Becoming Who You Are

One of the reasons that Jordan Peterson (hail lobster!) is revolutionary (and shouldn’t be, in a sane society) is that he understands we don’t live from good intentions and that words alone don’t change reality.

Yeah. Shouldn’t be. Because this is obvious. This is the wisdom of millennia, which is why most major religions encourage praxis (or require it) as well as faith and words. Faith love and charity, and while you might think of love as airy fairy fweeings you know d*mn well it’s supposed to be active love, showing love for others. (Agape, not eros.) And charity, well, its all action, if you’re doing it right.

But we got convinced, somehow — in my opinion by giving a disproportionate importance to academics and “very smart people” — that what you do doesn’t matter, and that words can change reality. The way popular perception ran off with quantum experiments didn’t help one wit.

It’s not that words have no influence. Jordan Peterson (HAIL Lobster) is right, in that you shouldn’t hang out with people who say words that demean and discourge you, and you should try not to do that to yourself too. But most of the words’ power is in our heads, not out int he real world. And we, ourselves, are a weird combination of body and brain, so that we’re susceptible to having our thoughts changed by words, but how much that changes our bodies varies, depending on how hard the change is and what it requires of you, and how well it meshes with the monkey body.

So, for instance, words can give you confidence before a bit trial, if they come from someone you respect. “You got this.”

If they come from you, it’s harder, because you know yourself too well to trust yourself. (Which honestly, just makes you normal.)

HOWEVER because you don’t trust yourself and you have a suspicion you’re just not right in the head or whatever, bad words from you can have a disproportionate strong effect, because of course you believe THOSE. I mean, you’re speaking against interest, so of course you believe it, right?

So, don’t tell yourself you’re a looser, or a no-goodnick, or that your diet is going to fail, or that your book is stupid. Because you’ll believe that and the back brain will direct actions accordingly.

In the same way, if you hang out withpeople who constantly undercut you, and if it’s repeated often enough, you’ll believe THEM and then sabotage yourself. So, don’t hang out with people who put you down. hang out with people who support you.

But that’s words influencing your brain which influences your actions.

However, what words can’t do is by themselves change the whole tenor of your character, because that’s habit as well as belief. They can’t change the laws of physics, so even if you believe you can fly, you’ll still splat. They can’t change biology, so if you’re sick and tell yourself you’re well, it ain’t gonna cure you. (TRUST me. The number of times I tried “mind over matter” and refused to go to the doctor. It doesn’t WORK.)

You’re also not going to change history by saying it wasn’t so. Yeah, sure, there was the occasional “person of color” in Europe in the middle ages. They tended to be treated somewhere between freaks and curiosities, but they were there, because people travel. That’s what people do. But they weren’t there, in any way shape or form in sufficient numbers to make a difference to history. Their very oddity cut them out of society. No matter how many obscure cases you find and keep insisting that the MASS of “people of color” was just suppressed, it ain’t gonna change history. It just wasn’t so. English people (and German people) thought people who could tan, like me or mine, as another race, and of black people as bizarre BECAUSE they weren’t used to them. There weren’t enough of them around. Therefore–

Exceptions don’t make the rule, and hunting exceptions doesn’t change history. And that goes double, with a dollop of pudding for Women Warriors, and the other cherished illusions you keep hoping to impose on reality by shouting and stomping your little hoofkins. That’s not how any of this works.

And you’re not going to change math by claiming it’s oppressive. You’re only going to make bridges fall and rockets blow up.

And — I must emphasize this — you’re most definitely not going to levitate the Denver Mint by the power of your mind.

So, push those out of your mind, and concentrate on what you can change, and part of what you can change — most of what you can change — is you.

To put it metaphorically, you can’t grow wings, but you can learn to fly planes. (Note YOU can. I have no desire to.) Or whatever it is you want to do.

And the genius of the commonplace that Peterson brings to bear is this: you change the words by changing the actions. And you start simple, and you form habits. (I have a book at my right hand about changing your habits to be better at producing words. I probably should you know read it, because the other thing that words can’t do is jump from the printed page into my head.)

And to change habits you start with small things.

Make your bed. Clean your room. If you can do it, and particularly if you can maintain it, you become someone who makes his bed (every day) and keeps his room clean, which since you see this place every day immediately makes you feel that you have SOME skills. And if you have some skills, there’s other things you can do (right?)

I mean, a person who makes his bed and cleans his room surely can extend that a little and take his meds on time. Make himself/herself healthy meals and eat them. And if you’re a person who can do all that, you can study for your exams and pass them. Or march your little butt out the door every morning, and look for a job till you find one. And certainly someone who can do all that, can also show up for work on time every day, and perform according to spec.

Next thing you know, you have a good job, are supporting yourself, have a family, and are a productive member of society instead of hunkering down in a corner working on your self esteem by telling yourself “but I’m really smart and I deserve!”

Because frankly, you know that you’re bullshit. A smart person wouldn’t need to say that.

A smart person does things.

Now, I’m not going to say any of this is easy. I’m trying to change my habits. I’m fighting the cursed book. I’m trying to re-establish a schedule which got nuked by moves and illness, but you know, we’re about to move again, and…. well. yeah. I fall. often. And I have days that are just flushed straight down the toilet.

