layers and layers

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:30 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
If you want to understand what is going on in DC, you have to think of it as a layer cake, one of those many-layer tortes, or maybe as layers of rock in geological strata, from sedimentary stuff at the bottom of a lake and igneous and metamorphic rock shoving up and transforming because of heat and pressure, with magma at the bottom of it all, or at the center, depending on the diagram you learned from.

What am I talking about? Stuff where Trump opens his mouth and sick toads fall out and sit on the sidewalk, blinking and vomiting. Ugly sick bloated toads, like the speech to the Boy Scouts and the outrageous dismissal of all transgender military personnel.

(My apologies to all truly healthy toads throughout the country, living their lives peaceably, eating flies and mosquitos and staying far from politics.)

I know these things are serious. I know. The president is trampling on people's value, on people's lives, in every direction, cynically and carelessly. But you cannot take them as the only thing that is happening. Horrible as they are, they are only the poisoned icing on the cake, the noxious smoke from the volcano, the peeling top layer of slate. They are *meant* to get you mad. They are *designed* to keep you upset.

Why? So you won't pay attention to what's going on behind the scenes, down there in the strata. Down there, the separation of church and state is being eroded. Women's right to have a say about how their own bodies are treated is being chipped away. The little tiny things we do not see that have huge effects, things that pile up, like permission to get past environmental checks before running oil and gas pipelines near drinking water. The elimination of much of the Congressional Budget Office staff because they vetoed Trumpnocare. I could go on and on. Often I do, and you see it here; sometimes I don't even put it here because it gets me that upset.

I am not saying not to be upset. It is upsetting. Transpeople should be able to serve in the military without comment. To say otherwise is a violation of equal rights under the law. Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts and other young people's groups) should not have to listen to insane political harangues, should not be put into that arena. National monuments, parks and seashores should stay untouched by developers, drillers, exploiters.

But yelling at Trump, writing to him, even if it feels good to you, won't make a difference. He does not give a flying fuck about any of us -- why would he care about how any subset of us is affected? He thinks health care costs $12 a month. He probably thinks someone who is transgender changes their clothes on a train, or in transit. There is no limit to his lack of understanding and his lack of caring about anything he doesn't understand.

Keep your eyes on the small stuff, the bits and pieces that aren't on page one. Look for what's on page six or the back of a section, with a smaller headline (or in places like The Hill or Politico or other politically based newsletters. Pick one or two areas that interest you, and follow what is going on with them.

And then write your Senators and Congresspeople about them -- on their own email system. (yes, here is that contact list again.) They cannot ignore mail from their own constituents for long. If the time is short, phone and ask to talk to a staff person, instead of leaving a message. Tell them what you think, what you want, briefly and to the point. Tell them you're outraged, when you are. Tell them what you think of what Trump is doing, and (if your rep or Senator is Republican) how can any thinking person possibly agree or support this, because (up to three good reasons). And then, "Thank you for hearing me as a constituent", and give them your name as it is on the voter rolls so they can look it up. Once a week. Pick one thing a week. The staffers should start recognizing your name, your voice.

And keep an eye on the vulnerable Republican seats, House and Senate, the ones that can be overturned in the next election. Support the people running in the primaries to oppose the heartless idiots in office.

Do not be taken in by the sparkly floor show with the mouthy MC. Keep your eyes on what's happening behind the curtain, up in the lighting gallery, over in the wings. That's where things are being done. Look for possible trades and swaps -- Reps and Senators voting for things they should not vote for -- and ask them why they are making such poor, harmful choices? Who benefits from these choices? Follow the money, but also follow the influence. Who's being bought and sold here?

