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Mar. 11th, 2016 @ 04:38 pm Regarding Racism and Barack Obama
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I used to play a game back in 2008 leading up to and following the presidential election. During that time I worked as a donor services technician at the American Red Cross - I drew people's blood for a living. Every day I went to work and interacted with new and different people, the vast majority of which I would not see again for months, if ever. This afforded me a little bit of leniency in my interactions with them. I generally strived to constrain my conversations to neutral topics, but if they happened to bring up politics, and I happened to express a viewpoint that they didn't like, it wasn't the end of the world.

Let me tell you about this game. It was good times.

Step 1: Wait for one of my donors to express a dislike for Barack Obama.

If you don't recall the political climate in 2008 let me refresh your memory a little. There was a presidential election going on, and the Democratic Party had decided to run a candidate named Barack Obama in their bid to occupy the White House. Barack Obama had become a well known political figure four years previous due to the fact that he had won a U.S. Senate seat in the state of Illinois. During an election where only 54% of the state had voted for the Democrat's presidential candidate (John Kerry), 70% of the votes for the senate position went to Barack Obama. America was impressed. But not all of America.

Step 2: Express that I also didn't feel that Barack Obama's policies were right for our nation.

During the months leading up to the presidential election in 2008 there were, understandably, a lot of people who felt that Barack Obama was not the right candidate for the office. And that's okay. Was I one of those people? Well, no. I lied to my blood donors regarding this matter, and I did so shamelessly. The first MANY times I did this were with the intent of reducing conflict - blood flows better when you're relaxed; causing a donor to be tense from an argument about political viewpoints doesn't help the end goal of collecting blood and saving lives.

The majority of the blood donors that I spoke with during this time who expressed a dislike for Obama as president kept the conversation to topics of policy and platform and were able to express logical reasons for their feelings on this matter. Some of them, however...

Step 3: Wait until the donor said something racist about Barack Obama.

As the election drew closer and especially in the weeks after the election results became known, I kept hearing more and more offhanded comments about Obama, not regarding his political platform or the decisions that he had made as a member of the Senate, but instead regarding his skin color. And for a while I did my best to ignore these. But then one day, I told one of my donors...

Step 4: Reveal that when I had said I didn't think that Barack Obama was the right leader for this country, what I actually meant was that I planned to cast my vote for Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate who just happened to be a black woman.

I lied. Again. I honestly didn't know anything about the Green Party's platform at the time, but I was tired of hearing racist remarks from people. The first time I did this was at a blood drive where one of my co-workers who was working at the donor bed next to mine was black, and I realized that if I didn't say something to shut down what my donor was saying, I was complicit in their hate speech, and I was not comfortable with that.

Was this this right reason to take a stance? Probably not. Should I have acted a LOT sooner rather than turning a blind eye to the things that people had said to me previous to this point? Probably. Will I make the same mistake in the future and fail to address a racist comment in hopes of avoiding conflict? ...I would rather not answer that question right now.

But the point of the matter is this: It shut him up. The words I said made the blood donor that I was working with stutter comically and then go quiet for the rest of the donation.

Step 5: Watch as my donor backpedals awkwardly and tries to explain why what they said wasn't racist before falling into an awkward silence.

What was simultaneously the best and most angrifying part of this process was the fact that the more times I did this, the more apparent it became to me that there was a small but vocal subset of people who were perfectly happy with blindly assuming that anyone who didn't support Barack Obama must have ALSO done so AT LEAST IN PART because they didn't like his skin color. They felt that when I said that I didn't support his policies, I was actually communicating with them in a secret code, telling them that I also felt that Obama was wrong for the position at least partially because of the fact that his skin was a different color than my own.

And honestly, that's kind of terrifying to me.

How many times did I follow all five of the above steps through to completion? Maybe about ten. Not enough to make for a statistically significant sample, but definitely enough to shape my opinion that when people argue that Barack Obama is disliked for his political leanings alone and not at all for his skin color, they are either shockingly naive or, more likely, lying through their teeth.
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Feb. 12th, 2016 @ 02:14 am Cranial Spiders
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Doctor: (Holding a transparent print of an X-ray) Well, the bad news is that it looks as if you have a mild case of cranial spiders.
Patient: Wait, What?!
Doctor: (placatingly) Oh don't worry. It's not as bad as it sounds. It just means that you have tiny spiders living in your cranium.
Patient: ...
Patient: (Yelling) I'm pretty sure that is EXACTLY as bad as it sounds!
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Oct. 4th, 2015 @ 05:43 pm We were all stories once...
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"We were all stories once, each and every one of us. And we remain stories. But too often we allow those stories to grow banal, or cruel, or unconnected to each other. We allow the stories to continue, but they no longer have a heart. They no longer sustain us."