That’s okay. Because it’s not what you are. If this were about who you are: “I’m good, I’m smart” then a bad day proves you’re not and ruins everything.

This is about becoming. That’s something you work at every day. And if you fall on your face, you dust yourself off and try again tomorrow.

At some point you’ll become someone who does whatever it is effortlessly. And then you can reach bigger roles. And if illness or whatever interrupts you, you work on becoming again.

Because what you do teaches you what you can be, and teaches you the self esteem that all the pointless praise can’t and won’t teach. (All it teaches is conceit.)

So, while I’m washing and drying clothes to pack, to go off for a week and try to find a landing place, you go forth and work on becoming what you want to be.

You might not be good enough to do what you want to — yet– but you can become good enough. If you build yourself into someone who can do that, one step at a time.

Now go do it.

Hail Lobster 😉

182 thoughts on “Becoming Who You Are

    1. A few years ago, my Fix Things project (which worked) was one of those stupid closet systems that put a shelf set and a shirt-level second hanger set in our bedroom closet.

      This weekend, because Things Changed, my Fix Things project was removing it.

      For folks who store a lot of stuff– there are these INCREDIBLY stupid looking hanger thingies that are a bar with hooks at each end, and notches, and the idea is you hang it up by both hooks, fill it, put hangers in the nothces, and then unhook one end so that you have like 10 things hanging from one mega-hook. Uses like a quarter of the original space. Look out for total load.

      But it meant that all our dress and “once a year if that” clothes are now piled SOLID in one corner of the rail, so we didn’t need a second rail, we could put the stuff on the shelf under those, and there’s now more room.

      Today’s “make stuff better” is tomorrows I got something better.”

  1. Lobster is King! I needed this post. Every day I am able to take my meds and make my meals. Sometimes make my bed. I’m having problems stretching it to other things. One centimeter at time.

    1. Hail Lobster! You inspire me, Cyn, because you do.not.quit. 18 years? Good night, I’d…. That’s not nothing!

  2. I’ll agree that building a new habit is hard. But from 50+ years of hard personal experience, I can tell you something that’s harder for some of us. And that’s shutting up that low-self-esteem voice from deep inside you that tells you that no, you ARE a loser, you ARE a no-goodnik, you ARE a grabastic piece of amphibian caca (to paraphrase the sainted R. Lee Ermey). It’s a long, hard, Passchendaele-type trench campaign of massive effort for tiny gain. So follow our sainted host’s advice while you’re young, folks, because it is good advice indeed. Don’t let that take hold in you. Do the small things and they will become bigger things. Win the small victories and they will become larger victories. If you let that voice take hold in you, it will be sheer hell trying to get it out later on.

      1. Yep, Sarah just said “I did a thing shuts that voice. Sometimes for a second. And then we keep going.”
        I’m repeating it ‘cause it’s worth hearing or reading twice: I did a thing shuts that voice. Sometimes for a second. And then we keep going.

        1. Got my first full PT session today. Last week was evaluation and homework. Touched up the homework (no major misses, and I got the 1-2 sessions per day in place). Added new exercises and practiced walking, as much without a limp as possible. (Cue John Cleese and the Ministry of Silly Walks.) Knee sore after the session, but the thersapist iced down the knee afterwards.

          I’ve done exercises for plantar fasciitis and sciatica. Both of those took 6 weeks for marked improvement. This one won’t be so quick, but what I did before helped, and what I’m doing now will help more. Ain’t gonna run a 100 meter olympic-grade sprint or dance like Fred Astaire, but couldn’t before. OTOH, resuming normal activity is doable. I did that thing. The voice is quiet for the while.

      2. Fantastic. Seems so easy when you write it out, Now the practice of it is an entirely different animal.
        I have heard that little d**m voice forever. One thing that always helped me came I think from a book by Trevanian, “Shibumi” I quote: Who should do the difficult things? He who can.” and frankly everyone who posts here can do the difficult things.

            1. Everything old is new again. You got rats on the west side, bedbugs uptown, what a mess, this town’s in tatters. Ive been shattered. My brains been battered all over Manhattan.

              Really, you should see the place, looks like Beirut on its way toward Mogadishu.

          1. I used to read it annually, religiously. I loved it.

            I still kick a Volvo if no one is looking.

              1. The copy I had before I moved for the hundred eleven millionth time and left it someplace was bound in rubber bands. Sometimes I’d be reading and it wouldn’t read right. I’d look down and see I’d gone from page “x” to page “x+10” instead of “x + 1.” then had to rustle through the stack to find the right page stack.

                One of the reasons reading is so deeply satisfying is this.

    1. I know that voice. I have to tell it to just be quite long enough to let me finish this thing that, yes, will probably be no good, but at least it will be finished.

    2. I agree, but I’m doing just what you’re talking about, at 61, and hell is mitigated by the joy that awaits me at the other side. It’s worth it.

      1. I keep trying to tell myself that because my rational mind knows it’s the truth. Some days I believe it, some days I don’t. 🙂

        1. Your brain has worked a lifetime to keep you safe. Self-Shame is a habit you can break if you work hard, and then it bubbles up in a crisis. But you’re still stronger and better able to reject the shame because you’ve practiced it.

