Trusting things online

I’ve got this friend over on FB. She’s older than me, the next generation up or so. She just put up this post about “all accounts being hacked” and that she has no plans to open up a 2nd account. People can post whatever they want under your name! Sad that we have to do this, but we have to be vigilant!

Like… really?

First off, what exactly are you doing that makes people steal your name & profile picture, and open up an account in your name? How does this happen? No, I’m serious. Knock on wood, I don’t think this has ever happened to me, or if it has, nobody has said anything about it.

Second off, do people REALLY need to be warned about not clicking on things from sources they don’t trust?

Second off, part B, I mean, apparently so, since you felt the need to post this warning in the first place. (Side note, pretty much everyone I’ve seen post a warning like this has been in the 40/50+ crowd. Never seen anyone my generation or younger do it.)

Third off, if people are dumb enough to do shit like this, your warning is not going to stop them, so let them stick the fork in the electric socket and learn that way.

I guess I just don’t understand this absolutely trusting nature people have towards things that are on the internet. And this goes beyond fake profiles on FB.

Fricking 15-20 years ago, people had to be warned not to click on pop-ups that say “You’re our millionth visitor! Claim your prize here!” People had to be warned not to respond to the Nigerian prince with their bank account information. No, really, he doesn’t want to transfer all his wealth to you.

Today, people share links to pseudo-blog sites, claiming the pizzagate thing is true, to climate change is a hoax, to Hillary Clinton joined ISIS.

You people do realize that there is NO REGULATION on the internet, right? For a couple bucks, you can start your own website and publish whatever the hell you want on there. Who’s going to stop you? Nobody. (Until what you publish gets somebody in trouble, but maybe not even then.)

Like, you don’t cite Wikipedia. Anybody can edit that shit. You click through to the sources at the bottom, and cite that.

I am just continually amazed at the gullibility of people…

The thing that really got me about the above-mentioned FB post is that the poster responded to one of the comments with a frowny face emoji. Like she was personally hurt by someone making a joke of the situation. I mean, it’s just so absurd, I don’t know how to NOT respond with a joke.

If you are really dumb enough to actually get a key-logger and get hacked, dude, that sucks, but what the hell were you thinking?

That happened to me once while playing WoW, years ago. Luckily my husband was in the same guild, and told people to kick my characters out before the stupid gold-farmers could do any real harm. And I went around changing all my passwords (because I was dumb and used the same one across multiple accounts) as soon as I found out, and contacted Blizzard support, hoping they’d at least be able to restore my account, but accepting the fact that I was probably going to take a loss on some things. Amazingly, they were very nice and restored my lost gear and let me keep all the mats that were farmed, so I donated all those back to the guild, but I was not expecting things to go so well. I fucked up. I learned. It happened exactly ONCE.

Let me repeat that: It happened to me ONCE.

So how is it that people have seen this happen to others, and been a victim more than once, and it STILL HAPPENS TO THEM AND THEY FEEL THE NEED TO PASS ON WARNINGS.

How.

I don’t understand.

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Complaining about complaining

I’m just gonna put right at the beginning that this is probably going to be a long, rambling post, cohesiveness to be determined…

The other night, I was in the car with Hubs (H), and in-laws (M & F). And for whatever reason, the conversation turned into one long complain-fest.

I get it. Some days you just need to complain about every little thing. Ok, I do this, and I assume others do, too. Some days you just feel like being whiny.

This is something I’ve been trying to change in myself, at least the complaining TO people part. It isn’t easy, and I fear that sometimes my coworkers get sick of hearing what I’m frustrated about. But when I’m having a bad day, sometimes they just pull it out of me! And I do the same to them. So, I guess we all have some level of sensitivity to it, and that varies from day to day.

And I guess my sensitivity to complaining was just especially high the other night.

Anyway… so we get home, I hope onto the FB to scroll aimlessly through my newsfeed. And… what do I find? A bunch of complaining. It felt like literally 75% of the posts I was reading was complaining about something or other. Work or family or whatever.

And it was super frustrating! Most days I don’t care or notice. Some days I do and just give up and go off to read something else. But every once in a while, it really bothers me.

I remember one post… a lady I know through H’s family posted about the monthly (bimonthly?) thing a local utility company puts out, saying “You used x% energy compared to your neighbors.” I guess it’s a push to try to get people to use less energy, or to try to be more energy-efficient. I dunno, we’re almost always either below average or average, so I don’t really pay much attention to it. But people were going ON AND ON in the comments about how the company was “energy shaming” them and listing reasons why their energy use was high. And then someone was talking about how the company would use it as justification to raise the rates, and someone else was saying how it was just a waste of time…

And that whole exchange just really bothered me. I wanted to hop on there and defend the company, saying that they aren’t trying to “energy shame” you, they’re trying to encourage you to not kill the planet by leaving all your lights on or whatever. I get it, a family with kids is going to use more energy than just our 2 person household, but hey, maybe read the stupid thing and switch to LED or CFL bulbs or something. Like, you’re ok with taking the 0.5 extra seconds to through your bottles in the recycle instead of the trash, but you can’t buy a different light bulb? Or turn your heat down a couple degrees? Or program your thermostat so it raises or lowers the temp, based on if you’re home or not?

But I ended up deciding I didn’t want to potentially get in a fight with a bunch of people on the internet that I didn’t know. [Sidenote, typing that sentence made me think of this part of The West Wing, where Josh discovers the internet. As it is Josh, it does not end well… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAB858elJOw ]

Anyway. So I decided not to potentially fight with the crazy internet people. What did I do instead? I decided to read my book. Much better choice.

And I get it. There’s a certain hypocrisy in a post like this. I’m complaining about people complaining. How does this make me better than them? It doesn’t. So why do I get to do it, but I also get to get frustrated when other people do it? I dunno. I mean, I don’t think I should. But here I am, hundreds of words in, and I’m still not done. I’m not sure how to reconcile this idea.

