On Statues

Aug. 16th, 2017 08:06 pm
melydia: (cutting ties)
[personal profile] melydia
If the Confederate statues are so important, why don't they just purchase them from the city and erect a memorial park on private land? Removing the statues won't change history, but neither will keeping them up. The South lost either way. And it's not "erasing history" either. There are thousands of historical markers about the Civil War, all of which contain far more information than "Lee sure looks great up there on his horse!" The battlefields all have signs and often even entire parks dedicated to them. The Civil War is in no danger whatsoever of being forgotten in the areas where it was fought, and that's where people are arguing the loudest about the statues.

(A note about these statues: a lot of them were erected in the 1930s by white Southerners wanting to remind black Southerners of their proper place.)

So what about Washington or Jefferson? They had slaves! Yes, they did. But that's a separate conversation. They were presidents of our nation, not people who fought to break away from our nation. And so far the only people I've heard make that case are people who are trying to use the "slippery slope" fallacy, implying that a statue of a failed general is somehow equal to every statue of every person ever. And even if they were, taking down a monument is not the same thing as changing history. Once again, there are many thousands of historical markers. The Civil War in particular even has at least one entire marker series dedicated to it, in addition to all the state, county, and other markers scattered around the country. This argument isn't about suppressing information. It's about which people we choose to honor. (Maybe someday we'll discuss whether we care to honor all our former presidents, but that is not part of this current discussion. This is about the people who lost the Civil War.)

Now, as a white Northerner, I do not have a horse in this race. I am not bothered one way or another whether the Confederate memorials stay or go. But just because I personally am not offended doesn't mean it's objectively inoffensive. That's not how living in a society works. People are very passionate about this issue - on both sides. You're not going to make both sides happy, but removing the statues without destroying them is one possible solution. It might, at least, give people one less object to rally around.

Calendar Confusion and Other Concerns

Aug. 10th, 2017 08:23 pm
melydia: (Default)
[personal profile] melydia
I have no trouble falling asleep. I have no trouble staying asleep (in fact, Bill is impressed by how quickly I fall back asleep after getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom). My trouble is going to bed. It's okay at the beginning of the week but by Thursday I'm struggling. And since I'm tired so much of the day, simply being tired isn't much of an incentive to go to bed early. Honestly, I think I just resent my bedtime. I get home, eat dinner and do chores, and suddenly it's like 9:00 and I should be already in bed but eff that I want to stay up! I'm like a child.

I keep forgetting what week it is. This coming weekend we have a party at Andy & Jill's on Saturday, then David and Bobby are stopping by on Sunday to talk carpet. (Bill's finally on board with putting wood flooring in the living room, and I told David that I would put him and Bobby up for a long weekend, including all food and drink, if they helped us out. So since they're in the area for something else, they want to come see our carpet to see just how much work it's going to be and what kind of time/tools will be required. They're kind of awesome like that.)

Next weekend, as I keep forgetting, is the BCinDC meetup and hopefully my first meetup with Sketch On, a local sketchcrawl group who actually meet on this side of the river. And Summer Slam. I don't know why I can't seem to keep it all straight. Angela invited us to brunch with her and her husband this coming Sunday and I almost said yes because I thought I could fit it in before the sketchcrawl. I'm not sure why I can't seem to figure out August.

My anxiety's been troubling me lately, so I've sort of casually restarted the Dead Artist Project. So far it's just been Gustave Courbet and Georges Lemmen, but it's really relaxing. I don't know why it's different from any other drawing, but it is. No huge time commitment, no pressure to do it perfectly. And since I've already drawn a lot of the artists I've heard of, I'm discovering new ones as well. So that's a nice bonus.

Anyway, speaking of bed, I should go visit mine.

Heavy Bicycles -- Traffic

Aug. 6th, 2017 05:25 pm
melydia: (fear the blue toy)
[personal profile] melydia
The title is a sign I saw at the entrance to Mountain Run Lake Park. I think they didn't mean to include the S, or maybe even the dashes.

Yesterday was the Culpeper Gran Fondo, an untimed bike ride around the Virginia countryside. Coworker Michelle and I did the 50k (32-mile) course. (There were also 100k and 100-mile options.) According to her app, it took us 4 hours, 17 minutes. (My phone died 28 miles in, but that's because I'm a dumbass who didn't want to turn off her screen.) I think that includes all our stops.

The ride went pretty well. Michelle's bike was giving her fits, and at one point one of the race trucks stopped to help adjust her brakes. She also had to stop a couple times to fix her mud flaps. But she made it the entire way, which at one point she wasn't positive her legs would allow.

I think the fastest I got while coasting was 25mph. It was during one of these particularly speedy times that a huge butterfly hit me in the neck. That was startling. And a little bit gross. There were some nasty hills, but one in particular was extra bad. It was less steep than it was endless. I never walked my bike (a personal victory), but I did have to stop partway up to get my breath back. My entire trunk was sore. (Next time I'll also remember to take my inhaler before the ride. Sheesh.)

I couldn't find my sunscreen, but luckily the aid station (which we visited coming and going, at roughly mile markers 9 and 23) had some of the spray-on kind. I am remarkably unburnt today. I thought I'd burned the crap out of the back of my neck, but apparently not. When we crossed the finish line we were handed a towel that had been in a barrel of ice water, and I left it draped around my neck for like two hours. I don't know if that did anything in terms of sunburn, but it sure felt good.

Afterward they had BBQ and beer, which was a little surprising but much appreciated. It was mostly light/pale beers, which makes sense because who wants a stout after cycling? I had a Corona. The mac'n'cheese had just a touch of jalapeƱo, which added a nice flavor but no extra heat. This was a second surprise, because usually I give a big thumbs down to such additions.

Speaking of things I never eat, on our second stop at the aid station, I had an Oatmeal Cream Pie. I don't remember the last time I had one of those and wow it was just as good as I remember. Which is dangerous knowledge to have.

Michelle and I had talked about hitting a nearby winery that was offering free tastings to ride participants, but I felt so tired and gross that I went straight home, took a shower, and then took a nap. My legs weren't interested in moving when I got up, but today I feel mostly fine.

I think next time I might try doing one of these rides on my own. The company is nice, but I'd like to see what I can do if I really push myself. It's not like we can talk much while riding anyway.

While I was stretching last night, Bill said this means I need to start taking longer bike rides. He also suggested that maybe instead of taking long drives, I should take long rides. Which is a fine idea in theory. I just wish exercise didn't make me smell so damned bad. I don't even want to be around myself after sweating like that.

So while I may not be the most physically fit person out there, it was nice to have it reaffirmed that yes, I can indeed bike for hours on end without wanting to die. Or getting bored. Yes, there were a few hills there near the end where I was wondering how the hell I hadn't reached the aid station yet, but all in all it was a very pleasant ride.

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