improperlyhuman: (Default)
Yet another vet benefit. A bunch of restaurants were giving out free meals for Veteran's Day yesterday. I wanted so badly to go the pizzeria because I knew that they have vegan pizza, but the pies they were giving out to vets weren't vegan :( The vet pies didn't even really have any veggies on them, so trying to veganize them by removing the flesh and bovine rape products would have yielded an empty pie. No goddamn veggies, that's SAD right there. Then I found out that the crust offered had chicken ova in it. Game over.

I probably could have gotten something vegan from Olive Garden, but I wasn't in the mood for pasta. That wet, glutinous texture—maybe I'll never be in the mood for pasta again.

I decided to go to Sizzler for dinner (for anyone who isn't familiar, it is a sit-down restaurant with a very SAD-oriented menu, specializing in huge slabs of flesh). I took a refreshing ride down to the south part of town (the ghetto part of town, which alarmed me a bit when I remembered it because it was after dark). I needed the exercise because I'd eaten too many bags of chickpea chips for lunch.

The vet special was slaughtered cow, slaughtered chicken, or slaughtered shrimp with one side dish and a drink. I'd hoped to get a plate full of veggies, but I could see that that wasn't in the cards. I asked if I could have just a side dish and the staff made a biggish deal about it. First, the person at the register went to ask someone if I could have just a side dish. Then she came back and said they couldn't give me that because she needed to ring up the whole meal. I asked her whether she couldn't ring up the whole meal and just leave the flesh off of the plate, and she said yes. Duh. Why's it such a big deal to give out /less/ food? That would save them time, effort, and money.

The person at the cash register gave me a weird look and asked me whether I'd already eaten. I said that I didn't eat meat. Finally, she gave me silverware and the receipt (which had errors on it), and I chose a table. My waitress came over shortly, cleared up the errors in short order (see what I did there), and my food was out shortly. I'd ordered the baked potato with chives (having overcome the urge to order fries). I don't usually have a drink other than water when I eat out, but I went with the raspberry tea (with the small hope that it would be unsweetened) since it came with the meal. The waitress also offered me the choice of cheese-something or a dinner roll; I chose the latter.

Of course the tea was too sweet (and there was waaayyyy too much of it). I took ten or less sips. I finished off my potato and dinner roll (hoping that it was vegan but knowing that it probably wasn't. The sheer number of foods to which people add unnecessary animal products is amazing.). After a bit of walking around the place half-blind (without my glasses, I mean), I found and used the bathroom, then left. On my way back to the shelter, I bought a delicious pumpkin pecan muffin ($2.99), which is made by a local vegan bakery. Vegan and gluten-free. Joy. The topping was a bit too sweet, though. I also paid two bucks for a jar of organic (and oil-free!) pizza sauce and $0.85 for some bulk spinach (the two of which will be added to some Afghan bread) for today's lunch and dinner (wannabe pizza).

Ok, I just had lunch. As I'd feared, the pizza sauce was too sweet.

Few anti-civ books are available in this library system. Day before yesterday, I finished reading /After Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure/. The book was too poetic for my taste. The most important thing I got from it was the idea that civilization doesn't have to end altogether, that Earth could handle a few of us being wasteful, pollutive, and resource-greedy, just not a lot of us. Connected to that is the idea that made the greatest effect upon me: that simply individually abandoning civilization is a helpful act. I have been focusing on how attached people are to civilization, and forgetting that many of them are also fed up with (not to mention literally sick of and dying from) a lot of it. Rather than trying to persuade them (which I never do anyhow, but should be prepared to do) with broad political arguments, ecological arguments, or arguments about the Asian wage slaves who make our cheap crap, what about appealing to concerns closer to home?

As I thought about how our individually abandoning civilization could affect any significant change, I thought about all the people who are fed up with working for others. Could that eventually drive them to walk away from civ? The more jobs that are abandoned, the less able civ is to continue, existing, as it does, on the backs of workers.

The author spends a lot of the book discussing more modern tribal forms (in fact, that's the "next great adventure" to which the author suggests we escape), such as the circus. These created tribes (which contrast with tribes into which members are born, ethnic tribes) will remove whole groups of people from civilization at once. This tribal formation is another way in which the individual abandonment can snowball into a greater effect.

Damn, I'm sleepy all of a sudden.

I just changed floors because the trashy homeless (as contrasted with us non-trashy homeless) have made the library's top floor their own little space. It seems that security doesn't often venture that far up the stairs, and the trashy homeless have whole conversations and play music loudly up there.

When I left, someone was snoring.

Hope this blog post continues to be coherent.

