05 October 2014

Being a Writer, Er, Being Bat-Shit Crazy

"See, I can write well, but I'm not a writer. The difference is, you are compelled to write, and I have to be compelled to write." - Kensey Alsman, sometime, somewhere, probably at a bar. 

I have this incredibly talented daughter, who at the age of two, would sit for hours and color and cut and paste and make stuff. She did not choose, at that age, to be an artist, she just is and always has been. Being a writer is mostly the same thing.

I don't think that anyone chooses to be a writer. We are, in general, some pretty goddamned disturbed people. Consider Hemingway, Poe, Hunter Thompson, and countless others, all mostly fucked in the head. 

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."-George Orwell

Another writer, E.L. Doctorow, compared writing to "a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia," which is almost true. Writing is almost like hearing voices, except they're speaking very softly in a language I don't speak. 

I spend days, weeks sometimes, existing on an hour or two of sleep a night staring at a blank Microsoft Word page-arguably because I am also batshit crazy- but also because something in me is working on making its way out. Words, phrases, images, ideas and sometimes just the impressions of ideas highjack my brain and they won't shut the fuck up until I figure out how to get them out. Sometimes, oftentimes really, they're shit when they do come out, but at least they're out and that restless feeling ebbs for a week or two.

And then, if a writer is really unlucky, someone tells them that they're good at it. Now, the almost-voices are not only demanding to be interpreted, they expect to be interpreted well. 

It's not that I have anything truly profound to share with the world. Everyone has a story, or stories. The difference, I guess, is that mine keep trying to come to life in my head.

I suppose the entire point of this post is just to say, if there were such things as muses? They'd be fucking assholes. 

03 September 2014

Ferguson, Cows, Racism and Pickles

The chief of police in Ferguson says that there isn't a black and white divide in the city. Apparently, the guy is an absolute moron. There's a black and white divide everywhere. Hell, there's an everything divide everywhere. Whether there should be or not is a moot point. It isn't going to change. Most of us are inherently racially biased, which is not to say that we're all lynch-mob, ignorant fucks.

Babies, who are by nature, selfish little pricks learn racial bias by the age of nine months. I'm no doctor or anything, but I'd assume baby thinks something like this:
         Oooh. That face looks like the face attached to the booby milk. I'm going to look closer and see for sure before I manipulate it by being all cute and shit so it'll continue to feed my helpless self. 
Baby studies face intently. Then another face comes into view, a face that is a different race than the booby-milk face.
What the....doesn't matter, not the booby-milk.
And so, by the age of 9 months, baby learns that faces who belong to the same race as the booby-milk are good things. And since babies see everything as an extension of self, they would recognize this group of people as us. And other races as... meh.

It's not that we all grow up to dislike people of other races, it's more like we just don't see them. Which is why black people all look the same to white people, We've conditioned ourselves, as infants, not to record the information as important. Because, once again, babies are assholes. See, here's a study.

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that as much as we want to pretend otherwise, race will never be a non-issue. Most of us agree that racial oppression is a bad thing and that we all, as humans, are entitled to certain basic human rights, but most of us reserve our outrage for violations of such rights for our own races. 

In Ferguson, MO a grossly disproportionate amount of white police officers are policing a population where the majority of the residents are black. I can't imagine how this wouldn't lead to an "us vs. them" mentality among residents and officers. Not because black people commit more crimes, but because there are more black people than there are white people. It's something like the full-moon effect. People aren't crazier during a full moon, we just think so because we remember when the full moon is. Our brains seek patterns and sometimes make them up. 

Then we have to consider society's reaction to certain events. Clive What'shisname for example... He broke the law. The government was going to come take his cows. In response to the federal law enforcement presence,  a shit ton of armed militia people showed up. The feds were all like, well hell, guess we lost this one. Let's go home.

In Ferguson on the other hand, a young kid, an unarmed one, broke the law...At some point, we think. I don't even know. Regardless, the local government took his life. Whether it was a good shooting or not isn't for me to say, but chances are a black cop wouldn't have shot the kid. And when people gathered in protest of his death? The local government sent this:
Yes, people began looting. I've seen the whole, this is how you mourn a dead kid, by destroying your community's businesses?

