It’s time to get a hobby

Why I’m not a full time ghost hunter: because (through experience) I’ve found long lags between incidents and my patience just isn’t that high.

The other night, the shower turned on. Not full blast, but enough for a continuous drip – and, yes: when I went in to check, the taps were a good half twist turned on. This, in the middle of an evening of tv watching. This, when we hadn’t turned the shower on that day. Our resident ghost is getting stronger and learning new tricks. I’m not really bothered by it; too many incidents growing up just taught me to deal with it. But it’s bloody well note worthy.

NL news: Infection rates are dropping. Curfew is being broken, sometimes rather violently. Reports today talk about unrest in Urk (awful name that doesn’t translate well, in my opinion) that include police arrests. Honestly, things are sounding bleak lately. Discussions about longer curfews, more lock downs, and total travel bans. NL has a problem with tourists from forbidden countries; apparently, IDs are only checked for up to date stamps rather than country of actual origin: people are sneaking into NL from Germany or other bordering countries that don’t have a travel ban.

With every rule, you’ll find rule breakers. Every time. And I’m not nice enough to call them just ‘rule breakers’. In my book, they’re cheaters. The same people who felt it okay to cheat on exams or lie on applications. The same people who feel no compunction to act decently. These are the liars. And the spreaders of lies.

I have run into them my entire life.

And I’m really angry that so many get away with it. Yet, that’s also been my truth. In my own family, in the country I was born in, in almost every situation I can think of…. Liars getting away with it. And if I’m so bold as to tell it like it is, to call a lie a lie, I am the one castrated. Rebuked. Outed. The group closes ranks and I, suddenly, am persona non grata.

Can anyone explain this to me? Is it because so many people want to get away with their own lies that they support other liars’ lies during a confrontation? Isn’t this where we lose the world – and ourselves? Or is it, simply, because I am a magnet for assholes who do that kind of thing to me? Because everyone once in a while I’m reminded there are decent people amongst the masses. To me, it seems a very small minority.

…Fu-u-u-uck. I don’t even have the news on and I’ve got to fucking pontificate about this or that.

Maybe it’s been the influence of watching Breaking Bad. Yeah, yeah: you don’t have to go on about how behind the times I am. I know and I couldn’t care less. There are certain aspects of modern society I refuse to participate in, and one of them is the mad frenzy of anything currently ‘in fashion’. Nope. Always chose to be an outsider. Anyway, I’m finally watching it. And… Thus far, I’ve been laughing my ass off. I’ve heard a lot about this series, but not about the humour of it. Extremely dark comedy, I’ll give you. But dropping the acid body in the bathtub was brilliant: both funny as hell and a bit too realistic. I laughed and got grossed out at the same time; a real rarity.

I feel… Weird. Not quite here, if you know what I mean. Outside it’s grey and cold (OOooo! Big surprise, that!). I’m in the same chair I’m always in, watching the same afternoon cartoons in the background. This could be any day of the week. I…feel like I’m in a re-run. A re-run I’ve already played in several times over. There’s so much sameness lately.

Grrr. I’m hanging on the edge of gratitude to the bloody ghost for shaking things up. Even if it gets weird, at least it’s something different. Anything other than the same afternoon cartoons! Anything other than that all encompassing grey that fills the sky and tints the very air so every damned thing in the entire world is grey!

The sun is shining somewhere, right? It’s not, like, gone from the sky, is it? Time is marching on, yes? After I go to sleep tonight, I’ll be in another day. It won’t keep repeating. It hasn’t been repeating. …Has it?

Fuck. When you hang your measurement of time on meals and ghostly activity, it’s time to get a hobby.

Ridin’ the storm out

Are we all breathing easier these days? If you’re reading this, I expect so. I certainly am. Biden and Harris are enshrined in the WH and there ain’t nothin’ 45 or his supporters can do. Well, other than file articles of impeachment on the first day – which, I’ve heard, they have. Lovely. Really reaching across the aisle to work together. Really showing unity. Oh, well done, lawmakers. Bravo.

Saw Dr T yesterday. We talked politics, mostly because he wouldn’t leave the subject. Every time I tried, he had a new observation over events to share with me (sometimes I DO wonder; is this MY therapy session or his?). He then told me that I’m ‘very American’ because I like or feel a need to discuss US politics. I replied that that shouldn’t be a surprise; I spent over 30 years from birth in that country and am more than a little shaped by its ideals. Dr T’s statement bothered me. It felt to me like he was saying ‘well, you can live here, but you don’t really belong here’. Told all this my bro in the evening; he thinks it’s because of my ‘passionate stance’ on certain topics. He pointed out that we now live in a socialist environment that thinks it better to surrender to invaders than fight because fighting would mean losing too many citizens. It’s…not a mind set I can readily adapt. Inside me, there is a no-go zone. A point where I will not bend one more inch, where I will stand or sit or kneel and refuse to budge even if it means a bullet in my brain. For instance, I will never let my ex stalker lay a hand on me again. If that should ever come up – which is a moot point due to the fact that I live on the other side of the planet, but IF it should – I would fight to the death to prevent it from happening. My choice; my no-go zone. Similarly, I have no-go zones for many issues. I guess that’s what’s so ‘American’ about me; my decision to die rather than submit. My guess is that’s due to the circumstances under which I grew up. And you know what I found? I found there are states of ‘living’ more detrimental than death itself. More frightening. More damaging. There are worse things than dying. I have never agreed with the ‘whatever happens, stay alive’ shit. Nope. Broken people are broken people. You can have them in therapy to talk about their issues for forever, but they won’t ‘get over’ it. They can’t. It’s as much a part of them as being black is being a part of being black; you can’t separate the two. The best you can ever hope for is a state of acceptance and a bit of wisdom. But you don’t ‘get over’ it.

…Yeah. Dr T’s comment bugged me. Still bugs me.

