Thursday

18 August 2016

Just posted this to Facebook:

So...I needed to redraw a number for that prize...so I did...and this is the number that random.org spit out:

Congrats to Michelle Calvo.

I'll message you on FB, see if you want it mailed or delivered.

Or I might hold it hostage, I dunno.

Maybe trade it for some strawberries at the Cheesecake Factory.

I can do that... right???



In other news...Max's first work of fiction, THE EMPEROR OF SAN FRANCISCO. is now out.He posted this on his FB author page:

Don't try to click those links...it's an image...

So far, the people who have read it (and it just popped up on Amazon for the Kindle last night, so...like 3) have really enjoyed it. Max has active links to each edition on his blog...but to get to the Kindle version, just [CLICK HERE.]

We're ordering some paperback and hardback copies, so if you think you'll want a pawtographed copy, stay tuned... we should have them in about 2 weeks.

Monday

15 August 2016

Thar be winners!

Of the Samsung Galaxy Tab E

#382... Katie Kirwan

Of the Dell 11" Laptop

#516...Honkers McBonkers (yeah LOL I'm gonna need your real name.)

I'll contact the winners tonight to double check shipping addresses, and will get them in the mail probably on Wednesday, since I won't be home until tomorrow night.

Next drawing is on September 15th for a 13" HP Laptop.

Bonus: if the Spouse Thingy hits his minimum ($2300) before or on that date, there will be an additional drawing for a $500 Amazon gift card.

Every $5 donated is a shot, and your donations are tax deductible. He's halfway there!

Thursday

11 August 2016

Oddz N Endz #7,312,554 v.28

♦ Max's book was uploaded to the printer and distributor at the end of July; normally I have a hard proof copy in hand within a week, and then it's on sale within days of approving the proof. This time, I have no idea what the problem is, but I not only have not seen a hard proof, I haven't even gotten an electronic proof. The book is coming...it's DONE...but it's hung up in the ether somewhere.

♦ Even so, we're powering on with the followup book. I'm starting to think the vomit draft will be done before the first book is available.

♦ Yes, there's a vomit draft. It's pretty much all stage direction and dialog at this point, and the actual "first" draft will come after. The vomit draft is the one where I just write without editing, pretty much barfing out words onto virtual paper. I'm having a lot of fun with this, but it's really, really, really bad at this point.

♦ The Spouse Thingy and I are still training and we're both picking up steam. We did 6 miles today and it was easy; not too long ago, he wasn't sure he could do six. Since he did not die, he's aware he can walk long distances.

♦ He's still $1,180 from being able to walk...and we're drawing the winner of the Samsung Galaxy Tab E and the winner of the Dell 11" laptop on Monday, August 15th. There's still time to have a shot at both prizes. Every $5 you donate gets you a shot. (I've hit minimum, so let's worry about him first.)
If he hits the magic number, $2300, on or before Sept 15th, there will be a drawing for a $500 Amazon gift card from those people who already donated.

♦ Still reading? Good for you. There's more.

♦ Many, many years ago, the Spouse Thingy and I moved to Utah, because that's where BYU lives. I had a little studio apartment, he rented a bedroom in a converted basement, and we were good little Mormons.

♦ Sort of.

♦ Use your imagination.

♦ Now, when you're a student at BYU, you sign an agreement, and part of that agreement is to not live in sin. Hell, you can't (or couldn't, I don't know about now) even live in an apartment building where there were students of the opposite gender. Apartment complexes in Provo tended to have more than one building: one for male students, one for female, and only the really desperate or brave visited the other alone.

♦ Also...my parents were in Okinawa. They were coming back the next summer, and we were planning on getting married then, but in the planning stages it became really clear that I was not getting any parental support or encouragement. My dad in particular was certain that we were going to crash and burn within a year. So no, we weren't getting any help in planning, and they were leaving the Sacramento area soon after returning from Okinawa. Before our intended wedding date.

♦ We were stubborn, and still planned on it...but in the meantime, we were very young, and had a whole lot of hormones, and no desire to get caught and then kicked out of BYU.

♦ So, six months before we were getting married...we got married. The intention was to do it all again when and if my parents stopped being asses about it, so we told no one.

♦ My dad never came around. So we had a "private" thing in Utah, alone, and adopted that as our official wedding date, and still did not tell. Well, not until the Boy was 7 or 8 years old. We told him, mostly because he could keep a secret, and we wanted to illustrate to him that we would support his adult decisions because we didn't want him to ever make a decision like that. And to this day we hold to that: whenever and however he and his fiancee decide to marry, we're fine with it. Elope or not. Hell, live together forever or not. It's their choice, their lives.

♦ Anyway. The one year mark my dad was sure about came and went. Again and again and again. He was glad to be wrong, but he never knew the truth...that annual you-be-wrong date happened six months earlier than he knew of.

♦ My parents never knew. And to be honest, if they were still alive, it would still be a secret.

♦ And yes, the Spouse Thingy told his mom before I made this public. We were pretty sure she wouldn't be as thoroughly ticked off as my parents would have been, because she's awesome like that. He told her this week, and since he didn't come home with his hair having been set on fire, I'm assuming it was all right.

♦ So. One of the reasons we're coming clean...this December we'll celebrate our 35th anniversary. It's a major enough milestone that I didn't want to NOT celebrate it openly.

♦ Thirty-five years, people. That's longer than a lot of you have been alive.

♦ Take my advice: don't carry a secret this long.

