wednes: (Wednes Poison)
Dear Nazis,

Congratulations! American apathy and misplaced aggression have created an environment that has allowed you emerge proudly from your hidey holes. You white supremacists have always had a wealth of pride, but ya'll don't even wear masks anymore. You present yourself as 'bravely' unafraid of the repercussions of your bullshit--which can only mean that you either think most people agree with you, or that the few who DO agree with you are powerful enough to protect you from those who don't. Good for you!
Take heed though, because whatever WWII books you've been reading--you clearly haven't quite made it to the end. Spoiler Alert: Hitler went out like a bitch. A #Cyka, if you will (and you know you will). Hitler's is one of the only suicides we can call "weak" and "candy-ass" and borne of "pure selfishness."

Now that you know about Hitler's cowardly suicide, his tacit deathbed realization that he'd been wrong all along, you can knock off that crazy bullshit and devote your time to other things. Right? RIGHT?!?
With that in mind, here's a list of things Nazis can do now that they know following Hitler is a huge fucking waste of time (because I just told them). Get ready for fun, Nazis!!

1. Charity Work. You love white people? Awesome. Charities that help white people include homeless shelters, halfway houses, drug treatment centers, mental health centers, food banks, blood drives, or just lending an elderly neighbor a hand with yard work or household repairs.
You're likely to find that helping the people you support is more fulfilling than trying to hurt the people you don't. Bonus: You'll also be less likely to do prison time.

2. Read. No offense, but a lot of you white supremacists have appalling grammar. I heard somewhere that anyone who wants to live in America should learn English. Well, you've been gifted 13 years of tax-payer funded education (you wacky socialist, you!). Still, you don't have it down yet if your misspelled, unpunctuated, 7-dots-in-an-ellipses Tweets are any indication. Take some time and get your proficiency up to say, a 6th grade level.
After all, the best way to feel superior to and smarter than others is to gain wisdom and knowledge, then apply what you learned to your life. You can do it!!!

3. Church. Or more appropriately: Catechism. You guys talk a lot about god this and god that, but you missed the memos on community, loving your fellow man (regardless of skin pigmentation) feeding the poor, and giving comfort to the weak and afflicted. If you still haven't found morality after attending church for a year, talk to an atheist or TST member. They can help.

4. Crafts. Everybody loves crafts. Glue popsicle sticks to make a swastikkka that will send your friends into a Furher. Use dry pasta and glitter to create a Dakow diorama that will give your great grandparents flashbacks. Paint your toy train to look like...I'm not finishing that sentence because, ew. Anyway, staying inside to craft keeps you from going out and seeing all the people you're frightened of you're against.

5. Send away your DNA for testing. This serves several purposes. First, most of you will learn that you have African ancestors. Second, most of you will learn that you have Latino, Asian, Middle-Eastern, or other non-lily-white ancestors. When you get your results, they must be read aloud at the next Klan meeting, Nazi rally, or white supremacy bake sale (you guys do that, right?). Finally, the rest of us might be able to figure out if virulent hate is ever passed genetically.

6. ISIS. If all else fails, and you really want to pretend that your violent sadism is part of a deeply felt, god-sent religious agenda, Congratulations! You feel the same way as ISIS. You hate American freedoms (like speech, and existing without being murdered by the Klan) and are against Democracy, the Free Market, Religious Freedom, and everything written on the Statue of Liberty. Lucky you! There's a group in place already fighting for those ideals, and they fear hate women almost as much as you do!
Bonus: Vlad Putin is also down with ISIS, and I hear he knows the 45th POTUS.

You're welcome.
wednes: (Colbert Well Done)
One time, my electric toothbrush battery died. Instead of just brushing analog like a normal person, I stood there frozen--wondering how on earth I was gonna brush my teeth that day. I had to go to work! I couldn't NOT brush them...
This went down in history as my most absurdly absent-minded life events ever. Not a big deal, just a "holy crap, that was dumb" situation.

Today, my friends, I think I beat it.

We get tons of packages because of Amazon. We also get our groceries from there (well, 70% of them or so), plus I get a Box of Dread every month. So yeah, we're pretty packagey.
Today I got four packages, one of which was really super heavy.
The others were all Amazon stuff for review: some socks, another spy camera, another disco light, some really cool playing cards...like that. The heavy package was USPS priority mail. It was quite heavy and there was stuff moving around loose inside (not alive, but I feared breakage). I couldn't imagine what it could be, or even who it was from. I looked...but didn't know the person.
Turns out, the address label was sort of wonky, but the package wasn't even for me.

Since that bitch upstairs moved out, I don't actually know the names of any of our current neighbors. *pause to consider how sad that is* I got dressed and thought I'd try to figure it out. I walk into the hall, and look at the package again. It's addressed to, if you'll pardon the expression, a foreign-sounding name I couldn't begin to place with a nationality or region. But the cut off address was like [numbers Street, apartment numbe] But on the next line in a different font, it said R4.
Ah, I reasoned. This must be for apartment four.
Which one would that be...Hmmm
.
The apartment across from me is #1, so I know it's not them. (if you've been to my place, you might already be laughing here. If not, fear not. Imma let me finish.)
I go down to the end of the hall...to see apartments #2 and #3. Wait, where are the people for the package? This makes no sense. Suddenly I can't even find Apartment 4. This is the dumbest thing ever. Who designed this stupid building anyway? I hate it here!
Still carrying the heavy package, I got back to my apartment...
...where I am reminded that WE are Apartment 4.

Oh FFS...

Anyway, I left the package by the mailboxes. I have even less idea who it might be for now.
wednes: (Hail Ants!)
Taking a break from my usual complainy-pants ways to post about things that are going on in the world that I actually like. Here goes:

Patton Oswalt is engaged. This makes me very happy.

HBO leads the Emmy nominations, and Netflix is next.
This bodes well for people who enjoy quality television, if any.

Free drones. H and I (well, they're mine, but H is better at flying them) have gotten a total of four free drones for review. The most recent one is hella tiny. Like, hilariously so.
View post on imgur.com


Jim Jeffries show is pretty good. He looks good in a suit too. If I was merely moderately good looking and had a TV show, I'm not sure I'd bring in Brad Pitt. Or are they having an affair now too?

Still looking at dogs. Want to find a low-energy guard dog that isn't drooly and won't have a bunch of expensive health problems. Sorry, Bull Mastiff.

I think my sister-in-law might be my favorite person in the world. I totally hope she comes to live with us.

Still writing over to the Radish. This serial story seems to be going well, though this is not at all what I'm used to. Few things make me feel more like a horror writer than actually writing horror. I guess that's how it's supposed to be, right?

TV I'm going to try to get caught up on soon:
Glow
Fargo
Fear the Walking Dead

Ending Up

Jul. 2nd, 2017 07:08 pm
wednes: (Cartoon JoJo)
When I was a kid, the phrase "ended up" was heard often. It's supposed to indicate the end of a story. "She ended up marrying that guy from two towns over." As if that's the last thing she ever did. Kinda reminds me of fairy tales that end with a wedding, as if that's the last interesting thing that will ever happen to a person.

The older I get, the more I realize that people don't "end up" anywhere until they die. The guy who "ended up" getting a job at his dad's company after college? He doesn't work there anymore. In fact, the company doesn't exist. The chick who "ended up" moving to California has lived in six other states since then.
I kinda wonder how many people have stopped doing things, trying things, or pursuing things because they felt like they "ended up" somewhere they didn't want to be.

But really, does anyone really "end up" anywhere, except cemeteries and places ashes are thrown?


In drone news, we're having better luck with the tiny drones than the big ones. I think they sent us the wrong propellers for the big drone. One side won't lift even though everything seems to be in order. Dronies I've talked to say it's probably a misaligned propeller.
Still, the box did take a mighty whallop on its way to us. The inside box wasn't damaged, but who knows. Anyway, waiting to hear back from the seller.

Have also been fielding questions from a total stranger asking me why I think I can spend "their tax dollars" on drones. WTF?!?
a) We didn't buy the drones, they're review items we got for free
b) If there's a government program that gives away drones, this is the first I'm hearing of it.
c) OMGLOLSTFU seriously.
d) *block*
wednes: (Sad)
I'm going to be completely selfish in this post. What's new, right?

I am far too young to have lost so many classmates to early death. Sure, I'm almost 50, (well, turning 47 this year, so closer to 50 than 40) and that's a lot more time than a lot of people get. Hell, it might be more time than most people get. I haven't looked it up.

At this point, I went to school with people who died and left behind young kids. Cancer, brain tumors, AIDS, accidents, and a bunch of suicides. Come to think of it, I think I know of more suicide deaths from my peer group than accidents or violent crimes.

Feeling the death of another classmate today.
He was a good guy, never a dick to anyone online--which is a major achievement in my world, since most of the people I know online are the occasional penis-for-brains.
Jim left behind friends and family who are devastated by the loss. I can't even imagine it.

As many of you know, my greatest fear is H dying. When something really frightens me, I sit down and try to think up all the worst case scenarios and figure out what I'd do if they happened. I've figured out zombies, alien invasion, fire, plague, nuclear war, my mom showing up here, and a militia takeover of the state. Damn glad I know people in the militia now.
But when I try to think through what I'd to if H died, all I can see is me sitting in my good chair, staring into space and waiting for someone to notice that they haven't seen me around in a while. Then I'd die. That's not supposed to get your attention or make you feel bad for me. It's rather a crushing defeat to know that after 17+ years with H, that I literally have no idea how I'd manage to live and function without him. Hilariously, most of the people I know have ONLY known me with H. Aside from family and a few classmates I talk to on FB, "Wednes and H" are the only way we exist for them.
So yeah, I have no idea how people pick themselves up and get over it. I'd probably just send messages to Patton Oswalt every day until his agent's assistant's social media manager told me to stop.


As for the rest of life, working on Hellish Calling and dealing with the Radish site not working well, or maybe me not knowing how to work it. Either way, it's slow going.
wednes: (Eye of Wednes)
Did you see the piece in Teen Vogue about a makeup artist that transformed a white model, giving her the look of a woman of color? Apparently, people are calling this "blackface" and saying how super offensive it is. As you might think, I disagree.

Obviously, whether someone is offended is between them and the art. My point is not to tell anyone that they shouldn't be offended. But blackface and minstrel shows are not remotely the same as using makeup to transform a model. It's not done to mock, harass, stereotype, or profit from the images of POC. Again, if that still offends you, that's your business. But telling the artist that he's hateful is not cool. Demanding that he take down his work or stop making it is also not cool.

There's something else though. There's an idea among white liberals now that if you hear any POC say they don't like something--you're not allowed to like it either, else you're oppressing people. Obviously, not all POC will agree on any one issue, and suggesting that they should or do is pretty fucking racist. It's a good thing for us white people to ease up on the idea that everything should be catered toward us. But I'm already tired of having white people explain to me that my views are wrong--because they once spoke to a POC who held a differing opinion. I know POC too. How many do I have to find that agree with me before I'm allowed to maintain my personal opinion?

In the end, the purpose of art is to challenge people, make them think. That means being uncomfortable sometimes. It also means that people will discuss, even argue, the way they see art differently. That's not just okay, it's vital and necessary. By that same token, there's no art (or humor, for that matter) that one couldn't describe as offensive to someone or something.

Take one of my fave paintings, Picasso's Guernica (take THAT!).
Here's a smattering of what people might say about that painting if it were unveiled today, and depicted a more modern tragedy:
"He's making a painting about [tragedy]? What sicko wants to see that?"
"Oh sure, profit off the war why don't you? Fascist!"
"This asshole wouldn't be painting pretty pictures if he'd ever fucking been in a battle!"
"Where does he get off speaking for people of [place]?!?"
"There's nothing artistic about war. War is hell."
"I'm so sick of hearing about [event], why can't people just let things go?"
"Artsy Fartsy cuck paints woman holding dead baby, calls it art. Bullshit."
"We should boycott [museum] and make sure Picasso never works again!"
"Fuck painters! Sit inside all day and didn't even join the military! MAGA"
and so forth.
"Great, another white man speaking for minorities! Shut up and listen, Pablo!"

IDEA: I've been thinking about a project wherein people send me jokes and I explain what's potentially offensive about them. The point is to demonstrate that ANY joke can be considered offensive, because every joke comes from a place of absurdity or exaggeration. I just don't know how to figure out the mechanics of such a thing. Is Twitter the best place for that? Or a Reddit AMA?

Example:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
"Who are YOU to interrogate that chicken? He was probably escaping from the harrowing industrial farm complex where chickens like him/her are tortured every day. But you don't care about that, you savage carnivore! Where that bird wants to go is none of your business, they don't owe you an explanation, and it's offensive that you would even ask."

I would accept responses within a specified period. The goal would be for people to try to find a joke that can't possibly be described as offensive, then I point out how it could be.

Ultimately, we're all allowed to find things awesome or offensive if we want to (or against our will, I suppose), and to share those thoughts with the world. What we don't get to do is force people to stop expressing themselves because we don't like what they're saying. Sure, we may want to limit our exposure to such things, or even limit the venues that allow such people/works to have a voice. I wouldn't want my tuition dollars supporting an Ann Coulter or Milo speech. But they still should be allowed to speak.
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
Heated discussions with outspoken feminists often make me more angry and frustrated than trying to talk sense into DJT apologists. Maybe it's because I expect more from those who claim to be "woke." Maybe it's because I presume that "being reasonable" means thinking pretty much like I do.

A blogger I enjoy posted on Facebook comparing Bill Cosby's treatment in re: his many rapes, with Bill O'Reilly and his allegations of sexual harassment. Their claim was that these two men were being treated differently from each other, and that the explanation for this was, of course, racism.

I don't mind saying that this seems like bullshit to me. No, I'm not denying that racism is alive and well, or that it often finds its way into the legal system. Of course it does. That's not why this claim doesn't work for me.

Point 1: Cosby drugged and raped at least 40 women while O'Reilly is accused of sexual harassment. If there are allegations of inappropriate touching or anything physical, I am not aware of them.
When commenters brought this up, we were told that these distinctions don't matter.
Um, what? Of course it matters. It matters in terms of criminal law, and it matters in the event of civil lawsuits. What a person does absolutely matters.
Example: Murdering your spouse is well, murder. Beating your spouse, while completely fucked, is not murder. So if two people do these things, one is a murderer and one isn't. Ergo, them not being charged with the same crime has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that they committed different crimes.