Shut up. You're stupid.

This is how they make sure they are heard and seen. We see this one incident as a wake up call, while they see it as a last straw because they live with shit like this every single day.

And while we are on that... what do think would have happened if the government had sent a similar force out to the cow guy's ranch? And on the other hand, why the hell didn't they? There was a guy in a fucking sniper position for God's sake. Ferguson is throwing rocks at cops. And furthermore, where the fuck are the hundreds of armed militia guys and their hatred of big government in Ferguson?

In my humble, non-expert opinion, this is not the time to talk about racial equality, we've been over, under, around and through that issue for so long we don't even know what it means anymore. It's time to acknowledge the fact that we will never "unsee" race. So instead of trying to force an unnatural oversight of race, how about acknowledging the fact that we will always be equal and also separate to some extent and tell Ferguson to hire some black cops for fuck's sake.

On an unrelated note, Mark brought me homemade pickles today, so I'm going to go eat them now. They are, no joke, the best damn pickles I've ever had.

09 June 2014

Rape Culture? What The Hell Does That Even Mean?

From what I gather, somebody is pissed off about something Miss Nevada said about women learning self defense to avoid or prevent rape. Somehow, I can't image where the fuck the logic comes from, but somehow, there are a bunch of pissed of feminists claiming that in somefuckingway that statement is embracing the "rape culture."

I was unaware of such a culture.

These in-no-way-in-touch-with-reality feminists say something about not teaching women self defense to prevent rape, but only teaching men not to rape. Which is fucking weird. Does anyone teach men to rape? I was under the impression it was a pretty frowned on practice. 

And while we're on that subject... when did the definition of rape change so much? Rape is a horrible, violent crime and I am in no way lessening the severity of it. A friend and I had a conversation about this subject. He said that in some class or another, he was told "nothing is sexier than consent..." Is that what they mean about teaching men not to rape? 

Feminists are fucking weird.

The friend also mentioned something about informed consent, "How do they expect me to know if a girl is too drunk to know she's consenting?" Valid point, but furthermore, why does he have to worry about informed consent when I don't? I can go pick a drunk dude up and bang him anytime, and if he is too drunk to remember giving consent, or remember me at all, is that also "rape?" 

I'm not saying that it's okay. Most of us have seen the douche in the bar that picks up the drunk chick. Her friends may or may not try to talk her out of it, but drunk or not, she makes the choice to go home with the douche. Yes, that makes the guy an asshole, but not a rapist for fuck's sake.

Obviously, I am not talking about the dickheads that roofie people in bars. They should all be shot. 

Also, why, if a woman can be too drunk to give informed consent, isn't being "too drunk" a legal defense? 

People are fucking weird.


30 April 2014

Babies Shooting... Everything

I got an email the other day from a guy writing an article about firearms. He asked a question about kids and guns, which prompted a rant I'm not sure he was looking for. 
How do we stop kids from thinking that guns are toys? How do we prevent little kids from shooting their parents, siblings, dogs, themselves and whatever else happens to be in front of the muzzle?

Well, in my non-expert opinion (which, thank God I have, because the experts appear to be overwhelmingly ill informed) we can approach this several ways: 
We can use fear to teach children to never, ever touch anything that looks like a gun. 
"Guns are bad. Guns are dangerous. Don't ever touch them."
Which pretty much ensures that these children will be the first to pick up and play with a firearm he knows nothing about. We teach them that drugs are bad, too. Thank God that's never inspired any curiosity...

Or we can approach it the same way we do fire safety in school. "This is a gun. If you find a gun, do not pick it up. Call an adult immediately." Sort of like that whole, "never play with matches" thing. Because, certainly none of us ever played with matches the very same day that the school had the presentation.

Or, we can maybe try a little common sense. 
I have three children.
I also have a Glock.
My older children have been shooting. My oldest knows how to clear a slide and even take down a Glock. She's 12. 

