terribleturnip: (Goat)
So, in the aftermath of the election, there are going to be a lot of really upset people; people who are concerned that they're embarking on four years of hell, in danger of losing everything that they consider the best of the United States.

And if you're on the winning side, you probably think they're idiots. If you're on the losing side, you probably think the people who voted for the winning candidate are idiots.

Here's the thing though: most of them really aren't.

The other day I was listening to the radio and one of the on-air personalities (I'm old enough to still think of them as DJ's, although that's something completely different...remember that, children, when I'm in the Home and trying to communicate through the curtains of dementia) was talking about how that morning, one of her dogs got loose while on her morning walk and ran out into traffic. And there she was, freaking out on the side of the road, trying to figure out how to get the dog back, how to get the traffic to stop, while still maintaining control of the other dog.

And a bunch of people, about ten, she said, on their way to work, stopped their cars, got out, stopped traffic, corralled her dog and got the animal safely back to her. By the time she'd fixed the dog's collar and gathered her wits about her, everyone had gotten back into their cars and driven off. You know, they had places to go and had done their Good Samaritan bit and were on their way.

Now, I can guarantee you that some of those people were Clinton supporters. Some of them were Trump supporters. (There's a possibility that there was a Johnson or Stein supporter as well, but let's not stretch statistics too far on this one.) And maybe they all had different motivations -- cared about the young woman freaking out on the side of the road, cared about the dog, were worried that the damn dog would cause an accident and foul up traffic -- but they were all motivated to help make the world just a little bit better.

I just did our big Halloween event, where the houses on our street decorate and host thousands of trick or treaters. Every house spends money, time and effort on decorations, spends about $150-$200 on candy to give away. And I can guarantee you that some of them are Clinton supporters, some Trump supporters, and yes, in this case, I'm not stretching statistics, there's at least one Stein supporter. But on the days leading up to Halloween, that night, the next day cleaning up...each of them pitched in to make the world just a little bit better for a bunch of kids and their parents.

Each of us fears that we'll lose something that we value in this election - rights, a way of life, freedoms, progress, whatever. And you think the other person is completely wrongheaded about it. I get that.

But let's remember to separate the IDEAS from the PERSON. Politics aside, you may well have a lot of things in common...your humanity and your desire to have a better world. Understand that fear does indeed make us stupid -- that it's easy for wrongheaded, stupid ideas to lodge in a brain. That social media, regular media are all doing their best to froth up that fear...make us more stupid...corral us into us and them, making each of us feel victimized...making us gullible and accepting of bullshit. And if you think only the OTHER side believes some bullshit...if you think only the other side is capable of believing some stupid shit...well, I hate to tell you this, but you're wrong. And you KNOW that, deep in the cockles of your wrinkled little brain.

Critical thinking is all well and good on a frictionless surface...sitting around the table, glass of bourbon in your hand, free of fear (wait, that might just be me, the bourbon, fine, imagine your own damn prop) with plenty of breathing room and headspace.

But it's a hell of a lot harder when you're scared and when people are pumping out all sorts of lies and fake news and you've now defriended or been defriended by people who believe differently from you, so you just hear the same bullshit over and over again, surrounded by people who agree with you, search engines now editing your information to help support your current beliefs even more, rarely showing you the opposite viewpoint, a whole goddamn cycle of supporting and perpetuating the ideas you already have.

::Deep breath::

Now, I get it -- you want to, and you have a certain right to, protect yourself from people who are dangerous to you, hurtful to you. I'm aware that in this case, I'm rocking some serious privilege -- white, middle-aged, tough and to a certain extent, a little bit inurement to misogyny. And there are indeed awful people on both sides of this particular fence...and over there, standing in the Johnson/Stein/Write-In/Whateveruselessprotestyou'remaking paddock. And yes, someone who's motivated by hate? Expletive them. Belligerent assholes? I'll do what I can, but you shouldn't feel badly about distancing yourself.

But remember that a lot of THEM are very, very much like you -- just wanting it all to be better. Heck, if it weren't for social media, you probably would have spent the rest of your life being friends with them and might not ever have noticed that they had some ideas diametrically opposed to your own. And you can be all "oh, man, I never knew that person was such a raging asshole" now that you've seen their twitter/facebook posts. Although you could be thinking "huh, we've been friends for years and worked on all sorts of stuff together but NOW I HATE THEM." Newsflash: That last one? You're thinking that? You might be a belligerent asshole yourself.

