Sunday roundup

  • Paul’s in Seattle. He drove himself. There will be a family council (we hope) when he returns.
  • Typhoon Merbok is screwing up coastal Alaska
  • The gyrations involved in getting Trump squared up for his ‘day in court’ continue. His most recent legal beagle asked for three million dollars cash up front and as I said on Twitter, the lawyer is still going to get his ass cheated off his body.
  • Mass graves continue to be discovered in Eastern Ukraine. Putin and his wolf pack have a lot to answer for. India and China are pulling away from him, except insofar as whatever they can pick off what’s looking like a particularly unappetizing piece of global carrion.
  • 13368 words on Landslide, 4197 on Totally Boned
  • I’m incubating a couple of poems, more when I actually figure out why I want to use heavily charged and coded words and even more when I write them. I think one of them wants to be a very dry list of my mental health symptoms
  • Almost 600 Americans are still dying every day from COVID. It’s the second highest reported cause of death in the US this week. BC reported infections and rate of infections are currently dropping, and about 200 people a week are catching it, with a very low death rate. Whether we’ll ever get anything but nonsense and bluster out of BC for the mass disabling event that is COVID is an open question; Keith thinks it’s a possibility and as a family we’re thinking of all getting tested.
  • Alex comes today, still don’t know exactly when.
  • There is a memorial for Queen Elizabeth in Queen’s Park in New Westminster at 1 pm today. I will not be there, I merely note its existence
  • Twitter is full of Brits queuing to file past the Queen. Out of towners who don’t give a shit about the monarchy are also complaining about getting stuck in traffic and the idea of voluntarily driving around London the weekend before they plant the HRH is ludicrous to me.
  • Hungary’s getting subsidy money from the EU cut because they’re a bunch of anti abortion, anti gay, corrupt fuckwits. We’re talking billions of Euros. The poor of Hungary will hurt the most, as always.
  • QUIT FEEDING THE GODDAMNED BEARS North Vancouver I am looking at you; do you suppose the conservation officers ENJOY SHOOTING BEARS I can tell you to your face they don’t, ya collection of buhs.
  • To recap: Buh is the bih-bah word that substitutes for crazy. Crazy isn’t acceptable. Buh covers: disgusting (stop being a goddamned sex pest, I don’t want to see your penis or your ass, or hear about what you want to do to me while you drive by in your best friend’s car), dirty (please maintain basic hygiene), dangerous (please do not jump onto moving cars, please do not drive cars impaired, please do not aim your car at protesters or tourists), bothersome (please leash/muzzle your pet and don’t run air tools at 3 am, please do not pull the panic stop on Skytrain for no reason, please drink/toke/inject responsibly, please wear a mask), noisy (keep it under 65 dB f’Chrissakes), wilfully destructive (seems obvious) and violent (why are you knifing me).
  • ‘Confess Fletch’ with Jon Hamm is entertaining as hell, great script, laughed my ass off. Also sticks the landing in 90 – all action movies and comedies should try to get in at 90. I’ll give superhero movies an extra half for all the eyecandy bloody CGI

it’s the little things

Paul drove back from Seattle with his girlfriend in tow, didn’t bother to tell the kids first. Well, at least I can scratch that off the list of people Paul must inform. It will be interesting to see which mode of transport she utilizes to go home.

Katie has asked (the way atheists do…) to keep a friend of hers in mind today. If things go well Katie’ll be walking distance from her best friend. Pray your asses off in other words, it would be SO GOOD for her mental health.

2525 words and NOW you’ve got that STUPID song in your head.

I called myself a ragesloth this morning.

Current Preface to my WIP “The Book of Kind Words”

This is a book that attempts to help you say the right thing when you have no time and no ideas.

There’s no right way to use this book. The book itself does not represent 100% correct responses to frequent puzzling situations, merely my take on an attempt to be humane and respond. These responses to human events were written in the spirit of the American books of manners, popular during the late Victorian era, which counselled the anxious and socially sensitive on what to say in a letter, whether you need to decline an offer of marriage or chide a friend for missing an appointment. The writers of those works humbly submitted their words for your use. If you didn’t like what was there, you could adapt it, without having to spend too much time on a first draft.
Not everyone is eloquent. Most people either want to be, or think they already are — until such time as they are confronted with writing a sympathy note and realize that a dove grey card with a fake-handwriting font — in and of itself — won’t be much comfort to your friend.

