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Grab the nearest book, flip to page 117, the second sentence is your life in 2017.

Oh, fuck. The only book on my desk is The Water Knife.

"He was pointing down at the new corpse, the one they'd called Vosovich."

That could have been a lot worse!
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Details here.

I am trying to think of ways to make joy. If you want anything podficced, point me to it!
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A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer

Brian Grazer seems like an interesting (though annoying) person, but this is a very boring book. He says he's a storyteller, and maybe in person he is, but the book is mostly name-dropping and trivia. Even the rhythm of the writing is monotonous. He is very fond of making a general assertion, followed by a list of examples, but not in a way that makes an argument: it's just assertion, assertion, assertion.
You have to learn to beat the "no".

Everybody in Hollywood has to beat the "no"—and if you write code in Silicon Valley, or if you design cars in Detroit, if you manage hedge funds in Lower Manhattan, you also have to learn to beat the "no".

Not every paragraph consists of one sentence. Many of them have two. Many of them have three.
Human connection requires sincerity. It requires compassion. It requires trust.

Can you really have sincerity, or compassion, or trust, without curiosity?

I don't think so. I think when you stop to consider it—when you look at your own experiences at work and at home—what's so clear is that authentic human connection requires curiosity.

To be a good boss, you have to be curious about the people who work for you. And to be a good colleague, a good romantic partner, a good parent, you have to be curious as well.

It's not that I disagree with Grazer that human connection requires sincerity. But I don't read books for assertions that I agree with mixed with name-dropping, trivia, and begging the question.
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Would I rather stay in my pajamas all day, or take out the trash for symbolism?
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Looking at the events calendar of the coffee shop where one of my book groups meets, I noticed that they have an open mic night for "Musicians, poets, comedians, storytellers, anyone with something to say or do," the last Friday of every month. This month, when both of my kids are here, so I'd have my own claque, I decided to go. And I did! I told a story. It was not very good, but I did not have to say, "Please clap."

xmas books

Dec. 30th, 2016 02:04 am
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I got A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life, by Steven Kotler, from my son.
I gave my nieces Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and Rachel Hartman's Seraphina.
I gave my older child
Naomi Novik's Uprooted,
Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me,
Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others, though it did not persuade her to see Arrival with me,
Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown,
Becky Chambers's The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet,
Katherine Addison's The Goblin Emperor,
and Sydney Padua's The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.
I gave my younger child
Ben Aaronovitch's Broken Homes and Foxglove Summer,
Lev Grossman's Codex,
M. J. Locke's Up Against It,
Martha Wells's The Serpent Sea,
and Carla Speed McNeil's Finder.
I also wanted him to try Nine Princes in Amber, but somewhere over the years I lost my SFBC copy. My library has the giant 10-books-in-one compilation, so I checked that out; he'll only be here for a few more days, but he can read one or two and decided whether he'd like to finish. I think I'll dig out Doorways in the Sand for him too.

• What are you reading?

Detroit City is the Place to Be, by Mark Binelli. A bit about how Detroit got to be that way, a bit about what its possibilities are, but mostly about what it is like to live in Detroit now. Very interesting.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Death by Silver, by Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

My book groups' books for January:
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
Americanah, by Chimimanda Ngozie Adichie
The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, translated by Sheila Fisher

My fourth book group will be meeting in January, but we're not reading a book. The plan is to learn to knit a pussy hat.

dream

Dec. 10th, 2016 01:18 pm
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I dreamed I was hurtling through ever-expanding space, alone. At the beginning, whenever I saw something wonderful, I'd say "Wow." But eventually I stopped saying anything.

I think the dream came from listening to Splendor and Misery. I didn't have a cargo/passenger/captain though, not even one in cold sleep.

Also, yesterday I read this horoscope
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
Five of my Scorpio acquaintances and 17 of my Scorpio readers have let me know that they're actively seeking to make new alliances and strengthen their existing alliances. Does this mean that Scorpios everywhere are engaged in similar quests? I hope so. I would love to see you expand your network of like-minded souls. I would love for you to be ardent about recruiting more help and support. Happily, the current astrological omens favor such efforts. Hot tip: For best results, be receptive, inviting, and forthright.

*
and pulled this card: The Hermit: Withdrawal from events and relationship to introspect and gather strength. Seeking the inner voice or calling upon vision from within. A need of understanding and advice, or a wise man who will offer knowing guidance. Personal experience and thoughtful temperance.
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Is there anything you'd like me to write about? I'm not promising to write about certain topics on certain days, because that is not a promise I can keep. But, understanding that I do fall down a lot, and that if I fall down on your topic, that doesn't imply anything wrong with your topic or with how I feel about you, would you like to propose a topic that I will try to write about in December or sometime?
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[livejournal.com profile] akirlu suggested that we collectively try to shape Donald Trump's behavior the way animal trainers and nursery school teachers do: shower him with positive reinforcement whenever he moves toward where you want him to be.

I think this strategy could work. Trump is hungry for praise the way some dogs are for food. He'd stand on his nose if that's what it took. But who's got the patience? I find it hard to spend that much time watching my dogs, and I love my dogs; even when they're doing something disgusting, I think they're adorable.

