Tag: speakup

New Flashfic: Cross the Line

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There is an argument that video games can cause violence. I know for a fact that for many people, it brings solace. It brings relief. And there are circumstances where violence is sadly necessary.
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Simply put, when drink and the night took him, that’s when she came alive.

Phosphor colored dots on a desktop screen; in that digital world she wielded great powers and a blade she found so long ago, when the dragon overtook the High Reaches and she had been sent on a quest by a desperate villager who was willing to part with the town treasure and even promise to help her learn the secrets of the fighting warrior monks of the Lost Valley who left their scrolls of martial techniques in a jar in the local tavern when they ascended to a higher plane.

She had to wipe blood off with the back of her hand. It had been a bad night.

It was hard to look out of one eye. She hadn’t checked it in a mirror, yet. She didn’t want to. Occipital fracture. That was what her face was screaming. But she didn’t know.

He said she was so stupid.

She could hear the music; she rode it to the stars in a ship that had a name like Bravery or Freedom or Star’s Reach and in that moment when the hyperspace engine hit and the universe blurred into motion, she knew there would be worlds ahead with monsters and alien artifacts and mysteries for her to crack, as pirates would come at her and rebels for her to fight or maybe join and she would level her blaster at them and demand to meet their leader.

She didn’t dare turn the volume actually up, in case he found her and took even that small mercy.

Her hands were cramping up something fierce. She tried to remember what she did about them last time. That was when she’d overcooked the pasta. He’d slammed the pot down on her hands. She was grateful it had cooled down some.

She was fairly certain she’d soaked them in milk. She’d have to do that soon.

She could smell the jungle, feel its heat, even the heat of the two guns in her hands, barely cooling down as she cut down wild animals and smugglers searching for that lost treasure because it was actually the key to an ancient civilization that had been destroyed because its power had grown too great and its ability to change the fabric of reality itself had threatened the gods so they had sunk the lands of those powerful people and relegated the whole thing to history.

Why couldn’t she stop crying?

It wasn’t so bad a life. The rent was paid on time. There was enough for food. Sometimes, it was tough to get the bills off. She had a hard time thinging. Thinking. Words could get hard. He knew she was slow.

He didn’t drink every night. He wasn’t angry every time.

The invaders were on the march again and her army was the only thing standing between them and their conquest of the kingdom and she’d been saving her mechanical legions for last, towering things of steel and steam that would lumber above the field and slaughter wide swaths of the enemy but it was sometimes hard to stop them and they’d stumble off the map and into villages and towns allied to her and when she wasn’t concentrating on leading her troops she could imagine virtual screaming of virtual children and women and innocent people.

In the end it was all her fault.

She was too dumb and too fat. Too ugly. Too tired. Too clumsy. She’d only had a couple of years at college. He’d have four. Her friends had even less education. That’s why he didn’t want her seeing them anymore. Their faces remained a thumbprint on her memories, blurred with time, connected to random names like Nancy or Jolene or Bobby.

She was lonely but it wasn’t safe for her to be alone. That’s why he was there for her.

There was a gun in her hand and she looked at it and she held it out and she blew away the driver’s face and she jumped into his car and drove away; the cops came racing after but there was another car, another driver she could take down and that led to the chase on the bridge where she got a hold of a cop car leaving the cop bleeding on the road but the best was when she got herself a tank.

He had a gun.

It was by the side of the bed, in a drawer. He’d never taken it out but he would look at the drawer sometimes. If he was truly angry. There was a phrase he’d use. “Insurance.” Against criminals. Or enemies. Or stupidity. Or clumsiness. Her best behavior would be rewarded. That was always his promise.

He let her know she was never at her best. At least around him.

The oldest game, so simple; two lines maybe an inch long, white and pure, on each side of the screen with a dashed line in the center and simple bright scores on top and a square ‘ball’ that would bounce back and forth and you’d have to concentrate, hard, not to lose it as the ball went faster and faster between the two lines, and even when she had to squint between the tears, in the end she’d always find a way to win.

She pulled the gun out.

She stood over him and she checked if it was loaded. It was. She took the gun and pointed it at his head, an inch away. The distance of a line of phosphor on a tiny screen. Her finger trembled on the trigger. She put the gun in her mouth. There was this horrible metal taste, oil like the backfire of a car. Her hand trembled with restraint. She closed her eyes. She pulled the gun out of her mouth, pointed it, put it back in, out again. It all blurred together; her, him. A single shot.

It was louder than she could imagine.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Intersections, Personal Tags: Tags: ,

Are ya STOOPID or just DEAF?!

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When Facebook decides that “Dakota Access Pipeline Facts” is appropriate for your feed, and then posts this– THE SOURCE OF WATER FOR THE STANDING ROCK SIOUX IS NOT NEAR THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE — the appropriately sarcastic response I came up with was this:

I like this argument, better known as the openly racist “Gosh, aren’t Injuns Stupid?” argument.