With the advent of the internet, the act of writing anything by hand or assistive device, and sending or giving it as a physical object to someone, is on the path to becoming a radical act. Letters are the first kind of self-publishing there ever was, if you think about it, one mind to another mind, or more. I know that in my family, in centuries past, letters, once they had been scanned for anything young ears should not hear, were often read aloud for the whole family – and were re-read often – as an acceptable family entertainment.
Anything hand-written is personal — and a small, comforting foxhole during our continued bombardment by advertising and screen-delivered content. The technology supporting screen-delivered content is powerful and useful in helping everyone, and especially marginalized individuals and colonized peoples, giving them a chance to communicate their practical, cultural and emotional truths – but there is something wonderful about getting a real note, letter or card in the mail.
The advancement of women into the workplace has diminished the time available for adults to write notes. There are men who carry out voluminous correspondences, but for social communications, it’s not the way to bet. You can, if you’re a man, dodge one of the worst bits of the gender binary by sending people letters more often than you do now.
We make time for the things that are important, and if social media is how we balance our social books and keep in touch with people, so be it. If a fascist regime were to shut down Facebook (as of 2021, a large social media company with more than a billion individual accounts), which sounds like a quaint thing to say given the contortionate bends the company has put itself through to support organizations hostile to democracy and civil rights, we’d all be forced back into handwritten notes. Were that to occur, they’d be normative again, which I find grimly amusing. Knowing that, I also know that this book may become relevant at any time.

When someone you love has experienced something good, bad, unusual or surprising, you might want to write a note but have no clear idea what to say. So you don’t say anything.
We fear to give offence less than we fear looking stupid, as I judge things, but both come into play when we don’t write the small, kind note. Another act of civility, solidarity and humanity, something we’ve had as a species for nigh 5,000 years, vanishes into the ether.
A friend or loved one may be facing circumstances that demand acknowledgement and some permanent sign that they were loved and witnessed during a non-trivial moment — whether it was one of elated triumph or terrible loss. You will not likely be holding that Facebook page in your hand in twenty years’ time. People may have responded with kindness to your distress in their comments, but if you don’t print that out (at some cost), there’s no guarantee it will be there when you’re having a bad day. Whether you’re sending or receiving, notes are good.
You may be a person who keeps the handwritten letters you received, because they are precious. Paper burns, and feeds silverfish, but it also lasts. Ask the people you love for their mailing addresses. It makes me uneasy how many people do not have alternate means of finding each other except via Facebook. If the internet ails or crashes for any length of time, as it may, you’ll need to know where your friends are, and keep that info close to hand. Most of us don’t do it; not a wise state of affairs.
I hope I’ve put you in a mind to shift that task closer to the top of the list.
This book is the pair of glasses you keep to find your real glasses, your belt in case you broke your suspenders, your friendly nudge to sit with remembering your friends when you’re stuck in one place, to reach out to them. I would like this book to be yours so you are reminded to think: which of my friends could use a kind word?
Then the hard part, assembling the address book (a physical one), the pen, the cleared surface, the words, an envelope, a stamp. If we’re close by, then popping it under a door. My advice is to keep all that stuff in one place, your satchel if you have one, the junk drawer if you don’t.
Yes.
Keep this book in a junk drawer. It won’t mind. Close to the stamps is good.

right okay fine let me kick this in the goolies

How to Stop Being Offended by Everyone (in just 13 steps)

JFC. This woman need a course correction, but I’m not giving her one in the comments. Here’s the skinnified version of what she said:

My being offended is a choice; take a few breaths before responding; consider the source; discern if it was intentional; interrogate the sense of being offended, is it you or the circumstances; locate the part of you that feels victimized; send yourself loving energy rather than going off; listen to the opposing perspective; release yourself of the duty to police other people’s views; wait 24 hours to respond; and I’m quoting #11 in full because it’s SUCH BULLSHIT I WANT YOU TO SAVOUR er EXPERIENCE ITS EXCESSIVELY SHITTY QUALITY: “11. Remind yourself that we are a collective, and that the person that “wronged” you is from the same Source as you. We all have the same “cosmic DNA”. So hating them is hating you”; see the lesson from the offence as a gift; don’t stay offended.

