Warning: Contains Language,

 

I’ve been watching people, thinking of Orlando, of the recent shootings. It reminds me of a whole host of other national tragedies. People are always looking for someone to blame in the aftermath.

I’m part of many ‘communities’. Some in the meatspace and some here on the interwebs. I don’t always feel that I belong in some of them. Sometimes these communities appear to be at odds with one another. When that feels true and you don’t want to believe that community speaks for you. You forget that it goes both ways, that you’re a part of the community, one made up for individuals, and you speak for them too.

I play video games. I play a lot less than I used to, but I grew up playing games and when I was young many of my friends and I were definitely part of the gaming community. These days, most of the time I play I’m playing online with other humans, humans I don’t know and there’s no shortage of hate speech in that of the internet.

Here are a few things people have actually said in game to me (apologies, hate speech ahead).

Homophobic language is by far the most common:
“that’s such a gay ass move! Buncha faggots”

And I distinctly remember this charming request:
“can you fucking jews stop taking all my gold”

The worst of the stuff I see is a little less common, but it’s hardly an isolated incident. This is an actual transcript of a conversation I had with a teammate:

Player 1: God I hate you fucking niggers
Me: Dude, W T Fuck?!?!?! not ok!
P1: too bad its true, nigger.
Me /all: Report P1 hate speech, calling teammates “n**gers”.
P1 /all: ur all lazy and don’t do shit to help. Makes you niggers.
M3 /all: Muted reported

When this happens, there’s only so much I can do about it. It’s so common I’ve got a rote response to this kind of talk. I say it’s not appropriate. Sometimes I explain why (I say sometimes, because it’s often obvious or the person is beyond my help).  Sometimes I mute them and sometimes, if the person is on my team, I stop playing altogether “because I refuse to help bigots win at anything” I say. There are things that trump beating strangers on the internet at a game.

Sadly enough, doing this is more likely to result in my account being penalized for going AFK than anything else. At the end of the match I can report the incident and on the very rare occasion it does result in any action (the game notifies you if someone you reported is penalized) I get the small dopamine rush from foolishly thinking I did something to help. Most of the time I just have to shake it off and tell myself it’s just some asshole on the internet, pay no heed, don’t feed the trolls, but the thing is, ‘some assholes on the internet’ are a huge part of the problem.

At some point in our online lives, most of us learn to tune out certain groups of people. The Klan, The WBC, the Family Research Council, and other “fringe” groups, but it’s the everyday cruelties that’ll wear a person down.

No – it wasn’t that ONE guy saying faggot that made all those teenager kill themselves; not that one times someone all caps screamed racial slurs that got Dylan Roof to attack that church. It was that those were one of a thousand times they heard it, each one a brick dropped into a rowboat till it finally sinks. It takes a thousand of them or more and when they’re tossed in faster than you throw them out, when they keep hitting you faster than you can shake them off, that’s when people die. It’s not that one word, it’s the thousand that came before it and the thousand that will come after it.

And OUR community is a part of the problem. WE have to fix it. This is a community that is brought together by something that is supposed to be fun, games. It’s our job to make it a safe place for all people. Because every one of those words that happen on our games, on our screens, in our chat logs, those words are on us.

 

There’s something that always struck me as problematic about Monsters Inc.

So the monsters have the technology to convert both the laughter and screams of humans into energy.

By the end of the movie, the monsters realize humans aren’t a dangerous biological contaminate, which is why they kept their existence hidden from humans and only interacted with children, as they wouldn’t be believed by grown up humans (presumably even though almost all human children see these monsters, they are all gaslighted as they grow up into thinking it was all their imagination). So why don’t they share that technology with us?

They do have a vested interest in our survival as a species (I would guess if they could somehow use any less complex and possibly dangerous animal than humans they would) and we are ever more swiftly driving ourselves to extinction with our own energy consumption vis-à-vis climate change. We could easily solve this energy crisis by installing this the in amusement parks and comedy clubs, not only settling the matter of climate change, but also the potential for resource wars and other global conflicts in the future.

In exchange for the technology (and look I understand they still would probably not want to share their dimension jumping doors and I’m fine with taking a pass on that because humans), we could set up some kind of sharing system to meet their energy needs as well, as we could farm this fuel far more efficiently than their current operation of one scream (or laugh) at a time.

So what gives?

What gives is that those monsters are selfish short-sighted bastards! I bet their politicians are in the pocket of big Screams and a simple plan like this would mean those factories would close costing the bosses millions of monster dollars. It just goes to show the evils of capitalism exist in all worlds.

Violence again.

 

I meant to post when I got back. Then Orlando. So I waited, because I have nothing more to add. Then it was Baghdad. I started writing again. Catching up on the queue of old work. I wrote this last week. Then Alton Sterling, then Philando Castile, then Dallas, seems like the world can’t catch a goddamn break.

