grrgoyl: (Vendetta V)
[personal profile] grrgoyl
First order of business: I'd like you all to welcome my sister [ profile] amybrogna to the world of online journaling. You don't HAVE to friend her, but she's new and can use all the (virtual) friends she can get ;)

Second, my, my I've been busy. A few weekends ago I attended an Occupy Denver march with MyFriendDeb. It was inspirational and empowering, with about 2500 other Denverites joining us (couldn't find any official count anywhere). I made a sign which unfortunately no one understood and I had to explain to about four people:

The "53%" is the conservative counter-movement that appeared shortly after the 99% started really picking up. Their deal is that they are the 53% who actually work and pay taxes to make it possible for the lazy, dirty, welfare-sucking hippy 99% to sleep in parks and whine on sidewalks all day.

They haven't really caught on as quickly, as evidenced by their Facebook page likes in the 4 digits, while the original OWS FB page is in the 6 digits (because you're no one if nobody likes you on Facebook). You fail, 53%. You fail at social networking and you fail at life for continuing to buy into the fairytale that you might be in the 1% some day if you just work hard enough. Ain't gonna happen. I'll get to that later.

Fortunately I made another sign on the back that was much more popular:

Notice the highly relevant Banksy T-shirt as well

It was a lovely day for a march. The only low point came just after the march began. When we first arrived in the city we both had to pee badly (two old ladies with small bladders -- Wall Street better be shaking in its alligator skin boots). As we hurried downtown to catch up with the marchers, we passed a Portapotty left on the sidewalk for construction workers. It was open so I gladly availed myself. Deb though was too good for such humble facilities, so opted to wait -- until the march took us past one of the only public restrooms downtown, which is located way up behind the shops and set back in a service corridor of the open-air mall. She left to use it. I told her three times to be quick, then stood there helplessly as everyone marched past me. I gritted my teeth help me, if she put us at the back of the marchers....not quite, but I still wasn't terribly pleased. I'm not even going to teasingly ask you if you thought she apologized.

I was going to make a video of the day, set to the song "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums" by A Perfect Circle -- which is actually perfect lyrically, if a little intimidatingly heavyhanded musically -- but lost interest fairly quickly in this project. I did save an album of photos of some of my favorite signs from the day.

This was the highlight of the march -- construction workers stepped up to high-five us. I switched course just to be able to pass them. The photographer who took this shot annoyingly makes all his photos look like WWII propaganda posters

Excellent question, my good sir

HA. Take that Cain, you self-made pompous fuck

So, the Occupy movement. Still have no idea what it's all about and why people can't just shut up and go back to their homes like good little Americans? It's not your fault if you don't -- the mainstream news has stayed determinedly willfully ignorant about it (when not going out of their way to slander it). For you I offer an Occupy 101 Primer to debunk some of the corporate-controlled media's favorite lies about it (warning: There is a LOT of information back here, but I've done my best to sum up days' worth of reading).

1. We are not anti-corporation. I'm gonna smack a bitch the next time I hear, "I love these kids tweeting 'down with the corporations' on their fancy iPhones! Hypocrites!" NO. We aren't against corporations. We're against corporations being allowed to contribute millions of dollars to political campaigns, in essence buying their very own congressmen/senators/presidents. All We the People have to offer is one little vote, so whose interests do you think the government is more invested in protecting? Did you know that the Supreme Court granted corporations the status of personhood, and ruled that how they spent their money was deemed a form of free speech? Which wasn't actually too big a problem until in 2010 the Citizens United case ruled that corporate funding of political campaigns couldn't be limited. This is one of the nails in the coffin that got us in the mess we're in today. Does "taxation without representation" sound familiar to anyone? One of Occupy's biggest priorities is getting money out of politics, to bring elected officials back to working for average Americans and not business conglomerates and lobbyists.

This ties in nicely with my next point...

2. We are not anti-capitalism. We're anti-crony capitalism, defined as "When a business thrives as a result of a special relationship with an elected official." See above; politicians bought and paid for to pass legislation that helps their constituents in the 1%, and to hell with the rest of us.

