Saturday, January 19, 2008

On leave

That time has come. The time in which I evaluate my life and how this all fits into it. There are a lot of other things in my life that are much more worthy of my time and energy at this time. Perhaps one day I'll return.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Y'all still are cracking me up

As we are approaching the holiday weekend, I thought I'd share some more thoughts. And it just seemed appropriate, given the holiday.

The other day I published a post that some of y'all took great offense to. Guess what? I still don't give a flying fuck. If it made you feel uncomfortable, then you probably needed to hear it. In order to make change, you need to be willing to talk about those things that make you uncomfortable. Otherwise we are just preserving the status quo.

I think what probably surprised the most was how some folks thought they were voicing an "original" idea. Let me tell you something. I've heard all of your arguments before. Thus my pissed off state. (That also means that I probably have a lot more experience at responding than you do. It's also really depressing that people after all this time have not been able to come up with anything novel. It's kind of like the guy who uses the cheesy pick-up line that we've all heard too many times.) And what is it specifically that pisses me off? It's the attitude of, "Well, this is just the way it should be," and acting like there is no room for discussion. Because that's how it comes off. Someone tries to show you a different perspective of the world and you just want to shut it down because it doesn't align with your world view. Yet another thing to make me sad. Because as long as this type of unwillingness to truly participate in the discussion exists, there will be no change. And maybe you're happy with the status quo but I sure as hell am not. If we were married, then I'd want a divorce.

The talking in movie thing was just an example -- a minor one if you ask me -- of how my feeling, at least, is that decisions about culture have been made in this country. I am not asking others to agree with me about whether it is acceptable or not. What I heard when I read those other blogs was, "I don't really like this behavior and I really don't care why people may behave in that manner." And to me that showed a complete lack of awareness of cultural differences. Because believe me when I say that people of color are fully aware of the dominant culture. We deal with it on a daily basis and are not given a choice about it.

What I would like to see is that we all get to the point at which we can discuss things so that we can come to a consensus. Because as a person of color, it often feels like decisions have been made about who and what I should be while I was not allowed to take part in the process. How can someone realistically expect another person to buy-in to an idea when that person was not a part of the process to begin with?

So here's the deal. Why don't you try opening up your minds? You know. Like what I'm asked to do on a daily basis.

To give you some further insight into my world, this is the city in which I grew up. There's even a movie about my city. I didn't go that high school even though I was supposed to. It wasn't until recent years that I would freely say the city's name. Might have something to do with people's reactions to it. "You're from where? You don't seem like what I'd imagine someone from there to be like." Because people read stuff like this and they get scared. When I was in college, I'd tell people about this because it is one the strong memories of the city from when I was in high school. Because it's always a good sign when "60 Minutes" does an expose on your police department. But there are things to proud of like this place. And now I live in a city in which the holiday is called "Indigenous People's Day." And in which Malcolm X's birthday is a holiday in the public schools. And I love that in these cities I have met so many wonderful people who are willing to take part in the dialog.

Oh, and on another note, BWB confirmed one of my fears the other night. She was telling me that she went to the store to buy oxtails and they wanted $7.99 a pound. What the hell?! I shared the story with my mother. My mother said, "That's just like the catfish."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Civic duty

Ever since I moved to Berkeley, I have received a jury summons annually. The other times when I called in, I was told that I was not needed and that my service was complete. This time when I called in on Monday night, I was told to call back between 11:00 a.m. and noon the next day. I kept my fingers crossed. It didn't work. My summons was to appear in Hayward. When I called in on Tuesday, I was instructed to appear in Fremont -- by 1:00 p.m. Have I mentioned that I work in San Francisco? And yes, Berkeley and Fremont are in the same county. Just at opposite friggin' ends of the county. I was not pleased. Because $15 and $0.34 per mile really make up for missing a half day of work.

I've actually had to report for jury duty before -- something like ten years ago in San Francisco. This time I was prepared and had brought a book. We were finally called into the courtroom at 2:00 p.m. And then the brain death started to set in. Because silly me had forgotten to pack a lunch on Tuesday. And by the time I called in, I had just enough time to make it from San Francisco to Fremont. So I didn't have lunch. I guess it was a good thing I stored up all those calories on Sunday. And the judge droned on and on about the process in a really warm courtroom. I kept thinking, "Please hurry up and call my name so that I can get this over with." Because there's something about having taken criminal law and criminal procedure that attorneys usually don't like in prospective jurors.

But they didn't call me until the end of the day on Tuesday so there was only enough time for me to answer the background questions. The judge then informed us that we would be returning on Wednesday for voir dire. Great! Another half day gone from work. (Court in Fremont is in the afternoons.) And sure enough one of the first questions I was asked on Wednesday was if I had taken criminal law and criminal procedure before deciding to leave law school. This was after a brief discussion about why I had decided to leave. And so after the attorneys finished their questioning, I was the second person excused when they began the challenges. (The first was an attorney.)

And I guess that's why I find jury summons to be rather annoying. Because I know that generally once the attorney's find out that I attended at least some law school, they don't want me to stick around. But I guess it was like a mini-vacation from work. And perhaps my absence over the last couple of afternoons will make them appreciate me even more.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Here we go again

Yep. Back up on the soapbox again. Because I'm a bit peeved. Imagine that. And this time I don't have to write the post and let it marinate. Nope. This post is the result of two posts I have read in the last week. I wrote most of it in my head last night on my way home. After the first post, I was ready to let it go but when I saw the same thing in a second post yesterday? Well, the gloves are off. And the earrings as well.

What's the topic this time? Talking in movie theaters. I have one simple rule. If it's about the movie, then it's perfectly OK. Why? Because it's a part of my culture. And I was a little worried after my reaction to the first post, so I called several friends and family members. And I had an email exchange with another blogger on the topic.

My discussion with the other blogger centered around film as an art form. My argument is that if one were to go to a museum with a friend, one would discuss the art while standing in front of it. The blogger then countered that going to a movie was like going to hear a public speaker. Well, at least two of the people to whom I spoke on the topic confirmed that it is also culturally OK to speak when going to hear a speaker. One of these folks, my aunt, mentioned "call and response." Because how is hearing a speaker any different from hearing the preacher at the church?

And what pisses me off is not that people do not like this behavior. Instead, it's that their statements imply that their way is the "right" way. And even more so, what really pissed me off is that they do not appear to care why people would do this. And that shows a complete lack of cultural sensitivity on their part, in my opinion.

One of the folks to whom I spoke was Kate, my college roomie who got married back in June. She pointed out that when movie theaters were first created, going to the movies was a social event -- and of course, one would speak to others at a social event. She also pointed out that she enjoys the comments from others in the theater because it gives her new perspectives. Isn't that what art is about? Interpreting what the artist has presented given your own experiences? But your experiences may not be the same as another person's and so they can open a door to a world that you may not have seen otherwise.

And then we discussed our college experience. My post-high school educational experiences were in environments in which understanding of others was highly important. I served on numerous committees that made this the focus. People were encouraged to ask questions so that they could better understand one another. I guess that is the heart of the matter for me. When I read certain posts in the PRB and the subsequent comments, I find myself wondering if people are questioning their prejudices. Because we all have prejudices. If you say you don't, you're lying to yourself. It's what we do about these prejudices that makes the difference.

Finally, let's get to my reaction to this all. What I hear when someone makes a statement about how people shouldn't talk in movie theaters is that, once more, I am being asked to assimilate. (And if you have been in a theater in which the people of color are not speaking up? Yeah, they've assimilated. Because when I go to theaters in Berkeley, the audience is often mighty pale and I sit there silently. Because when in Rome... Because how we act when we are in the presence of the paler nation is not necessarily how we are at all times.) Guess what? I'm tired of assimilating. I'm tired of feeling like I have to give up everything that is me to fit in. (If my mother read this, this would be the point at which I would say, "Yes, the older I get, the more radical my thoughts become.") And damned if I haven't assimilated quite a bit. I regularly hear from older relatives how I am the "whitest black person they know." And so I am not going to let others erase the last vestiges of my culture that I hold at this point.

