The young visiter

Jul. 22nd, 2014 06:56 pm
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
"Karen?"
"Yes?"
"There's a little baby fledgling bird hanging out on the patio, and I don't know what to do..."

IMG_20140722_185146

The domestic consensus is that we should do nothing: not interfere, certainly not handle it. It may just be hangin' out after a long flutter. And if it is the child of mockingbirds, then at least one of its parents knows exactly where it is, because the bloody bird has not stopped making a ruckus all around our yard. It even threatened me this morning (tho' I do not think the baby was there this morning; I think I would have noticed), never mind the poor cats who wander through.

I dunno; of course I dunno, what do I know? We'll see. If you want to bubble over with advices, feel free - but as soon as two advisors start contradicting each other, I shall stop listening, because elves.

[Update: and it's gone, five minutes later. Yay! I wish I'd stayed to watch, but alas, I had to post...]
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

On Friday, WisCon posted a statement that read in part:

The WisCon committee has completed our harassment review process with regard to Jim Frenkel, who engaged in two reported violations of WisCon’s general and harassment policies at WisCon 37, in 2013 … WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018). This is “provisional” because if Jim Frenkel chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of behavioral and attitude improvement between the end of WisCon 39 in 2015 and the end of the four-year provisional period, WisCon will entertain that evidence. We will also take into account any reports of continued problematic behavior.

Natalie Luhrs has posted a roundup of some reactions. There’s a great deal of anger and frustration over poor communications, procedural failures, and more. I’m still reading, but my initial reaction is that the whole thing has been a mess that went rolling down a hill of mistakes, snowballing into a giant boulder of crap.

I’m still catching up on the conversation, and a lot of people have weighed in more thoughtfully and eloquently than I could. (See Natalie’s roundup for links.) One thing I wanted to talk about, however, was the “provisional” aspect of WisCon’s statement. Because my initial gut-level reaction was that it seemed reasonable to allow for the possibility of growth and change.

A little while back, I responded to an article titled, “The Naive Idiocy of Teaching Rapists Not to Rape.” The thing is, rapists can learn not to rape. People can and do change, especially when they’re confronted with consequences and forced to look at their own actions.

I’ve worked with college students, mostly men, in an early intervention program where we tried to help people recognize and change their own aggressive, boundary-crossing, harassing behaviors. I’ve sat in on batterer’s groups. I’ve spoken with pedophiles after their release from jail. My wife has designed and run domestic violence groups. My father spent much of his life working with juvenile offenders who had committed assault, robbery, rape, and more.

People can change. It’s kind of a no-brainer. Our behavior changes throughout our lifetime. We learn new habits, new values, and new choices. I’ve said and done things in the past that I wouldn’t dream of doing today, because I’ve learned better. We all have.

Does that mean all rapists and harassers will come to see the error of their ways if we only give them another chance? Of course not. Some people go right back to the same pattern of hostile behavior. But others can and do come to recognize the harm they’ve done to others, and find a new path.

I believe very strongly that there should be consequences for our actions. But I also believe in education and rehabilitation.

I don’t know if Jim Frenkel will ever truly accept responsibility for what he’s done, or if he’ll change a pattern of harassing behavior that goes back decades. He seemed genuinely remorseful when he spoke to me about this several years ago, but his behaviors didn’t change.

I hope this time is different. I hope the consequences of his loss of employment and being banned from his local convention force him to confront his choices, and that he comes out a better man.

The problem is when we choose to make his growth and change more important than the safety and security of his victims and potential victims.

When you’ve wronged someone and they throw you out of their life, you don’t get to force your way back in to prove that you’ve changed. You don’t get to violate their boundaries because you want to apologize. If the wronged party chooses to forgive and to allow you back into their lives, that’s one thing. If they choose not to, then you need to accept that loss as a consequence of your actions.

WisCon banned a known serial harasser on a relatively short-term “provisional” basis. While I share the same philosophical hope and belief for change, they’ve taken the choice away from his victims.

WisCon is not a judicial body. They are not a rehabilitation program. In my opinion, they are not qualified to judge the sincerity of serial harassers, many of whom have spent years or decades learning to hide their behavior behind the mask of the “nice guy.” Their job is to investigate complaints, and when those complaints are found to be valid, to take steps to protect their membership.

Protection for Frenkel came in the form of WisCon’s investigation process. I believe every complaint should be investigated and decided based on evidence and testimony. In this case, there have been multiple people reporting incidents, with multiple witnesses backing them up. According to the WisCon Harassment Policy, Frenkel also has the right to appeal the decision. Again, I think that’s reasonable.

But throughout this process, despite what I believe to be the best of intentions in a difficult and ugly situation, WisCon has failed to protect its members.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Now is the time: BVC sale!

Jul. 22nd, 2014 05:40 pm
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
I am just sayin', but there's a half-price sale on at Book View Cafe, for one week only. Many many books, very very cheap! Shop early, shop often!

(What's that you say? Why yes, I have four dogs in this race. They're best. All of them. You should buy them all, for everyone you like.)

the Lioness roars

Jul. 22nd, 2014 07:21 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
I don't know if you've been following the news that's coming out of Wiscon's absolutely horribly handling of reports of sexual harassment and a predator in the community -- if you haven't, the Geek Feminism wiki has a timeline of the incident(s), as usual -- but one of the reports of sexual harassment that is in the process of being so horribly mishandled came from my dear friend Elise Matthesen, aka the Lioness, aka [livejournal.com profile] elisem.

