the thing is

I would give my life force for some people. Some animals in particular. Mostly animals.

I would gladly sacrifice a year off my life if it meant my kittens got five more. I’m a total pacifist, but when it comes to people abusing animals, children or the disabled, I’ve got zero tolerance. Scum of the earth, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m not a vegetarian because I understand biology and life cycles; I’d rather eat in a more sustainable way that doesn’t do what civilizations have done since imperialism began – kill the world with grains and agriculture. The history of imperialism is inextricably entwined with agriculture and the hoarding of resources. Agriculture is responsible for the destruction of more natural environments and extinction of animals than vegetarians and vegans would ever admit, because to do so would be a tacit admission of not understanding the subject they’re supposed to be well versed in. Agriculture is far more responsible for the patriarchy than meat eating, and that’s a tough thing to admit.

But here, I deal in reality, and I try to see as many perspectives as possible. I’m not sitting over slabs of meat like some redneck shit; green veggies are still a big part of my meals, and I understand the health benefits (and deliciousness) of eating green. Factory farming is still unimaginably cruel and should be outlawed.

Corn fields should be converted to pastures. Or better yet, let the natural environments grow back and eat what grows there.

And for heaven’s sake, give up a few years when you’re ninety or a hundred to let everyone else, including the animals, have better lives. You don’t need to live that long and it’s a shit quality of life anyway.

Selfless early exit. That’s the thing, and I’m sticking to it.

Target: 1200 words
Written: 2287 words, novella: The Mungk

goodbye 2022, and fuck you

This has been an awful year. From the insane job stress to our family’s various surgeries, the loss of my wife’s mom and the general political climate of insane right wingers and spineless lefties, it has been all around shit. We might be losing the greatest cat of all time, who has declined severely since last night, barely moving, wheezing, and generally suffering. We’re still giving her antibiotics, and the painkillers keep her from panicking, but it’s 50/50 now as to whether this is the end or not.

Our vet doesn’t open until Tuesday. There’s an emergency vet to go to in Windsor if we need it, but I don’t want to drive for an hour and sit for six or seven more just to put her down. We were told the last time that we couldn’t take our baby boy Loki home with us (though the vet knew us well and let us do it anyway), because you’re not supposed to bury pets in your yard. At the unfamiliar vet in Windsor, it would be devastating not to be able to bring her home after she was gone.

So here’s hoping for recovery, and preparing for not. Peace out to 2022. You were a fucking piece of garbage.

Target: 1100 words
Written: 211 words, novella: The Mungk

calvado’s chopper

I love songs that bring with them a sense of place and time, and listening to State Radio tends to do that, as did the weird 9-11 version of Linkin Park’s Crawling I listened to this morning. Songs that make you feel horror, as did Crawling combining news reports of the planes hitting the towers with the Linkin Park classic.

Songs that make you feel love. Pain. Sorrow. Anger. Mania. Laughter.

You know. Music. Essentially, anything that doesn’t spend its time promoting someone’s ego or regressive political stances in that “aw, shucks” way (I’m looking at you, country.) It’s why I didn’t have any respect for Kanye even before all this political nonsense. Other rappers may carry across truths about the street; that dude has only ever sung about his own ego.

And that’s fucking boring, no matter which way you slice it.

Target: 1100 words
Written: 450 words, novella: The Mungk

starbase

I have conflicted feelings about SpaceX, mostly because of Elon Musk. I think space travel is awesome, and as a cyberpunk/sci-fi geek, I don’t dislike tech (well, good tech, useful tech, not the bloated shit that tends to come out cool and end up trying to lock us in servitude with bullshit we don’t need. My favourite todo app is one that is no longer even maintained, hardly. They got it to a point that was cool and stopped trying to jam up the works with unnecessary features and redesigns. Honestly, most things that need to be fixed ever get fixed, but every executive out there wants to seem like they’re doing something, so our interfaces get tweaked, shit we don’t want gets crammed down our throats… etc.)

Anyway, I personally think the world would be much better off without Elon Musk having any kind of power or influence over it. Megalomaniacal narcissists like he and Donald Trump (and most raving Republicans these days, from Gaetz to Koch) are ruining this world. No one should be a billionaire. At that value, you have everything you could ever want. Give the rest back.

Use it to run healthcare or promote green initiatives, civil rights defense. But anything higher than one billion (and even that’s a debatable number – as in too fucking high) is way too much, and clearly warps a person’s brain with entitlement and selfishnes.

Fuck Elon, but long live space.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 1089 words, novella: The Mungk

cousin kevin

Listening to this on a quiet Saturday morning and all I can think is to be reminded of that Stonekettle saying about Republicans: the cruelty is the point.

So vastly insecure that the only way they can find any joy in life is dragging everyone else down with them. And if they can make some money off it at the same time, why not?

