Friday, December 2, 2016

Things That Are Nice: Day 2



Answer to obvious question: Yes. As hatters. The pretty, mildly pigeon-toed one in the KISS jacket and the one in the gorilla suit matriculated at an actual formal art school, entirely on purpose, which is a universally recognized sign of insanity.

The pretty, mildly pigeon-toed one in the KISS jacket is Noel Fielding, and his tall tweedy partner in crime is Julian Barratt, here playing their most famous characters, Vince Noir and Howard Moon. The comedy team as a whole is known at The Mighty Boosh, apparently after a very impressive haircut that Mike -- Noel's brother, the short one in the elaborate turban -- once had, because they thought "Barratt & Fielding" sounded 'like solicitors'.

I'm uncertain how best to explain them, their work, or in fact their careers, other than to point out that this is the touring stage version of a show they produced for the BBC, which was essentially a live-action cartoon sitcom. You can see season one here. They also did a radio show, which is even sillier. Their show aired at like two in the morning, with a budget of almost zero, featuring a group of extras entirely composed of their friends and family, and in later series, the occasional fan. This includes Razorlight, Robots In Disguise (one of whom was Fielding's girlfriend at the time), Roger Daltrey, Gary Numan, and Richard Ayoade (known for the UK version of The IT Crowd, and other things). They tangle with an awful lot of bands, mainly because the two of them have extraordinary amounts of musical talent, even if they do use it for being ridiculous.

The Mighty Boosh does the nicest comedy I've ever seen. It's not G-rated by any means, and full of various naughty ideas and swear words; it's just very, very nice. It is the only sitcom I have ever seen where nobody ever has to learn an important lesson about friendship. The characters are utter idiots in pretty much every other respect, but they're great at being real, actual, believable friends.

This is in large part because Barratt and Fielding are friends. And by 'friends', I mean 'permanently attached to one another'. Often physically. Fielding considers personal space to be the space he personally wants other people in. He is notorious for cuddling right up to anyone he likes, and he likes Barratt a lot. Barratt is actually extremely quiet and self-contained on his own, but Fielding is sufficiently important to him that his friend is not just allowed, but encouraged, to hang all over him like a fashionable scarf. It's striking and constant. The original Mighty Boosh pilot is included as an extra on the season 1 DVD, and one of the main differences between it and the aired series is that originally the character of Vince was meant to be more of a childlike follower, and Howard came off as more of an older leader. They couldn't maintain the distance. Every time Howard tried to put a avuncular hand on Vince's shoulder, Fielding forgot his blocking and stepped right into Barratt. At one point they exeunt a scene hand in hand, which they have been doing for so long it is apparently reflex.

Their brains seem to be similarly nailed together. Both of them are phenomenal voice artists, with Fielding in particular a crazy master of accents. There are several character voices that they both do, interchangeably, and sound so alike I can't always tell them apart. The silly duet songs you see are obviously rehearsed, but apparently that became a thing because it's nearly that easy for them to sync up when just messing around.

This is the kind of thing I watch when I hate reality. Works about equally well whether you're sober or swimming in NyQuil.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Things That Are Nice: Day 1

This has been a fucking horrible year. I cannot even count the number of things that made me cry. Not even personal tragedies, like international news. Honestly, at this point, I give up on Christmas. I am just going to post a month of things that are goddamn nice. No real theme, just bits, bobs, scraps, links, pictures, videos, and stories that are not awful.

To kick things off, have a bunch of YouTube clips of rats doing weird and adorable things:

Friday, November 18, 2016

Once upon a time, over a decade ago now, I made plans to spend my spring break visiting friends in New York. I had tickets to fly out to meet them at their university upstate, then we were going to take the train down and spend a day in Manhattan. It was sometime after 9/11 -- not so long that we were used to all the airport security theater yet, but long enough that New York had more or less returned to its normal background level of muggings, stabbings, and fraudulent cab drivers.