I actually think it was FB that made me first realize the hypocrisy in acts like this. FB has changed a lot over the years. But I’m pretty sure I remember putting up posts like “can’t believe all the complaining she’s hearing today” or shit like that. And I’m pretty sure I remember reading other people posting things like that, complaining about complaining, and realizing that hey, that’s a bit of a double standard. So I try to not do it.

I guess maybe that’s part of what makes me so sensitive to the issue. It’s a behavior that I’m trying to change in myself, so I notice it more when other people do it. Kind of like when you get a new car, you notice all the other cars like yours on the road.

Part of what made me want to change was that I realized that complaining and being upset about a lot of things wasn’t really good for me. I spent so much time frustrated or angry over things I had no control over. And what do I have absolutely no control over? What other people say. So why is it SO HARD (sometimes) for me to remember this?

One of the topics I keep coming back to in my therapy sessions, that I actually haven’t visited in a while, so maybe I’m due, is that I’m not sure I know how to manage my anger. Growing up, pretty much the only behavior I saw was passive-aggressive behavior. That and yelling until people listened. (Or gave up because they didn’t want to listen any more. It’s hard to tell on reflection, but I suspect there may have been more of this than I realized at the time.) So… I think I’ve been nurtured into thinking that is how to deal with anger. And yeah, it’s A way to deal with it. But it’s not a way I particularly like, having been a victim of it, and also having the victim side explained to me by people who I have targeted.

So I’ve been trying to not be passive-aggressive. But that unfortunately sometimes leaves me at a loss on  how to deal with some situations. I catch myself biting back sarcastic remarks, which is kinda my default (and has been for a while). It’s a way to be able to say “I was just joking don’t take it seriously” and try to back out of a situation without the other person thinking I meant any real harm. Which, I mean, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I can admit that. Here, at least.

I think part of the “problem” is that I sometimes have a difficult time expressing or even figuring out what exactly is bothering me. I feel that writing down or talking out problems helps. So that’s what I tend to do, but I feel like a lot of the time it ends up sounding whiny or whatever. And maybe that’s ok?

I guess there’s such a perception in society that we have to be “fine” all the time, that when people aren’t, it’s looked down on. And I worry that people are judging me and thinking I’m always upset about something. I try not to be, but if I don’t let it out, I just dwell on it, and then I AM upset all the time. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Again, I guess this goes back to people have good days and bad days. Sometimes certain things upset you more than others. And that’s ok. Really. For the most part, I like to think I’m relatively understanding. And at least for the people I care about, I try to be there as someone who will listen and help them figure out or move past their problems. But hey, some days, I just don’t have the spoons to deal with my own problems, let alone someone else’s…

I guess the other day was just a low-spoon day. Work and then dinner took a lot out of me.

30 Things I’m Thankful For

I really, really want to write a scathing “fuck the holidays” post. But as this is Thanksgiving (ok, 2 days after, close enough) I think I’ll try to focus my energy in a more positive way.

