Nov. 17th, 2010 09:54 am
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
We're finally on the floor at work, taking calls. I won't even go into the mess that was the first day, except to say that they had 3 weeks to get everything up and running and they couldn't even manage that properly.

We've been doubling up in pods to give some of the less-confident people a chance to listen to calls before they take any. On Monday, I buddied with a girl whom I'll call M, who didn't take any calls. Yesterday I buddied with T, who said she'd take calls for the last hour but instead chickened out. Two days of taking all the calls while by "buddy" sits there and does nothing. If I buddy with C again today, I'm going to confirm with a supervisor and see if they'll back me up when I say, "I'll take calls until lunch, then you'll do it." I can understand her nervousness, and a little bit of coddling doesn't hurt, but she's had enough. Next week we'll be taking all the calls, not just our current 30%, so she has to get used to it sooner rather than later, or else leave and find another job. I went through the same crappy training she did, but I don't expect that much coddling.

I think C's the only person who has yet to take a call, too.

Even though things are better on the phones than they were in training, I'm still looking for another job. Most call centres will pay better than this place is, and most have better training programs, too. Now that I have a job, I can afford to be a little picky about where I apply, and I can take my time to look for actual opportunities instead of just "Holy crap, must accept any job that will hire me!"

Which makes me think that I really ought to expand on some skills that I have. I updated my resume to include activities like running my book review blog and my freelance writing, but I want to have a few more things on there to impress people. Thus, once NaNo's over (I'm still behind on NaNo, but I'm catching up, little by little), I'm going to devote some time to going through all my freelance articles on HubPages, rewriting and reposting them with a better eye to quality.

I also plan to do some refresher study in regard to HTML, and then make an effort to go a bit beyond that, learning CSS. I don't forsee myself becoming a web designer at any point in the future, but it'll be another skill that might help me land a better job. When I worked at CD&A, I seemed to be the only one who understood basic HTML enough to code the database pages from scratch, not copying and pasting a template that was saved in Word. When people used that template, it ended up causing a bunch of redundant coding on the page, which I fixed whenever I found it (a thankless job, let me tell you, because nobody noticed anything different when I was done, except that maybe the pages loaded a fraction of a second faster), so it's not like even basic HTML doesn't have its place in a job. Stuff I learnt by viewing the source of web pages I liked back in high school was making me a better employee only a little over a year ago.

The apartment's coming along decently. Most of our stuff has been moved over, with the exception of some books, bags of clothes and yarn, and some of the larger pieces of furniture (my gigantic desk, my bookshelf, that sort of stuff), and we're hoping that by the end of this weekend, we'll have everything out of the old place and into this apartment, and then we can just work on cleaning up the old place and doing a few repairs so we can get our damage deposit back.

I'm loving this apartment more and more. It's comfortable, large, spacious, conveniently located, well-priced. It feels like home, and we've only been sleeping here for a week and a half.

Can't keep rambling on, though. My drive to work will be here in a few minutes and I have to get my butt in gear and actually put clothes on. I don't think work will look kindly on me coming in dressed in my "bumming around the apartment" clothes!
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
If there was any lingering delusion that autumn wasn't here already, it got blown away this morning, when the temperature dipped as low as it's been thus far: a mere 5 degrees Celcius. The nights are cold enough to really make me appreciative of a nice thick blanket or comforter. The afternoons are warmer, but there's still that particular kind of chill on the breeze that makes you shiver no matter how warm the sunshine.

With that all in mind, I bundled up this morning when I walked my daily three miles.

Well, I say "daily", but I've actually been slack on my walking goals over the weekend. Partly because I spent a good deal of Saturday hanging out with Cass, and Sunday was a day pretty much devoted to staying indoors and watching Rei play Ocarina of Time, watching a movie, and then curling up in bed with old episodes of Ranma 1/2 to keep us company. We did go out, but it was a short walk (a little less than 2 miles) to get some cake.

