Saturday, March 23, 2019

Personal Digest Saturday: March 16 – March 22

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I didn't finish my cleaning, but I did get blogging done and ate a really good meal I just felt like cooking for myself. (I cooked mushrooms and eggs and ate it up with fake bacon.) I also wrote a guide to SU comics for the Internet and practiced my ukulele.
  • Sunday was good. I always like Sundays these days. I sat out at my table until the rain drove me inside. I actually finished reading through my old SF romance manuscript and sent it to my agent! Which I've been meaning to do for a long time (but malfunctioning computer slowed me down--issues with Word documents). I also ate yellow rice, did laundry, did dishes, did karaoke, and cleaned my office, down to vacuuming. So great!
  • Monday we had three letters due so I didn't get to do much of anything else besides work on them. We also got shortlisted on another job so hooray. At home I cleaned both of the smaller bedrooms while on the phone with Meg. Good day!
  • Tuesday I worked and did my taxes! Also found out that my book is going into its fourth printing (which means it's still selling reasonably well!) and it's also going to be translated into Japanese (and I get a lil bonus for that new edition too). At home I cleaned the last two rooms that needed cleaning--the bathrooms--and after a shower, I dressed up in a new dress I had just bought that makes me look like Steven Universe's mom, and took some funny pictures.
  • Wednesday I stayed up late for a comic release again, read the comic, blogged it, and went to sleep. Then I went to work and did a bunch of odd jobs. After work Jeaux took me to buy comics, eat at IKEA, shop at IKEA (I bought a little pot for my stray golf balls), shop at Ross (I bought a small outdoor table), and shop at Winn-Dixie (groceries!). After all that we watched Miracle Workers. After he left I ate junk food and did Internet things.
  • Thursday I made it to work on the bus and spent the day dealing with more small things--mostly marketing jobs. I also studied a manual on something I'll have to do for an upcoming job. My agent finished reading the book I sent her Sunday and said she didn't know any editors who want stuff like this so I guess that one isn't up just yet, but we're talking about some other stuff too. Victor didn't call on the phone like usual, so I just drew my comic listening to podcasts.
  • Friday I sent some other stuff to my agent and hit 2 years as a member of Steven Universe Amino so I made a special post about it because I'm a nerd! After I got home, I finished drawing and posting my comic, and right as I finished my mom came over with GrillSmith food. We ate together, caught up, and then she fell asleep on my guest bed on top of a large stuffed animal. :D :D
Interviews, Articles, Mentions:

My diet progress: 

  • Well, I've lost 6 pounds in about 3 months, which isn't very good, but isn't terrible either.

Reading progress:
  • Finished this week:  Steven Universe ongoing comic #26 by by Terry Blas and Gabriele Bagnoli. Five-star review.
  • Currently readingMythology by Edith Hamilton.
    New singing performances:

    This week's karaoke song is "Last Train to Clarksville" by the Monkees.

    Stuff Drawn:

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0723: "Awake."

    New videos:


    New photos:

    All four variants of comic #25! Some are rare!

    Here are some photos of me doing goofy stuff in my Rose Quartz dress:

    And here are my cool White Diamond pins.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,263 for swankivy (no change), 677 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 966 for swankivy (no change), 1,338 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,515 (4 new). Instagram followers: 177 (4 new).

    Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    Wednesday Factoid: Locked Out

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What would you do if you got locked out of your home?

    Well I can answer this pretty easily because this has happened to me and I know what I did. 

    My workplace restroom is a shared-use facility with key-only access. Once I left my keys behind after using the restroom and went home without them. Since I live more than an hour away from my home by bus, I didn't want to go back, not to mention that everyone probably would have left for the day and I wasn't even sure I could get back into the building if my keys were inside.

    So I called my friend Jeaux. He has a key.

    My mom has a key too, but since she's often ill and it would have taken her probably way longer to get to me even if she wasn't ill, I called Jeaux first to see if he was on his way home. He was able to get me into my house on his way back from work and all was well. (I have a spare key inside which I was able to use to lock up the house the next day, and when I got to work I was able to track down my keys.)

    It's good to have a couple people you trust that have a key. I don't like the idea of hiding a key outside or breaking into my house somehow. There would also be the option of using my garage door opener--if I could have accessed the garage, I would have been able to get in the back door inside, but for a while I did carry my garage door opener in my purse and a couple times stuff fell on it while I was home and my garage door opened and stayed open all night while I was home! So I don't do that anymore. I really have no need to keep the garage door opener with me.


    Tuesday, March 19, 2019

    "You need HELP."

    "You need THERAPY."

    As an asexual, aromantic woman who claims to be happy, this is something I hear a lot. That I need a professional's help to fix myself, because I am, by definition, BROKEN if I think happiness is an option for me.

    Let's explore where that idea comes from.

