Friday, November 30, 2012

The Offbeat Drummer's Guide to Human Reproduction

The Birds, The Bees, The Flowers and the Trees. Humans + Nature. All that delicate subject matter we danced around somewhere in between diapers, Goodnight Moon, pre-kindergarten, "Star Wars" (the original trilogy), Lollapalooza, "Star Wars" (the prequels), memorization of the books of The Bible, Doctor Who, briefs-to-boxers and equal amounts of wispy hair in one-armpit-at-a-time...well, here we are. Puberty!

(No-Small-Coincidence-iTunes-Shuffle: "Teach Your Children," CSNY.)

Craig promised he'd handle the human reproduction talk with Luke if I tackled the concept of evolution. Fair enough shake, though historically, Craig's been way more attune to evolutionary science, whereas, I've read the Kama Sutra. One might assume Craig'd be better at the sex talk with Luke since they're both....uh, guys, and I could explain evolution because I'm a, you know, total heathen.

Up until a year or two ago, Luke's Lutheran school handed out, during registration, an "agreement" for parents regarding the subject of "sexuality" for the seventh and eighth graders. I honestly didn't read it when it came out because at the time, it didn't pertain to Luke. They've since stopped handing out that agreement, so I literally have zero idea as to when and what my son is going to be taught about human sexuality in junior high.

When I was in 5th grade at Luke's school, we began learning about God's miracle of baby making. It was impressed upon us that sex was chiefly something married people did for the sole purpose of procreating. This could very well be the actual film we watched. In any event, it's totally hysterical and uninformative. And wrong. And misleading. And silly.

In order to propagate the human species, according to this video, you must ponder (or believe) the following:
  •  People from other religions and cultures don't make babies, and it's all God's plan. According to the video, if you're not Christian, or not married, you're not having babies.
  • You have to be married in a fundamentalist Christian church, by a minister, and remain committed your entire life.
  • Women release an ovum "every so often," with no explanation of menstruation, which'd come in handy for little Suzanne. There's quite a difference between "every so often" and "every goddamn month for until you hit menopause, for about 40 years, but that's yet another topic for another day. Maybe when Pregnant Mom is feeling more gracious, or when she and Suzanne are in the store and pass the pad/tampon aisle and Suzy innocently asks WTF all that stuff is for.
  • You cannot have a baby unless you're married, because single people who sit next to one another don't have sex. Single people are all abstinent. 
  • "Special love time," where son Jeremy asks if it's all about "hugging and kissing," Mom and Dad are shown seriously close to one another on a couch. Through the power of osmosis, as they're both clothed with their knees tightened together, the ovum will hang out with one of millions of sperm and BAM! You're expecting a baby. It's that easy!
  • The sitting close on the couch probably explains why my Polish grandparents had plastic covering on all of their furniture. We're all too familiar with upholstery stains, by any means.
  • Bottle-fed infants' mothers don't love their babies as much as breastfeeding mothers love theirs. 
  • Sex ceases to exist in this vignette. 
  • You may or many not grow even bigger than your parents. God planned it that way.
  • It's all "just as God planned."
  • The uterus is a special place God made to hold babies. It's located behind your urethra and in front of your asshole. The children in the video are aghast that the young baby the couple is expecting isn't wearing any clothes, to which my answer would be, "We sort of don't put clothes on babies until they're, like, born". Too difficult a concept?
  • Jeremy and Suzanne need to stop holding hands so much. I'm getting a Luke/Princess Leia flashback, which is freaking me out.
  • The baby, when it's time to come out, passes through the uterus, which has no other function, via the vagina, which is otherwise a useless body part.
  • On a boy's body you can see more of the "outside parts." 
  • God planned that an equal number of boys and girls on the planet. Tell that to China!
  • say nothing about a breech presentation? Wait. That isn't NORMAL enough. When my son, as a youngster, asked me innocently from whence he came, I graphically told him he was scooped out of my abdomen, after I was ripped open from stem to stern with a 6" cut through my belly to have him surgically removed.
  • God's plan for every family is the same. All people began life in the same way. Because that was God's plan.
  • No, Mom, you didn't answer your children's questions more frankly when they asked you for more detail.
  • God is happy when 2 people decide to get married and start their life together with His blessing.
  • The kids bitch at the end about the mother being pregnant...again. "God answered our prayers. Isn't that exciting?"
  • The list goes on...
Those were the main points I got out of the segment--I'm sure more will pop up (ha! literally) but be very careful sitting next to a woman of childbearing potential.  That said, you can all flock to me, fellas, because I'm barren and safe to sit next to!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Not Whipped, No, Not at All. Illumination, A Redux.

Last year, Guy Friend had Black Friday in his house, sans the noise and busting of his grown children and the missus. Why he would decide to go shopping--DOWNTOWN on Black Friday this year, remains a completely foreign concept to both the sane and the insane. The daughters are all pretty busy, and while they might have drizzled along for the thrill of downtown, (I'd sooner die) somebody should've given Guy the day off and at least get the testosterone balance adjusted in the house.

Wal-Mart isn't of a high enough class order for Guy Friend to go shopping, and Jesus, who would deliberately go there for the sake of a few bargains just to get trampled? Um, these people. For those of you old enough to remember the Stones at Altamont or The Who in Cincinnati, yeah, it was kind of like that:

I posed a question to Guy on Black Friday asking if all the women had gone shopping. His exclamation point after "I'm on Michigan Ave!" could've been out of exuberance or despair, hard to tell.  I'm glad to hear he had a rollicking time after playing cards with his neighbors, who invited he and the missus over for Thanksgiving. I hope they were at least playing poker or blackjack, not Uno or Go-Fish.  Give Guy a couple of beers or 2 glasses of fine red wine, or a Scotch and he's a helluva lot of fun.. For me, regarding playing cards, Luke insists on showing me a new card trick or other puzzling magic several times an hour, interrupting my trains of thought, and my damaged brain takes a while to recover and re-process. I've sort of had it playing cards, as of late, but let Luke showcase his talents no matter how much they interfere with what I'm trying to do. Luke, dude, you gotta know when hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

I had texted GF yesterday, that all he has to do now is plug in the outdoor lights his family leaves up outdoors every year, provided they're not all weather-ruined. Remember my poem, "Illumination?" It's that time of the year, so I will post it here once more. EVERYONE except Guy Friend can tell what it's about (him), why, what the characters represent; well exeryone except Guy, who simply said it was "nice" when I asked him about having read it. Facepalm!

In cleaning up my paperwork at 2am the other night, I found my original handwritten notes of the poem, laden with grammatical marks that only I understand. Should he replace the outdoor bulbs, if they're white, with brightly colored, vibrant lights that he finds more attractive? The poem is unclear, deliberately and metaphorically. I want Guy to have the handwritten work in progress--tangible creative writing. I think he's still wondering why someone would write him a poem. I'd like to give the handwritten version to Guy in the future, so he can appreciate the effort it took and the emotion behind it.  A refresher:


I swear you once mentioned
Your Christmas lights are left outdoors
Lit only on occasions proper,
Unaware of the changes in season.

A seemingly irreplaceable decoration
That surely must be
Tinkered with, twiddled
Untangled and adjusted from time to time.

So you blow the snow away
Perhaps by their twinkle in winter.
You cut grass
As the light bulbs start to crack, weathered.
You grow flowers underneath
In the same beds, warmly
And they blossom, unfailingly.

While the wind and the rain
And the leaves and the twigs
Bundle your gutters;
Storms threaten to tear the roof
Off an otherwise solid structure.

To-do lists.

