Who knew?

I have always said, “Oh, I can sing, but I can’t write.”

Maybe I should amend that to “I can sing, and I can write simple crappy stuff.”

Check out my FAWM stuff here.

So far I have one noisy weird thing, one cute happy thing, and one disco melodrama. I think the disco thing could be a proper song some day if someone who’s better at this than I am did something with it :p

On the other hand, while none of it is particularly original, I don’t think any of it is a direct rip, which is what I’ve always been terrified of doing, since I have so much of other people’s music in my head. So I’ve already written more music in the past 4 days than the whole rest of my life. Which ain’t nothing.

music things

Well and my MD and I started working on a cover of Radiohead’s Karma Police some 6 years ago (I know!) and I decided I wanted to redo the vocal in the shower (cool sound in there, you know?) so we did, and I wanted to share it and you know, pesky licensing and whatnot but I paid the fee and got the licensing, and you can listen to it at the soundclouds and buy it on the bandcamps. And while you’re in there listen to Grievous Angel, too!!! because his stuff is awesome.

(I decided to let people pay for the song if they want to have it on their hard drives, because we had to pay for the license, nahmeen?)

It’s kind of a rough mix that my MD isn’t that crazy about, but I like it even though it’s imperfect.

And there’s more to come in the near futures! we’re working on things for February Album Writing Month!

Just in case…

you’re looking for a cute Christmas present for someone, I have (with permission) put some nice t-shirts up with the adorable lion created by the illustrious Woodrow Phoenix, which I have adopted as my mascot (and favicon).

i have one of these myself, black on black, and it’s a very nice shirt, soft cotton! and I think the same-colour lion looks really sharp.

And I added a glittery tank top for warmer climes and fun times!

So they’re talking about

Diaspora again.

(I don’t mind ello, but who knows if anyone will bother logging in after a while.) (Of course, scarcely anyone I know was talking on diaspora in the past three years, either.)

Anyway if you should happen to need a diaspora invite, let me know.

My diaspora account links from the thingie up on the right (FOLLOW ME) and also you can share there from the * icon below.

August 2014 Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

No, not really an electric boogaloo, but I wanted this stuff separate from the other stuff.

Burger King, Home of the Whopper, is buying Tim Horton’s, home of the double-double. The reason? not some imagined corporate synergy melding the two brands (which really couldn’t be more different): a means to (legally) avoid paying US corporate tax, for the glory and increased enrichment of shareholders.

This kind of thing makes me sick. I expect that, over the years, the Burger King company has received billions of dollars of largesse from the IRS and state and local revenue agencies, for bringing (crappy, low-wage) jobs and (shitty, fast) food revenues to its thousands of operating jurisdictions. Tim Horton’s is an iconic Canadian brand, despite being kind of crappy and serving doughnuts that suck in comparison to the Tim’s doughnuts of yesteryear (they went to a centralized system, but what works for FedEx doesn’t really work for doughnuts, and they taste stale and bleah now, IMO. Oú sont-ils, les beignets d’antan?). They serve coffee that a people can feel virtuous buying, rather than contributing to that foreign mermaid company’s juggernaut.

So I mean I don’t eat at BK and I haven’t in years and years, and I don’t eat at Timmy’s in the normal course, although the odd airport visit isn’t out of the question. So my boycott and disapproval doesn’t amount to puddle of warm spit, really.

But there has to be some kind of public payback for companies that refuse to make their fair contribution to the countries in which they operate. Siphoning off profits to another jurisdiction only to funnel them into offshore bank accounts does not meet the social contract of a civilized society.

If you want to do business in the US, pay US taxes. And if the Timmy’s people are short-sighted enough to sell to a bunch of asshole foreigners, well, I hope they’re going to be pleased with the scorn of fair-minded Canadians, which they have surely earned.

August 2014

What a time. It’s a head-shaker, as in, I look around and listen to the views that people are vigourously espousing, and they just make me shake my head, because really? there’s some doubt that a person bearing no weapons is unarmed? please get out your dictionary.

Really? it seems appropriate to shoot at someone (an unarmed someone) ten or eleven times for, I don’t know…mouthing off? after you got on their case for walking in the street?

If Darren Wilson were black and Michael Brown were white, would you still think it appropriate? …Really? Really.

If Michael Brown were all geek and tapioca, sang in the church choir, never smoked a joint or uttered a swear and didn’t like rap music, his life would somehow be more valuable than it was, with those grave grave infractions against him?  because, you know, it’s not like probably 90% of the 18-year-old kids of all colours in the USA have listened to rap music or have smoked a joint or have uttered a swear. Actually it’s probably more like 95%.

Shooting someone down in the street, I thought, was reserved for halting imminent danger to life and limb. I really don’t understand what about jaywalking or backtalk or anything, from a distance of 10 feet or whatever, in broad daylight, was cause for murder.

I really don’t understand why the police department didn’t initiate the usual procedures with respect to an officer-involved shooting–the procedures that seem to be usual in every other police department.

I really don’t understand that knee-jerk “Support LEO” attitude that leaves no room for waiting and seeing the results of an internal investigation, or since one of those doesn’t seem to be in the offing, an external investigation. Waiting and seeing is usually seen as the prudent course of action.

Of course, Officer Wilson wasn’t one to wait and see, either.


So there’s a confluence

of events just now, involving some people who are friends, and it feels like a kind of nodal point, if  you know what I mean.

