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azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
My readers who don't have access have seen precious little of me lately (and I've been scarce locked as well). Two big reasons.

First, and most delightfully, I am in some sort of relationship; the details are still being worked out, but the important part is that we have each other now. So that's been taking a fair chunk of my social time.

Second, when they took out my uterus and its baggage, it wasn't good news, but it could have been worse. )

I lost my long-term job in February. (I've had some gigs, but nothing long-term or offering coverage.) When the host company switched contractor management providers in 2015, I lost the crappy insurance I'd had through the first contractor management joint. (It would have paid up to $10,000 of something -- which burns through pretty fast if something major happens. I was terrified that something major would happen, and avoided doing anything that would get me diagnosed with a pre-existing condition.) The new contract management joint didn't give health benefits to anyone in their first year. (People with good tech jobs whose workplaces use contract labor: apply pressure to make sure your contractors are taken care of, either individually or by their management companies.)

Since 2015, I've had health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. I was able to sign up after losing the crappy insurance. I picked a plan with good coverage and good reviews, as I was aware that I probably had lurking health issues, and it would finally be safe to treat them. A decade and a half of little to no health care and untreated depression will do a number on you. A decade and a half of consciously avoiding health care to avoid getting a "pre-existing condition" sentence on my record made me avoidant even when I did have coverage, so I wound up avoiding check-ups, avoiding things that would give me poison diagnoses in service of a future when it became a crisis and I would need to be covered. But in 2015, I finally got a diagnosis for my depression. (I should have been diagnosed in 1993. I should have been treated in 1993. I wasn't.) I got some other things diagnosed and treated.

Since my sweetie and I are polyamorous, we're being intentionally careful about our sexual health. On my end, we figured it would be a good idea for me to get some sort of long-acting contraceptive. (My opinions on body-birth for me were well-established; reversible was not a deep concern.) I'd heard that "vaginal bleeding" postcoitally was a sign of cancer, but figured that wasn't me; I had a PCOS diagnosis, and the blood was quite definitely coming from inside the uterus, even if it happened after sex.


So I'm a cancer survivor now.

I'm still paying quite a lot for my insurance. But.
Under the Affordable Care Act, I still get insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, if I switch insurers, my pre-existing conditions (cancer, depression, and other things) are still covered.
I don't have to worry about contraception anymore. My cancer ensured that I will never experience pregnancy or body-birth. But the Affordable Care Act would make sure that I could get access to contraception without worrying about the cost.

It's a fluke that I planned on becoming sexually active again this year. It was endometrial cancer gone rogue, so the surface cells of the cervix tested fine. I wasn't due another pap smear for years.

"How do you feel about having saved your partner's life?" a mutual friend asked my sweetie.
My sweetie looked uncomfortable: they didn't feel they'd done that much. Surely it would have been caught and treated, sooner or later.
Without them, it would have been later. Without them, it likely would have been post-ACA. I've seen friends struggle and beg to get live-saving operations that their insurance wouldn't cover. I thought we, as a country, were past that.

I still have conditions that can and will kill me if left untreated. The cancer may also spring up again. My best hope for a long and happy life is if I jump on a symptom immediately, even if I think it may not be a big deal. I'm scheduled for four pelvic exams a year for the next few, and it'll only drop off to yearly at the five year cancer free mark.

If the Affordable Care Act goes away without something better and more protective in place to catch the people who fall through the cracks of work insurance, private insurance, and insurance through a family member, I am likely to become uninsured. I tend to land jobs that put me above the poverty line, so programs intended to help out people in truly dire financial straits don't apply to me. The job that I worked four years and loved gave me utter crap insurance, because they were allowed to. The insurance disappeared after three years, because they were allowed to do that, too. The insurance I'm paying for now, under the Affordable Care Act, is still about 25% of the value of my rent. (Welcome to the San Francisco Bay Area.)

In a future without the ACA, I'm looking at a few possible outcomes:

  • Hope my state continues to think it's a good idea to strongarm insurance companies into covering people like me.

  • Hope my insurance company thinks it's a good idea to keep covering people like me without government intervention. (Ha ha ha. Ha.)

  • Hope that I land a job that thinks it's worth paying to keep its employees healthy, and does not treat them as disposable once they get sick.

  • Hope that I can marry or otherwise become legally partnered with someone whose job thinks it's worth paying to keep its employees and their spouses healthy, and does not treat them as disposable once they get sick.

