Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Hello Congresswoman Richardson,

Thanks very much for your reply.  I would like to add a few thoughts to my previous letter.

As an independent musician, I share your concerns regarding the pirating of copyrighted works.  The practice has become so commonplace that fans have told me to my face that they had shared my music with their friends.  This cuts into my profit margins considerably, especially since my works are largely self-produced.

However, I strongly feel that attempting to control the internet is not the solution to this problem.  Independent producers such as myself have become famous because of the internet, and I can't help but suspect that the reason so many large companies are backing this bill is because they're tired of losing their business to independent artist like myself.  We have become tired of a broken system where talent and quality doesn't matter as much as having the right "look" or being connected to the right people, and so we've created a community of our own where our art can be shared at our discretion.  I can't help but feeling that companies like Sony and Time Warner are resentful of the internet, because they now must try to catch up the proverbial bus that many of us have been on for a decade or more.

Controlling the internet will not make thieves into honest people, it will only make them more creative, or perhaps even more violent in how they steal.  There will always be people who think it's okay to take what isn't theirs, and passing a law that limits one avenue will not change that.  The only thing it will serve to do is hurt small businesses, and independent artists and musicians.  If those people are not able to make the money they currently make through internet sales, we will see a rise in unemployment, a downturn in economic growth, and potentially an increase in civil unrest.

Congresswoman, I know that there are many people writing to you today, and I am one voice among many.  Perhaps it will not be my words, but our numbers that move you.  Perhaps you will see that the only people who want to limit the internet are people who want to limit the information available to only what they think is relevant.  Or perhaps these measure will pass, and we will see a new kind of militarized state emerge.   You and your fellows are in the unique position of creating history today, and I hope you make choices with the future in mind.  

Thank you for your time today, Congresswoman Richardson, and Happy New Year.

Warm Regards,
Claire Broderick

Monday, January 9, 2012

Smug Alert in Long Beach

There are lots of places you can see the best and worst of people, but I think that in no situation is the true measure of a person so blatant as at the supermarket on a workday at 6pm.  Everyone there is tired and hungry, and most of them just want to get in, get out, and either make or eat dinner.

Today was no except, as I had two... okay three... okay no FOUR, just four things to pick up on the way home tonight: bread, milk, beer, wine.  (I know, the basics, right?).  Long Beach recently passed a city ordinance banning plastic grocery bags.  They publicized this new law and its implementation exclusively in local print media.  Give that one a whirl in your brain for a minute.

Anyway, for once, I not only had bags in my car, but remembered the law, and remembered that I needed one.  Smugly clutching my cloth bag to my chest, I walked the aisles of the newly-opened Fresh and Easy just blocks from my house, zeroing in on the things I was actually there for so I wouldn't be distracted by shiny things like cheese.  Actually, thinking now I realize we needed cheese... phooey...

Moving on.  I made it through the store in record time, and got to the real time-buster; the check-out lines.  This is where the true test of humanity lies.  Because here we are, knowing that a long wait here can literally double the time before we are sitting in our couch in our comfy pants eating whatever constitutes dinner and wondering whether, "traffic" is a reasonable excuse to open a bottle of wine.  Pro tip: yes it is.

Living in Long Beach, I get to see all kinds of truly colorful characters.  From the homeless lady up and down sixth street who always has hair extensions well past her waist, to the most depressed-looking man ever whose hole-ridden Members Only Jacket is always freshly cleaned.  Fresh and Easy's line today was no exception.  In an effort to cut down on staffing, I'm sure, this chain has no checkers, only people to verify age and make sure nobody steals stuff.

The woman I was next to in line was very distracted.  I'm not sure if this store was new to her, or if she simply was a distractible person, but when the person ahead of her had finished, she was facing in the complete opposite direction of the check stand.  Feeling the vultures circling overheard, I called., "Excuse me ma'am, but I think they're done."

Sure enough, as she thanked me and stepped forward, there he was.  A tall, thinnish gentleman who was certainly old enough to know better, halted in the very act of sneaking between the stand and the woman's basket to preempt her spot in line.   He awkwardly stepped back in front of his own line and shot me a look of consternation that quickly turned to mollification as he saw me looking him.

"Not today, sir," I thought, as I moved forward to my own stand to make my purchase.  And so, smugly, I paid for my things using my reusable bag (smug) which I remembered (smug smug), and did NOT hit the lady with the death wish who literally ran behind my car (smug smug smug).  I came home to find a parking space on my side of the street on street-sweeping eve (smug smug smug smug).  Sometimes being a good person is it's own reward, but it's nice to get instant Karma as well.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Surviving, Not Thriving

I don't generally like to air my laundry out in public, mostly because my frilly chonies are nobody's business.  However, I know a lot of people are going through some tough times right now.  Maybe someone will feel better knowing they're going through something similar to me, maybe someone will have a good idea on how to cope.  Or even better yet, a job lead for a brilliant young artist with a Bachelor Degree in Game Art and Design.  When I say he's brilliant, I'm not being his girlfriend.  I mean he's flippin' brilliant.  Okay, web design: not our strong suit, but I digress.