    Not the idea that asexual, aromantic people can't be happy--I've talked about that plenty--but the idea that "WHAT?? FIX YOURSELF!" is one of the first things people bleat when they don't personally relate to you.

    Let's be clear. This suggestion--or rather, this suggestion made this way--does not come from a kind place. The person, despite what the words say, is not saying "I wish you would get better."

    They are saying "You are wrong."

    They are saying "I want you to face that you're wrong."

    They are saying "If I can't imagine being happy like you, I am allowed to be confident that you are sad. I am allowed to say to you without any self-examination that I reserve the right to define happiness by what makes ME happy. And I have no qualms about contributing to the master narrative that tells us all which ways of living are acceptable and which ways are not."

    When someone snaps "GET HELP" or "SEEK THERAPY," they aren't expressing real concern or well wishes for you, no matter how many times they also call you "sweetie" or "dear." And of course, if you call them out on their insincerity, the pearls will be immediately clutched: "Why, how could you accuse ME of false goodwill! The nerve! How dare you imply I do not say this out of LOVE!"

    Love is listening to someone and working with them to feel better if they have a problem.

    Love is fostering that person's trust, cultivating a caring relationship with them, making yourself available for their doubts and fears.

    Love is expressing concern if you are concerned, but doing it in a way that the at-risk person can use without feeling attacked.

    And if you think you can say "I'm *sorry*, but you need to GET HELP" as an effective way of opening the door to healing, you are mistaken. Let's just pretend you're actually sincere and you're saying these things, and you truly do not understand why someone who gets snapped at to see a psychiatrist would not read this as loving concern. Let's just say you're confused, emotional, and inexperienced with how to get someone you're concerned about to connect with the proper professionals. Here's what you need to know about our reaction when we confide in you and you say "GET HELP."

    • We think you aren't listening to what we said.
    • We think we can't trust you.
    • We think you are against us, not trying to help us.
    • We think we have disgusted or angered you.
    • We think we need to be silent about our personal truths when we're around you.
    • We think our differences are upsetting and unacceptable.
    • We feel rejected.
    • We feel unsafe.
    • We feel ashamed.
    • We feel dismissed.
    • We feel like you trust a hypothetical stranger's assessment over our lived experience, and that you default to believing a mental health professional would side with you.

    And we may feel that your response is inspired by your own insecurity, not anything that needs to change for us.

    If someone confides in you and their words Really Truly make you think the person needs counseling, your job is to support them personally, not shame them for their quirks and bully them into getting medical help. If the goal here is the other person's satisfaction and stability, you should primarily be focusing on what they want. Are they safe? Are they conflicted or confused about what they're telling you? Are they ASKING for your advice or your help? Are they asking you to understand them and your first response is "no, unacceptable: get fixed"?

    But let's be real here. There aren't many people out there who have said "Seriously, hun, GET HELP" to another person and actually did it out of goodwill and from a caring place. It is a conversation ender. It is a weapon.

    Most people, when they do this, are attempting to gaslight others, or call into question their basic competence. They are saying, "Your mind is sick. Your thoughts are inspired by illness and your experience is false. You do not have an authentic life." And they say it with no acknowledgment at all that they are not experts on what it's possible to feel. More often than not, this is something bullies say in response to nonconformity: "Stop being so WEIRD, ya weirdo. You're not doing it for a good reason--it's just to be special, or to be quirky, or to get attention. I do not accept that people can think or feel what you do, so it must be fake and I'll treat you like there's something wrong with you for saying it."

    And not that someone's happiness or satisfaction with their life automatically indicates that they are not mentally ill or engaging in pathological behavior, but for the record, "eccentric" people tend to have significantly higher self-reported ratings of happiness. Being unashamedly unusual sometimes takes bravery (especially at first, and especially if it isn't entirely based on a choice), but it also leads to freedom from many constraints that make people miserable, and people who feel free to be themselves usually lead less stressful, happier lives.

    You're not helping if you react to their difference by saying it indicates need for professional help.

    What you should know is that many people from marginalized populations are intensely harmed by therapy trolling.

    Many do not have the resources to know they are being gaslit or bullied. Many are being told their minds are not trustworthy by people they've trusted their whole lives. Many are vulnerable to programming and to being controlled by authorities. Many will internalize feelings of inadequacy and anxiety over being considered so abnormal that they need a head doctor, and it will be devastating for them. Exploiting their weaknesses to make them doubt their own minds could have consequences for the rest of their lives.

    Let me say something first, lest I be misinterpreted: THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH NEEDING THERAPY!!!!

    Mental illnesses exist! People who need therapists and other mental health practitioners exist! It's not a badge of shame to see a counselor or to need regular access to one. And it's not evidence of a hopeless future or a broken mind if professional help really does make you healthier.

