Goddamn it all to hell.

I'm in a ready-to-cry mood anyway (just stupid little things, no real distress, y'all.) And this doesn't help. The bastards are crowing. I wanted to get married at home so bad, in the Ocala National Forest, where I was conceived, and I got so upset when I saw Massachussetts for the first time and realized I couldn't get married anyplace familiar. I don't have a witty rebuttal, just a whined-out "Why are they so *mean*? WHY?"

Goddamn it!!!!

Florida Marriage Protection Amendment Approved By Florida Supreme Court

Forget Brokeback Mountain--try Brokeback *Lawn*!

I am going to start with the most messed-up thing I have seen in a long time--this absolutely disgusting "marriage contract". This is the kind of dude who needs killing, then reincarnation, then re-killing! I post the link because I just have to, and also because whatever you think of my understanding of love and marriage, it can't be nearly as bad as this. Set aside ten minutes and a barf bag...

Or just read on...

This morning I had occasion to compare "Brokeback Mountain" to "Romeo and Juliet." A gay teenage boy said he wanted to love like that. I insisted that honestly, he doesn't really. (Well, maybe he does *now*, but hopefully he'll grow out of it.) I made the comparison in an effort to help him see why it's not a great model.

I never liked "Romeo and Juliet." When I was a kid, I thought they were stupid, letting the world get to them like that. I think of it now as a play about societal opposition preventing love from ever really growing, just making it die in the bud. Of course Romeo and Juliet's love lasted forever--it's because Juliet and Romeo themselves didn't last very long at all. I think, could it have lasted through kids and financial setbacks and Juliet's not being a perfect castle-keeper and Romeo's moods?

I think of "Brokeback" sort of that way. Ennis and Jack got to live a bit longer, but their love never got to mature, and that was the real tragedy. They had their fishing trips, but they never argued over money or whose turn it was to wash dishes or mow a lawn. I would have liked to see their love survive *that*, but of course it would have been a very different movie had that happened. The "fishing trips" kept that passionate lustful love going at a fever pitch, and it was an artificial condition, sort of like my own extended LDR. They were always *dating*, with no further destination in sight.

I don't know. I guess I was raised differently or something--I always wondered what happened after "they lived happily ever after". I even wrote stories about how Snow White knighted the dwarves and Cinderella was super-nice to her maids, once I was old enough to understand the concept of a sequel. My mom always told me that in real life, a wedding is the start of a story, not an end.

I just would kind of like to see more love stories with dishes and aged parents and budgets, and more respect for those love stories, is all. I would particularly love to see them with same-sex couples, just because those of us who are in them seem so very exotic to so many people still.

That's one reason why I document the details--I'm learning as I go along and so is my wife, but I want to let people know that we can learn and are learning. I want to let the straight fence-sitters know. I want to let the homophobes know. I want to let the curious know. And I'm being reminded that our own kids need to see that, too.

Too much time to think

I'm thinking about a lot of things.

About doing something I've wanted to for a very long time, and cussing out my aunt late last night. Some members of my family only really care about the rest of us being happy, and don't particularly care if we make choices they wouldn't. And some only really care if we do what they would choose for us, and don't particularly care if we're happy. My aunt is in that latter group--essentially, that's it. That and she's hurt my mom and K's feelings one too many times, and is working too hard to make her daughter, my cousin, feel guilty for falling in love with K's boy cousin and grasping for a bit of happiness in her life. I'm tired of people who treat another person's working for their own happiness as a personal affront to them.

About how not talking about money early on can totally mess up a relationship. I honestly believe that opening each other's credit card bills is scarier and more revealing than taking each other's clothes off for the first time. I also think money can lead to more and worse fights than sex. Money's not just money; it's how we get things and what we count on for security. It's got a lot of very deep emotions wrapped up around it. I remember when I first moved in with K and I saw her charging a Subway sandwich to her credit card. I got upset with her because that was a habit, and we ended up getting into a screaming fight where my learning disability and her education got wrapped up into it, and neither of us could eat Subway for a month after that. I shudder to remember how horrible it was. But we needed that fight. We needed those talks. We still do. My cousin acted like it was the most unromantic thing in the world when my mom and I suggested she talk with her fiance about finances, and in some ways, it is. But I think not airing it out early on can lead to even less romantic things (Nick and Jessica, anyone?)