  • Hope that if there's someone willing to marry me and share their health care (among other reasons, hopefully), that it remains legal for us to marry.

  • Hope that I get a job that offers health care, at all, period. (The place that only offered health benefits after one year, and stopped employing people at the one year mark, that one was hilarious.)

  • Hope that I can continue to access all of my current medications.

  • Hope that I can continue to access the medications that keep me from dying painfully within the next 2-5 years, and the medications that keep my depression a temporary and treated problem rather than a likely permanent and lethal one. (Again, this is the first year since age 13 or so that I have felt that I'm no worse a suicide risk than any other member of the population without chronic depression.)

  • Hope I don't get sick. Hope the depression doesn't flare up. Hope the ADD lets me focus well enough to hold down a job. Hope I find a job that works with my sleep schedule, rather than against it. Hope the sleep schedule lets me hold down any job, period. Hope that any minor illnesses I get don't jeopardize my job. (Fun fact for those who have never worked a service-industry type job: you find yourself going to work contagious and miserable because you've got to save the sick leave for when you genuinely cannot function or need a doctor's appointment during your normal hours of work. A doctor's note for a multiple-day illness has you spending a day's pay on a doctor visit co-pay or urgent care fee, and the first day of absence may hit your attendance record anyway. Or, if you're a disposable temp, they'll just drop you, because they only care about you not being contagious in their office and they need someone to do the work.)

  • Hope my family doesn't bankrupt themselves trying to keep me alive if I get badly sick.

  • Die, maybe. Probably painfully, with the added indignity of trying to navigate a bureaucratic hell while doing so.

Every one of those options fills me with terror. Bad psychological stuff, and news of the sudden death of a member of my extended circles. )

I'm not okay right now. I've been crying off and on yesterday and today. I am afraid, and I don't know how much the protective bureaucracies that surround the executive branch will be able to shield health care access and workers' rights from the predation of cheap-labor conservatives and the gig economy.

I know I have it much, much better than many. I have a protective and loving family who will try to do what they can to keep me covered and alive. I live in a state that generally wants to take care of its people even when they do it bassackward. I am destined for a state that's of similar opinions.

I am lucky. And I'm terrified.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Once upon a time there was a popular hashtag where women-and-those-who-caucus-with-them had real talk about some of the bullshit they face in regular life. And inevitably, that hashtag attracted the attention of some of the little shits who think that such things are like a conveyor belt of new victims to bully endless lols.

I have a conference on Saturday. This is Wednesday night, and at the time when I poke my face back into my mentions because I see the tab has lit up, and I need to take about 30 seconds between Doing Things and get my brain back a little, it is a half-hour until the "omg it's 3 days ARE WE READY" phone call with my boss on this project. I am a little daunted by the volume of remaining work, but it's Wednesday night and we got this; I'll be working my ass off for the rest of the night and the two subsequent weekdays in order to make it happen.

I poke my face into my mentions, and I see that some little asshole who thinks he's clever has said something he thinks is funny and hopes is hurtful in reply to my tweet.

My response is maybe 5% hurt and 95% murderous rage. I don't own firearms because I don't trust my impulse control, and in that moment I was honestly feeling like there is no possible redemption for the sort of person who thinks that going into a hashtag like that and saying that sort of thing is a fun form of entertainment. If the guy had been in front of me I might have straight-up punched him. Instead, I blockreported him on Twitter.

Street harassment is something that can escalate quickly. They always seem to zoom in on when you've just had an ass of a day, maybe your pain levels are through the roof, and some guy decides that you need to spend more of your attention on HIM, and if things don't go the way he wants them to, he may escalate in weird and unfortunate ways, including actual assault, following you home or until he gets bored, or more extended stalking. It does often end with no assault and no stalking, but the ways in which it could go suddenly and deeply bad with no warning mean that it's appropriate to prepare to respond to a threat to your life when you receive street harassment.

Certain kinds of online harassment have enough in common with street harassment that it rings the same bells, and the now (very sadly) common escalation of SWATing means that online harassment that escalates is a very real physical risk. I didn't think this guy would actually notice that I'd blocked him, and he was harassing enough people that I doubt he'd have been able to trace any consequences-from-Twitter back to me, but it was an unfriendly reminder that like it or not, I live in a society where I'm considered an acceptable target if I call attention to myself in public, or sometimes even if I don't.

