Outlandishlessness

The Tour  hasn’t even begun, and Lance Armstrong has already stolen the spotlight. He is the first to wear the yellow jersey this year. Stained with his doped up urine, for all to see. Still talking, long after he opened up with Oprah. Something about how no one could have won the Tour in the years he won, unless they were nice and doped up, too. I am only paraphrasing. (why waste my time or yours, hunting down the actual quote?)

Wow. I can’t believe he has more to say! This must be desperation. Anger. The need to get that stained jersey off his back. I don’t think the mailman is delivering flowers today, Lance. Maybe more lollipops from some international pharm?  I do feel for you. I am sure it is hard to live strong after your global avatar got character assassinated in broad daylight.

All I know is I am gonna watch the Tour this year, whenever the summer heat here in the West has me incapacitated. I am no couch potato. My bikes are my life! I ride almost every day. I have a Fuji Feather (fixed), a Motobecane Noir (cafe), and a beat up old Nishiki ten-speed. I do most of the repairs and maintenance myself, but I still need to learn how to true a wheel.

Come July, I will choose a favorite among the riders. But I consider them all, my heroes. The race is brutal! and these are all brilliant athletes. Doped up or not. Though I have completely lost interest in Lance…he’s probably right, what he says. Hopefully they are not doped, the riders, this year. But if they are doped, may  they all be doped! I want everyone in the race to have an equal, fair chance.

Yeah, all or none! Where everyone has an equal, fair chance at succeeding in the race. Just like the real world! Just like major league anything, and the national association of everything! No one has an advantage over anyone else! No nepotism, no doping, no ageism, no discriminatory practices! No dishonesty. No racism, sexism. Nor any other -ism. Strong and constant ethics! Great, abiding integrity! May the uneven bars become even. May the best players in the world be pulled off the field at once! for gambling, dogfighting, and homicide. And double homicide. And drive-by shootings!

We want our heroes to be rich! to be pure! Brita-filtered, if necessary! We want them charitable, and honest. To be good with the children and not beat their wives. And if not? We won’t suffer any out in the open antics. Not when our children our watching! The V-chips are set for high alert! Any outlandishness, and we will take them to court via International Sport Federation laws, if justice cannot be served elsewhere. We will promote only contractual outlandishlessness!

This is how it is in this our litigious year of our lord of our understanding, twenty thirteen! Any current or potential iconic sports hero must obey. Digital signatures notwithstanding! Hell! it’s not so bad! The expectations are clear. Ya, certain personality types will have to be weeded out, here and there. But there’s no such thing as a garden without weeds. And no hero of yours or mine will be suspected of any heinous crime, rest assured, without clear and present leads.

Katya Mills, 06/13 @ katyamills.com

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Patriot Act has turned! [snowed in and data mined -fin)]

Yes, I want that old thing back. The time when we weren’t being snowed by our own intelligence community. The time when we were not snowed in by the Patriot Act. Forced to be incommunicado on the subject of our own constitutionally-granted, legal, tender freedoms. The problem with the Patriot Act is not that it was legislated. The problem with the Patriot Act is that Congress failed to stamp it with the born-on-date .

I want that old thing back. When we did not have to worry the government was listening in on our calls and data mining our texts and photos, without telling us. When we would not have to fear being branded spies for having allegedly exposed some egregious violation of our constitutional rights.  When the intelligence community was less focused on apprehending a single fugitive  than on addressing their in house blunders. Was their such a time? I guess you can’t blame them for the bias. After all, the Patriot Act has been their cash cow. Putting our tax dollars to work, no matter how the color of our threat level is coded. Nobody wants to have their steak and potatoes pulled out from under them.

Some things were born to die! The cola in your pantry. The eggs in your fridge. And the Patriot Act. It is illegal to sell eggs and soda and food that has no born-on date stamp. Vendors will not receive produce that has not been stamped. Vendors are not supposed to sell produce whose born-on date has expired (although I could rat out a few cornerstores in west Oakland or west Chicago). The FDA (another government agency we fund with our tax dollars) is supposed to (and does) police this law. Agents go out to the manufacturers and the vendors and the retail stores, and throw out products that are missing stamps or expired. They write out code violations, etc. But the FDA cannot police the Patriot Act, because it has no born-on date at all. Yet its still on the shelves for mass consumption! The Patriot Act has turned! Yet we are still pouring it over our cornflakes, and scooping it into our mouths.

Somebody was asleep at the wheel. Inspector #9 perhaps. I haven’t found his little slips in the pockets of my clothes in a long time, though I usely shop thrift. Inspector # 9 let the big one through the filter.  Inspector #9 was apparently relieved of his duties without us knowing. Or maybe things got overwhelming and he quit? Maybe he took early retirement on that big fat government pension, on advice of his lawyer. Maybe they dug a ditch for him in the desert, or had him dig his own ditch and take rest. Maybe he got paid off and looked away? Who knows? The damage is done. The Patriot Act was put out on the market for our consumption, without a born-on date stamped on its ass.

