Friday, September 30, 2011

One, two, buckle my shoe. Drei, vier, Offizier

My mother was an Air Force brat. She spent her entire childhood moving from base to base which I can only imagine is both exciting and depressing as a child. I would have been terribly sad to up and leave everyone I knew every three years. Of course I never had to move growing up. For her it was normal and I doubt it bothered her as much as it would have bothered me.

One of the many places my grandfather was stationed was Germany. My mother was ages 6-9 while living overseas. She has on more than one occasion mentioned that in no way does a young child appreciate being in a foreign country. The significance of Europe and things like history and culture sort of escape children.

In fact the only things my mother really recalls clearly about her time in Germany was fainting in the Sistine Chapel, what type of gloves she had to wear to tea, dinner, and funerals, the fact that they lowered a basket out the window at night and in the morning pulled it up full of fresh bread and milk, and the only cartoon in English on TV was Felix the Cat.*

Because of this last bit my mother picked up some interesting German phrases that she never quite let go of. For example she does a fantastic Yogi Bear impression in German. She also remembers a number of German nursery rhymes, all of which she attempted to teach my brother and me when we were growing up. There was one I love that roughly translates to "This is you: Farmers cow, farmers donkey. That is you."**. I love it because it is fun to say in German and is insulting. As a kid it was cool to be able to say mean things in other languages.

The other one my mother taught me was this:

Eins, zwei, Polizei
drei, vier, Offizier
fünf, sechs, alte Hex'
sieben, acht, gute Nacht!
neun, zehn, auf Wiedersehen!

Which is the German equivalent to 'One, two, buckle my shoe.'
When I was little I could recite this one perfectly and on occasion would use this instead of its English counterpart in class. While my classmates were impressed I could speak German, my teachers were always a little annoyed after the first few times. It was well worth irking the teacher to be cool in my friends eyes.

 These days I can barely remember more than a couple of lines of any of the old German rhymes my mother taught me, but I am sure if I asked my mother would remember every word to them. Some things just never leave you.

* My mother to this day despises Felix the Cat. She says if it was the only cartoon you could watch and understand for three years during prime cartoon watching age, you would hate it too. I try and tell her kids watch animes these days and probably wouldn't notice the language barrier.

**I took French in school, so while I can speak some German, I can't write it down. My translator tells me there is no translation for farmer in German, so I didn't bother translating it. Sorry.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Like a redheaded stepchild

I have worked in offices that are incredibly social before. They are the type of place where every birthday is celebrated (even if it is everyone for the month celebrating on the same day), every holiday is observed, and there are plenty of pot lucks to fill in the space during months unladen with holidays. Heaven help you if you were getting married or having a baby, the showers were insane. They did team building exercises, had office book clubs, and 'fun' office activities. We once actually had a kegger on the roof of the parking garage because our CEO wanted to spend more time with his employees. We also had breakfast with him once a week (ten people at a time so he could get to know everyone).

That was of course a different company than the one I currently work for.
Now that is not to say that my current office is not social, as it is. There is a pot luck once a week, there are constant baby and bridal showers, and we used to do constant birthday celebrations but had to stop because we have a number of Jehovah Witnesses working here and I think HR thought it was offensive. Still any excuse for a party and the cake and streamers come flying.

That is there is cake and happiness for everyone but my team.

There are only five people in my team including our manager. We are part of a much larger group made up mostly of the developers. For some strange reason they don't seem to think we are part of their group. We have the same boss, we sit in the same area, and we have had to attend the same annual meetings as they do, yet still we are ignored.

Mostly I don't mind as I really would rather not be forced to socialize with these people. I don't particularly like any of them. It is however a little annoying to be sitting here working and have to listen to them laughing and having a grand old time and know that we were not even given the option of attending.

Most of the time once the party is over they will swing by and offer us the leftover cake since they don't want to take it home. So very nice of them to remember the little people. I love getting the scraps.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Due process

I got called for jury duty for the first time in my life. Actually I got called for it back in May, but they had me scheduled on a Monday during faire, and during faire I am lucky to make it to my office that is ten minutes from my house by 8:30. The summons required me to be downtown by 8:00. That was so not happening. Thankfully I was allowed three deferrals and my date was moved to July. In July I came down with a summer flu and had to defer again until yesterday.

It was a very long short day. I ended up being released by 11:30 having never left the central jury room. I mostly read my book and played sudoku on my phone. I did make some observations on the whole little adventure and thought I would share.

Notes on Jury Duty:

- I fail at properly judging time. We were supposed to report to the courthouse by no later than 8:30, I arrived at 7:04. I was not sure how long it was going to take me to get downtown considering there should be morning traffic to contend with on the highway. I expected to run into the greatly feared Dallas morning rush hour. Instead I was met by a lot of cars on the road moving at a reasonable and steady clip. Nothing I could call traffic really. Oh well, better early than late right?

