Marquis de Saydrah

Because I’ve moved from thinking, “I’ve GOT to blog that!” to doing it.

And now, your daily AWWW moment September 17, 2008

Filed under: Animals,Photos — saydrah @ 2:19 pm
Tags: , , , ,
My significant other holding our cat, Monster. Monster looks very embarrassed.

My significant other holding our cat, Monster. Monster looks very embarrassed.


Monster-Cat is getting a hug, whether she likes it or not. Sirofett (SO’s online name, and how I shall refer to him in this blog) is a cat person. I’m more of a dog person, but I like cats, too. Monster is the foster kitten who refused to leave. She got the name because when she arrived, all of four weeks old, she was a scrawny, sickly little thing that had possibly been exposed to a contagious, fatal virus, so she and her sister got big strong names to help them grow big and strong. It worked. Her sister, General Mao, lives with Sirofett’s little brother, and Monster… well, we just couldn’t give her up.


I love the little paw in the air… “Mom… no, put the camera down and help me escape the love!”


Back from the DNC, and I brought photos! September 15, 2008

Filed under: activism,Photos,politics — saydrah @ 4:44 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

 Holy cow I’ve been swamped lately– I’ve been meaning to share my DNC photos with y’all since the event ended, but life has been crazy. Anyway, better late than never, right? I have the flu today, so got some downtime for blogging. On the down side, the cold medicine makes me loopy, so I’m going to keep typing to a minimum and just share some photos! I have many, many more, but I’ll spread them into a few different posts so it’s not a total image overload right away. I’m making a Flickr album, too. Today’s photos are all from Invesco (not the best ones I have, as the upload went wonky and these are what got uploaded before it crashed… more soon!)


Invesco Field at Mile High as the stands begin to fill up for Obamas speech.

Invesco Field at Mile High as the stands begin to fill up for Obama's speech.


This is a view of the podium. The seats that are ON the football field (which is covered over) are for delegates and select media personnel only.

The delegate seating area and podium.


Bill Richardson speaks at Invesco Field at Mile High.

Bill Richardson speaks at Invesco Field at Mile High.

A projection screen at Invesco Field shows Barack and Michelle Obama, with their daughters, at the end of the evening.

A projection screen at Invesco Field shows Barack and Michelle Obama, with their daughters, at the end of the evening.


A Point is Made, Relating to My Good Neighbor, Jim August 12, 2008

This is the post where I make a point relating to my good neighbor, Jim, who has a disability. Do me a favor, particularly if you are a reader who is not familiar with the disability rights movement or the social model of disability: Recall my post about Jim, and think of a few words you would use to describe him. Okay, got a couple of adjectives?


Now, let me share two quotes from a forum. The person posting works in the prison system. Understand, she is not a bad person. She is a funny, snarky person who feels that she is doing a service to society through her work as a corrections officer, and she does, in fact, stand up for inmates’ rights if she sees them violated. Whether or not you agree with the US prisons system, she is an individual who believes in herself and her work, and she is a good person. These quotes do not reflect a complete person. They reflect a use of language by her, a person whom I like, that, in my opinion, was hurtful and shocking.


In the first, an excerpt from a transcribed conversation, the context is that an inmate has just endangered himself by doing something very reckless. “Me” is the person who posted this; “IM” is the inmate.


ME: Mr [Retard].
IM: Yeah.
ME: If you ever do that again, I will write you so many DR’s your children will do Seg time.


In the second quote, some inmates have been misbehaving by shooting spitballs.


The 2 cells I suspected were in the corner, so I watched them out of the corner of my eye. I asked the Porter (cellhouse janitor) if he’d noticed any retards throwing spitwads lately, and he said no, but he was tired of cleaning them up.


Would she– we’ll call her Sue– ever hurt my feelings, or the feelings of a person with a disability, intentionally? I don’t think so. I also don’t think she is aware that her words were hurtful. The forum I quoted these things from does not allow members to call other members out on their language.


