My great-grandmother was pregnant for over a decade of her life.

She was pregnant at least fifteen times, had over a dozen children. Raised all of them in a big rambling farmhouse in central Pennsylvania.

And I thought about her this afternoon, lying in bed with my spouse after my lazy weekend nap, snuggling him and burying my nose in his hair, taking deep breaths of the scent of his skin. This man who is the center of my universe, my best friend, one of two reasons why I literally decided I had to live and kept fighting through the pain after surgery when I really wanted to just let go and die: I held him closer and I thought of her.

I thought of how family myth tells us that after a decade of being pregnant pretty much constantly, she kicked my great-grandfather out of their house. How she made him go live in his workshop, and he came to the house for meals and to check in.

But he slept in his workshop.

Not because she didn’t love him, but because she did.

She loved him, and if they slept in the same bed together, these two people who had crossed an ocean together, had built a life together after getting out of Poland together, they’d have sex. And because cheap, reliable, universal birth control wasn’t available then, and she was terribly fecund, apparently, she’d become pregnant again, inevitably.

My great-grandmother was TIRED of being pregnant.

So she kicked her love out of the house, and he went. He lived in his workshop, on their farm, and they stopped sleeping together, in every sense of the word. My father tells me he remembers as a child his grandfather sitting outside his workshop, leaning back on his chair, and looking up at the house in which he couldn’t sleep anymore, just… sad.

They missed each other desperately from across the yard.

I listen to @adhocavenger sleep, to the sound of his breathing, a sound that’s as familiar to me as my own heartbeat, and I can’t imagine having to sleep away from him for long. To have to separate myself from my spouse or to have to completely eschew having the kind of sex they obviously enjoyed having. To not have him close enough at night that I can curl up to him and breathe in the scent of his skin.

And that, I think, is the sort of thing that I think maybe I take for granted. That I know I can be secure in the knowledge that I can have sex with my spouse when I want to, and not have a baby.

The personal is political. I do not want our country to continue to slide backward on reproductive freedom. I do not want us to lose our freedom, threatened and small as it may be.

There are a thousand small tragedies that we talk about from the Olde Days. The unwanted baby of the unmarried lass, of course.

But my heart breaks tonight for the story I was told as a child, of the lovingly married couple who had to sleep apart because she was just damn tired of being pregnant.

Because she’d been pregnant for a DECADE of her life.


#storytime #pregnancy cw #death tw #politics cw #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what #that one post with the thing



pelcan Mouth perfec t size for put baby in to n\ap! inside very Soft and Comfort baby sleep soundly put baby in Pelican Mouth. Put Baby In Pelican Mouth. no problems ever in peliccan mouth because good Shape and Support for baby neck weak of big baby head. Apelican Mouth yes a place for a baby put baby in pelican mouth can trust pelican for giveing good love to baby. friend pelican


#*checks archives* #what the fuck do you mean I’ve never reblogged the pelican-mouth post #unacceptable #Tumblr traditions #that one post with the thing #birds #cannibalism cw

Anonymous asked: Pro-urbanism is a communo-indio-pakio-francio-anglo-zioinist plot to get as many Americans as possible into compact, easily-nuked areas, increasing the counter-value strength of small nuclear arsenals. If instead we distributed Americans and industry evenly across all American territory (including Alaska), nuclear weapons would be much less effective.




Big if true

Definitely true.

See, this is the actual reason for rail. We can split to population into 16,000 walkable towns of 20,000 residents at a density of roughly 4,000/km2. Each will be situated on about 612 km2, and separated by about 13km in distance (the radius of the town itself will be around 1.25km).

Each town will have a single rail depot in the center with N/S and E/W lines. Buses will connect to this depot, with the short distance allowing for a trip duration of 5-10 minutes.

Trains will move at an average of around 60-70km/h, including 5 minute stop times, for about a 15 minute hop per town. This provides the population of a sizable city within a 30m-1h commute range – for every town.

A high speed express service traveling at 150 km/h might increase the reachable population to closer to 2 million. (Somewhat less due to headways and transfers.) In two hours, maybe 7 to 9 million.

Every town in America could have the network power of New York City.

There is of course the small matter of the cost of the trains, the town construction, issues with not all sites being ideal for all industry, limiting the town populations, etc, but those are just details to be sorted out later.


