biopsy results

Jan. 27th, 2015 02:49 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
Abnormal cells that are not cancer, but still get me a date with a surgeon.
strangecharm: (Default)
[personal profile] strangecharm
On facebook, my friend Richard linked to a poll (I'm not going to share the link because it's too crazy-making for me, but I'm sure you can find it: "Exclusive Mirror poll shows General Election on a knife edge") and one of the things he said about it was I do not want to live in a country where 34% trust UKIP most on immigration.

I most heartily agree with this sentiment, of course, so I commented to say, "I don't, either"... After a moment's thought, though, I had to add: "But then I probably won't be able to, anyway."

I've been here long enough that I'm eligible for citizenship, but it's still prohibitively expensive -- around a thousand pounds, last time I checked, and of course the fees are only going to increase the longer I have to leave it.

I remember [personal profile] po8crg once saying that if UKIP win, he'd start a Kickstarter to get me citizenship. At the time the suggestion made me laugh, as a sweet thought to remind me how lovely and supportive my friends are. It's still sweet and my friends are still lovely, but it doesn't make me laugh any more.

Not when things like this are happening. Andrew intends to quit his job by the end of this year to be a freelance writer, which means an unpredictable, unstable income -- this man's fate could totally happen to me, except I don't even have the excuse of a British child to get me sympathy, and he can move his family to South Africa whereas I still don't think Andrew and I could make it in the U.S.

UKIP don't even have to win, really, if the mere specter of them hanging over the main parties that are, or reasonably might expect to be, in power are sufficiently racist and xenophobic to stop people having to change their vote to UKIP.

Anyway, after my facebook comment saying I probably wouldn't be allowed to live in a country where so many people trust UKIP the most on immigration, I woke up this morning to a reply from Richard where he said "And that alone would make it wrong." Which is a nice thing to wake up to. I did mention I have lovely friends, right?

Yesterday's episcopal ordination

Jan. 27th, 2015 08:07 am
lethargic_man: (beardy)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
I was slightly disappointed, when the UK's first female bishop was appointed yesterday, to see that she was wearing purple from the beginning of the ceremony. Really her garb should have flowed from black to purple at the laying on of hands.

*ahem* Too much Tron at a formative age, methinks.

(no subject)

Jan. 27th, 2015 07:55 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] liseuse!

To do-ish

Jan. 27th, 2015 04:32 am
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
So I've got a GP appointment at 5pm, theoretically at their request, where I need to
1) Make sure they're up to speed on the December pancreatitis hospitalisation
2) See what we're doing about the calcium levels monitoring the gastro-team at the hospital wanted done a month ago, but which I haven't been around for
3) See what they want to do about the Vit D deficiency they said they wanted to see me about before I ended up hospitalised
4) Remember to chase them about the wheelchair assessment referral.
5) Remember to pick up my repeat prescription while I'm there.
ETA: 6) Possibly mention last Friday's Impingement Syndrome diagnosis and physio referal
That's a lot to squeeze in!

And on Friday morning I have an appointment with the gastro-team, where hopefully I find out when they'll be doing the gallbladder thing.

And of course they're likely to want the calcium results, so sometime, probably Wednesday,  I'm going to have to fit in a blood test, and I just hope it's not a starving one as that's where this all started back in December!

Be vewwy vewwy quiet

Jan. 26th, 2015 10:54 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Noah is still skittish and scared of everything, but he missed us. He's splitting the difference by actually hanging out in my office, but hiding.

Read more... )
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Crutches)
[personal profile] davidgillon

Invisible illness - 'I'm fed up of having to perform my disability'


This one really nails the point: non-disabled society expects us to behave in a specific way, and if we don't, then will take that as full justification to abuse us. Thematically very similar to the s e smith article I saw at the start of the month.

(And really good to see pieces like this appearing on Mumsnet, which used to be a really nest of nasty comments from mums with buggys about wheelchair users taking up 'their' spaces on the bus).

Responding to comments

Jan. 27th, 2015 12:30 am
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
When someone responds to something you said (online or IRL) but not to what you think you said, but rather something vaguely related to it (because you wrote too quickly or they were reading too quickly), how do you respond constructively?

It always FEELS as if they're rejecting what what you were trying to say, and I have to try hard to suppress the urge to argue them down. When I know that that would actually be meaningless to them, and they're thinking "why did you say [thoguhtless thing]".

