Heterosexual sanctity of marriage is a myth.

When a man and a woman who met 15 minutes ago can fly to Las Vegas, get married, then get annulled two days later, there is no sanctity of marriage.

When one spouse can spend years verbally beating the other down, destroying their soul, making them feel worthless, there is no sanctity of marriage.

When a 90 year old former playboy can marry a hot 21 year old bleach blonde with ginormous boobs...yeah. No sanctity.

So when people are screaming and shouting and turning red in the face over the mere idea that allowing gays to marry destroys the sanctity of marriage...well, guess what. Straight people destroyed that a very long time ago.

Here's the thing: I don't have a problem with people being opposed to gay marriage based on their religious beliefs. That's the beauty of Freedom of Religion. You believe what you believe and you practice your faith as best you can. Your church has every right to deny membership to anyone for any reason. If you honestly believe that only blond haired, blue eyed people over the height of 5'6" but under 6'5" and 250 pounds will make it into heaven, by all means, practice your faith.

But don't inflict in on anyone else.

Inflicting it on others would also include trying to block a civil matter because it offends your religious sensibilities. If your church teaches that the union of two homosexuals is a sin, then your church should never (and will never) be forced into performing ceremonies which would unite those two people. Your religious rights should never be violated, unless you're causing harm to other people or living things.

But marriage outside of a church is a civil matter.

The California Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of allowing gay marriage; now the religious right-wing is campaigning to have the CA Constitution changed to block any laws that allow this to happen. Because, apparently, this offends them.

Separation of church and state, anyone?

Do you really want the government to be able to decide with whom you can spend the rest of your life?

This past Sunday members of the LDS Church were read a letter from Church Officials urging them to support a November vote that would pave the way to change the constitution. I imagine it stopped just short of telling the members how to vote, because that would be illegal. But I have no doubt it was worded in a way that made it quite clear what the President and Apostles want the membership in CA to do.

What bothers me most about this is that this request violates one of the fundamental things the LDS church teaches: that each person is born with Free Agency, and each person has the right to decide for themselves what is fundamentally right and righteous. The church can certainly take a stand on the issue--it always has--and never allow gay marriage to occur within their membership (excommunicating those who do it) but to step into the political arena to accomplish their agenda smacks of hypocrisy.

You'd think a church that has faced such huge amounts of political persecution in the past would avoid doing the same to anyone, regardless of whether or not it conflicted with their credo.

You'd think.

But still...I have not yet heard a person argue against gay marriage that has not based their belief on a religious principle.

"It offends God." (Did He tell you this personally?)

"The Bible says it's wrong." (The Bible says a lot of things are wrong and you're doing them anyway.)

"It's a sin." (So is half of everything else you do. I'm not going to stop you from doing it, though.)

"Gay people can't breed, so they can't get married." (So...straight people who don't want kids should not be allowed to marry.)

Guess what? We're all sinners. Very few people actually live according to every tenet in the Bible. Take a look at what you're wearing. I'm willing to bet you're mixing a few fibers there. And really, when was the last time you stoned an adulterer? If you're going to base your arguments against something on Biblical principles, then you better get out there and start chucking rocks at the neighborhood slut.

Go ahead. I'll sit here and wait. I won't post bail, but I'll wait.

Keep your religion. Honor your religion. But keep it out of civil matters. Gay marriage is definitely a civil matter, and if the two guys down the street want to make legal the cohabitation they've engaged in for the last 20 years, let them. It doesn't harm you. It doesn't defile your marriage. It has nothing to do with you, other than it "offends" you and you're pretty sure the Bible says it's wrong.

And if you can actually explain how the sanctity of my 26+ year marriage is ruined by my gay friends tying the knot, I'll certainly listen. Just don't use religion as a basis for your argument. Don't throw the Bible at me. Because in the end, it's not a matter of religion, but of persecution, and I'd really like to understand how anyone can consider denying a basic human right to someone else can be a perfectly fine thing to do.


Dang...I hope we don't get this desperate to fill up the tank...