- Apparently I was raised in a different world where 'church' and 'interview' attire means something different. In my world 'church' and 'interview' attire consists of nice clothes; skirts, dresses, or dress slacks and a blouse on women, and slacks and at least a nice polo if not a button down shirt and tie on men. Shoes should be dress shoes or at least not flip flops and sneakers. Now granted, it has been about 13 years since I was at church outside a wedding or funeral, but I refuse to believe standards have changed so drastically that jeans, sneakers, and a death metal t-shirt are considered acceptable. Or track suits. Seriously lady, just because you have money does not mean that it is ok to go out in public wearing a velor track suit and a snow leopard print vest, let alone to jury duty.

Even if we say I am out of the loop and this level of dress is now church appropriate, it certainly wouldn't pass for interview attire. No one would be taken seriously for a job the way half these people are dressed. I see capris, jeans, paint covered clothing, torn and shredded clothing, t-shirts, shorts, track suits, flip flops, sandals on men (with and without socks), sneakers, and one guy in scrubs that are paint splattered.

Are these people truly ignorant or are they willfully ignoring the dress code? Do they think that by not dressing to court standards they will somehow get out of service? That is crap. Don't nobody want to be here.

I suppose I am just really pissed off that I had to shave my legs for this and these people are all cheating.

- On the summons it clearly stated that you needed to fill out the form and mail it in at least two weeks prior to service or fill the form out online. It would seem that about a quarter of the people here today failed to do either of these things as they are now standing in a very long line to use a court computer to fill out their forms.

Apparently I am one of the few who read the instructions on the form and how to dress.

- Either people brought their children along or these are the youngest looking 18 year olds ever. I swear two of these girls look 14 at the oldest. I am fairly certain that the girl in the sparkly pink sneakers is here with her dad, but the girl with the hello kitty purse might actually be here for jury duty. I can at least almost forgive her for missing the dress code considering she is probably too young to have ever gone on a job interview.

- Guy walking by me with his belt undone. I can understand missing a button or having your zipper down and not noticing it, but your belt? I mean I am watching this thing flap around and physically hit him as he walks. How can he not notice that?

- I am surprised that they still use the phrase 'so help me God' when swearing people in. Is it somehow purgery if I say I do but I don't believe in the God they are talking about? I mean it means nothing to me if I lie or not at that point because I didn't swear to something I am invested in. I wonder if they assume you will just be swearing to whatever deity you do believe in. What if you are an atheist or agnostic though? What does it mean for them?

- I have to retract the statement that I read and follow instructions. Apparently in Dallas county you can be assigned to one of three courthouses for your jury duty. I went to the wrong one. I have been assured that it is very common and it was in no way a big deal. Considering I was one of nearly 100 people called up about this, I do not feel as bad.

They said we do not have to go to the other courthouse since it is already after 9, and there are a bunch of people at that courthouse that should have been here. It all evens out in the end apparently. They have given me a new juror number. I have gone from number 211 to 3005. I somehow now doubt that I will be pulled for jury consideration. I am certainly glad I brought my book.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The time has come

It is Friday and I am not certain that my cube walls can contain me much longer. I am fairly certain that most people who work in a cube farm environment have this feeling quite often. The little gray walls that make up our world for eight hours a day five days a week seem almost like a prison. As the day draws to a close, and even more so as the week comes to an end, these oppressive modular walls seem so easy to shed, even if it is only for a short time.

Today though is different.
Certainly it is a Friday, which heralds a weekend, which is almost always exciting. It is also the fall equinox today. The first day of fall is so very welcome after such an intense summer. The equinox is also Mabon for me, and as harvest festivals go, it is one I am rather fond of.

Still there is more to today than all of that. I have an excitement and anticipation building inside of me that can only be compared to a small child just before Christmas. It is the same feeling I used to get before the first day of school. Now granted I loved school and the first day back was one of my favorite days, so that might make me a bit of a freak and alone on that one. I am alright with that.

What has me all on edge with excitement is that this is our first work weekend for TRF (Texas Renaissance Festival). I work in a shop at TRF in the fall and am on the performance company for Scarborough Renaissance Festival in the spring. This will be my 9th year working in the shop*.

Most people might think a work weekend is nothing to get overly excited about. The faire is not open yet, it won't open until the second weekend in October. This will just be me and the husbeast and our shop owner working at putting the shop together. We will be cleaning a years worth of dirt and cobwebs out of the cases, rehanging shelves, shelving merchandise, making labels, putting together display cases, power washing the fountain, and a number of other dirty unpleasant manual labor. Why the hell would anyone be excited about that.

For me it is two fold.

1) I get to get away from my normal life for a couple of days. I get to spend time with people I absolutely adore, even if we are doing less than fun work. Also I enjoy putting the shop together. There is a certain zen I get from throwing on my iPod and cleaning like crazy.

