I have been baking for a while, and I know my family’s taste and any allergies they have. I moved out eight months earlier and for about five months some of the treats have been going missing. Nothing major, just a few cakes here and some biscuits there, but I have now lost my patience as the cookies I baked for my friend’s birthday have all been eaten. I decide to have a barbeque to find out who is doing it.
I invite several people to the barbeque including my aunt. The day before, I bake some Nutella shortbread, put them in a box, and leave them in the kitchen by the biscuit tin. My idea is that whoever is eating the treats will go to the biscuit tin, find it empty apart from a few rich tea biscuits, and then eat some of the treat.
I know that if my aunt eats anything with nuts in it, it will give her a bad migraine.
Fast forward to the next day and the barbeque. I leave the kitchen door open and the patio door leading to the front room in case anyone needs the toilet. Around 10 people show up and whenever one of them leaves I go and check the shortbread but bring something out with me. Sure enough the box is opened and some shortbread has been eaten and then moved about so you can’t tell.
An hour later the barbeque ends when it starts raining and everyone goes home except my mum. I count the cakes to find out that three have been eaten and now there are seven left.
I give them to my mum who offers them to my aunt when she visits her. Apparently she refused saying last time she ate them she got a migraine. I have never made Nutella shortbread for anyone. The treats have now stopped disappearing.
(I am standing in line at a gas station/convenience store. It’s fairly busy. While the cashier is waiting on the customer in front of me, a man comes in looking very upset.)
Cashier: “I’ll be right with you, sir. I need to finish with the people in line.”
Man: “No, I just need to wash my clothes. NOW!”
Cashier: “Sir, we’re a gas station. We don’t wash clothes.”
Man: “Why is the ‘laundry mat’ closed?”
Customer At Register: “The laundromat next door?”
Man: “Yes! Shut up! I’m talking to HIM!” *points at cashier*
Me: “The one that is being torn down?”
Man: “YES! Why is it closed? I need to wash my clothes!”
Cashier: “Sir, I really can’t help you. The building next door is not part of our business. It is being torn down. They are no longer in business.”
Man: “D*** it! Open it now! I have to wash these clothes. I have places to be. I’m in a hurry.” *he slams his fist on the counter and starts to lean over towards the cashier*
(By now the first customer has left. The cashier is looking tense. I put my items on the counter and step outside to call police. They arrive fairly quickly. The man is still inside, yelling. The police escort him outside; I pay for my things and return to my car. As I’m getting in the car I hear him.)
Man: “But the door is wide open! All the front windows are still there. They can’t be out of business or they would lock the door!”
Cop: “Sir, I’m pretty sure they aren’t locking the door because there’s literally only one wall still standing.”
Where i grew up, our cottonwood trees didn't have fluff. At least not in the city. Outside of city limits, we'd see them sometimes. I remember Dad said that the fluff kind weren't allowed. Research tells me that there is an actual pollen ordinance on the books for ABQ that states that selling or planting various high pollen varieties of trees including those sorts of cultivars of poplars is punishable as a petty misdemeanor. Living in a dry climate is srs bznz. :-)
There were cultivars of Cottonwoods that don't produce the high amounts of pollen that were allowed by the ordinance. This includes the Rio Grande Cottonwood which was what I was most accustomed to seeing. We had the male variety in our yard, and much like the more pollen producing types, they dropped these floral pods that kinda resembled caterpillars that also had this sticky sap in the buds. Descriptions I see for these poplars in general is that they like to drop limbs unexpectedly. Even back home, this was true. Wind storms were a great way to find out how alive your cottonwood trees were. And in a lot of cases, how sturdy your roof is. :/
Another tree I grew up with is the bald cypress. For some reason, I had thought these were some variety of cedar, but no. They produce these funny little round cones, they have bark that sheds as they grow, and they also produce this significantly sticky sap that gets on everything. Our yard was landscaped with these cypress trees, and I remember the day my parents had them removed because they just made so much mess of the yard.
We also had a sour cherry tree that always produced lots of fruit. We would collect as much as we could and make pies and such. Very tart golden fruit.
We also had a spruce in the front yard that was a four-foot starter when my parents moved into the house when I was 1 year old, and later grew to 20-30 feet tall before it apparently became diseased and needed to be removed.
One other tree I distinctly remember were the sycamore trees. They grow these hard spikey seed-pods that break open and contain fluff and seeds. Kids would throw them at each other since they were also rather dense and would fly well. They also quickly discovered that if you broke open the pods and stuffed the contents down someone's shirt, that it would itch for hours. :/
Interesting the things you remember.
What sorts of trees were in your life when you were young?
Deliveries could drive through during off peak hours. Buses would get a huge boost with the bus lane and better symmetry and turnarounds.
I'd especially like feedback on bikability. I didn't manage to fit bike lanes in anywhere, and we'd lose the door zone lane on Highland, but that'd be made up for by having a smaller slower intersection. Perhaps bikes could also share the bus lane? Would a 2-way cycletrack through the pedestrian area be too disruptive?
I'm also discussing it on twitter: https://twitter.com/skyqrose/status/
(Sorry that's a Facebook URL; I couldn't find another. Also the sound quality is bad.) This is Mike Monteiro continuing to be f-bomb laden and in-your-face (if you're a designer) about the idea that ethics are not optional and how it's our job to fight fascism. He's not wrong - design is the gatekeeper to a whole lot of things and if you think about our problems as bad design solutions then you get to think about better designs.
