Saturday, October 13, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: October 6 – October 12

Life news this week:
  • Saturday involved getting my blogging done early and working on my asexuality presentation which I will be giving soon in Massachusetts. Then I organized my comic book inventory and made some posts about variants I'm missing, and got into working on shaping my wig so I can dress up as Garnet for Halloween!
  • Sunday I sat at my table and answered mail, bought some more comics, did my karaoke and laundry, and finished my Garnet wig. I got a message from one of the people who draws Steven Universe official comics, offering to help me get missing variants because of that post I made. Wow!
  • Monday was busy with utility coordination and letters of response. I also got some business squared away with the comic artist who's helping me get variants--turns out I'll be getting them for really cheap (considering what they're worth) too. The artist said to consider it a thank you for all the nice reviews over the years. How cool is that. After work Jeaux picked me up to help him at his house, and then we watched a cartoon special and ate pizza. (Cartoon Network had a crossover event and Steven Universe was involved, so I got to watch my favorite character interact with other cartoons. Fun!)
  • Tuesday I had to take the day off to go with my mom to the Social Security office. She has a lot of trouble staying organized so I was there to help her bring the documents and to help her understand whatever they said. It went really smoothly, considering it was government stuff. Then she trimmed my hair for me so I'd look nice for the trip, and she helped me figure out how to hang my antique mirrors. We didn't get them hung because it's hard, but I learned enough to do it myself. After she left I took a little nap and then Arthur came over with Thai food. We watched cartoons (Episode 129, "Stuck Together," through episode 134, "Gemcation"). I also got my new Steven Universe coloring book and colored the first page.
  • Wednesday I came back to work and found out we won a big job! A $65 million job! (Okay we're a subconsultant so that's not all our money, but woweee!) We had apple turnovers to celebrate. I fielded requests to show pictures from the coloring book and dealt with other work stuff until Jeaux picked me up and took me to the comics shop, then we went to eat at Applebee's and shopped at Publix. I had to spend a lot of money because I am throwing a big party next week. Woo! We came back to my place and watched our TV shows. I also bought some new plants!
  • Thursday I organized stuff at work and also got my fliers and whatnot together for my presentation. Also bid on one of the very few comics I don't own on eBay--I hope I get it. I got some drawings done at home but Victor didn't want to talk so I did it without talking to him. I also made a Happy Breakfast--two eggs for eyes, a strawberry nose, and fake bacon for a mouth. I'm silly.
  • Friday I worked and had a pretty good day. Very tired though. I spent some time on a letter of response and some supporting documents. After work I finished my webcomic and cleaned up the house a little.
New reviews of my book:



Articles, Interviews, Mentions:



Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: I haven't finished the book I was reading, but I did write a five-star review for the Steven Universe coloring book, of course.
  • Currently readingThe Basic Eight by Daniel Handler.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva.



    Stuff Drawn:



    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0700: "Holding Hands."






    New videos:

    None.

    New photos:


    My wig for the Garnet Halloween costume is coming along well. B)
    New plants! Well the mint I already had. Others are new!
    Happy Breakfast! Inspired by "Keystone Motel."


    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,249 for swankivy (lost 2), 679 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 969 for swankivy (no change), 1,340 for JulieSondra (5 new). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 205 followers (2 new) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 58 likes for Negative One (no change), 145 likes for So You Write (2 new). Tumblr followers: 2,510 (no change). Instagram followers: 155 (no change).

    Thursday, October 11, 2018

    Dynamics of assault

    This post is about assault and harassment that many women are talking about these days, but also covers gender stuff I want to talk about too. Please read with caution if you are sensitive to this topic.

    A lot of the discussion surrounding sexual assault is centered on "believe women" and "men, don't be that guy, and support women." This is not the time to start asking why men's problems aren't given equal time on this stage. But I would like to remind you that part of the reason things are so hard for women in this environment is that it IS set up like this issue is exclusively women vs. men here. Women aren't believed when they say they're sexually assaulted, and women aren't believed when they tell potential interested partners that they do not want to do a thing, and women are targeted so frequently partly because there IS this gender dynamic that has taught many men that women can't be trusted to say what they want, so it's okay to ignore what they say before, during, and after. In a society run by these kind of guys, it's a feature, not a bug.

    Some of the people who relate to being the victim here are NOT WOMEN. They may be nonbinary people, or trans men who were assaulted when others assumed they were women, or men of any orientation. If they were attacked and treated the way they were because they were assumed to be women, they also likely recognize these misogynistic dynamics as forces in their personal lives, but even though the world has treated them like women in some ways, some of them feel really uncomfortable with being casually referred to as women every time assault survivors are discussed. Some of this "we" are not women, and some of them are even men.

    Right now we ARE talking about the overall dynamics that privilege men and disprivilege women with regard to how powerful men consistently get away with sexual assault and frequently act like they have no flippin' idea how they're supposed to romance someone without assaulting them. This male/female dynamic is the focus of the major conversation right now, but that doesn't mean people who are not women don't have something in common with us. I mostly appreciate that the discussion is the way it is because I assure you it is no accident that women's expected subservience is being exploited, but just be aware that "sexual assault survivors" and "women" are not always the same group.

    Half my life ago a gross dude ignored that I said no to a kiss while stuck in a car with him, and he responded by lunging over and licking my face like a dog until I opened the door and jumped out. It's mild as far as sexual assaults go, but nearly textbook in what happened next. I got out of the car immediately, angrily, and he yelled after me that he was "just trying to help" me because he thought being asexual was a disorder with a cure, and that he "had to" lick my cheek because I wouldn't let him kiss me the right way. This guy then proceeded to send me messages for the next couple of months asking me to watch porn with him, complaining that I didn't fuck him (and stating that he'd thought we'd been about to fuck that night), explaining to me condescendingly that I was in denial about my attraction to him, and claiming that since he was Latino his upbringing forced him to be touchy feely with girls and I would just have to accept it. He told me he was sure he was the only intellectual man I'd ever had express interest in me and could hope to satisfy me, and he told me I exuded a "vibe" that made it clear I was into him no matter what lies I told. This is a person I did not touch until he put his tongue on my face the day I met him, and whom I had told about my orientation over our first meal so he wouldn't be confused. He told me he had studied psychology *in high school* and therefore knew better than me what my body language was really saying. I had to block him to get away from his messages.




