Monday, October 7, 2013



Today you will discover something you ate is not what you thought you ate. You will like it. You will hunger for more


Today you will die.

  Not you specifically, all Tauruses.

The Culling has begun


 The only thing that can fill the empty void inside is even more void. You know what to do


 Today you will die.

You specifically.

Only you can read this.

All other Cancers have a different horoscope. A happy horoscope. A safe horoscope

But not you.

You will die.



 Run Run and never stop



Today you will learn that love is a hollow lie. But you may also get a compliment from an attractive co-worker!


 I'm sorry. I am SO sorry


You will start to notice changes in your life. Tiny changes in the world around you. Tiny insignificant changes you will be unable to put your finger on. Just enough change to make things feel 'wrong'. Just enough to make the familiar feel alien, the comforting feel callous, the sure feel unsure. Just enough change to drive you mad.

Not a good time for travel.


There are important questions you have been putting off. What are my plans for life? Where do I want to be in 5 years. How much do you bleed? It is time to start asking these questions.


Now is a good time to go out and talk to new people! Talk to as many people as you can. Because this week you are in danger of literally being crushed by silence. For your own safety talk to anyone about anything. Never stop talking.


When it happens, you will know. You will know and you will know it is what you deserve.


Today you will kill a Taurus.

One of you will kill a Cancer

Happy hunting!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

They Always Smile

This is a story about why I am the way I am; my confession if you will.

From about the time I was thirteen I knew my father didn't want to be part of my family. My mother and I were disappointments, signs that he failed in life. I tried most of my childhood and adult life to be a good enough child that he would want to be part of my life. I tried so hard to make it so I could believe that he loved me. When I turned 18 he left. With me now of legal age his obligation was done and he exited my life. I was left to pick up the responsibilities and to rebuild and clean up the mess he left. Where other people my age were dating or partying or focusing entirely on my studies I was trying to help put back the pieces of my family and build back up my mother's crushed psyche. My mother still hasn't recovered. I don't know she ever will. I don't know how you can ever fully recover from the idea that someone pretends to like you but can't stand you.

Even before I knew exactly what the problem was I knew there was something wrong with my father. My father yelled a lot. He broke things. He would become depressive and not talk to anyone after. He would disappear. I remember being always afraid as a child. One of my earliest memories was my father asking me to get him something from the basement and me hesitating afraid to go down. Not because I was afraid of the basement, but because I was afraid my father was sending me into some sort of trap to get rid of me. I was afraid the stairs were rigged and were going to collapse. That's not the only memory I have of that fear. The same thing happened being asked to go to the shed, or go for a drive with him. I wanted to love my father, but I was so scared. I felt guilty doubting he loved me.

I often had trouble at school; in addition to or maybe because of this. A few years ago cleaning out my mom's old collection of my elementary school stuff I found the results of a psyche test the guidance councilor had run. In the notes it read that I was "going to have a lot of trouble coming to terms with who their father is". 

When I was about ten years old, I did not have many friends. I was dealing with emotional problems and was a very fragile child. Even back then I felt anything I did wrong, any time I did not achieve perfection, it was letting my parents down and was ruining my family. Every less than perfect test wasn't just some academic grade, it was a failed opportunity to try to earn the loving family I wanted.  I thought that if I could be a good child that sort of thing might stop. But nothing I did was good enough (obviously). Every less than perfect grade would make me cry and beat myself up. Every failed sport or social activity the same. The other kids didn't like me because of this obviously. I was the freak. The cry baby. 

Despite all this, I was recognized as "gifted". Apparently, troubled but gifted. The guidance councilor pushed for me to enter more challenging classes and after school programs such as the Talented And Gifted program. That seemed to help with confidence. It was higher level material, thought puzzles, head start at advanced math etc. I thought I was getting better (in every sense of the word). I thought I could be someone people could be proud of. 

I even thought I had made a friend or two. That child's name was Justin. I forget his last name, but it's probably for the best. He was also in TAG. He was the golden child really. He really was everything I wasn't. slimmer, athletic (or at least not clumsy), confident, collected, popular. Justin was in TAG before me and ahead in a lot of areas. He knew chess strategy and openings when I was just playing around with it, he knew the start of trig when I was learning algebra. That sort of thing. He always was smiling. Always. 

He had teased me a bit before, but had seemed to warm up to me when I joined TAG. Getting to talk and know each other more in a less stressful intellectual environment put me at ease. It let me open up more. Justin befriended me, he encouraged me to open up to him and talk to him. There was a lot of joking at TAG, some of it barbed at my expense but I was trying to learn to go with that. Occasionally a comment he said really hurt my feelings and I would get made but he would smile and apologize. he was always smiling. Always. I would always forgive him. because that was the right thing to do.