So the next time you hear someone talking in a movie theater, just think to yourself, "There goes the Empress again with her, 'Fuck you and your assimilation! I'm done with changing just because you seem to think that I need to.'" And also know that 2008 is officially the year in which I let people know in what ways they have pissed me off.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Surfin' safari

Here in the Bay, it was a weekend filled with surfing. There were the most excellent guys down at Mavericks. *sigh* I remember back in the day (over ten years ago), when I first heard about this contest and would contemplate calling in sick to work so that I could see the action live. Maybe it's all those years I spent in San Diego that makes me love surfing so much. Maybe it's the way that surfers describe the feeling they get when they connect with the perfect wave. Maybe it comes from too many years of hanging out with guys who make me watch surfing movies. OK. So maybe sometimes I watch them on my own these days.

And this all seemed add some balance to my weekend since I was surfin' the crimson wave, as one of my friends would say. And when I'm feeling that way, my first inclination is to watch a lot of chick flicks and Lifetime. Thus the need for balance.

And I should have realized what was going on when I headed into Trader Joe's. I have years of practice at shopping hungry. The key is to write a list and to stick to it. But I didn't stick to my list on Saturday. For the first time in months, I bought frozen prepared food. Chicken taquitos? In the cart. French onion soup? MUST HAVE! And since I was planning to give Cyndi's fish tacos a try, I had put black beans on the list. Because I needed something to go with the avocados I already had. But once in the store, I thought, "I must have tortilla chips. And if I get those, I'm going to need cheese. Because I might want nachos later in the week."

It's all my fault. I should have looked at the calendar. A former friend used to tell all the other women that she knew that they should all take my approach. Back then, I would head out and rent a bunch of chick flicks. And then I'd head to the grocery store for my favorite foods. There was usually duck pate on the list. Basically the theme seemed to be fatty and salty foods with a few sweets mixed in. And then I would hole up at home with my food and chick flicks. Because I really should not go out in public for those first 24 hours or so. I like to think that I am doing a public service. One of my personal greatest discoveries was that with birth control pills, one can basically dictate when those 24 hours will be. I like Sunday. You can still get some weekend partying in and make it to work without being a raving homicidal fool. OK. So just on either side of that 24 hour window, I can be mildly so.

So what was on the menu on Sunday? I started off with chicken taquitos with guacamole, sour cream, and salsa -- for breakfast. Around lunchtime, there was French onion soup. Late afternoon was time for a crab Louie. Then dinner was the fish tacos with black beans. Yes, I really did eat all of that. Because I get really hungry.

But it's the one day a month during which I really take care of me. If I want to cry hysterically, it's OK. If I want to eat a bunch of "bad" food, that's OK too. Key to this is no contact, or at least minimal contact, with the outside world. Because sometimes we all need to decompress.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What's good?

So I've told you about OKCupid man. No, I still haven't set up a date with him. Really hard for the month of January. I spend at least one weekend preparing my dad's 1099s -- if he has followed my instructions from the previous years and has everything on hand. If not, then it's two weekends. And then I promised a friend back in December that I would go to tea with her this month. Yep. January is a short month. A prosperous month but short none the same. Add onto this that my stepmother gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure. That means that I can't just go to Sack of Tomatoes for a day to work for dad. Noooo. I am going to have to work one day and chill with the stepmother another day. Add onto this, fitting the men in. What men, you ask?

Well, first there's OKCupid Boy #1 (for now known as OKCB1). I realized that I have failed to mention him previously. We've met and hung out. I've thought of him as a friend. Just a friend. And then he made it clear that he didn't think of me in those terms about a week ago. And I wasn't completely repulsed. But that's when in my sieve of a mind, I thought that he was in his 30s. I re-checked his profile and discovered that he is 25. *gasp*

Then there's OKCB2. I've chatted with him for months as well. And he keeps stressing how we should hang out. (Now I must stress that my profile and quiz results make me come off as a "nice girl." And I really am at heart.) And this guy's problem? His age. He'll be 21 this coming week.

