21 October 2014

From the This Weekend at the ‘Bux files…

Sitting here staring at the computer screen, pretending to be engrossed in work; at the long table in front of me are two women talking loudly, and I overheard one ooze, “Oh, hun, I’ve been married for five years. When you’ve been married as long as I have…”

It took great personal restraint to not laugh and then say, “Aww, that’s adorable.”

Five whole years!

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There’s a guy across the room with his little girl. He has a tattoo running from his elbow to his wrist, nothing but outline. She has a pack of markers, and while he reads, she’s coloring in his tattoo. I may croak from the kyoot.

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Remember the lady who didn’t want to sit next to me while waiting for a haircut, who told her husband in a total stage whisper she didn’t want to sit next to “it?” And in another breath called me a faggot?

Yeah. Her. She came in and started to take the table next to me, looked and damn near flinched. I half shrugged and said, “Still not gay.”

She left. Imagine that.

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There’s a line of people seated at the wall to my right, laptops and textbooks open, concentration and worry etched onto their faces. I think the one kid is giving up, based upon his frustrated faceplant onto his notebook. I’m kind of half watching to see when he sits up, because I’m betting his face will be lined with highlighter ink.

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Because I still can’t put sunscreen on the newest tattoo, I covered it with a hot pink forearm sleeve. A 13-14 year old kid came up to me to ask where I’d gotten it and how much was it, and when I told him he let out a deflated “Awww.” I felt bad enough that if I hadn’t really needed it I probably would have given it to him.

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WooHoo, I have made enough purchases this year to maintain gold status on my Starbucks card. Which really only means I get free refills on my tea. Yes, I spent who knows how much just to get not have to spend 50 cents for each refill… Well, the gold card is pretty spiffy, too.

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Everyone working here is new. I have to TELL them what I want now. Sheesh.


12 October 2014

From a friend...

The 15 year old is helping my dad get his house ready to move into, and they were in the kitchen, looking at the work to be done. The sink is gross but salvageable, and the 15 year old mused about how to get it clean enough to use.

My dad: You can get that clean. Just use a little elbow grease.

The 15 year old nods in agreement, and then starts going through the cleaning supplies on hand.

15yo: You don’t have any.

Dad: Any what?

15yo: Elbow grease.

To his credit, my dad did not laugh or mock; no, he drove the boy to the nearest big-box hardware store, and had him peruse the aisles for the needed elbow grease. When he couldn’t find it, he didn’t even say anything to my dad, but marched up to the first person in a vest and asked with all seriousness where the elbow grease was.

At this point Dad is almost wetting himself trying to not laugh, but guy in the vest simply asked the boy what he needed it for, and then asked what type of sink he needed to clean, porcelain or stainless, and then guided him to an aisle of cleaning products and picked a strong cleaner off the shelf.

Guy in the vest: This works better than elbow grease, and takes less effort.

Cut to later, we’re having dinner and the 15yo mentioned off-handedly that elbow grease is hard to find, and related the entire story to his siblings. No one can keep from laughing now, and the 19yo explains to him exactly what elbow grease really is.

15yo turned around, looked at his grandfather, and said simply, “Laugh now, old man. I know where you live and I am very patient.”

I think war was just declared, and I can’t wait to see who wins.

This totally sounds like something my dad would have done...maybe not the trip to the store, but I guarantee he would have had me scouring the house for a can of elbow grease.  The difference is, I would have probably been bitching about it, because who wants to get grease all over them, and besides, it's not my sink and I didn't even want to move here.

Yeah, I was that kid.

Still might be.


8 October 2014

Another step along the path leading me to become one of those people my mom would have been afraid of.

This one took right around 5 hours, and wasn't terribly ouchy until the last 30-40 minutes. At one point I was relaxed enough that I kind of drifted off--not asleep but just drifting--and he moved the needle from one side of the tattoo to the other and when it touched my skin my brain went OHMY GOD MY SKIN JUST SPLIT...luckily I didn't jump enough to screw anything up, but I did jump a little.

I totally less than 3 this tattoo; Thumper just looks so happy to be kicking someone's asterisk.

In three weeks, I'm getting another one on the other arm. Not another Thumper (three might be enough, though I'll never say never) but a nice kitty tattoo.

Three weeks after that I was getting started on my legs, but because of the 3 Day--I wouldn't really be able to take care of a fresh tattoo--that one has been delayed until February.

Yep, Big Greg is enough in demand that if you make an appointment now, you're waiting 4 months. This makes me happy because he deserves the following, but I can be impatient and don't want to wait.

OTOH, me not being able to get the tattoo in November means the Spouse Thingy can take it and not have to wait 4 months. Yep, he's going to lose his ink virginity.

Maybe someday, I can get him to dye his hair pink, too.



6 October 2014...part deux

All right...so apparently I was awake around 3 this morning, having had some insight about it not being the right time to die. Tattoos and Doctor Who, which are perfectly valid things to hang around for.


I have no memory of posting the 3:30-ish a.m. update.

In fact, when I got up this morning I was quite happy with the idea that I'd slept like a log, all the way through the night, for once uninterrupted. I suppose it's a good thing I didn't wake up wanting anything that would have had me either driving or burning down the house...

6 October 2014

3 a.m. waking-with-a-start thought:
I can't die now. I haven't gotten all the tattoos I want, and I can't miss Doctor Who.
Yeah. I have priorities, it seems.


5 October 2014

It's that time of year again.

Thumpa Goes Pink.

What started as a way to raise money and amused a few people who wound up donating a hell of a lot has turned into something I really like.

The pink hair, it makes me happy.

Now, a while back I made it pretty clear that I am not a fan of People of Walmart. I am not amused by its tone nor amused by the notion that there's anything fun or funny about taking verbal or photographic potshots at people.

