About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Turkey Rebellion

I am so tired of this trend over the last few years to hate on retailers for opening on earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving.  It's annoying, unrealistic, and just another thing to gripe about in America.

I saw a request on Facebook today to please boycott all shopping on the holiday in solidarity of protesting the "corporate greed" that is taking over.  I asked (and never received an answer from the poster), "Where the hell has the love been, the solidarity, for all of the workers who don't get days off based on turkeys, a child in a manger or hopping down a bunny trail?"  Medical, police, fire, restaurants, gas stations, truck drivers, those in the travel industry - these are drops in the bucket of those who make your world turn while you sit at home shaking your fist and hollering about businesses who exploit their workers and want to make a profit - but look at the bigger picture: brick-and-mortar stores are in a frenzy to stay alive and losing the battle.  These Black Friday sales are what carry them throughout the rest of the year.  Then there's that little question on any retail application; "Are you willing to work holidays?  Yes or no?"  Don't check yes and then be pissed when the game changes. 

I worked through many a holiday when I was younger, for various reasons.  Sometimes I wanted to avoid my family, other times I desperately needed the money so picked up the extra shift.  Maybe I wanted too for someone to be at home with their own family.  And sometimes it was because I had no choice. 

Over the years I've learned a few things, and that is how to manage life.  Just because the majority get to sit down to a Thursday feast doesn't mean you can't do it on a Friday.  Me?  I suck it up and suffer through what my family calls a holiday and celebrate for real on Saturday, when I can enjoy the company of my friends who have no family, had to work, or are willing to sit through a second turkey just to be part of my "I am thankful" gathering. 

I don't participate in Black Friday or venture out much over the long November weekend because it's my tradition to pull out the tree, put up the lights and gear up for the chaos of December.

So, while you're with loved ones and having a spirited rant about why Walmart is evil and every retailer should choke on their stuffing, while you're enjoying the parades, the football games and barely staying awake at the end of it all for the evening news, think about all of those ground workers, announcers, athletes, and all of the people behind the scenes who brought you entertainment or needed information who are not at home where you claim they should be. 

Better yet, take an hour out of your holiday to really appreciate those who are working and bring them a box of cookies, a jug of hot cocoa, or anything that puts your "solidarity" where your mouth is.  And be thankful that jobs are there to put a turkey on the table. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I Am An American Girl

Well, I'm not going to lie. Yet again tonight I was unable to recite the Pledge as everyone around me stood and saluted just before the fireworks went off.   
This country was founded on some strong beliefs, but those have been sorely tested and twisted over time, by ratty politicians and narrow-minded people who have forgotten the key words that are recited every day but with hollow convictions: "with liberty and justice for all." We all shout a lot about freedom, yet so many in this country do not have the same freedoms that I do.  Many are convicted by fellow citizens for differing beliefs. That saddens me. but we are making progress.  
I wouldn't be an American Girl if I simply sat by, waved a flag in one hand, a firecracker in the other, and smiled, pretending for one day that we are all equal.  I choose instead to speak my truth and be thankful for the right... yes, the right... to say just about anything I damn well please.

And so, when this day of Independence passes over me, I will focus on that. We are an immature nation, but still better than most. When we do not provide better for our criminals than for our downtrodden, when all have the right to love another in the eyes of the law, when other worships are accepted as equal, when priority is placed on education and not celebrity, and when our militaries are not dying to fight battles not our own, I shall recite with meaning. Until then, I offer this hope for a better tomorrow for my country, and a better one the day after that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eyes Without A Face

Finally, there is a face. 

She caught my attention at the restaurant's bar with her funny comments that echoed my own.  Her name was Trudy, I think.  Or Judy.  A retired bookseller who overheard my chatter regarding my nerves in being ill-prepared to teach a class that night.  She encouraged me and we shared a few off-color jokes before she told me she was there alone because her 68 year old husband was in Boston preparing to run the marathon for the first time ever.  She didn't look old enough to be married to someone that age!  "Honey, I'm a walking Beatles song.  Lord, you probably have no idea what that means!"  Laughing, I gave her my card, asking her to stay in touch.  Her excitement at finding out I was a writer was contagious for that brief moment.  "I envy you so much, a teacher and a writer!  What amazing gifts you have to offer!"
I'm of the mind that every little dot in the universe is pre-connected before we ever came along.
This afternoon I was startled to hear a friend say "Such a shame about the bombings in Boston."  Then in skimming my Facebook posts, bits and pieces began to paint a tragic picture.  On this Patriots' Day, April 15th, the rockets' red glare came from the blood-spattered bombs bursting in air.  As the horror sank in of yet another terroristic tragedy thrust upon us, my thoughts drifted to the woman from the bar, and I thought of her husband. 

