Been a while, eh?

Wow. It’s been like a year and a half since I updated this space. At which point do I just rip it down and start all over? Or maybe put up alllllllllllllllllllll of my archives and just go on from there?

I don’t know what to do. I do know that I’m getting the itch to write and get excited and make things again–an itch I haven’t felt in a long time–so that’s good, right?

Anyway, here’s an update! Let’s hope it won’t be a year and a half before the next one.

Also, wow. WordPress is suuuuuuuper weird now. I think I might like it?

Not Doing the Thing

You know how you have a blog and you want to write on the job but then things happen and you don’t write for many many months and when you come back you feel like you have to write a long explanation of everything that has happened since your last update?

Yeah…I’m not doing that.

But here’s a picture of my cat!

Poppy face!

Trying New Things

One of my biggest issues with our current socio/political environment is just how f*cking fast everything happens. I’m working on a few larger stories but in the meantime on this here blog? Even the crickets have gotten bored and moved on.

This, as you all already know, really bugs me. I’m super active on Twitter but when it comes to sitting down and taking the time to type out more than 140 characters at a time? Somehow that never ends up happening. I mean, if I’m writing I might miss a breaking development! There are, like, half a dozen a day now! I have to keep up!

Okay, look: I know I really don’t. And I’m working on cutting the cable news cord a little bit at a time. It’s sort of like trying to cut through a super well-done steak with a plastic spoon but I’m trying.

…I feel like there could be a super witty marrying of that simile and the spoon theory but I probably won’t think of it until about an hour after I hit publish on this.

Last night I realized that, like so many projects I take on, I am making all this way harder than it needs to be. I’m stressing out about creating original content on Twitter. And original content on Medium. And original content here.

WTF, Self. Why not just work once, post thrice?

One of my current favorite Twitterers (Tweeters?) is @AlexandraErin (and if you’re not following her you really need to fix that. She’s amazing). She writes primarily on Twitter, creating these awesome threads full of insight and information. Sometimes she writes long-form too but she’s very open about her preference for Twitter.

I spend most my time on Twitter too, but I’m also very conscious of the fact that Twitter is not everybody’s jam. So, I’m going to try something out for the next couple of weeks: I’m going to try creating posts out of the things I tweet. Sometimes it will be pretty basic, like what you’re about to see. Other times I might add some context, summation, long-form friendly stuff. I don’t really know yet. Let’s see how this goes first. Ready?

Here is my Twitter coverage of today’s White House Daily Briefing via Storify because I wanted to try that out and see how it went.

 

 

Fundraiser Update!

I published a quick update on the fundraiser itself (have you filled out your form yet?) the other day but wanted to write something longer here.

Thing The First: I’m Moved!

The day after the (fully funded within 24 hours holy crap thank you!) fundraiser launched, I went over to my new landlord’s office and signed my lease. The day after that I moved in!

Thing The Second: The New Place

The new place is four-ish blocks from my old place so I didn’t move far, but this new apartment is worlds different than the old apartment:

  • Building is far more secure: key fobs, on-site security, etc.
  • It’s around 200 sq ft bigger (a change that has been a surprisingly tricky adjustment).
  • I finally have a view! Instead of looking directly into my neighbor’s living room (old place) now I look out at Marquam Hill (where OHSU lives). My apartment gets natural light! I don’t have to leave my apartment to see the sky anymore!
  • Instead of hoarding quarters, the laundry room in this building accepts debit cards and the machines will text me when they’re done. The laundry room has easily three times as many machines, too.
  • The building has its own gym for residents! I have big plans to use it. Y’know, later.
  • Regular bathtub! Claw footed tubs are gorgeous but getting into and out of them when you’re short? I do not miss it.
  • SO MANY ELECTRICAL OUTLETS. My old apartment had five electrical outlets, total. I have more than that in my new kitchen.
  • Radiator instead of tiny forced air heater.  I don’t have to use it much because the building is well insulated so I stay pretty warm (I’m wondering how this will pan out in summer).
  • Full sized refrigerator and stove/oven! The foodies will be disappointed to learn it’s electric and not gas, but meh. I can make more than three cookies at a time!

