#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.

Spa Day

August 1st, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (0 Comments)

In which I’m not very good at this stuff.

My aunt is in town and offered to take us out to dinner tonight. I picked the restaurant closest to her hotel and it turned out to be kind of expensive, so I thought, hell, I never leave the house, and we’re going somewhere nice. Maybe I should, like, you know, get ready?

I’ll have a spa day!

So I roll over in bed after my better half leaves for the day, grab my phone, and google “spa day at home ideas.” The first thing I see is “spa water,” so I pop into the kitchen and make some.

Spa water

It’s just water with some crap in it. Ice, lemon, cucumber. Okay, check! Feeling pampered and pretty already!

Then the rest of it? Go hiking with a friend? What? Oh, that’s if you want “invigorating” rather than “relaxing.”

Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing. Ah, salt scrub. Nope, I don’t have any massage or essential oils, can’t make that. Sugar scrub? Out of olive oil just now, and not really sure I want olive oil in the tub anyway, thank you.

I read through dozens of home-made products one is supposed to make for her at-home spa day, and the only one I had the ingredients for was a weird “hair wrap” I didn’t want to do. I think it was egg white, honey, and lemon? Or something? I don’t remember now. And I guess I’m supposed to light candles, find my bathrobe, make some kind of, like, tray with washcloths and cotton balls and things I might, I don’t know, need? A soak is required, but I’m not sure I feel like cleaning the tub, and wow, I guess I just didn’t realize a relaxing at-home spa day would involve so much work. Scrub the tub, find a robe and some fluffy towels, light candles, go to the store, make a scrub and a mask, clean up after that, apply things to self, soak, scrub, I just don’t know.

And I still don’t. Because what happened is that I ate some nachos and took a nap instead!

Nachos

Now I’m up and showered and I’ve done some eyeliner and mascara, but much of me remains un-salt-scrubbed, un-moisturized, and un-soaked.

Oh, well. Dinner will probably still be fun. And speaking of which, I suppose I ought to find something to get dressed in and maybe, like, get dressed in it.

Exercise

July 30th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Health - (0 Comments)

In which I tell you how it felt to run medium-distance sprints as a tween.

I have never enjoyed exercise.

I remember being in junior high school on the track team. Sucked at sprinting, sucked at distance, so they put me on the 200 meter. It was miserable. I could not figure out what in the holy hell made people like running. Compared to not-running, it made me feel like shit. Unpleasant sensations everywhere, and no, don’t even talk to me about the runner’s high experience I never had, and no, I never felt noticeably better after running (beyond gratitude that it was over).

Same for absolutely every exercise in my entire life, ever. In fact, now that I’m fat and seriously pushing 50, it feels, well, just like it always felt, only now I look even more ridiculous than I feel. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror doing squats? Please.

While I’m exercising, I’m aware of stress on the body, on the heart, on the tissues. I’m aware of fatigue, overheating, sweating, and a general feeling of this-sucks-let’s-stop-immediately. It isn’t nice. It doesn’t feel good. It’s something you do to get away from danger, not a fucking hobby.

I’ve done 90-minute yoga classes, but only on occasion, and more out of a sense of “oh, I should go, it’s good for me” [read: “I think this activity suits my personality”] than “oh, it feels so great, I want to go.” It doesn’t feel great. It’s hard work, and afterward you’re tired. Whoopee. The only benefit of yoga over any other form of exercise is that the environmental trappings imply that you’re deeper than the typical jock, without, of course, actually meaning any such thing. Otherwise, yoga’s just exercise with a bit of a lie-down at the end during which the white lady with the killer bod she has encased in half your week’s salary’s worth of trendy yoga clothes tells you your feelings are fine, thereby validating your rampant consumerism and cultural appropriation.

I think the best shape I’ve ever been in was probably in Walla Walla, because I didn’t have a car and I walked and biked everywhere. It’s a small town, so it’s not like I ever walked or biked very far, but I did it every day for years. I think it was the right amount of activity for me, in retrospect.

The entire rest of my life I’ve been, to varying degrees, more sedentary than that. Plus with the smoking and drinking and random schedule and diet I’ve always had.

Today I went for a walk to help with my anxiety. It’s fucking hot and humid, and the sun is shining like a particularly aggressive stage spot. I walked down 28th to Soo Line, through the garden to the Greenway, up the Greenway to the very next exit, up the ramp to street level, and home again. Barely half a mile, but hey, it’s 85F and humid, what the fuck do you want from me.