♦ Parents...support your kids. They know their hearts, and if you did your job, you know you can trust them. Kids...own your own lives.

♦ THIRTY FIVE FREAKING YEARS, Y'ALL.

♦ Now...we have to figure out HOW we want to celebrate....

♦ That's all. That's enough, eh...?

Wednesday

3 August 2016

So we're training. It's kind of what one must do before tackling a 60 mile walk, though I know a few who just show up for the event and walk it all without having tackled a single training mile, and they do just fine.

These people are clearly inhuman and much be stopped.

Yesterday we did an easy 5 miles and today was supposed to be 8 miles, but we got a late start and by the time we were headed out it was 72 and climbing fast. We then thought about cutting it to 6 miles, but at 4.5 the heat--only 85 at that point--was getting to me, so we went home and decided to go to Costco and walk around the giant building in the a/c.

In theory, this is a good idea.

In practice...by the time we got there we were both so hungry that if there had been a lot of free samples, we would have eaten them all.

So now it's almost 5 p.m. and we're 6.3 for the day...and if it cools down any tonight we might get those last 2.7. It could even be 90, because 90 with no sun doesn't feel half as bad a 85 with.

Kinda hoping we do, because I really don't want to get too far off schedule and I need to beat my feet the frak up before we start getting into the 10 mile range...which is next week.

I see a day trip to San Francisco next week...20-25 degrees cooler, nicer views. Well, to be fair, our original plans for today had us going to SF, but we were convinced otherwise last night by a couple of redditors who mentioned a few planned protests. So next week.

But we are training...only 16 weeks until the walk.

Thursday

21 July 2016

Something I'd forgotten about when training for a long walk...once you start to ratchet up your distance, getting over 5 miles, for a while you're hungry. I mean, you're hungry. You want to eat things as big as your head, and then an hour later, you want to do it again.

I had the same issue when I started swimming; for the first 2 weeks, all I wanted to do was eat.

Now, the first time I trained for this, IIRC, that kind of hunger didn't hit until I was walking over 8-10 miles. And then, it made sense; I'd burned 1000 calories, I was going to want to eat.

Today I did 4 easy miles (and I still have a hard time believing 4-6 miles is easy now, given how hard it was a few years ago) and would have done a couple more if not for the heat (which wasn't even 80 degrees...I am not adjusted to summer yet.) I stopped at Starbucks halfway for some iced tea, thinking that I would head for a place where I knew there was a restroom, because...tea...but wound up at home instead because I are a wimp.

An hour later, I wanted to eat everything in sight. I still do. I've restrained myself, but there's a gallon of ice cream in the freezer, and I've heard it calling my name since I got home.

This does not bode well for me. By the time I hit 10 miles, I'm going to be eating things the size of small children. If it keeps up, by the time the 3 Day rolls around I will have gained 75 pounds.

Really hoping next week to get into San Francisco again, but this time we'll park near Pier 39 and walk toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We can get 8 miles in without worrying about heat, and then the Spouse Thingy can have fresh seafood, and I will have popcorn or a pretzel, because, ew, seafood.

Really glad the doc said I could walk this year. I've missed this.


Tuesday

19 July 2016

There are 122 days until the San Diego 2016 3 Day; our high mileage days should have us doing 7 miles one day and 6 the next, so we're right on track. By the week after next, we need to hit 8/6, which seems easy enough...we might push for that next week, picking a day to go to San Francisco to walk between Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge, which beats the heck out of walking around Dixon all the time.

Remember this? LOL
I love this little town, but it's about 5 square miles of flat sameness, and after a while it's kind of mind numbing. The bonus of training with the Spouse Thingy this time is that I'm not trying to wedge my long walks in on days he's working or sleeping--which would put me walking alone on weekend days around town--but we're going out and getting the walks in while we do other things. Last week we went to SF for a few hours just to walk around downtown; it's a slower pace because of all the people-dodging, but face it, we'll be people-dodging in San Diego, too.

Also...so far no blisters. Anyone who was around for my first walk might remember the fun I had with those, pretty much right from the start.

Now...I'm at my goal, my fundraising is essentially done. The Spouse Thingy still needs to raise $1560, so if you're of a mind to donate, please donate to his walk. There are still prizes to be had--on August 1st someone will win a Samsung Galaxy Tab E tablet, and someone will win an 11" Dell laptop computer.

After that, the next drawing will be on September 15th, for a 13" Dell laptop. And if the Spouse Thingy makes it to $2300 by that date, a very generous donor who has already provided the spendy prizes is offering one more, a $500 Amazon gift card.

And as always...I can be bought. For the right donation to the Spouse Thingy, I will do things. Embarrassing things. Legal, but embarrassing.

Now, off to look at Google Maps, to decide where I want to walk tomorrow...


Thursday

14 July 2016

For reals. I don't play, I don't get it, and Pokemon in general was one of those things that flew right by me when it first started, but cripes...I've been unhappily surprised at the volume of posts I'm seeing online making fun of other people for going outside and having a good time.
 
It feels a lot like people whining YOU'RE NOT HAVING FUN THE RIGHT WAY. 

I did see one post last night, someone who was quite happy that their kid walked a total of 5 miles yesterday. He and his friends had so much fun, they're going to do it again. They met up at a local park and found half a dozen other kids doing the same thing, and had a ton of fun hanging out and getting to know each other. 
 
