lydy: (Default)
At Fourth Street Fantasy Convention, this year, Steven Brust, from the dias, delivered a speech about safety and free speech that made me so angry I had to leave the room. Since then, various people have talked about the issues of safety, harassment, and free speech, often as a response to that situation, but sometimes as a continuation of other conversations. I have some very specific issues with the things Steven said, but I don't want to write about them at this moment. Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men. "What are the rules?" "How can I know how to behave if you won't clarify what you want?"

Dear men, please do not ask me to provide to you something that I have never had. I cannot provide you the rules. I do not know what they are, and I never have.

I have spent my entire life, my personal, professional, educational, social, and romantic life, navigating the complexities of human interaction without rules. There has never been a point at which my exact decibel level was approved, the exact number of square inches of skin I can expose has been acceptable, a precise hairstyle I could wear that would clearly communicate who and what I was. I have spent my entire life being judged by a set of shifting rules. I have spent my entire life being lied to about what those rules were. If I talk too softly, no one listens, but if I speak more loudly, I am bitchy and dismissed. If I am clear and logical, I am mocked for inadequately mimicking maleness, but if I am emotional, I am mocked for being too feminine and not worth paying attention to. There is no level of dress that does not open me up to either being a prude or a slut.

The penalties for transgressing these ever-shifting "rules" vary. Sometimes, it's just being unpersoned. Sometimes it is getting a bad job-performance review. Sometimes, it's unwanted and uncomfortable conversations. Always, at the back of my mind, has been the knowledge that if I girl wrong at the wrong guy, I might be physically assaulted. And if that were to happen, my entire girl-ness would then be on trial. What was I wearing? What did I say? How did I say it? Was it my fault? Oh, yes, some percentage of the population will assert, it was totally my fault. Because I didn't follow a rule that, you know, doesn't actually apply all the time, isn't written down, is entirely contextual, and nobody every told me in the first place.

Rules are a luxury that I have never had. The only way rules have ever applied to me is as a stick to beat me with. They are a shifting landscape of horror. I don't know if all-male spaces have clear, comfortable rules that everybody knows and the penalties are clear. I rather doubt it, but I don't know. What I do know is that to be a woman in this culture is to be constantly moving through a space where expectations are variable, and are rigidly enforced on a whim, and can dramatically affect my life.

When we talk about harassment, safety, and safe spaces, stop asking me for rules. You never gave me any, and so I have none to give you. All I can offer you is this shifting, difficult, dangerous, ambiguous space that I live in. If you want to be an ally, if, indeed, you want to be my friend, you must learn to inhabit this uncomfortable space with me. You must accept that there aren't clear rules where you can know that you are right.

You get upset that I am enraged over how you say something rather than engaging with what you "actually" said. You are ignoring the fact that I have spent my entire fucking life trying to divine what is really meant by so-called innocent words. I have never been able to take at face value a compliment, an invite to drinks after work, a comment about my clothing, an inquiry into my health. I have spent my entire life carefully navigating the unspoken, because the penalty for getting it wrong was my reputation, or worse. Again, always, I worry about violence. Because that is life, for me, as a woman. And you? You reveal much more than you know with your word choice, and your demand to be taken literally is a cowardly retreat from what we both know you said.

If you truly want challenging conversations where people tell you things that you have never heard, before, the very first thing you must do is shut the fuck up. You cannot hear me when you are talking. And if you truly want to have your mind blown by concepts and ideas that are new to you, you must at least make sure that the conversational space is comfortable enough for other people to tell you the truth. If the only reason you are talking is so that you can argue, you aren't listening. If you aren't listening, why should I talk? There is an issue of volume. If you and people like you are shouting the same thing over and over, then people like me, with a smaller platform and a softer voice, are drowned out. If you care about free speech, then you should care about the voices you are overwhelming. If all you care about is talking, you can do that without me.

I invite you to be with me in my discomfort, my uncertainty, my highly contingent and contextual life. I invite you to talk with me, and help me navigate these shifting sands of changing expectations. But I also suggest that you pay attention, because I have lived here my entire life, and near as I can tell, this is a landscape entirely new to you.
lydy: (Default)
I think I will probably not write a lot about the big deal stuff we saw. I mean, there's a metric ton of words about, say Westminster Abbey, and either you've been there or you haven't, and if you haven't, pretty much everything there is to say about it has been said. We did a bunch of the Big Deal stuff, because, you know, they really are a Big Deal. It's just that in terms of adding to the conversation, mostly what I have to say is, "Wow, man. Just wow."