Finally, there is a face.

It was after the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and many others that I spoke up on Facebook about the ignored problem behind these incidents.  We see the deaths of the innocent, but stare blankly at the face of the mentally ill who are behind the acts of violence that are coming more and more frequently.  The eyes of Jared Lee Laughner burrow into me still.  An acquaintance, Steve, messaged me privately in agreement with my observations and revealed his secret; his son had come home from war with PTSD, displaying such violent tendencies that they live in fear of someday turning on the news and finding it will be their son's face in the headlines. 
The Aurora Massacre touched close to me, as my beautiful cousin Emily lives in the area, as does my longtime friend Angie.  I stayed up all night waiting for them to check in on the site to know that they were not at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.  As the news unfolded over the days to follow, I was deeply disturbed by the images of James Holmes.  It was after this that I messaged Steve back with how I thought of him and his son every time some new calamity exploded upon us, and that I wished I could find the words to put forth that would raise our tolerance, promote forgiveness, and stop the wildfire of hate that runs rampant among us. 

Do I cheer on those behind the killings?  No.  I cry a little inside every time I think of Brenda Ann Spencer, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Seung-HuiCho, Laughner, Holmes, Adam Lanza, and all of those lost to us at their hopeless, mind-bent hands.  Senseless?  No, I don't believe that.  Everything is with reason - how can we learn otherwise?  How do we learn forgiveness, redemption, even joy without despair? 
And when will we begin to see the faces?

My friend Kevin said to me today, as speculation seeped into the media, "Whoever they are, they are Evil with a capital E."  My answer:  "What defines the line between evil and mentally fucked up?"
We don't yet know if this was an act of terrorism or another somebody clawing their way into their 15 minutes, but as a society we are breeding these people, in our nation and in our world with our hate upon hate.  Self-righteousness that we could not commit such acts will only get us as far as a blood-stained bible left on an empty pew.  When was the last time you saw the face of someone reaching out to you for help?  Or did you turn a blind eye to the freak with the orange hair or the deranged guy sitting in the back of the room?   

The names come and go briefly in our minds, but I keep a photo of Jared Lee Laughner on my hard drive, because I never want to forget the gravity of what the human mind is capable of in times of darkness.  I forced myself to watch the footage of the man with two severed legs being tended to today by emergency workers, because I need to keep within me the suffering of people outside of me. 
I am desperately hoping that the funny Beatlesque woman who championed what I do will see this, and that her husband comes home to her safely.  Finally, I found the words.

Because finally, there is a face. 



(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, April 16th, 2013


Monday, March 25, 2013

Going To The Dogs


We have entered Bizarro Land.  There's no turning back when Fox News' Bill O'Reilly actually has a point in his pocket, and at the expense of fellow conservative Michele Bachmann no less.
The United States is a land of excess, a land of waste, and the purple mountains are rapidly turning shades of stark reds and icy blues.  We have taken what was once a million scenes of glory and are destroying our lush resources. 
This is what we do.  
Power to the people!  And whoever has the most power wins.   
Bachmann has thrown her aimless dart at the supposed excess lifestyle of President Obama and his family.  If she wanted to shove examples down our Godless throats, she could have gone any number of ways, but chose instead to bring "statistics" from an unknown, unsourced book.  What is wrong with people in the spotlight that they can't be bothered to back up what they sling?  Yes, we all have opinions.  I'm guiltier than most of tossing mine out to the wide web.  I'm not stating it as fact, however, and this is the mistake our lady Michele makes time and again.  When has President Obama excessed any more so than previous Chiefs? 
What is wrong with us that we support people like her, put them into office with every election, as our corner of the world crumbles around us?  Too many of us are down and out, and like Rocky Balboa we need a serious comeback.  Toby Keith heralded us into victory after 9/11, but it was a fleeting togetherness painted on a flimsy patriotic canvas. 
Our society is government-run, but has become completely ineffective in its power.  Few people really receive the help they need.  They are sent to stand in lines, fill out paperwork that too many can't even read.  or disregarded completely like litter on the street that we want to ignore, while we go on in our blind ambles to spend money we don't have, shove too much food in our bellies and judge those we do not know. 
Isn't our country just the bestest like that?  Yes, we have it better than so, so many.  But at what cost?   How many of us put a price tag on our souls and sold it at the nearest Nordie's?  I wish people would wake up to the disrepair we are in, not just economically but humanly too.  Really take a look around, but use our hands as well as our eyes. 
I'm no saint, but I know the difference between what is right, and what is just absurd.



