January 2, 2018

Stalker App

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 9:42 pm

I began my 2018 waking up to the New Year’s Day marathon of The Simpsons on FXX I’d turned on the night before and had fallen asleep watching. I stayed in bed for a while and watched some more, not wanting to get out of bed because, don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s a bit extremely cold here in the mid-Atlantic states this week.

Then during one commercial break I saw it. A rather extended ad for a product (not saying the name) for tracking someone, ostensibly a family member. This way, you’d know exactly where this person is at all times, whether they are driving too fast, etc. You know, perfect for the psycho stalker on your belated or Orthodox Christmas list.

Oh, did I mention this product was specifically geared toward parents to use on their teens? Yeah, that’s supposed to make this any better somehow. I mean, even if that did, it’s worth remembering any spying technology doesn’t actually know the relationship of the user to the person being tracked. A man could be using this on his wife rather than his teenage daughter. Think about that. What healthy reason could he possibly have for tracking his wife’s whereabouts, knowing how fast she drives, and who she sees? Doesn’t that seem gross as hell? Don’t you kind of wonder that this wife should probably get away from him?

So for that matter, what healthy reason could a parent possibly have for tracking a teen’s whereabouts, knowing how fast she drives, and who she sees? What, the parent cares and wants to make sure she’s safe? Okay, but maybe that husband just cares about his wife and wants to make sure his wife is safe. Oh, wait, that doesn’t fly.

I would go further with this analogy, perhaps going into how we don’t want the government or Google spying on us like this (even though they probably are, every time we say “okay Google…” perhaps) so that we shouldn’t be normalizing it for the next generation, but the sad thing is, youth rights aspect of this aside, you find people are often not all that bothered by it. Some people may look at the husband spying on his wife example and not find anything wrong with it. Perhaps calling up the property argument, where the car and house and phone and whatnot are property that one has every right to keep track of and otherwise do as they wish with. Of course, what they also aren’t shy about saying, they see the teen as property as well.

So what I must wonder is the mentality of the person who clings to this right and would actually seek out and actively use spying technology on a teen (or anyone else). I mean, this is rather obsessive and time-consuming behavior that, well, even someone so inclined might lose interest after a while. After all, they have something better or at least more interesting to be doing. A show or a game is coming on. Got to go make dinner. Got to go to bed and get up for work. I mean, being like “okay, she’s at school… okay, now she’s visiting a friend… still visiting the friend… on her way back here…” is boring as hell.

Unless, of course, you’re just that obsessive. Or you’re looking for something specific. Such that simply talking to the teen about any concerns is apparently out of the question.

The ad indicated the product would prevent kidnapping (they literally used staged footage of a girl being pulled into a windowless white van), so that this would keep kids safe. Well, I’ve gritted my teeth through enough conversations with coworkers and others over the years to gather that safety is barely on anyone’s radar with the idea of keeping track of kids. Some have said straight up they’d catch them lying about where they are and would punish them, with no effort to hide their glee. Safety is the stated concern, but, let’s be honest, the whole idea is, here, assert your dominance over someone in your household who drives you nuts because you can!

And even without anyone purchasing the product or any of the far too many like it that have been around for some time, the ad does its own damage. It tells the parents and teens and others watching alike that this is normal, that this is how it should be. It reinforces the already far too reinforced message that teens are property that can and will cause major trouble at any moment and that it’s the parent’s right and duty to keep them as watched and controlled as possible for the sake of themselves and others.

All of that said, it was still pretty hilarious that the episode playing when I saw this ad was Barting Over, when Bart gets emancipated from Homer and Marge after exploitation and abuse. Now the ad just needs to run during Lost Verizon.

December 31, 2017

Well, That Happened 2017

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:22 pm

*inhale* Here goes…

January: This Is Not Who We Are

-I wonder if this is a good idea after all.
-Cash only!
-Hidden Figures
-It happened. That thing is… sworn in.
-So tonight… the un-ball!
-Me: “And when some ultra-narcissistic loudmouth seeks the highest office in the land by supposedly speaking for us all when he promotes fear and hate and the ugly manifestations thereof, we have to say NO! SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SIT DOWN! THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE!”
-Women’s March!
-Wow, two hours just to get on the Metro.

February: Overtime

-Falcons are kicking ass. Another year without a Superbowl going into overtime.
-Okay, the Falcons fell apart and the game is tied at the end of regulation.
-Python
-These people are driving me nuts.

