Sunday, March 3, 2013

You Know it's Spring When...

It must be Spring....I am looking outside at a LOT of snow. It was a nightmare blizzard driving home last night after seeing Jack the Giant Slayer (which I very much enjoyed) but lovely to look at once we actually got home. It really is very pretty and not at all cold.
I thought maybe I should give a few updates before Spring OFFICIALLY starts when we return to the greenhouse tomorrow and time is no longer my own.
Chester is doing fine in remission. He will have to join us at said greenhouse on occasion since he is now blind and can't be left alone after his treatments. So that will be a new adventure for him and us. We bought him a special puppy pram when he was sick last time and didn't really get to use it much. It will come in very handy now. And I'm sure the neighbours will think we're even nuttier than they already do, wandering to work in the mornings pushing a little black dog in a strangely designed baby carriage.
I have to admit to being tired of the snow and cold, all prettiness aside. Twyla has always wanted to move to Italy and I've always pointed out why I think she shouldn't. At this point, if there is a way to do it sensibly, I will be packing my bags as well. I can't think of anything that is holding me here...the things that are here that are important would be brought with. Believe me...I am not a romantic. I have no illusions about the realities in Italy or anywhere else, financially, politically or otherwise and I know the rather stringent rules. My interest is in a longer herb growing season for one thing. Who knows. It may be Victoria where we end up. Or the south of France. It's down the road a bit but it's coming. Thing is...we talk to more people on the other side of the world than we do here and more people on the other side of the world talk to us...and that says something.
In the meantime we have a busy event season starting this month as well as work, school and more work. I don't even want to think about the gardening stuff...I think it will be pretty minimal this year...all things considered. It  was agreed by all parties to not do the Farmer's Market this year. It is too much to tie up Sundays for almost no return, especially when most of our other venues are on the weekends. I think it is a relief for everyone.
Our presentation to the Wild Rose Antique Society was a great success...there were a lot of people fascinated by what we are doing...and thanks to Dakota, we had sound and visual. If he hadn't been there it would have been a bit of a Greek tragedy. Thanks to John for arranging it. Our next show is the Wild Rose Antique show at the end of March so not much time to get ready now.
Life is indeed changing around here. I'll update you more when I know more and have more time. In the mean time, parleremo presto! Ciao!

What's on the menu: Noodle Soup
Listening to: Marco Mengoni
Reading: Life in the Middle Ages by Martyn Whittock
Goals: Finish binding 2 books
Watching: How the Universe Works series

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Nazis...I hate those guys." ~Indiana Jones~

I have actually hung back a bit about writing this. But it is happening too much now and I've had it. It started with being in Westmount Mall and walking through their little travelling 'antique and collectible' know, vendors come in and set up a table with over-priced antiques and then watch the people go by. One of the vendors had a nice big display of replicas featuring Nazi symbolism. Twyla and I were both shocked and disgusted and said so loud enough for him and his erstwhile customer to hear. If he'd had a Nazi dagger to shoot out of his eyes we wouldn't have left alive.
Then a couple of weeks ago, the son of a person who was once a very close friend requested "friending" on Facebook which I complied to. I'm not sure why...I barely know him and he is 15 or so, but I thought what the hell. A short time after that the kid posted a meme glorifying Hitler's massacre of 6 million jews as being funny and comparable to a video game. The initial shock at opening my Facebook page and seeing the Fuhrer with some supposedly funny (really only sick) line was compounded with the shock of how many people were 'liking' it. I thought about giving the kid a lecture but then thought that, since he really seemed to be getting into drugs and the whole slacker mentality I thought what's the point. I just got rid of him.
It culminated yesterday...Valentine's Day, with another friend whom I had thought better of posting a cute little Hitler Valentine. I was so shocked and disgusted and horrified. I literally felt nauseous and posted in the comment area..."WTF".
It was about all I could think of. Then a friend of his commented how hilarious he thought it was. I commented further that there was nothing cute or funny about Hitler and said how disappointed I was.
His little friend then informed me that  I should "lighten up, chick". I think my mouth dropped to the floor at that.
(That comment disgusted me almost as much as the post itself, I have to say).
I thought, you know what. I don't need this shite and just got rid of the whole lot including my 'friend'. I also stated on my FB page that anyone else who thought Hitler was a hoot would be treated the same.
Went out, did the usual Thursday thing and got home a little before midnight last night. And what did  I find?
Well, let me just tell you. It was a little lecture from my "friend" telling me
"befriending (sic) someone over something so superficial as a taste in comedy is a pretty drastic measure. I kind of thought you would be more of an understanding. You may not find something humorous, but demanding censorship of something that is offensive to you personally without even approaching the person directly is equally as offensive...Sure shows a lot more of your personality than I would have originally gauged."

Let me just share a little something. Finding Adolf Hitler to be a cute and funny meme is not a taste in humour. It is not dark humour. It is, simply put, disrespectful, ignorant and cruel. 
This is my reply, in full, with the exception of names:

"I'm afraid you are right. I am not open minded in the least about Hitler. This is a regime that murdered my people (the Roma) wholesale in ways neither of us can imagine. Murdered gays, performed the most vile experiments on them. I have family members whom I love who are homosexual. He tried to obliterate an entire race of people...all of the "racially undesirable elements " whom I would have been included as. Some of those people are still alive who lived through that.My family is still alive and remembers it. So please. Don't you dare lecture me about how you've learned what kind of person I am. On the contrary. This "chick" has learned what you and your friends find to be funny and I am not even remotely interested in hearing about why I should lighten up about it. I invite you to go and spend some time at Auschwitz or Buchenwald and talk to some of the survivors and explain to them exactly why we should just lighten up about Hitler. Then you can explain to me exactly what is humorous about posting that bastard's face as something cute that we can all have a little giggle about. The Nazi regime is not gone. It is still very much alive and growing and they want to see the same thing happen again to people like me and my family and all of the other innocents whose blood will soak the soil of Europe forever."

