An Open Letter to Donald Trump

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Donald,

Can I call you Donald? I hope so because I won’t call you Mr. President. I don’t know if I should feel sad or angry today. Or just horrified. How do you feel? Do you feel? I sometimes wonder. I mean there is a right side and a wrong side of history, and you ARE the wrong side. Do you get that?

I’m a NASTY WOMAN. I’m talking horrid. Super Duper Nasty. I’m disgusting! And this Nasty Woman isn’t scared of little boys like you. And there are a lot of us. Hillary. Michelle. Beyoncé. Samantha. Megan. We are legion, and we are a helluva lot stronger than you are. We are daughters. We are wives. We are mothers. We are fighters.

And we’re not scared of you.

That’s right. We’re not scared of you. Not even a little. You are a tiny man who used the most undereducated voters to win. You used fear. Good for you, you clown. People like you try to scare people like me. But it doesn’t work. Because I’m smarter than you. I read books. Lots of books with words… all the best words. 

“The split in America, rather than simply economic, is between those who embrace reason, who function in the real world of cause and effect, and those who, numbed by isolation and despair, now seek meaning in a mythical world of intuition, a world that is no longer reality-based, a world of magic.” ― Chris Hedges, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

If you understood that, then you’ll get why the entire country is pissed today. Because we just put a fascist in the White House. You won because you pandered to the Americans who think they are being ‘displaced’. You pandered to people who are scared to lose their guns, lives, homes, money, country…anything…

But like I said. That’s not me. I don’t scare easy, and it takes more than a big, orange molester to scare me. I’ve gone up against men scarier than you. I can do it again.

I’m not scared of you because… You are a bigot. You openly hate people based on the color of their skin, or where they were born. That is something ignorant, stupid people do. Smart people look to those different to see what they can learn. Smart people think about how differences make us stronger. Not you. You want to build walls and deport people and assault women and who knows what else since you never really laid out any actual plans. Idiot.

I’m not scared of you because… you are scared of women. That’s right. You are scared of us. You called Hillary a nasty woman because you are scared of her. Of all of us. Of what our power, together, united could do. Will do. You judge women based on their looks. How “Hot” they are to you. (Good thing for you voters didn’t do the same. You fat, ugly, incoherent windbag.)

American women have been putting up with dickheads like you for decades. At home. At work. Walking to work. At the store. You name it. We get told about ourselves all the fucking time. (Just ask all of your ex wives! Two out of three being IMMIGRANTS, I might add.) Now we get to deal with a self-loving, woman hating, dickhead in the White House. And after Obama! He loved us! It sucks, but we’ll manage. Because we are not afraid of you. Hillary Clinton wasn’t scared of you. She’s smarter than you. You know it. She knows it. We know it. Her husband knows it. And speaking of Bill… please, PLEASE stop pointing out that Bill Clinton cheated on her twenty years ago. You hit on your own daughter in public all the time. You don’t deserve my respect. Or my fear. Just my vomit.

I’m not scared of you because... you are not intimidating. You are a joke. You mock people. You make little “jokes” at their expense. (Here’s a clue. A joke is supposed to be funny) You mutter under your breath like a child in trouble. Being afraid of you would be like being afraid of a three-year old.

And finally I’m not scared of you because I won’t let you take my rights aways from me. Or any woman. I won’t let you step on the constitution and I won’t let you try to hurt my immigrant brothers and sisters. My LGBTQ friends and neighbors. I won’t let you forget that BLACK LIVES MATTER. That WOMENS LIVES MATTER. That my body is MY BODY and if you even think of grabbing me by the pussy you’ll regret it.

So Fuck you, Donald. I don’t respect you now and I won’t when you are sworn in. You are a liar, a cheater, an idiot, and a bad salesman. And a bad writer. Your book is a piece of shit just like all of your businesses. Which You’ve bankrupted. And now you get to be in charge of Fucking Over America and our Daughters. And our Sons. You’ve set this country back decades with your bullshit machismo. With your blatant racism.

We had a chance to keep moving forward but collectively chose to move backwards. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

And it’s all your fault.