(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, March 23, 2013



(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ballad Of Superwoman And Bandita

Alicia Keys - Superwoman

Let me tell you about my recent life. 

I received the news that my friend Byron had passed away, expectedly but still, it's never easy.  I found out an hour after hearing this that another classmate of mine was killed in a horrible car crash.  On this rainy night, my memory was spiraling with my own remembrance of squealing brakes and spinning uncontrollably. 
One week later, I was having an empowerment day; trying to raise myself out of my funk, singing loudly along with the stereo "I aaaamm Suuuuuper Womannnnnn... yes, I ammmm"  when BAM... my world was turned upside down in a blinding collision as one careless woman whipped her car in a u-turn directly in front of me at a high speed.  I had nowhere to go but into her car, my own fishtailed everywhere, I was spinning once again, jolted as my car slammed into the median, severed a street sign sending it twenty feet down the road, and Bandita came to fatally rest on what was left of the post.

I anxiously awaited the news on my beloved beauty, my husband and I were involved in another minor collision two days later with a careless motorcyclist. 
Four days after that, after I'd exhausted myself playing police detective to prove my case and expedite proceedings with the insurance, I picked up my rental car and made it one block and through an intersection when a pedestrian stepped off of the curb directly behind my car, leaving the woman driving the SUV behind me no time to stop.  Terrified when I heard the squealing brakes yet again, I stared in horror at my rearview mirror to see the elderly man roll up onher hood and back down to the pavement with a deadly thud. 
I had reached a level of trauma that was beyond anything I could handle.
Now, to add to the stress, my car is being deemed a total loss, over a few hundred dollars over its estimated value.  I have had to play police, detective, and soldier on top of dealing with depression, fear and other physical symptoms and injury.  There has been severe miscommunication, lack of follow through, and poor customer service from all ends. 
I was simply driving down the street.  I shouldn't have to be working this hard to be made whole.  I had a car, and now I don't.  And somewhere is one Carolyn Johnston who has virtually little repercussion for what she has taken from me. 
I'm taking my case to the owner of the body shop where my Bandita sits, in pieces, in the hopes that his reputed kind nature will find something of value in my appeal.  Here's hoping that Mike Rose, of Mike's Auto Body, is willing and able to help us out. 
To some, a car is just a car.  I am not some.  And Bandita is not just a car.
Stay tuned.
Dear Mr. Rose;
My name is Kymberlie Calkins-Ingalls, and my Firebird is named Bandita.  I tell you this because I'd like for you to go forth knowing that I am a real person, not just an invoice number, and my car is not just another bucket of bolts in your yard.
On February 21st, I was involved in a horrible accident.  Everyone seems to think it wasn't so horrible because I walked away relatively unscathed of injury.  Injuries I can deal with, but I'm an emotional sort, so as the realization settled in that my car was severely damaged to no fault of my own, fear began to set in that I would be without my Bandita for good.  We've been through our paces, she and I. 
I think, I hope, that you understand that a car isn't always just a car.
I admit, I've not been pleased at how this whole thing has been handled.  I had the car brought to your Concord shop because of a multitude of reasons; I know your company is preferred by insurances, I know you sponsor many cars at the Antioch Speedway where I have strong ties, my family is in a similar industry and therefore am aware of you being ensconced in the community based on the latter two. 
First, my car was towed from my father's shop, Bill's Tire Service, to yours.  As I awaited confirmation of its arrival, I found that it had been lost somewhere in your yard, my keys handed off to some unknown person, and nobody seemed to know what was going on.  Once it was all squared away, on to the next step.  I spoke with Damon, who assured me that everything would be done to save my car if at all possible.  I explained that this was traumatic for me on many levels; financially (despite my not being at fault, I cannot afford to replace my car or end up with a used one that has unknown issues), and emotionally. 
The initial estimate was in the range of $5800.  We held out a hope that this would be deemed repairable.  A week went by when I received a call from the Total and Loss Dept. of AAA.  The small bit of information I was given led me to believe there had been an updated estimate that I was not informed of.  I asked the adjuster to please forward to me the estimate she had received, and I waited, no email, and the adjuster kept sending me the wrong forms.  I also called and asked Damon for the same, very disappointed that he hadn't taken the time to let me know there had been a change.  He said he was leaving for the day and would email me in the morning.  No email came.  I finally had to take time out of my day to come to your shop and demand the estimate I'd requested.  At this point I was very unhappy with the service I'd received, as all but one time I'd asked Damon to communicate via email and recieved no results.
