Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette







Monday, January 30, 2012

Who Wants Music on Monday?

Hey, don't get excited (or horrified), I'm just pre-posting some things so I don't feel like it's all echo-y and tumble-weed-y in here.



Some day I wanna sing with this woman...

Friday, January 27, 2012

If I can Keep From Killing Anyone, It'll Be A Miracle!

With the Internet on endless hiatus at Casa de Crazy, phone service on permanent vacation, and the satellite service gone the way of the Dodo bird, we're on the road a little more, visiting friends, visiting Mum, visiting anyone or anywhere that may have wifi I can hunker down on and use for a few minutes.

On the road means dealing with other motorists and their...erm...foibles.

I am fascinated by the habits of the modern motorist - it's like this vast, diverse tribe wherein the only commonality is a propensity for rudeness and inattention.

A motor vehicle is a ton or more of metal, plastic, fuel, and trouble. Why don't people drive as if they know that??

There's the fellow who never uses the blinker. Never. Ever. It's like he was bitten by the blinker wand as a child and now bears severe emotional scarring from the incident. He just changes lanes without letting anyone know he's going to, but we should all be tolerant because he's got that blinker-trauma going on. The rest of us, however, better not try the same thing on him, or there will be hell to pay. Hell, I tell you!!

There's the gal who can't let anyone pass her. She's going ten under the limit until someone tries to get by her - then she's Mrs. Mario Andretti, Jr. Try to ease past just a few MPH faster than she? No way, pal - she'll edge up and block you. Try to kick it up a little more? Sorry, buster, not gonna happen today! Slow down and she'll pace you. If you think you'll get ahead of her because she's approaching slower traffic, think again - she'll hit the gas, jump in front of you, and then slow down again. Life's a race, and if she can keep you from finishing before her, so much the better.

There's the woman who's texting, reading a catalog, and eating at the same time. No, really - I saw her. Luckily, I made it past without incident, but it was a near thing. She doesn't much care about the safety of the people around her - her car is like her house, she can do what she likes and no one has any say in it because this is a free country and fuck you if you think she's not allowed to swing wildly from lane to lane because she's trying to find the umlaut on her Blackberry.

There's the kid who only wants to drive fast, faster, fastest. He'll run right up your tailpipe, honk his horn, flash his lights, drop back and run up on you again. He thinks you're a Water Buffalo in the Cheetah lane, and nothing pisses him off like not being able to go Mach seven at will - never mind that you're in the left lane because you're going fifteen over the limit and passing right-laners like they're parked over there. Junior thinks you're a tortoise and he's about to run you down.

Let's not forget the motorcycles. Crotch rockets. Death on two wheels. Lest you get your knickers in a bind, I know many responsible riders who don't countenance shenanigans on the highway. I'm not talking about that kind of rider. I'm talking about the short-sleeved, short-pantsed, weaving-in-and-out-of-traffic, riding between the lanes, no-turn-signal-using, engine revving, helmet-scorning, no-mirror-using, speed-limits-are-for-chumps, let's race through rush hour traffic kind of rider. The kind of rider who bitches because people in cars don't make way for them or anticipate their every move, who wind up with head injuries and extensive road-rash scarring and mended bones (if they survive), the kind who cause others to have accidents and keep right on their merry way without concern for the mayhem they've wrought.

And finally (for now), the big trucks. Tractor trailers. Usually, I adore these guys. If I'm on a long haul, I'll tuck in with one going my speed and draft a little, let him clear the way for me. If I am in gnarly traffic, maybe four lanes going down to one because of construction or an incident, I will make a truck-sized space for them to get over - especially if they are using their considerable bulk to block the closing lanes and keep assholes from running all the way up to the head of the line and jumping over. Still, there are a few out there who need a bit of...help. Swaying from lane to lane is bad enough in a Nissan - that Peterbilt scares the crap out of me when it starts rocking over into the space my Astro is trying to occupy. Sudden lane jumps are not fun, either. It is especially frustrating when a truck leaps into the left lane like the driver was bitten, only to slow down to a crawl while attempting to pass the truck in the right lane that's moving only slightly faster than Congress passing a tax cut.

Share the road, people. We all want to get there as quickly as possible. We all want to get there alive. Driving is not, contrary to what people seem to believe, is not a right. It's a privilege. Act like you give a damn about that privilege before you kill someone. Or at least, before I finally go entirely off the deep end and decide to defend my piece of road with vigor and possibly a 12 gauge Mossberg. Fair warning.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Year? Really??

