Oct 31

uuugghghhhh

I’m having car trouble — the back lights on my car don’t work, so it’s not safe to drive at night. You may be able to tell by the timestamp that it’s 6:30 in the morning here — right now, I’m sitting at home, waiting for the sun to rise enough that I can go to work. I would try and get some work done from home, but I left the notebook that contains all the notes I could use for home-work at the moment on my desk at work.

I still feel very, very sick. I wish I could call out. I wish I lived in a country with a healthcare system that allowed me to easily go and see a doctor when I’m sick. I wish my ability to survive financially wasn’t dependent on doing an adequate number of hours of work per week,1 so that I could afford to take a lighter day or not work seven days a week. I wish I had better medicine, better food. I wish I got more sleep, on a better mattress. I wish I didn’t wake up with back pain every time I sleep here.

I’m not going anywhere with this. I just want blogging to be done for the day/week.

Happy halloween.

  1. Note: I don’t actually have access to the cultural status that allows me to survive financially given an adequate quantity of work; I’m permanently below that line, and working to mitigate the amount of harm that does me.

Oct 30

:(

I am more than usually upset today that the United States government does not have a basic income, well-organized subsidized housing, minimum wage that keeps up with the living wage, or really any institutionally established notion that the responsibility of a government is to act in the interests of the citizens it governs.

Actually, I’m more than usually upset about a lot of things today — my car, my personal life, the English language, surprisingly not the new layout of the Tumblr dashboard, but I think that’s just because I’ve run all out of pissed off before I can even get to that. Mainly I’m pissed off because I am feeling very unwell, and I think I probably have the flu. (I’ve been wanting to joke about it being ebola all day but I haven’t been around anyone who (a.) would definitely not think that was actually a credible fear, and (b.) definitely wouldn’t see it as an opportunity to make racist jokes about Africa.)

There’s a lot that’s not going well for me right now, and I’ve been wanting all day to ask someone for advice, for what I can do to make things better. But I can’t, because it would be pointless, because the reality is that I know all the things I can do to make things better, and I’m doing them, but they’re pretty much all more likely than not to fail, and a fair number of them are likely to cause actual setbacks instead of just zero gain as failure conditions.

Being sick makes me feel extremely hopeless. And lonely. And frustrated. And, apparently, causes muscle pain.

Oct 29

Presented without context

Once you know something, it becomes almost impossible to really comprehend that other people DON’T know it.
You can know that they don’t, believe that they don’t, act as though they don’t, even, with effort, imagine what it must be like to experience that not-knowing. But with few exceptions, you can’t really internalize. What is seen cannot be un-seen.

I think this is a big deal with vocabulary. Because words are such a fundamental part of the way we interact with the world, it’s hard to imagine that people don’t know the words that you know — and more importantly, that people can’t easily be made to understand the full depth of context that comes with a word.

I have this problem in a lot of conversations — like, I know that people don’t really know what I mean when I say post-modern or deconstruction. But I find myself regularly, repeatedly making the mistake of believing that all I have to do is explain, briefly, and then the conversation can continue from there.

Even though I spent years in school learning about what those words mean. Even though I know that, in my mind, an explanation of those words entails an explanation of the life stories of several philosophers, a handful of well-known anecdotes and media sources, as well as the associated commentary, and a reasonably solid footing in modernism.

I feel bad about that sometimes.

Oct 28

Bluh

I feel like boiled slime.

I just noticed in my (new) planner that this coming Sunday is going to be the end of Daylight Saving Time. Everything’s already too dark around here, but they’re about to get even darker.

I wanted to eat something today that would make me feel better, but I failed. I went to Market Basket to pick up some food for the day, and ended up getting a loaf of french bread. Today, for food, I have had a loaf of french bread and a bottle of Dr Pepper.

I kinda want to sleep and not wake up for a couple months. I kinda want to fall asleep in my chair, at my desk, right now.

I don’t feel awesome right now, is what I’m saying.

Oct 27

Knife, lighter, book, notebook, cell phone

I had an assignment for Anthropology today that I really enjoyed doing, and I want to post the result. (And not just because I can’t think of anything else to blog about, although that is part of it.)

The assignment was to imagine that I was going to an island where I would meet the native people, but I had no pre-existing information about them at all. I don’t know anything about their culture, background, level of technology or language.

I get to bring (along with, like, stuff to survive) exactly five items with which to communicate who I am as a person. They have to be things I can carry, and I am supposed to use them to create a picture of my identity.

These are my choices:

Items 1 and 2: A pocket knife and lighter. These are to demonstrate that I am capable of using tools to interact with and alter my environment, and that I am at least better than completely incompetent when it comes to pursuing my own survival.

Item 3: a publication of some sort, ideally one I’m published in. If they have a written language, I figure there’s a good chance they’ll recognize the text as a form of written language, even if they don’t understand it. If they don’t have a written language, reading aloud from it and pointing to where I’m reading from ought to convey that the squiggles represent meaningful noises, at least.

Item 4: A pen or pencil and notebook. (I feel like these should count together as a unit.) These are to demonstrate that I write, not just carry around written things. I have no idea whether they would find that meaningful, because I have no idea what they prioritize about a person’s identity, but I live in a culture where what you do for a living is the most important thing about you, so it’s not hard for me to identify ‘who I am’ as a writer. (Besides, my next best core qualities after arts are mental illness, and I feel like a bottle of antidepressants don’t have quite the same visibly communicative power.)

