My only goal

The only thing I want out of the next eight days is to make it through them without some sort of catastrophic meltdown. I will figure out what to do next after a meltdown is averted, depending on how the election goes.

That’s all I’ve got right now. I just got very mildly corrected on Twitter, incorrectly, and I’m pretty sure the burst of incandescent rage that it triggered could have powered the house for a couple of hours. I managed to not retaliate inappropriately but that’s all I’ve got in. me right now. I am going to try and disconnect and read comic books for a bit.

Puppies and flowers, goddammit.

On pronouns

My pronouns are he/him/his. This should not come as a surprise to anyone as I suspect my identity as a cis male is fairly obvious, at least to anyone who notices the traditionally male name affixed to the site, and certainly to anyone who has ever seen me in person. There was a time when my hair was long, curly, and glorious, and I was addressed as “ma’am” once or twice in public in my college years only to have the person hastily correct themselves upon seeing what the front of my head looks like.

To be clear, I think normalizing making your pronouns explicit even if you’re cisgendered is a good thing. At least two of my online profiles (Twitter and TikTok) contain them, and I do my best to call people what they want me to call them. There have been times where I’ve had to discreetly inquire of a third party what someone’s pronouns were, and I’ve had students recently who either wanted to be they/them or were out as trans, at least in my classroom. Those types of kids are the exact reason I do stuff like this. I feel like it’s the right thing to do.

I’m not going to review Dr. Meera Shah’s You’re the Only One I’ve Told: The Stories Behind Abortion, or at least not beyond this paragraph, and the reason is that you already know everything you need to know about the book from the title, including whether you want to read it. It’s not a bad book by any means, but it’s also not really surprising in any way.

Well, okay, the way it handles pronouns is kinda strange, and I wanted to talk about that a little bit. Now, this is a book about abortion, so you won’t be surprised to learn that the subjects of nearly every chapter are people who can get pregnant, and nearly all of those are cisgendered women. One chapter focuses on a cis man, whose name is Mateo, and that chapter focuses on the effect that abortion can have on the partners of the people who get abortions. One subject identifies as genderqueer and is they/them.

Every single chapter is titled with the name of the main subject of the chapter, with their pronouns, italicized, in a smaller font, and in parentheses, below the person’s name, along with the word “Pronouns”. So, like this:

BEATRICE

(Pronouns: She/her/hers)

Also, when other individuals are introduced throughout the text, their pronouns are also provided immediately after their name is first used– but oddly inconsistently, as it’s not used for everyone. (I swear that Dr. Shah directly addresses her rationale for this at some point in the book, but I can’t find it, and it doesn’t appear to be in the introduction, which is the most obvious place.)

At any rate, that’s what triggered the post: because for some reason this became distracting as hell over the course of the book, and I wanted to kind of talk it out and see if anybody pushed back at me. Putting your pronouns on a profile (or, as I did at a con once, on a sticker that you’re wearing) has the advantage of letting strangers know how to refer to you. Again, sometimes it’s more obvious than others– no one is going to look at me and call me “she” unless explicitly told to– but I get why it’s a thing and I participate in it.

This book does things like this:

When I spoke to Dr. Hoobity (Pronouns: she/her/hers), she told me that…

Not a direct quote, but stuff like that happens all the time– an explicit listing of the person’s personal pronouns, annoyingly including the word “pronouns,” immediately followed by a use of one of those pronouns. That risk of confusion or causing inadvertent offense just isn’t present when you’re writing about someone, because you’re going to use pronouns all the time. It’s hard to write about people without using pronouns, and in a book that is about people who can get pregnant it becomes even more ridiculous because nearly everyone identifies as she/her. Even the genderqueer person’s pronouns are explicit nearly immediately; the first use of singular they made it clear very quickly, and they talked about being genderqueer in the chapter. I was fully expecting (and would have been interested to read) a chapter at some point about a trans male’s experience with pregnancy and abortion, but it never happened. The one chapter about a person identifying as male is Mateo’s, and he’s cis, and his chapter is basically about cis men.

