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Black Friday Blues: Take Two

It's that time of year again. When just glancing at the television makes my blood pressure skyrocket. When opening a newspaper or turning on the radio is enough to ramp my fury up to homicidal levels. Yes, it's Thanksgiving!

Wait...no. That's not right. What I meant to say is: It's the day when consumerism wins the day, mob mentality rules and corporations make their disdain and contempt for their employees ever more clear. Yes, it's Black Friday! Wait...except Black Friday now starts actually ON Thanksgiving. The media is acting like this is something Totally New and Shocking! (It's not.) But I guess I should just be happy they're covering it at all.

I posted about this last year and I don't fool myself that this journal has any kind of real viewership or impact, it's basically just me, spitting in the wind. But here I go again, because I just can't let this go.

Target is opening their doors at 12 a.m. Friday morning this year. Much to their amazement, this is apparently not ok with a large number of their workforce. What!? Our associates don't want to sleep away their Thanksgiving dinners and football games so they can work a long shift that will be filled with customers climbing over each other to get the newest/latest/cheapest/last toy/television/thing for $7.75 an hour? THEY SHOULD JUST BE GRATEFUL TO HAVE A JOB! This is what all the upper management retailers are indignantly screeching from their homes where they will spend Thanksgiving eating turkey with their family and loved ones. While the people they insist should be grateful are unloading trucks and readying themselves to greet the rampaging hoards.

Let me just point out the obvious here. It is entirely possible to be grateful that you have a job and still be dissatisfied with how that job impacts your life and how you are treated at the job. A starving person would be grateful for a piece of stale bread, that doesn't mean they want to eat that forever or should stop trying to improve their diet.

It's a really hard time to be a worker in America right now. States like Wisconsin are waging war against collective bargaining rights. In Maine, the governor removed a mural depicting Maine's labor history from the Department of Labor. Unemployment is anywhere from 9.7% to 16.6% depending on if you count the underemployed and the people who have stopped looking for work (which you should). Middle class earnings have been pretty much the same since the 1970's. Newt Gingrich is telling members of the Occupy Wall Street movement to take a bath and get a job (see above unemployment numbers). Employees are not considered people by their employers. They are disposable annoyances and employers are constantly looking for ways to cut payroll.

Which is why it is laughable to me when I hear the National Retail Federation come out in support of these earlier and earlier Black Friday times by saying employees who are forced to work that day should be grateful (that word again!) because it means more hours and job security. Um...no, it doesn't mean that at all. It means you work that day or lose your job. And if you work, it doesn't mean that once the holiday season is over they won't cut your hours or even lay you off because there are always a thousand more applications from people willing to work cheaper or part time, which you can't because you need the health benefits. Or because they found someone who doesn't have to pick up her kids at 4:00 every day. Or because you failed to meet whatever arbitrary sales goal they came up with. Working on Thanksgiving means...you're working on Thanksgiving. That's it.

Listen carefully because this is what employers are saying. "We don't value you as a worker, as a member of a family who needs you, we don't value your time or your morale or you as a person in any way." Listen carefully and then decide if you want to support that with your money and patronage. Because it will stay this way and continue to get worse until consumers refuse to participate. The companies don't care until someone who matters forces them to. The only people who matter to them are the consumers. I understand that requires a sacrifice on the part of people who are struggling financially and may rely on these deals and bargains. I believe it's worth the sacrifice. I hope you do, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.
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File this under: my life is really weird.

Hey, guys, remember when this happened?

Well, funny thing. I ran into S. the other day when she came into my store. I didn't even recognize her at first. She came up to me and asked me how I was and all I could do was stare at her. When she reminded me of who she was, I just continued to stare at her. I figured staring was better than calling her a bunch of names. I finally indicated that I did remember her, and my remembrance was not fond. She just kind of stood there awkwardly for minute. I did nothing to make her feel less awkward.

Out of the blue she informs me that she's divorced now. She tells me that Velvel, her ex-husband, was majorly abusive. She apologizes to me for how things went down between us, citing her asshole ex-husband and her inexperience as a director at the time. Now, I can be as petty as the next person, but throw me an apology and the fact that your husband was a mind-controlling, abusive jagoff and you and me are cool. I told her that I appreciated the apology, cause that whole experience has always really, really bugged me. She told me that her ex felt he was superior to everyone (color me not surprised) and expected her to be that way too. She told me it took her becoming suicidal to get out of the relationship. Unfortunately, the community did not stand behind her during the divorce. Her ex spread all kinds of lies and rumors about her and the community mostly took his side. He tried to get custody of their kids, but wasn't fully successful. They have joint custody. Oh, and also, she has MS, which he knew. But when she was hit with the fatigue that comes with that disease and literally couldn't get out of bed, he would do charming things like, tell their kids that Mommy wasn't getting out of bed because she was just lazy. What a keeper!

