Archive for the Activism? Category

THE KEVIN SERIES: American Kevinstand

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Exhibits, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Love Thy Fellow Man, Narcissisim, Obsessions, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Popular Culture, Profiling, Science?, Special People, The meaning of life with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

Kevin’s wife Juli is my biggest supporter.

THE KEVIN SERIES: Intricate Polychromatic Art Speak for Incongruous Fun Torturing Kevin

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, Communication, Confusion, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Narcissisim, Pest Control, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Therapy, Thoughts with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

An old image I found years ago:

which was then modified for an old blog post:
https://benigngirl.wordpress.com/2008/04/05/intricate-polychromatic-art-speak-for-incongruous-fun-and-conflative-prophet/

recycled for THE KEVIN SERIES.

THE KEVIN SERIES: Dissecting The Projectile Photshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, Communication, Confusion, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Narcissisim, Pest Control, Philosophy?, Photoshopping Kevin, Special People, The meaning of life, The Process of Art, Therapy, Thoughts with tags on November 26, 2012 by Admin

This is part of a new series I have only just realized I have been working on for days and which I shall post here as both intellectual fluff and bloggerly filler, as I slowly find my way past the crushing pain (I live with NINE herniated disks/sheer pain, daily) and back to the habitualities of blogging regularly.

This blog has been untended for some time yet I realize that with this sort of Spy vs. Spy relationship I have going on Facebook with my pal Kevin, I have created a series of artwork which should be shared with all, for Kevin says and does the craziest things.

After a grueling day spent posting about politics (which hurts my head, even to simply post that which I have observed, for posteriority) my brain needed an exorcism of sorts and so I made ART. I have a new muse, Kevin who, much like Dwight Shrute, is a farmer. Kevin is my muse. Kevin pretends to me angry about this, he rants, he raves, he threatens, and yet if I miss a day he starts baiting me which I smartishly recognize as begging for more.

Also, this is how my brain works:

And so, I present the new and ongoing series (until I become apathetic), Photoshopping Kevin. It begins with random photos stumbled upon in the interwebs and takes on a life of it’s own. So each opus shall include the before image.

I call this one, Dissecting the Projectile Photoshopping Opus Of My Muse, Kevin, With Identities Blurred.

Before:

After:

Wonder Bred

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, being defensive, Confusion, danger, Empathy, Fellow Human Beings, Get Informed, Honesty, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Love Thy Fellow Man, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Northampton Police Department, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Special People, The meaning of life, Thoughts, We Are ALL Peers with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2012 by Admin

UPDATE: It seems that Mr. Sir and John counted fourteen policepersons in all on this fateful evening and so I thought this worth adding. Because so often people tend to exaggerate numbers and situations, it is my way to… what is the opposite of exaggerate? I am going to check the antonymary… I am going to go with understate. Anywho, I tend to always round things down as I find that hyperbole discredits the point one is trying to make. My memory of that evening is very clear though it is the emotional part of it that is most fixed. As we waited for forty-something minutes for the FOURTEEN policemen to decide what to do with us, I ruminated on the inherent hypocrisy of the situation, the shame, and the tragedy, while my ethnic companions counted cops over and over, as the numbers increased. Part of me doesn’t want to believe there were quite that many uniforms surrounding mar car but I know my companions to eschew hyperbole as well. I am not going to go back and edit the post below, so this update shall suffice as sufficient edit.

All that for a YELLOW light.

I have a friend, whom I shall call Mr. Sir for this post, and who is a rather wonderful mixed breed of African American, German, and Native American, which is rather evident in his features. Mr. Sir is a well-educated and accomplished sort of sir and holds a very prestigious position at a highly regarded art museum with a notable (7$s worth) collection of Fine Art. Often Mr. Sir is sent to other countries by this museum as trusted escort for priceless artwork — by the likes of Monet, to name a one — when this museum borrows or loans work from/to other prestigious museums. Museums do this, and the work being shared MUST be escorted for various reasons, all of them, like, totally important. He has also been sent to other countries to authenticate rare works of art ($729,000 worth of rare art on one trip alone) before his employers write the check, and is responsible for conserving six figure works, like when kids stick gum to paintings and whatnot.

