Desert Shores by dixē.flatlin3

Googly-Eyes-Jim-Morrison“Before you slip into unconsciousness, I’d like to have another kiss.”
(Morrison, 1966?)

Driving around the barren, California desert, it was somewhat appropriate to make The Doors the soundtrack. Having been born and raised here by Boomer parents, I suppose my earliest memories are melded with this musical genre-no matter how much I innately despise hippies and hippie culture. It was therefore inevitable that I share it with my own child, whose immediate revulsion to it made me smile.

We were driving through the ragged and unkempt streets of Salton City and Desert Shores. Now this was not the oft lauded North Shore side of the Salton Sea, which has been well documented by hipster culture and abandoned America programming. This would be the south side of the sea, in which there are humans very much living in mostly non-decrepit housing. Mostly. The side not experiencing an ironic renaissance at the hands of wealthy millennials. This is the side where poverty and the last vestiges of the 1960’s ideal of California are hanging on by the grace of the gods. And the deep pockets of state and federal aids.

For me, it’s the end of a long journey and the precipice of something unknown. Having abandoned the corporate world and working for others, I remain unemployed-not even pretending to look for work-have yet to decide what comes next. The past nine years have been a blur of firsts: parenthood, college, full-time, corporate work, and adulting so bad it made an ass hurt. But life is full of firsts, as prior to this stretch of time, I was a first-time business owner coming off the 90’s bod mod boom. By the mid-00s, I was more than ready to be done with the generation who failed to understand permanent. Or perhaps I just don’t “do” comfortable.

I am assuredly uncomfortable in my current circumstances. This life out in the boonies is driving me bonkers, or perhaps it is the not working. I knew going into this where we were headed and what it entailed: living with my father. The very one who as a drug-addled, Vietnam Vet filled my head with the same music I was torturing my son with, only I wasn’t smoking weed as we drove around. The very father who now requires daily assistance in his beloved barren wasteland that provides the isolation and solitude he desires. Which is perhaps the biggest WTF I have encountered: why am I helping?

For a control freak like me, this whole thing is bizarre. Maybe I just need to start smoking legal weed and listen to the words of the Lizard King.

“I think that you know what to do, girl, I’m sure that you know what to do.”
(Morrison, 1966?)

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The Christmas Ornament by dixē.flatlin3

img_7314The Christmas Ornament by dixē.flatlin3

My son and I recently unpacked our Christmas trees and decorations. We spent an evening drinking hot chocolate, setting up the decorations and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a ritual I have had since the mid-90s, no need to exclude the kidlet from my fun.

As we were unpacking the decorations, I came across a familiar box, one that I have lugged around for over three decades. It has not changed much over the years, but this year I was struck by the peculiarity of my having kept an item for so long. Given its roots, why did I carefully tend to this heirloom?

It is simple ornament, a delicate, hand-blown glass orb with a few nibs in the shape of circles. I distinctly recall being highly unimpressed upon receiving it. And yet, I have kept it safe and sound despite its inauspicious roots.

I told my son that I vividly remember the circumstances of receiving the orb. It was a gift exchange in elementary school. Back then, I do not believe that these events were voluntary, and every kid had to draw a name and bring a gift. Or god forbid you did not bring a gift, and then the recipient went without…the horror! This was back in the days when you could only bring Valentines for the kids you like, so gift exchanges were odd. Given this Lord of the Flies setting, I also recall the poverty lines being very distinct in school. We were divided up into the: rich kids, poor kids, in-between kids, immigrant kids, unpopular kids, and the misfits. We were slowly forming the cliques and social groups that would carry over into middle school and beyond.

Why I vividly recall this is likely because the kid who gave me a gift this year was one of the poor, unpopular kids. Now, I fell somewhere into the in-between/misfits group, so I wasn’t high up on the food chain myself. However, I can still remember in detail the soft features of this pale-complected girl with gentle brown eyes and mousy brown hair. But I cannot tell you her name, and I know I do not have any yearbooks to discern who she was.

I sat with my child and showed him the beautiful ornament, which he admired, and I told him I would likely pass it on to him, should it withstand even more time. And I told him its origin story, emphasizing how disappointed I was when I opened the gift, which came in the same plain, brown box that houses it now, wrapped in nothing more than bubble wrap to protect its delicate contents. I could not tell you what anyone else received that day, I just know I thought that a glass ball was lame.

