Saturday, August 28, 2010

Party Lines

This morning my mom forwarded a blast email to me and her friends from the Carly campaign, which I always enjoy because it gives me an opportunity to respond and provide additional perspective the politician doesn't include.

Carly is anti-choice, so right there I can't vote for her, but more than that, she is not at all as qualified or as successful as she'd like everyone to believe. (And let's not forget, McCain fired her dumb ass for repeatedly fugging up on his campaign.)

I read her book, which was mediocre at best, and in it you learn that the idea to buy compaq wasn't hers. It was the idea of two board members and most thought it was a bad idea (and it was a struggle to convince everyone it was a good move). She latched onto it, looking for a major event that would make her look like a huge wheeler-dealer.

She effectively managed the merger, but didn't live up to her promises to turn HP around in three years' time, which ultimately is why she was sacked, not because she has a vagina.

I'd rather have the option of voting for Tom Campbell, but because we allow politicians to buy their way into elections (like NutMeg Twitman), he's no longer an option because he couldn't compete with Carly's self-financed war chest (she left HP with over $40 million).

Like NutMeg, she's bored, has lots of cash to burn and loves a high-profile gig. She couldn't care less about California or its citizens.

Additional fun facts about Carly:
Fiorina Admitted Keeping HP Profits Overseas Even Though It Hurt U.S. Economy. Carly Fiorina said, "We left billions of dollars in cash overseas because of the differences in tax rates..." [Fiorina Remarks, Milwaukee, WI]

Hewlett-Packard Held $14 Billion In Profit Overseas To Avoid Paying Taxes. [Washington Post, 1/2/04] [also, in the midst of laying off tens of thousands of workers, she kept all the corporate jets – way to cut spending, Carly]
According to Fortune magazine:
[During Fiorina's tenure] HP lost its position as the #1 PC maker to Dell, saw their stock price cut in half, and laid off 18,000 workers. These are the numbers that are clear. Fiorina’s claim that she created jobs is simply a lie. In fact, Portfolio magazine rated Fiorina the “19th Worst CEO of All Time” saying:

A consummate self-promoter, Fiorina was busy pontificating on the lecture circuit and posing for magazine covers while her company floundered. She paid herself handsome bonuses and perks while laying off thousands of employees to cut costs. The merger Fiorina orchestrated with Compaq in 2002 was widely seen as a failure. She was ousted in 2005 [with a $21 million dollar severance, plus another $21 million or so in stock and her pension, which was not included in the severance package]. HP stock lost half its value during Fiorina’s tenure.
Even a fellow conservative is no fan of Carly:
Arianna Packard, granddaughter of one of HP's founders, has attacked Fiorina, writing on the conservative Web site "I know a little bit about Carly Fiorina, having watched her almost destroy the company my grandfather founded." Packard favors Chuck Devore, the state assemblyman who is trailing both Fiorina and former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell in most polls of the race.
For the record, I don't think any politician is trustworthy or has anyone's interest at heart other than his or her own, and I sure as shit can't vote for anyone who is anti-choice/anti-equality. That anyone could, simply because she belongs to the same party one supports, should buy a plane ticket to Jonestown and get some of that tasty kool-aid that'll save your soul.

But I digress...

I didn't attack anyone on the distribution list, I just provided additional information as outlined above. Sadly, one of my mother's friends, who instead of going through menopause entered a perpetual state of PMS, responded directly to me to let me know she didn't appreciate my comments.

Was it too much trouble to just delete my message? Couldn't muster up a logical response and join the discussion? Apparently not. Which I find sad. She could have some valuable perspective to add to the debate, but instead, she did the lazy thing and reacted emotionally.

She chose to attack me personally for views that don't agree with hers. Which is why our country never moves forward, but just steadily toward the great abyss.

I love that my father, one of the staunchest conservatives I know and a wonderful man of logic, will engage in a productive debate on any topic. I learn a lot from him - I can only hope he learns something from me now & then - but we move forward better informed. We may not always share the same philosophies, but I would *much* rather hear his side of things than not. To ignore him simply because I don't agree with his views puts me at a loss.

This 'friend' of my mother's should pull her head out of her ass and be part of the solution, but that would take effort. Apparently she's got hers and the rest of us can take a flying leap. Oh, and she'll never read this post, as that too would take effort, so, lady, you can suck it.

Go ahead and vote with your Democraps and Republicants regardless of their policies, lack of integrity and backbone and watch how nothing ever changes. Keep subscribing to the same old bullshit non-thinking emotional tactics and then complain about each other gumming up the works.

The sheep may outnumber the wolves, but that can't last forever.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Working Girl

I am a working girl. I shake my money maker for a living, which as it turns out, happens to be a camera, which I don't shake as much as I gingerly transport to various locations to make pretty pictures for clients.