I admit to a tired fury last night. It kept me up much of the night. The thought that we are so far removed from something that happened not that long fact there are still people alive who remember their families being butchered before their eyes...that we can find the master mind of this butchery cute and funny strikes me with an unprecedented horror. 

Vivisection, gas chambers, roads made from the ashes of the slaughtered, human experimentation, torture to rival the Inquisition...maybe even put them to shame...lampshades and accessories made from human skin, concentration camps...babies torn from the arms of their screaming mamas and dashed over rocks...what is funny about that? 

As I said to my friend...What The Fuck? wrong with you?  

How did we come to such a place where the blood of innocents is spat on, their memories trodden on for a cheap laugh? How have children been raised less than a hundred years after these atrocities who think that this monster whose legion of followers is growing is fair game for a cute Valentine? 

My mother and I don't get along for many reasons. But I appreciate one thing she did for me and that is making me face the Holocaust head on. And maybe this is what is wrong here. My family is Roma (Gypsy). Some of them don't even know it or maybe they just don't care. But my mother and my grandfather made sure I did and I have made sure my siblings know it. Grandpa once told me to smarten up, shut up and basically suck it up when I was moaning over some trivial foolishness when I was nine or ten. I am Roma and I don't need to bawl. I need to be proud. That was it. I didn't know what it meant then. Had no idea. I do now. My mother didn't talk about it much but she did make me sit with her and watch a movie called "The Holocaust" when I was about the same age. I was utterly horrified. She spared me nothing. She did not cover my eyes or soften the blows. Those images haunt my dreams and waking nightmares to this day. And you know what? Good. They should haunt all of our nightmares. They should be etched into our species memory forever. 

I know this. If a child of mine, however old they were, EVER posted a cute little picture of Hitler with a funny little saying and then laughed...laughed about it I would beg borrow and steal the money to be sitting on the soonest flight to Europe with them. We would make our way to Auschwitz and there we would stay and look at every picture on the wall and every film available and talk to every survivor willing to drag that black nightmare of horror out of their poor memories and every gas chamber, torture chamber, vivisection and dental chamber would be visited and when that child cried out for me to stop, that they understood, I would say that is what the Jews and the Gypsies said and they were shown no mercy.  I would ask them if they still thought Hitler is a joke. 

I have been brutal in my education of Twyla where the truth is concerned. She will be the same. As long as we live it will never be forgotten. The people slaughtered by a psychopathic monster with the blackest of souls will not be a joke. And if you think that he is a joke you are no friend of mine. I stand on the side of those butchered by that god damned lunatic and his followers. There is no grey area here. There is no place for humour here. There is no "lighten up chick." There is black and there is white. Choose. Your. Side. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chester's Journey Update...

I wanted to give a quick rundown of how the boy is doing. This has been a rough time for him. The chemo treatments are quite brutal and yet he struggles back each time. We are almost through the toughest part where we have to go back every week. I live by the alarm on Twyla's phone to get his meds to him on time. The good news is that Chester is in full remission. The bad news is the freaking cost of this. Literally thousands and thousands of dollars which we would never be able to afford without the subsidization we receive from  ACTSS. It baffles me...the cost that is put on the lives of living beings. Even the cost of spaying and neutering is, at best, beyond belief. When there is so much pissing and moaning about too many unwanted animals, too many puppies and kittens being born, too much cruelty, and yet the cost of altering a pet is utterly prohibitive. And why should a low-income family be told "well if you can't afford to spay or neuter, then you shouldn't have a pet." That is such a load of crap that it isn't even funny. And yet I tell myself as I rage silently on many occasions about the cost of Chester's treatment, that many people south of the border have to make the same decisions about their children and loved ones. It is a sick, sick (no pun intended here) place we live in when the ability to and cost of saving the lives of those we love are dictated by filthy rich creeps in suits who don't give a flying fart in space whether you or your child/parent/spouse or indeed fur child lives or dies, as long as they can line their silk pockets with what amounts to blood money. And yet there are many, many places such as France and Italy, where the people's health is what matters and the cost of saving a life is not even a question. Shame on all those who think a child's life is less important than being able to pay for their next Armani suit.

In other news, very quickly, we have been busy with the start of the event season. Our booth at A Taste of Animethon was tons of fun. The other vendors and many of the attendees are quickly becoming like a second family and it is with great anticipation that we look forward to our next gig. It is, unfortunately not until March and is entirely an experiment where we will have a booth at the Wild Rose Antique Show. We also look forward to May and the Knights of the Northern Realm May event. Then it is into a busy summer season.

Hope that you are all staying warm and safe. It's hard to believe we are nearly at the end of January and well established into 2013. Here's to a great year...or shall we say 11 come!

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sorry...'Tis the Season to What?

