Movie Poster Mash-Up.

Posted in WhatNot on September 15th, 2015 by Diva

These are so. Freaking. COOL.

Movie posters from another time and place.

Can’t choose a favorite, though the thought of Charlie Chaplin in Eraserhead made me laugh out loud.

There’s no saving Ant-Man.

This Was My Cousin.

Posted in WhatNot on August 17th, 2015 by Diva

I wrote the following weeks ago while I waited for a response to several phone calls and a certified letter. There has been nothing.

I’m not surprised, but it’s common courtesy to give people a chance to redeem themselves before calling them out publicly on their bullshit.

If, by any slim chance, I hear from my relatives with a different story than what I share here, I will apologize, update, and ensure this post contains the corrected information.

I’m not holding my breath.

***

This was my cousin:

Kim-1-crop

She and her little brother didn’t stay in touch with our side of the family after my biological uncle divorced their mother. I am completely unaware of what vitriol lies there; I’ve never been a fan of the “you must choose a side” school of breakup, so I’ve stayed out of it. I’ve got enough baggage with my three divorces without taking on other people’s, you know?

I don’t know why my cousins dropped their own father like a hot rock. I assume, because I know her and I’ve seen it 100 times in other breakups, their reaction was based solely on whatever their mother said about him after they separated.

I was out of state at the time, I stand firmly against a “fer me or agin me” mindset, and therefore never cared who was at fault for what. The decision of whose side I was on was made for me back when my former aunt – remember, who married into our family – sued for conservatorship of our grandmother. In fact, I wasn’t even involved in that until she called our then recently-deceased mother a liar. (You can read all about it here.)

Anyway, two cousins and an aunt we had spent a LOT of our childhood holidays with just … disappeared from our lives. It was weird, but expected, because they never really liked us anyway. We were noisy, lower-middle class rogues with bad manners and worse mouths.

But I think what bothered them most was our supreme lack of envy: they had the big house in the nice suburb while we were in a 3-bedroom apartment in the ‘hood; they knew they were pretty and thin from a young age while we were chunky ugly ducklings who became swans late in life; they had all the latest gadgets and toys while we made due with a lot less.

As an adult, I can see clearly that they were obviously unhappy while we were (if not happy, then) genuinely content. Worse, my parents – and by extension, we kids – didn’t give one useless flying fuck what they thought of us. For people so wrapped up in appearances, that had to be annoying.

Over the years my sister, bless her patient heart, has remained in touch with everyone. She shared the downfall of the marriage and the reasons behind it, what baseball team Kimberly’s husband (whom I have never met) currently plays for or coaches, and the birth of her brother’s kids. Kimberly’s mother/our former aunt even attended our grandmother’s funeral in 1999 and our father’s in 2008.

I write all this to explain the estranged relationships because Kimberly died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in late June.

This cousin of mine, whom I hadn’t seen in person since my aforementioned grandmother’s funeral (where I implored her to stay in touch, but she didn’t – so it goes), made quite a life for herself. You can read about it here. She looks like a perfect image of a kid made by my aunt and uncle, a beautiful amalgamation of genes.

She also looks genuinely happy in her photos. That makes me happy to some degree.

What does not make me happy is neither her mother nor her brother contacted me or any of my siblings to tell us she had died. My sister hasn’t changed her phone number or her address since Dad’s funeral, the last time we saw my former aunt in the flesh, and the remaining three of us are readily searchable online.

When my sister called with the news yesterday, I was miffed. Death in a family, even an estranged one, is a BIG DEAL. Feel free not to invite me to weddings and christenings, even tell me not to attend a funeral, but it’s just unbelievable not to share a death has occurred.

But then the news got MUCH worse: our former aunt (and her son, a presumably grown-ass man) didn’t just neglect to tell us, they had not called our uncle, Kimberly’s own father, until just before HE contacted my sister.

THEY DIDN’T CALL HER DAD.

