Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: Home Quirks

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: "Jiggle the handle!" "You have to press the lightswitch twice!" "It just makes that noise sometimes." What kinds of quirks does your home have?

Wow, where do I start?

The house I rent was built in 1956. It's been steadily upgraded and added onto here and there, and as a result it's got a lot of, um, weirdnesses?

First off, the house is on a well and septic system. So there's a loud banging as the water filtration and pump system works in the garage EVERY TIME you use water. If you flush? BUMP-BUMP-BUMP. If you shower? BUMP-BUMP-BUMP. If you use the washing machine, God help you, not only does the pump start up but another loud machine kicks in. One of my friends, upon first hearing it, said "well that's an interesting EDM song." XD

Furthermore, the well and septic system situation makes all the water distribution weird in the house.  If the washing machine is draining, the toilet burps and bubbles. Sometimes if a sink somewhere in the house has water draining, the kitchen sink will sputter. And weirdest of all, there is a hose sticking out of the side of my garage that sprays water into the yard at random intervals, and sometimes when that's going on, I don't have water in my house at all. (Every time I contact the office about this, they tell me they'll check it out, and then I never hear about it again.)

There's also the fact that the washing machine hookup in the garage is on a different wall from the dryer hookup, and since it's a septic system you're not supposed to flush anything but toilet paper and waste down the toilet. When I first moved in, the toilet didn't flush at all and they had to dig up my back yard and get the pipe back into place from where it'd been disturbed by a tree root.

There are many bare wires hanging around in the garage. Spiders love my garage. They seem to like my shower too. I had an epic showdown with a spider the size of my hand in there once.

The garage door sometimes opens back up after you close it for no apparent reason. The front door has weird molding so the door is difficult to close properly. My house has a side door on the garage which doesn't open. It is blocked inside by a built-in set of shelves. It looks enough like a real door, apparently, to attract delivery drivers who somehow think it makes more sense to go to the side of the garage behind some bushes and throw my packages in the mud there than it does to go to the front door. *shrug*

The front door has poor accessibility. My disabled friends have to come in through the garage. It is accessed either by walking through the yard or using a path made of flat stones, and then the porch has a LARGE step up with no railing at all. There's a pole that looks like you can brace against it, but it isn't attached to the ground. It's ornamental and will move if you push on it.

The light sometimes flickers in the middle bedroom.

The house is set up with the assumption that you'll be entering through the garage; the lights for the main room are on the far wall so you have to walk through the entire room to turn the light on if you've come in through the front door. The front door leads to a vestibule that leads directly into the master bedroom. You could walk into the house and go right into the master bedroom without going through the rest of the house. The hallway's entrance inexplicably has a door. There are two switches for the lights in the hallway and both must be on for the light to come on. 

The house is directly across the street from a golf course. I have found golf balls in my yard. My geolocation on Google that prompts me to check into places often wants me to say whether I'm at the golf course whenever I go home. 

The house has a fireplace in the room you can enter from the garage. Spiders like that too. The fireplace room looks like it was meant to be a small den or something. (I use it for a game room and baking center.) It doesn't have carpet or a closet so it's not really a good bedroom, and it has a door that leads to the backyard. The fireplace room has built in bookshelves.

The kitchen has awesome new cabinets with a soft-close feature built into them. :D

The ceiling fan in the kitchen does not work. :o Just makes a loud buzzing noise when you turn it on. The water line on the fridge is not hooked up so its ice dispenser and water dispenser on the fridge door doesn't work. The light over the sink takes a long time to come on but eventually it does come on.

The trees in the backyard are gorgeous. :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Still unbanned

In a previous post from November, I wrote about getting banned from Amino, which is a fun little place where I share fan content and interact with other fans. Someone had falsely reported me for sending porn to them (I obviously would never dream of doing that), and explicit material is an insta-ban. After I created other accounts to investigate why I was banned (because you can't use a banned account to contact the management), the troublemaker went after those accounts too.

On Wednesday last week, the person got caught trying to do it again. They did something foolish and sloppy while trying to frame me, finally creating enough of a red flag for the administration that they investigated it and determined that I'd definitely been framed. The bad person was banned and my account was reinstated.

I'm still irritated about two things.


The staff at this place is volunteer, young, and largely non-responsive. The one staff member I was able to initially get on board to investigate was very dismissive to me throughout the investigation. (A different staff member was later more sympathetic, and it was she who contacted me about the suspicious behavior of my stalker and led directly to getting me unbanned.) Now, it's true the first staff member was just doing her job, and was probably overwhelmed, and isn't being paid, and has the unenviable task of handling many problems with no real resources to help her and no training, and is a teenager. But among other things, my major problem with the way she handled the situation was this:

She was not willing to even consider that I was being targeted.

After I got banned three times for "sending porn" within the same few days, some of those "offenses" mysteriously occurring WHILE I was trying to get them to believe I hadn't done it in the first place; after I spent eight months creating valuable daily content that was frequently featured on the front page and understandably did not want to lose it; after I had supposedly done something extremely trollish with no apparent motivation that was so far out of character for me . . . the idea that I was being targeted by someone who wanted me gone was not worth entertaining whatsoever.

