•February 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

TEH MENZ panel on religious freedom, NOT BIRTH CONTROL GUISE!!11!1!!111111eleventyONE

Yesterday’s sausage fest, er, I mean… congressional hearing on how birth control is apparently one degree of separation too close (cooties!) to religious institutions got me thinking. Given that one of the key moral objections to birth control is that sex is supposed to be solely for procreation, does not the financial investment of sex (via insurance coverage of ED medication) when procreation is either unlikely or impossible (via UNREGULATED insurance coverage of ED medication) weigh heavy on the consciences of religious institutions?

Where are the objections and congressional hearings and cries of moral discomfort suffered by religious institutions due to the essentially unregulated access men have to ED medication?

Wouldn’t these institutions FEEL better if their insurance companies covered ED medication ONLY for men that were married to women of child-bearing age and were actively trying to conceive (signed affidavit, yo!)?

Would not their consciences be assuaged only after those men had undergone rigorous and compulsory tests to ensure acceptable sperm count and motility?

Wouldn’t they sleep easier at night knowing that since EVERY SPERM IS SACRED, we’ll have none of that business of ejaculating into a plastic cup when men would be required to avail themselves of TOTALLY NECESSARY procedures like the aspiration of epididymal sperm to ensure that only as small a sampling as possibly needed is obtained?

And I don’t wanna hear from TEH MENS! They are obviously biased. Anyways, this is just about ensuring religious institutions’ money doesn’t get too close too quickly to godless wantons is spent in a manner that is consistent with their moral code.

Never mind that since these same institutions are barred from discrimination in hiring practices, they will inevitably hire someone whose moral code is not in accordance with their own. Someone who will likely at some point use wages they’ve received from that institution in a manner, again, not in accordance with the institutions’ moral code.

In short, where’s the REST of their outrage?!


Pally Healing or I Think I Need a Break Before I Hurt Myself

•September 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Whack-a-Mole. Fast Track to a Repetitive Stress Injury. The Warlock’s Whipping Boy. There’s no role/class combination for feeling like the group’s personal bitch like healing as a pally. On my other healers I take petty glee in responding to life tap-happy locks with cheap and wimpy instants like Riptide or Lifebloom. (That’s right. Lifebloom. Not even Rejuvenation. Well… if they don’t max-rank lifetap up the last 2% of their mana, I’ll splurge on a rejuv) But on my pally I have to either dedicate actual cast times or not insignificant swaths of mana to the task: spam Flash of Light, which is approximately 5 casts more than I like deigning on a lock, or obscenely expensive instant or long casts, which are far more mana that I want to spend in support of that vile habit.

Pally’s have no hot’s (I’m talking lvl 70 lfg’ing), no bubbles (with a cooldown reasonably counted in seconds), no aoe healing (not counting glyphs); nothing that works for you while you might steal a moment to drink which, speaking as someone who makes an art out of sneaking in a swig or three while the tank gets to the next pack, is monumentally frustrating! And that’s before the tank that’s been pulling, at what honestly would be a very reasonable rate were I on a priest or resto shammy or druid at this level, ends up ticking my mana down a little more every pull, because I don’t have enough time to drink the previous fight’s deficit despite my harried gulping. The end result being that every 5 pulls or so as I’m scraping at the bitter dregs and in the midst of typing out a gasping “WAIT I NEEDS TO DRINK TO FULL NAO YOU IMPATIENT WANNABE ENERGIZER BUNNY,” (which I hate cos, really, who enjoys having to sit through the ENTIRE 30s of a drink), when he oh-so-helpfully writes in party chat…

mana up

..    .

I think Aimo‘s interpretation of a certain Orlesian Sister-in-Law’s reaction to a, granted, unlikely scenario perfectly illustrates my sentiment towards their suggestion:

"What is this 'mana,' tank?!?!"

"What is this 'mana,' tank?!?!"