Here’s a better one. We’re going to come over to your home and we’re going to dump some radioactive waste under it. You said “no”? Well, too bad. We’re going to whine at you 200 more times and then we’ll call in the cops to do it anyway.

But don’t worry! We’ll dig a -really- deep hole. Your kids’ll be fine, right?

Oh shut up! You’re not a nuclear scientist! How can you tell what’s “good” underneath your home? Our paid scientists say radiation is good. The SUN gives off radiation. You don’t hate the sun, right?”

Categories: Personal Tags: Tags: ,

The Importance of Journalism

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In order to destroy a system, you need to knock out people’s faith in it. The big two targets are justice and truth. Mock the judiciary and set up an alternative “safer” version. Sow enough misinformation among the media that no one feels they can trust it.
Admittedly, the media walked into this situation before the current administration moved in. The “24-hour news cycle”, while tempting to do with modern technology, ended up finding that there wasn’t -enough- relevant news to fill up the time. To keep ratings up, they slid into -entertainment as news- and started derailing serious journalists.
Ouch.
We need to have frank and open conversations NOW on how to restore/support these institutions before they get subverted. For the courts I have no easy answer. Open support helps. Calling the justices, sending out consistent memos about what they do, filling the airwaves with their effect would likely help. Part of me wants to suggest having justices drop their party affiliation (but keep voting how they want) but I understand that messes with primaries in some states and that sucks :(
Re: journalism, that’s easier. We need to target and support serious journalist, people who are trustworthy. We need to cultivate students of journalism and give them a place to be.
I think the next incarnation of CNN has to be local-based. National / international news in the morning, afternoon, evening. Localized niche targets (ecoregion based) for all the other hourse of the day.
Citizen journalism alone will let us get sucked into panics because we don’t have time or training for a chunk of it. And there’s a hellishly efficient propaganda machine lined up to work against us.
We need to contact the journalist schools and meet people. We need to have a place for them to be. We need to support them with coffee and food and resources. Here’s where citizen journalism can be -very- important. We can offer them leads.
In the meantime, there’s a suggestion coming from the First Church of Coyote (until we get our act together):
News, folks. Right now, it’s like the weather. So report it like it is. Seen it, feel it? 100% chance of feds. Saw it from afar, 80%. You get the idea. Rate your reporting so people got an idea of how real it is. Don’t report the thunderstorm when all you’ve got is a view of balmy skies and a screen.

Categories: Los Angeles, Personal Tags: Tags: ,

The Terrible Twos: a defense against irrational people

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Apparently someone who shouldn’t have a twitter feed has a twitter feed. Since their words don’t match their actions, I’d like to take a moment to address what to do with this sort of trolls.

I’d like to call this the Terrible Twos defense.

Earlier today, I responded on a forum mocking two guys who were coming down hard of a poster looking for advice. They were shaming the poster, calling folks snowflakes. I came in swinging. One of them came back at me with “Do you get laid often?”

In context, he was trying for the standard male insult of “too much time on your hands.”

My response was simply “Yes. Thank you for asking. You?”

He wasn’t really sure where to go from there so I entered into a dialogue with them, not an insult contest. Last I saw, he still didn’t know how to answer. His buddy went straight for a homophobic insult and managed to get himself immediately booted from the forum.

At several points, I’ve talked about putting energy where you want it. There is nothing more infuriating for these trolls than people politely going about their business and not paying attention to them.

Imagine a full house at a conference with a known internet troll where everybody’s drinking a latte and talking to each other because they are -bored- with his display. Not mocking. Not giving energy. Taking it away.

Trevor Noah did it better. I saw a sample of a quiet but scary protest at the second Aliso Canyon. So let them bring their words. We’ll fill their spaces, smile and let them know we’ll pay attention when the tantrum is over.

Categories: Personal Tags: Tags:

Flow and Resistance

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Take time to assess your position. Turn off all the media links. Drink some tea, have a cup of espresso, sip on a cool glass of water.

Reflect.

Have something handy to write on. If ideas come into your head, jot them down. But think about these questions?

What have I achieved?

What have I achieved?

What have I achieved?

Your brain might answer you first “not much.” or “nothing” but keep asking. Pay attention to the little things. Did you comfort a friend? Did you offer help? Did you reach out for help? How was your time and energy channeled into resistance?

Resistance takes place in many ways, but one of its more powerful aspects is to divert away from the flow of ‘the normal’. With enough time and people, that diversion becomes a new normal and the things you are fighting have no energy and dry up.

So figure out where you are now and what next small step will take you where you want to go. Resistance is hard. The end result, though, is worthy.

Categories: Los Angeles, Personal Tags: Tags: