Current reading list time!

(Brought to you courtesy of Day 6 of the Dymaxion adaptation… :))

OK folks, time to open up: What are you reading right now? Should I read any of them??

Because this is my currently-reading list, so clearly I need more:

1. "Time Travel", James Gleick — one of the first books I have ever pre-ordered, and totally worth it, omG. A history of the *idea* of time-travel, told by my favorite science biographer. Just got it, so a couple chapters in, but already <3 <3 <3 soooooo good!

2. "Peace", Gene Wolfe — holy shit. Neil Gaiman called this one of the small handful of books he would save in a fire in the last library on earth, and though I'm not very far in, I already think I see why. This is like some crazy elvish elixir you drink with your eyes. I may never be the same again after reading it, and I'm 100% OK with that.

3. "Both Flesh and Not", David Foster Wallace — I've always liked DFW's short works and essays more than the novels, and while some of this is still a bit tedious, it's fun to pull out, admire briefly and put away, like an antique muscle-car. I'm close to done with it, and will probably pass it on when I am; I like it, but not enough to keep the hardcover around. (I am *trying* to get better about not actually living in a fort made of books.)

4. "Computable Bodies," Josh Berson — my friend Josh's PhD work in kinesthetic awareness and the cultural evolution of things like proprioception, balance, sleep, and social cues is utterly fascinating, but it's thiiiiick stuff, and I have to review it someday probably, so taking this one slow. Recommended, though; Josh is a great writer and manages to walk the line between interesting and academically thorough *very* well.

5. Iain M. Banks, "Matter" — Eh, the Culture books are always good for a fun brainswim now and again, though this isn't my favorite type of story, and if I'm going to read it I usually just crack open Foundation again, because holy shit <3 Foundation. Trying to make it through more of the classic SF people here and there though, so this one's kicking around half-done and gets some lukewarm love.

6. "The Inner Game of Tennis," can't remember dude's name, WOW this book is amazing; I'm re-reading each chapter twice as I go, and highlighting it like crazy; it's almost over but I don't want it to be. Simplistic in ways, but overall the best education I've ever gotten from a book on physical learning. If you do ANY kind of training, you really, *really* want to read this — or at least tell your teachers to!

7. "Evidence of Satan in the Modern World," Leon Cristiani. A little early-80's paperback by a priest with hilarious beliefs but also damn good research skills; this is a fun romp through a HUGE number of known cases of possession (one of my fav topics, I know, sue me), including some great gems in the form of direct quotes/translations from, like, French priests (cures, accent over the e, if you're cur-e-ious :P) from the 1800's about shit they supposedly saw and dealt with…If you like shit like amityville and tend to read too much, well, you probably have books like this too. We won't discuss how many I've read. :) I could have read this book in a day or two, but I parse it out a few pages at a time, both because of the :groan: religion and because stuff like this is hard to find, so I'm making it last. :D


…And per my rules, I'm not allowed to deep-dive into more books than about that; my habit WILL just spiral out of control and next thing I know I'll be "in the middle of" twenty books and there are stacks of things falling over whenever I try to move, and also oh yeah what day is it. Fortunately some of these are almost done, so I can get some new ones in play. I have copies of "The Long Earth" by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter, and "John Dies at the End" which I've heard is awesome in book form, and a Brian Sanderson novel because I ain't tapped that yet, and yet another cool book on space-and-time theory called "From Here to Eternity", all in the pipeline and waiting to go…and that's before I get the predictable sudden hankering to re-read HoL or something. *sigh* I'm just sayin', if there's an afterlife, there had BETTER be libraries in it.

Posted in aesthetica, better thinking, logos addict | Leave a comment

Thoughts on sleep dep

(That title can be read two ways, both of which are correct!)

Coming into day five, and the last 24h have been predictably hard — days 3-4 of any sleep-schedule adjustment are hell pretty much no matter who you ask — but I feel good, overall.  

The other day I was working at a shop, a little nervous in the back of my mind because I knew I was sleep-deprived, and there I am holding an angle grinder.  Then the guy next to me holding an angle grinder groans and tells me that last night was his third one this week getting only four hours of sleep.  He's monophasic, so he's had his sleep cut by half for three days, while all I've done is shorten my usual core by 1/3 and kept all three of my regular naps.  

This is the world, at least the modern one:  Most people, I find, are sleep-deprived for at least a few days each week.  

I'm not someone who's always run away from sleep-deprivation, since trying to avoid it by getting 1/3 of a day of sleep every 24h never worked well for me.  I have, in experimenting and looking for solutions to how I, personally, can feel rested, sometimes run towards sleep-dep, gritting my teeth and girding all my willpower and giving my brain the ol "Bring it on!" in various attempts to overcome my sleep issues.  Many people have not done that.  Many people "know" (actually or imaginarily) that they would feel rested if they just slept 8 hours every night, so they keep aiming for that.  Which would be fine and wonderful, if they were getting it.  But many, way too many, keep missing sleep, often chronically; and they may feel sleep-deprived or not, but on a daily basis…most of them are.