          I’ve learned that my heart is the first one to consult–then I talk to my head and let it know all is well, it just needs to rest awhile.

          It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much. It’s just hard work.

          1. At 83 you look back at the time when you learned that you can survive almost anything. That was when I was leading a development project in Egypt where it was impossible to satisfy both the government of Egypt and the US government. In the end I was asked to resign. So there I was at 40 something, unemployed with 4 kids trying to live off of unemployment. Some how I came through it all and went on to do a lot of things, although eventually it did not work out with my ex. Still I put all four kids through college, remarried with one son who is now working on graduate degree in Chemical Engineering. I am still working, “So Life is Good.”

  3. Ooh, I recognize that sculpture. It’s at Shediac, a couple of hours’ drive from where I live.

    And speaking of beds, I finally got it together to change my sheets this week.

  4. [W]ords alone don’t change reality.

    They do if you’re a Mage!

    Or so I’m told. All others must apply elbow grease.

    1. According the Mages that I know, the words only guide the magic power that you put out.

      IE You’re going to be as tired as you would after physical labor.

      Of course, any changes to “reality” are very small and won’t last long (and any major change can result in a dead mage). 😉

      1. $SISTAUR is a witch (SHE calls HERSELF that, even if only jokingly. Wiccan, yes.) How serious she is aboutit *now*, I do not know. But I found it interesting to skim the texts she was reading when studying up on things. Generally they came across as VERY familiar… it was autosuggestion/self-hypnosis with a more hippy-dippy wrapper instead of a ‘clinical’ wrapper. One of the Big Tells was this Golden line, “You do not cast a spell to change the world. You cast a spell to change yourself.”

        1. Ah! But those people are not True Magic Users! 😉

          Of course, you have to go to Alternate Earths to find True Magic Users. 😀

    2. Mages have to put in the elbow grease in advance. Because, of course, if you use ordinary words, you can expect only ordinary results.

  5. What a timely post! I have been dawdling over “switching my closet” (from winter to warm) for the past month. Mind you, it’s been on the chilly side for the past couple of weeks, so that may be one of my my “myeh, later” factors. I am a horrible procrastinator, because…books! But I may have just found some motivation! Thank you 🙂

    1. I remember Mom telling Dad to quit procrastinating and change the snow tires already.

      That was the year we got 14″ of snow on Easter.

      Dad: “Good thing we’ve got snow tires on.”
      “No one listen to Zathras.”

  6. I should vacuum, and deal with the cat litter.

    Beds being made or not isn’t something I notice, but dust and chair hair mats get to me :/

  7. And do one thing at a time. Trying to do multiple things at one time simply does not work.

    1. At least with conscious attention. . . .

      The great way to joggle thoughts around into new configurations when I’m stuck is go for a walk.

  8. Clearing through a few no-longer-needed books. And typing up part of a blogpost on panic attacks… hoping to improvise the rest of it!

    (Because the panic, it is everywhere.)

    Fun bit of info: Finally found out that the shieling mentioned in a folktale about the boabhan sidhe may refer to a shepherd’s hut, but it can also refer to a rockshelter. And if those are legit gates to the Otherworld, then you can get fairies across the Atlantic….

  9. Feeling useless? MAKE something. Something useful. A template. A jig. An improvised tool. A fireplace grate with an upper rack to hold logs. A computer desk top that spans between two filing cabinets. Something that WOULD NOT EXIST, except you put raw materials and know-how together with tools.

    Our enemies don’t make anything. They spend all their efforts trying to make other people do things, most of which are stupid. They can’t understand why they don’t feel any satisfaction, so they try to make people do even stupider things.
    A good Zombie Apocalypse novel is at least as believable as anything we’ve heard out of the ‘Publick Health Authoriteez’ over the last year.

    1. Also: I watch people virtue signal about various worthy causes instead of just doing something in their local communities. I decided a while ago that rather than sharing whatever the people in my social feed rant and rave about I would do something around me to make the world a better place. I actually think a lot of social ills stem from this engaged-from-afar-but-not-in-reality behavior. Want to be a social justice warrior? Then work in your local food pantry or help build a house. Or get involved in your church or local government. Stop shouting into the wind and expect to make a difference. There’s no time like the present, and when you get busy doing something useful, you realize that you don’t have a lot of time to waste.

      1. And if someone does something good for you, then feel obligated to pay that back to someone else. I used to read stories of people who “made good” after a hard scrabble upbringing and then later in life they funded a community center or did something for others because they felt motivated to return some of the undeserved good fortune, to help lift someone else.

        1. If they worked hard for their ‘good fortune’ is was NOT undeserved.

          1. It’s a brain hack.

            “I am in a good place. I am not THAT good. THus, I should feel guilty… no, no! I should not feel guilty, I should try to pull other folks up where I am! Because I didn’t deserve the help I got–and if I can’t call it to mind, I was probably too freaked out at the time to notice anything but ‘didn’t die’– so pass it on!”

        2. Not really sure I can buy that.

          Nowadays the phrase , ‘I wanted to give something back to the community’, sits right up there with ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ as the scariest words in the English Language.