Point 2: No one has been charged with anything, meaning nothing has been adjudicated. How can one make a claim that one person is being punished more severely than the other when neither has been punished by the law?
Yes, Cosby has been formally charged. Again, he raped a bunch of people. Depending on the state, O'Reilly's harassment may or may not result in criminal charges. But we do know that he paid women off to avoid civil lawsuits.

Point 3: Much has been made of the unofficial punishments for these men. Public shaming, reruns taken out of syndication, unfavorable press and memes, etc. These men are no doubt experiencing different reactions from their fan bases. But does anyone really think that's solely because of race?
Do we think Bill O'Reilly's audience is made up of radical feminists who will ride him out of town on a rail for being shitty to women? No. it's made up of men who probably think if women don't want to hear him masturbating on the phone, they shouldn't wear skirts or high heels to work. O'Reilly has always been an arrogant blowhard who appeals to wannabe arrogant blowhards.
Meanwhile, Cosby has always presented himself as a kind of moral arbiter, as far back as the Fat Albert show. When you spend decades pretending to be a model husband, father, industry professional, and community leader, you have much farther (further?) to fall. Again, this is not racism. It's the difference between a fan base of crotchety old men versus sitcom-loving American families.

Ascribing motives to strangers is always tricky territory. But what really chaps my ass is this idea that dissenting comments should be deleted. Thinking that rape and harassment are different doesn't make me "part of the problem," nor does it mean I'm trivializing sexual assault. Bullshit accusations like that are why some people think they dislike feminists and feminism.

On my own page, I invite discussion from pretty much anyone. If someone proves that they're unable to discern facts from fevered dreams, persist in name calling or verbal abuse after being warned, or are spouting racist, sexist, or delusional nonsense, they get banned. It's pretty rare. I never delete comments though, because people should own the shit they say online. Taking it down gives them a free pass to pretend it never happened. Plus, I'm not afraid of words, ideas, thoughts, or language even when I strongly disagree with them. I don't mind saying that cowardly bullshit like that pisses me off. Shutting down conversations is the thing that keeps us from connecting with each other and finding common ground.
Obviously, people can run their own pages how they like. But I don't think I'll ever understand the concept of posting something (ie: inviting discussion) and then deleting every comment you don't agree with. That's just preening and posturing. It's not interacting with your readership, and it's certainly no way to consider things in a new way.

In a sense, this exchange illustrates why I didn't call myself a feminist for a long time. I equated feminism with people bitching about comedians not being sensitive enough, or pretending that their offense means every joke they don't like can never be told again. Like deleting comments, saying people shouldn't joke about things is saying "I refuse to have my opinions challenged." Or more confrontationally put, "I'm too afraid to consider that I might not be 100% right on this issue." That's nothing to feel proud or smug about.

In other news, my time at Livejournal is done. They won't allow cross posting since I don't agree to their TOS, and I don't.
wednes: (Stephen King)
I'm going to preface this by saying that of course people have different tastes in movies and books. While I do sometimes feel judgy toward people that defend literary or live-action garbage, I recognize that this is a shitty trait I should continue trying to shake. People are allowed to like whatever the hell they want. That's not the point I'm making here. With that out of the way...

What do horror writers and fans think they're accomplishing by talking shit about Stephen King? What is achieved by insulting the work that inspired so many people to pursue the genre, and writing in general? Even if you weren't personally influenced by King, someone you were influenced by was.
Do you think you're being edgy or outside-the-box by pretending that Carrie isn't a good novel? Or that you felt nothing when reading Pet Sematary? Or that The Shining didn't scare you ever, at any point? I'm not saying people are wrong for not having King on their top-ten lists or whatever. But this bland "I don't see what the big deal is about Stephen King" bullshit has to stop. When you say that, you're revealing your own ignorance far more than you're making a statement about King and his work. Besides, it's not possible to dislike everything he's written--unless you haven't read enough.

Until Daniel Craig happened, I did not give half a rat's ass about James Bond. He's basically what a 12-year-old boy thinks it's like to be a spy. I've not read the books, but the movies are silly and campy and don't seem to realize that they are. But I understand that it's a wildly popular series and that people have strong love feelings for it. I can also tell the difference between something being objectively bad, or simply not being to my taste. Bond films are simply not what I'm looking for in a film.

Stephen King is like The Beatles. You can't possibly dislike all of it. There's too damn much. And it's all so different. I Wanna Hold Your Hand and The White Album are worlds apart. Come to think of it, I haven't even read all of King. I haven't touched any of the Dark Tower stuff (no pinkie wags please), and never got around to the JFK thing. The point is that there's so much King work, much of which is not even horror. Don't believe me, read Eyes of the Dragon to your (older than toddler) kids.

King's work isn't perfect. I'm not here to say that it is. He's got that "magical negro" problem. Most of his sex scenes are basically the same. He's got a clear bias against fat people. One could argue that he has a definite formula, but must also admit that he changed it up after a time. His wife characters are often interchangeable.

Admittedly, I'm one of those people who came to love and understand horror because of Stephen King. I was a kid when Salem's Lot and The Shining and Carrie came out. One might argue that 9 was too young to read such things. But fuck that. Letting me read whatever the hell I wanted is one of a very small number of things my mother got totally right. We also watched almost whatever we wanted, horror wise. That's how I got to see Alien and Fulci's Zombi at the drive-in. But I digress.

Rage. I get why he wants it out of print, because actual school shooters had actual copies nearby when they actually killed people. But dammit. If we're really gonna ban every book people use to excuse horrible deeds, the Christian Bible should be ripped off shelves tomorrow. If I was ever gonna direct a short based on a King story, Rage would definitely be the one. And yes, I know it's technically a Bachman.

Those early collections of King's shorts are practically a class in how to tell stories. How to reveal information to the reader for the most impact. How to let readers identify with someone in a very short amount of time. When to use 1st person POV versus 3rd. Stuff like Strawberry Spring and I Know What You Need and The Man Who Loved Flowers inspired me in ways I didn't even notice until I started publishing my own horror stories.
They don't call him the Master of Horror solely because he sells a lot of books. There's more to it than that. Read Danse Macabre, or On Writing (easily the best book ever on the craft, regardless of your genre) and then tell me he hasn't earned his place in both horror history and literary history in general. How can you know anything about horror at all and not know that?!?

Ya wanna fight about it?
Let's Get It On.
wednes: (Queen of <3's)
It's no secret that I take issue with some of the messages in Disney movies. I hate how 90% of the time, everyone looks exactly like what they are. Heroes are attractive, villains are ugly (exception for Snow White's Evil Queen), fat people are jolly, women have crazy-long hair. And until recently, with minimal exception, the girl stories end with a wedding, while the boy stories end with a coronation. Okay, not Pinochio, and not Jungle Book. But come on.

So...Beauty and the Beast is being retold, and parents and chicks are going goo-goo for it.

I don't mind telling you that I have never understood the appeal of this story.
An old man steals a rose from a giant, wealthy-looking estate. He gives it to his daughter. We find out that the estate is owned by a beast. Literally, a hairy cloven-hooved person with a foul temperament and a distaste for all people.
What's his problem? Well, one night an old lady came to him for help. He refused to help her. So she cursed him with ugliness.
Later, the girl stays with the beast, and they end up falling in love. That somehow breaks the spell and the beast turns into a hero--by which I mean he becomes handsome.

Really? I mean...REALLY?

Sometimes Beast breaks the spell by finding it in his heart to love a beautiful young woman who is also the sweetest, kindest person who ever lived. Sounds like she wouldn't be particularly difficult to love, right?
Sometimes the amazing part is that the woman falls in love with beast. Because what woman could possibly love an ugly person with a foul temper (insert Melania Drumpf joke here)?

So at best, this is a story about a dickish man who was mean to an old lady, but learned to be kind to a hot young girl.
At worst, it's a story about an abusive relationship where the woman gradually accepts that this is probably the best she'll do. Or maybe it's a story about how loving an awful man long enough will change him into someone better.
Do women really need the message that if you stay with a mean, abusive man long enough, he'll eventually become the person you want him to be? Are you fucking kidding me? Is Disney kidding all of us?

Seriously...until Twilight (which is similar, thematically) this was the worst story ever in terms of the lessons it teaches young women. I mean, Cinderella is pretty bad. And most Disney women do sit around waiting for someone to rescue them (until very recently). But this one seems far worse than even the usual Disney fare.

Am I missing something? What is it about this story that people respond to?
Is it the music? The talking clock?
Why does anyone like this? Why would anyone let their kid near it?
I'd really like to know.
wednes: (Irate typist)
I'm not sure what triggered me to be so irritated by an known writer's claim that "as a writer, words are my life."

Granted, answering every question or prefacing every statement with "As a writer, I..." is already pretentious AF unless you're doing a signing, workshop, or other event designed to showcase you as a writer. Hint: that probably doesn't include the entire internet. The entire internet doesn't revolve around any one person. If it did, it would probably be a porn star. Take THAT, Mia Kalifa, you goddess.
But I digress.

Are words really the life of a writer? There are very few professions that let a person get by without using words. Even if you don't work with or for any other people, you still need words. Words are how we say pretty much everything. Everyone uses them, though with varying degrees of style, flair, importance, or effectiveness.

What about words? Surely there's more to writing than words?
Shouldn't stories, or at least ideas be the "life of a writer?" Obviously, it's none of my business how people regard their own craft (if they even call writing a craft--not everyone does). But after hearing someone make that statement, I can't stop thinking about what the "life" of a "writer" actually requires.
wednes: (Heavenly Creatures)
We all have that one friend who doesn't seem to have any idea of their value. That person with a couple of amazing skills and talents, the one who is always there for you when you need them. The person who tolerates unacceptable romantic partners because they're afraid no one else will want them. The person who stays at a shitty job where they're not appreciated--because who knows what might happen at a new place? The person who believes every terrible things asshats say about them because they sound like things they already fear about themselves. That person.

And you, as their friend, think things like "How can they not know how awesome they are? It's so obvious."

Let me ask you something. How often do you tell this person how amazing you think they are? In fact, how often do you tell anyone how amazing they are--for reals?

Personally, I've been known to say things like, "That guy is an asshole, and you can and should do much better," when I should be saying something more like, "Can you help me understand why you think [X, Y and Z behaviors] are okay. You would never do that to someone, and I'd never do that to you. So why is it okay for him?"

I say things like, "Don't you know how amazing you are?" I could be far more specific, like "You've always made time for me when I needed to blather on about nothing, you listen without judgment, you always make me feel listened to and cared for."

Kids, I don't think most of us know our true value. Part of that is from fucked up parenting, a lifetime of being bullied or shamed, mental and emotional issues, or just being surrounded by assholes. But the result of us not knowing our value doesn't just make our lives worse--it whispers in our ear that no one cares what we think anyway.

We don't tell each other the truth about how we feel for a variety of reasons I won't bother to list here. But fear--the fear that we'll be mocked, that no one will care what we have to say, that we'll sound stupid--that's one of the big ones. We're afraid of how we might look to others, so we keep our heads down and our mouths shut about our feelings--even our feelings for good friends. As I've said many times--I'm really good at telling people what I THINK, but what I FEEL is mostly saved for close friends.

So I'm making it a point to tell people not just that I love them, but why. I want the people in my life to know all the ways they impress me. They should know how much they have meant to me over the years, and how much they continue to mean today. I want valuable people to know their value. Or at the very least--to have told them how valuable they are to me. I mean, you can give people information but you can't make them believe it.

Anybody interested in joining me as I embark on what could end up a journey into embarrassment and silliness? This week, pick out a few people and tell them everything about them that you find amazing. It'll make them feel good, and probably you'll end up feeling good too.

Kindness: It's gluten free, low in calories, organic, and readily available.
wednes: (Elephant on Trampoline)
What is an album?

The dictionary gives two definitions, both of which make sense to me.

1. A blank book for the insertion (giggity!) of photos, stamps, coins, etc.
2. A collection of recordings released in a single medium--a compact disc, cassette, etc.

I was saying the other day that Rob Zombie's new album kicked ass. That's mainly because Rob Zombie's new album kicks ass. Yeah, it sounds a lot like every other Rob Zombie album. But see, when you like what Rob Zombie albums sound like, it's nice to get more that sound roughly like that. But I digress...

Someone corrected me, several someones in fact, that it's not an "album." It's a CD, or a digital file. First of all, the new Rob Zombie album is actually available on vinyl. So even if you believe that a vinyl release is necessary for something to correctly be called an "album" (it isn't), that still wouldn't apply here. Whether it's on vinyl or a cassette, 8-track, a wax cylinder, or a fucking reel-to-reel, it's still an album--by definition.

Maybe I just hate being corrected...

In other news, Bates Motel S4E9 was friggin' incredible. If you've been watching for four seasons waiting for a certain thing to happen, that's the one!
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
When I was a kid, if you really wanted to talk to one of your idols, it was a long process. You had to find their fan mail address, which could be very difficult if not impossible. Then you had to hand write a letter, find a stamp, get it mailed (at a mailbox), and wait...and wait...and wait...for a response that might never arrive. When I was a kid I wrote letters to Charles Schulz, Donald J Sobel, Dr Suess, Judy Blume, and a bunch more. I got a few letters back, though they're trapped at my mom's house. When I was about 11, I even wrote a fan letter to Scott Baio. He had a PO Box in Studio City for fan mail, which I found in a Tiger Beat mag. I never got even a form letter back. As a kid, I was sad about that. But now that I know what a gross, womanizing, Drumpf-loving goon is in RL, that sting is gone.

The point is that we only wrote to celebs we really liked a lot. It took a lot of effort and time. We did it because we were fans, and we wanted our heroes to know it.

But now...
Anybody with access to a computer or smartphone can Tweet at celebs in real time. Roughly half of said Tweets are complete asshole fodder. Telling people they suck and should kill themselves is Level One for a lot of these clowns. Unlike occasional stalker behavior from deranged fans (that no one really talked about until the girl from My Sister Sam was murdered by one such nutcase), modern celebs often get daily beratings. Robin Williams's children were hounded off Twitter within 2 days of their father's suicide. Those dicks that harassed Sandy Hook parents for "lying about their kids existing" started on Twitter. Twitter hosts murder threats, rape threats, doxxing (though I hear they're better about removing stuff like that now), and a bunch of other things we used to think only criminals thought about.

Much like men who want to show their dicks to virtual strangers (remember when that was a crime committed by a random pervert wearing a long trenchcoat with nothing underneath), stalking via the Internet is more popular (and less criminalized) than ever. Ditto hate speech. Anybody else find it insane that posting a pic of a nipple can get your Facebook account deleted, but threatening to murder the POTUS or calling him the N-word won't get you blocked from Twitter unless the feds get involved? I'm a staunch supporter of Free Speech, but with great power comes all the stuff Spiderman's Uncle Ben talked about.

