metaphortunate: (Default)
it's hard to raise a Force user when you're not one

You parents know what I’m talking about. That would be some adorable wishing into the cornfield shit to live with.

Mostly coloring and shading practice. Drawn using Autodesk Sketchbook on my phone as with everything recently. I heard a rumor that Apple might be bringing back an iPhone of a size that would actually fit in my tiny girl hands and oh my god, if they do, someday I might have a phone with pressure sensitivity...
metaphortunate: (kissy emoticons)
Last month we were over at a friend's house for dinner and they had ice cream for dessert. A flavor and brand of ice cream I had never had before. I can't tell you what it was, because I tried it, and then I gave myself another whole scoop and very carefully did not look at the carton while I did it. See, at this age, it turns out I feel better if I eat sweets in a reasonable quantity and do not, say, hide in the bathroom while my kids are eating healthy dinner and scarf ice cream instead every day all week. Which is the temptation I would be fighting every day if I knew how to get more of this ice cream. And I'm not going to tell you any more about it because you will FIND IT, I know you people.

But for my birthday, Mr. E bought me a pint of it, and then he took it out of its carton and put it in the freezer in a different container, and then he told me about it. So I can have some ice cream and yet continue in my chosen ignorance. He's a sweetheart.
metaphortunate: pirate saying "I need a convoluted narrative to really get off" (get off)
A couple of days ago @thefourthvine asked "what are the best books you read in the last year?"

When I gave her my list, I did not include A Seditious Affair. Probably this was partly internalized sexism-type reluctance to admit to loving a book in as stereotypically-middle-aged-woman (that's me! Hi, me) a genre as romance. I mean: let me admit, romance is legit a pretty limiting genre. The conventions of the form are strict and the premises are precisely, inflexibly, and, you know, kind of ridiculously bent. And if you don't like that sort of thing, it's not going to be the sort of thing you like.

But I cheerfully volunteered that one of the best books I read was Rat Queens, and that is a series in a genre where you literally have to have (1) mage, (1) thief, (1) cleric and (1) fighter. You know what genre that is, it is only for people who know it and love it, it relies entirely on those conventions, but within those parameters it is funny and fun and great. So, I admit to loving a book in a dumb boy genre, the dumb boy genre, c'est moi; I suppose I can repeat, once again, that the dumb girl genre is aussi moi. It's not like I'm hiding it. Not successfully, anyway.

But the other part of it is, even given the restrictions of its genre, I can't say that it was one of the best books I read last year. I can say that it was one of my favorites.

It's like this: the first aerial silks performance I ever saw was in a Cirque de Soleil show. It changed my whole concept of acrobatics. I'd never seen anything like it. It was so unprecedentedly beautiful. I was riveted. I couldn't stop trying to sketch the act all the way home.

And then, because I used to have free time and I spent it hanging out with jugglers and their ilk, I saw like 800,000 more silks acts, of varying quality. And I still like silks! But I'm not unable to, you know, tear my gaze away from the performance now. It's a cool act. I evaluate the performance. I roll my eyes a bit if I only see the same tricks I've seen a million times, and nothing new or daring.

But a while ago, I saw an amateur silks performance by a woman whose first performance in public it was. And maybe part of it was that I had a balcony seat, so I watched her climb up to me rather than being on the ground watching someone rise into the air like you normally do. But this woman, she was good: she didn't make any mistakes: she made all her tricks: but she was not good enough to make them look effortless. I remember watching her biceps bunch and release, bunch and release, as she hauled her weight up to the ceiling. A really good silks acrobat looks like she's floating on the fabric. This woman showed exactly just how goddamn hard and dangerous of a thing I was watching someone try to do. It was fascinating, it was the most I've enjoyed an acrobatic performance in years.

And similarly, I know there are books that seamlessly weave together plot, character, emotion, suspense, humor, history, social commentary, sex, family and poetry. Those are some great books, I like those books, I have read a lot of them because I have read a lot. I have consequently also read a lot of crap, of course. But this book was not quite either, this book was good enough to do a lot of the good stuff but it was not good enough to do it effortlessly. You could see the muscles pulling. And for some reason, seeing that happen was fascinating.

