the boss of me

Scene: My living room, Thanksgiving eve. I’m sitting on the couch and Mark is sitting in the chair. Junior is on the floor between us.

Junior: *exasperated huff*

Mark: What’s wrong, buddy?

Me: It’s like 7:30. He probably wants a walk.

Mark: You want a walk, buddy? I can take you for a walk. Let me get some music going on my phone first.

Mark stands up and starts fiddling with his phone.

Mark: Pandora is trying to give me turkey recipes and dinner party music. Fuck you, Pandora. You’re not the boss of me! I’M not even the boss of me, so YOU don’t get to be the boss of me.

Me, in a supportive tone: You can be the boss of you!

Distracted by his phone, Mark slowly rounds the corner to go up the stairs and hits his leg on the baby gate set up across the bottom of the stairs. The gate makes a loud clunk.

Mark: Raaauuuuggggh!

Me: Maybe you shouldn’t be the boss of you, actually.

Mark: It may be for the best…

Mark disappears up the stairs while I laugh. Junior sits near the doorway to the kitchen, wondering how he ended up stuck with us.



Here’s hoping your Thanksgiving holiday was filled with delicious food, time spent with loved ones, a lack of family drama / fights over politics, and zero mentions of Pilgrims / forefathers / founders of this country.

And if you’re not American, then I hope your Thursday and Friday last week were everything you wanted, and I hope all us silly Muricans taking over social media with our public displays of #thankfulness (which seems a lot different than actual gratitude, at least for many) didn’t annoy you too much.

virtual reality

Last night my phone finally got sick of my procrastinating ass and forced me to install a system update. Along with the system update, there were also a bunch of updates to the apps I use, including the camera software. It looks a little bit different, but I can still find everything I need, so I didn’t think much of it.
This morning I took a selfie to show off my hand-knit neck wear to some like-minded friends, and I noticed that the camera automatically took two pictures, which seemed odd. I kept switching back and forth between the two pictures, trying to figure out why one looked slightly different than the other. One looked just a tiny bit eerie and it took me a minute to realize why.
Do you see it? The program filtered out the freckles on my cheek and the scar on my nose, and made my skin just generally brighter / whiter.
It didn’t even give me a choice. It just assumed that I wouldn’t be happy with my face. Because who actually likes their face anymore, you know? Who WOULDN’T want to be touched up a little?
Yes, I’m making a leap by talking like my phone is making assumptions, but the simple fact is that while the phone itself can’t make assumptions, the people that write the programs that the phone runs absolutely can. They are collectively assuming that no one feels like their face is good enough anymore. They are collectively deciding to feed us an ALTERED version of reality FIRST…then offering the actual reality as an afterthought.
That’s not only sad to me, but scary as well. It’s SO easy to fake things nowadays. Altered pictures, fake social media accounts, news being spun to fit a network’s or publication’s bias. Who do we trust anymore? What do we grab on to in order to not get sucked into this crazy vortex of reality being constructed for us?
The way my head is wired, I need to check in with what’s real on a regular basis or I start to feel like I’m disassociated, detached…like I could happily float off into the deep end of the Crazy Town pool and let myself drown. To combat this, I go outside and spend time in nature. I visit friends in actual meatspace, face to face. I read about science because I find fact-based things grounding and soothing. I practice yoga and meditation, both of which remind me that I am here, right now, with each breath.
And I look at myself in the mirror or in pictures. Not like Narcissus gazing at himself in the pool, but looking at my own face for a moment and remembering that I am not just the constant barrage of feels pelting the inside of my skull. I am not actually a (mostly benevolent) ghost floating quietly in the background of all these rooms that I enter on a daily basis.
My wrinkles, my freckles, my scars…they all remind me that I am a person, piloting this meatsuit through space and time, having real experiences and doing real things.
I’d rather technology not decide to take those reminders away from me with the assumption that I value luminous, freckle-free skin over…you know…my actual face.


impotent rage, part 372

There’s a lot to be mad about lately, but I’ve got something specific stuck in my craw and I need to rant about it.

Yesterday morning I was listening to Morning Edition in the car, and they did a piece on the Country Music Awards, or CMAs, that had been televised the previous evening. They named off some people that got awards, but they also talked about how the Country Music Association, while organizing this year’s CMAs show, basically tried to put a gag order on people. They tried to tell journalists covering the show not to bring up guns, the mass shootings that have happened recently, or politics in general.