And yet...the same people who I've seen complaining about how our kids all sit inside in front of TVs and computers are now making fun of them for going outside and doing something.

No, they don't play the way we did when we were kids. We didn't play the same way our parents did. Our grandkids won't play the same way our kids do.
 
That's not a bad thing.
 
And yes, there are some very inattentive player walking into parked cars and trees, and the company that made the app has some work to do on placement, but overall? I tend to be in favor of anything that gets kids (and adults, be honest) excited and moving.

#yesthisisalreadyasoapboxissueforme

Friday

8 July 2016

From the Discussions With Friends and Acquaintances Files
"I'm tired of all of it right now. What gets me is that I've had a hard life, too. Minimum wage jobs. Food stamps. I was homeless for 3 years. I drove a shit car and I got pulled over a couple times a month for fix-it tickets. I struggled for half my adult life. Why is my hard life less important just because I'm white?"
It's not less important. Yes, everyone suffers at some point in their life. Statistically (the last time I checked, but it's been a while), there are more white people than black people on welfare. I wandered around San Francisco a bit this week, and the obvious homeless I saw were overwhelmingly white.

But here's the thing.

You and I?

Our struggles will never be because we are white.

It really is that simple. Everyone will experience hard times. Everyone struggles. Everyone has a moment in their life when they hit their knees because it doesn't seem like they can take one more thing going wrong. But you and I will never face those struggles with the reason being the color of our skin.

I will never be pulled over for driving while white.
I will never be tracked around a store because I am white.
I will never have to fear for my life when engaging someone in authority because I am white. 
"All lives matter, plain and simple."
Well yeah, all lives matter. But the truth is that right now, we all just seem to accept that white lives matter, and the divide is becoming so strong that a whole lot of people are rightly standing up to remind us all that black lives matter, too.

It sucks that we need reminding.

It's shameful that the message has to be shouted to be heard.

It's horrible that we didn't move past this need decades ago.

But here we are.

24 June 2016

This guy.


He is why my office is set up the way that it is. There's the TARDIS, tall bookshelf, less tall bookshelf, and his tree, so that he has access to the top of the TARDIS, which is his favorite place to hang out.


He also likes the top of that bookcase.

But.

At some point, he dragged a nip banana to the top of the TARDIS, and goes up there just about every day to get high. I don't mind this, it keeps him out of my hair.

But this...


...this is how the tops of the bookcases look all the freaking time now. I tell him to clean his mess up, but does he listen?

Damn cat.

Don't get me started on the footprints all over my desk...

Wednesday

15 June 2016

...and the winner is...

Of the Kodak Digital Camera

#117

Jerri Hodges








Of the Roku Stick

#140

Deborah Zemek







Of the Kindle Fire 6

#349

Susie McGavin







CONGRATS AND THANK YOU!!!

I'll double check to make sure I have your addresses, and if I do they'll go out no later than Friday. If I don't, I'll be emailing to get it.

The next drawing will be on August 1st, and the prizes up for grabs are a Samsung Galaxy Tab E, and a Dell 11" laptop.

Sunday

5 June 2016

In 10 days, someone is going to win a 14 MP Kodak digital camera. And someone is going to win a Roju stick. And someone is going to win a Kindle Fire 6.

All it takes to have a chance is to donate to my upcoming SGK 3 Day Walk; every $5 gets you an entry, and donating now still keeps you in the running for prizes the rest of summer (and there are 2 laptops coming up!)

Once my walk is fully funded (I'm only $600 from it) then I'll remove links to my walk and put the Spouse Thingy's in instead (and if you prefer, go ahead and donate to him! It still counts towards the drawings!)

And again, if we both reach our minimum goals by the end of September, one of my generous friends is springing for a pretty spiffy prize (yet to be determined, but we're pretty sure it will be of the 4K variety.)

Training in earnest will begin soon..we're kinda waiting for the Spouse Thingy to recover from surgery, but a couple weeks from now we'll head out on our first training walk...there's lots of time to get ready for this, and maybe this will be the year with no blisters!

Hush.

I can dream.

Monday

30 May 2016

Here's an idea: how about we don't judge someone else because their kid got away from them? It happens to even the best of parents; you turn away for 3 seconds, and the kid is gone. And yes, I realize you're all perfect and you special little snowflake would never get away from you. But those parents who have runners, you get it. You can have one moment of being human, and off the kid goes. It happens, and it happens to most parents. Generally you're lucky and catch them quickly, but go spend an hour in Disneyland and see how often kids take off. Hell, go to your public park on a busy day. Or the mall.

It happens.

And here's another idea: how about we don't judge a zoo for placing a human life above an animal, based on the little bit of video they could show on the news? The full video is online, and if you watch it you'll have a clearer understanding of the scope of what was happening. The gorilla was not going to protect that child; as a male, when presented with a child that was not his own offspring, he would have killed that boy.

Yes, other gorillas have cared for human children under similar circumstances...and those gorillas were female. Big difference.

Yes, it sucks that they killed the gorilla. But the truth is that if they had not, that little boy would be dead. Tranquilizers would not have worked fast enough and in his already agitated state would have further enraged him. Would you really have preferred a blood bath? A dead little boy over a dead animal?

There was no winning in this.

But now those parents are facing unbearable public scrutiny and are getting death threats. And unless you were right there, you don't really know what happened or how the kid got away from them. Your knee jerk reaction is not helping anything. The posting of memes proclaiming the gorilla to keeping a better eye on the kid than the parents is, frankly, mean.