Damon came out to speak to me, and informed me that they'd reported the initial estimate to AAA, who came back and said "You have about $700 more to go before we total the car, so be sure it's accurate."  I get that 'estimate' is just that, but why on earth would someone raise a customer's hopes and prolong things without being as accurate as possible to begin with?  So please try to understand my devastation at this already traumatic experience, only to be told that the final estimate came in just over the limit they were given.  And please try to understand, after I'd done my research on the ways insurance companies and body shops work, why this might not seem right.
I'm an author, and I'd like to share with you an excerpt from a post I published awhile back:
My shimmering emerald Firebird is my shadow, my machinistic soulmate. Roger, my husband, has felt many regrets at his matchmaking when he presented her to me upon my thirtieth birthday We’ve grown up together in the last ten years.  She’s been rebuilt on three of her four sides, and we’ve nursed each other back to health after the accidents, each worse than the last.  . 
Bandita was patient as she waited for my fear to subside and I could slip once more behind her wheel with minimal waves of panic.  It seemed she understood why I needed to abandon her for the safety of our big, intimidating truck.  She’s protective of me to a fault, with instincts just like my own that won’t let anyone else on the road rev her up without good reason. 
Unresolved anger is a very dangerous thing.  It can eat away at the soul of a person like a rust corrodes the strongest of metals.  It lies dormant, lingering until someone itches your  trigger finger and with no warning, there lie the jagged pieces in a volcanic mess. 
Five years ago, I nearly lost my husband in a hit and run accident.  A truck came rushing through the light and plowed right through us, never stopping, never looking back, never to be seen again.  A two second difference and he would have been torn in bits.  I nearly lost my life that evening, and… I nearly lost my life.
I drive through that intersection every day.  The perfect circle on the faded road haunt me with its almost artistic dark, rubber stain. 
Unresolved anger –in Roger’s eyes every time he sees a champaign colored Toyota truck, his eyes skimming the front end for damage, quietly because he thinks I don’t see.  In my own mind every time someone around me runs through a red light. 
And now someone has taken Bandita away from me.  My empowering moment of sing-along at the top of my lungs to songs like Superwoman was cut short by the carelessness of another, and the damage is significant.  I don't think she'll make it this time, and it's a loss that frightens me.  My best friend, my companion in my strongest moments, who had protected me through five accidents in as many years, all at the careless hands of others, is on life support. 
Those around me have witnessed my recent depression as a direct result of this incident.  I've been treated for said depression, because we all have a straw that breaks us.  It was my physical therapist who suggested I contact you personally, Mr. Rose.  She said she has read about your philanthropic acts, and I know from my own father sponsoring many vehicles at the track that it takes a good heart to do so.  Many others have also implied that you are 'a nice guy' when learning where my car was.  I simply cannot face another loss. 
I'm throwing myself upon the mercy of your nature.  The difference between losing my car and not, as the math has been explained to me, is a few hundred dollars.  I realize labor is intensive in this job, and significant in the percentage of the estimate. If there is any possible way to lower the labor cost to meet the financial limit of AAA, I am prepared to offer a return of free advertising on every page I have related to the racetrack (I have a following of several thousand on my Facebook alone, and am adding a blog site to match soon) for the life of said sites.  I also run a network of blog sites, one of which is an up and coming Bay Area news and community site, and will happily run ads there as well, for the life of the site.  Traffic for said site is already moderately successful and will only improve over the next few months. 
This is an urgent matter as I've been informed late this afternoon that as of Monday, March 25th, I will begin incurring storage fees as AAA will no longer cover my car being at your facility.  I have no money to afford this, and need some sort of conclusion.  I'm asking for your consideration and a possible answer by the end of this business day, Friday March 22nd.  The reason being it's so urgent is that AAA failed to comply with my requests for the estimate, and did not follow up by telephone until today when I received this message.  Any fallacies on the part of AAA I am holding against them, not Mike's Auto Body.  However, communication has been sorely lacking from both parties.
If the car is totaled, and I have to go with salvaging the title, the car will be repaired at another company that I've done business with in the past, because I know their service and work to be impeccable.  It would be nice to think your company can hold its own against your reputation of the same. 
Isn't there anything to be done?
Very Sincerely,
Kymberlie Ingalls