FOR CLOSE TO TWO WEEKS.

TO TELL HIM HIS DAUGHTER WAS DEAD.

Imagine your child, your flesh and blood whom you love to the moon and back even though she hasn’t spoken to you in years, suddenly dies … and no one calls you. Worse, and I can’t call this anything but a direct and intentional kick to the gut, your name, as her father, is in the printed obituary.

That is some cold-hearted shit. Just frigid.

It’s understandable not telling four (merely) first cousins. BUT HER DAD? Beyond. The. Pale.

It would be unbelievable, except it just happened. His little girl is in the ground and he was not allowed to know, much less show up, send flowers, or offer condolences.

When I shared the news with my love, I felt my psyche being pulled down, down, into the muck, in to an anger I’ve only rarely experienced. I couldn’t speak, so I texted my sister …

Death trumps every issue between parents and children. That’s a lesson we’ve learned TWICE now.

… all the while hearing How dare you? HOW DARE YOU? as a percussive soundtrack in my head.

Problem is, I already know how dare they: These are but the lengths a hateful, petty, spiteful divorced parent will go to gain vengeance. I watch ID channel; some people aren’t above using their own dead child to drive a stake into an ex’s heart. Some parents even kill their kids rather than see them with their ex. Selfishness and narcissism, histrionics and sociopathy, it’s scary what we will do to each other in the name of revenge.

As of this latest affront, though, my siblings and I have agreed to no longer give these terrible people the benefit of the doubt. Even my sister, the keeper of the flame, the bearer of the “it could happen” torch, the only ally our former aunt and remaining cousin on that side had, has finally said, “Enough.”

Congratulations. It took about 20 years, but we’ve all chosen a side now.

This was my cousin:

Kim Facebook 2015

My sincerest condolences go to her husband, who seems nice and well-loved (according to what I read online), and to her friends. She seemed like a wonderful human being, despite her parents.

The letter I’ve written and will send to her mother and brother, in which I express sincere sympathy and question their choice to leave my uncle out of the loop, is the last they will ever hear from us.

Unless, of course, they pick up the phone.

Pick it up.

***

No phone call was answered, no call returned. I mailed the letter, as promised, in early July. I’m not even sure it’s been read, though it was signed for.

Again, if I am in any way wrong about what actually happened here, I will gladly retract, apologize, and explain.

I don’t think I am, though, and that makes me incredibly sad.

Bristol? Honey?

Posted in WhatNot on June 25th, 2015 by Diva

I know you don’t want to be lectured. You’ve said as much. In fact, I’m sure if pregnancy didn’t show on a woman’s body, you wouldn’t have announced your second out-of-wedlock and unplanned one at all, because you don’t want anyone to judge you.

Please understand I am not judging your sex life here, nor would I ever do such a thing. Humans are built to like sex. It’s a completely natural, biological function and, if it didn’t feel good, we wouldn’t do it. It’s the way we propagate the species. Plus, when it’s done right, it feels A-MAZ-ING.

What’s not natural (because it’s 100% learned) is judging other adults on how we choose to live our sexual lives. It doesn’t matter how many partners a person has, what gender/orientation their partners are, or how they get their rocks off, because those decisions are between consenting adults and whatever deity (or deities) they believe have the final say in such matters.

But YOU, Bristol. YOU went out and preached abstinence. YOU told young people sex outside of marriage is always wrong. YOU insisted that your first child was a hard lesson and YOU would wait to have sex again until it was with a future husband. YOU spread this “just say no” nonsense to a new generation, most of whom won’t live up to the ideal and will spend years beating themselves up over it.

So congrats, you’ve created people just like YOU. And now you have two babies by two different daddies, both born without that ring on your finger, and you don’t want to hear any condemnation for it.

Well I’m here to say have all the sex you want, married or not, with your spouse or not (as long as you’re both cool with that). Rack up numbers that would have made Wilt Chamberlain blush. Mutual masturbation is fun. So is sex with women. Threesomes, foursomes, and orgies aren’t as scary as they sound, if everyone’s open-minded and willing.

