21 June 2018

You’re driving down Main Street with your two under-10 kids in the back seat. They’re fighting, because of course they are, that’s what bored kids do, and it’s just distracting enough that you roll through a stop sign. Luckily, there’s no cross traffic, so no one gets hurt. Unluckily, there’s a cop behind you. At the sound of whoop-whoop and a flash of lights, you pull over.

And you can’t find your license.

Now, you have a driver’s license, you just can’t find it. The officer is understanding; you get your ticket for blowing the stop sign and a chance to later prove you do, in fact, have an unexpired, valid license.

It’s an everyday kind of exchange. You broke a law, but no one got hurt, so you go on your merry way, yelling at your kids in the back seat to not tell the other parent.

Of course they’ll tell. Because they’re kids.


You’re driving down Main Street with your two under-10 kids in the back seat. They’re fighting, because of course they are, that’s what bored kids do, and it’s just distracting enough that you roll through a stop sign. Luckily, there’s no cross traffic, so no one gets hurt. Unluckily, there’s a cop behind you. At the sound of whoop-whoop and a flash of lights, you pull over.

Problem? You don’t have a license. For whatever reason, you don’t have one. It expired. You just never bothered. Whatever.

You get your ticket, one for blowing the stop sign, one for driving without a license. You’re gonna have to appear in court, but overall, it’s not horrible.

You broke a law, no one got hurt, your crime is a misdemeanor. You can be pretty sure you’ll get a slap on the wrist and a fine. It sucks, but life goes on, so you go on your merry way, yelling at your kids in the back seat to not tell the other parent.


You’re driving down Main Street with your two under-10 kids in the back seat. They’re fighting, because of course they are, that’s what bored kids do, and it’s just distracting enough that you roll through a stop sign. Luckily, there’s no cross traffic, so no one gets hurt. Unluckily, there’s a cop behind you. At the sound of whoop-whoop and a flash of lights, you pull over.

Problem? You don’t have a license. For whatever reason, you don’t have one. It expired. You just never bothered. Whatever.

The officer asks for your license and insurance, which you don’t have. You’re asked to get out of the car, made to step away. Another cop shows up. Your kids are forcibly removed from the back seat of your car. You’re not allowed to explain anything to them. They’re frantic, crying, screaming for you. They get shoved into the back seat of the other cop car, and you’re not told where they’ll be taken or when you’ll get to see them again.

You’re shoved into the back of the first cop car, taken to jail, with no guarantee of when you’ll be given a hearing.

Your crime is a misdemeanor, but you’re treated like a felon. You have no representation.

And you may never see your kids again.


Here’s the thing.

There is nothing illegal about crossing the border to seek asylum.

Crossing the border without a visa and not asking for asylum is a misdemeanor.

By law, it’s no worse than driving without a license, an offense for which rendering your children from your arms is unthinkable. An offense for which going to prison is unthinkable. An offense for which your children being held in a prison-like institution is unthinkable.

A misdemeanor is a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor.

Yet, that's what we're doing.

Supporting the current zero-tolerance policy that rips families apart (and don’t let the newly signed executive ordering ending that fool you; it’s only good for 20 days and does nothing for the families already affected, and has the neato clause that allows apprehended families be held indefinitely) supports the idea that the disaffected in this world don’t deserve to be have access to the same legal protections as everyone else. It’s about as un-American as it gets.

It does nothing to protect our borders.

It does nothing to make you more safe.

It does nothing to save American jobs for American citizens.

It will destroy these children; even if they’re reunited with their parents, the mental and emotional damage is done.

It will result in hundreds, if not thousands, of these kids remaining in the U.S., never to see their parents again. Guess who foots the bill for that?

It will cost the U.S. far more to continue to implement this zero-tolerance policy than if things had been left alone.



No. This was not a policy started by Obama. Families were not ripped apart, and the kids were not held like animals in cages. Yes, there were detention facilities in which kids were and are held, but those were largely occupied by teen boys who crossed the border *without their parents* and that doesn't mean they were the right thing to do.

And those kids? With the influx of children being taken from their parents for the misdemeanor crime of seeking a better life, those kids are being taken to a tent city.

A tent city.

In the Texas heat.

You know, like prisoners in Arizona. Prisoners who probably have more rights.


It’s simple, really. The current administration had no difficulty with the idea of holding children hostage to getting funding for a border wall that will do absolutely nothing to curb illegal immigration.

And really, if the administration ever gets it, the net effect will be null.

Don’t kid yourself.

Most illegal aliens in the U.S. didn’t sneak over the border with Mexico. Most of them came into this county legally, on Visas, which they overstayed.

