Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Moved my blog over to WordPress

Sorry if you preferred reading it at Blogger, but I find I like WordPress a lot better.

The new blog is even prettier and I think we'll all like the move.

http://thesnarkwhohuntsback.wordpress.com/

Give me a visit, keep reading and comment more often. I know you people are reading...I just never hear from you. It makes me feel all sorts of lonely, you don't even know.

So come on over to WordPress. Shh, just do it, you know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Osama is dead.

Celebration in the streets.
I was 11 years old (barely, my birthday was 5 days before the towers fell) when this started. Some people's childhood was bookended by the Harry Potter series, my childhood has been bookended by this man. Today I am nearly 21 years old. That's a long time to be wondering where Osama Bin Laden would show up next.


I thought I would feel more...

Don't get me wrong. I applaud and celebrate the soldiers in our military. This is their victory, even more than it's America's victory in general.

I won't rehash a topic that The Conservative New Ager has covered so well in his blog already. His concerns about the future are my own and I would recommend you read his post. I don't feel at all ready to contemplate all the political and military ramifications of this event.

I find it in poor taste to address my severe dislike of Obama and the liberal reactions to Osama's death here in this post. Suffice to say that we should give credit where credit is due and no credit, of any kind, is due to Obama in this case. I've yet to listen to his speech, but, from what I've heard from others, he's taking far to much credit personally. He is not the one responsible and to even pretend so, or even joke about it, is to completely write off the contribution of the United States Military.

That's all for me tonight.

Anti-gay protesters

I've tried arguing with them. I've done it for years, even in the years where it reduced me to tears to do it.
I've learned in recent months that arguing and debating with these mooks is a pointless waste of time and just ruins my own enjoyment of my life.
Don't get me wrong, if someone comes at me and starts something I am going to defend myself and the rest of the GLBT community (even if I feel I don't really fit into that community most of the time). Also, my unwillingness to start up arguments with homophobes doesn't mean I've lost my taste for political, social and religious debates. I just got tired of getting angry and depressed every time I argued with idiots like the protesters at Phoenix Pride this year. I wrote about them in a blog that night.
A couple of nights ago I discovered the stats page on my blogger account (this switch to WordPress is very recent) and I was looking at the websites I'd received traffic from. Most of it was normal, some google searches on recent news I'd written about, links from my twitter and facebook pages and a few from Autostraddle where I post links to my blog whenever applicable to a conversation. However, one of the links was unfamiliar to me, so I did was any good internet stalker does...I followed it. It took me to a blog for the "Official Street Preachers" (I'm linking as proof, but visiting will do nothing except driving their visitor numbers up. You can't comment on their posts or anything like that. It's just more of the same religious homophobic bullshit.)
At first I wondered, "who are these street preachers and why are people visiting my blog from their website?" Then I realized. Their latest post (April 23rd) was about the "Phoenix Sodomite Parade" (their words, not mine, in case the quotes didn't give that away.) So, these were the morons I had written about. The crazy protesters from Tempe (they talk about that protest) and Pride (they have a whole 37 minute Youtube video about that. If you have high blood pressure don't watch it.) That still didn't answer why people were visiting my website through them though. So I read through the post until I got to this section.
Articles regarding our presence on the route:
Verbal Assaults rattled the 2011 Phoenix Pride Parade and Festival attendees“….On Saturday, April 17th the Pride parade goers were verbally assaulted as they attempted to enter the gates of Steel Indian School Park's Phoenix Pride Festival……"Slit your wrists…Commit suicide…God hates Homo Sex…You are going to Hell" are all the sentiments of Rubin Israel who is a self proclaimed official street preacher with the Bible Believers. It was his group that perpetrated the hate signs and sentiment….”
http://www.examiner.com/unitarian-universalism-in-scottsdale/verbal-assaults-rattled-the-2011-phoenix-pride-parade-and-festival-attendees


Spent the day at Phoenix Pride
“….Anyway, just as I was about to turn into to the park we saw...guess who.
That's right, the protestor's from the club the night before. I guess the night before was a warm-up for the real deal today? They were behind barricades, to protect them or us is anyone's guess. I found they amused me more than they enraged me. There we were, a long sidewalk full of GLBT people headed for Pride and these protestors (who were not nearly as annoying, frustrating or infuriating as Westboro Baptist. Clearly they need more practice.) are shouting about how we will have to pay a price for our sins and how we needed to find Jesus….”
http://meredithancret.blogspot.com/2011/04/spent-day-at-phoenix-pride.html
Well...at least they had to common decency to post a link and credit me for my post. This also explained one of the Google search results on my stats page. The one that read "Phoenix Pride protesters". So first they go Google stalking for blogs and news articles talking about them and then they post links. I'm confused. Neither of the links viewed them in a good light, the first calls them on their "verbal assaults" and the second (mine) is written by a lesbian political and social blogger. I guess they feel validated somehow because people are talking about them? Oh well, they can enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame. You would think by now that people like this would have realized that coming out to the club district or protesting at a Pride parade is never going to change people. If we are out enough and happy enough that we feel comfortable going to Pride, I think we are pretty much a lost cause at that point. Even my parents have that much figured out now. (My own dad picked me at a restaurant nearby Pride when I thought I had heat stroke. He didn't say a word, even though he "doesn't approve of my choices".)

The very fact that people like this persist, even though they are yelling at people who aren’t going to change, just tells me that their protests are no longer about “saving souls” they are about hate. Purely and simply…they hate us. They want to reduce us to anger and tears because that is the only power they have over us. We can’t let them win, so next time you see a crowd of protesters…just keep walking. Hold your head up high and don’t give them a response, because you’ll never change their minds. They hate you and they want you to hate yourself too, don’t give them the satisfaction of a response.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can your job fire you for what you do off the clock?

You would think the answer that question would be a resounding no, as long as what you are doing is not illegal. If you are smoking pot, selling drugs or filming child porn...well you have more issues than just getting fired buddy.

From SMBC
But I wouldn't be writing this blog if the answer was as simple as 'no' would I? No I would not, because if the answer to your question is no...you shouldn't even bother writing the article in the first place.

(The picture: I think that rule should apply to all of journalism, as well as science journalism, but that's just my opinion.)

