Friday, August 21, 2015

Save yourself! Tips for not getting bumped off in a British mystery

As you all know, I am a bit of an Anglophile, and particularly love BBC mysteries, as well as several of the "Golden Age" British mystery novelists. I have posted several times about what to expect from said BBC mysteries, but realized recently that I have neglected to forewarn about how to prevent yourself from getting bumped off on such a series.

Consider this a public service announcement, should you consider becoming a character in such a series.
1. Don't blackmail anyone. This is a universal truth: the blackmailer always gets killed. Period. End. Of. Story. (Or end of blackmailer.)

2. Especially don't blackmail the person you believe to be the murderer! Characters do this all the time. Do they think the suspected killer will suddenly have a change of heart, or a religious conversion, as well as an inclination to lighten their wallet? I'm pretty sure no one has ever had this thought: "Hmm. Mary is blackmailing me because she knows I killed Beth. I'll pay up and hope she doesn't say anything, and ignore the gun that I used to shoot Beth."

3. For that matter, don't confront the person you suspect to be the murderer on your own, without the police.  Because duh.

4. Don't arrange to meet anyone in person with a clue that's going to reveal who the murderer is, or one that's central to the case. For the love of God, tell them over the phone! Text them! Email them! Because if you arrange a meeting, you'll always get bumped off on the way there. We know this to be true.

5. If you are dealing with monsters or aliens (e.g. Dr. Who, which is essentially sci-fi mystery), DO NOT assume they are friendly. That assumption means they will eat you. The people who assume the aliens or monsters are unfriendly have a 50/50 chance of being accurate, and they are much more likely to live than the people who assume otherwise (who have a zero percent chance.)

6. This applies even if it's a cute monster or alien. Remember Adipose?
7. Get backup. You know the characters who venture out on their own, even whilst others say, "No, don't!" ? They all end up as toast.

8.  If you are working with the killer, don't double cross them. Because, once again, duh.

9. If you find out about the family secret of some old artistocratic family, just keep it to yourself. These characters tend to get rather touchy about out questionable parentage, and death is usually preferable being caught with the wrong trousers down.

10. Don't drink the scotch! If you suspect someone is a murderer, don't accept their offer of alcohol. Questions? refer to points #3 and #8.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Writer's block SUCKS

It's not that I haven't wanted to write, or haven't had things to write is the dreaded...

So I'll just give you my odds and ends.
  •  A new insult from girls' night out, for future bumper stickers to slap on the cars of exes: "He's small, AND he doesn't call!" (This was dreamed up by my single friends. I have already told Mr. RK that God forbid anything happens to him, or one day he decides that he prefers men, I'm never dating again.) 
  •  Has it occurred to anyone that Donald Trump has some serious mental health issues? I work at an advocacy agency and we were analyzing his symptoms the other day.
  • A local bakery that refused to sell a cake to a gay couple for their wedding claims they broke the law for religious reasons (never mind that Jesus said not to judge, apparently they don't read their own Bibles), but apparently they have no problems making cakes for divorce parties, a pagan solstice festival, an out-of-wedlock baby, or a stem cell research grant celebration. Oh, and they got pissed off at the newspaper that reported this. Hello, McFly! These people should buy their own island of assholity (is that a word? It is now) and open a shop called Cakes for Bigots Like Us. And then they can have their cake and eat it too!
  • One of the participants in a training I took this week pissed me off to high heaven. A friend said, "Take pity on her, for self-centered people are miserable." I said, "I can't use up pity on her!" Methinks she doth pissed me off too much.
  • I found out the reason that driving is so fucked up around here (meaning roads, not drivers - I haven't found an explanation for that): instead of being laid out on a grid, Oregon's road and street system is based on old trails. I kid you not. And you thought *your* municipality had it backwards.
  • My cats are sexist - they won't play with girls. Apparently boys are playmates and I am only fit for cuddles and feeding them. I thought they might cave while Mr. RK was on his business trip, but instead, they only played with a visiting brother.
  • My friend works in a pharmacy and has the funniest stories. My favorite one so far was from a patient picking up a prescription for Ambien: "My husband hates it when I take this, because we have sex and I never remember it!"

I told her she should start a blog.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Call in the goats, after we solve our dildo epidemic...

Sorry about the absence, with Mr. RK in Asia on business I've had my hands full keeping up. Luckily I have a helpful sibling staying with me. I promise I will visit your blogs soon!

After the last post about the ridiculousness of (halfassedly) legalizing marijuana here, I thought I'd offer a few other choice tidbits that you could see on an episode of Portlandia, and they'd be true!

#1 - Call in the goats! What to do with invasive plants? Click on this picture for details.
The funny thing is that this is a pretty redneck county - only in Oregon would you have rednecks calling for environmentally friendly solutions to noxious weeds. (Question for gardeners: what are non-noxious weeds?) This county has two reasonable people and three Tea party nuts (wait, that's redundant) on its board of commissioners. I had to seat two of the commissioners separately at a work event because one of them had threatened, at a public meeting, to assault the other. True story.
#2 - Portland's dildo epidemic, hanging from a power line near you.
Every week or so, I send family in other parts of the country an "only in Portland" story. You can't help but read a story whose headline is "Woman says she is responsible for hundreds of sex toys dangling from Portland power lines." Funny thing about how she got them - she says "friends" amassed about 10,000 "defective" sex toys. HOW?! AND HOW MANY FRIENDS?! Inquiring minds want to know, and the article doesn't say, damn it. You talk about irresponsible journalism.

#3 - I want my fetish title back, and I'll sue!
Ditto with a headline that reads, "Ms. Oregon State Leather, stripped of sexual fetish title, wants it back, plus $100,000." My dad said, "Well, let her prove that she deserves it! (Here's a link to the story. It's clean.) I'd love to be the attorney representing her - or at least hear the oral arguments. No pun intended.

Anything going on unique to your neck of the woods?

Monday, July 06, 2015

How to legalize drugs without making any sense (or cents)

Lo and behold, marijuana became legal in my state last week. Yet as with everything that follows a citizens' ballot initiative, the bureaucracy has to take time to catch up.

So get this (and this is all true - I don't have enough patience to invent something so nonsensical):

Marijuana is legal to possess (in certain quantities, depending on whether you're at home or in public), to smoke (in some places and if you're 21 and over), and grow (ditto on quantities and age.)

However,  you can't buy it yet, unless you've got a medical marijuana card (medical marijuana was legal for several years here before last fall's ballot measure passed, making marijuana legal. Also, it is worth noting that more people turned in votes on the measure than cast votes for governor.)
 In what other metro area would the police department post a graphic like this on Twitter? And who the hell is that little clay guy? Do I have to get stoned to figure that out?

The state's new bureau of marijuana has not yet set up a system of stores. God forbid you let private enterprise do it; all hard liquor sales are controlled by the state here - sort of like Communism, but without the bribery handshake - and they're the agency in charge of sorting out pot.

So, you think, can we drive 20 minutes and buy it legally in Washington, and smoke it there, or bring it back here? No. Because that would be trafficking, according to federal law, which still makes marijuana illegal. (You don't have to be stoned to be confused about this.)
At any rate, our local rag published a guide to the new law AND a guide to growing. I kid you not. The same company that owns this paper is opposed to raising the minimum wage, but they must instinctively know, on some level, where their bread is buttered.

So in effect what we have is a kind of de facto amnesty law. You are allowed to possess plants and the dried stuff for smoking, and the oils (I think that's what is used, but I haven't ever baked anything illegal - I have enough trouble preventing legal recipes from catching on fire) used to make food that can make you high. And how, I ask, do you get this stuff? You can get it as a gift.

Yes, really. So in essence, you have to have a friend who probably dabbles in illegal drug sales or purchasing give you legal pot.

There are some things about this state that are so fucking backward, I don't know why I'm surprised.

Maybe everyone started smoking before they wrote the new laws.

Monday, June 29, 2015

I may be waiting with marshmallows, but I'm not done.

I've been agitating on LGBTQ rights since high school. The Supreme Court decision was exhilarating, but incomplete - I've found it hard to find words to write about this and have been mulling it the past several days.