  1. I’m thankful I’m alive! And in pretty decent health. Sure, I could change some things, but I’m overall pretty ok.
  2. I’m thankful for my husband! He is pretty awesome. We struggle with some things, but who doesn’t? The important thing is we’ve made it this far. 5 years married, 11 years total together. Looking forward to many more!
  3. I’m thankful for:
    1. Living somewhere with internet access.
    2. Living with a roof over my head.
    3. Not living in fear that my things may be taken away from me.
    4. My job.
  4. I’m thankful for my friends! Those that I know IRL and those that I only know through the internet. Some of my longest running friends I only know online and have never met in person.
  5. I’m thankful for Tad Williams and his website, formerly http://www.shadowmarch.com, which is how I will always remember it. The books he’s written have moved me in ways I cannot explain (at least not without this becoming a dissertation) and the people I’ve become friends with mean so much to me.
  6. I’m thankful for the coworkers that, over the past six months, I’ve gotten close enough to to call friends. They make the stress of work bearable.
  7. I’m thankful for my husband helping me to get my head on straight financially. Quick backstory: Due to things that happened just over a year ago, we decided to split our finances up. Some time in the spring, I was having issues. Bad issues. Like, I wasn’t going to be able to pay my bills because I bought too much frivoulous crap issues. But I swallowed my pride, asked him for help, and he not only helped cover what needed to be paid (which I did pay him back for) but he also helped me figure out a way that I wouldn’t spend to excess like I had.
  8. I’m thankful for the #MeToo campaign, and all the awareness it is bringing to sexual harassment and assault.
  9. I’m thankful to be working for a company that has actually decent benefits.
  10. I’m also thankful to be working for a company that has given me a chance to prove myself in a field that I had little experience in and no formal training or education. So I still struggle with the technical terms, and the law parts are mostly lost on me. But I am a great problem solver, and that fits in well! Speaking of problem solving…
  11. I’m thankful for my college education! Even though I got my degree in physics, spending two intense and rushed years with my advisor and professor Dr. Meyer has taught me so many skills that have carried beyond the classroom. Specifically, learning how to be a problem solver.
  12. I’m thankful for music! Music is the thing I can turn to when I’m troubled, happy, anxious, nervous, angry, frustrated, needing focus, etc. It can change my mood or enhance it, depending on what I need or want. And not only is it something I can enjoy on my own, but it is something I can share with others, and they can share with me.
  13. I’m thankful for my therapist. She has helped me a lot over the past year, understanding the world and myself. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve only ever discussed with her, nobody else, my husband and best friend included. But she is there, without judgement, and has helped me feel better about myself. I still have a ways to go, but I know I’m on a good path.
  14. I’m thankful for writing! I haven’t been doing it as much as I want to, as I’ve been so drained a lot of the time after work. So my creative work has been suffering. But I’ve been blogging here, and journaling, and those have definitely been helpful.
  15. Speaking of, I’m thankful for blogging! Relatively anonymously! There are times when I have SO MUCH I want to say, and physically writing it all out in my journal is daunting, but it’s something that I need to get out and work through.
  16. I’m thankful for my hookah. Ok, this one sounds dumb, but I’m running out of “important” things. But it let’s me sit down and relax, particularly if I’ve got stuff on my mind. I can sit and smoke and read or write or just peruse the internet.
  17. I’m thankful for our new leaf blower! We got a cheap, battery powered one when we first moved in to our house, and it was alright. But the battery charger bit the dust, and the company apparently discontinued that charger. So my husband bought me a gas powered one that actually MOVES the leaves, and I cleaned the gutters out this year in like, 15 minutes 🙂
  18. I’m thankful that we’re in a place, financially, that when something like the above happens, we can afford to replace or fix whatever the problem is.
  19. I’m thankful for baking. Heck, I did a whole post about this not to long ago, go read that if you want justification. 😛 But, to summarize, it’s something I feel like I actually understand, and I get an immense sense of accomplishment when I successfully make something, AND when people enjoy it.
  20. I’m thankful for my Nook! Do you know how many big-ass books I would have to carry around if I didn’t have that thing? It is absolutely amazing that I can have massive tomes in this tiny piece of technology.
  21. I’m thankful for digital photography. The sheer number of photos I can take with my DSLR camera, and the fact that I can examine them shortly after on my computer, is just amazing. I have learned more about *how* to take a picture in the few years I’ve had this camera than I ever thought I might learn. I first learned on film, and boy… Not only would that get expensive, but it would be a much slower process.
  22. Really, I’m just thankful for technology. I’m thankful that I’m alive in a time where these huge leaps are being made, and that I can take advantage of them. Just in my lifetime, I’ve seen: CDs die and MP3 players rule, home phones die and smart phones rule, Bluetooth. WiFi, the rise of digital photography, the rise of digital media, the rise of the internet, smart cars, smart homes, smart everything except people… It’s crazy. I love being alive right now.
  23. And I’m thankful for all the hard work put forth to make all these things a reality. People much smarter than me have made my life so much easier, and I don’t think they get enough credit.
  24. I’m thankful for my local libraries! I grew up going to the library. I read so many books and watched so many movies thanks to my hometown library. I know I don’t necessarily want to waste money on books or movies that I don’t like, and it’s nice to be able to spend a few cents on gas for a few hours of entertainment, instead of dropping $20 only to be extra disappointed when I don’t like it.
  25. I’m thankful for the internet. I’ve mentioned this other places throughout this post, but we truly live in a world that is always connected. And I can therefore be connected to friends all over the world, people I would never know otherwise. But not only are people always at my fingertips, but so is an infinite amount of knowledge. If I want to compare prices, it’s right there. If I want to look up the definition of a word, it’s there. If I want to look up a process or procedure, it’s there. If I want the news from today or last year or last decade, it’s there.
  26. I’m thankful for Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and her quote: “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.” I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.” It helps me to remember that there is always room for improvement, and that stagnation is dangerous.
  27. And because I’m about to be sucked into it… I’m thankful for Twitter. The organization does some stupid shit sometimes, but as a platform, I love that I can read thoughts directly from journalists as they’re happening. Not only news stories, but their reactions to current events, and their opinions about their own pieces. It’s probably my favorite social media platform for that reason.
  28.  Since I’m going on a direct path, I’m also thankful for Spotify. I have found so much music because of Spotify. It helps me get through my work day, and my drive to and from work. I have listened to more different music over the past year than I think I have in my entire life.
  29. Alright, and I guess I’m thankful for Facebook. It was super useful in college to connect with classmates, and it’s been cool to be able to connect with people I’ve lost touch with over the years, both from college and other places.
  30. I want to end on the most important note, which is a reiteration of two of the above points. I’m thankful for my friends. So thankful, that I’ll take this opportunity to mention them all by name (not full names, I’d like them to have some privacy. And I realize this opens me to becoming not as anonymous, but… well I don’t think this is really a harm.)  Kelley, Clay, Deanna, Marian, Ylva, Ron, Johan, Mike, Andy, Shannon, Chuck, MacKenzie, Mark, Pat, Sean, and Milla. If by some weird chance any of you see this, and you would like your names removed, just ask 🙂

 

Sludge

via Daily Prompt: Sludge

I feel like I am constantly wading through sludge at work, and every time there is an end in sight, it starts raining again and there is even more sludge.

We hired a new guy ehh about a month ago, maybe 5 weeks. He’s supposed to be strictly data-entry. Processing invoices for our one (big) client, and that’s it. He’s only part time, so this should fill up his time, though the plan is / was to move him to full time and have him pick up some slack for one of our other processors. Last month, we had the panic of “ok there’s a lot of invoices that haven’t been processed for month end, Tamishu needs to help process them” because I’m the next in line for knowledge on how to do this. Ok, fine. Whatever. It sucked, but we got through it. I wasn’t happy with the end result, but I wasn’t about to pull a 60 hours week outta my ass for these guys.

Guess what’s happening again this month?

Because NG (New Guy) is not processing up to speed yet, or is having trouble asking questions, or… I don’t know. Some combination of the two? He’s very, very shy. Worse than me, which is saying something. I mean, sure, when I first started, there were things I was afraid to ask too because I thought they’d be silly questions. Especially when I first started in accounting, which is more where this guy is at. But dude, I really hope you realize sooner rather than later that NOT asking questions is GOING to come back and bite you in the ass. Hopefully soonish, since I’m finding these things that are 3 weeks old that should have had some progress made on them…  And you can bet your sweet ass that I’m telling my boss these things, since he’s the one who asked me to step in and help.

And of course this comes not only when it’s a short week this week, because of Thanksgiving, but I also took the early part of next week off. So I have another 1.5 days to get… a TON of shit done. And this gets added on top of it.

I kind of hate that I’m getting used to having the conversation of, “Ok, I have A, B, and C to do, and in my mind, they’re all equally important. Boss, what should I prioritize?” On one hand, it’s good, because when I have to prioritize them, I try to do them all at the same time and get stressed out. Or get a little bit of each done, realize I can’t finish any of them, and then get stressed out. So being able to recognize that someone else needs to help me make this decision is important. But on the other hand… Look, these all have deadlines, and I’m going to miss 1 or 2 of them, and that bothers me. Because there are rules (the deadlines) and I can’t follow them. I know it’s not my fault! I get that, really. But it still feels like a bit of a failure on my part.