 

Sincerely,

Alicia

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An Open Letter to America About Guns

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Dear America,
In the wake of a disgustingly violent weekend, and I’m just talking about the two incidents in Florida, I have no choice but to say a few words. Ask a few questions.

First off, what’s wrong with Florida? On June 10th IN ORLANDO, a 22 year old singer named Christina Grimmie was shot in a crowd of her fans after one of her concerts. The man who killed her had TWO HANDGUNS and a KNIFE. On June 12th, IN ORLANDO, 49 people were killed and 53 injured when a man opened fire in a gay night club. THAT’S 50 PEOPLE DEAD IN TWO DAYS. BY TWO MEN. WITH 2 GUNS, EACH. IN THE SAME CITY.

If we don’t see the problem by now America, we are as blind as we pretend Justice is.

The problem is a simple one: GUNS. If you are one of those assholes American’s who claim otherwise, let me break it down for you. Your right to bear arms is NOT more important than ANY human life. Period. I don’t care if you disagree with someone about what god they choose to believe in (A CHOICE!) or who they love (NOT A CHOICE!) We are off balance. We value guns more than the life of a human being. If it was otherwise, we wouldn’t be the WORLD LEADER IN MASS KILLINGS.  It’s obvious that we don’t care about each other. If you disagree with that statement, you are either Donald Trump, my brother, or an ignorant asshole. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to let any of the aforementioned assholes get us off track. We are smarter than they are! The problem isn’t a religious one. Guns have nothing to do with whatever god you decide to worship. The problem is guns. WHY doesn’t matter. I don’t give a shit WHY that asshole went to a pop concert and shot a talented, young woman to death. It won’t change the fact that he did it. With ease. Knowing why won’t help to stop the next asshole. Because he’ll have a different why. That fuckwad who killed my gay brothers and sisters during PRIDE MONTH had his own fucked up reasons for killing. Stupid, ignorant reasons. All HATE CRIMES are based in ignorance. As long as we are focused on the WHY, we won’t fix or change anything.

AS LONG AS THERE ARE GUNS, PEOPLE WILL MAKE EXCUSES TO KILL.  

GOD. SATAN. RAGE. VOICES. RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION. MY DOG TOLD ME TO DO IT. MY GOD TOLD ME TO DO IT. I WANTED TO SEE HOW IT FELT. I AM RIGHT. YOU ARE WRONG. YOU WON’T LOVE ME. I WANT WHAT YOU HAVE. IT’S MINE.

As a society… as a country we need to keep the focus where it belongs. On the problem. Which if you haven’t been paying attention is GUNS. Donald Drumph would love nothing more than to help you forget that the man who killed 49 people in a nightclub had AN ASSAULT RIFLE. He WANTS YOU to think of ISIS and Muslims. He wants you to FORGET that this was an attack on the Queer community which was COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE. Why in the fucking world are regular everyday citizens allowed to have military grade assault weapons? Why? There ARE no good reasons.There is never a good enough reason.  Only bad excuses. And those need to stop. The bullying by those in power needs to stop. The name calling and degrading needs to stop.

Our country has turned into one of callousness. We care for the moment and then return to our daily lives of selfies and Snapchats. We ignore things we don’t like, and people we don’t like. If we don’t like what we see or hear, we block it out. None of my concern. The shooter at the nightclub has an ex-wife who describes him as abusive. His colleagues said he used racial and sexual slurs. At work. His family described him as homophobic with rage problems. The FBI looked at him in 2013 for threats to a co-worker. Yet the motherfucker had TWO conceal and carry licences. How many people in this man’s life felt he was off his rocker? A LOT! And yet…

How did someone like that slip through so many cracks? It seems to me that he could have been stopped from harming people years ago if more people had spoken up. Silence is the accomplice here. Our collective silence. We Tweet. We Instagram. We publish our collective outrage to FaceBook. BUT THAT IS’NT ENOUGH.

