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Yesterday, at an event nominally attended by adults, I found myself back in high school dealing with a self-appointed queen bee. I was not part of the in crowd 30 years ago nor am I part of the clique now.

This person has not treated me with any kind of courtesy, professional, mature, or even human since I’ve known her. Yesterday, she walked by my table, with my name on, gave a little “fuck you” smile and walked on to hang out with her group. At first, I wasn’t sure if it was the SAQB, but when she started snapping selfies with the other women, I knew.

Wow. Not even high school. More like playground.

As I left and she was talking to a couple of people we both know, suddenly, it was friendly. That’s when I made my error:

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Her back was turned. But since there was a Facebook rant within a couple of hours, someone told her.

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One of my favorites. I always liked Nelson Rockefeller. Study that picture; it’s the near-extinct moderate Republican.

The rant stated, in plural, that she would never “handle” any of my works (the ongoing attitude indicated that wasn’t going to happen anyway. No loss), had a libelous element to it “we know she pays for her reviews.” (huh? Well, patent falsehood stated as a fact with the intent to cause harm is actionable. I got one of my few law school As in Torts), that I have awful covers (loose translation: taste and simplicity are not a substitute for Fabio-style in flagrante delicto, and that I have “horrible sales” ( apparently, I’ve been getting tracked. So much for not caring) . Oh, and when her breathless minions wanted my name so they could boycott, she said something about me being post-menopausal. Not libelous, but leads to this being appropriate:

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What I regret about my action is solely this: it gave consequence to a small time drama queen. Part of the manipulation of followers is the periodic need to refresh their sympathies and that allowed her to do it. It’s Sarah Palin’s MO when she gets caught saying or doing something extraordinarily stupid or mean (we see it a lot). My mistake; I fed the beast.

The authors around me noticed the cold shoulder and asked, making note of the name. See, even big fish in small ponds need to behave in a professional manner and acting like a teenager is the antithesis of that.

Who you really are is what you do when you think no one is going to catch you. If they read this, those clucking and calling for my head SHOULD be asking themselves what the SAQB says about them behind their backs. If they’re useful to her especially for name-dropping purposes, it’s probably harmless.

I’m free to say what I want here because this blog doesn’t draw a lot of attention. Even if it does, I haven’t stated falsehoods as facts, or threatened anyone’s livelihood. I operate on WYSIWYG. Maintaining two faces is more effort than it’s worth.

I know you’re thinking “Mean Girls,” and that does apply (although I’d like to see a new reference), but I’m more of a fan of “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion,” especially the end when Romy tells off the SAQB of that film . More applicable since the stuck on the past mindset exists here.

That’s okay. This SAQB will go her way with her acolytes (Try crossing her and see what happens, girls) and I will go mine.

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From the other side of the aisle. I am non-partisan.

Who Needs Feminism? You Do.

Want to see me in person? Sure you do: this Saturday at the Burbank Public Library Buena Vista branch, I will be there, signing books, selling books. There will be a bunch of other great local authors of different genres. Come on down.

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A few months ago, Facebook and other social media blew up over a Tumblr account of young women holding up signs declaring that they don’t need feminism:

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Yeah. What this smugster doesn’t realize is that her gender has already been politicized whether she likes it or not.

This group reminds me of young, wealthy and privileged, like Paris Hilton or the Kardashians. They are enjoying the benefits that a parent or a grandparent sweated blood, fought, fell back, fought some more, and sacrificed to secure. They don’t see a need for others to fight and struggle because they themselves don’t need it.

They’re not thinking about things like Title IX as they go out for a college soccer or field hockey team. Or these women:

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Because of their sacrifice, these young women are free to go vote for men (or women) who want to restrict access to birth control because it offends their religious sensibilities or outlaw abortion for the same reasons.

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Know this woman? No? Do you young anti-feminists use birth control? She did a lot of fighting and sweating to lay the groundwork for that.

“I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay for birth control and abortion.” Hey, I’m morally opposed to having my tax dollars pay a salary to a Congress that’s been sitting on its ass for 2 years and wasting taxpayer dollars on 50 plus show votes to repeal a law that’s working. I’m morally opposed to churches getting involved in politics and not having to pay taxes. I’m morally opposed to paying for war. I’d prefer the money went to supporting women in controlling their own destinies.

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The young women in the Tumblr feed were not on the planet when the bitch shown on the left almost single-handedly sank the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have made gender equality a part of the Constitution. Know who she is? Someone dug up her nasty old ass and stuck a microphone in front of it. She’s running her trap again on topics as diverse as birth control, women’s rights (again. Jesus. Everything old is new again) and that she thinks the President is responsible for Ebola in the US. Phyllis Schlafly is an older edition of the spoiled rich kid who doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that were made in order to allow her to publicly be a stupid shit. Seriously, though I generally do not wish I’ll on people, I want her to die soon and in the most embarrassing way possible.

