That “F” word

Welcome back, folks. It has been over a month. I was going to try to make a return in small steps, but screw it. I’m pissed and I have a little ranting to do.

All right, people. I’m not the best person to do this but I’m giving it a shot. Here it goes. Being a feminist isn’t a bad thing. I’m ashamed to say it took me some time to admit this, but I’m more pissed that there are still people who don’t understand that it’s not something bad. It’s about people getting equal treatment regardless of gender, not man-hating! This isn’t to say that there aren’t women who treat men like dirt. There are and those women are assholes. THEY ARE NOT FEMINISTS. They are simply assholes. Vaginal assholes, if you must, but assholes and nothing more.

Now I’m trying to be better about being an active ally. So if I catch people being assholes (and it’s mostly “bros”) to women, I make a point to call it out. The response tends to be that I’m either trying to get laid or a social justice warrior or white knight. Fine. I’ve been called plenty of names that were much worse and I’ll survive. But it’s not okay that this is an issue. It’s not okay that my friends get cat-called or my wife has men telling here she should smile more when she’s at work. It certainly is fucking ok to make death threats when a woman doesn’t want to listen to your lame pick up lines.

Why is this pissing me off so much right now? For one, there is no reason anyone should be treated so poorly or have to be scared so much. All lot of people want to pretend these problems women have aren’t real. I never thought it was as bad as it is, until social media came along. The scum really seems to come out now. Also, when women get stereotyped it hurts men too. Why is the most common way for guys to insult another man something in the vibe of “Stop acting like a girl” and such? Why do fathers taking care of their kids get compared to babysitting as opposed to just being a parent?

What is particularly important to me is I have two daughters who are going to grow up someday. I do not want them dealing with this shit. There is a lot of scary crap going on in the world and this is a big part of the problem. Feminism is something that can help, but it’s been dragged through Hell by a lot of gross talking heads over the years. People are afraid of it. They don’t need to be.

This probably wasn’t the best subject for my first post after a hiatus. But anger is a motivator and I’d rather be constructive with it if I can. I promise I will talk about silly kid things and nerdy stuff again soon. But like many people, I’m tired and angry about a lot of things. This is a big one. And we need to start owning it and not ignoring.

Maybe time for a break

This is a short rant. It probably won’t be that amusing. Sorry, but I’m not in the mood.

My productivity on this blog has been suffering. I started with a weekly post. Then it was bi-weekly. Now I’m lucky if I can get two posts in a month. I think part of the issue is other things have been eating up my time. The kids, work, and just being plain tired. Nothing special and certainly no different from plenty of other people.

Really, I think the main reason is that I’m getting tired of assholes. I am encountering them way too much. They are non-stop at work. I go online to have fun or be creative and people just get nastier and more vicious every day. Frankly, half the time I keep thinking of just shutting down entirely. But then I figure this is just depression talking and that maybe isn’t the best idea. Still, I am tapped out and am going into survival mode.

So I think I’m taking a break from posting. Maybe just a few weeks. Possibly longer. I need to get my head together. There is no point in writing when I don’t want to say anything to anyone. This is not a place I want to be in, so I will be taking care of it. For those who are regular readers, I’m sorry. Hope to be back soon.

 

More years to come

My eldest daughter, Phoebe, will turn 5 in less than a week. In July, her sister Zoe will turn 3. I’m of mixed feelings about this whole growing up thing my kids are doing. It’s also really weird to think that it has been about 5 years since I’ve become someone’s parent.

How did that happen? Well, of course I know how it happened. I was there. Also, I’ve been to the zoo.

It’s just bizarre to me. I have these two little girls that call me “daddy” who I love more than I thought possible. There are also days they make me want to dig a hole in the yard and hide for the rest of my life. My wife and I constantly talk about which one is going to give us more trouble in the years ahead. They are both so different, yet both so stubborn! And they are both so cute and they make me laugh and smile. I look at them and get so scared thinking about the horrible shit they may go through. I constantly worry about how the world will treat them because they are girls, and how they will treat them when they are women. When it comes to them, I question almost everything I do for fear that I will screw them up. That being said, I think all parents screw up at some point. So chances are I probably have and will do so again, no matter how hard I try.