One year ago, there was this:

Today, there is this:

Holy carp!!

She's one today...wow...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Letter

Dear AT&T,

A long while ago I had an account with your competitor, a carrier that was well known for having excellent customer service and competitive rates. I was happy with my cell phone company.

As with all good things, though, it came to an end when you bought them out. I was not delighted.

I stuck with you, although it was more from habit than from any sort of desire to be loyal. Honestly, it felt more like deciding the least horrid of the lot.

I will admit that you have surprised me over the years - your customer service and tech support people have gone above and beyond on many occasions...once I could reach them. May I suggest that you market your automated phone system to Guantanamo Bay and other places where prisoners of war are being tortured? It believe it would be most effective. Or, if that does not appeal, you could use it as a sort of psychological test. I am certain many interesting things can be revealed about one's personality if you recorded one as they spoke to the recordings. Or am I the only one who talks back to the computer?

May I also note the irony of telling a customer they can look up and/or deal with their bill online when they cannot, in fact, get online to begin with and that's why they are calling? Also, I am aware that I have called AT&T - never once have I suddenly cried out "Oh, my goodness, I thought I was holding for the Lottery Commission! How silly I feel!!" I don't need reminding every few seconds. Neither do I need to hear you tell me my call will be answered in the order it was received. I've always wondered why companies feel the need to tell us this - is there a company out there that is answering calls randomly, then?

I have had wonderful experiences in your stores, too, although I must say I get little frowny lines on my face when I am told I must pay an extra fee for using that archaic cash to pay bills. Cash is instant, hard currency, irreversible, unarguable - unlike a credit card on which charges can be argued for years before payment (if any) is finally made. So why penalize me for using it??

Lately, you have turned off my cell phone and Internet*. I don't blame you - you do actually expect to be paid occasionally for your service and I didn't keep up my end of that bargain (silly me - how could I think toilet paper and cat food were more important than my beloved Blue Nowhere??), so I understand completely your sudden cessation of service.

That said, I do wonder what you were thinking when you called me last night.

Really, AT&T, you want me to sign up for DSL? I was under the impression that I was not at all a desirable customer, but your employee (if her bruised, battered, broken, thoroughly demoralized English was to be understood) said otherwise. She exhorted me to sign up for DSL...or maybe she was telling me to go to Hell. Or perhaps she was saying I should ring a bell. Or that her feet were starting to swell. I'm not certain - I don't know that she actually knew what she was saying. I am half convinced she was reading something phonetically for two cents an hour and all the Aloo Kachori** she can stomach.

Here's a hint - if you really want me to to purchase a product or service, try making certain that the person selling it speaks the same language that I do. I can muddle along in a few languages, especially if I use them all together in one sentence, but I am primarily an English speaker. Yes, yes, insert your favorite elitist jokes here, but the truth is, there are what? thousands? millions? of languages in the world (including dialects and patois)? Is it really reasonable to expect that I speak/comprehend more than four or five at once? And you called me, after all - so it would behoove you to do me the simple courtesy of attempting to fleece me in my language of origin. For the record, I am fluent in both English and Bad English, with fair vocabularies in Slang, Typo, and Gibberish as well.

In addition, given the state of the economy and my distinct lack of employment (despite a shocking amount of effort on my part...although, if I am being honest, ANY effort on my part is a shock to those who know me, because I haven't worked in some 20 years for one reason or another, and am not terribly good at being employed anyway), having someone who is clearly not working inside the boundaries of the nation (let alone state) in which I reside, call me to sell me something displays a lack of wisdom on your part. Outsourcing is not MY friend, as I am not share holder in your company, and I am disinclined to reward it with my custom.

Clearly one branch of your company is not aware of how the other branches are bending in the breeze...and you a communications company! Save yourself two cents and a bowl of curry and quit calling customers that you've cut off in the first place.

Thank you - and by the way, it will be a minute before I can pay what I owe you, but I fully intend to as soon as I sell one of T's kidneys when he's not looking.

Cheers!

* Which is why I am once again borrowing Mum's.

