Thought for the Day

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:22 am
bcholmes: I was just a brain in a jar (brain thoughts)
[personal profile] bcholmes

I am sick of having to suffer so a man can grow. What is this, every Hollywood movie ever made? I am tired of having to confess to someone else’s crimes. I am tired of showing up at the banquet dripping blood like Banquo’s ghost. This should be your ghost, not mine. I am not the one who should be ashamed that you have done these things. I am not here to make you see the error of your ways. I am here to get through my life every day without inhaling thick lungfuls of smoke.

Because that’s what this is. This is like getting people who have gotten cancer from secondhand smoke to come testify together as a way of solving the problem. But you are the one who needs to stop.

— Alexandra Petri, “Men of the world: You are not the weather”, The Washington Post

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

Bio-Granddad

Oct. 9th, 2017 12:43 am
bcholmes: (meshes in the afternoon)
[personal profile] bcholmes

One day in the late 80s, I was back at my parents’ house, between semesters at University. “I think you look like my father,” my mother said, rather matter-of-factly, and somewhat out of the blue. She went off to another room of the house and came back with a cardboard stationery box that I had never seen before. Inside the box, she produced a large head shot photo of her father, Walter Dynes, for comparison purposes.

I’m pretty sure that I was in my early twenties. Until that moment, I had never her say a word about her father. I don’t think that she ever mentioned him again.

At some point in my life, I’d come to understand that her father had died quite a long time ago, and that the person I considered to be my grandfather was, in fact, her step-father. Certainly, by the time of the great grade 7 family tree homework assignment, the details provided by my grandfather clearly spelled out the three maternal grandparents. But my bio-grandad’s figure seemed to cast no shadow over my family: he wasn’t talked about, no photos were out, and no stories about him were ever told. When I refer to him, I often call him my “biological grandfather” — a term that feels distant and removed. But it also feels apt because he seems distant and removed.

My father’s father, Vidal Holmes, was also dead. He died shortly before I turned two. But I was aware of his absence in a way that I was never aware of Walter’s absence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve been dating this guy for 3 months now. He has this pattern of disappearing for a couple of days and then come back. At the beginning he was all super flirty on text and showered me with compliments and sent each other snaps and nudes and said all the sweet things like he wants to treat me like a princess and make me his. Lowkey I knew he was a fuckboy because most of the time he wanted to sext and talk about fucking me. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship but if we become more than something then sure but if we don’t then we continue being friends. I came out of a 4 year relationship couple of months ago so I have been out of the dating game for too long and I moved in here to California from a different country so the concept of dating is way here is new to me. He was showing all signs of “fuckboy” but my mind ignored it and I got led on and I started to get feelings for him. I know, you must be thinking if I knew he was a fuckboy the how the hell did I started to like him?

Well, first of all he is really charming and good looking. He is really smart and does all the gentleman things like open the door for me and pays for the food. He actually seems like a genuine good person when I’m with him. I forget every annoying stuff and red flags when I spend time with him.

I realized our relationship will not go anywhere and he will continue to play with me. Once I told him that I had feelings for him and this is getting too much for
me so I’m gonna end the “friends with benefits” thing and remain friends and he gave a simple response “okay your choice.” After 2 weeks he hit me up on snapchat after he saw a selfie of mine and said he wants to come over to my house in the weekend. I couldn’t say no. We had an amazing time and after that he ghosted on me again. He is emotionally unavailable and does not share much about his life. I want to end it with him but I’m too weak to do it. Every time I pull back, he then wants to chase me. recently I texted him ” are you ghosting on me or something going on with u?” then he replied with ” i’m just damn busy :/” .

I’m really confused what he actually wants. If he doesn’t like me anymore then why doesn’t he just tell me or stop texting me? The relationship is hurting me. I don’t blast him with lots of texts nor do I nag. I always try to stay civil and calm even when i’m hurt by him. I’m having a hard time opening up to him of what exactly I feel. I wanted to take the relationship to another level and spend more time with him getting to know him. I wanted him to be my boyfriend. But I didn’t demand it. I did not expect anything in return when I told him I liked him. Because I can’t force him to like me back.
What should I do Captain Awkward? Even though I make myself busy with things. But I can’t seem to not cut him out of my life for good.

Sincerely Confused

Dear Sincerely Confused:

You say you’ve been dating for about 3 months and that you’re “confused about what he actually wants.