It was about the time I started getting into some geeky things. I discovered the Star Wars books and loved them, started watching old twilight zones, and it was when Pokemon was first being exported into the states. I remember learning about this Pokemon game and really liking the idea, loving the first games. Justin seemed to share my interests and we talked about those sort of things all the time. He started having me join him and his friends at lunch. Instead of sitting alone we'd talk about Star Wars, Pokemon, ghosts and ghoulies and that sort of thing. I thought it was great that people seemed to finally start to like me rather than see me as some freak. Every day I could look forward to seeing Justin at lunch. He's smile when I sat down across from him. He was always smiling. Always.

Except there was a problem.  Gradually I started noticing shall we say...problems with the things Justin said. He seemed to love Pokemon and Starwars as much as me, but kept seeming to make elementary mistakes or say things that were blatantly false. I'm not talking about some bullshit fake geek girl stuff about trivia, but about basic things. Things that if you were being honest about liking the material should have known. I didn't like this. I didn't like being suspicious of someone. I thought it was just because of my father. I thought that I was crazy and stupid and beat myself up over being so untrusting. After worrying myself sick I tried an experiment, feeling full well that I was a freak for even thinking it. I would ask some questions of Justin or feed some obviously wrong info about the stuff we were talking about and see what he would do. He would correct me or ask why I was being stupid right? Then I could forget about the whole thing and move on. Justin never corrected me. He went along with whatever I was saying. 

I think my heart really did break when I figured out the truth. Justin didn't like what I liked. Not even a little. He just was going along with what I was saying like some cruel improv act. He didn't like me. Not even a little. He wasn't my friend. He thought I was funny, not funny haha but funny pathetic. I was their pet freak. They laughed at me behind my back. For nearly a year Justin lied to me and he smiled when he did it. 

I confronted Justin at lunch about this and he admitted it. He said he was toying with me for fun. He smiled when he said it. He was always smiling. Always.

I remember leaving the lunch room crying as people laughed at me. I had no friends. I had less than no friends. I was pathetic. I was a freak. Any sign of kindness was a lie. I had been feeling sick a lot after that. I didn't tell my parents what happened. It was about two weeks after the laughing moved from behind my back to my face that I went to the nurse's office feeling sick to my stomach. I had been there every day that week and was always sent back as a faker. I didn't want to be there any more, I didn't want to go to school. I didn't want to face smiling Justin. So after two weeks while I was waiting for the nurse to finish with a another kid I took the laces out of my sneakers and tried to strangle myself. 

The nurse heard me gagging and stopped me. I was sent for counseling. They somehow concluded I would be OK to stay in school and classes, but made me go for weekly sessions with the guidance councilor. I wasn't allowed to be in TAG anymore. 

I didn't let myself make friends after that for a long time. I learned that people were cruel, people couldn't be trusted. I learned people would toy with you and abuse you for no reason. I also learned that those sorts of people would abuse forgiveness. They would stomp on your heart week after week and then smile and apologize and guilt you into letting them close to you again. Other things just reinforced that. My father finally cut ties. My grandfather tried to steal the house from my grandmother. My uncle almost left me homeless  A boss exploited my eagerness to please and abused me; meddled into my personal life and bullied me with threats and insults. A guy I met from online had me over and basically jumped me, wouldn't take any signs or requests to back off or slow down and had to be fought off. Those events hurt, but I felt at least that I grew from them. I got very cautious of people. Very suspicious. I seemed to learn a lot of signs of lying, of abuse, of the horrible cycle of "forgiveness". After a while I thought I had built myself back up. That I was stronger, I was smarter, that I was wiser and wouldn't be fooled again. I could start to be more open, less guarded and talk to people again.  

Then today someone who seemed friendly on Twitter revealed that they were lying. They talked to me. They acted nice. They joked around with me. They acted as if they liked me. They didn't like me at all. They were pretending to do so to hurt people and laugh behind their back.

I was going to try to do art today. I was going to try to have fun with my spouse today. I'm writing this instead. Because even though it was small in the grand scheme of things, the sheer pettiness got to me. The sheer time spent got to me. The sheer gall got to me. Seeing his friends on Twitter laugh behind my back at how this person managed to fool me got to me. So here I am, feeling as if all those things just came flooding back and I'm a little kid again. Humiliated once again for letting my guard down even for a second. Hurt for letting anyone even a little close. It's my fault. I forgot how people will lie. I'm writing this because I'm tried of hiding.

