Saturday, June 30, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: June 23 – June 29

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I didn't do much for once and it was a relief to just kind of be a slob. I did a little cleaning, chatted to Meghan on the phone, and finished some sketches. Also took some silly photos in one of my costumes.
  • Sunday I got a lot done instead of lying around all day. I ate my lunch outside at my patio furniture and got a bunch of mail answered. Then did laundry and showered and did my karaoke and made a new video for my asexuality channel. Also made a ridiculous recipe based on a Steven Universe episode.
  • Monday I worked on a letter for District 6 and posted news about toys. After work I had some text conversations with Mom and Victor and finished a drawing.
  • Tuesday I gathered photos of airport signs for my co-worker, then after work I got picked up by my friend Arthur and we picked up some Thai food, went to my house, and watched episodes 44 through 53 of Steven Universe. Which means Arthur got to see the finale of the first season. (He asked to watch it twice. It . . . does things to people.) After he left I didn't really do anything.
  • Wednesday was more work. I finally finished looking at airport signs. After work Jeaux picked me up and we ate at Moe's, went shopping, and I checked my PO box for the first time in a while and in it was an eleven-page letter from someone who read my "groundbreaking book" and wrote to tell me some thoughts on it. Neat. Jeaux and I watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine on TV and after he left I was tired so I accomplished nothing.
  • Thursday I had a slow day at work updating stats on marketing stuff. I also went to the health food store on a break and talked very briefly to my sister on the phone. (I had to keep her entertained while she waited for the car wash.) After work I went home and had a media interview on the phone, and I made something called an Everything Bagel Dog which is (surprise!) inspired by Steven Universe. It's like you make an everything bagel out of a hot dog bun and I ate a veggie dog in it. After all that I also finally got my video subtitled.
  • Friday I worked, drew comics, and paid bills. After I got home, I had Mom over and finally we got the curtains up. We also ate some sandwiches and got to hang out and watch silly YouTube videos. I got a lot of stuff done that I didn't expect to get done! Hooray.
New reviews of my book:

Articles, Interviews, mentions:

  • This reddit comment has someone recommending my book and saying it helped them accept their orientation.

Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: I only have about two chapters left of my current read. I swear I'm not a slacker, guys!
  • Currently readingMicroserfs by Douglas Coupland.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "Past the Mission" by Tori Amos.

    Stuff Drawn:

    Gems on the beach! On towels that depict the Pride flag.

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0685: "Meet Your Baby."

    New videos:

    Letters to an Asexual #59 is about someone saying I didn't have the credentials to discuss asexuality in the context I am because I am not a scientist.

    New photos:

    A horrible pile of noodles in the shape of a face
    Arthur understands the meaning of my shirt now.
    Everything Bagel Dog, Steven-approved!

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,280 for swankivy (no change), 674 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 949 for swankivy (1 new), 1,324 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 205 followers (3 new) for swankivy, 654 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 56 likes for Negative One (no change), 136 likes for So You Write (lost 2). Tumblr followers: 2,522 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 145 (no change).

    Wednesday, June 27, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Small Things

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What small things make your day better?

    • Morning coffee.
    • Complimentary notifications on social media from strangers.
    • Seeing cute kids on the bus.
    • An unexpectedly funny or poignant line in a book I'm reading.
    • Getting down time.
    • Just barely catching the bus--not close enough that I had to run, but close enough that I didn't have to wait at all.
    • Happy texts from friends or family.
    • When it's not too cold outside or inside.
    • If someone unexpectedly brought treats to share at the office.
    • If I'm wearing a cute outfit and feel cute.
    • Finding exactly what I was looking for at the store.
    • Getting exciting news about cartoons.
    • Completing an organizing task.
    • Naps. 
    • Clean bathrooms at the office. 
    • Hearing good news about a political or social matter.
    • Stickers.

    Monday, June 25, 2018


    You know, I'm not a bad problem-solver.

    I don't want to be too much of a jerk about this toward anyone specific, but there are some standout moments from my childhood that led to me reaching adulthood thinking I was bad at solving problems. Well, specifically, problems that required practical solutions.

    I can't put my finger on it entirely, but I know there were multiple incidents where other kids, teachers, and adults treated me like I was hilariously ignorant because I didn't know something they knew or was worse at something than I was expected to be (mostly when it came to finding my way to unfamiliar places). I was basically just treated like I didn't know things because I was an unobservant or bubble-headed person, and I just kinda went on with my life accepting that the term "airhead" applied to me. 

    Today, as a decently competent adult, I sometimes have to learn something new or figure something out, and it takes me a minute to sort through whether it's reasonable for others to treat me like my ignorance is unreasonable. I've grown accustomed to confronting these comments swiftly.

    "But how can you NOT KNOW gas prices are down?"

    Do you believe you would have a running knowledge of gas prices if you never, ever bought gas?

    "No way, everybody should get that reference."