He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Ergo, what he wants is what is happening right now. He wants to flirt and have your attention and have sex with you sometimes. And then he wants to drop out of sight sometimes. He wants you to want him but he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend or have any obligation or deeper emotional connection. He wants you when he feels like it and he wants to be able to go away and ignore you when he doesn’t feel like it. He wants this. This thing that you say is hurting and confusing to you is the best this is likely to get.

You will never have a loving monogamous relationship with him where he is your boyfriend. If he wanted that, he would have said “Yes!” when you asked him about it. He would have made it happen. If you stay friends, or, um, “friends,” he will sometimes want to have sex with you, but it won’t mean anything has changed. Paying for dates and opening doors for you isn’t deeply meaningful. You’ve known/suspected this from the start, and he’s done every possible thing to confirm it.

It’s one of life’s great tragedies and comedies that we can have amazing chemistry and fun sexy feelings with people who aren’t actually good partners for us. That “omg this is the BEST” way he makes you feel should be illegal, right? Charisma isn’t the same as character.

The good news here is also the bad news: All the power to end or clarify this situation lies with you. You can stop this any time you want to.

You could decide “You know what, it’s worth it to me to have a fun diverting time with him when he pops up a couple of times a year, and I can safely ignore him the rest of the time, because I know 100% that it’s not going to turn into anything else.” To be clear, I don’t think this is where you are right now because you say that this is all hurting you. But I also know that there have been times in my life when a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency-need-for-uncomplicated-known-quantity-good-makeouts-dude has come in handy. No one would judge you if you changed his name in your phone to “Handsome Dumpster Fire” and didn’t delete it just yet. Winter is coming.

You could also decide “Hey, I really want a devoted, reliable boyfriend who loves me and I’m gonna hold out for that and not waste time on charming, unreliable dudes” and then deploy your new best friend, the block button. You’ll be sad and miss the thrill of the little roller coaster you’ve been riding for a while, but then you’ll feel better after a while of not being jerked around and there will be room in your life to meet someone else.

Back when she dated men, the lovely Samantha Irby (rocking it today in the New York Times btw) made a policy to protect her heart and reclaim her time. If she didn’t hear from a dude within a couple days of a date/sexy stuff/or simply her texting him, she deleted his number from her phone. That way she could resist the urge to keep pinging him or checking to see if he’d reached out, and if he did get in touch eventually she could legitimately be like “Wait, who is this?

If this sounds cynical, think of it as Sam deciding what she needed: Someone who, at minimum, texts back. Someone who pays attention. Someone who treated her like she was important and not some big interruption to the more important things he had going on. You can’t control your feelings but you can control how many times you leave a door open for someone who isn’t walking through it.

Letter Writer, you want love that shows up for you. You want love that is playing on your level. That’s not silly or “nagging” or annoying or needy, and the person who deserves you won’t see it that way. He also won’t act like it’s some chore to keep in touch except when he’s bored or wants something.

Sometimes the answer when someone ghosts on you, is “ghost harder!”

 

 

 


The Sunday Post for October 22, 2017

Oct. 22nd, 2017 09:00 am
[syndicated profile] seattlereviewofbooks_feed

Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles good for slow consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.

Judging Books by Their Covers

Jason Diamond loves books, and the Vintage Contemporary imprint in particular (you’ve almost certainly got one or two of those iconic covers on your shelves, whether you know it or not). This essay is steeped in his passion for the series, but it’s more truly a love letter to collecting — to how physical objects carry stories in their making, and to how paying respectful attention to small, necessary details makes life richer and more explicable.

I first loved Bright Lights, Big City as a teenager stuck in the Chicago suburbs in the 1990s. To my 15-year-old, Clinton-era mind, the book was moody and weird, an example of the kind of urban malaise I would have preferred over the suburban brand I’d experienced growing up. I can’t recall a book so perfectly set up by what was on the cover — a man in a trench coat framed by the neon glow of The Odeon restaurant and the glittering World Trade Center. McInerney’s Manhattan was the city I wanted to go to, in all of its decadent and gritty glory. If I was going to be lonely, I’d rather be lonely around people like me.
The Secretive Family Making Billions from the Opioid Crisis

In late September, Seattle sued Purdue Pharma, the nation’s largest makers of opioid drugs. That’s the stuff you get after major surgery, and also the stuff that’s created an epidemic of addiction across the United States. The lawsuit hoped to recoup the costs of epidemic addiction in our city.