About a week before I was scheduled to go, I had a nightmare. I dreamt I was walking down the canyons of Manhattan, concrete cliffs towering above me, when I saw someone in the crowd look up Then more people. So I looked up, and we all saw a glint of metal high up in the air, and then the obliterating brightness of a nuclear flash.

I woke up in a dead panic. I think anyone would. That's a pretty terrible image.

I have never believed in prophetic dreams. I've never even had one of those weird coincidences, where you dream of some mundane event and then something eerily similar happens a few days later. But I spent the next week haunted by the feeling that I was going to New York to die.

It was equal parts horrible and mystifying. Technically, the chances were non-zero that it would happen the way I dreamt it, as both Manhattan Island and nuclear weapons exist. But in practical terms, the odds were exponentially greater that if I did somehow die on that trip, it would be in the part where someone had to drive me to the airport in Phoenix. Phoenix traffic is full of poor demented souls who are 109 years old and legally blind, and yet somehow retain their legal right to operate a motor vehicle on public roads, plus the signage at Sky Harbor is consistently one lane off, which means almost literally everyone driving around that airport is both lost and angry.

Logic made absolutely no dent. At all. As someone who deals with most things by just hitting them over and over again with her colossal brain, this just left me gobsmacked. I'd already gotten fairly good at that point at picking apart my reactions to things and figuring out what was prompting me to feel the way I did, but with this one, it was one part of my brain going, "Okay, what's really behind all this upset?" and another part of my brain just giving a wide-eyed baffled shrug. I genuinely did not know why I felt that way, or what to do about it. It wasn't the first time I'd had a total meltdown, but it was the first time A) it had lasted this long; B) I really realized that all of the people who had accused me of making a fuss over nothing in the past were lying, as previous fusses had been about actual things, albeit probably not things that warranted that magnitude of malfunction; and C) I was actually terrified over nothing this time, and I had no idea how to make it stop.

I don't think I can really explain to you what it's like to be well aware that none of your internal experience is making any fucking sense at all, and at the exact same time, remain convinced at an emotional level that you are at every moment deciding what you want to do with the last week of your life. It's sort of the opposite of psychosis. Instead of having a whole bunch of feelings that make perfect sense in the context of the alternate universe presented to you by your broken reality testing, it's having a whole bunch of feelings that are utterly baffling in light of your perfectly functional reality testing telling you that nothing in reality warrants any of them.

It had long since been drummed into my head that nobody cared how I felt. Previous attempts to explain what was going on had mainly gotten me shouted at. I wasn't going to get sympathy out of anyone, much less help. So in the end, what I did with the "last week of my life" was mainly keep my gob shut and go to class. At some point I ran out of energy for trying to argue myself into not feeling doomed, and just decided that well, I wanted to see New York before I died anyway, and if someone did drop a nuke on it I wasn't going to get another chance.

I feel just like that these days, only worse, because it's not necessarily over nothing. I have no idea how much of my state of mind is because the world is legitimately dangerous, and how much is just because I have redlined and broken again. Drugs only do so much. The line between "too panicky to function" and "too sleepy to be coherent" is razor-thin with me, and the dosing is more difficult to judge since I've more or less given up on food. I'm not particularly good at being an anorexic -- I don't look fat in the mirror and I dislike being too thin, as it gets uncomfortable to sit on the floor and my neckline gets all collarbone-y and all that -- but we also don't have a lot of resources to spare, and that includes grocery money. The guilt and anxiety over possibly eating something that one of the more economically-valuable roommates might have wanted is overwhelming, and I'm really too exhausted to argue with it most of the time. I've somehow gotten phased out of the household dinner plans, so I just clean up the wreck they've left behind after making the dinner I didn't eat any of, and crawl off to bed.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I don't really have anything useful to say anymore. But as far as useless trivia goes, if you were interested in the Bowie Legacy album that just came out, it's a very sharp collection of remasters and newly-balanced mixes. The extreme stereo separation on things like "Space Oddity" and equalization on "Life On Mars?" have been fixed, and in general someone's just gone through and cleaned everything up properly for high-def formats.

I bought the 2-disc edition, which seems to be already sold out at Amazon proper, but there is a 1-disc edition that's still listed for $9.98. Collector's edition vinyl comes out on January 6, for $39.98.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I have been sitting here for a week trying to figure out how best to explain the American clusterfuck to people overseas. It's not easy. There's a lot of context. It's the kind of thing that doesn't make any sense unless you're in it at the time.

The hard fact is, people here are dying. Not of anything so easily romanticized as bombs on barricades, but of things that no citizen of any industrialized nation has any business dying of in 2016: Diabetes, anaphylactic allergies, asthma attacks, endocarditis pursuant to chronic dental abscess, stress-induced suicides, malnutrition. There is a huge economic underclass here who used to work making things, like in factories. They were, to some extent, indispensable; you have to have actual humans with actual hands to put together cars and televisions and shoes, and you always need a certain number of hands to fill your orders. But everything is now made overseas, where it's cheaper, and the "working class" who survive from paycheck to paycheck has rotated around to be the service and informational industries, where there's no limit to what your boss can demand that you know, and no amount of knowledge makes you necessary. The people who run things are very rich, and everybody else is very scared.

The US is a representative democracy. We rely on elected representatives to advocate for our interests in government. Increasingly, these people have made their advocacy contingent on ideology. This is most often spoken of explicitly in the context of the Religious Right running the hardline conservative movement, but there is also a hardline liberal movement that demands an equal amount of perfection. If they find out that you, as a fallible human being, have ever done anything that they don't like, they declare you "problematic", argue endlessly about your actions, and refuse to deal with you. Both sides often declare that only a total boycott -- social, intellectual, economic -- is the only correct and moral way to respond to disagreement.

When the issue of same-sex marriage came up while Barack Obama was in the Senate, he came down in favor of civil unions. When it arose again while he was President, he opted for full marriage. When asked about this, he said, "I've thought about it, and my opinion has evolved." This was huge news in all quarters, because it was the first time in decades that an American politician had admitted, openly, to changing his mind. It's not that they don't; a popular tactic in both serious editorials and political comedy is to put together a number of media clips of politicians saying totally opposite things to different people at different times. It's that everyone pretends that the opinion they have now is the same opinion they've always had, even if that is provably false. The perception is that if their views are not eternal and unchanging, they're clearly spineless, unpredictable, easily-bought, or all three.

When you come right down to it, a significant plurality, if not a majority, of the people in the US don't really care if some lady gets an abortion or wears a scarf around her head, or where transpeople pee. I know what the news says, but I also did sociology in school, and I know that one of the quickest ways to get someone to choose a side is to walk up to them in front of all of their friends, hand them a survey, and start asking them questions about it. People will spontaneously develop opinions on all kinds of random shit in the hopes of making you just happy enough to take your clipboard back and go away. Once they're received affirmation that other people think that way -- whether that's true or not -- then they tend to double down on opinion they've stated aloud, even if they secretly don't really feel that way anymore. It's not necessarily an opinion for its own sake, but a mantra that marks you as One Of Us, and having an Us to be One Of is important to a lot of people.

What they actually care about is being able to buy groceries and feed their kids, being able to get medicine when they're sick, and being able to walk around without fear of random violence. And none of that is getting fixed. We've had a years-long fight over what bathroom transgender people are allowed to use, and it's incredibly, frustratingly stupid. It should have been settled in five minutes by someone with a gavel going, "It's a public restroom, no one of any gender should be scrutinizing your junk this closely, if they do you need to call the cops." But right now the federal government is full of people who don't understand that "the hill I die on" is supposed to be a single hill that is of paramount personal importance, not just the random dirt pile you happen to be standing on when someone gets in a lucky shot.

