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My mother always said “You gotta get them on the rug before you can pull it out from under them”. And never have truer words been spoken. Until that is, you are the one on the rug and The Powers That Be decide said rug should operate like a roller-coaster.

The Powers That Be, forthwith to be referenced as “TPTB” are starting to piss me off.

Let me clarify: TPTB are the are college elders who decide your provisional fate in the doctoral program. In the best case scenario, they guide, they advise, they extol academic wisdom and virtue; in the worst case scenario, and that’s exactly what I am talking about here, they fuck with your very existence.

In the last 4 months, the TPTB has decided:

  • That the “roadmap” or document stating “things you can expect from u while you are here” (a basic agreement issued to any student in higher education) is null and void
  • I now have an extra class to take
  • I also have an internal realignment where I will now take up to 4 methodology courses
  • Where in the past, if you fail candidacy, you can do a maters thesis and based on its success/failure, you can/cannot continue on to a doctorate, now, if you fail candidacy, you risk being tossed out wholesale
  • The document I signed that guaranteed 4 years of funding is null and void
  • That candidacy, which is supposed to occur in the fall, is now, after securing internships and other travel/moving arrangements, occurs in the summer

TPTB, in short, have decided to become a bunch of bastards. TPTB, additionally, have made it pretty clear that I cannot trust them in any way, shape, or form. Which sucks rocks when you’ve hitched your wagon to them for 4 years.

Not that all the changes are bad, these are tough times, I understand the funding crisis, and another class won’t kill… But when we signed, what essentially is binding agreement, and TPTB has reneged on half of it within a 4 month period, I have to wonder what the bloody hell I have gotten myself into.

Seriously, this is beyond the Pale.

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Bell Tower that is. Probably not in the style of Charles Whitman, or that German soldier, ass-hat from Inglorious Basterds, but one where I rain down a storm of insults and expletives because I’m just so damned pissed off of late.

Where do I start? With the GOP’s attempt to redefine rape? With the South Dakota’s attempt to legalize murder? I can also throw in the Federal govt’s attempt to pull funding away from Planned Parenthood – again. Or do I go with the publicizing of Lara Logan’s sexual assault as a pre-emptive measure because some other a-hole of some other news agency thought it made for a great story? Or how about this despicable misogynist, Nir Rosen, who thought Logan’s experience was a humorous affair?

We’re just past Valentine’s Day and I’m not feeling the love from the men. I feel like it is open season on women and women’s’ rights, and that we’re half a step away from legalizing honor killings in this country.

Seriously dudes?? WHAT THE FUCK? I woke up today feeling like it’s not 2011 but 1918.

So here’s my 2-cents and then I’m done.

  • I am sick of the idiot men who comment about the “tragedy” of Logan’s experience and how all Muslims are evil when in this country, the United damn States of America, 1 in 6 women can expect to be raped and only 6% percent of rapist will ever serve prison time.  However, Logan wasn’t raped but sexually assaulted, not that many people, men or women, learn the difference. But here’s the fact of the matter: Logan’s assault wasn’t about religion, it was about the same damn thing assaulting a woman is always about: a man feeling free to dominate a woman simply because he fucking could.
  • We are a country of majority rule.  The majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose. And while we’re at it, Pro-Choice does not mean Pro-Abortion. And Planned Parenthood is exactly that: an organization dedicated to the education of women and men on family planning while providing access to contraceptives. No one in this country does more to prevent unwanted pregnancies than Planned Parenthood. No other entity in this country provides low-cost, basic medical services to women than Planned Parenthood. So anyone who wants to yank their funding while damning abortion is a complete moron.
  • Abortion being “murder” is a matter of opinion, whereas killing someone who performs what is a legal activity in this country is, in fact, murder.
  • Nir Rosen, while removing the offender tweet, quitting his job, and apologizing profusely, still doesn’t get what is most disturbing about what he did. His response: “i apologize and take it back. joking with friends got out of line when i didnt want to back down. forgot twitter is not exactly private“. Whether or not it was a private conversation, whether or not you were “just making a joke”, rape and sexual assault are not hilarious frivolities, they are extreme acts of violence. And what is most horrifying about you, Nir Rosen, was that you heard a woman was raped and your very first instinct was to make a joke. I hope this event kills your career.

I’m trying to remain positive despite all this news right now. I’m trying to be thankful that I live in this country when it sucks to be a woman in about 75%  of the other places I could be living. But that being said, it isn’t always a party here either.

Men, you are all officially on my fecal roster until such time that matters improve. In the meantime, get a clue.