In some ways I find it easier IRL because the conversation moves on, I can make a bid to miss out the long digression of people arguing past each other, and say what I said a different way, or ask them for clarification, and the conversation can proceed from there. Whereas, if it's an online comment, it can itch at me, wanting to rebut an apparently nonsensical comment on what I was trying to say, but it's harder to channel into a constructive conversation, because I don't know how to say "what do you think about [better phrasing of what I was trying to say]" without sounding critical or patronising to them; and without feeling forced to take a side on what they actually said, even if I feel it's a red herring.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I've talked about this before, but I'm coming around to actually thinking of it this way. I used to think of it as a binary choice "vegetarianism/not vegetarianism". Now I think of it more like, there's dozens of things that would be more ethical, that most people don't do all the time, and vegetarianism is one of them. So I still think it's right, but I don't find it surprising when people have other causes instead.

Please Don't Curb Your Enthusiasm

Jan. 26th, 2015 04:50 pm
jae: (questiongecko)
[personal profile] jae
Via [personal profile] likeadeuce, the "Please Don't Curb Your Enthusiasm" meme (though I'm rephrasing it as a question so that I can file this under "question of the day," ahem):

What is something that you're enthused/excited/flush with anticipation about? One fannish thing, one real life thing, if you'd like. (Or as many as you want of one of those categories if the other does not apply to you for any reason.)

Thanks for comments on last few posts

Jan. 26th, 2015 11:16 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Thanks ever so much for comments on last few posts, the comments were more informative than the posts. I'm sorry for not replying individually, I've been trying to make more shorter posts, but that's meant I've not always been able to respond to every comment.
lovingboth: ([default])
[personal profile] lovingboth
Shoah is a documentary film on the Holocaust lasting over nine hours. What makes it special is that there is no archive footage and no voice-over, just interviews with survivors - perpetrators as well as survivors and witnesses - and footage of the sites in question now.

The original French version had no subtitles either - when someone speaks in another language, we hear the translator the director used to do those interviews at work. (I wonder if this is one reason for the UK version being shorter - we don't hear the French translation when someone speaks in English.)

With that sort of length it was clearly never going to be at many people's local cinema, so I first saw it when Channel Four put in on one evening in the mid 80s with no ad breaks - how could you have them in the middle of this? - but keeping the single intermission for toilet visits etc.

I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it since, so it was very good to see that the BBC are showing it in two halves. The first is on iPlayer for about another four weeks and doubtless the second will be too after it's shown next Sunday.

Unforgettable.

There are criticisms of it - if you look at the WP article, you'll see that there are Polish people who don't like it because there are Polish witnesses who don't look good in it. A specific complaint is that the suffering of the Polish under Nazi rule isn't shown enough, but that the majority of people who were murdered were Polish is. And one memory of a couple of holidays in Poland is looking at a modern 'history of Poland' guide book which barely mentions the Holocaust despite three million Poles killed in Poland as part of it. I think a castle changing hands in the 13th Century got more space.

There is a lack of context for some of this: this was made when Poland was under communist rule and right from the start, the communists took the attitude of 'de-Jewing' the Holocaust. Even the Soviets' great war correspondent wasn't allowed to tell the truth: Vasily Grossman's reports on places like Treblinka were censored to remove the ethnicity of the majority of victims, Jews like himself.

And there are some mistakes. There weren't just two survivors from Chełmno, where somewhere between a quarter and a third of a million were gassed in vans, for example. It was still in single figures though, and there are interviews with two of them, including the last who survived being shot in the head as the Nazis attempted to remove all the evidence of what they had done.

As I say, unforgettable.
lethargic_man: (capel)
[personal profile] lethargic_man

This is the shtender in the shul room in Newcastle:

View piccy )

It comes with quite a history. It originally stood (along with a matching ark) in the synagogue in Kretinga, in Lithuania. During the pogroms of the 1880s and 1890s, the Kretinga community, like many others, upped and fled, but unlike most, they all went to the same place, and reestablished their community in Sunderland—and they took this shtender with them.

The shtender was reinstalled as the main lectern in the synagogue on Villiers Street there; later, it was moved to the shtiebl in the Mowbray Road synagogue.

When I was growing up, the Sunderland Jewish community, like all the provincial communities in the UK with the exception of Manchester, was dying. This became apparent when it merged its youth groups with Newcastle's. Then, some years later, there was a mass emigration of Jewish Mackems to Newcastle, and the Joel Intract old age home (of which my great-grandfather was amongst those who opened it, as recorded on a plaque there) moved to Newcastle too (under a new name). Finally, about a decade ago, the Sunderland synagogue closed, and a century and more of Jewish existence in Sunderland came to an end, with the exception of a few die-hards—not enough to get together a minyan—determined to stay even in the absence of a community.

