boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-06-23 03:41 pm

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[personal profile] jesse_the_k tells me all the cool kids are doing this:

what boxofdelights likes to talk about

row 1: my kids; gardening; tutoring; the fanfic community; Octavia Butler;
row 2: stories; books; autonomy; Wiscon; storytelling;
row 3: dogs; Rachel Maddow; math; different points of view; raptors;
row 4: introversion; puzzles; podfic; logic; making people laugh;
row 5: compost; R.A. Lafferty; science fiction; due South; ecology;

I made this at http://myfreebingocards.com
I picked 25 topics that I like, and that I like to talk about.
I let the web page randomize the placement. I was lucky that "my kids" didn't end up in the middle.
I clicked "Play Online Now" to get an image I could snip.

Check off the things that also interest you and see if we have a bingo.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-06-23 02:40 am
Entry tags:

the gift of fear

I do think that there is value in Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, even though it doesn't work for me. It doesn't work for me on either end: I'm not much good at understanding strangers' intentions, and don't want to spend enough time and attention on strangers to get somewhat better. And I am good at attracting extra attention from security people, even though I don't intend to steal, smuggle, or damage anything. I don't know how much of that is racism, how much is missing communications cues because I'm partly deaf and have not much peripheral vision, especially on the same side as my deaf ear, and how much is behaving oddly because when I am in a crowd of strangers I am spending a lot of energy wishing that I were elsewhere, and hoping to escape with the least possible eye contact, talking, and being touched by strangers. But just by being myself I soak up enough security personnel attention that anyone who does want to steal, smuggle, or damage things should use me as a stalking horse.


Friday evening I was walking to the library with Aiko. I was on the north side of the street, heading east. I saw a couple walking toward me, but there was a break in traffic and I crossed the street before we met. On the south side of the street, Aiko was uneasy. He kept stopping and looking back. I looked back too, and saw the couple that had been on the north side of the street, going west, were now about half a block behind me, on the south side of the street, going east.

Well, people do change their minds and turn around. But Aiko would not settle down, so at the next street I turned south. The couple behind us also turned south, but I was on the east side of the street and they were on the west. I stopped and let Aiko sniff for a while, so I got to the next intersection after them. They crossed to the south side of that street. I did not. I turned east. They also turned east, and continued to walk about half a block behind me, on the other side of the street, for about seven blocks. Then we were in a well-populated area, and I didn't see them again.

I am a short fat old woman, and my hands were encumbered. I had library books in one hand, and a leash and a bag of dog poop in the other. But I was walking a German Shepherd! How did they plan to assault me without getting bit? Also without getting a bag of dog poop in the face? Though it was one of the good bags, and probably wouldn't have burst even if it had hit. Also, I didn't have any money on me, though they didn't know that. I was wearing a fanny pack, which is where my wallet would have been if I was wearing my wallet. I thought about taking my phone out and taking their picture, but they had dropped back far enough by the time I thought of it that it wouldn't have been much of a picture. The fanny pack has the kind of buckle that you squeeze to open. Probably they planned to run up beside me, grab the buckle, and run off with the fanny pack before Aiko could react. They would have got my phone and my housekeys, and could probably figure out where I live from the phone.

Anyway, I do think that there is observable, identifiable behavior that signals that one human being is looking at another human being as prey, and I think Aiko observed and correctly identified it.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-06-22 02:55 am
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

The Heiress Effect, by Courtney Milan.
The conceit of this book is brilliant. She has to stay single, for complicated family reasons, but her plan will stop working if she turns down any reasonable offer, so she has to make her person repellent enough to counterbalance the attraction of her considerable fortune -- without letting anyone see that she's doing it on purpose. I love it when the obstacles in a romance are not stupid! I love comedy of manners, when it puts extra constraints on the protagonist's solution space! Especially when the protagonist using a formidable intelligence and an immense amount of work to seem foolish and ineffectual!
I was disappointed that this book ignores the constraints that don't assist the story it wants to tell. (For example, these unmarried gentlewomen would not go to a dinner-party in a house without a hostess. One of them is accompanied by a chaperone, another is with her sister, and that is adequate for excursions in public places in daylight, but after dark, in a house full of young men -- no. It would not do.) These elements might not move the story forward directly, but they would do a lot to make the societal forces our heroes are working against seem powerful and real.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer. DNF. It isn't a bad book, but the more I read of it the more I found myself resenting the idea that it would be one of the approximately 3000 new books I have time left to read. Its greatest appeal for me is how thoroughly Schumer fights against shame. Read for Tawanda book group.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I put a Climbing Mount TBR challenge on my Habitica To-Do list, but I'm not sure how to tackle it. Two of my book groups are on summer hiatus, so I have room to move. I like [personal profile] melannen's FMK polls, and I keep thinking I could do that too, but when I look at my shelves and ask, "Which of these are you going to read, really?" and "Which of these do you need to keep, really?" my answer is always, "All of them. All. Yes, even that one."
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2017-06-16 01:37 am

Dear Zindagi

I just watched Dear Zindagi and I loved it. I had to stop for a while in the middle because I thought for sure it was going to do something terrible ), but it didn't! Also it showed work, friendship (especially friendship with other women), and family as being foundational to happiness, with romantic love as a joyful addition when you're ready.

Also I found the constant language-switching delightful.

Is there a lot of Bollywood like this? Can you recommend any?
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-06-07 11:57 pm
Entry tags:

reading wednesday

• What are you reading?

Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, for SF book group

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Gentleman, by Forrest Leo. Funny and charming, but I think the blurb that mentions Wodehouse and Wilde does this book a disservice by making you think about how much funnier and more charming it would like to be. I think the dialogue worked better when it was rattled off on stage; on the page, it is a bit tedious to have characters explaining to each other what the narrative voice has already made clear to the reader. Still, it has an excellent bookstore, a Victorian club for inventors, a gentlemanly Satan, and a lost wife who has all the manly virtues her silly husband lacks.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer, for Tawanda book group.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-06-04 07:03 pm
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Happy Skull Appreciation Day

[personal profile] muninnhuginn tells me that today is Skull Appreciation Day. "Write something every day" is on my Habitica list, but I fail a lot. Nevertheless, I do appreciate skulls. Here is a photo of one of my favorites; it belonged to Kitsune, the dog in my icon.

dog skull, very dirty )

It's always surprising how small the brain pan is.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-06-01 08:45 am

garage-roof lion

This is the longest-surviving feral, who was maybe a year old when I moved in. Longest surviving as a feral: there was a litter of kittens in the garage, which prompted me to call the Trap Neuter Return people, who removed this cat's balls and the tip of his left ear; the kittens went to a no-kill shelter. From there he can see into the yard of the neighbors who feed the ferals, and supervise the easiest way into the yard. cat on a shady aluminum roof )
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-30 12:18 am
Entry tags:

own bed

I love home. I love my dogs.

I miss everyone I saw at Wiscon, but I am so glad to be home.

Three times this Wiscon I was in the audience when the moderator opened it up for questions and there was silence. Which persisted until I stuck my hand up and asked something weird and stupid, which I probably should have though better of, but 1. it was the best I could think of at the time and 2. it was better than nothing. And it was followed by better questions after I broke the ice. The first time was A Room Of One's Own, after the GOH readings. Maybe everyone was intimidated by Kelly Sue DeConnick? She is really funny, you guys.

Amal El-Mohtar read us a story that included the lines, if I remember correctly, "You are a Great Horned Owl. You are an apex predator. You are a terrible parent." I was surprised, because Great Horneds are notoriously very nurturing parents. They'll keep on feeding their fully-fledged adult-sized offspring until it's time to start preparing for the next clutch. Amal said, "So I should change that metaphor to something about trust fund babies?"

Amal was right that they are terrible nest-builders, though, which is one reason why we get a lot of Great Horned babies at the raptor center. If the babies are uninjured and the tree is intact, we will nail up a wicker laundry basket and return the babies, and the parents are usually still hanging around looking for babies to feed. And they'll keep using the laundry basket every year because it's the best nest they've ever had.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-23 06:46 pm
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sincere pumpkin patch

aaaaaaaaaaaa two sleeps till Wiscon aaaaaaaaaa!

garden pictures )
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-18 11:36 am
Entry tags:

may snowstorm

This is my pumpkin patch today:Read more... )
I have to drive up into the foothills to feed the horses now. My old man is in California, learning to surf. Wish me luck!
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-17 11:30 pm
Entry tags:

wednesday reading

• What are you reading?

Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson, for economics in SF panel. I've written to my other panelist a couple times, but he doesn't answer. I hope we manage to pull this off.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Shadowshaper, by Daniel Jose Older. Vivid depiction of New York City, of music, dancing, painting, and the ways people talk. Interesting magic. The plot has the flaws of its genre: you are in mortal danger, your city is in danger, you have powers you don't understand that could protect yourself and your world, other people know things you don't and no one will explain anything! Fortunately, a song you have always known holds the key to the secret, and you manage to figure it out just in time.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egan, for library book group. I did decide to skip the book group for Laura Pritchett's The Blue Hour.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-15 06:49 pm
Entry tags:

library books

What I have checked out of the library at this moment: )

31 things, even though what little time I am spending reading right now is all for my economics in SF panel. 53 years old and I am as bad at managing my time and attention as ever.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-14 11:26 pm
Entry tags:

planting in the new raised bed

Some pictures of planting in my new raised bed.
large images of gardening )
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-10 11:11 pm
Entry tags:

wednesday reading

• What are you reading?

Shadowshaper, by Daniel Jose Older, for SF book group.

• What did you recently finish reading?

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for classics book group. Maybe I'm reading too extrinsicly-motivatedly lately, but I didn't appreciate this. I enjoyed the discussion, though.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson, for economics in SF panel.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-05 09:48 pm
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in which my stupidity interacts badly with other people's

So, I have high blood pressure. I take a high dose ACE inhibitor and diuretic twice a day. I also take prescription potassium, to counteract the effects of the diuretic. Everything to do with doctors fills me with a surly and powerful Idonwanna, but I got a new doctor in January, who wrote my prescriptions and told me to come back in six months for a physical.

Also in January, the grocery store near me, where I had been getting prescriptions filled, closed, but not before I got a 90-supply of both drugs.

Monday, I realize that I am almost out. I call another pharmacy and ask if they can transfer the prescription from the defunct grocery store pharmacy. He assures me that they can. I tell him the names and dosages of the drugs. He tells me that they got swamped with a whole bunch of orders, so he might not get to mine today, but they will be filled in the order they were received.

Tuesday, nothing.

Wednesday, I call the pharmacy to ask if my prescriptions are in. The potassium is in, she says, but they are waiting for doctor authorization on the other. The thought does cross my mind that it is odd that only one of the prescriptions, written by the same person at the same time, needs to be reauthorized. Apparently my Idonwanna covers not only talking to doctors, pharmacists, and insurance companies, but also thinking about them, because the though crosses my mind and immediately vanishes.

Thursday, I call the pharmacy to ask if my prescriptions are in. The potassium is in, he says, but they are waiting for doctor authorization on the other. I decide to call the doctor and beg. I get my prescription vial. It says I have one more refill. I call the pharmacy back. "Can I just check what doctor you are requesting a prescription authorization from?" I ask. "Because my bottle says I have one more refill." He reads me the name of a doctor who left town more than two years ago. That office is never going to call him back, because the whole office shut down more than two years ago. "That is an old prescription. Can you get the prescription from Dr. [Current-doctor]?" He assures me cheerily that they can.

Friday, I get an automated message from the pharmacy alerting my that my prescription is ready for pickup. I drive there. I ask for my prescriptions. The potassium is in, he says, but they can't get the other until Wednesday. I stare at him for a while. He says they don't have enough to fill the prescription, but offers to check whether they have any at all. "Please do," I say. They don't. I don't have enough pills to take me to Wednesday. He offers to call the other stores in his chain in the area, to see if they can get me enough to tide me over until Wednesday. "Yes, please do that," I say.


I did eventually get a six-day supply of my ACE inhibitor/diuretic from another store without incident, except that when the second pharmacist said that I had to come back to his store on Wednesday to get the rest, I asked him to confirm that, because the first guy was certain that I had to get the rest from the first store. "Let me finish," said the second guy. "We don't have enough pills to fill your prescription. We will get them in Wednesday. This is a loaner. We are loaning you six days' worth of pills. Since we are the ones billing your insurance company, you have to complete the transaction here." I said that made perfect sense. He apologized for the inconvenience. I assured him that I did not mind never ever going back to the first store.


Does this kind of thing happen to everybody? Is it me?
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-05-03 11:13 pm
Entry tags:

wednesday reading

• What are you reading?

Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow, for economics in SF panel. I'm enjoying it, even though it is very talky. It's not that Doctorow is bad at describing actions or sensations; it's just that they don't seem to interest him as much as the conversations about how things ought to be. I'm also reading the essays about Walkaway that are being posted at Crooked Timber, starting here: http://crookedtimber.org/2017/04/25/no-exit/

• What did you recently finish reading?

