Just 1:38am Things

  • I’m listening to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s audiobook In My Own Words and true to title, they actually do have recordings of speeches she’s given. Which would be great except that she is a far far better writer than than she is a speaker, and at least one of the recordings is 16 straight minutes of murmuring and coughing punctuated by an early 2000s iPhone ringing over and over while Ruth may or may not be talking somewhere in the distant background. It’s as if it was recorded on the cell phone of the woman sitting next to the ass with the iPhone he can’t turn the fuck off. Otherwise it’s good. 
  • I started watching Smallville after I was thoughtlessly coerced into taking three vaccines at the same time a couple weeks ago and literally could not move one arm for an entire day in addition to being totally feverish and gross. I have nothing to say about it really (except the standard please stop making women into property, or plot door stoppers and the not so standard ‘holy shit, for 2002 this is crazy feminist omg’)
  • While I was all vaccine sick I had a fever and when it broke I dreamt/hallucinated that I turned into a million tiny cubes of Turkey and I was delicious and instead of being horrified (I don’t even like turkey that much) I was elated and it was wonderful. 

Things I Learned on Google: “Calaveras”

We’ve already established that I am a totally crap Mexican. Therefore, I end up Googling my own cultural history more often than not and this is one of those times. Since it’s Halloween again this year and I am, once again, in the great white North, I decided to arm myself with a little education for the coming storm. And no, white friends I have absolutely no authority to say whether or not your calaveras make-up is racist, except that it probably is and no, I don’t get to make the rules. You do. Which is why it’s racist. (More about that here)

Anyway, while Googling I learned some things about the Mexican sugar skull that everybody else probably knows, but I didn’t and so here they are.

  • Sugar is not native to Mexico. It was brought to the country with colonization, and was used instead of clay by the poor native Mexicans who had an abundance of sugar but no money for expensive statues or figurines for their Day of the Dead alters. [Source]
  • Other Catholic countries celebrate the two days after Halloween as All Souls Day and All Saints Day, but the European versions of this holiday are not the same owing to the fact that indigenous Mexicans melded aspects of their traditional Day of the Dead and the Catholic holiday of vaguely similar theme. [Source]
  • The Day of the Dead can be traced back to a celebration of the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead who was said to have been sacrificed to the underworld as an infant where she grew to adulthood in death. [Source]
  • This is a two day holiday, with the first day dedicated to all the children who have died, and the second to all the adults. Despite this sad theme, the tone of the holiday is bright and happy since our dead relatives are with us again.
  • The celebration is most common in Central and South Mexico, and wasn’t celebrated or even well known in the Northern region until migration brought the tradition in the 20th century. [Source]
  • The phrase “Dia de los Muertos” is actually an anglophone back-translation of “Day of the Dead” into Spanish from English. The proper way to say this holiday’s name is “Dia de Muertos

I’m sure about half of this is wrong. Although it does actually make me feel a little better that I have no clue about the Day of the Dead. By all accounts, my family is from Baja and moved to America in the 20th century. Although those accounts, like me, are probably crap so who even knows.

Fall Intensifies

Tonight I ate pumpkin spice mochi ice cream and I am not sorry, because it was hella good.

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I was worried that the ice cream would be overly sweet, but it wasn’t. It was spice forward, abut also took the time to showcase the pumpkin, which a lot of pumpkin pie flavored stuff fails to do.

Otherwise, it was your standard mochi, chewey and delicious.

10/10 would pumpkin again.

Fall 

“I, Spartacus Jones, challenge you, Ebinezer McScruffins to a duel. You have spread your filthmusk upon my tree for the last time, you son of an acorn fucker.”

“Jones, you have proven yourself to be nothing but a virulent rabies infected rat, you have no right to this tree or even this leafy golden branch. Prepare yourself for furry death!!”

“I am about to murder you, fiend!”

“Wrong again, beast, it is I who will murder you!”

“Mommy! Mommy the squirrels are squeaking!”

“Yes baby, isn’t it adorable.”