    Do you believe you would get that reference if you hadn't seen the commercial?

    "Why don't you know that psalm? Everybody had to hear that in church."

    Do you believe you would know that psalm if you never went to church in your entire life?

    There are some common things I haven't heard of or don't have knowledge of. It's not that weird for me to lack context for them if those experiences are not part of my life.  

    YOU would not know the common knowledge in most parts of the world. YOU don't know at least some stuff that seems basic to me. I'm not going to harass you over it.

    When I grew up, I started to realize that I had a tendency to give up on solving problems in the real world very quickly because I just didn't know how to solve them and nobody had ever showed me. I don't know how to work that machine. I don't know how to bake that recipe. I don't know how to clean that item. And then, somehow, I figured out that I can try first. And if I still suck at it or can't figure it out, I'm not worse off.

    It was hard going at first. For instance, I can remember being laughed at once when I did not know how to make a car's seat return to an upright position. The person I was with scoffed, saying it was easy to just pull the lever, but I could not find a lever, so I just said to myself "Guess it's impossible" and sat in the seat leaning back farther than I wanted to. What can you do? The lever isn't there. Some things just aren't the way people describe them to you, but it's probably your fault 'cause you're dumb. Too bad, dummy.

    As an adult, I rode a Greyhound bus and the seat's arm was in the way of something I wanted to do. An obvious button on it didn't do anything when I pressed it and pulled up, so I figured oh well, either the arm is broken or I just can't figure out how to do it. That's what my life has always been; it's probably something that's obvious to everyone else but I don't see it, and it's because I'm just dumb about things. And then I thought, well no, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do this. I forget exactly what the issue was, but I figured out what was stopping the arm from moving the way I wanted, and managed to get it to slide up. And it was just a matter of investigating it a little.

    I can do things, really.

    Last week, I did something kind of silly. I left my keys in the restroom at work (and the restroom requires a key to get in), so I borrowed the office key to get in and retrieve my keys. Unlike MY key set, this key was on a very small keychain, and when I put it down on top of the toilet paper roll receptacle, it fell through a weird little hole in the top. The key fell down into the middle of a long tube that holds up the rolls of toilet paper (and it's designed to hold two rolls, so it's deep). The office key was stuck down in this toilet paper thing.

    My first thought was "WELP I GUESS IT'S GONE FOREVER." But I really didn't want to ask my boss to get another key when I was the one who lost it, and I don't want to not have a spare restroom key. Especially since it saves me if I leave my own keys in the bathroom.

    I tried to use a pair of scissors to get it out. I used a pen. I used a screwdriver. I found a hanger and fashioned a little hook. None of these things worked because there was no room to manipulate any tools in the small space. 

    I went home for the weekend and tied a piece of craft wire to my bag so I wouldn't forget. Then when I got back to work on Monday, I used the craft wire like a fishing hook to try to get the key back out. It STILL didn't work. 

    So I examined the way the damn thing was attached to the stall wall, got a screwdriver, and took it apart so I could dump the inner tube upside down. Gravity won. I got my office key back.

    I'm not impractical or unobservant or any less competent than any typical person. I don't automatically know how to do things but neither does anyone. You learn it somewhere. You figure it out. Or someone tells you. Someone teaches you. 

    It drives me up the wall now when someone treats someone else like they're laughably ignorant when it's their first time learning something. I don't necessarily expect to hold someone's hand through something I know they can figure out on their own, but if they don't have the starting tools or the context, I'm pretty good at supporting, and I certainly won't mock them for not being born with the knowledge in their heads.

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday: June 16 – June 22

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I installed a flagpole in my house to put up my Rose Quartz flag because I'm a HUGE DORK. I also tried to make a dessert with agar-agar (vegetable gelatin type thing) but it didn't work, though the mistake was still tasty. Did some blogging and tidying up.
    • Sunday I did some drawing and chilling, and my dad came over for Father's Day. We spent some time breaking in my outdoor patio furniture and ate some grilled cheese sandwiches. Caught up on stuff and had a relaxing time. After he left I finished my drawing and did some laundry.
    • Monday I was really busy at work and then on top of that I found out Steven Universe is coming back July 2 for a week of new episodes, and yeah, I fainted. :) (And it's going to be an arc focused on drama with my favorite character. Yikes, hope I survive.) I had a lot of work to do and it was hard to finish while distracted. :D Then at home I finished my dessert project.
    • Tuesday I worked on a proposal and a drainage report. Arthur showed up early to pick me up so we could go watch cartoons, so we had to eat at a different restaurant than usual because the one we like was still closed. We got our Thai food and watched Steven Universe from episode 32 to episode 43. I stopped us there because starting at 44 you really should watch until the season finale. I hope next week blows Arthur away, haha! Then my post about the fruit dessert got a feature on Amino which was the first time in months, and then it was mysteriously unfeatured. I think someone there actually hates me.
    • Wednesday I got up early to write about comics on the Internet, then went to work. My fruit post got re-featured on Amino and I never found out why or what's going on. I swear, it's always drama. At the office I worked on the drainage report more and Jeaux picked me up to go to Which Wich? Then we shopped and listened to Night Vale and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I got some drawing done. And some of my stuff on Tumblr got reblogged by big bloggers.
    • Thursday was slow at work, but I got some stuff done on a proposal and helped a co-worker with adding pictures to some roadway plans. More of my stuff on Tumblr got passed around by big bloggers. I'm getting a lot of attention these days. I took a weird nap and drew comics. Victor didn't call so I just listened to videos.
    • Friday I only saw my boss in the morning but I got some stuff done for him. Then after work I got my webcomic done and not a whole heck of a lot else because I fell asleep early!
    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: I haven't finished my current read yet, but I did give a five-star review to the latest Steven Universe comic.
    • Currently readingMicroserfs by Douglas Coupland.
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "I'm Not That Girl" from Wicked, the musical.

