Metaphorical Penis https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/ Fri, 25 Aug 2017 21:13:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.5 106373094 Keeping My Aloe Plants Alive (Relaxation Post) https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/08/25/keeping-my-aloe-plants-alive-relaxation-post/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/08/25/keeping-my-aloe-plants-alive-relaxation-post/#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 21:11:09 +0000 https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=3044 The post Keeping My Aloe Plants Alive (Relaxation Post) appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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A small, dry aloe vera plant in a brown pot with sandy mixture, grass in the background
My little buddies after today’s care.

I should randomly talk about this more often: I like working with plants, but I’m terrible at keeping them alive. Sometimes it’s because I picked finicky or climate resistant plants, but those are stories for another time. (Suffice to say that Venus flytraps are an amusing idea but realistically almost impossible to keep alive indoors.)

 

Right now I’m working on keeping two little aloe sprouts alive. Gifted to me earlier this year by my wonderful sister, Lisa, there were originally three but I threw one away after a month or two because I had already made mistakes and it seemed beyond saving.

Differing sources report different treatment conditions for aloe, so everything here is my best approximation at what they actually need based on the many things I’ve read and what I’ve seen my plant respond to.

My first mistakes were using a fuckton of composted material–given to me by a family friend–along with potting soil and not enough sand (there should be a 1:1 ratio between sand and soil). I didn’t have a rockbed on the bottom nor any intermediary between the soil and bottom of the pot. I was also keeping it indoors under a full spectrum bulb with irregular hours.

This is a perfect recipe for water-retention in the soil, which is pretty much exactly what you don’t want for succulents. They hold most of their water in their leaves and being watered immediately after transplant can worsen the shock (*pointing at self*). They need to be allowed to dry out completely in between waterings, which wasn’t working with the air-conditioned temperatures and the effect of a full pot of soil retaining moisture. Aloe plants can also be damaged by over-nutrition, which may well have been part of the problem as well, due to the compost.

My first adjustment was digging all three of them up and just adding more sand. At this point I repotted the throwaway in our other pot that previously housed a strawberry plant. A day or two later my partner asked if he could toss it for the sake of a different experiment and I didn’t really care, so it got tossed in the grass to finish dying.

It’s worth mention here that the sand I bought is fine play-sand. I didn’t look it up before buying it, but fine-grain sands create easily compacted soil, somewhat defeating the purpose of the goal of well-draining soil and creating restricting boundaries for the plants’ root systems. Oops again.

The next major adjustment I made, when it became obvious that the plants were not getting healthier and root rot was the likely culprit, was to carefully dig them up to inspect the root systems. They were brown and mushy on both plants, and almost all of them came off just by gently handling the area. I removed most of the dead tissue by letting it crumble into my hand or pulling on it slightly. This left me with two plants that each had no root system whatsoever.

Despite the seemingly inherent looming death awaiting a plant with no roots, I dumped the soil in another container and removed some of our river-rock from the previously-strawberries pot to fill up the lower third-ish-maybe-more of the aloe pot. Then I picked up a bunch of smaller rocks from the yard area outside my apartment. I know there are a lot of rocks out there because I had to have the landscaping company replace my windshield earlier this year. 🙃

Anyway, those were used to fill in holes between the big rocks and create a layer between them and the soil. As for the soil itself, I obviously displaced a good amount of it with the rocks and still felt it was probably not sandy enough and definitely not coarse enough. Strawberries also require well-draining conditions and there was a lot of perlite in the 1:1 sand and soil we had mixed for those, so I took some of that and mixed it with the aloe soil at probably a bit less than a 1:1 ratio, favoring the composted material.

When I was satisfied, I put my little sprouts back in and covered the top with some mulch to avoid messing up the sandy soil whenever it gets watered. And I started keeping it outside, slowly reintroducing them to sunlight in the hopes that the soil would dry faster. Having shallower soil is supposed to help with that as well.

At some point I realized my mistake with the mulch (sealing in moisture and protecting soil from drying sun effect) and scraped most of it off. Later I was waylaid by our talkative, former-horticulturalist neighbor who suggested I cut off some bits that were drying out so that the plant could focus on surviving. We took a bet as to whether the plants would die, him saying it looked like a plant that was already headed that way and giving me advice contrary to almost everything I’ve read about succulents and aloe in particular.

I did end up cutting those bits off–they were two fairly big leaves on the larger of the two sprouts and they were definitely taking up energy unnecessarily and it’s not the first time I’ve trimmed dying pieces off.

Even more recently, my partner pointed out that despite my efforts to put plenty of drainage holes in the bottom, some kind of seal was being created and not allowing the soil to properly dry out. At his suggestion, I poked a bunch (probably 6-8) of fairly small holes about 1.5 centimeters from the bottom of the pot on all sides to allow for aeration if not flow.

Which brings us to today. My aloe have continued to appear less and less healthy, so I decided to carefully pick them up to see if they were snaking new roots or just continuing to rot since I haven’t been perfect about keeping them dry.

