AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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History in the present, in pictures

I hope many of you are already reading The Gay Men Project.  If you aren’t I’m glad to introduce you to it. It is, I suppose, something like Humans of New York, but both larger and more narrow.  I love reading the first person accounts of these men’s lives. How diverse their experiences are, how different.  Seeing the older men talk about the times they came out, how they came out, how being gay affected their lives. And the younger men, not all, but so many saying how being gay is such a small part of their identity, just a thing, nothing to make a big deal about.

I think about this a lot, this split.  I am so grateful, so thankful, that simply being gay is slowly becoming meaningless. Just an aspect of a person, not their entire identity. This is hugely important and the kind of acceptance we’ve been fighting for all these years.  And I feel a little loss in the face of it. ‘Gay’ has never been a homogenous (heh) culture but a mass of connected subcultures and it’s hard to see those dissapear. Yes, the terrible sterotypes, the negative judgements are washing away with them and good riddance.  But there was once a narrative that we are losing. An oral tradition of sorts, codes of conduct, akin to secret handshakes, passed down from generation to generation. And even the stereotypes weren’t all bad, many existed and allowed you to find your own, even when outsiders couldn’t quite see what was going on.

vintagegay02
Truly the need for secrecy was awful.  It existed to keep gay people safe. That there was so much threat, to their jobs, lives, and persons, that it required being hidden was terrible.  Being 40, I lived only on the very far edges of that, heard about, passed down verbally to me, as the history of a subculture. I’m glad the threat is lessening, dissipating. But the stories, the transfer of information from person to person is disappearing too. Becoming ancient lore, mythology, something barely seen. Subtext in old books and movies is lost, without this code and key to understand it. And that part I’m going to miss when it’s gone. It’s becoming a humorous stereotype of all it’s own, gay movies now filled with a greek chorus of older gay men shaking their heads at the youth of today for not knowing the great gay icons, not knowing the struggle.

The Gay Men Project preserves some of this passed on history. You can see bits and pieces of it in older men’s stories, still being shared, in a different way to the next generation.

I also love the diversity of pictures, of people. In an era when gay men’s bodies are becoming as scrutinized and modified as women’s have long been, it’s nice to have a break from the sculpted abs and designer clothes. To see real people shouldn’t be be so refreshing, but it is and it’s a great reminder that being out is what gives us all freedom.  When you can see that these are simply your neighbors, your friends, your family, integral parts of your community. Not monsters or perverts, but average people, it’s so very important to the cause, to equality, to freedom.

So thanks, Kevin Truong, for the work you’re doing to relay this these beautiful stories and pictures.

vintagegay


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There is so much more love in the world than you can conceive of

Let’s talk about Tom Daley coming out. For those of you who don’t know (I’m assuming a possibility that the media storm about it has only been in the kind of online circles I travel in) Tom Daley is an Olympic Diver from the UK who came out this week in a very sweet little video (link has a transcript if you don’t have patience for a video). I’m very proud of him for his brave act, but I’m more interested in the responses I’m seeing in the media and in comments I’m seeing on stories about this. Really I just want to address the common responses I’m seeing.

1) “It’s no one’s business who he loves.” While in an ideal world this is true. Tom says it himself in his video that in a perfect world he wouldn’t have to do this. I wish he didn’t. But he does because all over the world people are still persecuted, punished, stigmatized, shunned and even killed because of who they love. Coming out is the only way to combat that. When your family, friends, and public figures that you admire make public statements about who they love it makes the entire idea of queerness less threatening. It opens a conversation to help everyone understand that two women or two men getting married isn’t a threat to anyone’s way of life. Because, yes, who your partner is IS a private thing, but it can’t be a quiet thing until we’ve made society at large safe for every one in it. Visibility is key to safety and coming out is key to visibility. So, of course it’s no one’s business who Tom Daley spends time with but until he and everyone queer is 100% safe then public coming outs will stil matter, will still mean something. It’s fine if YOU don’t have a problem with it, but it is important to recognize that your support is much more meaningful than dismissing it as something that is “no one’s business.”