      Stuff Drawn:

      Son of the Universe! Greg's a great dad.

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0684: "Skeptic."

      New videos:


      New photos:

      My new Crystal Gems flag is up in my house!
      My first batch of Zoo Fruit did not pass the integrity test
      Successful Zoo Fruit!

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,280 for swankivy (5 new), 672 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 948 for swankivy (lost 1), 1,324 for JulieSondra (2 new). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 202 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 56 likes for Negative One (no change), 138 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,524 (1 new). Instagram followers: 145 (1 new).

      Thursday, June 21, 2018

      Love the sinner

      TW for self-harm and homophobia.

      You know what I keep seeing that makes me wish I liked to punch people?

      There's this pervasive tendency for bigots to state their "position" on homosexuality and immediately follow it with excuses for it. These excuses often include the following:

      • "It's just my opinion."
      • "The Bible is very clear about this."
      • "It doesn't mean I don't love the person; I just don't agree with their lifestyle."
      • "It doesn't mean I don't respect the person; I just don't agree with their lifestyle."
      • "The Gay Agenda is destroying traditional families."
      • "The PC Police want me to see Gay Stuff all the time and I'm tired of their agenda."
      • "I'm not comfortable with it."
      • "I'm not gay; I don't want to be around gay people because they might hit on me."
      • "Homosexuality should be hidden away where I won't have to see it."
      • "It's not right that I'll have to explain this to my children."
      • "The Gays want men to pee in public bathrooms next to my daughter."
      • "I love the sinner, hate the sin."
      Let's just first address the elephant in the room: Bigotry against gay people isn't Biblical. At all. Some interpretations of a couple Bible lines in some versions can come out like "men shouldn't lie with other men the way they do with women," but a) they're in parts of the Bible amidst multiple verses that the same people have no problem with now (you know you've never seen these anti-gay people protesting outside clothing stores that sell blended fabrics, all-you-can-eat restaurants that encourage the sin of gluttony, seafood places that serve shellfish, or businesses that are open on Sundays); and b) there's not a word about lesbians in there, and yet these folks have chosen to extend the concept to applying to women. This is their interpretation. This is their cultural message. It is not Biblical. It is what their modern church tells them about how a modern person should regard these relationships, despite that they are not taking public stances against (and voting against) situations their religion has just as much of a problem with. Many even use contraception and have sex in prohibited ways, but what's important to them is that they're straight. They can break the rules because the modern churches generally don't nose into heterosexual couples' private lives to make sure they're not committing sodomy.

      In short, even if you're religious, being a bigot is not required by your God. The current culture in many churches is violently anti-gay, but they will be happy to tell you how much they love these sinners and how much they want them to turn away from sin.

      You know, refusing to acknowledge that the "sin" of being gay is not an action and the hatred of said sin is hatred of an aspect of their supposed loved ones' identity.

      Whenever I see people sanctimoniously jumping onto "it doesn't mean I don't LOVE the person! I still want the best for them! I still care for them! I'm not going to hurt them!" I always think "YEAH THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW, ASSHOLE."

      I didn't ask you if you loved them. I didn't ask you if you were going to commit a hate crime. I asked you to accept that your supposed opinions about this are violence.

      Sounds kind of dramatic, maybe. I guess it would, though, if to you, queer people are a concept that you don't really interact with--an idea that you treat as theoretical. You know, instead of breathing people who know they're different and who hear you hating their "sin" and converting it to the intense fundamental rejection it is.

      If you "don't agree with my lifestyle" or "hate the sin" of my identity or love me "despite" some aspect of who I am, I know you don't understand what respect is, that you don't actually comprehend how much damage you're doing (or don't care!), and that you just plain aren't listening. It is deeply violent to reduce someone's attraction experiences to "a lifestyle" that you perceive them to be choosing. Your rejection can cause self-harm and suicide. Your rejection can contribute to people internalizing what you say and attaching it to WHO THEY ARE, not some simple behavior they can just stop doing. You don't actually know what love is if your reaction to "I'm gay" is "It would be better if you weren't, but I'll MAKE THIS ABOUT ME by claiming I'm godly enough to love you anyway."

