grrgoyl: (max elevator)
Another slow news week, but when has that stopped me?

First, some gym characters. As I've said earlier, I am refreshingly nonjudgmental at the gym, not least of all because I've hardly reached my goals either, despite going three times a week religiously. Like my good friend Dan Savage says, if I see a really overweight person there, my first thought really is "Aw, good for them." In fact my inspiration is a kind of heavy guy who plugs away on the ellipticals for 30+ minutes a day without ever pausing. After 10 minutes I'm seeing stars and wondering if it would really matter if I stopped early (however, this is up from 5 minutes back when I first joined, so that's something).

But these two people caught my attention on my last visit because they were so odd. First was a doughy woman I'd never seen before on the ellipticals. I normally wouldn't have given her any thought, except for the fact that she wore a Camelbak™ hydration system, which is a bit of overkill when you're using one machine that in fact provides the user with a cupholder for a water bottle. And Camelbaks™ ain't cheap either, so this was clearly someone who enjoyed shopping for their workout more than working out (not that I'm one to talk, having just bought my third iPod case, not to mention the $30 or $40 I blew at Goodwill on a whole new gym wardrobe).

But she was nothing next to the guy I watched during the rest of my workout (well, there aren't a lot of exciting things to look at to break up the monotony of an elliptical). He was built, obviously serious about weightlifting. Again, at first there was nothing unusual about him, until I noticed what he was doing. He was slowly collecting weights from other machines and putting them onto the machine I assumed he intended to use. He'd ponderously retrieve one weight, haul it to the machine, hoist it up onto the bar, then stand there looking around. He was also wearing earbuds so he'd occasionally mouth some words and wiggle his hips a bit (which looks really silly, I don't care how in shape you are). Then off for another weight, repeating the process tediously and laboriously.

After doing this for about 30% of my workout, to my surprise he suddenly marched across the gym to use one of the machines that I use all the time, the ones I think of as considerably more girly than the free weights. After three or four reps there, then it was back to his original machine, where he began removing all the weights, moving just as slowly and painfully (with frequent pauses to lip synch some more). He never actually used the machine he had loaded (and unloaded). It was crazy. Either he just liked creating the impression that he was going to lift all this weight, or his secret weapon to body building had less to do with actual weightlifting than weight stacking. I'm not sure. It was crazier than the guys who do like two reps (actually LIFTING the weight, mind you) and then spend fifteen minutes staring off into space.

He sort of reminded me of my coworker, Debbie at the warehouse, who was also fond of dancing and singing next to her desk when she was supposed to be working. Debbie thought she could do whatever the hell she wanted (i.e. only actually work about 10 minutes out of an 8-hour shift) and then cry discrimination if they did anything about it. She eventually discovered she was mistaken, after many long (long, long, frustrating) months of me secretly documenting her every move and reporting to HR. So I guess that's when my real career as a snitch began.

~*~

I've caught some comings and goings of Tracey on my spycam, most notably one video where she looks to be carrying an armful of something that resembles the suspicious aluminum tubes that started all this nonsense:


Breaking Update: Apparently those things that look like tent poles are just that; Tery discovered her selling a tent to an older couple in the parking lot this morning. However, this doesn't eliminate the possibility that she's just using Craigslist to offset her drug sales.


Tery wonders if she hasn't already spotted the camera -- where she used to tiptoe quietly up and down the stairs (which would make her the perfect neighbor if not for, you know, the meth lab), now she explodes out of her door and hurtles down the steps like Secretariat leaving the gate at the Preakness. I can't worry about it. Maybe if she's aware of it, it will be enough to keep her honest, or at least move her lab somewhere else, which is all I really want. I'd love to get her put away for good, but a close second would be making it difficult enough for her to conduct business three feet from our front door that she finds alternative accommodations.

The beauty of it is, even if she does find the camera, she can't do anything about it. Recording public areas is perfectly legal; she should know, she's had a camera trained on the parking lot practically since moving in. Plus I believe the only people who are bothered by being videotaped are people who have something to hide.

~*~

In case anyone is wondering why I haven't ranted about the California Supreme Court upholding Prop 8, it's because after my initial outraged reaction to what seemed like a completely nonsensical legal ruling, I searched long and hard on the intraweb until I found an article that explained it in simple enough terms. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, well that just proves what my good friend Dan Savage says -- that gay rights headlines are like a dog whistle, only noticeable to teh gays and the nutjob bigots.

Basically, the court voted that Prop 8 outlawing gay marriage in CA and its method of passage was perfectly legal; however, lacking any retroactive wording, so are the 18,000 gay marriages that were conducted between the Court legalizing them and the voter-approved amendment.

So currently gay marriage is legal for 18,000 couples in California and no one else. Just when you thought the state couldn't get any wackier.

It's not the resounding victory I had hoped for, but I understand it was the best the Court could do after being put between a rock and a hard place. I expect Prop 8 to be shot down completely after another vote, after the fence-sitters have some time to get accustomed to the idea and realize that the sea isn't boiling and it isn't raining blood, which is what the zealots want us to think.

No, what angers me is the attitude of MyFriendDeb, who is otherwise wholly on our side.

She had a rough childhood; not rough enough to make headlines or require therapy, but enough to sour her on the whole idea of marriage, for anyone. For me, it's only partly about legalities. The bigger principle is the fact that people think they have the right to decide how other people live. That my relationship with Tery, 17 years in July and still doing better than a lot of straight marriages, is less worthy of legal recognition.

And I guarantee that if it was Deb's rights on the line (or being subjected to popular vote), she'd agree.

But she'd rather spend her energy getting worked up about the REAL injustices of life: getting a tax refund check (Uncle Sam held her money unjustly for a whole year), the fact that her 6-button mouse doesn't work with Windows Vista, and potential employers who do mandatory drug testing (violation of privacy, despite her being even more straight edge than me). Yep, 10% of the population treated like second-class citizens, and these are the things that have her panties in a bunch.

~*~

Enough of all that unpleasantness. I snapped this photo of my Mitten who appeared to be engrossed in the program on TV:


She'll ruin her eyes sitting that close


My Otta May question was too easy (JeffyJeff answered me privately in an email. It was of course Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost). How about this? Name the scary movie Kitten is watching.
grrgoyl: (AD Tobias)
I had cynically given Ryan and John a month before falling apart again. Thus I was a little surprised when Ryan texted me Sunday at midnight admitting moving back in with him was stupid and he was returning to his condo the next day. One week for him to remember all the things about John he hated that didn't get fixed with one counseling session and god knows how many "take me back, baby"s.

To come crying to me after all his talk about how he doesn't listen to his friends because they have so much "negativity" about John took some guts. I explained that we aren't in love with John, see him more objectively, and base our opinions largely on seeing how much John hurts Ryan. Maybe he'll start listening to us now. At any rate, I was a good friend and the words "I told you so" never passed my lips (errrr, fingers?) (although they gave me a bit of a headache from crashing around in my brain so violently). I just wish he'd let go of the apparent belief that his only two options are John or dying alone. He's only 30, for pity's sake.

Not that I have my workout partner back, but at least I've seen no sign of Lucy either. Although I suspect this change of situation might make him not so determined to kick her out for not paying rent.

~*~

Only minimal progress on the Crankwhore front. I emailed the property manager informing him about my conversation with Narcotics and my surveillance camera plan. His response was "Be careful with cameras and don't attach anything to the building without Board approval. We had a guy who did and he was forced to take it down again." A.) Yes, well, we certainly don't want to infringe on the rights of the convicted drug dealer, now do we? B.) Do you honestly think I'd be stupid enough to put up a huge honkin' camera pointed straight at her door that she would notice even in her tweaked-out state? C.) Sorry, Officer Jason, I'd love to help you in your investigation, but my HOA Board would rather have a meth lab in the building than the bleeding eyesore of a 1-inch tall camera.

As it is I responded with choice B (only slightly less snarky). It turns out he need not have worried; the new weatherproof night vision camera arrived, was indeed only about an inch tall, but unfortunately also glaringly obvious no matter where I positioned it (difficult to judge impartially since I knew where to look. However, we must also not forget how paranoid Tracey is). Anywhere above our chicken wire screen (to keep ferrets from falling three stories to their deaths) and it might as well have been one of the industrial foot-long models. Anywhere behind the screen and after dark the screen is pretty much all the camera sees. Annoyingly, an ideal spot would be on our satellite dish, since an extra piece of electronics would more likely go unnoticed -- however, anything stuck to it, even just the arm of it, disrupted the signal. Not a problem for me, who primarily only watches DVDs anyway, but Tery wouldn't budge in her veto of the idea. Joy-sucking (and now drug-abetting) robot.

So it was back to the peephole cam, which it turns out works beautifully at night when not confined to a peephole (our stairwell is very brightly lit at night). It has the plus of being a lot less conspicuous, but the minus of not being weatherproof. I hope to have this resolved before weather becomes an issue again, so we'll see.