March: Ten Hours Apart

-Python
-Finally, a weekend cold enough to go skiing.
-What do you mean you closed early for the season because it’s been too damn warm?!
-Well, I’ll just have to go to one further north.
-I still have a mouse in my house.
-I have a bad feeling about this event…
-Worse than I thought.
-And I just yelled at someone about it. Well, don’t put on an ageist event!
-Maybe I was harsh. Was I harsh?
-Hey, two NYRA babies born the same weekend!
-Got rid of the mouse, I think.
-So am I going to do this or what? And how?

April: Third Time’s the Charm

-Python
-Something about the zoo, old chemistry equipment, and a Canadian.
-March for Science in the rain.
-We are the cosmos made conscious.
-We are the means by which the universe understands itself.
-Act like it!

May: West Side

-What a nice birthday!
-COLD!
-Okay, I think we need a new water heater.
-Oh, that’s over now. Sigh.
-Awww, Chris Cornell.
Politics is getting violent!
-Something about fish, more fish, and a Canadian.

June: Radiculopathy

-I’m formulating a plan.
-Ouch!
-Oh, look who came back east.
-AwesomeCon! Something about a keyblade, a life-size dragon, and a Canadian.
-Ouch!
-I have a pinched nerve. Now for weeks of slowly subsiding arm and neck torture.
-Pier Six concert

July: Without Ceres and Bacchus, Venus Would Freeze

-Chili and ‘splosions. After seeing ‘splosions from above last year.
-Something about an art museum and a Canadian.
-I think I somehow got lost hiking on Theodore Roosevelt Island. LOL
-A long coming event comes rather unceremoniously.

August: 80 Percent

-Ah, white supremacist assholes in Charlottesville. Lovely.
-Eating bacon s’mores and weird Colombian hot dogs and Krispy Kreme burger at the Montgomery County AgFair. The fair fare, if you will… I’ll just show myself out.
ECLIPSE!
-One of those times you get bad news that actually wasn’t all that surprising and it has the side effect of increased confidence in your intuition.
-And now I’ve got a cold for the first time in almost four years.
-I think it’s time for Kingdom Hearts again.
Pizza pile!

September: Tabouleh

-New season of BoJack Horseman!
-Welp, now I’m traumatized.
-Middle Eastern Bazaar.
-I’m dabkeh dancing and eating tabouleh and the same time because why not?
-The words we’ve feared every day are said.
-Lots of bad hurricanes.

October: Rainout

-Nats game! I finally go on the last game of the regular season. They lost.
-Taste of Bethesda!
-Alright, finally calling them on their ageist bullshit, particularly what happened in March.
-Something about a rain delay, robots, and a Canadian.
-And… the Nats lost another NLDS Game 5 because of course they did.
-Dinner with three NYRAnians!
-Going to the auction with a keyblade.
-Finally booked the damn thing.

November: Kaleo and Po’okela

-Hey, Astros got their first World Series win.
-I think I overdid it on the hot chocolate.
-Time to go…
-Holy crap, I’m finally in Hawaii!
-Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor and some marine mammal friends!
-Black sand beach and Kilauea Iki and Chain of Craters and Mauna Kea!
-And back home.
-To Stone Soup.
-And Thanksgiving weekend to sleep off the trip.
-#27: Southern Cross

December: An Existential Question

-Again, not doing the entry a day thing anymore. Screw it.
-Meh, not sure I want to do Christmas alone again. I guess I’ll go to Las Vegas again.
-Winter Festival!
-Off to stop Glenarden, who lowered their voting age apparently without anyone knowing, from raising it again.
-Okay, Glenarden has issues and we want none of it. Let’s just go encourage Greenbelt to lower theirs as is planned.
-Cookies!
-Lights!
-Why in the name of hell did I decide to go to Las Vegas on Christmas Day again?
-I got stuck in hourly parking at the airport because everything else was full. It’s going to cost me a fortune!
-And enduring those few days.
-And back home to the very cold.
-And here’s this recap.

While 2016 was a lot of “because fuck you, that’s why”, 2017 was the unraveling of the very fabric of space-time, with event after event, be it personally or the world at large, being of the “is this actually happening?” variety. Cool stuff like some stuff that went on around Easter as well as going to Hawaii. And politics continues to boggle us all and lose all of any sanity it may have had, what with, oh, every time Orange Thing says or does just about anything.

So, 2018, what’s next? With 2017 and all its surprises drawing to a close, what are we left with? How much further can anything spiral, any which way?

I suppose we’ll just have to strap ourselves in and find out.

December 22, 2017

Christmas Toys

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,Musical Musing — Katrina @ 5:33 pm

Many Christmas songs are about or at least mention gift-giving, particularly to children. Some are even specific about it. Let’s see…

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas”

The lyrics:
“A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that can talk and can go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen”

So then…
Gift for boys: Cowboy boots and a gun
Gift for girls: Doll

What else?

