Monday, April 30, 2007


So, I really should be continuing to work on the revisions I have to do on my work this semester before I can turn in my portfolio, but I've been sitting here in the computer lab for over three hours now and I need a mental break from stuff I have to do.

On my way here to school, I was thinking about guns. In addition to the VT massacre a few weeks ago, there was a shooting in the metro area in which I live yesterday at a mall (really a strip mall with a Target and a Starbucks). I suppose I'm really writing this because I don't really have an opinion on guns and that confuses me. More like, I have too many conflicting opinions on guns and gun control to really have AN OPINION. (I really like having AN OPINION on a topic and getting to argue that with everyone I know.)

On the one hand, I'm what is commonly referred to as a damned dirty hippy in the blogosphere- in that I would really like it if we could live in a world where no one needed guns, except those people who liked to hunt their own food or hunted food for others. While I live in a house with guns and pass by our ornate gun cabinet everyday, I rarely, if ever, think about the fact that there are guns in my house. They aren't mine and I'm kinda scared to touch them, much less use one of them. When I lived in St Louis and they passed their Conceal Carry Law, I was relieved when I saw the "No Guns" sticker on the window of the concert venue I was about to enter. On an unconscious level, it bothers me to think that the person typing on the computer next to mine or the person next to me in line at the grocery store could be carrying a loaded weapon. I'm sure a part of this is that, with the exception of police officers, I always associate guns with criminals.

But then there is the other hand. On that hand lies all the arguments that seem perfectly reasonable for people to own and carry weapons, all the arguments that I have no real evidence to dispute, except for this little nagging in my gut. "The "No Gun" signs are like neon signs telling criminals that they can commit robbery and assault without immediate consequence because there is no one on the premises with a weapon to stop them." "The VT massacre could have been stopped with fewer deaths if those students were allowed to carry guns on their persons." "It is perfectly reasonable for a person to be able to defend themselves with a weapon if they are in danger and the kinds of people who would go through the training and process to get a conceal carry permit are not the type of people you have to worry about using their weapons offensively (any more than they might be if they couldn't get conceal carry permits)." I don't really have an answer to any of these arguments and, even if I did, I'm not sure that I would want to make them, as I like the idea of a free people having the liberty to arm and defend themselves.

Feel free to let me know what you think.

Enough rambling for awhile. Now I must get back to my papers. Ah, finals. I did not miss you.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Black Poets Collective

Tonight I went to the Writer's Place to see/hear some poets from the Black Poets Collective perform their work. It was amazing. White it shouldn't be, it is still amazing to me how much hearing the work of others can inspire you to continue to create your own, to believe that you may be able to touch people or make people think as these people have just done to you with their work. I think it is often lost on me all the time and effort and artistry that goes in to things I read on a page because I've been reading books all my life, but it is reinforced whenever I hear someone perform their work. On the other hand, attending these performances by "everyday people", people who may be published but do not get to create their art as their livelihood, demystifies it and makes me feel like I actually might be able to do what they are doing. That the things I am making can do the same thing as their works. That I can "sell-out" and get that day job but still produce meaningful art, as long as I continue to produce. I owe all those who I've witness perform a debt of gratitude that I could never repay, but I also hope to accrue more of that debt by seeing more people perform their work, both to support them and to boost up myself.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Crazy One

Right now I'm very confused about work. While I never want to say that I am without blame, because I never am, I'm pretty on the fence as to whether it is my problem or their problem. Mostly, whether I should stay in this situation, because it is a good job and the problem is mine and one of perception, or leave because I truly don't think that anything will change. There is always the possibility that things will change, but I'm not really putting much faith in that anymore, especially where job situations are concerned. But after my conversation about the incidence yesterday with The Powers That Be, I'm reminded of a Ben Folds song, in which he sings, "She liked to push me and talk me back down/ Til I believed I was the crazy one/ And, in a way, I guess I was." I just wish I could feel more certain that is the case and not that I'm just an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed bitch.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Things that are NOT ok

It is not ok to not have my paycheck on time.

It is not ok to call me during my shift when I should be helping customers to talk to me about that. My first job is to help our customers, not make sure you feel ok.

It is not ok to try to bully me into saying it is ok that you are not going to have my paycheck to me on time.

