who the heck knows anything, anyway

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

may 22 - having spider feelings when I could be putting groceries away

I had to squish two spiders today. They were the very scary kind, and they were hanging out in very inconvenient, non-cup-coverable places, but I hate killing spiders. 

I wasn't afraid of them when I was a kid. One of my great aunts was a teacher and had many animals at her house--these most memorably including a small horse and a tarantula. You can bet your butt that I held that strangely delicate eight-legged chonk.* No fear. I remember thinking it was pretty cool, and strange that anyone would find it scary.

Around this age (nine, I think?) I regularly read the stories and histories of a ton of different mythologies, including (as was popular in the 90's, I think) plenty of Greek myths.** The story of Arachne stuck in my tender, impressionable, little kid heart--I was sad for Arachne, and disappointed by my previously favorite Greek goddess, Athena.*** So for my whole childhood, I was dedicated to the scoop-and-release method of dealing with spiders, because I knew it was cruel (and bad luck) to kill a spider.

Then I hit my mid-teen years. I developed an OCD/BP-II paranoia that they--the spiders native to and well acquainted with my basement bedroom--would crawl into any and every orifice my body if whatever pre-sleeping conditions weren't met.**** Not pleasant. Very bad for quality of sleep.

But still: the guilt. Through all those/these years, the guilt remains. The spiders I squished today were truly terrifying (one was still small but had that huge abdomen that makes your brain scream "POISON. BAD." and the other one was big and long and very dark black and looked like a smaller version of the ones I used to see in my bedroom), but both my kid and suspicious brain spaces get upset with me for being cruel and tempting fate to cash in on the bad luck. 

I hope the fact that I apologize to them every time makes it a little more ok. It probably doesn't. Why couldn't the Greek origin story be swapped with Actaeon, where he gets turned into a spider instead of a stag and is happily stepped on by Artemis, leading to early artistic renditions of Big Lady, Please Steppy? There are plenty of other insects that use thread. Make the weaving story about silk worms or something. Everybody loves silk worms! They make nice, soft things. Sigh.

All that aside: for better or worse, I can't blame this dumb week on bad spider luck; pretty confident I didn't do any arachnicide on Monday. It's been a real long week, and it's only 3pm on Wednesday. Although it was already a long week by Monday afternoon, sooooo    ¯\_( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)_/¯

*I also saw Newsies for the first time at her house! Very formative trip.

**see: Disney's 1997 animated film Hercules

***And I think we all read at least one book about Anansi/Ananse, right? Everyone's so into Loki. Loki is overrated. Let's get an Anansi show.

****The bedbug breakdown of 2007--no actual bedbugs were involved, but I thought they were--happened when I was in college. Same bedroom, coincidentally. This one was arguably worse. Hotel rooms and I still have quite the complicated relationship.

Monday, April 22, 2024

apr 22 - some good ol' Monday intensity for you

My (arguably) most sympathetic pedantic annoyance is the use of a country's name instead of country's government. China can't spy on you. The Chinese government* can, or can pay private businesses to do it for them, but neither the geography nor the entire population is responsible for the government's choices. Remember how sad we liberals got when people said "Americans" during the Bush years?** It's the Government! we cried. It's less than half of the country, we promise! We're not villains!*** Sometimes even: Oh! No, I'm Canadian.

A country is neither a hero nor a villain. A country is full of individuals, as we USAers know very well. A government gets to make these consequential choices. If we're lucky, we get to vote for the people who make up the government that makes these choices (even then, things can be dicey, see *** again). Not every group of people in a specific geographic area is so fortunate. Some people can't vote because of access, and some can't vote because there are no elections. Some people can vote, but their ballot box is a trash can. Some people in some countries are killed just for existing, or protest their hearts out for what is right at their own peril. These people are not spying on us, or selling arms to other governments for use TBD. The Uyghur farmer in NW China is not going to be hacking TikTok; they are busy surviving.

We can still vote, and we have free speech. Despite many people's inclination to apparently not use these rights respectfully, this is an easy one, guys. 

I slip up sometimes, too. It's really difficult not to repeat the phrases we hear from politicians, journalists, podcasters, family members, etc. again and again. But we've changed our linguistic habits for the better many times before, and I think we can do it now. Mentally separating individuals from some faceless, threatening force can offer a lot of room for empathy, and rare is the person with too much empathy.

Oh, and Happy Earth Day!  Enjoy whatever (un)seasonable weather you've got going on over there! Not gettin' into any of those feelings right now! Too much for one day! Wooooo! 

*in case applying this political statement to this particular government is personally damaging in the future, we'll note that our government is allowed--by "temporary"/still standing order--to do the same. 
**oh, hey, speaking of that spying-on-citizens situation...
***Please! The electoral college and Supreme Court are outdated and have a bloated amount of power! It's not us! It's /sigh/ not us. (Don't get it twisted: I was--and continue to be--one of these people. Hopefully this, too, is not personally damaging in the future. November 2024 approacheth all too quickly.)

Friday, April 5, 2024

april 5 - no damn fine beverages allowed, though

Picture yourself entering a small indoor pool. The light from a few high windows mixes with the fluorescent overheads and color of the water to give the whole space a green glow. Your fellow swimmers are three octogenarians chatting and treading water in one lane and a middle-aged man swimming breast stroke with a snorkel in the other. A lifeguard in her early 20s sits opposite from all, looking small in her safety gear. Empty bleachers, save for a single woman in a red swimsuit and blue cap, hoping someone will leave early so she can take her turn.

Now imagine this scene, but subtract the classic public-pool-aquarobics pop music coming through the speakers. Replace it with the Twin Peaks theme.

This is a true story. The lifeguard played the whole Twin Peaks soundtrack while we were swimming. It was the best pool day of my adult life.

mar 28 - easter meats

The common practice of eating lamb for Easter dinner (which we did only once during my childhood, fortunately) has always made me a little squeamish. Setting aside the eating of a baby animal, which I very much do not enjoy, it's like getting both mouthfuls of the Eucharist at once. You barely need to transubstantiate a lamb. Blegh.

Actually, continuing the supper thoughts, eating Easter ham is pretty weird, too. Given the practiced religion of our good boy Jesus, it is probably the least Christ-approved of the mammalian dinner meats.

I propose a change to loaves and fishes, because it is referential without being horrifying, can be enjoyed by a majority of diets, and is great for your cholesterol.

Monday, March 18, 2024

mar 18 - a comic, and an unnecessarily long introduction only tangentially related

 I drew this a few months ago (obviously based on a dream I had last October) and submitted it to one online journal, but they didn’t take it, and I don’t have the patience nor the desire to go shopping it around places. Why do that when I have a blog? Publishing in lit mags has always been such a thing that it’s easy to forget: it’s unnecessary. A lit mag is just a group of people with a ~*fancy*~ blog (sometimes a blog printed on paper!) who find things they like to read and share them with those of a like mind. It’s cool! It’s fun to read a curated list of stories and comics! It feels pretty great to get published by tastemakers! But if I were trying to write/do art for the money, I would be doing an embarrassingly poor job of it. Self-publishing is as old as wheat receipts on clay tablets, and I have the ability to blast pamphlets like Thomas Paine. That’s maybe a bit of a forced metaphor, but I enjoy the sound of the sentence, and—as this is my blog—I do not have to edit for time nor clarity. 

All of this is to say: here’s a comic I wrote. I might post more stuff like this. We make our own tastes here. *maintains direct eye contact, puts on sunglasses*