I think I just caused a massive blow-up, if not a catastrophic one, between two friends who live together. A poorly timed Facebook message on my part may very well end a relationship between these two people. And while there’s plenty of other factors to at play here, it still feels like proverbial foot-in-mouth disease only in this case, it’s my fingers, a cell phone, social media, and the Internet I would have to swallow to make the metaphor work.

So, the context in which this little drama is unfolding is as follows: the couple moved into together after less than a year of dating; the girlfriend is 30 and ready for marriage, kids, what-not; the guyfriend is 21 and just beginning his new career which will likely take him over seas; girlfriend doesn’t want to move overseas; guyfriend doesn’t want marriage, kids, what-not right now and is being less than definitive in his answers to girlfriend.

These are the basics. Add to it a close cadre of friends who stay in touch and no secret remains quiet for long.

Guyfriend has been intimating that the relationship is on the rocks to a few within the cadre of friends. Girlfriend has been curiously quiet on the topic. Cadre of friends is in contact with Girlfriend via any variety of communication portals. Guyfriend has been semi-flirting on Skype with a tangential friend of the cadre. Cadre has been chastising Guyfriend over this fact, TO WHICH, Guyfriend says that Girlfriend has decided to move out.

Naturally the news ran like wild fire. In fact, it has been all morning. Me, being busy with school and all, has not been privy to this news. I receive a text to this effect, I am updated, and I send a text to Guyfriend. He doesn’t respond, so I send a Facebook message to Girlfriend.

Girlfriend responds via email in the manner of Gee-this-is-news-to-me-guess-I’m-breaking-up.

Crap! Crappity-crap-crap-crap and holy-hell-putting-out-fire-with-gasoline-crap!

So this begs the question: where is the culpability and with whom does it lie? Should I have confirmed this with Guyfriend directly? Did cadre possibly misinterpret what he said? Was this only his news to tell and disseminate at his leisure? I mean, our friends are not the kind to spread vicious gossip, so if they say Girlfriend is moving out, it is only because Guyfriend said so. And why the hell is Guyfriend saying this anyway?

We can only surmise Guyfriend was saying this to justify his less-than-honorable antics with this other girl he has been in contact with. That, or he is voicing his true feelings about his relationship and just hasn’t yet shared them with Girlfriend.

But what the eff?! He had to know we would reach out to Girlfriend!

And of course no one can get in touch with either of them. Not by phone, text, email, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, telegraph, semaphore, or smoke signals…

Technology, it’s supposed to make like easier. Only it’s easier to feel like you still live in high school and even more easy to eff up.

Effing hell…

I awoke at the magical and lovely hour of 5:45am today because the neighbor above me has a toddler more akin to a Tasmanian Devil than a human child. Said child ran frequent laps around their apartment and was dragging furniture along with it which presents itself like thunder down below in my apartment.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I had gone to sleep at a reasonable hour, which I did not because said child was doing the same activity until well after 10pm, making it impossible for me to get my work done before 1am.

I’ve spoken to my neighbor three times now, hell, I’ve even taken to banging on the ceiling with my shoe. Mostly, I find myself staying out of my apartment until late at night which is a shit-policy because it really only rewards bad behavior.

I finally bit the bullet and went to the building manager. Manager had words with the tenant above and came back with the two most dreaded words in the English language: Single-Mother.

“She doesn’t know what to do The child will not quiet down and she is a single mother.”

Groan!

I’m not a cold-hearted bitch, at least, not all the time, so I automatically generate some sympathy for this woman. The manager said she moved to campus late, couldn’t have known the floors were paper thin, is looking off-campus for housing, and will try to keep the noise down.

My options in this situation? Complain. Call them. Don’t go to her door. If enough complaints are racked up, they’ll break her lease and she can move.

Great. I know what it was like to find housing here. It’s a competitive sport where you best bring your mouth guard. I really don’t want to be the impetus for this woman and child getting tossed out, but dammit, I need sleep and I need some peace and quiet to get work done.

So now I am pitted up against Single Mom and Child. It sucks. I hear her leave at 7am and return after 7pm. I’m sure this kid is in daycare all day so I totally understand the  desire to run like crazy once home. I also understand the desire for Single Mom to want to spend time with her progeny before she goes to bed.

What I don’t understand is the apartment management pitting us up against each like this. I blame them for placing her in a building that is all couples and no children. I really blame them for putting her on the second floor. Single Mom may not have known the floors are paper thin but building management damn well did.

