fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
This is my front page. If you want me to add you, drop me a line here. Or, add me. Either way, I'll check you out. You can also drop me a line here if, for instance, you don't have my email address. All comments here are screened.

This post also includes every tag I have -- this is because my current LJ style doesn't include a tag index. (At least half of my participation on LJ is on my phone. I chose this style because, as bare-bones as it is, it loads quickly and it's still readable on a small screen.)

I'd tell you more about myself, but that's what my profile -- and the rest of my LJ -- is for.
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
"An elderly person warms the palms of his hands over a brazier and stretches out the wrinkles. No young man would dream of behaving in such fashion; old people can really be quite shameless." -- Sei Shōnagon

One occasionally finds elderly men using the hot air machines to dry their crotches after taking a shower. No young man would do this, for those machines are for drying hands. Oh, how hateful!

"The sound of dogs when they bark for a long time in chorus is ominous and hateful."

One is at the gym, listening to one's own music while exercising, when one's fellow patrons scream, in the manner of a woman in labor without painkillers, as they lift a weight, each time they lift it. What charmless behavior! "Hateful" is an understatement.

"I cannot stand people who leave without closing the panel behind them."

One opens a locker without a lock on it, expecting it to be empty, only to find someone's belongings already there. Most hateful!

"One has gone to bed and is about to doze off when a mosquito appears, announcing himself in a reedy voice. One can actually feel the wind made by his wings, and, slight though it is, one finds it hateful in the extreme."

A popular style of headphones are audible from some considerable distance, and their faint buzzing announces the lack of musical taste of their owners. Hateful!
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
Dear Bible-pounding jerkoffs hanging out outside train stations,

Just as your faith is clearly an important part of your life, fitness is an important part of mine. Lemme tell you a few things about it.

I live it every day. I practice it every day. It has improved my life in a dozen obvious and less-obvious ways. I am a happier and better person for having it. Lifting weights has taught me lessons about working toward goals with non-immediate results -- lessons I've applied elsewhere in my life. Because I'm now a little bigger and scarier, and because I also more closely match our culture's body standards, the world treats me better... and I've found that as a result, I am much nicer to the world now than I was when I was skinny. And hey, confidence is a good thing, right?

And yet, I do not judge non-believers. I certainly don't look for opportunities to tell non-believers about the horrible fates awaiting them if they don't start living as I do.

This isn't to say I never preach. Obviously, I talk about it in my journal online, but it's my journal, it's about my life, and fitness is an important part of it. (A few people I know talk about their relationship with God in their journals. Same thing. It's part of their lives.) Sometimes, I preach in the real world, too... but usually only when asked. Occasionally, people in my life ask me questions. I do my best to answer them. Sometimes, people take the first steps on the road I'm currently walking. I do my best to encourage them. While most of the people who've noticed that I'm a different person now don't feel like emulating my life choices, a few people -- just a few! -- have been inspired to make changes for themselves. Where you have only managed to alienate people, I've actually had a positive effect.

There's a lesson in this, if you look closely.


[personal profile] fierynotes

Dear Judgmental asshole,

I apologize for my response to your missive. While hysterical laughter (preceded by choking noises) was certainly an appropriate response, it wasn't exactly as well-argued or well-thought-out as I would have liked. So, in the spirit of the staircase (that sounds much better in French), I'd like to say a few things I really wish I'd thought to say to you. It's not like I think I'll actually have a chance to say this to your face, but what the hell -- I'll have them ready for the next judgmental asshole.

One: thank you. I knew that one day, people would be making cracks about me going to the gym to compensate for certain... ahem, shortcomings, but I figured that I was still too skinny for anyone to think that, and a few more years of hard work stood between me and that day. Apparently, I'm not the best judge of my own progress. So... again, thank you.

Two: If you actually believe that male gymrats build themselves up to compensate for undersized penises... there's this thing called gay porn. You should look into it. You'll find plenty of counterexamples. I'd guess that doing a google image search for "muscular hung naked" or suchlike would also find you plenty of counterexamples, but I've typed enough interesting things into Google for one day (here on LJ, here on DW), so you'll have to look for yourself.

Three, and perhaps most importantly: making assumptions about a person's character flaws from their body shape makes you a judgmental asshole. In your case, it probably also makes you a hypocrite, since I'm sure at least one judgmental asshole has looked at your belly and made some unfair and unflattering assumptions about you. In my case, it also makes you wrong, but I don't expect you to believe that, and I wouldn't show it to you any more than I would show my pale-but-well-shaped ass to this asshole... for all the same reasons.