As adrenaline spikes go, this one was moderate. It wasn't nearly as significant as the time I didn't inspect the cord of a small bedside appliance before plugging it in, and sparks shot everywhere and I killed the power strip (rest in peace, power strip, you performed your job adequately!) and then I stripped my bed and stayed awake for two hours before putting it back together and going to sleep because I didn't want to literally die in a fire. It wasn't as significant as the time when I enjoined a guy in the middle of a domestic row to go take a walk. I knew I had about 30 minutes to an hour of unpleasant activation in front of me, and that normally I would deal with this by doing something physical, like doing the laundry or other involved housework, to burn off the adrenaline in a safe, relatively comfortable, and productive way.

Instead, I was editing MS Publisher files with an annoying lag because the images were a little too large for my under-powered computer to be happy about shoving around in real time, and in a mindset of write the other fifty-one!. With a phone call in half an hour.

I was also pessimistic about my chances of blockreporting him on Twitter even doing anything. I have heard that Twitter is making some changes to how it handles reporting of bad actors. But based on the experiences of some people who have been getting some Really Not Okay things on Twitter and Twitter saying that it was totally okay -- an account that appears to be 100% trolling that ought to get you suspended from high school and a conference with your mom, but not actually making death threats or rape threats? PESSIMISTIC. That made my reporting feel futile, and the bad UX of the Twitter reporting workflow made me go out of my way to look at shit that I didn't want to be looking at. (Possibly more on that separately.) So instead of the Twitter reporting serving as an outlet for my rage and a point of closure, it amplified it in a way where I wound up more globally despairing of anyone ever being able to do anything about active shitwheels like this dude. Because it's never just one asshole, it's the culture of impunity where one asshole feels like yeah, he can spend a couple hours each day being a dick online and nothing bad will ever happen to him for it. One bad apple puts the rest of the barrel in danger. (That's what that saying means. If you have one bad apple, you had better remove it immediately and completely, or the rest of the apples in the barrel will think that decay is a SUPER GREAT idea, and they should try it too. It does not mean "don't worry about him, it's just an isolated incident.") I'd guess that the Twitter barrel is about 25% rotten at this point.

So combine adrenaline, rage-turned-to-despair, and a very large task in front of me, and now I'm feeling jittery and miserable, and the feelings attach themselves to the conference and the work in front of me. Totally normal physiological reaction. I just don't have the time for it right now, and yet I've got to deal with it. It's not fair, and [insert violent revenge fantasy here].

The other party to the call was running late, and bumped it out half an hour or so, which did give me the time to recover. So by the time we actually got on the call, I was feeling okay and we compared notes and checklists. I still won't get that half-hour back, and the fact that some people will say "oh, it's just a message online, what's the big deal, turn off your computer if you're that sensitive" makes me want to punch the whole world.
azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
So today I also had one of those terrifyingly emotionally naked philosophical-disagreement-except-for-me-it's-less-abstract conversations with Purple, one of the ones that I would not be having in the slightest with someone, except that I trust his intentions toward me, I trust that he generally views women as people, I trust he never intends to hurt me, and I know when he hurts me he is sorry and tries to help in ways which are legitimately helpful. (And I think we're both of us sufficiently grown-up and not all raw nerve endings and have a much more formal and decorous relationship that he's only managed the emotional equivalent of an accidental whack to the funnybone every now and then; with Darkside some 14-ish years ago I was gutted and tearstained practically once a week. Plus that time Darkside literally put a finger up my nose by accident, which was not exactly painful but was completely undignified.)

We started out at http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/wah-wah-why-dont-you-cry-a-little-more-you-little-man-jk-stfu (which someone in a chat had shared largely on strength of the slug), went into high standards, went through some specifics related to scarcity of women in tech, then got into the aforementioned philosophical disagreement. I know I'm being vague. He was very respectful of my emotional labor and thanked me for the screed he knew I was in the process of typing, before I'd sent it. ;) It was a bonding experience, and it took a turn for the somewhat unexpected when the phrase "take offense" came up.

I asked him to unpack what that meant to him, since it's a phrase that has some substantially different meanings to various people, and to be quite honest I often find it dismissive of the actual problem. While he was composing his message about duration, and the offense is the ones that stick with you a while and bother you, I was breaking it down Inside Out style, and mentioned that while one of the common connotations involves surprise and disgust and maybe some anger, what I typically felt when something "offensive" happened was maybe less surprise, certainly disgust, probably anger, and fear.

