Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wednesday Factoid: Worst and Best Stranger Message

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's the worst message you ever received from a stranger? What's the best?

Oh, GOD, now this is hard. How can I pick what was the single "worst" message I've received when I've been a queer activist for so many years and I've received SO MANY horrible messages?

I'm not going to review all my horrible saved messages just to narrow them down and select which one was absolutely the worst. I'll just think fast and settle on one that was pretty bad but who knows, may not be necessarily the worst.

Stuff contributing to it being "the worst":

1. The absurd length
2. The absolute horribleness of the content
3. The demonstrated familiarity with my material

A man once wrote me a very long letter (which also included an attachment that was itself over 100 pages long) explaining to me that he would like to possess me in a romantic and sexual way, and how much I hurt him by existing as an aromantic woman in the world. He then launched into criticizing my online behavior and commenting on how my callousness toward horny men was intentionally and incredibly cruel of me. You see, these horny men are suffering in a way I cannot comprehend, and they are entitled through their maleness to ask me for sex whenever they want regardless of my feelings --which should be understood to be irrelevant. It is, after all, a woman's job to be accepting and compassionate toward men's desires, so it is actually abusive of me to criticize their behavior or deny them because I don't acknowledge how much pain they must be in if they're at the point of asking strangers for sex. Also, it is so awful of me to do disgusting things like wear a midriff shirt in one of my videos, or to respond to "age? into sexy things?" with "rude" brush-offs that failed to take into account how desperate, polite, and deserving these poor men were.

He told me he wished I was his girlfriend and/or his mother (yes), and then began some of the most horrifying stories I'd ever seen: he explained that he had never once in his life been able to have sex with a woman who was not ugly or fat (you know, because that's unacceptable), and because of this, he believed his future could only take one of two routes: suicide, or going on a rape spree. He opted not to commit the latter crime because he believed it would satisfy women too much to see him behind bars for it. (Because that's what we should focus on. The nasty women who would be happy to see him locked up for pursuing this right to sex he believes himself to have.) He then explained that he had decided to have sex with older men instead (who must be suffering as much as him), believed this had turned him into a woman (because he perceived that servicing men MAKES someone a woman), and was pursuing a medical sex transition (though still privately identifying as male) because he believed having a vagina would allow him to identify as a lesbian, pursue women, and receive sex. (After all, it's women who get to be sexually selective in our society, and becoming a woman was the only way he would ever have that ability.)

He sent me all this baffling horribleness, attached a diary of sorts that he assigned me to read so I could then go enjoy his blog with full context (on which he said he had a female persona and sought to be sexually playful to attract pretty lesbian women). You know, as if I would love to go read the additional content that comes with homework so I could jump face-first into the life of a man who sees women as existing for sex, abused me verbally for being so sexy without offering sex, and grossed me out thoroughly by saying women's cruelty in rejecting him would inevitably lead to him committing sex crimes. He told me he and I were obviously so alike, such kindred spirits, that he KNEW for a fact if I had been born a man, I would never agree with the awful behavior I'd subjected horny men to just for the supposed crime of being attracted to me. And he tried to comment on a bunch of my online journal entries and website content, stalking me across the internet to tell me a) he disapproves of my opinions and b) he loves me.

Yiiiiiikes. Biggest yikes I have probably ever received.

And I mean, keep in mind that I've received a handful of death threats and a couple dozen rape threats, have had men tell me I'm useless unless I get married, have had a man impersonate me on the Internet posting naked pictures he claimed were me, have had a man try to start a rumor online that I was a pedophile and linked it to my legal name, have had to get a lawyer for defamation, have had a man tell me I have an obligation to wear an emblem of some sort to warn men away from propositioning me so I don't hurt them (and he even designed the emblem for me and instructed me to have it made), and had a guy tell me I should wear a jockstrap under my skirt so I could delight in knowing men would be disgusted (and in the same mail asked me to tell him my address because he wanted to look at the structure of my apartment building in Google Earth; random interest in architecture, you know).

I've received a lot of terrible messages so it takes a lot to be the worst. I think that was it.

As for the best?

Man, how do I follow that? I feel exhausted from typing that out.