I told her I was sorry she had to go through all that and asked how things are going for her now. She said she was doing really well, in fact she's engaged! I congratulate her and that's when she tells me she's engaged to a guy I went out with once. Yes, this would only happen to me.

So, I guess this is what they call closure. I just call it weird.
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You guys, my dad is awesome.

The high school my dad worked at for over 30 years honored him last Saturday night. In addition to teaching English and computers, my dad also sponsored the Drama Club and directed all the plays and musicals. He never put on a show that was less than excellent. I know when most people think of school productions they cringe, but my dad put on shows that put some professional productions to shame. So, they threw this huge gala event and honored him with a Patron of the Arts Distinguished Leadership Award. They invited alumni back and there were performances and it was really awesome.

 

I actually went to the high school my dad worked for. I was involved in the Drama Club and did a lot of the productions. So, I got in touch with the people putting the event together and they let me surprise my dad by speaking at the event and presenting him the award. It was fantastic! He was completely surprised and I got to brag on my dad to a ton of people. Here's my speech:

 

Throughout the years this stage has been an Egyptian throne room, a beach, a magical forest and the setting of a French revolution. On this stage, a carousel barker fell in love with a girl who worked in a mill, a nun turned governess taught a group of children their do re mi’s, and a man named Harold Hill informed the people of River City that they had trouble with a capital T. This stage has been many things but for over 30 years one thing remained the same and that is the man who brought those people and places to life with his dedication, direction, a lot of very hard work and very talented collaborators. That man is S. B., he is my father and for the 4 years that I attended High School , he was also my teacher and director.

 

When I found out I would be speaking tonight, I thought about the unique perspective I could discuss, having experienced my father as a parent and as a director. How did the “dad” side differ from the “director” side? In every way that matters, not that much. As a parent he taught his kids that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. And as a director, he put that same philosophy to work, demanding the best not only from himself, but the cast and crew as well. He taught his children the importance of being a part of something bigger than yourself. As a director and sponsor of the drama club, he helped create a community at High School where students worked together to create magic on stage. Perseverance, the value of hard work, the power of the spoken word, the beauty of theater and the arts, I learned it all from my dad. And my director.

 

I believe that the fact we’re here tonight, is proof that I speak not only for myself but for the many other people who were inspired by their time on the High School stage. Kids who participated in the shows here came away with a sense of accomplishment, an appreciation for the art form, new skills and some of the best memories of their lives. 

 

From the auditions to the read-throughs, from the tech runs to the dress rehearsals, from opening night to closing night, he was there with suggestions, support and encouragement to be our best, to have fun and the ever present rehearsal note to have more energy.To have been a part of a High School production under S. B. was to have been a part of something truly special.

 

And so, it gives me great pleasure to introduce and bring to the stage S.B., and his wife and partner of 40 years, R. Ladies and gentleman, S.B.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

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My body is a perpetual angry teenager.

So, back in February, I joined a gym. Since then I have been a total of 4 times. Today was one of those times. When I came home, I posted my gym achievement on facebook. One of my friends made a comment that said that going to the gym/working out is an act of loving yourself.

I think that's probably true. It's certainly a nice way to look at it.

However, my body is like, "If you really loved me we'd go home and eat brownies on the sofa!" And I'm all, "No! I'm doing this for your own good!" And it's like, "I HATE YOU!" And I'm all, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that but I love you and someday you'll understand." And my body's like, "I'm going to make you die on the elliptical machine! Brownies FOREVER!" And I'm all, "No brownies! We will finish this and then go home and eat a sensible dinner that includes brown rice and salad!" And my body goes, "FINE. But you will PAY for this."

And tomorrow, when I can't move without wincing or reach my arms higher than shoulder level, I will.
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The obligatory Osama's dead post.

It's only been a day and I am already exhausted by the death of Osama bin Laden.

We should be celebratory!
No, it's morally bad to be celebratory!
We should have taken him alive!
No, that would have been even more of a circus!
We should have held the body!
No, it's good we were respectful of Muslim customs not to wait for burial!
But we should have been more respectful and not buried him at sea!
Obama has re-election totally sewn up now!
Obama just got lucky that this happened on his watch!
This is totally real and actually happened!
This is a stunt!
I want to see a long form birth certifi-...er, never mind, that's a different thing I'm totally exhausted by.