I trust you, all of you. I don't know you that well, but I trust you to do the right thing insofar as you know what it is, and to ask good questions when it isn't obvious. Go find the molten lava under the rock and raise hell. Go and comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, because every one of us matters.

follow-ups

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:53 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
1. Re coffee ice cream: Kineticatrue was in western NY recently, just after I wrote about coffee ice cream, and she brought me back two half-gallon tubs of Perry's Ice Cream, the brand I grew up with. One of them is Coldbrew and Cream -- stripes of good coffee and vanilla -- and the other is something like Bittersweet Sinphony -- espresso ice cream with dark chocolate chips in it. That one is more or less the precursor of my favorite Ben & Jerry's, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz. Yum! Thank you!

2. Sometimes not doing research for a long time because of the cost of travel, and health issues, pays off.

When I started looking for information on Ebenezer Allan, in particular some information on his correspondence with Gen. Haldemand in Quebec, I stumbled across the Michigan Historical Society's annual publications from the late 1800s -- which specialize in the history of the Great Lakes region. And they have published in four volumes Haldemand's correspondence since he was assigned to this region (he had previously been in Florida, I'm sure I don't know why) from 1776 to about 1790. And it's all scanned in online now.

I have the links so I can read it on computer, but that's kind of tedious when it's 1800 pages or so -- and I want to know more about the context. So I am downloading the volumes, one at a time, to my Kindle, reading and making bookmarks; when I'm done, I can go back to the online version (which does not have transcription errors) and copy/paste or type the relevant passages with the bibliographic data (which doesn't come through completely on the Kindle).

Where I'm reading, at the moment, Haldemand has arrived, and is telling the officers running various forts that they are spending way too much money and they have to cut back, and can't the soldiers live on venison and fish they catch from the lakes? I have already read a later letter back to him from Brigadier MacLean, who ran Fort Niagara, about the problems of running out of treaty-specified gifts to Indians of various tribes -- they are supposed to get trousers and he only has shirts, and has had to borrow some from the men, which is not right, and even get some from Fort Erie -- and as I read it I can see MacLean gritting his teeth and trying not to scream because he's writing his boss -- but it comes across at times as *massively bitchy* in the best understated British sense of it. One of the references I already have is a letter of MacLean's to a friend (filed under Scottish Immigrant Papers in the Archives of Ontario) where he lets his hair down and his ire out of the bag and says exactly what he thinks of what's going on when Haldemand did not send the troops to back up the ones retreating and how angry and disappointed everyone was: "The Indians say, "The king has a fool for a general." I cannot disagree."

This is going to be *fun*.

ETA: The other places this info is available is in Michigan and in Quebec, neither of them near enough for convenient research, certainly not for the time to read all 1800 pages. So this is truly a gift.
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
Improbable Statistics
idol season ten | week 25 |1026 words
The Waffle House Index

x-x-x-x-x

It was a weird job, but someone had to do it, and yes—that someone was me. I'm Cal Estingham, one of the foremost experts in the dark art of Predictive Mathematics.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking: So, how can I get rich off of that? The answer is, you can't. You can make a living at it, sure, but that's not the same. And it's not something that can be taught.

Heck, I can barely explain it.

Analysts crunch data. They look at statistical models and trends, and try to guess the projected year-over-year rate of inflation, or whether the yen will rise against U.S. currency—or Alice Cooper will tour again. Sometimes they get creative, like looking at the length of women's skirts to gauge the health of the economy. Though that's more reactive than predictive, but you get the idea.

Compared to my work, it's almost ordinary.

Predictive Mathematics deals in long-term observation and strange side-effects. For instance, you might use the curl of feathers at the base of a mallard's tail to determine the wetness of the coming year. I tracked slang sequences and the average price of beer as an indicator of upcoming cycles in crime. I often consulted the BBI—the Brooks Brothers Index—as a factor in other calculations. The sales' volumes of men's suits frequently reflects the degree of local and national economic stability.

We're not talking about examining sheep's entrails or anything like that, but you know—it wasn't exactly straightforward.

Read more... )

If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

GRRRRRRRRRR

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:42 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Senate vote to proceed toward removing the Affordable Care Act: 51-50. That's 51 votes against health care in America.