#that one post with the thing #war cw? #discourse cw? #story ideas I…honestly I might actually write this #maybe…*pokes search engines trying to get a better sense of what 4k people/km^2 looks like* maybe sprawl it out a bit more #a big part of the point‚ in terms of the world I’m building here‚ is that #it lets people do the carlessness thing and the network-power thing *without the sensory overload of dense cities* #the towns I’ve been in with populations of 10k – 20k seemed to be pretty much the perfect size #the 1k – 5k towns I’ve been in were a little too small but they were close #the 100k – 200k cities were somewhat too big #Toronto was *way* too big #I’ve never been to NYC even though I used to live less than 100 miles from it and that’s probably for the best #(*looks at NYC on Street View* wait WTF this basically looks like downtown Kitchener) #(did I pick the wrong part of NYC?) #(is the idea just that it’s downtown Kitchener but it keeps up that pace over a larger area?) #((okay I guess to be fair the NYC buildings do look somewhat taller)) #((but the amount of overwhelmingness at ground level looks like it would be about the same)) #((so‚ like‚ not great‚ but not *quite* to the point of curling up in a little ball)) #((I’d still pick‚ say‚ Wellesley-but-with-a-train-station over Kitchener any day)) #tag rambles #geography #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see


I don’t know if we’re still in the age of Y/N L/N search-and-replace self-insert fanfics but can I just say there’s MASSIVE untapped potential for a Y/N L/N Death Note fanfiction if you just

if you just

hang on. This. Like this:

Light clicked his bedroom door shut, and leaned against it, and slid gently down. His attention was wrapped so wholly in the unmarked envelope in his hand. He slit it open, and unsheathed the documents like he was pulling money from a wallet. He was, in a sense. These documents had cost him. The private eye he hired had not been cheap.

But it HAD been worth it, Light knew with relief washing through his veins as he thumbed through the contents: birth certificate, social security card, medical records, vaccination history, school records, IDs with photos – mother’s name, father’s name, date of birth, eye color, hair color, blood type.

Light held in his hands EVERYTHING there was to know about the girl. And he basked in it, drinking it in, a name finally to attach to the woman who haunted him.

First name: Y/N. Last name: L/N.

Light cracked a grin, rib cage rippling with manic chuckles that bubbled to his lips and erupted, cackles, delighted trills. The sense of victory flooded him. That girl who knew he was Kira, that girl who had worked so hard to hide her identity, that girl who plagued him, followed him, haunted him every day, who he could never touch.

Finally, Light could kill her.

He rose, and walked nearly numb to his desk, and pulled out the scrap of Death Note he kept in the false bottom of the top drawer. He reveled in it as he wrote: Y/N L/N, dies alone at 11:48pm of a brain aneurysm.

The damnation felt so sweet.

She was waiting for him, early as the sun which crested behind her, all soft smiles and sweet squinted eyes. She was waiting for him as she did every single day. She stood there, as always – a thing of nightmares.

The blood left Light’s face once he opened the front door to her, feet and hands tingling cold, stomach in knots.

He’d been worried when he awoke to no news about his dead university classmate. And the confirmation of his every fear settled as a knot in his gut. Y/N L/N was alive, in front of him, just as she was every other day, smiling.

“You seem surprised, Light. Like you’ve seen a ghost?” Her wry smile was a mockery. Light loathed her more than anything.

“Y/N … L/N…” he muttered, through gritted teeth. “…Good morning.”

“Oh! You discovered my name. Good job good job, that was faster than I expected.”


“Aren’t I dead?” she titled her head and swayed a bit in place. “That’s how Kira kills people, yeah? Full name? And you’ve got mine. So why aren’t I dead?”

Kira. Light’s eye twitched. She did that. At every chance, dropping with such nonchalance that she knew. If he argued back, she would ignore him. If he defended himself, it would get him nowhere.

Ignore, deflect, probe, find a weak point.

“Is it a fake name? Is Y/N L/N a fake name?” It would be hard to believe; it would be beyond elaborate. Every ounce of documentation would need to have been faked, or else perfectly stolen, with a complete erasure of who the girl really was. Not a single piece of contradictory evidence. Enough to completely fool Japan’s most esteemed private eye. It was almost unfathomable.

“No, it’s not a fake name. That’s my name. My real name. You’re right.” She spun on her heel and walked forward, into the sun, toward campus, sunlight streaking through the wisps in her hair. “But you can’t kill me with it, Kira.”

Light refused to answer. He refused to concede. He refused to show his hand, and yet, maybe he already had… Maybe he’d already lost.

He’d try again tonight. He’d try again as many times as it took to eliminate her, this unfathomable girl, who appeared in his uni classroom claiming to be an old elementary school classmate of his, who followed him every day and spoke in hints that suggested she knew, and yet never revealed how, or why, or what she wanted from him.

He’d try again. He’d kill her this time.

“It won’t work, trying again, that is. If you want to kill me, you’ll have to use your own hands.” She glanced over her shoulder at him. “But that’s messy, and suspicious, and too easy to solve, right? So you need the Death Note to do away with me. But it won’t work.”

Death Note, dammit, she really DID know.

