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Topics - Q. G. Pennyworth

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Apple Talk / Not Today, Air Conditioner
« on: December 27, 2018, 09:01:49 pm »
One time I was moving out of one apartment and into another one just across the street (there were three apartment complexes all bunched together in this little patch of land just outside of the high property tax college town we orbited). My eldest was a wee little thing in a stroller and I wasn't yet pregnant with #2. It was a nice day and I was free to do some moving work while my husband was out at work.

For some reason, I had gotten the idea in my head that I had to deal with the air conditioner in our old unit. Looking back I can't imagine how I got there, I don't think we bought the fucker and we sure as hell didn't need it at the new place, but here I was sure that I had to get the thing out of the wall before we handed over the keys. There was one of those holes high in the wall for the AC to sit in, the base of it at about 6 feet. Not too high for me to reach, but high enough that it's above my head. And I shuffled the unit out ok, and started to pull it out before I realized that no, I did not have this. And the weight shifted forward and I put myself in the way, the front of the air conditioner mushed into my face and my arms barely holding the thing in place, the edge of its little alcove in the wall the only thing preventing me from losing control of the situation completely.

I did not have this. I could not hold this fucker at the angle I had it. I could not readjust without losing control even further and everything crashing to the ground. So I froze. And it felt like forever standing there, baby sitting quietly in the stroller just in the other room, phone perched above her and out of reach. There was no way out. But I could not stay. I am not going to die here with an air conditioner on my face. So I shifted my weight and pulled it forward and let the fucker fall, keeping my toes out of the way. And I controlled the fall enough that it didn't break and I moved on with my life.

No matter how hopeless the situation, sometimes you just have to decide that you are not going to die here with an air conditioner on your face.

Apple Talk / IRC
« on: December 26, 2018, 06:03:06 pm »
bitches I'm blocked again, fix it.

Aneristic Illusions / Hypocrisy
« on: December 05, 2018, 12:18:46 am »
As someone who leans decidedly to the left on many issues, I would like to take a moment to express how utterly and completely DONE I am with liberals accusing conservatives of being hypocrites. Seriously, over it.

For starters, it accomplishes nothing. The people who are voting conservative are not unaware of the hypocrisy of their leaders, they have made a calculated decision that what they gain from electing inconstant dickweasels far outweighs whatever damage to their immortal souls they're incurring consorting with hypocrites. You won't change someone's mind or vote with an accusation of hypocrisy, so stop wasting your breath.

For another thing, it's distracting. Attacking someone for hypocrisy invites a debate as to how hypocritical a particular action is, and what someone's true moral compass looks like, and how much of a compromise position is really acceptable, and whether forgiveness is a valuable trait in a voting bloc. And sure, if hypocrisy were literally the worst thing in the world, it would be worth having that debate, but THERE ARE WORSE THINGS THAN HYPOCRISY. If you're mad about children being detained and teargassed, just be mad about that. Don't muddy the waters debating whether or not Jesus would be happy with Christians who pulled that shit.

For one more thing, it's self-destructive. If one side decides it is the party of no hypocrisy, that side will lose. Because you will have serial gropers, texters of dick pics, people who made bad jokes ten years ago and folks who are bad at keeping up with their taxes in any group of people. But if one side is willing to burn those fuckers to the ground internally and the other side is willing to tolerate that bullshit so long as their objectives are still being met, guess which side is at an advantage?

I'm not voting in favor of hypocrisy. I just want people to stop pretending that it's the most important issue of the day.

Apple Talk / On Language
« on: December 04, 2018, 10:01:12 pm »
There is an idea floating around that goes something like "the language we speak controls the thoughts we are able to have." It's the subject of serious study, and like all good bullshit there is a corn kernel of truth in it, but the fact is that it's still bullshit.

The arguments in favor go thus: several experiments have been able to demonstrate that certain functions of the mind are, indeed, tied to the available vocabulary, and without that vocabulary the mind simply refuses to recognize some concepts. Languages that do not differentiate blue from green, for example, produce people who don't draw a line between the two colors, and indeed there are whole cities that have blue lights on their traffic signals because well who gives a shit, it's still under the "grue" umbrella, isn't it? In another example, deaf children who learned a limited vocabulary form of sign language were less able to imagine the inner mental experience of others, and this was not changed until they were exposed to people with a wider vocabulary, at which point they caught up quickly with their peers.

So, if we extrapolate this outward, you can see the pull towards imagining that all of human experience is dictated by our language filters. That we are incapable of feeling things for which we have no name, and the things that we can feel have an indelible mark upon them based on our available vocabulary. Perhaps this extends out even further, and there are whole realms of existence that we are blind to from lack of words to understand them.

