Rockin’ & Rollin’.

Posted in WhatNot on March 9th, 2012 by Diva

The truck is 100 feet long.

The rock on it – part of a sculpture to be installed at the L.A. County Museum of Art – is 21 feet high.

Unless you have great spatial relations, you still don’t understand how massive the damned thing is. When I opted for a hotel room in Carson for this trip, I know I certainly had no idea.

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I know now, though.

I’m still trying to figure out if my happening to end up in its path on the way back from the grocery store was a right place / right time moment or a wrong place / wrong time one. I mean I’m glad I saw it – it is a once-in-a-lifetime situation to be in – but being stuck in the traffic jam behind it was more nuts than any backup I’ve ever encountered in L.A. That’s saying something, considering the time I found myself on the 405 during a movie shoot in the Sepulveda pass and it took 4 hours to go 20 miles thanks to production trucks, bright lights on the hills, various helicopters making passes in low airspace, and thousands of lookie-loo drivers.

Yet this type of thing is just so quintessentially L.A., it’s hard to hold a grudge for long. I guarantee you, no museum on the East Coast would ask the utility and cable companies to stay ahead of a traveling boulder on a steel-reinforced truck (with 176 wheels!) to ensure their poles and wires were dutifully kept out of the way. Curators there would probably laugh the artist out of the city, but here? Here they threw at least one impromptu carnival in the streets.

I have such a love / hate relationship with this place … but at least it’s never boring.

The other distinctly L.A. moment encountered on this particular trip: Sitting in an outdoor hot tub with a full moon on one side and the Goodyear blimp floating past on the other. It was a little weird. But cool weird, not creepy weird.

Kinda like that rock thing.

Rock on.

Rush to Judgement.

Posted in WhatNot on March 4th, 2012 by Diva

Recently, Rush Limbaugh (finally) caught some flack for what he says on air.

The story is all over the Net and readily available at Google News – just search for Limbaugh and apology – but the short of it is he referred to a female law student as a slut and a prostitute because she speaks out for women’s access to birth control.

I was under the impression that the “you must be a slut because you want contraception” argument had been won 35-40 years ago. Doctors used to refuse prescriptions to women who wanted the pill because the medical establishment in many areas claimed it would lead to loose morals; there is even a story line to this effect in the AMC hit show, Mad Men. Roe vs. Wade was passed in 1972, allowing women to terminate a pregnancy without criminal prosecution. Loretta Lynn, who’d had 4 children by the time she was 19 years old, released her hit song, The Pill, in 1975, much to the chagrin of the old patriarchy. My own mother, after NINE pregnancies and FIVE live births (four surviving), had to fight her doctor to get on the pill in the mid-70s.

The 1980s were quite different. When I was 16, I went to the free clinic and got the pill. It was easy, free, and helped me from becoming another teen pregnancy statistic. Nearly all my friends were on it – we were still young and invincible and none of us had yet heard of AIDS – so it was the contraception of choice. Once I was gainfully employed and therefore no longer qualified to receive services at the free clinic, I sometimes opted to eat bologna sandwiches and ramen noodles to afford my prescription each month. It was important to me, as a healthy, sexually active young woman, not to bring an unwanted child into the world.

Now, however, we seem to be fighting the battles of the 60s and 70s all over again. What the hell happened?

I can tell you: The religious right took over sex education. More specifically, schools removed the usual health classes and media which taught kids about where babies come from, instead choosing to teach something called “abstinence-only” sex education.

In other words, they launched another “Just Say No” campaign. Why not? The first one worked so well to keep kids away from drugs, am I right?

The day I knew this decision had come around to bite us on the collective ass was when I found myself arguing online with a very misinformed 20-something about whether condoms prevented STDs. He insisted they do not, even in the face of scientific evidence which proves otherwise.

In short, the religious right managed, over the course of about 20 years, to convince a generation of kids that sex is wrong outside of marriage. Further, even in marriage, it’s wrong when it’s not solely for the purposes of procreating.

What happens after that? Well, you end up with young adults who assume anyone who uses condoms or the pill is morally bankrupt. That’s how Limbaugh thought it was okay to call a woman who promotes access to birth control a prostitute.

He “apologized” – and I place this firmly in quotes because his apology wasn’t sincere in the least – only after people started writing complaint letters to his advertisers and several of them pulled their money from his show.

That’s simple capitalism, folks. Limbaugh and people like him will continue to spew their brand of hatred, fear, and bigotry as long as it remains a lucrative proposition to do so. Further, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, et al. are indeed free to say what they like – that is the promise of the First Amendment, after all – and as long as people listen, companies advertise, and the bills are paid, this brand of hatred, fear, and bigotry will remain on the air.

In this particular case, the boycott more-or-less worked, in that Limbaugh had to publicly “apologize” for his comments. However, he will continue to spew his hatred, fear, and bigotry the very moment the public stops the fight. All will be business as usual come Monday morning, unless everyone who threatened to boycott this time around continues to boycott.

