Um, wow.

September 18th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which OMG SUPERMAD WHITE CHICKS.

She appears to think that football is real, and not a massive for-profit performance. IT’S ENTERTAINMENT. There is no promise of safety from offense.

Is it offensive? Sure, I guess, if you think football is real. Meekly, weakly, intentionally offensive.

He’s doing it because it makes white ladies aghast; it’s a sit-in, it’s peaceful protest, it’s a way of saying,

Hey, black people get killed by cops every day, innocent black people, far more frequently than should be, just for being black, why don’t you just model in your hearts and minds how that might feel for a minute, why don’t you quit being offended that your entertainment’s got a smudge of meaningless “disrespect” and think about how you would feel if your man got shot to death in front of you and your baby during a routine traffic stop because of his skin color, or your little boy got shot for playing with a toy gun because of his skin color. Just for a minute.

Just for a minute.

Just for a minute.

That’s all. He’s not a soldier. He’s not burning the flag. He’s using his fame politically, and that might jangle in the context of entertainment, but hey. That’s entertainment. Ever seen the Oscars? Ever?

Note also that our mother of the year puts “love” well after food, shelter. She feels her duties are material, not ineffable. Which is why she’s butthurt about someone peacefully making a point about a kind of ineffable pain she’ll never bother to try to understand, during her elective, optional form of ridiculous, bloated, faux-military entertainment.

Faux-military. It’s fucking football. It’s a game.

Does she have every right to be offended? Yes. In this country, yes. Absolutely yes.

As do I, to say she’s missing the point entirely, and looks a right twat doing so.

I’ve lived in Minneapolis for three years now, and the only time the mayor ever tweeted — repeatedly — about a shooting death? The victim was a white woman, shot by a black cop. The dozens of other shootings? No response. It turns out that you’re statistically far more likely to be fatally wounded by a cop if you’re not white.

Are a lot of criminals black? Sure. But statistically, based on population, most criminals — violent and non —
are white. And I don’t understand why blacks die by cop so much, but it sure does look like entrenched racism, and that needs to be contemplated. Which is why a football player, one who by all accounts donates extensively and has been said to have been seen teaching the Constitution to disenfranchised urban (black) kids, is kneeling during the anthem.

So think about it. Just for a minute.

Customer service is still weird af.

September 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox | Weather | Whining | Work - (0 Comments)

In which I STILL don’t understand how people can know so little about the services they use.

If you were the majority of Floridian customers I assisted during my shift at work this evening, you’ve just been through a massive 500-year storm that destroyed tons of shit, you either don’t have power or you’re running a generator, and you’re astonished that you can’t watch TV.

You don’t have power! Why in the fuck do you think your cable and internet should work? Irma was one of the strongest storms in recorded history. It did at least eighteen billion in insured losses damage (not counting crop losses or flood insurance), infrastructure is destroyed, farms are destroyed (Irma took almost half of the citrus crop in some areas), you had to fucking evacuate, and you can’t believe you didn’t return home to functioning internet?

Really?! YOUR CELL PHONE’S OBVIOUSLY WORKING, AND THAT’S A GODDAMNED TECHNOLOGICAL MIRACLE CONSIDERING THE CIRCUMSTANCES, but you’re mad anyway?

I have compassion for you, I do. It must have been and must still be incredibly stressful. But being a dick to customer service reps because you haven’t had internet for four days is just weird. Shit’s broken, my people, important shit, and if your neighbors down the block have cable and you don’t, well, I’m sorry. Life’s not always fair. Go watch TV at their house.

Multiple customers told me it was absolutely unacceptable for an outage to last four days. They demanded refunds, threatened to cancel (which, please, if you could get service from anybody else you’d already have it, and we both know it). It was a 500-year storm! Read a book, be glad you’re alive, and chill the fuck out! There are innumerable people out there working day and night to restore power, internet, cable. It takes time!

One customer admitted she had no power at home and was charging her cell phone at the corner store, but still freaked out about not having wifi in her house. It blew my mind. EVEN IF there wasn’t an outage and WE WERE DELIVERING INTERNET TO YOUR HOME, sweetie, IT WON’T WORK IF YOUR ROUTER ISN’T GETTING POWER. How can you not know that?