Also, every once in a while someone tries to convince me they're not sleep-dep'd when they clearly are.  And this tickles the crap out of me, of course, because naw, I can see that shit clear as day now. I can hear it in their voices.  

Not all of my experiments worked, I should remind everyone.  Some of them, like, "maybe if I stay awake as long as I physically can, I'll reset my biologial rhythms and be able to sleep monophasically!", were huuuuuge disasters.  I should also add that none of those experiments have ever hospitalized me, or caused me any illness or unhealth that I'm aware of, even after ten years of, shall we say, "alternative" sleeping.  (I have, actually, nearly wound up in the hospital for sleep-dep related symptoms twice… but that was when I was a new mother, and monophasic.)  

My willingness to put myself through sometimes severe sleep deprivation has given me a bit of a reputation for somehow liking it or defending it as a practice (sort of like Indian ascetics defended hunger?) — but I don't think that's accurate at all.  I hate being sleep deprived.  It SUCKS.  It was my hatred of it and the fact that I felt it all the time, from insomnia and poor sleep, that started all this.  And if anything, all my years of switching schedules and experimenting and gritting my teeth to stay awake have only deepened my apprecation for how much sleep-dep sucks.

But let me say this again:  Almost everybody I know is sleep-deprived.  This society, with its glut of we-didn't-have-time-to-think-this-through post-industrial habits, is not friendly to sleep.  The problem of how to be and feel rested may have affected me acutely for various reasons, but they certainly aren't unique to me.

Ask the dude next to me, yawning with the angle-grinder.  He isn't on Day 3 of an adaptation, like I was then.  I'm on Day 5 now, starting to feel better already, and, if it turns out this schedule is compatible with me and works, I expect to feel almost 100% rested again in another 5 days.  If the schedule needs modifications or I have to abandon it for another one, maybe I'll be sleepyish for a bit longer; but either way, I already know how to sleep well and be rested, thanks to the other work I did.  He, though we're almost the same age, doesn't.  Nor do most people.

I get asked a lot, what do I think I'm actually promoting with all this stuff?  Some people look at what I do and assume, because I'm voluntarily wrangling heavy sleep-dep at times, and helping other people do so, that I must be promoting sleep-deprivation.  They could not be more wrong:  I'm desperate to find a way out of sleep-deprivation; to share what I've learned and to learn more about how to find a good balance between rest and energy, for maximal vitality.  I'm a fan and promoter of polyphasic sleep, "sleep hacking" and individual (and scientific!) experimentation, because I want others to be able to find a schedule that they can be rested on, like I have.  That these alternative schedules — polyphasic, biphasic, completely custom, whatever — often have other benefits, in the form of saving time or fitting better with people's schedules and goals, is completely incidental as far as I'm concerned.  Those things are nice, as are some of the other side-benefits, but I'd give them all up just to feel rested.

And I get asked this a lot too, so let me put it to bed:  I'm not a promoter of any particular schedule.  I'm not trying to sell anybody on Uberman, on my methods and tricks for adapting to it, on any of that.  Sleep is arguably one of the most individual things in the world, and I am arguably one of the worst salesmen in the world.  This is entirely about good information, which I'm passionate about, and my having some actually-useful experience to share and advice to offer, which I try to do as often as I can, regardless of whether it benefits me direclty to do so. Some of "why" I do it is the accident of my having a major experience (adapting to Uberman) to write about at a time when the Internet was bereft of such things; and some of it, I'm sure, is just because I'm a loudmouth.  But hey, the world needs some loudmouths, right?

So no:  I'm doing this stuff because I hate sleep-dep that much.  Because I think that the scientific evidence that sleep dep in the long term is bad for you is not only correct, but probably omitting a lot:  I bet it's even worse than we think to be sleep-deprived, and personally I shudder every time I meet another tech-worker or shift-worker or student or parent who's struggling by on three cylinders, feeling like shit and unable to give their best to the people and things that they love.

Right now, I don't actually feel sleep-deprived.  It's 5:41 am as I type this sentence, and I'm wide awake; no yawns, no urge to slow down or lay down — hell, I'm sitting in bed, which people who've done this know one does not do when trying to make sure you stick to your schedule no matter what you feel like — but I'm not at all worried about succumbing to sleep, even though I've had less than four total hours a day for almost a week now.  The naps work, the timing works, polyphasic schedules work if you do them correctly, and I should continue to feel better every day now.  And once I'm habituated to this schedule, I will feel less sleep-deprived, fight less inertia getting out of bed and daytime yawns and all of that, than I EVER did while monophasic.  My energy will be incredible.  –Maybe it'll just be normal, the normal energy of a rested, gratefully healthy adult human; but if so, that's a normal I never felt in my life until I discovered polyphasic sleep as a lifestyle.