But though the community may be gone (and indeed most of those who moved to Newcastle have since left for London or Israel, as Newcastle follows Sunderland along the road of gradual attrition), its legacy remains in the form of this shtender. Three times a day, the Orthodox community in Newcastle meets for prayer, and every time, except on sabbaths and festivals, the service leader stands before this shtender, embodying a living continuity with the bygone communities of Sunderland and Kretinga.

andrewducker: (how big?)
[personal profile] andrewducker


I remember Homeworld, from the long ago years before the millenium.

It looked pretty, and you got to have epic space battles in 3D.

As this article on the re-release says:
I’d say it looks as good as I remember Homeworld looking in the first place, which means the Remasters impressively can equal the sludgy haze of nostalgia, memory, and imagination.
(Luckily, I have enough other games in the queue to keep me going until it's been out six months and I can get it cheap.)

(no subject)

Jan. 26th, 2015 02:43 pm
[personal profile] khronos_keeper
Left home, elder sister cried in car, children were monstrous. Felt emotionally deadened entire time. Was slightly alarmed I didn't even feel bad my sister was crying, but then didn't have energy to care, so didn't.

I left All of the Thing last semester to do All of the Things on the farm over the winter, only to pick up with the Most of the Things this semester.

-Still need to submit two (2) PhD applications, one is due sometime in the next 5 days. Lord please let them see past the fact that it looks like I have a severe learning disability when it comes to math.

-Continuing saga of setting up brain tests. I still need to schedule a sleep deprived EEG to see if they can get my brain to glitch out while I am not having any of the sleeps. Even if not, the medication is still kicking mighty ass, and even in the face of the alarmingly prevalent amount of lighting triggers, I have not been experiencing the same amount of episodes.

(Side note to this: after extensive review, I am pretty well satisfied that I'm not having hysterical seizures. The only reason I was concerned about this was the first time  I went to campus health after having a seizure, the nurse practitioner dismissed me and all but said that whatever was going on with me was due to stress and pretty much self generated. And me, being me, took this very much to heart and ever since I have been so concerned that what if I am just doing this to myself. After looking into dozens of medical articles, and knowing the meds are helping, and given my history of neurological damage, I am pretty well sure this is a seizure disorder.)

-I still need to make contact with the PI of the research project, so we can meet and he can either continue with me working, or kick me out. Since I continue in the phase of "I don't give a fuck", here I am, not giving any fucks about whichever he does.

-Life: be gentle, please be kind. Let not the tempests rock my mind, nor the quaking of a kind that sways the body, seals the bind that sets the soul in darkness, blind. Life, be gentle.

-Day by day. Do not borrow people's problems.

-I have a headache, and I have to go grocery shopping.

the blizzard of '88

Jan. 26th, 2015 10:53 am
redbird: Indri and the word "Look!" (links)
[personal profile] redbird
Someone at Weather Underground is live-blogging the current (just starting) northeast U.S. snowstorm. In the comments, among the maps and discussions of what models the National Weather Service using, user pegleg666 posted a link to a post-Sandy blog post containing the Cuban poet José Martí's description of the blizzard of 1888 and its aftermath.

Après moi, le deluge

Jan. 26th, 2015 01:33 pm
kass: winter landscape, tree, "zen fen" (winter zen fen)
[personal profile] kass
Well, not a deluge so much as some snow. And I don't think we're going to get socked nearly as hard as New York or Boston.

But I did my pre-storm shopping this morning anyway. I have a chicken marinating now (my favorite roast chicken recipe), I have potatoes to roast along with it, I have ingredients for baking chocolate-chip cookies with Mr. Kid, I have some proteins in the chest freezer and broth and so forth in the pantry in case we don't manage to leave the house for a few days.

Also have plenty of milk and water -- especially water, since if we lose power we also lose water. (The joys of life with a well.) On the upside, now that we have a gas stove, we can cook even if the power goes out. Though I am hoping the power doesn't go out, and honestly, it shouldn't -- there's no ice projected, just the fluffy stuff.

Am also charging all of our gadgets, just to be on the safe side. :-)

(no subject)

Jan. 26th, 2015 04:51 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 946 aged 36 Eadgyth of England(my toy,wikipedia). Eadgyth was the daughter of Edward the Elder, she married Otto I Holy Roman Emperor.