Jake and Jessica – Girl Talk

Chapter 7: Girl Talk


Chapter 1 – The Annihilator (NSFW -Explicit sex)
Chapter 2 – The Annihilator is Dead
Chapter 3 – It Was a Good Day
Chapter 4 – The Jake Must Go On
Chapter 5 – A Daring Rescue
Chapter 6 – Sweet Brothings


“But what about Kelsey?”

Jessica had nearly forgotten that she’d only told the Marco story in order to distract from talking about Kelsey. Jake wasn’t going to let it go. She sighed.

Seeing her reluctance, he thought better of pushing. “You don’t have to tell me, if it’s a thing. I was just curious.” Her nervousness before the game that day had come as a total surprise to him.

“No.” Jessica said. She searched for words. “It’s just sort of delicate. I guess.”

Jake waited for her to elaborate. She scrambled for another distraction.

“Remember when you dated that sorority girl from Texas that called you Chocolate?”

“Oh Gross.” Jake had nearly forgotten the embarrassment of the girl they called the Chocoholic. She’d been obsessed with his blackness. She said some of the dumbest things any person had ever said to him from assuming that he didn’t know his father to reminding him multiple times that her dad would try and kill him with increasing levels of seriousness and creepiness. He’d dumped her quickly and quietly when she’d crossed the line and called him a ‘my negro.’ It still bothered him that he’d ever thought that her behavior was anything close to okay.

Of course, he’d read the blogs. He realized that he shouldn’t be ashamed of himself, only of her, but he couldn’t help feeling like an idiot for falling for it even once. Being reduced to nothing more than a caricature and having gone along with it in any way was something he didn’t like to dwell on.

“Oh God, Jess, is Kelsey a racist?”

“No!” she snorted a laugh. “Dude, she’s literally color blind.”

“Uh huh. You ever wonder how it is that people who call themselves ‘color blind’ so frequently tend to only know white people and only hire white people?”

“Oh yeah, and they’re all like ‘I don’t see color.’” Jess said that last bit with a snotty accent that sounded suspiciously like her mother.

“You don’t see color because you don’t have any people of color anywhere around you and you’ve made sure it stays like that!” Jake told the imaginary racist. “But seriously” he said “What does the Chocoholic have to do with your girl?”

Jess put her face in her hands. She’d completely forgotten that they’d nick-named her The Chocoholic. She’d gone after every black dude in their frat. She’d even hit on Aditya, but lost interest when he gently but firmly explained that he wasn’t her type. “Man” she said “We were so shitty to that girl.”

Jake objected. She was, after all, a racist. Jess said that the way they reacted to her racism was a perfect example of toxic masculinity and that rather than giving her a racist nickname in it’s own right, they should have shut her out in other ways. Eventually, they agreed intersectionality is a thing, and they were back to the subject of Kelsey.

Jess hesitated. So much of this wasn’t hers to talk about. “You ever date a girl with… stuff?”

“What, like a penis?” Jake asked

Jess laughed. No, that would be easy.

“Actually” she said “Kelsey is cis. We met through the Ladies Auxiliary because her dad is trans. He couldn’t come today but they usually come to stuff together. He was a single parent, so she’s pretty protective of him. Likes to support him and everything.”

Jake crooked an eyebrow. “But the” he asked while gesturing at his own face when he couldn’t remember the words.

“Cis women can be color blind too Jake, God.”

“Shit, sorry. I don’t know medical things. So what do you mean? What is ‘stuff?’”

“Like trauma, like a history.”

“She got beat?”

“And way worse. Like sexual trauma stuff.”

“Oh shit.” Jake’s eyes were wide. “I guess that’s why her dad raised her alone?”

“Yeah” Jess said without elaborating. Kelsey had told her after their third date that she wanted to talk. At the time, Jess was terrified that she was about to get the let down, but Kelsey explained that she’d been molested and she had some ground rules Jess had to follow if they wanted to keep dating each other. She’d been over-joyed not to be dumped. But she also felt a new level of responsibility to her girlfriend.