2) There are no patrons to bother me. Yes I love the patrons, and I love the interaction I get with them, but my favorite time to be at any faire is when it is just the people who work there. There is something very different about site when you remove the element of people who paid money to get in the front gate vs people for whom this is their world. It is a different sort of magic from that of an active festival day. It is a different feel completely. It is almost a feeling of home.

Honestly a faire site during a work weekend or workshops is almost like a village. It brings such a strong sense of community. I imagine it is what I would ideally love for my actual weekday job to feel like. I can imagine it would make that job so much more enjoyable than it is.

I am not really sure how much sense that made. I am sometimes hard pressed to understand it myself. I have for years tried to explain it to people and the best I can do is this:

There was a season at TRF that will forever stand out in my mind as having the defining moment of how I feel about faire. It was closing day, and after a very long difficult season, everyone was greeting the end with more relief than regret. Certainly we would all miss our little home away from home for the next year, but we were all satisfied with putting it to rest for the time being.

I had accompanied a friend up to the feast hall which is located just across from the main gates to the grounds. We were waiting for the final cannons to go off to mark the end of the festival so that she could purchase mead from the feast hall at a discounted price. The sun had long since set and the only light was that of the soft glow coming from the shops that lined the row and a few flood lights placed high in the pine trees to help illuminate the gates. Canned music wafted through the air; some instrumental minstrel type music that helped give the ground constant 'atmosphere' for those coming and going from the festival. There was enough of a breeze that leaves and pine needles were falling through the night air, drifting in and out of pools of light on their journey to the earth below.

One by one we watched the final stragglers of patrons head towards the gate, leaving the magic behind. At the same time I watched as slowly the shop owners and workers started to emerge from their shops. They had an ease about them, as there was no more work to be done. The closing work could wait until later, the characters could be dropped, and they could just be themselves. They began to move out into the lanes and further into the grounds.

The final cannon sounded and with it you could almost feel the entire site breath a sigh of relief. We had given the patrons all the magic they desired, but now they were gone and it was ours again. It was our time, and our magic now. Just ours.

Standing amongst the falling pine needles in the cool November evening listening to the comfortable silence of a faire ready to be put to sleep by the people who loved her and called her home, I truly new magic. I truly knew peace.

*It should be my 10th year, but we took last year off due to an unusual number of weddings and our own belated honeymoon. A week in Vegas was almost worth missing a season of faire.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And I'm feeling good

 The clock is rolling over to 7:53 as I climb in my car, tossing my lunch and purse into the passenger seat. Well hell I am going to be late again. I can not imagine anyone will actually notice, so I don't really give it much thought. I turn the engine over and my ears are almost instantly assaulted by the morning talk radio show for whatever station I left the radio tuned to last night.

I despise talk radio, especially in the mornings. It is far too early and my brain is not awake enough to deal with whatever they are saying. Besides morning shows are not so much informative as they are 'entertaining'. Of course by entertaining I mean inane and sometimes offensive. I suppose if you are going to listen to talking in the mornings that this is better than something that actually makes you think. Any way you look at it, it is not for me. Even the inane is too much for me to process in the mornings.

It takes me a minute of fishing through my purse to find my iPod. For such a tiny purse, meant to keep me from carrying too much clutter, it certainly has a way of hiding what I am looking for. Perhaps if I didn't carry over a dozen pens and pencils in it I could find something. I connect the cable up and hit play so my morning commute, all ten minutes of it, can be accompanied by music I actually enjoy.

The last song that was playing when I shut it off yesterday draws to an end as I pull out of my driveway and head towards work. I crest the hill that leads out of my neighborhood and as I turn my car onto the main road I am faced with the loveliest view. The sky is slightly overcast, the bright morning sun shielded by a thin layer of gray clouds tinged pink by the dawn light.  The sight fills me with a sort of serenity and peace.

As I take in the beauty before me my iPod seems to sense the moment I am in and rolls into a new song. I hear the smooth voice of Michael Buble start to fill my car.

Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

It really is the truth. I am feeling good. It is more than the fact that I was down with a stomach bug yesterday and today feel so much recovered. It is so much more than just that. I look around me, and my life is good; I am employed, I have a home, I am loved. The biggest things I have to complain about are inconvenient format changes to my social networking sights.

Certainly there may be dark storm clouds looming just over the horizon in my life. I know that come two weeks from now I might have a lot more to complain about. I know that my life will probably be filled with fret and worry. I know that all that I find stable now will be in peril. My serenity and my life will be thrown to the wind and land in an indeterminable amount of chaos. My world will be spinning windershins and I will be unable to stop it. All I will be able to do is hold on. 

For now though, there is nothing but a serene dawn to grace my eyes.
For now, I am going to enjoy what I have, and not fret for the storms in my future.

