Monday, 24 October 2011

Fight some fools

I'm sorry, but I hate unions. Didn't they die after the labor laws of the 1930s came through? Isn't the CIO-AFL just a name that looks cool for when it's campaign season and presidential candidates want to look lower class supported? NO? Well color me surprised.

As a Zonie, I don't think I realized unions really existed and/or had a purpose past the 1930s. The Knights of Labor, the International Workers of the World, and all the other unions I learned about in history class are dead. Long gone. (Though I still like to make Wobblie references from time to time.) I figured it was safe to assume labor unions were dead by the time I graduated college. And in Arizona, where if you're not conservative you keep your political preference under wraps, we don't talk about unions. If there was a teamster union thing going on in the factory areas around town, who knew! Actually, we don't have factories. There is no industry in Arizona. Which would explain the lack of a prevalent union.

When I moved to Washington, holy cow unions were everywhere. Especially the Boeing union. Those guys are so freaking spoiled, it makes me sick. I still blame them for the delay in the 787. Our economy could have kept moving, but noooo, they had to strike about not getting enough medical benefits. You have more than me (which is none), so get over it! Just do your damn job! Every other year I swear those people strike.

When I started getting into the local political movement, only then did I really realized the prevalence of unions in this state. We have a lot of industry, especially at the coast, so I guess it makes sense to have some unions still in existence. The Longshoreman and the Teamsters are probably the most important. What their actual union names are, I'll never know. But good for them! I contemplated getting in contact with these groups to help with the political campaign I was on, but that never happened. Because I sucked at being a political organizer. (When you don't care, you just don't care!)

I started hating unions about the time I started working for Macy's in Olympia and after my sister had to deal with them at UC Irvine as a lab manager. (Yes, UC Irvine unionizes their lab workers AND their grad students - lame) When I was working in Oly, I heard about the union strikes at the Tacoma Macy's. I heard they were losing business and how workers were not coming in, etc. I was a gift registry person, so we picked up a lot of their registries while they were off striking over god knows what. Seriously, what does a RETAIL UNION have to strike about? Olympia is a very liberal place, but I found it was easy to make fun of the Macy's union with my co-workers. I asked my manager why Macy's Tacoma was unionized and we weren't. She said it had something to do with them being an older store and back in the day, that's just what they did. There were even stores in Seattle that were unionized.

Which, unfortunately, I did not remember her statement until I was sitting in the HR office at a Seattle's Macy's, filling out new hire paperwork, and being presented with a piece of paper for a union. My heart clinched and my stomach dropped. WE'RE UNIONIZED? WHY? Why would a part-time employee want to be unionized? And why the f*ck did I have to give them $100 for initiation fees, plus another $25, plus $15 a month? WHAT THE F*CK?! That's money I can use to pay for my bus pass! THEY ARE TAKING MY MONEY!

When I talked to my sister about the initiation fees, she laughed at me. She said I am now a voting member of the union. F*ck that shit! I don't want to be part of the union! That's going to look terrible on my resume.

Do you know what I get for being part of this union? NOTHING. Ohhh I have the choice of taking either a 30 min lunch or an hour lunch on Sunday. So exciting! I mean, what am I going to do with this benefit of being unionized? Apparently the union used to help people get the core schedule that they wanted if someone left their department. But guess what. We no longer have core schedules. Soooo, basically, there are no benefits to having the union. Except for the lunch thing. If I'm working 6 hours, I can take an hour lunch instead of the 30 min lunch you're supposed to take. Or, you can take 40 mins. Or 50 mins. Oh my god! I'm so glad I have a union to help me get a longer lunch on Sunday.

The only thing I get out of this union is seeing the name of the union pop up on my pay stub and getting $15 taken out at least once a month from my measly paycheck. So awesome.

Tell me you'd like unions after being unionized as a part-time retail employee. Go on, I dare you.

In conclusion... UNIONS ARE DEAD! They serve no purpose in our modern society! It's like they take you back in time. It's like living in 'the Pajama Game'. It's like they don't want you to succeed and would rather take your hard earned money instead. Which I always thought was wrong. The union is just a more organized way for a foreman to get rich while the workers die trying. It's bullshite!