Phoebe is a talker and silly. She wants to say hello to everyone and is easily distracted. Zoe is sweet and sensitive. She gets so excited by animals and has a little temper.

My kids are getting older. I am getting older. Nothing is going to stop this and, unless something horrible occurs, I am in for many more years of this stuff. I will be tired and grumpy. I will be heartbroken. I will be proud and amused and terrified. And in the future, I will almost certainly embarrass some teenagers.

Cool.

Being quiet

Let me be blunt. I’m writing this because I need to see it.

There has been a drop off in posts over the last few months. To those who have been consistent readers, I apologize. The reality is I have been finding it very difficult to gather my thoughts lately. Sure I can keep posting random thoughts while drinking coffee, which I enjoy doing, but my goal with this blog was to have a little more substance and include some more specific life observations. But frankly, my mind has been beating me over the head with a sack of symbolic doorknobs for a while. So I have been quiet.

It’s no secret that I deal with clinical depression. Recently, it has been winning. My weeks have had more crap days than good ones. And the part that pisses me off the most? The fact that there really isn’t a thing I can point to that has caused it. Is work stressful? Yes, but my job deals with the general public so that’s expected. Financial struggles? Yes, but this is also not new.  Neither is being worn out from lack of sleep or frustrated that my wife and I don’t get enough time together with the girls. These are all things I deal with in my everyday life so why should they have suddenly become harder to handle? So I have tried to be quiet. I go to therapy. I go to work. I take care of my kids. I behave like a goddamn adult.

There have been more days than I want where I’ve felt like falling apart. There have been days when I’ve felt like I’m failing my wife and kids. I’ve had way too many days where things are more or less going fine and I’ve still wanted to just hide pray for everything to just stop.

As of today, my doctor and therapist agreed to increase my medication. My first increase in three years. I guess that’s pretty good. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that medication doesn’t fix everything. It’s job is to help my brain get to a level where I can handle things like a regular human. I still have to make things happen. I still have to take a breath and remind myself that I will continue. To do that, certain parts of my brain need to stay quiet. That’s where medication helps. That’s where therapy helps. And this is why, every so often, I need to write posts like this. I need to see it. I also need to share it because I hope that maybe, by not being quiet, I’m helping someone else. Maybe someone who is having a hard time needs to be reminded that it’s not simple, that depression doesn’t always make sense and that is okay. Keep trying, keep fighting. There are going to be days when depression kicks your ass. It will continue to feel like depression is winning. But it doesn’t really win if you keep going.

And like I said, I needed to see this. I need to acknowledge when things are bad. Being quiet does nothing.

Before the coffee kicks in — the headache edition

I realize it’s been a long time since I last posted. I attribute this to a number of things. Some of this has to do with life deciding that other things needed to take priority. So I’m realizing this as my head seems to be in the grips of a sinus headache. Stupid weather can’t decide if it’s still winter or not, so my head is punishing me for it. Perhaps more coffee will help along with Tylenol. Time to ramble.

Why does the cat stare at the tub faucet like she’s worshiping a pagan god?

Depression has been kicking my ass. I may need to talk about adjusting my medication. Not thrilled about it.

Bailey’s Chocolatini creamer is superior to Bailey’s Mudslide creamer.

My children have turned into walking goo factories. So many runny noses.

I miss having a lot of time to do nothing.

Do ducks have their own Navy?

I am so completely fed up with the 2016 election. It has brought out new forms of ugly.

Can we collectively stop pretending our shit doesn’t stink? Is that even a possibility?

It’s interesting to hear the different names and voices Phoebe gives to toys.

Speaking of my favorite preschooler, she is currently demanding my attention. This is making it increasingly difficult to type. So I’m ending this hear. Sorry for the briefness. My will is not my own. Also, the coffee doesn’t seem to be helping. Time to go be daddy.

 

 

Strange talent

People develop as they grow. I’m not just talking about puberty and aging and all the weird biological stuff. People develop abilities, skills, and talents. Some stuff you learn through formal lessons and practice. Other things come naturally to some without much in the way of training. Then there are the things you suddenly become good at without even realizing it. I have become very well acquainted with the third scenario.

