Posts Tagged ‘Charlottesville’

I find I’m pretty much constantly outraged these days.  Let me clarify, I’m pretty much outraged at the state of Virginia there days.

It’s not good here in the Commonwealth.  It hasn’t ever been good, that’s true, but it’s certainly getting worse than it has been.  I don’t usually get all twisted up in the machinations of politicians.  They do good and bad but they also come and go.  Whether or not that’s the right perspective, it’s the perspective I find most allows me to recognize that it isn’t the person making these godforsaken decisions, it’s the politics.  The “not the person” part is important to me, but it’s getting more challenging by the day.

The Governor of Virginia removed the protections for gays put into place by the previous governor.  I consoled myself with the idea that the Virginia Senate passed an anti-discrimination discrimination bill.  A bill that reportedly will not pass the House.  But let’s not be negative.  At least, not until we hear from Virginia Representative Bob Marshall (and I might as well just quote here) who said, “I think there first should be some finding that homosexuals, as a class, are being discriminated against.  In all of my experience and reading, gay individuals seem to have more income, to attend more cultural events, to take more vacations than the rest of us. Show me where this discrimination is going on.’’  You can see that here, at the end of the article.

I’ll let you take a moment to consider that.  While I take a vacation and go to a cultural event.  Not to be outdone, Ken Cuchinelli, the State’s Attorney General opted to chime with an outrageously unreasonable roar that condones discrimination against gays. You can read the letter he sent to state schools here (it’s a PDF – so if you don’t want to open it, take my word that he’s an asshole).

Understandably, there was an outcry (this particular outcry comes from individuals at the university where I work).  And honestly, I can’t believe we got to this point so quickly.  I sat at my desk yesterday thinking about the chilling effect such changes have.   I am already facing a delicate balance with my pregnant wife and soon-to-be-no-legal-relationship-to-me child.  I had a moment where I wondered if it would be better to be closeted.  And then another when I realized how many people would stay closeted because of this.  If nothing else, It’s been a pretty bad March.

There was a moment of hope late this afternoon as the Governor appeared to distance himself from the AG.  The local paper is running a ticker saying that he has reversed his original executive order.  But really, I can’t believe I live somewhere that allows these shenanigans to go on.  Yes, I could move, but I shouldn’t have to.  It’s hard to blame the politics when the people do things like this.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus but he’s got nothing but coal for your sorry ass.


Shirley Temples

Posted: 25 December 2009 in observations
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Shirley Temple

Fill glass halfway with ice
Pour lemony-limey soda onto ice
Top off with a tablespoon or two of grenadine
Add one maraschino cherry
Serve, drink.

We had a fantastic dinner last night at a local high-end southern restaurant.  The atmosphere was perfect.  For someone with splitting headaches, finding the careful balance of ceiling lights, spotlights and candlelight is a precarious undertaking.  Fortunately, there was nothing to interfere with my fantastic biscuits with honey, shrimp and grits or ribs.

The booth was cozy and under a heat vent – completely welcome on a chilly night.  The air was cheery; chatter from the bar, low conversation from leather booths, clinking glasses and soft gusts from the swinging door.  Normally, we’d have some inventive alcoholic beverage, but given we’re awaiting Vega’s* June arrival, we went virgin for this holiday.  Suits me, that’s one less headache trigger to worry about.  Neither she nor I could think of any virgin drinks to try aside from the super fruity ones, so I ordered a pair of Shirley Temples.  I know, how 7 yrs old.  We didn’t know what was in them but they were delicious nonetheless.

It was a perfect cap to a fantastic Christmas Eve.

I’m not sure why we don’t shop like this every year.

D and I usually exchange gifts on the 25th.  Small gifts generally, things we think the other would like.  We were going to skip that this year in favor of something bigger but scrapped it and were left with nothing.  So we braved the holiday traffic and mobs to drive an hour to a place where there are a lot of shops crammed together.  A mall I suppose, but outdoors.  With a $50 limit, I was planning to buy a couple of smaller things and focus on not panicking in the crowds.

So, plans in place, we went to sleep last night excited about our plans.  And then I woke up at 3 with a splitting headache.  Sure, it was the same headache I’ve had off and on for four days but it had been gone for a few hours earlier and I was hoping I was off the hook.  Lies.  So I spent the wee hours wishing my ache away and watching infomercials.  As you do.  At 5, I fell back asleep, armed with advil.  At 8, she woke me up and my headache jangled around in one eye, trying to shred my brain.  At 10, we left to shop.  30 minutes in, we had to stop so I could buy sunglasses.  45 minutes in, we had to stop so I could toss my breakfast on to the side of the road.  When we arrived, I gave in and took the medication that might be causing rebound headaches but it’s christmas and I don’t care.

I was prepared to possibly die today in clouds of aftershave, pushy, last minute shoppers and screaming children.  In fact, the only crowds I encountered were in the tech heavy stores (along with overwhelming cologne – seriously guys, lay off in a public place) and the only kid that screamed had every reason to, being short one coat in the freezing cold.  D and I shopped separately, leisurely, and both had a wonderful time finding things for each other.  We capped it off with a visit to a pet store that miraculously had the special food our special dog needs and lunch with a queer server.  Talk about a christmas score.

