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As flu season is upon us, today's friendly message is to wash AND dry your hands properly. Everybody knows to wash (although I side eye you people in public bathrooms who only cursorily flick your hands beneath a stream of water) but not everyone knows that drying properly and thoroughly afterwards is the best way to reduce bacterial transfer.

http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2010/09/not-drying-hands-thoroughly-after-washing-could-aid-bacterial-transfer.aspx

This link discusses the effects of different drying methods, as well as rubbing your hands together under that air-dryer. (Rubbing hands together inhibits the reduction of bacterial transfer. ie. don't do it, your hands will be more efficiently clean if you don't.)

And per this link from Eli Maffei the Dyson Airblade is more efficient energy-wise than paper towels. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/aug/05/carbon-footprint-drying-hands

For a combination of green and clean, look for the Dyson airblade, then paper towels, then the regular hand dryer, and don't rub your hands together.

http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/ - the CDC recommendations for hand-washing.

Happy handwashing!

A Case of Genre and Girl Cooties

http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/09/science-fiction-science-fiction/

I REALLY don't think that this dude can have read either Bujold or Priest extensively based on his criticisms of their books. Priest he castigates for having zombies--oh noes!--and then somehow describes books of Boneshakers' ilk (associatively, I guess, because it's not actually called out other than by Zombies) as being a parade of zombies and military dress and starlit parties? (Even if he's applying and conflating the descriptions of Bujold's books, that's such a mischaracterisation.)

BTW, Bujold's books do unabashedly have romance in them. And mystery. And action. And political intrigue. She's as much said that the series wanders through several genres. But to characterise them as primarily romance--or more so than most SF--is a bit silly. To say that " it takes much of the dramatic urgency out of a story if the hero is already married or if during a skirmish comes back to canoodle or wine or dine with his beloved before rushing back to the fray," is pretty much to admit to NOT HAVING READ THE BOOKS. There are two scenes contained herein that John and I have discussed as being among the most....squirm-inducing descriptions of torture or desperation, and yet they are economically written, not gratuitous, fit the story, and are pretty damn hardcore. I know how the series turns out and yet, even on re-reads both these two scenes make me flinch.

Basically this dude has a hardcore case of Genre and Girl Cooties. He tries to play it off by leading with Gene Wolfe but tips his own hand when he talks about details that only women would love: balls, courts, military dress, palace intrigues, gossiping, and whispering in the corridors. AND THEN HE SAYS...All of this is right out of Alexander Dumas. OH TEH IRONY. So...only women love them. And Alexandre Dumas. And Robert Jordan. And George R. R. Martin. And David Weber. And the aforementioned Gene Wolfe. And...well, you get the picture.

Penny Arcade...Again.

I keep seeing strawmanning by PA supporters, re: original joke. This strawman goes something like "One rape joke doesn't mean they support rape--I don't understand why you are upset." The original joke highlights the comparative immorality inherent in the quest systems of MMOs. I could see the point they were aiming for. I can ALSO see where they ran aground by making rape the punchline. My disappointment stems less from the original comic--we could have had a fruitful discussion if they had allowed it. It could have been a teachable moment. Instead, they doubled-down on rape survivors and made them the butt of the very next strip. They also didn't rein in the abusive fans who were attacking the survivors. Then they followed up on that by making the Dickwolves shirt to appeal to that same set of abusive fans. Their response to survivors has not been compassionate. Their failure to realise the very diversity of their audience makes this strip even more ironic: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2011/07/18

This leads me to another point I keep seeing by PA supporters, which is that the comic wasn't meant for feminists/survivors, etc. Which is ridiculous, because so many of the people initially upset were long-time PA fans and supporters. I've been following them since Year One. I've donated to Child's Play in the past. I know they were capable of better, more nuanced thought than this. I'm disappointed that this is the hill they would like to defend.

Another strawman that gets brought up all the time is the Fruit Fucker. Why are we not screaming over the rape of fruit, one asks? We could start with the fact that fruit is not sentient, that the rape of fruit is not a Real Problem in the world. The Fruit Fucker is removed enough that for many people it is an absurdist, if tasteless, piece of hyperbole that you can't achieve when you substitute a human face. Or we could also go with, "We were all younger then and less educated. We're all being educated together." My tastes in humor have gotten less mordant as I've gotten older and (hopefully) more empathetic. Molly Ivins said that great satire punches up, not down--that when you aim satire at the powerless it becomes vulgar and cruel.