Would that the other side had the nuts to actually apply some accountability to them, but we just keep going around and around in the same circles. I really hope Americans come out en masse in the midterms and sweep these fuckers off the board, but let’s be honest.

The apathy runs deep, almost as deep as the stupidity and gullibility of the GOP’s followers.

I don’t want to live next door to fascists. Smarten up, America.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 530 words, novella: The Mungk

flu shot

Getting that done today. At least I will have accomplished something. And before you go all anti-vax on me, don’t be a dumb shit. Pay attention to the world around you and remove yourself from the dregs of the internet. They are playing you in order to support a fascist agenda and to line their own pockets.

As always, it’s about money and power, and the dummies gullible enough to give it to them.

Don’t be a dummy.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 222 words, novella: The Mungk

last… fucking… day

Complicated feelings. On one hand, absolute bliss, an heady gleefulness that makes me want to giggle uncontrollably. On the other, guilt, for leaving them in the lurch, for shirking off my responsibility to our customers, and nervousness, about what comes next.

As my wife reminded me though, I’ve no reason to feel bad about leaving. This company has not been kind to me, and over the past few years, having to fight the urge to swerve into oncoming traffic on the way to the office or walk out in disgust and put my family’s financial future at risk has been a daily fight.

And I’m tired of being stressed out, depressed, angry and suicidal. I needed them to fire those bigoted, petty, undeserved ego-driven pieces of shit back in March and they did, but I know it wasn’t their lies or laziness or petty grievances. It wasn’t their misogyny, racism or Trump-loving anti-vax nonsense. It wasn’t the constant abuse or threats of violence. The sole reason this company fired those assholes is because they tried to go over the boss’ head to the CEO. That bruised the boss’ ego and the other stuff just gave him a convenient excuse. Had they never done that, they’d still be here, and we’d all still be suffering while management looked the other way.

And in the wake of that, did they then get me the help that I needed? I was clear with them – I had no desire to be an IT person anymore. I hated IT, and I wanted to move into a more administrative position. They ignored that. I said in a temporary capacity, as a stopgap solution, for a few weeks or a month, I could keep things running until they found a proper network guy. They never bothered, and instead combined five jobs into one and got me the minimal amount of help possible (someone who could never do what I do), and they took a month and a half to do even that, after initially questioning whether they needed to at all. Meanwhile, I was on the clock 24/7, and killing myself.

When this opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. It was a better job all the way around, even if I liked this one. Why wouldn’t I take it?

Now that I’m leaving, they’ve spent the last ten days trying to make me work around the clock again, FOR FREE, ignoring my attempts to create actual documentation, which they will need, on how to do all of the things the new people will need to know. Instead, they want me to fix monitors or have pointless meetings or draw network maps. Oh, did I get a network map when this was dumped in my lap? Of course not. And they posted my job at twenty grand more than they were willing to offer me to boot.

And why do they not care about documentation? They’ve repeatedly said over the last week that they’ll just call me if they need anything. I keep telling them that’s not going to happen, but apparently, in their minds, they think they can keep me working for them, for free, even though I quit and have moved on to a different job.

So why do I feel guilty about leaving? I really shouldn’t. This job has been nothing but abusive almost from the start, and only got worse over the years. When they finally fired those idiots (again, over the bruised ego of the boss, and not because we begged for months and provided more reason to fire with cause than you could shake a stick at. Seriously, I tell other people the crap these guys pulled and they’re flabbergasted that they weren’t fired, or even jailed, years ago), I decided to buckle down, make the attempt and see how serious these guys were about building anew with me. Instead, they completely hung me out to dry. And now, they want me to continue to be at their beck and call, for nothing?

I wouldn’t even do it if they paid me, and believe me, I thought long and hard about asking for a consulting fee to do that. But this is the kind of company that would look at me and say, “Why pay him? He hasn’t got enough money to take us on in court.” I’m fully convinced they’d agree to it and stiff me.

I’m trying to go out the right way. Not to burn bridges, and to go out with graciousness. But these people have never understood boundaries, they’ve never supported their people and they just don’t get it.

Maybe instead of telling people that they shouldn’t burn bridges with the companies they’re leaving, the companies they’re leaving should be trying not to burn bridges with the employees on their way out. This economy is fucked, that a company is so fucking entitled that they believe they still have any claim to you after you’re fucking gone.

So, instead, I say goodbye and good riddance. Don’t call me. You’re like a crazy ex that won’t go away and won’t leave me alone. We’re through. Don’t make me get a restraining order.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 1951 words, novella: The Mungk

pushing on

My glimmer seems to have gone silent. Faded into obscurity. Maybe it’ll roar back as a glorious beacon, a lighthouse guiding me away from the rocks, but for now, it’s little more than the darkness of the void.