When I suggested it to her, she simply told me she didn't think it was possible--end of story--and warned me to avoid "causing trouble" on my replacement account, because if my new account "happened to" send porn like the others, she wouldn't be able to listen anymore, because three times in a row is where she draws the line.

After the truth came out and it was clear I absolutely had been being targeted, and after the other staff person unbanned me and I was free to post again, she did find me and apologize for being harsh. (The message was longer, but the rest of it was about why I should understand that she took the action she was supposed to, as she should have.) But I wasn't worried about her "being harsh."

I was worried about her just straight-up dismissing me.

She wouldn't consider my position at all. I was already guilty based on very suspicious "photo evidence" that she has admitted can be faked. There's something wrong with your approach if a popular, mature member suddenly turns into an unrepentant porn bot from three accounts and you don't think her previous reputation is relevant.

The idea that this moderator believes she handled it with the appropriate amount of skepticism, with only her "harshness" to apologize for, is frankly alarming. Everything I said, everything I tried to do, everything I suggested--it was all no, no, no. Not important, not worth talking about, not worth researching, not worth the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure she did some homework and legwork she hasn't disclosed to me, but none of it was discussed with me and none of it was presented as if she was hoping to help get to the root of what was really going on. The fact that I had no leads on who was targeting me or why, that I didn't have counter-evidence to show them, meant I was guilty by default, and that I was treated like it.

I've been dealing with trolls and deplorables for half my life and they are exactly like this. They target people who enjoy their lives, enjoy creating, have something to say/something to contribute . . . and they decide "wow that's lame!" and try to destroy it. Not only do they target people like me, but they also rarely give up.

Which brings me to my next point.


These kinds of people strike again.

Falsely reporting someone is also a bannable offense. If someone's willing to risk such a thing, they are putting themselves on the line to get rid of you, and must be confident that they can pull it off. This person actively followed me around to different profiles pretending I was the one attacking them with pornography, and more than two months after they got my account suspended, there they were trying to get me again.

It wasn't enough that they successfully hurt me one time. They weren't satisfied by destroying something I cared about. They wanted to keep limiting my ability to communicate and share fan content with people who liked what I do.

They've demonstrated that this wasn't a whim. This was a sustained campaign and it was intended to be ongoing.

And if they hadn't made a mistake, the management probably would have gone on believing them. Believing that I inexplicably am targeting this one member sending them porn over and over again, rather than believe maybe someone has it out for me.

What REALLY bothers me is that I know this person is out there, and that they were not satisfied with what they did to me the first time, and that they are probably even more furious that they got their account banned as a result of stalking me and lying about me. They're probably madder than ever. (And I don't know what I might have ever done to make them mad, because I do not have a relationship with the person as far as I know. Now that I know who did it, I can see that I apparently had nothing but a passing relationship with them, and we've only ever had civil conversations on the account that's now banned. They have at least one other account, though, and I don't know what it is.) Anyway, mad lying stalker getting punished for targeting me leads to more aggressive, more determined stalker in most cases.

And given the history here, I'm worried they'll do something that no reasonable person would believe, but will work anyway. Since that's basically what happened last time, you know. It was thought reasonable that I was porn-spamming people while in the active process of trying to convince the management I wasn't doing it, after all. No reason the stalker couldn't, say, pretend I found them on a new account and threatened them with violence. That would get me banned, if they believed I was doing it.

I noticed certain aspects of how the person spoke (while impersonating me) which may help with evidence on any further attempts to harass me, but me pointing them out isn't very useful. If it's ME trying to prove I didn't do something, pointing out obvious differences in how they spoke would make it clear that I recognize those myself and could imitate them. Sounds like a lot of mental gymnastics, but after spending more than two months assuming all my hard work was gone and then getting it plopped back in my lap and getting vindicated, I'm fiercely irritated that justice didn't prevail in a more reasonable manner, even if overall I'm just grateful that it did at all.

But I'm annoyed because I know they are very likely to try again and if hearsay has so much power with the management, to the point that accusation is essentially conviction, then it's just a matter of time before it's coming again, and I cannot trust that being vindicated on a previous occasion is enough to protect me.

Having stalkers really bites. Having people in charge of protecting you enabling the stalkers instead bites even more.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: January 20 – January 26

