And then at night, the full moon rose in a clear sky, and lit up the whole snow-shrouded landscape with a marvelous pale glow, silhouetting the trees and casting their sharp, dark shadows on the snow like bold black ink calligraphy on crisp pristine paper. Tonight at sunset, the sky was still clear, and the hidden moon, just below the horizon, painted everything in Maxfield Parrish colors. The full moon also means we've moved from the phase of Sleet to the phase of Bluster on my EcoCalendar, and that always makes me feel relieved, even though nothing has changed in the frozen wastes outside.
Today I had therapy plus a haircut and coloring, which all together takes about two hours. I'm on very friendly terms with my stylist now, so we exchanged tales of the craziness of both our families at this time in our lives. We both are the Sane Ones in our particular constellations of madness--or at least we think we are, and assure each other of this in a companionable folie a deux. However, three hours of talking is a fork ton of extroverting, and made me feel as if I'd been working hard even though I was just sitting around!
I Heard a Bird Sing
by Oliver Herford
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
February doesn't rhyme with much of anything, but it's the same principle. And the birds are starting to chirp more cheerily as they flock to the bird feeder.
I still like the new job.
The not-hating my job (and the time to sleep, and the walking forty minutes a day) seems to have reduced my stress levels a lot, and I'm not writing. I'm not even really playing video games. I'm knitting and watching TV and reading, and I'm not unhappy, but apparently I have dived hard into sources of relaxation that require me to make absolutely no choices whatsoever.
(I have asked around and apparently this is kind of a normal reaction having a source of stress suddenly removed, but no lie that it's been a bit weird.)
I'm hoping it goes away soon, and in the meantime reminding myself that I am having a good time even though I'm not writing.
(I sound cool with it. I mostly am cool with it. This is still totally the kind of thing that I'm going to bring up in therapy.)
I watched The Umbrella Academy, and I am very engaged with it. It does something that is not-quite a superhero narrative pretty much the same way that The Wire does something that is not-quite a police show, and has the added detail of (almost) every single character charging headlong into deeply deeply understandable but horribly flawed choices.
(Plus it has a fantastic soundtrack.)
Also I'm... maybe eighty-three percent sure that the one thing that I absolutely didn't expect, that was a genuine surprise, was telegraphed in a kind of quiet in-joke way in the first episode, and I love that.
I also watched Weird City, and that was an entirely different thing, but still a lot of fun. And I found a horror author who wrote a short story that I like so much that I promptly went to buy his collection from Amazon, which is an option I generally skip if I can do anything else.
Speaking of horror, I sat down and watched Velvet Buzzsaw. It's interesting - the idea of horror spreading that way is fairly rare. It's not unique - you can see similar stuff in The Ring and In The Mouth of Madness and Smiley - but it's rare enough that that I don't really have a vocabulary for it yet. I'll think about it some more and maybe come back to it.
I inked up the fountain pen that I bought with the gift card from my sister - the Monteverde Invincia Nebula. This thing is a brick - everything is steel and brass and glass, everything screws firmly together instead of snapping into place. It weighs nearly three times as much as my Lamy Safari, and while it's not uncomfortable to write with, I definitely notice it.
I am going to get SO MUCH done!†
Here, let's try this markdown list thing again, for accountability:
- read at least one (1) library book††
- write at least five hundred (500) words of a wip
- finish the post-septic-tank-issues bathroom clean
- tidy the animals and dolls
- sew my cloak pockets finally! and replace the buttons, and do cutting for next sewing project
- do one (1) load of laundry
- finish two (2) knitting projects†††
- reorganize my desk
- be ready to start nf book weeding
- catch up on podcasts††††
- write up a dreamwidth post with actual substance
That's totally reasonable, right? Right!
My options are:
Words Are My Matter by Ursula Le Guin
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older
†††they're both less than 30 minutes from done, so it's not as ambitious at it sounds - it's just what's left is the annoying fiddly bits and I keep putting it off
††††I have seven podcasts I'm behind on, and they're all at exactly nine episodes, so that's only about 63 hours, perfectly doable!
†††††Apparently DW markdown does not like footnotes at all. or polls.
An account of the years of the Tolkien calendars, as told by the son who was five-years-old at the time. And frequently featured as a hobbit. Sketches, reference shots, final work, with commentary all along.
It may be the case that most or all people with Hansen's Disease hate the term "leper" and prefer not to be called that. I'm more than happy to oblige! And while the protagonist can get away with it due to also having the disease, the readers of this book need to be told the preferred usage.
