pull up a stool and sit down

As I pursue a diagnosis, I had to put some poop in a bottle.

 

which takes me back to the good old days

 

When I was working reception at Employee Health as a summer job at UH, the dietary department experienced a hepatitis outbreak, which, holy shitbags, you really don’t want in a hospital dietary staff group. So of course in those days (1980 ish) you needed a largish chunk of hinder-end donations to go in a bottle for testing.

The weekend staff left their deposits on the Employee Health main entrance desk, in a large array of paper bags, some of which had definitely experienced a higher degree of structural integrity in the recent past.

My supervisor came in and, glaring fit for the movies said loudly, GET THIS SHIT OFFA MY DESK. Supervisors didn’t swear in those days so it was hella cute.

These days they give you a container about the size of ten stacked bobby pins, tell you DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GET URINE OR TOILET WATER ON THIS and then you stab your shit with the spiralized end and get just enough shit on it to say that you did, because they don’t want any more if it than that. None of that shit now.

I have to eat something and then not eat something to go get my helicobacter breath test. blerg.

wording the words for moreness

Today I adulted by getting up and writing a shopping list, since Jeff and I are going shopping.

I worked on ‘the doorbell rang’ chapter and blocked out some stuff, total around 150 words but the wordage doesn’t reflect the work put in, as is often the case.

Sixers can give consent in one language but not another. That sure makes legal questions difficult.

Started The Blacklist on Netflix.

I’m doing an SF AU Destiel fic, and somebody should run me over with a truck.

I have such a craving to see 3 Caballeros.

working away

Well well well, there are civil war re-enactresses.

I’m hoping to write today. Tomorrow I go see the doc about the six weeks of griping abdominal pain and bloating I’ve had.  I suspect incipient hernia, either that or I’m dying of something quite unpleasant. I’m wearing my back brace in the meantime and feel somewhat better.

My bedroom floor is still clean! Still have more sorting and tidying and mostly dejunking but the trend is good.

I’d just like to say FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU  to the fucking doctors who prescribe meds for BPH to MEN I LOVE without telling them that the side effects are COMPLETE PANCAKING OF LIBIDO, MENTAL DULLNESS AND YOU CAN’T GIVE BLOOD UNTIL SIX MONTHS AFTER YOU STOP TAKING IT.

Honestly. Fuck all y’all.

Stanislav Petrov, the Man Who Saved The World, whom I first wrote about here in April 2005, has passed away. I always toast him if there’s vodka about.

Sean Spicer getting a gig at the Emmys must have been like a punt to the grunt for any BIPoCs there. Fuck whoever decided to hire him, hard, with spiky shit.

I have lots to screech about this morning, but I’m going to write instead.

right direction

I’m at the Aerie, and the world is a blur of Turneresque clouds with a hint of sun somewhere. Mike took me to Chronic Taco last night and I had the salad bowl with beef and a draft Parallel 49, which was absolutely what I wanted.

I’ve been promised breakfast. I’ve already broken into the Starbucks hot chocolate so I’m ready to wait another couple of hours before Mike achieves consciousness. I’ve been up since 5:30.

Wrote 453 words yesterday and today… who knows!

visit

We had a lovely visit to the fOlks’ place. The pterodactyls visited the bird feeder, we went for a lovely walk to the playground by the ocean, we had a meal at Sassy’s and we went to the Butterfly Sanctuary. Little E was not in evidence.

Alex is a really lovely human being, but man, he needs to get enough sleep.

On the cards for today, laundry and getting my desk set up properly for production of WURDZ, unpacking from trip and meal planning.

lovely visit

mOm had ALL OF HER DESCENDENTS in one place, although not at the same time, yesterday.  Jeff headed back yesterday, and we arrived – Paul, me, Katie, Keith and Alex. It was made even more wonderful by the presence of Auntie Mary. The wasband says that he tried six times to use audio search on Google to find something and all six times my aunt started talking before Paul could get it to search

Today we go to Sassy’s, the butterfly house and then the ferry to go home. It was a lovely lovely visit and I’m looking forward to renewing my love affair with Little E the Eclecticus Parrot.