“Up on the Housetop”

The lyrics:
“First comes the stocking of little Nell
Oh dear Santa fill it well
Give her a dolly that laughs and cries
One that can open and shut her eyes.

Next comes the stocking of little Will
Oh just see what a glorious fill
Give him a hammer with lots of tacks
A whistle and a ball and a whip that cracks.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Hammer, tacks, whistle, ball, whip.
Gift for girl: Doll

Moving on…

“Run Rudolph Run”

The lyrics:
“Said Santa to a boy child
What is it you’re longing for?
All I want for Christmas is
A rock n roll electric guitar.

Said Santa to a girl child
What would please you most to get?
A little baby doll
That can cry, sleep, drink, and wet.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Guitar
Gift for girl: Doll

Okay, seeing a pattern here.

“Jolly Old St Nicholas”

The lyrics:
“Johnny wants a pair of skates
Suzy wants a dolly
Nellie wants a story book
She thinks dolls are folly.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Skates
Gift for girls: Doll… and a book!

Alright, so Nellie wants a story book, with the need to explain why she did not choose a doll. Whereas there was nothing saying that Suzy, or Johnny for that matter, considers books folly.

Although, this song does have alternate lyrics to this verse:
“Johnny wants a pair of skates
Suzy wants a sled
Nellie wants a picture book
Yellow, blue, and red.”

So then…
Gift for boy: Skates
Gift for girls: Sled and picture book.

Hey, no doll! Suzy has decided sleds are more fun. Nellie, however, seems to have been downgraded to a picture book, one with specified colors for some reason. Perhaps this was a trade off. That, okay, no doll for either girl, and we’ll give Suzy an item for an actual winter activity much like Johnny’s skates, but in exchange, Nellie’s is a picture book now, because we can’t have a girl being too smart.

December 14, 2017

The Actual Innocence

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 7:01 pm

Five years ago today, Sandy Hook happened.

Several children who should be navigating middle school right now instead had their short lives come to an abrupt and tragic end because some shithead came into their classroom and opened fire on them for some reason.

In the above post on the day it happened, I lamented this loss of life, wondering, as I said, what they could have ever done to anybody. After all, at their age, one is new to the world and still figuring things out and likely hasn’t gotten to the point of causing any deep and deliberate harm to others like those older have. Not that it’s ever okay to kill anyone, of course, but with kids, it’s hard to see any rationale for it. An adult might have deliberately ruined your career or betrayed you in some severe way or what have you. Again, not that the killing is okay, but you can see how one so distraught might decide it’s the thing to do. With kids, they aren’t capable of doing anywhere near the damage to others that adults are.

After all, children are innocent.

And that is what the innocence of children actually is. Innocence is the opposite of guilt. It refers to what the children themselves have or have not done, and how good or evil their intentions. This varies by child, as children are individuals, and there’s no specific point where one goes from “childhood innocence” to “adult asshole” as it’s a gradual progression depending on one’s specific life and circumstances and experiences. But any innocence refers to the individual’s intentions and actions.

As such, it has nothing to do with something being done to said innocent child, nor does it have anything to do with said innocent child’s knowledge of the world.
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November 30, 2017

The First Thanksgiving

Isn’t there anyone who knows what Thanksgiving is all about?!

Sure, I can tell you what Thanksgiving is all about. Lights, please?

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

This is Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863, officially declaring Thanksgiving a holiday, continuing to this day, changed only when FDR made it the fourth November Thursday rather than last, so we celebrated a week ago rather than today.

There were earlier proclamations of specific thanksgiving days with very similar text by earlier presidents here and there, but Lincoln’s is about where it was mostly set as an annual thing where it still is now.

What I don’t see is anything about the pilgrims at Plymouth. About two and a half centuries earlier. It’s mentioned at the above link, but also mentioned is there were numerous such feasts through the then colonies around the time.
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December 31, 2016

NOPE 2016

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places — Katrina @ 11:59 pm

It’s over. It’s finally over. Well, let’s take a last look…

January: Science Is Everywhere
-New TV
-Zoo Lights
-Something isn’t right.
-Spice cookies
-David Bowie?! Awww.
-Oh, dear, that house had an electrical fire.
-Alan Rickman?! Awww.
-Something still isn’t right.
-Wow, big snow storm.
-Got to watch as much Doctor Who as I can before Netflix pulls it.