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The P.F. Chang's Catalyst

Why must we fix what ain't broken? 

As consumers, we come to rely on familiarity.  Retailers, restauranteurs and celebrities alike all work their asses off to give us familiarity.  Where is the line of contempt?  We all bitch about fast food and its hazards to our health, but the number of people I see in the lines there don't add up with the complaints.  Walmart is the temple of evil, yet the crowds spilling about the aisles aren't only the local rednecks.  Amazon is an obscenity on the lips of many a writer and a bookseller both, yet the empire grows.

So, after getting us hooked on a product or brand, why the need for change?

There's a McDonald's in my neighborhood that had looked the same since I was a kid.  It's recently, after decades of being a familiar sight on my drive home, been remodeled into some sort of modern Starbucksy type structure.  Ugh.  Taco Bell is still pushing their fast-paced menu and 90s purple/blue motif, but I'd rather see a faux mission looking building with the big bell atop, ready to be gonged upon the consumption of a delicious crispy taco. 

My husband, a marketing expert, and I differ on this debate.  I know he is correct in his argument that change is necessary to stay fresh in the minds of consumers, especially the oh-so-desired young buying market, but I'm a habitual creature who returns more, and as I grow older with more money to spend, to partake of a favorite dish or a particular product.  I've stayed with Tivo, despite my technological grievances last year, because their DVR is user-friendly.  All of my gadgets are Apple, not because I'm a Mac fanatic, but for the same reason - the ease of use.  Most of my wardrobe comes from one of two stores because of the million choices out there, they are reliable and the clothes hold up to my washing machine.  These things matter.

I love eating out, much to the detriment of our budget.  I do so just about every day, and love to try new places, and definitely love to support independents when I can, but chains offer a reliability that I find comforting.  It's quite the upheaval when a favorite menu item suddenly disappears.  I'd love to sit in on the marketing panels and focus groups who decided that offering the McRib for a month out of the year would rake in more money than if they just offered it all year long.  Is there an actual season for pressed pork patties that only comes around in November? 

Many an afternoon or evening in this past year have been spent at P.F. Changs, an Asian fusion national chain with a lively atmosphere and, at my location, and extremely friendly staff.  Everyone has a hello and never seem to complain when I occupy the end of the bar for hours with my ginormous laptop and scattered papers.  I half expect to hear a rousing chorus of "Norm!" when I walk in the door.

I listen to the conversations, and yes even find interest in what people order.  I'm one of those that will change every dish on a menu to suit my mood of the day, but find inspiration in what others try and their likes or dislikes.  This is why I was immensely surprised at the recent changes that eliminated several items from their catalogue, because they were items that were consistent favorties among the patrons.  I have been traumatized at the loss of the lemongrass chicken dumplings myself.  In a sea of fanciful, rainbow-like foods, it was simple in its taste and helped offset the richness of other dishes. 