While walking up the ramp, I was aware, as I always am when doing physical activity for its own sake, that it sucked. My quads were fine and signaling stamina, as were my calves, but my fucking skin itched and most of me felt bad. My heart was doing its job but I still felt that hunger your various parts feel when they need just a bit more oxygen. My eyes felt weird; I don’t know how to describe it but they just do, always have, when I’m exerting myself, as if I can’t see properly even though my vision doesn’t actually change. I assume it has something to do with blood pressure in those little eye capillaries. My hands puffed up and turned red, which is a thing they do now that I’m both fat and old, so I held them up like I was prepped for surgery. I had the sense that I could, if I had to, walk up that incline for a very long time; hours and hours, if I had water. But all I could think was, “This sucks. Let’s stop immediately.”

I didn’t find it pleasant.

That ramp is super steep. I’m not sure how many vertical feet, but it goes from street level down to train track level in, like, 1/10th of a block. (I can only ride all the way up it if I get a serious head start and stand on my pedals.) It’s easier at night, of course, when you’re not being roasted from both the black pavement you’re walking on and the furnace of the yellow dwarf star behind you. But no matter the time of day it’s always humid… until it’s so dry your nose bleeds, of course, but I’ve never been on that ramp in blizzard season.

Anyway, I get to the top of the ramp and turn the corner and am heading homeward parallel to the Greenway down below, and I’m thinking, “I really have to feel REALLY SHIT ALL THE TIME FOR A LONG TIME before the shit that is exercise is less shit than the shit that is not.” Which is a convoluted way of saying I have to feel awful, truly awful, in a sustained way, over a long time, to make exercise feel good in comparison.

Which is to say that it sucked, but slightly less than horrible hangovers or even more horrible panic.

I blog about this because I realized I’d been thinking an untrue thing; that, oh, I feel so bad when I exert myself because I’m so unhealthy, which is entirely my fault due to poor choices and personality flaws like laziness and selfishness and sloth and blah blah blah. But the truth is, I have always felt bad while exerting myself. Always. Since I was a little kid. I remember finishing up track practice after school and feeling like it was the most bizarre, awful activity there was, and that I would rather do anything but fucking run around pointlessly for a couple of hours feeling terrible and gross. Everybody droning on and on about personal bests and runner’s highs and I’m just thinking WHY CAN’T WE READ A FUCKING BOOK? THIS FUCKING SUCKS.

I remember going to track meets, but I couldn’t tell you if I finished the season or not. I probably did; it seems like I’d remember the infamy of dropping out. But I never went out for track — or indeed any other sport — ever again, and I actually invested a lot of time and energy in discovering ways to get out of P.E. because exercise felt so shitty compared to any other activity.

It’s acceptable if you’re doing it in service of something else — it’s easy to dance for a couple of hours, for example, or to walk while you’re looking at autumn leaves in the woods, or realize you’ve been on a 5-mile ride across the countryside with your friends — but to just do it for the sensation? Eh.

I know the results are important. I’m making the effort. But no, Mush, you were never really fit, ever, and you aren’t some fucking disaster of a human being who’s let herself go downhill. You just happen to find yourself in a life that doesn’t have any physical activity built-in, and you’re not good at forcing it on yourself because it’s shit.

Good on you for walking for 90 minutes this week. Maybe do 90 minutes again next week. Maybe walk after work a bit, when the sun’s down. Maybe get 90 minutes a week habituated, and then go up to 120. Maybe walk all winter; it’s not like you hate the cold anymore (although snow and ice are certainly issues to walkers; maybe get some cleats and a stick).

But the whole self-bashing weirdness needs to go, because it’s weird. You’re okay. You’re making an effort. Quit with the weird-ass self-talk, because exercise sucks and you’ve never liked it the weather here’s crap anyway; not everything is your fault, dear. Just make the effort, okay? Okay.

Mansplaining

July 19th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (0 Comments)

In which I deleted them, because fuck it, amirite?

I live in Minneapolis. People get shot and killed by cops here.

The other day, a white woman got shot and killed by a black cop. The mayor’s tweeted concern and calls to action several times since.

Out of curiosity I did a couple of searches, and the mayor doesn’t seem to tweet much, or perhaps even at all, when black men get shot and killed by cops.

So I tweeted about it.

And two white men responded, one telling me I’m “an idiot” and the other that it “isn’t about race.”

Now, white men are okay. I live with one. My brother’s one, my dad’s one, and so on.

But what the actual fuck, dudes? The mayor has tweeted repeatedly about this dead Australian woman, but even after several searches I find no evidence of similar concern about the black males cops kill around here, so, yeah it looks like racism.