And that's it! Slow news week. I'm using one of my AD icons since realizing they've gotten shamefully very little play recently.
grrgoyl: (Bad Jesus!  Very Bad!)
Updatey datey:

Working out is going well, now that Ryan and I uncrossed our signals. He had a membership with John that had lapsed. He wanted to renew but said he couldn't afford to. Assuming he went to a different location (even though he lives 5 minutes away from me), I sadly signed on for a one-club membership ($50 cheaper than all-club). We exchanged emails where he repeatedly expressed interest in renewing. I would say the same thing: "I can only use the one near me." He would say the same thing: "I would only ever use mine anyway." We seemed to be at an impasse, until the day he used slightly different wording to clarify that he was talking about my club the whole time. OH. I don't know why communication is so difficult with him.

So we've been working out every other day if not more. We've tackled the girlier weight machines (Nautilus, etc.) and the cardio (ellipticals). In the middle of the floor are the free weights, and beyond that are the massive circuit training frames where the ripped, tattooed bad-asses hang out. All the while Ryan will point out men who have his goal body type. Then he confessed he'd like to try the circuit training someday. "Ryan, no!" I whispered frantically, "Not the Prison Yard!" Those hulking monsters would eat scrawny little Ryan for breakfast.

So far my plan is working -- the days I don't work out I feel restless, like I can't wait to get back. I also don't want to push myself too hard, since I did last week and spent the entire weekend barely able to move my arms. That was a mistake. It definitely makes a difference having a friend there, and I think the benefit is mutual, as Ryan is having a rough time moving on from John.

~*~

Funny tale from the kennels: Last weekend I was washing dishes when I heard what sounded like a phone ringing, though not the hospital line, followed by what sounded like someone talking. My first reaction whenever I hear a strange noise is to freeze in place with my heart pounding in my ears. I eventually had to move though, and traced it to Rica, an African Grey boarding with us. This bird had a whole routine, impersonating first a ringing phone, then an answering machine beep, and finally a creepily uncanny human voice saying, "Hello?" I wanted to record it for possible posting, but she clammed up the minute she saw me. However, when I covered her cage for the night she said, again in that near-human voice, "Goodnight cuckoo." I would trade her for our stupid screaming Amazon any day.

~*~

"Battlestar Galactica" is over. I think it suffered from this new trend in TV shows, to ramp up to the end by suddenly beginning all these exciting, complex new storylines with only three episodes to go. It makes you wonder, "How on earth are they going to resolve all this in such a short period of time?" Answer: They aren't. The "finale" will have so many plot lines left hanging it will be the narrative equivalent of a threadbare shawl, all for the remote possibility of a mini-series or even a movie in the future which will be the REAL finale. I say this after being severely disappointed by both BSG and "The L Word." I'm starting to fear that no finale will ever top "6 Feet Under." 6FU has RUINED me for all other finales. Though I suspect even people who haven't seen 6FU will agree that these finales sucked balls.

~*~

I had another run-in the other day on the transcriptionist board I hate so much. I hate it so much but it's incredibly helpful at times, if you can avoid the flame wars that is.

I had a stupid, simple formatting question, I won't bore you with specifics. I had found the answer in my AAMT Book of Style, the problem was the wording of the rule for some reason sounded like it only applied to one number rather than all. So I asked what I knew might be a stupid question, but I also figured it would be simply and quickly answered -- which is the only kind of question I ever ask anymore because people are so freakin' touchy there.

The first two people gave me straightforward, sensible answers. The third was a very sarcastic, "Did it ever occur to you that the #4 was only an example?" There was just no call for that. If you can't keep a civil tongue in your head, you're better off just keeping your mouth shut, and on this board most of all so. I answered politely but coldly, "I wasn't sure, which is why I asked. Sarcasm isn't really appreciated." Never heard back from that one (to my knowledge. The board makes it far too easy to post anonymously).

Then someone else chimed in saying they'd always wondered the same thing. This was very soon after Ms. Snarky, so I responded to them, "I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't know it all : )." Please take note of the big smiley face because it's important.

Someone responded, "Wow. Unbelievable!" Someone else said something about "the rudeness" and "I'm glad I'm not you." Others trickled in to join the crowd. The way the page is set up it's really not clear who is responding to who exactly, which is why it took me about 15 minutes to slowly realize they were all castigating ME for my incredibly rude comment. What??

This is WHY I included a big smiley face, the only way to express friendliness or positive intentions. If I could dot my i's with hearts I would. Because this damn board is FULL of these people just WAITING for an excuse to take offense, whereupon everyone circles in like vultures to carrion, and like vultures will pick you dry until not a scrap of flesh remains. Even without the smiley face I didn't see how my comment could be so grossly misinterpreted, but there we are. An entire industry of internet users who haven't graduated AOL IM Etiquette 101.

I ignored all the Nosy Nellies and instead engaged the one person struggling to maintain civility, and eventually the original person I had supposedly slammed so harshly. I was able to clarify that I was grateful someone else shared my question and there was no insult or irony intended, hence my BIG SMILEY FACE. They were both glad to hear it and everything was peaceful again. Do you think any of those people who were so quick to swoop in to attack me bothered coming back to apologize? Nope, all suddenly too busy to waste time on a message board.

~*~

Tery Tivo'ed a documentary for me, "The Most Hated Family in America." You'd think it would be the Mansons, but no, it's Pastor Fred Phelps and his incestuous little clan. I've heard of them, but this was the first special I'd seen devoted exclusively to them.

They run the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, and their favorite word in the entire world is "fag." As in GodHatesFags.com. As in "Fag Priest" and "Fag Soldier" and "Fag Jews" and "Fag Enablers." It's just about the worst insult they can imagine, thus they apply it to everything and everybody.

See if you can follow this logic: America supports and embraces homosexuality (bear with me). Hence America is going to hell. Hence US troops fighting in Iraq are all fags for defending fag-loving America, and deserve to die. In fact, any misfortune that happens to anyone, anywhere, is evidence of God striking them down because they love fags, and makes the Phelps satanically gleeful. Your grandmother is dying of leukemia? Good, she's a fag-lover. Your church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground? God obviously hates it. 9/11? The best thing that ever happened to America. If you think I'm exaggerating just check out their website.

Don't try to point out to them that, while America might be slowly becoming more permissive of homosexuality, we're still a long way away from feeling America's unconditional love. Don't try to tell them that Jesus, in addition to being a Jew himself, preached mostly about love and probably would take a dim view of the message they're sending out. In fact, don't try to argue with them at all; they're unshakeable in their belief that pretty much everyone who doesn't belong to their church is a fag (either in actuality or sympathetically) and is going to hell.

I'm telling you, even teh gays aren't as obsessed with homosexuality as these people.

They routinely picket military funerals because, well, the soldiers are all fags. They stand on a distant corner (court-ordered) with bright neon signs screaming how you are going to hell. People drive by and curse them, make rude gestures and even throw things (their small son was hit in the head with a soda cup -- no rejoicing when bad things happen to one of THEM, I noticed); the response rate is 100% in the negative, which they consider a success. It perplexes them why people are so mean, though -- doesn't everyone LIKE being told their souls are damned and God hates them?

What is most terrifying is their cult includes children, tiny children, and don't ask me where they come from because the ratio is about one man to ten women in their God-fearing, devout and completely insular society. Tiny children wearing GodHatesFags.com T-shirts. When asked if they know what the sign they're holding means, they smile shyly and hide their faces. No, they don't. The brainwashing (and alleged abuse) will begin in earnest at the earliest opportunity though.

It's totally infected Bekah, the 19ish-year-old who tells the documentarian that yes, even he is going to hell, following it with a completely inappropriate schoolgirl giggle. She also has no plans to marry, since "we're in the end of the end times" and she'll be far too busy serving the Lord to worry about things like the future and having a life of her own.

Meanwhile her mother's mature retort to the documentarian's attempt to get reason to penetrate her thick dogma was, I kid you not, "Not a chance, poopy pants."

The documentarian tried several times to get an interview with Grand-daddy Fred Phelps, each time being treated with open derision and hostility. He called Reverend Phelps "a wellspring of anger," and isn't anger one of the Big Seven?

Tery predicted the show would make my blood boil, but it really didn't, I think because these people are so insane and so extreme that no one takes them seriously. Much less dangerous than the moderate radicals whose equally homophobic (and less nonsensical) message is heard and believed by thousands. Mostly I just feel sorry for them, because I know from experience that hating someone, actively and with the passion these people feel, is exhausting. Imagine hating the entire world and how much energy THAT takes?

~*~

Time to wrap up the Kitten Mitten series, I think. ::In here, because I'm thoughtful:: )

Finally, perhaps my favorite thing about any cat:


The ability, at any given time, to look equally silly and regal


~*~

I won't cut this because it MUST be seen. OldFriendBear took my Strawberry Series to the next logical level:


If I had nightmares about fruit


::Artsy Photo #2 and a little surprise:: )
grrgoyl: (Dr. Horrible)
My tax refund arrived, just in time for the realization that Depeche Mode was coming to Red Rocks Arena.  Have you seen their new video for "Wrong"?    Me likey.  Me hopey stupid record company doesn't take it down before you get to click.   