NL news: We are under curfew as of this weekend. Must be home by 9 pm. My quiet city is gonna get a lot quieter. Anyone travelling after 9 pm must have a letter stating they’re going to work or have reason to be out past curfew. Various lock down aspects will continue into February, and there’s talk of them continuing into summer. Daily infection numbers continue to decrease, but hospitals are still working at capacity or nearly so. More money is being pumped into small businesses. Still waiting to hear about vaccinations. Hoping that’s going well and I get a letter from my doc sometime in spring to come in and get my shot.

T continues to swear at an alarming rate. I did talk to him about his test results. He claims he’s not worried, which is good. But his attitude makes me think he’s more worried than he’s willing to admit to. His derision has spilled over onto me at this point. I had a bit of left over pie crust after making a quiche and decided to make a dessert pie. Went downstairs to search out fresh fruit, came back with pears and limes for my famous pear/lime pie. When T saw the ingredients, he sighed loudly, like he really didn’t like that flavour. But last night he helped himself to an extra large piece, yummed and ‘mmmm!’d’ his way through it, then lamented that he wanted another piece but wouldn’t eat it tonight because it was too much. Obviously, he liked it. Why the big sigh when he saw the ingredients? Why act like he didn’t like that flavour when he obviously does? Just to throw cold water on me? Feels like it. It feels the same way as when he occasionally beefs about the manner I do simple things, like dishes. I wouldn’t have done it like that comes out of his mouth far too often. So what? I can do things differently. It still works. Your way isn’t the ONLY way, bro. But there are times when it feels like it IS so, at least in his brain. And I feel derided for doing a decent job in a way slightly different than the way he’d approach it. Not cool, dude, not cool. I’ve trained myself through the years to take a different view of this behaviour in T. Usually it means something in him isn’t sitting well, so he’s grasping for control at every chance. But when he refuses to own up to what’s really bugging him, there’s not much I can do other than ride it out. Sure, I could say something. Confront it. I’ve done that in the past and it’s resulted in arguments and bad feelings. In fact, most people would be ‘crossing that line’ with me. T’s earned brownie points due to his long term support. And, as I’ve said, I feel it’s more his knee jerk reaction to something that’s bugging him than any real diss on me. Tho it DOES get real tiring.

All the more important for me to tell myself, then: Good job, Beeps!! The house is clean, you’re clean, your laundry is done, and you even made a dessert. Enjoy it.

Weather here continues to be cold. A huge storm system passed over the UK recently and brought a shit load of flooding (that’s only something I caught by accident while flipping through international news channels; it’s not in the headlines). All the news out of Germany is bad; their lock down is being extended and tightened seemingly every day. Caught the story yesterday that the UK refuses to give the new EU rep ambassador status. Already the tit for tat begins. News in the EU in general is pretty effing bad. Either record numbers of covid infections, deaths, governmental shake ups or scandals, or natural disasters. The reality that our current problems aren’t going away any time soon is beginning to sink in. More and more news programs are holding segments telling the public that no one should expect anything like ‘the old normal’ before autumn if we’re lucky. Most say to hold on through this year and wait until 2022. Even I balk at that: Another year of sitting on my ass doing nothing? Yet it seems so. If it’s not the shitty weather outside, it’s the lock down restrictions. Stay in if you can.

Just…ridin’ the storm out.

Catch up, will you?

Perspective and wording. So damned important in any communication, whether it be script or speech. Once again I am confronted with this reality and taught a thing or two about my assumptions.

Perspective: What the viewer interprets as the storyline based on their own biases. You won’t find that definition in Webster’s, tho maybe it should be. Case in point: Doctor Who, one of the house favourites. This morning T and I were discussing pacing in shows. He thinks even old Doctor Who had fast pacing. I then got an explanation that he saw DW as fast even in the 60s due to where the story led to. If it had a big impact or bang by the end, he thought it ‘fast’. He didn’t consider the actual pacing of the episodes in that decision. I think old DW is terribly slow; the episodes drag by quite often. The new DW, on the other hand, is far faster paced. Both old and new DW have big story lines, with huge ‘oh my!’ points somewhere in them. But T maintains the old DW is fast paced due to the breadth of the story rather than the pacing of the individual episodes. This is a MAJOR difference in perspective; I’m looking at the individual episodes, he’s looking at the overall story.

Wording: One word change makes a world of difference. Watching Firefly right now into Serendipity. The word ‘sanguine’ came up in the script; one character tells the captain ‘sanguine’ means both hope and bloody. Interesting. The actual definition of sanguine (in addition to ‘bloody’) is to hold an optimistic position in the face of danger or difficulties; not necessarily just ‘hope’ or ‘hopeful’. That slight difference in perspective to the definition of sanguine can lead people down all sorts of merry paths – because it’s not actually accurate, in my opinion (yet another perspective). I knew a guy from Wales who was really – and I mean REALLY – triggered by the word ‘abandoned’. He’d flip out. I saw it happen. He had all sorts of associations with that word that didn’t really have anything to do with the word itself; it happened over the course of time, hearing it used in inappropriate situations. Similarly, he had a weird reaction to ‘enigma’, with all sorts of dark overtones. I found numerous problems trying to communicate with him because he was triggered by some of the words I used. Quite often I never did get my point across because I had to break and explain myself – or some word – during the course of conversation.

Why is any of that important today? Because it’s inauguration day. And the US is dealing with conflicts in perspective and wording right now. It’s pretty obvious you’re not communicating with each other. And I get it; I’ve said it many times myself: You can’t talk with some people. Whether they’re caught up in conspiracy theories or some other lie, you can’t talk to them. They reject logical argument and critical thinking. A shrink would tell someone dealing with a person like that to walk away; that person is nothing but trouble. But the US can’t walk away from a third of the population. They are there, among you. And yes, you should be scared. Very scared.

