jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Currently reading Freedom and Necessity, and enjoying it, as expected. One thing I hadn't expected: the print feels tiny. Unsure if this is just a natural result of Getting Old or if it's actually small. There doesn't appear to have been an ebook release, which makes me a little sad.

Gonna be a busy fall, bookwise. Just preordered new books from Kat Howard, Ann Leckie, eBear, and Steve Brust. Need to get on with that Great Big Dragarea Reread prior to late October. At least the eBear won't demand my immediate attention: reading Book One Of A Trilogy is a mistake I try to avoid making when the author is known to write bound book-fragments.

I biked for an hour and a half yesterday, going to a small get-together that may be the kind of thing I'm looking for. Mostly, a good ride, if overly sweaty, and tough going uphill. There's an exhilaration in a steep downhill, though, and a long gentle decline makes for a pleasant coast.

It occurred to me last week that my hip problem likely isn't just from wallet-induced sciatica. It's also possibly a result of babying my right ankle (and hence leg) for several months after I twisted it pretty sharply (CW: depiction of trauma, neither graphic nor permanent). So there's that.

Erin pointed out awhile ago that I do a lot of railing against the Confederacy (sometimes on FB, sometimes in person). I grew up hating everything about the South: the weather, the people, the history, the culture. I've mellowed on that a lot in the last decade or so, but Treason In Defence Of Slavery still gets me wound up. I think it's that it's a reminder of everything I hated about the South. Or maybe just that it's a part of my upbringing that's still acceptable to hate.

And in actual significant news, I've lost a friend over the breakup. One that I know of, I mean. I'd hoped for some compassion and understanding but it was not to be. I'm sad, and a little surprised, but only a little: she's prickly, far more invested in Emily's emotional state, and I suspect skeptical of the whole poly thing anyhow. (A conclusion I draw from sentences like "Since November I've watched you break up with Emily in slow motion.") Losing friends I care about doesn't get any easier. Especially not when they've been good friends and sources of support in the past. Oh well. She's not quite burned the bridge, I guess. She's poured gasoline on the bridge, offered me a book of matches, and walked away. Best I can do is not actually light the fire and be here if and when she changes her mind.

Overall? Still flailing around, still trying to sort out what I want my life to look like and how to make it look like that.

Family.

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:28 pm
azurelunatic: A red apple with a bite out of it, captioned in Star Trek font "What no-win scenario?" (what no-win scenario)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I am scared of my family right now.

My immediate family are largely good people who generally behave with kindness to all, and abhor the concepts of white supremacy and fascism like any decent person.

My aunts on my father's side are pretty awesome. Hippie Uncle is great, and Woodworking Uncle has good intentions and maybe a few distortions due to assorted experiences of privilege, but he does not appear to go out of his way to fuck other people over.

My aunt-by-marriage scares me. She's a doctor, and things she has said about transgender people, and gender in general, make me feel unsafe around her.

My uncle who is married to that aunt has good intentions, but does not appear to be in a position to temper his wife's attitudes.

"Racist Cousin Anna" has said some things about Mexicans that made me turn away from her. She's married to the older of that uncle's kids.

Both those cousins have posted things about guns and Muslims on Facebook that make me scared, like they wouldn't hesitate to support laws that would marginalize my friends, or might use one of those guns on someone.

I don't have the scariest family in the world. And I'm still skittish of saying anything that might prompt them to stop seeing me as their tame cousin and start seeing me as Other.
fairestcat: Bobbi Morse, a blonde woman standing in the rain, with a mask-like pair of glasses pushed up on her head (Bobbi Morse)
[personal profile] fairestcat
I'm really excited about this. I stepped outside my comfort zone and volunteered to write a monthly Column about Marvel comics over at Women Write About Comics.

My first post went up today and you can read it here.

This is my first time in a long time writing for an audience that isn't people I already know and I'm both nervous and excited about it. Mostly excited, I think. Ask me again when I have to put together my August post.

tiskets and taskets

Aug. 14th, 2017 05:49 pm
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
[personal profile] jazzfish
The guy at MEC (Canadian for "REI") suggested a specific brand of bike basket (Wald), one that bolted onto the front fork in addition to hanging from the handlebars, so it had more support and didn't interfere with the cables.

I ordered one from Amazon last week and it arrived today.

I rode home awkwardly clutching the box with one hand because I had nowhere on the bike to carry it, which seems ironic.

