Am I a Homeowner?

Am I a homeowner?  Or does the home own me?  Still got like $65,000 in student debt, to which now is added $280,000 more in mortgage on a weenie little condo.  My household has a zany scheme to pay the condo off in eleven years, but you know how zany schemes go.  Any given thing goes wrong and that never gets paid off at all, just ends up being a permanent interest treadmill for the last owner standing.

One of these days, I’ll sell the screenplay to Gun Lemurs for a half million and knock out all my debts at once.  ONE. OF. THESE. DAAAAAAYS.

Floating Away on a Strange Day

Content Warnings: Homicidal Ideation, Capitalism, The Housing Market

So I’m looking to buy a house for the first time.  A butterfly just fluttered by.  What was I saying?  Oh yes.  I’m looking to buy a house for the first time or, rather, a condo – because it’s the only thing in our price range that isn’t a dilapidated pile of weirdness or vacant lot.  This search has brought me back to my hometown – not the place I was born, but the place that I spent most of my formative years, from junior high through high school, to fast food and living in attics and basements in my twenties.

I have an appointment today for viewing a place at 4:00.  It’s on a street where I used to live, a street I walked many many times.  I can remember losing some drawings there on a snowy night, retracing my steps, and finding them in a puddle with half the water soluble ink washed away.  This was the street I lived on when my oldest nieces were taken from the family by CPS and went through very bad times.

But I might live here again, in a condo this time.  I say here, because as I compose this, I am in that neighborhood.  But I want to start this story earlier in the day.  I work from home three days a week and go to the office on Tuesdays.  We’re required to come to the office on a different specific day of the week for an in-person meetingcovid spreader event once every three months, and that happened yesterday.  So my laptop was packed up in a bag this morning and I didn’t feel like unpacking it just to do a half day – I also have Monday off because of a doctor’s appointment – so I took the whole day off from work.

To save a little dosh I took the bus instead of an uber.  The first step of that trek was a fifteen minute walk along a busy thoroughfare in my grey smear of a suburb, no sidewalks.  Across the street is the chamber of commerce building, which is in the bottom of a paved ravine for some reason.  The sign looks like it’s falling, because it’s on the ramp down to that pit.  It just struck me as a fun metaphor for capitalism, especially contrasted with the side of the street I was on.  There is a vacant patch of land that is, for the moment, overgrown with trees and high bushes.  There are trails there, not unlike the trails deer create as they push their bodies through the woods, but these were created by homeless humans, of the losers in our shitty game.

I’m a different tier of loser in that shitty game.  The cost of rent here is jumping so quickly that the only way to have any hope for the future is to buy a home fucking immediately.  High as interest rates on home loans are, it will be the equivalent of taking a two hundred dollar rent hike one year in exchange for not having a hundred-plus hike annually forever.  I’m finally in a position to make this happen.  Five years ago I wasn’t, and prices then were half what they are now.  It’s kind of miserable to see what I missed out on.  Anyway,

I got on the bus, took it down to my hometown, got off at the transit station.  A little old lady – probably not ten years older than me – was trembling on the platform, in the bright sunlight.  I smiled at her through my n95, hoping in a moment that my eyes had been smiling.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have done that, because she had some words for me.  I can’t tell if she was begging for change or telling me I’m gross, because her language was a mysterious babble, inaudible above the noise of train tracks and freeway nearby.  Even though there was plenty of room for her to sit somewhere else or move away from where I was sitting, she just stood there, trembling away, a few feet in front of me.  I got uncomfortable of that awkwardness and moved myself to another bench.

The bus from the transit center to my old neighborhood runs half hourly.  Could be worse.  There were just a few people on it, cute-looking gay &/or polynesian mans, and they got off before I did.  Then I was there, on the street of my grody late childhood.

There are a lot of mobile home parks down here – more than I remembered.  The tree where our siamese cat got stuck has been cut down, and the fence hole we used for a shortcut to the 7-eleven had been sealed up, and covered with bushes.  I got to the place too early, and so I set out to time how long it takes to get from the condo we are considering to the nearest grocery store and park.  Spoiler, twenty-five and twelve minutes respectively.

