Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GOP lead War on Women

Freedom of Religion means freedom of religion for EVERYONE, not just for Christians. A country with a secular government meant to serve all citizens where religious freedom is a right, cannot lawfully cater to only one single religious institution to the exclusion of the rights of the rest of its citizens.

I don't understand why Republicans are so worked up about providing affordable birth control, at least the offer of affordable birth control to all citizens. While yes, I recognize that this includes an offer of affordable health care to Christians, if they're really the "good" Christians in the way you believe they should be, then wouldn't they decline affordable birth control regardless of whether it's offered or not?

Republican likens contraceptive mandate to Pearl Harbor, 9/11

A House Republican lawmaker likened the implementation of a new mandate that insurers offer coverage for contraceptive services to Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly (R), an ardent opponent of abortion rights, said that today's date would live in infamy alongside those two other historic occasions. Wednesday marked the day on which a controversial new requirement by the Department of Health and Human Services, which requires health insurance companies to cover contraceptive services for women, goes into effect.

"I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that's Pearl Harbor day.  The other is September 11th, and that's the day of the terrorist attack," Kelly said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. "I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates."

Republicans cried foul when the Obama administration first announced the new rule, reasoning that it would force employers with a religious affiliation to act in a way that contradicts their beliefs. The outcry included criticism from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and President Obama subsequently announced a compromise in which employers wouldn't be forced to offer insurance plans that cover contraception, but insurance companies would be required to offer coverage to women who wish to purchase it.

Republicans rejected the compromise, and subsequently attempted several times to advance legislation to reverse the mandate. The imbroglio contributed to Democratic charges of a GOP-led "war on women."
"This is a right that every American should be outraged, outraged about what this administration and Secretary Sibelius has set forth here on August the 1st," New York Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R) said at the same press conference as Kelly. "And as Mike said, August the 1st is a day that we as American will look at as the largest assault on our First Amendment rights."

*UPDATE* Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, a veteran of World War II, condemned Kelly's comments in a statement. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why are we so Curious?

I saw this article in MindHacks and I thought it would be interesting to share:

My column for BBC Future from last week. The original is here.

Evolution made us the ultimate learning machines, and the ultimate learning machines need to be oiled by curiosity.

I hate to disappoint you, but whatever your ambitions, whatever your long-term goals, I’m pretty sure that reading this column isn’t going to further them. It won’t stop you feeling hungry. It won’t provide any information that might save your life. It’s unlikely to make you attractive to the opposite sex.

And yet if I were to say that I will teach you a valuable lesson about your inner child, I hope you will want to carry on reading, driven by nothing more than your curiosity to find out a little more. What could be going on in your brain to make you so inquisitive?

We humans have a deeply curious nature, and more often than not it is about the minor tittle-tattle in our lives. Our curiosity has us doing utterly unproductive things like reading news about people we will never meet, learning topics we will never have use for, or exploring places we will never come back to. We just love to know the answers to things, even if there’s no obvious benefit.

From the perspective of evolution this appears to be something of a mystery. We associate evolution with ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ traits that support the essentials of day-to-day survival and reproduction. So why did we evolve to waste so much time? Shouldn’t evolution have selected for a species which was – you know – a bit more focussed?

Child’s play

The roots of our peculiar curiosity can be linked to a trait of the human species call neoteny. This is a term from evolutionary theory that means the “retention of juvenile characteristics”. It means that as a species we are more child-like than other mammals. Being relatively hairless is one physical example. A large brain relative to body size is another. Our lifelong curiosity and playfulness is a behavioural characteristic of neoteny.

Neoteny is a short-cut taken by evolution – a route that brings about a whole bundle of changes in one go, rather than selecting for them one by one. Evolution, by making us a more juvenile species, has made us weaker than our primate cousins, but it has also given us our child’s curiosity, our capacity to learn and our deep sense of attachment to each other.

And of course the lifelong capacity to learn is the reason why neoteny has worked so well for our species. Our extended childhood means we can absorb so much more from our environment, including our shared culture. Even in adulthood we can pick up new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking, allowing us to adapt to new circumstances.

Exploration bonus
In the world of artificial intelligence, computer scientists have explored how behaviour evolves when guided by different learning algorithms. An important result is that even the best learning algorithms fall down if they are not encouraged to explore a little. Without a little something to distract them from what they should be doing, these algorithms get stuck in a rut, relying on the same responses time and time again.

Computer scientists have learnt to adjust how these algorithms rate different possible actions with an ‘exploration bonus’ – that is, a reward just for trying something new. Weighted like this, the algorithms then occasionally leave the beaten track to explore. These exploratory actions cost them some opportunities, but leave them better off in the long run because they’ve gain knowledge about what they might do, even if it didn’t benefit them immediately.

