Monday, November 20, 2006

I've Been a Little Listless

Luckily, Suze started this one and Jenn picked it up--so it's my turn!

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? Dude, I need to brush my hair.
2. How much cash do you have on you? About $30.

3. What’s a word that rhymes with “DOOR?” Four.

4. Favorite planet? Pluto. I don't care what those scientists say. Take away Pluto, and My Very Elderly Mother Just Served Us Nine nothings.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone? A number I don't recognize. I get a lot of drunk dialing, so some reason.

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone? I don't have one since I'm stupid about downloading ringtones. Tom has his phone programmed to play "Birdhouse in your Soul" when I call!

7. What shirt are you wearing? A brown/grey t-shirt that has Mr. Owl and the Tootsie Pop Kid and asks, "Mr. Owl, How many licks does it take?"

8. Do you “label” yourself?I would if I had one of those DynaLabels from when I was a kid. Maybe I should get a Brother P-Touch, and label everything in my house like some OCD freak--wait. I read this wrong. Sorry, pseudogeek.

9. Name the brand of your shoes you’re currently wearing? Sketchers. A comfy brown pair I bought on the Cape.

10. Bright or Dark Room?Dark.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you? I think she has an amazing will despite everything she's gone through and I wish I could bottle her so I could drink her and absorb some of that. She'd have a greater kick than Ale-8, but not as flat tasting.

12. What does your watch look like? I don't wear one. My last watch had the battery die, and I never replaced it.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?Sleeping, until I had to get up to go pee and have a drink of water.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say? My bill is ready for my review and payment.

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?The only one I know of is 32 miles away, near where I used to work.

16. What’s a word that you say a lot? No. (I have a 2 year old, give me a break!)

17. Who told you he/she loved you last? Tom.

18. Last furry thing you touched? My cat, Zeke.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days? Caffeine, Nicotine, Alcohol, Nasonex, and Synthroid. So, five. Not so far gone I can't count.

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?None! For a change.

21. Favorite age you have been so far? 28-29. I was 28 when I got married and got pregnant and 29 when I had my son.

22. Your worst enemy?Me. And Syndrome.

23. What is your current desktop picture? Random cute picture of CJ--home and work.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone? "How many lushes do we have in this crowd?" Said to our admin, while we were deciding if we should bring wine to our lunch event today.

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?Million bucks. I can buy first class tickets, then. Actually, I could buy a house back East within driving distance and not have to fly again!

26. Do you like someone? I'm married--I'm supposed to like him, right?

27. The last song you listened to? I had to laugh at Jenn's answer of White and Nerdy, because it's the answer for me, too. I listened to It's All About the Pentiums right before that.

28. What time of day were you born?1:17pm

29. What’s your favorite number? the square root of 1764.

30. Where did you live in 1987? BFE. Almost literally.

31. Are you jealous of anyone? No, not that I can think of.

32. Is anyone jealous of you? Lindsey Lohan.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened? At home, nursing a horrible headache.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?Pound the buttons a couple more times, a little harder, then I curse.

35. Do you consider yourself kind? I try to be. I'm as philanthropic as a misanthrope can be.

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be? I'm trying to imagine the circumstances in which I *had* to get a tattoo. Like, if the Democrats really went nuts and enacted some law that we all must have an American flag tattooed on us to prove our patriotism and act as a national ID card. I'd get mine on my ass--that way, any time I had to show papers to an official, I'd moon them. "License, insurance, and registration, ma'am." "Sure, officer!" Ziiiiip!

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be? Spanish. Maybe Italian. I'm a sucker for Italian, like Wanda.

38. Would you move for the person you loved?Absolutely.

39. Are you touchy feely?Yes. But only with certain people. If you're not one of those people, don't touch me. If you are one of those people, you'll know, since I'll likely touch you first.

40. What’s your life motto? I've never really thought of a motto for life. I just live it.

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times? A pen, my glasses, and those little mite-things that live on your eyebrows.

42. What’s your favorite town/city?Brewster, MA. No question.

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash? A hot dog and a soda at Costco on Saturday.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? I can't remember. I write lots of letters, but never mail them.

45. Can you change the oil on a car? I used to be able to, but not anymore. I used to able to change a battery, too, until the car manufacturers started putting that bar across the battery to support the frame--I don't have a wrench that can fit those bolts. So now I have AAA.

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?While not technically the *last* thing I heard about him, he cut off his mullet. That's noteworthy.

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry? I know back to my grandparents on each side, but that's it. I know that I am Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and Cherokee, which means you don't want to be around me if I go on a bender.

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy? I wore a sapphire blue dress, had my hair and makeup done at Regis salon, and got a french manicure. I have never been so fancy in my life, but it was my wedding day.

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?My shoulder. I slept on it funny.