Along the way to the grocery store, there’s a spot where you can turn left or right.  Right keeps you going towards the grocery store, left now leads to a private freight road that wasn’t there when I was young.  But also in that direction, there was once a way you could walk down to the river over some rough rocks and thorny bushes, and I wanted to see if you could still do that.

That was a mistake.  It’s private property, but you can tell it’s never attended by anybody.  The sign says the police are contracted to enforce against trespassers, but where were the cops?  Hell if I know.  The fence was smashed down around some mossy boulders.  I went inside.

The way down to the river was just clear enough that I could tell people still used it regularly, but it was grown over.  Based on the vines I suspect nobody had used it for at least a few days.  It’s a twisty hike through blackberry bushes, bamboo, spider webs, fallen logs, abandoned mattresses, emptied beer kegs and cans, used condoms, syringes…  All the good things in life.  When I reached the water I could see that it was white for some reason.

The last time I went down there I was probably seventeen?  There was a lot less overgrowth back then, and you can see garter snakes slipping in and out of the boulders on the hillside.  Around that time my sister got pregnant, and I knew she was going to destroy the life of any child that she gave birth to.  For years after she proved that to be true, I used to (creepily) tell people that I should have brought her down to that piece of river and put a knife in her heart.  Prebortion.  I never did that, so several lives were ruined, and my own was spared.  I used to regret that more.  Note: If your siblings have counted not murdering you as one of their life’s regrets, you done fucked up.

I crawled out of that disgusting patch of land, all my preparations to look presentable gone to waste.  The spider webs glued all sorts of strange things to my new black pants and they won’t come off.

I walked on this hot shitty day to the local grocery store.  It had changed from albertson’s to safeway, and the AC was not adequate to cool me down after all that exercise.  Sticking my head in every cooler and getting it misted in the produce section, also totally useless.  I went looking for a restaurant with adequate AC, hit up the mcdonald’s and the subway, before I settled on a Mexican bar & grill that was one of the last businesses standing from my youth.

The counter was sticky but you could get cold beverages and it was on the shadowy side of the strip mall, so cooler than the franchises in the front lot.  I watched a rebroadcast ladies soccer game from several years ago and consumed a few non-alcoholic margaritas before I set out again.  Now I’ve timed the trip from the condo to the nearest park, and I’m laying on a metal bench in a large gazebo…

Coming back to this post after having toured the condo and come home, and having put in our bid.  It’s got central AC and the price is as right as possible given the circumstances.  If anyone outbids us though, we have to keep looking.  No wiggle room in our budget.  I feel partially cooked, even without significant sunburn, like I’m on a grade to the status ailment “sweet juicy meat falling off the bone.”

Eager for this journey to reach an end.

Can Mass Labor Action Succeed?

I heard UPS is about to face a strike bigger than anything in US history, while the writers and actors are out in solidarity as we speak. There’s a possible outcome of these mass labor actions that I don’t know if any of these glorious fighters are prepared to face.  Can’t the corporations involved just let themselves fail?

Think about it.  These fucks all have insurance on their insurance on their insurance, financial vehicles that are impossible for human minds to handle in their complexity.  Shit that makes big math brains reach for the calculator, all constructed to absolve any rich person from ever truly losing.  Golden parachutes, bankruptcy laws more generous than anything even the millionaire class has available to them.

Couldn’t the paymasters of UPS see a labor force that has become unmanageable and just say, fuck it, UPS doesn’t exist anymore, and all laugh their way to the fucking bank, and live out the rest of their lives in crystal palaces drinking unicorn blood wine and masturbating to surgery videos, or whatever it takes to make a billionaire shoot his goo?

I think the financial system has become a million times more sophisticated since the days of labor action past, when the bosses had to resort to machine gun massacres.  I think the only real mass action that can succeed at this point is stuff that rejects the system completely, works outside of it.  Don’t try to make the industry equitable, just build anarcho-syndicalist schemes that allow you to work outside of the industry altogether.  Dark UPS, deliver my packages.  I’ll pay you in potatoes and unused oxycodone from my last dental work.  Dark Hollywood, make us the movies you could never have made under Time-Warner-AOL-Starbucks-Huawei-Purina.

