Back in college, I was an RPG gamer. I didn’t actually start with D&D, though. I started with a few more “freeform” type systems where I could create my character with all sorts of attributes that don’t fit into the standard D&D class system. I’ll be honest, D&D felt kind of limited after having freeform as my introduction to gaming. (If anyone ever wants to run an online game in some weird indie system, I’d totally join! I’d just be years worth of rusty at it!)
One of those more open-world systems had a trait you could offer your characters called “Weirdness Magnet.” It was exactly what it sounded like: weird things would just keep happening around your character. I remember the description was something akin to “If there was exactly one talking alien dog that would ever visit Earth, they would immediately stroll up and say hi to your character.”
I created a character at one point who had a variant of that trait, who was an “Irony Magnet.” Whatever the most ironic possible consequences of what they stated would come to pass. I’m feeling a little like an irony magnet – and not just in improv – myself today.
I talked about the kind of Little List that I usually think about – or, rather try not to think about – in my last set of blog award questions with regards to the 9th Circle of Hell. I legitimately did not give any mental attention to that other type of list that also exists, AKA the list of registered abusers with substantiated claims against them who aren’t allowed to work with the vulnerable.
Those lists haven’t been of much help in most of my dealings with the 9th Circle of Hell. Even when I could substantiate the abuse itself, the system protects the perpetrators to the degree it is virtually impossible to pin the action on the specific person accountable, which makes the substantiated allegation itself worthless, for all intents and purposes, since no one pays for the crime that is documented. Assuming that I ever did hold someone accountable, the list, I assumed, would be useless, as providers also don’t bother to actually do the background checks to determine they are employing someone who isn’t allowed to work there.
Well, that generally useless list has some additional names on it, and I’m the reason they are there. And, based on the date of the official letter, they may have been put there while I was studiously avoiding thinking about that other kind of list in my last blog award. Irony magnet, thy name is Lavender…
I feel like I should feel more victorious over this. I especially feel like maybe I should feel more victorious because, if a couple of others we’re working with are to be believed, further investigations are in the works and perhaps they will lead to more far-reaching actions. (I won’t say any more than that, because, well, I don’t want to be the idiot that jeopardizes future outcomes by speaking about them prematurely. I will only allude to what has been substantiated.) Yet, as I’ve mentioned before, there is a persistent habit of not bothering to check the lists before hiring decisions, so does a list that isn’t enforced really exist at all? Also, I’m honestly just exhausted. I’ve been dealing with this for longer than I’ve been a legal adult, and I have lived the brunt of so much crap over the years that any tiny victory feels irrelevant in the face of how broken the overall system remains. Hell, I’m doing any entire light-hearted series of “get to know me” questions just in the hope that there will still be a me left over after this journey through Hell ends. Years of trauma take a toll.
I said this to my Partner, and he asked if my blog award series included any questions about songs that represent my life. (Another fun fact: I used to assign my RPG characters songs that would help coalesce their personalities when I designed new characters.) If any do ask, he told me that I should include the song Veteran of the Psychic Wars as my song for my backstory, both with my family of origin and with the broader 9th Circle of Hell. I have to say, thinking about that other list and the new names on it, I see the applicability. My primary response to the new names on the list – when I can manage to muster anything beyond just psychic numbing – is just to agree that the line “wounds are all I’m made of…did I hear you say that this is victory?” certainly describes how I feel about this “victory.”
Still – given the irony magnet that my first set of answers ended up affording – let’s see if I can find a way to answer these next set of questions with something akin to me winning the lottery, eh? Or maybe just winning a free trip somewhere on my bucket list, since I’ve written about travel more often than I’ve written about little lists and, to date, no conveniently opportunities to cross things off have shown up. (I’d live with whatever irony came along with the trip just to have a free trip, at least so long as my irony magnet didn’t somehow lead to me winning that trip from the 9th Circle of Hell state tourism board…)
Today’s Questions Courtesy of Alison at The Unabashed Autist
- What television show are you watching right now (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, network TV, etc.)? Shark Week on Discovery, True Blood and Westworld from HBO, and a bunch of “man vs. environment” type reality shows on various networks. If the irony magnet thing is real, I’m tempted not to mention any of those, though, as they all have a flavor of apocalyptic peril that I probably shouldn’t tempt the universe with given the state of our POTUS’s saber-rattling!
- What are you reading right now, or what is the last book you read? The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey and 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed are the most recent books I have finished. I feel like I want to mention Oathbringer on here, too, even though it isn’t technically one of my most recently finished books. It was an accomplishment to finish it in hardback! Since I tend towards escapist urban fantasy when most stressed, I’ll admit that I lost myself in the Chicagoland Vampires series when I got the official letter yesterday. That will probably last me through this round of Hell. When I’m up for it, I’ll also be diving into Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver to satisfy my craving for a slightly better caliber of fantasy and News of the World for historical fiction.
- Coffee or tea? Coffee to survive the stress. Tea to relax when it’s over.
- Why do you blog? My blog is my “safe place to fail.” Everything in my life feels very high-stakes right now, and the bully-in-my-ADHD-brain turns me into an unhealthy perfectionist in its delusional attempts to keep me “safe.” My blog is a place where I can admit to feeling lost and confused – and even make a few typos – without potentially career or world-altering consequences. Hopefully, my words also bring some comfort to others, like reading other blogs does for me.
- If traveling were free, where would you like to go? Antarctica. I’m utilizing that “travel is free” card to its maximum.
- Who is your favorite band or musician? Hey, my Partner didn’t have to wait long to get a question where I can legitimately mention Veteran of the Psychic Wars as, at least, a song I am “most identifying with” right now! My favorite song and my favorite band will forever be, however, Sound of Silence and Simon and Garfunkel.