Find and watch a glory hole sometime. Ass-fuck a guy with a strap-on dildo – the prostate is a fun button. Try prisoner/guard, secretary/boss, or priest/altar girl roleplay. Read up on BDSM and see if any of it turns you on enough to try it. Explore all of your body and the bodies others offer to you.

You’re a grown-ass woman who can make her own decisions about her sex life and anyone who judges you on any of it is an asshole. That said, the one thing – THE ONE THING – we sexually liberated and nonjudgmental folks WILL condemn you for?

Being a hypocrite.

Practice. Preach. Repeat.

Overkill.

Posted in WhatNot on June 12th, 2015 by Diva

I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be alright
Perhaps it’s just imagination

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away

Alone between the sheets
Only brings exasperation
It’s time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation
At least there’s pretty lights
And though there’s little variation
It nullifies the night from overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Come back another day

I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations that
I know will be alright
It’s just overkill

Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away
Ghosts appear and fade away

Go Play in Traffic.

Posted in WhatNot on June 9th, 2015 by Diva

I don’t speed through residential neighborhoods. Honestly, I don’t really speed much of anywhere anymore, unless I’m out on the open road.

But when I’m out around town and I see this sign …

Drive Like Your Kids Live Here

… it always makes me think How ’bout YOU don’t let your kids play in the street?!

You want children to be safe, right? So teach them basic safety. Don’t chase a ball into the street, don’t cross without looking both ways, and here’s the basics of riding your bike. Maybe they’ll even learn their personal safety isn’t up to other people, but themselves.

Ah, who am I kidding? No one believes in personal accountability anymore …

I have a dash cam and I’m not afraid to use it.

MidMen.

Posted in WhatNot on May 12th, 2015 by Diva

I am reading an excellent treatise on midlife crisis, MidMen: The Modern Man’s Guide to Surviving Midlife Crisis by Steve Ochs.

Don’t let the title fool you; I’m learning just as much from it as any man would. It’s written with much humor, too, but don’t let that fool you, either; it’s chock full of “what are you doing and what does it mean” philosophy for anyone pre-, mid-, or post-crisis.

I’ll let you, dear reader, guess which end of the spectrum I’m on at this writing.

I’m reading it for various reasons (*ahem* my man the Maestro *cough*), but today I ran across a passage in which the author touches upon one of my peeves.

I don’t buy the ethereal universal balance theory, but if we observe the notion of karma in a very pragmatic, terrestrial way we start to see something logical. Here’s a really easy, basic example that comes up all the time. I will hold a door for some fucking dolt who will walk through, brain dead, without so much as a thank you glance. Okay, so now I have a choice. I can resent myself for having extended this courtesy to someone so undeserving, or I can accept that what I’m doing is making sure that I live in a world where somebody holds the fucking door for somebody by actually being the somebody who holds it [emphasis mine]

Ouch. I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy being irritated at people who don’t notice basic etiquette and don’t respond in kind when really, I shouldn’t care. I should do it to make this world a better place, one small action at a time, with or without anyone else’s approval or help.

Oh, the book also has at least one quiz that made me go, “Aw, shit,” quietly, reluctantly, and out loud.

I’ll let you, dear reader, once again figure which one out on your own.

Worth it.

There But For…

Posted in WhatNot on May 12th, 2015 by Diva

From the ages of 13 through 31 I alternately despised, abhorred, and hated my Dad.

As the oldest of four kids, I have the dubious honor of being the only one who recalls what he was like before the two tours in Vietnam. Back when he was present, when he was a loving, caring man who freely expressed how he felt about Mom and the two children in his life at the time.