Why should any of this matter? Because at the moment, PAX is one of the biggest gatherings of nerds, and short of Comic-Con and DragonCon, the tenor of the conversations springing out of the nerdosphere can largely be determined by how inclusive these major cons are. If major voices are saying that rape survivors deserve to be silenced, that they don't have legitimate concerns, that it is okay to make spaces where they feel unsafe, to poke at their scars...that's a problem. I see a lot of guys who just don't get it. They shrug--it's somebody else's tempest in a teapot. But I can tell you that among my girlfriends, that 1 in 6 statistic is optimistic at best, and it's a rare woman in my acquaintance that hasn't been sexually harrassed or assaulted. (I myself have been harrassed at an old job, in school, cornered in a nightclub, and hit for not letting a guy put his legs between mine. That's not even getting into the low-level daily stuff I get told about how to be a woman.)

That enough for the moment. Here's some links to marinate on.

https://nerdy.quora.com/Penny-Arcade-The-Cognitive-Dissonance-of-Sexism
http://leighalexander.net/still-never-going-to-pax/
http://debacle.tumblr.com/post/3041940865/the-pratfall-of-penny-arcade-a-timeline

No comments, cuz I've got other stuff going on in my life, and no time to do 101.

Arrival

Last night we flew in nearly two hours after we were supposed to. The flight was delayed coming in, and then we were missing a computer part, and the long shot is: we didn't leave until after we should have landed. And then it was turbulent, although I zenned my way through that with meditation and trying to deceive my husband with my seeming serenity. :) But we finally got in and collapsed. :)

...

I am so pooped from just a morning of hauling my butt around a shopping center so labyrinthine it reminded me of how casinos trap people inside to keep them from leaving so they spend more money.

Bellevue is clean and nice and totally not for me. It's like if you took suburbia and tried to pile it together to make a downtown core of a city. (Which is totally fine for some folks.)

I've been pondering why I'm so tired and then I remember, oh, right, you just spent the last two days doing the fourth or fifth most stressful thing a western-hemisphere First World human can do, which is packing up, throwing out, and moving. Okay, the lists vary on this, I've seen at least one list that puts it above death of a loved one, and I think those people are on crack. Here's a more scientifically derived list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale which I don't find all that accurate for me personally, since I put moving way ahead of a bunch of things on that list and they have it down at Change of Residence. But then if you add up a bunch of things on that list that are incidental to moving, like change of recreation, job loss, etc, it might add up to a more cumulative whole.

Poor John's been at work, so I feel guilty for complaining about being tired, since he's endured all the same stuff I've been. (Although his weeks have been more regular than mine in the last month.) He's flown more often too, and flying usually takes a lot out of me for a good 24 hours after.

Anyway, got temporary bin things to store my clothes until we can get the new place and have the movers bring our things. I also made Lego people of John and me at the Lego store in the mall, so you can see how stressful that was. (Sarcasm.) I'm gonna check out the library hours and then collapse for a nap or somefing.

About Rape

When did you first have to think about rape? Soraya Chemaly asks the question.
http://www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2013-08-when-did-you-first-have-to-think-about-rape

I was eight or so and my mother was reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and I wanted to read it. She wouldn't let me and explained in loose terms why, thinking that I was too young to deal with the concept. Ironically, it was the same age as young Maya gets raped.

I never was sexually abused or raped, although I was subject to some consistent and ongoing sexual harrassment, and I've been groped or felt up in public, but by the time I was in my mid-teens, I had such a exposed conciousness about all the messages girls get that I was fairly regularly experiencing rape dreams. (About once a month, I think. I get less as an adult, weirdly.)

A week probably doesn't go by where I don't have some situation where I've performed a mental triage of Exits, Weight/Height, Weapons to Hand, Cell Phone, Keys, even though I know that most rape is by acquaintances. (I've had guy friends tell me this is me over-reacting but then I wonder if they'd have a good third to half their girl friends tell them that they'd been raped/assaulted, if they'd feel the same.)

The Introverted Extrovert

It's only in living with John Sheffield that I know I'm really extroverted, because I do have a strong introverted side in that I like to read and make art and write which are all really solitary. And I'm pretty adapted to going to museums and doing urban hiking by myself. (Although I really prefer going hiking with friends. Museums, I love to show people, but I also have a strong "I'm gonna sit here and sketch" thing too.)