Tomorrow's going to contain a lot of walking, I'm sure. Not only will I have to walk uptown to get rent money from my bank account (1.5 miles), but then I'll walk from there to the north end (about 2 miles, I'm estimating) to pick up a few groceries, and then home again (1 mile). That's more walking than I normally do, but it all needs to be done, and it'll help me catch up on my weekly goal for HealthMonth. I haven't been doing too badly with those goals, but this weekend's slackness did put me a bit behind schedule, so I'm glad to have a good excuse to make up for that.

Fortunately, that should only take me a couple of hours, so if I leave early enough, I'll still have time to come home and make another batch of baked beans for supper. I want to make some multigrain bread, too, but I'm not sure if I'll leave that until Wednesday, to give me something specific to do on that day. I know I want to make a loaf of bread, and I also thought that using some leftover sausages to make some little sausage-and-cheese buns would be nice, too. Nicely portable, good warm or cold, and handy for Rei to take for lunch if he likes them enough.

Maybe on Thursday I'll try to scrub the rust off the muffin tins (they got rusty thanks to a ceiling leak in the kitchen, and I haven't had the patience to scrub them clean yet) and then make a batch of honey bran muffins for snacks. I might see if Cass's offer to give me some old bananas is still good, and make a loaf of banana bread too, just for fun. I've never made it before, but I do like eating it!

And with the exception of the cheese for the buns, all of these delicious things can be made with what's still in the kitchen, so I don't need to go and waste the little grocery money I have on buying a bunch of ingredients. It makes me feel good to know that I can make so many tasty things without needing to spend a lot of money on them. It just takes a bit of creativity and patience, and I'm learning more how to channel creativity into food and to be more patient with it and myself when I make mistakes. Cooking is good for me in many ways!

Today the only cooking I'll do will be to add another few potatoes and carrots to the leftovers of the turkey-vegetable stew, and some water. I ended up putting too much salt in when I first made it, and adding more vegetables and water to it will end up balancing that out quite nicely, and making the stew last longer. And since we still have plenty of potatoes and carrots in, this gives me a good chance to use them up before they go off.

Oh, for another icon spot so I can add a "Happy Domestic" icon. :p I know that when I get a job again, I'll be buying a paid account here. I really like Dreamwidth, as it's much more like what LJ was before they started to care more about money than pleasing their userbase, and I want to support them where and when I can. Just have to wait until then.

I've managed to keep up both a good amount of reading and writing since the beginning of the month, too, which bodes well for NaNo. I was worried for a while as to whether I could manage to keep pace with my NaNo writing as well as keep reading a good amount for my bookblog, but if this month is any indicator so far, it shouldn't be too big a problem. Even if I end up getting a job next month, so long as I stick to hard copies of books (rather than e-books, I mean) and read over my lunch and breaks as well as during the trip there, I should be just fine.

Making sure I write 1000 words a day this month is also a good warm-up for NaNo. I've been working again on Fractured. I'm only about halfway to where I was when I had to reinstall my operating system and lost everything, but it's going a bit better this time, with the plot and the flow of events, that I don't mind being a little slow with it.

Speaking of NaNo, though, I really ought to devote some time soon to planning out this year's project. I know what I want to write, but I thought that this year I'd actually do more advance work and create a chapter outline plan, so that things flow better and that I have more of an idea of what I'm doing if I end up, say, writing at work. In the past, when I worked in call centres in November, I'd have time to write some in between calls. But given that my main work was at home, I'd often end up starting what I knew I wanted to be the next chapter, whether or not I was done with the previous one. This led to me coming home, updating my writing file, finishing what hadn't been finished of the previous chapter, and trying to finish whatever hadn't been done of the chapter I'd started at work. Things got disjointed easily, phrases got reused far too often, and the whole thing felt like a mess. I didn't enjoy writing that way at all, even though it was a good way to boost my wordcount. So this year I'll do more planning and hopefully be able to avoid such situations in the future.