3. We are not against the rich. Or at least, not the rich that got there fairly and legally rather than through exploiting tax loopholes and the lower classes. We ARE against the rich paying absurdly low taxes and passing the lion's share of the burden down to the 99%. Remember the "trickle down" theory? The money's trickling alright, just not in the right direction. I could link you to a dozen sites that have posted graphs illustrating the dramatic trend leading to the ginormous wealth gap over the past 2 decades, but they're all liberal so easily discounted (despite the data coming from the IRS. But conservatives aren't concerned with the source, just the political leanings of the person quoting it). The graphs show quite definitively how financial mobility has pretty much stagnated for the 99%, while the 1% line continues to shoot for the stratosphere. In other words, the odds are heavily stacked against you ever rising above the economic bracket you currently inhabit. There is nothing whatsoever, however, to protect you from falling into a lower one. Did you hear that, 53%? You aren't welcome in the Big Boys' Club, and you are actually the 99%.

Who are the 1% who DIDN'T get there fairly and legally? For the short list, rent the excellent award-winning documentary "Inside Job" about the subprime mortgage scandal, which also explains why we're occupying Wall Street and not Washington (yet). If this movie doesn't get you marching in the streets, you're completely dead inside and deserve to rot in the 99% hell these criminals put us in. Another goal of OWS is to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which essentially separated investment banks from deposit banks. The repeal of this by Clinton was another nail in the coffin, deregulating banks and permitting disastrously risky speculation with everyone's money -- which led to people losing their pensions and life savings. Federal bailouts to save the banks after the subprime fiasco have been paid back, true, but the bankers behind it have not only not been prosecuted (far from it -- most of them are currently advisors in Obama's cabinet), but were allowed to keep their multi-million dollar bonuses they gave themselves, and, scariest of all, nothing has been done to ensure against something like this happening again. This is why we occupy.

4. We are not looking for redistribution of wealth. Well, we are, but through equitable taxation, not by forcefully grabbing it from Warren Buffett's personal vault. Nor are we looking for socialism, Marxism or Communism. Just a more even playing field like we had before the government became the twisted, greedy, two-headed beast we see today (someone put it best on one site's forum: "There are no more Democrats. Just moderate Republicans and hard-core Republicans." Which leaves me a bit in the weeds as to who to vote for next year).

5. We are not looking for free handouts. We're willing to earn our keep. But we've woken up and realized the game is rigged, and not in our favor. We just want an equal opportunity at the "American Dream," which has deformed and shriveled up into a bare-bones desire to avoid bankruptcy for many of us. Is it fair that we're scrabbling for a handhold while the 1% enjoy obscene and largely untaxed wealth, mostly thanks to their friends in the White House? Occupy says no.

6. We are not camping. We are exercising our First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. Unfortunately the trend in most big cities (including Denver) has been to react with riot police and violent arrests, and blame the occupiers for the exorbitant expenses of a police presence -- as if just allowing people their constitutional rights without a small army there isn't an option. Equally unfortunately, this has paved the way for anarchists and people trying to discredit us to step in and deliberately escalate to violence. Blame these troublemakers for their own actions, not the entire movement.

The Occupy movement is large, and with any large group you're bound to get radical nutjobs (like the ones who co-opted the Tea Party) who prove all my points wrong. There are socialists, and anarchists, and even dirty hippies (but you know, they actually have rights too even if nobody thinks they should). To criticize the other thousands of us based on these few is the weapon of the media and those who want to keep the status quo. I've marched with them, and saw plenty of working-class people and even professionals, so don't paint us all with one brush.

I kind of feel like the Occupy protestors are the ones who took Morpheus's red pill in The Matrix, and the rest of America are the ones taking the blue pill and still naively believing our government is working for us and our best interests. After learning all that I've learned, I don't see how it's possible for anyone, liberal, conservative or other, to disagree with Occupy. At the very least you have to admit, OWS may not have all the answers, but at least someone is finally asking the right questions.