That’s my fear on one hand, and my dream on the other.  Good luck to the strikers just the same, and long live the fighters.

Conservatives are Boring and Predictable

That bitch dobnal trunk is saying if u don’t vote for him democracy goes bye-bye, when any emeff with eyes has known for years now that if creeps like him or desampnis win, democracy does indeed go bye-bye.  Just another predictable predictable predictable case of right wing projection.  I’d ask if these fucklords could get a new script but they’d probably start communicating in monkey torture videos and christian music.

I tried to post a fun cheesy music video from the ’90s today and in googling “paul stanley chest hair” i had to find out about “paul stanley regurgitates christofascist-filtered terf talking points.”  If you’re gonna be a gender non-conforming transphobe, Paul, why doncha come up with something more original?  Like, “trans people are gonna take over the world with dubstep and use the cis for slave labor on the rings of saturn.”  Oh, I know why you didn’t do that.  Because you’re a boring and predictable conservative doing the most obvious shit humanly possible.

Fucking off now.

Covid Inbound

Stretch goal reached!
Look for my rap video, most likely before the end of the month.


Somebody in my household just blew hot for the Creepin Crud.  The Corvide.  The 2019 Gift That Keeps on Giving.

There are three of us.  One is fortyish and too disabled to have a day job, one is 65 and  works in an office five days a week, and there’s me in the middle at forty-six, working in a mostly empty office one day a week and telecommuting another three.  Our resident senior citizen, unfortunately, had the largest exposure, works with covidiots plague rats (forgot my policy), and brought that stuff right home to us, breathing in our grits relentlessly until the hot test less than a half hour ago.

So we’re pretty much gonna get it, and I’m probably going to have to reschedule the procedures I have scheduled for the 25th and 27th of this month.  Vexatious.  Tempted to be pretty fucken mad at our senior citizen because she is a lot less conscious about keeping her mask on than we are, but she can’t help being a dingus, and she does mask more than most people in the USA right now.

I’m hella PO’d tho.  As ever, motherfuck the United SnaKKKes for treating the pandemic as a chance to practice capitalist medicine on the rest of the (more) civilized world, squatting over the medicines like dragons on gold, guaranteeing this will go on forever and ever.  I never stopped masking.  I surely never will.  But will that keep me from getting covid?

Fucking of course not.  Still worth it to lower viral load and minimize long-term symptoms, but yet another reminder you can do everything in the world to take care of yourself and your people and still get taken the fuck out by the scumbaggery of others.

Who Are We Occupying This Week?

Russia invaded Ukraine, which blows.  Murderous dickbags gonna murder.  Anyway, I’m supposed to stand in judgment of that, but I’m in a glass house.  Gotta check out the periphery before I throw Slava Ukrainis.  Who is the US military occupying this week?  Who are we raining mutilation and ruin upon?  How about our buddies, like the Saudis?  Israel?  I’ve lost track again.

USA, More Weimar Than Weimar

A few years ago it was hot to compare the USA to the short-lived Weimar Republic of Germany, the one that was replaced by the nazis.  The situation in Germany was largely attributed to the punitive treatment of country after World War One.  Somehow (demonizing socialism, never meaningfully addressing any crimes the US committed, never willing to face the hateful core of America’s real values), we did this to ourselves, no major military loss necessary.  Congrats?  Anyway, the comparison never stopped being valid.

Right now we are even closer to nazi rule than we were under Trump himself.  The way power is structured in this country guarantees the GOP a seat at the table, and they’ve gone full goosestep.  Many states are already falling under laws that are equivalent to the book burning at the Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institut für Sexualwissenschaft.  Don’t say pronouns law?  Rampant book banning?  The dismantling of a single university in Florida under that state’s governor?  The exact mirror of Bolsonaro’s raids on universities in Brazil.  Expect it to go nationwide as soon as we have a nazi president.  I’d say republican but at this point that is fully redundant.