The implication for the evolution of our own brain is clear. Curiosity is nature’s built-in exploration bonus. We’re evolved to leave the beaten track, to try things out, to get distracted and generally look like we’re wasting time. Maybe we are wasting time today, but the learning algorithms in our brain know that something we learnt by chance today will come in useful tomorrow.

Obviously it would be best if we knew what we needed to know, and just concentrated on that. Fortunately, in a complex world it is impossible to know what might be useful in the future. And thank goodness – otherwise we would have evolved to be a deadly-boring species which never wanted to get lost, never tried things to just see what happened or did things for the hell of it.

Evolution made us the ultimate learning machines, and the ultimate learning machines need a healthy dash of curiosity to help us take full advantage of this learning capacity.

Or, as Kurt Vonnegut said, “We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Foods and Yummies

I have such a love-hate relationship with food. I’ve been vegetarian for 19 years (almost 20), vegan for 6 of those. I never have any intention of eating meat ever again in my life, though I have no issue cooking it for the meat-eaters in my life.
Being vegetarian for so long I go through phases of foods that I like. I eat things for months and months at a time until I’m sick of them. Then stop. I’ve been going through a major salad phase lately. I crave green, healthy foods but Salad and I have often been at odds. When you’ve been vegetarian for as long as I have been salad quickly, quickly loses it’s appeal. It’s winning favor again apparently. My favorite?
Mixed spring greens/spinach
Fresh cut strawberries
Baby portabella mushrooms
Touch of Gorgonzola
Bit of balsamic dressing (I hate salads drenched in dressing. I just want a hint of flavor.)

If I’m feeling adventurous I’ll toss in some dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, or orange bell pepper. I know, I know, getting crazy there =)

But that’s for me. What I have been making for everyone else has been off the charts ridiculous lately.

Last Memorial Day weekend I had a small gathering and made:

Caramelized Dijon & Honey Chicken
Deviled Eggs (my own recipe – absolutely delightful)
Caprese Skewers (Cherry tomatoes, basil, fresh Mozz)
Grilled Cheese Toasties gourmet style (Gruyere/Parmesan/sautéed Onion/Roasted Garlic on slices of French bread)
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

For the wedding I made:
Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat cheese - essentially figs soaked and reduced in Port wine added to my favorite kalamata olive tapenade base, with goat cheese spread on French bread topped with a hint of walnut. This is so yummy.
Then yesterday was Doc’s birthday so his girlfriend and I brainstormed a huge birthday dinner to surprise him with. I cooked:
Chicken in a Spicy Sausage Sauce
Spicy Mac-n-Cheese (Baked, yet another gourmet style mac-n-cheese. I can’t do anything “normal”.)
Roasted Parmesan Green Beans
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookies-n-Cream Frosting

I’ve just been cooking like a mad woman. But mad in a good way. I love to feed people. It can be a little stressful doing so much all by myself but I’m a little OCD when it comes to prep work which helps make things run more smoothly. It gives me an immense amount of satisfaction to make food that the people I care for enjoy.
I obsess about finding recipes, but the recipe card/page/whatever is just the idea. I use pre-done recipes as inspiration but 94% of the time I don’t bother sticking to them at all. This is especially true when it comes to meat dishes. I don’t eat meat so I don’t have a knowledge base of experience to pull from. It helps me to have something I can look at to guide my thought process. However I do have an extensive palate when it comes to seasonings and ingredient incorporation so I can always tell when things will work. I look up recipe inspiration, and then alter, cook, and create til my heart’s content.  Food is so fun.
Edible art.
If you’re interested in any of these recipes let me know and I’ll post the source and how I altered them.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Diablo III

I’m a gamer girl. Not one of those silly console gamers. A REAL gamer. Yanno, with a PC. Hah. Oh, don’t get bent out of shape. I’m just kidding, but not really. My computer is a techno-haven of advanced vid cards and state of the art processors. I don’t know a lot about computer hardware, but what I do know, has to do with making my gaming experience more efficient.
The day that I have been waiting for has finally arrived.
The release of Diablo 3.

It’s been 12 years since the release of Diablo 2. Which means I’ve been waiting for the development and release of Diablo 3 for 11 years and 363.5 days. When Diablo 2 was first released I didn’t leave my computer for a day and half until I had beaten the game. It was awesome. I played the shit out of that game. Sorceress, Necromancer, Assassin, Druid, oh yeah. I dabbled with the Paladin and Amazon but quickly got bored. I didn’t even bother with the Barbarian. I’m not a melee fighter. I like magic.

**whimsical sigh**

I have that excitement all over again. There are some things I’m still pretty iffy about. Cons but mostly Pros.

Let’s start with the Cons:

1.      You must be on to play. Even as a single player. Arg. I’m not a social gamer. I like to play by myself so I don’t usually bother with Having to connect to the internet to play struck me as an intensely inconvenient requirement. What if I lose internet access? We have some pretty bad storms here occasionally. What if I were someone in some part of the world that just had shoddy internet access and couldn’t continuously connect? Bullshit.