Eventually, the lights outside
Will have to dismantle; worn, irrepairable.
Your house, your fortress…
Unfamiliar, unsettled.

You dutifully drive off to replace them.
Out of contentment or out of demand?

The advent returns.
Requisite ornamentation, memories, keepsakes
To unpack and adorn once again.

The new lights are vivid, not pearly flushed.
And not what you were supposed to buy.
Now distracted by demented beauty,
Your steadiness on the ladder askew.


Building a fire to admire them by,
You choose solitude. Reflection.
A hardy pit and perspiring Glenfiddich
Glow your dimpled yet hesitant smile.

Cast loose, you’d undoubtedly flail.
Vacated involuntary, though,
The distinct safeguard
Of the wind you deem “friend”
Would never howl forcefully enough
To waver your fortress away.

(Andrea Miklasz, c 2012, copyrighted, do not use without permission or I'll totally kill you.)

BMF and I assume Guy thew away his copy, without predication, along with every card I've given in the last 3 years. Creative and original energy and raw emotion didn't even work to win his affections. Big sigh. He'll regret it when I'm famous and he's one of the little people I thank for helping to shape and redefine "Rhythms From the Offbeat Drummer: The Book." (Which'll have a far more provocative title eventually, I'm sure. I have several titles in the works.)

Just get me through New Year's. I'm just not up for it all this year.  I don't have Luke for NYE, which gives me plenty of time to do further filing and get shit done (unless the mania goes away. Then I'll just be my normal, biting, insane but and offbeat self. I don't know--if he Lips are playing a NYE concert in OKC, I might just jump on a plane. Who are we kidding? I don't think my mom has plans, so she'll be home. If she makes plans, which'd be awesome, I'll be by myself. I'll be in my room, at my desk and penning witticisms that no one understands and trying not to think about how great it would be to get drunk. I'm sure SuperJuls is busy. Kate, at least, I can always reach by phone. Instead of hanging out with friends and going wild, I'll be over here typing something...anything. Betcha can't wait! I know Guy Friend is on call or has to work during the holidays, and it's like, "Stay at the hospital until midnight and kiss me instead of rushing home."

Anyway, the extent to which I shopped on Black Friday? I went to Ace Hardware at 8pm last night, with my busted bass drum pedal in-hand. The screw fell out of the chain mechanism that allows the tension in the pedal to hit the drum when the pedal is kicked. I was kicking away for all I was worth, and suddenly had no thud.  Pastor told me I should tell the Ace Hardware guys that I need "a screw that was about 1/4 inch longer," which naturally made me crack up. Dave, realizing that I am a total pervert, thought twice about that statement, laughed, and said "You know what I mean!"

Going into a hardware store as a woman holding drum equipment is THE PRIMO way to meet seedy old men. They're endlessly fascinated by a woman who plays the drums, even when she comes in wearing a hat in the shape of a chimpanzee's head, with ears. I needed the same gauge screw but at least 1/4" longer, so my pedal was fitted with one, I got a matching screwdriver, and 5 extra screws just in case, which is as much screwing as I've encountered in like 2 years. In any event, my pedal's fixed and life can go on as blandly as it always does. Hardware stores, in general, are a premier place for women to feel like damsels in distress because everything in there is confusing and foreign, especially when you require something as specific as a certain tiny gauged screw. Yeah, practice was great last night, trying to keep time and play the songs on the kit with no bass to keep time. I tapped my right foot in the pattern I would play, but it all sounded fucked up anyway. Good times.

The Offbeat Drummer is sinking.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Oh, I'm Thankful Alright. And According to My Son, Also Very Fat.

In our family, on holidays, nervousness and anxiety constantly combat one another. If one of the adults is jumpy and on edge, it trickles down to the rest of us, and consequently, nobody has the Best of Times. And there wasn't even alcohol on board, but BOY I WISH THERE WAS.

Lots of amazing food, which I need to quit eating from Thanksgiving tonight. Like tomorrow. My nephew, Jake, made some homemade orzo with onions & Swiss cheese. Delish. All the traditional trimmings abounded, though I had pangs of guilt from the turkey, seeing as Pastor, in his Thanksgiving sermon, spoke graphically about how the farmer raised the turkey from a tiny egg and fed it corn and grains to fatten it up, only for us to cook it later. Kind of a turn-off, Dave.

Celebrating Jake's birthday every Thanksgiving is always the highlight. Jake was born in the car en route to the hospital ON Thanksgiving in 1992, my brother catching him in the back seat while my sister-in-law was only in labor for about an hour or two, and they didn't even make it to the hospital in Highland Park (my brother and sister-in-law weren't married yet and she was living in Zion, IL w/her parents) where he was supposed to be born. They got as far as Lake Forest before Jake decided to appear! (Talk about in/out service!) Another Thanksgiving ritual is singing "Happy Birthday" in the most off-key manner possible and recording it for posterity in order to embarrass Jake.

Jake and I have a standing date to go downtown so he can do B&W shots of me and the other stuff downtown. That should to be interesting, once I am happily anorexic again. He's a brilliantly talented photographer. And I'd cherish a day where I got to pal around with my nephew downtown for a day.

I took a few pictures, Luke took a few pictures, and then Luke told me how fat I looked. Having Body Dysmorphic Disorder sucks. My son is young. He doesn't realize the gravity of telling someone with an eating disorder that they look fat.

Between that and my self-consciousness about having gained weight since the middle of the summer-onward, post-hysterectomy, I'm not Mrs. Petraeus fat, and I don't hate fat people, but sorry, I want to be one of THE INSANELY SKINNY CROWD again. Color me vain. I logically realize I fall into the proper weight for my height, but to me, in a mirror? That's some scary shit to the point where I'm seriously considering trying the Allergra-D appetite suppressant effect to help me lose like 20 lbs. Bonus? The decongestant in it is an upper, which would alleviate some of the need-for-3-hour-naps plaguing me this semester. The tiara aside, I need to get back to my 115 lb, 40th birthday fighting weight. I rocked that dress out with the black combat boots, which is half the reason Mrs. Guy Friend hated my guts.

Heretofore, I'm going to try and keep the calorie counter to 500 a day. I had no trouble doing that when I was working. Barring being totally stress and adrenaline-fueled, and on numbing Norco, which was the Diet Plan when I was working, I gotta do something. This having an actual appetite bullshit is not cool. If there's anything I know I can do well, it's rapidly lose weight.  Though the frequent bouts of pancreatitis I could do without. Bottom line? Quit stuffing your mouth with crap!

Let's see....last year, Guy Friend called me on Black Friday, totally relieved that he had the house to himself, that there was a marked decrease in the estrogen to testosterone ratio in the House of Guy, and that he'd rather die than go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. (The womenfolk all went loony and left the house at like 5am or something, if memory serves.)  Today, it's blustery, freezing, and he texted a report from Michigan Ave downtown, where he was looking for flannel shirts for his nephews. I'm sure he'll end up at a chic-chic store like Hollister or Aeropostale or Anthropologie (however the fuck they're spelled), just based on where he is geographically located (according to the GPS chip I inserted behind his ear when I was attempting to paw him one night). I suggested he go to Goodwill. Where's his indie spirit?

Not that I expect Guy Friend to go all extravagant this holiday season on me, his biggest fan, if at all. I fetched him up a present I know he'll really enjoy, which I got online, which is how I choose to do 90% of my holiday shopping.  And I promise I won't throw it at him like he did with the unwrapped book he whipped at me last Christmas after announcing to the office girls that he had been cleaning out his bookshelves. At least this year, I'll have the forethought not to get him a totally groovy colors he can't see because he's colorblind.

