Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stuff...and More Stuff

(Originally posted on MySpace on Sunday, August 26, 2007)

Today I'm going to talk about several topics. The first has to do with this blog itself. Back when I started doing this thing at the beginning of the year, I promised myself that I would stick to a once-a-week schedule and that I would do everything in my power to stick to that schedule. I've done a pretty good job of it, missing only one week around the time of my birthday. But now I'm questioning the wisdom of that schedule. I can look at it two ways:

1) Sticking to the schedule forces me to write, which is the main reason I started doing this in the first place. If I don't force a schedule on myself, I'm afraid I'll get lazy and start making excuses not to write.

2) But forcing myself to write backfires sometimes when I run out of time to actually develop some of my blogs to the point I would like them to read. Last week's jury duty story was a good case in point. I just didn't feel it read the way I would have liked it to, but I ran out of time and had to get it posted.

There's something to be said for both points, so I have to think about this a bit more. Perhaps I'll stick to the weekly schedule until the end of the year and then see what happens if I take a more relaxed approach to it.

If any of you have any opinions or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

I have a quick cat update for you. I'm still not completely over the loss of Frankie. I'd like to think I could get over it after more than a month, but I still find myself expecting to see him, mostly at night when he used to lay next to me while watching TV and then in bed after I retired.

But our other two cats are going through some changes, something I always see happen after the death of one animal in a multi-animal household, especially if that death is the alpha-animal. Both Chuck and Squeak were terribly skittish cats that seldom had anything to do with us besides an occasional petting when they felt like it. Most of the time, they ran when we approached them unless there was some sort of treat involved.

But now both are settling down quiet a bit. They still have their time when they just want to be left alone, but Chuck especially is getting friendlier. He is now sitting on a box next to my computer every morning and asking me to pet him, much like Frankie did, and is laying next to me every evening for a while so I can pet him before jumping down to do who-knows-what throughout the rest of the night. (Probably hunting crickets, as I find their deformed bodies on the rug the next morning.) It's a nice change and is making the loss of Frankie a bit easier. And it's nice to have pets that want to be petted.

We're going through television withdrawals right now as out Direct TV box broke down last Thursday and it's taking quite awhile to get a new one. We don't have any TV until we do. We threw around the idea of just not having TV and watching shows we like when they come out on DVD several months after the season ends. I liked that idea, but Skip seemed very uncomfortable by it. Then we thought about switching from dish to cable again and just having the basic networks, thereby making it kind of half-and-half towards what we both want. (Say, we could watch "Ugly Betty" on ABC, but would wait to see the new season of "Psych" on USA once it comes out on DVD.) But the problem with going to cable or a new dish provider is that they want us to sign a contract for several years service and at this time in our lives we don't know what the next six months are going to bring, let alone the next two years, which seems to be the standard contract.

So in the end, we've decided to stick with Direct TV, where we've already used up our contracted time, and just buy a new hard drive for our machine and replace it. Every professional we've talked to has told us that that is what seems to be the problem, so once that arrives any day now and Skip gets it replaced, we should be back into the swing of things TV wise. In the meantime, our friend, Lisa, is making DVD-Rs for us so we can continue to watch "Big Brother", "Top Chef" and "Kill Point" and we've been able to keep up with "Kyle XY", "Eureka", "Flash Gordon" and "Robot Chicken" online. Everything else we'll have to catch up with on repeats or DVD. No big deal, although there was a time I would have reacted in horror to that thought. At this time, I still kind of like the idea of not having TV at all.

(Since I wrote this earlier in the week, the hard drive is replaced and all is as it was with the TV and our watching habits. But now we have ten times more space than our old hard drive had and we can save a lot more to watch later. I still wonder if that's a curse or not.)

I sent my passport in for renewal on June 14th. Today, Wednesday August 22nd, I just received word from the National Passport Center that they are still processing the thing. I've had a passport consistently by my side since I was 18. I've sent it in for renewal a number of times and have always had it back in my possession within a few weeks, if not days. This is the first time it has ever taken this long to get my passport approved and back in my pocket.

Fortunately, I have no plans to travel anytime soon. But I like to have it handy just in case. Just in case some band calls me and wants me to tour with them, something that I would do with little complaints despite the hardships it brings. Or just in case we suddenly run into enough cash to take that trip to Argentina we want to take. But until our benevolent government decides to get its act together and actually process the damned passport, I'm stuck here and can't go anywhere. If the opportunity presents itself and I can't go, I just may start a one-man riot. I'm sure you'll hear about it on the nightly news.

This is just another issue that points out how the terrorist have actually won, despite the bleating of the Bush administration that all is well with the country and everything is as it was. Since 9/11, we've given up rights and conveniences all in the name of making this country a supposedly safer place to live. I don't buy it, of course, and see it all as a sign of two things, incompetence and power grabbing.

The terrorists have done what they set out to do. They have made our lives less free and much more paranoid. And we have allowed them, and our government, who are as great a group of terrorists as the ones we are fighting, to do so with hardly a whimper. Damn them all to Hell. And just get me my goddamned passport back so I can get out of this country when I want to!

