September 25, 2009


This afternoon I was laying in the sun at the beach, iPod headphone in one ear and holding the other headphone in my fingers, feeling it pulsing, when I remembered the last time I had felt for a pulse with those fingertips; that was roughly eight years ago.

I was on the verge of hysterics, doing my damnedest to remain calm and rational, but I was holding Milo in my arms and he wasn't responding and reason was failing me. I ferociously pressed my index and middle fingers into his very warm chest and felt a pulse... But somewhere in me knew I was feeling the pulse that was naturally in my index finger. I was sobbing and trying to explain to my parents what I was doing and why it wasn't working. I shut myself in the bathroom for quiet as I tried to listen and feel for any sign of life in him... It was too much to try and calm my own raging head with a screaming family.

Then I remember my dad driving us to the vets. I held Milo in my lap, tears pouring silently, mumbling incoherent words I hoped formed a prayer. I looked at the hills by my house knowing I would remember that drive for the rest of my life. The day was so normal, yet my whole life was going to be forever altered by that morning.

At the beach today I was overcome with this memory until I remembered the date. It's September 25th, Milo's birthday. He would have been 16 today, a very old cat. But he didn't even make it to 8.

Eight years ago May 12th fell on a Saturday and I was still in my pajamas in the late morning. My friend's birthday party was later and I was fooling around with the keyboard. I heard a knock on the door but I didn't want to be seen in my pajamas. I couldn't hear who it was but I must have heard something because my stomach sank and I ran for the door. My mom heard me burst into the hallway and she looked scared, crying like someone just hit her. I never remember hearing anything, just knowing, and when I saw our neighbor at the door also crying I ran outside. My mom grabbed me, told me no, but it wasn't too hard to break away. My slippers flew from my feet as I ran and I saw his body in the street in front of our house. As I reached the road my brain told me a car was coming but all I saw was Milo and that's all that mattered in the world.

I've seen cats hit by cars before and it's a horrible, sad sight. Milo did not look like that at all. He was perfectly normal except for being a little wet, just sleeping in the road. But he didn't open his eyes when I touched him or wake up when I picked him up. Up until when I was back inside, cradling Milo in my arms and feeling for a pulse, is gone from memory. A vet tech was waiting for me when we got there. She asked if he was the emergency and I said yes and handed the love of my life over to her. I don't remember what happened while my dad and I waited, don't remember how long we were there, don't remember if I cried or what the vet said when she called us in, or if we even went in at all. I do remember looking at his body in the cardboard cat carrier tucked between my legs in the truck on the way back home; he was way too big for a regular carrier.

I stayed next to his body for the rest of the day, even after the rigor mortis started. I left briefly to watch my dad build his coffin and went back to him after my dad said the bright side to him dying was us spending time together that day (that wasn't even the most insensitive thing my dad said about Milo). We buried him in the backyard between two fruit trees, at the foot of the ivy he loved to hunt in. I would buy that house back in an instant.

Everyone who knew Milo, other than the neighbors who killed him, loved him. My family loved him like he was the son my parents never had (except sometimes my dad was jealous of the attention the world gave him, a cat), my neighbors in two neighborhoods loved him even to the point of feeding him chicken to keep him around and letting him go into their children's rooms to wake them up in the morning. Sometimes I thought if Milo was a man he'd break my heart with his 9 lives, but I knew I would love him even if he did. Everyone did- you could not help but love him.

The neighbors who killed Milo didn't fit in. They never associated with the neighborhood and though we weren't the kind to have potlucks and block parties we waved, the kids played together and babysat each other, and everyone knew everyone else's name. The neighbors who killed Milo didn't even say hello. The man was freakish about his front yard and would pick weeds in the morning, in his suit. His wife stayed at home and misted the plants on hot days and drove the kids to private school. The man left for work every day by backing his truck around a curb. He didn't like Milo in his yard, which I would have understood if Milo was a dog and dug up the flowers, but he was a cat and other than occasionally rubbing himself on the grass did nothing but keep pests away. When I found him laying in the street he was in the tracks of the man's truck. The next time I saw them, that Monday, the whole family was all hellos and have a great day. A short while later they moved.

If I could go back in time I would beg my parents for a toxicology report and necropsy. I know he died because he was hit by a car, but he wasn't hit by a fast moving car because as far as I could tell no bones were broken and there was no blood. Milo watched my sisters' cat die by a car and had been afraid of cars since; he would not have stood to be killed by a slow-moving car. Milo was famous in two neighborhoods, with all our friends and family members, and the families my mom did daycare for. That man took something very precious away from me and indirectly everyone I knew. I hope karma gets his ass.