Born on this day in 1624 to Duke George of Brunswick-Luneburg and Anne of Hess Darmstadt, Duke George of Brunswick-Luneburg(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Sophia of Celle, who married George I. I think that Brunswick-Luneburg was part of the Holy Roman Empire... which was around for a long time (I may have said that already).

daily gratitudes

Jan. 26th, 2015 08:10 am
watersword: Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Star Trek (2009) (Zoe Saldana: Uhura)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. loose-leaf assam tea
  2. corduroy trousers for what is probably going to be a cold windy day for the eight minutes I am outside
  3. insurance check reimbursing me for therapy expenses
  4. I have to use up 10 vacation days by June 30 oh noez who wants to lobby for me to visit them?
  5. Amy Macdonald's song "Let's Start a Band", from "This Is The Life," which I am in love with
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Last night, I caught myself defaulting to male again.

Which is to say, I was writing a novel, and my protagonist was wandering through a cargo bay. A dockworker told him to scurry off.

The dockworker was male.  Because my default characters are always male.  It’s an unthinking bias I’ve picked up over the years from various cartoons and movies – stories where you have a bunch of guys and one woman, whose role in the group is often “Just be a woman.”  The guys are these strong personality types – the hot-head, the wounded soldier, the brain – and then you have Smurfette.

So what you come to internalize over time is that “guy” is the default mode of “human.”  And when you create a character at random, what pops out unless you specifically fight this urge is Yet Another Dude.  This is something that the creator of BoJack Horseman goes into in a lot more depth in a rather infamous Tumblr post.

I caught this one, and switched the dockworker to a woman.  Another victory against a nasty template – because if you aren’t careful about populating your world with female characters, you wind up creating yet another Smurfette world where every incidental character your protagonists encounter is male, creating a world with an implied alternate biology where hey, females are born only 3% of the time!  They must be!  We certainly don’t see ‘em elsewhere.

But I had people saying, “That’s cool!  I should roll dice to determine what the gender of my characters is.”  Which is something I’d thought about doing, early on in my career – just randomly assigning genders via the nerdiest fucking methodology possible.

If you wanna see how weird gender is, assign your genders randomly.

Because while you can do it – I tried for a while – the thing that’ll leap out at you in critiques is how the exact same personality gets viewed in different ways, merely based on whether they’re sporting a pair of breasts or not.

Remember, you’re not just creating “a character,” as in rolling up their stats.  Good writers give their characters strong personality traits, and don’t just stop when you’ve discovered what’s lurking between their legs.  So you don’t just roll up a woman – you decide “Hey, I want a hard-drinking, alienated ex-soldier who passive-aggressively seeks intimacy” and then roll your dice and go “BING!  Woman.”

And if she is a woman, she will often get entirely different reactions.  What’d be seen as proof of competency from a dude – snapping off corrections – comes off as bitchy from a woman.  (Imagine a female House insulting everyone in the emergency room as she yanks the scalpel out of their hands.  She’s not gonna be nearly as lovable.)  If a woman wants romance, she’s often seen as needier.  People will have a harder time buying into the idea that a woman character defaults to violence.

You’ll also be saddened from critiquers – often female ones – who will point out that yes, your ass-kicking female character has been tied up and carried off by the bad guys and not been sexually assaulted.  Maybe you have, quite consciously, decided to create a world where you’re just not dealing with that shit, in much the same way that somehow James Bond – who has enemies who want to humiliate him – never seem to rape his ass in all of this kinky bondage.  And it’s a valid choice, to have your world just skip over the realities of sexual assault, in much the same way that gun-toting detective narratives often skip over the realities of the PTSD that would come from gunning down strangers.

Yet you’ll get pushback.  Because for a lot of these readers, often and particularly female ones, the world doesn’t feel real to them unless you’re addressing the fears that they often deal with.

It goes both ways, of course.  A woman who’d be a nice, supportive housewife will often read as a useless wimp when rolled up as male.  An emotionally needy guy will often be seen as a douche, even if his worries about his partner’s infidelities are completely warranted.  A depressive introvert with social anxiety?  Beloved as female, often written off as a male.  Gender roles cut both ways.

Which is not to say that you can’t make it work.  You can.  But you’ll be shocked when you take someone who you saw as sympathetic, and discover that they’re viewed as worthless, simply because of what gender you happened to assign them.

Hell, I have some fears on that level.  I have my book Flex coming out soon, and one of the main characters is a videogame-obsessed, sexually voracious, overweight woman.  She gets all the best lines, of course, because she’s also funny as hell and insightful.  But she is, essentially, a gender-swapped detective archetype – loving kinky sex, reluctant to commit to anyone, prone to violence and passionate in all her desires – and I’m a little terrified of how people are going to interpret her.

And maybe Valentine will be as loved as I want her to be.  Note how I have seeded this essay with the word “often,” because fiction is a magical art and sometimes characters work for people out of the box.  I’m not saying that all angry women will be seen as irrational – I’m saying that in my experience an angry female character is more likely to be seen as irrational, and if you write enough characters you’ll start to go “Oh, yeah, if I don’t want to have people hating her I’m going to need to justify her anger more here.”