About hyphenating our very ethnically different last names, and how the ways to say "commitment" just keep on coming even after marriage. Painting the walls and the fridge, the ones that used to be gray and white and used to be just K's, says it. Merging our names does, too. We're arguing over whose name goes first, irritating all our friends by asking what they think, and playing a thousand and nine rounds of Extreme Rock Paper Scissors for the privilege. We do have a more mature way of settling the unsettleable, but we hardly ever use it...let's just say that it involves a race to the checkered flag, and everybody wins. We'll probably do that, and then keep playing Extreme Rock Paper Scissors in the courthouse lobby. ("Gun!" "Rock smashes gun!" "Damn it! Two more!") We agree on hyphenation, because it seems like the only fair and heritage-respecting way to merge our names, but not on the exact form.

About the things I so often think about: watching baby pandas play (click the words "panda kindergarten" on the blue bar), Sinead O'Connor videos (listen to how she remakes the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams"), how much I need these glass cathedral beads, and Tony Stewart's sweat. No, I did *not* bid on Tony's sweaty towel; even my love has limits. I am, however, disappointed to know that K considers Celebrity Sex Amnesty a joke rather than a contract, and therefore won't allow me to offer myself to Tony as the stress-reduction toy he so desperately needs. If anyone thinks $510's a lot of money, just think about the over $100,000 this dude paid for two shirts from Brokeback Mountain!

And once again, surf's up...

Apparently fighting terrorism means making perfectly legal and safe when used correctly cold medicines hard to get rather than, say, port security. Wow, was I misled.

A woman had her child taken away by a Christian judge because she participated in Church of the SubGenius activities, a/k/a fun-sounding parties. Thanks to Wolfger, who so clearly illustrates how important it is to be able to mock authoritarians.

Media consumption, and the hypocrisy of today's Puritans.

There is a lesbian sorority! Man, there are so many jokes and porno movie plots in that, but I'll won't do everybody's thinking for them.

And if you just can't take any more bullshit, why don't you go paint your troubles out?

Surf City

My last job was at a city library. I like my current job, but I do miss the public sector on all those lovely little federal holidays like President's Day. Man, they had me earning my paycheck yesterday! One of my girls, who works as an executive assistant for a financial firm, says pink collar workers like me can get all those holidays off by working on Wall Street. Trouble is, you'd have to show up to work on the Street eventually, and I'm not interested in having to buy Tums by the drum at Costco.

Since I do not work on the Street, I have some computer time, and my eyeballs aren't all frizzled, and so I can catch up. Yes, I surfed. In a wetsuit and aqua shoes and lots of Redken Swim Creme to keep my hair from turning into green straw. (My hair is long, thick, and highlighted.) I watched the 500, as anyone can tell if they read the long post below this one. And I read some interesting stuff. People tell me my blogs are the start to a fun night of surfing because I'm so linky. Some even blame me for distracting them or call reading my blogs "a lifestyle choice." Gotta keep my reputation up. ;-) I'll start with the fun, and go to scary and not remotely funny.

House and Garden magazine is terribly upscale, but it contains good ideas that can be translated to real life (even at one percent of their budget!) and some surprisingly good writing. In the March issue, Mayer Rus, the "Testy Tastemaker," expounds on why innovative design is *not* needed in public restrooms. Funnier than you'd think, even before you get to the bit about the rehab center lav. Contains the scariest string of English words *ever*: "going to the bathroom can become an adventure that holds in store chance encounters with unexpected objects." From what my queer male friends in Orlando tell me, that's every bit as true about certain I-4 rest stops as it is about painfully trendy lavs.

Anyway, moving along...I'm sure y'all have read Dear Abby's classic response to a homophobic woman who wondered how she could "improve the neighborhood" after a gay couple moved in: "You could move." This week, Ask Amy was not quite as succinct, but she did make her point well enough. The one time my wife and I got a complaint about our "display" from a homophobic passerby, she grabbed me, took off my glasses, bent me so far back the ends of my hair touched the ground, and kissed me like she was going off to war. When she was done, the woman was still there, jaw dropped, along with a few other people. "Now *that* was a display!" I shouted. Alas, we have gotten no more complaints here in liberal NYC. :-)

Panda fans know that Tai Shan a/k/a Butterstick is a little panda prince. We even know to Obey Butterstick! But the owner of the Pandafans blog has found a suitable little princess for him, when they're old enough for that kind of thing--Jing Jing! Jing Jing's the little cuteness who sat on Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoeller's lap; she was also named for China's 2008 Olympics mascot. It is *blatantly* obvious when you are looking at a little girl panda, but good Gods, she is cute, especially in her *crib*!

