monanotlisa: (roxy rocks -- dlm)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
So there was this party tonight, and that little dinner before that, but, y'know: my health; her work hours. So I trotted down all alone down my main street to the seafood restaurant with the reservation, and on the way back made a beeline for my own backyard:

IMG_9092.JPG

Mama was thirsty. For a daiquiri. Yes, those are very small Meyer Lemons. (I recommend Alton Brown's recipe.)

::

Turns out that when I wash and sort newly purchased underwear, I get my feminist rage on. On the internets.

But, really: it's *vexing*. And there's the added wrinkle of one of the red ones bearing a label of one size, and the other bearing a label one size down, and guess what -- they are not in label but in fact the exact same size. I measured. With a big-eyed scientist hovering over my shoulder confirming my findings.

It's hard not to believe the clothes industry is fucking with us, y'all.

::

I know no one reading this, and none of the people I surround myself with, believes racism is dead; we know it's alive and thriving. Even so, I often think about Dr. Martin Luther King's notes on white liberals. I live in a neighborhood that's overwhelmingly white and Asian and wealthy (I'm none of the latter two, except per some 0.1% of my genome). Anyway, this is a liberal place, so we're talking well-intentioned people who are reasonably good at reflection...but not so very good at self-reflection.

On our neighborhood email distribution the list, the following happened. )
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
My medical status continues to be a non-stop parade of bad news, and no one still has any idea what the hell is actually causing my symptoms. The latest was an alarming finding (delivered in a probably over-alarmist way by the doctor, who implied that I might drop dead at any second - I have since been told that this is wildly unlikely)... which may well have nothing to do with my actual symptoms. In other words, I may have TWO quite serious medical conditions, one asymptomatic and discovered by chance, and one causing severe symptoms and still undiagnosed. Obviously, I am hoping that the one is actually the cause of the symptoms, but it probably isn't.

[Unless you are a doctor, any amateur diagnoses or advice will be deleted with great prejudice. DO NOT EMAIL THEM TO ME, EITHER. Without exception, they have been both unoriginal and useless, in addition to NOT WANTED. I am not naming the alarming finding in the hope of warding off that. If you are a doctor (or a nurse, etc), feel free to email me and I will tell you so you can give it your best shot.]

But what I am actually here to describe is something of possibly general interest, which is a very unusual medical test I just had, which was an MRI of my abdominal veins and arteries.

I have now twice had doctors say, "You must do this scan INSTANTLY before you drop dead/need emergency surgery!" only to do it and then find that no one's rushing to get me my results if a weekend's approaching. Guess maybe it wasn't such an emergency after all?

That was a truly challenging test. They dress you in a hospital gown, put a needle in your elbow, put heavy weights on your stomach and chest, drape totally inadequate blankets over you (the room was freezing), then slide you into a narrow tube. It lasts over an hour-- I think mine lasted about one hour, fifteen minutes. (It was done both without and with contrast, which may have been why it was so long.)

I asked if I could listen to music, but they said no, because I would be getting constant instructions to breathe in a specific rhythm or speed, and also to hold my breath. It turns out that when I am trying not to stress out (possibly also because I have done a lot of meditation) I tend to breathe very slowly. So I was mostly being told to speed up. And also to hold my breath for up to 30 seconds, often multiple times and in quick succession. With weights on my chest and stomach. In a tube with a completely white ceiling about four inches from my face. For over an hour.

So there I am, trying to breathe fast (as instructed) but without hyperventilating, WITH WEIGHTS ON MY TORSO, right after holding my breath for 30 seconds at a time, three times in a row in quick succession.

I think, "I could really use some music to psyche myself up for this… Well, I'll play it in my mind."

Me (in head): I am not growing old in Salem's Lot!/Success is my only motherfucking option, failure's not!/You can do anything you set your mind to, man.

Radiology technician: "Hey, you just changed the rhythm of your breathing. Can you make it faster and more evenly paced, please?"

A few minutes later, while I was really hitting the wall for basically the same reason, I tried again:

Me (in head): I am not throwing away my shot! I am not throwing away my shot!

Radiology technician: "Can you breathe faster, please?"

Me (in head): I’m takin this horse by the reins makin’/Redcoats redder with bloodstains!

Radiology technician: "Can you breathe slower? This test has thirty minutes to go - I don't want you to wear yourself out."

Me (gives up on musical inspiration.)

Me (thinks): "This will be a great new way to torment DJ when I write his third book." (He's my character from "Werewolf Marines," who is actually a DJ, uses music in his head to psyche himself up, and also has ADHD, hyperactive variety.)

Meanwhile, there were intermittent but frequent and extremely loud banging and screeching noises. It sounded exactly like someone was hammering on the tube.

As I said, it was a genuinely difficult test, and I know it wasn't just me because I am not used to finding physical/mental challenges of that sort difficult. For instance, I'm not claustrophobic. But after an hour plus of lying absolutely still in that tube with the roof four inches from my face, with weights on my chest and stomach, unable to think of anything but the test because doing so messed up the test, while breathing in a way that I would use to induce a panic attack in the office so I can teach people how to cope with panic attacks… I was getting a little claustrophobic.

