It Gets Better, or at least, It Gets Different

10 10 2011

I’m extremely fortunate in my life to have made some amazing friends, one of them, I met just a couple of years ago.
A very talented individual, but a wise and caring one also by the name of Lily Armani.

Some of you may have heard of the "It Gets Better" program created by Dan Savage and his partner Terry.  This program was created in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers suspected that they were gay. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens’ lives will improve.

Lily had something to share for this program, and share she did.  Lily is no stranger to adversity and has a very positive approach to it.

Granted I’m biased, but truly the video she has made as her contribution for this program is a powerful and moving one, and I don’t believe it’d be overstating things to say this, but I’m sure if it’s seen by the right people, the people who need this message in their lives, it could save lives.

Watch it for yourself, and please share it with others.

Lily Armani–It Gets Different

To Lily Armani, you’re an absolute inspiration, and as always I wish you the best of everything. Keep bringing joy to the masses lady and may as much joy as you bring be bestowed back on you! xo

Facebook 2010 Summarised

15 12 2010

I’m a Facebook addict.  I confess.  I usually post or respond to something at least once a day.  So when I saw that people were using an application that scanned through a years worth of status updates creating a summary I had to use it.

Here’s mine.  Enjoy…

Flashback Circa 1976

28 11 2010

My sister tracked down and shared with me a photo from our childhood.

Checkout me rocking my Safari suit and she rocking her polka dots.

Are we cute or what?

Craig and Kate Circa 1976

Pets Such Complex Creatures

19 11 2010

Today’s blog entry is more of a promotion for someone else.  Courtesy of the lovely Rhonda over at At Random mailed me a link to yet another blog for an article I might find amusing.

Amusing?  It was hilarious.  Having travelled internationally with four pets, I completely emphathised with the author of Dogs don’t understand basic concepts like moving.

So you’re going to have to check it out for yourself.  All credit goes to the author, which is most definitely not me.

Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving

Packing all of your belongings into a U-Haul and then transporting them across several states is nearly as stressful and futile as trying to run away from lava in swim fins. 

I know this because my boyfriend Duncan and I moved from Montana to Oregon last month.  But as harrowing as the move was for us, it was nothing compared to the confusion and insecurity our two dogs had to endure. 

Our first dog is – to put it delicately – simple-minded.  Our other dog is a neurotic German shepherd mix with agonizingly low self-esteem who has taken on the role of "helper dog" for our simple dog.  Neither dog is well-equipped with coping mechanisms of any kind. 

When we started packing, the helper dog knew immediately that something was going on.  I could tell that she knew because she becomes extremely melodramatic when faced with even a trivial amount of uncertainty.  She started following me everywhere, pausing every so often to flop to the ground in an exaggeratedly morose fashion – because maybe that would make me realize how selfish I was being by continuing to pack despite her obvious emotional discomfort.    

When the soul-penetrating pathos she was beaming at me failed to prevent me from continuing to put things in boxes, the helper dog became increasingly alarmed.  Over the ensuing few days, she slowly descended into psychological chaos.  The simple dog remained unfazed.

Unfortunately for the helper dog, it took us nearly a week to get everything packed up.  By the time we were ready to begin the first part of our two-day journey to Oregon, she seemed almost entirely convinced that she was going to die at any moment.  She spent the entire car ride drooling and shaking uncontrollably. 

But the simple dog seemed to enjoy the trip.

Even though she threw up seven times.

She actually seemed to like throwing up.  To the simple dog, throwing up was like some magical power that she never knew she possessed – the ability to create infinite food.  I was less excited about the discovery because it turned my dog into a horrible, vomit-making perpetual motion machine.  Whenever I heard her retch in the backseat, I had to pull over as quickly as possible to prevent her from reloading her stomach and starting the whole cycle over again. 

But as far as the simple dog was concerned, it was the best, most exciting day of her life. 

It wasn’t until we stopped for the night in Umatilla that the simple dog became aware that there was any reason for her to feel anxious.  But at around two o’clock in the morning, the simple dog finally realized that something was different and maybe she should be alarmed.

This particular dog is not anywhere near the gifted spectrum when it comes to solving problems.  In fact, she has only one discernible method of problem solving and it isn’t even really a method.

But making high-pitched noises won’t solve your problem if your problem is a complete inability to cope with change.  Unfortunately for everyone involved, the simple dog did not understand this concept and she went right ahead and made an interminable amount of noise that was just invasive enough to make sleeping impossible.

After an hour of failed attempts at comforting the simple dog, her constant, high-pitched emergency-distress-signal became a huge problem. 

I tried to communicate my displeasure to the simple dog, but communicating with the simple dog usually goes like this:

She was going to make that sound forever if she felt it was necessary.  We tried everything from spooning her to locking her in the bathroom, but none of it was even the slightest bit effective. 