My favorite response came from a gay friend who is American, but has lived in England for years because she and her wife could legally get married there. "Some pastor's gonna set himself on fire. And I have a marshmallow."

Of course he backpedaled and said, Uh, he really didn't plan to do it...probably because so many of us were standing by with ingredients for smores!

We've come a long way in one generation - but not far enough. I remember, years ago, explaining to my little brother why marriage equality was important to me. At age 8 or 9, he laughed at the idea that anyone would object to same-sex couples marrying. I wish more adults would have such maturity.

I remember there being just one openly gay guy at my high school. He was mocked and ridiculed, and his parents kicked him out of the house. Today, there is a gay/straight alliance at my high school and lots of student resources, but it's easy to get too comfortable. There are still states where you can lose your housing or your job if you're openly LGBTQ. This is beyond wrong, it's unconscionable.

I'm lucky enough to have an amazing, loving, smart, funny spouse who happens to be my soulmate. I can't imagine us getting evicted or losing our jobs because we're in love.

It is outrageous for "religious" people to duck under the "I should be legally able to discriminate against you because of my own feelings" caveat. No way. My family is Lutheran and Jewish and I am the daughter and granddaughter of pastors. There is room for people of faith to be accepting, and frankly, if anyone has read the fucking Bible, you'll see that that's what Jesus did and encouraged us to do. Plus, not everyone's religious.

The same arguments - literally the same arguments - were made against interracial marriage, of which I am a product.

Take the hate elsewhere. If you are concerned about humanity, go do some meaningful volunteer work. Get your hands dirty.

Meanwhile, don't rest. Keep active. Segregation shouldn't exist in this country anymore. This is but one small step. Let us eat cake!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Aw, nuts!

Sorry for the delay in posting! Things have been super busy here (I guess busy is the new normal) with preparations for comings and goings.

Meanwhile, our neighbors have installed a squirrel feeder. I know you're not supposed to feed wildlife, but these guys seem rather domesticated - and so far, it's keeping them from my strawberries.

Last year, they literally took one bite out of each berry like fucking Goldilocks. They'd rather have nuts anyway, right?

So before I embarked on the distribution of nuts yesterday, Mr. RK set up his "squirrel cam" and made this video. (Watch with the sound on. You'll be glad you did.) We wanted to have the theme music be, "I Want it All, and I Want it Now," by Queen, but they aren't licensing their songs on You Tube yet.

And speaking of back yards (or patios), I've been inspired to get some rainbow tea lights.  To make my yard relentlessly gay.

Seriously, does anyone else wish they had that much time on their hands? I LOVE this (straight) woman's response. You go, rainbow girl! I wonder what her idiot neighbors would think about Rainbow Brite.

Monday, June 08, 2015

An open letter to the fluffy killers in my house

SURE, you two look innocent enough.
But I will never look at either of you the same way again.
Yes, I grew up in the suburbs, a fact which is now painfully obvious to you, Mr. RK, and my friends. I have never, in fact, seriously thought you might eat something that didn't come from a can. Perhaps you'd give it a small chase, then get bored, like you do with your tiny soccer balls? Maybe you'd run away?

And yet somehow, a poor field mouse (make that ex-field mouse) somehow ran into the house last week, and you two ate it like a fucking hot pocket.

At least that's what I'm told. God bless Mr. RK for getting home first and cleaning up all evidence of your nasty snack.
I get that there is a food chain. I get that nature is a cruel place. But seriously, why did this poor little thing have to run in and meet its doom with you? I am so disillusioned. Here I am thinking you love us, and the fact is that if we croaked, you'd probably say, "YUM! Fresh meat!"

Now I have no illusions when you sit and flick your tail at a squirrel or a blue Jay on the other side of the sliding glass door.

I've been obsessing about this the past few days, wondering WHICH ONE OF YOU was the killer. Or maybe you both were?

PS You know what else bothers me? YOU ATE THE WHOLE THING. Not that I want to eat a fucking mouse, or find a dead mouse in my living room, but still. Other cats are selfless and bring the entire mouse for their masters, but clearly, you two have no such consideration. All you left were the...well, never mind. Let's just say I owe Mr. RK a big favor.

Yours truly,

A vegetarian. A BIG one.