Wednesday, November 29, 2006


So to make myself feel better after yesterday's dismal blahness I decided to put up some girly blogthings to brighten my day. Also I coulnd't think of anything particularly good to write about.

The first was, "What Kind of Beauty Are You?"

You Are a Natural Beauty!

You're the kind of beauty that every guy dreams about...
One that looks good in the morning - without a stich of makeup
That's doesn't mean you're a total hippie chic though
You have style, but for you, style is effortless

What being a natural beauty means is that you are a lazy bum who doesn't wear make-up and you don't care. This is just about true. However, if they want to call lazy bums who have no idea how to wear make-up natural beauties it is fine with me.

Ok, after looking at how wonderful and beautiful I am, I decided to take things a step further and check out my inner Goddess
You Are Aphrodite!

A total shining star with a ton of admirers
And no wonder: you live life to the fullest!
When things get bad, you can easily take off to a happier place
But occasionally, you need to deal with problems head on
Ok, so I am all about love, beauty, and sexual rapture (If I remember my mythology correctly). That's pretty good too. Don't you all want to by my friend now?
Well seeing we all know how wonderful and pretty I am, I decided to see if I am girly as all that would suggest.
You Are a Total Girlie Girl

You love looking good, and wooing men with your womanly ways.
You're so feminine, men are in awe of you ... which is a very good thing.
Obviously I have a problem. Then again, the fact that I only own three pairs of pants (one being jeans) could tip someone off to the fact that i am a little girly. The multitudes of heels in my closet can't hurt that fact either.

I then decided to discover my inner rock chick. Something about this should take me off the complete girly track. See, I'm not all as girly as things say I am. Seeing as I can't sing but certainly like to rock out at times, this looked good to me.

You Are Ani Difranco!

Honest, real, and well liked.
You're not limited by any boundaries.
"And you can call me crazy
But I think you're as lazy as white paint on the wall"

Wow, Blogthings has never been this nice to me in my life. Ani is the coolest. She is a superhero, I only used to be one.
I decided to go for one final glory label. What could be funnier than this?

Your Celebrity Boob Twin:

Scharlett Johansson
I am glad she is my boob twin, she is ok and has good boobs. Plus last I knew she dated Josh Hartnett. One time, when he worked at Mr. Movies in St. Paul, I talked to him about Don't Eat The Pictures, the glorious Sesame Street at the Met show. I wanted to rent it, they didn't have it. He was a nice guy.
Ok it's time to go. Love and fun girly stuff to everyone. It's time to go home so back to the music tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Today was a bad day. I took a group of my students to take their National Customer Service test and only one of them passed. This brings my pass rate to a dismal 33%. Now, I know my curriculum is tough and that it could really use to be taught in more than 2 days but I don’t know if that is going to change or not. Now, although I based my curriculum on the material geared to the test, maybe I am missing something. I haven’t taken the test myself. I know, that is real stupid. I plan to take it next week. Watch me not pass. That would be disgraceful. I would be laughed out of my job. Honestly I probably should have taken it before writing the curriculum in the first place. The thing that gets me though is that out of the people who have passed the national certification, only one was someone I would have expected to pass without the class. That means that the other two had to have learned something. Both of them told me that nothing on the test was totally new to them, which leads me to think that I can’t be doing that bad of a job of teaching the material. Personally, I think they just don't read the questions and think about their answers. Like one of them was sitting there telling me he passed when he was looking at a paper that said right on top that they regret to tell him he did not pass. When i told him to read the paper a million times he still didn't see it. Changing that kind of non-reading is not something I can teach in 2 days.

I am really looking forward to taking the test and revamping things that need to be revamped. I was planning to take a notebook with me to make notes of things but after reading the rules realize that is not allowed. At least I have a good short-term memory. It’s the long term that really sucks. I do know that they ask a few questions about how to figure discounts that I need to add to the curriculum but that wouldn’t be enough to have them fail.

I just don’t want to look like an asshole. I don’t want people to think I am an ineffective instructor or that I don’t know what I am talking about. I want my students to do well. I need to figure out a way for that to happen. Until then, I have to find solace in the fact that some of my students learned enough to pass the test. Everyone I work with knows that my contract requires me to work with the most disadvantaged students and, unfortunately, those are the students who generally have the hardest time with tests. I just have to do better to be happy with my results. Once I do all that I can to make my training as strong as possible (take the test and speak with one of the National Retail Federation’s trainers) I will be able to feel less bad about their dismal numbers. At least I’ll be at the top of my game. I just talked to our Program Director and she reassured me that she thinks I am doing a good job so that amde me feel a little better. Unles she was lying to make me feel better....

Distraction by music time.

1. The lights are off again, she took me by surprise. She’s so sensitive, shit just happens sometimes.

2. There’ll be no darkness tonight lady our love will shine lighting the night.

3. Everybody’s looking at me. Feeling paranoid inside. When I step outside I’ll feel free. Think I’ll find a place to hid.

4. Downtown my darling dimestore thief, in the war of independence rock-n-roll rang sweet as victory

5. Your day breaks, your mind aches, you find that all her words of kindness linger on when she no longer needs you. For No One, The Beatles. Identified by Lizza

Monday, November 27, 2006


For my final installation of Conference Talk I want to speak a little about the session that had the greatest emotional impact on me. It was a session facilitated by former youth in care (I think they had all aged out but I’m not positive) and they presented their “digital stories” about their growing up and becoming who they are. They were incredibly powerful. Despite being only about 3 minutes long each, the stories gave a clear and concise picture of the student and the changes in their lives. They all expressed different emotions looking at their stories (which had been made years earlier) and how they may or may not have changed them if they could. One of the students said she had only watched her story once after it was done and had another student present it for her. She spent the time it was on under her hoodie and looking down. One of my favorites was Captain’s story. A line from the piece was (and I quote but may misquote) “There are three sisters who make up the man you see before you.” I thought there was something very beautiful about that sentiment. The awareness of different aspects of the self is common but to be able to articulate it so well at such a young age was really nice to see. I wanted to put some of the stories up on the post today but You need QuickTime (I think) to view them and I don’t have it on this computer so instead you can just click on the youth training project website and browse around if you so desire.