When I got out of there, my gown was drenched in sweat. I think 90% of that was from physical exertion. Breathing fast and deep with weights on your breathing apparatus is hard.

After the test, the radiology guy told me that it was probably the second-hardest MRI to do and it was especially tough to have it as my first one.

"What's the hardest?" I asked.

"Well, this is pretty rare… but there's a cardiac MRI where people have to hold their breath for one minute."

I asked, "Can people really do that? Cardiac patients can do that?"

"People always think they can't do it," he said. "But then they really put their minds to it, and they find that they can."

You can do anything you set your mind to, man, I thought.

He then added, "Sometimes they can't, though. And then we do it for 30 seconds, have them take a breath, and do another 30 seconds. But you did great! We got perfect images!"

But after all that, it will probably be yet another insanely expensive test that shows nothing. (I won't get the results till Monday, probably.)

It's either unfortunate or just as well that I politically opposed about 90% of all American military interventions since WWII, and also have an issue with following orders that I personally find stupid or pointless or are issued by people whose intelligence I don't respect. Because I am really good at following difficult orders. Hopefully I will not have cause to discover whether or not I can hold my breath for one minute if I really set my mind to it, man.
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
The sunset was amazing tonight, but even more awe-inspiring was the moment the snow stopped after falling all day, and the sun emerged from behind the clouds. The trees were glowing pink and peach, the light refracting through the branches laden with crystals of snow.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I understand that being able to find the power button for a monitor in the dark might be something that some people need to do occasionally. And that flashing lights on a network device let you know that it's talking to other network devices, and not taking a long nap.

But when people build technology nowadays they realy, really should take into consideration that people tend to have tech in their bedrooms. And that monitors, computers, networking switches, powerline adapters, power extenders, wifi points, and anything else that might ever plausibly be in the same room as someone trying to sleep should have a "Completely fucking dark" option.

Cooking diary

Feb. 6th, 2016 11:04 am
soon_lee: Image of yeast (Saccharomyces) cells (Default)
[personal profile] soon_lee
Monday: Pork, bokchoy, vermicelli, soup
https://flic.kr/p/DEkCTy
20160201_182450

Tuesday: Prawn tacos
https://flic.kr/p/Db2jo4
20160202_182829

Wednesday: Hokkien mee
https://flic.kr/p/DjfJsy
20160203_191425

Thursday: Lamb shank, kumara, courgette
https://flic.kr/p/Dm2rFb
20160204_185338
oursin: Drawing of hedgehog in a cave, writing in a book with a quill pen (Writing hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

But this week actually had some research/academic stuff in it.

A few hours in A Library taking notes on stuff.

An hour doing the first look at some archives at my former place of work to see if they may be part of The Project, and they are.

Submitting a panel proposal for the Great Triennial Women's History Conference next year (yes, there is always a hell of a lead time on this, to the extent that one paper on a panel I was commentating on one time was on an entirely different region of the world than in the original proposal, because there were more, and more interesting, sources). (This was all a bit fraught, what with not getting one person's c.v. until this morning, and having to get rid of all the tracked changes, though at least I got this all done and submitted before Firefox started crashing every few minutes.)

Agreeing to review a book for a SRS publication but actually getting paid (which is just as well, because I have just been sent the book and I think it is going to be a bit of a grind to get through it).

Have received a book on UK anarchists I ordered as the result of a talk I went to last week - looking at the contents page I fear that All Ur Anarkistz B Blokez, but that may be misleading.

Tomorrow I attend a symposium upon an Organisation of Interest.

Activist Coffee

Feb. 5th, 2016 07:59 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
I met a fellow local disability rights activist for coffee this afternoon - we've known each other on line for years, but because her job was in London until recently it's the first time we've actually met.

It was interesting, in the worst way, in terms of finding anywhere we could both go. I may be a wheelchair user nowadays, but if I run into steps I can hop out , they can't. That ruled out the place I meet friends on Saturdays, and while the place I go in the week is accessible to me in the chair, they didn't think they could get their powerchair in. Nor is the new Costa accessible - they gutted the entire place,  took floors out, but left a step at the entrance! Ultimately we ended up in the tourist info, which has a cafe at the back - ironically she then had to ask if I would be able to manage the internal slope in the building  - effectively a 50 foot ramp from front to back - to get back out again!

Cue an hour and a half of comparing notes, on activism, ridiculous disabled loos we have known, and experiences of discrimination. It shouldn't be like that, but it is. I had to give her the prize (?!)  for worst experience - I've never had a doctor look at the chair and try to decide not to treat me for something life threatening (emphasis on the try, she handed him his head).

Lovely to meet her finally, but also sobering. So much still to do.
lizcommotion: Lily (buff tabby) asking for belly rubs on an oriental rug in a sunbeam, whiskers in happy face pose. Head upside down. (cat lily basking icon)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
"I've given you plenty of time," Lily said, licking her paw.