I feel like work has been this constant uphill battle since the spring, and I still haven’t reached the top.

Or that I’m Sisyphus.

Or whatever analogy floats your boat.

I had this talk with my boss today… or last week… or something… About how I have 6 vacation days left that I need to use. And I have no idea when to use them, because I feel like I can’t take time off. If I do, things aren’t going to be done, so I’ll just have that much more shit to do when I get back. It’s not just going to magically go away when I’m not there. And while I kind of like that I’m the only one that knows how to do some things, it’s kinda stressful in this situation! I like the job security. But even if I had 100% confidence that someone could step into my job and pick up where I left off, I wouldn’t be in danger of being let go. One, they like me. Two, I have enough knowledge that it would be hard to replace me. Not impossible, but you probably couldn’t pick just anybody off the street. Three, enough people know that I’m willing to learn that they know I can pick up new things and step into a new role if need be. (You know, as long as someone else picks up mine…) Four, enough people know that I’m a good problem solver, and THAT is apparently hard to find.

So, you know, I’ve got all this going for me. I don’t NEED to be the only one who can do certain tasks. I don’t really WANT to be the only person who can do certain tasks. But I still am.

I think, and I’m trying to work on accepting this, there are certain things that will never go away. Or at least they aren’t going to go away any time soon. Now that we’re fully staffed, I can work on transitioning some of my stuff away, and hopefully it’ll be pleasantly more than I’m expecting. There’s a couple semi-complicated things, and I say semi-complicated because there are multiple steps, and the steps are different across clients, that I know will be moving eventually. And hopefully they’ll move faster than I’m anticipating. I’d love to be able to, in December, just say “Here, New Chick, do task A from start to finish.” I know that won’t happen, because NC doesn’t know task A from start to finish. But even if I can say, “Here, NC, do task A from start to half way through,” that would be a huge help. And then maybe in January NC can take it from start to almost the end.

The scary part of this whole thing is still New Guy. I really, really want him to work out. Because we did the whole “fire the person currently in that position with no immediate replacement” and that was NOT FUN AT ALL. I have no desire to repeat that. I mean, I think he’s already doing better than the last person. He at least seems to have some kind of retention and ability to learn. The other person was just… You would say, “Do X because Y.” Ok, she would do X. Then, a month later, when X rolls around again, she would do something totally different. Or you would say, “Use method A with client M and method B with client N.” And then she’d just used method A for everything, until a week later, when someone finally realized it was wrong, correct her, then she would use method B for everything, and… yeah.

But New Guy is just… so AWKWARD. He’s starting to open up to his boss, but she’s out on disability for the next two or three weeks because of a surgery coming up, so I’m a bit nervous about what might happen. I’m supposed to be his point of contact in place of her. And… I just can’t shake the feeling that he doesn’t like me. Maybe he’s just not comfortable around me. [Sidenote… I was talking with coworker A about this, and he said, “maybe he just really likes kids” because NG’s boss has a 1 year old, but the WAY he said it… Oh man, I called him out on that! Man, don’t even joke about that shit! lol] Coworker M was also relating the story about how he recently went to the bathroom, and NG was in there, he said hi to NG, NG just kinda mumbled and turned around, but then proceeded to stand in the bathroom the entire time M was in there! Not washing his hands, not really doing anything, just kinda standing off to the side…

Don’t get me wrong, bathroom etiquette is something I struggle with as well. The whole talking while you’re peeing thing? Yeah, not a fan, but some people do it, so I try to push through it. But it’s a bit different with girls than with guys! I imagine, anyway. Not a guy, so I can’t say for sure. Girls, we’re sitting in our stalls, there’s a wall between us. We can’t see each other, even though we both know what we’re doing. Guys… I dunno, I just can’t imagine it would be comfortable to be holding your dick and talking to somebody at the same time. Especially if they are also holding their dick! I feel like that just crosses some kind of personal boundary! Heck, I dunno if I’d be comfortable talking to a guy through a wall knowing they’re peeing on the other side. I think it’s the touching that bothers me more than anything.

Ok, so now that my blog post has devolved into talking about dicks…

Now’s the perfect time to bring up the teabagging conversation???

Yes, this really happened. Oh, lunch crew…

Coworker A spray painted a bunch of coworker M’s stuff gold. Random shit, like his silverware. And it really annoyed him! So… he threatened that the next time coworker A was off, he was going to teabag his whole office… Me & the other girl, we were just like, this is completely unnecessary for lunchtime. BUT I think coworker A is off tomorrow, so I’m half-tempted to go see if I can buy a jumbo box of lipton teabags at the store on my way in tomorrow and present them to coworker M, and ask him if he wants to help me tape them all over A’s office. Cause that seems like it would be hilarious. I’m thinking monitor, keyboard, writing utensils, eating utensils, random papers, chair, desk, cables… yeah.

These are the things that help me push through the sludge. Getting people just a little bit annoyed, but also making them laugh about it.

Jumping on the sexual harassment bandwagon

I apologize in advance, but this is probably going to be rather lengthy and ranty.

I saw a post over on the phaseborg that was basically complaining about the number of sexual harassment complaints that have popped up over the past few weeks. Wondering how long we’re going to let people tarnish other people’s reputations? Because so much of it comes down to a “he said she said” argument.

And that just makes me SO MAD.

I’m gonna go ahead and get the disclaimers out of the way. Are there false accusations? Probably. Are there cases of misinterpretation? Probably. Are there cases of “oh shit I’m in over my head how do I fix this”? Probably.

That said. Why would you ever NOT believe somebody about this? Why would you NOT want a potential crime to be investigated?

Does anybody ever call the police and say, “Hey I found a dead body” and get the response “Oh well you might be imagining it” or “I think you’re exaggerating”? Or, “I witnessed a murder” and get “Are you sure they weren’t just playing around?” FUCK NO. Schools go on lockdown for people carrying props, for chrissakes.