Item 5: a current-gen smartphone that gets good signal wherever I’m going to be. Fingers crossed that Google Translate can pick up the language the natives speak from a speech sample, and then I can just google for a phrase book. But if not, well, my relationship to technology is important to me, and the blade and fire are evocative of the most basic form of that but the smartphone represents the most sophisticated manifestation that I use routinely.

Oct 24

Had a chat with a sexist today

I had an argument about feminism today. There wasn’t anything new or exciting about it — I walked into a classroom at the tail-end of an argument between a professor and a student about whether that professor should, when talking about feminism, give equal time to the kinds of oppression men face.

The guy’s argument was that, since men deal with systematic problems too, they deserve equal attention in any argument for justice. His two pieces of evidence for men’s oppression were the higher suicide rate and “Having all that extra power is a lot of responsibility.”

His criticism of my argument was that I was failing to define sexism in explicit, straightforward terms. The meat of my argument was that sexism is a problem of such great complexity that it’s impossible to reduce it into straightforward terms in a satisfying way.

It was very frustrating.

Oct 23

I am whelmed

Two more posts before I can blow off a day.

I have not been having a great week. It feels like it should be over by now. Or, it felt like it should be over by the end of the day on Tuesday, and now it just feels like I’m in a cruelly hyperbolic grind towards the unknowable but almost certainly destructive and vile future.

And it’s been pouring raining in southern NH and northern Mass. for days. It’s almost as if by Tuesday reality ran out of time and now it’s just coming apart. The sky is literally falling. Somebody pulled a plug somewhere and now the clouds are melting and the heater’s off.

And I still have tomorrow to get through. Tomorrow’s not going to be a short day. I’ve got an exam, and a presentation, then I’ve got at least one story to finish at work, but I should probably stick around long enough to get two done.

And then. THEN. I still have work on the weekends. It’s not even going to be a day off. It’s just a different character of business, and different places to be and not-be.

Sorry for being so vague. I actually kind of don’t like talking about my personal life much on the internet, but there’s a lot going on right now and it’s preventing me from devoting mental energy to cool stuff to blog about.

Oct 22

google keep story notes

It still hasn’t been quite two months since I promised not to write a non-post for at least two months. It’s been a busy, stressful, complicated week that involved a huge number of things that I don’t currently want to publish on the internet.

I scrolled through my Google Keep files looking for a topic, and I found two posts in the color I use for fiction ideas.

One of them says

Promises, broken and unkept

The other says,

Riddle magic

Whale fire

The first one, I just had a mental image for. A little shop that sells broken and unkept promises. They’d be little symbolic objects vested with ‘pataphysical meaning. A ribbon with a pin in it, a cracked circular mirror, a pair of clock hands, stuff like that.

Riddle magic is a plot device idea that I’m still excited about, and I’m sure I’m going to use it in a story eventually. It’s magic that’s cast by reading someone a riddle, then the spell that follows is based on the solution to it, but the target of the spell can break it by solving the riddle.

I’m not actually much good at writing riddles, although I think I could probably get better at it, but, like, if the answer were ‘water,’ the room might start flooding, and the target of the spell would have the advantage of the really blatant hint about the subject, but also the disadvantage about being literally about to drown and so presumably panicking and distracted.

Whale fire was an idea for flashback chunks of my magic setting — from when people were still using whale oil for lamps. I don’t know anything about how that industry worked, but I like the idea of a kind of magic where there’s something deeply embedded in the spell that’s angry at, and hostile to, the people casting it. In this case, whales being pissed that they got murdered to be lamps.

Oct 21

I had homebrewed mead tonight

Or, I think it was homebrewed. My friend who gave it to me said his friend made it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that that friend owned a brewery.

mead pic

 

It was kind of minty? I’m not sure if that’s the right word. Jon told me what the herbs were that his friend used, but I can’t remember what they were.1 And it was drier than the mead I had tried before. But still, it was good. If mead counts as a form of wine (I’ve heard mixed accounts on this) then this one still ranks among the best wines I’ve had. (Because wine is terrible.)

  1. I would be an awesome drinking blogger.

Oct 20

Rants

I think I’ve mentioned here before that I want to start vlogging. I’m not really set up for it at the moment — I know what I want to do, and I know I’m going to need Premiere or a similar program to do it, and I know it’s going to take more time than I could reasonably borrow off someone else’s computer, so it’s going to have to wait until I have my own computer with Adobe Creative Suite to work with.

In the meantime, my Google Keep page is packed with partially or completely written rants about like a dozen different things. I spent a little time yesterday putting together a rant about the Tragedy of the Commons. Some others that are already pretty completely written are: Are opinions a meaningful concept? The difference between ignorance and willful ignorance, why lots of people should see therapists if they can, and one called “The food metaphor,” which is about how everything’s political.

Some of these, I think I’m going to post as blog posts to accompany the videos when they finally come together. But a lot of them, I really want to do in video format. I think I know what I want them to be, and it’s not just a wall of prose.

Unfortunately, that means occasionally I’ve devoted the majority of my mental attention to a narrative I can’t blog, which is kind of how I feel right now.

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