Kit Does Filk: “Catch a Bulbasaur”

I’m sure you’ve all see that rather clever Pokemon-edited chorus from “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers that’s been making the rounds on Tumblr and Facebook. I looked at it and went “Clearly the whole song should exist!” At two in the morning, because filk does that. So, I give you “Catch a  Bulbasaur”, Pokemon filk. It’s not just Pokemon Go; I referenced a lot of stuff from the rest of the Pokemon canon. (Incidentally, I have so much more respect for Weird Al now even if I still mostly don’t like his stuff. Writing this stuff so it stays with the existing tune and rhyme scheme is hard.)

Catch a Bulbasaur (500 Miles)

When I wake up, yeah I know I’m gonna be,
I’m gonna be the one one who gets them all with you,
When I go out, then I’ve got the ball ready,
I’m gonna be the one to catch them all with you.
When I get drunk, and a Pikachu gets me,
Then the one who’s gonna pick me up is you,
And if I haver, say I’m gonna beat Uxie,
Then the one who’s gonna Full Restore is you.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur

When I’m fighting, yes I know I’m gonna be,
I’m gonna be the one who beats the gym for you,
And when I level, and I finally catch that Mew,
I’m gonna pass Team Rocket’s clone along to you.
When I come home, after I catch that Eevee,
I’m gonna be the one to breed Eevees with you,
And in Kanto, I’m gonna beat Giovanni,
I’m gonna fight Team Rocket out of here for you.

But I would walk five hundred miles,
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur

Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pik-ka (Pika-ka),
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pika-ka (pika-ka)
Pikachu pika pika pika,

When I’m lonely, then I’ll find a Togepi,
And it’ll keep me company when without you,
And when I’m dreaming, well you know I’m gonna dream,
I’m gonna dream of catching Entei to give you,
When I go out, I’m gonna swim with a Starmie,
And catch it in a Masterball for you,
And when I come home, I’ll be with a Butterfree,
And I’ll bring a legendary home to you.
I’m gonna bring a legendary home to you.

But I would walk five hundred miles,
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur.

Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pik-ka (Pika-ka),
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pika-ka (pika-ka)
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pik-ka (Pika-ka),
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pika-ka (pika-ka)
Pikachu pika pika pika,

And I would walk five hundred miles,
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur.

New Publication!

Look look, I sold my writing somewhere else! I have sold a personal essay about my experiences with rape and abuse to Hoax Zine, which you can find here.

I’m going to make a note for everyone who might be inclined to go read it that the zine in general deals with a lot of very intense content surrounding things like rape and domestic violence and alcoholism and just… all the content warnings. All of them. But it’s still worth reading; I got my contributor copy in the mail the other day and it’s really great. Therefore you should go order copies so you can take a look.

I really should make another page, up by the About page, with links to the things I’ve published in now that I’ve published in more than one thing, shouldn’t I.

And Then It Wasn’t An Archive…

I went looking for something on a website that’s been taken down. No problem, right? I’ll just go into the Wayback Machine. I’ve gotten it off the Wayback Machine before; I know it’s there. I even bookmarked it! Except what happens when I go to that bookmark? “Can’t display because of site’s robots.txt.”

If they’re going to retroactively remove content that was freely available simply because someone– probably someone entirely different– bought up a domain just for squatting purposes and put that in there, they don’t deserve to call themselves an archive. Archives are about preservation, and there’s been enough outcry on their own forums that they have to be aware of the problem. But they keep holding that it’s some kind of ethical bound, to let people– who may not even be the originators of the content– remove things from the archive via an automated process. I see this as Big Brother, and a sign of the coming media control over all our thoughts. When you put things on the internet, they’re there forever, and we’re all told that repeatedly when it comes to putting things up there; that it will never go away. Except now here they are participating in making stuff go away. Just like Winston altering the news.

Since I get “cannot find server” at the website when I click on their link to view the robots.txt directly, that suggests something even more insidious: that they’re removing websites that no longer exist from their archive, thereby directly violating their own preservationist mission statement. And if they’re doing that? There’s no real reason for them to exist. It serves no real use to see the history of existing website– certainly they change, but not all that dynamically. The real value has always been in the knowledge that what they archive stays around, that they’re dedicated to keeping it there. Except, apparently, they no longer are.

Certainly they should cease calling themselves an archive, and if they’ve lost their way so badly as to stop being one, perhaps they should consider whether they ought to continue existing at all, or step aside and leave room for someone more dedicated to the principles to stand up in their place. Because this? This is an unforgivable betrayal.

