A Sad State of Affairs

As I get older (early-mid-late thirties), I find myself doing things that kind’a surprise me – things I never really thought I’d do.  Like listening to NPR, being more mindful of financial matters, and paying attention to politics.

I guess it really wasn’t until I turned 30 or so that I started listening to more of what was going on nationally in terms of politics.  And not just the stupid crap like Weiner’s dick pics or other ridiculous scandals.  I guess Obama’s presidential campaign was what sort of sparked an interest.  Not necessarily because I was pro-Obama, but because his campaign and political efforts took my generation into consideration.  It had a modern feel to it with social media, modern image, and current technology.  That jived for me.

But now that I’m more educated and aware of the political process (and we’re starting a new round of presidential bids), I can’t help but roll my eyes at everything.

Here are some great examples of why I may pass out from excessive eye rolling:

  • Texas State Representative (Republican) Molly White wants Muslims who visit her office to “renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws.”  As Bianca del Rio would say – “Really, Queen?”
  • Molly White also refuses to have an audience with an member of the LGBT activist community, that  they were reportedly told by her staff that a meeting between them and White would be a waste of time and that he should, “drop off your literature and leave.”
  • Florida State Representative (Republican) Dennis Baxley voted against a bill that would have allowed gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.  He was initially in favor of the bill (for the benefits of the children), but ultimately reversed his decision when he “prayed” about it and felt he could not go forward because it would affirm the homosexual lifestyle. “I don’t hate anybody. I don’t want to discriminate against anybody. I’m not phobic, but I simply can’t affirm homosexuality. My compass won’t go there, knowing what I know biblically. And so I ask people to please understand the circumstances,” state Rep. Dennis Baxley said.
  • And let’s not forget about Indiana and Arkansas.
  • Idaho House Bill 154 – a bill to ban telemedicine in abortion procedures was passed (by a predominately Republican majority).  Quoting Biblical scripture and emotional pleas (“Our precious little adopted grandson,” said Republican Rep. Linden Bateman, his voice cracking. “He came that close to be aborted.”), they took away the rights of women to make their own choices.  I mean, let’s face it – it’s Idaho.  Telemedicine is a God-send for thousands of people who live in rural areas.  And yet, they’re represented by a man (Vito Barbieriz) who asked a healthcare professional if a gynecological exam could be conducted when a woman swallowed a small camera.  Again, we ask – “Really, Queen?”
  • And let’s not forget Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin.

I know that all of these examples are about Republicans.  And I’m not picking a fight about political parties.  There are many Republican notions that I am in agreement with, and many Democratic ideas as well.

But what I’m absolutely fucking tired of is this tired and ratchet-ass, self-serving, seemingly self-cloning embodiment of political representation that make up the Senate and House.  Not everyone, I’m sure.  But there is no real representation going on here.

This is America.  We are a blessed nation with amazingly intelligent, honorable and incredibly capable people.  And yet, our laws are dictated by imbeciles who waste tax money on decorating their office in the style of Downton Abbey.

What I see and hear about are candidates holding rallies with segmented groups of people trying to get their vote and raise money (and the money is a whole different barrel of fish).  So rather than trying to run a even-handed platform, they look to the extreme (right or left wing).  They may win an election to be a representative for their state – but they are only representing themselves, riding on the backs of a comparatively small group of people.  (And the number of people voting is another sad story…)

My point here is that I am completely disappointed, disgusted and really just can’t fucking believe that we have this group of people running our country who actually think it’s ok to pass laws to willingly and blatantly discriminate.  Against ANYONE.  I don’t care of they’re Muslim, gay, black, Middle Eastern, Christian, Republican, Democrat or Jew – we are all human beings living in America.  This isn’t 1930.  Why do we constantly struggle with something SO basic.

While I know my comment will offend a lot of people – religion has no place in a governing body if the laws of that country proclaim religious freedom.  I don’t care what people claim the “Fore Fathers of this Great Country” based the constitution on.  Religious tolerance is religious tolerance – even if you don’t agree with the principles and core beliefs of that affiliation.  Maybe you pray about your duties and responsibilities – and yes, please ponder what is the correct choice.  But do not publicly promote that you denied basic rights because your Christian background does not support those ideas.  It is not about religion.  It is about smart choices supporting humanity.  If your opinions are spiritually derived, them perhaps your place is  better positioned in front of a congregation than the public political arena.

Gay rights to marry and adopt are not topics that should be debated with any sort of religious dialogue.  These are basic human rights.  Equality is equality.  Love is love.  The human heart beats the same regards of age, sex, gender, religion or sexual orientation.  We’ve been through this with Blacks and women … and now gays.