If you have kids...you're not a perfect parent. None of us are. None of us can be. We all leave scars on our kids, no matter how hard we try not to.

What we can be is compassionate, and try to understand that these parents and that little boy are scarred for life, and now because of public reaction are probably terrified for their lives.

Do you really want to pile onto that? Be that kind of person?

It sucks all the way around, but no one deserves the hell these parents are getting online, no one deserves the death threats, and to contribute to the pain they will be weighed down with for the rest of their lives--they're never getting over this, you know that--is terribly unkind.

Saturday

28 May 2016

Three years ago today, my mom died.

Three years ago tomorrow is my parents wedding anniversary; it would have been 67 years.

Like the last year, when a normal person might feel the sting of mourning slap them in the face, I feel more grateful than anything. Religious convictions aside (and I am not dripping with religion, since I think it's one of those things best left 99% private 99% of the time) I do think there's something after this life, and knowing what tomorrow is...I'm just glad my parents are together.

So no, I haven't been sitting here dwelling on it, other than to note the date...but I did note it. And I hope they're having one hell of a good time together.

Wednesday

25 May 2016

The first draft of this book--including roughly 10 passes through it to make additions and subtractions and to hunt adverbs--is done. The file is off to my editor and a copy has been printed out for the Spouse Thingy to proofread (and yes, Charlie, I will send you one to proofread, too.)

I am nauseated.

Unless you count a manuscript I wrote in high school--and I don't, though I may rewrite that one someday--this is my first venture into young adult fiction, doubled by it also being light science fiction. Add to it the pressure of this being Max's book (and he sat on the back of my chair, thumping his thinks into my head using his tail during a large chunk of the writing) and I'm about 13 kinds of nervous.

I'm also about 13 kinds of excited so while the editor tears it apart (and she surely will; I left a lot of stage-direction type things in the narrative for...reasons...and it's dialog-heavy [which she expects from me but that won't stop her from pointing it out] ) I'll dive into taking notes for the next one.

I realized during one pass, while I was hunting adverbs, that I used some familiar names; one was intentional, because a friend really wanted to be a princess, others were not but I'm not inclined to change those names because they fit well. I do need a female name for a queen that shows up toward the end but will be in the next book...she may or may not be a little bit bitchy, but she will surely be somewhat flaky and unsure of herself.

Who wants to be the possibly bitchy but surely not-great-at-the-job queen? I don't want to keep the name I used as a placeholder; it fell into place because I had the TV on and when I glanced up Raven Simone was on the screen and it was like, "phkit, I'll use that for now." Not really feeling that choice.

So.

The first draft of Max's first piece of fiction is in the can, but needs a character name.

Possibly a title, too...

Sunday

22 May 2016

Oddz N Endz #983,102,344.6/2(4.66*9.1)+(1.2.3.4/5)[mathishard]

♦ Max and I are coming into the home stretch with his first piece of fiction. He's been like the little angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other, reminding me that this piece is targeted for young adults so we can't say that, but then taunting me with other inappropriate material because kids today.

♦ I believe he is also upset because I nixed using the word "dood" in favor of its more traditional spelling. Proof of this was the tail thwacked at my face as he lounged on the back of my chair, when I informed him that "dood" is technically not a word. Ok, not proof, you'll just have to take my word for it. But I did get a face-full of Max tail.

♦ Speaking of the furry monster, his late night concertos have turned into a raging bitch-fest held less than 6 inches from my face. It's one thing for him to sit in the hallway, singing; it's a whole other thing for him to be right there, yowling his head off as he tries to get me out of bed. Yes, the answer is to close the door, and I do that once he wakes me up, but there have been nights when he's been genuinely distressed, so I leave it open just in case.

♦ I have high hopes that sooner rather than later he'll learn that being a little bitch at night gets him removed from the room and the door gets closed. I also understand that I am seriously deluded.

♦ This morning the little shit was fed by the Spouse Thingy when he got home from work; an hour later both cats were banging on the bedroom door. I got up, because hey, maybe the Spouse Thingy was late and they hadn't yet eaten, but no...they had. They just wanted me up so that they could have the bed, and they wanted it RIGHT NOW so they could steal my warms.


♦ This is the current look I'm getting from him. It's past snack o'clock, and I am clearly failing him.

♦ Fine. Crunchy treats, and then back to work...though I may go over to Starbucks just so I can have some task-master free thinking time.

Friday

13 May 2016

I was thrilled when I went into Starbucks today; it was nearly empty, save for a few people sitting on the far side of the room, their faces bathed in the glow from their MacBooks screens. My favorite table on the close side of the room was available, and no one else was near. So after I got my tea I sat down, cracked open my notebook, and began scribbling furiously.

There was a metric ton of crap I wanted to get out of my head and onto paper, notes for the Max's current work-in-progress, and the solitude of my little corner of Starbucks was perfect for dislodging all of that from my brain. I worked in near-quiet, save the music playing and the sounds of the baristas working, for half an hour. It was the perfect ratio of noise to quiet that I like, and I was getting copious notes written.

And then came John and Jane Doe, who picked--from all those empty ones--the table right next to me, and they began a very not-so-quiet conversation. Granted, they had every right to sit there and do what they wanted to do, but dammit, I was on a roll. Eavesdropping was not on my list of things I wanted to get done today.

I kept trying to work, but everything came to a screeching halt. Their conversation went from admiring their drinks to the weather to what to do about "the bathroom issue."