You Can Also Be In Pain

There’s a lot of defensiveness in the conversation around certain social justice topics. On both sides, as they both tend to get pretty militant about such things, and I think some of that comes from feeling attacked. I am not commenting on the militancy; if you (on either side) want to go “But I need to be militant because X,” do it elsewhere. I just want to point out something very gentle to some of the participants in this debate:

Other people’s pain does not invalidate yours.

The fact that people are talking about a specific Painful Thing which hasn’t happened to you does not mean you haven’t had other Painful Things happen to you. It’s not an attack on you. It’s not a contest. It’s not about who has suffered more. We can all say “yes, both of these things were bad and no one should have to suffer any of them.” And you can let them talk about their Painful Things without bringing up your Painful Thing. Letting them talk about their Painful Things doesn’t mean you aren’t yourself in pain. I’m pretty sure everyone knows there are other pains in the world, no matter how militant they get about their activism for any particular cause. (Well, okay, I’ve met one person who I wasn’t sure knew that, but I would like to think they learned after we graduated college. Most people know that.) When they get upset at you for bringing up unrelated pain, they’re not saying you don’t have pain. They’re upset because you went to a knitting group and only wanted to talk about how great quilting is. They might be related, but they’re not the same thing. People saying “not the place for this conversation” aren’t saying you don’t have pain. They’re saying “That’s not what we’re talking about here.” And if they run the blog or meeting or support group or whatever, they get to say that, same way I get to decree that we are not discussing the validity of safe spaces or militancy in the comments here.

But that’s okay. Because you get to go find a spot where you can discuss your Painful Thing. If you can’t find one, you can invent one. Start a blog, start a meeting, start a support group. And don’t compare magnitude of pain or anything like that– just find a spot where you can talk about yours. Feeling heard will help. Feeling like you’re not the only one with your kind of pain will help. I was a neurodivergent woman suffering domestic violence on a campus where the loudest activists were activating for transgender rights. It took me years to figure out why I had been so angry at them in college, and I didn’t manage it until after I’d found a place to process my own pain– I was angry because people were hearing them and no one was hearing me.

Trust me, it’s so much better to find a place where they’re looking at hearing you than it is to try to latch on to any old discussion about a Painful Issue. You’re more likely to get heard that way, more likely to process it. Let the people talking about other issues go on talking about those issues amongst themselves.

It’s okay. You are still allowed to be in pain.

And there is almost certainly someplace out there where people will welcome your sharing it.

Listening with Your Whole Body

I very nearly failed dance in college. I got a notice of concern at mid-terms, which was college-speak for “if you continue the way you are going, you will fail the class.” It was my junior year, I had never so much as gotten a C in anything in my college career, and I was utterly panicked over the whole thing. I had no idea it was coming; I thought I was doing pretty well in that class.

There were a lot of problems combining to lead to my notice of concern and eventual scraping of a C, but the fundamental one was a massive disconnect between me and the teacher about what dance was. He wanted us to hear our internal rhythms and was always after us to dance without the music. It doesn’t work like that for me.

Dancing is listening to the music with my whole body.

I knew that in my junior year of college. But I was already starting to lose it by the end of the class, and the events of the next couple of years crushed the sparkle right out of me until I had forgotten. Dancing became something that I only did socially… and then something that I stopped doing altogether, even though I had once loved it in all its forms.

Just recently, I started a new program of productivity (and I cannot recommend Habitica enough for productivity problems) and part of that productivity is exercise. For my exercise, I do two energetic songs and one that I really want to dance to even if it’s less energetic. (“Only the Music” by Heather Alexander, with its suitability for the air waltz, is one I love for this, even if it won’t get my heart rate up.) I’ve been dragging myself through this for a bit, thinking about other things for a while, until I put on Adele’s song “Hello” and realized that the music is so different from the words that dancing to the rhythm of one puts you at odds with the other, and found myself off in a mental comparison to a medieval dance where you are supposed to be dancing to the baseline because the melody is improvised, but in this age of recorded music no one actually does.

Then today I tried not thinking about anything but the music and just zeroing in on it. I found that when I do it like that, it has an effect on my mood– I was laughing by the end of my dance, at myself and the music and the world, because this actually is fun. I’m not dragging myself through this every day just because I need to get my heart rate up, despite the fact that I do need to get my heart rate up. Dancing is moving meditation, easier in many ways than the sitting still kind. If you can manage to let go enough to just lose yourself in the music, it’s fun.

