The sound of seven shots – defund the police

I don’t talk about politics much on this page because I talk on my facebook page. I don’t get much feedback because I don’t have much readership here. But every now and then I post something here and cross-post on my social media because this is a better presentation.

I’m not going to bother talking about how I’ve been following the BLM movement and all the events leading up to it. Whoever you are, reading this, have likely made up your mind about BLM and you aren’t going to change. BLM has been challenging a system of inequity and inequality for some time now. They have been ignored, swept aside and ridiculed for as long as they’ve been in public. I believe there are people who have been sitting on the sidelines and carefully avoiding making any choices about this situation in our nation. People who have too many associations with BLM that incline them away from empathizing with their message. But forget about BLM for a minute. BLM has been joined by so many people that no one can ignore it anymore. No one can really sit on the sidelines of opinion anymore. Because it’s gone beyond BLM.

What’s happening now is the next step: The system is trying to defend itself against the challenge.

Do I really believe that more people have come to care about BLM? No. I wish it were so because I believe in their message too, but the reality is that as BLM has protested, marched, spoke up and gone viral, people have realized that the system is rotten for everyone. And people have joined, slowly, over time, to join the protests because they can see that even just challenging the rotten core of the system results in havoc and death for everyone. Maybe people have woken up and realized that the system may be coming for them, maybe people have finally had a closer degree of separation from the people who are being gunned down. Maybe people saw one too many videos. Maybe people just heard one too many shots.

And the word needs to spread.

This is tragic. This is beyond tragic. This is alarms and sirens for our nation. This is past “warning shots”.

What has been happening for years and years is now to the point where people are done being “nice” about it and are now protesting in the streets in whatever manner will get the attention and keep the focus. Things have progressed to the point where even the protests have stopped being “nice” and people are starting to legitimately riot – burning buildings, trashing edifices, smashing businesses, even occasionally threatening other people.

I’m not going to tell you that’s all wrong. I’m not going to start pretending that cherry-picked quotes from MLK are applicable here. I’m not going to caution people to “go high” and “be the better person” or anything like that.

Because I can’t care about that anymore. We are way beyond that. There have been too many shots fired.

Don’t you see? It’s so horrific…. we can’t take it anymore. I read about Jacob Blake in Kenosha and my heart just shredded into pieces. I’ve been upset and angry and cried and argued and pleaded and screamed and I’m just so fucking exhausted now. And at this point, is it only Black people who are being gunned down by the police? No. But they are still the main targets. They are our martyrs and examples. They are the crucified, held up to warn the rest of us what will happen if we keep shouting against this nightmare. The police are still firing “warning shots” at us all. And those shots are still killing people. The sound of shots is supposed to scare us, keep us in check, make us cower and bow down to the people with uniforms and weapons. But it doesn’t matter if we do those things… they are still shredding our hearts with the sound of more shots. How many shots can you listen to before you break down and stop letting this happen? How many deaths can you stand?

What happened to this man, and all the people gunned down by police, is just beyond heinous; it’s offensive to everything we associate with being an American. Our justice system is a system that trumpets how “fair” it is supposed to be. How we give accused people the presumption of innocence and force the prosecution to prove guilt – we do not make the defense prove innocence. This is our system and we have reason to be immensely proud of it; in theory. Because this system is not being offered to anyone who isn’t White and Able, and Hetero and living their assigned gender from birth and walking around with citizenship papers. It’s not. And what’s almost as bad is that now, that same system is trying to raise its powerful fist to crush anyone who speaks out about it. And that goes against everything we SAY we believe as Americans. We have freedom to protest. We have not just a right, but an obligation to make our government – national or local – to listen to our grievances and address them. This is one of our many rights too. We have rights that other nations dream of, yet here we are, letting the authorities pay lip service to those rights and get away with murder. We raise up the words of our founding fathers (knowing many were slave-owners and rapists) because the ideals they touted, the fine words they uttered were the goals of our nation. Even though our founding fathers couldn’t *follow* those words, they still wanted to believe in them; they wanted to build a nation that followed those ideals.

