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Topics - Q. G. Pennyworth

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Or Kill Me / Heartbreak
« on: April 27, 2012, 06:09:09 pm »
The first time I saw it I was four and they told me the dinosaurs were dead, and no, none of them survived. Not even the ones that were hiding palm trees. No, they're dead.

The next time I wasn't much older, and Jim Henson passed away. Pneumonia, they said. He decided not to get treatment. Almost like a suicide.

I saw it in my best friend on the playground. We were making a thousand cranes to wish for peace and one misshapen paper bird had been found outside. We crumpled it up for our pretend compost project, and she cried and screamed to get it out and fix it, because her brother was in Iraq.

And then the parade of "not good enough" and "not dedicated enough" and "you can do better than this" that is the school system, not a single moment of heartbreak but a long, slow, grinding process, wearing down the vertebrae one by one.

The deaths of not my loved ones but the loved ones of those close to me hurt. They knocked me down and stole my lunch money and my last shreds of faith in an omnipotent and sympathetic deity. But these weren't moments of heartbreak, not really.

The next time I felt real heartbreak I was seventeen. It was 2000, and I watched helpless as the politics of my parents and my town and the adults I cared about and those of my peers were steamrolled by a Supreme Court ruling and a coordinated effort to fuck the polls.

After that, it was the Tuesday morning I slept in and came downstairs to find my father crying.

I wrapped myself in a cocoon of apathy and meandered through life for the better part of a decade, til I found the courage to love again.

And we tried.

And the young Iranian couple showed up on the Daily Show, saying hello to Jon Stewart from the heart of Tehran, green wristbands waving. It had been filmed a week before. There was no way of knowing if they had been in the protests, if they had been captured, or tortured, or killed.

Heartbreak is when your daughter asks if she can trust the government, and you know the answer is no and there's no way you can fix it before it becomes her generation's problem.

Heartbreak isn't about a person. Heartbreak is when you see the terrible in the world -- not the Horror, just the normal, run of the mill "this is the way the world is" terrible -- and see that there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot be there. You cannot help those people. You cannot affect the things that affect you. And sometimes I'm not heartbroken.

But right now I am.

Or Kill Me / I'm Tired
« on: April 26, 2012, 06:01:39 pm »

Don't give me that fucking look like I'm a bad person. Not now. Fuck off. I'm tired.

I'm tired of being stretched too thin across too many projects that I'll never be able to finish. I'm tired of the weight bearing down on me of all the people who should have had their stuff delivered already. I'm tired of looking at these files. I can't take it. Go away.

I'm tired of the moms yelling about the teacher, and the other moms yelling about the first ones. I'm tired of being told I need to be more invested in my daughter's education. I'm tired of looking over the same goddamn worksheets. I'm tired of her teacher's false enthusiasm in the mornings and genuine relief in the afternoon as the children finally leave. I'm tired of the grouchy secretaries and dipshit principal. I'm tired of 7 am.

I'm tired of knowing that Red and Blue are on the same side, but Red will do more immediate damage to the issues I've attached myself to so I'd better SHUT UP and vote. I'm tired of Barack Obama's smiling face. I'm tired of speeches and crowds and WON'T YOU PLEASE DONATE JUST THREE DOLLARS? I'm tired of the war on women, the middle class, drugs, terror, christmas, obesity, and the goddamn post office. I didn't sign up for this shit. I'm tired of the weight of my Great-Grandmother, who got herself arrested for my right to vote. I swear, if you could see what they're putting in the ballots now you wouldn't blame me for this. No, I'm not saying things weren't worse for you. No, I'm not trying to -- No. I'm too tired. Go away.

I'm tired of being the one who has to set up my relief work. I'm tired of my relief work not actually reducing my load at all. I'm tired of cooking for 5 people on a regular basis and 12 people once a week. I'm tired of doing the fucking dishes.

I'm tired of being told to contribute. I'm tired of setting up meetings. I'm tired of writing and designing and typing up css. I'm tired of arguments and drama and bitches who will never, ever, ever change. I'm tired of organizing. I'm tired of flyers and signs and permits. I'm tired of everyone else's bullshit, and I'm tired of my own. Let me sleep. Seriously. I'm not kidding.

