It’s a Dessert Topping and a Floor Wax!

So, uh, does it mean I’m officially an Old™ when I look at this new block editing shit on my WP install, and go… I could totes do what I want with a text editor and some css, why the fuck can’t I make these stupid templates behave the way I want them to?

Or does it just mean I am not, and never will be, the target demographic for this WYSIWYG shit, and I should find myself a blogging back end that doesn’t try to cater to the Bossman who doesn’t want to hire someone who knows what they’re doing when they can just pay their nephew minimum wage to manage their webpage for them?


REI Union Busting

So, I’ve seen a few mentions of REI attempting to bust the unionization effort of their Manhattan store. As they had previously managed to present themselves as a reasonable company (for some value of the word under our late stage capitalism), I have a co-op membership. So, as someone who is very pro-union, this news has upset me. Not surprised me—I don’t expect ethical behavior from companies given how many times I’ve seen them betray that—but upset me.

I have tweeted at them about it twice now, because I feel being very public in expressing my disappointment is critical in forcing them to do better. Public shaming can affect their profit margins after all. But I also decided to send them a longer form feedback through their website while logged into my account which is associated with my co-op membership.

I am sharing what I wrote here, in case anyone else with an REI co-op membership would like to do the same and you need a little help in figuring out what to say. If you are a member of their co-op, please consider both sending them direct feedback like this (and requesting a reply), and very publicly calling them out. Feedback sent to emails and web forms are easier to sweep under the rug. Publicly stating that you’ve sent that feedback, and making sure those you know who share your values are informed on the situation and are given a chance to stand with you in putting pressure on the company can be a very effective tool to get change.

Here’s what I sent:

I have been hearing about your employees efforts to unionize in your Manhattan store, and how the company’s response has been to immediately invoke union-busting tactics. As a member of the co-op, this upsets me.

I am a customer and a co-op member because until this gross misstep on your part, I have found REI to be one of the better retail establishments. The fact that you feel attempting to prevent unionization of your members is in the best interest of the co-op tells me that my evaluation was wrong.

A union is not at odds with the healthy running of a business — it serves to give the employees a voice in how things are run. Yes, your employees can join the co-op and have a voice that way, but their voice is potentially diluted as a part of the greater whole of the co-op.

Unions give employees a better voice in the work environment, and happy, healthy, and safe employees are better workers and a better asset to the company. Embracing their unionization effort will also build a bridge of trust and cooperation, allowing the co-op as a whole and the union to better work together to ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

I strongly encourage you to cease your union busting efforts, and voluntarily recognize the union instead of fighting it. A union is a tool to help facilitate communication, nothing more.

It will be better for REI. It will be better for the co-op members. And it will be better for the employees.


Ramble On

Oh, hey. I have a car again.

With that comes the ability to get places again, but not much of anywhere to go other than the grocery store and work right now because of covid. It also means costs — car payments, insurance, gas. I also had to move in the middle of a pandemic, so that was fun. My rent cost went up, while I’m on reduced hours and pay at work and waiting to hear back from the state to see if I’m going to get any of the work share money I’m supposed to qualify for. They’re apparently hella backlogged, so that’s a joy. Thank fuck I’d been saving up to make a down payment on a car — I put less down to start than I wanted, because I needed to get into a car, but didn’t feel safe enough not to have the cushion anymore.

I want to scream into the void about everything going on. But I feel like I can’t offer any new insight, that there isn’t anything I can add to the discourse that isn’t articulated better by someone else. Online I’ve surrounded myself with people who believe similar things I do, so I never really have to finish a rant, they already are headed down the path themselves and we just walk together. Offline, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are so selfish they can’t see past the end of their noses, so beat down by the system they have no fight left in them, or literal assholes. It goes so far as all three groups will roll their eyes at me if I say something — and I’m not good at holding my tongue, so I do say a lot of things. It’s so bad that when I do encounter someone in meat space that doesn’t immediately recoil when I so much as breath half a sentence of political opinion, I almost immediately want to pinch myself.