(For the record, BMF is kind of on my major shitlist right now, so his gift is up in the air. Kate's figured out. SuperJuls is more complicated and requires deep introspection. Luke is a greedy lil' SOB, so I just comply. Ma wants slippers. The rest of the family? Who the hell knows.)

Meanwhile, Guy, just a suggestion, a tachy patient/cardiology fan's dream: The Anatomically Accurate Charm of the human heart.

It's described as such:
"This carefully hand fabricated silver necklace features a 1.5"x .75"x .5" anatomically correct human heart which opens to reveal a meticulously detailed interior. It is pleasantly solid, cast and fabricated by hand in Chicago from recycled sterling silver. The locket has a hand built hinge and the trunk of the aorta has been made to acts as a snap. The chain attaches to the pendant through the superior vena cava and left pulmonary vein causing the heart to hang slightly anterioinferiorly. The pictured locket has been pre-oxidized to highlight the detail. Yours will come brightly polished with a polishing cloth. If you would prefer one that has been pre-oxidized please make a note at checkout."

Talk about a gift from the heart, of the heart!

Wonders of all wonder: Guy Friend actually texted me after getting home from a neighbor's for Thanksgiving. Evidently, they were playing card games all night.We dealt w/cards all night, too..but in the form of Luke's hundreds of magic tricks. Guy asked me if there's anything in the Bible about card playing. While not a theologian, I said that the Bible discourages gambling, but totally forgot the twist of the sin of casting lots as the men did with Jesus' clothes as he hung dying on the cross. Hindsight, you know. Why egg on his Catholic guilt any further? Damn. Itchy texting fingers.

At least rape babies didn't come up last night after Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Somehow, evolution did, though. After debating carbon dating, scientific studies, LOGIC and categorical proof, my brother directed me towards "Creationist Scientists" (???) and still insists that the Great Flood was real, and that "baby dinosaurs" were on the ark. Baby dinosaurs. On a big boat. Ok.  It's probably the Bible tale I find the most outlandishly fictionalized for the grander purpose of a metaphor. And evidently the Grand Canyon is something resulting from God's great flood and only took a few days to form, never mind the fossils and rocks that were found, which are millions of years old, but what do archaeologists and historians know?

The Offbeat Drummer has to drum this weekend, seemingly sleep-deprived despite another marathon late morning nap today. Big presentation due Monday along with a final exam, big paper due Wednesday and finals coming up. If that's not adrenaline enough...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another Pleasant Valley Weekend

Here they come, walking down the street. They get the funniest looks from everyone they meet...

For a die-hard, life-long Monkees fan, Friday night's sold-out performance at the Chicago Theater was almost a dream come true. The three surviving members, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz took to the stage for 2 hours of songs I knew all by heart, traded comical banter, and thrilled the audience with medleys from both their groundbreaking 1967 LP, "Headquarters," on which they played their own instruments for the first time, but also tracks off  "Head," the ill-fated, critically-panned feature film the band put out in 1968, after the TV show was cancelled.

They were in fine form and shape, and it was more than a thrill to see Nez live for the first time, in sparkly Jimmy Choo's and a velvet blazer, no less, as he didn't participate in the previous reunion tours that Davy, Micky and Peter did over the years. Still, Davy's absence was duly and sadly noted, images of him (during target emotional moments) a stark reminder of a terrific performer who passed away before his time. The Monkees paid totally appropriate attention to Jones, no more poignantly than when they had the audience chime together during "Daydream Believer," which is probably their biggest hit, to which Dolenz said to the audience, "This song belongs to you now." With the Nesmith-penned Monkees tunes, none of us had heard them live before, so that was an extra thrill. And who knew Micky Dolenz drummed left-handed?

They had a tight back up band, which included Micky's sister Coco on background vocals and Nesmith's son Christian on guitar, as they sang all the hits one would come to expect, including some rarities ("Early Morning Blues and Greens" from "Headquarters" was a huge surprise, as was Nesmith's "Tapioca Tundra," from "The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees.")

Not being able to find a friend willing to shell out $60 to see The Monkees, in hindsight, I should've taken Luke, because I think he really would've liked it I had no trouble going downtown by myself, since the route to the theater is getting off at the school stop on Washington, walking one block east to State St, & one block north to the Chicago Theater. In fact, the Chicago Theater is where Adler holds its graduation, so I'll be there again in 2014!

There's still a standing stigma against The Monkees and their legitimacy, even 44 years since the TV show was cancelled, but you couldn't tell by the overwhelming cheers of the packed crowd, comprised of all age groups. You either love them or you hate them. I happen to adore them, and come on, getting to see Nez after ogling over him since I was 4 years old was totally worth it. I only think I've proposed marriage to him half a dozen times in the course of my life (and he, unlike my other paramours, is at least single! And he actually knows who I am!).

RE: "Head," the band's only feature film, which was critically vomited and a major flop, to any Monkees fan or pop culture junkie of the late 60's, is the penultimate adventure into a young band jumping the shark, but with freaky psychedelia and a supporting cast of a wide variety of unlikely actors ranging from Frank Zappa to Victor Mature to Annette Funicello to a very young Teri Garr. Written over what I believe was a long, pot-filled weekend in a hotel with then-relatively unknown actor Jack Nicholson, it is disjointed, jumpy, disorganized, random, contradictory and downright AWESOME. The score is solid, the self-deprecation presented aptly.

The opening sequence of "Head" remains, to this day, one of my favorite moments in film history. Never mind that slightly further in the film, the Monkees would mock their unfair label of "The Prefab Four" with their own theme song, turned into "Ditty Diego Chant," interjecting such lines as, "The money's in/We're made of tin/We're here to give you more." "Head" is SO much more than just a pop group squeezing out its last breath. "The Porpoise Song," which molds together the end of the opening sequence, was Gerry Goffin & Carole King's masterpiece and is one of my favorite songs of the era, the best line being "Clicks. Clacks. Riding the backs of giraffes for laughs is alright for a while." Taking a stab against the Establishment (which, as you know, is probably my greatest life joy to begin with), The Monkees interrupt a straight-laced mayor's bridge dedication ceremony, Dolenz darting through the not-yet-cut ribbon and diving off the bridge and into the water below. Here, regardless how you feel about The Monkees as a pop group, watch this:

And Flaming Lips fans literally follow me EVERYWHERE. Last week, it was my therapy client and his son who were big fans, dad noticing my Zaireeka t-shirt. Friday night, I was overhearing some people talking and they mentioned the Lips. I coyly interjected, "Did you just say 'The Flaming Lips?' I know those guys!" and we entered into a pre-Monkees discussion about Wayne, Steven and the gang, whereupon I had to whip out my phone and share my many photographs, explaining my history with the band. Lovely folks I was seated beside at the show. Monkees fans are all very sweet people. 

I made it home safely on the El close to 11pm, didn't get mugged or accosted, and even talked to SuperJuls on my way home. I must say I don't understand the bad review the Monkees got in Los Angeles...they got a great write-up in the Chicago Tribune and local media and totally pleased the crowd. 

Sour Grapes Saturday:

Guy Friend called me Saturday afternoon while he was at work and what followed was probably one of the most confrontational, bitter conversations we've ever had. I had taken a picture of my vantage point at the Monkees show and not only pasted it to Facebook, but I also texted it to Guy Friend, because I was excited, I'd never been to the theater before, and I was thrilled to be there. I texted him on my way home marveling at how I knew the lyrics of every song and how much fun I'd had. Well, Guy Friend doesn't LIKE The Monkees, not that I even broached him going with me in the first place. His opinion? "You 'NEED' to find some other friends who are willing to go downtown with you." Thanks for the input, Guy, unsolicited as it might be, but I can hold my own. I enjoy and certainly prefer going to see live music or other social events like that with a buddy, and I've never gone to the movies alone, or eaten alone in a restaurant, but whatever. 

