Sunday, August 5, 2018

Stop Running Your E-Books Through Spell-Check And Calling It Good...

Maybe I'm a little more  sensitive about this as I'm hoping to write the Query Letter that Will Change My Life(TM) at a time when I have to fight a million other writers for a busy agent's time and every part of the process tends to remind me how disposable I am, but:
-a "complement" and a "compliment" are not the same, even though, if you have a spouse, she probably likes both.
"discrete" is not "discreet"
Don't even get me started on the dude with the legal thriller who depicted someone as "waiving her arms frantically"(I've heard a good  legal team *can* cost an arm and a leg, but I wasn't sure anyone meant it literally!)Yes, it's a word so the computer won't spot it, but it's the wrong word, so it makes you picture the wrong things.  Spend money for copy-edits or make your mom read it...get some human eyeballs on it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

This post is not about straws...

but if you are able-bodied and want to know why so many are, recently, read this reporting from S.E. Smithhere. It provides a good summary of the issues raised.

Sometimes the atrocities come so thick and fast that even a committed blogger can't keep up. Earlier in the week, I was all pleased for coming up with a post title "Meghan McCain And The Mystery of My Last Damn Nerve" over one of her nationally-televised tantrums, but really? Is anyone surprised that Meghan is a spoiled ass?I've written about her before anyway, and the only thing that I can say for the better is that she is using make-up colors that don't remind me of Miss Piggy. Oh, and every  time she complains, she makes socialism look really good!  If I were really gracious, I'd probably owe her a fruit basket, but she could buy her own orchard, so I doubt that I would really bother.(Maybe if DSA does actually reach 50,000 members this summer.)

Words, despite being my most potent tools, do not seem enough to address the climate crisis or the state-sanctioned child abuse at the border(Although I did meet some nice cricket farmers on twitter this week...we bonded over a shared disgust for Jeff Flake and they pitched me on their cookies.  If I try one, I'll blog about it. Mixing it in batter makes me feel less squeamish than, say, a cricket-salad sandwich, but that is not zero squeamish.

Friday, July 20, 2018

No Excuses: Why I'm voting For Deedra in the Arizona Senate Primary

I'm a volunteer for this campaign and for Progressive Democrats of America, who gave her an endorsement in May.

At first, I wanted to be like Krysten Sinema.  I admired her polish and the many degrees that she’d amassed at our mutual alma mater(during her fifth or sixth degree, we took a class together and I used to joke that that was a distinction I shared with half the state, but it was a little point of pride.
I was thrilled when she was elected, but it wasn’t long after that, that the excuses began. It wouldn’t be long, I told myself, before she could feel secure in her role and step forward in the way a “Prada Socialist” should. It didn’t happen, but I thought “This is Arizona…what can I expect?”

I changed my mind with a combination of Sinema’s co-sponsorship of a bill to reduce rights under the ADA(a move she later took back, but that I, as a disabled voter and activist, couldn’t forgive) and Deedra’s lively, people-focused social-media #CampaignChronicles, in which she focuses on both the weird and wonderful things she hears on the campaign trail. The contrast is unmistakable.

I am all about Democratic unity in the face of the threat from the Right, but an engaged electorate during the primary season ensures a wider range of debate and helps make the winner, whoever she is, stronger and more effective.  Also, as recent events in Queens and elsewhere have shown, upsets can happen, and I want to be part of the tide that helps turn Arizona in a more constructive direction.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Midwestern Fourth Got A Lot Of Hits...

So here is some more:

Still, something made me say “When she comes back, bring her by…I think we stay four houses down from you.”'

    Perry frowned, concentrating.  “Three houses. You’re in the one with the big tree out front.  The fourth one is a day-care now. People might push you around sometimes, but you’re no baby.”  I was almost ready to decide that maybe he hadn’t gotten a fair shake in school, and his diagnosis, whatever it was, had been misapplied, when he jiggled his foot, as he must have seen a relative do, and said to the doll.” Shh.  Daddy will leave in a minute.” 
Tommy came back, dispersed the ripe melon, and I tried to hide my irrational disappointment. His mother had probably been through all that and more—I should stop judging her too. We oohed and ahhed at the fireworks, and we headed back to the house. From time to time, in my next day’s sight-seeing, I wondered if Tammy would make it back, but my years of urban life had taught me most encounters with strangers were stories without ends. After a long day of wedging my chair into picturesque candle and jam shops that were too narrow for it, I just wanted to put all the souvenirs inside, but Mrs. Baxter next door accosted us. “Oh, my God, Tom, did you hear? They arrested that retarded boy down the street last night…I think they caught him interfering with Tammy Belinsky, that little brunette. Can you believe that?”