We, as Americans need to be vocal. All the time. And I’m not talking about changing your profile picture, or wearing a ribbon. I’m talking real action. In my life, when I see someone being mistreated, I fucking say something. Sure it gets me into trouble, but at least I can feel alright at the end of the day. When you’re with your friends hanging out, and someone starts talking about building a wall, or excluding people – SAY SOMETHING. When you hear someone use a racial slur, or homophobic language – SAY SOMETHING. Don’t be scared! That’s how ignorance wins. Trump, ISIS, any of those terrorists – are just big, fat, bullies with a big fat mouths. And big fat GUNS. They scream over people, use ignorant speech, and when that doesn’t work they shoot guns. They want to drown the rest of us out. Don’t let them.

Write letters to your congress-people and Senators! They pay attention because they want to keep their jobs. And they only do that when you vote for them. Be vocal. Get involved. 

Here:

http://pushprofile.com/congress-fax-numbers/

http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Thanks for listening, America.

The Girl.

What I Miss?

bill_cosby_1978025Sorry folks, a lot of life happened to me in November, but I’m back! And after a succesful NaNoWriMo to boot! That’s right, I won for the third time! (out of ten times trying.) NaNoWriMo takes up a lot of time and energy, plus I had my job to worry about, so I just couldn’t blog. But I came out of November with a whole novel! So I can’t complain. I did it! Thanksgiving, a broken tooth, a sprained hand, and some sort of stomach virus are not going to stop me. 

But so much has happened! If these stories had surfaced at any other time, I would have had a lot to say. But as it was, my words were otherwise engaged. So I thought I’d give my two cents on the big stories I missed in the last thirty days. I’m a little rusty,so be kind. It feels good to be back.

  1. Bill Cosby – Ever since women began coming forward accusing The Cos of sexual assault and rape, I have been wondering where his supporters are. Usually when there is some sort of scandal involving a beloved celebrity (Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods) that celebrity has his famous friends coming out of the woodwork to support them. Not so much with Bill Cosby. Raven-Symone has said to please “leave her out of it.” Whoopie Goldberg said on the view she found some of the stories “questionable”, and singer Jill Scott defended him on Twitter. Most stars have tried to dodge the story by saying things like, “How sad if this is true”. Sad? More like infuriating. These women deserve to at least be heard. If these allegations are true, and dollars to donuts they are, then it is infuriating that this man preyed on women for over thirty years and nobody did anything to stop him. He drugged women and then had sex with them, or touched them. Power and privilege can sometimes make a man into a monster. He shouldn’t get special treatment just because he was a great TV dad and comedian. He is an awful person and should be put away. It’s called serial rape. But famous men often get away with brutality and we end up blaming the victim. I think a full investigation should be made, and if Bill Cosby wants to remain relevant and free, then he should start talking. But his silence is so loud that the only option is to believe the 20+ women and their claims of abuse. Sometimes you have to kill your heroes.
  2. Philae’s Wild Comet Landing – Yep, scientists managed to put a lander on a comet. A comet! The thing used harpoons and everything! I half expected to see Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck emerging from it to help save the earth. Okay, so the mission wasn’t to save the earth, but it was pretty freaking dramatic. It touched down thrice and drifted for nearly two hours before resting on the comet. Now the thing is recharging its batteries and hibernating until it gets closer to the sun. I don’t know what it all means, but I do know that it is wicked cool.

  3. Charles Manson getting married – Who the fuck cares.

  4. Fergusondemonstrators-defy-curfew-fergusonUnfortunately when the news came that there would be no indictment I wasn’t the least bit shocked. I lived in LA during the OJ trial and the riots that followed. This doesn’t feel a bit different. Except that OJ was a famous sports and film figure at the time and used those things to help him legally get away with murder. In Ferguson we have a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed kid and got away with it. It should have been cut and dry. I don’t care what the legal evidence was, the police officer should be behind bars, at least for some period of time. There was no question that he did it. Only a question of self-defence. A murder, even if it was an accident or self-defence, should be punished. The fact the officer is a free man today has sparked nationwide riots. Yes, the facts matter. And no, I was not in the courtroom to hear the facts. But, I do believe some sort of punishment was necessary. And we must also take into account that this wasn’t the first time an unarmed black man has been shot for no good reason. And recently! The the powers that be don’t do something fast, a full revolution is on the horizon.

    But I don’t think taking to the streets and reeking havoc is the right answer. It doesn’t solve anything. I’m all for revolution, but looting, robbing and arson are juvenile. Nobody will take you or your cause seriously if you are damaging property. It’s hard to have sympathy for someone when they are setting fire to a pizzeria. I say, take that anger and turn it into something useful. Take action, but in a civil way. Hell, find a lawyer and sue the city of Ferguson for hate crimes. Now that would be something. If we learned anything at all from Do the Right Thing, it is that letting people get really frustrated about unfair treatment never ends well. Espically for the pizzerias in the neighborhood.

And that’s all I got for now. I promise to be a better blogger until November comes a knockin’ again next year. But until then you can always stop by and say hello. I’ll be here.

A Map of My Life

SN859272Every month I am honored to be a contributor over at gumshoeblog.org – It’s a fun place. “Gumshoe features a collection of writers who are full of curiosity and are armed with an adventurous spirit. A gumshoe is a cultural curator who is looking for what is unexpected, beautiful, frustrating, and inspiring. A gumshoe digs deeper to attempt to understand how art and culture live and interact in our world. Gumshoes love the act of discovery and sharing.” Rad, huh?

So, this month we writers were tasked to make a map… of anything. I was a little dumfounded at the idea because I never like to put effort into anything that I believe will end up being ordinary. If I make a map I want it to be spectacular! So after ditching a few maps to fantasy realms, I decided to make a “map” of my life… with drawings.

The idea here is to show where I have lived over the past couple of decades. I travelled a lot over the years, but this little map shows where I have lived. Where I have planted myself. Where I have earned a living, paid taxes, etc. I’ve moved around a lot and I don’t regret it.

SN859274I started in So. Cal and then moved to San Francisco. From there I moved to Oakland, and then back to L.A. for a few months before moving to Prague. I stayed in Prague for about three years before moving to Mexico where it was ridiculously hot and I got paid very little. So… back to Prague for another four years. When I got tired of the Czech lifestyle, I moved with my partner to Texas, his home. We lived in Houston and Austin, but mostly Austin. I did not care for Texas. We left Texas in January of this year and packed our little car with everything we own. What didn’t fit didn’t come. (Now that’s a minimalist lifestyle!) We drove to Ratna Ling Buddhist Retreat Center. (I wrote a series of pieces about my time there. This was the last one) It was supposed to be a six month commitment, but they asked me to leave after one month. From there we drove back to Berkeley where we stayed with an awesome couple, their one year old and three legged dog. They were kind enough to let us stay and recoup before we repacked the car and headed to Seattle. And that’s where I am now.

Travel: Bainbridge Island

Seattle skyline from ferry

Seattle skyline from ferry

So here is the truth. I tend to mole. (MOLE: When you hide in your flat, shades drawn, nose in a book, binge watching every episode of The Amazing Race Canada because you convince yourself it’s pretty much field work now that you live so close to Canada and you know actual Canadians – and thus don’t set foot outside of your flat until you are forced out due to work.) I like being a mole. Sometimes. It’s a constant struggle that is going on inside me. On the one hand, I have the mole – content to read, sip coffee, watch old movies and just relax. That’s what days off are for! And on the other hand I have the adventurer – wanting to explore new places, taste new food, and see new things. In order to appease the Adventurer in me I try to allocate a few days off a month to do something new. Yesterday my fella and I traveled by ferry to Bainbridge Island.

SN859211It’s part of the Puget Sound, and was voted the second best place to live IN AMERICA, back in 2005. It is just a short 35 minute ferry ride, and the views are incredible.From the ferry you can see the awesome Seattle skyline, including the Space Needle. Once the ferry docks it is a short walk uphill to the main street, Winslow Way. The Island has that quaint New England vibe to it, and we even saw a couple of drunk old timers hollering in the streets. It felt authentic.