It just felt like every sentence coming out of his mouth was prefaced with either a "You should" or a "You need," and he went so far as to liken me as being a "teenager" with regard to my sleep patters. You know what? I'm a symptomatic manic-depressive in graduate school. I'm 40 years old.  After my school week, I burn out, particularly (as I thought he'd already understood) when I come down off of a hypomanic episode, during which I barely slept, but when that mellows, I have a LOT of trouble staying awake for anything, including the 12-15 page paper for Life Development which is due by midnight tonight. (I'm getting 100% in that class right now. I could write 15 pages of psychological haiku and still get an A in the class.)  After being symptomatic, my body requires more rest than does the average "I'm just tired" person. Hypomania's crash is profoundly exhausting and distracting, so yesterday, I got up around 9am, stayed up until 11am, then went back to sleep until about 1:30, with Guy calling me less than an hour later. (This morning, I woke up at 6am, stayed up until 8:30am, then went back to bed until 11am.)

Guy proceeded to argue the Monkees with me at great length, and suggested that I "need to" or "should" listen to some newer, contemporary acts. What's out there today?  (For the most part....) Manure. Cow dung. Blech. His missus should've stopped listening to James Taylor 40 years ago, but I don't see him bitching about that. 

"But enough about your sucky taste in music, Annie, I have *other* things I want to crab at you about!"

I was confronted with "Why do you send me videos of Best Male Friend?" (Though he inserts his name.) I had forwarded a YouTube clip someone posted of BMF during a time of utter despair, agony and ill-health from more than a decade ago, because I thought Guy would appreciate BMF more now seeing how totally different he is now than how he was when he was not healthy. I told Guy, "I thought you might find it interesting." I don't know if it was the graphic nature of the video that disturbed him, or he's just mad about BMF, or for what in hell he had a bug up in his butt. The last video of BMF I sent to Guy a while ago was a clip of BMF  playing a famous piano owned by one of Guy's musical heroes, which I also thought Guy would find interesting. EVIDENTLY, I WAS WRONG. 

Guy Friend sent me an email HE thought I would find interesting, as an archaeologist of minds and the human condition, and I did.  But in hindsight, my sophomoric revelations were no match for the piece of writing Guy thought I'd enjoy. I would've enjoyed it more had it not been written by a racist, golf-playing-come-landscaper who is homophobic, makes fun of the mentally ill, against abortion,was Romney-backing, is religiously intolerant (unless it's Catholicism), whose arrogance makes me look downright meek. It's largely a story of a guy who thinks he's better than anyone else, but refuses to share that gift of intellect and verbal expression, choosing to demean all and egregiously slam in his letters home to loved ones. Of the people around him, who are, for a variety of reasons, less men of character than he, himself, is, how unfair our USA judicial system is because he's presently serving a lengthy sentence in a federal pen, when he could be doing community service and restitution, institutionalized and forced to come to terms with whatever he did was grossly illegal? 

I told Guy that as I read the man's letter, I got more and more upset, which he just kind of blew off. I supposed part of that's payback for BMF's 6-page diatribe against Guy some time ago, which Guy didn't contest at all. I told Guy, "Why did I send you BMF's video? I thought you'd be interested. Why did you send me a newsletter from a racist, homophobic Republican?" Stalemate, essentially.

I have a feeling that once I sent Guy back the email he sent me, with my annotations and opinions in bold and italics, he was spitting fire, because this guy is a friend of his, (Or Guy Friend's guy friend) though I don't know from where or, quite frankly, why Guy would be friends with such an Ultimate Douchebag. Out of courtesy, I will share no more than that. But I have to say, this prisoner, if he's managed to keep himself safe for 8 months, has financial arrangements or favors from either other prisoners, correctional officers or wardens, beyotch! (I've watched a lot of HBO's "Oz" in my lifetime....)

This man went so far as to say, to a West Indian man (Haitian perhaps) who has a gargoyle statue atop a makeshift altar in his cell, that he pretends to feed grits to; either that, or Baby Ruth's. In any event, I annotated that the "Voodoo Cuckoo" as this prisoner has nicknamed him, (NICE. NICE REALLY NICE.) has every right to express the manner by which he connects with God, and that walking in with your blue eyes and Caucasianarama and poking fun at this guy is one way to REALLY get, uh, in trouble. I had a hypothesis that the West Indian fella has to scratch HIS head sitting around listening to someone play with a plastic bead necklace, repeatedly saying "Hail Marys," which, while I loves me some Catholics, looks foreign and like a colossal waste of time. I said, "How much LESS insane THAT must LOOK LIKE to a non-Christian."

If this prisoner is really THAT smart, as his letter infers, that his brain multiplies and expands, while everyone around him intellectually implodes, he should petition a program in the prison to educate and teach these men how to behave in a proper, civilized manner, as the rest of us (most of us) do. Help them. Teach them how to read books and use computers, instead of purely utilizing your free time to mock them. Remediation isn't impossible, but people have to take the bull by the horns.

I have half a mind to post the resulting chaos over on Faceook, which Guy Friend can't see, because he's out of the social media world and has no idea what his iPhone 5 is supposed to do, other than to remind him constantly, "Annie's bothering you!" BTW, he's happy write me a letter of Rec for my clinical practicum, so we best be on our best behavior.

When I lobbied for a night out with him in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, he said he can't think straight all weekend, and it's been a bear, obviously. I suggested we have dinner in between holidays, and if he can't pencil me in for a dinner one night, I truly give up. The usual...make plans to make plans to make plans.. Ugh. He's working for the NYE holiday this year and I have half a mind to go the hospital at midnight and smother his face with kisses.

He's kind upset that none of daughters will be home this year for Thanksgiving, saying that this is the first year in about 30 that they haven't cooked. They're going to a neighbor's house 3 blocks away. Mazel Tov! My mom jokingly said that we should have the couple for Thanksgiving, to unleash him to my whole crazy family.(What, so the missus can stand there offending my little birdie again? I think not!) Either that, or he's bummed about the kids. In any event, that doesn't give him the right or wrong way to adjust my schedule or heed ALL of his advice. Some of it's great--spot on--but other times, I just want to smack him one upside the head.

Head. Head. Head.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Challenging "Contemporary Faith" Again: Going To Hell in a Basket, But At Least I'm Enjoying the Ride

I was listening (reading in unison with the congregation, actually) to the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 12: 38-44 last night in church (it's the 24th weekend after Pentecost for those of you marking off days on your calendars). I paid particular attention to verses 41-44, and by the end of the service, found it a little more than ironic on multiple levels.

The apostle writes, "And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, 'Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more money than all those who are contributing in the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12: 41-44)

Backing up the truck a little, before all the happy hoohah started with the Bible readings, I was soured by this week's confession and absolution, which, in summary, was essentially all of us uniformly asking God for forgiveness because we were shitty, greedy and self-serving with our personal finances. Metaphorically, I was seeking God's pardon for buying a $14.99 monkey sock Dorky Hat, when I guess I really should've donated that money to my church, lest I be scorned and pleading for redemption. Yet, as Luther taught us (and yesterday was his birthday!), we deserve God's temporal and eternal punishment for Everything We Do Wrong, and we should be Damn Grateful for the brow-wipe of reassurance that God is gracious and merciful, in light of the fact that humans are Total Jerks.