    Years later when I mentioned this incident in a longer interview for a published article about asexuality, a man in the comments went after me with a vengeance. Told me I'd made up the assault for attention. Told me I'm trying to stop everyone from kissing each other now and claiming a simple kiss is sexual assault. Told me it didn't make sense that I didn't "just lean away" if I didn't want him to lick me.  Tried to drum up sympathy for the poor guy whose kiss was rejected and asked how we would feel if our affection was labeled "assault" when offered innocently. Claimed that "everyone" has assaulted someone if this is the standard now. Refused to acknowledge that I explicitly said "no" and the man did it anyway; claimed he was probably shy or awkward and couldn't be expected to really understand. Ended the conversation by saying I was a drama queen who needed to get over herself.

    My situation was incredibly mild, but even when the story made it clear I had verbally declined to kiss and wasn't complicated by either party's intoxication, I was probably inventing it for clicks, and also, him ignoring someone's clearly stated wishes isn't assault or isn't sexual or isn't his fault at all. This is EVERY TIME we talk about it. And all the people who don't want to believe us because it would mean accepting we're living in a rape culture are seeing that HuffPost comment and saying "yeah, oh, yeah, she's probably doing it for attention, why didn't she report it, what's his name? is she sure she didn't want it? no matter what she said, it can't have been clear enough. if we accept that violating her wishes is a crime, WE'RE ALL GUILTY, and we'd rather insist they're all liars than accept that we all might be criminals."

    They pretend that it's too complicated to figure out what we might call assault, but that's mostly because what we want has NEVER mattered to them. If you've been taught all your life that our bodies are there for your use, you'll see consent as a default and refusal as US DENYING YOU SOMETHING THAT IS YOURS. Our bodies are ours and our express permission is needed before you can use them how you want. Don't pretend that's too hard for you when you're also the ones claiming women aren't as logical as men.

    But I guess it's a lot easier to pretend you don't get it when your dude buddies can control what is a crime and have the power to rearrange laws to support your right to assault us.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Out of Place

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What situation or place would you feel most out of place in?

    Any situation where I can't speak the language.

    People speaking a language I don't understand is completely fine with me--it doesn't bother me if I'm with people who are bilingual (or multilingual) and I don't know what they're talking about in my presence to other people who understand. But if they don't understand English and I can't speak their language, I feel out of place because even if I want to, I don't have a verbal way of telling people what I need or who I am.

    I don't have much experience with this because I haven't traveled much, but the best example I can offer is when I went to Japan. Because there, the alphabet isn't the same as the one I know and I can't even look up what a sign says since I don't know how to use their characters. If you can't read and can't ask really basic questions (or understand the answers), you can get into real trouble. And even aside from the practical considerations like not being able to ask what's in your food or not being able to understand when someone tells you your total at the cash register, you can feel pretty isolated in an unfamiliar place if you also can't use language to help you understand. 




    I went to Japan with my mother, who speaks even less Japanese than I do (I know, like, a teeny bit?), but we were visiting my sister who was competent in the language. Having her there was good because she could interpret and help, but she wasn't always there and it wasn't always important to translate so in some situations she was part of a conversation when we could not be. That's just how it is if you haven't learned the language in a place you're traveling to. My mom tried to go to a convenience store alone while my sister and I were doing something else, and she got lost and found she couldn't ask for help. She didn't even know the address of my sister's apartment and couldn't read street signs, so even if she'd found someone who could speak with her, she wouldn't have been able to tell them where she needed to go. She literally just wandered the streets until we accidentally found her. (We did not have cell phones.)

    If you go somewhere where everyone else can communicate but you can't make yourself understood at all, that's where I think I feel most out of place. In most other situations, I can find a way to feel comfortable with people who are different from me, though I also feel REALLY out of place around outspoken bigots obviously. (I have a friend whose family is of that description and I was subjected to some very ignorant, horrible commentary at the friend's family dinner once. It's scary, and in a way worse than not knowing what people are saying at all, but that's another story; knowing what you're dealing with and hating it versus having no tools to find out is hard to compare.)

    Saturday, October 6, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday: September 29 – October 5

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I spent the day blogging, chatting with my mom on the phone a little, and talking to a Tumblr friend about cartoons for a long time when I was supposed to be doing other stuff. I also attempted to make a new video for my channel but I accidentally chose a letter I'd already used in a previous video! So I couldn't use the recording!
    • Sunday was my Thai Temple adventure. I got up early and did a new video that wasn't a repeat, and set it to process while I was out. At Thai Temple I saw my friends Victor and Jeaux, and met Victor's new friends Kristin and John. We had some good food and I ended up liking Thai tea. After the Temple, Victor and I went to the mall and I bought some toys and stuff. Also got shoes but they had to be mailed to my house because they were the wrong size. At home after the outing, I cleaned off my outside table like usual but didn't spend time sitting out there, and then I did my Sunday stuff--karaoke, laundry, and finishing the video. I also got to unwrap a bunch of new comic books that had been sent in the mail!
    • Monday I worked on assignments for three districts: a transcript for District 3, an expanded letter for District 4, and a regular letter for District 5. Lots of work, very busy! After work I organized my comics collection and worked on my wig for my costume. And I paid my bills.
    • Tuesday we had to finish up a submission packet for a shortlisted project and then after that the day was pretty chill. My friend Arthur picked me up and we ate our Thai food while watching cartoons. He also had to fill out a job application which took a while.
    • Wednesday I got up early to review a new comic book, and then went to work. The day was busy and then after work Jeaux picked me up, so we ate at an Ale House and went to Target for shopping, and at my house we watched the Wrecked season finale, a couple episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and listened to Night Vale. I didn't draw anything because I was working on sculpting my wig. :)
    • Thursday was a weird disappearing day. It seems like nothing much happened at work except my boss was out of town at an interview, and after work I talked to Victor on the phone while drawing comics and working on my wig. I also got a really tiresome message from someone who wanted to talk about asexuality and wants me to examine whether I'm afraid of intimacy. Ho hum. Just . . . is it too much to ask to just leave people be?
    • Friday I wore my new shoes to work and got blisters. Boo. I spent the day on some utility stuff and helping edit a report. Then after work I finished my comic and wrote a retrospective about a rarely seen cartoon character, which ended up getting featured on the front page of Amino (which hasn't happened for a while). 
    Articles, Interviews, Mentions:




    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Promise to Try" by Madonna.



      Stuff Drawn:



      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0699: "The Mad Thing."






      New videos:

      Letters to an Asexual #62 is out and it's called "Troll Variety Pack."



      New photos:


      Thai Temple with my friends. Victor always makes a face.
      My food at the Temple
      Us watching catfish at the Temple.
      Me in the office having a donut with my coffee


      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,251 for swankivy (lost 2), 678 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 969 for swankivy (no change), 1,335 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 295 friends (1 new, got a new acquaintance named Rylan) and 203 followers (lost 3) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 58 likes for Negative One (no change), 143 likes for So You Write (3 new). Tumblr followers: 2,510 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 155 (no change).

      Wednesday, October 3, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: Wedding Ring

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: If you're married and wear a ring, what is your wedding ring and/or engagement ring like? For unmarried/un-engaged folks, what kind of wedding and/or engagement ring would you like to have?

      Nah, I'm not married and don't wear rings.

      I don't really mind the idea for others, but I don't think I like it for me. I'm not really into wearing a specific piece of jewelry every day, though there were times in my life when certain jewelry pieces were almost always worn so I guess if I had a reason in the future to change my current preferences, they could always change again. I don't really like rings much. 

      I don't plan to get married or engaged so I don't really have a reason to answer this question. I think a lot of people who are unmarried still have thoughts about what they'd want their wedding or other related aspects of it to be like, and I have to say I do not. I never fantasized about myself in a white dress (not even when I was a kid, though I did just kinda assume when you grew up you got married so I figured it would definitely happen to me). I never thought hey, when I get married, I want my ring to look like this.

      So I have no answer to this question at all.

      Weirdly, some people have said I should wear a wedding ring so I can communicate the same "taken" image that makes potentially interested parties leave people alone, but no thank you. There is also a somewhat well-known (within the community) asexual practice of wearing a black ring as a symbol of asexuality, but I don't do that.

      Tuesday, October 2, 2018

      I got someone banned from OKCupid

      OKCupid is sometimes really wild, man.

      I'm on the site to make friends. I swear it actually makes sense. Most people (rightly) think of OKCupid as a place where you'd search for dating options, but the fact is the site's roots extend back to more general social connections, and they maintain opportunities for people to select "new friends" as one of the relationship categories they're searching for.

      If you're curious, before they became the OKCupid we know now, the company used to support a bunch of personality quizzes where you could share and compare your results with your friends if you made an account. I made an account during that time, and kept it even when the site evolved into a romantic match site because it actually did use a pretty sophisticated matching algorithm to help you find similar people.

      Anyway, I use it for friendships like I always have and it's still connecting me with new people I end up liking. Several people in my close social circle are folks I would not have known without OKCupid. But obviously, my being there for friendships and making it 100% clear that I am only there for friendships does not make a difference when certain people decide the site is only for what they're looking for--people who treat everyone they meet as if they have no business being there if they're not there to date and mate.

      Anyway, this will become relevant later.

      A man sent me a one-line message--a thing I discourage explicitly in my profile, by the way--but his opener asked "didn't you used to be on SLS?"

      Now, this sounds terrible, but since I had no idea what SLS was, I immediately suspected it was probably something sexual.

      And I don't assume this because I just figure all men are trash (although on OKCupid, the odds are in favor of them being trash). I assume this because men do backflips to say something that will make women talk to them on the site. Truthfully, even if you send a pretty nice message, if you're a guy you won't likely get a response. I recognize that that sucks. But I have no sympathy for those who employ underhanded techniques to get past that issue--notably, some of them ask provocative questions or insult women, hoping it will be shocking enough that they'll be able to at least start a dialogue.

      And one of the provocative questions some dudes seem to think is clever is to pretend they've mistaken me for a porn actress.

      I'm not kidding; I occasionally get messages from men who ask me "You look really familiar, were you in [movie]?" And said movie is porn.

      They apparently believe women will find it flattering if you pretend they thought you were a porn star.

      I don't know.

      So you'll see why receiving a message from a man I've never spoken to before asking me if he recognizes me from something *I* don't recognize is immediately questionable for me.

      But this guy had a surprisingly high match percentage with me, and I *am* recognizable from some other stuff, so without more information I don't know whether this guy legitimately recognized me from something or if it's a line.

      One way to find out: I answered him. I said I did not know what SLS was so probably not.

      To his credit, he was polite in his response; he apologized for the mistake and wished me a good weekend.

      I still wanted to know what SLS was, and Googling gave me many innocent and not-so-innocent results, so I asked. He just answered with the URL of his specific SLS, and it turned out--surprise--to be an adult hookups site for sexually adventurous people.

