Author Archive

The Thing That Walks and Other Experiences of Being On Strike

My all suffering feet, with some angry carbs staring at me from under a sweet card from a neighboring business.

Although I am not a teacher, I often find myself working in schools. I did the contracting thing (oh man does tax time suck), but once I settled down in Oregon, I found out that the contractor game isn’t as fun to play here. So I called around and got myself a district job with relative ease.

Part of working for a school district is becoming a union member. You can choose to just pay the fees and waive the protection, but I like to get all the benefits that I pay for when I join something. So yeah, union member over here. Teacher’s union, in fact.

I am not a political person. It may be stupid to ignore politics since they directly influence me on daily basis, but I generally ignore politics anyway, because I often ignore dirty sleazy things. I know that unions and politics go together, but I try not delve further in than that.

When I was hired, I was told that I would be working under an expired contact and that this would be remedied in the very near future. Eight months later–still working under an expired contract. Talk of striking began. Before we knew it, the time came to a vote, and union members voted overwhelmingly to strike.

I ignored the hell out of everything that didn’t pertain directly to my job. I went to all the staff meetings, listened to the information, heard how we should support other districts who were about to strike, and just kind of ignored it all some more. It was a trickle of information that I watched puddle by my feet and then, suddenly, the puddle was up to my knees and the trickle was a stream carrying me away in a sea of buttons, red shirts, slogans, chants, and lots and lots of walking.

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Cybersquatting, is one of them crap things that intertubes breeds, where the second you’re late with a payment for your domain name, after establishing a bit of traffic, someone will swipe said name for the $10 you were 3 days late with, and then offer it back to you for a couple of grand.

Since you are reading this at, that’s obviously what just happened. I’m not sure if I should risk a new domain name, or if I should just let wordpress have a place in my URL. For now, i’ll go with the latter, but if you have some suggestions for a domain name, maybe some that roll off the tongue a bit easier than the old one, leave it in the comments.

A Game of Writey Drawey at a White Elephant Party

Life in Portland is very unlike what I was used to in the Bronx. There are many differences, and I may go into them in another article, but here is a sample: A few nights ago d42 and I attended a White Elephant Party where we instigated a game of Writey Drawey with 6 other adults while drinking home made beer and apple cider. Aside from maybe playing a game with several strangers (such as, who can out-stare whom on the train before an explosion of violence or intense discomfort take everything to the next level), none of those things have ever happened to me before.

On the way to the party I kept trying to get d42 to explain the rules to me, I gathered that people brought wrapped gifts, which were placed in a pile Secret Santa style, and the participants would then all take turns either picking a wrapped gift or stealing a gift they liked from someone else. It sounded like a terrible game to play with strangers whose house you invaded and whose good graces you were hoping to stay in. I admit, I was nervous.

Everyone was incredibly amiable and mostly, I was the only dickhead stealing gifts. But that’s how I roll and that’s how I ended up with a Super Art Coloring Kit by Crayola, which I actually technically brought since d42 purchased our secret gifts on her own.

With a gift like that we of course started drawing pictures of cactuses and winged penises. Then I remembered a game someone once mentioned where folks take turns drawing and writing something on a piece of paper and it all ends up pretty hilarious. Someone at this particular party apparently played it before and quickly dubbed it Writey Drawey. I didn’t know much about it, and from the name alone would have to guess it is probably a children’s game and is probably played somewhat differently, but here is how we did.

We tore the hell out of some papers, made sure each person had a mini booklet of pages the same number as there were players (so for 5 players, each person has 5 pages), and set the writing implements in the center of our circle. We numbered our pages to keep confusion to a minimum. Each person then had about 2 minutes to draw something on the top page, flip it up side down, and pass it on to the next person. That person would then look at the picture, shift it to the bottom of the stack, write a probable caption, flip the whole stack upside down, and pass it to the next person. That person would do his or her best to illustrate the mad scribbling, and so on. Once we each got our initial picture back, we would present this booklet to the group and to general hilarity.

Although describing the game is not fun, playing it is, and some of the results should absolutely be memorialized. Everyone jealously packed away theirs, but here are mine!

I chose to start with a picture of a small child ready for the monster in his closet. d42 chose to focus in on the banana-like monster grin

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Prove Your Strength

Excuse the belated nature of this article. Come to think of it, it’s now nearly 6 months since it occurred, but as this ‘zine is here, in part, to document experiences that are perhaps not completely of the mainstream nature, this here experience shall be documented. Since this happened a while back, I am in the position to include a bit of follow-up directly into this piece. I’ll keep verb tense as consistent as I can.