2. Tom Daley “still fancies girls.” This so important and so complicated. Headlines say, “Tom Daley comes out as gay!” People angrily respond that he obviously came out as bisexual since he made a point about liking girls. Headlines say, “Tom Daley comes out as bisexual!” People angrily respond that he did not label himself, so we should not label him, besides he’s young and this probably just his way of easing into gayness or not ostracizing part of his fanbase. This is such an important conversation and it’s important especially because it’s happening. Whether Tom is gay, bisexual or something else actually is no one’s business. He’s been clear that he is with a man, he is very happy and he feels safe and supported in the relationship. That’s all that matters. So why are we arguing about the label? Because bisexuality is a real thing and it is often ignored or erased. Erasure happens because if a person likes boys and girls they generally pair up with one or the other and immediately become identified as gay or straight. Bisexual men are frequently told that they are just not yet fully admitting that they are gay. Bisexual women are often told that they are attention seeking, confused, or just slutty. Homosexuals are as guilty of these responses as the straight majority is. So when Tom Daley says he fancies girls at a time when he does not need too (everyone is going to say he’s gay anyway, everyone knows he’s with a man, so why temper it with mentioning girls?) it matters because it opens to conversation about how sexuality isn’t binary. It isn’t just gay or straight. There’s a whole huge spectrum out there that goes beyond the Kinsey scale. What it boils down to is that it still shouldn’t matter who someone’s partner is, but it does matter that they feel supported in their lives. We’ve been making some strides with gay marriage. As a society we are becoming more comfortable with lesbians and gay men in public spaces. But the whole array of human sexuality, the bisexuals, transgendered, genderqueer, asexual and whole host of other possibilities are still invisible. So when Tom Daley says he’s fancies girls he’s allowing for public conversation, allowing for visibility for everyone who hasn’t yet been invited to the table of acceptance.  No, it doesn’t matter how we label him as an individual, it isn’t our business, but it is our business to pay attention and to listen to our friends and family so we can better understand how they identify and make them feel safe as well.

So congratulations, Tom Daley, on your new found happiness, and thank you for making important conversations possible.

On a more shallow note, holy smokes, Tom Daley is beautiful and his boyfriend is so handsome! And they seem so smart and thoughtful. There haven’t been many present day celebrity romances that have me me all fluttery, but this feels very old school romancey to me, very Bogart and Bacall. I’ll be over here sighing, with cartoon hearts in my eyes, every time I see a picture of them.


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40 years in a world which I cannot find a reflection of myself

In past years I have always done a 30 day birthday countdown, giving myself a birthday month essentially.  I didn’t do it this year, not by design, but because this year seems to have snuck up on me, like where did the last three months of my life go?  How is it April already?  How is it the end of April already? Ack ack ack!  Rewind, I’m not ready!

But ready or not, here it is, a mere 6 days away, the big 4-0.  I have no issues about turning 40.  Or rather the issues I have are not the expected ones.  Since I was 16 I’ve imagined 40 as being this magic barrier that I would cross and then suddenly be taken seriously as a woman.  Surely no one is surprised that that magic barrier is both moveable and non-existent.

I'm pretty sure that what I see in the mirror is the reverse of this.

I’m pretty sure that what I see in the mirror is the reverse of this.

For many years I’ve attributed the way I’m treated in the workplace (and sometimes the wider world) as a factor of my youth or my youthful appearance.  I have worked hard in sub-par professional jobs most of my adult life, been under employed continuously in relation to my intelligence, knowledge and skills.  This, I believe, is a factor not just of my lack of ambition but the economic lows which have plagued my generation. But the longer I work the more barriers I run into that make me wonder how much my gender has also kept me pushed down. I’ve never felt like any employer has given me a chance to show what I  can really do.  I’ve felt a vague sense of being patted on the head told that I’m cute for working so hard, that it’s resented when I try to wield what power I have, that I’m valued much more for appearance than for my work (or not as valued when my appearance doesn’t meet some standard I’ll never understand).  These are things that I’ve started to see as failings of my (mostly male) employers and of society as a whole, rather than my own shortcomings. I find myself in conflict with coworkers merely because I’ve politely asserted myself.  I long ago let go of the false persona that tries to please everyone (as women are raised to do) and instead focus on the task at hand and the best way to get it done.  I’m told that I’m too brusque and business-like, that I need to make myself sweeter and more likeable (ask my friends, I’m plenty sweet and likeable when it counts).  No man has ever been asked to bake for clients to appease them (um, unless baking is his job). On the eve of 40 I can definitively say that it’s simply because I’m a woman that I am told to  to be kinder, sweeter and less demanding of perfection at work.