People...the older I get, the less I care about social convention. I know I need to keep my mouth shut, but I'm rapidly nearing the point where I don't give a shit, and I am going to say something that gets me into trouble. Today was close to being that day.

Jane was sympathetic, a little bit. "I sort of get where they're coming from, but I don't want to share a bathroom with a man."

No, Jane, you do not sort of get where they're coming from. Not even a little. Because if you did, you would understand something very fundamental: that transwoman in the restroom is not a man. That transwoman is a woman, in every way that matters. The junk between someone's legs? That doesn't matter. She is a woman, and deserves to pee in peace, the same as anyone else.

I think that's what's missing from the national conversation. It's not about men using women's restrooms, or women using men's; it's understanding that regardless of biology, some peoples' parts don't match who they really are. Yes, she might have a penis, but she's still a woman. She doesn't exactly have much in the way of testosterone anymore, so she really isn't a threat to you. And yes, that muscle-bound, gorgeous gentleman might still have a vagina, but he's still a he, and is not some goofy chick trying to sneak a peak at your inadequacies.

You've been using restrooms with trans people for years and had absolutely no idea.

And wrap your brain around this: that woman in the restroom who looks like a man but is still obviously a female may be gay, may be not; she may be gender fluid or gender queer, or may be not. She may be on the precipice of transitioning, or might be perfectly happy where she is: completely hetero but still gender fluid.

You may be confused, but your confusion doesn't give you the right to make her uncomfortable.

It certainly doesn't give you the right to eject her from the restroom.

But maybe, if we stop talking about men using the women's restroom and start grasping the fact that the person making you a little uncomfortable is a woman regardless of genitalia, we can get past the idea that it's all right to shove someone out of the restroom in the first place, and it's all right for someone else to be different than yourself and to pursuit their own identity.

You don't have to like it. Just accept it.

And before the Bible-thumpers weigh in with "God doesn't make mistakes and if He wanted that person to be a woman He'd have made him one to begin with" consider this: we interfere with the way people are all the freaking time. We "fix" mistakes of biology as a matter of routine when we think we understand them, and we do it because fixing things makes their lives easier (or we hope it will.)

Consider the kid born with a cleft lip. Are you going to tell him he has to stay that way because God wanted him to have it? How about the kid born with her heart on the outside? Does she have to live with that until she dies? Doctors can fix it, but why bother if that's what God intended?

And you...someone who has undergone mastectomy to rid yourself of breast cancer. God fully intended you to have both breasts, did He not? Or is that all right because it's you and you want to live? What about you, dude? You lost a testicle to cancer, had it removed so it wouldn't kill you. You were clearly born with two, apparently because that's what God intended. Hey, keep both of those disease-riddled kidneys. God wants that.

Ah, but that's different, no? That's life and death.

So is someone's transition. Not being able to, not having access to the health care that makes it possible, drives people to suicide every day. It is most definitely a matter of life and death, and deserves the same intervention that any other hiccup in the process of biology gets.

We play God all the time. We interfere with the seeming order of things because sometimes biology screws up. We do it because to do anything else is unkind. We fix mistakes of biology, because the person affected is not a mistake, but someone living with one, and to refuse is to be on the wrong side of morality.

God doesn't screw up. But the clear fact is that He allows processes to, for whatever Giant Cosmic Reasons we're not yet able to comprehend. He also gives us the intelligence to do something about it all, to reason our way through it, to study and develop ways to cope and repair. He allows the kid to be born with a cleft lip for His own reasons, but he also gave us the smarts to fix it.

This is no different. You don't have to understand why someone needs to correct the gender of their birth any more than you need to understand why the narwhal bacons at midnight.

(That probably doesn't make sense to you, but it does make sense to thousands of people online right this moment. And I'm willing to bet you accept that.)

So maybe just accept, too, that the transwoman in the stall next to your wife is a woman, and nothing else. And truthfully, if you're worried about who's in the restroom with your kid, maybe think about not letting your kid go in there alone.

Frankly, I would be more worried about the men in the restroom with my son if he was still little... statistics and all that.

And if you're that concerned, instead of tossing people out of a restroom and making them feel less than human, direct your energy into something that makes more sense: advocate for unisex, single stall restrooms. Then everyone gets to pee in peace.

And me?

Next person to whack me with a purse in the ladies room because they have a knee jerk reaction to the short hair and tattoos is not getting off as lightly as before. I will defend myself, even if it means breaking that little old Asian lady in half, because people? I am tired. I'm done with the crap.

I shouldn't have to worry about it, but I do. And I have it far, far easier than my trans friends, and I know that.

Saturday

30 April 2016

...and we have a winner...

Drawing for the first prize in this years' 3 Day Walk Prize Pool is #137, Leslie Smith.

I'll contact you tonight and arrange for delivery!

Thank you!

Next drawing is on June 15 for a 14 MP Kodak digital camera, a Roju Stick, and Kindle Fire 6--3 people are going to win something!

Friday

29 April 2016

It could have been uncomfortable...

I was standing in the cat food aisle at the pet store, poking through everything to find the varieties that Max will (and can) eat, and behind me heard an almost-adult male voice very near me, chanting can I touch you, can I touch you, can I touch you?

The hairs on the back of my neck did not stand up; I didn't have any sort "oh, hell, I'm in trouble here" feeling. I stood up and turned around, and there was a teenage boy, apparently a bit developmentally disabled, and a woman was rushing to get to him, apologizing profusely with, "He saw your tattoos, I am so sorry."