Elise is one of the most massively talented artists I know; she makes jewelry, although with her talents and her aesthetic, really it should be called "wearable sculpture". She's amazing, and I've been fantastically lucky enough to get a few jewelry-making lessons from her. (Honestly, the lessons were incredibly valuable, but really, the experience of sitting her down in front of our supply bins, handing her things, and saying "here, I want to see what you make out of this one!" was way more awesome.)

She obviously feels it necessary to skip attending and selling at Wiscon for at least a year (and really, who can blame her). Wiscon historically is responsible for about a third of Elise's annual income, through her jewelry sales; up until now it's been her major annual in-person sales event, and although she's investigating other cons to sell at, those cons won't be the ones where she's built up a huge network of friends and fans.

If you'd like to support a fierce, courageous person who is being shat upon by people who should've had her back (why no I don't have strong opinions about this why do you ask), take a few minutes and look over Elise's for-sale list and the (not-yet-included-in-the-master-list) New Shinies (which, omg, SO GORGEOUS), and see if something speaks to you. (She does warn that she will be on a retreat throughout August, so she will not be shipping between July 29 and the beginning of September.)

And if your disposable income has mostly been disposed, I'm positive she would adore it if you look at her ArtLog of Things [She] Has Made, find something that speaks to you, and make some kind of art (fiction, poetry, drawing, painting, etc) that's inspired by it, then show it to her. I know the experience of art in conversation with other art is something she holds dear, and she's sometimes more proud of the fact she can inspire other artists than she is of the things she has made herself.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
(A tidied-up, expanded, written-down version of a conversation I had enthusing about them to [livejournal.com profile] fanf at the weekend.)

Read more... )

FREE AT LAST

Jul. 22nd, 2014 05:50 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
As predicted, the first thing I did was scratch like hell, the second thing I did was pop my wrist, and the third thing I did, before I even left the exam room, was wash my hands. Having the drain removed was gross and fascinating (and grossly fascinating) and as usual, the person taking out the stitches couldn't believe they'd only been in for a week. (Usually Ehlers-Danlos means very poor wound healing and very bad scarring; my doc is baffled that I seem to have gotten the super-fast healing instead.)

My hand promptly swelled up to twice its size (I look like I have mittens on), which is expected, and I have to wear a compression sleeve for the next two weeks to keep it from swelling too badly and help keep it bent for better healing, but I can type two handed again (albeit slowly, for limited periods, and with my left hand's fingers not quite obeying me), and between being able to scratch the bits of my arm that have been itching for the past week and being able to wash my hands and apply lotion to the itchy bits, things are much improved.

We saw bats

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:24 pm
hunningham: (Default)
[personal profile] hunningham
Just been for an evening walk with H. around the local park, and there were bats. Lots of bats, and we had to stop and have a lie-down on the grass, (overcome with the excitement of so many bats), so we could watch them flit around overhead. The flight is so different to that of birds; it's like watching torn pieces of paper being tossed around in a strong wind.

No, I don't get this

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:09 pm
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

Someone asking about the current location of a particular collection that was obliged to find a new home, via the FaceBook page set up at the time of the threat to its existing home a couple of years back.

The first four hits (including the relevant Wikipedia entry) if you google for 'The - -' refer to its current location.

I don't even.

ETA Also, people who post conference CFPs without giving the date of the actual conference.

may booklog

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:44 pm
wychwood: Vala decrees that you may speak (SG-1 - Vala goddess)
[personal profile] wychwood
49. The God Engines - John Scalzi ) Bleak, but worth reading; Scalzi obviously has a broader imagination than usually shows.


50. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman ) Definitely one of my favourite Gaimans.


51. Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch ) I'm deeply ambivalent about the ending, but I trust him enough to see where he takes it. So far.


52. The Three Brides, 54. The Young Stepmother, and 56. The Two Guardians - Charlotte Yonge ) Yonge remains as Yonge-like as ever. Although there aren't many enormous sprawling families in these three, admittedly.


53. Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters ) This was fabulous; I'll definitely read more Waters.


55. Self-Made Man - Norah Vincent ) More interesting than I'd expected, if not exactly revelatory.


57. Crown of Renewal - Elizabeth Moon ) An enjoyable read with a sad lack of depth or series structure. And I'm left missing a lot of resolution to the various plot threads.


58. Scenes and Characters and 59. The Two Sides of the Shield - Charlotte Yonge ) More Yonge! Giant families this time, though.
ceb: (absinthe)
[personal profile] ceb
I have about 50 glass demijohns available, most are we think gallon size but a couple are smaller. They have been in a friend's cellar for over a decade, full of unidentified homebrew from the previous owners of the house. They're now empty but will need a good clean inside and out. (I also have some bungs but not enough for one per demijohn.)

Available to anyone who can conveniently come and collect them from me, just let me know how many you'd like.

Totally fake tagine

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:40 am
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
In this new dispensation, it was fairly clear early on that no yogi were coming to bend last night, so I was only cooking for Karen and myself. Why in the world should this stop me having fun?

Back in the UK, I used to have a tagine. Lovely thing: red-glazed, almost too tall for the oven, with those splendid proportions that allow the conical lid to do its magic drippy thing and steam the food below. I doubt if I used it once a year, but it looked grand on the shelf there.

Out here? No tagine, and I'm not in active pursuit of one, because see above under "once a year". Granted it might be more often here, because I cook more dinners for numbers of people, bendy or otherwise, but even so.

Still, I am fond of tagine-type dishes, Moroccan spicings, that sort of thing: so last night I totally faked it.