(I know I'm missing facts, but this is just how I feel based on personal experience. So, don't get upset or anything. At least I'm not completely misinformed like Republicans.)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Colbert Report

I have found a new love and appreciation for The Colbert Report. And that's pronounced 'ra-por', by the way. Classy, right? I think his show is better than Stewart's Daily Show. Despite the fact Colbert is supposed to be playing a "conservative" character. According to research (props to Dr LaMar of University of Michigan, I believe), college students that identify with conservative political belief are the most likely to believe Colbert is conservative. I think liberals know he's lying, so that's why they (also meaning me) like him. Or maybe it's because those who are liberal always laugh at anything conservative based... (Note to self, maybe research this some day?)

Anyway, I love this guy. His show is hilarious. He does make fun of conservatives. He made fun of Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois and his "summer of fitness" promoted in Men's Health Magazine. As Colbert said, it'll help people get in shape, but by September, we'll all become "alfredo sauce" again. WAY TO GO! Haha. Like a summer of fitness will stop anyone from having health issues. (Or needing Medicare/Medicaid - IDIOT) It's called eating right and getting regular check-ups, too. Which some people need state-funded health care in order to do that. I think Rep. Schock just wanted an excuse to show off his six-pack abs. It is almost campaign season again, after all.

Anyway, this dude... He's just... Okay, watch Colbert's interview with Aaron Schock a few years back, oh my god. SO FUNNY. It's like this dude has never heard of Colbert before. He knows something of Colbert (I'm sure his college buddy that serves on his crew told him), but still, is SO unaware of what/who he is. Perhaps he's one of the college students who said they believed Colbert was conservative...

Anyway, it was so so funny. I have to share it.

(the interview starts at 1.50)

He's the youngest member of the current Congress and SO CLUELESS. So clueless as to Colbert, his reasoning, etc. (Also, he's clueless on the fact the Constitution doesn't support life. NOPE. It does support right to bear arms, which is probably the only correct thing he can list from the TEN AMENDMENTS. Which is not the Constitution. Which I feel the Second Amendment has been taken out of context in the modern times. But that's another story for another time.)

Now, when I become the youngest member in the House, I will be READY for Colbert. Unlike this chump. Who does have nice abs, for a Republican, by the way.

I have decided I will a) laugh, b) smile, c) be sarcastic and not at all serious (uhhh when am I anyway?), and d) ask for a hug at the end of the interview. I will show Colbert that I am not afraid of his interviews. Which are meant to confound people. I will be ready for him. And actually, the idea of being interviewed by Colbert because I'm the next youngest member of the House makes me excited to start my campaign.

So, if it's true Washington is being appropriated a new Congressional District, say hello to your 2012 Democratic candidate. BOO YA.

Actually, no, I know I should start at state level. Which I'll do that after I get my next MA. Or PhD. School is still so important to me. But, with a MA/PhD in Communication and focus on political comedy and voter behavior, I will be the smartest and the wittiest of the candidates! All interviewers will bow down to me! I will turn the interviewer into the interviewee! Oh yeah, you heard it here first. (She says sarcastically... So, no, you can't quote me on this later. I will sue for libel if you do.)

Le sigh, it's good to be a journalist and almost-political communicationist. (I just made that up. COPYRIGHT! Haha)

Anway, I will be ready for Colbert. And I will brush up on all his work so I will be PRA-PARED. Like Ross and his uniagi. Or Rachel and her salmon skin roll. It's gonna be, in the words of Draco Malfoy, totally awesome.

(Draco Malfoy as played by Lauren Lopez in 'A Very Potter Musical', that is... Here is the Youtube video. Educate yourself!:

*Song starts at 3.42, says "totally awesome" few seconds later. It's well, totally awesome!*)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I am in misery

Abby adopted a boy cat from the Seattle Humane Society yesterday. He's seven years old and all black. The SHS called him Halloween, but we re-named him Lenny. Abby wanted to call him Lennon, but I thought that was weird and suggested Lenny. Also, Nicolle thought Abby was saying Lenin (she's weird, I know), so Lenny stuck. We tried out other names, but Lenny stuck. So, he's called Lenny.

When we first brought him in and set him up in Abby's room, Rory wanted into Abby's room so badly. She wanted to see the new arrival. She even stuck her paw under the door and tried moving the door. So, we opened up the door, I held on to Rory and Abby held on to Lenny and they saw each other from across Abby's room. Rory was clambering to get to him, but of course we didn't let her. Now, ever since she's seen Lenny, Rory's been moody and weird.

I don't know if getting another cat, especially a boy cat, was such a good idea. We originally went in to adopt Joey, but was told by the adoption specialist that Joey had to be an only cat. He was aggressive with other animals and was quite a tough alley cat. Remind you of anyone? I thought 'hey, perfect, Rory and Joey will both hate each other and they'll cancel each other out! no relationship, no problem'. But the adoption specialist didn't want us to risk it. So, no Joey.