And like LSD, the internet amplifies and distorts the shit we see and do every day. While we all know that the internet is incredibly helpful overall--it also allows some of the worst behavior on the planet to be widely seen, or even applauded. The immediacy of social media and the ease with which we're able to communicate with people the world over is being squandered, taken for granted, not truly considered for the opportunity that it is. A lot of that is due to people who live as if the Internet has always been there--for youngsters, it has. I started a Livejournal in 2002, in my early 30's. If that blog was a kid, they'd be old enough to have a smartphone and be on Facebook. Yikes!

Not sure what my overall point is. We can use the internet for good or bad, to help people or bring them down. We can use it to educate, inform, or to spread misinformation either deliberately or through apathy or ignorance. Is there a way to encourage people to make better online choices? Or at least, is there a way to truly hold people accountable (at least morally) for the things they say and do online? No, I'm not saying we should curtail speech. Wednes don't play that. But it's obvious that plenty of online assholes are only being assholes online because of the anonymity the internet affords them.

For now let me just ask--if you're only on Twitter to let female singers know that their asses are big, or to tell Jonah Hill that he's a "faggy asshole," maybe take some time to work on RL interpersonal skills before trolling total strangers. If you wouldn't say it in front of your three best friends or your favorite grandparent, don't say it to Lady Gaga. Besides, no one should ever insult Lady Gaga. She's amazing!
wednes: (Wednes Logo)
Probably the question horror writers get asked the most is "Why Horror?" When I interview people, I ask it too. The answers reveal as much about the author as they do about the power of horror itself. No lie. I've been thinking about my earliest introductions to horror, and how I always sort of knew I would always be a horror fan. I've narrowed it down to a few, which are presented in no particular order.

1. Sir Graves Ghastly. Sir Graves was the Detroit host of scary movies on Saturday afternoons. If I was home on a Saturday at 1pm, you could always find me in front of the TV, waiting for Sir Graves to show a black-and-white horror movie. If I wasn't home, I was complaining loudly that I was missing Sir Graves. I saw King Kong, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Brain that Wouldn't Die, Them!, something about a woman who could change into a cobra, and whatever else he had for me. Sir Graves read birthdays (and said one year that I had a cute name), showed drawings kids sent in. Once I sent him a giant ceramic skull that was a bank. He opened it on the air. No footage of this exists, which is true of most of Sir Graves broadcasts. They were tossed out like a bunch of S1 Doctor Who episodes. But I always loved Sir Graves--and eventually got to tell him so when I got his autograph when I was about 12.

2. "How to Care for Your Monster" by Norman Bridwell (the guy who also made Clifford the Big Red Dog). I loved this in particular because it looked at the Universal Monsters in a new way. Horror AND Comedy?!? The idea boggled my 2nd grade mind. And I wanted a Frankenstein's Monster soooooo bad.

3. Jaws. I was 4 when trailers for Jaws started running. I begged my mom for a Jaws poster from the grocery store, which was put up on my bedroom door. However, I had so many nightmares that ended with me waking up screaming, my parents finally took it down. Even the trailer gave me nightmares. This was long before we had a VCR, so I didn't actually see Jaws until they showed it on TV. I couldn't fully explain then why I pursued something that gave me nightmares, but I didn't care. I wanted it.

4. 'Salem's Lot. This made-for-TV Tobe Hooper movie scarred many kids my age for life. Not only is it terrifying, children are not safe from The Master (who in this movie is a silent Nosferatu type). The kids get vampirized, and go on to vamp-up other kids. I hadn't felt so personally targeted by a horror movie ever--and frankly didn't again until Silence of the Lambs featured a killer who specifically went after fat chicks. Reading 'Salem's Lot, while awesome, never scared me as much as watching that movie did. I've seen it a billion times and it still makes me jump when Anchorman's boss gets it, and again when Danny Glick sits up in his coffin.

5. The Oakland County Child Killer. A local murderer with a highly unimaginative name (though some called him The Babysitter), this guy was on the prowl for kids my age in my neighborhood for a few years in the 1970's. He was on the news constantly, everyone was talking about him. At one point, my mom told me that my biological father might have been the OCCK. That's not true, but even if it were, that's an insane and horrible thing to tell a child. When I delivered school newsletters to the houses on my street (literally, my route was 3 blocks long), my mom followed me in her car to make sure no one stole me. So I grew up being told daily that a death by kidnapping was imminent. Again, this is something you'd think would repel me from horror, but it didn't.

6. Night of the Living Dead. I've talked at length about this. It scared the hell out of me, and still does. When I have zombie nightmares, they're often about no one believing me that we're all in danger, that the undead are coming, that we need to prepare.

7. Psycho. A movie about a killer mother who turns out to be about a matricidal son? What's not to love? This movie stuck with me not so much for the shower scene, but because I was so totally taken in by it. I responded exactly as Hitchcock wanted me to, at every turn. The novel is a very different sort of story, because Norman is a very different guy. I talk a lot about this in my Bates Motel reviews.

The Cameo

Apr. 1st, 2016 05:54 am
wednes: (Wizard or the Skull)
A year or so ago, I bought myself a cameo necklace from Etsy. It was one of those super cheap dealies where the item ships from somewhere in Asia and takes 6 weeks to arrive.

It wasn't a face cameo, it was of a human heart. Lots of veins, plus those giant arteries that lead out of it on top. It was awesome. But see, when it arrived, the heart was upside down.

Bummed, I wrote to the seller to explain and ask for an exchange for one that was assembled correctly. But the language barrier was insurmountable, and I decided it wasn't that big a deal. I tossed it in a drawer and didn't think about it.

Last week, I was cleaning out said drawer and found the cameo. At that moment, I was suddenly very taken with the upside down heart. For the rest of the afternoon I tried to come up with some reason why it would be appropriate to have an upside-down cameo of a human heart.

I didn't think of a reason.
Ultimately, I decided that simply liking it that way was enough.
The proper term for that is, I think: Wabi Sabi.
wednes: (Hazel 2)
I was watching That 70's Show recently because TVLand or whoever started them over from the beginning. Before Eric and Donna got together, Hyde made a pretty serious play for Donna. He even learned how to dance so he could dance with her when they skipped town to go to a disco. Her response? "Shut up and dance." Here's what Hyde did:
Kept dancing.
Maintained a respectful distance.
Was happy for his best friend when he got together with her.
Let it go.

What didn't Hyde do?
Kiss her anyway.
Call her a bitch/tease/whore/slut/dyke/etc.
Tell her how sorry she'd be some day.
Shoot up a women's studies class.
Keep pestering her in the hopes that she'd change her mind.
Remind her and everyone else what a Nice Guy (TM) he was.
Develop a disturbing and ever-growing hatred of women.

Even though Hyde is considered less than a moral ideal on that show, he was totally cool about the things that matter. Steven Hyde teaches us that you can drink underage, smoke pot, be lazy on occasion, reject the establishment, and come from a trashy family of terrible people--and still be a good person.

The concept of friend-zoning someone is still pretty hilarious to me. I suspect that teens have been subjected to such a glut of stupid romantic comedies and teen sex romp movies that boys think they have some sort of dramatic imperative to "fight for" and "win" the girl of their dreams. If they don't, they're either a complete loser or they "gave up too soon." That's a shame, because the idea of waiting around until She suddenly sees you as a sex god is about as silly as asking Elon Musk to turn you into Captain America.

I grew up as a fat teenager in the 80's. Back in the day, the concept of "friend zoning" did not exist. If you liked someone and they didn't like you that way you were supposed to get the hell over it and move on. Hanging around with them in the hopes that they'd change their mind about you was considered pathetic. Trust me, I know of whence I speak on this. Never, at no time, EVER was the object of your affection considered an asshole for the mere "crime" of not finding you attractive. Why? Because that would be stupid. That's not how attraction works. And yeah, those unrequited teenage crushes can hurt like hell, I know that too. But your pain doesn't mean anyone owes you anything.

As far as I've seen women never expect someone who doesn't find them attractive to suddenly do so after they're nice for a long time or whatever. But somehow, lots of men do. What's more--these men are often the last ones who would consider dating a fat chick or someone considered not stereotypically beautiful. I'm reminded of the American Dad episode where Francine "lets herself go" to prove that Stan loves her for her true self, and he ends up putting his own eyes out because she's so ugly to him that he can't look at her. He says something like 'Francine, I want a beautiful wife. If marriage was about connection, I'd have married that fat girl I had all those great conversations with.'

This philosophy basically boils down to, "Why don't any really HOT girls realize that beauty is only skin deep?" Because life is not a beer commercial, you assholes. And hanging around waiting for your "nice" friendship to morph into a sex parade is not what a "nice guy" would do.
It's what predators do.
wednes: (Hail Ants!)
Been thinking about Political Correctness, because that's something I do a lot. It began as a great idea, and despite a few who have used it as an excuse to be what I call Word Bullies, it's still a good idea. Living in a liberal town and having almost entirely progressive friends, it's easy for me to forget how much racism, sexism, and general fuckery there is to be had in the world.

And then it becomes an election year, and it all comes flooding back.

Here's the thing about PCness (ha!), that I think it's important to remember. If you think of social change as a pendulum, we can say that the conversation has swung way far in the direction of sensitivity. But that's because we spent a long-ass time on the other side of things.

The further you go back in America's history, the more atrocities we see encouraged or at least tolerated by the government. Colonists were seeking freedom--religious and otherwise. But they first order of business was tricking, murdering, and stealing from the natives who were already here--and didn't murder or rob us when we got here. (Yeah, I know most of you aren't related to original colonists, but without them there still might not be predominantly white people here). Then slavery, witch trials, religious tests not just for government, but for tons of jobs, and general acceptance in your community. Even since the Great Depression, we've gone from having KKK members all over government and police departments to...having much less of that. In our grandparent's lifetime, lynchings happened with regularity, marital rape wasn't considered possible because it was the husband's right and the police shouldn't be involved--ditto most domestic assaults including child abuse.

So yeah, we're finally swinging back the other way. Now I don't approve of passing moral judgements on people because of jokes that fell flat, insensitive comments, etc. In general, I don't think people should lose their jobs for being racist (exceptions for teachers, cops, and other jobs where that can compromise your duties). I don't believe in Hate Crimes Legislation, if only because we should punish people for their actions, not their thoughts. I think people can say something stupid or thoughtless and yet not necessarily be branded Racist For Life.

You know how in the spring when you start opening the windows and letting in natural light? One of the first things you notice is how friggin' filthy your house got. So you figure you'd better at least vacuum and dust a few things. But the more stuff you clean, the more you notice the cobwebs and cat hair and collection of milk ring caps under every goddamn shelf. And before you know it, you're scrubbing out your kitchen cabinets, moving shelves, dusting behind the microwave--vowing to get rid of every last bit of dirt--it's not gonna hide from YOU, by Zod.

Well, that's what's happening to Political Correctness. It's not enough to just get people to stop using racial slurs at parties or slapping secretary's asses at the office. PCness (giggity!) wants to ensure that whether you're a racial or religious minority, a chick, have a disability or a mental illness, are gay or fat or super skinny or trans or atheist or you pass out if you eat gluten--that you're free to live your life without taking a constant barrage of shit for it. And that's a good thing. Trigger Warnings too, are a way to be respectful to people who are dealing with things that you may not be. Complaining about them because you personally don't need them makes you kind of a dick. Being kind and respectful isn't a hardship--or if it is, you might just want to examine your own sense of self-importance instead of blaming people for the inconvenience of deserving basic human courtesy.

So while most of my PC-related posts are about how stifling language is dangerous and counterproductive, I do think it's important that we remember that there's a reason all this is happening.
wednes: (Santa?)
Have you seen this picture?
 photo 12316143_10206744484384965_2987863546914017243_n_zpsb7sc4orq.jpg
Some lady posted it on Facebook, saying how funny it was that her kid would probably never forgive her. The pic got tons of comments of people LOLing and guffawing over how knee-slappingly hysterical it is that the kid was so angry. People are sharing it all over as if this kid's pain and feelings of betrayal are the stuff of real comedy.

Not surprisingly, it makes me sick.
Look, I get that it's common for parents to collude to tell most American kids the same dumb lie about a jolly fat guy who breaks into their house and leaves gifts. Of course, people breaking into houses isn't funny, no, not even when it happens to little MacCauley Culkin.
Kids taking things from strangers used to also be strongly cautioned against--until we figured out that most kids are kidnapped or molested by people they already know. But yeah, I do understand that Santa is a fun thing for parents to do. Ditto that "there's a doll watching you at all times," elf thing. I get that many people think "pretending" is different from lying, and that this distinction is different in every household. When your teenager "pretends" that they were studying when they were actually out getting high and having sex--I doubt that it will be seen as "hilarious" or "just part of growing up" the way the Santa lie is. Even if "every kid goes through that."

Surely, once the kid actually asks whether Santa (or the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, Jesus) is real or made-up, a parent has an obligation to tell the truth? Everyone keeps telling me it's harmless, or even a good thing for parents to lie to kids. I'm just not seeing it. Of course, I have enough issues that my own life isn't a prime example of what any parent should or should not do. But I can't get my head around why you'd lie to a kid if you don't want them to lie to you.

Let's say though, that lying to kids is fine because they're just kids and kids should just shut up and do what they're told. It's not, but let's say that it is.
Once you realize that your lie has hurt and upset your child, that they don't believe they can trust you anymore and are devastated--why the fuck would you be laughing at that?
If I understand this right, the "joke" is that Santa isn't very important and that kids will "get over it." Maybe parents have forgotten that being a kid is not easy. You're little, you can't do all the things people around you can do. You're trying to figure everything out and find your place in the world you live in. Why the hell is it FUNNY for the people who are supposed to be helping you to a) lie to you, and b) laugh at the fact that their lies have compromised your relationship? Isn't laughing at pain you caused the action of a playground bully?

To a kid, Santa is a very, very big deal. Personally, I used to wish that Santa would find my real parents who were happy and successful and really wanted me around--but I digress. Santa is as important to a kid as your marriage is to you. If you got a divorce, would it be FUNNY for your ex to post a vid of you crying? After all, you'll "get over it," right? Maybe all his buddies can laugh at how upset you are--because thinking that marriage would last was (like Santa) utterly ridiculous, right? Sheesh.
wednes: (Go Crazy?)