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I did some stuff around the house until Dad and Connie came to take me to lunch as a birthday gift! We ate at Gino's. After we hung out a while, they left and I got prepared for Drink and Draw. I didn't have time to do my usual blogging so I saved it for the next day. Drink and Draw was fun but I didn't get everything done and I talked to Eric and Frenchy. Eric took me home, I reviewed a book, and I slept.
  • Sunday I did karaoke and blogging, talked to my mom for a long time while drawing and doing laundry, and made a video.
  • Monday I had to go to work later because they wanted me to stay later. I did what they asked and helped put together a PowerPoint presentation. But everything still wasn't done so they asked me to come in early in the morning too. I drew the rest of my So You Write comic when I got home.
  • Tuesday since I had to be early I requested a paid ride but it took a really long time to get to my house and one of the drivers canceled my ride to transfer it to a person who was even farther away, and the wait time to come get me kept going UP instead of down. It took more than half an hour. On a day I was supposed to be early. I almost didn't make it before they left for the meeting. But I arrived in time to help them in a rush. And I got donuts! I ate four donuts. And nothing else during the work day. Classy. Later I did a video transcription, made a cool quiz about voice actors on Steven Universe for the Amino, and finished a really neat drawing of Garnet.
  • Wednesday I posted my drawing on Amino, answered mail, and ate at Five Guys with Jeaux. We also picked up the new Steven Universe comic book which was like ridiculously cute. I can't even believe how cute it was. And then I got big news (well, for me): The person who accused me of sending them porn and got me banned on Amino back in November was caught trying to do it to me again. They made a mistake on the fake screencaps that revealed it was falsified, and so I got my old account back and THEY got banned. It's fantastic, but also a bit awful because it happened so far after the fact that I had already reestablished almost everything from that account on a new account, and now I have two accounts with 90% same content. Welp.
  • Thursday I worked and did business development stuff. And felt weird about my Amino accounts trying to figure out how to handle posting. I updated one account with a comic book review and then that night I drew my webcomic while talking to Victor.
  • Friday I had to go to a webinar but most of it was not applicable to me. I drank a lot of coffee. Also wrote a post explaining the situation to my followers on Amino. When I got home my keys weren't in my bag so I had to call Jeaux to come let me in my house. Also I had to pee really bad when I got home so I just peed in the back yard. Hahaha. I hope I just left my keys at the office. (We have to use a key to get in the bathroom there so I may have just forgotten to put them back in my bag.) I finished drawing my webcomic and also arranged for my friend Yasmin to finalize my tickets to a concert Saturday!
New reviews of my book:
Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: Almost done reading Becky's book but uhhh didn't quite finish, so here's my review of Steven Universe comic #12. OMG. Five-star review.
  • Currently readingSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "Bizarre Love Triangle" by Frente!.

    New drawings: 

    Drawing of Garnet being "shameless"--
    a response to Jasper calling her
    a "shameless display." Heeheehee.

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0663: "Designate Someone."

    New videos:

    Letters to an Asexual #54 is about fear of sex and why it's reasonable in some cases.

    New photos:

    The view at Drink and Draw!
    Donuts, so what was I supposed to do? I ate four.
    My donut is a heart. Or my heart is a donut. I forget which.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,273 for swankivy (lost 1), 659 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 904 for swankivy (2 new), 1,326 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 297 friends (no change) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 659 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 124 likes for So You Write (lost 1). Tumblr followers: 2,510 (21 new). Instagram followers: 133 (no change).

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Hater

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you a "hater" about anything in particular? Have you ever been called a "hater"?

    Ha! Yes. 

    Actually this is a really interesting situation because okay, y'all know I am really over-the-top obsessed with the cartoon show Steven Universe and one recent trend toward criticizing it a lot is popping up in my fan spaces. People nitpick on stuff like characters being off model, plot points not being resolved, and social/political issues not being handled how they would like. And my thoughts usually fall like this:

    • Design variations: Who cares? Variation from the original models is actually a feature, not a bug.
    • Plot points: Who cares? They're telling the story the way they want, and you don't get to whine that they failed for not using the pacing and content you'd prefer.
    • Social/Political issues: They've had some misfires, which stands to reason as they're imperfect humans, but also, having something portrayed in a show does not mean they're advocating it.

    I've never actively said these things to anyone because I'm not a fan of getting embroiled in The Discourse, but I realized way before I'd even thought about responding that these folks are allowed to complain however they want--and that the "who cares?" response isn't constructive. Because THEY care. I really don't give a crap if the characters look different heights and have different proportions depending on who draws them, partly because I know the creator of the show specifically WANTED that kind of variation with her storyboarders, but if that makes the show harder to watch for people who prefer their characters drawn with consistency? Okay, you do you.

    I don't agree that the show's failure to resolve certain points in specific ways, tie up "loose ends" that aren't necessarily loose, or focus on what's considered "the plot" all the time constitutes a bad show, but they're allowed to have their complaints. I have to admit that when I've seen deeply negative analysis videos and entire networks of blogs and tagged content specifically devoted to tearing the show down, I wondered . . . why are these people spending their time on this? Why are they paying attention to it if they hate it so much?

    And then I remember what "being a hater" was about for me.

    I was very active in the "hater" community surrounding Christopher Paolini's novels in his Inheritance Cycle. See, I read the first book in the series unaware of any issues; I'd been expecting such a popular book to be great (or at least readable), and I was so appalled at its quality that I wrote a scathing review. I was recruited, sort of, by other people who felt the same way and wanted me to discuss the book and its surrounding phenomenon with them in a LiveJournal group. I did.