Amelie eyed the small tabby over her bowl of food. She wasn't sure what the protocol was. She never knew how to behave around these other cats. At first Chance had seemed the greater threat with his pacing outside her door and his gifts, but glancing at the self-assured queen now she wasn't quite so sure.

"I'm told he's been finishing your food," the tabby continued.

Read more... )

SF Signal's Disability Car Crash

Feb. 5th, 2016 06:43 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
I noticed a tweet flashing past last night indicating activist and fan Elsa Henry (@snarkbat) was seriously pissed off with something. So I went to check what, and found it was a new post on SF Signal, the SF/F news/magazine site. It was in their 'Special Needs in Strange Worlds' column (a title I loathe) and it was the most utterly bizarre and offensive post I've seen in a long time.

Content warnings for: cure narratives, erasure, offensive stereotyping (especially of autism) magical crips, locking the crip in the attic, and generally being utterly 'special' about us. )

(no subject)

Feb. 5th, 2016 04:35 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1605 aged 53 Edward Stafford (my toy,wikipedia). Step-son of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne, wife of Henry VIII. Edward was an MP and was sent to France as a diplomat. He was a *very bad* diplomat and took money from both the French and the Spanish to pass on information to them and to not pass on information he should have been to England. His wife was called Robertsa which is not a name I was previously aware of.

Born on this day in 1999 to Daniel Chatto and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Arthur Chatto (my toy,wikipedia). Great-grandson of George VI. Today is Arthur's 17th birthday, happy birthday Arthur. Presumably he is still attending Westminster Cathedral choir school, he is currently 23rd in line to the throne, which might be the closest anyone called Arthur has been in a while.

Cool Stuff Friday

Feb. 5th, 2016 11:01 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is the droid we’re all looking for.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

nanila: (Bush Fire Hazard)
[personal profile] nanila
Poll #17293 E-mail management
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 43


E-mail management

View Answers

I strive to attain Inbox Zero and regularly succeed.
8 (18.6%)

I strive to attain Inbox Zero and occasionally succeed.
12 (27.9%)

I use a system of filters for my incoming mail. It works pretty well and I rarely miss stuff.
13 (30.2%)

What's Inbox Zero?
13 (30.2%)

I miss stuff all the time. Allll the time.
6 (14.0%)

AHAHAHAHAAAAA no.
13 (30.2%)



(This post triggered by the knowledge that I am rarely, if ever, fully caught up on e-mail communication. It is perpetually frustrating, and I never feel like I can take a break from it.)
lethargic_man: (Berlin)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
It's hard, as a kosher-keeping British ex-pat, continuing to eat the things I like here. I used to have fruit cake as part of my tea most weekdays. Here none of the kosher shops have fruit cake (I mean proper fruit cake; cake with fruit in it doesn't count!). So I decided to make my own (something I've already done with fruit flapjack). But fruit cake isn't worth making if you don't have glacé cherries; they're the best part! And in all the supermarkets here,* the glacé cherries are coloured with carmine, which, being made from crushed beetles,† is as non-kosher as you get. And the biggest kosher shop here, Daily Markt, didn't have any. Which means I'm going to have to make my own... only none of the supermarkets are stocking cherries at this time of year. So no fruitcake for me. *sniff* (But I'll hold onto the ingredients I've already got just in case...)

* REWE, Edeka and Kaufland; Netto didn't have. I've yet to try Kaisers.

† It's labelled "Echte Carmin", thus ruling out any possibility it might be synthetic.

(no subject)

Feb. 5th, 2016 09:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Happy birthday, [personal profile] awils1 and [personal profile] coffeeandink!

MAYBE TEA?

Feb. 4th, 2016 11:30 pm
azurelunatic: Thalia, Muse of Comedy, in a plaster relief sculpture. She is adorned with an ivy wreath, holds crook & mask (Thalia)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Swung by Purple's desk on my way in to tell him to find a hat (so he could lift it to me, for technical victories); he'd apparently just headed off for what turned out to be lunch.

I had lunch with the guy who used to be on the A-Team but who was in HR now. From his perspective, I've "come out of [my] shell" quite a bit, what with asking awkward questions in front of all-hands meetings and such, compared to going "aaaaa wtf icebreaker woe :(" -- from mine, I've certainly gained confidence about what exactly will go over well here, but I haven't exaaaaaactly been terrified of public speaking for 20 years, and I'm still an introvert. It costs to be socially On, except with a very narrow range of people. (It may, come to think of it, help that I've been spending several hours a week with one of those people fairly regularly for the past two years.)

Madam Standards dropped by to thank me for putting a reminder about dietary information on the potluck sign-ups.

Purple returned from lunch to tell me that one of his friends had told him: "Wow, your friend [Azure] has some big, um ... balls?" re: last week's pointed question. Heh.

My whole team has been hit by the plague. The Stage Manager sounds about like I feel, and was also from-home on Monday and Tuesday. I'm feeling much better! (I'm still coughing, and still have a damaged throat.) Purple was out with it last week, I think, but for him it was just a head cold.