      So here's my problem. Yes, maybe you just misremembered or mistook me for someone else, but all things considered, that's a pretty personal question. Asking me if I socialize on a sexually charged website is not the same kind of thing as, like, if he'd asked if he recognized me from a school we might've both gone to. And instead of just sending a stranger a message asking what is, in practical terms, a sexual question, you should LOOK AT THEIR PROFILE.

      INSTEAD OF JUST THEIR *PICTURE*.

      LOOK AT THE PROFILE, IT IS THERE TO HELP YOU.

      There is no way in the world anyone would mistake me for a sexually adventurous woman if they even took a passing glance at my profile. I'm listed as asexual, lead with a statement about my lack of interest in relationships other than friendships, and elaborate further later in the profile. Don't just ask me stuff like that. Read a profile.

      So I basically told him that. I told him he should read profiles; I told him that reading mine would have answered his question; I told him his opener made me wonder if his question was going to be about porn because dudes keep doing that to me; and I told him I'm sick of people talking to me like my picture is the only thing in my profile when it's so easy to be respectful by leaving me out of conversations I clearly don't want to have.

      No, it was not a nice e-mail. I wasn't trying to make him feel good and did not feel obligated to acknowledge his relative politeness. He may not have harassed me or pressured me to talk about sex with him, but that doesn't mean it wasn't an impertinent question to ask, and that doesn't mean he should feel free to treat women like he can say anything he wants to them if he likes their face.

      Surprise, surprise: He pelted me with six insulting messages in response and then blocked me.

      The insulting messages opened by telling me I am a real bitch and need to remember that, and then he blamed me for continuing to ask about SLS even though it was just a mistake, as if I had been leading this conversation somewhere just so I could scold him. He explained that he, unlike others, is a GOOD guy who doesn't deserve the assumptions I described, but he also needed me to know he's seen me on this site for YEARS AND YEARS and maybe I should recognize how pathetic I am for that. Furthermore, he explains, I have something deeply wrong with me and need to see a professional to get fixed. He closed by saying "I feel sorry for you. Peace!"

      Interesting how he's seen me around OKCupid for many years and that makes me pathetic, but doesn't apply to him.

      That's my favorite part.

      People LOVE to shove in my face that my presence on the site proves I'm lonely, sad, desperate, etc., often expressed in sentiments such as EVER WONDER WHY YOU'RE STILL SINGLE BITCH? THIS IS WHY! But like . . . you still didn't read my profile, man. The thing I'm telling you you should do out of basic respect? You're still not doing it. I'm here for friendships. I'm going to keep being available for more friendships. Belittling people for failing in their love life or being unhappy with their situation is a terrible thing to do, and it proves you're a vindictive, petty person, but in my case it's not even appropriate. Shaming me for being on OKCupid "for years" as if it makes my loserhood self-evident is a nasty thing to do--and ultimately it's hilarious to me that they're trying SO HARD to burn me and they're not even using something I'm insecure or unhappy about. They're just so sure I must be that they immediately grab it for ammunition. That really sounds like a good guy, huh? Wow, I really shouldn't have assumed he was a jerk! The lack of imagination on these people is so disappointing.

      Since he had blocked me, I couldn't report him to the support staff directly, so I just sent them screenshots of our entire conversation. I know from other times I've dealt with creeps that they don't just believe screenshots; they have access to look and see if these messages were actually sent. (I found that out once because a man sent me an "erotic" fantasy directed at me in which he did sexual things to me and then murdered me. When I reported it, the person handling the report told me the person had sent the same script to a whole bunch of women, in case it made me feel better that it was not personal for me. She could see his sent messages.)

      The OKCupid rep wrote me back to say they'd banned the guy and blocked his IP addresses from making new accounts.

      Well, good. Maybe he can just do his socializing on SLS from now on. At least he will not mistake the women he's been ogling "for years" as having been present on some other site. I'm sure I'm not alone.




      Saturday, September 29, 2018

      Personal Digest Saturday: September 22 – September 28

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I did my blog stuff and my comic planning, then went to Drink and Draw for the night. It was a great night and I got to see my friends and drew my little butt off. I managed to get a So You Write comic and two pieces of fanart done.
      • Sunday I was supposed to go to Thai Temple but someone got sick so we didn't go. I did my morning sit-down outside, answered messages, and spent a bunch of money on comic books. (Don't ask how much, I'll cry.) Sang a karaoke song and did my laundry and made my Halloween Party invitation.
      • Monday I had no letters to send out for once, but I had transcriptions to do and they do take a long time. And one of the comics I bought on eBay was actually no longer available so I had to get a refund, waaah. My co-worker took me home and sometime during the day a company came and cleaned all the branches off my roof! Awesome! I also posted some cute stuff about my upcoming comic and argued with a jerk on Facebook. Oh, and I agreed to some terms on an upcoming asexuality-related talk I'm going to do in Massachusetts!
      • Tuesday I did a transcript all day except for utility coordination in between, and afterwards I met my friend Arthur and we got Thai food and watched cartoons at my house. We binged from episode 114 ("Steven's Dream") to episode 121 ("Rocknaldo"). Good times! After he left I caught up with a representative from the college where I'm speaking in October and we settled on the terms and the content of my talk. Then I talked to Jeaux who was a little ranty about stuff at work, and I ranted about stuff too. Then I went to sleep.
      • Wednesday Jeaux and I were going to take my stereo to the stereo doctor so I took a Lyft and brought the stereo to work. I had a good day and got EVERYTHING done. We ate at Which Wich after dropping the stereo off. And after shopping at Target, we went to my place to watch Wrecked, but Hulu was broken so we didn't get to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
      • Thursday I went to work late on purpose because I had an event that night. I did some housekeeping and picked up a package at the post office, and the clerk who helped me recognized my shirt and wallet as Steven Universe merchandise even though they do not have the logo or Steven on them. (The shirt I was wearing had his dad.) The clerk asked if my package was more Universe stuff, which it was. Haha. At work I made a staffing chart and went to the Transportation Supersession which was about Smart Cities. I got to talk to other consultants and got a really, really yummy meal. Then I got a ride home and collapsed without being able to draw any comics. :(
      • Friday I had more work on staffing charts and interview transcriptions, plus a LOT of housekeeping. Then I took the bus home and burned through the comic drawings, plus managed to get my So You Write comic up too. Rough night though, very tired.