2. Like Monteiro I remain weirdly optimistic. I see people getting energized, women running for office for the first time, and the strong likelihood that the complacent wing of the Democratic party is going to get a swift kick in its lazy ass. All good things. Arguably these are shining stars in a night sky of black-hearted evil but that's OK, I'll take it. I think we're not going to have a President Pence anytime soon, nor do I think we're heading for the sort of full-blown Constitutional crisis that seemed likely a bit ago. I don't think Drumph is going to launch nukes, but I do think we're likely to see more pretextual acts for ongoing violent distractions.
This lull is likely to last until the special counsel's report comes out, at which point I expect ALL the shit to hit the fan. Meanwhile, they still can't stop the signal - latest being that Congress is fighting Flynn's attempt to shield documents. Flynn-the-person can't be compelled to testify but his corporation doesn't have 5th Amendment protection.
I'm starting to be reminded of the proverb about "for want of a nail" which is sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin (see the entry at Goodreads Quotes). I can't imagine that Trump ever thought "gee if I fire this guy it'll bring the whole house of cards down" but that may well be what he gets.
3. I am also reminded of "Nixon's Spirit" from Paul Oakenfold. I wanted to find a version with lyrics but could not. Basically it's a spoken word piece from Hunter S Thompson over Oakenfold's music. Thomson is talking about the damage done to the late 20th century by Richard Nixon. When Thompson says, "You don't even have to know who Nixon was to be affected by his ugly Nazi spirit" I hear relevance to today. Trump, like Nixon, disgraces and degrades the office of President. That may not be a thing we ordinarily care about but it's going to matter, soon.
Think hard about whether you'd rather have crippled ineffectual President Trump or active engaged President Pence in charge between now and 2020. I can't definitively say one would be more damaging than the other. While my heart dearly longs to see Trump scurrying away in the dead of night like the diseased cur he is I fear what would happen in his wake.
4. I am UTTERLY BAFFLED by people who refuse to understand that the attack on the Ariana Grande concert was an attack that targeted women, young girls, and LGBTQ persons. Those are her fans. This asshole didn't drive a truck into a random crowd; he strapped on a bomb and picked a specific concert venue when a specific person was playing. It's like saying that the 9/11 attacks didn't target Americans because non-Americans were also killed. Yes, true, but those attacks targeted Americans. When we come to understand this attacker's motivations I will be floored if we fail to find misogyny and homophobia high among them.
5. I am still capable of being completely elated by seeing my child happy. I'll write more if I can catch up on updates.
(In my senior year of high school my biology teacher and I bond over our love for the Broadway show ‘Hamilton.’ It is a fairly quiet day and she decides to pass back a chunk of papers that she had spent longer than usual grading, due to a mixup with another teacher.)
Teacher: “Okay, here’s the last month of work. I’m sorry it took so long, guys. Since [Other Teacher] accidentally took our papers instead of hers, I’ve been working to fix the grading pretty much nonstop.”
Me: *unable to resist, bolts to my feet* “Gentlemen of the jury, I’m curious; bear with me. Are you aware that we’re making history? This is the first murder trial of our brand new nation, the liberty behind deliberation! I intend to prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, with my assistant counsel—”
Teacher: *without missing a beat* “Co-counsel, [My Name], sit down. Your test grade was atrocious; did you even read this? That’s all you gotta do.”
Me: “Okay.” *sits back down*
(A few people clapped and we got some laughs. After that the teacher and I made it a game to see who could insert Hamilton lyrics into everyday situations in class.)
By JULIA TURSHEN
What’s New in the Supermarket? A Lot, and Not All of It Good
By STEPHANIE STROM
Fact-Checking a Mogul’s Claims About Avocado Toast, Millennials and Home Buying
By LINDA QIU and DANIEL VICTOR
Charcoal or Gas? Depends on What You’re Grilling
By SAM SIFTON
Recipes: Grilled Flounder | Grilled Soy-Basted Chicken Thighs With Spicy Cashews | Learn How to Grill
Gas or Charcoal?
What to Cook
By SAM SIFTON
Reviews From The Sweethome: Charcoal Grills | Gas Grills | Grilling Tools
A Green That Does More Than Garnish
By DAVID TANIS
Recipe: Watercress Salad With Raw Beets and Radishes
A Bold Take on Asparagus, Deep in Its Season
A Good Appetite
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipe: Roasted Asparagus and Scallion Salad
Crab, Meet Sugar Snap Peas
A Good Appetite
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipe: Crab Pasta With Snap Peas
‘Modern Mexican’ Steps Into the Spotlight
By JULIA MOSKIN
Sharing Moroccan Shakshuka With Mourad Lahlou
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipe: Moroccan Shakshuka
Classic Mediterranean Flavors, Enlivened by Ramps
By DAVID TANIS
Recipe: Sautéed Lamb Chops With Ramps, Anchovy, Capers and Olives
Chowder-Soaked Toast Any Chef Would Want to Claim
By GABRIELLE HAMILTON
Recipe: Chowder-Soaked Toast
The Challenge of Perfect Phyllo
By YOTAM OTTOLENGHI
Recipes: Walnut, Cinnamon and Halloumi Baklava | Feta and Herb Phyllo Tart
Another ‘Twin Peaks’ Puzzle: How to Make That Cherry Pie
By SARA BONISTEEL
Recipe: ‘Twin Peaks’ Cherry Pie
A Galette That Lets Early Strawberries Shine
A Good Appetite
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipe: Strawberry and Pistachio Galette
Jewish Delicacies Beguile the German Capital
By LINDSAY GELLMAN
In the Bars of Berlin, Both the Drinks and Design Are Bracing
By ROBERT SIMONSON
Let’s Be Clear: Bad Wines Are Bad Wines, Period
The Ideal Aperitif: Good Vermouth, Cool and Fragrant
Your Next Lesson: Spätlese Riesling
By ERIC ASIMOV
Surprise! Southern Comfort Has No Whiskey. But Soon It Will.