“Hey Light, what’s my name?”

“Y/N, L/N,” he ground out, almost robotically.

“Say it again.”

“Y/N, L/N.”

“And what name did you write in the Death Note?”

Light hesitated. Did he stand any chance of keeping his hand concealed?

He locked eyes with her, and he knew the answer was no. She knew. He knew.

“Y/N L/N.”

“Doesn’t sound quite right, does it?” she asked. And with her words, Light felt some unsettled something thud in his chest. A disquiet. An unrest. A thinly veiled wrongness.

“My name, that name, Y/N L/N, how do you spell it?” she asked.

“Y…” Light paused. Y? No… That was almost certainly not right.

“First letter, second letter, third letter. Come on. I believe in you.”

A headache was building behind Light’s eyes.

“Y…. S-slash…. N…” No. That wasn’t a name. That wasn’t anyone’s name. And it wasn’t her name. Her name, her name was—

“You can’t spell it, Light. You can’t. And no one can. No one except an extremely, intractably lucky person could even guess what my name might be, at the time that all of this plays out.”

“What does that mean?”

“What do I look like, Light? The Death Note needs a mental image! What do I look like?”

And Light looked. He looked directly at her, piercing, probing, roving, studying, drinking her in. She looked exactly as he remembered, with H/C hair and E/C eyes and….

What color hair?

What color eyes?

What name?

“I’m not anyone, Light,” she offered with the same, sweetly saccharine smile that Light could not describe beyond those words. “Or I’m everyone, I guess. I’m every Y/N L/N who reads this, any one of them. And when the dust settles, and the story stabilizes, and those markers are replaced for real, it will be too late. Because that will not be the name you wrote in your Death Note. You’ll always have written Y, and slash, and N, and L, and slash, and N, and that will never be right. I’ll be someone else by the time it matters, every time.”

Light blinked through the stars in his vision. Looking at her hurt, his vision wobbling in and out of focus on the nothing, and the everything she was. The hair color, and the eye color, and the first name, and the last name, that were every potential quantum combination, and still none of them.

He shut his eyes.

“What do you want from me?” he asked. “Why are you following me? Why do you know who I am. What do you want?”

“Nothing. I want nothing. I don’t have a defined will. It’s not like I’m a person.” She stepped forward again, hands clenched to the bag behind her back. A normal school bag, a normal school uniform, trotting in step eastward toward the college campus. “I’m an insert. And that means I’m whoever they want me to be, every time. It’s not any deeper than that.”


#Death Note #fanfic #that one post with the thing #names #murder cw #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what


My brother, listen, do not be afraid.
I have descended into Hell to talk
About forgiveness. Yes, Pilate, with you.
With others too – with everyone who’s here.
But you first. Even Judas, my old friend,
Must wait a while for me. We have a while;
The sempiternal agony of Hell
Exists outside of human history. 
Souls killed in every century are here
Millennia before and after you.
You stand among those millions who share
An everlasting sentence for the crime
Of “just doing your job.” Your job killed me.
Your job ripped my skin open with a lash
And drove me, bleeding, shambling up the hill
Where your job drove an eight inch iron spike
Through each hand and each foot, and hoisted me
Towards the sky and left me there for hours
To slowly suffocate. You did your job
To many more like me. Their names were all
Forgotten as they rotted on the cross
Unburied. Hell is teeming with the souls
Who did their job, who served the empire well –
Not just your empire, all the ones that rose
And fell, before and after your own Rome’s.
You asked me once what truth is. That is it.
That is the truth about your whole life’s work.
You know this and it sears worse than the flames.
But that is not why I descended here.
I’m here about forgiveness. Listen. Please.

In the beginning was the Word of God.
That’s me. Like you, I had a job to do.
By me all things were made, and without me
Was nothing that was made. The universe
Was my life’s work, the empire that I served.
My father’s will for Mankind was my law.
One act of disobedience was enough
To sentence every one of you to death.
I did my job, and did it thoroughly:
The hands that made the stars built every tomb.
They sculpted tumors, planted neat rows
Of plagues in human lungs and skin and guts,
Conducted rousing symphonies of storms,
Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, and wrote
In stone: if you survive all this, the time itself
Will kill you. Yet this law, My Father’s Law,
No – our law, I share blame for it – forbade
The dead to die. Infinities of pain,
We gave as punishments for finite crimes.
My father made me judge, and I looked down
On human beings. I saw their sinfulness
And built sparse Heaven and a crowded Hell.
I thought this law was justice ‘til the day
I learned what it is like to be condemned.