But that doesn't make me thrilled to suddenly see a paean to Person First Language in the middle of this book, one which was then reiterated in the afterword. Instead of "put the person first!" nonsense I would have told our main character, when she complained that it doesn't matter which word you use, that the terms "leper" and, to a lesser extent, "leprosy" have been tied down with so much stigma and figurative baggage that it's basically impossible to use them in a literal, non-pejorative sense and that, also, whether she understood it or not it wasn't a very good idea to go around saying rude and offensive things when you know other people can't stand it.
She brought an amiable apprentice/helper, and installed a new plug in the bathroom after deciding it couldn't go where we thought it should because pipe (???) (old house wtf-ery, not incompetence on her part) soit got installed over an shelf and it is lovely and I have to patch and repaint the holes and that is fine.
The new outlets in the kitchen are proving to be far more exasperation than anyone expected, and I should congratulate Al for only taking a weekend for moving the one on the low wall. The stove and cabinets have to be pulled away from the wall (glad I didn't screw anything in yet!) and many holes prepared... It'll be great when it's done - there will be plugs everywhere, and also LIGHT! I have been cooking for the last 20 years in my own shadow, I had to turn on the bathroom light to get any light on the stove, now there will be a FAN and TWO LIGHTS and also MOAR LIGHT under the upper cabinets and I am delirious with anticipation.
I'm still feeling aimless and exasperated, but much less than recently.
Should only be another 15K-20K to the end. *exhales*
Now I just need to not get tangled up in everything. Also, the lines of events need to be well laid out. And probably a few hanging sentences need completing.
It's been kind of quiet this morning. Not much happening, although I've picked up a couple of tickets - not many. And really easy ones. I did one manual upload (they really should automate that, I'm kind of surprised that they haven't). One of the issues here is that many of the users have a history and if you don't know the history then the request may not make sense. Oh, and there's a whole series of requests to unlock Purchase Orders/Invoices/Work Orders that have been locked. For some reason or another.
The cleanse is going pretty well. I had a slice of raisin toast yesterday (no butter) and the gluten seemed fine. However, there was also a morning tea for a couple of guys who'd worked for the company for 40+ years (one joined when he was 16) and so I figured I'd risk a piece of cake.
Within 30 minutes I had a headache and was feeling sleepy. So, uh, it could have been the chocolate, the sugar, the cream, or any additives that went into the cake. But it probably wasn't the gluten. Yay?
Today is back to a regular cleanse day, and tomorrow is…dairy I think. I shall have milk tea in the morning (still no coffee), and maybe take some cheese snacks to work. It would be nice to have a dairy dessert after dinner, but I don't know if I'll have the space.
running a conference is just terrible
especially when your boss is sick with the flu!
I left the apartment at 6am, less than 15 min drive to the weirdest conference center/hotel ever. I left at 6:15 in the evening
I am so tired.
I walked and fed the dog and I'm doing nothing but eating ice cream and watching tv shows and maybe maybe crocheting if I feel like it
And we get to do it again for another two days
only upside is the incredible incredible food that I went back for a full plate of seconds because it's incredible. most delicious chicken I've had in a while and the dessert was bread budding with custard and I just ate a ton of the custard and also some kind of lemon bar and a chocolate raspeberry tart cheesecake situation. will update on tomorrow's food
A number of things I might say about the performance would merely feel redundant after the review, so I'll just add here that the remarkable thing about attending a concert in San Jose in the company of one of the local Master Gardeners (a public education job, basically) is how many Master Gardeners attend chamber music concerts in San Jose. I think she knew more people there than I did.
And it was appropriate they be there, for the Dovers grew a luxurious garden of music.
1. Gave blood on my (slightly extended, because why not) lunch break. My hematocrit was 14.7, which I think is the highest I have ever known it. I guess the iron supplements are working? :)
2. Attempted to give one of my clients retirement planning advice when I am not a retirement planner, but she seemed to expect me to fill the role. I hope I convinced her to talk to an actual financial adviser. *crosses fingers*
3. Had my first clients who got well and truly screwed by the TCJA (aka Trump's goddamn stupid tax changes), and had to inform them of their bill. They also got screwed over by our new "simple and transparent" pricing structure, but I was at least able to mitigate a bunch of that. Still, that was not fun. :(
Two more hours to kill before I can go home.
Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, by Jean Guerrero. One World, 2018
Jean Guerrero had a hard childhood. Her mother, a Puerto Rican physician working in San Diego, kicked her father out when Guerrero was 6- for understandable reasons. Her mother’s parents, who at times were the children’s caregivers, had some very odd ideas about child rearing. Her father, Marco Antonio Guerrero, was not around much, and when he was, he wasn’t much of a parent. Having mental illness but unwilling to acknowledge that, he self-medicated with, well, pretty much every drug that exists and huge amounts of alcohol.