I think television programmers are trying to distract us. Remember a sitcom that came out last year called "Outsourced," about a wacky bunch of Indians trying to adapt to an American business model while taking over off-shore US jobs? Putting a human face on large percentages of Americans losing their livelihood to this practice. This year we have "2 Broke Girls," about a Paris Hilton with a heart of gold whose poor father was the victim of a Ponzi scheme. We're supposed to sympathize with her family falling from the 1% and being forced to slog it out down here with us.

Forget religion--sitcoms are the new opiate of the masses. And have you noticed how many ads there are for luxury cars lately? It seems like Madison Ave is almost as out of touch as Wall St.


In health news, well, I've been quite busy here as well.

First I had another gallstone attack about a week ago. It was totally my own fault, I've been getting really cocky lately with my snacking, particularly the yummy poison of yogurt-covered pretzels -- evidently the low-fattiness of the pretzels doesn't really do much to counteract the fattiness of the yogurt. I know that now.

The attack hit me just as I was going to sleep. I propped myself up on pillows (sitting upright helps the tiniest little bit), then gave up and padded to the bathroom for a Vicodin--twice. My Kitten Mitten, who normally sleeps in the living room all night, appeared and wouldn't leave my side, curling up beside me and purring in my ear to distract me until I fell asleep. When I woke in the morning the pain was gone and so was she.

The thing is, lying there with nothing else to think about, it occurred to me how when you're in pain it's so easy to forget what it's like to not be in pain, and to regret how much you took it for granted. With this fresh reminder of my Dark Passenger still alive and well, it's back to iron willpower and shrinking my stomach.

In slightly more alarming news, I went for a routine mammogram and was told I needed to come back for more tests. This turned out to be an even more painful mammogram, following which they wanted to do a needle biopsy, which I had yesterday. It was almost comical, the concern they had for hurting me with the local anesthetic needle. I told them multiple times I had three tattoos, their little needle prick wasn't going to bother me, and it didn't, not nearly as much as the radiology assistant rubbing my back reassuringly like I was a cat having its temperature taken or something.

The sucky part came afterwards, when I was prohibited from physical activity but it was a glorious 71 degrees outside, and then later still when the anesthetic wore off and my boob really started aching. Cue another night with my cat sleeping next to me.

So hopefully I'll get the results tomorrow. I'm consoling myself with the thought that, worst case scenario, I'll need double mastectomies and I can get rid of these useless bags of skin that I don't want anyway.


Halloween was fun -- somewhat less so due to the absence of many of the regulars, but at least my costume was more recognizable than years past:

I'm a hot babe out jogging. I'm out making sure this stays a 10, when you drive by. You're checking out my awesome headband when.....oops

(For my out of country friends: Allstate insurance has this hilarious series where Dean Winters plays "Mayhem," the embodiment of various threats to motorists and homeowners)

Though I kinda prefer the attitude I'm giving off in this one more:

Everything from the neck down was easily found in one trip to the thrift store (the jacket was a challenge -- evidently only really really large men ever get rid of their jackets). The trickiest piece, surprisingly, turned out to be the headband. I mistakenly thought girly pink accessories would be available in every aisle at Walmart, but not so much. After being sent to almost every department (including Crafts WTF??), I was this close to settling for a pair of iCarly glasses to be the emotionally distraught texting teenage driver instead ("I'm all 'OMG. Becky's not even hot.'"), when the accessories woman told me to try the hairbrush aisle in Health and Beauty. Bingo.

So yeah, Mayhem was a big hit (once people figured it out). I begged Tery to be Flo from Progressive (insurance company mascot theme) but she hemmed and hawed until the day of the party, and then decided to go as Tyler (our hot friend whose wedding I just attended):

Unfortunately this Charlie Sheen wig was the best she could do and totally ruined the concept. Maybe next year she'll start preparing earlier than 8 hours before the party


Last but not least: The next time I talk to you, I will have gone to New York to see Rickman on Broadway!
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December 2011

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