This is not the final word on the matter-- keep yelling, talking, chanting and singing at them. Keep on standing up for the health of everyone in America.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:11 am
spasticat: (all is well)
[personal profile] spasticat
It's been a while...let's have a cat post!

20155630_10155538542545818_1520102940494592818_n.jpg

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They're little dears but, oh, the trouble they get into. Cosmo is currently madly running the length of the apartment. Viggo is pretending to be asleep in the cat condo but he's really planning hijinks.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:27 am
spasticat: (piglet)
[personal profile] spasticat
Getting rid of stuff is hard but I have a bag of clothes ready to donate and a pile of ten books to also go. I only need to find more books to cull. The ones I'll never read again nor refer to again. Mind, I'm keeping the ones that mean a lot to me like the British literature books I read in college for one of my favorite classes.

Here are the clothes going bye-bye:

20258415_10155557668430818_6732822890337325398_n.jpg

What I'm not even contemplating are my DVDs, they can wait for another day. Nor my CDs despite the fact that all I have to play them is an external CD drive for my laptop and a small boombox. Do people even say boombox anymore, oy, I've aged myself. I'm going to get rid of the plastic cases of the CDs I'm keeping and putting the CDs and booklets in slim sleeves. Thus creating room and possibly getting rid of my CD bookcases. Possibly. I could use them to display small tchotchkes.

I have a friend coming over tomorrow night so I really need to clean up my place. And one way is making room on the bookshelves for the piles of books on the coffee table. We need the coffee table for food and crafts.

For the time being my back room, the dining room/office, will store some of my things. Hopefully V won't want to go back there but just in case I'll clean the kitchen.

When I'm depressed these things are let go, especially the dishes. That's going to be quite the hurdle. I'll do half today and half tomorrow.

It'll feel better to have the place clean. Next up is the BEDROOM OF DOOM! There are days of laundry in there and I have a stuffed coin purse full of quarters. I can do this! WASH ALL THE CLOTHES! And maybe some of *them* can be donated.

There was a rug, a really pretty one, in the backroom but I'm getting rid of it because the cats kept bunching it up against the dining room table. Instead, at some future point, I'll get one of those oval rag rugs. Something colorful and cheerful.

Oh, and I need to do the bathroom and decide if I'm going to get rid of the rug in there. It's really hard to vacuum.

So, having friends visit is a good impetus to clean! And helps with my depression. I'm reading a book geared to those who are depressed or have physical ailments that make cleaning hard. It says to just tackle one thing at a time. If you're interested it's Unf•ck Your Habitat. So far it's okay. I like that it says just tackling one little thing like a bedside table when depressed is progress. It also emphasizes to not care what others think, you can get things done in your own time owing to whatever obstacle prevents you from doing a mega-cleaning.

PS...saw Despicable Me 3 and thought it was darling. Anything with the Minions in it is good.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Every former Congressional Budget Office director has signed a letter telling Paul Ryan to take a flying leap. (And, presumably, not return.)

The Senate health care repeal FAILS the Byrd Rule, according to the parliamentarian. In its current form, to misquote Gandalf, it shall not pass.

Trump's infamous Voter Fraud Commission asked for public comment. They got it.

There's this exhibit of what is purported to be a replica of Noah's Ark in Kentucky. According to the people running it, it's a nonprofit ministry. But it's run now by a for-profit group, in order to get tax incentives from the state. So the Ark project is
now no longer eligible for the tax rebates.
How much are we talking? $18 million over the next 10 years.

Stop erasing women's presence in SFF.

The public editor's club at the NY Times, as told by the six people who were public editors. The job no longer exists.

Jeff Sessions authorizes highway robbery by police.

***

Red state North Dakota is trying an experiment in humane imprisonment for its prisons, based on the way Norwegian prisons are run. I will be very interested to see how this goes. One item in the article caught my eye:

...By 2015, Bertsch was ready to ship excess prisoners to a private facility in Colorado. In Norway, though, she learned that the farther a prisoner is removed from his home community, the less likely he is to have visitors. And that’s a problem, because multiple studies suggest that inmates who have regular visitors are less likely to reoffend later...