So, tonight we’re celebrating with a gift certificate to an upscale Southern restaurant that our realtor gave us and tomorrow we’ll unwrap those gifts bought with love and leisure.  Who knew christmas eve could be so mellow?

Dear coworkers,

I know you’re going stir crazy.  I know you haven’t been to the grocery store since last weekend because you didn’t go with the frenzied masses on Friday evening.  You must be hungry, too.  I’m sure you ran out of toilet paper, milk and bread two hours after the first flake fell.  But that’s not important.  What matters here is that you are trapped in your house and you couldn’t get out if you wanted to.

At first, I was deeply sympathetic.  You mean they didn’t plow your road?  Wow!  I’m sure you can’t take your sedan out – two feet is a lot!  Then, I was a little skeptical.  You mean they didn’t plow your road yet?  Wow…that must be difficult.  And your driveway is all blocked in?  Well, I guess we’ll see you tomorrow.  But now, three days after the snow stopped, I’m afraid my patience has run out.

Look people, my road is slick too.  There is slush and the snow is heavy.  I spent a lot of time shoveling a path for the car, a path for the dog and a path for the mailman.  But the key word is shoveling.  You actually have to do it.  You can’t wait for some miracle of weather conditions to magically melt your obscured walks and drives.  I’m sorry you have only a garden spade.  Use it.  My neighbors did.

The point is, you can’t play on people’s sympathy if “the guy” didn’t come by to plow you out.  He’s busy.  He can’t even get the main thoroughfares plowed.  He’s not coming to your house.  You still have to work, shop, leave your house, and there isn’t any excuse not to put on some boots, come outside and do your civic duty.  I’m sure the post office, ups, paper delivery and holiday solicitors would appreciate it.  Most have us have managed to shovel.  As each day goes by, you are losing goodwill.  I’m much less likely to be understanding when I’m working alone, again, because you are too lazy to pick up a shovel.

Look, it’s not melting.  Get to it.  Love, me.

Stopping. Do It.

Posted: 20 December 2009 in observations
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The news recommended not to spend more than one hour at a time shoveling.  I get the point – overheating and all that.  But once you’re out there, and you see the massive amount of work ahead of you, it’s impossible to come in and take your boots off.  It’s like stripping off a wet swimsuit you have to put back on.  Not at all fun.  So I pressed through,  Five hours of through.

If I’d thrown in the shovel at two hours, I might not be sunburned.  Had I stopped at three, I’d probably still be able to walk.  Stopping at four might have meant I’d be able to type without pain.  So right, this is going to be a short post.  There you have it.  Stop every hour for a break.

No, no shoveling yet.  And, regardless of whether you’re calling it snowmageddon or snowpocolypse, it really is a lot of snow.  My only experience with this much snow at once was in Chicago in 1979 when I was barely old enough to remember.  The national weather service says they got 18 inches that January, though this description might be more accurate.  There is a picture of me sitting level with the top of a stop sign that weekend after plowing and I haven’t seen such dramatic snowfall since.

It’s still snowing (though less) and we’re just shy of 24 inches.  24.  Two feet.  That doesn’t seem like so much when you’re just thinking about it, but it means that cars are suggestions in a drift and if you stand in a dip, you’re up to your waist.  Charlottesville is a Southern city unaccustomed to snowfall.  On the plus side – everyone seems to be staying in (unlike DC where thousands of uninitiated snow drivers take to the highways at the first flake and stay out there til they crash and die).  On the minus side – there aren’t actually any plows.  More…tractors with plow attachments.

Tomorrow – shoveling.


Posted: 18 December 2009 in observations
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Apparently we’ll be heading into the snopocalypse this weekend in Virginia.  In fact, we’ve preemptively declared a State of Emergency around here.  Since I’ll be the shoveling one, I’m wondering what the etiquette is on shoveling as a homeowner.

As a renter, I waited blissfully for some guy wrapped head to toe in grey all-weather gear to drive his snowplow around, slamming into hidden speedbumps and creating an excellent sheet of snow to form into ice.  When he was done plowing, he heaved himself into some snowy bank, unearthed his blower or shovel and trudged through the neighborhood, salt minion trailing behind him.  At some point later, I find my own shovel and haphazardly clear out the car.  The most snow etiquette I’ve ever had to consider is whether or not to put my shoveled snow into the empty parking space next to me.

Now, I’ve got a house, driveway, sidewalk and neighborhood to think of.  Sure, at some point one hopes the city will drive up the giant hill plowing and salting.  So let’s not worry about that.  And, given our excess of cars, we’ve actually covered the driveway quite nicely.  No parking spots to shovel into.  The sidewalk though, that’s my problem – front and back stoops, steps, path to car, front walk.

At what point do I need to be out there, clearing the way for my neighbors to maneuver?  Can I dump the sidewalk snow into the street or does it have to be on the grass?  Is there a rule about salting?  If I use the non-dog friendly salt that is the only salt in this town, will they torch my yard?  Will my own dog die after perilously licking his toes?

The city says I have 12 hours from snow cessation to shovel.  But what is the neighbor ordinance?  You know, the Tsk Tsk Tsk ordinance?  I guess I’ll find out.