Maybe the Office of Government Ethics does: Ethics Office Praises Donald Trump for a Move He Hasn’t Committed To. (link to the New York Times)
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A good idea: http://siderea.livejournal.com/1324762.html

Does your experience agree with [livejournal.com profile] siderea that
In an important sense, this is just politeness: don't selfishly hijack conversations that were going fine without you to be about what you'd prefer to discuss instead. On the other hand, I doubt anybody has ever in your entire lives suggested that changing a conversational topic is ever impolite, except, you know, this whole "derailing" concept from social justice activism on the internet. And most people are actually pretty terrible at discerning just what the topic is in a discussion, it not being a skill it ever crossed normal people's minds to desire to acquire.
?
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ETA: [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume called (202) 225-3031 and got through to the survey.

Paul Ryan's phone number, which may or may not lead to a survey about whether to repeal the ACA, is 202-225-0600. I just called twice. The first time, there was no survey, just an a chance to leave voicemail, so I hung up. After a minute to think, I called back; I don't think I pressed a different combination of buttons, but this time I got the survey, pressed 1, and then got voicemail. I said, "My name is Susan Ramirez. My husband worked for Hewlett-Packard for 28 years. He got laid off this month. One of our children is in college, one just graduated. They both have jobs, but they don't have full-time jobs or health benefits. Please don't take affordable health insurance away from people like us."
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+ Pest guy says termites are indeed really really rare here, and they wouldn't start colonizing a tree or a shed, they'd start with a heated building.

+ Right before my husband got laid off, we had a structural engineer look over the foundation, inside and out. (We were finally going to try to level the house and then fix the kitchen/bathroom situation.) He wasn't specifically looking for insect damage but if there were termite tunnels I think he would have noticed.
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+ When I bought this house it came with a very big, very old apple tree.
- Which suddenly started to lean.
+ It didn't fall over and hurt anyone.
- Because it was leaning on the shed, which also began to lean: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/boxofdelights/833604/58217/58217_900.jpg
+ I found a very competent, honest, and kind tree guy who took the tree the rest of the way down without damaging anything else except an old birdhouse where yellowjackets had been nesting.
- He discovered that the tree had not been taken out by old age. It had been killed by carpenter ants or termites. I thought termites didn't live around here, because the winters are too cold and dry, but I believe tree guy would know.

- Tree guy says that I should call an exterminator to treat the house,
- but I'm thinking that the insects would be even more likely to have infested the shed;
- but I can't ask an exterminator to look into the shed until I make it safe, so I don't know where to start.
- Also I am feeling guilty about not having realized that I needed to do something earlier.
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Suppose you read a newspaper article about an unjust oppressive thing happening to a kid. Suppose that later, you became possessed by a desire to write fiction about kids figuring out how to protest against injustice and oppression. You thought you'd start with something like that incident you'd read about, but you were mostly interested in how the kids might respond to it: what might they do, to try to change things? What effect could they have? What would people do to try to stop them? Who would help them? How would they feel about the unintended consequences of their actions? And so on.

Eventually you noticed that you had neglected to come up with a different inciting incident. In fact, a lot of what you had come up with was pretty firmly rooted in the details of the actual thing that happened to some actual child. Because the actual thing was pretty much perfect, for your story. You didn't want to give up any part of it.

Would it be enough to change the name, age, sex, and nationality of the kid the incident happened to? Or would you still feel like you were stealing someone else's story?
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So Trump is testing how far he can pull the Overton window to the alt-right. You have an opportunity to provide some resistance.

This post explains why and how to call on your representatives to protest the appointment of Steve Bannon as Trump's top advisor:
I'm incredibly sorry, but it looks like you need to make phone calls

This series of tweets explains why this is important: https://twitter.com/pookleblinky/status/798334846842142722

This comment gives a script: http://rydra-wong.dreamwidth.org/457613.html?thread=5084045#cmt5084045

Resistance is the secret of joy. So is this otter.

ETA what I said: "My name is Susan Ramirez, I live at [redacted], I voted for Jared Polis in last week's election. I am calling to ask Representative Polis to protest the appointment of Steve Bannon, a self-declared white supremacist, as Donald's Trump's chief strategist. This appointment tells Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan that they have the ear of the next president. I would like my representative to speak out against that."

ETA Cory Gardner's intern said he'd pass the message along.
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My library's website's featured books this week are

10 steps to mastering stress : a lifestyle approach
The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world / His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams
Don't give up, don't give in : lessons from an extraordinary life / Louis Zamperini and David Rensin
Instructions for a broken heart / By Kim Culbertson
Meditation made easy : more than 50 exercises for peace, relaxation, & mindfulness

Do you think they're trying to tell us something?

Rebecca Solnit, author of "Men Explain Things to Me" and A Paradise Built in Hell, is offering the ebook of her Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities free, for four more days.

https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/791-hope-in-the-dark?discount_code=FREEHOPEINTHEDARK
Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.
I wrote this book in 2003 and early 2004 to make the case for hope. The text that follows is in some ways of its moment—it was written against the tremendous despair at the height of the Bush administration’s powers and the outset of the war in Iraq. That moment passed long ago, but despair, defeatism, cynicism, and the amnesia and assumptions from which they often arise have not dispersed, even as the most wildly, unimaginably magnificent things came to pass. There is a lot of evidence for the defense.
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how can this be
how can this be
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