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My walk was the walk of a human child, but my heart was a tree.

"Whenever you see an oak-tree felled, swear now you will plant two."

3/15/20 11:06 pm - the care and feeding of marnanel

some things to know about me:

* I may be wrong and often am. If I am, I would like to know, and learn better. But...
* I hate conflict. If you are rude, aggressive, hostile, ridiculing, I'll probably not talk to you.
* I am aware that I am privileged in many ways; if I show unchecked privilege, I appreciate hearing about it and I promise to take it seriously. I expect the same from you.
* Autonomy is important. I would like to hear your stories rather than tell my own. But if your behaviour involves nonconsensual damage to others, especially children, I am unlikely to be sympathetic (to put it mildly). Anti-vaccination people are specifically included here as people who damage children.
* I love hugs and cuddles, but please don't touch me without asking.
* If I have a panic attack, please hang around. Afterwards I will probably go and hide somewhere for a bit, and then I probably won't cope too well with people talking to me.
* If I'm occupied with nothing but my phone in public, that's probably a way of hiding.
* I hate phone calls. I hate making them, and I hate receiving them. Text or email instead, unless it's urgent, or you've arranged it otherwise. (To my parents: yes, you count as having arranged otherwise. But I still prefer email.)
* My pronouns are they/them, though zie/zir is fine too, and other pronouns are all right where I'm not out as genderqueer. If you get it wrong, that's fine. But don't get it wrong on purpose.
* Do not shout at me. Ever.
* I like reconciliation. If we were friends in the past, I probably want to be friends again. There are a very few exceptions, but you know who you are.
* I like vegetarian food, but I'll eat some kinds of meat if that's all that's available. I'm allergic to uncooked egg (and this includes scrambled eggs, for some reason). Eggs in things like cake are fine. Actually, cake is lovely in general.
* I have a bad habit of avoiding dealing with things I don't know how to handle, especially emails I don't know how to answer. In particular, I love getting fanmail, but I'm rather bad at answering it. I'm really sorry: I'm working on it. I do read it all, and it does make me happy, and I love you all.
* Please don't assume I can pick up on hints, or flirting, or that I know any particular social conventions about conversations; please be explicit. If there's something you can't or don't want to talk about, I will pick it up and worry about it if you lie about the things round the edges in inconsistent ways. I really like it when people talk to me about how they want to talk to me and how I want to talk to them.
* I'll try to add trigger warnings to posts and pictures. Again, if I get it wrong, let me know.
* I have triggers of my own. I may have to leave a conversation because of them. It's a PTSD thing.
* Reciting poetry and singing and scripting/echolalia are coping habits.
* I apologise too much. I'm working on it.

Did I miss anything? Questions and comments and suggestions are welcome.

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6/24/16 02:02 pm - strip-lighted paradise

I was reading this two days ago. It needs saying today.

“Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles… not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another.” - George Orwell, 1943.
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6/23/16 07:10 pm - the Holy Spirit versus cardboard

A story I was told at St Mark’s, a “high” Anglican church:

St Mark’s has a rather large contingent of de jure Roman Catholics in its congregation, who argued with the local parish priest or the Vatican and just decamped down the road. Many times this only gets discovered when they die and ask for their ashes to be interred in St Mark’s columbarium, whereupon the local RC priest turns up and objects.

So after this had happened a few times, they agreed that a small part of the columbarium would be dedicated as a RC burial place. And so that God wouldn’t get confused, they put a cardboard divider between them.

The person telling me this story concluded, “So apparently cardboard can block the Holy Spirit, just like alpha particles… wait. Don’t mitres have cardboard inside to keep the shape? I think we’ve discovered something here…”

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6/20/16 08:35 pm - Why I'm voting Remain

If I had to choose either Strasbourg or Westminster to run this country, I'd choose Strasbourg. It has a better separation of powers. Someone asked what I mean by that, so I'll explain more fully.

A bit of civics background-- sorry if you know this already: There are three branches to every government: the legislature which makes laws, the executive which implements those laws, and the judiciary which deals with people who break them. In a carefully-designed system such as the American federal government, the three branches act as checks on one another's power. (In the US, executive=President, legislature=Congress, judiciary=federal courts.) This means that it's much more difficult for one or two people to fuck up the system.

But in the UK and the EU we don't have a complete separation of powers. In particular in the EU we have the executive (the Commission) having the sole power to propose bills to the legislature (the Parliament). This is undemocratic, and it's a problem. The legislature can veto bills, so it acts as a check on the power of the executive. But it cannot act alone.

In the UK, however, the problem is even worse. In our case executive=Downing Street, legislature=Parliament, judiciary=courts. Parliament was originally a check on the power of the King (when the King was the executive). But for the last few centuries, the Crown's ministers have effectively been the executive, and these ministers are always drawn from Parliament. A PM must necessarily almost always be able to order Parliament to do anything they wish, because they must belong to the majority party in the Commons, and MPs almost always vote as the whips tell them to.

