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Not that it matters to anyone who or what I vote for, but this year, I feel doubly compelled to explain myself and why I’m voting independent.

I have yet to hear anyone passionately back either of the main candidates. I’ve heard “Well…have to pick the lesser of the two evils.”, “At least this one hasn’t (blah blah blah insert stupid policy garbage here).”, and “One of them is going to win, I just have to hedge my bets.”  I cannot and will not “hedge my bets” or “choose the lesser of the evils”.

This election year for me is about rebellion. This year, as one lonely little American, I’m going to say, “I don’t like either of you! I demand something else!”  Will anybody notice? Will anybody in Washington say, “Oh, check out little miss smarty pants and her rebellion vote!”?  No.  I’ll know.  I’ll know that I didn’t stand by idly and choose the lesser of the evils because that was the smart choice.

Back in the day, I thought anybody who voted independent had to be some stock-piling, conspiracy theory, mad scientist who couldn’t tie their own shoes, but lately, my thoughts have changed on this.  Maybe there’s an independent choice or two that actually do have the best interest of the country and its citizens in mind. Will they win? Not just no, but hell no.  This year, it isn’t the point.

This year, I’m not voting for the party, or the tie, or the FREAKING AMERICAN FLAG PIN WORN CORRECTLY (Really, America? That was just about your dumbest moment.), I’m voting as an act of war on how our country is run without our consent. I’m voting for our voices back. I’m voting for a government for the people by the people. Not the grown-up playground bullies in nice suits who are spending more than I’ll ever make in nineteen of my lifetimes to get my vote. Money that corporations could be using to create jobs, support public education, and build our communities rather than  “hedging their bets” on a winner that will do things for them.

People I love have said that I’m throwing away my vote. Sure, maybe so. Sacrifices must be made by one at a time for the good of many.  If I can inspire someone else to stand up and say, “No more.”, then it isn’t thrown away.  If my vote gathers with all the other thrown away votes of people willing to demand better, then none of us have thrown away anything. We’ll have created our own words and actions.

Here’s where I quote something famous. It really shouldn’t be a surprise.

“And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
the shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
anything you want at Alice’s restaurant.” and walk out. You know, if
one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they’re both *edited just ’cause I hate that word*and they won’t take either of them.

And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in

singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.”

I imagine my parents wish sometimes they’d named me something different…but here I am. Alice.

Why I’m voting independent.

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Dreams in a “Haunted House” and other weirdness.

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So, earlier I told you all that I don’t believe in ghosts even though my house was haunted…or something.  It started off mild enough, but as if the pictures shooting off the wall and the phantom footsteps weren’t enough, other weird things started happening around the house.  I learned one thing, though.  It doesn’t have to be at night to completely creep you out.

During one brilliantly sunny fall day, I was sitting at my dining room table, going through some decorating magazines and pondering colors to paint, when my cat..black cat I might add…shot straight up from a dead sleep in the living room and came creeping sideways across the foyer toward me.  Her ears were flat back on her head, her fur was standing up all over, and she was making the most horrific noise I’ve ever heard out of a cat.  I’ve had cats my whole life, and I’d never seen this kind of behavior out of a cat, so I ran to her to make sure she was ok.  She seemed to be.  I mean..I guess she was.  She wouldn’t look my direction when I spoke to her, she wouldn’t look away from one spot in the dining room, and she wasn’t backing down.  All of a sudden, she flipped her tail and fell down in the floor to start licking her leg. I still have that cat and I’ve never seen her act that way since.

I do have to admit, though, that the later in the day things happened, the creepier it got.  One night while watching television, I saw a shadow of a person go across the living room wall.  We’d had a real problem with break-ins in the neighborhood, and I was really disturbed that somebody was walking around in our front yard.  My ex and I got up and started checking things out, and he went out in the yard…I went to get the baseball bat.  I came back and walked over to the window to see if he was still in the yard, and then turned to take him the bat.  On the wall behind me were two shadows. One of my ex-husband’s head, because that was the only part of his shadow making it in the window, and my full shadow at the same height of the shadow we saw on the wall.  It still gives me cold chills to think that the shadow could have only been made from inside the room, and behind the chair I was sitting in.

I’ve had horrible dreams since I was a child, so normal bad dreams don’t shake me too much.  During the time in the house, I had several repeating bad dreams that I haven’t had since.  One of the dreams never started the same way, but it always ended with the ghost of an angry woman trying to strangle me in my sleep.  I would always wake up in the weirdest position in the bed, with my head all the way against the headboard, and I’d be choking and gasping for air.  My theory at the time was that I had sleep apnea that had gotten worse, but when I moved to my apartment, those dreams stopped abruptly.

Another dream I had on a regular basis, often with physical symptoms, was that a little girl was standing beside the bed.  She had a bright yellow glow, and that’s what I remember being physical.  I remember waking up and seeing that glow several times, but not being able to wake up enough to really see details.  She would stand beside the bed, begging me to wake up and telling me that her bones were beneath the floorboards of the closet.  After a few weeks of having this dream, I really considered pulling up the floorboards, but logically, it didn’t make sense.  The floor in the closet was exactly the same as the bedroom.  Those dreams stopped when I moved too.  I still can’t figure out what could have caused such a bright yellow glow in the middle of the night.