      Please don't talk about yourself here. YOUR POSITION on whether it's okay that someone's gay isn't important. Nobody needs to know how you feel about the sex acts you imagine they have or how uncomfortable you are with the idea that one of Them might hit on you. Nobody wants your interpretation of whether God approves of someone else's feelings. And if you really think you can say these things and still be fully supportive and loving toward someone who trusted you, all I can say is you probably need to do some soul searching to figure out how to love someone without coupling it with violence and intense rejection. If you are not queer you don't know anything about what it's like to be on the receiving end of that. If it isn't you you don't get to say it doesn't really hurt them or contribute to a poisonous master narrative that controls and limits their lives. 

      If you love the supposed sinners in your life, stop finding opportunities to vocally judge them, stop ignoring the catastrophic damage you're doing, and stop being a giant hypocrite.

      Wednesday, June 20, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: Spirit Animal

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What would be your spirit animal?


      "Spirit animal" the way this is written isn't meant for me. There are some religious/spiritual traditions among some Native / First Nations folks that incorporate the notion of spirit animals, and I'm not going to try to explain it because that's not for me to do either.

      What I've heard is that a lot of people find it culturally appropriative and gross for people outside these cultures to adopt bits of the spirituality they like and call it theirs. The IDEA, however, is common in other traditions, spiritual practices, and fiction; animal companions are very popular in our stories and are integral to human thought, so it's certainly not the broader concept that people object to. (I've even seen one essay about this where someone said, basically, "That's fine, call it your Patronus." A reference to Harry Potter, ya know.) 

      I don't use the phrase "spirit animal" for anything I'm associated with--not when I'm actually talking about Pagan traditions, and not in jest either (the way a lot of pop culture is using it now). But to answer the question outside of acknowledging that "spirit animal" is not a thing that's for me, I think I can still say a type of animal I relate to, that represents me in a way and is a cool emblem for me.

      I like birds, particularly the wren. :)

      Saturday, June 16, 2018

      Personal Digest Saturday: June 9 – June 15

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday Victor left relatively early, taking two thirds of the three-way sub sandwich we'd made home with him. I spent the rest of the day catching up on updates and cleaning stuff up. I ate some of the sandwich for breakfast and wasn't hungry again until 10 PM!
      • Sunday I finally finished the sandwich. :D I did some cleaning and finally used my outside table, which was great. Mom was gonna come over to help with curtains but she again didn't feel up to it. I drew some cute pictures of Amethyst Fusions based on a comic book. Also answered some OKCupid messages and got in a few pointless arguments on Facebook.
      • Monday I made databases and ate cookies. It was weird not to have any letters due. After work Mom was supposed to come over but again couldn't. I chatted with Meg in the evening instead. She was about to go on a Disney cruise with her kids so she was super excited. I ate a potato and drew part of another fan drawing.
      • Tuesday I went to work and shopped at the natural food store nearby, but they didn't have any good natural bug spray, boo. Arthur picked me up after work and we got Thai food as usual and ate it while watching Steven Universe. We watched from episode 25 to episode 31. That's the shortest stint so far, sadly, and Arthur had other stuff to take care of so the evening ended early. I also submitted a short story to a magazine for the first time in a while.
      • Wednesday I beat everyone to the office. I did some typing and some transcript creation. Jeaux picked me up after work and we ate at Five Guys and shopped at Winn-Dixie. I posted a bunch of merchandise pictures in an online group, and Jeaux and I watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
      • Thursday I did more of the transcripts my boss needed and then after work I chatted with Victor on the phone while drawing. Mom finally was able to come over but she again wasn't feeling well and we couldn't get any work done on the curtains. After she left I chatted with Victor again. He was also not feeling well.
      • Friday wasn't so great at work, but I finished some stuff and got more letters ready for my boss. Went home and got my webcomic done and made some funny GIFs for Tumblr.

      New reviews of my book:

      Reading progress:
      • Finished this week: Nothing. I'm about a third of the way through my current read.
      • Currently readingMicroserfs by Douglas Coupland.
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Just a Girl" by No Doubt.

        Stuff Drawn:

        Concept of all of Amethyst's Fusions!
        Redraw of Grace Kraft's comic cover.

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0683: "Deep and Dark."

        New videos:


        New photos:

        Hanging out at my new table!

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,275 for swankivy (3 new), 672 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 949 for swankivy (3 new), 1,322 for JulieSondra (2 new). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 201 followers (no change) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 56 likes for Negative One (no change), 138 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,523 (2 new). Instagram followers: 144 (no change).

        Wednesday, June 13, 2018

        Wednesday Factoid: Organization

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Which is more annoying to you: When someone is "too organized" (everything in its place, no toleration for clutter) or "too messy" (has no structure, no toleration for applying a system)?