When will our nations leaders learn that to represent means representing all, not just the group who abides by your same religious beliefs?  I want to vote for a candidate that does what is best for our nation, not what his religion (which I may or not believe in) dictates for me.

After all, we’re not ISIS, are we?

(Vaginal exams by swallowing a pill-sized camera?  Where do they find these people!?)

My How Time Flies

So I came across a backup of my old blog I kept back in the days before anyone and everyone had a blog.  Ah, those were the days… young, fresh, sassy and rather vulgar.

Fast forward eight years, and my, oh my, what a different boy I am.

To make a very long story short – here’s where I am now…

For starters, I’m married.  MARRIED, bitches.  I honestly never expected that day would come for me.  But about six years ago, I met a guy named Daniel and we sort’a kind’a hit it off.  And five years later, once DOMA was overturned, we ran off to NYC and got married.

So not only am I married, but I have a kid!  Well – sort’a.  Daniel and I talked for a while about having a kid.  And after a lot of discussion, we decided we’d try our hand at foster care with the intention of adopting.  We started that process in October of 2013, and in June of 2014 we had a little 21-month old boy placed with us.  It has been a long and incredibly emotionally challenging journey – but the stars seems to be aligning, and the route to adopting him seems to be opening up for us.

It still blows my mind.  I’m married.  AND have a kid.  Mind. Blown.

Okay, okay…  So what else.  In September 2007 I bought a new home.  I still live there with Daniel and our foster son.  It’s a nice, smallish house.  We just did some minor remodeling – so the house feels like new(ish) again.

I think at the time of my last post, I was still working for Continental Airlines.  Since then, I’m been with 3 other companies.  I’m very happy where I am now and have been here for almost 4 years.  I no longer really do web design.  I now primarily do email marketing – well, more specifically, the global management of an email marketing system.  It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve really been able to see some improvement in the company since I began.

What else … what else…  Oy.  Physically – I’m definitely not the same as I was eight years ago. Hahaha, lordy loo, no, I’m not.  I weigh about 30 pounds more than back then.  My hair is still reddish, but a lot more (naturally) blonde than before thanks to the ever-spreading of white hairs intermingling with my head o’ ginger.  My beard is almost completely white except for two spots on my chin.  My body actually aches and such – particularly with having to be on the floor so much with a two year old.

But the good news (for me at least) is that in the last eight years, I’ve only had two kidney stones (knock on wood – dear, sweet baby jesus in they hay, knock on wood).  Both of them were passed without medical intervention, thankfully.  However, my stones are no longer bullet-shaped as they used to be.  They are more spiky and ass-clenching then before.  So I thank my lucky stars that I’ve only had the two.

Anyway.  So yah – that’s me.  Eight years down the road.  Fatter, grayer, happier, wiser.  Still just as gay, if not gayer thanks to Matthew’s introduction to RuPaul’s Drag Race.  No more Friendster, no more MySpace, no more Orkut.  Even blogging these days seems a little pretentious and attention-whore-y.  But it is what it is.  And it’s a good outlet for me to be snarky and say what I want without having to have a child filter.  And it keeps me honest.  Or something.

So here’s to starting up the old machine again.  Wish me luck that I can be at least half as amusing as I used to be.

Paris is Burning…

I’m sure everyone by now has heard about the latest treasure trove of information on the press’ darling, Parasite Hilton, that leaked out because the classy heir-head didn’t pay her $200 storage fee. And my, oh my — look at all the dirty laundry. Granted, who doesn’t love a good sex scandal. But that’s just it — a GOOD sex scandal. This scandal is becoming so drawn out it’s almost a full-feature porn. (And most likely one of those ones that is dubbed over and uses special sound effects to sound like a … well … a fist in a jar of mayo.)

According to the NY Post’s Page Six, the content that was unfurled for mass consumption contained:

Prescription bottles for Hydrocodone, a painkiller similar to OxyContin used to manage anxiety disorders, post-party sleep aid Ambien and the herpes medication Valtrex.
A journal analyzing her booze-fueled dreams.
Several bank statements, including one with an ending monthly balance of just $9.26.”

So yes, Paris burning. But apparently only when she pees.

But honestly, I’m seeing a lot of comments on the interweb about what a whore she is because she has herpes. Because having herpes is what makes her a whore. I don’t think now is the time or place for an overtly sexual world that is brimming with STDS to point fingers just because this wonky-eyed-princess displayed a lack of responsibility and didn’t pay her bills.