I feel a need to write. It’s visceral. But I don’t know what I need to say. Do I need to write fiction, non-fiction? I can’t find coherent thoughts, threads to spin and weave from. I have a video appointment for tomorrow to see if maybe I need medication, if maybe this fight I feel like I’m constantly having with my brain is ADHD or something. If I make sure I have caffeine daily, it feels like it’s easier to wrangle my brain into doing the things I need to do, but it also feels like it’s still enough of a fight that when I finish doing enough of what I need to do, I just can’t do anymore. And I feel trapped, because I don’t have a safety net. I question my choice to cut off my family, wonder if maybe having their support would help — but then I remember that I didn’t feel supported. I was made to feel like I was lazy, because I didn’t do what they wanted me to the way they wanted me to. It didn’t occur to them that maybe there was a reason for the way I was behaving. There really is nothing like struggling just to face people, only to get a passive aggressive, ‘it’s about fucking time’ in response to my emerging from my room. To not even considering that maybe I needed to get help with what I was facing, because I was made to believe that I was just fucking lazy and needed to pull myself up by my bootstraps.

I sit here, so upset over things I can’t change. So frustrated that I feel all alone in the world. I have my online friends, they’ll talk to me when I need it… but sometimes I need more, you know? Having a voice on the other end of an internet pipe isn’t the same as someone who you’re sharing a meal with, or someone who will just do the small things for you when you can’t find it in you to do them yourself. A person to argue the rules of a board game with, or stand in a parking lot for three hours after the game store closes just shooting the shit because neither of you want to go home.

I feel so fucking alone. I feel like I’m standing on the edge of the void, and one misstep and I fall in.

It fucking terrifies me.


Sweet Sixteen Penguin

May 3rd, 2004. That was when I wiped the hard drive on my computer, one I’d built with the help of a coworker, installed a second drive that was bigger—a whole-ass 30GB, compared to the first which was maybe 3GB if I remember right—and installed Mandrake Linux with the help of a friend over the phone. The second drive was set up as the /home partition, he had me install the cooker release (unstable), and away we went. I’d dabbled with something else and a dual boot a few years before that, Red Hat maybe? But because I didn’t know what I was doing and desktop Linux wasn’t what it is now, I’d never booted into the Linux partition and never learned what I was doing.

The cold turkey switch happened because at the time I hung on an IRC channel for a stupid hamster comic (Shaw Island, I miss you <3) and a bunch of the people hanging in the channel were Linux nerds. They all badgered me, one of maybe two girls there, that I should switch. So I issued the ultimatum — I’ll do it if one of you will be my on call tech support. One of them made the mistake of taking the deal and that’s what got us to May 3rd’s cold turkey switch.

Some of you reading this probably winced in the first paragraph when I mentioned the cooker release of Mandrake, more of you winced when I clarified that was the name for the unstable release. What was this dude doing putting you on an unstable release? If I’d understood at the time what it meant, I probably would have asked that same question, friends. Well, I started encountering issues not long after install, small stupid shit that someone more experienced would be able to easily fix — they’d know what config files to tinker with, which packages to downgrade, how to get a shell prompt if the gui shits the bed. But I was a totally green AF n00b. He was utterly mystified why I was having so many issues where he was running the exact same thing on his machine, but after a little digging, it turned out he was just so used to putting out the tiny fires he didn’t even noticed how often he was doing it.

To his credit, he did one thing very right; he helped me get on the Mandrake newbie mailing list. At one point I had something that utterly panned my ability to use my computer, and the whole of the situation got sussed out pretty quickly on that mailing list when I couldn’t get in touch with dude and asked the list instead — they not only fixed the problem, but also figured out the root of my general issues and helped me downgrade to the stable release. I have that mailing list to thank for the fact that I didn’t fall off the horse and go crawling back to the Window’s cesspool.

When Mandrake became Mandriva, I jumped ship to Ubuntu, or rather Kubuntu because I was an utter KDE fangirl. I’d tried gnome during the early experiments with dual booting, and disliked it, but took to KDE when that was the default on Mandrake. My friends gave me no end of shit for using KDE, “it’s so bloated” they’d cry and I’d throw a screen shot of my nearly widget-free purple desktop. There are better stripped down desktop environments out there, I know this now, but at the time it was easy to use and I could keep up with it. I did later try Enlightenment and enjoyed it, but alas that’s another dead project and we’ll talk more about that later.