This, again, is bullshit.

We have all experienced the "wit of the stairwell," when you think of just the right thing to say after the moment is lost and you can never get it back again, regardless of whether we're speakers of French or have heard the term "l'esprit d'escalier." The internet was overjoyed when it found the word "shadenfreude" to perfectly describe its pre-existing love of watching others suffer. Even neologisms like "sonder" have not opened up new feelings -- most of us had already felt at one point or another the complex emotional stew that accompanies an acute realization that others' lives are as real and complex as our own. Experiences can defy our ability to describe them, which by necessity means that our experiences are not limited to what we can describe.

There is, however, something of value in all this.

Vocabulary does not limit what we can feel, but it does put a limit on what we can express, and a lack of vocabulary can pump the brakes on our self-reflection and even our ability to cope. Processing an emotion often requires a certain level of understanding, of examining the thing and putting it in the correct box on the mental shelf. We do this internally -- through the filter of our own consciousness and vocabulary -- and externally by talking things through with trusted friends. When we don't have a word for an experience, we have trouble putting it in the box ourselves, and we have trouble explaining it to others. We rely on metaphor and lengthy descriptions, which make us more self conscious about the whole thing. "If this was really so common, wouldn't there be a quick shorthand for it? I must really be crazy," quoth the brainweasels.

So expanding our vocabulary, especially our emotional vocabulary, is a huge positive thing! And as neologisms and hyper-specialized loanwords infect the wider world of internet english, we can expect to see improvements in our ability to process and communicate our own feelings, and an increased ability to empathize with the complex emotional states of others.

We're not going to start seeing word fairies, though, so quit it.

Apple Talk / Pretending is more powerful than you know
« on: December 03, 2018, 05:23:30 pm »
Sometimes the thing that's got you fucked up is too insignificant to justify just how fucked up you are.

Sometimes the monsters have no nads for you to kick.

Sometimes you find yourself overdosing on adrenaline and cortisol for no good reason at all.

Sometimes there's no hope of a satisfying narrative conclusion.

And you can hide from this reality, and you can deny this reality, you can live in this reality with no hope of ever growing up or out of your petty trauma and maladaptive coping mechanisms. You can be furious with this reality, and scream into the unfairness of not having a moment to dredge up and fight and win. You can insist that no you're fine really and let everyone else carry the burden of your shit, because you won't.

But these are choices, and you have other options as well.

If a narrative conclusion is what you need, then go and fucking make one. Your head's as big as mine, as big as all our heads: whole universes fit in there. Start using that machine for something more productive than Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity errors. Build yourself a monster and fight it. Build yourself a trauma and overcome it.

You've always been a flighty kid, a dreamy kid, a kid with an overactive imagination. Stop hating that and start using it. Stop wasting it on entertainment and start using it to heal yourself. Write a better story. Run a better game. Make better art. Run that "coming to terms with the past" narrative over and over until it wears a rut in your brain as familiar as the one that says you're an idiot who can't do anything right. Make it as automatic as the path from your bed to the toilet.

Because it turns out your brain doesn't actually give a shit whether the bad thing you're getting over is real or not, it just needs practice going through the motions. It turns out healing is a habit like any other, and "cheating" means absolutely nothing in this context. Sure, there are folks with specific monsters with nads they can kick, who need to spend time doing that thing, but if you are one of the many who is broken because of a thousand papercuts instead of a sword wound, take heed.

Pretending is more powerful than you know.

Apple Talk / Who You Are
« on: November 20, 2018, 05:11:31 pm »
We are what we do

So if you don't know who you are, start doing things! Over time an identity will emerge, or something close enough that you can run with it. It may take a long time --years even -- and it's not remotely safe, but it's the only way out. Date somebody. Dump somebody. Go to Shakespeare In The Park. Buy a membership at a Museum. Find a library and start hanging out there.

Don't worry too much about clothing, hair, and accessories. Appearance isn't identity, it's just a way of presenting yourself to the world. As you start doing things, you'll find some outfits work better in certain situations than others, and some aesthetics get you further into the circles you find yourself. Go to a riot. Go to a city council meeting. Take an online course. Pick up a new hobby and find the other people doing it.

If money is no object you have more options, but even if you're struggling to get by you can still figure yourself out. Access to the internet puts tons of free, structured educational paths within reach, and countless communities for any interest you can imagine. If you don't have access where you live, libraries are free and have computers. Museums have free admission days. Volunteer opportunities don't have to be huge time sinks. Sit in on a church service. Collect trash and make something from it. Go for a walk and let yourself get a little lost.