You want to get those wrong-headed ideas out of their head? Calling them an idiot is not going to do it. Separate ideas from the person; they're not necessarily the same thing. Recognize their humanity, figure out what you do have in common, try working side by side on less contentious things...you're far more likely to get them to move to your side of the fence than if you just build that fence higher and cover it with barbed wire.

Or you could shove them all away, let them be surrounded by people who think just like them, a social circle filled with people who hold the exact same stupid ideas/beliefs and they can spend the next four years reinforcing all of the bullshit and we can go through this again.
terribleturnip: (percy)
Right. October. Mid-Atlantic. 90 degrees. I know, given the weather we've had, I shouldn't complain. It's been brilliant. But really, I so look forward to this time of year and since it hasn't rained in weeks and it's going to be near 90 degrees and humid this weekend, there's a high likelihood that I'll either spontaneously burst into flames...or accumulate enough sweat and dust to turn me into a golem. Please feel free to write something on my forehead backwards so I can erase it and put myself out of my misery.

Turnip at Toad dot net appears to be dead and while it comes to no surprise to me, if any of you are still using it, well, don’t. You can PM me if you don’t have anything else. That had become what I’d considered my “throwaway” e-mail, the one I used when shopping or if required to submit an e-mail or post an e-mail in a less than secure place, figuring that when/if it got compromised, or so spam-ridden that it was breaking my filters or patience, I could walk away from it. But of course, once again, the company it ran through went feet up with no notice and the parent company is so far uncommunicative.

But it was time to set up another “throwaway”, so I set up another gmail account that would forward to my main e-mail inbox. Now let’s ponder the irony that Gmail thinks the messages that Gmail is sending me, welcoming me to Gmail…are Spam. “We can’t verify the source of this message.” I feel like I’m in the technological equivalent of the horror movie Black Christmas “The calls are coming from inside the house!”

(Sorry, three hours of Wil Wheaton, Paul & Storm nerd-references and the whole 70’s-80’s horror/sci-fi/geekdom attic in my head got swung wide and bits of trivia are swirling around like the storm of cat hair that a Furminator, four cats and a ceiling fan make in my living room once a month. And realizing that they’re all about my age, so that finally, the geek/nerd jokes and references were ones I got and found funny, THAT was delightful as pretty much any gaming reference after 1985 is lost on me….unless it’s tabletop-related.)

Every problem I’ve tried to solve today has created half a dozen new, even harder ones to solve. If I keep this up, it’ll take me only another three weeks to ensure that I have a year’s worth of work, even if I don’t get a single new assignment. Awesome. There’s a part of my brain that is rat terrier busy right now calculating the odds that doing NOTHING will actually put me farther ahead than trying to accomplish something.

Maybe you’re in the same boat. So let me give you some distractions:

I loved the book The Shining. LOVED it. I thought the movie was highly overrated and didn’t think it came close to doing justice to the book, although to be fair, I suspect that part of the reason so many King books ARE so good, is that they’re tapping/relating so directly to your brain or imagination, that they just CAN’T be effective when someone else represents them for you. I was never really sure WHY I didn’t like The Shining movie though, beyond it leaving out some parts I’d been fond of, and a visceral dislike of Shelley Duval, which I’m sure is directly related to the characters she played and not her actual personhood. She’s probably a very nice person. (Kubrick, on the other hand, I have no problem believing that I wouldn’t like HIM.) But this writer sums up why I didn’t like the movie, and I think it’s a hole a lot of movies fall into, even if they’re Kubrick-ego-free.

http://www.salon.com/2013/10/01/what_stanley_kubrick_got_wrong_about_the_shining/

And here, you need a break from being pissed off at Congress. Let’s all get pissed off at the people who are funding the very expletives who are currently holding our country hostage. This is just awful. Well, no, wait, actually, it’s BRILLIANT. Brilliantly awful. If only it weren’t using lies and scare tactics…and could theoretically cause woman to DIE, I’d admire it. Also, the irony that the people who are bringing us bucketloads of legislature across the nation that are aimed at regulating my uterus and vagina, required trans-vaginal sonograms, trying to prosecute pregnant women for endangering fetuses, and all sorts of other shenanigans that seem awfully focused on my ladybits are implying that…..