The author majored in journalism and became a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, based in Mexico City. She used this situation to dig into her father’s culture and past. Turned out his family had a number of shamans in it, ending up in a sort of Castaneda territory. His parents and siblings, though, started a meat packing business that was making decent money with Marc Antonio running it. His half-sister edged him out, though, and that is when his problems really started, a downward spiral that included a tin foil hat along with the self-medicating. A voracious reader, he was a genius about repairing and creating things but couldn’t keep a job.
There is more than one crux in the story; the physical border between the US and Mexico, the border between mysticism and mental illness. The story wanders around in time and place, and I found this confusing in places. There is some repetition. There were sections that were so fascinating that I couldn’t put the book down, and other places I really wanted to skim or give up. Four stars out of five.
Multiple news sources are covering that the new (and as yet unseen) Captain Marvel movie is being review-bombed by right wing trolls. The amount of coverage of this has itself increased just in the past few hours but this link seems to be one of the first articles on it: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2019/02/19/
I’d actually thought about writing about how the alt-right campaign against the film had started to warm up the other day after seeing our old-pal Vox Day jump on the bandwagon (archive link)…but didn’t because I’m lazy and/or got distracted. What I can offer instead of an amazingly insightful prediction that obnoxious misogynists are about to be misogynistic obnoxiously is some graphs!
I grabbed the review data from Rotten Tomatoes so that I can show graphically the influx of reviews. Unfortunately, I would have liked to show another film for comparison but it’s hard to get a like for like. The nearest equivalent with a similar release date and no pre-screening reviews yet is Disney’s live action version of Dumbo. That has only one page of user reviews/comments so far, as opposed to Captain Marvel’s six pages but I don’t think it is a like-for-like in terms of organic interest.
Here’s the first graph for Captain Marvel. It’s a running total of comments over time. It’s a longgggg time axis because the first comment is from 2015! Rotten Tomatoes (and similar sites) create entries for movies that have been announced even before production begins.
Interest (mainly positive but some negative) starts picking up from last July and subsequent trailers lead to more comments (again some positive and some negative). Some of the coverage of this troll attack is focused on the absurdity of people rating films that haven’t been seen yet but at this point, it is technically Rotten Tomatoes allowing people to say whether they are “Not interested” or “Want to see it”. Some of the comments are literally spam and some of the earlier comments are anti-Disney etc.
The next graph zooms in to the last few months:
There’s a spike of comments in February. Obviously some of that is an inevitable increase as the release date gets closer but the more overt hate comments really ramp up. The worst include comments about the lead actress (Brie Larson) being hit by a bus. The length of the comments also increase in the form of what are best called rants:
“Why Marvel decided to cast a very vocal racist and sexist aimed at white males, I’ll never know. If Robert Downey Jr. started saying that he didn’t care about the opinions of 40 year old white chicks and he doesn’t want to be interviewed by a white woman as its not inclusive enough, people would lose their minds. His career would be over, branded a racist and sexist, attacked in the media and his legacy tarnished. As a white male, I will not be supporting this or any other movie that stars Brie Larson. They say that Captain Marvel will be the new face of the MCU? As the villain because she certainly isn’t a her-o. “
How many is it though? Well, one comment anticipating somebody dying in a bus accident is one too many but for a sense of scale it’s about 14 comments over the past 10 days that are of the ‘arrghh SJWs! Feminazi!’ style crap. It’s not a huge number and the spike shown above is inflated by other people querying why there are so many anti comments for a film nobody has seen yet.
It’s a reasonable assumption that this is just the start though.
Summary: Adrien's attitude takes a turn for the worse when Ladybug reveals her identity to the wrong side of him. (Inspired by this post by thescuttlebugg.)
Warnings: No warnings apply
Relationships: Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir/Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug
Characters: Adrien Agreste | Chat Noir, Marinette Dupain-Cheng | Ladybug, Plagg, Tom Dupain, Nino Lahiffe, Alya Césaire
Other Tags: Background Relationships, Identity Porn, Identity Reveal, Angst, Humor, Angst with a Happy Ending, That one post by thescuttlebugg, Tumblr Prompt
Read the fic: On Dreamwidth | On AO3
The British-Irish dialect quiz.
Researchers create first evidence-based map of elephant populations in Asia.
How a trans soldier took on the jail that denied her medication -- and won.
Media silence as gang-rape survivor from northern Iraq wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
Introverts don't hate people -- they hate shallow socializing.
(Meanwhile fucking Agents of Shield got 'rare early seventh-season renewal for the 2019-2020 broadcast season — before its sixth season even aired.' Because Disney owns ABC.) ("So what is the future of Marvel on TV? In a word: Disney.")