I have honestly hmm-ed and haaaw-ed about actually sitting down to write something here. This has just been a week (month, year) and there is this simmering anger inside or maybe it is an overall sense of disgust. It is not a throw things and scream anger. It is more like a lead ball or a roll of barbed wire in my gut. I want to update you about Chester first...I suppose there is anger about that because I just want him to be well. We had to rush him to the vet on Monday. He had been to see her a week before and was hanging in there, though he is rapidly going blind. Then he just suddenly swelled up all over...riddled with tumors. His poor tummy was bruised and purple looking from the rapid swelling. The doc took one look at him and was horrified. We were basically told that he needed treatment now or he was done. We took the 'treatment-now' option. It was not a happy financial picture...there was a lot of decision making. He got his treatment though which now has to go on for weeks and weeks. By Monday night when we finally got him home he was happy, and his tumors were shrinking quickly. Most are about gone, except the largest one which shrinks daily. My life is now once again lived by the alarm on Twyla's phone. He has a cornucopia of medication that needs to be administered at a carefully scheduled rate (1 hour apart, 2 hours apart, etc.). For several days after a chemo treatment he has to be very carefully monitored and carried outside to go potty. His waste is extremely toxic ( if there is an accident you have to do the whole hazmat suit thing). I have already had a couple of people look at me and go 'well, when is it time to let go?' I'll tell you when it's time to let go. When Chester does, okay. Maybe you could just dispose of the life of a friend because it costs a lot or it's a lot of trouble. I am not that person. Yup, this is a super crappy time of the year for this to happen (no time would be good but cost wise, wow).
That doesn't change anything. We just tighten the belt a notch (or six) and do what is necessary.

I woke up yesterday to read that some asshole in China had gone into a school and tried to basically chop up a bunch of children. By the time I got back from the mailbox and checking on a friend's cats at 1:00 or so, another effing asshole had massacred a couple dozen babies and their teachers in Connecticut.
Then came the litany of "prayers go out to" and "what a tragedy" and "thoughts go out to" and "we must never let this happen again",  then the inevitable jackass jumping up and waving their arms yelling "this is not the time to talk about gun control" or "guns don't kill people, people kill people".
You know what. Screw you. Every last one of you who don't want some kind of regulation and gun control. Screw you. That maniac didn't go in and kill his mother and all of those children with an assault slingshot or an assault banana or a glock intention. He picked up a couple of weapons at hand that were easily acquired and he killed a lot of people...which is what those guns were designed and intended to do. Kill a lot of people. They are not hunting tools. They are not target tools. They were dreamed up, designed, built and sold to kill people. The only thing the gun doesn't care about is which people or how many. I know, there are some of you who will again jump up and down and cry foul...guns don't think! Guns are just things. Again I say screw you. Energy and intention and thought has power. When you put that energy into something, it is going to end up in the hands of those who want to kill. Like magnets that are drawn to each other. Our whole society now is based on acquisition and killing what we perceive to be the monster, real or imagined. And usually it doesn't take much to convince us that other people are the monster. Brown people, people that pray differently, people that live differently  or have what we want or zombies.

I am very interested in all of the people who are out there now buying up assault weapons, they claim for the Zombie Apocalypse (or 2012 or economic collapse or end of oil or the flu...which, of course, is when the zombies will show up). I know that sounds mental. There are training sessions that take place to "kill zombies". I hear it all the time. They come up with ways that a zombie apocalypse could actually happen. They are gleeful about it. Maybe it will be rabies or a chemical thing...hehe!  Do you want a little insight into the mentality of people who REALLY wish for a Zombie Apocalypse? Who play video games where killing zombies is the objective and dream of a real zombie know...a scenario where you just blow them to smithereens as they shuffle toward you, presumably craving your grey matter. They want an excuse to kill people.
What are zombies anyway?
 Zombies are people...people who have some kind of sickness or other that has made them this thing. Zombies are a way in which to kill lots of people indiscriminately and feel no remorse. They are men, women and children. Sick ones. And they are fair game. Humans, yet humans where open season can be declared and there will be no consequences. What does this say about us, when our monster of choice these days is human? That we wish a few million (billion) people would get a sickness that would make it okay for us to riddle them with bullets and watch in glee as their blood spatters everywhere. This is not normal behavior.

This nitwit that killed those little ones can probably be boiled down to a few facts. He probably spent lots of time playing violent video games. Likely was into visual violence (tv, movies). Had a lot of paranoia issues that were fed on a daily basis. They will come to the conclusion that he felt disenfranchised, left out, bullied, had delusions, his mom didn't make him his waffles that morning or he was saving everyone from a horrible end next Friday (Thursday if you are on the other side of the planet). It will be one or all of these things.
Everyone will feel bad, light candles, heap up teddy bears, hold hands and hug, a few celebrities will tweet that they just can't believe it (though they starred in the latest blood porn crap that opened last week to record sales). The NRA will send a delegation of murder advocates to get the rednecks shouting to the sky that you can pry their AK47 from their cold dead hands (when it is really the cold dead hands of babies and teachers that we're actually talking about here). A few politicians will shed a little tear and proclaim this a senseless tragedy. Someone will make sure that there is exciting celebrity news to distract the public...brad and angie will get marrried or have triplets, tom will do a super-exciting stunt while marrying a new little girl, lindsay will get arrested again and have to share a cell with someone truly bad, like martha...(Yes, I know I didn't was to make a point.) The point being that these stories are of absolutely no consequence to you or I. None. It is none of our business any more than the happenings in your life are your neighbour's business. Then everyone will shake themselves like a dog shakes pond water off after an illicit swim and they will remember that Walmart is open 24/7 and the hedonism must continue.

As the news was told to me yesterday, the Siberian Orchestra children's choir came on the radio singing "On this Merry Christmas Night" in their tiny voices. I didn't well up, I didn't start bawling a prayer to god, I just felt this sense of disgust at absolutely KNOWING what will follow...pretty much what is described above. By next week it will be non-news. Christmas is COMING! Santa is COMING! GET YOUR SHOPPING DONE GET ALL YOUR STUFF BEFORE YOU MISS OUT AND IF YOU DO THERE IS ALWAYS BOXING DAY BOXING WEEK NEW YEARS SALESALESALESALE!