Admittedly, it’s not as bad as I feared. I had my first game update yesterday and I was surprisingly pleased. I didn’t have to search for a patch or troll the forums to find out about a new update. It informed me automatically.

2.      I was skeptical about the early release. May 15th was the day it came out but rumors are that the game isn’t actually quite complete. There was apparently a lot of pressure to get it out so they released a less than perfect version to appease the powers that be. This means there’s going to be a lot of patches, updates, and (I’m hoping) a full expansion pack. Requiring a connection will hopefully make all of these updates and additions a much less harrowing experience. 

3.      Selling any regular weaponry or armor that you pick up gets you diddly squat for gold. If you want any kind of real compensation you need to be selling only the magic and unique items you find. Which you might not want to do…

4.      I’m still not sold on the Skill selection and Rune advancement. You have Signature, Offensive, Utility, and Passive Skills. I like that you have your skill categories but I don’t like that you can only have the option of 6 Skills at your immediate disposal: One Signature Skill, one Offensive Skill, One Passive Skill, and a choice of 4 Utility hot button skills (Each of these Utility skills comes from it’s own grouping of skill sets but you can only activate one from each grouping at a time). You can switch up your skills whenever you want, but you have to stop and go into your Skill Tree and make the change instead of simply assigning more hot buttons keys.

You also don’t get to add more skill points to skills you prefer over others to increase their damage or effectiveness. You level up and unlock new runes with predetermined advancements that you may or may not want to use. Granted you don’t have to use them, and you can switch between your Rune advancements just as you do with the General skills but you can’t switch between any and all of them at the touch of a hotkey. I think there might be a fix or a hack for this. Forum time. There are a lot of really neat new skills, but I just wish I could make some specific ones more powerful instead of just unlocking something that I might not want to use.

Seriously, I don’t know about you, but one of the things I loved about Diablo II was the ability to set 20 hot keys and switch between all of my friggin skills.

Neutral/Interesting Points

You no longer transmute gems in a Horadric cube to combine for better goods. You have a marketplace Artisan who does this. The Blacksmith is also an artisan where you can transmute your magic and unique items to form crafting supplies. For both Artisans you pump gold into Training. The more training you invest in, the better the quality and level of equipment. From there you have the capability of constructing more complete gems, better armor, stronger weapons, etc. Invest in this!  It’s an interesting take on creating magic items and combining the stuff you pick up.


1.      The game is gorgeous. The graphics and designs are beautiful. I love just looking at it.

2.      I’m really happy they kept the 3rd person perspective. I am not a huge fan of 1st person shooter type games. I like having the ability to see the layout of the immediate environment around me. It enables you to be more capable of defending yourself. I also like that they brought the perspective down a little closer to the action. The monsters, demons, and details are awesome.

3.      I love that they have surprise Events. You still have your general Quests that you discover as you go along, but every now and again there’s a side quest that gives you the opportunity to get something special.

4.      I like that there are check boxes to remind you and verify when you’ve completed a task and/or directs you to the next goal or step in your quest.

5.      Character creation: You can choose any character class AND either gender for each character class! I can always be a girl! Love this. I may have my own gender identity issues, but no joke, I love a strong female character. Love.

6.      Character classes themselves = very cool. We have the Wizard, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Monk, and Barbarian. In descending order of my preferences.

7.      Speaking of character classes: You can switch between character classes at any point. You can start one game, and try out every character if you choose to. I have to admit, I have not taken advantage of this. I’m hard wired into character loyalty. I will eventually play all the characters (when I’m done with my WIZARD!) but I’ll be starting a new game and building that character up from scratch.

8.      You don’t have a limited number of potions you can hold in your belt. Pro! However, you do have a lag time between uses of Health Potions. Con.

a.       Speaking of Cons, you also have a Cool Down Time before you can reuse your hot button Utility Skills. This is aggravating to me since I’m a heavy magic user. They did this to increase the skill and difficulty level of the game. I get that. But damnit, I just want to kill shit.

b.      You can continuously use your Signature Skills without cost. You have Offensive Spells that use your Mana, which regenerates on its own, but you no longer have mana potions so you have to wait for regeneration. It forces you to allocate your defenses differently. I’m getting used to it.  

9.       You have health globes that drop form creatures to automatically refill your health. That’s pretty awesome.

10. You have more armor! Which means you have more options for customization and character abilities!

11. You can have a follower, much like the Hires from D2, whom also are able to level up plus they can achieve class skills to help you.