This also applies if you know who you are and don't like it very much. Change comes by doing things, and if apologies are owed they don't have to be the first thing on your path to being a less shitty you. Pick up a paintbrush. Move away. Stop spending time with people who make you a worse person than you want to be.

Apple Talk / Not Crazy
« on: November 14, 2018, 05:21:02 pm »
I'm not crazy.

It's weird, because I spend a lot of time crazy, but right now I'm not. I'm sad, and scared, and have a problem with procrastination and confronting things sometimes, but it's not crazy. It's just human shit.

I wish there was a way to explain that subtle divide between crazy and not, to wrap it up in neat little paragraphs or poetry and go "see? This is the line." I don't even know how to start.

Maybe it's an issue of cohesiveness: an internal experience that's all one thing and not a war of screaming invasive thoughts and impulses. It's knowing the things that are in your head are all yours -- strike that, knowing that it's all you -- and not feeling a need for a dialogue or a conflict with it. It doesn't mean anything is resolved, there's still all the emotions and practical concerns that were there yesterday, and I'm crying at the drop of a hat and barely caught up with half of my work, but I'm not crazy.

The world is still a terrifying place and there is still so much wrong we may never recover, and I may be leaving my children a far more difficult life than my parents gave me. There are still fires and the theft of elections and the threat of war and social collapse. There are still nazis on our doorstep. Relationships are still hard.

I want to say it's like being in a pool, hearing everything muffled and muted by the water, but it's not like that at all. There is a reduction in the intensity of the experience, yes, but it's more like someone was screaming into a megaphone next to my head and only just now put the damn thing down. It's like finally taking your hand off the hot burner. There are still problems, and there is still pain, but it's less.

I've had times like this before. I know it's no guarantee that I've "made a breakthrough" and I'm "cured." My crazy is deep and rooted in the genes of my ancestors, a long line of uppity women with private battles as far back as the stories reach. I am not deluded.

I feel like I should be happier about this, excited, but really it's just a thing. I spend a lot of time crazy, so I have a lot of stuff built up to make me a functional crazy person. When I'm not, it's almost a little trouble adjusting back. Have to relearn how to make art like this, how to write, how to relate to other people. It's not a complaint, either, I like being safe in my own skin.

It's worth knowing. It's worth talking about.

Apple Talk / Belated Halloween thing
« on: November 07, 2018, 05:03:21 pm »
To the parents
Of the kids
In the store-bought costumes

I worked hard putting together
My son's outfit tonight
Finding the right cloth
To obscure his face
Without obscuring his vision
Building the magic staff
With hidden flashlight
And enormous plastic gem
Fitting the overwrought custom mask
To his small face
Sewing him into his headgear
Because there was no other way
To secure it
Layering the right clothing
To keep him warm
While preserving the aesthetic
And here
Is your child
In a $10 ninja jumpsuit

I just wanted to say
That you should not let anyone
Disparage what your child is wearing
Or the effort you put in
Or the investment you made
I just wanted to say
That your child's happiness
Is the only thing that matters
And that their participation
In this silly tradition
Is more valuable than a chest full
Of custom-tailored costumes
I just wanted to say
That whatever your situation
Or your child's
I'm happy you came out tonight
And if anyone gives you shit
I will sic my son on them
With his ridiculous tentacleface

Or Kill Me / Bandanna
« on: October 07, 2018, 04:15:29 am »
I put a bandanna in my purse
on the way out the door
Because if there is teargas
you want to cover your mouth and nose
Because I was going out to an event
and I don't go to events anymore
where we don't worry about teargas
and nazis
There were people spraypainting signs
but there were no cops there
except the ones blocking traffic
and the dumptrucks they used to close the road
were too much like the ones they used
to block off the protesters from traffic
for fear of another Charlottesville
This is my whole life now
Everything is protests or politics or echoes of both
and even the places I escape to
are reflections of the fear and rage
the banshee wail I can't ever get out
and can never walk away from
it's become second nature
Because for two years there has been
a quiet war
And we fight it with cardboard
and bullhorns
and bandannas

Bring and Brag / Favorite Sentences Megathread
« on: September 11, 2018, 10:31:31 pm »
What do you post here? Your favorite sentences from your own writing, or someone else's with attribution. Context is for losers.