February: Wagner
-Muse concert!
-Something very much isn’t right.
-Superbowl! Chili and cookies as usual.
-Something is most definitely not right…
-Oh. Oh no.
-I… I waited too long.
-Unless I’m mistaken? Am I mistaken?
-What is going on?
-I’m… not mistaken. 🙁
-Soul searching late night drive. What do I do now?
-Wait. Is that a $72 roundtrip airfare to Chicago? Hell yeah, I’ll go to Chicago!
-Okay, I’ll go on a bunch of trips this year.
-Starting with a ski day at Seven Springs!

March: Kommissar
-What a bizarre board game.
-Goodbye, Downton Abbey.
-Zootopia!
-Lots of stories for Lent this year.
-Marzipan eggs!
-Brookside as usual.
-Solo Easter!

April: An Even Wackier One
-Now to the Outer Banks!
-But I won’t spend any money because I don’t want to reward North Carolina for their anti-trans bathroom asshattery.
-Up at 4am to go to the damn airport.
-Good morning, Chicago!
-The ledge at the Tower Formerly Known as Sears.
-Wow, that’s a weird pizza.
-It’s that painting you’re supposed to stare at, according to Ferris Bueller.
-Mmmm, Italian beef.
-Back to Midway. Back home. This was just a day trip after all. 😛
-My state’s turn for the presidential primary.
-Well, that was pointless.
-Now visiting the alma mater on the way to another day trip destination.
-Ah, the Ocean City boardwalk. Lots of kites!
-And a disturbing number of Trump shirts in the gift shops. -_-
-Mini-golf!

May: Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime
-Damn. The orange swamp monster secured the nomination.
-Birthday!
-Now to Baltimore to go to the aquarium.
-What a bizarre book title.
-Ugh, damn it, Capitals.
-Ugh, everything else.
-Nationals game. They lost.
-Another Nationals game. They lost.

June: 11:45 Entry
-More meh.
-But I’m going to New York next!
-Catching a bus at 6am.
-Bus is late. Must rush.
-Got there just in time. Up the escalator.
-I’m here.
-At last, after 19 years, I’m atop the World Trade Center! 😀
-Brexit vote: UK, WTF are you doing?

July: Metro Center
-Next up: Flying out to Las Vegas for July 4th weekend.
-Then flying back over July 4th fireworks!
-Then landed to find TSA opened my suitcase. :irked:
-Meh.
-Something about the Newseum and a Canadian.

August: Inkers
-Rio Olympics!
-Road trip to Connecticut!
-Weekend in Atlanta!

September: Arnos Grove
-Nationals game. Hey, they won this time!
-The Bazaar is in October?!
-Here we go again, seven years to the day after I left last time…
-London!
-No sleep on the flight over, though. :\

October: Six Pitchers
-Mmmm, Bazaar.
-Damn it, Nats. -_-

November: For Some Reason
-Election Day, at long last…
-No.
-No, no, no, no, no.
-ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER THAN THIS!
-Just… how? why?
-To airport super early…
-Hello, Magic Kingdom.
-What the shit? It’s November. Why is it so crowded? There’s never anyone here in November! :irked:
-Landed back at BWI. Why is my car not unlocking?
-Oh. I left a light on in my rush to make the flight. For five days. *grimace*
-I haven’t seen her in many many years.
-To Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Something about an aquarium and a Canadian.

December: Foamed Milk on a Pumpkin Spice Latte
-Christmas.

Alright, 2017 ball up there in Times Square…

Get us the fuck out of here! :scared:

December 24, 2016

Sweetly Singing Through the Night

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing — Katrina @ 11:21 pm

It came upon the midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold
“Peace on the earth, good will to men
From heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long
Beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong
And warring humankind hears not
The tidings which they bring
O hush the noise and cease your strife
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! The days are hastening on
By prophets seen of old
When with the ever circling years
Shall come the time foretold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling
And all the world give back the song
Which now the angels sing!

December 31, 2015

Well Played 2015

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places — Katrina @ 11:43 pm

Wow! Another 12-month ride and what a ride it was. Time for the usual cryptic recap. Let’s see…

January: Fire Still Worked

-Takoma Park to Hyattsville: “Be cool like us and lower the voting age!”
-Hyattsville: “Sure!”
-First reading passes!
-Yer a wizard, little brother!
-My phone is dead after nearly a decade.
-Know what that means?
-Smartphone!
-Ah, “Selma” is a good movie.
-Second reading…
-Is Hyattsville to join Takoma Park is being #16tovote land?
-Uuuuuunanimous!

