its battle against the legislation based on the implementation dates alone.

The calendar was genius, really. Mandates that helped poor and/or working families kicked in between the end of the Supreme Court case and the 2012 mid-terms, which meant some folks who really needed the help would have access to preemptive health care – physicals, regular screenings, and the like – for free. I noticed because the insurance co-pay for my mammograms and annual physical check-up stopped. It also meant college students could stay on their family plan to age 26, which helped keep the total of the average student loan lower.

The major deadline, which was at the end of March this year, was sandwiched perfectly between the 2012 mid-terms and the 2016 ones. This means Republicans don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of repealing the ACA, no matter how many votes they take, no matter how many states refuse to take federal money to expand Medicaid, and not even if they sue the Obama administration.

This is because the system is, perhaps surprisingly, actually working. Clicky these links for proof:

The Urban Institute, Commonwealth Fund, Gallup, and RAND all agree the number of uninsured in this country has fallen significantly.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports 57% of those now on the plan were previously uninsured.

Hobby Lobby vs. women’s access to contraception notwithstanding, other lawsuits against the ACA are being tossed out for the frivolous stunts they are.

Then there’s the Schadenfreude moment for those of us who back Obamacare:

The Brookings Institute recently reported all those anti-ACA ads, mostly funded by the now infamous Koch Brothers, may have backfired, i.e., the ads succeeded in informing more people of the plan’s existence than the actual ACA ever did.

But this … this is the worst news for the GOP yet:

About 74% of Republican voters who have signed up for government healthcare like it.

Not only are people who would vote for another Democratic presidential candidate on the plan and liking it, people who wouldn’t vote for one are as well. I think it’s safe to say every time a GOP rep, pundit, or supporter says something rash, untrue, or stupid about the ACA, more and more people just don’t believe them.

The Obama administration knew this would happen. They planned the calendar that way. And it’s been nearly perfect on its own, but now add Latinos/Hispanics who are sick of the current immigration “debate” (in quotes because there isn’t one as far as the GOP is concerned), women who are fed up with a government who gave some employers control over what their female employees can and can’t do with their own bodies (the Hobby Lobby decision), and the rising support across the board for unpopular-among-conservative causes like gay marriage, and you’ve got yourself a nice big pot of FUCK YOU, GOP.

Unfortunately, they won’t see it until it’s too late, but that’s the way of the True Believer.

Evolve or die.

Do the Right Thing.

Posted in SoForth on June 27th, 2014 by Diva

When I make my periodic treks to New Mexico, I usually stop at a specific gas / fast food / convenience store complex in Trinidad, Colorado. It’s one that is close to the road, but I like it for the clean restrooms and all the usual amenities of a truck stop without the trucks. Plus the parking lot is huge, which is helpful for me, since I usually pack my own food and need a spot to easily make a sandwich or mix a salad.

On my return home this past trip, upon exiting the ladies room, I noticed a crisp $50 bill on the floor. There were but three people around at the time and none of them looked as if they’d lost anything as important as half a hundred bucks, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

I had no intention of keeping it. Unlike some folks, I don’t take what’s not mine, at least until I’ve ensured no one is going to claim it. I’ve been the person who misplaced cash that was going to be my rent, get me enough gas to get home, or otherwise provide the means to continue living, not just cash I had around for fun. And I’ve been lucky that each time it happened, a perfect stranger found it and gave it back to me.

So I approached the lone cashier and asked if anyone had reported missing money. I didn’t mention the amount so as to keep anyone with nefarious intent – including the kid behind the counter – from saying, “Oh, yeah, that’s mine.” Fifty bucks is quite a lot of money and only the true owner knows what amount they lost. No sense in making the search a free-for-all.

The cashier said no, so I told him I’d stick around to see if anyone reported it and went about my business. Lo and behold, not a minute later, a lovely young woman with a 3 year old girl in tow arrived at the register and asked for $60 on pump number …

… she had only pulled a $10 bill out of her pocket. I saw the panic cross her face. I really felt for her in that moment, having been there myself.

