Petition–Take Away Trump’s Twitter

Just Stop 

From a behavior management point of view, if people simply stopped responding to Trump’s Tweets it would be one of the fastest ways to get under his skin. He sends out, I read, approximately 35 Tweets a day. They are designed to ignite a response as well as distract people from the more important issues going on around him: the conflicts of interest with his finances, Trump University, etc. He Tweets for the attention, as well. If people just stopped responding, stopped feeding the monster, it would be interesting to see what happened. It’s called extinction, when you try to get rid of a behavior (you’re supposed to replace it with another behavior, but I have no idea what it would be). If it’s working, you get an extinction burst, where he would start sending out even more Tweets in an effort to get someone to respond. But can you just imagine if everyone would just coordinate and stop responding? It’s not like he cares or can be reasoned with; it just fans the flame of his ego that he managed to irritate people. If he was Tweeting into a void… That would be awesome.

Trump Voters: Trump Does Not Support You 

I know, you think he does. That’s why you voted for him. You’re angry with the status quo. You think Hillary is a crook, far worse than anything Trump did. Why? Her emails. Funny thing that Pence is having issues with his emails now, isn’t it? But Trump is a sexual aggressor, a racist, a bigot, sexist, self-serving, narcissistic man who loves the sound of his own voice and hearing people cheering for him. He has ties to a foreign entity that admits they were in contact with him before the election. Manipulating the election. Yet Hillary’s emails, twice found to be irrelevant, are somehow worse than this. I’m still trying to weigh those against the other, and try as I might, Trump still comes out the one with the most deficits. I don’t understand the mindset that Hillary is so terrible. But Trump said the uneducated were great. He counted on them. 

Does he have any idea how to be President? It’s becoming clearer and clearer that he doesn’t. He has no idea what the job truly entails, and one reason he’s not cut out for it is that he doesn’t get to come first. It’s not a glamourous job. It’s a hard, 24/7 work your butt off job, and he’s not cut out for it. You don’t make your hours; the hours make you. 
And what made anyone think that a billionaire has your financial interests at heart? That he would understand you much less empathize with you? He plans on giving his rich cronies a big tax break, and to hell with the rest of us. We don’t matter to him. The only one he cares about is himself. 

I just wanted to post some pictures of the way he lives–what makes you think this man has anything in common with you? A box of tissues? Compare this to the way you live. Remember, this is how someone who lives who’s smart because he doesn’t pay his taxes. And yes, the things that look like gold are–24 karat gilt. What does this man have in common with you?

It’s a pretty good guess that illegal immigrants helped build Trump Towers. These pictures are from and The Huffington Post. Trump doesn’t want to stay in The White House, as every single President before him has. He wants to come back to this. What? The White House isn’t good enough for him?

Yet somehow, you believed he had your best interests at heart. He goes home to this. What do you go home to? Do you think you’ll be one of the ones getting a big tax break? Do you really think the reason why the economy is stalled is because of African-Americans, or Latinos, or Muslims, or Jews, or even illegal immigrants? How many of you want to go work the back-breaking farm labor jobs illegal immigrants work? Show of hands. You blame them but you don’t want the jobs they take. 

Truthfully, if you want to blame who’s really responsible, go look up the list of the richest people in America. They are the ones who hold, and keep almost all the wealth in this country. How many of them are white men? Let me repeat that: White men. Those are the ones responsible, and they are distracting you with racist, xenophobic bullshit to keep the attention away from themselves. The neo-nazis and white supremacists are wrong. Trump is wrong. They are trying to fool you into thinking they care about you, but you will never get a tax break, and they don’t really care about making your lives better. 

Why should they when they go home to places like that?

A Post-Election Vent

I just have to say this, because I saw a few posts on Project Semi-Colon’s Facebook page smfrom people saying, “Republicans are not monsters,” etc. on a response to a post saying that calls to the suicide hotline were doubled, mostly from trans teens who were scared. And these people had the gall to come onto this post and say things like “No one cares about LGBT kids anyway,” or “Republicans aren’t monsters.”

No one has the right to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t be afraid of. No one. The people who are scared are scared because after hearing the rhetoric that has been spread around for the past eighteen months or so by “Republicans,” and seeing what has happened in the few days since the election by people because “our guy won” and what they’ve perpetrated, people have every right to be scared. No one should tell them, “Oh there, there, Republicans aren’t monsters.” Screw them.

If you’re a Republican and claim that you aren’t misogynistic, a xenophobe, racist, or anti-LBGTQA, you sort of signed your rights away to a pass on any of that by voting for him. He represents all of that. When you voted for him, you voted for the whole package. You don’t get to pick and choose the pieces that you don’t like. You choose the whole thing. You now have to own that. Own your vote. Own who _you_ voted for. Own _what_ you voted for.