But don't get me wrong:  Even though I don't feel it much right now, I *am* sleep-deprived.  Sleep-dep is like that:  At smaller doses, its effects are pretty much invisible, unless you're testing for them, or doing things at the edges of your ability, where you can see small losses in performance.  I'm good enough right this second to do push-ups, play an instrument, read a book, drive a car, or type a blog-post; but I'm not anywhere near at my best, and I can tell because I'm paying attention at the moment.  

Now, take all the yawning angle-grinders and bleary nurses and figure that they're only the people whose sleep-dep has built up to a certain level — I'll call it 50%, just because in my personal, internal scale for such things, the part where you feel a little bleary and start to yawn is about half as bad as sleep-dep can get before almost anyone will succumb to it.  Think about how many people hit 50% sleep-dep on an average day.  Now think about how many probably are at 10,20, or 30%, maybe every single day, and don't know it, because they're either not paying attention to it (accidentally or on purpose), or they, like me, have simply felt that way for so long that it seems normal.

NORMAL, I'm sorry to inform y'all, DOES NOT = RESTED.  At least in the middle-class USA, "normal" means "some degree of sleep-deprived, pretty much all the time".

Got a friend who's always energetic, upbeat and full of vim?  Who wakes up rarin' to go, and falls into a blissful slumber in seconds?  If so, I bet you a hundred dollars that people talk about how notable and weird that is.  That you have one friend who seems to never be sleep-deprived.

Sleep dep is normal.  Fortunately, a thing's normalcy has never stopped me from flipping it off.  Because sleep dep sucks, whether you feel it or not.  It makes you slow both physically and mentally, it shoves your mood down and holds it there, it's making you short-tempered and costing you opportunities and successes and increasing your chances of having a nasty accident.  And it's doing all those things to your loved ones, too.

If you had to feel hungry for a week in order to get used to a healthy diet that was going to stop you being low-level sick all the time, wouldn't you do it?  If your doctor knew about the diet and knew that adjusting to it would be uncomfortable until you formed good habits, wouldn't they tell you to do it anyway?  …Would doing it mean that you were a fan of hunger, or that you hated eating?

Right, so, that's where I'm at.  I'm enjoying having more time to write, blog posts and other things too, but I'm going to call it there (kind of abruptly, I know; sorry) and read a few more pages of this really incredible book I got, before it's time for work.  Have a great (alert, energetic, well-rested — or if you're adapting, like me, sleep-deprived but determined not to be asap) day, everyone!

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment

A new experiment: Dymaxion schedule & gradual adapation!

It's Testing Time Again:  Gradual Adaptation & Dymaxion

I've been quite happily sleeping on the Everyman sleep schedule for years, but it's time for a switch.  After much delibration, I've decided to test out one of the major schedules I've never tried — the one commonly called Dymaxion, after the excellent scientist Dr. Buckminster Fuller.  I'm also attempting to transition to this schedule gradually, as opposed to all at once ("suddenly"), which has been my usual way of doing things.

One reason for both of these experiments is that I simply haven't done them before, and both this schedule and this method have become pretty popular over the years, so I'd like to be able to offer a more informed view of them than reiterating things other people have told me.

The other reason is that they happen to fit well with how things are at the moment, minus a few predictable and not-overwhelming challenges; and after the recent changes to my career settled in, I was left with my usual E3/E4.5 schedule being less than ideal.  (That may also not have been work-related: Perhaps something else changed.)  For me personally, "What haven't I tried yet?" is a valid consideration when choosing sleep-schedules, lol.  

*Dymaxion* is usually described (and I'll be trying it) as four 30m naps per day — so, the same 2h total as Uberman, but in two fewer naps.  Of course, one additional challenge for me is that I've learned to nap quite handily in 20m chunks; can I get 30m regularly enough to make up for having no 3h core at night?

Wellllll…we're about to find out!

The other big question is about the method of moving slowly, rather than quickly, into a new sleep schedule.  I wrote a chapter on Gradual Adaptation in the Ubersleep book, and in the first edition I was pretty against it; by the Second Edition, I had spoken to more than a few people who claimed that the gradual adaptation method made their transitions to Uberman and Everyman easier and less gross in terms of severity of sleep-deprivation felt (though I never was able to definitively tell if their sleep-dep lasted longer).  Since then, I've developed two more detailed thoughts on gradual adaptation:

1.  It seems to be a really popular thing for people to try and sell about polyphasic sleep, which makes me very wary.  Basically (and this I have experienced already), figuring out a sane "gradual adaptation schedule", which bridges the gap between your current schedule and your target one in a not-crazy amount of time (since you want to get on your new schedule asap) and is still possible around something resembling real life is _complicated_.  So there are apps and people out there who would love to take your money to help you do it, all of which I've read up on and all of which trip my BS alarms pretty hard.  Maybe the complexity is just a necessary evil, but then again, maybe it's more than just convenient for the people looking to get rich on bullshit.

