I seem to do a lot of these…

GamerGate Needs to Stop

Dear GamerGate participants: You need to stop and think about what you are doing.

Probably most people reading this have heard of GamerGate. On the off chance you have not I will refer you to two sources with opposing biases, the Know Your Meme article and Charles Tan’s take on it:
Know Your Meme: GamerGate
#Gamergate Has Everything To Do With Gender by Charles Tan

This post was actually inspired in part by a post by Jaym Gates.

I am, by nature, a very private person. This means that while I do occasionally post opinion pieces, they are fairly rare (well, rarer than regular posts anyway). The point in this is that I need to feel very deeply about something in order to put myself out there. Well, I’m putting myself out there now. GamerGate needs to stop. It needs to stop now.

When I say GamerGate needs to stop, I am in no way talking about ethics in journalism. Ethics is important. It is not, however, more important than peoples’ safety and security. Women are being targeted. They are being harassed and threatened; there was a bombing/shooting threat at USU if Anita Sarkeesian appeared. And people are using GamerGate as cover.

No, not everyone, or even most people involved in GamerGate are threatening to blow up colleges or exposing women’s home addresses and sending them death threats. Some people are, though. Enough that I think those innocent people involved need to take a long, hard look at exactly what and who they’re dealing with. It’s like showing up to a protest and finding yourself standing next to the Westboro Baptist Church. Even if you agree 100% with the protest, there are times you need to take a step back and say no, I don’t want to be associated with this. Because that’s what’s happening. Even if you would never dream of threatening a woman, if you are perpetuating GamerGate you are associating with abusers, stalkers, and harassers.

It is, of course, your right to do and say what you want (as long as you’re not threatening or harming people; I shouldn’t have to tell you that’s criminal and wrong). You can go on being a part of GamerGate, but know that there are people judging you. We’re judging not because of anything you have done, but because of what other people have done. Do you want that?

I am not going to get into other reasons why GamerGate needs to stop; Charles Tan (who’s blog I linked to at the beginning of the post) has done a much better job of bringing up those points than I could. What I will say is that I do not support GamerGate. I do not support harassment, stalking, verbal or physical abuse. I will not stand by silently while these things happen. Will you?


Shut Up is Not Censorship

Warning, language.

I have been reading the comments again and I noticed something. Some people seem to be confused of late as to what censorship is exactly. Since nothing irks me more (in a literary sense) than people who, through either ignorance or subterfuge, contort the meaning of a word, I thought I might take a moment to explain to everyone that telling someone to shut the fuck up is not censorship.

Here’s a quick definition from the internet:

Censorship: (Noun) The practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.

I would add that the suppression is by force. Let me give you some examples. Censorship is burning books. Censorship is banning books from a library. Censorship is making an alternative opinion impossible to find through the use of fear and other tactics.

Censorship is NOT examining a book, opinion, etc and saying it’s unacceptable. Censorship is not telling other people that you do not want to hear their opinion. And censorship is not a private organization deciding that they do not want to be associated with certain ideas and opinions.

There’s a big difference between book burning and a negative review.

When I tell you to shut the fuck up, there’s nothing saying you actually have to. I can’t force you to shut up. You can go on with whatever it is you’ve been saying and act like you didn’t hear me. That said, you should know that as with everything else in life, there are consequences to your actions.

Just as you have every right to be a racist, bigoted asshole, the rest of us have every right disagree with your opinion and judge you accordingly. And if a private organization no longer wants to be associated with you because of your actions? That is well within their rights. Consequences. You should have learned about them when you were five.

Here are some more examples taken from recent news items that have found their way into my twitter feed.

Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg can say sexist things about women in the SFWA. Women (and other people) can tell them to shut up. That’s free speech. Our collective judgement of them is the consequence of their actions.

Paula Deen has the right to use the N-word. I have the right to say she’s a bigoted asshole. Both are free speech. Random House had the right to “release” the contract on her five book deal. That’s consequences.