This group of young people also works closely with caregivers and youth workers to better educate them on the needs of youth in care. As I am sure we all know, what you may think is the right thing for people may not actually be the right thing for them. They are working to get more groups of young people to be heard within the system and to make sure that their needs are met. Far too often the voices of the people who need help are not heard and instead things are imposed upon them.

On another note, Thanksgiving was completely awesome. While some of our guests may have been a little scared of the continuous playing of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 (If anyone has Extreme and wants to give it to me they should because the songs on it are much better) and the singing of karaoke ("The Girl Is Mine" was our hit closely followed by "Zombie"), we all still managed to have a great time. The food was awesome! Even carnivorous folk were chowing down on the Turkey Tofu. I think it is all pretty much gone at this point. I think I may be able to squeeze one more meal out of it but that’s about all I can hope for. Yesterday, I took the last of the mashed potatoes and made delicious croquettes with them. I made balls about 1-2 inches in diameter and put a little square of Swiss cheese in the middle. Then I dipped them in eggbeaters, rolled them in breadcrumbs, and dropped them in some hot oil for about a minute. They were sooooo yummy! The cheese in the middle got all gooey and wonderful and the outside was nice and crisp while the inside was all piping hot and full of mushy goodness. I think I have to go to the grocery store tomorrow. I am debating about making more Turkey Tofu because I loved it and don’t know if I got enough. Dave’s delicious challah is nice and hard and I can use it to make more stuffing. Tony requested more mashed potatoes so maybe we’ll have an extra Thanksgiving feast just cause. I hope everyone had a wonderful time with whomever they were with and ate until they exploded.

Let’s Name That Tune:

1. Just Like a paper tiger, torn apart by idle hands, through the helter skelter morning, fix yourself while you still can. Paper Tiger, Beck. Identified by Jaclyn

2. Hooray I awake from yesterday alive but the war is here to stay. 1983...A Merman I Should Be, Jimi Hendrix (probably my favorite song of all time). Identified by Mom.

3. The lights are off again, she took me by surprise. She’s so sensitive, shit just happens sometimes.

4. There’ll be no darkness tonight lady our love will shine lighting the night

5. Everybody’s looking at me. Feeling paranoid inside. When I step outside I’ll feel free. Think I’ll find a place to hid.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


To finish up what I started yesterday, I wanted to continue on the discussion of working with trans youth. I mentioned the binary theory of gender yesterday and, oddly, the same facilitator who was critiquing this mode of thinking found a lot of success with an assessment too utilizing this method. Admittedly, she is looking for another way to do this assessment with a less cut and dry definition but it is hard.

When clients come to her questioning their gender identity she has them work on a graph. Male is at one end and female at the other. They place themselves on the graph in various ways including where they want to be, where they think they are now, and what aspects of themselves they think push them one way or another. Some things she found often were that people who feel their minds do not match their bodies often hate the secondary sex characteristics that develop during adolescence. There are even treatment options that include hormone therapy that delays puberty so that the client will have more time to decide where they want to be on the gender scale. However, this therapy is rather expensive and not often utilized so there have not been many studies that talk about its effectiveness. She also has clients do a line graph where they evaluate their happiness with themselves in other aspects of life including: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and sexual. She always uses 10in lines because they are easily translatable into percentages. Genius. They use two colors to denote where they are and where they want to be. The assessments are redone periodically throughout sessions to help bring people to their personal goals.

Something I found fascinating was the discussion of the development of gender identity. Using typical stages of development it is commonly in the psychological community accepted that gender identity is formed when a child is between three and five. Yet, for a trans youth, they are not allowed to affirm their identity until they are 18. Even though they have probably known who they truly are for over a decade by that point. I can understand when you are talking about something like sexual reassignment surgery that you want to be sure. However, the process is so involved already (you have to have “passed” for a certain period of time (1-2 yrs I think), have been through a series of psychological evaluations, and some other stuff that is on my handouts at home) that you would think if a person had been through all those things at a younger age that some exception could possibly be made. The steps to getting hormone therapy also include having “passed” for sometime which seems like it could be hard particularly since the hormones are often needed for someone to pass effectively. So many youth have turned to the black market to get hormones and therefore aren’t properly monitored in dosage and risk factors that it seems almost too much to me.

There was also some discussion of how indigenous cultures tend to revere people who display characteristics of both sexes. Various names for what can often be translated as a “two-spiritedness’ exist in many cultures across the globe. These people were often celebrated and seen as blessed. However, as the level of colonization increases there is virtually a direct correlation in the decrease in the visibility and celebration of these people. One of the attendees from Hawaii said there is a long standing tradition of trans behavior and virtually every family has someone who has adopted that way of living. It makes so much sense to talk about this as a natural part of life and celebrate differences than to categorize and label and diagnose people simply for being who they are.

I will now segue in a completely disjointed manner to a talk of thanksgiving. I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Last year was the first year that I cooked. It was only for Tony and I. This year we have a flock of people scheduled to come by. I think it is the main meal for only 4-5 of us but many are planning to stop over after they eat with families. I am a little nervous when I think about it. I have butterflies. I hope they bring beverages. I hope I can find enough things to put food in. I hope that everything works. I think it should. I started cooking my Turkey Tofu (that’s what my never eaten meat self eats) last night and froze it (because it is supposed to give a better texture) for the first time. I hope it works. Dave will be bringing a ham for the meat eaters (that eat ham) and Monica or Brian will be putting together a turkey. We’ll gave roasted garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with a little orange, challah, green bean casserole (cause it’s funny), mushroom spinach pie, mac n’ cheese, collard greens, and some sort of dessert that has yet to be figured out. Tony wants pecan pie I don’t and Monica will die if she eats it. I think Dave may be making a gravy cake. Monica wants a pumpkin loaf with vanilla ice cream. I don’t care. It will be an interesting time. I hope all of your holidays are as fun filled, unpredictable, and exciting as I hope mine will be.

