27 September 2009

Vegas, baby.

The timing, perhaps, could have been a little bit better—we’re missing our class reunion (bummer) and a killer cat blogger gathering in San Francisco to cheer on Jeter’s Mom as she does the Susan G. Komen 3 Day/60 mile walk for breast cancer (MAJOR bummer…I really wanted to go to this)—but we’re headed for Vegas on Thursday. I have a meeting with a potential Inkblot Books client, but we’re weaving a vacation around it because, HEY, it’s VEGAS!

The Boy is going to house and cat sit for us, which will thrill Max and Buddah because he’s bringing The World’s Bounciest Dog™, Butters. In the four days we’ll be gone the cats will either get over having a dog in the house, they’ll figure out how to dig their way out, or they’ll spend the entire time hiding under a bed. There will be a gate across the hallway to give them Butters-free space, but I suspect the Boy may not actually see them while we’re gone.

We’re not renting a car for this trip, so we’ll stick to the strip and do the typical tourist-trap things, but I know we’re not going to have enough time to do and see everything we want to…so truly, we’ll have to go back next year. Perhaps for the Boy’s birthday. Perhaps take him with us.

I wonder if Max and Buddah would like to play slots…


21 September 2009

This is so wrong on like 25 different levels, but the Boy showed it to me today and it made me laugh.

Not embedding the video, you'll understand why if you click through... but..

Hitler sings the theme song to The Jefferson's

I apologize in advance...


17 September 2009

On July 17, the Spouse Thingy and I decided enough was enough, we want to be thin and healthy and bendy again (especially bendy...very very bendy), and we joined Jenny Craig. The food was tasty, it did not inspire the vast amounts of fartitude that Nutrisystem did, and we've been quite happy with it. I've lost a smidge under 25 pounds, he's lost 20. I got kicked out of the Jenny Craig program. See, that's how badass I am--I broke Jenny Craig.

Spouse Thingy gets to stay. They like him.

In reality, I have issues with soy, and the JC food has soy in just about everything. Small amounts, to be sure, but with me it's like it builds up, I get to feeling not so good, take a few days off, and then I'm fine. This worried our JC consultant, who called one of the JC nutritionists, who boomed with a mighty voice KICK HER OUT. KICK HER OUT NOWWWWW!

Soy sensitivities are a no-no, as they don't want it to become a full blow allergy.

Apparently, Jenny Craig does not want to kill me. I take this to be a good thing.

On the plus side, since the Spouse Thingy will continue, they'll weigh my sorry ass every week regardless, and will help me figure out my diet if I have problems...but they're refunding my membership fee. many people get kicked out of Jenny Craig? Am I awesome, or what?


14 September 2009

It's no secret I like my Kindle ebook reader. This sucker is awesome and because of it I've discovered tons of independent writers I never otherwise would have. And more people are taking a chance on my writing and are buying my books in electronic format (could be because they're dirt cheap) and Amazon has been a bit of a springboard for me.

I've never formatted my stuff for other ereaders because of the lack of a good market for them, but Smashwords is partnering with Barnes & Noble, to offer ebooks in the BN Online store, so I jumped at it. Today was spent formatting my five of my books, and over the next week I'll get Max's books in order.

They don't know when the ebooks will begin appearing at B&N, but just that they will be soonish is pretty freaking cool.

And if you already have an eReader--Kindle, Sony, just want to read on your computer--you can buy books directly from Smashwords.

Mine are HERE.

If you don't have an eReader...holy carp, you need one!


13 September 2009

Rerun from Jan 2005, by request...

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm =or= The Wabbit Is Going To Hell =or= Religion 101 =or= Is She Smoking Crack Tonight? Is She Trying To Offend EVERYONE? And Why Is She So Long Winded?

Some people are so religious they stop being Christian, and I didn’t want to be one of those people.*

Thus, I quoteth myself.

And the quote sprangeth to mind during an IM conversation with Murf, aka Undr, aka the guy who seems to have forgotten that he has a blog. I-Forget-To-Blog-Murf does not understand why I don’t attend church; I remind him often(…ok, once in a while…maybe every 5 years) that I used to, but I came to understand that I did not share enough fundamental beliefs with the church with which I was associated (yeah, I think I mangled the grammar there) to be comfortable, so I stopped going. And there was that incident with the Relief Society Visiting Teacher who screeched into the phone at me, “I am responsible for your soul!” That kinda turned me off. As did the alcoholic Bishop’s wife (she was an alcoholic; I don’t know about him.) And the fact that I am too self absorbed to pass up the Sacrament (communion in most churches) when I know I have all these theological differences with the church as a whole, and I am not comfortable with accepting the sacrament when I feel that way (um, yeah…those of you who celebrate it as “sacrament” instead of “communion” and have a “relief society” and “visiting teachers” now know what religion the Wabbit walked away from so many years ago.)