They’re both trying to establish new roots! I was so excited to see the tender green shoots, but I also noticed something that I hope makes a big difference now that I’ve rectified it: The times I’ve previously cut the outer leaves on both of these plants, the bottom of the leaf remains attached to the stalk. Which means that I was looking at two plants whose roots couldn’t escape because the not-quite-dead shell of former leaves was causing some of them to grow around the stalk on the inside. (Aloe roots horizontally rather than vertically.)

No wonder my plants have been drying out despite the moist soil! I ripped the offending parts off by hand, and made sure to remove any other remaining mushy roots. I picked even more rocks up from the area, focusing on really small ones I could mix in to get a texture closer to coarse-grain sand. When all was done, I put my little ones back where they go, found more small rocks and scattered them over the top of the soil. They’ll be a slight protection against water reshaping the soil and will eventually work themselves down to contribute to the overall ease of draining I’ve been looking for.

I’m rooting for you, little buddies! If you survive the winter I’ll have to inform Jerome that he owes me a Coke. ;p

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Cameras and CONvergence https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/06/06/cameras-and-convergence/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/06/06/cameras-and-convergence/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 22:06:31 +0000 https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=3027 The post Cameras and CONvergence appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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(Originally started as a Facebook post, but it got too long.)

So I have three camcorders of varying quality (thanks, dad! Seriously he ends up with extras of all kinds of stuff and I get free hand-me-downs, it’s pretty great).

The two newer ones have apparently-interchangeable batteries (having tested it one-way at least–the other battery is totally dead) and all three charge via an extremely short USB cord directly out of the camera; I have no dock for any of the batteries.

I’m pretty sure I have one female>male USB extension cord, I’d just have to look around and find it. I’ve got standard-issue USB wall adapters for wherever there’s an outlet, there are designated charging stations at the venue, and I’ll have my laptop and charger with me.

I have a 32GB micro-SD card that can be mostly emptied, and access to a second 32GB card with an unknown amount of data on it, both of which are compatible with all three cameras (though the newest one requires an SD adapter, which I have). The newest camera also has 16gb of on-board flash memory.

I have no idea what the comparable audio quality is like between the three of them, but they’re all currently programmed to record 1920×1080 60fps HD video.

My tripod fits all three cameras. My panels are scattered across three of the four convention days. Methinks I’ll be able to easily record my five panels and perhaps others if they’re interesting enough, even just bringing the two newer cameras and using the poorer one as a battery and micro-SD card protector/charger.

If I’m quick about it, we’ll have a room at the venue hotel, so I’ll have access to wifi all day and a room that’s easy to retreat to/grab things from.

However, my laptop is very old, so I’ll have to test its ability to run (probably way too big) files through Handbrake and see if I can install an older version of Premiere on it. Otherwise, I won’t really be able to upload vlogs or panels while I’m there, but that isn’t the end of the world.

I’m just excited at the prospect of recording all my panels for the first time, and I think it’ll be pretty easy to do.

CON HYPE

The Cameras (from newest to oldest, if you’re interested):
Sony HDR-PJ380
Sony HDR-CX330
Sony HDR-CX240

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Luxander’s 2017 CONvergence Panels! https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/05/24/luxanders-2017-convergence-panels/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/05/24/luxanders-2017-convergence-panels/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 18:13:29 +0000 https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=3023 The post Luxander’s 2017 CONvergence Panels! appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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**ADDED TO: 6/16** Hey, all! The CONvergence schedule is now out, though there might be changes and additions between now and when CON time actually comes. But! Here’s a link to the full schedule and then I’m gonna list the ones I’ll be on here. 

“Breaking into YouTube” Thursday 12:30pm – 1:30pm @ Sheraton Whalon
How do you start your own YouTube channel? We’ll talk about everything from making your own videos and starting a YouTube channel to getting subscriptions and more.
Panelists: Nicholas Boden, Steve Sylvestre, Luxander Pond (mod), Kat Surth, Squall Charlson

“The Cosmic Perspective” Thursday 3:30pm – 4:30pm @ Atrium 4
Neil deGrasse Tyson refers to the “cosmic perspective” when it comes to managing anxiety about day-to-day life. Scientists share and discuss the many facts about the universe that make modern earthly problems feel insignificant.
Panelists: Dan Berliner, Melanie Galloway, PZ Myers, Luxander Pond (mod)

“Current Events Affecting Comics” Thursday/Friday 11:30pm – 12:30am @ Atrium 7
When they adapted Luke Cage for TV, they put him in a hoodie to reflect current events. What are other examples and do they work?
Panelists: Jonathan Palmer, Luxander Pond, Patrick Marsh (mod), Sean Casey, Josie Browning

“VR: Fad or Staying?” Saturday 2:00pm – 3:00pm @ Atrium 2
A lot has happened in VR in the last year. New viewers, platforms, and applications continue to arrive. What are the best uses of the technology? Will it be around in a few years or just have been a passing fad?
Panelists: Ross Conklin (mod), Luxander Pond, Allyson Cygan

“PTSD Representation in Geeky Media” Saturday 5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Plaza 1
In every form of media, PTSD has been used as a plot device or character development. This disorder is shrouded in mystery and seems misunderstood by both writers and audience. Panelists with first-hand PTSD experience discuss the nuances of our disorder
Panelists: Haddayr Copley-Woods, Skazka 9000, Amy Fischer, Luxander Pond, Michael Spaulding (mod)

“Crowdfunding 101” Sunday 11:00am – 12:00pm @ Edina
Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and many others. What are your experiences, both as a project manager and as a backer, on the various sites?
Panelists: Anj Olsen, Elise Matthesen, Luxander Pond (mod), Mark DiPasquale, Sam Stiles

I don’t think I’m on as many panels as last year, but I’m still really looking forward to it! All panels take place at the main venue, the DoubleTree, except for the first on this list which is at the Sheraton hotel next door.

