Status Update

Well, back to weekly-ish blog posts, I guess. Or whenever I feel like it, if I feel like it more often than once a week. I was going really strong with that posting every day thing for about a week, even posting on one day when I didn’t want to fucking do anything. Then I got distracted by the idea of judging for the Interactive Fiction Competition. I love interactive fiction (IF). I don’t play it often enough. Judging comp games gives me an excuse to play a lot of IF, even if some of it is incredibly bad (well, not really, almost all of the games I’ve played so far were decently fun, even the ones with glaring implementation problems or bad writing). And then, of course, whenever I play enough IF, and especially whenever I play enough bad IF (hmph! I could write a better game than this!), I get all sorts of ideas for writing some IF myself. We’ll see how far I get with that. I already dropped both the every day blog posting thing and the IFComp judging thing* this month, and it’s only two weeks into the month. On the other hand, at least I am getting excited and motivated about things again, even if I get distracted within a week.

Anyway. I’m not really counting this as my blog post for the week. It’s more of a status update thing. I have another post or two that I need to write that I’ve been working on for a while. Other bloggers I read keep posting stuff about suicide, and this makes me want to write my own thing about it. Also I need to finish that series of posts that I started.

*Not entirely dropped. There’s still two days left to judge, and I did play the minimum number of games to be able to judge, so I could still do that, even if I’ll be sad because I didn’t get to judge every game in the comp. Or, if I work my ass off, maybe I could still pull off judging every game…

Election Day Rant

Oh goody, it’s election day (and I live in the country where everyone forgets that not all the people on the internet are from the same country!). Finally, I will stop getting election fliers clogging up my mailbox. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day for weeks! I almost missed getting a package because of those stupid election fliers, you know. There was so much junk in with my mail that the package notification slip got mixed in with it, and I didn’t even find out the package had arrived until I went in to the office to ask a week later. I was specifically sorting through the junk mail carefully to make sure I wouldn’t miss the stuff that’s actually important, too.

But I wouldn’t have been looking forward to election day quite so much if I’d remembered how much everyone and their sister guilts trips people about voting, though. You have to vote! It doesn’t matter who you vote for! You just have to VOTE! No excuses! Did you VOTE today? You need to VOTE!

Why is it that the guilt trip only comes out for presidential elections? No one gave a shit last time I didn’t vote in an election that wasn’t about the president. I’m fairly certain I’m not doing my civic duty by ignoring House, Senate, and governor elections, but the only time I get shit about it is when it’s the president. And the presidential election is the one where my vote makes the least fucking difference. How many other millions of people are voting in the presidential election again?

And even when I’m not feeling cynical about how little fucking difference one vote makes, there’s the candidates. It’s a two party system, and we get two candidates. Nevermind the smoke screen of third party candidates. None of them have a prayer of being elected. Everyone knows it’s about the big two. And, like every year, I don’t like EITHER of the two candidates. In fact, this year is something new for me, in that I can actually say that I dislike one of the candidates more than the other. What kind of fucking choice is that? What kind of vote is this I have the right to, where we are so stuck in the two party system that, while I can technically vote for any candidate I want, the only vote that will have meaning is one cast for one of the two major party candidates? So, like, I have a right to vote for the lesser of two evils? Fuck this messed up shit.

At least with Senate, House, and governor type positions, being a third party candidate isn’t a sure fire way to lose. Surely, for one who doesn’t like either of the two available parties, there is more hope for actually affecting how the country is run in these elections, which are not so thoroughly stuck in the two party rut? But no, it’s all about the presidential election. I highly doubt anyone will be guilt tripping me for not voting for a Senate candidate. Heck, I haven’t even heard of any of the people running in my state. But I’d have to literally live under a rock to avoid hearing about the presidential candidates, and I only metaphorically live under a rock, so I’ve heard all about those two.

Isn’t it so ironic, that I live in a country that’s all so proud about freedom and democracy and voting and government officials being responsible to the people and shit, and I feel like I’m completely powerless?

Maybe I shouldn’t get so distracted by the presidential election. Maybe I should focus on the stuff where I can actually make a difference. Local elections. Writing letters to Congressmen. Stuff like that. Then the next time someone tries to guilt trip me about voting for the president, I’ll guilt trip them about voting for Congressmen, or voting in the primaries. Maybe I’ll join a party I hate just so I can vote in the primaries and almost have some actual say in who gets to be president. Maybe next presidential election, I’ll write in Cthulhu (why settle for the lesser of two evils?) on the ballot, just to protest having to pick between two candidates I hate. Maybe I’ll write a blog post about how silly it is to confuse voting for the president with civic duty. Oh, wait…

Just for the record, I did actually vote (for the president, anyway, like that’s the only thing that matters). I’m just really resentful about it. The glass is half empty, ok?

Depression Sucks

I should not be feeling this exhausted. I went to the library for a couple of hours to revise an essay, and I picked up a few groceries on the way home. That’s it. And yet, I feel as exhausted as if I’d been working all day long, and most of it on my feet. I’m not even sure how I finally pulled together enough energy to write a simple blog post.

Depression sucks. Supposedly feeling tired all of the time is kind of normal for being depressed. It doesn’t really help with taking college courses. Last week I had a day where I was so fatigued and everything took so much effort that just putting on shoes seemed like an absolutely Herculean task. After staring at them for several minutes, I finally managed to put them on, but only because I decided to skip the socks step. And the reason I put on the shoes in the first place was to go get some food. Tasty food. Something I would normally be excited about. It’s a good thing that wasn’t one of the days I needed to go to class. It was probably one of the days I needed to do homework though. Homework does not happen on a day like that. A day like that, I just try to get through it and take care of myself as best I can, in the hopes that I can actually get back to accomplishing stuff the next day.

I don’t know how I think I am going to manage writing a blog post every day when I get blindsided by days like that. I really just couldn’t stand the thought of giving up only four days into the challenge, though, and that’s about the only reason I’m trying to write this. And it’s not quite so bad as the putting-on-shoes-is-a-Herculean-task sort of day. My blogging ahead strategy would work really great for days like this, only the one blog post I wrote ahead is really triggery, emotional stuff that I’m not going to post before I edit it and clean it up, and one look at it was enough to know that that’s not going to happen today. I totally had a great idea this morning that I would respond to this other guy’s atheist challenge post, which has some questions for atheists as a challenge thing. But that would be too much effort.

I was totally planning to make my next post about depression be all about how my mind manages to turn everything into catastrophic failure, sometimes, but instead I’m writing about the days where everything takes so much effort that just doing normal stuff feels like trying to run through molasses or something. Actually, this doesn’t seem like so much effort now that I’ve gotten this far (mind you, it took a lot of time and effort to get those first three paragraphs out, and I never thought I’d actually get enough to where it looks like an actual blog post, only now it kind of does). So I guess I could talk about how my mind catastrophizes everything sometimes, too. It’s not all of the time, just sometimes. But when it’s like that, I’ll do something simple, like write a blog post and then post it… and then think shit along the lines “That was a horrible post, and everyone is going to see what a horrible writer I am, and maybe I said something offensive, and everyone will hate me, and I should just stop blogging, I don’t know why I keep blogging, I always stress out over it so much, and nobody really reads it, anyway.” I’ll think shit like this, and I’ll know it’s shit, and I’ll know that I don’t usually think like that and that there was nothing especially awful or offensive about what I just said and that people actually do read stuff that I write… but I won’t be able to shake off the feeling that it was awful and then think about it like it’s the end of the world.

It was really fun when my mind did the same thing when, after I’d gotten my name unofficially changed with the school, I emailed one of the professors saying that my name was changed, so he wouldn’t get confused. And I got an email back saying my name wasn’t changed on his roster. This would be a little embarrassing normally (I told him it should be changed (it should have!) and it wasn’t), but add on catastrophe-vision and suddenly my teacher must think I am absolutely nuts and how am I ever going to deal with talking to him again and he’s probably talking to his colleagues about what a nut I am and I’m so embarrassed I don’t even want to think about it and what if he’s transphobic and I’m afraid to even show my face on campus and it’s the end of the world and waaah.

Yea. It’s like I’m a super-hero, only my super powers are, like, catastrophe-vision (turning even the smallest problems into the end of the world!), lethargy, and indecision*.

Wow, did I actually write a full post? Sweet. I’m going to go play video games, now. Or maybe read a book. Or maybe just lie down and relax.

*Ooh, indecision. I didn’t even talk about indecision. Like what the hell is up with not being able to decide simple things like what kind of bread to get at the store? I do not usually have this much trouble with making simple decisions, and then when I force myself to just make a decision, it still takes longer than it should, and I pick something that isn’t really what I wanted anyway. Or, like, they don’t have the thing I wrote on my grocery list, and it totally stumps me. I can’t figure out what to get instead. I end up standing there for like 10 minutes trying to figure out what I want to get instead, and I’ve just about decided to get some donuts when the bakery worker starts taking the donuts out of the display thing because it’s the end of the day. And then I have to go be indecisive about something else, and my backpack is heavy with all the books I got from the library, and I don’t understand why I can’t just hurry up and decide what to get.

The Bible for Dummies

So, a couple of weeks ago, I had to return my copy of the Bible to the library because I ran out of renewals. Unlike the last time this happened, I couldn’t find another copy of the exact same Bible on the shelf. I wanted to keep reading the same version (NRSV), so I decided I’d just wait until the next time I came to the library to get one (probably the exact same copy I’d just returned, hehe). Basically the same thing happened with my copy of the Qur’an, except that I couldn’t even find the shelf with the Qur’ans on it. That bothered me because obviously I’d been able to find it before, and I knew I was looking in the right part of the library. Well, I guess it’s a lot harder to find a book when the various available copies take up at most one shelf, rather than several bookshelves. I did find it on a later trip to the library, but the only copies there were the one I’d checked out before (which I wasn’t sure how well I liked) and a handful of copies which were very large and heavy. Honestly, the most important factor in picking out a version of a holy book, to me (aside from obvious things like it being in a language that I am fluent in), is that it be comfortable to hold in my hands, so it is easy to carry around and read. So, I decided not to get a copy of the Qur’an from the library on that particular visit. I also passed on checking out a copy of the Bible because I already had several books checked out, and I hadn’t finished any of them, yet.

Anyway, having returned both my copy of the Bible and of the Qur’an without checking out replacement copies, I decided to get some different books from the library. I skimmed through an interesting book on Wicca but ending up checking out a book about Shinto, a book about Hinduism, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, and a copy of The Bible for Dummies. The Bible for Dummies had some information about where the Bible comes from, and that was what I was most interested in. I finally got around to poking through The Bible for Dummies today, and I was somewhat disappointed. Although it had some good information, I didn’t learn as much as I had hoped about the origins of the Bible and the various translations available. I think what I really want is a more detailed, more scholarly work on the subject, as opposed to an introductory volume which only dedicates one chapter to the subject.

The section they wrote about how to choose which translation of the Bible to read got me thinking, though. They talked about literal vs. paraphrased versions, among other things, and their primary focus was on which type of translation might be more suited for which sort of reason for reading the Bible. The generic reasons they offered as being common ones to read the Bible didn’t really match up with my reasons for reading it. What exactly do I want to get out of reading the Bible, anyway? In my project of learning about religion, I suppose there are at least three things I am looking for. One is reading various holy texts for myself to see what they actually say and to form my own opinions and ideas about them. Another is to read about religious people’s own views of their religion. In this context, believers’ interpretations of their holy text(s) are more interesting than the texts themselves (for religions which have holy texts). The last thing I am looking for is outsider views of the religion and its adherents. It’s really easy to find outsider views on, say, Islam in a majority Christian nation (books on Islam written from outsider perspectives absolutely dominate my local library’s shelves in the section on Islam), but it’s a lot harder to find outsider views on Christianity in said majority Christian nation. For instance, I found dozens of books explaining the basics of Islam without assuming any prior knowledge, but I couldn’t find any similar 101 type books about Christianity.

I guess I was hoping I’d found something of a Christianity 101 book when I found The Bible for Dummies, but it’s mostly just a Bible 101 book. The majority of the book seems to be a Cliff’s Notes version of the Bible which also explains various common interpretations of (and even objections to) Bible passages. This could be interesting to me because it’s information about how people interpret the Bible. Then again, it’s written by Bible scholars, and it’s probably not going to tell me that much about the beliefs of the average Christian, who has probably only read a fraction of the Bible. In other words, Christianity 101 and Bible 101 are very different subjects, even though they overlap.

I think I’m basically done with The Bible for Dummies, and when I return it, I’ll check out another NRSV version of the Bible and perhaps a book with more in depth information on the origins of the Bible. In the mean time, I have some books about Hinduism to read, and I’m eager to dig in to those. I barely know anything about Hinduism, and it’s also my first substantial introduction to a polytheistic religion.

National Blog Posting Month!

It is, apparently, National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo for short, which sounds really funny, but I’ve almost seen it enough times that it doesn’t sound weird anymore. Actually, it’s NaBloPoMo every month, but this month is the most popular because it coincides with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which only happens in November. I was actually thinking about doing NaNoWriMo because it sounds fun, and I’ve wanted to do it for a few years. I haven’t written any fiction in a while, so it would be a good way to get back into fiction writing. But, I wasn’t sure about a it for a few reasons. I really need to concentrate on my school work, for one thing, and I’ve had just way too many things going on lately, for another. Plus, I’m not sure writing a novel all of a sudden would be the best way to get back into fiction writing. I usually like writing short stories better. Then again, it’s not like a NaNoWriMo novel needs to be any good or even make sense or have a coherent plot. It just has to surpass a certain number of words.

But, then I found out about NaBloPoMo, which I think is a better fit for me, right now. Lately, I’m more interested in reading and writing nonfiction than fiction, and NaNoWriMo is a fiction thing. Plus, I already blog regularly. Which honestly surprises me. I’ve kept up with my goal of writing a post at least once a week (roughly), for over two months, now (longer, if you ignore a hiatus or two due to depression and stress). I never thought I would actually keep up with regular blogging! That’s pretty cool. I think I could totally keep up with daily posting for a little while. After all, they don’t have to be good posts to count for NaBloPoMo, there just has to be something every day. Deliberately not worrying about quality definitely helps with quantity. And, eh, I have a feeling I’ll probably make most of the posts be at least decent, even if I’m trying not to worry about quality too much. I am a perfectionist after all. I can only stand to lower my standards so far before it drives me nuts. Plus, I don’t want to make my blog annoying to read by posting a bunch of crap. And, eh, if I run out of ideas of what to post about (and I’ve got tons of ideas at the moment, plus I need to finish up the post series I started, and I want to participate in the Carnival of Aces this month), I can always post stuff about dreams and lucid dreams I’ve had, which I’ve got tons of material for. I’ve been having lucid dreams almost weekly lately, and I’ve actually been keeping up with writing in my dream journal every day (mostly). Anyway, NaBloPoMo can’t really be much harder than keeping a dream journal (or a journal journal) every day, which I have actually gotten quite good at doing.
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