Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wednesday Factoid: Insult to Pet Name

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

Wow, well that's a loaded question!

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

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

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

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

Monday, February 25, 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Personal Digest Saturday: February 16 – February 22

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

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

My diet progress: 

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

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

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

    Stuff Drawn:

    Obsidian smells the flowers!

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

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

    New videos:


    New photos:

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

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

    Wednesday, February 20, 2019

    Wednesday Factoid: Decision to Work

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?

    When I moved to Tampa in 2006, I had just spent six years in a retail job and was pretty tired of the low wages, difficult work, and disrespectful people (both customers and management). I wanted a new scene, and I wanted an opportunity to build a future with my wages instead of just subsisting, so I looked for something more stable and specialized. I wanted to try using my skills in organization, language, and technology to do administrative work.

    I mainly wanted a job in some field of administration because I perceived it to mostly be not very stressful and to function as a support position for someone or a group of someones who had big decisions to make. I would therefore be able to be helpful without needing to occupy a lot of my mental space in making decisions. (And what's funny is I had to put a LOT of effort into decision-making as a retail employee, even though I was not in management.)

    I applied for a host of administrative positions when I first got to Tampa, from support in the office of my old high school to secretarial work for medical offices. I registered at two temp agencies. I responded to online job openings. And finally I was offered a position as an administrative assistant for a transportation engineering consultant.

    And I did that job for ten years.

    After the Florida office was shut down by our corporate office, I accepted a similar job for another transportation engineering consultant.

    I've been in this job for about two years.

    Why? These kinds of jobs satisfy every requirement I have for a day job. They have been relatively low stress (though of course like any job there are pockets of stress if there's a deadline or some challenging training). They allow me to be useful and even essential sometimes supporting other workers (in this case, engineers). They are not physically demanding jobs. They pay very well and provide health care benefits. They allow me to retain the creative energy to WANT to apply myself to my other passions when I get home.

    I do not believe that what puts cash in someone's wallet must also be what they're passionate about. I think a lot of people compromise a lot for the chance to work in their field, even if it doesn't satisfy what they love about that field. Like, as an example, if a writer wants to write for a living and they get a job writing for advertising even though they really want to write fiction, they may find that even though they're writing for a living, they're not able to do the personal projects they want to do--and on top of that, they're using their creative energy for projects that don't satisfy their creative urges, so they don't have the energy for their own stuff anymore. I'm sure plenty of people can compartmentalize and may not be affected by this, but this is just an example of how "working in your field, but not on your terms" can backfire. If I'm not being paid for doing what I want to do anyway, I might as well have a day job that is quite separate from my creative work. That's what's worked well for me, anyway.

    And in the case of my current and former workplace, I have been fortunate to work for a boss who respects employees' personal lives. Both my previous and my current boss have been lenient when it comes to granting time off for personal needs and granting reasonable sick time. My retail job was so much the opposite of this that getting a day off required a fight or a negotiation, and then STILL sometimes a manager would literally LIE to put me back on the schedule after time off had been approved, claiming I hadn't actually gotten the approvals I'd gotten or claiming I'd failed to confirm a day off and only relenting when I submitted proof of my arrangements. It's nice to work for conscientious adults who don't try to manipulate or dishonestly pressure workers who deserve dignity.

    It really makes me want to do a good job for them since they create a pleasant working atmosphere for me.