        I fall heavily on the side of being annoyed by lack of organization.

        I find it easy personally to get organized and stay organized, and though I'm not completely intolerant of temporary messes, I really dislike when items or information have no rhyme or reason. Sometimes disorganized people claim they don't have time to organize stuff, but for me, you LOSE a lot of time sifting through stacks of paper or scrolling through lists of files every time you're trying to find something. Organize it once, and then keep it up.

        Easier said than done, of course!

        It helps that I LIKE to organize. I love systems and lists, always have. So organizing things isn't usually all that intimidating to me, even if it's a big job. I like developing a system and then populating the system. It's satisfying.

        Because I own a lot of STUFF and am not a minimalist, at first glance some people think I have some cluttering tendencies. It's not clutter to me at all. It's decoration or collection and it is organized.

        When other people aren't organized, especially if we've got to get a job done, it really drives me up the wall. When I have to wait because someone can't find or lost the paper; when I get held up because someone scheduled irresponsibly and I have to change my plans; when someone expects me to work with files that aren't in any order and apply impractical techniques to finding what I need; I get really irritated.

        Tuesday, June 12, 2018

        The Tone Argument

        Had a disappointing conversation with a stranger over the weekend that ended when she exited the discussion via the tone argument

        Tone argument, as discussed on RationalWiki:

        The tone argument (also tone policing) is a logical fallacy that occurs when an argument is dismissed or accepted on its presentation: typically perceived crassness, hysteria or anger. Tone arguments are generally used by tone trolls (esp. concern trolls) as a method of positioning oneself as a Very Serious Person.

        The fallacy relies on style over substance. It is an ad hominem attack, and thus an informal fallacy.  

        I'll first say I expected her to do something like this before I even started talking to her. A couple of weeks before, she had barged into a conversation I was having with someone else to say that we should ~calm down~ because there was just too much ~negativity~ from "both sides." That's generally a red flag--when someone interprets any argument as "angry" and equally the fault of the folks having said argument, they tend to be incapable of actually having conversations that include disagreements. They will almost always interpret any response at all as an attack, and will try to use the fact that you're continuing the conversation at all as proof that YOU are over-invested. (They, of course, are not.)

        We were not arguing about anything that really mattered. My conversation partner and I, with the participation of several other people, were trying to determine the approximate ages of some cartoon characters based on context clues. My position was that the information we've been given on that topic is explicitly contradictory sometimes, since I can name some evidence that should make them older teens and some evidence that should make them at least mid-twenties. And my conversation partner's position, apparently, was based on evidence she made up.

        That sounds uncharitable, so I'll elaborate: She "remembered" that a character had claimed she started her current job the summer before she graduated high school, and since the character has said in the show that she started the job two summers ago, that should give us a pretty narrow range for her age. The problem was that the character did NOT say anything about graduating high school during this scene (well, or ever). So I countered, saying that line was not spoken.

        And she argued that it was. That she remembered it had been. I reiterated that no it was not, and she wrote an infuriating little line about how we'll have to "agree to disagree" unless I want to show her a transcript. Her response even had a little freaking heart emoji at the end of it.

        ?????? How are you going to agree to disagree about something objectively provable as true or not true, easily verifiable by looking it up yourself or verifying it yourself?

        As the conversation progressed, I had been showing other contradictory bits of info to the others in the group, and one clump of facts appeared in a tie-in book written by the writers of the show. It was a messy bit of contradiction where a character identified himself as a "teen," which would make him at the oldest nineteen, but then claimed an altercation occurred "fifteen years ago," which would have made him at most four years old at the time. We'd seen a flashback in the show of this altercation and the character was an older grade-schooler, definitely not just out of toddlerhood. 

        The same person attacked this evidence too, but she did not attack the evidence itself. She attacked its legitimacy: First by saying she did not think it counted as "canon" because it was in a book not in the show (even though it was written by the same people who write the show), and second by LITERALLY SAYING I MIGHT BE LYING ABOUT WHAT'S IN IT.

        And the way she said it was also super obnoxious. She said there was "no way of knowing" whether the information I was sharing was true, and she's ~not being mean or anything~ but you see, she only believes facts. 

        No way of knowing.

        Oh, you mean just like there's apparently no way of knowing whether a specific line was spoken in a publicly available episode of the show and we'll just have to "agree to disagree" based on your right to treat your incorrect memory like it's as valid as my quote?

        I honestly don't even know how to respond to people like this. People who claim they operate on facts, who then nevertheless plant their feet and refuse to accept verified facts that are spoon-fed to them, and also refuse to pursue their own evidence?

        Like, I know, I KNOW that cartoon characters' ages aren't a big deal. But people who refuse to discuss issues honestly and roadblock conversations by claiming there's JUST NO WAY TO KNOW SOMETHING? What are you even DOING?

