Monday, March 16, 2009

Sinister Weekly - Week of March 8 to 15

Part 1: Validation.

It was an eventful week in Sinister land, dear readers. Monday marked my partner's birthday, and for the occasion, we had our Oregon domestic partnership certified. For the first time, we live in a state where we have legal protection and recognition of our relationship. It's a very nice feeling. It means that if I have to go to the hospital, I won't have to worry about whether my partner can get in to visit me. It means we can file our state taxes jointly, though our Federal taxes will still have to be filed individually, thanks to that unconstitutional travesty known as DOMA, which our current President has promised to repeal, hint, hint.

So it's not marriage, and it can't be in Oregon, because the bigots got their little marriage protection amendment passed in this state as well, but it's not nothing, either. It's validation.

Part 2: Credit.

We drove to Portland in a rented moving van and a Saturn station wagon that was all paid off and we thought would last us another 50,000 miles. Well, ever since we got here it's been having problems, and the money just kept adding up, until it was essentially "totaled." The last straw actually happened on Monday, when we found out that one of the coil packs, which controls when two of the cylinders fire, had gone bad, which was causing the car to, well, not go. My partner picked me up from work on Monday and we drove straight to an auto dealership - hoping to God the whole time that the Saturn would make it there. We traded it in and bought an adorable little Volkswagen Rabbit.

And we financed it. Now, this is not remarkable in itself except that every economist has said that credit markets are locked and nobody can borrow money for anything. But if two shlubs like us with average credit can waltz in to a dealership and finance a nearly new Volkswagen at a non predatory lending rate, then surely the credit markets can't be that bad. What I'm saying is this - if we want to get the economy moving again, then we as consumers have to start moving in the economy again - getting credit, borrowing (responsibly) and buying stuff. Consumer spending drives a lot of this economy, and it's a real Catch-22 that one of the best ways to stimulate the economy is the very thing that's dragging it down.

Part 3: Food poisoning.

Portland is known for its food carts - little trailers parked in parking lots selling hot, greasy deliciousness from all over the world. And you takes your chances.

On Thursday, I ate a delicious Peruvian lunch from one of these food carts, and immediately began to regret it. I won't disgust you with the details, but suffice it to say that I won't be going back there again. I'm just now really starting to feel like myself again, though I'm still weak from the dehydration and exhaustion of the ordeal. That's actually the first time I've ever had serious food poisoning - it was not an experience I'd like to repeat.

That's all I've really got this week. I'd like to salute the protesters who have persevered year after year and keep marking the anniversary of the ridiculous debacle in Iraq - I'm sorry I've been a slacker in that regard; I still want the troops home, I still want us the hell out of there, but I just haven't had the energy to protest. The other problem is that those protests tend to get lumped in with the anti-Israel crowd, and I'm just not in agreement with those people and I don't really want to march with them. Anyway - keep up the good work, peaceniks - we'll get the troops home soon, I hope.