Perhaps this makes me some form of a Renaissance man, but one who was part of a very weak Renaissance. I will take this time to share some of these talents with you. Let me again state that these are not things I trained to do from any desire to better myself. These either came about through attempts at self-amusement or by accident. Basically, they just kind of happened over time.

Talent #1- I have found that I can detect smelly poops from another room. Be it diaper, litter box, or someone having a bad reaction to cheese I shall detect it.

Talent #2- If a popular song exists, I will turn it into a song about my cat. Possibly a song about my kids or whatever I’m currently doing. But more than likely the cat.

Talent #3- I have the ability to serve as a human sofa and jungle gym for the previously mentioned cat and children.

Talent #4- As I age, my changing appearance has informed me that I’ve developed a strange metamorphic ability. I appear to be turning into some form of hobbit wizard.

Talent #5- After years of dealing with the general public, I now have the talent to control my urge hit all stupid people with a rolled up magazine and say “Bad human” to them. This has kept me employed.

How about you folks? What strange talents have you developed? Are they a source of pride or a dark secret that you fear will make all shun you? Either way, feel free to share!

For the lady geek

Let me play Captain Obvious for a moment. I’m a great big pile of nerd in the classic sense. I love board games and video games. I like superheroes and fantasy and science-fiction. I read about folklore and mythology for fun. I love Muppets and books about wizard detectives. I have no interest in sports that aren’t Quidditch or Calvinball. When I was a kid, these are all things that would get me picked on. Now, it has become a little more acceptable and mainstream to like at least some of these things. That’s not to say I still don’t get some crap for the things I love. I do. But when it comes right down to it, I don’t have things that bad. I’m a geeky guy and this is fine.

For geeky girls, it’s another thing entirely.

I’m probably not the best person in the world to talk about this, if for no other reason but the existence of my Y chromosome. I may identify as a nerd, a geek, and a beta male but I’m still a MALE. I live in a world where that gives me a bit of an edge on most things socially. But I’m also a guy who has had a very large number of female friends. I married a woman who is a great big geek like myself. I have two little girls. And I’m not stupid. I know society overall gives women a hard time and in comparison, I have it easy in many ways. Patriarchy exists and, whether I like it or not, I benefit from it. But for the moment, I want to focus on this particular struggle that the lady geek deals with. Because I see it frequently. I see it in person, online, and in various media. And it pisses me off to see the crap that these women take just because they like the things I do. So we’re going to talk about it.

Comic books:

I’m not the world’s greatest sage of comic knowledge, but I like to think I can hold my own. I’ve met more than one person who can easily outclass me in this category, however, and some of them happen to be women. So I get irritated when I hear stories of women going into a comics store and being treated like idiots. Here’s the thing, guys. If a girl is looking at comics I, for one, am going to assume she’s at least INTERESTED in it. Chances are that she’s also got some background knowledge to boot and does not require my assistance. And even if this is her first time checking them out, why would you want to crush that by being a bag of douche?

My wife is fairly new to things like superheroes and graphic novels, but I love that she’s interested now. If my girls show interest in them, it’s something I plan to encourage. Gender does not mean you get a monopoly on liking certain things. It also doesn’t mean you’re necessarily any good at playing Monopoly, either. This brings me to the next point of discussion.

Gaming:

This is a subject that seems to go different ways, depending on what game we’re talking about. If we’re taking about video games, this is a big issue for women right now. It has been for awhile, even if it’s only recently gotten attention. I am not going to waste my time talking about the assholes involved in the whole “gamergate” debacle. If you don’t know what that is, go to Google and look it up. Not a proud moment for those who love video games.