But Single Mom also needs to realize that part of the reason her child is so effen crazy is because it is sleep deprived. Yes, I know, I don’t have children, but I have siblings and friends with children and know enough that toddlers require more sleep than 6 hours a night. Hell, I know I certainly do.

And since there is plenty of blame to go around, I know I could try and be more understanding. However, I was here first (I was), I pay rent too, and the big marketing scheme for this little building is that it caters to “adults and professionals looking for quiet and peaceful living”. So I don’t feel like I should have to stay away from my apartment, coming home ridiculously late on the off-chance that it might be quiet enough to work.

I passed Single Mom in the hallway getting mail. She gave me the stink-eye like no one’s business. I went back to my apartment and Child above began playing with its (I have no idea the gender) favorite toy – the couch, which it drags around the apartment floor.

Well, the passive-aggressive battle lines apparently have been drawn. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.

Funerals manage to bring out the worst in me in by the fact that they bring together, in one room, all the things that truly irritate me in life: flowers, the cloying smell of old-lady perfume, and cigarette smoke…and embalming, and caskets, and funeral homes…and insincerity, and vultures, and weirdo relatives.

It’s a hellish trifecta of allergies, religion, and forced association with people I wouldn’t otherwise associate with.

Sailor’s grandmother died and aside from the sheer joy of Sailor coming home for the funeral, I also garnered the smug knowledge of Sailor having relatives scarier than my own; so the funeral was basically a big win for me.

Oh, sure, there’s the grief and everything, but Granny E had a good long run. I fail to see why that is cause for tears.

I’ll admit I am probably wired differently than most, but I see little to cry over in a 90 year old woman who cultivated a life that resulted in the being mourned by extended family and life long friends. She was placed in a beautiful box, with her best suit, surrounded by flowers, letters and pictures. She was visited by at least a hundred people at the funeral home before having a memorial service in her honor and then having a motor parade to beautiful burial ground where I am sure will be placed a beautiful stone.

Aside from disagreeing on the ritual as a whole (embalming, caskets, funeral home), this is still basically what I would call a Good Death.

Think of the thousands of people who die everyday: alone, without burial honor or rites, without anyone to mourn them. Maybe they die brutally, maybe they die anonymously. Not a winter goes by when we don’t hear on the national news about an older person dying of starvation in their home, or who froze to death because they didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with an electric bill, or they die alone, unvisited, unclaimed, in a nursing home.

It’s not bad enough that they die and no one cares, but that maybe they died because no one cared that they even lived. And this happens more than we care to think about. These are not Good Deaths and certainly something to shed a few tears about.

For those who are born and raised here in Erie and live their lives out here, they seem to develop massive networks of friends, friends of friends, and extended friends. People here will drop what their doing and come pay their respects though they may not know the relative you have lost. Honestly, I’ve lived a lot of place and I’ve not seen the likes of it anywhere else. It’s something I have come to appreciate about this place.

So, no, I shed no tears this weekend. I can get verklempt with the best of them, but like I said, Granny E had a good long run and died with family and friends by her side. That’s something to be happy about because Granny E was one of the lucky ones.

Oh yes, behind…so very, very behind…

On so many levels. I refilled the window wiper fluid in my car and in doing so was forced into yet another confrontation with the mysterious black nursing bra that has been living in my car for the better part of a year now. And no, I still have not removed it.

I’m sure I’ll get around to it. Eventually. At the most embarrassing moment possible. The point is: don’t you worry your pretty little head over it.

Life has been pretty interesting as of late. I babysat a hedgehog who is as old in hedgehog years as Puppy Dog is in mastiff years, and yes, all under the same roof. Good times. Damn thing stuck me with quills so many times I was tempted to use her to clean the grout in my bathroom. But alas, sanity prevailed, and she is returned to her rightful owner, tiles sadly uncleaned.

I suspect I shall be homeless soon. My landlord wants to sell the house as soon as the lease is up (24 days). She doesn’t want to extend and I haven’t found a place to take me in. So if you find a redhead and her insanely old dog sleeping in your garage, shut the damn door! I’m sure it’s still cold out.

I’ve got four months to go here in Erie. The sentence is up and I am about to be paroled.

Yes, that is correct: PAROLED!

And why? Because I was accepted into a PhD program and am blowing this popsicle stand come August 1st! Yup, gonna see about becoming a doc-TAH! Penn State here I come! Hide your cats, whiskey, and loose change!