It is also relevant to my first source of hesitance that this series - this is the second book in a series, and the first one (A Fashionable Indulgence) is unfortunately not as good as the second one, but if you enjoy the second one you will want to have read the first one first because the second one thoroughly spoils the first one and also benefits from character development and setup from it, which is the perennial chicken fox and goat problem of the series reader - anyway, this series is explicitly about wanting things that you are not supposed to want, and how to deal with that. And Charles does not gloss over the fact that if what you want are things that are not respectable, you will not be respected. And not just in an inspirational poster "but only by people who don't matter!" way. You will not be respected in a personal way, maybe by people who are very important to you; and you may not be respected in a broader way, with consequences financial, social, maybe penal. The consequences are real.

But the things we want define us. Look, I hate to drag Ayn Rand in by the shoulders again, but she was right about this one: "My real soul, Peter? It’s only when it’s independent - you’ve discovered that, haven’t you? It’s real only when it chooses curtains and desserts – you’re right about that - curtains, desserts, religions, Peter, and the shapes of buildings." You define yourself when you choose, when you say this is for me and that is not, and also you expose yourself, and it's scary, Lord knows it's much safer, in both vague feeling and absolute immediate concrete ways, to look around you and see what other people are choosing and what choices are respected; but you have got to think about the fact that your soul may be embarrassing and inappropriate but it is the only one you have got. To what degree can you get along without it. Anyway, The Fountainhead this isn't, but it is in its own way a manifesto about letting your freak flag fly and paying the price for it. So: the dumb girly genre, c'est moi, and incidentally let me mention that unlike The Fountainhead, this book is also hot as the flames of hell. In case that is the sort of thing that your own personal soul is into, too.

Fic rec

Jan. 14th, 2016 09:15 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
Okay, yes, it is OOC Evil Nazi Space Boyfriends. But I laughed so hard. Go on, this day could use some cheering up.
metaphortunate: (Default)
We saw Star Wars last night! It was:

95% = this extremely accurate and spoiler-free review

4% = a gutwrenching hook into the primal human fear that your kid will grow up to be a horrible person and you won't be able to do anything about it

1% = a brief but surprisingly nuanced glimpse of a complicated, either long-ended or on-again-off-again, nonmonogamous relationship between three people who clearly still care about each other a whole lot

We had fun!
metaphortunate: (Default)
So, I am home! Sick! And attempting to get through my to-do list on things that don't require 1) standing or 2) thought!

So I thought, I would check out the local swim classes!

NO ONE PUTS THEIR FUCKING SCHEDULES ON LINE. Why do places not do this. Seriously. A PDF would be fine! YOU HAVE A GODDAMN PDF OF YOUR PRESCHOOL SWIM SCHEDULES, PEOPLE. I KNOW YOU HAVE ONE SOMEWHERE. POST IT.

Now I'm going to have to call and ask. On the phone. Like some kind of animal.

And it's going to have to wait till I have my voice back. What is this nonsense.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Okay y'all, L and I did shape each other's personalities to the degree that that's inescapable when you're good friends with someone from the ages of 7 to 17, but come on. I was not a blank slate and she was not my second grade Svengali. I would not be the same person at the age of 36 that I was at the age of 6 whether or not I had ever met L. My parents have just always preferred to blame the bits of my personality that they don't like on my friends. And okay, there's some truth to that, but it's also a chicken and egg question: these are the friends I've had because I chose them, for reasons of my own, because these are the people that I have wanted to know and love and be like. I chose you all, and you chose me, and we shape each other but you are not the cause of me.
metaphortunate: (Default)
We're home! Guys, I genuinely do miss my mom a little bit. I do, because living with her is like living with the world's most passive-aggressive house elf, so you never have to clean a single thing. In fact, you are not allowed to clean a single thing, because if you so much as spill something and try to wipe it up she winces "please stop cleaning, you are not good at it, go do something else." Nor do you carry anything, because the moment you move towards picking something up, she darts in and hisses "for the love of God, can you just let me help you" leaving you with the choice of either letting a tiny 70-year-old woman haul your giant luggage up the stairs or physically wrestling it from her resisting hands. Which obviously has its drawbacks, but - we did not have to clean a single thing while we were there! We didn't do laundry, we played with the kids instead of doing dishes, and let me tell you - that is the best Christmas present of all.

Not that it was the only Christmas present. The kids got so many presents that they literally could not open them all. They couldn't open them all in a week. We are having unopened presents shipped to us. Some of those are going to be quietly donated, I think. And we will remember in future that the "2 presents each" rule has to be restated EVERY year.