We don’t need to ask why? Just remember all the poor souls jumping out of their bodies on nine eleven, 2001. Scary. We needed her, then. Sure. But not now. Now we find ourselves in the midst of what is apparently the largest compiled electronic database of our personal conversations, located somewhere in Utah, sponsored by the NSA, mined from the behemoth telecomm industry bluechips (ATT, Sprint, Verizon, etc.), legal under a clause in the Act which loosely interpreted permits full government penetration of any businesses conducting any sort of international conversation whatsoever, and beholden to no one.

Dear Mr. President, can we please correct this? Take it off the shelf? No matter whose to blame, the Patriot Act has turned, and it stinks! The elephant is in the room and we see it. Now will someone please lead it away? So we can get back to all the wonderful things we were doing in this country? Please? Superman?  If you have finished courting the network morning show circuit, would you have time to help out? On behalf of good citizens everywhere. Someone forgot to take the trash to the curb, and now we have a problem.

We just want that old thing back. I know I’m not the only one. Turn on the tv, the radio, it’s circulating everywhere. Call it what you want. Our privacy. Our birthright. Full assurance that the conversation we are having today, whether it concern our political preference or our preference in whitening brand toothpaste, is not being collected and stored in some hard drive for future use, for or against us, whether it be for some company’s marketing database or in some court of law. Even if it’s not ever used, at all, for any purpose. The Patriot Act has turned. 

by Katya W. Mills  06/13

snowed in (and data mined) -iii)

Being snowed in had a magical quality. The sun hit the snow and reflected light to warm the air. The icicles formed in and around the rain gutters as the snow melted off the roof. Some large enough to knock you out. I remember kids trying to lure other kids they didn’t like below these large icicles. Keep them there with some sweet, long-winded filibuster of a story. Wendy Davis style. 

I often wished for the larger stormfronts to come over us those winters. I loved the early morning moments when my brother and I hung by the alarm clock radio, listening to the announcements of school cancellations. Waiting. Holding our breath. And the incredible feeling when our school was announced.

A blizzard can be a joyous occasion. You feel protected. Insulated. You don’t really know what’s going on around you, and you don’t care. Neither does anyone else. Sure, after a few days like this, you might get a little stir crazy, like Jack Nicholson‘s character in the Shining. The blizzard of ’78 was one such opportunity. I was too young to remember much, but where I lived the snow banks surged to eight feet high. School and work were all called off with a one-liner over the radio. All recreational events, suspended. Excepting procreation. The zoo was closed. Or just confined to your own home.

Imagine, no contact with the outside world. Power lines down. Incommunicado. You lit candles off gas stoves to get around your house. All was so quiet, inside and out. Introverts threw a party and no one came. Everything stood in stark contrast to the usual. We built fires. Watched the light and shadow play. Rituals were fresh and wonderful, except shoveling snow. Alot of people who had become plants over time in their homes (planted by the television),  lost their lives trying to shovel their way out of their homes during blizzards. Heart attack city.

With television disabled, loving, mindful family interaction was again possible. For some. Hateful families got to go back to hating. Stress often took a back seat to more significant feelings. What could you do? Nothing. You were snowed in. You had to feel. You got an opportunity to feel. This could last for days! I must admit that, after a while, I wanted the old thing back.

I am grateful to have safety and security of my home, my village, my city, my state, my country, my world. insulated from the wars being fought across that Atlantic, across the Pacific. My love of country is easy to see, in the transparency of my gratitude for what my country has given me. I have been free to follow my heart and my passion and my conscience to great lengths. Yet still, I can see it slipping sometimes. The great freedoms we have been blessed with in the USA. Homeland security is one thing. But sometimes, I must admit, I want that old thing back.     (…tbc)

by Katya Mills,  katyamills.com  06/13

snowed in and data mined -ii)

My grandmother sold antiques out of her big red barn attached to her little red home. This was long after my grandfather passed away. She lived the remainder of her years in Melvin Village, which was across the lake from us. My father would go down to the dock in the summers and turn on the blower in our powerboat, which meant the engine had five minutes before ignition and my brother, mother and I had five minutes to get our sandals and shirts on,  run down, take the lines off the cleats, push off, and jump in. Then on our way past the 20 mile bay en route to Melvin Village.

The lake was wide open as the sky back then. Kinda like the landscape created by the internet. Both could be dangerous, too. Lots of rocks and shallows needed be marked off by buoys, and many boats still got lost at night, and some still struck the jagged glacial remnants jutting up from the earth but hidden below the surface of the water, and some got hung up and a few still sank. Often the larger berths, the sightseeing boats whose lineage had been photographed and put on walls behind glass, ended up driftwood floating across the broads and past rattlesnake island.