Kinesthetically, I found London very comfortable. People move at speeds that seem reasonable and useful, and their concept of personal space in public is very similar to mine. It took a couple of days to get used to the idea that one should use the left-hand stairs or escalators or turnstiles, and not the right-hand ones. I mostly got that right, although not always. I never did quite learn which way to dodge when on a busy sidewalk. I tried to pay attention, but there didn't seem to be a consensus of whether one walked on the right or the left. This may have had partly to do with the fact that I was in heavily tourist areas, so there were lots of people from parts of the world where right-hand is the default. But maybe I just didn't understand. I never did get vehicular traffic quite right. I was very grateful for the "Look Left" and "Look Right" signs painted on the street at intersections. DDB dislikes them. He says that one should always look both ways, and it discourages people from doing so. I think he's wrong. I did look both ways, but the information about where I should be expecting to see traffic come from was helpful in parsing the information. I never did get used to cars coming around corners the wrong way.

Quick Digression:

When I put in my request for PTO, my day manager, Lev, asked what it was for. I told him I was going to London, and he asked me what I wanted to see. I mentioned several things, and he said, "Ah, the historical London." I agreed. Then he said, "Well, I hope you are not too disappointed."

"Disappointed? By London? It seems unlikely"

"Well, you know, it has changed. Most of the faces, these days. Most of the faces are...black."

I blinked. "Well, London has had a stable African population for, um, 400 years? No, longer. Since the 1200s, I think."

"That cannot be true."

"No, really, it is. Also, London is a World City, so I wouldn't really expect it to be mostly white. And the really large influx of immigrants in the last twenty years, if I understand correctly, have been Southeast Asians, such as Pakistanis and Afghanis, and, of course, the Polish."

"Polish? Why would they immigrate?"

And since I am not a nice person, and because Lev is Russian, I said, "Too close to Russia, maybe?" Then I went on a very brief rant about how I was not going to the United Kingdom because I was looking to see a lot of people like me who had conquered the world, in part because that was kinda dumb, but also because it was completely a-historical.

End digression.

Jokingly, at one point during our stay, I said to Patrick, "I was lied to. London is mostly white." Which caused Patrick to blink. Then he said, thoughtfully, "Are you coding all those dark haired, pale-skinned men as white?"; My turn to blink. "Look again. Most of them are Asian, which by most accounts is not white."

So, huh. I started looking. And, yep. I was definitely seeing a lot of Asians as white. At one point, we walked by a table with about eight or ten computer geeks. Obviously geeks, talking in High Unix, and wearing the traditional clothes of their people. After we'd passed, Patrick pointed out that only one of them could reasonably be described as "white", the rest were clearly sub-continental Indian, Asian, or Middle Eastern. Yep, yep. I'd noticed that they were geeks, so one point to me.

I've watched enough British television to be completely unsurprised at a Cockney accent from a young black woman, or a clearly Scottish accent from a girl in a hjibab. What I did notice, though, is that people of color in London move through the city as if they belong there, in a way that I do not see in American cities. They neither try to take up more space, nor do they move in effacing ways. They move through their space as if they belong there. Which, of course, they do. But it is not so common to see that in the US.

Another very brief digression: There is this great Etsyshop which sells really nice tie-dye t-shirts for $10. I bought a lot of them. I like tie-dye. I also found, about a year ago, this marvelous thing called a "scrub skirt." I may have raved about how much I like wearing scrubs? Well, they make long skirts. Ankle-length skirts, with huge pockets. Which is what I wear instead of jeans. Without thinking about it, what I packed for my trip were tie-dyed t-shirts and long skirts, and a couple of jackets.

One of the things that I was a little surprised by was how very kind and welcoming random British strangers were. I didn't expect them to be rude, but I didn't expect them to be overtly friendly. They were. When I commented on that to Patrick, he pointed out that my style of dress had me coded as a known type, "American Female, benign." Which amused me, as that is pretty much what I am.
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Tat, in this context, to mean cheap souvenirs. The portions of London that we spent the most time in were, unsurprisingly, full of tat shops. And I discovered a weird passion for tat shops. I do not wish to own most of the tat being sold. It is generally cheaply made, and of limited utility. But I truly love tat shops.

