New bookshelf!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:11 pm
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
[personal profile] lb_lee
Guess who salvaged a raw wood bookshelf off the side of the road today?  Really nice one too!  It just needed a quick wash, barely any dust or cobwebs on it at all.  Solid wood, no back, but well-built and surprisingly light!  Maybe one of the neighbor people made it, and decided they didn't want it anymore?

Anyway, I've given it to Sneak.  I'll get zer a new thing of gel medium or ModPodge  or something, and ze plans to decorate it like ze did the last one.  Ze's pretty psyched!

I feel like a successful big brother today.  Also a successful cheapskate.

--Rogan

[polemic.]

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:54 am
foundcarcosa: (Default)
[personal profile] foundcarcosa
I'm tired. Like my sleep cycles are never fully complete. I thought being a light sleeper could be cured, once the brain realises that it's only hurting itself by being so conscious when it's not supposed to be, but I guess if I haven't been cured by now I never will be. I hate being so easily awakened. I know sleep has never interested me, but that doesn't mean I don't recognise its purpose.
There is no way that I left all those terrible sleeping situations -- shelters, trains, other people's living rooms -- just to come to this situation and still be kept awake by other people's noise.
Maybe I'll start wearing my earplugs to bed. As uncomfortable as that would be.

Smell is my other sensory complaint. Everything smells. Two cats smell. Sigma smells. Sigma's room smells. Sometimes there's unidentified smells from the kitchen region (and it's maddening that I can't identify them, because then I can't take care of them). Then you have to use smelly things (less awfully-smelly things but still smelly) to get rid of the original smelly things. There is never just... a basic unobtrusive smell, like a "house smell" or anything. It's always something disgusting or overpowering or subtly irritating. I am weary of having to think of creative ways to ignore it. My mind is weary of processing all the information. I want Sigma gone and that room... decontaminated. I want Empurror Martin Septim the Second BKA Gus to have his groomer's appointment so he doesn't stink up every object of mine that he lays on. I want peace for my stupid hyperactive too-good-for-this-world senses.

I want to trip. I am jagged and discontent and full of old blood. I need a hard reset. But there is nothing to trip on -- DXM's usefulness was worn out a long time ago, especially since it seems to rely a lot on social/environmental feedback, and I don't know anyone to get anything else. I drink constantly to relieve the boredom even though I'm well aware that doesn't work as well as it would if my tolerance were lower. I am just so bored. I am bored of mundane matters, of a three-dimensional earth; bored of hearing about money and jobs and bored of being disgusted to the point of neuroticism and bored of playing human and bored of this town and bored of people on the internet who are always talking about the same old things and just... existentially comprehensively bored to the point of a constant low-level irritation.
I make fun of white people for doing things like extreme sports and bull-riding and BASE-jumping or whatever but at this point, if that kind of stuff would cure this boredom, I'd try it. I just know it wouldn't. No two-bit adrenaline rush would.

Honestly, I'm not sure anything really cures it. But it's code that can be written over sometimes, with new chemicals, with new places, with special interests (although how long it lasts is variant). Chemical rewriting, employed correctly, can last a fair amount of time before needing to be refreshed. Wandering is either too expensive or too unstable, most of the time, although sometimes the instability itself can do the trick (I'm just not as interested in that method of treatment these days). Right now, special interests is all I got, and even I'm sick of playing World of Warcraft for hours almost daily in a resigned attempt at brightly-coloured distraction.

I know there's other stuff in me beyond this vast flat haze; infinitely more. I was enjoying it. I would like to get back to it.

Gravity Falls Filk: Pure Of Heart

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:27 pm
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
[personal profile] lb_lee
On tumblr, I use the tag 'IMPURE OF HEART' to describe that super-gross identity politics all about conspicuously performing virtue.  Someone showed me this filk of the Gravity Falls episode 'The Last Mablecorn,' called Pure Of Heart and I thought folks here might enjoy it.

 

Lyrics behind cut )

Reading Wednesday

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:12 pm
slashmarks: (Leo)
[personal profile] slashmarks

What I've Read:

City of Oranges: an Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa – Adam LeBor. I actually read about two thirds of this a few months ago during Spring Break, then put it down until this week, so my memory of the first parts may not be perfect. But, this is basically a somewhat informal history of relations between Jewish and Arab residents of the city of Jaffa, and the city itself, from the last part of the Ottoman era into the twenty-first century when the book was published (I think in 2007, but I don't have it with me, so consider that an estimate). The author used a combination of letters, memoirs written in that time, public records, and interviews with current residents and members of (mostly Palestinian) families that came from Jaffa in that period and now live elsewhere.

