Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yuck! Sign this, please!

Please, go have a look at this bill, and sign the handy-dandy email to your local congressperson.

Maybe you don't mind pesticides, mercury, and rBGH in your food/the animals from whom your food comes (though I hope that's not the case), but I do. This bill wouldn't change production, only take away information we already get (those of us who do). Voting down this bill would not add labels anywhere or prohibit any kind of food, it just would keep information from being removed.

So, if you love me (or someone else who doesn't like mercury), please don't let them wipe out the state labeling laws! Any state with any labeling law not part of the federal standards would have said laws stricken away, no questions asked. There is no rational reason for it other than to keep consumers from knowing things about their food they would find objectionable.

This only takes a minute. Throw in your name and address and they'll fire off the letter for you. Please, please, please.

(I have read the full text of the bill, there--the particularly offensive part:

sections (c) and (d), no State or political subdivision
3 of a State may, directly or indirectly, establish or
4 continue in effect under any authority any notifica-
5 tion requirement for a food that provides for a warn-
6 ing concerning the safety of the food, or any compo-
7 nent or package of the food, unless such a notifica-
8 tion requirement has been prescribed under the au-
9 thority of this Act and the State or political subdivi-
10 sion notification requirement is identical to the noti-
11 fication requirement prescribed under the authority
12 of this Act.

It further goes on to say that you can petition to keep something if it is very imminently dangerous but does not make trouble for interstate commerce. Is that cute, or what?)

Monday, February 27, 2006

It's hard to be a caramel addict with a cavity.

So. Chris and I are conscientious objectors to marriage.

I've got a link on the sidebar, there, to the Alternatives to Marriage Project, which I encourage anyone looking to look into. They've in particular got a wonderful page to the effect of "Why should Domestic Partnerships exclude heterosexuals?" that lays out a hell of a lot of good reasons why people allowed by law to marry would not, and while I don't like it labeled "heterosexuals" I understand that they only mean to imply a different-sexed union, rather than one necessarily between heterosexuals (as ours is not).

What struck me while I was reading it was the selfish recognition that almost everything on that list applies to us, somehow. While we're not widowed or religious in such a way that having come out of another marriage we couldn't marry, everything else was affirming. We've come out of negative situations in which marriage has gained negative connotations all by itself. I am not heterosexual, and do grapple with the spectre of being transgendered (and if I think I maybe should be male, am I really allowed to marry a man?). We're feminist, and the institution in its current "traditional" form is incredibly sexist (that is, "traditional" as in a woman is "given away" by the male that currently holds her as property to the male who soon will, that she may bear him children, give him her property, and pay for the wedding, with the promise to obey him). Historically, the additional aspects of explicit dowries, arranged marriages, and strictly economic and reproductive reasons to join in marriage also add just a little more negativity. Disgust with the concept of the "sanctity of marriage," in relation to this, or the idea of it as being a traditionally one-man-one-woman romantic Christian affair (which is frankly just false and recent--remember biblical tales of men with several wives? or remarriage to your husband's brother? or being a gift to a man? what about the plethora of other global cultures, in some of which same sex unions were not banned? or how just a few generations ago, marriages in the Western Christian sense were often strictly economic?) turn us away.

Furthermore, and maybe even foremost, the fact that it is a prejudiced, exclusionary institution, by current law, has us at least tangentially joined as part of the Marriage Boycott. A couple of generations ago, people in America couldn't marry over perceived racial lines--basically, only homoracial marriages were allowed. Is allowing only heterosexual marriage any less nonsensical, any less bigoted, any less inhumane? How does preventing a loving couple from, for instance, having a legitimate marriage under which to raise their children, while allowing a hundred women to compete on reality TV for a rich man's hand in marriage, hold up nobly the institution of marriage? Different-sex marriages do not currently require the bearing of children, the sharing of surnames, or the placement of a woman in a home and a man in the workforce, and in fact, as a society, we purport to value marriage for love and companionship (and sometimes for raising children), rather than strictly for breeding and monetary reasons. So where's the problem? What makes a trophy, loveless, different-sex marriage somehow legitimately better than a same-sex marriage of love?

Not a damn thing.

So, for all that and a bevy of other good reasons, we don't want to get married. Instead, we registered a domestic partnership (Marriage Lite™, "Hitched!™" the Home Game), in Berkeley. The only place in the area who would register a different-sexed domestic partnership without residency requirements. Because, of course, while we find our reasons good and legitimate, and though they recognize, insure, and generally give a liiiittle cred to a same-sex DPs, the state isn't going to recognize our purportedly diff-sexed DP any more than it would recognize a same sex marriage.