The fear surprised the fuck out of him.

It shortly became apparent to me that I needed to establish a baseline.

I said that at a conference like Open Source Bridge, I was about 99% confident in my safety. At work, in this workplace, about 95%. At work late (not in his presence), 90%. (I did not mention that his presence is a significant booster.) Familiar grocery store, about 80%. He was nodding along, with a wince at the drop for grocery store. Same grocery store's parking lot, poorly lit, 75%. He seemed a bit startled: oh, the grocery store number was inside the store? Yeep.

16th and Mission BART (outside), 55% (and here being tall, fat, white, armed*, and not on wheels gives me a bit of a buff vs. a woman who lacks some of those). (BART elevator *entirely* depends who's on it with me so I didn't rate it, but I do have 5 9s of confidence that I will encounter some pee there.) DEFcon, no greater than 45% confidence in my general safety, which is why I don't even think about attending. He agreed that personal safety there seemed ... spotty, and mentioned that even as a guy, he would want an experienced buddy at least the first time he went. (I don't believe he's been, either.)

* For the purposes of the mean streets of San Francisco, my mobility cane doubles as a weapon.

Then I rated general tech conferences (not Open Source Bridge) as 75%, which surprised him: we'd been aligning pretty well on most of these (except apparently the grocery store vs. parking lot). Similar to work, as a white technical guy, he would have a 95% expectation of safety at a random technical conference.

I did start unpacking my threat assessment of any given man. I feel like I am more physically confident than a less heavy and less strong woman, because for most (not obviously super-buff, not obviously armed) men under about 175lbs, my physical threat assessment is generally "meh, I could sit on him." (I find this assessment hilarious.) Also my old college roommate Sis taught me to walk with the confidence of the well-armed, and that tends to deter guys looking for easy prey.

Sadly for the discussion, because it was super fascinating and I want to continue unpacking my risk and threat assessments (including the fact that with individual guys it's not necessarily "how likely is he to do something bad" but "how much trouble am I in if he decides to do something bad"), Purple had a pre-existing appointment for dinner with one of the unfamiliar guys who'd been at lunch. I look forward to establishing to a greater number of oblivious tech bros that in fact that women tend to carry a substantial fear burden, and tech does not generally provide a shelter from that fear.

It's one of those invisible things that I don't tend to discuss with *sigh* sadly Purple specifically, because most of the time I feel like I have a lower fear burden than the average woman, and the last time it spiked because of a situation in the workplace, he tried to be supportive because he could see that I was in distress, but he didn't understand it and very clearly communicated that he felt I was freaking out over what was essentially nothing.
azurelunatic: Operation 'This will most likely end badly' is a go. (end badly)

So some student-led class at one of my charming local universities has decided to teach fanfiction. This has come to the attention of my circles courtesy of a torrent of really obnoxiously critical comments left on a few select fics.

As an author, one does take on certain risks when posting anything in public online. However, solicitation of people to go and post shitty things in someone else's space is a dick move. I also think that we can agree that college students who have not mastered constructive criticism are highly likely to say shitty things in the attempt to engage critically. Furthermore, some (not all, but quite a few) fannish spaces have a convention of saying the nice things in the author's space in public, and either sending critical things in private, putting them in your own space, or just not saying them at all (at least in connection to the author) unless the author has asked for it.

If you're trying to interact helpfully with fandom and you send a torrent of kids who have been instructed to be "critical" and are likely to poke their thumb in someone's eye by accident while doing so into a fannish space, you, honorable sentient, are being a dick.

1) Don't require your students to leave a comment. If you need to prove they've interacted with the fic, require them to leave kudos.

2) Instruct them to be good citizens when leaving comments, if they leave comments at all. As academics, you are guests in fandom. As the fandom guide of people who have not internalized fandom mores, you have the responsibility to tell the students about things like this, and what sorts of things are unacceptable in this culture. Don't be a shitbrick.

3) By all means, have them interact critically with the text. Require them to either make their own space -- livejournal, dreamwidth, tumblr, blogspot, facebook -- and post the criticism there, post it to an online space reserved for the class, or send it directly to the instructor. Having your students leave it as a comment is like taking all the critical freshman essays on Moby-Dick/Finnegans Wake/The Fountainhead and packing them up into a tidy bundle and sending them to Herman Melville/James Joyce/Ayn Rand, marked "IMPORTANT FEEDBACK - PLEASE READ". Except those authors are actually dead.
azurelunatic: A metallic blue and black horizontal-handled cane with an elastic loop at the bottom of the webbing wrist strap. (gimp)
Located the appropriate pliers. Fixed my star necklace. Hooray!

