Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.
I had known bits and pieces of this - one can hardly live in America without knowing it. Alexander's achievement is to put together the evidence in as damning an indictment as one can imagine. The fact that this was written two years into the first Obama administration, and seven years before the inauguration of a white supremacist demagogue, just underscores the seriousness and urgency of its message. Black lives matter.
Surprise! Guess what has a Chapter 2. And a Chapter 3, already a complete first draft. I did not know about any of this until the most words I have ever written in a single day (I think) came pouring out of my brain yesterday.
[Two months later. Watchpoint Gibraltar.]
With a tooth-shatteringly loud screech, the outer wall of the medical bay peeled away and fell towards the ocean, just as Dr. Ziegler's nurse assistants finished prepping the Widowmaker's first treatment.
"Sorry, luv," Tracer shouted, appearing in the void, one pistol aimed straight at the doctor, as the ringing, clanging metal fell, its sounds fading in the distance. "Can't let y'do that. We made a promise. Back off."
"Lena," said Angela, half-deafened, clinging to her composure, thinking, this shouldn't be happening, but backing away carefully towards her staff. "You lost this argument. I know how you feel about what's going on, but it's better than a death sentence. Do not do this."
"Can't not. I keep my promises, you know that." She fired a shot over the doctor's shoulder. "And stop moving towards your staff. Can't have that, either. What's she on?"
"A twilight sleep sedative, voluntary muscle paralysis, and saline I.V., that's all. We wanted her partially responsive and were about to administer the first dose of treatment. Lena, you do not know what you're doing, this is not a..."
"Stow it. I know she didn't consent and I know this ain't right." Tracer glanced at the closer nurse assistant. "Pull her off the drip. Right now." The assistant looked nervously at Dr. Ziegler, and Tracer decided to make it less optional by shooting the saline unit with her other pistol. "I said now, luv," and the nurse moved to work.
"She can't consent," said the combat medic. "She will murder you in your sleep, and that's if you are very, very lucky."
Kestrel swooped in, a wary eye still attentive to the skies outside. "What's the hold up? We don't have time for chats."
"I have this under control, can you get her up off the table?"
Kestrel waved her gravity blade at the nurse assistant - Odion, she thought - who moved away quite rapidly. Stepping forward, she snapped her fingers in front of Widowmaker's half-closed eyes, and saw those eyes track her fingers, just a little - somebody was in there. "Widowmaker, I'm Kestrel, I sure hope you remember me, we're getting you out of here, just like we said we would, back in London." She pulled the blue woman off the scanning bed, and onto her back. "Let's go, while we still can."
"Emily," warned the doctor, as the flying agent carried the Talon assassin towards the light transport hovering outside, "reconsider. You can't come back from this."
The flying agent paused at the gap, and nodded grimly in return, watching as Tracer backed slowly towards her, one pistol still aimed at the doctor, the other at the two assistants. "Neither can you."
Buggery hell, this isn't how I wanted this to go, thought Lena. "Sorry, doc. Just how it has to be, I guess."
The flyer's loading door closed in front of her as she stepped onto the main deck. She could see Angela diving for the alarms before it sealed, and teleported to the pilot's seat as Kestrel got Widowmaker into the crash couch. "CLEAR!" the flying agent shouted, bracing herself for evac - and Tracer lit the engines up bright.
She struggled with half-aware half-memories of being in a... medical unit? And being prepped for something. And voices, some unfamiliar, some... not.
"We've lost the last of 'em," she heard Tracer say. Tracer, who had not been in Egypt, who had not been at Gibraltar... or had she been, at the end? "I'm gonna keep us in the soup, but it should be smooth enough 'till we change ships at Iwik."
Change ships? Iwik? Why would they need to...
"I'm going to check on Widowmaker." Another voice, the flying one, Kestrel, who had also been missing when she'd been taken, taken again, this time, by Overwatch, no doubt to be remade yet again, if not just killed, but whose voice she knew...
"Widowmaker, can you hear me?" The assassin heard the voice, but could not see its source - keeping some distance, perhaps. She let herself smirk, internally. Even sedated, she invoked fear. Good. "You're safe, and you're unchanged. We kept our promise. We broke you out before Ziegler could do anything. You're safe."
What?! The assassin's eyes popped open, all the way open, all at once acutely aware of her situation, before her mind snapped back to promises made some months ago in London, promises she did not want to believe, but couldn't quite not. Then Kestrel's face appeared over her, and she was talking, saying, "Hi. We've kept our word. Do you remember being captured in Egypt? We got you out of the Watchpoint. You're safe. Well, as safe as any of us are, now - we're all in real trouble, but since when's that new?"