I forgot the thing I said long ago to my dance professor. Dancing is listening to the music with my whole body. And there’s probably another whole post in picking that apart and making an example of how education is destroying people’s creativity, but for the moment– I’m dancing again.

 

Apothecary Chronicles: A is for Allium

Greetings! It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Things keep happening. To get myself back into the habit of posting regularly, I’m going to go through The Wild & Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy and make every single recipe in it.

I’ve actually had this project in mind for a while. I want to be a healer, you see, and herbalism is one of the ways to get there. If I go through the book of recipes and make all the things, even if I don’t find anyone to try it out on I’ve familiarized myself with the process and I’m likely to remember it’s there when someone in my life does get hurt. I even made myself garlic tea sometime last year, but I never seemed to get around to making the next recipe.

And then my partner got bronchitis.

Unsurprisingly, this kickstarted me into making the next couple of recipes, which looked to be useful ones for this particular problem. “Alliums” are the garlic and onion kind of plants. It includes a lot of other stuff, like chives and ramps, but the recipes given are for garlic and onion. I deal with worry by cooking, so I prepared a massive pot of chicken and dumpling soup, roasted garlic, garlic syrup, and onion syrup. (The chicken and dumpling soup isn’t from the book; that’s just something I make whenever my partner gets sick.) Garlic syrup needs to be begun the night before, and I was joking about “#modernpaganism” involving standing at a stove in a brightly-lit kitchen with your knife, recipe book, and laptop blasting showtunes. If you take these things at the value of the stereotype, I ought to have been cutting stuff up with my bolline to put into a cauldron over the fire. But these days, you’re just as likely to be practicing the Craft over your stove. I certainly was. And that’s actually a sign you’re past being a raw beginner, when that starts to happen to you– it means you’re seeing the magic in everyday life. I don’t expect the people who need this statement to hear it, but: there is more to the world than circles and candles and velvet robes. Those are lovely and rituals that use them certainly have their place, but it is no less magical to stand in your kitchen chopping garlic and thinking very hard about how much you want your lover to get well again.

The remedies this chapter were all aimed at colds, and the standout winner was definitely the onion syrup. The book lists it as an expectorant, and its effects were fairly immediate after each dose and quite strong. It’s a good tool to have in the box. I’m less sure about how well the garlic syrup was working, but it’s meant for preventing colds, not treating bronchitis.

Vision

I just finished reading Walking to Mercury. I found it harder than The Fifth Sacred Thing, because it’s closer to reality– Fifth Sacred Thing is in some respects a far more realistic utopian fantasy than most of them, but it’s still a utopian fantasy. I was able to appreciate that here was a vision of utopia that didn’t ignore the fact that not everybody is going to get along, and not everybody is going to have the same vision, while still maintaining an awareness that this was unlikely to ever come too far into my reality, and some parts (like the bees) were just plain fantasy.

Walking to Mercury isn’t like that. It’s real– it’s set in a time that really happened, nothing in it is particularly implausible (What about that bit where they imply Home Front’s terrorist attack was actually a false flag operation by the DOJ, you ask? Sadly, I don’t find that implausible in the slightest.), and the protest at the end seems to be based on something Starhawk actually lived through, since she’s written elsewhere about having protested nuclear wars. I found it very hard to cope with as a result, and it took me a few months of patiently working my way through a few chapters at a time, especially the beginning where the experience of being young and in a world that doesn’t fit is described in such detail.

Because it’s realistic, it leaves a stronger impression– and I’m more interested in that world than in the one described in Fifth Sacred Thing. I observed to my partner that the problem with reading Starhawk’s books is that it makes me want to have a vision, and got the response “Careful what you ask for, you may get it.” To which I answered “That would be why I call it a problem.” I’ve asked the gods for wisdom before, and usually I end up with the universe crashing down on my head. Because life experience is how one gains wisdom, and if you ask for something vague you’re likely to get it in the most life-altering possible way. And I’ve also been at conventions and listened to people who work closely with individual gods talk about the ways that makes their lives… uncomfortable. I think it’s best summed up in The Curse of Chalion, actually, which is a fantasy book, but a well-researched one: “You are the tool. You are not the work. Expect to be valued accordingly.”

So I do not have the kind of hubris it would take to sit before the altar and ask for a vision. But Walking to Mercury is still enough to make me want one– to want to see the world that cleanly, to have some vibration deep in my bones that this is what I am meant to be doing. Which renders it powerful writing.