And yet, here we are, more than thirty years later, and that same fucking, glass ball endures. And it allowed me to show my child that one should never be ungracious for anything anyone gives to them, because you never know what will last.

Happy Holidaze,

df3

 

Eat a Dick by dixē.flatlin3

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Eat a Dick by dixē.flatlin3

And so it has come to pass that our (that is the American) election cycle has ended. The people have spoken and they have chosen a man that most of us did not believe stood a chance at winning the presidency. I could go into this in detail, but it has already been covered ad nauseam.

I want to describe the discussions I had on the eve of the election with two males, both of whom I have known for over 20 years. It has taken me several days to process these conversations, given the state of the America, I believe this is allowed and appropriate.

The first conversation occurred with a friend who I know from my days in the bod mod business. Having been born in 1963, he is what some would consider at the tail end of the Baby Boomers. Without a doubt he has a level of white, male privilege few attain. He is a trust fund baby who has never had to work a day in his adult life. Not that this money did not come without it’s disadvantages, but it afforded him a point of view that is enviable, nonetheless. Now that the funds have come to a bitter end, he is forced to subside on a meager 40k a year.

Perhaps I should digress and mention that I am a collector of broken people. As one of the gentlemen in this tale pointed out, I am the rock that things cling to, to tell their tale to, before succumbing to the tides. And I agree that it is my lot to bear witness to the horrors of humanity. It is simply my nature.

And so, there I was, listening to the litany of woes that was the norm for this poor soul. It was the standard fare as he is one of those Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better sorts. I was accustomed to having every anecdotal story shared countered with something far more grand than a mind as simple as mine could conceive.

When the topic of the election came up, he launched into the sad story of how he had, through no fault of his own, of course, failed to properly register to vote upon moving to another state. Given I myself had recently moved to a different state, I could appreciate the paperwork involved with ensuring the right to vote.

When I stated that I had voted for a third-party candidate, he immediately and emphatically declared in slurred speech, that I had thrown my vote away. I retorted that I had not and launched into the reasoning behind my vote. Likely given the fact that he was drunk, he listened and agreed with me that the two-party system was broken. I would like to mention that he was a Trump supporter.

Upon concluding that phone call, I was immediately on the phone with another male. This one I have known since I was 16. We met in high school, and to say that we go way, way back is beyond an understatement.

I began to share with him the ordeal I just endured and when it came to the part about the previous caller insisting I had thrown my vote away, my friend quickly replied “You voted for Trump.”

Our conversation went like this:

“You voted for Trump.”

“No I didn’t.”

“You voted for Trump.”

“No I didn’t.”

“You voted for Trump.”

“You didn’t even vote! You don’t get to say shit!”

“I couldn’t vote.”

“Well you could have checked your registration online or gone to the clerk’s office, like I did, to ensure that you were registered to vote.”

“You voted for Trump.”

NO I DID NOT!

“Don’t you speak to me like that.”

And with that, he hung up.

I was so incensed by the entire event that I immediately decided that I was done. I blocked this person from all means of contacting me. Because I would be goddamned if any MAN was allowed to speak to me this way AND continue to have the privilege that is my friendship.

I should mention that he too was unable to vote due to moving to another state. He too had failed to follow up on the status of his registration and simply assumed that he was registered. This one had been a very vocal Bernie supporter, who had decided that Hillary was the only option.

In the days that have followed, and the stunning failure of the Democratic party to stop a misogynistic, reality TV buffoon from taking office, I have had time to ponder my conversations. And I have decided that patriarchy in America and the true intent behind both of these conversations, are things I will forever rail against.

As a female, I am not afforded the privilege of not voting. My gender was considered the property of their husbands not that long ago in American history. And in some cultures we still are property. Hell, in American pop culture we are reduced to the sum of our parts. The images propagated as the female norm are fucking disgusting and something no man (other than perhaps gay men) would ever subject themselves to. We are asses and tits and pussies. We are rarely seen as mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and most certainly never as equals. Bitches were beat for me to have the right to vote, so you can bet your sweet ass I am going to vote HOWEVER I FUCKING WANT TO!