So… some specifics.

“Why is it when someone gives you a hug, it’s sexual harassment?”

Because that is unwanted physical contact, gtf out of my personal bubble, you animal. Any unwanted physical contact, be it a hug or a pat on the shoulder or guiding your arm, is harassment.

Now, is it the same for everybody? Of course not! And that’s what makes this whole situation so complicated and so frustrating. What YOU think of as unwanted and what I think of as unwanted are possibly two very different things. And what counts as unwanted more than likely varies from person to person. Like, I’d be ok if coworker A gave me a hug, but if coworker B did it, I’d be creeped the fuck out. And, to take it a step farther, maybe coworker A would be creeped out if we hugged, but because one of us would be creeped out, it would never happen. Or it might happen once, and then one of us says “let’s never do that again” and the other one, like a NORMAL HUMAN BEING, would respect his or her wishes.

I think a good rule to follow is to not make physical contact until either the other person initiates it, or until you’ve known the person long enough and potentially had enough accidental contact, that you know the other person is ok with it.

“… put themselves in positions that may receive unwanted attention. If you put yourself in that spot, are you that naïve that you don’t think there is a possibility of inappropriate conduct? ”

This just… The first thing I thought of is that this is an exact parallel to the argument “Well she was wearing [whatever clothing] she was asking to be raped.” No. No. No. NO. Being around PEOPLE is a situation that you may receive unwanted attention. Does that mean that just by going to the grocery store, I should accept any inappropriate conduct? FUCK NO. If you’re going out to get milk in sweatpants, going to the club in a slinky dress, or having cocktails at a benefit gala in an evening gown, you should 100% expect nothing but respectful behavior from everybody you may come in contact with. I don’t care what you wear, where you are, or who you are with. NOTHING gives another person the right to touch you if you don’t want to be touched, make suggestive comments to you, or act like they have any right to your body as an object.

I’m reminded of the campaign I saw some time ago, where people were arguing that the phrase “No means no” should be replaced with “Only yes means yes.” Because there were so many instances of people arguing “well, she didn’t SAY no, so I assumed consent.” Bullshit. Just because someone doesn’t answer your question, or answers it ambiguously, does not equate to them saying yes. Especially if you never even asked the question in the first place!

Don’t get me wrong. On one hand, I’m glad these questions are being asked. It gives other people a chance to state their side of things. But on the other hand, do they have to be asked in a “well back in my day…” perspective?

I get it (kind of). Things are changing, we as humans are not comfortable with change, and well, the world kept turning before this was such a big deal, why is it a big deal?

And all of this isn’t even taking into account the horrific history of people NOT being believed when they’ve disclosed their stories. Because of arguments like the above. (Plus, this is all biased, as it is from my perspective, a middle-class white girl in a first world country with a 9-5. I haven’t even touched on what happens in the gay communities, to transpeople, to sex workers… )

But this is exactly why more and more people are starting to come forward now. Finally, FINALLY, they’re believed. They feel like they can admit the truth and not be ostracized because of it. It’s not (I think) because people want to see those with power & money fall simply because. It’s because they know they’re not alone, and that is a powerful thing.

I mean, it’s such a common trope, I feel like there has to be a name for it. Like, how many episodes of Law & Order are there were there are multiple people that can testify against someone, but none will do it until someone else steps up? Is it some weird variation of the bystander effect? Or the domino effect? This has got to be a real thing. (I just don’t have the Google-fu to find it right now. I did a search for “why do more people admit to something once someone else has” and I got a bunch of hits for articles related to cheating…)

I guess once more this is a topic that falls into the “we’ve always done it this way” category of thinking, which I’ve written on multiple times. Just because it was this way, doesn’t mean it was right, and doesn’t mean it can’t be better.

Baking

I love baking. I can’t cook for shit, though I’m getting better slowly with some help from my husband. But baking, that is my home turf.

Not only do I get immense pleasure out of baking things like cookies, bars, and breads, the actual creation of the food, but I also love the reactions I get from people when they consume something that is delicious. (Perfect example, I brought in some of the raspberry jam bars I made last night, coworker S went to try one, started to say something right after taking a bite, and it devolved into “om nom wow these are really good.” (I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the point.) Literally got completely side-tracked from whatever he was saying.)

Since I learned how to bake, Home Economics in sixth grade, I have always enjoyed it. I stuck with a few basic recipes at first. Chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies. Do you see a theme here? I originated in making cookies, and I still love making them. They’re fast and tasty! I spread out a bit, started using different chips, different extracts, but I really stayed with variations on a theme.

It took me until my mid-twenties to comfortably go beyond this. But at some point, a few things just clicked in my brain, and suddenly, everything made SENSE. I don’t know a good way to describe it. I mean, I couldn’t tell you the scientific explanation for why the different ingredients do different things (luckily, there’s all of Google to turn to for the answers). But I learned that: softened butter really IS important, when the recipe says “cream ingredients” that means a specific thing, when you can mix to death and when you absolutely should NOT, how the moisture of the dough / batter affects the final product… I had finally had enough real-life experience that things started to fall into place.

Then I REALLY started to branch out. Cake from scratch (sometimes worth it, sometimes not). Muffins from scratch. Taking a cookie recipe and turning it into a bar recipe. BREAD. OMG BREAD. I FUCKING LOVE MAKING BREAD. White bread for sandwiches, italian bread for garlic bread, baguette for soup trenchers. Cinnamon rolls, filled twist breads, quick breads. So many tasty things.

