Tuesday, August 21, 2012
This is a repost, with permission, from a very brave young woman whom I am proud to call a friend. Please read this and pass it along. This Hate Has Got to End Posted on August 19, 2012 by Mindy Kinnaman What I’m about to do is one of the ballsiest things I’ve probably ever done. To be honest, I don’t really want to do this, but I feel like I am left with no choice. As I’m sure many of you already are aware, earlier today, Missouri Republican and Senate hopeful Todd Akin went on TV this morning in St. Louis and stated that few rapes end in pregnancies. An absurd statement, I know. Unfortunately, this is not the first absurd statement Todd Akin has ever made. Nor is it the most offensive thing he’s said, which is why I’m all fired up. Todd Akin has also spoken about rape, only in terms of “legitimate rape,” meaning that a person has not been raped unless he or she has been forced. But before I get into the heart of my post, I would like to point out one very important fact. What I am about to say has nothing to do with my political leanings. I would say this even if Todd Akin were a Democrat, a Libertarian, or from any other political party. Because this issue goes beyond political parties. It goes to the very essence of who we are as humans, and sadly, I think so many people are so caught up in being the moral fiber police that they simply stop thinking about us as individuals. So who am I, and why do I care? Well, for starters, I am a rape victim. But I am quite certain that Todd Akin and his counterparts would never agree that I was raped. Why? Because I was raped by a partner. Years ago, my partner (whom I have since left) would force me to have sex, but because we were in a consensual relationship, many people do not believe that it is “legitimate rape.” It doesn’t matter that I was forced to do something against my will. It doesn’t matter that my pleas went unheard. What the man in a relationship says goes in the minds of people like Todd Akin. Very few people on this planet know what happened to me, and I thought that I would go to my grave without sharing that information. But as lawmakers around the United States continue to band together to strip women of their rights, I cannot be silent any more. I do not want to be a martyr. I do not want people digging into the skeletons in my closet. But what choice do I have? I currently live in a state with one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the country, short of banning it outright. Less than 10 miles from me, across the border is the state I was born and raised in, the same state Todd Akin hopes to represent in the U.S. Senate. If I keep my mouth shut, women in the United States will continue to be stripped of their rights. We will lose the choices we have that involve our very own bodies. Have I ever gotten an abortion? No. Would I stand up in support of loved ones who have had no option but to have an abortion? I have and will always do so. If you don’t want to have an abortion because of your beliefs, whether they are religious or not, that is your right, but that does not give you the right to infringe upon my own rights. How long ago was it that Rush Limbaugh decried that unmarried women who want to use birth control should have to show videos of themselves having sex? What happened? He lost a few sponsors, and there was an outcry from those of us who realize how sexist and disgusting his request was, but that was it. It did not stop the state of Missouri from honoring him earlier this year. And Rush Limbaugh would have a fit, because I do use birth control, even though I am not currently having sex, because that is my right. The voices of ignorance seem to be growing louder as the election draws nearer. As much as I wanted to stick my head in the sand and ignore it all, I can’t. I tried, but I can’t. Because if women like me keep our mouths shut, one day we will have no voice at all. Our country is a mess, as the religious right seems to forget the fact that this country was founded upon religious freedom. I have done my research on the First Amendment and written papers on the topic. I know that we, as a country, should be as open as we can and accept that not everyone here believes the same. Yet, so many in this country still openly hate against anyone who doesn’t fit in the Christian code. I grew up Christian, and it was that very hate that drove me from being an active Christian. I could not sit down and listen to all the hate that was spewed forth in the name of God. That same hate that drives people like Todd Akin to want to control everything about us, to strip us of the rights we had to fight so hard to get in the first place. If people like Todd Akin have their way, anyone who is not a white, Christian, God-fearing hypocritical male will be a second-class citizen. And all that progress we will have achieved since our founding will have been for naught. So, to those of you who, as I do, believe that this hate has got to go, please stand up for our rights. Show your legislators that you will not have them relegate large portions of the U.S. citizenry to the back seat. Whether you are fighting for women’s rights or gay rights, you are fighting for human rights. Please stand up and help us work toward a democratic society that is truly democratic, where all citizens – regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, status, etc. – have the same equal and unalienable rights we deserve. Please register to vote, if you have not already done so. And when November comes around, vote for anyone who is willing to stand up for equal rights for all. It is the least we deserve.