We have gotten so persistently sidetracked by these arguments that we had to get a comedian to embarrass the government into paying for the healthcare of 9/11 First Responders. Twice. The bill was floated over and over again, but everyone who got their hands on it amended it to hell and back in an effort to get their way on something completely unrelated. Every proposal was folded, spindled, mutilated, and adulterated to the point where it had to be completely scrapped, until Jon Stewart went on basic cable and pointed all of this out. One of the few things that we all agree on is that the emergency workers who ran into the toxic dust clouds of the collapsing towers to save as many lives as they could are genuine heroes, and even if you're a complete sociopath, you know that having 300 million Americans think you don't care about these people is a shortcut straight to the end of your political career.

A lot of the people who voted for Trump did not actually like him as a Presidential candidate, or, indeed, as a human being. They liked him as a metaphorical hand grenade they could throw at our failing government. If they had been given the option to vote for an actual, literal hand grenade to lob into the middle of a Congressional session, they may well have done that instead. The opposing party made the mistake of fielding a candidate who is part of a political dynasty and has been in government all of her adult life, probably assuming that almost all American women would reflexively vote for someone who had a vagina. Their other option was Bernie Sanders, who was equally hand-grenade-y, and whom the press liked to describe as "socialist". If the race had been crazy Jewish grandpa vs drunk racist uncle, we'd probably all be saying "Mazel tov, Mr President" right now.

The interaction between the people and the government here is straight out of a book on abusive relationships. The people in it lie and contradict themselves constantly, and when this is pointed out, they deflect and deny and gaslight like mad. Any request for what you need is sidetracked into a vicious argument into something that almost but not quite totally unrelated. They assert a right to keep track of everything you do at all times, but demands for accountability vanish, ignored, into the void. They are more interested in not changing than they are in making anything work.

There are a lot of concrete steps you can take to get out of a relationship like that. They don't always work. You may not like dealing with your drunk racist uncle at holiday dinners -- or, indeed, at all -- but when you have exhausted all reasonable options, and the crazy ex still won't leave you alone, you start wondering if maybe sending drunk racist uncle over to his house with a shotgun would fix the problem. I wouldn't, and didn't, but apparently a lot of people would.

As for myself: I am in what is probably one of the safest regions of the country right now. Boston is incredibly upset, but the way New Englanders deal with devastating tragedy is by reaffirming, as hard as they can, that they still live in civilization. We get very doggedly polite and considerate. It's disquieting for people who don't live here, I think. It's a strangely dispassionate kind of conscientiousness. It's not that people are being nice because they have, or even want, a personal connection with you; it's that you are a human being in their immediate environs, and they want to assert that they for one still believe they are living in a fucking society, and this is how you make society work.

On a logistical level, Massachusetts is a comparatively wealthy state, with a large and stretchable safety net. We are generous with things that are difficult to get in other states, like medical care and food stamps. I've had to apply for both, and if you're in dire enough need, they will seriously just hand you shit and make you an appointment to fill out the paperwork later. The place isn't perfect, but the people here by and large do have something to lose, and they don't want to lose it. It is much easier to be nice to other people when you are not yourself destitute and desperate.

Even the protestors are polite. Admittedly, if Trump sold tea, it would all be at the bottom of Boston Harbor right now, but traditionally mobs of angry Bostonians gather to shout and wave signs, not to punch each other and set fires. The police don't give them any reason to be otherwise. They would absolutely arrest people if violence broke out, but absent that, their response is to march along with them on the outside of the crowd, wearing neon safety vests and stopping traffic at the cross streets for the protest to pass. You can see it for yourself if you look up the news coverage of the post-election protest on Boston Common, or the #blacklivesmatter protests from a while ago.

I am just doing what I can. I don't go to protests or rallies; I don't deal well with huge crowds even when they're happy, and nobody needs to deal with me having a total meltdown in the middle of an angry mob. I did spend my weekend being Magical Fairy Drugmother and handing out gray-market anxiolytics to a lot of my friends, because a lot of my friends are queer and terrified. Being as we live in Little Canuckistan, we all technically have access to medical care, but getting an appointment to talk to your doctor in three months does not help you sleep now. I have first-hand experience in how fast humans disintegrate when they are physically unable to calm down.

