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Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
19 November 2008 @ 12:34 pm
I don't want to write too much about the recent election because I've been simultaneously excited and pained over the last two weeks, and I'm finally feeling good enough about it that I don't want to rip the Band-Aid off yet. However, suffice to say I am THRILLED that Barack Obama won, pleasantly surprised that Frank Kratovil won MD District 1 (a Democrat!), and very un-thrilled that Prop 8 passed in California.

However, I am encouraged that there has been such a vocal response to Prop 8, with huge protests in California and worldwide rallies held last Saturday; it seems like we're on the cusp of something, finally unwilling to slink away when a hateful and/or misinformed majority is allowed to dictate the rights given to a minority.

Anyway, that's not why I'm writing! I logged on to mention this very funny, happy moment I just had:

I was writing up a list of letters I need to write in January, asking for support for the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), when I stopped. I had just written "President Barack Obama" on my list, but I wasn't startled because Obama will actually be president; believe me, I'm very aware of it! Rather, for the past eight years, I have not used "president" as a proper noun (I won't say "never", although I'm pretty sure I never have). I do not refer to George W. Bush as "President Bush" or *gag* "Mr. President", because I do not respect him and he is not my president. Call it sour grapes over the Supreme Court Election of 2000 or just general disdain for the man. I don't care. But I have not called anyone "President" since I was 17 years old, and it feels weird, warm and wonderful to finally be able to do it again.

Current Location: office cum bedroom
Current Mood: hothot
Current Music: Kids playing outside
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
13 October 2008 @ 12:17 am
I'm going to fit what I consider a big issue into a short post, and I'd really like some advice on this if anyone has any thoughts.

I have been working for my boss (client? boss? person who pays me? I'm an independent contractor with a steady gig) for over three years now. I like the work, it pays really well, and it gives Kirsty and me a sense of security that we'll receive a certain amount of money in our bank account every month. Most of my freelance work is sporadic - I have busy months and I have slow months - but I always have this one client.

This weekend, my client asked me to do something that I find morally wrong. (It has nothing to do with trading money for sex, btw.) I went from being kind of uncomfortable about it to being downright miffed after reading my sister's blog entry about "The Many Faces of LiveJournal" (what I'm referring to is towards the end of her entry).

I'm pretty sure what my client is asking me to do is technically illegal, on the off-chance that anyone would actually sue him for it, but the morality of it concerns me even more. He is asking me to copy someone else's work and use it on his website, not passing it off as his own but still using an entire work, with or without the original author's permission. The works in question are blog entries, chats, etc. No formal works like poems or stories, but still what I would consider personal intellectual property. It's as if I had a website about toy trucks and I wanted to gather blog entries about toy trucks and post them on my site. I might link to the original work. I might not. But I want the toy truck content for my own use.

I am aware that plenty of "blogs" steal other people's content as a way to push ads or whatever, but that doesn't make it right. But what should I do here? He's a pretty decent guy but he's also set in his ways, so mentioning copyright law and fair use probably won't get me very far. It's not the first time he's mentioned this idea, either.

The part of me that likes money is saying that it's his decision and I'm only doing what my boss tells me to do. But still, I don't like it.

What would you do?

Current Location: office cum guest bedroom
Current Mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
Current Music: Kirsty snoring in the other room
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
26 September 2008 @ 12:10 am
I'm having a very uneasy feeling of deja vu right now.

Maggie has been sick the last couple of days, getting progressively worse and going from simple lethargy, to a snorty, "stuffed up" sound when she exerted herself, to full-on dry heaving today. I did everything possible to try to get her to vomit (she's been eating weeds - we don't have grass - so she knows she needs to be sick) and she just couldn't do it. Even the act of running up and down stairs made her heave, so I took her outside and tried to get her excited enough to heave everything out. It broke my heart to see her unable to really even get excited about seeing her leash or playing Frisbee; then, once we were inside, she stayed in bed all day, only coming out sporadically for cuddles and then going back to bed.

So Kirsty came home early and British granddad rushed over so we could drive her to the vet, who diagnosed her with kennel cough.

Growing up, we had a dog named Moose who was diagnosed with kennel cough. I was too young to remember his symptoms, but what the vet called kennel cough turned out to be heartworm, left untreated for weeks while we tried to clear the "kennel cough" instead. He suffered in a way he shouldn't have because the vet misdiagnosed him.

Needless to say, I'm worried about having a repeat of the Moose affair, which might cause Maggie to suffer unnecessarily. It's not that I don't trust the vet (Maggie sees a different one every time, but at the same practice) but I've seen this play out before and I cannot help but think of Moose, regardless of how illogical and disconnected from Maggie that situation is.

Kirsty and I are both confused as to how Maggie could even have kennel cough, btw. True, we did allow all of her vaccinations to expire (argh!) a few months ago, but we had them done last week, with the exception of the heartworm pill, which isn't a very common disease over here so they don't include it in the round of yearly pills, shots and sprays. While it's possible she could have caught kennel cough in the few months she was "expired", Maggie doesn't see other dogs, nor does she really go for walks in public with other dogs. We play with her in our own garden and she hadn't, until last week, been for a walk in a long time (this started because I broke my foot, cascaded into winter, and then turned into working too much and just not doing it - I realise that's not fair and we have recently been trying to address it). Where could she even get kennel cough from? The vet said it could have been in the air, but I just don't know; I suppose it's possible.