Looks like it'll require specialised tools to attach, though, since my front wheel is 'quick release.' Also since I have basically no tools at this point in time. Guess I'm taking it into MEC on Friday. Maybe they can fix the shifter indicator that they broke a couple of weeks ago when it was in for a tuneup.

I /like/ having a bike. Very curious to see if I continue to like it when it gets cold and/or wet.

bright the hawk's flight

Aug. 14th, 2017 01:10 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Tattoo photo (warning: fb), taken on Friday shortly after the autostick-saran-wrap came off. The background isn't finished and the whole wants another going-over, but it's there.

I'm reasonably happy with it. I'd been thinking of the background as much more line-art sketched-in, but I like the detail work. And I'm exceptionally pleased with how the hawk came out.

It doesn't yet feel like a part of me. Probably gonna take awhile for that to settle in.

*Rumble*

Aug. 14th, 2017 10:27 am
[personal profile] polydad
Okay, it’s quarter to 5am, and I’ve wasted an hour playing idiot games, and a lot of good is going on, and I need to be better focused to respond to it appropriately.

My primary and ongoing problem has been social aversion. Right now I have 3 potential new recruits – Michael, David, and Autumn – and the upside from each of them is substantial. Glorying in that upside and figuring out how to cause it to occur is good and useful, and I should get to that. Longer-term, I need to figure out and execute a systemic approach for dealing with the social aversion. I met Michael through JwJ, Autumn through CSB, and David through a lot of mutual groups. Going to groups is obviously good, and going to more and a larger assortment of groups would be better. But just *going* is insufficient.

At both JwJ and CSB, I’ve been there several years and put in substantial effort, and the payoff of meeting these people has no obvious and direct correlation with what I’ve been doing. And if I fish for unobvious indirect correlations, I can correlate anything with anything else. Building new imagination filters is not on this morning’s agenda.

And now it’s 10:16am, and I’ve gotten the morning medical routine done and the airing-out tent in the driveway folded and put away, and not much else. I think this is at least in part due to the emotional consequences of the antibiotics – one of the side effects of Keflex is that it kills off beneficial intestinal flora, and it’s hard to concentrate on other things when one has to pay such attention to “when is the next time I need to sprint to the bathroom?” I call this an “emotional” consequence because that’s what it feels like – it’s not simply the physical discomfort of constant belly-rumbles, but a feeling of apprehension. At least it’s working; the infection on my leg isn’t *gone*, but it is much reduced. And I take my last Keflex tomorrow morning.

I’ve invited Autumn to the Gearcon meeting tonight, and suggested to David that we meet Wednesday morning for coffee. I’ve been a bit too enthusiastic towards Michael, and have sent him a short email apologizing for that and asking him to contact me when he’s ready. And I guess I’m spending the rest of the morning listening to my belly.

Back to school!

Aug. 13th, 2017 04:15 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
[personal profile] feuervogel
The semester starts tomorrow. I'm prepared, but I'm not ready at all. I have my first week's lesson plans made, with the option of shifting things as I need to. I have all my books, and I am going to have many shit-tons of reading on top of my grading (of which there is more, because the language program coordinator got rid of most of the auto-graded (multiple choice etc) assignments and replaced them with free response, which takes 3x as long to grade.)

I'm not quite sure when I'm going to sleep.

My new apartment is nice so far. The property managers are very helpful and are going through and fixing everything the previous property managers never bothered fixing (or fixed badly). The central a/c is a huge plus over my old apartment.

And I joined my local roller derby team. Partly because my friend said I should try it during new skater boot camp, partly because describing a sport as "roller skating with violence" is fun, and partly because the logo is super bad ass.

I'm going to review my plans for tomorrow and the next day then try to finish one of the books for one of my classes (it's really short, and I'm already halfway through).

Glacier

Aug. 12th, 2017 10:17 pm
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (disaster waiting to happen)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I feel very much like I'm talking about the things that don't matter, but the things that matter very much are private and inward and delicate, and to share such things widely would not be the done thing.

So: life bits, in passing.

The freezer (the thinner, left, door of the two-doored refrigerator) has had ice on the bottom -- at first just a little bit, and a few cubes that had fallen out of the ice maker -- for a while. We've had "de-glacier the freezer" on the to-do list for a while.

This morning (I think?) it hit critical, while I was -- ah, yes, it was this morning, because I was retrieving the frozen vegetables that I'd use in lunch -- searching around for something that turned out to be in the bottom drawer.

The drawers in this freezer are wire baskets with snap-on (and fall-off) plastic fronts. The bottom drawer was blocked from pulling out because the ice on the bottom was too high.