The progress of Grief

Katie phoned in tears the other day. She went through a garbage bag stored in her room and learned to her grief and shock that it was all of John’s old badges and con pins, plus the quilt J. made for him out of a selection of his t-shirts.

Katie could smell him.

It goes to the back of your brain.

I walked over to Planet Bachelor – I suppose I should call it something else now, possibly Bachelor Village since it takes a village to raise a child – and we comforted each other for a while. Alex was at his dad’s.

Alex’s aunt is in a psych ward right now. Poor Suzanne had to take shelter at Bachelor Village for a couple of nights last week.

Over and over again I told the kids when they were little that the fights they got into would all be washed away as adults and they would have an awesome relationship and I’m a little teary at how right I proved to be. Katie and Keith are putting it together, and Keith loves little Alex with externally gentle ferocity. He’s also learning how to discipline a toddler, a worthwhile endeavour.

And I miss John this morning. He would have loved that I bought a dulcimer. I was crying as I practiced earlier. I played louder.

Randonnée

Activist thoughts.

I am now past the shoals of “I don’t see colour”. I understand why it’s a terrible fucking thing when white people say it, or anybody, really, but mostly white people.

I have escaped from the grip of the tone police. When activists are angry and use salty language, I support them by a) listening without judgement b) boosting the signal if what they say (not the tone) is important c) understanding where the anger is coming from and why suppressing it from delicacy is white privilege and d) enjoying the reactions of white people further back the ol’ social justice supply chain. Did I say I was perfect? Enjoying other people being stupider than I was 4 years ago is one of my few thrills.

I am still completely unsure of what to do next, but I know that in the end I must reconcile with the Treaty 6 people, since that’s where my family stole the most land. I don’t wanna. I want to go on pretending that the Queen isn’t a symbol of genocidal colonialism, that she’s a tough old broad with a sense of duty you could use as a heat shield on a fucking spacecraft. I want my comfy lies.

I shall apply Chelsea Vowel’s Indigenous Writes to the burn, and see what happens.

calm before storm

some unhappy predictions.

Irma the Hurricane is going to stall over south Florida the way Harvey stalled over the Gulf Coast.

By what even atheists are going to describe as a miracle, Miami will not get a direct hit as Irma will veer at the last moment. Evacuation screws ups will kill more people than the blow.

Cuba will not have any fatalities despite a direct strike. Those people know how to do civil defence against hurricanes, people.

The Leeward Islands will just get to figuring out how many people died before José hits, although José won’t be as bad.

José is going to violently change direction and scrape up the coast, causing ludicrous storm surges.

Mar-a-Lago will escape and Trump will thank god.

If Mar-a-Lago doesn’t escape Trump will spend the first federal funds on fixing it.

irritably happy

TLDR I am dying it’s ages since I saw Alex and in the pursuit of self-possessed reserve NOT EXACTLY MY STRONG SUIT IS IT I can’t brag about the stuff that’s going better than splendid in my life right now. I am having thinky thoughts about slashfic that are making me completely insane – I’m out of the writing mania and into the ‘where does this fit into intersectionality/problemas map of social justice’ mania instead, which I vastly prefer. I’ve been schooled on the sociological fly in the slashfic ointment. AND I AM PISSED AND HOWLING INTERNALLY LIKE SEPARATED TWINS. By which I mean autonomous toddler twins taken away from each other, not -never mind, I’m obviously gaga.

Spent yesterday afternoon with Mike; so hot in his apartment I felt noodlelike when I left. Lunch was a delicious lamb donair, from the best donair place in New West. Mike had the chicken platter. Aren’t those prices insane?

Persephone Golden Goddess is back in stock at Liquorgate! me happy. First time I drank it was with Mike but Paul and I have demolished a fair few of those as well. Paul’s totally hung up on Lost Lagoon, a beer so hoppy it will make a raging erection turn into a squinting afterthought. I had no idea brewer’s droop was real. I suppose I should warn him. Yes I’ll tell him.