I held out my arms and told him he could touch, but only from my wrists to my elbows (because really, some limits seemed to be in order), and then thanked him for asking first.

Some people? They don't ask. It's rare, but every now and then someone reaches out without thinking about it, because they're drawn to the ink and not the person. This kid asked, and I appreciated it.

That's Thumper and that's Chip and that's Dale and that's Mickey and I don't know who that is but one's a tiger, and you have a kitty and oh! Grumpy with Thumper! 

He carefully traced one finger over each arm, fascinated by the pictures, and then asked, sincerely, "Does your mom know someone drew on you?"

I assured him she had, and she was okay with it...and asked him to not draw on himself unless his mom said it was all right.

His eyes lit up; I could hear the sigh she didn't exhale.

"We'll talk about it when we get home. I'm not promising but IF I say yes, we have to use a washable marker, okay?"

She thanked me for letting him look so closely, but I'm not entirely sure she was really happy about it, because I guarantee, when that kid gets home, he's drawing on himself no matter what anyone else says.

My day...totally made.

Wednesday

27 April 2016

You know the old adage, "It doesn't matter who you vote for, just that you vote?"

I believe that. If you're an adult, get your sorry ass registered to vote if you haven't, and on election day take that sorry ass to your assigned polling place and cast your vote.

All the whining about "my vote won't count" or "my candidate isn't going to win so why bother?" is bullshit. Just vote. It's not that hard.

California's primaries are so late that a lot of the time it feels like it doesn't matter. I'll still go vote, because CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY.

And no, I am not voting Republican. I probably won't vote Republican again until the party returns to a sense of sanity over Tea-Party hysterics. And make no mistake, I see a very sharp divide between Republicans and the Republican Party. Most of the former that I know are perfectly nice, thoughtful, reasonable people; I'm seeing none of that in the former. Republicans are mostly sane; the party is broken.

Still...if you are a registered Republican and haven't voted yet, it might surprise the hell out of you to know that if you're voting for Trump, it doesn't bother me. In fact, were I a registered Republican I would vote for him over Cruz, ten times over (if voting ten times were legal.)

Here's the thing...I initially wondered (out loud, on social media) if Trump was mentally ill. It would explain a lot. Then I wondered if he was perhaps trolling the entire political process; face it, the Trump who is running for the Republican nomination is not the Trump people who know him personally say that he is. He has the money to stage a whim, and the entire political process is so fractured, so why not?

I don't like the things he says or the way he says them--the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, Muslim-hating rhetoric is just plain wrong--but I also don't think he truly means them. He's tapping into the underlying anger of the masses and playing on it, and while he's at it has exposed the really ugly underbelly of our culture. If he's somehow elected, there's no way--and he knows it--he can carry out most of the things he's claiming he can do (while also never stating HOW he'll do any of it.)

Trump comes off as crazy, and it's by intent. He knows what he's doing, he knows the room he's playing to.

I actually get the appeal of Trump. He's the anti-politician playing the politician's game, and beating them. He's not the establishment, while also being very much a part of the establishment. But I hate that so many of his most vocal supporters are swallowing whole the fear he's whipping up and calling for that wall to be built and for Muslims to be deported. Trump knows those things won't happen, but I'm not so sure about his supporters.

Cruz, on the other hand...this guy is the real deal: Tea Party, backasswards, vile, evil (IMNSHO, of course.) I've had the chance lately to talk to a couple of people who actually have met him and worked with him, and the consensus: you want real evil, vote for him. He's loathsome, tiresome, and eats giant bowls of Jerk Flakes for breakfast.

(Ok, so maybe not that last one...but the labels I've heard are "jerk," "asshole," "mean," and "possible Anti-Christ.")

((I do not for one moment believe he is actually the Anti-Christ.))

I have no desire to turn the clocks back so far we wind up back in the 50s. I suspect Cruz would be happy to take us there. And I'm sorry (really, I am,) because this is so freaking childish, but I really do want to punch the TV every time I see him on it. He evokes in me a visceral response that is not reasonable at all, but it's real enough to make me trust my gut.

So who am I voting for?

Haven't decided.

But I WILL vote.

Monday

25 April 2016

Random Stuffs

♦ In just 5 days, someone is going to win a Garmin Vivosmart HR and a Garmin Index Smart Scale. All it takes to be in the running is a donation to either my 3 Day walk fund, or to the Spouse Thingy's fund. Every $5 donated gets you an entry...and it's for all the prizes we have this year, all through the summer.

♦ I keep seeing this posted on Facebook (literally, over 20 times yesterday):


Come on, people. Stop sharing this. If you made it past 6th grade history class, you SHOULD already know that two of those men were never President, and one who is would probably be pissed off that he's on money. If you're aware of this, I can only think that what you really mean is that you only want old white men on your money. Because it's never been just Presidents (and I truly want to see your head explode if Obama makes it on our cash at some point. Hey, he's a President.)

I have to admit, the first couple of times I saw it I thought it was a joke, being passed around with a sense of irony, but then...cripes...there are a whole lot of people who took it seriously and shared it with genuine intent.