It is not ok to point out to my past behavior to justify your current bad behavior. If this was the only time something like this (not this specifically) had happened, I'm sure I would be more understanding. Also, if you had wanted to fire me because of those instances, you would have had every reason to and you would not be out of line to have pointed out that those things were not ok. But I will not say that something is ok when it is never ok in any professional working environment anywhere, just because you bring up my past bad behavior.

It is not ok to call the work phone line and then my cell phone from two different numbers just to ask a small question. I would pick up the store phone if I did not have customers. Do you want me to tell our customers, "I'm sorry. I can't help you and/or run your credit card/loyalty card because my boss thinks it is more important for me to answer her question than it is to serve you."? If you leave a message on the answering machine with your question or need, I will call you back as soon as I am finished with our customers.

These are things that are not ok.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm Going to See Incubus!!!!!!!

I'm so excited! I just got Incubus tickets for $10 cheaper than regular through the local radio station's presale. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get thru on the internet but I did, pretty quickly actually. And my BFF is coming into town to go with me. So, despite all the other weird, bad, hard things going on in my life, I'm really looking forward to July 20th.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Cool Upcoming Events

******* The Black Poets Collective will do a Riverfront Special, Saturday, April 28th, 8:00 pm at The Writers Place (not at 2:00 pm at listed in KC Star, Sunday A&E section)
The Black Poets Collective is group of African American artists and poets dedicated to social change and advancement for all people. The Collective has staged and sponsored numerous spoken-word events including featured readings and open mic sessions at The Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum, the Paseo Academy, and the Lansing State Prison. Members of Black Poets Collective are veterans of various competitions and poetry slams.

*******Thurs May 3rd- Showing of a movie called Troost.
TROOST: A Film About the Racial Division of Kansas City
For decades, Troost Avenue has been knows as the racial dividing line of Kansas City. In 2006, Brian Bustos and Sam Sullivant, both undergraduates at UMKC, decided to make a film retelling just a few of the many stories that they believe contributed to the dysfunction in their city. Through music and film, the two have found a way to revive lost stories of Kansas City’s past and retell them to their generation.During the research for video, the two students drove up and down Troost Ave., interviewing people, trying to capture the heartbeat of the street. They were surprised to find, amongst empty window shops, vacated buildings, and shattered dreams, a small, diverse group of leaders strategizing to transform Troost Ave. from a line of division to a place of gathering andcreativity. TROOST is a film about a city’s painful past and thecitizens who are determined to heal it.
May 3, 7pm, Creative Minds Theater, 31st & Troost. For more info, contact Brian at 816.509.8548.

*********LGBT Community Picnic
We Are Family . . .Join us!Unity in the Community!
Please join us Saturday, May 12th, 12 noon at Swope Park-Shelter Three for our community's first ever LGBT Community Wide Picnic. Over 50 organizations, churches, schools and businesses will be participating, and WE WANT YOU to join us on this special day.

The LGCC will be providing hot dogs, chips and bottled water. Every organization (or group of friends) should coordinate bringing your own choice of other dishes (and if you want to bring enough to share with others, that would be great).

The day is very casual, family-friendly. We'll have some games and activities going on for anyone who wants to participate, but bring your own fun, there's plenty of room for frisbees, croquet, badmittten and kites.

This is a great way for everyone in our community to come together for a fun event, share it with friends, meet some new people, and be proud of what KC's LGBT community is all about.

We are needing a rough head count, so please RSVP by May 1 to Mitch Levine at

Looking forward to seeing you there!
Where & When Swope Park
Shelter 3
(located near the Band Pavilion)Saturday, May 12,2007
12:00 noon.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mental Illness

I have to admit that I am overly sensitive when people talk about things that reflect me. But I had to write about the issues that have been annoying me in regards to how mental illness has been discussed in the wake of the VT shootings.

This is a paragraph from a report by ABC news about the killer within a few days of the shootings.
Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant
use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of
such medication in the government's files. This does not completely rule out
prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained
through illegal Internet sources, or a gap in the federal database, but the
sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.

