dydan: (flying monkeys)
Jared and I had to make a trip to the bowels of Hell, aka Walmart.  My department at work is sponsoring a Bake Sale tomorrow for United Way so I had to get some baking supplies. 

When we got to the baking supply aisle, there was a mother with 2 children.  One was a little ginger-haired toddler girl who was quiet as a mouse, sucking on her pacifier.  Her sibling was a tow-headed boy of about 6 who was whining incessantly because he didnt like the cake his mother was going to make for his birthday.  "waaaaaaahhhhhhhh I dont wanna soccer ball cake anymore!!  waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!  I hate youuuuu!"  

Bless her heart, the mother managed to keep from throttling the child.  She kept calmly asking him what he DID want but he refused to answer.  She'd ask him like 10 times and then finally say "Ok well I guess we stick with the soccer ball like you told me you wanted this morning..." and then he'd start back up with his screaming.  

Our timing was such that we were almost always in the same aisle as this woman and her brat.  Jared and I both agreed that we'd have dragged that kid straight home with NO cake.  
dydan: (LJ abuse)
I thought long and hard overnight about my move to DW. When I told Jared last night about the creepy staff stalking incident along with the staff trolling going on he was astounded.

Before we went to bed, I changed my browser's home page to DW. That was...HUGE for me as LJ has been my default home page for YEARS now.

I'm a little sad that some of my beloved LJ friends wont be migrating. I understand not everyone is going to care or have the issue I have with all of this. And truthfully, since the bulk of my posting is under an F-lock, I am minimally affected by the whole LiveTwitFace issue. But the stalking? The harassment? Deleting comments? That's just not something I am willing to endorse with my hard-earned dollars and the site traffic my blog draws in. And while I am well-aware that my little blog pales in comparison to the traffic the more "famous" LJ'ers bring, I still feel that my defection will add to the growing numbers of other loyal users who have left for safer harbor.

Dreamwidth is far from perfect. They are still relatively young and are right now a small pond. And that's ok. I remember when LJ was a small pond and right now I feel like I've been foolishly holding on to that fond memory in the hopes that the Russian Mafia at SUP would return LJ to those glory days. They wont. They simply dont care. And that's fine...it is a business after all and they are free to run it or mismanage it however they want to.

Doesnt mean I have to stay there and be a party to that. And I wont.

Guess I'll be hosting and/or participating in a few Friending Frenzies! But at least here in DW I wont be stalked/harassed by the staff.
dydan: (Default)
President Obama is NOT Muslim.

....

Gee....what a relief.

Seriously? What if he is? Last time I checked, the First Amendment gave us the freedom to embrace ANY religion - or no religion at all.

Ah, but I guess we should all know that Muslim = TERRORIST, right?

Sweet Goddess, people....not all Muslims are Ebil Baby Killing Terrorists! Its not like when you become Muslim you get the location of Osama Bin Ladin's Sooper Sekrit Lair and a Do-It-Yourself Acme Suicide Bomb Kit! There are radicals on the fringe who unfortunately draw attention by the hate they spread, but they are certainly not the majority and certainly not a good representation of Muslims worldwide.

Just like there are radical fringe Christians. You know, like the ones who bomb Planned Parenthood Clinics and gun down an OB/GYN in his Church in front of his friends and family.

So if you want to spout off the shit that radical Muslims are somehow representative of ALL Muslims, be prepared to also admit that the Clinic Bombing Doctor Killing Christians are representative of all Christians.

Its never good to paint any group with a broad brush.
dydan: (Default)
I've been watching the circus of the San Antonio Pagan Pride Day on Yahoo Groups for a few weeks now and if nothing else, it reinforces my thought that the local community sucks.

Pagan Pride Day is supposed to take place in the Fall, sometime around the Autumn Equinox. Its meant to a public showing of ourselves...community outreach, de-mystifying ourselves to the general population, etc.

Last year there was all sorts of drama involved with the Coordinator and a local coven. The coven was sponsoring a fundraiser in the form of a raffle. PPD isnt free...there's space to rent, a security guard to pay for, food/beverages and all that. And being that Pagans are notoriously broke, it was clear the money necessary to pull off PPD was not going to come from our own purses, hence the fundraiser. Somehow the Coordinator decided she was going to use the money raised for something else...and the coven who sponsored this raffle was understandably angry about it. It was shady, it was full of drama and hate and ended with the coven publicly giving the Coordinator and PPD a big fuck you.

You would think there would be someone new as Coordinator this year, right?

Oh no. Same lady. More shady shit this year!