It's just not nice.

So today I was sitting in Starbucks, minding my own business and not paying any particular attention to the two people to my left, other than to note that they had taken two tables meant for 3-4 people each and shoved them together, the two of them taking up enough space for several customers. The place wasn't packed, but it was busy enough that having the space for a group could have become an issue.

They weren't teenagers, either; this was an adult male and adult female, and as far as I could tell--an open laptop, a couple of textbooks and notebooks--they were there to study.

I went about my own business for an hour or so, noted the time and realized I needed to run to the grocery store, and as I was closing my laptop I heard them snicker, and out of the corner or my eye saw her take a picture.

Ostensibly, she was taking a selfie...with about 10% of her face in the shot. The rest was me.

Apparently I amused her. Probably the pink hair.

As I got up, I made a point of looking at them in a way that let them know I was looking; she was uploading the picture to either Facebook or Tumblr, hard to tell.

Now, to be fair, I don't know what her intent was. Maybe she really dug the hair. Maybe she had a moment of, "Do I know this person...?" and just took the picture. She could have been thinking a lot of things, but just based on the tone of that snicker, I'm guessing the intent was more like PoW. I suspect I am on someone's newsfeed or Tumblr with a snotty comment about the old lady with the pink hair, let's point and laugh.

As I left, I thought I should be annoyed or angry about it; I trust my gut and my gut says she was operating from a place far removed from kindness. I was not someone sitting there working, I was someone to be made fun of. Something, even. Just an object, out of the ordinary at the 'Bux.

But the truth is, I was borderline amused. She didn't make a point of saying anything snotty to me, as has happened before. She just took a picture.

And I kinda want to see that picture.

If you run across a picture of a chubby, pink-haired me wearing a maroon and gray striped shirt, let me know, especially if you find it at the source. I would so love to visit and leave a comment or two.


1 October 2014

“Pink is not going to cure anything. It’s just a damned color. Get over it already.”
It’s October 1st, the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The backlash has already started; I noticed it a few days ago online, people already complaining about it, grumbling about having to put up with all the “pink shit” for a full month.
“Yeah. We’re already aware of breast cancer.”
Allow me to interject.

No shit.
“Why should it get its own month? Men don’t get a month for anything.”
Know what September is? Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Why didn’t you know about that? There were events all over the world. This past weekend there was a global motorcycle ride to raise money, the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Motorcycle Ride, and it raised a couple million. If you shop for groceries at a particular national chain, you had the option to round up the cost of your purchases and donate that money towards prostate cancer research.

The events are out there. So why didn’t you know?

Because it’s not as big as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Give it time; in ten years you might be complaining about light blue. It’s just a color, after all. It’s not going to cure anything, either.

But think about it. You’ve become attuned to pink being the color for breast cancer because it’s been upfront every October for as long as you can remember, and it’s been well promoted. Breast cancer charities are well organized, and they’ve taken the time needed to get you to where you’re sick of it.

You should be sick of it.

The ultimate goal is for the color pink to again be nothing but a pretty color, and someday we’ll get there.

Someday we’ll be sick of light blue ribbons…and that’s a good thing. It means we’re trying harder to save lives. It deserves the passion that everything pink has earned.



This month is a reminder: do what you can. Fight it how you can. Check yourself—too many people just don’t think about it any other time of year—whether you’re male or female. Schedule a mammogram. Teach your kids about self-exams. Donate to your favorite charity.

You’re aware of breast cancer; that doesn’t mean you’ll do anything about it any other time of year.

That said…I’m not a fan of pinkwashing. I’m not a fan of every company out there slapping a pink ribbon on their product with the promise that a portion of sales will be donated to a breast cancer charity. I’m not a fan because I don’t think the amount donated adds up to much, as little as 2-5%, but it garners a whole lot of sales and profit for those companies.

Pick your own awareness endeavor. It doesn’t have to be monetary. Educate yourself, educate your kids, schedule the long-put-off exam. Support a friend going through treatment. Make this month a touchstone.

It is easier to donate; don’t buy a bunch of crap just because it has a pink ribbon it unless you really want that particular item. Find your charity of choice. Use Charity Navigator to help narrow the field down.
“Yeah, Thump, you’re a Komen freak…I’m not giving anything to them. Most of their money pays their CEOs, not to research.”
I’m not a Komen freak; I have my issues with them but overall I’m satisfied with where the money goes. As of 2013, 84% of the money they raised went directly to programs. Only 6.4% went to administrative costs—those salaries that are always getting bitched about. A little less than 11% went to fundraising efforts; it takes money to make money.

And no, not all of that 84% goes to research, though 80% of the money raised in the walks I participate in does. They do more than fund research; they fund mammograms, health screenings, education, and a plethora of other worthwhile endeavors.

I’m not 100% on board with them, but on the scale of good versus evil, they do far more good.

But there are other BC charities out there. Breastcancer.org is highly rated on Charity Navigator; they don’t spend as much on programs—80%—but they do a lot and they’re transparent about where the money goes.
“Pink is STILL just a color.”
Symbolism, guys. Red, white, and blue are just colors, too, but put them together in just the right way, and you have something people are willing to fight over.

Remember this shirt?

I wore it on my first 3 Day. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of names on it.

The next year, the number of names doubled.

Every year, the names I add give extra weight to the shirt.

This year, there are so many names that I don't think my shirt is big enough.

Try tell those people, or the family members of the people whose names are there but they are not, that pink is just a color and this is all just "pink shit."

Pink isn’t just a color, but the ultimate goal is that one day it will be.

Until then... Peoples' lives are more important than someone's offended sensibilities.