"When I am a driver"

Jun. 25th, 2016 01:41 am
rosefox: My feet on a pebbly beach. (travel)
[personal profile] rosefox
The Brexit news is wretched and I can't pay too much attention to it or I fall into this sort of stupor of grief. Fortunately we had a lot to distract us today: our first-ever car trip as a family, the minimum-three-hour drive to visit J's mother upstate.

Prior to this, the longest drive I'd ever done was the two hours between Boston and New Haven for last year's Readercon travel Rube Goldberg machine. And my arms have been very cranky, as noted elsewhere, and my knees have been a little cranky, as I think I haven't even bothered noting because there's so much other stuff going on; highway driving is fine for my knees but stop-and-go is awful, and anytime we drive out of NYC there's going to be stop-and-go unless we leave in the middle of the night, which we can't do because baby. And X has their learner's permit but their driving test isn't until next week, so they can't spell me as the driver when we're renting a car. So we were all concerned about how that was going to go. I had a tiny little additional anx over never having rented a Zipcar before, but at least I'd seen other people do it and basically understood the process.

Kit does great in cab rides but has never been in a car for more than an hour. They've also never slept overnight anywhere other than our house (not counting the hospital where they were born). So we had no idea what or how much to pack, and had no idea how often we'd need to stop, and had no idea whether Kit would abruptly run out of "happy to be in the car" before we reached our destination. Plus I was nervous about the responsibility of being the driver with the baby in the car.

Given all of that, it's a wonder we only all snapped and griped at each other a few times over the course of getting ready and getting on the road. And then it went totally fine. We planned the fuck out of it, and 98% of the plan worked, and the 2% that didn't (Kit's folding crib not fitting in the rental car trunk; me packing all the burp cloths in a duffel that we put in the trunk) were things we had a backup plan for (I remembered that you can see a Babies R Us sign from I-87 in the Bronx--I've gone by it a million times in Chinatown buses--so we stopped there and bought a super compact folding crib/playpen that juuuuust fit in the back with the rest of our stuff) or coped with well on the fly (X noticed the lack of burp cloths and grabbed a few more before we left the house). My knee was kind of murderous after the two hours of stop-and-go traffic that got us to the Bronx, but traffic was much lighter the rest of the way and it recovered quickly. X was a superb navigator and deejay in the front seat while J entertained the baby in the back seat. Kit slept, ate, complacently tolerated being changed in the Babies R Us bathroom, slept, ate, complacently tolerated being briefly extricated from the car seat at a rest area where I stopped to eat a sandwich and have J jab the pressure points in my shoulders, and then cheerfully babbled and watched the sun-dapple through the trees for the last 45 minutes of the drive while J sang them silly songs and cracked us all up. We started the trip grumpy and anxious, but I think we all ended it feeling much more relaxed and content.

After nearly five hours of travel, we arrived at Glory's house, where she was standing out front waiting for us so as not to miss a single minute of her grandchild. We set up Kit's folding chair right in the driveway and plunked them in it, and they looked around wide-eyed at their ecstatic grandmother and all the glorious trees and then gave us a huge beaming smile. I have never felt so good about my life choices as I did in that moment. All the stress, all the fretting, all the physical discomfort was 100% worth it to see my baby smile like that.

While I iced my arms and knee (which all felt pretty good, but why take chances), J and X unloaded the car and Glory doted on the baby. J brought all the heavy bags in and then swung right into cooking dinner while X took point on feeding Kit, which was a bit of a challenge as we were sitting on the porch and they kept getting distracted by all the trees. So many trees! All moving constantly with wonderful breezes that smell so delicious! Kit happily sat on Glory's lap, happily let X take them inside and finish feeding them away from the distractions, happily had their diaper changed and put on pajamas, and happily lay down in their new crib (on their familiar mattress, with familiar music playing and a fan for white noise--we wanted to take as few chances with sleep as possible). More than an hour after their usual bedtime, they were still wide awake. But we all said goodnight and turned the lights down and left them to settle, and after a few minutes of babbling quietly--to themself? to the house spirits? who knows? it's not a thing they usually do--they conked right out. That was four and a half hours ago and they haven't woken yet.

Friends, I don't know what we did in a past life to deserve this baby. I think we were a trio of saints.

I'm already trying to figure out how often we can come up here. A five-hour drive is no picnic, even once X can split it with me; we all took today off to make it happen. I can't imagine doing the trip on a two-day weekend. Even a three-day weekend is pushing it. But Kit is so happy here. My little elfling. :) At the very least we should take more walks in Prospect Park. Trees! Trees are the best.

I'm so glad we have this trip as a trial run before going to Readercon in two weeks. By the end of the weekend we'll have a much better idea of what we need to bring with us and what's overkill. We'll know what to pack where we can reach it during the trip and what can go in the trunk. (I'm still embarrassed about the burp cloths.) We'll know the car; we've already reserved the same one for the Readercon trip. (I'm not sure I'd rent it a third time, but it's good enough that familiarity trumps wanting a car where the gas pedal is not set so much further forward than the brake pedal that it's literally impossible for me to find a comfortable seat position.) We'll know which of our travel gear works and is useful, instead of just having to hope. (Static cling car window shades: amazing. The thing that goes under the car seat and protects the upholstery: probably not necessary until Kit's old enough to be dropping Cheerios everywhere.) We'll know how often we need to stop and take breaks. We'll know that my "quiet and mellow" playlist is something the baby can sleep through--though frankly I wouldn't be surprised if Kit slept through Darude's "Sandstorm", Hamilton, or Beethoven's Fifth--but not so mellow that it puts me to sleep while I'm driving. We'll know that our baby is an amazing travel baby. And we'll know that we're a pretty amazing travel family: we may be a little irritable as we're getting on the road, but we can recover from that and go on to have a decent trip and a good time at our destination. Plus there should be a lot less irritability on the next trip, now that we have any idea what we're doing.

I didn't mean to type so much; I should go do my OT exercises, ice my arms a bit more, and get some sleep. I'm just so glad that at least in our tiny little corner of the world, everything went okay today. I needed that.

Brief update

Jun. 25th, 2016 12:38 am
umadoshi: (kittens - Claudia - pensive)
[personal profile] umadoshi
--Friends in/from the U.K., I'm so sorry for the horror show you're facing. ;_; What a fiasco.

--I went from yesterday morning until nearly midnight tonight without checking Dreamwidth. I realize that's not actually all that long, but I can't remember the last time I didn't manage to at least skim my reading list quickly at some point in a day.

--A quick link: the audiobook of The Raven Boys is available for free for a couple of days. Info here.

--Toronto is fun, as usual, but I'm feeling more worn down by all the scheduling and whatnot than I generally am. :/ (It's a little hard to tell how much more than usual, because I don't particularly enjoy the schedule-wrangling part and I always find it stressful, although the payoff is worth it.) The obvious factor (not necessarily the only one?) in feeling more drained is a lingering cold, which at this point is all in the throat: my voice is shot (and being in Toronto isn't helping, because I talk a lot while I'm here), my throat is a bit sore and a bit scratchy, and I have a hacking cough that comes and goes. >.<

--I miss the cats desperately. They're fine, and we're getting regular updates, but...yeah.

strip-lighted paradise

Jun. 24th, 2016 02:02 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

I was reading this two days ago. It needs saying today.

“Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles… not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another.” - George Orwell, 1943.
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

Someone asked me the other day what my goal was. I'm 45 years old and long past the point where I think it's sensible to have one, owing to my lack of education, money and opportunity. I mean, time does march on, and in at least a few obvious ways, I'm not better for it. So asking my 45 year old self is counterproductive because the more jaded, cynical eyes I view life through now don't have a good (or achievable) answer to that question. Ask my pre-teen, teenaged, or younger adult self the same question, though, and the answers look quite different.

I think I've attempted to gather my thoughts on this into one post in the past but not been happy with the results long-term, so any such posts are long gone. As anyone who reads me regularly might know, most of the answers to this question have been scattered throughout my comment sections over the years so loosely there is no easily piecing it all together.

Long-term best answer: if I just turn the radio or any sort of music player on I know what I wanted to do all my life: sing and dance. I think it made my mom a bit wistful during my early years that I knew what I wanted to do since shortly after I was born. It's not something I'd have to work at because I have plenty of raw, natural talent and tons of almost boundless energy for it. It's simply something I'd have to hone and refine and always try to improve upon.

Two problems interfered, with one that persisted until my early 30s, and one the result of childhood injury. Working from latter to former, I injured my right leg when I was 11 dancing on Christmas Eve to Christmas carols shortly before bedtime (I took a flying leap off the floor, twisted in mid-air, and landed in the Christmas tree. This sounds much funnier than it was, because it permanently injured me). This was a nightmare of tears, nerve-wracking, endless pain so severe I couldn't even sleep through the night for weeks on end and a completely ruined Christmas holiday for everyone involved. I had been planning on asking my dad to pay for for me to go to school at the NYC School of Performing Arts but then this happened and that whole dream was over. It never healed right.

