I even have a whole new category for it.
Here is something I need to say out loud:
When I do something that’s crazy, because I know it’s crazy, even though I don’t really feel like doing it, so that I can feel just that little bit more validated about how crazy I am, I am doing it because I’m crazy.
When I avoid doing something that’s crazy, because I know it’s crazy, even though I really really feel like doing it, so I can feel just that little bit less like I’m a freak who doesn’t deserve to live, I am avoiding it because I’m crazy.
They’re the same action. What matters is not whether I’m walking north or south on the road; what matters is that I’m on the road, and walking. And what I need to do isn’t head further south, or head further north, or (and this is much easier to do with your brain than with your feet) both at the same time; what I need to do is get off the fucking road.
Here is the blog that helped me to realize this crucial fact:
It is called Fugitivus, and although I can’t say I’ve enjoyed reading it, I recommend it wholeheartedly.
I haven’t forgotten about my last post, masterpiece of halfassery that it was. I’m just trying to figure out how to rewrite it so that someone might someday be inclined to follow its links.
I’ve just barely caught the fringe of this, but apparently a blog about foul child-torturing quackery is getting kicked off WordPress at the behest of foul child-torturing quacks. I should probably be asleep right now, and I’m going to be offline for at least a few days directly after posting this, but I thought I’d give this issue a little more air just in case. Their new site is here.
I apologize for how utterly half-assed this post is.
Goddamn but I’ve been busy lately.
I’m not ordering the list, so if you want to check my compliance with the rules, you’ll have to count the damn things yourself.
- Let’s start with one I just finished reading: the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. Technically, this is four books. I don’t give a fuck. If you want, you can just take the last one, because it got into my head the hardest: The Rise of Endymion.
- There is no way I could ever make a list like this without talking about Robert Heinlein. Dude was fucked up, but he made a big impression on my growing hexagonal mind back when I was about ten or twelve years old. I’m thinking specifically of Red Planet…
- …and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress…
- …and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. I am kind of ashamed of this one, but shit, it could’ve been worse.
- Terry Goodkind, specifically, is how it could’ve been worse. His Sword of Truth series sunk its hooks into my brain when I was too young to understand its many, many flaws, and left me with a lasting fondness for aggressive women in leather. That probably wasn’t something you needed to know. Wizard’s First Rule is the first book in the series and the one I will most readily admit to having enjoyed.
- What else, what else, what the fuck else? It’s been about five minutes, by the way. I’m going to turn around and look at my bookshelf and see what strikes my eye. Oh, hey, Steven Brust! The Book of Jhereg is another one that got under my skin in the best way possible. It is actually three books, but they’re bound in a single volume, so fuck it.
- I’ve gotten rid of about 98% of my Mercedes Lackey books, but I used to read them voraciously when I was about thirteen. I was a weird kid, okay? Let’s throw another trilogy on here: The Last Herald-Mage, specifically the first book, whose title I can’t recall at the moment. In the unlikely event that anyone reading this actually knows what it was about, shhhhhhh.
- There is no way on Earth I could make a list like this and not fill about half of it with Roald Dahl. When my age was in the single digits and I was very impressed with myself for being able to read books that hardly had any pictures in them, I lived in a world of Dahl. Boy, or whatever the one about his own childhood was called, stuck with me particularly hard. There were others, though.
- Namely, The Witches. I reread that book so many times I still remember offhand that the witches’ eyes were described as being like little flames burning at the heart of ice cubes. (If that reference ends up wrong, I’m gonna look like a dumbass, but that’s not news.)
- The Wonderful Tale of Henry Sugar, or possibly some other adjective that is vaguely synonymous with Wonderful, also features on this list.
- Matilda. This is the only book about which I’m willing to say that the film adaptation was easily just as good.
- You thought I was done with Dahl, didn’t you? Think again. George’s Marvelous Medicine taught a tiny hexagon what not to do when your parents leave the house.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox (wow, old Roald liked his intensifiers) was so good I’m going to track down a copy and read it again. Just because I can.
- I’m running out of time; I think it’s closer to twenty minutes than fifteen. Obviously I have not yet learned how to shut the hell up. Let’s go even younger, to that Dr. Seuss book, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew. Did I get the title right? Whatever. It’s the gripping plotline that shines in my memory.
- Doing a total 180 from Nice Happy Childhood Stories (or, in Dahl’s case, Nice Slightly Twisted Childhood Stories), I give you 1984 by George “did you seriously need me to tell you his fucking name? Seriously?” Orwell.
I sure as shit hope there wasn’t a rule about not blathering on. I can’t talk books without blather. It’s a law of nature, kind of like gravity.
Now all I have to figure out is how in the name of fuck I managed to write that whole damned list without featuring a single Pratchett.
I seem to have brushed up against the edges of an ongoing blogosphere argument about… uh, honestly I’m not sure. I got there through a post about name-calling, which looks to be in response to posts about the compatibility of religion and science. I dunno. I’m still working my way through all the links to links of links of et cetera.
Somewhere in there, some people said some things about education and how to teach kids and/or people in general to think scientifically (as opposed to thinking in other ways that don’t work as well for interacting with reality).
I’m probably not the first person to say this, but I am absolutely the first person to back up the assertion with this particular anecdote.
You ready? Here goes:
It does not fucking matter what you teach. What matters is how you teach it. And you have to teach something; trying to directly impart a methodology of thought just doesn’t work.
See, when I was a wee little hexagon, my father taught me to think like a scientist with one word: Speculate.
This was his first answer whenever I asked any kind of question about the world around me. After I had either given a halting, incomplete, childish explanation or just told him I had no earthly clue, he would spell out his personal theory and explain what facts led him to that conclusion. As I grew up, the complexity of the eventual explanations increased, but the basic formula stayed the same: first, you encourage the kid to come up with some kind of answer to the question. Then, you answer it yourself.
And what exactly did this method teach me? It taught me to automatically answer my own questions about the world. Furthermore, it taught me to answer them in roughly the format that Dad kept using, i.e. with conclusions drawn based on observed evidence and applied reasoning.
I therefore conclude that the way you teach kids to think like scientists— maybe not the only way, but a damn good one— is by example.
But shit, if it’s pride week for us crazy folks, I may as well come out of the attic.
I have clinical depression.
Please be warned that I’m going to discuss my illness in some detail here. If you have triggers relating to suicidal thoughts, this post is not for you. Read with caution. Thank you.
Last post, I expressed a plan to make another post today detailing my responses to questions asked of me at Male Chauvinist Woman’s blog. In light of my recent discovery that she has banned me from that lofty venue, I’m certainly not going to be able to answer them any other way.
Once again, please be warned that there is discussion of rape both in this post and in many of the posts I link to throughout. Read with caution.
First, I’ll give you all a peek at the response I left for her on the post where she notified me of the ban.
And people who moderate comments on their blogs and don’t bother reading posts that disagree with them (but do bother mocking them anyway) are still declining to approve comments that clearly demonstrate how full of shit they are.
Please be warned that in many of the above links, and in this post, there is some discussion of rape.
For the record, here’s the full text (well, nearly)* of the latest comment I fired off into the void over at Male Chauvinist Woman’s blog, which still hasn’t appeared there so far.
Update: Well, shit on me. Apparently I’ve been banned from this model citizen’s blog for endangering women. No wonder my comment didn’t show up.
I’ve got some things to say about that, but they probably belong in that second post I said I’d make.