So now we're up to three guys. Which should be more than enough but no, then I went and pulled another one. I was shopping at my fave grocery store. There I was chillin' in line when one of my former students walked up. (Get your minds out of the gutter. This is not about the student. I'm not one of those sicko freaks.) He was shopping with his dad. I made through the line first and so I went to say hello to his dad. End of it all, dad ended up asking me out. In other situation, I probably would have said yes but there's something different about my kids' parents. My first year teaching, a mom -- who was sick at the time -- wanted to set me up with her ex. Even though I am no longer teaching in the district, I still feel as if it's all wrong. I understand that he's lonely so I suggested group activities. Because I just didn't have the heart to say that I wouldn't date him.

And with that I need to get ready to head up to Sack of Tomatoes. Hopefully I get everything done there this weekend so I can have the remaining weekends this month free to play.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The detective

So I wrote this post weeks ago but I thought it was appropriate to post it. Because my new boss? Well one of the things he stated last night was that he was concerned about my stress level. I told him that I am a big girl and know how to take care of myself appropriately.

Perhaps I should have seen it as a sign when my new Thrive! card showed up in the mail on Wednesday. And that means that I can schedule that follow-up with my OB/GYN that should have happened in August but when I showed up, someone at my previous job had decided to cancel my health insurance a month early! And of course my appointment was at the end of the last month in which I was to have coverage. By the time I got it all straightened out, it was too late. Because that testing I went through back in April last year? It was for cancer. Everything seemed OK but then my doctor realized that she should have taken a larger sample. My choices were to go through the biopsy again or to come back in a few months for another PAP smear. I, of course, chose the latter. And then the whole insurance thing came up so I haven't been back for the follow-up. I guess I should make the appointment really soon since I'm still not that sure about my job security given yesterday's events. Because "Mom" told me that I should watch my back because we know how those people can be. And I'd like to say that she is just being paranoid, but she isn't. Experience has taught me that people in the work place will bleed you dry for your knowledge and then throw you on the wayside. I mean they were all saying today how much they liked my former boss as a person...

And now onto something slightly lighter...

When I first heard this song, it was like an infection. (It's now one of those songs that I listen to when I am feeling a little beat up by the world. Reminds me. I am overdue for a re-reading of The Tao of Pooh. Both help to add perspective to the world.) I needed to know everything about it. So I bought the CD. And then I read the liner notes. Because the chorus? That was the really infectious part. The first sample listed in the liner notes could not be what was haunting me. It was obviously a rap song and that hook? Well, it definitely wasn't rap. That left the other credit in the liner notes -- Stan Getz. And thus was the start of a long journey.

It seems that the Stan Getz song they sampled -- "Saudade Vem Correndo" -- is now only available on one CD. And I had to special order it. When it came in, I explained to the assistant manager who was ringing up the sale why I had bought it. She asked, "Can we crack it open right now?" As it turns out, she loved the Pharcyde song as well. I told her it was fine with me. So she opened my CD and played it throughout the store. And I was the first one to catch the hook. I screamed, "That's it!" And the next time it came around, she said, "You're right." And then she called the other employees in the store over to take a listen. And we all nodded our heads in agreement.

How was I to know that by buying a Stan Getz bossa nova album that I would start down a long road of various forms of Brazilian music? But that's what happened. And then somehow last spring I found myself in a samba class. If I had stuck it out, I would have danced in the Carnival parade in San Francisco this past spring.

So I guess this is what they mean when they talk about a butterfly flapping its wings. One little action leads to so much.