To ring in the holiday cheer, let’s listen to some classic holiday tunes of thanks and love.

Pale Purple, Ani DiFranco- Well the song is a little depressing but has a feeling of honesty about the lack of community ties in modern America. I guess that is kind of what Thanksgiving is about getting over. It’s about bringing people together in a celebration of our uniqueness and our differences.

Disarm, Smashing Pumpkins- Huh, I’m a little stumped on how to relate this one to Thanksgiving. Well, let’s talk chorus. It talks about the trails and tribulations of growing up and facing the world and reaching out for someone you care about and maybe having them reject you. This is the poor guy who is eating a hungry man dinner all alone. Let’s invite him over.

Stutter, Elastica- Man, this keeps getting harder and harder. I don’t think I am going to try with this one, partly because I can’t really understand enough of the lyrics to pull something out of my ass. I’ll just say the 90s are awesome.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The next few days of the conference, I spent most of my time in sessions about working with trans youth. I felt this was the area where I had the least experience and information so, since I was there to learn, I thought I would. The first thing we did in session was to introduce ourselves. Our facilitator asked that when doing introductions to use this format: name, gender, sexual orientation, what gender pronouns we prefer, and what we do for work. I found it rather nice. There were about 15 people in the room. I was one of the three heterosexual people. After introductions, our facilitator asked how we felt about it and the two other heterosexuals said they felt very uncomfortable, embarrassed, and put on the spot. She said heterosexuals often feel that way because we aren’t used to have to identify ourselves because we live in an a culture where what is assumed about us is generally correct. I kind of thought maybe I liked it because what people assume about me racially is generally incorrect and that maybe if introductions with a bunch of personal information were common I would avoid a lot of anger and resentment at being around in some conversations. I know racial orientation and sexual orientation aren’t the same thing and don’t contain the same issues, but a lot of what they were talking about in the trans sessions I could draw a lot of parallels with in the racial struggles in this country. Mostly in reference to the ideas of passing, assumed status, and a feeling of constantly being marginalized.

Another very interesting thing we discussed was “gender identity disorder”. By classifying it as a disorder, many people who want to transition are able to get supported by their insurance. If they cannot be diagnosed it falls under cosmetic surgery and is generally not given any assistance. Many things tend to be labeled as disorders because they begin to be studied under clinical situations but when dealing with people who are not institutionalized, the nomenclature remains the same. Also many people, with reason, don't like to be labled as having a disorder for simply being themselves. I could be wrong, but I think it was fairly recently that homosexuality was no longer considered a psychological problem. I wonder if transsexualism (is that even a word?) will follow that path and, if it does, how that will change the accessibility of surgery.

According to our facilitator, the trans population is the most marginalized in the LGBTQ community and often studies thabout LGBTQ issues often don’t deal with the “T” very much. Although I don't have a ton of background that would make sense to me. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to really get into the root cause of that. One theory is that because it is a more minor group of a minority population that there isn’t as much material or research to write about. Also, because trans can mean so many different things, it often depends on who is doing a study as to what definition is used. Generally people tend to operate on what they called the binary model of gender. That model states that there is male and female and that you can’t be in-between (unless you are talking about intersex individuals which is an entirely other subject) and that model leaves out many of the people who identify as trans. From our discussion, it seems there is work being done to change the way we think about gender as a whole and to almost reclassify the binary definition.

I want to end with one of my favorite quotes from the first session on trans youth. I’ll continue with the second session tomorrow. They talked a lot about how most it is easier to accept a F-M transition in our society than a M-F because of the power dynamics in American culture. Then a discussion followed about hostility in the lesbian community toward those who chose to transition. One of the people in the group said “All the good butch dykes are transitioning”. I don’t really know why that was my favorite quote but I found something about it really funny. Maybe because I was taken back to racial discussions about all the good black men dating outside the race, or maybe it was just the tone in her voice when she said it (it was with a chuckle), or maybe because I know and work with plenty of people who would classify themselves as butch or studs and they would never consider transitioning because it isn’t who they are. I don’t think it matters. More to come tomorrow.

Oh, the song I couldn’t remember yesterday was Once, Twice, Seven Times a Werewolf by Half Handed Cloud. Now I’ll see where the music takes me.

Cigarettes, X-Ray Spex- There is something wonderfully dated about X-Ray Spex. From what I know they ended in the late 70s but to me they sound real 1984. I really like it though. I have to credit Tony with this band. I would have never listened to anything punkish if it weren’t for him and I like a lot of that stuff.

Welcome to Paradise, Green Day- Ok, I like Dookie. I don’t care how awful and lame that is and many people would tell me to go and hide my head in the sand but I’m going to own it. I love the 90s. Remember how I just said I wouldn’t listen to anything punkish if it weren’t for Tony. That statement still counts because although some people will tell you Dookie is a punk album, and there are elements of punk in it, it just doesn’t really qualify. Those people are wrong and so not punk rock. I’m not punk rock either but at least I don’t pose and pretend I am because I like Dookie.

Reptile, Nine Inch Nails- Wow, I am kind of a lame today. I am actually quite a lame everyday but sometimes my music doesn’t reflect how bad I am. To make myself even more of a dork I will admit that I listened to all of Live Through This on the way to work this morning. I didn’t sing along because people that sing on the train during rush hour are really annoying. Still, no one really should have the nerve to listen to that entire album in 2006. Whatever.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Ok, I have finally settled into life again and can get back to regular business. I have been thinking about how to talk about the Finding Better Ways, LGBTQ Youth In Care conference since I got back and it is hard to know how to begin. I decided to just kind of start at the beginning and end at the end. Maybe that will change as time goes on but, for now, it makes the most sense.

For a little bit of background, there is a disproportional large number of LGBTQ youth in the system when compared to the general population. There are many hypothesis as to why this is, the most common of which is that many parents are less able to deal with their LGBTQ child and, therefore, either are more likely to abuse the child and have them taken away or to turn them over to the system because the parent is not able to deal with their child. If these reasons are true or not, I don’t know. But I do know that the numbers are what they are.

The first speaker was Dr. Gary Mallon who has apparently done the majority of work on this issue in the last 20 or so years. I couldn’t believe the way that they used to treat youth in the system years ago. Maybe it shouldn’t have been so surprising, as I know attitudes have progressed significantly over that period of time (and we know we still have a way to go) but it made me want to cry for the lack of support and stability that these kids were experiencing. Growing up in care is never easy. Generally, people have a minimum of 5 placements during their time in the system. LGBTQ kids generally were experiencing 15-20 placements. If someone was in foster care when they came out, the attitude for many years was “save the family, remove the kid.” They would then be sent to a group home. Needless to say, a group home is not the best place for anyone to grow up. Then, they would be shuttled around to many different group homes because no one wanted to handle their case. The most common reason for removing a gay youth was that the other boys would beat him up and it was for his own safety. A lesbian youth would instead have to be removed for the reason that she would “take over” the group home and turn the other girls to lesbians.

Sexual activity of any kind is prohibited in a group home. For those of us who know anything about stages of adolescent development, we know that some sexual experimentation is not only normal but is healthy. For both heterosexual and homosexual youth this environment causes developmental issues. Of course everyone knows that sexual activity does occur in a group home setting but the punishment is generally quite severe and ranges from a loss of privilege (similar to a typical grounding), to room arrest, counseling, medication, and possibly expulsion from the home. Most people aren’t going to get kicked out of their house for some heavy petting. They also had a really nice term for same sex, sexual behavior. It was called “homosexual acting out” and was seen as expected since the children in the homes had already had difficult lives. Not because some of them may have preferred same sex relationships. There were no trainings, no discussions between staff, and no guidelines about how to talk to the youth about their sexual experiences regardless of the sex of their partner. Then, letting the staff “handle it however they saw fit”, which usually was to remove the youth from the home and we all know how foolish that is.

I guess that first session really made me think how far the system has come while knowing, from my own experience how far it has to go. I have been working with one lesbian young woman who completely despises gay men. The point of having workers who can talk to the youth about their thoughts and feelings is crucial. One thing I thought of is how I, as a straight woman, can talk to the youth. I can use the stereotypical and often flawed reason that I can’t be prejudiced because “some of my best friends are gay’ but I don’t want to be that person. I have been somewhat effective simply because I am an open and educated person that doesn’t limit myself in discussions. However, I wished there were more sessions at the conference dealing with that issue. There was one on heterosexism and how that limits you and your work but, maybe I am tooting my own horn, I didn’t think I needed that. Maybe I did, but I don’t think so. Some people there seemed curious as to why I cared about the issues. To me, you don’t necessarily have to be a member of the group to be a member of the movement. To me there are civil rights issues to be discussed and that is always important.

Ok I am at work and it is past time for me to go home and I don’t feel like typing any more. I still have a lot to talk about from the conference but not now. I’m not even going to talk music because it’s late and I need to go home but I will identify the songs that have not been guessed.

1. Cars and girls are easy come by in this day and age. Laughing, joking, drinking, smoking, till I've spent my wage. Over Under Sideways Down, The Yardbirds

2. A pretty girl is like a minstrel show. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. You go. A Pretty Girl Is Like, Magnetic Fields

5. Before I go to sleep can I be excused from dreaming? Ok this is bogus because I forgot what song this was. I’ll figure it out.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The conference was fantastic and the hotel was the most surreal place I had ever been. The picture shows only a little bit of the madness, check out the site for the full horrific effect. It felt like you were either in a movie set or a dollhouse. Some liked it, I found it terrifying. 9 acres of strange gardens, a river complete with boat rides, and a bunch of people who choose to vacation in Nashville (sorry to anyone who really likes Nashville) is not somewhere I tend to find myself. I can’t wait to write about all the fun things I learned. I do have to say that (as far as I know) no one has been surprised to discover I was not a lesbian since I found out Ben Carroll (who has no idea who I am but I just discovered he has a blog so why not put in a link) thought Brooke and I were a couple at Sarah Lawrence. The ladies made me feel pretty. Oh, the hotel is also called the Gaylord Opryland and that is a real funny place to hav a LGBTQ conference. Anyway, I won’t write about it now because I am completely exhausted. On the almost nice hour drive home last night (it took seven to get there) it stormed the entire way, I ran into all kinds of traffic, got back too late to return the van, and had to drive to work this morning during rush hour and return the car. Then, when I got to work I had the biggest customer service class to teach that I have ever had. My last two classes had four people each. This one has sixteen. It’s not huge but it makes a difference. I left work as soon as class got out and hurried to my bed. I hope that I will have time and energy to post something of interest tomorrow but maybe I wont. I can barely hit shuffle to get some new songs. But I will.

1. Cars and girls are easy come by in this day and age. Laughing, joking, drinking, smoking, till I've spent my wage.

2. A pretty girl is like a minstrel show It makes you laugh It makes you cry You go

3. You don’t care about me I don’t care about that. You got a new fool, ha, I like it like that. Fire, Jimi Hendrix. Identified by Brooke

4. Because mutiny on the bounty is what we’re all about. I’m gonna board your ship and turn it all out. Rhymin' and Stealin', The Beastie Boys. Identified by. Bionic Buddha

5. Before I go to sleep can I be excused from dreaming?

Saturday, November 11, 2006


About a month and a half ago one of our clown loaches disappeared, it was our bigger one named Bunsen. At first we took little notice because the species tends to hide a lot and that particular fish was no exception. Beaker, the smaller loach, hid a lot less and was always more outgoing. They both spend a lot of time in a little plastic rock cave thing and we figured the big one was just hiding in there. As time went by, we were a little curious as to why we hadn’t seen Bunsen but as they are nocturnal and hiders we just figured we missed it.