And then there will be the statement "turn to god...he is just testing you." Right. He sounds swell.

I am not an atheist. I have a deep spiritual life. But I don't believe in a deity that 'tests' people by allowing their children to be tortured and massacred. This is us not some god with a clipboard and a red pencil making check marks beside our name if we manage to live through the murder of our child and climb to the other side praising him for designing a fabulous test like this. Like your god is going "OOH...OOOH...wait...I know how to check and see if they REEEEEALLY believe in me!" Let me see....I created this nut here to kill a few people and be hated forever...I think I'll send him to the elementary school today...this'll be a GREAT test!". I can't WAIT to get started!"
 As if.
We are doing this by allowing the circumstances under which it can happen to take place.

We need to get beyond this or we won't need the 21st to do us in. We feed our babies on a steady diet of violence and brain killing chemicals and disconnection. Do you want to know what happened to this young guy that just destroyed hundreds and hundreds of lives forever? We did. Us. We, each and every one of us is culpable and responsible.

Every child who is raised by their friends, by violent content of movies, video games and corporate nannies that convince them that they will be unhappy without the ability to communicate with their friends electronically and kill zombies by the score on their screens has the potential to become this guy that we all hate right now. It doesn't take much to set it off. Just the smallest imagined transgression.

I know I am shouting at the wind and waging a war against the tide. But the anger won't go away. The barbed wire just rolls into a tighter ball. It doesn't feel like Christmas. It doesn't feel like anything. But that damned children's choir keeps playing in my head. I  imagine it is the souls of those babies singing as they cross over, reminding me that this will happen again pretty soon.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Samhain...or Trick or Treat...

I am at this moment just off the phone with my brother whose life is it's usual chaos. One of my nephews, the ever going for an interesting flair, James, is reporting his intention of transforming himself into Jack Sparrow. A worthy costume, indeed.
It has been such a roller coaster the past couple of months...where do I start? I suppose with the not so happy news that Chester is coming out of remission. It is an awful thing to think about, yet think about it we must. We're just going one day at a time right now until we know more. One difficulty is that his doc moved her practice to hell and gone on the south side and the clinic she's at now is gawdawful expensive. I'll keep you posted as things progress. There is certainly another round of Chemo coming up though and that is nothing to look forward to money wise or otherwise.
I've been busy helping Twyla to put the details for her business together including a marathon writing of a business plan. She's been working on this since late summer. As a result, last week we ended up getting a last minute spot in the Edmonton Comic Expo. Talk about a steep learning curve. It was absolutely like nothing we've ever done, and we have done plenty of gigs. Literally 15,000 people jammed in over two days. Your face gets cramped from smiling, feet hurt and the hat I was wearing felt like it weighed about 35 pounds by the end of the first day. I was ready to hurl my goggles, by George! Great fun though. We're next at Pure Spec at Grant McEwan in mid November. We're also booked for Calgary Expo in April so it's pretty chaotic here as well creating new things, etc.  I'll let you know about other gigs...though a lot will likely be in Calgary. Maybe the Fringe. We'll see.
We found out about our place at Expo in the midst of funeral stuff. Brad's stepmother passed away on the 15th so we were dealing with all of that as well. Goddamn effing shite-sucking cancer. Like I said. It's been forty miles of bad road in a jalopy without shocks. Quit smoking and polluting your bodies, you idiots! I'm getting pretty tired of funerals.
Oh, and the critters haunting this house have kicked it into full gear. It is very creepy around here lately... Google 'shadow people'. Luckily we don't (so far) have the monk thing or the fedora thing hanging around. Just look it up. We leave a light on at night these days is all I will say.
When all of the personal stuff comes crashing down, as it does occasionally for all of us, it's easy to shut out the world and just ignore what's going on around us. Not a good idea. Because the stuff around us doesn't go away. You still have to deal with it or it will deal with you.
I've been following the American election (along with most of the rest of the world) with some trepidation, knowing that if fate decides to be cruel and that nut, Romney, gets in, we are all in for a world of hurt. While Obama isn't perfect, he is worlds better than that religious crackpot. I'm certain that Harper is hoping for a Romney White House. Then they can really get down to the business of wrecking the planet and women's lives once and for all.
I don't have lots of time this morning but I thought I'd touch base a little. Reveal that I haven't actually fallen off a cliff.
Samhain seems a little different this year. Perhaps because there are so many other things going on. I'll be at my brother's as always. We'll go as a very large group to take the kids out for some tracks and treats. I don't think my heart will be in it as much, though. It's hard to have your heart in it when it is...well...elsewhere.
I'll be back soon and we'll talk about the Maya and where to find a new stone calendar, because, contrary to popular belief, I think that's about all that will happen come December 21st. We'll need a brand new circular rock calendar to hang on the wall for the next few thousand years. If you think that the end might be near, however, go ahead and stock up on essentials. You should be doing that anyway. Look at the poor buggers out on the East Coast battening down for what they're calling 'Frankenstorm' barreling down on them. It's not going to be pretty, I think. However, as per the Maya thing...don't be too hasty. Just remember what happened to all those folks who were certain that they were going to be raptured back there a-ways. The day after the non-rapture, they had to crawl back and beg for their jobs back. Be prepared, but don't prepare yourself out of house and home. And do make plans for the next year. I'd like to see you at the Calgary Comic Expo after all and we'll be back at the Edmonton Expo next fall.
In the mean time, come down to the Pure Spec con and see us in all our Steampunk glory. Call me for details or check the Facebook page. Stay warm and send some healing energy to Chester. Please.