Every winter, the lake froze over completely. At the height of winter it was often so cold we could drive out on the lake in a Jeep, and the ice was thick enough to hold us. We would skate the frozen lake, and dad would load our arms full of pine wood he cut down and we stacked in the summer, by the woodshed. I remember holding my arms out like a forklift, and he would ask is that enough? and I would say, just one more before heading back to the house and dropping the wood in the bin next to the giant hearth, for the great fires we would build to keep us warm at night. We would need to be prepared for the storms, the nor’easters, which powered over and knocked down trees and power lines, snowing everyone into their homes.

I remembered all this in great detail, after watching the news this morning. I turned off the television and sat out on my back porch thinking about it. I closed my eyes and tried to feel that feeling I felt so long ago, of being snowed in. I live in California now, so it has been a long time. But the feelings remain strong. The quality is insular. With all that snow around you, five or six feet high, the home becomes  even more protective and warm, like there’s an extra layer of that fluffy pink stuff they packed the walls with back then, along with  asbestos covered piping. Reminded me of cotton candy we got at the fair.   tbc

by Katya W. Mills  @ katyamills.com  06/13

snowed in (and data mined)

When i was a kid, long before the WTC towers buckled and fell, I lived with my mom, my dad, my brother, and our little dog Buttons in Massachusetts, south by southwest of Boston. We split time on a lake in New Hampshire, long before the Patriot Act was signed into law. The snow would accumulate so fast and furious in a big stormfront. The blizzard of 1978 was one of those times. Everyone got snowed in, then. That’s what we would say, if someone called and the power lines were still up. We’re snowed in! To us kids back then, these were glorious words!

This man in the news today, the one who ignited the now public and politically charged stormfront regarding data mining that has been carried out without our knowledge but (sadly) within the law, flew to Moscow today out of Hong Kong, and is waiting to get a visa en route to Ecuador (where he has filed for asylum). His passport has been pulled by the State Department. He is accused of espionage. His life enjoying the freedoms we are given as U.S. citizens, is technically over. He appears to be in the front of a very short line of those willing to stand behind a choice to share a storehouse of classified information with the world (in wikileak fashion). Purportedly. He seems to have ignited another round of disussions in the public forum worldwide, regarding the repeated and incessant violations of privacy of citizens in government-sponsored intelligence gathering campaigns. Campaigns which, in the United States, are most likely legal (though widely regarded as unconstitutional) under the difficult to swallow generosity legislated by the Patriot Act at a moment in time when fear ruled the land. Now he is a wanted man.

The plight of this man stirred up my memories of the blizzard of ’78. He  was not even born then. And I was still sucking my thumb. Feeling the feeling you feel when you are snowed in. New Hampshire gave us the opportunity to get snowed in, several times each winter. We spent the great majority of our time in Massachusetts in the winters. Though only a two and a half hour drive south, the winters were significantly milder. The difference of a few degrees on the mercury, meant the difference between snow and frozen rain. Most people and my parents, preferred to suffer sleet than constantly shoveling out after being snowed in.    (tbc)…

Katya Mills, June 2013

http://www.katyamills.com

a through z mart breaks the l-a-w (aka not news)

The weak-assed ones were defined as such and, as such, no longer got props. They lost a far majority of respect by being strong enough to put on paper caps and take orders for the man behind cash registers everywhere. The alternatives were just as sickening or worse. This kind of humbling and self-sacrifice was somehow an essential, in that book no one wanted to read, character, for dummies. Meanwhile, the ritual of the revolution was somewhere in its cycle, maybe at that place where highlanders following mountain streams to low lying rivers to some sea or another. Wherever walmart has been dumping their refuse these days. Ritual. Fated yet full of vitality despite knowing its own end. What lies between commence and commencement. Vitality secondary to some projectory toward greater levels of intoxication, tapering off at an equal or greater pace, like a gyre inverted then sizzled ala redux tragique.

The process was ugly, Processed. And on an eternal loop as it were. as it were. as it were. as it were… etc. Ad infinitum. Or until the end of the human race. Until the end of the human race. The end of the human race. End of the human race. Of the human race. The human race. Human race. Race. Ace. Ce. e. . Goddess forbade any such hold over court by any boring ass martial law enforcement or military tribunal or rent-a-cop or hired gun or private security firm officer or guy advertising on craigslist for cheapo who comes and parks around the corner in a trashed old volkswagen rabbit that has been converted from diesel to vegetable oil consumption.

