Sunday, November 30, 2014

Terrible People

Welp, now that Thanksgiving is over and we no longer need to pretend to be grateful for what we have, I can get back to my regularly scheduled griping about the injustices of the world.  Today's topic: terrible people.

Fortunately there's only two in particular that have my goat at the moment, but boy are they doozies.

Person One: 
A Man I've Never Met

Remember back last October when my car died a warrior's death?

 RIP Sweet Prince 2000 - 2013

Well, the poor old car was totaled but no one was injured, and we came away from the experience feeling deeply grateful for our good fortunate.

Lol, j/k, the other person in the crash is suing us.

Now I probably shouldn't say too much about this since it's ongoing but fuck that I am going to talk about it anyway and if there's a jury reading this let me just point out that chiropractics are not a legitimate treatment recognised by the AMA.  (In 1996 they called chiropractors a "cult.")  But let me back up a bit.

Back in October, when we got into the accident, it was like a nightmare.  I woke in the backseat completely disoriented; everything seemed eerily silent and dust motes were drifting through the broken windshield.  The lights were on but only made the air more hazy.  I kicked open my door and scurried away from the car with Jack and Andrew because at that time it looked like the engine was on fire and we wanted to be safe.  On the highway median, we huddled together, observing the pile of smoking wreckage that had been the beloved vehicle that had borne me to Los Angeles all the way from central Pennsylvania.  I felt like a person watching their house burn down.  I loved that car.

Then someone (let's call her "Sue") approached us, yelling.  Her first words?  Not "Is everyone okay?"  Not even "What happened?"  Her first words to us were "Who was driving that car?" followed by something like "You could've killed someone."  As if it were on purpose, as if we hadn't done everything to avoid this.  As if the most important thing was finding someone to blame.  She was pissed, out for blood.  Maybe it was the adrenaline, but let me tell you, when you have a brush with death and then someone comes up to you and starts blaming you for scratching their new Mercedes, well, it's pretty unforgivable. 

I admit I lost my cool.  I was still groggy from sleeping and very disoriented, and having someone yell at me while watching my poor car smolder on the side of the road was just too much.  I began shrieking, "Are you fucking serious?  Are you kidding me?  Look at my fucking car!  Look at it!  Do you realise how lucky we are?  We all could have been killed!  How could you even say that?  My car's been totaled!  Look at it!"  Someone led me away (maybe Jack, maybe Andrew, maybe a police officer... hell, maybe even Sue) and put a blanket over my shoulders and I stood there in shock.  I felt totally numb and all my perceptions seemed very surreal.  Afterwards I felt bad for yelling at Sue, who was undoubtedly just as shaken up as us.

If this is getting a little too intense for you, let me soften the image for you by adding that because we were returning from a Halloween party, I was dressed as Harley Quinn and Jack was dressed as Harry Potter, so yeah, there was a hysterical clown with a wizard trying to calm her down in the middle of the highway.

This was the first year I was Harley.  Last year I had a sewn-on mask which was cool up until the point where I was talking to the police dressed as a clown.

Anyway, the police took a report but no charges were filed.  They asked if everyone was okay and we all said yes and we didn't even need to call the paramedics.  That was that.  Everyone went home.

Fast-forward to a year later.  We started receiving very fishy documents in the mail from Sue's lawyers.  Sue was now claiming to have a mysterious "soft tissue injury" that she needed chiropractics for.  She'd already said this to our insurance, who asked for some proof of either the expenses or the injury.  She failed to furnish anything.  So then we started getting stuff from the lawyer, things like a Request of Admissions, which by signing will basically say we agree with all her claims and pay whatever the fuck she wants.  They might as well have mailed us a blank check.  We ignored all these documents.  One of them demanded that we sign an agreement stating that we "relinquish all contentions that [Sue's] claims of injury are falsified."  Um, no?  I mean, I'm sorry to say it, but I have trouble believing Sue received a non-specific injury she refuses to show proof of a year after the accident.  And trust me, if I thought it was real, Andy and I would do everything in our power to make it right.  But that's what insurance is for and she's adamantly been refusing to co-operate with them.

So after getting a lot of papers (like probably a couple acres' worth of trees died for all this paper), I did call the lawyer's offices to see if I could glean more info.  Specifically I wanted to know if we were being sued or just bullied.  Because it felt a lot like bullying.  When I called, I explained I wasn't a client but that my household had received these documents.

"Are we getting sued?" I asked.

