Fear and Paranoia

I was in the car this past Sunday morning and I flipped the radio on to MPR News. There was an interview underway by Rachel Martin of three young Republicans. I stopped to listen because I heard one of the women describe herself as a Black pro-LGBT attorney. I wanted to hear what things a young Black woman pro-LGBT attorney found enticing in the current Republican platform.

Unfortunately, before the interview got there they asked Will Estrada, a 32 year old home-schooling advocate, what he thought about the current conversation on immigration policies and Syrian refugees. I was able to find a transcript of the highlights from that interview:

WE: As an evangelical Christian, we see in the bible that we’re all created equal in the image of God and a lot of the rhetoric that is used in modern American politics detracts from that. We need to be caring for the poor and the vulnerable.

Good, good. I mean, we disagree on using the bible as a reference for policy, but if you want to draw inspiration from your holy book, this is the kind of message I’d prefer to see you use.

… But

Goddammit. There’s always a but with these guys.

having said that it also starts with we’ve got to protect our citizens, we’ve got to protect men, women, children here in America. And I’m very concerned, Rachel, and I think a lot of Americans are concerned when we see young men of military age coming over from war-torn countries, who we don’t know and we can’t verify. I always think, what would happen – that movie Red Dawn that came out in the 80s – what would happen if our country were attacked? Would we be fleeing or would we be fighting for our country?

Red Dawn? Really? Goddammit! You are representing young Republicans on frickin’ Weekend Edition and you’re going to use frickin’ RED DAWN as a reference!? I like to think that Rachel Martin shared my incredulity because she said:

RM: But Red Dawn is a fictionalized account that stirs up fear and paranoia.

Only The Women Showed Up

There’s a video being passed around of Senator Lisa Murkowski praising her female coworkers for showing up to work on the day after a brutal blizzard, while the chamber appears to be conspicuously absent of men (fwiw, there were a few men present). One of the videos going around has been edited to intersperse images of strong women celebrities looking badass into Sen. Murkowski’s short speech. It’s all very exciting.

“I think it’s genuinely fabulous,” Murkowski said on the Senate floor. “You look around the chamber, and the presiding officer is female, all of our parliamentarians are female.”

“Our floor managers are female, all of our pages are female. Now this was not orchestrated in any way, shape, or form. Perhaps it just speaks to the hardiness of women that you put on your boots and put your hat on, and get out.”

GQ seems to agree that the men of the Senate got showed up by the ladies:

Even if the Senators are stuck out of town in their home states, you can’t tell me there aren’t some male staffers who could have made it in. We all like to watch Netflix and drink on a Tuesday afternoon, but the men of the Senate need to make a better showing next time.

Why is this being hyped as a pro-woman moment? Why haven’t we instead wondered why all of these women felt compelled to make it in to work on one of the worst weather days of the year, while most of their male counterparts felt safe not coming in?

Could it be because women are still experiencing inequity in the workplace and so we accept nothing in ourselves that could possibly be construed as weakness, such as evaluating the commute and deciding that unsafe weather conditions warrant staying home for a day such as being scared by a little snow on the road? Or maybe it’s because we’ve been conditioned to be afraid of missing the tiniest detail that might help us get ahead at work or that might damn us in our absence? Or did these powerful women – these Senators, these congressional parliamentarians and pages serving in one of the highest offices in the country – did they perhaps remember that time that they missed that meeting and had the credit for their work stolen by a male coworker…again?

Nah, I’m sure it’s because women are “hardier” than men, because men are lazy and would rather find an excuse to drink beer and watch TV instead of do their jobs, because men disappoint when the going gets tough, because women have some undefined quality that translates into a superior work ethic.

That’s gotta be it, amirite, ladies? Way to be there when the men weren’t! Woo!

Fiction: First Kiss

Random flip through the writing prompts book landed  on “What was your first kiss like?” I don’t like writing romance, so I twisted it through the lens of speculative fiction, but still ended up in the middle of a love story. I let it sit for a few weeks on my hard drive, unattended, unloved (take that, romance story!). But tonight I’m going to a speculative fiction open mic and I wanted to have a story completed for that, so last night I threw on some headphones and made it happen. Still not sure if I’m in love with my romance, but the story has been told.

First Kiss

Michael smiled when he saw him. Jim was everything he could want for his first conshare. They say the melding of minds can’t be described – that it has to be experienced – but Michael had spent countless hours imagining what it would be like when he would finally take Jim into his arms. There would be no awkwardness or hesitation, just a soft kiss that would deepen until they began to fall into each other’s thoughts and dreams. He wondered how far he and Jim would allow each other to go. Jim usually displayed a cheerful optimism, but Michael sensed a sadness in him, a complexity that would paint their conshare with a rich velvet undertone that could stay with him for days afterward. Or perhaps longer.