I know that most of the people who will see this already agree with what I’m saying, so this is mostly just a vent on my part. I know that there’s the saying that “Love trumps hate.” I’m not quite there yet. I’m trying to get there. But I will help people who need help. I wish I could give my car bullet-proof glass and make it a hate-free safe zone, sort of a movable safety spot. A new sort of Lovemobile, not the 60’s sort, but one brought about to help people get through the bullying, the hate, the targeting wherever I see it happening. Sort of a purple TARDIS of love. Unfortunately it’s not purple and it’s not bigger on the inside than the outside. I can only fit so many people in it. But there’s no room for people who hate.


Website Tracking & Some Solutions



What Does Google Know?

I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. But this year, I think I’m making one. To follow the recommendations listed at the bottom of this chart and use as few of the things as possible attached to Google.

Yes, it will be a pain changing my email address, but that’s why I have one already in Germany that I’m paying for. Why have it and not use it? That’s just silly.

What’s silly, to put it very, very mildly, is something like CISA being passed by the government as a rider on a budget, somewhere it has no business being. And to continue to let companies like Google use our information when we have some means of controlling it. But we can’t control it unless we know what they’re doing. Many, many thanks to Conosco for putting this infographic together.


Rules, Allies, and Friends

I have been trying to stay out of the debates going on in the M/M Romance world, but they are bleeding into other issues, some of which don’t necessarily belong in the book world but in a larger sphere. That’s why I wasn’t sure I should post this here or on my other blog. Maybe I’ll put it on both, just to keep my bases covered, so to speak, because it does have to do with both.

Because of one person weaving a fantasy world which she portrayed as real, hurting a lot of people in the process, a lot of other authors (and people in general) seem to be coming forward and verifying their authenticity. I find this a little disturbing. What this person did was wrong. If you want to create a fictional world and play around with it, write a book. Don’t lead people on that they’re real people. That’s just hurtful and mean, even if it wasn’t intended that way. I was in a group on Goodreads where something very similar to this happened. The sad thing is the group is still running, and people that were in the group when it happened are still there, which means, to me at least, that they are willing to overlook the hurt that the moderators caused. Whoever the moderator(s) are/is.

The other thing I feel about this is that it’s completely different than having a pseudonym as, say, a gay man. It’s easy for one person to say, “I’ve been homeless, I’d never lie to people just to publish for the money.” That’s really easy to say, because you weren’t in that person’s position. People have their own reasons for doing things. Unless you’re that person, you really don’t know, and you can’t presume to answer for them. In other words, you can’t condemn someone for assuming a pseudonym/persona, because you don’t know them, and you can’t speak for them. Your reasons may be fine for you, but you can’t just apply them across the board to everyone. Yes, some people may have felt betrayed, but was anyone actually hurt?

Bear with me here. Around all this happening, a post came out by Anonymous. I didn’t know all of this was going on when it was going on. As I understand it, this person was upset at the way that gay men were being portrayed by white, heterosexual women in M/M Romance. I may have gotten that wrong, and I apologize sincerely if I did. I also believe that it had to do with objectification of gay males. This was/is a huge, huge post/issue, and hasn’t died down yet. I feel uncomfortable even mentioning it, because I followed some of the debate after it happened, but I don’t really feel qualified to comment on it.

What did happen, for me, because of it, was that it made me hesitate further to write a review of a book that I was already hesitating to write a review of, but I am going to after I write this post, because I’m tired of caring what people think of it. That’s not true–I’m tired of caring what people think about what I think of the book. My feelings about the book are my feelings, and they don’t have anything to do with what anyone else thinks about it. But more on that in the review, not here.

What has come up, again, in some posts, is “rules” about being an ally. Personally, and this is just me, I find things like this really offensive. It’s like the time (I wrote a post about it) when there was an article saying that “allies were doing it all wrong.” My gut reaction is, “fine, deal with it yourself, then.” It’s an immature reaction. I know that, but maybe it’s just in my nature to rebel when being told what to do. To me, it’s sort of like being given rules for being a friend. Because, after all, in a way, isn’t that sort of what it’s like?

Not being a friend like a casual friend, but being a friend like a good friend. If you have a good friend, you don’t speak on their behalf about what they may or may not think about an issue. You don’t assume all your friends are the same and agree with your point of view on how they should behave and act. You don’t assume they all have the same sexual tastes and orientations. You accept the fact that while you empathize with them, they are still different people from you; they are their own person. They have rights that should be respected by you, just as you expect your rights to be respected by them. Don’t expect them to be perfect, just like you don’t expect them to assume you’re going to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. A person doesn’t objectify their friends.

