Saturday, January 29, 2011

Song Saturday-Clara Engel

This song saturday I bring you a lovely beautiful and ginger haired (I love my fellow gingers!) Singer Songwriter.  Clara Engel native of Canada came to my attention through our own mutual love of Sxip Shirey.  I told y'all I find the best unknown artists through him!  I am loving her work and her art.  Look her up at Bandcamp

Friday, January 28, 2011

No Longer Adult Content

Okay so some of you have been gently complaining about my adult content warning.  Not that I mind complaining, it actually fuels my creativity.  Also, complaining is a favorite hobby of my own.

But I can see how the Adult Content warning could be a problem.  When  I first opened this page I was putting a good deal more erotica on it. It's not there anymore, I took it down long ago, so don't bother looking... But also I felt like in many ways this was a site for adult conversations, where we could come to say whatever we please in whatsoever language we please.  I am not offended by so called foul language (usually)  and I really didn't feel like dealing with crybabies.  I had thought of the adult warning as a stop and think sign.

But really it's no longer useful. Plus it's a huge pain in the ass when I'm using my cell phone to access the site and I really don't want to cause myself a pain in the ass.

 I also don't want to drive away the Pentecostals, Baptists and Mormons who may want to join in and rail at me.  I really enjoy when they take it to me, or try to.  Because I'm all about learning and conversation. 

So this is an announcement and a sort of warning.  The adult warning is down.  But please don't think that makes this a rainbow-brite place.  I want honest discussions, with plenty of nastiness. 


On Riots

Last week Egyptians interviewed on the streets and in coffee houses by the BBC stated they couldn't be bothered to riot.

This was in response to the recent riots and eventual presidential "stepping down" in Tunisia. Answers from men from young to old ranged from "I can't be bothered." to "Why would I riot when I can afford to maintain my standard of living and my children are in college."

Clearly the BBC was conducting its interviews in the wrong sorts of places as we now see Cairo is in flames and the economic dirty laundry of Egypt is being flown for all to see.

What I don't get in all of this is where we, the United States get off having anything to say about it. U.S. secretary of state Hilary Clinton said "We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interest of the Egyptian people."

WTF Hilary? Really? As an American why are you not speaking up on behalf of us? And when the American people finally do riot are you going to be helpful to them or are you going to be sitting in your swanky office sipping tea and yelling "let them eat cake!" ?
But beyond that, we have no, absolutely no business sticking our nose in Egyptian politics, riots or not. The riots are happening because they NEED to happen.

Honestly riots happen because people aren't heard. It would help to stop future riots if we listened and listened in the right places to the people who are most affected by societal inequalities.
"A riot at bottom is the language of the unheard." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Do you hear me? I mean it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Sick...or Working on Gender Equality...or Both

So I've been sick this week. Like stuck in bed sick. It's a good thing I used that tax return I got ten years ago, (the last time I got one) to buy a Tempurpedic bed or I would never have made it.

Okay I would have made it, but it sure did come in comfortably handy, and it's not the only time, it also helped a lot two summers ago when I spent the summer in bed because I cut my tendon with a pair of garden shears and the dumb-assed doctor botched the surgery the first time through...or at least he botched the instructions to me, telling me I could walk when clearly walking caused the tendon to break. And by the way a snapping tendon hurts like a bitch. Just sayin....I have never actually passed out from pain before and snapping tendons did the trick. Passed right the fuck out!

Anyhoo. I was sick this week, but comfortable in my squishy bed of foam and other man-made materials. It didn't escape my notice that there were a lot of other people sick as well, like nearly every writer I know and a good many artists...coincidence? Who the hell knows?

I did however get a lot of t.v. watching done. I submitted myself to trying to watch Larry Sanders because A. It was the only thing on besides The Joan and Melissa Rivers show and B. The Late Mitchell Warren was waxing poetic about it. I wanted to see if somehow I had missed something.

Turns out no, I still hate Larry Sanders.