September 20, 2009


1. In my May post about Egypt's decision to kill all their pigs to stop the spread of swine flu I pointed out that now the trash collectors won't have a reason to collect trash if they don't have any pigs to feed it to. Egypt was supposed to set up a more modern trash collection system, but forgot one crucial aspect: Egyptians are accustomed to having their trash collected by a person going door to door every day. So all of a sudden they have to take out their own trash to communal dumpsters? Nah, they're gonna let the trash pile up in the streets, while the Christians sit back and laugh (as much as you can laugh in poverty) at the government for not thinking this one through. Best part is middle class neighborhoods are covered in trash, not just the poor communities. And the Egyptian government has ADD, according to Sabir Abdel Aziz Galal, chief of the infectious disease department at the Ministry of Agriculture:
"The main problem in Egypt is follow-up. A decision is taken, there is follow-up for a period of time, but after that, they get busy with something else and forget about it. This is the case with everything."
But Egypt doesn't stop there. They've decided to close down all schools until October to cut down on a potential swine flu outbreak. Because keeping kids in their trash infused neighborhoods is safer than school for one week.

2. In my April and May posts about gay rights I lamented Prop 8 passing/being upheld and decided to hope for the best for the future. I'm beginning to think the future I hope for is a very long way off...

Bell Shoals Baptist Church, a mega-church group in Florida with thousands of members, has banned Pepsi vending machines and encouraged its fellowship to boycott all Pepsi products. They've contracted with Coca-Cola instead because Pepsi accepts gays. Terry Kemple, President of the Community Issues Council and homophobe, says the church is sending Pepsi a message that the money they spend on refreshments is not going to go towards a company that will happily "trample on what we consider family-values (video)." The church also contributed about a million to support Prop 8, on the other fucking side of the country.

Funny thing about contracting with Coke... They're on the Human Rights Campaigns (HRC) list of 100% Pro-Homosexual Corporations for 2 years! How's that for doing your research and making a point? Here's a nice alphabetical list of American pro-homosexual companies. Support at will.

September 17, 2009

Women's Health Matters

Remember a little while ago I said I wanted to start a new magazine for women that had legitimate stories, but feared no one would read it? Well I think is as close as it's gonna get for intelligent 20-something women. It's still got fashion and celebrity to keep the girly girls happy (and even those areas have substance!), but it also has smart and provocative photos about the times we live in, often from destitute parts of our world.

Recently the website interviewed Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, about the future of women's health care. I definitely learned a few new (amazing!) things about the organization and Cecile herself, as well as politics in different states. Unfortunately I also learned about Bob McDonnell, Virginia's next gubernatorial candidate (DIAF, Bob). The Washington Post quoted McDonnell's college thesis as being extremely anti-women and women's health. The good news is that he seems to have turned away (slightly) from such extremist views, but he did write the thesis at age 34, as a married father of two girls. How much can a politician really change from 34-55?

In the Jezebel interview, Cecile lamented McDonnell's viability as Virginia's next governor, but almost laughingly pointed out his reluctance to say more than two words on his thesis. Someone's a little ashamed! Or at least afraid it's going to kick his ass out of politics. Cecile also wrote her own Huffington Post article on McDonnell and ended it by pointing out just how important it is for women to be informed voters. Women of Virginia, I hope you don't sign away your right to womanhood by voting in a man who believes you should get back in the kitchen and cook him a steak.

Someday, someday I'm sure our country and our world will be a balanced place.

September 14, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

This is unusual.

First, let me say that it's wonderful that we live in a country where we can peacefully protest our government without fear. We can gather in the hundreds of thousands and carry signs to the very steps of the White House to protest what the President and Congress are doing.

We can even do so with poorly made, misspelled, grammatically incorrect, politically incorrect and downright stupid signs. Honestly, America, we have this great freedom to march and protest the hell out of our government and you're going to take misspelled signs with incorrect information? If you're going to go so far as to plan this march, fly to Washington (take time off work, buy a ticket for the day after 9/11, book a hotel, call a house sitter), and put up with mid-September Washington weather for a day or two, why on Earth wouldn't you proofread your sign or make a practice sign first? Is being correct "elitist?" Please oh please set a good example for your country and protest intelligently.