        So I laid into her right there. I told her she is not behaving like a person who likes "facts"; people who like facts are happy to go look at them. If you actually want to know whether something you haven't verified is true, you ask for the information you need. For instance, when I see someone claiming that something I've never heard before is "confirmed," I ask, "where?" I don't imply it isn't confirmed, and I certainly don't respond to their statement by saying "WELL THERE'S NO POSSIBLE WAY OF KNOWING WHETHER THAT'S TRUE WITHOUT SEEING THE STATEMENT IS THERE HEART-EMOJI?" No, man. If you want information, you pursue it on your own or ask for it. If you haven't heard of or read this book I'm quoting from, and you want to be sure I'm representing it accurately, ask for a dang picture of the page! I found her behavior incredibly disingenuous and I told her so.

        When I got a notification on my phone that she'd replied to the thread a while later, my very first thought was this:

        I bet it's the tone argument.

        Spoiler: It was.

        She came back to the conversation just to tell me her doubt (and manner of delivering it) was totally reasonable because she personally hadn't heard of my sources, and she's leaving the conversation because my attitude is inappropriate. "We don't need to communicate like that," she said, like she was talking to a misbehaving preschooler, "and I choose not to."

        As is typical for tone-argument users, her response attempts to shame me and assign emotion to my words that does not belong there . . . you know, while not acknowledging that she literally REPEATEDLY called me a liar, and claimed there is not a possible way to determine whether I am inventing the information I'm offering.

        Nope. As they say in the South, not today, Satan. You will not pleasantly exit the conversation assured that you are the bigger person here. Some people think it's mature or level-headed to put conversations to bed with pearl-clutching over another person's bad manners, but that doesn't work very well if the other person has NOT spoken inappropriately. My continuing the conversation including increased detail and increased insistence that she LOOK AT THESE FACTS SHE SUPPOSEDLY LOVES is born of her lack of rationality, not some mythical overinvestment from me.

        So I told her the tone argument is very common with people like her who can't admit their mistakes and want an easy way to escape a conversation, blaming their partner's inappropriate emotional investment instead of looking at themselves. I told her I knew what she was doing. And I told her next time she isn't sure about a fact, she should ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW/WHERE SHE CAN VERIFY IT instead of writing weird smug statements about how it's impossible to know the truth. The truth on something like this is so freaking EASY to find! It's not even an opinion! It's not even an interpretation of an opinion! 

        I'm trying to have a conversation about this topic based on information that exists out there, but we can't do that if you won't stop dismissing whatever I say as not counting because you, personally, refuse to perform a basic fact check. THAT is what's rude and inappropriate--repeatedly calling your conversation partner a liar--and THAT is why you are receiving an escalation in the detail of my responses. You do not get to tell other people their info isn't good enough for you (for no apparent reason), and then act like your discourse has been perfectly polite just because you SAY you haven't been mean. You don't have to swear at me or call me names to be engaging inappropriately. You absolutely did engage inappropriately.

        Now, if the way someone is talking to you is making you uncomfortable, you're welcome to leave the conversation at any time. I don't begrudge her that. But I am side-eyeing the hell out of someone who repeatedly refuses to acknowledge facts while claiming only facts are good enough for her, and who finally nopes out of the conversation when I back her into a corner saying "why won't you look at this? this is exactly what you asked for. why isn't it satisfying what you claimed were your doubts about this issue?" What this shows is that it was actually never about "facts." (Surprise.) It was about pride, and about inability to admit wrongdoing, and about the disappointingly typical refusal of responsibility for one's own education.

        If this is how she responds to explicitly verifiable facts that I VERIFIED REPEATEDLY AND PUT IN FRONT OF HER, God, I would HATE to see her debate something more questionable, or something that matters a hair more than cartoon characters' ages. 

        And that tone argument response? The only thing surprising about her using it was that it took as long as it did for her to pull it out.

        Given what I learned about her in that conversation, I'd bet you anything she's a "both sides" advocate to the extent that she thinks bigots deserve just as much a right to a platform as civil rights activists because it's their opinion. I bet she blames oppressed people for rioting and for peaceful demonstrations alike because all lives matter. I bet she goes out of her way to defend the free speech of people who lie and troll because they have rights too, though I'm sure if she was on the receiving end of it then she'd say their attitudes have disqualified them from civil discourse with her. I don't know this person, but the way she talks is so condescending, hypocritical, and sanctimonious--I just don't know how to have a conversation with someone so intellectually dishonest. How is a rational person supposed to handle a discussion that was essentially this?

