WTF Wednesday

The stories about Harvey Weinstein are HORRIFYING. As someone who reads far more celebrity gossip and blogs than I should, there have been rumors and references to his inappropriate behavior for as long as I can remember. The stories the survivors are sharing are so skeezy and awful. I’m glad he’s been fired by his company (unlike the President who has had 16 complaints of sexual assault against him, but still GOT ELECTED), but he will remain a very rich man, and I imagine that eventually he will land on his feet again because white guys have a strange habit of failing up. Time will pass, people will forget, his power will return. Just look at Bill O’Reilly – he’s still on TV!!! Listening to the audio below of Weinstein harassing a woman made me feel ill.

I hate that the onus of this entire thing has fallen on the women to “speak out” about it. There are numerous reasons why a survivor would not report that an assault has occurred, but making it even harder is when someone like Weinstein can destroy your entire career with the snap of a finger. Men in Hollywood have to carry the burden of speaking out on this. The must demand that this not happen in their industry. They must hold each other accountable. They can no longer look the other way.

Don’t even get me started on Donna Karan’s comments blaming women. I know she apologized, but GIRL, NO.

The past week has felt like an attack on decency in this country. Don’t worry, there won’t be changes to laws that impact gun violence, but the house GOP was inspired by the Las Vegas massacre to attempt to crack down on our reproductive rights.

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Trump damaged LGBTQ rights  and access to free birth control thanks to “religious liberty.” Thanks for legalizing discrimination, ya asshat. But, yeah, all those people marching in January were totally overreacting to this administration. No reason for it! Women’s healthcare and the rights of other vulnerable groups aren’t being affected AT ALL. Please keep your religion away from my body. If you don’t want an abortion, then don’t get one. If you don’t want to use birth control, then don’t. If you don’t want to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, then go get a different job. Your job is issuing marriage licenses, not deciding who you think that God would think should be married.

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And I fully understand the desire by many to decrease federal regulations and return law-making to the states. BUT, when states cannot be bothered to follow federal supreme court decisions and institute laws that protect people, then the federal government has to step in. A lawmaker in Kentucky is proposing a bill to ban abortion. It’s unconstitutional, but I doubt they care. How many states would not require accommodations for people with disabilities if it wasn’t federal law? How many school districts would elect not to provide services to children with disabilities because it’s expensive? I understand that ADA compliance is costly and inconvenient, but it is the right thing to do. ADA in no way solved all of problems that people with disabilities face, and we still have a long way to go in actually meeting the needs of and erasing the stigma surrounding them.

In fun news from Monday, Pruitt is rolling back the limits on carbon emissions. I understand that these limitations are hard on industry, but could they not at least be replaced with more modest regulations to keep moving us in the right direction? I absolutely do not want the people who have worked in the coal industry to be without jobs or a source of income, but promising them something that isn’t going to happen is cruel. Instead of clinging to a dying industry, we should be investing in training people to work in alternative energy jobs. Jobs that are safer and still offer a competitive salary without needing a college degree. The way we power our country is changing, and the employees of the coal industry deserve the opportunity to change with it.

Why would we not move toward energy goals that not only provide people with safer jobs, but also protect the air and environment?

Moving on from political woes – a student called me full of outrage last week because she had been “on hold with financial aid for two hours.” It was 8:30 in the morning. They open at 8.

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I asked her if she remembered who had been there at 6:30 am to put her on hold since the office wasn’t open (calls go straight to a message stating that they are closed). She eventually admitted that maybe it was for 20 minutes, BUT STILL. I get that financial aid is a confusing and frustrating ordeal, and that there are often very long waits to get help, but don’t lie to me!

 

Wheels

This weekend went pretty well until the northern half of the state caught on fire Sunday night. Please send donations and anything you can to these poor people. Thousands and thousands of people went home to nothing but ash yesterday. It’s an apocalyptic horror and so many people I know have family and friends who have lost everything. The last couple of months have been brutal for the country in terms of natural disasters, and fire season is just hittting it’s peak. 


I know that’s a downer start, but it’s pretty much all anyone here can talk about or think about right now. The enormity of rapid devastation caused these fires are unbelievable. 