Our neighbours, who are awesome activist “green” people whom I admire, have a great child whom I’ve been able to glimpse growing up.  Enthusiastic and athletic and attractive, laughs a lot and loves to bake stuff, a great kid! The other day, Roan spoke to the Vancouver School Board in support of fewer sex-segregated activities and greater inclusivity and sensitivity for LGBTQ kids in Vancouver schools, because while high school is heinous for kids who “conform” I know if must be even more dire for kids who don’t. Roan got some grief for it and had to sit through some people saying ignorant and dumb things (as people do), and her amazing mum had to watch it  happen and you can only imagine how that is, right.

And so I know I am far from the most sensitive person, and I put my foot in it all the time by mistake and out of ignorance, but seriously? the only people of whom I am intolerant are the intolerant ones.  And it makes me want to punch things (or, you know, get eloquent patient people to gently explain, if that would work better) that why is it so hard to treat people based on who they are, or how you’d like to be treated, rather than who they think is sexy? or how maybe they feel better if you call them a him instead of a her, or vice versa. What difference does it make? People are people. Insert another 1980s song here.

My Main Distractor subscribes to Wil Wheaton’s saying, “Don’t be a dick,” which is the modern version of the Golden Rule, and I mean even the Jesus-religious-people are supposed to love each other and everyone else, right? so why do they freak out so much about things that have absolutely no relevance to them? I can’t really imagine anything less relevant to me than who my neighbour wants to have sex with, unless it’s me.  Our marriage is just as marriagey as anyone else’s, gay or not. Every time a gay couple marries, it makes me a little verklempt …because it’s a wedding! Why does that upset people? how insecure can a person be, that someone else’s happiness freaks them out?

And on another note of relevance, a friend who is transitioning from male to female was declined as a blood donor, because…well, no good reason. Canadian Blood Services should square themselves away and update their eligible donor criteria, because they need all the donors they can get! and gender transition absent any other contraindications is…completely irrelevant with respect to blood donation.

I don’t know. We seem to have a pretty large proportion of gay friends, and they’re just as weird as our not-gay friends. Maybe a bit less weird, really, on the whole. We have some weird friends. Oooh, maybe we’re weird!


Hobby Lobby update

Further to my last post, I wanted to note that Mother Jones has discovered a little more hypocrisy than I expected out of Hobby Lobby.

While the company’s petition to the court stated that they conduct their business in accordance with their religious principles–such as by not selling shot glasses, for example–their company 401(k) invests in funds that have holdings in a bunch of pharmaceutical companies that make all kinds of birth control and such. This is something that many religious people avoid, and it’s not particularly difficult to do.

(Their completely incorrect assertions about how various methods of birth control work, such that they claim that various methods that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, or delay ovulation, or what have you, are committing abortions, which, basically, any scientist or physician would laugh their face off if they heard them, are apparently moot! which I don’t understand. I mean if the court had a case before it where a plaintiff swore inside out and upside down that dogs lay eggs and his neighbour was stealing them every day, when clearly dogs do not lay eggs, would they be obliged to accept his sincerely held belief that dogs lay eggs? I mean I just don’t get it. The whole basis for their case turns on a factual inaccuracy.)

On top of the fact that they seem to be happy to profit from the earnings of the pharmaceutical evildoers, Hobby Lobby’s employee medical insurance used to cover drugs like Plan B until 2012. Covering various drugs and services used to be completely voluntary: some companies cover dental, for example, while others don’t; some companies decline to cover Viagra or some expensive drugs. But this God-fearing company that won’t even facilitate toasting a bride and groom with a personalized shot glass was happy to cover drugs that actually do provide abortions!

It seems to me that they decided to get all hard line so they could a) get a shit-ton of publicity; and b) possibly help overturn the dread Obamacare. Because if their principles were so very dear and hewn-to, surely they would have been hewing to them before 2012?

Employers, religion, and health insurance.

So the idea that a company can refuse to pay for birth control because of its “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Talk about a slippery slope.

Leaving aside the fact that a company is not a human with beliefs or feelings, it is a legal entity that exists to do business of some kind; leaving aside the generally-accepted idea that a person’s religious beliefs end at the end of a person’s fingertips (i.e., you cannot force me to behave in accordance with your religious beliefs because I am an autonomous person); the thing about this Hobby Lobby case, to me, is where does it stop?

There are religions that don’t believe in drinking alcohol. Does that mean that they can refuse to provide health coverage for cirrhosis or other liver diseases that may be related to alcohol consumption?

There are religions that don’t believe in smoking tobacco. Does that mean that they can refuse to treat lung cancer or heart disease or emphysema or COPD related to smoking? what about second-hand smoke? What about a kid who’s burned in a house fire started by his parent smoking carelessly?

Gluttony is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Does that mean that they can refuse to cover insulin treatments and diabetes-related medical problems, because they sincerely believe that the condition is a direct result of gluttony?

There are religions that think that dancing is a sin. Does that mean that they can refuse to treat the ankle you sprain square-dancing?

Are employees going to be required to get approval from their employers every time they want to see a doctor? will they have to fill out a form, detailing what is wrong, and how it happened, and whether any banned activities were involved, and beg to be permitted to seek medical care?

My personal belief is that it is none of my employer’s goddam business what I discuss with my doctor, or what medicines I may be prescribed, or anything else. A person’s relationship with their physician is, to me, what some people’s relationships with their religious leaders are: sacrosanct, and private.

And my employers should not be able to nose their way in, any more than legislators should.