Probably one of the best e-mails I ever got from a stranger was from someone who became a good friend later on. My friend Jessie was once an Internet stranger who contacted me to tell me about how my work had revolutionized an aspect of her life. I won't go into detail like above out of respect for her privacy, but she credited me with repairing a relationship and validating her in a way she hadn't been up to that point, and she found many of her unrelated ideas so similar to mine (and even some of our history weirdly matched) that it was inevitable that we became fast friends. We were able to go on from there to discuss writing and relationship perspectives, create character art together, discuss religion and philosophy and communication styles, and have a damn good time on the several occasions we've braved distance to visit one another. I was ever so pleased to attend her wedding not too long ago and be there for her special day.

I actually have a few friendships and correspondence relationships that have begun with a stranger e-mail like that, and many to most have begun with someone reacting to content I've made. It's delightful every time, though sometimes bittersweet because occasionally people get very emotional and credit me for saving their lives or their sanity. It's amazing and humbling. I sometimes wonder about how many people feel that way and never do write me. They must be out there.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Personal Digest Saturday: August 10 – August 16

Life news this week:
  • Saturday was nice! I got blogging done in the morning and managed to record a ukulele song before my friend Steve came over. We mostly just talked all day because that's how we roll. We got some Chinese food delivered when we were hungry. And we did managed to watch some cartoons. After he left I was really tired but then for some reason decided to binge the entirety of the new cartoon Infinity Train. I really liked it.
  • Sunday my mom called me early and asked me to come over to help her with some stuff she couldn't figure out, but then she called and cancelled for reasons unclear. I ended up figuring out a way to help her with the problems without going over there, and later I got to talk to her on the phone and explain what I did. I also did laundry and made this HUGE cake, practicing for my three-layer tiered cake that will be a centerpiece of my Steven Universe movie party. (The cake I'm copying is from an episode called "Gem Harvest.") Can't believe I made so much cake and frosted it and everything!
  • Monday I brought some of the lemon layer to work to share and was able to even distribute some of it to kids in the building. Work was busy--I was slammed with four letters (and one was the long kind). I met my deadline by about eight minutes. Had to take the bus home (didn't get rained on, luckily!) and managed to record a ukulele song that is quite a feat because its chords were really difficult to learn. I also worked on my in-progress photos page a lot.
  • Tuesday I got a little buried under some unexpected utility coordination at work, then some subconsultant arrangements that were more difficult than I'd anticipated, then some data entry. At home I made rice and used the leftover egg yolks to mix in. I ate it all but it did take me two sittings. I finished my laundry and redecorated the house.
  • Wednesday I spent the entire work day on my data entry project. My ukulele song from a couple days before got selected for the front page of Amino so I enjoyed some positive attention from that. Jeaux and I went out to eat at Marlow's Tavern and went home to watch some sketch comedy and finish the She-Ra animated series.
  • Thursday I had some utility coordination and more data entry at the office. My friend Steve (who I got to see TWICE this week!!) picked me up at work and we ate at Best NY Pizza. We had a DELICIOUS white pizza that he was very impressed with. And then we talked and watched a few cartoons. We get along so great. After he left I unfortunately had to get a bunch of drawing done because of my Friday plans not leaving room for webcomics. I stayed up WAY too late and ate cake to keep me up.
  • Friday was a busy day. I finally finished the data entry for the one stretch of roadway I'd been assigned, but other than that and doing timesheets and doing some reports for my boss, it was all I worked on. After work I went home and hung out with Victor. We got food from one of our favorite Mexican restaurants (Vallarta's) and watched an old 90s anime he'd never seen. We followed up with talking and cake. 
New reviews of my book:



Diet progress:

Check out my nutrition readout. Oh boy, with all the pizza and cake, I'm really surprised nothing's changed much.




Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: I've had no bus time because of all the paid rides I've taken to work this week, so I did not get any farther in my current read again.
    New singing performances:

    This week's karaoke song is "Kathy's Song" by Simon and Garfunkel.




    Stuff Drawn:



    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0744: "An Outlet."






    New videos:

    I did a couple unlisted Steven Universe ukulele practice videos. Here they are.

    "The Working Dead":



    "Ruby Rider":





    New photos:

    Cake photos:













    A stack of Garnets - she's all about balance!


    Completed collection of Bubbled Gems
    Added to my autographs collection


    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,252 for swankivy (5 new), 683 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 975 for swankivy (1 new), 1,339 for JulieSondra (4 new). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 63 likes for Negative One (no change), 161 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,511 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 188 (1 new).

