Friday, April 28, 2017

The Borg Blog's Day Off

*cue the song "Oh Yeah" by Yello*

I took the day off from work today.  I am notoriously bad about not taking time off from work, hence the whole burned-out feeling I've had lately.  I've done really well at work to make myself be indispensable.  While that is good for job security, it makes it harder, then, to take time off.
So I positioned it this week so my boss was my partner in making sure I took today off.  In fact forced me to by yesterday afternoon.

But my wife is at work.  It's been a few years since I've had a day off of work without her also here to spend time with.  There have been a couple of occasions, I think, but it's been pretty much since I wasn't working when I first came here.  Then I had plenty of time off!

So, as today started to approach, I started to panic (well, that is WAY too strong a word) - what will I actually do with time by myself? Last time I had lots of time for myself, we had no money, so I sat on the couch a lot and entertained myself with television and the internet, but now...? Now I could possibly do something touristy - something off the regular path of our every-day life so I actually felt like I had a break from work.

The possibilities were endless.  Well, not really.  But it is easy to get overwhelmed suddenly with all these opportunities in front of you.  And then, there is the reality - it's just *one* day.  So, let's not try and pack too much in it.

Wednesday night, my wife started to subtly do what wives (well, spouses generally) might do when their spouse will suddenly have "free" time - which was start to prepare a "honey-do" list.

"Borg...?" she said sweetly.  I think spouses begin to recognize certain tones that from the outside seem harmless, but we all know... I do know my wife has begun to recognize some of mine.  I gotta switch those up.  (digression).

"Yes, my love?"

"Since you'll be home on Friday..." Uh oh.  ".. maybe you could do a couple of loads of laundry?"

Seems a reasonable request.  Seems harmless.  Seems heartless for me to say anything but, "Sure!"

Except I hadn't yet pinned down what I was going to do with my day off.  What if I decided to go to Stanley Park for the very first time? THE most touristy thing you can do in the Vancouver area?  What if I decided to go south of the border and hit the states? What if I..? What if I..? But NOW I had committed to doing a couple of loads of laundry - that's like an hour and a half of my time blocked in!  I only got about eight hours!

AND, there's a separate backstory about the laundry, too, where our safe hours of being able to do it are limited - I'll get into that a little later or in another post.  So, her request was even more reasonable given that we had limited opportunities.  (And yes, underneath the "Oh Yeah!" if you're listening carefully right now, you can hear the dryer tumbling the first load, and the washer spinning the second one).

But I hadn't settled on what I wanted to do yet, and all of that is even made harder by the inability to actually accurately predict the weather in this darn town.  Well you can.  Assume it will rain and then be pleasantly surprised if it didn't.

So, I gave her an appropriately wishy-washy answer - that I hope I delivered in my sweetest "uh oh" tone back, and apparently did the trick because she hasn't added anything else to the "honey do" list since then.  I said, "Sweetie, I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet, so I don't want to make you a promise you that I might not be able to keep, but I will keep it in mind."  Or something like that.   Either way, I think she bought it.  And either way, I'm doing a couple of loads of laundry. So in the end, I think "win-win".

Then there's the eternal question of my ADD meds.  I need them to work at my job.  I *know* when I forget to take them.  About 11 AM, I begin wandering, figuratively, and sometimes literally, and my desire to do *anything* wanes significantly.  My effectiveness and productivity take a significant drop.  And about 15-20 minutes into observing this mood, I suddenly realize, "Doh!"

On the weekend, though, (although my wife might disagree with this) the most important thing I have to do is spend time with my wife.  I don't have particular tasks that MUST be done - although we have general chores, and my wife tends to do most of them.  I don't require the assistance to stay focused on particular tasks on the weekend, because I am sharing them with my wife, and believe me she's pretty good at keeping me focused if I have to.  (Or giving up altogether and just doing it herself - that's the same thing, right?)  But, realistically, we do spend a lot of our weekend just trying to unwind from the rush of the week.  And catch up on our sleep.

And part of the time, that last item - catching up on our sleep  - is the one of the key reasons I don't take my meds on the weekends - if I take them later than a certain point in the morning, it will keep me up late at night (although we do that pretty well on our own, anyway, on the weekends, but shh...let's not insert reason into the equation).  The other reason I don't typically take my drugs on the weekend, unless there's something we really need to get done / want to get done - a big project I might easily get distracted from and pull her away, too - is that my wife says they do affect my mood.
Because I get "hyperfocused", I am not as relaxed, laid back, carefree, calm as I am when I don't take my meds.  Often they wear off by the time I get home (although she might argue otherwise), and she likes my personality better when I'm not so, well, drugged.