(already saw people on reddit and other places saying S1 was only good because of Tennant and S2 was horrible. They can fuck all the way off.)
At this rate I may have to just make my peace with only kudos-ing, though, boo. On the plus side I now have a giant Hogwarts to look at everyday and it's glorious and I love it to pieces. And I have at least been able to slowly hunt and peck out one handing babble over the two delightful gifts I received. Which is good, because they're amaazing hee
We'll Be Dating To the End of Time (1934 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Thirteenth Doctor/Yasmin Khan
Characters: Thirteenth Doctor, Yasmin Khan
Additional Tags: Humor, human-alien relations, Time Travel, Dating, The Doctor is hopeless at romance
Summary: The Doctor tries taking Yaz on some nice, calm, normal dates. It goes about exactly as well as you'd imagine.
Immoral Support (420 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Hour (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Bel Rowley/Lix Storm
Characters: Bel Rowley, Lix Storm
Additional Tags: Ficlet
Summary: Bel winds up where she always does after a bad day; in the safest place she knows...
Question: Out of all the men in Buffy's life who do you think had the hardest time realizing that Buffy was a fully capable woman who did not need saving? What effect does this have on her relationship with men?
(Rutabaga is veering towards illness and so I'm v. worried that I'm going to be spending the rest of februrary break doing child care instead of catching up on errands and creative projects.)
- Do you make up a dinner plan for the coming week?
Sometimes. It depends on how busy we are. We usually do a shop at the weekend to prep for the week but more often than we’d like, it involves at least one pizza night, one “yes, you can eat PB&Js in front of the television” night and one “cannot be arsed to cook, TO THE CHIPPY!” night.
- Do you make up a shopping list and stick to it when shopping?
Yes. I have problems concentrating in supermarkets. I’m not sure why. I’ve tried to do the “once up and down every aisle” technique that works for the bloke, but it does not work for me, and I end up getting distracted trying to work out whether a “deal” is actually a savings on a per-unit basis or not, or deciding if I would like to try a new flavour of herb tea, or mourning the out-of-stock status of the kriek lambic, or just pondering my shoes because it is all too much. Lists help me to focus.
- What is one thing that you always buy, but never put down on a list?
If it’s not on the list, it does not get bought. Even if it’s milk or bread or something I literally buy every week.
- Is there anything that you always think you are out of and come home with it to discover you already have a year’s supply on hand?
The 17 tins of tomatoes in our pantry speak for themselves.
- Do you get your groceries delivered?
The occasions on which I have groceries delivered are (1) When the bloke is going to be away for at least five days and (2) Special occasions, like the bloke’s birthday last weekend when I ordered a vast quantity of cheese and wine for our trip to Wales. Otherwise, not on a regular basis, no.
( Original Work: single non-superheroes rec )
( Original Work: Superheroes )
( Marvel: Agent Carter )
( Marvel: Spider-people )
( Marvel: Defenders )
( Marvel: Young Avengers )
I have also written one treat for this exchange, guess the fic!
Go here: https://fandomtrumpshate.dreamwidth.
I suppose it was inevitable: I discovered a that I am listed as a contributor to a book that I was not aware existed. It’s a 2009 book from the National Geographic Society called The Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, credited to Howard Schneider, and for which I am listed as contributing essays. And when it was brought to my attention, I was all, “I did what now?” I had no memory of contributing to this book at all.
Mind you, I don’t think the National Geographic Society was trying to pull a fast one. The far more likely explanation is that I did contributed to the book and then, over the course of a decade, I had simply forgotten anything about it. And indeed, that was the explanation — a quick look through my email archives from the time unearthed not only the correspondence trail between me an an editor at NatGeo, but also the essays in question, about constellations, telescopes and UFOs (and all the things that are not them).
These essays were a throwback to a time where I was writing a lot more non-fiction than I do now, and also taking freelance writing assignments from folks for quick pieces on, well, just about anything. It wasn’t entirely out of my remit to write articles on astronomy, since by that time I had written an entire book on the subject and it had even gone into a second printing. Which may be why I don’t remember too much about these pieces; I could pretty much write them without effort.
In any event it’s nice to have this book back in my memory banks. Amazon informs me that there is a second edition of the book coming out in exactly a month; it has a new primary author, who has no doubt updated the book from stem to stern. I wonder if what I contributed will make the cut ten years on. I guess we’ll find out. And now I wonder what other books are out there that I’ve forgotten I was a part of.
GUEST ANNOUNCEMENT TIME! ✨ Say hello to Catherine Lundoff, another one of our FABULOUS Multiverse guests this year!