I kicked around for Kubuntu for years, happy enough. The support forums were pretty nice, and given how if you end up in the wrong end of the Linux user base, you get smothered with bullshit like RTFM instead of help, I was very thankful for that community too. Eventually though, my antique laptop couldn’t keep up with KDE anymore, which given how old it was at that point was hardly a surprise, especially given that it’d been the cheapest model in stock at a Best Buy when my (then) boyfriend stopped to buy a birthday gift for me (so he didn’t need to leave his nice Macbook at home for me to use when I was visiting him since he didn’t have a desktop computer and I didn’t have a laptop to bring with me). I ended up switching to Enlightenment at that point, and even as a all but dead project, it was still working better than KDE at that point. I think they were fighting a nasty memory leak at the time?

I think I ended up getting eightish years out of that Toshiba Satellite, which given that it got dropped twice (once on cement and once on tile) and the battery had long since given up the ghost and I’d fucked up the power jack on the damn thing? Utterly Amazing. I finally ended up giving in and dropping a chunk of savings that had really been earmarked for a new car on a Gazelle from System 76. I’m still using that machine and I still love it. The only thing I’m sad about is that maybe a couple months after I bought, they released a new version of this model that included an illuminated keyboard. If I’d known, I may have held out for it… but oh well. RGB may be pretty, but I’ve been doing my wonktastic touch typing for hella years, and while I couldn’t write the letters in on a blank keyboard diagram, once I find my place on the keyboard I can type. Hell, it’s so bad that I can’t put in my password unless I either have food in hand to require one handed typing (but if I one hand it otherwise, doesn’t work), or I can type my password without looking two handed… but fuck if I can tell you where the keys I need to hit at if I’m looking at a keyboard.

Now, here’s where I admit I’m the shittiest Linux user in the world: When I first got this machine, I immediately replaced the perfectly functional version of Ubuntu that System 76 had installed for me before shipment with a fresh install of something called bodhi linux. I’d found Moksha desktop on Kubuntu not long before I bought the new laptop and had reasonable success with it as it was a fork of Enlightenment that was being maintained. Bodhi is a *buntu distro that’s packaged around Moksha, and I figured that if I liked Moksha, I’d probably like Bodhi too. Unfortunately I hadn’t realized before I installed that it was pretty much a one man show. Now, nothing but respect to someone putting that work in… but if you’re someone like me that never really digs that deep into my system, and you encounter a snag you can’t fix yourself, waiting for a one person team to get to the bug that’s making life a pain is no fun. In the end Bodhi wasn’t a good fit for me, and System 76 announced their Pop OS about the time I accepted that. But here’s my source of shame: to this day I don’t know if I just couldn’t RTFM right to burn the iso for pop os to one of my jump drives from shell or something was wrong, but the gui burner software that came with bodhi was broken, and the others I tried installing didn’t work, so I was left with no way to make a usb drive to reinstall my machine with anything else. In the end, I ordered a usb drive with the pop logo screen printed on it, and pre-flashed for install.

I’ve been pretty happy on Pop OS since, which surprised me a bit given that it uses Gnome for the desktop… but Gnome is a far cry from the version I tried way way back when, and given the amount of time that’d passed, I would expect nothing less. Honestly the only thing I’m irked about with it is that there isn’t a gui way for me to customize the colors. I need to take a little time digging into the css files that control the look of the gui and see if I can get my purple shit set up again… but that requires time and fucks. The dark version of the pop os theme is perfectly usable, so I haven’t made the time to fix this minor thing.

At any rate, not sure why I felt the need to chronicle my history here, but yeah, I’m that fucking nerd who has an entry in her calendar for the anniversary of when she made the full time switch to Linux. What of it?

Anyway, sixteen years of being the laziest fucking Linux user, right here.


Snail Mail RP

So, on the Discord server where I shoot the shit with a handful of friends, I was talking about how I don’t send and received snail mail anymore. Sure, I get packages when I order stuff online, and bills and donation solicitations and junk mail show up… but no personal letters anymore. I miss the joy from opening up a hand written letter from a friend. My friend who we’ll call Unicorn—because that’s the alias she chooses to go by—mentioned that in the past she’d exchanged a few letters with a friend written as if they’re from fictional characters.

I’ve seen stories written as if they’re letters exchanged between two or more people, I’ve seen stories written as if they’re journals… so why not two people telling a story together by mail? My challenge with this idea is that I don’t have an idea yet for what sort of character/s and settings I think would suit this project. So I guess I’ll just stick a pin in the idea and see what happens.