Haunted Missionary Ridge – In time for Halloween!

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Since about the middle of September, I’ve been doing what should be mandatory in the United States until the end of October.  I’ve been reading ghost books.  Some of them are awesome, but some of them I’ve wanted to call shenanigans on. There was one guy who wrote a book about a haunting that took place starting when he was five and he was writing down to the detail on everything. No offense, dude, but I can barely remember what I had for breakfast on Monday.  I can tell you that my memories of being five are there, but they’re hazy. The point is, it made me think about all the stuff that happened when I moved in to my first house, and I thought to myself, “Self, you should throw your ridiculous and unbelievable stories out there for the world to scoff at.” So..I’m going to do that.

I’m not a diary keeper like apparently 90% of the world’s females appear to be, so when I moved into the house on Missionary Ridge, I didn’t decide to keep a record of the vasty weirdness.  You can ask my ex-husband, though, and he’ll tell you. WEIRD. In fact, do ask my ex-husband. It might be the only thing he’ll readily agree with me on.  I don’t suppose that I should be that shocked by a house that was built on an old Civil War battlefield would be haunted.  I guess I’d never thought about it.  I can’t imagine that my house would be haunted and not the others, but then again, we never discussed it neighborhood wide. Maybe they’re haunted too.

The house needed a lot of work before we moved in. It needed cleaning and painting, so I’d go over after work, sometimes alone, and work on it. Old, empty places do feel creepy and I’ll admit that, but I had the constant feeling that there was somebody watching me, and they were not pleased.  I even started having nightmares about people floating around and glaring at me.  My thoughts were that once things were moved in and pictures were on the wall, things wouldn’t feel so hostile and cold.  In theory, it was a good plan.  If only the pictures hadn’t shot off the wall regularly.

I don’t mean that they fell.  I tested myself on this several times, because honestly, despite all my horror movie loving and ghost tour attending, I still don’t believe in ghosts. I STILL don’t believe in ghosts.  I’ve had pictures fall off the wall before, which generally meant that they lost hold of the nail, or the nail came out of the wall, and they sort of slid down the wall.  Occasionally, there have been times when they’ve just fallen forward or something after they fell. That was not what happened.  I never saw one go down, but they’d land two to three feet from the wall. This, to me, never suggested a mild drop.  We used nails that were in the wall when we moved in, and let me tell you, they were solid nails with lots of room for a wire. I’d actually make sure that the wires were hooked behind the head of the nail.  I’d pull on the picture; wiggle it around on the wall. It would be solidly connected. I remember one particular time when I had just made it around the corner before my framed Ansel Adams smacked the floor with resounding force and shattered the glass.  That didn’t ever creep me out, that just made me mad.

The creepiness involved other things. 

One of the first really creepy things I remember was early on in living there. My ex and I had an argument, and I decided I’d just go sleep on the couch. It was pretty comfy and I could turn the stereo on.  I was just getting good and cozy, but not asleep, when I heard a footstep on the top of the staircase.  I thought I was mistaken, because I hadn’t heard the bedroom door, so I waited.  When the footsteps continued, I said something to my ex about being afraid to sleep while I was mad, and did not get the smarmy retort I was expecting.  Just more footsteps.  I got up and went to the doorway just as the last few footsteps fell, but there was only darkness.

I could bore you all day with this type of nonsense.  Instead, I’ll space it out. 

Labor Day in Chattanooga.

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I haven’t posted anything in such a long time, and as I am doing nothing today, I thought I’d take some time to post about all the things we could have in Chattanooga so that more people may labor.

For anyone who doesn’t know by this time, my dearly beloved boyfriend and I spent ten days in the United Kingdom and that highlighted some of the things that I’ve felt the Tennessee Valley is lacking.  Some of the things will come from that, some will come from my brain. Be afraid.

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1. A South African restaurant – Yep. I went to that one. It’s in Bangor, N. Ireland and typical of the area, it was BYOB. It was creatively decorated and the food was awesome. It wasn’t complicated. While we’re on the subject, we could use a Nando’s. The boyfriend said the tagline for Nando’s should be “Sauce and Stuff to Dip in it.”  If you’re unfamiliar with them, as we were, here’s your link. http://www.nandos.com/

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2. An Italian pizza place – I got pizza in Paris.  Yes, pizza.  It was a four cheese pizza, and it was the most wonderful thing ever. The four cheeses were not cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano. It was mozzarella, Parmesan, goat cheese, and Gorgonzola. I can make it, but it’d be so much more handy if I could just go out and order that.

3. A pasterie – Not one up on the top of a hill with little to no parking that’s full of tourists or hipsters. I like it fine, I guess, I just think that one that you could get to and afford might be nice. Throw in a bookstore for funsies.

 

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4. My old standby – a poutine place. – You could make a whole place devoted to variations of fries and gravy, throw in some soft drinks and beer. Have a deck, please.