Been thinking a lot about online trolls. The point of trolling, when it began, was what trolls used to call "causing emotion." Essentially, the "joke" was that people got mad at stuff that wasn't real. Why wasn't it real? Because it was on the internet.
When someone says something that isn't true, you weren't supposed to call them a liar anymore, according to trolls. Sure, they said something that was knowingly false, and for the purpose of making you believe it. But it was a prank, a TROLL. And hahaha, because by believing something that a person told you--you "fell for it." Yep, you've been trolled. Even in the early days of the internets, trolling was just lying and then pretending it was a joke. You know, because advancing the idea that no human should ever trust another is side-splittingly hilarious, or something.

Later, "troll" became a catch-all phrase for assholes who spread assholery online for their own assholish reasons. Women talking about their own rape trauma--troll trots over to a women's health forum to call other members "sluts and teases." Gay chatroom for suicidal kids is trolled by trolls that say "Do it, Fag, nobody cares about you anyway!" Hahahaha--TROLLING! Isn't that funny? *eyeroll* It's the internet version of a drive-by. No accountability, no real reason for it. Just fuckery for its own sake. Aside from the fact that I don't see the humor in being shitty to strangers for no reason--I have to wonder about the mental stability of a person who thinks such a thing is clever, chuckleworthy, or even a good use of their time.
Sure, misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia are already huge issues in society, and would be even without the internet. Duh. But this sort of trolling smacks of nihilism that asserts that communication is useless, ideas are dumb, and all the good the internet can do should be interrupted by useless dickheads so desperate to create a ripple in the virtual water that they hurl not just stones--but intense hatred, vile threats, and general evil intent. But HAHAHA! Because "trolling!"

At one point, it seemed like clever people might take trolling back. There was a movement to troll in ways that were funny, witty, and not meant to terrorize anyone, or encourage any suicides. But alas, it didn't last.

From where I'm sitting, modern trolls can be translated thusly:
--You care about something, and that is dumb.
--I said something that wasn't true and you believed me, and that is dumb.
--I don't agree with you [vulgarities, threats, insanity], and that is dumb.
--People are enjoying something--we'll see about THAT.
--People are improving a situation--we'll see about THAT.
--Something terrible has happened, but I don't care because it wasn't me.
--Actually witty trolling that isn't meant to belittle or harm anyone.

Even trolling on behalf of outright anarchy would make more sense to me than trolling with the intent of hurting strangers on purpose. You know, people who basically say, "Hey, I'm a fucking asshole. If people are upset because of a fucking asshole, that's their problem." People who think that way should probably just commit themselves to a mental institution and not come out until they're better. But they won't, because they're assholes. Maybe a fun troll would be to SWAT them, except instead of a calling SWAT, call the nice young men in their clean white coats to come and take them Awaaaaaaay (to the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time).
No, that won't happen.
But it's a beautiful dream.
wednes: (NaNo Runner)
The NaNoWriMo is upon us once again. I haven't won it in some time. My first year was 2004. I played and won for five years in a row. And before you say "writing is not a game you play," let me assure you that the NaNoWriMo can be as much a game as you make of it. Little bursts of productivity as you compete with smug strangers for hourly goals, stalking the forums with much clucking and head shaking, and the timeless wily game we fondly call Procrastination. But yeah, I'm doing it again this year, and I fully intend to win. Behind right now, which is why I'm blogging instead of writing--even though that makes no sense.

I've already drafted much of the novel that I'm working on. For now, it's called The Second Funeral which is catchy evocative, I think. As I write a new first draft (so called because I'm making so many changes), I have no idea what the theme of this book is yet. That makes it harder to write because I'm focusing on arcs, plot, and character instead of on theme. What is theme to me? It's the reason people should read the book. The theme of A Stabbing for Sadie is that a) you never know someone else's story, and b) it's wrong to murder people no matter how right, how justified, how fair and balanced you may think it is. The theme of Kiss Me Like You Love Me is that a) we're all full of shit to some degree and we owe each other far better than that, and b) some people never fucking learn. The theme of The Finster Effect is that a) one day all the daily bullshit we deal with is going to go to hell--then we'll be left with the people we are and the choices we make, and b) humans don't know what the hell they're doing, and are doomed as a species.

As far as I'm concerned, if my books don't have a compelling theme, a valid and vital message--then they're a waste of everyone's time. Just typing that out worries me. I fear that I sound like an elitist jag (which, if you're new around here, is something I constantly struggle with). Plenty of people write books without a life changing theme, and that's a totally valid and personal choice. I read books like that, and I rarely come away with a feeling that I've wasted my time. In some ways, I feel like I owe it to the horror genre to elevate it to more than knives and monsters. Then I wonder if horror gives a rat's ass what I feel. If horror loves me as much as I love it, it's keeping a tight lid on that shit.

Somewhere between the 2nd edit, I tend to have that "Aha!" moment where I realize the real-world significance of the book I'm writing. That makes it easier to edit the fuck out of the draft, and then write a 3rd (or final, depending) draft. The one I send out to beta readers. I usually end up cutting a ton of stuff out, tightening all of it, and adding more about things and people who should have gotten more focus initially.

Without a theme, it's hard to know where anything is really supposed to go. Until I figured out the ending of Kiss Me Like You Love Me, I had no idea how it was supposed to end. Once I had a theme, it was clear that it could only end one way. Tough luck, Character!

I guess my main point here is that the new book doesn't have a theme. I can tell you who the main characters are, and basically what is happening. But I have no idea what it's "about." So please don't ask. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.



In other news, Deep Blue Sea is on cable this month. One of those movies that I know full well is terrible and has no connection to logic or science. I must admit though, I find it highly compelling as a film to have on when I'm doing other things. It has a great cast including Samuel L Jackson and Thomas Jane (a blonde, American James Purefoy if you will) along with Aida Turturro, Michael Rappaport, Saffron Burrows, and LL Cool Jay. H and I saw it on a date during those brief months after we were a couple but before we started living together.
wednes: (Wednes Poison)
It's always a drag when I try to have a civil disagreement with feminist-activists, and have to end up explaining that no, I'm not okay with racism, I'm not cool with sexism, but I do think it's okay to tackle these subjects via humor that is not always politically correct.

It's a bigger drag when I'm accused of being "part of the problem" because I disagree that artists are morally or ethically wrong because they approach subjects in a way that leaves a few individuals offended.

Comedy is supposed to be offensive at times. That's not to say that racist, homophobic, or other hateful humor should be celebrated. But the fact that a joke might make you wince, groan, or roll your eyes isn't necessarily indicative of an amoral comedian who thinks your pain is hilarious. If you're so offended that you can't stand to hear more--by all means, turn it off. Nobody is making you watch. Feel free to shout from the rooftops how offended you are. But, if you can, let's not leap to the conclusion that anyone who would dare offend you is a terrible person who doesn't deserve an audience...or oxygen.

Nobody has to find Amy Schumer funny if they don't want to, or Lena Dunham, or Daniel Tosh, or any other funny writer. I don't like Jeff Dunham; I think Larry the Cable Guy embodies much that is wrong with America, and that the best joke Jeff Foxworthy ever told is the one where he got famous. And yet, somehow, I'm able to live my life even knowing that these celebrations of stupidity exist.

Silencing artists is not the best, second best, or 53rd best way to end oppression, or hate, to give the disenfranchised a lift, or to improve anything ever. If fighting for social justice means so much to you (and it probably should), do something tangible about it rather than just tearing down artists because you're angry that people like them even after they've offended little ol' YOU. No artist is obligated to be all things to all people. You are not entitled to a world where no one is ever offended. Even if that could exist, it would be boring to the point of madness, and would likely never evolve or move forward. Discomfort spurs us to action. Being comfortable spurs us to apathy. If we didn't have air conditioners or TVs, I bet a lot more of us would be politically and socially engaged. But that's a topic for another day.

None of this is meant to say that people shouldn't complain when they're offended. They should if they want to. And just as everyone has the right to talk about being offended, so does everyone have the right to offend. I'm sick to fucking death of those who think any hint of offensiveness is morally and/or ethically wrong. Or worse, this idea that if someone is offended, that a) the speaker shouldn't get to speak anymore, and b) the intent of the speaker "doesn't matter." If someone has misinterpreted something, of course intent matters.

In the end, I think there really are people who complain just to demonstrate how very aware they are--even though said complaining is the kind of obstinate, accusatory pompousness that doesn't lead to a discussion or to the finding of common ground. It's not helpful to anyone, and should probably just stop. But it won't. Because the people who engage in it, for all their self-righteousness and feigned empathy, won't even consider examining their own behavior.
wednes: (TV!!!)
I'm admitting for the record that I like The Nerdist.
We're gonna blame/credit @midnight for that.
I've spent quite some time not understanding why this Hardwick cat had any cred at all, why he was suddenly everywhere, why I should listen to his various nerdy musings. Slowly, I started to find him ever less annoying. He's friends with a lot of people who are cool and not assholes. It's not like he hangs out with Kevin Nealon or Dennis Miller--but if he did, he'd probably be super polite to them. I didn't even realize Hardwick was Jerry in House of 1,000 Corpses until like--last year. Yeah, even though I saw it in the theatre and own it on DVD and digital and own a copy of the shooting script. Yeah, even though I've seen it a zillion goddamn times, and even though he looks and acts like a puffy drunken version of his TV self. I seriously had no idea. But I did know that Fishboy is in the American Office.

So I'm watching @midnight.

You know that scene in Beverly Hills Cop, where Rosewood decides to go against what Bogomil and Taggart tell him? Where he decides he's gonna help Axel catch the villainous drug dealing art vendor Victor Maitland? And he tells Axel this, and Axel is all, "I love you, Billy. I just fell in love with you." Remember that?

That's how I felt about Chris Hardwick on tonight's @midnight when he explained and defended telling jokes about Jared Fogle and his illegal sexual tendencies.
You gotta joke about it, because what else *can* you do? Emotionally, I mean.
So, you know--Points!

On an unrelated topic, research on a new Kinkly article has begun. I'll be calling it Project Arcturus, and will tell you all about it after I'm done--probably in about a week. How mysteriously vague, right?
wednes: (X-files)
I was watching Hannibal (the show) recently and was quite taken with the brooding sexiness of Will Graham. That Hugh Dancy is an attractive guy. But when he's clean shaven and smiling, eh? Not as good IMO.

This got me thinking about the popular archetype of the attractive broken guy all the ladies want to fix (or gay men, whatevs). There are plenty of guys like this on TV: Jon Snow, Sawyer from LOST, every other TV cop (Stabler, Mike Logan, Tim Bayliss, etc). I was trying to figure out how far back that goes and who started it.

I'm not super old--but as far as I can tell it goes back to James Dean. The sad kid who nobody understood, was sexy and needed a nice lady to hold him and stay with him and tell him that he's good. What is it about us that attracts us to such men? Is it that we're also damaged and want to be around someone as damaged as us--if not moreso? I mean, hanging out with a broken guy allows us to put our energy into "fixing" him (which we probably call "helping him") instead of looking inward and dealing with our own shit.

Uh oh, I just became aware of a RL parallel in my early years of dating. Almost exclusively, I dated broken men all through my teens and 20's. Life-wise, I can't be the responsible sane one in any relationship. Objectively, I am neither of those things.

And yet...this brooding male archetype is wildly popular. So it can't be just me. How much further back does it go? Did people look at Caligula and say "Aw, he just needs to find the right girl?" I mean, even Hitler had a girlfriend--one who suicided herself right along with him. People love Severus Snape even though he's a complete prick--it can only be because he's so dark...and so sad.

As Rod Serling would say--there's not a lesson here. We're just taking a look into a broken thing in our world and wondering WTF.

EDIT: Sarah pointed out a glaring error in my thinking here. I'm embarrassed to have not thought of Edward Rochester. That's one of my fave roles for dudes, and can reveal intense acting chops a'la Orson Welles, Ciaran Hinds, Michael Fassbender et al. My bad.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
It appears that Trevor Noah is the latest comedian to face a shitstorm on the Twitters. Now that he's been announced as Jon Stewart's replacement on TDS, bloggers have taken the time to go through his previous years of tweets, searching for things to be outraged about. Of course, they found a few. Among other things, he made some fat jokes. I don't approve. But you know, Jon Stewart appeared on TDS in a fat suit and there was no steamrolling Twitter army calling for him to be fired for it.

As someone who often finds herself defending people like Seth MacFarlane or Lena Dunham, I have to say "What the fuck, Internets?" Are we really so lazy that we have to decide the totality of a person based on a single <140 character sentence? OMG, someone made a joke I don't immediately think is funny--let's get them fired! This has happened to a few people, and had been attempted many other times. Really? We really think if someone says something we don't like--that they should lose their livelihood? That sounds like the mindset of a petulant asshat resentful of the fact that people are legally allowed to disagree with them.

When Obama first got elected, I talked a lot about how people didn't "get" him because he speaks in paragraphs rather than slogans and zingers. Now that everybody and the Nerdist's mother is on Twitter, this problem has gotten much, much worse. It seems that people are so willing and ready to declare people as Hateful for using the wrong word, for a joke that falls flat, for anything outside the party line. Sadly, social progressives are just as likely to form these mobs as conservatives are--and just as likely to cloak themselves in self-righteousness while doing so.

Sorry, but if you really want to be a tolerant person, you can't lash out at everyone and everything who thinks differently than you do. If you don't like someone's joke, maybe complain a bit and then watch something else. Or consider making it a teaching moment. Assume that terrible statements are made out of ignorance, rather than hate. If it turns out to be hate after all, disengage. If you're only tolerant of shit you already like, you're not being tolerant at all.

To paraphrase Jurassic Park: The Internet is one of the most powerful forces on Earth, and people wield it like a kid who's found his dad's gun.
Sure, Twitter et al can be a force for change. That doesn't mean it has to be a hammer used by virtual lynch mobs to terrorize anyone who dares say something we don't agree with. No. not even if they're hateful. Not even if they're wrong, stupid, or think bad thoughts. No one should be threatened, doxxed, or have their web pages hacked for the terrible crime of being an idiot, or even an asshole. People don't deserve to be fired for things they say in private--even appalling things. That's one of the reasons I don't support Hate Crimes legislation. I prefer that we punish people for their actions, not their thoughts.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
I've been thinking a lot about cops lately, and the problems many of us have with them. Aside from the multiple unpunished murders of unarmed civilians, I learned recently that in many places, cops are legally allowed to have sex with prostitutes before arresting them. This is, I am told, done in the name of "gathering evidence." When you read the article, you'll note that the cop who pointed out to the press that this is legal and "by the book" lost his job--while the one who fucks prostitutes while being paid by taxpayers did not.