        Me: We don't have this fact, so we don't know this information.
        Her: You're wrong, this fact was revealed here!
        Me: No, that was not said.
        Her: It was too, I remember that it was.
        Me: It wasn't though, if you believe otherwise you should go check.
        Her: Let's agree to disagree! Unless you want to show me! I will only believe facts! <3
        Me: But here is a fact. And here is where the fact is displayed. Please look at it.
        Her: We don't know that's a fact though, you could be making that up!
        Me: But I'm NOT, I'm quoting from something that objectively exists, and is easy for you to check yourself if you don't believe my description.
        Her: Hey, it's not unreasonable for me to doubt you over and over again no matter how much evidence you gave me that I literally asked for! Gosh you're so rude! I'm not talking to someone so rude anymore, and I haven't been rude myself because I insert emoji hearts and flounce conversations by saying "have a good day!"

        Wow, really.

        Saturday, June 9, 2018

        Personal Digest Saturday: June 2 – June 8

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday I did a cute drawing of Steven Universe characters and prepared my blogging. Also spent a bunch of time filling in a cool chart that shows which markers I currently own in my Copic set. Then at night I had to deal with really gross rotten potatoes. (I had bought them at the store and they turned out to be rotten the NEXT DAY.)
        • Sunday I was supposed to go to Queer Brunch but there were speed bumps with the person who was driving me there and I didn't really feel like it anyway. I made some cookies, though. I did laundry, played with one of my websites, and got some messages answered.
        • Worked on a letter at work. Spent the evening playing around making cute GIFs of Steven Universe characters. (This time, it was a GIFset of a bunch of times Steven hugs Garnet in the show. He always hugs her around the knees because he's so small and she's so tall, and it's really cute!)
        • Tuesday I had to wrestle with an uncooperative FTP site at work. Also had to deal with a hefty letter (they're usually 2 pages; this one was 5). My co-worker drove me home and I did some drawing. (Mom was supposed to visit but she didn't feel up to it.)
        • Wednesday I had to work on utility coordination. I got stuck working a little late because of glitches on finishing some brochures, but Jeaux was patient about waiting for me. He picked me up and we ate at Golden Corral, and then we went grocery shopping and listened to Welcome to Night Vale. I drew some of my webcomic.
        • Thursday I did more utility stuff and we finally got our package sent to the project manager. Also, I found a rock outside the office that looked just like a potato, so I took it home. After work I hung out with Mom and we had some pasta, and she tried to help me with curtains but we didn't have the energy to finish. My outdoor furniture covers finally arrived so after she left I took my patio furniture outside for the first time. Shortly after, it rained ridiculously while I was watching cartoons and drawing, so I guess it got broken in really fast!
        • Friday was quiet--I finished a report for my boss and our newest employee visited the office, and she wanted to give me some of her old clothes. Haha. I left work and rode the bus too far because I was engrossed in reading, so I had to turn around and get the bus back. Then Victor came over to help me make a three-way sub sandwich! He was having some trouble with his leg misbehaving though so it was kind of stressful because we didn't know if it would go away and he couldn't balance very well. I didn't want him to lurch around the kitchen so I made the bread dough myself and he just helped me fill the sandwich, but we got to eat it! We also watched Despicable Me 3 and some music videos.

        New reviews of my book:

        Interviews, Articles, Mentions:
        Reading progress:
          New singing performances:

          This week's song was "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.

          Stuff Drawn:

          Pearl and Greg talking out their differences.
          It's hard when you loved and lost the same person.
          Random shiny Garnet pencil sketch I did.

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0682: "Simpler."

          New videos:


          New photos:

          Proper kitchen safety while making cookies!
          Rock I found that looks just like a potato
          Enjoying the hot day at the bus stop!
          Rock potato at home in my patio area.
          The three-way sub Victor and I made.
          We tried to eat it together.
          Victor's enjoying his.
          I'm enjoying mine!

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,272 for swankivy (9 new), 673 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 946 for swankivy (4 new), 1,320 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 295 friends (1 new--I accepted a friend request from someone I met at Jessie's wedding) and 201 followers (no change) for swankivy, 653 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 56 likes for Negative One (no change), 138 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,521 (1 new). Instagram followers: 144 (no change).

          Wednesday, June 6, 2018

          Wednesday Factoid: Starting the Day

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's the best way to start the day?

          My answer's pretty unoriginal. I love getting out of bed and having coffee.

          Unfortunately, most days (the days I go to work), I don't do this. I get up and get ready to go out and I don't have coffee until I go to the office.

          Maybe it's because I want to drink it leisurely--I don't want to be rushed through a cup of coffee.

          When I have it at home on a weekend morning, it's just the best. Just sets such a great tone for a day. Drinking coffee and checking out messages or notifications or whatever, checking out news and posts from my friends. That's such a nice relaxing way to start a day.

          Tuesday, June 5, 2018

          "Congressional District Census"? Propaganda and money grab, same thing.

          Last night I received an official-looking envelope that I initially mistook for a jury duty summons.

          It wasn't. It was some weird fake mail from a Republican organization urging me to a) answer a survey designed to confirm the rightness of their agenda and b) send them money.