Good presents, though. Legos! A magnetic drawing board! Automoblox! Foam swords! We got to see my dad and my half-sibs, I like those kids more every year. Currently I'm just in jaw-dropping awe of their good phone etiquette. Like, we went out, and they HAD their phones, they checked in with them every once in a while, but they didn't stare at them! Teenagers who cheerfully socialized with adults and toddlers and no one of their own age! Amazing, how do you get them to DO that???

We spent one night at my best friend's house, too, and that was great; her kids are 7 and 3, and the 7-year-old is incredibly good with younger kids. The Junebug is a huge fan of his. Where we live, land prices are high and the childhood population is low. Where Z lives, it is the exact opposite, so there is a large supply of restaurants featuring sand pits or play lots or various facilities for kids to run around like hyperactive monkeys, while their parents can keep an eye on them while chilling out with a beer and 35 lbs of fried food each. It is Texas. We went out for dinner to a place that had a better playscape than some parks we go to around here, and I hope the kids remember it. I mean, we go to parks all the time, but we don't go there at night; and I remember nights when I was a kid, when my family would go out for dinner with people, and we were out late, and we'd be playing as the streetlights came on, and there would be kids to play with other than my brother, and an atmosphere of excitement and unfamiliar fun. Those were good times, I'm glad my kids are getting some.

Also - if I may brag for a second - my kids are awesome. We saw a lot of kids on this trip, and all of them were cute and most of them were great, but mine are the BEST. They really coped so well with the plane flights and the messed up schedules. There were just a couple of meltdowns and they were directly our fault for not Leaving When It Was Time and trying to squeeze out a few minutes longer. It's hard for me to be disciplined about that, but wow is it vital.

It is a little bit frustrating for the relatives because my kids are just not the type to leap into the laps of strangers. I remember going out with some friends and their daughter, same age as the Junebug, did literally that: we looked away for a second and she was sitting in the lap of some neighbor who came over all "If you ever need a babysitter!!1!" I was shocked. My kids could no more do that than they could flap their arms and fly. Genetics and great presents notwithstanding, if they see someone a couple of days a year at most, that person is a stranger; and if that stranger bears down on them with the intention of scooping them up, they will run to me all AAAAH STRANGER DANGER I NEED MY MAMA. And then people get their feelings hurt.

....and blame me, for not showing them a good example of affection. :/

Scene:
It is bucketing down outside. Mom, Mr. E, the monkeys and I are waiting for takeout pizza. The adults are sitting and occasionally bellowing "INSIDE VOICE!" The kids are bouncing off the walls of an empty part of the restaurant.

Me, remembering that I always loved hearing about my parents' childhood, it was so different from mine; in an effort to get the kids to tamp down the Brownian motion and interact with their grandma: Hey guys, slow down for a second. Wanna hear about when I was a little kid? Your abuela is my mom, remember? Hey mom, what was I like when I was a little kid?

Mom: You were nice. You were such a nice little girl.

Mr. E (joking (predictably (but, seriously, JOKING))): Aww, what happened?

Mom, grimly: It was that friend you made. That L. That's where it all started.

Me, who has heard many times about how awful my friends have been for me, and does not need to hear it again: Mom, actually, the dude who married me thinks I am still nice. He was joking.

Mom - mercifully lets it go.

Kids - ignore the whole interaction.

But there you go. If you ever wondered when my personality started to go south, it was when I met L., at the age of 7. Man, if you'd have met me when I was 6, you would have really liked me! I was nice.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Read this before the end of the year if you have eczema.