So, since I did get up early with her today, and since she isn't around to be affected by my mood, necessarily, and since there is a long silent honey-do list that I often politely ignore, I took my meds.  Woo hoo - productivity.  Well, we'll see. It's just 10 AM.

So, I need a plan.  Then I get the piece of paper out and list all the potential things I could be doing (besides work - I actually put on the list, "AVOID work" because sometimes it does tempt me.. if I just spent 15 minutes interruption free, I could get so much done... and save so much time and trouble... but I digress).  Otherwise, I would spend the whole day in front of the television catching up on the shows I like but my wife, eh, not so much.

There's value to that.  There's value to me getting that out of my system early in the weekend so I don't turn the tube on during the weekend when she's here and disturb her.  And there's value to just letting go and escaping.  But I do that often enough in her company, too.

Today is special. Today is an opportunity I have to do whatever I want to.  I'm in charge.  Let's make it not ordinary. Let's make it a day worth taking so I might actually remember to take more days off in the future.  (I have a few saved up).

Now the other thing I did that was unfair to my wife is that last night it was my "Friday" night.  Woo hoo - I don't have to get up early! I can stay up late!  Now we've been very bad on school nights lately, anyway, and staying up, but at some point earlier than even usual, my wife got up and did her night-time routine and was asleep at least a good 45 minutes earlier than we were the night or two before.  There was this gap on the couch... ? Where did she go?

And so what do I do? I go find her already pretty much asleep in bed.  Well, I sort of find her - our new place has these great light dampening shades, and the room is actually pitch black when I walk in and it takes me a moment to adjust my eyes.  I made it easier for myself by turning on my bright flashlight on my phone. (You're welcome, dear).  And then I proceed to crawl into bed, and play on my phone.

She had NO problem with me being out in the living room, even having the TV on, or playing on the phone on the couch where I was previously.  But I felt the compulsion, instead, to go be next to her and use a bright shiny object that would help her sleep.  Oh.  Wait.  I see that now as I type it.  Oops.

So I was on Facebook.  (I know... ) And someone had posted something about how the Westboro Baptist Church hates the Finns (or was it the Danish?) and I remembered the fun I had with them a few years back (although I'm not sure I remembered it accurately) and then I decided to open my blog on my phone (if you google "Borg Blog Westboro" it is at the top of the search list - I didn't have to pay a dime for that placement! ;) ).

And then the next thing you know, I was tripping down memory lane with my blog.  Hey, you know what I realized? I have a pretty good voice.  (She types while modestly patting herself on the back).  Okay - top of list tomorrow (oh wait, it's now after midnight as I'm reading these old posts) let's remember to write a blog entry.  And oh, yeah, you know you haven't actually been promoting the other posts you've made in the last few months, maybe you should also promote this one...

So, it's early now in The Borg Blog's Day Off - I don't have quite the plan that Ferris does, and I probably won't pack in quite as much stuff, but I will make it my own, and I can now cross off  the list: "writing a post on my blog"

"Oh yeah".. chickachicka...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I am a humanist...

Frankly, I'm not particularly fond of or attached to labels.  Not that I don't use them, and even on occasions - such as this one - apply them to myself.  But as I've gone further along in the journey of life, I've discovered that labels actually often do the opposite of what they try to do.  At least as far as people are concerned.

In theory, a label is useful because it can identify certain things about the person to whom the label is applied.  Certain consistent knowns.  Like "that person is an asshole" actually tells you a lot.  (And actually despite some frequent provocation, I don't often use that label towards others.  Unless they're driving like idiots, but that's another post for another day that I hopefully will never actually write).

Red state. Blue state.  Canadian. British. Conservative. Liberal. Professional.

It would be nice if we all fit neatly into tight little easily definable packages.

Or would it?  (And there's a side road into the potential up-sides to assimilation by the Borg...)

There certainly seems to be this pressing desire by a portion of the human population (I don't pretend to measure whether it's large or small) to categorize.  To find neat little categories, or systems by which to group people.  And these types of people (of which I probably am one, since I've often found that people pointing out features about folks they think are "other" are usually features they, too, share... after all - we are human) like distinct measurable systems.

The latest "battle" I've been having - not intentionally - has been about biological classifications.  To be clear, binary biological classifications.  Which, frankly, if I knew more about biology and the history of species with interchangeable parts, I could probably make some really snappy arguments.