I’m not going back, so if you’re so inclined, save your breath.

The conversations with Murf inevitably turn to two things: one, when you’ve realized that your religion is not the right religion for you, how do you pick a new one? No one teaches Pick A New Church 101. There is no list that says “if you believe this and this and this, get in line A. But if you don’t believe this, get in line B. If you believe everything in the first list AND you believe in the ordination of women and homosexuals, get in line C. If you qualify for line C but also have issues with the erosion of individual rights, form line D and register to vote.”

Two, with few exceptions (and those exceptions are bright lights and awesome people) the "Christians" I meet (that’s the key here…people I meet…that doesn’t mean I group ALL Christians together. I don’t…) are incredibly judgmental and don’t have room in their little worlds for others who don’t share their vision of what is Right and what is Wrong and what constitutes Moral Aberration. They expect everyone else to bend to their vision of a Moral America (or world) and condemn anyone else’s vision.

Here’s the thing. I find those people—-people who tout themselves as Christian but who don’t make room for anyone else’s credo—-to be very non-Christian. They (being ones I have mostly noticed) have entered into the realm of being so religious that they are no longer Christian, not really. They often wear WWJD bracelets and act as if they know what Jesus would do or say or think (“Tsk. Do you think Jesus would drink that wine?” Why, yes I do, considering what he once did to water. Thank you very much for asking.) They look at someone gay and screw up their noses as if having smelled something really bad, and mutter the word “queer,” absolutely sure “those people” are headed straight for hell. They espouse the sanctity of heterosexual marriage while refusing to acknowledge that as long as husbands are beating wives, people are getting married 4 and 5 and 6 times, Britney Spears can turn herself into the poster child for “it was just a joke,” straight people have pretty much blown the ideal of the sanctity of “straight” marriage right out of the water. And really, are you any less married if the two guys down the street enter into a legally binding marriage? Nobody said it had to be a religious marriage ceremony.

Murf is Catholic. He can’t imagine being anything but Catholic, and he can’t picture raising his kids any other way. I admire that. And we agree on so many things: it’s none of our business what the two guys down the street are doing, and it’s seems very wrong for the government to throw a wall up forbidding them to enjoy the rights the rest of us have simply by virtue of our hardwiring. We also agree that no church should ever be compelled to marry anyone, gay, straight, or indifferent. We both tend to think that, being made of God and by God, each and everyone, that there’s a purpose to our lives—-and nothing made of God and by God could ever be “queer.” We seem to be on the same page when we talk about the mixing of politics and religion, that they should not mix and that the politicians need to stop running on religious agendas and focus on the needs and wants of their entire constituency: a government of and by the People, not of and by the Church At Which The Congressman Has Membership. Neither of us is in favor of organized prayer in schools; we both believe that kids who want to pray should be allowed to.

He has many of the same conflicts of religion that I have, yet he’s entirely comfortable with his church. He attends Mass weekly. His best friend was a priest who walked away from it all, and he understands and agrees with the reasons, but there’s not much that can shake him away from his church.

I walked away from mine.

That isn’t the same as walking away from my faith. I did not do that; I carry it with me because it is mostly who I am. I don’t just believe in God. I don’t just believe in Christ. I know these things. And honestly, if you put my feet to the fire, I can’t tell you why I know these things. Unlike Murf, I didn’t grow up with the routine of church every Sunday. I didn’t go to Sunday School, didn’t have Bible study or catechism classes. It’s just in me.

But in spite of that, in spite of knowing what I believe and think and feel, and for the most part why (whether based on experience or naivety, I don’t know) I don’t have a clue how to go about choosing a church. I am wary of most of them for no other reason than the aforementioned “Christians.” I don’t ever want to be so religious that I stop being Christian. I don’t want to be one of “those” people.

Sound hypocritical?
Of course it is.
We’re all hypocrites of one form or another.

Faith is not a straight and narrow path, even when being “good” is associated with “being on the straight and narrow.” The pathway of Faith has twists and turns and odd side streets that take us places we might never imagine we’d go. It’s what makes life a journey…and I cannot imagine forcing anyone to walk the same path I am on, taking my journey instead of taking their own.

I don’t have to impinge on anyone else’s personal freedoms in order to embrace my own faith. I do think I have to respect his beliefs, even if I don’t agree with them.

I don’t have to take some square peg and bang him into my round hole. I do think I have to mold space around myself to make room for the things that don’t necessarily fit.