Before the fires began, I got to spend the weekend with my parents which was wonderful. When my car got hit, I started talking to my parents about buying my mom’s Jeep Cherokee. It’s only two years old, and she’s never really liked it anyway. It’s white (she wants her vehicle to always be RED) and the clearance is too low for her taste (she’s a country gal who likes to ride high). I definitely didn’t want to buy a new car, but I’ve never bought a used car, so that made me nervous. With my mom’s Jeep I knew it was well taken care of. When my Jeep (RIP) was officially totaled a few weeks ago,  I started making plans with them to get the Jeep out here. I figured that I would fly into Austin, pick up the Jeep, then drive it back to California. Easy peasy. Image result for nope gifEven though I am a grown ass woman, my dad was NOT HAVING IT. He decided that he wasn’t going to let me drive that far alone because any number of terrible things could happen (I wonder where I inherited all of that anxiety and natural inclination for pessimism from?). He decided that he would drive it out himself and I could pay to fly him back. I didn’t want him driving alone either, so I put the kibosh on that plan. As a compromise we agreed that I would fly in to Austin, then we would drive the Jeep to California, and I would then arrange for him to fly home. It all seemed pretty simple until my mom got wind of the plan.Image result for nice try gifUnder no circumstances was my father allowed to travel to California without her in tow. Come hell or high water, she was coming. So, in the end and for the sake of staying in my mother’s somewhat okayish graces, we agreed that they would drive the Jeep out together and I would pay to fly them home. They left on Thursday and arrived on Saturday morning which gave us almost two full days together before they flew out early yesterday morning. It was such a nice bonus visit and I am endlessly grateful that they not only allowed me to procure their vehicle, but that they also drove it all the way here. They really are the best. We enjoyed many a sandwich and lots of TV. My mom showed up with this stuff and I advise you that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you buy it.

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It is absolutely addicting and I couldn’t enough of it which is great because I definitely needed another food item that I could struggle to control myself around. It’s got that “whole grain energy” though, so I should be unstoppable this week since I ate a whole bag of it.

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As I’ve mentioned before, my parents have dial-up internet (so no streaming anything) and they don’t have cable at home. They typically have to wait until Netflix gets the Game of Thrones DVDs before they can watch a new season, but since they were in town, we watched the seventh season together. I missed SO MUCH the first time. Good grief. There was so much writing on the wall (RIP wall). My dad has also taken to calling Jon Snow “Ice Cube,” so that feels particularly fitting.

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I made it to Orange Theory yesterday morning after I dropped my parents off at the airport and I am going again this morning. I didn’t go at all last week because I just felt deeply sad and hopeless over Vegas. I was useless. Trying to get back on track this week because sulking at home won’t help anything. 

15 Thing Friday

1. My sense of rage and hopelessness regarding Las Vegas and our country’s general inability to give a shit persists, but I did donate this week to the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund which at least gives me a sense of doing something that will help these folks. They’re almost at $10 million which I hope will give survivors and the families of those lost freedom from financial devastation. They already have so much worse to deal with in finding a way to live with the trauma and heartbreak in the aftermath of this tragedy without medical and funeral expenses. We have several students who were there or who lost family and friends at the concert. It is so unbelievably horrible.

2. If you want changes, then demand them. This article has some good advice on contacting your congressional representatives about gun control. Don’t forget to pester at the state level too!

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3. Thank you so much for all of the recipes you shared last week! I will cranking a lot of those suckers out ASAP.

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4. Speaking of recipes, since all of mine got erased during the great 2014 THAT BITCH AMY DELETED EVERYTHING episode, I highly recommend this recipe for Starbucks pumpkin bread (I made it in muffin form) if you’re in the mood for pumpkin (and what basic chick is not???). I like to double (or quadruple) the cinnamon and add 1/4 tsp of cardamom.

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5. Sari and I recently watched the first episode of Trapped. She didn’t like it because of subtitles (it’s in Icelandic), but I am excited to see where it goes. The point of this tale is that there was a song that opened the show by Kaleo that I now love. It’s also in Icelandic, but I never know the actual words in songs anyway, so I am greatly enjoying Vor í Vaglaskógi (Spring in Vaglaskógur). It’s just a truly beautiful sounding song.

Ugh, I need to visit Iceland soon.

