Et tu Taxes

According to Wiki: The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to the 15th of March. It was marked by several religious observances and was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.

Friends, Romans but specifically Americans know that, with some exceptions, April 15th is Tax Day in the U.S.  Tax Day is the date in which whether you owe Uncle Sam (the anthropomorphize avatar of the US government) or Uncle Sam owes money, you grin and bare/bear it and have to have your taxes filed.

I mostly remember the Ides these days because my mother was one of those people who though having received her W-2 at the end of January, would still wait until April 14th to mail in her taxes.

In elementary school most of us learn about Julius Caesar and his infamous last words when his supposed rod dog/main bro Brutus turned coat on him and just watched him get shanked on March 15th. <– Like my revisionist history? I once made a joke that Mach 15th was the 30 day warning bell. Mommy knew she had a month to get her taxes in order. My mother would have loved that Tax Day is on April 18th this year for it would have given her two more days of procrastination.

And why all of that? Because somehow a discussion on taxes came up while attending the repast of an erstwhile colleague.

Death and Taxes – get it? Get it?

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, bad Raivenne, bad! I’ll go bed now.


Today is Day 15 – The Ides of March Slice Of Life Story Challenge. 
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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Say What Now?

Rant Time:

I’m beyond sick and tired of reactionary memes and posts meant to shame how some people use their social media.

For example, seeing posts criticizing others for being upset over a celebrity’s death when there are wars going on and humanitarian crises all over the place that they should take precedence. Or a meme citing how one is annoyed with people talking about the Housewives of Wherever controversy as if in discussing what happened it somehow means they aren’t paying attention to the world around them and other far more important things going on.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll.

To hell with social media policing those only want to post about their family, their pets, their insignificant and significant others. Let them post cute puppies and cats and pandas and zombies and… Let them share their joys in peace. This mindset that one’s head is in the clouds if they aren’t posting relentlessly about every awful blessed thing going on in the world. That doesn’t mean they’re ignoring anything;  we do not know what exists in their lives beyond their FB page. Perhaps some only want to use their social media for more lighthearted fare because they are in fact having those heavy-as-shit conversations elsewhere, with loved ones, or through messenger, or out in the real world. Let them have their joys.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll on.

To hell with policing those who choose to post their their hurt, their rage. Maybe it’s self care; maybe they struggle with anxiety, and curating their social media to mitigate their rage is in fact a survival mechanism. A survival mechanism which keeps them from being the example for or against gun control that’s next trending the news feed.

Don’t like what they have to say? Scroll. The. Hell. On.

My Facebook, WP blog , Instagram and Twitter pages all represent one thing and one thing only: the views of  the owner of those pages – me.

So here’s a News flash: Those pages are not a democracy.

Sometimes friends/people post things that leave me scratching my head. If I don’t understand or don’t agree, I don’t spew on their page – ever. I may private message someone if I think I am the one misunderstanding something and meaningful dialog can come from it – otherwise I scroll, scroll on.

(Giving away my vintage here: I just sang those last three words in tune to The Floaters – “Float On“, but I digress…)

Seriously, Quid Pro scroll, bro.

Raivenne posts are a monarchy and I am its Empress. 

If my posts impress, excellent, but I know sometimes they will depress. I know sometimes they will inflame. When that happens – and it will – if you don’t like it, then please scroll away, scroll away, scroll away.

(Anyone Enya guess what song went through my head just then? But I digress – again…)

I will be just fine – trust me.

Don’t like…

  • when I deleted your comment on my post because I thought it was cruelly offensive?
  • if I choose to ignore your inflammatory Xsplainin’ comment on my X-subject post because I refuse to be drawn into yet another useless argument?
  • that I’m still upset over Chester Bennington’s suicide?
  • my sarcastic answer to those stupid FB question?

It’s my page, my posts. Think about it – that Send/Post/Publish button was not pressed by accident.

The land of Raivenne is a dictatorship and I am its ruling dick. 

(Yes, I made a dick joke – a dumb one at that. Don’t let the fact that I have a vagina, lead to the falsehood that my balls aren’t bigger.)