I agonized for a couple of hours over whether should I or shouldn't I.  The problem is a.) concerts are no fun alone, and not something you can invite just anyone to (which has been covered previously in this blog) and b.) cheap seats evidently START at $100.  Eek.  Hey, DM?  Did you hear we're in a recession?  c.) I've been to a show at Red Rocks once.  If you aren't seated just right, all the sound is literally blown away on the Rocky Mountain breeze.  Like in the $100 seats.

I don't know what made me think of it, but I cruised by the 24-Hour Fitness site.  Wait, I do know what made me think of it.  A bunch of people from my hometown have appeared out of the woodwork to find me on Facebook, and some of them have gotten, well, kind of LARGE.  Not that I can really point fingers, hence the 24-Hour Fitness drive-by.  We've always had one across the street, a five-minute walk away.  It's one of the few useful things we have in that plaza (half of it is a Furniture Row, not helpful in the day-to-day), but I've always had the Bowflex.  I started thinking that the Bowflex, whether I use it consistently or not, doesn't really provide terribly dramatic results for me, and certainly nothing cardio, which I definitely need with my clerical job/DVD-watching hobby. 

It turned out 24-Hour was featuring a promotion, ending naturally in just three days, $200 for a year -- $16 a month.  How could I ignore THAT?  Hell, for $16 a month I could just walk around with a water bottle and a towel, pretend to be working out and still feel better about myself.

My sister, who I can always count on to talk me into spending money, was in full support of it.  The idea had way more pros than cons.  For me the biggest pro was the money.  Money is a BIG motivator for me (despite my lack of ambition career-wise), and spending it on a gym membership, even as little as $16 a month, might get my ass moving across the street the way I couldn't get it to the foot of the bed every morning. 

My sister recommended I pop in and visit before making a decision, which I did Friday afternoon.  I was paired with Aaron, a gung-ho salesman who took me on a whirlwind, 3-1/2 minute tour of the facility.  He wanted to sit down and talk numbers immediately, specifically $600 for 3 years, and thereafter only $100 a year for life.  A great deal, but I wasn't exactly ready for that level of commitment before having set foot on a single machine.  They offer 7-day free passes, which didn't do me much good considering the promo ended on Sunday.  I could check it out that night and Saturday, if I weren't about to embark on my 2-job work weekend.  My timing is in all things outrageously off. 

So instead I spent the whole weekend fantasizing about the way my life would change with this decision.  The way I might finally have the energy, strength and body shape I've always wanted.  No, I'll never be petite, but that doesn't mean I can't make some improvement.  The way I might get some routine back in my life besides working, lounging around and sleeping.  Big changes were coming.  I could feel it.

Sunday I jumped out of bed, ready to change my life.  I walked in and asked three times for Aaron (he had mentioned they worked on commission).  No, that's okay, the young punk currently behind the desk would be more than happy to make the commission without doing any of the leg work help me.  Young Golan, who could hardly bear to make eye contact with me and seemed more eager to get me back out the door than anything.  He took my money, announced, "You're all set!" and that was that.  No suggestion of how to get started, etc.  The only way my life had changed was that I was now $200 poorer.  Not as exhilarating as I had imagined.  I must have missed the commercial where the vivacious young woman (you know, the one who's already slim and sexy and really doesn't need a gym) pays for her membership and leaps off like a joyous gazelle with all her newfound energy.

Fortunately our neighbor Anna has been going there for almost a month, and offered to bring me in Monday.  Thanks to her I felt comfortable, and once I started using the machines I felt instantly like I'd been assimilated into an exclusive club, which I guess in a way I had.  Maybe someday I'll work up the courage to try the Nautilus equipment.

~*~

Speaking of 2-job weekends, in Alexandra Pelosi's documentary about the 2008 presidential campaign trail ("Right America:  Feeling Wronged"), she asks a typical redneck rightwinger if America is engaged in a civil war.  "Sure," he twanged.  "There's the homosexuals and then there's the hard-working Americans!"  Evidently "Middle America" thinks teh gays just spend all day and night having teh gay sex.  No wonder they're so jealous.  But what about us bisexuals?  Are we all only employed part-time?

The movie is worth a watch, if only so you can see grown men weep because they're so convinced that Barack is a terrorist and will singlehandedly destroy America. 

~*~

As part of my big life change, I also got my hair cut on Sunday.  Since I usually avoid most places of business on the weekend, I'd never met the young girl who drew my name off the computer, Tracy.  She was nice enough.  The first half of the session was spent discussing my exciting new lifestyle.  The conversation took a turn for the worse when I admitted I worked at a vet hospital.  Tracy politely asked if I had any pets, so I told her.    Then we had this exchange:

Me:  Yeah, the vet job isn't bad, except I don't especially like dogs.
Her:  Oh, I HATE dogs.  I've been bit like three times by dogs.
Me:  Wow.  Well, that would make me hate them too. 
Her:  I hate cats too.  I'm more scared of them than dogs.  They're SNEAKY.
Me:  O....kay.  I can understand that.  How do you feel about ferrets? 
Her:  Ooh, they're UGLY.  I wouldn't get close enough to one to know if I liked it or not.
Me:  Fair enough.  I hate kids, so we're even.
Her:  What??!  You don't hate kids.  How can you say you hate kids?

This is what I can't stand.  People are free to spout all sorts of vile prejudices against animals, fair or not.  But if you say anything bad about kids, you're a monster.  You'd think I said "I hate kids and want to make them all into sandwich meat."

Anyway, it was really funny when she noticed me playing the "pronoun game" about Tery, "my partner."  As soon as I dropped the first "she," she blurted out "Do you watch The L-Word?"  She gets an A for effort, F+ for subtlety. 

~*~

If cats are guilty of sneakiness, it's sneaking their way into your heart.  At least in the case of my Mitten.  I give you more in the photo series.  The two visually interesting ones as appeteasers:


The ever-precious head tilt



Head tilt and a "here, move that camera closer so I can rub against it"


::+3 more abstract:: )

I promise the next installment will be the last.

Here are some attempts at being artistic. 


My sexy new water bottle for my sexy new lifestyle


I picked this mongo huge strawberry out of the pack.  I knew some people would never believe the size without some scale for comparison.  Then I gave up getting a good shot with my face and instead ended up with this series of shots. 

The Strawberry Series


1) Hello, Strawberry  2)  I like the way you look, Strawberry  3)  I REALLY like the way you look, Strawberry  4)  I eat you, Strawberry.  No hard feelings.
grrgoyl: (Darjeeling)
Third (and hopefully final) part of the iClone Saga:

Feb 20: Surprise! Replacement iClone shows up. Not new, and just superficially testing functions reminds me how freaking annoying this phone is (now that I'm deeply in love with the Motorola). At least it doesn't have the buzzing noise which was the blessing in disguise that forced me into these events in the first place. I leave negative feedback for the seller, which is highly satisfying despite having nowhere near the space to describe all the problems he's given me. I limit my complaint to the protracted waiting period for the replacement. I get phone boxed up for reselling.

Feb 21: I can't resist peeking in at my comment. Seller has the nerve to claim he didn't receive my return until Feb 10 and what could he do? I was a "hard buyer." If you all turn to page one of your Saga history, you'll see I sent it back Priority Jan 26, and that I still have the email of Jan 29 claiming my replacement was on its way. Selling 101 for ccslickscompany? Honesty is the best policy. If there are problems, explain them to me. I won't be happy, but you know what won't fix the situation? Lying to me. And if you're caught in that lie? Things won't get better if you turn around and call ME a liar. I know all this and I haven't taken one course in business school. I can't leave it alone. I clarify correct shipping date, and accuse the seller of lying repeatedly to cover mistakes. Since eBay doesn't like flame wars, I think I'll get the last word.

Feb 24: I put the iClone up on eBay, hoping ccslickscompany doesn't find a way to sabotage me, and REALLY hoping any prospective buyers don't bother accessing my feedback and notice the Motorola and accessories among my transactions.

Feb 25: At this writing I already have three watchers and one bid, after answering several questions about "how used is used?" and "why should I give you X amount for a used phone when a new one is X amount?" Yep, short of disappearing and refusing a refund, this seller couldn't have screwed me any harder.

~*~

Tery's First Annual Academy Awards™ party was a smashing success. She went all out -- decorations, Oscar™-themed appetizers, door prizes, Pictionary, even "programs" with trivia and games for every category. She was determined to make this the event of the decade.

I helped with cleaning the house. The bird watched us toiling away with excitement, thinking she would be front row and center for the festivities. She didn't realize part of the plan would be wheeling her oversized cage (and her) into the bedroom out of the way to make space for the food table. I compared it to arriving early for a concert and thinking you're in the front row, only to have the ushers appear and make you move back for the VIP ticketholders.