Words Of Wisdom From The Walmart McD's

  • If you have a mouthful of food, more than you can actually chew, it's not a good time to lecture your kid on table manners.
  • If you don't understand that pre-approval credit card form, having your friend help you fill it out is not a good idea, especially not when you announce your social security number while doing it.
  • If your friend tells you that to build good credit you need to get yourself 5 or 6 cards and use them liberally, your friend is an idiot. If you take said friends' advice; well, that's probably why you spit sprays of a Big Mac all over the place while you lectured your kid on why we don't put our elbows on the table.
  • If you're going to get your nads pierced, keep that to yourself when everyone else is eating. Don't add that your butt tattoo is healing nicely.
  • If you don't want lots of people staring at you, don't ask your friend, while gesturing to your cart filled with Coke, chips, and cookies--especially after discussing how it's going to cost you $300 to get your nads pierced--if Walmart takes Food Stamps.
  • If you return to the Walmart McDs and start picking on a random twelve year old for the egregious error of taking too long at the soda fountain, don't be surprised when people get upset with you.
  • If you shove that twelve year old, don't act all "Whut?" when a bunch of people stand up.
  • If someone bigger than you gets up and gets between you and the kid, really don't be surprised when said someone warns you about picking on someone smaller than you.
  • If you take a swing at said someone and they duck and you hit the wall, and then said someone palm heels you in the gut, don't get mad if people laugh at you, even if one of them is the approaching security guard.
  • If any of this rings a bell with you, do the world a favor and after you get out of jail, stay home. You're just not ready to be out in public.


So, what'dya think?

Substitute the shopping cart for the kitty stroller, and take the cats for a ride...?


The air is still smoky, but it's not terrible; a few minutes ago on the news I heard that the fire nearby is about 80% contained, so hopefully weather will cooperate (winds die down, please) and they can get it 100% contained tonight.

What sucks is that as soon as they get this one put out, they have to soldier on and help with any of the other 4,000 fires brewing in CA.

This is gonna be a bad fire year, I think...and the fire season has barely started.

Truly, our fire fighters don't get paid enough.


Smoke, Smoke, Everywhere, and Not Much Air To Breathe...

We have been slammed with fires around here lately; fortunately for us nothing has been remotely close to our house, but the skies have been dotted with smoke lines for days. Look in any given direction, and you might see a giant plume of white or hazy gray smoke curling up into the clouds.

Problem here is we haven't had any appreciable rain in so long that everything is dry, the hills are dead and brown, and there's an abundance of idiots tossing cigarette butts out their car windows, lighting strikes, sparks popping off cars.

My sister called yesterday to see if we were being evacuated; apparently a story ran on Fox News about a nearby fire resulting in thousands of people being evacuated. I hadn't heard anything about it, so I scanned the news and the Internet, and figured it must be the big fire in Santa Cruz county. Nowhere near here, but still...scary stuff. I felt bad for the people involved, but went back to watching several episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

But today...I needed to run errands today, so I hopped in the car--which we keep in the garage now because we're weenies and don't want the inside to be too hot for our delicate selves--and took off, wondering why it seemed so cloudy out. No rain in the forecast, I didn't remember cloud cover being mention as part of it.

Then I realized: it's smoke. Could be from anywhere in the 200 mile radius around here, blowing in on the wind.

I got to WalMart, got out of the car, and realized further: I have a reactive airway. I don't know if it's true asthma or not, because once I get away from whatever is offending my (smoke, perfume, artificial fragrances), I'm fine. Give me fresh air, and I can breathe again. I hurried across the parking lot, grateful I'd found a very close spot, but was already coughing by the time I got to the door. I sat in the McD's until I could suck in a deep breath without a phloem-y cough, then went to get the kitty litter I'd gone for, and got in line--surrounded by people who apparently bathe in Chanel No.5 and High Karate.

Cough cough cough.

Can't breath inside, can't breathe outside...I got out of line and headed to the pharmacy area, and bought a couple of Primatene misters, just in case.

[Did you know you can use one in lieu of an Epi-pen if you have an allergic reaction (mild allergies, I would guess.) 20 hits on one can help delay symptoms. I reasoned that even if it doesn't help breathing issues, I should carry one on me when we ride, in case of a bee sting (which happened to the Spouse Thingy a few weeks ago; his only exposed area of skin, a 1 inch line on his throat, and a bee nailed him. He was not thrilled.)]

I headed home, and heard on the radio that the smoke blanketing the area is coming from a fire about 15 miles from here, a killer place to ride; it's only 15% contained and has swallowed up several thousand acres. I may be stuck here until the smoke dies down, which could be Who Knows When.

Someone send rain.

I don't like being stuck at home. I don't have to go anywhere, but I hate the idea that I can't.


It's his 7th birthday

Doesn't he look thrilled with his present?

I think this makes him happy:

because it means he doesn't have to try it out yet.


Buddah will like it.


I am totally losing the Great Breeze Box War of 2008. Nothing can convince Max that using this box is a good idea; I even tried spreading a large amount of the Breeze pellets in his regular box, but his salvo in that battle was to poop on the floor just outside the bathroom.

If you've ever endured a battle of will with a two year old, you have an idea what this is like. I want the cats to transition to this box, I demand it, but they've hunkered down and determined that this is a Do Not Want situation, and nothing I say or do is going to change their stubborn little minds.

Buddah has peed in it at least twice, but that's it. It was a furry little tease, designed to make me think I was gaining ground.

I wonder how I managed to get a kid potty trained...


A rare moment...

Look! There's birds outside!