Theodore Beale has the right to say vile, disgusting things. I have the right to say shut the fuck up. That’s free speech. John Scalzi has the right to moderate his comments (it’s a private blog, folks). The SFWA has the right to expel Beale. That’s consequences.

None of that is censorship.

Let me just say this one more time. None of that is censorship.

You can say hateful, vile, disgusting things. I can tell you to shut the fuck up. I am not censoring you.

Also please remember, somewhere down the line there will be consequences.

May Has Not Been Kind

This really has not been a pleasant month for anyone where I work. Between employee and guest accidents, people breaking down on the road, and family emergencies, I don’t think anyone has been happy. The people at our corporate office think we’re nuts with how many accidents there have been. Thankfully no employees have died (though one almost cut off his thumb with a table saw). We have had some loose family members, though.

There have been plumbing disasters and people who couldn’t get into their room (the lock broke and there wasn’t anyone from maintenance on duty. We had to put them in another room for the night.) It really seems like it’s been one thing after another all month long.

That aside, there have been other, small things. Things that guests do that really annoy me. Like demand a room with a view on a holiday weekend. When they booked a week in advance. I’m sorry, some of the rooms have trees that have grown up in front of them over the years. When you cut it so close on a holiday weekend, that’s what you’re going to get. Of course I would never actually say that to a guest, but sometimes I wish I could.

My muse also seems to have taken the month off. While I did finish up/submit two stories this month, I didn’t really write much besides a flash for the Shock Totem contest. I don’t know where she’s vacationing, but she’d better hurry up and get her muse-y butt back here. I have another story I need to finish and polish for Dagan Books. (Yes, I am going to try to do more than my usual very last minute edits this time.)

I am starting to think that every year just picks a month to be bad. That at the beginning of the year Father Time spins a wheel and whatever month the wheel lands on is going to be bad news. Maybe he spins multiple wheels for multiple people and places. Maybe my allergies are getting to me. Or maybe I’m just nuts. Hopefully with this month (mostly) out of the way, things will be better around here, and I won’t keep bitching about stupid things. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ll keep you posted. Or I’ll keep writing blogs. Or something.

I can’t think of anything else to say, though I was kind of hoping for at least another 200 or so words. Instead, here are some pictures I took while bored at work.

The amazing card castle.

It’s weight bearing too!

Remember, life’s not always fun. That’s why there are card castles.

Things I’ve Learned from Work

I work at a hotel. That in and of itself should give you a clue as to some of the insanity I deal with on a daily basis. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. WARNING: THERE ARE A COUPLE THAT ARE KIND OF GROSS.

1) The most entitled jerks are likely the ones that have booked less than a month in advance. They want what they want and get indignant when you tell them that people who booked earlier than they got what they wanted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been yelled at because someone didn’t get a building they wanted or a room they wanted. Let me give you a hint. If you want something specific, book earlier!

2) Excedrin should be taken with food. I’m sure this should be obvious, but when you’re in pain and not thinking straight, it isn’t. Just trust me on that. In the same vein, I’ve also learned that tea doesn’t taste as vile as most vomit. I think I’ll make myself a cup the next time I’m ill.

3) If they can complain about it, they will. I’ve worked at the hotel for a little more than a year. I’ve heard LOTS of complaints. “There’s a tree blocking my view”, “My room doesn’t have a tv”, “My room DOES have a tv!”, “I wanted to be farther away from everyone”, “I wanted to be closer to everyone”, “This place is too rustic”, “This isn’t rustic enough”. And on and on it goes. For every complaint in one direction, there’s undoubtedly been one in the other. And the less I can do about it personally, the more they complain.

4) For every time I’ve heard something a million times, there’s always something new. Just think about that for a moment. I get the same complaints/comments all the time, and then someone comes in and floors me with something. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s just dumb. If someone serving you ever stares at you for a second or two before answering, it’s either because they’re trying not to laugh, or they’re trying come up with a response that won’t offend you.