I’ll be simple, I’ll be brief. Imagine giving this advice to a Black person who’s reading about how Black people are terrible workers; to a trans woman who’s experiencing harassment from cis-magats on the internet; to a woman reading something about feminism and allyship from the man who raped her; to an Indigenous person being mocked for eating country food when they could be vegan and ‘save the planet’; or a Jew sent the long-nosed Pepe meme; or a disabled queer person encouraged to just die already and quit ‘draining the public purse’.

THE ADVICE LOOKS DIFFERENT NOW DOESN’T IT. Don’t tell me who I can’t hate, you peccary-approximate clickbaiter. Listen to the opposing perspective when THEY WANT TO KILL ME and or MY FRIENDS. GET FUCKED! NO, SERIOUSLY! AFTER YOU!

Kelly Albano wrote the above noted clickbait. I’d like to annoy her until she drops the pretence that she’s calm, but I have other shit to do today than tell another white woman that she’s totally fucking clueless about how this feel-good advice appears during climate crisis, fascism on the march, destroyed norms of media balance and public behaviour, kids incarcerated and separated from their parents for being brown and poor, and the future of our young people destroyed by crony capitalism. Fuck you, Kelly Albano. Stay in your bubble and quit posting crap.

Yes yes, Kelly, this is advice for something that ‘offends you’ — not for something that’s an existential threat. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, you oft-scratched scab, white women have this tremendous tendency to send shit like this to marginalized people. Yup, I see it ALL THE FUCKING TIME on twitter; they will repurpose this feelgoodery to douchewaddery in four seconds flat and some poor schlub who’s legit angry is going to get told to wind it in by a thirty-five year old white woman who’s never been stopped by the cops for anything and who thinks this shit’s a blessing on a troubled world, when it’s just going to get used to hurt people who aren’t ‘evolved enough’ – Jesus wept – not to get angry when someone’s trying to KILL THEM.

And I’m not talking on twitter about this. The idea that someone I know might forward this shite to a marginalized person who’s suffering is fuckin’ more than I can handle.

 

 

today’s non-events

Got into a beatdown with a bunch of one of the most self-righteous pot activists (like there’s another fucking kind) on twitter today.

Come ON I smoke, but I don’t smoke and blow smoke in the faces of the allergic and the elderly, and they’re announcing it’s their RIGHT, because this is VANCOUVER, home of TOLERANCE. Yeah I’ll believe that when Canada gives back the unceded lands, you unregenerate failure of logic. I’m like a homophobe for harshing their mellow. Srsly. Got accused of equivalency to homophobia for objecting to people dousing the entire west end in pot smoke for their stupid fucking 420 festival (which leaves heaps of trash mounded everywhere and they’re all cryface because they didn’t get a fucking permit.) F*ck me!

I realized that when you put asterisks in f*cking swearwords you’re putting a leedle asshole right in the meedle of the word and since when you’re swearing there’s usually an asshole involved, it’s mesmerizingly poifect.

I love Buster, he’s an amazing cat. And he loves me too, I know it. I don’t think Miss Margot cares if I live or die, but Buster does.

My latest piece of fanfic smut has more than five hundred likes (it’s cute and hot, so there)

I’ve written a BDSM scene in the same ‘verse but I’m not happy with it yet. I had to put in about 200 words about how the scene is ‘necessary but non-consensual’ which kinda blows (or not!) since scenes need consent if they’re to resonate with me writing, at all. So it’s like “We’ve talked about this – I hate it when you want me (and need me) to top you but I’m s’posed to read your mind – and topping when you’re angry at your partner is a bad bad bad idea” followed by “Do what ya gotta, man, just hit me really hard.” Oh, and there are minor children in the house while this sh*t’s going down, just to make it even more like real life, and our heroes must deal with the domestic consequences of Daddies fighting. I LOVE A CHALLENGE. After all, continuing to have interesting sex after kids *is* a continuing challenge in real life. People want carefree smut? they can look elsewhere; to me smut always has a cost. Who bears it depends on who’s being responsible, or not.