Hauled laundry down from car.

[personal profile] vass encouraged me to hunt down and read "BLIT", "comp.basilisk FAQ", and "Different Kinds of Darkness". (I gave "What Happened at Cambridge IV" a skip after reading http://kasmana.people.cofc.edu/MATHFICT/mfview.php?callnumber=mf853 because I'm pretty sure I would leave yelling about stereotypes and representation.) As a result, I have no idea which character of mine has the blackwork tattoo of an almost-parrot with fractal bits, but somebody does, and I don't think they're a particularly nice person. It takes a special kind of person to read a short story about an extreme memetic hazard, and go "You know, I think I want that on my body. Permanently." Only some of those sorts of people are ones I'd like to hang out with.

I hadn't set up xkit properly on Bell. I just reinstalled the blocky thing, and blacklisted Guardians of the Galaxy, and I'm so much happier. Icon for this entry came up on the first click of the random button. Unpopular fannish opinion, including disability, abuse, and Bucky ) Combine that with the stuff about women, and you know? I don't have to see it in the theatre, and when I do hit up Tumblr, I don't have to see it there either. Yay xkit.

Oh god. It's Lovie who has the Parrot tattoo. As a tramp-stamp.

I am a grown adult, and don't need to pout over cafeteria table shenanigans. Invisible Purple was invisible; I had a pleasant lunch with part of Purple's usual table (quietly, in the corner, because I am in fact kind of shy in addition to being introverted).

Various things converged such as I was thinking about some of my youthful shenanigans and the list of people who I trust more than I trust (That Idiot) Shawn. Previous thoughts on the multi-factor slider-bar mixing board of trustedness. The various emotional fuckery, the general shenanigans, and gross physical unsafety, done unto me; no one was actually hurt ) means that actually, a hell of a lot of people are on that list. Purple happened to mention some of his weekend's entertainments. So there was a bit of chatter about trust and such.

I'm doing better with shoes than I was a few years ago. Regularly wearing shoes that were terrible for me basically destroyed my feet, such that walking barefoot on a hard surface like my somewhat springy vinyl kitchen flooring was painful and I could feel damage happening. (And the terrible shoes were the best shoes I had at the time -- I had worse ones, which accelerated the damage.) Being able to afford better shoes (and fix my really good ones) gave my feet the chance to heal. Healed feet means that I can actually sometimes wear thin foam salon sandals while walking down the concrete sidewalk and across the brick courtyard, and while I can tell I shouldn't do it all day, it's not actually unpleasant or dangerous.

Purple noticed that my fingernails were blue and sparkly! He mentioned that he'd already noticed the fingernails when I was showing off my toes. I am very pleased by being blue and sparkly. I noticed in the bathroom mirror that my bangs are starting to glitter a bit. The family genes are starting to kick in. Guide Dog Aunt is a very elegant salt-and-pepper. Aunt-Fayoumis has mostly white hair that's going rusty from her water. My dad is basically Biker Santa. So it's just been a matter of time before it's notable on me. And I'm so very happy that it's coming in silver and glittery. Silver and glittery means that my hair is its own glitter. This is the best, and it's even Kat-safe!

Connie and Mike are teasing me with something involving Mike in some sort of magically altered state of consciousness, which is weird because Mike is kind of a control freak. Which is what makes me super curious.
azurelunatic: Quill writing the initials 'JL' on a paper.  (quill)
Dear writers of fiction, we need to talk. Specifically, about use of mental illness language in a figurative fashion, such as:

Elly had a depressing job.

a rant. )
azurelunatic: a modification of the Oxidizer hazard label reading 'Caution Flaming Asshole'  (flaming)
So, um.

I'm not a mental health professional. I am an observant human being, and I have at least two friends (that I know of, who have told me about it) who have bipolar disorder and who have experienced manic phases.

