Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Let's All Be The Same Kinda Resolute

To be honest, I make resolutions just about every Sunday.  I always have the best of intentions before the week starts.  And these two weeks of holiday time are like a really long weekend where, while you're working, it's not, like, work work.

But the only real resolution I made this long two week weekend was in service of a clever Facebook status update about how I was no longer going to be enraged when people spelled "lose" like "loose."  This was a Facebook status in which I was kidding on the square.

For some reason, this completely innocuous spelling error makes me lose my shit ("loose my shit"), and I go:

And then they do it again, and I'm all:

And it's not like I have some kind of grammar rage psychosis. My panties remain largely untwisted when people screw up the there/their/they're thing.  But just one work email about "loosing connectivity"and all I want to do is:

As I was ranting about it on Facebook, I had a moment of clarity.  This isn't isolated to lose/loose.  This is all part of my general failure to, you know, just be cool.

I'd dearly love for us all, all us fellow passengers to the grave (h/t Dickens - that's good stuff, there), to just be cool. 

There's the big stuff, like - 

You're a guy who's crazy about the V but the guy on the barstool next to you is way more into the D?  Who cares?  It's not your problem - just be cool.  There's a person with a Y chromosome who prefers to be called "she" and "her"?  What skin is it off your nose?  Be cool.  Tip your hat to the lady.  Some other lady really loves Jesus but you don't believe in anything supernatural?  The onus remains upon you to be cool (and also her - everyone needs to be cool).

And there's little stuff - 

Sometimes I want to go so much faster down Ashland Avenue than everyone else is going.  But the people have agreed that 25 is how fast we're going.  I need to be cool with that.

This morning a friend of mine put on Facebook that he thought Friends was dreadful and gave him a headache.  I FUCKING LOVE FRIENDS!  But his empirically wrong opinion about the most consistently enjoyable and re-watchable sit-com ever (that's right, bitches, I said it) in no way impacts the pleasure I get from it.  I need to be cool.

(It's probably not real cool of me to call you guys bitches... Sorry.  I'm working on this)

Head into the grocery store and the cashier isn't super polite?  You don't know what kind of a day he's having.  Be cool.

It snowed a bunch last night but you don't feel like brushing the snow off the top of your car?  Come on, man, be cool!

Whipping up some pancakes?  Make some for everyone!  Be cool!

Can't figure out how to end a blogpost?  Be cool!  Just put out the best gif from your favorite show of the year!

And be cool!  And watch You're The Worst - it's cool. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

If You're Really Really Scared, I Dunno - Maybe Get Out More?

I've been meaning to try and write this for a while since, you know, I had this whole big plan to read more and write more and eat good foods and stretch and... you know what?  Let's take a brief mo to revisit that.

I have failed miserably on all my lofty plans.  I straight up quit the last book I was reading with like 40 pages to go because I haaaaaaaaaaated it.  I'm having a drink even as I write this. But, I have been stretching near 'bout every day.  And it is straight up incroyable!  (I minored in French you know.  I'll give you a moment to wrestle with how goddamn impressive I am. )

Anyway - the stretching is working.  My back is like the back of a 30 year old.  When I drop something that requires picking up (let's be real: lots of things can just stay on the damn floor), I don't curse the gods because I can instead, ya know, pick it up.  My back!  My back!

So let's get back to the topic at hand which is Why Are So Many Americans So Damn Scared Allatime?

I was out to dinner a while back with a couple of guys I work with and whom I like a lot.  Solid dudes.   It was a nice meal.  But when I mentioned that I think kids today are nicer now than they used to be, you could have filled the Pacific with the incredulity.  "Oh my god, Megbon," they seemed to say.  "Are you the crazy? Has your mind broken? There is a handbasket and we are all in it, going to big hell!"

But, thing is, I think I'm right.  I mean, sure, let's just accept it as studied fact that my daughter is being raised exceptionally well, but surely the rest of the little rugrats she runs around with suffer from much less exceptional parenting (mais oui!  ((I minored in French)). But I remember my own sixth grade year, and shitty little boys lifting my skirt up, and nasty little girls whispering that I'd never French kissed anyone (which, oh my god, I was TWELVE! ).  And Laney's friends just seem so much cooler than I and my peers were; so much less judgmental and mean.

I inquired as to the source of my dinnermates' vast incredulity and was met with the damning evidence of YouTube videos.  Which would be damning indeed, if, you know, Family Ties or Diff'Rent Strokes or Facts of Life were documentary series (the only documentary series of the 80s that got much play was Golden Girls - shut up, it all REALLY HAPPENED).  

I tried to debate them, but the "Bitch, there was no YouTube when we were young, and if there had been, there'd've been some messed up shit on it" argument was insufficient.  So, I ordered another glass of wine and SMH (does "SMH" work in the past tense or is it only meant to indicate present judgment?  Dunno: I shook my head).