Art is also “handled” by “Art Handlers” and shipping companies, but that good, bad, and sometimes rather ugly inside scoop is for another post. Mr. Sir is not an Art Handler though, yet our pal Biggie is, who is big. And strong.

Cowboy Curtis,  looking surprised, in a gold fine art frame. I kill me!

Mr. Sir has experienced his fair share of flights running late, resulting in his dashing through airports alongside said priceless works (think very large packages and/or crates) in order to make connecting flights and he has been stopped — due to the packaging and the features and the dashing — at a more frequent rate than other running airport people, the point being that he is among those who seem to attract such visual scrutiny in airports. Therefor, Mr. Sir is ever-s0-vigilant to shave on flight days, even if that means shaving at 3 am, because he has learned by the seat of his delayed-ass pants that the combination of facial hair plus dark skin color and exotic features can result in scrutinizinglied missed flights, and how often can one ask their employer to purchase yet another last-minute flight due to attention attracting (not ALL of it bad, actually) exotic features?

I have tried to walk a figurative mile in Mr. Sir’s various ethnic shoes yet I am merely able to  approximate what life must be like for persons of different colors and ethnicities, having been born a whitey through no merit of my own (I’m looking at you white people who feel superior for “winning” some sort of pre-birth lottery). Recently, however, I had a small taste of this thanks to the Northampton, MA Police Department. Thank you NPD, I am now ever more sensitized to the dubious perils of being non-white. Though having been pulled over in the south — by another baby-faced, blond-haired, blue-eyed officer — and astronomically ticketed for being a Yankee,  I know a wee bit of the helpless rage one feels at such injustices.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets profiled and finds their car surrounded by policemen wielding flashlights and a few rounds of hollow-point suspicion.

I don’t choose my friends by visuals; I choose them by their souls, how they make me feel about myself, and that which is abundant in their hearts. My companions on that fateful night are two of the most sensitive, sincere, compassionate, spiritual (by which I mean that they believe in and practice that which is truly good and beneficial for fellow humans, though not affiliated with any particular brand of religion), kind, generous, intelligent and evolved people I have the fortune to know. They are beautiful people, inside and out.

Mr. Sir, like many of his related relatives before him, has in the last few years been getting more involved with his Native American roots.  He grew out his adorable jheri curls and now sports braids, often sporting Naive American-ish clothing. Noooooo, not feather headdresses and immodest scraps of buffalo hide barely covering his manly bits, I mean “ribbon-ed” shirts and beaded necklaces. “Ribbons” in this case refers to hand stitched designs — by an authorized person — which signify one’s specific tribe and whatnot, including admirable accomplishments I believe, though not scalps of whites brought back to the rez, silly. I don’t understand all of it and so I will leave it at that. Mr. Sir goes to Pow Wows all over the country, participating more and more in Native American ritual and philosophy, which is about kindness, peace and forgiveness. They best believe in forgiveness, for what was done to those native to this land was deplorable; being slaughtered and herded onto fenced millifractions of what was once their own land. And it hasn’t ever gotten much better, though the slaughtering ceased ages ago.

My stash.

Mr. Sir always bring me back a satchel of sage blessed by a Medicine Man at the Pow Wows and I burn it for friends who need prayers. I swear sometimes it works. I have never been to a Pow Wow or even a reservation — not because I haven’t wanted to go, but because, “It’s not a fucking theme park”, and I get that.

Through Mr. Sir, I had the fortune to meet Gary Farmer, an accomplished actor (Dead Man, Adaptation, and Dances With Wolves — in which he uttered his now-iconic line, “Stupid Fucking White Man”, and who now tours North America with his band, Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers, and with whom I once did a pretend duet at a gig and furtherly for whom I am to one day do a documentary of his life as activist, actor and blues musician — our interview went THAT well. Mr. Sir plays in Gary’s band, as does his pal John, who is part of this story.

BTW, soon I will post here an interview I did with Gary Farmer over a year ago (shamefully delayed) and which I have since been editing down to an hour.  Our conversation was so fascinating that I didn’t want to lose a single sentence of it but, alas, 2.5 hours is too much.