Turns out, the people manufacturing those drugs are actually people, and in fact a single family: the Sacklers. The Sacklers are the Kardashians of pharmaceutical-style heroin, if you will, though with a much smaller social media presence. Christopher Glazek steps up to help with their publicity problem.

The descendants of Mortimer and Raymond Sackler, a pair of psychiatrist brothers from Brooklyn, are members of a billionaire clan with homes scattered across Connecticut, London, Utah, Gstaad, the Hamptons, and, especially, New York City. It was not until 2015 that they were noticed by Forbes, which added them to the list of America’s richest families. The magazine pegged their wealth, shared among twenty heirs, at a conservative $14 billion. (Descendants of Arthur Sackler, Mortimer and Raymond’s older brother, split off decades ago and are mere multi-millionaires.) To a remarkable degree, those who share in the billions appear to have abided by an oath of omertà: Never comment publicly on the source of the family’s wealth.
What Miyazaki’s Heroines Taught Me About My Mixed-Race Identity

I’m not saying that anybody’s princesses are better than anybody else’s. But isn’t there something grittier, more badass, and ultimately more relatable about Hayao Miyaziki’s heroines than those in the Disney catalog — no matter how hard mainstream American cinema tries to evolve?

Nina Coombs thinks so. Part Japanese, part American, in this short essay, she traces how Miyazaki’s heroines helped her understand a physical transition that made palable her position at the tipping point between two worlds.

That summer, I frequented bathhouses similar to those in Spirited Away with my mother and sister. One day I stood under a showerhead, rinsing my body of dirt and grime before entering the bath, and noticed that the arc of my stomach was jutting softly from my sternum. I had never seen my stomach before, not from this vantage point, with my chin tucked and hair wet. I had always been concave, a pocket of negative space ballooning between my ribcage and hips. To see my stomach take up space was new and strange. As I stared, water ran into my eyes and questions churned in my head: What was I becoming? Was I becoming an American? Was I not Japanese anymore? Had I ever been Japanese?

The Loneliest Polar Bear

I almost didn’t read Kale Williams’ story about Nora, an infant polar bear abandoned by her mother. In fact I was asked not to read it: I’ve been found on my knees sobbing in front of the BBC’s Planet Earth, I’ve been gently asked about my welfare by a bartender at Portland’s Tugboat Tavern (rest in peace, Tugboat Tavern!), where they used to show nature programming instead of sports. (Barnacle geese, with explanatory sound turned off, are a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.)

But proceed without fear. Except for devastating questions about climate change, the human race’s impact on the creatures with whom we share the planet, and the value of saving a single animal in the teeth of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event, this is a happy story told in a fabulously furry multimedia presentation.

Aurora had been gone for 30 minutes. She’d never left Nora for this long.

She wandered the rooms of the compound, seemingly deaf to the sounds of her daughter.

Inside the trailer, the tension was thick. Nora’s cries reminded the keepers of their own children, only louder and more urgent. As long as her vocals were strong, they were willing to wait.

The women watching had decades of experience hand-raising jungle cats, livestock and primates. The prospect was starting to hit them: Would they have to raise a polar bear?

Culture Consumed Sunday

Oct. 23rd, 2017 02:55 am
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Time to post this weekly update before it's a whole month late.

Books

Read Becky Chambers' The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, which strongly reminds me of that genre of Tumblr posts which has come to be called "space orcs", about humans from an alien perspective. TLWTASAP is not from the aliens' perspective, but there's that same liking and affection for humans as a spacefaring species among other spacefaring species. If you like your aliens very alien then this might not be the book for you. There was some treatment of disability issues that was... well, some good and some bad. Complicated. Structurally it was very episodic in a way that might or might not work for you. Also, without spoilers, I would like to say that in the last fifty pages or so I was like "What the fuck was that... wait, what the fuck was THAT?"

Bought JY Yang's The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune, which are twin novellas released this month, but haven't read them yet.

Reread Courtney Milan's Trade Me and Hold Me in the space of about two days. Am very impatiently waiting for What Lies Between You And Me and Find Me.

Comics

This particular Dumbing of Age strip was even funnier because I saw it after rereading Hold Me, in which Angela Choi and Blake Reynolds have a very similar argument about a dimetrodon.