I have not yet got the information for User Acceptance Testing for the new helldesk software iteration. There are some things that ARE APPARENTLY NOT WORKING AS THEY OUGHT, THE BASTARDS, and I am threatening to assemble a crew of engineers in someone's office. Pitchforks optional.

There was an emergency team ping from the other end of campus. I didn't take it. There was a second ping, still calling for people. I eyed it. The third ping was much more emphatic. I grabbed my gloves and bag and hustled (mindful of my delicate lungs). By the time I arrived, of course, the area was saturated with security, and what they'd needed the emergency team for was crowd control. (In the event of a medical situation, the last thing you need is onlookers going all popcorn.gif.) So I headed back down.

I have been slowly making my way through an album that Purple had mentioned that he was digging (it's good; not the sort of thing that I would have picked up myself, but good) and therefore was lost in a combination of chill noise and inbox when the Commandant poked me in the arm. "Augh! Don't *do* that!!" I said. No, the Lunatic will not notice your approach! This is why there is the doorbell! They have apparently filed a ticket to get the room they're planning to use for the potluck next week, but it is (likely) caught in some godforsaken corner of the helldesk, since the Dean hasn't seen it. I gave sage advice. The fact that I am helping plan my own goodbye party is not lost on anyone.

Eventually the building got cold and lonely enough that I needed to not be alone in there. So I pinged Purple, gathered up my gear, stuffed some stuff in the outgoing mail, dropped the portable hard drive back on R's desk, and wandered down to Purple's office. He was chatting with someone at their cube when I wandered by. I waved, drifted into his office, dropped my bag, drifted out, made myself a cup of tea, and settled in with the iPad quite cozily. His office is warm.

He came back in. We talked for a while. If ever I find myself near Palo Alto at the time of a beer bash, I should consider myself his guest. Was that lemongrass? No, it was "sweet orange" tea; I'd been looking for mint but didn't see any. Had I looked in the other, unlabeled drawer? No? Oh, that's where it might have been. I suggested a "MAYBE TEA?" label to go with the "TEA" label -- sometimes there is tea in that drawer, and sometimes there is not. Purple evidenced amusement at the thought of opening the "maybe" drawer and wondering wtf is in these bags, if there's doubt as to the tea status. I declared that the herbal ones would go in that drawer... This idea met with his approval.

Eventually, we braved the cold and the lingering smell of natural gas that nobody has ever got pinned down and the uncertain traffic in the parking lot. A little bird pecked about, nearly camouflaging itself against the white line, before flittering out of sight. There has been a wire coat hanger stuffed behind one of the pedestrian crossing signs, apparently for days, though this is the first time I noticed it. I held out my arm, and Purple obligingly shuffled closer so I could loop my arm through his as we stood there, chatting about things you find on Goodreads, and old movies, and all manner of wackiness.

(no subject)

Feb. 4th, 2016 11:00 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Terry Riley's "In C" is a really special piece of music. It consists of about fifty short snippets of music, all of course in the key of C, to be performed by any number of musicians, in order, but each of the snippets is to be played any number of times, at the discretion of each of the performers. The result is amazing, a tug of war between musicians that will never turn out the same way twice. The piece can be as short as twenty minutes, or over an hour in length.

I got minorly obsessed with it last year and collected about ten different recordings, all of which I've listened to multiple times. It astonishes me how the same piece of sheet music can yield so many different interpretations, and each of the interpretations astonishes me on its own as an expression of musical joy and creativity. What I have always loved most is the moments of overlap, where some musicians have moved on to the next snippet while others are still playing the last one.

A high school friend invited me to see the Darmstadt Ensemble play it live at le Poisson Rouge last night and I could not say yes fast enough.

And it was a blast, a performance that lasted over an hour, some thirty musicians playing and singing for the love of it for a rapt, packed crowd. And though what I have always loved most about "In C" is those moments of overlap, what caught me seeing it live was something else. The moments of overlap represent the negotiation. Riley has, of course, ceded some of the composer's power to each of the musicians. In order for music to emerge, they must negotiate with each other to decide how to perform. And I've always loved listening to that negotiation, the back and forth, the disagreements. But what was coolest about Darmstadt's performance was not the negotiation, but the eventual agreements that emerged, those times when the whole group found itself together again. Those were moments of the highest kind of musical communion, ecstatic celebrations of the power of music.

Gratitudes

Feb. 4th, 2016 08:55 pm
kass: glass of wine (wine)
[personal profile] kass
1. The fact that y'all don't mind when RL gets in my way and I don't post for far too long.

2. [personal profile] sheafrotherdon's lovely wee Star Wars ficlets, which I just belatedly discovered on the AO3, especially this one.

3. Advil. Because my neck and shoulders were hurting a ton, and now they are not.

4. The mostly brainless pleasure of spending an evening tinkering with wordpress templates.

5. The silence after the kid is asleep.

(no subject)

Feb. 4th, 2016 07:54 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
HEY! Remember how last year I had the New Years "GO BIG BECAUSE WE AIN'T GOING HOME" list, and how I would make monthlyish updates?