5) Be careful who you joke with. This one goes both for customers and employees. It can be really hard to tell who has a sense of humor and who doesn’t. Feel customers out before you start joking with them. The same can be said about employees, even if first impressions aren’t always right.

6) Restaurant floors are nasty! We clean our floors nightly. Sometimes we clean them between shifts. I got to vacuum a few nights ago, and I would like to assure you that the vacuum made those sounds before I started getting up all of your crud. No, really. Also, who the hell drops large pieces of food and doesn’t pick it up? I mean I can understand the crumbs (many as they are), but entire fork fulls?

I’m sure there are many other things I could cover in this blog, but then what would I do for the next one?

Remember, employees are people too.

What the Hell, America?

Normally I’m not political on this blog. Normally I’m anti-political, I’ve even written a blog about it. I do in fact, hate politics, which is why I’ve hesitated on writing this blog. The rights of women are being attacked, there is no question about that, and that’s politics. Like Texas nixing women’s health care. We are past the point of politics, though. We are so far past them that the person hood of women is being called into question.

I wish I was kidding when I say this, but I’m not. Women and their reproductive rights are being compared to that of livestock. Excuse me, but I’m a human being, just in case you hadn’t noticed! So what if cows and pigs carry stillborn infants to term? Why should that matter in the care of human women? It shouldn’t. A miscarriage is devastating enough, why are you going to compound a woman’s loss and force her to carry that child to term, even after it’s dead? Do you normally carry dead things around in your body? Just in case you do, I want to tell you, IT IS NOT HEALTHY.

Worse yet, there’s a bill in Arizona that would protect doctors who don’t inform women that their pregnancy is endangering their lives. Uh, excuse me, WHAT?! A doctor’s profession is to save lives. How is the life of the mother so invaluable that she doesn’t even deserve the right to be told that she might die? Sure she’s more likely to abort the fetus, but you know something, if she wanted that baby, I’m pretty damn sure she’s going to want another. And maybe the next pregnancy won’t be so dangerous to her health.

I haven’t even gotten to the best part, though. I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking “really, how much more can there be?” I haven’t told you about the part where some people are talking about taking away women’s right to vote. Ann Coulter thinks that because some women do not agree with her point of view, the entire gender should be disallowed to vote. What. The. Hell. Excuse me, when did our democracy change over to a dictatorship? Everyone has a right to their own point of view, and the point of voting is to express that point of view. Ms. Coulter, may I kindly suggest you go live in the Middle East somewhere? I’m sure you’ll be much happier in an ultra conservative country where you’re not allowed to go anywhere without a male chaperone and have to be covered from head to toe.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, but what the hell is this bull shit?

A Report on October

During the month of October, I learned many things, some about myself and some about the world around me. For instance I learned that I dislike driving in Narnia. I also learned that natural selection doesn’t always work in this day and age.

The month started and ended with snow. We were all set to have a late peak for fall foliage as September ended. This would have been very good for us financially speaking as there would have been a lot more bookings at the end of October (people like dying leaves, what can I say?). Unfortunately at the very beginning of October there was a very cold snap and one morning our guests woke up to about a quarter inch of snow on the ground. Rather unusual and it set the colors forward by about two weeks. Fast forward to the end of the month. Last Friday (Oct 29) it started to snow. It started around 3 and by the time I asked to leave early at around 9 there were already a couple inches on the ground. I drove home at about 15 mph and still managed to slide my front wheels and do a 180. I have come to the conclusion that I hate driving in Narnia.