AnywhatthehellwasItalkingaboutanyway, this post is about profiling in what had once been considered one of our most “sensitive” and progressive  towns here in “The Happy Valley”, and involves a traffic stop, a few police cars and foot/bike patrolmen, my car being surrounded by EIGHT policemen (there were no female police present, hence the term), and a subsequent verbal warning, after about 40 minutes in all of boredom and profound embarrassment for all involved (looking at you and your armed cohorts, Babyface).

The Northampton, MA Police Department at work; As seen in my rear view mirror.

It all started one night when Mr. Sir and his pal John and I were on our way back from seeing a band in Greenfield, Ma. It was a dark and stormy night… yet it was a clear and balmy evening.

John, the other passenger, was in town from Rio Rancho, New Mexico for a visit with his pal Mr. Sir, as well as for a reception; he was showing his work at an area gallery. John is a big guy, and has hair down to his waist. One can easily guess at his heritage. John also has a business crafting beautiful custom guitars and plays as a studio musician and in several bands including Gary farmer and The Troublemakers. A friend of his from high school in was playing at The Art Bank in Greenfield and so we all went to see her band and I paid 3$ for a airplane-sized bottle of water, while Mr. Sir and John each had a single $20 (ish) beer, as I don’t often drink and we’d been fairly depleted by the $10 cover charge.

On the way home we took the scenic route and as I approached the intersection of Main and King/Pleasant streets in downtown Northampton, MA the light suddenly changed from green to yellow, just as I reached the stop line. Rather than slam on my brakes — though I was in second gear and thus only going about 20 mph, having just stopped at the Cumberland Farms for a candy bar and thus having not driven far enough to get past second gear — I felt it safest and perfectly legal (it is) to just go through the intersection. As it is a short yellow light, it turned red just as my tires crossed the stop line at the other side of the intersection.  Just then Mr. Sir said, “Monkey (he calls me ‘Monkey’, because of this picture of me as a child, in which, logically, I look like a monkey), there was a cop right at the intersection on the left, facing us!”, and I said, “No problem. That was a perfectly legal maneuver.” But the cop had seen Mr. Sir’s ethnic face in the back seat window — they looked right at each other — and soon enough I saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror.

I pulled over immediately, which un/fortunately was right in front of The Elevens ( a local bar popular with the young folk), and as luck would have it, half the bar was on the sidewalk out front providing us with an audience. It would later turn out that one of Mr. Sir’s coworkers was on that sidewalk, watching the whole show and wondering whether or not to jump in, being a sophisticate and well-connected and all that.

View from passenger side window.

Then there was a flashlight in my face, held by a young, very white face. “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“Yes, because I went through a yellow light.”

“Well, it was red…”

“It was yellow.”

As we spoke, his flashlight searched my car. A second cop then joined the non-fray, and his flashlight also got busy all over my car through the window on the passenger side, including into Johns face in the passenger seat, and all over the back seat including, as I noticed during one of my rear view mirror glances, right into Mr. Sir’s non-buffalo-hide-clad crotch.

“How much have you had to drink tonight?”

“Nothing.”

“You sure? Because..I mean, you ran that red light back there.”

“It was YELLOW. I had nothing to drink. Check me.”

“Well, no, I don’t really smell alcohol.. it’s just that…”

“Check me.”

His flashlight continued roving the depths of my car, breaking up his sentences as he divided his attention between what he was saying and whatever insidious contraband for which he eagerly searched. It shined into my eyes, down to my feet, straight into John’s and Mr. Sir’s faces. New flashing red lights arrived, reflecting off the rear-view mirror, and then there were a few more cops comically/cautiously nearing, elbows bent and hands twitching near hip-mounted gun holsters — while yet more approached the car, and us perps, from a different direction, suggesting they were not from the arriving/flashing car behind me. Perhaps they were on foot and/or bike? Northampton, MA has a few bike cops, because it is a very dangerous town. In all I counted ten cops, which suggests some of them had to be on bike or foot, as there were only two police cars; ONLY. I amused myself by picturing them all tumbling out of a single cruiser clown-style, while we waited. And waited.