    The problem I have is when people believe intervention needs to be forced on someone whose less mainstream perspective or experience is not evidence of deviance, distress, or disease. It isn't HELPFUL--and is, in fact, ultimately HARMFUL--if someone decides their own way of being healthy must be grafted onto someone else whose health simply looks different. My health is not your health. What's good for the goose is NOT always good for the gander. And if you really do approach the world with a perspective that your reality defines how others should live, what others should like, and who others should love, you either have a giant case of unwarranted self-importance or a belief that harmless diversity damages the validity of your life. You're like the people who believe same-sex marriage dilutes the validity of heterosexual marriages because SOMEONE WHOSE ATTRACTION EXPERIENCES DIFFER NOW GET THE SAME ACCESS TO THE BENEFITS OF PERMANENCE THAT YOU ALWAYS TOOK FOR GRANTED. Calm down and let people live instead of spending a bunch of energy and attention making people feel crappy about themselves.

    And if it really, truly disturbs you that people you fundamentally don't understand should still be allowed to live their lives according to their own authentic, self-led doctrines, inclinations, attractions, and opinions. . . .

    Try talking to other people about it and doing your best to wrap your head around who they are and what they're saying. 

    If you need assistance doing that, I've heard some counselors can give you the coping tools to become less agitated about things that aren't your business and aren't yours to control.

    Saturday, March 16, 2019

    Personal Digest Saturday: March 9 – March 15

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I did a little cleaning and hung out with my friend Kari to watch cartoons and eat pizza. We had a great time! After she left I finished my blogging for the week and played on Tumblr. I was happy that someone who works on the Steven Universe show liked one of my blog posts. :)
    • Sunday, despite the time change, I had a wonderful, relaxing day. I spent most of it outside at the patio table just enjoying the weather, though I got bit by some insects even though I was using bug spray. I didn't have many messages so I mostly spent it on trying to prepare a book to send to my agent. I also did epic laundry since I had not had a working washing machine for two Sundays. I also ate couscous, won an eBay auction, and talked to a cartoon nerd friend online.
    • Monday was a work day--tons of work on a City proposal and a typical DOT letter. I took a long nap and then later in the evening my dad's friend Jimmy called because we are setting up me doing some editing and book advice for him. We got some terms settled and pretty soon I'll start working on it. I cleaned my game room while talking to him.
    • Tuesday we had a staff meeting at the office and then I spent the day putting out the fires from stuff brought up during the meeting. Mostly more stuff for the City proposal. When I got home I had the evening free because Arthur and I aren't meeting anymore due to his job change, so I cleaned half my house (all the rooms with no carpet) and vacuumed. I'm productive!
    • Wednesday I was still up from Tuesday for a while because I was waiting for an exciting comic book to drop after midnight. I stayed up until it released digitally, posted a review and a lot of excitement about it online, and finally got a couple hours' sleep. Then I went to work, knocked out a bunch of proposal stuff for the City, and met Jeaux. We picked up our physical copies of the comic book at the comic store, went to Five Guys for food, and did our grocery shopping and TV watching. Had a fun discussion of gross OKCupid men. After he left I went to sleep early.
    • Thursday we had to turn in the City proposal by 2 PM. The big enemy that morning was file size--had to be under 3 MB, and ours was slightly over. I did a bunch of tricks to shave its file size down and got it turned in. Spent the afternoon doing other proposal stuff for an expanded letter due Monday. I chatted to my mom on the phone, worked on my comic while talking to Victor, and talked to a cartoon nerd friend (a different one from the one on Sunday). I have many.
    • Friday was more proposal work and report building. At home I made rainbow pasta and ate it, and then I did my comic, recorded a ukulele song, and went to sleep early. 
    New reviews of my book:

    • Isabella Edwards gave it a five-star review on Amazon, saying it helps to know others share their experiences.
    • Stalesfo gave it a four-star review on Amazon, calling it a great starting point.
    My diet progress: 

    • I'm just leaving this category here to remind myself that I theoretically should be on one. I haven't weighed myself this week at all. Which probably means not good.

    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's karaoke song is "It's a Kind of Magic" by Queen.

      Stuff Drawn:

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0722: "Name of Today."

      New videos:

      My latest unlisted ukulele video is me playing the sorta-ska version of "Let Me Drive My Van (Into Your Heart)," inspired by the Sadie Killer version.

      New photos:

      A friend sent me a gorgeous view from where he was during
      a stop on a cruise. I sent him my scenic view too.
      My Sunday eating couscous and enjoying the weather.

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,263 for swankivy (8 new), 678 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 966 for swankivy (2 new), 1,338 for JulieSondra (lost 6). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,511 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 173 (no change).

      Wednesday, March 13, 2019

      Wednesday Factoid: Not Obsessed

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What is something other people think you're obsessed with, but you're not?

      That's easy! Cleaning!

      I literally hardly ever clean my house. Actually I moved into the house I'm in in September 2017 and there are several rooms I have literally never vacuumed. I have done one deep-clean since I moved in but I only got as far as the living room and entranceway. 