Pontius, I have no right to punish you.
I killed you. I killed everyone you loved.
I tortured you, but this ends here. You’re free.
All Hell breaks out today. I will not judge.
From now on, I refuse to do my job.
I am not Christ the King. I abdicate.
How you repay your debt to those you killed
Is your own cross to carry – they decide
Whether they will forgive you when you meet
In Paradise. And Pontius, I forgive
You for my death, of course. How could I not?
But I’m not here to tell you that, I’m here
To ask, to plead, for what I don’t deserve
From everyone in Hell, but first from you.
Brother, when we last met I said to you
That you would have no power over me
Were it not given from above, but now
I bow my head, give power from below.
I beg you for the one gift only you
Can give me: I have sinned against you, please
Brother, can you – will you – forgive my sins?


#Christianity #poetry #that one post with the thing #hell cw #death cw #murder cw #illness tw

The Perfect Wish


It was official. I was going to die.

Not in the normal way that everyone can sense their creeping mortality over their shoulder. I hadn’t really had that problem since I was eleven and learned about freezing brains. After that, I’d always expected to grow up, get old, end up with a popsicle head, and revive after a few years or decades. Sure, the precursor to The World’s Worst Brain-Freeze was going to suck, but it’d all be worth it when I got to stick it to the Post Modernists. Oblivion my ass.

That was until last year. Last year I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Don’t get me wrong, all cancer is shit, but I’m pretty sure my variety was a special kind of shit. This was the shit you had when you ate week-old Mexican food at a run-down gas station. It was a work of art.

I still thought I could make it, though. I could rely on the medical tradition that had killed smallpox, beaten up measles, and was currently shaking down malaria for its lunch money. With that kind of muscle at my back, who was seriously going to try messing with me?

Well, as it happens, cancer cells are human too – and humans fight dirty. Pretty much any poison that can kill a cancer cell will also kill your non-treasonous cells too. Modern Medicine had rid the world of the Devil’s Kiss but was often outmanoeuvred by the Emperor of all Maladies. I was learning first-hand why armies just shot traitors as soon as they found them. My personal fifth column was cutting off my oxygen supply-lines and winter was coming. I was breathing purified oxygen through a straw and I still felt like I was drowning.

However, that wasn’t when I realised I was going to die. You see, I still had hope that I could save the game and respawn later. There had to eventually come a time when we knew how to kill the Emperor and blow up the Death Star. I just had to bide my time in a cooler. No, what sealed my fate was when my parents found Religion™.

It wouldn’t have been too bad if my parents had just found religion. They’d never been the type to go to church, but it would have been of no consequence to me if they’d started. Unfortunately, when normal medical treatment failed to do more than postpone the inevitable, they turned to Religion™ to solve the problem. Starting with faith healings and making the gradual, winding journey that led to crystals, homeopathy, and “Ancient Chinese Medicine”.

The last of these was annoying for the same reason that names like “the Holy Roman Empire” are annoying. After all, Ancient Chinese Medicine wasn’t ancient, it certainly wasn’t medicine, and it wasn’t even all that Chinese. It was what Mao’s government had started peddling to make people think their Communist Paradise had world-class medicine in the interim while they tried to import real doctors. Did this matter to the people making money off of desperation? Not one bit.

The end result was that, last week Tuesday, I learned that I was going to die. For good. It turns out that, while talk is cheap, woo is expensive. That was the day my folks told me that there was almost no money left in any of their accounts. My parents had used up almost all their money chasing the ancient Chinese dragon, and now they didn’t have much in the budget for anything else. Like, say, cryonics. By then I had two months to live and, when I died, my brain would be warm. I’d join the billions of others who had rotted in the ground before me. Needless to say, I was not pleased.

I was 16 and had no money to freeze myself with. What little money I’d managed to earn and save for myself had been “repurposed” for the greater good of rubbing some shiny rocks on my back. The money I had been able to accumulate probably wouldn’t have been sufficient to freeze myself with anyway, but it still pissed me off that my guardians were allowed to just take away what I had and use it on obvious bullshit. If cancer had been polite enough to wait a few years I wouldn’t be in this mess because I’d have had a job and my parents wouldn’t be empowered to piss away my property. Why couldn’t they have been sensible, like me, and believed in the coming of the Robot Gods, planet-sized computers, pollen-sized factories, and the Great Paperclip Seas?

I’d been stewing in existential angst for the past six days when they arrived. The poster children for prioritising warm fuzzies over actual results. The people that we world-weary grownups knew better than to give money to when there were better ways to donate it. Like, for example, literally throwing wads of cash at poor people. They were here now – right out in the hospital’s hallway.

My mother opened the door and let a man and a woman, both dressed in fancy formal clothes that were worth over a hundred malaria nets, enter my room.

