Adventures in barbershopping

The boy’s hair is getting into his eyes, and we have been threatening him with a haircut for a few weeks now, but higher-priority things keep getting in the way. This morning, as my wife is leaving to take the Great Old One to the vet for a check-up, she asks me if I can get his hair cut. Yes! I can do that, and for once we do not have ten thousand other things that need to be done today.

I call the place we’ve been using. Someone answers the phone.

“Hi, do you have appointments available this afternoon?” I ask.

“We’re open until three,” the person on the other side says.

That is … not what I asked, and something about her tone gets directly on a nerve for some reason. A moment or two of slightly confused but pointed questions reveals that yes, they’re more or less free all afternoon and I can pick whatever time I want, and I make an appointment for noon.

The correct response here, by the way, is something along the lines of “We’ve got open spots all afternoon, what time would you like to come in?” I feel like this isn’t a complicated interaction, y’know? Probably happens a few times a day, at least? I asked about appointments. If you’re wide open, say that. Don’t get snotty with me and tell me your hours as if they weren’t right there on the website I used to find your phone number.

We’ve been using this place for a while, because they’re nearby, reasonably priced, and kid-friendly. There has always been a bit of Jesusiness about the place, but it’s never been too terribly overwhelming; they sell shirts and the shirts have a Bible verse on them for some reason along with the logo of the barbershop. That’s been about it. I live in fucking Indiana; I’m used to it.

Today when I got there their front door had been redone to include the two images in the above picture, and, well, welcome to the Don’t Want None Won’t Be None zone, folks. If I were to deliberately design a logo for American Christofascism I could not do much better than a cross with a thin blue line graphic imposed on it. My rule for when I allow my politics to influence decisions that shouldn’t be political (like where should I get my kid’s hair cut once every two or three months) is that if you make sure I know where you stand, I’m going to judge you accordingly, and if you don’t, I’m not going to go looking for trouble. And these folks have now officially crossed a (thin, blue) line that makes it perfectly clear that my business isn’t wanted there, and they’re going to get what they want from here on out.

Now, note here that 1) I have never had any problem with any of the employees, and I’m not even certain who actually owns the place; and 2) I am perfectly willing to let this rule apply to me; I wear my politics on my sleeve around here and anyone who is, say, unwilling to buy my books because of that is absolutely encouraged to make that decision. Everyone is welcome to not spend their money on my work for whatever reason they like, regardless of what I might think of the reason. I don’t actually get to have a say here! It’s your money!

And, well, when it’s my money, if you’re gonna make sure I get greeted with Jesus and Blue Lives Matter before I walk into your place of business, well, I’m gonna keep on walking. Sorrynotsorry, I guess.

Happy Thanksgiving

So it turns out that the iPhone’s Portrait mode works really well on cats, too, to the point where I’m figuring the people who coded it set it up that way on purpose. Dude still doesn’t have a name. Ten minutes ago I thought he had a name, and was ready to announce it, but he does not. Soon, though! He’s ours legally now, and we’ve got an appointment to get him fixed on Monday, so he really ought to have a name by then. Yesterday was the day the fifteen-day hold officially expired, though, so he’s ours.

Maybe that’ll be his name. We’ll just call him Ours. Sure.

I do not typically have Difficult Family Holidays, and do not actually have the crazy racist uncle that so many of us seem to have to tiptoe around on the holidays– or, if I do, he’s made certain to never be such in my presence or at my house. I wanted to make a joke here, the first was about my mother-in-law and the second was about my sister-in-law’s husband’s vague resemblance to Saddam Hussein, but both of them are landing rather poorly so just pretend I said something funny here.

So while we’re splitting Thanksgiving over two days this year– the Electric Boogaloo version is tomorrow– neither should be especially stressful, especially since I seem to be using my lingering illness as an excuse to go Full Metal Masculine and not be helpful in any real way at all.

I’m going to have to cook the whole goddamn meal next year to make up for this year, is what I’m saying.

But: while still ailing, I remain at least nominally alive, which is still an improvement over earlier this week, and I had mashed potatoes today and did not deliberately eat myself into a food coma, which may be a sign that I’m getting smarter as I get older but is probably just a sign that I remember I get two of them this year. So now I get to spend two days stressing about grading and a day actually grading, and then there’s a two-and-a-half week run to Winter Break, and then I can fall into a damn coma for all anyone cares.

Which, y’know. That’s the dream.

More– possibly lots more– tomorrow.

In which I miss out

There were apparently something on the order of fifteen thousand teachers protesting at the Statehouse in Indianapolis today. Most of the public districts across the state, including mine, cancelled school today when it became clear that it would be utterly impossible to staff the buildings given the number of people taking personal days to attend the protest. I was not personally among them; I know a bunch of people who went, obviously, but given that my mother is currently back in the hospital and the only viable transportation to the protest was by bus (I am not about to fight fifteen thousand extra out-of-towners for parking in downtown Indianapolis) I was deeply leery of being three hours away from home and not actually personally in charge of when I could come back.