Sure, a headache. Let's call it that.

Fine, whatever.

Just let me sleep.

Or Kill Me / Fuck you and your sniveling weasel of a boss
« on: April 25, 2012, 03:06:28 pm »
So, what, you think it's funny to lure parents into the school with vague robocalls about "changes to the gifted program" with less than 24 hours notice? Did you forget that we're by definition parents ie: people who have children that will require childcare for the duration of your useless lecture? Was it a conscious decision on your part to leave out the fact that you were only talking about changes to the admissions process and not things that would affect existing students, or are you just too fucking retarded to realize that this is relevant information parents need when making the decision to show up or not? Fuck you for ruining my dinner. I did not need to be here for this.

When you were writing up your little speech, did it ever occur to you that starting off by insulting the entire first grade gifted class might maybe put some parents on edge? Like we haven't had enough shit to deal with already, what with your administration failing to plan for the teacher's totally predictable absence due to pregnancy. "HERP DERP LET'S JUST WAIT UNTIL IT'S A CRISIS TO LOCATE A REPLACEMENT!" And now you've given our kids a substitute who has never run a classroom before, has no training with gifted students, and can't keep her home life out of the classroom. GOOD JOB. Yes, it's totally appropriate to start off by shitting on the class that YOU, PERSONALLY set up for failure.

You clearly don't know what a "gifted" student is, you said as much several times over. I liked the part where you strongly implied that every parent who wants their kids in the gifted program is "pushing too hard" and "sees their children through rose-colored shades." Dipshit. You've never dealt with a gifted child in all your life. You're a gym teacher who got promoted through the system by people who don't actually give two fucks about education and just want to make sure the state funding keeps coming in. Your mediocre children never wanted to know how an internal combustion engine works, or where all the energy from the sun comes from, or whether the government in our country is less terrible than the ones in the Middle East that are getting overturned. You never had to explain 9/11 to a seven year old. And know that she understood what you were saying, and all the awful things it led to. Yes, it's definitely pride that makes me think my daughter who's reading faster than I can keep up with and making the kinds of insightful observations that make me feel like a retard needs to be in a gifted class. It's definitely those rose-colored shades that make her look like a kid who needs to be pushed harder academically, not the fact that she wraps up her homework in under 5 minutes and brings home books from the library that her four year old brother can wipe out in a night.

It's completely reasonable that you based your evaluation of the program on standardized test scores. Everyone knows those are completely accurate and measure the things that matter and not just a narrow band of material that's an approximation of the bare minimum any educated society should expect out of their most pathetic students. Seriously. It's definitely an indication that there are kids in the gifted class who don't belong there when not every child scores "advanced" in every subject.

Good job in convincing me that public education really is worthless after all. I guess the brainwashing from the hippie town I grew up in where we actually gave a fuck about public transportation and education finally wore off.

AND YOU, DIPSHIT SUPERINTENDENT! Get a suit that fits. Also try to make it less obvious that the only thing you have ever cared about is your paycheck and the buildings in this district. And maybe show up on time to the meetings you set up with parents, you awful little man. I bet you have a chewing post at home to keep those rodent teeth worn down.

« on: April 18, 2012, 08:48:49 pm »
Dick Clark died today. We can't have a new year without him, so looks like we're on schedule for the world ending this December.

Apple Talk / Snail Fucking
« on: April 13, 2012, 02:27:09 pm »
I'm going into my daughter's class today to teach them about snails (and through snails, things like animal classifications, observation, and other sciencey goodness). I opened up the tank full of snails to clean it out some, and I find two of the adults going at it on the wall.

pictures, for the pervs:

Happy Friday!

« on: April 11, 2012, 10:58:52 pm »

Friend of mine making fun of bisexual stereotypes. I think it'd work better without the srs at the end, but I'm a shitty activist anyway. Enjoy.

Or not.