The words confused her, memory of promises or not. Is it a... no, it makes no sense, this cannot be a trap, they already have me, why would they... She did her best to move, but her arms, so heavy, why...
"Oh," Kestrel breathed, "you're definitely awake now, aren't you? Probably a little panicky, too. I'm sorry, it's the muscle relaxant. They had you pretty well sedated before we reached you, but that's all, as far as we know - they were still prepping the first course of reconditioning meds when I ripped the medbay's walls open."
Widowmaker's eyes locked on Kestrel's, and she shivered, an involuntary action, and the flying agent saw it, and reached to touch, to comfort - but thought better of it. "I... wish I knew whether you found touch comforting."
I wish I did too, thought the spider, a little dismayed by her own reactions as they span round and round in her head. You... kept... your... you... kept your... you kept your... you...
"We've just got away from pursuit craft, and we're heading towards a little nature reserve in Mauritania, where we'll be swapping ships."
"...ah..." Widowmaker managed, and she remained locked on Kestrel, Kestrel, who she barely knew, Kestrel, who'd kept her word, Kestrel, who had... saved... her...
"You're tearing up a bit, can you blink for... oh, good, there y'go. Can you follow my fingers with your eyes?" Widowmaker looked at the Kestrel's fingertips and watched them trace a rectangle, slowly, around her field of vision. They were strong hands, solid, a little square, chunky, much like the rest of the hawk. Strong, and unexpectedly beautiful. Well, I suppose I know who is more butch in their arrangement, she thought, and a "heh" popped out, to as much her surprise as Kestrel's.
"She just laugh?" she heard Tracer say from outside her field of vision. "Hey, luv, you just laugh a little?"
"I think she did, yeah."
"Well, tell her after this, we're headed towards... oh, bugger..."
"It's official. Bulletin just went out. We're listed."
"Surprised it took this long. Can they shut down the transport?"
"Nah, I changed the codes and blew the interlock, we'll be fine."
Widowmaker grimaced. Intentionally. And it worked. She tried moving her mouth, and managed, focus back on Kestrel's face, "...liffsted?"
Kestrel sighed, and sat, next to Widow's bunk, leaning close. "Word's gone out. Our personal IFF codes have been invalidated. Overwatch may be illegal, but we had a few privileges within it to revoke... we're now 'foe', not 'friend'."
"Ah." said the blue assassin. Slowly, carefully, she looked into Kestrel's eyes, and whispered, "Je... regrette."
"Don't," replied the hawk. "If Overwatch is gonna start doing things like this, I can't be a part of it anymore anyway."
"And just so y'know," called Tracer, "Talon put a termination order out on your head once Overwatch got y'to Gibraltar. No goin' back there, either."
"Friend of yours let us know. We'll be seein' her in a bit."
Tracer laughed. "Yeah, she said you called her that."
The spider tested her arms. A little movement at the shoulder, not much yet. But fingers - yes, those, those were free. She tapped at the bed, experimentally, and saw Kestrel smile when she noticed, bright like cloudbreak. "It is, then..." managed the spider, "...us, against the world?" She tried her wrists. Yes. Wrists. More quickly, now. Almost to the elbow.
Us, Kestrel thought. Already? "Sounds like."
A louder heh, and the spider found she could move her head. "Then... a challenge. Good." She gave Kestrel a fierce look; it excited the flying agent in ways she did not expect, as did the spider unexpectedly - if weakly - taking her hand in her own. "We will destroy them both, cherie," the assassin said, with utter conviction. "We cannot lose."
"So you told her nothing about the enhanced receptivity effects?" asked the hirsute scientist sitting opposite and to her right, snacking on his favourite peanut butter, with oatmeal cookies and lactose-free milk. Hoisting girders about - that was heavy labour. He deserved a treat.
"Of course not," said the doctor, sipping her coffee. "But I didn't lie, we hadn't undone anything Talon did - and it really was a sedative, just one that leaves patients a little more..." she waved one hand back and forth, "...open to ideas, while under its influence. It would've helped with our treatments of her, helped her return to who she really was."
"Nicely played," said Jack Morrison, nursing a judicious amount of Tennessee bourbon. "Hope this doesn't come back to bite us on the ass any more than it already has."