So if for example we happened to get someone as PM who was determined to starve the poor and destroy the NHS, there's nobody at all who can stand up to him. In the US or in France it's routine for the legislature to say no to the executive (and vice versa). But it's near-impossible in the UK.

Except...

...there is, at present, one organisation which can say no to the PM.

That organisation is the EU.

That is why I'm voting Remain.

 

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6/18/16 09:55 pm - please do not press this button again

I was once in a psychiatrist's waiting room and they had a coffee machine with enough buttons to belong to Captain Picard. You know the sort of thing-- buttons for white coffee, black coffee, cappucino, hot chocolate, and so on and on. But one of them was unlabelled, and THAT was the one I wanted.

It took a while to brew me a cup. When it had cooled, I took a sip. The stuff was utterly foul-- like a sort of hot instant coffee made with lemons and ammonia. I can still taste it in memory.

Just then, the psychiatrist arrived, and asked what I was grimacing about. I explained the story and showed him the button. "Right," he said. "That's the self-cleaning function."

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/370903.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

5/28/16 03:19 pm - pig blood

[blood, guns, Islamophobia]

February 2016: Trump tells (untrue) story about General Pershing stopping terrorism by shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/feb/23/donald-trump/donald-trump-cites-dubious-legend-about-gen-pershi/

May 2016: Texans are dipping their bullets in pig blood. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/texas-men-train-to-shoot-muslims-and-dip-bullets-in-pig-blood-so-victims-go-straight-to-hell-a7053086.html

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5/21/16 11:27 pm - like a night in the forest

When John Denver says "you fill up my senses like a night in the forest", is that supposed to be a compliment? Because I don't get it.

Forest floors are full of stones and roots, and dead needles if it's a pine forest, and you can't get comfortable. There are mosquitos hanging around, as well as other nasties that want to bite you. It pours with rain, and then the trees carry on dripping on you for hours.

It gets really really dark, with weird rustling noises, which is terrifying if you can't find your way out of the forest. And if you CAN find your way out of the forest, why the hell are you still in the forest?

I'd assume forests are different where John Denver comes from, except I know they're even worse because there are venomous snakes and poison ivy.

So if someone said I filled up their senses like a night in the forest, I'd think they meant I look pretty good from a distance, but when you get up close you'll wish you hadn't. IDK, maybe that's what John Denver meant too.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/368835.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

5/16/16 09:19 pm - koans

The koan thing has always messed with my head. I once had a coworker who converted to Buddhism and got very excited about koans, and for the first few months we had conversations like this:

Me: I can't decide how best to fake up the credit card handling on the staging server. Any thoughts?
Him: Does a man who owns a forest buy his own axe?
Me: I don't know.
Me: ....
Him: ....
Me: Hey, I have a friend who owns some woodland. I could phone him and ask?

It might not have been that particular sentence, I forget now, but I could never make anything of things he said like that. He stopped doing it after a while.

Someone explained the "one hand clapping" one to me once so I get that.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/367924.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

5/5/16 05:45 pm - the liberal wing of Ukip

#voted.
Outside:
"Hello, I'm the Ukip candidate."
"Not at all my thing, I'm afraid."
"Oh, don't worry, I'm on the liberal wing of Ukip."
"The...?"
"Everyone says we're about racism! It's not about racism! It's about space! Like, I proposed at national conference to send a cruise ship to the Med to pick up the migrants and check their papers. Better than letting them drown!"
"Well, yes, better than letting them drown."
"But let me tell about healthcare tourism! People from all over the world come here and get treated free."
"It's not that common for..."
"Pshaw! Have you been to Salford Royal recently?"
"Then why did I need to get health insurance when I lived in the US and came back to the UK?"
"That's what I mean! Foreigners shoulf have health insurance!"
"We have to go now."
"Thanks for talking to me! So many people don't."

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5/3/16 12:20 am - Alexander and the wise, resourceful, no-fool philosophers

[Alexander the Great is questioning some Indian philosophers, and has threatened to execute anyone who gives a wrong answer]

• The first one... being asked which, in his opinion, were more numerous, the living or the dead, said that the living were, since the dead no longer existed.
• The second, being asked whether the earth or the sea produced larger animals, said the earth did, since the sea was but a part of the earth.
• The third, being asked what animal was the most cunning, said: "That which up to this time man has not discovered."
• The fourth, when asked why he had induced Sabbas to revolt, replied: "Because I wished him either to live nobly or to die nobly."
• The fifth, being asked which, in his opinion, was older, day or night, replied: "Day, by one day"; and he added, upon the king expressing amazement, that hard questions must have hard answers.
• Passing on, then, to the sixth, Alexander asked how a man could be most loved; "If," said the philosopher, "he is most powerful, and yet does not inspire fear."
• Of the three remaining, he who was asked how one might become a god instead of man, replied: "By doing something which a man cannot do";
• the one who was asked which was the stronger, life or death, answered: "Life, since it supports so many ills."
• and the last, asked how long it were well for a man to live, answered: "Until he does not regard death as better than life."

-- Plutarch, "Lives", late 1st century

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