I was going to have a good productive day. I wonder what Justin is doing? I wonder what this guy is doing?Somehow, I'm sure they're smiling. They always smile.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Atrocities Are Not A Deal Breaker

Ok rant time.  Sam Harris is horrible.  He is a moral monster who routinely uses his platform and reputation as 'rational person(tm)' to basically push the window more and more towards all out war and/or genocide.  but the Atheist community has still gleefully embraced him.

 <blockquote>Our panic and moral confusion were at first sublimated in attacks upon the hapless Governor Romney. I am no fan of Romney’s, and I would find the prospect of his presidency risible if it were not so depressing, but he did accurately detect the first bleats of fear in the Obama administration’s reaction to this crisis. Romney got the timing of events wrong—confusing, as many did, a statement made by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for an official government response to the murder of Americans in Libya. But the truth is that the White House struck the same note of apology, disavowing the offending speech while claiming to protect free speech in principle. It may seem a small detail, given the heat of the moment—but so is a quivering lip.</blockquote>

Harris here is willing to defend Romney, a plutocrat who views 47% of the population as unruly servants that need to be controlled and is no friend to atheists or reason, simply because he hates Muslims almost as much as Harris does.  The worst part is that this is not at all the worst Harris has ever said.  He has defended racial profiling, even in the face of a frelling expert telling him it's pointless, he has defended preemptive strikes, total war and nuclear strikes.  If Harris had the same disdain for America he did for the Arab world he would have been on a watch list and possibly spirited away to an undisclosed location for some enhanced interrogation (which he also approves of!)

 Even more liberal institutions of it, like say the ACA which is in theory A+ and all has defended him in response to the observation that "holy shit Harris is an asshole".  Harris is no different from homophobes calling for an underground railroad of kidnapping.  How is he accepted by even progressive atheists/atheist groups?  Jeff Dee on Atheist Experience a few weeks ago basically defended Harris saying the crazy shit he said wasn't a deal breaker.  Aron Ra has said similar stuff defending Penn and others.  Their awful ideas and awful things they promote are not deal breakers.  Because *we* are not their targets.  To an atheist attacking Muslims isn't a deal breaker, it's not THAT serious to warrant exclusion.  To a white financially stable able bodied man Penn's insanity is not THAT serious.  Huge privilege, it is a HUGE fucking deal breaker to Arabs and Muslims and Penn's insanity is a huge deal breaker to the disabled and less wealthy or environmentally conscious.  This is why I really really hate the community.  The Atheist community engages in the same privilege blind support or (even worse) accommodating of bigotry because the targets aren't us.  Even worse I think Harris and Penn never will be disowned as they should be, because much like how an individual is much more likely to dig their heels in and defend a bad position if it they have publicly endorsed by them, the group as a whole has endorsed these assholes for so long that we're just going to keep making excuses for them.  Good money over bad, sunk costs.  It is the same mentality that causes Church's to protect their priests.  Rather than address these biases and blind spots Atheists are apparently just going to pretend that because they eschewed religion they are free from it, even as they defend war hawks, sexists, racists, and all around assholes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There but for the grace of god, go you

A bit ago there was a heated discusion on a forum I visit about the idea of rape and the nature of rapists. I thought the conversation was important enough to re-edit it as a blog post. While this is about one specific crime I think it can easily be applied to much of the human condition
I argue that women are often not believed or are afraid to report sex crimes because people assume that nice people can't be rapists. That's a fact. I also argue that "nice people" is the facade which often keeps rapists and other evil doers shielded from justice. I also argue that victims and the rest of society need to be certain that rape is always caused by some mental deviance on the part of the perpetrator. Another fact. Surely you don't believe rapists are 100% normal people?
Actually yes.  Yes I do believe many rapists are 100% normal people. 

 I wish I had the simplistic happy world view you do. Sadly I don't because I've interacted with too many people.

This attempt to move rapists and rape into the realm of mental illness is, at it's core defensive and selfish. You want to distance yourself from it and accept the lie that it's something outside of the normal range of human behavior.

It's not.

Everyone wants to demonize rapists, murderers, Hitler, dictators, genocidists, etc and yes some of them are just monstrous. They're also human...and a lot of them are fully human.  Their actions and crimes are part of the dark side of humanity. Trying to push that away and deny that it's part of what humans are capable of is not just wrong; it's potentially dangerous. It's the "It can't happen to me/It can't happen here" game. It can.

There's a general background noise in the culture that under values women and has a tendency to push men towards certain actions.  

