Autonomy

2017 06 07 - 10:53

Customer service shows you a number of things about people, not the least of which is how readily vast swaths of the public will abdicate their autonomy. They seem far more bent on having the opportunity to complain about how it's someone else's fault, than they are on solving their own problems; and far more intent on being personally lazy, than on making an effort to be part of the solution, or any effort in the first place to even try to know something. Google is your friend, my friend. A little creative searching - or even reading the manual - will yield near magical results.

As a young girl I would have been mortified to be seen as this incapable, inept, or ignorant. It's, in fact, still a bit of an issue for me. I don't... react well to being thought stupid. I feel a great deal of shame sometimes, and embarrassment when I think folks think I'm an idiot. My issue with it probably has a lot to do with growing up with someone who regularly called me a stupid cunt.

That's not a joke. It's a thing that happened.

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Margaret Atwood says it's "a form of slavery to force women to have children they can't afford"

2017 06 05 - 08:55

"Speaking at New York City's Book Con on Saturday, Atwood argued that when states obligate women into childbearing, they institute "a form of slavery," Insider reported. State-mandated reproduction has two outcomes, she said: That women die, and that orphanages fill up. [...] "If you're drafted into the army, the other situation in which the state seizes control of your body, at least you get three meals a day, clothing, and a place to sleep," she said. "So, if you're going to do that to women, pay up."
 
I took the situation into my own hands long ago; which most of you know. For those of you who don't, I had surgery - a lap-tubal - done to make sure I wouldn't get pregnant. I didn't want to have children, and I didn't want to parent. So, I made use of my choice; a choice all women should have - safely.
 
A couple of thoughts.
 
Not all women are maternal, most of the ones who aren't know that, but have few choices in dealing with it, not even the respect of knowing their own minds, and when they do deal with it, they get crapped on, vilified at times. I know women who were much older than I was, Americans, who weren't allowed to have the surgery I had - you'll regret it, you'll change your mind, you should want children, what if you meet someone who wants babies - none of these things are going to change the fact that a person isn't maternal, and shouldn't have children if they don't want them or find themselves incapable of parenting. One of those things recognises only a biological fact, and not the myriad human mind and nature, which makes every single person on this planet different. Some of us are born straight, just like some are not. Some know they want to be parents, just like some know they don't. The last, yet again, tells a woman she has no autonomy, that she exists only as her presence applies to the needs of a man.
 
I am completely on board with the idea that if the state mandates a course of action by law, then the state should assist in the means by which that law is carried out. If you force a woman to have children, then help her have them, and help her keep the children you forced her to have. When you draft someone into the army, as was pointed out, you train them, you feed and clothe them, you house them, you give them work. Even people in prison get fed. And yes, we are all responsible for each other. We're all on the same boat, riding in the same car, breathing the same air. If you make choices for other people, you increase your responsibility for them. Of course, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon, that people will become as globally minded as they need to be, in order for us not to crack this planet in two like an egg by the weight of our egos.
 
There are those who argue against abortion, saying that women use it as a method of birth control. I'm sure there are a few women out there who do, but the needs of the many outweigh the actions of a few. I can't imagine that most women who go for that procedure, do so with a light heart and spring in their step. They do so because they have to, not because they want to, and it's not a simple or easy choice to make. Making abortion legal and safe, is not going to cause hordes of women to flock to clinics to have it done, but providing planning choices before - like free or affordable birth control and the education on its proper use - might just end up with fewer unwanted children born, healthier mothers and infants later on, and less of a drain on the public coffers in general - if that's your worry, which it does seem to be with many most of the time.
 
But, it became very clear to me a long while since, that these people are not pro-life - they're pro-birth. They don't want to bother themselves with the quality of life after; they're just concerned with a morality that has nothing to do with modern needs. To quote the band Consolidated: "if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one." But don't take away that choice from those who do. It's also clear that folks are looking for control, rather than caring about the actual needs of the populace.
 
Regret, by the way, is not a thing to avoid - it is a thing you choose the possibility of every single day of your life. It is a choice you make based on what your intellect and heart tell you that you need in the life you are leading, not one you may or may not lead later. And I have not once, by the way, ever regretted my choice to be childfree.
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Tree

2017 04 02 - 22:49

I took this about three years ago, methinks. I don't like doing photography at night normally. Because of my vision I just don't see enough to take pictures of; but this presented itself, in the middle of a field.