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
It's a new life
For me

For me

I'm feeling good

I feel so good
I feel so good

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I despise being sick. It seems like such an enormous waste of my time. Sadly though I am not known for having the most stellar immune system. There is nothing wrong with me per se, I just seem to get sick a lot. I have been lucky as to avoid large bouts of the flu the last couple of years, but it has not always been so.

When I was a little girl I was constantly sick. It turned out in the end that I was allergic to the world. About a million allergy shots later I could mostly function in the world for most of the year. Not to say my allergies were cured, they were simply not as cripplingly intense.

The worst part about being sick, aside from feeling like death warmed over, is the fact that I can not focus or think. My entire life turns into one long stream of consciousness. I have no filters. I sort of just say what comes to my mind. Everything sounds like a nonsequitur (which by the way my spell check says is not a real word. I either butchered the spelling or my spell check is stupid. Lets assume both are probable).

I told my mother that my grandmother was pure evil and had replaced the blood in her veins with pure spite and fed off of our misery and therefor would never die. See? No filters. Of course my mother agreed with me, but that is beside the point.

I am afraid of my jello. Not in the way I am afraid of spider, or heights, or libraries. More in the way of I am afraid that if I eat it my stomach is going to prompt me to do my best exorcist impression. That would be unpleasant on many levels, including the awkward of me being at work just now. No one should have to puke at the office.

Of course if the sick policy allowed for more sick time this wouldn't be an issue. Seriously who thinks that 5 sick days a year is sufficient? I mean are they assuming you will never get sick? One good bout of the flu or traveling stomach flu and you are out almost all of your sick time in one go. My office does this weird thing where you can borrow ahead up to three sick days, but no more. So I earn like 3 hours of sick time every pay period. If I get sick in January I can borrow ahead three days, but once I hit that point I have to wait until I accrue more hours before I can take more time off. Since it will then take me two months to earn back one day of sick time, I pretty much can not get sick again for all of winter. Well I can but then I have to spend my vacation time to do it. I don't have that much vacation time to begin with.

I just totally lost my train of thought because someone came into my cube.
Perhaps blogging while sick is not a good idea. At least I am not drugged up. That would make for some seriously entertaining blog posts. Mores the pity.

I think I am going to attempt to take a nap at my desk. This will probably end poorly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy marriages are made by seperate vacations

What is it about traveling that makes a person lose their goddamned minds?

I don't know about you, but most of the time, when I return home from a trip with the husbeast, the first thing on my mind is contacting a divorce lawyer. Is being a poor travel companion grounds for divorce? I am sometimes inclined to think they are.

I love the man dearly, but nothing tests the strength of that love more than being trapped out of town with him.

The problem with vacations or out of town trips of any sort is the simple fact that you are away from home and together almost 24/7. That is normally a lot more daily interaction than you are used to. Most couples only see each other for half of the day at best what with work and all. So suddenly spending that much time together can be a bit of a system shock. Alone time is good for a relationship.

Still you opt to go someplace, together, and then you are stuck. If one of you has a bad day or starts behaving badly, it is hard for the other to escape. There is no place to go and cool down and get over whatever is pissing you off. You are stuck in the seat next to them in the car for another three hours, or sharing a tiny bed with them in a cramped hotel room, or are surrounded by Taylor Swift concerts and road closures with no detours* and no gps with a violent thunderstorm raging preventing you from escaping your hotel (not that I speak from personal experience of that exact situation)

I think the general stress of travel and being in strange and unfamiliar surroundings just makes things a little more volatile. People both act and react differently than normal. Feelings are more easily hurt and nerves are more easily hit.

I have a girlfriend who insists her marriage is successful because she and her husband take separate vacations. I used to think that was a silly and sometimes harsh statement. The more I travel with the husbeast, the more I think she is onto something.

I love the man dearly. Sometimes I just love him more when he is not here.

* Tulsa Oklahoma is made of complete fail. An entire southern facing highway was closed and there was absolutely no detours posted. You just came across a closed sign and were shunted off onto some other road with no indication of how to get back to where you were heading. I was never more pissed off about not having a smart phone or a GPS system in my life. I really needed the beer that was in the bar at the other end of that closed highway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Words words words

Some days I have nothing to say at all despite the fact that I really want to say something.
On those days I end up frustrated and convinced that the cursor is mocking me. It is not a lack of ideas or desire, it is simply...well I am not certain it is anything simple at all. If any of you can explain why some days I can not write anything at all I would love to hear your theories on it.

Thankfully that is not every day. I will be the first to admit that I am not as diligent as I should be when it comes to my writing. For those of you who were privy to read my Faire dream you know that I could sometimes be a little lax in writing the next chapter. Alright so nearly a year is probably an excessive amount of time to wait for the final three chapters. Sorry about that.