I don’t have to hold someone up to the light by which I find my way and deem him to be unworthy just because he doesn’t share my beliefs. I do think that if my way is truly the right way, leading by example is the best thing I can do.

I don’t think it is my place to hold judgment. Someone Else has that right and power.

I don’t think the purpose to life is to find happiness. I think it’s to develop righteousness. Those aren’t mutually exclusive of each other.

If I could find a church that has those things I deeply believe as its foundation, I’d probably be there. It would be the Church Of God Loves You—Period. Not “God Loves You As Long as You’re Hereto.” Not “God Loves You Unless You Cast A Legislative Vote Against Prayer In School.” Not “God Loves You, But If You Take A Drink, Light A Cigarette, Or Have Naught Naughty Sex, He Will Cast You Down To Hell.”

Technically, I could start my own church.
Technically, I am ordained.

There’s nothing technical about God, and faith, and finding in what one believes. Yet it all seems very technical when it comes to finding the right place to worship. I’d like to find that ideal church.

I’d like the sign out front to read just what I’d imagine the message to be.
God Loves YOU. Period.

*Finding Father Rabbit, page 23, if you haven’t read it, you really should buy a copy or 20...


11 September 2009

I waited all freaking day for the UPS guy to get here...he finally showed up at 7 p.m. with the proof copy of the book.

Proof copy of new book

Everything looks all right, now all I need to do is officially approve it, and it should go into distribution on Monday and be available for sale within a week or two (it already is for anyone with a Kindle...other eReaders may follow, not 100% sure about that.)


10 September 2009

Like millions of other Americans, I watched the President speak last night. And I wondered while watching how many other people are fed up with the way politicians turn every freaking Presidential speech into a damned three ringed circus. It's all posturing and pouting; they're either standing and cheering inappropriately or sitting there frowning with their arms crossed. Or yelling.

Cripes. Whatever happened to respect? It was wrong when Bush was President and the Democrats sat there pouting while Republicans cheered, and it's wrong now when everything is flipped around. It's disrespectful to make a spectacle of any sort when the President is speaking. Keep your ass in your seat, applaud quietly when appropriate and don't if you disagree, but learn a modicum of decorum, people. Watching last night, I was embarrassed all the way around.

And Congressman're a moron.


7 September 2009

THIS is what a very vocal few are getting their collective panties in a knot over, it's the text of why they're keeping their kids out of school tomorrow because if those kids hear the president speak, their little HEADS WILL EXPLODE and they will be INDOCTRINATED FOR LIFE by all this socialistic propaganda.

Am I the only person who sees the irony in keeping your kids home from school to avoid hearing a speech about staying in school???

Presidents speaking to kids is damn near tradition--it's something each and every one of them should do, I don't give a flip about their party affiliation--and so far I don't think it's ever caused a ten year old to implode right there in home room. And if you can't bear for your precious snowflake to have even a remote chance to be exposed to ideas different than your fail at parenting, truly you do.


6 September 2009

I don’t think I ever want to hear about rude Americans again. As a whole, we’re not, not really. If we’re in your country and we don’t grasp the cultural differences along with the language, that’s not rudeness. It’s a simple case of not knowing. Rudeness is borderline intentional.

Today I left the house without eating, which is always a mistake, and after lunchtime I wound up at Subway because it was the only nearby almost-healthy thing I could think of that wouldn’t require a long, long holiday-weekend wait. It was packed, every table taken and the line to order long, but the people working there seemed to be working pretty freaking fast, so I stayed. In line behind me was a German woman who kept pushing me forward, as if that was going to make the line move any faster or cause the people making the sandwiches to slap that meat on the bread with lightning speed.

I didn’t say anything, because I doubted she would understand me—she was speaking to her companion in German and I hadn’t heard anything resembling English out of either one of them—and it didn’t see worth getting bent over. It didn’t take terribly long to get to the counter and place my order, and once my sandwich had been started the girl there asked the women behind me “What bread?”

She was answered by the German version of “Huh?” And this was repeated three times. I used to speak passable German; I can barely count to ten now, but I reached into the depths and pulled out “Was brot?” as I pointed to the selection listed on the counter case. She pointed to Herb Cheese, I told the girl herb cheese. When she couldn’t answer to “what size?” I asked her “sechs oder zw√∂lf?” and she got it. Six inches.

She wanted a club, which was only ascertained by lots of pointing and gesturing toward the menu board. The line kept moving down the counter, and she kept pushing my ass along, bumping me into the stroller that was wedged between me and the guy ahead. I bumfrak translated the entire way for her, enduring the shoving that was getting us nowhere, and after I paid for my turkey and ham I walked away to the push-free safety of a lone single-person table that had opened up.