As an adult, I know why he made the choices he did. Taking two voluntary (!) tours in Southeast Asia during the height of the conflict had amazing monetary perks. He must have known the bonus could be invested and would result in a little windfall later … but this was unknown to any of us until he died in 2008. Just trust me when I say hindsight isn’t just 20/20, it’s super clear, high-def, and worth a five digit inheritance nearly 40 years after-the-fact.

But that’s not the point of this post.

I was 6 when he returned from the second tour. Subsequently, I had a front-row seat as he deteriorated into the alcoholic asshole he’d become by the time I reached junior high, when he realized he had two young sons watching the two older, teenage daughters he couldn’t control.

What do I mean by “control?” Well, one of us (hint: NOT ME) tried to sneak out of her bedroom window regularly and (just as regularly) got caught (because she has always sucked at that finesse thing). At one point Dad even nailed a bedroom window shut (of course my sister’s) to prevent future escape (great thinking ahead, so glad there wasn’t a fire, Dad).

And he knew, just KNEW I was up to something, but he could never prove it. This is because I have always known how to get away with things. I won’t share my secrets here, as it will only give 16 year olds ideas – you’re welcome, parents – but manipulation is easy once you get the hang of it.

That’s kind of a lie. It was easy to get away with stuff because he and Mom were always drunk and passed out by 9pm.

One particularly awful evening, my sister had been grounded yet again, and I had permission to take the car out. As I backed out of the driveway, I saw her run out of the house with my Dad right on her tail. He tackled her on the front lawn and proceeded to pistol-whip her.

You read that right. The butt of a gun, aiming for her head. And you can say, “What was he thinking?!” just as I do, but I don’t believe he was thinking. He was hammered, as usual, and we all make the bestest decisions when we’re drunk, don’t we? To this day, I waver between “He was trying to scare her and it didn’t work” and “He had finally had it and was going to keep her at home even if it meant shooting her to do it.” I’ll never know, because I never asked him. Hell, I’ve never even asked her, though I think that would make for an interesting conversation over cocktails sometime.

(If you require closure on that story: I gathered up all three of my siblings and drove directly to the police station, where the cops said there was absolutely nothing they could do. We sat in the waiting area for about 30 minutes until a nice officer came out and gently told us to go home. This is how much our society has changed between 1982 and now, kids: they take domestic violence and child abuse a tad more seriously.)

But that’s not really the point of this post, either.

I don’t share to gain pity points or a big “boo-hoo” from anyone, nor to explain my own grown up behaviors. I share because I had an epiphany while watching yet another “girl kills her father” story on ID.

Through all those turbulent, violent, terrible years, even after the one and only time my Dad got violent with me by holding my neck and shoving me into a wall at age 17, I never, not once, considered killing him. Not as a defense, not as a strategy, not as a solution. It simply never occurred to me.

None of the four of us kids has ever gotten a jail sentence, nor have we murdered anyone (to the best of my knowledge, anyway). Oh, I’ve considered it – paraphrasing comic Christopher Titus, if you’ve never seriously considered murder, you’ve never been divorced – but I’d never actually do it. So if my Dad didn’t manage to do everything else in the parenting realm quite right, there is at least that. Though I credit Mom a little more, as the woman had more integrity in her pinky finger than most people have in their entire bodies and a seemingly endless font of patience.

Still, the two of them, for all their faults and foibles, managed to do a great job with us. We are each successful and productive members of society and, if not genuinely happy, at least content in our choices. That’s all a parent wants, right?

Now I said at the beginning my negative feelings for my Dad ranged from age 13 to 31. Thirteen is easy to decipher: That’s the age a kid starts to strike out for more freedom and starts butting heads with the authority figures in her life. The 31, though … that’s when I finally saw him for the imperfect, broken, frail, insecure adult he was. It happens to all adult children, if you’re honest. It’s discomfiting, at first, to discover the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree not just physically, but mentally as well. We truly are our mother’s and father’s children.

And I can’t say I forgave him even then – that took quite a few more years and his first and only grandchild, my niece – but it was a start. He and I never really talked after Mom died and to be honest, I don’t miss him much, but damn if I’m still not having these epiphanies about myself based on my relationship with him.