I have also realized that both males in this equation have physically abused women. One having been convicted and jailed for the offence. The other has never had to face the consequences of the abuse judicially. And I guess that’s how it works. We normalize the abuse as women. We are raped and abused on a regular basis and it is somehow our fault. We are to blame for men’s behavior, right? Well this bitch has decided no mas. I am done. Done with enabling abusive men. Done with indulging male privilege. Done with the fucking patriarchy. Done with normalizing the heteronormative bullshit that the fucking Kardashian brand wants to sell me 24/7, 365.

I will defend my vote to no one. It is my choice. I have the autonomy to cast my vote however the fuck I want to. A fact that seems lost on a lot of Americans right now. But I will concede that the state I live in voted blue, which is the main reason I went third party. I made an educated guess, not based on the polls, but on the vibe of the people around me, that it would go to that way. And you know what? I was right. And I am sick of the having to vote for the lesser evil. It has become taboo in America to discuss who we vote for. It has also become taboo to be tolerant because only acceptance is allowed. Guess what? The majority just shit-stomped all over this fantasy. Maybe now we can find a common ground and rebuild.

And to anyone one who would like to tell me otherwise, might I suggest that you eat a fucking dick because I can assure I do not care what you think. I sincerely hope that doesn’t trigger you, but if it does, get the fuck over yourself. We have much bigger problems in this country right now than your fragile sense of self and overly sensitive ego.

Hugs and Kisses and Shit.

df3

(An unedited version of this was posted accidentally last night. It has been removed and this is the final version that has my seal of approval.)

 

Breaking Bread by dixē.flatlin3

giphy (1)Breaking Bread by dixē.flatlin3

A few weeks ago I had the misfortune (or fortune depending upon one’s POV) to experience life without a device. The two week old iPhone I had purchased for this specific trip, died en route to a conference.

As most can imagine, I went into withdrawals and shock almost immediately. Incredulous that I would be forced to walk amongst mortals without my electronic pacifier! Once we had settled into our hotel rooms, I hurriedly took a cab to the closest provider. Only to quickly have my hopes dashed- I would have to find an Apple store if I wanted any type of resolution for the dead device.

Back at the hotel, bitter and wiser from wasting cash to take a cab, I resigned myself to being incommunicado for the duration of my stay. Luckily, I had packed a laptop, so I wasn’t completely in the dark ages.

Not going to lie, the first 24 hours were the worst! Not only was my coworker unable to reach me immediately, I was also not in constant contact with my child. But by the second night, I was doing much better. In fact, I had started to take note of my surroundings more.

Oddly, everywhere we went, all I saw were people with their faces in devices. We were staying at a beachfront resort, with amazing scenery, and yet no one seemed to care. They sat at dinner tables, silent, entertained and occupied, eyes averted down to their hands. And it was eerily quiet. The strains of live music drifted through the air, but the chatter of conversation was absent.  They sat next to eachother on the boardwalk, faces buried in devices, silent.

I was without a device for a total of four days, an entire 96 hours. When I returned home, I went to the retailer the next day, and was quickly given a new device. As this was over the weekend, I immediately went about my duties. One of which is to make bread for the coming week.

I have been making bread for approximately six months now. Prompted mostly by the realization that what I was paying for a loaf of somewhat healthy bread was still processed and shipped to market. Bread has been a staple in the human diet for much longer than most of us realize. The act of making bread can be quite satisfactory, if you view it as a labor of love.

As I was kneading the dough, feeling the gluten bonds form, and thereby altering the texture in my hands, I was struck by silly thought. We have become so disconnected from ourselves that we pay complete strangers to feed us shitty food products so we can ignore others around the dinner table.

The weekly loaf of bread started as my way of reclaiming my family’s food supply. But it’s turned into more of an internal movement. We collectively decided to prepare our own meals and stop paying strangers. Weekly meal plans are now a team effort. School lunches are not an option.

We have decided to rail against the machines and their silence. We are not going to go quietly. We are going to fight this corporate-induced complacency. And it all started with a simple loaf of bread.

Corporately Induced Coma by dixē.flatlin3

Corporately Induced Coma by dixē.flatlin3

13 months ago I accepted a new position within the large corporation I have worked for since 2008. I specifically did this to force myself out of my comfort zone, and initiate my departure from Corporate America.