The point is, if you assign gender randomly, you’ll start to see how crazy our fucking society is.  You’ll have someone who you need to be sympathetic for purposes of the narrative, and just because they’re the “wrong” gender you’ll have to work three times as hard to make them likeable.  You’ll see the biases exposed right there in your fiction.

And you’ll to experience directly what many claim is the female experience: you gotta work three times as hard to be as good as a man.  I don’t know, I’m not a woman.

But I do know that writing gender-blind isn’t as easy as rolling dice.  Merely changing the gender can change the whole tone of a story.  And monitoring how that tone shifts can provide a vital, vital education.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Breastfeeding and Page 3

Jan. 26th, 2015 02:10 pm
nanila: (manning: uberbitch)
[personal profile] nanila
A casual acquaintance of mine made a post on Facebook that nettled me a bit, but I didn't want to reply to it there fore several reasons. First, I don't know this person well and have no idea how they'd take disagreement. Second, I make it a rule to check Facebook once a week or less. Third, I only use it to like pictures of other people's cats and babies and to make innocuous, supportive and inoffensive comments, because it is a piss-poor platform for nuanced, well-informed interaction. Thus, behold: a journal entry containing the reply I would have made if said comments hadn't been hosted on Facebook.

The post essentially said: Why do feminists think it's okay to be pro-breastfeeding-in-public and simultaneously oppose Page 3 of The Sun newspaper? Are they not contradicting themselves on the subject of bare breasts? (I'm phrasing this more coherently than the original poster did.)

Well. Let us examine the problem with this logic. It assumes that bare breasts are viewed in a manner that is completely context-free. Either they are simply fleshy bits stuck on the front of ladypersons and are totally inoffensive under all circumstances, which is an attitude I would gladly be on board with adopting, or they are totally offensive under all circumstances, which I would not. The social reality is a lot more nuanced than this. If the "feminist" attitude seems contradictory to you, it's because mainstream social attitudes towards these two particular presentations of bare breasts are most frequently contradictory, and often the reverse of what one might expect (e.g. the first is offensive and the second is not). Thus, the answer to the question is that there isn't a contradiction in adopting such attitudes, because the assumption that all mammary presentations are equal in the eyes of society is wrong.

Below lies my personal view on this glandular conundrum:
I identify as a feminist and I find neither of these boob presentations offensive. The first is a no-brainer for me, not least because I'm a breastfeeding mum. Despite what I'd like to believe in theory - that a breast being used to feed a baby is being presented in an entirely innocent way - I feel the immense social pressure to breastfeed in an innocuous manner, and thus I always try to find a discreet place in which to do it and ensure that I'm covered. It would be much easier if I could just whip out a nipple and let baby latch, of course, but I don't really want to be stared at whilst I'm feeding him, so I don't do that. I would be delighted if breastfeeding stopped being such a polarising subject, but until social attitudes change pretty drastically, I don't see it happening.

On the subject of Page 3: I don't think the breasts themselves are offensive. Taking it a step further, I think that the circumstances under which they are photographed and presented are far better than what was being proposed to replace them. The owners of the breasts are compensated (I can't comment upon whether or not the amount of the compensation should be deemed adequate), but most importantly, they have consented to be photographed. The idea that replacing these images with "candid" (i.e. non-consensual) photos of celebrities in states of undress would somehow be a step forward for feminism was baffling to me. Some of the opposition to Page 3 that I've encountered also strikes me as another way to devalue sex work and demean sex workers, which...do we really need more of that?

I know there are those who would ask me, "What if your daughter was on a train and saw a man looking at Page 3?" I can only say that I think it best that she learns that there are images of naked people in the world and that most of the people who view them are wankers.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So if you hadn’t noticed somehow, I have a book coming out – and as such, am running around like an idiot signing it for people.  Which means I’ll read from the book! I’ll shake hands! I’ll go out for drinks afterwards, because I like both people and alcohol!

And I’ll be in Seattle on Friday, March 20th!

Friday, March 20th: University Book Store, in Seattle
4326 University Way NE Seattle WA 981105
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Every time I’ve ever been to Seattle was on a rushed business trip, so I’m hoping to get here early and kick around for a bit.  But please!  Spread the word!  And come about if you feel like saying “howdy”!

Also, Cleveland residents will note that my official book release party is a go for Friday, March 6th, at 7 p.m.  Please show up!  I’m scared and lonely!  There will be cake and beautiful fingernails and I will critique your choice of donuts!