I hate doing this, making decisions while all three of you are watching me with your globular unblinking peepers of dwoom. Plus John of course. He hasn’t had a hand in any of my recent decisions (cause he’s dead, no duh), but he’s certainly been chaffing me from various angles. His spirited defence of anarchism, gee whiz. I wish I could bring it to life at will. All his delightfully useful ideas.

Now here I ramble. It’s okay now; pOp didn’t make it this far down and mOm’s gonna take shotgun on ‘picking the music’ which means she gets to read this and then phone me about it afterward. Shotgun was a Supernatural reference. Nobody reading this will get it. I wish I could convey how annoying that was.

Caveats

I’m genuinely sad about this. I wish I could find something realer to be sad about, but for me this is like two of my second-tier best friends having the most beautiful and hauntingly star-crossed love affair OF ALL TIME in front of me where I get to go to a wedding and eat popcorn for the whole damned thing and THEN IT TURNS OUT IT WAS ALL A LIE and you hate yourself.

You hate yourself for believing it. You hate yourself for spending so much fracking time on it. You hate yourself for having your friendships reduced to a thought experiment (“Did we ever actually believe or think similarly about anything for any length of time and did we actually think/believe nothing was perhaps a little bit non-conformant with consensus reality?”) You hate yourself for the time you spent on it in new and different ways.

You comfort yourself that you’ve met wonderful people all over the internet. They are young, they are fierce, they make wonderful memes twenty minutes after that episode was released. You’ve read a lot of fanfic. Some of it was so good it read like (this line deleted as I expect it would give my mOm the pip) well anyway it was witty, hot, dark and completely true to the character’s voices. Some of it was so bad you had a moment to reflect on your bigotry as you tried to guess which country this Enlgish speaker was living in.

Thailand? South Korea? Poland? The smart ones find beta readers and they close the usage and cultural cracks.

No spell checking, no punchuation, I can’t breath no seriously.

If the first page has more than three errors and ghastly dialogue I bail. THat wAs eaSY.

I’ve learned a lot about butt sex. The learnings are academic and applied. This is not the worst thing that ever happened to me, and it’s very useful as an antidote to various kinds of gay panic you may have lingering in your sensorium. Jes sayin.

and now it begins and it starts elliptical so I want you to think of how this is written as an analogue to falling and moving forward  : like an orbit. I’ve been knocked out of mine a little.

My twitter badge reads “ALL MY FANDOMS ARE PROBLEMATIC”. I left the red underline under FANDOMS when I did a screen shot of it from Word for Mac in the colour and font I wanted. Because of course the word FANDOM can’t be plural. The word fandom may not exist in your thesaurus.  THE SOFTWARE I USE IS JUDGING ME. The software I used has not caught up with me. And it’s worse if I’m not as privileged.

I’m telling the truth. All my fandoms are problematic.

Dunnett had a magickal negro in the character Salamanca, in The Disorderly Knights and Pawn in Frankincense. He’s wise and calm and servile. He dies defending Our Hero Francis in Pawn in Frankincense.

He was written over 1964 to 1968, and he has about as much agency as a Negro character written during that time by a white person who did not come into daily contact with black people could have. Dunnett makes it plain that he is a free man serving freely; he talks back to Lymond and gets away with it where other people, white people, would get verbally punched and bored and turned over to the maggots.

Umar, in the Niccolo Series, is a completely different story. He starts as a literal slave names Lopes, and is returned to his high status life as a high-born Muslim jurist in Timbuktu in part by making a deal with that devil Niccolo to participate in the exploitation of his people (sort of, the war die are already cast when we meet Akil) and of his neighbours, although one could argue that Umar didn’t see it that way. He has a backstory and a current story and he is presented in some respects as an intersectional foil for Niccolo, and as a righteous scolding for people who hold colour, sex and birth to be more important than merit, an ongoing maternally cozy series of slaps in the series.

Francis gets up and looks back as little as possible when Salamanca dies – although his death is recalled to his mind more than once over the remainder of the series; Niccolo folds in half when Umar dies and part of the complexity of his grief is that there is now hardly anybody on this earth he can share the full extent of his intellectual being with. That the news is given him – as he is climbing the stairs to bang Gelis after !finally! marrying her – by that fucking slick nonentity Tommaso Portinari (I’m not actually consulting the books right now, so any o’ you Dunnetteers who know better will forgive me should I err in personnel) is arsenic sprinkled on the icing of commerce.

