You Can Fight City Hall

A couple of days ago, this meeting invite showed up in my In Box.

City Hall

Best Outlook invite ever. Took me all of five seconds to accept.

Maybe you can fight City Hall, after all. Our request for information on any zoning restrictions pertaining to the “No Parking” signs we wanted to put up had gone ignored for two weeks, and we were just itching for a fight.

“We can’t let The Man keep us down!” I shouted. “It’s time to rise up. We shall overcome!”

“What exactly are you overcoming?” a coworker asked.

“Injustices,” I answered, hoping this vague refrain would not prompt further questions. Fortunately, it did not. Maybe Ferguson is still fresh on everybody’s minds. Or Damian Lillard’s All-Star snub. In any case, there are enough generic injustices in the world to make my march on City Hall seem much more exciting than asking for permission to put up a sign.

The actual storming of City Hall was sort of anti-climactic. Once we threw open the door and barged in, we kind of stood around politely until the woman behind the counter asked us how she might be of assistance. And when we reminded her we’d stopped by a couple of weeks earlier and had yet to hear back from The Powers That Be, she disappeared down the hall and returned a few minutes later, telling us we were free to put up our sign. All thoughts of staging a Be-In were quickly dashed.

Good thing. I wouldn’t know where or how to be-gin a Be-In. Truth is, I don’t even know what a Be-In is. But it sounds exciting.

Our ideals may not have been as lofty as “rejecting middle-class morality,” but at least we came back with answers, not to mention a great story about the day we tangled with local government…and won.

I don’t know why Tara says I have a tendency for over-exaggeration, by the way.

In other news, I had a doctor’s appointment last week and it went really well. My commitment to a healthy diet and exercise are paying off in spades; my blood sugars are way down, in the low-to-normal range, so my doctor took me off insulin. This means I am taking no medications to treat my diabetes. I consider that a big WIN because only 16% of patients are able to control their diabetes through lifestyle changes alone. And it also validates my insistence that I had Type 2 diabetes. My doctor suspected I was Type 1 because very few T2 patients develop diabetic ketoacidosis, the life-threatening condition I was admitted to the hospital for in December. I countered with the fact that very few adults develop T1 diabetes. Either way, I was a medical anomaly. He ran lab tests, and sure enough, my intuition was correct. Thankfully, because T2 is definitely more manageable. I’m living proof of that.

As of this morning, I have lost 23.5 lbs. since leaving the hospital. Ironically, this may be the healthiest I’ve ever been my entire life. It turns out watching your carbs and eliminating sugar really do work wonders for your body! Who knew? Walking every single day, anywhere from 30-90 minutes, doesn’t hurt, either. The first few weeks after I was discharged I was craving those things like crazy, but now I don’t miss them at all. The positive comments I am receiving from my coworkers are added motivation to keep up the hard work, too. They tell me I look like a different person. I certainly feel like one.

Happy weekending, y’all.

 

Put the “United” back in States

This man is my President and yours. Let's support him.

I woke up in the bluest state in America this morning.

Washington, you see, is the new Oregon. The Beaver State has always had the edge in progressive liberalism, but we surpassed them last night. In Washington, the people spoke, and they said collectively, “let same-sex couples marry” and “make marijuana legal.” I supported both initiatives wholeheartedly, a fact that should surprise nobody as I’ve always worn my liberalism proudly on my sleeve. It’s still a bit surprising that the voters in my state so easily approved both measures. That kind of forward-thinking makes me proud to call Washington my home.

Of course, not everybody feels that way. As happy as I am with the results of the election, a lot of my friends feel otherwise. It appears I’m going to be seeing a lot of Facebook posts in Spanish and German and French since so many of my friends have declared they are moving out of the country. Sour grapes much? Alec Baldwin made similar statements in 2000, threatening to leave if Bush was elected, and I ridiculed that at the time, even though we share the same political spectrum. It’s just such a knee-jerk and ridiculously juvenile comment to make, and speaks volumes about the divide this country faces. There has been a lot of talk about tempers flaring over Facebook, and without a doubt this election was eye-opening, providing a glimpse into the true natures of a lot of people. Even this morning I am seeing the worst in people I’d previously admired. I tried to step in and diffuse one such post, writing to somebody who was predicting doom and gloom, Come on…can’t you at least try to think positive? How can America get better if people aren’t willing to put aside their differences and work together? The response was sadly typical and emotionally-driven, with talk of socialized medicine and being taken over by the Chinese.

Really?

Look, I had to put up with eight miserable years under Bush. I was not a happy camper then, but I survived. I certainly don’t hide the fact that I’m a Democrat, but I try not to let my emotions get the better of me. I did not gloat last night, even as my friends were whining about socialism and God and taxes. It’s unbecoming. I can’t say that they were all so negative, however. A close family friend named Mike – a person I have known my entire life – is a staunch Republican living in Texas, and yet after the results were announced, he was the lone voice of reason amongst my conservative friends. He congratulated Tara and I, and talked about how we are all Americans who should be working together. In response to some negative comments, he wrote, Tomorrow we can all wake up with the same goal, to succeed for ourselves and our children. Stay focused people, we are in this together no matter what side we pledge. You dems are my great friends. Although my party lost,i still love you guys.  In doing so, he won over a lot of my friends last night. Love your classiness, Mike. You’re like the Chris Christie of my friends. It is attitudes like those that give me hope for America, and make me believe that it is possible to work together and make a difference.

