We’d gathered at a friend’s place for gaming, and we were reminded not to turn on a particular light switch because the fixture needed replacing. My husband, Michael, pointed at it and said something along the lines of, “Is there a hardware store nearby?”
“We were going to get someone to come in and—” the friend began.
Michael had already pulled a multitool from his pocket and was checking the wires. “Naw, this will take me a couple minutes, tops.”
Michael and the friend walked to a nearby store while the rest of us set up food and reviewed what happened the previous gaming session. When they got back, Michael set to work.
One of the other friends there looked at me and said, “You’re married to MacGuyver!”
Before I could answer, another one of the friends there said, “You’re just now figuring that out?”
Fixing some badly mangled wires and installing a new fixture is not a super complicated task, obviously (though the number different kinds of things my husband can repair, refurbish, or build is a quite impressive). No, the extraordinary thing is how blithely and eagerly he jumps into such tasks, and the fact that he’s always got a number of tools, spare parts, et al handy.
Sometimes I think he physically feels pain when he sees a machine not functioning correctly. He certainly empathizes strongly with people who are struggling with a device that isn’t working properly. I’m constantly finding computers, phones, or other gadgets stashed around the house in various states of repair he’s got in process. When I ask, about half the time he says, “so-and-so needs a better computer/phone/iPod so I’m trying to get them something newer and more reliable.”
When he doesn’t have someone specifically in mind for a device, he says, “I figured if I get in fixed, I’ll start checking around to see if someone could benefit from the upgrade.”
And those are just a few of his more obvious sterling character traits. I’ve written a few times before about what an incredibly sweet, kind, smart, talented, knowledgeable, skilled, patient, and funny person my husband is. And I am hardly the only person who thinks he’s awesome.
I hope you have a happy birthday, Michael. You’ve more than earned it!
That’s been my life. More than four weeks, now, every day the pollen count is up in the red (nearly, there were two days it barely dipped into the orange, okay? But only barely).
It saps my energy. It makes it hard to even think. It is so difficult to stay in a good mood. Occasionally I get just the right combination of medicine, rest, and fluids to feel almost human for several hours.
My husband was suggesting spending hundreds of dollars on a positive air flow full face-mask filtration respirator. His thinking is that if I wear that for a few hours every night, my sinuses may clear for at least a few hours and my immune system will get a rest for those hours and it will make the rest of the misery more manageable.
“And you can scare the neighbors!”
So I replied, “You want me in a respirator like Darth Vader, where I’ll be tempted to say to random people,” and I lowered my face, “I find your lack of faith… disturbing!”
He laughed and replied, “Just the facemask and helmet!”
When I summarized this on Twitter, our friend @kehf said that if I get the mask system, the line I should be saying to scare people is, “I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.”
Of course, I know that what I really need to do is clean out the filters on the two air cleaners in the house and otherwise make sure they’re doing their utmost. It’s been a while since they were cleaned. Maybe just getting a few nights in the house with the filters going will have the effect he’s going for with the respirator.
Eric Flint delivers Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards. Specifically explaining why any system of awards drifts into a subset of any large set of works. It’s a really good read if just for the information about some of the giants in the field who never won awards.
The Family Research Council is once again calling for weeks of fasting and praying to save America from the evil of homosexuality (they say it’s about other things, but just take a look at the list of prayer topics in the article). As part of this they have been publishing a suggested prayer each day. After they published one earlier this week that seemed to be suggesting that gay people raising children should be forcibly drowned, news sites started publishing stories about the other awful anti-gay things said in all of the published prayers. Suddenly, FRC has decided that the prayers needed “editing” and removed them. Fortunately, someone took screen captures each day as they were published: WHOA: FRC ‘reediting’ all those heinous fasting-for-marriage prayers I’ve been showing you!
It’s not just national anti-gay rights activists who are suddenly deleting things they were saying quite opening just a few weeks ago. The Sad Puppies (a.k.a. the anti-gay, racist, misogynist GamerGate allies who are trying to screw up science fiction awards) are suddenly trying to erase hateful things they posted, sometimes just weeks ago. Fortunately there’s Google Cache, Wayback Machine, and screen captures: since some puppies are deleting things.
The National Organization of Marriage’s (NOM) email money begs have started claiming they may have to cancel some of the buses to bring people to D.C. for this year’s anti-gay “march for marriage.” Jeremy Hooper as Good As You thinks that NOM pre-spins its likely low #March4Marriage attendance. Given how they tried to explain away the low turn-out last year, I bet he’s right.
I can’t not share these great stories about parents supporting their kids: Doubts Removed: The Day My Son’s Breasts Were Surgically Taken Off. Which lets me end this update on a positive note!
Unlike Bugs Bunny, I have never been terribly good at drag. Part of the problem is simply a lack of practice, to be honest. Contrary to the stereotypes that some people still hold onto, not every gay many wants to be a a woman or do drag. Another part is I’m hairier than a hobbit. The vast majority of my adult life I’ve been bearded, (and I literally don’t have much practice at shaving my own face, either).
When I was a kid people used to talk about men who had five o’clock shadow: their beards were so dense or fast growing that after shaving in the morning before going to work, by late afternoon they had a noticeable “shadow” of stubble on their face. My dad had something like 10:00am shadow, and by the time I was in my early twenties I had it, too.
Despite that, I am no stranger to being mis-gendered. Back in the days when people used phones to (verbally) talk to other people in distant locations (I think it was the early Triassic), I was constantly being addressed as “ma’am” on the phone. Never mind that when I was still regularly singing that I can hit an E-flat below the bass clef and was usually stuck in the bass section (because choruses never have enough basses), I clearly talk in my upper register. It isn’t something I consciously do. In fact, because the “way” I talk was frequently the excuse for a lot of the bullying I experienced in school (and teachers and administrators were always mentioning to my parents that I’d surely get along better in school if I could just stop talking like “that”) I went through quite a long phase of trying to talk in my lower register.