There is plenty to see and do on the Island. We spent a good amount of time walking the nature trails that weaved in and out of the shoreline. We found a cute little footbridge and a hidden basketball court. Out on the main drag there are a variety of stores and restaurants, wine tasting rooms and bakeries, and even a little independent bookstore called Eagle Harbor Books. We ate lunch at a sandwich deli and then wandered the streets some more. Ice cream at Mora was pretty awesome after all of that walking.

Jenny Anderson

Jenny Anderson

The highlight of the day was the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. It is a small, modern museum that is dedicated to local art and artists. And it is free, as ALL museums should be. I found a new artist to become obsessed with: Jenny Anderson. She is a native of Seattle and does work in pottery, sculpture, wood and raku. My favorite works of hers were these whimsical wood and ceramic pieces – forest creatures in robes carrying small, detailed faces in their hands and packs. My mind went into overdrive thinking of stories for these detailed, lifelike creatures. I couldn’t get enough. The museum also showed a short movie about her, the huge dragon of a kiln she uses, and how she makes her art. It was pretty inspiring.

SN859230I also very much enjoyed the collection of stuff which artist Max Grover put together. He uses his own collection of things (Hula girls, Luchadors, wedding cake toppers) as inspirations for his paintings and collages. I’ll admit that I found the actual paintings to be a little childlike and easy. But I absolutely adored looking at the collections of things he had. It was kind of cool for me to look at a collection of snow globes and think to myself, I used to have a collection of snow globes twice this size. I gave the collection away when I decided to move abroad. I don’t miss it. Even a little bit. It’s fun to look at someones elses collection of old junk knowing that I don’t have to live with it, house it, dust it, or make room for it. Feels like freedom.

SN859214If you live in Seattle or take a holiday here, Bainbridge Island is definitely worth the short trip. And it wasn’t expensive. We used Orca Cards to get to the island ($8 roundtrip) and we shared lunch and ice cream. All in all it was an affordable fun day for a little Mole like me. The Adventurer inside of me felt like she had a full day – riding the ferry, hiking the island, taking pictures and swinging on the swings. And I’m glad she got her fill. Because when the Mole comes back asking to relax and just chill, I won’t feel bad saying yes.

Travel: Troll Hunting in Seattle

BeFunky_IMG_2532.jpgYesterday my sweetie and I went troll hunting. We had heard of a rather large troll who lived under the George Washington Bridge, so we put on our walking shoes and set forth on an adventure. We walked from our little pad in Capitol Hill to the Fremont district of Seattle. We walked something close to four miles. It felt good to get out and walk the city. Something we were never able (or willing) to do in “Holy Shit It’s Hot Here!” Austin. We walked through Downtown, through the Marina and alongside Lake Union. It was beautiful, hot, and peaceful.

We walked through Lake Union Park and saw the Museum of Industry (Currently having a CHOCOLATE EXHIBITION! I will have to go back for that) and we saw The Center for Wooden Boats. The park was big and surprisingly not crowded for such a beautiful day. I guess that is the bonus of having weekdays as my days off. No crowds at the park, movies, or anywhere else. SN859028You can rent small-scale wooden boats and sail them in a pool, or you can just chill out on the docks and watch as seaplanes take off and land. Across the marina we had great views of Gasworks Park, the Space Needle, and beautiful Mt. Rainer. We cruised past  adorable houseboats and quickly decided we needed to live on one.

We walked alongside the water for a while and then began trekking uphill. Or shall I say, hills. Seattle is full of secret stairways and hills to climb. You don’t even need to leave the city. There are so many different stairs hidden around that you might need a book to find them all. And there is one! I’ve looked through the book at work, but it wasn’t until I actually saw all of the hidden stairways that I understood the need. Locals, check out the webpage. The climbs were a little tough but worth it. The views are incredible. From the top of the hill (where the Fremont Troll resides) you can see all the way to the water. SN859021As we descended the hill we walked under the bridge and caught Mt. Rainer looming behind the city. It was an awesome sight. We were also treated to a lift bridge right as it began to lift. As we waited for the bridge to come back, we looked out over the water as we listened to P Funk blasting from the dude on a bike next to us. Doesn’t get better than that.