All this got me to thinking about, as per ushz, the batshit fucking insane crazy Republican party.  Because my pal, Paul, is (as he tends to be) right that it ain't just Trump*, motherfuckers.  They are a party full of people who are either genuinely terrified of black and brown people, or reaping political benefit from exploiting other people's unfounded fears of black and brown people.  Why are they so convinced that either a Muslim or a Mexican or a Black Person is coming right at 'em all the time?  Oooh - insert gif:

(I know that's not a GIF - apparently no one has gif-ed that yet.  The Internet disappoints, sigh, again).

I have a theory as to why: I think your average conservative American spends his or her real life surrounded only by other white people and spends a chunk of their virtual life consuming a steady diet of racist, xenophobic crap on the TV and the internet.  I think they have furthermore been trained, via a compounded cultural reality of over two centuries of state-sanctioned white supremacy, to believe that white safety matters more because it's for white people.  Science!

But the thing that really kills me is that when you point out to one of these dudes that when they talk about "Radical Islam" and "black on black crime" they're being kinda racist (check out Emily Post for why you say "kinda" instead of "fucking"), they tell you you're being naive.

And, you guys, they believe that!  They believe that they are clear-eyed rationalists who accept the reality that Muslims want to blow you up, Mexicans want to rape you, and black teenagers want to shoot you.  While anyone who disagrees is naught but a starry-eyed, bleeding-heart hippie who got hookworm on account of being barefoot all the time:

(There's a hookworm gif but not a "coming right for us" gif.  Honestly, Internet!  Get your priorities straight!)

And there's only one cure: GET OUT IN THE WORLD!  If you find yourselves terrified of black people or brown people or, FTLOG, young people, stop navigating the world by going from your house to your car to your lily white, middle-aged office.

The good news is that this great problem, like so many others, can be solved simply by taking a walk.  Take a walk - walk through some other neighborhood, walk downtown, walk to Walgreens to fill your blood pressure prescription.  Be in the world and you'll find it's not so scary. Young people, Black people, Latino people, Muslim people... they're just fucking people and they're not Coming Right At You.  Relax.   On the other hand: sequester yourself everyone who's not just like you and you'll end up with poopy pants.

And no one wants that!

Stop being so scared.  It's really OK out there.

*While they are really as bad as Trump, pretty sure that someone can be a Rubio supporter just cause they're kinda dumb.  But if they're on Team Trump, they're definitely Yuuuuuge Racists.

Friday, November 13, 2015


At 4:00 this afternoon, I was on a conference call with an unhappy customer.  And I was trying to reassure him that everything was OK, but while I was doing that, I was clicking relentlessly through Internet tabs, trying to get my head around the chaos and devastation happening in Paris.  It reminded me of 9/11 - all this work is so meaningless when the sky is falling.

When I got off the phone, Don told me that we needed to make sure to keep our eye on the release of a video of a white Chicago policeman firing 16 bullets into the corpse of a 17 year old black kid.  It could tear Chicago apart, he said.  But it needs to come out.

Scared. Shaky.  So sad.  I said on Facebook that it felt like the world was flying off its axis.

In the middle of these dire thoughts, Laney came in to remind me that I'd promised her that we could go to GameStop to sell our old Wii consoles.  I'd told her that if we made enough money selling them, she could buy a new Zelda 3DS game.  So we stacked the Wii stuff in the car and drove over to Gamestop.

I live in a neighborhood that I love a lot.  I really do. It has beaches and personality and all kinds of different people.  But there is also a lot of gang activity and when you drive down Howard Street, you'll see a lot of cops, and the threat of violence seems to loom large.  Parlous times.  World flying off its axis.  Violence and anger everywhere.

I walked into the GameStop with a laundry basket full of old Wii stuff.  A young white guy with a hipster beard helped me with my basket and told me he worked there, but wasn't presently working.  I'd dealt with him before at this GameStop.  He's very sweet. He looked in my basket and said, "Aw, they won't take those Wii boards."  And I said, "Will they throw them away?"  And he laughed and said, "Yeah.  But Terry might want them too."

Terry, it turns out, runs a nearby after school program.

I was all for Terry taking them.

One of the guys who was working came over and said, "I'm sorry, but he has to help you because I can't do buy backs."  He was sweet too.

Laney and I had to wait for about 45 minutes before the guy who was able to do the buy back finished with the other family he was helping. During that 45 minutes, I kept scrolling through news stories about Paris.  World flying off its axis.   But, when I looked up,  all the other people in the store were OK.  All different ages, races and genders.  But they all just liked games.  So no one was rolling eyes or sighing about the wait.  They were talking to each other about games.

When it got to be my turn to sell my stuff, the guy who waited on me was so nice, I actually said, "You guys are always so nice here!'  He smiled and chatted with us about little things while he checked out the games we were selling back and the equipment.  At one point, Laney pointed out some anime thing and said to me, "I liked that show until it got terrible."  He laughed and said  "It did get terrible! But the first two episodes were great"  I had no idea about this show, but Laney lit up.