The following is a sampling of things that either they mentioned or I observed:

Not getting enough sleep because sleep was unimportant compared to the other things there were to do, like:
Reading all the fic.
Cleaning all the things.
Buying random crap.
Ordering random crap online.
Starting amazingly ambitious craft projects with tons of energy and enthusiasm, having bought all the supplies needed and very likely then some.
Sincerely blowing through/fucking up budgeting because of all of the random crap purchased.
Being generally irritable.
Getting in arguments with family and friends that they might have otherwise de-escalated.
Ranting at length and with some heat about topics like bad writing, poor technical and office skills, corruption in the workplace, and the state of the economy.

Not on this list: hurling racially based or gender-based abuse at people on Twitter and other online platforms.


Well, I imagine it's because manic phases seem to amplify people's existing traits and interests up to potentially harmful levels, even if the trait or interest was harmless or unexceptionable. Their existing habits never included bullying women of color who were internet strangers. Therefore, when they had manic episodes, they didn't suddenly start.

As far as I can tell, today's dickbag dude is, in ordinary life, a dickbag. Mania renders him a dickbag turned up to 11.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Background: So there's a current up-in-arms regarding really skeevy crap on Twitter. It goes like this:

Someone (often female) says something that gets the attention of abusive asshats.
Abusive asshats (often male) say things on Twitter that are entirely possibly legally actionable.
Their target complains, usually to Twitter, with screenshots and links.
Support volume being what it has to be, it takes a while to get notice.
The abusive asshat cleans up their account in the interim.
Twitter comes back and says that Abusive Asshat's account is "not currently in violation" of Twitter's terms of service.
This is remarkably unhelpful to the person who's been the target of all this abuse.


I have never been a member of LiveJournal's Abuse Prevention team. I am not a member of Dreamwidth's Terms of Service team. (I am a Dreamwidth spamwhacker, which is a partner department.)

From my experience in conversing with various then-current and former members of LiveJournal's Abuse team, I can say quite firmly that accepting accuser-sourced screenshots of content that is against the Terms of Service of a website is not, and can never be, a form of evidence that can be solely admissable when enacting penalties against an offending account.

Why? Screenshots can be faked.

I am as certain as I can be without having been personally there and witnessed the whole thing go down that 99% of the women on Twitter reporting that jacked-up asshats are promising to enact various forms of appalling violence to them (most of it rapey) have legit complaints. I've seen enough of it happening to know that it's happening and not being exaggerated a large majority of the time. It's got to be against the rules.

But the jackholes in question are sometimes canny enough to make their violations disappear from their Twitter accounts before it gets taken official notice of, and then all Twitter has is the word of the complainant and the screenshot.

There's a technical solution for this, and it's not a "report abuse" button that can be gamed by someone with a huge following on their side.

The technical solution for this is a "preserve and report tweet" button that caches the offending tweet on Twitter's servers, and initiates the reporting process, where the complainant fills out the appropriate forms, making reference to the secured and admissible cached tweet.

After this, no matter if the offender cleans up his account, there is still a record that he said this thing, assuming someone initiated the reporting process. Furthermore, the complainant could be given a Twitter case number to give to law enforcement, and law enforcement could then request testimony from Twitter that the offending tweet was made, in case it's something deserving of criminal or civil charges. The cached copy would remain accessible to Twitter's speaker-to-cops department even after Twitter suspended the account for violations.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Spotted in the wild from someone I don't know: "You don't have my permission to break up with me."

This statement makes a whole fuckton of alarm bells ring, and I want to label every damn one of them.

Let's start with co-opting the language of consent culture to do something that's profoundly opposite.

The consent culture model of relationships is that they are maintained by mutual consent. Once one of the parties has stopped consenting to the relationship, that relationship is over. Even if the other party does not want it to be over.

The process of breaking up can be profoundly unpleasant, and it's not nice to spring that on someone, especially unexpectedly. However, it is less nice, and in fact actively coercive, to make someone remain in a relationship that they no longer consent to.

Not all relationships are good ones. Not all relationships can be repaired. Sometimes despite legitimate efforts on both sides, a relationship can't be repaired. Sometimes only one person is putting in legitimate effort to repair a relationship. Is it fair to that person? Fuck no.

Sometimes relationships include support, shelter, and division of necessary labor. These are horrible but necessary things that will need to be figured out in the breakup, and often are/should be covered by local law. There are eviction laws. Alimony is a thing that exists. Custody battles are a thing. This hits a lot harder when poverty and disability are factors, and the safety nets in the US do not cover people who from every ethical viewpoint fucking ought to be covered.

What else is there?
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
So there is a thing going around the interwebs that attributes the concept that if health insurance discrimination were not a thing, people would be okay with their medical records being open access to some google big wheel.