[Read more…]

Saturday P365

Saturday was frickin’ freezing cold, but the Powderhorn365 waits for no weather. I took my camera and my bundled up butt for a short walk through the neighborhood. The tennis courts near my house have been closed for months, but the snow in the courts has been thoroughly trampled. Anyone fancy a game of winter tennis on a snow court? New Olympic sport, perhaps?

Four tennis nets run diagonally across the photo. Heavily traversed snow is visible on both sides of the nets. Dark green conifers are in the background, along with some thick bare tree trunks.

Powderhorn365 – It begins!

I’ve recently become involved with a neighborhood photography project called Powderhorn365.  I had been looking for ways to get involved in my new neighborhood and this seemed right up my alley. I started attending monthly P365 committee meeting and submitted a few photos for days on which substitute photographers were needed. Last fall I put in an application to become one of the seven weekly photographers – and I was accepted! My 2016 term started two weeks ago, and I’ve decided to cross-post those publications here.

Powderhorn 365’s Mission: “Through the lenses of volunteer photographers, Powderhorn365 tells the daily stories of the Powderhorn Park neighborhood: making people and places visible, documenting history and celebrating life. Powderhorn365 produces a visual, community-written narrative through photo postings, photobooks and exhibits.”

Some of my 2015 P365 photos are here.

January 2nd

Indoors - a bright orange wall dominates the background of the photo, and we are looking at the corner of a large room. An window-like opening in the wall peers up into a second story studio. Large framed art covers both walls. A woman stands behind the counter, a man leans against the front of the counter. Both are looking at the camera with smiles. A water dispenser and shovels are in the background.Twilight Tattoo – A proprietor and customer at Twilight Tatoo take a moment away from business to smile for Powderhorn365. Twilight Tattoo is on Cedar between Lake and 31st Street.

January 9th

Two men in warm clothing smiling broadly at the camera. The man in the back has his arms thrown wide. In the background, bar trees and white snow is visible.

Winter Walking Revels – My partner and I went walking along the south side of Powderhorn Park in search of today’s photograph. We ran into these two at 35th St. and 12th Ave, and they were happy to strike a pose for Powderhorn365.

P365 is also distributed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The Mystery of the Missing Boardgame

This past fall I went to OmegaCon, a small convention that takes place in central Wisconsin and mostly involves a lot of pajama wearing and gameboard playing. About a month after the con I was in my office and noticed that I was missing my copy of Lords of Waterdeep. This made me very sad. I assumed that I must have left it at the convention, even though games very rarely end up missing at that particular con. With a shrug and a c’est la vie, I put it aside and figured I’d try to track it down or pick up a new copy at some point.

Come Christmas morning:

An board game box with fantasy warrior artwork and "Lords of Waterdeep" text across the top of the box. The lid is lifted up so a few unpunched game pieces are visible..

A open Lords of Waterdeep game. Not lost at OmegaCon after all! Quizzical look at the Hubby. “Hubby – why did you take my Lords of Waterdeep game off of my shelf and wrap it up as a gift for me?”

“No, that’s a new game.” He doesn’t offer any other explanations, so I deftly further the interview, “Why?”

[Read more…]

7 Days of Nature Photos: Day 7

It’s the last day of the Nature Photo Challenge. Thanks to everyone who photo’d along; I enjoyed the company – and you all shared some pretty incredible photos.

Day 7: Powderhorn Park at Night

Dark trees with bare branches spaced out among short pale green grass. A car and house and street lamps are peeking out in the background.The sky is artificially light due to light pollution and a low f stop setting on my lens.

Nature photos are a challenge for a 9am-5pm working Minnesotan in the winter time. I went out to Powderhorn Park borrowed some lamp light, and some help from my f/1.8 lens and a tripod to get a decent shot of these trees.

Reader Contributions!

From Giliell:

Zoo 096


Pilzsuche 001

Mushroom hunt

From Pete M. in Pheonix, Arizona:

PBGR_6-7-14_Papago Pk_2009

One of my favorite birds, a Pied-billed Grebe at the city park I consider my home patch in Phoenix. This is an adult in its breeding finery.

7 Days of Nature Photos: Day 6

My friend Ben challenged me to a 7-day nature photo challenge, and that seems like fun, so I’m going to take him up on it. If you want to play along, you can send me a photo at bio_dork@hotmail.com and I’ll post your nature photo up here with credit in the form of name, nom de guerre, website, etc. and we’ll nature photo the shit out of this challenge.

Day 6: Wilted Sunflower
Photo is long and narrow, running along the length of a dry, brown sunflower with wilted leaves and pods

Reader contributions!

From David N:

An close up of a finch sitting among thin, bare branches. Snow appears as blurred streaks, and snowflakes rest on the finch's head. The photo is in excellent focus - the feathers of the bird are sharp and clear.

Here’s a finch from this afternoon, near one of 3 feeders. He’s just LOVING the shit out of the weather.

You can see more of David’s work at photosoutdoors.com