It's probably selfish to be glad that my queer/Muslim/PoC friends will still talk to me. My feelings here are kind of insignificant in comparison to what they're going through. Still, the only thing I can really personally do right now is not be an asshole, and it's nice to know I seem to be succeeding.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

So on Saturday, apparently I'm going to go eat pizza and drink and commiserate and plot with a bunch of very scared and upset queer/trans people. I'm friends with these particular people from a context in which being or not being a GSM was not relevant, so I'm welcome there on the basis that they know me and are fairly sure I am not going to somehow make things worse. I'm not particularly sure I'm not going to somehow make things worse, but there you go. We all apparently had too much faith in people this fall,

I'm not sure I belong there. It depends on whether you're talking physically or emotionally. There are people for whom anatomical configuration is not that important; I am unfortunately not one of them. I wouldn't rule out someday meeting a female-bodied person who is just so hot I decide it doesn't matter, but to date all the people I've crushed on are physically male, which means they're generally legally male, which means that all of the people who think this is for some reason at all fucking important to anyone other than me and the other person(s) in my bed would consider me "straight". I could marry one if I wanted, and even if I didn't, I probably wouldn't get rocks thrown at my head for dating them. The only thing I really ask is that you be reasonably comfortable owning and operating the male body you have, because I am so not qualified to deal with someone who hates being in their own skin in the context of a sexual relationship.

If you consider social gender expression to be a scale with Utterly Dude at 1 and Totally Dudette at 10, the people I go for are all in about the 3-6 range. Consistently. I wasn't very interested in "boys" as an adolescent, because there weren't any "boys" like this around me. The few who came close generally did because they were dealing with being extremely gay. That's no good; I'm actively squicked by the idea of having my grubby little paws all over someone who doesn't want them there. I'm not really "queer", because I don't share the experience of having to hide who I have all my prurient thoughts about; I can truthfully say I want men and just go 'eh, not my type' a lot. Nobody ever asks if I'd be fine with a partner that goes by 'they' instead of 'he', because once you seem normal nobody wants to dig.

I have no neat box to check on forms. "Genderqueer" was not a kind of person you could be, much less a kind of person you could be interested in, until pretty much just now. "Androgynous" is technically right, but the way it's used covers such a broad range that it might describe a fundamental identity and behavior, or it might describe a fashion trend. So far as I know, there is no official term for someone who is specifically attracted to genderqueer people, as opposed to someone who is attracted to a range of genders. If there's an unofficial one it's probably a slur. I don't fetishize people in my 'type' any more than someone who hits on me is automatically fetishizing 'women', but a lot of people do, and I don't want any part of that ickiness any more than the other half of the equation does.

I'm not a whole lot of help on what gender I am either. The way things have shaken out, I'm somewhere in 4-7 range on my grossly oversimplified scale, with the ability to temporarily pretend to be up to about 9 if I really want to and feel like exhausting myself. You could see it as wanting someone "opposite" from myself, since I'll take someone who's more (but not much more) masculine than me, or you could see it as wanting someone "the same" as I am, since the ranges overlap so much. I don't know how important anatomy is to outside observers. If I knew a lady dating a transwoman, even one that for reasons of intimate friendship (because, as John Oliver points out, it is really none of my fucking business unless she elects to tell me) I knew had not gone through a full surgical transition, I'd consider it a homosexual relationship; if the same transwoman were dating a man, I'd call the relationship heterosexual.