    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    Wednesday Factoid: Reclaimed Memory

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you have any recently rediscovered memories? (This could be anything you forgot for a long time and remembered--either spontaneously or as a result of someone reminding you.)

    This is a weird one but I very recently remembered that I used to collect sugar packets in high school.

    I thought it was interesting that sugar packets came in so many different designs, and I would take sugar packets home with me from restaurants and ask friends and family to bring sugar packets to me anytime they visited a restaurant if they thought it was a design I might not have. I collected so many different kinds!



    When this memory resurfaced, I actually initially thought it was from my younger childhood. But then I realized, because of the memory I have of the box I kept the packets in, that it had to be tenth grade and beyond. The box I used was a gift from my high school boyfriend--a kind of ugly cloth-covered jewelry box with a mirror inside. He had taped a really bad photograph of himself to the mirror inside.

    I wonder if that's part of the reason I hadn't thought about it in such a long time. I'm not a huge fan of thinking about that guy.

    Saturday, August 10, 2019

    Personal Digest Saturday: August 3 – August 9

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I last-minute decided to go to Tampa Bay Comic Con. I did my blogging in the morning and got ready for the convention. I took my new plushie and dressed as Garnet. It was a nice little experience! They didn't have any of the comics I was hoping to find though. :/ Jeaux met me there a little while later. My friend Joy unexpectedly was there so I got to see her! Jeaux and I went out to IHOP later and had a good time.
    • Sunday I texted with my sister, cleaned my outside table, did laundry, and did usual Sunday chores. I played my ukulele and organized some galleries on my website. My mom called briefly to tell me about why her phone had been off and why we hadn't been able to get a hold of her, so that was a relief. Had a mostly relaxing day.
    • Monday I had a driver who played really gross music in the paid ride vehicle. Why don't they know not to do that? I finally got to start digging into some e-mails but I still have over 1600 in my box. Work didn't have anything super pressing to do but I did some RCI stuff. After work I played with my website more and practiced ukulele. And I got to talk to Meghan on the phone.
    • Tuesday was a little more activity at work and wrangling some timesheet stuff. After work I made some test cakes and learned about freezing cake. I also made a dish to incorporate the unused egg yolks (mixed into tofu and ramen) and I ended up eating it all. I played my ukulele and saw some spoilers about the upcoming Steven Universe movie. Oop!
    • Wednesday it rained and I got caught in it while riding the bus. I worked on a letter at work and also got caught in the rain on the bus ride home. Met up with Jeaux and we ate at Best NY Pizza and shopped at Target. We had time to watch some She-Ra before he went home and I went to sleep.
    • Thursday I didn't get much mail done sadly. Work was a little slow but I was able to do some writeups for questions outstanding on RCI. My friend Steve picked me up and we went out to eat at Evos, and then at home we talked for a long time like we usually do and watched five episodes of Steven Universe which spawned a long discussion afterwards. Hooray for that!
    • Friday I didn't have to go to the office because I had RCI training downtown. I went with my co-worker and we observed some discussion of how to categorize various roadway features. It wasn't very applicable to what I'm doing but at least I learned a few things. They ordered barbecue and it was not very vegetarian friendly but I did get to eat the macaroni and some apple cobbler. At home I finished my webcomic and went to sleep.
    Diet progress:

    Check out my nutrition readoutThe beginning of the week was steady but then I ate an entire pizza on Wednesday and had a lot of junk and well. Next week will probably be better. :D




    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: The trade paperback for the fifth volume of Steven Universe comics is out. It's called Find a Way. I gave it a five-star review on Goodreads.
      New singing performances:

      This week's karaoke song is "Cryin'" by Aerosmith.




      Stuff Drawn:


      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0743: "The Greater Good."






      New videos:

      I recorded an unlisted ukulele practice video for the song "For Just One Day Let's Only Think About (Love)" from Steven Universe.




      New photos:

      There's a whole Tampa Bay Comic Con album on my photos site if you want to see the whole thing.

      Here are my favorites though, click the small to look at the big:




      I also have a couple cool collection-related pictures for you of comic variants and my new Steven Universe signed poster.