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Angels" by Within Temptation.



        Stuff Drawn:


        Sadie's face


        Garnet and the Universe :D





        Webcomic So You Write Issue 88: "Ready."











        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0698: "In This Moment."






        New videos:

        None.

        New photos:
        Modeling my new shades, trying to channel Garnet
        Erin at Drink and Draw, answering the age-old question
        of "what would the Lorax look like if he was a dickbutt"
        New shades, closeup
        Transportation Supersession with the guys from the office

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,253 for swankivy (no change), 676 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 969 for swankivy (3 new), 1,337 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 294 friends (no change) and 206 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 58 likes for Negative One (no change), 140 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,512 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 155 (no change).

        Wednesday, September 26, 2018

        Wednesday Factoid: Bed

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What kind of bed do you sleep in? What kind of bed do you WISH you slept in?

        The bed in "my" bedroom (in quotes because, well, all the bedrooms in my house are mine!) is a single bed with no headboard and lots of pillows and animals on it.




        I also have a queen bed in my guestroom. It also has no headboard and also has a decent number of pillows and animals on it.


        If I feel like I want more room for sleeping or just want a change of scene, every once in a while I do sleep in the guestroom, though I don't like to do that because I prefer to be able to offer my guests fresh bedding that hasn't been slept on so I don't want to mess up the sheets on that one if I already have a place to sleep.

        I guess when it comes to a fantasy bed, like if I were super rich and would be expected to be a little indulgent with my bedroom, I might enjoy having one of those cool round beds, and I've always liked the aesthetics of those bed curtains on canopy beds and stuff. I do also kinda think it would be classier if I had a headboard, but I've never really cared about that.

        I had a waterbed when I was in high school and I definitely wouldn't do that again. If you spend a lot of time in bed reading or doing leisure activities, waterbeds aren't very comfortable. 

        The novelty beds are also kinda fun. I love the ones in fun shapes. Maybe I would like to have a bed that looks like a donut.



        Tuesday, September 25, 2018

        Forgiveness?

        In one of the cartoon discussion groups I'm in, there's a person I keep my eye on to avoid contact. I don't want to talk to her. We're interested in a lot of the same things, but I take care to avoid replying directly to her and I do not engage.

        I do this because I had a bad experience with her and she committed one of the sins I can't handle. Intellectual dishonesty.

        We disagreed about a fact. A fact that was easy to verify. She said a character said a certain line and provided specific information about her age. I said that character did not say that line and the age of the character has never been provided. I was understandably confused that we were arguing about a fact--there is literally only one answer. Did the character say the line you say you remember, or didn't she? Well, go watch the episode or read a transcript. Easy to find out who's right.

        She refused to look at the transcript and refused to go watch the video. She said she "remembered it differently," and said we should just agree to disagree. After which she chose to carry on discussing the subject as if she did in fact know the character's age.

        (This person's an adult--I'm not arguing with a kid. Just thought I'd make that clear.)

        This kind of nonsense makes me see red. I'm happy to disagree with someone on interpretation of facts, or opinions, or theories. I'm not okay with wasting my time talking to someone who's going to argue with me about whether something happened, when it's easy to check whether it did.

        This person also tried to cast doubt on the veracity of several other claims I made in the conversation: most notably, when I was quoting from a book that was written by the cartoon's writers, she said "well, you say that, but since I've never seen the book myself, there's no way for me to know if it says what you say it does." I responded with photos of the pages. And she responded with pearl-clutching over how my attitude is so nasty and I'm being so rude to her.

        I can't have a conversation with people who go out of their way to avoid facts.

        Intellectual dishonesty. If you repeatedly claim that you only accept ~FACTS~ but deliberately avoid looking at sources, throw your hands up, and say it's impossible to know something and we might as well proceed as if your opinion is as good as my fact . . . I have nothing to say to you. Especially since if I back you into a corner to make you admit you're refusing valid proof, you'll derail into how mean I'm being. (And of course, I'm "mean" if I hold you to standards while not apologizing, or refusing to pretend my facts are opinions so they sound less threatening.)

        When you arbitrarily accept only "facts" that support your own position, and slap anyone who tries to reason with you with the tone argument, you are not a worthy conversation partner. And I will avoid you.

        I bring this up because after many months of avoiding this person, she went after me again yesterday. We were both talking in the same thread, and though we weren't directly arguing with each other, she kept telling different people in the thread this same misconception she has and insisting it's factual. I decided to talk around her, replying to the original thread-starter to present my position without directly engaging her, but she then just started replying to me like she's allowed to talk to me or something.

        I responded once with an uncommented link because I didn't want to talk to her but I was really having a hard time letting it go, if I'm honest--she was doing her whole "well maybe X, but that's never been confirmed, guess there's no way to know ~oh well~" nonsense, so I linked to the confirmation she said didn't exist. Then she started talking back to that too, at one point interpreting the confirmation as THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IT SAID and concluding, again "so there's still no way to know!"

        I corrected her, and then I told her I had been trying to avoid talking to her, and did not want to engage further.

        Cue excuses ("I'm not familiar with Tumblr, so I somehow interpreted a black and white sentence as the opposite of what it said, conveniently, since that would support my opinion"), plus four paragraphs of "well my goodness, I would have thought we could talk like adults, just because we once had a coarse conversation doesn't mean I think you're a bad person, I had thought you would extend me the same courtesy, blahblahblah."