I am not terribly disciplined is what I suppose I am getting at.
This year has been about building new habits for me. I decided almost ten months ago that I needed to change things in my life and start new habits, and thus far I am doing pretty good on some things. On others I am not fairing so well.

One of the things I wanted to do was write every day outside of my blog. Thus far I am lucky if I write once a week. Yes part of it is finding the time to do it, part of it is finding the desire to do it, and part of it is actually making words come out.

Some days none of that is a problem.

I have to say there is something ridiculously satisfying about opening up a word document and having the words flow freely. It is so nice to look up after two hours and see the word count at the bottom of the screen saying 2900. It is nice to know that I have more words to put out right now and my story will grow.

Unfortunately what I am working on today has very little story to it. I have some very amusing characters, and some interesting ideas about the reality they live in, but I haven't much of an idea of where they are going or to what purpose they are moving towards. Hard to write something without a plot. Just now it is a bunch of scenes that will hopefully connect smoothly once I am done. I am not sure if they will lead anywhere, but writing something is better than nothing right?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mocked into silence

I have to admit I get very excited every time I get a comment or see that I have a new follower. It is nice to know, or at least to imagine, that my blathering is not falling on deaf ears. Or would that be blind eyes? However you look at it, it is a very nice thought that my ramblings are possibly amusing people.

Of course then I go to make a new post and I have positively nothing to say. I stare at my little blinking cursor for hours on end with no results. My cursor mocks me. Ohh yes it does. Evil vile little blinking line that highlights the fact that I have been unable to put down so much as a single coherent thought.

Now it is not like I owe anything to anyone out in the great wide internets. I know that I write more for my own amusement than anyone elses. Still I hold out hope that somewhere someone might actually have been looking forward to see whatever strange thing I might have put out there this time.

Only I have nothing but a stupid blinking cursor.

I am beginning to loath that cursor. It mocks me in my blog and in my writing as well. I pop open the story I am working on at current and all I see is an unfinished thought and a little blinking line reminding me that once again I have failed to finish what I started.

So in case you actually stopped by in hopes of something to read and amuse you, forgive the lack of content of any substance. I blame the cursor really. Its mockery of me has left me in a state in which I am unable to form cohesive thoughts and put them into my blog.

I am certain this is only a temporary setback. We will return to our irregular postings as soon as I figure out how to kill my cursor.

Monday, September 12, 2011

If I had a million dollars

A large portion of my weekend was spent with the husbeast doing mostly nothing at all. Not that we don't normally spend a lot of time together doing nothing, but this weekend we spent time together doing different nothing than our usual nothing. I am not making sense, let me try again.

Normally on a Saturday the husbeast and I would lounge about the house playing on our laptops and watching bad tv, or going out to a movie and to eat. It really is not doing much of anything, but we are together. This Saturday was different. I had to go down to Perth street, the fabric Mecca of DFW, to pick up some material for a new bodice for the upcoming faire. Normally I would go alone, but he mysteriously wanted to join me. After that excursion we did some chores like oil changes and car inspections, and then went and walked around a yuppie mall for a few hours. There was some lunch and a trip to Half Priced Books where I was the only one to walk out with a book.* We ended our outing with a trip to a furniture store we were passing by.

At one point during our visit to the furniture store we settled in on some chaises and started pipe dreaming. We had seen several things we would love to own, but sadly can not afford at this time. So the question was asked; what would we do if we were suddenly ridiculously wealthy?

My answer is easy. The first thing I would do is to go buy an ice cream cone.
Because I can.

Never would an ice cream have tasted so sweet. It would be like eating ice cream as a child when ice cream was a simple lovely pleasure. As a child you do not worry about calories, or cost, or anything else. You are not eating the ice cream as part of guilt, or in mourning, or stress. You simply enjoy the sweet cold creamy goodness because you want to. It is something I would like to do again. Eat an ice cream and enjoy it because I have nothing else to worry about in the world.

After that joyful treat I would spend money on other people.
We decided we would pay off our house and have all of the improvement projects on it finished professionally. Once it was done we would give it to the husbeasts mum. She is retired and disabled and needs a place that is good and where she doesn't have to worry about rent on her fixed income. We would also pay off my parents house and pay for some renovations that need to be done there.

After our parents were taken care of we would pay off their cars as well as our siblings cars. Well his brother and my brother. We both have far too many siblings that we have never really spoken to to go and by everyone a car. There are also a few friends who would find themselves with new vehicles.

At that point we would have to look at ourselves. All our debt would be paid off (which actually would have been the first thing after the ice cream). We would buy a new house, though there was debate about having something built since we both have some pretty specific desires. I want a sewing room and studio. He wants and office and workspace. We both want a game room.

