textualdeviance: (Seattle Pride)
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I don't remember exactly what was going on that day, though I do remember waking up to a phone call from M telling me to turn on the TV. As nasty as the day was, however, the aftermath was far worse.

10 years ago, I was singing with the chorus and still had delusions of a professional career that direction; getting over a horrid breakup; enjoying my then-newish house and playing a crapload of Asheron's Call. I hadn't yet got into my first fandom stuff, and my intarweebs doodlings were limited to a couple of mailing lists, a sad little personal page and a few remaining forays into Usenet. We'd only had Fammy for a little while then, and Kitty Bob and Punky were just barely seniors. Penny was 6.

My own life has changed dramatically since then. Went back to school, bought a new house, tried--in vain--to get pregnant, traveled a lot, fixed some health issues, etc. Lots of big stuff. Virtually everything my life is right now is all because of things that happened in the last 10 years. I've left most of the rest of my life behind, now. And I expect a lot more to change for me in the next 10.

The rest of the country, however? Maybe not so much.

To be sure, a lot of good things have happened. There have been significant advances in GLBT rights, for instance. Even though we've also lost a lot of those battles--there are only a few states where same-sex couples can legally marry and adopt children--we've gained quite a bit of ground, too. And we did manage to elect a dark-skinned guy as president, and he's done some good stuff (though not as much as I'd have liked, because he was too busy trying to play nice with people who had no intention of doing so.)

But the aftermath of what happened 10 years ago also threw us off the track we'd been on in the '90s. We should have had a flourishing economy, a comfortable level of equal rights and major progress toward ensuring that our species still has a habitable environment in the future. Instead, we've thrown billions at pointless wars, alienated many of our allies around the world and so dismantled education that only 40% of Americans "believe in" evolution.

The jingoism that sprouted in the wake of the attacks got such a toehold in American politics that virtually the entire GOP has now been taken over by utter lunatics. No longer the staid, balanced-budget wonks of a generation ago, this new GOP order is driven by fervent faith: in religion, in Randian philosophy, in Friedmanite economic theories that have long since been disproven.

They've decided what a "real" American is, and if you don't fit that very narrow description, you're the enemy, and can legitimately be deprived of rights. They've advocated economic policies that emphasize short-term gain for the ownership class over long-term, sustainable growth that benefits everyone. They've turned education into a dirty word, and have made huge chunks of the population believe that "wasting" a few thousand dollars on a few public services cheats is a far worse crime than spending billions on finding better ways to blow people up.

In short? The terrorists won.

The point of terrorism isn't the destruction their attacks cause, but the lingering fear of future ones, and the chaos that follows that fear. In the last 10 years, that fear has so overtaken American culture that it has utterly decimated what our country was and is. That fear forced people to retreat into the supposed safety of sameness, and fed an ever-growing mistrust of anyone who wasn't immediately recognizable as an "us." That fear made us ripe for exploitation by people who had a vested interest in keeping us occupied by it so we didn't notice they were laying waste to the economy. That fear made us think there's absolutely nothing wrong with groping a 2-year-old child at an airport because, heavens, she might be hiding a bomb in her diaper.

Is this really the legacy that the people who died that day would have wanted to leave? Or, in our fervor to avenge their deaths, have we instead sullied their memory with destruction far greater than taking down a couple of buildings?
textualdeviance: (bang.)
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Vampire would mean getting to hang out with Eric Northman. Nice.

Vampire hunter, on the other hand, would mean getting to hang out with this hot piece of badass:



Decisions, decisions...
textualdeviance: (*headdesk*)
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Had to answer this one because it's sitting there, pissing me off.

1. IVF (out-of-body conception) is not the only type of infertility treatment. There are dozens of different treatments designed only to correct a simple problem, much like treating any other illness. It can be expensive for some, but many insurers cover at least some sorts of infertility treatment, making it often the least expensive option for having a child when the organic way doesn't work.

2. Surrogacy is illegal in some states, and ridiculously expensive anyway, because one usually has to cover medical costs of the gestational parent, not to mention the treatment to get her pregnant in the first place (which, by the way, is IVF.)