12. Okay, seriously, the Pros just go on and on. There is so much awesome about this game with just enough nostalgia from the previous ones that it all ties to together. I am such a fan.


   multi player. You can play with strangers or you can give out your personal ID and only play with a party of specific friends. I do think it’s pretty cool that you can do that easily from home now instead of having to huddle up your laptops on a LAN in someone’s basement. I just don’t know if this is really something I’m interested in. I had my first monster killing date with Tech Boy. He’s the only person I’ve taken advantage of the team playing on with. It was fun that we could be all blood thirsty and explodey together. But at the same time I have internal conflicts b/c I start thinking about what the other player might need or might want; does he need the health globe? Would he want the magic drop? Would he want the gem? Or the coins? And I start feelings bad about picking stuff up. Plus I like to clear the boards and kill every single thing. Some people just like to get through to the next level. Or if I need to go to town I’m holding up the game for the other person. All that stuff bothers me. It’s really fun to have someone else to chat with and team up with and see all the cool stuff they can do, but I have some adjustments to make. Maybe once I’ve filled myself up with single play mode it’ll be more fun to play with others.

And that folks, is my quick (yes, quick) synopsis of how I feel about the new D3 release. Get it. Play it. Love it.

And that folks, is my quick (yes, quick) synopsis of how I feel about the new D3 release. Get it. Play it. Love it.

EDIT and ADDENDUM: In continuing to play I am becoming more and more discouraged and disappointed with this game. 

Talking to Tech Boy he assures me it is almost impossible to beat Diablo without making use of the Auction House and bidding on better armor than you are able to acquire in game. Fuck. I hate this. HATE this. The Auction House is like e-bay for Diablo III weapons and armor. People put up items they've found for bid and there you go. I DO NOT. DO NOT. Want to play. With other people. I want my gaming experience to be completely self-sufficient. If what he says is true then I am going to be entirely pissed the fuck off b/c thus far I am having great difficult with my Wizard finding strong enough armor in game.  What a bloody waste. 

I may quit playing for a while and just wait for the expansion and upgrades. I'm still really pissy about not being able to level up the Skills you want to improve. Hate. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Know Yourself

“Who are you? ” said the Caterpillar.

Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar sternly. “Explain yourself!”

“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not myself, you see.”

“I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.

In my profile I say that I’m a whole lot of things that shouldn’t fit together. I have so many varying interests, so many contradictory parts, just a very complex personality. Often the things have no relation to one another but I like the kind of diversity I have in my life. There's something for everyone in me, in my 'personality'. For all my structure and need to be in control, there is no single box to categorize me with.

I'm never really sure why people are attracted to me. My disconnect is so normal for me that I simply don't see what other people see. And I don't understand why people are attracted to the things that they are concerning me.

People take one look at me out in the real world and might think “Goth” or “Artsy”. If they manage the gumption to talk to me and realize I’m also “Athlete” and “Rocket Scientist” they’re initial conception of who I probably was is shattered. But then if I get to know them intimately, I also tend to reflect who they are as well.

I have sort of a paradoxical complex concerning the fact that I tend to mirror and project what people want (what I think they want); even if it's not something I would normally want doesn't that still make me the kind of person that likes to be something that other people want? So do I like the things I don't really like after all? On some meta level I think the answer is yes. But even then the ultimate issue comes back to wanting something for myself. I do recognize that the reason I probably reflect what others want to see, is that so people will stay with me and I gain their company, their affection, and their love in the process.


I also find it easier to "be myself" when I have a role I know I'm supposed to play. At work I'm "an engineer". I know how I'm supposed to behave, I know how I'm supposed to act, I know what I don't want to project and bring into focus, so it's easy for my to tailor myself and slip into a role.

Just me on my own? Does personality exist when there is no one around to see it? Does it mean anything if there is no interaction? When I'm alone I'm creative, or quiet, I read, or I cook, or I do any number of things to keep me busy but I don't have anyone to act on or see me. I'm just me focused on the motions I choose to be going through. Hm. Does this constitute personality?

The things I like are certainly a part of me. But who I am can be so fluid that I don’t always feel like I know all of me in the context of just myself, because often who I am is found in the people that I am surrounded with.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{ J } is for { J }ust Say No

I’m not saying I have a drinking problem, but others might. One thing I’ve never had a problem with though, is drugs.  I’ve never been interested in screwing with my mind that way. I tried pot approximately 3 times in high school and hated it. I hated feeling slow. I hated feeling like I was floating. It was just awful. I’ve never done it since and I’ve never tried anything else either. All of my friends know this, but they still occasionally offer. Usually in a setting where other’s want to smoke up and it’s polite. Perhaps, hypocritically, I get a little annoyed when someone pipes up before I have a chance to decline when something like, “Oh don’t bother, she doesn’t smoke.” Like, I’m not cool enough to be in their little druggie club. When did drugs become cool?

I don’t have a problem with people having a little recreational fun. But there’s seems to be a two way street concerning Judgment.  Either you don’t do drugs and you judge those that do as making poor life choices. Or you do drugs and you judge those that don’t as being some kind of prude to experimentation.

