Friday, October 31, 2008

Help! There's a Vampire in My Kitchen!

Never mind, it's okay. He's one of those sexy vampires, like in Twilight. I'll keep him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Truest Thing I've Heard All Day

"But if you're really serious about putting a stop to gay sex, let them get married."

--Robert Kirby, Salt Lake Tribune

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Audacity to Hope, part one of two

Got a black man running
But I wonder if he get in,
Who he gonna open up the door for?
I don't want to discourage my folk
I believe in hope,
I just want us to want more
Politricks is a game, how they keep us contained,
Gotta be more that we can hope for.
Democrats and Republicans
Just two sides of the same coin.
Either way it's still white power,
It's the same system, just changed form.
You wanna vote? Please do.
Cast your ballot, let your voice be heard.
But what I do wanna say is
After the election you'll see, mark my word.

--Dead Prez, "PolitricKKKs"

But on a positive side,
I think Obama provides hope - and challenges minds
Of all races and colors to erase the hate
And try and love one another, so many political snakes
We in need of a break
I'm thinkin' I can trust this brotha
But will he keep it way real?

Every innocent nigga in jail - gets out on appeal
When he wins - will he really care still?

--Nas, "Black President"

I spent much of the last few weeks feeling rather hopeless. I could do nothing but watch helplessly as my finances turned into a big fat mess thanks to a bounced paycheck. The stress literally made me feel chilled and nauseated. Unrelated except in the feelings it produced, I also watched helplessly as polls showed public opinion in California swinging toward Proposition 8. This proposition will have zero effect on me and my family, but still it consumes all of my emotional energy. I know enough people it will hurt and I know there are thousands more I've never met. Other injustices--instances of racism, sexism, war--produce similar feelings of sickness and anger in me, but this particular one has beaten me down so much because my family and friends, my religious background, my geographical location, and my sexual orientation have placed it at the forefront of my life.

The thing that started to pull me out of that pit of despair last week, even before the financial situation resolved itself, is another thing that has very little to do with my personal life: a mixtape put together by a bunch of hip-hop artists in support of Barack Obama. Now, I'm well aware that Obama is no Messiah. I'm not expecting Obama's America to be one where the streets are paved with gold (or cheese, if you're an immigrant mouse). The political hip-hop duo Dead Prez, breaking from the rest of the hip-hop industry that uniformly praises the advent of a black president, warn that when Obama is in office we'll see he's no different from any other politician, and tonight my friend Theric expressed a similar view. I'm not going to discard the opinions of either Dead Prez or Theric because they both make valid points, but I do think that both express a cynicism that I hope proves unfounded.

The reason that mixtape gave me hope is because it's evidence of a small miracle. You have to understand, hip-hop is not known for its optimism, particularly when it comes to politics. Hip-hop has its roots in a culture that has found itself beaten down and ignored by the government for centuries. Noting that as a young man he never saw a reason to vote, Jay-Z says, "Politics never trickled down to urban areas because we don't affect who's in office." He notes the cyclical problem of urban blacks not voting because politicians don't care about them and politicians not caring about urban blacks because they don't vote. This status quo is reflected throughout the past thirty years of hip-hop's existence--pick up any rap song that goes even slightly political and you'll find lyrics expressing a complete distrust of any and everything related to government. If you don't believe me, go listen to Public Enemy. The Barack Obama mixtape represents the first time in hip-hop's history (as far as I know, anyway) that artists across the board have come together in support of a presidential candidate. It represents the first time many of these artists--artists who young people across the nation, black and white (and every other color on the spectrum), look up to--have expressed hope in America.

As Theric points out, presidents have far less actual power than we tend to think. One thing they do have power to do, though, is to inspire the American people--and for that matter, the world. Our current president has spent much of his two terms trying to inspire fear. Barack Obama inspires hope. Theric agrees with me on this: Obama "will probably be good for the soul of America if elected," he says. Perhaps where we differ is in the weight we place on having that quality in a president.

