Butterfly Cauldron

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

All the drugs are minemineminemine!

Ahem. My doctor convinced my insurance company to override their limits and give me double the Cymbalta. So now, I've got two pretty bottles full of pills! Yeah!! No dropping back to one pill a day. No more fear about the pain coming back. Yay!! (Imagine me doing a happy dance of joy. Now stop.)

That makes me very happy. Veryvery happy. Plus, I called the people sending me that big wad o'cash and they said it will be here Friday. So. *deep breath* I only have to make it through the week and then my financial problems will be at an end. For awhile, anyway. I'll pay off the medical bills and the credit cards, then go pick out a new couch! And a washer and dryer! Whoohoo.

I know. Sometimes I'm soooo easy to make happy, it's sad.

I'm also planning on joining this Women of Size exercise plan that one of the local hospitals does. They have a water aerobics and yoga class specially for larger women. So, no skinny little witches to annoy me as they complain about being soooo fat in their size 2 bikinis. Grrr. Actually, the woman who teaches the classes is a member of the local fat acceptance chapter. So this is promising.

I really miss feeling strong. I used to be incredible strong, before I got sick. Strong in that intimidating, Amazon way. I'm nearly 6 feet tall and I used be all muscle. Alas, it is not so anymore. And I don't really want to be all muscle again, but I miss feeling strong and centered. So, I'm going to have to do something about that. I can't do a lot of exercising though -- doctor's orders and all that. But I can do anything I want to in the water. Plus, it helps control the pain and that's always a good thing. So, soon as I get my money this Friday, I'll be placing a call to sign up for some classes.
posted by Zan at 6:25 PM 8 comments

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Random Bitching

I'm not in a good mood at the moment, so I feel the need to bitch a little. You've all been warned. So, things that piss Zan off:

1. My medication. I love my little pills, I really do. My new doctor just doubled my Cymbalta because I was still having lost of pain and horrifice PMDD. Well, the doubling seriously worked for the pain. My arm was hurting so bad last week that I could barely move it and was having to wear my wrist brace again. After two days on the new dosage, I'm not in pain anymore. So, yah! This is a good thing. So, why does my meds piss me off? Because it makes me FUCKING SLEEPY. I can barely keep my eyes open. I'm sitting at the desk, looking at my computer and I'm like.....oh shit. I'm so going to sleep. ARG! I'm hoping this side effect will clear up, because I am not willing to give up the awesome pain relief I'm getting. And we had to fight with my insurance company to get them to let her double the dosage. They were only willing to pay for 30 pills a month, which is the standard dosage. If you're using it for depression. But we're not. We're using it for pain control, so they had to get an emergency override and it hadn't gone through yet, so I have to call the pharamacy tomorrow and see if it's gone through, and if it has I get to go pick up the next 30 pills. *sigh*

2. PMDD. I fucking HATE PMDD. Everyone know what that is? It's uber-PMS. It's PMS loaded with a tac-nuke. It turns me into a barely functioning monster. But it doesn't happen every month, so I can't plan for it. Oh, but this month? Oh this month it is so on. I'm barely able to keep myself from crying, from taking offense at the slightest thing, at just breathing, for fucks sake. I'm starting to get paranoid. I'm literally hanging up on people who say something that upsets me. Why? I have no idea. I just can't take it. I'm sleeping all the fucking time and I'm still exhausted. I'm straving constantly, even when I've just eaten. I want a new kitten and it's just like I have to literally lock myself in the house to keep from going to steal one from somewhere. Stupid, I know. But I just have these...compulsions. . .that don't want to go away. And I know, they're all hormonal. I know that they'll all be gone in a few days, but it's so fucking hard to stand it. Arg! I'm starting the Pill this month, which should help regulate things, so I'm hoping, hoping, hoping this will stop. Or at least turn into regular fucking PMS, for gods sake. GAH.

3. People who ask you to do things they refuse to do themselves. Particularly sexually. This I don't understand and it's been annoying me lately, for absolutely no reason. It just popped into my head. Why is cocksucker such a huge insult? Seriously. I'm trying to figure it out. I mean, usually you see men slinging it at other men. So, wait. You want women to suck you're cock, but you don't want to suck another man's? And not because you just don't have a desire to do so, but because you find the thought revolting? So, um, why the hell should I wanna suck yours? It's not precious, ya know. It's not dipped in gold or some shit like that. So, here's my rule: I'll only blow a man whose willing to blow another man himself. And I may demand proof. Because if you're too good for it, then I sure as hell am too good to do it.

4. Money. I hate money. I fucking hate it. I hate needing it, I hate not having it, I hate how fast it disappears when I do have it. I got my tax refund last week and you know what? It's all fucking gone. I paid off some bills, did a little extra shopping and boom. Gone. I didn't go crazy, either. I bought medicine (which is where most of it went, actually. I got four 'scripts filled.), groceries, a new pair of jeans and a new shirt. Oh, and a new purse. Whoo. Big spender me. And rented a few movies. And there it's gone. *sigh* I am getting another big check, but I don't know when. That $6k will be most needed, but I need it NOW. I still have bills to pay. I still have medical bills from last year that I haven't paid and I need to, but...*sigh* Gods dammit, I fucking HATE money.

5. Lonliness. I hate that too. I want someone to hang out with, but then again, I like my solitude. I'm kinda fucked, I think. I don't know. Right now, I'd like to have someone to snuggle up to, but I'm in such a rotten mood they'd probably want to kick me outta bed. *sigh* I'm gonna go beat my head against a wall, I think.

6. Pain. Chronic pain is evil. It never ends, but you can't see it by looking at me and I just want to SCREAM. I've got that weird, slightly electric feeling running through my body which tells me I wont' be sleeping tonight, but I won't be able to stay up either. I hate that limbo! I want to take the day off work, but for what? I have no money to do anything and I don't want to stay home and sleep. Or, I do, but that seems a waste to me. And I need to wait until I'm off probation anyway. *sigh* I hate pain. Bad, bad, bad, bad.