"Sure looks like it," said the guy on the phone.  I don't know if it was a lawyer or a receptionist.  He sounded like a sulky teenage kid on X-Box.

He kept saying "Shut up, Mom," to someone in the background.

I expected him to call me a faggot but he didn't, so I continued.

"I mean, I... I have no idea what these papers are."

"Talk to your insurance," he said, gruffly.

I realised that, as a lawyer, he was probably being careful with his words and trying not to incriminate himself.  Weird.  If he was suing me, can't he say he's suing me?  I'm going to find out eventually, aren't I?

"I'm not trying to trick you or anything.  I just want to know if we're being sued," I said.

"I don't feel tricked," he said.  If sneering were a liquid, it would have been leaking out the phone like maple syrup.

"Er... good," I said awkwardly.  "Because I'm not trying to.  Er... thanks.  Good-bye."

So that was pointless.  Assuming we were not being sued, we continued to ignore the documents being sent to us.

But then the plot thickened.  We'd let our insurance know about the documents, of course, and we suddenly got a call from them stating that we'd failed to respond to summons.  Wait, what?  Getting summons is like, a huge deal.

The insurance explained that the other party had mailed them a "Proof of Service" stating that they had delivered summons to us and we'd not responded and that this was some time-sensitive shit that could automatically be found in Sue's favour if we did nothing.  Holy shit!

I went onto the Los Angeles county court site later and checked these documents.  They stated that the guy serving the summons had been over to our house no less than 8 times without any response from Andrew.  (Weird, since we stay in most evenings.)  On the 8th time he delivered the documents to me.  My full name was written out there on the sheet.  He delivered them to me, a resident of the house over the age of 18, on Andrew's behalf, on October 1st at 8:30 pm.

But I never got summons.  And trust me, I would remember something like that.  What's more, why wouldn't Andy be at home with me at that time?  Curiouser and curiouser.

We checked the calendar to figure out what was going on that night.  And we discovered that...

...we'd been in San Diego.

Remember the hedgehog mastectomy?  Most bizarre totally legit excuse ever.

That's right.  The documents were fucking falsified.  Kali had been getting her staples out that night and we hadn't even left the vet's office until 6:40 pm.  We'd gotten dinner and hadn't returned home until almost 10 pm.  And we have credit card charges and a whole office of people who can confirm we were two hours away when these summons were supposedly delivered.

I Googled the lawyer after this incident out of curiosity and what I found was pretty much what you'd expect.  Did you know that lawyers have records of the number of probations / bar suspensions they've gotten?  Yeah.  I didn't either.  (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to name names so I'll just quote this part on the Bar Association website where it says Sue's lawyer was "suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 9-day suspension and... stipulated to 17 counts of misconduct in six matters.")

I can't believe any of this.  I can't believe Sue is trying to profit from this situation that could have been so, so much worse, and I can't believe her lawyer is lying to try to win the case.  Is perjury still a thing?  I'm pretty sure perjury is a thing.  But hey, I'm not a lawyer.

While I'm not unaware of things like this happening, I can't quite believe this is happening to my family.  I'm very disappointed in humanity right now.  I hope the lawyer eventually gets disbarred because I don't think you have any business practicing law if you're not concerned with actual justice.

I'm guessing this whole thing will eventually be dropped.  We have two legal counsels through our insurance companies (I'm involved only as the owner of my poor, poor car and not in any other real way), and we're going to fight this all the way to the top (or more accurately, all the way to the rock bottom, where the liars and sleaze-bags can be found).

Moving on...

Person Two:
As if you didn't know

So my mother-in-law visited last week.

She's been in a foul mood ever since Andrew escaped his tower.

She was on her best behaviour but it was still very stressful and I could tell she was uncomfortable.  "Barely veiled hostility" isn't the same thing as "being friendly," you know?

The one thing that really, deeply bothered me is that we went out for dinner at a place without any vegetarian options and so I opted out and said when I got home I'd make something.  And she asked me why I ate fake meat if I'm a vegetarian.

Every time we've ever gone out together she'd asked some asinine question about vegetarianism, which she clearly thinks is weird, but most are common and harmless: "How do you get protein?" and "Do you get enough iron?" and "But what do you eat at Thanksgiving?" and things like that.

But asking why I eat fake meat was a new one, and baffling to me because it was clear she didn't understand my motivations.

"Because it tastes good," I said simply.

"But then why don't you just eat meat?"

"Because I don't really agree with killing an animal just because it's tasty."

"But you eat the fake meat."