Anyway, my contribution, paltry though it was, wasn't nearly as disappointing as Tery's frienemy, Kristy from the bar, who had promised to bring 2-3 appetizers and a bag of ice. She showed up an hour late, emptyhanded and already drunk/stoned.

Fortunately Tery has a lot of experience not relying on other people and had prepared quite a spread already. When Kristy saw the layout, she exclaimed, "We should totally go into the party planning business together!" Naturally Tery's thought was "We?! You couldn't even remember ice, and you came from A BAR." She and her boyfriend also insisted that we had to attend their wedding in Vegas in April. We were concerned they were serious for a minute, before remembering these people couldn't even get their shit together enough to come get our old couch when we offered it for free.

Boyfriend Gary then told me he had taken an application test for a medical transcription job. The test was really easy, just a matter of correct spelling. He could do my job at night for a few hours while watching cartoons. Part of me was of course insulted by the trivializing of my career, but a larger part was horrified at the idea of him preparing medical records so casually (and I'm sure there would be alcohol involved as well). Likening it to building birdhouses or whatever people do as unskilled work-at-home laborers. Again, I'm sure nothing will come of it; they don't even have a computer, and good luck finding a company that will let you work only whenever the whim takes you.

The other guest of note was Tery's bar friend Tony. Tony and I have a lot in common, movie-wise. Tery has been telling each of us about the other for awhile, this was our first meeting. He presented me with a "swag bag" of goodies, which upon closer inspection proved to be stickers, patches and buttons of comic books, independent bands and movies I couldn't care less about. He explained he was trying to "de-clutter" his house, which simultaneously made me glad none of it was supposed to hold any special meaning for me, while thinking it was kind of tacky to announce "here's a bunch of garbage and I want you to have it."

This was Tony's style -- opinionated, outspoken, brutally honest and somewhat egocentric fanboy. A bit like me, except with Tery's patient guidance I've gained a teeny bit more tact over the years. I didn't mind so much on a one-to-one basis, but then we rejoined the party and he began to rail very loudly and obnoxiously every time Slumdog Millionaire was mentioned (which, if you watched the show, was pretty often). "Fuckity fuck fuck!!!" he'd shout over everyone else, "Are you fucking KIDDING me??" Mind you, he's never seen Slumdog. Being a comic boy, he seemed to think Dark Knight deserved every award. I suggested he wait until he saw the movie before attempting to criticize it.

At its height we had twelve guests here and it went very well thanks to Tery's extensive agenda of games and activities. Eventually everyone trickled out until it was only us, Tony and MyFriendDeb left, determined to see the end "on the off-chance Slumdog DOESN'T win," Deb said. Then Sean Penn won for Milk and Tony started making gagging sounds. He brayed, "He only won because he kissed a guy and managed to make it look like he enjoyed it!"

Some facts: He knows about Tery and me. His first question when Tery invited him to the party was whether there would be any cute gay guys there. Later in the evening (while making amends for this comment), he confessed to a brief gay relationship in college. What we have here is a classic self-loathing closet case.

I made my anger known. The good thing about blunt people is they respect the same quality in others, sometimes. He was appropriately ashamed, apologizing no less than three times before he left. He said he was nervous about making a good impression and trying too hard to be funny. Well, it's difficult to imagine anyone reading a room more disastrously. I'm going to a party hosted by a lesbian couple -- perfect time to break out my homophobic repertoire!

We weren't the only victims of his social awkwardness. He apparently took quite a shine to our neighbor Genevieve, who is cute enough but also married. He told her he hadn't "gotten any" for two years (his wife is terminally ill) and made it clear he was interested in her. She went home shortly after that. I've been subjected to a similar "compliment" once. There's cutting through the bullshit and refusing to play games, and then there's acting like a creepy psychostalker.

::Anyway, onto the photos!:: )
grrgoyl: (civil rights)
I've been toying with the idea of this post ever since hearing the news about Prop 8 passing in California. I've put off writing about it mainly because I know it would be preaching to the converted. I know everyone on my F-list already supports gay marriage, and if you don't and somehow have been faking it up to now, well, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, because I'm afraid it simply wouldn't work out between us.

My initial reaction to the news, after disbelief, was of course anger. A simmering, festering rage which pretty closely resembled my general reaction to injustice of any sort. I spent a lot of time on Daily Kos, because I knew I would find many people who agreed with me. There seemed to be a lot of fingers being pointed there, so many to blame: The anemic, inadequate advertising of the anti-Prop 8 people, the complacency of liberal voters who just assumed everything would be fine without their input, worse still people somehow confused by the wording and thinking they were voting "yes" on gay marriage, of course the LDS who started the whole thing, but most disturbingly the African-American voters who evidently approved it to the tune of 70%.

This issue bothered me most of all, that the same people weeping in the streets after overcoming generations of discrimination would turn around and pass that oppression onto another group. Obviously I voted for Obama, not because he's black, but because I felt he was the far superior choice. But thinking about those black voters turning out in record numbers to deny gay people their rights tinged Barack's victory with an ugly shade of bitterness.

Which of course is utterly unfair. It's as absurd to say all blacks are homophobic as it is to say all Republicans are racist. I prefer to see the statistic as a function of religion, in that blacks tend to be bigger church-goers, hence more religiously conservative.

Who I blame most of all now is the stupid Californians who elected to give voters the power to amend their constitution by popular vote. THAT is the stupidest thing I've ever heard (in hindsight). This is why we have elected officials. Kay puts it best in Men in Black: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals. Yes, yes they are, and they shouldn't be given such direct power, without any checks and balances, over such an important document as a constitution. As someone put it on the Kos, the purpose of a constitution is to protect everyone's rights, especially minorities who don't have the numbers to stand up to the majority in a vote. To allow a majority to deny people's rights in it subverts the entire spirit of the document, an argument I devoutly hope will be heard in many a California courtroom in attempts to reverse this appalling event.

The thing is, I know the war isn't over. As much as these religious hysterics wish the gay community would just give up and disappear forever, it's never going to happen. I know with absolute certainty that one day there will be marriage equality. What I'm not so sure about is whether it will happen in my lifetime. I hope Tery and I aren't finally making vows as shriveled, arthritic but inspirational 100-year-olds, but it's entirely possible. On that day I suppose we'll turn around and vote against people marrying their dogs, which seems to be the next logical step in the twisted minds of these religious types. Bigotry: pass it down.

I just wish, and I'm sure that I'm not alone, that I could sit everyone opposed to gay marriage down in a room, gag them (since that's the only way to get them to shut up) and make them put on their "listening ears," as Judge Judy puts it. In fact, I'd let Judge Judy deliver the lesson.

Lesson #1: IT'S NOT A CHOICE. Or I suppose it is a choice, inasmuch as people choose to act on their homosexual urges, just as others choose to pursue a heterosexual relationship. We can choose our partners intellectually, but it's our hearts and bodies that tell us who we're drawn to.

I never gave homosexuality a single thought until college. I remember having a schoolgirl crush on my preschool teacher (Vivian -- she was beautiful, I think we all did) as well as Leslie, a cute blond I would sit with on the bus every day and quietly adore (I can't begin to guess what she thought of it. We never talked at all, that I remember). Then from about second grade through high school I was all about the boys, 100% (apart from the occasional inappropriate but unrecognized tingling I sometimes got on sleepovers with my best friend Lisa).

Then, freshman year of college, walking to class I passed a girl who gave me a small, shy smile unexpectedly that rocked my world, pardon the cliché. It turned out my boyfriend at the time, Dan, knew her, had gone to high school with her, and introduced us. It wasn't long thereafter that I ditched Dan (he was a psycho anyway) and hooked up with Alice, my first girlfriend. It was thrilling, despite the fact we were both too shy to do more than kiss and hold hands. It wasn't until meeting my sister's roommate, Old Friend Bear, that I fell hard for a girl, but that's a whole other story.

So. I could have chosen to ignore my feelings of excitement when I looked at Alice. I could have kept dating Dan the bipolar nutjob (though I doubt for much longer). Would my life have turned out differently? I might never have met Tery, who I have not the slightest doubt is my soulmate and will be my life partner, legally sanctioned or not. On the other hand, perhaps I would have met someone else who gave me tingles, like Old Friend Bear, and if not her someone else. I might have spent my whole life denying what my heart and body was telling me. Many do. But when happiness, let alone of the lifelong variety, is so hard to find, why would anyone make that choice?

Lesson #2: GAYS HAVE NO INTEREST IN RECRUITING OR MOLESTING YOUR CHILDREN, OR FORCING THEIR BELIEFS ON CHILDREN OR ANYONE. We just want to live our lives and be happy, like anyone. I know it's hard to imagine, people not trying to control other people's lives, but we're out here. If what makes you happy doesn't hurt anyone or anything else, then that's all I care about. Try it sometime.

Lesson #3: MARRIAGE IS NOT THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF RELIGION. This cannot be repeated enough. Atheists can get married. Non-practicing Christians can get married. Drunk people in Vegas can get married with Elvis presiding. Why aren't religious types getting up in arms about these shenanigans? And if it really were all about the "sanctity of marriage," why aren't they working harder to persecute people getting divorced? And if people get divorced, THEN it falls squarely into the legal realm. What's that all about?