I generally feel more comfortable in queer-friendly places, because I do have the common experience of being an alien wherever I was. There is the specific matter that pretty much none of the media that's aimed at either 'straight ladies' or 'the female gaze' are actually aimed at me, and the general matter that for years I was treated like I was existing wrong, and I'd better keep that under wraps if I didn't want people to feel justified in making me the target of emotional and physical violence. And if I'm around a lot of other gender-nonconforming people, they don't keep expecting me to 'fit in', either, Being less stultifyingly uncomfortable in someone else's house doesn't make it your house, though, no matter how much the place other people tell you is your home is full of bees and missing stairs and Donald Trump and goddamn idiotic lists of 97 Can't Lose Weight-Loss Tips all the time.

Ultimately, I don't belong anywhere. I wouldn't move to join the group if you called for "straight people" or "women" because my brain would edit that out as 'not relevant to me'. It would take me a while to remember that other people think it is, and I'm generally deeply uncomfortable in spaces where those are the specific linking qualities everyone has in common. I wouldn't move to join the group if you called for "queer" or "genderqueer" people, because I'm acutely aware that I'd be considered an outsider trying to crash their space, and god knows the one thing no one there needs is another "straight" "cis" white person thundering around like some sort of well-meaning social justice elephant with peripheral neuropathy and extremely poor eyesight.

I'm used to not belonging anywhere, in the way you get used to things that you don't have the option of not getting used to. I didn't even belong to my own family growing up. (That sounds awful, but if you ever met them you'd agree it's better that way.) It's kind of like having a bum knee. There's just a lot of stuff in life you look at and quietly assess as 'probably a bad idea', walk around it as best you can, and go on with your day. I'm pretty well adapted to being a space alien; I just have no idea how not to make it worse for anyone else around me, and that bothers me no end.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I'm fine. Sort of.

So that happened. I would like to apologize on behalf of America to... everyone, really.

It's chaos in the US right now. Not in the physical Tahrir Square sort of sense, but in the sense that everyone, on all sides of everything, is angry right now. Anger is easier to admit to than fear, and everyone, no matter who they are, is really afraid that their very existence, the way they've lived and imagined living and hoped to live all their lives, is vanishing.

The people who envisioned that working hard in a blue-collar job for decades meant they could retire to a comfortable, if small, house to garden in the afternoon and bowl with the team on Thursday nights and visit with grandkids are coming to terms with the fact that that's not how the world works anymore, and they may never get the rest they were promised. The people who saw us racing towards a world where they could be a girl one day and a boy the next, and raise 2.5 children and a dopey Labrador retriever with their partner of indeterminate gender are coming to terms with the fact that progress is slow and grinding, and they may be considered aliens all their lives. The people who were hoping that Election Day would herald some sort of change -- in any direction -- are coming to terms with the fact that "who will our President be?" is not actually the fundamental thing everyone is fighting over, and that they can look forward to at least another four years of unceasing political screaming all over their Facebook feeds.

Logistically, in the immediate term, I am going to be fine. There is no overt trouble where I am. I live in civilization. Voting in my district was boring as fuck. The most suspenseful part of the process was when the lady in front of me needed a ballot in Vietnamese, and the poll worker had to spend twenty whole seconds flipping through a stack of not-English things to give her one. I voted a straight Democratic ticket, which was the only straight party ticket it would have been possible to vote here in Suffolk County -- about 75% of the offices up for election had (D) candidates running unopposed. One office had three Independent candidates listed. I would not be surprised if one or more of them used to be Republican, but hastily divorced themselves from the fucking crazy before poll time.

My healthcare is through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- enacted, for the record, by Mitt Romney, who is both a lifelong Republican and a devout Mormon -- and not through the federal government, so that's not going anywhere. When and if I present to the ER again to ask for an extremely large bottle of Xanax, I am pretty sure "2016 election" will be considered a valid medical indication for giving me one. We also apparently just legalized marijuana, for a whole host of obvious reasons.

[It was decriminalized here before, but the ballot question also legalized growing, possessing, and personal use for 21+, giving small amounts to other people 21+ without charge, applying a vice tax to commercial sales, and explicitly states that none of the above can per se be used against you in court actions like child custody hearings. You can still be prosecuted for running commercial operations without a license, for not paying taxes on it, for driving under the influence, for "public intoxication" if for some reason your red-eyed wasted self is wandering around the neighborhood pissing people off, etc. Basically, we've decided it's leafy booze.