The other limitation was I was such a high soprano I wasn't able to hit the lower notes and registers until my early 30s. So with the ability to dance the way I wanted to (which was more ballet than modern or other traditional forms of dance) gone with my leg injury, I knew I'd have to be more of a vocal than dance performer to carry any sort of career but with my voice limitations, and what I was hearing on the radio through the 80s and 90s when I was having such ambitions, I knew my voice would need more flexibility to carry against the Mariah Careys and Whitney Houstons of the world. And yeah, I was that ambitious, so I did feel it would have to.

I was still in high school when I realized my combination of high voice and physical injury (I also had a bad right arm as a result of being assaulted in junior high; it never healed right, either) would limit my musical career and I wasn't too stupid to see that, but by then I was excelling in a Business Law class that no one thought I'd even survive a week or two of (I was at or near the top performing student throughout the course, and actually enjoyed pouring over the study books and case law it involved every night) and I knew I had a law-practicing grandfather on my dad's side (long deceased) so I aspired to it, so before the school year was out, asked my dad to send me to school for that, instead.

But I wasn't going to college if law was going to be my major, minor or anything else. When I asked why I was told my dad did not want me to be like his father, who he hardly ever saw in his worldwide travels as an international lawyer. Which I thought was too damn cute considering I never saw him, either, thanks to his travels all over Long Island and NYC running his businesses. I mean, total, blatant hypocrisy much?

Regardless, I was told to pick another major. But I was so pissed off about the whole thing I went to work in retail instead and have been working similar jobs ever since.

While writing is still something I enjoy ("writing is like breathing to me" was one of my earlier online taglines) I'm not any good at it (one of my few regrets about not picking another major like Dad said, and avoiding law, is minoring in English Lit probably would have helped me become a better writer). I have zero interest in novel writing after trying to write a few in my early 20s - which taught me long before there was a name for it that I'm sort of ADHD. I can't focus on the inner workings of longform-writing long enough to get it fully fleshed out in a way that works - not before I get bored, impatient, or frustrated. Realizing my limitations, I tried outlines, chapter summaries, endless drafts and even relaxation techniques in order to better focus (but I'm wound up, high strung, energetic and slightly nervous, so such techniques have at best a placebo effect) and every other trick to get around my brain's unstoppable mutiny, but soon realized I'd probably never enjoy trying that hard to focus. So I stopped trying.

If I stop right here and look at the above paragraphs I know I'd still choose singing and dancing over all of it. It's the one skillset that comes naturally, and quite joyfully to me. Writing might be my preferred form of breathing but singing and dancing are my preferred form of living. Which tells me, innately, that I was meant to do it; there is no conflict between doing it and how I feel.

But reality steps in, uninvited, every time. So for every Mariah Carey there might be 100 more just as capable singers who won't get the chance to shine because right place/right time didn't line up for them. So when someone asks me what my goal is, this is what I think about before answering: "Well, my goals are not achievable, so what I'm really being asked is what else do I want to do, because I'll never do the things I want". And that's what makes the question almost too painful to answer.

I mean, yes, *ho-hum* God knows I can probably do web design. I might have a future in gardening or landscaping if the right opportunity should present itself: I enjoy plants and flowers and landscaping, working outdoors and have a good eye for placement and color and so forth, so yeah, yeah...this could be an awesome diversion. I enjoy activism and advocacy, so if I could find a paying position which happened to gel with any of the causes I support, I suppose that could work out well, too.

Outside of that, I feel like I ought to ask permission - of myself, of others - to not have other ambitions, if it's alright not to have one, because the goals I do have seem so out of reach.

the Holy Spirit versus cardboard

Jun. 23rd, 2016 07:10 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

A story I was told at St Mark’s, a “high” Anglican church:

St Mark’s has a rather large contingent of de jure Roman Catholics in its congregation, who argued with the local parish priest or the Vatican and just decamped down the road. Many times this only gets discovered when they die and ask for their ashes to be interred in St Mark’s columbarium, whereupon the local RC priest turns up and objects.

So after this had happened a few times, they agreed that a small part of the columbarium would be dedicated as a RC burial place. And so that God wouldn’t get confused, they put a cardboard divider between them.

The person telling me this story concluded, “So apparently cardboard can block the Holy Spirit, just like alpha particles… wait. Don’t mitres have cardboard inside to keep the shape? I think we’ve discovered something here…”

Culture Consumed Thursday

Jun. 24th, 2016 01:11 am
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass

Listened to Yassmin Abdel-Magied's memoir, Yassmin's Story, on audiobook (read by the author.) This is an interesting and sometimes frustrating memoir. It's by someone who's had a lot of really interesting experiences, and done a lot of things at a young age, and has a huge passion for using her voice whenever given the opportunity.

more )

TV and Movies

Watched the first three episodes of Cleverman, which is a six-part Aboriginal Australian dystopian superhero drama (in English, with some parts in Gumbaynggirr with English subtitles.) It is absolutely awesome, but also very violent. Appropriately so, given the themes (asylum seekers, racism, etc,) but yeah. Content note for the first episode: child death.

That was the most Indigenous Australians I have seen on TV at one time on anything but current affairs and Frontline, and that's fucking appalling even given how little TV I watch, but I am very glad this show is a thing. And that it's gotten renewed for a second season.

Looking forward to the rest of the season.

On a considerably lighter note, [personal profile] fasangel introduced me to Sammy J's Playground Politics, which is brief (five minute) sketch comedy in the style of Play School. For example, here's the official summary of the first episode: "Sammy J teaches children how to make a Faustian Pact, while Average Voter considers burning his Australian Flag." In the fifth episode it is bedtime, and silly Richard Di Natale keeps on climbing into Malcolm Turnbull's bed instead of his own. You get the idea.


Lots of Freecell, while listening to the audiobook. Still(!) playing Alphabear. Still haven't spend any money on it. I'm stuck on the boss fight on level 10.


Unsurprisingly, given winter, I have not yet had to water my new plants. The sky is taking care of that for me right now.


Made a big batch of chocolate chip biscuits. Put some in an airtight jar (and earwormed myself with Who Stole The Cookie From The Cookie Jar) and the rest in the freezer.

Also made Nutella fudge.


I agreed to do a couple of shifts handing out how to vote cards for the Greens (silly Richard and all.) This will give me something to do on Election Day (and before) other than huddle in a corner crying, and also allow me to truthfully tell the early voting electoral officer that I'll be working on Election Day and therefore need to vote early. (The real reason is disability-related: bad sleep cycle plus not good with long queues and sometimes faint if I'm standing in the one place for too long plus incredibly anxious about missing the election equals that while I could vote on Election Day, it would be much better if I didn't.) I'll bring a chair for the volunteer shifts. And a warm top to wear under the Greens t-shirt. I also asked my local volunteer contact if they need any data entry done. She said she'll get someone to call me. Here's hoping -- I've done that before (at the state election) and am familiar with their system, and it's quiet, soothing work.

Tonight on feline soap opera

Jun. 23rd, 2016 10:02 pm
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
[personal profile] vass
Beatrice is on my lap. Dorian is curled up against my thigh. Their heads are near each other.

Beatrice takes vigorous exception to the state of Dorian's hygiene, particularly in the inner ear region, and seeks to amend it. Dorian endures the wash for maybe half a minute, then puts his paw on Beatrice's throat to indicate she should take her tongue out of his ear.

I sit up straighter, inadvertently disturbing Beatrice, and she remembers why she came over here in the first place and stands up. It is dinner time.

I open a can and dispense some for Beatrice in the kitchen and some for Dorian in my bedroom, shutting him in so he can't come out and eat Beatrice's. (Beatrice is too principled to steal food from a kitten.) I wait until Beatrice is finished eating, then let Dorian out. He continues eating his own dinner for a while, then comes out to inspect her bowl.

Wednesday conference fun!

Jun. 23rd, 2016 01:49 am
azurelunatic: Azz, <user name="sorcha007" site="livejournal.com">, and Darkside, with glowing magic sparkles & dragon in Azz's hair.  (tricircle)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I woke up before 9, even, but spent a leisurely morning getting ready for the day. I got in for the last session of the morning, and after that the little group I was in went for lunch at the food trucks. We wound up in the park to eat, and a good time was had by all!

More sessions in the afternoon. I livetweeted Rah's. Then there was Storytime With Rah down in the hacker lounge. This was followed by dinner -- we went to the pizza place that the lunch train was headed to, but opted to have dinner in the park, where there was More Storytime. Also kitten pictures. I talked about my experiences being too well equipped with coping mechanisms to have any hyperactivity manifest itself, and there was discussion of how people self-medicate for AD(H)D with stimulants, and how some people really seriously avoid cocaine even when trying other drugs, because they suspect it may be *too effective* (and it's illegal).

I headed for the tram line that would take me back, and on my way called Darkside and wished him a happy birthday. Also I came out to him as agender. He wasn't quite sure what to do with that information; I let him know that there really wasn't any substantial difference, just I was tired of being put in gendered boxes that I had approximately no attachment to. Also he wants to hear my talk. ;)

Clippy has turned out useful in "remembering" what the whiteboard setup was like in conference rooms. I am so pleased that Simon Illyan was one of my role models, and that I have had so much early training in the sort of self-reflection that involves looking back at past selves and trying to not judge them too harshly. Self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness aimed at not being *that* kind of asshole again, is an amazing thing.

