Started listening to Alexis Wright's Carpenteria on audiobook in the car. It started out lyrical, and got upsetting very quickly. Unsurprisingly so.
Still reading CJ Cherryh's Foreigner. The main character first appears on page 66. AFAIK none of the characters mentioned up until that page appear ever again. It got good fast once the protagonist actually appeared, though.
And then I looked at Cherryh's wikipedia page and found that it's the first of an unfinished series of which 16 books are already in print (the most recent one three months ago.) Why did I not check this before embarking? IDEK. I was stupid. And reckless. (I've read two other Cherryh novels before this: Cyteen, which I liked a lot, and The Pride of Chanur, which I didn't click with.)
I am having trouble with Malguri, in that it keeps making me think of Malgudi. Wrong genre!
Ilisidi is awesometerrifying. She has a murder pony named Babs. The murder pony is a macheita, which is a large, alien quadruped with sharp tusks. Babs is short for Babsidi, which means Lethal. Not that I don't like Bren, but I would prefer this book to be all about the adventures and political disappointments of Ilsidi and Babs the murder pony.
Reread Bas's R2D2/C3PO series droids need love too. Had forgotten it was written 15 YEARS AGO. I remember her posting it, and then arguing with LJV about whether "socket for hire" was about blowjobs or not.
TV and Movies
Watched Steven Universe episodes 1 and 2. Okay, yeah. I like this. Amethyst is my fave so far, but Garnet and Pearl and Steven are so great too that I could see myself changing faves from episode to episode. Purely by chance, I watched these cartoons on a Saturday morning.
Watched the first three episodes of Community. Yeah, I know, the very latest. I was a little disappointed, in that I fully expected the film theory teacher to die unexpectedly.
Obvs Abed is my favourite, but Troy and Annie and Shirley are great too. And Pierce is a pretty good example of his type. I think this show could be greatly improved by the immediate, permanent removal of Jeff and Britta.
Abed's father made me cry, in a good way. He got how Abed communicates. And how film helps with that. And how it's not "Abed has trouble communicating", it's that "other people find Abed hard to understand." He got it. He got there.
Played through Long Live The Queen again. I lost the naval battle and swam back to shore, my father won a magical duel but nearly died in the process, and my musician-spy informed me that my aunt had been trying to assassinate me, so I executed her whole family.
Started another playthrough of Hatoful Boyfriend. I'm romancing Yuuya this time around, and trying my best (without cheating... yet) to figure out what's going on with the infirmary.
Made a card and a little notebook for my father's birthday.
DAFFODILS. Two of them.
( photographic evidence of daffodils )
Went on a KMart shopping spree. Bought totally adult things like a USB car charger and a spare lightning cable in case I'm out of phone battery and need to call for help and my car battery still works but I can't drive. And a pack of blank cards and envelopes, because I am more likely to do the hand-making card shit if I don't try to find cardboard to salvage from Coke cartons or whatever when it's someone's birthday. So that's pretty adult. And... another dinosaur cushion (I had one already) and a ROBOT CUSHION. Okay, it's a statement piece. Like those sharks everyone's buying. ...And weird sand.
Okay, the weird sand was the main purpose of my visit. And it is AWESOME. Not least because it smells like the inside of an Ikea. I guess that is what polydimethylsiloxane smells like. I like that smell, and now I can have it without the stress of an Ikea visit. It feels like fine-grained sand if you stick your fingers in it, but if you pick it up and rub it between your fingers, it abruptly feels like not-sand. More like brown sugar after the moths got to it. But if you pick up a bigger bit of it and let it fall, it falls exactly like sand, only in slow motion. When you just let it lie there, it settles down into a texture like hard-packed (without moths) brown sugar. I bought the green colour, which is lighter than the box, somewhere between grass and lichen. The other options in stock were pink, purple, blue, and some metallic ones that were cool-looking but the same price for less sand.
It’s been a sad day for many of us in the Geek Feminism community, as we process the news of Nóirín Plunkett’s passing.
Nóirín was a powerful force for positive change. We have lost a tremendous collaborator and friend, and they will be deeply missed.
