Saturday, October 31, 2009

An Open Letter to The Richmond High School Rape Witnesses

Dear witnesses,

You disgust me. You really do. The entire news story disgusts me; rape is never ok and no one ever deserves it or asks for it, but the ones I blame even more than the perpetrators of the crime are you: the witnesses.

How could you stand by and let this happen? The news says there were at least ten of you. Ten people, standing or sitting nearby, seeing what was going on... or did you turn your heads? Did you pretend it wasn't happening? Did you watch with that same horrified fascination that presents itself at the scenes of brutal car crashes and burning homes? I understand that group psychology dictates that everyone in the group is predisposed to think that someone else will take responsibility. I was taught that the Kitty Genovese murder was allowed to take place because of a psychological blind spot which allowed every single witness to believe honestly and truly that someone else was calling 911. And knowing that, all of that psychological bullshit still doesn't excuse YOU. Any of you. All of you. You all sat back and waited for someone else to act first. None of you took responsibility and stepped forward.

You must have been scared. You must have been angry or uncomfortable or felt unsafe. But what did you do about it? You waited for someone else to save your asses, and hers. Now you have to live with the sickness that should rightly come with helping something like this happen. You have to go to sleep every night with the knowledge that you failed to stop a beautiful young woman from losing her self, her entire sense of safety within her own body and mind... and that a single word could have made a difference. You have to wake up every morning with a sense of personal failure - and you SHOULD. Every last one of you should learn to take responsibility for yourselves; you need to learn to step forward and speak up for your own safety. You could be next, regardless of your age, sex, or orientation. You could be the victim of another act of senseless violence, and what do you think you will feel like when you see 10 more faces staring at you, silent and watching as the crime takes place?

Think about that next time you walk by one of the rapists, or a fellow witness. Think about it, and feel disgusting, because you are. You are slime, and screaming for more lights, cameras and security fences will never protect you from yourselves. Only taking responsibility for your own safety and using your own voice can keep you safe. Maybe once you've figured out how to stand up and say something, instead of blindly hoping someone else will take care of it, you'll also figure out how to forgive yourselves.


The blogger who, from now on, is going to make even more of an effort to live responsibly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Countdown to NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month is coming!

Join us on a 30-day trip through your own imagination. Leave the dishes undone for a few more hours and get someone else to sort the socks and feed the cat. You know you want to write that novel "some day", and November 1st is the day to sit down and start typing, writing, or dictating your masterpiece. Set the inner editor aside and let the words flow!

Click the image or the link above to visit the NaNoWriMo site and find out what this awesome venture is all about and sign up for yourself. If you do, you'll find me there and in the IRC chat (available on the site or at #nanowrimo) as MossAngel. Good luck, future Wrimos!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home Gardening Strikes Again!

In case you're wondering whether your tiny square of grass will make a difference in the way you eat... this is the harvest I got out of my garden this afternoon. Not included: 2+ lbs of beans previously harvested, the rest of the lettuce bed and one potential pea pod. I chose to pull it all in today because two nights ago we got a frost that killed my bean plants and nipped the potato... and we're low on groceries. The carrots, lettuce and (surprisingly) the two pea vines did ok through the frost, although I doubt the peas will flower before the next cold snap.

Here are my garden specs this year:
Planted: Mid-August
Crops sown: Spinach, sugar snap peas, green bush beans, lettuce, chives, carrots, potato (planted later than the rest - found going to seed in a WalMart bag and stuck in a hill on a whim).
Crops harvested: 2+lbs bush beans, loads of lettuce, pan full of baby taters, 5 carrots (plus 3 more too small to pull).
Hours invested: Approx. 10, not counting random runs to grab a bean/lettuce head and pull 3 or 4 weeds. Includes tearing up entire 14x14' back yard, fertilizing, raking, planting, watering, weeding, and current state of winter prep (tilling weeds into soil and mulching, 1/4 done).

Problems I ran into: the seeds I used were just not up to the challenge. Peas took 3 plantings before some came up. Chives and spinach never showed up at all. Carrots sprouted after I had given up on them, and one ended up in the lettuce bed somehow. For 2 year old improperly stored seeds that I just happened to have on hand, the beans and lettuce came up amazingly well and the whimsical potato planting gave at least a fourfold investment in volume compared to the seed tater - not bad for a short growing season! The bean rows did terminate in an anthill, though - something I ignored when I tilled and planted. I learned my lesson and sacrificed two whole plants plus the beans off another one to the ants.

Improvements: Better bed planning (removing the anthill, putting the carrots in the sandy area at the back, etc) and utilization of space. Getting a big washtub to use for compost at the back of the garden. Adding a proper path through the beds, proactive weed removal (mulch!) and more fertilizer! I'd also like to make it look prettier next year with some nicer row markers and plant cages... but that's something to worry about come January. :D

Looking forward to getting things all done for winter, and very glad I "bothered" planting something this year. It may not have been worth the 10 hours of labor in monetary terms, but you couldn't pay me enough to give up the satisfaction of eating my own produce.