Also my tactic of writing down my daily annoyances in the course of my Talk About My Day is helpful in the going back to figure out When That Fucking Thing Became A Thing Anyway.

I am trying to set up for tomorrow morning, since I seem to be getting more and more functional at the conference, rather than less.

(And then there was BPAL testing and card reading with F, which took a substantial two hours together, and was definitely informative. My skin makes light florals much better behaved.)

this is some next-level bullshit.

Jun. 22nd, 2016 11:03 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
So on Tumblr I mentioned in passing that I'm biromantic bisexual, and someone literally messaged me to say,

"just letting u know, splitting romantic and sexual attraction like "biromantic bisexual" is kinda icky bc the -sexual stands for gender attraction and not sexual attraction. bisexual means attracted in general to two or more genders, the problem is that that mindset tends to hypersexualize lgbp ppl"


Yeah, sure, I'll change the label that makes sense for me to describe myself to the people who care about me because YOU think it's Discursively Problematic??? Hahahaha as if.

(I’ve pondered on it long and hard, and I think what they mean is, splitting my “bisexual” into “bisexual” and “biromantic” creates the implication that default “bisexuality” is only about sexual attaction and not romantic attraction, feeding into the myth that LGBT+ people are ravening lustmonsters who know nothing of love.

I think, however, that intense nitpicking within the LGBT+ community about what we call ourselves in inside baseball discussions of our experiences is infinitely less useful to the cause than, you know, pretty much anything, including building replica cathedrals out of toothpicks.)

"No rings on your sword hand"

Jun. 22nd, 2016 10:00 pm
rosefox: A woman's muscular arm. (arm)
[personal profile] rosefox
I went to see a new occupational therapist today. She instructed me to look at everything I use my arms for and figure out how to do it more ergonomically. If I'm not sure how to make improvements, I can have someone take photos of me and she'll help me troubleshoot.

* Using my laptop. I just bought a very clever folding standing desk that hooks over a door, which means I can use it in my bedroom where there's a/c but no room for a desk or table, and will set it up with my laptop and ergonomic keyboard; hopefully that will help. Nothing to be done about using the laptop when I'm out and about, unless I want to spend another $300 on a ZestDesk. (There are much cheaper folding standing desks, such as the $25 Oristand, but they're hard to tote around.) I'm also going to try OS X's built-in voice recognition; it doesn't work for InCopy, but it's good for social media. I am, in fact, dictating this sentence right now. The selection commands don't seem to work very well within this Chrome window, but I'm impressed by the speed of it and how well it understands my commands when I'm speaking at a normal rate.

* Using my phone. Holding it is hard and swiping on it is hard. I don't know what to do about this. Just use it less, I guess. I should definitely use the voice recognition more, since it's surprisingly good.

* Folding laundry. Ergonomically it's okay, I think; I stand at a table that's a good height. It's just a strain.

* Reading books. I downloaded Moon+ Reader, an Android e-book app with pretty decent auto-scroll functions; it can do continuous scroll on epubs, and for PDFs it'll do this wacky thing where it starts unrolling the next page at the top of the screen while you're reading the bottom half of the current one. If I can prop up my tablet and auto-scroll a book, that gives me something to do while putting ice on my arms, and is generally easier on me than holding a physical book. I've been using auto-scroll in Chrome to read books on Gutenberg and it works really well.

* Driving. The OT recommended changing hand positions frequently, doing upper back stretches (bringing my shoulder blades together) while driving, and taking breaks to rest and shake out my arms and shoulders. I also plan to bring our giant ice packs in an insulated bag. They won't be frozen solid by the time we stop for a break, but any cold is better than nothing.

* Picking up the baby. The OT suggested scooping from the side (one arm supporting the baby's head, the other supporting the bum), which uses my upper arms, rather than lifting under the armpits, which uses my forearms.

* Pushing a stroller. Hard to change the ergonomics of that, but we just bought a lovely shiny 10-pound Maclaren Volo that will be much easier to push and lift than our splendidly feature-rich but heavy Graco Modes; the Volo even has a carrying strap to use when it's folded up. We also got an Ergobaby 360 carrier that's better ergonomically for both us and the baby than the Baby Bjorn. X would rather push a stroller than use the carrier, especially in the summer, so they'll bring the baby to daycare in the Volo, and I'll pick them up with the 360 and either push the Volo home empty or fold it and carry it with the strap.

What the hell else do I even do with my hands these days? X and J have been taking over a lot of my chores so I can rest and recover. And I already know not to stir a pot or chop vegetables or carry grocery bags by hand. I suppose this is enough to change, anyway. Just another way that I'm shaking up my life. Might as well do it all at once. (I am very glum today, but that always happens on my first day of physical therapy or equivalent; it brings up a lot of miserable feelings about how long I've been in pain and how hard it is to believe that I'll ever really get better. I'll be okay once I've had a chance to get some rest.)

It's clearly summer

Jun. 22nd, 2016 06:13 pm
redbird: apricot (apricot)
[personal profile] redbird
So far today, I have had fresh blueberries, cherries, and raspberries. The raspberries are local (via the farmers' market in Arlington Center), the blueberries are from New Jersey, and the cherries are from the Pacific Northwest. [I grumble about Washington apples, but Washington cherries are excellent.]

[livejournal.com profile] cattitude also got strawberries, fresh lettuce, a cucumber, and peas from the farmers' market.

Meanwhile, one of my cucumber plants is flowering, and I nudged [livejournal.com profile] 42itous's pea vine aside to give it more room. (For plants that were expected to be eaten by the local rabbits, those peas are doing very well indeed.)
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I actually think that decent people can disagree about whether the UK should leave the EU. There's even a left-wing case for Leave that can be made, though nobody's really trying to make it.

(Pragmatically: there are a lot of credible and knowledgeable voices saying that it would be an economic disaster, which, given our government, also means more “austerity”: more people starving and more people driven to suicide.)

(Plus, you know, the stripping away of huge numbers of human rights, workplace rights and environmental protections.)

But in the last few weeks, it's suddenly turned out that we're no longer debating "Should the UK be in the EU?", we're apparently now debating "Immigrants: how much do we hate them?". And the answer seems to be "Quite a lot".

We also seem to be debating “Do you want a new government made up of Boris Johnson (a completely amoral opportunist clawing his way into power by posing as a adorably-befuddled tousle-haired buffoon), Michael Gove, and Nigel Farage?”

(It's rumoured that Boris Johnson has already offered Farage a job in "his" post-Brexit government. Farage has denied this, naturally.)

You know what? The EU is open to debate among reasonable humans. This isn't.

This is not even dog-whistling any more, it's glaringly racist and more or less identical to a piece of actual Nazi propaganda. It says "Vote Leave because otherwise scary brown people might come to your country".

(Never mind that the people shown are Syrian refugees fleeing a war zone, or that leaving the EU wouldn't affect the UK's legal obligations to take in refugees under international law anyway.)

Whatever you think motivated the alleged murderer of Jo Cox, who (allegedly) 'said a variation of “Britain first”, “Keep Britain independent”, “Britain always comes first”, and “This is for Britain” as he launched the attack on Cox' -- Nigel Farage's poster is identical to the sort of far right/neo-Nazi material found in his house.

And here is Farage, a month ago, saying that if people feel they've lost control of their borders -- which he maintains has happened because of the EU -- and voting doesn't change anything, then "violence is the next step". Not that he condones it, of course. He’s just saying how understandable it would be if people felt driven to it.

I am fucking scared of these people. I am seeing stuff which is genuinely veering towards fascism, with Nigel Farage as our home-grown Trump. These are people who actually make me prefer to be on the same side as David Cameron, god help me.

When Jo Cox was murdered, a part of my brain went white-hot with anxiety, and when I managed to put it into words I realized it was asking is this how it starts?

(Which is, rationally, nonsense: there is no "it", "it" started long ago, "it" is always happening, take your pick. But.)

I want my fucking country back. Because it does not belong to these people and they cannot steal it.

Brexit feels

Jun. 22nd, 2016 09:17 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
These are not thoughts; these are very much feels:

Cut because you may not want to think about it )

If you, too, have a whole bunch of feels, come huddle with me in this dreamwidth bunker as we wait out the judgement day...

Rafi Zarum: Defecation and the Divine

Jun. 22nd, 2016 01:09 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Traditional Jewish prayer for after going to the toilet

So if you don't already know, the most interesting thing about it is that there IS one. It talks about how we're grateful for the orifices and sphincters because we couldn't live without it.

Lots of people have an instinct that it's not really appropriate to mix defecation and prayer. And there's some of that in Judaism, eg. you're not supposed to pray on a toilet. But a big part of his talk was quoting bits of talmud about toilets, to illustrate, there's nothing _bad_ about it, it's like things like sex (and maybe surgery?) which are great and good topics for prayer, even if you're not supposed to mix the two.