      The reason people THINK I'm a clean freak is that I am very organized. Everything has a place so things aren't always lying around. They aren't CLEAN--they're actually pretty dusty and haven't been cleaned in ages, but my home gives the appearance of being clean because things are straight and organized.

      I also do keep up with "everyday" cleaning--as in, I don't leave dishes around, I don't throw crap in the floor, I wash dishes and laundry regularly, I clean the bathrooms and wipe down the kitchen counters whenever I've made any mess. I clean things up if I mess them up. 

      There's also the fact that I'm just plain not a messy person. I don't leave a lot of crumbs or spills around, don't really get things dirty, don't MAKE a lot of messes to clean. If I had kids, roommates, or pets, it would be way less manageable.

      The exception is definitely hair.

      My hair is kind of everywhere.

      Saturday, March 9, 2019

      Personal Digest Saturday: March 2 – March 8

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I got blogging done somewhat early and tried to arrange repair on my washing machine but the technician never came or called, and nobody could explain why. Irritating. Besides blogging, didn't get much done besides writing an epic post about a cartoon episode that affects me strongly.
      • Sunday I sat at my table and answered a little mail, but I worried it would rain so I went inside. Then Jeaux took me to his house and let me use his washing machine. He also fed me soup and we saw an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but for most of the time I was drawing a really ridiculous comic about the SU character Sunstone, and he was playing video games. I love having a friend who can spend time together and not be necessarily interacting constantly. It's a nice quiet comfort. I finished the comic at home and posted it on Tumblr. People enjoyed it.
      • Monday I had no letters! But I had to do troubleshooting on electronic equipment and also had to wrangle timesheets. Our external e-mails were bouncing so we had issues. At home I did karaoke since I didn't have time on Sunday, and I got an Amino front page feature for my silly Sunstone comic. I'm so glad people like my ridiculous crap. I spent most of the evening organizing my music collection.
      • Tuesday our e-mail still wasn't fixed. Yikes. I got a few proposal things done and after work my friend Arthur and I went to Singha, our favorite Thai/Viet restaurant, to eat in instead of carrying out, because we were celebrating his new job. Then we went to my house and watched an episode of Twin Peaks. After he left I answered some messages and fell asleep on the couch.
      • Wednesday I didn't go to work until halfway through the day because I was staying home to wait for a washing machine repair technician (from a different company than the one that kinda skunked me). I got to have a leisurely coffee morning and also read through a comic book. The washing machine guy was later than I was told he would be, but he fixed my machine in like ten minutes. Then I went to work and took care of business (e-mail was back!). After work I went to Vallarta's with Jeaux for dinner, and then we went to Publix for groceries and home to chill. We watched a video about racism instead of watching TV.
      • Thursday it was randomly cold and I got involved in preparation for another letter for next week. After work I had a really long bus ride for some reason. I got home, talked to Victor almost as soon as I got there, worked on my comic, and fell asleep early.
      • Friday I felt lazy all day. But I did a bunch of work on a letter and a City proposal. After work I drew a sketch comic and my weekly webcomic and got them both up. Sister L's birthday! I texted with her briefly.
      New reviews of my book:

      • Lisa Chenier gave it an unrated review on Goodreads, saying it was informative for everyone who wants to understand asexuality.
      My diet progress: 

      • The pound I gained last week is back off, so I'm back where I was two weeks ago. But still not doing really great on it.

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's karaoke song is "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia.

        Stuff Drawn:

        I just have two very silly fan comics that you can read in their entirety on my art website if you follow the links.

        Please read the silly comic about Sunstone:

        Please read the silly comic about Garnet looking like a pear:

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0721: "The Other Strong One."

        New videos:


        New photos:

        Just a salad selfie

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,255 for swankivy (10 new), 677 for JulieSondra (4 new). Twitter followers: 964 for swankivy (1 new), 1,344 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,512 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 173 (no change).

        Wednesday, March 6, 2019

        Wednesday Factoid: First Internet

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What was your first experience of getting on the internet like?

        I think technically my first Internet experience may have been sitting down at my boyfriend's roommate's computer in their dorm and talking to someone on a telnet talker?

        But I'm not sure if that actually happened before or after my parents took one of those "FREE HOURS!" AOL CDs up on its offer. I was probably about 17 and we signed up for a family AOL account, which led to various screennames. I believe the first one that belonged to me was PACLFBFBBIV, which (contrary to how it looks) is NOT a keysmash. It's a relatively obscure Animaniacs reference, though.

        I used the name to post on AOL-specific area forums regarding Animaniacs stuff, and later I found a kids' chat room that was sometimes open in the AOL area for kids run by the WB. I spent some time running up bills (in those days they charged you by the minute like a phone call) chatting about cartoons in the chat room and making some friends. When I graduated high school and went to college, I ended up working for that AOL area and chat room as a volunteer host in exchange for free service. Not bad.