NL news: As of Friday, we’re under curfew from 8:30 pm to 4:30 am. This is due to the faster communicable variants here. Actual infection numbers are supposedly down a bit, to ‘the lowest level since early December’, but it was well noticeable that T’s appointment in Den Haag was shifted to a phone conversation rather than an in person appointment. I half expect to get an email today saying my shrink appointment for tomorrow will be by phone, too. The news is littered with covid fall out stories and government issues. So many Dutch are still stranded abroad, Rutte apologises for the family support scandal, a gov’t employee is fired for telling a citizen to ignore the lock down, and the Eurostar rail from London to Amsterdam is going bankrupt. Just…bad news on top of bad news.

Managed to push my way through dishes, hoovering, laundry, and WC cleaning yesterday. Have found every day I have to rearrange what I’ve planned due to one thing or another. Shit just keeps coming up, you know? I remain sanguine in the face of it (there’s a correct usage of that word). Still have stuff left ‘to do’ and T doesn’t help by chiming in every once in a while, reminding me of some long term thing I have to do, too, like re-input my novel so we can re-release it here in NL. At least the dust bunnies are gone. They are a constant visual reminder to me of all the stuff I’ve got to do. Ugh.

Have really wanted to have better recall of my dreams lately. Now that the idea of astral projection has me in its thrall, I want ‘proof’ of some sort. And: ask, and you shall receive. I’ve loads of dream memories this morning. Many are just that: dreams. Obviously. But one or two had a different flavour to them, if you know what I mean. They felt different, and the impression I have is different. Dreams for me tend to be sort of visual/emotional. I usually see them play out as a film in front of me and I get emotionally involved in whatever is happening. These other things include smells and tactile sensations regular dreams don’t have. Must try to work on lucid dreaming. I’ve done it once or twice in the past. Nothing last night of note that offers me any proof, other than the remembered smells and small sensations. But I’ll keep at it and see what happens.

Picked up The Feminine Mystique again. Interesting how, after more than a week of just stopping at some random point in a chapter, I was able to pick it right back up again, not missing a beat. That’s going straight into long term memory, I guess. I can’t lose my place; I’m too into it. Good to know. That means I can spoon feed it to myself slowly, bit by bit. Just a page or so a night, slowing reading and thinking.

Tomorrow, as I’ve stated, I have an appointment with Dr T. He always opens up the appointment by asking how I am. How are you? Fuck if I know. I can tell him I had a mini-manic spree in writing. I can tell him about my current reading material. I can even tell him how much news I’ve been watching. But how am I? The most accurate answer is probably: in shock. My emotional temperament has been pretty regular. I’ve not been crying, and while I acknowledge my anger at the current situation in the world, I’ve not felt actively angry at any one person. I’m just…going. Stuff flits by me. I can reflect on it and pull it apart in a thousand ways without being, shall we say, emotionally compromised – a far cry from what I can and can’t do in relation to someone like my DNA sister. So in answer to his question I’ll probably just say ‘okay’. What else can I say? If I bring up all of this, he’ll say something like: ‘Well, it sounds like you’re staying pretty calm considering everything. I think we’ll continue with the same dosage…’, which is what he says almost every effing time he sees me. We’ll probably end up talking about literature or politics like we usually do. Not that I don’t enjoy that; I do. It’s refreshing to get another perspective other than T’s. And T doesn’t talk literature; he talks comics. Sorry, comic fans. I’ll go so far as to say comics are a type of literature, but as far as what I read, it’s like comparing oranges to concrete: there is no comparison. It gets tiring for me to discuss academic and critical thinking pieces only to have them compared to Marvel comic chronology. T has a habit of high jacking any conversation and bringing it to his level of comics and music and thoughts about reality. And, his view is restrictive. I’m not saying it’s wrong, just that he’s insistent he’s correct in all his theories and all other theories are, thereby, incorrect. In other words, I give him more leeway than he gives me. So most of the time I just shut up; I am well tired of hearing how wrong my interpretation of reality is. Dr T doesn’t do that to me. And that’s terribly important to me. T doesn’t get that.

Guess I’m looking forward to that appointment a bit more than I’m letting on…

It’s important – for anyone – to have their perspective heard and acknowledged. And it’s important for everyone and anyone to be careful about the words they choose to explain themselves. These two axioms of life I’ve learned, sometimes the ‘hard way’.

Just… Catch up, will you?

No surprise

…In reference to the picture I chose for this blog: Really? The best surprise? Sounds to me like a poor translation from Dutch. I’ve seen some ambiguous translations lately much like that. One said something like ‘the best rioters’, when in fact it more along the lines of ‘the most extreme rioters’. One word can make a big difference.

By noon yesterday, I was able to shut down and shut up my brain. Seven pages poured out me, outlining in rough fashion 6 episodes. Each episode is restricted to 3-5 minutes in length. Each episode ends on a high point in the story, a ‘cliff hanger’, if you will. There is room for improvisation in every episode. I even managed to build in my original framing sequences, adding another level to the story, which I didn’t think I could do. There’s a LOT of re-writing and tightening to do. But the framework is there, the ideas down in some fashion. I can rest.

And rest I did. Off to bed a bit early, lights out half an hour ahead of time, slept well until 8:30 this morning. Yea! I really got it all out of me in one (or, two) writing sprees. …Sorry for the following analogy, but truly it’s like getting that really big shit out of your system after being constipated for a few days. You can tell when it’s all out of you. Your entire system keeps relaxing and relaxing, deeper and deeper. You feel clean. That’s how I feel: clean.

It’s Monday. Grey and dark outside. Rain expected – again. The snow is long gone, having disappeared overnight. Now it’s just grey on grey: grey buildings, grey tree trunks, grey sky. And cold.