This doesn't empower me because I'm neither maiden, mother nor hag and we revere none of these in our society.

This doesn’t empower me because I’m neither maiden, mother, nor hag and we revere none of these in our society.

At 16 I had imagined 40 as some marker where I’d be strong, capable and wise, and no longer recognized as a sexual object and therefore able to speak powerfully and be taken seriously.  And there is a little truth to this.  Very, very slowly it’s becoming more true (thank you, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and strong outspoken women everywhere) but it certainly isn’t cultural norm yet (why are we discussing these women’s hairstyle in the news and not their jobs and qualifications?).  Women are still infantilized, particularly in my specific location (in the American South, working in construction, still a predominantly male industry).  As a society we have not made the strides toward equality and justice that I expected to see in my lifetime.  Growing up in the 70s we were all fed the “truths” that the world would keep changing at an expeditious rate and we could grow up to anything.  Which I guess is almost true, assuming you have the right stack of privilege, luck and opportunity behind you.   Yes, it’s been great to be alive to see all sexual orientations start to get their due, but what about the rest of us, the people of color, women, all the other marginalized groups?  How long will we be stuck in some moderately polished up versions of the historical roles society forces on us?

I thought we were charging forward to change but we lost our way sometime around 1984.

I thought we were charging forward to change but we lost our way sometime around 1984.

I meant this to be personal not political, (but the personal is, oh you know…) but I can’t avoid it because at nearly 40 I know much more of the world than I did at 16 and now I can see that the problem isn’t small with only me as its isolated victim.  It’s vast and keeping us all down and it’s shaped me over the years to dream of something better for anyone.  Where once I wanted to be taken seriously as person, now I wish to be taken seriously as a gender.  I want to live to see my sisters equally represented in positions of power.  I want our governing bodies, the world over, to truly represent our whole society.  Give me 51 female senators and 218 female representatives in my own country’s federal government.  Give all my sisters equal pay and equal opportunities or rise to commercial positions of power.  Bring us all up and punish those who strive to keep us down through sexual and physical violence, through words and actions, so that we may have justice with equality.  For my next 40 years that is my fondest wish, to live to see a world in which women can see a reflection of their true selves.

More easily attainable is my fondest wish for the immediate future: time off to hang out with my friends and family, cute outfits to wear and feel confident in, trashy TV to watch, and maybe a little celebration. I will work on my ability to find ways to always fit those things into my life, because even as half of me always seems to be raging at the system, at the news, at the pit of ignorance our society has fallen into, I am still human and it is the small things that bring me joy.  And isn’t joy (not love or money or happiness) what makes life worth living and gives us all the strength to keep fighting for a world where peace is easier to find for everyone?  For my part I will continue to redefine beauty and style to be personal and not a mask of society’s creation. I will challenge everyone I meet to judge me for who I am and what I can do and not on my appearance.  I will call out those who keep us down in speech and actions.  I will volunteer where I am needed, help those who cannot help themselves and try as hard as I can to model the behavior I hope to see from everyone.  I will relax sometimes, and enjoy the good still in the  world.  After all, I’m 40 now, it’s party time on the other side of that magic barrier.

I'd like to live a life of no regrets, but I don't even know this guy and I regret that he got this tattoo.

I’d like to live a life of no regrets, but I don’t even know this guy and I regret that he got this tattoo.


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The names may change, but it all stays the same

It seems sometimes that I’m on a biennial cycle for domain name changes. And really once every two years is good.  Considering the amount of domains I own and don’t use and the ones I always think I want, I feel like I do a fairly good job of sticking with something at least just long enough for people to get used to it before I change again.

It doesn’t change as often as a hairstyle, maybe, but it’s a similar inclination.  I like the outside, the label, to represent the work I’m doing.  Even if the reasons for that name choice are only clear to me it makes me feel like I am properly presently myself.

So in line with my other projects this year, this space, is now evereadysmile.com.  All previous domain names will still redirect here, so no need to do anything your parts, really.

