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Labour is still, unfortunately, divided into traditional perspectives as far as the world views relationships. There are the tasks that women perform and those that are the man’s job.

Automotive issues generally fall on the man. Putting on the snow tires, changing air filters and the oil is considered the domain of men. Although, as society moves farther and farther away from vehicles that can be easily maintained in the comfort of one’s garage (and let’s be real, a having a garage, or having one that isn’t a second basement, is drifting away from the norm too), vehicle maintenance is becoming a lost art regardless.

When I was single, I maintained my vehicles by taking it to a shop and letting a professional do the work. I drove in. I hopped out, sat in the waiting area, paid the bill and left. There was the obligatory peeks at different fluids and filters that required me to nod  but for the most part, it wasn’t really a chore and no one – that I am aware of in retrospect – was actively trying to rip me off in terms of service.

During my first marriage, I maintained my independence as far as this particular man job went because my first husband really didn’t know much at all about cars. He could change the oil and tires, which was more than I could do, but we didn’t have a garage and one of his best friends, who was a mechanic, told me on the sly early on “Don’t let him fix anything. Ask me first.” Good advice that I took.

Now husband, however, is a man job professional. I really can’t think of anything that falls under the traditional umbrella of man jobs that he can’t do. Literally.

And so, I have been lazy. Don’t judge.

For all of my life, I have taken care of myself and everyone who fell under my protection. My late husband was a terrific guy, and he had his strengths, but taking care of us wasn’t one of them. I was okay with that. I like being in charge, and I am pretty bossy, so it worked out well.

But, I admit, when the opportunity arose to hand over the tasks that I have never been fond of, I took it and didn’t look back.

Today, I took the truck in for an oil change. It was in semi-urgent need. Husband is quite busy and won’t be taking much time off over the holidays, so I thought “I’ve got this”. Which I did because I simply called up Husband on the phone and had the kid at Jiffy Lube talk to him.

Seriously, how did I ever live without instant access to everyone I know?

Whenever the need arises for me to step up for oil changes, however, I am reminded all over again that most of what I know about the truck is just how to drive it. I don’t know where anything is on the dash that I don’t have to use everyday. I know little to nothing about the various settings for lights, for instance, and I forget from one time to the next how to pop the hood open.

Jiffy Lube Kid presented this and that dipstick or spot on a card for me to judge levels or colour of this and that fluid, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if they were fine or not. They appeared to hit the proper marks and have the required clearness, so I gave a Queen Elizabeth nod, and he seemed satisfied.

I can tell the difference between an air filter that needs to be changed and one that doesn’t but fortunately, Jiffy Lube never asks me to. They simply say, “This looks fine” or “This should be changed” and I give my royal assent.

Sometimes I think maybe I should pay more attention to these man jobs like vehicles and home renovations, but those thoughts pass quickly.

There’s very little about the routine chore aspect of life that’s so complicated that it requires a whole lot of stored knowledge. If I had to – like today – I manage fine. It’s an oil change. Jiffy Lube wouldn’t get too many repeat customers if it’s regular practice was to lie to people. I don’t need to know the ins and outs of differentials, transmission leaks and air tire pressure to be able to deal with issues as they arise. A lot of the information people needed to know about home and vehicle maintenance in the days of yore stemmed from the fact that many things were not as complicated as they simply were time consuming. And disposable income was not such that people could afford to have someone else do the work for them.

For me, the important thing is that Husband and I are – mostly – doing those things that we find acceptable personally. I am disinterested in renovations beyond “are you finished yet?” and he is fine with taking on the work required to update. And while he is happy never to step foot in a grocery store, I am good with being a personal shopper. Just as an example.

But it’s a curious thing, this distribution of tasks. What’s his and what’s hers. And how easily we slide into roles. Some would say this is conditioning, and they’d be right to a point. In my opinion, personality and mutual understanding plays their parts too.

I imagine Jiffy Lube Guy runs into people like me – barely interested in or aware of what is going on in their vehicles as long as they are running – all day long. Women and men.

I game. Not hardcore – unless it’s a new release or new expansion – but I game. And though it sometimes feels like I am a lone woman in the gamer’sphere, the numbers say I am not.

As of 2014, women over the age of 18 were 32% of gamers while boys under 17 made up just 17%. Men make up 52% of all games and women are the remaining 48%, which is up from 40% in 2010.

Like most teens back in the day of arcades, I hung out. I played Tetris, Centipede, Galaxian and a bit of PacMan. It was never something I actively sought out and generally, if I found myself in an arcade, it was because one of my friends had a crush on a boy who hung out at arcades.

For the record, never once did I ever have a crush on a boy who hung out at an arcade.