If I had just read this article myself, I might have just seen that paragraph as saying that there were no records that the shooter had taken any antidepressants. But it also says something more, which several bloggers I read have pointed out. This means that the government has a database which shows what medications we have taken and are taken. What if you are a politician that the government in power doesn't like and you are taking antidepressants? Don't you think that, even in this day and age, if the press got a hold of that information, in could seriously hurt your chances of election? Or if you have HIV or AIDS? Of if you've ever gotten an STD and had to be treated with antibiotics? We have doctor/patient privelege, but it seems that privacy does not extend to our prescription records.

What really got under my skin is the way that several (usually conservative) commentators have said that Virginia should repeal a state law, the result of a VA Supreme Court decision, that makes it illegal for universities to kick a student out because they are mentally ill. The court decision happened after a VA university kicked a student out after it was revealed that he was suicidal and thus "a danger to himself or others." I even heard Tucker Carlson ask his guest, who is an author of a book on university mental health care, why we shouldn't assume that a suicidal person is also homicidal. Once again, I have to say that I might be too sensitive about this because I suffer from depression and, when not on the proper medication, am suicidal. But I was never homicidal, never wanted to hurt anyone but myself, in an attempt to end the pain. I would hate to think of what my life would be like if I knew I could never go back to school because I had been suicidal at one point and was still being treated for depression. Also, I can't imagine how I wold have reacted if the schools that I went to kicked me out when I was suicidal. I think that would have just added to the awful state I was already in. I have no doubt that the VT shooter was incredibly ill, but he is nowhere near the "norm" of what mental illnes looks like, as if you could say there is a norm at all. As pointed out in this post on Feministe ,
the broad term "mental illness" can be applied to anything from severe schizophrenia to minor depression. Most people seeking treatment for a mental illness are "average", " regular" people. I don't think we should be stigmatizing them any more than they already are.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

I've liked this song from the first time I heard it, but I started thinking about posting it during the beginning of this week because, when I heard it Monday on my way to work, I started thinking about how this is the kind of friend, relative, person I want to be for those I care about. I guess I've always kinda felt like that, though, in ways are that are less selfless than that sounds. I've always felt like people can hang out and have fun with lots of people, but I always felt like they might hold me in higher esteem if they are calling on me when they are in trouble, because they view me as loyal, trustworthy, strong, or whatever it is that is best suited to their particular trouble. (Sometimes, though, what they really see me as is a sucker, but that is probably another story.) I've been lucky to have amazing role models in my family (and, in a few cases, in friends as well) to demonstrate how to do that and how to try to make it about what that other person needs instead of about how I'm doing or that I'm doing something. For as long as I can remember, my uncle was always like that for his friends, always there to help someone, even if their situation was not dire, but just because they needed help of a sort that he could give. I hope that he has friends like that now and that I can be one of them.

Find Out Who Your Friends Are-Tracy Lawrence
Run your car off the side of the road
Get stuck in a ditch way out in the middle of nowhere
Get yourself in a bind lose the shirt off your back
Need a floor need a couch need a bus fare

This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie

You find out who you're friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are

Everybody wants to slap your back, wants to shake your hand
when you're up on top of that mountain
But let one of those rocks give way then
you slide back down look up and see who's around then

This ain't where the road comes to an end
This ain't where the bandwagon stops
This is just one of those times when
A lot of folks jump off

You find out who you're friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are

When the water's high
When the weather's not so fair
When the well runs dry
Who's gonna be there

You find out who you're friends are
Somebody's gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas get there fast
Never stop to think 'what's in it for me' or 'it's way too far'
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who you're friends are

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Several things recently have got me thinking about race. And generally about racism, sexism, homophobia, all those forms of bigotry and hatred out there, especially in those instances when it is just dismissed out of hand or ignored, seen as the norm for society anyway. Because of a friend I've made recently, I've also had an opportunity to discuss these issues and hear her views, which often open my mind to new lines of thought, to the (often unconscious) reasons behind using certain derogatory words, phrases, or imagery.

So, I suppose the issue I'm dealing with right now is what do to about all this. What can I do to make any difference in this big world? There are obvious answers, such as getting involved in organizations. But my rhetoric class is often driving me to ask if any of these things are enough without dismantling the larger systems that support these things. I guess I'm just wrestling with how ineffectual I feel.

Please please PLEASE leave a comment about what you think.