(Life rule:  There are _always_ people looking to get rich on bullshit, and you can often spot bullshit by looking for those people, the same way you can spot a watering-hole by looking for a bunch of drinking animals.  If you're not great at the subtleties of this, just watch religious preachers to see it in it's pure form…they're like the giraffes of the bullshit watering-hole: really visible and pretty ridiculous if you stare too long.)

2.  Plenty of people seem to succeed with gradual adaptations, though I have no way of knowing how the success rate compares to sudden adaptations (i.e to getting right on your chosen schedule and staying there), other than my gut feeling that they seem to be about the same.

Those two thoughts have made me eager to try it myself for some time.

So, here's where I'm at!

–  I did a perfect E3 schedule for 2 days (E3 is my normal schedule a couple days a week, with Everyman 4.5 filling in the other days, when I usually miss a nap), then dropped my core from 3h to 90m.

–  This gives me my Dymaxion schedule, but with one nap being 90m instead of 30.  (Naps are at 7am, 1pm, 7pm, and 1am; 30m each.  So yes, I'm banking that I can learn to nap for 30m, when I've been taking 20m naps for a freaking decade.  Neuroplasticity ho! :D)  The plan is that I'll walk that nap down from there, giving it 2-3 days in-between changes.  My hope / the idea is that this will be gentler on my system than just losing my core all at once, but that it's close enough to the final schedule right away (none of the other 3 naps will change at all) that I can still be adjusting to it even while making that one change.

–  I have an adaptation buddy (testing the same schedule & method as me, but starting from monophasic — and also an experienced polyphasic sleeper).  It's mad helpful!  We maintain a shared spreadsheet where we log all our naps, plan check-ins with each other, and keep our BFLs (Big Fat Lists of things to do).

–  I'm on Day 3 right now, it's ten to five in the morning and I've been awake since 2:30am; I have a nap coming up at seven.  I feel pretty good at the moment — look, I'm being productive and finally writing a post on this! — though last night was brutal…I had a super long and unexpectedly physically draining day at work, and couldn't sleep for either my morning or evening naps due to tension and whatnot.  (I did lay down for them though!  No skipping naps or oversleeping during adaptation!!)  So last night I was really tired, but with help I made it through, and got up on time, and things are easier this morning.  So it goes.

–  And yes, I'm insanely busy this month — sorry for the lack of updates, generally!  There've been a million things I've wanted to post, and to write elsewhere, and all kinds of stuff; but I took on an extra job (brining my total to four, LOL) for holiday money that turned out to be a bigger investment in time and energy than I realized it would be; and things were already kind of full up.  That job lasts two more weeks, but obviously if this works out (it and my other jobs are ALL nap-friendly, now! \o/) then I'll have some additional time on my hands to start chipping at this MONSTER to-do list.  Mother of god.  :P

–  CONSTANT UPDATES AND INFO about how this adaptation is going are available on our Slack, if you want to follow along or ask questions!  


More updates, and more stuff in general, coming soon!  Hope you are all well, and if I owe you an email, my bad; thanks for your patience with me!  <3

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment


America is NOT white.

America is also not male.

America is not middle-class.  America definitely does not wear a suit.

America is a little loopy.  America has had to take medicine before, and will probably need to again.  America is smart, brave, a bit of a visionary; but seeing into the future makes one a little frail in the present sometimes.

America loves her pets.  So many pets!

America gives food to anyone nearby who looks hungry.  Anyone.

America knows how to fight, and remembers having had to fight.  America is not afraid of fighting if she has to, but knows that fighting is not ideal, and is best avoided by keeping both eyes peeled and staying in good shape just in case.

America plants trees and grows flowers, obsessively.  Everywhere.

America knows she will die someday, just like everything, and that the important thing, the only important thing, is that she leaves a legacy of love and beauty and peace and joy behind for all the rest of life to remember.

I’ve met America, hundreds of times.  I grew up with her.  I still see her smile in my dreams.

I hear she’s in jail, now.




Posted in better thinking, Poetry, worship, writing | Leave a comment

An EXCELLENT post about ANOTHER long-term polyphasic sleeper’s experience


I get messages all the time redirecting my attention to terrible articles about people who irresponsibly sort-of-try polyphasic sleep, don't keep to a schedule, fail to adapt, get terribly sleep-deprived (and then half the time, blame me or polyphasic sleep for that :/) … and I get emails regularly asking me to be interviewed for articles in magazines and publications that, even when they ask good questions on the phone, 90% of the time turn around and produce highly-inaccurate fluff pieces that drive me utterly crazy to read (thanks, Scientific American; I still throw up in my mouth a little when I hear your name).

