So, about the notorious difficulties of getting toliet paper…

I’ve heard and read that it’s really difficult to get toilet paper these days. I’ve seen that, at one of the local supermarkets, that the shelves in the toilet paper / paper towel section are the most consistently empty (though it’s been more than a week since I went to that supermarket, so I don’t know if that has changed). This doesn’t directly concern me, because I stopped using toilet paper at home long before the current coronavirus crisis.

And whether it directly concerns me or not, difficulty in distributing toilet paper is far, far from the most important aspect of the current crisis. I wish that there was nothing worse about the crisis than toilet paper supply chain problems. But even though it is far from being the most important thing, it is still a thing. So, toilet paper shortages.
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Switching Languages While Reading Coiling Dragon

I found this post that I wrote a few years ago in my drafts. I don’t know why I didn’t publish it before. At the time I was reading the English translation of Coiling Dragon it was still freely available, but now it’s only available via Amazon/Kindle.

Over many months, taking many breaks, I read Coiling Dragon by I Eat Tomatoes. Sometimes I read it in the original Chinese, and sometimes I read the English translation by Ren Woxing (yes, seriously, he calls himself ‘Ren Woxing’, that’s a bit like calling oneself ‘Tom Riddle’ or ‘Anakin Skywalker’, I think that’s why the translator’s name is often abbreviated to ‘RWX’). I read quite a bit of this novel during multiday hikes (only in the original Chinese, because I don’t have the English translation on my ebook reader).

It’s a really trashy and fun novel (or at least it was fun for me, your mileage may vary). It required relatively little intellectual effort on my part. The English translation was particularly low effort for me to because that’s my native language (and that was why I was bothering with the English translation at all – if I took this novel more seriously, I would have insisted on reading / listening to it strictly in Chinese so I would know exactly how the original writer phrased things).

This is the first time I’ve ever read a novel while frequently switching languages. That made the novel more interesting than if I had read it in just a single language.

Sometimes a new concept would come out, and I would wonder how that concept would be described in the other language, and then I would find out. For example, in the novel there are three levels of deities – 下位神, 中位神, and 上位神. If you can read Chinese, then you know those literally mean ‘low position god’, ‘middle position god’, and ‘high position god’. Those terms would sound pretty terrible in English (especially since they are frequently used), so instead the English translation labels them as ‘demigod’, ‘god’, and ‘highgod’.
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More Personal Comments on the Coronavirus Crisis

I want to avoid discussing the coronavirus crisis in my regular weekly blog posts (at least while the crisis is ongoing) – so I’m going to say some things now.

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During shelter-at-home, I’m learning things I never knew about my parents before. Such as this:

Dad: I haven’t told your mother, but I think I have a cataract in my left eye.
Me: Uh… [I was thinking that this came totally out of the blue]
Dad: It’s like looking out a really dirty pane of glass.
Me: Oh.
Dad: The last time I went to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed, they made me look at that eye chart on the wall, and I had no problem reading the letters with my right eye. But with my left eye, I couldn’t tell what the letters were.
Me: [trying to remember when my dad last went to the DMV] Wait, this has been going on for that long??!!
Dad: [sheepishly] I was in denial.
Me: I don’t think you can get treatment for that now.
Dad: No, I probably can’t.

Hopefully, both of my parents will survive the current crisis, and thus live long enough for my mother to go all $#!@%$^$%$# on my dad when she finds out that he’s been keeping a visual impairment a secret for years. (If my dad is clever enough, he’ll imply that the cataract started during the coronavirus crisis, and that he didn’t want to stress her out about it during the crisis when there was little possibility of treatment). (No, my mother doesn’t read this blog). (Though if she is reading this blog after all, I’m probably going to find out very soon).

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I am glad that I currently live in a household with other people right now, though I am keeping on eye on possible opportunities to physically isolate within the household. That’s mainly because I’m at low risk, and do things like run to the hardware store to get a replacement for the plumbing part that wears out NOW of all times, whereas my parents are at high risk. It would be safer if I could go outside for necessary tasks like ‘get plumbing thingy from hardware store’, and then be isolated from them in case I somehow got infected in the hardware store. But it is hard to isolate when there is only one bathroom, which makes other efforts to physically isolate myself within the household seem potentially pointless.

(Is okay that I was secretly pleased that the thingy wore out so that I had a really good reason to enter the hardware store, where I got a few things other than the plumbing thingy? Maybe if I lived in physical isolation, I’d feel comfortable with going to the hardware store for errands less important than an urgent plumbing problem.)
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What Does It Mean to Leave an Ace Community?

This is for the March 2020 Carnival of Aces “Leaving”

When I first saw the theme for this month’s Carnival of Aces, I wondered whether I had anything to say about the theme of ‘Leaving’.