        No baby. It's not about forgiveness.

        I am angry about this, obviously. I have feelings about it. But my feelings aren't what matter here. My problem is that talking to this person WASTES MY TIME AND ENERGY, and she has not changed at all over the time I haven't been speaking to her.

        I'm not worried about forgiving someone's sins or getting over bitterness I'm harboring. What I'm worried about is getting sucked into conversations where I can't share a known fact without being asked to pony up proof, and then having my proof arbitrarily rejected if she doesn't feel like looking at it or considering it. She's one of those people who pretends to like documented facts and intricate arguments--until someone uses one against a pet theory of hers. Then all of a sudden the sources she'd otherwise trust aren't good enough, or there's still room for interpretation because she says so. Or if I'm quoting the cartoon show itself--a primary source whose content can't be dismissed--she could always just flat-out avoid LOOKING AT IT so she doesn't have to admit I've shown her she's wrong to any reasonable person's satisfaction. And instead of admitting she's wrong and going on to have a real discussion about it, we're now going to talk about how I was mean to tell her she should have the integrity to check her own facts.

        So I told her so.

        I told her forgiveness isn't the point. Intellectual honesty is the point. What in the world am I supposed to get out of a conversation with someone who doesn't accept the results of fact-checks if they prove she's wrong?

        It sounds really petty to keep saying it this way, neener-neener, I'm right and you're wrong, but . . . if we're trying to puzzle out conclusions from incomplete information and the conversation is already ABOUT being a gigantic nerd, like, really? I disprove your "fact" and you just walk around what I said even though it invalidates your argument? You think you can pull a "fact" out of your pocket and talk to me like it's a given, even though there's an easy way to check if your memory has failed you and YOU REFUSE TO DO IT? I just don't know why she's not EMBARRASSED that she did that, and that I know she did that. She has yet to even acknowledge that it happened. Any time I express irritation or outrage that she's DELIBERATELY NOT LOOKING AT FACTUAL INFORMATION so she can keep repeating false stuff, while saying she'd rather "agree to disagree" on a matter of FACT, the conversation flips into shaming me for my attitude. What's funny is I'm pretty sure she has no idea she's doing it. She's got some kind of justification machine going in her head as to why she can't be bothered to look up facts but expects everyone else she's talking to to present them to her. (But she can still ignore them if she wants.) I'm so confused how someone who must know she's doing this can possibly feel any bafflement that someone doesn't want to talk to her, unless she literally can't tell she's doing it.

        Anyway, it feels good to have a nice rant about this sort of thing--THAT'S something I'm happy to "waste" time on since it cleanses my emotional palate at least--and I hope in the future she does not try to engage with me. As a closing, can I just say how frigging passive-aggressive and revolting it is when people like this "apologize" (you know, the "I'm sorry you're upset" variety--"I'm sorry that you can't just move forward peacefully without holding a grudge," that kind of thing), and then tell you to have a good day, with a heart emoji. When I know how insincere you are about every other supposedly authentic conversation you're looking to have, I can't help but see everything else you do as snotty and false.

        (Another person in the same thread left the conversation and turned off his notifications because of her snotty arguing too. She gave him the same kind of "apology.")

        Just be honest, people, and maybe you won't have to deal with people refusing to talk to you. But I'm sure it's somebody else's fault in her head. So tiresome.

        Saturday, September 22, 2018

        Personal Digest Saturday: September 15 – September 21

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday Meggie was at my house still! We hung out and ate breakfast, went to a bakery and grocery shopping, and really did almost nothing else all day except chatting and watching a couple short videos. It was really nice to catch up with her with very few interruptions, and also I sewed a pillow and drew a picture.
        • Sunday Meggie and I had breakfast together and had a little more time to hang out, but she left pretty early. I still did my coffee outside thing. After she left I did chores, finished my drawing, and captioned some images on my doodles website (which I'm still trying to finish and transition to soon).
        • Monday was a bit intense at work. Lots of utility stuff AND letters to send in. I made a mayo sandwich in the evening because I saw it on cartoons, and then after I ate it, I went to sleep.
        • Tuesday was more letters, more utility stuff, and more business development at work. I got a ride home and then got to see my sister Lindsay. She took me over my mom's house and we ate lasagna. It was great hanging out with them, and I got to give my mom her late birthday presents.
        • Wednesday I wrapped up some utility letters with my co-worker, and also helped my mom fill out some paperwork for pension stuff?? Then went comic book shopping with Jeaux and we also did grocery shopping and watched our shows. I went to sleep shortly after he left. Been sleeping early a lot lately.
        • Thursday I went to work late (planned) because my water treatment guys were visiting. They taught me how to do refills on the thingie that chlorinates the water. Then I went to work and did my usual stuff, then walked to the pool store to buy a supply of chlorine. I got what I needed but then the bus I needed to go home never came--the app that tracks them told me it was on time, on its way, and then that it had passed, even though I was right there and it never passed me. Must've been a ghost bus! But then it started raining so I took Lyft home. Talked to Victor and drew some fan art.
        • Friday I had to do a transcript at work, so I spent most of the day doing that. Also some minor utility stuff and organization stuff. Then! Went home and had to draw a bunch of comic stuff because I didn't get much done earlier in the week. After I was done I went right to sleep.
        New reviews of my book:


        • Anna-Marie gave it a four-star review on Goodreads, calling it a vital read. 
        • John Paul Sassone gave it a five-star review on Amazon, saying it sheds light on how asexual people see themselves.

        Reading progress:
          New singing performances:

          This week's song was "Candle on the Water" from Pete's Dragon.



          Stuff Drawn:


          Spooning spouses: Sapphire & Ruby
          Peridot's New Look: Click to read the short comic





          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0697: "Bully."






          New videos:

          None.

          New photos:

          None of interest.