    Saturday, February 16, 2019

    Personal Digest Saturday: February 9 – February 15

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I got a much-needed sleep and cleaned up my house a little. My mom came over and visited for a bit, bringing my belated birthday gift: a record player (with bluetooth capability) to replace the system that hasn't been working. Woohoo! We watched some videos and chatted. In the evening I did some sketching and talked to Meggie on the phone.
    • Sunday I did laundry and finished my sketches. Finally got to post this comic I'd been working on. I also did karaoke and did some editing.
    • Monday I had several letters to work on at the office. After work I played DDR and talked to Jeaux because he was considering applying for a sideways move at the job he works at.
    • Tuesday I sent some stuff at the post office and took a paid ride to work. We had a meeting and lots of technical difficulties. I spent the rest of the day cleaning up some of the detritus from the meeting and then after work I went home and played DDR. Talked to Jeaux again--he applied for the position. I also made a video.
    • Wednesday it was rainy so I had to get a paid ride again. I tried to help my mom with a couple things--she wants to meet with her financial adviser again and I helped, and I investigated some mysterious notices she got about her taxes. After work I drew a picture of Garnet and then I took Jeaux out to eat at Carrabba's because he got the position. I also processed the subtitles on my new video and watched a silly show with Jeaux.
    • Thursday was tiring. I didn't get much done anywhere. Victor and I talked and I drew some of my comic. I did share my cute drawing and my new video online because they were associated with Valentine's Day. Also an interview with me was published--about comics!
    • Friday I had to help with computer troubleshooting at the office and update a bunch of reports. After work I got frustrated because my computer keeps doing this thing where it installs an update that makes me unable to use my Microsoft Word, which I needed to complete my webcomic. This time, the uninstall fix I have used many times to combat this did not work. I had to scramble to install the right fonts on another machine and get it done. Barely made it. It's so annoying that this update has been KNOWN to break Microsoft Office programs for the last five months and they won't fix it--just keep forcing update installs and breaking my computer, and apparently the update is mainly to make a needed change to the Japanese calendar (which I don't use).
    • Victor and I decided to start a YouTube channel together. It's called v & V. We only have one extremely long video about Victor trying to see if this alcohol will get him drunk. But soon we will make better videos when we get around to it. Subscribe to us! We have no subscribers.
    Articles, Interviews, Mentions:

    My diet progress: 

    • Lost another half pound, which is again not as fast as I wanted. Down to 115.5.

    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's karaoke song is "Stay (I Missed You)" by Lisa Loeb.

      Stuff Drawn:

      My sweet sketch comic "Spend It" was finished this week. It's about Steven Universe, but you don't need to know anything about the show to enjoy it this time. (It's Amethyst trying to teach Pearl to sleep.) 

      And here is a Garnet Valentine.

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0718: "Smallest."

      New videos:

      Love & Romance: A video with a message for asexual and aromantic people on Valentine's Day.

      The almost two-hour video on Drinking Experiments that Victor and I made together. He has never been drunk and was trying to change that.

      New photos:

      Cool promo cards I got in advance of the Steven Universe trading card set coming out soon
      The bus ads are pretty creepy these days.
      Two of my three White Diamond pins came in!
      (She's a Steven Universe villain.)
      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,234 for swankivy (3 new), 673 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Twitter followers: 960 for swankivy (lost 2), 1,344 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 650 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 145 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (no change). Instagram followers: 170 (2 new).

      Saturday, February 9, 2019

      Personal Digest Saturday: February 2 – February 8

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday Victor and I hung out a little more since he had spent the night. We ate our Universal Yums box and decided soon we'll start a YouTube channel together. We watched some silly shows and after he left I did my blogging, made some silly GIFs, and redecorated my house for the late winter season. It looks all snowflakey.
      • Sunday I did laundry and dishes, cleaned my outdoor table but didn't sit out there because it was a wet day, and posted some photos. I did my karaoke and my message answering. And my friend Kari came over and we caught up, ate pizza, and watched cartoons. She gave me a belated birthday gift which was a Mr. Queasy handmade figure! I was so happy. I spent the rest of the night just responding to messages and getting distracted.
      • Monday I didn't go to work because I had a training class! I had coffee at home and took a Lyft downtown to go to this Excel class. The class was okay. A little tiresome but actually my lunch was really good. After the class was over I walked to the nearby art store and spent too much money. :/ Went home and just fell asleep. I woke up during the wee hours and organized some website stuff to update my collections.
      • Tuesday I went to work on no sleep. Had three coffees and a soda. Not much going on at the office! I drew some pictures to sketch out a comic but it's not done. Arthur picked me up and we had Thai food and watched Twin Peaks. After he left I completed the sketches for the comic but didn't finalize it. I slept.
      • Wednesday I did some mail catch-up and worked. Also edited a comic script for a friend and shopped for yummy cookies at the health food store. I went around offering them to the others at work. There was weird drama on the bus that morning. Jeaux picked me up and we ate at Which Wich?, shopped at Winn-Dixie, and watched The Incredibles 2. Fell asleep soon after.
      • Thursday I finished reading a book on the bus and listened to/blogged the Steven Universe podcast. It was a really good one and my post about it got thousands of notes on Tumblr too. After work I talked to Victor on the phone while drawing, like usual.
      • Friday traffic was weird and I waited for the bus forever, so I ended up taking a Lyft to work. Turned out it was probably the Fair's fault. I worked and got a bunch of stuff done. Critiqued someone's quiz for them and did some doodles. I finished posting the comic and spent the evening playing Dance Dance Revolution and working on my sketch comic that still isn't done.
      My diet progress: 

      • Lost another half pound, which is not as fast as I wanted. 116 isn't bad though.