Boneless chicken, sizzle-sizzle in olive oil to get some colour on. Chicken out of the pan, sliced onion in, sizzle-sizzle. Garlic, ginger. Ground ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon (less of the cinnamon, because a little is plenty). Fresh mint leaves. Chicken back in, sploosh of chicken stock, squeeze of honey, handful of dried apricots. Simmer simmer. Lots of chopped cilantro, scatter of toasted almonds. Done.

With herby saffron rice and roasted brussels? A feast fit for m'wife.

Other Writing

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:11 am
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
[personal profile] calissa asked about what writing I do other than here.

The main thing I write other than here (and of course my thesis) is correspondence. There are a couple of friends who I write and email to once a week. This is a pretty good way to stay in touch with people who don’t do LJ/DW. I think my ideal would be to write physical letters, but I’m not as good about them as I am with the email. I think the once a week format really helps me stay on tract. I also have one friend who I send a postcard once a week. Plus I sent other friends postcards at odd intervals when I feel inspired. Postcards are so short they don’t really count as writing but I like the physically of them. It is nice to think that the other person is going to touch something that you touched. I’ve been buying interesting postcards when I travel or go to a museum so that I have collection of postcards from which to choose.

I also have a small research project that I could potentially work on. While I was starting to look for primary sources for my thesis, I just kind of looked at everything I could find online. So I have couple of journal articles from the 30’s about birds and pesticides sitting on my computer that maybe I will try to find out more about and turn into a paper. I do not really want to do more academia after I finish this degree, so it would just be for fun.
oursin: Frankie Howerd, probably in Up Pompeii, overwritten Don't Mock (Don't Mock)
[personal profile] oursin

Via a comment in yesterday's post by [personal profile] hunningham:
How to Read More: The Simple System I’m Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year

It is to point and mock at Little Mr Gradgrind, C21st incarnation:

Now, there are plenty of excellent articles on the web, but generally speaking, the quality of good books is better. Books typically have better writing (more tightly edited) and higher quality information (better fact-checking and more extensive research). From a learning perspective, it’s probably a better use of my time to read books than to read online content.

I might feel more confident about this if I didn't think he was using this time to read Really Useful Books of a kind that will become obsolescent very fast (the sort of thing I see all over airport bookshops).
I usually wake up, drink a glass of water, write down 3 things I’m grateful for, and read 20 pages of a book.... As of today, I’m 100 pages into my 7th book. At that pace (7 books per 10 weeks) I’ll read about 36 books in the next year. Not bad.

Here’s why I think this pattern works: 20 pages is small enough that it’s not intimidating. Most people can finish reading 20 pages within 30 minutes. And if you do it first thing in the morning, then the urgencies of the day don’t get in the way.

Finally, 20 pages seems small but adds up fast. It’s a great average speed.

If time allows, I’ll read at other times as well.... But regardless of what happens during the rest of the day, I still get my 20 pages in each morning.

While working out on his treadmill and glugging down a nutritious breakfast smoothie of kale and blueberries, no doubt.
What if you woke up an hour before you needed to each day and worked on yourself? How much better would you be at work, in your relationships, and as a person?

How much trying to keep my eyes open would I be?

We do not think that the concept that reading can be a pleasure and something one does not grind through at a 20-page a day rate (honestly, that sounds like the reading-reducing maintenance diet for the reading addict, no?) but pursues avidly in any spare moment has really crossed his horizon: '[I]nvest in yourself. Before your life turns into a whirlwind of activity, read a book that will make you better.'

I sure hope this young man does not come across one of the pieces abou the value of playfulness - such as this one encountered recently - because he'll then have to schedule in some time to be freely and spontaneously playful. Or his head might explode...

Give the guy a P G Wodehouse and see what happens.

Though, ghastly though the above may be, I am also vaguely creeped out by this: Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism. No, really, I am not entirely on board with the concepts such as:

* AGGRESSIVE SENSITIVITY. Animated by a strong determination to be receptive and empathetic.

* ALIGNMENT WITH THE INFINITY OF THE MOMENT. Reveling in the liberating realization that we are all exactly where we need to be at all times, even if some of us are temporarily in the midst of trial or tribulation, and that human evolution is proceeding exactly as it should, even if we can't see the big picture of the puzzle that would clarify how all the pieces fit together perfectly.

which make me want to bop him one with a codfish on which I had tastefully calligraphed Desiderata ('Go placidly amidst this, punk').

:-)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:53 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
[personal profile] kaberett
That mantle sulphides doc I wrote up based on having gone "no, you know what, this stuff is important and we should think about it"? My supervisor agrees to the extent that she's intending to use it as the basis for a grant application and setting up some more potentially exciting collaborations for me. And while the writing deffo stands to be improved, I actually got "good" scrawled on the thing at a couple of points.

This really massively feels like a major milestone in terms of The Self As Researcher: it is the first time in my PhD that I have properly gone "nobody has done this before and I think we need to look at it", and -- I was right. I was right and I'm taking ownership of my project and setting direction. I was right and my supervisor is going to write a grant proposal based on my document, and let me see how the thing is done.

the being-kind-to-myself thing

Jul. 22nd, 2014 04:27 pm
marina: (direction...?)
[personal profile] marina
Everything is still horrible! This is not surprising.

The war is still the war - it's getting uglier and more horrible every day. I've reached a level of anxiety where sleeping is difficult (no matter how early I try to turn in, at best I wake up tired instead of a zombie, and my sleep is fitful) and I wish people could respect the way I cope with terrible news I have no control over. Instead my coworkers talk 24/7 about every new horrible rumor, bursting into my office to tell each other the news. UGH. And then my mother calls just to tell me what she's read on the Russian news, and I ask her to stop (I read the news, I am sufficiently informed) and she gets offended at my ~tone~.