Friday, March 6th: Loganberry Books, in Cleveland
13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

And in case you’re going “Aw, man, I wanted to hang out Ferrett!” and you live in New York or Boston, remember these dates:

Friday, March 13th: WORD Bookstore Brooklyn
126 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 14th: Annie’s Book Stop Of Worcester
65 James Street, Worcester MA 01603
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

E-voting

Jan. 26th, 2015 02:17 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Via emperor http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30976610

I wish articles wouldn't conflate every sort of e-voting. I have very different views of:

1. MPs allowed to vote in absentia -- since the votes aren't private, risk of shenanigans seem a lot lot lower, basically a good idea.

2. Jumping straight to allowing remote electronic voting without even a cursory look-over by a security expert -- I have no idea why anyone even contemplates this it seems criminally irresponsible. We have a pretty good voting system, let's not destroy it on a whim?

(Likewise, using electronic voting machines in polling stations produced by partisan companies, with no oversight from all parties or election officials, that are trivially hackable, seemed an obviously bad idea, I don't know how it happened.)

(Although, I would be interested to see what the possible trade-offs were, if it were designed by somebody competent.)

3. Investigating ways of using electronic vote counting in polling stations -- extreme caution, but possibly worth investigating, because the convenience is definitely something people want, and it would be good to have actual pros and cons, not just "NO". I agree there are lots of risks and I'm not eager to explore it, especially if it's conflated with #2. But it seems like you could make machines which were sufficiently simple they couldn't boot off SD cards, and had oversight from representatives from all parties (as elections do currently), and it might be worth trying??

(no subject)

Jan. 26th, 2015 08:41 am
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Danger 5 Season 2 is coming out. We're up to Episode 4.

Danger 5 doesn't really do parody, as we know it. It also doesn't really do pastiche. I'm not sure I have the word for what they do, because it sits in the same territory as those things, but it isn't those things. Surrealist pastiche, maybe? There's a thing they accomplish on a consistent basis, which is to make you think they're heading for a trope, and then they subvert the trope not by subverting the trope but by doing something so out of left field that it's not even in the same ballpark as the trope.

In general, my love for this season is not quite as unabashed as my love for Season 1. I mean, obviously there are problems with Season 1 aside from the intentional problems, but the writing is so sharp that my tendency is to overlook them. Season 2 has been clunkier. Outside of the simple episodic formula that drove Season 1, there have been fumbles to reestablish characters and storytelling devices. I think they're also running into the limits of using so many one-note characters. The characters have felt out of character, compared to their static Season 1 versions, and the tactic of subjecting them to new pressures has not really had results that were either emotional resonant or even very funny. Their fridging of Claire in the first episode was frustrating on feminist grounds and has not been used effectively since.

On the other hand, I've enjoyed every episode more than the previous one, and episode four was the one that most had the feel of a season 1 episode: the strange geopolitics of the Vatican, the goofy fast food, the matrioshka doll phone, the Pope marionette, and ultimately Hitler's macabre Dantean descent. McKenzie felt most integrated into the team and Pierre, Tucker, Jackson and even to some extent Ilsa had actual emotional arcs. There were more quotable lines.

So I'm holding out hope for a clean finish to the season. It's even possible that some of the bad parts have been deliberate, since the show's using more continuity than it did in season 1 and there may be payoff to delayed jokes. We'll see, I guess.

free stuff

Jan. 26th, 2015 01:29 pm
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
[personal profile] mathcathy
In my current office, there is free Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

It's a mixed blessing.

That said, I'm cycling about 25 miles a day, so a mini tub of B & J's from time to time is genuinely not an altogether bad thing.
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

I think I am in a probably relatively justifiable slump period following last year and the endless treadmill of papers to write and give, articles/chapters to write/revise, trains and boats and planes, etc.

Unfortunately I am giving a paper in a fortnight's time and it's a new paper.

Well, when I say it's a new paper, it's I think going to turn out to be a remix of stuff I've already talked about with a different theoretical angle and with a few bits and bobs from the research files that I haven't used before.

(Yes, I have been having my arm twisted to give a paper to this particular seminar series for over 2 years...)

But, whatever, I am finding it really difficult to motivate myself to sit down and do the necessary cutting and pasting, editing, rewriting, etc.

Bah.

Chapter 4: The Departure

Jan. 26th, 2015 12:39 pm
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
[personal profile] rmc28
Fu Inlé means 'After moonrise'.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

public transport is not my friend

Jan. 26th, 2015 11:55 am
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
[personal profile] mathcathy
I've been doing a lot of daily commuting this year so far. For the past two weeks, my standard commute has been a minimum of 2 hours, so even 5 minutes of delay is a frustrating nuisance.