NL news: An anti-lock down demonstration happened in Amsterdam yesterday. Resulted in 143 arrests. It was edgy, almost violent. There is video out today of a supposed elderly doctor at the demonstration who claims coronavirus is all fake, no one is dying, and doctors are making false claims about patients because they receive 20,000 euro per ‘patient’ or body. Authorities are asking the public to help ID the man; his statements and claims have been deemed dangerous. Talk is around about implementing a nation wide curfew, mostly due to the variants and the speed of transmission now happening. Headline today: 60% of young people say they’ll break that curfew if it happens. And 30% of adults will break it. This is why we still have a high transmission rate. This is WHY we’re talking about a curfew.

It’s always the damned 30%. I’ll bet 30% is the level needed to tip any nation into chaos. 30% who believe an epidemic is fake and you’ll never get it under control. 30% of terrorists and you’ll have a coup. 30% of hard right wingers and you’ll have a fascist state. Witness the US: According to recent polls I’ve seen, 45’s approval rating has dropped to a historic low of 29%. Yet, the insurrection happened. We all saw – and continue to see – the pictures online as more and more video perspectives come to light. There were a lot of people there. But they were only a fraction of supposed 45 supporters at the time. I’m betting what we saw was the 30%. The same 30% who still believe 45 is telling the truth. 30% is dangerous. 30% is extreme. 30% will get you killed.

… Ach. Who am I kidding? My sleep pattern was good, I feel cleaned out of all my ideas, but I’m still on the tail end of that manic episode. My thoughts betray that. I can’t NOT pick apart everything. Uncle D sent me a short video of a stand up comedian – a white guy that took the stage in a black venue. He just told me to watch it, didn’t say anything about it. I watched it. And, the comedian did well. He knew his audience and got a LOT of laughs. But he made sweeping generalisations, falling back (for the most part) on ‘all black women’ as his source of humour. I pointed out he would have been just as funny saying ‘there’s always that one black woman who…’ and then put in the punch line. His ‘all black women’ stuff was, to me, offensive. Not all black women are the stereotype he painted. So Uncle D got 2 long paragraphs about subtle biases that do long term damage to society. I don’t think that’s what he was looking for when he sent me the link. But that’s what he got, because that’s where I am. Pick, pick, pick.

It’s funny. Odd funny, not funny funny. Different types of thinking feel different to me. When I attempt to comprehend theory or facts, like a mathematical equation (or the info in The Feminine Mystique), my brain works in a certain way. It’s a…subtle feeling of expectation; I do expect to understand whatever I’m trying to grasp. But there’s also this fog in my brain where I don’t understand it yet. What I do is try to find my way through that fog. That’s my path. When I’m in writing mode, like I’ve recently been, I’m very certain I’ll find a way through it. But my search is not for that one path that opens up a bridge for me; my search is for as many bridges as I can find. Then I have to follow each path to see where it leads before I make up my mind on which direction to take. Both thinking modes can make my brain hurt as I chase down alternatives. But they feel different. I know the difference now, just as I know how low my brain activity can drop when I stop challenging myself. It’s…almost like a newly developed sense. Weird.

Today, I’ll count myself lucky if I get a few things done. Experience is a tough teacher; these last days can be as difficult as the first. A selfish part of me wants to add: And just one more reason to sit on our ass and play all day! Yippee! Ugh. I wish I wouldn’t do that to myself. If it’s important for me to rest, as I know it is, I shouldn’t bitch at myself like that. But if I didn’t add it in, I wouldn’t be honest – because it IS there. Fuck. Will I ever reach a point when it won’t be there? I sure as hell hope so.

*sigh* More US news on the tv. Still in that a.m. schedule; T hasn’t had his fill of it yet. Particularly disturbing videos today. The rioters seem drunk. Probably are, literally. These are the same fools who get to a sports match 6 hours early to tailgate and drink, drink, drink. But they’re also drunk on power; you can hear it. Having known some people like that in a very intimate manner, it’s terribly disturbing to me. Triggering, even – or on the edge of triggering. I’ve heard bellowing like that before.

I think… Gods, this will be tough to put down. Okay. Let’s head off into possibilities. I think there’s a possibility I’m one of those astral projectors while I sleep. Had a rather startling memory the other day of a dream I had. T and I were talking and something I said triggered the memory: suddenly, I saw myself in my eldest brother’s home, looking into his gun cabinet. I was there; I smelled the smell of stored weapons and ammunition. Had that weird sort of disjunct feeling I get once in awhile, like suddenly the world tilted and I’m the only person who felt it. And don’t ask me why I was there looking into my brother’s gun cabinet. Perhaps I wanted to check and see how radical he’d become. Perhaps I was there to assure myself he wouldn’t take part in any insurrection. I don’t know. What I do know is this: the gun cabinet looks different. There are more weapons in it and less order; things were messy and there was at least one rifle or long nosed gun that was tipped against the wall just sitting there in the open. I’m certain of it. It didn’t look like a huge armoury. And honestly, I’m not sure what it means in the long run. But I saw it. And I’m certain I was there, that it was more than ‘just a dream’. It had none of my usual dream elements in it. This is not the first time I’ve experienced this, either. Every time, I’m certain it was not a dream. But this is the first time I’ve considered the idea that I’m astral projecting. Honestly, I find the idea a bit unsettling.

I find a LOT of things unsettling these days.

*sigh* I guess that’s no surprise.

Writing

Yesterday, I dragged my ass out of bed at 10:30. Today, I’m up at 6. It’s been many months since I’ve been up this early. My night time meds really help me get a good night’s sleep. Not so today. I’ve tossed and turned much of the night. When the apartment building ventilation system kicked on at 6 and I heard it, something I usually sleep through, I couldn’t get over how loud it sounded. And 15 minutes of listening to it roar and my thoughts churn felt like an hour. I’m so damned awake I didn’t even need coffee to get my eyes wide open and really operating.