Jake thought about it. A few of the girls he’d been with had told him about things from their past. One ex was date-raped by a guy she thought was her best friend, another had been molested by her nanny. Every girl had stories of people who’d tried to take advantage of them in different ways. If he was honest with himself, he didn’t usually date women long enough to learn that much about them. He told Jess as much.

Jess told him about the ground rules talk. Jake said he thought that was a pretty mature approach. Privately, he wondered what he’d say if he had a ground rules talk.

“Not to sound insensitive” Jake said, “but what’s the big deal, I mean you both kind of have… stuff.”

“Fuck. Why does everybody think I was molested?” Jess answered.

Jake laughed at first, but got serious when she shot him an angry look and he quickly clarified that he didn’t mean that. He’d done his homework after Jess came out. He knew all about dysphoria. Of course, just as he was patting himself on the back about it, She informed him that some transpeople don’t really experience dysphoria and that she was one of them.

“Okay, this is going to sound like a dumb question, but if you don’t have dysphoria how do you know you’re trans?”

Jess rolled her eyes. “Are you serious, dude? How do you know your gender if you don’t feel bad about it? Come on.”

“Point taken” Jake said “But I’ve never heard of that.”

Jess looked sheepish. “I don’t talk about it much because I’ve had a lot of people react badly.” The first time she’d told a therapist that she didn’t feel dysphoric, the woman had answered with a blunt ‘Then why are you here?’ Thankfully, she had good enough insurance to find another therapist and fast, but a lot of other people weren’t so lucky.

“Kelsey has panic attacks” she told Jake “And she used to cut herself. I have no idea how I’m supposed to deal with that, dude.’

Jake laughed. Jess didn’t seem amused but he raised an eyebrow and replied to her silent judgement. “That’s kinda ironic, though, right?”

“Oh fuck you, dude.”

“Weren’t we right here having this same exact conversation this morning?’ Jake asked “You’re not obligated to her now that you know this about her, but if you like her, you figure it out even if it’s awkward, right?”

Jess nodded.

“I bet you she knows how to deal with her shit better than you do, am I right?”

Jess nodded again.

“Take it from me” Jake told her “She’ll let you know. Just don’t be an ass.”

If You Don’t Work You Don’t Eat: On Being Compulsive In The Face Of Abundance

wpid-wp-1476039086224.jpgI’ve been going through a hard time lately. Kind of because my business closed, but not really. The real reason is something I started to realize years ago, but like all deeply ingrained and compulsive coping mechanisms, it’s never just one realization that does the trick.

I think I might be a workaholic. I know, how silly. Every person between the ages of 20 and 35 right now is a workaholic. Every woman in business, every person of color, transgender person, everybody who grew up in poverty, immigrated here from somewhere else, or grew up with alcoholic parents. We all know the reality of what it means to be completely abandoned by a system we’re still expected to work for every day like we were never thrown out with the trash, or like we wouldn’t be thrown out now if circumstances changed. The truth is, outside of a few select white children and straight dudes, human life has no inherent value.

If you don’t work; you don’t eat. We’ve all heard that before. When the shit hits the fan, you have to buckle down. You get another job, you sell some stuff, you do what it takes and that’s just another part of making it through. The thing about having no economic safety net is that if you don’t have money for food, you don’t get food. If you don’t have money for rent, you don’t have anywhere to sleep. So you do what has to be done. You get up every day and you say yes to everything and no to nothing, and you don’t need safety standards because OSHA doesn’t pay the electric bill, and you don’t need work/life balance because without work there is no life.

And the same companies and industries that will hire someone to work full time without paying them enough to live full time devour a worker like this. A person without boundaries, who regularly chooses the job over their own health and safety. We are the band-aids this broken system relies on to keep itself together. We shine bright and we get promoted and given the big projects, because the company knows that we will be complicit in our own exploitation. Because we will be. Try to put a workaholic at a normal company and it gets real uncomfortable.

Which is where I am right now. I have nothing feeding my workaholic tendencies and it’s ugly. At the same time, I honestly wonder if there even is such a thing as a workaholic. Because that is some pre-recession white bullshit if I ever heard it.