    The book was bad. Dragon fanboys and people who weren't sick of the Chosen One phenomenon were bamboozled by it, but to me it was just bad. Poorly written, full of amateur mistakes, obnoxious, sexist, tiresome. I wasn't surprised to discover that the book had been written by a fifteen-year-old and initially self-published, "discovered" because an established famous writer happened to meet the teenage author hawking his wares in a local market, and marketed as the fresh new work of a wunderkind. I'll admit this kind of shortcut to the publishing big-time rubbed me the wrong way extra hard due to my own pursuits of publication, but I absolutely wouldn't have begrudged the author his stroke of good luck if I'd found his book deserving. So my unusual annoyance at the book was about more than just its disappointing and occasionally offensive content; it was also about what I considered undeserved fanfare and platform.

    My review was popular among fanboys and other haters alike, but the fans frequently interspersed one taunt amidst all the ad hominem attacks and personal incredulity: "You should read the second one, and you'll see he's gotten better." I resisted because I hated the first one so much, but eventually I caved and gave the second one a chance. (I was working at a bookstore at the time and did not have to pay for access to books.) The second was, in my opinion, even worse in a few ways; most of them probably because the author had been taught through his success that his freshman effort had been spectacular, so he just did more of the stuff I hated (with some additional decorative obnoxiousness). So I said so, and yet, people upheld my willingness to look at the second after hating the first as evidence that I was being a hater for the fun of it.

    The other haters had so enjoyed my evisceration of the books that they begged me to review the third when it came out, but I was done (and also no longer working at the bookstore). It took someone actually sending it to me as a gift and over one thousand days of procrastination before I gave in and reviewed the third. And I finished off the series because at that point I figured I had become invested in following this terrible project to its logical conclusion. I never enjoyed any of the books. I never gave any of them more than one star. And I did not continue to monitor what the author was doing, nor did I plan to continue following his career.

    One could (and they did) argue that I and people like me spent too much time crapping on the topic in question. Why, if we didn't like it, did we still read it and then throw hatred around? What did we stand to gain? Why were we so negative? Why didn't we just pay attention to things we did like?

    My answers to those questions are why I understand the reasons behind my own fandom's haters.

    Of course, I never did some of the things they do. I never went into their fan spaces and tried to get them to hate the books. I never followed the author on social media and harassed him. I never made personal statements about him or his family or loved ones (except in cases where he put his personal content or made reference to his personal beliefs in public statements or the books themselves). I never insulted or harassed any fan over their love of the books, though I would certainly bar no holds if they came after me commenting on my own content.

    That said, I did not entirely perceive my "hater" content as being about Those Books or That Author. It was always more general for me--it was about quality, and it was about opportunities in publishing, and it was about some of the terrible social messages that I believed the books were condoning. There was also nothing about the books that I liked--I was not a fan-turned-hater, nor was I disappointed in the book because I thought it had potential to be better. I just thought it was a shame that an author I perceived to be writing amateur-level, ham-fisted fiction had been given a seat at the table of big shots (and was being paid like one), and this is also key: many of my fans and readers were aspiring fiction authors themselves who took a lot of lessons home on what NOT to do from my essays. (Of course, one could argue that if Paolini failed as hard as I say he did at writing a good story, they'd rather fail like him and make millions too, but I think part of my point is that by and large people who write like this don't even get in the door.)

    There was definitely pettiness in the communities I interacted with, and I didn't condone it. Some if it was actively mean-spirited and I admit I kept company with people who were there to be vicious. (If I was interacting with them, I often mentioned that I did not agree with that behavior.) It's easier to judge something petty and specious if you're a FAN of the material being criticized, so I don't know if the anti-fans of Steven Universe actually ARE bigger jackasses or if I just see it that way because I don't agree with them. But here's what I've learned:

    Being "a hater" isn't necessarily about hate. It is often about quality, about taste, about high standards, about actual concern, about a bigger picture. I might disagree with some of what the haters say and do, and there are lines they shouldn't cross, but I do not believe people should avoid material they don't like at all costs, and I do not believe intense criticism of a piece of media constitutes a waste of time or a sign of personality issues on the part of the hater.

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018

    Voices are weird

    You know what's weird? Human voices.

    Most people can recognize other people's voices. They know who is calling by the sound of the voice; they often know or assume what gender the person is based on the vocal tone and pitch; they modify their voices on purpose to imitate each other; they speak in such a way that we can usually learn things about their emotions that we aren't being told in words. It's very interesting.

    But one thing I've been thinking about lately is the relationship between our voices and our relatives.

    I have a friend who says he and his father have almost the same voice. (And he hates it, because he hates his father.) My youngest sister used to be mistaken for my mother on the phone often when they lived together. And recently I heard a recording of myself that included me laughing, and it sounded a LOT like my grandmother's laugh. Which made me pretty sad because I haven't heard that sound in a long time.

    As a young singer, I was of course always eager to compare myself to my grandmother vocally because I wanted to be a professional singer and she had had a Broadway career. But I didn't think our speaking voices were very similar, and I still don't; hers is pretty iconic. So it was weird when I heard the recording of my voice and I laughed at something and it sounded just like her. I think my aunt laughs like her too.