February: 12th & Market

-Game food!
-If I’m going to do this, I’d better hurry up.
-Day trip to Philadelphia! Something about a museum and a Canadian.
-Did my TV spontaneously set a parental control block on a sports channel?
-Downton Abbey has a lot of tragedy, but it’s fine as long as they don’t…
-Okay, time to kick their asses.
-I might be too late. Oh, well.
-Or, no, maybe not. I misunderstood.
-Holy God, why is the fire alarm in the parking garage so goddamn loud?!
-Science articles!
-The dress is blue!

March: Multi-Piece Shipment

-Oh. I’m certainly too late now.
-Lots of bad news at once!
-At least we get a nice snow day. LOL everyone else left early because they’re scared of the snow.
-Wait, not too late, but can’t waste time.
-One full year on the job!
-Sigh. Did he really just yell at our waitress?
-Woman: “Are you an introvert?”
-Me, standing far away from everyone else: “What gave me away?”
-And, after almost ten years, I’m no longer a NYRA board member!
-Thank God.
-Vernal equinox snow!
-Playing a ridiculous game of hot potato in which the only winner is FedEx.
-Now watching Victoria be funny.
-Gahhh, I spilled pasta in the sink and burned myself!

April: Seventy-Seven Dollars

-Some Easter trolling.
-What do you mean I owe state tax?!
-Some event I don’t really want to be at.
-Some other event I don’t really want to be at.
-Someone needs to vent. Okay!

May: Have More Fun

-Trains and a door to nowhere.
-Night before birthday Nats game!
-Box fort.
-Do it! Do it!
-I didn’t do it.
-Cake!
-Okay, now I did it.
-Ugh, I have to report for jury duty.
-Narrow street is narrow.
-I think I can squeeze by…
-CRUNCH!
-And I just destroyed someone’s side view mirror. Ugggghhhhh!
-I haven’t had a truly terrible time driving in DC a while. Clearly I was due for a truly terrible time driving in DC.
-Virginia: “Hey, DC. Challenge accepted.”
-Three hours stuck on the beltway in middle of the night because Virginia is all “look at us, we’re Virginia, we’ll do late night construction and back you up for hours, because fuck you, we’re Virginia!”

June: 37 Years Later

-Oh, good, got out of jury duty after only a couple hours.
-Free donut!
-Belmont. Can you do it, American Pharoah?
-Final turn. Welp, here comes another horse closing in.
-Wait, no, that horse is quitting.
-Could it be…?!
-American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown!!!!
-Sense8
-Picnic!
-Emptying out old storage trailer.
-And Sugarloaf with little brother.
-Inside Out!
-Emptying out hotel room family was living in.
-And they’re off across the country on a train.
-But they left the Wii with me!

July: The Vine

-Chili and ‘splosions!
-WORLD CUP!
-Hey, where’s the air conditioner?
-A couple hours of pulling vines and weeds from backyard garden.
-There it is!
-DONKEY KONG COUNTRY!
-Clearing stuff out.
-What are you doing, laptop?
-Family came back east.
-Loud restaurant is loud!
-Minions!
-Family went out west again.
-They took the Wii this time. D’oh!
-Power outage at work = lots of screaming freezers
-Looking for new laptop.
-Hey, reached 69,000 miles on car on Day 69!

August: Timing

-Crash Bandicoot!
-Zoo!
-Alright, I booked a trip.
-You go in the Rack of Shame!
-Oh crap, I’m in trouble.
-No, it’s okay, I fixed it. For now.
-Car maintenance.
-What do you mean you have to keep it overnight?
-I don’t want a loaner car. I want MY car!
-Hey, I finally did the thing!

September: Yellow Lampshade

-I’m spending Labor Day weekend in San Francisco for some reason.
-Kathleen and I are visiting museums and seeing things.
-And a hookah fell on me.
-Driver: “What park is this?”
-Me: “Golden Gate Park.”
-Driver: “But we’re not near the Golden Gate Bridge.”
-Me: “…seriously?!”
-Stingrays! Sharks! Penguins! Snakes! Swamp!
-Chocolate!
-What do you mean United charges to watch the flight map?!
-I have a stuffed octopus now.
-Ugh, I forgot to do a thing and don’t have a good reason for why I forgot to do a thing!
-Middle Eastern Bazaar!
-Fezzes are cool.
-Sushi.
-Pope.
-Lunar eclipse.
-I’m invited to a thing!
-Now there’s a hurricane coming, compromising the thing.