There are people who by every right are nice good people and do seem to not want to cause unnecessary harm to others; they also have committed date rape. And it's not because they're insane. Maybe it was peer pressure or ignorant ideas about sexuality and rights or self denial...maybe it is madness in some cases but not all. 1/8 of all women in the US are raped  or assaulted, the perpetrators are not a small handful of deranged people. You have serial rapists and violent rapists and then you have a casual rapist who thinks what they do is far removed from rape. You have the people who would never hunt down someone and rape them...but would take advantage of someone passed out or go with a frenzy or peer pressure in a gang rape or some bullshit like that.

It is NOT madness. It is not an alien behavior. Though it is inhumane It is NOT unhuman.

Telling our adolescents "rape is a product of mental illness" is going to make things worse. You're telling them "Rape is something OTHERS who are inhuman do". You provide the refuge of "I let one go" or "I'm nice to children" or "It was only once" or any of the thousand of other things NORMAL people tell themselves to live with something horrible they've done.

Stop lying to yourself and others saying that the rapist is of a different ilk than you. They aren't. They are of the same cloth as you and of me and everyone here. And the more aware you are of what people are capable of, what YOU may be capable of, the better a person you will be; the less likely you'll be to carelessly harm or be rolled up in a mob frenzy.

If you see rape as something someone you know, someone you care about, may not only be a victim of but could possibly be a perpetrator of, you'll see why it's damn important we stop focusing on just punishing rapists when it gets so bad society can't ignore it comfortably and start preventing it from happening.

I know some men who read this will immediately take exception that they're singled out.  "I'm not a bad person!"  "Why should I feel ashamed" blah blah blah
I also don't appreciate the implication that I don't understand empathy because I don't like being lumped in with raping animals.

I'm sorry but you weren't lumped in with raping animals because of us. You are lumped in because you were BORN to a species of raping animals.

Idiots who want to think "There's no way anyone like ME could be that evil" read "There is evil in my group" as "Everyone in the group is evil"

It's a defense mechanism. This way they feel if they can show there is ONE good person it separates them from the evil.

If it's not you; great!  Make sure it stays that way.  But know that your culture influences your demographic and not always nicely

Maybe this is where my feminazi title is justified but I think that just as I'd prefer children to be overly sensitive and on guard that they could be swept up in a movement and become fascists, if anything males should try to be over cautious that they might be potential rapists.

And really, what would be the cost to men of being overcautious not to rape? An average wait of about 90 seconds longer before each sexual encounter? They might have to enunciate the words "I want to fuck you. Do you want to fuck me?" They might have to pay attention to whether their date is breathing heavily and pawing at their clothes or just laying there? They might have to ensure the women they fuck are actually conscious? What?

I really doubt that the cost of being overcautious not to rape would ever involve not going out alone at night, not drinking in public places, not ever leaving their nonalcoholic drinks unattended, not ever going somewhere alone with a woman they don't know well, carrying their keys in stabbing position when they go to their cars after dark in case someone tries to grab them and accuse them of rape, never wearing shorts ...etc

And it might be a USEFUL reaction if it pushes someone towards trying to address cultural problems and the like.

It may be a GOOD thing if white people feel a bit collectively guilty about their past 200 sum years of racist superiority and oppressive history; it will make them conscious, hopefully, of NOT doing that.

I WANT people to be slightly overly concerned that they may be brainwashed in a cult

I WANT people to be slightly overly concerned they might be tempted to commit a crime

I WANT people to be slightly overly concerned they might fall for a charismatic leader and be swayed into goose stepping

I WANT people to be slightly overly concerned they might commit an evil act due to peer pressure or permission from an authority figure

I WANT people to be slightly overly concerned they might mistreat someone less privileged.

Because currently people are UNDER concerned about that and have a "it can't happen to me"/"I'm a good person" mentality. God...the people who are so convinced they are NICE people I've found are the most easily manipulated or careless.

Am I willing to trade people in a demographic having slightly more shame or angst in exchange for heightened awareness of issues? Every day and twice on sunday.

Deer God with halo antlers, I would be ECSTATIC if white people had white shame, Russian people had Russian shame, German people had German shame, men had male shame, Japanese had Japanese shame etc etc. Cause goddamn it might mean that people are actually fucking LEARNING from their history.

The white culture is taught that the racism and injustice and oppression is something that was yesterday a bygone era, that they are above that now. It's not it is here. Today. Right now.

It's that false sense of accomplishment that allows our culture to unironicly treat gays as our personally whipping boy. To use the same rhetoric we used against mixed marriages and to wage the same campaigns of hate and extermination. If you are convinced your work is done you will stop working.