So I didn’t go. Which, honestly, is probably for the best; I have Twitter and my blog when I want to talk and/or think about politics, the governor wasn’t there anyway, and I really didn’t need to spend the day in a simmering rage. If I could have had a guarantee that no one would try to talk to me while I was there it might have worked out okay, but that seems unlikely. Instead I stayed home and played with cats and also played the new Star Wars game on my PS4, which is not the most productive use of my day but possibly the most sane.

The new cat’s name might be Dr. Doofenschmirtz, by the way.

94! 94! 9-9-9-9-94!

I voted on the way home from work, and an hour and a half before the polls close I was somehow only the 94th voter at my precinct for the day. Voter participation is traditionally terrible for South Bend mayoral elections, which are always held the year before a presidential election and generally garner no more than 20% turnout, but that number seems lower than usual. The polls close at six; I expect to find out by seven that James Mueller has been elected derplord mayor of South Bend, probably by about a 60-40 margin, if not better. I am moderately invested in one of the City Council races, and hope to find that Rachel Tomas Morgan wins one of the three at-large seats, and … well, that’s about it. It took longer to get the newfangled voting machine to scan my ticket properly than it did to actually vote.

From the Credit Where It’s Due department: I have kicked Republican mayoral candidate Sean Haas some shit for his ungrammatical yard signs and his shitty website; in a burst of curiosity last night I went to his site again and he’s actually had a pretty major overhaul since the last time I looked– and, interestingly, the word Republican is never used once, anywhere on the entire site. I live in Indiana, so I’m used to Democrats trying to run as stealth Republicans (and I don’t appreciate it,) but I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Republican pull that move. Honestly, the guy described on that page seems like somebody who I might be able to vote for, but at this point in American history I am never voting for a Republican again no matter how reasonable they sound. Anyone still remaining in the party belonging to the person in the White House cannot be trusted. That’s all there is to it. If you’re a Republican and you don’t think that should apply to you, fix your fucking party. I’m well beyond sympathy at this point.

Honest truth: the single race I’m most interested in tonight is Qasim Rashid’s. Qasim is running for State Senate in Virginia in District 28, and I haven’t seen any polling or anything but the guy has been working his ass off to get elected. I’ve been following him on Twitter since well before he started to run for office, and he’s a fascinating, progressive guy who will do well for Virginia if he’s elected. I will be more upset if he loses than I will if the guy I voted for for Mayor loses, if that helps you calibrate at all.

(On the headline: I graduated high school in 1994, and the headline, chanted at a certain cadence and speed, was the way our class ended damn near every high school pep rally, with other classes yelling similarly but with whatever their year was. That cadence basically stopped working in 2000, and every so often I wonder what Adams pep rallies are like, because it’s been 20 years since it would work– although, I note, for anyone graduating after 2021 it works again.)

On #deletefacebook

I hate Facebook.

I feel like I have to have started a dozen posts with that sentence by now. I hate Facebook, I’ve always hated Facebook, I resisted having a Facebook page for years after most of my friends were already on the service, and my tenure there was characterized by frequently shutting my account down for a while and occasionally deleting every single thing I’d ever posted to the site. I finally permanently shut my Clark Kent account down … a year ago? Two? Longer? I dunno, it’s gone, and my only presence there now is as Luther. Luther rarely posts anything other than the automatic notifications of new posts, although I do comment occasionally on other people’s stuff.

Here’s the thing: Facebook does allow me to at least nominally keep an eye on some people who I’d have fallen out of touch with otherwise. But the site in the last couple of years has transitioned from Something What I Don’t Like to, like, actually genuinely becoming evil, and it’s getting harder and harder to justify having a presence there. The problem is (and I’ve said this before) that I do get a decent amount of traffic driven my way from there (I am not unaware that many of you are seeing the first couple of paragraphs of my I-still-don’t-like-Facebook post on Facebook), and while it’s not like I make any money from the blog I do like the idea that people look at it every now and again. The other problem, and this is a bit more serious, is that many of the shows that I go to to sell books basically only have a presence on Facebook. They have websites, but the websites are static, and the number of important updates from conventions that I’ve only seen because I was following them on Facebook is quite a bit larger than it should be.

I’m able to justify remaining on the site because I block nearly all of their ads (I saw an unaltered Facebook page not too long ago and was shocked at how much clutter and advertising I’ve been avoiding with my adblocker) and, well, nearly everything the site thinks it knows about me isn’t true. Facebook isn’t making any money off of mining my data. My name, birthday, home city and a bunch of other stuff are all either at best sorta-true (Luther, as a pseudonym, exists, I suppose) or utter lies. I have tagging turned off in photos and most of my privacy settings turned up to 12 so even if someone were to put my picture up somewhere they can’t tag me in it, and if they did, it would be under the wrong name.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish other people would stop using Facebook, and I wish these cons would have more robust websites so that I didn’t have to have a Facebook account to interact with them. If the site shriveled up and died I wouldn’t miss it at all. But I still have one because right now I feel like to a certain extent at least I have to, and the second I no longer think that’s true will be a happy day around here.