Lundoff is an award-winning writer, editor and publisher from Minneapolis where she lives with her wife, bookbinder Jana Pullman, and the cats who own them. She is the author of over 100 published short stories and essays. Her books include Silver Moon, Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories and, as editor, the fantastical pirate fiction anthology, Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). In addition, she is the publisher at Queen of Swords Press, a genre fiction publisher specializing in fiction from out of this world. Websites: http://
sciatrix: Biology friending meme?
It occurs to me that I have an awful lot of subscribers and friends who have varying interests and expertises in biology, psychology, and all sorts of related topics and ideas. 'Related' being read broadly here--if it touches on natural or social sciences and you want to share, please do.
Made the mistake of accidentally kicking off my own exclusionist trauma issues on a Metafilter post, and will be taking a break from there (have locked myself out of my account for the rest of the week). I am reminded why I tend to view lesbians with guarded suspicion until they demonstrate that they don't hold with the TERFy and SWERFy corners of queerpolitik, and regret bringing up both that particular article and tensions in queer-female-and-adjacent communities more generally.
No, seriously, the word lesbophobia is a dog whistle, and doubling down on it when I go "are you--are you intending to communicate this?" and insisting I'm speaking in bad faith is, ah. Fun.
Also today, I had a horrifically-ill student attempt to isolate his own DNA with a cheek rinse and fill it with so much phlegm that I couldn't figure out what the hell he was doing wrong when he showed me his sample. I did not, however, find this out before that student helpfully tried to dip a micropipette with no fucking tip into his cup of filthy sick spit-water and draw up a milliliter of fluid, and then get confused when the tip didn't fit on the micropipette afterwards. I think I got it dried out enough not to bleed everywhere, but I'm not sure. I definitely went back and splashed ethanol all over that sucker after he left.
I can only hope he had the same nasty bug I did a few weeks ago, so maybe I can fight it off before he infects everyone else.
The checkpoint at 7th Street and 280 is staffed by San Jose Police. J barriers are deployed 300 yards south of the point. There is separate access for pedestrian, light car, and truck traffic. Bollards are installed for the first two. Two concrete trucks apparently loaded with dried concrete are being used as control gates for the truck entry. The checkpoint is well lit, camera equipped, has observation posts - at least one sniper equipped - and is reinforced with two bunkers on either street corner. Police are armed with patrol rifles in slings and what appear to be distraction devices, as well as conventional police weapons.
The Green Zone is patrolled heavily by foot patrols consisting of three to five San Jose Police officers. In each patrol, one is rifle armed, one is carrying a radio, and at least one is unarmed. It appears the foot patrols are partly made up of trainees. I estimate at least seven patrols in motion at all times. They appear to focus on pedestrians carrying parcels.
I observed one bicycle patrol in the Convention Center area, two officers on bicycles conventionally equipped.
I saw at least two sniper-observer posts, one on the two-three corner of the Fairmont Hotel and one on the one-two corner of the Marriott.
A secondary control zone surrounded the office building on Main Street taken over by Homeland. This secondary control zone was three hundred yards radius and included the buildings on all sides. Access to these buildings was strictly controlled and a team of six Homeland officers in full gear was patrolling the perimeter with one attack dog. The spaces between the buildings, except for the approach to the lobby and the loading dock, were fenced off with chain link to create a center no man's land filled with concertina wire, at least ten yards wide and on the south approach, thirty yards wide.
The truck loading dock access was controlled by a newly built concrete bunker, a L shape control line made of portable Rain For Rent containers that appeared filled with water, and two VM-150 armored personnel carriers fitted with heavy machine guns. This was the only location at which I observed soldiers, in US army digital camouflage fatigues with unit patches I did not recognize. At least eight soldiers were present at all times. I noted what appeared to be a heavy machine gun on a tripod mount, comparing this to our references I now know it is a fully automatic grenade launcher loaded with a belt of anti-tank grenades. The Rain For Rent containers were connected with water piping and a fire truck in yellow California OES livery was parked adjacent, hooked up with heavy rubber piping directly to one of the containers. The overhead monitor nozzle was under the control of a soldier as if it were a machine gun. No firefighters appeared to be present. Signage warned that only authorized vehicles and persons were allowed to approach within 100 yards and that deadly force was authorized.
The main pedestrian entry to the Homeland building was controlled by an outer perimeter of San Jose police officers. A maze of waiting line made of portable crowd control barrier linked with barbed wire was the only point of entry. One officer would stand next to a table while four were in a nearby bunker. Any items carried had to be spread out on the table for inspection. This duty changed every five minutes.