The only difference between you and your great grandfather is that society has marched on and improved and you're raised with better ideals and fairness...and it took brave people to work for that. You have the same potential for ill as your worst ancestor. Know that. Embrace it. LEARN from it. Know thyself. Know what you are and learn how to be good with that.

You should NEVER feel secure that your culture/race whatever is just and secure and fair. You should always be on guard and always be working for better.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Of Vime's Boots and Wellfare: Or Why Poor People Have Iphones

If those on welfare are so damn poor, why do they have a TV?  If those on welfare are so damn poor, why do they have a Cellphone?  If those on welfare are so damn poor, why do they have an Ipod? If those on welfare are so damn poor, why do they have a <whatever>.

This is a common question amongst critics of the welfare state (which believe it or not Yanks is NOT a dirty word across the pond)

"..And don't forget about the welfare state!"
  Let me quote a recent complainer who took downright offense to the poors lack of squalar.

the question of exactly how many luxuries we should allow the poor...we shouldn't even ask the question
Yes we should. And this is coming from someone who is currently on the dole (GA-U here in WA, as a result of my recent hospitalization.)
I dealt with the same thing when I was a bench mechanic. Our union/company's big charity cracked down its giving with some stricter criteria. And I had to agree with this change. It was offensive to go at the holidays to give gifts to a "poor" family and walk in to see they have a big screen TV and video game systems, etc. (realize this was when big screens were a big deal.)

So yeah, why do those who are impoverished have toys?  Why do those who are desperate seemingly wasting their money on frivolous things?

To answer this question requires a bit of background and I'd like to start with Vime's Boots

Sam Vimes is a reoccurring character in Terry  Pratchett's novel series, Discworld.  Vimes started out as a small time city guard and has climbed his way through (to his horror and shame) into the upper class.  In one of the novels Vimes is struck by a revelation as he recalls back in his poor days how he had to buy boots.  This lead to the The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socio-Economic Unfairness'

The reason the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in the city on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

Basically, it is more expensive percentage wise to be poor than rich.  We know this.  Poorer people spend a greater % of their income while the Rich save a greater percentage.  As a side note this is also why the idea that giving tax cuts to the rich will stimulate the economy is profoundly stupid (Simply imagine 10 home owners versus one homeowner who has wealth equal to the other tens each of them gets a clogged sink.  For the wealth (the combined ten versus the one) how many plumbers does each employ?  The ten unwealthy houses generate ten times as much work as the one house of comparable value.  Jobs need to be stimluated at the bottom not the top).   If you're wealthy you can aford things of good quality that last, good shoes, good cars, good house.
Unlike my goddamn Toyota POS that cost me $500 today

The poor spend more money replacing things.  It is tougher being poor.  You're running as fast as you can to stay in place!

If you want to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that!

So what does this have to do with poor folks and their dang spinning rims and cornrows and what not?

Well imagine you're in the lower income community.  You make money, but not that much.  You can't afford your own house, you rent or are in a projects...but you're earning SOME.  You run as fast as you can and maybe you have some left over every month...but not all that much.  Your earning is so "meh" that saving up for something like a car or a house seems like a pipe dream.  You're too poor to ever "afford" to get out of poverty.  Especially because of, due to how some of the systems are set up, the state PENALIZES you for saving.  They'll remove your benefits if you save too much and it's easy to get stuck on that line of falling back into poverty because you tried to pull yourself out and got docked.   So you could save, but that seems like it'd barely help, why  not invest in something nice for yourself?

That I think is why poor people have "Toys".  They're in a sandwich where they can't afford to climb out of poverty, seemingly cannot afford any of the Vimes Boots like college, car, house, stock investments etc...but they can afford some trinkets.  They'll save up for the trinkets because Lords knows, trying to actually save up for anything meaningful is a waste!  Think to yourself, in your income bracket as a presumably middleish class, was the toys they have that big a dent on you?  Such trinkets are their highest end investment...where your's is what?  A house?  Rented apartment?  A Car?  A boat?  University?

So next time you see someone from the inner city with a phone that you think is too fancy for them or a pack of smokes bought with what you think is "your" tax money stop and think.  Is what you're seeing an abuse of the system, or is it a pair of raggedy old Vimes Boots?

EDIT: This is of course discounting the people who had some items before slipping onto hard times, or people who received items or such through charity.  There would still be people who with the stress and hopelessness of actually saving would make the decision to invest in a more immediate gratification they are fairly sure to have rather than a delayed one they probably never will

Note the lack of straps from which one could pull themselves up