    I wish she were fully present enough to laugh with us. But even though we can't have that, it's sort of comforting to know that that expression of merriment, in her way, is being carried forward.

    Sunday, January 21, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday (but posted on Sunday!): January 13 – January 19

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I woke up late and made a 7UP cake before Meghan arrived to hang out with me for our birthday week! We made another cake together, but it was really brownies: layers of love brownies, which include white chocolate chips and caramel sauce. Then our party guests arrived over the next hour or so, bringing potluck items. The party was attended by our friends Victor, Jeaux, Joy, Kari, Yasmin, Arthur, Ralph, Derek, and Rachel. Mostly we just ate, opened our presents, and talked about nerd stuff, and then when the crowd thinned out a bit, some of us played Cards Against Humanity until 4 AM.
    • Sunday we stayed at home, cleaned up stuff after the party, and ate our leftovers. I did some laundry and Meg and I talked about family drama, of which she was having a fair amount while out of town. We watched the movie Guardians of the Galaxy and I began to draw her a picture of some Steven Universe characters as a gift.
    • Monday was the beginning of my mini-vacation from work. Meggie and I made waffles and ate them, and then we went to a special bakery and got cookies and also ingredients to make snack sushi. We made our food, ate it while bumming around about more drama, and watched the silly Captain Underpants movie. I drew more of the picture.
    • Tuesday we had cake for breakfast and went out to see the movie Coco in the theater. Meg had promised it was good, and she was right! We went to a Japanese restaurant after and ate some good food there, and then we went home, and watched an episode of one of Meg's favorite shows: The Great British Bake-Off. I finished drawing the picture that night.
    • Wednesday I turned FORTY!! Meg and I spent the morning together, and after she left I checked in with my mom and looked at my family's birthday gift options (they're getting me an outdoor table set, which is something I wanted but put off buying!). Jeaux picked me up later and we ate at IHOP (I had birthday pancakes), and we watched the movie Zootopia and after he left I tried to update a bunch of stuff I document.
    • Thursday I had to go back to work and it was too cold to ride the bus so I got a paid ride, but it wasn't bad. Work was slower than I expected and I didn't have much to catch up on, but I did what I needed to. I also began working on updating my Tumblr links page that died a while back for some reason. That night Victor called me while I drew webcomics.
    • Friday was kind of busy at the office and I made a bunch of business cards, brochures, and PowerPoint presentations. Meggie's 42nd birthday happened and she still hasn't been having a great time. After work I drew the rest of my comic and tried to relax. Didn't work so well. :P
    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega.

      New drawings: 

      My giant 17 x 14 poster of Steven Universe characters drawn for Meg's birthday.

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0662: "Objective."

      New videos:

      Nothing this time! Sorry, I'll get on it soon!

      New photos:

      Meggie and I were making Layers of Love brownies for our birthday party.
      Birthday cakes for Meggie and me: One 7UP cake, one Layers of Love brownies.
      A quick candid shot of some of the guests at my fortieth birthday party.
      Presents brought to my fortieth birthday party for Meggie and me.
      Meggie and me opening our presents.
      Me opening some of my presents.
      Meggie and me opening our presents.
      I got a yodeling pickle as a birthday present.
      Meggie got a Mojo Jojo Pop toy for a birthday present.
      I got a Rocket backpack as a present.
      Meggie got a Doctor Who police box standup as a birthday present.
      Meggie got a Journal 3 book as a birthday present.
      Meggie's homemade sushi.
      My homemade sushi.
      Jeaux took me to IHOP on my birthday and I got confetti pancakes.

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,274 for swankivy (4 new), 657 for JulieSondra (4 new). Twitter followers: 902 for swankivy (lost 3), 1,325 for JulieSondra (lost 3). Facebook: 297 friends (1 new--friended Arthur) and 202 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 658 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 125 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,489 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 133 (2 new).

      Thursday, January 18, 2018

      I'm forty!

      It probably doesn’t surprise too many people that I am not at all hung up about turning forty, considering age is a kind of an arbitrary measurement and the associated expectations have rarely had much impact on my life. But here’s something relevant:

      There's this thing called the “unassailable asexual” phenomenon. It refers to how there are different aspects of a person's demographics that make them more likely or less likely to be dismissed as having an inauthentic "reason" for being asexual, and there is one set of traits that is said to be the closest to "ideal"--if you hit all of the "ideal" traits, you're much less likely to be told you identify as asexual for a false reason, and you're more likely to be believed as having a valid identity. People in this ideal pocket are said to be better spokespeople for the orientation because skeptics are less likely to write them off as, say, having a disorder, suffering from trauma, being antisocial, being too ugly to get a date, etc. And it is of course completely crap because a) there is no "perfect" asexual who will be believed in every instance, and b) placing some asexual people on a pedestal increases the likelihood that asexuality will be accepted ONLY if there's simply nothing else you could "blame" their orientation on--only as a last resort.

      Yeah, it's crap.

