Packing a bag

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Despite the name of my blog, I apparently rarely post about knitting. And I’m not sure why I don’t, except that it seems self-indulgent and self-conscious and self… aggrandizing? Sin of Pride, or whatever.

And it seems pointless, too, in a world where we’re ramping up to civil (or not) war. Why bother with the yarn and the sticks? Continue reading

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Stigmata

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I used to run half marathons, but the stigmata put an end to that.

Honestly, that sounds a lot more exciting than it really is, but it’s a story to drag out for Easter, so here we are: I got stigmata while I was camping with friends a few years ago. Okay. Fine. I wasn’t camping. I was medieval re-enacting. The important thing to remember is there were tents involved, and that I was not in mine when it happened.

I’d been hanging around singing songs around the fire with a few friends. I walked back to my tent. As I walked, my foot started to ache, like a bruise. It was as unremarkable as that.

The park we were camped in had permanent restrooms with lights, so I went into the one nearest my tent and looked down. My shoe was full of blood. My sock was soaked to the ankle. It might feel like a bruise, but it looked like an abattoir. I mopped up the blood as best I could with some paper towels and toilet paper and then made my way back to the tent, where The Boy put a pressure bandage on it and we went to bed.

There’s more to the story, involving arterial spurt (don’t get it on the tent!) me passing out twice (cool!), the words Fireman’s Carry (not cool, wake up fast if you don’t want to be upside down), a hospital, and the six-month process of trying to convince my insurance company that there wasn’t another driver to sue because it wasn’t a car accident, I was camping, so can you please just pay the fucking hospital already. But you’ve already heard the good part: nothing happened.

I know what you’re thinking right now: She stepped on something. Well, if I did, I stepped on it with the top of my foot, on a clear paved path, on a moonlight night, when I hadn’t been drinking.

Anyway, it’s not the stigmata that bugs me. It’s the stigma of having had stigmata. When the doctor asks why your Achilles is messed up, why your stride has changed and your hip hurts, how do you explain your injury? I’ve tried to come up with a plausible lie, but despite being a passable fiction writer and an excellent dissembler, I really haven’t come up with anything better.

I’d like to run again, someday. Before something happens to my hands too.

Free Falling

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Like all things I blame on the dog, it was my fault: I taught puppy-her never to go downstairs at night. Eight years later, it’s less cute that she needs someone to watch her pee at 1:00 am.

Faint light bled up the stairs.

Lucky me, I thought, The Boy is on the computer.

With him downstairs, all I had to do was shoo the dog down. He could let her out. One problem: she knew I wasn’t downstairs. I swung my leg over the lip of the step, faking her out.

I blame the dog, I told the doctor.

Microprose isn’t just for micro weeks. This week Christine double-dog-dared me to write about a fall in 100 words. I made it… exactly.

Hurt people hurt people

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WARNING: TROPES AHEAD. And spoilers for things that happened years ago in media you probably didn’t care about.

I’m a Batfan from way back. I have the toys, the comics, the posters, the shirts, including the Gotham Rogues limited edition hoodie that Underarmour was selling. ALL OF IT. If you want me to buy something, just stick a fucking bat on it and take my money. I will fight you if you think Tony Stark is the superior billionaire superhero. Continue reading

Sorrynotsorry

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“I guess there’s no room for redemption in your worldview,” a friend said, angrily signing off Messenger. I’d just spent hours explaining redemption. Starting with “apology.”

I generally refrain from tearing most writing to shreds in public. It’s tacky and hurtful, and it doesn’t lead to better writing. What I will do is dissect the hell out of a public apology. Especially an apology that’s as ineffective, insincere, pouty, and full of dogwhistles as the one my unaffected friend wanted to accept wholeheartedly on behalf of the people actually hurt.

If you want a thorough background, read this article. Everyone else, here’s the TL;dr.

Some people who like to do this and this:

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Estrella War 2005, photo by author

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Both of these kids are at least in high school now and I am old. Photo by author.