By ROBERT SIMONSON
Beatrice Trum Hunter, ‘Natural Foods Cookbook’ Author, Dies at 98
By SAM ROBERTS
Henry Chung, Who Helped Bring Hunan’s Flavors to America, Dies at 98
By RICHARD SANDOMIR
A reader writes:
I have been at my job for a month and a half. My coworker plays music at her desk, and I find it to be very annoying. I really wish she’d use headphones, or better yet, turn off the music, but I’m not sure how to ask her to do so.
A few weeks ago I told her that her music made me want to dance (I know, I know… passive aggressive) and she immediately turned it down (not off) because she said it meant that it was too loud. Unfortunately, even with it turned down, it was still a distraction.
She also said that people had complained about her noise level (including music?) in the past, and that I should let her know if it ever bothers me. She’s popular within our team, so I’d hate to get on her bad side. I’m starting to think I will have to suck it up and live with this since I hate confrontation.
I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.
Other questions I’m answering there today include:
- Working at a job where the rules change constantly
- A great candidate applied for a job, but I never saw her application
- I interviewed with a cold
- Handling an upcoming work trip when I’m about to resign
Could the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) be coming back from the dead? It is at least a possibility, following the release of a carefully-worded statement last Sunday from an APEC Ministerial meeting in Vietnam. The statement records the agreement of the eleven remaining partners of the TPP, aside from the United States which withdrew in January, to "launch a process to assess options to bring the comprehensive, high quality Agreement into force." This assessment is to be completed by November this year, when a further APEC meeting in Vietnam is to be held.
We do know, however, that not all of the eleven countries are unified in their view about how the agreement could be brought into force. In particular, countries like Malaysia and Vietnam would like to see revisions to the treaty before they could accept a deal without the United States. This is hardly an unreasonable position, since it was the United States that pushed those countries to accept provisions such as an unreasonably long life plus 70 year copyright term, which is to no other country's benefit.
Other TPP countries, such as Japan and New Zealand, are keen to bring the deal into force without any renegotiation, which could add years of further delay to the treaty's completion. Japan also likely fears losing some of the controversial rules that it had pushed for, such as the ban on software source code audits. The country's Trade Minister, Hiroshige Seko, has been quoted as saying, "No agreement other than TPP goes so far into digital trade, intellectual property and improving customs procedures."
For now, that remains true; many of the TPP's digital rules are indeed extreme and untested. But for how much longer? Industry lobbyists are pushing for the same digital trade rules to be included in Asia's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and in a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since RCEP and NAFTA together cover most of the same countries as the TPP, there will be little other rationale for the TPP to exist if lobbyists succeed in replicating its rules in those other deals.
Free Trade Rules that Benefit Users
It's worth stressing that EFF is not against free trade. If trade agreements could be used to serve users rather than to make their lives more difficult EFF could accept or even actively support certain trade rules. For example, last week the Re:Create Coalition, of which EFF is a member, issued a statement explaining how the inclusion of fair use in trade agreements would make them more balanced than they are now. The complete statement, issued by Re:Create's Executive Director Joshua Lamel, says:
If NAFTA is renegotiated and if it includes a chapter on copyright, that chapter must have mandatory language on copyright limitations and exceptions, including fair use. The United States cannot export one-sided enforcement provisions of copyright law without their equally important partner under U.S. law: fair use.
The U.S. should also take further steps to open up and demystify its trade policy-making processes, not only to Congress but also to the public at large, by publishing text proposals and consolidated drafts throughout the negotiation of trade agreements.
The last paragraph of this statement is key: we can't trust that trade agreements will reflect users' interests unless users have a voice in their development. Whether the TPP comes back into force or not, the insistence of trade negotiators on a model of secretive, back-room policymaking will lead to the same flawed rules popping up in other agreements, to the benefit of large corporations and the detriment of ordinary users.
At this point we have no faith that the TPP would be reopened for negotiation in a way that is inclusive, transparent and balanced, and we maintain our outright opposition to the deal. RCEP is being negotiated in an equally closed process, though we are continuing to lobby negotiators about our concerns with that agreement's IP and Electronic Commerce chapters. As for NAFTA, we are urging the USTR to heed our recommendations for reform of the office's practices before negotiations commence.
The death of the TPP didn't mark the end of EFF's work on trade negotiations and digital rights, and its reanimation won't change our course either. No matter where the future of digital trade rules lie, our approach remains the same: advocating for users' rights, and fighting for the reform of closed and captured processes. Until our concerns are heard and addressed, trade negotiators can be assured that regulating users' digital lives through trade agreements isn't going to get any easier.
Push to once again allow abstract patents is misguided
Right now, the patent lobby—in the form of the Intellectual Property Owners Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association—is demanding “stronger” patent laws. They want to undo Alice v. CLS Bank and return us to a world where “do it on a computer” ideas are eligible for a patent. This would help lawyers file more patent applications and patent litigation. But there’s no evidence that such laws would benefit the public or innovation at all.
One of the primary justifications we hear for why patents are social goods is that they encourage innovation. Specifically, the argument goes, patents incentivize companies and individuals to invest in costly research and development that they would not otherwise invest in because they know they will be able to later charge supracompetitive prices and recoup the costs of that development.