The roommate drama is still drama. My current roommate seems to have calmed down a bit? So hopefully spending time with her won't be a horror. But we still have barely any candidates and it's stressful and I have to deal with it every single day.

Positive things:

* I got the grade for the final class of my degree - and it's a really high grade. My academic career has mostly been disaster and despair (AKA doing a degree while working full time) but I got really, really lovely feedback on this paper, so.

* I got a response from my potential thesis adviser (who has been terrible at every interaction with me) and it was basically I've read your paper, and you seem kind of dumb so maybe a thesis isn't for you. It was phrased a little more politely, but overall the message was that. This is depressing on the one hand, on the other it means I am now free to seek a different adviser and move on with this stuff. That too is a kind of progress.

* I've gotten two books I've wanted to read for ages! Now only to find the time for them, heh. The first is Spirits Abroad, a collection of Zen Cho's short stories. I've wanted to read many of them before but never got to because they were published in venues/formats that were uncomfortable for me to access. But now I finally have the book and I'm reading a story a day and they are just all SO FANTASTIC. One day I literally started laughing out loud in my apartment because the story was so hilarious. It's wonderful also because the stories are so specific to a particular place and a particular culture but at the same time are extremely universal as well. I recommend this book to everyone.

Then yesterday I got my copy of Migritude by Shailja Patel. I've only started reading it but I've wanted this book for so long! It contains one of my favorite poems ever. I was delighted to discover it's part prose part poetry, part history part sociology, different POVs, all a form of biography. It's lovely and I can't wait to read more of it.

* I bought tickets to Germany and back! \o/ Basically I will have 3 weeks to spend in Europe, Germany -> London -> France and I've been trying to sort out the dates for SO LONG and now I FINALLY HAVE and I was able to buy tickets and even find lower prices than I originally anticipated. There's still a TON of planning to do, and more flights to book, but at least I have a way to get to Europe now and a way to get back home, and everything else is a bit less stressful.

* Work is still utterly unbelievably busy because I have to deal with loads of extra work, but I've been coping with it better than last week. I'm a bit more on top of where things need to go, now, and how to manage my new clients correctly.

* Tonight will be my last night in the apartment alone before my roommate returns, and tomorrow, oh, tomorrow I will be over at a friend's for a sushi-making evening, and there will be booze. THERE WILL BE BOOZE. I know this because I called and made sure. I CALLED TO MAKE SURE. I mean I knew she'd provide alcohol but I needed to impress upon her HOW MUCH ALCOHOL needed to be provided, since I won't be driving and hence plan on getting as drunk as humanly possible.

* I've been trying to mitigate the effects of being constantly tired and depressed - which tends to mean I want to buy things I can't afford and eat things that are bad for me - and have had moderate success. It's not been perfect, but since something has to go in this equation, I've been relatively OK reigning myself in while still not pushing myself to act as if everything's normal.
kerrypolka: Contemporary Lois Lane with cellphone (Default)
[personal profile] kerrypolka
1. I'm thinking of going to Cardboard Citizens' The Big Tramp overnight walk in September, but I'm worried that it's actually poverty tourism and it would be better for me to just donate £30 to Cardboard Citizens instead. Part of that is because I don't want to walk around in the cold all night, but also that I'm not sure what me walking around in the cold all night will accomplish, other than a vague sense of bourgeois "oh yes, now I understand what it is like to be Out All Night On The Streets" when clearly I don't and never will unless I do become homeless which is unlikely.

2. Generally I try to give 50p or a pound to anyone on the street who asks me for money for any reason, or no reason (this practice is based on a conversation several years ago mostly involving [livejournal.com profile] atreic, [personal profile] liv, [personal profile] lavendersparkle, [livejournal.com profile] the_alchemist, [personal profile] wildeabandon and other smart kind people I'm forgetting). Last night Ewan and his mother and I were going home from a birthday dinner for her and ran into a beggar outside South Tottenham station. He asked for a pound, and I gave him a pound, then he said "What about two pounds? What about a fiver? Can I have a fiver?" and followed us up to the platform, grabbing my arm, trying to stop Ewan's mother from walking up the steps, insisting that I had a fiver and he'd seen it (I didn't) and standing on the platform insistently asking us for more, grabbing our hands and shoulders and following us when we moved away. It was frustrating that I don't think he would have done that if I hadn't given him the pound in the first place, but oh well.

3. It is annual review time at work, and I am finding it time-consuming and annoying to figure out all of the ways I'm supposed to say "I'm great, give me a giant bonus and a raise". I think detailed evidence-based appraisals are good because it means there's less space for racism and sexism, but man are they faffy. I know that I'm good at my job but I find it stressful to have to spend a lot of time putting it in writing, and worrying that I'm missing out on some code words that means I will be marked down.

4. The new Foyle's is pretty great and I'm very cross/sad I don't have time to read all the books in it.

5. I'm very conscious of the psychological effects of consuming media about traumatic incidents, and how my job requires spending a lot of time researching and writing about the details of horrible things that are happening in the world. A few years ago I wondered whether there were really 'bad patches' in global events, or it just seemed that way and actually there are always lots of terrible things happening, but now that I've been doing this for a while I can say that there definitely are up times and down times and at the moment it's a very down time. I'm actively trying to avoid hearing and talking about current events when I'm off shift, but that's difficult to do on most social media; I downloaded a filter extension for Facebook but it's not working. It's probably never a bad idea to be spending a bit less time on Facebook and Twitter, but I'm annoyed that I can't control what parts of the internet I see when I feel I should be able to.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:00 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
first thing i'm doing when the bandages come off today: scratching everything

second thing: putting my wrist back in place (it's been partially out for like 2 days)

third thing: washing my hands, omg, hibiclens wipes do not fucking cut it omg.