October: Nine and a Half Hours

-Nope, hurricane is going elsewhere. The thing is unaffected.
-To Philadelphia and southern New Jersey! Something about mosaics, an injured squirrel, and a Canadian.
-Winter Festival script reading!
-Wow, twenty years of these songs that remind me of things.
-Gallery of Art and then Middle Eastern food!
-Collective Soul!
-Gah, I forgot about the emissions test I’ve been getting reminders for since August!
-I forgot to do things and I’m going to get in trouble for forgetting to do the things!
-Oh, wait, they don’t care about the things. Whew!
-Annual Sugarloaf climb!
-Passing out candy to adorable costumed children! And some teens and adults. LOL

November: 1:48pm

-I was sitting far away from everyone else in my group. Now with renovation, they’ve been moved next to me!
-I’m so happy!
-WES Auction: trying not to buy or sign up for too much shit this time
-Damn it.
-Did 97.1 go to Christmas mode the day after Veteran’s Day? I wonder why so much earlier than usual.
-Ugh, not another Paris attack.
-Think I’ll make turkey chops for Solo Thanksgiving.
-Heh, look at those turkey breasts, and all they’re complicated instructions. I’ll read them for the hell of it.
-Actually, this looks doable.
-Buy the roasting pan!
-Mockingjay, Part 2! It made me feel emotions!
-Alright, I’ll break with tradition and book a trip for Christmas.
-What do you mean the return flight fare went up $95 just before I clicked purchase?!
-Time for Solo Thanksgiving! Will I be lonely?
-Nope, too busy making the turkey to give a crap.
-Ugh, I wish this turkey wouldn’t keep tipping over.
-Is it up to temperature yet? Is it up to temperature yet?
-Okay, this thing has been in for about three hours. I wonder if it’s edible.
-Holy crap, the turkey is edible. I made a Thanksgiving turkey! Achievement unlocked!
-Solo Thanksgiving ftw!
-Lots of leftovers!
-Shit. Why does my whole downstairs smell like gas?
-And here’s the fire department.
-What do you mean you can’t smell it?
-Oh, wait, this other guy can. Good, I’m not crazy. I think.
-There’s nothing wrong with the heater? Good. Then why the gas? Odd.

December: Same Fan with Weird Stripe

-Spinach Bean Thing for holiday potluck at work.
-And Perfection. I perfected Perfection.
-The Good Dinosaur!
-Nutella cookies!
-Lots of Winter Festival rehearsals.
-Lots of cookies for Cookie Walk.
-I’m Muffin the Cat!
-Brookside lights!
-Where the fuck did my headband go?
-Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
-Less Christmas shopping as usual because already dropped a bunch of money on flight.
-Did I really make these peanut butter cookies myself?!
-Seneca Creek Winter Lights!
-Have lots of chocolate, coworkers!
-Silent Night selfie!
-Why the mother of hell did I book a flight on Christmas Day?
-Yup, no parking in Dulles Economy Lot.
-Oh, wait, there’s some spaces.
-My feast of roast beast is in the form of a sandwich from Potbelly. Still counts.
-I called it roast beast when I ordered it. They didn’t notice.
-Did the flight crew just give us the pre-flight safety info in the form of a paraody of A Visit from Saint Nicholas?!
-The flight map is on my phone! The flight map is on my phone!
-Me, to family: “I come from the east bearing gifts after following a star.” Technically true.
-Some prix-fixe prime rib for Christmas dinner! Mmmm.
-Some relatives I haven’t seen in forever.
-After a few days of that, time to come home.
-What do you mean the flight is oversold and I can’t get on the plane?!
-First the fare going up right before I booked and now this?!
-Oh, wait, they got me on after all. Yay!
-Holy crap, Dulles is foggy!
-Back to work and package related annoyances.
-Screw, let’s get some snow crab legs and end this year already.
-And, holy crap, how the hell did I manage to post every day in December?!
-Oh, because all the posts are crap that I wouldn’t post the rest of the year. Meh.

What a year! I feel like big things are happening. There were lots of changes in this year, and there’s still plenty of promise, plenty I’m waiting to see how they turn out. Isn’t that the business of life? Something like that.

Goodbye, 2015! We had a time. Alright, 2016. I see you up there in Times Square. Bring it on!

December 30, 2015

Oversold

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,What the hell? — Katrina @ 10:43 pm

So I flew on an airplane yesterday, coming back from my aforementioned Christmas travel (never again!), but I almost didn’t fly on an airplane yesterday.