BUT THIS ONE.  *This* small blog did it almost perfectly.  (And so of course I missed their message to me about this post for months.  :FACEPALM:)

CLICK HERE RIGHT TF NOW to read an excellent post/article on a well-done and sanely-reported polyphasic sleep journey…from someone other than me!  (Someone who, frankly, sounds like a more reliable source than me, even to me, lol.)  Then drop her a comment and say thank you, because wow, the author deserves it!

Posted in better thinking, polyphasic sleep | 1 Comment

I’m a feminist and I do NOT feel “safe” in all-female spaces

…Actually, I said that too gently (wow, never happens, right?) — I feel downright unsafe in all-female spaces, ALL OF THEM.

I feel unsafe in all-female spaces for two reasons, which I'm gonna be super, SUPER clear about right here, up front, so there can be no mis-readings because after this I'm about to swear a lot:

REASON ONE:  Because being put into all-female spaces is IDENTIFYING AND SEPARATING ME BY MY SEX, which is about as close as you can get to the definition of sexual discrimination.  If you think this is in any way an academic or unimportant point, please do keep reading, because I'm gonna fix that and how.

REASON TWO:  Because men, as men, i.e. people with penises, are not dangerous to me.  SEXISM IS.  Yes, I have suffered sexual violence from some men, men who were trained by the sexist elements of our society to be violent to me.  I've also been saved, supported, befriended, helped and raised by some awesome, non-sexist men…and I've ALSO been separated from those men and their support, kept from having deep relationships with them, and refused entry into "their" spaces because of my gender; and instead put into spaces with people who, while they may have also been women, were just plain awful to me.  

And since sexist women are usually in favor of segregation (duh), segregated spaces are full of them; so when you segregate girls and women ('for their safety'), you often stick us with precisely the people most likely to abuse us with their sexism, which includes drilling it into us as children that women are lesser creatures than men.  I learned that lesson as a child very thoroughly, and almost entirely from women.  Women I didn't want to be hanging around with anyway.

This isn't an accident.  This is part of how the system perpetuates itself.

Now that I'm an adult, I've quit sports I love that have segregated games.  I've turned down every single invite to a girls-only party I've ever gotten.  And — I can't help this — I basically forever-distrust anyone who tries to push me into female-only spaces.  Because those people are explicitly being sexist.

Even if they think they're making me "safer" or trying to be kind, what they're doing is segregating me based on my (perceived) sex / gender.

It's certianly not that I've never felt the lash of sexism — I mean please, I was raised Catholic and blue-collar; sexism is everywhere in my life, and feminism for me definitely comes from having fought (or still fighting) my way free of some seriously horrendous sexist bullshit.

But here's the thing:  As a feminist and oft-victim-of-the-patriarchy, it's not men I need protecting from.  It's sexists.  And if you think that women aren't sexist, or aren't as sexist, then holy shit are you not paying attention.

…And not only that, but if you think that female-only spaces are in any way an answer to sexism, then you badly misunderstand what sexism is, and need to get your ass back to school about it, pronto.  Sexism is discriminating based on sex, and a key ingredient of discrimination is separating (segregating) people.  Right?  Forcing people to identify as one or the other, publicly; and then dictating what they can and can't do based on their identified sexual category:  That's sexism in a nutshell.  

If that's difficult for you, think about racism, which is neatly analogous:  Racism is discriminating based on race, and one of its key tools is identifying your race ("are you white or black", paper-bag tests, etc) and then separating people by race, which we now know is icky and horrible and stupid and wrong.  Could we have been racist without also segregating?  Without black schools, black neighborhoods, white-only events and signs for water-fountains?  It's an interesting question, but it's 100% clear and obvious that the segregation was / is a big, necessary part of the whole racist system.  And the sexist one.

But we still do it; we still demand to know someone's sex/gender and control what they can and can't do, where they can go, what teams they can be on, based on it.  Still.  CAVALIERLY, AS THOUGH IT'S OKAY.  And I write shit like this when I should be getting ready for work, because for some fucking reason I am still not only getting invites to "girls-only" things, but people look at me funny when I don't want to go, and that's not okay.  IT IS NOT OKAY.

Regarding invites to girls-only / femme-only events:  I usually answer those invites by reminding people that I have trans/queer friends who, you know, might not want to identify their fucking genitals at the door, and might feel REALLY UNWELCOME at your party / whatever if it's for "women only".  (That's not "the point", but it's a useful edge case for making the beginning of the point.)  

In answer, people almost always try to explain why they're "not discriminating" (yes you are) and why my friends who don't like disclosing their gender (but that *includes me*, not because I'm trans but for other reasons that have a lot to do with abuse suffered through sexism) SHOULD feel welcome.  Because of course they would BE welcome, because they're my friend!  …Oh good, so friends of mine get to "pass", do they?  


What if I brought a friend who looked 100% male and acted masc?  Would you ask what's in their pants?  What if I / we shut that shit down and refused to answer questions about their gender?  You might "allow" them in (oooh look at you, guardian of the pants, being all benevolent), but then everybody there would stare and be uncomfortable, because this was *supposed* to be a coloreds-only — oh, sorry, women-only — event.

Also, THAT "SHOULD", oh my GOD:  You're going to hold a segregated event, but if someone doesn't want to show / talk about / buy admission with your sex, then that's THEIR FAULT?  Becuase they "should" feel welcome, even though you're explicitly unwelcoming them?? Fuck you to infinity.

So I guess let me put that last sentence another way, because I can't stop feeling like I can't repeat it enough:  WHEN I AM BEING ASKED (or gods forbid, required, as does still happen) TO SEPARATE MYSELF INTO A SUBGROUP BECAUSE OF MY SEX, and to participate in different activities with different people because of what's in my pants, then that is NOT OK.  It is explicitly the opposite of "moving towards equality".  It is backwards, cruel, blind, stupid and not. ever. okay.

Further, this is not some academic, semantic point, where "technically it's segregation, but come on, it's just a hockey game / tea party / book club / whatever, it's not like you're being abused" — um, hell yes I am.  Do you know where the majority of my experiences of sexism causing me direct pain come from?  From roomsful of women.

–   Women telling me that I wasn't good enough because my performance of femininity wasn't up to par.

–   Women telling me that I could or couldn't, should or shouldn't pursue various hobbies, interests and goals because of my sex.

–   Women insisting that I participate in things I didn't want to do, wear clothes that made me super uncomfortable with my body, interact sexually with other people in ways I didn't want to, and keep my mouth shut about things because it wasn't my place.

ETC, from when I was tiny right up until shit, yesterday actually.

So here's some equality for ya:  Sexism isn't confined to people with dicks.  Women can be INCREDIBLY sexist, especially when they were raised to be.  Separating child-me from my supportive father and male friends and forcing me to do "girl things" with women who shamed me was not safety.  And putting me in situations where I'm forced to be around people I did not choose, with whom I do not feel comfortable, doing things I do not want to do, because you demanded to know what's in my pants and then made me go with the other people with vaginas…


Just sexist.

Yes, it is a true fact that most sexual abusers are men — but we don't need to protect women from men.  We need to protect them from abuse, and we do that by educating people likely to abuse women (i.e. men) on how and why not to do it, and how and why to keep an eye on each other and do something about signs of it.  We do that by making sure the punishments for sexual abuse and violence are stiff, serious, and oh yeah, actually applied, pretty much unlike every story you've read this year about a college-age rapist.

One more time for the people in the back:  You "protect women" by making their society less forgiving of violence against women.  NOT BY FUCKING SEGREGATING THEM.

Oh my god, if we put black kids in their own school or on their own sports teams today "for their own good," because "most violence against blacks is caused by whites"?  FFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

But the same thing gets done to me.  FREQUENTLY.




Posted in better thinking | 5 Comments

Time to refresh the paint on ye olde “THIS IS SEGREGATION” sign again

Aw, man.  It's that time of year again — that festive semi-annual holiday where I get to be stared at like my favorite accessory is a tinfoil hat.  But history will bear me up:  You may think it's weird that I boycott following the Olympics, but in another couple (years? decades? generations? who knows) I'll get to be one of The Few that, even in our dark and dumbshit days, wasn't willing to let segregation slide.

I've already written a fair ton on the details of this topic, so let's just break it down into easy bites for today, shall we?




Q-E-freaking-D.  There's more below, but if you understand the above three points, then it really isn't necessary.  (Sadly, a lot of people don't understand one, two or even all three of those points, so…here we go.)

And no, this isn't about me being "not a sports fan".  I love many sports that are featured in the Olympics, and I definitely find watching people competing at the peak of any physical activity to be fascinating and awesome.  (I'll definitely see some of the Olympics stuff in clips online, and I will clap and cheer as Katie Ledecky smashes records and Simone Manuel defies physics and Fu Yuanhui is cute as hell, and all that.  It would take a lot of effort to avoid it *all*, and anyway I want to know about and celebrate the people competing as much as anyone, so yes, I sneak in YouTube clips when I hear about something great.)  It's awesome stuff, and I like it, and if I had my way I'd be throwing and attending all the viewing-parties and whatnot.  I might even be one of the folks that pays for access to the good programming, in spite of how gross the Olympics as a corporation is, if it didn't violate one of my core moral principles in a way that I refuse to gloss over:  I DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN GENDER SEGREGATION.

Furthermore, I AM LOOKING RIGHT AT ALL OF YOU WHO DO.  You're participating in segregation against women by doing it, and I will hold my tongue until or unless you say something really stupid, in which case it's on.