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/19/koch_backed_conservatives_go_pro_cervical_cancer/

Get your paws off of me, you damned dirty ultraconservative!

(Do you remember THAT movie, children?)
terribleturnip: (The Boys)
Neither is scarier than the ill-informed but certain.

I’m going to take a page out of my favorite Liar’s playbook and back away from Facebook until this budget thing is resolved. I mean, I’ve carefully crafted an Actual Friends list where it’s only family & friends that I really care about, or are funny, smart and interesting. There’s a huge overlap thankfully. So I’m protected from all of the uninformed, uneducated (and I don’t necessarily mean school-learning here) morons that clearly have no idea how government works, what this fight is about, what the repercussions really are, or are using this to push some crazy-expletive agenda that is only barely related to the budget and shutdown. Except that the micro-pates are still COMMENTING on my actual friends’ pages. It’d be simple to wish that my actual friends not start anything, and I do sort of wish that, but that’s pure selfishness and they should go ahead and do what makes them happy. I have plenty of other things to attend to, THAT’S for darn sure!

Although what really cheeses me off is that for the first time in almost two decades, I made arrangements to take a tour of what used to be called the Front Royal Conservation Center, (its mission has expanded, and that’s cool, but I haven’t internalized the new name yet) which is where a lot of the endangered species are being bred and studied. It’s only open once a year. And finally, this year, it was on a weekend where I could actually go, and I got tickets before they were sold out. Yeah, this Sunday. And if the government doesn’t open back up, guess what’s not happening. Except of course, it might. Or not. I do NOT have room in my head to run two completely separate logistical plans for the weekend. And I’m resentful as hell. I mean, that’s nothing compared to people who are here in the nation’s capital for a vacation or field trip. I mean, okay, so I have to wait until next year and I’m out the $30 (because you know they’re going to reschedule for a weekend I can’t do it…), I’ll get over it, but I’m mostly obsessing on THAT because it’s a safe place of my head to be…a controllable outrage that makes me feel self-indulgent and small if I think just enough about it.

I also realized that now is probably not a good time to be watching the U.S. version of House of Cards, as that’s just a one-way ticket to the pit of despair over politics. So, last night – Monday being TV night, once I mow the lawn, make dinner, clean the litter boxes, throw in laundry, and wash the faire dishes – I switched over to watching the Walking Dead. That’s better. I much prefer having nightmares about zombies.

And it was timely – I was actually considering breaking down and attending a Haunted Attraction this season. And those people wandering through those dark prison hallways, with zombies suddenly coming out of nowhere, reminded me how very, very, very much I HATE being scared. As much as I adore haunted houses – it’s all about making them, enjoying the concept of them, stealing ideas, techniques, etc. But I’m all about the lights-on tours. Going through the house while it’s live, active? ::shudder:: Even knowing all that I know about the design and theory…the startle, the insecurity, working the gap, misdirection, exploiting vulnerability, driving throughput, recognizing drop panels and Pickel designs…I mean, when I walk into a room/scenario, I have a fair idea of exactly what’s going to happen and for me…it doesn’t expletive matter. I’m still nauseous the whole time.

I think I’ll content myself with the 2-D scares of zombies chasing other people on a little screen in the living room, while I build my new man-eating plant.
terribleturnip: (percy)
Here, libertarians and other people who think that regulation and watch-dog agencies are crushing the free market, here’s my rebuttal:

Horse meat in your beefburger. Maybe not even horsemeat, perhaps donkey.

Not bad enough?

Pork in your halal meat.

A manufacturing plant that knew its peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella and continued to ship it anyway.

DNA testing demonstrating that really, all of those labels and restaurant descriptions should just say “Fish” because half the time, whatever it’s being called is not what it actually is.

China. Any food that comes from China. Good luck with that.

For the record, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go outside the food industry and have a field day.

Although you'll run the risk of losing all faith in your fellow humans... )
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