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5. A movie house – Lest you think I’m stuck on food, which I generally am, a place where you can go watch old movies..maybe eat..would be lovely.  Not something glossy and shiny and all obviously state-of-the art. Something that reminds you of stepping back in time. 

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6. A “How it was in the day” museum – The new Titanic museum was slightly Disney-like, but it was really nice in that they had actual rooms set up. They had a whole exhibit on the supplies that were used on the Titanic. You could touch samples of the fabric, rope, wood trim, etc. (This is in Belfast, by the way.) I know we don’t have a Titanic, but we have a train station that could use some historying up. Really sad that all we have is a model train. Really sad.  “Come see the Chattanooga Choo-choo! Yeah…you can’t actually ride a train..no we have no train history…BUT YOU CAN HAVE PIZZA ON THE TRAIN! No…it doesn’t have Gorgonzola..”

You’re letting the world down, Chattanooga.

 

Mainstream Media Bullying

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So, I don’t watch much television. Top Gear (the British version), The Closer, and some Britcoms mostly.  I do watch the news when I don’t think it will inspire me to throw a chair through the television, so…mostly when I don’t know what’s happened during the day, I guess.  It’s during that time when I see the commercials for Entertainment Tonight.  The commercial tonight bothered me. Badly.  “Blah blah blah…how much does Jessica Simpson weigh! We get a doctor’s opinion!”  Wait. Seriously?

This is the same television show that would dramatize a normal teenager’s death if they were bullied. The same show that talks about the tragic death from anorexia of some star. The same show that talks about how sad it is that Whitney Houston didn’t get the help she needed to overcome her fatal drug addiction.

I’m going to keep this short, because…after all…I did *just* blog about bullying two days ago, but more and more this is catching my attention. I understand that by becoming a celebrity, they’ve put themselves in the position to be fodder for tabloid television, etc., but it’s time that people are responsible for what they say. Celebrities are people, with troubles, families, and feelings. Bullying for ratings is unfair and a bad example.

As proof, I leave you with two words: Karen Carpenter.

Hate: It’s the American Way.

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In thinking over the events of the last couple of years in this country, it’s no wonder we don’t treat each other any better than we do. Bullying and hate have become the solid American way to deal with everything. Movies show it, television shows do it all the time, but most importantly, and probably the most disturbing, that’s how our politicians deal with things.

This being an election year, the proof of this is especially rampant. Lord knows I could sift through the internet and find all kinds of examples of it, but as I’m not really in that bad of a mood and I don’t really have the money to leave the country the way it would inspire me to, I’ll let you guys find them on your own. You’re welcome to report back here with any examples that strike you.

Think of just the GOP at this point. The debates have been a series of both strategical and off the cuff attacks, not just political attacks, but personal attacks. They’ve stopped just short of, “You’re ugly and your momma dresses you funny.” I’m sure, as Americans, we’re supposed to be used to this, but consider it for a moment. These people are on the same side! They’re not diametrically opposed in views, but as only one can be the victor, they’ve launched into some sort of geriatric Hunger Games of words that we all have to watch because we have to be scared into action by voting. Sadly enough, the similarities to The Hunger Games doesn’t end there, only in a different twist, we don’t want the one who is going to win to do it, not because they’re all innocent children and should live, but because we’ve been left with the decision of who is the lesser of the evils. I don’t know a single person who actually wants anybody who is running for President to win.

As responsible citizens, parents are supposed to teach their children about politics and how elections work, so one would assume that there are some children out there watching the debates and how this is all going down. I bet they’re so confused right now. They’re all being told right now about how bad bullying is and how you shouldn’t bully anybody, that is…unless you’re running for President and then all bets are off. The political parties encourage hating your opponents and telling them just how wrong they are! The current candidates don’t encourage diversity, but uniformity, and if you don’t like how we deal with it, you can pack up and leave! I’ve heard this far too much this election year. “If you don’t like how our government is run, you can pack up and leave!” Remarkably that’s one of the statements that caused the country to come into being. “In order to form a more perfect union”, we’re going to have our politicians stand up on television and put down citizens, each other, and anybody else who they don’t agree with.

So. I don’t agree with it. Where’s the door, again? I want out.

Tourist season is here again.

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Yep. It’s that time of year again. That time when I get confused because people don’t appear to know where they’re going, have funky accents, and they all seem to have a litter of children. I do the puppy head-tilt at them for a moment, then realize…they ain’t from around here, are they?  This happened today when I wandered out for a pizza only to find Mellow Mushroom packed to the brim at 5:00 and people taking pictures of their kids with the big…Mellow…guy.   After that, I stopped by the Ben & Jerry’s to find the line around the inside of the store. I took my ice cream and my Kindle under one of the bridges at the aquarium, and then I heard a wave of children yelling, “THERE’S A BEN & JERRY’S OVER THERE!”  That’s when I realized that it was the beginning of vacation time.

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So, tour on, Chattanooga tourists.  I won’t be too hard on you unless you wander out in traffic on Fourth Street.