Here's the thing about tat shops. They are unapologetic, exuberant, and emotionally accessible. They are also cheap, cynical, and emotionally manipulative, but in such a brazen, cheerful way that I didn't mind the manipulation. I almost bought a Bobby Bear, because seriously, a teddy bear in a uniform? So fucking cute. I wish I had thought to take a picture of one tat shop window near the Houses of Parliament. The entire window was full of shiny gold and silver replicas of Big Ben, in descending sizes, from about a foot high, down to about two inches high. Each had a working clock face. And the sheer glory of a Big Ben of any size to meet your space and budget was dizzying. And funny. And just fucking weird.

The least successful tat shop, for me, was the one in the British Museum. Something about just having seen the Elgin Marbles and the actual fucking Rosetta Stone made me less charitable towards cheap knock-offs. I think it was just me, they were doing a really brisk business. I regret, a little, the lovely cards with William Morris prints on them, but I don't send cards, so well, then.

While we were in York (we did a day trip to York) we were wandering around the Shambles. There was a store there called The Cat Gallery. "Look," I cried with glee, "it is a cat tat shop!" And so it was. Cat mugs, cat tea cozies, cat posters, cat cards, cat stickers, cat rugs. In the end, I came away with a very fine cat apron, and a reusable shopping bag with cats. While nothing about my cat tat says "York" I will always remember where I got it, and will always be pleased with it. So, Cat Tat for the win.

The Tower of London also, of course, has a tat shop. Much of it is the standard stuff you can get anywhere. Snow globes with the Houses of Parliament, or the Tower, other random items. The very weird plastic dome, about one and a half inches high, with a crown inside it. I mean, what? Why? It's a really generic crown, too, bearing no particular resemblance to the crown jewels, or anything else. It is not large enough nor heavy enough to use as a paper weight, it does not fit on a key chain, has no function that I could discern, and cost a couple of pounds. Ok. There were lots of toy swords, and pencils with odd things on the end, like Big Ben, toy crowns, and so on. But this was also my weirdest experience in a tat shop.

When we did the Tower, we walked along the wall, mostly, which took us into various towers. The towers had their interesting displays, and so on. And, of course, a lot of centuries old graffiti from people who were probably going to die, soon. At one point, Patrick walked out of one of the rooms muttering, "I'm just enough of a partisan to be uncomfortable with the amount of Catholic blood in that room." I walked into Beauchamp Tower, and turned right around and walked out again to regain my composure. It was the tower where Elizabeth the First was held, and for atmospherics they had echoing footsteps on the sound system, and some other things. I didn't consciously process this, I just suddenly felt completely overwhelmed. We'd just walked by the green upon which many people had been beheaded, and the close grim tower was too much. I did go back in, and was glad to have done so. The next place on the path was the Bloody Tower. Patrick walked in, saw an instrument of torture, and turned right around and walked out. I didn't even venture in. It had been, by then, a long day. We were both tired and very overwhelmed emotionally by the vast history literally surrounding us. Neither of us felt like torture-porn was going to be a good experience.

So, the tat shop. I think it was called the Raven Shop. As I said, most of it was pretty normal, standard tat. There were some very pretty chess sets (extremely expensive) and some interesting books, but mostly, it was very standard. There was, however, in a glass box, some paper figures, one kneeling, and one with an ax held high. I barely glanced at it, not quite long enough to register exactly what it was, just long enough to know I didn't wish to look further. When you remember that one of my passions is pop-up books, my sudden aversion without processing strikes me as interesting. A shop girl said, "Oh, you have to see this. It's so neat!" I turned around. She pushed a button on the box containing the paper figures, and the paper figure with the ax lowered his arms, the ax landed on the paper figure kneeling, and the head fell off. I said, very loudly, "EEEK!" and started to walk quickly away. "That's horrible," I added, feeling badly about being mean to the shop girl, but at the same time really weirded out. She called after me, "It's not horrible, it's cute!"