If anyone wants to meet up at the convention, you can follow my Twitter (@Lux_Pond) which will probably have many tweets with the official #cvg2017 tag. You can probably catch me outside at Smoker’s Paradise at some point, and I’ll try my best to have my hair freshly dyed so you can spot me from across the highway. ;P

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Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/05/08/speak-mind-even-voice-shakes/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/05/08/speak-mind-even-voice-shakes/#comments Mon, 08 May 2017 15:00:16 +0000 https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2971 The post Speak Your Mind–Even If Your Voice Shakes appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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I find myself not knowing quite where to begin, as I don’t imagine everything here will be taken super well. But that’s kind of the problem and the point of the post.

We’ll start with some backstory: Some five years ago, my dad turned me on to the existence of Skepchick, and Teen Skepchick in particular since TS was looking for new bloggers and he figured that might be my jam. I wrote my first ever semi-professional piece, it was published on Teen Skepchick as a guest post, and a couple weeks later I was on the writing team. So began my involvement in the atheist community.

Being a writer on a sister site to something as major as Skepchick was a fantastic opportunity, and it set me on a course to developing an incredibly supportive network of friends and acquaintances made up of my peers. I’m still friends with a handful of my fellow TS bloggers today–actually I do a podcast with one of them.

I met more people at conventions, started writing for Queereka and then FTB (Freethought Blogs), sat on panels and even gave a talk, accruing new friends all the while. Until I found myself in the middle of an amazing, interconnected group of skeptics, atheists, feminists, and progressive thinkers. I’ve known many of these people for years, and have always appreciated how fortunate I am to be among people who accept me (including many of my fellow bloggers here at The Orbit).

As it happens, I also joined the Skepchick network riiiiight around the time Rebecca Watson uttered the phrase, “Guys, don’t do that,” and what had initially appeared to be a unified movement started to thoroughly implode.

It started with online harassment, then people were ripping off Surly Amy’s style and wearing shirts about how they weren’t “skepchicks,” or that they felt safe at TAM (The Amazing Meeting)–an event which was reportedly unsafe for women who didn’t want to be sexually harassed. I didn’t understand the hate and stood fully by the women who were being hurt in our community.

Not a skepchick t-shirt
Front of shirt: I feel safe and welcome at TAM (smiley face) Back of shirt: I’m a skeptic; Not a “skepchick;” Not a “woman skeptic;” Just a skeptic

The splinters kept happening and the rifts deepened. They keep happening still, if there’s even much to be said about a cohesive “atheist movement” at this point. Granted, due to this splintering and the fact that much of the toxicity was coming from within the skeptic community, I moved my focus away from that and onto things that seemed more important in the light of intersectionality. Greta’s words about the impossibility of being inclusive to everyone rang true for me.

I followed where the majority of my friends had gone, because it was the right place to be. I listened to the voices of people oppressed differently than me, and spoke out against injustices to my people. Sociology [and linguistics] fascinates me, so I’m more often interested than annoyed when some seemingly benign aspect of language is revealed to be a piece of the oppressive puzzle. I was properly ashamed of that time I had dreadlocks and that time I had a mohawk, or at least embarrassed in acknowledging what others called cultural appropriation.

And now.. the splinters keep happening. Except it’s not just splintering any more. It seems as though I lucked into this particular social group that, as new things are revealed to be toxic or new allegations pop up, is continuously and meticulously clipping any discoloration in the leaves of our tree. Not to mention the everyday interpersonal conflicts that sometimes force people to choose between friends.

I’m not going to fault people for curating their own social media to their preferences or keeping themselves safe by not affiliating with certain people. Absolutely, protect yourself and your space and your friends. And I also get that there’s burnout, especially for women who dealt with harassment throughout this years-long implosion and even before. This isn’t really about that; I mean, I guess unless the overwhelming majority of people I affiliate with are regularly in burnout or high-privacy-fence mode? Maybe?

There’s a part of me that’s grateful for my tendency to observe before I speak, and speak softly at that. Because lately I’m finding myself increasingly at odds with what the majority of my friends think, and I’m only just realizing what the possible consequences of that are if I’m vocal. Depending on the issue, of course.

Take, for example, election night, when DJT won the race for the office of the Presidency. It was the middle of the night, I was drunk and blubbering along with a friend of mine who is still very much at risk of being deported. In such a state, I posted on Facebook something about wondering what the statistical difference will be in the likelihood that I will be targeted for being an F-slur or a T-slur. I used the words (with a proper CN) because I wanted the raw fear to show through, and because I know those words don’t necessarily apply to me, but they will be the ones shouted at me if the worst should happen.

