Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Running out of ideas.

I have hit a point where I am starting to run out of ideas for blog entries. It is a disconcerting and unpleasant feeling to find that words are failing me. I'm an author. I always can depend on words. They're how I get ideas and stuff out into the world. But, right now, I am a bit stuck. I look at my blogs and I just have nothing coming to mind for what to post.

For one, I have a notebook of ideas. I look at the notebook and here is what happens:

Opens notebook.  
Reads outline for article.
Comments: Yep, those are words. They say stuff.
Close notebook.
Commence staring blankly at page/computer screen.

It has me feeling kinda low. This difficulty getting words out has me struggling with the question if I am good enough to get this book out. Never mind that I am nearly finished with the process of getting it to press and such. I want to blame the heat and the stress of managing kids and household stuff. But, honestly, I can't say that is the problem.

I am beginning to think I need to step back and take a few days off. I honestly don't know what I'm getting so hung up on.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mass murder = failed ethnic cleansing?

The subject line is a bit rough but bear with me for a moment. I'm cobbling this together as I write.

There is the theory that slave revolts and riots are the language of the unheard lower class/caste of society. (And I am increasingly of the opinion that there is an active attempt to stratify society in the US into some semblance of a caste system for reasons I may discuss later.) If we consider this theory and then look at mass murder events, I find myself wondering if there is perhaps some parallel sociological activity in play.

Hate crimes that target ethnic communities with violence can be clearly considered attempts at ethnic cleansing when the objective of said crimes is the murder of said community. Mass murder propelled by motivations to kill/eliminate members of an ethnic group is an obvious attempt at ethnic cleansing. What about when the mass murder is in an attempt to eliminate a group of people who are of differing ideology?

I contend, again, this is an attempt at ethnic cleansing. Ethnicity is more than the color of your skin, the language you speak, and the food you eat. It incorporates ideology. Efforts to eliminate ideology is an attack upon the group that holds said ideology. When mass murderers go on their killing spree for the sake of removing an element from society, I think it is safe to say that their motivations are the same as those of a warlord in some petty third world country who is killing tribesmen he believes are filth to be removed from the Earth.

I will also be so bold as to say that this is not a case of random nutjobs at play here. Considering this from the angle of looking at societal pressures at play in the country, I see that as people resist the 'traditional' values/ethos/worldview of the dominant group, there will arise violence in places of tension. Police brutality, when examined from this lens, becomes an effort by the dominant group to reassert their dominance over the group they feel should be subservient to them. The more this group resists the will of the dominant group, the more the dominant group attempts to quell them with increasing force. I am counting the use of legal measures enacted to oppress a given group as a form of said force.

If we look at the United States, we find that the black population are pushing back against the systemic racism of the dominant culture. As this has gained traction, the dominant culture pushes back. It is for this reason that many black churches were burned. It is for this reason why a man was found lynched not long ago. It is the reason why there are so many cases of police brutality against minorities (predominantly blacks from what I can tell in my research thus far). A simple search turns up videos of law enforcement members abusing and, in some cases, killing people.

One may wonder why these things happen. This push back by the dominant culture via the increase in violence is an effort to intimidate the minorities into the previously occupied role within society that was present before resistance began. One may wonder, how does all of this fit together with mass murder. It is my argument that people who undertake mass murder that are members of the dominant social group are acted upon by sociological forces that encourage them to commit the act of violence against the targets deemed subhuman.

In an environment where relations between the dominant cultural group and the minority cultural group in question becomes increasingly polarized, violence is bound to erupt. This violence is a manifestation of the friction between the two social groups and attempts by each group to accomplish their goals.

Some may say, "But, Deb, we're civilized. We don't go around beating people into submission." I would point to all the ways that violence against the 'undesireable' people in society is laughed at and minimalized. There are states where murdering someone because they are transgender is acceptable. Let that sink in for a moment. There are states where MURDER is permissible. The way that the dominant society turns a blind eye to the violence within it is implicit approval of said violence. When said violence is turned into socially acceptable 'jokes' those who are inclined towards engaging in it find approval for their inclinations and encouragement in those jokes being permissible.