I observed three people flash a badge at the officer at the table and proceed inside without any further search. All three were able to activate a card reader at the actual building entry. One was carrying what appeared to be a duffel or gym bag.
The steps to the lobby were protected by zig-zag J barrier laid directly on the steps, in some places sandbagged underneath so that they would fit. A number of them were off level due to poor installation. They would stop a car or light truck but would not stop a bulldozer or armored vehicle.
A single bunker with a hardpoint mounted belt fed heavy machine gun with several ammo boxes pre-linked together was on the north side of the lobby entry. It was staffed by two Homeland officers, equipped as standard, but they were not wearing their helmets and were inattentive to duty.
On entry to the lobby area, more crowd control barrier separated an access to the left for authorized personnel from a waiting area equipped with a number of waiting benches. These benches were all made of concrete and aligned so that they are visible to the receptionist and a guard.
The reception and guard area is separated from the lobby by what appears to be at least 5/8" of either transparent polycarbonate or Lexan. However it was not clear if any armoring had been added to the desk or walls, which appeared to be from original construction.
Communication with the receptionist was through a surface mount intercom only. There were no access holes for paperwork or other items. Any documents had to be held up to the 'glass,' and a powerful light was mounted within to light up a square marked in tape for a visitor to hold up their documents to.
The guard had two buttons under their right hand, one protected by a button cover. Neither was labeled. The guard was extremely alert and attentive at all times, wearing a radio headset, and talking to another location constantly. The guard had no way to interact with anyone in the lobby area.
I would estimate at least six hundred cameras were deployed in and around the exterior of the Homeland building alone. At least two on each corner were PTZ or Pan Tilt Zoom and were in constant motion. They were from a variety of manufacturers but the majority were Pelcos.
The non secure conference room was of ordinary commercial construction and contained a transparent glass table on a metal stand, four chairs, and three wall mounted alarm pull stations labeled FIRE (red) THREAT (blue) ATTACK (green) in that order. I saw this same three switch combination behind the receptionist's desk and on the exterior wall of the loading dock entry.
The secure entry door was a mantrap. A standard badge controlled door led to a second door and at least two doors beyond that. One wall of the mantrap had a transparent window running along the south wall, but it was mirrored.
While we were present, there was a minor security incident where a man in a business suit presented his badge to the first reader, was allowed inside, and red lights lit on either side of the door. This caused an immediate heightening of alert from all Homeland staff present. About a minute later, the door opened and the man in the business suit could be seen talking to a Homeland officer in full battle gear. The Homeland officer took the badge and escorted him to wait in the lobby for a few minutes, where a working badge was brought out to him, and he used the new badge to enter without further incident.
... [report continues for seven additional pages] ...
Good thing that I discovered I could knit while watching cartoons without getting too distracted.
And while I'm at it, I've just finished watching Hilda, time to catch up on Dragon Prince s2! (...uh. Of course I get a crush on "Crow Master". How predictable.)
The next three days at work are going to be harrowing as the lab is getting audited... but for a change I'm not too worried about it. Maybe I burned all my anxiety quota last week with the eval and last weekend with my grandma? or maybe all the knitting is really good on the nerves.
(Too bad while I'm knitting and watching cartoons I'm still not writing nor drawing. Well. Can't have it all?)
everyone: herbs and spicesI tried to let it go, to appreciate the shitpost for what it was, or even just to ponder how interesting it is that both consonants at the beginning of spices are understood to be part of the syllable onset even to people who don't use words like "onset" for that (I've been doing lots of phonology reading today; it probably shows).
america: 'erbs and spices
???: herbs and 'ices
the search for the missing nation
But I couldn't. I just coulnd't get over how annoyed I was at one little thing.
I started a screed.
I know this is just a joke but I also just have to say that it's not only America who says "erbs"; the word was originally erb and didn't have an h at all.
Overcorrecting pedants added the h in the 1400s to make the English word look like the Latin word it derived from, but the h was silent for everyone until it changed in Britain in the 1800s (thus, after American English had diverged from British English) as the result of more pedantry (thanks to silveradept, I'd also just read this morning about how many grammar rules are bullshit). And they're a specific, infuriating (to me) kind of bullshit, which I'll get to in a minute.
But before that, I thought of Eddie Izzard's line from Dress to Kill where he says to an American audience "you say 'erbs' and we say 'herbs.' Because there's a fucking h in it."
And the audience laughed because Americans have what Lynne Murphy calls American Verbal Inferiority Complex (a fact that suits the British superiority complex just fine!).
But I'm like, no! I will not accept this from a country where they have to say an historian because they don't say that h at all! (Yes I know not ever Brit says this, but not every American drops the h in herbs either, so this is where generalization gets you.)