The simple dog made the noise all through the night and was still going strong the next morning. When we were loading the dogs into the car, the constant, high-pitched sound emanating from the simple dog finally broke the helper dog.  The helper dog wailed in anguish, which alarmed the simple dog.  In her surprise, the simple dog let out a yelp, which further upset the helper dog.  And so it continued in a wretched positive-feedback loop of completely unnecessary noise.

When we finally arrived at our new house, the dogs had calmed down considerably.  Unfortunately, it had snowed the night before and there was still snow on our front lawn, and that was enough to catapult both dogs back into hysteria. 

The simple dog had either never experienced snow or she’d forgotten that she knew what it was, because when we let her out of the car, she walked around normally for about seven seconds, then she noticed the snow and her feeble little mind short-circuited.

At first, the simple dog was excited about the snow.  She started prancing around the yard like she was the star of a one-dog parade – her recent personal crisis overshadowed by a haze of enthusiasm.

The prancing turned to leaping and the leaping turned to running chaotically in stupid little circles. Then she just stopped and stared at the ground.  There was a visible shift in her demeanor as she realized that she didn’t understand snow and it was everywhere and she should probably be scared of it. She started making the noise again.

Not surprisingly, the helper dog interpreted the snow as a sign of her imminent demise.  But she was so exhausted from worrying about all of the other signs of her demise that she just gave up and accepted her death.  She peered up at us, half-buried in the snow.  Her eyes were filled with pain and helplessness, as if she thought we had summoned the snow for the sole purpose of making her sad.

We decided that it would probably be best to bring the dogs inside. 

As a condition for allowing us to have dogs in our rental house, our landlady made us promise that we wouldn’t let the dogs scratch the wood floors.  We didn’t anticipate it being a problem because it hadn’t been in the past, but as soon as our dogs set foot in the house, they morphed into perfectly engineered floor-destroying machines.  They started sprinting as fast as they could for absolutely no reason – skittering around in circles to avoid running into the walls. 

We finally corralled them in the bedroom and shut the door to give ourselves a little time to regroup and come up with a plan.  Until we could get some rugs or convince the dogs that it was unnecessary to sprint around chaotically for no reason, we would need to find some way to prevent them from scratching the floors.  What we ended up doing was going to the pet store and buying two sets of sled dog booties. It was the only way.

It is easy to imagine that a dog who has recently experienced a dramatic upheaval of its formerly safe and predictable life might not react well to suddenly having strange objects attached to all four of its feet.  This was most definitely the case with the booties.

The helper dog panicked and started trying to rip the booties off with her teeth.

I scolded her and she reacted as if I’d ruined her entire life.

But at least her immobilizing self-pity kept her from chewing the booties off.

The simple dog just stood there and looked at me in a way that would suggest she didn’t realize her legs still worked.

They had to wear the booties for two days.  Those two days were filled with the most concentrated display of overemotional suffering I have ever witnessed.  The simple dog spent most of her time standing in the middle of the room looking bewildered and hurt and the helper dog refused to walk, instead opting to flop her way around the house like a dying fish. 

The entire ordeal was punctuated by the simple dog’s high-pitched confusion alarm.

We were beginning to think that our dogs were permanently broken. Nothing we did helped at all to convince the dogs that we had only changed houses and our new house was not, in fact, some sort of death-camp and we weren’t actually planning on killing them to fulfill an organ harvest ritual.  Despite our best efforts, they continued to drift around in a sea of confusion and terror, pausing only to look pitiful.

But while we were unpacking, we found a squeaky toy that was given to us as a gift shortly before we moved.  We offered the toy to the dogs.  This may have been a mistake.

Upon discovering that the toy squeaked when it was compressed forcefully, the simple dog immediately forgot that she’d ever experienced doubt or anxiety ever in her life.  She pounced on the toy with way more force than necessary, over and over and over.  The logic behind her sudden change in outlook was unclear.  

But at least she was happy again.

Shake Weight Just Bizarre

17 11 2010

I know I’ve tagged this post “Cool Gadget”, I’m not so sure about cool, but it’s certainly a gadget.

I’ve seen this product advertised on television several times, but now even South Park is hopping on board with their episode “Creme Fraiche”.

See what you think.  Here’s the original advertisements, and the South Park version.

Be warned, they’re probably inappropriate for the office, or children.

Shake Weight for Women


Shake Weight for Men


Shake Weight South Park Style

Saturday in the Sticks

13 11 2010

That’s a little harsh, the outskirts of Renton is hardly the sticks, but it did take nearly 30 minutes to drive to our friends birthday party today, way out in the ‘burbs, so “Sticks” works for me.

A double 40th and a 12 year old all celebrating their birthdays under one roof, you could correctly assume that it was pretty busy.

That’s about it really.  We came, we saw, we wished Happy Birthday’s, then headed home for an evening of television.

Bloody Swine CocktailThe only real diversion from the nothing of our evening, was when I got it into my head that I needed a cocktail, and that I should concoct one of my own from what was available, and that’s exactly what I did.

I called it a “Bloody Swine”, and it was bloody amazing!!!