But that doesn’t count, does it?

Where’s the fun in having moral outrage about that?


Illegal aliens are not taking your jobs. You wouldn’t do the jobs they’re taking. The jobs you’re losing are more likely taken by corporate greed; that rich white guy sitting at the CEOs desk who would rather make another million or two rather than bolster the work force that earns him the big bucks. The jobs lost went overseas, where the work can be done for a fraction of the pay.

Illegal aliens are not grabbing food stamps. They’re not eligible.

Illegal aliens are not sucking up welfare dollars. Most people are welfare are, surprise, white and born right here in the U.S.


Continued support of this administration blows me away.

I basically understood when people voted for him; they wanted to take a wrecking ball to everything. They were tired of the way things were going.

The problem is in still supporting this administration. That wrecking ball is swinging, and if left unchecked is going to demolish everything. Was that the point? Because if it was, you’re forgetting something major: when you tear something beyond its foundation, there’s a good chance it can’t be rebuilt.

When the Boy was in 8th grade or thereabouts, he told me about what they were studying in history; the U.S. had carried this particular form of government long past its expected expiration. Looking ahead, we were poised to endure a fundamental shift that might end this form of republic in a generation, maybe two.

He thought it might happen sooner.

Twenty to thirty years.

That’s stuck with me all this time. And now I worry he was right.

We’re throwing babies in jail because someone else committed a misdemeanor.

We’re throwing babies in jail.


You can’t support that. You can’t.

If you can?

God help you, and I mean that sincerely.


9 June 2018

It pricks at me every now and then that I should be miles-deep into training for this year's 3 Day. I registered for it. I'll probably register for it the way I always did the Avon Walk...every year, with good intentions.

But...the truth is the 2017 was probably my last walk. And that popped back up last night when someone asked me how my training was going and the answer was "It's not."

My body just can't take it anymore. The training (if done right) is time consuming and draining, and the walk itself is...hard. It's a fun kind of hard and you're doing it with hundreds of your best friends that you just met that day, but still hard.

I managed it last year with Norco and alcohol. I don't recommend that.

I also managed it because the Spouse Thingy went with me and walked every step with me. It's for sure not something I would ever do again without someone who can walk my pace and knows what to do if I crash and burn.

I'm not saying 100% for sure never again, because it's an event that matters to me and I freaking love my team members. But as it stands for now, I think I'm done. I hate the idea, but that's where I am right now.


8 June 2018

Overheard in Starbucks today:

Woman 1: I put it on Facebook.
Woman 2: I didn't see it.
W1: But I put it on Facebook!
W2: I still didn't see it.
W1: It was right there, on my profile.
W2: It didn't show up in my feed.
W1: But--
W2: I. Did. Not. See. It.

I really kinda felt for the second woman. She could not make her friend understand that just because you post it on Facebook, that doesn't mean it makes it to everyone's news feed. I've missed a metric chit on of things posted by my friends because FB's algorithms just doesn't allow for every single friend seeing every single thing you post. I've been added to groups formed to collect cards for common friends who have lost a pet, and didn't know for weeks. I've been invited to events, finding out after the fact.

The takeaway: if it's important, don't rely on Facebook to deliver the message for you.


 If you follow Max's "official" author page on FB, you already know we're seriously considering starting a Patreon page. It's still very much in the consideration stage, but leaning ever so slightly toward giving it a try. I'd like to consolidate our blogging to one site and bring Buddah back into the mix, and using Patreon would be a way to do that.

But, it's more than that. It's also a platform where artists and creators can invite support from their patrons. As a writer, I would be able to offer a mix of free content and sponsored content, and have more control over it than I currently do. Face it, the 'Zon has such a choke hold on books sales--I know more than 98% of my sales comes from there--that writers are pretty much at their mercy. My print books are distributed to all the online book stores via Ingram, and I could (now) go that route with digital books, I dove head first into the Amazon pool when they opened up sales avenues to individual writers who wanted to offer their works in ebook format, and I've kind of stayed in one spot since.

It hasn't made sense to take another route with ebooks. But with them paying less and less for books downloaded via Kindle Unlimited, and watching my download numbers go up but royalties plummet, it feels like a good time to give something new a try. With Patreon, I can offer up my backlist and give patrons the first read on new material. Some of the content would be free for anyone, other content would be available to paying patrons (and there are different could be as little as $1 a month.)

I follow a few writers and musicians there and am a paying patron at various levels. And every now and then I get on the site and surf, looking for new creators, and have found some pretty cool stuff.