And if you haven't guessed it yet, music means a lot to me. Probably why when asked if I would rather give up my sight or my hearing, I always say that I would give up my sight. Because long before "Ally McBeal," I assigned theme songs to people. And then cellphone technology advanced enough that I was able to assign individual songs to each person in my address book. Because once I really know a person, I tend to think of them in terms of music. Like Jade will forever be "Baby Got Back." Although she has been trying to lobby for "Bust a Move." And that would mean that the former song would be freed up for someone else. And my dad will always be "Angela" by Bob James. Most folks know this song as the "Theme from Taxi." Me? It will always be the other title because I kind of borrowed the album, "Touchdown," many years ago from my dad and forgot to return it.

Bottom line is that I hear a song, I instantly think of a specific person or a specific place. Even when I have tried to "unlink" a song with a certain memory, I have not been successful. So for me, music will always be filled with a kaleidoscope of memories. Like when I hear "Friends and Lovers," I will always think of my dad's wedding to my stepmother. And that's why I have made y'all suffer through so many music videos lately. Because life always has a soundtrack.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Out of left field

I got up this morning feeling fully rested for the first time all week. OK. I'll admit it. I've been cranky because I have been tired due to work. Now don't get me wrong. I like it when it's busy at work. And today my boss returned from his two week vacation.

So I managed to get through the traffic. Saw a nice little fender bender along the way. When will people learn not to follow so closely when the road is wet? *sigh* And there I was settling in at my desk, starting work on some invoicing. When my boss showed up, accompanied by the HR person, and asked if I had an empty box around. I've been around enough to figure out what that means. And then I saw him hand her the keys to his company vehicle. And that is how I found out that my boss had been fired.

We're still in shock around here. Because it sucks when a person you actually like has to go.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Southern comfort

After my rant earlier this week, I seriously debated about whether I would actually post this. Because this is one of those recipes for when you're trying to feed a lot of folks on little money.

Last month I spent a lot of time going over the past in my mind, especially memories of my dad's parents. (I only have one living grandparent, my mom's mother.) And a lot of memories about them centers around food. Because when I spent time with them it was on my grandfather's farm.

So when the weather started turning cold, I started thinking of soups and stews. And then I remembered this one that my grandmother used to make. I like to think of it as winter food but she always made it in the summer. I now realize that she did so because she was using fresh vegetables. Either way hope you enjoy. Oh, and feel free to substitute other meats. Supposedly in the days of the colonies this dish was made with rabbit meat.

Brunswick Stew

1 small chicken
3 14-1/2 oz cans of chopped tomatoes
Small can of tomato paste
Bag of frozen corn kernals
Bag of frozen lima beans
Crushed red pepper flakes

Cut up the chicken and place it in a dutch oven. Add enough water to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 2 hours.

Remove chicken from water. Remove skin and bones. Return meat to pot.

Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, and lima beans. Season with red pepper flakes. (I like it spicy so I go for about a teaspoon or so.) Let simmer for an hour.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Few words

After yesterday's post and an extra busy day at work, I found myself with not too many words left. So I retreated into that place I always go -- music. After re-watching the VH1 90s countdown, I pulled out some old CDs because I suddenly remembered a favorite from those days.

OK. So I listened to it something like ten times in a row. Because that's the kind of mood I'm in.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fuck it

Note: I wrote most of this post before Christmas so there are statements in here that may not be relevant in some ways. But the emotions that made me make those statements? They are just as strong. And I decided to go on and post this after almost a month of letting it marinate because now I think I understand the root of it all. At least for me emotionally.

I've spent weeks trying to think of how I could say this all without sounding bitchy. It's just not possible. So I'll live with the fallout.

Being snobby? I know it well. My problem? When others project a whole other level of being snobby. This self-imposed feeling of being superior. When I have seen this in the past, it has been the case of someone from the paler nation versus a person of color. Here's a hint. No matter what egalitarian argument you throw out, you will lose. At least in our minds. And if you're on a dark street in "out" neighborhood, do not be surprised when you are mugged or get your ass kicked. I know that you are all about the gentrification and stuff but at some point, you have to get real.