Of course I did all of this yesterday while this site, and my others, were intentionally blacked out in protest of SOPA and PIPA.  Which means you probably missed everything I posted at Love Letter for an Occupant yesterday as well. It wasn’t an intentional taunt, but I got a new camera and was all excited to start posting pictures, the fact that my site was blacked out be damned!

I’ve only had the camera for a couple days, most of which have been spent at work, so I haven’t even had time to photograph anything that wasn’t inside my house (or my office I guess, but that’s even less interesting).

If you thought my web page layout was bright and jarring, well, it’s a reflection of my house and maybe the inside of my brain too. I can’t tell if this is good picture exactly, because when I look at it I simply think about how much I love my bed and how I wish I was in it reading a book instead if in my cold, cold office, or just about anywhere else.

Though everything is starting slow (and thus properly) I think my current projects are going well, both the public and the private.  I posted a large self portrait without make up on yesterday on Love Letter and I’m still having pretty conflicted feelings about it (which was the point, pushing limits).  It’s funny because I only wear make up, hmm, maybe 40% of the time? Events, any time I have to meet or talk to a lot of people or if I’m feeling either particularly insecure or particularly badass.  An astute friend once said to me, “You don’t give a fuck today.” And I thought for a second and said, “No, is it that obvious?” And he said, “Well, you don’t have any eye make up on and you only do that when you don’t give a fuck.”  Which is a pretty good summation of the entire situation actually.  And yet, while I’m fine going bare faced into the world most days, it feels different to capture on film and leave it up for everyone to always be able to see.  As Lyle Lovett says, “Here I am, yes It’s me.”  Take from it what you will, because what you see will never be what I intend you you to see, which too, is as it should be.


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The usual round up of uselessness

There is a lot to say about politics right now and wars and the state of our country.  But I think I am going to stick to sewing a books for a while, with a little cooking and weather added in.  Since that’s mostly what I focus on anyway.

That said, I find this meme hilarious.  I don’t know if it’s the picture, or the sentiment of just how unimportant the “Birther” BS is, or what but I find hilarious every time I see it:

I’d also like to take a second to say GO NAVY, and thank everyone who has ever served for my country, most especially those related to me (only because their stories seem more immediate to me).

♦♦♦

I cut the fabric last night for toile for the dress I’m going to make with this fabric.  So I’ve barely started on the dress before the dress.  Still I’m excited.  Talks to Owls gave me the fabric for my birthday LAST year and I’ve been reluctant to cut it, but once I master the fitting on the toile, I think it’s finally time.

It’s also interesting looking back at those optional color palettes from 14 months ago, as those are essentially the colors I chose for my house fully a year later.  I’m consistent, apparently.

♦♦♦

I’m curious about this line from Levi’s.  I can’t find an offical site for it (“coming this summer”), but I will probably check it out.  I don’t commute by bike or anything.  I’m just very interested in clothing seemingly designed for function and durability.  One would think all clothing would be designed at least for durability.  And surely it once was but we’ve moved far, far away from that place.  One of the things about sewing for yourself is you can make something as lasting or as disposable as you choose (one would hope for lasting, not just from an environmental standpoint, but if you’re going to put a bunch of hours into something I would hope it would be useful for a long time).

I haven’t yet been brave enough to try and sew my own jeans yet, but I’m getting there.  And I’m definitely thinking about a fit and comfort, but also about functionality and durability.  And back to the new Levi’s line, also fabric that’s more resistant to dirt and water? Sounds great to me! Especially paired with a very classic, clean looking design.  I might have to get one of those jackets when they become available. Or at least get my hands on some of this line just to feel if it’s all hype and just more cheaply made stuff or if maybe we are making a cultural swing back towards useful, durable clothing.


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Mostly politics, possibly best avoided


I didn’t watch or check any election returns last night.  I told myself in the car this morning that if Jerry Brown got elected in CA, I’d be okay.  Granted, I don’t live in CA, so it doesn’t effect me a lot.  But I paid attention to a lot of races this election season and that race really stuck out for me.  The reason wasn’t Whitman’s idiocy or her insane spending (although, I’m glad she didn’t buy her way in).  It was because Whitman kept saying that she loved the CA of 30 years ago and that’s the place she wanted.  And Brown?  Was smart enough to point out in a commercial, that HE was Governor 30 years ago and that the CA Whitman was holding up as amazing was his CA.  If Brown had lost after that, I’d have no faith in any voters.  Also I love the idea of him being both the youngest and oldest Gov CA’s had.