          1. “Are you actually doing anything to fix $PROBLEM?”
            “Hey, I’m raising awareness on Facebook!”

            — from some skit on Youtube I saw recently

          2. I grew up going to a Carnegie library, our town’s rec center is the bee’s knees, and Jack’s Place in Boise is pretty danged awesome.

            So I feel obligated to disagree with your assessment.
            If the donor has a goal besides self-aggrandizement, they can work wonders.

            1. Disagree? No problem.

              In my mind however doing the right thing at the right time & saying ‘I wanted to give something back to the community’ are two different kettles of fish.

              Nowadays just about every time I hear someone say I wanted to etc., they really only want a pat on the back.

            2. In the words of my generation– Carnegie thought that he owed a library to BFN rural town? #doubt

              That he thought he owed it as a matter of decency to try to pull folks up once he got out of the deep water?

              Yeah, that I believe.

      2. Sort of like Lurch John Kerry flying a private jet all over the world to bloviate about The Crisis Of Glowbull Wormening?

      3. But doing something is *HARD,* just shouting about it on CrapBook and Twitheads is easier!

        And these are the same people who rant against the “thoughts and prayers” people after a disaster / shooting / whatever. Although I’d bet a fair number of the “thoughts and prayers” crowd IS doing something at the local level, or would be walking up to the aid workers asking what they can do to help instead of “come help me come help me.”

  10. Bed gets made daily; dishes get done and sink gets the “shine” treatment; litter box gets cleaned daily, when I can; I’m still trying on a lot of other things. I still need to declutter a lot, I still need to sweep, I need to get trash gathered and out, and I need to straighten…well, most of my house.

    However. I finished an edit, and then I finished two short stories, all this week. (I still have two more stories to finish, though…and the kids are out of school as of next Friday). I did a thing. Shut up, brain.

    1. The only thing worse than washing the dishes late at night is facing them in the morning.

      1. Sink is empty when I get to the kitchen; whether dishes are done after supper the night before or after breakfast dishes are added the next morning depends entirely upon how many are in the dishwasher when I clean the sink before I head for bed.

        1. The rule here is… I can put the current dishes into the sink, but I can’t add more dishes until I do the ones that are already there. (Normally this might be a bowl, a plate, and a spoon.) Prevents ’em from piling up and performing biology experiments in the bottom layer.

    2. You, in fact, did many things. And I would suggest adding new things one at a time. When you reach the point where you can no longer do all the things, accept that today it didn’t work, but maybe, tomorrow, if you do it in a different way, it might work better. Don’t let an initial failure be a permanent failure.

      Which I know is totally easy to say and much, much harder to do when that little voice starts harping at you.

      1. Yup. First thing was keeping my sink empty, per the FlyLady. Her system *does* work–and it works because it relies on building routines and habits.

  11. “This is about becoming. That’s something you work at every day. And if you fall on your face, you dust yourself off and try again tomorrow.”

    This line finally brought the tears that this post produced. Good tears, earned with a lot of effort.

    No matter what you find in your head, no matter what you see ahead, or around you, sing out loud! In your voice! Craft your life no matter how old you are and no matter that everything feels like you’ve fallen through the Looking Glass and the Queen of Hearts’ flamingoes are after you.

    Go! With everything you have. Make it beautiful. Make it yours. Even just shaking out the welcome mat “is not nothing”.

    Hail, Lobster!

    1. Well said. Reminds me of Gideon, being told simply “Go in the strength you have”
      Most of the time just getting started is the most difficult. Have book titled “54321” She posits that the start is what is important and if we think about it longer than 5 seconds we do not get started. So she says recite out loud if necessary 5 4 3 2 1 like a rocket launch and the rule is you have to start the task before you get to 5. I use is to get out of bed sometimes after a double shift and then 4 hours and open. Works every time.

      1. Yes! I use some of the same techniques when starting something: hiking comes to mind. The first mile is always the worst and I wonder why I ever wanted to come outside in the first place. After that? Pure joy.

        You’ve heard the Mark Twain phrase “If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it too long.”

      1. That was me yesterday. Was behind a semi when some fool drifted across the yellow and slammed into it. The fool’s front tire bounced between me and the Semi…

        The fool is currently up for ‘luckiest bastard’ award. He crawled out of the window of his demolished SUV in one piece with no visible injuries. Much vehicular damage (fool and semi), but no serious injuries.

        There were at least 3 of us calling it both a miracle and an ‘I won’.

  12. Very Very Off Topic on the “Born Free” label at the top.

    Sometime after the “Born Free” Movie, some wise-crackers were singing “Born Free, My Uncle’s a Doctor”. [Very Very Big Crazy Grin While Flying Away Very Very Fast]

  13. speaking of falling bridges…
    Two months my hind leg. One of the main chords on a suspension bridge snaps, and right at the joint, telling us that not only is the bridge unsafe now, if it breaks there at the point of least flexion (if that is the correct term) then every single frickin’ joint on the bridge is now suspect. They say the wait to cross on the older original bridge is pushing three hours now.

    1. And I was making sure the comma key on my PC was still in working order there. I guess being chronic Asthmatic I type like I breathe.