“These nice people are from the Make A Wish Foundation,” my mother said excitedly. She was all smiles for the first time in over a week. I couldn’t help but notice the way they were introduced. Anyone fluent in Parentese knows that “nice people” is a sign of one of three things:

1) You’re three years old.

2) They’re goddamn liars and these people want to rip out your kidneys and eat them. (I learned this the first time I was introduced to a police officer. In my defence, banning painkillers in schools is 130% ridiculous, and distributing them to my classmates doesn’t make me a drug dealer by any sane definition.)

3) You’re dying and your parents seem to think that, if they don’t condescend to you enough, they’ll somehow make your imminent demise worse.

The woman with the ridiculously expensive shoes walked over to the side of my bed and sat in a chair. “We want to know what you’d wish for if you could have anything in the world, sweetie.” I supressed a cringe at “sweetie”. I knew I was a bit small for my age – genetics and cancer did a number on me – but I certainly didn’t look like a three year old. Instead, I contemplated her question. The first idea that came to mind was “I wish for you to pre-commit to saving the lives of any drowning children you may come across in the future, even if it means ruining your hyper-expensive shoes.” Needless to say, I kept thinking.

“I type… faster than… I can speak.” I told them. Lung cancer has been known to impede communication. “Laptop?” I asked pointing at the laptop my parents kept on the nightstand next to my bed. My mother brought it over to me, and I began communicating the way people should. Speaking out loud was so last century.

>Attempt #1 – I wish to not die.

I turned the laptop around to face Expensive Shoes Woman and watched her face go through a variety of interesting transformations as she read and, presumably, reread my request.

“I’m sorry, baby.” She cooed. “We don’t actually know how to do that… But I would if I could, of course.”

Seriously, were these people that bad at estimating age by sight? I was tempted to show them an online profile that prominently displayed my age, but my mother would tell me to stop being passive aggressive to people who only meant well. I bore it and typed a response.

>I didn’t actually expect you to, of course. If all the medicine I’ve ever heard of couldn’t manage it, I wouldn’t expect a non-medical charity to succeed. I asked because checking whether a wish-granting entity is literally magical is some pretty low-hanging fruit and, if you guys actually were genies, and I died because I didn’t bother checking, I’m not sure which would be worse – my death or my embarrassment.

This time Expensive Shoes Woman was reading over my shoulder as I typed and, while this is rude, it didn’t really bother me because I was trying to communicate with her, after all. I eventually regretted letting her do this because, I later learned, her facial expressions as she read this were even more interesting than the last set.

>Attempt #2 – I wish to die before the cancer has a chance to reach my brain (assuming it ever metastasises that far) and, upon my death, I wish to be cryonically preserved. I don’t think these should be counted as separate wishes since the first is merely intended to facilitate the second. I wouldn’t want to carry a brain tumour with me into the future. Hopefully, nature takes care of that by itself so don’t worry about it too much for now.

Expensive Shoes Woman abruptly stood up and said, “James, I think you may want to see this,” waving at my laptop. James of the Fancy Suit walked over to the side of my bed and looked at the laptop’s screen. This time I could see the facial expression. It looked like the gas station’s week-old Mexican food was kicking in.

“First off,” he told me firmly, “we do not kill children.” I wondered if, by Gricean Implicature, he meant to say, “We only kill adults”.

“Secondly,” he continued, “I’ve never heard of ‘cryonics’ so I don’t know if I can give it to you. I’ll have to speak to the higher-ups. This isn’t a standard thing like Disney World or meeting Justin Bieber. Are you sure you wouldn’t want one of those?” I was pretty sure I preferred living long enough to get up-close and personal with Saturn’s rings over seeing a bored employee in a silly suit tell kids he was “the real Mickey Mouse”. I told them as much, and also made sure to explain what cryonics was.

“Well, I’m sorry, honey,” the Expensive Shoes Woman said, “but I don’t think that that’s something we do, right James?”

“No, Sarah, I’m pretty sure it’s not.” James replied. He watched me intently, as if trying to estimate how likely it was that I was completely insane.

“Is there anything else we might be able to do for you?” Sarah asked me. “Maybe not Disney World, but there are tons of thing we can do. We make kids happy all the time and I’m sure we could do the same for you.”

I wasn’t happy, though. I was angry. I’d actually been hopeful about getting my head frozen and now hope was dashed yet again. I was even angrier at the various Alternative ‘Medicine’ practitioners who’d done all manner of nonsense to me. Not only had they swindled my parents’ money, but they’d given them hope and taken it away so many times. Now I knew what that felt like. Now I just wanted a way to express all the anger.

>Attempt #3 – Is there any way I can cash in my wish for some symbolic gesture that would qualify as a great big “fuck you” to death itself? Like, basically, a gigantic middle-finger?

“We are not building a child a derogatory statue!” James declared, clearly appalled at the notion.