I like trees.

I'm going to have to dust off my camera this year, I think. It's been too long.

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Almost blue

2017 04 02 - 22:45

The very first cameraphone I ever had - oh, about 12 or so years ago now - used to put this horrendous blue cast on everything. I eventually grew to like it; and now, sometimes I miss it. I took this about the winter of 2005/2006, I think. The blue cast worked for it, methinks.

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The cock crows three times

2017 04 02 - 22:40

I think of astrology as, mainly, bullshit - or, indeed, total bullshit.

I don't give it any more validity than I would the idea that I can tell my fortune via the entrails of a goat, or the predominance of addled eggs any clutch of chickens lays. I think your fortune, and your future, are largely yours to make.

That said, every once in a while I catch myself reading descriptions of my sign, and quietly marvelling at their sometime precision in describing me - doesn't like to take centre stage, overly critical of self (and others), loves orderliness and things that are methodical - though I know that's coincidental. All things can describe all of us at any given time of life. You may be a centre-stage loving ego today, but tomorrow you might need to shy away from over-adulation and the public eye; you might need quiet. Today I am careful; tomorrow, maybe not so much.

I don't like that which feeds superstition overmuch. We all have our ceremonies, of course; but the fact that every time I ate sausage that one year, Michael Schumacher would lose the F1 race, was purely coincidental.

I ate a lot of sausage that year.

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Urban Exploration

2017 03 31 - 22:57

This is one of the furnaces at the (former) Cannon Knitting Mill; recently becoming less abandoned and more pending, as it was bought by someone who's going to ... how to put it ... update the building. I got into it a few years ago. I wanted to go back to see some areas I missed, but there's no opportunity for that now.

I'll have to find something else to enter 'judiciously'.

I have never been able to articulate quite what it is I find so compelling about abandoned buildings - maybe it's a combination of what was left behind, what was salvaged, the life they had, the ghosts of the lives that are left on the floors, on desks, scattered.

Sometimes it's a little like discovering a secret someone forgot they had.

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The Words

2017 03 31 - 22:52

I was never much of a collector. I think I realised very early on, that sometimes the collecting, or the adherence thereto, could sometimes get in the way of actually enjoying the things you were collecting - and I wanted to enjoy things. People seemed to become obsessive about 'completeness' when it came to collecting - focusing on collecting, rather than what was being collected; an obsession that appeared to feed a particular aspect of compulsion that I didn't want to deal with. For me, I'd far rather have many different kinds of things that enrich my life, rather than fixate on only one thing. I like variety - not necessarily in a riotous sense, just various.

Some folks see their collections as 'objects', in the external sense; and I wanted the content to be internal. Content is king.

When it comes to books, I saw them as 'tools', of a sort. I did not buy precious tomes that I had to coddle or be careful with, I bought books I could write margin notes in. I like marginalia. I like expressing my thoughts. I wasn't lazy with them, or careless - I just saw them as things I could devour, inhale. I have no issue with collectors, because precious things need to be preserved, but I leave that to those for whom it is suitable, and I keep to my 'consumption' (and I mean that in the nicest possible way, in the best sense of the word) side of the fence. I like the physicality of books, the ability to hold them; their use as a barrier between yourself and the rest of the world; and sometimes I even like the smell. Lignin and dust and comfortable decay. Although I did have a book for a communications course I once took, that I couldn't read at all - couldn't stand to have it near me, because it had a smell like an overripe oil slick. It was deeply unpleasant.

The beauty of old books, though, is the same beauty of any old thing before much of the world become a utilitarian paradise - they show the desire to make things lovely, to make them something more than just a 'tool' to be 'used'. Craft, in so many ways, seemed to become a lost art for a long time, in many ways - homes, banks, buildings of all sorts, that once used to rest like gingerbread houses on a bed of icing grass, became boxes with no flavour or personality. Old TVs looked like fine carpenter craft, then they, too, became utilitarian. Everything became beige, benign, because someone thought this approach would appeal to a wider cross-section of the populace. Maybe it did, but it also became very boring.