I also recently finished reading /Acting White: The History of A Slur/. Poorly composed, badly in need of an editor, and too long, this book also had just one or two impressive ideas (modern non-fiction is rarely edifying). Although the author traces the origin of the "acting white" accusation back to /Uncle Tom's Cabin/, he also marks the rise of the Black Panther Party and its promotion of racial pride as a major turning point, the point at which racial group membership became a more important identity than individual identity. It has always puzzled me why ADOAS seem to value racial group membership so much, so this explanation was very interesting to me.

improperlyhuman: (Default)
I really do not like being bad at stuff I care about. Like really don't like it. It eats at me. I cared about skateboarding and wanted to be good at it, but I never got good at it.

A large part of the reason I never got good at it was the danger. Street skating can easily lead to broken and sprained limbs. Every time I started to do a trick, my body reminded me that she didn't want to get sprained or broken, and she held me back from going all out. Rocking at skating without going all out, without risking injury, is very difficult.

Another part of the reason I never got good at street skating is my general lack of physical skill. I don't have the physical intelligence, was never good at doing things with my body. That's probably the primary reason; I probably wouldn't have been so scared to skate harder if I'd had more confidence in my physical abilities, and I could only have gotten true confidence from being good at physical activities.

Considering how easily skating can lead to injuries, it took me a while to begin to connect it with the medical industry. The connection was gradual and I can't remember when I started to make it. Maybe it started when I watched the street skating competition in which one of the competitors showed up with a busted arm. 'Skating despite a busted arm!' I thought. Part of me thought that was badass. Part of me thought it was kind of stupid.

I started thinking about myself continually trying to land tricks, knowing that I could injure myself. What would happen once I'd injured myself? I could simply go to the nearest hospital and get patched up. In fact, I wasn't even really concerned about the actual injury; it was the pain I feared. Which is interesting considering that the healing would last for much longer and be much more inconvenient than the pain.

In fact, if I hadn't been living a cushy first-world life, a broken or sprained limb would be extremely inconvenient. If I had to find my own food, fetch my own water, or secure my own housing, a broken or sprained limb would be a very big deal. If I had to deal with homelessness again, a broken or sprained limb would make it much more dangerous, if not impossible, to remain independent as far as I did. I relied on the normal functioning of my body to get to the grocery store (nearly every day), to make camp, and to avoid predators (men). 

But that's another connection; let's get back to the medical connection. So I saw that I was doing something dangerous, something that I would have been unlikely to do if I didn't have doctors, nurses, hospitals to rely on. Since I need my body in tip-top shape to take the best care of myself, I consider myself to have a sort of responsibility for my own health and safety. I was sort of shirking that responsibility, taking the availability of medical care for granted. Transferring responsibility to the medical industry. The same is probably true of everyone who engages in extreme sports.

I'm tired and struggling to articulate here, but I know that I have previously posted about what I called adolescentization: the falling back of adults to a state of lower self-responsibility that is possible because of the amenities of industrialized society. As I recall the term, the root (adolescent) does not seem appropriate, but I'll come back to that some other time.

I was a bit repulsed once I understood that I'd come to value my bodily integrity so little and so taken industrialized society for granted, become so wound up in its necrophilic mores. In contrast to the low value I placed on healthy limbs, I valued a dangerous and unnecessary activity just because it looked cool.

Part of being anti-civ is being psychologically prepared to do without stuff that can only exist within industrialized society. For this reason, and the reasons in the preceding paragraph, I decided I needed to get my head on straight. Having lost what little I had of the delicate mixture of courage and stupidity necessary to pwn at street skating, I wasn't really skating much at that point, but I was still feeling little pangs of failure and its attendant frustration at times. Getting my head on straight meant the end of that sense of failure and frustration.

I used to feel frustrated about my fear of tasting concrete, but I told myself that fear of pain is a good thing, a thing that helps us stay safe. Frustration with one's own self-preservation instincts is just about the most pointless, potentially self-destructive thing evar.

I don't totally not give a damn at all about being a failed skater. I just give way less of a damn, like so little that it doesn't even count.

I went to the Japanese grocery store today. I was a bit disappointed. I'd thought they had more stuff, especially more good kinds of noodles. By "good" kinds of noodles, I mean healthier stuff. They just had a zillion kinds of the equivalent of top ramen: full of sodium and MSG. And I didn't find any unambiguously vegan sweets whatsover! I was surprised at how many items contained sugar. There were savory rice crackers with sugar in them.

I bought some dried rice noodles for my trip because they don't weigh much. I also got a gorgeous new pair of chopsticks so that I can eat in style. I need to stop buying so much plastic crap.
improperlyhuman: icon says: Radical Feminism: Females First. Always. (females first)
I haven't paid an energy bill in three or four months. Every bill that arrives says "No Payment Due." I know that I use very little electricity because I don't have lights on at night, but I'm still surprised and a bit confused.

I use the oven every day, and I've been putting the air conditioning on for a few hours per week in the last month and a half at least. I also have two computers running damn near all day; surely that has to add up to something at some point.

The main local grocery store advertises over 300 products as "local." The sign says that they are all from California. They are seriously pushing the definition of local. California is a huge state, and products from L.A. and San Diego would not be "local."