My question is asked because of this article "Parents: English Teacher Writes Racy Novels"

I'll let you read the story for yourself, but as a quick summary.

An English teacher (Mrs. Judy Buranich) at a school in central Pennsylvania is a published author. She writes erotic romance novels, in her free time. She publishes under a pen name and doesn't bring the books up in class or discuss them with her students. A parent (Wendy Apple) has a son in Mrs. Buranich's 10th grade English class and when she discovered the teacher's second job she brought attention to it through the media. Claiming she was concerned for the student's in Mrs. Buranich's classes. 

Here are some comments from Apple, another parent and two former students. (One of whom is also clearly related to Wendy Apple, in interest of full disclosure). 


"Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he's sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side," Apple said. She added she found all of the information on the internet. Apple said Buranich writes under the pen name Judy Mays.

Parent Deanna Stepp said the evidence is clear. "She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author," Stepp said.

"I was shocked. If you are a teacher you shouldn't be doing that," said former student Shanette Apple.

"I was sort of shocked.Sitting in her class I had no idea. She is a good teacher but I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes," said former student Drew Hollenbach.

Personally, I can't understand why any of these people feel they have the right to tell Mrs. Buranich what she can or cannot do when she is "off the clock" so to speak. It is not the student's or parent's business to tell a teacher what they can and cannot write, as long as the books and subject matter (if it is adult) are not brought up in class. This reminds me of another blog I wrote this year, I believe it was in February. Oh yes, a teacher by the name of Natalie Munroe was suspended from her job because of things she wrote on her personal blog.

It seems the world has gone mad and I think I possibly slept through the announcement that my personal life is now something my employer has the right to police. I've said some pretty nasty things about my job and my customers on this blog. If my manager found this blog do you think I would need to start looking for a new place to work? I'm also gay, does that mean if my manager is homophobic, she could fire me for being gay? Well...I do live and work in a state where you can be fired at any time, without any reason being given, so...yes, technically I guess she could fire me. For either the blog or being gay, if she wanted to.

As for Mrs. Buranich...I'm not too worried. The article and "news" piece that WNEP (the news outlet for their area) did was a horrible little smear campaign that people have not been appreciative of. (Really, go read the comments. Almost every single one of them says to leave Mrs. Buranich alone. )
A facebook support page was made yesterday for her and at the time I am writing this (10:10, Arizona time) she has over 5,000 supporters on that page. 

What can I say. People who read are fans of free speech and we tend to stick together.  

Edit: Also at the time of writing, WNEP has put a follow up story on their website. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Woman beaten at McDonalds. Heinous yes, hate crime, no.

A link to a Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld and an interview with the victim.

Listen to what the victim says. She never once says she was being attacked for being transgendered. She says that the girls were "just looking to pick a fight that night." I never heard any transgendered slurs being used in the actual video of the attack. It's not a hate crime.

As Greg Gutfeld wanted to know, I also ask "Why isn't the crime bad enough on it's own?" This woman is a human being, her attackers need to be held accountable for her assault, but not as a hate crime. Unless you know something I don't?

If I was mugged on my way home from work, I wouldn't claim it was a hate crime. Though, being a lesbian in this day and age, I could probably get away with calling it that. It's a mugging, it's a crime of opportunity.

To simply claim that any attack on a minority is a hate crime is to completely invalidate the very real issue of hate crimes. They do exist and they are a problem. If I was attacked for being a lesbian or a woman, then I would call it a hate crime. Why? Because, not only have I been attacked, but every other person in my minority feels a little less safe because of the attack. Hate crimes are more than just assault or vandalism, they are terrorism.

A 14 year old at McDonald's who is spoiling for a fight is not a hate crime. Even if the victim happens to be transgendered.

Was the crime heinous? Yes, but it would be just as heinous if it had happened to anyone else. People need to be held accountable. The girls who attacked the victim and the employees who did nothing to stop it, in fact aided the attackers in leaving the establishment, both groups need to be held accountable.

But for the sake of real hate crimes and for the sake of other victims of abuse and violence, don't try to turn this in to something it's not.

In the interest of fairness I'm going to post a bit of article from Autostraddle. In which, the victim, is changing her story from the interview I link to above.


On Sunday, in an interview in the Baltimore Sun, Polis said the attack was “definitely a hate crime” and talked a little about her experience:
“They started ripping my hair, throwing me on the floor, kicking me on my face. When I tried to use the phone, the girl ripped the phone out of my hand [...] when I sat there to collect my stuff back, the one girl kicked me in my back, stepped on my arm. I had so many bruises. [...] I don’t remember having a seizure. I do remember going into one, that’s why I tried to sit there and be calm. Every time I tried to walk away, they followed me. [...] Anyone in my predicament should not be afraid to walk the streets. They should not have to go into a restaurant and get gawked at and made fun of. They shouldn’t be afraid to leave the house. It’s just wrong.”

 The police report also tells a different story. I'm left wondering who is telling the truth now and whether the victim is changing her story for some particular reason. 

"According to the police report, the incident began when the two attackers were upset when Polis tried to use the women’s bathroom in the McDonald’s."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who is John Galt?

I hadn't planned on doing a post on Atlas Shrugged until I finished the book and the movie came out on DVD. (In sincerely feel I will need to watch it at least 3 more times before I do a review of both the book and movie.) However, I've been reading some reviews of the movie and of Rand's philosophy and I feel the need to make my opinion known, especially since the reviews from liberals have left me feeling that they either A.) never actually read the book or B.) Read it through a lens that was so skewed by liberalism that they missed the point entirely.

Here's a line from one such review.
Her [Rand] view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between "moochers" and "producers," with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry. The "moochers" were more or less everyone else, leading TNR's Jonathan Chait to describe Rand's thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism.
I've read this same sort of statement in at least a dozen reviews and every time I find myself banging my head into a table repeatedly. I've only seen the movie twice and I'm only about 450 pages into the book, but that's enough to let me know that these moronic reviewers really have missed the point entirely. It's the comment about the "moochers" (which is not the word Rand uses, it's "looters" in both the movie and the book) that upsets me the most. Rand never portrayed all the people, other than the "titans of industry", as looters. She only called people looters if they expected the rich to bankroll their way through life.