7. Music. Well, I LOVE music, but I'm bored by most of what I've got. And I'm an avid collector. I adopt new bands and devour them completely. I don't know what I'm in the mood for, but I want something new. I want something that feels real. *sigh* Someone who can sing out this damned mood of mine. Gods dammit. If I could figure out how to add songs to this blog, I'd do a little music blogging, but oh well. Grr. Arg.

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posted by Zan at 5:56 PM 5 comments

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Because men cannot be raped, see. . .

This story just makes me want to vomit. Seriously.

Short version: Man is accused of drugging and raping several men, all but one of whom is in the military. He gets caught and the defense? All those victims are claiming rape because they're gay and don't want to be kicked out of the military, but the sex was consensual.

The ways in which this skeeves me out are nearly endless. Let's see, there's the whole undercurrent of 'well, if they're gay, they can't really be raped because hey, they like the sodomy'. Oh, it's not spelled out explicitly, but you can tell it's there. There's one victim who admits to having willingly had sex with him before, so hey! If you say yes once, that means you can't say no ever again, right?

And, I'm sorry, but does anyone really believe that all these men -- ALL of them -- would rather let the world believe they were raped, because that's easier than being kicked out of the military? OK, I grant you that being outed in our particular military is not of the good. And at least one of the victims is a married man. (Who says he is straight and well, why would I not believe him?) So, in our culture of Macho Military Men, do you really think men who have not been raped would be willing to declare that they have, just to stay in the closet?

Because, frankly, since a whole hell of a lot of people think that men cannot be raped, then the mere reporting of a rape by a man is enough to get him labeled gay by a whole lot of people. So it's a no win situation. If you're a victim, you cannot report your attack without a good chance that you're not going to be believed and that you're going to be labeled gay. And if a straight man cannot be raped, then gods know a gay man cannot be raped. (Bullshit, of course, but a disturbingly common belief.)

So. You've been raped. That's traumatic enough, but then you know you cannot report it because no one will believe you. Futhermore, the act of reporting it could very well endanger your job. So what are you supposed to do? Are there even support services for male victims of rape? Are they welcomed in female dominant support groups?

I'll admit it, when someone tells me they've been raped, I believe them. I have no reason not to believe them. Nor do I feel the need to make them prove it to me. Because I cannot conceive of a person who would claim to be that brutalized when they haven't been. Yeah, yeah. Sure. I'm sure some people do. But most people? No. So when someone, male or female, tells me they've been raped, I believe them. Period. And when someone tells me they were drugged, like the victims in this case, I believe them even more. Anyone who resorts to drugging people to get laid is just sick. Sick and a criminal, who deserves to be locked up for a long, long, long time.

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posted by Zan at 5:45 PM 1 comments

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Heart Birth Control

I identify so well with the wife in this post, I cannot not post about it.

There are so many things wrong with this post, I don't know where to begin. You know, of course, that I've got no problem with people holding whatever religious beliefs they want. Let's get that outta the way right now. That said. . .this is a prime example of how fundamentalist faiths ignore the real damage to real people (often women) in favor of focusing on some airy theory of 'sin'.

A couple of years after our second child was born, my wife, just about to turn 40, asked me to consider getting a vasectomy. Her arguments were almost identical to those of the hypothetical husband in Tim Bayly's post about faith and contraception. She was looking forward to our then-youngest being in school full time, so that she could re-enter the work force at least part time, for the sake of our finances and her own mental health. She had had two C-sections and didn't want to go through another one. And after our second child she went through what I believe was post-partum depression, exacerbated by problems with nursing, although she never sought help for it. To her thinking, having another child would be a "disaster."

I didn't share her fear of having another child. While I didn't have any qualms about contraception, which we used to time the births of our two children, I didn't have a controlling attitude about it. If the children didn't arrive according to plan, or we wound up with more than we planned, it was OK. A pregnancy within marriage is never a crisis pregnancy, never a "disaster," as I saw it. Therefore, achieving 0% probability of conception wasn't a concern of mine. I wasn't insistent on more kids, but if God should send more our way, that was OK. Our first two were both intelligent and beautiful and gifted with musical ability and a sense of humor. We made good babies, and it wouldn't be a bad thing if we made more, but I was content with the two we had.

How do I being to describe the sheer reek of selfish privilege in that last paragraph? He had no fear of having another child. Well, of course not. For him, it's just a few months of putting up with the wife's mood swings and strange cravings. He's not the one whose body is being taken over, whose emotions are out of control, who has to endure a major surgery, who has to suffer the crippling post-partum depression. Why would he think having another child would be a problem? It's not his body, he's not the one really dealing with it.

Alas, my wife did not deem me spongeworthy. She decided to restrict our lovemaking to one day a month, the day after her period ended, the day she felt most confident that she wouldn't be fertile. Because of that confidence, she didn't insist on using any other means of contraception on those days. Even when we were using barrier methods, that was the one "free" day when she'd let us make love without a condom. But by now, she didn't want to risk pregnancy at all. 1% was too great a chance to take.

If we happened to be too busy or tired on that one day a month, we'd just miss sex until the next cycle.

One night, just moments after concluding our monthly roll in the hay, she snuggled up to me and said in a cheery voice, "Just think, when you get your vasectomy, we can do this every night!" I rolled away from her, offended at the timing of her sales pitch.

She began to "accidentally" fall asleep on the couch most nights. She told me later she didn't want to risk getting turned on and having sex. Even cuddling and caressing were severely restricted, for the same reason.

Then one afternoon she came to me in my home office in tears. She told me that she had missed her period and her home pregnancy test was positive. Evidently that one day a month wasn't as infertile as she thought.

He didn't want to have a vasectomy, which I suppose I can understand. But when that results in him having sex once a month? And gets upset when his wife tells him that she'd be happy to fuck him every night, if only she didn't have to worry about getting pregnant? She ends up sleeping on the couch, no kissing, no touching, no nothing. That's the lengths her terror at being pregnant has driven her too. Do you think he gets it yet?

