[witty title]

I want to update my blog, so let’s update! (I am rambling away with this update)

I’m pretty shocked, I’ve managed to crank out two short stories and my brain decided “you’re doing a novel, write down your questions now” randomly while Jamie and I were at the gym. I have about three pages of nothing but questions for myself. I haven’t been able to start any sort of story, let alone write the first draft of a short story start-to-finish.

My “H” key is sticking really bad, please excuse any missing H’s that I happen to miss. ( I am trying very hard to check while I type and check during “preview”, but I have this horrible feeling I’ll miss one or two anyway)

I’m thinking that not being in that Soul-Sucking 5th-Level-Of-Hades job really helped.

So, normally I go: I have an idea, I’mma write until I get stuck, put it up and figure it out later. Now, I’m going: Ok, I want to do *this* so let’s write down questions. It goes from very simple questions (e.g: is it 1st or 3rd POV? is the main character male or female?) to a little more complicate (e.g: what is the exact protocol for ____? what is the proper procedure for police paperwork?) or even random questions: do I mention eye colour? How can I make this plausible? Is this like basic reality with a twist of fantasy or is this Epic Fantasy with Epic Battles and Epic Journeys with capitol letters?

Eventually I will get to the basic: I would like to start *here* work my way around *this* and finally end up *somewhere over there*

I’m still pretty surprised that I ended up with two first drafts of short stories. I haven’t written a short story in for-freaken-ever. Can I blame life? Do writers blame life kinda sorta getting in the way? (I, in no way, consider myself a writer. I am not a writer, I’m not a blogger, I’m a creator-of-things because holy shit I do all kinds of stuff. photography, knitting, drawing, beadwork, writing, etc etc)

I was thinking about changing the sub-title for the blog to “*Mostly Harmless” because that is hilarious and true.

So…I ran into something kind of weird the other day. I was trying to “play nice” with a new co-worker and try to find something we could talk about between training and….well…for internet terms: *awkward confused hand gesture of “I really don’t know”* I found myself being repeatedly told that New Coworker *only* reads books by Christian Authors and I can’t really say anything because (A) I’m not religious and even if I was I’m not your sect of Religious and it’s something I do not want to get into an argument with while at work because I’ll probably get in trouble, this is Work not a Holy Ground, and don’t argue with me because most of the time you will lose (B) I’m at work and being paid (C) would feel extremely awkward for making New Coworker feel bad or confused.

Personally, I feel that reading books by Only Christian Authors is very limiting, just like reading Only Douglas Adams or reading Only Romance. I understand that people have a perferred set of reading or films (I prefer horror but we’ve got all kinds of weird shit on our bookshelves). And then New Coworker went off on a tangent about how “Twilight” was an amazing series and ruined by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. “Twilight” makes Christopher Pike look like an amazing author. Or, “learning to read” books for little kids look like Serious Works of Literature on the same level of Herman Melville, Mark Twain, and Erich Maria Remarque.  If “Twilight” is “this amazing,” then Ursula Vernon should get a fucking Pulitzer for the Dragonbreath series.

And why does religious background have to matter? Shouldn’t it be because you love the genre? The story? The style of writing? But, would I think differently if I found that a *specific author* hates pitbulls and are fully 100% behind BSL? I really don’t know right off the top of my head who I enjoy as an author that loathes wiggle-butt pitties. I know that if I found out an author who I liked, or enjoyed a book by, didn’t like something that I love or I found that we had opposing views, I really don’t know. It would have to be something I’m very passionate about or close to before I would stop reading this person’s work or give their work away. I’m not going to throw a book away because books are wonderful and amazing and 9 times out of 10 you will always find someone, or some organization, that will take a book you don’t like. And even then, I would look into why and see if I could rationalize why this or that.

I asked New Coworker if they had read a couple of different books and they happily reiterated that they “only” read Books By Christian Authors. Wow. My brain frowned and nodded. You’re in for one hell of a culture shock these next couple of years. New Coworker also gave me a funny look, like a mix between being aghast and wholly unbelieving that there is this wonderful series about a group of characters that you don’t really have to read in order and they’re really great I swear! (the series in question is the Discworld series, I told New Coworker that Death rides a horse named Binky) And they were bubbly and looked away with that creepy brainwashed smile before reiterating, again, they Only Read Books by Christian Authors.

I now no longer want to read “The Hunger Games.” I had put it on our Amazon wishlist about…two years ago because the premise sounded really cool. Like a “Battle Royale Light” with a hint of “1984” past look on the possible future in a fiction world (does that make sense? that makes sense to me)

I’m about 90 pages from finishing “Clash of Kings.” Wow, this book is…something else. The ” ____ and _____ and ____  and _____” is really fucking annoying. Commas, man, commas! If you’re attempting to emulate a child or someone who is very excited (like Adam Savage), then go for it. If you want to break up your monotonous language, go for it. But now *every gods damned fucking time*. Jamie reminds me that George R R Martin does grow as an author and swears that this little irritation becomes better. Overall, I just hope the constant “___ and ___ and ____ and ___” stops and Joffrey dies. I hate that little bastard. Though, Jamie did unknowingly give me the hint that The Hound and Arya meet up again. I like The Hound.