3. Adoption is nowhere near as easy or cheap as people would like you to think.

Yes, there are foster-to-adopt programs through the state that are relatively inexpensive, but as the children there are virtually all special-needs in one way or another, they're really not the best bet for rookie parents. Someone facing secondary infertility, who already has kids and knows what they're doing? Sure. But anyone without a ton of prior parenting experience isn't going to be able to handle most of the kids who go into state care, because they're there for one traumatic reason or another, and that requires experience to manage.

It's actually a disservice to the child for an inexperienced parent to take on that kind of project, thinking they're doing something altruistic and making the best moral choice out of the options available.


Don't mind me. I'm just tired of the "ohh, there are tons of kids just waiting for a loving home!" bullshit. Adopting children is not like adopting a pet. You don't just go down to the shelter, pick one from the dozens of cute little sprites there, pay a small fee and take it home. You spend thousands on lawyers and agencies and then spend several months in the worst sort of job interviews you can imagine, hoping someone's going to deem you worthy to raise their child. There's no such thing as going down to the baby store and picking one up on sale.

Because of this, infertility treatment is often the easiest and cheapest way to become a parent when you can't do it yourself, and even then, parenthood is often out of reach for people who don't have excellent insurance benefits and a ton of cash sitting around.

Or, in other words: The next person who gets in my face about how selfish infertile people are for not choosing adoption right away is going to get a big Texty Smash.
textualdeviance: (80's hair)
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Tons.

But I'd have to say that Tainted Love sort of encapsulates the entirety of my misspent mid-teens.

There are other songs/genres that define other parts of my life, but this is the only one that can instantly make me think of growing out another tail, shoving a safety pin through my earlobe and getting mad on the dance floor with my gay boyfriend of the moment.
textualdeviance: (Default)
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Guh. If I don't answer this one, it's just going to continue to annoy me, sitting there every time I hit LJ, so...

Short answers: No, and yes.

Long answer: Merely having a functional reproductive system does not imbue a person with parenting skills, and merely having a biological connection to a child does not give you eternal ownership of her. If you can't be bothered to properly care for your kids, you have given up the right to have them. Period.

My emotional side thinks there ought to be restrictions on breeding in the first place for some people who have proven that they're rotten parents, but that's not a legal precedent I want to set (bodily autonomy and all that.) Rather, I think we ought to be far more willing to take children away from abusive or neglectful parents, and sever parental rights far quicker than we do now.

There's a pervasive and entirely incorrect attitude that it's more traumatic for a child to lose contact with his or her biological parents than it is for that child to remain with bad ones, and that has to stop. "Keeping families together" should not be the primary goal of CPS; keeping children in safe, loving homes should be. CPS as it stands focuses way, way too much on the "rights" of the parent to keep their child, as if she were some sort of pet or posession. It should be focused on the right of children to be cared for and loved properly, regardless of biological connection.

Far, far too many children are languishing in foster care well beyond the point at which they've already dissolved their bond with their bio families, and created one with the new ones. The single greatest factor in emotional health for a child is a stable home life with committed, consistent adult caregivers. Bouncing kids around in foster care and bio family homes instead of just making a clean break and giving them to someone who will take care of them permanently is destroying these kids' lives.

IMHO, abuse or neglect should result in automatic termination of parental rights. Substance abuse, criminal behavior, etc. that doesn't directly result in harm to the child can be treated differently, but if you reoffend after you've gotten out of jail or rehab, then you're done. Your kid shouldn't have to suffer because you can't get your shit together.

Why yes, I do have a personal stake in this issue...
textualdeviance: (XKCD Complicated)
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While I hope the time leading up to it is free of pain (physical and emotional), the actual death itself won't affect me much, of course.

So what's important, then, is that it happens in a way that doesn't cause my loved ones undue pain after I'm gone.

What that will mean, I expect, is that I've left a legacy of love and good works in my wake, that all of my practical affairs have been dealt with already, and that it's not messy, sudden or fraught with legal issues.

Falling asleep and just not waking up sometime once I've passed 100? Yeah, that'd work.