“Go ahead. Check me. I give you my full permission. I had one small, over-priced 3$ bottle of water.”

I had handed over my license and registration, and so I added, “Run my license. I have a clean record. Perfectly clean.”

Me and my homies. Werd.

Throughout all of this both Mr. Sir and John had been staring straight ahead, neither saying a word. They seemed oddly immobile, and even possibly nervous, which surprised me because one does not get arrested for running a yellow light. And that’s when it hit me — this, the two police cars, the ten policemen in total circling my car with flashlights, the lights GLARINGLY flashing, all of it — this is what happens to them, this is what they expect and are what they are used to, even for more minor “transgressions” than running yellow lights. This was a nearly inconsequential example of what it is like to be them, to be viewed with what seems an awful lot like an assumption of guilt, rather than an assumption of innocence, or an assumption of neither.

Were I, a white woman, alone, and had that light actually been red, I sorta doubt there would have been an extra police car and a few extra foot cops. I felt angry, embarrassed to be white, sad, and resigned. With the crowd waiting and watching from the sidewalk across the street — likely thinking this was some serious shit going down and someone was about to be cuffed and taken away, due to the sheer number of cops and cars — I felt shamed, demoralized, furious. I am grateful that I am not made to feel this way on a regular basis, but there are those for whom this is a way of life simply by virtue of their appearance and it begins at birth.

NOTE: Neither of my passengers wore gang colors, do-rags, or saggy pants; both were securely belted, seat belt and otherwise. Neither of them wore face paint or wielded bows and arrows. There were no battle calls, tomahawks, guns, knives, glassine packets, glassy eyes, or vicious dogs involved. No test tubes, scales, suitcases full of cash (else I might have had an adult-sized bottle of water at the bar, or even two), there was no cloud of smoke in the car, no odor, and no lawyers on board.

I forget what the blue-eyed cop with the fair and enviable baby-smooth skin said next, but before he walked back to his car to run my license I found myself blurting/explaining, “Look. My friend here had one beer at the Art Bank, and he works at ____. And this is our friend visiting from Santa Fe, who is a musician and artist. I think he had one beer as well.  We went to see a high school friend’s band and now we are tired and on our way home. That is all.”

The accessories make the scofflaw.

My young, fair, blond, blue-eyed cop joined the bulk of the group of now TEN cops — well, he joined five of them; four were in front, ostensibly keeping an eye on us, while the rest had gathered behind the car. I watched in the rear view mirror while they discussed “the matter”  for 20 minutes. Does it take that long to run a check? For 20 minutes we sat and waited, and I kept an eye on them in the rear view mirror as they discussed us while facing my car from the back. There seemed to be some brainstorming going on as they chatted back and forth, while looking at my car, at us, back at each other, some chin stroking going on, some harsh reproving glances, more chatting, and then FINALLY Blondie came back to my window.

“I’m going to give you a warning. This time. But [something something something] red lights [something something]“, to which I replied again, yet this time halfheartedly, “It was YELLOW“, and he nodded, handed me my license and registration, and walked away. No written warning, just a mere verbal warning.

I was a bored/exhausted nervous wreck as I pulled out back into traffic, and I had trouble seeing because of all the still-flashing lights, but then we were free, and we waved to the few dozen patrons of The Elevens still on the sidewalk as we drove off, at 5 mph.

All that for a verbal warning.

This is fucking hilarious!

The Diesel Car Repair Debacle in Greenfield, MA

Posted in Activism?, Consumer Reports, Diesel car Repair Greenfield Ma, Diesel car Repair Pioneer Valley, Homelessness, Honesty, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was with tags , , , , on August 14, 2012 by Admin

DIESEL CAR REPAIR IN THE PIONEER VALLEY (SPECIFICALLY GREENFIELD, MA) AND A NEAR ESCAPE FROM A $2800 TURN OF THE WRIST

Update: In writing this, the whole scenario began to seem less like an innocent mistake — I’m not saying it was purposeful, just that I am more alarmed because, were it me, I’d have dashed off a huge apology right away, at the very least, and probably refunded the $100 fee for the FREE consultation and quote — and so I finally decided to do what I’d not wanted to do; I wrote an honest review on Yelp. I was then told by a reader that business owners can pay for a “cleansing” of their Yelp reviews. Should that happen, the name of the business, the URL, and the address will be added to this post. That’s just not right. And I cannot find anything on yelp.com about this “option”. 