The Scruffy-Looking Nerfherder and I are pretty convinced we want to spend the rest of our lives together.  This will come as a complete shock to absolutely nobody who's ever been in the same room with the two of us.  There's just a few issues.  Well, two.  Two wonderful, fabulous, delightful issues that aren't so much obstacles, as... well, if you'll forgive an archaic use of the word... issues.

My boyfriend has two amazing children.  I haven't spent a huge amount of time with them, but I love them already and I can't wait to have them be a more permanent part of my family.  There's a bit of  hitch in the giddyup, though, and that's finances.  Right now, we are just exactly making ends meet.  This is partly because times are tough, and partly because the SLNH just graduated from college last July and still hasn't been able to find full-time employment.

We can't take the next step to becoming a family until we can actually BE a family, and we can't do that without the kids, who are currently with Grandma and Grandpa until things get sorted out.  We certainly can't move the kids into our one bedroom apartment, and we can't afford a two-bedroom on what I make.  So we're stuck in limbo.  Stuck in Purgatory.  Stuck in Long Beach, having discussions about rings, dresses, and how many bedrooms we might eventually need, with absolutely no way to implement our dreams, and no way of knowing when we'll be able to move forward.

It's frustrating, maddening, infuriating.  I've stopped looking forward because it hurts too much not knowing if I can or even should.  Admittedly, today is a "bad head day".  Most days I find my zen about it, because honestly, until he finds work, there is nothing to be done about it and stressing will just make me crazy.  But today, right now, I'm stressing, and crazy, and feeling a little hopeless.

Things will not stay like this forever, I know it.  My dearest darling is a very talented and likable man and eventually he'll be in the right place at the right time, and be snatched up by someone who will appreciate and use his talents.  As they say, "this too shall pass."  Perhaps somewhere in this I'll learn actual patience and Zen, rather than the semblance thereof.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


This year, I'm going to blog like it's 1999, just on the off-chance people are wrong, the Mayans DIDN'T run out of room, and WEREN'T marking the end of a cycle.  That doesn't mean I'll be using 1999 technology, just that I'll be blogging more frequently.  I realize the futility of this, if the world truly does end, there will be nobody to read my blog, however, I will die knowing I spent time recording my thoughts.  For some reason this is important to me.

As it's January the first, I fear I will join the throng in a New Years Resolution post.  I know many who shirk this tradition (though I think it's mostly out of a desire to shirk tradition in general), however I have always kept it.  I think the reason the I like to make New Year Resolutions is not because I imagine there's some mystical powers lent to projects begun on the first of January, but because most of the world recognizes this day as the beginning of a new cycle.  The old Year has died and the new Year has been born, to much love and celebration.  What better time to sit back and take stock of that which was, that which is, and that which you wish to be?

Sadly, I don't have particularly grand resolutions this year, and they're certainly not unique, however, such as they are, I'm going to write them down, if for no other reason that to look back in 2013 - which is TOTALLY HAPPENING (probably).

2011 was a very stressful year, and I am a stress-eater.  It didn't help either that I began working for an Italian food importer, where I could get all the pasta, risotto, and even wine that I wanted.  I gained about 30 pounds, to add to the 15 "I'm so happy I'm not single" pounds I already gained.  My goal this year is lose the 45 pounds I've gained since I started dating my Scruffy-Looking NerfHerder.  My plan for this is to wake up 30 minutes earlier and do something physical every day.  My plan is also to use lo-carb induction to get myself kick-started, and then simply eat more veggies, less starch, drink less, and eat at home more.

I spent a lot of 2011 worrying, to the point where I started to make myself sick.  In 2012 I am going to find my zen, and nail it to my brain.  I realize this isn't strictly the traditional zen solution to this problem, but I really like the imagery of it.  Part of my plan is to care less about what everyone else thinks and more about what I think, and part of it is to accept that I can't control everything.

This year is going to be challenging for my Scruffy-Looking NerfHerder and me.  We will move, have kidlets move with us, and probably either have or begin planning a party where I wear a white dress and invite all my friends.  I am going to need to lean on him a lot, and he on me, and so I resolve to make sure that we continue to communicate as we always have: brilliantly.

Music.  Apart from my SLNH, music is the joy and passion of my life.  This year, I am going to treat it more like the lover it is, instead of the interloper it's become.  I will practice bouzouki and piano one hour each every week, and I will write a song every week.  I will MAKE time to do this, because it's important to my emotional and spiritual growth.

I think that's a full enough docket for one year.  Wish me luck!