He has a few classic cars that he would want to buy and putter with. I would most likely indulge in buying fabric and end up sewing a lot more than I have time for now. There also would be horses. One for me and one for him. It is a thing. After that though I think all we would do with our money is travel really.

The only other thing we were both very agreed upon was that we would be generous to strangers. I have always wanted to have enough money to anonymously buy someones meal, leave a diner waitress a $100 tip, give a good samaritan a large amount of cash, slip an envelope of cash to a needy family, and other random acts such as that.

They were nice dreams, even if that is all that they were. Who knows, perhaps some day I will win the lottery and ice cream will once again taste so sweet and diner waitresses everywhere will benefit from my good fortune. Until then I can dream.

What would you do if you had a million dollars?

* This is completely unheard of. Normally I buy nothing and he buys 5 or 6 books. First fabric shopping then not buying books, the world may be ending.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Born this way

I really should not read comments on the internet. People love to hide behind the anonymity of a computer screen and spout off the most wretched things in the world. Even though I know this, I still read them, and I still get pissed off.

 The following is a rant. It might get long and well...ranty, but that is what rants are for.

Over the last few days I have been linked to a number of interesting news stories and op ed pieces ranging in topics from teacher and parent relations to bullying to boycotting Lane Bryant and DWTS for homosexual overtones and support. With my group of friends and acquaintances getting these sorts of articles is not uncommon. I pretty much read anything a friend suggests unless it is purely political in nature. I just don't go there.

The articles themselves can get me fairly worked up. Reading about how people are treated and disrespected typically makes me cranky. I simply do not understand that sort of mindset. Call me crazy but I was raised that you give respect to people in authority, you are kind to others, and you do not judge them. Now I was raised partially by my grandmother and a fairly liberal mother so that might have something to do with it.

If you have ever bothered to read anything I have written you would know that I am an extremely open minded individual. Sure I judge people, and I think unkind things, and I have some pretty set in opinions; give me a break I am human. I however refrain from spouting off hateful words in public or on the web when at all possible. I just don't have that sort of hate living in me to be that cruel. I mean I can't even bring myself to tell these people who are making hateful comments that they are sick hateful bigots.

I understand that this mindset these people have is how they were raised. It is normally tied strictly to their religion and the region of the country/world they grew up in. I recognize that they have every right to believe in what they want to, and I am not going to stop them even if I disagree with them with every fiber of my being.

That being said I do not think anyone has the right to utter such hate. Freedom of speech is great and all, but I don't think it was intended to be used in such hateful ways. There is a reason that states have 'Fighting word' laws.

Some of these comments made me physically ill. I read a comment from a group that is supposed to be a Christian parents group out to protect their children, and the comment actually said that bullying of homosexual individuals was acceptable because they are willingly defying Gods law and have to be taught a lesson somehow. Even worse than the comment was people agreed with them.

Bullying is NEVER acceptable. Never!
These are parents. Christian parents.

It has been a very long time since I was Christian, and just as long since I read or studied the bible, but I have read and studied it. I might be rusty on my facts but I remember this whole love thy neighbor section, and something about not judging, and if I miss my mark Jesus' whole overlying message was of tolerance acceptance and forgiveness. What kind of Christians are these? Obviously they are old testament Christians working with the wrathful old school Yahweh who liked to smite folk with fire, brimstone, plagues, and floods. In which case they should stop saying the work for Jesus.

I am not trying to bash Christians here. I know that this is a small faction of an otherwise lovely religion even if it was not precisely my cup of tea. I know some of the most amazingly tolerant and supportive Christians in the world, my mother included. I am just horrified at what these people say.

These same Christina parents are currently boycotting Lane Bryant for the new cover of their catalog because it has topless women together. They pretty much come to the conclusion that naked women together are obviously gay or promoting the 'gay agenda'. Well hell if women being naked together makes us gay then I must be gay. I have been naked with other women on multiple occasions in my life. I am so glad they let me know. I had no idea. The husbeast might be disappointed, though if I let him watch he would probably be alright with it.

Seriously people this is just ridiculous. There is nothing pornographic about the picture. The women are not even showing any cleavage. They are all in profile and their arms cover all of their bits. You see more racy things in an underwear add. I wonder if these people boycott Victoria Secrets and well every other underwear company in the world. I mean honestly I can't think of one underwear company that does not have an add with same sex together in some state of undress. It is just silly.

Then I read the comments from this group and just got sick to my stomach. It was vile the things they were saying. The anti homosexual rants were appalling. They went on and on about how it was a sick lifestyle choice and that they were willful sinners and that they could not have been born gay that they had to want to be gay. Then there were more comments about homosexuals and the downfall of society. The only thing I see bringing about the downfall of society are hateful people like them.

People who say the most horrible hateful uneducated things under the guise of being a good parent/christian/person is just infuriating. How can you call yourself a good anything when you have that kind of hate? I am fairly certain that God or your grandmother would look down on you for hating like that, and if they don't I am glad they are not my God or grandmother.