I grumbled, laid down the kitchen utility towel (one of the old ones with fraying and maybe a hole or two) and grabbed a knife for ice-pick duty. (My partner was unavailable for help, on some other unspecifiable but definitely important mission of internet mercy. Godspeed, friend.) Anyway, it would probably not have benefitted from two people. So I whacked at the ice for a while, and got it mostly on the towel. I tugged at the drawer.

The drawer shot out with surprising ease, given the big chunk of ice still attached to the bottom. I had words. I went for the cooler-bag.

It turned out that the ice sheet was attached to the basket by only a few wires, and once I figured out how to get it in the sink at the right angle, I was able to use hot water to get the ice off those wires. I left the larger sheet in the sink to thaw and drop its inclusions all over the sink, like boulders on a cleanly carved valley.

The ice had come out in one piece. There was still a little coming down the slanted surface of the bottom back, and a little more below the vent that disperses cold air or something. I swiped it out with a different kitchen towel that was due to be washed soon anyway, and reported back to my partner (after they emerged from their task).

The stuff went back in, a little more organized than it had come out, with a few things put in the fridge to thaw.

A generous double handful of the frozen mixed vegetables went in the frying pan, along with some bacon and potato. It would be slowly cooked into glorious lunch with cheese. A proper weekend brunch sort of item.

I found the strawberries I'd put aside when I got the big thing of them, frozen into a sullen frisbee sort of shape in the bottom of the round container. I pondered, tried chopping into it with a not-big-enough knife, then the brainstorm hit. I retrieved the largest of the melamine bowls (the ones with the lids) and popped the disc in.

Then I shook it.

A whole bunch of frozen strawberries make some gawdawful noise, being rattled like rocks against a hard surface, but it does tend to break them apart quite handily. I liberated a few to chuck in the food processor (an attachment for my stick blender, which I finally found at some late point in the packing, so it went in my Bachelor Kitchen Box) to turn into dust to grace the top of the lemon jelly. (Lemon jello plus shreds of frozen strawberry? RECOMMENDED.)

I also got some mending done this morning. There are some shirts that need their necks re-hemmed, plus under-layer shorts that had started blowing out at the crotch but were still otherwise in good shape. I had found one of the dismangled (a typo, but I'm keeping it) pairs of shorts, and sacrificed it for patches.

I will need to either repair my sewing machine (I dropped it while trying to get it set up) or locate the Sidewinder. The sewing machine still lights up and stitches, but something is awry in the bobbin winder. This is the second sewing machine that I've jacked up such that it won't wind bobbins anymore. Additionally, something else is wrong with the actual bobbin nest -- I believe some plate fell out. So it's harder to load, but at least it does still sew.

Kitten has decided that I am an acceptable surface to sleep on/against, and has started doing just that. It's cute, until I need to move, at which point she meows accusingly. Sometimes she settles back against me, and sometimes she stalks off and sits in her accustomed place on Partner. (Partner sleeps on their back, face up, sometimes guarding their bladder area with their hands against kitten massage even as they sleep.)
jazzfish: artist painting a bird, looking at an egg for reference (Clairvoyance)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Erin's staying with me for the week, which is lovely. She got in on Friday afternoon, and we've spent the extended-weekend snuggling and cooking and talking and running errands. It's been well over a decade since I've had a partner come to stay with me for longer than an afternoon, excepting Emily for the couple of years we were in DC and not living together. (And this past Xmas, I guess, though that was its own kettle of awkwardfish.) It's worked out rather well.

We went and got most of the Cargo furniture on Saturday, and it fits into the space pretty well though not quite as easily as I'd hoped. Gonna take a bit more rearranging to get it the way I want. Also, I'd like to get some art hung up sooner than later, in the hope that that'll help it feel more ... more real, more mine, something. I'm really good at getting my space about 80% of the way there, and then just not bothering with that last 20%.

Trips to the old condo are now most definitely Difficult, emotionally. Emily's solidly settled in and she's made the space her own. It's good to see her doing well. It's also rough to surround myself with... with how effectively I've been removed from something that used to be shared. There are still a couple more things that I need to do there: sorting artwork, for one. Maybe if I know / admit in advance that it's gonna be rough it'll be easier. Maybe.



I said "extended weekend" and I meant it. I took yesterday off work to get my second tattoo.