This impressed me in part because it struck me as really evenly handed, in a way that's difficult to do dealing with subjects that cause a lot of conflict; LeBor talks willingly about the difficulties of Palestinian refugee families after 1948, and of Jewish refugees struggling to come to Palestine under British rule; about both the difficult emotional experiences of Palestinians who were able to come back to Jaffa and see their houses owned by other people or the Israeli state, and the experiences of Israelis moving into houses in Jaffa after themselves experiencing great loss elsewhere. It was interesting to see also the way the book exposes the lie that Jews and Arabs had always been enemies while still being willing to discuss pogroms and riots in British era Palestine, and confiscations and military police action against Arabs, etc, in Israel.

So, all in all I think this is a very good book, although as usual I don't agree with all of LeBor's conclusions.

CW: Following review involves discussion of infanticide and euthanasia.

Always Coming Home – Ursula Le Guin. This is what Le Guin describes as “archaeology of the future,” a very world building focused work set in northern California an unspecified hundreds or thousands of years in the future, among the matrilineal and matrilocal farming society of the Kesh.

I don't know what to say about this one. Much of it is fantastically kind, a novel set in everyday life in a way that's rare, and valuing the work and life of all of its people in a way that I have almost never seen before in fantasy; where the business of food, and weaving, and production of pottery and all kinds of things is more valuable than war; where people who want to engage in war and power games are socially disruptive and ultimately defeated without violence. It also is not anywhere as Luddite as much post apocalyptic literature is; the Kesh are not industrial, but they have small scale electricity based off of solar power, they have access to something similar to but not entirely like the internet, they have a lot of modern medicine.

I think it's that kindness that made the part where Le Guin felt the need to explain that the Kesh practice infanticide against infants with certain disabilities and euthanasia consensually* feel so cruel. It wasn't relevant to the narrative portions, it was just there, apparently because she felt it was something the reader needed to know. And combined with the moralistic slant I had already felt was irritating – the Kesh consider people of our time sick, and the idea of becoming like us horrifying; the Kesh have no concept for “accidentally” poisoning the earth and thus assume we must have done it because of that sickness; the Kesh solve things by discussion, not via hierarchy and violence (as opposed to the Condors or Dayao, another society in the book); she explicitly at one point floats the idea of the Kesh being Utopian – it came off to me as someone who I had liked and been impressed by kindly, gently explaining that the ideal society is one in which we don't go “too far” in allowing all disabled people to live, only the sufficiently useful ones.

So, I don't know what to say here. I loved most of the rest of the novel, I was prepared to recommend it entirely wholeheartedly as an example of fantastic worldbuilding and a vision of the future striking in its kindness and plausibility up until that point, despite its occasional annoying drifts into moralism and somewhat simplistic portrayal of the Dayao, who are the opposite of the Kesh in everything and irritatingly lacking in true nuance, for all she drops in a few suggestions that they aren't entirely miserable. But that page felt like being slapped in the face, like going to my inbox excited to receive a message and finding a message calling me the R word and telling me to kill myself. I don't know that I can recommend it, because of that.

*I thought about putting “consensual” in quotation marks, but decided it was better to have a note explaining why I consider even consensual euthanasia horrifying. The thing about euthanasia is that enabled, it carries the implications that disabled lives are worth less than others; other suicidal people receive attempts at help, no matter how destructive, while we are killed. And the existence of supposedly consensual euthanasia always carries murder with it; how free is a choice for medical care when medical care costs money? When medical care imposes difficulties on those around you? When you are perhaps isolated, only having contact with family members who resent you and having to care for you? And when it's considered acceptable to end a disabled life under some circumstances, how much easier is it to cover up murder of disabled lives by faking consent? These aren't hypothetical questions; you can already easily find news stories about people whose insurance covered euthanasia but not cancer treatment in Washington, and the nonconsensual murders of mentally ill patients in Belgium under the cover of “euthanasia.”

In the specific case of Kesh, it is explicit that shunning and social shame applied to people considered to have acted inappropriately is sufficient to drive some people to suicide, and that people are mostly dependent on their families for care when they aren't able to care for themselves, both of which only make the general problems worse.

What I'm Reading Now

Theoretically still Ninefox Gambit, but I haven't picked it up again since my last entry.

The Goblin and the Jinni – Helene Wecker. I love this so far – the atmosphere and the magic and the setting in New York City of the period, but also the way almost all of the characters are essentially well meaning, the wholeness of the communities Chava and Ahmad are adopted into. Will write more when I've read more.

Comment Note: I don't have the energy to defend my views on euthanasia right now. If you want to ask me questions about it, go ahead, but if you feel the need to defend legal euthanasia, you can do it on your own time in your own blog. I will delete any comments in violation of this policy and block their writers.

[glocal.]