Terry from the after school group wandered in and I got to meet him.  He was a young guy - much younger than I expected, maybe 25 or so.  The GameStop guy asked me if I had the original backs for my Wii motion controller.  I didn't but I was all, "Seriously, I was going to put this stuff in the alley.  If there's anything you can't buy, don't feel bad."  Then Terry said, "I bet I have some."

Because gamers just have things like Wii motion controllers back panels in their backpacks and are happy to give them to you.

There was a guy waiting behind me, he was maybe 35 or so and just waiting to buy something.  Poor guy ended up waiting for like 30 minutes while I finished my transaction.  I said, "Just your luck, huh?  To be stuck behind the woman selling back every piece of Wii equipment ever."  He chuckled.  I repeat - no eye rolls, no sighs. He just chuckled.

Laney and the GameStop guy chatted about Zelda and Pokemon and anime.

In the end, my stuff was worth about $50 which was more than enough to buy Laney's new game.  I gave Terry a Wii remote charging station.  His after school program sounded pretty amazing. I bet Laney would like it if because it was just a bunch of middle schoolers who like games.

Everyone there was so nice.

Back home, I can't stop watching the news.  I bet lots of people can't stop watching the news.  The world does feel like it's spinning off its axis.

But there was a brief respite for me today, in some dumpy little storefront, in a gang-ridden part of the Chicago, where everyone around me was just too busy liking something to be hateful.

Didn't matter age, nor race, nor gender.  They all just liked games.

A total oasis in a desert of strife and sadness.

This is probably a stupid blogpost.  I don't know. Terrible, awful things are happening and a bunch of gamers being nice is inconsequential except it's not.  Kindness matters.  Liking people is harder and so much better than hating people.

Later on, I'll get in bed and watch dumb TV while Laney plays on her 3DS.  Dumb TV and a 3DS are  silly, stupid distractions - but they are also one of our grandest privileges.  I am goddamn grateful for them.

My heart breaks for the devastation and terror.  I am so lucky for my oases.

Be kind, people.  Like things. That matters so much more than we give it credit for.

Monday, November 9, 2015

I'm Not Rebooting My Life - I'm Maybe Just Shutting Some Tabs Down

I read this blogpost by Will Wheaton recently.  You guys, Wil Wheaton is delightful! If you'd told me in 1991 that Wesley Crusher would grow up to be delightful, I'd have straight up scoffed at you.  Color me surprised! Also, Autocorrect: he SPELLS HIS NAME WITH ONE L.  GOD!

Back to the point - he wrote this blogpost about how his life wasn't going how he wanted it to, and so he decided he'd do seven things to reboot his life.

Me?  I'm less aspirational.  I've spent too long thinking that a few changes will make me like this:

But ending up like this:

I'm a growed up lady and well past the point where I think it could all be different.  Besides, my life is generally pretty good.  My kid seems to be growing up into an interesting, ethical, intelligent person.  My husband still seems to like me pretty well.  I'm making it work professionally.  

But, my body hurts a lot and I feel like I'm always running out of time.

This is likely because I spend too much time, as the French might say, farting around. Sipping a drink and clicking around on the Internet. A little focus, a little discipline, and maybe I could grab control of my own personal Enterprise. So, inspired by Wil Wheaton, here's my list:

1) Exercise daily
2) Stretch
3) Drink less alcohol
4) Write more
5) Read more

Let's tick them off.  

1 and 2 go together.  I, like I'm pretty sure every single lady who has ever lived, have spent a good chunk of valuable time hating the way I look.  For all of my 20s and 30s, eating better and exercising were all tied up with GET SKINNY, YOU GODDAMN LOSER OR YOU WILL NEVER DESERVE LOVE!  But, here into my 40s, I've decided that GET SKINNY, LOSER is maybe not the best way to approach physical health.  Some might suggest yoga.  I haaaaaaaate yoga. Here's me at every yoga class:

But I can stretch.  I can spend 20 minutes a day just stretching out a little.  I can spend 30 minutes a day bumping up my heart rate, getting moving.  And to make sure I am consciously not doing it under the auspices of GET SKINNY, LOSER.  It's a losing proposition, and not the way I want it to be.  As I told my sainted mother when she was here over the weekend, "I'd sure like to weigh 20 pounds less.  But not enough to diet."  I am at peace with my spare tire.

But I can bend and move and shake my body with the goal of feeling looser and more energetic.  That I can do.  I will also continue eating.  Carbs.  

3. Alcohol.  I really love alcohol. I love the way it tastes.  I love the ritual and treat of it.  I don't want an alcohol-free life  But moderation is key. Right, Wesley?

Wesley might not be on board with his one.  But I am. No more wine with dinner.  No more cocktails with the laundry.  But every night at 9:00, I'll pour a whiskey over ice and take it to my bed, where I'll watch TV for an hour or so before sleeping.  This is how I end my days. Like a boss.  

4 and 5.  Reading and writing. Writing is good for me.  I use it to air out the cobwebs, silence the voices inside my head.  Burnish the intellect.  And nothing makes you a better writer than reading. If I were still aiming for reinvention,  I'd probably try to commit to tackling Proust or The Brothers Karamazov.  Maybe Ulysses.  But, shit, you guys, I'm tired.  I work hard.  My days are already a long slog of obligation.  I'm not studying on turning reading into another one.  I'm reading strictly for fun.  I just finished The Gunslinger by Stephen King.  I'm now on what looks to be an awesome bent domestic drama by Lauren Groff. If I want to read 17 YA novels in a row because I like 'em, that's cool.  

You're not better than me, Data, with your big old positronic brain.  You've only ever read Dickens - but you never felt him.  (did that sound just a little dirty?)

So this is the plan.  Who knows if I'll be successful?  Will I actually manage to ease up on the farting around and live just a little more purposefully?  

Lucky you!  Since, I do plan to write more,  I'll let you know!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hey There D-Backs Announcers! I Have Some Selfies For You

First an anecdote: when I was about 25 I was at a Cubs game and a guy sitting near me said I wasn't really a baseball fan.  I told him I was indeed a baseball fan.  He scoffed, "I bet you can't even tell me who bats sixth for the Cubs."

Ladies and Gentlemen, this fellow was hitting on me.  His technique was to shit all over my fandom and then, I guess, I'd be so charmed by his vastly superior baseball knowledge that I'd just do him right there in Wrigley Field.

I was reminded of that today when this video began making the rounds:


To recap, this happened:

The girls start snapping selfies.  And the announcers react with a level of disgust commensurate with, I dunno, like masturbating in the stands.  Or pooping in the aisles.  Can you believe those narcissistic girls?  People are playing baseball and these vain girls are taking selfies and not paying attention!  

I listened to the commentary like:

You know what?  Selfies are fun. Selfies are fun to take and they are fun reminders of the day you had.  And they're great because you end up with a picture of you that you like -  hugging on your best girl, eating a churro.  Selfies. Are. Fun. And if those girls want to treat their day at the old ballpark as an opportunity to eat fried dough and drink beer outside in cute "for her" sports clothes, that's no skin off Bob Brenly's nose.   Christ on a cracker, the D-Backs are in third place, four games below .500.  It's not like they were taking selfies when Bobby Thompson's shot was flying around the world. 


But what really pisses me off about the whole thing is that the tv camera is always going to find a pack of cute girls in the ball park.  But the cute girl has to be cute in the way she's expected to be cute. Goddammit, cute girls at the D-Back game! Your job is to look cute for whatever middle-aged white guy is choosing where the camera goes.  If you look cute for yourselves, you're just RUINING the whole thing.

Last year a guy tweeted at Janelle Monae that he was "tired of those dumbass suits.  You fine but u too damn soulful."  And Janelle Monae said:

You go and get it, Janelle Monae. 

Lemme tell you something, young women of the world: you have the right to look how you want, to dress how you want, to wear your hair how you want, to talk how you want, and to take as many damn selfies as you want without feeling the need to care about the disgust or approbation of middle-aged men who are disappointed that you won't fit into the model that is comfortable for their consumption.

And if you're not as pithy or as quick with a tweet as Ms. Monae, may I recommend:

That is all.

By the way,  I knew then who generally batted sixth for the Cubs.  I don't know who bats sixth for the Cubs now.  And I can still enjoy a motherfucking ballgame.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Middle

I've been thinking a lot about the Middle - not the sleeper ABC comedy that comes on TV tonight (which, incidentally, I quite like).  I've been thinking about being in the middle of life.

I just dropped Don off at the bus because he's going out with some work friends tonight.  After I dropped him, I went to the grocery store to get some goddamn expensive grain-free dog food, because the dogs have to have grain-free dog food for reasons I've forgotten, only I know they were important.  The grocery store was in an AT&T dead zone, so when I tried to text Laney to see if she'd started her homework, I couldn't get through.  I thought about panicking that she was dead in a ditch since I go from zero to dead-in-a-ditch faster than any other human being alive (I'm thinking about adding that to my LinkedIn profile).  But I decided to forestall the panic because the check-out line was pretty short and I could text her from the parking lot.

So I did.

You'll be glad to know that Laney was not dead in a ditch.  She had not, however, started her homework.  She's started this extra math thing at school that starts at 7:45, which means we have to get to school an hour earlier than we had been accustomed.  This, in turns, means that we're trying to get Laney fully abed by 10:00 - even though, if I were a good mother, she'd be in bed with lights out by 9:30.  (I know I'm a good mother... I'm using that expression ironically). But we have yet to even make 10:00 since she started this class (to be fair: she started the class two days ago) because the homework is never done until 9:15, and then there's bathing and going through her Instagram feed and hanging out with me and Pokemon Pokemon Pokemon.