Of course, if I don't end up getting a job by November, this year may be a repeat of last year, where I met my 50k wordcount goal a little less than halfway through the money, and then couldn't keep myself motivated to write any more even though the story wasn't finished. Chapter outlines will hopefully prevent that from happening again too!
sarasvati: A quill pen in an inkwell, sepia-toned. (writing)
It may be decently warm outside according to the Weather Network, but the sky is that particular kind of clear bright blue that only comes with the colder weather. The sky always looks different in the summer from in the winter. I'm not sure if it's the shade of blue that changes, but to me (and to Rei, too, so I know I'm not completely insane), a clear sky in summer and a clear sky in winter, even when they're both a bright beautiful blue, look different enough for me to even be able to tell when things are unseasonably warm or cold.

Regardless of why this happens, it's certainly happening today. The sky looks cold, and I'm glad to be inside where I can stay toasty and nurse myself back to health.

Speaking of, I'm feeling better today than I did yesterday. Not great, mind you, and I think I'm sitting up straight only because of medication, but yesterday I had to take double doses and still had to suffer through symptoms. Vast improvement! But that's the way I tend to get sick. I feel like crap for a long time, sometimes as long as a couple of months, and then the illness just explodes and makes me feel like death warmed over. But the worst of it usually lasts for a day, maybe two if it's a very bad cold, and from there I'm on the mend. It may take me a week or more to feel decent again, but it gets better every day.

Until the next found of infections. But I'm still not getting sick as much or as badly as I used to, which I'm taking as a good sign. It's just that when I am sick, I feel like I've been sick forever. Probably because I get so used to the general blah feeling that I associate that with good health, and then when it becomes really obvious that no, it's yet another cold or bout of the flu, I get to look back and realize that in hindsight I've been under the weather for ages.

But this past summer was one of my healthiest in memory, and I'm going to try to stay on top of things this winter, too, to make it a good one. Winter's always bad for me because my lungs have more chances to go haywire, but I'm getting better at taking care of myself and eating better and all that, so fingers crossed that I get through as easily this winter as last winter. Maybe even better!

Since Rei's going to be done until around sunset, I plan to spend today doing a fair bit of writing. I'm was to get at least 3000 words done on Fractured, which I've finally found the feeling for again. I'll probably update my writing journal with more details later, if my fingers haven't fallen off.

Might also work on some of the cross-stitch holiday cards that I had in mind the other day, too, when I need a bit of a break from writing.
sarasvati: A quill pen in an inkwell, sepia-toned. (writing)
Back in June, I was working on what I thought would end up being an awesome story. I have a good solid plot, well-defined characters, and the writing was going along just great. I'd get a good wordcount on it, not lose steam, and I was having a fun time writing it.

Then I took a break for a writing challenge with Rei. Turns out that didn't end up going anywhere, but it's still vaguely relevent to the story.

Then my computer refused to turn on, and I had to reinstall Windows.

I had neglected, of course, to back up the awesome story I was working on that the time. The file has now, of course, been lost to the flows of time.

I still know the story. I still know the characters. That stuff isn't a problem. The problem right now is that whenever I try to restart the story, to get it all out and bring myself back to where I was before the big crash, I can't find the original feel of it. I've tried rewriting the thing three times now, and I just can't seem to bring back the feel that I had when I did it the first time. The style was write then, the flow was right, and now...

It frustrates me to no end. I had a really good story, and now trying to bring it back just feels flat and wrong.

Maybe I've been thinking about this a lot more than usual lately because as the weather turns cooler, it makes me want to write. Cool weather is always good writing weather, to my senses. It makes me want to sit down and type for hours and get out at least a decent first draft of something. Hot weather never does this to me, probably because it's often too hot for me to feel comfortable doing anything but lying around and moving as little as possible. But with the days turning cool enough that my feet get chilly in the morning and I can no longer get away with just sleeping under a simgle sheet, my fingers get itching to do some writing.

And the one thing I really want to write just isn't happening.

I have been tempted to get another DW account to use as a writing journal. I know I have a terrible habit of compartmentalizing all aspects of my life, trying to keep them apart until there's been so much bleedover that I just can't do it anymore, but when I had a writing journal in the past, I found it to be a good motivator for me. I felt the need to be able to update with something more than, "I meant to write, but didn't."
sarasvati: A quill pen in an inkwell, sepia-toned. (writing)
Why does creativity always have to strike at the most inopportune moments? Right now, I'm about half an hour from going to bed for the night, and I have a sudden and almost overwhelming urge to have a massive writing session. Earlier, I also randomly and suddenly wanted a set of paints so that I could do some art that was sitting in the back of my head.