I’ll chalk it up to being in writing mode. Stopped formally writing yesterday after I blogged, but still I wrote in my head. T came out and we had dinner and still I wrote in my head. We watched our evening films and STILL I wrote in my head, barely even seeing what was on tv. And every time I woke up last night, I was thinking of the story. …Lol. There was a time when I worried that my meds would interfere with my creative process. I can go back in this blog and find posts moaning and hoping my writing spurts wouldn’t end with medication. Guess that was a moot anxiety. Nothing can stop this when it happens.

Can’t stop watching the news. Fortress USA. New articles every day about another arrest or some new plot being uncovered. I’m glad the watchdogs finally got to my conclusion: that the inauguration may be quiet but the threat continues. The US may have to get used to seeing armed soldiers on the streets – and not just for a week or two, but permanently. …If I’m honest, T and I have been waiting. We’ve both foreseen civil war in the US breaking out again. Total anarchy and chaos. It’s just a matter of time. If not today, Wednesday. If not Wednesday, sometime soon. And…this coming civil war may look very different. It may consist of small, armed groups ‘resisting’ here and there rather than one large push. I’ve read an article that the NRA filed for bankruptcy and is looking to re-open in Texas because TX is a place where they value the same sort of policies as the NRA. Don’t remember the exact wording, but it sounded to me like they were saying they knew TX would cede from the US – or at least try to. TX has talked about that for a long, long time. And…I almost hate to say this, but I GOT to… Am I the only one noticing that 90% of the rioters all follow similar physical patterns? My overall impression is one of white, over 30, slightly pot bellied men with long unkempt beards. It’s like seeing a member’s board of an Incel group at a 15 year reunion. This is what they turn into. And yes, I saw the female members of the rioters. I also saw people of colour. I’m generalising.

NL news: Daily infection rates are at the lowest point since early December. More talk of extending the lock down into summer due to the highly infectious variants found here. Many are hoping the schools can at least open by the end of the month. Once again, I’m happy I landed here in Rotterdam. I imagine things are tougher in Amsterdam; everything seems to be. Finding a single supermarket in downtown Amsterdam is tough; here, we can still pick and choose what we buy from what store. Have not seen a food or supplies hit in the stores yet, but considering all the news we get, from low olive oil production in Greece to insect ravaging of the rice crop, we’re trying to stock up on our basics again: rice, dried lentils, olive oil, honey. Once again, I know that whatever will be available will be available to us first due to the port of Rotterdam. But we expect to see less of the products we like, and higher prices.

T has been cursing up a storm. Sometimes he tucks in three ‘fuck’s in one sentence. Fucking this and fucking that. Mostly it’s in the form of the frustration he faces trying to get the Marvel Universe into chronological order. But the amount of cursing has increased. Going to have to ask about that; worried it may be misplaced anxiety over his coming medical test.

…No doubt about it; I am wound up. I’m tight from my solar plexus through my stomach.

Well, you know what to do, Beeps. News off, cartoons on. Finish this, and go back to what’s kept you tossing and turning all night. Put that tightness where it belongs: in your writing.

Same shit as last year

White. The long promised snow has reached Rotterdam. While we don’t expect a lot of accumulation, we are expecting freezing temps tonight – and considering the state of the roads, we’ll have ice by morning. It’s darker than usual and things feel close, like the city has hid its head under the blankets and doesn’t have any plans of coming out any time soon.

NL news: Well. The government has basically collapsed. Just about every member of Rutte’s cabinet has quit. I now know more about the scandal. It happened in 2013 and sent thousands of families, mostly low income and immigrant, into financial ruin. Elections are scheduled for March. Until then, enough of a skeleton will remain in place to continue with vaccinations. I feel less like an idiot since it happened before I came here; until this mess hit, I didn’t see a ton of articles on it. But, ah! Now I get some of the looks I’ve received when I’ve said I think Rutte is okay. That’s a: Little do YOU know! look. Got it. Daily infection rates have dropped dramatically, but there’s still talk of a continued lock down – into summer. That’s new, though when you put 2 and 2 together with immunity times post vaccination and vaccination distribution, you begin to understand that most places won’t finish the first vaccinations before they have to begin revaccinating people once again. We’re currently looking at a roughly 5 month immunity after getting your second dose. If you wait 2 to 3 months between doses, you’re talking a 7 to 8 month immunity in total. Then you’ve got to get vaccinated again. Not good news.

I have been writing. Typing away madly with anything on tv to make noise in the background. T complained twice about what I’d settled on for background noise. One choice he hated because it sounded racist, the other because he hated the theme of the story. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Pick your own damned choice then; I’m just looking for some noise to go on while I work. My very rough idea for breaking a short script into episodes to peddle online is coming into its own. Still lots of improvisation; I’m including motivations of characters rather than dialogue most of the time. Three pages so far. Sharp episodes, about 5 minutes in length, all ending on a ‘whoa!’ revelation or moment. Not caring right now about how long it will end up or how many visits to a rented accommodation this may take; just going with it. We’ll worry about logistics later.

*sigh* My fingers are tired. Feels good to get something down, though. Something beyond a short paragraph on an extremely rough idea of how the story could be pulled apart. I’ve got camera views, cuts, etc. Needs a lot more pull-apart before we could begin, but it’s better than I had. And yippee! I accomplished a bit.

Watching the preparations for the coming siege of US capitols. That’s what it looks like: fences and barricades, armoured vehicles and armed soldiers. I understand why it’s being done, and even agree to going to those lengths. But I also feel like nothing’s really going to happen. Maybe it’s just denial, but I can’t imagine right wing proponents actually coming out against an armed force. They work in the shadows, in the places just out of sight. Or, they did. Frightening times. The world is holding its breath, watching the US.