I got my start in the virtual game world via The Legend of Zelda almost 20 years ago now. My late husband and I had a Nintendo 64. In addition to Zelda, which I found intuitively maddening for it’s lack of sense, we had the standard Mario offerings and some racing games. Eventually the new wore off and I gave the console to my nephew, but gaming called again about a decade ago when I discovered The Sims which, lacking rules and guidance, I was able to turn into hours of distraction during some darker times in my life.

I got back into gaming the summer before last when my husband got me a PS4 and introduced me to Destiny. I’d tried a few other games, Diablo 3, played a bit of Nintendoland with the kids and took a rather pathetic shot at Mass Effect. And really, I wasn’t feeling it.

But my husband wanted us to spend virtual time together in addition to the real time we already spent, and he was sure I would like Destiny because I had enjoyed watching him play Dust 514.

As shooter games go, it’s the easiest I have ever tried. It’s first person and the graphics aren’t cartoonish, which I find off-putting. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to play Mass Effect. It had a great story line, characters that were compelling and didn’t feel like something created for children.

I am not good. Fair to occasionally average is roughly my skill level. There were things about Destiny that I’d have never completed were it not for assistance from my husband and his online comrades, but I liked the game. I liked the time he and I spend playing, and I liked his friends – who, contrary to stereotype, are nice guys.

More imaginary friends is probably not something I need but it’s where I generally end up.

Husband now thinks I should take my rather average skills to Twitch and see if anyone will watch me. Not a lot of women streaming their play, and certainly not in my age range, but I hesitate because I prefer written words to spoken, and I am dubious about my own appeal.

And I don’t do PvP, which is what most Destiny folks like to watch, nor do I care enough about the gear and loot to cater to those who nerd out on the minutia aspects of games.

PvP is virtual mortal combat against complete strangers for imaginary rewards. A person might think this would appeal to a gal who really loves online life but no. Virtually killing strangers for no particularly good reason or, in my case, being fake murdered by strangers, who then dance – and … other … things – all over my virtual corpse is not appealing.

But husband believes that my rambling commentary would suffice, but again, I am doubtful. Plus I swear. A lot. Even more than I do on Twitter.

I share all this only because I am going to rewrite a review of the latest version of the game, Destiny 2. Mostly because the whining about it has annoyed me. And I probably will record and share my gameplay at least once just to see if it is less horrible than I think it will be. So I wanted to provide a bit of background beforehand.

To sum up, old woman games and has opinions about it that she will sharing from time to time in the future. That is all.

Most everyone I know has their Christmas decorations festively strewn about their homes. Trees are up and properly adorned and the real keeners have wrapped gifts underneath.

Me? Well, I have discussed this before, my disinclination to housewifery. Decor, holiday or otherwise, definitely falls under the heading “drudgery” and I really have to work myself up to it.

This year, I am nowhere close to the loin girding necessary to clean up the spaces needed for holiday phoofery.

The problem, as I see it, is that most people look at the packed boxes of lights, ornaments and other sparkly things and they can see it on the tree, walls, shelves and every other nook and cranny. Happily they dig in. Carefully they create the festive setting. And it’s weeks later when the holidays have passed that they look around and realize that it all must be taken down and packed away again for another year.

I look at packed boxes and think “Christ, I am just going to have to repack this in a few weeks”.

I’ve been threatening my family for a couple of weeks now with “we’re going to gather around a string of lights, take presents out of plastic sacks and eat pizza” for Christmas. The teen is pretty horrified by the prospect but not so much that she is offering up her services as a decorator and so far, my husband’s protestations have been weak and unconvincing.

Christmases past, I have hinted at simply running away for the holidays but even that requires effort that I am not certain the holidays warrant anymore.

It’s not that I don’t love holidays.

The music is jolly and there is eggnog.

The teen is off from school so there are no lunches to pack or chauffeuring to do.

We sleep in. Binge on Netflix or wile away the hours with new books and gaming.

It’s not all bleak with obligation and work but what there is of that has become … un-fun.

The past few years have witnessed a steady decline in decorations and baking. Minimalist has become my middle name and not just during the holidays.

Today, I need to start excavating the living room. Reclaim the spaces devastated by never-ending reno projects and recent episodes of influenza. My preference is leaning toward stuffing garbage bags and just taking things to the dump but that’s probably overreacting. Right?

Making Christmas is not something I’ve spent much of my life doing. Until I moved to Canada, I packed up myself, and later myself and child, and drove to my parent’s. They made Christmas. My mom still does. But now it’s on me and I seriously can’t wait until circumstances allow me to offload this on one of my own kids, who aren’t exactly stepping up and volunteering at this point. And I don’t blame them.

I gave up on The Walking Dead a while ago, but I confess to still keeping up a bit via YouTube clips and recaps from various internet sources.