See, I've been to dermatologists about eczema about half a million times, & they all:
  • got that sympathy grimace of "this ain't gonna do shit"
  • advised me to wear gloves while doing the dishes
  • prescribed me a few things that, as advertised by their facial expressions, didn't do shit. Maybe made it itch a little less but hurt a little more, kind of a pointless annoyance of a tradeoff.
But you get desperate, so I tried, once again, a new doc. And she looked at my current medications, and told me these things:
  1. The advice to never touch water is deprecated. The kind of eczema I have is a birth defect where my skin loses water like a sieve, which is why it's so dry and itchy. And I can bathe in Aquaphor like I do, but it won't help unless there's moisture in the skin to keep in. So it's fine to get the skin wet, just cover self in a thick layer of petroleum jelly afterwards.
  2. Which explains why I had through trial and error found that first a layer of some moisturizer and then a layer of Aquaphor was doing the most good.
  3. Sanding between coats is not necessary.
  4. And in fact, per the doc, I should go back to being the one to wash the kids. And furthermore, I should put a tablespoon of bleach in the bathwater. Yes, some people get to bathe with bubbles, some people get to bathe with fancy glitter from Lush, but my kids get to bathe with bleach; because, and for some reason this is not something that had really occurred to me before, when you go around all the time with bleeding cracks and raw patches in your skin, it increases your vulnerability to infection! So bleach in the bathwater helps fight that.
  5. One of my old prescriptions was Protopic (tacrolimus ointment.) According to this new doc, sometimes that works! But it can also irritate the skin. So! Less itching, more pain, pointless annoyance of a tradeoff.
  6. The other one was generic fluocinonide ointment. And supposedly the name brand (Lidex) is pretty good. But I had the generic. And according to this doc, the difference between the name brand and the generic is the penetration enhancers, which I realize sounds like lube, but actually is the so-called inactive ingredients which allow the active ingredient in the meds to get absorbed through the outer skin layers to where it can do some good. So apparently, the name brand manufacturers put money into developing penetration enhancers that are effective and non-irritating. But the generic manufacturers just stick some propylene glycol in there. And propylene glycol, she said, works by eating holes in your skin that the active ingredient can go through. Which, when your skin is already all fucked up and irritated and hypersensitive, has exactly the effect that you would expect.
  7. Less itching. More pain.
  8. So instead, she gave me a sample of a new drug called Neo-Synalar. It's a steroid and and an antibiotic. Here's the thing:
    IT'S WORKING.
    Months of torment and this shit cleared me up 97% in a matter of two days. If you have eczema, and you haven't tried this yet, you need to look into it. And you need to do it now, because the other thing is that Neo-Synalar is holy fuckballs supercalifragilisticexpialexpensive. Like, one 60 gram tube costs about $440. But I got it for FREE, because Medimetriks Pharmaceuticals is giving out a $0 Copay Discount Card and my doctor gave me one. But it's only good through 12/31. So if you might need this, look into it now. See if your doc has one. And if you can't get the card, get the $0 Copay Rebate at the manufacturer's website.

    Good luck, and try not to claw your skin off in your sleep. Cotton gloves do help.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Okay, here's a thing.

The conversation I wrote about yesterday? I know it's wrong. I mean, I have an ear for this, I know that it's funny. But I honestly don't 100% know exactly why.

I mean, it's ironic that my mom is bugging me to break a habit that she has absolutely no intention of breaking herself, right? But is that any worse than me telling my kid to relax and get some sleep when I know there's no chance I'll be doing it myself? And I know what would happen if I told my mom to lay off my coffee habit if she's not going to kick her own, because I've had this conversation before. She would say, with perfect sincerity, that my health and wellbeing are much more important to her than her own.

Which is true. I don't talk about it much, because it's not funny, or cute, or some traumatic shit that I have to work through, which are the main reasons why I talk about my family. It's just been a constant source of support in my life: I have always had parents who care deeply about my health and wellbeing, yea, even above their own. How lucky am I. And if they're sometimes spectacularly bad at figuring out how to support that goal; well, sometimes they're not. They did get a number of things right. And I wouldn't be doing nearly as well as I am without all the love and help they gave me throughout my life, for sure.

But, it's still kind of fucked up to not be able to drink tea for breakfast in your own house without being confronted with how disappointing it is that you haven't reached a goal that you weren't trying for and aren't interested in, right?

There's still something fucked up about caring so much about someone else's health and happiness that you push them to do shit in pursuit of it that is way too hard or tedious or unpleasant to do yourself, right?

I really want to know what exactly the problem is. What is the funny part? What is the fucked up part? Because I know something is wrong, but I don't know what it is, and if I don't know what it is, how am I going to avoid doing it myself?
metaphortunate: (Default)
Me: I'm making tea, do you want some?

Mom: Ay mija, did you finally manage to quit coffee? I'm so happy for you!

Me: ...no. I drink coffee all the time.

Mom: Oh.

Me: I, uh, haven't been trying to quit drinking coffee. I like coffee.

Mom: Oh.

Me: I just like to drink tea on the weekends.

Mom: You know, some people don't drink any caffeine at all.

Me: So true. Did you want some tea, then?

Mom: Oh no, I already made myself some coffee, thanks.


(and then she made us all arepas and I ate like 35 of them and all was well, yay for family bonding through childhood foods.)
metaphortunate: (Default)
It occurs to me that if I said about someone "I know that person like I know my own mind" I would mean "I consider my interactions with that person to be a dark and unrewarding quagmire of poorly mapped quicksand, unscalable barriers, and bear traps. Bear traps that randomly catch fire. I know this person like I can navigate the fire swamp, is what I'm saying. If I told her that I love him, fuck knows what would happen. Could be fine. Could be lying. Could be the second half of the Blank Space video."