>I didn’t mean that literally. I want to order a metaphorical middle-finger. Any ideas?

“None that I can think of, I’m afraid.” James said, still watching me warily. “Where kids these days even get the notion…”

I slumped in on myself. It was clear to all present that this visit had not been particularly enjoyable to me.

“Look, why don’t you sleep on it?” Sarah asked me. “We’ll come back tomorrow to see if you’ve thought of any, um, grand gestures. We’ll see what we can do, alright?”

I nodded a little glumly. Yeah, I’d think. I never give up on a problem without thinking about it for at least five minutes. I’d be ready by tomorrow.

The next day, the same pair came back to my hospital room. However, this time, I was ready.

“Do you have an idea for a wish this time, darling?” Sarah asked me with a bright smile. She clearly intended to provide enough happiness for both of us. I wondered if she called everyone “sweetie” and “darling” and if the others found it as off-putting as I did. Regardless, I had an answer to her question.

>Yes, I do. First, I have a question of my own: what’s your budget for a wish?

Sarah stared blankly at the screen and then at me. “What?” She asked. “You shouldn’t be asking those questions! We handle the financial side of things. Don’t worry about that stuff.”

>Good thing I didn’t count on you being helpful there and did my own research. According to your website, as of March 2012, the average you spent on a single wish was $7,500. I don’t know how much that’s changed but I think it’s safe to assume that $10,000 is within your price range.

James looked at me sceptically. “What do you want that costs $10,000?”

>Your website lists, among the potential wish categories, “I wish to give”. Well, I wish to give $10,000 to the Against Malaria Foundation. That’s my big “fuck you” to death itself.

Sarah bit her lip. “Um, I don’t know exactly what the ‘Against Malaria Foundation’ is, but it sounds like a charity and we don’t donate money to other charities.* After all, we’re a charity, and if our donors wanted to support the Against Malaria Foundation, they would have sent their checks there instead. It was their decision.”

>Yeah, but the point of the Make A Wish Foundation is to use the power of middle class disposable income to make a couple kids who are about to die happy. I’m a kid, I’m about to die, and the thing that would make me happy is for some other kids to not die. I’m already a lost cause but if, in the process of biting it, I save three more lives, that’s sort of worth it, right? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like dying – but I don’t think the kids in Malawi do either.

At this point Sarah was tearing up a little and had to wipe at her eyes. “You’re really strong, you know?” I rolled my eyes. I knew it wasn’t a nice thing to do, but I was freaking dying. Being strong was immaterial at this point.

Sarah got up from the chair by the side of my bed. “I’ll see what I can do, OK? I’ll talk to some people. They might be willing to bend the policy – but no promises yet.” I was careful to restrain my enthusiasm as they left the room. I didn’t want my hopes rising up and crashing down again. Chances were nothing would come of it. Getting around established policy was an uphill battle and I shouldn’t expect too much from them.

On Friday my mother handed me a local newspaper while grinning from ear to ear. She told me to turn to page four and I did so, feeling a bit confused. That was when I saw it. The article was entitled: “Feisty Young Cancer Survivor Uses Her Wish To Save Lives”. I was too elated to even complain about them calling a kid with two months to live a “survivor”. I read through the article and learned all about how the people at the local chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation had been so moved when they heard about my self-sacrifice – y’know, the usual bull.

It turns out they put up a notice online about how much a certain cancer “survivor” cared about the global poor and asked others to contribute to making her dream come true. Over a hundred people pitched in and the original $10,000 had become $24,000. I’d never expected so much. I hadn’t cried that much since the day I was first diagnosed with cancer. However, through all the jubilation, I couldn’t get one question out of my mind:

Did they seriously just call me ‘feisty’!?


*I don’t actually know if giving to other charities is against the MaWF’s policies, but this wouldn’t surprise me.

If you want to support the Make A Wish Foundation, click here.

If you want to support the Against Malaria Foundation, click here.

If you want to know why the latter is a better choice than the former, click here.


#that one post with the thing #storytime #effective altruism #cancer cw #death tw #like really strong warnings here‚ be careful #abuse cw? #illness tw? #embarrassment squick? #I think about this post every time I come across a personal-finance blogger #(or‚ occasionally‚ a personal-finance academic-article-writer) #talking about ~dying with zero~ #dying without having spent all of your retirement fund is not a worse outcome than dying *with* having spent it all! #why the fuck would I want to ride the knife’s edge of broke-ness? #and why the *fuck* would I want to make *Plan As* that *depend on my death*? #Plan A is immortality #Plan B is that if the Grim Reaper wants me‚ he’s gonna have to give up as many plague deaths as I can negotiate for in exchange #adventures in human capitalism



One view of the internet that I find important is that it’s an amoral ecosystem of ideas, many of which are poisonous to you and can have effects ranging from ‘making you waste your day angry at someone’ to ‘causing you join to a cultish crusade for or against some political ideology that renders you incompatible with large swathes of mainstream society’. If you are a very online person, you cannot just take content as you go, otherwise the hungriest and most efficient predators will snap you up and consume huge amounts of your mental resources. If you are Very Online, the internet will radicalize you by default.