Furthermore, how can you not realize that if your house doesn’t have electricity, the node providing your cable probably doesn’t, either? Sure, installations like that have generators, but they only run if you can get to them to put fuel in them. If gas or the generators themselves aren’t accessible, they’ll go down. The network is vast, interdependent, and complicated, and service crews can’t even start working on them until cleared to do so by authorities. Internet service doesn’t just fall out of the sky, for fuck’s sake. Power outages, destroyed equipment, line cuts: there are tons of them because A MASSIVE GODDAMNED ACT OF GOD JUST ROLLED THROUGH.

I’m sorry your kids are driving you nuts without screens to occupy them, and I’m sure it’s a bitch, but your internet and cable will be restored when it’s restored. You need to back the fuck off the ignorant attitude and be glad you’re all still alive with homes to return to. It’s not like your provider somehow fucked up; it was an act of God. And at least your cell phone still works. You may be going over your data plan, but at least you’re online.

Penmanship and cursive

September 12th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Back To School | Writing - (0 Comments)

In which there are styles of handwriting to look at.

For no real reason, I’m trying to figure out which style of cursive I learned.

I’m beginning to suspect that changing schools so often actually exposed me to multiple systems, because no single script style encompasses how I form my letters — D’Nealian, modified Spencerian, Zaner-Bloser, and New American Cursive all seem to show up in how I think letters should be written and the strokes I use to form them.

New American Cursive

New American Cursive is pretty close, and I feel sure I was exposed to it at some point, but it uses hard angles where I think I learned loops. That’s nearly my capital G, for example, but I’d do loops rather than the hard angles at the NE and SW points of the figure.

My mother was a Boeing draftsman at some point so my print style was definitely influenced by hers, which was a form of block printing I can’t seem to google; possibly what was once known as Architectural Lettering but perfectly slanted, something like this:

Having no pressing need to master block printing, I’d like to learn something super pretty and fancy, like this lovely Ladies’ Spencerian, for example, but probably won’t master it.

Although that capital Z is much closer to the one I use than the New American Cursive one; I think my Z is either Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian, or the Palmer Method?

Maybe? I really have no idea; it’s been so long and I’ve let my handwriting atrophy so much it would take an expert to figure it out! However, I have a new, cheap, extra fine fountain pen and a tiny ruled booklet, so perhaps I’ll add “practice my letters and listen to classical music” to my list of hobbies-intended-to-get-me-offline.

Reading in public

September 9th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Reading - (0 Comments)

In which I don’t really do this anymore.

I used to read in bars all the time. Paper books in the day, then Newtons, PDAs, eBook readers, phones and Kindles.

Most bars have at least some comfortable seating with a reasonable amount of light, and they have drinks, too, of course. Nothing better than a book and a cocktail.

And they often have snacks, if not a full menu, should you should happen to read right through to the next mealtime.

An afternoon spent reading a good book in a bar can be freakin’ wonderful. This guy knows how it’s done:

I remember, back in the day, bitching about people bothering me while I was reading in bars. “Whatcha reading?” is a question I used to answer in earnest, believing that people were actually interested in the answer, but after awhile I discovered the only correct answer to a random, unsolicited “Hey. Whatcha readin’?”

That answer is: “A book.”

People who ask you what you’re reading in a bar do not care that you’re reading science fiction with a really interesting take on consciousness that reminds me of some Vedanta I’ve read and also makes me wonder about the Three Laws and if Asimov’s robots could genuinely want to not be programmed morally. No, people don’t want to have a cool discussion about consciousness, they’re just doing bar behavior, which is generally to talk to people. Especially girls. Especially girls who are reading a book in a bar.

These days I don’t go to bars nearly as often as I used to, and when I do go it’s specifically to drink (usually because it’s past ten o’clock and you can’t buy booze after that outside of a bar in this state), not to hang out and read. And even if I do read, it’s usually just stupid social media on my phone.

Which is, of course, not real reading. Nowhere near.

I read a little in a bar on my birthday last year. I went to the VFW in the afternoon and had cheese curds and a bloody mary, and if I recall correctly I had my Paperwhite with me, as well as my traveler’s notebook. But it wasn’t really an afternoon of comfortable reading in a bar the way I remember it. I sat at the front bar, which is modern and loud and cold and not comfortable, and I drank my delicious adult beverage so quickly I passed through the mellow buzz so perfect for reading in about six minutes, and mostly I just wrote in my journal and made myself sick on fried cheese.