Still spiking an Election 2012 fever from time to time, as the hate mongering and sore loser-dom of the pained fiscal conservatives and trounced elephants continues to funnel cloud ill will towards the President, I related to the poverty-stricken widow who gave her last penny to the synagogue, Pastor saying the din of her uniquely clinking little coins caught Jesus' ear and he turned it into a Teachable Moment. (Jesus did that a lot.) I thought once again about the $8 I scrounged to back Obama (yes, my Christian brethren, if it is, as you say, God's will for the "proper" person to be the leader of the free world, God chose Barry, not Mittens) and how I really didn't have that money to give up blithely, but if was for a cause that resonated in my heart. Thought shifted to the $800 million dollars Romney and his minions far and wide put into their bid to overtake the country, and I couldn't help but laugh because in the end, my $8 was a greater contribution to the country than $800 million. 

Anyway, we had this rousing sermon about the prophet Elijah assuring a different poor widow (it was Poor Widow Weekend) in the Old Testament that God would see to it that she had enough oil and flour with which to make bread to feed herself, her son AND Elijah (no parmesan for dipping, though, I assume, and I'm guessing this is unleavened bread, because nobody mentions yeast), though what she had left appeared to only be enough for one small loaf of bread, and to trust in God that her bread-making would abound and she should just chill out. Then the sermon segued into the above referenced Gospel lesson, while Pastor reminded us that soon it would be time for us to fill out our annual commitment cards for 2013, indicating how much we would financially give to the church and how we would use our time and talents to lift the Lord up high within our congregation. 

The sermon and offering gathering seemed incongruous to what followed: the monthly stewardship statement (which I always half-pay-attention to in the first place, which takes like 10 minutes, during which I read the weekly dreadful "Contemporary Faith" leaflet, which I'll get to in a second). The stewardship statements are our monthly congregational reminder (they're always essentially the same, just emphatically pronounced diversely, or so I gather as I overhear) to give until it hurts, whether that's with our time, talents or treasures, especially the treasures. 

To be clear on one thing, I don't support the idea of a tithe to the church, chiefly because one's personal finances can be rocky and unpredictable from month-to-month, and if it boils down to a choice between feeding my family or throwing extra in the offering plate, the decision for me is an easy one, which is not rooted in greed but is logical, pragmatic and sustaining. I give what I can when I can financially, while St. Paul can count on me showing up every 2 weeks to give hours of practice and energy into drumming for the Contemporary Band as my more intangible (yet no less important) contribution to the congregation. 

"Contemporary Faith" this week was called "Our Civil War." It was a 2-page bitch fest about the decline of morality in our country, coyly implying how the "modern family" is immoral and not rooted in Biblical principle, e.g. homosexual families, as well as attacks on the "frustration" and "insecurity" of the job market, income, insurance, crime and drugs. Far be it for the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod to acknowledge that there are indeed "progressives" within our religious denomination who believe in God, worship God, yet are not bound by the old-fashioned mores and Old Testament laws. The fact that they put "progressives" in quotes speaks volumes in the first place. 

"The 'progressives' seem to be in the majority, controlling and directing the debate. By contrast, Christians are not united. Some Christian denominations even choose to side with those who say there are no common rules that apply to everyone and that there is no final court of appeal. Only forty years ago, no one questioned the definition of a family. Everyone lived as though there was a moral order in the universe, that certain patterns of behavior should be followed, and that other kinds of behavior were unacceptable to everyone, not just to Christians." 


Who writes this stuff and what drugs are THEY on? 

Wait, it gets worse. "Contemporary Faith" goes on to attack a veritable gift God gave us by virtue of our logical minds: the power of reason. God employed humans with reason, but I don't think He expected us to, well, actually USE it. Gasp! "Reason" to fundamentalist Lutherans is kind of like a spleen--you have one, but you're not exactly sure as to what it does, you don't think about it much, and if it's removed, you go on ignorantly happy with your life. 

"...For the past three or four decades, those who call themselves enlightened (their italics) destroyed the common moral bond. They considered themselves independent of any authority and based everything, morality included, on their own reason. Reason gained a hold, and in recent years we have seen what happens because reason does not speak with a single voice. We now have a muddled debate over what is right and wrong..."

Reason, amassed? BEDLAM! ORGIES! Reason is, according to whatever sophomoric, homophobic, conservative, small-minded, neuron-reduced Lutheran who is allowed the privilege to pen this drivel every week for the sole purpose of pigeonholing Lutherans further into their cozy bubble, justification by the "progressives" to conduct their lives independent of what the majority of other fundamentalist Christians collectively accept and deem "moral."

My favorite self-deprecating homosexual man, the inimitable George Takei, Tweeted it best, from the Star Trek mothership:

It's hard to believe--wait, actually it's not hard to believe at all--that there are congregants within my own church who are so steeped in denial and forceful about their conservatism that they publicly question whether or not there are actually (and I quote) "Christian Libs." Hi. Liberal Christians exist. There are Christians who are good Christians who Totally Lean Left. "Christian Libs" are like "Mad Libs." We insert the foulest nouns/verbs/adjectives/adverbs/pronouns at our own discretion to form a cohesive yet hilarious-when-read-aloud story. Liberal, Progressive Christianity: More Fruit, Fewer Nuts.

This particular long-time churchgoer and her family are vehemently Anti-The Offbeat Drummer, vocally enough so online (when they were still allowed access to my Facebook world), that they would either argue every Not Totally Lutheran position I took on Issue Whatever, troll my blog (while saying to others online that I actually "frightened" them, as I checked off tick marks by the hours they spent reading my work) or complain to their friends and loved ones about what a heathen heretic I so clearly am. Listen, Chickie Babies, *I'm* not the one, cough cough, who earned the apt nickname of "The Bride of Frankenstein" at St. Paul. (I'd be giddy to know *what* nicknames I *do* have at church....)

Needless to say, Frankenbride and her ever-multiplying brood, which includes male versions of the bloodied, murderous identical twins in "The Shining" and their wives & sperm/egg Lil' Scrambles, cast me off their interwebs many moons ago and stay as far away from me as possible at the off-events at church during which we are forced to inhale mutual, public oxygen (e.g. the church picnic. Otherwise, I rarely, thank God, see them). Being the sneaky beaver I am, it takes two to troll, so using my Satanic Visionary Powers, I am afforded glimpses into the online realm of this family anyway because I channel them through a Ouija Board. (These are the brainiac people who, when they did spend hours on end crapping their pants over my blog, did so under a domain that included THEIR OWN LAST NAME. Cue eye roll and side-of-head slap.)

It'd be a fruitless exercise in wasting your synapses inquiring as to whether or not Frankenbride voted for Mittens on Tuesday. A quick scroll through her page littered my virgin eyes with openly racist slurs foul enough to make the Black Panthers spray paint her car, to the point where she posted that "some other evil force" in the universe allowed the re-election of The Antichrist  President Obama. And if you're looking for pictures of a) European castles, b) purple flowers, c) Farmville achievements or d) TONS AND TONS OF UNBORN FETUSES IN UTERO, do suck up to this woman and grit your teeth via friending her online. 

There was nothing so uproariously ironic and humorous, though, than using my powers of reason and intellect  to conclude that she's never actually read my favorite Russian novel, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. If she had, she wouldn't have shared a Pinterest board so haplessly clueless that it offered this: 

Thank Krishna that I stumbled upon this link, because I was JUST having the conversation in my head (as I am wont to have) wondering what one properly serves when one is tanked out on opium, embroiled in a salacious affair with a handsome Count, fighting with a hateful husband, minding a young child, so unhappy that one decides to throw oneself onto the tracks in the path of a speeding train. 