Well, now I do, because I am no longer a contributer to The Asexual Agenda. Since I want to keep the reason I chose to leave private, I’m not going to discuss that specifically. But it did focus my mind on what it means to leave an ace community.

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There are now so many online communities that, if someone wants to leave one online ace community and join another, it is often possible. For example, if someone wants to leave the ace community on Tumblr or Twitter because they want to get away from the ace flame wars (a.k.a. “The Discourse”), they might be able to join Pillowfort, or Dreamwidth, or somewhere else online with other aces and better moderation. If they are able and willing to put in the effort, they can even try to create a new online ace community.

And the reason one might leave an ace community may not be negative. Someone could be so excited about a new online ace community that they may leave an old one so that they may more fully throw themselves into the new community.

Then some people choose to leave an ace community without joining another. It happens all the time, and for many reasons. If you’ve spent much time in any ace community, you’re probably aware of people who have dropped out of the ace scene altogether (as far as we know).

Not all people have the same range of options. Someone who is not comfortable with using English on the internet, or at least in an online ace community, has fewer options than someone who is. Someone who needs specific accommodations to use a website may find that some online ace communities do not offer those accommodations. Et cetera, et cetera.

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Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan

The book cover for Royal Rescue

What is this novel about?

Prince Gerald wants to live without marriage and sex. Yet he was born as one of the princes of the Thousand Kingdoms, where all princes, princesses, and princexes must begin participating in a royal rescue at the age of eighteen and be married by their early twenties. Gerald’s mother will only let him choose whether he wants to be a rescuer or a rescuee. After he refuses both roles, he wakes up to find that he has been magically transported to a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon in the middle of an inhospitable desert so that he can be ‘rescued’ by his future spouse.

He needs to rescue himself to avoid being ‘rescued’. But that might not be enough. In order to secure his freedom, Gerald might have to dismantle the entire system of young royals rescuing other young royals. If the royal rescues keep on happening, not only will Gerald be trapped, but many others will continue to be trapped in a much crueller manner.

What sexual and/or violent content does this novel contain?

There is discussion of sex, including references to characters having sex off-page, but there is no on-page sex (not even fade to black). There is violence, including putting collars on the necks of children, which cause wounds, infections, and pain as they grow older yet the collar doesn’t grow bigger with them. And a character badly burns another character, causing severe injuries (and detailed descriptions of the burn injuries). Weapons with blades also are used to injure others.
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An Adventure with Calorie Restriction (Part 3)

Continued from Part 2

Reminder: I am NOT advocating that anyone reading this relate to their own body weight in any particular way.

If you have met me face to face, you have probably noticed that I am a physically energetic person. If you’ve only known me in recent years, you may not believe that I am cooling down because you may not be able to imagine that I once used to be even more energetic. If you knew me as a teenager, then you know that was particularly hyperactive compared to other teenagers, and if you met with me in person today, you would probably be able to confirm that, yes, I have cooled down. (For a while, my mother had a theory that I was so energetic because I was ace – i.e. since I put no energy into sexual activity I had more energy for everything else). So yes, I am gradually becoming less energetic as I become older, and I accept that.

But since having lots of energy is my normal, a rapid decrease in my physical energy that doesn’t have an obvious explanation (such as an unusually high amount of physical exertion) is often a sign that I am sick. When I caught whooping cough as a teenager, my physical energy levels collapsed, and my demeanor became unrecognizable, especially to myself. (Now I started thinking about whooping cough, and looked up articles like this one, and it occurs to me that I almost certainly wasn’t included in the official statistics of who caught whopping cough in the United States because I never got tested or even officially diagnosed; we consulted a doctor by phone, and after hearing about my symptoms he was so certain that I had whopping cough that he didn’t think a formal examination was necessary. Thus, I strongly suspect the official statistics are under-counting whopping cough in the United States).

In the beginning of my 1800-calories-per-day-more-or-less-usually-more regimen, I didn’t notice any change in my energy levels. However, shortly after I figured out that eating more protein banished the pangs of hunger, I noticed a drastic dip in my energy levels. And by far the most plausible explanation for my new lack of energy was the calorie restriction. Continue reading

Scattered Thoughts on the Coronavirus Crisis

As you may know, I live in San Francisco, and today was the first day of the “shelter in place” order. The changes in the past week – such as all public schools and libraries closing, the state government ordering all bars/clubs to close, etc. led me to think this was coming. I had already decided to not go to the local ace meetup days before it was formally cancelled/moved online (and no, I didn’t try to attend the online meetup).

I think it is good that the local governments are doing this. I am convinced that extreme social distancing can save lives, and I could see from the behavior of people around me (even while keeping a safe distance) that not enough people were going to do the social distancing thing without a mandatory government order.

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