What does that mean exactly? It means that my oldest children's curiosity about firearms has been mostly satisfied. It means that I am somewhat confident that they are informed enough to never point a firearm in an unsafe direction. It means that instead of being afraid of guns, they have developed a healthy respect for the destructive nature of firearms.

It does not mean that I leave them unattended, with firearms laying around on tables and floors. It does not mean that they are aware of where the gun is kept when it isn't on me. As much as I trust my children, I know the appeal of showing off.

And so the answer to how do we stop babies from accidentally shooting shit? Common fucking sense. 
Again. 

Don't leave your guns in your kids' toy boxes. Or on the floor. Or on the kitchen table. If you can't manage this? Don't have kids. 
If you're worried about kids finding guns at other people's house? Teach them.
Don't keep your gun in a shoebox in your closet. Who the fuck does that anyway? If you want to hide a gun in your home, at least put it somewhere inaccessible to your children. 

Most importantly, even if you've taught your children to respect the power of a firearm, do not underestimate the pull of showing off. Teaching your kids about guns doesn't make them tiny adults that know about guns. It makes them kids that know stuff some of their friends don't.  

Again, this is only my opinion, but the number of accidental child shootings in my house? 
Zero.

18 April 2014

Dear New York, Much Safer Now

Dear New York,

I'm writing to express my heartfelt appreciation of the knee-jerk legislation you passed back in January of 2013.

You see, I've often bitched about the impossibility of defining the term "assault weapon." Thankfully, you seem to have narrowed it down, once again, to firearms that either look scary, or have certain features that absolutely in no way affect the mechanical aspect of a firearm. Congrats, probably it'll work this time.

Since, obviously, no one in your government has ever seen a firearm before, I'll take the time to explain.

Folding and telescoping stocks are designed to allow the weapon to be fired from a car. Or one-handed, from the hip probably. This is especially true of those semi-auto shotguns. I've found that 12 gauge wounds are far more lethal when fired from a shotgun with a folding stock. The same is true of weapons with thumbhole stocks. I believe the act of placing one's thumb through a hole in the stock of a weapon creates less wind-drag, which increases the velocity of a round exponentially, or something like that.
Don't push me bro. I'll extend my stock and assault the shit right out of you.


And of course, the danger of having a bayonet lug on a weapon. I mean shit, if I'm going to be shot, I certainly don't want to know that the shooter had the capability of attaching a knife to the gun. Plus, I'm guessing that the presence of a bayonet lug allows the firearm to be fired more quickly, seeing as how it's just a piece metal that allows the mounting of a bayonet.

As for the flash suppressors, thank goodness those won't be a problem anymore. I can't even tell you the horror of being shot with a rifle and not having the burning gases displaced. At least I'll have died knowing that the shooter was seeing spots for a few minutes. Probably.  
You see, much safer now. This rifle is practically incapable of hurting anyone. 


I could go on and discuss the grenade launchers and pistol grips, but I'm running out of time and I certainly wanted to give you an "atta boy" over your decision to require these assault weapons be registered. I'm confident you have some way of enforcing this registration thing, other than to say it's a misdemeanor not to, right?

Probably you have some gun-sniffing ferrets or something that are going to alert you to the fact that someone owns a firearm that can be defined as an assault weapon. Surely, you have the manpower and funding to actually go break into American civilian homes to verify that there are, in fact, no assault weapons present. I'm guessing you'll somehow probably find the balls also. 

That must be the plan, right? Since the amount of manpower and funding it would take to trace each and every firearm capable of being defined as an assault weapon that was imported and sold God knows how many times in the history of forever is simply unfeasible. To save argument or any actual thought, we'll just ignore the fact that quality record keeping is fairly new.

Perhaps next time you pass some sort of gun reform, you could consider banning slings as well, especially the military style ones. And maybe require AR-15 style rifles to be painted in bright, happy colors as they'd be less lethal if they weren't so scary looking. Just a thought.