    2. More serious for the economy than the bridge closure is the fact that the Coast Guard also closed the river. It isn’t clear what criteria they will use to decide that barge traffic can resume under it.

      1. You are very correct there. If trucks are slowed down JR might have to wait an extra day for his PS5. With the river closed the bulk materials to power it (think Coal) aren’t getting to where they are needed. I looked at the break, and looked up some stuff on the design. that chord is supposed to be under tension. SO… the three remaining ones are now doing the work of four. not too good.

    3. And I keep seeing “But the Republicans won’t pass the infrastructure bill!”

      And I sez to myself, sez I: “I haven’t read that bill. Have you? Do you know what they’re voting against? Is it actually infrastructure, or is it 90% fluff projects and 10% bridges and highways?”

      And then I see, in the very same comments section, that daycares are, in fact, necessary infrastructure, that needs to be covered by this bill.

      And there aren’t enough facepalms in the world.

      1. You’re an optimist! I heard somewhere it’s like 6% bridges and highways.

        All of which would disappear into crony partners’ bank accounts, with very little actually going into the project (which of course can be dragged out until all the money is spent, along with all the cost overrun appropriations they can get away with).

        1. With the labor mandates included in the bill, no bridges, roads, etc., would be built or repaired at all, as all of the money would go to union bosses for political activity. The purpose of the bill is to turn the national treasury into a private piggy bank for the Democratic Party

          1. Good point about union bosses and of course we know where that money goes to…

            Just took the Dems a bit to catch up with “once the people learn that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury…”

        1. Like Obama earlier, the Biden regime desperately wants to avoid creating jobs for burly men.

    4. Considering the offset to either side of the fracture (crack, my ass) … looks like Part A and Part B are fundamentally out of alignment, implying unbalanced stress somewhere. Yeah, I’d be doing detailed inspections on the whole durn bridge… and not just the joints.

      [goes off, looks it up] Completed 1973, so predates Shit Chinese Steel, at least. (Not that same would have lasted *this* long.)

      It must be Bridges Behaving Badly Week:
      (wherebelow I bitch at length about Shit Chinese Steel)

        1. Cool, thanks. Yeah, they’re saying pretty much what I was thinking, even without owning an engineer’s hat.

        2. I saw the picture of the fracture and I promptly needed another drink.

          Jaysus, mate, I’m permanently (mildly) freaked out by bridges as it is.

      1. At least they are not doing construction on the bridge and piling the paving material on the road deck.

        That or the Mississippi is working its way up the numbers from I-35…

    5. The West Seattle Bridge — one of Seattle’s major bridges — was shut down last May, due to widening cracks in the concrete — cracks they’ve known about for years but just never thought to do anything about, apparently.

      The city has no idea when they’ll be able to fix it, or by what method (rebuild as is, repair, redesign, tunnel, etc.). And then the Seattle Times the other day reported that our most recent car tab fee that was intended to go to roads and bridges has been diverted by the City Council to “other priorities”.

      Meanwhile about 30,000 people have to get in and out of West Seattle by a dinky two-lane-each-way drawbridge.

  14. … what you do doesn’t matter, and that words can change reality.

    Don’t tell me words don’t matter.

    I have a dream – Just words?

    We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal – Just words?

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself – Just words? Just speeches?

    It’s true that speeches don’t solve all problems.

    But what is also true is that if we can’t inspire our country to believe again, then it doesn’t matter how many policies and plans we have, and that is why I’m running for president of the United States of America.

    And that’s why we just won 8 elections straight because the American people want to believe in change again.

    Don’t tell me words don’t matter!

    Well, of course, couldn’t nobody tell the Light Worker words he didn’t want to hear, so we had to take action, din’t we?

    And we’re learning that words don’t win elections, fixed vote counts do.

    1. You *know* that words matter because the first thing these tools of hell do is take away your language: your words. And force you to say words you both know are lies.

      It is all cut from the same cloth. Including the foolishness of Magic Words that Control Reality.

      No, just people: an inedible slave chain for their spirit.

      1. As a mildly magical non-human: objection!

        (objections can be over-ruled with a generous offering of strong, ehm, tea. Very strong tea)

  15. Very timely.

    I was doing very well. I’d gotten my new bookshelves put together. I’d bought extra lengths of wood because the cases didn’t come with nearly enough shelves (it’s like they think no one has more than a dozen books or something). I’d sanded the sawn edges to prevent splinters and begun staining the oak boards to match the shelving units. I’d put all that on pause to crank out a lovely little crochet baby blankie for my housemate to take to her sister’s baby shower this weekend … and for the last two days I’ve done nothing.

    This is an enormous lie, but that is what the little voice is telling me.

    I have put in at least 8 hours a day at the day job. I have gotten up on time and gotten properly dressed, even if I’m just sitting at a table in my upstairs living room (trying to set a good example for the nephews who have transitioned to full time independent study). I have continued to go up and down the stairs even though I have managed to half maim myself with some sort of tendon injury to my right knee (my crazy great aunt’s iron-shod cane has seriously come in handy). I have been letting my right hand/arm recover from the manic crochet and staining so that I don’t actually maim myself in some permanent fashion …

    And then I will finish staining the shelves and get all my books out of storage so we have more room in the garage to actually store things that belong in the garage. I will measure my closet walls so I can put up shelving to hold all my crafting stuff (acquiring crafting supplies and actually using them are two different hobbies). And will generally continue living my life a little better each day as best I can.