Because, you know, not talking about problems is the best method of resolving them. Obviously. 

The reporter went on to say that there was outcry from basically everybody, and that the Association ended up relenting, as well it should have. The story then turned to the various tributes that were performed at the CMAs in honor of the victims in Las Vegas and Texas. There was a clip of Eric Church singing a suitably emotional rendition of “Amazing Grace” to kick off the show, and one of Carrie Underwood singing some other hymn, with a mention of how her “voice turned to a whisper as the pictures of all 58 victims of the Las Vegas massacre flashed across a screen”, and the moment of silence that followed. Predictable trite thoughts-and-prayers stuff.

The report then pivoted to something so many mainstream country artists are NOT doing, which is speaking out about the need for gun control. Most artists at the CMAs wouldn’t even talk to reporters about the shootings at all, let alone bring up that we need a profound change in this country. There was a soundbite from an artist named Aaron Watson, who said “…we live in a world today where, if you say something, you know, someone’ll hang you out to dry”. The reported then mentioned that Watson is on a list of artists that are promoted by the NRA. Watson, according to the reporter, pointed out that bad people are going find ways to do bad things, so he won’t be campaigning for stricter gun laws.

That’s when I started rolling my eyes.

There was another soundbite from Watson at this point, where he said: “If I’m gonna start doin’ some preachin’ or some pickin’, it’ll be for our veterans, for our soldiers, for our school teachers, and for babies. I mean, those are things that are dear to my heart.”

THAT, friends, is when I fucking saw red.

This asshole is taking money from the NRA, first of all. He’s not an artist. He’s a fucking corporate shill. He’s a puppet with a hand up his ass, a mouthpiece the NRA uses to further embed gun culture into the psyches of Americans.

Second of all, how…and I mean FUCKING HOW…can someone claim to care for people like school teachers and babies, and be totally cool with the NRA? Does he think there were no veterans or school teachers that got killed at that festival in Las Vegas? Sorry, but the laws of probability are pretty firmly against you there, broseph. Did he forget all about the Newtown massacre, where all those little kids got blown away because some asshole had beef and was able to get ahold of guns and ammo? What about the babies…LITERAL BABIES…that were shot in Sutherland Springs? It’s easy for people like Aaron Watson to stand up after the fact and say they hold the memories of DEAD children dear, but the simple fact is that every child in this country is now unwittingly playing the odds every day when they attend school. Every teacher is playing those same odds when they go to work. All because of the fucking National Rifle Association and their insidious infiltration into so many aspects of our culture.

It’s not just country music stars, and that’s the depressing part. It’s sports team owners, it’s politicians…it’s the people who need help the least. They can afford home security, they can afford to send their babies to private schools where random people with guns would probably have a much harder time gaining access. The people with the money are not the people who need protection, and yet they are driving this culture of “I must protect my own” in this country and it’s NOT SANE.

Where does it end? How many more children, how many more people just living their lives, have to be shot and killed before the blood on the hands of those with power and influence stop being such incredible cowards? How many dollars in their bank accounts are enough before they finally start doing the right thing?

Let’s go back to that Aaron Watson quote from earlier: “…we live in a world today where, if you say something, you know, someone’ll hang you out to dry”.

Let that really marinate. What he’s saying, what they’re ALL saying, is that their incomes, their personal comfort, the lifestyles that they’ve become accustomed to, are more important than their fellow humans’ lives. 

I am not anti-gun. I grew up in a rural area with hunters all around me. I’ve gone target shooting and enjoyed it. I have no problem with responsible people owning reasonable (read: not automatic) firearms and reasonable quantities of ammunition. No one needs access to automatic weapons outside of an actual field of battle. No one needs to have hundreds of rounds of ammunition stockpiled in their home. No one with a history of violence should have legal access to firearms.

I don’t pretend to know how to fix the problem, but I do know that until the people with money and influence grow spines and stop being so god damned greedy, this shit is just going to keep happening.

If you got this far, here’s a picture of my dog and my messy living room for your troubles:



“Just nod and smile. She’ll tire herself out faster than you think.” – Junior