I'm not a titan of industry or fabulously wealthy, but under Rands philosophy I am, by no means, a looter. I've never asked the government for a handout to make my life easier. I have worked and worked hard and I get a paycheck for that work. A looter wouldn't want to work for a paycheck, they just want the rich to float them along while they produce nothing of value. Looters are the Lillian Rearden's and Wesley Mouch's of the world.

Let me see if I can break this down more simply for you. Into a story that we all recognize with ease. A story that has been made into countless movies, books, plays and musicals about men in tights, over the years.

The story of Robin Hood.

You may be thinking "How can she break the story of Atlas Shrugged down to fit any aspect of the Robin Hood story?" You would be right to wonder. From the outside it looks like the liberal fairy tale. Stealing from the rich to give to "those less fortunate". It seems to be a liberal fairy tale, unfortunately for liberals it's a conservative story under all the trimmings.

Here's why.

Forget historical context. I don't care about King John or Richard the Lionheart and who was a better king. Let's talk producers, looters, taxes and John Galt.

Who are the producers in this time period? Why, they are not rich CEOs and "titans of industry" that liberals seem to hate so much. They are farmers, hunters, blacksmiths, cobblers and seamstresses. They produce the goods that feed and clothe the peoples of Great Britain...or at least Nottingham and the surrounding area.

The story. They are being taxed and controlled to a degree that is making them destitute and unable to provide for their families. In walks John Galt...er...Robin Hood. A rich man, who has lost his riches (stolen from him by the looter that goes by the name of Sheriff of Nottingham) and he decides it's time to take back what was stolen from the producers.

He begins to lead a group of former producers who were driven out by the law of the land because they were trying to provide for their family. He doesn't tell the producers to stop producing, because they would starve and freeze if they did, but he does begin to steal back the tax money from the Sheriff.

And watch how it destroys the political system of Nottingham and, if it had continued, it would have done the same to the rest of Great Britain. The entire economic system of Nottingham was based upon placing ridiculously high taxes on the producers so that people like the Sheriff and the church could have their comforts, while doing nothing to earn them.

Who is John Galt? Robin Hood is John Galt. And which of us wasn't taught that Robin Hood was a hero when we were children? I know I was taught to see Robin Hood as a hero.

Why should John Galt be any different?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Feeling Unfairly Persecuted for my Political Beliefs Again.

Would you like to know why?

Of course you would, I mean, come on, you're reading my blog. Clearly this is the kind of post you are here for.

So my latest political angst was caused by an article on Jezebel.com. Interesting website, a heathen, like myself, has to appreciate the biblical connotations of the name Jezebel and many of the posts are quite thought provoking, if terribly liberal. (I keep telling myself that if I just stopped reading liberal news websites I would feel a lot less crazed, but then I realize that would make me a terribly one sided blogger and a horrible journalist when I finally get my degree.)

This particular article was about Professor Ellen Lewin, a professor of Anthropology and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. She hit 'reply all' to a mass email from the College Republicans and told them "FUCK YOU, REPUBLICANS." (I'm suddenly getting flashbacks to a paragraph in this blog that I wrote on the 19th.)

Was this a responsible or adult way to respond to an email? No, it was not. Especially not when the woman replying is a professor at the college and the people she was responding to were students. The quickest way to lose my respect as a teacher is to prove that you can't see shades of grey and refuse to have rational discussions about other people's political, religious, or social ideas.
Good going Professor Lewin. I wouldn't touch the University of Iowa with a 10 foot pole now, even if they offered me a full ride scholarship.

The mass email in question was one that informed people at the college of
"Conservative Coming Out Week." Planned events include an "Animal Rights BBQ" and an opportunity for students to "pick up your Doctors' Notice to miss class for 'sick of being stressed', just like the Wisconsin public employees during the union protests.
 Okay, possibly a tad bit offensive, but I've always hated being politically correct anyway and I find the idea of an "Animal Rights BBQ" to be hysterical. What can I say? I've never been a fan of PETA. I'm not a fan of the unions and so I find the idea of calling in "sick of being stressed" to also be amusing. And being that I'm a Lesbian Republican and occasionally feel more in the closet about being a Republican than being a Lesbian...well I have to say that having a 'Coming Out Week' isn't such a bad idea. It's like Gay Pride, only nerdier and probably more clothed...but also probably a good place to look for a date.

One of Professor Lewin's later responses (a follow up after having admitted that they language she used was inappropriate, not apologizing mind you.) is as follows.

"I should note that several things in the original message were extremely offensive, nearly rising to the level of obscenity. Despite the Republicans' general disdain for LGBT rights you called your upcoming event 'conservative coming out day,' appropriating the language of the LGBT right movement. Your reference to the Wisconsin protests suggested that they were frivolous attempts to avoid work. And the 'Animal Rights BBQ' is extremely insensitive to those who consider animal rights an important cause. Then, in the email that Ms. Ginty sent complaining about my language, she referred to me as Ellen, not Professor Lewin, which is the correct way for a student to address a faculty member, or indeed, for anyone to refer to an adult with whom they are not acquainted. I do apologize for my intemperate language, but the message you all sent out was extremely disturbing and offensive."

I've emphasized a couple of statements in that quote that I would like to respond to, though I'm certain Professor Lewin will never read my blog. 
1.) "general disdain" here is another case of a liberal not understanding the difference between the Religious Right and the rest of the Republican party. Or perhaps I'm wrong, perhaps the College Republicans at UofI were actively protesting gay rights. If they were doing so, then I agree with Lewin. Co-opting GLBT terms was a shitty thing to do. However, if they were (for the most part) 'moderate' Republicans then I find no problem with it.
2.) "frivolous attempts to avoid work." I can't claim to know an extreme amount about the Wisconsin situation. I do know more about the situation with the Teacher's Union there, because I have a friend who is a teacher. We are both in agreement that if teacher's were doing their jobs then they wouldn't really need the unions to keep them from being fired. I've had a lot of bad teacher's over the years, they kept their job because of the unions. No one could fire them. Bad teachers love the unions, they don't really have to work as long as the union has their back.
3.) "Animal Rights BBQ" No more offensive than lumping me in with the Religious Right or calling me racist because I dare to criticize the president and his ridiculous inability to actually govern a country effectively.