Today has been a nice day! I spoke to my sister; she finally has a functioning phone. I found out that she now has a late model car, and I was like, how did you afford that?? She seemed to not want to give me any details about her wages, which I don't understand. I thought she was making $17/hr, but she said "significantly less," and just kept repeating that.

She said that she is not very happy with her job and wants to leave it for some accounting positions near SF. I was like, where did you learn accounting?? I am so out of the loop, I hadn't even noticed that she's had this job for six years now (which is strange because I helped her to get it); she's been given (small) raises and new clerical/accounting duties.

When she started talking about how hard it is to make it and improve her situation, it made me angry. Not at her; at patriarchy. I resent being forced to work for others, but it's somehow a hundred times worse when I think about my sister in that position. I think of her as being more vulnerable than I am because she has no education beyond high school and a history of only low-paying sorts of jobs.

On the other hand, she's able to stand a full-time job, and I'm not. I would definitely still be homeless if it weren't for my housing voucher. There's just no way for me with regular employment.

This kind of stuff, people's entire lives being defined by employment, is why it is so difficult to stomach people who are so identified with patriarchy, specifically industrialization and capitalism. This morning, I came across a discussion on wrongplanet about people aborting babies with Down's Syndrome. Several times, the ability of people with Down's Syndrome to "contribute to society" came up. It was disturbing; it is always disturbing.

These "societies" to which they want people to contribute are warmongering, polluting slave camps full of misogyny and racism. Sometimes I just want to metaphorically shake people and yell at them, "do you really want to live in a society where you are forced to rely on other people for the necessities of life? to work for others? to have a government that has the power of life or death over you, that kills thousands or even millions in your name, that has access to nuclear weapons?"

In fact, I started to respond with something like that, but I just closed the web page after the first paragraph. It would have been a waste of time. People are so identified with the way "society" is, they actually think they are living better than "savage" and "uncivilized" people. They have no idea what it is like to live where there is no noise or air pollution, no gun violence, no poisoned foods, and no man-made illnesses, and even if they got a taste, I bet many if not most would be too attached to their sickly, violent, coercive societies to prefer the latter.

Of course, industrialized society offers some advantages, but most of them exist at the expense of the underprivileged and exploited.

As for "contributing" to society, the less of it, the better, I say. I'd prefer to make an uncontribution.

Anyways, I am not good at explaining such things; I mean, I am not good at phrasing things in a way that reaches people who are brainwashed and Stockholm Syndromed (of course I don't expect that anyone can reach those who don't care about the environment and actually like the violence and coercion inherent to industrialized society). Depends on the person, but I think one typically cannot simply say, "this is destructive bullshit and you shouldn't be attached to it"; one must provide something else to be attached to, a life preserver, so to speak.

In this case, however, the life preserver must look really shabby to the first-world privileged. Here on the cruise ship, for example, all one has to do for food is go to the grocery store or call the local pizza place. Out there amidst the waves, one is responsible for one's own food, and there ain't gonna be no fast food or comfort food. There's labor involved, there's the possibility of starvation. As they say, with freedom comes responsibility.
improperlyhuman: (dark Mulder)
I visited the VA Ear, Nose, and Throat department this morning. I checked in at 8:35 and I was outta there before 9 AM, my appointment time. Fast service. The person I saw looked into each of the cavities mentioned in the dept. name. As expected, everything looked normal. 

I have been asking myself what my life is about now that I'm comfortably ensconced in anti-civ worldview and its implications. How do I view my life in relation to my society now that I've taken an antagonistic attitude to such a fundamental structure of that society? What goals might I set for myself, having rejected the concept of work? What hopes and expectations can co-exist with the belief that the world is headed towards large-scale disaster, the expectation that no brakes will be applied, the knowledge that I've not the power to stop it or even save myself? With what measure of psychological comfort could I continue my life, viewing myself as a victim of environmental degradation, curtailed freedom of movement, social displacement, and other ills civilization perpetrates upon the individual? How might I relate to other people, given their identification with and desire to perpetuate that which I believe should end?

So far, I worry less about the future. I no longer have any ambitions pertaining to career or formal education. That's all I can think of at the moment.

I'm just trying to survive with as little stress as possible. I try to enjoy my life by focusing on small, minimally-adulterated pleasures such as music and sunshine.

I've experienced a shift in my imagination. I'm now able to sustain fantasies that involve myself. Not for very long. Very little happens. I am wary of this, wary of being led away from reality to an absorbing mirage. My life situation makes me vulnerable to an unhealthy reliance on escapism.

On the other hand, this could have positive effects beyond the temporary and incomplete pleasure of pleasant thoughts. It could crowd out my ruminations. It could give me more social hope, the pictures in my head forming a more tangible and compelling goal than verbal thoughts. I'm ambivalent about whether or not the latter is such a good thing. Where there is no hope, there is no chance for disappointment.
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