Yes, this probably goes back to my feeling of a lack of acceptance during school. I know that I was sophomore class president, but I also ran unopposed. If I had had competition, I probably would have lost. Probably why I root for the underdog.

And this brings me to the topic of food once more. I will admit that I try to buy organic most of the time. But local? Yeah, that's fine as long as my favorites are grown locally.

What brought this to mind? Why, the holiday season of course. It's not the holidays for me unless there is an appearance of cranberries in some form. And of course I like to mix them with a number of other ingredients. Most produce at Berkeley Bowl is prominently marked with its country of origin. Fresh ginger? No American sources. Didn't mean that I passed it up.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I like foods of other countries and often one cannot find all of the ingredients locally. Local tastes? (And I'm sory but at this point when I think of local taste, I think "Caucasian." And then I think, "How utterly boring.") They're OK. But I love the spices of North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Indian subcontinent. Many of these flavors are not local. Some are if you have a garden, but I no longer do.

And when I think of this whole "eating local" thing, I know that I did for several years. I spent most of my summers through age 15 on my grandfather's farm. The majority of the food that we ate was grown on the farm. And so I started thinking that this whole "eating local" thing was merely a mirror of what I had experienced as a child. And I must say, I am sorry that you did not have that experience. The experience of grinding corn for feed for the hogs, the experience of picking whatever vegetables were necessary for dinner. How many of you who proclaim a love of local foods have experienced that? Do you have the memory permanently etched in your mind of being in car at age 8 while your father is driving and noticing a hog being bled? (And yes, I still eat pork.) Bottom line. Get off of your high horse, folks. Because, at least to me, some of you come off as rather condescending. (That's why you're at the bottom of my list of folks who can join me in VIP at a club. And maybe it doesn't matter to you, but that's how I rank folks. Who can join me in the VIP. Because if I'm in a club, I will probably be in the VIP.) But what life has taught me is that the melanin-challenged will create "movements" that mirror the life of the rest of us. And then are shocked when we don't jump on their pretentious bandwagon.

Bottom line is that I do try to eat local. It's just that the tastes that appeal to me most are not local. I guess that it is easy to say one should eat local if your palate was merely formed by local tastes. But mine wasn't. I am the child of Southern transplants. I know the joys of adding Old Bay Season to seafood and why one adds okra but not gumbo file to gumbo -- at least when okra is in season. I also know that there is almost nothing better than a BBQ sandwich. Depending upon where in the South you are, this could be chopped or pulled. The location also tells how much vinegar there is in the mix. Bottom line is that coleslaw and hot sauce are always accepted as options on a BBQ sandwich. And sometimes I look at the food y'all have prepared and ask myself, "Where is the flavor?" Funny. When my good friend, La Nicoya, encounters folks of the paler nation, she will turn to me and say, "You know what? They ain't got no flava." Hmmmm. I wonder. Of course, this does not seem to apply to folks with hyphenated labels. Jewish-American? Italian-American? Turkish-American? Mexican-American? Chinese-American? Well, you get the point. These folks usually have flava. In their personalities and their food.

So you say to yourself that I seem to be in agreement with most of these blog writers. Therefore, why am i writing this post? Because when I read their posts, there doesn't seem to be much option there. And that pisses the hell out of me. It seems elitist. And yeah, racist. (And by the way, there is a difference between being "prejudiced" and "racist." Racism connotes political power. Therefore, only the dominant group can be called racist. However, all people have prejudices.)

I know that my second statement is probably the most disturbing to so called liberals. Guess what? I don't give a fuck that you're disturbed. You should be. When you go to your farmers' markets, how many people of color do you see there? I want you to compare this number to the whites/European-Americans that you see there. Do the math and figure out the percentage.

I have seen arguments that say that it is the responsibility of the middle class to set the tone. Which middle class is what I ask. I bet you never thought that there was a difference between the desires of the middle class groups of the various ethnic/cultural groups.