Jul. 12th, 2017 10:14 am
foundcarcosa: (Default)
[personal profile] foundcarcosa
My inconsistency in keeping up with journalling is laughable at this point, but occasional entries (in which I vow to keep up more frequently, and inevitably don't) are better than none. Maybe I should join a community. ... To this day I still can't figure out how LJ-coded sites work outside of regular journal-posting, though. Where is the user's guide.

It's funny that the last thing I posted about was in December of last year and was also portentous to recent events. Sigma is moving out -- Sparrow gave them a deadline of August 10 -- and I have, indeed, given up on trying to maintain a friendship that was based on little more than environmental coincidence and consistent drug use (drug use that made me more malleable and lackadaisical and prone to delusion -- none of which are wholly negative things, but which usually contribute to flawed perceptions that I have to deal with the reality of later). I spent a lot of time earlier this year trying to wrangle myself into a shape that could fit to Sigma despite overwhelming evidence that this yawning chasm wasn't some new creation of mine as much as it was there the whole time, and we'd just been manipulated (chemically) to ignore it.

Sometimes, "the drugs made me do it" isn't as dumb a reason as it sounds. Or maybe still dumb, I suppose, but not erroneous.

I suffered because I thought I wanted to remain friends with Sigma, and was just flaking on finding a new way to do so, and so I berated myself for it -- but there is no sin in not wanting to remain friends with Sigma; in recognising that no matter how irrational it is, everything about them seems to run counter to everything about me that I want to maintain; in being honest about the fact that they just don't entertain me anymore -- in fact, they are like gravel in the wheel, grinding and abrasive and a hindrance to my journey. This also comes with the responsibility to recognise that all of this personal truth does not necessarily have to apply to their understanding of the situation, that it's entirely possible -- especially on their level of kenning -- that they have no comprehension of this internal debate and its conclusion, and that they just think I flipped a script on them for no/little reason.
Here's the thing -- it's entirely possible that their idea of me is completely counter to my idea of myself, too. So what would be the difference? Learning that someone's perception of oneself is wildly different from one's own perception of oneself shouldn't be jarring anymore. This is how it works. This is a thing that makes being a conscious individual so fascinating.

I don't regret moving them out here, or all the times I defended them to Sparrow over midnight meals at Steak N' Shake, or all the debates I had with myself/Can Calah in trying to figure out how to fix what had been broken (as if I'd broken it, as if I was responsible for it, as if this could simply be solved by me being less anal or less mean or... less...). I do regret how long it takes me to figure things out, sometimes, or how long it takes me to come to terms with aspects of myself that I should have long ago accepted. But I suppose a half a year isn't so long. Some people maintain 'friendships' for years without realising that they don't actually like their friends as much as they wish to believe they do.

I am getting better at being honest. I am getting better at being ugly, and crude, and cruel, when it happens -- and not falling into a trap of apologising for it, or trying to stuff it away. Subsequently, I am getting better at not being ugly, and crude, and cruel at the worst possible moments. On Facebook? Fine. To Sparrow? Not as fine. At myself? Big not-fine.

I stopped attending church a bit out of boredom/alienation but mostly out of not usually being awake and socially-acceptable at 11a on Sundays. If I find myself awake on some Sunday morning in the future, I might pop in.
I still just wish Christianity was more like Judaism. Or even Islam, in many senses. I am still firmly in love what Christianity could be, based upon the guy it's named after, and it galls me to have to deal with what it is.

Sparrow and I were engaged in New Orleans at the beginning of May. I took both her and Sigma there for my birthday gift to myself (funded by my final retroactive payment from Social Security), and predictably they both fell in love with the place with the same immediacy and completeness that I did. (Sigma and I still have things in common, after all, they just don't knit together into a healthy narrative that I wish to continue in such close quarters.) I didn't expect Sparrow to want to move there, though -- I thought she was more the "stay close to home" type but I think she rationalised herself out of that paradigm when I wasn't looking -- and that's probably the best possible outcome of that trip for me. Because a second visit only ruined me further; I cannot imagine being anywhere else for any long period of time, I cannot live without Her, I cannot think about Her without feeling the way 'normal' people in LDRs must feel about their significant others. I apparently cannot fall in love with humans because I'm too busy falling in love with buildings and cities and celestial bodies, I guess. Maybe the capacity is finite.