But I find myself enjoying - perhaps - picking battles with people who are very certain about their views.  The more certain, stuck perhaps even, they are, the more I seem to be enjoying poking fun at them.

I'm not intentionally trying to poke fun.  Mostly I'm just trying to poke and make them think about some of the inconsistencies in what they espouse.  But it also seems to be a little fun. I'm sure that means I'm an evil person (since we like labels) or perhaps just human.

One of my friends introduced me to the work of Ivan Coyote now - oh - about five or six years ago.  My wife has recently discovered Ivan through this same friend.  And we've recently gone to see the Tomboy Survival Guide.  My wife has been generally apolitical in the world of queer politics and has been surprised and confused by some of the hateful posts others have made in response to Ivan.

One of the first ones had to do with pronouns.  I do snicker a little when others joining the conversation a month or so later have poor grammar anyway.  I'm not usually a grammar snob, but sometimes.  And usually in response to someone who's asked for it.

I stumbled into a label I hadn't heard of before  - TERFS - and that's a whole other ball of wax I won't even start back on today.  But the post essentially was a request to use the pronoun to describe the person that they preferred.  Innocent (in my eyes) enough.  But apparently not.  First, the word "label" TERFS has a little bit of explosive material attached to it.  A little like a land-mine, but different.  I had to detonate it to find out cuz on the surface it looked fairly harmless.

So, someone had written "I don't care - your aversion to your female body shouldn't dictate my perception of reality.  You are a she".  And then the Borg slips down the rabbit hole.

"Gender fantasies" being "imposed on others"

Oh, and I've been given a lot of information about biology and mental illness, and mutilation and feminism and.. oh binary biological boxes.

I was told that I believe that women aren't human beings.  No, I believe that rectangles aren't necessarily squares, but....

Anyway, let's not add math into it.

But mostly I am amused - and saddened - by the logic people profess.

I am amused by a woman who both describes herself as a radical feminist and who clearly describes her behavior towards me as "patronizing".  Uh, do you know the roots of the word "patronizing"? Do you - oh radical feminist - understand that I'd think one of the root "causes" for a radical feminist would be to eliminate "patronizing" behavior, i.e., patriarchy... i.e., well.. anyway.. never mind.

I love someone who describes themselves as a radical feminist and yet feels it's their place to tell other people what to do or not to do with their bodies.

Or a "radical feminist" who might very well have used the word "herstory" in her lifetime but thinks OTHERS shouldn't be able to use or adjust language to match their own world view.

Which is why I started this post about how labels clearly don't accurately identify anyone.  Or qualify anyone for any particular opinion.

What gives us power to have an opinion is our human-ness.

But clearly sound basic principles of what I thought would be beliefs by "feminists" let alone radical "feminists" - things I might have been led to believe through my upper education and degree in women's studies (oh, and English) are not clearly sound basic principles.

One person in sparring with me made some sort of comment about trans people only being white heterosexual men.  Which even if you accept that argument.. (big IF) still doesn't validate or invalidate general human principles about, well, anything.  I'm guessing the point was that we could dismiss it because it was a movement by privileged people.  Perhaps an indulgence...  ? I'm still not sure.

I was amused, though, and didn't bother to point out and drag poor Ivan back into it, that the conversation began by / about someone who was not born into the body of a white heterosexual male.

But at least the point made to me by that comment explains why everyone is so afraid of gender neutral bathrooms.  They think it's a prank by white heterosexual male rapists.  Sorry, I added that last word because later in the conversation the person did disclose that they had been raped (suggesting repeated molestation) and so it isn't an entirely unreasonable conclusion to draw that this must be the fear.

I've rambled in posts before.  But I am flabbergasted by some of the logic of people.  Mastectomy for a transgender person would be mutilation, but it`s okay for someone who has breast cancer or fears the potential for breast cancer because they might have a gene.  "Mutiliation" is wrong, but tattooing and piercing "don`t hurt anyone" (even thirty five years later, I do remember that my ears hurt when they were pierced, and I don't even want to think about what I would consider "less" traditional places to pierce that are becoming frankly more traditional..).  Giving oneself hormones is wrong.. but, wait, no, not for birth control.  Who is the one to draw the line - particularly for others - as to when a particular behavior is "okay" and when it is a horrific act?

And what do these people think about circumcision?

Now, to be clear, I'm not particularly advocating (intentionally) a belief system - but I do believe (which is completely contrary to my belief in humanism) in a belief system that is consistent.  If you're going to say the world is black and white, then your logic and beliefs should be that clearly consistent.