Signalboost: MacHeist bundle

Jul. 22nd, 2014 12:52 pm
green_knight: (WTF?)
[personal profile] green_knight
I've had really good luck with the MacHeist bundles in the past.

http://www.macheist.com

- they offer a bunch of software at a sensible price (usually ~ $20), and very often highlighting new apps.

This model - the bundle (sometimes 'pay as much as you like' with minimum pricing etc) seems to have taken over from the cover CD which took over from the 'everybody copies the app from a friend' model for creating discoverability. It's a chance for users to get their hands on some really nice software cheaply; and a chance for developers to create a user base who hopefully will be upgrading in the future *and* telling all their friends about it.

I haven't had a chance to play with most of these yet - I haven't even had a chance to download them yet (but macHeist, unlike MacLife, are *good* about this: you can redownload for years), but I had to play with Intaglio, which is a vector-drawing App.

Spoiler: It's almost perfect, but it crashes every time I save, which makes it less than useless: less, because it taunts you with being the app you've (well, I've) been looking for for four years, AND THEN IT CRASHES LEAVING BEHIND ONLY THE DUST OF YOUR DREAMS.

Longings )

So yes. I'm having an attack of WTF WHY IS THIS SHIPPING, and I'm hoping that the developers will respond soon with a bug fix.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is the second of the "deep" books, in publication order. It's the first in internal chronology.

There's this interstellar trading empire (well, trading something, they don't rule, as such, but influence continued stability), called the Qeng Ho. They pick up this dude called Pham Something (well, I can't recall the surname) on a planet, because he's expressed an interest in something caleld the On-Off star. The On-Off star is a periodic star with an unusually long cycle. It is dark for quite a few years, then springs into brilliance for another few years. And nothing really explains why it does this.

There's also this completely parallel narrative, happening down on the surface of one of the planets orbiting the On-Off star, where Sherkaner Underhill is a vaguely-arachnoid super-genius.

Then shit happens. It's all very amusing, depressing and possibly triggering. Mostly, to my mind, interesting. Sometimes in a "oh, no, don't run the motorcade full speed into the pile-up!" way.

[ yes, I am catching up with somewhere in the region of two weeks of not taking due care of my bookmeming ]

Rant

Jul. 22nd, 2014 11:58 am
falena: (dear god kill them all please)
[personal profile] falena
As I explained in my previous post, if the SLB doesn't turn up by Thursday morning, I'll have to go in at the hospital to be monitored, i.e. the colloquial expression to mean that I have to have a carditocography (CTG) done.

This has all been explained by my ob/gyn during my last check-up with him, a few weeks ago.

You need a bit of background information to understand this, so basically, if you don't care how the national health service works in Italy, just skip this )

Since the D-Day is fast approaching, I knew that now was the time to get my GP to write the request for the 5 rounds of CTG. My ob/gyn has explained that the SSN pays for the CTG only during the 41st week of pregnancy. He also said that it's common practice to simply ask your GP to put in the 41st week timestamp on the request, even if in truth you get these tests done the 40th week instead. This is because it's generally recognised that the SSN does its best to pay for as little as possible during a normal pregnancy, due to the never-ending stream of cuts the Italian state has been applying to public expenditure in the last 30 years. If anyone is interested, as far as I know, for a normal pregnancy, the SSN pays for three ultrasounds, one per trimester, a few of the blood tests you have to get done routinely (but not all - HIV, RH factor, Rubella, CMV etc...but I don't remember precisely which are covered and which aren't), and of course your whole hospital stay when you give birth and any treatment/follow-up connected to that.

Unfortunately my lovely GP is on holiday at the moment. So I went to see the doctor who is filling in for her. This meant waiting for my turn for almost two hours, because of course the substitute GP has temporarily a double load of patients, his and the ones of the colleague he is covering for. But that's not a problem, I had my Kindle and since it was not an urgent thing, I really could wait.

When it was my turn at last I introduced myself and explained what I needed. I also showed him my ob/gyn's note which read (translating as faithfully as I can): Patient: [personal profile] falena. Request: 5 CTGs. Pregnancy date: 41st week. Pretty clear, wouldn't you think?

I explained the whole 'you need to put in '41st week' as a timestamp otherwise I'll have to pay for the exams' thing anyway. And here the problems started. The doctor told me he couldn't possibly do that, because the computer tells him automatically what week I am in (true) and that he couldn't change it.
Now, I had my doubts this was the case, because I've had to ask my GP to write requests for certain exams well ahead of the moment I was going to hand in the actual request, and she'd been able to input the 'future' time-stamp with no problem.

However, I felt like I was in no position to question the doctor. I mean, this is his job and surely I was not the first pregnant patient he's had? Yes, my corner of Italy has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, but still...

Perhaps it's my fault for not being able to stand my ground, but I decided to let it go. I'd pay for the damn exams and that was going to be it.

So, the doctor pulled up the drop-down menu on his screen to choose the procedure/treatment he was writing the request for, scrolling down to the letter 'M' for 'Monitoring' and I saw him hesitate. He cheerfully admitted: "Mmm, I wonder which one it is..."