Alas, they are gone.

And I have found nothing to replace them as favorites.  The result?  Hardly the desired of the marketing execs, I'm sure.  I simply don't order any appetizers anymore.  Take that, Fancy Pants. 

I'm tired of losing my favorites, tired of being suckered in and dumped on the curb with other bygones.  Maybe I'm the minority.  Maybe others simply forget and move on, but I am a loyalist.  A loyalist with a wallet, and a platform

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bathroom Bill Blues

"Talk about a war against women!"

This is the most ignorant argument to date I have heard about this "war."  Really, ladies, can we save it for the real issues? 

There is a new so-called "Bathroom Bill" in Arizona that will allow transgenders and cross-dressers access to public restrooms of the opposite sex.  And apparently this is going to be the downfall of America..  Because all transgenders and cross-dressers are pervs, rapists and pedophiles. 

Women are suddenly going to be afraid to enter into a bathroom because (gasp!!) someone they aren't comfortable with just might follow them in.  Now children are unsafe.  The whole world is (no pun intended) going to shit. 

I was told on Facebook, "I bet the world that you are in a park, go in the empty bathroom, and 6 foot tall cross dresser follows you in, you cry like a baby. Be as tough as you appear, and admit I am right."  Sorry, but I call bs on that one.  Here's what I'm afraid of:  some mom who can't cut the apron strings brings her school-aged son into the womens' room, where he then pops his head under the stall and sees things he oughtn't, and suddenly I'm a sex offender just because I had to pee.  And yes, kids have done it.  It's insane.  But when I posed a question to all the moms I knew asking what was an appropriate age to let a child go into a restroom alone, the answers were varied but with the same theme - there are too many pedophiles out there.  What we should be doing is empowering our kids, teaching them to be smart, and observant.  To speak out when something seems wrong or out of place.

But now, women are being disparaged because the bathrooms are being invaded


Ignorance is the downfall of this country, more so than anything else.  "Now anybody who wants to wear women’s clothing will not be prohibited from entering into the girls/women’s bathrooms of our schools, parks and restaurants as well as our place of worship and any other public places in the name of prohibiting discrimination, tolerance and of course let’s not forget the mighty dollar in that forward thinking America."  I love how this Suzanne Sharer made sure to get the Bible thrown in there.  Have to enforce the moral compass. 

Unless I missed it, men's bathrooms are not going to remain "men only."  Therefore, how is this a new battle against the fairer sex?  Someone please, give me a rational, realistic answer.  Not one pumped up with worship and estrogen.  Tell me that a rapist can't just waltz into any bathroom of their choosing at any time and strike.  Tell me that women aren't having sex with underaged children, enjoying peep shows on the internet and likely in their neighbors' windows too, watching porn and attacking men in very violent ways.

Tell me.

Has anyone stopped to think of the treatment these people receive by using the restrooms designated to them?  How safe is it for a man dressed as a woman to enter a men's room?  How often are transgenders and cross-dressers of both genders beaten severely or fatally simply for existing?

The world is what it is but if being afraid of someone who looks different from you is your biggest fear, you need a priority check.  And why is it men are constantly the big bad bully of every crime in this country?  When are they going to stop taking the beatings we women and our politicians rain down on them? 

I say if you don't like it, hold it.  Get a kidney infection because a guy decided to wear a dress today.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

You Go (Daddy) Girl!

"I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl." ~ Danica Patrick
I am so not on the Danica bandwagon.  I guess, per our society, I should be, because I'm a girl.  Just like all the blacks are supposed to be loyal to President Obama, all Latinos are supposed to be fans of George Lopez, and all writers are supposed to worship Hemingway.
danica patrick 06 1024x768 Danica Patrick Pictures Collection
Do I think Patrick has an advantage because of her gender?  I don't know.  I've looked at it from a dozen different angles. Weight (a silly, completely untrue theory), natural reactive skills, the hottie factor.  
I have a decent knowledge of the sport, and yes, I've had my "go girl!" moments, locally and nationwide.  But while I'm all for anyone who swaths out a path for others, it doesn't need to be based on gender, color or anything else other than talent and skill.  And Danica just hasn't shown to be a woman I want to admire nor celebrate. 
Sure, she has wins and statistics that are impressive by most standards, but for me it's attitude that determines a winner.  For the longest time, especially she transitioned into NASCAR, nothing was ever her fault.  When learning to drive a new class of car, there's a learning curve. Rather than learning gracefully, it seemed she was always in the face of another driver, accusations being screamed about. 