And it's okay - I do agree that there are inconsistencies in life.  I know I can be contrary.  I often admit I'm contrary, and that I'm wrong, and a whole other mess of imperfections.  But the harder you fight in your clear rigid lines that are anything but clear and rigid, the more I'm going to poke.

I may not be able to - or want to - put you into a little box as you clearly seem to want to put others and yourselves with your own labels of yourselves, but at least be consistent or recognize your own infallibility.  Cuz trust me, we're all wrong at some point.

But it's how we handle each other and treat each other in the end - regardless of label - that matters to me.

Not my first semi-disorganized post, and probably won't be as popular as Married Women Love Breasts but probably consistent with my old post about Isn't "Dyke" derogatory? What is in a name after all?

But perhaps I should listen to my other old post (self publicizing anyone?) and Step Away From the Keyboard....

Good night everyone....

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fears and Phobias and Rabbit holes

So, racism is a thing.  So, is feminism, and heterosexism, and sexism, and Marxism, and ...

Well.. you get the idea.  There are a lot of isms.

And if Wikipedia is to be believed, "ism" is a neutral connotation.

And then, there's homophobia.

The noun used for distinctions between "gay" (consider it an umbrella for the moment, will you?) and "straight" (same here.. ) is fear.

I'm being a bit simplistic today.  But frankly, lately, I think people need to think in more simplistic terms and learn to respect the commonalities amongst us all in this society rather than pick us apart because of the differences between us as individuals.  (And I do know there are more fancy terms with phobia in it to describe a bit of what's up there, like xenophobia, but you don't here "xenophobia" bandied about as a term a much as you hear "racism".)

If we think in more simple terms, perhaps we can begin to realize that something we hold so dear might really be in direct conflict and contradiction with other things we hold dear.  And maybe find a way to reconcile them.

I've done a bad bad thing lately.  I've been flinging the words "alternative facts" at others.

And I've been doing a lot of reminding to people that the world was once flat.

But I have been drawing a lot of analogies about an area I really don't know that much about.  I really don't.  But I do know about being human.  And while I might not think I have been born in the wrong body, I can respect that others might.  While I might not have been born straight, I can respect that others might have been.  While I will probably never have to be in a position of having to choose whether to have an abortion myself, I can respect for those who consider it that it is a hard choice, and that it is not mine to make.

What is mine to make is to provide them the opportunities to have a true and safe choice.

You people make choices and live lives every day that are different than what I might choose or how my life might be.  As long as you aren't out harming me, carry on.

If you need my help, and I am able, I'll gladly give it.  And I'll do my best to stay out of your way and not hamper your journey.  I might not always be successful, but I ask you to do the same for me.

I went down the Twitter rabbit hole last night.   And I haven't yet quite found my way out.

Forgive me.

And this, happened, too...

So, not only do I believe women aren't human, but I'm also responsible for the demise of the human race.  I guess it's good that women aren't a part of that.

*scratches head*

Women aren't human beings

Apparently I said that.  Sounds like me, doesn't it?

I have been away from my blog for far too long, but I must admit there's either way too much to write, or it's too hard to write about what is going on in our society.

I will endeavour to return, because it appears, I clearly have a few things to say.

Ivan Coyote is a very sweet, attractive person who prefers to have the pronoun "they" used to describe themselves.  I admit, I sometimes trip over the pronouns myself, but since I often use the plural when I'm not sure of someone's gender such as someone I haven't met who has a name associated with either gender, or a name from a culture that I am not familiar enough to know what pronoun would be appropriate.

Isn't it helpful, frankly, when someone expresses their preferences?

I really like broccoli.  I'm not fond of peas, so if I come over to visit you for dinner and you're going to have some hot green vegetable, wouldn't it be nicer if you knew what I liked and what I didn't?

Isn't that part of being a polite society that considers others?

Obviously broccoli and peas are simplifying things, but that's in many ways my point.  Respecting others preferences - when they don't harm others - whether trivial or major is kind of a part of being part of polite society.

Oh, but I forget.  We are no longer part of a polite society.  I want to forget that.  I would like us to be a polite society.  Not to the harm of ourselves or others, but to the benefit of us all.  Silly idea.

So, when I suggest instead of needing to place someone into a box of your choosing, we just accept the person as they are, and respect them as a human being, I am suddenly guilty of deciding that women are not human.

Who knew it was that easy?