Charles DeLint, "The Onion Girl"

It's been ten years since I quoted Charles DeLint in my live journal. I thought that maybe it was about time that I did it again.
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Aug. 4th, 2015 @ 12:13 pm It's true, and I will tell you so!
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A group of three people in their early to mid twenties, clearly friends, huddle around a table at a coffee shop. Clearly they've been conversing for a while, but only recently has the conversation switched to the topic of their friend Clive.

Man: I just don't know about Clive sometimes...
Woman1: What do you mean, what's not to like about Clive?
Man: He's an alright guy, I guess... but sometimes just starts crying at the weirdest things...

The setting changes to the interior of a dark apartment Clive sits on his couch, and while the television isn't visible, the changing light reflecting off of the wall behind him definitely implies that it's on. He appears to be crying quite heavily.

Clive: (Sobbing) Schlitz veitz to you too, David! (Further crying noises) Schlitz veitz to you too...

We return to the coffee shop, where it's not clear that everyone has been thinking about Man's previous statement.

Woman1: ...yeah.

All three nod in awkward agreement
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Feb. 16th, 2013 @ 02:12 pm From a discussion about time travel and paradox
But what if, for example, the structure of time itself doesn't require there to be a creation event for any single individual. What if the fact that you existed when pressing the button is enough for the universe as a whole to accept that you continue existing the moment after as well? Time and space are these huge, indifferent, non-sentient things - who's to say if they'd give the slightest care about a tiny little inconsistency like you?

Now I know it seems strange and impossible when you think about it from the perspective of a human being who has no choice other than to live their life within the flow of time, but what does our perception and perspective matter, really? Let's look at it from a different angle for a second. Think of time for a moment not as a thing that you exist within, but simply as a fourth dimension not so unlike the other three that we're more intimately familiar with.

In the book "Slaughter House Five", Kurt Vonegut describes what human beings must look like to creatures who are able to perceive the fourth dimension in its entirety alongside the other three, rather than a sliver at a time like we're more accustomed to doing. It's been a year or thirteen since I read the book, and I'm unable to find the exact quote, but if I recall correctly, we're described as being like long thin worms stretching from the moment of our creation to the moment of our demise - spanning every second in between, and tapering at the ends. Forgive me, I'm sure his words were better than mine.

Well, if that's the case, then the act of pressing the button wouldn't erase your entire existence. At the very worst, it would cut you in half - but would that necessarily kill you? A worm can go on living if you cut it off pieces of it - why not a human being? Of course, instead of tapering gently at your front end, you'd just have a ragged stump, a terrible wound in the structure of your fourth dimension - you would have been, after all, uprooted, torn from your place in time and space.

Personally, this is where I think the real fun begins. Now that we have a scenario where it's possible for you to continue existing after the button is pressed (and this certainly isn't the only explanation where you could go on existing, either) we can move forward with imagining how both you as an individual and time as a whole is affected by your paradoxical choices: Imagine what effects would this have on you; your health; how you're able to perceive the universe around you. Imagine how the changes that you've made to time effect not just the series of events that come after, but the structure of time as a whole!

There are so many options, so many possibilities. So many ways that you can make it all work out! Wow, this is why I love being able to imagine impossible things!

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Taken from a conversation at on Reddit.
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Jul. 19th, 2012 @ 02:11 am a rant
I arrived back from Kalamazoo Tuesday night to discover that my apartment smelled like sewage. I checked everything in the apartment - the toilet was fine, the litter boxes were clean, etc.

I went to turn off the air conditioner to see if the problem was something in the vents, and I discovered that there was nothing that I could do to the thermostat to convince the fan in the basement to stop blowing, So I went to the lease office to let them know that there was an issue. The lady from the lease office (who is awesome) and I went down in the basement to check out my heating and cooling unit: Basement is flooded and full of sewage.

In the process of investigating the situation in the basement, we discover two things:

1) my air conditioner isn't working. It's just blowing up cool air from the basement. This explains why I wasn't able to get the temperature below 80.

2) So long as the base of my heating and cooling unit is full of sewage, my apartment will continue to smell like sewage.