      Reading progress:
      • Finished this week:  Drunk Monkeys Anthology Volume 3 by Matthew Guerruckey. Five-star review.
      • Currently readingLittle House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
        New singing performances:

        This week's karaoke song is "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" by Kate Bush.

        Stuff Drawn:

        A boredom doodle from during Excel class

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0717: "Under Control."

        New videos:


        New photos:

        Universal Yums from Germany
        Some photos of my Mr. Queasy gift from Kari:

        My new dance shoes
        A sweaty selfie after DDR

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,231 for swankivy (lost 4), 675 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 962 for swankivy (1 new), 1,345 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (lost 1, don't know who) and 207 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 649 likes for JulieSondra (lost 3), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 145 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (no change). Instagram followers: 168 (no change).

        Wednesday, February 6, 2019

        Wednesday Factoid: Surprises

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you like or dislike surprises?

        Mostly dislike. Occasionally it's fine, like surprising me with something you know I want or a fun gift, or happening to enjoy something I was not expecting to enjoy.

        Usually I prefer that people not attempt to surprise me.

        Partly because they're not that good at it, and partly because I tend to not appreciate having my schedule disrupted.

        I prefer to be able to plan my time, and even if someone "knows" I'm free (as in, that I'll be home), I likely have plans for the time and may have budgeted it so I can do something specific. Or I may not have a specific plan but still don't want the time diverted to something I now have to be polite about and pretend to appreciate. Even if I really like the thing I'm being surprised with, I will usually be irritated by not being given decent notice.

        The worst kind of surprise involves a demand on my time or unnecessary active deception.

        I have had to wrangle surprises before that required me to have company at a different time or for a longer period than I was ready for, and I don't like when someone just shows up and figures I can drop everything and hang out (and of course it is impolite for me to say that I do not want to hang out). Asking about a hangout will involve a much more cheerful, fully present version of me that wants to be with you. A surprised version of me may be genuinely glad to see you but salty about having to give up whatever I had planned or may just not be in a mood for company and is now grumpy that she must now put on a face.

        I remember when I was in high school I asked permission to throw a graduation party and my mom turned me down flat. I was actually startled as hell because I thought of course it would be cool to plan a party for something as big as graduating high school, and I wasn't being told that was a bad day or whatever--I was just full stop told that I was not allowed to have a graduation party. And though I don't remember fully what we said, I do seem to recall my mom saying I would be taken out to dinner to celebrate and "that should be enough."

        I was really upset.

        I called my friend to talk about it and she was silent for a moment, and then she was like "Okay, I have to tell you something." Turned out my mom had already started planning a "surprise" graduation party and my friends all knew. I was going to be taken to a restaurant as a distraction so everyone else could go set up at the house, so we could have the whole big walk-in-the-door/yell-SURPRISE! thing.

        I was relieved after that, because it explained why my mom was acting so weird about it and being so unnecessarily firm, almost making me think I was being selfish or greedy asking to have a party, when really she just didn't want to ruin the surprise.

        But after thinking about it longer, I was angry. I didn't tell anyone, but I was. And I continue to be angry about the principle. For this situation, my mother was willing to deceive me and even respond to my being dismayed and upset by shutting me down very hard, just so the surprise wouldn't be ruined. Is a surprise worth that? Who is this celebration FOR? If I have to feel like my mom doesn't consider my graduation worthy of celebrating for a while before we actually celebrate--if she KNOWS I'm feeling rejected and weird about it--if the preservation of the surprise is way more important than the preservation of my feelings--then how is it worth it to keep me in the dark?

        A better way to handle that would have been to try to talk me out of it and then tell me they had been planning to surprise me. My friend sensed that immediately--knew that if someone didn't tell me, it would cast a dark shadow on what was supposed to be a good day. And because of her, I knew what to expect; I was prepared for it emotionally and physically; I had the opportunity to clean up my room and not look like a giant pig; I knew in the weeks preceding that my mom DID care about the milestone. It could have been such a disaster if nobody had told me. I probably would have been really irritated about the surprise if I had spent those weeks swallowing disappointment and probably being kind of bitter on the day of.