And… I can’t help but feel concern over the situation here. We DO have Geert Wilders, the Dutch 45. And he does have supporters. And, there’s an election coming up. It all feels terribly familiar. In a few months, will I look back on this snow fall as the break point where everything started? Will we see resistance in the US to the armed soldiers? Are they insane enough to do that? And if they are, what will the like minded people here do?

Ye, Gods! It’s barely 2021 yet I’m filled with anxieties. This is NOT an improvement.

All hail the new year; same shit as last year.

Tomorrow is another day

Thoughts on a Friday.

Life…continues. Much the same today as it’s been. It is grey, cold, and threatening precipitation outside. The news is full of the US. Sometimes I wonder if time is actually passing any more; could we just be stuck in a perpetual loop? But, no. New bad news every day.

NL news: Lock down continues. This morning, the only thing moving outside my window are the seagulls, flown in from the beaches and headlands, running from the coming storms. The Dutch news outlets are running with the story of an inside threat to the gov’t. Sorry; I haven’t followed this story closely. What I can tell you is that many families received overpayments of benefits and since the discovery, they’ve been asked to repay that money. Now, apparently, it’s blown up on the national level. Most news outlets are expecting a ‘resignation of the cabinet’ today. I don’t know enough about Dutch politics to say what that means. Should really do some research today. But NL is in crisis mode, like every country. Losing anyone right now is not a great idea; there is too much work to get thru and no one wants to put everything on pause so someone new can be elected. Hopefully, no loss of any official will make a difference on the day to day business, like getting vaccinations out. New info on that; Rutte has promised an updated and faster roll out. My window has moved from February – September to February – May. Still receiving warnings stating that 2021 may be a bust, too. Stay hunkered down, don’t take chances.

Have been enjoying not thinking. Amazing how low my brain activity goes without real stimulation. I’ve learned the difference now. I’ve also learned how much easier and less stressful not thinking is. More than ever, I feel I’ve finally learned what C always wanted to convey to me: I am capable of deeper thought. Not everyone is able to think through things, so it’s almost a responsibility on my part to do it as much as I’m able. lol. I doubt C would have put it that way. She wanted to see me as a scientist or at least a lawyer; she would roll over in her grave (if she had one) to think I’d become more of a philosopher than anything else. I imagine her saying: Philosophy? Good God, you’d be better off becoming an actress! …*sigh* Yeah.

Laughing at myself; I watch more and more news these days. What once was torturously slow and boring, ie live House feeds as a vote is taken, is now a vital thing to observe. Then again, the news provides ample laugh points: from watching Guilliani’s hair dye run down his face to hearing anchors talk about the insanity of 45, I laugh quite often. Finally. It only took open insurrection for me to hear what I’ve been saying for a long time now. Glad you finally caught up.

I’m not laughing at the right wing’s arguments. Seems like news reporters are falling into the same old trap: responding to these idiotic statements in an attempt to refute them. Everyone seems to miss the obvious. In the question of ‘free speech’ in the US and exactly what that entails, I present the following argument:

  1. Either free speech exists, or it doesn’t. You cannot put restrictions on free speech, for as soon as you do, you no longer have free speech.
  2. The US did not have free speech before the current incident in question. Case in point: pedophilism. You cannot state or push the idea that raping children is okay; you would be censored and probably investigated to see if you’re part of a pedophile ring. Ergo, since the US has this restriction on free speech – even if it’s a social taboo rather than actual law – the US does not and did not have free speech prior to the insurrection on the capitol. Arguing that 45 has a right to say anything under the free speech clause is a moot point, since the US does not have (and, as far as I can tell, has never had) free speech.
  3. End of argument.

Is that so hard to understand?

…On a personal level, T had a test for colon cancer as part of a regular check up. The lab found blood in his stool. He received a letter in Dutch stating all this and including an appointment in Den Haag for further tests. He handed it to me the other day, demanding I translate. He was freaked. He IS freaked. I…feel certain it will be okay, though I question whether that’s a real sensation or just freaking denial of what could be. Doing what I can to support him, quietly. Just helping out without saying I was planning on doing something else, or staying quiet when he’s on a rant. Thinking I’ll volunteer to go with him to Den Haag. They won’t let me in the hospital due to lock down, but it’s a long trip up there left alone with his thoughts on the train. He may appreciate some company.

And so I must end this ramble, because I am helping today by cutting and chopping vegetables for dinner. Does the very ritual of cutting vegetables for dinner have some sort of magic power to make all the bad stuff go away? Goddess, I really want to hoover. That’s so my go-to when upset.

Maybe tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Not think

Quiet. Pure, unadulterated quiet in my brain.

My…whatever you want to call it: manic thinking streak, inspiration, weeks of epiphanies – is over. It petered out last night with one last idea that perhaps the most complicated problems must, by definition, lead to the simplest of solutions. The larger of a sample basis you begin with, the more you must generalise. If you talk about solutions to family issues, you’re confining your base sample to the family unit. But when you begin talking about the issues of humanity, you have to pull back. Thinking becomes, by necessity, I believe, more black and white. This categorisation is not new; it’s always occurred and is one of the most natural things human beings do. Witness current governments: the sitting representatives decide how much of a financial stimulus each citizen receives. The number chosen by income or ‘need’ is arbitrary, and often the fringe people – who are just on the cut off line – suffer the most. This is what occurs when generalisations happen. Yet, in order to begin tackling a large and complex issue, whether it be women’s rights or coronavirus relief, you have to begin with the basics. It’s akin to producing music; you must decide where the instruments sit, how loud they are in relations to each other, the effects used, etc., and there is no right or wrong. There are ‘standard’ settings for instruments, but there is no hard and fast rule to use them. Thus, you, as producer, must choose your starting values and go from there. Similarly, when tackling large social issues, one must choose starting points. And those starting points must be, by logical argument, rather generalised due to the population involved.

That’s my balm for feeling guilty over reducing all men to little boys. It’s…half working.