I checked my suitcase and got a security pass or something rather than an actual boarding pass. No earthly idea why, just the way that airline rolls I guess. I get to my gate to get my boarding pass and then I’m told “Flight is oversold and everyone else is checked in. You stay behind.” And I’m like “I already checked my suitcase! Can I have it back?” And they’re like “No, that’s going to Dulles. You stay behind.” They go on about denied boarding compensation, admittedly a nice sum that would be quite a bit more than the amount I would lose by missing work the next day, but my concern was that I wanted to go home, and it was cold and my coat was in my suitcase. They said that if someone volunteers as tribute for said compensation, I would then be able to board. And, fortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Thanks, unknown volunteer!

Why the fuck did that even happen? Who lets you check your suitcase and then be like “you wanted to board a plane you paid a bunch of money to fly on? LOL nope!”?

Also, when I booked this round trip a month ago, I got an error message when I went to confirm the purchase because between getting to the final page to enter info and clicking “confirm”, the fare for the return flight went up $95. -_-

Meh. Let’s close out this year already…

December 29, 2015

Coming and Going

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Shut the Hell Up!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 5:52 pm

Now for an unfriendly edition of…

SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!

I despise the phrase “friends come and go”. I mean, it’s true in general that relationships of any sort are certainly not guaranteed to last forever, and it helps to accept that when/if things change.

But so often I’ve heard this phrase used to mean friendship is unimportant, that friends should not be trusted or valued. Particularly that family are the only ones worth anything and are the only ones who are ever really there for you.

Fuck that. This may be the experience of some people, sure, but it is not at all the way it should be and certainly not universal. Family very often abandon you and friends very often move heaven and earth for you.

And it’s more than a little sad if your only relationships with others are those that happened by birth rather than those you actively cultivated yourself.

December 28, 2015

Ten Years

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Inside the Fortress — Katrina @ 11:23 pm

A lot can happen in ten years.

Some things stay constant each year, be it eating candy hearts on Valentine’s Day or singing carols on Christmas Eve. Maybe a decade without a new style or design or layout.

Some things change. Could be somewhat religious and later pull away from it. Could use certain words of expression and later realize they’re offensive and should never have been used. Could see relatives die or move away, friends drift away as other friends drift nearer. Could be an organization that is once so precious and important falling out of mention. Could be what was once so funny is now embarrassing and cringeworthy.

Eight Mine Fortress is now ten years old. On one hand, I’m glad this wasn’t some flash in the pan idea of mine I abandoned shortly after starting. That this site has continued on. On the other hand, the trouble with having a site like this for so long is how many posts from way back when I don’t agree with anymore, wish I’d expressed differently, or just plain should never have posted.

In any case, on to another decade of them!

December 27, 2015

Smoking

Filed under: Christmas Time!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 11:21 pm

Why do people smoke? I’ve never understood it. It’s nasty.

Okay, I just made it two days of picking on vices like I’m up on some kind of elevated equine. I’m a snobbish asshole, I guess.

But still. Setting aside how detestable anti-smoking campaigns are, why the hell does anyone smoke? It’s expensive. It’s deadly. It’s gross to oneself and others.

Yeah, they’re addicted and it calms them down. Fine. But why does anyone start? What’s the appeal? I see smokers having to go out and smoke in all kinds of unpleasant weather. Getting pulled away from some other activity because nicotine cravings.

We all know this. Everything I’m saying is obnoxious and just judgmental shit smokers are sick of. I don’t have much of a point. Just find the self-destruction puzzling.

December 26, 2015

Slot-Shaming

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:15 pm

Slot machines and other gambling gadgets are everywhere in Nevada. It’s kind of gross. Not just in actual casinos. Malls. Gas stations. Even the airports. If you want to compulsively piss your money and time away, this state makes damn sure to provide. They even supply the free alcohol to quiet your ability to think or self-reflect so that you’ll keep feeding the machine.

This of course also comes the 21+ age restrictions on all this, so that even though they are unscrupulously profiting off people destroying their financial health by gambling and destroying their physical health by drinking, at least they can pretend they’re Protecting Children. 🙄

December 25, 2015

Hyvää joulua!

Filed under: Christmas Time!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 12:49 pm

Here it is. Another Christmas Day. The preceding weeks consisted of Winter Festival rehearsals, cookie baking, and shoving chocolate down people’s throats because it’s Christmas, damn it!

I’ve never had to travel for Christmas before. Always sort of pitied those who do. I guess I’m lucky. Or just stationary. Why leave your home for Christmas? Stay and relax. Eat yummy treats. Bake more yummy treats. Watch specials. Play music. That’s a nice Christmas. Why hoist yourself off to some airport and fight crowds just to spend some awkward time with relatives for whatever reason like some kind of chump?

Well, for some reason, I’m a chump this year. I’m off to the airport. Sigh.

Merry Christmas!!!!