So, she has the baby. And life goes on, but sexless-like

But my wife doesn't want any more, and I can't blame her. This was necessarily another C-section delivery, and the recovery period was slower than the first two. Several years older than the previous two C-sections, she doesn't heal as fast. If she were to get pregnant again, she'd be having a fourth C-section in her mid-to-late 40s, with an increased danger of uterine rupture. Even in a successful delivery, recovery would be even longer and more painful than before.

So she has laid down the law: No sex until I get a vasectomy. Period.

I made an appointment for a vasectomy. When I went in for my initial consult, the urologist asked me why I wanted to get a vasectomy. I said, "Because my wife wants me to." He told me that was the wrong reason.

I rescheduled my appointment for the actual surgery a couple of times for various reasons. At this point, I have no appointment.

So it has now been 15 months since we have had sex or even done much in the way of snuggling. It's not that we don't want sex. She has said several times that she didn't sign up for a sexless marriage. But even more than she wants sex, she doesn't want another pregnancy, another delivery, and resetting the clock for being a stay-at-home mom.

So, his problem? Well, he wants to have sex, but thinks that birth control would be a sin. (Even though he's done it before, which makes little sense to me, but oh well.) So, what's he to do? Not have sex with his wife, or sin by having the snip?

Frankly, it seems to me that this whole thing is about him not wanting to get snipped. Period. Sure, it traumatizes your wife, this fear of being pregnant, but by Gods you are NOT going to eliminate your fertility! Wouldn't be manly!

Here's the thing -- I get her fear. I have the same fear and it is paralyzing. It makes sex completely and totally unenjoyable. It makes me freeze at the worst moment, it makes me cry and shake and I cannot verbalize why I'm upset. It's crippling and it's exhausting and it's just so much easier to swear off sex all together than deal with that fear.

After my pregnancy scare, all those many years ago, I could barely let my SO kiss me. I couldn't have sex. I just couldn't. Oh, every once and while I'll give in, because I wanted him so badly and I loved him so deeply, but the entire time I was tense and worried and couldn't relax and enjoy myself at all. And it doomed our relationship. There were other factors that led to our breakup, but the lack of physical affection was cheif among them.

If this isn't a fear of yours, it's hard to understand. Even my girlfriends who worry about pregnancy don't understand my absolute terror. And men? Please. They think I'm crazy. And I don't have the same worries about birth control!

So, yeah. I feel for this woman. And if he's not willing to step up and do what it takes, then he'll just have to live without sex. But that means their marriage is doomed. Because you cannot have a sustainable relationship when you're afraid to even touch your partner.

It's still something I struggle with. I'm starting the pill next month, not because I'm seeing someone at the moment, but because I need to have some preparation. I need to know I've got a barrier there, in addition to condoms. And still, I don't know if that'll work. I don't know if I'll be able to let myself go and relax. And that suck big time.

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posted by Zan at 5:31 PM 8 comments

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friendship, loyalty and religious psychosis

Ren's got some seriously fucked up shit going on and, in addition to making me want to deal out some righteous vengence on her behalf, it's got me thinking about friendship and well, how religion can fuck 'em up.

I'm picky with my friends. I get along with just about everyone, but I don't have a lot of friends, exactly. It suits me, because I'm a pretty private person and most people? They're not so good with keeping things private. But the friends I have have been my friends for decades. Once you are my friend, you are my friend for life. There are people who have moved away, who I haven't seen in years, who if they called me and said they were coming into town and needed a place to stay and they didn't know how long they needed it, I'd not even blink about letting the stay with me. To me, friendship is a committment as serious as any marriage vow. Unless a friend is about to do something dangerous, you do not ever rat them out. Even if what they're doing is something you don't agree with, even if you think they're going to get themselves hurt. You stand by them, you pick them up if they fall and you love them. You let them know that, no matter what they do, they are never going to be alone and they always have somewhere to go. That's just the way I'm made. (Although, I'm far less dramatic about it in rl :)

So, for me, having a friend convert to a more. . .vocal. . .religion is always frightening. Because it often causes me to come into conflict with this part of myself. Not, understand, because I think my friends and I have to have the same religious beliefs. But because the more fundamental a religion is, the more problems they have with me.

There are friends I've lost over the years because, after I left the church, our relationship devolved into them attempting to rope me back in. We go out to lunch, everything seems to be cool and then "So, Zan, when are you coming back to church?" Or we're picking a movie and it's "Oh, I can't see that movie because they swear and Jesus hates it when people swear. You know, Zan, you should really not swear like you do. It's not nice." (Because, ya know, Jesus was allll about holding up social norms and not rocking the boat. Uh huh.) Or I'm sleeping in Sunday mornings and "Oh, I'd like to sleep in Sunday mornings, but I've got my Christian duty to do." Every conversation, in other words, becomes an effort to not-so-subtly remind me the I need to go back to Church.

I've never had anyone do to me what happened to Ren, but that's mostly because I keep my mouth shut about things my family would not like to know about me around people who are likely to tell them. But then...what happens if my best friend decides to become a fundamentalist Catholic? And decides, oh god!, I can't let Zan keep being bisexual! That's an abomination! I know, I'll tell her family, who can then harrass her and roll out the drama and then she'll see the light. Oh and let's drop that whole pagan thing on them too. After all, it's for her own good.

I mean, it could happen. People have religious conversions all the time. I've had a few myself. So, everytime one of my friends tells me they've started going to church, I get a little nervous feeling inside. (And yeah, a lot of that is coming from my own issues and my own experiences. There are places in my life I am Not Going Back.)

