Inspired by this post, a functional workspace and a lot of caffeine.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear DCCC:

I am writing with regards to your support of Heath Shuler, a “democratic” representative from North Carolina. Shuler, who in the past has demonstrated a fondness for guns, war, and border fences, has also been cited as a democratic cosponsor of H.R. 3. Through the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” Shuler, among other representatives, seeks to further restrict American women from receiving safe, timely, and affordable medical treatment in the case of an unwanted or life-threatening pregnancy. Supporters of this bill claim that it is a part of their on-going movement to protect “life.” Apparently for them, the definition of life is strictly limited to the continued growth of unborn fetuses, and does not include the life and well-being of women who are endangered by their pregnancies or women who cannot afford to take care of a(nother) child; nor, for that matter, does this method of protecting life account for the lives of children beyond the womb. Shuler’s and other pro-life politicians’ commitment to inchoate masses of cells is baffling, considering their unwillingness to provide access to healthcare, family planning, or other resources that improve or maintain quality of life after birth.

In 2010, the DCCC spent $231,112.63 to support Shuler’s reelection in North Carolina. According to your website, “The DCCC is the only political committee in the country whose principal mission is to support Democratic House candidates every step of the way.” It is to the DCCC’s shame that despite its apparently singular status as a supporter of Democratic representatives, candidates such as Shuler who are barely distinguishable from their Republican counterparts are being rewarded with substantive funding from your committee. I know that many members of your committee must also find this funding absurd, because your website’s homepage prominently features a link to a petition entitled “Stop the Republican Assault on Reproductive Rights.” As the petition states, “We can’t stand silent in the face of this Republican assault on women’s health and reproductive rights.” I agree; unfortunately, the blame for this assault cannot be limited to House Republicans. Thus, I encourage you to break your committee’s silence by dissociating yourselves publicly and immediately from representatives such as Shuler, and in the future use funds to support candidates who are Democrats not only in name but also in practice.

Sincerely,

Bianca Butler

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After many unsuccessful visits to the Walled Lake Police Department, I returned for (hopefully) a final time today and got my fingerprints done. I have to submit two fingerprint cards to the Peace Corps so the FBI can properly investigate me, and I had to pay $20 to have an officer press my fingers on some ink and then roll them on some paper. Thus I share it with you in order to get my money’s worth.

The first thing that occurred to me when I went back to the fingerprinting room/area was that there was a gun two feet away from me. And if a psychotic episode or just a particular feeling struck the officer in question, he could use it to shoot me and I would be dead or severely wounded. Guns, man, what a dumb idea. Anyway, then I got distracted when the officer opened up what basically appeared to be a junk drawer to get the finger ink, and there was a spare pair of handcuffs hanging out in there. And then he closed the drawer abruptly, maybe because I was staring weirdly. Probably.

Then we turned to the fingerprinting device! I just googled, like, two different terms to try and find a picture of one, but I was unsuccessful. All devices pictured were much more high-tech than the WLPD’s plastic 2×4 with an ink roller, a plastic square, and a fingerprint-card-holder nailed on. The printing process went about as you would expect. Ring fingers are the hardest to do since it’s harder to hold your other fingers out of the way, but the officer was kind enough to point out that I was doing better than most people. I was kind enough not to point out that most of the people he fingerprints have probably been arrested and are feeling just a little uncooperative. Teamwork.

After the prints were finished he pumped this industrial glue-like substance onto my hands to help wash off the ink. It was very greasy and smelled strongly of camphor. That’s a lie, I don’t know what camphor smells like, but it felt and smelled like it should reek of camphor. While I used handfuls of paper towels to scrape the viscous lotion ooze off my fingers, the officer pointed out Walled Lake’s very own fancy-fingerprint-computer-machino-gadget that was also in the room, and told me how unfortunately they’re not allowed to use it anymore and have to do it the old-fashioned way. (I suspect that it’s (a.) permanently broken or (b.) really just a copier with a fake monitor set on top and a picture of a fingerprint glued to it.) I told him that was a shame and seemed ridiculous. Since we had spent the past several minutes bonding over ink and sludge, I think he understood that my regret was based on the WLPD’s apparent inability to play Law & Order and run fingerprint scans. I mean, why even bother with civil servitude?

And so concluded my fingerprinting exploit. There’s still a little bit of ink on my fingers, so my street cred remains intact for the time being.

One of my hobbies is to come up with potential titles or URLs and then read the blogs that are using it. Most of them were abandoned years ago, some of them are really bad writers, and there are only a few posts and no comments. It’s like getting to read strangers’ old diaries and I highly recommend it.

I started to write about how I’m beginning to find myself settling into a routine in here in ol’ Walled Lake, but I decided to stop, because I don’t like it at all and I like thinking about it even less. And I liked reading what I had written about it the least. So, different things!