Let's look at that. Prostitution is a crime. Paying a prostitute for sex is a crime. So this means it's okay for a cop to commit a crime in order to stop a "more serious" crime. How serious could the crime be if cops are legally allowed to commit it? How long does it take for a cop to find a prostitute, have sex with her, then arrest and book her for the crime of engaging in sex with him? How might that time be better allocated into things that actually help citizens?

Honestly, unless you have a spouse who cheats with pros, I defy anyone to explain to me a way in which their life has been adversely affected by prostitution. Aside from sex trafficking, abusive pimps, and other bi-products of the black market--I don't even know why prostitution is illegal in the first place.

The NYPD went on a half-assed work stoppage recently. It seems their widdle fewwings were hurt when the mayor said he has given his son tips on how not to be shot by police. This petulant tantrum of a work stoppage came in the form of--and I'm not kidding--only making arrests that were "necessary." Arrests went down 66%, leading some to conclude that well over half of all arrests made by the NYPD are total bullshit. Couple this with stop and frisk stats, and you've got a pretty ugly picture being painted. Remember, this work stoppage was intended to be a "screw you" to the mayor--and a tacit admission that the city budget relies heavily on fines levied on these bullshit "crimes" that cops have since admitted are Not Necessary.

I realize that the typical stereotype of any cop on the job more than say 5 years is that they're angry, racist, drunk, and if they're still married--that the marriage is hanging on by a thread. I bet there are things we can do to make things easier on cops that don't involve giving them a free pass to beat or kill civilians, or to get busy with hookers as part of the work day. I don't know what though. I confess, I'm ignorant of how most cops live each day. I'm also ignorant of the rules they follow in order to get the job done.

But I shouldn't be.

I think citizens should be able to get a copy of current police codes of conduct. I want to know what they're told during training, and what the specific rules of their jobs are. After all, cops are paid via tax dollars which come from citizens--even citizens who have at some point, broken a law. See, if you work, you pay taxes. That should give you a say in how you're governed and under what rules. Then we can know for sure whether using minority mug shots for target practice is something every cop supports. I bet it isn't.

Why don't we have access to a list of the rules cops are expected to follow? Some will no doubt argue that if we know the rules, criminals will find ways around them. Like maybe prostitutes will stop having sex with clients if they know one might be a cop, or something. But see, that would mean that cops rely on citizens not knowing the law in order to catch them committing crimes. How is that fair? How can there be secret laws and rules that citizens aren't aware of that can be used against us?

I'll ask again--why can't citizens have--for the asking--a copy of the rules that all police follow. Like the Freedom of Information Act, all we should have to do is ask, and we should be sent a copy of the rules governing cops in our city, county, and state. This should be current and unabridged.

What I don't know is how to go about making this happen.
Open to suggestions.
wednes: (Neville)
If you hate Harry Potter, go ahead and skip this post. Maybe go out shopping for a sense of whimsy or maybe a soul.

One of the things that has always bothered me about the HP series is how we're supposed to forgive Snape at the end of the last book. Spoiler alert, he dies. Then we learn via penseive that Sev loved Lily Evans more than life itself. He couldn't look at Harry without hatred because Harry looked like James and James is who stole Lily away from him.

Okay, fine. That explains why Snape couldn't control his temper around Harry. I think that's some bullshit since he was a professor, but whatever.
What about Snape's treatment of Neville? Sev certainly wasn't in love with Alice Longbottom. So why should we forgive him for his treatment of Neville? After all, one might argue that Neville is far less able to stand up for himself than Harry. Maybe Voldemort could sense that, since he chose Harry instead of Neville to be the chosen...

Oh...

If Neville had been the Chosen One, Lily Potter would still be alive. Well, maybe not because James and Lily could have just as easily met the Longbottom's fate--which would be worse than death IMO. But that's got to be why Snape hates Neville--he's furious at his very existence, even though Neville had exactly nil to do with how that all went down.

Honestly, I kind of feel better having figured that out.
wednes: (Peanut Butter/Jelly)
Humidity is my kryptonite. I've always known this, but like many things, people kept telling me that the swelling, muscle cramps, backaches, and other symptoms I had would magically disappear as soon as I lost weight. Even as a young kid--like jr high and early high school I complained about shortness of breath, pains while running (or even speed walking) and was pretty much ignored. Turns out, some of that was from severe sleep apnea that was making me literally insane from lack of sleep. I also had terrible allergies that kept me from breathing freely basically between spring in Halloween.

All summer I'd been feeling physically tired and achey. Even when it was cool, it was humid as shit. I was terribly cranky and uncomfortable--changing my diet didn't fix it. Glucosamine, extra yoga, nothing seemed to help. Yesterday, I woke up feeling physically awesome and realized it's because the humidity plummeted. I began to ask myself why the hell I was still living in a state surrounded by water when humidity makes me so damn uncomfortable.

We're poor as hell, but we're looking toward moving to Colorado as soon as we can manage it. Granted, that probably won't be for another two or three years unless one of my many projects takes off.

Why Colorado? It's dry there, doesn't carry all the foolishness associated with places like Nevada or Utah. Pueblo Colorado was once the random information capitol of the world, since that's where you used to could send away for informational pamphlets before there was an internet.
There are 1,500 Ghost Towns in Colorado. That is fucking incredible, and I want to visit every last damn one of them. Michigan has less than 100 and they all suck.
Colorado has a pretty high cost of living in most places. I hear they're also kind of short on water. For some reason, they also seem to have a higher percentage of violent crime than the country at large. I wonder what's up with that? Radiation from the Stanley Hotel? Ha! Anyway, the money I'd save from growing my own pot would probably offset a lot of that.
Seriously though, I would feel awesome living in a low humidity place. H's job is such that he can transfer to pretty much anyplace--probably for a better wage. I work from home, of course, so that wouldn't matter.

Wouldn't that be neat?
wednes: (Handfasting)
Within a year of meeting H, (summer of 1999) I started referring to him as "Baboo" because of how Sally Brown calls Linus Van Pelt her "sweet Baboo." I read Peanuts cartoons voraciously as a kid, and had a zillion books of them. So this made perfect sense to me.
Eventually, Baboo was shortened to simply Boo.

I notice now, that "Boo" is a very common thing to call one's significant other, particularly (but certainly not exclusively) among African Americans. I hear it on Key & Peele last season, and then on Criminal Minds this past week.

My question is, is everyone doing it because of Sally and Linus? Is there another reference for this that I don't know?

Regardless, I have to give H a new nickname.
For no reason whatsoever, I've started calling him "Spaghetti."
wednes: (Jack Mocks)
Watched a couple of movies this week since I've been feeling so sad about the world I actually live in.

You're Next was tremendous fun, if not particularly scary. Family squabbles, creepy masks, and rampant douchebaggery made this blood-soaked funfest a total treat.

Occulus was much more serious, and really quite scary. Katee Sackoff gave a stunning and strong performance as the mom who...well, I won't spoil it. But the casting of this one went a long way toward bringing truth and real terror to what could have been a simple haunted object film.

However...I KNOW I've read a story about a haunted mirror with a small crack in the corner. I know that a guy sees it in some kind of curio shop and doesn't believe the guy who tells him it's haunted. Terror and sundry hijinks ensue. That's all I remember, and it's driving me crazy that I can't place the story. Early Stephen King? One from the Clive Barker collections? Tonally, it could have even been Ray Bradbury, but I'm damned if I can remember.

This is gonna drive me crazy.
wednes: (Sad)
I was avoiding the internets this evening because I didn't want to be in a bad mood. Monday & Tuesday are the nights I hang out with H. But then Ryan called to tell me the tragic news that Robin Williams had not just died--he'd committed suicide. I knew that he'd taken some questionable movie roles lately, and I heard that he had relapsed. To me, drug addiction is almost synonymous with mental illness--mainly because I don't know any alcoholics or addicts who aren't also obviously diagnosable.
This is tremendously sad news.

We like to think of comedians as being happy people. But as I've said many times in this blog, good acting and clever humor come from insight. Insight can be terribly exhausting emotionally. Understanding humans can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness, from fear to sadness to frustration and anguish. Even if you just want to help all of humanity, the scope of it all can be crushing.

Depression, when left untreated (or ineffectively treated, which is way common), has a mortality rate of about 15% between suicide and fatal substance abuse. Bi-polar disorder has a lower suicide rate, mainly because it's offset by a homicide rate of almost 10%. Again, this is for people who are not treated.

The top two reasons people don't get help when they clearly need it?
1. Access. ie: I can't afford it / don't know where to go.
2. I'm "not crazy."

This idea that you don't need mental health care unless you're in a murderous rage, are constantly hallucinating, or have a dual personality? I don't know where the hell it came from, but it needs to go far, far away. The actual signs that you might need mental help may include:
1. Feeling like everything is too difficult, for days on end.
2. Not seeing the point of anything, for weeks at a time.
3. Feeling angry enough to insult or judge every person you meet--more often than not.
4. Unshakable sadness, anger, hopelessness, or fear regardless of the actual shape your life is in. Even if things aren't going well, outright hopelessness is a sign that something is wrong.
5. Unable to sleep properly, eat regularly, or focus on something for more than half an hour--for days at a time.
6. Feeling like people only pretend to like you out of obligation.
7. Feeling like you never do anything right, or are a burden to everyone.
8. Buying things you can't afford, followed by crushing guilt over it.
9. An inability to complete things that you start, often.

Notice that a lot of these have to do with feelings. When people feel some way that's inconvenient to other people, they're often told shitty things like "suck it up" or "everyone has problems" leaving the depressed person to feel even shittier. Feelings are serious. They're why we do most of the things we aren't absolutely obligated to do. Kids, you've GOT to pay attention to how you feel, and if you feel sad, angry, helpless or hopeless for longer than a few days--for fuck's sake, talk it out with someone. There are hotlines, there are friends. Honestly, if you stopped 3 strangers on the street and said you were so depressed you wanted to die--I bet one of them would do something to help you. That's how people are. When we can, we love to help others. Really.

As some of you know, I found out a few months ago that an old boyfriend of mine killed himself. He was a messed up guy, which you can tell because I dated him and that was my pattern back then.
Even when this happens to someone you don't talk to anymore, there's a tremendous sense of guilt, of helplessness, of wishing you could have said or done something to help. When it comes to depression and suicide, sometimes a few kind words really do make a life or death difference. Sometimes, getting someone through one bad day can keep them from considering suicide ever again. It's infuriating to hear about a suicide, because it's so goddamn preventable--if only you'd known, right?

I thought about suicide a lot as a kid and a teenager, a college student, and a few times after that. My attempts were half-hearted, mostly to demonstrate to myself that I did have some small modicum of control over my life--in that I was choosing to stay alive. Not everyone is able to do that. Not everyone has that support structure. Even when they do, sometimes that isn't enough. Even a few hours alone can be enough time for a severely depressed person to spiral into darkness they can't escape from.

When I feel particularly helpless, like I do today, I try to remember what I actually do to help people with mental illness. I think that writing honestly about depression and mania, about the impact that abuse has on people, and about how we all influence the behavior and feelings of others is tremendously important. A Stabbing for Sadie, while not an autobiography, certainly discusses things that I've dealt with myself. Kiss Me Like You Love Me shows us how vulnerable people can be corrupted by a life that's devoid of compassion--with horrific results. I really hope that when people read what I have to say, that they'll learn something about mental illness, and what it's like for people who live with it. If my words lead even one person to be more compassionate, I'd feel damn proud of that.

Jim Carrey once said that he wished everyone could be rich and famous, so they could see that wasn't the answer. When I hear about people like Owen Wilson attempting suicide, or Philip Seymour Hoffmann overdosing, or today's awful tragedy, I have to believe Jim Carrey is right.
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
Been reading articles (and comments--oops!) about shelters for women and children. Apparently, some nobs think they're "sexist" because they only cater to women and children, when way more men are homeless blah blah blah.

For those who are blissfully ignorant as to how these shelters work, a women & children shelter with a secret location is for people who are fleeing from abuse. The secret location is so their abusers can't fucking find them, and therefore not abuse them and the children. It's emphatically NOT "a bunch of feminists who want to keep men out because they think we're all rape-happy." Though now that they bring it up, I can see why someone fleeing from abuse may not have to deal with strangers telling them how pretty they look when they cry. (I have seen this happen in a "regular" homeless shelter.)

If your #NotAllMen fixation is so keenly developed that you actually feel cheated that men aren't allowed in secret-location domestic violence shelters--my suggestion would be to keep spouting that bullshit. Once women everywhere want to smack the shit out of you, you might actually have a valid claim to stay at one of the shelters (and boy howdy, are they luxurious!) you lament.

I've mentioned before that I've given volunteer time and stuff to local shelters, both for the general homeless population, and in what we used to call "battered women's shelters." I don't tend to mention that I've actually stayed at a women's shelter, as a client, when my (now ex, obvs) boyfriend was too dangerously unstable and threatening even for me. I cannot overemphasize the fear, the feelings of failure and embarrassment, the complete and utter shame people feel when they have to turn to such a place. Wait, did I say "people," because I meant "me." I felt terrible fear, shame, humiliation, and as if I had failed everyone who ever believed in me. I can only imagine that it's 100x worse when children are involved.
In addition to that, shelter living is not sitting around all day "living off the government." People staying in any shelter are required to have, or be actively seeking (with proof) a job. They have to pitch in with cooking (try making spaghetti and salad for 50 people and tell me if it feels like work) and cleaning, and must work with a caseworker to get a safe housing plan in place. There are rules, regular drug screens, mandated counseling, and if you break those rules you have to leave no matter how dire your situation.

Women and children who need these shelters often have different needs than the homeless population at large. It is not hyperbole to say that some are fleeing for their lives. Check out the stats on how many women are killed by partners after leaving them. No, one group isn't "better" than another, nor are some "more deserving" of help than others. Every human being deserves a safe, warm place where they can sleep without fear of vermin or violence.
If you honestly have a problem with that, I'd suggest that rather than focusing on the "breaks" others get that you don't--that you take a good long look at whatever ugliness inside you makes you see victims of abuse and say "Damn, I wish I could live like those lazy bastards...seems like a sweet deal." Because while that hateful, misinformed gibberish may not make me want to hit you, it sort of makes me wish that somebody else would.
wednes: (Really?)
I've been solicited for advice by a friend who's about to have a baby. They want to know whether it's been difficult going through life with a weird name. More specifically, they wanted to hear that giving their kid a weird name (not a weird spelling of a regular name, which I hear is also a huge pain in the ass) is an awesome idea that will have no negative impact whatsoever.