      Anyway, the "unassailable asexual" is often said to be between the ages of 20 and 40. In other words, if you’re younger than twenty people will blame your asexuality on the expected identity issues and immaturity associated with being too young, and if you’re older than forty people will consider your asexuality a natural function of being too old.

      Guys!!! I’m “too old”! FINALLY! Yessss!

      Let’s be real for a second and remember that no matter WHAT age you are, invalidation for asexual people and aromantic people is around every corner. No matter how supposedly unassailable you are, people will, um, assail. Even if there’s not something obvious to “blame” it on, detractors will pull out their pet theory and assign it to you, whether that’s an assumption of suppressed abuse, a case of hidden homosexuality, or a pervasive desire to “get attention” and “be different.” Isn’t that right, my fellow snowflakes? They know better than we do, and we should really stop trying to be so special. It earns us all kinds of positive attention, after all!

      But anyway, yeah, here I am at forty, that age where people (especially women, let’s not lie) begin to be processed as hardcore failures if they’re not married or partnered. (Actually, I’ve seen that for thirty, too, but I think forty is the new thirty these days.) And I gotta say.

      I can’t WAIT to be processed as a failure of an old lady.

      It’s at least a change of scene, you know? After all these years of having smug jackasses insist that I’ll spin on a dime WHEN I fall in love pretty soon, and all these years of dealing with science bros explaining that my biological clock WILL kick in and I’ll be forced to throw myself at a man, and all these years of being told one day I will “mature” and realize asexuality was a phase and a fake all along . . . I’m finally going to deal with the other side of the coin: the jerks who will tell me I must have tried and failed to get a mate in my youth, or that my asexuality is a function of a declining sex drive (lol), or that my aromanticism is based on a terrible feminism-poisoned lie that women should be ~independent~, or that they picture me crying myself to sleep in bed alone wiping my tears on my cats.

      They sure are nice people, aren’t they. Always gloating over my imagined misery.
      All because they can’t imagine that I could be happy this way.

      (Not to mention that if I were not happy, it would be disgusting of them to feel satisfied by that.)

      I think in truth it won’t be much different—setting aside that of course people won’t be able to TELL I’m past forty for a while (so I’ll still get treated like I’m younger), there’s also the fact that in practical terms “oh you poor thing, didn’t catch a mate while you still could attract one” will probably feel a lot like some of the terrible comments I’ve heard all along: “I bet she’s too ugly to find someone, so she pretends she doesn’t want it anyway”; “She’s clearly just so obnoxious that she drives men away before they would even try to get with her”; “She’s mentally ill/abused/autistic/damaged/secretly gay/hiding a terrible secret, so no one wants her.” 

      Many of the very familiar Asexual Bingo items are predicated on the idea that asexuality is a face-saving excuse for the unwanted. They prefer to frame me as desperately desiring a partner and wallowing in my lack of fulfillment. I’m completely used to cruel, willfully ignorant people reinventing me in their minds to represent a version of me they’re more comfortable with. 

      They really hate the idea that they’ve been waiting around to say I-told-you-so all this time and I haven’t given them an opportunity to say it. So now maybe some of them will give up and change their tune to "she hit the wall and doesn't want to admit she failed to get married while she still could! Ha ha sad and lonely old spinster!"

      Dangit. I don't even have cats. I'd better get on it.

      Wednesday, January 17, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: New Kid

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: How have you handled being the "new kid"?

      A variety of ways I guess. I was a new kid in my school a few different times growing up--in kindergarten of course, and first grade, and sixth grade, and ninth grade, and tenth grade. When I was little I didn't care about making friends or impressing other kids. I wanted the teacher of my class to like me and be impressed with my academic skills. I guess through middle school that desire for my teachers to respect and praise me blended into an awareness of the other kids and wanting them not to pick on me. I didn't reach out and I didn't want to be noticed, because other kids were almost without exception mean to each other.

      In high school I was a little more interested in my peers and I wore clothes that I thought represented who I was so I could find other people who were similar to me. Most of my "fitting in" behavior was just hiding, and most of the time I wanted to stand out was about wanting people to talk to me about shared interests--books, music, cartoons or whatever. I was pretty passive about my social interaction whenever I was new on the scene, and I mostly focused on surviving the day-to-day--figuring out where classes were, keeping up in the class's content, figuring out what the heck was doing on, trying not to miss the bus.

      Being new as an adult was more of an adventure, I guess. Being new in college, changing colleges, being a new "kid" at the jobs I got after school--meeting people and learning about them and having them learn about me seemed way more fun as an adult. I didn't feel like I was waiting for someone to mock me or do something mean to me--adults just aren't predatory in the same way. I got along with people better as an adult, and though I'm still not in any rush at all to socialize with the people wherever I happen to be "new," I don't mind it and sometimes it's fun. In work contexts I think I'm still more of a "speak when spoken to" person, though I will speak a lot if I have something in common with the person I'm talking to. I'm more curious about the environment and the tasks at hand than I am about other people. I want to relax and figure out what I'm doing before I care about the social aspects.