Those who want "stronger" patents (i.e. patents that are easier to get and/or harder to invalidate) often use this rationale to justify changing patent laws to make patents more enforceable. For example, a former Judge on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently suggested that "America is in danger because we have strangled our innovation system" by making it easier to challenge patents and show they never should have been granted. As another example, the Chief Patent Counsel at IBM argued that "The U.S. leads the software industry, but reductions in U.S. innovation prompted by uncertain patent eligibility criteria threaten our leadership" because "Patents promote innovation."
These arguments all presume that "stronger" patents mean more research and development dollars and thus more innovation. They also presume that if the U.S. doesn't provide "stronger" patents, innovation will go elsewhere.
But reality is much more complex. As one recent paper put it: "there is little evidence that stronger patent laws result in increases in [research and development] investments," at least if the yardstick is patent filings. Indeed, "we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights – either longer patent terms or broader patent rights – encourage research investments into developing new technologies."
There are good reasons to think "stronger" patents do not actually spur innovation. Patents are a double-edged sword. Although they may provide some incentive to innovate (even that premise is unclear), they also create barriers to more innovation. Patents work to prevent the development of follow-on innovation until that patent expires, delaying innovation that would have occurred, but is prevented by the grant of an artificial, government-backed monopoly.
The problem of patents impeding future innovation is exacerbated in software, where the life cycle is relatively short and innovation tends to move quickly. When a patent lasts for 20 years, software patents—especially broad and abstract software patents—have the potential to significantly delay the introduction of new innovations to the market.
Despite no "credible empirical evidence" that recent changes to patent laws, including the limits on patentable subject matter reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Alice, have done any harm to the innovation economy or innovation generally, some patent owners have been lobbying Congress legislate the case away. But doing so would allow patents on abstract ideas, and risks exacerbating the deadweight loss caused by too much patenting. The proposals are not minor changes. For example, if enacted they would mean that anything is patentable, so long as it is doesn't "exist solely in the human mind," i.e. "do it on a computer." Absent any evidence that this would mean more innovation, the recent reform proposals seem like little more than a bid by lawyers to create work for themselves.
Those rushing to ratchet up patent rights are doing so with little to no empirical basis that any such change is necessary, and it may actually end up harming the innovation economy. Congress should think twice before changing patent law so as to make patents even "stronger."
(I’m far from being a car expert, but when one of the headlamps on my old car burns out, I discover that I can open the hood, reach in, and unscrew the burned-out bulb. So I carry it into an auto-parts store.)
Me: *holding up the bulb* “I need to buy a replacement for this bulb.”
Female Cashier: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don’t be askin’ me!” *pointing to another customer* “Ask him! He’s a man!”
(He didn’t even work there — but he did know where to find the replacement bulb.)
But, at least there were no crowds this morning.
I've had some digestive issues yesterday and today and I can't help but wonder if it's not due to that disgusting pool water on Sunday. Probably not but I'm going to think so anyway.
This weekend the 50 yard outdoor pool opens for a few hours on Saturday, Sunday and Monday but it looks like it's going to be too warm to make it worth the trip. The trip to the pool is not trivial. There is precious little parking and the bus service from here is a mess. If you do happen to get a parking spot, the walk from the car to the pool is a mile with a big hill. You go down the hill on the way to the pool and so my entire swim, I'm worried about getting back up the damn thing. BUT, if it's rainy and cool (the pool is heated), then it won't be crowded and I might give it a shot. If it's 80 degrees and sunny like the forecast says it will be... not worth the effort.
I broke down and sent an email off to my financial guy asking him to look for an easy/smart place to cash in some investments and send me $5,000 to bulk up my rainy day fund sometime in the next few months. This was after it dawned on me that the next tax payment is in June. Whew.
The house cleaner is due this morning. I think, due to the aforementioned digestive issues, it's better I just stay in while she cleans today. Hopefully she won't be too late and she won't linger. I do have a fabulous surprise for her. When ljtourist was on his recent road trip, he happened on a Bosnian restaurant in Middle Of The Country. He picked up Bosnian treats for Amira. She's going to have a fit when I give them to her today. I can't wait. (I can't believe he happened on a Bosnian restaurant. And remembered my house cleaner was from Bosnia. AND went to the trouble to pick out and pick up these treats for her. Just the nicest thing ever.)
And speaking of pictures. I really wish Google was more amenable to letting me use the photos I store there in other places, like here. ertai seems to have no trouble using Google photos in his journal lately so maybe I should try again. This is a test. I'm going to leave it here for a week or so to make sure it doesn't turn into a white circle with a minus sign.
I get twitchy about Flickr's future. My phone uploads everything automagically to both but I feel better about Google's long term prospects. (And, yes, I totally get that at least Flickr and maybe Google 'own' my photos. I don't care.)
I never did get to cleaning up the sewing room yesterday. I guess I'll go do that now.
The Black Lily
RECOMMENDED: The Black Lily by Juliette Cross is 99c! Despite the nips-on-display cover, I really enjoyed this book. Vampires are the ruling class and the heroine is the leader of a human uprising. She first meets the vampire prince hero when she infiltrates a masked ball and tries to assassinate him. It’s Cinderella-esque. The next book is a take on Red Riding Hood and I’m super excited about it.
Cinderella like you’ve never seen before…
With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.
Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…
Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank is $1.99! I’m not sure if this is a sale price or not, but it’s not a bad number. This paranormal romance has a new-ish take on the vamp myth, where the hero gets his energy from the sun, rather than blood. Readers liked the unique premise, but felt the pacing of the book was off.
A hidden society of vampires—and the humans they love—are at the heart of this opening novel in a biting, all-original series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightwalkers saga.
Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire, soaking up nourishment from the sun—and, only when necessary, drawing sweet sustenance from humans who are pure in body and spirit. As the right-hand man to his queen, Rafe is a key player at a historic peace summit in New York City, which will unite the vampire nations against a common threat: the sycophants, who feed on humanity and kill indiscriminately. But Rafe’s fascination with a beautiful blond police detective may put everything at risk.
Detective Renee Holden has never worked a homicide quite like this. The victim has twin puncture wounds on his neck, and the only eyewitness swears she saw a vampire. Now’s definitely not the time to get distracted by a seductive stranger. But the suave, darkly austere, exotically handsome Rafe DaSilva is a hard man to deny, and as Renee falls under his spell, she also falls prey to his enemies. Desperate to protect her, Rafe lifts the veil on a shadow realm she can only visit—a world of intoxicating power, terrifying dangers, and forbidden pleasures.
Chain Reaction by Zoe Archer is 99c! Carrie says, “Zoe Archer’s science fiction romance feature hardboiled women warriors who are funny, tough, and sexy, and men who are their equals. Chain Reaction is one of the first science fiction romance novels I read, and it’s still so much fun!”
Elite 8th Wing pilot Celene Jur was taken captive after a mysterious device temporarily disabled her ship’s controls. Three solar months later, when Celene receives intel on the man who built the device, she’s ready to get the bastard. Only problem is, the higher-ups think her mission partner should be Nils Calder, a tech-head who can understand the disabling device. The attraction between them is electric, but Celene needs a soldier who can watch her back as she exacts her revenge.
Nils knows his department is nicknamed NerdWorks. Pilots like Celene think the closest tech geeks come to combat is all-night Nifalian chess tournaments. But behind the NerdWorks insignia on his sleeve Nils is an able fighter, ready to prove himself and gain Celene’s trust.
The desire between them is unexpected, but with the fate of thousands hanging in the balance, the hotshot pilot and the tech genius must succeed in their mission—no matter the cost.
Trailer Park Fae
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow is $2.99! This is an urban fantasy book where the hero, who’s half fae, must return home to sort out some issues. Many complaints come from the fact that readers were expecting a certain story: a fun, ass-kicking urban fantasy adventured. However, it turned out to be rather dark. Have you read this one?
New York Times bestselling author Lilith Saintcrow returns to dark fantasy with a new series where the fairy world inhabits diners, dive bars and trailer parks.
Jeremy Gallow is just another construction worker, and that’s the way he likes it. He’s left his past behind, but some things cannot be erased. Like the tattoos on his arms that transform into a weapon, or that he was once closer to the Queen of Summer than any half-human should be. Now the half-sidhe all in Summer once feared is dragged back into the world of enchantment, danger, and fickle fae – by a woman who looks uncannily like his dead wife. Her name is Robin, and her secrets are more than enough to get them both killed. A plague has come, the fullborn-fae are dying, and the dark answer to Summer’s Court is breaking loose.
Be afraid, for Unwinter is riding…
(I have just finished delivering a pizza to an apartment complex and am walking back to my car when I pass a little boy, no older then four, and his mother when this happens.)
Little Boy: “Bye, pizza lady. I love you!”
Me: *laughing* “I don’t think it’s me you love. It’s the pizza!”
The post A Perfectly Normal Reaction When It Comes To Pizza appeared first on Funny & True Stories - Not Always Right.
Excerpt from an almost completed fantasy novel:
"Another Carolingian stonehead?" said Bergen, sourly.
A reader writes:
Am I being unprofessional/unfriendly if I don’t engage in the “how are you/fine how are you/fine” interactions at my office?
It feels deeply inauthentic. “Fine” is never the best answer for how I’m feeling, and it feels painful to say when in actuality I’m going through a rough time. When I ask someone how they are, I actually want to know, so hearing “fine” is also frustrating.
I’m still within a probation period so either way I wouldn’t be sharing particularly intimate details at work. When I wanted to give my boss a heads up that I was having a rough time that day (so she wouldn’t be concerned if she noticed me being teary-eyed), I summarized a PG-13 situation as “an interpersonal issue with a loved one.” That to me still feels genuine even though I’m not giving any specifics.
Right now when someone asks “how are you?” I sometimes say fine (because I feel obligated) but I don’t always ask them back. (Which might come across as rude, I realize. I just hate asking such an inauthentic question.) Or I don’t respond back at all but just smile warmly.
Is this okay? I’m forming good relationships at work and people seem to like me. I have lots of conversations with my colleagues throughout each week where we’re actually getting to know each other. It’s just these walk-by greetings that I’m struggling with. If I do need to say something back, can you suggest some alternatives to “fine” that can still be neatly inserted into the brief window of that interaction? I’m actually overall really happy with my life and job right now so “fabulous,” “grateful,” and other positive terms make more sense to me than “fine” but I don’t know if these will seem weird.
Last thing: I’ve had social anxiety all my life (even now when I have an enormous and wonderful community) and these interactions make that flare up. Sometimes what I struggle with here is trying to figure out whether the person is actually asking me how I am (in the case of the people I work with with whom I also have extended genuine conversations with or with my boss who may be asking about the progress of what I’m working on) but the vague “how are you?” is difficult to interpret.
You’re struggling with this because “how are you?” means different things in different situations.
When the interaction is a quick one — like when you’re passing someone in the hall or greeting them in the morning — “how are you?” is a social ritual that means “I acknowledge you, fellow human!” The fact that people aren’t looking for long, genuine replies in that situation isn’t inauthentic; it’s that the words mean something different than they might in other contexts.