Ah, my coworker just told me that we’re all screwed.  That all paving and construction jobs will dry up entirely under Republican leadership.  I will never understand people.  Seriously.  Most my coworkers are very Right, very Republican (or Libertarian, at least).  If this is true, they are the ones who will lose their jobs.  They are (probably) the ones who keep voting this situation into being.

Things reverberating for me this morning:

From Wonkette.com:  Change is changing back. For too long, this nation has been PLAGUED by people who want to provide them health care and fix the economy. HEY, DEMOCRATS, WE WANT TO DIE OF HEART ATTACKS AND HAVE OUR ADVANCED SYSTEM OF BARTER DEVOLVE BACK INTO HUNTING AND GATHERING, THANK YOU. Democrats didn’t get this message, and the Teabaggers emerged from cashing their Social Security checks at The Scooter Store to tell them they don’t like government action when it’s put in motion by black people. It has been a long two years of Republicans refusing to let government happen and the Democratic Party giving into their fear of voters hating them.”

Stolen (without permission) from the FB status of the friend of a friend: “My grandmother hates rich people, but she always votes Republican because she is afraid the Democrats will take away her money and give it to poor people. She doesn’t seem to realize that, as a social security and Medicare recipient, she is the one Democrats are trying to give money to.”

I am overwhelmed with the desire to walk out and shout at Tennessee voters, “We are trying to HELP you.  Why do you keep defeating yourselves?”  And yet, it isn’t as dire as all that.  Wm. Clinton bounced back from his party losing control of Congress (or would have if they hadn’t ambushed him with his personal life–hope our current standing President has been faithful), and it wasn’t the overwhelming sweep everyone seemed to have predicted (although, at this writing I’ve read almost no news, so I could be wrong).

ETA:  Tiny Cat Pants and I are in agreement here.  The Dems in TN this election season were ABYSMAL.

And finally, I know better than to talk about politics publicly, so it’s back to sewing and stewing and huddling under a rock for me.  Love to all of you.  Even those who don’t agree with me.  Especially those who don’t agree with me.

Image: Jasper Johns, Flag, encaustic, oil and collage mounted on plywood, three panels, 1954-55 (dated on reverse 1954), (MoMA)


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Day 37: Still Tuesday

Talks-to-Owls and I have agreed that this Tuesday never seems to end. It’s been about 37 days since we last had a day off of work.  Which makes every single day Tuesday.  In a regular week you can spend Monday reflecting on the past weekend, on Wednesday you’re halfway through, Thursday is almost Friday, and Friday is the end!  But Tuesday? Just another day with nothing great on either side of it.  So here I am having been through more than a month of Tuesdays, with half a dozen to a dozen more in front of me. Sure the bulk of it is behind me, but still, the light at the end of the tunnel is faint and seemingly far away.  I guess it won’t truly be bright until I actually have a solid end date. And that end date does depend on how fast my team can work, but it has many wobbly and unknowable outside factors creeping out of the tunnel shadows.

I work in the construction industry, in an office that was, until my arrival, mostly male.  I currently have a staff of 5 temps, all female, that are sitting in the larger shared office space that was, as stated, all male.  Overheard this morning (before the girls arrived):

S: Man, the ratio of boys to girls here is just so different you can’t even be yourself no more.
K: Better let one off before the girls get here.
S: T just did.
*I walk into the room laughing*
T: I ate daffodils for dinner last night.  It’s flowery when I let one off.
S: Farting honeysuckle everywhere you go, I knew you were that kind of guy.
T: Flowers and poppy seeds, that’s all I eat.

On the one hand, hilarious.  On the other hand, what does it even mean? I’ve been having weird Wizard of Oz field of poppies visions all morning because of that conversation leading to me to read more into it than I should and wonder what the underlying metaphors I missed were.  (The answer, none, no metaphors, just boys BSing.)