So, leaving the grocery store parking lot aware that Laney had not started her homework, I knew that when I got home I was going to have to nag her about starting her homework.  I HATE being a nag.  I want to be that parent who is all super chill and then when the kid gets in trouble for not doing homework is all, "well, lesson learned" and then the kid does her homework from that point only without being nagged. But I'm pretty sure that parent is a damn fiction and that when we're raising children we just have to nag them to do their homework.

And so I was prepared to, sigh, nag when I got home.

The traffic was gnarly, but "Midnight Train to Georgia" came on the radio and so I sang along to that with the windows down.  That was fun. I didn't even care when people looked at me like I was weird when I made the train-whistle motion during the "whoo whoo" part (I tend to sing the Pips part instead of the Gladys Knight part, which I think exposes some sort of psychological weirdness).

When I got home the dogs had wrecked the garbage because they are dogs and dogs do shit like that  no matter how much goddamn expensive grain-free dog food you buy them.  Also, one of them had peed on the floor, which I accept as my own fault for not letting them out before I left.

I'm still pissed at them, though.  They haven't gotten any of that goddamn expensive grain-free dog food that I brought home yet.

I nagged at Laney to start her homework and since she was a little worried that I was going to fly off the handle because of the wrecked garbage she started it right away.  Put that in the old win column.  I did not fly off the handle, though.  I just glared at the dogs, which they don't understand because, again, they are dogs.

Now I have to go [technobabble speak deleted. Replace with: do some work work].  Then it'll be time to feed the child, the dogs and the me, finish the laundry, put the house back to rights.

There is no small level of banality involved with being the mother in the middle. But, I picked this life on purpose.

And, guess what? I love it.

Later on tonight, when the homework is done and the house is put to rights and the dogs have been let out for their final ablutions of the day, Laney will come and lie in bed with me while we watch some TV (probably "The Middle") and she'll tell me about Pokemon and I'll nod like I understand, but will really just enjoy that she wants to be with me and snuggle. The dogs will snore and fart contentedly on the floor, digesting their goddamn expensive grain-free dog food.  Later on, Don will come home and get into bed with me (depending on how much he has to drink, there may be some snoring and farting there too).

And then I'll have that moment where I know that everyone I love is safe and fed and taken care of and tucked away for the night.

And that, I think, is what this middle part of my life is all about.  Turns out, I love taking care of people.  And dogs.  More people than dogs.  The dogs are OK, though.  If they'd just stay out of the damn garbage.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Berning the Emmys

I enjoyed last night's Emmy's a lot. I was fully on board with Samberg as host.  The opening number was great - a little Hamm, a little Kerry Washington, pretty solid Castle joke and, you know, there ARE a lot of shows about wives!  Samberg dropped a pretty solid Trump burn during the monologue.  And then after that he showed up briefly and not too often and was funny every time.  All in all, well done.

Three black women taking home trophies was pretty awesome, and that speech Viola Davis gave was one for the ages!  And even when the person I wanted to win didn't win, I still liked who won.  To wit:

I was obviously all in for Titus Burgess:

But, come on, Tony Hale is great!

And how does Amy Poehler not win for her last chance as Leslie Knope?

Well, here's why:

Yes, you are, JDL.  You are really fucking great.

Veep is such a good television show.  Firstly, it is really so very funny  To wit:

But the second thing it does is satirize brilliantly how focus-grouped and sterile and bullshitty American politics are.  

You never know what party Selina Meyer is.  Typically, I abhor "both sides do it" talk as its own super special kind of mega-toxic bullshit because generally one side is worse than the other.  A lot. (Hint: it's the grand old one).  But when it comes to spit shining every last ounce of genuineness out of policy-making, well, both sides do it.

A quick Molly Ivins aside:

Politics is not a picture on the wall or a television program you can decide you just don't care for.  Our entire lives are set into and written by the warp and woof of politics.

Political decisions affect your life every day in thousands of ways - whether the food you eat is safe, what books your children read in school, how deep you will be buried when you die, if the lady who dyes your hair is competent, how safe your money is in stocks or banks, whether you have a job, whether your kid has to go fight in a war, who is qualified to prescribe your eyeglasses - that's all politics.
(Man, I wish Molly Ivins were still around, don't you?  She would fucking love Veep! ) 

I think this is a thing a lot of us grok on a fundamental level.  Politics matter and our politicians do not take them seriously enough.  The things that matter matter less to our politicians than whatever shiny object is bouncing around the 24 hour news cycle and their own ambition.

Enter: Bernie Sanders, a dude who cannot keep his hair combed and says things like:

And I think that he does find it vulgar that we're having a war of billionaires.  I believe when he says:

He doesn't mean it because he thinks it will play well for some sought after demographic.  He means it because it's true and it's right.