The video game industry caters to males. That’s a fact. What is also a fact is that there are a huge number of girls and women that play video games. Do both genders play the same games? Yes, a lot of the time they do. I’d say that the interest varies in type among girls just as much as guys. I am not a big Call of Duty fan, but give me something like the Dragon Age series and I’m all in. I also spent plenty of hours on Skyrim, but not nearly as many as my wife. We’ve also played a good number of the Lego games together. I also know there are a lot of women who play MMO games, like World of Warcraft and League of Legends. So when women are asking to be given more consideration by game developers, I think they more than deserve it. What they don’t deserve is guys giving them shit online, or in some cases, rape threats. How the hell is that okay? Let me rephrase that. It’s NOT okay! If you think there is any scenario where that behavior is acceptable, I question both your sense of morality and your sanity.

I do have to say that the tabletop gaming world seems to be a little more accepting, at least in my personal experience. Board games seem to be making a comeback for both genders. I’ve also met a fair number of women who previously or still play D&D. Again, my wife is the current Dungeon Master for our game. It also has a mix of men and women playing. I’m hoping that my girls will be interested because I can’t think of a better thing for a family game night.

Cosplay:

This is a pretty new world for me. It’s only in the past year and a half that I’ve come to appreciate the art form. Yes, I consider cosplay an art form. Really passionate cosplayers put just as much work into what they do as any dedicated artist. Not surprisingly to me, there are a large number of women who cosplay. I’ll take a brief moment to acknowledge that there are really talented guys who cosplay as well and deserve to have their work appreciated, since this is an area where ladies do get more attention. I follow a few cosplayers and that includes both genders. But I’m focusing on lady nerds right now, so back to them.

Cosplay is something that is very expensive and very time consuming. The cosplayers I follow online put an insane amount of work into what they do. For many, this isn’t how they make their living. Some sell prints and take donations, but appearing at a convention seems to be more of an expense than it is a payoff. So why do this? Because it’s a passion and they care about it. I follow quite a few lady cosplayers and they are all different. These are women of different ages, body types, and a few from different countries. I admit, I find all of them physically beautiful but that is honestly easy to find. One thing these women have in common, and the reason I keep following them, is they all do beautiful work. Another common factor, unfortunately, is that they get an unnecessary amount of hate. For all the compliments they are given on a picture they share there seem to be at least a few things that are less than pleasant. It probably happens the most with sexy cosplay, but I’ve seen it with cute cosplay and cosplay designed strictly for character accuracy. They get told that they have no idea who the character they dressed at is. They get told they’re too skinny or too fat. They get told by men AND women that they look like a whore. Sometimes it can be the other extreme. I’ve read posts when these women beg people to be respectful, saying they’ve had to block men who send them dick pics and vulgar messages. I’ve seen comments on pictures that are only about boobs and asses, even if the outfit has full pants and no cleavage. Really classy stuff, morons. I mean, I enjoy boobs and butts just as much as anyone else attracted to women but I know how to be respectful. It isn’t difficult to do. And it doesn’t just apply to online. I’ve chatted with some cosplayers who’ve talked about being at conventions where, while most people are cool, some guys have tried to do “upskirt” photos or reach out to cop a feel. That behavior, in my opinion, is just flat out asking for a swift kick to the jellybeans. It’s also part of a bigger problem. What a woman wears does not give you permission to insult them. It does not give you permission act to like they are beneath you. Also, and I can’t believe I live in a world where I have to say this, it does not give you permission to ASSAULT THEM! So to all the would-be and current online trolls, body shamers, and outright assholes of both genders I say this: grow the fuck up!

I look back at each section and realize I had more to say as I progressed. It’s because I’m kind of fired up about this. I don’t get why more people aren’t. Maybe it’s because we’ve become complacent to things like rape culture, gender subjugation, and the whole “that’s the way it’s always been” mentality. It’s definitely a huge global problem, not just one limited to America. I guess this particular facet gets to me because it is MY world. The geeks and the nerds. We’re the ones who got crapped on for the things we loved. We aren’t supposed to do it to someone else. We’re supposed to want other people to be excited about the things we love. I’m thrilled that I found a woman who wants to do nerdy things with me. There are a lot of women like this out there. They should be appreciated and respected, not tormented. It’s the way I want to be treated. So I will now speak directly to the lady nerds out there. I am a great big geek. I’m an imperfect guy and I make a lot of mistakes. But I’m so happy you’re out there. I’m happy you love games and cosplay and comics and Star Wars and Tolkien and all of it. Please don’t go away. Continue being who you are. It’s awesome. I see the crap you take and will do something about it where I can. I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’m trying to be an ally.

