Nov 30

Random Thoughts

Why am I sitting up at 11:30am?

I guess that it’s not such an unusual question, until you consider that I haven’t yet been to bed. I sat up all night working on a template for this website that would appear correctly in browsers other than my own.

I finally gave up and lucked upon this great template that I barely modified. I’m loving it so far. And if you discover that it doesn’t look right in your browser, please let me know… but not until next week. I don’t think I can take that news right now.

NaBloPoMo ElfToday marks the last day of NaBloPoMo. I can’t say I’m sad about it. I mean, it was great getting into the habit of writing at least once a day. But I’m happy to not have to type “NaBloPoMo” for much longer.

I know they’re giving out prizes for people who managed to write every day. I want to know who has the job of going through all 2000+ blogs to determine who’s eligible.

It seems my post from a couple of days ago about Gays and Christianity has been nominated for inclusion in the Sacramento Bee. Check out this site for more information.

UMB is now officially addicted to blogging, and it seems that he’s actually reading other people’s blogs. He still doesn’t read mine. Guess he thinks he knows all my stories. It’s a strange age when the world at large knows about something funny that happened to me, or some conversation I had, and UMB shares my house/bed/pets/life and knows nothing about it.

Kristy has informed me that we’re doing another karaoke night soon. I promise more photos, as I’m sure something hilarious will happen. Maybe Othurme will finally get lucky with Dill.

Ok. Crack of noon… guess it’s time to get some sleep.

Nov 30

Geek Speak

Allow me for just a moment to speak geek and tell everyone out there who still uses Internet Explorer or, God FORBID, the America Online Browser to please, please, PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU, get used to using an internet browser that complies with the W3C standards!!!!

Your refusal to comply results in my spending hours… HOURS!!!! trying to fix the coding of a website so that the page will look right to you.

Get yourself moved to FIREFOX or Opera or even NETSCAPE immediately. You’ll learn to love it, trust me!

Nov 29

Dancing Nekkid

This past weekend, UMB got really sick of listening to Jerry, Dan and I talk about blogs, writing them, reading them, and designing them. He was tired of discussions about NaBloPoMo and the vast number of really shitty websites out here in the tubes.*

UMB had not ever read my blog. I’ve got archives that date back to long before I met him.** Yet he claims that he didn’t know about it until a few months ago… and even then didn’t feel compelled to read.

This isn’t so surprising. He’s not much of a reader. I think he’s read maybe 2 books since we’ve been together (4.5 years). He’s thumbed through a bunch of magazines, mostly the Smithsonian and every variety of Better Homes and Beautiful Kitchen and Landscaping Your Self-Decorated Geodesic Dome magazine he can find.

But now, he has decided to enter the blogosphere, throw down some opinions, and see what happens. His website has been live for a mere four days, and he already has eight posts up.

Showoff.

He’s asked the world for an opinion on How Much Porn is Too Much Porn, shared an embarrassing story about Why “Trevor” Will Never Go Out With Us Again, and a few posts about his favorite subject, music.

Show him some link love and drop him a comment, eh? I’m sure he’d love to hear from you. Besides, I want you all to see the kick ass design I did for him.

* Notice, I’m not saying my blog is any better than anyone elses… well, ok, maybe that is exactly what I’m saying. I’ll go head to head against some of these awful “I worked today, I’m so tired. I’m having rice for dinner. Maybe I’ll take a bath.” blogs anyday.

** Those archives are missing from this site for a reason. They were either terrible, written about a job I no longer have, or just otherwise boring as hell.

Nov 28

Congratulations are in order

Seems Othurme has reached his life long goal: to be the number one resource on the web for the search string, “How to Eat Coochie.”

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Othurme. This certainly overshadows that silly kidney transplant.

Nov 28

Bonehead

So yeah… leave it to me to take a seemingly simple task and turn it into a complete disaster.

I upgraded WordPress yesterday. This is an easy operation. However, when I uploaded the new files, I failed to hit “Merge” instead of “Replace” which caused WordPress to do exactly what it was told to do…

Write over my site.

So I’ve spent several hours repairing the damage, recreating my theme and artwork, and the most maddening task of uploading all the images I’ve used in my posts for the past 6 months.

I’m almost done. There are some images that I no longer have, and will have to either find them again, or replace them. So if you happen to see a broken image link, don’t worry. I’m working on it.

In the meantime, you might have to settle for reading the articles.

Nov 27

Why yes, thank you

A conversation that took place at my aunt’s house this weekend…

Jerry: “Actually, I’m quite partial to them.”

UMB: “To what?”

Jerry: “My legs. I enjoy having both of them. It would suck if they were gone.”

Me: “What on earth are you talking about?”

Jerry: “UMB asked me if I wanted my legs.”