The moderators require one to use a “report” button to report a post that is offensive. The moderators then make a decision amongst themselves about the complaint. I’ve reported similar posts for use of language in the past, and the decision has been that they will not take any stand against this word. In addition, I’m told that I’ll get an “infraction” for frivolously using the report button if I continue to report hurtful use of this word.


So, I can’t ask Sue if she would use that word to describe my neighbor. I can’t ask her if she would use that word within earshot of my friendly, gentlemanly neighbor, Jim. I can’t ask her if she understands that it’s a near-certainty that, at some point in his life, Jim has heard that word applied to him in a hurtful way.


That’s why I’m talking about it here, and why I asked you to think of a few words that describe Jim.


I think the point is made.


A Good Neighbor

There’s a gentleman who lives in the apartments next door. I say gentleman not only because it’s the most polite way to refer to a person of the male gender, but also because my neighbor has never been anything but a gentleman. He never forgets a “please,” or a “thank you,” and even though I’m probably about half his age, he calls me, “Ma’am.” His first name is a common one, but I’ll change it anyway: We’ll call him Jim.


Jim has a disability. I’m not sure, exactly, which diagnosis he carries. He’s in his forties, so chances are as a child he was given some catch-all label like “mildly brain damaged,” or, though I hate to type this out, “retarded.” He speaks very slowly and walks with an unusual gait. Jim has a little bit of an accent similar to that which comes with Down’s Syndrome, but not quite the same. He converses using short words, and I find that he understands me best if I do the same. Jim has a job and takes the bus to work. He likes my dog, and my dog likes him quite a lot.


The first time I met Jim, he was on his way to the bus stop. My dog and I were in my front yard. I’d seen Jim around before, and waved to him a couple times, but we’d never had a conversation. But this time, my dog saw him too. Augustin– who knows where the boundaries of the yard are and obeys them– rushed straight into the street to greet Jim. I retrieved the dog with many apologies, rushed him inside for a time-out, and had a brief conversation with Jim. Since then, Augustin has behaved himself in the front yard, but he still greets Jim every chance he gets.


Anyone my dog likes is automatically on my good side. I’ve noticed the pooch has fairly good judgment. For example, he recently barked at the teenagers carrying beer who walked by the house at night, but not at a nurse walking home with her daughter. But this post isn’t about my dog’s common sense. It’s about my good neighbor, Jim, who always has time to compliment me on my dog’s behavior.


He asks, as Augustin gleefully whines and licks his hand before rolling over for a belly rub, “How do you get him to be so friendly? I know some people make their dogs real mean, but he’s not mean at all. He’s so friendly.”


I explain that Augustin has always been that way, and point out as a stranger approaches, that Augustin stiffens and barks. “He knows the difference between friends and strangers, but he only barks at people if it is after dark.” This impresses Jim, and causes him to erupt into another string of compliments.


That’s my good neighbor, Jim, and that’s all I’ll say about him in this post. In my next post, we’ll talk about Jim again; but I have a point to make, and it doesn’t have a place in this post. This post is about Jim, who is my neighbor, and a gentleman.


That Concert Picture August 5, 2008

Filed under: Photos — saydrah @ 4:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

Probably the only photo of me wearing makeup in existence.

Overdone concert makeup.

Overdone concert makeup.

Just so y’all have plenty of blackmail material on me if you ever need it…


My First Concert, and More NT-ocracy July 31, 2008

First Concert

So, I went to my first-ever concert on Tuesday. Yeah, first-ever. Seriously. I made it to adulthood without ever taking in a concert. Well, except for Anti-Prom (the goth/punk alternative to prom, which I attended instead) where a few local bands played– but a real concert with a touring band? My first one. I saw The Faint at The Ogden.


It was pretty awesome. I went with my SO and some friends of his. Waiting for the concert to start was a little awkward, since the specific friends he brought (with the exception of my roomie) were not people with whom I’m at all close; three of five are people I actively don’t like. But, once the opening bands (which were terrible) started to play, we were all united in horror at how much they stunk, and then when The Faint came on, nobody noticed anything except how great they were.