It didn’t ruin the book or anything like that, don’t get me wrong, but it was distracting enough that, well, I wrote the post about pronouns instead of about the actual book. Am I off-base here, or do other people feel like this would be distracting for them as well?

On yard signs, again

I should probably feel at least kind of guilty about how I’ve handled my day so far. Under the current hybrid model my district has adopted while we pretend that our numbers in the state and the county aren’t skyrocketing, Wednesdays are days where all of the kids are home and the buildings are “deep cleaned.” We were instructed last week to keep these days asynchronous– in other words, there is to be no live instruction on Wednesdays, and thus I’m freed from having to spend my entire day in front of a computer screen. Furthermore, because of the aforementioned need for deep cleaning, even the staff that have been reporting to work are home today. I’d have been home anyway, mind you, but I’m super at home today.

Why is everything asynchronous on Wednesdays? Because they want to use those days for training. Which is why I was a bit surprised to learn that today’s training was a single hour in length and was not required to be viewed live. So rather than make sure to log in precisely at 10:00 to watch it as it unfolded, I went out and ran some errands, leaving the house for the first time in eight days. I voted, managing to hit the County/City building at a slow moment and getting in and out in 32 minutes, which didn’t seem too bad. Since I was downtown, I went to the Griffon and bought some dice, then hit the comic shop, got a flu shot, grabbed lunch from a drive-thru and came home. Now, of course, I’m blogging, and I guess when I’m done with this I’ll do the training module and get my lesson for tomorrow recorded. But so far it’s 1:41 on what is technically not a day off and I haven’t done a single thing for work. I kind of feel like I should feel bad about that. Then again, I wasn’t the one who told me to not meet with students today because of trainings and then only scheduled an hour of training.

(stares off into space for eighteen full minutes)

Anyway, I was going to talk about road signs. I was mostly along the same route I was last time I did this, so I can report a handful of changes:

  • There is now a single (1) Holcomb for Governor and a single (1) Myers for Governor sign, although obviously not in the same yard. Notably, Indiana has a Libertarian running this year who is expected to capture a nontrivial percentage of the vote because of Republicans who are disappointed that Holcomb’s actually attempting to take the virus seriously– enough so that it’s less unimaginable that the Democrat might win than it might be otherwise, given how utterly shit his campaign has been. I’ve seen no signs for that guy anywhere, though.
  • Overall the volume of signs has not changed notably, and continues to be primarily for state and local races.
  • Interestingly, and somewhat depressingly, I’ve noted a trend in yards that have signs for the presidential race in their yard, and it doesn’t appear to be a partisan trend: the lawn signs for President are usually placed much closer to the actual house than any others. I would guess that people are either actually stealing and/or destroying them or people are assuming that they will if they put their sign within reach of the street.

I voted pretty much in accordance with my earlier endorsements, although I’m a bit more irritated with the School Board today than I was when I wrote that post two weeks ago and I very nearly did not vote for John Anella. Rudy Monterrosa continues to have earned my vote. I also decided to vote for the Democrat in the county coroner race despite the Republican candidate having formerly been my doctor. Upon thinking about it a bit more, despite my history of not voting for this office and my strong contention that it has no reason to be 1) elected or 2) partisan in the first place, I feel like any doctor who has been alive to witness the science-denying, mask-refusing death cult the GOP has turned into in the last four years and remains a part of the party can no longer be trusted. Sorry, Dr. Jordan. I liked you when you were my doctor but this isn’t okay.

A minor but extremely important point

Yes, it is both minor and extremely important, shut the hell up. I know how grammar works.

You may be aware that there was supposed to be another debate tonight, and that a certain party dropped out when it was made clear that the debate was not going to be held in person, where he could spread diseases to people.

For some fucking reason, the notion that the debate was not going to be held in person led to an absolutely astonishing number of people who literally appear to believe that the debate was going to be held over Zoom, or some similar computer meeting type of shit.