      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,247 for swankivy (2 new), 682 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 974 for swankivy (lost 2), 1,335 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 205 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 63 likes for Negative One (no change), 161 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,512 (1 new). Instagram followers: 187 (2 new).

      Wednesday, August 7, 2019

      Wednesday Factoid: Traits

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What traits from your parents do you see in yourself?

      I was raised by my biological mom and biological dad.

      Mom:

      •     I look like her.
      •     Sometimes I'm judgy. (I try not to be, but in some ways it's good.)
      •     I see people with needs and my first instinct is to do it for them, give it to them, help them if I can.
      •     I'm a language nerd.
      •     I need my house to be clean and organized. (I’m worse than her. And she doesn't can't do this anymore.)
      •     I'm really, really short.

      Dad:

      •     I'm musical. I sing and play instruments.
      •     I get cold easily.
      •     I'm nearsighted and have pale skin.
      •     I'm a language nerd.
      •     I like science fiction and nerdy stuff.
      •     I'm punctual and dependable.
      •     I'm allergic to pineapple.
      •     I can stick to regimens and schedules, and I'm good with money.
      •     I work too much.

      Saturday, August 3, 2019

      Personal Digest Saturday: July 27 – August 2

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I just did my blogging and updated a bunch of recipes on Tumblr. (One of them got auto-blocked because the bot thought my food pictures were adult material? Wow. Had to request a review and get it unblocked.) I posted some images of my kitty cat commission and did some planning and practiced my ukulele.
      • Sunday I finally was able to go outside because it wasn't raining and cleaned off the table on the patio, and I also washed the table and chair covers. Later it rained. *sigh* I did laundry, made a Letters to an Asexual video, did karaoke, and learned some new songs on ukulele. I was super happy that a couple songs that used to seem impossible are possible for me now.
      • Monday I got slammed at work because my boss had to take an emergency trip out of the country but I had a bunch of work left undone with him so I had to complete it with incomplete information. I got it all done! But one of the deadlines I only made by 8 minutes. Yikes. I went home and learned another ukulele song and looked at Internet drama.
      • Tuesday I finally got to start working on this data entry project with a guy at the office. It was easier than I expected in most ways but there are a couple things I can't do without confirmation from the person we're working for so that's frustrating when I keep running into it. I drew my writing comic finally and looked at more Internet drama. I made a friend from talking to them about the Internet drama that pissed us off for similar reasons.
      • Wednesday I was up in the wee hours to read a comic book because I am a nerd. I read it and blogged about it for the Internet, and went back to bed. Then I went to work, did more data entry and made notes for my co-worker, took a break to go to the comic book shop, and did some databases for my boss who's still in India. Went home, met with Jeaux and we ate at Evos which was delicious. We shopped at the Greenwise store and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine at home. After he left I made a ukulele video.
      • Thursday was VERY slow at the office! Yikes! I had very little to do so it was mostly just maintenance of stuff I keep up with. After work I talked to Victor on the phone while drawing my comic. And I bought a bunch of stuff for cake-making and costumes on Amazon.
      • Friday was the usual at work: timesheets and upcoming project reports for my boss, and then I had another packet of data entry to do. Went smoothly except for the same issues we had with the first one. After work I finished drawing the comic, played some more ukulele songs, and waffled around over whether I want to impulsively go to a comic convention tomorrow.


      Interviews, Articles, Mentions:

      Diet progress:

      Check out my nutrition readout. I have another new record for low weight which is neat. But again it went up in the middle of the week and I have nothing to blame it on because I was actually very disciplined this week. But no extra exercise or anything so. Eh, is what it is. I am not too worried about it. But I need better nutrition--I'm not eating enough vegetables except for soy stuff.




      Reading progress:
      • Finished this week: Making good progress on my in-progress book, but not done yet. I gave a five-star review to the latest ongoing Steven Universe comic, which is #30.
      • Currently reading: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
        New singing performances:

        This week's karaoke song is "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Tori Amos acoustic version.




        Stuff Drawn:



        Webcomic So You Write Issue 98: "Constructive."












        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0742: "Good Noise."






        New videos:

        So first, Letters to an Asexual #70 is out. It's about when I was querying for my asexuality book and an agent passed on the project using some condescending language revealing assumptions about asexuality.