NL news: Infection rates have dropped, but are still very high. Our hard lock down has been extended for another 3 weeks. Red Cross volunteers are being ‘deployed’ to help with vaccinations. I’m pleased to report an article stating the medical community has had literally tens of thousands of people volunteer to help. Many are not qualified to assist, but at least the community spirit is there. More dire warnings from the retail industry. I believe it, too. When I went for blood tests recently, I counted 5 empty store fronts in a 2 block stretch. And that was on Nieuwe Binnenweg, a big shopping street. Weather continues to be cold, but we didn’t get any snow like Spain.

Heard from my uncle D. He was looking thru the Nat’l Geographic site (one of his favourites) and saw an article on NL, then copied and pasted the link to me. As if I needed to read some stilted article on the windmills or Dutch way of life! Nonetheless, I responded with a longer and more personal reply that included a brief discussion (all things considered) about the capitol riots and 45 supporters. Uncle D’s reply is short, stating that various news networks are warning of more threats of violence. He…voiced neither support nor condemnation, so it’s difficult to say where he stands on all of this, including the fact that my DNA siblings are such huge 45 supporters. *sigh* And I held back. I wanted to say to him: Don’t trust my brother, my sister, or my nephew. They are liars and Nazis, with no regard for anyone but themselves. All I said was that I hoped it was clear that 45 supporters are unhinged. He made no reply to that.

…Honestly can’t say if I should go back to my reading or not. This is the first 24 hours I’ve not felt overloaded with ideas and questions. Ha! And there’s my answer: No! Give yourself a bit more time to calm down before you wind yourself up again. You deserve that much. Wonderful that you want to expand your brain. For perhaps the first time in ages, you’re actually doing just that! I mean…fiction is wonderful, and can make you think about different things. But reading scholarly work like The Feminine Mystique does a whole other number on you. I totally understand why some people don’t want to read this material; it’s heavy and the corresponding brain shock waves are difficult to manage, no matter who you are. So. Another night of sudoku. That, at least, is settled.

The coming extended lock down is actually a blessing for me. I don’t have to make any decisions right now. Nothing is truly available to me as an option right now; the whole world is on stand-by. I can just sit and think, or not think, as I want.

I choose not think.

Can’t stop thinking

Pause or play; nothing mattered to my grey matter last night. Those gears just kept turning. For all I spouted yesterday, I didn’t reach the end of my search. Upon reflection, my knee jerk reaction to blame the media for everything felt trite and just wrong. It smacked to me of the same line of reasoning I heard in courtrooms that attempted to hold musical groups responsible for teenage suicide and violence. What?, I thought both during those courtroom dramas and last night, We have no minds of our own? Regardless of media influence, why did – and are – women embracing this passive role presented to us as our biological destiny? What, truly, is driving this? And what drives men to supress their mothers, sisters, and daughters?

Somewhere, from the depths of me, came a very simple answer. So simple that I have yet to find a real hole in it. But I find myself resisting it. Wanting to find a few holes so I can discard it. Because it’s implications are so far reaching that… Well, it could turn everything on its head. I’m afraid to actually state it, so I’ll present it as it came to me: in the form of a question.

What if men were simply acting out of their fear of losing their mothers?

The more I read and learn, the more certain I am of the roles right wing men would foist upon women: housewife and mother, whores and strippers. It’s the old goddess/whore thing, which was a phenomenon commented upon way back when in the good old 80s. But that statement alone was not enough reason for me, nor were the quotes from the Bible supposedly showing proof that women were nothing more than extensions of men. Any sane man must value his mother, right? The woman who nursed him through his illnesses, who provided meals and kisses when he scraped his knee. Even those men who built up hidden resentments towards their mothers must have felt some sort of connection with them. Why supress what they value? And that long talked about, mysterious male fear of women came back to me in one big push: it all came down to the little boys in men. They did value their mothers, and feared losing them. That care-giver. In some households, that shield between fists and children. The comfort giver. They feared it so much that they were willing to force the women around them into that role, whether or not those same women wanted it. So they glorified the feminine, filling our ‘zine covers with pictures of pregnant celebrities praising the entire process of giving life and reinforcing that only our biological destiny can truly give women a deep, sustained fulfilment. They created images and ads around women that supported that ideal. They created the same Bible stories they touted as ‘proof’, telling women they were nothing more than extensions of men.

Can the entire fight for women’s equality be brought down to such a simple thing? Can the thousands of years of mistreatment and downright slavery of 50% of the population be as basic as a little boy’s fear of losing his mother? Could I even support such an argument? Doesn’t that reduce all men to little boys? Is that the reality I’m living?

Yet… Aren’t all the signs there? Haven’t I said for years that women are creating their own problem by raising boys differently from girls? Haven’t I ranted about my eldest brother, the golden child of my mother’s eye? Or am I projecting my family’s issues onto the larger world? And even if I am projecting, is that an incorrect assessment of the status of the US? Was my family simply a symptom of a larger ill?

I am shook up by these thoughts. No, I haven’t shared with T. I don’t think I can; he’s as much a product of that situation as I – and he’s on the ‘other side’. Suggesting such a thing to my bro, who claims to be a feminist, would only bring on an argument. A long, drawn out argument in which I’d have zero chance of changing his mind or scoring any point of logic. He, like many of his peers, is in denial about certain aspects of his childhood. He never saw the freedom he had to do whatever the hell he wanted to while we girls were held hostage at home, cleaning or doing the dishes, as anything of import. And he, like many of his peers, picks and chooses which household chores he’ll share in. He readily takes on anything he sees as ‘fun’, like cooking. Not so fast to take on the crappy stuff, like cleaning. T doesn’t see the bias or problem in this. I see it as a glaring example of how little evolved he actually is.