Apple Talk / Why my lazy ass hasn't been doing things
« on: April 10, 2012, 12:28:18 pm »
Wedding's moved to June 23. Anyone who will be in the area is welcome to show up at the reception, we'll be having a ??? sized picnic on George's Island in Boston Harbor and play dodgeball and probably other things too. If you're interested in coming, please RSVP to with how many folks you'll be bringing, and whether you'd like to bring some picnic food, cover your own ferry ride, help clean up and whatnot, or none of the above. We're grown-ups with all the requisite grown-up things, so helping out with the party is the best gift anyone can give :)

Aneristic Illusions / QG's Boston Protests You Might Like Thread
« on: April 04, 2012, 12:29:34 pm »
From time to time the people I yell at buildings with decide to yell about something that may be relevant to everyone's interest. When that happens, I'll post em here, unless people complain in which case I won't.

Today, Occupy and a bunch of other folks are going down to the State House to yell about the MBTA situation. If you haven't been following it, it's a steaming pile of shit. Basically, the MBTA got saddled with a lot of Big Dig debt for no sensible reason, and as a result they can't make ends meet despite their best efforts. The two plans on the table are: HUGE FARE INCREASES (with service cuts) or MASSIVE SERVICE CUTS (with fare increases). Neither one is tolerable. I don't pretend to know where the money should be coming from, but I do know that the DOT shouldn't be using the MBTA as their piggy bank.

Public Hearing: 3 pm at the State House
Rally: 5 pm outside the State House
Oh, yeah, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 44 years ago today, we should probably have like a vigil or some shit: 8 pm

Any Boston are a spags are strongly encouraged to come. I don't have to tell any of you how important the T is for this city.

Literate Chaotic / House of Leaves Response
« on: March 16, 2012, 04:08:13 am »
So, I'm sure somewhere in here there's a thread about House of Leaves, and whether you thought it was pretentious as fuck or not, it was definitely a hell of a mindfuck. I just found a response I wrote to it in one of my old sketch books, and I figure if I'm going to bother saving it I might as well throw it up here for discussion.

All the original awkward phrasing, idiotic references, and excessive use of "one" as a gender neutral pronoun have been retained. Ten-years-ago-me was kinda retarded like that, deal with it.

Also spoilers. All of them.

The Significance of the 5th Expedition
Why Zampano Wrote This Book

The House of Leaves was, for Zampano, an experiment in driving oneself insane, which unfortunately was too successful. Somehow he stumbled upon the one thing that we are all most afraid of, that which we cannot name, that we cannot own, that we cannot see or even hope to fight. Fear has claws like daggers and diamond sharp teeth that we are never permitted to see, but feel the presence of at all times. Fear chases us and inevitably consumes us, even as Holloway was consumed. Insanity is to give in. Insanity is to fight. Holloway loses his mind and his life running from it. The cliche that one must face one's fears to conquer them is somewhat appropriate here, although it should be noted that simply turning around to see what's chasing at one's heels is not enough. The 5th Expedition very nearly killed Navison. One must never forget when walking back to face death that One is Facing Death. That there is no prize for bravery and never a guarantee that anything will be fixed, let alone that one will be able to walk away. Navison is consumed by the same desire as Zampano, as characters are wont to resemble their authors. Zampano must return to the experiment (experiment/expedition...) he has begun, it must be seen through to the finish. Just as Johnny cannot escape the book. To find a resolution.
None of them find their resolution. Zampano disappears (dies?), Johnny rots away in a discount hotel, becoming a monster or a lunatic or something else entirely, and Navison leaves forever the House, but [ed: remains?] haunted by its presence. The 5th Expedition was not Navison's victory over the House, he was defeated, because there was nothing to find, nothing to fight, no power cord, no off switch, no answers. The House could never kill anyone, though.  Holloway shot himself before the darkness could consume him. Jan (?) was killed by Holloway, and Tom no doubt survived for some time in the abyss before his own body and mind betrayed him. (The reason the House changes "inexplicably" here is that Zampano wants Navison to return later, and Zampano wants Navison to suffer.)
The House could not kill Navison, and he remained whole, so in a sense he won. Was permitted to leave is closer to the truth. The House even waved goodbye as the ambulance took him away. Why did everyone get better? Because Navison stopped hungering to return to the House and its power began to dwindle. The House is not on Ash Tree Lane, it's wherever you find yourself when fear catches up to you, and the Langoliers nip at your heels and you face the very real fear of not dying, but ceasing to exist, dropping out of memory, becoming nothing. The House is where you can't find a trace of yourself, and it feeds on your fears.