I dunno. If this was my history, if I got taught it repeatedly in school, if it was part of my heritage, maybe my emotional responses to it would be a lot more like the shop girl than the ones I had. But honestly, how is a beheading cute? Ok, then. Tat shop 1, Lydy 0.

The last full day in London, I went into several tat shops, looking for a thing to take home that wasn't embarrassingly daft. I finally settled on a black t-shirt with the Tube map on it. It was only twelve pounds, and I am inordinately pleased with it. I vaguely regret the Bobby Bear, but well. I would have been embarrassed later.
lydy: (Default)
To be clear, "World Traveler" is British Airways polite term for coach.

Last Worldcon, for reasons that totes made sense (you'll have to trust me on this), Ctein persuaded Patrick to take me to London. I have wanted to go to London for longer than I can remember. If I had a bucket list, which I don't, London would be at the top. (And suddenly, it seems odd to me that a bucket would have a top, but well, I do not understand the ways of buckets.)

We went for eight days, leaving Friday 5 May at 10:00 p.m. from New York, arriving 10:00 a.m. at Gatwick, and left again at 4:30 p.m. on 14 May, arriving at 8:00 p.m., which totally felt like 1:00 a.m. And then there were customs...I am getting ahead of myself.

I am going to do a series of posts about the trip, mostly so that I will remember it in years to come. If you find other people's travels boring, do please skip. I will not be including many pictures. Patrick was totally in charge of pictures because I don't particularly do visual stuff, and trying to fuss with a camera or cell phone camera would have significantly interfered with my enjoyment. Nor do my memories tie to visual media all that well.

London. There is...a lot of London. Lots and lots of London. Way more than we could have seen in 8 days. We had an A, B, and C list, and got to most of the things on the A list, a couple of things on the B list, and nothing on the C list. Which is as it should be. It was amazing and wonderful and I regret nothing. Ok, I regret that Hyde Park tried to kill me. Other than that, I regret nothing. I would love to go back again, and try to get to the other bits. And then again, and again. Did I mention that there is a lot of London?

London is exciting, beautiful, engaging, fascinating, old, and odd. I did not find it overwhelming, frightening, or strange. It was not familiar, either. It was like...ok, really bad analogy. It was like putting on a brand new pair of shoes that fit perfectly. They aren't familiar, but they do feel utterly right, and they tempt you to walk way more than you really should. (According to the world's worst pedometer, Pokemon Go, we were clocking about 10 kilometers a day. Oh, my poor feet.)

So, London. It's lovely.
lydy: (Default)
So, I've stopped checking LJ, and have started just reading at Dreamwidth. I believe this still cross-posts. So, if you are on LJ, but not on DW, I am not seeing you. If you are on DW, and I have somehow failed to encircle you at DW, please mention it so that I can do so. (LJ still sends me email notifications if you comment at my LJ, so if you comment on LJ, I will see it.) If you are only on LJ, again, tell me, and I'll try to check in on a regular basis.

Dear LJ, thanks for all the fish.
lydy: (Default)
So, I think I've turned on cross-posting, so that when I post on Dreamwidth, it also posts to LJ. This is to test that.

I am lydy over on Dreamwidth, and I am trying to friend (encircle?) everyone who is over there that I normally follow at LJ. If I haven't encircled (friended?) you yet, please comment with your DW handle, so that I can do so. If I don't, it's probably incompetence on my part, not animus.

Have I mentioned that I hate learning a new interface?

I am not planning on deleting my LJ. I'm just planning on primarily using DW.
lydy: (Default)
Am postin this on Dreamwidth to see what happens. I have no idea how to cross-post to LJ. Figure that out at some time in the future, I expect.
lydy: (me by ddb)
I am working on porting over my LJ to Dreamwidth, since it seem to be where all my friends are going, and LJ without yunz guys is kinda pointless. I'm using the importer tool provided by Dreamwidth. Any tips as to how this goes, what I should look for, what I will need to do manually?

Also, are there any mobile apps for Dreamwidth, like there are for LJ? I like to be able to check on my phone from time to time, and when I searched the Google Play Store, all it provided me was the ElJay app. Does this work for DW?

I really hate this. I hate learning new interfaces. But I hate losing track of my friends, more. So.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Nobody ever reads their EULA. It is known, Khaleesi. I have probably signed hundreds of them, and I have read exactly none of them. I am by no means unique. I am, also, living in the United States (it could happen to anyone!) and so subject to the laws of this benighted republic.