The troll itself is an art installation that was funded by a city grant in 1989. It was the winning design in a contest for the use of the space. He is made from made from rebar, steel, wire and two tons of messy ferro-concrete. The Troll  took about seven weeks to complete, and was made by four local artists. He guards the bridge from any straying goats or cars that happen along. He is clutching a red VW Beetle. Drivers beware. The Troll is an interactive sculpture. Visitors are encouraged to climb onto his bony fingers, pose picking his gigantic nose, or poke at his one good eye with a stick. He measures 18 feet, and weighs 13,000 pounds. He’s a big boy.

SN859006We also happened past another strange Seattle sculpture called Waiting for the Interurban. It’s a group of six figures waiting for the next bus. They are all cast aluminum (including the dog) and are subject to constant humiliation and costume changes. Which is great since this type of public art is so self-aware that it almost asks for it. Built in 1979, it has become part of the Fremont art scene, and a tourist destination. It is always decorated for a birthday or wedding, or in festive attire for any upcoming or just past holiday. When we saw it yesterday, they were all wearing creepy masks and holding a sign that said, “Happy Birthday, Baby”. I’m glad it isn’t my birthday. I’d have to lock the doors and keep a knife under my bed.

10347709_10152239223207496_2720645507684949035_nWe had a hamburger and then a frozen custard from Old School (so yummy!) before going home. We walked up some more stairs and caught the bus back to our neck of the woods. It was a great day. It made me happy that I decided to move here. It’s easy to get stuck in routine or forget that there is adventure just outside your door. All you have to do is be brave enough to find it. By the time we got home we had a little sunburn and we had seen: One troll, three billy goats gruff, a gnome holding a sausage, a flock of geese bigger than I had ever seen, and Brazilians crying on the tele.

It was a good day.

Let Freedom Ring! (Unless you work for Hobby Lobby)

hobby-lobby-reality-check-Miss-R.EVOLuntionaries-FBI’ve never been a very patriotic person. Sure, I love being back in America, but I am not naive enough to say “It’s the greatest country in the world!” It gives me hives to see families wearing matching American Flag outfits, probably purchased at Old Navy, knowing they were made in Cambodia under sweatshop conditions. We certainly have a knack for celebrating freedom yet not actually believing in it. Woman in America are watching their rights be stripped away. Gays can’t legally get married. (There are 18 countries in which it IS legal, including So. Africa and Uruguay. But not America.) Let freedom ring! Throw on that flag shirt and light up the grill!

And that’s the America that I know and love. It’s the country that boasts the loudest and the proudest. With not much in recent memory to boast about. Let’s see… in 2014 we were number one in divorce rates, 23% of us can’t read, we are number one in defense spending, we make about the same amount of money as folks in Ireland, and we die just like everybody else does. And don’t get me started on maternity leave. We are not special, and we certainly are not the greatest country in the world. We just shout louder. We belittle those who disagree with us. We shun and disgrace the poor. We are pompous and arrogant. We don’t care about gays. Or women.

It’s hard for me to want to celebrate The Fourth of July when just last week the Supreme Court declared (in a 5-4 ruling) that for-profit companies can use religious objections to avoid paying for contraception coverage required under Obamacare. Hobby Lobby is a corporation. Corporations get certain benefits that people, actual human beings don’t: protection from criminal charges, tax breaks, etc. If Hobby Lobby would like to be a PERSON with religious beliefs, then Hobby Lobby should not get the protection of a corporation. It’s a case of you can’t have it both ways.