And it was irritating, to say the least, to have customer service people and other strangers on the phone call my “ma’am” or “miss.” So I can barely imagine how infuriating and demeaning it must feel for trans* people when others call them the wrong pronoun.
Especially when it is being done on purpose. It’s rude and disrespectful. And it infuriates me that there are people who claim that they don’t understand why it is rude. The very same people would get upset if someone refused to address them by their preferred name, right? I’ve known many grown men whose legal name is Thomas who absolutely despise being called “Tommy” for instance. So why is it so hard to wrap your head around preferred pronouns?
Of course, just like those people who would call me “ma’am” on the phone weren’t being intentionally rude, sometimes we use the wrong pronoun because we don’t know or we forget. When a person who is trans*, agender, or gender-fluid is a good friend or close colleague or family member, it’s easy to remember their pronouns. But when it’s at best a casual acquaintance or one of a bunch of strangers you’ve just met, it’s a lot harder.
There are also pronouns that are difficult. A trans woman acquaintance who prefers she/her/hers is fairly easy to remember. A genderqueer casual acquaintance who prefers they/them/theirs is a teensy bit more awkward for some of us. And then there’s the one trans* person who preferred to be called it. That word just has so much emotional baggage for me—bigots of many stripes I’ve had to endure loved calling anyone who was gay, lesbian, in any way gender non-conforming, or otherwise not conforming to their ideas of being “it.” I’ve known racists who referred to anyone non-white and with an accent “it.” I’ve known people bigots of other kinds who call atheists “it” for goodness sake! The point is that I carry a lot of emotional baggage with that word, and can’t use it myself without feeling that I’m dehumanizing someone.
Which is not a justification for intentionally using a non-preferred pronoun. When you can’t remember or have some other difficulty with someone’s preferred pronoun, it is perfectly okay to just call them by their name. It isn’t that difficult to phrase things without pronouns. And it’s not a bad habit to get into with everyone you interact with, because the other kind of pronoun problem still occurs with everyone. If you use people’s names, everyone is less likely to be confused, in any case.
If you don’t remember someone’s name, well, there are ways to fix this. “Hi! I know we were introduced earlier, but I’m always getting names mixed up. I’m Gene, nice to meet you!” Admit to being less than perfect, and show that you’re making an effort to get to know them.
It really can be that simple!
There are lots of topics boiling away in the real world that I keep wanting to comment on. Some of them are about drama in sci fi fandom, some are about controversies in the community of writers, some are arguments about civil rights, some are arguments about police use of force, and so on. Each of varying importance in the scheme of things, to be sure, but all involving real people and real harm in one way or another; therefore all worthy of some consideration.
But I’m supposed to be working on some hefty writing goals for the month. And I’m supposed to be trying to spend less of my time and energy getting outraged and ranting about things. So I keep stopping myself form writing about them, and try to turn my attention back to my fiction writing.
But even then, I am confronted with some of those same issues. What are the stories I’m trying to tell, and why am I telling them this way?… Read More…
Another in my series of posts recommending web comics:
Recently a couple of different artist friends linked to this comic: BouletCorp.Com by Boulet and I suddenly had a new web comic I had to go through! I haven’t got through all of it because there’s a lot. And it’s hard to describe, because it isn’t a single series. From the artist’s FAQ: “I’m Boulet, a french cartoonist living in Paris. I’ve had about 20 books published, most of them for young readers. I also worked on two books of the “Dungeon” series with Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar (available in English, ask at your local comic shop).
This blog is an attempt to translate my french blog ” bouletcorp.com “. I started in 2004 and have drawn more than 1600 entries. I’m trying to catch up but it’s a huge undertaking!”
Some of the comics I’ve previously recommended:
I’m a big fan of “Deer Me,” by Sheryl Schopfer. This artist is also a friend. I have previously described this strip as: “Three roommates who couldn’t be more dissimilar while being surprisingly compatible.” Except in a recent story line Thomas has moved out! Eeek! Currently, the strip has traveled back in time to the high school days of one of the aforementioned roommates. In any case, if you enjoy Deer Me, you can support the artist by going to her Patreon Page!
I’ve long been a fan of: “Mr. Cow,” by Chuck Melville… and not just because the artist is a friend! A clueless cow with Walter Cronkite dreams presides over a barnyard of a newsroom. If you like Mr. Cow, you can support the artist by going to his Patreon Page. Also, can I interest you in a Mr. Cow Mug?
And I love this impish girl thief with a tail and her reluctant undead sorcerer/bodyguard: “Unsounded,” by Ashley Cope.
The Young Protectors by Alex Wolfson begins when a young, closeted teen-age superhero who has just snuck into a gay bar for the first time is seen exiting said bar by a not-so-young, very experienced, very powerful, super-villain. Trouble, of course, ensues.
Tripping Over You by Suzana Harcum and Owen White is a strip about a pair of friends in school who just happen to fall in love… which eventually necessitates one of them coming out of the closet. Tripping Over You has several books, comics, and prints available for purchase.
If you want to read a nice, long graphic-novel style story which recently published its conclusion, check-out the not quite accurately named, The Less Than Epic Adventures of T.J. and Amal by E.K. Weaver. I say inaccurate because I found their story quite epic (not to mention engaging, moving, surprising, fulfilling… I could go on). Some sections of the tale are Not Safe For Work, as they say, though she marks them clearly. The complete graphic novels are available for sale in both ebook and paper versions, by the way.