Words are challenging in the face of a loss like this one; many thanks to those who have written in memoriam of Nóirín thus far.
The Apache Foundation: “Throughout Nóirín’s time at the Foundation she was an Apache httpd contributor, ASF board member, VP and ApacheCon organizer. Nóirín’s passionate contributions and warm personality will be sorely missed. Many considered Nóirín a friend and viewed Nóirín’s work to improving ‘Women in Technology’ as a great contribution to this cause.”
The Ada Initiative: “Nóirín will be remembered as a leading open source contributor; brilliant and compassionate and welcoming and funny. They were a long time leader in the Apache Software Foundation community, and a gifted speaker and documentation writer. Nóirín was key to the creation of the Ada Initiative in more ways than one. Since then they made invaluable contributions to the Ada Initiative as an advisor since February 2011, and a project manager in 2014. We are more grateful than we can say.”
Sumana Harihareswara: “When I was volunteering on the search for the Ada Initiative’s new Executive Director, I worked closely with Nóirín and could always count on their wisdom, compassion, and diligence. I am so grateful, now, that I had a chance to collaborate with them — I had hoped to work with them again, someday, in some organization or other. One of the last times I saw them, they were crying with happiness over the passage of the Irish same-sex marriage referendum. I don’t want to end this entry because there is no ending that can do justice to them.”
Rich Bowen: “Nóirín’s motto was Festina Lente – Hasten Slowly, and this embodies her approach to life. She considered things carefully, and rushed to get things done, because life is too short to get everything accomplished that we put our minds to. In the end, hers was far, far too short.”
Our thoughts are with everyone who shares our grief. Farewell, Nóirín.
Cara Delevingne had one ~awkward~ interview about her new movie "Paper Towns" this week.
OK, sure she was being kind of rude to the news anchors. But the anchors were asking really dumb questions and were totally unprofessional.
Cara said on Twitter Wednesday that "some people just don't understand sarcasm or the British sense of humour."
Good for you @Caradelevingne Ask a lazy question, get a lazy answer.— Maisie Williams (@Maisie_Williams) July 29, 2015
See, even Arya in #TeamCara.
Submitted by: (via Tristan Somers)
I feel sorry for Windows 10. While you can't trust half the blather on Business Insider to be sane or accurate ever since Henry Blodget turned it from a personal blog into a content aggregator/news service of some sort, Steve Kovach, whomever he is, is right about Windows 10: it is Microsoft's greatest operating system, ever. While I formerly reserved that opinion for Windows 8.1 (the upgrade where they sort of restored the Start menu and otherwise made the OS not so ridiculously tablet-focused and unusable), Windows 10 for the desktop makes strides and improvements even upon 8.1 that finally make using a computer sort of fun and carefree - something we've all wanted since XP came out and gave us the wild hope hope that using a computer could finally bring us into an age of intelligent, hassle-free and enriching communication along with nearly effortless productivity.
Windows 10 is that almost flawless computing experience we've all dreamed of - if you're someone like me. The problem is, chances are you're not.
Microsoft is betting - quite publicly - that Windows 10 will see widespread adaption merely because it's their best operating system ever. They're placing that bet on the backs of people like me - Windows Insiders - by claiming that because over 5 million of us have given it a more or less unabashed thumbs-up, that adaption by the general public will be seamless, a guaranteed success. Bugger. I'll tell you the reasons why that's untrue. And if Microsoft is smart, they'll take notes on what I'm about to say.
People who use Windows 7 will not use Windows 10
Windows 7 users are mostly comprised of embittered Windows Vista users who finally got the chance to upgrade to a decent operating system that still offers more than XP does by installing Windows 7, on the one hand, and embittered Windows 8 users who didn't bother sticking around for Windows 8.1 before downgrading to a decent operating system that still offers more than XP does by installing Windows 7, on the other. The happiness of these people - to have dodged not one but two bullets simply by upgrading or downgrading to Windows 7 - cannot be overstated, nor can their near-certain stubborn refusal to try Windows 10 after what they've been through with Windows Vista and/or Windows 8. You will snatch Windows 7 from their cold, dead hands before they allow any upgrade to Windows 10 to happen.