It makes me wonder if anyone was paying attention to the NYS prison system's stupidity in sending New York City felons to Dannemora, above the Adirondacks, or Attica. Each of those is hundreds of miles from where the violators' families are in the City. But when I look at the photo of the women in charge, it seems to me they're not old enough to remember the violence at either place -- though I have to say that much of the violence at Attica came from the police and National Guard sent to quell their requests for better food and medical care. I was living perhaps 10 miles from Attica; I noticed, and I remember it.

***
Now, you go speak truth to power, in regard to this:

From Democracy Now, a transcript of an Amy Goodman interview: Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are supporting a bill that would criminalize criticism of Israel or Israeli political/military actions. Further info behind cut )

More info here on how boycotting Israel would be considered a felony.

On free speech grounds alone this should not pass. Please write your Senators to oppose it. Here's the contact list for every Senator, with email, phones and more.

***

Teenaged girls in Austin, Texas, staged a wonderful quinceanera protest at the state capitol -- in their fancy gowns -- to protest the vile anti-immigrant law. And yes, they met with their elected reps afterward, to deliver the message in person. In case you don't know, a quinceanera is a big formal party on a girl's 15th birthday, to signify she is now an adult and no longer a child in Hispanic cultures.

Speaking of a different form of vile, the attempt to create a narrative of shame and regret for women who choose to exercise their own control over their bodies and futures, someone has come up with an abortion-pill reversal drug.

And damn right, tampons should be free for women in prison.

***

Tending tenderness and disrupting the myth of academic rock stars.

Six types of essays you should know.
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] laurashapiro
The Power

song/artist: “The Power” by Snap! remix "The Power of Bhangra" by Motivo.
length/size/format: 2:29/111MB/mp4

summary: I’ve got the power.
content notes: violence, nudity & explicit sexual content

Celebrating the Sense8 ensemble! Feel the love!

heroes, part 2

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:26 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I want to suggest a mild exercise in heroism.

Look at the women you have named as heroes -- not at their actions, but at the qualities of character that propelled them to do these actions. What are the core -- deeply held -- values behind what they did?

Why do these resonate with you? What in you responds to them?

You are a hero also. Your life may not be as dramatic as theirs, but it contains heroism. Which of your own core values match those of your heroes?

(I'd love to read your comments; you need not address all of this in them.)

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:25 am
spasticat: (loki)
[personal profile] spasticat
You have no idea how excited I am over this...

Thor-Ragnarok-2-1-600x888.jpg

And even more excited about this!

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Is it November 3rd yet? Is it too early to ask who wants to go with me? ;)

Arrrrgh! Die die die!!!!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:26 am
halfshellvenus: (Default)
[personal profile] halfshellvenus
>.< I have officially reached the end of my patience with being stung while bicycling. Today's event was a sudden, burning stab that hurt so much it made me yell! And then move off the bike path and start lifting away my jersey to make sure the little f*@ker wasn't still in there, waiting to get me again.

I had on a really lightweight sports bra, which was not thick enough to blunt the sting. Usually, there's a *stab* and I think, "Wait, did I just get stung?" Today, the little monster got me square on the boob— enough that afterward, I wondered if it hadn't made a preliminary sting first, before going for the big one. Third or fourth sting this year! Pass the insecticide, please— I'm ready to rid the world of yellow jackets, once and for all. :(

I got some follow-up information to the sewer event that happened a couple of weeks ago. The guy that came to replace the dead plants has worked for about three years at the company the county subcontracted for the sewer job. He said that those blown-in sleeve replacements work really well about 90-95% of the time, but when they don't, things turn very bad very quickly. It's either "Yay!" or it's "OMG, there goes the rest of the day." /o\

This explains why the worker that came to the door was SO despondent on his second visit, when the project suddenly was not going well. The plant guy said that people he's worked with have had heart attacks from the stress. Yikes.