 

Wow, this update took much longer than necessary. And now I need to clean so…yeah.

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Why are you so proud to “never read”?

While I was in school, I remember kids groaning about having to read books. We had assigned reading material, we had the S.O.A.R program (no I don’t remember what it means, I’m just amazed I can remember what the thing was called), we had Accelerated Reader where you could take little “tests” and get points and those with the highest points got rewarded (usually with your name on a piece of paper in the hallway so everyone else could make fun of you for “reading too much.”) I remember groaning about having to read specific books, having book reports. But, I also remember when it was a good week when I didn’t spectacularly fail the spelling test. I also remember never having a “set” area to look for books in the public library. My mom, being the awesome woman that she is, was always encouraging me to find things that I like and I knew my limits on reading.

I got better as time went on. I am actually slightly dyslexic (and I still have to stop and think how to spell that whenever I type it out) and I still have spurts of misspellings and poor grammar, but I’m comfortable in my weirdness and quirks. And I’ve come out with an interesting little perspective and writing style (at least, that’s how it appears to me). I went from “that weird kid who reads ghost stories” to “that weird adult who is always. fucking. reading.”

I may not be reading a book, but I am reading. I’m reading articles, checking Fark, seeing Twitter updates by people like Neil Gaiman and Wil Wheaton (why yes, I am a huge geek), at some point I’ll look at fanfiction, and I will read a book. Sometimes I go between two or three books at a time, and sometimes I slog through one book for a few weeks.

At my…now previous job, I had people come up and ask me if I came in with a different book every day. Some days I would plow through about two or three books, sometimes it was the same book for about a week. A couple of people went off about how they “hate books” or “never read” because it’s not something they do. One of the people who continued with his “never read” bits, I could understand because he was an older gentleman and he pointed out that the most with reading he did was read the newspaper. One of the other people who pointed out that they hated books and reading was around my age.

I had to think: was it due to the stigma of assigned reading and book reports? Was it being burned out over schooling and the 40+ lbs of textbooks-n-things we were forced to carry around for 8 hours a day. Was it because he had never come across a Really Good Book that he fell in love with and wanted to continue with this? Did he come across a Really Bad Book and became completely disenchanted with the written work? Is it because I live in an area where it’s more acceptable to be a…damned idiot than to prove that you’re worth more than “Did you find everything alright?”

With my now current job, I’m running into the same bizarre…stigma on reading. Quite a few of my coworkers are absolutely shocked that I read. (yes, currently I am still working my way through Clash of Kings. I have 250 pages left so that’s a plus) I have a coworker who proudly informed me that he “only reads” Douglas Adams.

Really?

Douglas Adams is great! Love Hitchhiker’s Guide, but that’s a really fucking narrow. No other fantasy, no other science fiction. Nothing else, just his work and while that’s great he’s reading, that is also extremely limiting. Then again, this person also stated that he only watches “Dexter” and that is all so I find it all very strange.

But the amount of pride in his tone when he stated he “only reads” one author was the same amount of pride that the kid from my previous job used when he said he “hated to read.” I really don’t get that. Why are you so proud to not read? Is it some sort of accomplishment on the Dumbass Scale? Do you get a merit badge?

This really boggles my mind. So, you happily refuse to go into other worlds and experience different things but without the fear of it actually happening to you? And what really gets me is that it’s not the people who have a hard time with reading, like my dad who has really bad dyslexia (it takes him a few days to read one newspaper article, “explaining” is spelled “splaneing”), but it’s the people who are fully cognitive and yet refuse to crack open a book for one reason or another.

Is it “not cool” to crack open a book? Do you automatically become “more popular” when you flaunt your inane stupidity for the world? If it is “more popular” to be a fucking idiot and proud to not read, I’ll happily stick with being a “fucking weirdo” and enjoying entering strange new worlds or beloved old ones and be etertained.

When I come into a conversation with someone who is very proud of their self-imposed idiocy, I have to remind myself to nod politely and make a mental note that the best conversation I’ll have with the person is about the weather.

Tom Baker Doctor Who Scarf

I got the brilliant idea in my head a few months ago while watching “Ark in Space” to make my own Doctor Who/Tom Baker scarf. It’s absurd, it’s wonderfully ugly, and I know just enough that I could probably pull it off. I did a little bit of research and decided that I would do  the Season 14 scarf because it is the shortest scarf and I’m a short person. I happened upon Witty Little Knitter, and found that there was a little “kids size” scarf. This is much more appealing than attempting to do a full-length scarf or attempting to do a scarf and figuring out which colours I can pull out/ignore so I can make it and not become a small mummy.