Dr. Ziegler smiled warmly at her old friend, sitting opposite and to her left. "I'd suspected Lena might do something she'd come to regret. I'd hoped she wouldn't, or if she did, I'd hoped I could talk her down. But if push came to shove... she might as well have that thin chance." She shuddered. "I think she has made a grave mistake. I do not think that... construct... is a person or can be reformed, and I wasn't lying about being killed in her sleep, either."
"You did what you could," said the soldier. He put down his glass and rubbed at his eyes. "She's always been impulsive, but this is another level. If they come at us... we'll have to assume the worst. They might as well be Talon." He put the drink down, and rubbed his eyes.
"That will not be difficult," smirked Angela. "I am quite angry, both about being held at gunpoint, and at losing my best change to recover Amélie. And Kestrel," the doctor snorted, "she made a strongly negative impression on Gina and Odion. Gossip will insure everyone knows."
"I know their hearts are in the right place," Winston insisted. "Particularly Lena's. I think they're both being extremely foolish - but do not doubt their hearts."
"Just their judgements. And maybe their sanity," said the soldier.
The three sat quietly, for some moments, letting what happened today finally settle in as the sun went down. Morrison, thinking maybe they should've just handed the Widowmaker over to legal authorities; Winston, wishing he'd found a middle way, something to keep everyone happy, while knowing no such path existed; and Ziegler, angry, but still afraid for the two women who had, to her mind, made such a terrible mistake.
"To absent friends," Winston lifted his glass of water. "May they not become present enemies."
"I'll drink to that," said Morrison, raising the last of his bourbon.
Angela lifted her coffee cup, touching it against her friends' drinks. "To absent friends," she echoed. May they not be dead come morning.
Dubuque is an hour and a half away, a gorgeous drive through Wisconsin's "Driftless" area, where the glaciers didn't come through and plow down the hills like they did in other areas of the Midwest. So there are rollling hills and steep valleys, dotted with farms and forests.
The casino is right off the highway and easy to find. The greyhound race area is technically not part of the casino, so you can be under 21 to enter that area. Indeed, we saw kids and teenagers watching the races. It's nice that there is no fee to enter, and you don't have to bet. The only thing we spent money on was food. There was a crowded upper observation area, and we went down some stairs to the outside part. It was almost hot yesterday, 76 degrees F (24 C). The benches were shaded by the casino building and the track was in bright sunlight.
The dogs were beautiful and lively. We watched about 4 races, each 10-15 minutes apart. We didn't place any bets but picked out the ones we thought might win based on how they acted and looked. Teenagers (presumably summer workers) brought the dogs out and lined them up to be looked at before leading them to the starting blocks.
I took some pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/
We drove around town a little bit and had some ice cream before heading home.
My friends asked me, can you imagine your out here dog doing this?
I think Abbie would have hated it. She's so anxious and scared in environments that are loud and chaotic; her preferred environment is quiet and calm. She doesn't seem to have a competitive spirit.
My last dog, Sorcha, was a winner though, and I imagined she enjoyed it at least somewhat.
Racing is controversial and people often ask me what I think of it. I still don't know what I think of it! It was cool seeing the dogs run. I think that when gambling and money enter into it, they tend to corrupt. I don't think racing is inherently bad, but making it into a big business means the animals' welfare isn't put first.
Anyway, since she's so unhappy in her life, she decides to run away and find the land of the fairies, and her loyal friend goes with her. They rescue the girl who was stolen to be a servant to the fairies, and take her home to her parents, and then...I think she and her friend continue traveling, since they don't really fit in anywhere, except with each other.
Based on other books I was reading at the time, and what I remember of the physical book, I think the book I'm looking for would have been published somewhere between the 1940s and 60s, maybe 70s.
I've interacted, briefly, with an awful lot of people over the last decade-and-a-bit. Most have stopped posting and many have deleted their old LJs; a few are now active on Dreamwidth and if I've recently granted you access, it's a throwback to some long-forgotten comment or a longer conversation that we never got around to restarting.
It's interesting reading my older posts: some of them are "Wow! Was I ever that good as a writer?"; most are dull, and many of them are toe-curlingly self-centred and best left unread. But I wrote them and hit 'Post' and they can stay there: Facebook's the place for the polished and redacted picture; here is where you get the warts and all.
Interesting, too, that my best writing and the most interesting things that I've found to say are in the comments I have posted on your journals: I might sometimes be a passably skilful writer (or an appalling Limericist) but I am not a particularly original one and I am at my best with ideas and the inspiration other people offer me.