Price-wise, I’m not paying that much more for the new place than I was for the old place. The difference works out to about $50ish, depending on how the utility costs shake out.

None of this would have been possible without all your help. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for helping me get out of what turned out to be a not great place and into somewhere safer and better. And that brings me to the very best thing about this new place.

I loved my old apartment. I really did. It was a weird old building and my apartment definitely had its share of quirks and I think that’s part of the reason I loved it there. Probably the biggest reason I loved that weird tiny place so much is because I worked hard and saved up and found it/afforded it all by myself. I’d never been able to do that before and accomplishing that goal made me feel really proud of myself.

I’m going to love this new place more. Not because it is so much better, amenity-wise, but because when I look around this space, I see you. Which sounds cheesy, but stick with me. My living here is a direct result of an amazing and supportive community having my back. It is literal and physical proof that I’m not and don’t have to be my own little self-sustaining island. This is something that I’ve known for a while now, but as someone who with a brain that likes to tell some really mean lies? Being able to see proof that my brain is lying? Is a really big deal.

So, again: Thank You. Times a millionty billionty googleplexes infinity squared. Forever and ever, amen.

Now fill out the form so I know what to make for you!

Woo! A Fundraiser!

The short version of the back story: I have to leave my beloved weird little apartment in the wacky little building I currently love and I have to leave quickly. Don’t worry, I’m fine. The law isn’t after me or anything…at least not yet. Who knows what will happen after the inauguration when the likelihood of just existing with my biology will become a crime all by itself.

ANYWAY

I have to move. Fast. And because I do some of my best work when I’m forced into stressful emergent situations, I have already found and been approved for an apartment nearby. I won’t even have to leave my neighborhood–if I can cobble together the money I need for movers and the security deposit, pet deposit and the variety of “surprise” fees I will inevitably be charged when I sit down to sign the lease.

GET TO THE POINT, SELF.

As loathe as I am to admit it, I need your help. I have a good chunk of what I need to get in the door already in the bank. Unfortunately I can’t pay the rest with my winning personality (I checked) so I’ve started a fundraiser over on YouCare. Wait! Don’t click that yet!

To make this more fun for everyone (and easier on my psyche), I’m offering rewards for different levels of donations because I would so much rather earn this help if I can. Here are the details:

Get Fun Rewards!

Snarkedoodle $5-$15: I will create a small (4x6ish in size) doodle and send it to you.

  • B&W scanned and emailed: $5
  • B&W real life mailed $10
  • Color scanned and emailed: $10
  • Color real life mailed $15

Silly Handmade Valentine: $20, sent via USPS (for non-US orders, please add a few extra bucks to cover international shipping and send me a message to let me know where you want it sent!)

Blog Post: $100 You pick the topic (within reason). The post will be published on Snarke.net. If you would like to publish the post on your own site Add $10 and send me a message letting me know!

YouTube Video: $200 (limit 5) You pick the topic (within reason). The video will be posted on my own YouTube channel, Snarkeable. If you want to publish it on your own channel, add $25 and send me a message letting me know!

Make sure you send a message including the best way to contact you—email, Twitter, Facebook so we can work out the details! Some of these might take longer to deliver than others. Valentines will need to get mailed by Feb 8 to get to their recipients in time so they’ll take priority. I expect to get the rest out by the end of February/Mid-March.

Thanks! Thanks thanks thanks!!

Okay, you can click over now. Go forth and order some fun stuff! Put me to work for you! Please? 🙂

 

Chelsea Manning Will Be Set Free

One of the few things that we can be sure about in today’s United States is that if President Obama does something, the Republicans are going to hate it. It won’t matter what it is, they will hate it because he is the one that did it. Forever and ever Amenalenadingdong.

Today the big news out of the White House is President Obama commuting the rest of Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence. Predictably, the GOP are screaming themselves silly over it.

Chelsea Manning, for those of you who don’t remember, is the soldier who leaked a crap ton of classified and sensitive diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. She was convicted of Espionage in 2013 and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Many believe that Chelsea is a hero to be admired and even emulated. Others insist she is a traitor of the worst kind. I? I…don’t know.