The next day, two people I don’t know (presumably trans women) informed me that it was improper for me to use the T-slur, seemingly regardless of the context. And they also disregarded that it’s something I actually have been called before, and that it is the slur people would default to if they were inflicting violence on me for being trans. Fun fact: their response to that last bit was that it was unlikely to happen to me, at which point I abandoned the conversation because invectives were flying off my tongue and it seemed like a bad idea to stay involved.

Granted, that was two people I don’t know, who were called in like a cavalry by someone on my friends list who Liked every one of their comments and later unfriended me. If I only lost one acquaintance there, not a huge deal, and several friends backed up my position. But the glaring refusal to acknowledge context and the silencing I’ve experienced as a transmasculine person was a sharp reminder of how the people I’ve surrounded myself with behave on the internet.

Fast forward a few months to February. The internet is exploding over the YouTuber PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg), whose existence I have always been more or less indifferent to. (It’s relevant, stay with me.) I was following the news mostly because it was everywhere and I want to keep updated on what’s happening in the broader YouTube community, especially if there’s overlap with the other issues I take seriously as an amateur sociologist. In this case, white supremacy and anti-Semitism.

To be clear before we go any further: I don’t stand by Felix; I’m pretty much the same degree of indifferent as I was before. My opinion regarding the videos that came into question is that some of it is blatantly bad, some of it is clearly just poor comedy skills, and some of it kinda does make sense in context. That’s basically all I have to say about it, because I don’t feel qualified and I don’t care about Felix or whether my friends think he’s a garbage person. I do, however, care about his friends.

During this media firestorm, something flitted across my news feed. It was a screencap of fellow YouTuber Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) tweeting a generic form of support to Felix, with a caption about how [half-Korean] Mark is a Nazi sympathizer or an enabler of white supremacy. Shared by someone outside my main network.

Markplier Tweeting PewDiePie

So, here’s where I lost my shit a little bit, and I do own up to that.

For a number of reasons, I object very strongly to putting Mark (and others who affiliate with Felix, namely Jacksepticeye [Seán McLoughlin]) in that pile of garbage people. At the time, I didn’t really have the language capacity to communicate effectively what I wanted to say, and yet I was having an emotional event and Facebook has always been a place where I can vent. Thus, I made a public Facebook post about what I’d just seen.

Like I said, it wasn’t well-worded. The beginning and the end addressed the thing I was concerned about: dragging Felix’s friends through the dirt. In the middle I made a remark to the effect of “I’m pretty sure 80% of people freaking out over this don’t even know the full story.” I’m really not sure how I thought that tied in, but again, mentally ill and not thinking straight. And again, this was a Public post, so it wasn’t directed at anyone specifically.

The reception was not what I expected. Not that I have expectations for responses to what I say, but I did not expect to be so thoroughly misunderstood or to have people fixate on the part in the middle rather than the main point I was trying to make, or side against me about Felix’s friends continuing to be his friends. It’s one thing to see callout culture from the outside and watch people getting blocked and quite another to realize you might end up that person who isn’t progressive enough to warrant keeping in the pack.

This was the first time it struck me that saying the wrong thing could literally sabotage not only individual friendships, but my whole support system and professional networking relationships.

It’s kind of poetical how this all ties together.

I feel strongly about not putting Felix’s friends in the way of crossfire. (And so does Felix, as he has withdrawn from any collaborative works.) To start, both Mark and Seán spoke to Felix privately before publicly showing their support, and they know him more personally than anyone speculating. They are both in a position in which they kind of have to respond publicly because of their fanbase. The three of them share a unique experience of being gaming YouTubers with incredibly large audiences. They are (more “were” now, I suppose) also in a position where sabotaging their friendship with Felix could have colossal professional fallout, as they were all under the same MCN (Multi-Channel Network) until Disney dropped the PewDiePie channel.

In addition, Seán had already recorded all his parts for season 2 of the now-cancelled YouTube Red show Scare PewDiePie. That’s missing time and money for all involved parties.

Here we come to the crux issue, what I feel is the most simple logical thought-train to explain why putting Mark or Seán on blast for continuing to be Felix’s friend is a horrible thing to do.

Mark and Seán are running a model in their heads of what a good person does–what a good friend does. Whether or not they agree with his actions (and Seán was actually rather scathing in a video explicitly saying he doesn’t condone Felix’s actions), they’re doing what a good friend does: stay by their friend when the whole internet AND mainstream media are attacking him personally. They may think his attempts at comedy are misguided–harmful even–but they display understanding, loyalty, and recognition that people can change their behavior when confronted with their shortcomings. Note that neither of the tweets included in this article are messages of support of Felix’s actions, but rather his character.

Jacksepticeye Tweeting PewDiePie

Given all that, it seems to follow pretty simply that if criticism and ire is going to be directed at Mark and Seán for remaining friends with Felix, and particularly for publicly supporting him as a friend, we are advocating for Felix’s good friends and business partners to dump him when he most needs support and people who will tell him he did wrong in a way he can be receptive to. (Which is exactly what happened in private, before public statements were made.) Human psychology dictates that he’s more likely to double-down under the media criticism, but having a friend explain things without vilifying him might actually reach him.