And here we are.

All those people who are protesting, you look at them and what do you see? You see reprehensible folks who aren’t bowing down to the system? The system that perhaps protects YOU just fine?

I see people who have gone from sad and grieving to angry to rageful to outraged to despondent and so many other emotions… this is our country, our culture and we look around and see a system that is trying to break us, enslave us, censor us and if we don’t comply, they kill us. All the laws in the world won’t save us if the system behind those laws puts its boots on our necks and begins to press down. All the speeches in the world won’t help us when the sound of shots ring out again.

So when I look at those crowds, I don’t just see my fellow activists, fighting the good fight to get something changed, I see people who have cried, like I did, when they read just one more damned story about someone getting killed by the police. I see people who thought about their friends, their family, their online pals, people they care about and maybe even people they don’t know – getting caught under the boot of this system and having their lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye… in the sound of seven shots.

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/08/24/us/kenosha-police-shooting-jacob-blake

More Musings on OkCupid

So here’s a hot take on my process of weeding through OkCupid profiles:

Well you’ve got a stupid picture, goodbye.

Sportsfan huh? I suppose I could… whoa REALLY big sportsfan. Goodbye.

You pose with an animal you killed? While it’s still BLEEDING? Goodbye.

You sure like posing with hot chicks. Goodbye.

You just HAD to talk about your sexual proclivities in the first paragraph huh? Goodbye.

Another couple. Goodbye.

You’re a really hot chick, why are you on here? Not gonna pass but not gonna like… maybe there’s something in your profile… oh, no, there’s nothing. ‘Bot check, goodbye.

Well aren’t you bitter? Goodbye.

You want a “partner in crime”, a “special lady”, a “gorgeous creature”, a “queen” et cet Goodbye.

Another couple. Geeziz

Wow, you seem perfect! Oh, you’re 25. Dangit.

6’6??!? *sigh*

Only want hook-ups? Goodbye.

Already married? Goodbye.

One word answers to all the questions. Goodbye.

NO answers to any questions? Goodbye,

ANOTHER Couple. Omg

Wow you really look like shit in that photo. You couldn’t at least comb your damned hair? Goodbye.

“Country boy” Huh? No thanks.

All your photos are of work. *yawn*

Wow, you travel a lot. How could I ever keep up? Goodbye.

You clearly want a hottie. Goodbye.

ANOTHER COUPLE. FFS

ANOTHER MARRIED MAN. Oh he wants something “discreet” you know there’s sites specifically for that dumbass

You really love your dog…. a little too much.

If God comes first in your life… goodbye.

I really don’t need to see photos of your damned dog.

Another married man. Oh and he’s very up-front about wanting me to be a side-piece. Goodbye.

Wow, you’re exactly what I’m looking for and it looks like i’m exactly what you’re looking for – you’re 6’3 GODDAMMIT

Well you seem cool – YOU’RE 23?! GODDAMMIT

ANOTHER COUPLE

Oh you are so clever making sure your face doesn’t appear since you’re looking for “discreet fun” – fucking dumbass.

Oh I like you. I’ll send you a message based on what your profile says. I’m sure I’ll never hear back but let’s try.

Oh I’m so glad you mention 420. Several times. “nudge nudge wink wink”v Goodbye.

Ahh the inevitable edgey asshole. Glad you outed yourself early on in the profile so I don’t waste my time reading the rest of it. Goodbye.

“Fluent in sarcasm” – yeah I get it, har har. Goodbye.

You only read instruction manuals???

Another couple. But they want someone “clean”

Your favorite movie is Weekend at Bernies? Really!?

Married man alert!

Spellcheck exists for a reason, dumbass. (yes this is still a problem)

Butch Lesbian who is looking for a sub. *sigh*

Gorgeous lesbian who refuses to talk to bisexuals. *sigh*

Transwoman who is older than me *sigh*

Married man who links me to his wife’s profile. Oh yay.