People of color don’t get to be workaholics. Women don’t get to be workaholics. The workaholic was invented in the 1950s when, for the briefest of time certain subsets of middle class white dudes lived in an economic paradise built on union labor on the one hand the racist and sexist exclusion of non-whites and women on the other, and therefore experienced the phenomenon of abundance above and beyond anything they had ever been prepared for as middle class people. In this random accident, some of the white dudes missed dinner even though they didn’t have to, and thus the workaholic was born.

But that’s exactly the kind of shit a workaholic would say. I’ve been around addicts enough to know that crack has the uncanny ability to make everybody who smokes it suddenly realize that addiction is a racist conspiracy theory cooked up by the government to keep us in our place.

What I do know is this:

  • When I can’t use constant work to distract me from myself, old coping mechanisms like anorexia and self harm are right there, ready to be the solution they were before I had work.
     
  • I am no longer happy with the way I feel about my work, something that used to be the only thing that made me happy.
     
  • Even though I’m unhappy with it, I still obsess over it, making sure that work is constantly the focus, wherever I am. There’s no relief.
     
  • I really do fear that my life will fall apart if I were to stop working or making things, even briefly.
     
  • I feel calm when I’m horribly ill because I finally have a reasonable justification for not working. Which is actually progress, I used to think that even illness wasn’t justification enough.
     
  • I frequently think that it’s better this way because working and making things is the only thing I’m good at anyway.
     
  • I (not so) secretly believe that food and sleep are allowed to me on the condition that I have accomplished something. And I have trouble seeing what’s wrong with that.
     
  • I cling to the belief that compulsive working is somehow the only positive outcome from the neglect I experienced in childhood, and if I were to stop this now, it would be nothing but tragedy all the way down.
     
  • I am unable to justify my existence without work.
     
  • As a union woman, and a fierce defender of workers’ rights, I honestly believe that I am an exception to the labor laws and standards I would literally die to protect.
     

But the recession…

But my childhood…

Surely this compulsive working is just good sense after everything I’ve been through. But of course it isn’t.

I know better than most that the coping mechanisms you come up with in a crisis can’t be your coping mechanisms for good. Indiana Jones survived a nuclear blast in a refrigerator one time in a movie. That doesn’t mean we should all saddle up the Kenmore and bring on nuclear winter. Stuffed in a fridge is no way to live long-term. You do what you have to in order to survive so that you can do better later. Not to relive the same trauma over and over again until it finally kills you years after the fact and without even trying.

Republicans Only Care About Women They Own

For everybody asking why the Republican party only speaks out against Trump when he denigrates white women, I have the answer. 

These conservatives are only  appalled at Trump’s presumptions over something they think they have ownership over: white womanhood. The sacred white mother has been a political haven for despicable racists and sexists since Sojourner Truth and it still is today. That’s why they’ll fall on their swords now rather than let anybody see behind the curtain of their chivalry. The hand of protection these bastards extend to their precious wives and mothers is a cage called the patriarchy. 

And if it’s not, where is their conviction when it comes to reproductive health, sex ed, equal pay, processing rape kits, electing women to public office, lesbian and transgender rights, and on and on for literally millennia. If the only thing you jump to defend is a white woman’s vagina and who gets to “grab” it, the reason is because you have first grabbing rights and you’re mad somebody tried to take it. Stop lying misogynist  shitlords.

A Note on Bathroom Etiquette

One thing I really appreciate about the Pacific Northwest is how we all go around acting really sorry to have bothered anybody we happen to cross paths with who isn’t obviously happy to see us.

Which is why the incident I have just been involved in is basically the most appalling thing ever. Someone knocked on the door while I was in the bathroom… twice. I know. I’m going to need some serious therapy to get over this horrible abuse of the acoustic qualities of the Powell’s Hawthorne bathroom door.

