Nov 5

I have work to do but I can’t bare to stay awake, I’m so tired. I plan on going to bed immediately after I get home from work at 8:30 pm tomorrow, too. Watching the primary election results were too stressful, I can’t take doing that to myself tomorrow, too.

I’ll either feel marginally better, or a shitload worse.

I’m laying in bed thinking about how I should count my blessings, but there’s a constant fear about the future. Climate change, definitely – where are we going to be in ten years? – politics – are we ever going to build a system FOR HUMANS and not FOR CAPITAL?

I have plenty to be thankful for today, but I can’t help but worry that there might be global disaster in the future. Can I have a family? Will I live to retire? Will we have to leave the country? Will I have to physically fight fascists?

2 depressed 2 make art

I haven’t really worked on the game at all in the past ten days. I want to do some of the more artistic parts of the game, but depression just fucks up my ability to brainstorm and come up with ideas. I hope there’s some good news after tomorrow’s election. I’m just so tired. Here’s the latest screenshot of what I have in the game:

from itch.io https://moosader.itch.io/undead-debt/devlog/54995/2-depressed-2-make-art
via IFTTT

The Problem with the Public Domain

Let me tell you about one of my more strange hobbies: making content in constructed languages. I can draw, I can play the piano, I can animate, and I can program video games and utilities. I’ve made multiple blogs for different languages, such as Esperanto, Ido, and Láadan, and I have a YouTube channel for conlang-related videos (I moved all my separate conlang channels into one.)

But, coming up with original content can be hard. Especially if you’re short on time (and very obviously not doing this work for any sort of income), it doesn’t make sense to make 100% original content in an obscure language that only a small amount of people learn. Luckily, we have the Public Domain. There are public domain TV shows and movies, books and comics, and even music. Certainly, we could spend some time translating works in the Public Domain to build up the library of entertainment available in conlangs!

But here’s the problem: Due to the U.S.’s shitty copyright law items don’t enter the Public Domain until a very long time after it was originally created. According to Wikipedia,

The public domain will reopen on January 1, 2019, when works from 1923 lose their copyright protection.

The implication here isn’t just that we’re stuck with translating boring black-and-white oldies (though I do find this to be pretty boring fare to work with), but something else: The past sucked. (Though that isn’t to say that today doesn’t also suck.)

I am hesitant to really rework anything in the Public Domain because any movies or TV from then are going to be 99.999999% white and contain a lot of racism and sexism. It’s not stuff that I want to watch, and when I’m translating for a feminist language like Láadan, it’s sure as hell not something I want to put into the language’s culture.

It drives me up a wall that the only things there are to choose from are so monocultural. Adventure books are about men going on adventures, winning women as prizes. Television shows are about the stay-at-home wife and the clean-cut, pipe-smoking dad. Movies and cartoons can often contain super racist depictions of Black people, Asian people, Native Americans, … really, anyone who isn’t freaking white.

Our television today is already white-washed enough as it is, but if we have to go 95 years in the past to not break copyright law, we’re sure as hell not going to fare much better.

Email is obsolete

When was the last time email was actually useful?

If my students have a question, I’d much rather them text me to make sure I can find their messages – my work inbox is so full of extraneous stuff that I lose so many student emails. Plus, with Canvas, I essentially have two inboxes for work, and sometimes students email me in one and not the other and I miss things.

My personal email? I don’t usually get email from friends, people I know. Who gets personalized emails? I send myself email reminders more than I actually use it for communication. My email inbox is constantly bombarded with chain emails.

How many times have I gone through my inbox, clicking every email I don’t want and manually unsubscribing? How many times have I tried setting up filters? How many times have I gone to websites like Twitter and told it to not send me emails? I can’t win the battle.

Email is broken and obsolete. No email solutions currently over a realistic, usable way to organize your emails and keep things tidy. Email is currently just a dumping ground.

Halloween Costumes

It’s been a long time since I’ve done trick-or-treating, or even to invest time in making a costume for myself. This year I’ve been mentoring some refugee families, and they are like family to me.

For Halloween this year I made costumes for the kids and threw a party for one family (the other couldn’t make it this time). All the girls wanted to be Disney princesses and I volunteered to make their costumes. I’ve never bought Halloween costumes, I’ve always made my own, even roughly. I’m not very good at sewing, but I like experimenting and learning. Even though their dresses ended up pretty rough (it’s also hard to make costumes for other people; at least with myself I can keep testing haha), but they seemed pretty happy with their dresses.

The kids were so excited to go trick-or-treating, running and shouting everywhere, as their mom and I tagged along  behind. Their dad and my husband stayed at home with the hookah and gave candy to other neighborhood kids.

I remember how much I used to like trick-or-treating as a kid, and how exciting it is, and I’m really happy my “nieces” and “nephew” had a great time! 🙂 <3

Exhausted

I am so intensely exhausted.

I hope that there is good news after the election next week, so I can at least have a fraction of weight lifted off me. It’s hard to stay feeling good when it feels like the world is going to shit.

Change the world: Posting messages

Speak to all

We can talk to our friend groups and family all we want to try to change their ways, but our own sphere of people is quite small. We need to loudly exclaim that fascism is not permitted, that transmisia, islamomisia, racism, and sexism is not permitted, that the alt-right and nazis are not permitted, that Trump is not permitted. This should go beyond our own sphere of people and into our local communities.

Where we all go

We all must buy food and clothes. Many of us go to bookstores, the mall, and other places. We need to speak where those unlike us will hear.