But this is how it's been:
  • Last Wednesday: Signal failure on the District Line causing Severe Delays. An extra 45 minutes.
  • Last Thursday: Irreparable faulty train caused mine to be cancelled, and knock on effects on later trains to mean an extra hour. Then there were too many people for the bus so I had to wait for the next one. An extra fifteen minutes.
  • Last Friday: Taxi came five minutes late so I missed the train by one minute. An extra thirty minutes waiting for the next train.
  • Saturday: Fool that I am I decided to use public transport at the weekend. Crane activity in the local area causing severe delays to buses. First one didn't stop because there was no space. Had to walk up to main road. Plus thirty minutes.
  • Sunday: Engineering works on line, trains going more slowly than normal timetables. Plus ten minutes.
  • Today: Signal failure at mainline station. Trains unable to leave platform. Plus twenty minutes
What is wrong with trains in this country? Why can't there be even one day when public transport runs to schedule?

And it's winter, so it's cold waiting.

pride thread is back from vacation

Jan. 26th, 2015 06:12 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)

sick :/

Jan. 26th, 2015 11:39 am
marina: (Atia sad)
[personal profile] marina
I was so happy that I'd never been sick this year! But last night I apparently caught a cold. Was going to watch the NHL All Star Game with [personal profile] roga but started falling asleep like 20 minutes into it (which NEVER HAPPENS I have to be near catatonic under normal circumstances to fall asleep when I'm actively trying to stay awake) and that probably should have been my first clue that I was sick, I guess.

I don't have a fever (or at least didn't in the morning, now I'm not so sure anymore), so I went to work (UGH. I have a 12 hour workday coming up this week and I am dreading EVERYTHING about it.), dressed in two sweaters and my warmest coat (and a scarf, and earmuffs) while it's 17c outside. Obviously didn't sleep well. Ugh, I had shit I needed to do today.

:/ :/ :/

In order to not be totally useless, have a rec for an original fic series I really enjoyed recently: The Boston Verse.

The first fic in the series is Hookup. Please note the tags, they serve as content notes.

The author has also written three original novels, all posted on her LJ, although I didn't like them as much as this series of shorts (they're well written but the plot/kinks didn't work for me).

In other news, yesterday [livejournal.com profile] toxic_hedgehog reminded me that I really need to read Olga Onoiko's Sphere 17 already. It's an original m/m novel by a Russian fic writer that I've seen recced around a lot. It's described as a story about a human colony on the edges of known space (in the far future, obviously) with revolution and spying and oppressive regimes and you know, an m/m plot. Seeing as I absolutely adored the last original m/m SFF novel I read by a Russian fic author, I am looking forward to this! Now if only I weren't too sick for reading new stuff right now :/

(I would also like to point out the bitter irony of Sphere 17 getting published in hardcover in 2014 (marketed as Social Scifi and not as a LGBT book specifically, as is typical in the Russian scifi scene), probably right before Putin's new laws came into effect. You can still buy it online in Russia, but I'm sure the new laws have had an impact on the willingness of physical bookstores to stock it.)

Interesting Links for 26-01-2015

Jan. 26th, 2015 11:00 am
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

(no subject)

Jan. 26th, 2015 12:25 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I planned to be so good and go to bed super-early, but instead I lay awake thinking how my new sheets needed to be washed with baking soda and feeling terrified of the future.

I have a practicum placement at the school where I worked a couple years ago--I'm running a group that's part therapy, part psycho-ed. I also have a supervisor in the form of a psychologist who used to work at the school and now does supervision to some of the school's intern counsellors. I didn't get a job there; they decided to hire somebody who was likely to stay in the position for several years, since stability is important in that kind of environment.

My supervisor and I chatted a bit about my career in general. Once my degree is conferred, I can register in Alberta as a Provisional Psychologist; I then have to work 1600 hours under the supervision of a more senior psychologist (takes about a year working full-time) before I take the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (pronounced "E-triple-P") and become a Registered Psychologist.

So what I'm freaking out about is what to do right now. I think I could be finished my degree totally by June, so... getting any kind of job with the intention of quitting in six months doesn't feel good. It's bad enough when it's just punching a cash register, but anything human-services and high turnover can be a downright hazard. So do I just live on my EI pittance, or...?

The perfect thing would be to find a psychologist who will hire me right now as a psychologist's assistant, then bump me up to provisional status in June (with attendant rise in pay and independence of work) and then, after a year of supervision, keep me on as an associate. That's kind of the scary option--the thought, "I could, right now, just start my career." It's like stepping off a cliff.