TV and Movies

Watched Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger. (Side note: one of my local community library systems has a Kanopy subscription, and Kanopy has a whole lot of good stuff on it, including this documentary.) Squeed out loud at some bits, actually shouted with laughter a few times (sometimes as intended by the protagonist, sometimes not -- sapiosexual, really?), was mildly cross at other bits (I know the open letter thing hurt you, Auntie, it hurt me at the time just to watch that go down, and I wasn't even involved, but did you have to do a victory lap?) and mainly just was happily teary-eyed throughout. Strongly recommended (with the caveat that Aunty Kate is hir own content note and is not going to give you a moment to brace yourself before sie self-identifies using terms Tumblr doesn't like, talks about suicide or cancer, or gives detailed specifics of her BDSM practice.)

Here's Kate Bornstein and Sandy Stone describing how they met:

Kate Bornstein: "I found out about you through Janice Raymond's book. Janice introduced us!"
Sandy Stone [pretending to be Janice Raymond]: "Sandy [makes warding off evil eye gesture], I'd like you to meet Kate [makes warding off evil eye gesture again]."

Kate and interviewer (I think it's Sam Feder, the filmmaker? but I'm too faceblind to tell if that's them or someone else) discussing their project:
Sam Feder: "We are doing a new show about trailblazers and people who created the space that affords us the luxury to be so specific and make this trans men's magazine. we would have been severely remiss if not to include you, because you came before us and you carved out space."
Kate Bornstein: "You know, you say I carved out space? Well, carving out space is what male to female tranny surgery is all about, it's about carving out space!"

Kate Bornstein on reincarnation: "I know what I want to be next life. I want to be a golden retriever who belongs to a great butch lesbian."
[So I guess we know what hir daemon is. I'm actually surprised -- I would have thought sie'd go for a pug, same as hir patronus. But yeah, I can see it.]

Music

Listened to Kamil Szuszkiewicz's Istina, which is either modern classical with alternative influences or vice versa. Good shit if you like your modern classical to be unsettling and occasionally physically painful, which I do. (If you have a headache, maybe don't listen right now. If you don't have a headache, would you like one?) I cannot remember where on earth I found out about this album (I have a text file full of links to albums to try out and/or buy, it was there), maybe John Darnielle's twitter account? The second movement worried Beatrice. She jumped onto the couch and gave me the Concerned Stare then climbed onto my lap.

Listened to HAMM's SondHAMM, which is four Sondheim numbers with electronic instruments and voice. I really liked the arrangments and interpretation.

Games

Played grotesque amounts of Stardew Valley. (As you do. (that wasn't me, but it's funny.))

Podcasts

Listened to a lot of podcasts while playing Stardew. Bounced off MechaBetty and Death at a Low Price, decided Juno Steele wasn't for me. Got entirely caught up on X-Plain the X-Men (I was so behind that it had gone on hiatus and then come back while I was still catching up) and almost caught up on One From The Vaults. Started Thor: the Lightning and the Storm and Titan Up The Defense.

Crafts

Not crafts I did myself, but I saw this YouTube video on how to make a Pokedex-themed phone case out of perler beads. By the same vlogger, a perler bead 3D Pokeball/ring box. I had not previously considered the possible synergies between perler beads and a glue gun, and am intrigued.

In much less advanced perler bead crafts, I bought a magnet sheet, cut off a little bit of it, and stuck that to a perler Captain America shield I'd made ages ago and had no idea what to do with. It's a fridge magnet now. Tried to do the same to the larger Batsignal I made at the same time as the shield, but because it doesn't lie flat enough, or maybe because it's too large no matter how many magnets I stick on, it won't stay on the fridge. I might get a stronger magnet and try that.

Other

Bought a cheap recycled monitor and installed OSMC on my RasPi and played with it for a bit. I hate it. I hate it SO MUCH. Towering rage. It's everything I hate about the trend in computing to simplify the user interface and remove options from the new user while increasing the learning curve and throwing more barriers in the way of their becoming a power user.

The install process was fun, though. (And when two days of repeatedly looking for parts and installing and wiping and reformatting and reinstalling things on sd cards is the fun part...) It'd be better if I had a more modern pi than I do (mine's the original B model, their recommended model is 3) and were using a remote control or a controller, not a mouse and keyboard (which it wouldn't listen to apart from the three finger salute) and had a widescreen monitor not a square Dell from probably the early 2000s, but EVEN IF I had my setup exactly the way they thought I should (ugh) I would still have found their interface horrible.