I know I shouldn't get upset. This sort of bigotry runs rampant on the internet. I know better than to read comments on articles of any nature because as sure as the rain falls from the sky someone will say something stupid and hateful. It is just the way it is.

I can not help but to get upset and in the end sad. There are so many people out there who still are so full of hate and bigotry and they are teaching this hate to their children. It is becoming an almost acceptable commonplace for this sort of ignorance to run around and that quite honestly scares me.

We as a society need to think about the lessons we are teaching our children and the type of world we are creating by allowing this sort of hate to exist. The internet is supposed to bring more knowledge and wider understanding to the world. With all the good though it brings with it the bad. It is only fueling hatred by showing people that they are not alone in their hate and that they can continue with these thoughts and actions.

It makes me angry.
It makes me sick.

Mostly though, it makes me sad.

Other peoples realities

This morning driving to work I got stuck at the light to turn onto the road to my office building. Our building sits on one corner of this intersection with an office building directly across on the opposite corner. Where I stopped was directly in front of the parking garage to this other building. Standing just outside the garage entrance was a man in a ball cap holding a sign. I had noticed this same man about a week ago as I was leaving work. At that time he had a woman with him, but he still had the sign.

The sign simple said: John Doe* LIAR

My interest was piqued to say the least. Who was this man on the side of the road and who was this mysterious John Doe. What had transpired between the two to prompt this man to stand outside the parking garage and allow every employee of that company who came or went to know that John Doe was a liar. What had he lied about? Was it only this one man who was effected by these obviously grievous lies or were there a whole slew of people? I would assume if it were more people this mini protest would have been much larger. Or perhaps more people were wronged and this was the only man who felt brave enough to protest in such a bold manner.

So when I got to my desk I did a quickly Googled John Doe. Now you must understand my Google-foo is weak. I can never much find anything about anything, but this morning I yielded a few positive results. I managed to find out that this John Doe was the head of IT for the company across the street. Now my mind is spinning.

Perhaps John Doe was responsible for the firing of this man with the sign. Perhaps he falsified information about this man causing him to lose his job and everything he had and now his only form of protest against such an injustice is to stand outside the office and let everyone know that whatever he was accused of is untrue because John Doe is a liar. It would seem in that case his honor was far more important than his job.

Or perhaps it is not related to the job at all. Perhaps it is something more personal than work. Perhaps the man with the sign could think of no better way to get his message across than to hold a handmade sign like some hobo in front of the office. Perhaps he doesn't know how to effectively use the internet for such things.

Whatever sign mans reasons for standing out there, I am certain they are much more interesting than what I can think up. I mean I have a great imagination and all, but I have discovered that fact is often more strange than fiction. That and all my scenarios are fairly mundane and boring.

* Name on sign has been changed because I don't know who the hell he really is and the last thing I plan on doing is fanning the flames of some fire I don't have any reason to be involved in.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Worlds on Fire

Living in Texas you get used to certain things.
Running with temperatures over 100 every day for months on end is not unusual. It is not pleasant by any means, but it is sort of something you accept. I assume it would be the same if we were constantly in multiple feet of snow for months on end. You just adjust.

It is also common place for the weather to change at the drop of the hat. One day it is 109 outside and miserable, and the next it is a pleasant 80 and breezy. The saying goes "If you don't like the weather wait a minute, it will change." Typically that is true.

One thing that has become common place this yea in particular, and a thing I do not think I will ever get used to, is that Texas is burning. Fires have raged through North Texas and Central Texas and East Texas on and off all year long. We have had more of a drought than usual, and the winds have been unforgiving in the dry areas, and the flames just run rampant.

Living in Dallas, I personally have been safe from the flames. I have no family that live in the immediate area of any of the fires. Still my state is on fire. That is just unsettling.

The facts are really just staggering. Over 50 wildfires burning across the state. Areas where my parents and friends lived in until just recently have burned to the ground. One of the Ren Faires I work for is in danger as is another faire near Austin. Hell my home faire already had a fire at it which claimed the life of a faire colleague.

Worst of all there is no relief in sight. The forecast while showing pleasant cool temperatures shows no signs of rain. Firefighters are working round the clock to try and control the blazes, but it seems like they keep growing, or new fires show up once one is put out.

I feel helpless as I sit here, and the world burns around me.
We were praying for rain to end the drought, now we are praying for rain to help end the fires.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I forget where to begin

I was going to write this post about...well I forget now what it was about. I vaguely think it had something to do with work and being bored, but I can not say for certain.

You see as I sat here about to start typing away I suddenly thought to myself "Self...haven't we already made a post about this?". So not wanting to repeat myself too much I went and looked over my post list. The only thing is that the titles of my posts are not exactly self explanatory. Now it is nothing so bad as say the title of a Fall Out Boy song, which are random and mostly have nothing to do with anything at all.