Because all they care about is what goes on in the bedroom and "one man and one woman," which is pretty damn funny when you think these people tolerated and even promoted polygamy at one time in their own history. But social attitudes change, and the church that wants to survive changes with them. Unless we're talking about the Bible, which is really all they do. Which brings me to the next lesson.

Lesson #4: STOP CHERRYPICKING THE BIBLE. We've all heard this argument, even I'm sure the Bible thumpers, but they choose to be willfully ignorant. An endless parade of Bible scholars has proven that the translation "abomination" carried very different connotations than it does today, ones that aren't nearly so grimly condemning, a crucial fact that isn't raised nearly enough. Someone once explained that basically any non-procreative sex was labeled that way back then, when the earth had a population of only 100 or so.

But even putting that aside, they also ignore the long list of other "abominations" in the Bible, such as eating lobster, shellfish, birds and even anything that walks on four feet. And a score of other forbidden activities that seem ridiculous nowadays, like not wearing polyblends or shaving a certain way. THOSE passages aren't meant to be taken literally, clearly, but the ones that suit their argument are.

It's a little like arguing with a ferret. Or a very petulant child.

Lesson #5: JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED. These people scream on sidewalks that gays are going to hell. If this is true, then it's our business, and getting hostile about it isn't going to change our minds. However, I prefer to fantasize about fundamentalists dying and standing outside their version of the Pearly Gates, only to be told that there's no place for hateful bigots in Paradise. So sorry.

Lesson #6: BE HONEST, GAY MARRIAGE REALLY DOESN'T DIRECTLY AFFECT ANYONE ELSE'S MARRIAGE. HONESTLY. The minute someone gives me a rational, cogent, true example of how gays (or for that matter, anyone else) getting married affects their own relationship negatively, I'll respectfully concede the argument. Unless a lesbian has stolen the affections of your wife and they get married, that might be something. But then gay marriage would make everyone else work a little harder on their own relationships, and how can that be a bad thing?

I'm out of steam. My solution would be to label marriage as "A binding contract recognized for all legal purposes between two consenting, unrelated adults." Full stop. I didn't even throw love into it, how about that? That simple phrasing eliminates incest, marrying a minor, and bestiality. Can we all be happy with that? Probably not, since it will still allow teh horrible, horrible buttsex, and we all know that's what this really all boils down to. Those religious folks are right pervs, aren't they?

I'll leave you with this Harvey Milk video, which I defy you not to at least tear up at:

grrgoyl: (snape trelawney)
My weekend: A summary by Miss Elaineous

Not much excitement at the kennels, though I did resolve after the staff meeting to stop skating by doing as little as possible and go back to being the best damn overnight tech I could be. *in the style of Superman comics* I gave injections! I changed fluid bags! I hand fed sick animals! I temped ill-tempered cats! I filled out medical charts! I filled prescriptions! I swept! I mopped! I made surgical packs! Then on Saturday I was so sore and exhausted all day that I remembered why I was skating by doing as little as possible.

This little guy has been here for a couple of weeks and is doing much better:

PeeWee


He's such a good little puppy. When you open his door he runs (clumsily) up to you and wants only to be cradled in your arms while he licks your chin. Then when you have to leave to do something else, he quietly returns to his little bed and goes back to sleep. A dog that's only needy on your terms: hope he stays that way.

They thought he was a dump at first -- the number left by the owners was disconnected. They finally called when the bill was in the thousands to check on him, demanding to know why they hadn't been called sooner (it evidently never occurred to them to call us). Since he's still there, I guess he is now officially a dump (one of the techs wants him so there's a happy ending). Apparently this happens all the time according to Tery: people are really stupid enough (or think that the hospital staff is) to abandon a critically ill dog, pleading poverty, then call back when the dog's been fixed up thinking they can get him back for the price of an adoption fee. Tery's response is always, "No problem. It will cost $700 (or whatever the bill is) to adopt him." People are asshats.

~*~

I'm really cursing my luck. We've lived here for 4 summers now and I've never really taken full advantage of our balcony. Now that I have my wondrous new hammock and a full two days off every week, all our neighbors are crawling out of the woodwork. There's a unit across the way and down a floor owned by Louis, an eccentric old man who doesn't own a stick of furniture but instead has lots of weird sculpture thingies made of natural materials like rocks and scrap lumber, who we haven't seen in more than a year. This past weekend he suddenly returned from who-knows-where, bringing with him a daughter (?) and young children. They spend the majority of their time on the balcony, talking, laughing, yelling and generally destroying the peace and quiet. You tell me the universe doesn't have an especially sadistic sense of humor.

~*~

While searching for Harry Potter clips on YouTube featuring Snape (so far Conan has shown the only one, I've been watching Dan Radcliffe's interviews all week), I stumbled across this trailer:



It was made in 2001 and the filmmakers have been fighting ever since to get it released. Just this week they gave up and released it privately with their own money (can be bought here). Plus Janeane Garofalo...how can you go wrong? I now await its arrival with every bit as much excitement as I did Snowcake, because Alan gets shamefully few opportunities to flex his comedic muscles (but trust me, they're there).

~*~

Speaking of Harry Potter, tonight we're going: "we" being myself, Ryan and RYAN'S NEW BOYFRIEND JOHN. Thanks to a series of monetary snafus, I'll probably be paying for the boys, putting to rest the apparent myth that gay men have gobs of disposable income. Unless, as Tery postulated, all their money goes to buying lube by the case at Costco *juvenile snicker* I'm spending the rest of the week hurrying to finish "Half-Blood Prince" for the second time before the release of "Deathly Hallows" this weekend. This might be the closest I've come to O.D.'ing on Harry.....
grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
Sunday Ryan invited me to Pride Fest -- actually, he invited Tery, who declined (she has an irrational fear of gay bashing, even though I'm pretty sure that, were homophobes to show up, they'd be decidedly in the minority). Ryan assumed I'd be too tired after working Saturday night. Foolish boy. Saturdays are usually very slow and I manage to sleep most of my shift away.

Megan was supposed to go, but sadly stayed out too late at the bar the night before. Boo. Happily, MyFriendDeb did go with us.

Sunday it was 100 degrees in Denver, so I was kind of glad Ryan didn't care about seeing the parade. We made our leisurely way downtown for the retail portion of the festivities, which turned out to be a lot like Taste of Colorado but with more rainbows. Honestly, these vendors think gays will buy anything as long as it's rainbow-colored (in some tasteless cases, they were right). I didn't see anything that appealed to me, telling myself that it would be pointless to buy jewelry when I only leave the house twice a week, and my only company is dogs when I do. I did cave and buy Tery a Black Ice Rugby shirt which I thought had many things going for it: 1) The logo was the classic, clean athletic style that she prefers, 2) it had "Denver" on it prominently; Tery takes great pride in local sports, 3) rugby is her new "favorite" sport, and 4) it's a lesbian team, which isn't obvious from the shirt. I had to have it -- the scantily clad players roaming the crowd trying to draw customers in were TOO cute.

Most people were wearing gay-themed T-shirts, which if you ask me is a bit of overkill. You're AT a gay pride festival with your girl/boyfriend hanging all over you -- you can't get much more out than that. I myself opted for my Serenity "Fruity Oaty Bar" shirt, which I'm sure threw most for a loop; with the exception of a delicious computer geek manning one booth who recognized it and commented. Yummy.

So apart from buying overpriced food (using the evil ticket system, so you don't realize you just paid $8 for a funnel cake and a bottle of water) there wasn't much to do but people-watch. Oh sure, there was a godawful lesbian band performing, which we quickly fled in favor of the opposite end of the park, where pretty shirtless boys were bumping and grinding to rave music. Ryan thought he'd died and gone to heaven, though I pointed out his chances of hooking up were slim indeed with Deb and I tagging along. I was just enjoying watching all the people: the boys kissing, the girls holding hands, the transexuals, the transvestites, the goths, the little baby butches. I wanted to stare and stare, not because I thought they were freakish, but because I couldn't get enough of them appearing so comfortable in the crowd, as if they were "normal."

The only hint of disapproval I spotted was a kid, a young man, walking alone carrying a bible with a stern look on his face. He didn't approach anyone though, perhaps trusting his presence to be sufficient to convey his message. Maybe he imagined himself walking among a den of lions.

But wow, was it hot. Just drinking water was an all too transient relief. I discovered it was much more effective to pour it straight down the back of my shirt. Considering the extreme heat and the very real danger of medical emergencies, it was quite galling that most booths were selling water for $2.50 a bottle -- with the exception of one selling "back alley" bottles for $1 (not tickets. "Don't tell anyone" the woman implored me). The temperature resulted in many of the crowd going topless (I've never wished more to be a boy) to Ryan's delight; but the coolest of them all had to be a boy clad only in a T-shirt and what from behind looked like girl's panties (Ryan assured me they had a Y-front though). If you ask me, that took more balls than the goth couple in full regalia with the girl leading the boy on a leash, and I'm sure came the closest to violating some public indecency law.