But, like I said, still thinking about it. If I do it...y'all are totally getting my first few books for free,


No matter what, we're going to try to blog more. Quick blurbs on FB are fine, but I'm far too verbose and I have a lot to whine about.


I still haven't gotten links up on Max's blog for pawtographed copies of The Blessings of Saint Wick nor for The Whens of Wick. But...the second book in the Return of the Wick Chronicles series is with the editor and a couple of beta readers. The takeaway from this one is probably, if you say you want to be a character in the Wickiverse, it just might happen.


7 June 2018

We ride together...a lot
I rode over to Starbucks today, which is not an unusual thing to do. If I have a choice, I take the bike. I take the long way and get there at right about 5 miles, and then take the longer way home. It's a heck of a lot more fun than driving, in spite of the idiots driving around here who seem to think bike lanes are a suggestion and have no clue that bicycles are allowed to use the roads.

My favorite toy has an electric motor; I have another bike, a standard step-through 8 speed road bike, but because of reasons, I'm not comfortable taking it far from home. Hence, it sits in the shed and I always take the pretty pink bike. Today I got to Starbucks and started to lock it up, but when I went to turn the controller off, it was flashing an error code.

Because the Internet is a thing, after I got online and whined about it, and then posted to a Pedego FB group, I got the answer I needed and was not stuck there all day waiting for the Spouse Thingy to come pick me up. But I did whine about it BECAUSE OF COURSE I DID THAT'S WHAT I DO, which set off a IM conversation that would have pissed me off if I hadn't known it was tongue in cheek.

Dood: Electric. That's cheating.
Me: Electric. That's fricking FUN.
Dood: Cheat, cheat cheat, cheat, cheat.
Me: Says the guy with an electric skateboard. And an electric wheel.
Dood: That's different. Those are for fun.

Here's the thing... a lot of people--a lot of a lot--think riding an electric bike is somehow cheating. A "real" cyclist pedals using nothing but body power and sweats like a whore in July, developing massive quads that can crush small children and delicate women with zero effort. He was teasing me because he knows I've heard that grunted in my direction: "yeah, it's a nice looking bike, but she's cheating."

If you ride a regular bike, more power to you. The Spouse Thingy does; he likes his bike. I like mine. He uses his gears to adapt to changes in the road grade and surface. I use different levels of pedal assist. It's basically like using the gears, which I have but have never changed, but I save a lot of wear and tear on my knees. And I'm not young anymore. I like the idea of saving that wear and tear.

The motor isn't a heart-rate curbing device, either. If I take the road bike a mile, I get my HR up to about 130. If I take the electric, I get my HR up to about 130. The difference is I get there I go further. If I take the road bike, I might ride 3-4 miles. If I take the electric, I might stop at 10 but I'm just as likely to go 15, and often 20. My longest ride is 30, and I only went home because I was hungry and had to pee.

Road bike = 20ish minutes at 130
Electric bike = 60-120 minutes at 130

For what I's not cheating.

I hate the helmet, tho...
But here's the kicker. I don't only ride the electric because it's more fun for me. I ride it because a couple of years ago (hell, maybe 5-7 at this point) I was pedaling my merry way home, and a quarter mile short I started feeling super nauseated and light headed. And then I passed out. I was damned lucky to not be going at speed when that happened; I was able to get off the bike. The only thing that saved my asterisk was recognizing the symptoms of over-heating combined with a blood sugar crash.

I don't always recognize it when it happens. Most of the time I do (ask the Spouse Thingy how many times I've just stopped and told him I need to eat. Like RIGHT NOW) and deal with it. But afterward it feels like a ton of ick, and getting back on a bike I'd have to pedal very slowly is not the best idea in the world.

Because the bike has a throttle, if I get into trouble, I can get my asterisk home without having to pedal. I can get to food, or sugar, or a/c (and seriously, I now know the distances between just about everything in this little town, at least the places I would need to reach quickly. All hail 3 Day training.) Riding an electric gives me freedom I don't have otherwise.

So no, it's not cheating. I get more exercise, and I feel a hell of a lot safer on it.

It doesn't even matter if that safety is my own perception. I FEEL safer. Thusly, I get out and ride when I can. And isn't that the point? Ride safe, ride over drive, have some fraking FUN.

And older folks...this is an awesome way to get back into activity. If you can't ride anymore, an electric might make it possible. If you can't balance, there are electric trikes. Pedego has some seriously great options.

So, yeah. I don't wanna pass out on a bike.

I want to have fun.

So I do.

A matching water bottle was necessary, right...?