[personal profile] fierynotes
fierynotes: Picture of a B diminished 7th chord (B, D, F, A flat) followed by an inversion, in flames. (Bdim7)
I no longer work in retail. When I go into retail spaces, I make a point of blasting my mp3 player into my ears. (Lately, the latest releases by The Faceless, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Shade Empire are all in my rotation. They're all amazing, if you like your music to rip your face off.) I haven't thought of how much I hate Christmas music all month, all because I've successfully avoided Christmas music...

Oh, crap.

The following displays of Yuletide contempt are brought to you by the marginally tone-deaf sax player outside one of the BART stations I use, who has recently taken to playing two bars of a Christmas carol, followed by two bars of a different Christmas carol, followed by two maore bars of yet another Christmas carol, and so on. His sax case has money in it, which implies that people actually give this ass-clown money for being an annoying, tone-deaf prick.

fierynotes: Picture of a B diminished 7th chord (B, D, F, A flat) followed by an inversion, in flames. (Bdim7)
I ended up hearing one of the old classics of the death metal genre lately: "Spiritual Healing" by Death, first released in 1990 and hailed as both a classic and a landmark achievement in the genre. It hasn't aged well. Or maybe I'm just no fun anymore.

Track one: a song about crack babies... and the lyrics are complete bullshit. Seriously, I had the same lectures in High School about how those horrible evil drugs would create horrible evil birth defects in children that Chuck clearly had, complete with pictures illustrating anencephaly, harlequin ichthyosis, and other horrific images. The difference is that Chuck clearly bought into the bullshit.

Track two: a song about those horrible women who have abortions. Yyyyeah. Metal has a few of those. Don't get me started.

And so on. While I do need to give Death a small amount of credit for trying to come up with lyrical ideas beyond "what can we scream about that will piss parents off," they still fail.

The music, as well, has aged poorly. I realize that death metal owes a huge debt to Chuck Schuldiner, but at the same time it has moved so far forward since his death. Take, for instance, this song (which admittedly borrows heavily from Prokofiev). Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. They're all still unequivocally death metal, but they all sound so vibrant in comparison to Death, which sounds almost sterile in comparison.

As we get older, I hear we're supposed to get stuck in the past and whine about how everything was much better in the good old days. "My music was better, and we had to walk barefoot, in the snow, ten miles, uphill both ways, to buy it." I'm having the exact opposite problem: I dare not look back. I heard Metallica perform one of their old classics on The Colbert Report, and couldn't believe this was once a band I loved. I loved both Death and Metallica, in the past. Perhaps I should have left them there.

The cool thing is that I'm going to be genuinely pleased to see what comes next in music. Of course, most of it will be junk, but most of everything is. The sad thing is... lately, I got to see Wintersun, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Arsis live -- three bands I truly love. (All three of those clips are from the show I went to, and in fact I probably cracked a rib in the pit there. I didn't get it looked at, because I didn't have insurance quite yet, but I was moving very gingerly for a few weeks afterward.) Will I still love them in another ten years?
fierynotes: Picture of Tarvek, from Girl Genius, facepalming. (facepalm)
I've been dipping too much into the deep end of the so-called Manosphere again. Perhaps it's because I'm in a much happier place lately (a new job I like a lot more than my last one will do that), but it doesn't anger me as much as it once did. But whatever, I'm feeling magnanimous enough to give them advice. Not that they'll ever take it, but here goes...

Guys? There's this thing called No True Scotsman. It's a fallacy, but you should use it anyway. Whenever one of the people on your side says something horrible (which is often), say "we're not all like that." As evidenced by the number of people who use it in reference to Christian lunatics, bullies, and other assholes, despite being a fallacy, it often does work.

If you're going to claim that rationality is a uniquely male trait, try not to look like a raving lunatic. Not that it will help, since even if you're rational, most of your cohorts are raving lunatics. See my previous paragraph. Whenever one of them says horrible and irrational things like "the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection" with respect to feminists (which is often), just say "we're not all like that."

If you're going to claim that self-awareness is a uniquely male trait, show some of it. Speaking as a man who is more self-aware than most, my self-awareness is reflected in my words and deeds. I am aware that my actions have effects on my fellow human beings, and I try to judge my actions accordingly... sometimes, to the point that I have to break myself out of a a certain kind of over-cautious paralysis. If you behave like a typical thoughtless clod, you either lack this self-awareness you claim women lack, or you have it and you just do whatever the hell you feel like anyway because you're self-aware and that's how nature made you... which makes you a rationalizing animal, not a rational one.