Tommy grunted, and tried to help me move my chair forward, but I used my chorus voice that had been trained to reach to the back of the theater and said “No, I don’t,” as clearly and emphatically as if I were on a Norman Lear sitcom and the studio audience would applaud any second. Mrs. Baxter just looked surprised, her faded blue eyes getting wide under her glasses. “Don’t get me wrong,” she said, more softly.  “He always seemed like a nice enough young man… but the cops get there, and Tammy’s all upset with her blouse unbuttoned, and he doesn’t have much to say for himself…”'

Emotion made my body slip forward in the chair, and I had to grab my new, embarrassingly phallic strawberry candle so it wouldn’t hit the dirt, but I still asked Mrs. Baxter how she knew all that stuff. “My daughter Debbie is a part-time dispatcher for the sheriff’s department.”'

“But if it was just him and Tammy there, who called the sheriff?”
“Believe it or not, he did.” Mrs. Baxter stroked her chin.  “Sometimes they want to be caught.”
“Really?” I’d taken a deep breath and counted to five, but something still made my temper spark.
“Oh, yeah, I saw it on “Dateline.”

Monday, July 16, 2018

Windowshopping because...

I finally got a financial tangle sorted out, and I could do it. I kind of don't need anything--working at home doesn't have a dress code and I bought shorts all spring. so I'm good on clothes, empirically.(Maybe could even stand to clear out some stuff, but will probably wait for the next "Hoarders" marathon like I usually do to do that.)

As I did last week, I pretend I'm gonna buy a skirt.  Didn't find the pretty coffee-colored  one I admired last week, but didn't buy because I wasn't sure it would fit right if you sit all day(and I don't have great legs like the model, but it's not really about that, either, although I'd be lying if I said I haven't ever felt the contrast between "in the picture" and "on my imperfect self.) Both because of the look and because in the pictorial maybe they're flirting in a sidewalk cafe or something, and I'll wear it some weekend to watch Grosse Pointe Blank for the millionth time while eating slightly stale corn chips from the bag. It took me a long time to learn to make choices, so this isn't a post about how my online shopping habit has led to thousands in debt, either.

Sometimes, I think I was unfair to women who did that, though, back when I was so controlled, I'd burp in the house alone and say "excuse me," to an empty chair. Because I don't just want the skirt...I want something to happen where I wear it and get admired, right? Not to mention, there's a certain power in knowing that the second I click "buy" somebody will scurry around and put whatever in a box for me.(Which also has a dark side in knowing I helped cause some Amazon employee's bladder infection in 2008, I suppose.) I mean, the country is kind of spinning out, a lot of my own dreams are...not moving ahead like I it any wonder I tell myself I'm helping the economy and You Never Know.  (This is almost a category in my closet: real clothes, campaign swag, and You Never Know. The problem is that I do. Another problem is that you can't go to Ideals. org and buy some equality or justice or reboot the President so he cares more about the country than whatever sleazy side business he's got going on.) That takes much more work that I can only do a little of(as does Russia analysis...I'd refer you to Clint Watts or David Corn for that.)
It's easier to think I want the skirt.Especially since I also hate what happened to retail.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

I watched "Ironside" yesterday...

For one of the first times ever. Just kind of watched what followed "Rockford" last night so I can't say if it was a typical "Ironside" or not, but it reminded me more of "Streets of San Francisco" or something than Rockford, which I love, but I'm still sort of surprised I haven't watched it anyway, though it predates me slightly more.
I noticed:
-It seemed like the one tip Burr got about looking paralyzed is to not move around, ever. which makes every scene he's in a pretty static shot of him behind a desk somewhere, asking someone else to check something. He is the boss, so I guess that could make sense, but it makes him a pretty tepid lead(But maybe those are the "Worst episodes ever," that people have griped about for years...I should watch some more before I say that.)