I believe it goes into effect December 15th. One of my roommates is a DJ. I give good odds of a couple of wee baby pot plants quietly appearing on our kitchen windowsill before Christmas.]

Otherwise, I'm not so great. Not catatonic (yet), just not so great.

I haven't eaten anything. I have food, I just really can't. I'm coming down with something annoyingly nose-clogging on top of all of the rest of it, so I'm frankly weighing the merits of having the rest of the wine and some DayQuil for breakfast. Normally I'd consider this an unwise combination, but on the scale of Unwise Shit Going Down Right Now, it's starting to look pretty sane.

I also have to go out today, which means I will have to get on the train to Cambridge. I live in Dorchester, so the train is going to be full of black people. And if I pass out on the train, I will wake up to a lot of concerned black people looking down at me and asking me if I'm okay, because I'm in New England, and that's how Yankees roll: You vehemently ignore everyone else as long as they look fine, but if they look like they're in distress, you're an asshole if you don't stop and help.

What is probably going to happen to me personally is that I will be very quiet for a while, not sleep very well without the aid of drugs, and drop a shitton of weight. Getting a lot of exercise helps some, mainly because it gives me something to do, but the downside is that my appetite is unconnected to how many calories I'm burning. I expect to be re-tailoring a lot of my trousers. I ran through a lot of anxiolytic sedatives last night, and I'm probably going to keep doing it for a while, because the alternative is curling up into the fetal position and crying for days at a time.

I'm already getting hypersensitive to things like loud sudden noises. I cope with this mainly by trying not to hear them through the music I have jammed very firmly into my ear canals. Currently the playlist is dominated by Placebo, a band whose vocalist is openly bisexual, explicitly genderqueer, and probably jettisoned his American citizenship at age 17 in exchange for getting the UK to pay his drama school tuition; by Joan Jett, who is a throat-punchingly awesome feminist icon who plays extremely loud music, and is fuck-you-for-asking-but-likely-queer; by Janelle MonĂ¡e, who sings in a brilliantly feminine mezzo-soprano while dressing as James Brown and falling backwards into a crowd of screaming girls, and whose androids can stand in for any disenfranchised other; by Garbage, whose lead singer looks very girly but sounds belligerently Scottish, and like she wants you and your stupid emotionally-abusive sexist ideas to shut the fuck up; and by David Bowie, who is, and always will be, David Bowie.

I always kind of assumed I would be a weirdo alien to most people until the day I died, but I never figured I'd be actively subversive. Oh well. Nothing else in my life has gone even remotely to plan, so why not. I never could keep my mouth shut as a kid when it was just my personal emotional safety at stake. I don't see why I'd magically gain the ability to stuff a sock in it now.

It's not bravery or principles or moral fortitude. It's exhaustion. Somewhere around 9/11, it became apparent that, between real events and the unreal inability of the news media to be in any way reasonable about reporting on any of them, and my unfortunate mutant brain chemistry, I was going to spend the rest of my life acutely afraid of someone doing something awful somewhere. It takes a lot of energy to be in a state of mortal terror all the time. It also takes a lot of energy to ignore the symptoms, and talk yourself into not feeling things, and stay in your improv character as 'someone who is totally fine and functional no really', and otherwise generally reroute your entire life around that sense of impending doom. I can't fucking do both. If it gets me shouted at or fired or shot, so be it. I have friends who will tend my pets if the fascist revolution gets me.

The rats have slept through everything, with breaks for dinner and recreational testicle grooming, because they are rats. They were squabbling over who got to burrito (bur-rat-o?) himself up in the flannel cage cover to nap, so I threw a second blanket over top of that one, and they calmed down. They will probably be fed most of what I don't eat, so at least someone in the house will be happy.