If you're going to claim that women have been conditioned to demand weddings that cost tens of thousands of dollars... well, true, women don't need an expensive wedding. People don't "need" expensive cellphones either. (My cellphone was less than a hundred, with no contract. Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Note II are both over six, unless you're in the US and you're okay with a cellphone company owning your soul for two years.) People don't "need" expensive cars. People don't "need" high-end computers. (I'm typing this screed up on a three-hundred-dollar netbook. The MacBook Pro starts at four times that. There are people who actually need high-powered computers, but if your primary use of your computer is typing up anti-woman rants on the internet, you're probably not one of them.) Your complaint here isn't with women. It's with the force of (un)nature known as Marketing, and it affects all of us. Any "rational" person would see that, rather than cherry-picking one example and blaming women for it.

If you're going to claim that men invented civilization and that women are just not capable of doing anything important but they can sure hate men while using all the tools men gave them, make sure you're not composing your sexist rants while using wifi (which Hedy Lamar helped develop, since she invented frequency hopping), nor software (which Grace Hopper helped develop, since she invented the compiler), nor hardware (Lady Ada Lovelace). I feel safe in suggesting that the printing press is probably free of feminine influence¹. Try using that. Otherwise, you'll be condemning the people who gave you the gifts you take for granted... sorta like you accuse women of doing.

If you're going to claim that teh ebil feminists are painting all men with an overly broad brush, be very careful when discussing hypergamy. If you're claiming men are all misjudged one moment and spouting off shit that sounds like "all women are gold-digging cunts because science" the next, you're gonna look like a ginormous hypocrite. Actually, you should be very careful when discussing women generally, period.

If you're going to claim that women are all lying bitches when it comes to rape and that rape is a really rare thing, you should try to silence the evo-psych preachers in your own ranks who speak about "rape as a historically viable reproductive strategy," and the MRAs who try to excuse rape by suggesting that men can't help themselves because they're "drunk on feminine beauty." Failing that, just say "we're not all like that." No, that really won't help, now that I think about it. Best to just drop the "lying bitches" line altogether.

If you're going to claim that rape is really no big deal and that women are just making a mountain out of a molehill, you shouldn't make a big deal out of it when rape happens to men, too (TW). Doing this makes it look like you're okay with rape as long as it only happens to women, which is a morally reprehensible position.

If you actually care about stopping rape from happening to men, start your own discussions for it. It's a serious subject, one that intersects with masculine expectations as well as humane treatment of prisoners, and it deserves its own space. If you do all this, you'll find many feminists that agree with you -- the whole idea that rape is acceptable when committed against certain people is one of those things feminism is against. As it is, if you barge into a discussion of rape as it happens to women and demanding that the subject change to men, that cheapens both subjects. It makes it clear that you think stopping rape from happening to men is more important than stopping it from happening to women, and it takes the serious subject of rape against men and reduces it to a tool for silencing discussion.

If you're going to claim that women have it easy, and that (for instance) all the bad shit in wars is happening to men and not women, try to do it in a crowd that's not smart enough to google for war crimes while adding terms like "vitriolage," "rape camp," or "fistula" (TW). Also, try to make sure they're not smart enough to understand that tactics like siege, terrorism, and insect warfare aren't exactly gender-discriminate. This means never make this claim in front of any feminist, or even any budding feminist over the age of twelve. Save that for the Voice for Men and MGTOW fora, where they'll actually believe that shit.

And finally, if you're going to claim that "equality" means that you can now hit women for being annoying, because women don't need special protection anymore, consider how many times you've hit other men. Chances are, this is a very low number. Now, consider all the people who want to hit you for being annoying, but refrain from doing so because we're civilized. Women aren't asking for a special privilege, here. They're asking for the same freedom from being hit that you already have.

    1. I should add, since most of the Manosphere claims that all progress is made by alpha and beta males working to support wives and offspring, that while the printing press might be safe and hypocrisy-free to use, paper isn't. I don't know what Greek letter they put in front of "male" to refer to eunuchs, but I feel safe in guessing it's not alpha or beta.
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
Dear little wanna-be Usher,

Congratulations on your definition. But seriously, this ain't the locker room, and this ain't a dance club, so put on a fuckin' shirt. Right on the great big sign on the wall, there's bunch of rules, and one of them is "put on a fuckin' shirt." And while I'm complaining... the ladies here at the gym are, well... at a gym. While a certain amount of socializing happens at gyms, they are here, first and foremost, to work out. They are probably not looking for dick just now. In fact, at a guess, they're looking for staff, because you're annoying them... oh, look, I was right!