In the past 13 months I believe that my creativity has severely atrophied, as evidenced by the lack of content written. I did manage to submit a screenplay to a college-sponsored contest, but even that was back in August.

I have channeled my creativity into other areas, such as beekeeping. That has been a very rewarding and time-consuming endeavor. But the nagging feeling that the right side of my brain was slowing dying persisted.

It’s been a year-and-a-half since I graduated from college. Nothing fancy, just a plain, old undergraduate degree. But I have been adrift since then, not really sure what direction I wanted to go in. A good friend shared that it took him about the same amount of time to decide where he wanted to go after graduation. Recently I happened upon a job posting in another state and randomly decided to submit my resume.

The moment I read the ad, something just clicked. I knew that I was uniquely qualified for the job, and it would be a great, career-advancing job title and opportunity for me. But it’s in another state, one that I have never even seen. And yet I continued to pursue the job. Followed up to see if my resume had been received, which it had not, so I resent it. Sent follow-up thank you emails and notes via snail mail for the opportunity to interview via FaceTime. Everything I have read about nailing an interview, I did. And you know what? That shit worked.

Now that I have been offered the job, I don’t know what I want to do. I would be escaping the desperate hell that is Corporate America, but also abandoning the security it provides. Granted, it is a false sense of security because layoffs are constant, but it lulls a lot of people into complacency.

The new job would throw me back into a creative environment, but in a high-level management role. Some fancy shit that has me spooked. But I know I must take whatever drastic actions are needed to save the part of me that has always been the part that saved me.

Wait, what?

565 Daze by dixē.flatlin3

565 Daze by dixē.flatlin3

It has been 565 days since I first put on my protective gear and stepped into the world of bees. 177 days since I was blessed with two colonies to manage all by myself. I lost one colony, which is the norm when dealing with package bees that come off of the almonds in California. A 50-percent survival rate is also what most commercial beekeepers experience yearly.

Thankfully, I was also blessed to meet a local biologist who specializes in bees. A year after this fateful meeting, he was kind enough to give a nuc to replace my lost package. What is a nuc, you might ask? Well, package bees are bees shaken into a screened cage that includes a foreign queen in a separate cage. This usually occurs right after the almonds are done. A nuc, or nucleus colony, is a queen who comes with several frames of brood (growing baby bees, or bee larva) and worker bees. A nuc is essentially a baby bee-making factory. A package is a long shot at best.

Bees are a lot of work. A LOT OF FUCKING WORK! I want to clarify that for any hipsters who helped to Kickstart the fucking Flow Hive- whose motto is “Less labour, more love.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Bees are not a fucking ant farm to be kept for your amusement. I hope every person who receives one of these abominations gets their asses handed to them with a series of bee venom injections.

But I digress. This is about me, and I took bee ecology seriously from the onset. I sort got the fact that it’s kinda essential for human survival I apprenticed before I purchased my own gear. I conducted extensive research and scouted safe and secure locations for the bees before I ever pulled the pin. See, part of having bees is you have to be ready to move them at any moment, and have a location ready. Most hipsters will fail this essential rule of beekeeping, but I again digress.

During my 565 days, I have watched the hive I apprenticed with be mismanaged. So concerned with harvesting honey were they that they failed to notice the state of the colony. Several times I mentioned that it needed room to grow and we should add boxes. All they did was take and take. Finally, the colony left, and the boxes were overcome with wax worm moths. Which look like something out of a fucking Alien movie, as you can see from the pictures I took.

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Given the time I had spent restoring boxes for the cooperative beekeeping project, I sort of shrugged my shoulder and resigned myself to a lesser role, the role of Cassandra, so to speak. Since this time, the shared project has floundered, but I still do my part.

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In my journey for education, I have sought out the teachings of those who are long since gone. In particular, I have read much from Rudolf Steiner. Who was this? “Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (February 1861– 30 March 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, author, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.” You can read the rest here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Steiner

Anyway, he wrote a book almost a one hundred years ago on beekeeping that predicted many of the problems experience by modern beekeeping; Most all of it due to human interventions into the natural process. Interventions that sought to maximize profits, regardless of the impact on nature. Sound familiar?