What's on the menu: potatoes and carrots, salad and chicken.
Listening to: Italian pop music
Reading: 'Sanctus' by Simon Toyne
Watching: Arsenic and Old Lace...squeeee!!! Cary Grant...he's soooooo dreamy!
Goals: Me...Finish the book I'm binding/Twyla...working on a hand tint of Pride & Prejudice

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer's End

Maybe it's just me but this summer has felt like a furnace. A big, sloppy, loud wet furnace. I'm grumbly in the heat and it gives me headaches...the yo yo of the barometer and please bear with me. I've been going through some interesting stuff over the last month or so and there are some pretty major decisions happening for us, but I won't get into that until all is finalized.
Chester is doing great, though I'm a little pissed at his doc for changing clinics (I know, like our comfort and convenience is the ONLY thing she should be thinking of!). We now have to go to Calgary Trail to see her. We don't want to go switching docs at this point, but it's reminiscent of when our own doc just up and quit without a word, leaving us in a very crappy situation. But it's worth it for the boy. He wasn't very happy that I dragged him out of bed so early this morning. His usual reply to things of this nature is to grumble all the way from the bedroom to the couch.
I've been canning and preserving. I know it's not unusual to do so at this time of year.However, it is for me to find the time to do this. I got a bunch of dills done, some peaches, jam, syrup, etc. Twyla then proceeds to finish a jar of pickles by herself. Try to tell her that that's not a meal. She grins wickedly and continues to munch. I'm glad she likes them, but you know...preserves...for the future!
Okay, small talk complete.
I have started about three different paragraphs here and none of them were working. Maybe because I've felt a huge amount of frustration with the levels of disengagement from people for the last, well, I suppose year or so, yet getting specific can be tricky. I know a variety of people that are worried about a zombie apocalypse, yet I look around me and, guys, we're in it. It's like being in a life raft in the middle of the ocean and the thing is coming apart at the seems, but the rest of the people in the raft are worrying about getting a good tan or staying so zoned out that they don't even realize that they are in a life raft. There is a sense of utter disinterest, both in people that I know and people in general. It is an extremely alien way of thinking to me, to worry about nothing but the trivialities that are going on from second to second in your own life while there are things going on around you that are both the planet and to the people you have in your life. There is a sense, even from people who are (were) normally engaged in the important stuff, that everything is just too much effort. Even on social networking sites, the best people can seem to come up with are these idiotic posters with "profound" sayings. It's like being back in elementary school where you got your book club flyer a couple of times a year. In it you could buy the latest Judy Blume novel or these little posters with a kitten on a fence and the words "HANG TEN" written large across the top. Cute for a ten year old girl but not really...real....if you know what I mean. It's as though everyone decided they want to "Hang Ten" without actually knowing what that means. Don't get me wrong. Some are very schmaltzy and funny or have an Einstein quote, but they get real old real fast. It, to me, denotes the final nail in the coffin of complete disinterest. Because (for the most part and with a VERY few exceptions...Look at Nature Nut, you...walkin' the talk!) the people posting these don't seem to get what they are actually posting. There is a sense of "this sounds cool and profound and I will sound cool and profound if I post it" an example...I know a couple of people who will post these pictures of air-brushed aboriginal art with say, a quote from Chief Seattle, and yet the only thing I've ever heard from their mouths is disparaging, off-the-cuff things about Aboriginal people and certainly no effort towards the environment. It is like a society of walking Hallmark cards with utterly no substance to it. In my opinion, you should not be posting the animal anti-cruelty posters with a picture of a dog or cat with soulful eyes...what I'll call hallmarks...if you utterly ignore the animal cruelty that occurs in your own neighbourhood. Making statements about social issues without actually doing anything about them...isn't that more self-serving than anything?  So instead of doing something self-less, you paste on somebody else's words that went along with their actions and you can say...well, I put up those words so I'm doing my part. It doesn't work that way. If you wear a t-shirt that says to recycle and the best you can do is get your empties to the depot (meaning you're doing it for the cash, not for the environment) while the rest of the recyclables go into the trash, then you're full of shite. On the flip side, are the rehashed-warmed over Far Side-esque political cartoons that show up fourty-five times in a day that are just not that funny, especially after the twenty fifth posting.
Why do I care? Because we live on a planet in a society that is disintegrating. Maybe what is at your front door is okay at this moment in time, or it seems that way to you. You peer out and it seems like a nice day. But if you look just a little further out, it's not that simple and only a simple mind thinks it is. Maybe you figure that if you look like you are in the know and you say the right words, if you 'pass-it-on' without actually even getting the meaning, then you've done your part. Now you can move on to something more fun. Wrong, sweetie. What you've done is precisely nothing. If there is an animal starving, cold and hurting outside your front door, shut up and do something about it. Platitudes written by somebody else are just that.
I admit I don't get the whole disengaged thing. The ability of some people to listen to what somebody else is going or has gone through whether from a distance or right up close and dismiss it with a shrug or a flippant comment; to look at the world and figure it's not their problem; I don't get it. There is this idea that "it's been okay so far...nothing has happened" so it's all okay. What an idiotic way to view the world. It's like these brain-deads that send around this 'list of things we did as kids' thing. Ask Twyla how this irritates me.You see it in emails and Facebook, etc. It goes something like this:
When we were kids
"Our mothers smoked and/or drank while pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with brightly colored, lead-based paints.
There were no childproof lids on medicine or special locks on cabinet doors.
We we rode bikes, we wore baseball caps, not specially engineered helmets.
As infants, we rode in cars without car seats or booster seats, no seat belts and no air bags. Sometimes, as tots, we rode in small moving boxes packed with blankets and toys.
We rode in the back of pickup trucks and no one was arrested or cited.
We drank water from garden hoses, not from plastic bottles.
We shared a single bottle of Coca-Cola with three friends — and no one died.
We ate cupcakes with food coloring, white bread, real butter and bacon. In fact, we drank Kool-Aid mixed with tablespoons of real sugar.
Yet we weren’t overweight, because we were always outside playing.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when dusk fell. And no one was able to reach us all day. And: we were okay.
We’d spend hours in the forest with Daisy rifles, or building go-carts without brakes, or sledding with wooden and steel monstrosities that could sever a limb.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s and X-Boxes. There were no video games, no cable television, no DVD players. There were no computers, no web, no Facebook, no Twitter.
We had friends and we went outside and found them… without cell phones or text messages.
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits resulting from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns and knives for our birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, played lawn darts and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment."
This has got to be some of the most brain-dead, stupid, selfish, lazy-assed moronity (it's a worn now, okay, smarty-pants) that has ever been spewed.  I know any number of people who have sent this to me and, again...disengaged to the point of stupid. I know one person, who, the first day I met them years ago was actually complaining about how much trouble it was to put kids in a car seat. All I could think that day was "ferfucksakes!"  It was utterly unbelievable to me. These are the same people that think that the government will fix climate change (if'n it akchully igzists), that banks and corporations have our best interests at heart and doctors always know what they're doing.
The above "what we did when we were kids and lived through it"  foolishness is like going "peanut butter is safe and there should be no precautions because I never saw any of my friends die of a peanut allergy when I was a kid..."  
Well...moronic person...let's talk about the whole it never happened to me scenario. It never happened to any other person until it did. Want some personal anecdotes? Well, you're going to get them anyway:
My Great Uncle Mike got into a car (hitchhiking) with a stranger (who was drunk). They got into a car crash while in a car with no seatbelts or laws requiring the wearing of seatbelts. Obviousy there were no air bags. He went through the front windscreen. He was paralyzed and bedridden for the rest of his life - read decades.
I was abducted when I was four. I remember it clearly. I was held for several days and hit when I wanted to go outside and look for my mama. It gives me nightmares to this day.
When I was a small child in Calgary I remember a little girl called Kimberly. She disappeared while playing outside unsupervised. Her body was later found in a garbage bag. She was three or four.
A young woman who worked with my sister and was an avid rider was thrown from a horse while riding. She was wearing a helmet and suffered dire injuries. If she had not worn a helmet she would be dead.
When Twyla was two, we were in a parked car and hit by a utility vehicle which smashed us into another vehicle. What saved Twyla from perhaps severe injury was that she was strapped into her car seat.  As it was she 'only' had a concussion.
When I was nineteen, my roommate called me from the hospital at 3am. She had been out with some friends riding a pickup truck on a country road, some in the cab and the rest in the back. One of her friends leaned back too far while sitting on the edge of the back and hit a tree. She died. My roommate was inconsolable.
When I was a kid, almost everybody drank beer (or whatever)  in the car while driving. The near misses are too numerable to mention.
I was bullied mercilessly in school...I can't imagine what it would have been like if there was an internet. At least now people are paying attention.
I was molested by someone (a religious figure) close to the family when I was a child. No one would have believed me if I had told them then.
Myself and my siblings were nearly killed while riding in the back of a pickup that had a camper on it (Dad slammed on the breaks and we all went flying backwards and smashed into the back. I came to upside down).
I have met devastated people whose babies died of SIDS when they were left on their tummies. There is not a word of comfort that you can give.
My parents hit me mercilessly at times...including with fists and bottles. (I remember my dad screaming at me to stop blocking his punches...which I learned to do to survive. I'll say this, though he was a large cop and I was only about eleven when this started, he never connected with my face. I think it drove him crazy.)
The point of all this isn't for you to shitty did she have it?!?  Everybody has it shitty to a greater or lesser degree. I don't feel sorry for me. I went through what I went through and came out for the most part hopefully a bit smarter and certainly fiercer. What I'm saying is matter-of-fact.