Let me repeat: If we criticize people for standing by their friends, we are advocating that they dump them. And maybe a lot of people I know do think Felix is an irredeemable fuckwad, and that it is appropriate action to cut off ties of years of friendship and professional ventures and collaborative charity work.

I’m not making excuses for unapologetic bigotry or saying it shouldn’t be called out, but merely pointing out that we have all been raised in systems that enforce all kinds of prejudices, and a certain amount of understanding ought to be given to people making honest mistakes, rather than assuming they intended harm. (Just as intent doesn’t erase damage done, neither does damage done imply intent.) Maybe his mistakes are too many and too severe for anyone in my circles to think anything less than punishment by isolation (on top of media-fueled harassment) is appropriate.

Are you seeing how this is coming together?

I wrote a post about not shitting on Mark or Seán for doing what they think is right as Felix’s friends. I worded it poorly and my true message was lost. And then I realized that if Mark is supposedly a white-supremacy-enabler by association, then my continued support of his work could be perceived as tacit approval of Nazi sympathizers.

Which is when it hit me that my place in my social network is extremely tenuous. If I keep talking about Markiplier, will my friends slowly resent my willingness to affiliate myself with him? Will they see me as deviating too far from our social conventions and thus name me unsafe? I wonder how many people have noticed that I’ve withdrawn the majority of my public (including to a friends-only audience) discussions of my personal issues since then.

And think not that this is just a problem I’m having. I can think of at least two people who are well-liked and well-respected in my community (and are big fucking SJWs like me) who have publicly expressed concern over having to be extremely careful with what they say for fear of the consequences from fellow feminists. One of them has, like me, the very real possibility of losing valuable professional relationships as well as friends. For the record, neither of them are men.

Which, while we’re on the topic, none of this has addressed the increased level of hostility I’ve received from fellow feminists since changing my name and having a relatively obscure, difficult to gender profile picture. Meaning, the more often people perceive me as male, the shittier they are to me even though my positions have stayed roughly the same and I’m talking to essentially the same people. I’ve never been so preemptively apologetic every time I participate in a comment thread or post on my own page; I’m walking on eggshells carefully scattered over shards of broken glass.

Ultimately, my point is that we’ve defaulted to a culture of zero-tolerance of dissent, which is counterintuitive for a group of people that purports to be doing activism to change the world we live in. Even in our own community, some issues get a pass when others don’t (such as ableist remarks, which we are doubling-down on but only quite recently). People must be allowed to make mistakes, given time to learn and grow once they’ve been told they’re behaving improperly. Remember that it took months of strife between the community and Ophelia Benson, with her obstinate and continued refusal to acknowledge the potential harm she was doing, before people who were closest friends with her were forced to burn that bridge. Some people still have her on their friends list to keep tabs on her despite her behavior, while others blocked her for their safety or the safety of their loved ones. No one seems to be demonizing those who remain friends with her [or other alleged douchebags] to keep track of her movements, just as I refuse to demonize people who block her for their safety.

It simply isn’t feasible to cut people off for infractions they might not even be aware they committed, and we should well know that as a community where burning bridges can result in loss of professional contacts and the support network that keeps people fed, their medications paid for, and protects them from homelessness.

I’ve been carried by the tide of good fortune from Teen Skepchick all the way to The Orbit, with good friends all around. And I’ve had to watch as we slowly become exactly what people deride us for: Radical leftists who are hostile to people with differing opinions (even if nuanced; I’m not talking about actual bigotry here), who have created an echo chamber by being click-happy about blocking people for slight deviations, and who are hostile and dismissive toward people perceived as male.

We have created an environment where even those of us who are respected and reputable fear losing, quite literally in my case, the entire support network, give or take a handful of people. I’m putting my reputation and many of my friendships on the line by writing this. Which is why I’ve almost entirely withdrawn. I’ve been jarred hard enough to see what I couldn’t see before, and I no longer trust the majority of those who would name themselves “friend.”

“Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind–even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants.” Maggie Kuhn

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On Desirability And Transition https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/03/23/desirability-transition/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/03/23/desirability-transition/#respond Fri, 24 Mar 2017 01:33:56 +0000 https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2973 The post On Desirability And Transition appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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This was originally posted on Facebook, so I apologize to those who may have already seen it. I felt it was worthy of a cross-post because hot damn sometimes I’m good at words.

CN for hormone replacement therapy, depression, internalized transphobia, dysphoria, desirability/sex, body parts

I am a trans person.

I’ve been on testosterone for almost two years.

I used to feel attractive–yes, even when I lived a life indistinguishable from a woman’s.

And now I’m finding myself thinking my primary partner is eventually going to leave me for a cis woman. A not-mentally-ill cis woman. I’m banking on it, I’m restructuring my brain to try to appreciate that relationship while it lasts, before the inevitable happens.

I’m a trans person.

The only cis man I’m attracted to (or masculine person in general) is my primary partner.

I’m a polyamorous person.