I miss the days when I could pull all-nighters in order to write or draw or just play video games. But those days are gone. Even if Rei didn't have to keep a very regular schedule in order to avoid being in crippling pain, I no longer have the energy to keep going the way I used to. A regular schedule has been pretty good for me thus far, too, and I have to be careful enough with my health in order to avoid pain and bad lung days and the like.

But I want to write so very badly.

I can probably take a good chunk of tomorrow to write, really. I'm already ahead when it comes to this month's reading, so I'm not too worried about losing any reading time. But I have no idea if the urge will still be there when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Things like this are one of the things I miss the most about my old overnight job. Except for the time toward the end, there was very little work to actually be done. Being there to take a few calls, cleaning up a little, and the rest of the night usually consisted of me reading or writing or playing video games, while my iPod and speakers kept the place from being creepily quiet. I'd often do exercises, too. (I was alone, so why not?) But if, at 3 in the morning, I was struck with an idea that begged to be written, I could just start writing it. I could write for hours with very few interruptions, I could get a lot accomplished, and I could be paid well above minimum wage for doing so. That's why I'd love to have a quiet overnight job again.

Or perhaps a winning lottery ticket, so that I can stay at home and not have to worry about work at all, and Rei can quit and we can live to the schedules our bodies dictate is best for us instead of trying to mold ourselves to a conventional schedule that aids health but saps creativity. (We're both more creative and active at night. Typical artists, we are.) Honestly, we could both be on regular night schedules and likely at the peak of our creativity and health, given the chance.

But since starting to write now and having to stop soon would just frustrate me, I'll read until I go to bed and just start writing in the morning. No harm in that, and besides, I'm still really enjoying the book I'm reading!
sarasvati: A silhouette of a man riding a dolphin, with the words "Part of everything" underneath (inexplicable)
July is going to be a busy month for me, no matter how I consider it. In some ways, I'm looking forward to it, and other bits of are screaming, "Argh, how did you get yourself into this mess?!"

Reading: I have, at this moment, 9 review copies of books that need my attention. Fortunately 4 of them are geared more to young adults, so they'll be quicker to read than the other 5, but that's still a heft reading requirement. They don't all have to be reviewed by the end of July, but 1 of them is overdue and others I got direct from the small-press authors themselves, so I feel a greater obligation to finish then before others. I should be able to finish at least 1 of those 9 before the end of this month, but that still leaves 8. It'll take more than a single month to get them done with all the other things I have to do.

Writing: Aside from all the prompt and writing challenges I've signed up for, Rei and I have challenged ourselves to an early NaNo-type challenge, which we have called DoJu. (Domestic July Novel Writing Month.) I've got my premise, at least, which is a relief compared to two days ago when I had no idea what I'd write, but that, plus the other challenges... I admit, I finished this past NaNo challenge in 15 days, but that was only because I had no job and nothing else to distract me. Now, I do.

Drawing: The Sketchbook Project stuff should be arriving in a few weeks, which means I ought to take some time to at least do a few drawings for it. Or at least some photos to use as sources for things I can't quite draw yet without a good source image.

Work: No job yet, but it's not like I don't need one desperately. I have an interview tomorrow, for a night auditor position at a nearby hotel, which I think I'd enjoy. They ask for a lot and don't give much back, though, which is a blessing and a curse. They need 4 references as opposed to the standard 2, their idea of full-time hours is 25 a week, but they do pay about $13 an hour, so even on the minimum they'll give me, I could still get by on that pay, especially since they offer benefits. (I need my discount meds! I'm almost out, I can't afford to pay $140 for refills right now, and I do like to keep breathing.)