Cute profile that is silly and inventive. Me likey. Never hear back after three exchanges but hope springs eternal.

which kind are you?

two groups of people…

Group one is 50% homicidal maniacs who can’t wait to get their hands on some knives so they can go on killing sprees. The other 50% are kinda-sorta holding them back but mostly just doesn’t care if they go on a killing spree so long as the maniacs leave all the goodies behind for them to eat.

Group two is a wide-range of weirdos who have a hard time getting along but mostly just want to split up everything fairly. They argue A LOT. There’s probably a homicidal maniac or two mixed in there but it’s hard to tell because everyone’s always arguing. Most of the time, though, when a maniac shows up, the rest of the group gets rid of them. In fact group two is pretty harsh on themselves whenever someone shows up who isn’t “acceptable” they have a tendency to oust them quickly.

Are these two groups the same? comparable? Which group would you rather be in? The take-your-chances-with-murder-for-big-reward group? or the never-find-peace-but-live-fairly group?

Airbnb Lessons

I’ve been renting out my bedroom on Airbnb for a while now. It’s been interesting and profitable. On the whole, not an unhappy endeavor, but it’s not making me rich by any means. Based on the money I’ve put into it and the money I’ve made and the extra bills I’ve had to pay and the time I’ve spent on it, I’ve come out barely ahead. Still it’s worth it to not be a slave to an hourly job for next-to-nothing. Once classes start again, this will be even more helpful for my life.

There are some things I learned “the hard way” though and there are some things I wish travelers would understanding about staying in “an Airbnb” (Yay for new nouns!) These apply mostly for those of us who also live in the space you are renting.  I can’t speak for commercial hosts.