Before I could make my way to the cashier station, she was retracing her steps on the other side of the store, starting to get a bit frantic. As I rounded the corner, I said loudly, “Ma’am? Ma’am! Did you lose something?”

She turned to me, wide eyed, and all she could murmur was, “Fifty,” but of course that’s all I needed. I pulled the bill from my pocket and handed it to her.

She didn’t respond with gratitude – she never even said thank you – but I didn’t care. Still don’t. I did the right thing and I’ve been riding on the high it gave me for days now.

I LOVE paying it forward.

Love it.

It’s Really Like That.

Posted in WhatNot on June 18th, 2014 by Diva

Every town has a street like Colfax Avenue, but only Denver has the genuine article. But I don’t need to explain when Karl Christian Krumpholz has done it for all of us in a regular strip titled 30 Miles of Crazy.

This past weekend we picked up the bound anthology of the strip at Denver ComicCon.

30-MILES-Cover-V1-NEW
Image used without permission. Buy a copy so he’ll forgive me.

The stories told within these pages need little-to-no embellishment. Colfax is truly one-of-a-kind and the truth of its high weirdness is better than any fiction.

For example, just after we left the con we headed over to Lion’s Lair – a Colfax dive if there ever was one – for Kooky Kitsch, a weekly Saturday event where DJ Frank Bell plays weird and wild tracks. I adored it, but I love really esoteric music – the more obscure, the better.

There were a lot of drinkers of course, ourselves included. This made for quite a few “special” conversations, a ton of laughter, and quite a few “WTF?” moments, but this … this is what had me giggling the rest of the night:

Quarter Machine Dollar

That’s one of those “insert a quarter and some other quarters might fall” arcade machine with a dollar bill in it.

I don’t know who “they” were, but they were doin’ it wrong. Or maybe they did it right. It is Colfax after all.

Get the book – you’ll see.

Dooo eeet.

I Am the One Who Knocks.

Posted in SoForth on June 17th, 2014 by Diva

The absolute most polite thing you can do to keep religious, political, or charitable folks from knocking on your door is a NO SOLICITING sign, right?

We have an over-sized one on our door here at home. It is laminated for weather, with white letters on a black background, and placed strategically on a light brown door.

It’s not easy to miss, yet about once a week, someone still knocks. This drives me slightly nuts, as I’m usually busy doing something much more important than being polite to strangers on my doorstep.

But it occurred to me recently, after answering for another set of religious types, that maybe some people really don’t know what NO SOLICITING means. The term is a tad antiquated and our educational system isn’t quite the best, right? So ignorance is as valid a reason as people just choosing to be rude.

Either way, here’s a primer on the verb on the sign. The definition is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, but I modified the examples for brevity and to apply them to the people who come to our door in particular.

***

SOLICIT (as in SOLICITING)

transitive verb
1 a : to make petition to : entreat; b : to approach with a request or plea
2 : to urge (as one’s cause) strongly
3 a : to entice or lure, especially into evil; b : to proposition (someone) especially as or in the character of a prostitute
4 : to try to obtain by usually urgent requests or pleas (intransitive verb)

intransitive verb
1: to make solicitation : importune
2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

Examples of SOLICIT
1. Soliciting donations for a religious, political, or charitable organization.
2. Soliciting funds for any other special interest group not mentioned in (1).
3. Soliciting new memberships in a religious, political, or charitable organization.
4. Soliciting new memberships in any other special interest group mentioned in (3).
5. Soliciting bids on a project.
6. Soliciting business for a company.
7. Soliciting opinion(s).
8. Soliciting customers (as in prostitution).