And remember how this year I have the RESOLUSTRAVAGANZA list and I'm gonna make monthlyish updates?

It's okay if you don't remember. I do! Here's where things stand right now!

It's fairly long, because, you know, me, but it contains some life update stuff you may want to know about! )

How're your goals of the time period coming along?

~Sor
MOOP!

1: Among other problems, the Dream Job currently isn't, due to interpersonal conflict that has nothing to do with it whatsoever. That is not something I'm willing to talk about publicly, especially because I haven't had a chance to work on that conflict. But there are other iterations of the Dream Job somewhere, I'm sure.
hollymath: drawing in black of owl wearing big red glasses.Words on its belly:"it's not about how you look, it's about how you see" (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
I ended up having a ludicrously busy week.

Tuesday night was the official formation meeting of Levenshulme WI, wherein the WI advisor from our "federation" (Lancashire) had come along to ask us to formally create the branch. Her expectations of these questions being perfunctory went awry almost immediately over arguments about the name which the committee thought had been sorted but a bunch of the potential members (including yours truly, to be fair) did not think we'd had any input on at all and didn't like the appointed name very much. Then when it was discovered that the year's subscription was payable up-front and there is no mechanism for paying by installments (the first year, at least), no concessionary rate and no ability to eg have a raffle or a fund people could donate to to help people less able to afford the cost, we started asking how to change this and it turns out it'd require the WI constitution to be changed. And we asked how to do that, and the at this point clearly overwhelmed lady who'd dealt with a room full of shouty women for at least half an hour pointed out that we weren't even officially a WI yet and could we do one thing at a time.

I don't know if I've ever been so proud of Levenshulme as I was just then.

The lady from the facebooks who came over to clip Gary the Wonder Dog's toenails for us (no mean feat!) the other week was there, asked how he was doing. At least two conversations were started by the fact that I still had a sticker on my top of a Lego spaceman, since I'd come to the meeting almost straight from looking after Small T that afternoon.

Wednesday was one of Small's performances in the local am-dram's pantomime, and he'd asked me to come along, so I've seen my first panto. He also wanted me to go along when his parents took him to Blackpool for the illuminations before Christmas, so I have this family to thank for a couple of very English experiences I'd otherwise not have had (oh, and I got to see his school nativity too, which...I'm still too American to think school nativity sounds anything other than bizarre). I could see how a lot of the British comedy I love got to be what it is because of having panto as a distant relative.

Friday I slept until two o'clock in the afternoon because of a combination of sinusitis and nasty period/PCOS pain. I had to go lie down for a couple of hours at four. I did most of the housework that needed doing despite this, and even went to the bank and took Gary for his last walk with us before going off on his holidays at the weekend so that we could be away without worrying about him.

We went to Yorkshire. First Hebden Bridge on Saturday afternoon, where I remembered how to get to the Picture House despite having only been there once before and not paying any attention (yes it's not hard to find, but I'm very bad at finding things, and I even remembered we had to cross the road because the pavement is too narrow in one bit). We met Jennie and had time for a quick half at the Old Gate, sitting outside under cover from the freezing rain because it was too busy inside, no doubt due to it being the only pub that was open.

We were there to see The Tingler, a silly Vincent Price movie I'd seen at Stockport Plaza for Halloween a couple of years ago. We got to/had to sit up in the balcony; the ground floor was still flood damaged enough that there were no seats in it at all. This meant we were quite a distance from the screen, but it's not a huge place so I could follow what was happening fine. It was part of a series called Surreal Reels, which meant we got a little survey to fill in about our experience which we made sure to leave glowing remarks about (asked to rate it from one to five, Jennie drew an extra box with a six next to it just so she could tick that) because we want more of this sort of thing. There was even atiny introductory talk, a few minutes from someone Jennie identified as "Paddy from Emmerdale," who apparently likes horrror movies and directs them in his free time. It was like a tiny slice of Fantastic Film Weekend for us, so obviously we were all delighted. We ate sweets and giggled a lot at the film's unintentionally funny moments, of which there were many.

We stayed over in Brighouse and hung around for Games Night on Sunday. But not before a lovely pub lunch at Millers. I actually played some games and didn't have a migraine or anything this month, though I was definitely feeling Out Of Sorts due to the combination of getting over sinusitis and having a really hurty PCOS-y period. Since Andrew had taken this week off work, we didn't have to rush back to Manchester on shitty Sunday evening trains and stayed another night.

The event of this week was going to Newcastle with JT, his train ticket for which I'd gotten him for his Christmas present. His family's from the area and he lived in South Shields when he was young, thus knew all the best pubs to go to (The Bridge Hotel, right by the castle, srsly) and was as excited as I've ever seen anyone about being able to get something called a saveloy dip. He brought one of those insulated shopping bags so he could take back some saveloys and pease pudding, having told the woman in Dickson's that he'd traveled 78 miles to get this stuff. She was going off shift just as we left the shop and caught up with us while hurrying to the Metro station near where we were walking, so she asked us how long we were there and stuff, made small talk before our ways parted. People are so friendly. Going down the escalator at a Metro station is enough like using the Underground that I was shocked when someone sprinting by me (same rules as London: stand on the right, panic and flail on the left) who bumped into me actually turned and said sorry!