My observations: the protesters were almost all middle aged white people with their young children and a few redneck 20-somethings still bent out of shape over the North winning the Civil War. They forget that America was founded for freedom of religion and somehow think we're a Christian nation and are convinced the world was perfect before January 20, 2009. The protesters aren't fans of condoms or abortion but also don't want welfare and they left the city with overflowing trash cans government workers will have to clean up. Oh, and fuck you for implying I choose not to work. Today is Day 2 of my second round of unemployment (this year) and it's all I can do to ward off anxiety and depression.

I swear my IQ dropped a point after watching the slideshow. Good thing it was Caturday; I was able to repair some of the damage the stupid did to my mood with silly cat pictures. I love Fark.

September 11, 2009

Divided We Fall

Driving around Escondido this morning I realized it was September 11th. A fire station had a banner on one of its trucks celebrating FDNY. My first thought was "what about FDLA?" Those guys are dying right now... Later a "never forget" hand written sign on a school fence made me realize the date.

There wasn't much going on online about September 11th, so I skipped on over to The first original thread from the 9/11/01 attacks was posted and I read through the comments, up until Drew started telling people to move onto the next thread (I do wonder now what other "not news" articles were posted, if any). It was insane that all the major US news networks had shut down due to system overload. Fark was the only source of information for a great number of people.

I was in high school. The driver of our morning carpool shouted towards my mom, "a plane hit the World Trade Center. Turn on the news!" My first period, colorguard, was our weekly study day and the band director played the news on the radio. That's pretty much all I remember outside of knowing that that day was going to change the way things were and that it would have much more significance to me later on. Now I kind of wish I had been older in 2001, at least old enough to realize the significance of the terrorist attack at the time. I appreciate it now, but that night I couldn't share my mom's sorrow, and certainly couldn't share her tears. Maybe it was just too surreal for me to handle then...

In reading the original Fark thread and todays thread I learned much more about how that day changed the lives of Americans everywhere. One man commented how he had gone home that night to hold his 2 month old child in his arms and wondered what world he brought this person into. Another said:
On top of all the deaths, injuries and lives forever destroyed by this day - how sad it is to think that 9/11 ultimately tore this country in two rather than brought us together. Many days it seems that we have just become a nation split up into two hate-filled camps - both sides unable to look at the other one objectively, neither side able to put the country's needs ahead of their need to destroy the other side. Bin Laden's enduring legacy is that we have lost our ability to be the United States ... now we are just Red and Blue - at war with ourselves.
A haunting sentiment. We were so united after the attacks, but somehow have since crumbled into a divided state where Republicans won't even date Democrats and Democrats blame Republicans for every evil in our world. We are divided and if we continue to be divided we will fall like every other empire in the world's written history.

September 10, 2009

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

One of the first scenes in the movie "Crash" was the two black guys discussing their treatment at a diner. One guy complained how waiters see black guys and automatically assume they won't tip so they give shitty service; his example was she filled up everyone else's coffee mugs constantly but never once gave them coffee. His friend reminded him that they hadn't even ordered coffee in the first place. The first guy doesn't see that as any consolation and says that's why he didn't leave a tip.

Thereby perpetuating the stereotype and making sure that he really will get crappy service if he's ever recognized in there again, fulfilling his own prophecy.

This summer I listened to the wrong person, and didn't realize it until it was way too late. The wrong person made some sense, and I was clouded by regret over the circumstances surrounding my last job to listen much to the right person. The right person viewed the opportunity as an extended job interview for a permanent position. It worked for him. The wrong person said that if my job is only to last the summer I might as well enjoy it while I can. It worked.

I was afraid that I would regret not taking advantage of the opportunity I did have and enjoy every day. I did enjoy every day and at least don't have that to regret, but now I have no chance of doing what it is I really want to do and don't have anyone to blame but myself. And that I do very deeply regret. I do try to look at things objectively and I saw 2 employees who deserved a chance to continue their jobs; very fortunately for them those 2 got their chances. Very unfortunately for me I was not one of them.

I could justify my loss by saying I didn't have the opportunity to excel, that no one gave me the chance to show what I knew, that on the 1 day I was evaluated I was flustered by a sudden schedule change and had a notoriously hard evaluator, that my experience at shuttles taught me to be efficient rather than slow, but when it all comes down to it I just didn't try hard enough. Wanting something, no matter how bad you want it and no matter who knows how bad you want it, isn't enough to get anything. I was up against people with years and years of experience and education I simply don't have, people who had the right outlook and made every single tour every single day count, people who knew at the beginning what they wanted and how to work to get it. My evaluator wrote that I was "a very nice girl to work with and someone who obviously loves her job." Code for "she's sweet but that's about it."