Come on now. I’m all for a little experimentation, but I happen to use my brain on a daily basis and I don’t need to be fucking with my neurons any more than they’ve already been fucked with. Let’s face it, my biology is a little wacky to begin with and I don’t need to be tempting fate in ways that I have no control over.

Reason #2 that I don’t smoke. The smell of it makes me physically nauseous. It turns my stomach.

I hate that because I do say ‘No’ to drugs that it seems to make people uncomfortable around me too. Like I might narc on them. None of my friends are hardcore into drugs, they just smoke some weed now and again. I seriously don’t see what the big deal is. Who cares? If the government would just legalize that shit they could start regulating it and making a little profit by having one more thing to tax.
Anyways. You have your joint, I’ll have my beer. Can’t be all just get along without the judgment?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

{I} is for {I}s it ever going to be enough....

H is for Hangover

Fortunately without the Headache! I drink a lot for someone that is no longer living in a tiny cramped apartment on a college campus. It’s probably a problem and I swear I’m going to do something about it. But in the mean time, occasionally I have to deal with the dreaded hangover.

Now, I usually know my limit. When the room starts spinning, I’ve passed that point. When my best friend and I are falling on top of each other while dancing out at the gay bar. I’ve passed that point.

I can usually justify a bottle of wine. If you’ve every drank a bottle of wine, it really doesn’t seem like that much. It’s maybe the liquid equivalent of 3 bottles of beer. However the alcohol content is significantly higher, and wine is a sneaky little bastard that likes to creep up on you and hit you all at once.

I’ll be sipping my Sauvignon Blanc when all of a sudden I realize I’m on my 4th glass and the world is so much more fun! The only thing that usually stops me from drinking more is my obsession with counting calories. But when you put me with my best friend, all my good decision capabilities get drowned out in the next bottle that we open.

H is also for Honest, because I’ve got to be… I don’t regret it for an instant. I rarely, rarely, rarely get to see her because we live 500 miles apart, so when I do, I have no inclination to Hold myself back. We feed of and build on each others energy and it’s one Hell of a Happy time.

However. The next morning is a little rough. I really do Hate Hangovers. I can’t exercise. I don’t want to get out of bed. But at least I’m Happy in the knowledge that the night before I had a truly amazing and memorable night out. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

G is for Gay and G is for Guilt

… but not the kind  you might think. I have straight guilt. Or guilt that comes about when I am in a straight, heterosexual relationships.
Hi. I’m Haven. I am not, nor have I ever been: Straight. I know, shocker right? I guess if I have to I would say that I am “Bi”-Sexual, but I really hate the stigma associated with that. Really, I’m just sexual. I date people based on whether or not there is a mutual attraction present. The rest is just anatomy and that isn’t usually that important to me.
Admittedly I have more problems dating men then dating women. I’ve never had the trauma with women that I’ve had with men. When I realized I was attracted to women, I never questioned it, I just started dating women to be sure. It was a struggle for me to realize how much I wasn’t typically attracted to men. There was a period for a few years where I honestly did think I was a lesbian.
And sometimes, even now, I recognize that I do enjoy sex with some men, but when it comes to relationships, I definitely prefer the dynamic I have with women. I trust it more. I feel more like myself.
I don’t feel like I’m denying a part of who I am. Which is where the guilt comes in when it comes to me dating men. For as much as I adore the guy I’m with now, and for as much as I’ve liked some of the men in my past, I always feel like something is missing for me. I feel like I’m denying a part of who I am because I can’t have an aspect of what I’m attracted to in the partner I’ve currently picked.
And then I feel guilt on top of my guilt, because I feel like I’m being unfair to the person that I’m with. I give them everything I’m able to give, but because there’s that inkling of “what if” and “where is the rest of me”, I’m afraid I’m being false to them. It doesn’t really make me do anything differently, but I’m aware that there is something there, or not there, as the case may be.
I wonder if anyone else who has a fluid sexuality ever feels this.  

I also wanted to highlight this spot that Brandon over at My Own Private Idaho posted today. It’s an anti-bullying campaign created by gay Mormon students at BYU. As mentioned before I am anti-religion personally, but I found this message of hope and acceptance incredibly touching. Have  look.