Although he never explicitly SAID that distinction. I think it might have been helpful if he had, rather than just giving pro-toilet examples without explaining the distinction explicitly. (I got a lot of this from hatam_soferet's comments on liv's post.)

The overall thesis

I felt like I was missing background here, like there was some cultural disconnect. His overall thesis was related to the fact the prayer refers to god as roughly "throne of glory" and also (?) uses "throne" in reference to the toilet. And there's most probably SOME connection implied there.

But he seemed to imply it was more than that. Which seemed very odd, like, the rest of the talk made the point that it was ok to pray about bodily functions as much as anything else. But (I don't know, but I got the impression that?) it's really shocking to imply God might do _anything_ physical, even eat -- and I didn't get the impression that defection was so much MORE holy it was ok to talk about God doing it.

But I was clearly missing something, like he didn't EXPECT to prove that thesis. He just wanted to advance it. And I guess that's partly him, and partly a tradition of commentary? After all, most talks don't have a thesis they even pretend to prove. But partly, I'm frustrated because if someone SAYS they're going to prove something, I'm not used to the idea I'm not supposed to believe them.

And partly I'm frustrated because I'm really interested in this sort of cross-cultural meta-conventions about study and prayer, but people rarely *talk* about them, even though it might be something Rafi could do very well.


In fact, I get the impression he's rushed off his feet delivering these popular talmud sessions. He always encourages people to participate with ideas and interpretations (less so this time, but more in other sessions I've been in), how you're supposed to when studying something. But a few things made me realise he maybe usually lacks time or preparation to really *engage* with any of those comments, except by plowing ahead with his thesis. So he's still a really good popular educator, but I'm sometimes left not sure what I'm missing.

R. Akiva follows R. Yehoshua into a bathroom and spies on him

He followed with half a dozen pieces of Talmud which supported his thesis in some way, but really, one of the most interesting aspect of the talk is just seeing them in their own right.

R. Akiva: Once I followed my teacher R Yehoshua into a bathroom and watched what he did, so I would know the most appropriate way to go to the bathroom.
Ben Azai: And "not spying on people" you didn't think you could figure out for yourself?
R. Akiva: How to go to the bathroom is part of the teachings (oral Torah?), I had to learn it!
R: Kahana: It's funny you should say that, because I hid under your bed and listened to you with your wife. You chatted and giggled like new lovers. I had to learn how to behave in the bedroom, it was part of the teachings.
R. Akiva: *with a straight face* That was highly inappropriate.

It's also followed by a passage where rabbis argue why you should wipe with the left hand. Because you eat with the right. Because you wrap tefillin with the right. Etc. I'm not sure if any of them end with the obvious answer "all of the above".

The dangers of learning from Joshua the Nazarene

Liv linked to a partial translation here: https://www.ou.org/life/torah/masechet_shevuot_13a19b/

R. Eliezer was accosted by a follower of Jesus (or, so we guess), commonly supposed to be James (?). He proposed a point of teaching, which is implicitly not traditionally correct, but R. Eliezer was amused/moved by the argument, and even though he didn't respond, came under suspicion of following the teachings of Christianity, which was illegal at the time, and temporarily arrested by the Roman authorities.

What's fascinating is that it's one of the few (possible?) mentions of Jesus in the Talmud. And it gives me dissonance, in that I know much Talmud was written down about the same time as Jesus, but they don't easily go together in my head. R. Eliezer stars in such stories as the oven of achnai, where he pursues an academic argument by making increasingly impossible miracles, culminating in being outvoted shortly after God speaks from the sky to endorse him personally. And is exiled, and loses it, and gazes on the crops and sea, which are ruined wherever he looks. It's like the time of myths. But then there's other stories like this one where he bustles around early-AD middle east going to market, administrating universities, arguing with political authorities, etc. (Right?)

And the particular point in question was, it was forbidden to use money from exploitation and vice[1] as donation to the temple (subject to a lot of details). The disciple asked if it was appropriate to use it for the high priest's privy, that already being full of uncleanliness in some sense. And this gives a very strange view of how jewish leaders at the time might have viewed christianity at the time (or the temple for that matter). Eliezer is inconvenienced by being associated with Christianity, but he doesn't recoil shouting "blashphemer, blasphemer". And the christian disciple is more persecuted, but not so much he can't stop in the middle of the market to buttonhole rabbis and have theological arguments.

It seems likely this is an implicit criticism or mocking of Jesus' followers' beliefs of the time SOMEHOW but I don't know the context to say how. I don't know if that's something Jesus' followers WOULD have had an opinion on, or if it's supposed to discredit them.

[1] The translation is fee from a prostitute, but I prefer to read that as the bad thing being betrayal of vows, exploitation, or whatever, rather than prostitution per se, anyone able to add details?

Cleaning Out My Link Closet

Jun. 22nd, 2016 01:48 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

He's calling it: social networking is over. According to Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg, in five years you will not social; you will video. No one will type or post photos because like GIFs, nothing can remain still. Imagine your status update/wall post/timeline delivered via live stream 24/7. You won't describe a beach day, a lunch, a dinner, a shopping spree, or an argument: you will film it. You will film all of it. You won't post pictures because SOIDH (stream or it didn't happen).

If I happen to see such a "stream" as one big public piss everyone will take on our lives forever, I forgive myself for thinking we need less publicly viewable online cesspools to drain it off into this transgression.

If you tilt the other way and want everyone to stop posting forever and ever and ever then Drumpf's your man. He's got a huuuuge plan, the best plan, and it uses the best words to end the Internet.

Personally, I think it's all nuts. I like reading - not video watching, which even on the fastest connections that use the biggest modems, the best modems, I still cannot stand watching more than a few minutes of each day - and I like writing. I especially like writing about His Orangeness in the "unfair", aka "unflattering" way that will get me sued if he's elected but before he pushes the Internet OFF button that we all know is hidden in the same seekret location as Obama's birth certificate. I bet he finds them both at once!

I like the Internet because I can Google anything and get myself sort of half-ass self-educated. This matters to people with no money but a lot of brains - that is, being able to independently research and learn whatever we care to know. The rest of y'all can stick to live pissing streams or Drumpfian totalitarian censorship or Captain Marvel furry anime porn or whatever's floating your boats these days, because I don't know or care. I'll do my thing while the vast majority of the Internet discourages me from doing mine, even when I return it no such animosity nor even that much give-a-damn, because honestly I don't.

I think my worst quibbles with the Internet are the same as always: a) it's a timesuck (so yeah, this guy is a genius), b) the sites and apps on it are designed to drag you in, keep you in and lock you down (I cannot mention AOL's Walled Garden as the perfect analogy to what's going on today often enough, because what's going on today? Has always been going on. Zuckerberg is not a genius; he's an AOL copycat. AOL nailed this shit to the wall over 20 years ago, where it's been stuck ever since by an ever-longer line of wannabes: MySpace, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, et al) rather than lift you up and empower you to get what you want done. And c) it seems to drag people's thoughts and spirits down in ways that can reshape and often harm society. I think outside of fulfilling some entertainment, self-educational and social pursuits it serves little purpose. You can buy stuff and pay your bills online, though. Yay! Then watch the very websites you use for those things get hacked and your money and identity stolen. Not so yay!

And this - the last 20 some-odd years of the Internet - is because ads. No really, I'm not kidding. There is no other reason these 'free to join' websites, email providers, chat clients and live streaming services exist or even give us the time of day. Ads. Ads. Ads. That's the only reason they or you or I are here.

*looks up above this line*

Yep. This is why I hate posting links. I editorialize so much it just winds up taking forever.

In The Hypocrisy Of It All, an ongoing (you could say live-streaming, since we see it with our own eyes, then force ourselves to forget we saw it) series that women must play our humbly supporting parts in, as we all know programming is women's work because men are too hard-driving to sit back quietly at a desk all day performing ho-hum, boring, repetitive, and womanly tasks.

'Wait! Wait. Stop, MM', you say, 'We men have the corner on that, us brogrammers; we don't let women in because women don't know how to code'. Oh, OK.

Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper and Adele Goldberg, among many others early to the programming ("wogramming"?) scene, might not just disagree but also might have a veritable host of their own brogrammers to testify to the reality of their talent. I bet they'd crap their pants at what a badge of manly honor it's become to do the very work men practically sentenced them to as some sort of dreary, low-paying, un-world-building punishment once upon a Father Knows Best's kind of time.

OSB ho!

Jun. 21st, 2016 11:18 pm
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Arrived in Portland safe and sound with traveling companion! Trip was lovely and included Hamilton sing-alongs, a bag of cherries shaped like butts, chat about our respective talks, and good old-fashioned gossip. I'd taken the last leg of the journey, so my executive function was diminished (12:30, not as much sleep as I'd have wanted) and so F went to confer with the lodging gods.

We are staying in Portland State University's summer dorm-filler project, which is unfancy but adequate -- when things are going right.