And as for the responses Lewin has received (mentioned in the Jezebel article), yes, there are always going to be morons in the world, we can't get rid of them. However, Lewin can't say she's justified in her comments because of rude commentary she's received as a result of her words. She's a teacher, someone that students look up to and respect. She has a pulpit to teach from that is almost, or perhaps more, powerful than any preacher. She is expected to hold herself to a higher standard and responding in such a fashion to an email, that was not personally harmful in any way, destroys her credibility as a teacher in my eyes. I would never respond to an email of that type in that way. I would delete it if it offended me, but there was no need to respond at all even if she was having "particularly bad mood" that day.

Hell, I've had more offensive things leveled at me personally. You might remember a couple of posts I did back in February (1 and 2) that, yes, did involve some vulgarity on my part. Understandable considering I was being personally attacked for no reason whatsoever, but I never allowed myself to stoop to the level that Professor Lewin's stooped to and I had far more reason to tell those particular people to fuck off, than Lewin's had to say that to the College Republicans.

And people wonder why I feel more closeted as a conservative than I do as a lesbian...

Edit: One last thought, how is this going to effect the students in her classes? Will the Republicans taking her class ever feel safe enough to speak their opinions now, having seen the vitriolic hatred she has for them? I would be worried if I was her student, I would be worried for my grade. This is going to silence the opinions of students on that campus, students who should feel safe to express their political ideas in classes. She has taken that away from students. That, in and of itself, is unforgivable Professor Lewin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Us VS. Them

I'm noticing more and more lately that people have this 'us VS. them' mentality about politics. Republicans VS. Democrats, the fight to the death. People have ceased to see politics and, in fact, the world in shades of grey and you must forgive me, but I find that when people treat the running of our country as a grudge match between two political parties (instead of honest debate on each separate issue) that they end up looking like the biggest morons on the fact of the planet. Republicans and Democrats are both capable of having good ideas, ridiculing one and expecting salvation from the other is never going to work.

This is worse than house rivalries at Hogwarts and significantly more childish...which is really saying something considering the maturity level of the students in those books.

The government has stopped serving the people, instead it's a staging ground for petty battles between two, increasingly ineffectual, political parties. They stopped learning to cooperate and now all we here is "Fuck Republicans" from one side and "Fuck Democrats" from the other. It's neither constructive or appealing to see our countries politicians, who should be working together to help American citizens, fighting over who gets the most space in the sandbox.

I think kindergarten students understand how to share and cooperate better than the people we have elected.

And that's right, we did elect them. The voters are partially to blame for this mess, but that's a topic for another night.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Adventure Blog: "I spend most of my time in this store with an expression of complete incredulity on my face." "Only you would use that phrase while shopping at Dillards."

Yeah, my day has been kinda like that.

Use of large words aside, this weekend (specifically today) has been as close to perfect as I have gotten in a while. Actually...the use of large words probably helped. There is nothing better than standing in a Dillard's outlet shop with my brother and one of my friends and using the phrase "complete incredulity" to describe my facial expression at some of the terrible offenses to fashion that were on those racks. I'm not even what I would call extremely fashionable and I was almost in physical pain from laughing so hard at this stuff.

Perhaps I should rewind and explain.

Saturday night I said I was going shopping today with my mother and sister. That expanded into a family shopping trip of sheer hilarity.

At some point my brother (Skeptimus Prime) and my friend (Anti-Avenger) and I, all got separated from the rest of my family. Probably because A-A and I were too busy mocking the horrible clothing (we know why things get sent to the Dillard's outlet now, no one in their right mind would pay the original price for that crap) and so we moved from one area to another, finding the most ridiculous clothing possible and mocking it unceasingly. (We did find some great stuff today though and we laughed a lot and had a ton of fun, that's what counts).

Here is a sampling of some of the things we mocked. Though a few times we found ourselves thinking that we should come back to that store for clothing for D&D LARPing costumes. I even got a few shirts for use in Steampunk costumes.

There are too many sequins here for even a Vegas showgirl costume and it's not even sexy...

As if the color wasn't bad enough, someone decided to attach a fishing net to the bottom. The dress weighed a ton as well.

A-A called this the "Gold plastic chiclet dress" I have to agree.

We are fully convinced this could be used for LARPing. I can see an elf wearing this...maybe...

I would wear this for LARPing...


As for anything of actual use, well I bought several pairs of opaque tights. All are in crazy colors and I love them lots and lots. Somehow A-A and I ended up buying the same sweater dress and pair of tights, we will have to make sure to never wear those same things at the same time...seriously, it would be weird.
I also got this.
It's reversible and came with pillow shams! I'm such a girl...
 I stole my sisters comforter set when I moved out last August and I have been meaning to buy one of my own ever since. This one was just too pretty and it was marked down about 70%, I had to have it. It's on my bed now. The comforter is so soft and poofy that I just want to make a cave out of it and never come out. I feel all of 6 years old at the moment.

We also found this in the men's section.
 Size 10 heels, left in the men's section...size 10 denotes fairly large feet yes? So either a girl left them there because she decided she didn't want them or...well the other option you can figure out and it is much more amusing.


Tonight, after I got home, I went for a walk. The weather was perfect, the city was peaceful and quiet around me and I stopped to buy a sandwich and soda for dinner. As I walked home I saw this and had to take a picture. When I saw it, I remembered a certain section from the first chapter of Atlas Shrugged.
The clouds and shafts of skyscrapers against them were turning brown, like an old painting in oil, the color of a fading masterpiece. Long streaks of grime ran from under the pinnacles down the slender, soot eaten walls. High on the side of a tower there was a crack in the shape of a motionless lightning, the length of ten stories. A jagged object cut the sky above the roofs; it was half a spire, still holding the glow of the sunset; the gold leaf had long since peeled off the other half. The glow was red and still, like the reflection of a fire: not an active fire, but a dying one which it is too late to stop.     No, thought Eddie Willers, there is nothing disturbing in the sight of the city, it looked as it had always looked.   
I'm not entirely certain whether thinking of that passage in conjunction with my city is depressing or not. I haven't even decided if Eddie Willers impression of his own city was depressing or not yet. Maybe when I understand him and understand this book I will be able to understand this world?