F is for Fantasy

Every night I lay me down to sleep in hopes that my subconscious will create for me a world beyond the realm of imagination. In dreams I live a new life. A different life. A better life. A tragic life. An exciting life. A life of Fantasy and Fun that I could never come up with in my waking hours.
I live to escape the world I live in everyday. The dull and the daily have so little hold over me. I love to lose myself in a fantasy. Movies, books, and intriguing television show. It’s all a form of escapism that frees my mind from the mundane. But even those are nothing like living in dreams.
I face monsters in my sleep. Vampires and zombies, ex boyfriends, ex friends, terrifying situations being chased through nightmare dreamscapes…. And sometimes the monster is me. Something I must face in myself. Fight and Free myself from the chains I have holding me back in my waking world.
Other times my world is an adventure, wild and fulfilling. Flying through clouds, maneuvering through worlds that never existed, meeting creatures that bring joy, laughter and light into a life that has been oppressed by the chore of working 9-5p.
Faces from my past and present meet and interplay one on top of another. New situations I never hoped to have mingle with experiences I’ve shared with people that weren’t worthy of the brightness I wished to show them. In my dreams I can re-envision how I would like the story to play out. How I’d like my happily ever after to present.
In my dreams I am Free. I don’t always know what will happen. But I know that I will Feel every instant of it and when my eyes Finally open, I will have a new perspective on things I hope to never Forget.   

E is for Eggs

….and how the government has no right to tell me what to do with mine. Seriously. I definitely inherited my father’s righteous anger for social injustice. So far I have read (and written) about the state governments of Virginia, Arizona, and Georgia trying to interfere with the reproductive rights of women under the guise of “religious freedom”.
Now. I’m not religious. I do believe that people deserve the freedom to believe whatever they want to believe. You believe in god? Good for you. You believe in many gods and goddesses? You have a better memory than I do for all those names. You believe in the tooth fairy? Good for freaking you. Just don’t start yanking out my teeth to appease your god. Your right to religious freedom stops. Stops. With you. You do not have any right to impose your beliefs on others in the name of your religious freedom when... Shocker… it violates the personal and religious freedoms of another human being.
The government, an employer, a religious figurehead, has no right to tell me, or any woman what to do with our sexual and reproductive freedom.
I have a theory. I think that some of the reason all of these women’s reproductive rights issues are coming to the forefront now… in the year 2012… is a backlash against the recent developments and progress made in the gay rights movement.
I have a theory that old school conservative men in government feel threatened because the “traditional values” they hold are somehow being threatened. Never mind that how another person lives their life has no effect on the person living next door, but it’s a new way of living that challenges what these conservative ideals are used to.
And they don’t like it.
So in a desperate attempt to hold onto the things that they are comfortable with, they are trying to maintain their power, by taking away ours. By taking away our rights, by taking away our choice, by taking away our voice, they can hold on to the belief that the “right” way of living isn’t just an illusion of an era that no longer exists.
Tell you what. Let’s make a deal. You live your way. I’ll live mine. I won’t tell you what to do. And you can keep your politics out of my vagina. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

{C}hange and {D}eath

C is for Change, D is for Death

Twofer post today as tomorrow I will be travelling. In a little over a week I will be sitting down to get my tattoo colored in. My tattoo is a skeletal phoenix which is representation of change and {symbolic} death in my life.


This is a Skeletal Phoenix. It is a marriage of two concepts that have been a part of my life for nearly as long as I can remember; the Phoenix and Death. What they represent to me is something I need to keep with me. I tend to lose my ability to hold onto things, people, concepts… and this is something I need to never forget. I need to constantly remind myself so that I do not fall to hopelessness with I am prone to. Talk about a need for some permanence.
Every year, or two, or three, my life starts over. I crash, or burn, or both and I have to pick up and begin anew. Each time a little different than the time before, but it keeps going.

Phoenix - Phoenix imagery is just that: renewal and rebirth from the ashes of the past. I can never fully forget my past, but I can learn from it; leaving the char behind me and hopefully heal into a better place than I had been before.

Death - I’ve also been constructing my own Tarot deck. Meditating and drawing each card. While working on my Major Arcana, I got to my Death card and {a variant of} this image came to me immediately. I sketched the basic idea the minute I thought of it and knew I had to have this as a permanent reminder for myself.

If you’ve ever studied the Tarot you will know that Death, is not representative of physical death. Interpretations vary slightly by deck but some of the meanings include:

Ending of a cycle – Loss – Conclusion – Sadness – Transition into a new state – Psychological transformation – Finishing up – Regeneration – Elimination of old patterns – Being caught in the inescapable – Good byes – Deep change.

Typically it implies an end, possibly of a relationship or interest, and therefore implies an increased sense of self-awareness. An opening of new opportunities from the ending of those previous. When one region in your life empties, there opens a space to allow something new to replace it.

The banner the Firebird holds says ‘Bás ’ which is Gaelic for ‘Death’.

The Death card is generally depicted as skeletal so the combination of this imagery along with the phoenix inspired this idea of a skeletal phoenix.