I have mixed feelings about Chelsea Manning. On the one hand, I do believe that her actions put many in harm’s way. There is no doubt, though, that her actions have also likely saved many more. I know that I think far higher of her than I do of Edward Snowden or Julian Assange.

However I feel about Chelsea Manning and what she did, I do know that I am glad that President Obama commuted the rest of her sentence (provided Our Lord and Miser Fake n’ Bake doesn’t try to revoke it in a few days). I am glad she is going free. And though this will likely make many of you angry, I am also glad she was not fully pardoned.

That probably sounds harsh, but look: whether or not we like them or agree with them we are governed by a set of laws. And the military’s code of law is incredibly strict for a reason. Chelsea Manning knew what those laws were and she broke them. Was she brave to do so? Absolutely. Was what she did necessary for the protection of the greater good? Probably. Was her heart in the right place? Totes.

It’s easy to sit here in our bubbles and say that Chelsea should have been offered the same compassion and understanding that is offered to other people who break the law and aren’t sent to prison because their intentions were to serve the greater good, and to wax poetic about Kohlberg and the Heinz Dilemma.

A) Chelsea Manning was not tried in civilian court where the Heinz Dilemma could come into play.

B) Even if she was, war is not as simple as a broken window.

In moral/ethical cases the question is not only whether the ends justified the means but whether the ends outweigh the means. There is no doubt that a life is far more valuable than a window, as a window is easily replaceable and a human life is not.

War is not a broken window pane that can easily be replaced. Blasting out information to millions of people who don’t have the necessary qualifications or background to understand it properly is irresponsible and dangerous. In saving many lives Chelsea also put many lives at risk and likely ended quite a few, too. She knew that lives could be lost because of her actions. She took those actions anyway. She deserved to face some sort of consequence.

I do not think, however, that she deserved to face the consequence she was served. 35 years in a men’s prison because of a system that hasn’t yet caught up to science could be argued as extreme (and likely even extremely prejudiced). Forcing her to stay in that prison even after multiple suicide attempts? I’m pretty sure that’s considered cruel and unusual. And I’m glad she will soon be free.

Commuting the sentence might not seem like much to those who believe she deserves a full pardon. But hopefully if that’s how you feel you can take some comfort in knowing just how badly it pissed off the other side. Remember: they didn’t get their way, either. Personally I’m a fan of the solution that found the middle ground between the two extremes–and does so with respect to the law, not just how something feels.

I’m really going to miss having a President who cares about how all this stuff works.

Traditional New Year’s Day Post!

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2016 is over and I feel like I should be super happy about that, but I can’t quite let my guard down just yet. While I’m not a horror movie fan, I’ve seen enough to know that this is likely the part of the movie where everybody gets all giddy because they’re “finally safe” just before the monster pops back up for one last ultra-gruesome murder. I guess the good news is that usually after that happens everybody gets serious and kick ass and, unless the movie makers have hopes of a franchise (which, let’s face it, most do), go flipping nuts in their zeal to kill the monster. They go full scorched earth on its ass and while I don’t want to lose anybody or anything else to one of the worst years ever, I do kind of want to kick last year’s ass in a big way.

Starting with this blog post.

Just kidding. It’s New Year’s Day. I’m tired. And in the middle of doing laundry. And I’m hungry. But it is the tradition among those of us who make things or aspire to make things that we take some time on this day to talk about what we did last year and what we want to do in the following year. So, without further ado…

(Every time I say that, the Looney Tunes theme plays in my head.)

Let’s talk about 2016.

2016 was an epic poonado of a year. We lost so many and so much. Every loss hurt more than the last. I’m not going to list them all here because we’re all well versed in our losses and rehashing them here won’t help anybody.

Plus, 2016 did have some goodness in it. Beautiful art was created and hilarious jokes were told. Relationships were started. People I love got married. People I love got engaged. People I love created new people to love.

After almost a decade apart, I got to spend time with both of my older brothers this year and good conversations and adventures were had.