It's fun work, which is why I love it. I grew tired of crying at my desk at my last corporate job so I made a change. Best decision I ever made. That, and buying a juicer.

Now, just because it's fun, and not, say, curing cancer or cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, doesn't make it any less important - to me. It's how I make my living and people tell me I'm good at it, so it would seem I'm on the right track.

I mention this because... Yesterday I watched an episode of the Rachel Zoe Project - don't judge me - it's fascinating to watch such a tiny, frail creature walk and talk like a real human.

I'm sure I watch her show for the same reason I like watching Kell on Earth, The City and one or two of the Real Housewives - women making their way in the world. I dig it. I've been a working girl for over 20 years - I identify with independent ladyfolk.

There is a point to all this... stay with me...

During the show, Rachel and her hubby are in New York for fashion week, having flown in a few days early to enjoy the city before the shows start. She gets a phone call from Naomi "Slappy" Campbell who's doing a charity fashion show and wants Rachel to style it.

Of course she's going to say yes - IT'S HER JOB. Her husband starts whining and carrying on about how he won't get to spend any time with her after all. She seemed to feel guilty about taking the job, stuck between a slappy rock & a whiny hard place, whereas I don't know if a man would feel guilt about taking on the work, or just annoyed at having a whiny spouse.

Now, if the tables were turned and HE had some "important" job and a client called needing his services, maybe Rachel would whine about it, but it would be dismissed as her being a baby and get over it honey cause daddy's gotta make a living so go shopping and buy yourself a hat.

I couldn't help but be annoyed by his reaction to her saying yes to a huge job, especially when her entire business depends on that phone ringing (and a silly reality show where she repeatedly says "major," but you get my point).

Except for not having my own reality show and never saying "major," that's pretty much how my business runs. I am dependent on someone deciding to pick up the phone to call and hire me. I don't (yet) have the luxury of saying No. What I said No to was a dreary 9-to-5 slogfest that makes me want to light shit on fire and stab people in the neck with pens.

Anyway... my point...

I get the feeling that, in general, working women still aren't taken seriously, or their jobs, by men. Like we're just playing Worky Lady but our *real* job is cleaning up the mess in the kitchen after cooking all the food. It's irrelevant what that job is, whether it's building rockets or playing with bracelets.

I say this because I've dealt with this first-hand. There are days when I am slammed with post-processing after shooting a large job. This is work that cannot be put off or done only between the hours of X and Y. It has to be done when it has to be done, which I can never predict, and that's how the job goes.

There was one time when I got the whiny "how much longer do you have to do that" response to me having to miss out on some TV to finish a job. Yes, I do have to do this now and I don't know for how much longer so you're going to have to put your big pants on and get yourself your own lollipop.

I'm sorry - that sounds shitty - but it was disappointing to realize that what I was doing wasn't taken as seriously as some other sort of job like, playing computer games. Turn the tables and you don't ever see me hanging in the doorway with a droopy lip wondering when we can go out & play. I'm happy to do my own thing until work is done, which, for the record, happens at least 75% of the time, because daddy's gotta make a living and I'm happy to let him make the hell out of it.

My point...

Boys, in my opinion, still aren't comfortable with girls saddling up and doing their own thing. Some may be - I think I know a few who are - though I wonder if they'd be supportive and understanding of the demands of their ladies' jobs and not get a little whiny if it started to cut in to playtime.

Of course all of this is based on the bulletproof scientific data of my one experience and the Rachel Zoe Project, which is totally major.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

On Demand Lazy

(I had this radio, in mint green - LOVED it.)

It's true... On-demand programming is making us even more lazy than we've already become, and I know lazy - it was my major in college.

The other day I tweeted that I was waiting for Click & Clack to start on NPR when someone responded that I should just download the podcast. I have, when I used to commute into the city. I loved listening to Ricky Gervais's podcasts on Bart - made it fun, and Bart is never fun.

But now I rarely have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time I can devote to hovering near my computer and I don't use my iPod anymore. I suppose I could while vacuuming or something, but see above re. lazy. I vacuum about as often as I churn butter.

When I'm driving all over the Bay Area for work, I'm always tuned in to (or tuning back to) KCBS for traffic updates. With an older car that uses an older iPod adapter, I couldn't negotiate between that and the radio without driving off the road. Just too much trouble.

I grew up listening to the radio. It was always on when I was wee - Mom listened to KCBS at home and in the car she listened to a classical station. (KKHI?)

I got a transistor radio for my sixth birthday and ran down the battery every night listening to KFRC. Before too long I upgraded to an AC model I could leave on 24/7, which I did. My brothers and I made cassette tapes from radio broadcasts, some of which I still have.

Through high school and college I was always tuned in to KFOG, KQAK, KITS and sometimes KFJC and KSCU. Not a lot of variety in the Bay Area, but I grew to love DJs on every station - friendly voices connected to the big wide world beyond my little neighborhood.