In situations that aren’t quite so quick — like at the start of a meeting with a colleague — “how are you?” is often more of a real question, but it’s still part social ritual. There’s room for more sharing here, but there are still boundaries that depend on the situation. When you’re dealing with colleagues, answers like “great, just came back from a vacation in Nepal” or “I’ll be pretty good as soon as I get out from under these board reports” are fine … but a long blow-by-blow report on your uncle’s health crisis or an emotional account of a fight you had with your significant other wouldn’t be. That’s not because people are being inauthentic, exactly; it’s because of the boundaries (and time limits!) we have at work.
And then there are the times when someone really does mean “tell me what’s going on in your life — I truly want to know how you’re doing.” These are usually in more emotionally intimate situations, like when you’re talking with a BFF or a close relative. But sometimes there’s a work version of this too, like when your coworker knows you’ve been having a rough time personally or your boss is checking in on how you’re handling a stressful workload. (Still, there are work boundaries here, particularly around time, and people don’t expect you to dive into all the details the way you might with a close friend.)
So back to your question: Are you being unprofessional/unfriendly if you don’t engage in the “how are you/fine how are you/fine” interactions with your colleagues? And yeah, possibly so. If your answer to “how are you?” when you pass someone in the hallway is “fine” without a “what about you?” following it, you’re probably coming across as a little rude or brusque to some people. That doesn’t mean everyone secretly hates you or anything like that, but it’s probably a thing that some people notice and wonder about. Again, this is just a social ritual of acknowledgement, and people expect you to play your part in that. That means responding with “good, and you?” or “hanging in there — how are you?” or whatever version of “fine/you?” you’re most comfortable with.
That is literally all this interaction requires. And remember, it’s not about people not being genuine; the words here mean something different. It’s about saying “I acknowledge you.” And you want people to feel acknowledged, right?
(But I would not go with the “grateful” response you contemplated in your letter. That feels almost leading, because it’s an unusual enough response that people are almost certainly going to feel obligated to ask what’s going on. They’re going to assume you just got saved from a mugging or narrowed avoided an avalanche or so forth — they’re not likely to hear it as “I feel general gratitude toward the universe for my happy life.”)
- djw has some theories about the latest Republican attack on Sound Transit.
- I endorse the latest Dan Savage gentrification screed 100%.
- PSRC gathering comment on their next round of transportation grants.
- Rob Johnson says HALA is working. Data here.
- Madison BRT work begins.
- Metro to increase park-and-ride enforcement.
- All the lawmakers that claimed to not understand how car tabs work (hey, Bob Hasegawa) must not have been paying attention when Senators killed an amendment ($) that would have used lower valuations.
- Now three bike share companies interested; regulatory framework could be ready next month.
- Mercer Island files injunction to stop Link construction; court strikes down earlier MI obstruction tactics.
- Not exactly peer-reviewed science, but an experiment suggests Key Arena has a slight transit advantage ($) over the Sodo arena site — even before Link serves Lower Queen Anne in 2035.
- How to measure East Link success.
- Half-price Link bike cages.
- Rich Smith is unhappy with Link signage.
- WSTC meeting June 22nd to organize some feedback on light rail service to West Seattle.
- Holy cow, Google Maps.
- New bus route in Spokane.
- The end of parking.
- Why are there NIMBYs?
This is an open thread.
(It is my birthday and my sister and her kids have come over to visit. A few months before this I came out to my family as “not a Christian” to my extremely religious family and they didn’t take it too well. I am opening up a gift my sister’s family got me.)
Me: *opens up gift to find a mug with a Bible verse on it* “Oh… thanks.” *makes a “this is awkward” face*
Mother: “What does it say?”
Me: “It’s a Bible verse.”
(I look into the bag and pull out two cards written by my eleven- and nine-year-old nieces. They of course have Bible verses on them.)
Me: “Oh.” *pulls out a case of root beer* “Thank you.”
(I don’t think they understand what respecting another person’s beliefs are. If someone doesn’t believe in the Bible don’t give them Bible verses as a d*** present!)
Although in this case, it’s a bit of vacation, too, since I started with taking Wednesday and Thursday off, worked Friday, and then took the weekend.
So this extended weekend was all about gardening — or, more accurately, gardening prep. We went two two nurseries, pulled out all our nice ceramic pots to outline the edge of the “patio”, and then went to a plant sale at the local high school.
(Our “patio” is a slab of concrete filling in the space made by an L in house construction. It’s amazing how much MORE patio-like it looks with the addition of a line of pretty pots (Ollie’s Discount Outlet; one’s a little rhomboid, one has a flaw in the glazing, but they cost for five of them what one would cost non-seconds) does to make it look like an intentional outdoor space. Add in the nice plastic-decking-wood deck chairs and table we got last year and it’s a proper patio.)
( Read more... )
(I used to work at this drugstore store before I left to have my child; note that the bathrooms have a lock on them to avoid theft. This take place almost two years after I’ve gone. I’ve stopped in to have lunch with a former coworker, and have my daughter in a stroller when a customer walks up to me.)
Customer: “You! I need to be let into the bathroom.”
Me: *confused* “Okay…”
Customer: “Well, aren’t you going to let me in?!”
Me: “I don’t work here.”
Customer: “Don’t lie to me. I’ve seen you here before!”
Me: “Well, I used to work here, but that was almost two years ago.”
Customer: “So, are you going to let me in?”
Me: “I can’t. I don’t know the code.”
Customer: “But you work here!”
Me: “Sir, no I don’t. I haven’t worked here in almost two years. They change the codes every six months.”
Customer: “You’re just being lazy and don’t want to work!”
Me: “Why would I be at work with my kid?”