Last of all, I came home. This church spire is always a safe landmark at night. I see it and know I'm headed the right way. For a person who left Christianity a long time ago, that's a bit ironic isn't it?

Oh well, my weekends have become increasingly more interesting in recent months. I think these Weekend Adventure posts may happen a bit more frequently.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spent the day at Phoenix Pride

At least a couple of hours of it. I was at Atlas Shrugged with The Conservative New Ager last night and then we found ourselves embroiled in an epic discussion about politics at a diner afterward. I napped part of the morning, because I got so little sleep last night. I'm only 20, I should be better at going several days with little sleep, but I'm not.

I need to mention that sometime between the movie and the diner, TCNA and I saw a group of homophobic protestors outside of a club in Tempe. This sounds like a nonsequitur, but you'll understand why I brought it up eventually. Suffice to say, we both decided that we did not have the money for bail that either of us would need if we actually confronted the morons and went on to get dinner.


Anyway, by the time I got up and got ready I only had about 3 hours before I had to go to an eye exam. I got off the light rail and joined the happy crowds of people heading toward the park. It was hot outside, very hot, I'm considering petitioning to have the Pride Festival moved back to March next year. This is Phoenix, April is too late in the year for big festivals be held outdoors. You would think our community would realize this.
Okay..it's was actually only about 90 degrees. If I'm bitching now, just wait until I have to commute to work in 115 degree weather. I may actually attack someone...if the heat hasn't slowed me down too much.

Uh..sorry, back on topic.

Anyway, just as I was about to turn into to the park we saw...guess who.

That's right, the protestor's from the club the night before. I guess the night before was a warm-up for the real deal today? They were behind barricades, to protect them or us is anyone's guess. I found they amused me more than they enraged me. There we were, a long sidewalk full of GLBT people headed for Pride and these protestors (who were not nearly as annoying, frustrating or infuriating as Westboro Baptist. Clearly they need more practice.) are shouting about how we will have to pay a price for our sins and how we needed to find Jesus.
There was the moment, where I wasn't clearly planning to be a smartass, but somehow it worked out that way. We are shuffling past the group and I open my mouth as we are passing one protester and I say "I did find Jesus. He was in a closet with 12 other guys...they were wearing dresses."
I couldn't have found a better comeback if I'd been planning it. I don't know who was more shocked, me, the protester, or the woman walking next to me. She started laughing, the protester got mad and we walked on.

I didn't get her number because I'm a failure at social cues.

I wondered around for a while, talked to my ex, who is now a friend, who was volunteering and saw a few people I knew from my community college GSA day and then I wandered off to explore the rest of the event.

I seem to have a compass, much like gaydar, that points me toward any political booth at a festival. I ended up at, not one, but two booths for Phoenix Mayoral candidates. I spoke to both of them briefly, I'm becoming much more interested in local politics this days...probably a good thing since my internships getting my Journalism Bachelors will probably not be dealing with national news. Though I do have a little fantasy of getting an internship at Fox News...'cause I'm a nerd like that.

I need to do far more research before I make any decisions on who I will be voting for. For once I'm in complete agreement with my mother...the current Democratic Mayor can go talk a long walk off a short pier. I know I won't be voting for him.
I'll do a more in-depth discussion of each candidate at a later time, when I've done more research. For now I'll leave you with their names and my general impressions of them from talking to them.

First, the Libertarian candidate. Mr. Thane Eichenauer.
Besides having a last name that escapes my ability to easily pronounce (at least while I'm tired) he is also, clearly, a people person. Of all of the political figures I had a chance to talk to today he was the most gregarious and talkative. I'm not so certain that his political views agree with mine on much though, aside from gay issues. I think many candidates for any elected office believe that everyone in the GLBT community are a kind of one-trick pony as far as issues go and we're not...well I'm not at least. I do know a few people in the community who seem to care about only one issue and they forget about the economy, terrorism, the budget and elected officials respond by only addressing the issues that they think GLBT people care about. They seem a bit shocked when a lesbian starts asking about other issues.

*shrug* oh well, not their fault. More research is needed before I could even consider voting for Mr. Eicenauer.

Secondly, the Republican Candidate. Mr. Wes Gullet.
That link will take you to an "about" page on his website that details his experience in government, which is extensive. As for my initial impression...he did not seem comfortable talking to me at all. That could have been the heat of course, even I was feeling too tired to really engage in meaningful conversation at that point in the day. However, it could be that he was there to make a show of being comfortable with the GLBT community when he really isn't. My only real problem with that would be that it prevented him from really telling me much about his ideas and policies. If a majority of his political policies are in line with mine and he is simply neutral on the subject of the GLBT community (I can disregard the possibility of him being anti-gay...he did have a booth at Pride after all.) the I would not have a problem voting for him.
However, he was wearing a cowboy hat and has family from Arkansas and family with the same last name as me. I feel a kinship already.

Of course...I could be completely off base in my assumption that he was uncomfortable at all. *shrug* More research is needed.


But tonight is not the time for that. Tonight I sleep, because tomorrow my mother is taking my sister and I shopping after they go to church. I also nearly got heat stroke today and had my eyes dilated and ate nothing but See's Candy for supper...

For my last thought...I have an editorial in a magazine next month about whether Pride festivals are bad for the GLBT community politically. I was a bit conflicted about what I wrote, but after today I can confidently say that our community maybe cuts loose a little bit too much at Pride. That's all for me. Goodnight.

Friday, April 15, 2011

RE: Girl Talk: I Want To Live Alone Forever

So I was reading a Girl Talk article on TheFrisky.com (Don't ask, this is what happens when I spend half my day randomly perusing websites.) and I was amazed at how similar my situation is to that of the article's writer, though she is several years older than me.
Here's the opening paragraph of her article.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I eventually want a long-term, committed relationship and kids. But I’ve recently come to the realization that I also don’t think I ever want to share my living space with another adult. For the first time in my life, I live alone and I love it. These two desires—to have kids with someone and to live alone—do not really go hand in hand. Crap.
 My friends, my family, my readers, hell...even my neighbors and co-workers have probably figured out by now that I'm a 20 (nearly 21) year old bag of maternal instinct. I want children, or at least one child, and I want them desperately. I can't walk past a baby store at the mall without cooing adoringly over the clothing and the last time I was in Sanrio's Hello Kitty story I found myself plotting how I would decorate a girl's nursery with so much Hello Kitty and Friends stuff that she would likely kill me in later years.