There are a lot of people who are up in arms over the idea that there is an active campaign to erase 'Southern heritage' and a lot of people who are up in arms over the idea of the 'illegal immigrants threat'. We won't bother getting into the hysteria surrounding Islam, the long standing and systemic racism against blacks, or the well entrenched xenophobia that is rampant through the dominant culture. Instead of focusing on all these 'threats' to society, we need to look at where the societal fault lines are and the underlying problems that are causing the increasing violence in this country.

The problems in the United States are not due to this group or that. They're not a result of something that happened generations ago (directly) or because there is a lack of homogeneous thought in the country. These problems are present because there is a failure to uphold human rights. When a person is no longer considered a legitimate person, when they become something other, they are robbed of their humanity and the inalienable rights that comes with said humanity. I honestly am not surprised that the UN and the international community are becoming increasingly disturbed with what is going on in the US. Flagrant violation of human rights are on the rise and there is an attempt to mainstream said violations as the norm.

Another nation did that. WWII resulted from it. And horrific damage was done to that country and it was functionally destroyed. If we don't work to resolve the human rights issues in this country, we are heading down a dark and terrible path.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Is your water safe?

So apparently there is this thing going around the blogosphere. Some wit out there decided that the glass of water you leave sitting on the counter overnight is not safe for you because of germs from your saliva and carbon dioxide getting into the water. After the initial moment of disbelief that this was a thing, I got angry. There are people all over the world literally dying for want of clean drinking water.

Let me repeat that. There are people all over the world who are dying for want of clean drinking water. And there are some entitled nitwits who seem to think that their glass of water that sat out overnight is unsafe and gross because it isn't fresh out of the bottle or filtered tap water. This is an outrage.

I am not a fan of bottled water to begin with. I recognize, however, there are some situations where bottled water is necessary. It can be done in an ecologically responsible fashion. I am not a fan of wasting water, which is what happens when someone decides that bottle of water is to 'old' to drink. If you have potable water, you should be thankful.

You are one of the lucky ones. If you think that your day old glass of water is too gross to drink, you need to acquire some fortitude and vertebrae. If no one has a communicable disease and the water is not contaminated in some fashion that renders it unsafe, you need to put on your grown up panties and drink the damn water. We don't have unlimited freshwater supplies. The world acquifires are in danger and pollution is a constant threat to those supplies.

If your entitled butt thinks that you can't drink that glass of water, you should stop drinking water. Because each drop that you save is going to be used by someone else who needs it. While you're at it, you may want to consider not breathing. Because the toxins in the air are bad for you, regardless of where you are at.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dear writing time, I miss you.

It has been very hard to get time to sit down and do much in the way of writing. This has been making me somewhat cranky and I am not entirely sure how to resolve it. I have resumed carrying a notebook with me but it has been difficult to get stuff prepped for blog posts or manuscript insertion. I can not report that there has been an increase in productivity with the carrying of a notebook. I have been getting interrupted when I sit down to write in the notebook just as much, if not more, than I have been when I am at the computer.

I have been participating in this meme called July for Loki. This is my second year participating. I am approximately a week behind where I wanted to be right now. I don't know if I am going to manage to catch up and get a full 30 posts for Loki this month or not. I have been writing these posts up on my 'professional' witchery blog. On my more personal witchery blog, I have been continuing to chronicle my efforts with cursing Daesh (the group many of you may recognize as ISIS or ISIL). I've got two curses written up. I need to write a post on how they seem to be manifesting and the third one that is developed. My goal is to spend a lunar month with magical efforts focused on the defeat of Daesh.

My work on book two of the Umbrel Chronicles is a little stalled at the moment. I am struggling with the business of putting together a cover. It is proving more complicated than I had originally anticipated. Line edits are complete, however. I should be hearing back from some beta readers anytime now. We're a little over a week away from the deadline I set. I am a bit nervous but mainly irritated because I can't seem to figure out what I am doing for a cover and not having time to really do proper entries for the world building blog.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer School & Stuff

Tomorrow is the beginning of week two of summer school for the boys. Most of last week, they were excited to be going. Today, Cuddle Bear announced that he was not going to school because it was going to be closed tomorrow. I guess we've passed the honeymoon stage and jumped right to the irritating whining state. I had hoped that I would get at least another week of the honeymoon stage. He may think that he is going to get out of going to summer school, but he's still going. If nothing else, because I kinda need that 2 hr break from them to get some of this mountain of laundry folded.