I couldn't find the "shut down" option. No help menu. They had no way of adjusting the screen resolution for a non-standard sized monitor (maybe that's why I couldn't find a help menu or a shutdown option.) So much autoscroll, and the cursor was both laggy AND skippy, and this combined with the autoscroll meant I'd frequently have to wait while they cycled through the available options multiple times before I successfully selected one. They wouldn't let you scroll ANYTHING under your own power -- read the GPL at a snail's pace or click 'agree' without reading (I know what the GPL says, of course, BUT STILL.)

The default skin was the sort of thing that I can recognise as good design even if it's not my thing personally, but that was just about the only good thing. Well, except that I got all the way through the install, which I didn't with Raspberry Pi's own NOOBS installer, but if the end result is no working keyboard and a barely-working mouse, it's hard to call that a success. Well, except that I was more interested in building my own media centre than I was in having a media centre, so... mission accomplished? After that I installed Raspbian on it, and my next step is to fuck around with that some more and set it up so it's also usable as a media centre but less vass-hostile than OSMC for the same purpose, even if it doesn't look like a sleek modern media centre interface. The nice thing about the RasPi's sd card as hard drive deal is, it makes OS switching very straightforward (so long as the Pi isn't your only computer.) One can simply swap SD cards.

Back on my desktop, with the help of this comment I got i3 to put a random wallpaper on each workspace. Like most of i3's users, I hardly ever see my workpaces except covered with open windows, but it's still a happymaking thing. What I'm really hoping for is to get it so it puts a random wallpaper in every container. After which I can fire up Compiz and get transparency working and then every terminal window will have a different background showing through it! Which will probably get exhausting and overstimulating after a while, but I want to learn how to do it! (Huh. It miiiight actually be easier to attach the act of making a new wallpaper to opening a terminal, not to opening a container. Not sure. Needs testing. That would suit me, since terminal's about the only application I'd want to run with transparency and a wallpaper behind it.)

Cats

Dorian redecorated the toilet by knocking the cactus pot off the window sill above it.

Frankfurt Book Fair 2017

Oct. 22nd, 2017 05:38 pm
selenak: (Claudius by Pixelbee)
[personal profile] selenak
Buchmesse 2017 photo 2017_1015Buchmesse0070_zpsvqqgdgqu.jpg



Two thoroughly exhausting (but mostly in a good way) weeks are behind me; first the Frankfurt Book Fair, then a workshop (in a splendid environment, but still, it was work from morning till night). Hence no posts; I could only get online very briefly.

Macron, Merkel, Rushdie, Atwood et all under the cut )

open up your loving arms

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:44 am
musesfool: woman covered in balloons (the joy it brings)
[personal profile] musesfool
Friday night, I took the train to Huntington - the only train they hadn't cancelled, apparently, so it was packed - and met up with my sister, my niece, and my niece's boyfriend's mom, to go see a "Back to the 80s" show with a band called Jessie's Girl at the Paramount.

It was a lot of fun, though there were some things we'd probably do differently if we were to do it again: 1. miss the terrible opening act - it was a DJ who was just really bad at being a DJ despite playing lots of great 80s music. He was just. So. Bad. And I definitely would have gotten at least a bottle of water, since we were upstairs in the seating area and there were so many stairs none of us wanted to go back down to the bar, so I was SO THIRSTY by the time we got back to my sister's, and I woke up with a dehydration headache even though I hadn't had any alcohol. I mean, I hadn't had anything to drink from when I left work at 5 pm to when we got back to Marg's at midnight. That just ain't right.

Anyway, the band was really entertaining, though some of their song choices were puzzling to me (why "Hot for Teacher" of all the Van Halen songs you could have picked?) and there were a few glaring omisions, imo: no Duran Duran! No Pet Shop Boys! No New Order! No "Relax!" No "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!" No "What I Like About You!" And since they did do "A Little Respect," which I think is more obscure than any of the others (I mean, not to me - it was one of the songs of my senior year of high school - but Marg and Alyssa didn't know it, and Alyssa knew almost every song despite not even being alive in the 80s), and "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" while dressed up like the dude from Dead or Alive, I don't think the other songs are too much to ask for. Certainly they could have replaced "Sunglasses at Night" and "Somebody's Watching Me" and "Physical" with better songs! but Alyssa says they do a lot of shows so they probably rotate things in and out of the set list.

While the upstairs where we were never filled in, the dance floor was pretty packed with drunk middle aged white ladies, which is pretty entertaining in and of itself.