I don't have 100% confidence in Obama's ability to solve all the nation's problems. I don't even have 100% confidence in his ability to solve some of them. But I do have hope that four or eight years into an Obama presidency America will be a better place than it is now, and that hope in and of itself gives me more hope.

(to be continued)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Because the Best Gift You Can Give is Your Conscience

And don't I deserve it?

Next Monday, November 3rd, is my birthday. I'm sure most of you have been fretting for months about what to get me. Well I have a suggestion.

See, the day after my birthday is another, though somewhat less well-known, important day. It's Election Day. If you give me the gift of voting for Barack Obama and/or voting no on Propositions 8, 2, or 102 if you live in California, Florida, or Arizona, respectively, you will not only make me happy, but you will make the world a better place. But the important part is making me happy. If you can manage to vote in California, Florida, and Arizona, all the better.

In all seriousness, if it doesn't violate your conscience and you want to donate to the No on 8 campaign in my honor (or even not in my honor), I'd be honored.

And also in all seriousness, please vote. For who or whatever your conscience tells you to vote for. But especially if your conscience agrees with mine.

Dear Prop 8,

Please stop using our children to manipulate people. Not just the children you've literally used in your commercials without their parents consent, but also the children of heterosexual couples everywhere you claim to be defending (from a threat that doesn't exist) and the children of same-sex couples who you conveniently sweep aside, lest their existence ruin your argument that gay couples only want marriage for selfish reasons, unlike those selfless heterosexual couples who do it for the children.


Mr. Fob

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Smitten? Really?

Yesterday I took S-Boogie to a practice for the Primary program at church. Little Dude and I waited while the children practiced. One of the songs the children sang was "We Thank Thee, O God, For a Prophet," and a pair of lines in the second verse stood out to me:
The wicked who fight against Zion
Will surely be smitten at last.
I understand that this song was written in the 1860s, when the LDS church had recently been chased, by threat of extermination, out of the United States. I can see the need for a persecuted minority group to feel that God is on their side, that he will punish their enemies. A hundred and fifty years later, though, now that the church is an international organization with millions of members, even more millions of dollars, and some pretty jaw-dropping political power, I find this verse rather terrifying. Particularly considering the fact that, by many definitions, I am among "the wicked who fight against Zion" and that's my daughter up there singing that. Shouldn't you be teaching these children that, I don't know, the wicked will one day be overcome by our love for them and come to accept the truth of a God who cares as much for them as he does for us? Instead you're teaching them that God--a God who, by the way, is known more often than not to exercise his will through the hands of his followers--will smite these people, who are also his children? Do you suppose it's time to rewrite that verse? Or maybe just choose a different song?

That said, the Primary Program was today and, apart from that bit of dissonance, I enjoyed it. S-Boogie and her classmates all mumbled their parts into the microphone adorably, sweet voices sang about a faith that adds meaning to their families' lives, and an endearing lack of appropriate intonation made just about every line spoken over the pulpit amusingly unintelligible.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's probably wrong that I find it more tragic when something like this happens to a famous person,

but for some reason I do.

Because Today I Have Hope

Mr. Fob on the Issues: Mixtapes

Everyone knows that any presidential candidate worth voting for has to have a good mixtape. Barack Obama has a kickass mixtape produced by DJ Green Lantern, hosted by Russell Simmons, and featuring everyone from Jay-Z to Kanye West to Wyclef Jean to Tori Amos.

And what does John McCain have? A Lauryn Hill CD hidden in his glove compartment. Which doesn't count because Lauryn Hill hates white people.