What I loved most was finally hearing my favorite song come on after listening to a bunch of stuff I didn't like. Enduring 45 minutes of mediocre stuff just to get to the best 3 minutes of the hour teaches one patience, and you can do other things during that time.

Listening to a podcast means devoting a solid half hour to active listening, without any convenient commercial breaks. Forget pausing - where's the sport in pausing any time you want? In MY day, we had to learn how to pee, make a sandwich and get a drink all within 3 minutes' time.

Not only that, but you can learn lots of fun info from a good DJ. Trivia about bands, upcoming tour dates, who's in rehab, etc. Stuff I'm sure is all over the internet today, but who has time to go look up all that random crap?

Plus, if you knew a certain show was going to be on, you made a date to listen. If you missed it, you missed it. No downloading the program later like a lazy ass. You had to care about showing up to tune in.

You kids can keep your on-demand podcasts. As Elvis Costello said, Radio! Radio!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Summer of Ass

I was really looking forward to this summer. Thought it might be a true summer vacation like I've not enjoyed in many years, where you can loll away the warm days doing whatever, whenever...

All in all, things were going pretty well. Before David accepted a great new job, we enjoyed many afternoons running together on Bay Farm Island... going to BBQs... seeing movies... Had a nice trip to Oregon with the family... Then things took a bit of a dark turn... meteorologically and, uh... rectally.

The fog came in. Hardcore. Weeks of cold, dark, overcast days.
That turned out to be the least of my problems.

This is not a post I want to write, but I feel I must as I have learned so much about colorectal health in the past few weeks, I'm compelled to share if only to maybe help just one other person avoid a truly heinous hemorrhoid experience.

First - almost everyone on this planet will deal with this situation at some point in his or her lifetime. All you people walking around with a smile on your face but a slight hitch in your giddyup - we know. You're not fooling anyone. It sucks. But I have information that may help you.

Second - if you're not sure what's going on back there, get thee to your doctor and make sure everything is copacetic. With the prevalence of colon cancer in our country, better safe than sorry.

Third - stone root. Buy this herbal tincture, thank it for all it's going to do for you, and use the ever loving shit out of it. More on this in a moment.

Fourth - fiber. Duh, I know, but getting enough can be a challenge and it can take a little time to acclimate your body to an increased amount.

Finally - water. I've gotten into a bad habit of not getting enough every day. Working on improving that, as staying hydrated is a huge advantage in warding off constipation.

Which brings me to my sad, painful story. This whole thing started not because of constipation - it was quite the opposite. Something made me ill and I was making frequent visits to the john. It seemed to be an effortless purge, but evidently my insides were not happy. Diarrhea can cause hemorrhoids - I never knew that before.

But whatever - it wasn't any big deal - we have the typical OTC ointments and creams - I was sure those would take care of it. I was wrong.

For some reason, this internal swollen vein was very angry and not going to go away quietly. I tried everything we had on-hand and nothing helped. Witch hazel - meh. Prep-H - useless - and it smells awful.

The only other thing we had was a benzocaine ointment, which, as it turned out, I may be allergic to. It seemed to work at first, and then things took a troubling turn. In addition to the venous problem, I now had an ass rash. Just the way you want to spend your summer, am I right?

You can't imagine how uncomfortable it was going for a run with THAT going on back there. Makes me cry all over again just thinking about it. And you can't scratch - you can't - you'll regret it - trust me. [still crying]

So I scoured the internets for information. The very best thing I found, a true miracle herb, is stone root. Get the tincture and follow the directions on the label, usually 1-2 dropperfuls (30-40 drops) in a small glass of water, 3-4x a day.

Not sure if that's a daily maintenance dose or a 'medicinal' dose during troubled times... I'll use a smaller daily dose for maintenance & see how it goes.

After just one day, it helped me immensely. It didn't take care of the ass rash, but thankfully I found Tucks at - hydrocortisone - and that cleared it up pronto and killed the itch.

Also - huge thanks to my good friend "Sacajawea" for recommending Calmoseptine. She endured horrendous hemorrhoids (and a fissure) while pregnant. As its name implies, it's a wonderfully calming salve that feels utterly delicious on suffering skin. I might start using it all the time just because it feels that good.

But - but - I tried something else with the stone root that I can't recommend, of course, but I didn't think it would do me any harm. I put 4-5 drops on a damp cotton ball and used that as you would witch hazel, and I'm telling you - miracle.

But beware, the tincture has a good amount of alcohol in it and if you have any sensitive areas, it will sting like a bastard, but that's how you know it's working.

Really, I didn't care about the sting. I just wanted to speed up the process and I'm convinced it did. Shit, if I'm drinking it, what harm can it do to my ass? In just a few days' time, it totally cured my problem. I'll keep using it for maintenance and hope this never happens again.