Microsoft will have to do something to change the hearts and minds of Windows 7 users to make them not so afraid to try the latest and greatest operating system, and frankly, I have no idea what that is.
People who like - or who feel like they need to - use XP will not stop using XP
Try 250 million users, and I consider that an extremely conservative estimate considering China uses almost nothing except XP. In my own admittedly informal, just-knocking-around-the-house tests, Windows 8 and Windows 10 won't run as well on older hardware that's designed to work better with Windows XP. You'd think that with Microsoft's famed desire for interoperability and backward-compability that Windows 10 would run as fast and flawlessly as XP on almost any hardware, but that isn't the case. Users who upgrade only to realize they cannot install essential legacy drivers and that the systems they're running Windows 10 on will take noticeable performance hits will warn others in every way possible - face-to-face, in online forums, on social media, in tech shops - not to bother upgrading, which will be considered the final word on the matter, soon enough.
People who know their hardware runs fast and flawlessly with XP won't throw their hardware away simply to run Windows 10 when there are not enough compelling differences between the operating systems to make that hardware upgrade worthwhile.
You can't compel people to buy new hardware for a voice-recognition system like Cortana that most everyday folks have no real use for. You can't sell them on backward-compatibility when even legacy video drivers won't work. People might not understand the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10, but they will quickly grasp the drawbacks: operating system slowdowns, bottlenecks and bugs, driver installs that bluescreen the computer (even I have this problem on a laptop that's designed to run Windows 7 - while running Build 10240, at least; the video driver I need bluescreens the laptop causing an eternal restart loop, so I'm using a fallback Microsoft video driver that delivers such shitty video that my screen turns white in places, especially text boxes I'm typing in, as to be unusable).
People don't want forced updates, thank you.
This is the worst thing Microsoft did to people who don't happen to be Windows 10 Pro users: everyone else cannot turn updates off, which means that that video driver you've heard will completely bork your computer when it comes through on Windows Update? Will, merely because you cannot stop it from downloading and installing (as of this writing, there are ways to block or rollback select updates, but despite riotous blowback, there's been no lifting of the forced-updates requirement). I've heard forcing updates down every Windows 10 user's throat is to make our ecosystem more like Apple's, where something like 70-80% of all Apple users run exactly the same OS in exactly the same update status. Well, *twirls finger* good for Apple users. Windows users are not on a closed and completely proprietary hardware/software system, and we're certainly not all running the same hardware, so forcing us to download and install the same software - driver updates especially - will be the kiss of Windows Vista/Windows 8 Death, forcing many users back to the last version of Windows they had installed (chances are, Windows 7) sooner than Microsoft thinks. This might be the worst mistake Microsoft has made yet.
This lucky cat spent one hour underwater in a sunken boat on Lake Havasu between California and Arizona and lived through it. She was tucked away in a compartment on the boat and was found by chance after the boat was taken back to shore in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The owner of the boat said she didn't belong to him so the local Humane Society took her in and named her River.
Since she isn't microchipped the humane shelter is waiting five days for any possible owners to claim her. After that time River will be up for adoption. Hopefully she can find a home much farther inland.
Submitted by: (via Komo News)
Twitter user @McMannofthepeople hosts "Hashtag, You're It" every Tuesday morning. This week's hashtag of choice, #BatmanDatingProblems, took off in a hurry to become a top trending topic in under two hours. What else would you expect from a 3-time winner of @midnight's "Hashtag Wars"?
Check out the top dating problems Twitter came up with for The Dark Knight.
Hey, wait a moment—
I want to send a message,
O mountain cuckoo:
say, "I've wearied of living
within this world of ours."
ware yo no naka ni
sumi-wabinu to yo
Mikuni no Machi ("three-province road") was a daughter of Ki no Natora and a concubine of Emperor Ninmyô (reigned 833-850), and is probably identifiable as a use-name of Ki no Kaneko, who was also Natora's daughter and Ninmyô's concubine. Her birth date is unknown, but under the Machi name she was dismissed as concubine in 845, and Kaneko's son Prince Tsuneyasu must have been an adult when he took Buddhist orders upon Ninmyô's death in 850; Kaneko is recorded as dying in 869. The Lesser Cuckoos native to Japan were believed to travel between this and the after world, but it's also possible (especially given the colloquial opening) that she's sending a message to a hermit in the mountains.