The whole point of the trip was to get gold.

To strip Africa of riches. To trick and sneak and kill and lie. To pretend to abide by customs that are not theirs; to ignore the reach of Catholicism when it suits them; to deal with their competitors with deadly contempt; to fuck local women (access pass granted by the local leader, offering up only so many of the wives are already pregnant and feel like it, which is a nice touch you must admit, given the complexities of the situation). The description of the evening which is whoo hoo enlivened with aphrodisiac drugs (since Dunnett somehow felt obliged to write this scene – which easily could have been left out, srsly – and could not escape her own take/cultural envelope on the distortions of racism and the sexualization of African women, but worked through her unease by making all the sex cheerfully consensual in a non-judgemental pocket universe, a fanfic maneuvre if I ever fucking saw one) skirts prurience by one curly hair.

And to escape through the Sahara!: you have to admit that the final ride with Umar, under circumstances of extreme personal peril –  to the extent that they set fire to the camels to get them moving again – is a quietly terrifying one especially if you’re like me and really fucking hate sand in the bits. Such is Dunnett’s imperturbable description that I only now, reading this compression of the scene back to myself, get a sense of how desperate things were, and I’ve re-read that scene a dozen times at least since the book came out in 1991.

You want me to get to the point, but I’m falling inward to a black hole. The course is set, but it is not direct, and I’ma hit shit first.

There’s no hint in any of the Dunnett canon that Umar and Niccolo had sex. They get twitted about it by a number of people ’cause they’re of a size and equally smart and attractive, although Niccolo is the deadlier of the two, so who wouldn’t make fanfic outta that in 1470 ish.

Okay, slip slide over here while I decorticate my mostest problematic fandom. Grease your feet on a little mutton stew (call back to the lamb donair – you didn’t think I’d pass up on that didja now seriously) while we move into the Mostly Completely Fucked Up Destiel Fandom Antechamber.

Supernatural is a long running (13 seasons this fall) CW show starring Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as brothers who hunt and kill supernatural critters, and save the world multiple times, and die, blah blah blah. A long time guest star is Misha Collins, whose been in about half of the episodes aired so far.

 

Anyway, there is a special quality to the interactions between Dean (Jensen) and Castiel (Misha) which made the fans, mostly tubby emotionally flexible women like me, smell blood and think ‘this is a sexual relationship’. And it wasn’t. There isn’t anything in 9 long years of canon to indicate there’s any sex. There’s been enough queer-baiting – when the writers and directors of a show dangle the possibility of a queer relationship in front of us until we’re as savage as underfed dogs – to last through ten other shows.

But there’s no sexual relationship beyond the ‘comrades-in-arms fighting eeeevil’. Right.

So the fans said okay fine we’ll make our own. There’s about five million words, no fewer, set in this particular subcategory of this fandom on AO3 (quite of few of them, alas, are mine) and a metric crapstack on LJ and various fan and fanfic sites. Many of the tropes in the stories are directly from the shows – there’s a shared universe of sacred objects, people and locations which all weave in and out of each other in novel and improbable ways.

I thought it was okay. I had fun with it. Learned a lot about buttsex. And a lot of it is sexist bullshit.

This culture pisses on male friendship from a great height. Middle aged men, especially ones who’ve ended up single due to death or divorce, are the loneliest people there are. Any softness or compassion men show each other is stomped on by women AND men as being inappropriate behaviour.

So it’s not the slash fic I’ve written 200K words of since New Years’ that’s got me upset; it’s that I didn’t realize that the base line assumption of this particular slash fic (there’s slash fixed in canon on other shows/books, so it ain’t all bad) was ultimately a slap in the face to men who would like to pursue intimate and emotionally satisfying friendships (like women do, glory be) with OTHER MEN.

There’s no reason for it to be sexual. If the show goes there I’ll dance like a fool for joy. If it doesn’t, I’ll take my epiphany and quit trying to make Harlequin Romances out of the eyefuckery of straight actors.