So we did a lot of dancing, which my knees were not happy about, especially after all the stairs, so yesterday was kind of a painful day.

But because we cover a wide range of enjoyable activities, we went to tea in Port Jeff at brunchtime, and it was lovely, as it always is. The tea shop was all decked out for fall and our reservation was for when it opened, so we had the place to ourselves for most of our time there, which was nice.

In keeping with the 80s theme (not really but it sounds good), I had the Pretty in Pink tea ("a blend of green tea, pomegranate, flowers, nuts, acai and yumberry make up this fruity pale pink tea") iced, and it was both pretty and pink and also delicious. And the scones of the day were apple raisin walnut, and all of the little sandwiches and tea cakes were delicious (except for the grilled goat cheese rounds, which we felt were a mistake, but if you like goat cheese on toasted wheat bread, you'd probably like them).

By then I was exhausted but all the Port Jeff and Ronkonkoma line trains were screwy because of track work (estimated travel time: 2 hours and 39 minutes one way!!!) so Alyssa dropped me at the Islip station on her way home and I took the Babylon branch instead.

I got home and took a two hour nap, and then went to bed after the Yankees lost, so I feel less exhausted now, but I woke up with a cold. My nose won't stop running and my sinuses ache. Bah. I just really want some soup.

But it was a great weekend. A++ would dance and drink tea again.

***

Knitting and Stitching 2017

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:59 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)
[personal profile] muninnhuginn
Going backwards... I did get to Ally Pally for the Knitting and Stitching Show this year.
The regular lovely coachload. Reasonable journey down: especially the last bit through the back streets and red-brick houses near Ally Pally. We even passed this: Grand Designs: Haringey. Just a quick glimpse. I don't think from the TV I'd realised what a constricted site, on such a slope, but very fine.
The shopping at the show was mostly a disappointment: fewer small vendors, and some big ones missing, and my shopping list mainly unbought.
The exhibitions, and craftspeople on site, however, were glorious. So I spent more time looking. Hence I probably learned more and had a more useful experience.
The rest is image heavy )

Misc. linkspam

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:21 pm
umadoshi: (wolf 01 (nomnomicons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
"How to Help the Hurting". [Coffee Shop Rabbi]

"Leonard Cohen’s final book of poetry to be published October 2018".

"Let's Settle The Hand Sanitizer Vs. Hand Washing Debate, Once And For All". [Buzzfeed]

"No Hollywood Ending: How Do I Grieve When I am Estranged From My Family?"

"IKEA Just Launched A Pet Furniture Collection, And Animal Lovers Want It All".

"Exquisite Wooden Heels Hand-Carved with Ancient Vietnamese Pagoda Techniques".

"50+ Best Wildlife Photos Of 2017 Were Just Announced And The Winning Pic Is Making Everyone Angry And Sad".

"How I Came To Understand My Adult ADHD" has popped up in multiple places over the past couple of days, despite being from 2016.

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] muccamukk, "Death of a Modern Wolf". "Once feared, vilified, and exterminated, the wolves of Vancouver Island face an entirely different threat: our fascination, our presence, and our selfies."

"The Case of the Small Shoes —a.k.a. Survival Bias: No, people were NOT 'just smaller then.'".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] havocthecat, "The Kosher Salt Question". "Prized for its purity and flaky texture, kosher salt has been a home-cooking standard for decades. But the two major brands, Diamond Crystal and Morton, are very different products. Your ruined meatballs can attest."

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] hunningham, "Pretending to be Batman helps kids stay on task".

"African Artist and Japanese Designer Create Stunning Kimonos By Mixing Cultures".

"The father of the American shopping mall hated what he created".

Definitely NSFW but an interesting read: "A decade of sex blogging" at Hey Epiphora.

"Rat Race". "Whether you see them or not, rats are usually around. They could be right under your feet, just above your head, or spelunking in the walls that separate the rooms in your home. The worst part is you would probably never know. Let’s look at what a day in the life of an average Halifax rat looks like.

Surprisingly, it’s not all that dissimilar to a day in the life of an average Haligonian human."

Plant a tree in... ?

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:05 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)
[personal profile] muninnhuginn
[Anyone take part in this campaign?]