The Nightmare is Over (Mostly)

Happy day! Three weeks later, the check has cleared! It looks like the bank is going to waive the returned item fees, too, and write letters asking my various debtors to waive their returned item fees and late payment fees, so I'm hopeful that I'll come out of this with no more lasting effects than the five or ten years of life the past three weeks of stress have shaved off.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Universe Hates Me

This afternoon my intestines were tied in a knot because of the stress of dealing with the still-ongoing bank fiasco, and I needed to de-stress. I'd been listening to loud rap music all morning, so decided it was time for something a little more relaxing. Generally when I need music to relax me, I put on Norah Jones or India.Arie. Today I chose India. I opened her three albums in my media player and scanned through the list of songs to choose where to start. I found "This Too Shall Pass," a nice, positive song about how whatever problems we're having right now will soon be in the past. I hit play and heard the opening lines:

I've achieved so much in life,
But I'm an amateur in love.
My bank account is doing just fine,

That's when I stopped and banged my head on the desk.

Screw. You. India. Arie.

And your stupid bank account.

Talk to Your Parents

Monday, October 13, 2008

Props to McCain

McCain has finally said something to his ignorant supporters who think throwing around racial slurs and hate speech is acceptable campaigning. You don't like Obama because he's an Arab? Really? What planet are you from, lady, that you think that (a) that's a valid reason not to like someone and (b) it's true?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Mindy,

Your husband may not be smarter than a fifth grader, but at least he's more fiscally responsible. Even if he did totally ignore you when you told him to go for the million.

And on top of the half a million he got to take home, you'll always have the thirty minutes' worth of video footage staring up your nostrils that some cameraman thought was a good idea. I'm sure you're flattered. :)



Thursday, October 09, 2008

Feeling Powerless

Yesterday morning I found out that my bank has decided that the paycheck I deposited last week is non-negotiable. This is after I've already used the funds to pay the rent, the credit card bill, the car loan, and my school loan. No one at the bank can tell me why the check was not negotiable because apparently they've mailed it back to me with a letter explaining it all, but no one thought to scan the check or keep a copy of the letter. There's nothing I can do now but wait for the mail and watch the overdraft and returned item fees rack up. I feel sick at the thought of the teeth I'll have to pull in order to get the bank to clean up this mess once I'm able to prove it was an error on their part. I really don't want to find out that it really was somehow an error on my part, but honestly, although that would be more expensive, it would involve less confrontation. I'm not sure which I'm lacking more right now: money or the emotional energy required by confrontation.

Meanwhile, I watch with horror as polls shift toward favoring Proposition 8. Earlier this week I received an email inviting me to come to this broadcast on Wednesday night. I don't resent receiving the invitation--I got it because I'm on an email list that notifies me of elders quorum activities and honestly FoxyJ's ward members are the only live social interaction I have lately (and really they're good people, regardless of their support of Prop 8)--but I resent the fact that thousands of people are putting all this effort and money into hurting families who are different from them, all in the name of protecting their own families from an imaginary threat. The recent shift in the polls is attributed largely to a recent ad campaign claiming (with no factual basis) that same-sex marriage is a threat to churches and children, an ad campaign funded by donations that come primarily from members of the LDS church.

If you're reading this and you're as sickened as I am by these attempts to legally discriminate against families headed by same-sex couples--or even just a little bit sickened by it--please donate what you can to efforts to counter these lies with truth. Sadly, elections are often not determined by which side is telling the truth but rather by which side has the money to speak louder. I don't often ask people to donate money to causes I believe in, but that's about all I have the power to do right now.

My New Favorite Website

I could spend hours just clicking around there.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Gods Behaving Badly

I've been on a comics-reading kick lately, which means I haven't devoted much free time (and I have a good amount of it now that I'm no longer in school) to reading prose (or writing prose, but that's another matter entirely). Edgy's review of Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, though, piqued my curiosity enough to not only read prose but to read 300 pages of prose that is not young adult fiction.