The two of them sharing a space on the tower is pretty much unheard of. But there were birds outside the windows, and they were more focused on the idea they might grab a feathery snack than they were that actual fur was touching.

Ok, that's enough...

Apparently, the sight of flying snacks was too much for Max, because he got down after about 10 minutes to nibble on some dry food. I presumed that was it for feline togetherness and put the camera away, but he came right back and watched the birds with Buddah for another ten minutes or so before Buddah jumped to the lower shelf to curl up for a nap.

I know better than to hope this signals any kind of kitty friendship...but it was nice to see them together and not fighting for a few minutes.


In the last week I think I've seen four or five news stories on the price of gas that are touting the mega-mileage that scooters and small motorcycles get. How people are buying them to save money on gas, because hey! They get anywhere from 70-100 mpg.

And they do. My Rebel routinely got 75 miles to the gallon. Hell, the bikes we're on now average a little over 50. It's nice to only spend $12 when you fill up.


Nowhere in those news stories does it mention how you're not really going to save actual money if you buy a scooter or small bike. What you're actually going to do is spend more money.

  • Small (50cc) scooter price around $2000; small 250cc motorcycle around $3500; 250cc scooter $7000.
  • Then you have to insure it.
  • You need to learn how to ride it; basic rider's classes in CA start at around $220; free in some states, but not many. And it's just a good idea all the way around to take it; you'll reduce your accident risk by about 80% by taking it.
  • The first service, at about 600 miles, will run anywhere from $130-200.
  • Second service at 4,000 miles can be as much as $500.
  • Tires don't last as long; figure 10,000 miles if you're lucky, and they're more expensive to buy than car tires.
  • Need a simple oil change? On a 250cc bike with no oil filter figure on $70.
  • There's all the gear you'll need. A helmet (full faced if you're smart), jacket, gloves...don't kid yourself by thinking you're only on a little scooter. It'll hurt as much wrecking that little scooter at 30 mph as it will a big bike. You'll lose a lot of skin at 30 mph. Figure minimum $500 invested in gear.

But still! 70 miles to the gallon!

Yes...but on top of spending all that on a scooter or bike, chances are you're not going to get rid of your car, so you'll still be insuring and maintaining that as well as the bike. And unless you're a die-hard, you're going to keep the car because you're going to want it on super rainy days, or bitterly cold days...

You lose money in the end.

If the price of gas is the excuse you've always wanted to get on two wheels, go for it. But don't think of it as saving money, because that's not what's going to happen.

Just so's you know...I've been in several forums lately where lots of people have been extremely disappointed to find out they're not going to save gobs of cash by riding their new little toys. They just didn't think that far ahead.

I know I probably wouldn't have...


Is it a sign that I need a life when I get a small thrill out of LOLing someone else's picture, and it winding up on the Voting section of I Can Has Cheezeburger?>

Hi! Wood you like to knowz            moar abowt Cieling Cat?
see more crazy cat pics

Right now it's buried back on page tonight it'll probably be at page 40. But so far it's got over 300 votes and 5 cheezeburgers!

Yes, I'm teh Lame. I embrace it.



I can now drool over the Kindle at Amazon again. Someday it will be mine...someday when I'm not feeling cheap.

So now that I can browse the World's Most Awesome Bookstore again, my attentions have returned to something of the utmost importance.

The litter box.

A few weeks ago, a rep from Tidy Cat contacted Max and asked if he would test out their new Breeze Litterbox System, and being All About The Freebies, Max of course said yes.

It arrived a few days ago, and we set it up according to directions, and have been trying to transition both cats to it since then.

Now, they like the box--to play in and dig in. Neither one will actually use the box. I had hoped that if I didn't clean their old box they would become so grossed out that they'd have to use the Breeze box, but cats don't seem to care that the litter they're climbing into is already loaded with a massive8 pounds of poop.

They're gonna win. I have to clean that box out before my sinuses spontaneously erupt in green flames.

I really want them to start using the new box, though. It would mean no more tracking of all that litter through the house. I could flush the solids and liquids seep onto a pad I can toss out. It should stink less. I'm cleaning the old box but leaving the new...just in case they get the right idea.

Oh, and if anyone at Amazon wants me to test out the Kindle, I promise I'll use it and give it glowing reviews. But I get to keep it when I'm done testing...


2 June 2008

I don't even have any copies yet...

...but the book is up at Amazon already. I'm not even sure why I looked, because I certainly didn't expect it to pop up for a couple more weeks.

I did have a proof copy, but I sent that to my mother.

See what a good kid I am?

I also did an email interview with Devon Crowe for his summer school journalism class project. With his permission, it follows. Maybe it'll pique your curiosity, and make you want to read the book ;)

What is the book about? And what do you want people to take from it?