My second week in Toronto was really weird because normally I have balance between my two sides: write all day, chat all evening, but my writing friends weren't there. I met a whole bunch of other folks like Yuula and John and Devon and Jessica and so on, so I wasn't completely asocial, mind you. I'm a much happier person if I have people to talk to. I get creative gestalt from it. (And I've been socialised/nurtured to really value family life with relatives, so if I know somebody long enough, I eventually start counting them as Family.)

The social anxiety side comes into play though. My extrovert tendancies get me into situations where I start second-guessing myself: Do I talk too much? OMG who says that sort of thing outloud, shut up, Lis, shut up, shut up, shut up! Go hide! Oh, wait, you like THAT TOPIC! Oh, that person has an interesting face, it would be fun to sketch them. Oh, crap, that person I like is WRONG. Do I tell them they are WRONG? I better not, I want them to like meeeeeeee! But that's wrong, letting somebody labour under a false apprehension, you better tactfully correct them. Tact, you? HAH! Keep your mouth shut! Oh wait, different topic, okay, whew. Let it slide. Maybe send them a nice email later. Wait, what did you ask me? Fuck! Oh, yes, I am totally over that. You too? NICE! Let's bond! New besties!

It's like living with your emotions tethered on a bungee cord--if the balance between extroversion and introversion slips, you are all over the sky.

All that to introduce this link. Hah. http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/frustrating-things-about-being-an-extrovert

Guilty of: 2 (needing to talk out upset with 3 different people) 4 (blurting out thoughts) 6 (more shame?) 7 (needy? not really, please let me love you!) 9 (but only if I don't have my Nook, sketchbook or photoshop) 11 (I don't talk in meetings mostly but I do talk everywhere else) 12, 13, 14, 15 (yep, yep, yep, yep) 17 (yes, I have I need to be around people days) 19 (I love yoga and meditation, but it is hard to calm the monkey mind) 21 (so sorry, introverts!) 22 (in my case, too weird) 23 (yep. I also get separation anxiety at the end of parties, events, leaving the fucking room. At GP I tagged along to the docks.) 24 (I don't wonder, I know. I have to reacquaint self with inside voice)

Not Being a Dick

http://jezebel.com/how-to-be-an-atheist-without-being-a-dick-about-it-823225375 - interesting things to poke around with here.

My approximate version of this is: I will fucking criticize the hell out of the institutions while trying to be understanding of individuals.

That said, I will be hella cranky about high-up, powerful individuals who wield the power of the institution. So yes, I have issues with the Pope and Mother Theresa and the LDS prophet and Rick Warren and Ted Haggard and so on.

I do have one issue which is that I often get criticised by members of my former faith who attack me for views on the institution I left behind. This annoys because I don't think they get to say what kind of damage I'm holding my childhood church accountable for.

Look, I get it. Even Roger Ebert and Stephen Fry, two notable atheists that I much admired, have said hurtful and gross things to people that I know better than them. When that happens, I try to acknowledge that it was hurtful, and I fully expect my friends to have a right to their feelings. It would be a dick of me to try and erase that those things happened and hurt my friends. And it's dickish for people to expect me to love the institution that taught me to undervalue myself for so long.

....

Also adding that atheists often are held to higher standards than religious people. Look at the words that get tossed around: Angry, militant, strident, arrogant. Seem familiar? I last ran into these when people were describing feminists. (And I suspect PoC run into similar or worse when they criticize the structures that harm them.)

Allie Brosh Returns, Talks Depression

So. Allie Brosh is back and talking about her depression.

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

Quoting from the pertinent bits: "At first, I'd try to explain that it's not really negativity or sadness anymore, it's more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can't feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you're horribly bored and lonely, but since you've lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you're stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is. "

This. Depression isn't sadness. It can involve sadness for some people. For me, the worst symptom manifested as an inability to make myself do things I had once previously loved, up to drawing, writing, and worst of all, even reading. (That last one should tell you how deeply profound my depression could get.) I beat myself up for it, berated myself for laziness and a short attention span (okay, I probably do have ADD which doesn't help) and slept a lot. I self-medicated through WoW, which is probably not the best way to deal with depression, since you can find yourself in a soul-grinding cycle of doing something way past any enjoyment for it.