I of course have had my flops. Some things I know why they failed, sometimes not. I’ve had a few dud recipes, too. Things that sounded good, and I think I did everything right, but… It just wasn’t my thing, whether they came out correctly or not. (I made a batch of something called “lime tea cookies” once. Not super great, IMO. But apparently they got demolished at a party my in-laws had, so maybe they were fine. Tea cookies are apparently their own type of cookie, and I’d never made them before, so there was some uncertainty there.) And hey, sometimes you just get a bad batch of an ingredient. Last time I made blueberry muffins, they were kinda meh. Pulling them apart, the muffins themselves were fine, it was the blueberries that were lacking in taste. One batch of bread I tried to make, I either had an older packet of yeast, or the kitchen wasn’t quite warm enough, or a bit of both, so I had to do some frantic Googling to figure out if I could save the dough. (Turns out I could, and I did! Turning the oven on for like, 2 minutes, then back off, then putting the bowl in the oven and letting the dough rise in there was a success.)

Which brings me to this new “problem” I’m having. I’m having to annotate my recipes, so I remember what I did next time. Which things worked, which things don’t, possible ideas for future attempts. With these raspberry jam bars, I’ve now had two people ask me for the recipe. And I have to annotate THOSE, because if I just write down the basic directions, it won’t come out right! This last copy I made, I put in the line: “Gradually add the dry cake mix, and mix VERY well. (Seriously, just keep mixing until it doesn’t look dry anymore, a few minutes.)” Because the first time I made these, I did not keep mixing. And they were ok. But the SECOND time I made them, I decided to see what would happen if I kept mixing (because box cake mix requires different mixing than making a cake from scratch). Lo and behold! I also have silly things like 2-ish Tbsp vegetable oil. Because 2 isn’t quite enough, but you definitely shouldn’t go over 3, and this time was literally “ok measuring out 2nd tablespoo-whoops that’s overflow.”

I also literally could not tell you how much flour I use for making white bread. It’s 3 cups, add the butter and salt, add 3ish more cups until you get shaggy dough, knead and keep adding flour until smooth & elastic. And I understand this is a slightly different problem, because humidity in the air will effect the dough, so it literally will not be the same amount every time.

My husband likes to say he doesn’t bake because it’s too precise. He is a cook, and can just wing things with no recipe and they come out great. And when I ask what he did, I get an “I dunno” response. But here’s the thing. Baking isn’t always that precise! Yeah, there’s an order you mix ingredients in, and general guidelines for resting or rising or kneading or whatever. But when the directions say “mix until just combined” I mean… that’s not THAT specific. It’s not like it says “mix for 1 minute.” Or “let rise until doubled in bulk, 30-60 minutes.” THAT’S not precise at all. (First off, because I don’t know how I would accurately measure the volume. Second, again humidity is a big factor.)

I guess I take to baking so well because there are RULES (and I like rules) that I am learning, but there’s also enough freedom to be a bit creative. And there really is something about the process of creation that I find … maybe not “calming” but I can’t really think of a better word.

Today?

Geez I don’t even know what to write about today. It was relatively uneventful, all things considered. Woke up, got ready, got to work, chatted with C & M for a bit, got cracking on work… Had kind of a frustrating conversation around my weekly conference call, but it was more just us all being frustrated at a couple expectations. Made some decent progress on a couple weekly tasks. The new people are starting to get up to speed and are picking things up, which is great! That means I’ll get to shove off some of my other work now 🙂

I guess I could tell a couple funny stories of things that happened today.

We got a notice in the mail from the bank stating that they were returning funds for a check that was cashed past the 180 days that we indicate the check is valid for. So I look into it, being that it was a check out of a bank account I cut checks for… Turns out it was an expense check for M! From last December! So I go downstairs to say, “WTF, dude, really? You couldn’t have cashed this any earlier??” And explain that the funds would probably be pulled from his account, but that we would reissue the check this week. Well M was on the phone, so I chatted with C while waiting for him to get off the phone. How does M end the phone conversation? “I gotta go, there’s a midget from accounting here about something.” … Really, dude?? lol Lately, he’s been working jokes about my height into every conversation he can. Luckily, I know I’m short, and have been teased about it for most of my life, so I can take the joke, and he has realized that I will just get him back somehow, which I think has got us caught in this cycling of pranking… Oh well, there are worse things in life XD

I was typing this story up over on smarch, and it reminded me of this other story about M… So when he first met me, he decided my nickname (which he finds one for everybody) should be a severely truncated version of my real name. Which I haaaaaate(d). Drove me crazy. So every time he would call me that, I would struggle to come back with some quip, or sometimes I would just resort to an obscene gesture. So my second year at work, after this has been going on for some time now, in front of coworkers and subcontractors alike, I get tasked with calling our vendors requesting W-9s. I call this one up, introduce myself, explain what I need, blah blah… After a second, the vendor apparently recognizes me over the phone, despite having *never* met me before, but goes on to say, “Hey, aren’t you the one that M is always ragging on?!” … Yes, yes I am. Why is this a thing that I am now recognized by. Lmao!!!

Crap, I had another story and I forgot it already…

Uhh…

Oops, I just remembered I was supposed to bake tonight. Guess I should go do that. … Kinda unmotivated to, now, but… I did sorta promise I would…

Oh, was I thinking of the door story? Maybe! I’ll tell the door story anyway.

So, our office is moving. Not super happy about it, but… whatever… A couple weeks ago, M was having an impromptu meeting during lunch with one of the people in the development department about the doors in our new office. They spent, like, an hour talking about freaking doors. So they finally finish up, and M is still going on about doors. Find out that we’re going to have these giant, 8′ 10″ doors in our office. Giant doors! And then he says something like, “They’re going to be twice your height!” Ummm no! I am 5′ 1 3/8″. That is NOT twice my height. … Close, but not quite! Only just over a foot too short to be twice, lol. See what I mean about the height jokes! It’s a never ending battle!

Something else I mentioned over on smarch, that I think is important…

This is the type of banter / environment I grew up in as a teenager. Not really around the house, my father rarely engaged in this type of joking around. He was never very good at it, it just always came across as awkward. Which, I’m sure the first few times I tried to crack jokes, I did as well, but I persisted! Because so many people around me did, as well. It would have felt out of place if I didn’t, and at that young and impressionable age, of course I wanted friends.

