Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mixmania! - MARCH!!!

Listening to: A Boards of Canada mix Mamacita sent me… MMMMMmmm YES!!!

One of those worthless posts that say nothing (unless you’re interested in the next mixmania!) but fulfills my obligation to keep you all updated and me from freaking out because I haven’t written shit to speak of (ain’t that what blogging’s all about?).

So… another dual disk mixmania! because I’m such a lame-ass taskmaster. In my months of hosting this tiny little party, it’s my experience that the double-disk schnooks are the ones truly dedicated to making this work. So, your assignment, should you decide to accept it is this:

Disk One: Guilty Pleasures – a mix of songs you’re ashamed to admit that you love but, there you are, you can’t help it. Brittany Spears, Reuben Stoddard, Budgie, Fear, Marilyn Manson, Sonny & Cher, whatever, you get these earworms digging into brain and can’t get them out because, well, you just like the songs. Heh. You’ll be screwed (especially after you post your lame list) but we’ll know you for the human you are.

So you’re asking, “Why the fuck would I want to receive a disk of utter SHIT from someone who has questionable taste in music?”

Ahhhh…. So here’s the brilliance of the twist. Because Disk Two is:

The Proverbial Desert Island Disk: You know what I mean. You have a Diskman and ONE disk and you’re about to be stranded forever on an island. What music would you put on that disk? I ask my clients to give me a list of Ten Things I Want to do Before I Die (hoping it will motivate them to actually do something with their lives) and I’m asking you to consider a similar situation – if you only had one disk to listen to, for the rest of your life, what would you put on that disk?

Yes, a tough task and I’ll give you until March 1 to figure it out. If you have a blog, please – PLEASE – give me mention and wrangle some other players in the mix. I think this is a pretty cool mixmania! and worthy of rabble. If you’re unsure of the RULEZ, GO HERE, fuckin’ A.

As far as the other stuff, well, aren’t you glad you voted for Dubya you FUCKING MORON? Alito is about to be confirmed and he’s going to sit on a court that will take away your rights and will royally screw your daughters.

Nice, dipshits. Dubya was supposed to make you safer and now he, apparently, can listen in on your phone calls and read your emails, with impunity, wipe his ass with the Constitution and call it a day. In the meantime, Osama is where? Zaqari? Afghanistan is how much a Democracy? Iraq is a what – a clusterfuck? Feel better about that paycheck?

What the fuck has this idiot done?

Right, greased a right-wing nut into the seat of reason on the bench because, God knows, faggots are simply fucking up everything, rearranging shit because it looks good but oblivious to the fact that we’re in a bygod War on Terror. If we outlaw faggots, the terrorists will go away; if we outlaw abortion we’ll be given a Golden Sword with which to smite our enemy who will run away, afraid, eyes spit out and rolling on the ground from fear of our huge, golden phallus.

This from the folks who brought you Intelligent Design.

Yee haw, ya dumbfuck. You thought you were voting for Uncle Jesse and you got Boss Hawg. Alito is Cooter but you get the point, Einstein. Just as you thought Dubya wanted to protect you, you're realizing that all he wanted to do was get in your business (unless you’re a major corporation, of course, because them guys want your business as well, derrr yup).

That old joke about a nuclear attack, shove you head up to your ass to kiss it goodbye? Well, it’s time to pull your head out of your ass and realize you’re no safer and as little bit poorer. Take a look around and recognize who’s taking money or making money.

Then vote.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Listening to: Sigur Ros, Takk...

Yes, I should have updated right away to let everyone know I am fine. Instead, I decided to be selfish and take some time for myself. As you saw, I had the wee ones from Jan. 2 until Thursday and hey – I needed a breather.

So, obviously I’m not in prison. Things actually worked out better than anyone anticipated. My attorney was blown away by what went down. Two-thirds of the time we rambled around that little corner of the courthouse she was convinced I’d be leaving in shackles.

While waiting for the proceedings to begin, X and I cooled our heels out in the hall, griping about what a screwed up situation we were entering into, growling about what a mess BushCo has created in our country and how badly we need to impeach the sonofabitch.