Don’t like it? Well, you know what to do….


Today is Day 14 of the March Slice Of Life Story Challenge. 
Come see how others are slicing it up today.
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LP & Me

I was asked if Metallica and Linkin Park had new releases and were touring around the same year, which caused them to have concerts on the same day which band would I chose.

The reality is I am surrounded by so many venues and both bands always play multiple days in a given arena, that this conflict would never really be an issue. The question would be which one would I want to see first? And that is a damned good question.

Ask anyone who knows me about my favorite band and all will unequivocally tell you Metallica. It’s hard to even write their name without wanting to scream it out loud, immediately follow by an expletive, at least one. My love for Metallica has been unflinching since the first chords of “Master of Puppets” entered my pysche. No, I was not there from the very beginning of their career, but I have been a loyal acolyte to the altar of James, Lars,  Kirk and Robert (with nods to Jason, Dave, Ron and a RIP to Cliff, of course). However, those who know me really well know I also have a thisclose second musical love and that is Linkin Park.

Linkin Park Logo

My adoration for Joe, Dave, Brad, Mike, Rob and Chester runs deep. They remain the only other band, besides Metallica, whose music I will preorder notes unheard simply on the faith of who they are.

When this began…

It was 3am and I was in the midst of a three day insomnia run. I had given up the ghost of pretending I was going to sleep and turned on the TV. I was flipping through channels when I came across MTV’s Insomniac Theater, or something like that. One would think with a title as such it would be something sedate right? But this is MTV, it was playing rock, hard rock, thrash rock, loud rock and I hit the channel just as one video was fading out and what faded in was the sound of water draining. Huh? My head popped up, and some of you LP fans reading this may have already known from that small descriptor the song was Crawling.

I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence)
(I’m convinced that there’s)
(Just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before so insecure

These lyrics described exactly how I was feeling about myself in the world at that time. It was a whole new thing for me, a place where I can find, or is that lose?, myself in.

The song hit hard and unapologetic. Chester Bennington, lead vocalist for Linkin Park, was unforgiving as he growled his way into my id, fucking trashed it like a drugged out rocker’s hotel room and by God I wanted more! When the video ended I immediately turned off the television hyperventilating, not knowing what the fuck hit me, but I remember I finally fell asleep and felt so much better upon waking. I could barely contain myself after work long enough to get to the record store, buy the CD, get home and blast it.  The CD? Hybrid Theory. And thus a new love was borne.

Hybrid Theory stayed in my portable CD player for at least, at least, two solid months. I mean I am pretty sure I listened to nothing else, but Lincoln Park for a solid two months. Even now when I hear certain songs from that album, my mind automatically starts playing the opening notes of the next track in album order.  Play One Step Closer and my mind segues into With You; A Cure For The Itch will fade into Pushing Me Away. If you have the extended version which I did, you also got to hear My December and that remains in my mental rotation as well.

But wait…

As happily stunned as I was by Hybrid Theory, the group’s next release Meteora simply floored me. You know how for many bands the sophomore release can be meh? Well, Linkin Park clearly did not get that memo.  Musically, it follows a similar vein as Hybrid Theory, but lyrically it hits the emotions harder.

Depression –

Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
‘Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you

Anger – 

Time won’t heal this damage anymore
Don’t turn your back on me I won’t be ignored!

Recovery – 

I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long
(Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)

I’ve quoted lyrics from Numb,  Faint, and Somewhere I Belong respectively here, but really the entire album simply works for me. There is a reason it remains their highest grossing studio release.  Chester’s voice combined with Mike Shinoda’s rap, and Joe Hahn’s sampling/mixing was a heady combination. If The Devil Went Down To Georgia were rock/rap based, Meteora would have been the din that did Mephistopheles in. And they didn’t stop there…

Their next album, Minutes to Midnight was released ten years ago – yet…

Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay
And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
Both scared and angry like “What did he say?”

Now, replace “nightly news” with “Twitter tweets”. Sounds familiar? It’s their third album in and they are still speaking what’s inside my head, then and now.