Nevermind that some of these friends were members of the amateur radio club my father and I were also members of, so that meant they were all his age bracket. I’m sure they changed their jokes a bit, being around a young girl. I did notice the tone change as I got older. They got more comfortable making err slightly inappropriate jokes. You know, “I like my coffee like I like my women, strong and black!” Not, you know, terribly inappropriate, but something more suited for an adult than a 14 year old girl. (Ha, that reminds me of another M story. He was getting our coffees after lunch, someone else asked how I take my coffee, and he replied with something like, “She went black and never went back!” I of course had to yell, “I HEARD THAT.”)

But it went for my school friends, as well. We were constantly mildly insulting each other, or teasing each other about some of our traits or habits. I can’t tell you the number of times my 6′ friends would rest their arms on my head or shoulder. *eye roll* It’s just how we all got along.

Of course, we can all have normal, adult, serious conversations. And I mean that across the board, for all my current and former friends (mostly only former because we’ve fallen out of touch over the years). We were all in-tune enough with each other, that if someone was having a rough time and needed to vent, we’d be there for each other, and we were all able to pick up on if the person could take some light joking to help bring them up. And for that, I am incredibly grateful for my current group of coworker friends. I have found a wonderful group of people that can not only sympathize with my struggles, but will listen while I vent, and I never have any worries about anything that is said getting back to people I may be venting about. And they know that I can be trusted as well, so they in turn have no qualms discussing their problems in front of me or with me.

I mean… I had this day a few months ago. It was a check run day, and I was super, super stressed out. My manager hadn’t done the cash sheet, so I didn’t know what I was able to spend, but I knew it wasn’t going to be a lot. But we had a fair amount of stuff that was due. I also knew that we had just paid off a bunch of stuff that, while it was technically due, we hadn’t been paid for, so we didn’t really have the float to spend it… But we did… So I was super stressed out, looking for my manager for answers or direction, could not find manager… Didn’t know what to do… so I went downstairs and talked with M for a bit about it. And he sat there and listened, and told me about some of the stuff he’d seen over the years, and his perspective of the company as a whole… He gets stuck in a similar position, though he’s in a different department. His contractors don’t get paid until we do, so it’s the same cycle, and he’s dealt with it for much longer. We ended up talking for, I dunno, half an hour, 45 minutes? And after that I felt a bit… well, not really better, but at least better equipped to go about my day without having a breakdown. Basically it boiled down to him reminding me that I can only do what I’m told I can do. I can say, “we need to pay x, y, and z” but if someone tells me not to, well, that’s on them at that point. Someone else has to approve all my stuff. And that if the phone calls asking for money become too much, start sending them up the chain. It’s what he does. But, so here I am, complaining about my manager, and higher ups in the company, with absolutely no concerns that he’s going to go sell me out. Do you know how comforting that is?

My last job was not like that at all. I didn’t know who I could trust. So I didn’t really talk to anybody about anything. There were one or two I was learning to trust toward the end. But I was no where near as comfortable with them as I am with the current group I found.

This I think is a big motivating factor for me not wanting to find a new job, even though I’m totally NOT stoked for this office move. Not only do I think I have room to grow professionally, I do actually like some coworkers. Yeah, there are the shitty ones, but the good ones by far make up for them.

“Judeo-Christian Values”

So… I’m reading through an article up on Stonekettle Station about DT’s statement regarding the “attack on Judeo-Christian values” *cough*bullshit*cough* and partway through, he starts talking about this interview with Roy Moore. You know, the one from Alabama who allegedly had relations with little girls. THAT Roy Moore. Anyway, he linked an interview done by Vox with Moore, and after some of the stuff I read in Wright’s essay, I had, JUST HAD, to go read this interview. Out of sheer disbelief.

That did not go well.

I yelled at my computer. A lot. And I had to stop reading multiple times because OH MY GOD how does anyone believe this shit. It’s so obviously WRONG, but here he is, SAYING THESE THINGS TO A REPORTER LIKE THEY ARE TRUE.

And I’m sorry, but I just have to vent about some of these things.

Moore: It was the duty to foster religion and foster Christianity. He said at the time of the adoption of the Constitution that “it was the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America that Christianity ought to be favored by the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience.”

He likes to conveniently forget the last part of that statement, which says, “so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience.”

Sure, create the Constitution based on what you know, and if it is a belief-system based on Christianity, go ahead and pull from that. Makes sense to write about what you know, yeah? But this Story guy even implied that there are things that are religious values / beliefs that NOT COMPATIBLE with universal values.

Moore: If you were a complete atheist, or a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or whatever, you have freedom in this country to worship God and you can’t be forced otherwise.

I would just like to point out that atheists and Buddhist do not worship God. But that seems to have escaped him. And if I can reference back to Wright’s essay, “precise language is important.”

Moore: When you define religion, we get it all straight. You’re free to worship Buddha and Muhammed. The reason that is free is because of Christian principles. Because of the two tables of the law — the first table can’t be directed by government. He never gave Caesar the authority over the rights of conscience.

In fact, it says it right here if you look right there, that the rights of conscience are beyond the reach of any human power; they are given by God and cannot be encroached on by any human authority without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural or revealed religion. …

Ok, there is so much going on here, that this might take a bit to unpack.

Did we define religion? Oh yeah, we did earlier, sorry, skipped over that part. He says, “People don’t explain the definition of religion. Put it right at the top, “Religion is the duties you owe to the creator and the manner of discharging it,” per the United States Supreme Court, per Joseph Story.” Religion is the duties you owe to the creator and the manner of discharging it. Ok, got it.

“… free to worship Buddha and Muhammed.” Not to be pedantic, but, well, since language is important… Pretty sure Buddhist don’t worship Buddha, and Muslims don’t worship Muhammed. Buddhist follow the teachings of the Buddha, and Muslims follow the teachings of Muhammed the prophet. Much like Christians don’t worship Jesus, they (or some of them) follow his teachings.

Something about tables…? I don’t understand this part. WTF is a table. Like, a coffee table? A table with columns and rows, listing out who can follow what ideas? I’m confused here.