I could go on, but does that make sense? Why does there have to be a list of rules? To me, that’s insulting, and doesn’t show respect. It’s like saying, to be my friend, you have to do this, this, and this. Unless an ally isn’t supposed to be a friend? I know I can’t be friends with every gay man out there, or everyone in the LBGTQ world, but if I consider them a friend, and treat them as I would a friend, doesn’t that work? Sure, there are plenty who may not like me. Fine. There are plenty of people I may not like either. But I don’t like the notion that to be worthy I need to jump through hoops. Friends just don’t do that to their friends.

The other thing is, as a white, heterosexual female, it does make me uncomfortable when there is someone posting a lot of pictures of semi-naked or naked young men in provocative poses. A lot of it depends on the intent. Sometimes, if it’s just a picture of a guy, it’s okay. When they’re blatantly sensual photos, it bothers me. To me, that’s objectifying men. Just as if it were pictures of women, I would say that’s objectifying women. But if it’s a gay man posting the pictures, I’m not going to protest it. I’m just going to avoid it. Because if I did protest it, I would be labeled all sorts of things. Truthfully, if it were a straight man posting pictures of women I found objectionable (most likely I wouldn’t be his friend in the first place), and I complained, I would also be labeled all sorts of things.

Maybe part of the problem is living in a world of technology where so much is unknown, and people can pretend to be other people. People can spin tales, invent whole groups of other people. I hope those people are in the minority. I hope.

I know this is somewhat rambling, and I am sometimes frustrated that when I feel passionately about something I do have difficulty writing brilliant, concise posts that just sum everything up in a flash of wit. I feel strongly that if people comported themselves online in a manner that they did offline, it would solve a lot of problems. If being an “ally” means that I have to conform to a set of predetermined rules as opposed to behaving in a manner where I feel like I’m trying my best to be a decent human being, then maybe I’ll just be something else and not bother with having a word for it, and continue to treat people as if they’re all decent human beings who deserve to live their lives the way they want to. Because love is love, and no one has the right to take that away.

“But She Seemed So Normal”

I hate these words. Especially when it comes to teen suicide. “She was at the top of her class.” As if that’s enough reason not to kill oneself, right there, correct? What reason could someone at the top of their class possibly have for killing themselves, they have everything going for them? “She seemed so normal.”

It makes me cringe inside, want to beat the walls in frustration. Why don’t people understand? Just because someone is at the top of their class, just because things seem fine, it doesn’t mean that they are fine.

What classifies as normal? Who judges what is and isn’t normal? People with no understanding of depression? People who have no real memory of how real and immediate the problems of a teenager seem when you’re a teenager? Much less if you’re a teenager with depression?

As a teenager, you don’t have a lot of control over your life. You can’t vote, you live at home, your parents hold the reins. It’s difficult if you’re a so-called “normal” teen (whatever that is), much less if you have depression, or identify as LBGTQ, or don’t fit in to any other of the myriad ways one is expected to in high school.

People are shocked when someone they thought was “normal” commits suicide in high school. Because the person was hiding a lot. Trying to fit in. Possibly afraid of the stigma of whatever issue they’re trying to deal with. “Why didn’t they talk to anyone?” Some people lament. Maybe they did, but no one really heard them. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, per se, but sometimes others don’t want to hear. They don’t want their images of “normality” shattered. “Not normal” is scary; it takes people away from the expected into realms of the unexplored and leads them into the uncomfortable, where things are difficult to talk about. But the difficult needs to be talked about. The uncomfortable needs to be delved into.

Teenagers today have it harder than they did when I was a teenager. Not only do they have all the issues I had to deal with, they have social media, a whole new wonderful world of torture. And those who use it for that purpose know how to do it well. And as for all of this zero-tolerance for bullying? According to the students I have talked to about it, that’s laughable. Bullying is alive and well on our K-12 campuses.

Some people think that the anti-bullying campaigns think that it’s preventing children and young adults from learning how to deal with these things on their own. I say those people didn’t have to grow up in an environment with social media, and the amount of viciousness that exists in schools today. I don’t remember the amount of hatred that seems so pervasive today, and I had my fair share of bullies. They were mean, but it wasn’t hate. If you broaden that out to statements made by adults on social media, you see a lot of hate there as well. It’s not a huge surprise it exists on school campuses.

But back to suicide. There are many, many reasons some teens feel hopeless enough to attempt it, and it’s tragic when they succeed. When the attitude is, “but they seemed so normal,” it’s no wonder that they hesitate to find people to talk to. At that age, trying to fit in is important to many kids (there are those who are brave enough to say “to hell with this” and find their own paths, and kudos to those kids), but there are some who aren’t, or can’t. They’re desperately trying to be “normal” and hide how they’re feeling, when in reality they need someone to tell them that what they’re feeling is normal, and it’s okay, and to please find someone to talk to them. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s not a weaknesses, it’s a sign of courage.