From the author of the sparking article:
The switch from men's default "I will if you ask me" to "I will if you don't ask me not to" is simple but really powerful in terms of where it sites the responsibility.
This is already someting I do in set-ups where I'm in a caring role (because I know that accepting help can be very difficult, whereas not refusing it is easier -- setting up a default course of action is to some extent a way of handling people, but what that also means is facilitation, so). It has always been a genuine surprise and delight when people have spotted that me doing this works for them and have reciprocated it.
And, as linked to sebastienne, the idea that keeping track of what needs doing is significant emotional labour in itself:
Another puzzle piece: was thinking about religious life. Convents, monasteries. We think of these things as big sacrifices, but in fact, they are places designed to dial the emotional labor burden way, way down. You are removed from regular family and social life. You don't have to stress about the cleanliness and conditon and chores around the places, because all of these things are taken care of in a fair and equitable rotation of tasks - when it's your turn to do the dishes, you do the dishes, but on the other days, you blissfully ignore the dishes. Life is so regulated and organized that you really can be mentally and emotionally free to concentrate on the tasks you are there to do - whether it's contemplation, human services, or whatever. This wasn't a stupid organization of life. Religious orders recognized that emotional labor had to be wrestled to the ground before anyone stood 5 minutes' chance of being able to devote attention to anything else.
I also think this is what drew me to life in summer camps and residential education settings for many years: a similar level of organization of chores, and an equitable sharing. Men and women alike did their duties when it was their turn, and were penalized for shirking. Both the emotional and the menial labor were sorted - labor was never a negotiation; you never had a long-running standoff as to who was going to take out trash or scrub the pots: it was all written there right on a rotation chart. This did more to create gender equality than any number of manifestos or heartfelt discussions. A basic rota. A recognition that everyone needed to contribute equally to the boring work of daily life. The beauty of it: when you're on, you're on: you do the work outlined in the rota. When you're off, you devote not a second's thought to the condition of the kitchen or the bathrooms or the trash. It's a big old SEP until it's your turn in the rota again.
This gets discussed elsethread in terms of being The Knower Of The Things, and division between Knowing and Doing; the idea of the Deal Token comes up too, of "I am responsible for making sure this thing Gets Done; I can delegate every single task comprising the Thing but I am responsible for tracking that everything that needs to happen for the Thing to get done happens", which is pretty much how I run committees when I'm on them. (There's something related, about how similar skills in men and women get designated "leadership" and "teamwork" respectively - women doing emotional labour is consistently devalued, because the hard work of knowing how your team's doing in detail and who might need a break and so on is fundamentally exactly the same thing as keeping track of which of the kids have activities this afternoon and when their homework's due, and that shit isn't important. I have a lot of bitter feelings about parenting related to all of this, okay, because - yeah - so much of it is about who, and what, matters.)
And finally: on tumblr there's a discussion of why tumblr's fantasy man is like he is, and over on AskMe people are working out an emotional labour checklist for self-assessment.
Second book in the Laundry Files series. Bob is deputized to attend the pan-European occult secret services meeting, this time hosted by the German equivalent of the Laundry. While there, he gets destiny-entangled with a US operative (of course she's Black Chamber) and then immediately sent to the Carribean, for another mission.
Expect carefully-orchestrated twists and turns, some comedy, some tragedy, plenty of insta-kills and general nastiness.
Eminently readable, but it is to my recollection the least enjoyable of the Laundry books. Doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable, just means it is less so than the others. But, I am only part-way through a series re-read, so I may end up changing my mind on that.
I think one of the most interesting facts in astronomy is a simple one to state: Galaxies are cannibals. They eat each other.
The Milky Way grew huge this way; our galaxy is in the top tier of spirals in the Universe. (Many are bigger, but the vast majority are far smaller.) It got that way by colliding and merging with smaller galaxies, enlarging its ranks over time. It’s actually in the process of eating several dwarf galaxies right now. Like, literally, at this very moment.