I responded to each of them. Told the first one I was talking specifically about the mayoral response, and not the press or protesters, so maybe he was, in fact, the idiot. Told the second one it looks, even if unintentionally, exactly like racism.

And then a few minutes later I deleted all three tweets, because, seriously, fuck it.

I mean, I’m not one to get pissed off at the way men sit, and I’m all for stereotypes because they’re often useful and/or funny and/or both, so while I rarely call male behavior “mansplaining,” I’m not against it in theory.

So, yeah, I got mansplained today! Because an overwhelmingly concerned response about a dead white woman shot by a black cop. and a ringing absence of concern about several dead black males shot by white cops does, well, I don’t know, look just like racism.

Now, if I just suck at searches, and the mayor does respond with warmth and concern for all shooting victims, I totally stand corrected.

Thought I’d do…

July 16th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Admissions - (0 Comments)

In which I’m so lazy I can’t even relax properly.

Thought I’d do some relaxing and fun Sunday afternoon painting, but after a few minutes of doodling I got distracted by nothing and abandoned it.

Thought I'd do

Watched TV.

Scrolled social media.

Ate a bunch. Drank coffee.

Organized some of the crap at my desk.

Ah, Sunday!

Super Cheesy Mac ‘n’ Cheese

July 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Food | Recipes - (1 Comments)

In which there’s white trash refined carbs!

This is what

There are a lot of ways to make macaroni and cheese. Most of them are stupid, if you’re tryna get a meal on the table and not fuck with getting a bunch of extra dishes dirty, because they want you to do shit like make white sauces and bake things in the oven.

Here’s a quick one-pot version. It’s fantastic.

Mac ‘n’ cheese

1 c. uncooked macaroni
a big pot of boiling water with salt, a Bay leaf, and a glug of olive oil in it
1 Tbsp. butter
1/3 c. heavy cream
1 c. shredded cheddar
2 slices of American cheese
a pinch or so each of powdered garlic and onion powder, to taste
1/4 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper

Boil macaroni 6-8 minutes, or to package instructions and your taste. Drain. Discard Bay leaf. Return to pot.

Add the butter and heavy cream. Stir, until butter is melted, to coat. Add the cheeses and stir until they melt. Add the garlic, onion, and paprika.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately with a bunch of other delicious shit!

New Hampshire!

July 11th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Spiritual | Travel - (0 Comments)

In which there’s travel!

We went to New Hampshire! In a plane!

Air plane!

We stayed in a hotel! This was the view!

The view

I wrote about it in my traveler’s notebook!

Traveler's Notebook

Amma’s programs were in another hotel, so I had to walk back and forth twice a day! My Google Fit app told me I walked over 10k steps per day! Here’s a frond I saw while walking one night!

Tendril

Here’s a food I ate!

Ashram food!

Flying is kind of exhausting but still better than driving! Driving to New Hampshire would take forever!

Wing

The TSA is still a massive waste of the nation’s time, effort, and money!

(The Amma experience, as ever, was supremely amazing and more or less impossible to put into words. Even my private diary sounds like a cross between the parts in Yoga Vashista where Devi and the king’s wife time travel extensively, and some mildly drunk Kerouac. The outcome, though, was a profound deepening of Self, an indescribable release of stress, and a renewed desire to continue pursuing meditation, japa, and scripture.)

A series of admissions

June 29th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Panic & Anxiety - (0 Comments)

In which I think about what an asshole I’ve always been, even to myself.

I’ve turned into very nearly everything for which I have ever felt contempt.

Here are some examples:

Fat? Check.

Pampered and lazy, with a litany of psychosomatic, social, and political complaints anyway? Check.

Reaches a certain age and, unoriginally, watches English period pieces, and paints, unironically, with watercolors? Check. Unhip, and occasionally even boring-seeming, life partner? Check. Tomato plants in the yard, even after a lifetime of not gardening? Check. Houseplants in tacky plastic pots I would not have been caught dead with in my 20’s or 30’s? Check.

Just walked through the building, to and from the laundry room, with my old, fat, unshaven, mottled legs exposed, braless and gross? Check!

Even as few as five years ago, at gigs, I’d eyeball women the age and shape I am now, and think, “Why on earth are you dressed like that? Don’t you know how your bra straps leave furrows in your shoulder fat, how your spare tire looks so square from the back?” I was offended that people could be out, in public, having fun while unbeautiful, even as I believed myself unbeautiful.