So even if I don't get that job (and I'm hoping that I do get it), it'll be a busy month with lots of obligation and responsibility. And somewhere in there I'll end up fitting in weekly dinners with a friend, going out for walks and to get groceries and any other job stuff that comes my way, so if you hear me say at any point in July that I don't have anything to do, you all have my permission to give me a smack upside the head.

But for now, since it's not quite July yet, I think I'll take advantage of a little free time and go lie down before going out to take a walk and buy cat food. It was dawn before I got to sleep last night, and I'm really feeling it now.
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
I'm aware that there's been some negative talk about various prompts for [community profile] hc_bingo, mostly on the matter of people actually going through some of the prompts in real life, and writers not doing the issue justice or treating it as anything more than a minor inconvenience to be swept aside for a few cuddles.

I therefore found it rather interesting that on the card I was given, I could almost get a straight line just from the things I myself have gone through in life. I can at least say with certainty that if I pick any of those prompts to write for, I will do the issues as much justice as I can, based on my own experiences and the experiences of those around me.

I will not, however, brush aside something as serious as, oh, say, serial killers just so that two characters can snuggle a little. Downplaying a serious issue, to me, doesn't make for a good fic. It takes me out of the story and puts me in a place where I think that either the author has no idea what they're talking about, or that they just threw in something random for the sake of a little hurt/comfort. Usually both. It's not fun for me to read, and it wouldn't be fun for me to write that way.

I will do my level best not to belittle a situation or issue, and where I'm unsure of something, I probably won't write it. I have never been in a plane crash, for example. I hope to never be. I can imagine the kind of terror people would feel in such a situation, but even if I imagine it correctly (which I doubt I can do properly anyway), I doubt any words I could write could convey the situation.

I have never broken a bone, nor experienced serious head trauma. I do, however, know that these things don't go away with hugs and kisses and a positive outlook. Sure, those things can make a situation more bearable, but they don't fix the problem, and I wouldn't write anything insinuating that they do. When I badly sprained my ankle and couldn't walk properly for a year without limping at best and being in pain at worst, a hug might have made me feel a little better at the time but it wouldn't do anything to take away the pain nor fix the injury. Much like sympathetic attitudes can't make my lungs work properly, nor can a cookie take away the shame of having a bad bout of barking in public because my Tourette's syndrome decided it wanted to come out to play.

I'll do my best to be respectful. That's all I can promise. That promise won't be enough for some, but I hope it can at least put to rest fears that I'll just be another enforcer of false stereotypes for the sake of a little squeeful fiction.

brainwashing / deprogramming
stalkers / serial killers
broken bones
major illness
cuddling for warmth / snowed in
loss of limbs / limb function
detached retina
plane crash
fear of heights
vampires: fresh bite / first transformation
head trauma
earth blowing up, escaping to space
body dysmorphic disorder
fear of clowns
ostracised from society
pandemics and epidemics
forced marriage
undercover: having to participate in illegal / hurtful activity

On the bright side, however, I am unbelievably happy that I got vampires on this card. Me and my obsessions, you know, I just can't be rid of them so easily.

The major downside to this is that I'm seeing these prompts and more original fiction is coming to mind than fanfiction. Really, there needs to be a bingo-type challenge for original fiction somewhere. Or if there is already, would somebody care to point me to it? Some things I can work around, in a sense, like transplanting some OCs into established worlds (Valdemar's ridiculously easy to do this with), but in a sense that feels a little like cheating. I've read too many fanfics that are basically original fics just barely masquerading as fanfiction because of one or two well-placed phrases. Take away those phrases and they could be standalone short stories in any number of settings or universes. Those kinds of stories, when presented as fanfiction, often feel dull to me. When I read fanfiction, I want to be immersed in a particular world, not just lightly brush my fingertip across it.

I'll figure something out. I have a lot of writing challenges to get to, and I'm hoping for some fun with them even if I can't run amok and write origfic the whole time!
sarasvati: (OT3)

I don't think I could have asked for a better card, since a good number of these things are kinks I know and love anyway, and won't require much stretching in order to make work in what I write. Dirty talk, consent play, amnesia, chains... These are things I frequently RP, after all.