Everyone has dirty secrets. I know I do. (Not really, Mom — I’m still completely innocent. Promise). The finger pointing shouldn’t be done because she does these things. The finger pointing should happen because she is not careful about how/who/when she does them, and continues with the same light-hearted ignorance post-trauma.

Share THIS.

Ok, so between school and all the articles about the music industry being cry baby bitches over royalties, i have some not-so-sudden realizations about all this dramatic bullshit.

If it weren’t for services like of AllofMP3, (the old) Naptser, Morpheous, and Kazaa, I wouldn’t have found a lot of the music that i love today. AND a lot of the bands that I was introduced to via those forums i have since purchased cds or gone to see in concert. And all my friends know that once I find someone I think is hot shit, I gladly share it with them and spread the joy. Viral marketing, if you will.

On the other hand, I’m GLAD that I downloaded the Gwen Stefani album rather than buying it because it’s absolute crap. To think I could have spent $10-18 on that trash makes me applaud the founders of The Pirate Bay and other P2P groups. (And I can promise you that once I downloaded it, listened to it — or tried to — it was quickly deleted and forgotten.)

I know that I am not the only person out there who is like this, but quite frankly, a lot of American music is awful. I definitely tend to lean more toward the Europe influence or the lesser-known bands that haven’t quite garnered their way to prime commercial success (which is likely a blessing in disguise). And it’s hard to find that sort of stuff without ordering it online. iTunes doesn’t carry it and we’re not allowed to use a European-flavored iTunes (which is 10 shades of retarded).

So, the short of it — record labels need to shut up and do what I tell them to do because quite frankly, they’re getting on my nerves. I’m over their lack of willingness to try something new that could be equally as profitable as was their previous business model (and i mean previous in that it’s obviously dying, and they aren’t making friends with consumers with all their bullshit tantrums).

So all you record label bitches, get over it. Work with us to provide us what we want and earn money doing it, or we’ll go around ya and find another way to get it while you may or (likely) may not profit.

Ok, I’m done ranting.

For now.

I think.

Welcome to School.

I started school today — first day in my pursuit of a Master’s degree. Our first question was on digital libraries and information sharing. “Describe how using a digital library can make your learning experience more efficient and rewarding.” So far, most of the students responses have been one or two paragraphs. I, apparently, went off on a tangent ……… Here’s my response:

I have to admit that this article surprised me in the depth that it covered the various aspects of the production of a digital library. Scanning books and photos, recording music and performances, cataloging history … it’s a very slow and relatively inefficient process on a mass level for the time being. And being that it is still such a new effort, people are slow to adopt — not to mention the ever-living debate of paper vs. digital.

A digital library could, at times, be very helpful to me — provided the indexing and search capabilities are loose (but efficient) enough to get me the information I need with relatively easy searching. I currently catalog my recipes (particularly my own creations) in a database that is searchable by ingredient. I have also previously toyed with the concept of wikis and content amalgamation. It is very useful, but also slow growing. Technological tools need people who are willing to technologically branch out and learn something new. Look how long eBooks have been around — and to this day — I don’t know a single person who would willingly choose to buy an eBook. The concept is novel and sounds like it could be really cool and convenient. Unfortunately, thus far, it hasn’t been.

In the past when I HAVE searched out digital books, half they time they are encased in some sort of DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection scheme that requires a username, password, or have limitations imposed that prevent printing or saving. THIS is not helpful to me as a consumer and prevents me from adopting the technology.

The whole concept of DRM is understandable — but horribly flawed. We now live in a world where oceans of information are available to us with a few clicks of a button. If you really want to find something … chances are, if you look hard enough, you’ll find it — be it a cracked version of Photoshop CS3, Gwen Stefani’s latest album, or even a PDF version your favorite O’Reily pocket guide. And you’ll find it for free. Obviously, it’s not legal to acquire some of those things — but it illustrates the point that regardless of what sort of digital protection (serial numbers, username/passwords, etc), someone will always find a way to get by it. I just read that someone has already found a way to get past HD-DVD encryption methods — and it’s not even a significantly adopted standard (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070115-8622.html).

But — back to the personal digital library — IF the technology used to produce my digital library of music, books, movies, etc. was wrapped in red tape, I would likely be quick to adopt it. However, outdated media moguls are desperately trying to save their dying business models rather than trying to find ways to make money from new technologies. This, in turns, makes a hot mess of rights management and information sharing and prevents 1.) the adoption of new technology, 2.)the creation of new original content distribution methods, and 3.)the motivation for artists, authors, and developers to work in an industry that prohibits full distribution of their wares. Take the law suit against Google that was mentioned in the article, for example. Publishers are suing Google for scanning work that is “in the dark”, yet protected by copyright by unknown peoples. Perhaps if they would contribute to the effort, they could market new books in digital format (via download or cd) as well as in paper print. Additional revenue possibilities. But they choose to waste countless sums of money on a war that, in 10 years, will be completely pointless.

And in the end — we, the consumers, suffer for it. We stick to paperback books and standard web searches. I hope that the situation with DRM works itself out in a way that is fair to everyone and not just a cash cow for some detached business entity.

(This was actually difficult for me to write about. There are a lot of factors to DRM that have an opinion on, as well as the CC (Creative Commons) and GNU -General Public License. All have a significant part in information sharing. Definitely fodder for further conversations.)

Salutation to the Sun — and Satan

I had to make an entry today. The brazen stupidity of people has caused a flare up on my abhorence of extreme religion — in this case, extreme Christianity. Someone in BFE B.C. there is a little area called Quesnel where the school district is trying to kids how to not be fat — and are doing so with a program of exercise which includes Yoga.

This has upset the balance of all that is good and evil in British Columbia. The Devil, apparently, is going to use the introduction of Yoga into school fitness programs as a way to steal away the righteous, unjudging youth of the world. First, you’re doing a Salutation to the Sun, next thing you’re smoking snortin’ coke off a whore’s ass with a needle in one arm and a tattoo gun on the other paintin’ a image of the Devil himself. And to think, it all started to help a poor fat boy learn to stretch so he can tie his own shoes.

This, undoubtedly charming, woman — Chelsea Brears — has decided that Yoga is religion and has no place in her child’s education. If they can’t keep prayer in, they should not be exposed to other religions.

Because, as we know, yoga has caused MULTITUDES of people to flock to other religions. I’m willing to wager a bet (cuz i’m sinful — damn, that yoga when i was 8…) that Miss Chelsea Brears doesn’t even know the origins of Yoga, much less what religion her prized children would be converting TO. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and she may secretly do yoga herself in the dungeon-like basement of her home under the ever-watchful eye of Satan himself.

She says “her son was asked to do different poses and ‘to put his hands together.'” LORD have mercy! I remember when I was young, I was asked to put my hands together — and as soon as I did, I was encircled by swirling darkness and the Dark Lord spoke to me. Next thing I knew I had my hands together — but behind my head with handcuffs and a hooker at my side smoking a cigarette. Damn, that devil.

Stories like this make me want to hunt down Chelsea Brears and punch her in the throat. Get over it. Jesus loves Yoga.

2007: A Year of Unrest

2007 has been less than impressive thus far. I could bitch a whole bunch about x, y, and z — but no one cares to listen to incessant bitching unless it’s witty, and unfortunately, I’m just not witty toady. It seems that the more free time I have, the easier it is for me to bitch. So, I’ve decided that for 2007, I’m going to keep myself busy.

And following in that line of thinking, I enrolled in school (again) today. I’ll be starting my Masters degree in the new few weeks. A Master of Information Systems. 30 credits. $18,000. And a little over a year. Definitely doable, and I’m sorta excited to get it done. None of my friends (that I can currently think of) have Master’s degrees. Plus, i figure that I should be doing it now while i have the time before tuition increases and the degree plan changes.
Additionally, in my free time, I’ve been doing tutorials to learn Flex 2. An amazing tool with a lot nice features. However (even tho I’m pursing Information Systems), I’m not a programmer — and several of the tasks in the tutorials have been a little more advanced than what I am accustomed to. I can understand what is happening, but it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around it enough to put it in a light where it would be applicable in another application. I’ll have to study a little more. (Ya know, it’s also hard because the tutorials re-work themselves to show more effective ways of doing something. So they hardcode the data and then three lessons later go back, strip it all out, and rewrite it using custom classes and other stuff. But I’m learning. And that’s good enough for me.

Anyway. Happy (late) new year. Here’s hopin’ it keeps me plenty busy.

The Bitch of Living

Last nite I picked up the cd for the new musical “Spring Awakening” — the one that just opened on Broadway to a $2 million advanced sales earning. The music is by Duncan Shiek and is very poppy. I know that some people will shit bricks over me saying this — but some of the music reminds me a bit of …. …. ….. Footloose The Musical. I’m thinking it’s more the singing than the actual music tho.

After a while, the songs all start to sound the same — and some of the songs (“Totally Fucked” in particular) seem to drop cuss words as a gimmick rather than really enhancing the song.

Then again, I’ve only listened to the whole cd once. It’s not bad tho. Could be a lot worse. Of course, if you’re looking for a typical musical theatre cast recording, this is not what you’re looking for. Unless you loved Rent. Then you’ll prolly love this.

On Religion, Culture, Holidays, and Generate Offense (or “Get Over Yourself”)

David and I had lunch today at a little pizza place that serves some damned good calzones (best I’ve ever had, actually). The restaurant had FOX News playing on the TVs and I almost made myself dizzy from rolling my eyes as much as I did while listening to their bullshit commentary.

They featured two stories — one was based on this little internet video — and they actually showed part of the video on the air.

The look on the faces of the lady anchor’s face was amusing alone — and she comes back with how “disgusted” she is. And then she proceeds to go off on some rant about how children are forgetting the meaning of Christmas, Christ’s birth, etc. We heard Christ-this, Christ-that for the next 10 minutes.

Ya know, if people would just try to be a little more understanding and a lot less stand-off-ish, the world would be a much happier place. The time spent on fighting whether or not a sculpture of a bible can be displayed in a court house could also be used to take a child predator off the streets, raise money for educational programs, or some other form of social betterment. Just because there is a symbol of religion does not mean that you are expected to fall to know your knees and cry, “O Jehova!” Have to view a religious symbol that does not fall in line with your own personal beliefs is not offensive, so get over yourself. If you have a problem with the nativity scene on your neighbor’s yard, put up a plastic buddha. Or better yet — ignore it and go bake some cookies to give to your neighbor as a holiday gift.

People, really — Christmas isn’t any different than Thanksgiving or Halloween or Valentine’s Day. It’s a social holiday that one religion has chosen to mark with spiritual significance. And just because you don’t believe in the religious dogma that is involved with “Christmas” doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in peace, cheer, and making the world a better place. So again, get over yourself.

I hear so often, “I don’t celebrate Christmas.” Then don’t celebrate Christmas — enjoy the season, the trees and lights, the gift giving (and receiving). Separate religion from day if you must. Just because it happens to say “Christ” in the word doesn’t have to have a significant weight if you don’t want it to. I mean, if you’re pagan, would you name your kid Christopher? Or is that taboo because it has the word Christ in it?

My point in all this — If you would spend the time being a little less offended, you might actually enjoy the holiday season and maybe possibly make the world a slightly more peaceful place.

So there. Merry fucking Christmas.

Gwen In a Lonely Goatherd

Driving to the office in the morning is such a chore for me. It takes between 45 minutes and hour (depending on the government dictated stupidity level for the day). During that trek I see a lot of people talking on their phones, putting on makeup, brushing their hair, picking their nose, and even plucking eyebrows. I don’t take the time to primp in the car because I know that once I leave my house, there isn’t a strong liklihood that what I have attempted to do to make myself look presentable can get any better, particularly sitting behind in a steering wheel with a 2 inch mirror. (It’s no wonder there are so many ugly people in corporate America.) Anyway, I usually take the time in the car to listen to music or NPR. It gives me a chance to really preview new music and make a good qualified judgement on its merits.

This morning: Gwen Stefani’s new album: The Sweet Escape.

I read an article a few days ago about how she used snippets from The Sound of Music’s “The Lonely Goatherd” in one of her songs, and I have to admit that curiosity got the best of me. So I pop in the cd and almost instantly my jaw dropped in utter disbelief. That was the most cracked out attempt at music I’d ever heard. Trying to milk the success from “If I Were A Rich Girl” which used the theme from The Fiddler On The Roof, she decided to go with something equally as well-known. Except that she — or someone else — yodels.

Now stop for a minute and picture all our highly responsible and well-behaved youth of America who pop this cd in, think it’s fabulous just because it’s Gwen Stefani, and then start to yodel in their car with cd. Of course they wouldn’t be caught doing it in public — but my, oh my — if I were a fly on the wall…

The rest of the cd is boring as hell and it sounds like someone got way to excited about their drum samples. The point is — if you take away the drum samples and the gimicks borrowed from other music, you have … well … something FROM a goatherd. And a whole lot of it. And even the songs that were at least a little fun — I found myself AFTER the song was over singing “my hump, my hump my hump my hump …” So tell me what that means.

I most certainly wouldn’t recommend wasting your money on this drek and drivel. If you want to hear some yodeling, and see some goats, go to Austria or watch The Sound of Music. (Or shit — listen to Jewel, doesn’t she yodel?)

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