I got no writing done. My head swam dizzily everytime I attempted to think and/or type so I gave up. I also gave up on my healthy eating and excersising. There were several factors that went into this. One was Carrie Fisher gave me the creeps with her new Jenny Craig commercial. It made me never ever want to diet. Another was a long-hike preceded me getting sick. You know how when you throw up something it puts you off of that food forever even if it had nothing to do with that food? Yeah? Well I think hiking is out for a while. I may have to go to hiking therapy to overcome this fear that it will make me ill. And finally, I can't eat vegtables when I'm sick. I really can't eat much of anything except potato soup and bananas foster ice cream which is what I've been eating for the last 3 days. I think Safeway even made extra pots of potato soup in anticipation of me sending the Brownies down there for my daily pick-up. One day they had to go back because there was only chicken-ish soup, so I sent them down there to be ready for the fresh pot.
Oh yeah, the gender equality thing, I almost forgot. So you know how they say that men are bigger babies about being ill. I set out to attack that myth by being the biggest sick baby ever. I think I did a pretty good job. I whined about my aches and pains. I cried for the exact foods I wanted. I generally gave everyone a hard time...I'm just doing my bit to get rid of gender stereotypes around illness...pass it on.

Being sick is boring. That's what got me out of bed today. You would think having nothing to do but laze about watching movies and eating soup would be a delight and don't get me wrong, it is, but one gets to the point where they run out of good movies and they have run through the secret stash of porn and then what is there to do in bed? Knit?

No thanks.

So I got up today, I dusted off the computer and set out to write something, anything to blaze the cobwebs made up of soup, ice cream and porn and try to get some real work done.

Mission accomplished.

Now I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Word About A Word


Is the word in question.

I recently wrote an article which you can read HERE about the discord I experienced between a pharmacist and a doctor. However, it's not the article I am concerned with today it's some of the responses.

The name Nazi really tipped the scale for some of the people commenting. It made the difference I think between being somewhat reasonable and deteriorating into emotive name calling.

I get it, Nazi is not a nice thing to call someone. And, just to be clear I did not call anyone that. (In this article anyway, I have called people that before and they can just suck it, Nazi-pigs that they are.)

What I and others noticed however is that there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about what a Nazi is.

One commenter pointed out that the word Nazi is derived from the National Socialist Party, which is the party Hitler ran and won with post depression. Hitler Supporters were therefore Nazis. However we all are aware that the socialism did not extend beyond Hitlers supporters and in later years not even to them. By the time we entered WWII Nazi was a generally agreed upon term for those who followed and fought for Hitler's regime.

We also all agree that we don't like Nazis, unless you are a Nazi in which case I assume you like yourself and your friends.

The problem is spin doctors and media voodoo practitioners like Glen Beck have been getting on t.v. nightly and telling people that NAZI=Socialism therefore Socialism is bad.

An interesting outcome of pundits like Glen Beck is that I can almost see commenters, bloggers and people I have discussions with working out blackboard scenarios in their minds. For example:
Nazi=National Socialist Party=Socialism=enough for everyone=this conversation is about medicine=Obama wants to help get everyone medicine= Obama is a socialist=writer must be both a socialist and an "Obama-tron". (that's one of the names thrown out there in the the discussion)

There has been a shift in which everything is becoming politicized whether or not it was intended to be should have been or is in anyway relevant. A discussion about Dr./patient/pharmacist relationships really shouldn't have been political, however because of the way words like Nazi are being bastardized and thanks to Glen Beck's magick chalkboard, now as Lewis Black pointed out everything is a 6 degrees of separation game and somehow it all comes back to politics.

And of course Nazis and Socialism.

Look Nazi is a strong word. It shouldn't be used lightly in public and ideally one should know what the hell they are talking about when using it. However I stood behind my quote because, A. It was a quote that illustrated frustration. B. It was appropriate because it had to do with controlling behavior to the detriment of an individual. C. It was a bloody quote!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Announcing Grainne's Subversify World Re-location Tour! 20-teens!

I came back from the holidays to find that my health care provider Blue Shield has decided to ramp up the prices in my state 50%. It's not that I don't know that they are greedy bastards, it's just that they just increased it 50% with my Patron's insurance plan 50% last month. Since I do not want a new Patron I have decided to look for a new location.

I would also like to blame, erm, I mean give credit to longtime pal MadMollyMillions who has been egging me on for almost a decade now to relocate to Great Britain and even sends me nice links of job sites.

I figure this is going to take some time so I have allotted the entire decade to this search and yes I am committed. I will even be making World Re-location T-shirts which you can buy at our Subversify Web-store. Or if you are lucky enough to host my search for the most perfect place on earth to write with a Patron in tow and a gang of Brownies who will most likely be grumpy about re-locating, then you will get free t-shirt swag!

So this is my plan, I am going to start by visiting all the spots where my cohorts and writing partners already live. Don't worry I won't be writing anything bad about you unless you are veryvery bad host/hostess' in which case expect the worst.