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,253 for swankivy (2 new), 675 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 966 for swankivy (no change), 1,338 for JulieSondra (5 new). Facebook: 294 friends (no change) and 205 followers (2 new) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 58 likes for Negative One (no change), 140 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,513 (lost 3). Instagram followers: 155 (1 new).

          Thursday, September 20, 2018

          Allegiance

          I'm kinda sad that the pride some people feel in being American leads to enforcing compulsory nationalistic displays amidst threats and shaming for anyone who doesn't think it's appropriate or doesn't want to do so in certain circumstances. I'm kinda sad that people who have never left the US and don't have any international friends don't realize how creepy some of our customs are.

          I saw a thread recently online where people were horrified that children in American public schools are compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. You can assure them that it's actually illegal for kids to be REQUIRED to say it all you want, but in practice, most kids feel like they ABSOLUTELY MUST SAY IT or they will at best be singled out, at worst be interrogated and punished regarding why they aren't patriotic enough.

          Think about that. If you're forced to ritualistically chant an oath of allegiance before you even know what your country stands for, how in the world can it be sincere or meaningful?

          And the Pledge isn't just a simple celebration of appreciation for America, any more than reciting a religious blessing has nothing to do with God. We open by pledging ALLEGIANCE. It's not legally binding, and it's not even understood by many who recite it, but being asked to display your LOYALTY to your country in a public place where abstaining quietly would be considered a political statement that could mark you for ridicule or other negative attention, well, that certainly encourages you to be a good little soldier making daily promises before you know who you promise yourself to, doesn't it?

          Doesn't that sound like the kind of thing a dangerous government would want?

          Imagine if it was a different country that started its days by standing, looking at the flag, and chanting a statement of loyalty--led by an educator, consisting of language that makes statements about the nature of the country and declares alignment with its values--regardless of whether they, their families, or their people have been properly served by said country.

          If you saw another country do it, with a different flag, in a different language, you'd probably think it sounded like brainwashing. I'm pretty sure that if you excuse our country's use of it just because, well, it's us and it's totally not creepy, then I think you might want to do some thinking about what brainwashing is.

          Here's the thing. Let's say you refuse to pledge allegiance--you don't speak against it, or make any statements criticizing it, but you just fail to display the expected chanting of loyalty. Or say you refuse to participate in affirmation of your country's greatness because you know its laws don't actually protect you, or your family is currently being harassed and treated like strangers in your own land, or you're punished for exercising the rights you're supposed to have as an American, or your body is being controlled in a way that limits your freedom to pursue your goals equally to other citizens. Say you've learned the promises your country made to you are not being kept, and you've discovered you do NOT, after all, have inalienable rights that have been granted to others whose traits appear to make them more "real," more American, more worthy of considering family. Say you no longer want to sing your country's praises because those promises sound like insults now that they've been broken so many times.

          Say you want to express that you do not, in fact, choose to stand to that country's honor because its systems have dealt out only DISHONOR. Say you want to express that you do not, in fact, consider yourself allegiant to this country's values because you see daily examples of how they are honored unequally. Say you want to kneel during a football game because you and yours are NOT represented by these creeds no matter how many ignorant people insist your complaints based on lived experience are groundless.

          Well, say all of that is how you feel. What are you expressing with that?

          You're saying the authorities have lied to you all along, and you're aware of it, and want more people to be aware of it so it can change.

          The reaction: you encounter people whose eyes go wild and whose throats fill with shrieks about the DISRESPECT and INSULT inherent in not patriotically waving a flag and shutting up. How DARE you. How DARE you express that anything at all is wrong with the system, and how DARE you use your guaranteed freedoms of speech and protest to express that! Surely the answer is to badger and shame until that person shuts up and toes the line. Surely it's better to make a country where nobody feels safe criticizing the government.

          Peculiar how consistently those who champion free speech still want folks who speak against the government silenced and punished. These same people clamor to support fines, bans, and harassment campaigns for people who speak out against unfair treatment, and they consistently attach their motivation to the country itself. Why, if you think the country isn't perfect the way it is because its systems are designed to keep you from prospering (or designed to literally kill you), you must HATE THE COUNTRY. You must hate those who govern it, hate people who live here, and hate whatever else you conveniently associate with the "right" culture of living in this country. Your values of other sorts will be questioned, from morals and religion to personal relationships and preferences. You will be interrogated. You will be treated like wanting this country to be BETTER is a sin; as if the only words you could be saying about America is that you HATE IT and ALL IT STANDS FOR if there are some things you don't like about it.

          They want America to be BETTER when they kneel. We want America to be BETTER when we point out the ways the government abuses its power or doesn't do its job.

          And the people who squeal about treason and stampede to do violence to people who protest are often the same people who have used racial slurs, called for deaths, contemplated secession or revolution, and refused to state loyalty in other situations when they didn't like the country's leader or didn't feel their neighbor deserved to be called American. They're all about unity and obedience and allegiance when the laws and practices aren't hurting them. But when someone else wants to call attention to how they're being mistreated? Well they must just hate. our. country. Pigs, they need to be deported, jailed, or executed.

          (You know what you sound like when you say that, right? If you literally think people need to be thrown out of the country or physically punished for not chanting a loyalty oath when it is demanded of them by their peers, then you support a fascist dictatorship. If loyalty is compulsory and may need to be driven into you through fear and threat of catastrophic consequences, it is not love for country. You are not demonstrating how love for country should be if you ever have to threaten someone over it.)

          People will love their country if it treats them like an equal and sustains their life.