Jonathan Rauch looks for the missing political middle, and talks about what has happened to the Democrats' "brand".

From Calgary via Harper's magazine--I forgot field trips could be this dangerous!

There are people trying to ban LGBT adoption in 16 states now. Goddamn it!!!! How mean, how cruel, how frustrating, how ANTI-FAMILY!!! But the people who answered the poll are overwhelmingly *for* adoption.

NYC-area lawmakers, including Senator Schumer, show that they actually care about fighting terrorism and keeping our city safe. On the other hand, Bush is refusing to back down. Keep talking, asshat. You're making your own people angry.

But what does any of that matter, if our oceans are dying? Mother Jones' new issue has a stark, fact-filled collection of articles about the dangers facing our oceans, the life it contains, and, ultimately, *us*. It's dry, it's depressing, it needs reading anyway.

Surf's up.

Color theory and two Daytona 500s

First of all, I guess I should start by apologizing to all y'all. But this *is* a place for me to talk about things that made an impact on me, and that sushi sure as hell did!

I think one of the things I find attractive about NASCAR is the color. I am not referring to their Black History Month promotions (and did y'all ever think you'd live long enough to see that?!) I mean the bright shiny candy colors of the cars. Color theory, which the blue sushi rice was meant to illustrate, fascinates me because I'm extremely responsive to color. I guess everyone who sees color is to some extent, but not everybody finds it relaxing to look at paint chips and feels her nerves go all kajangle at overly "warm" or "clashy" color combinations. I got into beading because I accidentally got someone else's bead catalog in my mail and loved all the gorgeous, subtle, and diverse colors inside.

This helps me when I watch a NASCAR race, because I am also dyscalculiate. When you're numeric-dyslexic, NASCAR fandom can be a real challenge. Those of you in the South see those white numbers on trucks and cars; that's how fans express allegiance to their drivers. Mine is number 20, but I'm much better off looking for "Big Orange." I hate sponsorship changes, ride changes, short-term sponsorships, and temporary "special" paint jobs--they all make the race so much harder for me to follow. I also look for colors in crowd shots. It pleases me not to see as much Dale Earnhardt, Jr. red as I used to, though there's still plenty. Blue could be Jeff Gordon or Michael Waltrip. I saw a lot of yellow compared to previous years--that could be for Jethro Bodine's hotter brother, a/k/a Elliott Sadler, who is looking *goo-ood* this year. During the prelims on Sunday, I kept pointing these things out. K snuggled close to me and smiled her indulgent "she's so cute" smile.

K was in a Ryan Newman black, white, and blue T-shirt, cut off in the "love me for my mind" manner that barely left room for his number. (I missed those shirts.) Flyin' Ryan is her driver, and we both love Kevin Harvick, too. Seventeen of our friends crowded our living room. We ate through the preliminaries, shoving and shushing each other when "our" drivers came on. My friend Aliyeh revealed how very new she is to NASCAR by saying, "It's almost like they *want* a big wreck!" Well, yeah, I had to explain. The Big One is a sacred American tradition, and tradition must be respected, unless it permanently takes out someone like Dale Earnhardt, Gods love him. "The safety's gotten real good now," I explained. "So when you see everyone walk out of the car under their own power, you can let yourself enjoy the replays." Ali wondered about the safety, and K and one of her geek friends walked her through the tech aspects. It was still more interesting than the Bon Jovi mini-concert.

My boy Tony Stewart seemed real concerned about safety all last week. He spoke about it quite strongly. He went *there* by bringing up Earnhardt. It was all good. Stewart is a hard-charger, and we're used to him showing lots of want-to, but compared to others, he's not normally much of a clanger-and-banger. He doesn't need to--he's skillful, fast, and great at psyching other drivers out. He lost a friend from his short track days in Indiana to over-aggressive driving, which seemed to affect him.