 

So we got a lot of catching up to do.

 

Orlando

 

I was out of town for a week on a work/vacation trip. I do this once or twice a year. One of the perks of what I do is sometimes I work festivals which blend very nicely into time off from the world. I don’t have internet out there.

I wanted to write something, but nothing felt right and I wanted to leave some time to grieve before I said anything about it here. So I’m just going to repost what I said on facebook:

 

I’ve just arrived home. I spent all last week working my ass off for an organization whose goal is to promote radical inclusiveness, particularly within sexual minority communities. Of all the shows and events I work it pays, by far, the least, but it is the work I am most proud of, because it is the best way I know how to serve my community given my particular skill set and experience. I am sunburnt and exhausted and sleep deprived and sick and I am incredibly joyous to be so very lucky. This is the one week a year I also get to shut off my phone for the week and not pay attention to the bullshit on social media and the news, so I didn’t know about the shooting in Orlando until a coworker announced it at strike Sunday evening. It was a strange and somber tear down as the staff grieved and processed through work, laboring so hard you couldn’t tell who was sweating or crying. I hugged and kissed them, some I’d just met Tuesday when we started, others I’ve known for years, said a quiet goodbye and drove home in the company of my partner Clara torn between our elation and being absolutely gutted by the cruelty and sadness of a single misguided individual.
To all my loved ones telling us to stay home and stay safe, I will absolutely be at Pride this year, because that is what is important and right. Because we are so much stronger and scarier acting in collaboration, just like we did last week, than any sick person with easy access to weapons. and because this world ain’t always easy.

It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

 

I have weird feelings about collective public grieving. The difference with this is that it wasn’t one person and it wasn’t old age or disease. It was… I don’t have to tell you what it was.

 

Pride

 

So I went to Pride. As always, the act of actually going was a clusterfuck of last minute logistics. But I ended up with friends in a single room huddled around the AC. and kissed and rank and danced and smoked and told ourselves it’d all be OK.

As usual, there was the too queer for school group with complaints that Pride has become another mainstream corporate sellout and yeah, they have a point and I have my own thoughts on those, but that is another rant and shall be bitched about another time.

 

Anyhoo, onto other matters

 

Shootings

Here’s what I had to say elsewhere:

For all of those posting their outrage for the slaying of police, but not the dozens of innocent men killed by them, you are part of the problem.
The reason we say Black Lives Matter and not All lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter is because cops’ lives already matter. That doesn’t mean police aren’t killed and that it’s not tragic when it happens, but when it does there is always an outpouring of support there is a manhunt for the killer and we as a society work tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice. Their families are supported by our government and the news networks don’t spend so much of their coverage questioning the cop’s integrity, or whether they should have been there at the time, or what did they do wrong to warrant it, or maybe they were a bad cop. No, we give them the benefit of the doubt, because nothing justifies murder, regardless of what we may think of that person otherwise. THAT IS THE VERY MEANING OF HAVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS.
Fine, if you need another white man explaining this though a Biblical metaphor, here’s someone saying it better than me.

 

The Book

 

I’m actually embarrassed to be discussing it at this point, but there is a train at the end of that tunnel. There have been delays and I don’t mean to excuse myself, but I want to explain.

Firstly, there have been a few personnel hiccups. Putting out a book requires other people and I am so grateful for all of you who’ve helped me out so far. A number of people offered to help me with edits and I waited for each one for a month or so before moving on until after almost a year, I’ve finally got someone who may have followed through. I’m meeting with them later this week and I hope that will be the end of that.

I also have found someone to do the cover art. More on that to come.

Before that there was the lost draft.

And then there was the part where I lost three jobs in one year. The first due to logistical problems (I moved to a place that mate the commute and shifts no longer workable). Not too long afterwards I found two new jobs which I worked simultaneously until both of them disappeared when the companies ceased to function.

I soon ran out of money and began to burn through my savings (ie the kickstarter funds) in order to eat and pay rent. Since then I’ve been working to make that money back so I can fulfill my commitment to my backers.

I hope you all will be understanding and forgive me for the stalling. This has been a particularly rough time for me and the project has never been far from my mind.

 

Phew, this was a tough one.

 

Throwing away old files today, receipts and paystubs to start. Medical bills I’m not sure I ever paid. Expired certifications. Cleaning out old character sheets from the DnD folder. Next, I’m lead to my external hard drive to see if I stored anything there. It’s mostly fruitless, but I’m in a mood. Just took my first happy pill, you see. And I get to pictures, mostly deleting copies and junk. Shot of signs or houses, visual inside jokes sent to friends. Sorting things into more cohesive folders.

