Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sometimes TV Shows Lead to Deep Thinkin'

I was watching a television show the other day and thinking about how much I related to some of the characters. It was an interesting moment because I noticed that I could relate in some way to several of the characters, and then I realized that if I thought about it a bit more I could find a way to relate to ALL of the characters. Which made me realize that I might be able to try doing that with real people. Find commonalities with everyone, when possible. It was reassuring. At first I thought, "I'm not sure I'll be able to manage it with people I find abhorrent (members of hate groups, etc.)" But then it occurred to me that I do know what fear feels like, and that a lot of hate stems from fear, and I felt awful for those people who are so scared that their only recourse is to lash out with hate. (I'm not excusing them, mind, just trying to see the bigger picture.)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tweet Tweet

I recently joined Twitter. For years I have avoided getting involved in social media, but I'm working on that discomfort and finding wonderful things in the process.

It never occurred to me that Twitter would provide me with avenues of exploration I might not have otherwise found. Here is a good example:

It's a good way to disappear down an internet rabbit hole, but it's also a good way to learn things I know nothing about. I'm delighted.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Life Less Slapstick

Do you ever have those moments in which you can see your current situation as a sitcom? This has been happening to me often lately. I'll be going about some mundane task, and events will unfold as if it were an episode of I Love Lucy.

I was making coffee at work the other day, and already that sounds like the beginning of a story I never imagined I would tell because it means that I find myself in an office. Making coffee. For other people. In one of those commercial Bunn drip machines. Wait, I work in an office? With people? I'm not sure they thought it through when they hired me.

Anyhoo, making coffee requires several specific steps.
1. Get the tall airpot from the beverage counter, carry it to the tiny staff kitchen, and empty it of yesterday's dregs.
2. Get the large plastic pitcher with the Sharpie lines on the side that demarcate the correct amount of water for a full pot or half pot and fill it with water.
3. Carry the empty airpot and the pitcher full of water back to the beverage counter.
4. Place the open airpot under the filter basket.
5. Put a fresh filter and the appropriate amount of coffee into the basket and slide the basket into place on the machine.
6. Climb up onto a step stool (because I'm too short for any of this), remove the lid from the water pan, and pour the water from the pitcher into the screened opening.
7. As coffee begins to pour through from the basket, check to make sure airpot is aligned directly under the stream.
8. Once the coffee has stopped dripping, remove the airpot from under the basket, pop the pump into place, and press the lid closed until it snaps shut.
9. Remove basket from machine and empty used grounds and filter.

Optional Step #8: Once the coffee has stopped dripping, attempt to move airpot but inadvertently catch drippy lower part of basket on open airpot top. Pull airpot and basket, full of hot coffee grounds, down onto self, counter, floor, and open cupboard door. Commence virulent swearing. Remember am at work, with people, none of whom happen to be in yet, so keep swearing. Frantically wield huge, industrial roll of paper towels. Realize trying to clean up wet coffee grounds out of carpet without a Shop-Vac is madness. Desperately grab hand broom and attempt to sweep up grounds. Succeed in spreading grounds over larger area. Do best to clean up mess everywhere else, hoping fugly dark carpet will tell no tales. Look at self. Need wardrobe reconstruction. Go look in gym bag. Find only shirt and shoes, as apparently forgot to pack pants. Recommence swearing. End up spending day in work blouse and coffee-stained sweatpants.

I'm a winner!    

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Comfort of Death

For a few days I have been seeing cosplay photos of Death on tumblr and twitter. I think there must be a reason for all the pics, probably something to do with Mr. Gaiman himself, but whatever the instigating factor was I missed it.

It compelled me to dig through my old albums to find a photo of myself from Halloween 1997, which I promptly scanned, uploaded, and tweeted. NG retweeted it, as he has done with many similar photos, and people started responding with a like or a comment.

What I find wonderful about this is not the attention, which frankly gives me paroxysms of dread, but that all of these people are essentially celebrating death – a fairly uncommon occurrence in western society.