"My feelings did start to return eventually. But not all of them came back, and they didn't arrive symmetrically.

I had not been able to care for a very long time, and when I finally started being able to care about things again, I HATED them. But hatred is technically a feeling, and my brain latched onto it like a child learning a new word. "

And this. There was a point where I realised I had gotten chemically dependent on my state of OFFNESS. That feeling happy fucking scared me. And partly because I felt that any state of happiness was impermanent and could be taken away again like THAT, by forces beyond my control, and I resented being dragged back into an insecure place.

With that, I offer this, my list of ways on dealing with depression. Big caveat: What worked for me may not work for you. In fact, it's not even intended to really "cure" depression*. It's more like tiny bridges to get you to the future, if you find yourself in this spot.

http://pixelfish.livejournal.com/648909.html

From the outside, the inside looks small. From the inside, it looks vast and unending. That's one of the weird horrible things about depression.

*I'm not cured. I'm just a LOT better. It's only been months since I had an anxiety attack instead of days or hours. And while I still have to struggle to write or draw at times, it's easier than in the past.

Tags:

Iron Man 3 Spoilers

Yeah, so from here on out, it's all Iron Man spoilers. So don't click if you don't wanna see.
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A Return to Journaling, I Hope

Having just passed my 36th birthday, I noted that my last year's journal entries were rather sparse, and the year before that, things were definitely tailing off. I speculate too, that last year's dearth of writing in general might be linked to that. I can't tell if it's causal, or a symptom of the same malaise, but either way, it makes me a little sad and a little nervous.

When I lived in Calgary, I very openly kept a lot of my life online for people to consume. Occasionally, events cause me to back off of journalling so fervently, but then later, I wish that I had kept up. And I'm looking at my most recent year in SF, and realising that I have chronicled very little of it, while so much actually keeps happening. The absence of journal entries elides the existence of coworkers, my trainer, my teachers, my classmates, people on the bus, friendly neighbours, landlady and landlady's family, Twitter peeps, and even old and re-emerging friends. There's too much to catch up on, I suspect, and frantic notations of the hours I spent in the science museum or Golden Gate Park sketching are perhaps easier noted by the existence of my Flickr sets. I haven't set down any recent lyrics and tied them to events in my life. I haven't even posted any silly memes here lately.

Part of that is due to the beast that is Facebook. I love that it enables me to keep up with family and friends in such a way that I get to participate in their lives, even while living states and countries away BUT it seems to have sucked up so many of my words into an unfriendly and unlinkable morass. A lot of lost conversations there. Ditto Twitter, but then that's what happens to most conversations, right? They're all ephemeral, enjoyed in the moment.

That said, I miss the benefits of journalling. Being able to carthartically pour words onto a page without worrying. Being able to look back. Just the other day, I was trying to figure out when something had happened, and stumbled onto some journal entries that let me know just how far I'd gone from some pretty dark places. It's hard to see progress without having a point of reference.

....

Things to remember about today: It was a sunny day in San Francisco and despite lack of sleep and an attempt to focus on work, I went to a friend's birthday lunch even after I'd begged off. And I'm glad I went, because it was a warm friendly convivial moment. We went to Samovar Tea House in Yerba Buena Gardens and I had a delicious egg-curry sandwich that was the sort of food you just want to savour.

Work went rather quickly. Perhaps too quickly. I'm not sure I got as much done as I had hoped. But what I did get done, I felt good about.

I started off the morning with my trainer. It's kinda sad that the first entry (likely) wherein Tim makes an appearance, will be the one where I mention that he's quitting his job and no longer going to be my trainer. I'm a bit disappointed, although I hope he likes whatever he does next. Just Saturday, I'd been thinking of all the workout buddies I'd ever had, and how I got rather attached to them in specific ways, because working out and straining towards physical effort together was a weird but nice way of bonding. (Oscar, Wendy, John, and currently, Liz, Kristina, and Michael.) And while Tim was a paid workout buddy, I rather think I lucked out with my first trainer. He's always been fun to chat with, and I got him hooked on Avatar the Last Airbender and we liked to make fun of Jillian Michaels and Tracy Anderson (Gwyneth Paltrow's trainer) together. I joke that he's just quitting because the Pope did.

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