This evening did not feature many things going right. Chief among them was my executive function having gone sleepybyebye, so (apparently after them failing to find our info, and not having room in the dorm they said we'd be assigned to) F found parking, and I had a smol meltdown over having no idea what things I needed to take up to the room (under the assumption that we'd have to be moving the next day). Also we had one key-and-keycard between the two of us, and one car key.

We managed to fox-goose-and-grain ourselves into the building with no actual tears shed, though I did swear at whatever snotassed weaselfucks were responsible for the accessibility.

By the time I got horizontal it was 2:30. Then I woke up at 6.

Oh, and I had to speak today.

I went down and fed the meter, then once the hours for the housing office arrived, I went over for that and had a chat. (They had actually opened at 7, not 9; it was the *student* housing department that opened at 9. I feel that any collective misreading was entirely justified based on the hour.) I got the parking pass, a second key-and-keycard lanyard, and bagged myself a parking space near the elevator in the nearby parking garage.

Then I faceplanted on my bed and didn't re-attain consciousness until around noon.

I headed off to the conference upon waking up, picking up some lunch on the way. I there cranked away diligently upon my slides, and listened to someone I was sharing a time slot with rehearse. I also learned that there had been a sudden unavailability of the people who had been going to do video of the sessions, which filled me with woe because a) there are a lot of people who are looking forward to my talk, and b) I was up against some really interesting looking things.

I saw [personal profile] silveradept and the ritual hug of greeting was exchanged. \o/

Then it was time to give my talk. [staff profile] denise, [personal profile] kareila, and [personal profile] shadowspar were all there!

The room seemed interested, and I think I mostly remembered to use the microphone (good for recording purposes; the a/v guy said they were doing audio at least) and [personal profile] kareila got some room audio to boot! So I may be able to get a rough transcription up at some point.

The next talk that a number of us gravitated to was on the history of emoji! Great fun.

I then presented [staff profile] denise with the crocheting project that I had been somewhat successfully keeping under my hat for Quite Some Time, ever since I finished [personal profile] fu's dreamsheep (Dreamsheep Beta).

This is Dreamsheep Gamma, and it comes with some surprises. (Why is this dreamsheep different from all other dreamsheep?) D says there may be a photoshoot.

This is, like, *layers* of fanworks.

Dreamwidth started as a fanwork determined to make it pro (and successfully so). The dreamsheep icon (by [personal profile] helens78) was fanart conceptually inspired by the concept of Dreamwidth. The crocheted dreamsheep were a transformation of medium, somewhat analogous to making podfic of a fic. Dreamsheep Gamma is, additionally, a crossover.

After that a few of us decided that dinner was in order, and shortly there was a little diner graced by the sorts of giggling, friendly chatter, and toasts that five DW-affiliated people tend to get up to.

Our party started splitting after that, and I got in and fairly immediately peeled off my clothing. I was correct to not try to additionally wear shorts under The Pink Skirt. (Outfit: Pink Skirt, turquoise toeless tights, black sequined sleeveless shirt, tiara, and Jacket of Holding.) One shower later, I felt human again...

F popped in with a friend, but has popped out again; at some point I'll be attaining horizontality. I have marked my schedule-badge with little green dots on things I want to see, and bold green squares next to the can't-miss things, and green blocking off that slot.

The captive portal thing here is Not Done Badly from a UX perspective. I'm impressed that it's not horrible.
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
Birthday donut time! (Clockwise from top: monkey bread, vanilla bean old-fashioned, chocolate old-fashioned, strawberry honey, salted toffee, everything bagel, and chocolate sprinkle.)

"You can be a new man"

Jun. 21st, 2016 01:39 pm
rosefox: Me in men's evening dress. (crossdressing)
[personal profile] rosefox
Someone just wrote to me asking for advice on getting started building a dapper wardrobe, and of course I have LOTS of advice. I figured I'd share it here too.

Style inspiration: I love looking at portraits of the original dapper dandy, Beau Brummel, and his fellow Regency-era men. A quick Google search for "Regency men's clothing" will give you a ton. If you like more flamboyant styles, researching the fops and fribbles who predated him is also a lot of fun. In the modern era, try looking up drag kings, who have fabulous style and do interesting things with the basics of menswear. Or flip through the catalogs/websites of high-end butchwear companies even though you can't afford anything they make.

Buying clothes: EBAY EBAY EBAY. I'm a boy's size 16/18 in shirts, and it turns out there are a lot of teen boys who wear very nice shirts once and outgrow them, and then their parents put them (the shirts, not the boys) up on Ebay for pennies. The best thing is that many of them are posted with measurements as well as size numbers. Buy a few different brands and see what fits. You can also go to a big department store and try on things from the boys section. Men's trousers are more difficult to find unless you're skinny all the way down; I have a small waist and a big butt, and I do pretty well with Old Navy men's jeans as long as they're a tapered fit. Don't shy away from fitted clothing. Baggy pants won't hide your shape--they'll just make you look shlumpy, and you won't feel good about yourself, which hampers the self-confident attitude that's the true hallmark of the dandy.

In one word, I teach you the secret of success in dapperness: ACCESSORIZE.

The most obvious accessory is the tie. If you have a short torso, regular men's ties will be much too long for you, so get pre-tied clip-on or zip-up ties for kids (very easy to find on Ebay in a wide range of colors and sizes) or wear bow ties. You can also try bolo or string ties if that's your style. I like wearing a vertical pin on my shirt placket to give the suggestion of a tie without the formality of one.

My favorite way to dress up a button-up shirt is with a vest; it can be hard to find one that fits if your chest is big, but a little subtle tailoring can turn a blocky square vest into something smooth and glorious that also hides your waistline a bit. Sweater vests stretch to accommodate your shape and are great for autumn. In the winter, wear suit jackets. In the summer, wear a white cotton undershirt (I like Hanes men's small) to soak up sweat and keep your thin cotton shirt from wrinkling or going transparent. Use shirt stays--they're like suspenders that attach your shirt to the top of your socks and keep it tucked in and smooth. A neatly folded pocket square or a pair of suspenders can also do wonders, though I find that I have to wear a binder (gc2b is an excellent brand) if I want suspenders to lie properly on my chest.

And hats! Hats are great! My preferred hat shop is Goorin Bros. even though they inexplicably started dividing their collection into "men's" and "women's"; ignore those artificial distinctions and get yourself a fedora (we can reclaim them from the whiny bros) or a flat cap. If you have long hair, either tuck it up into a hat or wear your hair in whatever long style is associated with men of your race/culture (single ponytail, single long braid, tidy dreads, loose and all one length--there are a surprising number of options even if you don't think of there being long hair styles for men), with or without a hat.

Get shoes from Tomboy Toes, or from Payless, which has some decent men's shoes in very small sizes for very cheap. My first pair of shiny captoes in size 5.5 came from Payless and cost something like $20. I still have them and love them, even though the soles have cracked.

Pay attention to detail. If you're wearing a jacket, shoot your cuffs. Shine your shoes. Wear silk socks and boxer briefs, even if no one but you will know. Iron your handkerchief. Wear earrings that match your cuff links. Wear men's shirts rather than masculine-styled women's shirts so that the buttons are on the correct side, and never ever wear a men's shirt with a women's jacket or vice versa. The little touches that pull an outfit together are really what give the impression of dandyness.

Cambridge Limmud

Jun. 21st, 2016 01:06 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
On Sunday, Liv and I, ghoti and cjwatson, and youngest and middle child attended cambridge limmud, a one-day Jewish conference. At some point, I got lucky or got better at judging which talks would actually be interesting to me, and went to several talks I'm really glad I got to see.

And maybe because I've started carrying caffeine pills, which I resolutely do not use day-to-day, but I find really useful if I'm at an all day event, or in a foreign city, and even if there is tea/coffee readily available, it may be inconvenient to actually get hold of it.

The limmud makes a big effort to have an actual children's program, with things that are exciting to go to and several of the same speakers as the adult program, and not just be somewhere to leave children. Middle child loves people and really loved it -- hummus making, drumming, puppet show, a little bit of the aleph-bet etc. Youngest child finds it quite difficult to meet new people, he said "i don't always like adults", and I sympathised a lot. But we were allowed to sit with him, and after a couple of sessions of wanting ghoti, I was really impressed he joined in a lot of things. He was always good at cooking (I am in awe, I'm only now really learning any cooking) and also colouring, and talking to people. And said he was looking forward to next year!

The organisation was pretty good. There were a few problems, but none really evident to me. It was a bit smaller than the previous one, but they managed to get the popular speakers into the big rooms so there was no-one turned away, which had sometimes been a problem. Lunch is always tricky to arrange, but was handled fairly well.

Talks I went to:

Calne - a famous transplant surgeon (?) who talked about the ratchet of science, how science always gets more, not less, and we have an obligation not to build dangerous things with it. With a smattering of interesting history and philosophy. I kept expecting him to make some overall philosophical argument, but I never really heard it.

Freedman - expert on Middle East problems. Mostly conflicts between other countries, not Israel. It was mostly about "why it's so difficult", but to felt optimistic in that it was at least talking about how things could improve, even if it was hard to ever achieve.