UMB: “No, I asked if you wanted deviled eggs.”

Jerry: “Oh. Yes. Thank you.”

Nov 26

Fun with Photo Booth

My friend Dan brought his new lovely computer over this weekend.

I want a new Mac laptop… not because of the intel processors… not because of the better battery life, cooler operating temperature, and lighter weight.

It’s because of Photo Booth. The program that let me take these pictures.

photo-1.jpg

photo-2.jpg

photo-3.jpg

Nov 25

Article on Gays and Christianity

A friend of mine sent this link to me the other night, and I found it to be one of the best articles on the subject I’ve ever read.

It’s written by Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, a Baptist minister and author of an upcoming book, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can’t Because He Needs the Job). It’s entitled “When religion loses its credibility.”

Oliver compares the church’s refusal to accept scientific evidence that homosexuality is determined by genetic and/or biological factors rather than choice to its famous stance on Galileo’s discovery that the Sun was the center of our solar system.

Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice. To the contrary, whether sexual orientation arises as a result of the mother’s hormones or the child’s brain structure or DNA, it is almost certainly an accident of birth. The point is this: Without choice, there can be no moral culpability.

He makes several points regarding the appearance of homosexuality in scriptures, and a dead on statement that if you are going to accept ONE of the rules in Leviticus as the absolute, unequivocal word of God then you must accept them all. And that means, no more football, no lobster, no catfish, no contact with a menstruating woman…

He wraps up with a particularly poignant thought:

The suffering that gay and lesbian people have endured at the hands of religion is incalculable, but they can look expectantly to the future for vindication. Scientific facts, after all, are a stubborn thing. Even our religious beliefs must finally yield to them as the church in its battle with Galileo ultimately realized. But for religion, the future might be ominous. Watching the growing conflict between medical science and religion over homosexuality is like watching a train wreck from a distance. You can see it coming for miles and sense the inevitable conclusion, but you’re powerless to stop it. The more church leaders dig in their heels, the worse it’s likely to be.

Enjoy the article, and pass it along to folks that you know should read it. My parents are on my list.

Nov 24

Ok… this is just creepy

You know how you see those “What’s your personality” tests all over the place. Every once in a while I like to click on them just to see what stupid questions you get asked, and the results.

Well today, I clicked on one, “The Amazing World of Colorgenics” which simply asks you to put eight colors in order of your preference.

The results were so completely spot on that it scares me.

You are a very emotional and sensitive individual. Your life and love of life is dominated by your emotions – you have great feeling towards your fellow man and you are always full of enthusiasm but be careful, you tend to let your heart rule your head and this being so, you could be easily hurt – as perhaps you may have indeed been hurt in the past.

The way things are you are under considerable stress and you feel that there is little hope of matters righting themselves. Everyone about you seems to aggravate the problem even more. You feel that at this time you need to be alone and you are right – move back and give yourself a chance to breathe.

Enough is enough – but the problems never seem to stop. They never stop. You feel, and maybe you are right, that the problems seem to go on and on and you have indeed had more than your fair share of trials and tribulations. But to give you credit – you bounce back time and time again – you stick to your beliefs because deep down you have that inner knowledge, that ‘belief’ system that in the end, everything will turn out OK – and you are right -it will!

You are exhausted, over stressed and you refuse to give in. You are trying to minimise the tension by being physically active. It would seem that you are experiencing problems with an existing relationship and try as you might, you find it impossible to alter the situation because there is no co-operation. There is an urgent need for proper understanding which may only be accomplished by communication. At this time you feel that there is no ‘give and take’ on either side. This is resulting in constant depression. You are irritable and it could be said by your nearest and dearest that ‘you are hard to live with’. You feel the urgent need to get away from it all – even it’s only for a little while. You may be finding it difficult now to make firm decisions – you are restless and generally uptight.

Circumstances are such that you have been exposed to considerable stress and tension, perhaps due to unfulfilled emotional needs. You would like nothing better than to escape from it all by retiring to some ‘fantasy land’ where you are permitted to RELAX and get back your strength.

Nov 24

Black Friday, or, Oh How I Hate Wal-Mart

from blog.wakeupwalmart.comMy distaste for Wal-Mart began a long time ago, and not for any noble reason.

I can admit that when I first declared to my mother, “I hate Wal-Mart,” it was because we couldn’t afford to go back to school shopping anywhere else.

This meant that I would be showing up to school in the same shirts and pants and shoes that every other lower-middle class student would. The chances were approximately 1 in 4 that I would wear the exact same outfit as someone else in my classes.

Not only did I have a keen sense of the faux pas dressing identically to someone else constituted, I was also well aware that the kids that could afford to shop at ::gasp:: the MALL for clothing could tell the difference between their $25 Ocean Pacific shirt and my $5.49 Wal-Mart knockoff.