I was curious to see how they would handle the Negan thing. He is the kind of villain who sucks the oxygen out of a story-line because he’s so over the top evil, and it makes almost no sense at all that someone hasn’t killed him long before Rick and company ran afoul of him.

In a post-apocalyptic world with no rules, and virtually limitless places to retreat to, a guy like this would have met his end long ago.  You have to perform some serious disbelief suspending to believe in a world where this guy wasn’t bludgeoned to death as he slept, but in the lucrative world of serial television (and comic books because he’s still alive there too), he gets to overstay his welcome because lazy tale telling and profits overlap more than they should.

The reason I gave up on The Walking Dead though was once again starkly portrayed in it’s mid-season 8 finale.

Good seldom ever wins nor is it rewarded. The show’s main message is, and continues to be, that only the extremely violent use force will save people. Community is coerced. Decent people are subjugated. And acts of kindness and caring about humanity for its own sake will get you or your loved ones killed.

Great lessons that remarkably predate the era of Trump and the resurgence of Nazis.

Last night Carl, the teenage son of the main protagonist, Rick Grimes,  revealed at the end of episode that he’d been bitten by a walker (zombie) in the previous episode as he tried to help a stranger. The stranger in question, it turns out, is a member of the group led by the evil Negan, reinforcing the show’s main theme – being a good person means eventually being a dead one.

The young man joins other characters, whose kindness and general interest in rebuilding on the ashes of society, has earned them similar death sentences.

But it is hope that is the eternal victim in the land of The Walking Dead. Nothing and nobody is allowed to nurture ideas of a better life for long.

This isn’t the best message in the best of times, and North America is not enjoying the best of times right now, but violence and the idea that might and brutality are the only answer to every question is recycled in every conceivable way by this show, and last night’s snuffing of Carl is just one more example.

I saw a tweet today that summed up what should’ve happened. It said “Eugene should have died. Eugene should have fucking died.”

And it was right.

Eugene is a weaselly, self-serving cunt of a man. But his continued existence validates his loathsome choices, which have been largely selfish and treacherous despite the fleeting moments of self-awareness and contrition that were ultimately self-interested too.

Eugene surviving while Carl doesn’t reminds the viewer that being a good person has no reward while being a rat-bastard earns you material comforts.

And that, in a nutshell, is why The Walking Dead isn’t worth serious attention anymore. Even it’s heroes, Rick, Daryl and Maggie are relativists, who take life with as little thought as their big bad rival, Negan, does.

I haven’t watched Fear the Walking Dead since it’s first season but have seen a few clips here and there. Same thing. Good equals dead. Morally challenged or vacuous equals … hero or villain because they are interchangeable.

Having just finished bingeing on Stranger Things, I am struck by the difference in world views in two shows that both deal on the edges of societal failure but approach the human component quite differently.

And they approach outcomes differently too. The Walking Dead has given up. There is no hope. There is no tomorrow. Nothing to fight because the fight is all there is. That’s just depressing. And it’s a tedious tale.

So R.I.P, Carl. You were always a goner. Like Beth. Like Glenn and Sasha and Tyrone and Herschel. Like hope.

A recent bout of flu confined the teen and I to the comfy couches in our seldom used living room and while sofa-ridden, we decided to binge on Netflix.

Being a teenager, she is well-versed in binge watching. Me, on the other hand, I only watch television when I am ill. So she had seen pretty much everything, and some things twice, but not Stranger Things.

She admitted that her friends’ descriptions of the plot line were a bit too grisly and scary for her tastes, so she’d avoided it. Never the less, she was game and we were pretty much out of options for hours worth of viewing after our Harry Potter marathon and still had a lot of flu left to go.

She was hooked quickly. A Goonies fan, there was much for her to latch her imagination to but the first season only periodically pulled my attention away from social media. The early 80’s are my heading into young adult years. I remember most of that time period through those lenses, but season two has been pretty good. Particularly, the soundtrack.

The teen grimaces. Her eyes roll. And she is of the firm opinion that the term “good” cannot be applied to any music before the 21st Century – except for possibly the theme from Ghostbusters – but as the episodes rolled on, I was reminded of that not everything from the 80’s needs to be killed with fire.

Most everything about the 80’s perplexes my kid though. Rightly, when I stop to consider it. Even a fictionalized fantasy version of it seems fairly far-fetched from the vantage of 2017.

The Soviet Union and the American obsession with it, for example, is difficult to explain.

There are a couple of brief references to the 1984 POTUS election that brought back memories as it was the first national election I was old enough to vote in but for her the idea that a woman on the presidential ticket wasn’t normal is hard to fathom.

Rotary phones. How did we manage without phones in our pockets and purses?

And the hair. God the hair. Christ, we had no concept of fashion. The 70’s really left us without any sense of style. I blame polyester and blow dryers.