The most productive thing I’ve added to my life lately is work, or, as Sarah dubbed it the other day, zoupin’. These are my favorite things about getting my zoup on:

1. It is significantly warmer than my house. Come to think of it, it’s also warmer than either of my former workplaces (the Kresge icebox and the Women’s Center freezer). I wear jeans and a short-sleeved t-shirt and regular socks (as opposed to knee socks) with tennis shoes (as opposed to boots) and I’m cozy all shift long–such a novelty! In fact, as I sit here leaching heat from my computer cord’s powerblock (is that what it’s called?), I’m already disappointed that the snow is keeping me from Zoup’s warm embrace tomorrow morning. I’ve never appreciated a snow day less.

2. They have the Pandora you pay for. And it’s usually playing Motown! I’ve also hummed along to some 90’s alternative while I sweep. I can imagine that speaker system being put to such ear-affronting uses that its downright agreeableness makes me happy everyday.

These are the standouts. Otherwise, it’s easy, everyone is nice, and they pay me. Good deal.

Okay, I had wanted to write more, but I’m becoming steadily less motivated and keep getting distracted and switching to other tabs, so I’m going to stop. On a final note I’d like to say that I wholly disapprove of this whole snow-blizzard-thing that’s going on, because what it means for me is a.) I’m not going to see the Decemberists tomorrow because the show’s been postponed, b.) I’m not working tomorrow and therefore not getting paid and c.) I’m going to be stuck sitting in my house for even more time. Good riddance to January and may February live up to its title of shortest month!

I have a new goal!

I just realized that I’ve never been to the DIA by myself. This is surprising, because I love going to museums by myself, but it also makes sense that I’m usually only inspired to visit museums alone while I’m traveling. Now that I’m aware of this, though, I intend to start going to the all the museums in Detroit when I have free and boring afternoons. Today it’s snowing too much to drive out there, and tomorrow begins my gainful employment (thank god) so this plan isn’t off to a rousing start, but I’m sure it will be well worth it when I do.

Last week filled up rather nicely between yoga, babysitting, more yoga, and more babysitting. Yoga Shelter definitely isn’t my favorite yoga that I’ve come across, so when I left the last class of my free, unlimited week yesterday, I did my best to scurry out unnoticed rather than be solicited to purchase the discounted package that I knew wasn’t worth spending money I don’t have. I succeeded; that is, no one came running out after me trying to convince me to go for broke. The next step in my plan was to try out Bikram Yoga next, because their two unlimited weeks for $25 is still really cheap. But either the fates are smiling down on me or Yoga Shelter has much sneakier tactics for convincing new students to buy classes than I suspected, because the Groupon deal in my email this morning was $24 for 24 yoga classes there! $24 is a much less irresponsible amount to charge to my credit card than $115, and since it’s the same amount I was going to spend for fewer classes at Bikram (even in my intense dedication, I would not have made it to 24 classes in 14 days) I can purchase this package nearly guilt-free. Lacking a social life is going to leave me very flexible.

I did get to commune with the world of people last night, because Tracey was in town. We decided we wanted to play pool, so we left Royal Oak for Ferndale in search of a pool table. Every pool table in Ferndale was occupied, so we returned to be Royal Oak, determined to execute our great idea. All the pool tables were similarly commissioned in the first few places we checked, which was confusing, because, as we realized, usually when we have a great idea it’s creative or weird enough that no one else is having it at the same time. You would think that pool on a Sunday night in Metro Detroit would be like that (we would think that, at least), but guess what? Free pool is a Sunday-night thing. We finally learned that and found an open pool table at Fifth Avenue, and it was still a fantastic idea despite its apparent unoriginality.

I just looked out the window and there is a Canadian goose making his lonely and confused way up the driveway. One of his wings looks kind of like it’s dragging, poor goose, I have no idea what i could do about that…okay, crisis averted, I just ran around the perimeter of the house looking out windows while he walked and then, thankfully, flew down to the stream. Happy travels, confused goose (~3:32–“I’ve had that goose so confused, it was quacking”)!

p.s. Happy belated anniversary to Roe vs. Wade! Support women’s health, safety, and autonomy and not the drawing of pictures like this (why would there ever be a fetus inside a fetus? It seems more like an argument against nuclear waste, or something).

The dancing in this video reminds me a lot of the dance moves from Just Dance for Wii, my new favorite game as of six days ago. I can’t decide if the game makes me like this video more or if this video makes me like the game more. Fortunately there is a lot of room in my heart for choreographed dance moves that I might actually be capable of (see also, although I always wish the girl had her own dance of joyful acceptance at the end).

Today I babysat, then had an interview, then babysat again, then went to yoga, which meant I was out of the house and occupied with doing actual things for a full twelve hours today. It was almost like being busy again! With any luck such days will begin to occur more frequently. In the meantime, I’ve had time to get around to tasks such as:

organizing all the CD’s in my car. I removed about 50 of them that didn’t meet the requisite standards for taking up space in one of the cases I have. Now, listening to a CD that I’ve acquired in the years since high school doesn’t mean pulling piles of jewel cases out from the pocket behind the passenger seat, meaning I get points for organization and safety. Although really I just wish that my ipod-radio thing hadn’t broken. Tomorrow, I plan to clean files off my computer so that it (hopefully) runs faster. The anticipation, I can barely handle it.