 

 

My car is 12 years old. It has like 150k miles on it. It will easily make it to 600k or more miles; diesel engines last forever and that’s why I bought it. The body is another story though, and it is expensive, and that’s why I have done the body work myself. If you have a disk sander you too can do your body work. If you catch it in time it is easy. If you let the rust build up… well, now you are a sculptor and you need to learn to use Bondo. And get a double-barrel respirator.

Anyway, it was time to get it checked for a clutch anyway but then I noticed a spot in the middle of my parking spot. I had also noticed my mileage was way down. The usual 50mpg seemed halved. or, i was getting siphoned, though I doubted that bc we have a gate on the alley where we park.

Friends had heard a radio ad for a place in Greenfield that specializes in this exact type of diesel so I started googling but came up empty-handed.  I asked around. Finally a friend said she knew of a guy who had something to do with diesels and, as he had his business in Greenfield, he might know the place for which I’d been searching. So I called, and after a funny exchange in which I became easily confused, I realized this was that place, and so I exclaimed, “OMG! YOU’RE that guy!”. I was so excited — it felt like my pal Fate had stepped in!

I arranged to go up at noon the next week and coordinate that with a friend in Greenfield I’d not seen in ages. “Great! I can drop it off and have Petunia meet me there, and you can look at it while we go for lunch!”

He insisted the entire engine scan and diagnosis would take no more than 15 minutes so we could wait and then go on to lunch, he is that fast, and that “Yes, there is no charge for the consultation and estimate.”

So, Petunia and I arrived and while we all chatted, he opened the hood, plugged in a laptop, and within minutes — less than the estimated 15 for sure — he had a diagnosis; “See this puddling around the Fuel Injection Cap? (I *think* he said cap, though I have been calling it a “Fuel Injection Thingie* all along), It’s cracked. I will have to replace it. It will be $2800: $1000 for the part and $1800 for the labor”, and “yes”, was positive.

I almost fainted. I knew I was nearly due for a new clutch, first gear was acting jiggy so I had to baby it. I’ve never owned an automatic — though, this is only the 4th car I have ever owned. I keep my car forever and take great care of them. In fact, I bought this to be the last car I would ever buy. And I knew that the clutch would be really expensive.

I tend to eat bulk seeds for the protein, corn tortillas with beans and cheese, yogurt, and scant few fresh fruits and vegetables because I have to eat within my budget. Organic fruits and vegetables are a splurge. Only when I have a dinner party do I buy fish or chicken and all the fixings, and they are always potluck — like many of us, there is no other way I can entertain. I economize however I can and I get all needed clothing from the free pile (most art buildings have free piles) or thrift stores. You really can find cool shoes at thrift stores, and furniture too; though I like the stuff I find discarded and fix up myself.

I’d also been driving 8 years with no air conditioning due to lack of budget, though I am of the pathetic physiology that wilts, faints even, in heat and humidity. In years past I’d often borrowed cars from friends for fancy events during heat waves so as to not arrive nauseous and drenched. The quotes I’d gotten for the AC fix were all in the $1200 range. And my medical co-pays for the degenerative spinal disorder were adding up faster than I could pay them, and I have appointments a lot.

He advised that I not drive it as it was leaking fuel so I left the car at his shop and said I would call when I figured out how to get the cash, as credit cards are not accepted at this place. There is no cash discount either, BTW, which I found odd as so many other places do offer a cash discount, especially if you pay up front. I find cash is generally negotiable in these parts. So, I planned to get the cash somehow and then write a check because while I tend to be overly-trusting, cash freaks me out. I said I would call when I was sure. It is one thing to put a charge onto a card, but taking a cash advance is a whole different story, often (in the case of my credit card’s terms) with interest rates at 19.99%. I was a wreck.