Do I come across as a ‘man-hater’? That is another fear of mine. I don’t hate men. …Or do I? I’m angry at men as a whole, and feel my anger is justified. I’m also angry at women as a whole, with similar feelings. It would be better to say I hate humanity as a whole. People are stupid. A person can be intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable, and kind. But people? Not so much.

Wishing I had a stop or eject button on my brain.

I just can’t stop thinking.

Pause

Saturday: an easy, breezy day no matter how you slice it.

Took a break from my heavy reading last night and just worked some sudoku before sleeping. Felt like I needed that pause before continuing.

Like it or not, I’ve begun some half hearted searches for the information I feel I’d need to answer my many questions. It’s not been encouraging. ‘Historical’ copies of women’s ‘zines only seem to go back to the early 2000s. I want info from 1960 to 1975 or 1980. Have found JPEGs of ‘zine covers, which at least show me some of the articles included therein.

Must admit, I feel like I’m beginning with a prejudice. My mind is fairly set on the idea that cultural and social influences during my formative years were still the source of the predominating propaganda spooned down women’s throats. In addition to the heavy influence of reading material, my generation had something new to contend with: music videos. Suddenly, we were inundated by vids with scantily clad women draped over cars and men; the antithesis of the feminist view. Social and cultural influences turned the 50s housewife into the 80s video girl – and girl is the correct term. Females were not portrayed as women, but girls. They still are for the most part. The softness of Allie McBeal’s parted lips as she struggled through ‘a man’s world’ was hailed as ground breaking; view it now, and it’s offensive. When Murphy Brown, another female role model of that time, became a single mother on tv, both the show and the actress attracted personal attacks for such a portrayal. And recently, we have culminated our ‘feminist journey’ with the release of WAP (Wet Ass Pussy). Women have taken the mantle of ‘freedom’ and simply turned it back on its head, once again. We have been told our ‘freedom’ comes these days in the form of sexual freedom. That’s been pushed at us for a long time now. You can see evidence of it even in children’s programming; how often are young girls sexualised? And what damage was done by people such as Brittany Spears and Madonna, who perpetrated this sexualised version of womanhood?

Even while it was happening, I knew. I knew women’s magazines were largely headed by men. I could see and understand what was going on while, at the same time in my youthful ignorance, I took part in it – mostly due to the fact that I truly believed that path would lead me to rewards not offered to my mother’s generation. But the promises were empty, as empty as the brain washing material fed to us every month in a new issue. We garnished no praise for what we did. Instead, we faced the backlash of being called whores by the conservatives. Those of us who grew up with headlines such as ‘How to Please your Man and Keep Him Pleased’ or fluff stories stuffed between the glossy ads that told us it was chic and new to have two lovers at the same time experienced a different reality than what we were fed on. We could only be that sexualised version if we were thin and blond and wore black and heavy make-up. We must grow our hair long, to entice the sexuality of our men. We must gyrate and simper; we must be the sex bunnies. We must take diet pills and see and explosion of eating disorders in younger and younger girls. And even our own sex told us these things; wear make-up to feel better about yourself. Those high heels will give you added height when confronting your male counterparts. It’s great that young girls are expressing themselves by wearing sexy clothing, make-up, and doing sexualised dancing on videos.

Can’t get the old Virginia Slims ad line out of my head: You’ve come a long way, baby. That was supposed to empower us. The ads showed a young, slim, smiling woman smoking a cigarette. But no one questioned the use of ‘baby’. No one questioned what we were supposed to have won by this image, yet it remained in use for many years and became, for me at least, a rallying cry. Really? You’ve come a long way, baby. Smacks of the male patriarchy to me. The condensation towards the female sex is unquestionable.

Television did nothing for women during my childhood, either. I am old enough to remember a few 60s shows that were still in production while I was young: The Flying Nun, That Girl, and Room 222. While dated, these shows attempted to fulfil the desire to see young women in the world, working, and making their own way. But then came the Aaron Spelling spew of Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, and eventually Dynasty and 90210. The image of the 60s woman was wiped away by the new glamour and softness: a woman could be ‘hard’ to a point, but must never become less than feminine. The fighting was laughable, the moral stances taken by the characters shallow and worthless. American women were shown what I like to call ‘the Emma Peel’ perspective: fighting women who looked fabulous, wore the latest fashion, and never lost their femininity. They were hollow role models, but they were all we had.

The first time I saw a real female character kick ass was in the 1996 film The Long Kiss Goodnight. This is a film shown often on EU programming; it’s one of the Christmas films that aren’t really about Christmas. However, I noticed even before I left the US in the late 90s that it seemed to be blacklisted in America. It wasn’t shown, or pushed, or easily available. Whether that was due to the portrayal of women by Geena Davis or the underlying plot, which portrayed a rogue American servant planning a terrorist attack on US soil in order to get more money for the military, I couldn’t say. But I can tell you it was damned difficult to hold of a copy in the US. Much easier here. As far as I know, it’s a largely forgotten film in the US. And that’s a pity. Davis is outstanding in it. But it took ’til 96 to get this portrayal of women out into the public. And then it suffered a very harsh back lash.

…That’s all whirling around in my head. All those thoughts and ideas. I’m impressed my fingers were able to keep up with me.

Meanwhile, NL news: We’re still in tight lock down. Scuttlebutt is that we may remain in tight lock down for several more weeks. Infection rates are skyrocketing and hospitalisations are up. The UK and the SA variants have been detected here. Border patrol turned away a dozen British citizens trying to get in. The vaccination process is moving slowly and getting a lot of negative press, saying it’s too slow or the health officials feel they’re being used as guinea pigs. Snow and ice warnings are out for much of the country.

Hunkering down in the cold. The sun is shining, but between infection rates and the temperature, I don’t want to go out. Still controlling what I can control and taking care of myself.

I’ve too much to process right now; that much should be evident by the above.

I think I’ll stay on pause for a while.