My titles have something to do with my posts, they just aren't exactly helpful in jogging my memory. I am not certain if that says I choose poor post titles or that my memory is really bad. Probably a little of both.

Since the post titles were not working I went back and skimmed through my posts. Thankfully I have only had this blog for 5ish months and there are not that many posts. I foresee in the not so distant future repeating myself quite often.

I am not sure if I have posted anything like what I was going to post since I forgot what I was going to post.
I did however learn these things:

1) I am really long winded and ramble a lot.

B) I like to tell a story before I make my point.

C3PO) My memory is crap.

So there you have it. My post about why you aren't reading the post I intended.
Yea...I got nothing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lessons learned

I've been thinking a lot lately about the lessons we teach our children. Not that I currently have any children (or will have any in the near future), but still it has been something that has been on my mind. I deal with a lot of people who are selfish, self entitled, pompous, asshats. I have to wonder if there is a societal problem with how we are raising our children that they turn out like this.

Of course there are a lot of perfectly lovely and functional people out there. I am not saying that everyone I run into are inconsiderate jerks, but there is an alarmingly large number of them roaming around.

It just seems to me that there is a great lack of educating our children (and not in the school sort of way, though that is lacking too but is a completely different post). It seems like parents have gotten lazy in teaching their spawn the important things that make generally good people.

I look around me and it looks as though the only lessons people have been taught are that it is important to be pretty, and popular, and rich. Holy bananas its like high school never ended. What is wrong with you people? These are not the important things in life.

Walking around judging people because they are fat, or poor, or ethnic, or gay, or straight, or pagan, or skinny, or have bad teeth, or are not smart, or have bad fashion sense, or <fill in the blank here of the endless things to judge people on> is just wrong. I know being judgmental is an overall human flaw and we all do it, even me. There is a limit though to how closed minded and bigoted a person can be before they are just jackasses.

I read a rather appalling story about some loon in Florida who wants and Atheist registry so good Christians could go and boycott Atheist businesses and proselytize to the heathens. This might be judgmental of me towards this guy and people who think like that, but this is just wrong. So they don't believe the same thing as you do (or possibly anything at all), that is none of your business. It does not make them bad people anymore than it makes you good because you are Christian. I certainly don't think actively protesting and being cruel to people for being different makes you a good anything, especially not a good person.

These are problems that don't manifest in adulthood. These are things that are rooted in a persons upbringing. When you teach a child that it is alright to hate people because they are different that is a problem. When you teach a child that all that matters is being beautiful on the outside that is a problem. When you teach a child that the only thing that matters is money and social status that is a problem.

Yes money is important. Yes having social structure and being able to function in society is important. These things go without saying really, but they are not the most important things.

Teach your children to be beautiful. Teach them that beauty is on the inside and comes from the heart and comes from the soul. Teach them that what you see on the outside is no measure of all the wonderful things on the inside, and as long as you are beautiful within you will always be beautiful no matter how you look.

Teach your children to be strong. Teach them to have strength of mind and spirit and conviction. Teach them to stand up for what they believe in without trampling on others.

Teach your children to be kind and tolerant. Teach them that being different is what makes everyone special. Teach them that no matter who people love, worship, or befriend, they are still people with feelings and hopes and dreams, just like everyone else. Teach them that a how a person acts and speaks is more important than who their god is or who their lover is.

Teach your children that a good person does not have to be just like them. Teach them that good people come in every shape and size, every sex and religion and race, as do bad people.

Teach your children not to judge. Teach them that they can not look at a person and know them. Teach them that you never know a persons circumstances and why they are the way they are. Teach them to know the facts before making a decision.

Teach your children that they have to work hard for what they want. Teach your children that nothing is going to necessarily be handed to them because they want it. Teach them that they have to do what is needed to get to the goal. No one owes them anything except general respect and human decency, which is what they owe to others in return.

Teach your children that hate is a four letter word. Hating lima beans is one thing, but hating other people is an ugly thing. Teach them that not everyone has to like one another, and that it is alright to disagree and even not get along, but to truly hate is a dark thing that makes you ugly for giving in to it.

Teach your children that we are all people, simple and imperfect, and that we all deserve to be treated as we would want to be treated. Kindness, compassion, love, and understanding is what makes us able to live together in some sense of harmony.

If we could teach these things to our children, imagine what the world would be like.
Remember that children learn by watching us. So the next time you say something snarky and judgmental about someone else, the next time you talk about how much better you are than someone because you are skinnier or richer than they are, the next time you make blanket assumptions about a group of people, check and see if there are any children listening to you and think if you are setting the example for what kind of person you want them to be.

Teach yourself these lessons, and maybe then our children will have a chance.