Bye bye!

[personal profile] fierynotes

Dear giant tank,

Congratulations on your bulk, and thank you for observing the aforementioned "put on a fuckin' shirt" rule. In theory, at least. You've kinda hacked the shit out of your shirt. Seriously, what did the poor thing ever do to you? There's almost nothing left of it!

Also, I frequently have stuff like Septic Flesh, Strapping Young Lad, and Deicide blasting in my ears when I work out. I should not be able to hear you grunting... and yet, I do. Not grunting, so much, but yelling with each rep. Are you giving birth or something?

[personal profile] fierynotes

Dear idiot,

Congratulations on the amazing numbers you're racking up. Pressing 990 pounds up a sled is a truly amazing feat... or it would be, if you were actually moving the damned thing. Three inches up and down, with your knees straight, isn't really doing much for you beyond stressing your joints. Did no one teach you about range of motion?

I wouldn't mind so much, since it's your body, and if you want to mess up your knees, who am I to stop you... but there are only so many 45-pound plates in the gym, and you're hogging twenty-two of them. And to top things off, you're leaving them all on the sled when you're done.


[personal profile] fierynotes
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
I've been reading various fonts of evo-spy online again. Let's not go into the reasons.

The people preaching Evolutionary Psychology have been known to spew lots of just-so stories, blatant overgeneralizations, and out-and-out lies¹, but there's one I've now seen a few times that I'd like to point out. Apparently, men invented civilization. Every advance humanity has ever made has been made by humans with penises. Women are simply not capable of doing the kind of work necessary to bring humanity down out of the trees, let alone forward into the future.

Now, I don't want to take away from those advances that were made by men, but this claim is utter bullshit. Well, historically, it has some basis in fact... if you're keeping women out of Higher Education, they're obviously not going to be able to contribute much in academia, which is where a lot of scientific development happens, and they're not going to be able to contribute much in business if business only hires people with degrees, where is where the rest of development happens. Why give women a chance at degrees when their job is staying home with the kids, right? So, yes. Many of history's scientific achievements were in fact made by men.

As for the belief that women are incapable (which is then used to justify the belief that women should just give up on being fully functional human beings and go home and have kids and keep house and fuck their husbands, as this is all they're fit for)... there are many counterexamples. What follows are a few of my favorites.

Lise Meitner: One of the pioneers in physics. She helped discover nuclear fission. She was offered a job in the Manhattan Project, and refused for moral reasons. (Please note that whether she took the job or not, she was clearly qualified, or it would never have been offered to her.) Her colleague at the time won a Nobel, and had the world been a fair place, she would have shared it with him. She currently enjoys an abstract form of immortality filling in space 109 on the Periodic Table, but since she helped fill in space 91 in life, she'd probably be pleased by that.

Grace Hopper: One of the pioneers in computer science. She wrote the first compiler, and trust me, if you want to write programs in something more than two steps above raw numbers, compilers are vital. She helped develop the idea of machine-independent code, which is wonderful if you want to just copy your program from one machine to a different one instead of rewriting it from scratch. She lectured regularly on the need for computers to be user-friendly, which is great if you want to use computers without being a computer scientist.

Hedy Lamarr: If you've studied cinematic history, you may be aware that Hedy Lamarr was stunningly beautiful. What doesn't get mentioned as often is her skills in math. She helped invent frequency hopping, which is wonderful if you use bluetooth devices, cellphones, or wi-fi.

Karen Wetterhahn: A towering figure in chemistry, specializing in metal toxicology. We humans owe her for a lot of knowledge regarding toxic metals, though sadly her best-known contribution is the one that killed her. Dimethylmercury, aside from being one of the most toxic materials on Earth, travels through latex gloves very easily. When she died, everyone who'd ever worked with the stuff immediately thought "oh, fuck, that could easily have been me!" Many safety regulations were revised in the wake of her death.

Rosalind Franklin: The name that doesn't get mentioned regularly with Watson and Crick... but should. She was as instrumental to discovering the structure of DNA as they were. Her field was X-ray crystallography, which is what makes it possible for us to know what a lot of molecules look like.

There are more. As I said, these are just a few of my favorites. And in the future, there will be more. And considering how rough the future might get if we bald apes don't pull our heads out of our asses, we're going to need all the brains we can get -- we can't afford to just casually reject half of our potential for stupid reasons.

