Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The delicate dance

I've been reflecting lately on where to draw the line in social justice conversations between shutting up and listening, and offering factual information that might be pertinent.

I fully accept that in most discussions, I am in a position of great relative privilege, and the discussion is neither about me nor for me. My opinions and feels on racism, homophobia and so on are not relevant or interesting. My role is to get out of the light, listen, reflect, and where appropriate, change my behaviour and outlook as a response. As a born argumentator, this has not necessarily been an easy lesson to learn, but it is very necessary one.

So my dilemma now is not about curtailing my own desire to add my views, or express my feelings. But I still struggle with holding back from offering facts / data where it seems relevant to the conversation - and, in particular, correcting obvious errors of fact which are leading to conclusions that might not be all that supportable.

Look, I get that facts are not neutral, and that the interspersion of some kinds of data can be a very hostile and undermining act. I get that it is not up to me to ride around the Internet arguing with everyone who's misreporting or misinterpreting data (or purveying fake news, for that matter). I get that a lot of the time, the facts are not the issue anyway.

But when you see someone basing their argument on an objectively false piece of data, what's the right thing to do? Do you try to engage with why their feelings about that thing may be so variant with the actual data? Do you accept that lived experiences aren't always reflected in hard numbers? Do you look at the argument as a detatched thing from its putative evidence base, and try to read it on its own merits? For me, it is hard to accept the validity of something that is based on false or misunderstood facts, even if I can see the logical or emotional scaffolding of it. That may well by my failing, but there is no use in pretending it isn't a real thing in how I read and respond.

I do not know the answer to this, but I am increasingly sure that whatever it is, it ISN'T "pipe up with stats and a link". It is just as inappropriate in a different way as making the conversation about my straight white lady feels or 'pinions. Sit down, shut up, and work through it in the privacy of my own head needs to be the watchword.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tired and bored with myself

I am getting sick of this.

(This is post #21 in NaBloPoMo. 21 down, possibly 9 to go if I can be bothered)

Monday, November 20, 2017

The List

I am reaching PEAK LIST at the moment.

I am one of those people who doesn't necessarily function super well, or remember things, without a fairly detailed list to guide me. It is not a procedural document (I don't include instructions on how to do the things, or detail about them) - it's a mnemonic, but without it, things constantly slip through the cracks, and I find myself chronically underestimating how much I have left to do and how long it's going to take, and that's where the dread midnight working sessions come in. (Maaaaan, I hate those).

So I have made a pretty detailed list for the coming 7 days, and wow does it look horrific. My workload has edged above fulltime as projects enter critical stages and everyone tries to race the clock to beat end-of-year shutdowns (as my client base is universities and government, the summer lock-out is real and it causes immense pressure in November every. single. year.) Family commitments are high too, as is end of year stuff coming up. Never have I been gladder than today that I decided early on that this was not the year for me with NaNoWriMo - if THAT was on this list too, I would probably be in tears right now.

I am churning through my list - I made it three hours ago, and I do have some satisfying ticks already - but there is a long, long ways to go before I can take any rest or enjoy any reading / pop culture / creativity. As Frost puts it:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep.
(This is post 20 in NaBloPoMo. 20 down, 10 to go!)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Haiku for Sunday (Poem)

heat rises; sticky,
we hunch inside beyond the sun
summer is afoot.

(This is post #19 in NaBloPoMo. 19 down, 11 to go!)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Banana Tipping Point

 Every year in spring, there comes a week that I describe as the Banana Tipping Point. This is the first week where the heat, and more importantly humidity, gets too much for our fruit bowl bananas and they start to turn mushy long before they can be eaten.

I know we are at the banana tipping point when I can see 6+ brown spotty overripe bananas lurking below the apples and citrus, slowly but surely perfuming the air with the scent of almost-gone fruit. At this stage, the courses of action are really only two - throw them out, or bake them into something. (One of these choices must be made and implemented before fermentation, because that gets very mucky!)

So this morning, I was up first in my family and marched to the kitchen full of purpose to do something about Bananagate before the situation really slipped out of control.

I used up 5 overripe bananas and the rest of an almost empty tin of cocoa, 1.5 packets of gluten free SR flour and 2 cups of brown sugar, a hefty slug of vanilla, all my remaining eggs and a fair bit of milk, but at the end I have 24 good sized choc banana muffins, which have already provided treat breakfast and will do nicely for serving to guests and also for lunchbox snacks for the first half of next week. Being gluten free, thy won't be super edible after about Wednesday, but I am confident we can work our way through them before that!

I much prefer the baking solution rather than the chucking solution, if it is feasible to do it.

(This is post #18 in NaBloPoMo. 18 down, 12 to go!)