We all have our moral codes, and I can't set yours — watch if you must.  But if you don't want to suddenly find a steaming pile of "me being really fucking outraged" in your lap, then mind what you say about it.  Remember that you are watching a mostly-segregated competition, and that centuries of segregation have shaped who does what and who wins and how.

Do NOT, for the love of everything, make comments like "Wow, a BLACK WOMAN won, like, for the first time ever!  She's soooo amazing and special since that's never been done before!"  Well, sure she's special — she's an Olympic athlete — but that's not why no-one like her has ever won before.  No-one like her has ever won before because we've forbidden people like her from competing, for basically all of human history.  And so few people like her are competing today because we still discourage and even outright forbid people like her from even learning or practicing the sport, and we have done so for so long that culturally, it's a huge stretch for a kid — a black kid, a girl kid, etc — to even take lessons or obtain high-level training if they happen to be super talented.

DO NOT FORGET that these things are true and STILL true, if you want to walk away from your Olympics unscathed by my ripping you a new one.

DO NOT PAT YOUR OWN PRIVILEGED BACK that there are a few women or blacks competing — ESPECIALLY when the women are still competing in a segregated sub-game.  It's SO disgusting.  We have NOT solved these problems, and the Olympics is as much giant spotlight on what's still wrong as it is a glimmer of hope that things are slightly better now.  And as long as there's segregation — never mind in schools and organizations and teams of every type, but even at the top level where it's most visible, and arguably easiest to fix — then we have NOT FIXED SHIT.  If you squee about how great it is *and especially* if you make comments about how fantastic and weird it is that "women can do that" or whatever, you are being revolting and stupid and if you don't break your own arm patting your back in this case, I will help.

Okay, that's this year's reminder; enjoy your segregated games y'all.  I'll be over here hoping that sometime during my life, athletic competition at a global level stops being blatantly discriminatory against women (and others) so that I can watch too.

Posted in better thinking, ethics | Leave a comment

Hedging Gods: “I’m a Christian, but I’m also a [Buddhist, Taoist, Agnostic, etc]!”

I saw this again today, in a comment on a Taoist forum:  "I'm a Christian, but I'm also a Taoist!  Some people may see a conflict in that, but it works for me!"

Well duh it works for you, homie.  You're a member of the default, popular, nearly-politically-mandatory religion in this country, which gains you a huge wad of social cred and privilege (which, maybe you don't recognize that fact, but like all privilege, it's true even if you're ignorant of it).  And yet, you've recognized that the dominant religion has some…problems for you, things you don't agree with philosophically, morally, or cosmologically; or maybe you've just read some history and gotten grossed out at all the Crusades.  Regardless, a different set of religious ideas has begun to appeal to you…but if you switched allegiances, you'd have to deal with all those privileged Christians treating you like shit all the time!  What do, what do?

Oh I know, you can be a complete fucking coward and pretend, no matter how UTTERLY ridiculously not true it is, that your new chosen faith is "compatible" with Christianity.  You can strut around claiming all the benefits of Christianity, while flip-flopping instantly in any conversation that includes its detriments to "really, a Buddhist" or "in my heart, a Taoist" or some other such rank bullshit.  

Well, I was born and raised a Christian (and am not anymore, privately and publicly), and to anyone who perhaps doesn't understand the religion, let me clear this up:  Christianity, even super-lite gay-friendly nondenominational sorta-Christianity, is NOT COMPATIBLE with holding another religion's — especially another culture's — views to be true.  If you "are a Christian" then you are philosophically a monotheist (or you are a heretic), you stand behind the teachings of Christ as written / passed down through the Church and the various Councils (or you are a hypocrite), and you grant the power and authority of the Christian church-structure (or you are, to them, a criminal; and if this were a few hundred years ago you'd be killed for it).  

There actually *are* some religions which are explicitly okay with their followers "blending" faiths and such — many of which decided to be that way after realizing that anihilation by Christians was their only other option — but in Chrisitianity, the only acceptable reason to even listen for one second to "pagan thoughts" is because you're planning to convert, overthrow, or (sorry to be harsh but) murder the pagans in question.  To claim that you "are" a Taoist or somesuch is grounds for an instant banning, both from all legitimate Christian institutions, and socially from the general mileiu of Christian-Westerners.  

It's also wildly insulting to people who actually believe and follow the tenets of another religion, especially if that other religion happens to be one of the many that Christians have gone on violent campaigns to enslave or overthrow, and yes, you're being amazingly gross and the epitome of culturally-appropriative by saying it.

JUST STOP.  Either throw your lot in with Christianity, which you were probably born to and/or defaulted to and yes, it's quite comfortable there in our culture, isn't it; OR step up and say no, you'd like to play another game instead, and deal with the backlash that gets you and maybe while you do so, do some meditating on how important it is to respect other religions and cultures because the road between "dissing foreigners" and "mass killings" is pretty damn short, innit?