Unfortunately, the far greater likelihood, given my health history, is that I'm going to contract something painful and debilitating and spend five years or so in utter, useless misery before I finally kick off before 70. I only hope I can have a productive and satisfying life in the meantime.
textualdeviance: (Default)
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I remember the most vivid ones. Sometimes my dreams feel a lot like some sort of highly dramatic action/adventure movie. I do a lot of flying, jumping around, running, etc. Lots of chasing/running away from bad guys and such. It almost feels like a video game, actually: I have a ton of mobility that I just don't have in waking life. I usually feel drained and sad after these, though. I run marathons and fly over mountains in my dreams. Running around Freddy's for an hour kills me sometimes in reality.

My psyche also likes to use that time to get me to think about things I don't normally let the conscious brain pick at. Most of the time, this just results in having sordid naughty dreams about people (sometimes people I hadn't consciously acknowledged as interesting that way--which can get weird when I see that person again later.) Sometimes it's a lot of anger and desire for revenge against people who've hurt me (I can get awfully violent in my dreams sometimes.)

I get the surreal stuff, too: Rescuing small critters or babies or whatever. Teeth falling out. Getting stranded in airports naked.

It's all very emotional, though. Even the weird stuff. Makes me wonder if maybe there's something I'm not really working through when I'm awake, and my brain wants me to let go and feel that stuff more.

And now, speaking of dreams... It's verreh late, so it's time to go have some.
textualdeviance: (wedding)
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Technically M and I did this, but it wasn't a long gap. We'd been deliberately platonic friends for a few months and then sort of stumbled into dating the week after Christmas 1994, and then I told him I wasn't ready to get serious, yet. (It had only been a month since I split with my ex, and I really needed time to myself!)

He dumped me and went off with some other chick, and I moped around in utter misery for the next month. And then we magically hooked back up again once I realized I was being an idiot for passing him up, and have been together ever since.

Truthfully speaking, I still feel like we really did rush things, and even though it turned out well, I did carry a lot of resentment for a while because I felt like he should've been more understanding about my need to be more casual after ending a seven-year relationship. If he really did think I was The One, it wouldn't have killed him to cool his heels for another several months while I got myself together, instead of pushing me to make a commitment before I was ready.

But we were both young and slightly nuts then and things have certainly worked out for the best, so even though our relationship started weird (though not as weird as our wedding was!), I'm just glad it started, and that that initial stumble didn't kill it for good.
textualdeviance: (Cascadia)
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*Cues up "Oh Canada"*

Seriously. If I didn't have to be just a couple hours south of the border for career reasons, I'd move to Vancouver in an instant.

I love the Northwest in general, and I love where I live. I just don't like most of the rest of the country.
textualdeviance: (jazz hands)
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Haiku, huh? OK:

Festive December!
The reason for the season?
Earth's axial tilt.
textualdeviance: (maui)
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Answering this just because so many ignorant people have said ignorant things about it.

The question was poorly formed in that it implied that the reader must certainly be Muslim, but it's kind of funny to watch the privileged people squirm when confronted with a question that doesn't directly apply to them. OMG! LJ didn't assume everyone's white and Christian! Clearly Christians are now being persecuted on LJ. ;)

However, the spirit of the question remains, and I think it's a valid one.

I'm an atheist, but also a pluralist, and because of that, I find religion fascinating from a cultural diversity perspective. I think there are important lessons to be found in some of the rituals of many religions. And though I don't practice those specific rituals myself, as I feel it would be disrespectful to do so without being a member of said religion, I think there are similar personal rituals one can perform that can provide a similar personal and psychological function, if not a theological one.

For instance, I can see the merit in a non-religious daytime fast, for some of the same reasons that such a fast is practiced in Islam: To help one appreciate the things one has, and to give a time of reflection that isn't focused on satisfying physical needs. Christianity has a similar ritual with Lent.

Likewise, dozens of different religious traditions have festivals of lights near the winter solstice, to celebrate the return of longer days. Such a thing can be celebrated in a totally secular way, or with the flavor of whatever religion happens to trip one's triggers.

We are, at base, all one people on this planet. It should be no surprise that the majority of our religious and spiritual myths and rituals share many of the same elements. And because of that, I think there's merit in adapting religious rituals for secular practice, to help us all get in touch with the common spirit we share, no matter what version of the Divine we pray to, or whether we pray at all.

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