Life continues to be full of surprises.

If all you have is a hammer …

Fun, Fun, Fun.

Posted in WhatNot on April 15th, 2015 by Diva

Just in case anyone out there thinks this self-employment thing is all fun and no real work, here’s an actual excerpt from a document I’m proofing and editing today:

Revisions to the manual should cover documentary changes which do not impact the showing of compliance with Part 21. All revisions to the manual or its referenced procedure should be provided to EASA for information only.

Picture that for 42 mostly single-spaced, font size 11 pages. *yawn* But on the bright side, our taxes are done.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, let me say a 35-40% self-employment tax rate is just too damned high. It means if a person makes $50K all by their lonesome at home, they owe the gubmint $17,500 to $20K for the year.

Doing the math, that leaves +/- $30K to live on which, IF I worked 40 hours a week, would be a decent $14.42 an hour wage. But anyone who works for themselves can tell you the work takes up much more time than that, especially when you’re on the road as much as we are for business.

So yes, as a matter of fact, I agree with this article I ran across this morning: The greatest trick the rich ever pulled was making us believe they pay all the taxes. The taxes collected this time of year to support our country don’t come from Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, or Mitt Romney; they come from you and me, kids.

And I’d like to join some sort of fight against this financial tyranny, but right now I’ve got to finalize travel arrangements, update accounts payable and receivable, finish reading over this stupid boring document, and come up with ways to make my quarterly tax payments without depleting my personal savings or retirement funds any further.

Don’t know how people with kids do it.

They Come in Threes.

Posted in WhatNot on April 10th, 2015 by Diva

I had one of those “we need a lot of temps for a week” jobs back in the 90s and, during the course of normal conversation, I casually mentioned I had three ex-husbands.

A coworker gasped loudly and said, “Three husbands! Where are they?!”

Another coworker responded in a hushed tone, very conspiratorially:

“They’re in her basement. You wanna buy one?”

That guy remains my friend to this day.

Fellow blogger Rubber Shoes in Hell jogged this memory recently, specifically her posts 33 Things I Learned From Being Married 3 Times and today’s follow-up, 13 More Things I Learned From Being Married 3 Times.

Go read the rest of her stuff. It’s great. She’s right on about a lot of life.

Shuttlecock IS a fun word.

Back to Greendale.

Posted in WhatNot on April 3rd, 2015 by Diva

Season six of Community is quite possibly their best yet. What’s not to love with dialogue like this?

I’m not psychic… That’s an illusion caused by extreme preparedness.

Are you crying? You cry when I tell you to cry, so reabsorb that disgusting droplet of salt and bad choices back into your doughy body. Then call your mom and ask if you can be reabsorbed into her doughy body. If you don’t, I swear to God I will take that tear and I will freeze it and stab you in the eye with it you waste of a soul-shaped hole forgotten by God!

But my personal favorite from these last few episodes occurs when someone is asked about hope.

Oh, God, no, I never hope. Hope is pouting in advance. Hope is faith’s richer, bitchier sister. Hope is the deformed addict bound incest monster offspring of entitlement and fear. My life results tripled the year I gave up hope… and every game on my phone that had anything to do with farming. What’s true will be true… Our job is to deal with that truth.

If you care to catch up, Hulu has seasons 1-5 and Yahoo Screen has the latest. I’ve loved the series since the beginning, but if you’re not a fan of parody, self-reference, and a fair bit of surrealism – there are episodes and/or segments done as dystopian landscapes, an 8-bit video game, claymation, and anime – you probably won’t dig it. Which is why it was moved around the schedule a lot, nearly cancelled twice, and eventually let go by NBC.

It’s not a typical sitcom, but that’s exactly why I adore it. Well, that and the snappy, hilarious dialogue.

Alcohol makes people sad. It’s the Lifetime movie of beverages.