In my experience, the girls who go about proving they're a badass simply because of their gender completely disprove the above claim made by Ms. Patrick. 
A fellow Facebooker stated this evening, "Teach young girls they win when they're the best, not because they're 'undervalued' or face overwhelming obstacles.
My reply, "I agree, but the thing is .. I don't think she does."
What I really wanted to say was that while his intent was a positive one, by bringing attention to the topic of "a girl being on the pole of Daytona" he actually ended up being one whom he was speaking out against.
We have many women racing at our local track, but two in particular that I am great fans of, not because of their gender but because one is a good driver, and one is a great driver.  What stops the one from being a better driver is that yes, she does carry a "the boys are picking on me" vibe.  The other gets out there and races.  That's all.  And she is brilliant to watch. 
There was, at one time, a 17 year old girl who beat my husband in overall season points by just one.  I laughed for ages about the notion that this girl went out and kicked the asses of all the middle aged men around her.  And it wasn't because she was a girl.  It was because she was a driver of great skill.

Does it help or hurt that Danica Patrick is the
GoDaddy girl?  Well, I'm all for anyone who uses their looks in our shallow society to get ahead.  Use what you've got.  Exploit yourself to your heart's content. 
But then don't complain when it comes back and bites you in the T&A, and undervalues your skills.  I do believe that she got the sponsorship she has based in parts on her marketability, which is easier to accept when it's an American Idol contestant, not necessarily an athlete.
To prove I'm not gender biased, I think Jeff Gordon has also cashed in on his pretty boy looks, and yep it took him a long time to convince people he had the skills to back it up.  Admittedly, I chuckled at my brother's comment that it's the first time in history that two girls were starting the Daytona in the first row. 
If Patrick wins the race, I do believe it will be based on her skill.  But her arrival to the pole, I'm not so convinced.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Calling All Angels

I am too often exactly what I write about. Someone devoid of any sympathy. I have never excluded myself from this group, but today I'm actually somewhat ashamed of myself.

I saw the headline "Country Music Star Dead At 37," and immediately knew who the "star" was. She was a blip on the music scene when she had a catchy song more than a decade ago. In the mess of her life that followed, Mindy McCready became nothing more than tabloid fodder with her addictions, arrests, and consistently abusive relationships. She never again found the success of her one hit song.

Not being a fan of the song or of her, I never felt the emotional attachment that many did. All I saw was a pathetic, too-young-to-be-washed-up woman who couldn't get her life in control. A harsh judgment of someone I'd never know, yes, but I've seen it too often in both my own life and the celebrity world.

Seeing the headline today, I texted my husband with "Well, she finally offed herself. Her life was more f'd up than even I knew about."

Then when I mentioned the story to a friend, he replied with the obligatory "so sad."

This gave me pause. How detached am I that I haven't an ounce of sympathy for this young life that ended in such tragedy? But then I find myself questioning what the bigger tragedy was - her life having ended or that her two sons will grow up without parents (the father of her youngest died last month under questionable circumstances that McCready was being questioned about). My thought isn't a pleasant one; considering the life she led, perhaps those boys will now have a chance at a childhood.

It irks the hell out of me that too many people bring lives into the world and whether they disregard the importance of this or their desperate need for love simply isn't enough to conquer all, it's the children who pay the price. Celebrity case in point: Bobbi Kristina (parents: Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown). With the sad death of Whitney at too young of an age, shrouded in did-she-bring-it-on-herself, the public eye focused on her daughter - but where was that concern when she was growing up? We all saw the beyond-trashy lifestyle of this couple, and in the midst of it was a little girl who knew a normalcy we could never fathom. Their parenting abilities, like Mindy's, were questioned time and again and yet the children were always returned to these people to continue to corrupt.