    1. The actual scientists studying Evolutionary Psychology may be saying very different things. I'm not sure. I'd like to believe that the field itself is solid, and an altogether worthy field of study, and it's just been overrun by assholes with their own prejudices who are looking at the field as a convenient way to justify their prejudices.

fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
So, there's a show about a guy I'd happily shag, a whole bunch of women who make me completely forget that I'd happily shag the aforementioned guy, and a TV network.

The TV network is the real star of this show. It pairs Mr. Beautiful with each of the Ms. Beautifuls, flies them all over the world, puts them up in lavish hotels, surrounds them with excitement and beauty both natural and man-made, and if they were able to beam the song "Love is in the Air" directly into their heads (and ours), they'd do it in a heartbeat. Mr. Beautiful and one of the Ms. Beautifuls might be in love, really -- but they're also high on romance. Doped to the gills on it, to be honest.

Look, I like romance! No, really! February of each year, I frequently end up buying way too much good chocolate, and drinking too much wine (or vanilla whisky, on a few occasions). I definitely appreciate how candlelight makes me feel like the most beautiful man on the planet (at least until I have to brave normal lighting conditions again). On certain occasions, my love of the fast and brutal gets gently pushed aside in favor of the gorgeous and stringy¹. For that matter, one of the reasons I'm learning to make desserts that involve setting fire to things is for the sake of romance! (The fact that I have a bunch of just-friends who enjoy watching me set fires in their kitchens and eating tasty desserts afterwards is definitely a plus, too.)

I guess, in a way, I'm jealous of those people on TV. I have to put work into romance (in all fairness, the people involved with me put work into it as well), and if we liken romance to a drug, I get the equivalent of a bottle of good wine. These people on TV have nearly all the work done for them, and they're getting the equivalent of a truckload of high-quality heroin. The part of me that really loves that bottle of good wine is a little resentful that the truckload of heroin is forever out of my grasp. I admit it.

The more cynical part of me wonders about the day after. Mr. Beautiful has chosen his Ms. Beautiful, and they get married, happily ever after, blah blah blah. The TV network breaks up with them and moves on to new contestants, a bit like that asshole who moves on to a new lady once he's succeeded in bedding the current one... and I think of how much I hated life for a while after I finally quit meth for the last time. I also can't help thinking that I had many people I thought of as good friends that I only knew in the context of drug use, but once the drugs were no longer in my life, we drifted apart. Or moved apart, because we really didn't know each other at all. Or pushed each other apart, since I was suddenly "no fun anymore."

(For purposes of this post, I am making a whole lot of assumptions, some of which may be completely wrong. For instance, the assumption that it's all real people on The Bachelor, as opposed to characters being played by actors. This may be naive on my part...)

Meanwhile, those of us watching are getting a whole different set of messages. We're being enticed with the truckload of high-quality heroin. We're being told that this kind of thing is only available to the beautiful and perfect-bodied, and don't we wish that were us? (I think I remember seeing ads for Weight Watchers on this show, but since I was at the gym and watching five TVs at once, I confess I may have mixed them up a little.) We're being told that this truckload of heroin is the be-all, end-all of romance, and that we should be willing to spend boatloads of money on it.

I really need to start wearing a blindfold or something when I'm doing cardio at the gym.

    1. It's been a while since I've done one of my "you know this piece of classical music" posts. I need to do another soon, and this piece is definitely one of them.

fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, looking very pissed off. (violent)
Dear Chris Culliver,

Gay players should stay in the closet ten years after retiring from football? REALLY?

I realize that it's too much to hope that Chris Kluwe kicks you in the nuts, but I hope that several of your team-mates are gay, I hope that they all admire the hell out of your ass, I hope they all tell you so after they're not playing with you anymore, and I hope that this happens soon.