I was pissed off. All it would have taken was a simple “danke,” for my efforts, as bumbling as they were, but I got the distinct impression this woman felt entitled to not only try to move the line fast but to my help as well.

So yeah, forget about the rude American. There are rude people everywhere.

6 September 2009

Friday I uploaded the final manuscript to the printer...and after I did so I discovered that where they used to prefer cover images in .TIF format, they now prefer them in .PDF, so there's a chance I might get the cover kicked back to convert. None of my software will do a reasonable conversion, which tells me it's time to update my apparently ancient publishing software, which dates back to an archaic 2004 (2001 for the text layout's eligible for the AARP by now.)

Yesterday I formatted the book for sale on Amazon's Kindle eBook reader. This is not a complicated process, but I managed to invert two letters in the code for a page break, which kind of makes it useless. That turned what should have been a 90 minute job into about 6 hours of hunting for the elusive typos in a wicked long page of HTML.

I are smart, I are.

Now, I wait. I'll either get a proof copy of the print book within a week or so or I'll get email saying "Hey, you screwed up the cover, it has to be a PDF." And I have to wait for Amazon to "approve" my book, because they're now very leery of independent writers, thanks to the dregs who have been uploading bootleg copies of other peoples' work and trying to sell it as their own.

Thanks for that, you greedy bastards.

(The jerks trying to sell other peoples' books, not Amazon...I get why Amazon is doing this now.)


2 September 2009

OK, so most of you know the Spouse Thingy spent 20 years in the USAF, right? And when he went in it was with the promise that if he gutted it out for 20, he'd get free medical care for life.

Yeah, that didn't happen. Somewhere along the way someone decided that it was all right to renege on contractual promises made to active duty military members...and now we pay for the honor of being on the lowest rung of the military medical ladder.

Possible bleeding ulcer? We can get you in to see your doc in about 6 weeks. You had excruciating abdominal pain that went away after 5 hours? And this happened more than once? Well, don't go to the ER, you know the pain will eventually go away. We'll see you in a month.

That's not an exaggeration, BTW.

Being on that lowest ladder rung is why we now have a civilian doctor; I have medical issues, I need to see an endocrinologist a few times a year. There are medications I need. And face it, we're getting older, chances are high that our annual visits to our totally awesome civilian doctor will increase.

Now, the Spouse Thingy has been on a medication for a number of years. And over the years it has ceased to work the way it's supposed to, so today Spiffy Civilian Doc changed it to something else, something that will work better for him. He knows it will work better because he was on it before being on the other medication...which TriCare (military medical) decided was the equivalent to the med today's doc took him off of. It obviously was not.

TriCare, in its infinite wisdom, refused to pay for the new-but-he-used-to-take-it medication because the other one is, as far as they're concerned, just as good.

No. No it is not.

It did not work.

It may work in other people, but it failed as far as the Spouse Thingy is concerned. It doesn't matter that his doctor wants him to make the switch because he needs something different...Tricare has decided they know better than the doctor and patient.

Now, we have other insurance. We're fortunate in this. If we had to pay it out of pocket it would be $110 a month for the one medication; we only had to manage the co-pay.

WTH are military members and retirees who have no other insurance supposed to do when some clerk in an office somewhere decides they know more than the patient's doctor? Active duty military don't take home the world's most generous paychecks. Retiree pay is half that of active duty.

This is what you get when you give two decades of your life to service to your country, boys and girls... If you hear the theme to Deliverance while trying to fill a prescription, now you know why...


1 September 2009

The Spouse Thingy and I used to bowl a lot. We bowled league, we bowled for fun...bowling on base was cheap fun and we weren't half bad at it. We both averaged about 160 and both have had several games well over 250. But, when my back started getting really bad, we stopped bowling often, and once we left Ohio, we didn't bowl at all.

Until today. We wanted something to do that didn't involve housework (though he did get out there and mow the lawn today) or going to the gym...we headed out thinking we'd go play miniature golf but he had the thought that we should try bowling again sometime. Neither of us was sure how my back would hold up, but hell, why not do that instead?

This was our first game... Granted, we didn't have our own equipment and were wearing ill-fitting house shoes and using non-fitted house balls that were not urethane and not drilled for fingertip bowling, but still. This was a massive pile of suck.

It was still fun. We may dig around in the garage and see if our balls are still usable and if our shoes can still be worn without sticking to the lane.

But I think we'll go out to the base. $3.50 a game at the bowling alley in town was way too much...