6. On the topic of not knowing words, Sari and I were in the car earlier this week and “Sexy Can I” [why is there no question mark?] came on the radio. I told Sari that I always thought it was funny that he says “just park my manners.” You should never throw your manners aside! Also what does that even mean?? She informed me that it’s actually “just pardon my manners” which is a statement that actually makes sense. WHO KNEW?

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7. I thought this article was really fascinating: “Do Cultural Differences Change What Depression Feels Like?

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8. Netflix is raising it’s prices of the premium plan by a dollar and people are mad. Why? I know a dollar is a dollar, but you are still getting a hell of a lot of TV shows and movies (including tons of original content) for $11. That is an insane deal and if you don’t want to pay a dollar for some truly premium shows, then don’t! I would have paid $50 just to watch the first season of The Crown. Season 2 is only two months away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9. Do you know about or use this MoviePass thing? ALLEGEDLY, for just $9.99 a month I can watch one standard format movie at a theater per 24 hours. I want to get it, but it makes me nervous. What is the catch here?

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10. I will officially have a car this weekend! FINALLY. Ugh. It’s been seven weeks since the wreck and I am thankful to close this chapter of inconvenience.

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11. I am about 60% of the way through Hillary’s What Happened book and whoa. There are so many things she warned us about that are happening right now. The information and history she gives about Russia tampering and messing with our shit is astounding. I need to pay better attention to that.

Image result for trump russia gifI also somehow missed that Hillary was part of the team that conducted the Watergate investigation which is super fascinating.

12. “Why Mass Shootings Rarely Change the Paralyzed Politics of Guns.” This sentence makes me ill: “Our supporters understand that gun-control demands are just an effort to put points on the board against the NRA, which is viewed as an arm of the Republican Party. So the NRA is quiet, and then, after the ‘we gotta do something’ aspect quiets down, they go back to defending freedom.” You can read more here about the people whose lives were taken too soon on Monday.

13. Regarding the 20 week abortion ban bill (or “pain-capable” which is a nothingburger phrase), the Journal of the American Medical Association conducted the most comprehensive study to date on fetal pain and found that it begins to develop between 23 and 30 weeks’ gestation. Although this study was conducted in 2005, it has not been contradicted in any research since its publication. The claims in the bill regarding pain at 20 weeks are not supported by any scientific studies. There are many reasons why a woman would have an abortion after 20 weeks, and this is only an effort to further restrict access for American women (although I am hopeful it will fail on the Senate floor).

House Republicans, Pro-Life Leaders Celebrate Passage of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Eat shit, Paul Ryan.

14. Tracking the fake news and conspiracy theories that are spreading across YouTube in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting.

15. In completely unsurprising, but still extremely disappointing news, the Department of Justice has issued a new memo that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not cover discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Little weasel.

Eye Ballin’

I’m going to take a moment away from my America-fueled rage (it continues inside me, worry not), and offer you a story filled with insignificant problems and asininity.

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I had bizarre eye appointment recently and I am still confused/pissed of by it. After I arrived and checked in, a woman took me back to an area to do the pre-exam eye tests. She asked if I wear glasses or contacts and I said yes. She asked which one and when I said both, she looked at me and asked, “What are you currently wearing?” I was a bit confused because I was very clearly not wearing glasses, so I asked if she meant in general or right this second. And she said, “right now.”

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I pointed to my face and said “Well, not glasses” and laughed awkwardly. No response. When she finally understood that I was wearing contacts and not a pair of invisible glasses, she asked me if I knew my “subscription” for them.

I was told before the appointment to bring any boxes that I had for my contacts. My contact “subscription” is barely different between my eyes, so I can’t tell a difference when they are in opposite eyes. I ran out of my contacts for my right eye a month before because it’s my special super dry eye and those tend to rip more frequently, so I just had the box for the lefties. When I explained that I only had one box she asked where the other one was and I said that I had thrown it away a month ago. So, then, naturally, she asked me at least five times if I had the right box with me.

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She then asked if I knew my “subscription” and I said that I did not know it off the top of my head. She looked at me and said, “What am I supposed to do?” I don’t freaking know, maybe check my eyes for cataracts and other abnormalities? While I was still sitting there, she went next door to talk to the guy who does the contact fittings and explained to him that I only brought one box in and she has no idea what she is supposed to do now. He then walked out and berated me for bringing only on box in. I was so shocked that I could barely speak. There is no need to lean over me, point your finger, and raise your voice.