So guess who became Mr. Aggressive on the track?!?! Jeff Gordon, who's always doing that crap, bumped him. Instead of keeping his eyes on the prize, Stewart hit him back, and they both went between 30 and 40. (Anticipating the question--it's 43 cars on the track.)

Then Matt Kenseth maybe accidentally bumped him. I don't think it was that bad, though it could have spun Tony out if he wasn't so great at recovering control of his car. A little tap back would've been appropriate. Instead, Tony smacked his left side into Kenseth's right so hard, Kenseth just floated into the grass. (I wish I could use K's extremely evocative hand gestures, which she used to explain the incident to Mona when Mona came out of the bathroom.) I have not seen a more blatant payback since Robby Gordon threw his helmet at Michael Waltrip. Kenseth, deliberately this time, got him back. Both of them had to start in the back of the pack as a penalty; Kenseth screamed and whined all the way on his radio. Well, Tony had hurt his little racy-car. Then Tony had to serve yet *another* penalty for parking too close to the pit wall and running over a jack. (This can hurt a pit crew member. TTG, it didn't here.)

When Tony Stewart--reigning champion, voice for safety, and friend to other drivers--nutted out, I think he basically gave the other drivers psychological "permission", if you will, to turn the second half of the race into the Testosterone Poisoning 250. There wasn't much of the infamous bump-drafting in corners, but the guys pulled out all the other nasty tricks they had. Karma came to Tony in the form of Kyle Busch, an extremely aggressive and talented 20-year-old who did to him what Tony did to Kenseth. Tony--I've said this before--recovered extremely well. I could not even muster a good hate-on for Kyle Busch, I was so pissed at my driver. "Stupid macho bullshit!" I yelled at the screen. "He's being a fucking idiot! He's my idiot, but an idiot nonetheless!" A couple of straight guests said I sounded like a straight girl.

He came in *fifth*. I still can't get over that. Fifth, y'all, after all that nonsense! He could have won, had he been more interested in winning than score-settling! There's a lesson for us all in that. I sure as hell hope Tony learns it. His arch-rival, Jimmie Johnson, won even after his cheatin'-ass crew chief got ejected from Daytona for the quazillionth time. (K, like her driver Flyin' Ryan, contends that Chad Knaus was still in the Superspeedway's environs and still cheatin'.</a> Newman came in third.) I hope it makes Tony sick that he handed the victory to Johnson. I hope Joe Gibbs (team owner) and Greg Zipadelli (crew chief) spend all this week adjusting Tony's attitude, so he'll be okay in California next week.

Oh, and by the way, I'm pissed at my driver for starting the season by acting like an asshat. :-)

I am still amazed that I've taken it so much to heart. But that's sports for you. "Stay loyal," K counseled. "This is strange for him. I know that a lot of people will want to talk to him about this." She shook her head. "Darling Penguin, I cannot believe that I know or care about these drivers."

I smiled, finally. I've felt the same thing. I am so amazed at how quickly my Nuyorussian girl has picked up on the nuances of the sport. (Then again, she adjusted from small-town Siberia to New York City in her teens.) She only began to watch NASCAR late in the 2003 season. Her first Daytona 500 was in 2004, when my great-uncle had tickets unexpectedly freed up. This was where she bought the Kevin Harvick cap because she liked the colors, asking me, "Is this a good driver?" She was cheering on Newman because she and my guy are rivals she liked that he's got an actual engineering degree.

So anyway, it looked like Tony was going to win it. It came down to him and Dale Jr. We were in a sea of Earnhardt red and number 8s; I was the only one cheering on Tony. At first, K gently squeezed my hand. "Junior is too boring," she whispered, so low I felt it more than heard it. "He likes being famous too much, and there are so many other drivers." The she stood up, double-pumped her fists, and yelled for Tony along with me! When he came in second, K comforted me by saying, "It's just as well. If he had beaten Junior, this crowd would have torn him to pieces."

I reckon I'll give him a couple more races, a couple more chances. Might even back him in the 2007 Daytona 500, if he cuts the bullshit. If I were single or actually had the Celebrity Sex Amnesty I so frequently joke about, I'd be offering him an outlet for his aggression. However, I think he'll find another way to control his feelings.