My attorney, Erin, approached and asked for a few words. She was reticent, pessimistic, certain I’d be spending my next night in the stir. We eased into a side room and she spelled out what she felt would happen: certainly jail time, how long was in question. Telling her how insane jail time would be, I handed her X’s letter and told her why the both of us thought the state needed to reconsider.

She read the letter, mumbling, “Oh, very good, this is very good.” She then asked if the woman I was sitting next to in the hall was X. I told her yes, that was X.

“So you two…”

“Yes, we get along very well, better than we ever did when we were married.”

That news and the weight of the words in the letter obviously changed things for Erin in a big way. Over the next couple of hours, she listened as X and I chatted, saw that we indeed were good friends. She heard X tell about Noble and how I lost my job after Zeke was mauled by my brother’s dog. She got to see that X and I are two people struggling at the bottom rung of society and through mutual support, helping each other catch a breath lest we drown.

When the attorney representing the state approached Erin to discuss what the state would seek, Erin spoke pointedly, “We need to talk some more about this… see me in the hall.”

Of course I have no way of knowing what was said but Erin must have shown the state’s attorney the letter and given her the benefit of her observations. They stayed in the hall for at least 10 minutes and when they returned, the change in tone was palpable. The state’s attorney entered the courtroom and we waited another five minutes before we were called in.

The magistrate called us to the docket, acknowledged the parties, reiterated why we were there. She then commented, “It appears Ms. McQuiggin has written a letter to the court as an appeal to keep Mr. McQuiggin out of jail and that both parties have an amicable agreement to share custody. Am I correct in this?”

Both attorneys concurred. The magistrate continued, "When the needs of the state conflict with the welfare of children, I have to rule in favor of the children. Since this couple seems to have worked out their differences, share custody under what is essentially a 50/50 situation, and have been provided for their children under extreme circumstances, I think the state ought to reassess what Mr. McQuiggin is paying and come up with a different sum." She then ordered the state's attorney to meet with my attorney, X, and me to calculate an amount more in line with what I make, what X makes, and our custody arrangement.

We were dismissed momentarily and met in the side room. The state's attorney broke out her files and calculator and arrived at $41 per month support plus $59 to pay the arrears - $100 per month. Everyone then returned to the courtroom and the judge made it official.

This was at the end of the day, the docket cleared, an empty courtroom except for both parties and our attorneys, the magistrate and the recorder. Erin said she felt we were delayed in order to prevent other plaintiffs and attorneys from witnessing how well the case went for me and X. The magistrate asked X if she was agreeable to the amount and she readily agreed. Having X’s blessing, the magistrate deferred my sentencing on the contempt charge for failure to pay child support, set the deferment off until February 2007 when, if I’ve complied with paying $100 a month, the matter will be wiped from the books.

Erin was nonplussed, declaring she’d never seen a case like ours turned around so favorably. I have to admit that I was likewise stunned. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d walk out of there free and with a substantially lowered order.

Thank you, all of you, my friends, for getting behind me on this and offering your support. I especially want to thank Lauren (again!) for stating my case on her blog with her much more articulate voice and sharing it with her substantially larger audience. I’m forever her thrall.

Each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A sort-of goodbye

Listening to: Mamacita’s gracious gift of Man of La Mancha

The dearth of posts here is due to the glacial pace 2006 has deemed how it will slouch out of the primordial ooze and greet that ideal we call The Future.

By all accounts 2005 was not that bad: I found a new job (though not a great job), fell in love, fell out of love (and in and out and in and out, errr hmmmm), watched my kids grow, had my car repo’d, got a better car as a result with none of the payments or headaches of bill collectors, got tons of new music as a result of ‘mixmania!’ and kept this blog afloat despite my propensity for the Brechtian alienation of my readers.

No hurricane hit me, no tsunami swept over me, and no lobbyist handed me money for which I’d later find led to an indictment. In the era of Whine and Neuroses, I’d say I’m batting about two-fifty, thereabouts.

Unfortunately, the New Year has not gotten off to an auspicious beginning. X has been in the process of moving and I’ve had the kids every day since January 2 while she attempts to get her shit together. And school doesn’t start back until tomorrow, which means I’ve had my little darlings demanding all – ALL – my time with no time for Daddy to indulge his perks for sharing Rick Blaine’s citizenship.