In my struggles, my life, becoming who I will become, the nature of life in general; it is strikingly obvious to me why all of these things are a part of me. This is a card of change. Transition. In the death of one thing springs the potential life of something else. Endings are not only endings, but also beginnings. Endings bring change. In change there is hope. With hope there is the possibility for a better life. A life worth living.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Books

Reading is one of my favorite forms of escapism. I lose myself to the words on each page and let the inner dialogue suffuse through my soul. It may appear to just be some words on paper bound together, held by my hands but the literal description of what a book is, does not capture even the smallest glimpse of what a book does.
Each book is alive. A journey. A place I never believed possible.  Travelling through time and space beyond the ability of physics and the imagination. For a few hours I shed my skin and become someone else.
As my eyes roam across the words, without my consciousness knowing I seem to slip into a cinema. I am no longer reading, but seeing the words play out before me. My imagination so vivid as to make the words dance and sing, each with their own voice and color.
Books to me are a way to leave behind the pain and heartache I so often feel. The dreary days of stress and boredom that drags me down through the world of the mundane.
At 30 years old I still curl up in bed with a flashlight each night and read myself to sleep. Covers pulled up close, my cat cuddled near, as I shine my light into a new adventure that follows me into my subconscious. My mind picking up and placing me into the plot after my eyes close and I drift off to sleep.
There as I fall asleep. There when I finally awake.

In life I have my own little library. In this day and age of electronics, kindles, and e-Readers, I still love my books. I’ve heard all the arguments and the wonder that comes with this technology but there’s just something I can’t replace in my books. I like the look of my shelves filled with volumes and tomes of places I’ve been, gone, and seen. It may seem silly, but it’s something I simply cannot bring myself to give up.  

A is for All Aboard

I dream of travelling. I would love to live a life of adventure and discovery. I’ve spent so much of my life learning of different cultures and places that I’d like to explore. And yet I never manage to get very far.

I take one real vacation a year with the time I painstakingly save up from work. Every year my friends all come together and go to the same place. All of us bring our costumes, and gear, and tents, and booze and set up our camp for a week or two together. All of us. All together.

It’s a wonderful time but when rifts develop it’s difficult to enjoy it all. Things change. People change. And eventually nothing is really the same. The joy the brought me back year after year, slowly slips away until finally I long for a change of my choosing. I think that’s the problem. Often change is out of my hands. Against my will. It’s hard to watch the things you love get swept up and swept away in the whirlwinds of time. It makes me feel helpless and resentful of my humanity.

Even change of my choice is not easy. The anxiety that accompanies picking a new path is paralyzing. They’ll be so disappointed if I do not join them again like I always do. I never feel like I contribute to their merriment but I never feel like I’m good for much of anything despite what everyone tells me. I’ll be sad and maybe a bit jealous to let them have their fun without me. To think that they could have an even better time if I weren’t there.

But I know what that place holds. I crave something new. Something different. It’s so strange though. Dozens of us do this every year. I want to try something new… but with who?

Sometimes you have to let your past go, to see what your future will bring I suppose.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Delightfully Uneventful Weekend =)

Wow, would you look at that, my weekend was “normal”. I declined an invitation to hang out with Tech Boy on Friday night. I was tired from stress and frankly super self-conscious. The weather has been changing and it really dries out my skin. My finger cracked and my lip cracked and I was embarrassed by how it looked.  He didn’t care but not going out in public because of an uncomfortable physical flaw is one of my more rational anti-social seclusions into self-consciousness. Egads. I drank too much wine, listened to Roommate and her bf talk about the problems with biblical inconsistencies (which was absolutely hysterical) and played my video games. I had a nice mellow night.

Saturday I woke up at 7:15a.m., still managed to get to the gym a bit late (8:05a.m.), and only had time for a 50 minute run before my 1.5 hour weights/core/abs class. My ass and my shoulders are still sore! Great workout. My body is feeling really good right now. I’m very happy with the direction my workout intensity is going.

Saturday night, Tech Boy wanted to hang out with some friends he has at work and catch a Billy Joel cover band. Come on, who doesn’t love Billy Joel? I was skeptical because it was St. Patrick’s Day, and if you know me, you know that while I may be very Irish, I HATE St. Patrick. Asshole.

He picked me up and took me to a silly nice restaurant. It was much classier than we’d expected. Almost laughably so. Right down to the valet parking that required a 10 foot drive to settle the car. Seriously? Yeah, we spent half the dinner making fun of the ambiance and pretending to be snooty. Class. We’ve got it. Right =}

He bought me dinner. He’s been doing this more and more. When we first started “hanging out” it was always split even,  paying for what we consumed so we never owed each other anything. Lately he’s been buying my drinks, paying for dinners and generally being a gentleman about such things. It’s unexpected in a really sweet way. Not that I’d let him get away with that all the time. I have to be all liberated and stuff occasionally. Not that he’d be able to forget it considering how I’ve been ranting about politics and women’s reproductive rights lately.

There’s another rant that came up that I’ll share in another post.

But yeah, I was driving for the night anyways, and he appreciated that.  We went to some bar, there were lots of drinks for him. I only had two beers and cut myself off super, super early. Being a designated driver means I probably shouldn’t have even had that, but two drinks over the course of 6 hours isn’t going to register on a breathalyzer so I figured I was fine.

