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Tim Lieder

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When reviewers aren't doing you any favors - on a book about Jewish conversion [30 Oct 2014|01:09pm]
There was a guy in the Heights who initially liked me because I owned a publishing company and I titled my first book Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre. I knew him as Yosef and he often liked to talk about his first novel which was going to be a philosophical novel based on Ayn Rand's writing. At one point, I said in a general sense that your first novel sucks. I did not mean that HIS first novel is going to suck, but he took it like that and spent about ten minutes misunderstanding me and yelling about how I didn't understand his brilliance. He lived in the Heights for a few more years and every time I saw him he would glare at me with those spooky never-blinking eyes. Oh sure, sometimes I tried to talk to him - usually on Purim when I was already feeling generous about humanity - but he was one of those guys that I liked to avoid.

Anyhow, he recently emerged on my radar as a guy who self-published a book about becoming Jewish called The Terrible Beauty of an Evil Man. And if the title isn't pretentious enough, the first chapter on his website makes demon possession sound like a gay orgy (they were inside me...) I heard that he had stopped being observant lately and also I wasn't the only person that thought he was a big talker with a little nasty brain. Maybe he will go back to being a rightwing Christian and call himself a Jew for Jesus (that's pretty much what my Aunt Sharon wants me to become eventually. It's like she wants me to be a Sleeper Christian Missionary. One day I will wake up and use all the respect that I've gotten from the Jewish community to lead everyone to Jesus. Yes, that's silly. As I told Mom, just think about Aunt Sharon's religion as her cute new kitten that she won't shut up about) but that is his life.

I do however find this Amazon review rather harrowing:
This is one of the best biographies I read in years. Finis' experiences are unusual, even bizarre, but fascinating and thought-provoking. The book is written in language that reminded me of William Faulkner and was a pleasure to read.

Finis writes at age 30 about his experiences since childhood until he converted to Judaism at age 22. Finis was brilliant. He could recall events that transpired soon after he began to crawl. His parents, especially his mother, were from well-known and respected families of fundamentalist Southern Baptists living in the Deep South and leaders of the Movement. It was assumed that he would follow family tradition and be the Movement's future leader.

Yet, as far back as he could remember he asked questions about his family's beliefs and practices. His parents were shocked. No one in the community asked such questions. Everyone had the same notions about God and the New Testament. His parents brought an exorcist to drive out the devil who was "obviously" controlling the child. When this failed, his parents beat him an average of three times a day with a cowboy belt and then heavy boards until he was in his mid-teens. Finis' mother decided to have him home-schooled, and he was beaten by his mother who hit him more fiercely than his father who cried after striking him, until he discovered how to stop them.

One night, at the age of seventeen, after a party, two drunk girls from his high school, aged fourteen and fifteen, said they both had a crush on him and insisted that he date one of them. Finis refused, so the girls approached him and began to have oral sex with him. Finis expressed he was not interested in them, and that he cared about his current girlfriend deeply. The next day, they claimed to their parents that he forced them to do it. The two fathers, one of whom was a very powerful man in that county, went to the police, and had Finis charged with sexual assault.

Finis' experiences in the Deep South following the charge were horrendous. Although innocent and although a medical examination showed the child wasn't raped, the judge and later corrupt appeal judge found him guilty of sexual assault. In a politically corrupt legal environment, Finis was at the whims of a society that was often influenced by powerful members of the community rather than due process. The judge, prodded by the girl's father, issued an unprecedented sentence that was overturned on appeal, but he was still sent to jail.
Finis' treatment in a predominantly black prison environment by fellow-prisoners and staff was atrocious and unbearable. He couldn't defend himself. He had to avoid fights, for the judge told him that if he got into any trouble in prison his incarceration would be extended.

Upon release, he had problems because his mother rejected him entirely and his father on most occasions because Finis questioned the Christian faith.

Finis abandoned fundamental Christianity and became an agnostic, and then decided to become Jewish. His history of mistreatment continued with the first rabbi he contacted, but then he met a rabbi who helped him.

The story of Finis' travails is horrifying but interesting. So too are the questions he raises about Christianity and the kind of Judaism that he adopts.
Seriously! What the fuck is that? Remember my little anecdote about telling a woman about my history with my hippie friends? I felt so bad about that and I thought that it would totally end my conversion but I soldiered on, believing that I could eventually overcome my bad reputation but kind of believing that I didn't deserve it?

This dude got to convert with a rape conviction. And his defense was that they were just mad because he didn't take them up on their offer of a three-way? Oh sure. Totally believable.

Damn, I knew that I was lucky to stay off the guy's radar because he's a creep, but the extent of his creepiness is surprising. (Yes, there are plenty of guys who would surprise me if I had heard that they were convicted of rape or murder. Then there are guys like Yosef or Alec or Moshe whose sense of entitlement, propensity of wounded feelings and lack of empathy have already been demonstrated.)
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Guilt over the strangest things [28 Oct 2014|01:28am]
In high school, there was this guy named Vivek and he was a nice guy. Hell, I am going to remember most people from high school as nice now and myself as a raging asshole. I suppose that's how we know that we have consciences and empathy - remembering ourselves at our angriest and worst and judging ourselves much harsher than others - and he made a big deal out of his clothes. Like I was just sitting there and he was talking about how great his clothes looked and how much he hoped that would help his dating & social life. And since I was all angry poor kid by that time (from a grade school experience where everyone wore new clothes but me - perpetually wearing pants that were too short for me and ugly as sin because Grandma got them from the thrift store where she volunteered) I just made fun of him. In fact, I wouldn't stop.

I also mocked India. The whole damn country and when he tried to say that some people have it rough, I gave all my life story of being poor and whatever. You have seen this tactic online - "I'm not an asshole because I have had problems and I refuse to acknowledge any privilege."

And fuck, I don't know what his background was. I assumed that he was some rich kid with professor parents or whatever. I didn't think that he was at very least a second generation immigrant (he had the accent) and I had no conception that there are some poor people who are seriously concerned with looking like they are rich - or at least fashionable. So he took great pride in his dress and I took great joy out of trying to tear that away from him.

I hope that if he ever remembers me, he remembers me as a guy that was totally fucking wrong about everything. And I hope he's rocking whatever he's wearing (if he still thinks that's cool).
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Requires Hate takes a temporary leave from trolling in order to call attention to herself [21 Oct 2014|10:15am]
I come not to praise or bury Requires Hate because I know her terrible reviews will be around for years and Tumblr has produced dozens of RH imitators since I last read her stupid blog. She had a standard format of slamming on authors for cultural appropriation, depictions of rape, Asian characters when they weren't Asian, etc. but without insight. In the place of insightful commentary was a ton of verbiage about wanted to hack author up with a machete or put author into a blender.

So I was amused for a time. And when her reviews began, she was almost right sometime. Charlaine Harris is a total racist. The Windup Girl is shitty Orientalism that would make William Gibson blush.

But then it went too far. Some hated the fact that she punched sideways or punched down while others defended her as the female Ed Champion. If a man can be a psycho when it comes to reviewing books and insulting authors, then why can't a woman? And hey, sure she started to lose it in some profound ways - like reviewing books that she obviously had not read or getting reactionary when it came to anyone but her depicting Asian characters. Also she would go after some authors based on hearsay (for example she treated Jay Lake like "that asshole" based on Tempest's very vague accusation that he was rude to her and racist and that he should be harassed at Wiscon). In one case, I found that she was grousing about the plot of The Eyre Affair by completely missing the point (being that the detective had to change the book into the book that we know instead of the book with a tacked-on happy ending is it "originally" was in the world of that novel). But she did have a lot of violent things to say.

I am not going to be saying that anyone was a "victim" of Requires Hate/Winterfox because honestly, this is a woman who wrote shitty superficial reviews - that got steadily dumber and shittier as she went along - and if you can't handle a death threat from a Tumblr Troll then where have you been for the past decade? But she was boring and after there was a collective shit fit over her (as in "who the fuck is this woman?") she was unimportant.

So now she apologizes for a blog that no one reads. Well, if that gets her attention, I suppose I can't hate the tactic.
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On converting to Judaism in an exploitive system - advice for converts [21 Oct 2014|12:14am]
Rabbi Freundel in Washington D.C. has been arrested for putting cameras in mikvah and re-enacting the creepiest scene from Revenge of the Nerds. Amidst the allegations against Freundel is the revelations that he used his position as a rabbi to manipulate and harass converts. Surprisingly, this time the allegations that converts are being treated like crap in order to please the egos of a few sociopath rabbis seems to have gained some traction. I suppose I have to thank the fact that Rabbi Freundel is such a horrible fucking creep that he has become a catalyst for a great deal of frustration and anger when it comes to the conversion process. Even more important, Bethany Mandel wrote The Convert Bill of Rights as a way of bringing light to the system of exploitation that the Jewish community propagates under the rubrics of "it takes a long time to convert" and "no one has a right to become Jewish."

Rabbi Freundel is not an isolated rabbi who just used his power to exploit potential converts. The RCA has taken to trying to revise its conversion policy to include female advocates for the female converts (as if sexual harassment is the only manipulation available) and a convocation of mental health workers and rabbis to examine the process. Of course, the fact that Freundel had gotten so powerful that he wanted all converts to go through him and he was censured back in 2012 concerning female converts already shows that this is not isolated. There are plenty of Rabbi Freundels in America and not all of them are members of the RCA.

However, there is no guarantee that the conversion process will improve. In fact, there is plenty of pushback from converts who did not have terrible experiences and want to show their loyalty to their community. There are also the standard statements about "isolated incident" that come with every child molestation case and the rounding of the wagons against reform.

If you are thinking seriously about converting to Judaism, please note that there are plenty of problems with the conversion process. Obviously you should know all the usual steps like finding a community, finding a rabbi, reading all the introductory books, taking your time, etc.

So in no particular order (although the more important ones might be at the end) here is my advice for potential converts (or the advice that I wish that I had when I was trying to convert)

1. Be prepared to move - Not all Jewish communities are the same. Some are more like small towns out of 80s movies where no one is allowed to dance. I had to move to New York to convert because I was stuck in a "not Jewish yet" place in Saint Louis Park, MN (more information below). I put it off as much as I could but eventually it became obvious that I was not going to convert in Minnesota. I had friend who were there longer than I had been who weren't converting and friends who managed to convert by managing to play the games of the rabbis in charge. One friend found her conversion delayed every time she was seen talking to a male in shul. Other friends just went through conservative conversions. So I moved to New York, found a decent rabbi and a conversion program which took less than two years and had a refreshing lack of head games. Just go to class and when you think you're ready get ahold of the rabbi and he interviews you and when he thinks that you're ready, you make a mikvah appointment. There were delays. I forgot the bracha after snacks and had to keep studying. I was supposed to find my third rabbi and my first choice ended up in the hospital with an infection. Someone died on the day I was supposed to convert. But these are normal delays and they were nothing compared to the Kafka-esque nightmare that was the Saint Louis Park approach to converts.

2. Don't be the Shabbos Goy - Sure, your conversion is taking some time. You feel like an outsider in the community. Suddenly, you can be a unique member of the community. You're the one who is turning on the lights and adjusting the air conditioner. Only as the months turn into years, you are still not Jewish yet and you're still turning on the lights. There was one Sukkot where I was shown the Kenesseth Israel air conditioning in the attic. I turned that on (or off) and then as I was passing the bathroom, another member of the community noting that I should go in there (because the light was off). And then as I was trying to find a host for the meal, another friend grabbed me to show me that the bathroom light was off (it wasn't by this point, but I didn't find a place to eat regardless). After this point, I would respond to hints about the lights or the heating with obliviousness. Example "Tim, it's hot in here" (meaning - go up and turn the air conditioning on) Response - "No. It feels fine" (Meaning - yeah fuck off).

Shuls hire people to be shabbos goys (or caretakers). They don't need you in that capacity.

3. Save your guilt for what matters - Conversion candidates are the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community because they are under constant scrutiny and anyone in the community can possibly delay the conversion due to personality conflicts, unfortunate gaffes or just plain nastiness. Of course, there are some people who think that they can reverse the conversion if only they talk to the right people after mikvah (Keren Simon comes to mind - a horrible woman who has infested Washington Heights for years - but may be moving soon - who sent an email to all my friends asking them to "talk to me" because she "knew people" and could reverse my conversion - she couldn't. She's just stupid - and people on the Mt Sinai board still hate her for her shenanigans). This kind of precarious situation is ripe with possibilities of internalizing the community's dysfunctional nature. As a convert, you are coming into a community with your own history and your own issues. You are already feeling like an outsider because you didn't spend a year in Israel or go to camp or like Carlbach music. But when you learn about some of the more non-western halachot like shomer negia, yichud, not hearing a woman sing solo, it's easy to think that there is a great idealized version of Judaism that you can't even come close to meeting. So you start to feel guilty about your past - about the fact that you hung out with pot smoking polyamory enthusiasts (many that you still call friends) or that you had a girlfriend for four years and you actually had sex. Hell, you could even start feeling guilty about your high school years where you masturbated five times a day.

And it is even more exacerbated if you are around people who are baal tshuva zealots who just came back from Israel and are going through similar versions of self-recrimination. But really, you are trying to become Jewish. You are not trying to become a saint. Nor are you trying to turn into some model of self-control. If you are going to feel guilty for things, feel guilty of the things that you can help like being mean to your friends and acting like a selfish bastard or playing shitty little power games. Feel guilty about how much you fail to understand the problems of others and go into rants or smug dismissals. Don't feel guilty because you used to love pork. Don't feel guilty because some rabbi yelled at you for something that wasn't your fault. Definitely don't feel guilty because you like to watch television.

4. Recognize and avoid the assholes - I wanted to write this up as "don't idealize the community" to the point that you buy everything everyone says to you about what constitutes Judaism. But really, the main problem you get into is when you are stuck with people who tell you that Judaism forbids pets (bullshit) or that only apostates believe in evolution (total crap). There are bullies and there are people who are going to grill you. There was Dr. Laura at one point and her terrible fans. There are people who tell that story about how Jews are better to their parents because they believe in the Torah instead of evolution. And then there are racist assholes. In SLP, the racist asshole was a Chabad rabbi who would frequently say the N---- word without shame and always acted like he was the arbiter of ritual in Kenesseth Israel (sitting in the far corner near the front, yelling at people to stop talking when they weren't even davening). And when he invited people over, he told the same stupid stories and made the same tired dodges to questions while serving bland vegetarian food. His name was Baruch Cline. I took him seriously for a time.

The Chofetz Chaim provides a wonderful amount of meshuggas in the form of lashon hara rules that go well beyond halacha. These seem like great ideas (after all talking shit about other people is counterproductive and unhealthy) but they only serve to produce places where all of your complaints and concerns are dismissed by a strangely selective adherence to the principles. If what you are saying is a legitimate complaint about a dysfunctional and terrible practice as well as the work of manipulative fucks - then it's shut down as LASHON HARA. However, if you want to talk shit about some guy's cheap looking bar mitzvah for his kid - knock yourself out.

5. Own your personal issues and don't let others determine your worth based on them - Ok, here is the part of the conversion process that trips up most people because they see these things as legitimate reasons for delaying a conversion. The guilt that was mentioned above is something that helps to make you miserable but there are other places where trying to become Jewish gets even more fretful and that is your personal pain and angst. When I got serious about converting to Orthodox Judaism, I was on the tail end of a four year relationship that was breaking up. When that ended, I was broken and emotionally fragile. I went back to my high school behavior which was to get hung up on one woman that I thought was the answer to all my problems - bonus points as she didn't care and she wasn't interested. And of course, the mild flirting was not something that was approved by anyone else. Anyhow I emailed her for awhile, but then I decided to tell all those stories from my college years - the ones with even more messed up friends having orgies - because I was trying to put myself in a super-frum box for someone who wasn't even interested and I finally just had to do that full confession - you know - totally overcome my fears that I would horrify her if she knew about all these things.

Yeah, she was not happy with that email. Makes sense. But I should also note that she was a 19 year old woman who was going to school to be a lawyer. She may have been sheltered but she was an adult. Still, not a great moment for me. Then again, I didn't think that I deserved to be happy so of course I would get obsessive over a woman who had nothing in common with me and then do all I could to drive her away.

So in other words, I was an emotional mess. But here's the problem with that - I got better. Yet, I was still being told by rabbis that I should watch "what I say around women" (or more importantly that woman) years later. It wasn't like I was going up to random females and talking about dog-fucking in graphic detail. And since Rabbi Goldberger loved his mussar bullshit, he decided that I should get married before I converted and he even tried setting me up with a horrible hippie who was much years older than me and much more easily manipulated. I suppose that would prove that I wasn't going to be the kind of disgusting sexual harassment guy that you find among - well - Washington D.C. Rabbis named Freundel (yeah sometimes the easy jabs are fun).

The more I tried to hide my pain, my brokenness, the more it came out. And the ironic part was that I was only moderately neurotic. Oh sure - 18 years being raised by a bipolar mom making me want to chase after drama, no self-esteem to speak of and an obsessive nature at the time - these are not the kinds of things that say "Yeah, this guy is in an awesome place" but they are also not the kinds of things that should derail a conversion indefinitely. I was trying to become Jewish. If only the most emotionally healthy and stable individuals were allowed to convert to Judaism then there wouldn't be any converts.

Of course, this particular set of circumstances made me an accomplice in my own manipulation. On some level, I BELIEVED that I wasn't worthy of becoming Jewish because I had too many self-defeating behaviors and I pissed too many people off. When I started noticing cracks in the facade (such as in my trip to Crown Heights for a friend's wedding where all his religious-from-birth friends were paying for strippers and getting their money back when the strippers weren't doing lesbian shows) I did not see that as a sign that I wasn't all that bad. I took that as a betrayal of this idealized image I had of the Jewish community.

But the problem here is that there were people I knew that were legitimately worse than I was - with more profound mental issues and weird behavior - converting while others who were much more sane and together were going through similar bullshit and being delayed indefinitely.

There are plenty of crazy Jews in the world. Just because you weren't born Jewish, doesn't mean that you can't join them. Sure, there are some behaviors and actions that are beyond the pale, but telling some easily shocked woman about how your friends used to have orgies in college is not one of them.

6.You have the right to be treated like a human being - A lot of the pushback to the articles about converts being exploited is in the form of "no one needs to be Jewish" and "well you know it's supposed to be hard" but there is the difficulty of learning halacha, learning Torah and learning Hebrew and then there is the difficulty of being manipulated by rabbis and members of the community who are treating you like a toy. I was lucky relatively speaking. My conversion was delayed by a manipulative rabbi and I took bad advice from members of the community who told me to follow this terrible rabbi's directives. There are other people who have been abused and sexually harassed by rabbis. The RCA is implementing a woman ombudsman in future conversions in order for female conversion candidates to have an advocate. The fact that anyone needs an advocate is a fucking tragedy.

7. Make sure that there IS a formal conversion program in place - if you ask the congregational rabbi to be your rabbi for your conversion and he states that he is going to guide you to whatever classes you need, then you might as well just plan to waste at least years of your life as you never get anywhere and you discover that the rabbi has decided to pull some bullshit on you to further delay your conversion (seriously, fuck Rabbi Goldberger).

If there is no formal conversion program in place, then start asking why there isn't one and ask this of everyone in the community. Be a pain in the ass if you have to be. As long as you are the happy shabbos goy who will convert one of these days, that's what you are going to be.

When I got to New York, I found a rabbi in a couple of phone calls. And then there was a conversion program. I went to classes for about 8 months. I learned what I needed to learn about Judaism. I interviewed with the main rabbi. He decided I was ready. There was some trouble finding a third rabbi to sit on the beis din but I found him. And then poke poke, off to the mikvah, questions, dunk - Jew now (sent as a text message to my friend Steg).

It was like night and day. In Minnesota, there was a dysfunctional congregation, a manipulative rabbi and no formal conversion program. Everything was done through the Chicago Rabbinical Council which took its marching orders from the manipulative rabbi who thought that he could mussar my conversion into some horrible shape that he thought ideal. There were plenty of other potential converts but the only ones who actually made it to the mikvah via Minnesota were the ones who were better at sucking up to Goldberger (and at least two of them were way more mentally unstable than I ever could be - including creepy staring guy) with everyone else just giving up and going with conservative conversions - even though they wanted Orthodox ones.

In New York, there was a simple program, a comprehensive class and a goal in mind. There was also emotional and social support.

So actually #7 may be the most important one because if you are trying to convert in a community and there is no actual formal process in place, then you most likely won't convert. The community should have one, but I will write a second blog post tomorrow concerning what communities of Jews should do in order to keep themselves from being known as the shitty communities that fuck over potential converts.
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Amused by my annoyance - the lack of accuracy in porn [20 Oct 2014|02:31pm]
I was watching one of those "fake audition" porn clips, and yeah, I know - yuck on so many levels - but let's just focus on the porn. I am starting to dislike those clips because I have friends who are models - or maybe I should just say that I have friends who are women - and I know that the whole fantasy is a weird bait-and-switch where the woman comes in thinking that it's an ordinary modeling job and then she is made an offer for sex and she totally does it!

Criticizing porn for being creepy is like criticizing opera for being overblown. Or action movies for being cavalier about the effects of bullets.

Nope, what I am criticizing this particular clip for is the bogus business that the guy with the camera (it's also one of those POV ones) claims to be working on. It's an online calendar where guys go to the calendar and every day there is a new semi-naked woman greeting them.

So it's an online NSFW calendar for businessmen who want to mix their sexy model pictures and their planners.

Who the fuck would think that is a good idea? Seriously, even in the early days of the internet people had blackberries and palm pilots to look up their schedules. And even if they were looking on some online calendar, they know where the porn is. They don't have to get it with their calendar, especially not if they are looking at their calendars on their desktops or even laptops.

The rest of it is just yada yada porn bullshit, but "I'm interviewing you to be a model on an online calendar" just ruins my suspension of disbelief.
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not surprising - Arisia [14 Oct 2014|05:08am]
I have not made the Arisia panelist cuts. Not surprising considering that I haven't gone since 2012. They sent a form letter saying that I would be welcome to sign up at an early rate, but I haven't paid to go to a convention for years (last one I paid to attend was Anthocon where no one was getting in free besides that Guests of Honor). I would not start paying for a convention with Arisia anyhow.

I don't know if Arisia has gotten better but it just felt pretty uninspiring the last time I went. I was also distracted by all the knitting. But mostly, I found the panels to be repetitive, most of the panelists to be really bad at being panelists (when the first question at the Game of Thrones television panel is "so that opening, isn't that awesome?" you know you are in for a tedious hour if you stay) and a lot of space just seemed to be wasted on nonsense. Hell, I actually ended up on a Werewolves vs. Vampires panel that wasn't the discussion of the different myths so much as a moronic exercise in actually fighting over which one is cooler. I'm still pissed that I left a mostly interesting party to go to that stupid panel.

Also most of the parties ended by 11pm. Actually they didn't end so much as got shut down by hotel/con security. Even Bar Fleet was shut down for excessive noise or something. And considering that I didn't see any non-con people in the hotel, it seemed pretty lame that people were shutting down parties. (At Anthocon the parties kept getting shut down for noise complaints but most of the parties were middle aged horror writer dudes talking about heavy metal concerts that they loved as teenagers)

Maybe I am spoiled by CONvergence, but I expect the parties to be going all night long and at only starting to wind down by 1 a.m. - with that one party by the pool that goes on indefinitely. And the movie room is always playing movies (good movies - and not that stupid Buffy sing-a-long experience with reenactments from a group of Rocky Horror Picture Show fans who haven't figured out that they are legal drinking age and could be doing anything but trying to impose Rocky standards on other movies) with panels that are actually interesting and fun.

Like I said, I actually agree with Arisia getting rid of panelists and I don't mind being cut from the roster (had I actually gone last year or the year before I might have a problem) but the reason they are doing it is because they cut down on panels and kept adding panelists. That doesn't sound like a plan so much as desperation.

I suppose I should find another Con in the area - maybe give Lunacon another chance, or even Boskone. I know that NYCC is popular but that's a daytime con instead of a all night party con. Definitely not going to Anthocon again (especially when they moved it to summer).
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Gosh. Was it something I said? [13 Oct 2014|05:07pm]
I recently had to deal with my rabbi practically begging me to shut up about my former roommate - the sociopathic rapist whose name begins with an M - because the guy was going around whining all the time about it because he's afraid that people are going to read about him and it's going to hurt his social standing or his shidduch chances (as opposed to his ever creepy personality that scares people as much as his inability to feel guilt attracts some). Anyhow, I find this concern to be strange and off-putting since I tend to spend a great deal of time online and on the FIRST PAGE of my google search you get:
Tim Lieder |
This idiot Tim Lieder from New York, NY claims to own Dybbuk Press but is nothing more than a liar and a cheater who likes to use his little boy “blog” to attack ...

The ravings of Tim Lieder of Dybbuk Press who slights with ...
Jun 24, 2011 - This is my second article on genre editor and publisher of Dybbuk Press Tim Lieder, and his ridiculous feverbrained attacks on my blog ...

Tim Lieder « Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author ...
Jan 24, 2014 - Posts about Tim Lieder written by yvonnemason. ... Well I went and did what I do best I did a background on Mr. Lieder- those of you who know ...
Of course, it's more amusing than anything since Yvonne Mason is neither bestselling or award winning (unless she made up the award herself) and most of her blog is a jihad against everyone that wrote bad reviews of her shitty micro-press books. Furry Jew is someone that I poked with a stick a couple of times. The irony is that I agree with his basic thesis (that there is a lot of anti-Semitism in leftwing spheres under the rubric of anti-Zionism) but his sheer amount of verbiage pretty much hurts any chances of such arguments being heard. Yes, Israel has a great record when it comes to gay rights especially in comparison to many of its neighbors, but that does not mean that someone who believes in gay rights is somehow hypocritical when it comes to reading and supporting people who are critical of Israel.

And then there is the liarscheatersrus guy who basically says that I'm mean on the blog. The only interest for that one was the way that it gave Chris Mankey a platform to vent against me when I blocked him on Facebook and Livejournal. He did say that I was broken emotionally - to which I reply "well duh! Thanks for noticing, dude! Maybe you can also make the observation that I converted to Judaism while you're at it."

I am too fascinated with these things. One thing that I still wonder about is the incident when Chris Mankey told me that a mutual friend Bridget had decided that she didn't want to talk to me. He mentioned her in one of the comments that he made on an old blog post. He told me that she was wondering how I was doing. Then I called and left a message and wanted to see what she was up to. Then he told me that she didn't want to hear from me. Either I changed or I didn't change or she had a problem with me from when she seemed to be interested in me and I hit on her in the dumbest possible way. But regardless, I got that this old friend that I had not talked to for a long time - and whom I thought well of - had decided that I was an asshole and didn't want to talk to me.

Instead of actually just calling Bridget and seeing how she was and seeing if she really felt that way, I took Chris Mankey's word for it and called her and left her an angry message. And then I never talked to her again. She left a message on my voicemail but I never listened to it. I don't know if she was perplexed or angry. But Chris just kept telling me that she thought that I was an asshole now and that they talked about how crazy I had gone.

Only I was upset over something that Chris Mankey had said and I did not give Bridget the benefit of the doubt. Even if she had spoken of me in that manner, there was no way to know if it was in the same way that Mankey conveyed it.

And the weird thing is that when I was in my 20s, I was pretty quick to take offense and very sensitive about it. How Nanda stayed with me for four years is a mystery. But I also trusted people more and I don't know what happened with Chris. I mean when I re-connected with him over Facebook, he seemed ok and then he posted an article that basically went "All religious people are stupid fuckers" and I didn't even argue with the sentiment (I've been evangelistic in my own way and when someone gets evangelistic like that I tend to want to give them space) so much as the tone. Yeah, I tone policed someone - but that's not it really. Tone policing is more of what happens when you are in an argument and suddenly someone takes offense because you started using harsh language in reaction to their stupid point. Mostly it's something like someone going "We think that we can sit on a story for a year because we are a prestigious college lit magazine" and you going "no, that's the stupidest fucking thing ever." and them going "well, you're just being irrational and swearing at me so I knkow that I'm superior" (mixer publishing was that exchange - so if you are a writer - NEVER submit to those guys).

But for him, I just said something along the lines of "maybe you shouldn't be so harsh to theists" - and ok, I'm remembering it in my own way and maybe I wasn't that rational, but I remember being very rational and just having a problem with the rudeness. Only he took it as an excuse to send me a nasty PM and block me. A year later he apologized but then he got into it with me all over again and he pulled one of those "I'm just asking questions" moves like he could somehow insult me into becoming an atheist.

And then I got a load of hostility from him which he carried out for months. I would think that he had gone away and he would come back to keep insulting me.

So here's the quandry - when I knew him in my 20s, I thought he was a nice guy who had some issues and tended to get very hung up on things, but was basically a decent sort with some awkwardness. This was when he was a Buddhist. But he was already happily reading the atheist stuff and engaging in the troll-bait preacher show that is Brother Jed and Company (these are preachers who come to college campuses, insult people, get heckled and then keep going - apparently they think that they will win converts from the people who feel sorry for them for getting heckled - even though they are inviting the heckling). And now that I am older, I see him for a raging asshole who has never properly dealt with his issues and will always push people away and fight against anyone who doesn't conform to his way of thinking (which is most people).

Of course, "a raging asshole who has never properly dealt with his issues and will always push people away and fight against anyone who doesn't conform to his way of thinking (which is most people)" is how I can be described - not on my best days thankfully, but I definitely fit the profile. I have enough insight to want to change and work at changing, but I know that I backslide and I know that I will say things that rankle people (for example, Yvonne Mason was pissed at me for mocking Black Bed Sheets Publishing for their ugly covers. Most of the small press amateurs were pretty pissed at me for that one and I did not apologize or even try to pretend that I felt bad about it because those are some fugly covers and a stupid business model).

But was Chris like that back in the 90s when we were friends and I just didn't notice it because I was also like that - with less insight than I have now?

And if so, does that mean that Bridget never talked shit about me, never said anything bad and he purposefully drove a wedge between us because he knew I was dumb enough to believe him?

It's a fucked up thing to think that I am so trusting and sensitive (in a bad way) that I will believe anyone who tells me that someone else is speaking shit about me. Then again, maybe I just have that whole psychological abuse where I don't really think that I am deserving of anyone's affection and I automatically believe it when I hear that anyone hates my guts because I think that's way more natural than people liking me.

Yeah, I have issues.
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I'm just getting cranky this sukkot [13 Oct 2014|12:15am]
I went to the communal sukkot meals. I liked the people. I like the people. I just don't feel like I fit in again. I don't know. Maybe I do. But there is this comfort that everyone around me seems to have with their position that I just don't have. I chose that, I know. On the other hand there is a great degree of class consciousness. No matter how liberal or how open minded these people are, they are not really going to get how much their privilege rankles those around them.

Or maybe I'm just worried too much. Mom moving into the assisted living and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Mostly Mom is running herself ragged trying to clean out her apartment even though she doesn't have to do a damn thing really. Just put what she wants in boxes and let it go. I did try to put up an FB status update trying to get people in MN to help (buy Mom's crap) but no one actually checked - except for my second cousin who wanted the photographs - seriously, what the fuck is wrong with some people? The one thing that is objectively sentimental (as opposed to those hundred little bars of soap that were taken from a hotel back in 1968) and that's the only thing a relative wants.

And I got 5 overdrafts from Twin Cities Federal - the fucking ripoff bank that thrives off of fucking the poor. And if I don't get money into about three different accounts soon, I'm equally as screwed.

So there I am eating with people who are much more comfortable than me. People who can talk about "saving the planet" by bringing their own dishes to the Sukkah (I practically memorized that George Carlin routine about how humanity's purpose is to make plastic) and people who LOVE singing Carlebach and don't get just how much they are holding everyone hostage with their cheerful dull tunes that think is so "spiritual." And I envy their lack of care.

And I am being a jerk. I heard myself being a jerk. I was even bitching about the wine (Cabernet Sauvignon is meant to be dry and old - no fucking young grapes). And I doubt anyone was happy with me around. I heard every word coming out of my mouth and thinking that I would hate to eat with me.

Also, one girl talked about how ALL of your happiness comes on Sukkot so you better act happy. She said it with a smile on her face and with energetic cheer and it was the worst thing in the world to say. In fact, she said it a couple times at different meals. Apparently, the part of her brain that would go "hey maybe people are worried and anxious about other things in their life and this little sermon is the cruelest fucking thing that they could hear" was turned off. But it's not her fault. She's young. And she has a very stressful job, so maybe that's her way of dealing with her pain and anguish.

In other words, I would prefer to think that this obnoxiously cheerful girl is really just vainly trying to push off a deep-seated clinical depression that borders on suicidal than what she appears to be which is someone who is really that cheerful and really that lacking in empathy.

Havel Havelim

Damn. I feel like I'm stomping on bunny rabbits here.

I even challenged one of those memes about how asexuals have it really bad because they have to hear things like "it's just a phase right?" Because in a world where homosexuals can't get married and anti-Semitism is on the rise with Islamophobia and racism remaining at a constant level of horribleness, WHY NOT pity the poor asexuals who might be forced to one day HAVE A FUCKING CONVERSATION? Holy shit. That's just total oppression there.

I know. I know. I shouldn't do that. That road leads to Richard Dawkins douchebaggery. Shitty things happen to people and if they want understanding and empathy about it, then they should post their memes. If I am pissing and moaning about a lack of empathy in others, why am I not showing it.

But really? Asexuals aren't discriminated against in terms of housing, marriage rights, genocide, bashing, family ostracism. Yes, I have heard about bad therapy and even rape stories - but these are not standard cases. For the most part, the worst they get are people on the internet mocking them and clueless individuals not quite getting that they have no sex drives. You would think that they would spend the time that they aren't spending thinking about sex and put it to more productive uses than tumblr posts. And demisexuals are people in the majority trying to pretend that they are special little snowflakes because they don't quite get the difference between porn logic and real life.

And this is bothering me - I don't mean the things I just wrote about asexuals, but the fact that I am that annoyed with the whole movement to the point that I feel like I need to say that. If people want to think that they are special because they have no sex drives, then that's their right.


Oh yeah, speaking of which - found a furry porn site called - featuring a dude in a panda suit who never takes it off (well there is one hole cut out) and it even includes the World Wildlife Fund logo (although I am pretty sure that it's not officially endorsing furry porn - but I hope that WWF never finds out about it and sues).

So that's something.

Havel Havelim. Everything fades. The wise and the foolish both die.

I find that comforting.

And furry porn is always a good pickmeup.
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Yom Kippur but not feeling as I should [03 Oct 2014|01:05pm]
Before Yom Kippur is the time to apologize to people and the problem is that I don't feel terribly apologetic. There's more of a feeling like I've handled the apologies throughout the year, but then there are the people who just hate me.

I should not feel amused by the fact that people hate me.

Worse, I feel like I'm winning. Of all the times that I've hated people and held grudges, it never really bothered them. I don't think it did. Maybe it did. But I knew how horrible that was. So now that I've dropped much of the resentment and anger, I feel like I should not be so concerned with those for whom I am a source of resentment and anger.

I am not making any sense.

Ok. Let's try it again. I get into fights. I get angry. I would go on for years hating people, feeling resentment over fights with ex-girlfriends and ex-friends. And I must say that this was probably a much more entertaining and horrible blog when I was bitching about these things.

But I've hit this point where I just don't want to fight with people. I block lunatics on Facebook. I disengage. I don't pretend that I can "save" severely messed up people. I still fall into the traps of obsessive infatuation and my feelings still get hurt, but the pain goes away faster.

So I argue with someone. It ends but that person hates me ever since. There are plenty of people talking shit about me. The mere fact that I don't hate that person but that person hates me feels like a victory.

It should not feel like a victory. I don't want to be the source of anyone's pain. I don't know if I can help it.

But I also don't know what I can do to make it right. There was one person that I had a blow up with last year - I did apologize in that case. There are other people who really don't like me. I don't know if I can make them feel better.

It's easier to talk about apologizing to everyone that you've wronged, but admitting that you're in the wrong - that's a harder thing - and you need to get over it.

Right now I am going over fights and resentments and trying to figure out how I am wrong. I don't know.
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Arisia - not even sure if I'm going but this is making me unhappy. [03 Oct 2014|12:48am]
I have not gone to Arisia for the past couple of years. One of the years I couldn't afford it and in another year, I looked at all the panels and though "how many fucking polyamory and atheist panels can you have?" This year I did want to go because the GoH is N.K. Jemison and she's very cool. But also I have been pretty stressed out and spending money on going home to help Mom out (and it looks like I will have to give Mom some money until she gets into an assisted care place that charges a third of her income instead of everything but $76 for the whole month - and that's with elderly care options).

Anyhow, I got this email
Dear Past Arisia Participant,

On behalf of Jaime Garmendia, Programming Division Head for Arisia 2014, and myself, I’d like to thank you for your support of Arisia in the past. Panels are a major part of a science fiction convention like Arisia, and your participation, however great or small, helped make last year’s convention the success that it was. We literally could not do what we do without your participation.

As you may have noticed during the panel scheduling process last year, we had fewer programming slots for panels than in year’s past, but interest in being a panelist was greater than ever. We found ourselves in the enviable position of having many more amazing and qualified potential participants than we had panels for them to do. This situation has not changed as the number of talented people interested in participating in Programming at Arisia continues to grow every year. For Arisia 2015, we have made the difficult decision to scale back the number of people that we invite to be panelists.

The reasons for this are simple. We want to make sure that we have the best-qualified and most diverse group of panelists we can find. We cannot schedule everybody that would like to participate, as there simply aren’t enough panels to go around. We also need to make sure that the selection process doesn’t overwhelm our staff. For the majority of panels, we easily got three to four times as much interest in a panel as we had slots to fill. This complicates the selection process and puts a great deal of stress on our all-volunteer staff. By reducing the size of the pool, we will also reduce the demand on the staff.

What this means is that some of you will not be receiving an invite to participate in the panel selection process for Arisia ’15. Our staff has spent considerable time going through our database, striving to select the very best candidates that reflect Arisia’s diverse interests, knowledge, skills and backgrounds. If you do not receive an invite for this year, please understand that no personal slight is intended. We simply have to make this change to improve Programming for this year and going into the future. Also, please understand that you are welcome to apply to be a panelist again for future conventions.

In a few days, the Programming staff plans to send invites out to potential participants for Arisia 2015. If you receive one, I hope you’ll accept and once again lend Arisia your expertise. If you don’t, I hope you’ll be at con as an attendee, and enjoy the con without working for a change!

Once again, thank you for your previous participation in Arisia, and I hope we see you at con!
For some reason my most immediate reaction was "ugh, you guys are the worst" - I really don't know if I would make the cut or not. I am usually pretty good on panels and I do have a small press publishing house and I am getting published in pro-rate markets.

And hell, I can even see the issue with having too many panelists. And the need to winnow down the panelists. Nobody wants to be on the panel with the guy who is "just a fan" and has nothing really important to say about the subject matter. Hell, I was on a Philip K Dick panel where I was next to the guy who printed out Philip K Dick's wikipedia page.

But I don't know what's going on and I think a great deal of my distaste for this email is based on the unease it's generating. It's been a couple years since I went to Arisia, but I remember being underwhelmed by the panels, not liking the parties (which were all shut down by 1 in the morning) and really hating that "theater group" that put on a bunch of shows in Rocky Horror Picture Show style. There also seemed to be a lot of room throughout the hotel that could have been used for panels but wasn't being used.

Maybe there are other stories going on. Maybe there are things beyond the control of the people running it. But my impression from the last Arisia was that there was a ton of mismanagement throughout the convention and that most of the programming was sub-par and proudly so. And yeah, the whole Rocky Horror Picture Show - but applied to many other movies group was obnoxious. Saying that there are less panels just makes me think that the Arisia heads have gotten even less competent.

Then again, I also walked out of a lot of panels because they were just boring. The first question at a Game of Thrones television show should not be an invitation for a five minute conversation about how the opening credits are awesome.

I don't know.

Then again, if I am not invited back that will certainly make the decision for me. On the other hand, my feelings will be hurt and I will think that it was something that I've done (which actually would be the case since I didn't go to the last two Arisias - and even bowed out last year - which meant that someone else could have my panels - and this blog certainly isn't helping).
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Sold a Story - forgot to mention that here [28 Sep 2014|06:17pm]
I sold a story to Steve Berman's Daughters of Frankenstein anthology. It will be coming out June of next year. Here is the description:
For too long women have worked in almost-secrecy in the field of mad science. Society has seen the laboratory as the province of men. Tesla coils, Jacob's Ladder electric arcs, death rays, even test tubes have a phallic connotation, subliminally reinforcing the patriarchy. The mother of Mary Shelly (née Wollstonecraft Godwin), author of Frankenstein, advocated that women appear more masculine to earn respect. If Marie Skłodowska-Curie had been allowed to develop her Atomic Gendarmerie for the Institut du radium, surely she would have been awarded her third Nobel Prize, for Peace.

Thankfully, the women working to dangerous and/or questionable ends in the pages of Daughters of Frankenstein are unafraid of the patriarchy--indeed, as lesbian mad scientists, they prefer the company and comforts of their own gender. Androids? Pfeh, the gynoid is superior. Devil bats and apes in cages a poor substitute for genetically modified felines. Etheric dynamos have a more pleasing, vulvar design.

Eighteen imaginative, if not insane, women, eighteen stories told by some of the finest writers working in queer speculative fiction: Traci Castleberry, Sean Eads, Gemma Files, Amy Griswald, and Melissa Scott.

Introduction by Steve Berman
"Infusion of Waking Dreams" by Aynjel Kaye
"Doubt the Sun" by Faith Mudge
"Meddling Kids" by Tracy Canfield
"Eldritch Brown Houses" by Claire Humphrey
"The Moorehead Maze Experiment" by Tim Lieder
"The Eggshell Curtain" by Romie Stott
“Poor Girl” by Traci Castleberry
“Bank Job Blues” by Melissa Scott
“The Long Trip Home” by A.J. Fitzwater
“Imaginary Beauties: A Lurid Melodrama” by Gemma Files
“The Riveter” by Sean Eads
“A Shallow Grave of Orange Peel and Eggshells” by Thoraiya Dyer
“Alraune” by Orrin Grey
“Preserving the Integrity of the Feminine Mystique” by Christine Morgan
“Hypatia and Her Sisters” by Amy Griswold
“The Lady of the House of Mirrors” by Rafaela F. Ferraz
“The Ice Weasels of Trebizond” by Mr and Mrs Brenchley
“Love in the Time of Markov Processes” by Megan Arkenberg
What I really love about it is the fact that Romie and Megan are both in it. They are both awesome writers and they deserve all the recognition they can get. I also published them both in King David and the Spiders from Mars. Anyhow, I am looking forward to it.
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Less than 18 hours until Rosh Hashana [24 Sep 2014|01:20am]
I have been thinking about old friends lately, ones that have stayed friends and ones that have fallen away. I was looking up one particular old friends mostly because I'm still a little shocked about how badly it went when I found him on Facebook. When we were friends originally, we liked each other. We would talk about the mutual friends that annoyed us and the ways of changing faith. At one point, he told me that a mutual friend (Bridget) wanted to hear from me. And then when I called and left a message, I found out that she didn't want to talk about me.

And I believed him. I believed that Bridget was talking about me in such a way as to say that either I had changed or that she was still not happy with me in that brief time when she seemed interested in me and I did not honestly hit on her but danced around it too much. I left an angry message on her answering machine and then I ignored her when she called me. Didn't even hear her message. This guy brought that up and I still don't know how much of that was just his bullshit.

Mostly I am thinking about how much he just got obsessed with how much of an asshole he thought I was. But not everything he said against me was wrong. He called me broken and overly sensitive. These are truths. Certain things still hurt - and it's not a choice - and instead of reacting by honestly saying that I am hurt and dealing with it, I lash out and attack others. Some deserve it. Most don't.

There's also this paradoxical need to be accepted even as I know that I won't be and I often just put worst foot forward in order to get rid of the people that aren't going to like me over time - so why wait.

I think that when I read comments from the old friend that turned nasty and hateful or go to sites like The Return of the Kings - which is this bullshit man's rights site - I want to feel validated in that "I was never that bad" way. But that's not really validating so much as pretending that my faults are negligible in comparison.

And you can't compare. Have I been sensitive in a good way - more cognizant of the effects that my words and actions have on others? Or have I been sensitive by reacting to every criticism no matter how well-intentioned or misguided with vitriol? Have my insecurities allowed me to seek opportunities to help others or have I used them as an excuse to be nasty to others? Does my personal pain give me empathy or vitriol?

These are the questions and I hope that answers are mostly in the positive but who the hell knows.

Yeah, it's one of those boring self-involved High Holiday posts.
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Month in review - still trying to get Mom into assisted living [14 Sep 2014|10:07am]
So I did go out to Minnesota. Took a Greyhound to Chicago and a Megabus to Saint Paul. Then I took a Megabus back on the same route, because Greyhound is awful. When I got into Chicago, I thought I would have to wait 12 hours for a really expensive bus out. Instead I waited six hours on a Chicago street where a homeless guy gave me a bottle of conditioner and told me stories about getting beat up by crackheads and another guy was leaving Minnesota to get away from the funeral of his girlfriend who died while they were arguing. Apparently she had a stroke just as they were getting to a reflective part of the fight and he was interpreting her grunting and then her silence as stubbornness as if she was just sick of him. And then he realized she was dead.

So with that in mind, I went back to my mom's apartment and got screamed at for 48 hours. When I was throwing stuff out she was telling me that she needed to look at it first. When I was taking a break (very rarely), she was screaming about not getting the apartment done in time. Apparently she had made some progress in transitional care but she was getting weaker and less healthy in the apartment (where she also wasn't eating much while being very emotional). The estate sales people came and took some cool stuff that I forgot that I once owned - like the Pigs in Space Lunch Box and the Mad Magazine board game.

In the end, I had thrown out all the carpets, cleared a path through the apartment and left Mom who was crying and begging me to stay one more day. This shit is not easy. I did not want to stay longer, not just because I couldn't trust the bus to get me back to New York before Shabbos (Megabus has one bus that leaves Chicago at midnight and gets to New york by 6pm the next day - IF it is on time - but you have to leave MN by noon to get to it), but also because I felt like I was screwing up her health by being there. Because everything I did was upsetting to her and by the end she was on one of her "I'm just going to die soon anyhow." deals. Yeah, growing up with a bipolar mother, you get used to the occasional declarations of imminent demise - granted Mom is not young and not in good health. She is 77 and she's having trouble walking.

When I went to sleep at 2 in the morning, I was woken by Mom screaming "Tim. Just go! Just go! Abandon me!" over and over again. So that was 2 hours of sleep.

The landlord also asked me to stay, but since that fucker got 40 hours of free labor out of me, I was less inclined to care about his request. Beyond that, he claims that he is going to charge me for all the stuff that I hauled to the trash at his request. If I get an invoice for that, I am sending him the invoice for the work.

And as it stood, the fire inspector did not pass the apartment. But more because of the mold and the dust than the stuff. Mom still has stuff piled up in her bedroom - especially in two corners, but the hoarding is no longer a fire hazard. There are paths through the apartment. Mostly, I am going by the fact that the apartment looks better than any apartment she has lived in since I was maybe 10.

The landlord asked her to move out (but he did not serve papers so he really can't legally throw her out) and the fire inspection condemnation still stands.

So now it's a case of getting Mom into assisted living again. But at this point, BOTH cats have to go with her. Unfortunately Mom's case worker Sheryl is talking about Mom not being able to take care of the cats and included a line "as you know, the cats weren't being taken care of and were using the carpet as a litter box" which seems to get into every later report. There was a black spot on the carpet from a rusted out bottom of a hassock (it would have been cool once - it opened up and you could store stuff in it) and the inspector thought it was cat urine. Which is wasn't. But more importantly, there was ONE cat that was pooping all over the place and that was Mokie who was 20 years old at the time and dying (because he was 20 years old at the time - sweet cat towards the end). Wiggles and Sugar both use the litter box and Mom cleans it out on a regular basis.

And now Mom is still going to the apartment to get stuff out of there. I don't know if she is trying to pass that fire inspection or what. I guess it gives her something to do. I just want to make sure that she keeps the cats.

Also, my friend Sarah came over and helped. I am truly grateful to her. Also she came over after I left which she didn't have to do.

Should probably see if someone can temporarily adopt the cats until Mom gets situated. Of course, the landlord can't legally throw her out by September 30, but then again, she is technically not supposed to be in the apartment regardless due to the fire inspector's condemned sign.

It's just tough.

May your hard experiences make you more empathic than bitter and may your easy experiences make you more grateful than entitled.
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Yeah this bullshit again [27 Aug 2014|10:35pm]
I just skimmed a copy of a book called Girl Defective. It wasn't very good but one of the many plot lines involved the tedium of having "cool" parents (specifically the drunk record store owner dad and the rock star mom that abandoned everyone) and it made me reflective of the task of "raising one's parents" as the phrase goes. There is something rather horrifying about realizing that your mother is never going to advance beyond the maturity of a fifteen year old, never apologize for anything, never admit wrong-doing and never take a mature responsible approach to her life.

So tonight she called and I mentioned the volunteers from the Lutheran church. They're not coming.

She called them on Friday when it looked like Prince of Peace was falling through. They have a group that helps move stuff out of apartments, but these guys are mostly teenagers and school is starting. I ordered her to call the church that was closer. I also gave her the numbers of the other surrounding churches. She said that they were coming. Today, she said that they aren't coming. In fact, she talked to the guy there and he went to talking to Prince of Peace who is talking to her social worker.

But the estate sales person is coming on Sunday. That's something right? Only she still does not know if everything gets hauled out on Sunday or if the woman just comes over, looks at everything and goes "ok, so let's make an appointment to get stuff out in maybe 2-3 weeks." She didn't ask. She asked ME if that's how things went but the person who actually owns the estate sales business. Nope. Why would she ask the important question.

And of course, she repeated the refrain "I'm not worried" and she's not worried because she has absolutely no fucking sense of responsibility whatsoever. So making a couple of calls and letting everything fall through because she doesn't follow up on anything, that's pretty much the beginning and the end of her involvement.

Have I mentioned that she is lying even more now? The "I don't have a problem" lie is quickly followed by the "I totally understand now that I need to get rid of stuff" with that every popular "I know, I know" which means that she doesn't fucking know.

The only reason why I am not in Minnesota right now hauling shit out of her apartment is because I thought that the Lutheran Church was arranging for volunteers to clear out her apartment. But no, Mom can't fucking do that.

Because if she actually took the responsibility for getting her stuff out of her apartment, that would mean that she actually took the responsibility for the mess she's made at this point instead of letting everyone else clean it up. But she's gone this far letting other people clean up after her and demanding that others deal with her bullshit why the fuck would she ever think to change at this point.

I shouldn't be angry or disgusted. It's not like she was responsible or mature when I was born.

I do not want to take a fucking bus to Minnesota. That's three-days total back and forth - and that's ideal situations.

If she doesn't worry about her life, I have to worry about it. Irresponsible asshole.
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Kameron Hurley forgets to check her Aryan privilege - comes off like a self-righteous asshole. [17 Aug 2014|09:25pm]
I really shouldn't go looking for more bad articles about Israel. I really shouldn't. I have enough stupid people on my Facebook feed already. No use finding more. But this is a special case. This is a Hugo award winning author who frequently writes books and articles about how sad it is that we can't get along. She's not an asshole. Most of this article is "boohoo everyone is bad!" and while that kind of white liberal hand wringing is usually well-intentioned enough to forgive the naivete, this particular post had this howler:

In World War II, my grandfather spent much of his time stationed in Germany and France cleaning up dead bodies. Primarily from concentration camps. He hauled the bodies and drove the trucks. He watched an entire people nearly annihilated. Today, when I turn on the television, I’m watching the children of those same people annihilating another people, wiping them off the face of the earth.

Now I am pretty immune to this kind of discourse. It's stupid and the kind of bullshit that high school kids engage in. It's not just anti-Semitic but that's definitely a component. If you don't think that there is a difference between the systematic murder of six million Jews as a way of "cleansing" the world of vermin and a limited land war where a few thousand people died, then yeah, you are a blithering idiot. And if you don't even acknowledge that Gaza isn't even the worst war going on RIGHT NOW in the same 400 mile radius - then you are fucking pathetic.

There really is no reason to argue with the stupid who cry genocide (or the newfangled euphemism of ethnic cleansing) every single time Israel goes to war. Pointing out the genocide that's taken place in the last couple of decades (Rwanda and Bosnia) is a waste of time. There's enough blame to go around and there's enough room to criticize Israel for its actions without giving the "GENOCIDE!!!!!" screamers respect.

But this woman is a two time Hugo winner, a respected member of the SFWA and someone who is praised as being "fearless."

And this particular passage, it's just too wonderful an example of Aryan privilege not to comment on.

But let's back up. If you have friends (or most likely relatives) on all sides of the political spectrum, you have probably been sighing a lot recently in your effort to explain white privilege. White privilege is when you can get stopped by cops and know that you probably will live through the encounter. Your parents do not have "the talk" to you about how to deal with police officers and how to be very respectful because otherwise you could get shot in the back. If you DO get your ass kicked by the cops, then you know that you can sue the police department, even put those officers in jail. You can spend your teen years shoplifting and you will still go to college. Hell, you can walk through any neighborhood in the United States - wearing a hoodie no less - and know that no one from neighborhood watch is going to chase you down and kill you.

This is pretty easy to get. It's not brain surgery. Yet, how many times have you read "well the cop who shot Michael Brown was black" or "you liberals always thinking that you should play the victim card" or "how are the black people rioting any different than the police who shot Michael Brown?" Teeth gnashing, arrogant, stupid self-righteous, completely ignorant bullshit has been coming out of Ferguson.

With Aryan privilege, you can say that your grandfather either helped to murder six million Jews or he was part of the army that killed the murderers and cleaned up after them (but only after everyone gave Hitler a free pass). You can look back at your entire history and think "oh, isn't that SO SAD that some of my ancestors were fucking monsters? Well what can you do?" You don't have the feeling like the entire world is watching you. You don't feel even more uncomfortable when people are praising you and your people because you know that it's just a couple of crazy fucks before that praise turns into hatred and suspicion. Homeless people don't ask you if you've read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as if you are going to think that it's awesome.

With Aryan privilege, you don't have to care about history. You can be completely ignorant about what the Holocaust meant. You can think that "genocide" is just another word for "a lot of people died and it was very sad." You can even blame the victims of genocide for dying or not dying - depending on your viewpoint. Aryan privilege means never having to say you're sorry, because it's not like YOU are Jewish. It's not like YOU are supposed to set an example.

Aryan privilege means you can kill people by the thousands, by the millions. No one is going to say that you're genocidal. Hell, Aryan privilege also means that if there is a terrorist attack in your country, you can do whatever the fuck you want to prevent a future terrorist attack. You can deport everyone. You can put up checkpoints. You can inspect ambulances that are going through checkpoints without criticism (because the rest of the world will actually care when the ambulances carry bombs to murder you).

And the BEST part about Aryan privilege. No one fucking blames you for the Holocaust. You can just go along with your life and there isn't the constant disproportionate criticism. You don't even have to be German. Seems like President Assad of Syria has been cashing in on his Aryan privilege for years now. Thousands die in one day and who cares? You can't blame the Jews and you can't go "oh poor Jews, why are you acting like Nazis" when Syrians are being murdered in ways that might even horrify your Nazi grandfather shoveling those bodies.

I am happy that the SFWA can kick out Vox Day for his racist bullshit. He will never figure out that he has white privilege. Too bad the SFWA responds to similarly anti-Semitic bullshit from Kameron Hurley with a shrug and "isn't she just SO brave" even though her Aryan privilege is just as noxious and just as disgusting.

Edit - I did originally read that quote to say that Hurley's grandfather was disposing of Jewish bodies on behalf of the German army. I now realize that he could have been in the allies and cleaned up the bodies after the war was over. I should not have made the assumption.
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And just to fuck things up more, Mom is healthy enough to act like a fucking child [14 Aug 2014|10:43pm]
So Mom does not the terms of this assisted living place. Apparently the apartment is more like a studio than a one bedroom, there is no section 8 (so she will be left with $95 a month) and they would only want her to have one cat - which they reserve the right to take away if she can't take care of it. As soon as I suggested that she register her cats as service animals, her immediate response was "I don't need assisted living" and that's where she is.

Of course, she needs assisted living. She is too much of a hoarder to actually live in her own place and the fact that she has put herself into the hospital the last two times she has had inspections means that she needs it.

Only she is responding to the physical therapy - the same physical therapy that she COULD have had all last year IF anyone would agree to go to her apartment - which they wouldn't, because she has too much stuff. Regardless, she needs a PCA and a physical therapist and if she could do it in her own apartment, I would have no problem. Only she CAN'T do it from her own apartment because she's going to fill her place up with shit and no one is going to come over.

She's not hearing it. She's like the Depressive who starts taking Prozac, sees results and then thinks "Oh well I guess I don't need any of this therapy or medication now."

What she needs is an assisted living facility that takes both Section 8 and allows her to have cats. In assisted living she would not be allowed to buy and gather so much shit. I really can't see any way that she can take care of herself in an apartment. she is going to hoard. The therapists won't come. It's going to be more of this crap.

Fuck this shit.
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this is getting fucking ridiculous [12 Aug 2014|05:50pm]
Someone finally broke into my mom's apartment and took the television. Sadly they didn't clear out the rest of the place leaving two very confused cats. This is the fourth phone call today. She calls and I can't work. I am already stuck on my fucking couch all day and I don't want to deal with this fucking shit.

Fucking hell. The sympathy ran out two phone calls ago and now it's just a time suck. And it's not like I'm working along and then I get a call. No. I go online and then I suck out my own time and I'm still on the fucking couch and I get another phone call.

I told the client I would have his thesis by tonight. I told the client I would have his thesis a month ago. And it would have been there if it hadn't been for this shit. And she keeps repeating that she doesn't want to go into assisted living. Like she has any fucking choice in the matter.

Fuck. There should be limits on this. There are other relatives.
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Oh fuck - more personal shit [12 Aug 2014|01:47pm]
The people at the place where Mom is staying and wants to move into as an assisted living situation have just informed her that they don't take Section 8, which means that she would be left with $95 after social security to live on for the rest of the month. She is upset. Mostly, she needs to get into assisted living and hopefully one that actually does take section 8, but instead of asking her social workers for help in this (and to be honest, the social workers are probably pretty inept and overworked), she is talking about trying to move back into her apartment that has been condemned.

And I can't tell her anything. It's another round of "I am going to get my stuff out and I will take care of it" delusion. This is the strategy that her hoarding addiction devises a couple times a year when confronted with the fact that "I'm not a hoarder, I'm just a collector" is untenable. She lies to herself and tells herself that she actually has the ability to get rid of her stuff without major emotional trauma. It's like she completely forgot putting herself into the hospital trying to get rid of her stuff and the amount of screaming that she did when I was throwing out her craft magazines. Actually, scratch that. She isn't forgetting it. She's rationalizing it. That's just past as if she suddenly became a different person in the month since she went into the hospital and now transitional care.

She honestly thinks that she can move back into her apartment, get rid of her stuff and not be bothered with the bi-annual fire inspection. She envisions this wonderful long term project where she slowly goes through every single item she has and puts some of it in the trash and some of it in a box to be sold to a willing store.

Hell, she even said that she was going to take books to Half Price Books but that day Mokie died (her old orange tabby - he was 20 so he was going) and so she couldn't. And the other 150 days since his death have equally compelling excuses for her inability to carry out a plan even as lame as bringing 20 books to Half Price and getting a couple of dollars for it (and then confirming her bias against selling anything).

And she hung up on me. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be any middle ground between her delusions (she doesn't have a problem, and even when she admits to having a problem she can totally handle it) and the reality - she needs to get into assisted living for her own mental and physical health and there is no way that she can move back into her apartment.

And to get all Freudian up in here - that woman that I was totally crushing on - she employed similar strategies when talking about how she wasn't an alcoholic. Sure, she drinks every day but she doesn't think that she has a problem because she's too honest with herself and her old drinking buddy is now in AA but that woman said she didn't have a problem. And she may just go a week without drinking, because she really can do that - and now that she is dating a guy who is bipolar and self-medicates with Scotch, she's really happy and she's totally capable of going a week without drinking.

My reaction to that was "oh why isn't she drinking with me?" as opposed to hearing every addict excuse in a slightly different form. I mean I heard it, but I was too busy with my emotional neediness.
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Also talking about Robin Williams here instead of Facebook [12 Aug 2014|12:40pm]
I like the fact that people are being more cognizant of clinical depression because of Robin Williams. I like the fact that the internet brings us together when we are most isolated. I like the fact that I am working at a job that sees me on my couch writing boring crap and I can still interact with human beings - even if only by joking on Facebook. What is bothering me is this weird positivity around helping people with depression or helping people with their issues. Sure, people do help other people all the time. We support each other. We let each other know that we're not alone. But when it comes to being in a bad mental state, we can't save anyone. We can't rescue them.

I don't think that I have clinical depression. I do know that I normalized a lot of behavior and attitudes that are depression including the ability to focus on one woman and act like she's the only woman who could ever make me happy (even now when I know that it's irrational and stupid - I can't just turn it off. I got to work through it with every obsessive step. Makes things easier if I am attracted to a woman with problems because she won't run away quite so fast) And when I wake up and it falls away, I am left wondering. But also I went through a bad July. It's a deeper issue, a certain fragility going on.

But with Robin Williams - I wish people would stop telling others how to deal with suicide and stop acting like they know better. I wish people would stop saying things like "if only he knew how beloved he was" - he knew.

And the irony lies in the fact that he was beloved because he was the whacky adult - the one jumping off the walls who was way more fun than our way too tired parents. And when we got older and found Robin Williams just as exhausting as our parents found us at that age, we could appreciate his more serious stuff. Or some of us still loved Patch Adams. There's no accounting for taste.

But that whacky jumping off the walls persona - that was a man fighting his depression in the best way he knew how. And he got the love and the adulation of the crowd every night.

One of the most disturbing things I ever saw with Williams was that HBO special from the early 80s. I don't remember most of the jokes (there was the Mr. Happy routine) so much as him in a flop sweat for the entire show. But someone decided to put a camera on him in the dressing room when it was over. He was drained and tired and just a mess. And of course, he would have been that drained because he was just running around stage in the highest energy possible. But for me - when I was 10 - it felt like a betrayal. The mask had slipped down and instead of the wild clown, the man before us was a tired and broken man who just wanted to get away from the camera. He was too tired to keep the act up.

I don't know. The man fought with depression for 63 yeas (ok it probably didn't come on until his teen years) and then recently, he decided that he didn't want to fight anymore. He probably made that decision many times in his life (overtly and covertly with the drugs) and this time he managed to make it without changing his mind. Could someone have changed his mind, thrown him a lifeline, etc.? Maybe. And perhaps people have been doing it for years.

I guess I feel like the decision to stop struggling with it and just go is just as valid as the decision to keep fighting and struggling. I don't want to say that on Facebook where the majority of people I know are reading it. I know that this could be interpreted as me being an insensitive fuck or engaging in suicidal ideation. I am doing neither. I don't even know where I'm going with this - beyond a kneejerk distaste for such saccharine "oh if only we could save him" statements. And I also don't like the suicide hotline people ordering everyone to refrain from talking about the suicide in details. Do they think that people contemplating suicide are only prevented from doing so because they don't know how?

I guess where my mind is going right now and it may need revising is that Robin Williams was an adult. He had problems. He made a decision that he probably had made many times before and we all saw him struggling with the depression. He wasn't a child that needed to be rescued from a burning building. Could he have been saved if he had been forced into a better therapy or treatment program or forced to live until he got out of the depression bubble? Sure. Maybe. But he was a grown adult and he killed himself. And that's sad for us. But we should not impose some polyanna belief system on his life and death in order to make ourselves feel better.
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Since no one reads this anyhow - Robin Williams [11 Aug 2014|11:46pm]
I liked Robin Williams. When I was a kid he was my favorite comedian. Of course, when I got older I found him a little hard to take, but then I enjoyed his dramatic work like World's Greatest Dad (it's a comedy but he's utterly serious in it) and Insomnia.

But I really hate Dead Poet's Society. That insipid ending where everyone is standing on their desks is Forrest Gump levels of groan inducing.

I don't want to say that on FB because everyone is posting "oh captain my captain" and I'm sure they feel like they are expressing their grief in the best way possible. So I don't want to piss all over them.

Also "it's not your fault" would have been bad enough in Good Will Hunting, but that scene spread like a fungus and now people use it all the time. Yes. I know that my dad never having a relationship with me and my mom being a bipolar hoarder is not my fault. Thanks. You got any more movies about psychologists that you can steal dialogue from?

But Death to Smoochy - totally need to see that one again.
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