Tuesday morning thinkytimes

No particular theme for today, as there are a number of things on my mind and none of them quite rise to the level of an entire post. So expect a bit of randomness. Good morning!


I had a LASIK initial conference almost exactly two years ago, and holy shit does the post I’m linking to entertain the crap out of me, and I’ve finally gotten to the point where I think it’s something I can actually afford to do. The only question is whether it’s a good use for my money right now; part of me thinks right now is a really good time because I was thinking about switching to contact lenses anyway to keep my glasses from fogging up every time I wear a mask– if I’m heading into a situation this fall where I have to be wearing one all day, and it’s already summertime so I have time to recover, it seems like a good decision. Then again, it’s a good chunk of my existing money, and who knows what kind of bullshit could happen that could lead to me needing it for something else.

If you have any experiences with LASIK, good or bad, let me know– most of the folks I’ve talked to have told me to go for it, but still.


I had to have a talk with the boy the other day where I pointed out that it’s okay to feel like certain things in our house have gotten easier and/or better since Mizu died. I do not miss, for example, having a litter box in my Goddamned bedroom because she didn’t want to leave the room, and the fact that we no longer have to worry about the other cats bothering her means we can leave doors open in our house and don’t have to worry about ever chasing kittens out from under our bed.

Sushi, for her part, has been rather hilarious lately, as she’s been spending most of her time in our room but still doesn’t seem quite convinced that she’s allowed in there, so whenever either of us come into the bedroom she acts like she’s about to be kicked out of the room. She’ll sleep on the bed with us from time to time but sticks herself in the far corner where we’re not super likely to notice her.


I have to admit, I had a bunch of ideas for how the person in the White House’s little Klan rally was going to go last weekend, but “no one shows up” was not among them. I spent all of 2016 assuming this man was going to lose badly and we all know how that went, so I’m not letting my guard down here, but if he can’t fill a mid-sized arena in Oklahoma, pandemic or not, something’s going on.

In other news, there are two primaries I’m keeping a close eye on today– Qasim Rashid’s Democratic House primary in VA-01 and the Democratic Senate primary in Kentucky. Kentucky looks like it’s going to be a trash fire, and I’ve not seen any polling on either race, but I’d like to start sending money to someone to get Mitch McConnell the fuck out of office and I’m not going to do it until the primary is over. I’ve donated a fair amount of money to Qasim already because I thought he had gotten out of the primary– I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I was wrong about that– so hopefully he wins today as well.

Also, no force on Earth can make me pay for John Bolton’s book, nor will I read it were I to somehow acquire it for free. I don’t need any further evidence on whether this man is a criminal or not.


Bike/health update: I have, somehow, lost seven pounds already; every time I start any sort of lifestyle change there’s always a quick burst of weight loss right at the beginning, and it’s happened again. Weight Watchers continues to confuse the hell out of me. I have not touched the bike in several days, because the last time I was on it I noticed that the gear the chain was on and the actual gear shown on the gearshift didn’t match … like, at all, and since I’d already switched gears at least once by accident without realizing it I’m going to just take the thing into a shop and have them swap it out, possibly taking the derailleur with it as well. I’ve already fallen off once and I’m not about to do it again, damn it. I suspect this is probably something I could do myself but finding out I was wrong would hurt and we’ve already got one adult in the house with a broken bone.

Pseudo-vegetarianism is going predictably well, although we did have enchiladas for dinner on Saturday and I finished off some turkey we had in the fridge to keep it from going bad. Most of this week’s dinners are going to be plant-based, so we’re continuing it for a bit longer than usual.


Vidya gaemz update: my plan to watch a YouTuber play through The Last of Us 2 appears to have been a good call, as so far nothing about the first few hours of the game have made me think I needed to play it. One thing I hadn’t anticipated is that lingering Dad feelings toward Ellie are still making it difficult to watch her die, and yeah, I don’t really need that shit for an entire game. Watching people react to the game has been really interesting; I’ve never seen a game where so many people looked at the level of violence and went “Nope, not right now” before.

In the meantime, I’ve been having a good time with Desperados 3, despite my lingering suspicion that Desperados is spelled wrong. The interesting thing is that it’s also a really murdery game– hell, so was Nioh 2, and so are most video games, frankly– but it’s all about the way it’s murdery, and it doesn’t go out of its way to make you feel bad about what the game is making you do.

The dialogue around this whole issue has also put the “Are video games art?” question to bed, permanently. The answer is yes.


I feel like I had one more thing, so let’s say this space is reserved for that. As is typical with these sorts of posts, I may update once or twice more as the day drags on.


11:18 AM, Tuesday, June 23: 2,313,445 confirmed infections and 120,451 Americans dead, and Texas is starting to run out of ICU beds.

An anecdote, apropos of nothing

Every so often, my wife will get into some sort of conflict with my son when I’m in another room. This isn’t something that happens a lot, mind you; once or twice a week, maybe, generally around bath- or bedtime. The details don’t really matter all that much. He’s either doing something she doesn’t want him to do, or he’s not doing something she wants him to do. Sometimes he manages both at the same time.

And my reaction, generally, is to let her handle it. Not because I don’t care, or because I think discipline is her job; we co-parent as much as we can, and on the rare occasion where we disagree on how to handle something involving him we sort it out when he isn’t around. Because here’s the thing: if my wife and son are having an issue, particularly if he’s already upset and not just being a butthead, the second I show up– even if I don’t say anything– I have escalated the situation, just by my presence. Now my son’s not scared of me, there’s no threat of physical violence here– I’ve never laid a finger on him. But if he’s already upset, the second he’s outnumbered he’s twice as upset as he was before.

I have made things worse, simply by showing up. It might be my intention to calm things down or, alternatively, to lay down the law and quell the misbehavior, but what I have done is escalated the situation.