Rita Rudner -- light anecdotes about her life story and life in hollywood

Rafi Zarum - talmud study for non-experts, he does this a lot and is a really good speaker. This was on the prayer for after going to the toilet. Pending a post about it.

Boyarin -- a real scholar, always talking about something that doesn't really exist at all yet, usually to be future published in a book, he was the one I was most excited about. But I correctly predicted it would be full of digressions on the bits he was working on this month, and hedged around with detailed justifications of dating of texts etc some people will find controversial but I'd be happy to take his word for, and generally I didn't have enough background to understand. So I sent liv and cjwatson to listen, and went to Freedman instead, and made them promise to explain it to me at length afterwards which worked pretty well. May be a future post coming.

Levine -- talking about how what some of Jesus' parables might have been interpreted by people belonging to jewish tradition at the time. I love that sort of thing, and she apparently published an annotated NT in addition to some other books, which we should maybe seek out. And she was a hilarious and effective speaker. However, I had some reservations about the actual examples she used, I didn't get any good idea what they might have meant other than "not what Luke said", and when they're only known via Luke, you can only go so far in expecting Luke to have preserved a clarity of meaning different to the one he said they meant. May be a future post coming.

Also see liv and ghoti's write up:
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

To style for smaller devices without having any to test on, DW's Preview window can be resized downward almost infinitely, ie, until it's less than a single inch wide - about 2/3 the width of a flip phone/feature phone browser window (tested by holding my flip phone up to the tiny Preview window I just created in Firefox on my laptop). Currently this style starts running over the right gutter at a bit more than 1 1/2 inches wide but plays pretty nice between left and right gutters up until that point.

Oh wow...

Jun. 21st, 2016 12:58 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

My possible bug report turned out to be a real bug, which is now fixed. It's listed at the top of the latest Code Tour, an utterly random, meaningless assignation that's still cool in a don't-get-too-used-to-the-good-feels-you're-feeling way. I actually felt bad after making this report for finding the bug "sort of hilarious", a stupid and sort of snarky way to say it was one of the weirder bugs I've seen, not that I'd intended to sound, well...stupid or snarky. Luckily Dreamwidth et al seems to have overlooked my said stupid snarkiness initial amazement in favor of straightforward bug demolition, but in the long run this bug was fixed "practically by accident" while one of our devs worked on another, related concern - a sort of hilarious wildly coincidental development, if you ask me.

I really liked both of these.

Jun. 20th, 2016 11:23 pm
newredshoes: Amelie Poulain, adult (amelie | la rêveuse)
[personal profile] newredshoes
I know it's late at night on a Monday, but honestly, when you've got porny fic recs, you gotta share 'em when it's right. I wound up going through [archiveofourown.org profile] Polexia_Aphrodite's/[tumblr.com profile] hardboiledmeggs's fic this evening, and she's got two fantastic MCU wartime AUs set in different wars.

Vietnam: Just a Shot Away (3600 words, Darcy/Bucky)
It’s late February when Major Barnes moves into the office across from Darcy’s desk. The first thing she notices about him is the empty left sleeve of his uniform, pinned up and out the way. The purple bar on his chest tells her everything she needs to know about it. She’s gotten used to this; they all have — promising young men wounded and pulled from the field to work desk jobs.

World War I: Keep the Home Fires Burning (3700 words, Darcy/Bucky/Steve)
A little curl of nerves inside her chest loosens when he stands and follows her to her room, sliding into her narrow bed and pulling her against his chest. She and Jane will be up in a few hours and off to work, but Darcy knows too much about Jane’s dalliances with the Norwegians in Bay Ridge for her to be worried about what she’ll think if she sees Bucky in her bed.
*(This is not the teaser copy from the post, which is a little gruesome, but I can't help loving the throwaway Thor reference here.)

Further moving-in progress

Jun. 20th, 2016 08:10 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
Major good thing: we now have an air conditioner. We ordered it on Amazon, it arrived late this afternoon, and [livejournal.com profile] cattitude installed it in the bedroom window. This is a small air conditioner; if we decide we want a larger one for the combined living/dining room, we'll need to pay someone (or some two) stronger to get it up the stairs and into the window. But just air conditioning the bedroom makes a big difference on hot days.

Minor good things: We have unpacked more books.

Minor not-so-good things: I decided to try vacuuming the porch, and discovered that a piece of our vacuum cleaner is missing. For values of "missing" that might include having been randomly packed into a box labeled "books" (as I think and hope my old external backup drive was), somehow put away in the attic without our noticing, or never unloaded from the moving truck and long since lost. OK, I guess we keep sweeping for now, and worry about the rugs later.

We set our printer up, and tried it first as a photocopier; it seems to do okay in black and white, but not in color. I don't know if this can be fixed with careful shaking and/or replacement of the color cartridges, nor whether it's worth trying rather than getting a new one. (I haven't needed to print much since we got here, and have been using the library, which lets me send a print job from my home computer to their printers for 15 cents/page.)

Why I'm voting Remain

Jun. 20th, 2016 08:35 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

If I had to choose either Strasbourg or Westminster to run this country, I'd choose Strasbourg. It has a better separation of powers. Someone asked what I mean by that, so I'll explain more fully.

A bit of civics background-- sorry if you know this already: There are three branches to every government: the legislature which makes laws, the executive which implements those laws, and the judiciary which deals with people who break them. In a carefully-designed system such as the American federal government, the three branches act as checks on one another's power. (In the US, executive=President, legislature=Congress, judiciary=federal courts.) This means that it's much more difficult for one or two people to fuck up the system.

But in the UK and the EU we don't have a complete separation of powers. In particular in the EU we have the executive (the Commission) having the sole power to propose bills to the legislature (the Parliament). This is undemocratic, and it's a problem. The legislature can veto bills, so it acts as a check on the power of the executive. But it cannot act alone.

In the UK, however, the problem is even worse. In our case executive=Downing Street, legislature=Parliament, judiciary=courts. Parliament was originally a check on the power of the King (when the King was the executive). But for the last few centuries, the Crown's ministers have effectively been the executive, and these ministers are always drawn from Parliament. A PM must necessarily almost always be able to order Parliament to do anything they wish, because they must belong to the majority party in the Commons, and MPs almost always vote as the whips tell them to.

So if for example we happened to get someone as PM who was determined to starve the poor and destroy the NHS, there's nobody at all who can stand up to him. In the US or in France it's routine for the legislature to say no to the executive (and vice versa). But it's near-impossible in the UK.


...there is, at present, one organisation which can say no to the PM.

That organisation is the EU.

That is why I'm voting Remain.


(no subject)

Jun. 20th, 2016 06:18 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] bicrim linked to a fundraiser for Michael, who has Retinitis Pigmentosa (a degenerative disease of the retina) and is raising money to help purchase adaptive technology glasses to help him see more clearly. You can read more and help Mike buy his glasses here.

[livejournal.com profile] zillahseye is raising money for rent and to keep her health insurance, while facing medical bills her insurance won't cover. You can read more and find a paypal link to donate (at the bottom of the post) here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received. You can read more and help out here.

[livejournal.com profile] editrx has been struggling to keep her indy bookstore afloat for this past year, and on top of her troubles there, she's now been the subject of a violent assault by her housemate. She's dealing with mounting medical bills and trauma from the assault and needs a lawyer to ensure her attacker is charged properly and convicted. You can read more and give here, or support Starcat Books by purchasing here. She also has jewelry for sale on Etsy. (Obviously if you're shopping her etail or etsy there may be a delay in delivery.)

Fun And Activism:

[tumblr.com profile] deesarrachi linked to The Newparts Project, a play by Julia Marsh that's having a reading in Ferndale, MI this Friday the 24th. The play focuses on three trans women who decide to hold a porn festival to save their small town; the reading will be followed by a discussion about the casting of trans characters. You can read more at the facebook or, if you're going to be in town, purchase tickets here for $10.


[personal profile] pinesandmaples is looking for a housemate to share a house in New Orleans; queer and trans friendly, no smoking, cat-friendly, $550 a month plus some utilities, in Central City. You can read more, see photos, and get in touch here; if you come from RFM, please let them know!

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading: For work, 'La Belle Hélène de Constantinople', which might possibly be the most disturbing of the Constance narratives. For dubious values of 'fun', 'Epistemology of the Closet'. For Literachur, Stead's 'For Love Alone' (finally hit pt 3). For actual fun, Lady Caroline Lamb's 'Glenarvon', which is melodramatic and hilarious.

Recently Finished:

The Portrait of a LadyThe Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this was my second complete re-read, and I did not expect to devour the last seven chapters in a single sitting and cry my eyes out.

On first reading I *hated* the second half, but this time around I am impressed and chilled by the accuracy in the depiction of an emotionally abusive relationship. (I think I recognised it as accurate, on first reading, but found it difficult to engage with.)

Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in HalfBudget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half by Beth Moncel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love the blog, but the cookbook is a little disappointing. Both the dishes I've tried so far turned out poorly, and the book doesn't seem to offer much that the blog doesn't.

Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsSpecial Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this book.