Stupid risks on water, air, and land

I'm going surfing tomorrow come hell or high water! (Or snow or whatever.) I think it'll actually be a decent surf day.

K and I love getting ready together because it's a way for us to really talk in a semi-relaxed manner. We even bathe together. (Water conservation is so important. :-) One of us sits on the toilet or bathtub edge while the other puts on her makeup and plucks her eyebrows. Today K told me she worries about me when I surf, because I go for bigger waves than she would and I don't seem to care about sharks or wiping out. She's usually sitting on the beach in a big hat and lots of sunscreen, reading and watching me. I just figured she did that because, you know, she does physical work all week and I just sit on my butt in front of a computer all day, and therefore I really need to move on weekends and she really needs to relax. I didn't realize she was actually afraid of some of the stuff in the water, or of drowning in deep water. She acted so embarrassed, but I don't think it makes her a wimp or not-brave to have those fears--they're perfectly rational, and I'm glad someone cares enough about me to be afraid for me.

Water is my element, where I feel perfectly secure and as good as anyone else. As y'all can see from last night's post, I don't always feel that way on terra firma. I get to make all the noise in my brain shut up and just *be* for a while. K feels the same way, but her element is air. What makes her feel good is cartwheels and backflips and throwing herself around on whatever equipment is handy. I have the hardest time watching when she decides to eschew the safe(-ish) gymnastics equipment designed for these things and flips end-over-end on the rafters instead. I worry about her, and yet I know she knows what she's doing and that the way she's feeling at that very moment is worth the risk. This morning, she was particularly exuberant, and expressed it by dancing on the couch and the coffee table and doing backflips off the chair. She looked so very cute and happy. But she has five classes on Fridays; I worried that she was going to wear herself out before the day even started. She smirked and said, "Thank you for worrying." I think I'll try that line this weekend.

Another thing I'm going to do this weekend is....DAYTONA 500!!! Oh, I'm so happy NASCAR's back! I was in such withdrawal for a month after the 2005 season ended. Once again people are going to be at my house drinking my beer, eating my food, and slagging my driver. Once again I'm going to try very hard not to be too blatant about my desire to take Tony Stewart on the hood of his car. Once again we're going to hear how the car and the team was awesome, but the luck was just bad. Can't wait!!!

Just in time for the 500, the Onion published something that made me wonder whether I should laugh or cry or holler, "Dude, that's *sick* and *wrong*!" I guess that's what good satire's supposed to make you do, though.

Lastly, the funniest and least socially responsible Orlando Sentinel writers suggested a NASCAR drinking game. You know NASCAR's getting less redneck if there are NASCAR parties in Daytona gay clubs and I have Russians and Canadians and other LGB people at my house watching it. However, you can't take the redneck out of the sport entirely, as the rules for this game show.

someone sporting a Richard Petty cowboy hat, glasses or mustache. (one for each of these Petty crimes)
a woman in Daisy Dukes -- twice if she looks more like Boss Hogg.
a beer belly painted with a number -- twice if it's a 3 ... for Dale.
a confederate flag on top of an RV (better have a case of beer).
a fan wearing a jacket with more than six sponsor logos.
a barbecue on top of an RV.
a person holding the left hand to his/her chest during the National Anthem.
a fan holding a bed sheet with a bad pun spray-painted on it.
a racer running from a flaming vehicle.
a fan sporting either a NASCAR-themed tattoo, a case of beer as a hat, or a mullet.
(Be ready for an extreme hangover.)

I don't actually advise doing this, unless you want to go to the ER for alcohol poisoning before they say "Gentlemen, start your engines!"
  • Current Music
    Gorillaz, "DARE"

From the spoiled, skinchick-fetishizing brat who won't shut up.

Some days it just doesn't pay to turn on the computer.

Today I unified people on both sides of the culture wars who clicked onto my blogs (willingly, I might add, and with no prompting from me other than my usual comment-links and e-mail signature). An opponent to same-sex marriage said that I am "spoiled" and that it is my "sense of entitlement" that is making me push for special rights. This was prompted by the "pandas for my birthday" post. An "ally" asked, "What are you, ten?" Another so-called ally with a bad family history of her own basically wagged her virtual finger in my virtual face to tell me how lucky I am to have family willing to buy me anything because, after all, I'm queer, and then another s-s marriage opponent, who seemed shocked that some of us have families who care about us, said the same thing. As if I did not already mention that I feel incredibly blessed and lucky. As if I don't know it every day.