This man is my President and yours. Let’s support him.

My own mother said this morning, “There sure are a lot of idiots in America.” I guess that makes her first-born son an idiot. And that is why we never discuss politics. We’re like Family Ties in reverse; I’m a liberal, peace-loving Alex P. Keaton to a conservative Steve and Elise. Only I’ve never allowed a kangaroo in the house.

Because the election brought out the worst in people, I’m glad it’s over, though I fear I can never view some of them the same way again – and that’s pretty sad. I hope they can admit four years from now that things weren’t as bad as they feared, and I hope that I am every bit as proud of my vote then as I am this morning.

To those bemoaning the results and predicting the end of the world, lighten up, already. Listen to people like Mike. Let’s work TOGETHER and make this country great again. A little optimism and a willingness to compromise will go a long way toward making a positive change.

I do hope that in the next four years, Donald Trump’s hair swallows him whole and we never have to hear from him again. Talk about a wacko. I’ll never watch another episode of The Apprentice again.

I hope the Republican Party realizes their anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-minority rhetoric no longer flies in this era of tolerance and acceptance. Soften your tone and maybe you’ll win back your constituents.

I hope that President Obama has a productive four years in office and makes believers out of those who doubt him.

Most of all, I hope our country finds a way to put the “United” back in States.

 

Keep Your Pennies, Canada

I’m so excited!!

Not because I’m going to Boise tomorrow to meet up with my girlfriend. Well, that too. But also…look what I found!

I’m unable to embed the video, but if you click on the link you can listen/watch on YouTube. A British pop group called Frazier Chorus had a hit song back in 1990 that was an ode to my favorite overlooked cloud. And if you never get the time, and never get to see cloud nine, there’s a place where you can wait on cloud eight. I feel better knowing that poor ol’ cloud eight did get a little love some twenty years ago. Thank you, obscure English pop band. I can now float on cloud nine free of guilt.

In other news, I won the lottery the other day!

OK, truth be told, I didn’t actually win the lottery. Or even play it. But a guy can pretend, right? On Tuesday, I sauntered over to the big, green CoinStar machine in Fred Meyer, where I deposited all the loose change I had gathered the past few months. If you’re unfamiliar with CoinStar, it’s a kiosk about the size of a vending machine, where you can convert spare change into either currency (less a small fee) or a gift card. I never carry change around in my pocket; I drop it into a piggy bank on my dresser instead, and when the ceramic pig gets full, I pay a visit to the CoinStar machine. The experience is sort of like being in a casino, anyway; you’ve got the sound of coins dropping and the palpable excitement and anticipation of seeing exactly what your payoff is going to be. It always feels like free money to me. I suppose I could meticulously count, sort, and wrap up all my coins and take them to the bank to cash in so as to avoid the 9.8% CoinStar fee, but where’s the excitement in that? Plus then, I have to deal with tellers. I’m a pretty likable guy who gets along with almost everybody, but for some reason bank tellers hate me. Seriously. It’s probably because I always screw up the deposit slips, or don’t have my account number handy. In any case, I prefer the anonymity of a big, green machine (in much the same way that I really dig the U-Scan self-serve checkout machines in the grocery store, even though cashiers, unlike tellers, like me just fine).

Here I am, hoping to hit the jackpot!

So anyway, I ended up with $38, minus a Canadian penny the machine did not like. Don’t you hate it when Canucks try to sneak their currency into our system? Nothing chaps my hide more than seeing maple leaves on a coin. Does it look like we have moose wandering through the streets? Viva la America, baby!

Interestingly, my link says the average CoinStar transaction is $38. Yay me for not being a statistical anomaly (though I kinda wish I was the guy in Alabama who cashed in $13,000 worth of pennies (minus the worthless Canadian ones, of course)).

It was a good trip to the grocery store because, not only did I end up with one of those baby carts I so adore, but I also had about $15 worth of coupons. My total bill was $18, which means I came home with food and, also, $20 ahead. Score!

The icing on the cake this week (it’s been a pretty good one!) was the passage of ballot measure I-1183 in Washington. This repeals the Prohibition-era state-run liquor store monopoly. It’s about time, Evergreen State! When I lived in California, I was used to being able to buy vodka and rum in the grocery store. Up here, you can only buy hard booze in a state-controlled liquor store. This translates to fewer options, higher prices, and the inability to get drunk on Sundays. That’s just not convenient, folks! But the voters spoke, and we’re abolishing the system. Come June, any grocery store larger than 10,000-square feet will be able to sell liquor. How great will that be? I can cash in my change with CoinStar and then go pick up a bottle of tequila!

It’ll really feel like a casino then.

I was somewhat dismayed when one of my very Republican friends named Eric “liked” the YES ON I-1183 page on Facebook, as I had. We couldn’t be further apart in our political philosophies. I never thought we’d agree on anything! The truth is, I voted against my party on this issue. Most Democrats, including our governor, were staunchly opposed. But I’m about as liberal as they come, and pretty sure this brief glimmer of conservatism is an anomaly. My “yes” vote simply means I’m against regulation and monopolistic practices.

Or a lush.