No, really I just want to get a picture of the wide places people live and work and why they hang on there. People don't have to know I'm there if they don't want to. (just leave some warm cuppa by the couch and the bathroom light on so I can find my way)

I kid.

This sprung from my flippant remark that #in2011Iplanto show up in Alaska and Gloucester. And really I found that I want to. I have lived in California all my life and while I have travelled the western U.S. pretty extensively I have never been anywhere further east than Denver, I've never been to the American South, I've never been to the birthplace of my country-And yes Rich that does mean I am coming there, prepare.

Also I don't fly, I'm a big scaredy cat about it and really that needs to be fixed so that's another bit in this decision.

I will be writing about it, the places I go, the people I meet, the religions that try to get me to join up. And I do want to know if I want to relocate because to be honest I love California, but what do I know? Also our economy is in the shitter and the only thing really keeping me here is the employment gig, but there may be something out there...

Okay that sounded really "That Girl"-ish so there is definitely something out there but I don't know what's for me and us. I'm shy by nature. I am the one sitting in the crowd taking it in who you avoid because you think I look familiar and I know something about you or I am figuring something out about you. Which I am, it's my hobby which got worse in college when I discovered investigative psychology, but it helps me write.

It does not always help me interact with people, so I want to see how that changes as I move far out of places I have known.

I have a tentative list beginning as stated before with Alaska and Gloucester but also including:

Philadelphia, PA
Waterbury, Conn
Alberta, CANADA
B.C, CANADA-Okay I've already been there but I have to visit my second cousin anyway
New Orleans, LA
Puerto Rico
New Braunfels, TX
Santa Fe, NM
Phoenix, AZ
Portland, OR
The Sound Area of Washington State

Okay that's a start I'm sure places will be added, most places we have had contributors at Subversify from. There are other places I want to go but it will require more planning like Australia where one of my very favorite one-time contributor is from and New Zealand, and also India which I would love to visit and which may be do-able as we do have friends who have a family home there. But that may not make it in the decade-goal because...

This is going to be like a mix between a pub-crawl and a couch crash which as I'm writing this I realize go hand in hand anyway. It is going to be the anti-thesis of glamorous as it is the penny-tour. The sex drug and rock and roll bits of the trip will have to be cut out except for the rock and roll part. The sex and drugs are just out of my budget.

If anyone has great ideas of not-to-be missed cities/towns/areas/mountain tops for relocation let me know and I will try to add them in. Here are my requirements:

-There must be Internet/satellite connection in at least one pub or coffee shop in town.
-There must be someplace other than Walmart to shop
-People cannot be waiting there with effigies of me to burn...Okay, I'll drive by and get pictures of these places because an effigy of me is pretty classy, but really I can't re-locate there.
- Oh and jobs for Social Workers because yeah, we gotta pay the bills still.

Okay those are my preliminary plans, I am kicking this bitch off this year because really it's time to deliver on promises to visit and check places out anyway.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Song Saturday-Not Every Pain Hurts

I was disconnected from the internet, news and entertainment most of the day, I spent the morning in musical rehearsals and napped the afternoon away.

So I missed the news that a gunman attacked a Congresswoman, judge and others in Arizona today killing what is the count now? 5? I would like to say I'm surprised but I'm not really. Things are getting that crazy around here. I knew it was coming to this and it will probably only get worse. It probably didn't help that Sarah Palin had a target map on her site showing people those she though needed to be "dealt with"

The initial reports say officials are talking about electee's drawing back from their constituents, protecting themselves more. I can certainly understand that knee jerk reaction. I would be afraid for my family members and friends and loved ones too. I understand having concern for government workings going smoothly.

However I truly hope they don't pull back. That would be a tragic mistake. What we need more than ever is to be in the trenches. To not succumb to threats real and imagined. We need our elected officials to be brave. Do they not understand the word sacrifice? This is what they get the perks for...the dangers of serving. And we need brave people.

Anyway. when I woke this morning I had a flippant tune about pubic hair on my mind, mostly because it's catchy and also Becca's Amanda Herself just married Neil Himself and what better way to celebrate their nuptials than to play a song by Amanda all about pubic hair? But now I will save it for later.

Instead I was listening to various Requiems and came across this little gem which just clicked, I don't know's not my normal listening style but, not every pain hurts, or has to hurt. Some should galvanize us.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Switch

Switching gears to this new-er blog-ish place is interesting because although I have thoughts that would normally go in blog form for some reason I never remember to come over here. This home, rental, flat, hide-away has been at the edges of my experience for so long, I really only used to post poetry, or private experiments over here.