It did hurt to be "just the driver" to guests, some guides, other Park employees, and my supervisors. It did hurt when the department director ignored my offers to help with things I was experienced with, when she showed no regret at my inability to apply for other Park jobs and even encouraged me to quit sooner in order to apply.

People have always said that persistence is how you get the job: call often, make your name known, really show your dedication. So why every time I did this I was not only shot down but even rudely ignored? I just seem to annoy people and missed some good opportunities in the past. Maybe it's the economical climate, but I've found if you're not good enough on paper you're not going to be considered. Period.

Which leaves me with two options: find someone who needs a writer or find someone who needs a driver. I feel like Luke Wilson in "Idiocracy": average in every way with no qualities that make me stand out, except I don't think I'm going to be selected to be cryogenically frozen and reawakened in the future.

September 8, 2009

Beer, Drugs and Horoscopes

My horoscope this week, courtesy of The Onion (America's Finest News Source), reads:
While it's true that drugs aren't the answer to your problem, they will, if taken in large enough doses, make you forget exactly what your problems are.
Next I saw an article titled "Nation's Unemployment Outlook Improves Drastically After Fifth Beer."

I think The Onion is trying to tell me something... Time to get high and drunk for the next few weeks, apparently. Too bad my biggest problem is money... Drugs and beer ain't free.

The good news is if the government decides to stick to their table I should be getting over $250 a week for unemployment, which I filed for today (hooray!), and will actually be able to keep my apartment until sub money kicks in! Double hooray!

I could use a drink right about now...

September 4, 2009

Who's Seen Jezebel?

Condom pics FTW!

I have a tendency to be attracted to websites that make my blood boil. Jezebel is the latest, and in one day had articles on sex ed, accidental pregnancy solutions, health insurance, and gender differences in infants. Oy vey!

Those second two articles were informational: a health care question and answer session with a representative from PolitiFact and how you're most likely influencing your baby's behavior without realizing it. The former was quite interesting, though many answers were "well, the bill isn't out yet, so I really can't say" and the latter was something I learned a lot about in my sociology of gender classes. I do believe parents have an influence in their kid's behaviors, even though I was tomboy and my sister was girly and we're 20 months apart...

Those first two articles were mostly about retarded people ruining good things. Conservatives don't want their kids knowing their genitals have a purpose and thus should not be touched ever under any circumstances until marriage, and conservative Christians want all babies conceived to be born, but if it's white and healthy the mother should not be allowed to raise it even if she wants to.

It amazes me that parents are so terrified of talking to their spawn about their body parts. At the Park guides aren't allowed to go into any real detail on reproduction if there's a kid on the tour, despite it being a breeding facility. Because "penis" and "vagina" and "sex" are bad words kids don't have any real concept of what reproduction is until their own hormones (and classmates) are telling them to just do this one thing and because they're teenagers they want to do it because it's "bad." I think learning about reproduction through animals would be a great way to segue into learning about human reproduction and maybe kids would not only better understand it, but better put it into perspective and make better decisions. A former boss told me her 4th grade daughter was taking a sex ed class and a male classmate opted out. She worried the boy would later seduce her daughter, and be ignorant about condoms (or worse, being scared of them) and her daughter might become pregnant in high school. If a kid ever asks me where babies come from the stork will not be part of my explanation. Neither will God, for that matter...

It also amazes me that people are so willing to take advantage of others in the name of God. I firmly believe women should be informed about every possible option to an unwanted pregnancy and should be allowed to make the choice they feel is best for themselves and the embryo/ fetus/baby/sea monkey. Abortion isn't the most glamorous option, but sometimes it's best. Planned Parenthood provides great information on adoption, parenting and abortion and even counsels you to steer clear of the crisis pregnancy centers!

Women who are considering these options probably don't have too many options themselves: as much as no baby deserves to be killed no baby deserves to be brought into an unloving world. (Not to mention some people just shouldn't be parents, and in those cases I say have that abortion and get your tubes tied!) Adoption could be a wonderful prospect for women who can't bring themselves to abort a fetus but also can't bring themselves to raise a baby; I respect and applaud everyone willing to adopt a baby who would otherwise be unwanted and unloved.