The lady from the lease office assures me that the basement will be clean before the end of the day.

So the HVAC guy comes out to look at my air conditioner and after about an hour of having me run up and down the stairs to turn the breaker for it off and on (I insisted on being the person who did the running - I need the exercise), he determines that the compressor is fried - it's probagbly cheaper to get a new unit. They're gonig to be quoting my complex for both costs and the lady from the lease office has already told me that it's likely they'll just replace the whole thing. I'm cool with that - it wasn't that hot of a day and I'm generally comfortable in the heat.

Just as the HVAC guys are leaving, the cleaning guys arrive! They spray down the basement, suck out all the water and sewage, and then bleach the crap out of it. SO CLEAN!

...so now the base of my heating and cooling unit is full of bleach.. And for a while I couldn't get it to stop blowing - it took me stupid long to realize that I can just throw the breaker for the furnace and the fan will turn off.

Now my apartment smells like bleach - So badly that my eyes still sting two hours after leaving. I've left the windows open and a fan blowing in clean air in hopes that my cats won't be neagatively affected by this. And of course it's the night when It's finally going to rain buckets. My fingers are crossed that my apartment will be dry and bleach free when I get home.
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Apr. 19th, 2012 @ 05:07 pm Job interview
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Man: (In an incredibly smooth voice) One last question: Do I make you (dramatic pause) Horny?
Woman: ...what?!
Man: Do I fill you with the desire to (dramatic pause) engage in sexual activities?
Woman: ...no. (said almost as if it's a question, in order to imply "are you serious?")
Man: Good! Excellent! We need someone with that level of... strength and resolve. Consider yourself part of the team!
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Apr. 9th, 2012 @ 07:50 am Dream
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I had a dream last night that my mom had bought some dwarf children with big harry arms from a trade caravan that was passing through. She had bought them in order to cheer up my brother, who was wheelchair bound (mightily inconvenient, because he was upstairs when it had happened and thus was unable to come down.) The dwarf children seemed to be having fun playing around the old and Mangy lion that lived in our yard. Mother and I left them to and stepped inside so that she could mix up Shane's medicine.

I was bringing it upstairs to him when I tripped and a few drops of it splashed into my eyes. When I reached the top of the stairs I wiped my eyes clear, but the world was still fuzzy and seemed to sway and shimmer with the most unusual colors. I looked down the stairs to see the lion at the bottom, only made from dancing splinters of gold and copper and with red glowing eyes the pulsed along with my heart beat. It turned its head, though for a moment, a black and white shadow of its face remained staring at me, its lips twitching as if it were whispering something too quietly for me to hear. Then it roared, but the sound of its voice was overlaid with electronic distortion and the sound of metal grinding against metal.

I backed from the stairway, but the world was still lurching, so I fell to my hands and knees, and then crawled to my brother in his wheelchair. I spoke to him and my voice as well came out with more than a hint of electronic distortion: "I think that your medicine is LSD," I told him, "This does not seem to me like it would be the best idea."

Shane responded only with a smile and by letting his nose and lips melt a little.

I awoke relieved to find my perception of the world correct in all respects.
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Dec. 15th, 2011 @ 01:49 pm Gasoline Discount
My local gas station has this amazing deal where you can save five cents per gallon of gas that you purchase if you sign up for a credit card with them. FIVE CENTS! It's amazing!

Of course, that five cent savings is only applied to the first gallon of every purchase... And it's only discounted from a maximum of one hundred gallons per month...

So, five times a hundred... that's a whopping total of... FIVE DOLLARS PER MONTH! Awwwww shit yeah!!!! And all I have to do to get it is purchase gas there a little more than three times every day!

Best Deal Ever!!!!*

* It's reasons like this that reading the fine print is incredibly important.
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Nov. 2nd, 2011 @ 04:58 am I wrote a short story!
I was told to never try and change who you are for anyone, but I didn't listen. I changed for someone once - a pretty girl who I thought at the time had a heart of gold. When I realized that I didn't like who I had become, I tried to change back, but it turns out that some changes can effect you for a lifetime, and that you can never really change back - you can only change forward. And so I changed and I changed, trying harder and harder to reclaim the things that I had once been, all the while getting further and further away from my ideal by zigs and zags. And then one day, I realized that I had changed so much that I didn't even remember what it was that I was trying to change back into.

Optional Funny ending

And that's why I became a politician!
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