Why are so many of my friends, most of whom also don't read their EULAs, and none of whom live in Russia, all freaked out about LJ's latest idiocy? What am I missing? In what qualitative way is this crazy-assed EULA different from all other EULAs?
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, I've lived through Viet Nam (well, the ending thereof), Gulf I, Gulf II, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now dear sweet Jesus fuck me, Syria?

Theme for my Five Calls of the week, "Syria needs many things, but I do not believe that more bombs are among them." Asked my senators and congress critter to require that Trump get Congressional approval for any additional military adventuring, and to say no if they can actually get him to ask.

So many other things are going on, going wrong. Too much, too much.

And really, again? We are not prepared to go in, depose Asad, and spend 20 years rebuilding the country. I'm not sure that we should, but that at least is something that would make sense. We have done this before. Japan and Germany come to mind. We also had international support, and we spent a fuck-ton of money. In general, I think it was money well-spent, and while I'm absolutely sure the Japanese and Germans would have some harsh things to say about some of our choices, it was not the worst possible thing to have done. We have no such commitment to Syria, nor will we acquire one. This, too, we have done before. Somalia ring any bells?

This is not a careful, well-thought out, precise and sourced post. This is a crie de couer. I'm sure there are many thoughtful things to be said. But at the moment all I want to do is hide under the covers, and say, "No, not again."
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, David and I have been living together for more than 20 years. While we lack the blessing of the state, I think it is reasonable to describe us as "old marrieds." One of the things we like to do is just, you know, hang out. It's not that we have nothing to say to each other, of course, we talk a lot. But sometimes, there's a nice animal comfort in being in the same room, doing different things. No need to interact, really, but the physical presence is companionable.

I've gotten obsessed with The Rachel Maddow Show. David... really not. So, he wants to hang out in the media room with me, and read a book or work on his laptop, and I want to watch TRMS, or other news shows. This doesn't really work, for him, and so either I don't get to do the thing I want, or he doesn't get to do the thing he wants, or we have to be in separate rooms. We kind of assumed that there was a headphone jack on the television, and we could just set me up with a long cable and headphones. Yeah, no. The television is too modern, or something, and doesn't have a headphone jack.

David did a little research, and there's this combination of things that you can use. David can explain it, I can't. Any gate, there's a thing that you plug into the television that gets the audio from...something optical? Not sure. Then there's a bluetooth repeater. David spent some time looking for something that has a very low latency. Latency? Any gate, so the sound and the picture would be in synch. (I can't watch dubbed movies, because the sound and the lips being out of synch makes me crazy.) Then there's a little bluetooth receiver with a headphone jack.

Due to various things, like the fact I spent Christmas out of town, David hadn't bought me a Christmas present. So he asked me if I would like this set up, where I could watch my news shows without driving him out of the room. And if I preferred earbuds versus headphones. And if this would qualify as a good present. I was delighted, said yes, he got the things, and they work exactly as we had hoped, and I'm delighted.

And it's such an old married sort of situation. First, no stress on just asking me if I wanted such a thing. And also, if it would constitute a present. It was a sensible question. There are ways to look at it that would suggest that rather than a present for me, it was a present for him. And, you know, I think that if we weren't old married, a "Hey, how about I buy you a thing that lets us ignore each other while being in the same room, wouldn't that be cool?" might come across as...not so romantic.

There are many charms to the early bits of a relationship. The falling in love, the newness, the excitement of it all. But I also love the calm, slow bits, the comfort and the ease of having someone where most of the communication bugs have been worked out, and where most of the fraught bits have been dealt with. Not all, of course. We still have our moments. But this really was just such a good Christmas present.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Called Al, Amy, and Keith about the disasterous Republican "replacement" of Obamacare. As always, I flubbed the first call, did better on the second and third. I kind of think the staff are tired of hearing from me...this may be projection on my part. In all three cases, they didn't ask for my zip code, and in two cases they declined to take it. One of them said, "I have your phone number" which is totes adorbz, since one's area code is the area code that one had when one first got a cell phone, not necessarily where one lives at the moment. Which actually highlights some of the ways in which the geographic representation is an antique thing. On the other hand, most of the suggestions for replacing it with something else seem to have even greater problems. I don't know... It's complicated. If representation were by affinity group rather than geography, it removes the problems of gerrymandering, but introduces greater balkanization, just for starters.

I also called the Dept. of Homeland Security to ask for the release of Daniel Ramirez, who is a Dreamer who didn't do anything at all, other than just, be, you know, brown.

So, that's my little bit for the week.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, let's talk about adults, for a moment. You know the ones, the ones whose lives are perpetually in a tangle, and in the end, you shake your head and say, "Well, he's an adult."

That guy, that guy who cannot manage his financial situation. He's basically a good person, someone whose company you enjoy and who you would like to see happy. You've done what you can to help. Maybe you lent him money, maybe you sat down with him and developed a realistic budget. Maybe you listened to him describe exactly why it is that he can't seem to keep the whole financial thing together. Maybe you understand why he's making the choices he's making, and maybe you don't. Either way, at some point, you shake your head and say, "Well, he's an adult." You keep an eye out, though. When it's clear he's having trouble getting food on the table, you invite him over for dinner a couple times. Maybe you pay his heating bill, or fix his car. You do little things to make sure that he doesn't end up dead or in jail. But you also protect yourself. You don't lend him money, you don't get involved in any financial schemes he has, and you quietly warn mutual friends. If he's homeless, you put him up for a while, but you set limits and boundaries.

This is not a bad person, per se, but he's definitely making some pretty terrible choices when he could have made better ones. So you stop trying to protect him from all the consequences, just make sure there's enough of a safety net that the possibility exists that things can get better for him. You don't pay attention to his self-serving explanations, and you are really clear that you don't support those choices. Understanding why he's doing this to himself doesn't really change things. You protect yourself, and do what you can for him, but you don't enable his world-view. You probably can't stop him from believing what he believes, but you don't have to buy into it, either. And if you have any hope of him changing, it is in part by refusing to endorse his bizarre justifications for his actions.

Now, let's talk about Trump voters. I am enormously tired of the call to "understand" the Trump voter. They're adults. They made some pretty bad choices. I am going to continue to fight for various safety-nets which will benefit them, because even though they did something incredibly stupid, they shouldn't die of unaddressed medical needs, nor should they starve. But I really don't need to understand why they did what they did. Nor would it help in the least. I am not their therapist. I am just their co-citizen, living in the same world. And I don't think that "understanding" them will make a wet slap of difference. Assuming I did understand the exact emotional structures that led them to want to burn it all down. Then what? I should...let them burn it down? No, that's stupid. So, I continue to fight for a more peaceful and prosperous world, and I stop accepting their juvenile excuses for why they did what they did. They're adults. I think we should treat them like it.

As for winning their votes next cycle... If it is possible, and it may not be, it's going to be by being really clear what the consequences of their last set of votes was. I say, ignore all the think pieces about the resentment and feelings of abandonment that the Trump voters have. Don't care, am not their therapist or their mommy. If they're going to vote for racist policies against their own self-interests, there is literally nothing I am willing to do to fix that.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Called my Senators and Congresscritter about Sessions, today. Said that although what I wanted was him impeached and sent to jail, I was willing to settle for his resignation. Also tried, repeatedly, to call the House Judiciary committee, but was unable to get through. Once again, I used 5calls.org, which makes this as easy as it can be. The staffers seem overwhelmed, and did not remember to ask for my zip code. I found during previous calls that if I give it at the beginning, they have usually forgotten it by the time I'm done. The fact that they weren't asking suggests that they are way overwhelmed, and possibly don't care any more. Me, I still care, a lot.

Josh Marshall argues that the pattern of lies and cover-ups that we're seeing suggests that there's something actually serious at the center. You don't make this many unforced errors about minor stuff unless you're really worried about something much bigger at the center. I suspect that's true. At any rate, the only way to find out is to keep pushing.

On the other hand, while the Russia stuff is marvelously byzantine and distracting, and very possibly treasonous, we must not forget the huge push against women, transgender people, and immigrants. And, of course, their vigorous attempt to destroy the entire planet. All of this matters. I know that they say that you should pick your battles. I am unsure which battles are the most important. I am hoping that the Russia stuff will be a useful lever for the rest of it, but we must not ignore the rest of it. It's all scary, folks.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Today's issue was the transgender bathroom executive order. I said, each time, that transgender students were not dangerous, they were in danger. I was unable to reach the Department of Justice. The nice lady at the Department of Education said that they were getting a lot of calls, and she was very nice. I said that I bet her job wasn't much fun just now, and she laughed just a little and allowed as how it was very busy.

I'd do more calling, but it just feels weird to call my senators more than once a day, you know? I mean, I might never stop calling. And they do suggest that you stick to one issue per phone call.

So now I get to mark this off on my Habitica checklist, and get points. Yay, points! Someday, you will be another virtual, magical pet!
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, the 5 calls thing is pretty brill, actually. You go to 5calls.org, check off the thing you're concerned about, and they pop up the people to call, their phone numbers, and a script. So I called my senators and asked for an independent investigation into the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and then I called my governor in support of the immigrants, documented and not, in our state. I didn't follow the script precisely, but I found it pretty useful for organizing my thoughts. And now I'm done for the day. My god, I hate doing this stuff. It thought the entire point of electing representatives was that they did this shit for me. Sigh. Will do more next week. And the week after. Keep on a keeping' on.
lydy: (me by ddb)
Look, I hate political action with a white hot passion. I also think maybe I should do some. There are a bunch of Indivisible groups listed, locally, but I have no experience and no talent in this area, and I was wondering if anyone knew enough to recommend a group to get involved with. I would prefer some smart, politically savvy, practical people who have clear ideas of useful, bite-sized actions that I could get involved in. I am especially interested in groups that work to make sure that it's not just us white, middle-class people who are doing all the talking. I am not interested in long meetings that wrangle or rage, although I realize that I may not be able to avoid them.

Any suggestions?
lydy: (me by ddb)
Just to remind you: I love this book. I love it with a deep passion, and have for 40 years. So when I'm critical, it comes from a place of deep, abiding -- something. Not sure what. I couldn't even call it carefully considered. This book engages all my passions, and none of my objectivity.

Also, I am assuming you have read the book, and there are spoilers. If you haven't read the book, only seen one of the dramatic presentations, a) you should read the book, and b) there are spoilers.

Rant the Next: The Plot

Read more... )

Self-Indulgence as a Virtue

Read more... )

Punishment, Proportionality, and Honor

Read more... )

Ok, end of today's rants. I probably have more, but you have not been subjected to the most important ones. I have a minor rant about how filial love is the primary theme in the book, and how this is often over looked, but possibly it's not actually interesting enough to warrant a rant. There's another rant about the casual cruelty of various characters, but again, I'm not sure how interesting that would be.

Thank you for bearing with me, those of you who have. And for those of you who have wisely avoided my rants, well, it's still a great work of literature. Honestly.
lydy: (me by ddb)
I just finished The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, for the umpteenth time, for versions of finished that include listening to an unabridged, LibreVox recording by someone who does truly terrible French and Italian accents and pronounces "azure" as "Asia." I have loved this book with an unironic passion for forty years, and I feel the need to rant. More than once.

tl;dr: This book, my god this fucking book!

These rants will contain spoilers.


Rant the First: Personal History

Read more... )

Rant the Second: Enter the Suck Fairy


Read more... )

Rant the Third: Women, aka the Return of the Very Problematic Fairy

Read more... )

I have more rants about plot and structure and stuff, but Imma gonna post this, now.

There are things I love about this book, and I'll write about them later.
lydy: (me by ddb)
So, I believe I have now called every representative I own, from city councilperson to my senators. I got a fuck-ton of points for it in Habitica, so yay Habitica. Mostly, I was calling to say that you must stand with the immigrants, and not with Trump.

For my senators, I told them I had a bright line: Jeff Sessions. If they vote for Sessions, I will never vote for them again, I would rather vote for the Natural Law party than someone who supported that racist bigot. Actually, for Franken, I had to send email, because his phones were completely tied up. Most other reps, I had to leave messages for, because they are not answering their phones. I hope it's because they're overwhelmed, and not because they're hiding.

Seriously, fuck this noise. Trump is a scary, weak motherfucker. Bannon is a terrifying wife-beater bigot. The administration is a comedy of incompetence. None of which means that they can't win.

Children, I am frightened. It's early days. Remember we are in this for the long haul.
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