This epic story of Greek gods living in a dilapidated house in twenty-first-century London and the mortals they drag into their power struggles is utterly delightful. Phillips's reimagining of the mythic gods is at once cleverly original and true to the source material. If Homer were writing today this is exactly how Artemis, Apollo, Aphrodite, and all the rest would look and behave. On top of that, though, Phillips adds a layer of humor that makes this fun to read and an engaging plot that makes it difficult to put down. The story is filled with twists and turns that surprise while at the same time feeling entirely natural and logical. Perhaps I'm most impressed by this because it's a weakness in my own writing, but I'm in awe of the way Phillips allows her plot to be driven by well-developed characters; she fleshes them out completely, lets them do what they want to do, and the story is built naturally on the consequences of their actions. The novel opens, for example, with Artemis and Aphrodite forcing Apollo to swear not to harm mortals, and everything that happens afterward depends on that simple act, with the conflicting motivations of major and minor characters adding layer upon layer of complexity to the butterfly effect of events.

And I even liked it despite the fact that library gave me a copy with the other cover.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Because I have things to say that very few people who read this blog care about and because some other things I have to say can potentially do more good if said elsewhere, I've expanded my blogging venues. I've started a blog about comics and related geeky goodness which I don't anticipate anyone here will be interested in but I hope will find an audience elsewhere, and I've begun contributing to the blog, which is where the majority of my LGBT-related thoughts will now be going. The blog is just one part of, a massive site of LGBT resources that Scot is putting together with a little help from me and a few other friends. I've been working (slowly) on helping to organize the library of articles Scot has put together, and this morning I published my first post on the blog. Among other things, the post explains a small change I've just made to the About Me text in the sidebar here. -->

The Fobcave, meanwhile, won't change much. It will be the repository of all the "everything else" things I feel like blogging about, which is pretty much what it's always been.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Decisiones graves y abrazos tiernos

Tuesday morning we got a call from the local Spanish immersion elementary school. We'd put S-Boogie's name on a waiting list because we moved here too late to get her registered, but we didn't expect anything to come of that. As it turns out, something did. On Tuesday they offered her a spot available immediately and wanted a response, well, immediately. I was out at the DMV at the time so FoxyJ told them she'd call back in the afternoon after talking to me. Then she asked S-Boogie what she thought of changing schools and S-Boogie burst into tears.

I felt pretty horrible when Foxy told me. Here we've already moved the poor girl to a different state and made her leave all her friends behind, and then a month into kindergarten when she's just starting to feel comfortable with her new friends, we yank her out and throw her in with another bunch of strangers, where the teacher won't even be speaking English. On top of that, the new kindergarten is a morning class and we really really liked the afternoon schedule we've had. At the same time, though, we've been saying for years that we'd like to get her in a Spanish immersion program and as bad as it is to transfer after a month of kindergarten, it would only be worse to transfer after a year.

So we decided to do it. Today was S-Boogie's last day at her old school and Monday will be the first at the new one. She's spent the past few days alternating between excitement and anxiety about the change. This morning she was particularly stressed and grumpy, no doubt because she knew it would be her last day, and I was no help at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. I know this may come as a shock, but apparently getting stressed because your child is stressed and then yelling at her to stop crying isn't actually a good parenting technique.

The thing that's been bothering me all week is that I remember kindergarten. We are no longer in the realm of parenting mistakes like letting a toddler watch too much TV, which we all know will have negative effects, but really who's to say it's my fault Junior has an IQ of 64? No, we're at the point now where forcing our daughter to switch schools a month into the school year could potentially ruin her life and she will resent us forever because of it. Her earliest experiences and memories of school--those that will shape the course of the next twenty years of her life for better or worse--hinge on a single phone call. (And boy am I glad it wasn't me who made that phone call and told the secretary "yes.") The power in our hands to positively or negatively affect the life of this little person we love so much, coupled with the ignorance of what will ultimately have positive effects and what will have negative effects, is rather terrifying.

Later today, after Foxy helped S-Boogie calm down and she had a nice last day at the old school and I spent several hours hating myself for being so utterly incompetent as a parent and reassuring S-Boogie several times that it's okay to cry when you're sad and that I'm sorry she feels sad, she somewhat randomly hugged me and told me, "I like it when you give me hugs because that's how I know you love me." I hope to... Whoever that somehow that will be enough.

Further Proof that Palin is Bush in Disguise
(or possibly Homer Simpson)