And that is all ephemeral, for comments elsewhere do not get imported by the Dreamwidth import engine: and they were never mine to 'own' for they are in other peoples' spaces, and insired by their ideas.
So: Hi. Remember me? I'm posting a bit more, and trying to keep up with the reading list. And that, alas, has become much easier to do, even if I only catch up at weekends.
If there's a comment of mine that you actually remember, post a link to it - or copy-and-paste the entire thing here, into a comment about a comment.
( * (footnote) )
I am sick of having to suffer so a man can grow. What is this, every Hollywood movie ever made? I am tired of having to confess to someone else’s crimes. I am tired of showing up at the banquet dripping blood like Banquo’s ghost. This should be your ghost, not mine. I am not the one who should be ashamed that you have done these things. I am not here to make you see the error of your ways. I am here to get through my life every day without inhaling thick lungfuls of smoke.
Because that’s what this is. This is like getting people who have gotten cancer from secondhand smoke to come testify together as a way of solving the problem. But you are the one who needs to stop.
— Alexandra Petri, “Men of the world: You are not the weather”, The Washington Post
Mirrored from Under the Beret.
One day in the late 80s, I was back at my parents’ house, between semesters at University. “I think you look like my father,” my mother said, rather matter-of-factly, and somewhat out of the blue. She went off to another room of the house and came back with a cardboard stationery box that I had never seen before. Inside the box, she produced a large head shot photo of her father, Walter Dynes, for comparison purposes.
I’m pretty sure that I was in my early twenties. Until that moment, I had never her say a word about her father. I don’t think that she ever mentioned him again.
At some point in my life, I’d come to understand that her father had died quite a long time ago, and that the person I considered to be my grandfather was, in fact, her step-father. Certainly, by the time of the great grade 7 family tree homework assignment, the details provided by my grandfather clearly spelled out the three maternal grandparents. But my bio-grandad’s figure seemed to cast no shadow over my family: he wasn’t talked about, no photos were out, and no stories about him were ever told. When I refer to him, I often call him my “biological grandfather” — a term that feels distant and removed. But it also feels apt because he seems distant and removed.
My father’s father, Vidal Holmes, was also dead. He died shortly before I turned two. But I was aware of his absence in a way that I was never aware of Walter’s absence.
Mirrored from Under the Beret.
I was thinking how I came up against that wall around the same age, a bit earlier, and went looking for "world" stuff or just anything not English, US based, "western culture" wanting to see anything possible. Anthologies were good or looking by specific country or ethnicity. I would root through any library or bookstore. Encyclopedias too. The indexes of books were super instructive. It took just years for me to have any real handle on the depth of the problems of histories but it was clear from the beginning that A LOT WAS WRONG. I didn't go into that (right now it is better if I listen to him than talk about my own thoughts)
Anyway! I'm so, so proud of Moomin and his excitement about scholarly things. I feel like no matter what he does in life he will have that kind of love of books and knowledge and stories.
He also really loved Gilgamesh so I am going to show him those awesome debates online between Hoe and Plough, Fish and Bird, etc.
Also when he said he thought of me in relation to her feeling like she is walking on knives..... i actually think of that sometimes so that kind of touched me.
He is also reading Gilgamesh and some Bible stuff for philosophy class and seems to be keeping up in his other math class! So nice to have him here even for a day. <3
The idea, roughly, is that you want to treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend; we're good at extending kindness, understanding and encouragement to other people! But we're often so harsh to ourselves; our internal monologue can be like a stream of verbal abuse.
But you can't help your friend or loved one by browbeating them. Same with yourself! You're like your own child, in a sense; you've got to take care of yourself.
Also like your friend or your child, you don't want to encourage yourself to fall into a pit of self-indulgence. Your wouldn't be happy to find your respected friend, or you child, wallowing in a mire of ice cream and porn -- at least not for too long! You want them to eat healthy foods and get sensible exercise and read a book! And you certainly don't want them to crunch up into a ball of self-directed rage and despair of ever feeling better and keep punching walls and/or their own body.
You can extend this compassion to yourself too! You deserve, as a human being, this kind of compassion, whether or not you're currently winning at whatever.
The TEDx talk on the topic is definitely worth watching: https://youtu.be/IvtZBUSplr4
The speaker, Kristen Neff, is a psychology researcher, and this is her primary topic: she writes about it all the time and has possibly-helpful exercises over on http://self-compassion.org .