I'm afraid I can't give them that assurance.
I think giving your kid a weird name is a terrible idea, and one that's most often done by parents with the normalest names ever who want to put their uniqueness on display via their child. But as more and more people ask for my advice on this (and let's face it, I offer advice on baby names whether people ask or not) I've been trying to decide exactly what it is that makes it more difficult.

1. It's weird. AKA uncommon, unusual, noteworthy, memorable. There are times in life when you want nothing more than to blend in, be invisible, be one of the gang. Yeah, I know we're all supposed to have amazing self-esteem and rejoice in our differences and all that shit. But for kids, sometimes blending in is the safest thing you can do. Having a weird name puts you on everybody's radar. People mention it and point you out. Everyone should have the option to not be noticed if they don't want to be. Weird names make this much harder.

2. People ask about it. If someone has a giant mole or a missing limb, it's generally considered rude to ask them about it the first time you meet them. Not so with a weird name. I can see how "Why are you named that?" may not seem like a personal question to the asker--but the answer is always personal. It probably involves talking about your parents, and maybe others in your family. Every name has a story, and not every story is appropriate for telling someone you just met, in a business context, or on the first day of class.

3. You can't find anything with your name on it. For me, the only way I could get stuff (mugs, buttons, hats, tiny license plates, all that shit kids liked in the 70's and 80's) with my name on it was to also buy 6 other items with days of the week I'd never use. I tried to go by Wendy for a time in elementary school, but my mom had such a fit that...well, it didn't work out.

4. It doesn't end in childhood. Customer Service work with a weird name was nightmarish in ways that transcend even normal to horrible CS experiences. Even now, I hear it from industry people, clients, at the doctor's office, at least half the time I have to show my ID for something--even once by a judge while I was in court. Seriously. It does not end.

What's a "weird" name? Well, days of the week for starters. Some months are not: April, May, June. But a kid called October is gonna have a tougher time. Known fictional characters (all those poor girls named Khaleesi), or famous musicians (Jimi Hendrix *last name*) or sports stars (I know a guy named OJ Simpson Jones). You gotta think ahead to what those people might do in 20 years. John Wayne may seem like a great first-middle combo until they dig up the crawlspace under the Gacy house. Products (Miller Lyte), punctuation (Hashtag), suggestions of hate-speech (Aryan Nation) are right out.

If you insist on giving your kid a weird name, your first responsibility is to consider that you may be doing it to say something about you that has nothing to do with your kid. If that's the case, quit being a jackass.
Your next responsibility is to understand that there are ways to give your kid a unique or unusual name without making it nightmarish instead. Consider that before you consider Hermione, Draco, Katniss, or Tyrion.
And finally, consider giving them a normal name and an unusual middle name. Better yet, make it an embarrassing nickname they won't have to explain to every substitute teacher and prospective employer til the end of days.
wednes: (Growlers)
My new computer is awesome, but Mavericks is a little annoying. Plus I found out the hard way that we needed a new modem. I was not online for over a day (it was almost 2 days, but H fixed it). New modem will be here tomorrow, supposedly. But that's not what I wanted to post about today.

I was talking to someone on FB about why people chose not to identify as a feminist. I don't. I wouldn't deny being a feminist if someone asked me. But when I'm making an "About me" section somewhere, that's never something I claim to be.

To my mind, being a feminist means you believe in equality of opportunity and access for everyone, regardless of gender. But really, the last three words are superfluous. Equality of opportunity and access for everyone is a simple concept, and one that should be the default setting for all human beings. If you aren't doing that, if you believe some people don't deserve the opportunities and access that you have--that's what needs a label. That kind of malarky should be stated upfront to anyone who has to interact with you in any meaningful way.

But then...
Many outspoken feminists think it's their right and duty to police the language, humor, and perspective of anyone who doesn't see every issue exactly as they do. I have super strong feelings that context and intent should be part of every process by which we gauge the speech of others. But I hear a lot that if anyone's feelings are hurt, context and intent don't matter. I would hate to be mistaken for someone who longs to restrict the words of others, or who infers hate where none is intended. I don't think policing language is helpful or that it's a road to equality.

Discussing language is vital, and it's everyone's right to make people aware if their language is hurtful. People who do that should be respected, not mocked. At the same time, there's a difference between language that is hateful and hurtful, and language that is clumsy and careless. While both can hurt, only one is intentional. Accusing and ostracizing, judging and lecturing--that's not the way to have the kind of conversation that actually inspires change. If it's worth it to say something, that something should be educational, informative, and kind.

Of course people also have a responsibility not to abuse language, or to use language they know damn well is hurtful or offensive to someone within earshot. Save racism, sexism, homophobia, and every other bigotry until you're alone with your fellow bigots. Choosing to use words intended to demean, insult, minimize, or marginalize others makes you an asshole. Yes, you get freedom of speech, asshole. That's why I have the freedom to tell you what an asshole you are.

I love language, and it pisses me off that there are people who use it to hurt others. It pisses me off that people think attempts to control language will impact the hate that inspires it. Given all the amazing things words can do, it's a shame how some will insist on using them for destructive purposes.
wednes: (Doctor Literally Too Stupid)
Operation New Computer continues.

I went from a 2008 macbook (not a Pro, the student one) to a mac mini with 8g of RAM and a 2.3 quad core processor. The terabyte drive has given me room to download Homicide: Life on the Street in its entirety. I also have a 24" monitor, up from a 13". So that's all very nice.

Was really bummed to see that Mavericks has done away with my beloved Spaces, and replaced it with some homely crap called Command Center. It sucks. H found me a Spaces emulator program that only costs $20. I'm loving the trial so I'll surely buy it after I get paid. My bank account is actually overdrawn right now. Why I'm being charged almost $20 a month in fees is beyond me. I guess the bank has a system where they charge you money for not having enough money in your account--just one more way banks are not really for poor people.

The extra stuff I needed for the computer was supposed to arrive today. After waiting up for over 6 hours for the UPS man, he showed up during the five freaking minutes I was in the bathroom. So...no dice. Hopefully he'll try again tomorrow, which the text they sent me says will happen. But tomorrow is Saturday, so I wouldn't be surprised if I had to wait all weekend now. Just some cables and the Time Machine drive, plus speakers and a camera since a mac mini is basically BYOeverything. I thought I wouldn't bother with a camera, and then immediately had to postpone a conference. Oops.

On another topic, does anybody really think it's a good idea for us to go back to Iraq? It sounds like this is just a ploy to keep up the illusion that we were there to help the Iraqi people. Does anyone actually believe that? I don't see how. Normally I don't give much credence to the idea that we should help "our own" people over those in another country. In this case though, I'd really like to see veteran's needs, welfare, unemployment benefits, schools, green energy, and job creation addressed before we engage in another goddamn multi-billion dollar war over nothing.
I know we talk a good game about soldiers fighting for our freedom. I can't seem to recall our freedom ever being in jeopardy, at least not in my lifetime.

In TMI news, I'm having the sort of cramps that could kill a small child. Time once more for my annual Nightmare Period. I can always tell it's coming because I want nothing but red meat and coca cola for several days straight. It's also the only time I'm likely to crack out on caffeine Of course, I can't drink regular coke anymore. I also don't keep chocolate around the house anymore. *sigh* These healthy shopping habits will be the death of me...
wednes: (Sow the Seed)
I'm about to complain about something. I'm going to ask this one time, that if this is something you do/have done, that you not bitch me out for having the nerve to complain about it. It's something that bugs the shit out of me, even as I realize it is not usually done with cruel intentions. I really, really need to get it off my chest, and haven't blogged about it because someone is bound to get offended.

Within the last two years, seven people I went to school with (I went to two high schools and one college) and 3 others I was friends with since college have died. Cancer, stroke, accident, suicide...one guy just keeled over and they still don't know why. It's tragic, both for the people involved, and for those of us who are forced to contemplate our own mortality.

When this happens, invariably one or more people will contact me asking me to remind them who the person was. No, I don't mean they called to reminisce about moments we shared, or discuss the legacy they left to the world. No, these people are literally saying Oh, that person you're mourning--who was that again? They've totally slipped my mind. Really?

To me, that's just gross. I've stopped answering those Emails all together. Taking the occasion of someone's death to remind grieving people that Hey, they didn't mean shit to me. I don't even know who they are is incredibly insensitive. Not sure why it's okay to be insensitive to me. Have I somehow given the impression that I'm an extremely strong person? I have no idea how that could have happened.

When Phillip Seymour Hoffman died, people actually made shitty comments about him on my page. Everything from "He wasn't that great" to "I don't think I've seen him in anything" or "I hated him in X" or even "Yeah, but do you care about all the other people who died who weren't famous?" Okay, let me say this as calmly as I can. Fuck. You. When I post how sad I am about Rik Mayall, what's the point of interjecting how you don't know who he is, or that he never made an impression on you, or that nobody should care because we didn't know him personally. Someone actually Emailed me to ask if I needed my meds checked, because I seemed so sad. Um, unless you're my doctor, go fuck yourself with your backhanded concern trolling. It's not necessary for you to Tweet to me that if he heard that I died, he wouldn't know who I was. What the fuck is that even supposed to mean?!? Yes, James Gandolfini played a mobster on TV. That doesn't mean if you're sad about his death that you're glorifying the mafia for fuck's sake.

Do people think that's okay just because it's famous people, because we don't know them personally? That implies that we don't get attached to actors, musicians, comedians, or anyone else who creates the kind of work that impacts our lives. Then there's the obligatory "don't be so sensitive," on the rare occasion that I openly take issue with that. Yes, being sad about death is SOOOO inappropriately sensitive, right? That said, I still can't watch Crocodile Hunter without feeling sad, so maybe I'm just a hothouse flower. o.O

Besides, if you're hitting me up on FB or Twitter, or commenting on my blog, or Emailing me--you clearly have access to the Internets. When I was in college, I used to be very complimented when people would ask me random facts they wanted to know. The alternative would have been going to a library or something. Plus, I have a ton of intellectual vanity. Duh. But if you have every answer to every question on earth at your fingertips--why the fuck are you asking me to explain who someone is?

Ultimately, if you don't care about something you see other people caring about--you don't owe anyone an explanation. People are probably not thinking So and so didn't post about Harold Ramis, they must not care about busting ghosts! Whether it's sports or a death or American Idol, There's no need to interject your apathy when people are already hurting (or celebrating--because that happens too, and it's just being a pseudo-intellectual party pooper). Maybe it's not universal to think that kind of behavior is rude, unfeeling, or just completely unnecessary, but I'd be much obliged if everyone would keep it the hell away from me.

On that note, I leave you with one of my favorite bits from The Young Ones. Join us just after Rik accidentally kills Neil and buries him in the garden, where he grows into three Neils.

Okay, one more. Why are the kids crying? Rik is dead, the People's Poet is dead!
But then one sensitive and particularly articulate teenager says How can Rik be dead when we still have his poems?


*sigh* Rest in peace, funnyman. I will never get over not being able to see your performance as Peeves.
wednes: (Count Thumps Edward)
Actually, I want to talk about gun rights activists--the wacky kind.

Reasonable people can disagree on which gun regulations have the most effect, as well as on the percentage of gun owners who are careful, responsible, and compliant with the laws governing gun purchase, storage, and use. The two extremes of the gun argument seem to be "No one should have guns except soldiers and law enforcement," and "Everyone should have whatever gun they want, and carry it anyplace they want no matter what anyone else thinks."

Obviously, both of these are problematic.

The majority of outspoken gun rights activists are also socially and politically conservative. They use phrases like "take our country back," and espouse the virtues of smaller government and less regulation. Taking Our Country Back sounds inherently bigoted to me, not to mention scary. For me, I'm less unnerved by people wanting guns as I am about the reasons people cite for needing guns.
Defense and hunting are fine by me. Target practice in the middle of a city? No. Carrying large firearms (so large they must be strapped to your body and can still be easily seen from a distance) into a place where families are eating seems not just excessive, but willfully aggressive. Ever watch a movie where people rush into a space carrying huge guns? How many of them are "just exercising their rights?" I can't think of any. But yeah, if you think you need guns to take on the US government (insert Cliven Bundy comments here), our military, or your local police--you're clearly hoping for a scenario in which it's okay to shoot cops. That's a little unnerving too.

So okay, let's say you believe guns should be everywhere--schools, bars, churches, any business that's open to the public. Oh yeah, and the airports. Does this mean that we aren't even going to acknowledge the feelings of people who don't want guns around themselves, or their families? Are we really going to tell business owners that they must allow guns in their stores if they don't want them there? There are plenty of legal things people aren't allowed to do in stores. For example, I've worked several retail jobs where we did not serve any customer wearing a mask--even on Halloween. If a customer walked into a party store in a mask, they were told to remove it, or leave. Why? Because someone wearing a mask might be up to no good. Fucking is legal. Most stores don't let you fuck in them (so WHY do you have beds here, Mr Furniture store?!?) even if you're not showing anything. Taking a shit? Also legal, but try it on the pool table of your local tavern, and behold the annoyance.

What I'm wondering is if responsible gun owners are irritated at these lunatics who carry giant guns into a family restaurant and then act surprised that people respond with alarm. Seems they are. Seems that even Wayne LaPierre wants these assholes to stop acting like petulant children having a gun-fueled tantrum. So what happens now? Can we reach a consensus, or does it all just get crazier until we're literally shooting it out?

Story: When I went to Woodstock '94, the tenor was such that we could smoke pot out in the open and no one would do anything. Amazed, I raised my freak flag high and smoked as openly as I could. My friend pulled me aside and said "Wad," (people called me Wad then) "Just because you can smoke out in the open and announce every exhale, doesn't mean you have to." I looked around at all the families and random strangers, wondering if my friend was right. I didn't admit it immediately, being a dumbass 20-something. But he was. This rings the same way to me. Yeah, you can have your stupid gun. Do you really have to brandish it around in public rubbing everyone's nose in how little you care about their comfort and safety? Apparently so.