When I was dating the ex seriously, he used to come home with me on the weekends and we'd go to church with my parents. Now, he was raised Catholic, but was basically an agnostic with atheistic leanings. And yet...yet everytime we walked into that church together, I could feel my insides start to curl up. What if he got struck with the godstick? I'd seen it happen before. What if my solidly rational boyfriend suddenly decided to become a raving fundy? What would that mean for our relationship? I knew, frankly, that I'd have to leave him. Because I cannot marry or date a fundamentalist. Period.

It never happened, of course, but that fear was always there. Because I've seen the power those religions have over their adherents. I've seen people go from normal, everyday people to out there religious zealots. And while it's great for the zealots, the people closest to them are often collateral damage. All while the new convert just shakes their head, saying they were only doing -whatever- because they wanted to -help-. It was only for your own good. I was only trying to share Jesus with you. I was only trying to substitute my judgement for yours. Why are you so upset?

Example -- Our family has been friends with Family X for years. They live down the road from us, we do potlucks and dinners and parties together all the time. Family X has three children. Youngest Son got 'saved' one day. Full-on, crazy alive for Jesus. Parents X were okay with this, although they were Catholics who occassionally attended the Baptist church in the neighborhood because it was nearby. Son X decides his parents are not saved and are going to hell. They do not live correctly. They drink beer sometimes. They swear sometimes. They fight sometimes. They are not properly religious. They are Catholic. And so, Son decides to TELL them they are wicked and damned and not living right and need to convert or burn. Unless they do so, he cannot associate with them. Because the Bible says not to be yoked with unbelievers. Convert or lose your child, ye sinners!

Parents X, upset, call my parents. My parents, while way too Baptist for my tastes, cannot believe Son X did this and so, my Father goes to have a talk with him. Gets him to calm down. Tries to get him to apologize and have relationship with Parents X. Son X is resistant, but eventually, they work things out. However, Son X still believes his family is damned and going to burn. Because they're Catholic and well, Catholics are all lost, ya know. They're not real Christians.

So, yeah. I've seen this sort of thing before. To me, it's just further proof that fundamentalist religion is evil. It is not of God, it is not of the good, it is a destructive force that needs to be eradicated from the planet. And yeah, I don't care which religion. If it's fundamentalist, it's gotta go.

(And there goes my chance of ever working for a political campaign. Good thing I never wanted to do that anyway.)

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posted by Zan at 7:11 PM 4 comments

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Perfection at last

Doesn't it want me to play it? Doesn't it? Doesn't it want to belong to me? I can almost hear it. . .

Although, I'm afraid it may be a bit too complicated for beginner me. I don't care. I'd play that thing every day. *sigh*
posted by Zan at 5:38 PM 8 comments

Why is it pink??

If this were purple, it would be perfect. *sigh*
posted by Zan at 5:33 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This is pretty accurate

Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world,
he is responsible for everything he does.”
“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
--Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”
--Blaise Pascal

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...





Strong Egoism




Justice (Fairness)






Divine Command




What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com

I feel like I should be posting some more deep, meaningful or at least thoughtful posts but....screw it. I'm in pain, I'm tired, I'm broke until Friday and I'm spending my Valentine's Massacre Day with my parents. Hmp.


posted by Zan at 6:28 PM 2 comments

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Many Faces of Zan

Because I'm feeling down and not really up to dealing with shit at the moment, I've been playing around with this facial transformer. It's fun and not the least bit serious. And so, I present, the many faces of me:

Mucha Me:

Manga Me:

Botticelli Me:

Baby Me:

posted by Zan at 5:38 PM 3 comments

Sunday, February 11, 2007

27 Things You Didn't Wanna Know About Me

OK, I stole this from Rootie because it's too good not too.

1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?
*sigh* I'd say King George, but that would leave Darth Cheney in charge, so I can't do that. Hrm.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?
Boy bands. Does that count as a musical artist? No? Hrm. Justin Timberlake. Without him, there would be none of his band's noxious music, plus no Justin and Britney chaos, she might never have gotten messed up and married Fed-X. Which would have been much better for her, so. Justin. Bubye.

3. Who would you really like to just punch in the face?
I'm not a physically violent person, really. But, if I had to punch someone? Hrm. How about the next idiot that gives me grief for being either a feminist or fat? That'll work. Pow!

4. What is your favourite cheese?
I have to pick one?? Er, munester

5. You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your immediate disposal. What kind will you make?
Fresh-baked yeasty white bread with paremasen and oregano, thin slices of roast beef, honey baked ham and honey roasted turkey breast, munster cheese, fresh tomato, crisp lettuce, Vidalia onions, a dash of salt and pepper, mayo and brown mustard.

6. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?
Sienna Guillory, right outta Resident Evil:2. Oh, hell yes.

7. You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who do you pick?
Ack! One? Only one? Can a whole band count as one? 'Cause uh, MCR or Green Day. Yeah. Okay. Or, ya know, any of the guys I just posted pics of. This question is sooo unfair. Or, hey, any of the girls outta Go Betty Go or Butchies or Sleater-Kinney or....*passes out from the very thought of it*

8. Now that you’ve slept with two different people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy shit, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it?
With all the sex I'm suddenly having? Birth control and some decent wine.

9. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?
Italy. The whole fricking country is gorgeous, so drop me off anywhere.

10. Upon arrival to the aforementioned location, you get off the plane and discover another hundred-dollar bill. Now that you are in the new location, what are you gonna do?
Find a nice little place to stay and get some food.

11. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. It is…?
Annoying, because I'm not supposed to have alcohol on my meds. But, since this is angelic liquor, it won't hurt me. A really good red wine. I love the stuff

12. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-travelling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you travelling to and what are you going to do when you get there?
My 13-year-old self. We'll have a long talk about body image, the early signs of Lupus, not tying ourselves down to one guy for the majority of our twenties, giving in and kissing Sera when we have the chance, picking up that damned guitar and learning to play and then moving to Cali when we're outta high school, as well as a few musicians in the area at the time who are gonna make it big. Ya know, the people we should make a point of meeting when we get there. Also? Do not give in to the urge to dye my hair black!

13. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?
Zan is in charge. Period. Plus, no fundamentalist allowed. Ever.

14. You have been given the opportunity to create the half-hour TV show of your own design. What is it called and what’s the premise?
The Fat Girl's Guide to Everything -- featuring size-positive anything and everything, feminist everything and ya know...

15. What is your favourite curse word?

16. Your house is on fire! You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the item?
My laptop. This beauty holds all of my creative writing and I gotta save that.

17. One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren’t really doing anything, they’re just standing around your bed. What do you do?
Are they cute? Er. Wait. Nevermind. Get 'em to clean my house. And maybe go rob a bank because I need the money. And they're mummies, so they can't actually commit a crime.

18. The Angel of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour?
Talk him outta killing me, of course.

19. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what’s even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What’s it gonna be?
The ability to make people do what I want. ("Mr. Bush, stop being an idiot.")

20. You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?
There was this one moment with my ex. Coulda changed a lot of stuff. So, that one.

21.You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
I'm tempted to say the whole growing up fundy thing, but since that made me who I am.....grr. I don't know. That one moment with my ex. Yeah, that one.

22. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-travelling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But you can move to anywhere else in the world! What country are you going to live in now?
Italy! I can learn Italian or hey, make them all speak English to me.

23. You have been eternally banned from every single bar in the world except for ONE. Which one is it gonna be?
Tipatina's. Awesome music.

24. Hopefully you didn’t mention this in the super-powers question…. If you did, then we’ll just expand on that. Suddenly, you have gained the ability to float. Who are you going to show this to first?
My cat, since she's the only one around. Then probably the neighbors ;)

25. The constant absorption of magical moonbeams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous-person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life?
Kurt Cobain. I'll bring him back, get him into therapy and on medication and then turn him loose on the music scene again.

26. The Celestial Gates of Beyond have opened, much to your surprise because you didn’t think such a thing existed. Death appears. As it turns out, Death is actually a pretty cool entity, and happens to be in a fantastic mood. Death offers to return the friend/family-member/person, etc. of your choice to the living world. Who will you bring back?
My Aunt Vickie. No question about it.

27. What’s your theme song?
32 Flavors -- Ani DiFranco

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posted by Zan at 11:41 AM 1 comments

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Speaking of gender. . .

My confessed love of men in makeup -- genderfuckers all -- compells me to post this little photofest. Well, that and I wanted something pretty to look at. Yes, they wear makeup. But come on, does anyone doubt these are *men*?
(And yeah, I could post a lot more, but ya know. . .)

Frank Iero:


Billy Martin:

Davey Havok:

posted by Zan at 6:44 PM 15 comments

Friday, February 09, 2007

Children + Sex = Instant Outrage

For very different reasons, alas. My first serving of outrage comes to us courtesy of Allentown, Pa. where a school system covered up the rapes of four first-graders.

Short version: An older child was found assaulting a younger child in the bathroom. Instead of, oh I don't know, calling the police? The school decided to keep it all quiet. They didn't notify the victim's parents, it appears, much less the rapist's parents. Instead, they move the older child to another classroom. Said nothing and guess what? He did it again. Three times.

The district denies wrongdoing and has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. But it has not disputed that assaults occurred, and its legal response has only further inflamed public opinion in one of the state’s poorest school districts.

In federal court last month, the district’s lawyer, John Freund III, argued that under the Constitution school officials cannot be held responsible simply for failing to protect youngsters from assaults by other students.

He cited federal court rulings that say school systems are generally immune from paying damages unless it can be shown that they actually took “affirmative” steps that put youngsters in danger, and that the action taken “shocks the conscience.”

Keep children safe? The school's responsibility? Oh no. No no no. Sorry, can't do that. And exactly how is not 'affirmative' to know there's a sexual predator on campus and do nothing about it? Doesn't that automatically endanger every child on campus? I mean, if the school knew one of it's teachers was a pedophile, they'd be held accountable if he molested a child while at work, so how is it different when the attacker is a child? And well, MY conscience is certainly shocked. How 'bout yours?

Second dose of outrage comes from Boston. (Boston? Really? *sigh*) This time, no children were actually harmed. This time it was the parents' oh-so-fragile sensibilities.

Short version: Elementary school teacher reads a book to his/her class. The book is about a prince who finds love. With another prince. Oh, dear. Mustn't let those innocent children hear about that! Never mind that Mass. is the only state in the country where two men can get married and it's likely that those children will, sooner or later, have a classmate with two daddies or two mommies. Let's just go about denying reality. Let's go about denying the law, while we're at it.

I mean, I highly doubt this book was giving any play-by-play on hawt boyfucking. It's probably Cinderella with a prince cast in the princess role. Wow. So very shocking and damaging to the psyche! The parents may have to actually answer some questions. They may have to come up with answers. They may have to --gods forbide!--actually think through their position on same-sex marriage. And we can't have that, can we?

Look, if you believe in something and you're raising children, things like this are going to come up. If I ever have a child, I'm going to have to find a way to keep him/her from being indoctrinated with redneck values. It's just how life works. You're parents, so parent, dammit. Stop trying to get the whole world to cater to you and teach your children how to have their own beliefs and how to stand by them. You're doing them a disservice, and pissing the rest of us off, when you don't.

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posted by Zan at 5:07 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gender Pisses Me Off

Everyone's talking about gender lately, which is funny because it was just on my mind. Belle's talking about it and everytime she talks about something, I start thinking and there goes my night, ya know?

So, I'm thinking about what it means to be feminine -- both in regards to myself and in regards to my niece.

Kady turns 3 in March. She's at that age where she's starting to notice differences in things and so, it's time for her to learn that she's a girl. Or so says my family. Me? I'm thinking what's the rush? And the things they're pointing out to her are not the physical differences, but the actions of being female.

Like, for Christmas I was a bad, bad feminist and gave her nailpolish. Because she wanted it and I'm her aunt and how could I say no? So, she got nail polish. And had the best time with it. She painted everyone's nails and toes. And ya know, fingers too. She wanted to paint her grandpa and her daddy's nails too. And this is where the problem came in.

The men in my family, for all their areas of equality, are kinda wigged out by the notion of 'non-manly' behaviour. So, nail polish? Uh. No. My brother (K's Daddy) told her that nail polish was for girls, not boys. (To which I said, "Why?" -- at the same time Kady did.) I also pointed out that, ya know, some boys wear nail polish too. (Like, the kind Aunt Zan wants to ravish. Oh, yes. Ahem.) Anyway, B (my brother) was all like, 'well, not boys in this family."

At which point Kady, bless her adorable soul, looks at her Daddy and says "Then you're a girl."

She was totally going to paint his nails, gender be damned. There was a bit of "no no, Daddy's a boy and Mommy's a girl and you're a girl and Aunt Zan is a girl and Gramma is a girl" and finally, she was distracted by the chance to paint her cousin Kamryn's toes.

But still. I'm concerned about what she's going to learn. While the rest of the family may be quite content with her growing up learning traditional gender roles, I am not. Which is why I tend to buy her non-gendered toys. (She's totally getting a set of bongos for her birthday.) I want her to grow up to know that it's okay for her to play the drums or guitar or paint or write or run a business or run a farm or fix a car or whatever the hell it is that makes her happy, even if it's not 'feminine'.

(Although, to be fair to my family, they're not all about keeping her in the gender roles. She got a guitar for Christmas, because she loves music. She showed it to me, slipping it over her shoulders and plucking on it. "It makes noise" she said. I love that kid.)

So, how do I model behaviour for her when I'm not sure about being 'feminine' myself?

Lately, I've been feeling myself drawn more to a more feminine mode of dressing. I have sudden urges for pretty sundresses and strappy sandals. (No heels though. Goddess save me from heels.) And I can't get enough lip gloss. Really, it's like a sickness. Lip gloss beckons me and I Must. Buy. It. Now. I have more purses than any woman should have and I'm so looking forward to getting the money that's coming to me because it means I can buy furniture. And I've been looking around at furniture stores for days now, just dreaming about what I want. Do you think men do that? (I don't know. Do they? I've been told they don't, but I could be wrong.)

See, in my mind I'm still equating feminine with weak. And I know, in my head, that's not right. I know that. None of the women in my family are weak, and that's where I get my idea of feminine from. But it feels so....traditional. So bowing to culture and giving up my own identity. And I know, of course, that I'm never going to let that happen. But that's how I feel, when I'm actually faced with buying a pretty dress or shoes. It's dumb. I know, when I wear this stuff, that I'm going to get lots of compliments. Which I like, but then I think, so what was wrong with me before? It's just me in a pretty dress. I'm no different. I didn't undergo a sudden personality switch when the silk went over my head, ya know. Same girl. Same brain, same abilities, but now I'm worth noticing when I wasn't before? What's up with that shit?

So, I guess, I'm resentful. I certainly don't dress for compliments. And really, I genuinely like a lot of the clothing I want to wear. So, ya know, it's not like anyone is making me do it.

And really, isn't a skirt just a skirt? Don't we have bigger problems in the world? And yet, here I am, stuck wondering about this shit when there's a war going on and people are dying and there are women and children being beaten and abused in my own damned town. It all seems so stupid and pointless, yet here I go again.

Because I know it doesn't fucking matter what you wear, it matters what you do. It doesn't matter if you never wear dresses or if you always wear them. It doesn't matter if you wear lipstick or chapstick or nothing at all. It doesn't matter if you shave or if you dye your hair or if your skin has never known a damned razor. None of those things make you feminine. None of those things make you a woman and I'm rather pissed that I'm being manipulated into feeling that those things are important.

Maybe I'm just tired of the artificial divisions. Maybe I'm just tired of being told I have to analys every fucking choice I make. Maybe a pretty green sundress is just a pretty green sundress that I'm wearing when I volunteer at the animal shelter or work the suicide prevention line. Who knows? And maybe a man wears eyeliner or nail polish or a fucking dress while he comforts an abused kid or delivers a meal to a homeless person.

Okay. Yeah. That's what I'm feeling about gender -- it pisses me off. Because everyone keeps trying to define it and put it into little boxes so they can mark us all off as X or Y or Z or whatever the fuck they can. And you know what happens when they do that? We stop being human. We stop being individuals who have personalities and quirks and passions and flaws and the power to change the godsdamned world. Putting us in pre-defined boxes strips us of our power.

So, here's what I say: define your gender however the hell you want to and I'll define mine like I want to. Aren't we all tired of dragging around those checklists anyway? "Girls do X, boys do Y, blah, blah, blah." What good do they do us? I guess, if you can check off all the boxes naturally, they work for you. So great. You be a checklist gender. I can't check off all the damned boxes and frankly, I don't want to.

But I want to be able to wear a goddamned dress without feeling like I'm either a bad feminist or turning into my mother.

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posted by Zan at 5:38 PM 11 comments

This just in from the Just Say NO! Bureau of Human Sexuality. . .

Sex of any kind can harm teens emotionally -- thus sayth the researchers. Except, well, that's not quite what the story says, really. It says that some teens can feel bad after having sex. Even *gasp* oral sex! It doesn't say they were harmed, just that they experienced negative emotions relating to the experience.

Here's MY newsflash -- Some adults have negative experiences with sex too!

Why is this shocking to anyone? Who hasn't had a bad experience now and then? (I recall with sadness the BF who had a rather er, quick, response time. Who also wasn't all that into giving me oral, either. Although, he never asked me to go down on him, so I didn't get too bitchy about that.)

And why is it so surprising that oral sex would leave someone feeling bad? Is it somehow miraculously different than vaginal sex? (Well, you know, aside from the obvious. . .) Why didn't they poll the kids about anal sex? Or was that just too shocking to consider?