About a month later, neither Tony nor I had seen Bunsen. We hadn’t seen it come out to eat we hadn’t seen its tail when peering into the cave Bunsen was gone. We figured it swam up inside the little rock and maybe got stuck and died. Strangely though, there was no body. We have many scavenger fish, two catfish species (Maybe and Mr. Snodgrass), a flying fox (Jet Screamer), and Beaker. However, none of the fish seemed like the type that could eat an entire fish without us knowing. The only possible culprit was Beaker. If Bunsen had died in the cave Beaker was the only other one that went in there. It would have been a really big meal for Beaker though. Of course we had cleaned the tank while Bunsen was missing and had moved the little cave thing we didn’t see him. When we decided he must be dead, we did another tank cleaning and even took the rock out of the tank and shook it out over the toilet to try and get a body (or whatever was left of a body) out. Nothing came out and we saw nothing in the rock. We chalked it up to mystery.

Today, while watching TV, I saw a glimmer in the rock out of the corner of my eye. Beaker was swimming around and the rest of our fish don’t go in the rock. I told Tony I thought I saw Bunsen. He told me I was seeing things. But then he poked his head out of the cave. Tony saw it too it wasn’t just me. Then he came out and swam. The thing was just fine. We don’t know where he was, we don’t know how he got back in the cave, (if he ever left), we just know he is alive and well. I looked online and saw nothing about loaches hiding for that long. It’s a total mystery.

I'm leaving for that LGBTQ youth in DCFS conference in the morning so I will be absent until Thursday. Here are some tunes to remember me by.

1. Cars and girls are easy come by in this day and age,Laughing, joking, drinking, smoking,till I've spent my wage.

2. A pretty girl is like a minstrel show It makes you laugh It makes you cry You go

3. The world is spinning too fast I'm buying lead Nike shoes to keep myself tethered to the days I try to lose. 19-2000, Gorillaz. Identified by, Shadow Falcon

4. lying on the floor four stories high in the corridor between the asphalt and the sky I am caught like bottled water, the light daughter. Work Your Way Out, Ani DiFranco. Identified by Brooke.

5. I met him in a swamp down in dagoba where it bubbles all the time like a giant carbonated soda. Yoda, Weird Al. Identified by Mom.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Today I took a vacation. Since I am leaving on Sunday for that conference and I count 7.5 hours of driving as work I think that it was a fine day for a vacation. I took today instead of tomorrow (thus giving myself a weekend) because I have things to do tomorrow. Today, not so much. Well at least not so much that they can’t be done later. So I did some laundry, some dishes, got ready to go, and watched week’s worth of Heroes that was on the DVR. I love that show.

I have always like superheroes. Maybe it’s because Dad is into comics but maybe it is because they just speak to me. I maintain the fact that I could fly until I realized I wasn’t supposed to be able to. I know it sounds crazy but who knows? Anyway, when I saw commercials for a new show about regular people suddenly realizing they had super powers it seemed like a dream come true. I was worried that, like so many other shows, people would take an incredible idea and muck it up to all get out. That is not the case with this show. Granted, there are some characters I like more than others, and there are some that I downright hate but that is what makes a good show a good show, variety.

I also like shows with an ensemble cast. They run the risk of not getting in enough character development but when done correctly they can’t be beat. They draw you into an entirely new world and to me that is what entertainment should be. It should allow you to put things on hold for a while and look into a place that you generally wouldn’t go, or would only go in your dreams.

The past few years, I have been watching far too much reality television. I find it interesting but know it is utterly stupid. It has been a long time since there is a show that I truly find wonderful. The last one I felt this way about was Arrested Development and we all know what happened to that show. Or maybe we don’t because no one was watching it. Anyway, to me Heroes is that caliber. It is a completely different show but it is that quality. I hope it doesn’t start to suck.

The fact that there are many attractive people (and one incredibly hot one) on the show doesn’t hurt either. But to me, it’s the story, the way the characters get in your head that really makes the difference. Hiro, the Japanese businessman who can bend time is one of the greatest characters created in a long long time. His innocence, and genuine good heart makes him so appealing. I watched an episode today where he was unable to save people and almost lost it. Of course he saved some other people a little later and felt better but that isn’t my point. The point is that he is one of those people who truly want to make the world a better place. When you have power of any kind it is up to you how you use it. I know not everyone would use it for good. In fact, I think most people would use it primarily for personal gain and then maybe do some good deeds as penance for their selfishness. Hiro did help his friend cheat in Vegas a bunch but he didn’t like it and it got them in a lot of trouble.

I wonder what I would think if someone I knew well came up to me and told me they had these strange powers. Would I come to believe them after a series of demonstrations, would I simply not listen, or would I accept them at face value and trust that they wouldn’t lie to me? I guess it depends on who it was that came to me with this information. Some people would do it just to mess with my believable nature, Dad, but others would probably mean it. What if it were me? Would I tell anyone? I know people don’t believe this kind of stuff. I guess maybe I like super powers so much because I don’t believe there is any real reason for people not to develop them eventually. Evolution is happening all the time. If it doesn’t the species is doomed. The only question then is, how soon and to what end? I wish I had enough faith in humanity to believe that things would change for the better. I just doubt that would be the case.

1. Get out of the car, put down the phone, take off that stupid looking hat you wear. I've Got a Match, They Might Be Giants, Identified by CMB

2. She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene. Billie Jean, Michael Jackson. Identified by Mom.

3. Come to my house be one of the comfortable people. Lovely bright home we’re drinking all night never sleeping. Welcome, The Who. Identified by Mom.

4. It’s very far away, takes about a half a day to get there if we travel by my dragonfly. Spanish Castle Magic, Jimi Hendrix. Identified by Mom.

