Thursday, February 7, 2019

7 quick takes


As is customary around here, the first take has to be the Excuse for Not Blogging.  I have to confess . . . I've been cheating on y'all.  I've been trying to build up an author blog that is . . . maybe a little less embarrassing than this one.  On the one hand, I bare my soul a lot here.  On the other, some of the old posts are things that I totally don't believe anymore.  So I made a new blog, with the idea I'd put the writing-relating stuff there and everything else here.

Trouble is, I'm not sure I'm capable of actually blogging reliably on one blog, let alone two.  Well, I'll make an effort.  Anyway the other blog is here and if you want to follow it . . . go for it.  Just don't spill the beans about this one over there, or I'm going to be so red in the face.


I feel like I should have had an opinion on some of the stuff that's been swirling around.  Like the March for Life/Covington kids thing.  I have been working on a policy of not having an opinion on viral stories right away, because more facts always come out later, and by then everyone's made up their minds too much to accept any new information.  I don't always follow it, but that video was easy to.  Because, yes, the boys looked very obnoxious, but on the other hand nobody got hurt, and I couldn't tell who had approached whom, so it was possible it was some kind of misunderstanding.

After alllll the articles that flew around, I'm generally of the feeling that yes, the boys were super obnoxious.  And that Nathan Phillips was probably telling the truth when he said he was worried about what they would do and felt that he was peacemaking.  At the same time, since they didn't approach him, I don't think what they did was as bad as it could have been.  Just teenage boys, behaving rather badly, but luckily not starting a fight or anything like that.

Now their families are suing everyone who happened to describe what they saw in the video, and that I disapprove of a lot more vehemently.  I've found out a lot about slander lawsuits lately, and my main takeaway is that you can, if you are rich or a lawyer, hurt people an awful lot even if they never slandered you, simply by wasting their time and money on fighting you.  This is what the Legion of Christ used to do, and it's gross.


Let's see, what else am I supposed to have an opinion on?  Oh, right, Northam wearing blackface.  Again, don't really have a strong opinion.  I think at some point it would be nice if we had some kind of consistent rubric for what sort of long-ago misdeeds should be career-destroying.  Raping someone is definitely a yes, and dancing is definitely a no, but blackface?  I'm not sure.

Part of what feeds into this is that I had no idea till . . . I guess a few years ago? . . . that blackface was a thing.  People did it at Christendom and I thought it was just part of a costume, like when our school play had two black characters and zero black actors to cast.  But another time, two girls dressed up as a black woman and a Hispanic woman and told racist jokes.  That one, I did have an issue with, but I also felt confused because everyone around me was saying it was fine, it was just a joke, and we didn't have to be oversensitive.  I guess a part of me can see how someone could grow up in an environment like that and truly not realize that what they were doing was wrong.

That said, it's also perfectly likely that a person might have done it because they were a racist and still are a racist.  Racists don't generally run for office on a "vote for me, I'm a racist" platform.  (Well, these days some do!)  You're never going to get all that much evidence that someone is racist because they're going to carefully not tell you.  And then if their actions seem biased in some ways, they can always tell you they don't see race and didn't mean it that way and you're a horrible person for making such terrible assumptions.  What exactly do we have to go on?

I think it would help if people would fess up ahead of getting caught and clearly explain why they did it and how they changed.  Let them really show they understood what they did and are just as horrified now as the rest of us.  That's always what I felt Regnum Christi should do, and which they did not do.  For that matter, neither did Christendom.  While words aren't proof of anything, they do help.

Well, after I decided that, the third guy in line for Virginia Governor came out and did exactly that.  He fessed up without getting caught, he described how wrong blackface is, why he'd done it, and how he'd come around.  And for that reason, I think he's probably the best to take over if Northam steps down.  (Fairfax sounded like a great choice, and then it came out he maybe assaulted somebody.  Not the best and brightest, our VA government.)

The funny thing is that all this came out now.  Hey, if people said that about Kavanaugh, I can say it now.  A prolife group dug through Northam's past to find those pictures, deliberately, because they didn't like something he said about abortion.  That shouldn't have any bearing on our reaction to Northam -- I mean, he admitted he did it, so I'm not saying it's a lie -- but it does annoy me that the exact same people who attacked Christine Blasey Ford a few months ago for coming forward now, are eager to brand everyone as a hypocrite over Northam for not caring exactly as much about him.  Originally it was supposed to be that they were supporting him, but Democrats shocked everyone by not supporting Northam, so the goalposts have moved to "you have to care and share this around exactly as much."  It's just . . . annoying to me.  I feel the level of political discourse has plunged, and even when I say that I feel like someone is going to jump in and try to start an argument about whose fault it is.  Because that's what we have to do about everything.


Let's see, what else?  It's been cold.  I hate the cold.  I'm ready for spring.  We've had a warm few days, and I've loved them, but I'm not fooled.  I know it's not spring.  It's First Fake Spring, and we are due for several more before real spring.


I've been a lot more active on Twitter, thanks to finding a lot of interesting people there during NaNoWriMo.  I also followed a ton of literary agents and found the hashtag #writingcommunity.  There's plenty of fun stuff going on, and I've managed to miss a lot of the toxicity that has driven me away from Twitter in the past.  (I'm @agiftuniverse if you want to follow.)


Jackie is two.  It hasn't helped.