It feels surreal how I am not incredibly upset over Grandma's death right now. Some of this is because I have been pretty busy over the last week. Some of it is because I realized that she is no longer suffering from dementia and bodily ills that go with being 85ish and she is now with Grandpa. After he died, apparently she was telling my parents (who were her care givers) to just let her die when she had her lucid moments. Rather than feeling upset, I have been feeling grateful for her passing being quick and in her sleep. I've been meaning to call and ask what the results of the brain biopsy were. There was some question as to what was causing the dementia. Hopefully, the results illuminate what the cause of that was and gives the rest of us some idea as to if we can prevent developing it ourselves.

With Grandma's death, I have come to the feeling that the farm is no longer 'home' to me. Yeah, I grew up there but it is no longer a place that I can go to and feel 'at home' now. For some reason, Grandma and Grandpa really made that happen. I think it is because their house never really changed over the years and they were always more or less the same over time. But now, that continuity is gone. I find myself feeling somewhat sad over it, but I'm not as crushed as I thought I would be. Perhaps it is because I have my own home and my own family now.

Oddly enough, along with the changes that happened at the farm, one of the places where Beloved and I frequented through our courtship changed as well. Miceli's Deli was probably the best place to get a sub in Geneseo. When we stopped over there recently, we discovered it was no longer called Miceli's Deli and the business model had changed dramatically. The owners and the staff are the same but the menu is different, the restaurant layout is different, and it has a significant change to how the place feels. We still ate there. Beloved has decided that their Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich is craveable. I'm not decided on it all. From what he said, however, the macaroni salad recipe is unchanged so we've at least got that going for us.

My flowerbed in front is choked with weeds. All last week I told myself I was going to go out there and pull weeds. The days I was organized enough to do it, however, it was raining. My goal for this week, aside from getting all the laundry put away, is to rip the grass out of that flowerbed. A part of me wonders if I should look into putting down weed blocking fabric with a layer of mulch over it. I'm still not decided on that, however. I don't know if the investment is worth it right now.

The plants on the back deck are doing fairly well. I don't think, however, that my miniature roses are going to bloom this summer. The morning glories that are growing up in a window box  are becoming unruly. They haven't bloomed yet but I think it will be happening soon. I tried putting up stakes for them to climb but the stakes weren't long enough. I put a tomato cage in there and it is almost covered now. It also doesn't stand up very well. I am contemplating using a bit of twine tied to one side of the tomato cage and run under the window box before being tied to the other side to stabilize it. I haven't made a full decision on it yet.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Independence Day? Whatever.

So, it is July 4th. I am not feeling any excitement towards today what so ever. Part of this may be my coming to grips with the death of my paternal Grandmother. Part of it may be the increasing disgust I feel towards how jingoistic the 'patriots' around me have gotten. When questioning the system gets you shouted down, shunned, or threatened with bodily harm, then you don't have freedom of speech. What you have is a mockery of it. You can say what ever you like, as long as you stay within these lines.

I look around me and I see people acting like there isn't an active war going on, like there are not veterans coming back traumatized and injured (when they are not in a box). I see people acting like we're the great bastion of freedom, completely ignoring the fact that we are not the only nation that has liberty. I see people wrapping themselves up in the flag as they push for the nation to become a theocracy because we're a 'Christian Nation' despite the fact that the country is NOT in any fashion founded upon Christian principles (especially those that are touted by these folk). I see all this and I feel sick.

Do I want to be someone who can say 'Yay America!' and enjoy fireworks with everybody else? Yes, that would be nice. It would make it a lot easier to fit in, I suppose. But my conscience won't let me. There is too much that is wrong in the nation to spend time flag waving. There is too much that is wrong done in the name of the nation to sit back and get caught up in the groupthink bliss state. I can't celebrate today because I am too grieved by what I see happening in the nation to do so.

Maybe that makes me 'unpatriotic' and some would go so far as to say that I am espousing 'treason' or that I am a terrorist sympathizer. The people who say that I am in the wrong for this a ignoring one of the principles this nation is founded on. A patriot is supposed to stand up and demand the government to take responsibility for how it has wronged the citizens. A patriot is supposed to speak out against crimes committed by the nation. A patriot is supposed to seek out the greater good for the whole of the people, not just the ones who agree with their positions or pay them enough money. I close with the following quote and I plea to my fellow citizens: Speak out against the wrongs of our government and the people who wish to rip away our rights for the sake of their comfort.

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.