It was fun, but it was also good to leave. I passed out the minute I got home from heat exhaustion, not that our condo was any cooler.

~*~

Monday I tackled our balcony with a vengeance. First, fed up with being held hostage by pigeons that we in fact only see once every couple of weeks, I pulled down the chicken wire that has covered the front of it since last year. I then put it across the ceiling to protect just the rafters themselves. It was all very manly, butch work. I'll admit, as much as we enjoyed the feeling of enclosed privacy the previous setup inspired, opening it up created a sense of refreshing freedom, as if the fencing was keeping out the air.

I also bought a new screen door with the intention of installing a newfangled cat door designed for screens rather than glass. Yet another example of how "Easy to install!" is a highly misleading statement. But as difficult as that task was, I'm beginning to suspect it was a walk in the park compared to getting the cats to use the door. I'm the first to defend the superiority of cats over dogs, except in the area of training. They don't take kindly to having their heads pushed through the flap, that's for sure.

Now that the balcony is clean and habitable again, I'd like an excuse to spend more time out there. Towards that end, I've wanted a hammock for years and by gum, now I'm getting one.

The last order of the day was to get my used computer from eBay up and running. It arrived Friday (remember eBay rule #2) and I immediately saw why it was being sold for $35. It was a hideous, towering, ecru behemoth. Compared to my newer sportier black model, it looked like an industrial server. It came without an operating system, and I don't have any experience in rebuilding a completely blank machine. It wasn't easy, but few obstacles are any match for me when I'm determined.

First, the monitor wasn't communicating with it. I thought my LCD monitor wasn't compatible, but it turned out the video card had come loose from the motherboard (my thanks goes to my Sony Vaio that I had to open once a week to tweak sound and capture cards). Then when I tried to install Windows XP, I got hung up when it asked for an older version of Windows to verify my right to use XP (something like that); thank god I found an old Windows 98 disc I forgot I had. Then I thought I was home free until XP asked me for my product key. The disc was no longer in the original packaging and it turns out people on the hack message boards are pretty stingy when it comes to $100 licenses. I went back to my desk and, thank god x1000, dug up the product key. Luck was being every inch a lady for me. Until the last step, hooking up my internet. I fell into a cold, familiar panic when I started seeing the connection setup screens from my old wireless laptop days. I persisted, however; the whole reason I picked this auction was it promised to be "Great for high-speed internet!" Fortunately I remembered the trick that I always forget when it comes to my cable modem -- that simply unplugging it for 30 seconds resets it back on its merry way. This time was no exception.

So there we have it. A fully functioning, fully loaded (for work purposes anyway) computer for only $35. Not too shabby.

And that was my weekend! I wish I had a day off to recover.

~*~

Last but not least, please welcome my old friend Bear ([livejournal.com profile] lizzieloudotcom) to LJ. Be nice to her.
grrgoyl: (Office Stanley)
Alright, I'm officially through with documentary forays into the lives of Evangelical Christians. My breaking point was reached with our recent rental of Jesus Camp.

[livejournal.com profile] ridiculicious warned me this was scarier than Friends of God. I wouldn't say scarier, just as scary from a different aspect. Jesus Camp focuses on just the overzealous offspring of Evangelicals attending this crazy religious boot camp (which has since been closed down in the wake of the Ted Haggard scandal).

The movie actually has some very funny moments, once you get past the whole terrifying youth brainwashing thing. The boy who is unofficially the focus of the whole film states he was "saved" at age 5. Saved from what??? What black, despicable sins can stain the soul of a 5-year-old? He said he turned to Jesus because he "wanted more" out of life. At age 5. If he sounds years ahead of his time, it's probably because he's only regurgitating what his parents drilled into him since he could understand spoken language.

Then there's Rachael, the 9-year-old who mutters a plea to Jesus to help her bowling game. "Great," Tery said. "A car bomb just went off in Baghdad because Jesus had to help her get a strike."

The Evangelicals harshly denounce Harry Potter (again, no clear cut reasons given for why), yet allow their children to be preached to by talking vegetables (the popular "Veggie Tales" series). In one scene the boys are playing with a flashlight in the dark, acting spooky and telling ghost stories; perfectly normal behavior at camp. Until one of the parents puts an end to their fun on the grounds that God only wants us to focus on the beautiful, pleasing things of this world. Then the next day the children are subjected to a good old-fashioned fire and brimstone lecture that's so vivid and so graphic that it starts them crying, writhing on the floor and speaking in tongues to show how full of the Spirit they are. These kids are going to need some SERIOUS therapy later in life.

We had to pause the DVD until we stopped laughing, however, when the female minister who runs the camp was shown blessing the pews, the roof, the walls, and the PowerPoint presentation. Yes, she said, "Now devil, you stay away from this PowerPoint presentation. We know how you like to mess with the tools of the Lord..." yadda yadda yadda. Speaking of the tools of the Lord, these people have no problem taking advantage of the ease and convenience of computer technology, while simultaneously spitting on and reviling all other manifestations of science. Hypocritical? Christians? No!

But the moment Tery and I really lost it was when little Rachael and her friends approached a group of older black men sitting in a park to try to convert them. She asked one, "If you were to die right now, do you think you'd go to heaven or hell?" He unhesitatingly answered heaven, and they awkwardly excused themselves pretty quickly. "I don't know, maybe they're already Christians or something," Rachael reasoned. Their 9-year-old minds were blown. However, this scene translated easily to South Park to me and Tery. Chef: "Hello, children!" with a song about going to heaven complete with sexually inappropriate lyrics. It is crucial to watch this movie with someone who has a great sense of humor, otherwise it's just chilling and disturbing.

Their rationale for "training" their children so intensely is because they believe all Muslim children are taught how to use hand grenades and automatic weapons from the time they can walk -- a rather ignorant and gross generalization. The female minister also muses that "you can't force children to do anything" (meaning their devout behavior is purely of their own making) -- well, yes and no. But they apparently see nothing wrong with continuing their political movement to force the rest of the country to bow to their agenda.

~*~

Speaking of annoying people with ridiculous beliefs, I wasted most of yesterday reading this thread over at IMDb about why 300 is so "ironically homophobic." I read it out of mild interest because the idea that the movie was homophobic never even crossed my mind. The gay man who started the thread had two sticking points: The fact that Hollywood had "de-gayed" the "most famously gay group of warriors in history," plus he felt the line about Athenians being "boy-lovers" was a gay slur. Go read it yourself if you have an hour or two to kill watching self-styled historians gradually devolve into increasingly puerile name-calling as they debate the true nature of pederasty and what really went on in the ranks of Greek soldiers thousands of years ago. Watch as the argument goes back and forth endlessly and meaninglessly, neither side listening to the other, until the same points are recycled by new combatants who didn't have time to read the first 150 comments.

As for the original poster, I'm as sympathetic to the gay cause as anyone (obviously), but there's such a thing as being TOO sensitive and giving us a bad name by childishly wanting to be represented everywhere, even in movies where it's not relevant and not appropriate. Sorry, my brother. I have to side with the breeders on this one.



I want to move to Europe. Americans need to fucking RELAX.
grrgoyl: (XenaKiss)
Last night finally, after hardships unnumbered, I got to see Brokeback Mountain. Trying to get there was unnecessarily complicated because a.) it opened in Denver in only one theater, b.) this is my last week of freedom before the insanity that is RGIS January begins Dec 26, c.) all my companions that wanted to go with me were being flaky and refusing to pin down an actual date. Ryan really wanted to go, but alternated between pleading poverty while maintaining the charade that there still might be a chance (three conversations later I FINALLY got him to come out and admit that he really, really had to save his money. Apparently for drinking with Tabby. Don't get me started). Tery was pretty ambivalent. *SIGH* I really have no problem going to the movies alone, I do it more often than not, but after inviting so many people it only seemed fair to try my best to include them.

Ultimately it was Deb and I yesterday afternoon at a matinee. "Don't worry," I assured her. "Who goes to the movies at 3:30 on a Monday?" Ha ha, you can see where this is going. When we got there at about 3:10 the line was already down the sidewalk to the next block. I loved seeing all those people there, though. I want this movie to do really well. I want the religious fascists to realize they damn well aren't the only ones living in this country, and that plenty of people can deal with the sight of a couple of guys kissing just fine. (The answer to "Who wants to see guys kissing, ew?" is "Oh, me, yes please.")

We got to the ticket counter at about 3:35, so opted for the 4:00 show instead. With plenty of time to spare, I took a picture of the screen:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This is the historic Mayan theater, built in 1930, restored to its former glory in 1986, one of 3 movie arthouses in Denver. You can't tell from this crappy photo, but the wall sconces are little Aztec idols. It's got a lot of character.