However things are changing. I am kind of liking the solitude of this place where I am not immediately linked to so many souls and yet people can find me if they please...

So be patient. I will be blogging more, I promise.

The promise is mostly to myself anyway. I am out of practice, working on the 'zine at SUBVERSIFY for the past couple of years has changed my perspective. I scan the news, I listen to what people are saying EVERYWHERE (and yes that means you so watch what you say) and my sociological mind is stronger. I'm always looking for connections.

But I am weak on dreamwriting, on fantasy, on whimsy and I find that I'm not liking that so much.

I realized this as I sat down to write about the ongoing tales of the Tooth-Faerie of our house: Princess Nootsie-Pah. She makes regular visits complete with stories whensoever teeth fall out of heads around here and the last couple of entries were harder than normal which led me to believe I have to daydream more. And, more importantly write about it. Because if I don't who will tell her story?

Also I have a pesky Egyptian Goddess who is constantly reminding me that I promised to tell her story and she is the Goddess of poisonous things so one really doesn't want to ignore her. All kinds of bad things can happen then.

So I will I promise, try to remember this spot more. The other places, like multiply are looking like a marketplace/ghost town anyway. It's no longer comfortable to be there and who in the world knows what will happen when Goldman/Sachs takes over Facebook (if) (probably) it's interesting isn't it just when we all find a comfortable community to gather and share some big-wigs swoop in to make their dimes there? I guess it's the way of things and really it's probably not that bad for all of us to keep moving, being vagabond writers. Keeps us on our toes.

Anyway....until next time when maybe, just maybe I will have something of substance to say.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Walking the Fences 2011

I have spoken of this before in other blog-ish places. In the time between the olde year and the new year I do not make resolutions, promises or drunken proclamations. (mostly because I don't drink, I'm sure if I did I would make manymany drunken proclamations) Instead I engage in a practice that I call Walking the Fences. People of agricultural backgrounds will recognize right away what I mean. Fences need to be maintained. Holes get into them, animals knock them over, thieves cut the wires.

For my purposes my esoteric fences are not necessarily to keep anything out or in. But rather, to define what it is I am. What my boundaries are. What I need to care for. My fence, much like a barbed wire one is well defended. And yet easy to see through, it allows me to show concern for others outside of it while keeping the sensitive me safe. Also there are places where I have built stiles in strategic places where people can step over and so can I.

So for the last few days I have been doing this, walking, checking, seeing if all is safely gathered in. Also if there are places I need to fix and in some cases expand.

This year was an interesting year. It was despite the external turmoil in the world and indeed in my community a pretty mellow year for me personally. I was busy in the extreme, seeing grown children off to college and navigating that, dialing down spending to make adjustments for changes, etc. However everything seemed to flow pretty smoothly, in its own crazy way. I credit this with my changed attitude of letting things, personalities and people carve out their own path much like a natural mountain creek. It may not have been how I would have done things. most certainly wasn't how I would have done it. But things fell into place. I felt more peace this year in a time of incredible change in our economy, world and political system than I have in a long time.

Or maybe I just feel more peaceful in crisis situations. That is highly probable too. Crisis' tend to make people either become incredibly still and efficient or make them crazy. I do tend to be the efficient type. I tend to crumble when things turn peaceful. So who knows, if things turn about soon and start going smoothly I may just have a crazy crumbly year.

I did pull out a fence stile in one place. The relationship there although I care for the person in question was just too much. I think it a good thing to remember from time to time, we do have choices in who we let close to us. That includes those who have traditionally been close. It doesn't do us or them or anyone in the general vicinity any good to continue a relationship that brings nothing but bad feelings. I had struggled with how I "should" behave, forgive, etc. with this person for years. The fact of the matter was I was the one struggling. The other was quite happy causing discord. We need to know that we can be compassionate from afar. And sometimes, no most times this is the greatest gift we can give to difficult people. How will they ever change if they don't know they are being disruptive? Of course they always have the choice not to change. But we can love them, care for them, pray for them, sit in meditation for them without allowing them access to more of us.

So that is what I did this year, it probably contributed to some of the ease I felt.

Don't get me wrong, bringing in stiles is not easy. It's hard work, but for me at least, it was past time.