The munchkins are still with me and I know I’m going to dread getting up to drag them out of their beds

at six fucking A M tomorrow. The drill begins again, the oatmeal not eaten and the teeth brushed under protest, rejections of that shirt and those pants, the long explanations of why Superman cannot also go to school.

Rinse, repeat until Thursday when Daddy goes to court for Contempt of Court on his insufficient remittance of Child Support. The state is asking for six months in jail with no recommendation of work release.

Those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning are probably shaking your heads and wondering, “What the fuck?” I was, after all (when X was emotionally melting down), the custodian, full time, not comfortable with her ability to care for my children. When I started this blog (and no one read it), I truly was “a full time dad, figuring it out.”

To X’s credit, she agreed, acknowledged she needed help and time to decompress and allowed me to keep them full time until she could regroup and reassess. By measures. I gave her custody until we eventually worked our way back to 50/50 custody, even though it took a few months to get there. We’re now at three days one week, four days the next, a system that works out very well and keeps everything relatively blissful. Indeed, we’re better friends than we were spouses (as we both joke to our friends).

Soon after X and I separated, I was giving her about $700 a month child-support – with no court order – just to keep her afloat. When X and I split I made it clear that I wanted shared custody (something she completely agreed to), my feeling being that I did not want to use the children as a weapon like I’ve seen far too many couples do, to deleterious results. X agreed the kids needed their daddy in their lives as much as I insisted on having mommy in their lives.

Again, long time readers of my blog know how I lost my job (due to my brother lying to get me fired in order to get vengeance for me having his dog destroyed after his dog mauled my son). Without my income to support her and my children, X applied for assistance: TANF, Food Stamps, etc. This is where the state steps in and why I’m looking at 6-months of jail time.

Perhaps I’m a sap since I signed paperwork to give the state the impression that the custody arrangement is 49% (me) vs. 51% her. I knew X wasn’t skilled (thus, consigned to a minimum wage job) and would need public assistance. I signed that agreement knowing X would need public assistance to give my children the bare minimum of what they need to survive.

The state demands remittance; they’re not giving TANF money without making me pay. And they’ve made their assessment based on my income two months after I got fired (when X made her claim) as opposed to what I make now – less than half of what I used to make. Interesting that the state will research a job I haven’t had for two months (at around $2200 a month) but can’t be bothered to research a job I have now (about $900 a month).

More interesting is that the state won’t do simple math. Even if the 49%/51% split was true, X would have the children 7.3 more days per year. With the state requiring $638.00 per month, I am being asked to pay child support in the amount of $1,048.77 per day.

365 / 51% = 186.15
365 / 49% = 178.85
186.15 – 178.85 = 7.3

$638 x 12 = $7656
$7656 / 7.3 = $1048.77

Even in my most hedonistic drug days
, I never spent a fifth of that. I can’t imagine spending a grand a day on anything, frankly. Nor should I expect the state to expect any ordinary citizen to spend that kind of money. Then again, I’m talking about mindless bureaucrats, worthless parasites who would not think twice about spending a grand a day of your tax money.

If you don’t hear anything from me after Thursday, you’ll know why.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wormwood

Listening to: Pink Floyd, Animals

School's still out, for what it's worth. January weather means the wee ones stay inside and play games like dragging food out of the fridge and line every item up on the floor like its part of a signal to ancient astronauts. Who are they calling?

I shouldn't have given them a telescope for Christmas, not just because they fight over who gets to peer through the eyepiece but, I suspect, they're scoping out what civilization will answer their food symbols, will land here, and will probe my ass with alien speculae and other devices of torture. After all, my children have shown a willingness to torment me with their willingness to rim my kitchen with olives, calling down sadistic alien perverts with symbols drawn with olives is not outside their purview, it seems.

The girls have been getting a chapter-per-night reading of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, despite their nefarious plan to have me abducted by aliens. They seem to be enjoying the story but I suspect they're awaiting The White Witch to snag me into anothe dimension and dispense of me summarilly.

Their loss, I think. CS Lewis's prose is simplistic enough and certainly entertaining (they seem to be involved); incredible stuff. Still, I can't help but think that today's play with the refrigerator was nothing less than some desperate call to have me hauled away to a distant galaxy and reformed into decent dad.

In the spirit of CS Lewis, God bless em' if they succeed.