The process had to play out in its violent natural way. In lieu of real thoughtful seat of government (which was inconceivable) they had the bodies there surrounding  the weak ass regime, monarch, princess, witch, or whomever abused power in the most efficient aka surreptitious manner. And the bodies en masse created a traffic jam for the movement of any sane central artery of honest-to-goodness wisdom, and charged an entrance fee to their circus. And trolled front street in black leather assless chaps because the bubble goose caboose needed breathing room, heya!  They carried alot of weight, in that ass. Trolling for friends or people who would be attracted to bling and unscrupulously do the moth to a flame thing with a smile until they got the back hand or the headbutt or the credit ran dry. Trolling for increasing levels of chemicals introduced to the bloodstream, a fine how do you do!   (t.b.c)

by Katya Mills, 2013  katyamills.com

the case of the case

Some things are clearer than others. Some things are in plain sight. Like what you see is what you get. Anyone can tell. This is supposed to be reassuring. Comforting. In line with expectations. Falls into place with minimal redirection like the perfect tetris puzzle piece in some overriding hierarchical system of perfectly aligned personal judgment. For people who are not cases, this may be so. I would not know. Cause I am a case. I may not look like a case. but I assure you — I am. But it’s not until we converse, that most people realize I must be a case. And most people, by most people’s definition, are right. By majority. By simple numbers. The honorable cultural ritual of putting our collective trust in (apparently honest) numbers. The message is: numbers don’t lie. And the message is not under scrutiny.

So here I am. The tetris shape that ruined your reach for the high score. The tropical butterfly that swims like a catfish and cannot be pinned down. Because there’s no space created by most people for me. It can be exhausting. For you and for me. Having to reinvent the wheel everytime I walk in the room. Most people choose not to reinvent the wheel. They like the wheel. I like the wheel, too. My bicycle is my chosen form of primary transportation. A fan is my chosen conditioning of air. A disc is still my chosen form of music and video, when I choose accompaniment in the entertainment system to which I am inextricably impaled. But still, I would have it no other way. This is the life for me. This is the case. ME. I am a case in case you forgot. I am a case, in case we need intrigue. Mystery. Refreshments.

I am a known entity, though I cannot be quantified. Friends? They know. Family? they know. Me? I knew me all along. But apparently for the new ones whose paths cross mine, I am more or less than meets the eye. I am other than meets the eye. Some sadly decide less. Others wait for more. I can tell by the reaction for sure. But I know I am a case.  I refuse to define what i mean by that. I let you draw your own definition. This is part of what makes me a case. I can tell you what I am not. I am not whom the eye thinks or thought it was acquainting itself with. If an eye can make acquaintance. An eye that makes an acquaintance, strikes me as superficial at best.

A serious case. I could be problematic. A serious case, with a sense of humor up my sleeve. I might cause you trouble. Making little sense. But a little sense can go a long distance. Like miles, in the breakdown lane or bust. I might shake you down or shake you up. On the wing of a plane. A twilight zone illusion. Nervous breakdown. Someone’s idea of a tragic conclusion. I may not have limits, borders, or definition. Maybe I am jello. Or maybe just lucky. On strike. Out of work. Lucky gone happy. Carbon dioxide up my nose. Fruit roll up gone wrappy. Carbon monoxide up my nose. In a sleeveless, formless formal dress. In ripped jeans with a warrant out for my arrest. Steel eyes with steel toes and a belly full of steel oats. Around the neck, a mink stole. A faux mink stole. On the head, a sable pelt. A faux sable pelt. The real sables were set free. In gorky park. In my imagination and maybe yours. Keep-it-real minks and sables, together on world tours. Evasive. Direct. A girl with nothing to hide. A true case. Come on! Can’t you see? It’s written. On my blogs. On my face. I am undefinable. A case! 

Ya, i’m a case alright… i am most certainly a case !  Why else would Mr. Mason beat Lieutenant Tragg to the punch? Lieutenant Tragg had cased the place. He was less than a hundred yards from my door, had just parked his car. Less than a minute from knocking on my door, Tragg. When Mason, esq. come to my door and tell me, with a document in his hands and a wonderfully reassuring look in his eyes i could just bury my heart in!  Miss Mills? I want you to look this over and  sign here, quickly. Don’t answer any questions and do exactly as i say. And don’t worry, Miss Mills. Everything will be okay… there was a pause as I came back, renaissanced. Landed in Sacramento, of all places! In Midtown! Seeing traces. Visions of my past. Nightmares of Oakland. Nights on the street. Days that became nights. Nowhere to turn. Nowhere to write. I can handle the nightmares. The ptsd meds? I dropped them. They lowered my blood pressure, which was contrary to my opinion. Smoking cigarrettes once again. Marlboro black menthol hundreds! Wow, what a case. Not even Newports can replace. Woke up on the right side of a hideaway bed in a salvation army thrift couch. And this is what i wrote.

– Katya W. Mills  June 2013  http://www.katyamills.com   a true case

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