I have mentioned elsewhere that I am making a conscious decision NOT to boycott BP over the oil spill.  There are many reasons for this, the main one though is that the gas station I drive by every morning, my most convenient station, is a BP station.  I have been going there regularly for 4 years.  I know and like the people who own it.  I don’t want their livelihood to disappear just because they signed the “wrong” franchise agreement.  Honestly it could have been any oil company that caused this disaster and I do not want to see any more of the little guys get hurt.

(Southern Beale has written an excellent post on the kind of “punishment” that is fit for BP after this disaster.  Surely much more effective than a consumer boycott.)

Truly I ache for the fishermen, the people who live on those coasts and all the regular people who are so seriously impacted by this (we all are in the environmental sense, but the folks who might not pay bills right now because of it really weigh on me).  And it’s so wide reaching.  Like now BP might withhold dividends on stocks? Which would hurt British retirees whose retirement funds include BP stock.  How many more average people can BP fuck over with their greed and incompetence?

Here are some things I like:

Firefly lamp

Tom Robbins is weird

Synchronous fireflies

Banksy, especially his “Shop”

Blooming lamp

And my cousin and his wife had their first baby this week!!   Welcome Caleb James (who was clearly named after me, though that’s a joke that probably only my mom will get).  Weighing in at 9lbs and 4oz!  Hello big boy!  He’s healthy and home with mama, poppa and puppies.  HOORAY!  Here’s his “little” toes:


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augh

Why is Sarah Palin on my TV giving a fairly offensive speech in her grating and hideous accent?  Why is she still getting press? Why is she giving a speech?  She has nothing to give speech about?  It’s first thing in the morning and already I want to kick puppies.  Seriously she needs handlers.  She definitely needs someone to monitor how she speaks in public before she embarrasses herself further.  Oh it’s some Governor’s convention speech that she’s using a platform for, well something besides addressing Governor’s but I’m not sure what her damn point is.  Really that shit she just said about my kid’s got more chromosomes than yours was, hmm, maybe no offensive but definitely showing a lack of understanding.


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mail, victims rights and damn I’m hungry

I have a peculiar loathing for shipping companies.  With the old USPS you send stuff and eventually it gets there, or it doesn’t.  You check your mail box and there is stuff in it, or there isn’t. But now that FedEx and UPS and their ilk are all online it’s become this maddening, bizarrely ritualistic, crazy waiting period to get your package.  First you start checking the online tracking, continually refreshing to see if it’s anywhere new. And what do you get? Usually that the thing has gone 3 miles in the first two days, or there are no updates at all, and then suddenly it’s gone from Seattle to Louisville in 6 hours and is already halfway to your house.  Or, as has happened to me, it shows arrival in your city, ‘out for delivery’ and then six hours later it’s suddenly on it’s way to Atlanta, and then back to you, taking 2 days longer than the original out for delivery notice.  WTF?  And then once it is out for delivery all one can do is check the damn porch every 20 minutes.  Well at least at my house.  I have a good (and pretty cute) UPS guy.  He knows me and my neighbors.  He delivers to my job as well.  He waves when we drive past each other in other parts of the neighborhood.  He always gets my packages to me. However he doesn’t always work.  I’ve had drivers knock on my door and in the time it takes me to get from my couch to the door (about 6 feet), the driver is already back in their truck and there is notice stuck to the door saying they couldn’t deliver the package without a signature.  ARG.

Hi.  Guess what I am doing this morning? Yep, waiting for an ‘out for delivery’ package. Which should contain my new phone.  So I can lose the rest of my day setting up the new phone and messing with it.  Good times.