I've gone into extended detail about my first. This one took much less dithering and deliberating. A couple of weeks ago I went in and spoke with Rachel Lige, an artist that Erin recommended, and tried to describe the idea I'd had in my head. She made approving noises and asked a few questions and used words like "negative space" that I hadn't had the vocabulary to put into my description and quickly sketched something that looked like it might conceivably approximate what I was thinking of. I put down a deposit and made a tentative appointment for, well, yesterday, and emailed her some reference material that afternoon (a few silhouettes, plus the Le Guin and the Richard Siken poems), and tried to think no more about it.

Until last week when she sent me a preliminary design, and it was just about perfect. As an added bonus, seeing it, rather than trying to visualise, gave me the ability to describe it. "On my left pec, a silhouette of a hawk in flight, dark purple and filled with stars, over a dark grey sketched-in landscape." I wrote back to her with a couple of minor suggestions and confirmed Tuesday.

The whole experience was markedly more pleasant than the previous one. Some of that's having Erin there for much of the time (she ducked out for an hour or so to run a few errands), some of it's feeling more comfortable with Rachel than with Gilda, some of it's just having been here before and knowing a bit better what to expect. It took, mm, somewhere between three and four hours. Much of it was painful but not so bad: bits directly over ribs or sternum pinched unpleasantly, and the area down towards my armpit was just plain more sensitive. Then the last half-hour to forty-five minutes, in a combination of 'going over parts that have already been poked raw two or three times' and 'body is just Done', were sheer unpleasant agony. So we got most of it done, and I'll be back in a month or so for touchup and to finish some of the outside bits.

It looks lovely, though right now it's more red than I'd like. One expects that that will improve as it heals. The landscape's more detailed than I'd expected, and maybe darker, but I'm happy with it. I'm particularly pleased with how the stars in the hawk came out.

I was distinctly lightheaded when I sat up: not just a standard low-blood-pressure thing, but a very specific floatiness and absence of conscious thought. It's neat. I'm glad Erin was there: she fed me half a litre of chocolate milk and guided me to the Ethiopian place on the Drive where we ate raw cow and spicy lentils, and then took me home and generally kept track of me. So that was lovely, too.

I've already got vague ideas for next/additional pieces. The first tattoo I ever considered, back when I was still in engineering, was an electrical ground symbol on my Achilles tendon, and I still (or maybe again?) think that's relevant. I've recently kicked around the idea of a tiny orange, though that might be a passing fancy. And I've a mental image of a larger, brighter, piece on my right shoulder and upper arm. No sense of what it is, just that it... ought to be there, somehow.

In the meantime, I can focus on healing up from this one.
[personal profile] polydad
So I've now been stood up 3 times in 3 days, which is getting annoying. I don't *think* it's me or something I'm doing, and I don't want to put it down to "culture", but I'm running out of explanations.

Today's kinda stung; had had high hopes for it, and he's not rescheduling. And again, don't know why.

For some time now I've been trying to imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with an octopus. (I'm going to check out giant squid also; not sure that works.) This today led to an imagining of four sapient nonhuman terrestrials discussing problems with humans; the speakers were a cephalopod, a cetacean, an elephant, and I'm not remembering the fourth, my imagination substituting an Orang instead.

Hacker-Kitty

Aug. 8th, 2017 01:47 pm
azurelunatic: Monkey King swings his cudgel  (monkey king)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
My partner got one cat in the breakup, the cat who trailed them through the shelter while they were looking at different cats, and who lap-kittied at them the first chance she got. (I suspect that my partner got this cat by dint of having made sure to pack her along with the other important things when they fled the household of abuse. The ex took all the other pets, including the second cat who adored my partner.)

Miss Air Raid Siren had two types of notable damage when she was adopted: first, she had been front-declawed, and second, she is quite food-insecure. She cannot just be left to free-feed, and I gathered that it was a bit of a production to feed all the cats in such a way that everyone got their fair share. (Another of the cats had been a bit of a vacuum-cleaner himself, so it wasn't just her.)

When the ex's regimented schedule had demanded that my partner be home at the appointed hour every day to feed "the kids", all was well ... at the expense of my partner's labor, and my partner's ability to have an actual social life and do things with friends.

Now, this cat does appreciate being fed. She's earned a few names on account of her increasingly vocal demands to be fed, typically starting about an hour before feeding time. (Most of them are even printable.) And if the feeding is late -- oh, my. (Everyone has come to the understanding that while an hour late is no big deal ultimately, it's probably better for whoever is present to feed her, if it's anything beyond that or if she appears to be in any actual distress. And then tell the Human In Charge, because she will cheerfully make as though she's Never Been Fed, Ever when a food-giver returns home. Even when she's already eaten.)