So, with your stone root, take your horse chestnut and butcher's broom (I took a double dose) - you can find both in one capsule from Planetary Herbals - I'm sure there are other, similar products - and get your fiber & water.

I also increased my vitamin C to 4 grams daily, as C is the foundation of all our connective tissue & speeds healing.

Vitamin A is supposed to be beneficial for vein health, so I concocted a vegetable fruit smoothie with lots of fiber & colon-happy stuff. Such as...
- the juice of 3-4 carrots or enough to make 1/2-1 cup juice
- 1/4-1/2 cup of the fine carrot fiber from the juicer bin
- 1 medium (or two small) apples, peels included, cored, diced
- 1 banana (for texture, vitamins/minerals)
- 1 scoop Organic Frog Greens Today or a 2-3 cups fresh greens
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 2-3 Tbs ground flax seed
- 1-2 Tbs honey
and if you want it, a scoop of protein powder (I use brown rice as I don't like soy & am allergic to dairy/whey.)

Blend the crap outta that for a few minutes then enjoy slowly. It's a meal in a glass, not a quaff. It'll take you some time to get through it, but it's worth it. And it's not so high-fiber that you'll be cramping in an hour - it's mellow

But if you're not used to high-fiber meals, leave out the flax seed and the carrot pulp at first - add those in gradually over time. Keep the apple peels though - lots of good stuff in those.

Finally, if you can, get yourself a standing desk so you're not sitting all day long - that's no good anyway, especially for your ass. And do your Kegels - helps keep all those muscles down there toned, and you can do them anywhere, any time.

I never thought I'd have such a problem, being fairly active, never sitting still for long, eating as healthy as I do (the occasional doughnut aside) and being as regular as Old Faithful. Just goes to show you, you never really know what's going on in your butt.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dear Ned

Dear Ned,
You really scared the scat outta me the other day when I walked into the bedroom to change my clothes and saw you standing in the backyard, staring at me through the window.

We've lived here 10 years and have never before seen a live deer anywhere on this island and then BLAM - you appeared in our backyard like it was your regular summer retreat.

You happened to arrive on a Sunday, when all city and county offices are closed, such as Animal Control and the Department of Fish & Game.

The police answered the phone, but couldn't have cared less about a deer hangin in the city. Just so you know, I did not phone the Oakland PD.

Amazingly enough, none of our neighbors were home while you were here. We had you all to ourselves. Had I not snapped a few photos, you could have been a hallucination. Even my parents didn't believe me at first.

Of all the stories one might make up - really? Why would I lie about a deer in our backyard? Anyway...

I just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed your visit; watching you leap effortlessly over the back fence to eat our neighbor's plants, scarfing up the oats I put out for you and curling up for a nap under the giant sequoia.

We miss you but hope you got home safely.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Can't Eat Home Again

Had a lovely visit at the parents' house a couple of weeks ago, but next time I'll have to bring along a travel pantry of steel cut oats, Organic Frog greens powder, ground flax seed, brown rice protein powder and a truck load of vegetables.

Once was, we were not allowed to eat white bread, sugared cereals or anything that wasn't healthy. Hated that dry, crumbly bread back then, but now whole wheat/mulitgrain is the only bread we keep in the house.

Nowadays, Mom loves the buttermilk white bread, mass market cereals with carcinogenic BHT preservatives and even pork rinds - a lovely birthday gift from a friend. Thoughtful friend, eh?

We had ribs for dinner a couple of nights & one night Dad made delicious BBQ corn. Our last night in town, we had amazing salmon and a great salad. Certainly not a bad menu, but some of us need a little more fiber in our lives. Consistent like.

Other than the salad, I don't think I saw a single vegetable. (Corn is a grain - wah wah!) On top of that, Mom made a decadent "coke cake" - a chocolate cake made with cola and frosted with an entire box of powdered sugar. Just one piece can cause diabetes.

Dad made his amazing lemon pancakes & sausage one morning which lasted me all day, but for lunch, Mom offered homemade potato onion soup. It smelled wonderful, but after the pancakes & sausage, I wasn't hungry! If I had been, what I needed was some sort of high-fiber colon blow buffet.

There was fruit - peaches, bananas, melon & berries. I found instant oatmeal in the pantry and had that with fresh fruit for breakfast. I also found the Costco mixed nuts - that was handy - and the dry scrub growing behind the house really packs a fiber whallop.

I don't know how they do it. They're in excellent health, enjoying cocktails every evening at 5pm, wine or beer with delicious low-fiber dinners followed by Box O Sugar cake and coffee. I would be in rehab with life-threatening intestinal blockage. They really are the stronger generation, in so many ways. Time to take my Metamucil.