Short term, I really should order some stamps from the USPS, and write my congress critters again about giving USPS some stimulus funds. I’ve already sent a couple missives via resistbot, and probably should follow up on sending a postcard or physical letter too. Honestly, it would be a serious blow to everything in the US if the USPS was allowed to flounder. If you haven’t yet weighed in on the issue, go yell at your congress critters today, resistbot makes it easy. <3



I’m not gonna hold my breath that anyone’s gonna toss money my way, but figured that a ko-fi doesn’t cost me anything to set up, so I did it. It’s currently a button in the footer of my site. I’m lucky enough to have some money still coming in, though it’s nowhere near what it was since while boss is arguing that we’re essential because we print for a couple of the local hospitals and a few other places, a lot of our other customers are closed because of Covid-19. I’m only coming in intermitently for half days, and it depends on what’s waiting for me to print.

I’m lucky enough to have a savings account that was intended to get me back into a car again. I had been at the point where I thought I could afford to pull the trigger on that, and then all this shit blew up. I probably could have done it sooner if I was willing to buy a junker, and maybe I should have, but I really didn’t want to go back to a crappy car that I didn’t drive unless I absolutely had to go somewhere, because I didn’t trust the damn thing.

Because I was mostly a homebody anyway because of the lack of a car, this shelter in place crap isn’t a huge change for me. It mostly just means less having to go into work, and extra precautions when I go grocery shopping. I’ve only done that once since this started, but may go back for another run sooner than I otherwise should since I really want to make more bread and they didn’t have yeast last time I went shopping. My bread still comes out ugly, but it’s delicious, so I’m good with that.

I’ve also been experimenting with cold brew tea. I’m pretty sure I like my ice tea warm brewed better, but that might be a matter of finding the right teas for the cold brew technique. So far, the Victorian London Fog and Russian Country are okay cold brewed if I add almond milk to them, but I’m not as happy with them without it. Next up to try is one of the teas I recently ordered: Pomegranate Oolong, Raspberry Mojito, and Black Currant Ice Tea. The Pomegranate Oolong is nice hot brew, so I’m hopeful it’ll make a nice delicate cold brew. We shall see, but gotta finish the current pitcher of the Russian Country cold brew.

Other thing that’s happened is I’ve managed to find bandwidth for small stupid shit I should have been doing before. Things like mending clothes that got a tear or needed to be brought in because “standardized” sizing doesn’t even really fit the apex of the bell curve, and I sure as fuck ain’t the apex of the curve. And I’ve started to poke again at a TTRPG idea I’ve been juggling for a while — a Call of Cthulhu game based upon the HP Lovecraft Historical Society’s parody musical, A Shoggoth on the Roof. I need to refresh my memory on CoC rules, and figure out what other trappings I need to plan ahead of time beyond character stats for the pre-gen player characters and NPCs, and a rough plot arc that I want the players to encounter if they don’t go off and fuck behind the potted plant. If I get those Shoggoth in a row, I want to attempt to run it over VC on Discord.

I did file my taxes today though, and realized I was getting a small refund. If I’d had my head on straight sooner, I would have at least figured that out earlier in the year. The last couple years, I’ve owed money to both Feds and state, so I wasn’t in a particular rush to deal with that assuming it was going to be the same. My witholdings are usually pretty close to what I owe, so it’s usually a non-issue each year I file outside of when I forget to the last minute and get stressed over it. Technically today was last minute, but because of the Feds’ incompetence over this Covid-19 shit, that date got pushed back. So.

Edit: I wasn’t happy with how the ko-fi WP plugin was behaving, so I instead just put a link in my menus, which also makes it easier to spot on the site. <3



Today I was in tears over a mobile game. It wasn’t really the game that upset me, so much as it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I feel like I’m dealing with the death by a thousand cuts—I have for a while—but due to a combination of shitty luck and personal choices, I have no real safety net. All my friends are online at this point, I don’t have any contact with any of my family by my choice, I currently live in the most expensive part of the US, and my brain functions in such a way that meeting the expectations of others just feels like it takes a hundredfold the effort it should. So I’m tired.