The point is that we have protections and laws now that many people worked really hard to have passed, not so you could be inconvenienced but so that you and the ones you love don't have to learn the hard way that bad things can happen, even if they never have before. Because those people suffered tragic losses/circumstances that they did not want others to suffer, we have ways to protect our children and ourselves. Do you get annoyed if a charity like MADD comes knocking at your door looking for some of your hard-earned cash? They are there because they had a loved one die because of a criminal who got behind the wheel of a car after drinking. (The really sick thing is I know people who STILL do this...drinking and driving, that is) They want to educate people so this can be stopped and educating people costs money. Those people want to save you from the same agony of losing a child or wife or mother or grandchild to a selfish asshole who used a car like a loaded weapon.  And those morons who make you put that little one into those maddening car seats...well, they are interested in saving that child's life if the people at MADD let an asshole slip through, get behind the wheel and smash into a car in which that child is travelling. Those pesky bike helmets...have you ever seen what a little boy's head looked like after being struck by a car when he wasn't wearing a helmet? There isn't much left. Have you ever watched a child suffocating because they came into contact with something they were severely allergic to? They turn blue and get all puffy. Their tongue swells. Their eyes bulge. Sometimes, if they don't get help quickly, they die. Here's the thing with that. It isn't just one lone child or even a few here and there. Peanut/nut/fish allergies are now prevalent. The chemicals that we gobbled up and came into contact with back in the good old days when there was no awareness of what these chemicals do to the human body,  have had an effect. It's gone straight to our DNA and changed the very cells of our bodies and those of our children, making us far more sensitive and reactive. A little harmless red dye anyone? Or maybe you played in a yard sprayed with DDT...that didn't kill did it? It might kill your kids though. Or maybe that friend you had who just passed away from the C word...maybe it did kill them. Maybe all that smoking your mother did while she was pregnant actually did take her life with lung cancer (as it did Brad's mother). It just took a while.
We have safety features on medication bottles because, in the eighties, Tylenol and every other over-the-counter drug was perfectly safe. Until people started dying because some sicko decided to poison the Tylenol right at the factory. And because there are so many copy-cat sickos out there, we figured that some safety measures might save some lives. Sorry if it's hard to get those pesky safety seals off. Would you rather be dead?