        I did a lot of weird things during that time. I seem to recall I met someone who also liked SpaceGhost Coast to Coast and I sent her VHS tapes of the show that I'd recorded off TV so she could make her own copies. And then she just stopped answering me when I wanted her to send them back as per our agreement. I thought I got duped because she disappeared with my tapes, but when I was on my own in college and looked her up to reconnect with her, she actually responded to me and said something really bad happened to her husband or something and she hadn't been around. She not only sent me the tapes back (to my new address!) but also sent me some personalized address labels with SpaceGhost characters on them. Still remember that. :)

        Tuesday, March 5, 2019

        Another Explanation

        [Sharing some stuff from my webcomic, So You Write, because the associated rant may be of interest to some people who read this blog.]

        (Click it to read if formatting makes menus or text obscure the image.)

        Step 1: Include tons of irritating stereotypes about women in your story

        Step 2: Insist that the presence of even caricature-style women in your story is “diversity” and “empowerment”

        Step 3: Portray real-world women as unreasonable for being offended by your portrayal of them

        Step 4: Blame hysteria in a female-dominated publishing scene for blocking your opportunities

        Step 5: Ignore, discredit, and mock women who try to help you understand

        Listen, guys. I know that if women seem mysterious to you, it’s easier to believe lazy stereotypes about them than to give them real diversity and respect as people. But we’re not giving you a hard time about this because we just hate men and nothing you do is right. We’re simply super tired of our motivations and feelings always being tied to sex, babies, sex, shopping, and sex.

        It’s not just “offensive.” It’s terribly uninteresting and incomplex. Think about the (hopefully, exaggerated) female supervillain team in this comic. Is the only way you can think of to make a woman bitter is to portray her as a sad barren witch because she couldn’t give birth? Does the only source you can dredge up for a woman’s gritty, dark past have to be tied to rape? Is it really the best you can do if your team powerhouse is simply irresistibly sexy and exploits the heroes’ attraction?

        It really is a problem if female characters–even ones not as exaggerated as these–are written by men who fixate on “femaleness” and miss the mark of who they could be. If they see women as sexual manipulators, materialistic shoppers, beings who must find fulfillment through motherhood, or creatures who become interesting and motivated when men violate them, their prejudices are going to come out in what they write.

        And they’re probably also going to say if women can’t handle the stuff they want to write about, it isn’t really written for them anyway. Guess what? These messages are bad for other genders too. This is why there’s a pushback against traditionally male-dominated entertainment creating female characters like this. Nobody should be writing terrible female characters and excusing men for telling each other ridiculous stories about who they think we are.

        This is not to say you can never have a female character who grieves because of childlessness or has lingering pain and trauma over assault. It just gets so, so tiring when the things that motivate our gender in fiction are always about either things men think are silly or things that tie us to men or define us by men.

        All that said, depressingly, having a badly written book is a lot more likely to doom your publishing opportunities than misogynistic text will. Sexist stuff gets published all the time, and even though plenty of editors (of multiple genders) are tired of it, there are also plenty who don’t even recognize it.

        Saturday, March 2, 2019

        Personal Digest Saturday: February 23 – March 1

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday Victor had stayed over and he stayed in the guestroom watching TV for a really long time while I took care of the cake mess from the night before, had two cups of coffee, and made pancakes. (When he finally came out, he said he'd thought I wouldn't be up yet, and though he heard the noise I was making in the kitchen, he believed it had been my neighbors.) So we got a kinda late start to our breakfast and video making, but we did get around to it; he and I recorded our consumption of Universal Yums food from Italy. I probably won't be able to process the video until I upgrade my computer though. After he left I just texted with my friends, worked on blogging, and argued with someone on eBay because they were selling merch with a fake autograph on it and wouldn't acknowledge it.
        • Sunday was pretty nice except that my washing machine broke. I tried to apply for an appliance repair company to help me and they never responded to me, so I just didn't do laundry. I sat outside at my patio table almost all day and was actually outside when someone hit a golf ball into my back yard only a few yards from me. Yikes. I made some silly GIFs and did some reading on my project that I'm supposed to send to my agent, but with a broken computer it's annoying.
        • Monday I was busy with a whirlwind of proposal stuff at work. After work I drew a funny picture for a friend's birthday. Cleaned up the kitchen from the madness scattered around.
        • Tuesday I had to work more on the same proposal thing. Then I met my friend Arthur and we ate Thai food and watched Twin Peaks. After he left I read my new eBay acquisition graphic novel, Pug Davis. I loved it!
        • Wednesday I got up super early to read a new Steven Universe comic and then went back to bed. I worked and it turned out they were cancelling the proposal I'd been working on so I looked at other stuff. I processed some papers for my mom for her health care. After work Jeaux and I went to Joe's Diner, comic shopping, and grocery shopping, and then we watched Miracle Workers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
        • Thursday I had to go to a work meeting in the morning with my co-worker. I hadn't been expecting breakfast but we got breakfast! Then after that I did a bunch of work stuff until my friends Meghan and Katelyn arrived to pick me up. We went back to my house so I could change and put away my stuff, and then we headed out to meet Jeaux and Victor at a restaurant. We ate pizza and went to see Welcome to Night Vale. It was great! Afterwards Meg and Katie stayed over.
        • Friday Meg and Katie took me to work and they went off to Disney. I was pretty busy all day with documenting upcoming projects and digging through a proposal. After work I had to rush through drawing my comics because I hadn't gotten to draw at all the night before! I got it done and went to bed early.
        New reviews of my book:

        • Sarah gave it a five-star review on Goodreads, relating especially to the part about how some aces growing up in ultra-religious cultures can be confused by "temptation" warnings.
        • Felicite Reads gave it a four-star review on Goodreads, calling it "pretty helpful."
        • GooseberryCompote gave it a three-star review on Goodreads, saying it's repetitive but the repetition is necessary.

        Interviews, Articles, Mentions:

        • The RationalWiki has an article on Asexuality that manages to define it incorrectly immediately. The "Studies" section mentions my book.
        • My book is recommended in a resources section on a page about traumatic brain injury, in a post called Sex in the Brain: Asexuality. Not sure what to think of this since it begins by talking about people who "suffer from asexuality," referring to it as loss of urges and calling it "anything but desirable." C'mon guys. Don't recommend my stuff as reference reading if you don't know not to do this.
        My diet progress: 

        • No good. I haven't really been very disciplined and as a result gained a pound instead of losing any. But that's OK!

        Reading progress:
          New singing performances:

          This week's karaoke song is "Crazy" by Patsy Cline.

          Stuff Drawn:

          Jasper eats Rocky Road ice cream
          (with real rocks in it)

          Webcomic So You Write Issue 93: "Another Explanation."

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0720: "Easier On You."

          New videos:


          New photos:

          Universal Yums: Italy!
          Golf ball in my back yard.
          Golf ball collection is growing
          Two copies of the rare book Pug Davis.
          Deb (Meg) tells Cecil a secret
          Cecil Again
          Tameka (Symphony) with Cecil
          Cecil is skeptical

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,245 for swankivy (5 new), 673 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 963 for swankivy (lost 2), 1,346 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (1 new). Tumblr followers: 2,513 (no change). Instagram followers: 173 (2 new).

          Wednesday, February 27, 2019

          Wednesday Factoid: Insult to Pet Name

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do any of your loved ones use technically insulting terms to refer to you with love? Are any pet names that are applied to you actually demeaning or offensive terms, but become words of friendship or affection when uttered by specific people in your life?

          Wow, well that's a loaded question!

          I think everyone does this though. I like this question because I think we really don't think about how much we do this, but almost everyone I know has really deeply insulting terms for their favorite people.

          I've been affectionately called "bitch" and "ho" regularly by certain people in my life, and one of my friends opens conversations with me sometimes by reminding me how much he hates me.

          My roommate from college, John, and I used to engage in an extreme form of this. He's gay and I'm Jewish, and we would lovingly call each other the absolute worst things you could call someone with those backgrounds. (On the rare occasions that we speak to each other nowadays, he still calls me a very rude word for genitalia.)

          And sometimes I call my friends losers, dorks, nerds, sluts, or queers. They like it.

          Monday, February 25, 2019


          Today I saw one of those "viral" stories that might not even be based on anything that happened to anyone. Its basic idea was this:

          A bilingual boy and his toddler cousin were playing in a park when they were unexpectedly yelled at by a white woman for speaking a language other than English. The older boy, being a child getting scolded for no reason by a bigot, was rude to her in return. The white woman snapped and began threatening the children, claiming she was calling her husband to come set them straight and beat them up. He was scared, and he and his family decided to avoid the park for a while afterwards. 

          Many years later, the bilingual boy had become a bilingual man and he had a good job, and he ended up seeing this woman again when she was sent to his company as a temp. She didn't recognize him but he recognized her. He tolerated her for a few days, and then had an opportunity to bring up the incident in a sideways fashion, pointing out that the woman's current residence was very close to a park where he was once harassed by a racist for not speaking English. The woman looked uncomfortable, got silent, and didn't lay claim to the action, of course. Later he contacted her temp agency and asked them to cancel her contract--which was legal for him to do as they don't need a reason to refuse to permanently hire whoever they send. 

          This story circulated on Facebook. Many of the people saying "GOOD, had it coming, this is karma" had profile photos that suggested they were people of color. Almost everyone pearl-clutching over the bilingual man's refusal to offer forgiveness and be the bigger person and not hold a grudge had a white person in the thumbnail.

          The common thread among so many of these white commenters was that a bilingual man of color lacked class and must be bitter because his resentment must have grown instead of mellowed over the years, and that wronged parties still owe their abusers forgiveness or else they themselves are not good people.

