Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

You can't respect yourself if you don't know yourself... and tell others.

You'll usually see this quotation weaponized after a breakup:  "Respect yourself. If you don't, others won't either."

I say that you'll see it "weaponized" because in those cases what's really being said is "I didn't get what I wanted, and I'm upset about it."  The intent is less to build up the person saying it, and more to tear down a (specific) person hearing it.

You can also see it in the way it was originally meant - that women are typically socialized to defer to men, and that deference doesn't lead to politeness or respect.  Deference there leads to becoming a doormat.

But it can also mean that you should respect what you're able to give.  Maybe your time is limited, or you can't move, or, or, or.  If you don't respect what you can (and can't) give in a relationship, you won't be respected either.  It's challenging when you really want a relationship to happen, but if you don't respect your own abilities - and what you're able to give sustainably - then someone's going to feel disrespected real soon.

And I think it can also mean respecting what you're willing to receive - that is, what "price of admission" you're willing to pay.  The other person has (or wants) children and you don't?  They're poly and you're not?  They don't want to marry and you'll only be happy if you do?  You have to respect your own boundaries and be honest and open about them.  Otherwise, the other person(s) in the relationship will seem like they're not respecting what you want... even though they're respecting the boundaries you said out loud.

Reflections on a birthday

Photo by Nikhita Singhal on Unsplash
Even though I knew it was a joke, I kind of expected the big "forty two" to provide some answers.

It didn't, really.  Sure, I continued to heal from a past trauma, I continued to keep doing what I'd been doing, but... well, it didn't feel like there were answers.

Toward the end of the middle of my forty-second trip around the sun, I met someone.  And that was a good thing bigger than anything else.  I thought, maybe, this was going to be a sign of a better year.

It was not a better year.

My forty-third trip around the sun - well, like many people, the end of 2016 and most of 2017 was pretty crap overall.  The nice moments were overwhelmed by mountains of debt piling up on either side, by the problems and sudden unpleasant changes suffered by my friends and loved ones, by the horrors of this administration.

But through it all, there have been some positive constants.  B, my loveable spiky floof, and her ongoing journey of self-discovery.  My other relationships - new and old - which have provided joy and a check to make sure that I'm not being an idiot. My friends - in all communities - who have shown that they care, even when I'm not being the best friend possible.  My son, who's being pretty level headed about getting things together and moving on with his life.

I have no idea where year forty four is going to take me.  I have no idea if it's going to be better or worse than the last trip around the sun.  Money is an issue.  There's been big transitions in my relationships. I don't know if I'm going to keep publishing or not.

But if I have the loves and friends and family that I've had this last year?

I'll be okay.

BiWeekly Weekend Long Flash Challenge starts TONIGHT!

Keep warm with writing!

Several of us have started our own, self-hosted, flash fiction challenge over at a website we're calling Obsidian Flash.  It's on a forum behind a password, so that anything you write and submit is considered unpublished.  Registration is quick, free, and pretty painless.

Seriously, this thing is the perfect thing for you to do if you think writing is hard (or finding time for writing is hard), and especially if you haven't been writing for a while.  It's also great if you have problems with getting past ideas that "you suck" (every first draft sucks, face it) or self-doubt. And if you're writing for NaNoWriMo, we've put in a tweak to the rules so you can still participate without having to stop writing on your story.

Go sign up now at and we'll see you writing this weekend!

Here are the rules:

Welcome to the Flash Challenge!  Our Flash Master is...Anton Cancre!

Here are the rules, slightly changed for NaNoWriMo:

1. All stories should be complete, written and posted within 24 hours of the prompt being posted, and can be anywhere from one sentence to 1,000 words in length.  Typically the prompt is posted by 8pm EST on Friday, and stories are posted by 8pm EST on Saturday.  at the beginning so we know!

2. You may choose to write your story in any genre.

3. Your story must be built around the restrictions—words, themes, photo prompts, word limits, etc.—provided by the Flashmaster at the beginning of the challenge.

4. Once the participants’ work is posted, the voting and comment session begins and continues until all votes are in. Time limit for voting will be determined on the spot, depending on how many people finish the challenge.  Typically this is within 24 hours of the end of the writing portion, or 8pm EST on Sunday.