"Yes, because nothing died.  That's a way for me to enjoy meat without feeling bad about the animal dying," I continued to explain.  My patience was waning really, really quickly.  I couldn't tell if she was that dumb or if she was trying to troll me.

"Well, it's not like I killed the animal!" she exclaimed proudly.  Completely seriously.

Pictured: An entirely guiltless and morally acceptable way to commit murder.

I admit I saw red.  Mind you, I'm not a militant vegetarian.  While I feel strongly about my personal choice, I virtually never talk about it.  But this was just too much.

"Isn't that, like, an argument a Nazi officer could make?  That he didn't kill anyone and only ordered others to?" I asked.

Boy did the table blow up at that one.

"Please don't bring Nazis into this," she said, offended.

"Godwin's Law," added Andrew.  I felt a twinge of irritation because I knew he was right.  I wish I had used a more recent example... for example, Osama bin Laden.  He never suicide bombed anyone personally but he's still culpable for a lot of deaths.

"I'm just asking you to respect my decision to eat meat..." began his mother.

I wanted to flip the goddamn table.  Wasn't she the one who always brought up our respective dietary decisions?  Wasn't she the one who always questioned my choices?  I have literally never, ever said a word about what she eats.  I don't think she'd even know I was  vegetarian if the twins hadn't told her.  I don't care what she eats at all and never have.  (Although at that moment I did sort of want her to eat a dick but that's a different matter entirely.)

"I do respect your choices and I've never said otherwise," I said, through gritted teeth.

"Well, good," she said, sitting back all smugly, as if we'd resolved something.

Later she said some dumb shit about time travel but I'm feeling too annoyed now to write it out.

Bonus dumb shit: Jack's friend said this.  She is the most incredibly scientifically illiterate person I've ever met, but she's at least really friendly.  Also she got me to the front page of Reddit with this meme so I can't really complain.

I think that this thing with Andy's mother is going to have to come to a head eventually because I can't imagine our relationship remaining this strained for the rest of our lives, and I can't imagine my wedding with her there ("Why is the cake vegetarian?") or my first child or a family reunion or anything.  I don't think we'll ever really like each other but right now she really gets under my skin and a lot of it is her pointing out all the ways in which I'm weird and she disagrees with me.  It's very stressful and I don't think either of us want our relationship to remain pulled taut like this.  It's unhealthy.  ("Like not eating meat.")

That's about all I have to say about terrible people today.  In a world of seven billion, I suppose only being upset by two isn't so bad.

Gotta keep things in perspective.  Two bad apples don't ruin the tree.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Old Business: 2014 (In Which I Dress Up in Silly Outfits Quite Often)

Today we're going to take a peek into the not-so-distant past of this same year and catch up on some of the adventures I've had.  I've been putting this off and it's been preventing me from updating more regularly.

I'm 99 days sober today and I've found that staying busy and having things to look forward has really helped out.  

Without further ado, here's some highlights of my year in photo form (February through present):


Last Valentine's Day, Andrew took me to see Lady and the Tramp in theatres.  This year was my turn, so I took him to a spa day.  Neither of us have ever been so it was a real experience.  It was a special ($100 for a couple's hour-long massage).  What no one tells you is that massages include other stuff.  No, not happy endings.  They had us put on robes, wash our feet, make you tea, et cetera.  I was worried that it was all going to cost more, but nope.  $100 flat.  A great deal.

I did not enjoy the foot part.

Also on February, we went to Sin in the City.  To keep this blog family-friendly I won't go into too much detail.  Suffice to say it's called Sin in the City for a reason; our friend Ann was giving a presentation and invited us, and we'd never been to Las Vegas, so we went for the week and had a great time.  It was a leather convention but friendly towards petplay.

This is what leather petplay looks like.  

My favourite sign in Vegas.  This sums up the entire city excellently.

We stayed at the Gold Coast Casino.  I've only gambled once in my life.  I put $100 on red and won.  It was exciting, moreso because it was a low-stakes table and the minimum bet was only $1.  When I put down the money everyone else bet on red too and they all freaked out when we won!  I can see the appeal of gambling but I've not gambled at all since.


Not much going on here, though we went to a few parties, two of which were sort of fairie-themed due to the Vernal Equinox.

 I went as a dryad.  Real leaves!


The semi-annual Fox Hunt was this year, a great excuse to go camping.  I accidentally picked up a rattlesnake.

Here I am poking it.  I am not smart.