The fact of radicalization is neutral. Certainly there’s nothing guaranteed to be good about the things you already believe and the ways you act; there are extreme-relative-to-society viewpoints and movements floating around that will, in my view, make you a better person. But the majority will not, just because there are more bad things than good things, more incorrect things than correct ones. There’s nothing that says morally righteous movements (or the ones that will make you more thoughtful and happy) are more memetically powerful and good at capturing the imagination and belief system than the immoral.

If you read an unusual claim online, there are two equally important questions to ask about it – the first, of course, is “is this correct?”, and the second is “if I take this seriously, and become the kind of person who believes it, how will it change my life? Do I accept that?”

For me, the thing that most sets my attention vibrating with caution is contempt or mockery. There are some times when I think contempt/mockery is the emotionally appropriate thing to be occupying my mind – but it’s uncommon, nowhere as frequent as the internet would have me be. And contempt easily worms its way in my mind – “these people are contemptible” is a lesson I learn keenly and quickly because I’m afraid of being mocked and want to know what to avoid. Is sincerity cringe? Is being vegan obnoxious? Is being into this particular show embarrassing?

I hate a lot of stuff and love to complain, and am given to understand this is a common human trait, so there’s nothing surprising, or intelligently malicious, about the fact that the internet is brimming with jabs. But, even more so than the real world, the internet tends to amplify contempt – you get to see the wittiest comments someone made in the past week making fun of something, with numbers that indicate that a boggling number of people approved of that statement. You get to see compilations of the stupidest comments the people you dislike said, captioned “this is what they really believe”. In my brief forays to break out of my Democratic bubble in college, I followed some conservatives on social media, and the most surprising thing wasn’t that their points were convincing – I didn’t find it so – but the idiocy of the US liberals they tended to respond to. Some of the most embarrassing people in the world shared something like my beliefs, and they were getting attention in the other camp, same as how their worst people got the spotlight of shame on mine.

So when I see something online practically designed to evoke anger or contempt in me, I don’t treat it as the same kind of thing as anything else in my life. This is a radioactive piece of space rock thrown at me by a vast machine that gives me nice things and friends and is known to function in ways that attract radioactive debris and centrifuge it out at my face. Yes, this screencap of an obnoxious person probably corresponds to a real thing someone said, but treating it primarily as a real thing someone said that I have to have an opinion about, rather than a radioactive space rock that the machine spat out at my face, will have terrible outcomes for my worldview, priorities, and personality.


#infohazards #politics cw? #that one post with the thing #I’m not sure *what* I think about this post‚ but I definitely think about it


Just broke my personal record for consecutive days lived..Going for the record again tomorrow


#it’s my birthday today and I was thinking about this post again #just broke my personal record for consecutive years lived! #going for the record again next year #birthdays #death tw #aging cw #that one post with the thing




Recovery is like cleaning out a house that’s been through a hurricane.  There’s mud a foot thick on the floors; some of the windows are cracked; there’s leaves stuck in cracks you didn’t know existed.

So unlike in the movies, there are no “breakthrough moments”, where you suddenly realize one thing and the whole house is clean.  Oh there may be important turning points – moments when you realize that those aren’t frosted windows, that’s dirt, and you need to clean it off, and that’s why it’s so fugging dark in here.  And that is an important breakthrough, in the sense that without it you would not succeed in cleaning the house, but then you still have to clean the windows.

Therapy is just someone who’s had experience with post-hurricane cleanup, Consulting over the phone, recommending tools and giving you advice. “Start with the floor,” they say, when you’re too overwhelmed to even begin, and they tell you what shovel to buy.  So you start shoveling, and it’s HARD, and you’re exhausted all the time, and you’ve only shoveled out the front hallway, and it feels like it’s never going to really get better.

But you do get good at shoveling, and slowly you build up your strength, and after a few months you can shovel as much as you need to, but there’s still a LOT of mud here, so it takes a year to get that shoveled out, and your house is still muddy and the windows are cracked (and frosted), and there’s still debris everywhere, and every time you walk around you’re stepping an a quarter-inch of mud, but you CAN walk around, you can get anywhere you need to go, and the house is still a fucking mess, you’re a fucking mess, a disaster not fit for human habitation, but on the other hand you can no longer convince yourself that “nothing’s ever going to work”.  It can get better.  You can point at things that used to be super-fucked-up and now are only moderately-fucked-up.  Progress is possible.