        All things considered, it's just a high school party, but more than twenty years later I still think about this when people ask me if I like to be surprised.  

        Years later, my mom tried to surprise me with a party to celebrate my book release. I had told her I didn't want to socialize on that day and I just wanted to hide, and she was dismayed; "you have to do SOMETHING," she said. I said I preferred not to. When she asked if I was going to be home on that day, I figured something was happening, so I basically conceded and told my mom okay, okay, for these designated hours I will be home and I won't die if you come bring me a cake or something.

        And then two friends and my sister spilled the beans to me that my mom was inviting people to my house and organizing food and gifts. I understood she was just trying to do something nice for me even though it wasn't in line with how I wanted to spend release day, so we reached a decision to limit the time they would spend there and it was honestly just so, so much nicer to not be startled by unexpected stuff and suddenly expected to socialize on a day that was emotional for me.

        (Seriously, whatever an author wants to do on her release day, even if it doesn't make sense to you . . . support her, really.)

        In retrospect I'm glad she made it possible for me to have a memorable mark of the occasion, and buying into it being a surprise meant I didn't have to worry about any of the planning (score!!), but I doubt I would have felt the same way if I had been honestly surprised.

        Saturday, February 2, 2019

        Personal Digest Saturday: January 26 – February 1

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday I cleaned up some junk lying around and then went out with Dad and Connie for a belated birthday lunch! They took me to Which Wich? and we all had tasty, healthy food. We got to catch up a bit and hang out, and I showed them my animatronic Yoda, and then after they left I got my blogging done and updating some Internet stuff, plus some slacking off.
        • Sunday it rained all day so I couldn't go do my outside table stuff. I got a lot of stuff done; I wrote and recorded a video, updated a bunch of subtitles that were displaying incorrectly on my videos, and drew a new issue of my writing comic. Did some laundry and website updates too.
        • Monday I had to handle some small business certification stuff at work. I also communicated with my agent about future book stuff, though I don't know if she'll be interested in repping the books I have lying around. At home I played DDR, took a shower, and tuckered out.
        • Tuesday I did more conversation with my agent and some answers to YouTube comments. And work involved more small business research. My friend Arthur picked me up and we ate Thai food and watched Twin Peaks. I did some reading for one of my old manuscripts and draw a picture of characters hugging.
        • Wednesday I had a slow day at work, did some reading for the book I'll send my agent, and went to dinner with Jeaux at Applebee's. We shopped at Target and hung out at my house after. I went to sleep and woke up early to blog a podcast.
        • Thursday after I did the podcast blogging I slept a little before going to work. Another sort of slow day there. Also helped my mom with getting some paperwork signed, hooray. When I got home I played DDR again and yet again it wiped me out and I fell asleep early, though I did get my art done for the webcomic.
        • Friday was uneventful again at the office, though we had someone interview so that is cool. After work I hung out with Victor and we made a dish from an episode of Steven Universe which is referred to as "the finest steak and brie." (He made the steak, I made the potatoes and prepared the brie.) We had a good time! We ate our stuff, watched cartoons, and chatted until I got too tired.
        New reviews of my book:

        My diet progress: 

        • Down a whole half a pound. I'm weighing in at 116.5 these days.

        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week:  I was mostly focusing on reading my own stuff this week so I didn't spend much time on my in-progress book.
        • Currently readingDrunk Monkeys Anthology Volume 3 by Matthew Guerruckey.
          New singing performances:

          This week's karaoke song is "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler.

          Stuff Drawn:

          Pearl and Garnet after the war is finally over

          Webcomic So You Write Issue 92: "Minor Mistakes."

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0716: "Underestimating Me."

          New videos:

          Letters to an Asexual #56 is about people who think asexuality or asexuality activism must be my entire life if it's most of what I talk about on . . . my YouTube channel dedicated to asexuality . . . where I upload one video a month . . . yeah that's it. . . .

          New photos:

          Pretty nice sock collection, eh?
          New hair bows: I have bows inspired by Garnet, Amethyst,
          Pearl, Steven, and Cookie Cat! (I can't find the Rose Quartz one.)
          Our "finest steak and brie" experiment
          Victor and me with our food! :D

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,235 for swankivy (lost 5), 676 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 961 for swankivy (2 new), 1,345 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 296 friends (no change) and 208 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 145 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (no change). Instagram followers: 168 (no change).