For whatever it's worth, here's where I am on the whole thing. While I do not feel celebratory, I am relieved that OBL is dead. If you press me on the issue, I will be forced to say I am happy he's dead, but I don't feel happy in a balloons and cake kind of way. It's more like how you might feel after you've been putting off a dental visit for too long, but then you go and after it's over you're like, "Ok, glad that's done. Now I don't have to think about it anymore." I don't feel like chanting U-S-A and I wasn't particularly inspired to wave a flag today more than I usually am. I don't think people who do/did those things, or partied in the street when they heard the news are evil, morally reprehensible people, but...maybe I think cheering a death is...a little tacky? Like, could we please be above that? But, then again, I am not going to get all up in arms over it.

If you force me to give an opinion about death vs. possibly having taken him alive...I have to say I think death was probably the better option. I can barely imagine the resulting circus of an OBL trial and while I do think it would have been something for him to have to face the people who lives he destroyed, let's all be honest and admit that the man was a hateful, hateful piece of garbage and no matter how many widows, orphans and victims he sat before, none of it was ever going to make him, "see the light" and feel bad about what he did.

As for those on Facebook who keep posting about how Pres. Obama did not kill OBL, he just got lucky enough to be in office when one of our military members found OBL and took him out...fuck you. Seriously. If you're ignorant enough to think that, I don't even...I can't help you. Really? You think Petty Office Joe was just ambling around Abbottabad, whistling dixie and he saw Osama bin Laden taking out the trash and, wham...took him out, possibly just with the force of his righteous American indignation and a good left hook?

Right, it was totally that and not at all the culmination of a very carefully orchestrated military operation. A carefully orchestrated military operation that President Obama had to authorize, as his role as commander in chief of our armed forces. Oh, yeah, and then there's the fact that before any of that happened President Obama met with his national security advisers 5 times to plan this thing out. And that President Obama nixed the first plan pitched by U.S. officials because he wanted to be able to provide definitive proof that OBL was there and limit civilian casualties. Yeah, you guys are right. It sounds like he really didn't do anything at all. You will excuse me if I think that most of you are effing hypocrites, right? Cause when I imagine OBL being killed on our previous president's watch, I can't help hearing the hosannas of praise you're all singing to Dubya.

Osama bin Laden is dead, ya'll. But it's politics as usual.

Let the hate comments commence!
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Taking a break from being a whiny baby to bring you a list of things I'm grateful for.

So, I managed to contract a big bucket of yuck a few days ago and since then I have been sick. Like, kleenex stuffed up my nostrils, spitting into a cup, crying into my millionth cup of hot tea, blankets on, no off, no on, no off, sick. I have been whining about it incessantly on Facebook. (For those of you on my FB friends list: Sorry.)

I still feel like a troll living in a sewage plant but in the spirit of mind over matter, here are some things that I am grateful for.

1) I have a job that gives me sick days so I will not lose any pay.
2) I have health insurance.
3) If for some reason I did not have health insurance, I have a support system of family and friends who would help me.
4) I live with 2 cats and a dog who will snuggle with me and not care how cranky or whiny I am.
5) I live with my sister, who is awesome.
6) I have an ample collection of DVDs, books and video games to keep me entertained.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled whining.
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The best video response, ever. In life. Ever.

So, in case you live under a rock and that rock is not equipped with high speed internet access, or radio or any kind of media at all, a brief explanation.

A crazy, ignorant, racist girl from UCLA posted a crazy, ignorant, racist rant against Asians on youtube. It went viral. And then Jimmy Wong posted a video response. It went even more viral. Here:




Best part? "I know you don't know a lot about tsunamis. I just want to make sure you know that it's not a type of sushi."

And now I really want this.
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Mistake.

I do not know what impulse of insanity led me to attempt dragging an 8x10 carpet, soaking wet, up a flight of steep, narrow, treacherously uneven stairs by myself, but it is done and it shall never be attempted again, forever and ever.

Amen.
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A conversation at work.

Upon being asked if anyone was going to take a lunch break.

Me: Peggy doesn't need to eat lunch. She subsists on fairy dust.
Peggy: If that were true, I'd be a lot thinner.
Me: Not necessarily. We can't know the caloric value of fairy dust.
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