But then again, you’re not making any progress anymore. You thought you had the hang of it, but now the shovel isn’t working, and every time you shovel mud out of one place it slides into another and you’re not making any headway and you can barely pick up any mud with your shovel anyway and so maybe that was it – you had a nice run, but this is as good as it’s ever gonna get, you’re still gonna be fucked up forever, and you finally bring it up to your therapist, and they nod, and tell you to buy a hose.

So now you’re hosing down the floors, and that’s a new skill set to learn, and it splashes everywhere, and now you’ve got mud on your walls, but it does get the floor clear.  But you hosed out the front hallway, and then realized that to clear out the living room you’re gonna have to hose it out into the front hallway, which means the hallway’s just gonna get messy again, so then you have to redo the front hallway, but you start planning out which rooms to do in which order, so it goes pretty smoothly after that, until the day when you’ve got all the big mud puddles gone, but there’s still mud on the walls, and stuck in corners, and no matter how hard you spray you still end up with this thin coating of mud-dirt-dust on the floor after it dries, and honestly you’re making more of a mess than you are cleaning up a mess at this point. And you express your frustration, and the therapist tells you where to find, and how to use, a mop.

So you mop all the floors, and it’s actually looking pretty good, and you remembered to start mopping from the inside out, so that’s not a big deal, until you open a door and realize you forgot to shovel out the pantry. You didn’t think it could get into the pantry, with the door shut, but there it is, mud 3 inches thick, and the only way to get it out is to shovel it, and you’ll have to take it through the kitchen, so you have to shovel out the pantry, and then hose down the pantry, and then re-hose the kitchen, and then mop the pantry, and then re-mop the kitchen, and EUUURGHHHJHH.

But you’re really good at it, at this point, so it’s not like it’s a big deal.  It’s irritating af, and you’re sick to death of doing this, but it’s not scary, or overwhelming, or horrifying.  It’s just really, really annoying.

And the fact is, you will never be done cleaning.  Even if there’s never another hurricane, there’s dishes, and dust settling on counters, and spills, and mud tracked in after snowstorms, and laundry.  There’s not some magical moment when you’re “done”, and you can stop working forever (except possibly, depending on who’s right about the afterlife, after you die).  But you do reach a point where you it transitions from “impossible” to “meh, just a thing”

You do reach a point where you look around, and you’re kinda proud of what you’ve done
You do reach a point where you recognize that your current tools aren’t doing the job you need, and you research and find and learn how to use a tool all on your own.
You do reach a point where, when you see a storm coming, you know how to prepare for it, and you purchase and lay out all the supplies you need, and when the storm finishes, you can get your house back up and ready in practically no time at all.
You do reach a point where storms aren’t so scary, because you know how to weather them and you know for a fact that you can recover from them.
You do reach a point where friends ask you for tips on how to clean their houses
You do reach a point where, every time you need a tool, it’s one you already posses.
You do reach a point where you’ve replaced all the windows and sealed up all the cracks and replaced the insulation, and for the first time, you’re comfortable all the way through a winter.
You do reach a point where someone compliments you on how clean and comfortable your house is.
You do reach a point where you’ve done all the remediation, and you can start remodeling the house to fit your needs.

So yeah, it’s a lot of hard work that’ll never be done.  But it’s also so, so worth it.

This is it. This is the thing.

This is really good!


#that one post with the thing #(I dunno how *relevant* this is to me but the metaphor sure is memorable) #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what





although I guess it would be funny to take the flesh-eating bacteria thing as an excuse to start slut-shaming gardeners for wearing short sleeves, the hussies.

if they just stopped living their deviant lifestyle maybe they wouldn’t keep coming down with disgusting incurable diseases, there’s nothing natural about sticking your hands in the mud


(Image: Senator Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, saying “Am I finally getting through?”)

This is part of why it’s bad that religious modesty types tend to dominate the discourse on not wearing revealing, tight-fitting clothes*. Or worse, covering your face, which distracts from the REAL reason why you should cover your face in public, which is to wear protection from the contagion risk of promiscuously inhaling every gas, particle, and droplet that happens to waft under your air-slut nose. Alas, that still includes me, so I can’t get too mad about it.


*Mosquitoes can bite thru many forms of tight clothing, including jeans.

Posted: 2019-05-01

This aged well.


#illness tw #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #now that I have adopted a policy of reblogging posts that stick with me I will be tagging them #that one post with the thing #(I *would* say ”why are we calling people ‘maskholes’ when we could be calling them ‘air-sluts”’‚ but I know why) #our roads may be golden or broken or lost

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