Look, I know I'm too old to be a true believer.  I know I'm supposed to take my lessons from the very successful Obama presidency and remember that you have to play the game to win.  But after eight years of competent executive government endlessly fucked with by incompetent reactionary congressional bullshit, I am sorely ready for someone willing to shovel the bullshit away.   

I know the Beltway pundits and pols turn their nose up at someone like Bernie.

But I really like him.  I'm all in for #Bernie.  You?

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Stupid Season

I guess, for me, it started getting really stupid around the time of the Hanging Chads.  Or maybe it was the Lewinsky debacle.  Or, shit, I dunno, maybe it's always been this stupid. I'm not a historian.  Maybe the Lincoln/Douglas debates were really just a couple of dudes in hats flinging poo at each other, arguing over who had the bigger dick.  I don't know.  I guess I could look it up.

We are still more than a year away from the election and the stupid has already gotten so thick, I can hardly stand it.  But I'm calling an end to one piece of the stupid now.

Donald Trump will never be president of the United States.

I know.  I know.  It isn't impossible, per se. Nothing that does not violate the laws of physics and nature is impossible.  But it is extremely unlikely.  It is less likely than President Palin, and that is extremely fucking unlikely.

Please, let's stop quaking at the specter of how totally embarrassing it's gonna be when Trump refuses to attend the G8 until President Hollande publicly states that Ivanka Trump is hotter than Hollande's wife or mistress (ladyfriend?  partner? The French are so sophisticated about les affaires des coeurs!).  Instead, let's start quaking at the really scary stuff.

As Albert Burneko so ably laid out over in the Gawkerverse today, the GOP is spread out over Business-y Libertarians (by the way, I know who John Galt is: he's that asshole at the party who never chips in for beer and also never fucking SHUTS UP) and the Megachurch Jesus people (not your normal Christian, I'm talking about the one who believes that the best way to show Jesus how much you love him is to loudly yell at all the whores and homos that Jesus doesn't love them, and then wait for the Jesus money to start flowing.  Amen.).  And that makes for a splintered, fractured party.

They have just the one cause they can all rally behind: all the babies need to stay inside of the mommies from the moment the daddies put their penises inside the mommies until the babies want to come out.  

I doubt any of the GOP candidates care about abortion one way or another, the whole thing is just a damn front to cover up the fact that they have nothing else to offer as a party - except giving all the money to rich people and moar war for everyone!!!  

And so they lie. They lie and say that Planned Parenthood profits off harvested organs.  They lie and say that abortion causes breast cancer.  They lie and say that abortion causes infertility.  They lie and say most women regret abortion.  They lie and they lie and they lie and they lie.  

And they get away with it!     

I'm not worried about President Trump.  But I am worried that my daughter is going to grow into a woman in a country without safe, legal abortion. And, oh my god, that is SO STUPID.  

But it's also very serious.  

I'm going to spend this godawful, long, facacta, stupid stupid stupid election season making sure I call out every goddamn dirty lie those soulless, cynical power-brokers on the right make about abortion.  

I hope you do too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Socks and Proscrastination

I'm working on a book.  The story is that there's a woman and a man who were best friends and bandmates back in the 90s.  But they drifted apart and now she's a Mommy blogger with four kids and a husband who does the kind of work I actually do and he's a guy who got to the verge of making it as a rock and roller but didn't quite and is now sleeping on his sister's couch.  They reconnect in their mid-40s and figure out that they're not, in fact, failures.  It's done in POV - like she talks and then he talks and then sometimes the husband talks.

And, you know what, you guys? I would read the shit out of this book.  What I've written thus far is a damn entertaining read.

But oh my god writing is a DRAG!  I keep putting off accomplishing anything and doing things like writing on this blog or making Spotify playlists.

I made a Spotify playlist of 90s music which I listen to when I write (or goof around on Facebook and not write).  The song "Lightning Crashes" by Live just came on and I remembered buying that CD when I was like 24 and listening to it while sorting laundry and reassessing my failure to be a writer.  Inspired by warm laundry and the band's weirdly specific lyrics about childbirth,  I  dumped a whole bunch of unmated socks onto the floor and ignored them in favor of writing an essay called "Too Many Socks."

I don't know what happened to it.

These days I am manifestly more organized and responsible than I was when I was 24.  I was mostly drunk when I was 24, living in squalor and prone to making really terrible romantic and sexual choices.   Nowadays, I am mostly sober, I pick my socks up off the floor and only have romance and sex with the guy I'm married to (who, it is worth mentioning, does not pick his socks up off the floor, but whatever).

I still have too many socks, though. They float around in a basket (not even a drawer), unmated and unworn.  I am a sloppy sock person. I am a sock wastral. I own socks that have not seen a foot in fifteen years. I may still own some of the socks I dumped out onto my bedroom floor in 1993.

(The socks are a metaphor, people!  Keep up.)