    That is all any of us can do.

    1. This is an enormous lie, but that is what the little voice is telling me.

      No no no; you just don’t understand the True Wisdom of the Voice:

      1. Take the list of all possible tasks across all time across all individuals across all worlds.

      2. Take the list of things you accomplished.

      3. Take the percentage of the first list that the second one represents.

      4. See? It doesn’t even qualify as a rounding error!


      1. *howls*

        Oh my gosh, this is more funny because there’s an anime about it– named something like “I wished to be average!”– where the character is literally average in abilities.

        …pure average. 1 is a newborn kitten, 100 is bazillion year old dragon who has been power leveling the whole time.
        You’re 50.

        *big grin*

    2. and for the last two days I’ve done nothing.

      Gah, know that dog!

      This is what “Adulting” jokes are good for– I chat with folks with like “look, I’m adulting!” jokes, and it reminds me that yes, I did in fact wash the carpet.. YEs, I did This. Yes, I did That.

      I Are Doing.

  16. People of color in medieval Europe; When I hit that thought in the essay I went and searched for European people history, images. Even with DuckDuckGo roughly 40 of the first 65 images depicted Negros. I guess that’s improvement, approaching reality, when I first did the as a google search 6-10-(15?) years ago perhaps 60 of the first 65 were Negro.

    1. There was a video game that came out a while back -Kingdom Come: Deliverance – set in Medieval Hungary. The in-game setting was authentic enough that many of the characters in the game were based on real life people.

      It got attacked because everyone in the game is white.

    2. One big help is realizing after its over that you did not, in fact, die or go mad. Which means if (when) you have another you know in advance you aren’t going to die or go mad. (Obviously not for this post. WordPress delenda est!)

    3. There is a lady of African descent (and I do mean, “Lady,”) in the SCA who’s persona is English Tudor and she has the wardrobe to prove it. And the serious costuming skill. I bet Mistress Isabella has VERY firm opinions on the current, “‘Master,'” has connotations of slavery, maybe we shouldn’t use the term any longer,” debate.

  17. So, while I’m washing and drying clothes to pack, to go off for a week …

    ???????????? You gonna put this blog on hiatus and focus on your finding? I PROMISE we’ll be good* little huns and hunettes!

    *for certain values of good, does not apply in all states of being, offer good one week only, behaviour in rear view mirror may seem better than actually occurred.

    1. *snort of derision* Leave us unsupervised for a week? Wasn’t that how we ended up with the brontosaur BBQ, which required building a new BBQ rig, which led to . . . and culminated in Jeff having to reset the coffee maker again after it started coughing out Hungarian plum brandy?

      1. Remember that even the Princess understands the need to keep Fluffy happy.

        Besides, it was good BBQ.

    2. *derisive feline snort* Leave us unsupervised for a week? Wasn’t that how we ended up with the brontosaur BBQ, which required the new BBQ rig, which led to the visit from the Fire Marshal and Sheriff, and [long sequence of Interesting Events], culminating in Jeff having to reset the coffee maker after it started coughing out Hungarian plum schnapps? I mean, granted, we’ve moved the other-other door to Hunquarters to a different county, but still, an entire week unchaperoned?!?

      1. I’m going to be too busy to get into much trouble for part of it, if we are talking seven days starting tomorrow.

        So, I’ve already scheduled a shipment of solid fueled rockets for after that part, to cut open and use for barbecue.

        Slightly more seriously, I do have a guest post on my to do list. I’ve actually made myself agree to leave out the obnoxious trolling, and references to my heterodox foreign policy views.

          1. In all seriousness, the horrible mistakes should be pretty distinctive.

            (Things have been a ride. Did some analysis on a disappointing personal project, and it feels like I’ve used an endoscope on some of my personal failings. I was going to joke about it, but I’m tired enough that so an earnest answer is raising my spirits a bunch.)

        1. We are taking off on Sunday morning. First week we have one destination, but when we leave Sat, May 22, we will be seeing what happens. Don’t know how much I’ll be online. We are not camping, using Vrbo and hotels, but don’t expect to be using the wireless, much.

          Sarah, good luck hunting (house).

      1. “The blog will go up.” Ooooohhhhh boy. Time to see if the bunker’s been restocked recently, because I remember stories about what happened the LAST time the blog went up. According to witnesses, it was seriously EPIC, in a glowy blast field sort of way.

      2. Hours might be eccentric …

        As opposed to the contents and commenters?

  18. Hail Lobster!

    So apropos of nothing, I think I mentioned that I recently lost out on buying a property in rural Mason County (west of Seattle). Instead of moping around and waiting for another place to pop up on Redfin*, as a total longshot (and with the approval of my real estate agent) I wrote to a bunch of owners of undeveloped lots in the area to see if they wanted to sell for what I offered on the other place, and by golly it paid off! Five acres of woods, baby! (Also pretty flat and not swampy.)