Things I liked about it: the narrative voice, the parenthetical citations and peculiar historical/ornithological/literary references used to describe setting and characters. The artifice of it all. I liked the artifice of 'highly literate overwrought narrator', with the current of humour running through it. The timeline - a murder mystery ought to open with the death, but instead it opened long after the death, and skipped back, so you knew someone WOULD die, and the narrative invited the reader to begin sleuthing before the protag did.

Things I disliked about it: Nothing in particular. Well. Hannah's conduct vis-a-vis students made me uncomfortable; the fact the POV character went along with the whole drinking-and-depravity-high-school facade was annoying (but there would be no story if she hadn't). But I'm not sure the plot was actually *good*. The final 1/4 seemed rushed. I'm not sure the fact that her dad was *actually abusive* was sufficiently engaged with.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this. I wasn't sure what it would have to offer that Oranges hadn't already covered - much of what I liked about the first half was the same as stuff I liked about Oranges. Not the narrative but the ways of phrasing and framing things. And that carried through into the second half - Winterson's ways of talking about literature, madness, family, and so on. I have highlighted many bits for savouring later.

Up Next: I just got copies of 'Dealing with Dragons' (Wrede) and 'Lavinia' (LeGuin), so one of those, probably!

Current/Recent Music notes:

Haven't purchased any new ones, but got K to send me a back-catalogue of MP3s from old SUMS concerts. The Motzart Requiem was particularly soothing last week, so I thought I should acquire more like that. Still very much in love with Gillian Welch, and developed a brief fixation on 90s Tina Arena over the weekend. Might need more like that.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

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

Jo Cox's birthday

Jun. 19th, 2016 07:37 pm
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
would have been on Wednesday (yes, the day before the referendum, which I'm sure has the "false flag" conspiracy theorists screaming).

There are going to be events (organized by her friends and colleagues) in London, Batley and Spen (her constituency), NY, Washington, Brussels, and Nairobi:


The memorial fund is almost at £750,000.

#DWgoestoOSB 2k16

Jun. 19th, 2016 02:40 am
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
#DWgoestoOSB 2k16

* Reading the back entries from Check Please! with commentary this time
* Why do I not have a Tub Juice icon?? (Sophomore Year #8 - Parse - Part II has the best image of tub juice I've seen yet.)
* Having feelings about multiple people in deeply confusing ways
* Thinking about gender. (I think I'm officially agender, in the "you have to really focus to see where even on the spectrum the swatch is" level of low intensity, and I'm firm enough on that to start the slow process of asking the people in my life who aren't known-hostile to non-binary genders to stop using gendered pronouns about me when it wouldn't endanger *them*.)
* Thinking about gender. (I still caucus with organized groups who support not-men in tech, reproductive and sexual health rights for uterus owners, and a number of other things where women get the short end of the stick.)
* Thinking about gender. (One of the things that had been confusing as hell to me was that Purple genders me every now and then and I like it. However, my brain has found a context which reconciles this with agender-in-public-life, although it ... is probably not a thing I could explain in the workplace outside of a milkshake walk.) More on that later, possibly; it's the sort of thing I will probably have to chatter about filtered first to shake my ideas into place.

to-do/ta-da and other OSB logistics )
silveradept: A head shot of Mo Willems's Pigeon, a blue bird with a large eye. (Pigeon Head)
[personal profile] silveradept
Just in time before the conference, right?

Here's the thing: I spent most of today listening to RWBY soundtrack stuff. Considering how much I'm hoping that Season 4 gets here soon, so that I can hopefully get beyond the ending of Season 3 (and, perhaps, hold out hope that someone will be able to wipe a smug smile off a certain ship-killer), this would seem to be normal, except if you actually listen to the lyrics of most of the songs, they're not happy speed metal sorts of things.

So, I'm guessing that my mental state is somewhere in brainweasel territory and just not signaling that yet, or making a decision as to whether to be a question of performance anxiety about presenting, existential anxiety because of the rapid-fire announcements of deaths and tragedies, or some sort of depressive episode since my memory hasn't been great lately and I've been fighting a fic to get it to settle into the pocket where I feel good about it and the narrative and characters make sense. That, at least, finally happened, but it could probably use a few extra eyes.

Censorship comes in many forms, but a common one is a teacher believing that a child's brain cannot handle what it has already experienced. There's another - representing one's personal beliefs as company policy. As is arresting a student that chooses to wear a representation of his heritage to his high school graduation and forbidding creative expressions as sinful.

A used bookstore closes its doors, because retail booksales are still difficult if you're not a giant chain. The store intends to deploy its stock as a bookmobile, which has a long and proud history with public libraries.

Having fun with Amazon reviews.

Iron Man 3 could have had a woman as villain, but apparently someone there thinks women don't sell toys. Jessica Jones fans and actors think toys would work just fine.

Working on television is a frantic place, with lots of money being thrown around for everyone.

Badass women who went behind the lines of World War II and attempted to funnel as much information back to England as possible.

Attempting to follow high school dress codes as an adult is a nearly impossible task, so one can only guess how it must be for students. Plus, as we saw before, dress codes are a lot more about policing women's bodies than anything.

Brains sometimes make it more difficult to achieve tough things that require effort.

People who look like they are doing the very best may be suffering horribly from anxiety and depression. Women have ADHD, too, and are not just strangely manic creatures.

And yet, anyone not able-bodied and white is likely to be called lazy at some point, even if they're working harder than the people accusing them. Or worse, having their very expensive medical equipment broken by persons who have can't be arsed to ask how to handle it properly.

Faith is not always a universal good when dealing with anxiety and depression.

Buttered bread with sprinkles, meet Canadians.

The current nostalgia filter claims previous generations were tougher as children is just that - a filter. There was a lot of crap going on then, too.

Cliques tend to be defined more by those outside than inside, which may involve attributing malice when ignorance is correct.

As with many other things involving women, everyone has advice on what's wrong with a woman that doesn't have a man.

The societal meanings of woman and girl and the ways in which girls may be preferable to women.

Patriarchal interpretations of Abrahamic religions make sense when you want to privilege men and try to make sure that their sexual property is never tarnished, but don't work well in a world where women have agency and don't have to depend on men for everything.

The Episcopal Church of Scotland sanctions gay marriages.

The reinterpretation of art now that there are new words and contexts to consider.

Justin Trudeau had an incident in the House of Commons, with verbal and physical altercations with other MPs. Frankly, it seems like the Congress could do with the occasional push here and there.

Making Captain America a HYDRA agent destroys the context and reason for his creation.

What might the childhood of the Peter Parker (or, perhaps, the Khamala Khan) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been like?

Fanworks have benefits of being safe for experimentation and in allowing people who might feel like they have no community to find peers.

Tending the spirit of a movement is an essential duty, and many of the spiritual elements of movements like Black Lives Matter focus on advancing the cause and on self-care, because they want people to avoid burnout and to tap the benefits of their work.

Testing the backlog of collected rape kids reveals that many of those kits may have collected evidence from serial attackers.

Guidance on diet is always changing, and what was good isn't any more, and what is bad is good again. Corporations messing with our heads about what is healthy isn't helping.

Patients are the most overworked and underpaid part of the health care system - make their lives easier by not forcing them to be the intermediary between everyone. Doctors need to be thorough in their examination of causes, and not just assume that weight loss will equal health. This includes listening to and treating seriously concerns patients have about other conditions or things that will interact.

The attitude parents take toward failure helps shape whether the children believe ability is a fixed quantity or not.

Terminology is important - use the word you actually intend, rather than a stigmatizing substitute.

Tactics are important when delivering a correction - or in choosing not to fight sinkhole battles. Because there is always a lot of work in becoming an ally, and much of it centers on recognizing where you have not noticed what you are doing. Things like band names that say "girls" without having any women in the band. Or the reasons why bathrooms became gender-segregated.

Here's where I add on the fact that Wayne's World treats its woman rocker a lot better than many movies about all-woman bands.

Gender identity as a continuum of paint swatches, so that the intensity of the identity felt comes through, too.

An early theater of London users a rectangular stage instead of an oval one.

Using elements of famous paintings to do facial makeup.

Where a third season of Agent Carter could pick up, were it to be made.

A yearly parade celebrating the works of Hieronymous Bosch.

Lessons learned from Canadian movies of the last century.

Quebecois swearing often involves the elements of a Catholic Mass.

A book recommendation for a graphic novel where the United States invades and occupies Canada for their water resources.

The young adult horror of the pseudonym Christopher Pike engaged in some very fantastical stories.

A book recommendation for a story where people can stop time with orgasm.

The barriers that prevent women who write from being recognized as writers, along with the need to have more women characters in traditionally male roles, like espionage.

A book recommendation for those who love their technology mixed with folklore and fairy tales.

Creative people of a certain level of fame and following may be able to obtain a monthly income through crowdfunding, but it really does take having the followers first. Getting those followers is often a conscious exercise in telling the expectations of others to get fucked. And perhaps a little magic in choosing the right title.

The one-handed flail thought to be a staple of feudal weaponry may have only truly existed as an illustration in the time it was supposed to be in use.