5. I got a letter from the government the other day opened it and read it, it said they were suckers. Black Steele, Tricky. Identified by Brooke.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


So the election thing made me really happy. Rumsfeld resigning made me really happy. Now, if we can only get rid of Bush…. Who is excited for the Comedy Central news shows tonight? It’s me!!!! Man those shows are going to be hilarious. Rather than continuing in this excited election train of thought, I am going to talk about some things that I just don’t understand.

Yesterday when voting the lady gave me a hard time because the signature I signed didn’t look enough like the one on the paper she had. Now, maybe it is just me, but sometimes signatures come out a little differently (particularly when you have a momentary brain fart like I did) and I told her as much (politely of course). She told me I should really be careful of that because it could get me into trouble. Did I mention that she had already checked my ID? They just don’t want to let a sister vote. Then when I left she accused me of stealing the pen. Bitch, just cause you didn’t see me put the pen down doesn’t mean I didn’t. I don’t want your funky voting pen anyway. I want people to use the stupid thing to vote. Who do you think I am? I didn’t understand.

This morning on the train was a disgusting and somehow not at all malodorous mess under one of the seats. It appeared to be vomit. Since I get on the train very close to the northernmost stop, I had a long time to sit and watch people get really excited about an open seat and then shrink in horror when they looked and saw the mess. As the mess was on the floor below the inside seat, a few people were brave enough to sit in the outside seat but then moved if another seat became available. Finally, about a stop before I was going to get off a bubbly group of apparently High School girls teemed onto the train and one promptly sat down in that seat despite all the cries of “SOMEONE VOMITED THERE!!!!!” from other passengers. She simply looked down and shrugged. There had to be vomit on her shoes and she just shrugged and continued to sit. There was no jump up in horror, no loud shriek of disgust, not even a hang of the head in shame. I didn’t understand.

Then I got to work. The new person in my department is starting Monday and that means I have to get out of my desk and go to my big grownup office. So I talked to the person who wants the big empty office and said she needed to move into it or I would. We asked the boss about it. He said we had to wait until Monday when the programming director comes back. I don’t know why it is hard for us to move offices but it appears to be. I don’t understand.

What I do understand is how much fun it is to hang out with Dave E Wo, make pizza, play cribbage and rummy, and watch TV. That’s how you have a good time.

You also have a good time listening to music. I’m not picking songs anymore because it is far too easy. Back to shuffle we go.

1. Sleepwalking through the all night drugstore, baptized in fluorescent light. Superhero, Ani Difranco. Identified by Brooke.

2. Hey boy take a look at me, let me dirty up your mind. Queer, Garbage. Identified by Brooke.

3. Get out of the car, put down the phone, take off that stupid looking hat you wear.

4. People say I’m the life of the party cause I tell a joke or two. Tracks Of My Tears, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Identidied by Dad.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Car Rentals are pissing me off. On Sunday I am going to TN for a conference on LGBTQ children, youth, adults, and families involved in the child welfare system for work. I am driving a van to this conference. I need to rent a car. Renting a car is a pain in the ass. Why you ask? Oh so many reasons. I plan to rent and pay for this car using our company credit card. My credit card is useless because there is no money available on it. They won’t accept a debit card (not that I would use mine anyway because why would I). They won’t let me use the company card because my name is not on it. Therefore, someone whose name is on the card has to come down to the rental place on Sunday morning and rent the car. This does not make them particularly happy. I have been trying to open a business account so that they can bill the company but it appears that we do not rent vehicles enough for them to do this. Why is it so difficult? I thought about mentioning that they just rent me the car on Friday but I know they won’t go for the extra few days of car rental costs so that is pretty much out of the question. Why is it so difficult? Don’t they just want their money?

I just spoke with someone over the phone about getting this set up. She is faxing me forms. This may or may not be able to be processed by Sunday. I hope so. It’s bad enough I have to get up on Sunday but for someone who isn’t even going on the trip to have to it just isn’t fair. You gotta do what you gotta do though. I guess it is all about making sure no one screws the rental company but really, how many people do that? I suppose maybe more than I think. It just wouldn’t cross my mind. I just want to drive and come home as quickly as possible. I have a meeting Friday morning. I wonder if I can go home after this meeting since I have to work on Sunday and for 24 hours a day until Wednesday. Then I come home and start teaching my next class on Thursday. Wait, that’s a bad idea. Maybe I call all the people signed up for that class and tell them it will start on Monday instead. The problem with that though is they need to go over their homework with me after the class and many of them wouldn’t be able to get that done until after Thanksgiving. Huh, I wonder what I should do? If I decide to do it on Thursday then someone else will have to call all the students and remind them about class. It isn’t like teaching class is hard. I don’t have to prepare. That way I can take it really easy Thanksgiving week. I have to plan my menu and budget for groceries. Call me Monica.

Also it’s peace day across the blogging world. I think I am supposed to have done something to this photo of the earth and post it in support. I didn’t do that. However, I am in full support of peace day. In fact as a former Peace Child it would be sacrilegious for me not to support the day. It’s also nice that Peace Day falls on Election Day. I guess it makes you hope that with a change in leadership will come a change in the level of global peace that we can achieve. I know that most people throughout the world prefer a state of cooperation and peace to that of chaos and war. However, it seems those who don’t necessarily share that opinion tend to be those in power throughout the world. Maybe it is because the peace motivated types tend not to be power obsessed and therefore don’t run for office. I’m sure I am oversimplifying things far too much but I think there is a grain of validity in the point. Do you think world peace would be good for the global economy? I would think yes but I am guessing that many people (particularly the power people) would say no. I’m thinking about trade here there and everywhere. The sharing of resources, the elimination of world hunger and homelessness (think of all the jobs that truly getting grid of hungry and homeless people would create. Think how much more manpower the world would have in general if people started working who had been too hungry or homeless to do so. Industry would boom. In case it is far too obvious I have so reason to believe my assertions. They are probably wrong. I have never taken a class in economics and really know jack shit about it. Damn liberal arts education. I do, however, know how to think up some crazy ideas and then try to argue their merits and sometimes have people believe me. Anyway, I guess the point is Peace Day Hooray!