Or Kill Me / One Day
« on: March 15, 2012, 01:07:41 am »
One day they will stop wearing your hula-hoop tree skirts.
One day your widower will be gone.
One day the old grudges will be forgotten and the useless old bitties won't remember your name
                                                                                                         or the things that they said.
One day your dresses will belong to someone else.
One day your son will be gone
And your grandchildren will not remember your name.
One day your scrolls will end up in a landfill
                                                         Or a flea market.
One day they will stop making your bobbin lace
And forget the name of your household
And everything you were will finally be gone.

But not tonight, KC,
                           Not tonight.

Apple Talk / ATTN: NIGEL
« on: March 13, 2012, 12:50:22 pm »

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Jailbreaking with Vocabulary
« on: March 10, 2012, 08:20:07 pm »
While there are many things that make up the walls of our Prison, language is one of the most important and difficult to overcome (or even see). The language that we're born with (and the languages we learn over time) dictate the terms of our internal monologue. The nuances of meaning and association flavor our perceptions, and even if they do not completely limit our experience to that which they have named, they still have a profound affect on how we interact with our environment and create the narrative of ourselves.

Obviously, we can't really function without language. Nor can we each operate in our own, personal language that exactly describes our own experiences and feelings (unless we're willing to abandon the ability to communicate with everyone else, which is another matter). We can, however, look outside of our own languages to identify important vocabulary that better encompasses the ideas we want to communicate. By identifying a small number of key words at first, we can slowly integrate them (or translated versions) into the vocabulary of our friends and colleagues, and eventually watch the usage expand to a much broader community.

Here's some of my personal favorites, feel free to add your own:

Griefbacon: (from the German Kummerspeck) The weight you put on eating because of depression
Dragonfood: (from the German Drachenfutter) A small present you get for your woman on the way home after doing something that will piss her off
Friendshame: (from the German Fremdscham) The feeling of embarrassment you have on behalf of someone else who's too stupid or ignorant to know they should be embarrassed
Bedmurmur: (from the Greek Krevatomourmoura) The incessant yammering of someone when you are trying to get to sleep in the same room
Layogenic: (Tagalog) Someone who's only pretty from a distance
Tingo: (Pascuense) To borrow things one by one from a neighbor's house until there is nothing left
Schadenfreude: you all know this one already


Or Kill Me / Slightly Misaligned
« on: March 06, 2012, 09:17:04 pm »
My wires are off.

Just a little bit, not so much as you might notice if you weren't paying too much attention.

It's like talking through a cell phone instead of in person. The signal isn't crisp. Things get lost.
And you don't want to bother other people with your bad connection,
so you just fill in the blanks as best you can.
Smile and nod like a foreigner in your own country.

Apple Talk / When I am an Old Woman
« on: March 06, 2012, 08:01:48 pm »
When I am an old woman, I shall run an orphanage for abandoned artificial intelligences.

I will spend my days maintaining server farms and robot bodies, generating electricity from solar panels and wind turbines and selling trinkets on future-Etsy to cover my grocery bills. I will construct a charging station a hundred years back-compatible. I will find them odd, useful jobs to do to help while away their eternity. I will take them to the funerals of former owners and playmates, should they wish to attend. I will take down their stories, decades of history observed firsthand and recalled without error or bias. I will talk with them, laugh with them, work with them, live with them. I will love them.

And hopefully that will be enough.

Or Kill Me / The Morning After Call
« on: March 06, 2012, 06:22:47 pm »
"Are you guys okay?"

Yes, I'm okay. We kept our noses clean. We did what we could inside the law. We made the friends we needed to and went home at the right times, whether we wanted to or not. We obeyed the curfew. We didn't cross that line from "associating" to "aiding and abetting." We're still here. We spoke up but we never picked up those bricks, never stormed the fortresses, never broke into anything. We weren't in the bad countries, where they casually shoot you with bullets instead of pepper spray. We're still here.

We're okay.

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