Here’s the thing. Unlike Powell’s downtown, my local Powell’s only has two bathrooms. One for book customers and one for cafe customers. Since I was there to buy books, I decided to do the decent thing and wait outside the frequently occupied book bathroom. I of course waited patiently and quietly because the lock was engaged, and I knew that because the little red “in use” flag was in the little window in the lock which had been put there for exactly this purpose. The person currently defiling that public toilet and I would have had absolutely no reason to ever even hear one another’s voices. Except for the fact that the person in the bathroom was talking to themselves. Loudly. And for a very long time.

And because I have lived in Portland exactly long enough that I will never again have the gall to ask another grown person why they are talking to themselves in a bathroom I want to use, I went to the cafe bathroom. Which also has the little “available” and “in use” flags on its lock. This is important.

Because less than 30 seconds into my already stressful (illegal use of cafe bathroom) experience, someone knocked on the door. Which is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY. There is a tiny flag for exactly this circumstance. When you go up to a bathroom door with a tiny “in use” flag, you know that THE BATHROOM IS IN USE YOU GOD DAMNED CRETIN. Only a firefighter should ever knock on a door with such a sign on it, and only when things are actually, totally, completely on fire.

The “in use” sign is there for both of us. So you don’t have to waste your time knocking on things millions of gross other people have touched, and so I don’t have to muster the fucking emotional fortitude to say “someone’s in here” as pleasantly and firmly as possible while rubbing desperately at my own asshole with the worst most horrible toilet paper on the market.

And this is very important. Under no circumstances whatsoever (except for aforementioned billows of flesh-searing flame) should anyone EVER knock a second time. DID YOU THINK I HAD ESCAPED THROUGH THE WINDOW YOU HORRIBLE TWAT?

I understand that the person on the other side of the door may have been in distress, but it’s not like I was just waiting for them to keep knocking on the door like some kind of sick public shame game. Short of letting them piss between my open legs like that one time on The L Word, I had nothing for them. Except for a second “someone is in here” identical to the first to indicate to this obviously dense individual that NOTHING HAD CHANGED in the 30 seconds between this knock and the last one.

And don’t even try to say it could have been two different people. No two people in Portland are that horrible.

I Robit: Interstate Cyborg Games

We are about to play a game with our friends. In California.

I know, it’s not that surprising that online gameplay is already thing. It is the future, after all. But this is a live-action roleplay of sorts. And we (Ben and I) are playing as the robot.

With the help of two IP cameras, Facebook chat, and a microphone and headphone splitter on our end, we are your robot overlords R&D team recruiters. Also, we have no idea how to play this game

2:34 – We’ve read the briefing, we know our roles and the rules (in general) we are still not quite sure how to play

2:42 – We may have just sent for innocent cubes to their death.

2:43 – Oh wait, it seems like death is more impending than immediate.

2:49 – The second camera is in a bedroom for “private chats” Apparently some of the people in this game are traitors. What a world.

2:50 – Attempt to chat with humans in bedroom unsuccessful. But hilarious.

2:54 – A cat came into our room. Tried to make contact. Called cat a pretty kitty. Made smoochey sounds. Also unsuccessful.

2:57 – We are frequently at butt level

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We are not complaining.

3:00 – One of the humans is on time out

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3:05 – He’s escaped.

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[[3:16 – Hanging out with our friends without having to put on clothes, leave the house, or talk to anybody. We have found nerd utopia. ]]

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3:21 – The cloning booth has been explained to me.

3:30 – Accusations have been made

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These humans clearly distrust each other.

3:41 – We have picked 6 cubes for imminent death. No idea what happened to those other four cubes. They’re probably fine.

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3:50 – We have seen ourselves. We are glorious.

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3:57 – We have done our duty. It was for Friend Computer.

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[[4:15 – If we do this again, we think it could be cool if, instead of talking, we typed everything into a text to speech program. For maximum creepiness]]

4:27 – We have been voted least trustworthy teammate. Initiate overconfident deflection.

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[[4:40 – The one drawback to being remote is that we lack access to snacks. The snacks we have here are crap.]]

[[5:10 – We’ve developed a system where one of us operates the camera and the other of us talks, and we can approximate normal conversation, but when Ben has to pee, everything basically goes to hell.]]

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5:52 – Hey cat.

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Cat.

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Yes.

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