I’ve been ineffectually trying to make connections with women and femmes because those are the only other people I’m interested in.

No luck.

I’m a trans person.

I have been on hormones for almost two years. This has always been a feeling of bringing my body into closer congruence with how I feel, but now I feel like I’ve created a body of disgust.

If taking hormones means bringing my body into congruence with how I feel, and my body is unwanted by seemingly all the people I can say I’d actually be able to follow-through with sexual feelings on… That kind of means that the inside of me is disgusting.

I have a man’s broad shoulders framing a woman’s deflated breasts. I have a distorted version of a woman’s genitalia, not even enough of a change to claim I have a lil peen. I have the voice and budding facial hair of a teenage boy with the no-longer-padded hips made for birthing.

I’m trans.

This is the life many of us lead. We think we’re disgusting because no one seems to want us unless we’re fetishized. I don’t even have the dubious pleasure of being fetishized as a trans woman.

And before you say anything, know that no amount of reassurance on any of your parts is going to help. It doesn’t matter that my friend in Canada or California or Florida thinks I’m attractive.

You’re too far away for your words to have meaning.

A line from Tim Minchin comes to mind: I haven’t yet been offered enough evidence to allay my doubts.

I don’t want to be told that I am wanted. I want to be shown, with desperate earnestness, that I am desired more than words can express; with a passion that can only be expressed in mindless euphoria at the sight, smell, taste, feel, of my body.

And I don’t know if I’ll ever have that again.

Added in comments: In case anyone was wondering, yes I’m literally considering stopping taking testosterone over this.

 

Thank you so much to my Patreon patrons for supporting my work! Even when it’s depressing. Feel free to check out my other work and consider supporting it by clicking here.

Thank you especially to:
hoopyHITCHhiker
ratroot
Kristjan
Nick
David

Photo by infomatique

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Moving Forward-A List of Pros https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/02/10/moving-forward-list-pros/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2017/02/10/moving-forward-list-pros/#respond Sat, 11 Feb 2017 02:30:37 +0000 https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2965 The post Moving Forward-A List of Pros appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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Yes, sorry, I’m bad about actually blogging, that’s my B. I’m working on it, I promise. Also I didn’t intend to use this blog for personal things, but I haven’t written in forever so w/e.

Anyway, CN for depression, s**c*dal thoughts, exercise

I’m about to quit a job that has been exacerbating my depression and making me want to kill myself. I’ve been struggling the entire time, but the suicidality crept up in September and hasn’t fully gone away. I only started working there a year ago.

But today I filled out a formal resignation form, giving my two weeks’ notice. Also, my supervisor had the amazing idea of using up a big chunk of my annual (paid) leave for the second week, so I only actually have five more work days. Then a week-and-a-half vacation before I start my new job. (I’m going to do delivery driving for Jimmy John’s.)

Obviously this is exciting and awesome, and so I’m going to refrain from annoying my Facebook friends by putting a list here of all the things I’m looking forward to when I’m no longer employed by the USPS:

  • Having pairs of shoes last longer than a couple months before completely falling apart
  • Not having all my (totally wonderful) socks ruined from consistent chaffing
  • 5 hour shifts rather than 8+? shifts
  • A sleep schedule that doesn’t involve waking up at 6am or earlier (shifts I selected are 5p-10p or 10p-3a)
  • Not having fucking dogs bothering me all the time and being worried about getting bitten
  • Not being involved in a seemingly constant battle between the company and the union
  • No threat of heat exhaustion/stroke or hypothermia/frost bite
  • Being able to work out again because I have the time and the energy
  • Having way more time and energy to do video and written content (hi!)
  • Hopefully having enough flexibility to work Uber into this equation somewhere
  • Super chill work environment from the brief time I spent at the location I’ll be working out of
  • Probably just gonna be out as trans and queer because why not?

There’s probably more, but those are the main things I’m looking forward to. Last year I thought I was quitting an awful job for a better one but I was SORELY mistaken. Hopefully this year I’m making a better choice. Honestly the only hardship I see is in possibly not making enough money because it’s so tip-reliant but I’ll take that over constantly battling for the will to live.

Wish me luck!

Thank you so much to my patrons, who make this type of work possible! These people are especially generous:

hoopyHITCHhiker (Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/hoopyhitchhiker)
ratroot
Kristjan
Nick
Michael

Join them at www.patreon.com/luxander!

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I’m Starting A Patreon! https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/09/06/im-starting-patreon/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/09/06/im-starting-patreon/#respond Tue, 06 Sep 2016 15:00:42 +0000 http://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2955 The post I’m Starting A Patreon! appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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Hello, all!

Today I’m announcing the launch of »my Patreon page.« Most of you probably know what that is, but if you don’t: it’s a way for creators to be paid for work they normally do for free, such as making YouTube videos and blogging, via monthly pledge donations.

My Patreon is mostly to support my YouTube endeavors; it’ll help me rebuild my aging computer and set up a proper recording space. (I’m using a fur-covered, torn green screen as a background. Save me. T_T) But! I’m also offering rewards on there that pertain to my writing, as a way to encourage me to use this platform more.