And then there is the sudden popularity in offal. Sure it may have been popular but in other parts of the world for years. But here in the U.S.? It is the meat of those who don't have much. And suddenly I was reminded of catfish. Growing up, catfish was about the only fish I ate except on special occasions. Why? Because it was relatively inexpensive. Then some chef in New Orleans started blackening it and it became trendy. And you know what? The price went up. Enough that those at the lower end of the income scale could not afford it with the regularity that they had previously. So now I worry that the same will happen to offal.

And yes, I grew up middle class but not everyone in my family did. Like my mother. And after my parents divorced, it took more than one paycheck for my mother to make the house payment each month. So meals were rather frugal those first few years. And that's why I wonder about catfish. It was about the only kind of fish we could afford back then. And there were a lot of nights back then when we had "breakfast" for dinner -- cheese omelets and toast.

Then there's the things that my parents -- who grew up in the segregated South -- told me when I was growing up. My parents knew that the history texts during that time were rather lacking so they went to places like Marcus Books to supplement my education. In the South, offal is a part of the Black diet as a result of slavery. When the slaves did get meat, it was the castoffs -- the offal. And so it is now a huge part of my heritage. And the thought of my people no longer being able to afford something because once more the dominant society has chosen to appropriate it, pisses the hell out of me.

But the nail in the coffin for me? Menu for Hope. I applaud that people want to help others. I understand that it involves food bloggers from around the world. But you know what? There are people in the United States who do not get enough to eat every day. And that's what really pisses me off about so-called liberals. They are quick to jump on the bandwagon to help the rest of the world. But here? Screw those people of color here. Like I said, I applaud your effort, but I will continue to give my dollars locally. Like maybe to the folks who are still trying to recover from Katrina.

And I do realize that at least one food blogger that I know is involved in Menu for Hope regularly participates in activities for people locally. I applaud this blogger for his/her efforts. I was tempted to bid on this blogger's package for that very reason. My sheer respect for him/her. Because I know at least for this one person it isn't a feeling noblesse oblige but of genuine caring for others.

If I was like Conspiracy Guy, I'd say that this it all a part of the man's master plan. Make sure they don't know what diversity is and they'll never ask for it. Or maybe it is more of the continuing attempt to erase ethnicity and culture. Yeah, it will be great when we can all stand around singing "Kumbaya" and holding hands and crap, but do we all have to be the same? Because when I look at the foods that y'all are preparing, while I like the looks of most, there is very little that takes me back to my grandmother's or even my mother's kitchen.

And so now for the why of it all as I have come to understand it. What is it that makes me lose hope in the world? Not the politicians because politicians will always be just that. Instead it's the moments like these. The ones that make me think, "These people live in the same world that I do?" And then I think, "Well duh. No they don't." And more often than not, I think to myself, "Can folks have their heads that far up their asses?" Because there are days in which I feel like I have had the dominant culture shoved down my throat endlessly and they only way that they have any clue about my viewpoint is when I ranted and raved. And it gets really frustrating. Because isn't there a point in which one should no longer have to do it?

Comments? Bring it on.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A little weekend fun

Yep, another music meme. You're supposed to use your iPod but I don't own an iPod. I know. Sad, huh? Then again I do own this cellphone that also operates as a Walkman. But I wanted more selection (The phone only holds about 50 songs or so.) so I used the Party Shuffle in iTunes instead. Hopefully by now, Jill has added some music to her iTunes. ;-)

Rules: Put your music player on shuffle, press forward for each question and use the song title as the answer.

What does next year have in store for me?
Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty

What’s my love life like?
Showdown by Britney Spears

What do I say when life gets hard?
Safe by Bonnie Bailey

What do I think of upon waking up?
The Nearness of You by Norah Jones

What song will I dance to at my wedding?
Let's Get Married by Jagged Edge

What do I want as a career?
Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin

My favorite saying?
If Ever You're in My Arms Again by Peabo Bryson

Favorite place?
Come Out and Play by Offspring

What do I think of my parents?
Reprise by Erykah Badu

What’s my porn star name?
Holiday by Madonna

Where would I go on a first date?
Do Wa Ditty by Zapp

Drug of choice?
It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

Describe myself.
The Closer I Get to You by Roberta Flack

What is the thing I like doing most?
Brain Stew by Green Day

What is my state of mind like at the moment?
One Minute Man by Missy Elliott

How will I die?
Wordy Rappinghood by Tom Tom Club

OK. So that was kind of weird.