Now, I just have to decide on a good fandom. Shame I can't do original fiction for this, because then I'd have the most ridiculously easy time with the writing. But I'm sure I'll find a suitable fandom. I dabble in so many, even if I don't often participate actively in them. (But then, that's what writing challenges like this are supposed to help me get better with.)


Apr. 20th, 2010 03:08 pm
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
I now have an account on Archive of Our Own, and so now have incentive to revamp a few things I've written over the past few years so that I can upload them and re-establish myself in fandom. The challenges I've accepted over the past few weeks will also help with that, undoubtedly.

I've been grinding in DreameRO for a few days and have improved Jazriyah (my Swordie), but she's still got a way to go. I'm finding it difficult to find a good place to level-build right now. I can find plenty of places that are too tough, plenty that don't offer much experience to speak of, and it seems that dungeons that are best suited to me at the moment offer piddly loot, so I can't even console myself by thinking I'm working hard to save zeny for better equipment. I think I have enough for some decent armour, though. My defense stat is low, because Jazriyah's focus is on dodging rather than taking hits, so I haven't had much of a chance to build up the stat. Same thing with my Strength stat. It's only 30 right now (at base level 50), since the guide I've been following has been advising me to dump a lot of points into AGI instead.

Admittedly, this keeps me alive in tough fights, since things have a hard time hitting me, but the comparatively small amount of damage I do in return means that I'm there longer and giving them more chances to get a hit in.

Still, it's good stress relief.

My EI claim should be going through soon, which is good. Less good is the fact that I'll only be getting about $36 a week. While that's something, it's only barely enough to buy a month's groceries if I'm extremely careful, and so most of the burden is still falling on Rei to make up the rest of the money I normally would have paid to our expenses.

Still unemployed, obviously. I ended up quite pissed yesterday when I found out that my mother was hired for a job that I was turned down for, despite the fact that I have better experience in the field. (Also I'm not an avoidant twit with a habit of lying to get out of trouble, but that never seems to come up in interviews.) If I had $10 to bet, I'd wager it on ageism once again. My mother's in her 40s, well past the age range where one tends to do stupid things. I'm in my 20s, which is still in the age range that prefers partying every weekend and getting piss drunk as often as possible. She's deemed more responsible than I am by the sole virtue of her age.

In objective reality, however, I haven't driven home drunk and then bragged about it to my friends. She has. She bragged to Rei and I and then was dismayed that we were far from impressed.

I appear to have lost a few pounds lately, according to the bathroom scales. I've been walking more often and drinking more water, which is probably the cause. I'm pleased about this, since I weigh far too much and have health problems that are exacerbated by carrying around all this excess weight.

In cleaning the kitchen two days ago, I found my old Latin textbook, and I plan to review some of the lessons to see how much I remember. Just another tool for independent study until I can go to university. It's a shame my Italian, Spanish, and German textbooks are buried somewhere in the back room, but I'll probably have an easier time with the Italian and Spanish, at least, after a Latin refresher. I remember taking Latin for the first time in high school, and I was amazed at just how much it helped me improve my French.

I had planned to go out today and pick up some groceries and rent money, but I'm feeling a bit let down by finding out the EI news, so I think I'll put that off until tomorrow. I can charge my iPod tonight and enjoy a long walk tomorrow, since I'll have to walk uptown, then to the north end, then home again in order to get everything done. That'll be about 2 hours of non-stop walking, so bringing some entertainment with me will make it less tiresome.

Now that all that's said and done, I do believe it's time for another cup of tea. You can take the Brit out of England...
sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)
I've signed up for both [community profile] kinked and [community profile] 36_stratagems, as a way of getting back into fandoms that I've lurked in for years but never really participated in. I've had fic ideas lurking in the back of my mind for a long time, but never really did much with them except for wistfully wishing that I could do something with them.

Unemployment has been good for increasing my fandom interest, if nothing else. I've spent more time reading and watching things that I would have passed on previously, using the excuse that I didn't have much time. I envied people who could hold down a full-time job and stay still active in fandom as well as enjoy other hobbies. It was all I could do to hold down a full-time job and finish some knitting projects. Fandom was a luxury I didn't feel I could allow myself.