[personal profile] fierynotes

PS: The title is partly in jest. The rest of the 49ers are apparently much better than Culliver on this issue.
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
There is something perverse about watching the show "The Biggest Loser" while at the gym. It's more perverse considering that at that late hour, nearly all of us there were already lean and either burning off a little winter fluff, or maintaining their current lack of winter fluff. It's even more perverse when you consider that the ads on this show were pushing a place called Planet Fitness, a competitor of my current gym. The product placement was probably appropriate -- the audience in this case was not. (As skinny as I am by gymrat standards, I'm pretty sure that my current bench would make me unwelcome at Planet Fitness -- if not, my goals certainly would. And at least half of the people on treadmills at the gym that night were bigger than me.)¹

This was my first exposure to "The Biggest Loser," and I hate it beyond all reason. Not that I believe that encouraging exercise and other healthy habits has no place on TV -- I just don't believe The Biggest Loser does anything to accomplish that. I had great respect for Jack LaLanne. I have great respect for Richard Simmons (the fact that I personally find him grating is irrelevant here). My complaint is that neither Jack LaLanne nor Richard Simmons displayed the level of cruelty you'll see in "The Biggest Loser." The Reality TV format seems to be inherently cruel, and it should never have crossed the streams with a show about weight loss.

Also? I've never tried to lose more than that couple of extra pounds we all gain around the holidays, so I could be wrong here, but... losing twelve pounds in a week strikes me as cause for alarm, not celebration. I feel safe in guessing that at least half of that loss is in water, which is bad for one's health. You know, health? That thing they're supposedly encouraging their contestants to pursue by losing weight? Meanwhile, losing a mere (mere?!) four pounds in a week -- which also strikes me as dangerous, but again, I'm not a dietician -- is cause to be sent home.

I hate this show, and I hate everyone responsible for making it.

    1. Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad places like Planet Fitness exist. I may have pointed out the fear of being judged that many people who aren't already gymrats face at certain gyms, and from what little I've heard, Planet Fitness seems to be a safer space in that regard. The fact remains, however, that from what I've heard, I don't belong there. And neither did most of the other people in the gym with me that night, seeing the ad for it.

fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, looking very pissed off. (violent)
Dear lefty cranks,

There is a time and a place for sharing your delusion that banning guns will make people stop misusing them, because surely a would-be lunatic who has no respect for the law with respect to killing people will obey the law with respect to obtaining guns, and surely those laws will make guns harder to obtain (those laws work so well for drugs, after all). "A few hours after some lunatic shoots up a school" is not one of those times. Please shut the hell up and stop using the dead to score cheap talking points... assholes.

[personal profile] fierynotes

Dear righty cranks,

There is a time and a place for sharing your delusion that arming everyone else will result in just one dead lunatic rather than more fatalities, because surely all those other armed people will see several people with guns and instantly recognize which one is the lunatic that needs to be taken down, and surely they won't shoot each other in a panic. "A few hours after some lunatic shoots up a school" is not one of those times. Please shut the hell up and stop using the dead to score cheap talking points... assholes.

[personal profile] fierynotes
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, looking very pissed off. (angry)
Dear Bill-O,

I work in retail (for now), and the Christmas season tends to come with a lot more irritating customers. I'm surrounded by awful Christmas music at work, most of which isn't exactly shy about what a fabulous guy Jesus was. (Seriously, lots of stores are trying to be more respectful of cultural diversity by not putting up lights... but by playing Christmas music nonstop? How does that even work?) And many of the people who will be getting gifts from me will have to wait until mid-to-late January, when I'll be a bit less broke and a bit more able to shop. (At least this year's cookie-pocalypse went well...)

I promise you, there is no "War on Christmas." If there were, I'd have signed up long ago.

[personal profile] fierynotes

PS: I actually like Christmas lights when they aren't accompanied by crap music we've all heard a million times. And I have to say there's something funny about pairing them with metal.

Dear Matt Barber,

So you think atheists should be punched in the mouth for participating in the aforementioned "War on Christmas?"

How very Christlike of you.

Please, try. Because I don't believe in turning the other cheek, and I bet I punch a lot harder than you do.

[personal profile] fierynotes
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
I'm not a true geek. I'm a poser, a Johnny-come-lately, a fake.

My first Doctor was Ten. To this day, I've only gone back to Nine. Beyond nine forward, I think I've only seen one Doctor Who episode, and I had fits because "hemovore" isn't a word. (Mixing Greek and Latin roots is a no-no. Someone should tell that to the polyamory crowd...) It was only by pointing out why "hemophage" or "sanguivore" would be better words that I escaped being outed as a non-geek. I made up for my lack of fan geekery with a show of language geekery, if you will.

My first space opera was Star Wars. I'd never even heard of the Lensmen until I was in college. (One of my friends lent me two of the books. Then, after I was hooked, the rotten bitch informed me that there were four more she didn't have, and oh, by the way, they're out of print. That was hours of time spend in used bookstores I'll never get back...)

I'm only barely familiar with the backstories of some of the DC and Marvel characters -- others, I don't know at all. And to be honest, I really don't care. I know that true geeks would carve out the free time to get familiar with hundreds of back issues' worth of story, but myself, I can't be arsed.