A Thousand Suns

God save us everyone,
Will we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns?
For the sins of our hands,
The sins of our tongues,
The sins of our fathers,
The sins of our young.

Living Things

No, you can tell ’em all now
I don’t back up, I don’t back down
I don’t fold up, and I don’t bow
I don’t roll over, don’t know how

The Hunting Party

You’re guilty all the same
Too sick to be ashamed
You want to point your finger
But there’s no one else to blame

The Hunting Party marks something of a departure for LP in that it is their first album to bring in guest appearances with other artists to collaborate.

Now include their one off singles like New Divide (from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – Movie Soundtrack) and the hits keep coming. Another standout for me was Chester’s cover of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep that he performed live during a concert. In the clear opposite of the style that is the earmark of his general singing with Linkin Park, here it is stripped down and one of the times you get to hear him just sing. It is an almost acapella cover that showcases the strength and beauty of the man’s voice. There is a reason he did a short tour on lead vocals with Stone Temple Pilots – the man can sing.

Now, I am eagerly awaiting their seventh studio release – One More Light set to be released May 19th. In the interim I am enjoying the first single released, Heavy, featuring Kiiara. Heavy marks another first for Linkin Park with this song being the first studio release for them with a female vocalist. It’s a little pop-ish to me, but I like it. And there is the recently released Battle Symphony, lyrically more along the Linkin Park I know and love.

For all the brouhaha of the negatives some speak of rock and rap music, one would think that a band who has successfully, and consistently, done both well would be a monster. And yes they are, believe you me, but they are my kind of monster. These savage beasts sooth this beauty. I continue to listen to them, especially when seeking a way to ease my anger, or when I feel the stress about to overwhelm. All I have to do is put in my earbuds, or if home turn up the volume, and let myself drown in their music. To quote One Republic here – everything that drowns me, makes me want to fly. When I need to immerse myself in their music, they are my CPR and I am always resurrected in a better mood.


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Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 15


A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

A Mile In… 

It has been a couple of days now since we’ve made Donald Trump the new president-elect. Between the various camps of who voted for whom or berating/thanking those who did not vote at all and what it all means,it has been a shit storm of a week. In the midst of it are those saying it won’t be as bad as others are making it out to be. And that is the thing that has probably bugged me the most.

The majority of those who have touted unity, to pull ourselves together, have predominantly been white cis and yes, male. Now,to a point they are correct. It won’t be bad for them with Trump as preident, for it was not bad for most of them to begin with regardless of who held the title of POTUS. Their privilege comes with rose colored glasses that not nearly enough have chosen to at least lower them enough to view how things are for others whose shoes walk a different path. And those shoes coverd many different paths during the campaign – Blacks, Hispanics, women, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, gays..

Muslim women who have had their hajibs snatched from their heads. American born Mexican children being tauted by classmates they will be deported. A black man being called nigger and spat upon. A gay man being told he will soon be executed straight or to death. All of these events, perpetrated by whites, happened within the first 48 hours of Trump being elected. This is not to say any of these could not have happened at any other time, it could, and likely has, many times before. But it has ratched up considerably in just three days. This daily fear and unfortunate reality for many of us -for as a black woman in America I do feel those  crosshairs- is not going to be abated because many chose to push those rose colored glasses higher to hide the ugly.

Anyone denying that the climate has changed enough that the more hateful among us feel not just free, but justified, to behave this way since Trump’s election are accessories to the perpetrators, for silence is consent. Armchair tut-tutting after the fact is empty lip service to those who hurt. For while I do not believe the entire country will completely fall into the dark ages racially and socially, if the past couple of days have proven nothing else, I do believe the day to day social climate is going to be a rougher path to travel. 

In all honesty, I have no idea what kind of president Trump will be. I have no idea how a Republican led House, Senate and presidency will effect this nation as a whole. They may yet shock us all. Not holding my breath on it,  though. I have lived through several presidents now in my adult life. Some were given my vote and I lived through them, some were not and I lived through them. Like it or not, and I don’t, the nation has elected Donald J Trump, President of the United States of America and I am an American. I will respect the Office of the President of the United States, for I know it is bigger than the man who serves in it, and I will live through this president as well.