Customer: “Don’t play games with me. Just open the d*** door!”
(At this point, an assistant manager who I know walks over.)
Assistant Manager: “Is there a problem?”
Customer: “Yes! This lazy b**** won’t do her d*** job and open the bathroom up!”
Assistant Manager: “She doesn’t work here, and you need to watch how you speak to people.”
Customer: “F*** you!”
Assistant Manager: “Now I have to ask you to leave.”
Customer: “YOU CAN’T KICK ME OUT!”
Assistant Manager: “Yeah, I can. The bathroom is for paying customers only.”
Customer: “Then I’ll buy something!”
Assistant Manager: “That ship has sailed. I suggest you go next door to the fast food restaurant.”
Customer: “I’LL SUE YOU!”
Me: “For what exactly? Badgering another customer because you have some delusion that we are keeping the bathroom all to ourselves?”
Customer:“You can’t talk to me like that! I DEMAND she be fired!”
Assistant Manager: “You want me to fire someone who doesn’t work here?”
Customer: “WHY WON’T ANY OF YOU DO YOUR JOBS?!” *runs out of the store, screaming about the bathroom*
The post I Don’t Work Here Does Not Work Here, Part 3 (Video) appeared first on Funny & True Stories - Not Always Right.
(My dad does maintenance at post offices over several counties (painting, electrical, machinery, etc). Dad would get a work order requesting a fix; he would drive over, check to see what needed to be done, go to a local hardware store, buy the part, and fix it right away. That’s how he USED to do it…)
Boss: *at meeting* “There are going to be some changes in how we handle work orders from now on. All purchased parts have to come out of a catalog from [Company the post office made a contract with]. We will no longer authorize employees to purchase parts from stores.”
Dad: “So, let me get this straight… You want me to drive to [City 50 miles away], look at the problem, drive 50 miles back here, order a part, wait a week for the part to arrive, drive back to the scene, fix it, then drive back here.”
Boss: “That’s right!”
Dad: “That’s going to be more expensive in the long run.”
Boss: “Not at all. We get a discount from the company.”
Dad: “This part right here costs $12 with our discount. I can buy it for $8 at [Hardware Store]. How does driving 200 miles on two round trips save us any money?”
Boss: “This is how you will do it from now on. I don’t want to hear any more about it.”
(And until the day he retired, Dad had to listen to upper management freak out about how the costs skyrocketed and discussing frantically where they could possibly cut costs. Every time Dad told them to just let him buy from a hardware store, he was told that their discount was what was saving them money.)
I need to change this.
Hopefully the lyrics fairy punches me in the face sometime today while I'm busy with work.
Edit: yes I am a dork-- all my icons need lyrics or they don't feel complete
Maybe Bubblegum Bitch by Marina and the Diamonds?
On the plus side, I already had the high key "I'm going to be homeless come October 1!" freakout to L and she talked me down (...so I might catastrophize a little. I've actually gotten much better at not doing it over the years, but this whole thing really trips my anxiety wires), so I didn't freak out too much last night when I transferred $$$ to my checking account in order to cover the check for 10% of the down payment I'll be writing when I go to sign the contract tomorrow.
It's still a tentative appointment at the moment (I will be confirming shortly - ETA: Confirmed! /eta), but yesterday afternoon I got a call from the mortgage broker, who was like, "Mike just told me you had an accepted offer. You didn't call and tell me!" (Mike is my lawyer. He works in the office next door to the mortgage broker.) and I said the realtor had told me not to until I had the signed contract, and she was like, "I like to get ahead of the game so you don't have to come in to sign stuff twice!" Especially since I have to take the LIRR to get there (the pitfalls of using people recced by family members who live on Long Island), which means leaving work at like 12:30 tomorrow. Eep!
Keep your fingers crossed, folks. This could be one step closer!
And since it's Wednesday, we've got books!
What I've just finished
Thick as Thieves by Megan Whelan Turner. I meant to reread the whole series before this but didn't get to it. I didn't really need to either, as it wasn't heavily dependent on previous books (...though I guess the Attolian's identity was? Though who else could it have been?). There was a lot more ersatz Assyrian poetry than I was expecting, ( spoilers )
So I definitely recommend it if you've enjoyed the series so far, and if you haven't read the whole series, I highly recommend it. The second book especially is AMAZING.
What I'm reading now
Aftermath: Empire's End by Chuck Wendig, since it came from the library. It's fine, I guess. It's mostly the events leading up to the battle of Jakku. We finally get more Mon Mothma POV and ( spoilers )
What I'm reading next
I have severe panic attacks, but am trying to learn to cope with them and to do some small things by myself. Stores trigger them badly, so I normally stay with my parents, but decide to try and see if I can manage a very quick stop by myself. I leave my parents in the car and go into the store, intending to simply cross the store, grab the item I need, pay, and go back to the car.
I get across the store and get the item I need but as I’m waiting to pay, I can feel an attack coming on. I manage to pay quickly and ask where the bathroom is. As soon as the assistant tells me, I hightail it to the bathroom and lock myself in one of the stalls, just before the attack hits fully. It’s the first time I’ve had an attack in a public place when I’ve been alone, so the panic part is even worse than normal, and I can’t do much except sit on the toilet and rock back and forth, crying.
Eventually, I manage to think that I should contact someone, but there’s no-one I can think of to contact, since I rarely feel able to talk to anyone about it. Then I remember my best friend has Skype, so I send him a message asking for help. He proceeds to talk me through the early stages of the attack, before bombarding me with a plethora of images of sloths (my favourite animal) to distract me until finally, the attack wears off and I manage to get home safely.