But having the majority of my days free has changed that. I've had the time to read through book series or watch the entirety of shows, so I'm not playing catch-up as much as I used to.

Changing the tone from light to serious, Quebec is trying to pass a bill to ban burqa and niqab. I am strongly against this bill, personally. There are some disadvantages to wearing niqab is Western society, but most of the women who wear them understand that sometimes they'll have to remove them (eg. for hospital visits, having ID taken, etc.), and deal with it accordingly, prefering to remove the veil in private if they have to. Banning them from wearing them if they want things like health care and legal justice just disgusts me.

Supporters of the bill say that the niqab is a symbol of "backwards oppression of women" and "anachronistic subjugation", and all sorts of other things that sound convincing if you ignore the fact that banning that style of garment is just as restrictive as forcing them to wear one in the first place. Some Christian and Judaic sects believe that women should be subservient to men and thus cover their hair and wear skirts. Shall we ban women from wearing skirts in public, and ban all head covers (including bandanas, baseball caps, and winter hats), in the name of freedom and equality for all?

Most Muslim women in the West wear the hijab, burqa, or niqab because they choose to. They wear it as a sign of respect to their husbands and to their religion. (See the title of this post for an example of why banning religious clothing is just rididulous.) One can say that these women have been brainwashed by the culture of origin, and to some extent that may be true, but one must therefor also look at how we've also been brainwashed by our own culture, to believe that women must conform to our standards or else not be considered women at all.

Denying choice does not promote freedom.
sarasvati: A quill pen in an inkwell, sepia-toned. (writing)
Despite some fairly crushing news received earlier today, I actually feel rather good tonight. Friends have helped me with my problems, things aren't as dire as I first suspected they might be, and my mood has risen considerably.

For one reason or another, this has made me want to write. As much as I want to write some fanfiction right now, with my notes and ideas still scattered across various files and journals, I think it's best to work on something else for now, and to come back to fanfiction later. So Rei's whipped up some Darth Vaders (cola with grenadine) to keep up both going, and we're having an X-Files marathon while I write and she sketches.

I've had an idea for a while now that I'm hesitant to write, mostly because I'm afraid that the majority of readers won't recognize it for the satire that it is. I have a good number of friends who, in one way or another, have disabilities or other mental or physical hinderances to living, and hearing some of them talk has given me a lot of inspiration. Not in the, "ZOMG, you're so inspirational because you live in pain every day," kind of way (I have problems of my own and know what it is to struggle), but inspiration from their rants and dealing with the abled world.

One such complaint is people speaking for them, the abled speaking for the disabled to say that disabled people don't want cures and that "fixing" their condition would ruin an essential part of who that person in inside. Thus in the grand tradition of humanity going to extremes, I envisioned a world in which those with physical or mental problems are the norm, and those without such conditions are freaks of nature and deserve pity for not being special. Parents will crush a child's leg in order to get it amputated, work to give children psychological problems, all so that they can be normal by being different.

But there are some who escape such treatment and grow up what we would consider normal. These people are forced by society at large to live in an institution known as the simplex, the very opposite of complex. (Any connecton to herpes has been noted and winced at already.)

It's easy to see why I worry that this won't be received well. I can imagine that this sort of protrayal would not go over well with disability activists, for one. I know that some people with disabilities do actually think that way, too, that by being different they are therefor better, and who insist that anybody who doesn't recognise that they are special and have their own culture built around said difference is just willfully ignorant. I doubt they'd look kindly upon it either.

But what I have in mind is less a commentary on disability but more a commentary on the human condition to take things to extremes. Disability is merely the conduit I could well have used the low educational standards as a conduit instead, the marginaization of the intelligent and society favouring the underskilled. I could have used gender and sexuality, and idea I toyed with a while ago and would still like to use.

But right now, Simplex is my baby, and what I want to write. Even if it does nothing but take up space on my hard drive in the end, it will be interesting to write it and explore the themes.


sarasvati: A white lotus flower floating on water. (Default)

August 2011

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