See, if you know someone has a fear of snakes and you throw a snake at them, you're an asshole. You can say it's a joke, or it's your right, or that it's legal, but you're still an inconsiderate, selfish, slightly sadistic asshole.
Don't be an asshole. Every single part of life is easier that way.
wednes: (Doctor Literally Too Stupid)
If I'm trying to be more positive, going on the internet after a polarizing news event is something best avoided. But no...I read all the stories including a transcript of that absurd manifesto. I read all through the #YesAllWoman tag on Twitter until it was hijacked by ugly haters. I fully expect all the pro-control v anti-control BS whenever there's a shooting. It often boils down to "Let's get guns out of the hands of criminals and crazy people" versus "Nobody and nothing has a right to get between me and mah gunz." I hear people fearing that someone will come take their guns away, but I've never heard anyone in authority actually say they wanted to do this.
Please correct me if I'm wrong--but there has been no restrictive gun legislation passed since Obama became president. We've done more to stop the scourge of baggy pants than that of gun violence. I don't know anyone personally who thinks no one should have guns, ever. Most people are more reasonable than that.

However, this latest massacre is more about men versus women. Or rather, who owes what to whom and what the unhappy party has a right to do when their needs aren't met. A few weeks ago, I was unfriended by someone who posted a friend-zone comic. The punchline indicated that the girl (who asked an angel for a nice guy to fall in love with) was called a bitch and told that she "friendzoned" him. I suggested that this "joke" was hateful and sexist, and was told in return that friendzoning works both ways and that it's nothing against women.

As a fat chick, I have to laugh. As a person who grew up with appallingly low self esteem, I had lots of crushes and came to think that I'd like myself better if a cool guy liked me. In my defense, I was a young stupid kid--sort of like this guy. I was also mentally ill, like this guy. But nobody ever tells guys who reject fat girls how "mean and shallow" they're being. Nor did anyone suggest that I "keep at him" or try to "wear him down" or "show him how amazing I really am."
No...I was told to lose weight, get nicer clothes, all manner of shallow shit. The point was that if men didn't like me, I was supposed to change myself rather than blaming the men. Of course, I didn't blame the men, I blamed my own perceived ugliness. But if chicks don't like a "nice" guy (never mind that nice guys aren't pro-torture and don't generally murder people in drive-bys) then they are bitches. And bitches deserve what they get. The internet aftermath and the teenage girl with a FB shooter fan page are evidence that plenty of people still have whacked views on male-female-relationships.

Like most of you, I expect a certain level of stupidity whenever I go online. What I don't expect to see are grown-ass men who say asinine things like "Men and Women have it equally bad." Speaking for myself, I literally do not know a woman who hasn't been raped, stalked, menaced, manhandled, or experienced other physical attempts to sexually control or manipulate them. I would be very surprised to learn that this is true of all men. Personally, I've been hit by several times as many men as I've actually taken a swing at.
It baffles me that there are men, even men who call themselves feminists, who honestly don't see that women have things foisted on them daily that men don't have to deal with. As a fat chick, I'm not sexually harassed often, but it's not like it doesn't happen. More often though, I'm treated as a non-entity because I have the audacity to present myself in such a way that strangers don't immediately want to fuck me at first glance. The nerve of that woman, not being sexy. Duh, being sexy is what women are FOR.

So yeah, agree or disagree about gun control, or mental illness. But to pretend that women aren't on the receiving end of a tidal wave of aggressive inappropriateness, or that we're often dismissed or laughed off when we call people out on it--? C'mon. If you really don't think that happens on a daily basis, you need to open your fucking eyes.
wednes: (Count Thumps Edward)
Was reading a book called Horror 101 which is a collection of essays about working in the horror industry. One of them suggested that in social media, topics like politics or religion are best avoided. If you're trying to build up a following, it's best not to be "preachy" or angry or aggressively passionate about such things--essentially for the same reason it's inappropriate to discuss such things at a day job.

I think that's probably accurate. That the blander and less forthcoming you are, the less likely you are to piss people off. But really, who the hell wants that? If I want people to buy the things I write, hiding who I am doesn't seem like the best way to encourage them to do that. After all, my books aren't just stories I thought up, they're things I feel deeply. It seems obvious to me that if you don't like me, you won't like what I write. So if people don't like my books, it might just be because I am an asshole.
Unrelated: Damn, I hope I'm not an asshole.

Slow growth is what they call it when you build your name (or Brand, if you must) by being yourself, interacting with people, and mentioning what you're up to professionally. By doing this, I have gained a small but loyal following of people who seem to like what I do, often sharing or even participating in my scary shenanigans. That is awesome. But I seem to have plateaued. I know I'm doing something wrong, or failing to do something important--but what? It's very frustrating. Not so frustrating though, that I'd be willing to stop talking about things like equality and poverty.
That said, I'm making a concerted effort to be more positive online. More agreeing with people, encouraging them, and much more scrolling past stupid memes and religious crap--while still not letting the big issues slide. Once someone crosses a certain line of dicketry, I begin to feel complicit if I say nothing. But overall, I want to focus more on the positive.

Earlier this week, a man very much like Mikey Goretti in Kiss Me Like You Love Me killed some women for the same reasons Mikey killed them. Part of me actually felt like I should somehow mention that in all the places people pay attention to me--as a way to sell books.
I actually sat down to see if I could think of a way to do that where I wouldn't retch or hate myself afterwards. No luck. Is that what I'm missing? I admit, it would be comfy to claim that I'm not a mega popular writer because I refuse to capitalize on the news of the day.
You know, because morality...or something.

While I have your attention, Buy My Books! Or hook yourself up with a subscription to the mag.
Your first month is FREE.

Still looking for peeps to review the 2nd edition of A Stabbing for Sadie which has some marked improvements from the first version. Right now, it still have zero reviews on Goodreads, which means finding marketing partners is infinitely more difficult. If you bought the first edition, I'll be happy to slide you an eCopy of the new ed for free. Hit me up.
wednes: (Elephant on Trampoline)
Been trying not to do the thing where I make a long depressing, complainy-pants post in the middle of the night.

But I want to.

But I won't.

Yes, I *would* like a cookie.

Thank you so much for asking.
wednes: (Tyrion)
Pretty stoked for GoT to come back next week, more stoked to be reviewing it in exchange for actual monies. Finishing a rewatch of 1-3 and noticed something I hadn't earlier:

Season 1:
Jon Snow: "I've always wanted to be a ranger."
Samwell Tarly: "I've always wanted to be a wizard."
*both men laugh*

Season 3:
Samwell Tarly: *says some stuff he learned from books*
Gilly Craster: "You know all that, just from staring at marks on paper?"
Samwell: "Yes, I suppose so."
Gilly: "You're like...a wizard."


Sam loves Gilly even more because she sees him the way he wishes he was. Of course, he's also brave as fuck and has no idea. I love Samwell Tarly, even though he's sort of a copy of Samwise Gamgee.
wednes: (Stabby Rage)
Been engaging in a bunch of discussions about a new online trend. People are complaining about, of all things, Trigger Warnings. If you're not familiar, a "Trigger Warning" is a single sentence before an article, a TV show, vid, or podcast that contain subject matter known to be triggering--that is to say, can cause profound discomfort or distress to someone. TW's cover things like sexual assaults, child or animal abuse, eating disorders, abusive or hateful language--that sort of thing. Trigger Warnings are also used in the creation of "safe spaces" online (or in RL, I suppose) so people can go to a given forum or chatroom and know that certain topics won't come up or that specific types of asshattery won't be tolerated.

So yeah, there's a backlash now. Apparently, there are "too many" trigger warnings. All this compassion is getting "ridiculous," and the "whole thing has gone too far," say pundits and bloggers everywhere. I can't help but translate this as "Okay ladies, we've acknowledged your feelings, now please stop bitching about X, Y, and Z. Being respectful to your hangups is getting old, and some of your fears and issues are dumb IMO."

I very rarely bust out the "P" word, but people who don't have to give a single thought about Triggering do have a kind of Privilege. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to live a life free of anxiety or without fear of some kind of embarrassing or debilitating reaction to something. If this is your life, that's awesome for you. You should be able to develop some friggin compassion for people who were not so lucky.

I don't doubt that there are writers or publications that are overzealous about their Trigger Warnings. I agree that there are more Trigger Warnings around than there used to be. Some drivers don't know how to use their blinkers--it doesn't mean that blinkers have "gone too far." What the fuck does "gone too far" even mean anyway? Anyway, more Trigger Warnings doesn't necessarily mean they need to be curtailed. It might just mean that we're learning to care more about how our words affect others. Wouldn't that be neat?

When people complain about Trigger Warnings, one of the slippery slope fears is that it creates a fantasy world where people can hide from reality. This is so dumb, I can't imagine that people actually believe it when they say it. If you skip an article about rape, you might just forget that rape exists? Not bloody likely. Maybe you're reading the news on your break at work and just don't want to be thinking about rape for the rest of the day.

Underlying it all, I think, is a contempt for feelings by people (who should goddamn well know better) who confuse emotion for weakness. And boy, do we hate other people asking us to accommodate "weakness." I don't expect to hear that nonsense outside of FOX "news" or Dr Drew. Just as food stamps don't make people dependent on food or whatever, Trigger Warnings don't make people forget that there is bad in the world. If anything, people who appreciate and utilize Trigger Warnings know first-hand about the evils of the world, and just need (and fucking deserve, goddammit) a break from it every now and again. How about not giving them shit for it?

Ultimately, it's a single goddamn sentence. If it doesn't apply to you, by all means, scroll right on past it. I know people are in the habit of skimming most of what they read online. Why else would people send me links to my own articles saying "Saw this and thought of you..." ???
wednes: (Growlers)
A classmate of mine died last night after having a stroke last week. He had a wife, kids, and grandkids. He was also the Other Fat Kid when we were in school. Hearing that he died from a combination of untreated high blood pressure and unmanaged diabetes--for lack of a better phrase, scares the ever-loving shit out of me. Not even because I'm SO into staying alive and doing stuff, or uber afraid of what happens when we die, but because I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by friends and family who would be seriously bummed if I died too young from something I shouldn't.
In all honesty, what I would hate most about dying young is the stupid shit people would say about me Bringing it On Myself. You know, for being fat or smoking pot or whatever. People like to lash out when sad stuff happens--my mom was a champion at this. Feeling angry is always easier for me than feeling sad. But with the added death of Philip Seymour Hoffman (with a goddamn needle sticking out of his arm, no less) I am just not able to focus on anything but sadness. Drag, that. I actually have a ton of work to do.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to write 4 articles, 8 product descriptions, and a Millicent Mixter chapter in addition to having H time and cooking a dinner. Should be fun to see how much of that actually happens.
wednes: (Farnsworth/zombie jesus)
When I was a kid, religion was not really a thing at our house. Mom practiced no faith, and her husband was a non-practicing Christian who had no patience for people who thought anything other than Christianity was "real." We learned about Santa before we learned about God/Jesus. My grandparents took us to church sometimes, but it had no more meaning than a movie or a concert to me. I had a public school teacher who made us pray, and who called me a "heathen" for not knowing the Lord's Prayer so I could say it after the Pledge.

Cut for potentially boring chatter about why I'm going to church this Sunday. )

Pope Francis has the potential to cause the biggest Church upheaval since Martin Luther and his hammer. It shouldn't be that way, but sadly, it has to be. So this Sunday, I'm heading down to St Francis Church to hear mass and see if my local Catholics are in line with the new Pope and his message. Because if I can get in on this wave of spreading compassion and comfort, I'm in!

I wrote St Francis' outreach person... )
So far, this seems okay to me. Watch my new "church" tag if you want to follow this adventure.

Gratitude

Nov. 5th, 2013 03:40 pm
wednes: (Hail Ants!)
I complain too much, which is why I haven't posted in a while. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of assholes in the world who go around doing stupid shit. But dammit, I gotta stop focusing on that so much. With that in mind, here is a list of shit I am grateful for:

1. H. Fucking duh. H is a rock that lets me be a crazy-pants nut-job and still not have to live in a cardboard box. He's kind, considerate, honest, and would run into a burning building to get me if I needed him to. He is also what makes it possible for me to be a pro writer.

2. Being a pro writer. It's my dream. Since I was five, I wanted to be the person who writes the stuff that goes in books. And I am. I'm not making as big a splash as I want to. I need to write for sites that are more visible, and I will. For now though, making money through writing is awesome.

3. The Mag. Yeah, I'm still pretty new at the mag stuff, and there's a lot that I'm not very good at yet. It's still tremendous fun and I'm learning a ton about writing, editing, and how horror is built.

4. Fam. I got back in contact with some of my fam a few years ago--including my good brother. The other brother, not so much. My fam is pretty awesome. Having a fam is different from friendships. You didn't actually choose these people, so you're connected to them even if they are religious whackadoos (we don't really have these), GOP supporters, or are suspicious of Mexicans. I'm pretty lucky in that my extended fam is a loving, diverse, and fascinating bunch.

5. My real-life friends. By this I mean people who I see on a fairly regular basis. They are a witty, whip-smart, and wonderful bunch.

6. My on-line friends. I have a lot of these, including a small handful of people I feel genuinely close to, and would invite into my home if they were nearby. I am grateful that the internets let me connect with so many people that I can have amazing conversations with, and share in all their life stuff.

7. The cats. I love that I get to have cats around, and have some good ones these days.
wednes: (Tyrion)
I encountered some haters over at Amazon today. Why do I comment? Yeah, I'm not sure. I was looking at GRRM's book, The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister )

I'm also hearing a lot about how people are refusing to pay to see Ender's Game. It certainly makes sense to not give money to someone if you think they are a vile person. But let's look at this rationally... ) Chances are, every movie ever made has at least one person involved in it who thinks something terrible about someone--be it gays, women, minorities, or atheists. Same with books, video games, TV shows, and sporting events. So maybe we could put less emphasis on what we're NOT seeing, and more on what we're doing to actually make things better.
Orson Scott Cart would HATE that.
And let's do something shitty for Fred Phelps while we're at it. My years of refusing to attend his church aren't having much of an effect.

If you haven't seen my new website yet, do check it out.
My cousin Richard made it, and it's sweet!
I'm starting a newsgroup so I can keep everyone abreast (*snerk*) of my various goings on. So if you're not boycotting me, please do sign up. ;-)

My newest Kinkly article is about Vampires, because it's almost Halloween. It covers vampires and biting from pre-Christianity through the sparkly kind.
wednes: (Sir Graves)
Since I started freelancing from home, I don't go out much. In fact, one could say that I go out very rarely. After all, people are jerks. Outside is expensive and loud and causes cancer on my pasty white skin. I go for walks when the weather is not being dumb--usually between 4 and 7 in the morning.