This year's great fundraising idea was a Midsummer's Ball. This was decided back in like...January. And on paper, it seemed like a good idea. It was supposed to be for Pagans and the general public (in keeping with the spirit of PPD). Unfortunately, they did NO advertising. None. Hell, I didnt start hearing anyone talk about the Ball until roughly a month before it was supposed to happen! So when they came within a week of the event and had only sold FOUR tickets...the event was cancelled. So long, fundraiser!

The Coordinator posted a bunch of pics on the local site that were supposedly from last year's PPD. Only, they werent. They were actually pictures from a private event the "angry Coven" from last year held. The pics heavily featured children. The Coven politely asked that the pictures be removed from the site. Seems reasonable enough: the pics are NOT of PPD. The Coven pointed out that as a parent, Coordinator had to respect another parent's wishes in not having a child's image plastered all over the Internets for some group's advertising. Coordinator completely ignored the request. And THREE other requests. It wasnt until someone got bitchy about the photos that she decided to speak up about it. And of course, that was snarky.

She made the comment that if you arent out of the closet, then you shouldnt attend PPD at all. That got EVERYONE pissed off because the whole purpose behind PPD is being able to attend whether you are Pagan or not, closeted or not. Community outreach, remember? Coordinator never retracted her statement, never apologized for it either.

Coordinator regularly pops off with snippy, rude remarks to people in the group, especially when people are asking legitimate questions that need answers. And heaven forbid your opinion is different than hers! She'll bitch you out, then tell you to take the conversation off-list. Oh ok, so you can rip into people publicly, thus displaying your superiority...and then you can send the bad little Pagan to her room for a time-out where you'll presumably do more bitching? Classy, lady...oh so classy.

Several questions people have are blatantly ignored. Important questions pertaining to actually running said event. Like, how much $ do we have in the bank for this? Who is doing advertising - and what is being done? Who is running certain important committees? And what progress is being made in those committees? Late last week a number got dropped. They need $850 for the space and the security guard. If we dont cough up that money asap, the event will be cancelled.

So let me get this straight. The event is roughly 2 months away and you need close to a Grand and you've done NOTHING to get that money all year long? And you STILL aren't advertising this event in any way?

One of the volunteer coordinators said something about this in her private Facebook. Coordinator lady took said posting and made it public to the PPD list, bitching out said volunteer for her opinion. It was tacky and childish, something I'm seeing regularly from this stupid Coordinator. Predictably, the posting created a shitstorm all weekend long. Most of the volunteers that were helping organize this fiasco have quit in disgust (including the co-chair). Not just over the latest flame war, they are disgusted with the way the whole thing has been done (or not done as the case may be)

Its downright pathetic if you ask me. San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the United States and we have a large, diverse Pagan population. And yet the majority of the "public" Pagans in this area are snooty, catty bitches who cant play nice with anyone - including themselves. Worse, when they do get someone with brains and a willingness to volunteer, they refuse to cooperate with that person - because they CLEARLY know best, what with how wildly successful their events have been. Gee, no wonder we are all apathetic and lazy! As much as I am willing and able to volunteer and help out, I absolutely refuse to deal with those people. Maybe next year someone will get smart and take over because as long as that crazy woman is in charge it will be nothing but a Clusterfuck Circus.

Goodie...another year, another lame excuse for San Antonio's Pagan Pride Day.
dydan: (Default)
Well, predictably my "Boycott BP" LJ/FB friend de-friended me this morning. She never once even approached me to have any kind of conversation - not during ANY of this. How adult! Sad, really because up until now I actually LIKED her. Ah well. If you're House of Cards is so fragile that it collapses under the weight of an opposing viewpoint and makes you have a tizzy, then by all means dont let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Late last night I saw an article about how poorly BP is doing financially since this whole thing happened. Their stock is plummeting and there's already a flood of lawsuits being filed. The article even mentioned the possibility of BP declaring bankruptcy. It made me consider something I had not thought of before. Let's just say for the sake of the argument that boycotting BP is a great idea. And let's just say that the campaign to boycott them is so wildly successful that people manage to put BP out of business. Who is going to handle the clean-up of the worst ecological disaster in human history? What, should we to tell Exxon or Shell that they need to cough up some dough? That would be like telling McDonalds they have to pay for the aftermath of thousands of people being poisoned by Burger King's shitty fries! So who pays for that? WE DO.

