Thursday, November 23, 2017

Best and Worst Festive Day / Public Holidays

The best three public holidays / festive days of the year, in my opinion, are:

1. Halloween. I LOVE Halloween. I love the dressing up and the trick or treating and the way the kids get so into it. I love the "safe spookiness" and the decorations and the candy and the community spirit and the fun. It never feels stressy for me. I look forward to it every year.

2. Grand Final Eve. I am not in the slightest a football person and I detest Grand Final boozers and loud GF parties, BUT the advent of this new public holiday has given us the lovely gift of a long weekend at the end of the spring school holidays were we can go away as a family. In the first year of the holiday, we went to Bendigo and visited with friends; in year 2, we went to Ballarat and had Sovereign Hill largely to ourselves; and this year, we incorporated it into our Sydney trip. All good stuff!

3. Easter. There is something super fun about Easter when you have kids, and Easter lamb is the business. This is another holiday that never feels stressful for me.

The worst three public holidays / festive days of the year, for me, are:

1. New Year's Eve. NO CONTEST this is hands-down the pits. The bass thump of loud parties all around all night, people doing stupid shit in stupid ways, the animals getting agitated and terrified ... There is nothing I like about it. (Well, I don't mind fireworks - the legal ones anyway, the illegal ones make me super anxious about fire risks).

2. Australia Day. This one is especially yuk if located next to a weekend, but either the night before or the night of, it also spawns too many loud parties. I am also extremely uncomfortable with what it "celebrates".

3. Melbourne Cup Day. This is not because of noise exactly, but because I am increasingly disturbed and a bit disgusted at both the animal cruelty involved and the excess manifested by racegoers. Spring racing carnival is my least favourite time to be catching trains, especially near the end of a race day - I've had shoes vomited on not once but twice in my life, and both times were by pissed racegoers.

The other holidays / festive days I would bracket together as "mostly enjoyable, occasionally a bit stressful or else not remarkable": Christmas Day (which is usually good but can be a bit pressured); Boxing Day, Queens Birthday, Labour Day and ANZAC Day (all of which are fine, good even, but not especially notable, particularly now I am a freelancer and I don't get paid public holidays so I tend to treat them like any other day really).

So there you go. My Holiday Primer!

(This is post #23 in NaBloPoMo. 23 down, 7 to go!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The delicate dance

I've been reflecting lately on where to draw the line in social justice conversations between shutting up and listening, and offering factual information that might be pertinent.

I fully accept that in most discussions, I am in a position of great relative privilege, and the discussion is neither about me nor for me. My opinions and feels on racism, homophobia and so on are not relevant or interesting. My role is to get out of the light, listen, reflect, and where appropriate, change my behaviour and outlook as a response. As a born argumentator, this has not necessarily been an easy lesson to learn, but it is very necessary one.

So my dilemma now is not about curtailing my own desire to add my views, or express my feelings. But I still struggle with holding back from offering facts / data where it seems relevant to the conversation - and, in particular, correcting obvious errors of fact which are leading to conclusions that might not be all that supportable.

Look, I get that facts are not neutral, and that the interspersion of some kinds of data can be a very hostile and undermining act. I get that it is not up to me to ride around the Internet arguing with everyone who's misreporting or misinterpreting data (or purveying fake news, for that matter). I get that a lot of the time, the facts are not the issue anyway.

But when you see someone basing their argument on an objectively false piece of data, what's the right thing to do? Do you try to engage with why their feelings about that thing may be so variant with the actual data? Do you accept that lived experiences aren't always reflected in hard numbers? Do you look at the argument as a detatched thing from its putative evidence base, and try to read it on its own merits? For me, it is hard to accept the validity of something that is based on false or misunderstood facts, even if I can see the logical or emotional scaffolding of it. That may well by my failing, but there is no use in pretending it isn't a real thing in how I read and respond.

I do not know the answer to this, but I am increasingly sure that whatever it is, it ISN'T "pipe up with stats and a link". It is just as inappropriate in a different way as making the conversation about my straight white lady feels or 'pinions. Sit down, shut up, and work through it in the privacy of my own head needs to be the watchword.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tired and bored with myself

I am getting sick of this.

(This is post #21 in NaBloPoMo. 21 down, possibly 9 to go if I can be bothered)

Monday, November 20, 2017

The List

I am reaching PEAK LIST at the moment.

I am one of those people who doesn't necessarily function super well, or remember things, without a fairly detailed list to guide me. It is not a procedural document (I don't include instructions on how to do the things, or detail about them) - it's a mnemonic, but without it, things constantly slip through the cracks, and I find myself chronically underestimating how much I have left to do and how long it's going to take, and that's where the dread midnight working sessions come in. (Maaaaan, I hate those).

So I have made a pretty detailed list for the coming 7 days, and wow does it look horrific. My workload has edged above fulltime as projects enter critical stages and everyone tries to race the clock to beat end-of-year shutdowns (as my client base is universities and government, the summer lock-out is real and it causes immense pressure in November every. single. year.) Family commitments are high too, as is end of year stuff coming up. Never have I been gladder than today that I decided early on that this was not the year for me with NaNoWriMo - if THAT was on this list too, I would probably be in tears right now.

I am churning through my list - I made it three hours ago, and I do have some satisfying ticks already - but there is a long, long ways to go before I can take any rest or enjoy any reading / pop culture / creativity. As Frost puts it:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep.
(This is post 20 in NaBloPoMo. 20 down, 10 to go!)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Haiku for Sunday (Poem)

heat rises; sticky,
we hunch inside beyond the sun
summer is afoot.

(This is post #19 in NaBloPoMo. 19 down, 11 to go!)