As I explained to an erstwhile colleague I ran into on the subway, just because it’s not your reality doesn’t mean the reasons for my fear are not real. Telling me it won’t be that bad is in fact saying it will be bad. Don’t you dare then belittle and dismiss my fears as unjustified.

To Serve With Loath…

Ah jury duty!

While I can’t speak for the rest of the country, or even the rest of the state for that matter, here in New York City a summons to jury duty seems to fall into 3 major camps:

  • Yay! I get out of work!
  • Damn! This shit again!
  • Whatever!

Then there is the subset cross twixt the Yays and teh Whatevers in which I fall. I do not relish jury duty, with glee, nor do I find it abhorrent or am apathetic to it.  I get the whole “what if it were happening to me” aspect of it and that it’s my civic duty. If I think myself to have the wherewithal to decide whether a candidate is worthy to be president surely I have the same to decide whether the average Joe is innocent or guilty. I merely hope if sellected for a case, I can serve with as little interruption to my life as possible, but I serve. Believe me when I tell you most NYCers report for jury duty with less joy than going to the gallows.

After herding us cattle, I mean joining us prospective jurors together in to  one large hall, the court clerk begins to read the rules and expectations of serving on jury duty. Clearly she s reading from a script so memorized that the sheets of paper in front of her is just a mere formality – it’s akin to watching a flight attendant who has done the Y M C A of flight safety nth times too many. Moreso, the clerk delivers her instructions with a monotone that would make a Ben Stein monologue seem lively and engaging by comparison.

Luckily, being allowed to use our phones as long as we were quiet I gratefully distracted myself from the acute boredom by snarking on facebook. Commentary from yesterday:

“Anyone who has a letter from their boss, explaining why you cannot serve jury jury, please bring the letter to the front so we can stamp it “Denied” to return to to your boss. You will not be excused.”

The “Aw fuck!” disappointed expressions around me are hilarious.

There was a woman a few seats from me who nicely took the tri-folded paper in her hand, put it in her purse, then not so nicely swore under her breath. Whoops. I can’t swear on it, but I am reasonaby sure I saw her get it stamped at the front desk later. Sometimes it bes liket dat – as the old folks say.

For the first couple of hours a max of ten names were called. For a bunch of peope who clearly did not wish to b there, I was surprised by the general chatter around me from those who names were yet to be called. It became repetetaive and annoying quickly. There were four or five people conversing around me being really whiny about the whole thing. I actually said to a guy trying to draw me in to the madness “Look. Very few of you actually want to be here. But you are here. You can’t get out of it. Constantly bitching isn’t going to get you out any sooner. Grow the hell up and shut the hell up.” 

I don’t think they are going to let me sit with them during lunch. I’m truly heartbroken over it.Speakng of lunch – another facebook comment:

The alacrity with which people hauled-ass out the juror waiting room for lunch is only going to be beat in humor by the comparative lethargy of these same folks upon reentry when the break is over. I could be grossly wrong in my assessment, but I don’t think my fellow jurors-in-waiting want to be here.

Suffice to say my facebook friends were amused.

Now we were warned from onset that if our name are not called, we may be realsed as early as 3pm, however, we may indeed be there until 5pm. When I looked uo at the clock at the front of the hall and saw 3:20pm, I prepared myself for the long haul. Minutes later Lady Ben Stein cle at the front desk announced “Ladies and gentlemen your service for today is concluded. Please return at 9:30am tomorrow…”. 

 Going by the speed with which many bee-lined for the doors. What was heard was:


As nearly all headed out as though the buildng were on fire. I say nearly beause some of us remained seated clearly observing this mad dash with bemusement. Then there was the cutie-pie who had not move at all because he was lightly snoring, about to drool asleep. His complete look of bewilderment as woke him to a near empty hall was priceless.

Today is day two – Let the games begin…


Slice of Life Writing Challenge | Two Writing Teachers