    To be sure, it’s in a neighborhood of 5-acre lots, where 34 out of 47 have houses on them, and about 3/4 of those are full-time residences, so it’s not exactly pristine solitude. But it’s well outside of rioting/starving mob range, and it’s even outside the Little Kim Nukes Bremerton For Fun And Profit damage radius (Chinese nuke not so much).

    * (thus matching the OP theme)

    1. I know others who have gone the same route and found some good deals. Congrats!

      1. Thank you! I can’t relocate for another six years due to shared custody of the daughter unit, but the plan is:

        1. clear a driveway and a clearing so we can go car camping
        2. build a shed or install a shipping container to store emergency supplies in a bugout situation
        3. build a garage with an attached/lofted studio living space
        4. build a two-bedroom house as a vacation home
        5. move in permanently

        Each step to be accomplished as budget allows, and as the likelihood of my wanting to stay in Seattle decreases (assuming no attacks of sanity on the part of city government). Step 2 in particular was the impetus: if The Big One hits and my house falls off its foundation, I want somewhere to flee to that’s not a FEMA concentration refugee camp.

        1. I think the Seattle government has become utterly impervious to sanity by now. Sanity couldn’t break in with a sledgehammer.

          Your list reminds me of something Larry Correia said about building his Eeevul Mountain Lair: “I didn’t just build a house on an empty lot. I had to spend two years building the empty lot first.”

          1. Well, I’m not ruling out a coup de cité. I mean, I have six years, the horse could learn to sing.

            1. Your plans remind me of childhood friend of hubby’s and someone else I worked with. Also acreage. Also built piecemeal. Difference? The insulated garage/shop with bathroom was built, and they family moved in. Five years later, the house was built, and they moved out of the garage into the house, him, wife and two girls. I don’t know why the coworker took so long, he didn’t say when he mentioned it. Same thing happened with hubby’s childhood friend. Difference? They got the garage done, were starting on the house, when their infant daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. With medical expenses, they had to move into the insulated garage/shop, with bathroom. After 4 years of treatment she went into remission and has stayed there now for 35 years. They were able to finish the house and move the 5 of them into it (him, wife, two boys, and the daughter).

              We know someone now who bought 10 acres back and beyond out of Monroe (Benton County Oregon). He too has put in the orchard, then built a garage, with an apartment with a huge deck, over the garage. That is where they live, until he gets around to building the house. Don’t know what he does for day to day pay. I just know for play he plays golf, and is a pyrotechnic, who puts on professional displays for various venues (for pay, naturally), ending in mid July with his own party of brilliant pyrotechnic display. With left over fireworks from what he got paid for AND the confiscated illegal fireworks throughout the state (started with Benton, then Lane, counties, I guess it has ballooned from there). Honestly I don’t know how fireworks get confiscated because our neighbors shoot off a lot of illegal fireworks leading up to the 4th, on the 4th, and New Years Eve. We might have been a tad guilty ourselves back in the day when the kid was little enough to get a kick out seeing them go up, and even helping set them off. In our area makes a little more sense as we aren’t that far from the Rodeo grounds, at least on the rodeo days around the 4th, as just wait until the rodeo starts their fireworks display, and join in the fun.

    2. Dude well done! WELL DONE. I don’t quit! I continue!

      Chances are good that these neighbors will be more liberty-minded than the West Seattle crowd.

    3. Good luck!

      My bias, of course, as a refugee, is that you get out– but that totally ignores your reasons for staying. 😀

      And we’ll be praying for you.

  19. Babylon Bee proving again that it is “the newspaper of record” to borrow a phrase:

  20. So I finished up a scene setting for a calibration minigame for the fangame idea I’d had. Posted it here;

    I’m realizing I’m getting ahead of my skis on that, so going to back up a bit and focus on how I want the game character to move, and leave the story notes alone. The thing I realized is, I may not even be able to use those for calibration: depending on how often the gyros may need to be calibrated, it could easily turn into an annoyance, rather than fun character vignettes. I think I still want to try and make them, anyways, but after I’ve tried getting the core movement going.

    It’s a bit nerve wracking posting stories….

  21. What the hell is it with the ubiquitous misspelling of “lose” as “loose,” “loser” as “looser,” etc? It’s bizarre how frequently I come across that error, usually amidst writing that otherwise is free of such error. You’re a professional writer for chrissake! What gives?

    1. Sarah is NOT Paid for These posts so She doesn’t proof-read them like she does for her For-Pay-Work and/or Stories To Be Sold. 😡

      1. It’s still bizarre to me just how common that error is. I’m not seeing any other spelling errors in Sarah’s post. Why this? And don’t get me started on the misuse of the apostrophe…

        1. Well, it is Bizarre to me why somebody would apparently on their first post in a Blog Nit-Pick the owner of the Blog’s posts.

          1. Hypothetically, if someone was being a drive by troll for no good reason, and wasn’t competent enough to tie down attention and evoke emotional responses, they might be pretty proud of themselves for trying to count coup using grammatical issues.

        2. Our esteemed hostess frequently makes typos. (She’s human, and Engish is not her first language. I don’t even have that excuse.) And sometimes her typos are excellent, and make the point even better than what she actually intended to say.