In the theme of self-selecting songs on topics (and having them be very easy to guess), today I will go with songs that make me think of peace, love, happiness, and general good vibes.

1. Color in sky Prussian blue, scarlet fleece changes hue, crimson ball sinks from view. Wear Your Love Like Heaven. Donovan. Identified byMonica

2. Packing my bags, going away, to a place where the air is clean. Saturn, Stevie Wonder. Identified by.Monica

3. Walk around, why wear a frown, say little people try to put you down. Mighty Mighty, Earth Wind and Fire. Identified byShadow Falcon

4. Now I’ve been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come. Peace Train, Cat Stevens. Identified by Monica

5. There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung. All You Need is Love, The Beatles. Identified byMonica

Monday, November 06, 2006


Tomorrow is Election Day. I just had a freak out because I looked in my wallet for my voter registration card (because you know I have one) and it was nowhere to be found. I had two for my previous address but none for my current address. Knowing how much they don’t like to let people vote, I naturally was scared. I went immediately to the Board of Elections website and found out that they have me listed at my current address and that I am active and I decided I will be allowed to vote. I of course printed out the web page that had me listed as well as the ID of the polling place. I just don’t have much faith that I will find that little piece of paper tonight. I have a dinner to make, a lunch to make, TV to watch, a movie to finish, and relaxing to do. I also have to figure out if I am coming in late tomorrow or if I am leaving early. Maybe the polls open early enough that I can vote and get to work on time? Or I could go in late or leave early. That is one of my favorite parts about voting. I also wonder why voting isn’t done on the weekend? Are employers legally bound to let people have time off to vote? Are they required to pay them for time missed? If not, does this contribute to the low voter turnout in poorer areas? I wonder.

Speaking of elections, I read today that the Republican Party is vehemently denying claims that they arranged for the Saddam verdict to be read yesterday in an attempt to gain election clout. I would put nothing past these guys. I was more amused by how upset they seemed to be (at least in the quotes I read) about the fact that such questions were even raised. Need I remind said party that they were just questioning democrats about bringing the Foley scandal to the forefront to influence the election? Isn’t this a much more obvious ploy? Not that I am saying they had malicious election swaying intentions but to be outraged at the thought of these intentions is ludicrous.

I wish I were excited about voting tomorrow. I am not. The candidates all suck ass. However, I know it is an important thing to do so I will be voting. Not voting is more wrong than voting for candidates you don’t completely agree with. If more people had my attitude maybe we wouldn’t have the lowest voter turnout of any democracy. Isn’t that depressing. 70% of Iraqis voted in their elections. Granted, it was the first one so maybe they were extra excited, but still. Turnout in this country makes me want to cry. No one cares anymore. Maybe that is an excellent political strategy, make people so disillusioned with the entire democratic process in America and then they won’t go and vote (because they would rather sit on their couches and watch anything on TV) and then you can remain in power in perpetuity. It’s not a bad idea.

I am not going to hit shuffle today for this week’s incarnation of the guessing game. Instead I am going to think about some politically/socially motivated songs and see how well we do guessing those. They will be mostly be old songs because, as Monica said, there are no good new protest songs.

1. You will not be able to stay home, Brother. You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Gil Scott Heron. Identified by Mom

2. I got pulled over in West Texas so they could look inside my car. He said are you an American citizen? I said yes sir, so far. Every State Line, Ani DiFranco. Identified by Brooke.

3. Darkness at the break of noon shadows even the silver spoon the handmade blade, the child’s balloon eclipses both the sun and moon. It's All Right Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), Bob Dylan. Identified by Jaclyn

4. People moving out, people moving in, why because of the color of their skin. Run, run, run but you sure can’t hide. Ball of Confusion, The Temptations. Identified by Mom

5. I came upon a child of god, he was walking along the road and I asked him where are you going, and this he told me. Woodstock, Joni Mitchell. Identified by Mom

Mom tought me to be a revolutionary type, can you tell?

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I just saw the most depressing film. It was a documentary called Reversal of Fortune and chronicled a man who had been homeless for twenty years and was given $100,000 to see what would happen. The filmmakers and his family did everything possible to have this turn out well. They set him up with a financial planner, tried to give him contacts on employment, and helped him to get an apartment. Unfortunately, things just didn’t seem to work out well. By the end of six months, he wouldn’t report how much was left but his sisters seemed to think it was around $5,000.

It was depressing not only for that man, but also for the hundreds of thousands to possibly millions of homeless people in the US. Maybe I am being optimistic, but I am sure there are some homeless people out there who would take that much money and not waste it on Dodge Rams, beer, and trying to impress those of the opposite sex. I am sure that some people would get that money and find a way to once more become productive citizens.

This man was adamant about not thinking for the future. His attitude was that he had been thinking one day at a time for so long that it was impossible to think any other way. He wouldn’t even consider trying to make a budget or really looking for work. It made me so mad. He did a lot of generous things like treating people to meals and even buying them cars but he blew so much of the money it physically pained me. He seemed like a nice person but the unwillingness to accept sound advice was just so stupid. He said the financial planner was just trying to get some of his money, and yes, they do work for fees but he didn’t seem to have a problem with these two women who he knew were dating him only for his money and would probably leave him as soon as the money ran out. It really pissed me off.

I know planning for the future isn’t easy. I am guilty of this to a certain extent myself. However, you can be sure that if someone gave me a briefcase with $100,000 tax free that there would be some incredible positive changes in my life. I know in the grand scheme of things it isn’t all that much money. I also know it is enough to get plenty of good things started. It also is a very little amount of money to make a film (cause they certainly didn’t spend a lot on production) and no matter what happened to the person, they were going to get a good story. Anyway, I wish I had that money but no one will give it to me because it wouldn’t make for a very good movie at all.

Maybe some inspirational music will have me back in good spirits.

In Houston, Tapes ‘n Tapes- This is a really good band. I am glad Monica told me to listen to them. I should download more of their music because they are one of the new bands that I have started listening to that Tony and I can both agree on. There is a very minimalist yet complex sound that they have going on. Good times.