**I am not bashing anyone, here...just playing on the fact that the woman was quite obviously Indian, and, at the same time, enthusiastically unable to speak even basic English but delighted to be giving it the old college try all the same.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Brief

I am at a friend's house, borrowing a few inches of Internet to do some writing for her and to catch up a little on my electronic life. Funny how one doesn't think about how much the Internet is woven through one's life until one cannot use it.

Sprout turns one in a week-and-a-half. Holy crap. She is walking, trying to climb everything, rolls and bounces a rubber ball with great vigor and glee, and has several "words" with distinct meaning - "Daaaaaaaa" is for cat, "Da, da, da" is for bounce , and "Eh, eh, eh, eh" means pick me up and feed me or I will commence to make your life a living hell. Wordy, is our Sprout!

The Evil Genius just turned nine. Nine!! That means that next year he will be in the double digits, and soon after a teen. Oh, my aching head. He is so tall, now, and riding his bike with confidence (all over the neighborhood, which sometimes scares me, but I won't clip his wings) that amazes me. He is a great help with his sister, often playing with her for an hour or more so I can get some housework done - she is a social critter and won't be left alone.

I feel steam-rolled, aching from keeping up with the baby, climbing the various fences and gates that keep her from rolling down the stairs or getting into places we don't want her, holding and rocking her to sleep (which is bending my spine into all sorts of nifty ways), bending over to clean up her toys or wash the poor, abused floor. Whew.

I'm looking for work, but it's a wash so far. After twenty years out of the employment scene, it seems I'm not a desirable employee. Sigh.

We have managed to help curtail the kitty population thanks to Mum, who payed to spay two females, then gave one of them a home. I'll miss the springtime fuzz balls, but it's for the best.

I do not know when we will have phones and Net back - it depends on what kind of income I can manage and whether T can find the resources he needs to pay his bills AND child support (he is in arrears, but there's little I can do about that - can't squeeze blood from a turnip, and he's in much the same boat we are). I'm hoping we won't have to go past February...I know the Net is a luxury to many folks, but it's what we use to find work, advertise services, keep up with family, and even sell artwork and freelance writing, so it is a useful tool around the Casa.

Meanwhile, I am gypsying around from WiFi to Wifi, leaning on friends and family for bits and pieces of Internet access. My friend K2 is being terribly sweet, allowing myself and the kids to invade at least once a week, as is Mum. Thanks!!

See y'all soon - tell me how you're doing in the comments!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Speak Your Piece

I believe in freedom of speech. I believe that one should be free to say what one thinks or feels without fear or repression, opression, or cencorship. Though I may not always like what another has to say, I will stand up for their right to say it.



Sometimes I will say things that annoy, distress, or anger others. Sometimes I may say things that offend. Sometimes others annoy, distress, or anger me, and I don't always like what they say or how they say it...but never would I tell them they cannot speak their mind. It's counter to my very core, to the basic idea of freedom that I hold dear.



Why bring this up, you ask?



It would seem that there are many folks in the world who would very much like to silence the voices they don't like.



Whether it's a song, a poem, a book, a political point, radio talk show, blog, or other means of expression, if someone finds it disagreeeable they begin to whinge about it being offensive, or hateful and mean, or encouraging "wrong" thinking, and try to shut it down.



Listen.



Hear that silence?



That's the sound of voices quashed, keyboards gone doormant, music muted and hampered by the wet woolen blanket of "for the public good".



I am not a white supremecist. I can't stand 'em, actually. I think they're crazier than shithouse rats and often question the hatred so frequntly spewed forth by their front men/women. Try telling hem they can't have or express their opinions, though, and I will, I must, defend them. Please don't make me do that.



Even if it's abhorrent to me, I will not seek to silence another's voice.



I don't mind telling someone "Hey, I find that offensive" or "I disagree", but that's a far cry from telling them they can't have their say.



It's freedom OF. folks, not freedom FROM.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Away, Away, For a Year and a Day

Well...I hope it isn't that long!

Alas, despite my hope to start daily blogging again in 2012, I am thwarted by the mighty dollar...or, rather, by the lack thereof. The Internet and phones are shut off until further notice at Casa de Crazy, which makes it bloody difficult to blog! I'll be back and blogging daily when I can pay these unreasonable people - imagine, demanding money for their service! The unadulterated gall!

I miss you folks...I miss the Blue Nowhere...and I hope you won't all drift away while I'm floundering here in reality. I may have access once in a while when I am visiting Mum (like I am now), but it'll be sporadic at best.

See you again soon...I hope...