Now, I don't think I want to get married even if they fix the damn institution. I never liked the idea of a big pile of paperwork and legal documentation sitting there as a reason to stay together (and while I understand that's not the reason people tend to get married, I value the idea of staying together without it, and not being able to use it as an excuse in a relationship gone foul, without substance). Ideally, I think every relationship should have the option of marriage AND domestic partnership, without DPs serving as a ghetto for those not otherwise allowed to get married and marriage being shotgunned (usually by economic considerations) on those who aren't given the option of a legally recognized DP. Frankly, I prefer Marriage Lite™.

But as a person staying at home writing and working without pay, while my lover is working in a fashion that is paid, I'm in a sticky spot. They are, essentially, trying to shotgun me. My household income is such that there's no way I could get Medicaid/Medical or otherwise cheap insurance. But as a person without an income, I can't really afford to shell for more expensive coverage. And while we're doing just fine, financially, on one income, one broken leg without insurance is going to mean a lot of money out of pocket. And, more immediately, I haven't seen a dentist in 3 years. And I have, I am certain, cavities. And a wisdom tooth they missed when they were prying the things out of my face (they didn't fit--this one doesn't fit). And my glasses are shot. And my eyes have gotten worse. And I suspect myself to be at least a little hypoglycemic and hypothyroidic, in addition to the joys of my digestic life (GERD, IBS, lactose intolerance, etc), which just sort've serve to make things interesting.

And sometimes it feels like my heart has forgotten how to work. Sucks down and then leaps back up, shuddering, again (which is mostly only concerning because of a lot of other "little things," like that my limbs go numb with frequency, my muscles spasm, my joints are weak and arthritic [at 22 years old], my eyes and ears and balance are weakening, etc.).

Basically, I need a good tune up.

So, here's the thought: Political Stunt/Act of Desperation™

While I am strongly opposed to getting married, and do not think someone should have to to get appropriate, preventative medical care, I wonder if it mightn't be a good idea to go sign a marriage certificate, pop it over by the school, get onto the insurance, get as much work done as is applicable, get a good general checkup, physical, supposed-to-be-yearly woman's exam and so forth, glasses, fillings, etc., and then peaceably sign for a dissolution of marriage. The certificate and papers and touch of premium would still be a lot cheaper than paying uninsured for the work. They obviously don't ask questions at the start of these things, and we are a fucking no-fault state. It gives in, for a few months, to marriage for economic considerations, but it makes a good showing of Bullshit! on this sanctity of marriage thing. Plus, then I could say, when we explain my lover's marital past, that my first marriage ended in divorce, too. Which is almost worth it on its own.

There is the dilemma of giving in. I don't get to stand solid with my non-het sisters and brothers by suffering medically, BUT my non-het sisters and brothers can get their medical care through their DPs (which I cannot), so I think that's not something I have to worry about. And we'd get rid of it right away, so it wouldn't be used in taxes, etc, and it wouldn't get me insurance in a long term sense, or any of the other trappings of marriage. So I think the political-stuntiness would outweigh the brief act of marrying, by taking it back once the institution had been used like the economic whore it is (er, can be--no offense intended to my sisters and brothers in loving, egalitarian marriages). Getting into it just to get back off again.

The personal is political, right? It's at least something to think about.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

This seems almost coherent to me. Can you tell it's before 9 a.m.?

I spent last night lamenting the facet of our legal system what I've heard most aptly described as barbaric. And I know that part of why I wanted this blog was as a forum, of sorts, for doing that very thing. Preferably loudly, clearly, and eloquently. But it's before 9 a.m., and that's just too early for that.

Instead, I have sleepy intimate reverie.

I am currently sitting, finishing my breakfast, in the War Room (as in, Gentlemen, there's no fighting in the War Room!), which is the affectionate name for our study. The sun is coming bold through the windows and the whole room is benefiting. Now, I reiterate that it is just before 9 a.m. Chris and I have a firm policy of sharing our meals together whenever humanly possible--eating the same things, in the same place, and preferably while only engaging in that, though exceptions have been made to nibble at breakfast fruit while listening to "Wait, Wait. . . Don't Tell Me!" on NPR, on Sunday mornings, or to eat chips and salsa (or even occasionally dinner proper) with the laptop on the table to bring us the audio of our hockey games. Generally, though, we share our meals, together, at the table, with music. Now that I'm not in school, however, and he has to be at his first class at 5 after 9 a.m. (I reiterate that it is only just before 9 a.m.) breakfast is necessarily earlier than I am quite awake. So here I am finishing my breakfast in the War Room (as in, . . .).

Valiantly though I try to be up and conscious and settled enough to eat at 8 or 8:30, I have yet, this semester, to be able to be at the table at the beginning or end of breakfast(version Chris.0). Or even my own, really. I make it out there, share fruit, and am left with toast in the chilly kitchen.