"Well, the proper name is cardiotocography, or at least, that's what Wikipedia told me," I said with a smile, trying to be helpful.

The doctor made up his mind, clicked on one of the options and printed off my request. I thanked him, shook his hand and went out.

As I was climbing up the hill to go back home I read the request more carefully. And that's where I discovered that he'd put in 'ECG monitoring' and only 1 test as opposed to the 5 I need. Now, I have no medical degree but I'm pretty sure they're not going to give me an ECG on Thursday. And even if it was the right test, I'd still need a request for 5, otherwise it means I need to go to the surgery and wait to get another request (or 4). Ridiculous right?

So as soon as I got home I called my ob/gyn to double-check. He was pretty livid that the GP told me he couldn't put in a different timestamp on the request, he says it is routinely done precisely because certain exams need to be booked well in advance. He also confirmed my impression that the substitute GP is a moron, because an ECG =/ CTG.

I tried ringing the substitute GP's office. Several times. He didn't pick up. Which means that tomorrow I have to go queue in his surgery. Again. And get him to a) write a request for the correct test and the correct # of test at the very least b) possibly persuade him to try and change the time-stamp for the pregnancy week. Knowing my chronic inability to deal with conflict and speak up for myself, this sis going to be so not fun.

ARGH!!!

Yes, it's not a huge problem (I can still fix it) and it's a good thing I didn't leave this til the last minute (the substitute GP doesn't have surgery hours on Tuesday afternoon)...but still. Running into a doctor who is a moron is one of the least pleasant experiences ever. I mean, you'll always meet morons in life, that's the way it is, but when the moron in question is a doctor, it is worrying. *sigh*
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Re-read.

Sixth and as far as I know final Codex Alera book.

It is pretty interesting re-reading a six-book series pretty much in "binge" mode (travel, unadvised non-use of sunscreen leading to spending a day pretty much reading, plowing through #2 to #5, with #6 being completed over the next couple of days in drips and drabs). It is something I have occasionally done, but nothing so recent as this, I think.

Interesting Links for 22-07-2014

Jul. 22nd, 2014 12:00 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Re-read.

Fifth Codex Alera book. See previous entries, as those comments would only be repeated and that would bore everyone to tears.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Re-read.

Fourth Codex Alera volume. Things that happened in the past come back and pay off (or, pay forward). Things happen taht set future things up. Some element of justice is reaped (see "come back and pay off"). Some things that have been hinted at pretty strongly become explicit, to everyone intimately concerned.

I do, on the whole, like Codex Alera and enjoy its fictional universe.

trying not to snigger

Jul. 22nd, 2014 11:36 am
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
[personal profile] mathcathy
There's a slide presentation that is often mentioned in the office here which is called:

"Barriers to penetration"

Every time it's mentioned you can see people trying not to snigger.

A much-abbreviated list of woe

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:57 am
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Lost a nice long draft entry about today's shenanigans to a bluescreen. Woe.

Weekend: laundry.
In the service of laundry, ran into a neighbor in the laundry room, chatted. The "doing fireworks" line came up.

Purple was more quiet than usual at lunch, but there was still hilarity. I will sometimes say "come over here so I can hit you" even when I'm sitting right within range, but don't feel like even symbolically punching him. He teased me about it, but very quietly. (I was glad I was sitting next to him rather than across or kitty-corner as is often the case, because he was that quiet, and it's generally pretty loud.) Eventually it came out that he was in a significant amount of pain from a known source. Later there were sheepish fistbumps of solidarity.

Friday marked the launch of the new helpdesk software. One of the things that disappeared in the bluescreen was an unsaved list of mild grievances I have filed against the new software.

Purple: do you ever like new software though?
Azz: ... I, uh. The new Kipper/Llama?
Purple: That doesn't count. that was an update.

Manager: They're getting a lot of people to buy it, somehow! Like one of the guys from [2nd Thursday].
Azz: *squinches eyes, searches* Oh! [firstname lastname, company]
Manager: One of these days your head is going to explode from all the pointless trivia.
Azz: *concedes the point*

I think the two worst are that you don't get an email receipt of your ticket until it's triaged, and that you can't link it to your buddy unless you add them to the ticket. Mr. Zune is regretful, as reading my tickets is a minor source of entertainment.

Purple is expected to be working from home tomorrow afternoon, and then working from home another day due to internet techs paying a visit or some such. It will be more quiet than usual, I suppose!

My manager nearly gave me a heart attack when she said "Friday is my last day," and then paused before continuing "before my vacation." She had advice on the things that get filtered into side boxes; my suggestion that she set a filter to override if the subject contained "READ READ READ" resulted in uproarious and possibly mutinous laughter.

The dude came to test the noise levels in our wing just as the jelly doughnut-based hilarity reached peak. He'll get a quote on insulating the walls against the noise.

Slightly belated anniversary

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:43 am
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)
[personal profile] oursin

For some reason I tend to think it was 21st, and it was 20th, July when I first got onto LJ, 11 years ago (and yesterday got eaten by a migraine).

Both 'time flies when you're having fun' and 'that seems like a very long time', and certainly there has been a lot of water under many bridges since then.

And so many things that would not have happened if I hadn't.

Hands round glasses of whatever beverage seems suitable and seasonal to you all and raises one myself.

azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
StPatience has been working on slides for a talk, in the traditional (which is to say, last-minute) fashion. #adventuresofstnono have been cheering her on, in our inimitable style.