First off, The Hobby Lobby claims to be a christian company with conservative beliefs when at the same time they sell products made in China. This is straight up hypocrisy. The companies that HL deals with in China that have a reputation for labor rights violations and rock-bottom wages. Employees often end up working ridiculous hours in conditions you would never even dream of working under. They will never earn enough money to escape the cycle. Not to mention China’s dark ages, one child policy. This policy leads to the arrest of women and forced abortions. Not very Christian. Yet HL turns a blind eye to this.

tumblr_n816mzyt111r83d7lo1_500HL also invests in companies that make the morning after pill. This from a company who claims to operate in a manner “consistent with Biblical principles”. Whatever that means. Hell, Hobby Lobby cited their religion as defense to explain why they don’t sell Hanukkah decorations. But I digress. Hobby Lobby’s founders have made it clear that any abortion and certain contraceptives are unacceptable in their eyes. Yet HL invests in numerous companies that manufacture birth control (like Mirena and ParaGard). Can all companies claim religious beliefs as reason to deny coverage of other health care needs like blood transfusions, vaccines, or organ transplants? No. According to the decision, written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, it’s really just about preventing women from accessing certain health care coverage.

‘Merica! ‘Merica! ‘Merica!

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a descent and it is well worth the read. She says it better than I ever could. This ruling will impact millions of American women who don’t share their employers beliefs. This ruling tells me that some beliefs are more important than others and that men are still deciding what women can and cannot do with their own bodies. Some women take birth control to help them with blood pressure or acne. Some women need that medication. And you know what? It isn’t anyones business why they need it. Nobody is going through Sam Alito’s medicine cabinet deciding which medications HE should or should not be allowed to use. “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield,”Ginsberg said. And she’s correct.

So have a happy Fourth of July. Enjoy your grilled hot dogs and potato chips. Enjoy the freedom’s that this country decided you could have, but remember all of us who don’t get the same consideration. We still live here too.

I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon

Amazon stickerI just moved across the country and into a tiny little studio that I share with my fella. We didn’t have anything except some clothes and a few kitchen items when we got here so we had to buy everything else. A rug. A duvet cover. A table and two folding chairs. A mattress (foam) and finally, a bed frame. We didn’t buy all of these things at the same time. And we didn’t buy them on Amazon.

Unless you’ve been living with your head in the sand for the past few weeks, you know that Amazon is (finally) in some hot water over their sleazy business practices. They are having a dispute with a publisher (Hachette) and they aren’t playing very nice. Amazon is demanding that Hachette sell their ebooks to Amazon at a lower price than Hachette thinks is fair. So Amazon is responding the only way a business like Amazon can: bullying.

Purchasing any Hachette title next to impossible, or not available at all. Through Amazon, that is. You can walk into just about any bookstore and walk out with whatever book you want. Live and in person. You don’t have to wait 24 hours, or 3-4 weeks if you wanted a JK Rowling book. Amazon has even gone as for as limiting your choices. They won’t let you buy certain books. Amazon recommends other titles (from other publishers) that will make them more money. Amazon cherry picks the publishers and titles they promote giving the consumer a false sense of satisfaction. You bought something, so who cares if it isn’t exactly what you wanted? And this isn’t the first time. They’ve been doing this type of thing for years. You just didn’t notice and Amazon prefers it that way.

But it’s more than just shitty business practices. Amazon is hurting the way we live. Folks here in Seattle have turned a blind eye to the slippery dealings of Amazon because they like the convenience of having everything they can think of delivered to their door step. It’s mostly just lazy. If you can’t be bothered to go to the store and pick out your own veggies, then maybe you need to reevaluate your situation. And what if your grocery store all of the sudden decided that you can’t have apples? You walk in and they say, “Oh, we have apples, but they won’t be available to you for at least 3-4 weeks. How about some nice pears instead?” You’d be pissed. And rightly so.

So why aren’t you pissed that Amazon is using sneaky business tactics to control what you read and how you shop? Folks here in Seattle love to talk about “Shopping Local” and “being Green”, but I challenge them to put their money where their bumper stickers are. You don’t get to call yourself “green” and “community minded” when you order everything from cilantro to slip covers in just a few clicks from one web site. You are NOT supporting local businesses. And you certainly are not Green. And do you know what Amazon pays the nice folks who work in their warehouses? You should.