Yet that still doesn’t solve the overall problem: A lot of people are so wholly misinformed about the subject matter that, to them, Limbaugh seems to know what he’s talking about. And try explaining to any of his rabid fans that Limbaugh’s brand of “humor” is not satire, but poorly-disguised vitriol. I dare you.

This is not a matter of censorship. I do not and would never promote telling anyone they can’t voice their opinion on any subject. However, it’s never wrong to require the people who use words for a living to take responsibility for what escapes their pie-hole. Slut shaming is never acceptable – even 13 year olds know that – and every on-air personality needs to know such personalized name-calling will be met with the thunderous sound of millions of wallets slamming shut.

A little accountability now and then is quite refreshing, don’t you think?

The good news is some people have figured out abstinence-only sex education simply doesn’t work. I dare not hope, but maybe what’s happening now – the continuous Congressional fights over women’s reproductive rights that have been in the news since the Republicans took over the House in 2010 – is merely the last, desperate gasp of old, white men who fear change.

The world changed around you, fellas. Evolve or die.

One man’s slut is another man’s dream girl.

Blinded Me with Science.

Posted in WhatNot on March 1st, 2012 by Diva

I love that man of mine, but he can be one sneaky mo-fo.

See, when I got together with him, I was an emotional mess. I would lose my shit at the slightest provocation. Some mere conversations would escalate to screaming and tears (on my part, not his). I would ask impossible, unfair things of him … you know, that decidedly feminine game of Prove It To Me. Or as we’ve put it since then, that quintessential human love game, Push Me-Pull Me.

Then, after my many and varied machinations put him in a corner, I questioned why he put up with me and my bad behavior. He can’t be all that great, I’d tell myself, if he’s gonna just let me do THIS over and over again.

Yes, guys, your worst fears are true: You really can’t win. But little did I know that my man, the consummate Maestro, had a strategy.

He waited for one of the few moments I was calm enough to speak rationally about my emotional outbursts. I agreed that’s what they were, because logically, that was true. I just felt powerless to stop them, as most people of that mindset do. We’re talking about 35 years of nature and nurture conditioning, which is not an easy thing to fix. But admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

So we agreed on an outburst safeword, of sorts. When I started to feel that rush in the pit of my stomach – that YOU JUST DON’T GET IT feeling that negated my self-worth and screamed out for validation, no matter what the cost – I was to explain, in the calmest voice possible, that we needed to drop the subject and talk later.

Sometimes “later” never happened, because after walking away, I saw the situation a lot more clearly. I had time to think and consider why I felt the way I did and I realized a) some issues just weren’t that important and/or b) that I hadn’t been listening nor empathizing with his side at all.

There were times, of course, we had to work through the subject no matter how many times I invoked my safeword, the most difficult of them having to be the non-monogamous issue. I’ve never been a big fan of monogamy (hello, rationality!) but my emotional self needed to feel so incredibly special, so viscerally primary in his life, that my jealousy was rarely well-contained (hello, irrationality!). This discussion finally came to a head when we invited a third – another woman – to come live with us at the house.

Mind you, I was the one who pushed for the decision. I wanted her there; I liked her a lot and thought she complemented the two of us beautifully. What sparked the entire problem between my love and I was this: When I had moved in 18 months prior, he hadn’t made any room for my clothes in his bedroom dresser. My clothes were all downstairs, in one of the rooms that housed my bedroom furniture, organized neatly into the drawers there. When she was moving in, he cleared out drawers for her stuff.

I realize now that clueless man was clueless, but at the time, it was a complete affront to my Queendom. Needless to say, I pitched a fit the likes of which he’d never seen.

Then Princess, seeing the problem between he and I as an opportunity, began what turned out to be a rather Herculean attempt to insert herself as Queen. Worse, Mr. Clueless added fuel to the raging inferno by refusing to see what she was up to. He instead discounted my fear and chalked it up to displacement or projection. In his mind, my initial tantrum had merely overflowed in to blaming her for troubles that were solely ours.

It was a very tense few months, to say the least, but eventually the usurper showed her true colors and was summarily kicked to the curb. But that’s a story for (perhaps) another day.

What she was completely unaware of – or chose to ignore – is that he and I were talking it out, little by little, as I walked away from the emotion of it and came back to discuss more. He eventually came to understand my fear of being replaced, manifested in his making room for someone else; I eventually came to understand my place in his life as the one-and-only Queen Shit of Fuck Mountain.

I can’t say I never went off the deep end again. I’m only human. What I can say is that particular difficulty made us stronger and each one after got just the tiniest bit easier. We still have our days – bad moods, depressive moments, minor irritations – but nothing is as important as our “you and me against the world” love for one another.

What I didn’t know about all this, at least before now, is thanks to his insistence on the safeword / walk away / reconnect communication technique, I’ve spent our years together slowly and methodically rewiring my brain to be less emotional and more logical. This was explained via a comment over on the Social Instigator’s recent blog post.

Huh. That man of mine is a LOT sneakier than I thought. Or maybe Mr. Clueless just lives on in one form or another. Whatever the answer, I win.

You know, like I do.