♦ I'm getting real tired of 2016 being the year of celebrities dying. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, compared to the thousands who lead quiet lives but die everyday, it seems worthless to be upset over the death of someone I would never have known personally, never have spoken to, and might not have even liked, but... the truth is that the nice, upstanding guy who lives 5 streets over who drops dead from a heart attack probably had no impact on my day to day life; to hear he died would make me a touch sad, and I would send genuine warm wishes for his family, but that's it. A momentary wish for better for his family.

On the other hand, the musician I never met, never would meet, wrote and sang part of the soundtrack to my life. They invoked emotions in me, defined moments for me, and helped me get to know myself just a little bit more. That writer? They drew me into new and different worlds, taught me that the picture doesn't have to be in front of my face but can instead be created inside my head. When that ends, it's like a tiny piece of soul goes with them.

♦ New Doctor Who companion has been announced...and with the excitement of that comes the bummer of the remembering that we don't get the next season until 2017. We get the Christmas special, and that's it. If I croak before then, I'm going to be super pissed.

♦ Next week...we were supposed to be on our way to Disneyland to run in the 10K and half marathon. Instead, we're going to the Monterrey Aquarium, because we had to pull out of the races, owing to the expectation that the Spouse Thingy was going to be off his feet for a month because of some (minor, don't worry) surgery, but the paperwork chase to get all the before-surgery things done, the date was pushed back a month.

♦ Yes, I realize that's a clusterfark of a sentence, but this is stream-of-consciousness blogging today, so I'm leaving it.

♦ Don't forget...I got toys you can win.

Thursday

7 April 2016

A couple of years ago, maybe three, I took a motorcycle ride and partway through stopped at a McDonald's/gas station to get a drink and use the restroom. I was decked out in protective riding gear--blinding-his viz jacket, silver mesh armored pants, helmet in hand--and as I came out of the stall in the restroom, there was an older Asian woman who had just come in.

She freaked out. She stammered, "Not for men, not for men," and started hitting me with her purse.

She literally hit me. More than once.

I did not hit her back, though I threatened to if she did it just one more time...she then hid in the handicapped stall until I left, probably because she 1) realized her mistake or 2) did not and assumed I was there to rape and pillage in the gas station ladies' room.

All I wanted to do was pee.

I had every right to be in there.

But what if instead of assaulting me, she had gone for help? What if, because of the gear and the super short hair making me look a hell of a lot more male than I felt, I'd been held there until the police came, and forced to prove my gender? What if I HAD hit her back--and given the difference in our sizes, I probably would have really hurt her--and then had to prove I wasn't an M2F transgender, ripe with muscle mass still, using a restroom that made sense to me, but perhaps not to anyone else?

The gist...if she hadn't decided to hit me and then hide, if she had instead gone for help, at some point there's a chance I would have had to let someone else see for themselves that I have the "correct" parts that allow me access to the ladies' room.

Make no mistake: I was assaulted in that rest room. I was physically hit, emotionally punched, and deeply humiliated. If she'd screamed for help, those who would have come to her aid probably would have been men milling about in the gas station or McD's...and there's that real possibility that they would have taken me down first, before asking questions.

People who are awash with cortisol, trying to defend those they perceive as weaker? They can go a bit overboard, and do more damage than that likely intended. I could have wound up as a bloody mess on the restroom floor, all for the horrible crime of not looking like someone else wanted me to, and because I had to pee.

Let's suppose I was transgender. Someone in transition, at that point where I still looked a bit masculine, but on HRT, facial hair gone, and had significantly reduced muscle mass.

Would that have made the assault okay?

Would that make it all right for some gas station manager, or perhaps a police officer, demand I prove I have the "right" genitals to be in that rest room?

Who gets to decide, people?

I have been yelled at, made fun of, sneered at, followed and mocked, and literally assaulted because I don't present the typical, expected notion of what a female looks like. I have been afraid, I have been angry, and I have felt overwhelming humiliation--not because I am who I am, but because of the way other people have treated me.

I shouldn't have to prove my gender.

No one should.

31 March 2016

I may have mentioned once or twice, that the Spouse Thingy is joining me in walking the SGK 3 Day Walk in San Diego this year. We have until November to raise a total of $4600 ($2300 each), and like always, I am willing to do things to raise the money.

To start… In gearing up for fundraising this year, a couple of pretty freaking generous people (who wish to remain anonymous) coughed up some freaking fantastic prizes. I am blown away by their generosity, and haven’t been able to thank them enough…because, damn, these are super spiffy with sprinkles on top. In total, the prizes exceed $1000 in value.

As in previous years, for every $5 you donate to either my or the Spouse Thingy’s walk fund, you’re entered to win.

In no particular order, we have:

A Garmin Vivosmart HR* and a Garmin Index Smart Scale
Kodak 14MP digital camera
Roku Streaming Stick
Kindle Fire 6
Samsung Galaxy Tab E
11" Dell laptop
13” Dell laptop

*The Garmin Vivosmart HR is an open-box, used for 5 days during a merchandise test. The scale was not opened.

Because it’s the most valuable—at $500, or priceless in terms of health, and the sooner you get healthy the better—the first up will be the Vivosmart HR and Index Smart Scale. Winner will be drawn on April 30th after 6 pm Pacific, so don’t wait!

Other prize dates:
June 15: Kodak camera, Roju Stick, and Kindle Fire 6
August 15: Samsung Galaxy Tab E and 11.6” Dell laptop
September 15: 13” Dell laptop

The earlier you enter, the more prizes you have a shot at; enter now and you’re still in the running for the past prize in July, even if you’ve already won something.