Origin of SOLICIT

Middle English, to disturb, promote, from Anglo-French solliciter, from Latin sollicitare to disturb, from sollicitus anxious, from sollus whole (from Oscan; akin to Greek holos whole) + citus, past participle of ciēre to move — more at safe, -kinesis

First Known Use: 15th Century

***

I am sorely tempted to add the following, print it all on one sheet, and start handing it to anyone who rings the doorbell …

Conclusion:

“No Soliciting” means “Do Not Disturb”

Please share this fact with others in your business or organization.

Thank you.

… but rude shouldn’t be met with rude. Rude should be met with, “I’m sorry, we’re not interested, there’s a sign on the door saying so.” Which is exactly what I currently do.

Cuz high road.

Always.

Liberals Can Be Anti-Science, Too.

Posted in WhatNot on June 3rd, 2014 by Diva

I, for one, welcome the coming pandemic. I’ve gotten most of my adult booster shots – a plan I implemented when it became clear these idiots weren’t going to let up – and stupid people need to be bred out of the gene pool.

SMH

And Another Thing…

Posted in WhatNot on June 2nd, 2014 by Diva

Just read a truly terrible opinion piece that not only downplays the sexism women spoke up about via the #YesAllWomen hashtag, but is the rant of a true chauvinist.

This portrait of a public realm filled with leering, grasping men may have described 1950s Italy and perhaps some Latin American countries today, but it bears no resemblance to contemporary America. Construction workers have largely been tamed. Groping on subways is thankfully rare — and it is committed by perverts. No one condones such behavior. It is on the very margins of our social lives, not at the center.

Nevermind that thousands of women, including myself, shared issues that happened not just in our past, but as recently as the day we Tweeted. It may not happen to you, but when you say it doesn’t happen at all, you are simply ignoring the facts of the matter.

But it didn’t stop there, no sirree.

As for the hoary claim that men treat women as sex objects … I’ll feel the injustice of that when I see women trade their stiletto heels and tight skirts for sober business suits that reveal as little of their skin and shape as a man’s suit.

It’s 2014, people, and you were just told once again to blame the victim for what she wore. Worse: This bullshit was written by a woman.

*facepalm*

Bear with a diversion for a moment: I went out on my scooter last weekend in long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, and sunglasses and I still had men from three different motor vehicles leer at me, then chat me up. I find such behavior creepy and irritating, but I can’t express it in the moment because, like all humans, I consider my safety above all else. In this case, I was working with the knowledge I couldn’t possibly outrun any of them if a poor reaction ensued – there is no contest between a 50cc scooter and a work truck or passenger car.

As I type these words I can hear the author and various men who’ve responded unhelpfully-to-vitriolically to the ongoing discussion say, “But chances are they wouldn’t get violent.” Sure, but the simple fact is men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of violence, on women as well as other men. How am I supposed to tell one from the other? Which dude is reasonable and doesn’t mind me blowing him off and which one takes it personally and tries something?

I despise having to respond nicely, but there is no alternative, not when what I say or how I act could mean the difference between remaining un-assaulted, un-raped, or even alive. And being told it’s because of stilettos and short skirts is patently ridiculous.

This is What I was Wearing

I don’t fear men, nor do I refuse to speak to anyone with a penis. But when a man who is a total stranger approaches me when I’m alone, gives me the (always creepy, no exceptions) once over, and chats me up, I immediately write off any possibility of getting to know him. Please note the encounter is creepy because of the once over and/or leer; men who just start a conversation without commenting on looks or other superficial qualities (“Hey, beautiful”) and who don’t call us diminutive names (baby, honey, darling, etc.) usually get positive responses.

What’s that? Treat women like human beings instead of objects to be coveted?

Go figure.

Meanwhile, there’s at least one woman out there who doesn’t think catcalling is still a thing, or that it doesn’t happen in the U.S. To paraphrase my last post, you can’t just write off thousands of women’s experiences by chanting, “Liar, liar.” My pants are NOT on fire.

Here: Have a palate cleanser.

Yes. All Women.