I also find myself watching Say Yes To The Dress  on TLC more than I should and plotting out how my perfect wedding would go...now I just need to find the other woman.

But dear and fluffy lord...I really have never even considered co-habitation with another person. Once I moved out of my parent's apartment I was out and on my own and I never even really wanted a roommate...much less one that actually sleeps in the same bed, uses the same shower as me and who I can't tell "these are my groceries, don't touch them." Roommates you can have rules with to some degree...significant others are an entirely different ballgame.

Why don't I want co-habitation?

Well, for several reasons.
1.) I like my privacy. I like being able to randomly sing Florence and the Machine songs in the shower and dance around to showtunes while I make dinner without anyone making fun of me.  Ideally I will meet someone who also does these things, or something similar, so neither of us has room to judge...

2.) Sharing a bedroom/bathroom is not all it's cracked up to be. I should know, I spent numerous years sharing a bedroom/bathroom with my younger sister...and for several years in my late pre-teens/early teens I lived in a house where my entire family shared one extremely tiny bathroom. *shudder* Anyone who has seen my bathroom now, can appreciate why I've expanded all of my make-up, jewelry and facial cleansers to take up ALL of the counter space.

3.) Sharing a bed is REALLY not all it's cracked up to be. I like cuddling and pillow talk as much as the next gal, but when you actually get right down to the sleeping part it's uncomfortable. Both you and your partner seem to grow 6 new knees and elbows and someone is always cutting off someone else's circulation and if you try to sleep on separate parts of the bed it feels awkward...like you've had a fight or something and forget moving to the couch. Then you really will have a fight and nothing is fun about that.

4.) Splitting up chores and cleaning is difficult. When I lived at home there was usually at least 3 fights a week about the garbage, the dishes, the vacuuming, etc. Now that I live alone it's all up to me and I do it at my pace. If I don't feel like doing the dishes for a few days I can rinse them and leave them on the counter and no one will complain. I don't have to make the bed if I don't want to and I certainly don't have to put up clean clothes immediately (Proof being that the top of my dresser looks like a department store exploded on top of it, while my closet and dresser drawers are getting emptier every day.)

I suppose with all my whining it's pretty clear that my long term goals will resolve in living with someone and so I suppose I will just have to savor my time living alone.
I bet, in 10 years when I (hopefully) have a wife and child, I'll look bag at this blog entry and laugh so hard. I promise to do a follow up then, just so I can kick my own ass and prove that living with someone isn't so bad. Let it never be said that I won't admit when I'm wrong...even if it takes a decade or so to prove it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few bits of things not big enough for their own posts

I alternated reading Atlas Shrugged with surfing the web today and, as a result, I found numerous interesting tidbits that are all very nice, but not nearly thought provoking enough for an individual post. I figured I'll just throw them all in here and see what happens.
This is like my cooking experimentation...and like that experimentation it could end well (like that foray into making chicken pot pie last month) or in tears (The Mustard Seed catastrophe of 2009).

First of all.

Tears of joy for Evanescence (or as they should really be called, Amy Lee and her random back-up musicians) is making a new album. I'm happy, other fans should be happy, Amy and her music are...happy? Not the word I generally associate with Evanescence, but considering they did their part in getting me through my teenage angst...well, I suppose they deserve a shot at playing happy music for a while as well.
Amy Lee, once again making me wonder why it took me so long to realize I liked girls...


"The record is fun — and that's a totally new thing for us," singer Amy Lee, 29, tells SPIN. "When I listen to our old music I see that's where I was in my life at that time. This has been a long trip and parts have been hard. But it's about not taking everything so seriously this time."

Next.
World War Z (based on the novel by Max Brooks) may begin filming next week and the production company has hired cinematographer Robert Richardson (Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds) to work on the film.
This can mean only one thing...a new cult zombie movie classic!
I know I have friends who can't understand my love of bad zombie films, but I don't understand them. How can someone not love watching a movie with bad special affects and lots of gunfire? I'll go see it in theaters just to mock it loudly and openly along with everyone else in the theater.

Next.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy
In a turn of events that I fully believe may give one of my best friends a heart attack, a few new actors have been chosen for The Dark Knight Rises. The movie already contains Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (both of Inception fame, as well as various other films), but now Burn Gorman (of Torchwood fame) has been brought on as well. These are some of my friend's absolute favorite actors and when I texted her to tell her about Gorman, I initially said "Okay, don't pass out. I don't know how reliable the source is, but..." and her response was "WHAAAAAAAT"
Burn Gorman

Luckily she continued texting, so I know she did not hyperventilate and then pass out when hearing this news.There are more additions listed in the article and I'm sure I'll be railing or cheering at casting choices as we get closer to the big day, but I'm not going to get too excited yet. There is too much time for things to change between now and filming.







And finally...THE BIG ONE. 

I won't even expound on it...much. It's spoilers for the upcoming season of Doctor Who and we all know who much of a Who fan I am. Matt Smith is even growing on me...slowly, like mold, but he is growing on me. David Tennant will forever be MY Doctor though...


In completely unrelated news. I almost cut my own head off today on a DVD that was hiding behind a pillow...the damn things are sharp. Also, I really want these shirts...from Despair.com

They also have another that says "The time for action is past. Now is the time for senseless bickering." I kind of feel that's where our nation's government is right now...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Adventure Begins! Reading Atlas Shrugged.

To get my mind off being stressed about college related issues (and because I keep promising The Conservative New Ager that I will actually read the copy he bought me) I'm going to start reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I'm carrying that book back and forth to work with me, I'll have to read it since I refuse to carry something that big and heavy on my commute for no purpose whatsoever.

It's too little too late really...the movie is coming out this Friday and TCNA and I are going to see it...so my reading of the book (though I already know the basic plot and philosophy behind it) will, of course, be colored by my viewing of the film. Oh well *shrug* what can you do? It's a big book and, while I love reading, starting it is a bit of a daunting task.