And the girls feel worse than the boys? I'm stunned. Really. At least the writer seemed to get a little of why that might be so: "Though the study could not look at the reasons for this difference, other studies have noted that there's pressure on girls to at once be sexually attractive yet resist having sex."

Ya think? Wear these "slutty" clothes darling, but don't you do so much as kiss that nasty boy! Arg! How fucking frustrating is that?

How hard is it to just, ya know, teach girls to be comfortable with their bodies and their sexuality? How fucking hard is it to let them know that they are the ones who get to decide what happens to their bodies -- not their boyfriends or the media or the church or their parents, but them. Full personhood. Fuck the rest of that shit.

The study, according to the researchers, suggests that parents should be sure to talk with their kids about the potential negative effects of having oral sex, not only intercourse.


Because focusing on the fucking negative consequences of sex has worked so very well in the past, hasn't it? Everyone here married or virgins? Yes? Yes, I thought so.

Okay, how hard is it, really, to say to girls (and boys): Sex is powerful and amazing, and no one gets to make the choice when to have it but you. Sex isn't about being dirty or shamed or degraded. It's about being loved and desired and pleasure and so much more than that. But the only one who gets to decide when you have it is you. There are consequences, yes. There may be heartbreak. There are ways to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy and diseases. Sex is not about being dirty and sinful and you're not bad or degraded if you have it.

I am sick to death of hearing how sex makes women dirty.

Fuck that shit. Seriously. Fuckfuckfuckfuck.

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posted by Zan at 5:18 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Money = Pain

I can't decide if the Universe is on my side or if it's just really enjoying a cosmic joke at my expense that I don't understand.

So, I'm poor. I mean, really, in-debt-up-to-surrendering-my-firstborn poor. Not as bad as many, I'll admit. But for me? Not good.

And apparently, I tend to go on about it. I don't mean to, but when something is on my mind...I tend to talk about it without realizing it. Anyway, yesterday at work, one of my co-workers made a nasty remark about how everyone knew I was broke because I was always talking about that sent me to the bathroom crying. Usually, I'm not so sensitive, but I was vastly hormonal and worried about paying my bills and dealing with the fact that all my friends and family are hours away from me now. So, it was just the wrong time to deal with that kinda remark. (She did apologize later and she was really upset that she upset me. She was having a hard time too and I just stumbled into her line of fire.)

So, I had a wretched day yesterday. Gave myself a headache from crying so much. I was upset that I was upset at work, because come on...you don't do that. But fortunately, I could hide out in the bathroom and no one else was in my office, so no one really saw me. So. That's okay. I felt awful, just wanted to come home and go to bed (Which I did)

But -- and this is where I can't decide if the Universe loves me or not -- I get home, check the mail. To find a letter from my former job, asking what I wanted to do with the money in my old retirment account. Now, here's the thing -- I didn't know I HAD money in a retirment account. I had never signed up for it, because I couldn't afford the deductions from my check. (Ayep. I was paid THAT badly.) But, because I was there forever, I was vested and the company started putting money aside for me. So, I have like $7500. I just have to tell them where to send it.

Yeah, there's the 20% penalty for taking it all in a lump sum. Which sucks, but still. I'm gonna send 'em the paperwork today and should have the money to fix all the damn bill problems that have been following me everywhere. The rest I'm gonna stick into an account to start saving as a downpayment on a house. Go me.
posted by Zan at 6:54 AM 4 comments

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Shaking off the hormone blues

I will, dammit. I will. I'm bumming around today, because it's Sunday and I got nothing to do. Whhooo. I'm about to head over to Barnes & Nobles to get a coffee and read randomly. I can't afford to actually buy anything, but hey. It'll get me outta the house and outta my head. My head is going to a bad place, because it's bored.

The birds are still trying to drive me crazy. I can't figure out what kind of birds they are, because they won't come out where I can see them. Noooo, they just cheeeeep and chirrrrrp away at me, scratching at my ceiling with their little birdy claws. Gah!!

My best friend meet her boyfriend on OKCupid. So, I'm looking around too, because why not? And I keep looking at the pictures all these guys have up and I'm like...they're all so cute. (Well, so are the girls. Hrm.) And why, I think, would such a cute guy go for me? And that's when I realized -- I gotta get moving. I gotta shake these stupid hormone-driven misgivings. They're making me as crazy at the birds! Cause, face it, I'm pretty fucking awesome ;) Who wouldn't wanna be with me, that's the better question. *sigh* I'm seriously counting the days until I can see the doctor and get a script for some Yaz. Which, I found out, my insurance will indeed cover. It'll only cost me $26 a month, much better than the $50 for some of the other stuff. So, go me. Only 12 more days until I see the nice doctor lady.

Let's see...what else is going on? Oh! I filed my taxes yesterday. I did indeed. The guvment is giving me back nearly a $1,000. Ha! Yeah, which is good, because I need it. Should be in my account in about two weeks. So, I'll be going to buy myself a washer and dryer then. Yes! Thank god. Think maybe I'll do some price checking today. Hrm. That's good. I'll be a responsible shopper, do all kinda of comparison shopping beforehand. Get the best deal. Yeeeess...

Also, yesterday, I went to a pet store. A real one, with actual animals, not just animal stuff. Oh gods. The puppies! The puppies they called to me. I fell for this King Charles Spaniel. He was sooooooo sweet and adorable. I just wanted him, but...I don't have room for a dog right now. And really, I'm a cat person. But he was so cute. I just wanted to hug him and pet him and call him Aristotle. *sigh* Maybe when I have a house of my own.

I think I may get an aquarium when I get my refund in. I need a washer, dryer and a new couch. After that....the money is mine to play with. Or something. Who knows? Right now, I need to go find my shoes and go to the bookstore and engage in a little book therapy.
posted by Zan at 10:17 AM 3 comments

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The birds, the birds!

Are driving me crazy.