Makes me wonder how much bitching those boycotters will be doing when they learn that little lesson. If they thought bailing out the banks and the auto industry was bad, wait til they see the price tag on the Gulf cleanup!
dydan: (Default)
When I first started seeing the "Boycott BP" meme flooding my FaceBook, I was intrigued. I've boycotted establishments before, but knowing what I know about the oil industry, I thought I should do a little digging before I committed myself to that cause. The first place I went to was the BP corporate website. I immediately located the page listing all of the BP subsidiaries and as I scrolled down the page through hundreds of listings (in a variety of industries) I thought to myself "whoa...how the hell is boycotting a gas station going to be effective when BP has THIS much out there?" I genuinely did not even know how many gas stations BP even had in this country. There are no BP gas stations in my area, which seemed odd to me considering I live in the 7th largest city in the country. But then again I live in the heart of Valero territory, so I put my Google-Fu to use and started digging a bit deeper. At that point I found an article talking about how BP got out of the gas station business 4 years ago because of the shitty profit margins. There's roughtly 900 BP gas stations in this country; out of that number only 100 are corporate owned stores. The rest are franchises.

And the more I thought about it, the more I thought this was a bad idea. When it comes to where I do business, I will ALWAYS go for the small business owner before the corporate giant. It just didnt make sense to me to punish the small business owner who had the bad luck to chose to open a BP franchise as opposed to an Exxon or Mobile. I mean sure, BP does get a certain amount of money from the franchisee, but that's really a drop in the bucket when you look at the hundreds of other places BP earns their profits from. Our economy is already fragile, what good is it going to do to put a bunch of small business owners and their employees out of a job? And when you look at just how many tentacles BP (and every other oil company) has extended out there, how do you know you arent patronizing them in a hundred different ways? That tiny bit of gas you pump in your SUV is probably a drop in the bucket when you compare it to the other things you spend money on that BP makes a much bigger profit margin on. How many BP boycotters are researching that? My guess is very, very few.

When I saw the meme for the zillionth time in a "friend" who is an LJ/FB crossover, I thought it would be "safe" for me to voice my opinion. Hell, for all I knew nobody really was aware of the fact that BP didnt own their own gas stations! Oh, how wrong I was! You would think I had said I wanted to nominate BP for Humanitarian of the Year or something! I have never seen people act more defensive, rude and passive-aggressive in my entire life. I was blasted in the FB post, I was blasted in my email. Wow...so much for people respectfully sharing ideas like civilized adults!

One woman actually *bragged* about how she was doing something. Unlike *SOME* people (gee, who was THAT directed at? Passive-aggressive much?) she was boycotting! Why, she drove a whole 20 miles out of her way just to make sure that she avoided BP. I didnt even respond to that one, but when I read that I thought, "Wait a second. What kind of car does this woman drive? What's her gas mileage like? Because she just spent MORE in fossil fuels by driving 40 miles round trip for what??" Flawed logic is flawed.

Personally, I think boycotting BP really only fills some psychological need people are having to DO something in response to a tragedy that is hopelessly beyond anyone's control. And I totally get that people are outraged. I'm outraged as much as the next person! If it were up to me, I'd make every one of those slimy, greedy corporate bastards live in a vat of the shit they have poisoned our ecosystem with. They should be force fed oil-poisoned shrimp that havent been de-veined. They absolutely should have their feet held to the fire on this - and I hope their feet are coated in oil so that when they get near the flames those bastards ignite in a fiery inferno. There, is THAT outraged enough for you? Because heaven forbid I make someone think I am not giving them blanket approval.

At this point the comment thread is over 40 comments from a smattering of people. Out of all of those people, I think maybe 2 were even remotely polite towards me. And not one person to date has answered a single question I asked. At one point in the conversation someone mentioned that they didnt understand why we just dont make the switch to alternative fuels. And since I actually know a little about that, I commented back.

Sure, we have other forms of energy. Wind, solar, coal, nuclear, etc. So why arent we using any one (or all) of those forms of energy on a global scale? Because there are serious problems that prohibit them from widespread use. The reasons vary. Some technologies create their own environmental problems - mining uranium for nuclear is not exactly an earth friendly endeavor. Some technologies are in their infancy and require decades of ironing out the kinks - like hydrogen. Some work halfway decently, but are still way overpriced for all but the wealthiest to afford - like solar. In solar's case, in order to meet the energy needs of this country alone, you would have to lay panels over an area roughly HALF the size of California. Oh, no problem - we'll just put solar panels on the roofs of houses! Really? Who's going to pay for all that? Because as it stands right now, in order to convert your average run-of-the-mill 3 bedroom American home, it would cost anywhere from 30 to 80 grand (depending on how
much energy you need to generate per month). That kind of investment would take 20 years to see a return on the investment. Christ, people can barely pay their mortgages right now, who has an extra 80 grand laying around to do that? And that's just here in America. How is some poor guy in China who makes $25 a year going to afford to convert his home to solar?