It's kind of like when I read The Lord of the Rings for the first (and only, I hated that trilogy) time. Getting started was ridiculously difficult. Hopefully Atlas Shrugged, unlike The Lord of the Rings, will not remain quite as dull and dreary and annoyingly text book like while I'm trying to finish it...


Oh! And for those of you who don't follow The Conservative New Ager's blog, he's done a review of the book. It's a good read, check it out.
The Conservative New Ager: Books for Conservative: Atlas Shrugged



Monday, April 11, 2011

I've been acting a little odd lately

Kind of the way Tigger would act if you gave him crack cocaine I would imagine...

I've been grinning for no reason, skipping through the parking garage when I make my security sweeps and it's all because of one thing.

Are you read to hear this?

Really?

Okay, I'll tell you.

I'm going back to school! Or at least...I'm applying. I'll likely hit a series of buttons on my laptop tomorrow that will send a stream of 1s and 0s over to someone sitting at a desk so they can evaluate my worthiness to enter into their halls of learning.

I'm not all that worried honestly.

I'm absolutely, disgustingly, happy actually.

The only thing that is getting me down the tiniest bit is that when I went to pull up my SAT scores to send to the school I was told I was going to be charged an extra $24 because it was an "archived" score report. Wow...I feel old...it wasn't even THAT long ago that I was sitting in a tiny desk and freaking out while I took that test and they already archived it?
Also...why the $24 charge to send an "archived" file? This is the 21st century people. It's not as if they have to send some poor intern down into a dark basement, equipped with a lamp to fight off Grue attacks*, to unearth the document. It's stored on a server just like all the other scores...maybe a different one since it's for an ancient person like me, but it's not from the hard copy era...


*You'd think that would be me showing my age, but it's really not. I grew up with an older brother (12 years older to be precise) I blame all ancient and antique video game references squarely on Skeptimus Prime's shoulders.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Living alone makes you supremely paranoid.

Like a couple of nights ago when I heard a sound in my living room/kitchen. I got up from bed and grabbed the first weapon shaped thing I could find (a lampshade, I'm an idiot) and crept out of my room, lampshade brandished in front of me, to check the other rooms in my apartment.

I'm paranoid beyond belief. A leaky faucet in the kitchen is someone here to steal my laptop (the only worldly possession I own that is worth anything at all to a burglar). So is any other random noise I hear.

The funny thing is that during the day I'm fine. It's at night, when I'm curled up in bed, that I start to freak out. That's one of the reasons I use a white noise generator at night, so that the little noises coming from the pipes or my refrigerator, won't have me checking the apartment every 10 minutes.

What made me think of writing this was that I came back from getting a couple of sodas from the soda machine upstairs (left my front door unlocked since I was only going up one floor) and my bathroom door was shut. This was odd, because, unless I have guests, the doors in my house pretty much all stay open 100% of the time. I was carrying two cans of soda, a bowl of popcorn and a candy bar (it's superhero movie marathon night) and I still ninja-kicked my way into the bathroom, turned on the light and checked every inch of the room for hidden burglars/rapists.

I don't even live in that bad a part of town! If I lived in a bad area I would be 1000x worse!

Even worse is this.

When I moved out my mother (or maybe my father) told me not to take on a burglar myself. If I thought someone was breaking in I should lock my bedroom door, call the cops and not, under any circumstances, take up arms and fight the intruder off.

What do I do when I think someone is in my apartment? I attempt to threaten them with lampshades, bowls of popcorn and cans of pepsi. Yep...I'm terrifying. 

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Conservative New Ager: Books for Conservatives: The Sword of Truth: Wizard’s First Rule

The Conservative New Ager: Books for Conservatives: The Sword of Truth: Wizard’s First Rule

Oh this post is so much truth that it practically hurts to read it. It's like getting punched in the face after drinking a pan-galactic gargle blaster. That's how much the truth hurts folks. But it hurts slightly less since it's wrapped in the guise of a lesson from a fantasy novel.

Read it and then read it again, please. For me *clasped hands, pout and rapid eye-lash fluttering* Ow! Shit...sorry, there was something in my eye. Just read it okay?

Sometimes you have to laugh so you won't scream

I fully admit that I probably don't keep up with news outside of my state or national news, so when things like teacher's unions in Wisconsin or gay rights issues in Indiana are happening I usually am out of the loop until it gets big enough to hit national news (or the Advocate, whichever comes first).

So when I saw this link on Autostraddle about the push for anti-sodomy laws to be removed from the books in Montana being stalled because of a 75 year old Mormon Republican Senator...well I was intrigued. I haven't kept up with this particular piece of legislation so I read the article and it was the typical "gays are going to try to recruit people by having public sex and kissing people of the same sex right out in the open where anyone can see it! Oh god! Won't someone think of the children!!!" bullshit that typically happens when the religious right gets involved in anything to do with gay rights.

There was nothing particularly amusing or different all, until I came to this quote from Ken Peterson, the senator in question.
“Homosexuals can’t go out into the heterosexual community and try to recruit people, or try to enlist them in homosexual acts,” Peterson says.'

So far, very normal right? At least until he takes a turn into batshit crazy land and nearly succeeded in making me choke on my Starbucks for the second time in two days. (Maybe I should stop drinking coffee while I'm reading news articles, but it's a morning tradition now. Coffee, news, crazy things religious people say, coughing and choking on coffee.)
Anyway, this is what he said.

'He provides an example: “‘Here, young man, your hormones are raging. Let’s go in this bedroom, and we’ll engage in some homosexual acts. You’ll find you like it.”

For one thing, no one talks like that!* For another thing, gay people aren't in the practice of randomly seducing straight people they meet on the street...at least not normally. And lastly, "young man"? Lesbians are still invisible to politicians apparently...I feel like marching up the driveway of this morons house, dressed in flannel and carrying a sign that says "Hey, aren't you worried about lesbians seducing young women into "homosexual acts" as well?"

*sigh*

I laugh at this idiot, because if I didn't I would likely cry. Oh humanity...I'm losing my faith in your intelligence.


*Okay, I may have once said something similar to that when I was slightly drunk at a party with a straight female friend, but it was a joke...mostly...and the phrasing of it was the alcohol's fault since I have two drunk settings, Southern and overly proper and classy.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Scientists discussing geoengineering techniques make me giggle.