And finally, I want to talk about the Presidential race. Oh boy…more politics…and that's always a dangerous thing.

Last week, most of leading Democratic candidates for President all convened at a television studio in Los Angeles to meet with a panel of some of the most prominent gay leaders in the country in what was televised as a debate on gay issues. I wouldn't really call it a debate as each candidate appeared on stage separately and was given 15 minutes to answer questions they were asked by the panel. It was more like each candidate was given an impromptu infomercial to get their point across about how they feel about gay equality.

The leading Republicans were made the same offer by the Human Rights Campaign and Logo, but to no surprise to anyone, every one of them turned it down. Why bother when everyone knows they don't care about equal rights for anyone but rich, white men?

To no surprise to myself, I was left rather unimpressed by any of the candidates I wasn't already impressed with. Right now, the only candidate I will throw my vote behind 100% is Dennis Kuchinick, who unfortunately doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell to actually win the nomination, due in a large part to his being misrepresented in the media as a bit of a nutcase. I also kind of liked Mike Gravel, although there's still something a bit unsettling about him. He seems kind of a loose cannon. But I also kind of like that unpredictability and for now he gets my limited approval. Both are the only two candidates to actually say they support full equal rights for gays and lesbians and mean it.

The other four candidates were pretty much what I expected them to be, with one possible exception. They all four announced that they believed in complete equality for gays and lesbians and then immediately announced that they were against marriage rights for gays and lesbians, thereby showing that they are either lying about the fact that they support true equality or they just don't understand what true equality is all about. Either way it's not a good thing and they probably won't get my vote.

Barack Obama was the first one out and he was the only one who changed my opinion of him. He was also the only one whose explanation about why he was against gay marriage even made a small bit of sense, although I still didn't agree with it. And he was the only candidate who took the time to explain that while he wouldn't call gay unions "marriage", he did believe in full civil rights, including on the federal level. I still have some problem with the semantics of that, but on that issue and others, he perked my interest and I will be following him closer as this race continues.

John Edwards continued his habit of not actually answering any question that he is given. When asked how he can justify saying that he would never impose his faith on the American people (the way Bush has) and then turn around and say he was against gay marriage because of his faith, he ducked and swerved around and never really gave the audience an answer. I remained unimpressed with him. But maybe if his wife ran, who does believe in full marriage rights, I could find someone to support?

Hillary Clinton continued to prove that she was the next best thing to a Republican for all those conservative voters out there who are unsure of whom to vote for now that the Republicans are nothing but duck and cover artists. Just like her husband. She actually defended the horrible federal Defense Of Marriage Act, which has undercut many of the states rights and benefits domestic partnership used to have. Her chicken-shit husband caved in once again and signed it into being while he was pretending to be Presidential last decade. She is the one candidate who will NOT get my vote, even if she's running against Satan. (Which is quite the possibility given the Republican candidates who are in the race right now.)

And Bill Richardson just blew it big time by telling the audience that he believes being gay is a choice and then repeating it even when given the chance to correct himself, saying, "I'm not a scientist." His lame excuses after the event were over just didn't cut it either. The man's an idiot and his use of the word "maricon" on the radio not so long ago just proves it. It's a Spanish slur that translates into "faggot". Nice. He's just what I want in a President. Not.

Both Joe Biden and Chris Dodd didn't show up and no one really cared.

This year is different for me. In the past several decades we've been presented with an asshole running for the Republican tickets and a slightly lesser asshole running for the Democratic ticket. I always cave in and vote for the slightly lesser asshole. I won't do that anymore. I'm tired of making myself feel like dirt by voting for the lesser of two evils and I won't be forced into that again. After the showing of our last Republican President, George W. Bush, who is destined to go down in history as the worst every President bar none, I refuse to vote for any Republican. (Although a few years ago, I may have thrown my vote at McCain, until he sold out his integrity and sanity to get the votes he thinks he needs). And unless one of the leading Democratic candidates steps up and stops trying to be a "liberal conservative" (or is that a "conservative liberal?), I won't be voting for them either. That means Obama, Clinton or Edwards, as the rest don't seriously stand any chance, which is unfortunate. Obama gave me a little hope, so we'll see, but right now, it doesn't look very promising.

So for the first time this year, I'll probably be going for one of the third party candidates. I believe it's about time people starting taking the third parties more seriously anyways as the two major parties just seemed to be full of idiots time and again. But even if that means another repressive Republican regime, at least for once I won't feel like I've sold my soul to the Devil.

And before someone writes to me accusing me of being a "one issue voter", I'll admit to it here and now. I don't care about much any more. I don't care about the future of the human race once I'm dead. I don't care about anything that doesn't affect me here and now. I know its selfish and I don't care. And you know, I finally feel good about it for once in my life.

I'm glad to have finally gotten that off my chest. I hope it felt good for you too, although that's probably expecting too much.

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