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Back in 2008, when I started the Starbase 66 podcast, my cohosts and I talked a lot about the impending JJ Abrams Star Trek movie. I had grave doubts about it, yet gradually I warmed to the idea. Finally, a year later, the movie premiered, and at first I loved it. I even saw it four times in the theaters, a feat I had not achieved since high school. It was even the first Blu-ray I purchased. But in the intervening three years the blush has come off the rose, so to speak. I can't say I hate the movie, just nearly everything about it. I loathe the 'new' ship. I despise the uniforms. The hardware is cheap looking and obviously designed to look good in a box on a Wal-Mart shelf, and the inner workings of the Enterprise look exactly like what they were, a fucking brewery! And don't get me started on the lens flare and overly contrived plot devices. In fact the only thing that keeps me enamored of this film, and despite my above kvetching I do still love this film, is the performances. The actors totally saved Star Trek from out-sucking The Final Frontier and The Motion Picture combined. Sometimes you get a film, such as The Avengers, that becomes greater than the sum of its parts...this was not the case with Abram's Star Trek. Abrams seems to be the anti-Lucas. Lucas can direct an action sequence like almost no one else, but his work with people leaves much to be desired. Abrams is the opposite. Everything about his movies...in my opinion...is trite, yet he directs his actors with a dexterity and respect that makes the performances shine. Yet the overall effect, as seen in the snooze-inducing Super 8, is just meh...with lens flare. But, Marius, why are you revisiting this now? Well, I'm glad you asked. Lately the news feeds have been full of speculation, teases, hints, and interviews about the sequel to Star Trek 2009 which finished principal photography a couple of months ago. Abrams will be directing it again, and the original creative staff is on board as well. This has been filling me more and more with a sense of dread that has been made even worse by the severely disappointing Prometheus, of which Damon Lindelof was the executive producer and co-writer. He's also the producer on the Trek sequel and was the executive producer of Lost and Cowboys and Aliens. With the exception of Lost, which didn't do anything for me, that is not a promising pedigree. The first Trek reboot was saved by the actors, and by my enthusiasm to see the characters and worlds that I love reborn on the big screen. Now that the novelty is gone, I have serious doubts about what is to come. I hated hating Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and over the years have found my way to appreciating the good parts of it, and Star Trek V is still a stinging, open wound, but at its worst the original Trek films and shows are the companions of my youth, and I can forgive them their occasional offenses. But this new Trek, and Abrams attempts to make it more like Star Wars, is getting very close to making me loathe the thought of any more Star Trek being made. If it's just going to be a pale shadow of what we grew to love over the past 46 years, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing, then I'd just as soon it rest in peace, and leave us to our memories.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
So, yeah, having a baby really saps your time, your strength, and your ability to speak in your normal voice. So rather than try to trump up some sort of half-baked bloggerific concoction of semi-digested thoughts and overly-hyphenated pseudo-word things, I figured I'd just inundate you lovely two or three who still read this with some pics and videos of the tiny creature that has totally taken over my life. Enjoy! And now some pics: Ok, I'm now going to wash bottles and hope her nap lasts long enough. Peace out, y'all. Marius
Friday, May 25, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Captain's Log, stardate 1203.23, Captain Sharon E. Tetrault reporting. Readings indicate that this planet is perfect for pooping, spitting up, and prolonged playing. I am currently about to engage in a full scale sleeping experiment and will report further when it's bottle time.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
When you tell the world that you're expecting the advise comes in a flood. Sometimes joking, "Ha ha, guess you'll be giving up sleeping." Sometimes serious, "Treasure the days when they're tiny, for they grow up so fast." In fact nearly everyone, parent or no, has something to warn you about, but I learned something tonight that no one mentioned, and it blindsided me. I was at the grocery store about an hour ago. It was near closing, and the store was relatively deserted. I was at the check-out and heard a child screaming over by the exit. Now a year ago I might not have even noticed that sound, but it totally grabbed my attention, though no one else seemed to notice. As soon as I gathered my purchases I moved toward the doors to see what was going on. A large woman had a small, maybe 3 or 4 year old boy by the hand, and he was doing the 'I don't want to do what you want me to do so I'm letting my legs go limp' thing that kids do. Again, a year ago if I had noticed this at all I'd have just assumed that the kid was being bratty, but not tonight. Tonight the scene filled me with terror as I wondered if things would look any different if the child was being taken by a stranger. Then I panicked as I imagined that boy was my Sharon. I watched a little while longer through the window of the store until I was sure she was, indeed, his mom, and as I was walking to my car I saw the boy with his father as well, but the whole affair really rattled me. No one tells you how vulnerable you are as a parent. Suddenly someone who is vastly, incredibly, infinitely more important in my life than I am is a primary concern of mine. You can knock me down, spit in my face, slander my name all over the place. Do anything that you want to do to me, but stay the fuck away from my kid...and the corollary of that being that I'm terrified because I can't protect her from everything. It's a sobering thought, and one that may take me a while to come to terms with.