But what of these smaller galaxies? What happens to them?
Some merge completely with the bigger galaxy, a completely digestible meal. But sometimes parts of the smaller galaxy survive. If the center is compact and dense enough, it can make it through the ordeal.
We’ve seen these here and there, but now astronomers have found a new class of such objects: Ultra Compact Dwarfs, or UCDs. And it turns out they’ve been hiding in plain sight.
These galaxies are small and luminous, and incredibly dense with stars. Through ground-based telescopes they’re so small they look like foreground stars, and through Hubble their dense nature but slightly visible fuzzy halos that make them look like distant galaxies. That’s how they avoided discovery for so long: They slipped between the cracks.
These objects are the densest galaxies known. Our Milky Way has hundreds of billions of stars, but they’re spread out over a hundred thousand light-years. One of the new UCDs just discovered has far fewer stars—something like 10 million—but it’s only about 20 light-years across!
That’s really weird. I mean, really weird. It has the size of a typical globular cluster (a spherical cluster containing a hundred thousand stars or so) but is a hundred times denser!
Another UCD found is less extreme but still pretty amazing: It’s about 200 light-years across and has a hundred million stars in it. That’s far larger than a globular cluster, with a lot more stars.
It’s their incredibly compact nature that helped them survive being a galactic snack. This video should help make that clear:
The small galaxy is in a tight orbit around the center of a much larger galaxy. Tides from the big galaxy strip the outer stars off the smaller one; in a sense the gravity they feel from the bigger galaxy is larger, so they get peeled away from the smaller one. Stars closer in to the center of the small galaxy are more tightly bound, and stay together.
After a few passes all the outer stars are ripped away, and what’s left is just the compact nucleus of the smaller galaxy: an ultra compact dwarf. In fact, spectra taken of the UCDs show they resemble the cores of galaxies.
You’d expect to find these objects near bigger galaxies, and sure enough both of the new objects are physically close to much beefier galaxies. Note only that the larger galaxies show signs of recent disturbances (basically, weird overall shapes) indicating they recently underwent a collision and merger.
This work is impressive. It’s not often you find a new kind of astronomical object, especially when examples of them are sitting right in images that have been around for years. But their borderline nature between star clusters and proper galaxies effectively hid them.
I’ve long said that we have to be careful and not let our prejudices blind us to objects that are neither one thing or another (cough cough Pluto cough). In this case, I’m glad this team was able to see these UCDs for what they are.
And I have to add: The astronomers who found them were undergrads, students at San José State University! They combed through archived data taken by several different telescopes to identify potential ultra compact galaxies, then followed up using observations to nail down their characteristics. It’s quite an accomplishment!
And a reminder to not always dismiss something just because it conforms to your own predisposed beliefs. Look around you! What are you missing?
And, more importantly, we discussed my worsening -- or at least, not improving -- depression, and she raised my dose of Lamictal.
We talked a little. I told her that I have been dealing with this for years, and that I'm good at it, and that I'm not feeling the urge to hurt myself, so for me to ask for help really is unusual, and she agreed. She basically said "Yeah, that's really worrisome, since you're usually so on top of it. You were absolutely right to come to me, I'm really glad you did. Good call."
Which made me feel like a strong person in a rough place, rather than a weak person. And made me feel . . . I don't know. Respected. Valued on a personal level. I really like her. I like her so much.
It was exhausting, though. Running around to get signed in to the hospital proper and get to the lab and get X-rayed and back to the parking lot in the thousand-degree heat. Much much much thanks to Sargon who came along and helped me out. I really appreciate it.
I felt a mess later and only realized belatedly that, despite being EXTREMELY excited to have radiation shot through my extremities, the environment had nevertheless jabbed me in a really nasty spot and I had to fight off a few stray gross feelings yesterday and today. But I'm fine. I am.
Took the first raised dose of Lamictal this morning. Really hoping it works. Really hoping it does as well this time as it did last time. I felt so much better. I hope it's the same this time.
Thank you guys. For everything. Please keep your fingers crossed for me, that this might make a difference and let me get back on top of everything.
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