Are upset that a guy who looks like this:

nice haircut

photo from facebook, photographer unknown

Made this:

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A semi-accurate reproduction of the Snartemo V band

And these people thought it would be cool to wear it in public while in a position of power:

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TxRM’s Athanaric and Sigriðr of Caid

As context, Lady-on-the-Right was spoken to years ago by someone who pointed out that this other thing she likes to wear a reproduction of:

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You can find this by googling “3d CE swastika” or “horse swastika” or “Roman swastika”

kiiiiind of, from a few feet away, looks like a

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mystery image!

…”fylfot.” That’s what you say when you don’t want to say “swastika.” Well, one thing led to another…

Sometimes you get so exited[sic] about something you downplay or ignore the negatives. In this case we have done so and have hurt some members of the populace. We got very exited[sic] about a piece of very complex historical art and making an extremely accurate presentation and felt the differences to modern interpretations would be sufficient and that everyone would agree with us. We were wrong. For this we apologize. Know that no offense was intended, no hidden message to interpret, and no hate to be displayed. For any communities hurt we are sorry to have caused you pain. The art created will not be further displayed upon the throne.

Why was it hard to believe this? Obviously they had no idea that anyone would consider the trim anything other than a historical reproduction, right?

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Public commentary on Facebook. The last comment is by the weaver of the trim. It reads “Rainbow sun wheels for when you want to commit the most fabulous genocide.”

Here’s the thing about a sincere apology. It cannot start with a lie. They knew more than a few people would see “a swastika.” Lots of swastikas. So “felt… that everyone would agree with us” is disingenuous at best and malicious at worst. It also raises an interesting question: Did they take a poll, and if so, what is it about the group they polled that makes it self-select to “people who are totally not bothered by swastikas?”

I’ll wait while you come up with your own answer.

Another thing about a sincere apology is that it should focus on the person injured, not on you or what’s “in your heart.” If you step on someone’s foot, you say “I’m sorry I broke your foot” not “I definitely stepped on your foot, wow, do you know how to get blood out of leather? These were really expensive boots.” This apology is all me, me, me, identify with me instead of the people I harmed.

Let’s repeat that: it targets people who identify with the aggressor, not the victims.

And then, of course, “accuracy.” You can do some research on the original band, but let’s just say it’s a lot narrower and not quite so Third Reichey in color theme around the fylfots.

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Still not great, though.

Finally, if you know the four-part apology framework, you know saying “I won’t” allows the wrongdoer to draw the smallest possible circle around the infraction. “The art created will not be further displayed upon the throne.” So… you’re still planning to run around in it? Display it everywhere else?

But, you know, props, they recognized that the original nonpology was insufficient and came back with a second one. As did the guy with the Richard Spencer haircut.

And yeah, I still don’t think this is satisfactory.

One of the things my friend in Paragraph 1 asked for was empathy. Someone comes up to you and says “Hey, [reader], you look like a Nazi in that swastika.” Empathetically, what’s the first thing you want to say?

“I’m not a Nazi.”

Go read through all the apologies, and look for that phrase. It’s not there. Other words that neither apology contains: “swastika.”

There’s no sense of taking ownership in these “apologies.” Hell, there isn’t even an acknowledgment of the wrongdoing, in the words the injured people used to describe the injury. Just a lot of “you should understand what’s in our hearts.”

Pretty sure I do. And until that changes, no, I’m not here for your redemption cycle.

The F Bomb

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Nan was the first person I heard say “fuck” in a professional capacity, and I don’t think I’ve been as impressed by the word since, except maybe the first day of Contracts when Professor Leslie slid into the room in an outfit far too California-subtextually-gay for the Midwest and screamed it at the top of his lungs before saying in a much calmer voice “I just got tenure, I can say whatever I want now.” Continue reading

This is true.

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Nonfiction usually requires a windup. Some sort of stretching before it hits the track. A metaphor. Links, to other sources more reliable than myself. For once, I’m (almost) going to skip that. If you need resources, you are already on the internet. I hope that you’ll find the one that convinces you this is true. Or you could just believe me; I’m usually pretty good at being right.

You are not your productivity.