Somewhere there’s a fold I renamed “Old Life”, pictures and videos that span about a year. A year pushed out my mind. The videos are the strangest part. They’re all these short candids. One of us holding the camera, sometimes denying it is on, filming something ordinary and the other sees.

—Are you filming me?

—No of course not!

—Yes you are! I can see the light’s on!

None of them are longer than a minute. Sometimes there is a question or a kiss.

If this was cinemasins you’d hear “protagonist looking at home movies of dead/ex girlfriend cliché”.

I can’t for the life of me remember these being filmed. I can, all these years later remember so clear the reasons we got together and the ways we fell apart, but I don’t remember this in between time — that year we were so desperate to pretend we were grown-ups — simple moments of happiness that I can see on our faces. The blanket pulled over our heads, wrestling on the futon, her standing over a pain splattered drop cloth or me crouched over that side table I used as a desk in our attic apartment built for one, passing notes or glances at the Well because it was too loud, but staying because the drinks were cheap. Crowded, naked in the bedroom, the ceiling too low to stand, waving, blurs of intertwined limbs and LPs and clothes on the living room floors and how ever did we do this?

Pen and ink and squid.

Our past selves are sometimes strangers on the streets possessing secrets we will never shake out of them.

Delphi has been watching The Bachelor lately. She’s even joined a fantasy league and what’s more she is winning by a large margin. It has made her insufferable the past few days.

But it got me thinking. I would be a fantastic Bachelor.

We’d go on a group date to my study and play a game called ‘let’s see who can be quiet for a few hours while daddy works’.

I’d empathetically ask each of them if they were so dedicated to the prospect of this match that they had quit their jobs and racked up credit card debt to be on the show (most of them do) and I’d tell them “well you lot can go. I can’t be married to someone who’s that financially and emotionally irresponsible.”

I’d give out roses at the ceremony with comments like “Chelsea, I’m almost certainly not going to choose you because you are bat shit crazy, but the networks is pushing me to let you stay a few more episodes for the ratings. Please accept this rose.”

We’d have a team came where the women had to pair off with the other person on the show they would most like to join us for a threesome.

Obviously, there would be a blind cocktail competition.

And finally, at the end I would stand on the beach with my chosen lady and say, “you are so wonderful and lovely and our time together has been one of the best television seasons of my life. I have to tell you something very important… I’m actually in a pretty serious relationship right now. She’s pretty great and we have a solid track record so I’m gonna marry her instead.”

BOOM! Twist ending! No one will see it coming.

hooks

Posted: 17 April, 2016 in Daily Droppings

We moved the hooks around so they hung on the outside of the closet door.

—so there are no coats on the bed. I hate it when they pile coats on my bed. It takes away any chance that any of the guests will fuck on it later.

—good point, I say

She asked me to the bathroom and started talking about a spat with her sister. I left and got the box of wine from the kitchen and opened it. Poured myself a mason jar full and went back to the bathroom. She was still going on.

I agreed with her and left again. Took the pot out of its hiding place (I told her like I always to do, that I took it away for safe keeping, but I never did. I just hid it in various places around her garden unit), grabbed her pipe and lighter (this one read “Damn, it feels good to be the patriarchy”) and walked back to the bathroom and rested it on the toilet.

—Oh! How thoughtful, she said.

She took a hit and calmed down and I went back into the study to write.

Little numbers

Posted: 14 April, 2016 in Uncategorized

The text comes in before I’ve got my hat on. I shuffle the groceries around. There’s no name just a series of three digits. I know what it means. The notice from the bank reads nine dollars remaining

My space bucks expired the moment I got a job. No regard to the fact that I still had to pay rent. (Yesusfuck, Obama, gimme a month before cutting me off will ya?)

The job is gone anyhow. It was only ever meant to be temporary. If only they had told me about that. Same thing happened with the next one. The money from my side business with Delphi (which comes to about a hundred seventy five buck a month between us) should come in this week. With the checking account now empty, it will have to do for now. Maybe we’ll see if Terry will pay next this time around without waiting a month.

I stow the phone, put my gloves on. Winter is always miserable. I don’t even have the start up cash to go back to cards or drugs if I wanted. Sex work is sounding like a nice gig to fall back on these days, but I’m not nearly pretty or gay enough for that.

The moisture from my breath catches in my scarf and the cloth freezes to my beard. I remember someone left a case of PBR in the ridge that was untouched. So I can stretch these groceries to last a week if I only have two meals a day plus a PBR or lunch just for the calories, and stop exercising. That gets me till the money from Terry comes in and that should last another week. After that I got two jars of peanut butter, two packets of ramen and six tins of soup. That gets me to the end of the month. Hopefully, I’ll have found employment by then. Otherwise, I suppose I’ll have to disappear before anyone finds out I can’t make rent.