But any time I think about this for any length, I can’t help but think about how much better I have it. There are people who don’t even make half what I do, who can’t cut ties with their toxic family, who are not physically able to function like the people the world is designed for. So then I feel guilty for feeling bad about my situation. I think about all the things I should be doing to make my situation better — I should make an appointment with a doctor to see if I have ADHD and if medication would help me out, I should be looking at taking classes for things that are more “valuable” to the job market so I can improve my pay, I should figure out so way to afford car payments and gas and insurance. Then I get mad at myself for not following through on these things that should be easy, I then distract myself to cope… and next thing I know, it’s time to give my time to someone else again.

That’s the other thing that’s got me so upset. I feel like not only am I doing everything for myself, but like I can’t even get help with the things I take on to help others. As much as I love the play by post RP I run, I’m honest with myself that I only started it because I’d had so many troubles with how others had run the ones I’d been a member of before, and I end up doing a lot of what needs to be done from an administrative standpoint because it’s hard to find people who are interested, fun to write with, and aren’t complete and utter tools, but also have the time to dedicate to the game. I’ve had to compromise a lot on that last quality because finding all four seems to be impossible, and I can’t compromise on the other three. I don’t begrudge people for it, but it does get frustrating when I feel I need help but I have no one I can ask for it.

The thing with the mobile game that got me in tears earlier though? The game has an event going right now where we need to all purchase boosts with in game currency to make the event tasks easier. In order for the boosts to be truly helpful, it’s recommended we stack them. So, I’m leader of the club, I pick a boost time and most of the club pops online to apply the boosts and take advantage of them. Except today I forgot about it until afterwards, and no one pinged me to remind me. Hearing about it afterward, apparently we’d managed to stack enough boots to get like twice the boosts we normally have and I missed it. And like, sure, it’s a game and with the whole fucking world on fire… who cares if I can collect little cartoon cats on my smart phone, right? Except it wasn’t about the game, it was about how it feels like I’m always the one forgotten unless people need something, I’m always the one who’s expected to have her shit together because I figure out the things for other people before I take care of myself. Because I don’t know how to take care of myself.

I stumble through best I can, and everyone says they’re doing the same, but it never feels like others are having to fight anywhere near as hard over such stupid simple things. It also feels like everyone around me is upset with me no matter how hard I try. The only ones who don’t get upset with me are the ones who I manage to hide how fucked up everything feels all the time to me, or the ones I hardly know. I’m afraid to let people in, because I’m afraid to let them down. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen that one time I slip and don’t manage to catch the ledge before I plunge into the depths below.

I am afraid, and I’m alone. And I feel like I should be so close to everything being okay, but I literally can’t see the safe harbor I need even if it’s just right there within reach for me to grab.


Beer Virus

I know this is serious, COVID-19 is costing lives and it’s probably going to cost more than it should in the US due to the combination of incompetence and criminal levels of cruelty that this government exercises. The US has always been racist, it’s always been classist, it’s always been sexist… but these days those in power feel secure enough in their position they think they can say the quiet parts out loud. I still have to make jokes, because if I’m not laughing I’m crying. So, novel coronavirus is now henceforth called beer virus as a nod to the story that was going around about people thinking they could catch it from drinking corona beer. In case you missed it, I’m pretty sure the story was fake or at least drastically exaggerated — the real targets of racism and stupidity right now are Chinese and other Asian-Americans that the stupid and racist lump together in the same group. Never mind that the Chinese government actually responded in a way that drastically cut back loss of life in their country and we would do good to follow their lead.

Part of me knows I should probably stop watching twitter right now. It’s becoming a bit of a feedback loop of “don’t panic, but take this seriously”, and watching the DNC primaries eat themselves alive as the DNC tries to crown Biden nominee because they think they can’t possibly lose against Trump (Hilary got how many more votes and still lost because of the electoral college, wot?) or they literally don’t care because it’s not about political party but class and race. But the fact of the matter is, I’ve manage to curate my feed well enough that the people I follow are still also posting uplifting shit and about their daily lives… and a lot of them I don’t have other vectors of contact with. Some of them I don’t know well enough to connect with on Discord, or they’re not on the other social media platforms that I find tolerable enough (diaspora*, and Pillowfort, for the record — if we’re mutuals on twitter, ask me for my handle on either or a Pillowfort invite if you want one). So I stay for now.