Given my experiences so far, it seems like to heal someone you mostly need to plant your feet and actively be casting something on them.  With other healing classes, to one degree or another, there’s something you can do that amounts to doing two things at once: hots, bubbles, reactive healing. And this kind of single-mindedness has been frustratingly unforgiving to me. Either that or I need to be friendlier with my holy shock key. Or get used to the long cast time that is Holy Light. Or bite the bullet and spec into Beacon and deal, somehow, with its insane mana cost. With Holy Shock, I know I’m missing out occasionally cos I think it’s still on CD since I’m used to Swiftmend’s longer CD. It’s more expensive than both Swiftmend and Riptide, which makes me wary about just keeping it on cooldown. It’s worth bugger all in terms of increased hps if you’re spamming FoL already. HL just seems to always overheal for a ton, but if someone is actually at a deficit where HL would be appropriate, they’d not likely survive its nigh-interminable first cast time. I hesitate to preemptively cast because of its similarly obscene mana cost. Hell, if I just spam FoL, for the most part the tank will be okay. And then there’s Beacon which, in leveling gear at 70, costs more than a tenth of my buffed mana bar.  As such, I’ven’t even specced into it yet so if more than one other person starts taking damage (I’m looking at you, mr. I like to melee while the runcaster’s fire shield is up), and interrupting the tank’s FoL spam for a Holy Shock every 5s ain’t enough, they’re pretty much SOL.

Despite the ranting, there’s something that keeps bringing me back to pally healing, especially considering this is actually my second attempt at a holy paladin. It’s  the challenge, I think, in learning a different approach to healing. My horde pally stalled at 67, but Fuschia’s already 70 and she’s got one thing going for her: the pre ex-pac doldrums are prime alt-leveling time. So we’ll see. Maybe, hopefully, healing in the 70’s will be a better experience.

Breaking Monotony

•April 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I was picking up my mail just minutes ago when the screeching of tires and  metal and glass startled me out of the moment. Behind me, not 15 yards away, a car pulling into the apartment complex was slammed into by another car careening along the right lane, likely hidden by the line of cars idling in the left lane. The shock of noise is just so foreign to my daily experience. As I type this, my heart rate is still faster than it should be for the usually sedate nature of weekday afternoons. I’m reminded of a lunch hour a few weeks back spent watching the billowing smoke clouds from a nearby fire. A coworker, upon seeing the sight wondered aloud about why we were drawn to the sight. It’s the same thing: events so out of place demand attention. I stand by the mailbox going over every bit of mail while watching the aftermath of the crash unfold. Tensed, heart beating like I just sprint a quarter mile, nothing but empathy swimming in my mind, I head back to the apartment, take one last look as I close the door, and scold myself for sitting here trying to recapture the quiet calm of the usual afternoon.

And you thought Niagra Falls was big

•March 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Before I moved to my current job, I worked in a used bookstore. Specifically, I was the keeper of the World History section. And one of the infinitely cool things about being responsible for shelving books in a particular area was the frequent and totally arbitrary discovery of  tidbits of information as one tried to figure out where a book would go. For example…

Once upon a time, the Mediterranean Sea looked like Death Valley; a huge below-sea-level desert. Some 5 million years ago though, the strait of Gibraltar busted open and the Atlantic flooded the Mediterranean basin to its current state over the course of 100ish years. For the time that the falls were active, water flowed in at a rate of 40,000 cubic kilometers per year. By comparison (and assuming the sites where I got the information are at least remotely accurate), Niagara Falls flows at the relatively paltry rate of a mere 17.9 cubic kilometers per year.

Cubic kilometers per year is already an awkwardly huge unit to think in, but just the ratio of 40,000 to 17.9 is mind blowing all on its own. And then! Not just the ratio but the fact that something that’s as seemingly constant and present and unchanging in our world as the Mediterranean Sea simply did NOT exist at an earlier point of time. Anything. EVERYTHING can change.

Racism should be like stepping on someone’s foot

•March 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

How’s that for a glib and sensationalistic post title?

I think it makes a certain sort of sense though and expresses an idealism that’s not at all common in discussions of the former, saddled with “uncomfortable” baggage that makes the use of euphemism so attractive.

Say that you’re at a dance. You’re standing off to the side enjoying the music and watching others dance when one of the dancers whirls by too closely and steps on your foot, but doesn’t notice. They twirl off, completely enraptured by the music and the moment. You now have to make a choice: either you leave them be, dancing along their merry way where they might potentially step on another person’s foot, or you speak up: “Hey, you stepped on my foot. Might want to be a bit more cautious in the future.”