Does light make a sound? If so, do different kinds of light make different kinds of sound? I would assume yes. Infrared versus visible and so on. I don’t know a lot about light, if I’m being honest. My focus has always been on people, culture, politics and psychology. Sociology, even as I worked in technology. I’m far more fascinated with how people work, the philosophies of their existence and what is from a purely behavioural standpoint, rather than the hard science of physics or chemistry or whatever. I like science and I like math and whatever else, but it’s not my obsession.

My obsession is why do we behave how we do? How do we do it better? How do we make the world better, through our behaviour and our philosophies, not simply technology?

These are the things that keep me going.

Target: 900 words
Written: 709 words, novella: The Mungk

fat bear week

I just heard about this, and well, I love it. I love all things conservationist. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do believe in minimizing our damage, which means getting rid of factory farming, the destruction of natural ecosystems and topsoil by grains, corn, and other monocrops, and dealing as strongly as possible with climate change.

(Fun read for vegans: check out the tightly coupled correlation of the rise of imperialism and agriculture. Agriculture has done more to the destroy ecosystems and render animals extinct over the the last ten thousand years than carnivores could even have hoped to, on top of the economic, cultural and social inequalities it spawned. It’s less obvious than some asshole shooting an endangered animal, but no less destructive. You want to save the planet? Stop growing and eating grains, among other things.)

Anyways, vote for fat bears. It’s fun and encourages healthy bears that are ready to hibernate for winter.

Target: 900 words
Written: 282 words, novella: The Mungk

tired of other people’s stupidity

Thanksgiving is this weekend. So, naturally, the person who was out sick with COVID yesterday decided to come in today, because “she’s missed enough work”. She was out one day, and it’s not like she’s a particularly dedicated worker. She’s already on the verge of being fired for incompetence, which we now see also applies to her ability to demonstrate reason when it comes to infecting other people with her illness a few days before a holiday.

Naturally, she’s an anti-vaxxer whose reasoning for not getting the vaccine is poor at best, populated with likely fabrications at worst. Loves them convoy people and thinks Trudeau is a dictator as well. Clearly, the education system in Ontario has failed her. Heaven forbid she ever live in an actual dictatorship. Wouldn’t she be surprised then?

She claims to have tested negative for three days and that it’s just because she got in a cold pool on Saturday, but come on. First of all, she said the pool thing was Saturday night and told us Monday morning she’d had three days of clean tests – unless she started immediately testing as soon as she got out of the pool, (which why would you unless you were showing symptoms, which at that point wouldn’t be caused by the pool), that’s bullshit.

(Update: the boss says the pool thing was Friday, but another co-worker said he was sure she said Saturday as well. The boss doesn’t want to send her home because then she has to do the job, so the boss is defending her despite the obviously inconsiderate behaviour).

How many people do we all know at this point who had COVID and tested negative for days on end, despite being clearly ill and knowing without question it was COVID. My brother and his family were down for a week. It took one of them three days (testing twice a day) to get a positive and another six days of the same to get that positive test. My wife’s brother-in-law was sick with COVID for five full days before it came up positive. Those tests are beyond unreliable, mostly due to the fact that they aren’t designed to test for Omicron or the BA.2 variant.

But what happens? I told our office manager she shouldn’t be here. She just shrugged. My other coworker and I went and put on masks, which was literally the LEAST this person could have done herself, but nope. We’re all sitting with masks on. The one who is actually sick is not.

Why is this acceptable in this day and age? If you’re sick, and she clearly is, why the fuck is she allowed to be here? I’m two months removed from watching my mother-in-law die terribly from COVID, and it was HARSH. That is a hard death and one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I don’t need to see any of my other family members suffer a similar fate because some inconsiderate jerk thinks it’s okay to spread a deadly disease.

I’m so tired of these convoy-loving, anti-science, anti-medicine, anti-intelligence, selfish pricks, thinking they’re so oppressed because they made a choice to completely disregard their own health and the safety and well-being of everyone around them. Saying that people helping others, trying to be good to others, is somehow fascism? That Trudeau is a dictator because what? He didn’t want people to die needlessly? Because a bunch of morons shut down trade routes and occupied our capitol and after what was WAY too long, he decided to clear them out, with what seemed to most of us rational people, was a surprisingly gentle touch, given the situation? It could have been way, way worse. Certainly, in another country, where there was an actual dictator, it would have been a response that was immediate and far more brutal.

On top of that, they’re still crowing on about mandates and masks and whatnot, most of which weren’t Trudeau’s doing (many of those decisions were provincial) and most of which were no longer in place at the time of the protest. There are next to none now. These don’t even know what or who they’re protesting. They’re just towing some demented party line amplified by social media propaganda bubbles and grifting right wing politicians. No wonder they seem like spoiled children. They’re throwing tantrums about not having cake when they’re literally standing the bakery.

I’m sick of it. We cannot continue to let this over-entitled, disconnected-from-reality subset of the culture distract us from things of real import – health care, climate change, the housing crisis, economic inequality.

Do better, people.

Target: 900 words
Written: 258 words, novella: The Mungk