So when my partner was living with Host Family #2, they borrowed some wet/dry automatic feeders (with ice pack) in service of being able to be out & about and spend the night away, without overly distressing the cat. This worked reasonably well.

Then they returned the feeders. They then tried to replace them.

Friends, do you know how very goddamn many nearly identical compartment feeders with a rotating lid exist on places like Amazon? A very bloody lot, as it turns out. And not all of them are up to the challenge of being worked at by a determined and highly food-motivated hacker-kitten.

Candidate Feeders 1 and 2 had a spring-loaded lid. Hacker-Kitten dug at it with her little blunt pussywillow-paws until the lid crept back, then held it there (somehow) and stuck her little face in, and ate extra portions.

Candidate Feeder 3 looked like the loaner feeder, but Hacker-Kitten batted at the protective plastic cover on the brain/engine core, and broke the manual advance button by standing on it, then dug it open despite the lack of springs and claws. Subsequently the thing didn't work at all.

Candidate Feeder 4 was the same model as 3, but I'd taped down the core's cover in a way that defeated the attempts to open it that way. After the evening meal, I put it up out of harm's way for the night, and put it down again in the morning. She ate her breakfast on schedule, but come 5:30pm or so and she'd dug the top around to the next meal, early.

This morning when my partner put it out again (only dry food, this time) loaded with today and tomorrow's meals, a little past breakfast I saw she'd opened the dinner compartment just a little. So I put it up, and sent my partner the link to the (not cheap) feeder I found that will do 1/8 cup increments of dry food and uses an entirely different mechanism. I'll put it down when I leave for my event this evening, then see what she's done to it by the time I return...

We're hoping that Feeder 5 will do the trick.

It would be ideal to be able to give her both wet and dry food on a timer (and keep the wet food refrigerated, naturally) for 2-3 days. But failing that, just dry food will keep her fed well enough that she won't be yowling and desperate if an evening out goes longer than planned. (Usually we feed her early if we think we'll be out significantly past her dinner. But that doesn't always work.) Provided she doesn't eat it all early...

Wait...

Aug. 7th, 2017 07:59 am
erik: A headshot of me! (Default)
[personal profile] erik
So, most of you know that when I was in third grade my teacher tied me to my desk. With rope. It's one of the defining moments of my life.

But just in the last few years for the first time it occurred to me:

Why did Miss Rosen have rope on hand?
cos: (Default)
[personal profile] cos
Almost ten years ago I posted about scientists in Congress - at the time, there were four. I posted again four years ago, when Rush Holt was running for US Senate. His leaving Congress brought the number of scientists down to just one the following year.

Originally starting from just curiosity, I was dismayed by how few there were! I knew there weren't enough, since it was already showing quite obviously by 2007 that Congress did not have enough scientific perspective, but I though out of the 535 there would be, maybe, 15-20 scientists. In fact I don't think we've had more than 5 at the same time in decades. Maybe the next Congress will change that?

Donald Trump's War on Scientists Has Had One Big Side Effect: More than a dozen Democratic candidates with scientific backgrounds are running for Congress.

This article conflates "scientists" with a broader range of STEM fields. We actually already have a few engineers in Congress, and this article includes engineers, as well as doctors (of which we have even more - but many of them clearly don't have a scientific outlook). But even if you discount those, there are more people with a science background running than anytime I'm aware of, at least in decades. Let's keep an eye on this and see how it turns out in 2018.

P.S. The only scientist I'm aware of in Congress currently is Bill Foster, the same one who was first running for the office when I posted ten years ago. Are there any others you know of?

One year

Aug. 5th, 2017 12:46 am
azurelunatic: The Wizards' Oath from Diane Duane's books, labeled "RTFM" (RTFM)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
One year ago Wednesday, I went in to the hospital to get my uterus out. The biopsy was a bit weird, and the standard of care said to just take the damn thing out. They didn't think it was cancer yet, but still out.

On the way there, Teshi and I got behind a landscape truck of some kind. I can't remember the exact name but it was something like Lone Mountain, and the plate said LONE1.

I was raised on the Young Wizards books, and I know as well as anyone what you do when you meet the Lone Power. "Greetings and defiance," I said, then told Steph.

I knew that as a warning, and I was not fully surprised when the uterus was full of cancer.

It's out. I've been irradiated.

I am here beside my partner in their bed, safe and warm and secure in the knowledge that if something weird happens, they or I will notice.
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