This isn't only rampant in Hollywood, it's everywhere. Our systems are so dysfunctional, overloaded, and understaffed that children live and die in our society every day who are neglected, abused, starved, and acting as the parents rather than a kid, it's no wonder when we look around at the generations coming after us and see a vast wasteland. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. Just because a person can reproduce does not mean that they should.

Some want to think the angels are calling these lives home, but I see it as the angels are protecting the little ones. 

So, when I see the lives lost too young - famous or not - I can't always manage sympathy. I am not a bleeding heart. What I can do and hope for someone out there to do the same is look for the meaning behind the tragedy. The glint of silver that could be a lesson to us all. It's the wisdom that humans are capable of that keep us grounded. We are not beyond empathy, nor beyond learning from the lives of others.

Sadly, we are simply oblivious to it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Piers and Jones and Guns, Oh My!

Whether you love or hate the brash Piers Morgan, or the Rush-y like radio host Alex Jones, this is just one whacked out advertisement for why gun control laws need to be more regimented.  I mean, c'mon... this is just beyond absurd.  It doesn't matter what side of the issue you're on, this is without a doubt reason enough to have stronger mental screenings before a permit is issued.

I'll be honest, I don't even know what kind of screenings are required to get a permit.  If anyone out there wants to enlighten me, please do.  I'm too lazy to Google at the moment, but I do like to be informed when necessary. 

Half the country is shouting "YOU CAN"T DISARM ME!  MY FOREFATHERS SAID SO!" as they sit back cleaning their many weapons that they'll soon use to go off hunting down animals with who have zero chance of fighting back.  Now, don't get me wrong - hunting for food is acceptable as far as I'm concerned.  It's the power trip of bagging the biggest trophy for their wall I have issues with. 

The other half is quietly and passive-aggressively waiting for the shouters to hang themselves in their own noose.  And this interview is the proof. 

This Alex Jones, whom I've never heard of until two days ago upon watching this interview, is clearly off his nut and Morgan couldn't have chosen a better pinata to dangle before the country.  I couldn't tear my eyes away from my phone as I watched what I thought would be another run of the mill overhyped interview clip.  My only response was evidenced by my Facebook posting.

And it's not like Piers is an innocent babe himself.  He's been known to go off his nut too, but here he played his cards brilliantly.  Maintaining his calm facade, he tried to engage in debate with someone who clearly couldn't form a rational thought to save his nationally televised hide.  Empire State suicides, Jaws and the fear of water, 9/11 conspiracy theories, incorrect statistics.  As Judge Judy would say, "Did you know where you were coming today?"  Only an idiot would show up as ill prepared as Jones. 

Ultimately, however, guns are here to stay and will be accessible to anyone who wants one bad enough.  Argue with me all you want to, but guns do not shoot themselves, knives do not stab on their own, cars can't kill without a driver no matter how hard Stephen King tries to convince us otherwise.  People are who do the killing. 

I have often considered obtaining a handgun as the violent crimes rise here in my town.  I'm to the point that I won't even stop for gas anymore after dark unless absolutely necessary, and I don't even live in the inner city, just a suburb 35 miles outside of San Francisco.  But my town has become a cesspool for armed robberies, personal and retail.  My husband and I have discussed it at length.  However, two things are my biggest consideration, and should be everyone's:  Can I control my temper - because really I have become so angry with society that it's a question begging to be answered.  And - most importantly - do I truly have the confidence to shoot and kill another human and be okay with it?  It's no video game, there's no unringing the bell.  And you must absolutely be prepared to kill or be killed.  In the end, my answer is that I am too temperamental and I am knowlegable enough to know I can use anything in my purse as a weapon, so that will have to do.  I also know key points on a body to hurt someone enough to give me a head start.  As for protection at home, a protective husband, an aluminum baseball bat, and a machete beneath the bed work just fine.  When all else fails I'll swing my cat in the air by the tail a few times and launch her at the criminal's face, then run like hell.

We, as the public, absolutely do not need assault-caliber weaponry at our disposal.  If, hundreds of years ago, we could survive with a bow and arrow or a club and a rock, we can still do so today.  An arrow isn't designed for killing sprees.  What we do need are stricter screenings, more empathy, and education on the difference between self-defense and mass destruction. 


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