You Know, I Used to Ignore the Homeless

About 99% of the time. Like you do. Like we ALL do, all of us who were born into the middle class. They’re losers, they’re hopeless, they have nothing to offer, they are the dregs of humanity.

Tonight I got addressed by a homeless guy sitting on a bench next to the liquor store, where I was heading to replenish my vodka supply (I LOVE that I can walk to a liquor store!). He asked for change. I had none; I rarely, if ever, carry cash. Still, I knew why he was sitting there. He was trying to pony up enough for a drink. When I told him I had no cash, he was incredibly polite about it, too, which is unusual.

So, when I went in to make my purchase, I got an “airline sized” bottle of vodka for him. It was only about a buck. As I passed him on my way home, I handed it to him, saying, “Hey, I know I didn’t have any cash, but I thought this might help you a little bit.”

He was incredibly grateful. Yeah, he’s probably an incurable alcoholic, he lives on the streets, and he’s begging for money for booze. I get that.

I also get he’s a human being, He’s not likely to change his behavior at this point in his life, and if it made him happy for ten minutes, then he at least got to be happy. I looked at him and realized how close many of us are to being him. So yeah, I supported his addiction.

And I’m not sorry.

Old is When You Quit Caring About Pop Culture

I don’t know when it happened, exactly. At some point in my childhood, my father went from listening to 70’s soft rock (don’t judge) to Elvis Presley and polka. And got horribly stuck there. Forever. 

I didn’t realize until much later his 70’s soft rock was actually the current thing to be listening to at that time. He was actually still in touch with popular culture (because, hey, I was like, 10 in 1976) until…

I became him. 

Oh, it happened slowly. One day I noticed all this talk of Justin Bieber, and I had not heard a thing about him (to be fair, I listen mostly to adult alternative, so…).

I had to Google him. GOOGLE him. An advantage my parents never had, sure, but still. I had a fleeting feeling of concern about being out of touch with the latest thing (which, up until that point, had never really happened before) but I thought, “Well, he’s bubblegum music. No wonder I didn’t know him”. 

Except, up until that point, I had ALWAYS known about the latest and greatest in the bubblegum pop world. Hated it, mocked it, but KNEW ABOUT IT.

That little nagging finger of “You’re getting old” poked at me. I ignored it. 

Then I started noticing that on the entertainment pages on CNN I only recognized the actors/actresses over the age of, oh, about 27. I have no freaking clue who these new people are, with the exception of the big Hollywood names that everyone knows. Literally, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT DID THEY ACT IN????

It got worse and worse. I watch TV. I watch movies. I found myself wondering if I was losing my mind or if pop culture was really passing me by. I had the horrible experience of listening to the “oldies” station…and realizing it was music from my years in high school. 

Then I stopped going to the movies. Oh, I LOVE  a lot of the current movies and a lot of the comic based ones, even though I was never a comic book person. Frankly, two of the three movies everyone is raging about just don’t appeal to me, but I’d go see two of the three anyway. And then I realized that’s because most of my friends are a good ten years younger than me. Thank Gan for that, or I’d be acting like I was sixty-seven by now. They at least keep me in the loop. And what I’ve seen isn’t bad. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying if my younger friends hadn’t pointed it out, I’d have missed it. Completely. And now I’m going “Well…maaaayyybbbeee I’ll see it…” Yeah. 

This worries me. I don’t feel old, but I think I’ve discovered that after a certain age, while we’re all interested in new things, we start taking more comfort in things we know. The fact that I have unlimited access to knowledge does not change this. 

Quite frankly, I really want to know who this Groot person is and why I should care. 

The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

Short but sweet post, but I think I nailed it:

After having both a dog and a cat, I have come to this conclusion:

Dogs, no matter how old, come to you as children. You teach them, you mold them, you let them know what your expectations are and you train them to behave as good citizens. Dogs want to please you; they’ll quickly adhere to your rules if you’re consistent and firm.

Cats, no matter what age, come to you as a crotchety old-timer with a cane and an attitude, screaming for everyone to get off their lawn, and you suck it up and deal with it. Because, CAT.

No freaking lie.

Half Year Reading List

I’m about 3 weeks late on this one, but here it is. I’m apparently in a major reading slump right now. Damn.

But, summer is here, so I get to spend nice afternoons on the balcony reading. Hopefully that will increase my book list.

So, for 2014, here’s what we’ve got:

Libertarianism from A to Z – Jeffrey A. Miron
Broken Homes – Ben Aaronovitch
The Four Man Plan – Cindy Wu
Life Without Bread – Christian B. Allan, Ph.D. & Wolfgang Lutz, M.D.
The Undead Pool – Kim Harrison
Winter Omens – Trisha Leigh
What it Means to Be a Libertarian – Charles Murray
Skin Game – Jim Butcher
Coveted – Stephanie Nelson
Mr. Mercedes – Stephen King
Awakening (The Guardians) – Samantha Long

Share any interesting reads you’ve had in the comments – I’m always looking for good books.

2nd Amendment. You’re Doing it Wrong

Every time I see some ridiculous asshat on Youtube, or on a video shared on Facebook, who stupidly damn near blows his head off (and trust me, sometimes I wish said asshat would remove himself from the gene pool) I just shake my head and think, “Thanks for fucking up, bro.”