I dismissed My Little Pony as sugary girly crap until the second season of Friendship is Magic came along. To this day, my love of the franchise only extends to Friendship is Magic.

In high school, I was just a metalhead. I didn't really get into classical music until years later, and even now, my knowledge of the subject is far from complete. I specialize in the last century and a half of Russians. Meanwhile, my knowledge of popular music is so lacking that when a true geek pointed out sexist content in Beatles and Stones songs a while back, I had to look them up. No matter how solid my grasp of Music Theory, this is just shameful -- especially in one who calls himself a music geek!

I sometimes dress up at cons. Or, to put it less charitably, I sometimes indulge my inner attention whore and swan around in a pirate shirt that says "look at my shoulders" and pants that say "look at my ass." Apparently, I'm "con-hot," though, so I've gotten away with it... so far.

So, you all know my secret. I'm not as true a geek as I should be if I'm going to call myself a geek...

...oh, wait, I have a cock. I'm not one of those icky girls trying to claim membership into the oh-so-exclusive geek clubhouse, so none of that matters. And it shouldn't matter for girls either, except that every now and then some resentful toad whines about it. So... since so many people have by now said it far better than I can, I'll just end this post by pointing out what a disgusting toad Tony Harris is. Just in case, you know, you haven't reached that conclusion from having seen those posts before I did.
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
Advocating for humane prison conditions is a hard uphill battle. Here in the US, you have to deal with the assholes who think that anyone who gets thrown into prison deserves whatever happens to them -- indeed, that prison rape is something to laugh about. (The HIV transmission rate in prisons is kinda alarming, and I wish I remembered the actual figure.) It's hard to get people who like the idea that prisons ought to put prisoners to work to realize that if companies are paying less than a buck an hour to prisoners for manufacturers, this takes jobs away from people on the outside... you know, like we complain about all those damned immigrants doing. Combine this with the fact that we do not live in a post-racial culture (and you better believe our prison demographics reflect that), and the attitude that many people have about prisoner welfare often varies between don't-know-don't-care and fuck-'em-they-deserve-it.

Prisoners are human beings, too, and it's hard to get people to realize that. While they are in prison, we should at least provide things like safety from other prisoners, freedom from being exploited for corporate profit, coffee that's actually hot, moisturizer, sufficient butter for his toast, a cell with a nice view, video games...

...wait, WHAT?
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)
Lately, in a few difference conversations, it's come up that despite having both male and female partners, I identify as straight. Why is that? It can't be denial, since I'm not exactly shy about it...

Well, I have some reasons for that. I'll start with the most frivolous reason (which I'm hiding behind a cut), and I'll progress to the serious ones from there. Keep in mind that I'm a straight white dude talking about privilege, so I may get things wrong. Feel free to say so. Keep it within reason, though: winterfoxes¹ risk being laughed at, flamed, and/or banned, at my discretion.

Firstly, it's a practical and personal thing. )

Secondly, most people have the occasional impulse, even if they never act on it. If you're a straight man who looks at someone like, say, Brad Pitt and gets tingly, that doesn't make you any less straight -- it just means that he's Brad bloody Pitt, and you're not blind. Likewise if you're a straight woman who gets tingly at the sight of Christina Hendricks. And what if you end up meeting your particular Brad Pitt or Christina Hendricks and stuff actually happens? According to the excellent book The Guide to Getting it On, you've got plenty of company: 20%, in fact. (That oft-quoted 10% figure is a bit of an overgeneralization -- the actual figure ranges between 4% and 20%, depending on just what you're talking about.)

And finally, here's my most serious point. Let's pretend, for a moment, that I'm a white dude going on a trip to China. (I know this sounds like a complete digression, but I'm going somewhere with this, so bear with me.) I learn the language -- no mean feat, since the word "ma" can mean mother, hemp, scold, horse, or a question marker, depending on inflection. I develop an appreciation for the food. I learn the history. I make friends I'll keep for the rest of my life, and even have lovers. The fact remains that I am not Chinese, and that as much as I will forever treasure my experiences in China, I can still go back home afterward.

Things like Tiananmen Square, Foxconn scandals, and Google blockages are not part of my history. I have strong feelings on these because I am a decent human being, but they do not affect me personally. And for me to claim that these things do affect me personally is a bit insulting to actual Chinese people. I am still, let's be honest, a tourist. And as much as I love China and its culture and its people, all I can ever really be is a tourist.