Apple Talk / Tinnitus
« on: September 11, 2018, 02:31:33 am »
She has tinnitus
Says it sounds like a symphony
Tones that ebb and flow into infinity
Words drop out she responds numbly
Smiles and nods like a foreigner in her own country
Her body is failing and she can hear

She has tinnitus
Says it's nothing really
Winces when the sound jabs too deeply
Can't stand the radio, hides at the party
It's always too much and she hates to be needy
Her body is failing and she can hear

She has tinnitus
Says it feels like a fantasy
The ambient soundtrack to her every reverie
The howling void outside our reality
The edges are ragged and she rides them fearlessly
The world is failing and she can hear

She has tinnitus
Says it's like electricity
Angels in the wiring screaming in assembly
Incomprehensible, prone to insanity
The simulation's failing and she can hear

Or Kill Me / On Bitching
« on: August 29, 2018, 02:06:58 am »
The first thing you need to do is disabuse yourself violently of the notion that I am here to elevate the level of discourse. Hammers are an excellent tool for this purpose, but I'm sure you can figure something out in a pinch.

I'm not here for you.

Or maybe I am, but certainly not in a manner you anticipated or will enjoy. I spent all my patience today on hookers and homeless people, there is nothing left but teeth and claws and scales and batwings. I spent my afternoon vacuuming up a mummy. Well, to be fair that one was more of a corpse, but there was a mummy the other week I assure you, and the process of disposal puts me in A Mood.

And you would think all the incel, red pill, racial-realist, trans-exclusionary radical feminist, oppression cosplaying, kekistani, alt-right, nazi and nazi-adjacent fucks in the world would be enough of a punching bag for my rage, but it turns out they don't like getting punched in the face and chased around town and laughed at NEARLY as much as their uniforms would suggest, and they hardly show up at all anymore. No, I'm left with a seething rage at the universe and my left shoulder with No. Valid. Targets.

You wanna complain about complaining about complaining about bitching? Sure, you can rub your e-peen raw on it, no worse than self-insert Sonic fanfic. But motherfucker if you are going to SUMMON ME into your circlejerk of who's the better resistor based on arbitrary goddamned criteria on which forms of bitching are producting and valid, when I am already ready to burn the house down? That's the kind of tactical error they write books about. Whole graduate theses.

If the front line fighters of the culture wars do not shit their hate, they will die. If the support line resistors do not shit their hate, they will die. If the slactivists do not shit their hate, they will die. If the people trying to look badass for The Revolution do not shit their hate, they will die too. And if the WHOLE LOT OF THEM aren't vomiting their grievances on every platform conceivable, The Powers That Be will have a much easier time picking out the REAL troublemakers and making them go away.

But you never think about social camouflage, do you? Your intellectual contribution to The Revolution probably consists of several strongly worded letters and an "I Voted" sticker. Which wouldn't be bad at all, you know, if you didn't harangue the people fighting on the other fronts.

I hate you all.

Literate Chaotic / Incel
« on: July 09, 2018, 05:52:43 pm »
How sad it must be
to be a flower
that has never known the touch
of a woman or a girl

To never be taken in soft finger tips
and feel the brush of her nose
the gentle kiss of her breath
as she takes in your scent

To wilt away in obscurity
never seeing a quiet smile
cross her pretty face
to be carried away into the world

How sad
and how utterly normal

Apple Talk / You Could Just Not
« on: June 28, 2018, 06:57:01 pm »
You could fight, you could bleed, you could throw yourself on the cogs of the machine.
You could work yourself to exhaustion and wear the soles off of your shoes.
You could work, you could march, you could pour out the contents of your bleeding heart.

No one is keeping score, no one even knows, no one is holding the fire to your toes.
There is no reward worth having and no punishment in store.


There's so much that you're missing, so many things you've lost
Your time, your cash, your energy, all offerings to the cause
You'll never get it back, and these battles never end

Your family is waiting, your friends you disavowed
The games, the parties, the playground, the worlds you used to know
There's still a space there for you, if you wouldn't yell so loud


Bring and Brag / QGP Arts Megathread - Words with Pictures
« on: June 14, 2018, 08:26:06 pm »

This is for the big artsy things that have words on them. Most of these are also available words-free over in the Backgrounds thread

The contents of this thread are released Creative Commons: Non Commercial, No Derivatives. Technically they're supposed to be attributed too, but IDGAF about that. Cropping does not constitute derivative work, so go nuts with that if you want/need to, just ask if you want to smash things up with other pictures.

In general, I'm open to most other uses of this work, just ask here or email (qgpennyworth at gmail) and let me know what you have in mind.

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