Friday, January 4, 2008

For Stacy

I had meant to post this earlier today but as soon as I arrived at work, the power went out. For something like five hours. But we're the folks who people call when the weather is bad so I started calling the customers instead from my work cellphone to schedule work. It's been insane to say the least. I am not really looking forward to the drive home. At least I don't have to go to Marin County where I hear that 101 is closed. I've also heard that a at least one bridge is closed as well. So the evening commute is probably going to suck. So let's think about happier things...

What happens when you start cleaning and organizing? You rediscover stuff.

In the height of my partygirl days, I loved these shoes. I loved them so much that I actually used to wear them to work. Yes, they are four inches in height. And no, I did not throw them out. Because I might wear them again some day soon.

I just might not wear them with this item in the future. Yes, it's a skort. And yes, it covers my butt. When I wore it, I also wore black opaque tights. Because it's wool.

And fitting with the mood I give you this.

I was a little flat at the end but overall I was rather impressed with myself. I usually do not sing in public because, in my mind, I sound absolutely horrid. What a surpise. Yes, I was no longer a mezzo soprano thanks to years of smoking cigarettes. And somehow I thought that because of this, my voice would be much lower than it actually is. No, instead hearing my voice on tape has given me a new faith. A belief that I'm not as bad as I thought I was in my head. (But I won't be playing it for my mother who will analyze it beyond belief.)

I grew up with a woman who has perfect pitch. I can hear when a song is off but I can't hear it in myself. So I have lived most of my life just believing the worst -- I am always off pitch. And this as a counter to the woman with perfect pitch who told me that I had a decent voice that just needed training. For some reason, I chose not to believe her. Maybe it had something to do with how often she called me a "bitch." Out of anger. Actually the real term was "manipulative bitch." And yes, I can be that person exceedingly well these days. I learned it and have become a pro at it.

So when my mother throws out those occasional positive pearls, it's hard to believe when one has been subjected to so much negativity. But the voice thing? I've heard it from other folks. Well, the most recent gave the proclamation that I was fearless. (Funny but my drawing instructor said the same. Something about how I wasn't afraid to be wrong but would go back to correct my mistakes. In really broad strokes, all around. Watch yourself next time that you are drawing. Most folks are timid with their strokes.) And maybe that whole drawing thing is really me. Because most of the time when I'm really me, I'm not afraid to step out there and to be different. And I'm always the first to admit when I have fucked up. And suddenly I feel a rant coming up in me. One that says that the arts must preserved in schools. Because how can kids like me find their way otherswise? Or at the very least, they need someone who truly believes in them. That they trust.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Now that I know

First of all, for those of you who might care. I chatted with the "man" last night. This would be Mr. OKCupid. (Oh, and for those of you worrying that he is merely perpetrating, his end of the conversation was by video. Because he doesn't type well.) We found a common ground. When I mentioned the actress for whom I had been named (Ummm ... did you really think that Dagny was my real name?), he said that she still lived near him. I then was able to say that I knew that she lived in that area because her husband had been in rehab with my dad back when I was in high school. And then he pointed out that we had something in common -- dads who do rehab. But on to the main event...

So it seems that Jolene likes frogs. And she's feeling a little ill these days.

This photo is for her. It was one of the gifts I received after my initiation. I know it isn't as warm and fuzzy as the one you received, but isn't it cute?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Because Jill likes this kind of stuff

This pretty much sums up this past weekend. Boris would get closer to the heater but Natasha has already claimed that spot. All I can think is, "That can't be comfortable."

Happy New Year!