Now, say you decided to speak up and the person replies with something along the lines of “What?! I’m just dancing here, having a good time! Since I would never dream of stepping on someone’s foot I *know* I didn’t step on yours. I was raised to not step on people’s feet, that’s just the kind of person I am. In fact, I’m really hurt by your accusations, how could you even say such a thing?!” Their reaction doesn’t really make sense because of a few points:

Firstly, it completely dismisses your point of view. By claiming they couldn’t have stepped on your foot they’re saying that at best, you imagined it or that at worst, you flat-out lied. It’s not at all a stretch of the imagination to consider that, being completely wrapped up in dancing, they simply didn’t notice that they stepped on your foot. We’re just human beings after all, not omniscient machines: our attention cannot be everywhere at once. Given the fact that you experience physical pain when your foot is stepped on, it makes sense that you would damn well know if your foot was stepped on. So while they may not have noticed it, it’s not at all hard to take you at your word. In other words, it’s easy to accept that your point of view informs the situation more than theirs.

Secondly, it’s an overreaction. A person wouldn’t feel threatened or attacked if you’d just pointed out that they’d stepped on your foot. You’re not accusing them of being some horrible foot-hater that they should feel the need to defend themselves. It was a gaff, an accident, like dropping a bit of pudding on your shirt. And it’s common courtesy to just apologize and go back to the dancing with a bit more awareness of the dance floor. It’s as simple a solution as that.


Imagine the situation wasn’t someone stepping on your foot, but making a racist comment.

Everything I wrote still applies.

If people’s reactions to having their racist comments pointed out went more like their reaction to someone pointing out that they stepped on someone’s foot, conversations about racism would be far more productive and informative than they are currently, bogged down as conversations become with precisely the above kind of nonsense.

I see it now

•March 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Touched off by an interesting thread on the Song of Ice and Fire Forums, I’ve been trying to be more aware about how I think, how I process information. Especially the visual side of it. After reading one person’s post on how they are very much NOT visual readers, so much so as to become frustrated with extensive descriptions, my own habits suddenly came into sharp relief. I am very much a visual reader but had never really thought others might not be as well. Finding out other people think differently than you do? That’s a free pass to navel-gazing, s’what that is: acknowledge perceptions previously taken as axioms.

So yes, visual reader. While reading novels I always have a mental movie of what’s going on: this person is standing like so, I’m looking into the room from this angle, the lighting is such, etc. Naturally, if the author offers more detail, the mental image is more in line with their descriptions but there is always basic setting, figures, ambiance, etc… even if it means filling in a few gaps. The more compelling the story at a given point, the more detailed the mental image. And I’m more likely to remember certain literal scenes, images, from a novel than where exactly that scene fit in the story, or even the larger narrative arc.  Watching a movie after having read the book it’s  based on is an exercise in frustration: “this isn’t how it looks in the book!” Reading the book after watching its movie heavily influences my mental imagery but doesn’t cause the same dissonance as going book–>movie.

The limits of experience

•March 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There is a distinction between saying “that was a sexist comment,” and “you’re sexist for saying that.” All the time in conversations I see someone point out “that was a sexist comment” and people replying with “How can you say that?! I’m not sexist!” Well, we’re not talking about the speaker. We’re talking about the comment. But because it came out of the speaker’s mouth, they’re more inclined to feel personally affected, those being their words. However, trying to keep the distinction in mind is crucial to not going insane. Because our experience is limited, our intent only goes so far.

It takes humility to own up to a mistake. And it’s easier to decry “I didn’t MEAN it that way!” than to admit that one simply didn’t consider how others might interpret one’s words differently. And it’s not because one’s an anti-equality heathen, but simply because they didn’t think about it. One can only live their life as their self. It’s not malice, it’s just… the limits of a human being’s experience to their own and not being privy to everyone else’s in that same personal way. It’s difficult to imagine how the experiences of others might make those others feel differently.  It’s literally impossible to live the experiences of another. After all, we’re not the Borg: we cannot literally hear the thoughts of other people. Or Betazoids: we cannot literally feel the emotions of other people. We can only talk about our own and hear or read about those of others.

Because of the limits of our own experience (we’re not all-knowing), we have to accept that others’ experiences make them better informed in matters that affect them. Indeed, they have authority in deciding that something does in fact affect them. To argue otherwise is to argue, for example, that a bird knows better than a fish about life in water.