      Saturday, January 13, 2018

      Personal Digest Saturday: January 6 – January 12

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday was a fun day: I met my new Internet friend Ralph in person for the first time. He took me out for sushi and we baked brownies at my house. Had a great time and he gave me some Kinder Eggs with toys in them, which I had never had before. After he left I did my blogging and watched some cartoon reactions online.
      • Sunday I was invited to Queer Brunch but I really wanted some time to myself and just wasn't up to it. I did do dishes and laundry, and I talked to Mom on the phone and practiced violin. (I wanted to get a better recording of a song that requires a violin part, so I worked on it a while.) I also answered some outstanding messages.
      • Monday I had to hit a letter at work. It wasn't as intense as usual because this was the one we tried to get out last week because we thought it was due, but we were wrong about the due date, so we had more time to do it. We got it turned in on time. I practiced violin some more and made some french fries in the oven, and I drew these gross "Frybo" mascot faces on my bowl because I do a lot of weird things after seeing them on Steven Universe. (Frybo is a creepy fry mascot in the cartoon that comes to life because of space magic and the characters have to fight him. By the end he's got ketchup leaking out of his eyes and potato slop dripping out of his mouth. Super disturbing. So I ate my fries out of that.)
      • Tuesday I worked and printed business cards and brochures. Mom texted me saying she was really really sick and needed help, so I went to her house for the rest of the night. (She refused to go to urgent care because it costs too much money.) It was pretty awful that I couldn't do anything to make her feel better and she was having trouble keeping food down. I went shopping for her, rinsed out trash cans and did laundry, and kept her company. I went home late at night instead of sleeping over. The nice thing about the day, though was that photos I took of my silly fry monster got the front page on Amino again, and my friend Ralph who decided to start watching Steven Universe on my recommendation finally saw the Season 1 finale and got so excited about it he called me to chat about it. :D
      • Wednesday I got totally buried under work stuff and had to edit a letter of response against a ticking clock. We made it though. I checked in with my mom and she'd gone to the urgent care place but they just gave her some instructions and didn't need to treat her, and she was starting to keep fluids down again, so that was a relief. Jeaux took me to Denny's and shopping to get sodas for the party I'm having for my birthday! Then we went home and listened to Night Vale and watched two episodes of Search Party. After he left I played violin some more.
      • Thursday I had to hit a proposal for the City of Orlando, so I buried myself in that all day. I checked in with the mama and she was a little better, but she's lost too much weight. Then at home I finally got a not-very-good-but-passable recording of the violin part of the song I want. I talked to Victor, edited the video together, and drew my webcomic.
      • Friday I worked on the proposal for Orlando again and got enough done to send to my boss to take over. My co-worker Doug did a presentation about Microsoft 365, which kinda broke up the day. Then he drove me home, which was super nice. I finished drawing my webcomic and posted it amidst lots of slacking off. 
      Reading progress:
      • Finished this week: I did not get any books finished, though I'm halfway through my in-progress read.
      • Currently readingWishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb.
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Pretty Good Year" by Tori Amos.

        New drawings: 

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0661: "Kids Grow."

        New videos:

        I performed The Jam Song from Steven Universe, featuring a ukulele/violin duet. Sorry, it has really been many years since I was competent.

        New photos:

        My disturbing Frybo fries.

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,270 for swankivy (lost 1), 653 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Twitter followers: 905 for swankivy (no change), 1,328 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 296 friends (3 new--accepted friend requests from Ralph and his dog, and a new friend Jacob through my mutual friend Heather) and 201 followers (no change) for swankivy, 658 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 125 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,490 (lost 3). Instagram followers: 131 (no change).

        Friday, January 12, 2018

        Troll dreams

        It's weird how sometimes you have a dream where some fundamental aspect of your life is changed and the dream is about you dealing with it.

        Sometimes you remember what it "should" be and sometimes you are just rolling with whatever the change is. Often it's bad, like the classic dream where you're in school and realize you have a final exam on a class you forgot to attend all semester, or the career version where you're back at a job you left ages ago with all your built-up work waiting for you. You're late for something and couldn't possibly catch up. You're in a relationship you left for a good reason and you're trapped in it again. A child you never had is calling you mom. A person you don't have contact with in real life is suddenly in your life badgering you for something and you must react.

        And then there are the catastrophic and/or impossible ones: where you're in a post-apocalyptic world trying to survive, or it's like a horror movie and you're trying to escape a supernatural creature, or you have to complete a fantasy quest that threatens your life, or you're in some nightmare scenario that you lack the resources to escape.

        You're relieved when you wake up, usually. You're glad things are the way they are and not the way the dream cooked it up.

        It's worse the other way.

        It's worse when you dream of a return to something you miss, or a reappearance of a person or pet who died, or the acquisition of an ability or accomplishment you've always wanted. You feel so secure in the dream, and you almost feel like it's so silly you never realized everything's fine, and you feel so fulfilled and content.

        Then you wake up and you realize again what you've lost or what you'll never have.

        Sad that what I dreamed was that my mom was okay.