Angelica's mind is clearly more organized.

arms race

Oct. 30th, 2015 08:09 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
US: Please don't give the kids battery operated toys that make a lot of noise.

MR. E'S PARENTS: Here's a battery operated bus that makes loud engine and honking sounds and plays a jaunty little tune! Happy birthday, Rocket!

MR. E: Well, I was able to cut the battery lines, so that's fine, but maybe next time take the batteries out first? They never like the toy as much if it made noise at first and then stopped.

MOM: I got the Junebug one of those Audubon Society stuffed birds that play a tinny recording of an authentic bird call! It's a seagull. Also the batteries are internal and there's no way to access them. And I've already given it to him and he loves it. Your move, bitch.

ME: Hey, that was a real good try. But I think you forgot that your own mother taught me how to sew. I just opened a seam, took out the noisemaker, and sewed it back up as good as new. I even gave him the noisemaker for an outside toy only, how you like that?

MOM: I'm gonna buy them a piano.

ME: No.
metaphortunate: (Default)
The other day the temp I didn't like came to my desk to ask me a question. But first she stopped, sniffed the air, and asked, "Is that your perfume or someone else's?"

"I don't know," I said. It could have been me, or the person next to me, or the woman who had just walked by. "What does it smell like?"

"Huh? It smells like perfume," she said.

We stared at each other. "Then I don't know," I said.

I understand that lots of perfumes are complex and I personally cannot chirp "It smells like a spiced floriental with an amber drydown" off the top of my head. Nonetheless, perfume strong enough to notice does provide more than one bit of information!

Incidentally, I was wearing Lush's Breath of God. Tautologically, it does in fact smell like perfume, since it is a perfume and it smells like itself. However, if you sniff someone wearing it (and it is not a sillage monster) you are less likely to describe it as "perfumey" and more as "did you have a cantaloupe soaked in barbecue sauce, Vicks Vaporub, and Ivory soap for lunch?" It is deeply weird and I love it.
metaphortunate: (Default)
As you know, I have no problem with poly in real life, or even in my Serious Reading; but the part of my brain that is dignity-free and only wants to eat candy corn until it explodes, or the fiction equivalent, does not like any jealousy issues even in potentia in its Diabetes Delight. I don't like poly, threesomes, and definitely not cheating in my fic. I honestly even have a terrible problem with OTPs, and I don't want to read about those characters with other people.

Except, it turns out, with Hamilton. Perhaps because Alexander is the canon bicycle? Dunno, but fanon's got everyone lined up to have a whack at him and I am here for it.
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] tam_nonlinear introduced me to Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine, and I love it. She's the doctor, he's the doofus, and it makes me laugh out loud at least once per episode.

Now, I am always grateful to live in the era of vaccines, antibiotics, and handwashing. I've always known that we are so damn lucky to have so many actual cures for things, that work. What this podcast is making me aware of is how lucky we are to not have so many damn things that don't work. Like, when you have a fever, Tylenol may or may not help, but at least you don't have anyone demanding that you rub your head with cowshit mixed with honey, eat a frog boiled in oil, then tie some bread to a tree. ("Can I at least skip the tying the bread to the tree?" "God, it's like you don't even want to get better.")

We still have a bunch of expensive shit that doesn't work, but the natural habitat of expensive shit that doesn't work is ailments for which we don't have anything that does work, so every remedy we discover not only cures an ailment but also erases a bunch of bullshit. It's great.
metaphortunate: (at one with the universe)
http://uncannymagazine.com/article/masculinity-is-an-anxiety-disorder-breaking-down-the-nerd-box/

I read this stuff and feel like a cow listening to someone complain that beef is so bad for your cholesterol.

Like, in a way, we're on the same side. We both have the same goal, to get people to eat less beef.

And yet, and yet I have to react with I DON'T FUCKING CARE, YOU MURDEROUS SHITWEASEL. Maybe there's a way in which it would be more effective to respond with "That's true! Eating me is awfully bad for you! As it happens, I have this lovely tofu recipe..."

But at the point at which I can respond to a conversation about how unhealthy it is to kill me with genuine concern about the effects on my killer's health... he might as well kill me. He's already stolen my life, whether or not I'm still breathing. I've lost it.

But luckily, y'all stopped reading like 2 paragraphs ago.

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