We found Lenny in one of the cat condos, just chilling. He was very loving from the get go. Purring and trying to sit with us. So sweet. He wasn't phased by the other cats in the room with him. So we thought, this might be the cat. We brought him home. And now Rory is pissed.

I feel like a terrible pet parent for putting this stress on Rory. She's hissed at me at least three times and walks around like she's afraid to see what's around the corner. She won't walk past Abby's door to go into the bathroom. She hides in Nicolle's room or sits on the couch. She slept with me last night, which was a good sign, but she's afraid and more aggressive than normal. But, she doesn't want to play, isn't really eating, and won't even willingly eat her treats. She loves treats.

I know she's stressed out and this could all go away. But I don't like it. This isn't Rory. Rory is finally the dominate cat of the household and now she's reverting to bottom-of-the-food-chain-but-I'm-gonna-fight-my-way-to-the-top mode. I'm afraid of what she's going to do. And that goes from not eating and losing weight, to getting a UTI from not going to the bathroom, to excessive grooming, to being more aggressive.

We're going to get some felaway defusers and see if that helps. Rory has her own kitty nip toys and so does Lenny. I wash my hands after touching Lenny so Rory won't get mad at his smell. I will try my hardest not to visit him in Abby's room so Rory knows I love her the most. I will do all I can to make her comfortable and establish she is head of the household. She'll never be queen (that is Sassy's title), but she's prime minister of the house. And if all else fails, we'll go back to my mom's. Where she knows she's the bottom of the pack and likes to fight like she's not. Or, at the very least, in a year and a half we'll be living in our own place as I start grad school again. Just her and me. I think for the rest of her life it has to be just her and me. Unless, a kitty chooses us. Then we can take them in.

And you know what, it's weird and depressing to go to the Humane Society. I wanted to take all of the cats I met home. I cried last night about them when I was talking to my mom. She asked me why I was crying and I said it's because it's just so sad that these cats were given up. One cat we met was called Winnie. She was 12 and was given up because she housesoiled. One cat was called Chase. She was 10 and her owners surrendered her to be euthanized. Over a skin allergy. Chase was SO sweet. She was about Rory's size. But we knew Rory would be so mean to her. She was fragile like Sassy. And Nicolle would have hated Abby for picking a cat that was Sassy-like. I just want her to get adopted. I feel so guilty we couldn't take her. See - it's depressing to go to the Humane Society!

Plus it's weird to pick your cat. The only cats we've ever picked were Randy and Sassy. We found Randy via an ad for free cat to good home (the family rescued cats for a living) and we found Sassy at Petsmart's adoption center when we went to get Randy more Science Diet food. Randy and Sassy were fate. Nothing felt wrong about picking those two. But picking a cat the other day felt weird to me.

Maybe it's because we were in the kitty condos, where they keep a few cats together in a comfy room. You see more than one cat at a time because of that. Almost all want your attention. It's hard to give them all attention at one time. And it's hard when you have to leave them. And it's even harder when you have to leave with just one. And it's even, even harder when you leave with that one cat from the Humane Society and question if you've made the right choice. Not just about the cat, but about bringing that cat into a home with Rory. Time will tell, I know, but I'm just worried for Rory. I'm a worrisome pet parent.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur...

I'm staying with my sisters right now and they have my evil cat Rory. She can be cute and is very hyper/playful, but randomly attacks me, so evil. She's also evil in the sense she's a terrible playmate. She was SO MEAN to my beloved cat Sassy (a few days before Sassy passed, Rory jumped on top of her and pinned her down - I swear she was trying to smother her. See - EVIL), she's tortured my dad's cat Tiggy (who is twice her size) so much to the point she wouldn't leave my dad's room, and fought like a crazy alley cat with my mom's cat Missy. Missy was the only one who could handle her. She'd beat the crap out of Rory. She would just stare down Rory, which would cause Rory to start chattering and looking all crazy like she wanted revenge, then she'd high tail it and run away from Missy. Missy always got the last word in with Rory.

Now Rory is an only cat since she left my parents' house. Since we no longer have Sassy with us, she's definitely alone. She has never been the only cat. And despite being so very evil, she likes being around other cats. She just won't admit it.

By the way, if Rory was Stitch from 'Lilo and Stitch', her badness level would look like this:

That badness level has not changed. Even though she's been by herself since September of last year and has two to three people paying attention to her at all times.