Maggie now has a 10-day round of antibiotics to take. She started them tonight, along with a requested heartworm pill, which she woofed down with a wad of peanut butter (does everyone else do this when giving medication to their dogs or is it just my family tradition?). She's improved somewhat tonight but is still very lethargic and not really Maggie; I don't even think we had a real Maggie cuddle all night - her own tradition of jumping onto our laps at night and snuggling in for some "Mom Time". Hopefully she'll improve in the coming days and my feeling of deja vu will go away - this is one of those times when you desperately don't want to be proven right.

Current Location: bedroom
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Kirsty snoring beside me
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
23 September 2008 @ 11:39 pm
I don't have much to say about the "economic crisis" in America right now because I do still have an irrational fear of jinxing myself. But I've been reading lately that there isn't really a crisis (at least not one that requires a $700bn bailout of private companies) and it does make a certain degree of sense, especially coming from an administration that no longer surprises me with its dirty tricks, lying and, most of all, fear mongering.

I'm not denying that there isn't a precarious financial situation occurring in the U.S. (and around the world) right now; rather, this is the first time since this "crisis" began that I've been asked to question why this happened and why we're supposed to fix it with the ascribed bailouts and handouts. I don't think that makes me a conspiracy theorist necessarily. I think it may make me skeptical, which is good.

How it's playing out also does have a certain degree of sense to it:
  • The media reports that Bank A is in trouble
  • People are told not to make a run on the bank
  • Panic ensues and people make a run on the bank, because it's their money they're concerned about and you can't really blame them
  • Bank A goes under, largely because of the run on the bank
  • Government bails out Bank A with taxpayer money (probably former Bank A account holders' money sitting in new accounts in Bank B, which will go under next)
  • Bank A can continue to operate thanks to the bailout
So, is Rep. Marcy Kaptur right when she says that this "crisis" is an orchestrated move from the Bush Administration to distract and scare the American people?

Check out this speech if you have a spare five minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S27yitK32ds

The best quote from Rep. Kaptur's speech, summing up how this is going down: "Privatise gains to a few and socialise losses to the many."

That sounds exactly like something the Bush Administration would do.

Current Location: office cum bedroom
Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: Maggie snoring... or is it Kirsty?
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
28 August 2008 @ 02:35 pm
Del Martin passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Maybe you don't know Del - I don't either, really - but maybe you've seen this picture:

This was taken in 2004. I was still waffling between men and women, and I was just starting to come out to myself (later that year, I came out to my sister and my school; a year later, my parents) when gay marriage was legalised in San Francisco. The enduring image of that brief time was this photo of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, octogenarians who had waited 54 years for the right to marry. The government soon stripped away this legal recognition, but it didn't really matter - here were two women as old as my grandmother who were growing old together.

Maybe I should have known better already - surely they weren't the only ones? - but I needed to see it. Being bisexual or a lesbian really wasn't a 20-something phase like certain people want you to believe. It wasn't about drunken mistakes or Angelina Jolie (bisexual, later recanted, who always ends up with a guy). It is falling in love with someone and spending the rest of your life with them. How many couples can really say that?

Del and Phyllis were legally married (again) in June 2008 and, hopefully, California's Prop. 8 Amendment won't take that away from them in November. Even if it does, you won't take the love shared by these women away from anyone who's been touched by it. And you won't take this image away from me. True love can happen; it doesn't matter what the voters say.

Current Location: office cum bedroom
Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: none
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
From the news, because I like baseball and lesbians: Lesbian Kiss At Seattle Ballpark Fires Up Gay-Friendly Town
Most of the time, a kiss is just a kiss in the stands at Seattle Mariners games. The crowd hardly even pays attention when fans smooch.

But then last week, a lesbian complained that an usher at Safeco Field asked her to stop kissing her date because it was making another fan uncomfortable.

The incident has exploded on local TV, on talk radio and in the blogosphere and has touched off a debate over public displays of affection in generally gay-friendly Seattle.
If you're gay, this is not news. Every article about whether it is/isn't appropriate to be "publicly gay" cites those poor parents who must explain love to their hapless children. I understand that it might be a little bit confusing for a child if they've been as sheltered as one would assume they are with parents like that, but it's hardly groundbreaking either. Two women kissing, why Grandma doesn't come to visit anymore, what Fido is doing on the "Happy Heaven Farm", how babies get made - these are all conversations we have to have with kids eventually. These conversations are also only as awkward as you, the parent, let them be.

When you walk out your front door with your child, you're apt to encounter all sorts of new and exciting things - we call these things "other people". If you're in public, your child is just as likely to spot an infant and ask where babies come from as they are to ask why two ladies are snuggling up (actually, I'd venture they're more likely to ask about the baby-making, since - having supposedly never been exposed to an ounce of homosexuality - they don't yet know how "weird" their parents think it is supposed to be). Look no further than the millions of healthy, happy adults who grew up playing house with their best (same-sex) friends, maybe even practiced kissing with them at summer camp or something, and didn't know they were doing anything but playing pretend until some adult went and ruined their fun (for the record, I don't think I ever did these things, but plenty of straight - and gay - kids do).