I had thought I was about ready to take that plunge and buy a car again… but with the shut downs, and the pending damage that’s going to do to the small and medium sized businesses in the coming days—especially as the large companies who can afford to pay their employees through this continue to mostly not—I’m afraid to deplete the savings account I’ve been fighting to build as a down payment for a car, in case I need it to keep a roof over my head, or for copays for medical treatment, or whatever. But that leaves me at the mercy of public transit when I still need to go out for necessities. I’ve tried to prepare as well as I can, and I think I did okay… but we’ll see. At least the vogmask I bought because of the wildfire seasons the last couple years can also serve to minimize facial exposure when I have to go out, and I think it looks fucking cool.

It’s currently raining outside, and it’s nice after a long spell of nothing here. This is supposed to be our rainy season, and I want to say it’d been over a month since we’d gotten anything before a recent tiny storm we saw… but this one looks like it’s going to be more significant. If only the feeling of cleansing the rain usually brings worked on things larger than just the air.



I hate being called smart. Not because I believe it’s false, not out any sort of modesty, but because of what usually follows. Because usually when someone is saying I’m smart, or observing just how smart I am, it’s usually followed by one of two things — how I’m squandering my potential, or their jealousy because they want to feel smarter than me.

I was the gifted child. The one who read above her grade level, who took to things easily, who could come up with the clever ideas. I was the one the straight A students wanted in their lab group in high school, but didn’t have the time of the day for me outside of class. But my grades were always on the brink of failing or only just passing. I didn’t want to pay attention in class, I didn’t bother to study for tests. Why wasn’t I trying?

In elementary school, I was singled out for a special class. I was told it was an advanced class, and it meant I got to leave my regular class and go to another class room for specialized lessons with a few other students. That didn’t last long, and no one ever told me why at the time. Years later, my mother commented on it, implying she felt it would have been a hindrance to me—that it was for students with special needs—so she’d fought it tooth and nail with the school administration. I still wonder what might have happened if I’d been allowed to continue with those lessons.

Homework was always a fight — more often than not it felt like busy work and I couldn’t find anything helpful about it. So I just didn’t do it. Well into high school, I didn’t bother to study and did well enough on tests without the need to. And when I finally started to hit subjects that didn’t come easily to me? I had never learned how to study, because no one bothered to ask why I wasn’t doing my homework, they’d just get angry. At home it was always “get your homework done or you can’t…” and I’d just spend all night staring at homework and hiding in my room. At school, teachers would talk to me bewildered that I was getting such good scores on tests, contributing well to class discussions, but I was constantly just not turning in homework and my grades were always on the brink of failure.

A couple of my teachers were cool about it, a couple of my favorites in fact. My German teacher would let you write in your answers during in class discussion when the homework was due, and you’d at least get partial credit. There’s something to be said about learning through repetition, and writing down the answers was better study than just not doing the homework. And then there was my scifi/fantasy lit teacher. You could literally turn in any assignment as late as the last day of the semester, and he had a sliding scale on how much credit you lost depending on how late it was — the highest you could get was a C for a perfect paper once you reached a certain point. This was a large weight on him, especially since all his tests were essay tests, and he’d have those to grade at the same time as all this late partial credit work.

As I moved into the world beyond school, things only got worse. I attempted classes at the local community college, and when I encountered a lot of frustrations, I threw my hands up and gave up on it. My dad threatened to start charging me rent if I didn’t go back to school, and that backfired on both of us because I said fuck it and started paying him rent when I’m pretty sure his goal had been to get me to engage with college.

I spent years working retail, which was a maddening meat grinder. Managers under pressure to meet utterly unreasonable goals set for the enrichment of the company shareholders, a lot of them highly unqualified to be leading people because the ones who are qualified usually either languish at the lower levels of the pecking order because they can’t ‘yes sir’ well enough, or quickly move onto better paying jobs that are less meat grinder. Those of us who make the mistake of showing any sort of potential, without the follow through to either get the fuck out or claw our way up to management, get taken advantage of. After my first manager, who was an amazing and caring woman, got the fuck out of the store and moved onto better things, I worked for a series of men who were always happy to sing my praise until I pushed back or had a bad day. Then they’d come down on me like the hellfire of a million suns.

Even though you could probably start to pick out the signs of ADHD as far back as elementary school, the difference in how girls are socialized and how it manifests, meant that even I hadn’t been aware something was different about me. I just thought I was being stubborn and lazy, because that’s what the parents and later authority figures told me. Retail is such a high stress environment, especially the further and further we work our way towards this pending collapse of capitalism, I just assumed that I wasn’t cut out for the work. Even when I actually knew my shit, I was good at what I did, but I couldn’t measure up.