50. Have you been burned by love? Once or twice, but it doesn't matter now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post Election Thoughts

I started to respond to a comment earlier in response to some Arizona election results, and I thought I might take it to a post. Skip or read, it's up to you.

I am extremely dismayed by the measures brought to Arizonans this year on immigration, and even more dismayed that they passed. The immigration "crisis" is not what it is cracked up to be. Before working for my current company, I worked for a check cashing place, cashing payroll and personal checks, doing payday loans, and sending Moneygrams (I think Moneygram got bought out by Western Union long ago, so that may date me). I cashed many checks for Mexicans in the Valley and I saw my share of green cards. I maybe saw one valid green card. Most of the others were fakes and easily noticeable as fakes, but I accepted them if I could verify residence and employment (as did my coworkers, and as did just about any other employer). My point is that the majority of immigrants living in Arizona are not working for low wages and taking cash under the table. They are trying to become citizens and become legal; they use these forged green cards to gain regular jobs at minimum wage or above, they pay taxes, they pay Social Security, just like I do. Many of my customers were laborers and I saw their advice stubs; I know they were paid fairly for their work and contributed to the government. I know many of them had fake Social Security numbers, but not for identity theft--again, it was to add the element of legality to their lives.

I'm not saying that there isn't a problem with illegal immigrants working for cash without legit status--I know it happens. But it doesn't happen as much as Republicans would make you think it does, and despite common belief, not every Hispanic person in Arizona is here illegally. I think from an economical standpoint, one reason for the backlash is the amount of money sent from Arizona to Mexico. Most of the paychecks I cashed were turned into wire transfers to families back home. Moneygram catered to this, offering $300 transfers for only $10 (domestic fee for $300 was $30). I would have customers come to me with 3-4 different transfer orders for $300, all going to the same place. If that money was going back into our state's economy, I doubt anyone would have a problem with that.

One proposition we had on the ballot was raising the minimum wage, which passed. Opponents of this proposition claimed this would increase the amount of illegal immigration because our jobs would pay more than those in Texas and California--a bit contradictory, if you ask me. If these same opponents argue that most immigrants are working off the grid, how can they be employed in these higher wage jobs? The argument can't go both ways.

One last word about immigration--it is very dangerous for Mexicans to cross the deserts to get here, but not until those yahoos went down and started acting above the law and intimidating any Latino they saw. People used to leave water stations in the desert for those crossing, but don't dare to now. Coyote smuggling is increasing because the risks are higher--not from the elements, but from Barney Fife wannabes with more bullets and less brains. We don't need a wall across the Sonoran Desert to protect us from the Mexicans, we need protection from the Minutemen. Maybe I sound soft, but I believe most Mexicans coming here want a better life for their families, better opportunities for their children, ways to escape the corruption in the Mexican government, and many have family ties here already. I wouldn't be here if my ancestors hadn't made the trip from the British Isles, and I know how Irishmen were treated at the turn of the century. Mexicans are the 21st century Irish, and that just isn't right. Give those who are here and gainfully employed amnesty, give those who are here are working under the table the means to establish legal status, and figure out a program to help those who want to come. Stop talking about building a wall and start talking about building a community.

From one disenfranchised group to another--what the hell is going on in this country that people are actively trying to take away rights from other people based solely on what they do in their bedrooms? Why is gay marriage such a threat to the American family? Despite the facetious comment I left on Suze's blog, it's not like we're being forced to be gay or marry a lesbian--we simply have a group of people who want to same basic rights afforded to them as are afforded to most. Here's a newsflash--less than half the families in America today are happily married couples with their natural children. There are gay parents, single parents, divorced parents, adopted kids, in vitro kids, blended families, cohabitating couples--the threat to the American family isn't gay marriage but a narrow-minded view on what makes a family. Families are created out of love, pure and simple, and biological equations are meaningless beyond that. Want to save the sanctity of marriage? Ban divorce. Make it harder to obtain a divorce or an annulment and maybe then people will stop looking at marriage as a means of vetting a relationship that isn't really going to last. Understand that marriage can be difficult, requires commitment, and can take some work from both parties and preserve your union with that understanding; stop attacking others because they sleep with partners of same sex. Love is love, commitment is commitment--let gay couples have the same rights as married couples because they deserve those rights and they, as American citizens, have the right to be treated fairly.

