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!


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.


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.


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.


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.