My first job was at Radio Shack, and I lost count of the number of times I had customers talk down to me when they didn’t know what the fuck they were talking about, turn to coworkers who knew less than me, and then had to watch as said coworker had to turn to me to ask me to answer the question. But I was a bad employee because my dollar per ticket wasn’t high enough, I didn’t sell enough of the bullshit extended warranties (they weren’t worth it on anything other than headphones, tbh), I didn’t attach enough accessories when I sold cell phones… never mind that half my shift would be spent supporting my coworkers when the customers would go to them instead of me because my boobs apparently meant I couldn’t know about computers and patch cables and batteries and shit. Then when I moved to OfficeMax, my background in all that shit helped me be one of the best sales people with the office equipment, but again, I’d end up helping coworkers and my numbers would suffer, or I’d be given special tasks (like setting up the ad every week) but still be held to the same sales expectations as my coworkers who didn’t have to do this shit too.

When I finally got out of retail, it was such a fucking relief, and I thought all my problems would go away. And for a while it felt like they had, because I was still running on the high stress mode that retail had put me into, so I was expending twice the energy I should have to in order to compensate for all the things I could never get right. Eventually though, shit went south with that job too. I would lose focus on shit, fail to remember to do small tasks that should have been easy to remember, having to constantly write shit down or I’d forget. I’d get yelled at when the printers fucked up, even if they were repeating issues that Xerox continued to fail to fix, because I was supposed to be watching every fucking print that came off the machine while running multiple machines at once. Like, seriously? This really became a problem when the machines started getting fast enough that if I loaded enough paper for a job, started it, and turned to another machine, I could have fifty or more double sided color prints that were bad just in the time it took me to set up the second machine to start running and get the first proof off it.

Bonus round was when a coworker was harassing me, I went to the bosses about it, and I got blown off. I was told by one that ‘everyone has their issues’ and he proceeded to compare my leaving the shop silently at the end of the day, instead of saying goodbye, to the coworker’s harassment. The other boss told me that coworker just wanted to be my friend, and got pissed when I called him on that bullshit — because telling a woman that a man harassing her just wants to be her friend, and she should give him a chance is exactly that, sexist shit. I’m still not sure if either of them realized that was the final straw on my relationship with them. If I’d been in the mental state necessary to really effectively job hunt, and if there was a market that actually would pay a woman without a college degree anything resembling a living wage, I would have been long gone from the place by then. But the fucking cherry on top with that shit? They ended up firing the coworker a few months later, over other issues, and after he’d been gone for a while, one of them commented they wish they’d known sooner about coworker’s problems… then was bewildered when I stomped the fuck out of the room without saying a word. Yeah.

They sold off the business and retired a year ago, and the new boss is around my age. So far he seems to be fairly understanding who I am, and how my brain works. So work’s been a better place for me, even as we all have growing pains from his having to learn the ropes and everyone adjusting to the changes. But he and I sat down for my year end review… and he dropped that smart bomb on me — “You’re probably the smartest person here” is what he said to me, then proceeded to point out my failing to live up to my potential. And I voiced my concern over that pattern because of all the shit I laid out in this blog post… but I couldn’t really drop all that in the meeting, so I glossed over it and gave him the tl;dr instead. I’m not sure if he fully understood the depth of my concern. So, we’ll see how this plays out.

All this ranting to say, I really am starting to think I’m ADHD. I read people talk about it, and I go ‘that sounds like me!’ But they also talk about how hard it is to get a diagnosis as both an adult and a woman, and I already have enough issues following through on shit, especially medical shit I know I need to handle. So, I’m like… self medicate with caffeine and use the fuck out of reminders and timers on my phone, and hope for the best. Yay team. >.>


The Castle Tower

As some of you may be aware, I’ve been without a car for like five and a half years now. My last car was totaled in a collision that occurred while I’d been in the middle of trying to get my feet back under myself after multiple rugs were pulled out from under me at once. Honestly don’t really want to go into all the stuff I was dealing with, but the car situation was kind of the final blow to send me curling into a self protective ball that I honestly haven’t really pulled myself out of since.