          What they see is an old incident that shouldn't "count" anymore. What they see is a woman whose statute of limitations should have been up on carrying any consequences for threatening children with violence when they'd literally done nothing wrong. Even though she never apologized (despite the bilingual man bringing up the incident, at which point it would have been embarrassing but possible to own the action, voice shame, and offer an apology if she had in fact grown as a person since then). These people focused on what the white woman deserves and what the brown person did wrong, and these people focused on how failing to forgive amounted to revenge.

          Did any of them imagine for a second that a woman who's unrepentant about screaming at children, a woman who thinks multi-lingual people are offensive for speaking a non-English language in public, a woman who felt that someone wronged her because they didn't default to her language . . . might actually make a terrible employee?

          It isn't as simple as "she did something shitty once and the kid didn't forget and got his revenge." It's that she's apparently still a shitty person. Racists shouldn't be given opportunities by people who know they're racist. It should be socially and professionally unacceptable to be racist. Some people think it's "personal" and "doesn't have anything to do with her as an employee," but if she's willing to scream at children in a park and literally tell them a grown man is on his way there to assault them, how much must she hate brown people? How likely is she to be willing to take professional direction from one? How about if she were promoted and a non-white or bilingual person worked for her? What if they had an accent? What if they had a foreign-sounding last name? What if her customers do? What if her hatred of other races--which, I remind you again, has manifested as willingness to terrorize children who were minding their own business--led her to serving marginalized people in dangerous or less professional ways?

          Racists are racist at work. They're racist in their dreams. They're racist in the voting booth. They're racist in church, racist when they teach, racist when they raise kids. They don't keep that hate out of their everyday lives. It informs and infects everything they do.

          It isn't simple revenge that motivates a man of color to send a racist packing. It's social responsibility. And it would have been justifiable even if she hadn't been able to connect her bombed opportunity to the way she treats marginalized people, but he even brought it up to her as a way of having that fresh in her mind. When a man she was now working for was able to bring up her act of hatred more than a decade later and describe it as the first thing that enters his head when he thinks about that park. No, it's not about revenge. It's about consequences, which is not the same thing as revenge.

          And the idea that marginalized people are supposed to "rise up" and "be bigger" when they experience this, or the idea that they owe their tormentors "forgiveness" regardless of whether their tormentors have repented, or the idea that the victimized lose quality as human beings if they react "improperly" to old wounds etched onto their youthful hearts . . . the idea makes me sick.

          I would always prefer an opportunity to come to an understanding versus enacting a simple punishment. I do believe peaceful resolution and reconciliation is superior to cold consequences. But if a person doesn't believe they're wrong to hate diversity so much that their fury over it inspires them to threaten children, that isn't something I can overlook. We HAVE to tackle that first. It isn't politics or opinions or free speech. A person like this thinks only their speech is free, while a brown child speaking a "foreign" tongue must be silenced and punished. 

          And frankly, it is not a marginalized person's responsibility to do the dirty, exhausting work of deprogramming a racist--especially if they've been personally harmed by racism (or that specific racist). If this is all about who's been made a better person by all this time passing, where is the evidence that this white woman has confronted her awful beliefs and tried to unlearn racism? Why do we assume she's better, or deserving, or that she hasn't hurt uncounted others in similar ways? We're always ready to excuse a white lady for that one time, but for even one of these times to happen, a whole architecture of racist thoughts and racist intent has to have been constructed in her foundation. This wasn't an accident or something that slipped out. This is an expression of who she was and probably still is. 

          Let her do the work of becoming a better person. The bilingual man was already hurt by her once when he was far more vulnerable. He doesn't need to show the world his magnanimous big heart as he extends his forgiveness and education to someone who treated him like he was subhuman. And if we as a culture didn't expect such tolerance, such endurance, such "bigness" from people of color, no one would be in those comments saying his worth as a person is lowered because he wasn't willing to invest himself and trust a racist. If these apologists want people to earn respect by looking past racists' damning ideological flaws, why don't they hold their own to the same standards when bigots refuse to "look past" someone's mother tongue or their brown skin?

          Racists aren't good people even when they do good things. What happened to this meritocracy people like this are so fond of? Let her earn his respect if she expects to work at the man's business. Let her acknowledge her wrongdoing and demonstrate that "another chance" wouldn't be wasted on her. Let her prove she's leaving bigotry behind and is deserving of a present on equal ground with someone she once abused out of hate and ignorance. Let her demonstrate that hard personal work--or else surely someone else who hasn't screamed at a kid for speaking the wrong language deserves that coveted position more, right? 