October is the busiest month of the year where I work for one reason: dying leaves. People come from hundreds of miles away to see our fall foliage. I’m sure other people know about leaf peepers, those nuts that come out once a year to look at leaves, experience nature, and drive infuriatingly slowly. Once a year they and their special breed of madness descend upon us. People actually book a year ad a half in advance for some of our rooms. Then of course there are the people that booked the cheapest rooms we sell two days before and pitch a fit when they get here because they don’t have a world class view of the valley. Yes, the leafers are a special breed, and not necessarily in a good way (we have people now in November upset that all the foliage is gone. I keep explaining nine inches of snow will do that).

Even among the leaf peepers there are those people you would swear are just too stupid to live. This October we had one fire and one almost fire. The fire occurred on a Monday night in one of our suites. A couple was cold (or perhaps just really liked fire) and built themselves a roaring blaze in the fire place. In the middle of the night their neighbor came to complain. The night auditor (the only staff member on duty) could see flames shooting out of the chimney we she stepped outside to look. It took two fire extinguishers to put out the twelve logs they’d stuffed into the fire place. They fire department still had to come to put out the chimney. And they worst part of all of this? The neighbor kept blocking everyone’s way because they weren’t done complaining.

About a week later the second incident involving fire happened. We were hosting a wedding and some of the drunker guess decided that it would be a wonderful, romantic gesture to set off luminaries. They’re kind of like miniature, candle powered hot air balloons. Apparently our guests did not realize that ‘fire + dead leaves’ does not equal ‘romantic’, but does equal ‘flaming inferno of death’. Thankfully the park service was able to retrieve the luminaries before this unfortunate scenario occurred.

People ask me how I like my job, and most of the time I can say I like it well enough. Then there are the nights when I thank god some idiot hasn’t managed to kill us all.

Remember, the more you work with the public, the more you realize how many morons there are.

Did and To Do

So it might have been a while since I last posted. And by a while, I mean..way too long for me to write here without feeling embarrassed. Some things that have happened since my last post:

June ended (thank God) and I’m still alive
I’ve finished and submitted a story to the FISH anthology over at Dagan
I’ve started another short story that doesn’t’ want to stay short
I still haven’t gotten back to work on the novella/novel
My old computer blue screened
I bought a new computer I’ve named Bathshiba (it’s a Toshiba)
Worked the busiest days since the beginning of the year. Still not as bad as fall, though.
Cleaned out the last of my uncle’s crap from the other house.
Ripped up carpeting, tack strips and carpet padding from over there.
Cleaned and tried to do some general maintenance
I’ve lived through a (comparatively minor) earthquake
I am looking forward to a hurricane while I’m at work on Sunday (not)

So there you go. My life for the past two months condensed into a short list. There have also been several books read and a lot of cartoon watching (don’t judge, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest was an awesome series, not only because Jonny and Hadji were awesome, but Jessie actually did stuff!). I do feel a little bad that I haven’t gotten more done (like that novel) but working, both at my paying job and at the other house seem to have eaten a lot of my dwindling free time (I’m holding steady at one day off a week, but when that one day falls can vary). I’m hoping, though, that I will be able to get some serious writing done before the really busy season starts, though.

Supercharged Immune system, ACTIVATE! Work has been beating down on me, and is currently trying to infect me. I refuse to be sick. Do you hear me? I refuse! /random interjection

To compliment my “Did List” I suppose I should put up a “To Do” list:

Survive work
Finish cleaning/remodeling the other house
Refuse to get sick from work (Let’s just say there’s crud going around at work)
Finish my Fat Girl in a Strange Land story
Get a friend’s blog up and running
Try not to be driven insane by work
Clean our house, lord it needs it
Work on shiny things
Read more books
Try not to commit homicide at work (I’m joking. Most of the people I deal with are lovely. Most of the people.)
FINISH THAT NOVEL! (This really shouldn’t be so far down on the list…)

I promise I’ve got oodles of pictures I need to post (some other time) and other blogs I need to write (again, some other time). Someone please be sure to smack me once in a while and make sure I actually do so? Thanks.

Remember, just because you did it doesn’t mean it’s done. And yes, I mean you, cleaning!