May is a big birthday month for us (both me and the twins').  Mine was an unmitigated disaster, while the twins' went off nicely.  Also in May was DomCon, a convention here in Los Angeles.  I won Best in Show at the Pet Awards.  (Terrifying NSFL pictures to come!)  Jack wasn't able to attend.

Here's some eye bleach instead.

I passed my AALAS LAT test and I'm going to take LATG hopefully before the end of this year.  (LATG is the highest level of certification.)  Work is going well though it can be stressful sometimes, with long hours.

Sometimes it feels like this.


Masqurade Ball, ample amount of D&D playing, a conference for work, and a trip to La Jolla to support Jack while he donated bone marrow.  Nowadays you can donate via stem cells in your blood so it's much less invasive.  You can sign up to save lives at  We also had lots of camping and beach trips.  Andrew and I had a fantastic date night to see Pretty Things Peep Show, which I will always recommend to those who like burlesque and showmanship.

We took Seamus on a camping trip and got him so tired he was able to go off-lead.

The boys took up spear fishing.  I was going to post a picture of Jack & I next to the fish he caught, 
but he's only wearing a Speedo and I thought I'd spare you.

Pretty Things Peep Show is one of the best shows I've seen.  This was my third time.


We went hiking in Eaton Canyon and then relaxed by going to a timeshare presentation.  It wasn't at all as bad as people say, and we got a vacation to Hawaii out of it (this coming May!) so yeah, I'd recommend it.  We also marched in the San Diego Pride Parade.

I found a lizard.

Also the boys and I had an accientally perfect day.  We went to the beach for diving, The Vegan Joint for lunch, the Museum of Jurassic Technology (just as weird as it sounds), and had a night in watching movies that evening.  Here's a picture from the Perfect Day, in front of the museum:


Guardians of the Galaxy premiered.  Did my D&D group go in costume?  You bet your ass we did.

This is what D&D looks like.

I swear, the game is way cooler than it looks.

I wish the camera hadn't made us look all blue. These photos just don't do the finished products justice.

I also adopted a hedgehog with cancer because animals.  Wondering what that looks like?  Behold:

Since this photoset, her mammary mass has been removed.  I was able to get it to the pathologist at City of Hope and it was diagnosed as a malignant mammary carcinoma.  Kali's gotten a Deslorelin implant, which basically stops her body from releasing GnRH hormones.  These hormones trigger the release of estrogen, which can help mammary tumours to grow.  So far she's doing okay and her mass hasn't grown back so we think the implant is working.  Science!

Andy mastered out of his Ph.D program and got his last paycheck this month.  It was a huge fiasco with his adviser, who'd been having an ongoing breakdown during his time there.  We recently found out she passed out (presumably a suicide).  I felt bad for her, because there but for the grace of God go I.  Andrew has since started a new job as a lab manager at Cedars-Sinai this November.  We got through his period of unemployment without too much trouble.


We went to Vegas again!

 Met a living statue.  Too cool.

 I bought over $100 worth of candy.  Filled up a designer purse with it.  
The purse is covered in My Little Ponies.  SHUT UP, I'M AN ADULT.

We went to a buffet and Andy challenged me to an eating contest.

...the aftermath.

Also it was our friend Ann's birthday and when we went out to dinner with her, we surprised her with a home-made cake.  My idea, Andrew's creation.  It went off without a hitch!


We had a nice date to the Tar Pits.  They were... well... the pits.  

We went to Festival Supreme to see Dethklok in concert.  There were a lot of music and comedy acts, as well as a weird little Halloween circus and a very fancy puppy show.

This is what it looks like if Dipper and Mabel went to a mosh pit.

We accidentally adopted a puppy I found on the streets.  We put up fliers but no one responded, and after dropping a ton of money on shots and worm treatments, well, I guess Ruby is here to stay.  She came right before Seamus's 9th birthday and ate too much cake.  Isn't it every orphan's dream to be adopted by someone who will let them eat cake until they're ill?

Banana for scale.


We went with Jack to BentCon, a gay comic convention.  We dressed as Dipper and Mabel from Gravity Falls, while Jack went as StarLord.  There were at least 2 other StarLords there.  We marched in the Palm Springs Pride Parade with the LAPCC, and ran a 5K this weekend for Be The Match.

Phew.  Well.  That about sums up our adventures this year.  Hopefully now I'll make shorter, more interesting, less picture-dependent posts.  Thanks for reading, folks, and see you soon!  Tomorrow is 100 days sober and I'm feelin' fine!