Shopping for your food (or books!) in person gives you a connection to what you buy. When you walk into my bookstore and ask ANY bookseller for a recommendation, you’ll get one. We love to tell people what to read. We live for it. The recommendations you get from Amazon are computer generated and based on what Amazon wants to sell to you. Not what you actually want to buy. The only difference between shopping with Amazon and shopping with Wal-mart is perception. Wal-mart has been outed. We know how they operate. Hopefully the veil on Amazon is being lifted and we will all be able to see that the man behind the curtain isn’t a wizard at all. Just a greedy little man with a nation full of minions.

Get Out!

vintage_opels_summer49It’s summer! Time for cold beverages, hot dogs, and sunshine. Time to get your friends in the car and head out to nature. Here in Seattle we are in the midst of a nice dose of summer sun. The city is outside en masse and slowly simmeringAll the pale bodies walking around make me a little homesick for Prague, but that ends right about the time I look out and see Puget Sound. It’s beautiful here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. And it isn’t even a little bit landlocked.

In honor of Summer and beautiful Seattle, here is a list of things to do outside.

1. Go for a walk in a new park or neighborhood. Change things up a bit!

2. Make “nature mobiles” with things that you find and hang them from the trees. It gives people something to Instagram.

3. Bury a time capsule with a note or story to go with it. I like to bury a single key in a plastic bottle and leave a random set of numbers.

4. Start a garden. If you are like me and live in a tiny flat, try looking for a neighborhood garden. I’ve seen a dozen in Seattle.

5. Lay on the grass and watch the clouds roll by.  

tumblr_m1po18ok6o1rqd5coo1_5006. Build a tree house or fort. When you are finished you can invite people to your fort. You can even have beer there. It’ll be awesome.

7. Go to the park and play bocce, wiffleball, frisbee, or if you must, hacky sack. Every park needs a group of people playing an odd sport.

8. Build a swing. I only suggest this if you own a home. Don’t go hanging swings off neighbors trees without asking first. Some people are touchy.

9. Take your pet for an adventure. Yeah, anybody can take the dog for a walk, but only you can take him on an adventure! Find a cool new park for you and Ol’ Yeller to explore. Maybe you are on the trail of a spy, or better yet running from one.

10. Meditate. Find your inner you. If the inner you can’t sit still and wants to do something involving a screen, resist. Take a deep breath and be the nature.

11. Take a nap. I suggest a hammock. Hammock naps are the best.

bp2412. Find an outdoor cinema. Many cities have a movie in the park after dark thing. Even better? Have one in your own back yard! Make popcorn, light some lanterns, and put up a sheet.  It’s cheap and you’ll be the badass in the neighborhood.

13. Build a weird bird house and hang it in a distant neighborhood.

14. Make a pin wheel.  

15. Lay out a blanket and read in the sun. Or take a towel to the pool and read there. Reading outdoors is the best.

16. Make sidewalk art. Get a set of outdoor chalk and start your career as the next Banksy.

17. Set up a treasure hunt. Leave clues around the neighborhood. Keep checking back to see if anyone was savvy enough to follow your breadcrumbs. Slowly realize everyone walks while texting and nobody will ever notice.

18. Take bubbles to the park. Sit near kids. Kids love bubbles.battle1_Renewal_06

19. Fly a Kite.

20. Watch LARPers. LARP is Live Action Role-Playing. It’s the folks who dress up in armor and swing swords at each other in the park. I caught sight of a gaggle of them at Gasworks Park a few weeks ago. It was epic.

21. Roast marshmallows! Make S’mores. Try putting Nutella or peanut butter in those sweet, sweet treats if you want to kick it up a notch.

22. Find a water park and go on a waterside. Make a slip and Slide. Actually, don’t. Those things are super dangerous.

23. Go camping!

24. Take a hike. A real hike, not a hike to  Happy Hour.

25. Make a Treasure Trade. Just make a sign that says “Treasure Trade” and put a basket under the sign. Put a few odds and ends in the basket and watch what happens. I traded a Happy Meal Furby for a plastic Weinermobile whistle. #Winning