Four months feels like forever. But it should be just enough time to clear out the crap in my house, which will be easy, it’ll be tossed on the street with me and the pooch and stolen at this rate. But nonetheless, I shall enjoy enough of Erie summer weather to leave on what I am positive will be a sour note due to the annual Roar on the Shore, and all it’s smokey, loud, drunk-driving, obnoxiousness.

But I will be better at chronicling my nonsense in the meantime. It’s only fair. I’ve bitched so much about so much, why ruin a good thing?

I had new tires placed on my car yesterday and because I forgot to bring a book, I was stuck in the waiting room reading years-old magazines and listening to the radio. In the hour and a half I spent there, the 1984 charity anthem “Feed the World” played no less than 4 times. I’ve easily heard that song a dozen times a day for the last few weeks.

I think I may have this song on vinyl somewhere, but to hear it played in this new millenium always makes me cringe.

“Do they know its Christmas time at all?…..Feed the world/Let them know its Christmas time”. How very Western-centric that song is. How very Christian-centric. How very dated.

I can excuse the song for the time, but to continue playing this song every year grates the nerve in light of a new found realization that hey! there’s a lot of other religions out there! Granted, the song was targeting famine relief in Ethiopia which is 60% Christian…but it’s also 30% Muslim and 2% Animist…so, no, they don’t know it’s Christmas time and even if they did I’m sure they don’t give a damn…as would the 67% percent of the world that isn’t Christian either.

I’m thinking the Pagans, Wiccans, and Druids of the world need to stage a major Take Back the Night and reclaim the season’s true celebrations of Solstice. Maybe it would give me relief from well-intentioned albeit highly misguided Christmas diddies.

I was really pretty shocked to have read that Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor extraordinaire of long standing at the venerable institution Hahr-Vahrd, was arrested two days ago.

But I wasn’t shocked to have read the context and circumstances of his arrest. Sure, there’s the easy explanation of racism in America (you really will never convince me a white professor would have been treated the same way), but then there’s the even easier explanation that no one seems to be talking about and it is this: the arresting “officer” in the affair is yet another example of a douchebag cop with a Napoleon Complex.

Sure, I have no doubt the cop behaved in a racist manner, but that is an action coupled with a personality trait and that trait being that the he is yet another douchebag cop with a Napoleon Complex.

A professor here at school is a retired cop and relayed to me the different types of people who become police officers:

1. The Fitness Nut: the guy or gal who somehow relives their high school athletic glory days by being a cop. They are all about how they look in the uniform. Being a good or bad cop is strictly a matter of happenstance.

2. The Gun Nut: I think this speaks for itself. The Gun Nut, who is almost always male, is also closely related to the Penis Insecurity Nut.

3. The Righteous Nut: this person has an overwhelming sense of self-importance and truly thinks that the worse they behave towards the general public, the better cop they are.

4. The Drunk Cop: who is actually a pretty okay person who took the job as a way of redemption but at the same time, does not know how to handle the stress better.

Now according to Professor Cop, a police officer can actually be a combination of these varying traits but one is always more dominant than the other. Like the thing about Elvis and the Beatles: you can like both, but you always like one more than the other.

With regards to incident involving Professor Gates, my money is on Cop #3. Then again, I’m not at all familiar with the inner workings of cop-hood and the public perception I have garnered of them over the years is really just boils down to the simplicity of the douchebag cop with the Napoleon Complex scenario.

shoes_iaec1042194I hate Crocs. Always have. They were a dumb, over-bloated fad I liken to the Great Jelly Shoe Terror of 1982.

Personally, I like a well-structure shoe and am always of the opinion that feet should look like feet and not like pods.

Hence, to my utter joy, Crocs has gone bankrupt, has too much inventory it can not sell, and has now laid off one-third of its work force. Now maybe those damn ugly shoes will go away and people will get back to wearing real footwear…like flip-flops…oh hell…we all know some schmoe will buy a million of these things, bury them in his backyard only to re-surface twenty years from now when they will become “retro”.

I really hate American culture sometimes.

21691377_a13b65dbc4_bAnd while I am sorry for all those good people out there who have lost their jobs, I think back to what my dad told his brother in the late 1970’s when my uncle quit his job to become an “artist” and paint landscapes on the sides of conversion vans: “Don, you can’t make a career out of a fad.”

Yeah, when Michelle Duggars thinks you’re out of your mind for having 8 kids at once and 14 that you can not afford, that’s saying something.

But for the record, the Duggars are paid by TLC to air their family circus. Certainly that helps with the bills and keeping debt free when dad is realtor in this economy of the last 3 years.