I know that it's wrong to pick at only one line of an article and make fun of it, because usually that means it has been taken out of context or something of that nature, but I had to make fun a particular line in this article about ways to stop global warming. It is from The Huffington Post, so I try not to take it too seriously, but...

In the interest of not taking this out of context, I will quote the paragraph the sentence appears in and simply bold the sentence in question.

"There's the `slippery slope' view that as soon as you start to do this research, you say it's OK to think about things you shouldn't be thinking about," said Steve Rayner, co-director of Oxford University's geoengineering program. Many geoengineering techniques they have thought about look either impractical or ineffective.

Painting rooftops white to reflect the sun's heat is a feeble gesture. Blanketing deserts with a reflective material is logistically challenging and a likely environmental threat. Launching giant mirrors into space orbit is exorbitantly expensive.

This is why scientists both rule and are sometimes considered ridiculous. They have actually considered and discussed launching giant mirrors into space in order to combat global warming. And the only reason listed for not going ahead with this plan was that it was too expensive. I'm betting their list of reasons for why they should do it including "Because it's fucking bad-ass man." and "It's totally what they would do in some ecological disaster movie like Day After Tomorrow or 2012."

I have to point out that some of the other ideas listed after that were quite good and you should read the rest of the article, but I am no scientist so I don't feel qualified to really commentate on the rest of the ideas. All I can say is that I knew I had to write this blog because when I read that one sentence I started laughing so hard that I nearly choked to death on my Starbuck's coffee.

7.4 earthquake struck the coast of Japan last night

I'm not the praying sort, you probably already know this if you read my blog with an regularity, but if I was I would be praying right now.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered 41 miles (66 kilometers) from Sendai -- one of the areas worst hit by last month's 9.0-magnitude quake -- and 73 miles (118 kilometers) from Fukushima, where a crisis has been under way at the nuclear plant since last month's tsunami. 
according to CNN the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were evacuated after the quake hit the area, but Tokyo Electric Power Company says that it has communication with the plant and the power is still on. The quake has not caused further damage to the plant, but that could be more a cover story to keep panic down than anything else. At least in my opinion it could be...companies and countries like to play down the seriousness of situations until they get so big that no one can ignore them anymore.

Tsunami advisories are out for four prefectures in Japan, but The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is saying that a Pacific wide tsunami is not expected. That says nothing, however, of whether Japan will suffer through yet another tsunami, though.

Personally I'm beginning to wonder if the whole island isn't just going to sink into the Pacific Ocean at this point...

On top of that, these continuous earthquakes are putting constant new pressure on the San Andreas fault in California. Which the University of California believes (or believed in 2005 at least) is just itching for a chance to explode into the next "big one" since the southern section of the fault has not had a large earthquake in at least 300 years...it's been building up a lot of frustration and this added pressure from the Japanese quakes can not be helping.

Now I'm not a geologist, though I took a semester class and lab in it my first year of college, but I give the San Andreas 10 years, max, before a "big one" (earthquake over 7.0 magnitude) hits. Maybe we should by some property on the eastern side of the fault, we might end up with beach front property if the quake is large enough to shake most of California off the side of the country.

In anycase, bringing this blog back to it's original topic, I hope that the people in Japan (those who have not already passed on) will be safe in this time.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Glenn Beck leaving Fox

Okay, I was actually going to do a really great post about this, but I got distracted by a REALLY good book at work today and now that I'm home...well my brain is hurting very badly. I really hate headaches.

Anyway, I would have thought I would have more mixed feelings about Beck leaving, but the truth is I'm not upset one bit. I, personally, believe he's been going for the ratings vs. reality a little too much over the past few months and, while he makes some interesting historical points, he's more of a laughing stock at the moment than he is anything else. (Of course it would be nice if Hannity left as well, I hate that guy...I really do.)

Beck had this annoying habit of bringing his, frankly, fucking insane religious beliefs into play a little too often on the show. Catholics and Mormons, man...two groups I can't stand, but at least O'Reilly tries to be mostly rational.

Of course, the best part of Beck leaving is this little petition a friend sent me a link to. A petition to get Red Eye W/Greg Gutfeld moved to prime time instead of it's ridiculously late night slot. I know...if it moves to a new time then the name won't make as much sense, but it would be nice to have my favorite show on Fox News moved up to a better time slot. It could finally compete with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, if I had to chose one of those three to watch it would be Red Eye every time, because...seriously? The Greg-A-Logues are enough reason right there.

On a personal note. It finally rained here in desert land, USA. I couldn't be more pleased...though the weather is being more bipolar than usual. Is there anyway to inject Valium into the atmosphere? I'm beginning to think we need it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Observations from my weekend

When two people like each other and they have essentially the same personality, their insanity will only get exponential even crazier when they start dating.

The internet, while bringing people together and forging great friendships, can crush a newly reborn friendship flat with just one miscommunication. Twitter makes this even more likely to happen...140 characters doesn't leave a lot of room to explain yourself.
Edit: Sometimes texting can fix this =)

The dream of owning your own business is wonderful, the reality involves paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork and very possibly selling your eternal soul to the dark lord. (I'm not sure which one yet, could be Sauron, Voldemort, Satan, take your pick.)

Weather.com is always always always going to lie to you in some way about what the temperature will be in your city. Sometimes this is not a problem, but sometimes it's off by 15 degrees and THAT is a problem.

Medication which says "may cause loss of appetite" actually means "HAHA, SUCKER, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO EAT MORE THAN A SINGLE FRENCH FRY OF SOLID FOOD ALL DAY. LIQUID DIET FOR YOU BITCH!"

AHCCCS is satanic.

Singles dinners are mostly a big disappointment, especially if you are a fairly picky person about who you date.

Being an adult kinda sucks.

Bagpipe music is always always awesome, especially if your neighbors hate it.

Athletic shoes cost a lot more than they should, a LOT more.

Sales at Old Navy still feel like highway robbery compared to how much an outfit costs at Goodwill.

When you've been out all day in 100 degree weather you will not be as much fun to play Apples2Apples with as you usually are.
But sometimes a theme will arise in your winning cards that can be a little disturbing none the less.
All I needed was "White van with no windows" and "free candy" to complete this set.

And that, dear readers, is all I have to say to you today.