I explained to him that I told the person who I made the appointment with that I only had once box, and she told me to bring in what I had. I did that. He looked at me and said, “It didn’t occur to you to bring in your prescription then?” Um, no it freaking didn’t because in the almost 20 years that I have been wearing contacts and going to new doctors when I moved to a new city, no one has EVER asked me to bring in my prior prescription. Not a single time.

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He then looked back at the lady, gave an overly dramatic sigh, then said, “Well, I guess someone has a lot of work to do.” Every time I have gone for my yearly eye exam, the doctor has gone through the process of determining my prescription to make sure it hasn’t changed. Never has an assistant asked about my prescription or tried to determine what it was. Puff the air in my eye, make me do the light clicker thing, and scan my damn eyeball.

I was extremely annoyed because this episode took almost 30 minutes, then the guy spent about five more minutes hassling me about the contact solution I use because it’s “garbage” and I need to use the one he invented.

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Finally, he said he was leaving for the day and huffed off (it was 2 pm) and the lady finally took me to do the actual eye tests. I asked her if I needed to remove my contacts, but she proceeded to instruct me on what to do at each test. So, I did all the tests. She next took me back to the actual eye doctor and he had me read the smallest line of text on the wall that I could. He told me I had great vision and I replied that I sure hoped so because I had my contacts in. He was extremely rude and asked my I hadn’t taken them out and demanded that the other lady come back in. He sent me right outside his door, then berated her about why she gave me the tests with my contacts in which caused her to start crying. Even though she was driving me nuts, I felt awful for her because that is so humiliating and everyone could hear it because they only had those sliding accordion temporary walls. I didn’t know what to do, but she treated me like it was my fault for the rest of our interaction, so that was fun.

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I took my contacts out and she redid the tests. When I went back in, he asked me if I had my prescription. I again explained that I did not and he asked my why I didn’t bring my glasses because “that would have really helped.” NO ONE TOLD ME TO BRING THEM when I made the appointment and stated that I only had the one box. I have never had to bring them!! I was so irritated at this point that I wanted to just walk out, but I really need new contacts ASAP because I was down to the last one in my right eye which was already several weeks old. So, I just sat there trying not to bludgeon him to death with his ugly lamp.

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Later in the exam he came at me with a little bottle of eye drops. I asked him what they were and he kept trying to tilt my head back while I was trying to squirm away from that damn little bottle. He insisted that the drops were “for my eyes,” and I kept asking what they were going to do to my eyes. He finally told me they were to dilate my eyes which made me furious. I made the lady write on my chart “NO DILATION” in all caps because my eyes cannot handle it. They’re too delicate.

Last time they were dilated it took over 12 hours before I could see clearly and I couldn’t open my eyes outside at all despite wearing two pairs of sunglasses. Not gonna happen. Everywhere I’ve been before has that fancy machine where you can pay $35 for it to take a picture of your eyes and avoid dilation, but not this janky joint. Needless to say, that was the end of my exam because I wouldn’t sit back down after he told me it was the last thing he needed to do.

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I finally got out of his office, but it was then time to go see the contact lenses guy. When the lady at the front desk tried to locate him, I had to tell her he had left already for the day. When she called him to see what the deal was, he said I was the last patient of the day and he didn’t feel like waiting for me to finish. He doesn’t exist anymore.

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Just kidding. For now. I happily agreed to come back the next day to meet with him and get my contacts ordered just because it meant I could finally leave. I considered just starting over somewhere new, but I really needed new contacts as soon as possible. I called my former eye doctor in Austin (Lakeline Vision Source who I cannot recommend enough. They were always great and got me in quickly) and they emailed me my prescription, so I would have it on hand when I saw that contact man. Unfortunately, when I arrived (you know, after taking time away from work to go, AGAIN), they told me that they needed me to come back again two days later because they forgot to order the trial lenses. I could feel the flames of hell crawling up my face.

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I finally got my contacts, but clearly, I will never go back there again and it might accidentally get burned to the ground one day soon.