So! With no beautiful fellow in the kitchen to keep me there, and Roy Orbison having stopped singing on the speakers, it's to the sunny War Room we go.

Now, I have something of a restless spirit, and a fetish for physical upheaval, so the thought of moving--anywhere, really--is sometimes quite appealing, despite loving this apartment. The urge to move into just a different apartment in the same complex has been pointlessly strong. Oh, not pointlessly; maybe with the southern facing windows in the kitchen and living room, rather than the bedroom and War Room, I think, so that plants on the Verandah (which comes off of the living room) would have a better chance. Or maybe to a corner apartment--those have more windows altogether (with an extra in, I believe, both the kitchen and bedroom--veeery nice). I love windows. And there's just a wonder in new space, a fresh start with arrangement, with organization. Reinvention!

Now, switching apartments without any good reason would be a hassle, so the will to rearrange--or switch--rooms becomes my next best hope. Speaking of big North facing windows, why not put the bed in the living room, and wall it with the enormous bookshelves and a few screens? Then make the bedroom the media room. Well, there are a lot of good reasons why not, but the urge is there. A patio with plants and big sliding glass doors in the bedroom is a compelling reason why to, though. Chris is very hot on the sunshine in the bedroom window, early in the morning, though. Which I like, too, but not so much in the middle of summer when it means being too hot to stay in bed at 7 a.m without closing the blinds (which I object to) (this, though, makes a South facing' living room' an attractive option. . .).

The next option is to switch the War Room (technically the Master Bedroom, according to the floorplan) with the bedroom, on the same end of the apartment. It's just a little closer to the Sunlight, and it doesn't have a closet directly opposite the windows, so the bed could be across from them rather than under them (Sun on the feet and in the room, rather than in the eyes). Which is, also, appealing. The phone jack is in here, though, and Lancelot's bathroom (the one with the bad shower pressure, broken toilet, and litter box) is attached and inside the War Room's door. So, Chris wisely notes, no shutting him out at night, if he's decided 3 a.m. is the time to bone up on his face clawing, hair standing-on, and bladder tromping (which he often does). I think a wood screen could solve that, though. He's not a climbing cat, it would give him something other than carpet to claw at, and a folding screen is always an attractive addition to a home.

No dice? Ah, well.

In all of that, I suppose the important point made is that, now, in the Winter-Spring transition (as opposed to in the dead of Summer), the kitchen/dining room and living room are properly chilly, rather than just a cooler alternative to a Sun-baked War Room. In the Semantic Battle, then, the War Room is become the warmer alternative to the cold front. So, with my toast, and the last section of the Blood Orange (all of which I have since finished--it is now half-past 9 a.m.), I flew South to the cozy, toasty, toast-filled study, where bright, hot sunlight is pouring in and warming my happier feet. And illuminating my abandoned, messy desk. Which I should clean. Luckily, today I have the better alternative that is packing and readying for a few days in SoCal! The SPaM conference (and my mother's, on the road between here and the San Diego conference site) await.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ripping off Chris, Jim, Bob, and Joe, only half of whom I know.

From the maker's of Jim's Miata, my lover's pretty long hair, and their collective webbed toes, the belated. . .

10 Great Reasons to Hate Lauren (now with 10% more smut.)

10. She is, her mother claims, a "lady of leisure"--that is, an unemployed bum. She thinks working oneself to death is overrated, and would gladly do something that only earns her juuuust enough to pay her student loans. Mostly, she's enjoying being at home cleaning, mending, and writing, writing, writing. She suspects she could publish some cheap smut for a couple of bucks if she found the right online rag. In any case, she's not currently behaving as a productive member of society, which is pleasantly selfish of her.

9. She has also written a couple of tasty poems, two of which (this one and this one especially) were published in CSU Stan's illustrious creative writing rag (but hey, it's something).

8. Her dad is deceased, so the first time you ask about her "parents" she will try to evade or correct you, and you'll feel embarassed and awkward. You won't like it.

7. She can whistle in tune, and only recently realized this was not universal (i.e., "What, you can't?" Way to go with that sensitivity). She can also raise both eyebrows, and each independently of the other, both up in the middle (puppy) and up at the outsides (arch nemesis/teacher) (to the same effect as whistling in tune).

5. She can make a fabulous approximation of steamed milk and gets good coffee beans and sticky flavored syrups (so she doesn't have to pay 5 dollars for fancy second-rate coffee beverages), as well as having the materials and the know-how to make Thai-Iced Tea and Jasmine Milk Tea Tapioca Pearl drinks (also $3.75-$5.00 a pop) at rates that come down to tiny fractions their pre-prepared costs. But, she would love to make them for you.