As is the case in a lot of the US, public transit is basically little more than useless. In the bay area, I sit on the cusp of just between usable and useless since I live and work in one of the suburbs and not in one of the city centers—SF, Oakland, or San Jose—so I’m lucky when there’s a bus within reasonable walking distance of both home and where I’m trying to go, and if it’s even as frequent as once a half hour. I know there are places worse off than this, but this is still just enough of a hindrance that I end up just staying home most of the time.

The last place I lived, I was supposed to have use of the kitchen, but honestly that became a death by a thousand small cuts, and it didn’t take long for me to just give up on fighting it. I ate out for nearly every meal for most of the time I lived there, and sometimes that was the only time I’d leave the house on a given day if I didn’t have work. Playing ingress helped for a while, as going out and capturing/maintaining the portals in the area near my house gave me a reason to vary my route to and from food, or spend a little more time before I went home in the evenings after work during DST (as it would be dark before I’d get off the bus during standard time). In time, I gave up on that too after just a few too many issues with the community making me feel unwelcome — a couple incidents with abusive players in both factions, people mansplaining how I should play the game, and the inaccessibility of the community events for someone who didn’t have a car.

After getting notice I needed to move from my last place, and a lot of stress surrounding the move, I’ve landed in a place that’s much closer to work, and allows me to carpool with a coworker. Also, I can actually use the kitchen and the shared use of that space is functional enough that I don’t feel pushed out of it. It’s also located near enough I can walk to the game store I used to spend a lot of time in — particularly it was one of the things that helped me cope with all the shit I was dealing with before my car was totaled. Even though I’ve been living in this place for six months, yesterday was the first time I’d actually made it to the game store since I moved.

Part of me had hoped that I’d run into some of the people I used to hang with while I was there, but I didn’t recognize any of the employees, and the two people I encountered I’d known previously I only had fleeting interactions with. I should reach out directly to some of the people I used to hang out with, see if any of them are still hanging in the store and try to coordinate meeting up with them if possible. I did end up buying myself one of those dice trays that you can flatten for storage. I also eyed the GM set for Star Trek Adventures entirely because it comes with a map of the Alpha and Beta quadrant, which would be super helpful for plotting for my Trek RP. (Shameless plug — USS Joshua Norton. Not currently open for new players due to the plot we’re running, but we love lurkers and welcome you to read along. Lurking on our Discord means you’ll be first to know when apps open again too!) I should do a little research into how much the map agrees with hard canon, to see if it’s worth buying.

I did make note of when their painting night is, and I still have projects I was painting before I stopped being able to go regularly that I would like to pick up again. Hopefully I’ll follow through on that. One project I have halfway done is I bought a pair of huge tentacle earrings at Hot Topic that were just black, and decided I wanted to paint them. So they’re sitting with the first layer of paint on top of the primer. I would really like to finish them and be able to wear them. I also have a copy of Mansions of Madness that has a shit ton of miniatures that I could paint. I wasn’t particularly enthused by the game, it was a gift from a friend for Christmas one year, but my ex had loved it. When we broke up, he bought himself a copy and I was hella annoyed because if he’d just talked to me I would have given him my copy and asked him to buy me something of similar value to replace it. Alas.

Anyway. All that to say, I’ve been hiding a lot lately and while I’ve been frustrated, I’ve worked myself into such a rut it feels nearly impossible to get myself out of it. I hope that yesterday’s visit to the game store is an indicator that I’m starting to make progress, and I have set up a journal I bought from Red Bubble a while back for bullet journal after a friend talked that system up earlier this month. Hopefully I’ll find it useful. I already use my phone for a lot of reminders, both with alarms in my alarm app and longer term stuff in my calendar, but given that my fiction writing feels better when I start it hand written, I’m hoping that a flexible handwritten process to track my day to day stuff might help me calibrate in a useful way.

Also—I hope I’m not jinxing this by writing it out—I might actually have enough saved up to able to get a car again. I’ve been desperately saving for a while with the occasional dip into the fund for sanity saving or necessary purchases. I thought I might have been close to doing it just before I’d gotten notice I needed to move from the last place — that panic and need to spend money to facilitate the move, put the car on the back burner again. Just my vague awareness of my current situation makes me think I can make the plunge, but I need to take the time to do a hard review. But fingers crossed, I’d really like to get into a Honda Fit again.