Today I was in Brighouse then, mostly getting James food and drinks and painkillers because he couldn't move, but having a nice day apart from that. Mat got a new kitchen toy that means I could take his old food processor home with me, and considering how many recipes I'd otherwise be interested in require or at least benefit from one, I am very excited. I might have to make salsa tomorrow. If I can figure out how it works! There's a fearsome amount of attachments and whatnot.

I feel like I've already figured out enough new things for this week because this morning I set up the new dehumidifier to replace the one that stopped working in our basement a few days ago. It's untolerably damp there without it, and much as I resented how much the damn things cost I had to admit it was needed. It seems to be worth the price though because it is very swish: it has like a thermostat for humidity (humidostat?) so you can set it at whatever level you want, and it also has the possibility of draining through a tube so I don't have to faff around emptying the water tank or worrying about the moisture collecting when for whatever reason I haven't been able to do so. Between this and the handrail on the basement stairs, finally installed by the council after an Adult Social Services referral to sort that and some grab rails for the bathtub (that only took nine months, but never mind, it was done for free!), I feel like it might not always be such a grim and uninviting place. It's still pretty grim and uninviting, mind. But less so!
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker


I've had multiple people thank me* for writing about my recent emotional stuff (which is under a filter purely so that Julie (and her family) isn't exposed to it, and people feel they can comment without having to worry about that**).

And I do it to connect with people, and to share things I've learned in case other people find it useful, and to have other people tell me if I've lost the plot, and to be as honest as possible, so that I know where I am.

It helps me, a lot. Years of writing things about my emotions have been incredibly useful for helping me get to know me better. And I am still surprised on a regular basis, both by what I learn about myself, and how much simply writing down "I don't know what I feel X" leads to me knowing why I feel it.

It's not for everyone. Some people find that they focus on an issue, and all writing it down does is mean they spend longer dwelling on it. But if you're not that kind of person, then you may find it's a useful exercise. And you may just help someone else.


*And I'm not saying that to brag. You can learn things from almost anyone, if they share. What makes me unusual is not that I have particularly special thoughts, but that I write them down publicly where any bugger can read them.
**You'll note that this post is public. Act accordingly.

No, We’re Not All Disabled

Feb. 4th, 2016 04:36 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

ETA: SF Signal has removed the post and posted an apology.

#

I’ve really appreciated the Special Needs in Strange Worlds column at SF Signal, but the most recent entry bugged me a lot.

We Are All Disabled,” by Amy Sterling Casil, strikes the wrong note for me right from the title. Because in neither the commonly-used nor the legal sense of the word are we all disabled.

I struggled a lot five years ago when we were meeting with the school about my son’s IEP, which included a goal of having him participate in activities with “non-disabled peers.” It felt like a punch to the gut. Through the gut, even. On the other hand, there are day-to-day tasks my son struggles with as a result of his autism. There are things his peers can do that he’s not yet able to. Some of those challenges are because our world and culture are set up for neurotypical people. But formally recognizing his struggles and challenges was the first step to helping him learn to overcome them. My son would not be getting the support he needs if the school system simply took the approach that we’re all disabled.

Everyone has limits and flaws, yes. That doesn’t mean everyone is disabled. Claiming otherwise dilutes both the terminology and our efforts to make the world more accessible to those with disabilities. Who needs accessibility policies if we’re all disabled?

Casil describes herself as empathetic, saying this is “a severe, lifelong disability that could have cost my life on several occasions.” I’m not familiar with the idea of being empathetic as a disability, so I’m hesitant to say too much until I’ve learned more. She says she sees more, and that being empathetic is like having “opposite of autism.” She goes on to talk about an encounter at a convention, where a member of the audience came up to ask her a question after a panel:

“Do you think they’ll come up with a cure for autism?” he asked.

“It’s possible,” I said. “A lot more likely than for something like Down Syndrome even though there is no single cause for autism.”

My son Anthony was born with Down Syndrome. This young chap would never know that, nor would he care if he knew.

I hope my son never feels this way. I think he’ll be able to be a wonderful father, if that’s what he wants. But it’s that last sentence that really made me stumble.

“Nor would he care if he knew.”

Why not? Because autistic people lack empathy?

Bullshit.

Autism is not the lack of empathy. I’ve watched my son cry over other people’s pain, both in real life and in fiction. I’ve read and spoken to other people with autism who clearly demonstrate empathy and caring. Why would you assume someone with autism wouldn’t care about your son’s condition?

Empathetic is not the opposite of autism. The myth that autistic people lack empathy or emotion is not only untrue, it’s actively harmful.

Casil continues:

The young man wouldn’t meet my eye. He said, “My wife and I both have autism. We want to have children but we don’t want them to have it.” Uncharacteristically for someone with autism, he touched my arm. He was so very frightened!

“There’s a reason God made autism,” I said. I had already come to believe this was true.

First of all, not all people with autism are averse to physical contact.