TL;DR:  Playing in the sandbox of Big Ideas requires not being a wuss.  

No, Timmy, you can't be on *both* teams.

Sheez.  :P

(For the record, I have a million reasons to no longer call myself Christian, but the easiest one to explain is this:  I'm a woman.  For me to be Christian is morally analogous to a black person being a KKK member.  Christians have perpetrated more torture, horror, injustice and death on the female half of the species than damn near anyone else in history, and after educating myself about the past and present outcomes of their beliefs and activities, I would actually choose to burn at the stake over giving them a single dime of my time.  ::spits::)

Posted in better thinking, worship | 4 Comments

Three fun vocab terms from the edge of reality

I've learned three really cool new phrases lately, in my studies of the nature of void!

(shut up, we've all got hobbies)

1.  Spacetime foam:  The term for what space and time look like on a quantum (teeeeeeeeny) level, such as in the first moments after the big bang, when they (space and time) blur together in a way that scientists assure us is way way harder to imagine than you think.  (Challenge accepted!)

2.  Quantum gravity:  A term for the "unified theory" of physics.  Currently there are two major theories that seem to work — quantum mechanics (which ignores gravity but makes the numbers work otherwise) and general relativity (which explains/mathematically factors in gravity but doesn't make the physical mechanics work at a quantum level).  A "unified theory" would involve making both theories work at once, and thus gets the catchy-to-the-point-of-sounding-fake name of "quantum gravity".

3.  Seething vacuum:  A great term for how quantum physicists think of vacuum and the void.  This phrase recognizes that all emptiness is singing with the vibrations of quantum energy — the zero-point field, if you, like me, miss that cool term too.  Because of ZP energy, a vacuum may be "empty" but it is not silent or still, and its "seething" produces motion, which in turn affects the path of electrons and other particles passing through it.  It's a really cool look at the boundary of energy and matter, and the place at which the "zero becomes one" in the Chinese sense.  Plus, band name, am I right?

Posted in aesthetica, better thinking, science!, writing | Leave a comment

It’s time to let that addiction to self-improvement run wild

Today is a big day, yet, other than this post, it will receive no fanfare.  Today I'm going to break an addiction.  

I'm not going to say what the addiction "is to", because what I want to put down here should be equally useful for dealing with all of them, and I really want people to think about how many there are and how profoundly they impact us all, regardless of their object.

I have about one left.  Two, after I scrape the storage containers for bits.  Then I'll put all the associated things away, all my ritual gear, tucked away on the back of some shelf, like the tarot card decks wrapped in cloth that I haven't touched in years.  

I'm already having cravings, but it isn't because I've been cutting back:  Conversely, when I decide to quit a thing, I tend to binge until my supply of it is gone.  In the presence of scarcity, my psychological cravings spike, a response to the sudden real fear that I'm going to run out.  I've learned to let this happen, and to go ahead and binge at the end.  It makes me run out faster, and if it also makes me feel sick, then that's a good thing to hang onto, to remember over the next week or more while I'm UGHing my way through the withdrawal symptoms.

Do I sound familiar with this process?  I am, and if you're like the vast majority of grown-up people, so are you.  It's part of adulthood, to realize you've become addicted to something and that it's time now; you need to let it go.  I'm willing to guess that it may be one of the key defining aspects of an adult human life, even.  And for the people who like to diminish the value of the word "addiction" by snorting that "we're all addicted to oxygen! and water!", I would gently remind them that one day those things, too, will need to be let go; as will love, success, money, work, our children — eveything.  We are on a path of constant loss, and that's not a bad thing, just a sobering real thing that real, fully-formed people all need to face.  YES I know how hard it is to give up an addictive substance, and yes, one day I'll know that about oxygen too.  By then, I hope I'm truly an old hat at this, and the weapons of acceptance, awareness, and humility that I've been using all this time are sharp and imbued with all kinds of badass spells.

But I've done this before with this substance, too.  The last time was pretty recently, but then a common pattern of behaviors knocked me off the wagon, and I thought I'd be able to just quit again right away, but then things were so stressful here and I couldn't, and I found myself right back where I was six months ago.  It's only been about 2 months since that happened, so I'm hoping that some of the recent behavior changes are still ingrained a little, and will be easier to switch back to than if they hadn't existed at all.  But we'll see; either way, this is an important health issue and it needs my attention before it becomes a serious problem.  It will suck, but I owe my body this sacrifice.

Off to work.  When I get home there'll be one more waiting, and maybe one more after that (which I'll probably have immediately because it'll be the last one, and I'll want to rip off the bandaid and start the process already so badly it'll be making me nuts).  Then, for the rest of tonight and tomorrow and the next day and the next day, none.  I'll need to find other ways to relax, plain and simple.  Because it's time.


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