One serves CAKE. (By default, if it's a "Napoleon" cake, it should be a shortcake, no?) Daunting to make? I guess after attempting a complicated recipe, should it flop, one kind of does doom oneself to suicide. 

Yes, this is all illustrative of the power and influence of what comprises the Moral Majority in my house of worship, tangent and rant aside. And if you want to deem any of us "frightening," THIS IS A GOOD PLACE TO START. I might be the F-bombing, Hindu-tattooing, "Rosemary's Baby"-watching, AC/DC-listening, Anton LaVey-recognizing, General Petraeus-mistress-fist-pumping, Resident Crazy Drummer Person...but I'm also a baptized, confirmed, faithful follower of The Ultimate Liberal.....Jesus Christ. So raspberries at you.

(PS--By the way, wives? Don't let yourselves go. Seriously. Mrs. Petraeus? No matter how many degrees you hold, the dumpy/frumpy/heavy look will be trounced by the Harvard hottie in a heartbeat. Men are fickle, visual creatures by nature. If an attractive woman wants to write an intimate biography of your husband, it's time to get to a stylist, Weight Watchers, a plastic surgeon and a gym, post haste. Now MY friends are telling me with my Investigative Savvy, *I* should run the CIA. Just saying.)

It's a good thing my minister likes me, because I'm relatively certain he's going to work tomorrow, rifling through the desk and file cabinets, wondering if those forms are under "EX" or "COMMUNICATED." And Happy 529th Birthday, Martin Luther. Had you not nailed your bitchy rant to a Catholic church door, we might all be even more oppressed than we already are. 

What is Hell, really, anyway? Oh wait. It's this:

The Pope is moving to Twitter. I'm eagerly waiting for the random warblings of Benedict the XVI. "More shots fired at the PopeMobile. Bullet proof glass, mofos!" (insert Instagram photo here). I'm going to follow him for the amusement factor, because a) It find it freaky that Catholics have a German pope, b) to keep up on more religious fights to initiate and c) Will he freak out and say "My beanie blew off in the wind, bollocks!?"  Come on, Guy Friend, if your tireless, robe-beholding, supernatural, elderly holy leader can be on Twitter, you should maybe get with the program. 

God bless and DO try the Anna Karenina cake. It's worth dying for.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election 2012: Wham, Bam, Thank-You, Ma'am!

Hell's Bells and All is Well!

Floccinaucinihilipilification is a real word. Get your lazy grammatical arses cutting and pasting and do a little research.  The Offbeat Drummer can't be expected to do *all* the work *for* her readers. It's surely the conservatives' residual vibration, now that Life has Returned to Blissful.

Election Season 2012 is over, much to my great relief, though at the expense of what precious little sanity I had left in the brain reserves. This Apathetic Anarchist found her Bleeding Liberal Heart so deeply ensconced in charging forward the suffragette battle that I probably irretrievably alienated half my friend and fan base in the process. I came to the conclusion many months ago that my silence and apathy towards what happens in the nation's government would serve no greater good. 

It's completely untrue that I was "duped" by the incumbent into championing the cause of liberalism and equality. It's also valid to point out that while I identify myself as a progressive follower of Christ who happens to attend a conservative Lutheran church, I could no longer hang idly on the outskirts of movements towards women's right to choose, the right for homosexuals to marry, or, frankly, any of the other freedoms and rights granted to Americans by virtue of The Constitution that the conservative/Republican right wing earnestly tried to strip the citizens of the USA. 

It's a sorry state-of-affairs (coming from the anarchist bent) when money--who has the most of it and what they choose to do with it--is tossed onto a scale, one for the right and one for the left, and whomever amasses the most backing deserves to win the election of the leader of the Free World. If this campaign proved nothing else (and there were dozens of deciding factors in place), it proved the power of the people, of free will and choice and justice, over The Super Rich White Guy and His Empty Promises. Obama's fervent grassroots pleas, while they got to be humorously silly towards the end, worked. Romney's financial machine, backed by huge conglomerates fueled by zillions of dollars contributed by influential grubbers, fizzled out to defeat, over which I couldn't be happier. As a struggling single mother in a lower middle-class SES, dependent on government-assisted health care, for example, I failed to understand how anyone sharing my portion of the poverty pie could even consider, logically, allowing the Uber Wealthy White Mormon to lead our country, as his platform strove to cut back funding to programs vital to our sustenance. The only people I could envision voting for Romney were other Wealthy White Conservative People Who Struggle For Nothing. 

Who came out and made a huge difference voting in this election? *Not* conservative Reds, though looking at the blue to red ratio of the US map suggests otherwise. It was Hispanics. Women. People under the age of 25. For the first time, voters under 25 outnumbered voters over 65 years of age. Feel free to fact-check me here, but I believe 8% of the Hispanic vote went to Obama in 2008, while 12% rooted for democracy this year. 

What clinched it for me, in terms of really going gangbusters, donating my $8 pittance towards the Obama/Biden re-election campaign, and forcing down the throats my grounds for Democratic Decision to anyone who crossed my path? The "rape baby" issue. That whole shenaniganathon by the conservatives Pissed. Me. The. Hell. Off. (But you know that already.) Ostracized by many for my vocal outbursts and public disclosure of my rape experience, it was implied that I had or should have hidden my victimization in favor of being proper and civil, when I thought just the opposite. But I managed to turn victimization into transforming woman-power, which I'm sure made the women in Heaven who tirelessly fought for the female right-to-vote in the first place, in 1920, gleeful. 

"The female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down." Yes, actually, legitimately, Mr. Akin, the female body does. But not in the reproductive organs. IN OUR BRAINS, fool. Home of LOGIC, REASON, and SANITY. What became of the gaggle of pro-rape, anti-choice Republican candidates? Well, let's take a look:

Good golly!

Next thing you know, the USA will be abortion-friendly, gays-marrying, recreational pot-legalizing, porn star condom-wearing crazy nutso!!! Oh wait. THAT'S WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. WHOPPEEEEE!!!! That wasn't one of my ultra-vivid mid-afternoon nap dreams! 

Election Tuesday, I was riddled with a degree of internal flux and anxiety on multiple levels that ravaged my psyche and physical system to the point of literally feeling as if I was having a consecutive string of actual mini-strokes. I'm not exaggerating. I nixed my personal therapy, so that I could be assured of enough time to cast my ballot before heading downtown to school, where I had my Therapy class all afternoon, during which I'd both provide and receive student counseling. 

Either fortunately or unfortunately, I was summoned home soon after I arrived at school by my fever-fueled, throat-aching son. Both grandmas had full agendas and Craig couldn't leave work, and I'm allowed one absence without repercussion from each class once a semester. Handing over my week's materials to my therapy partner, I turned around on the train and bolted home. Unable to get Luke into the doctor for a throat culture until Wednesday, amid his reluctance to see a physician, I resigned to also taking Wednesday off of school to aid my convalescing Germ Spawn, whose air I deliberately dodged, at least until we knew conclusively if the Strep Alert sent home by the school pertained to Luke or not. 

Luke's opinion of trekking to the doctor was this: "The modern body is so coddled. It should fight its own battles from time to time." (His text to me while I was on the train home.) I referred him to the subjects of rheumatic fever and the sad case of Muppets' creator Jim Henson, who died from a case of untreated strep several years ago, and urged him to re-think his stance while he was busy lounging around in his boxers playing the freshly-released Halo 4. 