Even if I can’t come up with some super srs bsns for this blog, I want to give it more attention. I’ve had this idea to over-explain the lyrics to World of Warcraft parody songs for several years and I think I’d get a kick out of it, even if no one else does.

So, if you want to support my creative works and give me things to write about, check out my Patreon! If you don’t want to or can’t support it, I’d still be grateful for a share.

Hope you have an awesome day!

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CONvergence Panels! https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/05/23/convergence-panels/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/05/23/convergence-panels/#comments Mon, 23 May 2016 15:00:24 +0000 http://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2943 The post CONvergence Panels! appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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LET THE EXCITEMENT COMMENCE.

CONvergence is coming up soon, here in just over a month, and the events schedule has been posted! Which means that I now know and can share with you which panels I’m going to be on!

DID I MENTION SOMETHING ABOUT EXCITEMENT??

*ahem* Anyway, the full schedule is available here, so you can check out all the amazing things that are going to be happening. There’s an art show, movie screenings, a pie contest, and signings. And, of course, panels!

I’m going to be on six(!) panels this year, so here’s my schedule for those who are interested:

Thursday

  • 2:00pm Breaking Into YouTube – How do you start your own YouTube channel? We’ll talk about everything from making your own videos and starting a YouTube channel to getting subscriptions and more.
  • 8:30pm Game of Thrones – Season 6 takes us beyond where the books left off (at least until Martin finishes the next book in the series). How does this season compare to seasons before? Which characters and storylines have met or exceeded expectations and which have fallen short?

Friday

  • 11:00am Best of YouTube – The best YouTube channels that you’re not watching.
  • 8:30pm Debunking Gaming Myths – Do games make you more violent? Is gaming inherently damaging or a waste of time? We’ll discuss the truth (or lack thereof) behind common myths about gaming and gamers, including what studies have shown and what they have not. [I might actually have to do a bit of research for this one.]

Saturday

  • 10:00pm Sexual Quandaries – It’s become more and more evident that there’s massive crossover in the geek and kink communities, even in the works we love. This is a chance to learn, and ask questions, about sexuality, gender, fetishes – and find out just what the heck THAT means!

Sunday

  • 11:00am Filled With Determination: The Undertale Panel – Want to squeal/sob about your favorite Undertale characters, plotlines, and secrets? Want to talk about how queerness and nonbinary gender is represented in the game? Have cool theories to share? Bring all your determination to this panel!

There you have it! Each panel is an hour long, and you can find all the other information in the link above, such as who else will be on the panels and what rooms they’ll be in.

I’m especially excited about the Undertale panel! Which means that I definitely need to finish playing that game before CON comes around so I can be informed and not spoil the ending for myself. XD

The calendar will continue to be updated as we get closer to the convention. I also wanted to mention that my partner person will be doing an origami workshop! I’m not sure what day or time that will be because it isn’t yet on the schedule. But it’s still super cool!

I will also be wandering around the vendor room, seeing other interesting panels, and walking the party room circuit, so if you’d like to say hi, please do!

Looking forward to another amazing con experience and to seeing all my wonderful friends!

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CATHY BRENNAN IS A FAKE GOTH?? https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/04/27/cathy-brennan-fake-goth/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/04/27/cathy-brennan-fake-goth/#comments Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:39:20 +0000 http://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2929 The post CATHY BRENNAN IS A FAKE GOTH?? appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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Alright, y’all. Just be aware that I’m super pissed off about this, but I’m gonna try not to rage too hard. CN for transphobia.

So, Cathy Brennan. She’s a Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) who is notorious within the trans community for her website “Gender Identity Watch” and its affiliated Facebook pages. On the Facebook pages, there has been a history of outing and harassing trans women. Brennan also appears in meatspace, with one notable picture of her holding a paper cutout of a person with the crotch circled, and the text reading, “Sorry about your dick.”

She’s an awful person.

I’m told that on her Twitter, she has “goth” in her bio. From what I understand, at some point someone said she was a fake goth, most likely in response to Brennan’s stance that trans women are fake women.

This has taken off, with many many of my Facebook friends posting, simply, “Cathy Brennan is a fake goth.”

Before I go any further, let me just clarify that I don’t give a shit about whether Brennan is a real or fake goth. I was called a fake goth in middle/high school and it literally didn’t matter. It literally doesn’t matter whether Brennan is a goth.

However, almost all of the posts that went up saying she was a fake goth have been reported and taken down. (At least, the publicly viewable ones that have her name actually in the text.) These posts have been confirmed as violating community standards and removed.

Naturally, I wanted to poke the bear and see if I could post something and get it taken down. Here was the exact text of the post:

This is an experiment:

Cathy Brennan is a fake goth.

Clearly just an experiment, but the post was taken down anyway. I posted a screenshot of the message I received telling me that the post was taken down, and laughed. No big deal; I ran an experiment and got the result I expected.

Here’s where things start to get infuriating.

A little while later, I wrote this:

Can we all just reflect for a moment on the fact that Cathy Brennan flagged and had taken down a post that was explicitly an experiment to see if she would flag it and take it down?