The more I think about this, the more it bugs me that a few random posh white dudes (a very few! specific people with names we know!) came up with all these stupid rules. To quote from the link above: some of these "grammar rules that were entirely dreamt up in an age of moral prescriptivism, reflecting nothing of historical or literary usage, to encourage the poor English language to be more like an entirely different (and entirely dead) language, namely Latin?"
The random posh white dudes decreed that English should be more like Latin because they'd been taught that Latin was "pure" and thus superior to English. And they got their own way. (Maybe all of English has an inferiority complex when it comes to things like Latin.)
This educational snobbery and classism went a long way to making English the inconsistent, baffling mess it is now. (It wouldn't have been in a fantastic state anyway, with the influx of French and Latin and then the Great Vowel Shift ensuring nothing was spelled like it sounded any more. But still, this
It didn't have to be this way. Around the same time as these Latin-lovers, there was a movement for another kind of "purity," to go back to the Germanic roots of the English language, as a backlash against the huge numbers of French and Latin words that'd entered the language in the Middle English period (up until 1500-ish). Wikipedia says "Some tried either to resurrect older English words, such as gleeman for musician, inwit for conscience, and yblent for confused, or to make new words from Germanic roots, e.g. endsay for conclusion, yeartide for anniversary, foresayer for prophet."
To read something like "Uncleftish Beholdings," which is an explanation of atomic theory written in Germanic words, feels very odd. The Germanic words English has retained are mostly very "ordinary," everyday things, whereas our scientific vocabulary is especially full of Latin and Greek, so we're not used to what feel like "base" words being used to express technical or intellectual concepts.
I wrote all this (more or less, and without most of the links, though I included the Uncleftish Beholdings one because if you mention Germanic reconstructions for English, someone is bound to bring it up (and indeed someone did, who hadn't seen it mentioned just above the toot he was replying to)) before I went to work. I did work, I came home, had lunch, got ready to go to uni...and just before I left, I saw a screenshot of a startingly relevant tweet, from @paulcoxon: "Hello my name is Paul, I have a PhD in physics and thanks to a random brain freeze forgot the word for photon so had to call it a 'shiny crumb' in front of my colleagues."
Yes, you can have a physics Ph.D. and still forget a basic word like "photon." And when you do, what comes to your mind might be a Germanic construction like shiny crumb. (I knew "shine" came from Old English because I remembered seeing the verb; and I looked up "crumb" too which also comes from an OE word). I absolutely love "shiny crumb" and I wish to nominate it for the new Germanic alternative for our scientific vocabulary.
So yeah. I am so ill-suited to shitposts that I couldn't leave one alone. I had to take "herbs" and run with it until I ended up at shiny crumbs... via inkhorn terms, Anglish, snobbery and inferiority complexes. I hope you enjoyed the journey.
Or, as since journey's a nasty foreign word, maybe trip.
I don't have anything interesting to share or whatnot, but I'm doing pretty okay, more or less. Trying to keep up a decent amount of work and not much else beyond that.
Chocolate Box gifts came in a few days ago! I got a very sweet gen HP/MCU crossover piece for my gift. I also got an unexpected treat, which is Chess spies IN SPACE, which is the last thing I ever would have expected and one of the greatest Chess fics I have ever read.
I defaulted on my assignment, because the stars were not just not in alignment but horribly out of whack, but I managed a couple of treats, and I'm pretty happy with them, so there's that; I will post after reveals in a couple days. Bast is also gonna be helping me trying to work on my writing a bit for the next couple of months in a few ways, which... I am trying not to feel bad about dragging them into helping me, but also really hopeful for maybe getting something that works.
And that's all I got; it is shower and store time now, but hopefully I can try and pull myself to reading/updating more regularly again. ♥
Yeah. There's a lot of not-work things grabbing my attention while I'm at work, and though there's no official policy against this and nobody minds what we do in our offices or at the information desk as long as work gets done, I was developing a bit of a phone problem.
As in, checking it every minute or so. Which is too much. I looked at apps to fix this (I tried willpower, it didn't work), and there's a bunch that track your usage and lock you out of your phone or shut down your internet and that's... definitely a very effective solution.
But then I found Forest.
And it's perfect for me! It's super flexible: you plant a tree, and give it 10-120 minutes to grow. The longer the growing time, the bigger the tree gets. And if you interrupt its growth by using Forbidden Apps (the paid version has a whitelist) the tree withers and dies. NOOO. How could I kill a struggling little sprout? I couldn't.
It has improved my habits enormously and I've only had it for five days. And I've already unlocked two new types of tree and my forest (you can see your daily, weekly and monthly collection of trees) is looking quite verdant. Not a single withered tree in sight!