It’s terrifying having a panic attack, worse knowing you can’t talk to most people you know, but if you have one best friend who’s like a brother to you and will drop everything to Google sloth pictures when he should be working? You’re blessed.
One of the hottest new trends in weddings today is the cherry blossom wedding cake:
This elegant design not only looks beautiful, but is a cinch to make, too! In fact, here are a few tips to ensure your own cherry blossom cake looks as gorgeous as this.
First, always make sure your icing is niiiice and smooth.
It helps if you lick your fingers first, so they slide smoothly over the icing.
Next, mold or pipe your branches to gracefully scale the tiers of your cake in a natural, realistic fashion.
I know it's hard to believe but, yes, that's really just icing.
Remember, the flowers are the most important part!
It's usually best to leave off a wedding topper for this style, but if you do choose to have one, make sure it's simple, understated, and elegant.
Note the baker's restraint. Not a single balloon animal!
And finally, when all else fails, remember:
You can always jam a stick in it and charge $200.
(Yes, this was someone's actual wedding cake.)
(And they paid for it.)
Leanne W., Danielle L., Moxie, Holly J., and Robert V. did you know you can make a forty dollar cake look like a 500 dollar cake with just some cookies and sprinkles? Just imagine what you could charge if you jammed a stick in it!
And from my other blog, Epbot:
I'm probably going to try to nap again today. I feel like I might be able to, and my legs are aching in a way that tells me my body needs sleep.
I wrote 300+ words yesterday. It's not much, but it's more than I've managed most days this month.
I'm trying to come up with ideas for things to do while Scott's off work on Friday (and of things that need to be done then). It'll be my birthday, so I want some of it to be fun. Cordelia is currently planning to be out that evening. I think she's clear that we're not going to host movie night on my birthday. She may still ask, though, if none of the other girls can host. I just don't want to spend the evening stuck in our bedroom so that the girls can pretend we're not home. Spending those hours outside the house sounds like a kind of hell.
Cashier: “Would you like a bag?”
Customer: *with s***-eating grin* “What kind of question is that? Would you take a bag?”
Cashier: “If I wasn’t with a family of five with a stroller that has an undercarriage, or people who can carry a small bag of chips, a small bag of M&M’s, and a water bottle, then no, I wouldn’t need a bag.”
(My mom is a German teacher, and runs an exchange program. This means she goes to Germany for almost a month every two years, and has taught me German from birth. I have just turned six, and she takes me with her on that trip. Having no childcare overseas, she talks to colleagues and gets me temporarily put in a German kindergarten rather than have me be bored in the high school classes she runs. My German skills are good, which is great because English isn’t yet taught to kids that young in Germany, but I’m socially awkward.)
Kindergarten Teacher: “So, class, we have a special visitor joining us for a few weeks, from America!” *to me* “Can you say something in another language, dear?”
(English isn’t another language, as I speak English and German with no problems. So I wrack my brain, and come up with something I had heard at an assembly before my US school let out.)
Me: *sings children’s song… in Swahili*
Kindergarten Teacher: “I meant… ‘hello’ or something! In English!”
I got back to Michigan late on Monday after a wonderful week in France for Les Imaginales.
The festival was amazing. The whole town participates and helps to sponsor Les Imaginales, which felt like a cross between a book fair, convention, and renaissance festival. The town is gorgeous, the food is delicious, and there were dogs everywhere–even in restaurants or sitting under a table in the book tent 🙂
I’ve posted photos from the book fair on Flickr. I’ve got a bunch more to get through and post, but I’m doing them one batch at a time.
The best part, naturally, was getting to hang out with some wonderful author friends from America, and to meet new authors, fans, editors, and fellow geeks from France and elsewhere.
It was fascinating to see the differences between French and American conventions. The panels were very different. Instead of a free-for-all conversation, the moderator asked each author a question, one at a time. There wasn’t much interaction between the authors. It felt a bit more formal, but also made sure everyone got the chance to talk and contribute. You were also expected to talk a fair amount about your book and how it related to the topic. At home, I try to avoid doing that too much, but in France, it’s expected that you’ll talk about your writing and help the audience learn enough to decide whether or not they’re interested.
Which means the best time to be in the book tent is immediately after you’ve done a panel. (I didn’t figure that out for my first panel, and probably missed some sales since I didn’t immediately go to the tent afterward. D’oh!)
My thanks to everyone at the festival for inviting me, for their hard work organizing the event, and for making this such a delightful week.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Author: Beren (aka Tasha)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is canon compliant until the end of Order of the Phoenix and then goes AU. None of the HBP or Deathly Hallows plot will be used, or the Horcruxes for that matter since this story was planned before we knew the details about those things, and hence has it's own fanon. This includes birthdays and other information that have since been revealed on Pottermore and in further productions.
Summary: The threat of open war in on the horizon. The Order and the Ministry are of one accord and both know that where Harry Potter is, Voldemort will eventually be. Preparations are being made and this time the side of the light will not be caught unawares.
Summer classes, sabotage, revelations about Draco's father, teaching and the final showdown with Voldemort all await Harry and Draco in this exciting sequel to Gold Tinted Spectacles (LJ | AO3 | Wattpad).
Author's Notes: This is the second story in the Hecatemae universe. It starts up just after the end of the first instalment and I advice reading that one first so you understand the premise. Thanks go to my sister Sophie for the beta reading.
It has taken me 12 years to finally get around to finishing this, I very much hope everyone enjoys it.
Links to CH53: LJ | DW | AO3 | Wattpad
Link to other parts: LJ | DW | AO3 | Wattpad
New chapters will be posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.