Like I said the other day, I find the whole concept of Peak Oil and sustainable energy to replace oil a fascinating subject. I first started reading and researching 4 years ago when Jared and I first saw "A Crude Awakening". That movie scared both of us sufficiently enough that we've been keeping an eye on crude oil prices and the news concerning alternative technologies. And as much as I hate to say it - its NOT a pretty picture. Our consumption of oil has surpassed what's being pulled out of the ground since 1980. We havent had a major oil discovery since what...1970? And its not for a lack of technology to find oil. We have such sensitive sonar now that it can show the most minute details underground. When we're trying to suck oil out of the sand pits in Canada, and drilling in deep water that should tell people something: *we've already gotten the easy-to-get good stuff*!

And yet oil is used for EVERYTHING. Everything you wear, everything you eat, the meds you take, the tools you use during your daily life - everything comes from oil. This country's infrastructure was developed around oil. And why not...its cheap to pull out of the ground - so cheap its virtually free (even if it doesnt seem like it is). For one dollar you can pull a barrel of oil out of the fields in Iraq. Right now a barrel is what...around $70? And that one barrel yields the equivalent of 23,000 hours of human labor in energy. Where else can we generate that kind of energy? Nowhere. Even if you are extremely optimistic about developing technology and were to combine all the forms of alternative fuel that we currently have, we are far from equaling the amount of energy derived from one barrel (only 42 gallons) of that black gold.

But apparently according to my favorite critic, reading things online doth not make me an expert. After I got over that crushing blow to my ego, I politely asked this woman to provide me with more information. After all, she was certainly quick to tell me how wrong I was! Yet when I asked to be specifically told what part I had wrong, when I asked for books or links or anything, the answer I got was "I'm not comfortable telling you about my employer or what I do for a living." What the bloody fuck? How does "please provide me with reading material" get interpreted as "tell me every intimate detail of your life, oh Internet stranger"?? I thought perhaps she misunderstood my question. Oh no...according to her she cannot give me ANY information supporting her claim that we have sustainable technology ready to be globally used right now - except for her own employer's information.

*FAIL*

I dont give two shits about her or who she works for...its not like I had plans to go stalk her or something. She could have given me ANYTHING and it would have shut me up and satisfied my curiosity. She could have said, "go to your library and check for stuff by Bill Smith" or "Google search info on chipmunks on conveyor belts" Hell, she could have given me info from her employer and I would have never known that she worked for them. But oh no. Her evidence condeming my 4 years of compiled information is Sooper Sekrit? And just sayin here...if you REALLY want to make sure the whole of the Internets doesnt know who you work for, you might want to do a better job
making yourself anonymous. It took me all of 5 seconds to Google her employer AND her official job title. And as far as *that* goes? When it comes to the subject of Energy, I am going to give the word of someone from the EPA about as much weight as I do to someone from OPEC or any of the oil companies. What she really should have just said to me was "I dont know a godamn thing about what you are talking about, but since you have DARED to disagree with the rest of my friends I am going to say you are wrong, you meanie fascist poo-poo head!" At least then I could have respected her for her honesty. But to say I'm wrong but its a secret? Come on!!

Like I said...I get people being upset about this and wanting to do something. And sure, even small acts will add up to big things. I just think that if someone wants to do a "small act" it would be more prudent to really think about what sort of effect you are aiming for here. We all live busy lives, juggling careers and relationships and everything else that demands our precious time. Wouldnt it make sense to utilize that time doing something that has the most impact and benefit? If your goal is to punish BP or somehow get their attention, boycotting Apu's Kwik-E-Mart isnt going to do that. Putting the pressure on your elected representatives to keep demanding that BP pony up and make good on this mess might be a better option. If your goal is to help the areas that have been affected, there are a host of things that any one of us can do without going to the Gulf and getting our hands dirty. For example, why not organize a "hair drive" in your community? Solicit your local hair salons and pet groomers to donate their hair clippings - after all, they just throw them out. Hair clippings can be sent in and made into oil absorbant mats. That is something any average "little guy" can do in any location in this country. Its a positive, proactive, life-affirming action and would have an immediate benefit where assistance is most desperately needed today. Wouldnt that be a better way to utilize your time and energy?

Sadly, I suspect few people would even bother taking any REAL action. Oh, I am sure that people feel like they are "doing something" when they boycott BP but let's be honest: exactly how much time and energy is invested in just not driving somewhere? If mass forwarding an email and driving to the gas station across the street from the BP one is your idea of activism, then I shudder to think what kind of future the human race has to look forward to. Maybe the cockroaches deserve to inherit the mess we've left for them.

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dydan: (Default)
dydan

November 2012

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