Consequently, have you watched your home washed away in a flood where there should be no flood, or your entire life disappear in a wildfire or storm that left nothing but a pile of ashes and a pit in the ground. Have you watched your farm go to hell in a drought that is more widespread and consuming than anything ever seen in recorded history?
This is where empathy comes in. You have to have enough of an imagination (I know...a tall order for some) to put yourself into another person's shoes and go 'that hasn't happened to me but IT COULD', so maybe I'll take some precautionary measures.
Enough has happened to me or to those I care about that I would do whatever it takes to protect them. I have seen up close and personal what drunk driving does (and not even the worst of it) so I will certainly get up in your face if you are just that stupid that you are willing to drink (or get wasted) and then get behind the wheel of a car. I have been pretty close by when a child disappeared never to be seen alive again so I walked Twyla to and from school every goddamn day when she was small and I was outside with her when she played. I have met parents who lost children and I never wanted to become one of those poor empty shell folk or worse, I never wanted to experience something I KNEW I would not survive. Screw you if you think I'm 'over protective" My child is alive and she 'ain't' no wilting wall flower either just because her mama was there. Bravo to the parents who protect their little ones and not so little ones! Bravo to those who can discipline and teach manners (which is also important) without hitting.

Now I am watching the local climate do things it shouldn't while the climate of the planet becomes a liability for life not just to our species but to all species. So I will certainly continue to bore people with my 'tree-hugging crap' and my advocacy to maybe do a little preparation for a rocky ride ahead. It may not have happened to you. It may not be something you can see right in front of your nose. It may be a lot of trouble to ensure that it doesn't happen to your children. But that's the way it is. We have to stop living in our own little bubbles and start to look at the bigger picture. Just like I support MADD because I want to do everything I can to prevent some sorry-assed drunken bastard from killing a person I love, I support those who are trying, desperately now, to wake people up before it is too late (it probably is, actually) and Earth goes up in a ball of flames. I want my daughter and grandchildren to be able to live safely on this planet or I at least want them to be as prepared and compassionate as they can be to deal with the consequences of what the last and present generation has done to our little life raft. If you are so self-centered and blind that you can't look at these things and put yourself or your own loved ones into the scenario that spurred and is spurring the people that work night and day to create laws and bring to light that which will protect the lives of your loved ones, then you're not worth much in my mind's eye.
Before you post the next hallmark, ask yourself what you can actually do to get that message across. Do you believe in women's rights? Then the next time you see some asshole abusing a woman in word or deed, do something. Do you believe in saving animals? Then go out and save an actual animal. Do you believe in a future for the children in your life that you love? Then get your ass out there and clean up the garbage in your own neck of the woods. The only real message you can send is the example you set, not the picture you post on Facebook of someone else's deeds.

Don't just be a hallmarker. Unless you actually LIVE every day what you are posting, then it means absolutely nothing.

What's on the Menu: Twyla's cooking
Reading: 'Clockwork Prince'
Plan for the Day: Decluttering
Listening to: Nothing so far
Watching: 'Arrested Development', 'Grimm'

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Guns n' Idiots

There are actually people out there who think that a wild-west gunfight in the Colorado theatre would have been a much better thing because if more people were packing they 'could have taken this guy down'. The shooter might be dead and once again there would be no answers. There would have been even more chaos, likely more injuries and deaths (the shooter was heavily armored in Kevlar so some heroic stunt was VERY unlikely to bring him down...not to mention that it would be very hard to get a precise shot off on a moving target in the dark being jostled by panicked parents with children and babies) and many police personnel may have been killed in this idiot's heavily booby-trapped apartment (he warned them of his bombs). What I want to ask these people is....ARE YOU STUPID?!?! There are several answers but a fire fight is not one of them. Yes, you may have to have your damn toys regulated. But that's just too bad, isn't it. It doesn't mean you can't go out and play in the shooting ranges. Brad does and I have no problem with that.( I also have no problem with long guns used for hunting). But he also doesn't feel the desperate need to carry the goddamn things around with him or have a stash of combat weapons in case the government 'gits uppity.

This is what I hear a lot of. That, in case there is some sort of government uprising, I have to have a stash of military grade, automatic assault rifles and handguns so I can defend what's mine. Let me tell you something Mr. Smart Guy. That's not how it works. In the US they apparently are (if they're not already) aiming to fly drone planes over their own soil. Military precision strike weapons that are REALLY good at taking out a target without anyone actually having to get up off their ass. If they "git uppity" in the way that you have in mind, and think that you and your little private militia passion play are a threat, you don't stand a chance.