          I don't know where they got my name from. They know my congressional district and my full name and mailing address, so it must have been taken from somewhere official, but since the introductory letter and the survey made it 100% clear they believed "Republicans" and "Conservatives" was a "we" here (and therefore they had no problem screeching a bunch of incendiary things about, you know, the groups I actually identify with), I am sort of alarmed that I have somehow become misidentified as sympathetic to Conservative causes. 

          (I'm not.)

          So! A lengthy survey begged me to fill it out so Republicans can better represent their constituents, and it was accompanied by a four-page letter full of alarmist phrases, apparently designed to leave me feeling that me and my fellow Real Americans are Under Attack and our very way of life is Threatened, and that giving them my opinion and my money will help save the country from Them. (It's disturbing how often the phrase "take our country back" is uttered without ever naming a From Whom. When pressed, usually the weasel words come out about what "we" must protect: Our Values, Our Children, Our Rights, Our Legacy. Guess what those values are, and whose children they actually want to protect, though? They're not interested in preserving a way of life for me and mine, that's for sure.)

          After screaming at me for four pages about how Critical it is that I Save Our Country with my generous donation, I guess the senders of the letter believe they have me primed to answer the survey how they want. I've been pep-talked into feeling like Decent People Like Me are losing a battle against political correctness, forced diversity, unrestricted immigration, high taxes, and hippies who want to take my guns away. What confronts me now is the most laughably biased survey I think I've ever read.

          To give you some idea, they start by asking me to declare my political alignment. I am given five flavors of types of Republicans to pick from. At the bottom, I have "Democrat" and "Other." As if it wasn't clear enough who they expect to hear from and which boxes they don't really want to know anything specific about, you then get questions about WHICH of these multiple-choice options you think are the most important (and 90% of them are specific Conservative talking points), questions about whether political correctness is out of control, and intensely biased phrasing on prompts like "Do you believe the national media has a strong bias against all things Donald Trump and Republican and fails to tell America's voters the real facts about Republican policies, principles, goals, and accomplishments?"

          They ask me if Obamacare should be fixed or just kicked out entirely. (You know, making it clear that there is no option that doesn't admit it's "broken.") 

          They announce that vetting can't be controlled from certain terrorist countries and, given that, do I think we should ban immigration from them entirely? 

          They start a ton of sentences with "Do you agree that" and then ramble about creating jobs, cutting taxes, and making America great, drawing assumed conclusions between their policies and these results, forcing you to say you don't want prosperity or better employment opportunities at all if you disagree with the Republican proposals to achieve them. 

          They state outright that Obama's term was full of "unconstitutional" legislation and want to know if I agree that these should be canceled because they--and I am not making this up--"destroy freedom."

          They put "climate change" in scare quotes while stating as a fact that Democrats' "fixation" on this has created unnecessary regulations that are totally crippling business. They make a STATEMENT out of that, and then ask if I think climate change is a threat. 

          They bundle an anti-crime statement with a bit about how the law enforcement officers are under attack and experiencing too much violence. That's what they're talking about here when it comes to crime. That the POLICE are at risk. Nothing at all about the major problems with, oh, police murdering black people and not facing consequences typical for murder.

          Okay, you know what? Putting aside how laughably transparent this is, how dirty this is, how vile it is that they pretend to want your opinion but are going out of their way to make you answer a certain way . . . 

          Objectively, these questions are worded horribly if the survey wants to yield honest answers.

          I know, I know, they in no way are looking for differing opinions or anything beyond confirmation of their beliefs, which they will not honestly report anyway; they're looking for a way to create solidarity with people who already agree with them (and maybe they'll send money because they feel like they're Helping!), but . . . really?

          A child studying bias in middle school could smell the slant on this a mile away.

          I mean, if you want to talk about fake news, deliberately programming people to answer a certain way and *not giving them options to answer differently* is NOT ACTUALLY A SURVEY.

          This survey is "So, are you a Real one of US? You are, right? We are talking to you assuming you are, and that any Good Person who is With Us agrees with these things, and we want your opinion as long as it's the one we're angling for. Give us money and use your own stamp to tell us 'yes' in all the places we already think yes, confirm that we're right about things, and obliviously bleat Patriotic and Nationalistic phrases with no recognition that our language pressures you to agree with us." 

          Ugh the crap at the bottom asking for money even has a box for you to check that says "I am enclosing $15 to help pay for the cost of processing my Census document."

          Are you serious.

          You sent me this pretending you want my opinion but you're going to end the survey shaming me for making you process what I said without paying for the privilege.

          Look guys. I know some members of your audience are easily hoodwinked but good lord, you should be embarrassed by this. By how incendiary, how blatantly intolerant, how shamelessly biased this is. I know, I know it's nothing more than a thinly disguised excuse to ask people for money. But please. Don't pretend I was "selected" to voice my opinion and give me no way to do it. Don't squeal about some mythical "us" with a common enemy when you're making caricature villains out of my siblings. 

          And don't pretend you want to know what I think when this survey is designed to tell me what I should be thinking.