I got there early and we were up front by the railing that separates what apparently is a mosh pit for most shows from the regular concert viewing area, so as soon as The Faint took the stage, others were trying to push me out of my spot. One drunk Australian guy made me laugh, so I moved over and let him in, but then everyone else started pushing and shoving. I held my ground, and one girl started pushing and hitting me– it wasn’t until after the concert that I (having not taken my eyes off the band pretty much the entire time) was informed that the “mosh pit” got ignored and all the moshers were beating on each other right behind our group. I was totally oblivious and pretty confused about why everyone was pushing me!


Oh, and I danced, and headbanged (yeah, to The Faint, sue me), which is kinda big for me because I’m pretty self-conscious about being tone-deaf and a pretty bad dancer. But hey, that drunk girl next to me was dancing and intentionally knocking into me every couple beats, and I wasn’t about to let that slide without giving as good as I got… okay, so maybe technically I moshed a little? I’m not sure if that counts.


Anyway, yesterday morning (Wednesday) I was pretty bruised and sore, but I’d do it again for sure. If you get the chance to see The Faint live (and concerts are something you do and like), go for it. Todd Fink– formerly Todd Baeschle– is the lead singer, and his costume for this tour is a mad scientist’s outfit, with a lab coat and goggles, and he plays the part the whole time he’s singing, leaping and spinning around the stage, jumping on the amps, waving the microphone stand wildly…


Oh, and I’m thinking of taking a boxing class now. It actually was pretty cathartic when I was struggling with the crowd trying to push me out of my spot, and I think maybe boxing or martial arts would do the same thing for me.


I have a picture of myself with totally overdone makeup for the show here somewhere; didn’t get any pictures of my whole outfit, unfortunately, since they wouldn’t let anyone bring a camera in. So a Myspace-esque photo I took myself will have to do, when I upload and post it. I usually don’t wear any makeup at all, so it might be a little strange to see me wearing a ton of foundation, blush, lip gloss, eyeshadow, and mascara. I still can’t figure eyeliner out, though. What the heck are you supposed to do with it?


NT-Ocracy and Forums, Pt. 2


I was again scolded on a forum, for something else this time, which I imagine is an extremely problematic automatic characterization for anyone not neurotypical (see “Autism Threshold” post for my and others’ speculation on why I identify as NT, but seem to fall into a lot of the same social traps, particularly online, as my Aspie/Autie/etc. friends).


So, I ran afoul of the mods on the same forum mentioned in the NT-Ocracy post again. Their grievance this time? I was “lecturing people.” The subject was the term “bull dyke.” A member used it, another member called him out and characterized the phrase as a “homophobic slur,” and a couple of members responded that the moderators probably were not taking a position because nobody had reported the thread to them yet. So, I posted saying that, to avert further conflict, I was using the report button to report the thread to the mods, and taking a brief stance on the term at issue. For those interested, my stance was that there’s a pretty big difference between a person describing herself that way, versus (as the person who made the original post used the term) describing someone whose actions you found objectionable with that term; in other words, using it as an insult.


Then I get a textual tongue-lashing by private message from a moderator, with something along the lines of “Maybe this will FINALLY get the point across to stop lecturing people!”


Finally? Did I miss something? I haven’t been told that taking a position on an issue under debate is considered “lecturing” in the past.


The moderator in question just lost a loved one and is grieving and recently posted about how much depression and grief changed her life and personality, so I’m not going to respond the way I’d like to– I just deleted the private message, and I’ll tread more carefully for a while. I’d leave the forum, but there are many people there I like and care about, yes, including many people on the Autism spectrum. However, there’s no real appropriate way to broach the topic of “Do you feel discriminated against here because of the way you communicate?” without violating forum rules, so I don’t know if they have encountered the same problems, but if I push the mods’ buttons, I’m betting most of the Aspie/ASD/Autie users have done so in the past and been similarly confused about what, exactly, the problem is.


