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Friday, December 26, 2014

Let it Snow

This is another installment of my 'Conversations with Bec'.  Bec lives in a place that gets very hot...but not very cold.  So last year, I took pictures and video when snow would fall, and show her lots of different things that I thought someone who didn't ever really have to deal with snow would appreciate, or think were neat. 

And along the way, I also tried to disabuse her of the notion that the snow was always awesome, that it was also an enormous pain in the ass.  So while sometimes it's fluffy, sometimes it's sparkly, sometimes it's crystalline...it's also wet and cold and treacherous and annoying. 

One day a wet snow was falling, and I had just finished grocery shopping.  I was pushing my grocery cart to the car, and the wheels were building up a layer of snow on them that was growing, the way you build a snowman, until the snow was so thick that the wheels wouldn't turn anymore, because they were interfering with the undercarriage of the cart.  The cart had to skid over the snow like a sleigh the last 50 feet to the car because the wheels wouldn't turn anymore.  That was the day I sent her a video of me slopping the snow off the windshield of my car complaining about how wet and crappy it can be. 

Another day I shot a video of a salt truck, because I figured she'd probably never seen a salt truck, or really thought about the necessity of salt trucks in general.

That kind of thing. 

She cobbled various soundbites together and made this gem for me for Christmas.  I love it even more than the first one. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Outrage and Offense

Slate published a really fascinating..."article"?  that tracks the things people found offensive and outrageous in 2014.  It's ongoing.  Each day has a little picture that you can click to see what Americans found offensive ON THAT DAY.  It allows you to vote on whether the issue in particular was truly offensive, or overblown.  Here's the article:  "The Year of Outrage"

Usually something like this I'd just share on facebook so people could check it out themselves, but I thought my reaction to one of the issues was amusing so I wanted to post this quickie.  I was clicking through some of the topics, not all, when I saw Patton Oswalt's picture.  I've always liked his comedy.   I couldn't remember him making the news though, and clicked it.  Here's what popped up:

I love this idea.  He didn't actually make an offensive tweet...he just apologized for a hypothetical offensive tweet.  That was the joke.  And the guy who responded in outrage via twitter...is...I GUESS offended because by framing an apology to a hypothetical tweet that he never created, somehow Oswalt used the "victims" for humor. 

And I got pissed off about this.  Like..."outraged"...if you like.  And that made me laugh because of course how fitting to post something about outraged Americans and get outraged about it.  What victims?  How did they suffer?  There was no joke.  The offense had to be manufactured...you had to use your OWN MIND to create a joke that would be offensive to a hypothetical victim...the irony of this is DELICIOUS.  If there is no actual joke, then in order to be offended about it from the victim's standpoint...you have to create an offensive joke in your mind in order to be outraged by it.  YOU make the offensive joke.  The extent to which some people will strain and stretch in order to reach offense is amazing to me. 

And I'd have probably just chuckled at this to myself, but it made me think about the endless autism wars I see and once participated in (and I suppose if I'm being fair, still do, to the extent that living in the autism blogosphere does not allow me to remain completely on the fence) and how offended each "side" gets about the others' views. 

And this seemed like a really great way to illustrate how you should really strive not to get too upset when someone gets outraged by your thoughts on a topic.  Your path defines your view, and nobody will have the same path you do.  From where you stand on it, you see only what your experience allows you to see, not what someone else sees from what they've experienced.  And you can hedge your bet with all the lawyeresque caveats you can think of and STILL someone will call you to the carpet for being a narrow minded asshole or...much much worse. 

The next time you make your opinion known (whether it's in the autism community, politics, whatever your passion du jour happens to be), if it's well-considered, if it's sensitive to those issues about which you are aware, if it's well-meant (oh I know..."well-meaning" is profanity 'round these parts), but someone crucifies you for it...please remember this.  Someone can ALWAYS find something about which to be offended.  ALWAYS.  And remember too, that their being offended does not make your opinion "wrong" necessarily. 

And try to learn from it.  I'm not saying blow it off.  And I'm also not saying...SAY ALL THE OFFENSIVE THINGS!  Because...don't be an asshole.  But what I am saying is, they're not in the right just because they're mad at you for saying something.  Because we can all find something about which to be offended in ANY statement of opinion.   

Try not to be so hurt when someone is offended by something you've said that you never intended to cause offense with.  Try to understand why what you said was offensive to that person.  Try to see it from their perspective (you won't be able to completely, but you can try) and learn when to walk away from statements you've made that you don't believe in strongly enough to continue to offend the other person.  But don't be so hurt that it damages your mental makeup...because there's ALWAYS something for people to be offended about.  And some of them are just as ridiculous as the guy responding to Oswalt's tweet.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ornamental

I'm sort of pissed at myself in hindsight.  When I grew out my facial hair, it was not originally out of any desire to go hipster.  My wife likes when I let it grow out, and for the longest time I fought it, growing it just after Thanksgiving, keeping it cropped short, then shaving it in the Spring, like a lamb.  But last year I grew it out...and then just never shaved it.  It's still really short, more like a two week shadow than a proper beard, but the look has grown on me.

Heh...grown on me.

Anyway, as I said, I grew it out as long as it's ever been not in an effort to go hipster chic, but for something more important...and before you say Movember...no.  No, I needed a longer beard to lend authenticity to my goat man/satyr Halloween costume.  A proper goat man has a beard.  So I grew
one.
  
It was only after I shaved it all off and let it grow slowly back to its two week growth length that I saw something on Facebook and I realized what I had to do.  And by then it was too late.  I haven't trimmed my beard for a week and a half, but there's no way that I can pull off in the remaining two weeks what I wish I could do...what would probably take a couple months to do...

And now I'm pissed, because if I'd have kept growing it I would have the most kickass Christmas beard EVAR.