The howling jackals of fascism are gearing up for total conquest, and all they need is the executive branch to clinch the end of our weak-ass imitation of a democracy.  It’s just a matter of time.  They will get the presidency again.  One possible way to prevent a future nazi president from devastating this country with executive orders would be to curtail the powers of the president substantially.  I’d like to see that happen, but power fucken looooves power, and will never put meaningful restrictions on new powers that have been allowed.  The same way we can’t make meaningful taxes happen on the rich once they’ve been given breaks.

I was put in mind of this by the way there are good things happening right now, mostly from executive action.  There are executive orders, but also appointed heads of government agencies making progressive policies within their remit – like the way you can, for the moment, change your gender marker on your Social Security card or passport without need for proof documents.  Expect all of that to be reversed with a single pen stroke under the next nazi president.

It’s best to just be prepared for it, emotionally and physically.  Think, what will my role be under nazism?  We can’t all be armed fighters.  Some of us will have to settle for smaller acts of resistance.  As republicans expand their hate campaigns and shore them up in the legal systems of their states, anybody who murders a trans person, no matter how flagrantly, will be let off the hook – like Emmett Till’s killers.  For that matter, expect all reproach or rebuke for killer cops to end.  Many who have already been jailed will probably get pardoned.  At least the white ones.  Under a republican president, we may see concentration camps for trans people (we never stopped having them for immigrants), probably gay folk as well.  The idea has already been floated, in Arizona I think?  Jewish people will be far from safe.  I have no idea what kind of crack fucks like Ben Shapiro are smoking, that they are willing propagandists for the nazi side.

That’s the obvious stuff, the stuff they’re already announcing as future plans.  But what about the stuff that hasn’t been stated yet?  That is historically part of the fascist agenda?  Military conquest.  Fascism fucks a country up, and to maintain the illusion it’s a reasonable way to do things, they need to sack resources from other countries.  The easiest targets will be Cuba, Haiti, and other Caribbean countries.  Might see an Axis-type alliance with Brazil if things go sideways there again.  Ultimately Canada and Mexico would be occupied territory.  Hopefully no nukes will be used, but given the expansion of first strike capabilities under Trump, it’s anybody’s guess.  I’m guessing the Mexican resistance will do some righteous terrorism on our asses.  Maybe the resistance under Vichy Canada will also impress?

Eventually US fascism will fall to whatever nonsense comes next.  But consider this.  Even in nazi germany, some people could live almost sorta kinda normal lives.  Have love, have children, work, nurture, make art, etc.  Bad things will happen on a terrible scale, but life will go on, and eventually the worst things will pass.  Fight if you can, live if you can’t.  Don’t give up hope, because, ultimately, anything can happen – including your own happily ever after.

As always, long live the fighters.  Death to fascism.

No Solutions

Content Warnings:  Mental Illness, The Failure of Social Services, Poverty, The Failure of US “Democracy,” Child Abuse, Murder, Paranoia, Doomy Thoughts.  But I’m OK, don’t worry.

People get overwhelmed, look at the whole of everything that’s wrong in the world, or just their lives in particular, and feel hopeless.  Generally, I think that’s depression or some other problem messing with you.  Life can be made bearable or have OK moments for almost anyone.  But I have to admit, sometimes in life there are problems with no solutions.

That’s the kind of shit I deal with at work sometimes.  I got somebody on the phone with paranoia, wanting help in protecting herself from imagined oppressors.  What the fuck is the recommended wisdom for helping people with paranoid delusions?  Do you humor them and act like you’re taking it seriously, but not facilitate any actual pursuit of their claims?  Do you tell them gently that they’re imagining things?  Tell them sternly?

Any action you take will only result in more paranoia, more delusion.  The best case scenario is that they get distracted and forget they talked to you in the first place, but unfortunately a lot of paranoid people have excellent (if warped) memories.

Sometimes at work* I have to tell people that they have no income, have a massive new debt, and are facing months of travail for a mere chance of setting things right.  Basically, “If you don’t have family to lean on, welcome to your new home eating rats in the underpass.  Or go back to work even though you’re disabled and stay doing that until it kills you.”

Technically, this is a problem with a solution:  Overthrow of the US government, or at least a progressive rout of the whole system.  But that magical probably-not-happening future does nothing for people fucked to death by the laws and policies of the here and now.

