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.

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.

Coursera

A lot of you love to expand your horizons.

Have I got a horizon for you. Many thanks to my friend Toni for turning me on to this treasure trove of awesomeness.

Check out Coursera. It’s a bunch of MOOCs – Massive Online Open Course(s) – online classes from reputable universities for your personal edification and amusement. Seriously, I’m finding this lots of fun.

You can get a certificate of completion, which I personally could care less about, but, more to the point: FREE CLASSES!

I am feeding my inner English major right now on Plagues, Witches and War and I am LOVING it.

Seriously, if you’re into self improvement, this is the place to be. There are courses for every interest. You don’t have to be a college student to enrich your mind.
Give it a look-see. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I Believe

I believe in equal marriage rights for all, regardless of gender.

I believe in tattoos, body art, and piercing whatever body part you can stand to be pierced. Your body, your rules.

I believe in you believing in whatever deity you believe in…as long as your deity believes in leaving everyone else alone.

I believe in letting you believe in whatever makes you happy, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

I believe that people who feel the need to tell everyone else what is “right” have a very narrow world view. That’s sad.

I believe if everyone tended their own personal gardens and stopped sticking their noses in their neighbors’ gardens, everyone would be much happier.

I believe I’m pretty much right in this.

Tattoos and Visibility and All that Stuff…

I have tattoos. I’m sure my mother would sell her soul to Satan to remove them, but I have them. And I like her soul right where it is. So there you go. Love you, mom! Sorry your daughter is such a godless heathen! (Yeah, this will never make her laugh. Oh well).

Right now I have five. Two are highly visible (the ankle tat I have is a shamrock, and the wrist tat, well, that I agonized over for two years before pulling the trigger. Because you have to think these things out, dontchaknow).

Even after two years of thinking, I kind of regretted the wrist tat. I remembered feeling the same way about the ankle tat when I got it (OMG IT’S VISIBLE PEOPLE WILL JUDGE ME) and then I quickly got over it. Because, yeah, they might judge me, but so what?

The wrist is taking longer. I suspect it’s because I’m not used to seeing it yet (it’s only been about 6 weeks and it’s long sleeve weather). The best part is it got “outed” at work and NO ONE EVEN NOTICED. We have a lot of visible ink around here, so I suspect everyone thought I’d always had it. Win!

Katat

I knew a wrist tat was going to be a challenge. People see it and want to know what it is. Mine is kind of random if you’re not a Stephen King Dark Tower fan. So, I’ve found myself explaining it. A lot. That’s okay, though – if I can sucker someone into reading the books I feel my work is done.

My reasons for the wrist tat are pretty simple, if you know the meaning of ka in the Dark Tower series. Ka is a wheel; ka is fate and karma and destiny all rolled into one. Ka IS, and ka will bring you around to where you are supposed to be. I put it where I could see it to remind me of that, and to remind me that fate and karma and all of that made me who I am, and will make me who I will be.

So, my new tat and I are growing together. I like it, a lot. I know it’s not PC and I know I will have to spend a lot of time explaining it, but that’s kind of a perk. Think how many people I can get to read the books. If I can do that, then it’s totally worth it.

And, as always, I never regret things I’ve done. I only regret things I SHOULD have done. So there. 😀

And, my mom will have kittens over this. I swear. And I ALSO know my sis will out me to her. Because that’s what sisters do. It’s probably for the best – mom will get mostly over it before I see her again. LOL!

Kill Your Cable, Part Deux

Some of you (I’d say many, but yeah, I’m not THAT popular) have read Kill Your Cable. This is the next iteration, based on my move to Loveland and having to work out a few changes.

First of all, sad to say, I’m in a high rise in downtown Loveland in which my apartment is too low and faces the “wrong” way and I can no longer use an antenna to get free local HD channels. Yeah, I cried for about ten minutes. It is what it is, but I think I’m going to have to move to the fourth floor now, because my upstairs neighbors are going to turn me into Jack Torrance from The Shining. I’m just sayin’.

ANYWAY, I needed a workaround. I already had Netflix, which I love (even though I was more than a little upset at their “let’s split streaming and DVD” policy – I got over it – I disc + streaming is STILL cheaper than cable).

I discovered Hulu+.

So, rounded, $17/month for Netflix one disc at a time plus unlimited streaming and Hulu+ at $8/month is $25/month. When I was paying for basic analog Comcast, it was $50/month, at least. Yes, I still pay Comcast around $60/month for Internet but I was doing that anyway.

Also, NOW I’m not subject to 57 Hispanic/Religious/Shopping channels that I a) don’t want b) don’t care about and c) dont need OR want to pay for.

WHEN will cable companies figure out that a la carte is the way to go? I’d LOVE to get HBO and would be willing to pay for the privilege, if they didn’t make me subsidize the crap channels I don’t want in the process.

Libertarianism needs to come to cable, and right freaking now. PAY ATTENTION, COMCAST!!!!!!

Sadness 101

Some really, really good friends of mine just lost their sixteen-year-old son and seventeen-year-old daughter in a car accident.

This is horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible. These were the sweetest, nicest kids you ever knew. 

My heart is breaking for them. Please put them in your prayers, your pockets, or whatever passes for your happy thoughts these days. They need it.

Burnin’ Down the House

So, some of you have probably heard about the High Park Fire by now – it’s national news.

I got a pretty good look at the smoke from the I-25/392 overpass this afternoon. This thing is huge.

As some of you know, I work for the fire department. We’re in the next town over but we’ve already sent one crew and a truck and I’m pretty sure another one is going to go. In the meantime, everything is so dry here it seems like there’s 3-5 ground cover fire calls a day in town. Nine times out of ten it turns out to be a farmer burning out a ditch or something, but under the circumstances everyone is on full alert right now.

This thing is closer to town than I would like. I really hope Mother Nature gives us a break here.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer, or whatever you do for good vibes and luck for the firefighters who are dealing with this mess. It’s dangerous and difficult and those people really do deserve a medal for going in there, especially when a lot of them volunteered to go.