And, UNBELIEVABLY, this happened:

LOLOLCATHY3

I was blocked from logging in to Facebook for 24 hours, and now that I can log in, I’m unable to post, comment, react to posts, send messages, OR post on my Pages. The last one is annoying because I have a YouTube video scheduled to go up today and I won’t be able to post the link to the page thanks to this. (I have no idea when the ban lifts. It is clearly longer than just the advertised 24 hours.)

I’ve read through the Community Standards, because it prompts you to do so when you’re in Facebook Jail and I was VERY interested to see HOW IN THE HOLY HELL that second post counted as a violation. Fun fact: It really, really doesn’t.

Once able to log in again, I started looking through the Help Center to see if there’s some way to report being falsely reported. Fun fact: There really, really isn’t.

As far as I’ve been able to find, there’s no way to contest whether the content you posted was, in fact, against community standards. There’s no way to fight back against being silenced for merely commenting on the fact that someone flagged your content and had it taken down.

By now, we’ve probably all seen something that’s obviously hate speech get reported, and Facebook does nothing. Occasionally, they do take action. For example, apparently at one point I reported the page “Gender Identity Watch Reloaded” and it was removed. But it seems like that only happens a fraction of the time, and is the result of coordinated efforts to have as many people as possible report the hate speech.

Meanwhile, you have private individuals, making innocuous statements and observations, being put in Facebook Jail and threatened with a permanent account ban.

Cathy, dude, you just need to stop obsessively searching your own name on Facebook. Also, can I just ask: What is your magic trick for getting content removed? ‘Cause we have a helluva time getting actual, genuinely hateful content taken off, but you can get “Cathy Brennan is a fake goth” taken down every single time someone posts it. Seriously, what’s the trick?

At this point, I have taken the only action available to me, and that is to give feedback via the Help Center. I gave them a rundown of what happened, pointed out that the second post is most definitely not in violation of any community standards, and told them it’s bullshit that there’s no recourse for people in my situation.

I expect nothing to come of this, and from now on I’m not allowed to make jokes at Cathy Brennan’s expense, lest I lose one of the most important means of communication I have. Not to mention years of pictures, life events, and my professional page for my gaming channel.

This is what being harassed looks like. I poked the bear, and the fake goth bear got pissed off. I’ll see your silencing of my Facebook platform and raise you a blog post on a professional network about how shitty of a person you are. Have fun silencing me here.

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Frivolous Fridays: NEW SEASON OF GoT! https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/04/01/frivolous-fridays-new-season-got/ https://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/2016/04/01/frivolous-fridays-new-season-got/#respond Fri, 01 Apr 2016 15:00:58 +0000 http://the-orbit.net/metaphoricalpenis/?p=2908 The post Frivolous Fridays: NEW SEASON OF GoT! appeared first on Metaphorical Penis.

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»Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care a lot about that may not necessarily have serious implications for politics or social justice. Although any day is a good day to write about our passions outside of social issues, we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun.«

Welcome to a new thing we’re doing! As the blurb says, we want to encourage each other to blog about whatever we want to our heart’s content. I definitely feel obligated to write about Serious Important Business every time I blog here, so we thought it would be nice to have an open day to talk about silly things that don’t necessarily have to make a punchy point. It mixes the solemnity of what many of us write about with some levity, so it doesn’t become overwhelming to you or our bloggers.

[Note: It has occurred to me that it’s April Fool’s Day, but this is not related to that.] :p

On to the silly thing!

I am ridiculously excited about the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. I forget it’s happening and then something pops up in my newsfeed to remind me of the impending return of one of my favorite shows.

And then I get all giddy and hand-flappy and have to start reading about something else to quell the rush of emotions. :p

What’s interesting is that, most of the time, I hate watching a show until it’s run its course. Or at least until the full season is out. Having to wait for episodes to come out is agonizing and I prefer to be able to just sit down and marathon at my leisure. This will only be the second time I’m watching a show as it comes out. The one other time I did that was with season 8 of Doctor Who. (I still haven’t taken the time to watch season 9. I’m getting tired of Clara.)

When I do watch a show as it comes out, or if there’s an impending new season, I typically try to avoid everything I can about what the content of the upcoming season will be. I remember being sooo upset learning about the Snowmen even being a thing before the Christmas special of Doctor Who came out a couple years ago. And when I was watching season 8 week-by-week, I would always turn the episode off before it got to the “Next Time on Doctor Who” portion. I wanted to come to the next episode having no idea what was going to happen.

With GoT, I’m actually interested in reading actor and writer commentary about what’s going to happen. I watched the trailer for the season, which is something I don’t think I’ve ever done. My first dilemma with this was with a photoset from the upcoming season coming across my feed, and I sat there like… do I click it? ……….. Yes I must know I must see. And now whenever news pops up about it I’m avidly interested in checking it out to gleen what I can from it.

It’s possible that this interest is the result of the horrifying end to season 5. [No spoilers, but all I have to say is LADY MELISANDRE IS AT THE WALL.] Basically everybody’s storyline is at a tipping point and beloved characters have uncertain futures. The entire political sphere might be about to change dramatically.

And I can hardly contain myself waiting to see what’s going to happen next.

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