This kid in Colorado bought his weapons legally...6000 rounds of fire power. He likely found instructions on how to build some pretty sophisticated incendiary devices on line. He was likely steeped in violent imagery and paranoia...a mix of things really. He was obviously mentally ill...who knows if he or his parents had coverage to get him the help he needed if there was awareness of this. But one thing is true. He had some wrong ideas in his head about who he is, about who the people in the audience are and were and he was able to easily and readily obtain the equipment to carry out an assault on innocents. And yet, instead of this being criticized, I'm hearing the condemnation of the people who took their kids to see Batman. "Why do they have their baby there in the first place?" Are you f***ing kidding me? You are blaming the people who took their families to the movies?

Let me paint the scenario for you that some of you not-smarts are clamouring for if everyone were carrying a side arm.
We have a darkened, crammed movie theatre with extremely loud surround sound. The movie is full of noise, gunfire, and there are people in costume as part of the Batman fun. Your kid is an officianado of violent video games so a little violence in Batman is nuthin' you toted him along. So did a lot of other people. Suddenly a guy gets up in front of the movie screen dressed up vaguely like 'Bane' in the movie. He's perhaps shouting that he's the Joker. He's armoured and is carrying a couple of bad-ass looking weapons. Most people think it's part of the opening...even after he starts firing. Then the guy next to your kid explodes in a shower of blood.
(Here's where you and a few other packin' patrons get to play hero)
You suddenly realize that this is for real. You're under attack. Your kid is screaming in terror (video games didn't prepare him for the head of the girl in front of him to spatter him in blood). But you have your Glock on you. You pull out your weapon. You will save everyone and take this crazy sucker out. There is screaming, running, utter pandemonium all around you but you think you can get a good bead on him. You take aim. Another guy behind you has the same idea, but as he's about to get off a round, a woman falls forward while trying to escape. She hits him just as he fires and his bullet slams into a teenage boy in the isle, taking him down. This doesn't phase you though . You are a hero. You tighten your grip, but the guy up there sees you and aims his long gun at you. You duck to cover your little son and the bullet meant for you hits a woman crawling along with her baby. Others in the theatre begin to fire at each other, thinking this is a terrorist plot. The guy up front in the meantime is flipping off automatic firepower. He's taken a couple of slugs but the Kevlar was a great purchase...glad he thought of that. You are laying there on your son in the meantime because the Joker now knows where you are. There is gun fire all around coming from every direction. The floor is slippery with blood and you are jammed in between bodies. Your kid won't stop screaming so you can't even play dead.
Here's the part where you hopefully grow the hell up.

Do you know what happens in a society where everybody is allowed to have weapons on them for "protection"?  Not too many of the bad guys are taken out but a whole lot of innocent people die accidentally or when an altercation that might have ended in a bloody nose ends in body bags instead.

I have a pretty cool collection of swords and other sharp weapons. Some are real and real sharp...some are replicas but no less cool for all of that. I do not have the need to carry them around. I do not feel the need to lobby to have the right to carry a huge knife on my belt. Because it is just as likely to be used against me. You people who think that you're living in the movies. That is not reality. That's what happened with young Mr. Holmes. He took his confusion about weapons, movies and the real world too far.

He is alive and not taken out by a pot shot. Those who lost family members and loved ones will wish him dead and in hell with all their might and have every right to do so. But those who are removed from the situation have the luxury of letting cool heads prevail. We can now find out what the hell is wrong with his head. We can study the situation and begin to learn how this kid went so wrong and perhaps be in a position to prevent the same thing occurring again. This was not a terrorist attack. This kid has parents and a family who want answers as badly as anyone else. We need to prevent this shite from happening in the first place. To do that, guns need to be regulated. I have heard the arguments that criminals will get the guns anyway.
Well, that may in some cases be true. And people get in the crossfire. But this kid was not your typical criminal. He was an obviously extremely ill person who easily and legally obtained weapons and explosive information and material. If he had been required to go through stringent assessments and a long waiting period, these people would likely be alive today.

The fact is that where guns are not readily available and sitting in everyone's handbag, nightstand, under the bed and in the kitchen drawer, there are FAR fewer gun related deaths, either accidentally or because someone grabbed it out of passion. If there is no gun in the house, a three year old is unlikely to shoot and kill his father. (see news last week).

I suppose the NRA is right though. People have short memories, which is what they are counting on. The news about Tom Cruise's new girlfriend will push out this tragedy until the next one.  Until the next crazy buys up a truckload of weapons and opens fire on a school or a daycare or an office building or a Christmas party. We ignore all of the domestic gun violence and casual stuff. If only one, two or three people are killed, that's nuthin'. Just par for the course right? Wrong, you jackass. This is preventable. And if you stand up and cry out that guns MUST NOT be regulated, you spit in the face of every person massacred because they wanted to go and watch their hero on the big screen. You spit in the face of every abused woman shot by a lunatic husband. You spit on the grave of every child who accidentally shot themselves because their idiot parent didn't bother to unload the gun and lock it up "they thought it was locked up...they forgot...". And as far as I'm concerned, how does that make you any different than the one who pulled the trigger if you are going to jump up and down in defense of a weapons free for all?

No one had to die Friday night. But anyone in America can obtain a weapon meant to do no other thing than kill another person or many people. Until that changes, this WILL happen again and again and again. Hopefully it won't be somebody you love that goes down in a spray of blood because they were at the same mall frequented by a delusional person with a wrong idea in their heads.