I did some merch. I went to some shows. I saw a few movies. I read a bunch of books and discovered some new authors to follow. I went back to school (very part time).

And though I lost many heroes, I found some new ones too.

Probably most importantly this year, I finally found…my calling? My purpose? I guess? It seems super weird to call it that. But it kind of fits. In less pretentious terms, I got fed up with the major media outlets totally fubarring their election and policy coverage and decided to do it my own darned self. I did this primarily on twitter though I did manage to eke out a few blog and Facebook posts along the way. And you all helped support this sloooooooow ongoing shift from “if it pays me I will write it” to “I’m a political writer and independent journalist.”

So. That’s 2016. It was a rotten year in so many ways, but it’s important to remember that some wonderful stuff happened too.

So. 2017. What’s Next?

My biggest hope for 2017 is that there is more good than bad. The challenge here is absolutely going to be remembering that “good” does not always look simple or happy or even make us smile. This year “good” is going to be ugly. It will look a lot like fighting. And shouting. And demanding. And sometimes it will feel terrible and it will hurt. We’ll have to remind ourselves over and over again that Stephen Sondheim is right: Nice is different than good.

For my part, I’m hoping to contribute more. And because I think we should all play to our strengths when we’re figuring out how best to defeat the dark side, for me that means more words on pages. It means using the time I spent mired in “the other side” to inform and educate and not just shoving those memories down and hoping to forget them. It means getting comfortable with my discomfort. That part is going to suck, but it will be worth it. Hopefully.

Personally? Yes, I did make resolutions thank you for asking. I don’t always make them but this year I thought it might be a good idea.

–More outside, less in.

–More water, less soda.

–More movement, less sitting.

–More reading and music, less TV.

–More blogging, less retweeting.

–More facts, less speculation.

–More people, less screens.

What are you hoping for this year?

And now for all the self promotey awkwardness! Here’s my Twitter. Here’s my Facebook. Here’s where you can send monetary support, if that’s a thing you want to do. Please follow, like, share, all that good stuff!

A Great Big Thank You

Around this time last month, I was having a really rough go of it. Like, the worst depressive episode I’d had in over a year levels of rough. Like, on the verge of not being able to take care of myself rough. Literally all I could do was sit on my couch, cry, and obsessively watch social media. I couldn’t concentrate and I couldn’t work and, yeah. It was bad.

Normally a few days of not being able to work shouldn’t be that big a disaster, but because the run up to the election had been so hectic and I’ve been so bad about finding a way to reliably fund this whole independent political writing/journalism thing…let’s just say the situation was Dire.

If you’ve known me for more than five minutes you likely know that I am not good at asking for help. I have almost a pathological aversion to it. This is not hyperbole. I have friends who will back me up on this.

But last month, there weren’t any other options. So, I asked. And then I cried a lot and called myself a bunch of terrible names because I’m supposed to be able to take care of myself all time no matter what. Forever and ever amen.

Before I could finish my laundry list of terrible names and reasons why I suck, though, you all started responding and the responses were overwhelming. So many people pitched in to help me and to let me know that I was cared for and supported. And the responses kept coming. So, I cried some more but for a wholly different reason.

I should have written this sooner but I wanted to take a moment to say a Great. Big. THANK YOU. Thank you to everybody who responded and for every way you responded. Even a month later, I’m overwhelmed by how quickly you jumped to help me and I will forever be grateful to you for it.

Thank You!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you!!

 

Donald Trump Does Not Want To Be President

Before I get into last night’s debate can we all just take a second to acknowledge and thank whatever diety you hold most dear that the debates are finally over? Because I do not know if I could sit through another one of those. Go ahead. Send a quick “thank you” out into the universe. I’ll wait.

Done? Cool.

My feelings about the third and (thank God) final debate are pretty much like my feelings about the first and the second: Yep. That is a thing that actually happened.

Today there has been a hell of a lot of ado about the fact that when asked point blank if he would accept the results of the election if he did not win, he first said “I’ll have to see” and then “I’ll keep you in suspense.” That this was followed today by his saying “I will totally accept the results of the election, no question…if I win,” was fairly predictable. When called out on the total bonkersity of a statement, Trump can’t help but double down.