There are people out there that always have their socks perfectly mated; people who always have an even number of socks in the dryer.  This is not a matter of faith for me. I am related to a person whom I would bet dollars to donuts has a sock drawer that would make me weep from the beauty of its organization (hi, my brother).

But, alas, I'm a person who has likely never pulled an even number of socks out of the dryer.  I have a basket by the laundry that is teeming with unmated socks.  And I can't help but think if I could get my sock shit together, I'd be up to the task of mastering the drag that is writing this book.

I can't help but think if I could get my sock shit together, I'd be less prone to straining metaphors like this.

I guess I should go work on my book.  I don't wanna.  What would Kim Kardashian do?

I like the way you think, Kim!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Do you know Jessica?

Do you know Jessica?  I just love her so much!!

Back in the year 1999, I was working as a technical writer for a British company in the middle of America and Jessica was hired as the office manager and I realized in short form that she was amazing.

I sat at my desk in a cube farm and she sat up front at the reception desk.  She was the Pam to my Jim.   I'd wander over to reception and we'd crack wise and ponder her love life and meander through conversations about life, the universe and everything (Jessica will get your Douglas Adams references).  She made the long days a lot shorter by dint of being funny and sweet and smart and giving me someone to talk to when the days felt too long, as office days often do.

Once she walked through the halls of the office and belched right out loud and made me snort laugh from my desk.  All those Brits looked at us like we were so weird.  We didn't mind.

Sigh. She left me and headed off on adventures - she acted in shows (a thing at which she excels) and fell in love, got married, had a couple of super cute babies, started working in a glammy ad agency, got promoted, and bought a fab house.

So much life has happened to both of us since 1999!  The jobs and the romances (well, for her - it's just been me and Don the whole time) and the moves and them babies.  All the doubts and fears and successes and stories.  All the times one of us has said to the other, "Dude, I have got to tell you something!"  Or "OMG, have you read this?"  Or "Sigh, I feel..."

I'm so glad to have Jessica as my friend.
And now we Skype all day every day and now she makes long, overwhelming days seem short and manageable by making me laugh and listening to me bitch and cluing me into things like Ole Miss Dorm rooms on Pinterest.  If you click that link, there's a real danger that the preciousness and privilege might blind you.  If you feel compelled, I recommend you have a friend on hand to have a similar Skype chat with:

I hope you have a friend like that.  It's pretty awesome.

Jessica, to reiterate: you are warm and funny and smart and sweet and so so beautiful.  You're a great friend, a great mother, an all around great motherfucking person. I am goddamn lucky I get to be your friend.  You are KILLING at this being alive thing.

Welcome to #hotforty, the coolest damn club in town.  I hope your whole day feels just like this:

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Gentle Segue from Megyn Kelly to Progressive Problems

Sigh.  Megyn.  You are exhausting.  I have to keep hitting the Escape key every time I type your name because Autocorrect really believes it should be MEGAN, a position with which I concur.  But this is petty; spell your name however you want to.  Women get judged way too harshly for shit like that.  People are all "Brandi? With an i?  Bimbo."  Whereas men are free to walk around being called "Geoff"or "Kristoffer" or "Jaxon" with complete impunity (unless, of course, they're black men).  I'm with you, Megyn, I don't like gendered double-standards.

But here's the thing, Megyn, your outrage and empathy begin and end exactly as far as your own experience and no further.  And that, my ersatz feminist friend, is a problem.  It is a problem with your whole damn network and almost every damn right-winger I know.

Let me put it this way: if someone trips you, it is neither surprising nor courageous to take a stand against being tripped. If, on the other hand, a huge chunk of Americans are tripped daily and ask that they stop being tripped, you show up on the Fox Network and go all "If you don't want to get tripped, stop walking down the street, dumbass."

Megyn Kelly dedicated 45 segments to hammer on about the New Black Panther Party which was just, like, two guy who didn't even do anything.  Megyn Kelly is a really smart woman who pretends she doesn't understand what's wrong with "#alllivesmatter."  A 14 year old girl in a bikini is tackled and pinned to the ground by a grown-ass cop and Megyn Kelly wants to make sure you know that this child "was no saint."  Megan Kelly thinks it's important that your kids know that Jesus and Santa are white because little black and brown kids need to recognize that if they want something, they're only going to get it when a white person gives it to them, up to and including, I suppose, eternal salvation.

Let's not make a hero of Megyn Kelly.  Megyn Kelly is a Fox company woman.

Hillary, for the love of the FSM, stop.

That said, my fellow white progressives, before we are fully free to excoriate Megyn, we had oughta  clean up own house.  It's a little dirty now. For example: #blacklivesmatter interrupted a couple of Bernie Sanders events and white progressives committed the greatest white people problem there is and got all wearily mad because, goddammit, we always know best for everyone.  Jesus and Santa were white, right?  Wait...

Look, I get it.  I like Bernie Sanders.  I like Bernie Sanders a whole lot.  I think Bernie Sanders would be the best president for all Americans.  I think his point that black Americans suffer more for economic disparity than all other groups is fair.  Except that's not it, right?  If you're black, it doesn't really matter how gainfully employed you are.  Your life is riskier.  No matter what.