As he was the acquaintance (albeit not seen for decades) of a friend, I not only trusted him but forced, absolutely FORCED, a deposit on him. I had taken all the cash I could get my hands on, $150, and pressed it on him as both deposit and show of good faith.

Petunia and I went o grab a bite and she generously drove me home, which was a rather long drive.

But then.. friends stepped in — as I told various friends about this quote they all had the same reaction… they were all very suspicious. Every one of them suggested I get a second opinion and most were certain that I could actually drive the car in the meantime. I’d not been leaving a trail of fuel, it had just puddled once in my driveway, and that after sitting for a few days. One knew him from when he worked for Justin (with whom he said he is no longer in contact) in The Arts and Industry Building in Florence, MA where I used to have a studio; — Justin is THE guy who invented the Grease Car, i.e., cars running on Vegetable Oil — doing conversions from diesel to vegetable oil, in what is now evidently called, “Renewable-fuels transportation”,  and he smirked, saying,  “I would definitely get another quote.”

One pal, Mr. Sir, suggested I call his son who is a student at an area Technical Institute and also suggested the quote (which I’d received via email and forwarded to him) seemed “off”. The advice was 100% in favor of getting a second opinion, including one from a retired mechanic.

So I called the Diesel Repair Place in Greenfield and told the guy I had no choice but to have my car towed to the Tech Institute because it was that or starve. He let out a long “OOOoooof”. I apologized, I explained I had thus far come up empty-handed and had no way to get the money. He said he understood, that he too was struggling, that though the business pulled in 100-something k annually in gross income, what was left for him was under the poverty level, that he had no health insurance, mortgage woes (I rent, BTW, and will for life). I apologized more, explained more that I could not manufacture money. It was a very uncomfortable conversation and I felt I should not have had to endure it, to be honest.

I called back, as arranged, with the exact date and time AAA would come to tow the car. As he made no mention of the deposit I finally had to ask for it. He said well, he had done the scan and had to work up the invoice (the one he’d practically bragged about doing in less than 15 minutes). I countered with the fact that it had been done while I waited and he said well, he had taken some time to put the data into the template and print it, to which I replied that it had come via email. Finally I said, “Look, I was under the impression that this was a free consultation. If you could find it in your heart to return it, even a portion of it, I would be grateful. I know my car has been sitting on your lot for days on end but then, you do have the space and it could only help to make your shop look busy, right?”

When I went to wait with the car while AAA came I found 50$ in the center console. he had collected $100 for the free consultation and for my car being in his lot — his big, mostly empty, lot.

To make a long story short — the Fuel Injection Thingie was NOT cracked; it was merely a loose bolt, and it had taken the kid 5 minutes to ascertain as much. In one twist, he saved me $2800.

For another $1200 the kid also replaced the engine mount clips (which are evidently important and which the Greenfield due had missed), fixed the AC, replaced the clutch (well, i put the clutch itself on my credit card, as we went clutch shopping together), cleaned out the air intake valve, replaced the timing belt, and replaced or fixed the brake sensors.

I emailed the diesel repair guy in Greenfield and told him how it had merely been a lose bolt and heard nothing in return. Months later I emailed him again, telling him I felt torn about writing an honest review of my experience on Yelp so as to not wonder if others would have a similar experience, and wondered if he had anything to say or even had any feelings about the whole thing, asking him what would he have done had he noticed the loose bolt, or if he’d not have noticed and just replaced it anyway for $2800. I said I felt especially upset at having paid $100 for a free estimate while nearly being wiped out financially in the process, and felt I was entitled to it’s return. His reply? He was being evicted and would get back to me as soon as he settled in anew place. That was months ago. Google tells me is still High and dry in Greenfield, MA.

SUMMARY: Go to a tech school. Or at least always get a second opinion. And beware places that don’t accept credit cards (Do they really take something like 20%, as I was told?).

And if you live in the Greenfield, Ma or Pioneer Valley area and drive a diesel, email me and I will tell you where to go, or not.