Young Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism (especially THIS one):

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Do you want to make your own decisions? Like whether or not to shave? (I’m a feminist and I shave. I have the choice) If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy, how many choices do you want available as you chart your course? Just one? How about reading? Getting an education? Think it’s not necessary to fight that fight?

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Malala Yousefzai

This girl was shot in the head because she said she thought girls getting an education was a good thing and should be a right.

Got a job? You got to choose that rather than having your father choose a husband for you (sometimes based on what kind of stuff your prospective husband was willing to trade for you. Goats, camels, land, a title (Consuelo Vanderbilt), cash, a corporate merger, building a political/Royal dynasty (Catherine of Aragon). Women stopped putting up with that shit. That’s feminism.

Earn money from that job? Do you enjoy getting to decide how you use it? Want to buy a house or rent an apartment? Get a car loan? Not so long ago, you couldn’t have done those things without a man getting involved, whether you were married or not.

Feminism, my dear, spoiled young ladies, is not about shaving body hair, or allowing a man to open a door for you. Remember telling someone “You’re not the boss of me”? That’s what feminism is about; fighting for and protecting the right of women to be their own bosses.

Respect is an earned thing, not a freebie. Feminism is not only about us making our own decisions, it’s about them being respected. See this guy? And the woman?

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He’s now a US Supreme Court justice whose confirmation hit a major snag when he was accused of sexual harassment by the woman in blue. The hearings lasted days and the details were unflattering to an an educated man who would be making decisions affecting women. I suspect part of the reason that Justice Thomas does as little as possible on the bench is payback for being exposed. Know all the sexual sensitivity training that is now part of orientation? That came about because a woman came forward and said, “This is the shit I was subjected to as part of my employment. No one should have to deal with a hostile work environment.” That was over twenty years ago; two decades and four Presidents. Want to see what’s outside the HR Manager’s office where I work?

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She doesn’t think we need feminism, either. And she’s in charge of enforcing the policies that prevent this kind of inappropriate shit.

And we have to deal with this kind of shit:

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The reason we need feminism is because these battles from twenty, forty, fifty, and ninety years ago have not been won. People with means who don’t think that the American ideal of equal rights for all have been buying legislators on the state and Federal levels to undo this progress. Women are the majority in this country yet we are underrepresented in government at all levels. Do you honestly think the freedoms you enjoy now are going to be protected if women stop fighting for them?

You do need feminism, you spoiled little shits, even if you don’t want to mess up your manicure fighting for your rights.

Shedding the Light Fantastic

My mother would sometimes define an optimist as one who could look at a room filled with horse shit and declare, “There must be a pony in here somewhere.”

Up to now, my 2014 has been such a room.

To begin, I was asked to leave the home I’d lived in for 18 months back in February. My laptop has been in a coma for a couple of months. I have not worked at my usual occupation (due diligence underwriting) since October 2013. My year to date income has been far below the poverty line. Tom Lehrer, a singing satirist (and Harvard mathematician) of the early 1960s had a line in one of his songs about “sliding down the razor blade of life.” And yes, my dream man went and got himself hitched to a far better version of me.

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And the ring he gave her was close to an imaginary one I “designed” for “These Foolish Things” over a decade. Same platinum setting, same diamonds on the side, but the emerald cut central i imagined was blue, not canary.

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my idea.

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the real deal.

Okay. My dream came true. What I had imagined and written has manifested. For someone else.

I really need to work on my aim. Nobody would want to see me with a gun.

I’m choosing to look at it this way: all these “losses” are a kind of metaphysical shedding. If you have a dog or cat or horse, when it’s time for the seasons to change, the old coat comes out (all over your clothes, especially if it’s a white cat and you’re wearing black) to make way for the new coat.

The things falling away (and I was going to insert a hyperlink to the Gin Blossoms singing “Until I Fall Away,” but it really doesn’t fit) are things that no longer serve me.

The room I was renting: the relationship with my landlady/roommate had turned decidedly poisonous and the tension was unbearable. Though my housing is not stable, I am no longer a garbage can for someone’s anger, frustration, and resentment. I don’t have to fear walking through the front door. Of course, I I need a new front door PDQ. However, there is now room in my life for it.

As for Mario the Laptop biting the dust, had my finances remained as good as they were 2 years ago, I would have replaced him by now. There is now room in my life for a replace to to appear.

George? I met the man. I made him laugh. I can point to him and say, “There. There’s the floor model of what I want. I don’t need the same exterior, but the head, heart, and humor? Yeah. Those, I need.”