Lastly, the Democrats have secured the House and may even pick up the Senate once the counting in Virginia and Montana is done. Howard Dean, listen up--the people of this country have indicated to you and your party that they are tired of the War in Iraq, tired of government corruption, and tired of childish actions and partisan politics. Here's what your party, under your leadership, need to do from here:

  • Balance the budget. Give it to Bush to sign. If he doesn't, seize that opportunity to show you have tried and he refuses and use that momentum to pick up more seats in 2008.
  • Open investigations into the Iraq intelligence that led us into war. Keep the doors open on this one--show the American people that truth is important, regardless of how messy it may be.
  • Enact legislation to bring lobbying back into check and severely limit the favors a Congressman can receive from lobbyists. Bring the power back into the legislature and away from the corporations.
  • Begin urgently, intelligently, looking into alternatives to fossil fuel comsumption for energy. research the alternatives, draft proposals, and do something before it's too late.
  • Do not use this opportunity to punish Republicans for their lousy treatment of Democrats over the past six years. Don't close Republicans out of meetings, dump bills on them hours before vote, stick them in broom closets and janitor closets to conduct business as they did you. They will take those actions and use them to gain traction to supplant you again in 2008. Instead, drop the Valerie Plame leak--it's old news. Try to gain some support for your social programs. Ask for their help in drafting an exit strategy for Iraq. Keep them involved in discussion, make them feel like they are part of this government. Not all Republicans are as corrupt as the highest ranking in power; some of these people mean well and will need your guidance, not your vengeance.
  • Lastly, when the time comes that Democrats face a scandal (which will happen, you are all politicians in Washington, after all), don't hide behind talking points and insult our intelligence with Jedi mind tricks. Own up to it, take the necessary actions to purge those who are responsible, and move on the greater heights.

OK, I think I'm done. I feel better for having gotten that out.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I've Got to Get Out of This State

And find a place in the Poconos....

Early results are in, and I am astounded by the stupidity of most of my fellow citizens. Arizona had nearly a dozen propositions on the ballot for this election, and I'm dismayed by the early results I see:

Prop 100, which would deny bail to any illegal immigrant arrested for a felony--Currently passing with 77% favor. (Update: Passed, 78-22)
The problem with this proposition is that it's a blanket denial on one group, paving the way to deny bail legally to other groups. Today, the target is illegal immigrants. Tomorrow, the target could be sex offenders, drug dealers, pot smokers--anyone against the norm.

Prop 102, which would deny illegal immigrants the right to punitive damages from a lawsuit--Currently passing at 74% (Update: Passed 75-25)
Again, blanket disenfranchisement of a particular group, paving the way to enact similar legislation against any other group. And I could be wrong, but I don't think illegal immigrants have turned to torts as a money-making opportunity as the proponents of this proposition would have us believe.

Prop 103, which would declare English the official state language--74% in favor. (Update: Passed 75-25)
Thanks to this wonderful proposition, our state workers will no longer have to be bilingual, and government paperwork will only be in English. Currently, we keep paperwork available in over 200 languages to accommodate all people in AZ. Yeah, this won't cause any issues at all.

Prop 107, which would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions (already illegal in AZ)--failing at 51%, which is way too close for my comfort. (Update: FAILED, 51-49. Narrow, but I'll take it as some small sign of sanity.)
The way this wonderful proposition is worded, not only would marriage be defined narrowly, but the State of Arizona would not be able to provide domestic partner benefits to state workers, their partners, or children of those unions (which the state does today). It's also poorly written, meaning that heterosexual couples who live together but are not married might not be able to get state health insurance for their children. Insane, and did I mention we already have a law on the books making same-sex marriage illegal? Redundancy at its finest (and most evil).

Prop 300, which limits education services to illegal immigrants AND their children--passing at 71% (Update: Passed, 72-28. This one proves most did not pay attention in civics class)
Children of illegal immigrants, who reside in AZ, would not be able to attend state universities on in-state tuition rates. This one is the worst in my opinion, since said child, if born in AZ, would be a US citizen but still denied in-state status. Let me repeat that--a CITIZEN of the UNITED STATES, born in this country and given citizenship under our country's CONSTITUTION would be denied in-state rates and possible educational opportunity based on the immigration status of his/her parents.

I'm most disappointed by the raging xenophobia and hatred that permeates these propositions. I'm sick that the people of Arizona bought the arguments of straw and voted in support. Trust me, I am very, very interested in real estate deals back East, especially New England. We're looking at Vermont, but maybe we should go to New Hampshire.

Live Free or Die, indeed.

EDIT: I updated this post on 11/8 with the percentages available from AZ's election results site. A few weeks ago, a astudy was released that ranked Arizona 50th in the US in terms of intelligence--that's right, I live in the dumbest state in the Union. After these election results, I believe it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Four Day Weekend!

I just shut down the laptop and packed it up--I'm not touching it again till Tuesday morning. I have a four day weekend for no real reason, and I like it that way. It's been a tough couple weeks, and it'll just continue through the rest of the year. This is my little break till Thanksgiving, and after that, it's bulling through till my end of year break.

In the meantime, I'm going to the doctor tomorrow for a much overdue checkup, probably getting blood drawn, and maybe going to lunch with Jay. I'm talking to Tom tonight about a honey-do list to get a few things done, and I plan to enjoy the weekend with CJ. He's going to daycare tomorrow, but I might keep him home with me for a Mommy Day on Monday depending on how things go.

That's about it. Maybe I'll have more after the weekend.