For a while, I did not get the colours needed for the scarf (because I had other things I needed to purchase, like groceries and pet food) and a few days ago I decided that I would get the colours I needed. It took about…10 to 15 hours to make the scarf, which is pretty long for me since I’m used to being able to crank out a decent sized scarf within a couple hours. I made a few mental notes for myself while working on it: I need to go a shade lighter or a shade less orangey for the “mustard” colour (on some spots it really pops out as orange), I’d like to do a more caramel yellow/brown for the “toffee” colours, and maybe do a shade lighter for the red.

I did measure the scarf out, it measures almost 9 ft long (including the damned tassles. it measures at 8 ft without them). This is perfect for me. When I wrap the scarf once around my neck, the tassles stop about 6 inches from the floor (approximately the middle of my calf) and this is exactly where I wanted it to stop. This means it’ll be great for moving around and I won’t have to worry about tripping over it. It’s also wide enough to cover the lower half of my face if I want, which will be great when it gets colder out.

I’ve decided that since the “child’s version” was perfect for me, this means that the “regular” size will be perfect for people who are much taller than  me.

Pictures!

Please excuse the mess of our bathroom counter.

I am really not that tall. I’m standing on a small step-stool so I can attempt to get as much of this shown as possible.

Kinda sorta wrapped up, attempting to show off the fringe. Do you know how hard it is trying to find a decent shot of the scarf with the fringe/tassles?

Another shot of the scarf wrapped/thrown on the chair.

Overall, I liked how it came out. It’s a bit thicker than I would assume it should be, but it works for me and I enjoy it. I cannot wait to wear this around Roanoke and confuse people. Or get them excited.

I plan on making another one, so we’ll see how it looks when it’s done.

There’s a lack of communication somewhere

I’m not a saviour. I’m not an activist. I’m just someone who likes animals (and yarn and paper and baking). So, how did I end up here?

A week or two ago, Jamie saw this beautiful Golden on Petfinder for our local “pound” (we call it “ACC” but its initials are actually “RCACP”). She was a senior dog, something that isn’t looked greatly upon in the world of rescue and animal shelters (it’s like looking at a black cat or dog or a pit bull) and so I emailed the foster coordinator and asked if we could foster this girl or any of the other senior dogs. I received an email back stating that while yes, she is on Petfinder, she is not on the foster list so she cannot be fostered.

I found this to be very strange, but figured (A) it’s a completely different foster coordinator than who we are used to working with* and (B) it is probably some new rule implemented by the “Director” over there.

I talked to Jamie about it, who pointed out that I should get in touch with another local rescue and see if they could pull this adorable dog and we could see if we could foster through them. I contacted them, but unfortunately did not hear anything back. I figured that we weren’t approved through them to be foster parents for their rescues (we’ve never worked with their volunteer/foster program) and they’re a really busy rescue. I had thought about contacting Planned Pethood (where we got Mr Hobbes from and it’s the same rescue we fostered Leanna for), but realized it was probably a bad idea because they are so busy with the Franklin County area. And, I couldn’t think of any other rescue at the time (and no breed-specific rescue would come to mind either)

I thought about the dog over the next couple days and then the Roanoke No-Kill Coalition had a small protest. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join in or stop by to talk with the protestors (I had to work), but I was able to check out their photos that were posted on their Facebook page later that evening. They’re protesting to change rules and whatnot, they’re working on not “bashing” anyone and understand that the people who work at the RCACP have to do what they’re told, so the goal is to change policies for the better and make Roanoke a No-Kill City.

One of the photos on their fb page was of a poster pointing out just a handfull of pets that were killed within the 7 days prior to the protest. In the middle was a beautiful senior Golden who looked an awful lot like the dog we offered to foster. I pointed this out and emailed the foster coordinator to ask if the dog we’d asked about was adopted or anything.

I recieved an email stating that she did not know, all she knew was that the dog wasn’t transferred over to the RVSPCA.

I had a bad feeling the dog in question was euthanized, but I had hoped that a rescue had pulled her. But, of course, yesterday I saw on the Roanoke No-Kill Coalition page a photo of the beautiful senior Golden, staring off with a little smile, and the description stated that she was the dog we’d asked about and she was, in fact, killed.

I posted a comment stating that I had asked to foster her at least three times (it was two or three times, I know that) and was told she “is not on the foster list” and that was it. I recieved two Private Messages asking about who I had contacted, and I told both women the basic gist of it. I also told them that I should’ve looked for a rescue for her. One of the women asked me if I’d be willing to write up my story and send it to the City Council to point out the crap that is being pulled right now. I told her I would be more than happy to, it would just take a little while to write it up because I want to be professional, eloquent, and make sure I don’t release a slew of cusswords in my message.