December 24, 2015

If Only in My Dreams

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing — Katrina @ 9:51 pm

Candles in the window
Shadows painting the ceiling
Gazing at the fire glow
Feeling that gingerbread feeling

Precious moments
Special people
Happy faces
I can see

Somewhere in my memory
Christmas joys all around me
Living in my memory
All of the music
All of the magic
All of the family
Home here with me.

December 23, 2015

Presence of Presents

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:57 pm

I’ve mentioned a number of times that I’m sick of people complaining about Christmas being “materialistic” or some crap. That we focus too much on presents and not enough on Jesus or family or something like that. As if these things are mutually exclusive or something.

But presents are not only, you know, gifts. They’re wrapped and under the tree and not to be opened until Christmas morning. They’re a mystery!

And isn’t that just like the coming year? The future? That the future is just there all mysterious and just waiting to be revealed. Could be everything you wanted. Could be disappointing. Could actually be a live cobra for some reason. Could be nothing you expected but everything you needed.

Okay, I’m making this up, but it sounds cool.

December 22, 2015

That Was Quick

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Random Crap — Katrina @ 11:45 pm

It’s the Winter Solstice.

It’s the day of darkness and cold. When the daylight little by little gets longer, until spring comes, and warm weather comes.

Warmer days will come again but they are a long way off, and-

Wait a minute.

Weather forecast over next few days:
Dec 23, 65 degrees.
Dec 24, 74 degrees.
Dec 25, 66 degrees.

Or really soon. Whatever.

December 21, 2015

Sitters Are Now the Sittees

Filed under: Christmas Time!,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:34 pm

You know what’s depressing? Twelve-year-olds in day care. Twelve!

As in, they’re in middle school, and parents need to arrange for some kind of after school care for them until they get off work.

Did I mention… twelve!

I mean, in many places, the parents don’t have much choice, as twelve or thirteen is about the minimum age a kid can be left alone at home.

Ugh. Rules like this are not only a huge insult to these kids, but they’re a boon for the care providers. I mean, if parents are required by law to use their services, they’re raking in the cash. I wonder if they’re behind the age of being left alone at home being so high, since they sure do profit from it.

And this just makes things harder on lower income families. Child care is expensive, and it doesn’t help to make parents and kids have to wait longer before the kids can just go straight home after school and take care of themselves for a few hours. They either have to shell out the money or quit their jobs. Or break the law.

And, obviously, of course kids twelve and under can go straight home and take care of themselves for a few hours before their parents get home. It’s what my sister and I did. I was home alone as young as eight. Last time I was in day care, I was the oldest kid there… at age seven.

In fact, when I was thirteen, I was the one looking after a four-year-old neighbor every week or so while his parents were out. I was the one doing the sitting at an age that kids now are the ones being sat.

Nothing biological has changed. Just fears of lawsuits and -gasp!- unattended children! Children who aren’t busy with some activity, who, if without an activity, will get into -gasp!- trouble!

December 20, 2015

21 to Drink… Anything

Filed under: Christmas Time!,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:04 pm

So I was at Target earlier and there were some sets of novelty drinking glasses on one shelf. One set’s theme was of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, with glasses showing the squirrel and Clark entangled in lights and other stuff. Oh, and this set identified these as “pint glasses” and had “Age 21+” printed on the corner of the box.

Yeah… Okay. A lot of things about this.

1. These are drinking glasses and contain no alcohol. Drinking glasses are not age restricted. They can be used for any drink.
2. There were identical drinking glass sets on the shelf of Wonder Woman, Minions, Peanuts, and Avengers and such, none of which said “Age 21+” nor identified them as “pint glasses”.
3. Pint is a unit of volume, equal to two cups or half a quart or 16 fluid ounces. This measurement refers to this volume of any substance, not just beer.
4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is not an “adult” movie. In fact, it’s been on constantly all month on ABC Family.

December 19, 2015

LOL He’s Doomed

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing,The Occasional Godliness — Katrina @ 11:07 pm

In another fun edition of “weird shit in Christmas songs” let’s have a look at the old carol Personent Hodie, also known as “On This Day, Earth Shall Ring”.

Second verse starts off like this: “His the doom, ours the mirth, when he came down to earth.”

Mirth! We’re supposed to be mirthful that Jesus showed up as all human and stuff and bled out on the cross? I get that the idea was that he did all that for our sake for some convoluted reason, but it seems to be more than a little dickish to be mirthful about it.

I mean, I can see it being “how wonderful, he saved us!” But this makes it sound more like “Hahaha, he’s going to get crucified!”

Which, if anything, seems to render the crucifixion pointless.

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