Well, okay, she is getting somewhat easier.  She finally dropped her nap, I think for real this time, so she's going to bed more like nine and not eleven.  And we don't have the afternoon meltdown between when she needs to nap and when she actually naps, plus the post-nap meltdown because she wanted to sleep longer.

It helps if I can get her to eat some real food.  She really needs to be eating food, and it's hard to get her to do it, especially at breakfast.  She wants to spend breakfast time on my lap, keeping me from getting any.  Or fishing in my cereal for raisins, which she then does not eat.  It's . . . not my favorite.

She talks a lot.  I'm really impressed with how much she says and pretends.

Miriam is quite prickly these days.  I don't remember four being that difficult with Michael.  It was with Marko, but less than three was . . . he mostly just fought with Michael and bit him, but there weren't the same massive meltdowns.  I guess I'm frustrated with Miriam because she was so easy six months ago.

Michael hates school a lot.  I think it wears him out.  Plus it takes away his precious free time, so that he's even more sour when I ask him to do the simplest thing, because he JUST got started playing, GOSH MOM.  Anyway I am a little concerned about it.  Is school not working for him?  Should I consider homeschooling him next year?  Or should I hope that next year he gets a teacher who manages to engage him?  That decision doesn't have to be made now, but it's definitely on my mind.

Marko is . . . Marko.  So much energy.  So much leaping around the house.  So much organizing awesome games for his siblings and then screaming in their faces if they play them wrong.

But he also is reading more and more, with greater ease, and I love that.


I've been using Goodreads lately to try to find books I'll like and remember the books other people recommend to me. Since it's on my phone, it's easy to pull up the app at the library and go looking for the books I want. So far this year I've found two excellent authors I hadn't read before: Ann Leckie and Naomi Novik.

Leckie's book Ancillary Justice was really good. Sci-fi often has the problem of focusing too hard on the science and not enough on character, descriptions, and style. Not this. I felt sucked into the universe of the story, and into the head of the main character - a cyborg soldier reminiscent of the Borg. Only she has a lot more emotion than people realize, and she's going through the book mourning a traumatic event that happened in the past. The story is told partly through flashbacks, and when you finally realize what happened, it's pretty emotional. I definitely would recommend it, and the sequel. I haven't read the third yet.

The Novik books I've read so far are Uprooted and Spinning Silver. They're basically fairy tales, but in an Eastern European setting that feels very different and real. The evils our characters have to deal with are deeply creepy... especially in Uprooted, where it's the forest itself.

How have you guys been?  Is anybody still reading?


entropy said...

I loved Uprooted but I haven't read anything else by her. My friend recommended The Night Circus so I'll be jumping into that soon. Good luck with the author site; it looks great!

etteloc said...

Just a heads up -- you link to your twitter account on your new site, which links to this blog. Might want to change that if you really want that separate.

Enbrethiliel said...


1. Of having two blogs, I used to say: "No one can serve two masters."

2. My own opinion of most things that fly around in the news these days is: "Wow! The PR!"

3. Maybe eight years ago, a black friend used the word "n•••••" in a conversation with me, and when I expressed surprise, he assured me that it was okay to use -- and in fact, good to use, in non-hurtful contexts, so that people would stop treating it like some magic word. Like -- cue predictable Millennial metaphor -- calling Voldemort by his name rather than fearfully referring to him as "You-know-who" all the time.

I only remembered that old conversation because I recently revisited a post I wrote on Shredded Cheddar about "words that sound racist but aren't." Such as "niggardly." And I was SHOCKED to see that I had used "n•••••" freely, when appropriate, several times in the post. I doubt I'd have the courage to do that now. It's not that I've come to think that it's wrong, but that since then, I've seen so many people destroyed by stuff they once did in good faith.

Scrolling down, I saw that not a single commenter called me out on it -- which I also don't think would happen these days. They probably wouldn't be angry with me, but there would be some distancing, just in case someone looked up their commenting history in the future. The only thing that might be the same is my black friend showing up to support me and freely using "n•••••" himself. (LOL)

4. It's been relatively cool here, but we're already bracing for Lenten weather. I have never had a Holy Week that wasn't absolutely sweltering. The American priest at the priory put in a request that he be assigned outside Manila during Holy Week, and everyone is sure it's because last year he almost drowned in his own sweat, under all those vestments, before the entire congregation.

5. When you were inactive on Twitter, I sent you a message with a link I found there. I'm guessing that you never saw it, even after getting back, because of Twitter's dumb "In case you missed this" feature clogging up the notifications. Anyway, it was about reusable wipe cloths for the bathroom, for people who want to reduce waste so much that they want to stop buying toilet paper. :P

6. Probably because I haven't been visiting here as often as before, it's hard for me to track the small changes in Jackie the way I did with Marko, Michael, and to some extent Miriam. She still looks exactly the same to me as she did around the time she started crawling!

7. The window of relevance may have closed on this, but if you still haven't read A Different Drum by Scott Peck, I still think you'd like it.

Sheila said...

Etteloc, thanks, I keep forgetting to change that!

E, my feelings on the n-word is that you can say it if you're black but if you're not, you shouldn't. After all you're not one of the people who has had it shouted at your derisively your whole life.

I did try "family cloth" for awhile but I didn't have a net bag to wash it in, and the result was that all the little bits of cloth vanished. I think the washer ate them.

Jackie hasn't changed much at all in a year. I mean, she can do a lot more things, but her face still looks like a cherub. Since her curls grew, that's pretty much all anybody notices anyway.

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