RELATED:

How to Avoid a Car Repair Ripoff

THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU

In Which Paula Burns Her Head With Her Instyler and I Come To A Rescue, Of Sorts

Posted in Activism?, Adventures and Interludes, Advice, Being a Virgo, Confusion, danger, Fellow Human Beings, Important Social Issues, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Life Performance Art, Literary, Philosophy?, solutions, The meaning of life, Thoughts on August 1, 2012 by Admin

For a client (facebook friend) who required that a customer service letter be written after tragically burning her head with her Instyler (whatever that may, or may not, be, which is in question on my end) in order to alert the proper authorities to the hazards of Instyling hair:

[IMAGE LINKS TO SOURCE]

Dear makers of Instyler,

While using my Instyler yesterday — which I ALWAYS use with the utmost measures of care and precaution — I somehow managed to burn my head. I wholeheartedly believe (due to said care and precaution) that this is the direct result of a flaw inherent in the design of this implement and/or that it lacks sufficient safety precautions for mere mortals such as myself (though I humbly yet honestly assure you that I am an extra-ordinary person, exhibiting a cerebral capacity and wit not common to the masses, yet, as I must now also candidly admit, is perhaps but a mere smidgen below that [intellectual capacity] of Marilyn Vos Savant, whom I find to be, at times, overly obsessed with dry unbuttered facts, and a twee bit humorless, as does my friend Malraux, who once notoriously spit out an omelet fed to him by Jean-Paul Sartre composed of cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones, and who, yet, was able to see the profound humor in such an experiment, for Sartre’s Cookbook.

As you may by now have discovered vis a vis (added for affect, not pretension) my unmatched capacity for oxymoronic and enthralling run-on sentences, I am a multi-faceted and fascinating genius, and thus this accident — the unceremonious and unintended burning of my head (of which my horoscope* (reproduced in its full coincidental warning bell-ishness below) warned against this week, which has added to my new anxietal condition, for the wrath of the stars is vast and fierce) — is not likely to be the fault of a pedestrian intellect nor a careless use of said Instyler.

Perhaps hair was meant for self-protection, rather than serve as point of potential vulnerability, the maintenance of which, heretofore, herewith, and hereof/in can lead to catastrophe vis-a-vis flawed styling implements and their inherently herein-ted insouciant lack of the most basic human safety precautions and/or inherency-filled obstacledom to self-harm/foldment/spindlement/mutilation-ment, and so on and so forth, by way of desperate attempts to meredly adhere to ludicrously unattainable societally-imposed standards and measures (with applicable charts and graphs) of beauty? Such are the dramas, the potential traumas, the tortures of the mind, the conundria that Mr. Rogers never explained, which Captain Kangaroo never disclosed (because dude was absolutely into aesthetica, yet in a manner in which we were too meredly mortal to grasp) which torture me, keep me up at night, erode the last bastions (bastonia) of my sanity, as I insomniacally wonder  at the lost innocence that never was in this world in which we so dramatically and yet so shallowly live, in such an aesthetic manner. Werd. 
[IMAGE LINKS TO SOURCE]

While my grammatical tendencies may belie a jaunty disregard for the parameters of language and its regulatory aspects, I can assure you that one must be exceedingly well-trained in such grammaticalistic disciplines in order to thus nonplussedly swat them away with such a level of jaunty disregard, and thus, as it very logically follows, the masses are in the gravest danger lest safety measures be added to the Instyler.

Since the head-burning I find myself perplexed — a perplexion born of sheer terror and anxiety, which has resulted in a befuddlement of the most basic brain functions — by the simplest of appliances and tools. My anxiety has grown and has taken root like that of an aggressive climber such as a Clematis plant, perhaps, with a power like that of bamboo to voraciously take root and assertively unseat the foundation, in this case of my mind. I am utterly paralyzed by the thought of using my Swingline Stapler or grinding my coffee beans and as a result both my stapling and filing needs, as well as my nutritionary needs, are being less met with each passing, torturous hour, as my life devolves into complete chaos, directly opposed to my Virgoan tendencies and thus in opposition to the stars, the universe, life as I knew it.