[20:34] <@Purple> conclusion is "Step 1, get underpants... step 3 success!"
[20:34] * @AzureJaneL throws underpants at Purple
[20:34] * @AzureJaneL not sure whose
[20:35] * @Purple dodges effectively.
[20:35] <@AzureJaneL> (certainly not mine, as I'm wearing them)
[20:36] <@AzureJaneL> (but can he dodge the boomarang boxers, is the question)
[20:36] <@Purple> if they hold a shape that is a sad sad statement
[20:37] <@AzureJaneL> clever rolling and pins?
[20:37] <@AzureJaneL> would that be more or less painful than just straight up crusty?
[20:38] <@Purple> when you figure that out... remind me not to ask...
[20:39] <@AzureJaneL> that's one that would be difficult to explain to the IRB
Read more... )

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2014 10:51 pm
graydon2: (Default)
[personal profile] graydon2
Day 7, rest day in Astoria. Day of wandering around. Eating, getting bike fixed, laundry, drinking. Astoria is cute, touristy, very west coast. Micro breweries and ice cream, place downtown with big room full of free vintage arcade cabinets to play. Giant car carriers coming and going in the river all day, with coast guard escorts? Walked up the big hill for sunset, saw fantastic view of surrounding bay and river inlet. Tomorrow riding again. I want more rest, but we should keep moving.

Basil beloved

Jul. 21st, 2014 09:41 pm
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
[personal profile] sonia

Basil continues wonderful. He's getting a sense of home, both staying closer to home and coming in more willingly after he's gone wandering.

He'll eat "dry" food if I pour a little water over it, which relieves my worry about having to figure out exactly how much wet food he should eat, or exactly how long it can sit out and available to him before I should wash it down the sink to avoid spoilage. Probably the dry food doesn't keep that long when wet either, but it seems less worrisome.

I tried to talk to the vet about him not eating very much and being quite thin under all that fur, and got the "overweight cats" lecture. Twice. With no info about underweight cats whatsoever. "He's at his ideal weight," she cooed. Sure he is, with no resilience if it's too hot to eat much or he gets a stomach bug or something. I looked up another vet I've heard good things about that's farther away, but they have a whole section on their website about pet weight loss programs. Good money-makers, I guess.

I always thought Maine Coone cats were stocky, but someone told me they're often lanky like Basil. As long as it's normal for him, that's fine.

Anyway, have a photo of Basil on his cat tree. (Click through for larger images.)

Done-ish

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:02 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
I turned in a draft of my thesis today. I thought I'd be happy to be done for a bit. However I'm not. Instead I'm anxious about what is next, and worrying about getting it back covered in red ink. I don't really have a timeline so I'm feeling a bit at sea. However R and I are planning to go out to ice cream tomorrow to celebrate, so that will be nice.

In the meantime while I'm waiting for comments I'm going to try to write every day. I'm planning for some of that writing to be here. So it would be helpful if people could suggest topics they'd like me to write about. That could be more of what I generally write, like stuff about my daily life or books I like. Or it could be more technical about stuff I study (ecology, sustainable agriculture, urban planning, history.) Or something else entirely.

This may sound slightly mad...

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:45 am
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
...But I've just written fix-it fic. For a piece of furniture

For [personal profile] coughingbear, on her birthday:

Home is the Sailor

Marlowverse, Falconer's Lure inspired, future-fic (approx 1970)

No archive warnings apply, unless excess sentimentality regarding household objects needs to be warned for.

Rating: All audiences

And there's the hall-stand. Poor old thing. It's not very handsome and I'm sure it'll never find anyone who'll understand it the way we do. It'll probably end up in a horrid sort of boarding house a long w-way from the s-sea...

"Well, Veronica, this looks like it's been a bit of a vinegar trip. I can't see you finding what you're looking for here. I've never seen such a collection of old rubbish. I can tell you one thing, I'd be giving anything you bought here a good going over for woodworm, I would that."

"I'm going to try through here; there's a whole room we haven't looked at."

"Well, I can't think anything you find back there would be worth bothering with. Given what the people running this place put in the front. That mangy old stuffed bird, for instance. Who'd want a thing like that? Those glass eyes would be following you, every time you turned your back. And as for the beak on it!"

"It was sort of magnificent, though."

"When it was flying around, maybe. Hanging off a ring from the rafters of a second-hand furniture shop, well, I beg leave to doubt. Anyway, I don't see why we had to come here in the first place. I've no objection to people being careful with their money, but it's not even as if you'll be saving all that much, once you've taken into account the removal van and all that. The Co-op does some lovely Ercol stuff, brand-new and you'd get the divi, to boot."

"But I've had thirty-five years of nurses' homes and lodgings. I'm sick of them. I'm sick of modern furniture. I'm sick of stuff that's been chosen first because it's cheap and second because it's easy to wipe down and doesn't gather dust. Now I've got my own place, I want to be surrounded by furniture you can tell someone's loved, something that's been part of a family, even if it wasn't my family. Look, if your feet are getting on your nerves, go and have a cup of tea at the Copper Kettle, and I'll see you at the Rialto, later."

"Oh, let's get on with it. Better I'm here to keep an eye on you. Otherwise, I know you, you'll go buying that motheaten eagle, and I'll end up with it perched on my lap all through Lawrie Marlow doing Catherine the Great. Through here, did you say?"

----

"Veronica, you're hopeless. Anyone seeing you now would think you needed your head seeing to. What sort of daft ha'porth bursts into tears at the sight of a hall-stand, for goodness sake?"

"But don't you remember? I saw this, and it all came flooding back. All those summer holidays, back before the war. There was one just like this in the passage-way at Mrs Martin's, just next to that gloomy old oil-painting with the stiff old horse trying to run after the hounds -- surely you remember that?"