Now let’s imagine that I walk into the room, and my belt is in my hand. I don’t say anything; I’m not screaming or yelling or carrying on. I’m just there, leather belt in hand, perhaps doubled over on itself.

That’s gonna be even worse, right? Even though I haven’t actually done anything. I’m just standing there, with my belt, and I’ve made things more frightening, more violent, more alienating, more dangerous. Just by standing there.

Funny how that works.


8:34 PM, Monday, June 1: 1,809,109 confirmed cases and 105,099 Americans dead.

On the limits of my principles

I’ve mentioned that my wife broke her foot the other day. She does most virtually all of the grocery shopping. While I am perfectly capable and willing to step in and handle that job, the simple fact that I don’t do it means that it will likely take me twice as long to get the job done because I don’t know where everything is, and I’ve discussed my (getting better) issues with panic attacks while wearing masks a couple of times as well. So as soon as we discovered that we could do curbside pickup for our groceries for just $5 extra plus the tip, we decided that at least for right now that’s how we were going to handle things.

Now, they allow you to set general rules for what to do if something you want isn’t in stock. I’m not sure what the options are (she did the ordering) but basically it boils down to they pick substitutes or they don’t. Our son has some allergy issues so she decided that the best move was just to go with no substitutes, and if for some reason we’re denied something that we feel like we need I can always make a run tomorrow for a couple of things.

You may recall also that I wrote a Comprehensive List of Things I am Currently Boycotting a couple of weeks ago. One of my friends mentioned Papa John’s in the comments. Papa John’s is another sort of edge case for me; I generally avoid eating there but that’s as much because my aging digestive system can no longer handle their garlic sauce (which is absolutely essential to the Papa John’s experience; do not insult me by suggesting that I can eat their pizza without drenching it in garlic sauce) than it is because of their politics.

That said, I’ve been craving the damn place ever since reading that comment. It’s a terrible idea, so we haven’t caved, but it’s been lurking there in the back of my head.

We decided on the way home from getting groceries that we’d have pizza for dinner, as there were supposed to be two pizzas in our order. Then we got home and discovered that one of them wasn’t there, presumably because they were out of stock on that specific kind of pizza.

Damn. We briefly discuss other options, and Papa’s comes up, and I shoot it down, because it’s a terrible idea. And then I interrupt the conversation to go use the bathroom, and while I’m in the bathroom I hear my son yell for my wife from our other bathroom. And when I come out, she tells me that I have something I need to deal with in the other bathroom.

And, well, a minute or two later, after seeing what I had been summoned for, I sent this text:

If you’re thinking “Okay, this sounds like that happened, but the size of a baseball? It has to be something else.” No, it doesn’t. That’s what happened.

I have about an hour to get my affairs finished off for the evening before I begin paying for dinner.


8:45 PM, Friday May 8: 1,283,846 confirmed cases and 77,178 American deaths.

A thing that just happened

A trifle too long for Twitter, so a second short blog post on the day it is!

The boy is working on some language arts homework, and he’s occasionally coming to ask me some questions (I’m in the office) when he hits something he can’t immediately figure out. The theme for this particular assignment appears to be words with double letters and opposites, so we’re trying to find words that have both. I try to give him indirect answers so that he has to figure the words out himself, and his vocabulary is generally pretty good. For example, the first time the initial word was alike and he needed to come up with different.

So he comes back into the office a bit later and this time the task is to find a word that is something to wear. So, dress. I tell him it’s something that is usually worn by girls.

“Boobs?”

Suddenly I have a headache.

“People don’t wear boobs, dude. That’s a body part. They’re attached.”

He thinks about it for a second, and then, while rubbing his chest, asks what the things that “cover the boobs” are.

“That’s a bra. Three letters. No repeats.”

He thinks for another minute or two and comes up with the word dress, and I send him away.

The end.

A brief thought concerning corporal punishment

I basically forgot to blog today. I’ve done an astonishingly good job avoiding the Internet across the board beyond what was necessary to get my last little bit of grading done before Spring Break– yeah, I’m on Spring Break, somehow– and other than the couple of hours it took to do that I’ve basically either had my nose in a book or been sitting in front of the PS4. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday where I can’t leave the house, mind you, but I seriously just had a sort of “internet? what?” moment a bit ago.

We have decided to watch the entire Fast and Furious series while I am home, by the way. Right now we’re about 20 minutes into the first one and literally every object on the screen looks like it was filmed separately on a greenscreen. I don’t understand why this movie looks so terrible. I may end up having to livetweet a few of these, we’ll see.

Anyway.

Something occurred to me tonight as we were putting the boy to bed, and this is going to be one of those lead-ins where the lead-in is longer than the actual point of the post– but I swat my kid on the ass as a joke all the time, right? I’ve never spanked him, literally never laid a finger on him in anger, and neither has my wife. But I swat the kid on the ass as a joke all the time, particularly as I’m putting him to bed. Most nights end with a hug and a swat on the ass. And tonight, for no particular reason, I swatted him a little harder than usual, to the point where I noticed it. Did he? No. Not at all. He squealed like he usually does– it’s part of the game, basically– but if he had any idea that I’d swatted him any harder than I usually do he didn’t react to it.

Now, again, I’ve never spanked him and never hit him with the intent to hurt him. Not once. And the thought that floated through my head and triggered this piece is that if I did decide I was going to spank my kid, with the intent of it being painful and in some way theoretically modifying and/or punishing his behavior, I would have to hit him harder than I have ever hit anyone before. Which, okay, isn’t saying a lot, as while I’ve broken up dozens of fights over the years I haven’t been in one since fourth grade– but …

Yeah. I’m not doing that to my son.

That’s all.