I’d be willing to bet that the exact same scolding has been given to a few of these members, really; I’ve noticed that many folks on the Autism spectrum (spectra?) have an area of expertise and are more than willing to share knowledge and opinions about that subject. I guess that could be called “lecturing” when one is not open to receiving knowledge and opinions from others on a particular subject; perhaps that’s where I missed a warning to “stop lecturing?” My area of expertise is pet care and training, and I’m frequently called out in threads about animals– “Oh, Saydrah, this one’s for you!” So I would not have ever imagined that, since my advice is frequently requested, it is unwelcome and perceived as lecturing. However, that’s the only thing I can really think of that might have grated on somebody’s nerves in the past and led the moderator to consider me a habitual lecturer.




Thoughts on Funerals July 22, 2008

Filed under: thoughts — saydrah @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , ,

Some thoughts on funerals, not particularly organized, and making no particular point:


Cause and Effect: I’ve been sick to my stomach all day now. The chicken, or the egg? I felt unsettled and ill throughout the service, but was I sick to my stomach because of the funeral atmosphere, or unable to appreciate the service because of my nausea?


Confusing: Why black for funerals, when it’s tradition to send flowers? We don’t send black flowers or flowers covered in black fabric, so why are we to send ourselves draped in black? Are the guests to be mournful, and the decorations lively, to de-emphasize the importance of the living, to pay respect to the dead, or simply to indulge the mourners’ feelings, the grief that says, “You are not allowed to have fun, or be colorful, because someone you loved is dead and it would be wrong.” Oughtn’t guests wear the colors they feel reflect the departed’s impact on their lives? Black for a solid soul, a grounding force, but red for a firebrand who leapt into every project with force that left observers reeling.


Odd: Sad music is depressing when joyful, and uplifting when mournful.


Puzzling: Why, at every funeral, is there one person there who none of the mourners seem to know or recognize? They peer at photos of the deceased with interest and hug the surviving family tightly, but as they turn away, the family whispers, “Does anyone know her name?” or, “Have you seen him before?” Are they funeral-surfers?


Amusing: The brother of the deceased takes his seat in a pew, waiting to greet guests. His cell phone rings. Loudly, audible throughout the chapel, “We’re conducting market research. We’d like to send you two DVDs, free of charge… do you have a few moments for a survey?”


Amusing, again: The twenty-something grandson of the deceased invites a friend to the funeral. The friend arrives, dressed identically to the grandson, down to the cufflinks and hairstyle. The women in the family giggle, but the young men don’t notice until it’s pointed out to them.


Presumptuous: The pastor rails against families who eulogize their loved ones with tales of a love affair with a sports team, a favorite vacation, or a hobby. He says it’s more meaningful to live a life heaping affection on family members than to define one’s life by season ticket holdings. I wonder who’s sitting in a back pew, drying her eyes and feeling hurt as she remembers a departed sister or brother who bought season tickets, every year.


Giggling through tears: The flag presentation ceremony, performed by two older men and one younger, wearing crisply pressed uniforms, perfectly rehearsed in nearly every detail. The youngest soldier;s role is to assist in the folding of the flag, and he tucks the edge just a touch sloppily as he hands it back to the soldier a few years his senior. The experienced soldier holds the flag to his heart, observes the uncrisp edge, and delivers it back to the younger soldier, who tucks the edge perfectly on his second try. Not a word exchanged, eye contact unbroken, ten seconds at most, but a moment of normality and humanity in an otherwise starched and flawless ceremony.


Upsetting: The grandson is smoking again. Doubtless, quitting is difficult while grieving, but didn’t the deceased quit smoking some years ago, and impress the importance of that choice upon his grandkids? Hadn’t said grandson quit a while ago, gone maybe two years without a cigarette? Why sacrifice that?


Touching: She had a stroke some months ago. She arrives without her husband, whose chronic condition prevents much travel these days. She’s flanked by two sons, and her third son welcomes her to the chapel. He’s son-in-law to the deceased, and she has, though limited by hip replacement, stroke, and arthritis, come to support him and his family. She uses a cane, and sons and grandsons flutter around her, watching every step for a wobble, ready to catch her and set her back on her feet. She doesn’t wobble. After the service, two sons help her to her car. The third is behind the wheel.