“…the rights of conscience are beyond the reach of any human power…” WRONG. We are humans and we define our own rights of conscience.

Ok, hang on … Maybe I’m confused. What ARE these “rights of conscience”?

OED defines “freedom of conscience” as “The right to follow one’s own beliefs in matters of religion and morality.”

Wikipedia states that conscience “is an aptitudefacultyintuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong.”

And lastly, Encyclopedia.com says that, “Rights of conscience are political rights that protect people’s ability to do what they believe is morally best: they are political autonomy rights. ”

If your conscience tells you what is right and wrong, what is moral, and it is “beyond the reach of any human power” why have HUMAN MORALS CHANGED THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES.

It used to be moral to own slaves in the US.

It used to be moral to be a sexist and misogynistic douche.

It used to be moral to treat your daughter like property, and demand a dowry in exchange for marriage.

It used to be moral to not protect children.

It used to be moral to marry children off at 12.

And unless God has come down and there is a new Moses with some more stone tablets, I’m pretty sure that it was humans that decided what was “moral” needed to be redefined.

And, as an atheist, don’t you DARE tell me that my sense of morality was defined by some higher power and that I have no control over it. I make my own decisions, thank you very much, free will. I don’t need some stupid book to tell me what is right and wrong.

Therapy yesterday…

I go to a psychologist weekly (usually). We talk about a lot of stuff, from my marriage to work to friends to dreams, and even my writing sometimes. It’s been really helpful, I’ve figured out a lot of stuff, and obviously I’m still a work in progress. But it’s something I definitely recommend!

Anyway, last week I sort of dropped something in at the end, as is my trademark, almost. I mentioned that something that has been weighing on me off and on over the past year is this concept of “emotional cheating.” A friend brought it up ages ago, and it left me a bit unsettled, as I wasn’t sure I understood the concept. And I never really *thought* about it, it was just something that would surface every once in a while. So she tasked me with, over the course of the next week, trying to figure out what it meant to me. How I would define it.

So there was some journaling, with… well, some mixed results. I figured some stuff out, still unsure about others. But I did make some progress, at least!

I started off my session yesterday talking about this, and touched on some things that I came up with. And finally, FINALLY, I decided to bite the bullet and bring something up that I’ve considered bringing up at least once per month since I started seeing her. I admit, it was really scary. My fear has been that it is something SO TERRIBLE that I’m really abnormal and there is something wrong with me.

Turns out I’m not abnormal. At all. I’m in fact, perfectly normal. That everybody does this thing. Which I’m not admitting to here, because baby steps, ok.

So we ended up talking about this for a huge chunk of our session. And I felt a bit embarrassed about parts of it, but her constant reassurance was soooooo helpful. Ultimately, I felt really relieved at the end of it.

But here’s where the other shoe drops.

So I leave to go back to work (I use my lunch hour for this) and I’m two minutes away. When it dawns on me.

THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL AND EVERYBODY DOES IT.

EVERYBODY.

And I just… my brain just kinda overloaded at that realization.

I know what I’m thinking.

WHAT THE HELL ARE OTHER PEOPLE THINKING.

Let me tell you. That was one of the most difficult afternoons at work ever.

Today was rough…

Work was super rough today. Yesterday, I wanted to code and enter a bunch of invoices that have been piling up over the past couple of weeks. Well I only got through the coding. When I went to upload them, the client’s software was being a right bitch. So I said, ok, I’ll do them tomorrow (today). So today I get in, and go to get started on them first thing. I get them all loaded, and it takes about 45 minutes, between the software just being slow and me being interrupted. I finally start in on entering, yay! But I have to stop to go to a meeting. Said meeting takes about half an hour. Come back, more entering. And then by the time lunch rolls around, between the software being terribly slow and even more interruptions, I’m maybe halfway done. FML. Go to lunch, because fuck this shit, I am so done with the “I have all this shit to do, I’m just gonna work through lunch” mindset, it is NOT good for my mental health. Especially this, because I desperately needed a break, and thought coming back refreshed would be beneficial. Get back from lunch, more entering, and finally, an hour and a half later, I’m done! Thank. Fucking. Shitchrist.

Then I get to move on to the stuff that yesterday, before the whole entering thing got axed, I thought I’d be starting at, ya know, 8am today.

Then finally it’s 3:30. Fuck this shit.

On top of all of this… I have this one coworker, M, who… Is a bit of a prankster. We haven’t really been close, up until this past year. But I started eating lunch with M & comrades, there’s 6 total including me that make up the usual group. So I’ve gotten closer to all of them, to varying degrees. M perhaps moreso than anyone else, outside of A, because (1) they’ve worked there for long periods of time, so they’re good for advice, and (2) because with my changing job duties, I get to interact more with them. And there’s just something about them. Now that we’ve gotten past the semi-awkward, only know each other well enough to make small talk, phase and have moved into relatively comfortable territory, I’m actually getting to know them as people and friends, not just coworkers.

Anyway. So M is a bit of a prankster. Getting to know M, we’re starting to edge into … geez, how do I describe this. I don’t want to say meaner pranks, but stuff that you wouldn’t do with people you don’t know very well, because you don’t know how they’ll take it. Well, me being me and overly paranoid and anxious, I was worried that our last interaction, I might have crossed a line. Why do I think this? Because heaven forbid M actually work, oh no, M must be avoiding me. Yes, brain, this is completely true. *sigh*

So not only was I frustrated about what I got accomplished today (or lack thereof) but I was also anxious that M wanted to push me away a bit.

ALSO. I was just reminded. I had a laughing while breathing issue at lunch today, and inhaled a small piece of spicy noodle. And I think it’s STILL IN MY GODDAMN SINUSES. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

But, the plus side is that I did see M towards the end of the day, and confirmed that yes, I was absolutely worrying about nothing, M is still going to be antagonistic, so I will feel free to dish it right back out. 😀

It’s amazing how that one little interaction affected my mood… But that happens a lot to me. Sometimes I wish I could turn my brain down…