In the meantime I intend to teach her to raise holy Hell if some stranger tries to take her from us.
Anyone know how young you can get a concealed carry permit in Florida?
Marius the Shaken.
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Sixteen years ago I started working at the greatest gig of my career. The Duncan Theatre, at Palm Beach Community College, needed an Assistant Technical Director, and I got the job. That was the beginning of three wonderful years there, and it was also the steadiest, and largest paycheck I'd gotten to date. My beat up, hand me down Ford Taurus was rapidly falling apart, and it was time to look into getting a different car. I don't recall how the idea came up, but I soon realized that a new...actually new...car was possible. So in November of that year I drove off the the lot of Saturn of West Palm Beach with a brand new, if no-frills, car. She was silver, with a manual transmission, manual locks, manual windows, and no power steering or brakes. The only frill was the cruise control. I recall as I was driving her home for that first time wondering if I'd get 100,000 miles out of her. Back then 100K was still a milestone, but Saturns were known for their longevity, so I figured I had a good shot. I treated her well, kept to the maintenance schedule, changed her oil often, and she got me where I needed to go. The Hyperion, as I came to name her, and I drove all over Florida, all over Louisiana, and as far north as Savannah, Georgia, and rarely did she complain. Of course there were repairs needed. A water pump here, a starter module there, a snapped shift cable was the worst of it, but never anything horrible. I got my one and only speeding ticket in that car, and we were never in a wreck. I've slept in her, dressed in her, oddly enough she's the only car I never had sex in, but just about everything else you can do in a car I've done in the Hyperion. Whenever I'd forget to turn my lights off before trying to get out of the car she'd quietly ding at me, and I'd always say 'thank you, dear'. She gladly suffered silly stickers on the rear window, and dragons and Buddy Christ glued to her dash. She was a work horse that could haul up to 10' long 2x4's and never falter, though she would slow down a bit. I loved that car. Sadly, though, all good things must end, and a few months ago I drove her to the store for lunch one day and she wouldn't start. Now she has always started with just the lightest turn of the key, so this was strange. I feared I had run out of gas, so I put a gallon in, and still nothing. I waited a bit more, and then she started right up. This happened a few more times before I realized that she would no longer start when hot. It was more annoyance than anything else as it merely meant that anywhere I went needed to last at least 15-20 minutes so she could cool down. But soon 15-20 became 30-60, then two weeks ago I had to cancel class because after two hours she still wouldn't start. I took her to the shop and was told that the clutch and transmission weren't communicating properly and it could cost $1K to fix, and that might not do it. The Hyperion was terminal. So we've limped along while I've tried to find a newish car. I hate car shopping, and dealing with car salespeople can be soul-crushing, but my brother recommended a place down in our home town that gave him a great deal this summer, so I contacted them, got approved for financing, and found a couple of cars I liked. Of course the main problem now was getting down there since the Hyperion's last journey of 10 miles from work to home ended two miles shy of our destination, and required the services of a tow truck to get us home. A rental car would have cost over $100 since I'd have to leave it down there, so I thought I'd check out the trains. 25 bucks! So I booked passage on the choo-choo and readied myself as best I could. The train was 2 hours late, so I was sweating getting to the dealership before they closed, which would have been tricky since I'd be 200 miles from home with no car, but I got there by 6:30, and the salesperson working with me was more than happy to accommodate me at that late hour. Sadly the car I had come to see, a 2010 Yaris, had been sold that afternoon, but a quick search found something even better, a 2010 Nissan Versa. I'd never heard of it, but we checked it out. A smallish hatchback with lots of room inside. I sat in it, and it felt, well, right. A test drive also felt good. By 9pm I drove off the lot with my newish car, and a huge feeling of relief. The drive home the next day gave The Phoenix and me a chance to get to know each other. I named her Phoenix since she is rising from the ashes of my once beautiful Hyperion, and I found 4+ hours in her driver's seat to be not in the least bit tiring. Of course we now have a car payment again, but we also have a shiny, nearly new car in the driveway and I don't have to worry that every time I stop at a red light I'll be pushing the car out of traffic and waiting for the engine to cool down again. So I raise my glass in a toast to the end of a long, 271,000 miles long, relationship with a fantastic car, and to the beginning of a, hopefully, equally fruitful partnership with this one.