I’m not saying that I’m any sort of fashion snob… far from it. I mean, come on.. there are photos of me wearing LOUD magenta Hawaiian print shirts with red pants with white piping floating around.* Even today, I shop out of necessity, not desire. As in, I can’t wear these pants even one more time before the crotch completely falls out.

But I digress.**

So yes, my original distaste for Wal-Mart came from the social stigma I was sure to endure having been forced to shop there.

But then I grew up (ok, sort of) and discovered many, many valid reasons to hate them.

Scott has a post over on his site, “Wal-Mart caves in to the radical right in quest for the almighty holiday dollar,” detailing the latest reason. It seems Wal-Mart has caved in to the American Family Association’s threat to boycott the chain in protest over Wal-Mart’s contributions to gay-rights groups. Contributions, I might add, that were only offered as a token in hopes of glossing over past lawsuits alleging discriminatory practices against gay customers and employees.

Oh, you say, you don’t really care about how Wal-Mart treats gays? You’re not gay… it’s not an issue. Well, let’s look at a small sampling of the other egregious acts that this corporate giant regularly performs.
Citations and information on the following and more can be found at Wal-Mart Watch:

  • Sexual Discrimination in pay and promotion opportunities for women.
  • Racial Discrimination in the hiring and compensation for minorities.
  • Violations of the American’s with Disabilities Act.
  • Violations of the Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Wages and Hour Violations, including requiring employees to work hours “off the clock.”
  • Repeated violations of Environmental Protection Act.
  • Use of “sweatshops” and substandard working conditions in foreign factories.
  • Continued reliance on taxpayers to provide health care for their employees.
  • Continued reliance on foreign suppliers, despite Sam Walton’s “Buy American” program.

There is a lot of information available on walmartwatch.com. But in my perusal of the site, I have yet to find information on my two three biggest complaints.

1. The death of “small town America” and “Mom and Pop” stores. Visit any small or medium sized town, especially in the Midwest and South with a Wal-Mart and notice the downtown districts. Don’t they look sad and decrepit and well, abandoned? They are. Because Wal-Mart relies on cheap foreign labor and imports on a massive scale, and because they regularly take a loss on many ‘staple’ items to ensure that working class families will shop there, locally owned and operated establishments aren’t able to compete, and close. Economics 101 teaches us that without competition, prices can be set anywhere. When the last of the competition is gone, you’re going to find that $2.96 pack of socks made in India will now cost you eleventy-hundred dollars.

2. Political contributions and kickbacks. This article at blog.wakeupwalmart.com should make you sufficiently sick. I’ve read reports suggesting that over 85% of their contributions go to Republicans/The Republican Party. Wal-Mart has on many documented occasions threatened city and county governments wishing to keep Wal-Mart out of their communities with placing a store just outside of their jurisdiction, using the cities/counties resources such as roadways and public utilities, without the commiserate tax income to help pay for it.

and my MAJOR complaint:

3. Censorship and extortion of the music industry. Here’s a fact you probably don’t know: Wal-Mart takes a loss on every cd and cassette they sell. They offer a discounted price on music, in hopes that you will buy big ticket items such as cd players and stereos. Since Wal-Mart has infiltrated most communities, they have put most independent (and not a few corporate) record stores out of business. Record companies want their products distributed, and many/most have bowed to pressure from Wal-Mart to provide discs at discounted wholesale prices. The record companies don’t take that hit. They pass it on to the artists and songwriters. There are riders in record contracts specifying a different royalty rate for sales to “discount stores and clearinghouses.” In addition to cheating artists out of cash, they also impose their “Family Christian Values” on artists, offering only edited versions of albums that may contain “objectional or suggestive language.” So now a question every artist has to ask themselves is “Will this go over at Wal-Mart?”

And any time a corporation starts influencing art, we are truly doomed.

So what can you do?

STOP FUCKING SHOPPING AT WAL-MART!

Ultimately WE as consumers have to take responsibility for the actions of the corporations that we do business with. WE are responsible for the sweatshops, and the discrimination, and the fact that most of their employees rely on Medicaid for health insurance. We are responsible for watching our downtowns crumble and family owned businesses going bankrupt. We are responsible for the censorship. We are responsible for every socially unconscionable act they perform.

Wal-Mart answers to us. Without us, they fail. We can stop them. They have taken advantage of us. Spend a few extra dollars to buy from their competition, mom and pops and more socially responsible companies like Costco and Target.

Yes, you will end up spending a little more, but I’m sure you can agree it will cost us less.

* I also had a perm. And a white sweatband. No, you will not be seeing those pictures anytime soon.

** I love this phrase. And I love to digress. Perfect!