Here’s the kicker: if we both meet our fundraising goals by the end of September, we’ll have one more, hopefully really big, prize…details are still being worked out, but one donor has offered to get something really spiffy.

OK THUMP, HOW DO I DONATE & ENTER?

To make it easy…Donate directly to my SGK fundraising page [click here] and be sure to use your correct email address, so that I can contact you for shipping when you when. Once I hit the $2300 minimum, we’ll change the URL and you can donate to the Spouse Thingy’s page.

OK THUMP, **WHY** SHOULD I DONATE?

Other than you might win something? Because 80% of the money raised from these walks goes directly to the research that will eventually find a cure for breast cancer.

You’ll help save the boobies.

You like boobies. I know you do.

OK THUMP CAN I DONATE MORE THAN ONCE?

Sure. You can make more than one donation, or if you prefer you can split a larger donation and Komen will charge your credit card in equal installments every month for 4 months.

OK THUMP BUT WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE THE WABBIT **DO** THINGS?

Suggest something. I've overplayed the hair dye thing and I like it, so that's not really a perk...but hey, I will do things.

And guys...it's your generosity that makes these events happen, and because of that progress is being made. And for that, I thank you.

http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2015/SanDiegoEvent2016?px=3376866&pg=personal&fr_id=1956

Sunday

27 March 2016

I'm sitting in Starbucks at a table where I can see the bar; this guy comes in with his kid, who practically drools on the bakery display case while Dad orders drinks.

After a minute, the kid shouts out, "Hey, Dad, if you get me a cake pop I'll be good all the way home."

Dad. "Do you mean to tell me that if I don't get you one, you won't be good?"

The kid hesitates a beat, then, "Pretty much."

Random dad, I'm sorry I LOLd.

(No, the kid did not get the cake pop.)

Thursday

24 March 2016

Oddz n Endz #3,945,012v2

 ♦ Every time I plop down here and start to blog, my brain engages and every freaking thing I've been working on lately comes rushing at me. On one hand, it's good because I then take lots of notes and am making some pretty serious headway in Max's newest literary venture (and trust me, a cat writing fiction? I have to pay close attention) but am also getting seriously distracted by other ideas that are clamoring for equal time.

♦ Max's book was, originally, supposed to be a one-off. The potential is there for so much  more, though, that it will be at least 2 books, and could go on as long as people want to read the stories. Hell, the volume of notes and ideas is long enough to outlast us both. I may need to teach Buddah to write.

♦ Getting back to the gym has been going swimmingly. =snort= see what I did there?

♦ Now that the convertible is gone, and the weather is awesome, I'll probably ride the scooter to the gym more often than not. The only downside to that is all the protective gear. It's enough to make me wish I was like 90% of the other riders I see around here, in just jeans and a t-shirt.I hit the ground once, though, and even at just 35 mph I'm not willing to do that again without gear.

♦ Not really willing to with gear,, either, but, ya know...

♦ Ice cream for dinner may have been a mistake.

♦ I am so ready for this election cycle to be over.

♦ I want donuts.

♦ Seriously. Someone bring me donuts.

17 March 2016

Last year, I was swimming. A lot. In fact, I did so much swimming—about 1.5-2 miles 4x a week—that I killed my shoulder. It got to where I could barely move it, so I backed off on it (the timing was good because it was getting cold out, and the pool is outdoors) and decided to ramp up the walking, specifically trying to trim time off my pace, shooting for under 16 minutes per mile.

Here’s the thing when you’re kinda fat and in phfft shape…you really do need to approach things at a slower pace until you’re not as fat and in slightly better than =meh= shape.

I did not do that, and wound up with significant hip and lower back pain.

Now, did I go to the doctor about any of this?

Hell, no. With my shoulder, there was that little voice that said my doc would send me to another doc, who would declare my rotator cuff shredded and it must be reamed out. Clearly I know better than the medical professionals, so I decided to rest it.

My hip and back…well, I have arthritis in both, and a narrow lower spine, and have been told before to just back off and rest it. So that’s what I did. I rested and gained back 5 unhappy pounds.

In the bigger picture, I just wanted to be able to get back to walk-jogging soon enough to get my time fast enough to survive the Pixie Dust Challenge. And I was getting there, I really was.

But then the Spouse Thingy had something come up, something that’s not really mine to tell (but it’s not horrible, so don’t worry) but that, if it comes to pass, will mean I should stay home and we would both miss the races we registered for. I was seriously looking forward to this (because it’s at Disneyland) but honestly, I am not disappointed.

And I’m not disappointed because for once MISSING SOMETHING IS NOT MY FAULT!

Insert Snoopy Dance.

Since I don’t have to focus on cutting my walk pace, I can get back into the pool. I swam for the first time since October the other day, making sure I didn’t push too hard, and it felt great. It was half an hour of oh yesssss, and I wanted to keep going but forced myself out of the pool. I’m going back tomorrow and will swim for 40 minutes, and see how that feels (though this time, if at 40 minutes I still feel great, I’m staying in the water and will just work on kicks.)

I’ve also managed to drag myself out of bed most mornings between 7-7:30, which gives me the cooler part of the day to get out and walk…with my eye on the Yosemite Half in October, and the 60 miles of the 3 Day in November.

Max’s book is also coming along…so this will be a busy spring and summer, and as long as it doesn’t get too horribly hot, don’t count on me for much of anything else.

I got some sweating to do.

And some writing.

Sometimes, both at the same time.