4. Her tomato plant survived winter and KEPT PRODUCING TOMATOES through rain, frost, and neglect, and as of February 15th had produced two new beautiful, creamy, dreamy, red, ripe baby spring Grape (supposedly cherry) Tomatoes. This is probably global warming, instead of a green thumb, but luck is maybe more hateable than skill. (She also has been on a long, savage winning streak, at cards.)

6. She recycles (despite not having curbside pickup), is learning to make fancy paper from junk mail, makes vases with beautiful flower arrangements out of used wine bottles and $3 a dozen carnations, mends/patches/creatively fixes and creates garments, and uses "environmentally responsible" (as well as a hell of a lot more comfortable) soft, washable, reusable-for-years, organic cotton menstrual products (like these, for example). And she really wants to tell you about it. Goddamn vulgar hippies.

3. She put "6" out of order. And her favorite number is 64. (Followed by 6, 4, and 36 [the square of 6] in that order.)

2. She sings in public. Sometimes loudly. And, she has a 2 and 1/2(+) octave range (almost an octave below middle C to almost 2 octaves above it), which is a little on the long side. Furthermore, she is a human jukebox--there is always a songline or song (or movie line, or quote, or. . .) and she has little willpower against the urge to express it. You wouldn't believe the number of times a few lines of "On Broadway" can be sung while wandering through Manhattan. Or "Thank You Lord for Sending Me the F-Train" while riding an F-train. Well, some of you would.

1. She is very, very, very happy with a long-haired, pretty, talented, musical, intelligent, flower-buying, strawberry tart-making sexpot of a philosopher chef, who trusts her enough to let her cut his hair. (Reemphasize luck over skill.)

And, because I love you, here are a few. . . .

Bonus reasons!!!

a) Slash. Big, tough, sweaty hockey players engaged in sordid love triangles with one another. Watson sweet on Holmes (whom he lets use him). Snape topping Neville, complete with bondage. For your sometimes illustrated literotic pleasure.

b) She won't let her lover turn the heat on. Like, ever. Or the air conditioner. So maybe it isn't good for the cat or the guitars or circulation for it to be below 50˚F inside (though 30-something outside) or above 80˚F inside (though 100-something outside), but did that stop Napolean? I ask you, does the glassware complain? Well, it probably does. But that's beside the point.

c) She suffers from shades of animism. You may suspect that your car doesn't like you, but does your flute get lonely? Does the stuffed bunny get cold, or bored of sitting on that particular surface? Does he feel neglected, leaving you feeling like a bad mother, ridden with guilt, and resolved to take him on that next big trip to the city with you? What about that skirt--doesn't it deserve to go, too? It would love San Francisco, and it hasn't had the chance to see it, yet. . . And you haven't been using that cup as often as the others, it has to have noticed by now. . . .

d) She's turning into a prison abolitionist, and she was able to cut her own hair fabulously.

e) Even though she's shivering because her feet are cold, she's not going to close the window or put on socks. Hatable dedication, right there.

Edit: P.S. Super additional reason: I lied! I put socks on after all! And I am enjoying a tasty mojito.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

An opener.

Because it's not a real blog without the first meme of sorts, I offer Johari and Nohari windows.

Apparently these are personality tools dating back to the '50s. Basic idea, you pick a handful of words from a list that you feel best describe your traits. Then, you drag in friends and family and coworkers and make them pick words they think best describe you, and a handy little matrix of overlap and independence is formed.

Of course, I've already second-guessed my choices, because it's a pesky difficult little thing trying to reduce a human being down to five or six words (or 10-12 if you do both the positive Johari and the negative Nohari), and many of the words are similar, or shades of one another. What about second ranks? Am I picking things that are superficial? Am I ousting more applicable traits for ones that are simply a little more glaring or spoken? Am I not looking at the big picture? Am I picking things that don't really apply after all? Am I picking things that no one is going to know about? Am I being honest at all? And what about the negatives? Am I being true to the spirit of it if I choose things that are mirrors or exaggerations of the positives? Do I have to think they're negative? Am I being hard on myself? Easy on myself? Am I really just doing this looking for suggestions?


So, I'm going to take it all with a grain of sea salt (the kind with the clay in it? that makes it red?). I promise to not be too flattered, insulted, or confused. I probably won't even make a rebuttal. But I'll probably do yours if you do mine. I'm a sucker for things like this. And it's been a long, long time.

Edit: P.S. In case you're wondering, "indecisive" is not an option. It's one of the many glaring omissions. Like "stubborn" and "whimsical."

P.P.S. Chris, a moment ago: ". . . Why are you a wonder widgit?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

On a whim (read: bit of fluff), I have made a blog. I will probably not write in it too often, but then again I may.