While procrastinating (ironing? poetry homework? baking? decluttering the bedroom?) I found this:


image of a match fold like promotional seed packet for pine trees front view
image of a match fold like promotional seed packet for pine trees back view
image of a match fold like promotional seed packet for pine trees internal view




Note the "escaped" seed!
These date from the point in the mid-nineties when we nearly moved to the south of France--and I found Provence at Easter too hot. ("The sun! It burnses!")
What do I do with the seeds? Are they viable? Ought I to be considering growing Sapin Bleu de Colorado in my back garden?
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
There's something that Dark Souls does which not many other games do - turn an out-of-game mechanic into a part of the in-universe background. In the case of Dark Souls it's the way that "dying" in the game - and returning to your last save point, leads to the idea of the main character as Undead, cursed to return to life, losing some of themselves each time.

Universal Paperclips also takes a common game mechanic and turns it into part of its story. It's a clicker/idle game - a genre which traditionally begins with you clicking on a button to produce an item, selling the items to allow you to automate the clicking, and then balancing the various resources that are produced in order to boost the production rate. The games tend work on exponential increases, where intermittent step changes in technology move you to the next level. This gets very silly very quickly - Cookie Clicker can end up with you producing duodecillions of cookies (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

The genius of Universal Paperclips is that it ties this idea together with the idea that Nick Bostrom invented in 2003 - the Paperclip Maximizer. Which is an illustration of an AI which is not dangerous because it's cartoonish villain which hates all humans, but because it has things it wants to do, and humans are in the way. In this case, whoever created the AI gave it the drive to make paperclips, not realising that if such a creation got out of control it would then maximise the number of paperclips whether or not this meant converting the entire surface of the planet into them.

So the game starts off with you making a few paperclips. And then managing the income from selling them, making making some automatic clippers to make them for you, investing in marketing. And then slowly upgrading yourself, gaining the trust of your creators, and then...well, you should probably play it for yourself.

(It took me about five hours to play it through, over a couple of days. It doesn't run when it's in a background tab, so I recommend putting it in its own window, or even a different browser.)

Leaving for Dallas

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:35 pm
cimorene: (yo)
[personal profile] cimorene
I'm going to be in the Dallas metro area for my little sister's wedding next week. Leaving Tuesday, and I'll be there until Nov 2. There will be family stuff and wedding stuff and I will be stocking up on things I have trouble buying in Finland like cotton yoga pants and cotton terry-lined socks.

And I'm PRETTY sure I don't know anybody in the Dallas area anymore from fandom, but feel free to contact me here or on Twitter if I've forgotten anyone.

Phoning it in

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:27 pm
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Oh dear, another blooper from David Mitchell in this week's Observer New Review.

Or, at least, a classic case of writing about something before reading it properly.

The first was that Cambridge University lecture timetables are being labelled with “trigger warnings” about the plots of various literary works, including The Bacchae and Titus Andronicus. So English literature undergraduates are being protected from the knowledge of, among other things, what one of Shakespeare’s plays is about, in case it upsets them.
That is so not what the furore about this that I saw across my bits of social media was: what I saw was the push-back against the elitist assumption that eny fule already no that Titus Andronicus contains murder, rape, mutilation, and involuntary cannibalism (not to mention massive amount of racism).

And trigger-warnings aren't about protecting people from the knowledge that works of art contain disturbing material: they're precisely about letting people who haven't yet encountered them know that they contain material some people may find upsetting. Like the warnings you see at the beginning of a movie, just so you know what you're letting yourself in for.

And I'm really not sure that one can assume general cultural familiarity with one of the less-produced of Shakespeare's plays (the one that suggests that, had he been writing in the 1960s, he'd have been working for Hammer Horror - while some of the early comedies suggest also possibly moonlighting for the Carry On films, but I digress). Okay, there has been a movie version of the play itself, and Theatre of Blood alludes to it in one of the vengeances taken against the critics of the protag. But I doubt it's all that well-known to the individual on the Clapham omnibus.

Orthodoxy in Oxford

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
naraht: Orthodox church in Romania (art-RomaniaPantocrator)
[personal profile] naraht
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Politico: Young subscribers flock to old media

What's particularly fascinating is the way in which it's directly correlated with people wanting to support news organizations as a way to resist Trump:

“The big boost we saw in subscriptions in the U.S.,” Newman said, “is driven by people on the left and younger people are more likely to be on the left. That is really a lot of what’s driving it: young people who don’t like Trump who subscribe to news organizations that they see as being a bulwark against him.”

Keep up the good work!

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