Somewhere in my research I read of the myth that human female attended colonies were more severely impacted by the death of their beekeeper than male. Given the cycles of bees, their mostly female structure, this made perfect sense to me. And I have embraced a pagan-based management style ever since. I tend to my colonies based more on the phases of the lunar cycle than anything else.

It has been exactly three weeks since I last went to check on the colonies. During this time we have experienced a Blood Moon and a Harvest Moon. Last night I dreamt of my bees, which was odd, mostly because I rarely remember dreams. But today my desire to have nothing to do was overridden by the nagging feeling that I had dreamt that my bees were endangered therefore I must go and attend to them.

So my son and I went out to the farm where our bees are housed. And after inspecting the nuc, I found nothing out of the ordinary. But upon inspecting my first original colony, I discovered something quite alarming. There was no brood. Brood are larval or various stages of baby bees. There were A LOT of baby bees in the hive, but absolutely no brood. Which was alarming and not what I had observed three weeks ago. These signs can only mean one thing: there is no queen.

Now, given my knowledge of bee development, I realize that I had decided to intervene on the very last week that bees would have emerged from their larva form three weeks prior. So I am now left with the decision of letting the bees do their thing and supersede the old queen or I can intervene and install a hygienic and well-mated queen.

In Arizona this a two part problem because allowing a hive to naturally supersede a queen means that a virgin queen will take flight and mate with likely Africanized drones. Drones are the only male bees and their only purpose is to mate with queens. Which is why once this mating takes place, drones die. However, my other colony can become a factor when it comes to producing drones, so the virgin queen may mate with mellow, but different bees.

Arizona bees, or Africanized bees are impressive honey producers and rarely succumb to many of the ailments that European honeybees do, but their hive defensiveness can be hard to deal with for those who are unfamiliar with it. Aggressive bees are the ones I learned with, so I am okay with their nasty disposition. Imagine having rocks thrown at your face. That is exactly what Arizona bees do when their hive is disturbed.

But I started all of this because I believe that my Pagan Beekeeping practices have seeped into my dreams, and these uniquely female cycles makes me dangerous. From a historical standpoint, of course.

Anyway, it is late, as you were, droogs.

I have a lot of beekeeping shit coming your way. Consider yourselves warned.

Dead Man’s Chest by dixē.flatlin3

Tonight I took my son to a birthday party. It was the birthday party of a coworker’s daughter who was turning seven. I should state that I am always apprehensive whenever I introduce my child to other children. Mostly because he is the polar opposite of a public school child. I pride myself on this fact. His magic bubble is spectacular and almost fully intact.

This evening was nothing out of the ordinary, there were little girls running about and little boys doing their thing, which is the polar opposite of whatever the fuck it is that little girls do. From what I could tell the incite drama and hysteria, but I digress.

As the evening progressed, the girls all went to bed and the boys continued to play in the bouncy house that included a water slide. The other parents and I were inside, bullshitting away when suddenly there was a ruckus outside. Now I would like to point out that drama with boys usually involves broken bones or blood, but nothing seemed to be that dire. Until the mother of one of the boys came in and announced that her child had been choked.

I walked outside, fully expecting to find my boy innocent of all nefarious actions; however, tonight it was different. My son was the youngest, but biggest boy in attendance, and unfortunately not a public school student. What that means is that I have taken every precaution that I can to protect my child from the dangers of the public school system, but I cannot always protect him from the danger lurking in the children of others.

Turns out my friend’s son had talked my son into playing a game called Dead Man. This game is basically a choke out game and I was completely disgusted that my son had been exposed to such vulgarity. More so, I was disgusted that this game was commonplace amongst the public school kids. Sadly, they did not consider the fact that my son was bigger than all of them. So when they convinced him to play their game, they did not factor in his size. My boy’s size makes him a force to reckon with on the basketball court and in the hockey rink. The coaches love him because the boy is a beast, but he can fuck up a kid who is several years older than he is, in the blink of an eye.

Which is exactly what happened this evening. Needless to say, we made a quick exit from the festivities, as I apologized to the mother of the child mine had choked out. But mostly I was disgusted by the fact my child now knew about a game called Dead Man. I felt like his innocence had been compromised. Regardless of the fact that he damn near killed another child

Whatever, I also thought of this song. And fuck the people who don’t value their children’s innocence more.