5. The winner becomes Flashmaster and chooses the prompt(s) for the next contest.  Also, you get all the Internet Bragging Points you think you can get away with.

Don't wait - get going and register at right now and join us!

Hey, here's some services and stuff you might find useful. I do.

There's a couple of services I use and recommend for other folks; these are referral links, and will (in almost all cases) benefit both you and I.

DoorDash: This delivery service goes and picks up food for you from places that might otherwise not deliver, and brings it to you. There's a bit of a fee, but the service has been great to me so far, including my personal favorite: bringing breakfast to me and my darlin' on the weekends when we're just lounging about.

Project Fi: I've had nothing but good experiences with Project Fi, especially since I don't use a whole ton of wireless data every month.  I lowered my mobile bill by 50% and got a new phone in the process.

Dropbox: If you don't already have a Dropbox account, you're missing out. There's a lot of services that allow you to synchronize your data via Dropbox between your home computer and mobile, and that alone makes it worth the free tier.

Namecheap: I've been using Namecheap for both DNS registration and hosting for years. Their service has only gotten better over time.  They don't handhold you, but they don't let you dangle either.

Insync: This crossplatform utility lets you synchronize Google Drive to your home computer - and does so with only a one-time fee.  Especially if you're on Linux, this is a must-have.

Private Internet Access: With the end of Net Neutrality looming on the horizon (you have made phone calls and emailed your reps, right?), it looks like a reliable VPN provider may be a necessity instead of a luxury.  PIA has a history of providing good service without maintaining logs, and runs a reasonable price. I've been using them exclusively for a little bit over a year and have been quite pleased.

It's time for another round of reasonable-sounding bigotry!

I wasn't expecting to hear it. Not any more.

"Beliefs should be respected," he said. "Just believing gay people shouldn't get married doesn't make me a bigot."

"Believing same sex people shouldn't marry doesn't make you a bigot," I replied, "trying to force someone else to live by that belief does."

After a second, he said, "Well, yeah, but they're trying to force gay marriage on people. Our beliefs should be respected. That's just reasonable."

I'm a little disappointed that two years after marriage equality became, um, the law, that this is still some kind of talking point. It sounds like it should make sense, and sounds innocuous; it's anything but.

So let's go through this latest permutation of reasonable sounding bigotry.

Beliefs should be respected. No, beliefs should be acknowledged. Unless you're going to respect my belief that everyone should tithe 10% of their income to me.

 This statement always is a charade, a scam to try to make the statement "Everyone should do what I want because it's a belief" look reasonable or fair.

 You can acknowledge someone's belief ("Oh, you think the Earth is flat? Okay.") without having to respect it ("You think I should defund NASA because you think the Earth is flat? Um, no."). Or as Patton Oswalt put it:
“You’ve gotta respect everyone’s beliefs." No, you don’t. That’s what gets us in trouble. Look, you have to acknowledge everyone’s beliefs, and then you have to reserve the right to go: "That is fucking stupid. Are you kidding me?" I acknowledge that you believe that, that’s great, but I’m not going to respect it. I have an uncle that believes he saw Sasquatch. We do not believe him, nor do we respect him!”
They're trying to force gay marriage on people. No, we are trying to end discrimination and ensure that marriage (and all civil rights) apply to all people in this country equally. Has your opposite-sex marriage been nullified and your court-appointed same-sex partner been assigned to you? No? THAT'S BECAUSE NOBODY IS DOING THAT. Get married, or don't. Equal opportunity under the law.

But this business owner believes... Oh, FFS. Yeah, that baker's case is headed to the Supreme Court. Yeah, y'know what? Imagine that business is not selling to white people. Or refuses to sell to Christians. Would that be okay? (Hint: we know the answer, given the uproar when a theaters had some women-only screenings of Wonder Woman.) Here we go - a gun store owned by a Persian couple that only sells guns to Muslims. Think Fox News commentators would be cool with that? 

There's a simple as hell test to see if something's bigoted - change the people it effects and see if it pisses you off.  If so, then it's probably bigoted as hell.

Remember, if it's not inconvenient, it's not a principle.