These days, I read much less long-form material than I used to. This is mostly due to quitting smoking. I used to sit outside and smoke and read; now I vape inside, which means I can be in front of the computer. I used to read a hundred books a year at the minimum; since I quit smoking, I’ve read far less than half that.

Smoking wasn’t the only reason, though. I’d also started to get annoyed with fiction; when you’ve read voraciously all your life, you’ve already read most stories in one form or another. There are, even in SF, only so many plots, only so many unique world-building twists. I can only stomach certain forms of romance, and only for so long, and even period piece mysteries require the right mood.

Short sci-fi, my previous go-to when I couldn’t find anything to read, had started going away from science and into gender and queer issues, which is fine, but not typically interesting to me when I’m trying to read science fiction. I mean, if you can say something about sex or gender inside a sci-fi story that has interesting sci and fi, that’s great, but just putting a gay couple in space without examining the space itself or the science that sustains it? Boring, after the twelfth time you encounter it, because it’s not sci-fi. It’s just a story about a gay couple you’re using as a platform to lecture people about your social politics; you’re not really examining the broader human condition or asking insightful questions. If you can put your characters in Nevada without needing to change the story at all, you’re not writing sci-fi, which is what I bought that magazine for in the first place, thanks tons, you’re just writing regular old fiction I am not hugely interested in reading.

Case in point: I bought the current issue of Asimov’s magazine. Properly called Asimov’s Science Fiction. I’m not reading the stories in order, but the two I’ve read so for are ghost stories. Fiction, yes, but not science. I mean, they’re good stories, but I’d expect to find them in some other sort of magazine.

I mean, really: where is the actual hard science fiction? I’m giving it some years off, deliberately, so, hopefully, I’ll have a stack of brilliant shit to read when I come back to it.

Right now I’m reading Sagan’s Contact, because somehow I’d never read it before, LeGuin’s Birthday of the World, a couple of memoirs (May Sarton and Ram Dass), and a bunch of Hindu and Buddhist non-fiction like The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I also have two imported detective mysteries I bought in treeware format from the bookstore on 26th, but I’m barely halfway through one of them because they’re not backlit, our apartment is dim because we always use screens, and I never think to read them when the sun’s up.

But the point is, and I know I’ve said this before, I’m getting really tired of fucking social media. I spend hours just scrolling through shit, not reading or knitting or doing anything interesting even to myself, so it may be time to just back into the habit of spending an occasional afternoon in a bar nursing a cocktail and horking down some long-form reading. I don’t have to login to work until six, which means I don’t have to start dinner ’til five, which means I could snuggle up in a chair somewhere from lunchtime on, if I wanted, and I bet it would be far more relaxing and less frenetic than millions of tiny short bits of half-insane arguments sandwiched in between horrific news reports and dumb jokes. In the same way as I want to return to long-form reading, I’m drifting back to broadcast TV rather than on-demand services. If something is on, you watch it or not, no pausing, and then either you’ve seen it or it’s gone. The news is the news, not endless links to articles that may or may not be news, or batshit crazy noise masquerading as news, or outright propaganda. There’s something relaxing about the transience, and it’s no better or worse than Amazon or Netflix, really, although I’m fine with bingeing a series now and again.

Anyway, I’m going to go read now. I hope Florida’s all right in the morning, but I really doubt it will be and I’m terrified of the death toll. They’re predicting up to nine feet of storm surge in some areas, and a lot of humans and animals had no way to evacuate. I chatted with Floridians at work all night tonight, wanting to know if their home security systems were still up, and had to tell a lot of them that it looks like their homes don’t even have power anymore, let alone internet so they can view their camera feeds from the shelter.

Combating panic and anxiety

September 5th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety - (0 Comments)

In which I have a morbid new approach that really seems to be working.

I have developed a new litany.

Whenever there’s A Sensation my mind desires to become frightened of, I tell it this:

You have a fatal, untreatable, inoperable disease. You are dying, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. You’re bound to have sensations. As long as you’re not in pain, there’s nothing that can be done. Let it go.