          In the past, unfair laws supported humans owning other humans, segregated facilities in an "equal" country, second-class citizenship for women who could not vote or own property, and condemnation over how to practice religion. Most of the people screaming about respect for the flag today actually would support the Civil Rights leaders of the past who gave us emancipation, gave us voting rights, ended segregation, stopped religious discrimination. Of course, many of them still think marriage equality was a mistake, think women's bodies need to be regulated, and think there is no racial disparity regarding how people are treated under the law from police on the street to legal sentences for criminals. Some think women are not equal. Some think white people are superior. Some have no awareness or compassion regarding disabled citizens or impoverished people. Some don't want vulnerable populations to be protected because they believe some weird mixture of "they're not even being hurt the way they keep whining about, because I as a person who can't experience it have never seen it" and "if they are being hurt, maybe they deserve it." But there are many in the creepily nationalistic populations of our country who actually thought the Civil Rights actions of the past were worth pursuing, while hypocritically believing the Civil Rights activists of today are going too far. At some point they decided we were equal enough and the last "real" issue had been solved with laws (because that's totally how systematic oppression ends; in a day, with a passed law), and anything more progressive than that is liberal whining that's mostly about feelings being hurt, special snowflakes, and playing the race card.

          I guess it's easier to see it as a game someone's "playing" using equipment and strategy if you can't imagine real-life consequences; therefore, it all seems like a theoretical exercise to you.

          If you only support and love the country when you and yours are in charge and you and yours are getting what you believe you deserve, you're doing the same thing these guys are. They love America as much as you do--and they understand the country can improve, it can become better through social change and involvement, it can properly support and serve more of its citizens if issues are identified and addressed. They can't be if someone doesn't sit in the "wrong" place on the bus or go to a polling place when they're disallowed or, basically, disobey the country they want to be an equal citizen of. Civil disobedience is how we confront unjust laws, and you're either uninformed or willfully ignorant if you think our laws fairly serve everyone and things are fair for everyone right now.

          You can listen to the people who have been failed by the system and agree that the system should serve them as it serves you. And you can do that without trying to drown them out and shout them down with demands for obligatory gratefulness. No one is disrespecting military lives lost in service of the country through the act of expressing that the laws still don't protect or serve some citizens. It is not about disrespect for the country itself, or its culture, or its banners, or its warriors. It is about KNOWING we can be better, and doing something about it to reach that improvement.

          If your reaction is to misrepresent their mission and then call for blood over the words you put in their mouth, you are the problem with this country, and you are the one helping to keep those laws in place.

          You can choose to stop being a tool of stagnation. You can do that by closing your mouth and listening when someone else tells you what it's like to be them.

          Wednesday, September 19, 2018

          Wednesday Factoid: Most Relaxing Place

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's the most relaxing place you've ever been?

          I remember feeling so relaxed and contented one morning and afternoon when I was on vacation with my friends at a beach house on Anna Maria Island in 2010.



          At that time in my life, I got very little time to just relax and read, and I decided to just spend some time by myself enjoying literature. It was very, very hot outside, being summer in Florida, and we were at the beach so it was about as humid as it could be, but the same things that keep most other people inside make me want to come out and lounge in it like a lizard.

          It felt so nice to spend all that time baking in the heat, but on a covered porch on a comfortable couch--all the good parts of being at the beach, without the wind blowing sand and the wierd itchiness that comes with salt on your skin. I just really, really loved taking a breather on that porch and basking in some alone time, only a few steps away from grabbing refreshments when I needed them as well.

          It was great.

          Saturday, September 15, 2018

          Personal Digest Saturday: September 8 – September 14

          Life news this week:
          • Saturday I had a sleepy day. Didn't feel like taking my cartoon display down either. I drew some of a funny fan comic and was sweaty and gross all day.
          • Sunday I took down my displays finally. Mom came over toward the end of it and helped me! I didn't get to sit out at my table that day. At least I managed to take a shower and do laundry. I also made waffles and eggs after she left (modeled after a cartoon episode) and I finished the sketches for my silly fan comic.
          • Monday I worked on utility stuff. That was basically all week. I also had to work on a letter of response, and after work, I did the inking and coloring on my fan comic. A jerk stole my picture of my collections to make fun of it on Instagram and I reported them. Whee.
          • Tuesday I did utilities and document updates. One of my coworkers quit suddenly, hmm. After work I ate Thai food with Arthur and we watched Steven Universe at my place, from episode 106 ("Buddy's Book") to episode 113 ("Three Gems and a Baby"). He had a crappy day at work and we talked about stuff.
          • Wednesday was more utility stuff and organizing meetings. After work I had Taco Bus with Jeaux, we went shopping, and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine andWrecked.
          • Thursday was more utilities and dealing with schedules, and I decided to start working on my Halloween costume early. Whee! I got caught in the pouring rain on the way home and even got splashed by cars walking home. Jumped in the shower after getting home, talked to Victor on the phone and drew comics.
          • Friday I worked, signed the company up for an event we're doing, and bought some cute gear from the Cartoon Network website. My co-worker Patricia took me home from work because her child had an event right across the street and she parked in my driveway, haha. Meggie came over pretty much right after I got home and we hung out, ate some food, and chilled while I posted my comic. That was about it!
          New reviews of my book:


          • Zcat gave it a two-star review on Goodreads, disappointed that it had such a strong social justice vibe. :D 

          Reading progress:
          • Finished this week: I didn't quite finish my current read, but I'm almost there!
          • Currently readingThe Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.
            New singing performances:

            This week's song was "All the Man That I Need" by Whitney Houston.



            Stuff Drawn:


            Click this to read a sixteen-panel fan comic about Ruby's butt





            Webcomic Negative One Issue 0696: "Invaded."






            New videos:

            None.

            New photos:


            Arthur took a picture of me in this cubbyhole that I just fit into.


            Social Media Counts:

            YouTube subscribers: 5,251 for swankivy (lost 3), 676 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 966 for swankivy (2 new), 1,333 for JulieSondra (4 new). Facebook: 294 friends (no change) and 203 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 58 likes for Negative One (no change), 140 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (no change). Instagram followers: 154 (1 new).