Right. Offense. Junkertown. We're inside, but haven't been inside for long, on the last leg. I am in full-bore Manic Pixie Murder Machine mode, I end up with some very large and enjoyable kill streak that I card for, all that. That's all fairly normal.
But I've never been the greatest with Tracer's bombs, right? They're everybody's weak point because they're so damned random and often just won't deploy and even when they do sometimes they just don't go off. This has been seen in pro play, even. But today was not that day.
'Cause I've just killed their Mercy and their Hanzo and somebody else in their backfield (maybe their Junkrat? I forget who, I was doing a lot of backfield killing and they were not picking up on it) and their D.va comes charging by out of the shortcut just as I'm looking back towards my team and the payload to see what's up.
So I empty both clips into the back of her mecha a couple of times, getting her about, eh, 60% down or so? And just as she jets away, I follow it up with my Tracer bomb.
As I'm doing this, she hits her nerf. Her mech goes flying forward, into the rest of my team, and...
...my bomb goes off, and her self-destruct doesn't.
That's right. NERF THIS CANCELLATION MOTHERFUCKERS. She lost the ult completely, straight up cancellation, had to earn it back from scratch. In other words: nerf this? No, nerf this.
I didn't even think you could do that. I didn't know it was possible.
They didn't even give me play of the game. WRONG. I know who had play of the game. It was me.
eta: IT SHOWED UP IN MY HIGHLIGHTS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA :D
What book frightened you as a young person?
None I can remember.
If you had to become a ‘living book’ (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?
To Be of Use by Marge Piercy, poetry
What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?
The Outer Limits. I’d watch with my older sister and she told me when it was safe to lower my hands from my eyes.
What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?
Silence of the lambs et seq
Do you have any phobias?
Centipedes, millipedes, and other Myriapodae make me recoil and squeal a little.
Yesterday was a nice office day, tho my face still hurt I had a good afternoon there.
The smoke blew away from here over night and now it's foggy and rainy. I can't find my face mask.
I'm on 100mg neurontin at night for the face nerve pain from shingles. Taking it at 7pm isn't quite early enough (i am still groggy and weird feeling now) I'd like to go off it by the end of next week or decrease the dosage. My face really hurts..... and is cold sensitive. I need one of those microwaveable pillows.... my old one got moldy I think. the actual heating pad is huge (the size of my entire back) and rough textured. My eye is twitching.... it feels tired. I guess all the muscles around my painful face are tensing up. The skin is not too bad now but the pain has moved to a deep ache in my jaw like a toothache.
Working in little fits & starts on my new writing project (a novel)
Actual work still looming though right now I have a little bit of a break. (mid cycle, no dot release so far for 56, the lull before a big push to release 57)
Nazi rally in Gainesville is pissing me off. Hundreds of cops mobilized for this bullshit. It just helps militarize the situation even more.
Reading - Squirrel Girl novel, which was beautiful! Last night read The Lucky Stiff by Craig Rice and this morning The Fourth Postman. Hardboiled detective. But also funny! Craig Rice is Georgiana Craig.
A goat-herding dog refused to leave his goat flock -- and they made it it through the fire, and even enlarged the flock by a couple of deer fawns.
I was fuckin' terrible today in lunchtime Overwatch. Well, as Widow, anyway. I was good as Tracer as always, and the weird thing is, the one time I wasn't terrible as Widow, it was in deathmatch, where I was surprisingly competitive against a pretty heavy set of enemies including three Pharahs and a D.va, which is not normally a recipe for competitiveness but I was.
So I was feeling pretty okay in warmup. But christ, go into quickplay and suddenly it's WHAT IS SNIPERS? and I can't hit a shot to save my life. (And that included while winning. So.)
This is in huge contrast to yesterday where I was not just playing well, but had another entire game of being the Widowmaker I want to be. Defence in Hollywood, 70% scope accuracy, eight criticals, golds in objective kills and objective time and silver in total kills, enemy Bastion got so sick of me that he tried being enemy Widow and yeah that did not help, enemy Pharah kept trying to go over the gate wall and I just kept one-shotting her out of the air until she got so mad that on their last serious push she apparently decided "y'know what, fuck the objective, fuck the game, I'm killing that fucking Widowmaker at least once" and went through the security office while I was busy with other people, jumped me from behind and let loose her one and only ult at point-blank range just for me.
Honestly, I felt quite flattered.
I guess the short form is I am still a work in progress, and it shows.
I think it's been pretty good for my mood. It just seems like a constant stream of anxiety-fuel, that site.
Feeling pretty calm, which is nice. Weird.