        3. Dear bobblehead,
          a) because it’s a sound that’s similar, and my ears confuse it, and I’m typing too fast to think.
          b) Yes, it annoys the crap out of me that I’ve caught grocer’s apostrophe EVEN when typing off the cuff. That PERSONALLY annoys me. The only thing I can tell you is it’s because it’s so ubiquitous that it’s taken over my subconscious, and without checking, it just happens.
          c) I USED to teach English at college level. YES I know the grammar. You try typing 2k words an hour, and see how many sound-alike mistakes you make.
          I CHALLENGE you to do that and then tell me that you had fewer typos.
          And if you want me to proof read before posting, again: 10c a word. PAY ME. I have bills to pay and cats to feed.
          If you’re not willing to pay me, I shall continue doing as I do. You’re free not to read.
          Grammar bullshit — declined.

        4. Word processors typically “anticipate” certain typing patterns, notably repeating certain letters – mostly the vowels. Even old-fashioned electric typewriters had this tendency, so it is no real surprise that some keys will repeat their strokes with just a little excess pressure.

        5. If grammar errors feel “bizarre” to the extent you have to point them out, you might want to step back and go outside for some fresh air.

          I’m obsessive on grammar, and possessives. And you need to give this blog a pass on all that. The content is gold. Our hostess is unique.

          1. If grammar errors feel “bizarre” to the extent you have to point them out, you might want to step back and go outside for some fresh air.


    2. Yes, yes, I am a professional writer. You know what that means? I GET PAID FOR THE WRITING I DO PROFESSIONALLY. I not only don’t get paid for these (well, sure, people do send me donations, but I’m paid about $2 per post) but I type them in early morning, or late night, normally without coffee.
      The typos you’re complaining about? They come about from typing really fast. Turns out neurologically, you type using your auditory memory. Think of it as my fingers taking dictation from my ears. And my fingers have varying modes of awake that early.
      So, why not proof read, don’t I have pride?
      Yes, I do have pride. And my pride says that if I’m going to go through that much trouble, I’d best BE PAID.
      Or, you know, be given the money to give someone to proofread.
      While I FEEL for you that the free ice cream isn’t the BEST cream, I don’t feel the need to comply.
      Because you know what? I have novels I need to finish. (And comic scripts, and short stories) for which I get paid an average of 10c a word. I need to have some time for those.
      You want the same level of care for these? PAY ME.

  22. Actually… The image of a black African knight, either Roman-era or Arthurian-era, was extremely popular in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands for centuries. St. Maurice/Moritz/Mauritius was associated with the Holy Roman Empire and large chunks of the Frankish/Germanic world.

    It could be argued that a lot of the racism against Africans in Germanic countries in the Early Modern period is closely associated with anti-nobility or anti-royalty feelings. (I mean, probably not, but it’s interesting.)

    Amusingly, there’s a subset of the We Wuz Kangz conspiracy theory that takes every representation of St. Maurice as evidence that European nobility was exclusively black until about AD 1400.

    1. It has been log since I read in the genre, but it seems to me that one of Charlemagne’s paladins (or perhaps a companion of one paladin) was a Saracen Knight (in fact, it seems likely that’s where I first met the word Saracen.)

      So perhaps that’s a common trope, like pizza delivery guys and sexually rambunctious gals in certain film genres?

      1. I know there was one such in Le Morte D’ Arthur and earlier:

        “Palamedes /pæləˈmiːdiːz/ (also called Palomides /pæləˈmaɪdiːz/, or some other variant) is a Knight of the Round Table in the Arthurian legend. He is a Saracen pagan who converts to Christianity later in his life, and his unrequited love for Iseult brings him into frequent conflict with Tristan. Palamedes’ father is King Esclabor. His brothers, Safir and Segwarides, also join the Round Table.”

      2. The problem is what does “Saracen” mean?

        Saracen can refer to Arabs who aren’t Blacks (Africans south of the Sahara).

        The term “Moor” is also an interesting term and originally didn’t refer to a Black (African south of the Sahara).

        Note, the Saracen you mentioned was a character in Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts And Three Lions but was never described as Black.

          1. While the wiki description does point as him being Black, I still have to wonder where Sarah’s “tans well” ends and Black began for people in the medieval time period. 😉

            1. He wasn’t speaking whatever Ebonics is called this week, and he wasn’t a dependable dem, so he wasn’t REALLY black anyways. 😀


            2. There are illuminated manuscripts where the blacks are clearly black. As in, use the India ink. (Mind you, still blue-eyed blonds, some of the time.)

        1. It sort of calls to mind the nonsense some thirty, forty years ago when people were arguing Moses Black because he was accepted into the Egyptian Royal Household and they were presumed Black because reasons.

          Let’s face it: logic and evidence are not strong points with these folks.

    2. OTOH, we have Feirefiz, Percival’s half-black half-brother. He’s piebald. (White father, black mother, white-and-black son. . . )

  23. I’ve been working on myself for 77.5 years. I worked my way out of 33 holes in the ground, and now, here I am in my basement. It has a window to the outside, which the aforesaid holes DIDN’T.
    Yes, I was a mole man for the USAF.

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