It’s in these moments I understand why people want to ban guns. Because, stupid + bullets = dead.

They’re not the rule. They’re the exception and the horrible warning. Guns are not toys.

I am a responsible gun owner. I have a semi-automatic pistol in my apartment; it is unloaded and the pistol and ammo are far enough away that I (living in a security building; you come here you’re coming for ME) have to get out of bed, cross a room, and pop in a mag before I can shoot you. I belong to a gun club and I practice. I like target shooting; it’s FUN. I’m not necessarily training to blow someone’s head off (but ask me about zombie pirate targets; those are FUN).

I know how to break my gun down, clean it, put it back together, and use it. I’m not some paranoid homeowner who heard the words self defense and gun and went out and got one with no real knowledge of how to use it or how to take care of it. Or how to keep it away from little hands. Seriously, you have to lock that shit up if you have kids.

Yes, there are a lot of irresponsible asshats out there. Yes, they scare me too. But, it’s the same with cars. There are a lot of shitty drivers out there, but I have yet to hear anyone saying we should ban cars. Hmmm.

Trying to take my 2nd Amendment rights away because people are stupid is like canceling the bus schedule because people can’t tell time.

Triggers Belong on Things that Shoot

I’m getting more than a little annoyed at this whole “trigger” culture.

You know what they called that in my day?

LIFE.

Seriously? Something upset you in a book, movie, or on the Internet? GROW UP AND MOVE ON.

Life is about unpleasant things. It can sometimes suck. It can, indeed, remind you of past bad experiences.

But you know what? THAT IS WHAT MAKES YOU STRONGER.

We are raising a generation of total pussies. Make them GROW UP, and DEAL with adversity.

That’s what made America America, you know?

Wussifing kids helps NO ONE. Having a SPINE is what built this country, and the lack of it is what is totally going to ruin it.

Relationships and Why We All Need to Mind Our Own Business

A Facebook discussion was the impetus for this post (a RESPECTFUL one, but still, I was a bit annoyed, hence, blogpost).

An article came out talking about what is apparently some sort of trend now – people in relationships that live apart. The article actually made good points for all sides considered, and I’d link to it, but knowing the Internet as I do, the link would go dead in six months and I’d get “I can’t find the article” emails from hell to breakfast. So, just trust me, this is a thing now.

So I’ll say this: I’ve done everything but divorce. I’m going to give you a bit of background to try and explain my reasoning for my opinions.

A) I followed boyfriend #1 from Michigan to Colorado. We lived together for 2.5 years, then got married and were together for 2.5 years before he died.

B) A few years later, I became involved with The Ex. We lived apart. For eleven years. It was AWESOME. He had his house, I had mine, we got together on weekends and the occasional day during the week, took vacations together, and other than that we had our own space and lives. I LOVED it.

So, let me give you Dag’s advice on relationships 101, based on MY personal experience (and you can ignore anything you don’t like, hey it’s your life, after all).

1) Do NOT live with a man without marrying him (or at least having legal documents drawn up).

When my husband died, I rapidly discovered that, had I not been married, his family could have rushed in, taken anything I could not clearly prove was mine, and taken it. Marriage gives right of survivorship. If it was his, it was mine, because I was his wife. That also gave me say over his funeral, etc. DO NOT underestimate this. After he died I heard HORROR stories of women who lived with men for YEARS who were living in a house in his name, and his family, who were all sweetness and light when he was alive, threw them to the curb before they’d even buried the guy. Also, you get NO SAY in medical care if you’re “the girlfriend”. As a wife, you’re the last word. WORD TO THE WISE: if you’re committed to the point you want your significant other to make medical decisions for you and you’re not married, get papers drawn up. RIGHT NOW.

2) Living apart and being committed is NOT less of a commitment than most married people have.

I had an AWESOME eleven-year relationship with a man where he had his house, I had mine, and we saw each other on weekends and occasionally during the week. It rocked. We were both independent people who liked our spaces a certain way and we enjoyed our relationship the way it was. Had we lived together, I’d have killed him. He was perfectly fine with dishes in the sink; not me. I would have lost it. Daily. Also, I had birds, and subsequently a cat, and he was not a “pet person”. He liked my feathered and furry children in the context he could play with them but not have to deal with the care and feeding of them. So this worked out GREAT.

It’s a simple risk/reward formula. If something happens to your significant other, and you have no papers drawn up, and you’re not married, you are at the mercy of his family. This is only something you two can decide and work out, but I beg you to consider it.

Legal considerations aside (and I’m not going into moral considerations, because, frankly, I don’t care) my bottom line is this: if you’re dating, living together, married, polyamorous, or whatever you are or want to be, protect yourselves legally.

I don’t care who (or how many who’s) you love, protect all of yourselves and for fuck’s sake get a lawyer and work it out.

And tell everyone else to get the fuck out of your relationship. It’s no one’s business if you love one person or ten.

Hell, people, this is 2014. Let people love who they love. Married, single, gay, straight, polyamorous, who cares? Love is always a good thing. There should’t be any rules or qualifiers on that.