I was an hour late for court the other day.  They acted like it wasn’t a big deal, like the difference was between me waiting in the hall to testify for 20 minutes vs. an hour and 20 minutes.  It was a hearing to get the guys who robbed me tried as adults (they are 17, I think).  They aren’t, as far as I understand it, trying them for robbing me, rather they got caught in other crimes, with fingerprints, and they established that their fingerprints matched the prints on my car.  So I go in, get sworn in.  They ask where I work, what happened on the night of blah blah blah.  And if I know anyone by [redacted] name. No, I don’t.  Could I please look to my left and behind me and say if I recognize any one of the defendants as a friend or acquaintance who would have had reason to touch my car.  Ugh, all four kids were right there (two robbed me, four were involved in the other crime I guess, and no, I didn’t realize they were in the courtroom, as it was laid out really weird).  I said, no, I didn’t know any of them.  And that was pretty much it.  They said I could stay and watch the rest of the proceedings, but I bolted.  And I am still very uncomfortable about it.  Here’s the thing, I did not have the option to testify, I was subpoenaed and (very very mildly) threatened that I had to testify.  They put me in a courtroom with the perpetrators, and their families and girlfriends and then asked me to give my full name (including spelling it) and tell where I worked and what hours.  So you know, if some one wanted to retaliate against me, it would be pretty fucking easy for them to find me.  And while I find that scenario highly unlikely (since they already knew where I worked anyway), I assume that there are no victims rights advocates in the Tennessee system.  I think people have probably been put in very very very bad situations because of this very textbook, very impersonal judicial system.  Ugh, I’m not sure I’m stating this right, just I think the whole thing was pretty fucked up, and I am unhappy with how it all went and I doubt the system is going to do anything at all for these kids besides make them prisoners and probably worse more desperate criminals in the future.  And oh, UGH, after I typed this up I read this.  Man, Tennessee, I love you, I really do, but seriously you fucking suck in so many ways.

The rain seems to be delaying both the UPS guy and the regular mail.  I am going to stop peeking through my curtains like an insane old lady and go watch Bruce Lee movies and make lunch.


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Cuteness and politics with my coffee

The best news, BEST, I have, possibly ever heard!! Punny just sent me the email about it!! Rare baby pygmy hippo is size of puppy! I NEED ONE.

I admit these pics of tiny Obama supporters look a little contrived, and yet they are so sweet! Especially the dads at the end!

Now that the presidential election is over I can start obsessing over Tennessee politics. Which, damn it, already got really really screwed up while I wasn’t paying attention. I mean, not like I am going to do much to change it, but wow is it a clusterfuck and I guess I better start watch watching carefully in case there is anything I can do to help. TN poli links:

Aunt B. points out that the TN Dems don’t seem to be looking inward much.

R. Neal explains that the TN Dems don’t really know how to use the internet or understand why it’s important.

DailyKos has a lovely map showing which counties voted more Republican than in 2004. Yeah, see that huge red swatch? That’s us right in the middle of it.

Now I am going to turn off MSNBC and try and get back to my life.


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oh happy day

Things I have heard this morning:

Voters under 30 voted for Obama 2 to 1. (Go Millenials!!)

It was the highest voter turn out since women got the right to vote (I assume percentage-wise). (Go everyone!)

I am still very emotional about all this today.  I haven’t actually cried yet, but it seems to be bubbling just below the surface. The pictures of peoples’ reactions during Obama’s speech really set me off this morning.  When I start thinking about how Obama’s campaign was run, about how many people gave $5 or $10, people who had probably never participated in politics that way before.  About how so many people seemed galvanized to simply participate in the process.  It is so much more than just electing the first black president, but, I think, an underlying change in the cultural morals of America.  I can only hope we are moving toward a more community-oriented society.


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Today was good day

I spent a good portion of the day crying over the idea that we could tell D’s babies, born today, that they were born on the day we elected the first black president. It wasn’t just hope, like I knew it just had to hppen that way.  I told my coworkers and they were not suitably impressed.  Luckily my friend S came in to restaurant (she’s the standard of what I want to be as I grow older) and she cried when I told her.  Babies born on the day of hope.

Early in the evening another friend brought his 8 month old son in.  And while I was holding this lovely baby, he was smiling the most devilish smile at me.  Arched eyebrows, wrinkled nose, look of pure joy.  His dad told me he’d never made that face before and it was a smile just for me.  I’m saying, it was a good day.

So we had the results on in the restaurant and when they called the election I went around and told all my tables in case they didn’t hear.  I had one table of middle aged Hispanic men (all of whom I know fairly well) and they all just blinked at me.  Made me repeat it three times.  It didn’t seem real.  I guess in way it still doesn’t.

Later all the customers sat rapt (on the floor even) around the TV, drinking champagne and watching Obama’s speech.  I admit, I cried all the way through it, while my boss patted my back and we all smiled at each other.  It was a lovely night.