And while I don’t want to argue with anyone’s personal belief, as someone with diabetes and depression, please don’t ever try to tell me there’s a reason God gave me these conditions. It’s not helpful to me.

Obviously, autism is something that’s both personal and important to me. The way it’s referenced and described in this piece feels ignorant. Not deliberately so — I believe Casil has the best and noblest of intentions. But I wish it had been written with a better understanding and awareness of autism.

Later, Casil returns to the premise of the title, saying:

How can I possibly say we are all cripples? Compared to the reality of – not the universe – just our own planet and the interconnectedness that is life on Earth, the perceptions of even the fittest human are as limited as a blind albino cave salamander … When a physically able person sees someone in a wheelchair and feels “sorry” for them, they should consider the different perceptions that wheelchair enables them to have. They see and hear things those who stand and walk do not. They get to live a different life. Different, not less.

My wife has had so many knee surgeries I’ve lost count. She also has a degenerative spinal condition. Some of the different perceptions and experiences she gets to have are staying inside because she can’t take our dog for a walk in the winter anymore. Taking a ridiculous number of pills each day to help her function. Never getting a decent night’s sleep, due to chronic pain. Knowing that even something as simple as moving a coffee table to vacuum could put her in the emergency room.

Her disabilities are not a thing to be pitied, but they’re damn well not a blessing. Nor are the challenges she faces in any way equivalent to what a non-disabled person goes through in an average day.

I think I get some of what Casil was trying to say. I know and like her, and I’m not trying to attack her. I agree that pity isn’t a terribly helpful or productive response to someone in a wheelchair, and that we shouldn’t see people with disabilities as “lesser.” Likewise, empathy and understanding are important. Acknowledging and respecting other people’s feelings and experiences is important, and we desperately need to do better.

Unfortunately, by misrepresenting autism and trying to generalize everyone as “disabled,” I think this essay fails to recognize or respect people’s different experiences. Instead, it feels more like the essay erases many people with disabilities, as well as their challenges and needs.

And by arguing that we’re all disabled, I think it undermines the spirit and purpose of Special Needs in Strange Worlds.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

oursin: Photograph of Stella Gibbons, overwritten IM IN UR WOODSHED SEEING SOMETHIN NASTY (woodshed)
[personal profile] oursin

Found via Twitter: The Women Men Don’t See: Feminist Science Fiction’s Past and Present Future but my grumbles at it will not go into that format.

Regular readers of the hedjog will already be aware that there are few things that get the spikes bristling more than people 'discovering/rediscovering' something and either a) it was not lost/forgotten in the first place (Saki is so not a neglected writer) or b) getting stuff RONG.

(That noise you hear is the peeves getting agitated.)

We note that perchance the author of that piece has not read anything by Alice Sheldon under the Racoona Sheldon rather than James Tiptree pseudonym, for I cannot imagine why anyone would describe those works as 'more romantic' - The Screwfly Solution'???

Also, I may be one of Naomi Mitchison's greatest fangirls, but I would not say that Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) was 'one of the earliest space-faring books by a woman' (so much for Leigh Brackett, Andre Norton, C L Moore, etc etc). Also I'm trying to think what episode contains 'hot plant sex' (if anyone can identify this, answers in comments please).

Also, and this may be Just Me (maybe also [personal profile] arkessian), but I knew nearly all of those authors before they were cool they were published by the Women's Press.

Not to mention, that was very much not the beginning and end of great sf by women. See this that I compiled some years ago (and that's only up to 2000): The massive mega consolidated SF mistressworks list.

Also, sf films and sf books are very different beasts, and films have tended to go the 'spectacular visual effects' &/or 'shoot 'em up in space' route, or else robots or dystopia.

Final note: in one of the bios of Mitchison it's recounted how some film-makers wanted to make a movie of the 'Butterfly Planet' episode in Memoirs - but they couldn't quite get why it was an all-woman expedition and that seems to have been a sticking point.

Roundup of Revisionary Links

Feb. 4th, 2016 01:22 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Some stuff that’s come out this week…

Right now, territorial restrictions make it difficult to get the book if you’re outside of North America. The publisher is working on expanding availability, but in the meantime, here are a few other options:

  • Book Depository: Offers free worldwide delivery of print books.
  • Wordery: Ditto.
  • ShopMate: This site was recommended on Facebook for Australian residents.

Finally, huge thanks to everyone who’s not only read the book, but been posting reviews at Amazon, Goodreads, etc.

Normal blogging should resume next week, once I recover from New Book Week.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

taking naps is my superpower

Feb. 5th, 2016 12:59 am
ironed_orchid: painting of woman sleeping (Sleep)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
We had a meeting after work, so I didn't get home until after 7.30. I put some rice in the cooker and went upstairs to shower, and came back and the rice was almost done, so turned it off because the "warm" setting tends to make it stick to the bottom. We'd had some breads and dips during the meeting, so I needed dinner, but wasn't desperately hungry, and what I really wanted was to lie flat on my back for a bit. So I did that on the sofa, and drifted off to sleep.