This is fucking stupid and you should be ashamed of yourself if you ever thought it. And, God help you, if you’re thinking well, how the hell else are they going to do it? right now, you need to slap yourself silly, because your brain is stuck in 2020 in a really alarming way and you need to take a moment to reorient yourself with how literally everything ever happened before the world ended.

There are these things called TV studios, guys, and we’ve been using them to hold conversations between multiple people who are not in the same place for generations. Multiple Goddamned generations. Walter fucking Cronkite interviewed people who weren’t in the same place as him. Kennedy and Nixon held a debate where they weren’t in the same place in 1960. That was sixty years ago.

The Goddamned debate wasn’t going to be held over fucking Zoom. Please get your shit together, all of you.


I’m not going to go back to reporting numbers every day, but today was the worst day for new infections nationwide since July 31 and Indiana had their worst day for new infections ever. The US will likely start setting new records again next week. So, once again, yes, let’s definitely reopen schools. Because we definitely have not tried ignoring this shit hard enough.

For my part, I just completed my second day of “hybrid instruction,” and honestly I’m not doing enough differently to be this damned tired. I only worked two days this week so far, for crying out loud, and I can’t convince myself that I don’t actually have tomorrow off. The kids are all home, but all that means is that tomorrow is like last week, not that I’m not doing anything.

On yard signs

I had to do some running around tonight– I had my final LASIK follow-up appointment, and stopped by my dad’s to mutilate him give him a haircut, and I have some thoughts. Now, these should not be taken especially seriously, and I want to emphasize that they are based on a snapshot of maybe 10-15 miles of driving on a small number of streets in the Democratic part of Indiana. Take this all with a substantial amount of salt.

Nonetheless!

  • In general, there are fewer yard signs out than I would normally expect this close to the election.
  • Most of the signs that are out are for local or statewide races. There are a lot of school board signs, and more than I’d expect for the coroner’s race.
  • There are a handful of yards on this drive that can be reliably counted upon to have a sign for everyone running in whatever political party the house belongs to. Interestingly, while the Democratic houses all have Biden signs, the Republican houses do not have signs for the other guy. Houses with signs for him tend to have only a sign for him.
  • If you have this in front of your house I’m going to assume you’re a crazy person:

I assume that the stake is because of vampires. Like, seriously, people, the man is an atheist and he hates you.

  • I only saw one yard with that sign but it’s uncomfortably close to my house.
  • There is no gubernatorial race. Not one sign for Holcomb, even in the “we have signs for everyone” yards, and none on their own, and not one sign for his opponent anywhere.
  • There are also a couple of houses that reliably have large signs for Jackie Walorski– like, the size that require 4×4 posts driven into the ground– and those houses do not have signs up for That Guy either.

Again, draw no conclusions from this and I make no predictions. I’m mostly writing this now so that I remember to compare it to what that same drive looks like on, say, the 30th.


Many moons ago, I had a kid in my class named, oh, let’s call him Lafayette, for the usual “it amuses me for reasons I won’t reveal” rationale. Lafayette transferred into my room in December, and on his first day took a seat as far away from everyone as he could get and didn’t make a sound. He got called down to the office after about an hour and didn’t come back. When I inquired about it later, I was told that he’d been expelled from his previous school for threatening to murder his teacher, and that we were honoring the suspension. He’d be back in January.

For the record, while he wasn’t a great student by any stretch of the imagination, I had no real discipline problems with Lafayette. He was, on his worst day, squarely in the middle of that group in terms of his behavior.

The year after I had him, a photo of him went Facebook viral, as his mother forced him to stand on a street corner for several hours carrying a sign announcing to everyone who drove by that he was failing all of his classes and was generally not a good person. I can’t find the picture now, but it still resurfaces every now and again.

Several years later, at 16, he was arrested for attacking an elderly woman, beating her unconscious, and stealing her car. He’s in state prison now; the soonest he has any chance of getting out is 2027. I assume he was tried as an adult.

His younger brother, who wasn’t ever in my class but who I met at least once, is currently the subject of a manhunt for murder. They haven’t caught him yet, but his face is all over the place.