Also, I have a skinchick fetish because the love of my life shaves her head and everyone knows I have that thing for Sinead O'Connor, and of course there's something wrong with that. The two people who said that really needs to do a Google search--they'd shut the hell up if they did, at least once they recovered from their fit of the vapors. Boy, do they got it wrong. What I do have a thing for is skinny, doe-eyed women (you can blame all those Audrey Hepburn movies I watched with my mom for that--I credit Audrey myself), and they look good with short-short hair. My absolute fetish is for independent-minded people with a style of their own. When I met my wife, she had hair to her waist, and I was really upset when she first cut it off; I wanted her to try letting her hair grow when she found out it was coming in curly, too. But bald is beautiful on her, too, and that particular gift only begins with the box.

Also I am incredibly annoying according to a couple of vocal posters on a webforum I normally like. This coming from people who specialize in the kind of juvenile insults I thought I was leaving behind when I graduated middle school--and the thing is, these two overgrown Mertles are significantly older than I am! Sometimes age really does come alone, unaccompanied by wisdom. I bet they'd consider me just fascinating if I posted thread after thread of insults and constantly "corrected" people rather than trying to support others and posting news or cute pictures or weird and funny stories. The thing is, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I were like that. So I'll let the babies have their bottle, and log off if they get too obnoxious. I can always come back when the fun adults who seem to like me well enough are on.

Why do I bother? Oh yeah...cute pandas that I'll do whatever I can to support. And ranting when I need to. And cool people like you who'll say, "No, that's okay, they're idiots, we like you." :-D

For my birthday, I want pandas. No, hear me out.

My mom told me tonight, "Sometimes you're such a hippie. You don't always have to be politically correct." I laughed and laughed at the idea. When I recovered, I told her, "Look, I have enough *things*. The things I want, nobody can really afford to get me for my birthday. You asked, so I'm answering."

"Fair enough," she replied. Gods, I feel so very lucky that on the heels of Valentine's Day, my mom, my best friend, and my wife have all asked me what I want for my birthday already! (March 11th.) Every year, I joke about the number of shopping days, but this year, I'm not really interested. I feel so egotistical posting this, but I'm going to anyway, in my Blogspot, LiveJournal, *and* MySpace so everyone who is even contemplating getting me something can see it. I know I've gotten many of y'all who will read this hooked on the National Zoo's PandaCam to watch that little cutie-pie Tai Shan grow and play. I know 'cause y'all have told me. So maybe I can get a few people to do this as well, even if it's not in my name.

Last year, when Tai Shan was born, my childhood love for pandas was reawakened. Every day, watching the National and San Diego Zoo's cams puts a smile on my face, and then there are Pandafix and Pandafans when the cams are down. Really, I would dearly love a much bigger yard somewhere green with lots of bamboo and space for a panda family, as well as all the cats I want. (As well as aquamarine every-damn-thing and a hybrid Land Rover. I don't care that hybrid Land Rovers haven't been made yet. They should be.) This is the next-best thing.

I knew pandas cost an ungodly amount of money to keep and that the leasing agreements (there's really no other word) with China were expensive, but a recent New York Times article showed me how expensive.

If you're contemplating getting me anything, a donation made to the National Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, Zoo Atlanta, or the Memphis Zoo in my name would be about perfect. I do not need an adoption (I'm already the adoptive mother of Tai Shan and Su Lin several times over) or a membership (I'm a Friend of the National Zoo, which is closest to me.) Just a donation. I'd rather see money donated to the zoos than to any Chinese governmental organization, even though their Wolong Panda Reserve produced those 16 gorgeous babies last year.

Should you not wish to enable my panda addiction, and I understand why you wouldn't, a donation to the Lambda Legal, which does most of the legal footwork for same-sex marriage, would do just fine.

(Now what you wanna bet that as much as my very conservative relatives love me, and some of them really really do, they'd rather give to the pandas? ;-)