Krister and I are friendly? Still????
I really don't know what fortunate twist of ka enabled that to happen, or even what monumental force of will enabled me to message him again after so many screeching false starts prior, but I'm grateful for it. He is doing so much better, and although I would have come to terms with being permanently written off as an antagonist, I didn't necessarily want that. (Hell, I didn't even want to hurt him when I did. I just didn't know how to handle my own hurt and cruelty is, as said before, always a possibility from me.) Years later, I still feel metaphysically attached to him, not in a... possessive sense, or a "I want to be with him" sense, just in a... hm. I don't know. Just a sense. Sometimes I think of us as diametric opposites, the kind that are opposites because they are the two facets of one truth. A kind of God/Lucifer dichotomy, rather than a, say, general Good/Evil dichotomy. That's a bad example to use because it sounds like I'm comparing us to God and Lucifer, and that's not really what I'm going for here. (For once. Hurrrrr.) I'm saying that I love him in the human way and in the Me way despite the proven fact that I'm incapable of loving people in the human way. With my whole being, I want to see him become more and more himself, and to never interfere with that process. With my whole being, I an impulsively and irrationally opposed to anything that interferes with that process.

Once in a waking-dream I saw myself walk into his room as he slept, and a sapling burst forth from his temple and became a World Tree. What I'm saying is, I still see it.

Vlad is getting married towards the end of the year. She says I'm invited. An amusing note of synchronicity: that conversation happened shortly after I came to terms with the Sigma book being more-or-less closed. What's that saying about doors and windows...?

Sometimes I still see the spectre of death. I call it False Witness, because I know better now. Its calls upon me are less and less frequent, and less and less powerful. I still constantly work upon myself with regards to my aversion to death, but mostly I try to remind myself that it's the human condition and it doesn't really matter whether I 'get over it' or not anyway.
My delusions of synchronicity will probably persist indefinitely (hell, blame my dad for planting the seed -- he is a wizard at synchronicity), but I'm working on trying to angle them towards fun things, and not... death.

Can Calah says that the biggest reason why I'm so wigged about death now (as opposed to not thinking much of it at all for most of my life, even when I tried to commit suicide) is because I have formed attachments to the mortal coil (including him, even) and have actually developed a desire for future things. That's probably it. The flip side of truly coming to enjoy life is the desire to keep enjoying it.

Sabree/Phoenix has become a bit of a burr in my side. I am still fiercely physically attracted to him (which is novel and fun, since it's markedly abnormal for me), as our activity during the weekend I spent with him at Easton Mountain a few months ago proved, but his lackadaisical nature towards our relationship is at odds with me -- after the weekend at Easton, I spent a week in the City, and we happened to both be in the City that week because he had some other thing to do down there. I thought, great, we can meet up a couple more times before I have to go back home. Now, see, that's important because I don't usually end up back East much (too expensive), so you'd think he'd take those opportunities to hang out with me while he had them, right? After all those "I miss you" fb messages? Isn't that how socialisation works?
He stood me up twice, instead. I got into a pissed-off funk and bought Far Cry 4 at the GameStop around the corner from Horus and played that for hours on Horus' PS4 until it was time to go back home. (I did visit One WTC at some point, so at least I got to see one boyfriend in the City.)

As an Air sign, I understand shifting interests and boredom and fluctuations in fucks-given. But see, I also don't have many attachments (especially not to people), and therefore lack the ability to even give a fuck enough to tell them that I've stopped giving a fuck. But here's a person who initiated the idea of us getting back together, who was supposedly so happy to see me when I came up to Easton, who talks about missing me... and yet who cannot even be bothered to see me when I'm there, even if for a short time to say "see ya" in person before I went back to Michigan. This echoes how I always had to go see him when we were both in NYC, and even then I could barely have time with him without having to share it with all his friends (as if I got the energy for all that extra socialisation, but you can't expect people to understand that, right...).
I think he is one that values his friendships but doesn't know how to value a relationship in its own unique way (not as "more than" a friendship, but as a commitment with its own need for attention and care). He seems to look at it as just another friendship, I think, just with heart emoji and nice words. He likes me, sure, but he doesn't like me in the way that I'd value in a relationship.

So basically I'm being a dick and not really talking to him. Maybe I'll cut it out at some point, but I'm starting to mirror him in the lack of effort department.

I still feel alienated here in Michigan. It's a nice quiet place, but it's also overwhelmingly white (and not just in demographic, but in... pervasive whiteness. Like, cultural middle-America whiteness), and although I didn't think I cared much about that sort of thing, I also had lived in a very diverse city before I got here. All I deal with now is white people -- Sparrow's family, Sparrow's friends, probably whatever roommate we end up with next... -- and I'm noticing that it's starting to bother me. And I think it's a cultural thing; I was raised black, I spent the majority of my time around black and brown kids in NYC, and even the white people I dealt with were so accustomed to diversity that they seemed less White(TM) and more just... 'white /shrug/' to me. Sparrow is not White enough to be offended, I guess, so that's something. I think I just don't like the Midwest very much. I don't hate it, necessarily -- it's not interesting enough to hate -- but I can't live here long-term. It's not colourful enough (and I don't even just mean demographically, this time).
It's a really good thing Sparrow wants to move to NOLA. It helps me deal.

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