Permaculture for the rest of us : abundant living on less than an acre, by Jenni Blackmore is a pleasant, chatty little book on permaculture gardening, and producing a significant portion of her family's food, in a really difficult spot: a rocky, windswept island off the coast of Nova Scotia. The book's small size demanded a sharper focus. This isn't going to be anyone's only gardening book, because it doesn't have room for which seeds should be started outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked, and which need to get a good headstart inside first. Really, any information that you can find print on the seed packet could be omitted. Fortunately, Blackmore spends most of the book on details that are particular to her: what difficulties her land presented for a particular permaculture practice, how she approached those difficulties, and what rewards she reaped.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I have more books to read for economics in SF panel than I will be able to get to. I have just remembered that I have never read anything by Ken MacLeod. I also have four book group meetings between now and Wiscon:

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (reread, but from very long ago)
Shadowshaper, by Daniel Jose Older
The Blue Hour, by Laura Pritchett (might skip this one)
The Worst Hard Time, by Timothy Egsn
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-04-28 07:33 pm
Entry tags:

new raised bed

Here is the start of my gardening blog. Let me know if the thumbnail previews are fine, or if you would prefer all pictures behind a cut.

So this spring I put in a new raised bed, which Neal built for me out of 2x4s. It's in the front yard, which has more sun and less exposure to dogs, but the dog deficiency means the feral cats my next-door neighbor feeds think it belongs to them.

I didn't dig up the grass, just put down a thick layer of cardboard,

set the box on top,

soaked the cardboard, to provide all the elements necessary to decomposition,

and filled it with compost.

The white tubes are the bases of a hoop cover. I have some smaller-diameter flexible pipe, bent into half-circles, whose ends go into the white pipes. Then I can put a big piece of UV-resistant polyethelene over the top, and have a mini-greenhouse.

Next step is to mulch. Usually, when you are choosing a mulch, the first consideration is "What do I have lots of?" and then you evaluate how well those things work as mulch:
- Does it shade the soil to suppress germination of weed seeds?
- Does it keep the soil cooler?
- Does it let water get to the soil?
- Does it slow down evaporation?
- How fast does it break down, and what does it add to the soil?
- Will it stay where I put it?
And so on. But for me, the second consideration is, "Will this make my lovely loose soil more or less attractive to the feral cats as a litter box?" So the first mulch I use is a few layers of brown paper that came as packaging material.

Here it is in the rain:

Right now it is covered with snow, but I don't have a picture of that.

More about mulching and planting next time.
boxofdelights: (Default)
2017-04-26 09:44 pm
Entry tags:

wednesday reading

• What are you reading?

The Summer Without Men, by Siri Hustvedt.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars, by Jeff Lemire. A robot who is also an adorable little boy survives terrible and mysterious catastrophes. He may hold the key to understanding and preventing their return. The other characters and the settings are interesting. The art is beautiful. I would have loved this if I had read it when I was young. Now, I have read enough stories to notice when the plot is steered by the Rule of Cool, when the answer to "Why didn't the characters do the smart thing?" is "Because the author wanted a torture scene/a robot gladiator scene/a woman dying, gasping a slogan." Also, I have read enough stories that treat women as people to find the Weasley ratio really annoyingly noticeable. There's one female main character, one female supporting character, a few more who get a line but not a name. And only one of these female characters is human: the robot boy's dead mom.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I've got suggestions to read or reread for my SF economics panel:

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow
The Peripheral, by William Gibson
The Marq'ssan Cycle books by L. Timmel Duchamp

More suggestions still welcome!
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2017-04-22 07:25 pm

they've got their thinking cats on

Eeee!

http://babyanimalgifs.tumblr.com/post/158373672490/theyve-got-their-thinking-cats-on

I myself have a cat sleeping on my head in Habitica. And in real life, a dog the size of a cat who would like to be sitting on my body, whenever he sits.

Another dog who doesn't see why it shouldn't get cat privileges: https://www.instagram.com/p/BF5QWB8Po-o/

Every spring I think about starting a gardening blog. I never do, because I don't have the energy, but every year I think about it. I take a lot of pictures of my garden but they are not the kind of pictures that are interesting to people who don't garden. Still, now that DW has image hosting, I think about how easy it would be to blog about gardening here. Would you be interested?