Once settled in for the Election 2012 coverage barrage, I nervously couldn't decide on whether or not to camp in the living room, my mom choosing ABC's national coverage, or if I should follow CNN online, which was making me REALLY nervous, or the Huffington Post, or give myself a laugh and watch Fox News unravel. In between trying to keep up with the thousands of incoming Tweets, unable to get ANY homework done, looking for my blood pressure monitor and yoga DVD, popping the Estazolam early, I ultimately loaded iTunes with the entirety of my Michael Nesmith collection and chilled out, waiting for the Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart Comedy Central 10pm coverage for some levity in my night. Strongly favoring Obama, they put me a bit more at ease, though their broadcast would only last an hour. 

Monitoring things online, as the night progressed, it had to be around 11:30 or close to midnight when the networks called it a WIN for President Obama. The crucial swing states in his favor, the POTUS' silky hands grabbed up the vast majority of the necessary electoral college votes, riding him to victory. I think it was at that point when my cousin's wife in Ohio, a transplanted Mississippian conservative, openly wept, tearing her hair out and cursing her new home, draped in a Confederate flag, crying "My life is over!"

I, too, was reduced to a mush of flowing tears myself. It was an overwhelming sense of relief and pride, knowing Obama was just a little ways downtown himself, at McCormick Place, riding it out. Seriously, I was so anxious that the call of victory felt like I'd just talked someone out of jumping off a skyscraper and wrangled them to safety. 

Exhausted, I was to be damned if I was going to miss the concession and victory speeches. What took Romney so long to concede to his ultimate failure? Probably the fact that the smug, over-confident, ill-prepared for defeat, Bishop of Icky Poop *failed* to prepare a concession speech ahead of time. Scrambling for a thesaurus or, like, a speech-writer, we waited. And waited. And waited. What did he deliver? A rambling string of insincere cliches and awkward "Nah, really, it's ok..." half-cocked phony smiles, grinding his teeth, barely able to spout anything positive, much less congratulatory, towards President Obama. The POTUS, on the other hand, once he took the stage, didn't explode the crowd with fist pumping exuberance. His speech was moving, with the vibe of "Alright. We did it. I'm grateful. It was the right thing. Let's keep pushing forward. Let's work together. I'll have Romney over for lunch. I'll even pay, heh." Joined by his solid family onstage, and finally VP Biden, Obama sighed in relief with, well, evidently the majority of the rest of the voters in the USA, edging towards 2:00 in the morning. I finally caved into jittery slumber, after a "Thank you, Sweet, Saucy Jesus for All This Friggin' Liberty!" prayer, a couple of "Hare Krishnas" and crossing myself.

All the Funky Little Vertebrates woke up Wednesday morning to a quieter, more even-tempered, cooled country. I took the Obama/Biden bumper sticker off of my truck, mission accomplished. (Out of love, the Coyne/Drozd sticker stays.No, Coyne and Drozd didn't vote for themselves, though Twitter'ers were posting pictures of their written-in votes for the Lips. Goofs.) The conservatives were still fuming mad, the undecideds or non-voters were still wondering what all the hype was about, Floridians were still in line, and the liberal Democrats were making new memes and lighting up celebratory joints online (uh, mostly in Colorado). 

Congratulations, President Obama. I'm proud of you. As Guy Friend said to me last night on the phone, implying that he, as a wealthy older white man, voted for the wealthy older white man, "Your guy won!" (He exercised his right of non-disclosure as for whom he voted, which is righteous.)  Yes, my guy won. A "W" in the column for the liberals and Mr. Yuck stickers for the theocratic conservative right wing elephants. Four more years? Indeedily doodily. 

I'm still curious as to how I ended up on the email list for the Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. They contacted me, the retired junkie, to urgently sign an FDA petition by midnight the other night, which would put currently Schedule III narcotics, like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco (all hydrocodone-based) on Schedule II, indicating they have a much higher potential for abuse and addiction than is their current status. "A high potential for abuse?" What, are there like cameras in my bedroom or something? I abused them in the 90's, took them legitimately in the last couple of years (pancreatitis is PAINFUL, mofos), OD'd accidentally once or twice, accidentally combined dehydration with morphine and anti-anxiety meds (for which I was rudely shot up with Narcan, and almost exploded)....suddenly, I'm on this email list about stringent controls for narcotics. Trust me, FDA, you don't want someone like me (or my retired junkie friends) voting on the stringency of opioids, because we'd actively petition them to become over-the-counter.

The Offbeat Drummer is responsible for all the positions and opinions herein this blog entry. We can get back to my colorfully dramatic love life and the insanity of insanity while maintaining sanity in my non-political life and that of my friends and lovers next time. You can't wait, I know. I have another Theories paper due next Wednesday, to be graded once again by the Flowery-Writing-Hating Teaching Assistant, whose name was unveiled to be "Neil." Neil, I ain't changing my style because your perception is that academia needs to be stale and flatly delivered. Should you read this, prepare your red pen for a fight if you even remotely think of grading me with another 75/100, because I'll eat your face off like a pit bull on meth on this one, kiddo.

Oh update! Yesterday, President Obama had a chance to stop by his campaign HQ to offer thanks to his many volunteers. He cries. I did too. My grad school's chief priority is to grow us as mental health practitioners capable and trained in social reform and advocacy from a multicultural standpoint. This was social reform in action, for which the President is deeply indebted. 


Give Me a Sedagive! Give Me a Sedagive!

Monday night, I was a little tense. Tuesday was freakin' pandemonium. More anxiety than I could manage. But that's a whole other ball of wax to tackle in another blog, methinks.

Ok, maybe "tense" is too timid a word. "Flipping out" might be more appropriate. 

I spared no one. Why?

For starters, my Ethics professor fucked up the case study on which we were to write our papers, which were due Monday night. She typo'd the name of the counselor halfway through the study, which changed the whole story around to have it sound like there were actually 2 counselors involved in the case. Naturally, I based my paper off of this, finished it, was ready to submit it, and she "whoopsied" and had to give us a 2 day extension. She told 2 of the students in class about her mistake instead of emailing the class en masse that it was fucked up. Now I'm waiting on article loans from the library, all this shit's gotta change around, and I'm having a conniption fit. 

We talked in Ethics about the dynamics of Group Therapy, in which most of us will actually be enrolled next semester. I'm fairly certain no one else in the class has ever been engaged in group therapy. The cohesiveness of the group was emphasized, and was illustrated vis-a-vis an exercise where we threw 2 Beanie Babies across the tables at one another. The first time, we had to pause and say our names and something unique we brought to the class ("I'm Andrea. I bring AGED WISDOM. OM."). The second time, we had to repeat the exact pattern in which we threw the first Beanie Baby, but now with a second in the mix, without fucking it up. We collectively, successfully completed this task,which went faster 'round the second time.

It struck me funny thinking that I can almost guarantee no one in my class has engaged in group a patient. This video clip isn't *unlike* group psychotherapy, from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," even in this day and age. It's pathetic. I seem to recall being the only person in our rehab group in the psych ward who wasn't suicidal  on any given morning. I'd have been the Jack Nicholson, pre-lobotomy, the voice of reason and rebellion, busting the window to gain access to the God forsaken cigarettes...

In all honesty, this group is entirely cohesive and unified, though their brains are all misfiring at inconceivable rates and they're all, well, loony, to which I can attest and relate. It's Nurse Ratched, with her silent cohort, whose monotone and frigidity fails to impress or better yet, control the room. Oh, the times they are a'changing. Had the nurse wanted unification in the group, she should've ditched the freakin' hat (for starters) and pulled up a chair to sit within the group (easier to catch the rogue flying cigarette that way). Her flat affect does little but to intimidate and belittle. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Expect the pundit wrap-up tomorrow. My fella won. I am ecstatic. And very, very tired.