The idea of being drunk on words, though - that I deeply understand. The way some people speak, write, is delicious, palpable, luscious, piquant. I don't think there's a single person on this planet who hasn't, at least once, read something that made their heart stop, or caught breath in the throat, or caused their spine to burn.

While I do love holding books when I read them, I also have books on my phone. It's convenient, it's lightweight - carrying around Hitchens' essays or a copy of the G.E.B. can cause a little wearing on the shoulder muscles - and it offers one thing that books, sadly, don't - no one will ever ask you what you're reading (and thereby intrude) when you're staring at your phone.

Addendum:

I had a whole wall of books here once, not all nice, but it was deeply satisfying having them - satisfying and comforting. Sadly, there came an infestation (not caused by me or my books, to be clear), and I was forced to throw many of them out. I felt this ... loss. I remember, also, the judgmental derision of the wife of the couple who own my building, when she saw my wall of books - she must live in some kind of Frank Lloyd Wright minimalist paradise, because all those books apparently made me a hoarder - uppity tone 'we get rid of all our books'.

I was just thinking of something I heard in a movie (based on a book, no less), that libraries *should* be full of dusty old books, with nooks and crannies, and places to hide away in.

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If I sing you a song, will you sing along

2017 03 27 - 23:10

I haven't sung in front of another person, except a line or two as a joke, in years. My piano player got himself a non-musical day job with crazy hours, and rightly so, it was good for him to do it, but we'd already lost our rehearsal space anyhow, so there was no one for me to work with.

Hamilton might be stuffed to busting with jazz musicians of varying stripes, but ... well, let's just say that it wouldn't work well, and leave it at that.

So, since I hadn't a musician to play with, and couldn't find one of the sort I needed, singing went by the wayside. People kept telling me to do karaoke, which I fucking loathe, but I don't find that to be a fulfilling use of my time. I know it would help me get over my unreasonable dislike of singing in front of other people, but karaoke machines don't always guarantee pitch and the version of the song as you're to doing it, and guarantee only that you're likely to rip that band-aid off in front of a lot of people that are too drunk to care what you're doing, and whom you'll likely never see again.

I wanted to take some voice training to fill the gap, but couldn't afford it until quite recently, so that's what I'm doing tonight - first session with a fabulous local who's more than got the chops. I hope we mesh.

Hence, also, the song deliberation. I need to pick some things to work on during our session - so I'm going for the simplest stuff I already know - except the Cole Porter. That song's got some weird timing, I'll tell ya.

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Breath on your neck

2017 03 25 - 23:23

I don't know that I was ever really into pretty boys; not beyond the way one is when one is 14. I never liked GQ men. I never liked that whole idea of the chiselled square-jaw. There's nothing wrong with being pretty; that sort of thing is perfect when you're 20.

That said, the older I got, the less I liked pretty, and the more I liked men who looked like they had a personality, men who looked like they had had a life, men who looked like life had had at them a bit - like whiskey, not wine.

There's something far more handsome and compelling about a man like that, than there ever is with someone who's too perfect or too cute. I suppose, for me, the perfect ones are like diamonds - you can look right through them; there's no colour, no draw, no flavour. No soul. Absolutely nothing that would cause the inhale, the catch of breath, and the heat.

I like the flaws.

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Vroom vroom

2017 03 25 - 23:16

When I was about a year old, a member of the family passed away - a great-grandfather, I think. They took me to the funeral home and let me crawl around on the floor.

I crawled around the displays of flowers, and while everyone was worried and warning, that the infant would knock something over, my mother says that I reached out my hand and touched the petals with barely a whisper of a touch, with this open-mouthed look on my face like I'd never seen anything like it before.

This was before my first eye surgery - I had cataracts, so life was a bit of a blur. All I saw in front of me was this riot of colour. I was mesmerism's by it. Maybe it's why I'm an artist now.

My mother says that she saw the same look on my face when I would talk about driving the racecar.

So, in honour of tonight's Aussie GP season opener, here's me driving the racecar. For proof, you can confirm with my friend Brian. He took the picture.

racecar

Ooh, and they still offer the class.

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