Weirdly enough, it’s working. Apparently the hook my mind has been using lately to tumble me into hell has been “DO I NEED TO DO SOMETHING? Is this A Real Sensation? Do I need to See A Doctor? Is this just a panic attack or do I really have [heart disease/organ failure/diabetes/stroke]? What shall I DO?”

With this little story, though, the answer to that is “nothing.” It makes the sensations non-actionable (and have the added benefit of increasing dispassion and decreasing attachment). I can just go, oh, yeah, a sensation — flutters in my chest, dizziness, laziness (er, fatigue), shortness of breath, tingling hands and feet, all the shit I have when I panic — and not be caught up in a whirlwind of mental bullshit.

Yes, I tell myself, you are actually dying, we all are, nothing to be done about it. It comes when it comes. It’s working great; I haven’t had a full-blown attack in a couple of weeks!

Being crazy is hard work, but sometimes you manage to hack your own brain just enough to get by.

Things

September 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Life - (0 Comments)

In which it’s just random vacuous noise about the outer, but in my inner life weird shit is going on. Jai Ma!

We went out to dinner yesterday at Little Tijuana. Tostadas!

Today, I received new bath things!

Before:

(That is a color picture. Honest.)

After:

Way more teal than I expected, but hey, it’s fine.

I attempted to do laundry, but the machines were busy so I just left the basket on the table. That’s been like six hours ago now.

I got a new dress. (It doesn’t make me less fat. It’s super comfy, but I look a bit like a sausage in saran wrap.)

The bed is made!

I got a new keyboard today! It’s a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000. I love it.

I worked 4 hours and 13 minutes. It was a’ight. (Chat is way better than phones, although last night was a shit show due to a botched firmware update. Three chats at a time the entire night, with upwards of 31 waiting in the queue.)

I have just done the dishes.

There is a bowl on the counter filled with ripe, red tomatoes from our plants on the side of the building.

I’m considering dropping cash on a pedi and a cut & color, just so I don’t look completely frumpy at the things — friends’ wedding (which I’m officiating, OMFG), and my aunt & uncle’s 50th anniversary party, and my gramma’s 95th birthday party — later this month. It should look as if one’s at least making an effort, even if she really, well, isn’t!

Those, as they say, are the things!

So, fuck this town, basically.

August 13th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in PSA | Whining - (0 Comments)

In which we’ve been trolled.

In the middle of the night, the apartment suddenly exploded with white dust.

IMG_20170813_015722

It was probably between 2:30 and 3 in the morning. We were still up and the lights were on. There were three fans running, so it was everywhere, instantly.

IMG_20170813_015951

My guess is that some asshat stole a fire extinguisher and discharged it into the box fan in our window, which was facing inward at the time to pull the cool air in.

IMG_20170813_015614

The shit is everywhere, and a lot of it.

Whoever you are: fuck you. You’re not funny. You’re a dick. There isn’t an inch of this place that doesn’t have to be cleaned now, and you’ve exposed us to a great deal of topical and inhaled bicarbonate soda, which is essentially harmless, or ammonium phosphate, which isn’t, for no fucking reason other than you’re a moron.

I was sitting right by the open bedroom window when you did it, too. And had I not turned away because of the odd noises coming from the other room, if I’d looked left instead of right, I’d have seen your punk ass. As it is, I didn’t, and you just walked off quietly while we freaked out because our home was filled with flying white powder.

You’re a punk and a twat and I sincerely hope your dumb unfunny ass woke up in jail this morning. This is not a fucking college dorm, it’s my goddamned home. So fuck you.

I’m basically ignoring the insane amount of cleaning I have to do and hiding out in the bedroom. I’ve ordered Indian food delivery, because it will be hours of cleaning before I can cook again, and I just don’t want to do it. It’s Sunday, it’s my day off, and I don’t want to tackle the sweeping, dusting, washing, wiping, mopping, vacuuming, and multiple loads of laundry YOUR DUMB ASS has caused me.

Oh, yeah, and in unrelated news, some other dumb asshat — one assumes, but I suppose it could be the same one — took the two largest tomatoes off our vines. We’ve had ONE FUCKING TOMATO this year so far. ONE. AND IT WAS NOT EVEN ENTIRELY RIPE.

So, if you’re not starving, literally actually going hungry, then fuck you. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to that first ripe tomato of the year THAT I HAVEN’T HAD YET BECAUSE YOU JUST FUCKING STOLE THEM.