Now, my little sister wants to get another cat. We've been contemplating if it would be a good idea for this to happen for the past few months. Believe it or not, Rory gets really sad when she's left for the day. She HATES being alone. She's a very contradictory cat. So maybe another cat would be a good idea for her. One that is younger than her (she's 6 years old at time of press) and can keep up with her. And possibly, a boy. She seems to hate her fellow girls, or something.

The more we've been contemplating adding another cat to the household, the closer it comes to being true. My little sister was looking through the Seattle Humane Society website at the cats available for adoption and she found a cat she really would like to meet called Joey.

Joey is an alley cat who was brought in by a good samaritan. He had an eye condition and the vet clinic at the Humane Society had to preform surgery on him to ensure his eyelashes, which were curled in, wouldn't scratch his eyes. Just looking at this little boy makes me want to cry and hug him. He is such a trooper.

I would love to add him to the household. He's younger, so he could keep up with Rory. He likes to fetch and catch, just like Rory. He's like a male version of Rory, but sounds a little nicer. He requires a lot of care though because he needs eye drops a few times a day. But that's okay. The problem is, is he's a cat. And I'm afraid of what Rory will do to him.

Joey is an alley cat like Rory, so he can take care of himself. Maybe that'll help them get along. Rory is settled as head of my sisters' household, so may that'll help too. Rory is also older than Joey, which is good. It'll make her feel even more like head of the household if she knows she's older. All these things should mean Joey would be a welcomed (and maybe ignored by Rory) addition to the household.

Yet I can't help but fear her being evil. I mean, you see how bad she is, per the Stitch drawing. That is an accurate portrayal of Rory. No joke. Obviously, this level of evilness worries me. If a new cat joins the house, I'm afraid she'll get jealous and act out terribly again like she did when at my parents' house. She has calmed down a little since being on her own. She purrs now (she never used to) and is more cuddly. As I write this, she is sitting next to me on the couch. Before, she'd only sit by me if I was asleep. She's come a good long way from where she used to be, but still. She worries me. And any cat that is welcomed into the household needs to be able to take her on. I'm sure Joey could give her a run for her money, but I still fear for him. Or any cat my little sister might adopt while living in the same house as Rory.

I don't want a sweet cat like Joey to suffer at the paws of Rory. He's been through enough already. But, he needs a home. We're more than capable of helping Abby provide a home for Joey. He looks so cute and he needs love. (So does every cat at the Humane Society... I want to take care of all of them!) He needs to roam outside of his cat cage at the Humane Society. But is roaming at our house a good idea for him? Especially with evil Rory around? I don't know. I just don't know.

I already feel terribly guilty for what Rory did to Sassy. And what she did to Tiggy. And what she did to Missy. I can't love her as much as I love my other cats because of what she's done. I love her as much as I can. I don't want to feel more guilt and lose more respect for her if we allow Joey to coincide with her and she beats him up all the time. I couldn't live with myself if she did that. It's not fair. I just don't know what to do. Or what to feel about this situation. This is tough. And I feel like a terrible pet parent because I can't control Rory.

What should I do? Give Joey a chance? Or shelter Rory from other cats? I want to give a loving home to another cat, but I also want to protect them from Rory. I want Rory to be comfortable, but I don't want her to be alone. This is so confusing. I know in the end, I won't make the decision about Joey. Abby will. Which is what's right. But I still don't know how I should feel about this.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Kennedys and my family

Today while I was waiting for the Caroline Kennedy book signing, I realized my family has paralleled the Kennedys' for three generations.

Generation One: Grandma saw Bobby Kennedy speak in Oregon.

Generation Two: Uncle, son of grandma, also saw Bobby Kennedy speak.

Generation Three: Grandchildren meet Caroline Kennedy.

There could have been four generations because my Great-Grandpa attended a Inauguration Ball (for being an outstanding Democrat and union man) in the 1960s, but it turns out it was LBJ's Ball. Not Kennedy's. But he attended the 1964 ball, which could have been Kennedy's if he hadn't died. And LBJ's ball wouldn't have happened in 1964 if it wasn't for Kennedy dying. So... Kind of a fourth generation exposure to the Kennedys - yes?

I love politics. And famous people. And paralleling. Paralleling is a good word too.