I felt discomfort seeing older women with thinning hair only slightly less intense than I used to feel seeing amputees or victims of fire. Now my own hair is well on its way to being fuzz by the time I’m 60, like my father’s mother’s was (although she was ill by then, so maybe it’s not genetic).

I have always, always, always judged the fat, the unbeautiful, and the unwell, even without intending. I couldn’t even conceive of any condition that could truly affect a life without being visible or serious. It took ten years of a panic disorder for me to develop real compassion for invisible suffering, like depression or chronic pain or even the anguish of an unhappy, unfulfilled life. I had to get fat myself before my heart could understand how truly fucking hard obese people have it, from the sheer strain of hauling bulk around to all the little discomforts of joints and edema and rashes.

I never meant to inwardly recoil from everything not ideal. It was never intentional, but I was born without a compassionate bone in my body, it seems. And it’s taken me forty years to quit caring about what shit looks like on the surface and really understand what lies within, the souls themselves.

Because, as it turns out, most of the beautiful people are assholes, and most of the “ugly” people are wonderful.

Today, day three of acute anxiety, I had a bit of a revelation. I had just come up from the laundry room and caught sight of myself in the hall mirror and again in my monitor as I sat down at my desk and really noticed my passing thoughts: “God, you’re fat. Look at you, you’re hideous. So ugly.”

The anxiety I’d been trying so hard to turn upward, into excitement — we are, after all, leaving in the morning for a weekend with Amma, and I should be happy, not in the misery of fear and anxiety — suddenly seemed deserving of compassion. Is anyone truly compassionate who is so mean to herself? So instead of trying to change my anxiety into happiness, I just looked at myself and thought, “You poor baby, you’re okay, you can be loved.”

And the attack stopped.

I mean, my leg’s still bouncing, but that’s okay; I’m not fucking suffering. I’m so ashamed of my disorder; I am one of the world’s most fortunate and lucky people. I’m never hungry, never cold, never afraid of real things. I’m not sick, I’m not in pain, I have free time and I get to sleep until I wake up every day, but I suffer. A made-up, not real suffering I judge myself for.

~+~
Okay, turns out that was a lie. It didn’t stop, it just eased off. It’s trying to come back now, the “Oh! I feel dizzy! Weak! My fingers are numb! There must be something wrong with me. Oh, I’ll never be able to travel like this.” The fear, fear, fear.

I so don’t want to develop fucking agoraphobia. I’m at the point now where just standing waiting for the light to change on Lyndale makes me twitch and bounce and tap.

But it’s okay that I’m afraid. It’s okay to have sensations. It’s okay to be fat, 48, frequently idle, and nervous. It’s okay, Michelle, you’re okay. Not everybody is the judgemental asshole you are; lots of people can look at you without disgust, even. You have a disorder lots of people have. You hardly do it on purpose. And, before you object, you do try to mitigate it! You do walk, bike, stretch, meditate. You have maybe a cup of coffee per day; you rarely eat sugar; your vape juice is only 6mg.

Remember hormones, too: it was only a 26-day cycle. Very short. Who knows what’s going on with those hormones, eh?

…I wish I didn’t have to work tonight; I should have taken it off. Oh, well, it’s only four hours, and right here at my own desk. But it would be better if, after Scott gets home, we could eat, pack, and nap until the unreasonably early taxi pick-up.

Oh, I want a cuddle so much just now, but I’ll soldier on and put the laundry in the dryer instead.

Today

June 20th, 2017 | Posted by Mush in Life - (0 Comments)

In which I ate out.

My mister has the crud and stayed home from work today. We spent all day napping and cuddling. I didn’t manage to get into the shower until four in the afternoon!

Put on some old kohl eyeliner, because why not. Threw on some Thai fisherman’s pants, tossed my traveler’s journal crap into my backpack, and waddled over to Eat Street.

Little Tijuana

I think I thought I was headed for Bad Waitress Diner, but I ended up at Little Tijuana instead, where the food is mediocre but filling and the staff are nice as hell. Ate, doodled on the butcher paper they use for tablecloths, and journaled. Waddled home an hour later.

Opened the fridge to grab some cream for my iced coffee and oh my but the stench was serious! My pinto beans had gone off; not sure why, because I regularly keep them in the fridge for a week or more, but there you were: stinky beans. Had to pour them down the toilet.

It’s my night off so I should be doing something, but I’m just sitting at my desk fucking about on the internet. I’d like to go to a pub quiz but they’re all on Mondays, and I always work Mondays. Might just go sit in a coffee shop or something; really should get out and enjoy the neighborhood while the temperature is reasonable.