Not that anybody wants to know, but I’m really not into any of those behaviours in real life. Nagging at volume is sort of where I max out, ask any of my exes.

Continuing to have the poly life discussion with someone. It’s painful. Really painful. I feel like I have my nose up again a particularly interesting window. I can smell bread baking. But no. G*ddamned heteronormative uncommunicative bushwah (on their end, not mine.) But at the same time there’s NO F*CKING POINT to becoming an elder if you don’t understand that real life takes time, opportunities for growth don’t wait, and if you don’t consider who’s going to be impacted by your decisions, your years, your grey hairs and and your learning means squat. I am still 22 in some corner of my persona, for my enthusiasms still have all the joy of my youth; I just can’t write everyone affected by my behaviour out of the script any more. I do from time to time, but not all the time.

Fortunately, since I’m pushing 60 with a broom, I can contemplate my greed like the gorram caged bear that it is. Still here, but not running the show.

Katie is still having a rough time and she and Alex are both sick again.

I am not having a rough time. I feel pretty good, all things considered. I have another two weeks of full time work. If that changes, I’ll deal with it. I actually have a plan to deal with it that I think will make almost everyone happy, at least temporarily.

Rogue One is a fucking fantastic movie. Getting eaten by Disney was the best thing that ever happened to the franchise.

Now to check if my money transfer has come through.

Dropped off

Katie and Alex and I saw humpback whales (two of them) from the stern of the ferry boat yesterday.  It was so marvellous!

The first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning around 3 am was Alex.  He has a memorable face, and such merry blue eyes.  Katie and I had a talk and I told her that I won’t try to pick him up or cuddle him again until he wants me to; I may wait years, or forever, but he’s just not that into me, so I’ll let myself be baby driven.

I was not able to get as much of the mOm-assisted edits done this time and while I’m disappointed I think it will be fine.  I’m not feeling any pull toward writing today so I’ll work on other things instead.

I very much enjoyed driving the Modo car, which is a Prius.  I didn’t enjoy the gas card not working so I have to make sure I get my money back.

DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH TURDS. There’s no picture, but some of you ****ers be squeamish.

I took a book by a Christian (Phil Ryan) out of the library.  It’s called After the New Atheist Debate and it’s a sort of Point Counterpoint on the New Atheist positions and the Defenders of the Faiths – including the horrifyingly sexist and racist Theodore Beale.  BUT it contained this gem: Alasdair MacIntyre is paraphrased by Ryan as saying “modern moral debates (are) ‘interminable’ because of the ‘conceptual incommensurability’ of rival positions”.

Blog post from July 2005

So Keith has been coughing and looking and feeling horrible, and last night around bed time he said, I’ll see if I feel like going in to work tomorrow. Paul and I both said, why don’t you call in sick NOW and then you can sleep in!

He sez, “I can do that?”

So he calls in sick. What I heard, “Hi, it’s Keith; feel like ratshit, so I won’t be coming in on Thursday.”

What he REALLY said was, “Hi, it’s Keith, I feel wretched, so I won’t be coming in on Thursday.”

Then I hear Paul say, in his proud voice, “Very professional!” at which point the top of my head caved in. I think I’m slowly going deaf…. it does run in the family.

In response to Pat Broderick’s whine about cosplayers

Hierarchical BS in fandom is going to happen. I’m troubled when our media preferences become more important to our tribal affiliation than the enduring sense of wonder that lifted us all up into fandom in the first place. Jealousy and envy are a part of life. Throw sexism, sizeism, publishing credits and perfect pitch into a small and vocal fandom and voila, ongoing eruptions.
 
Entitled people are likely to be cognitively biased enough to keep enunciating why their preferences ought to be the rules. (And whinge when they get called on it.) Those of us who do *not* find our preferences prescriptive for the entire universe of fandom…are “just happy to go to cons, meet new people, learn new songs and stay out of politics.”
 