Which is why I love this girl, with her cheerful demeanor and friendly smile. She was the first personification of Death to comfort me, and I recall being intensely grateful to Neil Gaiman (and Mike Dringenberg) for creating her. She made the whole inevitable outcome of life seem less scary. Don't ask me to explain how she managed that small miracle.

Later, I would come to know and equally love Terry Pratchett's Death. The Discworld reaper made me laugh, wince, and weep at his humanity, and the idea of him consoled me when he came for his creator far too soon. (That's not altogether true. I cried loudly, embarrassingly, and with little provocation for weeks after Sir Terry left us, and still do from time to time.)

What I'm trying, ineloquently, to say is that I marvel at how these characters changed me. It is awe-inducing. I am indebted to their authors for soothing a fear (an innate, instinctual fear) I had never previously been able to reconcile. Along with, you know, being generally extraordinary and writing many of the best books I've read.

I'm telling you, folks. Books can change the world.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fear (Or How Not to Write a Blog)

Blogging requires persistence and a willingness to overshare with strangers on teh internets. I'm a persistent chickie, often annoyingly so, but that sharing thing? Scary.

I can't compose a blog post without reading it, rereading it, editing it, saving it as a draft, reconsidering what I wrote, wondering if I'm going to offend anyone, trying not to upset anyone, getting frustrated because I'm tired of trying to be perfect, staring at the words until they start to not make sense, questioning my own opinions, and fearing a backlash because someone didn't like what I wrote.

Which is silly, because no one is reading this blog. That should be liberating, right? "Hey, no one is reading this! Write WHATEVER YOU WANT."

To be frank, I honestly do not understand how people who suffer from anxiety can be so open online. I see it so frequently. Blogger says s/he has anxiety issues. Blogger is capable of writing copious content, sharing intimate details, and interacting with strangers all the time. HOW? I mean, I know anxiety comes in many flavors, but how do they do it without the worry eating them alive? Someone tell me so I can trade in my brand of anxiety for a better model. I'm nervous just typing this as a draft. If I hit "publish," concern over it will likely keep me awake tonight.

But I want to write. I've always wanted to write. And I recognize that my anxiety is keeping me from that. It's stopping me.

So. Putting this out there is me, kicking my anxiety in the junk. How ya like me now, mofo?

Thursday, May 12, 2016


For years my single greatest longing has been to do something beautiful. To leave this world better for having been in it. It's not an uncommon desire. Artists and philanthropists manage it all the time, and many of them do it despite the yoke of depression. I can't quite pin down, then, why it eludes me.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


When I began this blog, I began a simultaneous tumblr. I liked the medium and how easily I could discover other content that spoke to me. I joined and began posting mainly because I was looking for two things: a platform for self-expression and a wider community to join. Very quickly I discovered numerous blogs of interest. They covered everything from baby goats to the daily struggles of fellow spoonies. I was hooked.

And then things got ugly.

Because I was following so many different users, I started seeing some content I wasn’t equipped to handle. To be exact, I was suddenly bombarded with a ton of hate.

Some of it was piercing and succinct, like a vitriolic one-line comment full of racist bile. Some of it was in longer diatribes about why the writer felt justified in spewing nasty venom. Whatever the source, my highly sensitive mind didn’t deal very well.

I started feeling wary of opening tumblr, which was so not the point of the whole venture. I tried unfollowing a few of the users who were posting (usually reblogging) the disturbing content, but there’s no perfect algorithm that solves the problem.

It would be easy (it’s always easy) to find fault with myself in this situation. I should toughen up, etc. But I don’t really believe that. I have no issue when I read a well-reasoned argument for someone’s point of view, even if it is difficult to understand or sympathize with.

My problem is with pure, blatant hate speech. With people using the veil of internet anonymity to attack others. I feel battered, and so far the hatred has not even been directed at me. Not personally, anyway. My gender and my racial identity have been condemned, viciously labeled, verbally spat upon... but no biggie, right? Sticks and stones and all that.

I am conflicted. I’d like to ignore the hate, dismiss it, attribute it to the impetuous or simply ignorant. But I find it no easier to dismiss than the real world threats and fear mongering of politicians and religious extremists. Isn’t there enough of this in the world already?

Am I alone in thinking we could be better or kinder to one another?