The Instyler sits on the counter in my bathroom complete with attached piece of my burnt head and a pile of noxious odour (spelling used to insinuate my boarding school days in London), mocking me, mocking my un-Instyled hair, mocking my very existence as a now-damaged being. It cannot be long before my increasingly bizarre behavior will be noticed by my fellow Mensa members and soon the only club that would have me will have me no more, furthering my eddy-like clockwise-ishly (there must always be some Virgoan order, even in the throes department) descent into madness.

I fear it is too late, domestically — it has been noticed by my husband, whom I now suspect of trying to lock me up in a room adorned by the most crazy and appalling yellow wallpaper under the guise of  “a relaxing week’s vacation in The Berkshires”, while stroking our cat, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who smirks at me now  with utmost insouciance. He ( for Charlotte is a he) is the enemy, or is it my Instyler? I no longer have the mental capacity to tease such discernments out of this situation.

And how, pray tell, will I present myself to Berkshire society with un-Instyled hair?

Please, if you are human, help me. Please.

With utmost sincerity in run-on sentencery,

Mo Gareau

*Virgo Horoscope for week of August 2, 2012

Verticle Oracle cardVirgo (August 23-September 22)
A few years ago, a Malaysian man named Lim Boon Hwa arranged to have himself “cooked.” For 30 minutes, he sat on a board covering a pan full of simmering dumplings and corn. The fact that no harm came to him was proof, he said, that Taoist devotees like him are protected by their religion’s deities. I advise you not to try a stunt like that, Virgo — including metaphorical versions. This is no time to stew in your own juices. Or boil in your tormented fantasies. Or broil in your nagging doubts. Or be grilled in your self-accusations. You need to be free from the parts of your mind that try to cook you.
Whether it’s your time to ferment in the shadows or sing in the sun, fresh power to transform yourself is on the way. Life always delivers the creative energy you need to change into the new thing you must become.

[SOURCE]

ED NOTE: To me, Lim Boon Hwa is alliterationally reminiscent of Sis Boom Bah and thus it should be followed with a ! where appropriate.

SHARED POST: I AIN’T NO BROKEN WINDOW

Posted in Activism?, Empathy, Fellow Human Beings, Get Informed, Homelessness, Important Social Issues, Love Thy Fellow Man, Non-Selective Empathy and Compassion, Philosophy?, Regretful Human Behavior, Special People, The meaning of life, We Are ALL Peers with tags , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by Admin

An important read from Arise For Social Justice, a “Western MA low-income rights organization which believes we have the right to speak for ourselves. Our members are poor, homeless, at-risk, working, unemployed & people pushed to the side by society. We organize!: voting rights, housing, homelessness, health care, criminal injustice & more!”

Why do we stigmatize fellow human-beings who are less fortunate? To look at them as unsightly is to be devoid of empathy for people who are just like us, yet not like us, yet possibly like us, for one big financial or physical catastrophe could take many of us down. Read on — “Jenise Standfield from the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco posted this essay online today.  Springfield had its own Broken Window proponent, former police commissioner Edward Flynn, who would have his officers take pictures of homeless people, so this article struck home to me.”

The person credited with coining the theory of Broken Windows policing died last month and people are starting to ask what Broken Windows are all about.  Those of us who have been identified as no more than a broken window are sick of it.
The Broken Window social theory holds that one poor person in a neighborhood (or, using social theorist James Q. Wilson words, “a vagrant or a drunk”) is like a first unrepaired broken window.  If the window is not immediately fixed, if the vagrant is not immediately removed, it is a signal that no one cares, disorder will flourish, and the community (warehouse) will go to hell in a hand basket.
For this theory to make sense, you first have to step far far away from thinking of people, or at least poor people, as human beings. You need to objectify them.  You need to see them as dusty broken windows in a vacant warehouse.
Wilson himself admits that his reasoning here seems unjust.  One drunk or vagrant suddenly becomes a score of drunks or a hundred vagrants.  They will destroy an entire community, and they will destroy an entire downtown business district and that is why we now have Business Improvement Districts with police enforcement to keep that neighborhood flourishing and poor unsightly people out of it.
TO READ THE REST OF THIS ESSAY, AND I WISH YOU WOULD, CLICK HERE.
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