She was grateful I’d be willing to do this, apologized on behalf of the rescue she works with for not getting back in touch with me about her, and gave me her number just in case anything like this ever happens again.

I was so very much pissed off. I’m still pretty irate about this. But, I had to calm myself down enough to not go off on a verbal rampage when I headed up to the RVSPCA to pick up some more dogfood for Captain Wiggles (our current foster wiggle-butt), so I worked on laundry and somehow managed to put myself into work/customer-service mode and play nice while I was at the shelter.

Last night after we came home from grocery shopping, I found that someone had posted a photo of the dog onto the RCACP Facebook page asking why she had been euthanized when a woman asked to foster her numerous times (I had to remind myself: oh yeah, she’s talking about me) and the local Golden rescue (I completely forgot there was a semi-local Golden rescue) had offered to take her and has offered space to any Golden or Golden-mix that comes through their doors. Last I checked, there was no response and I’m pretty  pissed because even a rescue offered to take her. She passed her behavioural assessment. We offered our home to this dog. A rescue organization offered to take her. What the heck  is wrong with this picture?

Personally, I know exactly who to blame. I will not name any names because (A) I don’t want any backlash (B) someone/some people are just doing what they’re told to do (C) it’s almost exclusively one person who keeps pulling this stupid shit.

Something needs to be changed. Policies and rules need to be fixed. Fix the stupid response of “I currently do not have information on ____ animal, I will forward your request to the office that does” when someone asks if a pet has been adopted, pulled for rescue, fostered, or euthanized. Stop digging your feet in the ground and saying that it’s the “public’s fault,” and the public is too ignorant to do the right thing. Stop being “my way or the highway.”

Charlottesville has a larger area to cover and they are a No-Kill area. Stop saying this will never happen in Roanoke. Yes, we have problems, people lose their homes/jobs, but stop killing animals that are healthy and pass their behavioural evaluations.

I don’t know how I ended up in here. Yeah, I’m a sucker for animals and I have a lot of dogs. Yeah, I’m an asshole and tell Snooch I’ll throw him out if he does something like eat my flowers or claw at a door (I never do, I’m a bit attached to the stupid cat). And yeah, I am “one of those people.” I dress my dogs in clothes, I put blankets in their crates, they get bits of hot dog, I bake them cookies, and I also raise my voice to tell them to get off the counter when they try to lick the grill grease pan or sniff the sink. My dogs also have halloween costumes (Snooch does too, it’s hilarious) and they love burrowing under blankets with you. And I’m also an asshole because I push them out onto the porch when it’s raining so they can pee outside instead of in their crates or on the floor of the hallway (Hobbes is really bad. He’ll hold it for hours if he has too and hide in his crate if he’s being super stubborn about it).

I’m not an activist, I’m not part of a rescue organization, I want to help animals and see a pet find a nice loving home. I do want stores to stop selling dogs and cats (and eventually other pets like rats, ferrets, snakes, teckos, etc), I do want low-cost spay/neuter to be available to areas that need it as well as notification that it is *right there*. I want to see an end to backyard breeding, I want to see an end to dog fighting/trunking/etc (two dogs having a spat is one thing, but throwing two dogs into an area to see them rip each other apart is barbaric). But what else can I do except write about it, write about my experience, send information around about dogs who need help, point out that fostering is really awesome and it’s really not that hard honest.

* – The former foster coordinator (who is out on medical leave) is amazing. She always got so excited when someone was interested in fostering (or adopting) a pet from the RCACP, she always contacted someone about the pets who passed their behaviour evaluation to see if they were interested in fostering. She even took Jamie, Fly, and me to one of the rooms of “approved” dogs to see who Firefly could get along with so we could foster a dog over the holidays last year (we fostered Miss Dottie, who got adopted 3 days after we took her back to the shelter). The lady we worked with was so sweet and wonderful, the only time she ever told us “no” was when we had to wait on vet evaluations and that was maybe two days.

–edit: Whoops, Jamie pointed out that I wrote Christiansburg when it’s actually Charlottesville that’s No-Kill. It is now fixed. Woo!

–Edit, the second (12:35 pm):
1) I have re-edited this post to take out the “F” words (I counted 6) so it’ll look a bit more level-headed.
2) I sent out a lengthy email to those in (local) political power  and am currently waiting a response from anyone.
3) I recieved a response from one of the Roanoke City council members, who apologized for what had happened/my experience and thanked me for bringing this to his attention because they have been working on trying to fix some stuff to make the RCACP better.
4) Both Jamie and a friend of mine pointed out that I should make this as public as possible, get in touch with media, possibly other bloggers, to get this out there. This is something that needs to be told and brought to the attention of others.