To wake up more than 3 hours later at 11.45pm!

At which point I finished making dinner, because otherwise I'd have nothing to take for lunch tomorrow, and eating was a good idea by that point.

It's now about 1am, and I'm quite awake. Thankfully, I don't start work until 1pm tomorrow, which means I can sleep in until 10am (or even 11), so I can stay up until around 3am and still get enough sleep to function tomorrow. . Eep. I was wrong. I need to be up by 8am. 8.30 at the latest.

I definitely feel that having naps increases my sleep overall, but I still need at least a 6 hour stretch at sometime in the night to feel like a functioning human the next day.

(no subject)

Feb. 4th, 2016 04:25 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 2002 aged 94 Sigvard , Count of Wisborg (my toy,wikipedia). Great-grand-son of Queen Victoria. Sigvard was born a Prince but lost his royal titles when he married a commoner. He worked as an industrial designer and at the time of his death was the longest-lived male descendant of Queen Victoria (his younger brother lived longer though, so he isn't anymore).

Born on this day in 1337 to Peter Bourbon I, Duke of Bourbon and Isabella of Valois, Louis II, Duke of Bourbon (my toy,wikipedia). Gread-grand-son of Philip, father of Margaret, wife of Edward I. Louis had a similar mental illness to Charles VI of France, and probably it's a hereditary condition. He launched an unsuccessful crusade against Tunisian pirates.

But is this new and contemporary?

Feb. 4th, 2016 03:53 pm
oursin: Animate icon of hedgehog and rubber tortoise and words 'O Tempora O Mores' (o tempora o mores)
[personal profile] oursin

Because I think it's a much longer trend, having been reading blurbs for several decades and marked the tendency to position books/writers in terms of the NEW [whoever] or being the 'love-child of [one writer] and [another writer]', not to mention seen a lot of very derivative works which were presumably buying into this desire for the familiar.

Anyway, Tim Parks is apparently on record making this:

[L]ament about one of the more damaging trends in contemporary book publishing — “the decision on the part of most large publishers to allow their sales staff a say in which novels get published and which don’t.” Parks quotes an editor who says that whenever he pitches a new novel at editorial meetings, someone from the sales staff invariably asks, “But what other book is it like?” As Parks puts it, “Only when a novel could be presented as having a reassuring resemblance to something already commercially successful was it likely to overcome the veto of the sales staff.”

Is there anything new or unusual about that?

***

In other book/reading related questions, a listserv I am on has been addressing the question of having to stop or at least pause in reading a novel because of one's intense empathy with whatever is happening on the page.

And I wasn't sure that I've experienced this - though there have been times when I've paused because of the way something is written -

But then I realised that when I re-read Angus Wilson's Late Call my inclination is always to skip the prologue because it's so painful and go straight past that childhood trauma to Sylvia in old age.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
What I've read - short fiction
The first two episodes of The Witch Who Came In From The Cold. Cold War spies in Prague, and a different kind of struggle between competing factions of magic-users (and of course the two conflicts overlap and group people in different ways). I loved the pilot enough to subscribe to the series, and the second episode confirmed my opinion ...
A Long Cold Winter by Max Gladstone and Lindsay Smith (1/13 - free to read online)
A Voice on the Radio by Cassandra Rose Clarke (2/13 - requires payment)

Tigerskin by Kurt Hunt
Warning for harm to a child in the opening! but not quite as it seems.

The Desert Glassmaker and the Jeweler of Berevyar by Rose Lemberg
Admiring letters sent along trade routes between two different magic practitioners.

La Lune T’attend by Peter S. Beagle
Werewolves and magic and old men trying to protect their families (a bit gory in places)

Charlotte Incorporated by Rachael K. Jones
A brain in a jar who wants a better home.

Long fiction
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold, as reviewed separately.


Acquisitions:
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link - an anthology of short stories by the author whose novella I liked a couple of weeks ago
The Heart is Eaten Last by Kameron Hurley - a novella for Patreon supporters, about Nyx from the Bel Dame Apocrypha books


Keiki discovers stroopwafel

Feb. 4th, 2016 03:54 pm
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
Baby discovers stroopwaffel
[Keiki waves around a bag of stroopwafels after having consumed one. Crumbs not visible in black and white.]

In this Adventure of Keiki & Mummy at Home, Keiki digs through Mummy's large bag of rapidly assembled duty free items and discovers stroopwafels. Stroopwafels, for those who haven't had the pleasure, are a luxury Dutch biscuit/cookie consisting of two very thin crispy waffles sandwiching a layer of sticky caramel. They are terribly, terribly morish.

I think he likes them.
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
[personal profile] kaberett
(I am kind of baffled by how smoothly and rapidly this is all going: I was initially supposed to have my first appointment on the 8th of March, but due to a steady stream of late cancellations I've thus far had an initial assessment and one session of hand therapy, and will be having at least one more session of hand therapy and an information/education session before my the theoretical date of my first appointment ever rolls around.)

Initial assessment. )

Hand therapy. )

Summary. Yeah, I just... yeah. This can stay.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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