In closing, I'd like to thank you, once again, for responding to an awful tragedy with this totally useless, panicked legislation. I'd also like to thank you for not knowing a rifle from a fucking cupcake, and banning totally inconsequential features. You should be proud, or, um, something like proud. Embarrassed by your total and utter ignorance, maybe?

Sincerely,
Someone Who Knows What Makes Guns Go Pew-Pew




23 March 2014

Lessons in Road Trips

Road trips teach us things about stuff. Mostly about our travel companions and ourselves. The following list is only the shit I learned about myself on a recent trip to New Orleans with six other people:

1.) I smoke more than all of my friends put together.

2.) Sitting next to me in a car must be like sitting next to a five year old. It seems that everyone but me was perfectly capable of sitting still, while I alternated sitting upside down with my head on the center counsel and my ass on the seat, and sleeping on the floor of the backseat.

3.) I am blissfully aware of...everything. Tension? What tension? So and so is mad at so and so who is... Alright! Whose ready to hit the bar?

4.) I am far more comfortable sleeping on the kitchen floor than crawling into beds filled with sleeping people.

5.) I can and will hold my shit for up to five days to avoid doing so in the only bathroom shared by seven people.

6.) Do not under any circumstances tell Drunk Krissy not to walk across broken glass barefoot. I do what I want! Why the fuck do my feet hurt so bad?

7.) I seem to be incredibly selfish. By that I mean that it doesn't occur to me to ask anyone if they'd like to do something with me, I tend to just do it. Which is not to say I wouldn't welcome company... I just don't think to ask.

We really are assholes.

13 March 2014

I'm Pretty...

People have quirks, weird, random shit that makes no sense to anyone. For example, my husband is not allowed to fold towels. This is because God clearly intended for towels to be folded into neat, tri-fold rectangles. Of course the towels still dry when they are folded into squares, but it's just fucking wrong, so he's not allowed to fold the towels. 

Unbeknownst to most of us until sometime during my high school career, my father's quirks include the bagging of groceries. I don't know the details, exactly, other than God also has clear this-is-how-you-bag-the-damn-grapes-for-fuck's-sake guidelines. 

Apparently, my mother was as unaware of these strict guidelines as the rest of the world. On a shopping trip with my father one day we were all made aware of this particular quirk. 

My daddy is a sheet metal worker, and occasionally during the winters of my childhood he was laid off when work was slow. During these times we grocery shopped at Aldi's. (My brother still refers to every other grocery store as the "real food" stores.) Aldi's is cheap and you have to bag your own groceries after you check out. 

So there my parents were, standing at the long counter where customers bag their shit. My mother was simply trying to help and possibly wondering what the Hell was wrong with my father as he told her the clearly written holy rules of grocery bagging. 

I can imagine the conversation:
No. You can't put the grapes in the bag with the bananas. They'll start breeding and shit. Toilet paper does not belong in the paper bags for the love of God woman...

Actually, I have no clue what the conversation sounded like, except every time my mom bagged something, my father would take it out and redo it. Another man who was also bagging his own not-real food was enthralled by the shenanigans and stared blatantly while tossing shit all willy-nilly into his own bags.

In his frustration with my mother's obvious grocery etiquette ignorance, my father finally released a giant sigh and said, "Dammit Chris. Would you just stand there and look pretty!"

As you can imagine, this drew a shocked and angry glare from the eavesdropping co-bagger guy. I'm sure the guy was thinking something like that dude shouldn't talk to his wife that way. How disrespectful. His glare said something like, I should hit that guy. 

My mom, rather than beating my father bloody with a frozen box of almost-chicken, simply clasped her hands behind her back and swayed a bit.
 Like this:
Photo via Vectors
On an unrelated note, googling "sweet" "cartoon girl" "hands behind back" results in highly disturbing and inappropriate images that are anything but innocent and sweet.
And said, "Aww. Bubby, you think I'm pretty," in that sweet, innocent voice you're imaging right now. 

Which of course, drew a snort, and actual snort of laughter from the glaring co-bagger. 

There is no point to this story, other than the obvious. My parents are awesome.