We met up with one of the guys from work (another group) that he’s friends with. I’d seen this guy around but I don’t pay attention to people unless they get in my face. Some people think this is snobby. I think I’m just awkward and don’t know how to talk to people I don’t know and really want to avoid it at all costs if I can. So if I had any questions about whether some people from work knew about us, well, someone definitely does now. We’re basically an open “secret” at this point anyways. That’s what Tech Boy says. I’m choosing to remain oblivious. It’s easier for me to pretend that people don’t know. It’s easier for me to pretend that people don’t notice me at all. Which is apparently ludicrous because I’m kind of hard to miss in the environment that I’m working.

I’m feeling all gooey about him lately. I had a tremendous amount of guilt when I told him I didn’t want ot hang out Friday night. Worries that he’d be upset (even though we really had non prior plans), or that he’d find someone else to be with that would make more time for him – girl wise… I know I’m silly. These are the things that run through my mind. We got back from the bar pretty late and my gooey girly guts started leaking out. We crawled into bed and he wrapped himself around me. I couldn’t resist telling him that I had a lot of fun but this was still my favorite part of the night. Even better was when he agreed. I still think stuff like that are lines that men have learned to say back, but still. It’s sweet to hear.

Waking up. ::sigh:: I just, can’t get over how much I love sleeping with him. Feeling his lips on the back of my neck, his chest pressed against me. It drives me the best kind of crazy. When did I become so sappy? ::deeper sigh::

Eventually he left but he was coming back later. I made a big dinner for him, Roommate, and her bf. Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Pears and a Pear Brandy Cream Sauce, Wild Mushroom Risotto, and sautéed Green Beans with Toasted Almonds. The risotto and the green beans were fabulous. I’m told the pork tenderloin was perfect (I’m strict vegetarian remember – no pork for me).  Cooking is an art form for me.  It’s also pretty zen. I love the creative process, even though sometimes my grocery trips fill me with a fantastic rage (people in grocery stores are seriously stupid sometimes). I love setting everything out. Prepping my space. Gathering all my ingredients together. Pulling it all together in one glorious presentation. And finally watching other people enjoy something that I made just for them. I love cooking for people. It makes me happy.

It makes me sad when I have to go to bed though. I still have anxiety about sleeping. Especially about sleeping alone. I need to read my book to fall asleep. And my cat if he can be bothered to curl up with me.

Monday always comes too quick. Why can’t we have more 3 day weekends?  So yeah, normal normal normal. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I did e-mail K on Friday night. I was a little drunk.  Lamenting my poor decisions that cost me her friendship in exchange for the disfunction I had with Friend. All I said was, “You were right. I’m sorry.” I didn’t expect to hear back from her. She replied with, “I honestly don’t know what to say to that.” I told her she didn’t have to say anything if she didn’t want to but I wanted her to know. ::sigh:: I wish more than most things that we could be friends again. It’s a futile wish, I know, but it still hurts that I made such a big mistake with her. So just one impulsive decision in a weekend that could have been filled with impulsive decisions. I’m not sorry I made this one either. Though I fluxuated wildly at the time.

There’s always something. I’m just glad those somethings are closer to nothings.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bourbon Street

Because this song just makes me freaking happy

Bourbon Street by Jeff Tuohy

I’ve been living in sin for about a month

Something turns me round it’s something that I just

Can’t understand, the way I behave.

Some people you can never save.

On my right hand, I’ve got a girl in my ear

And in my left hand, I’m throwing back a beer.

What can I say? Of me, you steer clear

When I driving down on Bourbon Street, yeah

Cuz every night we through this little soiree

Gonna turn her head until she’s mine, all mine

Every night I breed a new disaster

I might be right, I might be wrong

Try to get away and I will bring you right along, so

Sit back, have a seat

Sometimes salty, sometimes sweet

Hard to swallow, but fun to eat

You ain’t never leaving Bourbon Street, come on!

When I walk the street people step aside

Twirling my cane and smiling wide

Some would say I’m a carnal slave

I put my hands on what I crave

I’m the mayor of this crazy town

Where the queens will party with the clown

Try to swim with me and you’re bound to drown

Throw you a line while you’re going down

Yeah, I know this street and I own this crowd

And my only companion is a lightning cloud

I seem real nice and easy to trust

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust

I’m gonna lead you a path to self-destruct

On this crazy train that I conduct.

And it’s a one, two, three..

Cuz every night we through this little soiree

Gonna turn her head until she’s mine, all mine

Every night I breed a new disaster

I might be right, I might be wrong

Try to get away and I will bring you right along, so

Sit back, have a seat

Sometimes salty, sometimes sweet

Hard to swallow, but fun to eat
You ain’t never leaving Bourbon Street.