For the most part, the theater was full of considerate people, foremost of which was the woman who sat in front of Deb but offered to scrunch down for her. This is my reasoning...people who wait in line for a half hour in the cold are there to SEE the movie, not chat through it, a refreshing change of pace. And I didn't even have a kicker, astounding considering the seats had all the leg room of coach class on a plane. Also being on the end we had to stand up a few times to let people in and out, and every time they were extremely apologetic, not that we minded at all.

(I suppose it goes without saying that there were many gay boys and girls there. Lots of flamers, a couple of stone butches. I wonder if anyone assumed Deb and I were a couple.)

Which isn't to say everyone had such impeccable manners. There was a woman directly across the aisle who opened up her cell phone about 30 minutes into the film, and kept it open so long I swear she was conducting an entire text message conversation with someone. People, it doesn't matter how hard you try to shield your phone - in a dark theater that light is like the fucking sun peeking in, okay? She kept opening it at regular 15-minute intervals until I was ready to thwack her on the head with it.

Which was still better than the guy a few rows behind her who had some kind of snack in a plastic bag and just COULD NOT LEAVE IT ALONE. He rustled that bag CONSTANTLY through the entire movie. This is a very quiet movie. No big action scenes, not even any music to speak of. And the theater, while boasting stunning architecture, is not equipped with stereo speakers, so all the sound was limited to the screen. The woman behind us commented on Mr. Bag loudly, which frankly was more disruptive than the bag itself. "What is that NOISE?" she asked no one in particular. Later, "Jesus Christ!" she exclaimed. Finally, she turned to the guy and asked, "Will you give the damn bag a rest???!!??" Unfortunately she did it at a moment when people were laughing (I missed what they were laughing at because of her outburst) and I doubt the guy even heard her. I was hoping she'd get up and tie that bag around his neck but she didn't. Is anyone working on developing movie food and containers that are a little quieter? Perhaps this is my calling in life?

Matters weren't helped by the fact that the Mayan sells beer as well. Not a good idea, in my opinion, which I feel was supported when at a particularly touching, still moment, someone dropped their bottle and it rolled noisily all the way down to the front of the theater, while some people twittered. Jesus Fucking Christ on a bicycle. I hate you. I hate you ALL.

But enough about that. ::The movie:: )

I wondered why Heath Ledger was nominated and not Jake, but after seeing the movie it's pretty obvious. His performance was nothing short of powerful. This nomination isn't just an obligatory sympathy vote for gays. I never thought the sight of simply a man buttoning up a shirt on a hanger could reduce me to sobbing tears, but he did it. God, I'm crying a little right now just remembering it. For the final 5 minutes of the movie there was plenty of telltale sniffling throughout the theater, and mercifully they didn't bring the house lights up right away, leaving people to stumble out in the pitch black. Deb and I sat there, dabbing at our faces with tissue (which she thoughtfully provided). The closing credits rolled to two songs, Willie Nelson doing "He Was a Friend of Mine" (you can imagine how perfectly the lyrics fit) and something by Rufus Wainwright, neither of which was doing anything to help us pull ourselves together. As we walked out of the theater, we noticed the line for the 7:00 show again stretched down the sidewalk, and around the building.

This is a 5 out of 5, undeniably. Go see it and deliver a one-two punch to the wingnuts.

ADDENDUM: Hateful people (who haven't seen the movie) whose kneejerk reaction is to think the hype and nominations are only because the movie is "gay" are every bit as bad as the alleged award-givers who they believe are handing out nominations as a kneejerk reaction to the movie being "gay." Does that make sense? I came across one bitter blogger who actually said something like, "Maybe King Kong should have been a gay love story so it would do even BETTER at the box office." Oh, shut up. You, sir, should have your blogging rights suspended until you can pull your foot out of your mouth. Or your head out of your ass.
grrgoyl: (FC soap)
Based on my good friend Gerry's recommendation (partly) and the description at Netflix, I rented The Machinist.

::and here's what I thought:: )

Eh. A 2.5 out of 5, just because I've seen it all before.


Tery's on a crusade against Ellen Degeneres. She says that every time she sees her talk show, she's hanging all over men, dancing with them, kissing them, commenting on their "hotness," etc. The breaking point came when she saw a commercial that was literally a montage of Ellen and her men. She feels strongly that Ellen sold out, and I tend to agree. She got me worked up enough to write a letter to Ellen via her website. )

(I didn't add Tery's suggestion for a P.S.: Sleep with us!)

A little harsh? We don't think so. Especially when Tery pointed out how much it would have meant to her as a young lesbian in her formative years to have such a prominent role model as Ellen first promised to be, and how confusing to then see that role model appearing to "bat for the other team." For her to make herself palatable to midwestern housewives, she's whitewashed over and ultimately erased her lesbianism, leaving behind the gay community that supported her so fiercely when she first came out. Like I said in the letter, we aren't asking her to French kiss women weekly on her talk show. But a little less acting like a total breeder (or "Uncle Tom" which was Tery's name for her) would be a nice start.

This topic was raised at the hospital, where unfortunately Kay (the makeover queen of insensitivity) felt the need to get involved. She saw no problem with Ellen kissing men all the time. I'm proud of Tery for completely smacking her down in her tracks, saying that she would never understand until she'd walked a mile in Tery and Tabby's shoes. Which is true. I would draw some heterosexual comparisons but I feel I've made my point. To further illustrate her cluelessness, she absolutely doesn't believe Jodie Foster is gay (but she so totally is).

Finally, I donated to the Red Cross today for the Katrina relief fund, only $20, but that's really all I can spare this month. So all those motherfuckers blaming the disaster on homosexuals, godless liberals and worst of all, the victims themselves, can suck my (figurative) dick and go straight to hell. (I'm looking at YOU, Rush Limbaugh, you big fat idiot.) Shame on all of them.

I also have high hopes that this might be the wake-up call Bush supporters needed to return to the side of Reason and Sanity. If one good thing comes of this horrible tragedy, please god, let it be this. See [livejournal.com profile] anne_jumps's journal for many, many interesting and informative links.
grrgoyl: (please jesus)
Last night we did an inventory in the Buckingham Mall, but the inventory is not the subject of this post. The Buckingham Mall has seen better days, with now 70% of the spaces available for lease and the stores that are still open (for the time being) shining like hallucinatory beacons on the main street of a ghost town. But the Mall isn't the subject either.

We diligently worked behind Rave's closed security gate, thankful for the barrier not only because of the aforementioned ghost town ambience, but also because the store employees were talking about a shooting that had just occurred at the Aurora Mall, about 5 miles away. Already feeling a little on edge, it didn't help when a mall employee started walking back and forth in front of the store. I assume he was a janitor based on the garbage can he was pushing. He was older, with frizzy long gray hair under his grimy cap. He resembled a creepy elementary school bus driver, the kind of guy who is nervously tolerated until local children start disappearing. He was loudly chanting a line over and over and over, something like this: "...walkin' de dog....I'm walkin' de dogey....walkin' de dog....I'm walkin' de dogey..." When he noticed our lights on and activity in the store, he came right up to the gate and peered in, repeating his little mantra so we could all hear it. I was the closest to the front of the store but had my back to the door. I didn't even look up from my pile of shirts for fear of making eye contact.

Thankfully he realized we were all busy working and wandered off on his own, but his words echoed long after. You know how you sometimes get a snippet of a song stuck in your head and it just repeats for hours, until you start crying and begging it to stop? It is far worse to be trapped with the lunatic ramblings of a lonely janitor in there, believe me. About two hours later I had finally forgotten it when he came around again, STILL yelling it out ad nauseum. That coupled with a store temperature so hot it felt like my brain was boiling in my skull made me come dangerously close to just shouting, "Someone, kill me now, please!!!" It didn't help at all that some of the girls recounting us had already cooked off one brain cell too many and kept insisting we were wrong, making the supervisor waste endless minutes rechecking them and trying to explain that we were right while I tried to count practically the entire store alone. Unbearable.

In lighter news, Tabby invited me to the Gay Pride parade Sunday which I am looking forward to immensely, even with the full awareness that I might go home alone if she hooks up with someone (conversely, if she DOESN'T hook up, with every lesbian in the city in her vicinity, she might very well give up on finding anyone completely and resign herself to spinsterhood at the tender age of 22). Tery has never been to a parade (neither have I) and refuses to start now, with the excuse that she "doesn't want to draw attention to" herself. She doesn't see the patent ludicrousness of this statement, given that she's already out to everyone who knows her at work, at home, at social gatherings. I guess her Closet has varying degrees, rather than a definitive In and Out. That's fine, considering this morning she turned to me suddenly and asked why I don't look like Ellen DeGeneres, after I've spent weeks trying to assure her she's just as beautiful as the first day I met her (I fear the beginnings of a mid-life crisis might be upon her). Bitch. I'm still going (assuming I'm not working) and maybe will have some nice piccies to share from it. Hey, maybe there will be some religious protestors and I can get in a fight! Oh boy oh boy oh boy....
grrgoyl: (XenaKiss)
gay divorce follows gay marriage

Opponents of gay marriage said the divorces, occurring so soon after the weddings, confirm that gay couples are not equipped for marriage.