Anyway, questions of Now Right Now aside, my supervisor's told me that there is "some difficulty" getting placements as a Provisional, so it takes a bit of extra effort. In Alberta, that difficulty means "more than two weeks", so the 1-2 months she cited sounds totally normal to my BC-acclimated brain, so I don't need to start looking right away, but I feel uneasy just sitting around. She also said that one of the best ways to meet and network with people was to go to local training events (which I have found too). So I'll see if I can get in to a DSM-V seminar a week from now, which is being run by a clinic that looks like it might be a good fit for me. Most of the jobs I've really liked have come because I got some kind of recommendation or referral from somebody, instead of sending my resume to a person sight unseen.

But I'm not sure it'll be worth it, especially since that kind of training is expensive. (I'm doing that one in particular because I promised myself I'd get up to speed on the new DSM this spring.)

I am excited to move house next weekend. I have grand plans for what to do once I can put up shelves and bookcases and unpack all my stuff, and it'll be nice to move out of this apartment, with its grody leaking faucets and upstairs neighbours who have loud sex every night. Then I can change my mailing address everywhere and let my mail catch up with me.

My eyelids are getting heavy. Sleep, I hope.

A Thing Belated

Jan. 25th, 2015 08:53 pm
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (science flower)
[personal profile] jjhunter
I wrote a Yuletide thing! Many thanks to [personal profile] luzula for assistance brainstorming, and to [personal profile] kate_nepveu and [personal profile] stultiloquentia for general support.

From the Mountains of Un for edna_blackadder
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
Someone has built a Pay-Wall around the Sea of Knowledge. Luckily, there's a scientist on visit.

My research to words ratio this time was only mildly ridiculous; I spent a great deal of transit time playing with worldbuilding, and words. I made up many a collective noun
a gridlock of experts
a disquiet of armed men
an intensity of poets
a debate of scientists
a projection of psychologists
a precision of sloths
...
became convinced, weeks after reading Adam Gopnik's Broken Kingdoms article, that our contemporary 'story of self-education' succeeding Phantom Tollbooth is most likely Welcome To Night Vale; and came away with a kind of hilarified awe at Mr. Juster's continued virtuosity with pundom. (Case in point: Norton Juster and Jon Scieszka, PRESENT "Prinderella and the Cince" [vimeo].) And did I mention the The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations documentary?

Gratitudes, Sunday evening edition

Jan. 25th, 2015 09:17 pm
kass: glass of wine (wine)
[personal profile] kass
1. Kid is in bed.

2. I have a snifter of Jefferson's bourbon.

3. Tomorrow morning I intend to pick up some staples (including coconut milk and some proteins I can freeze) so that if we get snowed-in, I can cook tasty foods.

4. I'm pretty sure there will be preschool tomorrow, until the nor'easter hits. Huzzah for preschool.

5. I have two of my three [community profile] purimgifts stories drafted and I am happy with them! \o/

How are y'all?

daily gratitudes

Jan. 25th, 2015 05:45 pm
watersword: Image of a compass and the words "a compass that doesn't point north" (Pirates of the Caribbean: compass)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. comfy boots for long walks
  2. the nearby coffeeshop where I can pop in for a chai latte, read Ancillary Sword, and kill an hour
  3. delicious leftovers of braised cabbage and sausage
  4. the fact I experience only mild trepidation at the horrible forecast for the next few days
  5. I have books in case I get snowed in

ATTN: New England Blizzard Warning

Jan. 25th, 2015 05:28 pm
jjhunter: Closeup of the face from postcard of da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' with alterations made by Duchamp, i.e. moustache and goatee. (LHOOQ)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Via weather underground, Potentially Historic Blizzard Taking Aim on New England
The densely populated area from New York City to Boston could experience one of its ten biggest snowstorms on record early this week, as a textbook nor’easter takes shape over the next 48 hours. While local details are bound to evolve somewhat as the storm develops, the models are now in strong, consistent agreement on a potentially crippling snowstorm. Blizzard watches were hoisted on Sunday morning from eastern New Jersey to northeast Massachusetts, including the New York, Providence, and Boston metropolitan areas.

If you live in one of the areas affected, I strongly recommend visiting weather.gov and inputting your zip code for the most up-to-date / comprehensive advisory for your area. The warnings for Boston currently include a coastal flood warning in addition to the blizzard warning (the latter of which includes "travel will be impossible and life threatening across the entire region").


The CDC has Winter Weather FAQ. Please feel encouraged to share other resources or tips in the comments.

ETA: via NYT, Blizzard Questions, Including Why a European Weather Model Excels at U.S. Forecasts

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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