Beneath the tropes, caricatures and nostalgia, however, is a well-told  and crafted story-line. Better than anything Spielberg ever came up with to part children from their cash. Reminds me, again, that we are truly living in a golden age of television again.

And I have to admit, it’s changed my perception of Winona Ryder. I am loving her turn as a mom. I can’t remember a single mom of that era with that much gumption but she has convinced me the could have existed.

Dustin is my favourite character and I am totally #teamSteve since his redemption arc.

I’ve never been much for nostalgia. I’ve mentioned this before. I leave places and times behind me without longing looks back. Any fantasies I may entertain about long gone days are rooted in “what would I change?” because I would rewrite my life if given the opportunity. Not because I dislike where and who I am but because I know there are forks in the road where I should’ve gone another direction and fear or social conditioning prevented me from doing it.

The 80’s though wouldn’t make my list of decades to waste effort traveling through. So little came out of that span of time given that it followed a decade plus of some significant upheaval. It’s like people got to 1980 and ran out of gas. Settled. Tremendous waste of resources can sum it up nicely.

It’s fascinating that the series creators choose to highlight it via a quasi sci-fi horror lens. And it also feels just about right.

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is the whistle-blowers. Those women who have tirelessly and at great personal risk spoken up and out against misogyny. It’s fitting and timely, as the announcement came today on the anniversary of the anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, the mass shooting that took place on Dec. 6, 1989 in Montreal that resulted in the deaths of 14 women. Women who died simply because they were women daring to pursue an education in engineering.

I know my daughters like to believe that we live in a post sexist age and certainly there are many in politics and the media who like to push that narrative as well. It sometimes seems to me – an old crone in her early fifties – that the western world at large is almost wholly sold on the notion that women’s struggles are over and any residual resistance stems only from our inability to accept that fact and the playing field as it lies.

But I don’t believe it. There’s more evidence than ever to suggest that women’s rights are not considered the norm in the circles where the rights of everyone are granted.

On paper – here in Canada at any right – women’s rights are assured, but in practice, women are harassed, dismissed, denied, abused and murdered with almost the same impunity as they always have been.

My rights on paper are simply not good enough. Not for me. Not for my daughters.

I have wondered often what it would take for women to at last come together and had hoped it would have a more positive genesis than the election of an in your face misogynist American president, but historical moments are not born out of the positive as often as they are the negative. And if toppling male privilege has to be angry and messy, so be it. Men have had decades – my entire lifetime really – to come to the table on women’s rights on their own and they haven’t done it. If they must be prodded by shame and driven by fear, well, that’s a choice they made.

Women can no longer, nor should they ever go back to being silent. Our bodies belong to us. Decisions concerning our bodies, our sexuality, our choices about everything that directly affects us were never men’s to make. If we have to be angry to make them understand this, we have to be angry.

We are taught as small girls to hide all our negative emotions but angry is not always negative.

Angry is a necessary ingredient for action and in righteousness. My bible is rusty but I am pretty sure Jesus said something to that effect once.

However, my favorite quote about anger, and it’s necessity, comes from Ursula K. Leguin,

“Stay angry, little Meg,” Mrs Whatsit whispered. “You will need all your anger now.”

I was never a keen mommy blogger. Mommying just doesn’t define me and the trappings of the wifestyle never interested me. Except maybe as something to joke about.

But recently an old school blogger suggested that those of us still kicking around might want to think about dusting off our old platforms and gather in cyberspace to … do something.

Not a reunion. They are popular with the aging rock bands of yore and their fans but those tours are about reliving the past in hopes of distancing ourselves from the wear and tear of the years. That’s not on the table.

Those of us toying with the challenge of blogging again – and yes, I am toying with it – are in very different places than we were a decade ago when blogging was a “thing”.

Unlike some, I haven’t completely abandoned this blog. I still post. I did a fair amount as recently as 2016. And I still reply to comments. But I haven’t really considered this as a vehicle for communicating widely. I spend more of my energy on Twitter (and yes, the love/hate continues) because I am more political than I have been in my life.

So if I came back here, it would be with an eye towards what is most on my mind now. And that’s not really being funny or entertaining (though I still manage to do that even when I am feministing or politicking) and I am certainly not interested in schilling products, platforms or books though if you could see my spam folder you’d think otherwise because I am still on too many lists from back in the mommy blogging days.

The great revival began over this last weekend but plague has kept me from the keyboard until today. Over the next week, I hope to revitalize things. Add a new blogroll. Maybe spruce up the template.

In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter – and I mean that literally – or you can leave a comment. Perhaps there is something you’d like me to consider writing about or opening up the floor for discussion on because as far as theme goes, we’re just going to be wingin’ it for a bit.