  1. Stop asking for discounts before booking.  Running an Airbnb is not free nor is it cheap. Hosts pay for many things – some of which you see (like toilet paper) and some of which you don’t (like electricity) so don’t think we don’t  notice when you decide to treat us like a laundromat.  More importantly, we pay mortgage/rent to actually have this space to rent to you, so asking for a discount is entitled. Our bank doesn’t give US a discount. Your being in our space literally costs us money. Airbnb also does everything to make your stay cheaper – the push hosts HARD to give discounts (weekly, first-timers, off-season, et cet) and they push HARD for us to have low prices (smart pricing fluctuates with use). Asking for a discount is annoying. Airbnb doesn’t offer US a discount – we pay them! One time I had a family of 6 staying with me for $17/day. I lost money on that booking but I did learn about proper pricing. Now, once you’ve stayed with us we might be amenable to giving you an extra-special deal, but that runs into the next problem…
  2. Don’t wait to book more time.  Airbnb does everything they can to keep our space booked at all possible times. When in doubt, overbook your rental. If you think there’s a possibility of needing an extra day, BOOK IT. Not because it makes us more money but because you asking us if you can stay an extra day or two the day before you’re scheduled to check-out puts us in an uncomfortable position of having to say “no” to a guest. We’d actually rather have you stay an extra day than have to switch guests more. We’d love to have you stay extra time but it can’t happen when you wait too long to book – we’ve usually already got someone else coming. If you get to the space and it seems decent then as soon as you know you’ll need extra time ASK. I’ve had almost every guest ask if they can stay extra time and every one of them I’ve had to turn down because they waited until the day before check-out to ask.  When someone’s already booked the space, I can’t let you stay extra no matter how much I like you. If you book an extra day and then don’t end up needing it, tell the host and ask them if you can get part of your money back. Some hosts have buffer days between guests and might not have a problem. Even if they say no, you’ve only paid one day. It’s not that bad. Most of all, if you realize you need extra time, do not wait to ask for it. If you do get to do an new booking, you might ask the host to waive the cleaning fee since you’re not leaving in between because…
  3. This is not a hotel. When your garbage is full, please bring us the bag. If you’re really lazy, ask for the trash to be taken out but do NOT let it overflow. Right now, if I had a dollar for every empty water bottle I had to retrieve from behind the bed I’d be able to take my kid to Disneyland. If you share a kitchen, wash your dishes before you leave. If you’re eating/drinking in your room, ask for the protocol. I put coasters in the bedroom and I have yet to see anyone use them (yes,  I can tell). If I supply you towels, please wash them yourself rather than dumping them in my hamper and asking me for another towel. Basically act like an adult. You are renting a space MUCH cheaper than a hotel so appreciate that fact and pick up after yourself. If you are more aware of your surroundings, perhaps you’ll be better at keeping track of your own stuff which leads us to ask…
  4. Please check your stuff before you leave. I’ve “lost” things like towels and cleaning supplies to guests. I am sure they didn’t mean to take those things but it can easily happen if you’re packing to leave and you don’t double-check your stuff. At the same time, I’ve found things guests left behind. So please, check your stuff before you you leave. It may not seem like  a big deal but having to replace stuff other guests will need while having a pile of stuff nobody needs is a mild pain, and it can get expensive. Towels are a minimum of $7 at Target. if you take two that’s $15. If you take a couple of washcloths as well? I’ve basically lost a day’s worth of earnings. How would you like to have a day of work cut out of your check because your boss just couldn’t be bothered to give it to you? That’s kind of how I felt about it. Having stuff disappear is especially aggravating because…
  5. I live here too.  Please never forget that I (and my family) live here too. There is a “house rules” section on the listing but there are some “rules” we don’t don’t think to put on there, so when in doubt, ASK. I allow pets in my space and I’ve already had a guest who thought it was perfectly okay to let their dogs go in my backyard to do their business. This was not okay with me. I had assumed they would take their dogs for a walk to do their business. Having three dogs poop every day for a week meant my son could not mow the lawn. Which meant the grass grew. Which meant I couldn’t spray the yard for mosquitoes. Which meant we were all getting bitten like crazy every time we went outside. My “house rules” section is already long. Now I’ve got to put another rule about where your dogs can poop? I’ve had guests move the furniture, leave doors open, wake me up at ungodly hours, block my car et cet. I can’t possibly write a rule for everything we do here in the house. But I should not have to write rules like “please don’t slam the door at OhGawd o’clock” or “please don’t leave toenail clippings all over the bathroom”  – some things should be common courtesy. That said..
  6. I like having you.  I do Airbnb because I need the money. I also really enjoy the company. I have baked treats for my guests, spent an evening watching TV with my guests, explained how my video game works, offered them alcohol, told them where to get dinner and how to shop for groceries. I like having people over. I hope this enjoyment is not ruined by some bad experiences in the future. When you stay with a host, do not be afraid to be friendly. We mostly like having people over and welcome a chance to get to know you. If you want to be totally private, that’s fine too, but there’s no reason you can’t smile occasionally and say hello as you pass by us.
  7. Please leave a personal message. So much of our success as a host depends on the star review. But the star review doesn’t tell us anything. You have the chance to give us a personal note as well so consider doing that instead of leaving a low star review on any of the categories. I’ve learned a LOT from the personal notes and it’s helped me improve my host game, but people who leave a 4 star didn’t help me at all. I need to know WHY you weren’t completely satisfied. Finding out that someone thought I needed to change out the trash can to one that has a lid? Totally helpful. 4 stars for “cleanliness”? Not helpful.

she would say anything to avoid being wrong

when I was getting a laundry basket in Lil Miss’ room was when I discovered some items with pee on them.
me: oh great, the dog peed on these.
LM: what?
Me: at some point, your dog had to pee so she did it on your clothes over here
LM: how do you know it was her?
Me: who the hell else could it be?
LM: …me?
Me: [deadpan] *you* peed on your own clothes? in the corner of the room?
LM: ….maybe?
Me: WHY the HELL would you do that?
LM:… um…
Me: Good gawd child, just accept that you didn’t take the dog out when you should have
LM: …okay

the olden mecha days

me: you will never see my photos from when I was a teen. Not happening.
Eldest: oh really?
Me: you don’t want to see me with a pink and purple mohawk with stripes shaved into the side of my head…
Eldest: apparently you were an extra for Mad Max