Yeah, cuz lord knows straight couples NEVER EVER get divorced within a year (or sometimes 48 hours) of the wedding.

"We're not surprised," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which is fighting for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. "Particularly among male homosexuals, the promiscuity is just phenomenal."

And you know this exactly how, sweetie? Hanging out in the bath houses again? Perv.

HateHateHateHateHate
grrgoyl: (shrek)
Okay, today I've decided to finally try to move on from the election, for purposes of my own sanity. As soon as I finish this post.

Saturday night Tery and I were channel-surfing and I stopped on something called "Gay Republicans." This quickly engrossed us as it looked at the reactions of four Log Cabin members in the course of the 2004 campaign trail. Apparently all had been right with the party until Georgie started all his Constitutional Amendment nonsense. This tore the group in two, as they actually felt shocked and betrayed that he could do this to them after all their support. Didn't Bush care about their 12,000 votes? They had to decide if they were Republicans that happened to be gay or gays that happened to be Republican. So the foursome being documented illustrated the two viewpoints; on the sensible side was a lesbian who had had a commitment ceremony with her girlfriend and a dashing, Rupert Everett-type guy who used to be some big-shot politician in Arizona until his orientation ruined his career. On the side of insanity was a prissy John Waters-type Palm Beach man who I wanted to kick in the teeth, and a Jim Jay Bullock-type asshole who I wanted to kick even harder in the teeth.

The highlights of the show: John Waters describing with great contempt the fact that Jimmy Carter wore sweaters in the Oval Office, and Clinton wore a T-shirt and jeans, as signs of their disrespect for their position: "Disgraceful!" was the exact word he used. Call me pragmatic, but I value my president's effectiveness and good leadership over his fashion sense. The lesbian attending a Republican rally and actually fearing for her safety. And Rupert Everett hiding out at a Revival-type Republican rally where the whole audience wore white to represent the sanctity of marriage, while some wildly misinformed fat guy read out statistics as ludicrous as lesbian partnerships having the highest percentage of domestic violence in the country (Tery leaned over and slapped my leg hard at this point. Then cowered in case I decided to retaliate. Which naturally I did).

But by far the most hateful was Jim Jay Bullock. He proudly considered himself a Republican first and a gay man second or even third. He smugly believed that other gays invited attacks by announcing that they were gay, whereas he could walk into a room and no one would know that he was. Evidently he has no mirrors in his house on top of being totally deaf, because he had a definite lisp and was undoubtedly on the effeminate end of the spectrum. I think the only thing that would cast any doubt at all on his orientation would be the big old Bush/Cheney T-shirt he always wore. He also had the nerve to tell other gays that Bush wasn't saying they couldn't get married, they just couldn't get married to a member of their own gender. He saw absolutely no irony in this statement either. The best part was when he went door to door campaigning for Bush (this was after the Log Cabin party decided to endorse Kerry, so he was flying solo) and got in an argument with a guy over Iraq. The guy's argument was factual, such as the fact that we decided to attack a country that had no large-scale weapons program and no plans to attack us. Jim Jay's only rebuttal (no pun intended) was that he was pulling his "facts" out of his ass, and proceeded to mime pulling things out of his own butt and calling them facts (Tery wanted me to make an icon of it). Demonstrating not only that Kerry supporters are much better informed about the reality of things, but that they are a hell of a lot more mature than Bush supporters as well.

This whole thing led to a discussion between Tery and I. I admit, I honestly didn't know what the political difference is between Dems and Republicans, except that Republicans are evil and the obvious class divide. She explained that Republicans believe in minimal government intervention, minimal taxes, and have a money-oriented "I've got mine" outlook. She said that Alex Keaton on "Family Ties" illustrated the quintessential Republican....humanitarian, but profit-oriented. She said this new party is not Republican as established originally with the heavy religious slant. Which was my next question. They believe in government staying out of our private lives, but it's okay for it to decide who can get married and that a woman can't get an abortion. And they believe in every man for himself, which goes against most religious principles that I grew up with. Neither of us can figure out how its members can reconcile these enormous dichotomies in belief systems, although it might explain why they are so uptight. I also would like to know when the moral, upright citizens who call themselves Republicans started believing that Democrats (or I should say liberals) were hedonistic, orgiastic demonspawn, or how churchgoing folk can think peaceloving, anti-war tendencies are a bad thing. I was raised in a Republican household with good moral values. I turned out bisexual but still consider myself a good person with compassion for my fellow man (though some days this is harder to manage than others) and a strong live-and-let-live attitude. I'd like to think that deep down inside, we really aren't that different from each other in terms of what we want out of life. Making me, I suppose, extremely naive and idealistic.

All this was rolling around in my brain when I went to work yesterday morning, the gaping schism between Republican and religious ideology, and of course the election. I listened to the best of Randi Rhodes on Air America, where she talked to a computer guy who asserted how incredibly simple it would be to program the voting machines to do whatever you wanted them to. Rather than firing me up like this talk normally does, I instead felt an incredible weight of depression on my shoulders. I'm not one to get depressed easily...my opinion is there is no sense getting upset over something you have no control over. But that was precisely what was doing it, the feeling of helplessness that dishonest, unjust shit was going down and there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do about it. I spent the entire morning in a deep, deep funk that wasn't helped by talking to my Republican boss who laughed when I said the election was unfair. He said the exit polls were taken in only Democratic areas, explaining how skewed they were. I doubted this was true, but hated him all the same. I shouldn't though....I think he is Republican in the true sense of the word, voting only to keep his taxes down. He doesn't care about all the religious malarky. He did believe all the voting booths should go electronic. I have no doubt I would feel the same way if it meant my candidate won every time. I kept telling myself, and I honestly believe this, that I could handle Bush winning if I believed it was an honest, fair win. But my overdeveloped sense of justice simply cannot come to terms with the margin of error that occurred in this election. I was depressed not because of Bush, but at the thought that the entire democratic process was tainted and untrustworthy. Sure, I'll keep voting, but never again with such a foolish sense of optimism, and this saddened me more than I could bear. I'd like to see a focus in the next four years not so much on coming up with a viable Dem presidential candidate as on voting reform and fixing the margin of error. I don't know what it is estimated at, but 2-3% error is no longer acceptable when that's what the winner wins by.

So I went to see "The Incredibles" after work, despite being dog-tired. I really felt a desperate need to laugh. And I did, though not as much as I had hoped. The movie seemed more action-oriented rather than humor. Maybe I'll watch it again when I'm not in such a bad state of mind.

As of now, I am going to (try to) get over it and move on. This letter that mooselet sent me from the London Times might help. )
grrgoyl: (Default)
Because something this good needs to be passed around.

grrgoyl: (Default)
Message From the Human Rights Campaign:

At 10:45 a.m., George W. Bush did something no other president in U.S. history has ever done: he demanded a constitutional amendment to require discrimination in America.

With this endorsement, President Bush struck a cruel blow against equality and liberty in our country; he escalated the fight for marriage equality to a dangerous and divisive new level. Now it's your turn to make history — click here to donate now.

That is why we are launching a comprehensive campaign to accomplish 4 crucial goals:

Stop the anti-marriage, anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment.
Block similar efforts to deny marriage equality at the state level.
Multiply public education efforts on a national scale.
Preserve the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision of November 2003.

We need your support to move forward with this campaign.

President Bush has made this campaign necessary, and HRC will not back down from this fight. Over the past few months, we have all witnessed amazing displays of equality in Massachusetts, San Francisco and New Mexico. It is not just in these areas, but every place where same-sex couples and families yearn for this most fundamental human right. We must fight now or forever lose our rights.

Your contribution today of $50, $100, $250 or more is crucial for our success. Click here to contribute.

As soon as you make your gift, you will be directed to pages on the HRC website that will give you further information about our efforts, and how your donation will help.

President Bush has drawn a line in the sand of our democracy. He is wrong, and he must be opposed by every citizen who believes in fairness and equality. Add your strength to this pivotal battle now.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Don't just sit around complaining about Bush's fucked up sense of right and wrong. The HRC accepts donations as small as $5, and every little bit helps. Do you really need all those extra icons when the rights of every gay person are about to be spat on?

Please, everyone, help if you can.

Many many thanks.

-=Lainey=-
grrgoyl: (Default)
"Without the right to a civil marriage, same-sex couples: can be denied the right to visit a loved one in the hospital; must pay federal income taxes on a partner's health insurance; must pay estate taxes when a partner dies; receive no Social Security survivor benefits, despite paying payroll taxes just like their straight co-workers; and are left without a multitude of other critical rights and protections. According to a 1997 General Accounting Office study, there are more than 1,000 benefits, rights and responsibilities provided on the basis of marital status in federal law. There are also hundreds of state-level benefits afforded to married couples."


Sign the petition millionformarriage.org to support the right to marriage for gays. Let your voice be heard!

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