This is not reflecting reality. Allow me to demonstrate.

Mama doesn't need to know about the STD scare I had in college while banging Shawn and he had collected a new partner.

It is none of my co-workers' business whether I am on the Pill or not.

People have weird ideas about mental illness. There are places and times I don't talk about even my depression, not to mention the more exotic shit.

In particular, that well-meaning lady from the shooting range knows jack and shit, and I don't feel like educating her.

Every now and then I run into someone who is way more into me than I am to them. Medical info is just one more thing they don't need as fuel to make a nuisance of themselves.

And then the blowhards who think because they once knew someone with the condition, this makes them more of an expert than the person living with it & their doctor combined.

Various people who used to bully me don't get anything they could possibly use.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Traditional publishing:

The publishing house pays the author up front for their writing work, and pays other parties (employees or other professional service providers) for their work (including, but not limited to: editing, proofreading, cover art, the actual physical printing of the book); assuming the book sells enough to make a profit, the author will then start to get more money coming in. If the book does not pay for itself, the author was still paid up front. (The author may or may not get further offers from the publisher if the book is a flop.) The author may or may not feel like self-promoting in person or online; the publisher may or may not have requested that the author do these things as part of the contract. An agent may or may not be involved to do some of the tedious work for the author; the agent gets paid as part of the sale of the book.


The author writes the book and then either Does It Themselves or pays for various services in the process of publishing: editing and such if they're into that, maybe some cover art, printing if it's going to be printed, electronic distribution if that's a thing (and Amazon gets their cut if they're the distribution method). The author (and whatever friends and family the author has roped into helping out) promotes the book.

Vanity publishing:

The author writes the book and then pays a "publisher" to do many of the tasks associated with the process of publishing; the "publisher" takes the author's money with both hands, while blowing smoke up the author's ass. The author is responsible for the bulk of promotion and distribution, or the "publisher" may "help" with that for an additional fee. The author is promised that they will get the money from the sale of the books, but meanwhile the author must pay. (A "publisher" that "loans" the author the money to cover publication costs but then expects it to be paid back if the book flops is a wolf in mutton's clothing dressed as lamb, or some such other horribly mixed metaphor conveying backstabbing and trickery.)

How does vanity publishing differ from self-publishing?

The self-published author is generally aware of the expected cash flow of traditional publishing (from publisher to author), and values the access (anyone can do it!) and control (all of the power, all of the responsibility) of self-publishing. The author gets paid themselves (if ever) after the author pays all the other bills.

A vanity-published author is generally not aware of the expected cash flow of traditional publishing, or is actually into paying a stiff surcharge for the convenience of having other people deal with the details (except the details of promotion and distribution, which typically still get dumped on the author). The author gets paid after all the other bills get paid (if ever).
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
There is, as I write this, a great glorious collective ranting session over in [personal profile] synecdochic's journal about the horrors of bras and bra shopping. I am in a right strop tonight.

Read more... )
azurelunatic: Teddybear that contains ethernet switch.  (teddyborg)
So I was reading yet another iteration of the sad woman-in-tech-is-visible, woman-in-tech-is-harassed, woman-in-tech-complains-about-it, men-in-tech-say-mean-angry-and-afraid-things. One of the commenters presented himself as a man in tech who is on the autistic spectrum, is perilously afraid of interaction with other people (particularly women), and who becomes more petrified of accidentally doing or saying the wrong thing, being named-and-shamed, and bringing the wrath of the whole fucking internet down upon his head.

Now, I have sympathy for terror of social interactions. I can't even know what it feels like to be on the spectrum, because as far as I know, I'm not (I was just raised in a society so unlike mainstream for the first five years of my life, and I was unplugged from it enough subsequently that I felt like a very sad and angry Vulcan stuffed into a school of Earth children).

The situation described in the woman-in-tech's entry was an instance of targeted, malicious, knowing harassment that took easily tens of hours to prepare. There is no way that the person doing this was unaware that he was doing something deliberately mean -- whether just "for the lulz", or as revenge, there's no indication. This was not a chance encounter that could have been intended well but come off as creepy. Furthermore, it wasn't even a name-and-shame: she described the situation, but didn't try to identify the (pseudonymous) perpetrator, which she could have done. Read more... )
azurelunatic: Pool noodle inscribed with "Frickin' Clue Bat" (frickin' clue bat)
Every last one of you peeps who have never been on an antidepressant: the next time you are tempted (whether out of ignorance, fear, or some other non- evidence-based reason) to dismiss the entire category as "happy pills", pipe the fuck down.