I’m not suggesting that we stop random people in the grocery store and talk to them – you can only be present for a short amount of time at any given place.

What I want is for our messages to be ubiquitous, unignorable, visible.

Posting messages

Here’s my proposal: print some signs (or make your own) and post them anywhere you go in your daily life. Don’t ask permission. Carry some messages and some scotch tape with you and post it near a door, in aisles, or wherever.

Of course they will get removed – but we keep posting them discreetly.

We need to speak up and stop being silent. We need to reach more people than just our own friends and family. We need our communities to understand that our country is in danger and that people are dying, being abused, and being traumatized. We need to stop this, and we need to tell our voting peers that this is not allowed.

* Trans people deserve to live banner & this project is inspired by the one flown at the World Series.

 

Media

Museum of Illusions at Union Station

Went to the Museum of Illusion today over at Union Station! Here are some pictures and videos. 🙂

Overwhelmed

It’s hard to shake this feeling of being utterly overwhelmed by life. Whether it’s simple things like keeping my house clean or bigger things like how I can make a difference in the world, it’s too easy to feel lost these days.

I keep thinking about how we grow up learning about super heroes or magical girl squads or whatever else – single people or small groups that protect the rest of us from the evils of the world. But as an adult, it leaves me feeling helpless; wanting to be a super hero, but that not being an actual option. A single person cannot save the world.

I used to stress my brain a lot wondering how I could use my leet computer skillz to help the world, or to protest in some way, or otherwise for activism. Then some children got stuck in a cave and I watched Elon Musk on Twitter fuck around with a stupid unwanted tube he invented and delivered with who knows how much testing. Instead of just using a more useful resource – money – to fund other people to save those kids. The kids got out safe thanks to professional divers, and Musk just left his stupid death-trap tube in a cave in another fucking country and tried to play it off, like “in case somebody needs it later.” That event made me realize that I don’t need to necessarily use my knowledge of programming to do Good if it just isn’t what the problem calls for – don’t try to egotistically shove a square block into a round peg.

And with the singular super hero… a single person isn’t important. A single person is vigilantism. A group of people is a movement. And a group requires individual people to be part of it to go anywhere.

And there are good groups that exist. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed I think about all the other people here who want to do Good and make the world better for others. I know I’m not alone, even though I look at politics and the alt-right movement and just see pure evil.

Groups exist like KC4Refugees – they don’t have to exist, but they do. A volunteer organization where we all work together in different ways to support the refugee community here in Kansas City. Sometimes I think about how I’m helping out only a couple of families with my volunteering, but then I remember that I’m part of a group and each person is helping their own family, or doing organizational volunteering to get families the resources they need. And, the families I mentor are happy I’m there for them. Even if I’m “just” helping the kids with math homework, or “just” tutoring the stay-at-home mothers in English, or “just” helping them move from an old home to a new home, I am helping enrich their lives, and I’m hopefully drowning out any of the Islamomisia they may hear second-hand with my love. I know that if we’re out together and they are targeted first-hand, I will physically be there to protect them.

But, back to feeling overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, I don’t think anything is going to change until the end of this semester. I’m applying for software development jobs again because I’m really craving the routine, and I need to not be bringing so much work home with me every day, every week. We’re reaching the end of October and we still have November and December to go, and it seems like such a long time. I’m so burnt out, and I’m just trying to power through. Until then, I feel like I’ll be a less-than-ideal house keeper, wife, friend, game developer, artist, and so on. Like I have to take all my creative inspiration and drive and just shove it down into a box because if I think about all the things I want to do but can’t, I’ll just dive deeper into depression. But it’s always there. I feel like I’m just a robot getting through this semester, executing the tasks I need to perform, all the while feeling like the world is falling apart around me, and feeling helpless to affect our politics, our policies, or to somehow remove the alt-right threat.

I’m just so drained.

Let’s take a step back

When I think about what I get out of Social Media, and what I wish it looked like…

…I just think of blogs and RSS feeds.

Of course blogs weren’t the best for keeping up with everybody back in the day – everyone had blogs on different services, and they lacked privacy settings except in cases where your friends were using the same blog service. But that’s basically the same thing as what we have now, right? You can set privacy settings on Facebook, but of course the only people who can read your non-public posts must also have Facebook accounts. Now, we have so many networks you have to go to all these separate websites to see your feed.

We’ve gone from TV to cable to streaming to every network having their own streaming service, and we’ve gone from blogs to social networks to TOO MANY SOCIAL NETWORKS.

What did we do back in the day if we had information from a lot of sources we wanted regularly? RSS feeds. Google Reader was one of the most popular ones, but then they decided to do away with theirs. Sites like Twitter and Facebook favor APIs now over any sort of RSS feeds (even for public content).

I feel like I’d be so much more happy with my “social internet experience” (and a LOT less overwhelmed) if I could just check everything in one single place, and only post to one single place. Ideally, I could use a single website in lieu of Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter, and just post to different “channels” with different privacy settings based on that.

But, most social networks we use today are proprietary; it is not in their best interests to let you combine all your services into one with webhooks or RSS feeds or anything else. We’re always the product, and the software no longer serves us.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to post to my blog more, and rely on what webhooks I can to distribute links to the posts on my other pages. At least with an open source blog hosted on my own server I have control over my own data – when I delete it, I ACTUALLY delete it; it isn’t just left on someone else’s server “marked” as deleted but still there.

Do you have a blog?

Give me your blog link! I’ll try to find a decent RSS reader and start keeping up with people that way.