And so, nearly six months ago, May 15th of 2011 to be precise, Beelzy and I have been lucky enough to attend a pretty amazing event. Proven Performance Gym held their first Strongman Competition, which, despite the sport’s name, also had a Women’s division. I was on a health kick at the time, working out pretty consistently at CrossFit Riverdale, where, without initially realizing it, I actually began Strongman training. My workouts were having my parents whimpering about how I’m going to bust an ovary, but, unperturbed, I kept heaving large balls of cement, and wandering around with hundreds of pounds of metal balanced on my shoulders. Observing a Strongman Competition was a natural progression and on June 26th, I actually went through with it, and entered Lightning Fitness’ first Strongman Competition. It was called “Battle of the Thundergods” and the trophy was a frigging mallet. I mean, of COURSE I did it! But we’ll stick to May for now.

Rained a bit that day

The day began early as balls. Since Beelzy and I were at the time stationed in the Bronx, it took us about three and a half hours to get on over to Massachusetts where after an adorable breakfast at a mom and pop diner/bakery, we met our tense looking gym mates at about 10am. The crew collected in the parking lot next to the Proven Performance gym where they nervously eyed some seriously loaded barbels. Continue reading

The Knot and the Tying Thereof

We live in America, where numerous choices, endless information, and reality TV can ensure that any event, nevermind an important one, can become a complete nightmare.

So when Beelzy finally grinned sheepishly and said, “Wanna get married?” and I nodded, we decided we were going to run away to Mexico to get the deed done there. Then we found out that you need a blood test and then have to wait around for several days, and the marriage won’t actually count, so you still have to go to a courthouse or something in the states. We decided to elope  elsewhere.

Even eloping turned out to be somewhat problematic. Not knowing very much about weddings, I turned to the Internet, and was given a variety of indirect advice by column writers. Eloping is all good and well, but the consensus was, that if you actually have people who give a single shit about whether you live or die, they’ll be pissed that you sneaked off to get married and didn’t even tell them.

So we told folks. Mom tears flowed a little, but at that point we decided to get married in the Smoky Mountains, in Tennessee, which is totally not close to NYC, and we didn’t really expect anyone to want to drop a few hundred bucks just to get there.  Turns out we were wrong, and before long, we actually had guests. (Now I understand that weddings are excuses to throw all thoughtfulness to the wind and demand unreasonable things from people which will generally be acquiesced to.) And although on one hand, I started freaking out about what to wear, on the other hand, it was nice to know that on this day, which would be pretty important, we didn’t need an innkeeper and photographer to be our witnesses. Continue reading

On Getting The Hell Out, Also Known as Relocating, When There is Less Ire

So how hard is it, really, to drop everything, get in the car, and start a new life elsewhere? This ain’t The Grapes of Wrath , so it’s not as bad as all that, but it does take preparation. I figured I’d fill you guys in on the steps I took to get outta town while the rain hammers on the roof of my New Orleans hotel room. All the points below are important, so I didn’t bother numbering them.

Travel Buddy:

This is really important. Before you head out on a major adventure, it’s important to know that you are doing this with a person you can rely on not to bore you to death, leave you in an ugly situation, or get on your goddamned nerves. Many a friendship has been tried and found wanting by a road trip, where you are basically stuck in a small metal cabin hurtling through space, for hours, either fighting about the crappy musical tastes you just found out your friend has, or realizing that now that you’re sober there isn’t much left to talk about. This could be a friend who is relocating with you, or just helping out. Another important thing to consider is if you trust this person to drive, and drive your car in particular. Continue reading

Tripping on the Road West – Part 1

Beelzy and I set out on Monday, July 11th, after weeks of stressful packing, hysteria fits, waiting for things in the mail, putting things in the mail, dealing with well meaning people driving me insane. It was absolutely time to go. And go we did, on a month-long road trip from New York City to Portland, Oregon. The idea was to basically go west, with a huge southern bias.

Our first few stops were with friends in Maryland, North Carolina, and then South Carolina. We were specifically heading towards Sevierville, Tennessee where we planned to change our lives in a fairly major way. I mean, almost more major than selling and throwing away most of our stuff, quitting our jobs, and getting in the car homeless and unemployed with a general plan to plug in cities into the GPS and hope for the best.

As soon as we drove away I started feeling relieved. It was definitely time to move on and now we were just on vacation really, with bits where we have to spend a lot of hours driving a car, but the road is clear and the speed limit is 70 as soon as you get the hell out of the tristate area, and that too, was a huge relief. We were no longer boxed in, restrained, we could just go and go and go. So we did.

-Above is a beginning to the mighty saga of our trip out West. Irregular installments will follow.