The book is about emotional baggage and how long we tend to lug it around. I think what I want most for people to get from it is that most of the baggage we carry was packed by a ten year old, and kids don’t always make the best choices about what’s important enough to pack away, and what you need to leave behind.

Is the book based on fact?

More than anything else I’ve written, there are touches of my own life in it. My oldest sister did get pregnant at 17, and I have a sister who lives with our parents, but the similarities end there. Unlike Sam, I have 3 sisters; like Sam, they’re all terrific people, but I may not have always appreciated that fact.

Actually, I need to amend that. My oldest sister, like the character Kel, was (and is) a wonderful mother. If she struggled with parenting, I didn't see it. The sister who lives with our parents—nothing like the character Ev. While Ev never really grew up, my sister certainly did; she moved out on her own, had her own life, and eventually moved back in. Hell, so did I, with a husband and baby in tow for 6 months while we got our collective crap together.

Are there any incidences in the book that you pulled from your own childhood?

Sure. I did write a massive Star Trek book when I was 11 or 12 years old, and my mother did indeed laugh that someone had been daydreaming—but she also painted that with praise for my ability to write anything that long and have it make sense, and she had nothing but good things to say about my writing skills. If she’d been like Sam’s mom, I may have quit writing then and there. Instead, she encouraged me.

Oh, and I did get in tons of trouble for calling a kid down the street a fucker, and I blamed it on the youngest kid in the neighborhood. There are tons of little things in the book that I actually did, but for literary purposes, they may be a bit more warped on paper.

What about the cookies?

That sort of happened, but without the drama. I took some cookies, my mom told me to not eat any more of them because they were for the basketball team, and that was that. Truly, it’s not about the cookies…

What gave you the idea for this story?

About three years ago I had lunch with my son, and we were talking about his aunts and grandmother, and how we used to sit around the table and talk for hours. The story evolved from that conversation…but there’s no interest in people just sitting there laughing and talking. Something had to be wrong with it for it to be worth writing.

I’m guessing you don’t really talk to dead people, so where did the dead brother come from?

I’m thinking a lot of people will presume he’s the part of me I keep bottled up…Steven was based on someone I knew who died far too young from testicular cancer. I still miss him, but no, I don’t talk to him.

If there are parallels I’d think Scott and Simon are based on your husband and son. What about Linc? Is he based on anyone you know?

He’s loosely based on another very close friend, someone I’m still in frequent contact with. I really did lock him the girls’ bathroom, and I really did arrange it so he would wind up at the bottom of a pile of sweaty teenagers inside a VW Bug. I was not nice to him in junior high, at least not the first year or so. He honestly thinks I was just goofing around, trying to include him; truthfully, I was trying to torture him.

What do you have in common with Sam?

I think we’re both stubborn, both have very good lives, and both don’t always see things for how good they really are.

Your previous three books were first person from multiple perspectives; this book is first person singular perspective. Was that easier or more difficult to write?

This will sound like a cop-out, but it was both. It was easier in that once I found Sam’s voice, I only needed to stick with that. It was more difficult in that I couldn’t use other character’s voices to get their art of the story out. I enjoy the multiple-person perspective, but it wouldn’t have fit this story.

This book took you more than two years to write yet it’s your shortest. Why?

Guilt, I think. I hadn’t seen my family in almost as long as Sam. Our reasons were different, but that doesn’t make it any better.

How many hours a day do you write?

Between my own work and Max’s, I write roughly 4 hours a day, though I’ve been known to hammer out 8-10 when I’m in the home stretch.

How many drafts do you produce?

Actual drafts, usually four or five. But in those four or five I tweak enough that it could be as many as 14. By the time I’m done, I usually despise what I’ve written, and have no faith that it’s good enough for anyone to read. Obviously, I have a few issues there…

Who are your favorite authors?

Joshilyn Jackson, Christopher Moore, Stephen King…way too many to actually list.

What are you working on now?

Max’s next book, an illustrated guide for people owned by cats. And if you ask, I will swear he did the illustrations himself.

Do you think it’s true that everyone has a book inside them?

I do. It might not be a well written book, but I think everyone has a story to tell. And they should—being a writer isn’t about getting paid for the endeavor, it’s about the writing and the telling of the story. If you write, you’re a writer. And if what you enjoy writing most is a daily blog entry, so be it. You’re still a writer.


Dear Cache Creek Casino,

Thank you for the free $10 in slot play. I mightily enjoyed turning it into $120. You wound up paying for our lunch, the gas for our bikes, and the very little the Spouse Thingy put into the slot machine that didn't like him as much as the one I was on liked me. Just for that, I might come back. Please reserve that particular machine for me.

Happy Wabbt

P.S. you're also paying for whatever we do tomorrow. Like a movie or maybe going to Red Lobster. Thanks again.