Unless you’re a tribble, you shouldn’t hiss at Klingons. Or to rephrase, unless you have a physical problem with someone else’s embodiment of fandom (eg., using peanut butter as part of your costume when so many fans are allergic is unacceptable) the correct response falls along a continuum. Privately giggle with your friends, whine to your BFF or SO, or work through the irritation or anger in some constructive fashion. And now I pass the talking stick to someone else.

No walkies yesterday

I spent a fair amount of time at the shop cleaning and stooging about for tradesmen, but Ramey changed two lightbulbs without saying anything…. I think he was wondering if I was so clued out I wouldn’t notice.  I thanked him profusely.  The compressor on the walk in is working perfectly again.

Today I have a long list of things to do and I probably won’t get around to any of it.

 

Here is an interesting article about ‘the ring theory’ of kvetching.

A family story with some current relevance

A single kindness gets lonely

December 16, 1998

I remember the day Paul lost his memory.  His memory is no longer in his head, you see.  It’s a Casio 128 and his whole life is in it.  He left it on the plane from Toronto to Vancouver.

I’ve never seen Paul so mad at himself.  He was madder than the time he crushed his memory into the boards while playing crack the whip with the kids, and madder yet then the time he leaned over the toilet at work and it swan dived into the bowl.

He blankly said, “Well I guess I’ll never see -that- again,” and become very morose.  A couple of hours after we got to my parents’ place in Victoria, the phone rang.  My mother was outside and my father, who associates ringing telephones with drunken clients importuning him for assistance, refused to answer.  Paul picked it up.

“Is Paul there?” asked a pleasant female voice.

“Speaking!” said Paul, really surprised.

“I’ve got your electronic organizer!” she said.

One of the stewardesses had found it and looked in it until she came up with a BC phone number.  It was purest chance that Paul happened to answer the phone.

It came on the next flight to Victoria from Vancouver – Paul was thrilled, and touched.

So it was no surprise what Paul did when he found a daybook packed with so many names and addresses that the owner had started writing in the margins.  As soon as he saw it was a Vancouver address, he jumped in the car and drove it to the guy.  I accompanied him for laughs.

After loudly and repeatedly expressing his thanks, the gentleman told us that he was a committee chair, and a prof and an activist, and his whole life was in that book.  He had been contemplating recovering the information with something approaching despair.  He promised two things, and I know he did one because Paul got a sensational letter praising his customer service skills at work; the other was to promise that he’d photocopy his address book and put it somewhere safe first thing he got into the office.

So this is a reminder – back up your data.  It doesn’t matter if it’s on paper, a hard disk or chiselled into a rock.  Make another copy and put it someplace safe.  As soon as I got home that night I sent my mother all my friends’ email addresses as well as my address book.

It’s important to remember that a single kindness rapidly gets lonely.  That single act of being present and taking care will ripple out and have effects you can’t even contemplate.  When the world is kind to you it’s because the laws of cause and effect still rule.

I remember one other act of kindness of Paul’s.  We were driving up University just south of Bloor in Toronto and a stunning woman was stuck in traffic, four way flashers blazing, next to an old diesel Mercedes-Benz.  She looked quite distraught.

“My old car!” Paul said, because it was the exact same year and model as one of his first cars.  “I know what’s wrong,” and in about as much time as it takes to describe it, pulled in front of her, leaped out of the car, adjusted something inside the car, and got it running again.  I have taken a lot of pleasure over the years thinking of the story this woman must have told her family over supper that night.

We try to look after each other as a family, and try to emphasize kindness.  When we find things we return them, if there’s an address and a name.  Once I lost a sheaf of writing on the Royal York bus and some woman, who is an angel in human form, spent two bucks on postage getting it back to me.  I thank her, and I thank everybody who ever let me in, comforted my kids when I couldn’t be there, put a happy nothing day gift on my desk, or sent me an email from a friend of a friend.

Sometimes I think that an email inspired belly laugh in the middle of a brutal working day is a random act of kindness – travelling from someone I will never meet, at the speed of light.