Posted in WhatNot on May 29th, 2014 by Diva

When I was 15, we lived in a less-than-stellar neighborhood in a crappy, three bedroom apartment. I was a freshman in high school and knew everything there was to know about the world … you know, like all teens do.

Only from the comfort of my adult life and 20/20 hindsight did I realize our town bordered Inglewood, CA by mere blocks. Those who know history and geography will know Inglewood is one city over from Watts, home of the riots of the late 1960s. Those familiar with the nascent hardcore punk and “OG” rap scenes of the late 70s and early 80s understand what that means, too – i.e, we were not in the best area – or circumstances – at the time.

Halloween of 1981, I talked my reticent mother and my outraged-to-the-point-of-red-faced-yelling father into letting me dress as a hooker for the holiday. I wore a fuchsia bodysuit with a neckline cut nearly to my belly button, short-shorts, lots of jewelry, and knee-high go-go boots. My BFF at the time, two years older than I, did my hair and makeup.

I looked like a whore.

In retrospect, that was the point I suppose.

My BFF, for her part, was dressed as a pregnant nun. (Yep – my ability to commit utter sacrilege goes waaaay back.) Consider this was during the time Father Guido Sarducci (aka comedian Don Lovello) had taken on the Catholic Church via comedy videos on Saturday Night Live and on the cusp of Spy! magazine, which removed such push-the-envelope satire from the pages of genuine porn magazines to place it into their own, more “decent” format. (Interesting note: The Lazlo Letters, one of Don Novello’s most brilliant antics of the era, eventually published in book form, appeared in Spy! first.)

We were pushing our limits as well as the limits of those around us. It was the perfect time for it.

The only reason my parents allowed this behavior from me and my friends:

1) I was going out with a group of girls. There were six of us together for the evening and there were never less than three of us in a group at any given time.

2) My Mom knew they had to let me go the way I wished or I would rebel even further than I already had. (Of course, I only learned this fact from her years later, but she was right. Mom was one smart cookie when it came to her kids.)

We girls enjoyed ourselves out there in the dark. We trick-or-treated in the ‘hood until we got bored, then hung out on the corner of the busy, major boulevard just four doors away from home.

We got yelled at by folks who seemed angry, but we couldn’t make out what they said as they drove by. We got catcalls – lots of catcalls. Basically, we acted out like teens and got the attention every teen seeks.

It was exhilarating.

***

The first week of November, I visited another friend in the apartment she shared with her mother and brother in the back of the building. On leaving and heading toward home, I was confronted by a boy I had seen out and about and knew by name, but had never really met. He was a couple years older than I and had either dropped out of school (his story) or been kicked out (everyone else’s).

He came up behind me and I turned to face him, looking him square in the eye. This is a habit my mother had ingrained in me, to always confront the unknown.

He was slightly taken aback, at least at first. I don’t recall exactly what was said or what conversation ensued, but this I recall as if it were yesterday:

“Wait a second … you’re the girl who was dressed like a whore for Halloween!”

I smiled really wide, happy at the recognition.

“That was me!”

He took a step closer to me – we weren’t that far apart to begin with – and pulled a knife out of his pocket. Like in a bad 1950s movie, he brandished it in my face and said, “Do you like me?”

It was the first and only time I froze in place. Confused, I answered in a way he obviously didn’t appreciate. “What?” I said.

Before I knew it, he had grabbed my arm, turned me around, and had the knife at my neck.

“DO.

YOU.

LIKE.

ME.”

I didn’t panic. I merely said, quite sincerely and a little seductively:

“Yes. Yes, I do. And if you let me turn around, I’ll show you … ”

The boy didn’t know I’d been sexually active since age 10, hiding in dark places, playing “touching” games.

The boy didn’t know I’d freely given oral sex from 13 on, sometimes just to shut boys up, but mostly because I liked the way they reacted when I did it.

The boy didn’t understand I knew how to use my sexuality already, that the whore costume wasn’t really a costume.

