Siege Diaries 7/25/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Where do I let work diminish my quality of life?

I generally don’t. I’ve not been focused a lot in chasing promotions or achievements in my job, other than upgrading my own personal skills and doing the best job I can, because I like the fact that my position doesn’t really make demands of me outside of the work day. It’s also why I’ve stayed working in the same place–my employer and managers have generally been respectful of work/life balance, and there’s no culture of excessive overtime or not taking vacations and the like. The work I volunteer for outside of my paid job? I have to get something out of it, even if it’s just personal satisfaction at doing a job well, and I monitor my commitments to make sure I don’t overcommit.

Scroll for the An Tir challenge is now done and submitted, as is a friend’s badge and household name. I also completed a video of me demonstrating five simple Russian phrases. And here’s a fine photo of me teeing off in garb. The observant will note that that’s a baseball. (We didn’t have any golf balls). Also, the rough behind me–the back yard of the townhouse next to ours–was mowed and cleaned up today after over a month of growth.

And here are some illuminated post cards, completed during my Pathfinder game (RIP magma dragon)>

Here’s a research bit:

Loki is currently all the rage, but what other gender-variable or non-conforming characters are there in mythology or traditional story telling? Write a one page essay describing one, and how their gender non-conformity was regarded by the culture they come from.

Tiresias the Prophet (who I totally chose because he’s in a Genesis song).

Tiresias was a legendary seer who lived life as both a man and a woman.   Per the Wikipedia entry, “Tiresias is presented as a complexly liminal figure, mediating between humankind and the gods, male and female, blind and seeing, present and future, this world and the Underworld.”  In one variant of the story, he was said to have lost his sight due to seeing the goddess Athena naked while she was bathing with Tiresias’ mother, her best friend.  Athena gave Tiresias the gift of prophecy to compensate for his loss of sight (which was required according to divine law for seeing a goddess unclothed.) 

In another version, Tiresias underwent a sex change when he wounded two snakes that he saw mating.  Hera, enraged, turned him into a woman, and he lived the next seven years as a priestess of Hera, marrying, and giving birth to a child (Manto, who would be a prophetess herself).   Then one day, he came upon the same two snakes mating, and refrained from killing them, which precipitated him being turned back into a man.  But in a dispute between Hera and Zeus about whether men or women enjoy sexual pleasure more, he claimed personal experience in saying women did. Of ten parts a man enjoys one only,” replied Teiresias, “but a woman enjoys the full ten parts in her heart.”  Hera was not pleased, and blinded him; but Zeus granted him the gift of prophecy and a very long life.

Indeed, Tiresias was said to have lived for seven full generations, and, according to the Odyssey, even after his death he retained his power in the underworld, where he was able to give Odysseus valuable advice about which actions to take or not to take.

He’s associated with a number of prophecies in the history of Thebes.  In particular, he’s associated with the story of Oedipus, who, having ascended as King of Thebes, calls upon Tiresias to help investigate the death of his predecessor.  Tiresias, who clearly knows that it is Oedipus himself who has killed Laius by accident, at first tries to demur, but after Oedipus questions his powers as a seer and intimates that he must himself be the guilty party, Tiresias reveals that it was Oedipus himself who killed Laius.  It is also revealed that Oedipus, who has married Jocasta, Laius’ widow, is Laius’ son and that Oedipus has married his mother.  Oedipus exiles Tiresias from the palace, but comes to realize that the blind seer was, indeed, correct, and puts out his own eyes, wracked by guilt.

The ancient Greeks seem to have accepted the story of Tiresias’ gender fluidity with little comment, as these stories are not uncommon in Greek myth and legend.  In fact, the fact that Tiresias lived as both genders seems to have been seen to augment his powers as a seer and prophet, giving him special understanding that most in this role did not enjoy.


And tomorrow, SMASH will get weird. I will probably be finger painting.

And because why not? Here’s an amusing photo of Shostakovich.