Bonus: it comes with a Chrome extension you can sync to your account, so you get extra trees for avoiding stuff online on your computer as well as on your phone! :D
In fact, I'd better go plant a tree right now, because I am getting distracted by Forbidden Sites YouTube and Twitter when I should be focusing on my Google docs and Gmail.
Here in NYC it feels like game nights/board game afternoons are the golf of the programming class. It's kind of assumed that you can play socially, there are gaming circles that also end up serving as industry networking. And you can invite a coworker to a game night and they'll understand that it's social, and not a date, and it's ok if they play really badly as long as they show good sportsmanship.
Is it like this in other cities too?
Edited to add: By the way, I am someone who loves a few board/card games and doesn't love most of them and is willing to play many of them if that's what everyone else in a group of visitors wants to do, and I believe I recognize many of their virtues and their downsides. What I'm specifically curious about is what other cities have this same kind of scene.
Lips too Chilled by Matsuo Basho
A lovely selection of Basho's poetry. Not every poem is a winner, but I love how clear and sharp they all are, how a few short lines reveal an entire world of information.
In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle
Unicorns show up on a farmer's property in Calabria and things get wacky. This is a short, well-written story I didn't connect to at all. It was fine, but not for me.
Count Zero by William Gibson
I love Gibson's prose. Not just the sometimes sharp and sometimes lush, but always efficient way he has of describing things, but also lines like: "And, for an instant, she stared directly into those soft blue eyes and knew, with an instinctive mammalian certainty, that the exceedingly rich were no longer even remotely human." -p20
Another thing I love about the Sprawl Trilogy so far is that the depiction of cyberspace is so hilariously dated that it basically becomes techno fantasy. Gods in the machine & the fantasy VR internet & etc. All this geopolitical worldbuilding is fun and probably made sense in the 80s, and jacking into the matrix to access a fantasy landscape is such a delightful image. Fantasy tech.
(fantasy shonen manga)
D.Gray-man (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 5: Includes Vols. 13, 14 & 15 by Katsura Hoshino
In the previous volume the art got easier to understand, but in this volume it got so busy I find it visually confusing again. Not every background needs to be dark, streaky lines! The backstory and dark secrets implied sound intriguing but it's so slow getting to them that it feels like nothing every happens, and the black order is a toxic mess, but they escaped the ark and saved some people and went quickly on to a new bad guy and many more deaths in yet another curb stomp battle. Sigh.
(Young adult, Western)
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
The prose had a strong enough voice that I was able to read the whole thing even though it's written in first person present tense (which I usually find as annoying as the sound of metals scraping together), though the narrative voice and dialogue choices with all the "Yer" and "I's" were also sometimes really annoying. Nonetheless, perfectly generic Western tale, but for teens. I like the tropes of Westerns well enough so that's what carried me through, even though the story had an air to it that was just too teenage for me to enjoy, even though the events within are basically indistinguishable from Westerns aimed at adults (which means, of course, that it's perfectly aimed at its target audience). Hookers and saloons and gunfights over gambling and legendary patches of golds and outlaws & etc.
The main character, Kate Thompson, is fine and all, with her dressing up as a boy to ride out and get vengeance thing, but I can't say I ever emotionally connected. There's an Apache character, Liluye, that joins the group as a scout, and I could tell Bowman was trying to strike a balance between general YA progressiveness and the main characters having period appropriate racist views, but more often than not I felt the character and her role in the story fell into racial stereotypes. Also, the heterosexual romance subplot was all fine and well, signalled carefully early enough and carried out competently, but there's a bit where Kate starts thinking about how beautiful she suddenly realises Liluye is for like two paragraphs and I couldn't help but think this book would be better with lesbians. But what wouldn't be better with lesbians?!?
So, it was okay, decently executed but not without flaw, but also ultimately not for me.
DNF - Hello America by J G Ballard - I gave it a good shot but I got about 45 pages in before giving up, when the seventh chapter turned out to be entirely exposition about worldbuilding backstory. I was surprised to discover this was originally published in 1981 because the prose style felt a lot more dated than that.
DNF - Between us by Clare Atkins - Australian YA contemporary about a girl in a refugee detention centre, who meets a boy when she's allowed out during the daytime to attend school, and listen, I wanted to like this even though it suffers the YA curse of first person present tense (sigh), but by the 13th page it had already switched POV character six times and one of the POV characters had their internal monologue described in long bad poetry, so no.
DNF - The Cry of the Onlies by Judy Klass - Mediocre Star Trek novel. Just wasn't feeling it.
DNF - The Zero Stone by Andre Norton - Space cat wasn't enough to keep me interested.