If you’re a friend on Facebook (my personal page), you know I post “good wishes” every night. “May you advance towards your goals today,” etc. I have an ulterior motive ; if what I’m writing is showing up in my reality, then why not put into words what I’d like to have pop up in my life? Side benefit: people take comfort from the messages. I’m spreading good vibes, surely not a bad thing.

Crowded House, “Dont Dream It’s Over.”

This is what’s stuck in my head tonight and I don’t know why. Maybe things aren’t over as far as getting life back on track.

Some precious things that I have retained are friendships, both people here around me and those over the phone and on Facebook. I draw my strength from the love that is shown me. The has been a year where some long-standing close relationships have been irreparably damaged,but then, I never heard from these people unless they wanted something and they showed me numerous times that I didn’t really matter to them (don’t ask me What I want for a gift and then ignore my answer because it’s not to YOUR taste). That’s fine. I’ve got Marie, Andy, Andy, Chris, Kem, Kelly, Kelli, Tiff, Michael, Ant’ny, Dan, Dan, Laura, Brenda, Aileen, Diane,Whitney, Niki, Tami, Brandi and Brandy, Sandy, Mandi, Nan (all three have the same birthday), Sue, Cookie, Kathy, Jim, Ruth, Charlotte, Sherry, Tanya T, Monique, Kristy and Kristi, Danielle, Karen, 2 Jens, Darci, Jodianne, Greg, Kelley, Skip, Debbie, and those are just the folks I’ve talked to this week.

I will close with a classic from Liverpool:

The Beatles “It’s Getting Better All the Time”

It’s Autumn

While the title might indicate a remarkable grasp of the obvious with respect to the seasons, it’s a nod to a Barbra Streisand song that’s been stuck in my head today. It’s off her “People” album (coincidentally, 50 years old this year). I hadn’t heard the song or the album in…46 (?) years. It’s not one of her big hits, but somehow, it stuck in the brain of a three year old. (My mother used to play Sinatra’s “September Of My Years” non-stop until I was as depressed as Frank. She admitted to feeling self-pity over turning 30. Yeah, 30. When I got her the CD, I did so with the proviso that she was never to play it in my presence. This condition pissed her off, but then, her self-pity wasn’t a barrel of monkeys for a 5 year old).

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Link here:
“Autumn” sung by Barbra Streisand

She’s singing of a lost love, not something on my mind.

No, the lines that are sticking with me are “although the breeze is still, I feel a chill, it’s autumn.”

In my own bout of self-pity, the lines resonate, and well, if Barbra doesn’t resonate, I can always go Jay Z and “99 Problems” because a bro ain’t one of ‘em.

The calendar reminds me that I am at the end of a particular piece if good fortune: when I needed a place it live in a hurry, the current roof over my head was offered to me, free of charge, within 24 hours, and I’ve even gotten a 2 week extension on my presence here. However, time’s up. And I need another such miracle.

I found a job in January when my unemployment benefits ran out. It paid poorly and the hours were irregular, but I couldn’t find anything in my usual, much higher-paying field. And 10 months later, I still haven’t. My boss made a dumbass comment the other day when I said something about how closely everything has to be budgeted, including and especially how much gas I use to get to work. I looked him in the eye and told him, “$9.50 an hour doesn’t go very far, even at 40 hours.” He didn’t have a comeback.

Progress I had made at improving my credit has been undone by this situation. Word to the wise: it takes ages, a dispensation from the Vatican, and the intervention of Seal Team 6 to raise your credit score, but that sucker WILL fall by 60 points overnight if you miss credit card payments. It’s a rigged game. Know this as you play.

I am a strong person; given the trajectory of my life, it’s been a necessity. There are times, though, when even the strongest collapse from the weights on their shoulders.

Although one of my friends, who is a world-class psychic, has assured me that things will come through in “the eleventh hour,” in my mind, it’s 11:45 and the clock is running.

“I am where I need to be” has applied, in a literal sense, to my job of test driving cars and making sure I’m in the right lanes to stay on my route or avoid a blocked lane. It has applied, also in a literal sense, to my housing, as I am in a place that matches the homes I’ve daydreamed of buying/renting (so I know it exists) and at an affordable rate. It’s been quiet, beautiful with flowers and fruit and hummingbirds to delight. I’ve felt safe, secure, and until this week, at peace.

“It’s autumn” also refers to the time of my life. I’m over 50. While I have skills, education, and experience (not to mention a pretty solid reputation) to land a good job in due diligence and mortgage banking,…no one’s biting on the resumes I’ve sent this summer. I try to tune out the Facebook news feed items that talk about “50 is the new 65 when it comes to hiring.” I have friends older than me who are getting hired, but they have skills and connections I lack. I’m feeling a chill. Social Security is years away, and I (like millions of other Americans) don’t have retirement savings. They’ve been lived on.

I want to believe that miracles can happen at any time. Right now would be a good time.