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There are also “Nasty Woman” shirts and swag popping up all over the place, which is awesome and I hope I get the chance to buy some of it before it sells out.

For me, what last night’s debate really drove home was that–in spite of what he says about winning–Donald Trump does not want to be President.

Oh sure, he wants to win. That’s how he sees himself: the constant winner, the champion of everything, the most giantest star that ever burned so bright in the universe. Bigly. He wants that trophy something bad.

But he does not actually want to be President. He doesn’t actually want to run the country. He wants the spotlight, the accolades, the gushing genuflection of millions, but he does not want to do the work.

It’s something I’ve sensed since the beginning, even before he got on that first debate stage and refused to pledge to support another candidate if they won the primary because “I’m in this to win.” And with every speech he gives and every interview he tries to fake his way through, this becomes more and more obvious to me. How? Because the more he talks the clearer it becomes that he has no idea what a President does or how the government works.

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Based on the speeches he gives, his responses to criticism, and his recent affection for saying that if elected, “every dream you ever dreamed will come true,” Donald Trump thinks that the Presidency is a 24/7 party of getting his way. He says things like “If we don’t get the deal I want, I’ll walk away from the table.” When talking about international trade deals and foreign policy.

He has said that within hours of his taking the oath of office, law enforcement will begin rounding up “illegals” and kicking them out of the country.

He has said that he will eliminate all gangs and violence and crime.

And sure, it’s easy to chalk this stuff up to dangerous delusions of grandeur. Still, his lack of knowledge is reinforced when he insists that, if Secretary Clinton had been able to do her job, she’d have been able to change the laws he’s taken advantage of. I mean, he knows that Senators cannot individually and unilaterally create laws, right? He knows that, in order to actually get his deportation force going he’d have to have the action approved by Congress, right? He knows that he isn’t allowed to single handedly amend the Constitution, right? He knows there aren’t twelve articles in the Constitution, right?

And don’t even get me started on that Trojan Horse thing he keeps saying and getting wrong. Ugh.

Add this blatant lack of basic knowledge to his predilection for praising dictators and, yeah–feel that nausea building in the pit of your stomach? I call that “prelude to the horror barfs.” Last night Donald Trump refused to denounce Putin. Then he went on to say that the only reason Secretary Clinton doesn’t like Putin or Assad is because they’re smarter than her and better leaders.

So here’s a guy who doesn’t seem to know how the basic functions of government work and seems to want to emulate totalitarian dictators. Maybe this is because he doesn’t want to do the work of actually learning about them. I don’t know. But no matter what, it’s scary.

Finally, let’s all take a sec to look way way back to a few months ago when those closest to Trump (like Paul Manafort, remember him?) said that in his search for a VP candidate, he was looking for someone who would “do the part of the job that he didn’t want to do” and that he saw himself “as more the Chairman of the Board than even the CEO let alone the [Chief Operations Officer]”

Catch that? For those who don’t speak corporate, basically Donald Trump wants to be the figurehead who gets all the credit, while Mike Pence would do all of the actual governing. A) That’s not how the system works, like, at all and 2) Mike Pence is poop-your-pants-scary.

Over and over again (last night’s debate included) Donald Trump has proven that not only does he not understand how government works, he doesn’t care that he doesn’t understand how government works and thinks we should all heap piles of praise upon him for bothering to show up at all. It’s insulting to everything that generations of leaders have worked so hard to build.

Look, you may not totally love Secretary Clinton. That’s fine. But even if you disagree with her on the issues, at least you can be confident that she knows how the government works. Like, not only can she say the words “Checks and Balances” she can use them correctly in a sentence.

To translate all of this into nerd: who would you trust more with your life? Hermione Granger? Or Vincent Crabbe?

So maybe in a couple of weeks, let’s give Donald Trump what he really wants: a reason to do nothing at all. Preferably ever again.

 

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to help support my work here’s a handy link for that! All donations are appreciated!