Monday, November 5, 2012

44,220 Andreas Can't Be Wrong

If Obama SOMEHOW, in the very UNLIKELY event, MY PRESIDENT does NOT emerge VICTORIOUS after tomorrow's election, I'm going public with the fact that it's a reasonable bet I'll get Stinky Ass Drunk, bury my head in oxygen-free cement for the next 4 years and die, and buy a North Face jacket, not necessarily in that order.


OBAMA 2012! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Circadian Rhythms From the Offbeat Drummer

It's 5:00 am. But it's 6:00 am. Actually, that sentence took me an hour to type. So now it's 6:00, except my body thinks it's 7:00 am. I'm definitely *not* manic. I am utterly exhausted. Went to bed around 1:30 am last night, thinking "Oh hell, it's really only 12:30 am, and I get that extra hour, so I'll set the coffee to start at 8:00 am!" Reasonable, right? Except that I woke up at 4:50 am, and couldn't get back to sleep. Daylight Savings Time always screws me up, whether I gain or lose an hour.

At last online recollection, I was answering some comments on my Life Development forum, but intelligently, unlike what I posted in my last blog. The trouble is, I'll probably be boggled with hypersomnia by about 10am (if not earlier) and crumble back into bed, and I  have to get my hair cut at noon today. Oh, and write a 5-page Ethics paper (yes, APA-cited, shit).

School has taken its toll on my sleep schedule a quarter of the way through my graduate education. By Thursdays, I am clumped between the sheets for 4-hour stretches, dead to the world...a pattern that repeats the rest of the weekend. No, I don't want to hear my physician friends tell me I'm being a wuss because they survived it in medical school. They were like 25 at the time. I'm 40. I also don't want to hear it from my jet-setting friends, who return home with raging jet lag because while I sympathize, they're getting paid gobs of money. My face is caving into my Theories book on Wednesday mornings at 9am, which seems strange, as I used to go to work around that time, and I'd function just fine. But understand, 90% of my job at the medical practice was fueled by adrenaline and coritsol (the stress hormone) and Theories class is just one giant snooze-a-thon in a 3-hour stretch. PS--the next time I'm sitting next to my student therapist during the Wednesday morning 8 am weekly seminar, literally drooling asleep, it'd be super if he would do me the favor of at least nudging me out of REM stage so I can pretend to be involved.

I stayed conscious at last week's seminar, chiefly because the guest speaker from the Center for Learning and Teaching was almost screaming and throwing books at us. No joke. With an emphatic thrust, she whacked us over our heads with...

She was all "If you DON'T own this book, BUY IT NOW! ESPECIALLY IF YOU WERE AN.....ENGLISH MAJOR!!!! and are used to MLA style writing. This is PSYCHOLOGY. FOLLOW THE APA MANUAL!" After diagnosing her with schizoid personality disorder, having my laptop out, I tuned her out, went on Amazon and ordered the god-forsaken manual. I was thinking to myself, "Look here, Sister Sledge, give me 20 minutes and I could write a sonnet about what an utter cunt you're being to us right now, but I'm busy ignoring your hostile ramblings and nervously fidgeting with my piercings."

APA-style citation and writing doesn't come naturally to me. Its nuances upset the flow of my thoughts, interrupt my logic and my last Theories paper, being inked up with "RUNNING HEAD, RUNNING HEAD" on each page pissed me off for reasons I've previously discussed at length. I'd give you a "running head" out-the-door if I wasn't 3/4 of the way dead ass asleep in the first place. I'll figure it out. I'm certainly not, well, STUPID.

This week's dunce cap has to embarrassingly go to VP contender Paul Ryan, who takes reshitulous idiocy to a whole new level of achieving the moniker of "Tool." We liberals weren't duped by his photo-op washing of already-clean pots at a soup kitchen, his visionary notion of economics under a Republican presidency make about as much sense as reducing the national debt with bags of split peas, and give me a break, what the fuck is this?

Vying for the Country's Most Boring Job Unless There's a National Crisis That Grossly Incapacitates The Prez, Otherwise You Just Ride the Coattails of the Commander-in-Chief, attracting impressionable GOP youngins with his weight-curling, "I want to arm wrestle Joe Biden" publicity stunt worked against him, as both conservative and liberal, uh, sane people sat back and laughed at his clueless smirk as he tried to impress voters with the fact that Rage Against the Machine was his favorite band. (It'd be more ironic if Tool was his favorite band, but whatever.) Rage's bassist, Tim Commerford, publicly declared Ryan a "jackass" and "the embodiment of the machine our music rages against." 

Wow. That's too bad. 

I'd be really bummed out if *my* favorite band thought I was stupid. They may find me irretrievably needy and annoying at times, but one thing they know is that I'm not an idiot. Paul Ryan? Might I suggest your party stick with fervent, off-key, clearly-drunk-again, has-been crooner-come-bit part actor Meatloaf, whose rendition of "America the Beautiful" at a Mitt Romney rally was the embodiment of literally everything that's wrong with falling off the wagon in public with millions of people watching...or as I like to call it, "I Could See Paradise By the Dashboard Light If Not For the Flashing Police Car Behind Me, Ready To Pull Me Over for the World's Worst DUI." Watch Romney stand there saying to himself, "My life is over and now the USA has proof that I'm a dickwad." 

Further wadding of Republican dick-dom came out via the national press yesterday, when it was revealed that as a freshman student at Stanford University, the khaki-wearing, blazer-donning, penny-loafer walking Romney skipped his Western Civilization class one day. I thought, "Wow! I actually have something in common with this Jag Bag!" as I skipped the whole term of Western Civ in college because it conflicted with my daily viewing of "All My Children," in which I was engrossed, a class I'd attend so sparsely that I failed. But Romney wasn't sacrificing his studies to watch soap operas. Heavens, no. You can bet your Blessed, Miraculous Mormon Underpants Kissing the Ass of Joseph Smith that he had a larger cause over which to rally.

Try and follow me here. I know it's early in the morning and you're scrambling to get your clocks right before you accidentally go to church an hour early. Romney was participating in an anti-anti-war protest over the war in Vietnam. A) Bad move when you're a governor's son. B) Holding up a sign that says "Oppose Anarchy" in that kind of outfit sets you up for a really good ass-kicking. C) An anti-anti-war protest is a double negative, which is actually a pro-war demonstration, right? The Dems haven't forgotten the factoid that Romney effectively dodged the draft in Vietnam FOUR TIMES while on "Mormon mission trips" under the umbrella of being a "student of divinity." He'd go on to follow his governor father's lead on the war position, backpedaling being anti-anti to pro-pro, and saying one year that he had no desire to serve our country in the military, then retracting that to say that he actually "longed" to be in Vietnam to aid our country's war effort. His like 187 sons followed suit and shunned military service to spread the disease of Mormonism far and wide, just like dear old dad. M'kay. 

I can't wait for Tuesday to be over, to celebrate my President's victory and put all this political tension bullshit behind me, which has worn out my brain. Four years ago today, I was in Grant Park at the Obama rally amid at least a million people who fist-pumped in unison with, well, 90% of the rest of country, as the buildings downtown were all lit patriotically in favor of our hometown hero. USA!

Please vote, America. Exercise your rights better than that piddle-diddle VP Republican candidate crunches his 6-pack abs and discreetly uses a Suzanne Somers Thigh-Master.