I have smart things to say, about how Obama’s campaign ran, about the momentus nature of this, about people in my neighborhood.  But it will have to wait.  I am a little drunk. I do have restored faith in my fellow Americans.  I feel like I can breathe again. Hope. Hope. Hope. Hope.

In a final note, Ladybug came back from vacation tonight.  I texted her election results as she sat on a plane, waiting to take off.  She was asleep when I got home, but she got a small present: Tibetan prayer flags.  Something I’ve always talk about.  If there was ever a time to send our prayers flying to heaven, it is today.


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emotionalism

I have heard several people say that they teared up when voting. This has been a very emotional election for many people.  Just the fact of woman and a black candidate to begin with.  I too am moved, though I’ve mostly been not thinking about it.

Early this morning one of my dearest friends gave birth to twin boys and I thought, oh my! what if these boys came into the world the day the US elected a black president?  And then I cried my eyes out.  Indeed tears started rolling down my face just typing that up.  The future of all our generations is at stake here (as it is in every election) and the confluence of possibilities is feeling quite overwhelming right now.


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time unmoving

Am watching John McCain speechify. He seems xenophobic and entirely without understanding economics. All in one speech. Also are people watching this and thinking, “well, I was undecided, but now after that speech I will go vote?” I mean, even the undecideds are either not voting or have at least already decided by now, right? Also, I pretty sure most Americans aren’t worried about having their savings taxed away so much as having the banking system collapse.

Election day. Ugh, it already seems to have been going on forever. Of course getting up two hours early isn’t helping the length of the day. However, I’m holding it together best I can. My “we can do it!” thinking dressed me today: 40s-style black with white polka dots blouse, pearl earrings and half-assed, faked up victory rolls in my hair. I also have a pomegranate smoothie which is so good that I actually didn’t feel tempted to throw it at the TV when McCain was speaking.


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sleepy and yet awake

Ugh.  Stupid daylight savings.  I was up at 6:30!! Which sucks extra much because I won’t be off work tonight until between midnight and 1 am.  I might have to try and get a nap in later.

But here I am!  Doing laundry and working on web stuff.  Since I am up anyway.  The real question is, do I just turn on the TV now and start obsessing about the election first thing?  Or should I try to continue to pretend I don’t care and listen to music for a bit?


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good TV, bad dreams, scary economics

So I’ve been watching Fringe, which I don’t expect to last, as I don’t get the sense that anyone but me is watching it. I confess that I only started watching it because Joshua Jackson is on it, but I stayed because I love the way they use the location titles (like they are three dimensional words hanging in actual space at the location) and Anna Torv.  She’s pretty, but in this really unconventional way. And I don’t mean exotic, I mean she looks like a real person and she looks photogenically different in different situations.

I had endless stress dreams last night, mostly on a theme of trying to get somewhere but being repeatedly blocked, highlighted by a long sequence of riding a bicycle on the freeway.  I also dreamt that my sister and I had two brothers, one older than me, and one between me and L’il Bug.  I woke up feeling sort of lonely, like an odd sense of loss, that they didn’t really exist.

YA author, Scott Westerfeld, does the math on economics by party control in the federal government. The site is a pro-Dem, pro-Obama site for kids too young to vote.  Interesting site, but Westerfeld’s analysis is definitely far more than I knew about the history of the economy when I was a teenager (or even now, really).


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empty

I have no idea why I feel so compelled to watch Hope Floats.  I don’t even like Sandra Bullock.  And this movie is pretty depressing. I’ve seen it half a dozen times and yet I picked it over Law & Order.  Granted I’m working, so it’s just background noise, but what is it that makes me choose this?  Harry Connick Jr?  Maybe, seriously, every time his character is on screen I’m like, “where’s mine? I want one just like that.”  Sigh.  Sometimes I am such a girl. Oh man, he just came on screen in a ‘Texas Rebel Radio’ t-shirt. Want want want.

I don’t know why, but I find this article strangely pleasing: Political (neck)ties.

Yesterday I worked out, ate healthy, and worked a long shift.  Today I have not yet gotten dressed and am having potato chips and Little Debbie cakes for lunch.  In my defense I am working today.  Or trying too.  Anyway I’m getting stuff done.  Some stuff.