(In a past post (here on LJ, here on DW), I have spoken harshly about certain kinds of tourists. The difference is that I am a respectful tourist.)

By the same token, Stonewall, Ryan Shepherd, Proposition 8, and the WBC are not part of my history. Again, I have strong feelings on these because I'm a decent human being, but I have no claim on them, and they do not affect me directly. The fact that I occasionally visit Biville doesn't make me bi -- once my visit there is concluded, my real home is in Heterotopolis, which is much safer. And since I am privileged to live in nice safe Heterotopolis, one of my obligations is to realize how much less safe it is to actually live in Biville, Gayville, or a Trans station, or some other lesser-known 'burb. I shouldn't be pretending I live in Biville; I should be working in Heterotopolis, and talking to other heteros about how unjust it is that these other places are less safe than where we live, and shouldn't we try to make those places safer even if we don't live there ourselves?

This is why I won't wear the queer label. And by the same token, this is why I snort derisively when I see unmarginalized people try to stretch the queer label completely out of shape so that they can wear it, or invent new labels that they try to put on the same level as the queer label. "Demisexual?" Really?

    1. 1. Winterfox, v, to use the umbrella of social justice as license to be a fuming asshole, frequently using the whole premise of "tone argument" to justify no end of abusive behavior. 2. Winterfox, n, a person who frequently engages in Winterfoxing. While some Winterfoxes are solitary predators, many Winterfoxes are pack animals.

fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
Dear guys who play video games,

Do you bristle against the reputation you have as sexually obsessed losers? Do you resent the constant implications that you'd spend all day in your basement playing games and jerking off if the real world would let you? Do you happen to be one of those people who talks until you're blue in the face about how it's just a few bad eggs giving you all a bad name?

Well, you still have a lot of work to do. A bit more lately, matter of fact.

[ profile] fierynotes
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
Well, not really. Apparently, Craigslist is considering taking down the post in question, so this may only work as a short-term announcement... but the internet preserves everything. It's like formaldehyde that way.

Short version: guy takes over three thousand wards to explain how he gets married to Ms. Jeckyl and finds Ms. Hyde in his honeymoon suite. Ms. Hyde doesn't feel like putting out, ever, so he bangs a foreign girl during the honeymoon (followed eventually by banging 29 more women over the course of a three-year-marriage), and justifies himself as following his own biological needs, which of course must be met, inside of marriage or not. Meanwhile, Ms. Hyde sits around the house, does no housework, gest fat (oh noes!), and spends all his money. So this poor bastard is getting a divorce, and posting on Craigslist as a warning to all those dumb bitches out there that he's a hot mess they need to put out for their man or else he'll stray, because it's not like they have anything else to offer him in a relationship. Seriously, it's like the show Married With Children, except there's no children and in this latter it's the wife (instead of the husband) who never wants sex.

Wow. With all that contempt for women as a whole in that letter, I need to ask -- have you considered fucking dudes instead? No, forget I said that -- gay men have enough problems in this culture without including jerks like you in their ranks.

Now, assuming that there's a grain of truth here and there in this open letter, the lady seems to be as much of an asshole as the gentleman... but there are hints that this isn't the case. "You grudgingly gave it up once a week for a while. Still, you had become rather critical. You called it 'coaching me,' or 'teaching you what I like'." Sure, this could be a critical sex-hating ball-busting harpy... but couldn't this also be the lady saying something like "slow down, it doesn't feel good being jackhammered" or "gimme a week to recover from the last time you ignored me when I said I didn't like being jackhammered"?

But then, all the women I've had have actually enjoyed sex with me... even if the rest of the relationship was crap. Clearly my privilege is showing.

I have a couple of theories about this guy. One of them starts with the idea that we create our own misery, and he subconsciously chose the most horrible woman he could find, because he wants to be proven right about how horrible women are more than he wants to be happy. Therefore, he's telling the truth about this particular woman, and in doing so he's bragging about how he succeeded in proving himself right. If this is the case, he should never marry again.

My other theory is that he's the awful person, and she put up with him the best she could, becoming a bit more assertive when they said "I do" because she'd committed to the guy and wanted him to be less of a shlub. Perhaps she stopped doing dishes to see how long it would take for him to rinse a damn plate, for instance. If this is the case, he should never marry again. (For now, I'll skip the speculation into why she'd marry him in the first place. Perhaps she'll post her own letter about him on Craigslist later. I'll attempt it then.)


fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)


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