Bakon Vodka – Bacon flavoured
V8 vegetable juice
Sriracha Hot Sauce
Shaken over ice, and poured into a martini glass with three Jalapeno stuffed olives.

A very civilised evening! Smile

Finally Something to Write About

9 11 2010

GleeOther than my days which must be getting repetitive for you, as they’re pretty repetitive for me.

Now, I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the television show; Glee, but if you’re not…

GET OUT OF YOUR CAVE!  You need to see this show.  For me, it’s a must see.  I’m a self-confessed Gleek!

Moving along.  We’ve seen every episode of both Seasons of Glee that are available, and while there have been one to two that have been slower than others, there’s not been a single episode that I’ve disliked.

Of special note, I’ve loved the poignant way they’ve treated the issues that have come up for each character, especially Kurt, who is openly Gay, and recently Coach Bieste.
Tonight’s episode: Never Been Kissed is a personal favourite.  The poignant way in which the bullying associated with Kurt’s being gay was handled, and how hurtful words can be in the case of the Coach was a refreshing change.

I think it says enough that I felt moved enough by this episode that I felt the need to both comment about it and share links on Facebook, and again here.

Sometimes, you just have to do, what you have to do.  Story or not, tonight had some of the best song and music mash-ups that I’ve heard in a very long time.

My new favourite song is a cover of a Katy Perri song, I have to confess I didn’t like her version, but the Glee rendition is awesome.

See for yourself.

I’m all Glee’d out now, so off to bed I go.

Roadtrip Madness

27 06 2010

Mark and I decided to go for a drive today.  611km’s/380miles later, we’re home, and I don’t know about him as he sat in the passenger seat the whole time, but I’m exhausted.

We crossed the border into Portland, Oregon today to check out a unique donut store we’ve seen numerous times on television; Voodoo Doughnuts, queued (they’re very popular) purchased, tasted, had dinner at a great tapas restaurant; Toro Bravo, and driven home.

Oh, as an aside, the names of some of the doughnuts are amusing enough to share:

Gay Bar
Old Dirty Bastard
Voodoo Doll
Maple Bacon Bar
Portland Cream
Mango Tango
McMinnville Cream
Memphis Mafia
No Name
Vanilla Coconut
Banana Peanut Fritter

There are photos on facebook if you have access to my account.  If you don’t, well I guess you’d better email me and add me.

Hope you all had a great weekend, and Happy Pride to you all in Seattle and everywhere else! 🙂

I Have a New Passion!

5 06 2010

I’m a Roller Derby Fanboy!

I first heard about Roller Derby quite some time ago, and always had an interest in going to see it, but it was just one of those things that never eventuates.

Recently I was reminded when I saw someone wearing a Roller Derby t-shirt (which I instantly wanted), so when I got home I looked up ticket information and discovered that there was only one last match for the 2010 Season, the Grudge Match final for the Rat City Roller Girls.

That was enough to inspire me to buy tickets.

Well, today was the match, and it was amazing, enough so that I was jealous that as a male I couldn’t be a part of it.

In my mind, there’s nothing more exhillerating than watching two women duke it out.  Curvy women, with derby appropriate names, skating at high speed trying to out race and knock each other over is almost like Porn! LOL!

I can only imagine that had my Dad still been alive, he’d have loved it.

Needless to say, I got myself a t-shirt and will be looking into Season Tickets for next year.  I’m a convert!

Now I have to watch the movie Whip It, a derby inspired film.  Can’t wait!

Oh, as for the Finals…   Grave Danger who had previously been undefeated, lost to Sprockit Wenches.

My favourite player was “Anja Heels”.  A big girl, who when I first saw her enter the rink, I never imagined for a minute that she’d either have the stamina to maintain the pace of the ability to compete.  I take back every thought, eat my words and apologise profusely.  In my mind she’ll forever be known as “Juggernaught”.  Not only was she as fast, if not faster than a lot of the other competitors, she was virtually unstoppable.  Let’s just say that if I was her opponent and saw her coming, I’d throw myself to the floor and just plain get the hell out of her way.  This lady means business!

Here’s a sample of the names that I remember off the top of my head:

Teams were, Grave Danger, Sprockit Wenches, Throttle Rockets, Derby Liberation Front (DLF).

Player names, Grim Chee, Muffstache, Anja Heels, Ann R Kissed, Sheeza Brickhouse, Reanimate-her, to name just a few.

I should have taken my camera.  Dammit!

Can’t wait till next season! 🙂

Sheer Genius!

28 05 2010

Now I’m a fan of using cameras as tools for more than just recording memories.  I regularly use mine as a reminder device, especially of where I parked when I’m in a multi-level carpark, like at the airport.

But when I stumbled across this blog entry of someone’s personal use of their camera as a it’s own security or tracking device I had to laugh, and marvel at the genius behind it.

Judge for yourself.  All credit goes to the author Darren Rowse, the blog; Digital Photography School, and the lateral thinking of the camera owner; Andrew McDonald.

How To Get Your Camera Back by Andrew Rowse