I have a buncha birds nesting in, I think, my heating/cooling ducts. I hear 'em all the time. They chirp, they scrabble in the ceiling and it makes me nuts! At first, I thought it was MICE! Until I realized there was chirping. And my cat was staring out them out the bedroom window. *sigh* I love birdies, so I'm not calling the landlord to evict them, but come on.....can't they be quiet? It's not the chirping, I like that. It's the scambling and the scratching noise!!


The birds!
posted by Zan at 8:27 AM 0 comments

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I should have listened to that little voice. . .

You know, the one that tells you not to get out of bed in the morning? Yeah. That one.

Warning: This is going to be a bitchy personal post. Skip if you're not interested. Go read my last post instead.

So, where was I? Yeah. Okay, so I woke up feeling all achy. My hands and feet are just throbbing. I had to go off my meds for likt two weeks, until my new insurance company was convinced to pay for it. So that little break was enough for a nastybad flare to set up. So my fibro and lupus have begun to rage like a bastard. I'm tired and I hurt all over. Blah. But, like a trooper, I go into work anyway.

When I get to work, I find an email from one of the guys who reviews the bulletins I do that I've done the last one wrong. I've got to take out a lotta shit and reform and it's just a big mess. I worked on this damned thing for the last two days, but oh well. He told me where to look to find a format to follow and I did. And discovered that, gods dammit, all that work I did wasn't necessary. All I had to do was pull up a copy of the last bulletin (they're done every quarter) and replace the numbers with the new ones. That's it. Which I would have known, had the person who was training me bothered to tell me. Took me an hour and a half, as opposed to the two fucking days I've already spent on it. Grrr.

Then, around 2 p.m., my boss brings me a press release to send to the media outlets. Okay, no problem. I'm a little confused as to which contact list to use, but I figure it out. (This is the first press release I've handled and I hadn't even really seen one mailed out before.) So, they have to be faxed and/or emailed out. There are four huge lists I have to send them too. So, I get to work with the emailing. First off, I had assumed there would be an email group/alias set up. I mean, there are literally hundreds of places this gets sent. And it's been done for fricking years, so it makes sense someone would have set up an email alias, right? Ha! No. So, I get to copy and paste the email addresses into one email. Which takes me at least an hour because there are that many of them. So, I do it and send it off. And start getting Undeliverable Messages immediately. Half the damn addresses are out of date!

So, I'm trying to keep my cool. I am. I ask the boss if it /had/ to go out today. Yes, he says. It does. Well, shit. So, I go and send it to the big newspapers in the state first, get them taken care of since they're the most important. Then I start with the faxing. Except, a lot of the damned fax numbers are out of date! I don't understand how this is possible, because they've been sending press releases for years and how the hell do you let the list get that out of date? Anyway, I'm losing it because it's getting closer and closer to quitting time and I've got like 200 damned people to fax this thing to. So, a couple of my co-workers start helping me out and finally the boss decides, well if it got out to the big papers today, we can send it to the rest of them tomorrow. So, first thing tomorrow morning I get to babysit a fax machine and fax a press release to 176 media outlets.

Oh, and after that I'm making a damned email alias and calling everyone on the frigging list to get the right number and harrass them into giving me a damned email address to send it to instead. Grr. Plus, we're trying to figure out a way to program the fax machine to do a mass fax. This is insane. It's completely timewasting and if I had had any clue about this before, I'd have taken it upon myself to organize it all before the release was due to be sent out.

Then! On the way home, I'm mopy and decide to stop at Walgreens and get some ice cream. While I'm there I realize I need a few other things, so I get 'em and then get to the checkout. I try to use this Visa debit card I have. It's prepaid, so I'm not worried about it. Except it won't go through. And so, I end up having to walk out without any of the stuff I wanted because I have no money in my actual checking account to cover it. *sigh*

I have never been quite so glad to get home before. You have no idea. Now, I need to figure out something for dinner, take a shower and watch Grey's Anatomy. Tomorrow, I'm wearing blue jeans and trying to get out early. *sigh*


posted by Zan at 6:11 PM 1 comments

Your miscarriage is not our problem

Once again, law enforcement officers show drastic disregard for a woman and her silly little womb. Only this time, instead of being a rape victim attempting not to get pregnant, our woman is pregnant and bleeding, trying to get to the hospital in a car with a fake temporary tag.

Full story here. Video included with the link.

Highlights? Here ya go:

A police videotape released Tuesday shows Sofia Salva telling officers numerous times last Feb. 5 that she was pregnant, bleeding and needed to go to a hospital.

After the ninth request, the tape shows, a female officer asked: “How is that my problem?”

Short version: Woman gets pulled over and immediately tells the police that she's pregnant and bleeding. What do the police do? Tell her that's too bad, but she's got bigger problems with them. Yes, of course, bigger problems than miscarrying. Oh, of course, what was I thinking? Because getting a ticket is much much more important than going to the hospital. Where she could have been under their supervision the entire time, if they really felt the need to arrest her. Instead, she gets locked up overnight and the next day is taken to the hospital -- because she's delivering a premature baby. Who lives for all of one minute. Now, who knows if she would have lost the baby if she'd been taken to the hospital the night before? Possibly, she would have lost it anyway, but in this case the police showed reckless disregard for her health and the health of her child.

Apparently, you cannot win as a woman. If you're a victim and reporting a rape -- which is hard enough to do and most women won't do -- SLAM! If you're a pregnant woman suffering a miscarriage, trying to get to the hospital? SLAM!

Even better? This:

No tapes were available of Salva’s time in the jail, but she contends in the lawsuit that her continued pleas for help were ignored. The department said videotapes from that period had been recycled before it became aware of Salva’s claims.

They'd been recycled. Sure, sure. But when the local newspaper got pushy and the lawyers got involved, look what turned up? Why, the tape of that night and guess what? She says over and over that she's bleeding and she'd told, over and over, that it's not the cops problem.

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posted by Zan at 5:57 PM 1 comments