Behold, The Phoenix:
Behold, The Phoenix:
Monday, February 20, 2012
I had no idea. No idea at all just how all-consuming being a parent is. I mean I've been a step-parent for nearly a decade now, but this is so very different. The CoA is a relatively self-sufficient creature, able to be left alone for increasingly longer periods, and aside from a damnable angsty attitude is fairly autonomous. But the baby...the baby. Don't get me wrong, I adore her and would fight a Balrog wearing only a Saran Wrap thong and wielding a celery stick to protect her if need be, but by Grabthar's hammer I miss me. Every morning is spent desperately trying to get my coffee down and my email checked before those familiar little noises coming from the monitor turn into the full-throated wails of the now awake and hungry Sharon. The rest of the morning is a game of 'let's see how long daddy can sneak away to wash dishes, or get big sister out of bed, or Heaven forbid eat some breakfast before baby starts crying'. Then it's bottles, play, carry, change, play, bottle, rock, sleep, rinse, repeat. Then after work it's the balancing act between mommy and daddy to make sure neither of us gets unfairly put upon, although my lack of functioning mammary glands does make that somewhat difficult, but since I do most of the non-lactation related food prep I consider that an even balance. Finally, anywhere between 7-8:30 the baby falls asleep for the night...well, at least until around midnight-2am when she'll wake up and want more to eat. Then Mrs. Marius turns in, and I have the house to myself. I have so many things I want to do. Blog, edit my podcast, play Oblivion, but as soon as I sit down at the computer my eyelids become two lead sheets, and I'm usually in bed by 9:30 having accomplished nothing. Then it all starts again, though sometimes I'm up as early as 4:30 because the little one makes a lot of noise in her sleep, and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a sleep cry and an awake cry. So, as you might imagine, I'm a tad frazzled of late.
Also, a week ago last Thursday, my wife was in a car wreck. Fortunately is a was a low speed collision where no one got hurt, and was not her fault, but we are now dealing with getting her car fixed and worrying about them fixing all the damage vs just totaling the car and giving us a fraction of what we'd need to buy something else, so that's an extra frazzlation. At least they've paid for a rental so we're not down a vehicle. Plus my car is on its last legs, having given me sixteen years and 270,000 miles, but our tax return should cover a down payment on a newer car, but I hate buying a car.
So, in a nutshell that's why I've been terribly absent. I hope that if any of you are still reading this that all is well with you, and rest assured I still read your stuff. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go wash something.
Oh, and that picture is Sharon this weekend. We went to a very nice park with this great raised boardwalk/nature trail. Sharon, when surrounded by the bounteous beauty of nature, wanted only to look at the boards of the boardwalk while being carried, and to chew on her stroller when being wheeled about. I love her, but she's weird.
Monday, January 16, 2012
When I was 3 or 4 years old my father got us in a car crash. We had just come home from something or other, and our cat was on top of the table, and I wanted to hold her. So I pulled her down to me. Of course, being just a toddler I didn't know how to handle a cat in such a way, she thought she was falling, put out her claws, and scratched my eye. I don't remember much of this, just vague impressions, but my mother later told me there was a lot of blood and crying, and my dad panicked and threw us in the car and raced for the hospital. Unfortunately, due to his belief that my eyeball had been shredded, he ignored one too many stop signs and we got t-boned. The police took my mother and me to the hospital and it turned out that the cat had only nicked my eyelid and I was perfectly fine. All my life I never fully appreciated that incident, and kinda wondered why my normally rational father would lose his shit so. Yesterday I found out. Sharon's fingernails have needed trimming for a while now, but my up-close vision has degraded to the point that even with glasses it's very hard for me to see her whisper-thin, yet oh-so-sharp nails. But my wife has been sick of late and hasn't been up to doing much of anything, so I put on two pairs of glasses and figured I'd give it a go. The first clip went ok, or so I thought, but slowly Sharon's face went from baby neutral to a soul-shredding frown of ultimate unhappiness and she began screaming in pain. Looking more closely I saw I had taken a nip out of the end of her thumb, and it was starting to bleed. I felt like I was the worst, most horrible daddy ever, and as I held my screaming baby to my chest, knowing that she was screaming because of me, the myriad of emotions flooding me completely ripped any rationality from my mind. Anger, confusion, terror all blotted out my usually analytical thought processes, and all I could do was move in random directions while trying to comfort the wailing creature in my arms. My poor teenager made the mistake of being visible and I yelled at her in my frustration, sending her to her room in tears. Fortunately this only lasted a few minutes, and I calmed down enough to finally get myself together and take care of the injury...a bit of hydrogen peroxide and a way-too-big Band-Aid did the trick...and apologize to the COA, but I felt like the lowest of the low all the rest of the day. I know that should this be my worst day as a daddy I'll be very lucky, but I also hope that my complete losing of my shit over such a relatively minor thing will help me to not do so in the future if/when something serious happens. And dad, if you are still out there and are watching, I get it now.