I've often wondered just how gay-friendly Seattle is. I know, legally speaking, they have some decent domestic partnership rights and discrimination protections, but that doesn't always represent the prevailing attitudes of the local population. My main client/boss is in Seattle and I'm not completely out to him; I sort of was, for a time, but jumped back in the closet when he seemed to stumble over it. He used to work with a now-famous lesbian (and I used to think he was gay [!]) but I still wonder.

I would love to be able to kiss Kirsty in public, especially in a typically-macho place like a stadium. But I don't appreciate being harassed, or constantly worrying that it might occur. That probably makes me a wimp but that is, unfortunately, the world we live in right now. I watch 20/20; I know people don't help others who are being harassed in public (tiny sarcasm - I'm an alarmist who thinks alarmists are irrational).

So, what was I saying? Oh yeah - lesbians and baseball. *Swoon*

Current Location: office cum guest bedroom
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Current Music: nothing
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
05 June 2008 @ 09:38 am
You know the idiom, "I'm so angry I could spit nails"? I finally understand it and I feel it in a very literal way.

It's not the angriest I've ever been; far from it. I wouldn't even say I'm angry, per se. However, I'm frustrated and I feel like, no matter what I touch, it's not going well. This specifically has to do with our upcoming trip to America, which falls during our anniversary.

Absolutely every plan I've made for our anniversary has gone flying into the abyss.

Cut for dyspeptic whiningCollapse )

Current Location: guest bedroom/office space
Current Mood: draineddrained
Current Music: Nada... not Nada Surf... just "nada"
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
For once I'm glad that I identify as bisexual - I've had enough identity crises in my life already!

People of Lesbos take gay group to court over term 'Lesbian'

In related news, a group identifying themselves as Gleeful American Youth from the 1950s (GAY1) called - they want the word "gay" to go back to meaning "happy" (hey, it already does for most of us!).

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Current Location: office cum bedroom
Current Mood: exanimateexanimate
Current Music: Maggie snoring... what's new?
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
I'm going to pretend that my last journal entry wasn't six weeks ago, and that I've been blogging along through March and April and must, therefore, make a requisite announcement:

Kirsty and I are really busy over the next couple of months so we won't be around as much. (Like we were around much before...)

Here's what's on the schedule, in "lazy lady" bullet points:
  • May 6 - I take my "Life in the UK" test, which I must pass before I apply for my settlement visa in July.
  • May 12-15 - Kirsty and I are taking a well-deserved mini-break up to one of our favourite places: Stirling, Scotland. We're booked in at the same guesthouse as last time and have goals that include relaxing and visiting my favourite castle: Stirling Castle.
  • June 8-22 - Kirsty and I are jetting off to America to spend two weeks visiting my family. This was a last-minute decision (more on that in a moment) but we're really excited about it. We're also hoping to make it to Washington, DC, the Inner Harbor, and Camden Yards to see an Orioles game.
  • Circa July 9 - I can begin applying for my settlement visa (indefinite leave to remain). Back in March (?) there was 4-5 month wait for visa decisions and I don't know if that's changed, so I may not know the result of my application until Christmastime, during which time neither Kirsty or I will have a passport.
  • August 1-10 (?) - Our friend from Texas is coming over to visit. We may end up back in Scotland, depending on how expensive that will be.
  • August 30-September 14 - We're hoping my family (parents, Dawn and Bobby) will be coming over for these two weeks, or at least part of these two weeks. It seems like we've been trying to get something planned with them for ages and it'll be nice to finally show them around the good ole UK (2.5 years after I settled here)!
As I mentioned above, going to America was a last minute purchase. We've been wanting to go for months but the tickets have always been prohibitively expensive, not only because it's the summer but also because of the economy (say the airlines). We had at one point or another settled on wanting to spend roughly £700 for the airfare, but we could never achieve this price through our normal (crappy) carrier, British Airways - their prices were always £900+ and that was just a bit too much.

We both spent what amounted to days (i.e. hours at a time once or twice a week for a few months) trying to devise an alternate solution.

If you continue reading, you'll find out what caused me to actually back away from my computer, in fright, with a severe case of the heebie-jeebies...Collapse )
Current Location: office cum bedroom
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: none
Simple Sharon of the Knapsack
03 March 2008 @ 04:40 pm
I don't live in America so I'm hopelessly out of touch. But apparently this was the #1 Christmas gift last year*. And, after intensive research, I want one!

*ETA: among "notebook products" - but they had Wii and iPhone-like shortages!

Asus Eee PC

It's an ultra-portable PC that weighs under 2lb and costs £199 (when you can find one). No, I'm not missing a digit; it's only £200 ($400). But it gets better:

Cut for photos and lots of EeeeeeingCollapse )

Current Location: office cum guest bedroom
Current Mood: jubilantjubilant
Current Music: Maggie snoring. What's new?