The Holy War, Thin Lizzy- Yet another band that Tony is into that I am very glad became part of my repertoire. This isn’t my favorite of their songs though. It’s a little hair band sounding for me. They did have long hair though (and an afro).

Don’t Leave Me Now, Pink Floyd- I really like The Wall. I think that it is a little silly of me because I think I should kind of be over it by now but maybe that is why they call the stuff classic rock. You never really get tired of a classic.

Friday, November 03, 2006


This morning I read a story about a man who snatched purses from three women and was sentenced to thirteen years in jail. Now, he did also cause one of these women the loss of a finger because she tried to get her purse back and he slammed a car door on her hand. Even so, 13 years seems like a really long time to me. I looked up stats for length of murder sentences in Illinois and even first-degree murder can carry as little as twenty years. Maybe I am lenient, but a seven-year difference from planning and carrying out the death of another individual and a guy snatching some purses and accidentally severing a finger doesn’t seem quite right. Rapists averaged ten years. Sometimes I really wonder about our legal system.

Anyway, I have been running around like a crazy person the past two days teaching my customer service class. I found it is easier to teach a class of four boys than it is to teach a class of four girls. I’m not entirely sure about why this is. Maybe it just depended on the particular boys and girls in my class. The guys I had were incredibly focused on getting through things as quickly as possible. Every little thing distracts this group of girls. I hope it’s just the groups and not some difference in the brain chemistry. That would make my last post totally invalid. However, I think I was right so never mind.

I am looking forward to having a very quiet weekend. Apparently I am supposed to be going out tonight with people from work. I had forgot about that. Also, I have absolutely no money with which to enjoy myself out with people from work. I’ll just show up and make an appearance and then leave real quickly. Unless of course I have fun without drinks at a bar where everyone will be drinking. I suppose that could be fun. Water is free and drunk people are funny.

Last night I watched the OC season premier. Although the show has been going downhill since Season 2, it was absolutely hilarious how far off track things had gotten. After Marissa’s death, Ryan took to cage fighting, Seth works in a comic book store and hangs out with geeks and old people, and Summer is a tree hugger protesting hippie at Brown with that guy from Everwood (which was a really good show and should have remained on the air while the OC went off the air) and took turns “jammin’ on the dij”. The world has gone crazy.

Songs are good though, they always keep me grounded.

Eyesight To The Blind, The Who- I love some Tommy. This is one of the greatest albums to be around. However, the movie made me very upset. The whole point of the album is that Tommy’s dad comes home from the war and kills his wife’s new lover and Tommy witnesses it so they tell him he didn’t hear or see it and he won’t say anything about it. In the movie, the dad comes home and the lover kills him. It makes everything less meaningful for me. The stepfather just doesn’t have the same regard for crazy Tommy as his true father does. I just think it changes everything for the worse.

Turn! Turn! Turn, The Byrds- I don’t really know what to say about this song. I suppose Hippie Summer is jamming on the dij to it though.

Elder Green Blues, Charlie Patton- Every time this comes on, I think of my Daddy. I particularly think of when he was on the train in Chicago and some punk kids tried to steal his iPod and he told them no and then got into a conversation with them about Charlie Patton. My dad is cool.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I was reading an article this morning in the infamous Red Eye paper about the differences in brain chemistry between men and women. I know enough about science to realize the idea that there is a chemical/biological difference probably has some credence to it. However, I also know enough about psychology to fully understand the nurture vs. nature idea and firmly believe that much of human behavior falls under the nurture category. I think a lot of scientists do as well.

The article focused primarily on a book written by Dr. Louise Brizendine entitled “The Female Brain”. It seems that Dr. Brizendine looked at many of the commonly identified differences between the sexes and tried to explain them scientifically. A noble pursuit I am sure and undoubtedly a very lucrative topic for a book. Much of what was discussed in the article was in the vein of the differences in empathic and communicative abilities of men and women. Naturally, women tend to be better at both of these things. Dr. Brizendine found chemical backing behind these common beliefs. She even let the reader know that 10% of both men and women exhibit the characteristics most commonly associated with the opposite sex, which tells me that nurture certainly plays a large part in the process and she conceded to it as well. Apparently, the hormone levels and sizes of different parts of the brain in men and women explain much of the differences in capacity to communicate and empathize.

Times like this I wish I were reading the book or a scientific journal rather than the stupid Red Eye. I want to know what parts of the brain and what hormones she is talking about. Maybe the average Red Eye reader doesn’t but I do. Maybe they do too, I don’t know. Anyway on the next page there seemed to be many people who completely disagreed with Dr. Brizendine’s point of view. The one I thought was completely off base was her assertion about sex. Dr. Brizendine claims that, on average, men think about sex once every minute and women think about it once a day. Her reasoning for this seemed to be because men have double the brain space and processing power devoted to thinking about sex in their brains. Women’s brains are apparently wired so that they express their sexuality through dressing up and attracting male attention.

Problem one, last I knew double meant times two. If the man has double the brainpower to think of sex, wouldn’t it follow that if the man thinks about sex once a minute that the woman would think about it every two minutes? Or maybe there is some exponential variant in conjunction with brainpower that means double the brainpower equals 1440 times the frequency of thought. I don’t know. All I really know is if women are supposed to think about sex once a day I know some incredibly sexually obsessed women. Granted I know a few who may think of it even less than once a day but they are more than compensated for by those I know who think about it endlessly. Now, sure women like to dress well and get male attention, but don’t men do that too? What was the whole Metrosexual thing about? Maybe I know strange men but they obsess about their appearance and worry if women aren’t looking at them a whole bunch.

Anyway, I guess my point is that I thought this lady’s book looked like a bunch of hooey. I think she is in it for the controversy, which will undoubtedly lead to money and, very likely, more book deals. Best of luck to her.

I forgot my iPod at home today so there will be no musical interlude today. Don’t cry they will be back tomorrow.