Most importantly, the boy didn’t know I could, at such a young age, shut down irrationality and become 100% sexual predator at will.

It was, however, the first time I did it to save my own skin.

(So many firsts that day.)

He let go, I assume to see if what I said was true.

It wasn’t.

I turned to face him as if I were going to act out what I’d said. Then he let down his guard – and the knife – and I did a 180 and ran as fast I could toward home.

I’ve never told a soul about that incident until now.

The boy I encountered was obviously a sexual predator. I’m sure he went on to do actual damage one day, but I don’t know for sure, since I never reported him and we moved to a better neighborhood by Xmas of that year.

***

When I was 22, I agreed to meet a guy I’d met at a party at a local bar. He was a police officer and (surprise!) was not my problem that evening.

After a few drinks, my date excused himself to go the the restroom. I sipped my cocktail and turned my attention to watch the TV above the bar.

A dude two barstools away took that very opportunity to slip on to the one next to me. I turned and looked him in the eye (notice a pattern?), nodded, said hello, and turned back toward the TV.

It was then he thought it appropriate to place his hand on the back of my neck, rubbing it in a massage-like manner.

He leaned in close and said, “Why you with that guy?”

You know, in the manner of “What’s he got that I don’t?”

I nodded at the bartender to ensure he saw what was going on, turned toward the man touching me without permission, smiled as if he had a even a snowball’s chance in hell with me …

… then punched him so hard he fell off his stool.

Just then my date exited the restroom and asked, “Is there a problem here?”

The bartender and I both answered, nearly in unison, “Not anymore.”

***

I don’t know if it’s luck, my early onset sexuality, my acting ability, the borderline sociopath that inhabits my brain, or some combination of all that, but I’ve never been molested, assaulted, or raped. I know I’m lucky in this regard, because all of my female friends – ALL of them, without a single exception that I know of – have been victims of one or more those terrible acts at one point or another in their lifetimes.

Sometimes I wonder how I got off so easy. Mostly I marvel at how all of them, with few exceptions, have moved on from victim to fully formed, sexual beings.

Being a human is hard. Recovering from the shit humans do to each other is waaaay harder.

***

I’m not fond of social network justice. You know, the armchair activism that only requires sharing posts or hashtags with no real investment or content. But I admit, the recent #YesAllWomen movement on Twitter spoke to me. I think it’s because even though I haven’t suffered the way my friends have, every women I know – no exception this time – has had moments like mine, moments where some dude or another decided I was an object to be obtained, property to be stolen, or could be manhandled without thought of rebuff or recourse.

Yes, it’s anecdotal evidence, but I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have stories like mine. Or more. Or, unfortunately, worse.

And the fact some men have seen our stories and argued “But not all men are that way!” just makes me realize one important fact:

SOME MEN ARE NOT LISTENING.

Because dude, if you listen – not hear, but really listen – to what the women around you are saying, you’d be as sad for humanity as I am. Women have taken the time to voice themselves, some at great cost to their psyche, job, or relationships, and instead of offering support you’ve screamed, “BUT I’M NOT THE BAD GUY!” in their faces and at the top of your lungs.

It’s magic how that totally discounts another person’s experience and derails the conversation simultaneously.

I’m not saying you should shut up. By all means, speak your mind, but please, take a moment to think about what you’re saying and how your audience will perceive it. Don’t diminish what someone – anyone! – says by making the discussion all about you. Sometimes people don’t want explanations or advice or stories about your own life – they just want someone to listen.

#YesAllWomen want to be heard and the guys who took the “I’m not the problem” route don’t seem to see how that reaction shuts down the conversation, even when they’re doing it themselves.

There were too many stories for it to be ignored or taken personally.