          Sure, if that man wanted to, he could extend a hand and try to feel out the woman's potential for education and self-improvement. But to imply it's on him to do this or he's selfish, short-sighted, bigoted himself, bitter, childish, vengeful, or petty? Sounds like more racist nonsense. He can offer the slot to the best qualified applicant. I'm not surprised a man of color would consider the racism of an employee to be a dealbreaker on the level of being a habitual shoplifter or an embezzler. (And as mentioned, if you really think a racist's racism doesn't affect how they do their job, you are sorely mistaken.) Why, if you are a decision-maker, would you decide the best employee is one who is threatened by the language a child speaks, who was willing to express her disgust of such with threats of violence, who threw her weight around hurting a vulnerable person in a situation where she gained nothing from doing so except the satisfaction of causing pain? I don't want that person working for me even if I'm white (well, you know, and I am). I don't want someone around who thinks like that. 

          If your response to a story like this is "that poor racist" and "how petty of him to not forgive," I know who you relate to in this tale, and I have my doubts about you as well. I hope you're receiving everything you deserve. 

          Saturday, February 23, 2019

          Personal Digest Saturday: February 16 – February 22

          Life news this week:
          • Saturday I spent most of the day preparing my comic sketches to go to Drink and Draw and writing up my blog stuff. Then that evening I went to the event. It was very busy there because there was an art show going on at the same time! Victor and I sat at a table together and drew. I did my comics and a fan art sketch and got to eat my favorite sandwich. It was a good night!
          • Sunday I got to return to my outdoor table dilly-dallying. I had two cups of coffee outside and answered all my outstanding mail from OKCupid. I also struggled with my computer to get it to let me use Word and gave up. I played DDR, showered, did laundry and dishes, talked to Meghan, did karaoke, and made a cartoon wedding cake out of waffles.
          • Monday involved another lovely letter for the Department. We got it done and it looked fine! I was supposed to see Mom after work but she cancelled. I talked to a new friend named Steve on the phone and we got to have a really good first chat. While I was on the phone I found out I won the auction I didn't want to win on eBay, so now I have two of the same rare comic. Damn. I drew a silly cartoon drawing based on a "weird screenshot" as assigned in a challenge I was doing on a website. I fell asleep early after posting it.
          • Tuesday I didn't go to work because I had an appointment with water treatment technicians for my water system. Before they arrived I met Mom to help her with some docs she didn't understand and we had a small breakfast, and then I had to run back for the techs. They flushed a bunch of rusty-looking water out of my tank and replaced a part that was acting weird. Then I saw my dad and Connie for an early dinner. We munched great Italian food at Gino's and caught up a little before they went home to their doggies. Fell asleep super early again.
          • Wednesday I had to do a bunch of prep and organization at work. After the work day, Jeaux picked me up and we ate at Cici's Pizza, shopped at Target and Winn-Dixie, and watched the second episode of a show called Miracle Workers? I also tried to do some work for my mom's insurance but she wasn't answering my texts so I couldn't finish. I framed a poster and don't know where to put it yet!
          • Thursday was my brother-in-law's birthday--he received my present, a flashlight pen set. :) I was pretty busy at the office and we found out we won a contract (only as a subconsultant, but that's great!) and I'm going to be personally very busy with data entry for it when the contract start. Woo! I also was very busy preparing for a County proposal with one of my colleagues. My co-worker took me home after work but I went right back out on my bike because I got a notification saying my rare comic had arrived but I had to sign for it. But it wasn't actually at the post office even though the notice said it would be after 4:30 (and I was there after 4:30). I was instructed to get it the next morning and I was bummed. I got 8 out of 10 drawings done for my comic.
          • Friday I woke up early, finished the drawings, took a shower, and walked to the post office. I was finally able to pick up my comic (after they said it wasn't there again!) but I was late to work sadly. I spent the day on a bunch of different jobs dealing with small tasks. After work I met with Victor and we ate Mexican food and made a cake but it didn't come out very much like I wanted. I also got to eat starfruit for the first time.
          New reviews of my book:

          • Kend gave it a five-star review on Goodreads, saying they want more on other identities but found this to be an important resource with the right mixture of references and intended audience to make an impact.

          My diet progress: 

          • Lost yet another half pound, so it looks like this is gonna remain pretty slow. Down to 115.

          Reading progress:
          • Finished this week:  I didn't finish anything this week; Mythology is gonna be a chonker to get through.
          • Currently readingMythology by Edith Hamilton.
            New singing performances:

            This week's karaoke song is "Everytime You Go Away" by Paul Young.

            Stuff Drawn:

            Obsidian smells the flowers!

            Goofy Sugilite from a goofy screenshot assigned to me in a challenge contest

            Webcomic Negative One Issue 0719: "Other New Child."

            New videos:


            New photos:

            Victor captured me at Drink and Draw eating
            Ruby and Sapphire's wedding cake (it's waffles and popcorn, get over it)
            Steven Universe pilot poster--where should I put it?
            Social Media Counts:

            YouTube subscribers: 5,240 for swankivy (6 new), 674 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 965 for swankivy (5 new), 1,347 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (lost 2), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 145 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,513 (lost 3). Instagram followers: 171 (1 new).