I read a lot this year, as I usually do. And yet, when I sat down to think of what my favorite read was I couldn't pull a name up. Most of the non-fiction I read saddened me and scared me for human-kind. As a result I took refuge in comforting old favorite writers for my fiction reading. I read a lot of new and revisited Charles de Lint who never ceases to please me in his story-telling.

Musically this year I fell in love with Sxip Shirey who incidentally was introduced by last year's musical love Amanda Palmer who incidentally just married one of my all time favorite writers Neil Gaiman-A very happy ending and I am hopeful that a girl who writes music about pubic hair and plays the ukulele and a man who writes stories about magick and cats and Olde Gods will live happily ever after.

Anyway Sxip with his homemade instruments and small venue concerts dazzled me. How a man with crazy hair and a bell strapped to a megaphone can make such intoxicating music is boggling. Sxip also incidentally introduced Himself to his new favorite band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, who while I don't love everything they do, I love Rhiannon Giddon's incredible voice. She makes arias out of traditional mountain music. They describe their music this way: “Tradition is a guide, not a jailer. We play in an older tradition but we are modern musicians.”-Justin Robinson

I just did a quick review on my ipod and I found the most played songs of late were Amanda Palmer, Sxip Shirey, Old Crow Medicine Show, Zoe Keating and Johnny Thunders. That pretty much covers it. I'm all over the place from early punk to Blue Grass. Although, I do find myself turning to blue grass more often than not, it's soothing.

As far as the Movies that came out this year, I was highly disappointed in everything. I was only compelled to see two movies in the theatre this year, Alice in Wonderland, which all in all was at least entertaining and Harry Potter, which is fun because you get to see the nerd-kids who dress up. I actually spent more time at the local playhouses this year where I was not disappointed. Granted it was during Halloween-time which is my most favorite time of the year. But I find myself wanting to be more a part of the experience and when you go to small venues you get just that.

Ch-ch-ch-changes were put in place in my own life this year. Due to the ideals of some of my writing partners I challenged myself to eat less meat. Mostly I wanted to see if I could make my favorite recipes with meat-less products. I found that a lot of the time I could and while it did not taste the same, it was good in its own way and I lost a lot of my meat-ish cravings. Also an article on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that I wrote allowed me the opportunity to speak with some marine biologists. While the Garbage patch has little to do with overfishing I picked up an ap from the Monterey Bay Aquarium which tells me which fish are bad to eat and made a commitment to stay away from them. It's a little weird to ask your server where they get their fish and honestly they don't know most of the time so fish were off the menu a lot too. I'd say I'm a 3/4 vegetarian at this point and I don't miss it. Oh the other change came due to Heather telling me cheese has addictive chemicals. I tried that theory too and guess what? It seems to be true. I craved cheese for about a week and after that, no more cheese cravings. Where we used to blow through cheese at House Rhuad it now sits for a very long time, which actually saves us money because I like expensive cheeses (usually).

I am looking at 2011 and while I feel some trepidation, I also am seeing some hope. People are tired of being pushed back and placated like small children. Politicians and leaders of churches and communities don't seem to recognize this. I recently read an article in which a poll showed young people (18-27) were leaving their church congregations not because of lack of faith but because they are tired of gimmicks like rock bands in the services and free t-shirts and study cells. What they are leaving over is a lack of serious spiritual discussion. I find this amazingly encouraging, the fact that people and especially the coming up generation want to dive deeper. The same is true in politics. Yes while a great many people are joining crazy Tea Parties, a lot of people are discussing something entirely different. The party system is not meeting the needs of the constituents. This is good, the discussion of change. Politicians had better take notice and stop believing that once they are elected they don't have to listen to the very people who put them in office, there are plenty of examples of this but the most recent ones are of the many public officials from our President to State Governors and city mayors taking sunny vacations while the eastern seaboard is shut down due to snow and ice. People aren't taking this lackadaisical governing well, and yes we all need vacations however, public servants are public SERVANTS.

I see uprising in the future. Which may look bad but to my way of thinking is a good thing. If President Obama isn't going to help with the change he suggested we need to roll up our sleeves and start working towards it ourselves.

Which leads me to the biggest thing I see for the coming year. I know in House Rhuad we have been talking a lot about change and work. Changing how we see service to others. It's going to be our new hobby this year. The thing we do together. It's necessary because if we as individuals don't do it, who will?

Anyway. That wraps up my fence walking. Holed mended. Some stiles pulled up. A heap more put out, because community is going to be the focus of 2011 at House Rhuad.