"Oh, blimey! Too old to hunt -- wasn't that what the picture was called? Yes; I remember. We always used to leave our sandshoes in the tray at the bottom, when we came in from the beach."

"And we brought in that huge bag of sea-shells that time, and left it there too, only we hadn't washed them off properly, and they stank the place out."

"And there was that lad -- grammar school boy, very uptight and Bristol fashion -- that you were sweet on."

"Oh, God, I've never forgotten that last night of the holidays. Took me out in his father's fishing boat and we didn't get back until gone two in the morning and if you hadn't left the window open so I could sneak back in, Dad would have flayed me alive. Though nothing happened. I know you wondered, but nothing did. Neither of us were that sort. But we watched the moon set over the open sea -- nothing between us and France -- and just as we turned to go home there were two dolphins, swirling around in the still water, fireworks with the phosphoresence; green and blue and sparkling. That was the night that I told myself, if I ever get enough money, I'm coming back here, and this is where I'm going to stay for all the rest of my life."

"Veronica, I've not wanted to say anything, because I know you're set on it and you've bought the cottage, and everything, but be truthful. Are you quite sure you're doing the right thing?"

"Right thing?"

"Well, you know what they say. It's all very well going somewhere for holidays in the summer. Living there all year round -- retiring there -- that's something else again. You'll be a long way from everyone you know, down there. From me, and Eric, and the children."

"Look, I know you mean well but -- trust me. It's what I want. I'm not expecting it to be blue skies and ice-cream all the time. And I'm not expecting any of the people we knew back then to be there. I've been back once or twice in winter, too. Byfleet's almost better then -- feels more real, if you know what I mean. With the waves breaking against the undercliff, and all the fishing boats crowded into Oldport against the storm. No, Julia; I've been dreaming about this a long time. I'm going, and that's that."

"Well, if that's your last word, then we'd better make sure you've got some furniture to take with you. Young man! Over here. Thank you. We were looking at this hall-stand -- no, Veronica, put your purse away. I'm getting this one. Call it a house-warming present, if you must. Twenty-six shillings and eight-pence? Seems like daylight robbery to me, but as my sister's taken a fancy to the piece --"

Comfort Me With Apples

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:07 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
I ordered some samples from The Perfumed Court:

  • Demeter Hello Kitty -
    Sharp apple! Sharp as in lemon.
    Reminds me of an apple-flavoured ice lolly from my childhood: when things are frozen they need to have a very strong flavour to overcome the cold.
    I expect it to soften after a while, but it hasn't yet.
    Hmm. It has quietened down a bit now, ten minutes later. Less shouty, less sharp, more gentle sweet apples.

  • Marc Jacobs Apple - in the bottle, it just says 'perfume' to me.
    I spray it on, and it's ... Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers. My mother gave me a bottle of that when she came back from a trip abroad somewhere, back in the 90s. It has a fresh and perfume-y smell and it is gone relatively quickly.


  • Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl -
    'perfume' it says. 'Perfume!' ... and then it does the horrible thing that Issey Miake L'eau D'Issey does on me, going all stinky and wrong. On me, it is cheap plasticky aimed-at-teenagers pefume ...
    Anyone want it?

    An hour or more later: it's gentler and it has calmed down , to a fresh sort of L'eau D'Issey smell.

  • CB I Hate Perfume Gathering Apples
    This is apples and I like it. On first applying it to my skin, there was celery in there too, but that faded away after a couple of minutes.
    It smells very simple and uncomplicated and apples.

(no, really)

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:18 pm
ghoti: fish jumping out of bowl (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti
is there a non-creepy way to message someone whose blog you read (but you've rarely interacted with) that you haven't seen them post lately and you're hoping they're okay (but not trying to pressure them into posting more or anything)?

on the Wiscon issue

Jul. 21st, 2014 06:48 pm
maevele: bill the cat going ack (ackbill)
[personal profile] maevele
I have many thoughts, but few of them are clear and easy to articulate. The ones I can state include:

I believe it should have been a permanent ban, but I do not know what went on in discussions that caused people not to do that.

I believe if they were going to do this four year provisional thing, it should have been made more clear whether he can come back earlier if he proves he has reformed, and what level of proof of reformation would be required both before and after the four year period.

I truly believe that everyone involved was doing the best that they could in a fucked up situation with the information available, but there should have been more continuous communication between different years of con management, and a more deliberate effort to get more information.

More personally, I only interacted directly with frenkel twice. the first time he was rude to one of my children, and dismissed my speaking up for my kid rudely, and the second time he sat down to talk to me based on something he had overheard in a conversation, and made me subtly uncomfortable just by acting overly familiar and staring at my tits. Both of these incidents would have been in 09,(I think, maybe later, but while I was still married) and were enough that I avoided him ever since and was not surprised when more serious allegations surfaced. It seems likely to me that a lot of people encountered this sort of borderline harassment from him without ever feeling like it was something that could be reported because it was just subtle enough that you can't point at it.


also, this is making me reconsider my decision not to join the concomm a couple of years back,because y'all need angry people like me

done my Hugo & Campbell reading

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:07 pm
kate_nepveu: green and blue fractal resembling layers of a spaceship (science fiction)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
And done my posting about it, too, more to the point. Come talk about them! (Now with miserably embarrassing brain glitch fixed!)

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2014 06:49 pm
ghoti: fish jumping out of bowl (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti
me: on a scale of one to purple elephants, how weird is it that [...]?
them: 3 more purple elephants than i have.

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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