I wrote my senator about the need for progressive reform and her underlings sent a form response with clear tells that the message was skimmed at best, not really read for understanding.  That senator is literally the perfect person to write about the issue, sitting on a committee deciding the relevant laws.  Too bad, so sad.

Mutual aid is probably the only way the masses will survive late capitalism, but we’ve been systemically divided.  I don’t know the rotating cast of neighbors in my apartment complex and they don’t know me.  We have every reason in the world to regard each other as potential thieves and creeps.  We’re all busting our humps at work too much to do the emotional labor of establishing a community.  Instead we’re fighting over parking spaces, as the jacked up rent has the number of tenants per unit exceeding capacity.  There have been a few murders and attempted murders in my little apartment complex, and it’s not even considered one of the bad ones in my city.

One of those murders may have been the solution to a problem – a child stabbing a (possibly) predatory adult in the household many times.  But you know what happens to that kid next, and it looks like less of a solution in the end.  As common as child abuse is, most likely it was the motive, but I did open the article talking about paranoid delusions, and the murdered person may have been innocent.  Who can say?  As the meme says, the world is a fuck.

The idea that things can always get worse looks more true every year, with a natural end point for that in human extinction.  With a complex enough system there are thousands of ways for things to go wrong and very very few ways for them to go right.

But, you know, keep taking care of yourselves and each other, and maybe this will look less dire on the other side.  And in the meantime, if somebody can eviscerate Matt Walsh and use his entrails to hang JKR from the parapet of her castle, please do.  The sun will come out tomorrow, haha.

*This is the best job I ever had, in terms of recompense and security, and my only hope of clearing the traps of poverty in what’s left of my life, so changing jobs is not an option at the moment.  How’s your line, lately?

Happy Gunpowder Day

Happy That-Time-of-the-Year-When-Gunshot-Murders-Take-Longer-to-Investigate-Because-They-are-Indistinguishable-From-Asshole-Ideas-of-a-Good-Time Day.  Happy Explosion Day.  Happy Give-Songbirds-and-Some-Humans-Heart-Attacks Day.  Happy Increase-in-Dog-Bites Day.  Happy Celebrate-the-Nation-Built-on-Genocide-and-Slavery-that-is-Still-Fucking-Your-Own-Personal-Rights-Apart Day.  Happy Your-President-Proudly-Does-His-Part-to-Facilitate-Human-Fucking-Extinction Day.

Death to America, babey.  Death to America.

Organized Atheism Also at Fault

I’m pretty quick to point out that terves very much share blame for the recent losses on women’s rights.  Transphobia was one of the levers that helped buoy fascists and autocrats in elections across the globe recently.  But this isn’t a terf blog network, it’s an atheist one.  That’s our beat.  So to that end, let me just reiterate this point I’ve made before.

Organized atheism should always have been a force for progressivism, against the barbarity of religious belief.  But nope.  The idea of listening to even the mildest of feminist critique caused all our talking heads to leap headlong into bed with fascists, to promote the movements that ultimately led to Trump’s election and the current slate in the supreme court.  DickDawk can whine all he wants that he’s liberal, that we should believe that counts for fuckin’ anything, while he engages in piteous dickriding transphobia and platforms the hero of incel mass shooters everywhere.

There is a straight line from elevatorgate to gamergate to altright white supremacy to cheeto hitler to the end of Roe v Wade.  Terfs did their part, but we were in the game of ruining civilization as we know it when those bitches were barely getting started.  We had a lot of friends along the way in building this theocracy, but we should never lose sight of our part in subverting our own ostensible ends.  Like terfs – they should never be allowed to forget they helped set feminism back eighty years, and we should never be allowed to forget we set atheism back as well.

My own part was small.  I let a subtle brew of ableism and islamophobia drive me to participate in boosting new atheism, participating in the comments and the discourse, not doing enough to change the rotten core of the movement or start a better one.  I’ll own that.  I wonder if the narcissistic thunk leaders of our defunct movement will ever process the same, ever feel that as they fade from the earth.  I doubt it.