This is the song that doesn't end

One of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was 'Lamb Chop and Friends'. I loved little Lamb Chop and her animal friends! I also loved the closing song, "This Is The Song That Doesn't End." Whenever I get it into my head, I bounce around the house like a 7-year-old, singing to it. I even got my cat excited about it today. We had fun. And we never have fun. She just bites me. (Evil kitty!)

But listening to that song does stir up bad memories. Like how I wasn't allowed to watch it because it came on before 11am in the summer time. And in Arizona, to save electricity, we have Peak and Off-Peak times. Up til 11am was considered Peak time, so the company (SRP, the bastards!) could charge more money. Lamb Chop came on before Peak time ended. So, I'd have to sneak into the dining room and turn on our mega old, little tiny TV, position the antenna just right, and try to quietly watch Lamb Chop without waking up my dad. Some times that didn't work. Some times he was up before me. Some times I would defiantly watch the show anyway. Um, that never went over very well. My dad always yelled at me and switched off the TV. It was never pleasant.

I hate dealing with my dad. And dealing with my dad when I was younger was worse. He was way harsh. I don't understand how a tiny TV turned on for 30 minutes takes up a lot of electricity? What I really don't understand is why he had to treat me so poorly over something so simple as letting a child watch a children's show. I was always berated for my attempts to watch the show. Always put down. Constantly meant to be made inferior. That is no way to raise a daughter.

Despite the harsh memories, I still love Lamb Chop. And the song. Maybe I love it because it reminds me that no matter what, I was once a kid. A kid who deserved to watch Lamb Chop.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Neither here nor there

I just finished reading Bill Bryson's travel memoir, "Neither Here Nor There." The book is a hilarious, rightfully exaggerated account about his travels through Europe in the early 1990s; as well as including tidbits from a European trip he took in 1973 with his best friend, Stephen Katz. He basically re-followed his trip from 1973 for this book, but with some added stops and different accounts.

It's interesting to see how different traveling Europe was in 1973 compared to 1990. And how different traveling can be when you have money. I personally hate the idea of back-packing Europe. I know, I know - it's the thing for American kids to do. But really, who thought it was a good idea to spend a vacation in Europe being smelly and gross? Who says to themselves "Yay I can't wait to pitch a tent on the side of the freeway in France"? I know I never thought such a foul thing. Once a friend suggested that very idea to me. I nearly hit them.

Europe is a place meant to be explored and experienced. Not a place that is meant to stress you out while you smell up the place. Traveling is stressful enough. But isn't it nice to come back to a hotel with your own bathroom at the end of the day? It seems Mr Bryson relished in the fact he could take a shower in every city he stopped in. He detailed every hotel he stayed at, whether it was worthy of his time and money or not. He even divulged into the properties of the hotel more than he did the city he was visiting. I find that interesting. I guess that's what older people with money do when they travel Europe. And if I travel Europe and stay at hotels instead of hostels or tents by the side of the road, I'd do that too.

Another thing I noticed about Mr Bryson's book is the way it can convince the reader to fall in love with a town or hate it. He is so descriptive and clever with his words about any town. And after reading this book, I can tell you there are now some cities I will never visit. Istanbul, for one thing. I've never warmed up to the idea of a Turkish holiday (though the Europeans love it), but now I know I never want to go there. I have personal bubble issues and fear of purse-snatchers enough as it is. Send me to the Istanbul described in Mr Bryson's book and I'll have a heart attack. It's irrational to base an assumption of a city on an account someone wrote down in 1990, but to me, it makes sense. If one American can hate the city, then I can too. So, no Istanbul for me.

He did make me want to visit Rome more than before. I would love to see how Italians park their compact cars in non-existent spaces and gesture rudely at each other first hand. At first, his account made me second guess ever visiting the majestically ancient city, but by the end of the chapter, I was all set to take a Roman holiday.

Despite it's sore spots, as described by Mr Bryson, Europe seems like the best place on Earth. Only there can you travel a few hours and find yourself in a different country, surrounded by different food, customs, and language. Only there can you expect to be treated either like a local or brushed-off like a foreigner. (And no matter how hard you try not to be a typical foreigner in Europe, people will disregard you anyway! They know) Only there can you experience history first hand. The cities Mr Bryson visited were made to awe people. Churches built so significantly large it made its worshipers tremble in fear. Cities built so beautifully and richly it made poor people cry. Yes, the degregation of modern society has sent cities spiraling downward when it comes to beauty and awe, but the meaning is still there.

I've only been to three cities in Germany, but I can tell you, based on this book, that there is no place I'd rather be than Europe. And one day, I intend to return.