Examining evidence and source material often complicates our understanding of a concept, like bacon, or slavery.

Digital archives of fugitive slave advertisements, which will hopefully assist researchers in finding macro-level clues.

Reimagining Emma Watson's Hermione Granger as a libertarian tax evader.

The next time there's an all-white cast for parts that could or should be filled by Asians, here are several leading men who could fill roles. More specifically, John Cho would be perfect in any role.

An examination of the trope that disappears disabilities when they stop being narrative necessities.

A quite serious discussion about what the effects of a sex toy-shaped rock would be were it to be used as a sex toy. The results are not pretty. Perhaps we should stick to questions about anatomy.

Various reasons why particular relationship conflicts keep reoccurring.

More on Saint Harridan, a clothier specializing in masculine-reading silhouette for non-cismen bodies.

Laying groundwork for sex positivity doesn't mean having to always talk about sex. There are plenty of compatible concepts to use as well. Somewhat more blunt tips about having good sex.

If you wish to do a lot of good in the world, fixing respiratory illnesses and treating clinical depression are your two best bets. Also, manufacture these useful shirts for wearing to doctor appointments.

Punctuation whose informal usage may be giving off the wrong impression. And common things of English that are uncommon in other languages.

Well-designed musical guides to help non-musical people follow classical pieces.

Politicians that annoy writers find themselves on the sharp end of the quill, whether in print or on Twitter. Certain politicians also have detractors that engage in violence with their supporters over remarks the politician said that generally promised violence would be done if the candidate was elected.

Racists and White Supremacists take advantage of a computer's programming to strip punctuation in searches so that they can tag whom they believe are persons deserving hate. As technology advances, the ways that technology is used in service of particular goals advances as well. One known, however, and suddenly disseminated, it's often possible to introduce sufficient noise into the situation to render the technique useless.

Inappropriately gendered products. Reviews of meal delivery services, all of which are expensive per serving and have a lot of packaging waste. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the pervasive narrative that poor people should never be allowed to indulge themselves in good food, or at least tasty food, and the ways that society drives fat people to radical surgery to finally shut up the critical voices.

Sailor Moon socks styled like the school uniforms of the man characters. Pictures from the live action version of Fullmetal Alchemist. Soy sauce cosplay.

All of the The Librarian movies, as well as the first season of the television show The Librarians will have disc releases, for those of you that enjoy snappy banter and/or ogling the plentiful eye candy present.

The vowel sounds of Canada have a few members that United States English can't really recognize.

Immersion schools helped bring back native Hawaiian from near-extinction by colonial powers.

Regardless of your opinion of their health value, the money made by selling Hot Pockets made their creators able to engage in a giant amount of philanthropy in their communities.

Seeing how easy it is to purchase and then use for harassment purposes, John Oliver night nearly fifteen million dollars of medical debts and then turned it over to a company to have it forgiven and destroyed. Total cost was about sixty thousand dollars.

The design museum of Fleuvog shoes. Which is great for those looking to see what has come before. Goth fashion works for persons of all ages. Actually, wear what you want to.

In technology, What WIRED magazine knows about how the FBI installs malware and evidence-gathering tools on suspect computers, the history of the blue raspberry flavor, a plan to avoid creating more drug-resistant microbes by being sensible about the use of antibiotics, the ways that flowers can help humans understand aerodynamics better, using the intersection of multiple biometric elements as a way of verifying identity, a low rent house in the middle of a metropolitan area for older citizens - it's in France, of course, what kind of costs it takes to live in San Francisco, using an aggregation of book reads and recommendations to sell books someone might like, not unlike, say, a library, a rock-sorting piece of art, the possibility that a fifth fundamental force of the universe exists, preservation techniques for stones carved with Ogham language, uses for personal lubricant, an apartment complex that appeared to be threatening people to like their Facebook page or face reprisal, a pair of rings that can be used to require both of them to be present before television shows can be watched, an application demonstrating the warp in play with the Mercator map projection, adapting a sewing machine for use by a chair user so that they can develop fashion for chair users to wear that is easy to get in and out of, attempting to find a treasure buried more than thirty years ago, an incredibly violent lightning storm in Colombia, the color selected to make cigarettes as unappealing as possible, and the ways in which technology gets us to accomplish their goals instead of assisting us in ours.

A startup in the United Kingdom is offering to mine the social media data of potential tenants and offer landlords profiles on whether those tenants would be good for the landlords. One might wonder how such a thing isn't going to be roasted alive by housing discrimination laws, but there's probably some way of making it so the prospective tenant "agrees" to the mining as a condition of being able to potentially be offered anything at all.

Pictures from SPAAAAAAACE! Which have had more than long enough to accumulate - the International Space Station has now gone more than 100,000 times around Terra.

Doctor Heilmlich used the technique of his invention to assist a choking victim, demonstrating the effectiveness of the technique.

Making a caramel without liquefying the sugar used as the beginning point, essentially producing a toasted sugar with the right properties of a caramel.

Pickle brine as a drink or mixer for other drinks. Yum!

Using cats to teach multiple languages, foxes that adopted a human, dogs dressed as Star Wars characters, exotic animals kept as pets, a previously closed section of Central Park in New York is opening to the public, a new species of boa constructor, silver in color, tiger cubs meet an adult tiger, an adventurous baby porcupine, a baby panda interested in play while a human tries to clean up, a bottle-nursing of a baby pangolin, the dramatic difference a bath makes for pets, an institute that raises baby sloths separated from their parents, the ways that daughter elephants step in to fill voids in social networks left by poachers killing their mothers, variations in wolf howls, the degree to which cats roam at night, an isolated environment resulting in a very different path of evolution, sea creatures that seem Lovecraftian, a Toronto cryptid, measuring bioluminescence, bird nests in atypical places, beautiful animal sculptures, trees as stress relief, the ocean as stress relief, birds that might spread fire, slow-motion video of electric eels discharging amperage against a target, a secretary bird demonstrating why it is lethal to snakes, and large birds still staying airborne.

Last for tonight, the sign of a warp zone?

Also, the pitch meeting for the show that will become Animaniacs.

And a grownup-size Catbus to ride at the Ghibli museum to go along with the town from Spirited Away in paper.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Iridescent green flying insect

My little son found this in the garden today when he was inspecting the strawberry plants. I've no idea what it is Now identified by [personal profile] spiralsheep as a flower beetle, it prompted me to run inside and swap to the macro lens really quickly!

please do not press this button again

Jun. 18th, 2016 09:55 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I was once in a psychiatrist's waiting room and they had a coffee machine with enough buttons to belong to Captain Picard. You know the sort of thing-- buttons for white coffee, black coffee, cappucino, hot chocolate, and so on and on. But one of them was unlabelled, and THAT was the one I wanted.

It took a while to brew me a cup. When it had cooled, I took a sip. The stuff was utterly foul-- like a sort of hot instant coffee made with lemons and ammonia. I can still taste it in memory.

Just then, the psychiatrist arrived, and asked what I was grimacing about. I explained the story and showed him the button. "Right," he said. "That's the self-cleaning function."


Jun. 18th, 2016 07:47 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Here's Nigel Farage (prior to Jo Cox's death) explaining to the BBC that if people feel they've lost control of their borders -- which he insists has actually happened because of the EU -- and voting doesn't achieve anything, then violence is "the next step":

https://twitter.com/RichieMcCormack/status/743494371094446080 (which deserves all the re-Tweets)

He doesn't condone it, of course, you can see him making the face of high-minded disapproval, he's just saying, you know. How understandable that would be. If people felt driven to it.

Someone's used Facebook to leave a comment on the Jo Cox Fund page:

"terrorist sympathizer. Sorry for the kids though."

(no subject)

Jun. 18th, 2016 07:19 am
copperbadge: (lolcats in turchwad)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I'm in Texas this week, which means a lot of heat and not paying for my own meals, and also the Butt Bond of the Chihuahuas.

My parents have two chihuahuas, Holstein and Longhorn, neither of whom seem to like me much on the surface because when I'm here, my parents pay too much attention to me and not enough attention to them. The first time I met Holstein he stole some underwear from my suitcase and paraded it around the living room. Longhorn kept forgetting who I was and barking angrily at me every time I changed my shirt.

But they've sort of accepted me, and now they do the Butt Bond.

Chihuahuas are ostensibly bred to like people, to bond closely with a few humans and be affectionate lap dogs. Holstein and Longhorn definitely love my parents and climb all over them, but with me they're a little more conservative. With all of us, they'll do a kind of bonding behavior where even if they don't want to be petted or if you refuse to pet them, they'll sit right up close with just their butt touching you, and if you move they'll shift so that their butt is still touching you. If I sit in the middle of the couch, they'll get up and sit one on either side of me, butts touching my legs, looking directly away from me. BUTT BOND.

They do it to each other too, which is extra hilarious, because Longhorn loves Holstein SO MUCH and Holstein barely tolerates Longhorn's existence. But he will tolerate Longhorn sitting down next to him as long as only Longhorn's butt is touching him.


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