And progressives and liberals need to bear that in mind.  White feminists like me need to bear that in mind. And we all need to stop getting our feelings hurt when #blacklivesmatter activists fail to be fawning and grateful.  Got to clean that house.

#BlackLivesMatter interrupted Bernie Sanders a couple of times.  Bernie Sanders, who really is a good progressive, listened instead of getting all butthurt.  He hired a young, black racial justice activist as his national press secretary and, working with her, put together a racial justice platform.  In other words, #blacklivesmatter engaged in some really successful activism.  They weren't just peeing in progressive cornflakes.

Also, not for nothing, remember this: when we condescend to successful activists, it makes us look kinda dumb.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hello! Miss Me?

Did you miss me?  It's been such a long time.  But the last few weeks have been all:

And no one has told me what a great job I did. I am a slave for approval.  I am all kinds of Lisa Simpson. Will one of you guys tell me I did a great job? Can I get it on a post-it?

I haven't done a great job on my little blog.  I've abandoned all (both) of my readers and left you to your own devices.  I'm sure all (both) of you are thinking:

I know.  But, still, my name's not Bob!  Although... I think I could pull it off. What do you think?  Bob Bon?

Me too!

Anyhow, in these intellectually bereft, blog-less weeks I've thought of some things.  I've been thinking about how white people need to stop being butthurt when black people talk about racism.  I've also been thinking about how Laney is 12 (TWELVE!) and that seems so grown up and on the verge.  And I've also been thinking about this thing that happened when I was walking to the grocery store, and since race relations in America and incipient teenager-dom feel like too much right now, I'm gonna tell you about the thing that happened when I was walking to the grocery store, cause it made me mad and better out than in, ya know?

So, I was walking to the grocery store and listening to a podcast, probably Nerdist, and I passed a couple of guys. One of them said something which I didn't hear on account of the podcast.  So I popped my earbud out (on account of how I am unfailingly polite) and said, "Sorry, I didn't catch that," and he said (and this is a direct quote), he said "Hey, you got them titties!"

Well, I suppose this is empirically true. As an adult female person I come equipped with breasts, of roughly the same size and shape.  And as an adult female person, I have had them commented upon dozens and dozens of varyingly insulting and inappropriate times.  And, as as adult female person with some sense of self, my first reaction should have been anger.  Good, ladylike anger.  Like so:

Instead I worried that I wasn't dressed appropriately.  I tucked my head down and walked quickly past worried that I was showing off the good china or something. I am a 46 year old woman, who had dressed herself earlier that day in a sports bra, a tank top and a goddamn sweatshirt.  But I still thought it was my fault.  And I know, intellectually, that even had I been walking to the grocery store wearing nothing but pasties and earbuds, it was still not that asshole's job to comment on my body.

My reaction should have been:

But I default to polite.  As a woman-person, I come by it honestly.  Our bodies have been seen as part of the public domain for so long, it's just real hard to just stop.  For 35 years (!) men, have been shouting shit at me on the street, and I've been ducking my head and walking quickly away, ashamed and embarrassed (which was the goal, after all).

But, the next time it happens, as god is my witness, that man is going to get an earful from me.  I'm gonna yell all sorts of swears and embarrass him publicly and make sure he thinks twice before he does it again.

I know. I won't.  I'll always start off polite and then be embarrassed.

Do you guys think there's a brain chip out there for this?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Puberty? Go F**k Yourself.

I was at a kid party with Laney on Saturday, where she was the oldest kid there by a stretch.  I was chatting with some other moms when Laney wandered over and stood next to me. As she stood there, another mom took a look at Laney and said, "That's your ELEVEN year old?"

Look, I get what she was coming from... this isn't one of those whiney "can you believe the shocking insensitivity" posts.

(Note: there are too many of those.  There is entirely too much outrage on the Internet.  Let's all just dial it back and stop making easily offended into a virtue.)

Even though it is the most expected thing in the world, it is so surprising when a kid stops looking like a kid.  And it's a little scary when you're the parent of a little kid to see how soon that little kid look stops.  Surprises me, and I see the kid every day.

Laney hit puberty on the young side of normal - whatever normal is.  And while I don't claim to remember childhood with startling clarity, I (like pretty much everyone walking the earth) remember hitting puberty.   Puberty was like:

Or this:

A lot of this:

And a steady stream of this:

Because, puberty?

I wish there were some way to make Laney see how amazing her body is.  I can't persuade her that her long, strong legs and beautiful, changing face are amazing.  She's just too much in the middle of the shitstorm that is puberty.  She wants to hide underneath hoodies and long pants and can't stand for her picture to be taken because she's so uncomfortable with how she looks.

My beautiful girl!

Sigh, this too shall pass.  But in the meantime, Puberty?