I’m a geek. I’m a man. And for what it’s worth, I’m with you.

 

 

 

Before the coffee kicks in–the late cup edition

This morning, we had to make our way out the door almost immediately. My car had been worked on and needed to be picked up before my wife went to work. The kids were put in Lisa’s car, we picked up mine, transferred the girls, and I drove them back home. Phoebe and Zoe are hanging out in the playroom and I’m just now getting to have some coffee. Also realizing I haven’t posted in a few weeks. So perfect time for me to post the brain marbles that roll around as I wait for the caffeine to do its job.

This last week hurt. I loved David Bowie and Alan Rickman and we lost them both to cancer. It just sucks.

I will never understand people who have to be angry that someone else is happy. They’re not responsible for you not being miserable. But if for some reason they are, just throw mayonnaise at them and move on with your life.

Our cat will never be a professional boxer.

I get to play D&D tomorrow. This pleases me.

My children both seem very interested in what their own feet smell like.

My wife and I have started referring to any nighttime snacks we have as the Fattening.

I hope everyone who cares about it has seen The Force Awakens by now. As for those that do not care, I can only assume they’re plotting something horrible.

There have been a few days lately when hiding under a nest of blankets has been very tempting.

It seems that something you do as an adult is talk about the virtues of crescent roll dough.

I miss Jell-O Pudding Pops, but I fear their legacy has been tainted by the whole Bill Cosby situation.

Okay, folks. That’s all I’ve got in me right now. My girls are also currently demanding that I go join them in the playroom. Never let it by said I’m not willing to spend time with my kids. Hope everyone enjoys their day or, at the very least, doesn’t have a crappy one.

And on to another year

Here we are, members of the multiverse. 2015 is gone and 2016 has arrived. Yippee. Yay. Hooray. Huzzah. Poop. I guess that last one isn’t much of an exclamation of joy for most, but I figured everyone has there own thing. Just trying to make sure people feel included.

So what was this past year for me? Some positive moments to be sure. Some enormous piles of brachiosaurus dung as well, and those of us who have seen “Dinosaur Train” know just how enormous that is. We’re talking house-sized droppings, folks. I guess what I’m trying to get at is like many of us, I sometimes find it hard to focus on the good stuff that happened when it is so easy to only pay attention to the crap.

Last year around this time, I kind of pointed out that I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. My view is that they are simply a way we set ourselves up for disappointment with a showy gesture. It makes no sense. You’d think we were trying to have sex with the New Year.We have no idea where it’s been. So what I will again try to do is give myself a few “Think I Cans” for 2016. Really some of these are continuations of stuff I tried to do in the previous year which need further progress. Some of it is new, though, so we’ll see where things go.

1) Try to be a better daddy. This doesn’t mean I think I’m bad at it. By nature I am a bit of a worrier, however, so I always want to do better where the girls are concerned.

2) Read more. I already read a lot but I think I can do even better.

3) Try to reconnect with people, even if it’s just to say hello. I struggle at keeping in touch so this will be a hard one for me.

4) In relation to the last one, don’t beat myself up if people don’t respond. If I can make an effort, so can everyone else. But everyone has their priorities and you can force anybody to make you one.

5) Never forget that my wife and I are a team. Maybe we can be called the Mighty Monotremes. Perhaps the Fighting Ground Sloths.

6) Allow myself a break now and then. It’s important for my physical and mental health. If anyone has an issue with that, they can shove a pineapple in their favorite orifice.

7) Try to stay informed while filtering out the stuff that messes with my head too much. This will likely mean taking social media in stride, and likely using the “unfollow” button a bit on Facebook.

8) Don’t let the bad stuff take me out. If I’ve learned anything in therapy it is that I’m a fairly tenacious person. That’s not going to change.

9) Remember that this is a crazy, random world and we are all screwy primates trying to get by. Many of us forget this. I can’t let myself be one of those people.

I think that’s enough to get me through the next round of existence. Happy 2016 everyone. Off we go.