        Not a fantastical dream at all, and yet in this broken country it's about as out of reach as wishing on a lamp. She didn't get medical assistance when she needed it because she can't afford to pay the hospital. It's awful seeing her clothes falling off because she's lost so much weight, being so fragile, saying she doesn't feel like she's even human anymore. And my brain thinks it's helping by cooking up a nighttime scenario of "lol what if everything was actually fine?"

        No thanks, brain. Don't remind me, okay?

        Wednesday, January 10, 2018

        Wednesday Factoid: Weird Interest

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's an interest you have that people think is weird?

        How about . . . babies?

        I'm not a parent. Don't want to be a parent. Don't even want to be a babysitter or a daycare professional. But I really just like babies a lot!

        There used to be this website that posted adorable baby pictures and I would share them and squeal over how cute they were. I just love pudgy baby cheeks and videos of babies doing super cute things.

        I once had someone aggressively harass me over this, believe it or not. The person started a private conversation with me and explained to me that it is pathological to love babies you have no connection to if you've never had your own children. They insisted that the only reason parents have reactions to other people's children is that it's rooted in their own love for their children, and that people who aren't parents cannot have this and it makes no sense at all for us to have a response like that.

        I was really baffled by that reaction, and I've certainly never had anyone else suggest liking babies is pathological behavior for non-parents, but people do sometimes think it's weird that I feel that way and yet don't want babies in my life in a more everyday context. I'll stick to remarking on their cuteness on diaper packages and watching baby videos sometimes on YouTube, thanks. ;)

        Saturday, January 6, 2018

        Personal Digest Saturday: December 30 – January 5

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday I woke up super cold because my heat was not working. The heat repair person came to my house and tried to fix it but didn't have a part and so I would have to be cold until Tuesday when they could order the part. Oh well. I went to Mom's and finally got to see Lindsay and Mike, and we had Chinese food together and opened some presents. I even got to do a little drawing.
        • Sunday was New Year's Eve and I had originally intended to make breakfast for dinner with family but just wasn't really feeling it. I stayed home and did laundry and talked to my friend Ralph on the phone while making biscuits. Lots of fireworks went off in my neighborhood but I had a low-key night. It was nice.
        • Monday I had New Year's Day off. My sister picked me up and we went to visit Dad in Sarasota. Got to see Grandpa, who's in his new place, and ate soup and other yummies at Dad's for dinner. (He cooked, which was novel!) Got some cool presents and just got to enjoy family. Had a nice chat with my bro-in-law and sister on the way home.
        • Tuesday I went back to work in the cold. I had been told it would be very busy this week but it wasn't. Went home and made breakfast for dinner with Mom and the visiting California family. I hadn't had time to really make anything before they got there after my work day, so I had a lot of help! We ate waffles, fruit, eggs, fake bacon, leftover biscuits, and hash brown crisps. It was a lot of fun. Then I watched cartoons after they left. Still no heat.
        • Wednesday was rainy and I couldn't get to work. I worked from home instead and had a big problem with a letter we were trying to send out. An hour before it was due, the power went out at the office and I tried to save their letter so we could send it out but I didn't make it in time. I was frustrated and grumping about it while going out to eat with Jeaux at Burger 21 and then we visited Mom's so we could hang out with family one more time before the Californians returned to California. Nice quiet night. But still no heat.
        • Thursday I found out we did NOT miss the deadline for the letter we were trying to send because it's due next week! Whew. I did some resume updates for the office and went home. Talked to Victor on the phone while drawing my comic and a promotional drawing for upcoming Steven Universe episodes. Annnnnnd still no heat. They tried to fix it and said it was fixed but it was not.
        • Friday I finished updates for the office's resumes, and then Jeaux picked me up for food at Moe's and cartoons at his house. The episodes, as expected, were bizarre levels of good. We talked about them for a while, went to my place so I could finish posting my webcomic, and then watched them again. Haha. And yeah. No heat. I lived under my electric blanket this week.
        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: Nothing! I didn't ride the bus much this week so I didn't have as much reading time.
        • Currently readingWishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb.
          New singing performances:

          This week's song was "Try" by Nelly Furtado.

          New drawings: 

          Poster of the Off Colors for Lars of the Stars!

          Webcomic So You Write Issue 79: "Absorbed."

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0660: "Interrupted."

          New videos:


          New photos:

          My New Year's Day outfit looks subtly like a cartoon character.
          My sister and I both baked biscuits for our New Year's Day dinner.
          Went to go see my grandpa on New Year's Day. Four generations in one shot!
          I was definitely cold at the bus stop. 
          Breakfast for dinner at my house.
          My mom made aprons for all three members of my sister's family, and they're so cute!
          My nephew and sister playing with my Animaniacs toys.
          Nephew Ash wearing a hat and climbing on my sister.
          Ash likes to shove his butt on people. His father has termed this "very aggressive butt."
          Excited for new cartoons! First time this year, but certainly not the last.
          Jeaux wearing his Cookie Cat hat in my room.

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,271 for swankivy (lost 3), 655 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Twitter followers: 905 for swankivy (4 new), 1,327 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 201 followers (no change) for swankivy, 657 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 125 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,493 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 131 (1 new).