Plenty of people wasted no time in telling me how "unhealthy" it is that I stay inside. Don't I know that D Vitamins don't replace actual sunlight (remember, I have non-lethal skin cancer that could turn lethal via sunlight)??? Haven't I heard how important it is for me to interact with other humans? Blah Blah Blah. Honestly, I interact with people I like--mainly online. I also invite people over when I want to see them. And yeah, I do go out sometimes. But only when I want to--because aside from doctors and shopping--I don't NEED to.

Now that the weather is less stupid, I've been leaving the door wall open all day. Oh yeah, I've also been getting up during the day. I seem to get more done that way. Having fresh air in here all the time makes me feel more awake. Then more tired. WAY more tired. Just having the door wall open makes me feel like I've been at the beach all day. That's weird, right?

Isn't that weird?
wednes: (Queen of <3's)
Lots of you know that I'm a fan of Health at Every Size. This is a philosophy that essentially says I'm going to eat as well as I can, and exercise regularly. If that doesn't make me lose weight, so fucking what. I'm also a fan of Size Acceptance. This means that if you have some sort of problem with the size that I am, so fucking what. One might say I live on the philosophical corner of MindUrOwnBidniss Ln and HateElsewherePlz Blvd. One of the chick bloggers on FA and HAES I've enjoyed reading is Ragen Chastain. I've been reading her for a long while now. While I do think her blog is hella repetitive, I also think it's full of good information.

But here's the thing...
Like many blogs written with a concrete foundation in feminism, Ragen bends way the hell backward to not offend readers. Every opinion, every statement of philosophy, begins with a long disclaimer stating that just because she says something works for her--she's not telling everyone else that they should do it, or that it's the only right thing for anyone to do. I presume she does this because, on the internet, you can't say anything without someone jumping on you about it. If someone says "Hey, what a lovely sunny day it is" someone else will rag on them for being insensitive to people with skin cancer. If someone says "I lost weight and I feel great," others will undoubtedly ask how they enjoy being a tool of the diet companies. People are dicks, and anyone even remotely visible online needs to have a strategy for dealing with dicks up front.

But see, we all make judgements. I actually think the occasional shaming of idiots can serve to better the world, if only to encourage them to be a little less vocal in their idiocy. We all think that some people look better in certain clothes or with specific haircuts, would be happier dating different people, having a cat instead of a dog, finally admitting they're gay, watching HBO instead of Honey Boo Boo. We've all got opinions about other people and the things they do. Me, I can't shut up about mine.
Still, I don't think having those opinions makes me a hater. I'm not putting people down to feel better about me. I don't think even thinking ugly things about others does not make a person evil or mean-spirited. Own your judgements just like you own every other emotion--even when it doesn't make sense. Just like we eat foods we know are bad for us, miss people we know are actually assholes, we sometimes make judgements about people that we later feel guilty about. That's okay, really.

What's my point? I'm getting to that.
it's about my peeve: What I really, super, dooper hate.
When people pretend they aren't being judgemental when they are. I hate when people, even people like Ragen, whom I admire, do this. If someone you admire is doing something you hate (say, a fat sports hero going on The Biggest Loser) fucking say so. Otherwise, you get into this infuriating sacrificial-grandmother posture. Oh no dear, you just go to that party instead of playing cards with me like we do every Saturday. You make your own decision like the grown lady you are, and if I'm dead when you get back...well, that won't be your fault. You just went to a party.
This whole put-upon narrative of You can do any foolish, harmful thing you want...I'm not saying one single solitary word about it...not ONE WORD... thing is such utter bullshit. Prefacing your judgement with passive-aggressive ranting about how judgemental you're NOT being is uglier than simple judgement would ever be.
Why? Because it's dishonest. It also places the judger on a higher moral level than the person being judged--even though in most situations, the one being judged is actually the one being genuine. Look how judgemental I'm NOT being in the face of so-and-so's complete idiocy. I think it's their right to be an idiot so I'm not saying one word... in the middle of a post where you're saying a bunch of words about the idiocy you just said you weren't judging.

If you think people shouldn't buy or use Slimfast, say so. If you honestly believe it's harmful and dangerous-- don't pretend like you're cool with it either way, and will respect the other party just as much if they do the thing you're making it pretty clear that you don't want them doing. Disclaimer: I don't know Ragen in real life. I've not met her so I have no idea if she's the same in her blog as she is in person. She's certainly not the only person who fits the examples I've described. But it was her recent blog post that burst the dam on this issue.

All people make judgements every day. All of us. Even people like me who barely leave the house these days. I still make judgements about people based on what they say, what they do, how they respond to issues, what they say about their children. We all do this. There's no shame in it. It's how you navigate humanity. If you're constantly treating others in a way you wouldn't want to be treated--well, then you might be an asshole. Get that checked out. If not...relax. Having an opinion, even about other people, is normal, natural, and unavoidable. Opinions are actually part of instinct. We need them for survival, though this is less true on the internets

I'm what my mom used to politely call "mouthy." I've got lots to say, and I'm reasonably good at saying stuff--so I do. If I start becoming a pompous jackass, a rude bitch, or a mean-spirited asshat, I fully expect my friends to tell me that. No, that won't be a fun way to spend an afternoon. I can be rather defensive and difficult if I'm feeling insulted. But I also have enough introspective skill that I can look at the advice objectively and see if there are things I need to address.
I feel that improves me as a person the same way an aggressive editor improves prose. While I do have those moments of "Fuck you, really?" I end up a better person for it in the end. I was being a total snobby bitch about fanfic a while back, and a few people took me to task for it. It wasn't fun, but as I was out of line, it was an asskicking I totally deserved. Just because I hate something, people who like it aren't necessarily vapid morons with nothing to contribute to literature. Who knew, amirite? ;-]

So no, we shouldn't all go around thinking we know what's best for everyone. But if we've got something that we feel strongly enough about that we're sharing it with a wide audience--it should be truthful, honest. If it isn't, it's deceptive, which means it might just as well be manipulative.
Don't manipulate me, just tell me what's up.
I'm a big girl, I can handle it.
wednes: (Default)
Been rewatching HBO's The Newsroom in preparation for it to start back up. Such a great show. Helps make a lot of what goes on in the American political theatre a little more manageable. It also makes me miss Keith Olbermann. A lot. Okay, new topic.

Like most of you, I have a few enthusiastic Christians on my various social media feeds. Myself, I have reasoned my way out of most beliefs. Anything I do that can be described as "religious" involves doing things I would do anyway--because I like them. Things like affirmations or remembering quotes, lighting candles and incense, and trying to live according to my own beliefs about what a good person is and how they should act. I find myself getting frustrated with so-called believers who use their religions to justify hurting other people. It's an old, tired dance that most of the people reading this will not need explained to them. At the same time, people like Bill Maher piss me off, because they are not just hostile to religion, but smug as fuck in their disdain for anyone who DOES practice a faith. And yet, I think even Bill Maher might agree that compassion is a worthwhile thing to develop if it doesn't come naturally.

I heard a fundamentalist Baptist recently talking about how Mormonism is a cult. Their argument boiled down to there being no proof that Jesus ever came to America. I mean, if THAT's your argument, what proof is there that Jesus was born of a virgin, or rose again after he was murdered? Why it is considered blasphemous to even call what happened to Jesus a murder? Moreover, this particular Baptist believes that America is God's chosen country, that he loves us best, and wants us to win every war.
Which leads me to ask, why is it MORE ridiculous to think that a god who loves us best--would never actually visit or send a delegate? I'm not saying any of that is true, only that it doesn't hold up to logic. Most religious beliefs don't. That's why we use words like Faith and Belief to describe things people are SO certain of, that they are willing to kill or die for it despite an overwhelming lack of evidence.

So what's my point? Getting rid of preprogrammed shit like that is HARD, even impossible for some. But Wednes, people say, it's just not reasonable, not logical, it's dangerous, and it hurts people. Yes, that's all true. But that doesn't make it feasible to expect people to just forget about religious beliefs they were taught when they were children. But Wednes, you may be thinking, when we become adults, we have to put away childish things. We don't still believe in Santa or the tooth fairy, do we? That's a great analogy, I'm glad you used it.

How many of you had super critical parents, or know someone who did? How many of you grew up believing that you were worthless, ugly, stupid, and deserving of every shitty thing that came your way? How many things did you NOT attempt because of that. How many stories not written, how much art not created or shared? How many fucked up relationships, missed job opportunities and general good times has the fallout from bad parenting caused?
Now, everyone who said Yes to the first question: how many of you are completely, 100% over that? That not only do you emphatically deny the awful things your parents said, but that you don't even fear for an instant that they might have been on to something? That those voices NEVER play in your head, or come up in your dreams, or haunt you to some degree as you're out there working and raising kids and getting flipped off in traffic? I'm gonna guess that it's right around 0% of you that feel COMPLETELY and utterly free of that crap--and I know at least a few of you have gone through therapy, sometimes multiple times. You've read books and consulted and tried to surround yourself with positive people and have even accomplished things any normal parent would be proud of. And yet...it's still there. Does that make you an idiot? No...it makes you human.

When you're a kid, and hear about the big guy in the sky who you can't see, but created everything...well, that stays with you. It lets you feel safe in your home when the facts say you may not be. It helps you feel less devastated by all the things you're powerless to fix. I know people personally who refrained from suicide because they were afraid to end up in hell. Is that a good thing? I can't say for everyone, but it gave this guy enough time to figure some shit out and go on to have kids of his own and life a full life.
At some point, Santa and the Easter Bunny are revealed as fake. In fact, you're considered a big stupid baby if you still believe in Santa for too long after your peers have stopped. But god? If you suddenly stopped believing in god, your grandmother might cry, your mom might innundate you with Emails, your extended fam or community might ostracize you, and in the back of your mind--you probably think they might be right for doing so. And even if you don't believe it outright--you probably fear it. When something is deeply ingrained in your psyche, not everyone is capable of challenging it, let alone overcoming it completely. That's not stupidity, or naivety, or sheep moving through life on auto-pilot. There are plenty of religious people out there who utilize their faith to improve their world and the way they relate to other people. To tell them they are wrong for doing so is not just shitty--but it claims superior knowledge of absolutely everyone--which is one of the things that pisses me off about the concept of an omnipotent god in the first place...but I digress.

Am I saying we should coddle people who use their faith to hurt others? Should we be silent in the face of science deniers? Of course not. But when regular people are just doing their thing and minding their own business...but also have a religion, let's all try to keep the self-righteous sneering to a minimum if we can.
After all, isn't that what Jesus would do?
*snerk*
wednes: (Vyv ;-()
Twitter: I gain more followers just letting my account sit there. I seem to lose people every time I actually post something. And I hate being limited to 140 characters. Arbitrary, anyone?
This leads me to believe that Twitter is an annoying sack of crap.
So yeah...there's that.

As usual, sociopolitical stuff is inescapable since I insist on hanging out on the internets. But I can't talk about guns any goddamn more. I was thinking about opportunity in America, and how lack of it creates hopelessness, which can intensify into fear and desperation. I lot of people feel like they have less opportunity than our parent's generation had. Less money, harder to buy a home, have to take jobs you don't like, etc. But some people think we have more opportunity, mainly because of the internet.

It used to be that when you met someone, you'd ask what they do. By that, you were asking what job they had--ie, what they did for a living. But now when I ask that, I'm asking the person what they actually do. Like, what's their art, their passion, what do they make. For way too many people, what they're passionate about has little to do with how they earn a living. So asking someone what their job is not only tells you very little about them--but it may also be sort of rude. More akin to asking someone how they pay their bills as opposed to actually learning something about who they are as a person.

Then I remember how damn lucky I am to be able to do what I like full time. I'm not just writing, I'm producing audiobooks and marketing for other companies and learning all this wild new stuff. That also frees me up to make comics and learn cooking stuff and review TV professionally. On that note: I want The Following to be awesome. I'll be hella bummed if it's not. Ripper Street also starts this week on BBC America. I'm poised to dig it. My bro is coming for lunch on Sunday, and I'm making eclairs. Well, I'm attempting to make eclairs. Difficult to say what I'll actually end up with.

Tonight I have 5 more marketing articles to write, plus the draft of my next article for Kinkly. I think I have a loose plot for the next Stig & the Puppetman. I have to get that drawn by tomorrow evening so H can scan everything in for me. Four chaps to go until A Stabbing for Sadie edits are done and can be sent to Mr Publisherman for the 2nd edition. Then, audiobooks go into production.

Been watching Breaking Bad for TV night on Sundays. We're half way through season two. It's great, just like everyone says. Still, his wife and her family are so awful. I'm surprised to be liking the DEA agent much more than the women. They suck.
wednes: (MamaCass)
Here's what I was going to do last year:
-Leave my day-job. Let's hope I can refrain from burning it to the ground on my way out.
--Have a huge, rockin' book release party for The Finster Effect.
--Yoga minimum of 4 days a week. Strength training. For strongness.
--Will draft my new book this year. Yep, gonna draft the WHOLE THING.
--Do at least 2 interviews per month for ZZN, and at least 2-zombie articles for same.
--Will write one new excellent article for Associated Content each month.
--Bake more bread than I buy at the store.


--I did leave my day job. I did not burn it down. 2 for 2 so far.
--TFE is not on paperback yet. So no splashy party yet.
--Yes, I've been doing yoga 4 days a week.
--Have not drafted the whole book, but getting there. 50% credit
--This site crapped out. Everyone fell by the wayside, so N/A. I *am* writing for several other sites now, much more often than 2x a month.
--No, haven't done this.
--No, have not done this either. I never make sandwiches with homemade bread for some reason. Too busy buttering it, I guess.


Other stuff I did:
--Created comic characters and began a monthly comic at the behest of the proprietor of Resilent Brainforest mag. These are FREE too, so hook yourself up.
--Got a Twitter. *grumble* @WednesFri
--Appeared in two anthologies, and two magazines.
--Published The Finster Effect.
--Made my own book trailer/learned iMovie.
--Read all the Songs of Ice and Fire books, all of Lemony Snicket, and a metric fuckton of small horror--most of it was not so good.


This year will be:
--Tons of marketing, especially The Finster Effect.
--Finishing and publishing Millicent Mixter's Guide so it can make me crazy rich and stoopid famous.
--Setting myself up for mobile credit card acceptance.
--Leaving time open to do/discover/learn new things
--Continue with TV reviews, sex articles, zombie such-and-such.
--Continue with HAES and Yoga so I can continue feeling awesome.
--Helping the reading public figure out who the hell I am.

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