Of course some people have shitty reactions to antidepressants, either a specific one or entire categories. This includes shitty emotional reactions. Also, a health provider who pushes pills without other treatments is an utter shithole of a system.

However, for the people for whom it works right (with or without other treatments), this is what it does:

Stops the self-reinforcing cycle of shitty life events bringing down brain chemistry and shitty brain chemistry hindering recovery.
Makes it possible for other brain tinkering to work.
Allows a normal range of emotion while preventing the deepest lows from sticking. (Me off St. John's Wort looks a lot like me on, until I get in a shitty mood and don't recover.)
Saves people's goddamn lives, jobs, relationships.

"Happy pills," my ass.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Why does one entry appear on many different pages? If I want to link to an entry, what page should I link to?

Most modern blog sites and formats allow a blogger to write an entry once, post it, and then have it automatically show up in several different places. Depending on how fucking stupid the blog engine is *cough*Tumblr*cough*, it may be difficult to figure out which copy is the "master" copy, and how to link to it so that people from the future can find it too.

Let's use Dreamwidth as an example. This entry, being public, will show up in a bunch of places:

Read more... )
azurelunatic: "Sanity" St. John's Wort flower.  (sanity)
  • I don't want children. This will always be the number one reason, and it would be sufficient to stop the list here.
  • fish and more )
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
(Imagine a half-hour of this looping until you refresh the page.)

gif )
azurelunatic: Computer with a wind-up key captioned "Which version of STUPID are you running?" (stupid)
I am still very angry with whatever dick in product management felt that it was necessary or appropriate to combine the following two sentiments:

"I am so excited about the upcoming product release! The date has been pushed up! THIS IS WONDERFUL!"

"In order to accommodate the upcoming early release of this product, some features were dropped. This very popular feature was one of them."


No. No, I am not happy, and I am angry that you are so happy about this. Please go rinse your inbox with an appropriately destructive kind of acid, and let's never speak of this again.

When announcing something that you know is going to be bad news, on the ticket for the feature in question, the early release of version mango-shitting-cockatoo (the upgrade from destructive-parrot) is a neutral thing at best, not a good thing. You can be as exited as you want on the main blog, or in the press releases, and you can link to the main blog or press releases, but on the bug itself, this is a neutral thing.

It might even be appropriate to apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment. But "I'm excited to announce", multiple exclamation points, and "cheers" in the ticket itself? What the actual fuck, man.
azurelunatic: Computer with a wind-up key captioned "Which version of STUPID are you running?" (stupid)
Dear Mac user,

I write this letter to you because of the situation that you currently find yourself in. You are a Mac user through and through, and circumstances have been kind enough that you have had little to no experience using a Windows machine, at least, not really within the past decade, not for longer than it takes to check your webmail on someone else's running, logged-in machine.

Unfortunately, the two things you have in front of you now are terrifying: a Windows machine, and a set of instructions that make no earthly sense. I mean, it's telling you a procedure to carry out, and there are forms, widgets, and labels on the screen in front of you that are as described in the instructions, but the things that the instructions are telling you to do are so ever-loving stupid and counter-intuitive that your every computer-using instinct is telling you that this is Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! and there is no earthly way that the instructions could possibly be correct, because who the fuck would design such a system?!?!

My appeal to you is simply this:

The instructions, while almost certainly wrong in every particular of intuitiveness, usability, and/or earthly logic ... are probably correct in the absolutely piddling detail that this is how you have to do this thing to make that work on Windows.

I'm very sorry.

Please follow the instructions exactly as they are written if you don't have a Windows expert around to ask.

If you do have a Windows expert around to ask, follow their guidance and that of the instructions, even if feels wrong in every possible way.

I'm very, very sorry.

the administrative assistant who had to play tech support for the usability contractors this morning
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Party A: *confesses a vulnerability*
Party B: *makes a tasteless and hurtful response*
Party A: B, that was immensely hurtful.

Party C: A, you really hurt B's feelings.
Party A: B really hurt my feelings.


(apparently if I don't deal with things adequately at the time, they will sit around in the back of my brain and then ambush me when I'm sufficiently sleep-depped to already hate the world.)


azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
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