--he was in a car accident and went to the hospital in one episode...kind of goes against my experience with the medical profession that they let him go home alone afterwards. In fact, what he wants is pretty unquestioned by everyone, so much so that I'd almost call this show as much a Fantasy as a crime show.

_Every place Ironside goes is accessible.  Which I know is the dream, but part of me did want to see the cop with the natural hiking his chair over a curb, because it would feel real to my experience. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Fictional Midwestern Fourth...

From one of my stories, at least tentatively titled "Saturday...In The Park" because I can be lame like that.(Yes, this is the one with the sneaker track in it.)

was supposed to have a vacation, not time to face hard truths about the justice system. 
It was my new friend Perry’s battle and I was grateful for the chance to help, but the whole affair was very different from my expectations.   At first, though, I was enjoying a little Midwestern hospitality with my mentor and business partner Tommy Merrigan and his family. For a desert-dweller such as myself, it felt novel, if a little sticky, to be outside drinking a frosty beer on the Fourth of July instead of inside praying for the continued health of my air conditioner.  Since I’d lived in the same Phoenix condo for five years and only known one of my neighbors, it took me aback that people waved at me after less than a week, but I recognized the young and vaguely stork-like man and waved back. I thought he was old-school and carrying a fanny pack, but he’d rigged a baby sling out of a towel and carried a doll in it. A woman who could only be his mother, despite being ripe where he was scrawny, and brunette where he was blond, panted a greeting and then said 

 “When I say ‘Wait up’ what does that mean, Perry?”

“Give you a chance to catch up,” Perry replied, bored with the whole topic.
“If you know that, why didn’t you?” The mother said, irritated for the moment. Then, she spotted the little passenger still clinging to her son’s mid-section.  Now that he had stopped moving, even though he seemed boyish, I could see that he was older than I’d figured:  twenty or so.  I guessed he was past the age when even special-needs mothers think it’s cute to play with baby dolls in public, but I still felt for him that she said “I thought we agreed you’d leave that home.”

Perry knitted his eyebrows.  “I’m not playing with it.  It’s for practice. Me and Tammy might have one.”
“It’s ‘Tammy and I’ and you better not.  I’ll tell you the same as I told your brother and your sister. I’ve raised my kids. “This statement might have had more authority if she hadn’t been spilling out of a tube top, but what did I know? My nurturing skills seemed to have peaked with putting kibble down for my cat and nagging my friends to take their vitamins.  It was looking like I’d never be anyone’s mother…much less, and this part of the thought spilled out before I could stop it, someone like that. Yes, even though my own wheelchair made me “someone like that” to a lot of people.

Maybe the judgmental thought made me work harder to get to know Perry. I really did feel for his mother, too, but maybe she should learn to let things ride more often.  The jazz band playing the Independence Day festival had gone on break and Tommy went to stand in the watermelon line.  We were alone; I had to say something.” So…Is your girlfriend here tonight?” It felt like a cheap come-on, but I didn’t think Perry heard it that way, whether because he was out of the game, or because he hadn’t learned that people mean more than they say, I couldn’t be sure, but talking to him was as restful as the best parts of being nine.

“No. She’s visiting her grandma that had a heart attack. She should be back late tonight, though.”
“Oh,” I said. “You must miss her.”
“Me and Tammy kiss on the lips.” He offered, then looked sadly at my wheelchair, as if thinking I might get more lip-kissing without it.  I couldn’t blame him--’d thought that before myself. He showed me his phone.  “here’s her picture.” Tammy was tiny and pretty, with a ready smile and only a slight vagueness around her big brown eyes. I nodded my approval, suddenly not trusting myself not to sound like an old lady and tell Perry how great it was that “you could hardly tell” that anything was different about cute little Tammy.
“Great.” I said.  “It’s nice to care about someone.” It crossed my mind to wonder if he knew, as magical as a make-out session could be, that it wasn’t magic that made babies.  I had a discreet question on the tip of my tongue, then decided I didn’t need to be quite that groovy hanging out on the fairgrounds.