        Next, there were a couple videos I recorded of me practicing Season 4 Steven Universe songs on ukulele in unlisted videos. Here they are.

        "Still Not Giving Up":



        "What's the Use of Feeling (Blue)?":



        And then I did all the Steven Universe Season 4 songs in one video (which is public):

        Steven Universe Season 4 Ukulele Covers!



        And then I got started on Season 5 practicing a song (which is an unlisted video again):

        "Sadie Killer and the Suspects":



        New photos:

        I didn't take any photos this week, can you believe it?

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,245 for swankivy (lost 12), 682 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 976 for swankivy (lost 1), 1,337 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 293 friends (finally added new Steve as a friend!) and 206 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 63 likes for Negative One (no change), 161 likes for So You Write (2 new). Tumblr followers: 2,511 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 185 (2 new).

        Saturday, July 27, 2019

        Personal Digest Saturday: July 20 – July 26

        Life news this week:
        • Whew! Nice to have a Saturday that wasn't crammed full of stuff I had to do. I worked on my blogging but a storm blew through and my power went out and I lost all my progress, so I had to do it again when the power came back. Besides that, I decided to have a huge party when the Steven Universe movie comes out, and began some planning with Meghan. I ate an artichoke and drew a silly fan comic.
        • Sunday was a really FUN DAY! My friend Steve came to pick me up in the morning and we went to Hudson to watch the musical Shrek. (Steve is the music director so I got to come in and also eat for free at the dinner theater.) Afterwards, we hung out and watched cartoons and had some rice and talked. We spent like eleven hours together! Amazing to have so much time to spend with an important new person in my life.
        • Monday I hadn't received the new bus pass I ordered so I had to take a paid ride to work. It was somewhat busy at the office and we also had a staff meeting. After work I did more planning for my party and talked to Steve through text. I also did a little dress up playing because my commissioned plushie of Garnet's cat came in so I had to take fun pictures.
        • Tuesday still no bus pass, so Lyft. Work was low-activity so I studied RCI stuff and worked on a database. After work I talked to my sister on the phone and made some posts about trading cards.
        • Wednesday STILL no pass and we still had no data for RCI at work so I'm in a waiting mode. They finally fixed the air conditioner at the office! Now I get to freeze and everyone else gets to be comfortable. Haha. I wrote a storyboard for my comic and a blog entry, and read some drama on Reddit. I told Jeaux about it while we were hanging out after work. We picked up a big TV from Victor's house (he's moving, and I'm going to use it for my party). We ate at Joe's Diner and didn't watch anything because we talked about Internet drama all night.
        • Thursday I STILL DID NOT GET MY BUS PASS. In my experience it usually only takes a couple days so I started to suspect it was lost in the mail or sent to the wrong address. I went to work and had to focus pretty intensely on building up a report my boss needed quickly. So that was the whole day. After work Victor didn't call me because he forgot or something, so I did a little of my comic but mostly did other things.
        • Friday came and THE PASS STILL DIDN'T. So I had to take a paid ride to work every day this week. I finished the database I was making for my boss and I had to do some other marketing stuff. After work I spent the rest of the evening on my webcomic and listening to a couple interviews with the Steven Universe cast that came out after San Diego Comic Con.


        New reviews of my book:

        Diet progress:

        Check out my nutrition readout. Going down very very slowly, lol.




        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: I usually read on the bus and MY BUS PASS NEVER CAME SO I DIDN'T RIDE THE BUS so I didn't read at all this week.
        • Currently reading: The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.
          New singing performances:

          This week's karaoke song is "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper.




          Stuff Drawn:

          Here's a very silly comic called "Necks for Fusions" that doesn't make sense unless you watch the show, but it's fun.







          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0741: "Play it Safe."






          New videos:

          None!

          New photos:


          My friend Steve at work

          Pics of my new Cat Steven Plushie and me in cosplay!



          Autograph card collection, now with Estelle's autograph
          Bag collection, now including swag bag from SDCC 2019



          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,257 for swankivy (1 new), 681 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 977 for swankivy (2 new), 1,337 for JulieSondra (lost 3). Facebook: 292 friends (no change) and 206 followers (no change) for swankivy, 651 likes for JulieSondra (2 new), 63 likes for Negative One (no change), 159 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,512 (lost 4). Instagram followers: 183 (1 new).