- What is your dream job? Secretary of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development or maybe even Education? I don’t think there’s much doubt that a rock would be better than Ben Carson or Betsy DeVos, and Alex Azar is a drug company fox in the ACA henhouse. The bully-in-my-brain sees them and goes, “yeah, even I can’t argue you wouldn’t be a better nominee. Go forth and shape policy on a national level with my blessing.” I definitely do not have “Discovery Channel crewman” on my list. I’ve been doing some random Wikipedia diving while watching all those reality t.v. shows. It seems that, at least on Discovery, the cast of shows like Naked and Afraid, Deadliest Catch and various Shark Week scare-a-thons are usually pretty protected. The producers and cameramen, however, have suffered unfortunate accidents like being hit by 900 lb. crab pots, being bitten by pit vipers and other mayhem just scouting locations for those reality walks-on-the-wild-sides!
- If you could only have one for the rest of your life–books, movies, or television shows/series–which would you pick? Books. Books can be just as escapist as t.v. (see also the fourteen-book-long Chicagoland Vampire series above for evidence of that), but can also be serious when desired. Television series have gotten much better in the past couple of decades, but they still have nothing on books!
- What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Don’t blame yourself for things that you can’t control. If you could have controlled the outcome, it wouldn’t have been trauma in the first place.
- What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen? I’m not sure it really is the objectively worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it keeps being the one that my brain leeches onto whenever I’m asked about bad movies: Death Becomes Her. I have a terrible memory, yet I saw that movie as a child and still remember it being horrible! Zardoz probably deserves a spot on the list, but it was the subject of an erstwhile “so bad it was funny” movie night that actually made watching it almost worthwhile.
- What are your goals for this year? Survive? Hopefully with sanity intact?
- Do you sing in the shower? No, but I sometimes listen to music in the shower. Especially if I’m taking a bubble bath. (Pro tip for those with dysautonomia: hydrate while in the tub, and don’t let the warm water fully submerge your heart if you want to stay conscious during the bath.)
- Is there someone for whom you’d die? Yes, but here’s hoping it never comes to that choice. Some types of irony should never even be joked about.
- Set a time for 10 minutes. You have until it expires to pick a band name. Go. Hashbrowns of Disappointment: that was a line that came up in my last Improv practice group. It’s lodged in my brain now, but tell me it wouldn’t make an excellent band name? Especially for a satire band ala Stephen Lynch?
- One thing you would surely grab before exiting if there were a fire? For anyone wondering, pets and Partners do not count as “things.” Thus, the true-to-life answer is nothing. I’ve actually lived in an apartment complex where multiple nearby units burned down. I’ve thus had to do the middle-of-the-night “evacuate quickly because the hallway is filling up with smoke” thing. We grabbed nothing but ourselves and the cat. Corraling the terrified kitty into the carrier – including throwing our entire mattress over to get to her – took long enough that there was no time left to grab anything else. After that experience, we bought a bed frame that went all the way to the floor. No hiding places left for our kitty if that happens again! Assuming our nefarious plan to cat-proof the bed actually works and the next time we had the time to grab something sentimental? I think I’d take my collection of mementos from my various travels. (Also, p.s., that fire was caused by idiots smoking inside in a non-smoking complex. Do not smoke, period, but if you must smoke, at least take it far away from where others live! Don’t be the reason someone else learns the hard way what they would choose to take when they are forced to evacuate!)
- You’re chosen as part of an exploration team to visit a new planet and return in two years. Do you go? Heck yeah! They’d never choose me, though, because I faint even in simple snorkeling wetsuits. (That’s another thing I learned the hard way.) I’m pretty sure I’d just keel over in the vacuum of space.
- A time traveler offers a choice between a cure for AIDS and cancer or a clean, plentiful source of energy in exchange for keeping her story secret. Which would you choose? Well, we can’t trust the aforementioned idiots in the Cabinet – especially not anyone from the Trump EPA – to protect us from climate change. Also, there seems to be a reasonable lobby for cancer research funding and some promising new treatments for AIDS. Based purely upon the utilitarian argument of “clean energy would potentially save the lives of all 7 billion people on Planet Earth, but a cure for cancer and AIDS would only save the lives of a portion,” I think I’d choose the clean energy. Humans could easily be our own extinction-level event – after all, we burn down our own homes smoking indoors and let people like Scott Pruitt near the EPA – so someone has to save us from ourselves!
- How long since you last ate peanut butter? About two days? PBJ on homemade gf bread is another comforting thing my Partner makes. (Well, he makes the bread. I can manage the spreading of the peanut butter and jelly on it most days without too much dropping-of-all-things).
- What do you collect? Programs and other mementos of cool experiences that I’ve had. (See the things I’d save in a fire question above!)
- If you could step outside of time for however long you wanted, then return and no time has passed, what would you do with the time? Umm, watch the stock market for just the right timing so I can make a ton of money? Travel to all the countries on Earth (presumably you don’t need cash outside of time, right?) Revisit that other little list? Travel to that new planet and not have to spend two years doing it? See if I can become a being of pure energy and usher in the next stage of human evolution? Heck, if I can step outside of time, do I really have to eventually step back into it? All of these options are sounding better than my life right now! Also, Outside of Time sounds like a great name for a Euro-goth band. I’d probably learn to play guitar, write the debut albums for both Hashbrowns of Disappointment and Outside of Time and then produce them with all that money I earned from compound interest when (if?) I ever returned, too.
- Who is the first comedian that made you laugh so hard you cried? Probably Eddie Izzard.
- Who will play you in the hypothetical movie about your life story? Emma Watson, I guess? I’ve had multiple people tell me I kind of look like her, oddly enough.