***

I don’t think we live in a “rape culture,” per se, because not every man is a rapist (obviously – THAT would be fucked up). I think our Puritanical view of sex and sexuality messes with our heads, absolutely – we sell beer with bikini-clad women yet insist on abstinence education and purity rings – but for the most part, people are reasonable, even kind to each other. There aren’t a lot of true misogynists or misandrists in our society and even fewer who act out in violence due to their hatred of one gender / orientation / race / religion over the other.

But when a group speaks out as loudly as #YesAllWomen, maybe don’t immediately go on the defensive. Instead, consider that there might be some relevance – even (dare I say) importance – to the hundreds of thousands of stories shared over a two-day period.

I’m not advocating women over men. I never would. We’re equally stupid, narcissistic, drama-laden asshats. In other words, we’re human. But when half of us start talking about an issue, is it so hard to think, “Shit … there might be a problem here” instead of “Bitches be cray-cray”?

It might be too hard, and that’s what makes me saddest of all: that there are those who took this beautiful moment, when women shared their common experiences with the world, loved ones, colleagues, and each other, and downplayed it by calling us insane, or worse.

Seriously, a 17 year old boy called me a cunt on Twitter this week. My response was a bit pithy and somewhat witty, then I blocked him. Adults don’t feed the trolls, nor do we take what they have to say personally. Yet even as a rational adult, I worried about sharing the above stories, here or elsewhere. Sure, it only took a microsecond for me to kick myself for being the least bit nervous, but that hesitancy is what the trolls seek.

We don’t know them, but their summary judgement makes some of us less likely to share any part of ourselves again.

Me, I don’t walk away from conversations. People with different opinions help me learn; I only walk away from trolls.


I’ll listen to what you have to say until you prove yourself an idiot.

That boy was an idjit of the highest order.

***

I’m not sure what my point is here. Maybe there isn’t one. I just felt the need to share in this space, where I can express myself in a lot more than 140 characters at a time. Hopefully everyone who participated in #YesAllWomen will continue to do the same, no matter the limitations, judgements, and/or consequences.

The avalanche rolled down the mountain and smothered a few people. Let’s dig the survivors out and learn from it.

Dig.

Roko’s Basilisk.

Posted in SoForth on May 23rd, 2014 by Diva

If you read the title of this post and shuddered, you need not read any further. Those who are aware of its implications really don’t like to dwell on it much. Even writing these words is a bit disconcerting, now that I’ve grasped the ramifications.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, well … congratulations. YOU CAN STOP READING NOW.

I mean it. Some things cannot be unsaid. Some knowledge cannot be unlearned.

Turn back all ye who enter here …

***

Far in the future, there will be a benevolent, omniscient, friendly (in that it won’t destroy humanity) artificial intelligence. This AI will know everything there is to know. It will even have knowledge of who contributed to its creation and who did not, including those who helped very far back into the past.

This past includes, of course, what we now call our present.

The AI will be very pleased with those who helped it come into existence. It will be equally displeased with those who did not. So, in the interest of coming into existence faster than other, perhaps less friendly AIs, this one will find those who did nothing to bring about its creation and torture them.

For all eternity.

Okay, so I can hear you ask the same question I did: How can the AI torture me? It hasn’t even been invented yet!

There is an answer and, if you are among the people who grasp the concept, it is exquisite and terrifying, like those poetic nightmares Lovecraft imagined.

You will no longer be uninitiated. Consider that fact very carefully before you continue.

***

This friendly, “I won’t kill all humankind” AI is powerful enough to make a clone of you. Remember, it has ALL knowledge, including the mundanity of your entire life. It can make a full replica of you in seconds.

And a clone who has all your life experiences and personality is, for all intents and purposes, YOU. It certainly will think it’s you – it will be as sure as you are right this moment that YOU are you.

If you didn’t give anything – not even a forward on a social network – toward its creation, the AI will torment your clone.

Only you can die. Your clone can’t. And one day, the AI will present this other you with unending physical and mental torture unto infinity.

The mind fuck comes when one poses the question:

What if you’re the clone?

Head. S’plode.