Tomatoes

I mean, what the fuck? Go fucking buy a tomato if you want one. At least it would already be ripe, you asshole. Why steal mine? And if you’re going to steal unripe tomatoes, TAKE THREE OF THE SMALLER ONES, MAYBE. BECAUSE FUCK YOU.

So, for today, at least, my attitude is this:

FUCK this town and fuck this neighborhood. Seriously. You’re all a bunch of bike stealing, dumpster burning, tomato raiding, prank pulling dipshits, PLUS your weather TOTALLY SUCKS.

Enchilada Dinner

August 10th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food - (0 Comments)

In which there’s yum.

So today I made pinto beans, brown rice, enchilada sauce, salad, and spicy crumbled tofu, and here it all is assembled into a meal on a plate.

Electric pressure cookers are amazing for making beans and brown rice, by the way. You can do beans from dry in 35 minutes and brown rice in 20. It’s freakin’ amazing.

Dinner

It turns out that spicy crumbled tofu is pretty decent in enchiladas. The texture is a’ight.

I made some to use as taco filling, you know, like, tofu taco filling or whatever, one time, but it turns out that it sucks in tacos. And so it was leftover, and I had enchilada sauce and not much cheese, so I was, like, what the hell, and I put it in an enchilada, and it was totally edible.

I mean, cheese ‘n’ onion enchiladas are the best, obviously, but this is totally a decent way to use up the rest of the tofu you bought for stir fry. You just crumble it into a pan with some olive oil, and stir in a bunch of the same sorts of spices and herbs you’d use for taco meat, like cumin and oregano and such, and fry it until most of the moisture is gone, and roll it into a tortilla, drown it in chili gravy and top it with some grated cheese, and there you go!

So that’s what I made today.

Oh, and the bed. I also made the bed.

#googlemanifesto

August 7th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Soapbox | Web - (2 Comments)

In which a man suggests that women and men are, in fact, different. And gets fired for it.

Isn’t there evidence that males tend to cluster, intellectually, more toward genius or idiocy, whereas females tend to cluster toward average?

If so, this means that while there are, of course, both genius and idiot women, it also means that, all things being equal, any woman dealing with any man will likely not be dealing with an equal. It is more likely that he will be either smarter or dumber than she is, which explains a lot of our cultural noises about men being stupid and women being evil, or vice versa, or whatever.

If you’re a man interacting with a woman, she will probably be either your intellectual superior or your inferior, statistically, because you are less likely to be average than she is. Your odds of finding a woman exactly as smart as yourself are low, because you’re probably either an idiot, or, if you’re lucky, a genius. And if you happen to be average, well, good for you, unless she’s an outlier.

In essence, the #googlemanifesto dude is probably writing somewhat above the intellectual capacity of a lot of females. Which explains much of the enraged backlash: they’re mainly responding to key words.

Luckily, intelligence alone isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just one facet of any human being; there’s a great deal more going on, and much of it much more important.

I do denigrate his cost efficiency model. Many things should be done because they’re right, and not because they increase income. Using money as the go-to proof of efficacy is as ridiculous as expecting everything to be nice and feel good. Success can be measured by a variety of benchmarks, not just efficiency-as-measured-by-sales. Psychological well-being, for example, or longevity, or generosity.

http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320

Look! They call it an “anti-diversity screed”! Because it suggests that males and females are biologically non-identical!

Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.

OMG are boys and girls different, measurably and demonstrably so?!

Breakfast

August 5th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food - (0 Comments)

In which this is my first meal of the day, so it’s breakfast!

Breakfast

Pink pinto soup and a brie sandwich on baguette.

I didn’t get up until nearly four o’clock this afternoon. I was supposed to have gone to meet my aunt for lunch, but I was still asleep when she called around eleven-thirty, and she graciously let me off the hook.

The soup is the liquor (plus a few whole beans I held back) saved from the pot of pinto beans I refried last night, plus a couple spoonfuls of my last batch of salsa, and some heavy cream.

Sandwich is baguette, mayonnaise, brie, leaf lettuce, red onion, and tomato.

And now that Flickr finally has a photo editor again, I can go back to tiltshifting the hell out of everything for no good reason.