Being a teenager is hard. Really hard. It’s confusing, and sometimes things do seem like the end of the world, or that you’re stuck and there doesn’t seem like any other way. But wait. There is another way. And I know it’s not a huge consolation to hear it, but things do get better. There aren’t a lot of times I can say that with certainty, but when you’re in high school, and so much of your life is out of your control (you can’t even vote yet!), things really will get better. Find someone, anyone, you trust, and talk to them. Go on a walk. Give yourself time. Call a hotline. If there is ever a time to procrastinate, this is it. Make contact with someone. There are people who will help you, people who care about you, because you are important. Don’t ever forget that. Repeat it to yourself. You are important. You matter. You make a difference.

Normal is relative, and sometimes, being “normal” really isn’t all that important. Being safe, being loved, being accepted for who you are, and finding people who see the things in you that matter–those are the things that are important. Be who you are, not who others want you to be. You are your own “normal”, just the way you are. Your normal may be weird and funky, or depressed and odd, or whatever combination of things you can come up with, but that’s who you are, and don’t be ashamed of it. Let your flag of who you are fly, and be proud of it. There is only one you, and you are irreplaceable.


The Hidden Curriculum of Social Media

For those who don’t know, the term “hidden curriculum” refers to the things in everyday social life that are hard for people on the autism spectrum to pick up that others just do unconsciously. From the perspective of a person with autism, these things are “hidden” because they simply don’t see them. It’s not out of willfullness or stubborness, they are social cues that are too subtle for them to read.

While I’m not on the spectrum, I feel like I have had a full run-in with the “hidden curriculum” of social media lately. I’m a casual user of Facebook. I don’t know the ins and out of it. I don’t “poke” people. When I share posts I credit the people I shared them from, because in my mind, that’s the proper thing you do. You give credit to the people you’ve borrowed something from. I remember enough from Pinterest a couple of years ago to know people were up in arms about not giving credit there.

I don’t know how “tagging” works. But, apparently it’s a pretty darn big deal. Enough so that it warrants warnings like this from people: “I have to say this far too often: don’t tag me in any post not specifically related to me and don’t add me to groups. Both acts earn an unfriend and block.” Now, “not specifically related to me,” that seems perfectly fair. And adding to groups? That would be downright rude. “Both acts earn an unfriend and a block.” Wow. That’s wielding power in the Facebook world.

Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal if another author hadn’t PM’d me personally. “Could you please stop tagging me when you share something I’ve liked? If I wanted to share it on my timeline, I would, and tagging makes it show up there anyway unless I go in and manually untag myself.” Now, again, that’s not an unreasonable request–except I had no idea I was “tagging” anyone. I have no idea how that works. But then it comes to the almighty timeline. I replied that I didn’t know how that worked, apologized, said I just wanted to give credit. Now, she was nice about it, but then there’s just that little bit of ambiguity where 70%+ of language is non-verbal so you’re really not sure what the tone is. “FB can be SOOO confusing about what it does sometimes. It ought to come with instructions!” Now, does that mean it does come with instructions and I should have read them? Or that it really is confusing and it should be easier to figure out?

I take things I shouldn’t too personally sometimes, but between that and the other post, my first reaction was just anger. The people I consider my FB friends are mostly authors, and a very nice group of them. But things like this start to show a difference in the fan/author chasm which isn’t usually so wide. In my experience, none of the authors generally act superior or more important than the fans. After all, we buy the books that support them. I consider it, generally, a really nice group of people. But I’m not in the position where I’m posting things that are being reposted. I’m not the popular one. I’m just the fan. No one would care if I posted statements about tagging and unfriending, because I’m just a fan, not an author. So who cares if I unfriend and block someone?

So there is an unequality, a “hidden curriculum.” I’m not as important, even though that isn’t mentioned. Now, I certainly do not mean this to all the authors I know online, but when it really comes down to it, it’s true. Isn’t it? I don’t even know. I just know that when a timeline is more important than a real human being, I think some priorities have gotten a bit askew. And it hurts me to say that. Because it’s blown a hole in my idealized little online Facebook world.

In the meantime, I’m not going to repost anything from individuals, only the organizational group pages. Or my friends. Because gods know I don’t know what I’m doing, and gods forbid I accidentally tag someone. I think The Republican War on Women is not just going to block me and throw away the key on me. I’ve been blocked, without having a chance to explain myself, and it hurts. I have blocked people. People who have bullied me IRL. Not because they tagged me. Put things in perspective, maybe? Or maybe it’s just a hidden curriculum that will continue on. I’m sure there are people who do things deliberately, but then again, there are people like me who do things accidentally because they don’t know what they’re doing. But, off with their heads.

It’s really made me take a closer look at the niche I felt comfortable in, and I realize I don’t feel as comfortable anymore.

To Those Who have Lost a Loved One

Miranda John William Waterhouse, 1916

John William Waterhouse, 1916

W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.