Sometimes my computer’s fans start whirring rather loudly, like my computer is reminding me, “I’m a machine!” I never really notice the noise until it suddenly stops. It’s always sudden. And it reminds me of the noise of a plane’s engine turning off, or maybe it’s the noise when the cabin door is opened, either way, this noise (or the cessation thereof, I suppose) that does not make me feel anything in particular on planes makes me very nervous when it comes from my computer. Every time I hear it, I’m certain that this is going to be the time that my computer turns off. Forever. I don’t know why I think that, or why the fear never prompts me to clean the excessive number of files from my hard drive, or close twenty of the fifty tabs I have open, or try to listen and see if I only notice the fans when a program is frozen though in reality they consistently wheeze for attention. Subconsciously I must crave the occasional minor adrenaline rush.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been uncharacteristically lethargic, which I had decided was acceptable and even deserved over break (which wasn’t really break for me, just the beginning of the forever-time-blob). Last week, though, it started getting old. I kept sleeping through all the alarms I set, and even when I did get up, it took hours to get myself through breakfast, a(n insignificant) workout, and a shower. For the most part I blame the temperature of this house, which rests around subzero at all times, especially in my basement bedroom. Whereas jumping out of bed at my apartment only meant leaving slumber and softness, leaving my bed here means my hands and feet will soon be numb again. It sucks. Also unhelpful is my lack of obligations–why rush out of bed and onward to wakefulness when all I have to do is babysit at 3, if that? My point is that I miss averaging 4-6 hours of sleep per night because I am crazy.

I have yet to be granted employment, so this week’s solution to oversleeping is yoga. Yoga Shelter lets new students have an unlimited week of free classes, which is fantastic because I’m in no position to pay for any of Metro Detroit’s very expensive yoga (see lack of employment, referenced in the previous sentence). So today I had my first yoga class in West Bloomfield, where the teacher wore a lot of make-up, very big earrings, and didn’t use any Sanskrit; yet I still liked her much better than Sloane Montgomery. Tomorrow I’m going to attend a class taught by Lila Lazarus, former TV news personality. I love free yoga!

And then there’s this.

 

About half an hour ago, I felt an urge–to herbal!–no, to type,  but I do often wonder (relatively speaking) why Herbal Essences ever dropped that ad campaign.  I doubt they’ve been as successful since. Anyway, I felt compelled to type something, in my own words, that wasn’t an application or a cover letter, and a vague, faded memory came to me. Vague and faded because it came from the realm of finals weak, where everything is a blur, but at some point during that week that in my mind is viewed through a 4th-floor library window webbed with giant spiders on the outside and fogged up by my ragged, distracted breath on the inside, um, huh, lost the thread of that sentence. What happened was that I decided to make a new blog where I would log anything I accomplished after graduating from college so as to assuage my sense of failure when I began seeking employment. An idea promptly forgotten until I began seeking employment. SO you can see how that task is making me feel.

Twenty-nine minutes ago, I grabbed my computer and Hotel Rwanda from my room.  Twenty-seven minutes ago, I realized that I couldn’t make an inane blog about knitting legwarmers while watching Hotel Rwanda.  Up till about fifteen minutes ago, I was making the rounds on gmail, facebook, twitter, other whatnot. And then, THEN, it was blog-makin’ time*. First came the usual debate: which platform should I use for my newest foray into the world of weblogs that would probably be read by no one?  No to tumblr and its big playskool buttons, and then I couldn’t really think of any except Blogger and WordPress, except Movable Type but there was something to download on the homepage? so I just stopped looking, and then remembered that I already have blogs on both blogger and wordpress, so of course I had to check them out, so of course I had to try a million (3) usernames and passwords, and lo and behold, wordpress has some of its own playskool buttons, huh?  And yet here I am.  Because, what I had somehow, some way, forgotten to consider, was my brand-new shiny domain name! What! This is my favorite part usually! Alas, I had not a thought as to what I might call my chronicle of recently-graduated unemployedness.

Until, I remembered.

HOT DOG, THIS IS MY BLOG!

I knew I had come up with this fantastic phrase years ago, and feared that in that time some other poor, falsely-thinking-themselves-to-be-humorous soul had had the same stroke of genius. So I checked the domains on blogger and wordpress.  I was home-free on the former, but on the latter, not so much. I was crushed, well, not crushed, but dented like a piece of plastic that needs to be popped back the other way, and navigated on over to see who had taken over the hot dog domain.  Can you see where this is going by now?  Yeah, it was my blog.  That I had created for the sole purpose of preserving my great idea (surprisingly[?] not yet replicated). I figured out the other username I had apparently registered on wordpress and here I am. My new-well-not-really-new-but-very-gently-used blog.

*not to be confused with baby-makin’, especially music-wise (unless you’ve got a thing for the harp)

One day, months ago during the frigid Michigan winter, amidst my thoughts of what happens if your face gets frostbite, it occurred to me that “Hot dog, this is my blog,” would be a good phrase to title a blog.  So good, I thought, that someone must already be using it. That thought was thus lost and forgotten until moments ago, when I googled my clever phrase and found no matches. Perhaps I am not as witty as I think, or perhaps I have finally come up with something completely original!  Either way, my internet claim has been laid.