I'm working on this week's Idol story, and I really need to do travel planning for August and for our son's orientation trip to UCLA. I hate that kind of logistical planning, I don't know why. This was one of the reasons I wanted to elope when we got married— I had NO desire to do wedding planning, even for a low-key event.

On a visit up to Portland last October, I discovered that my mother and both sisters share my pathological hatred of grocery shopping. I knew my mother didn't like any form of shopping, but I thought I was the only one of the kids who felt the same way. Going to the grocery store makes me feel like my soul is draining right out through my feet. Ughhhhh.

Comic-Con: many fandoms, much wow

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:16 pm
destina: (fandom: fangirl)
[personal profile] destina
I know some people don't get why tumblr is awesome, but I think it's awesome because on San Diego Comic-Con weekend, it's really an all-fandom all-points-bulletin for tons and tons of fannish news. So far this weekend I have reblogged full con panel videos from The Walking Dead, Shadowhunters, and Legion. I've posted interviews and Q&As with The Defenders and J2 +Misha Collins. I've reblogged photos from Justice League, Blade Runner 2049, and Ready Player One, and shots of the cast from Arrow, Supergirl, Justice League, Kingsman, etc. I've reblogged pics of covetable merch, new posters, excellent cosplayers, and oh right, then there are the trailers.







I love fandom so much sometimes. :)

spiders and demi gods

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:27 am
hafital: (MCU - Nat and Steve)
[personal profile] hafital
hello friends, let's see if I can get through all the things I keep meaning to post about. Just realized I haven't posted since my birthday! I feel like a whole lot of things have happened at the same time that nothing much has happened haha. Ah life, you rascal.

this is largely a fannish post.

1. After watching all of Friday Night Lights, I rewatched it all the way through again because I wasn't quite ready to let it go. I read all the fiction that was decent (and although I started off giving it side-eye, my favorite pairing turned out to be Tim/Julie say what) and was sad that there wasn't much. Then I finished watching the final season of Bloodlines and it's just so WEIRD because Coach Taylor is now a murderer! Okay, not really, and I will follow Kyle Chandler wherever he chooses to take me. But, watching John Rayburn after watching Coach Taylor is a trip. (season 1 of Bloodlines is masterful and frankly the series should have stopped there, the other 2 seasons are messy. But even so I have huge fondness for the cast -- so I enjoyed the series despite this).

2. Because I am here for all things MCU, I did sit through Iron Fist even though everyone said not to haha. Yeah. Okay, so, it was really .... tedious is the word I think. And it's hardly worth discussing anymore. Danny reminded me of this guy I knew once who I had to travel around europe with and who I wanted to push off a train. Also, I spend a good amount of time trying to make jokes about the hand fighting the fist. HAHA. Easily amused, I am. I did like some parts! Okay, no, actually, the only part I liked was Claire. Everything else was gross. I started off with fondness for the other characters that would have normally carried me through any dislike for the show but one by one I stopped liking them except for Claire. I am going to watch the Defenders, though, and just hope that Danny annoys me less.

3. Wonder Woman was amazing and fun and as awesome as I could have hoped and I've really enjoyed all the excitement and discussion around it. The little girls dressed up as Diana, the fan art, seeing Gal Gadot everywhere because I have loved her for years and she is lovely. It's great to have a decent DC film. I enjoyed the heck out of it in the theatre, but only saw it once. I'm sure I'll see it again whenever it's available. I have to admit though that I felt a bit removed from it. I couldn't let go of how similar it was to CA:TFA. Casting Chris Pine didn't help, imo (although don't get me wrong, I adore him! If someone forced me to rank the Chrises, he'd be at the top). It's not that one or the other film is better or DC vs MCU or anything dumb like that, it's just that I felt like I was watching a remix. Still enjoyed it though!

4. AND I also saw Spider-Man: Homecoming. Which I loved <3 <3. cutting just in case )

5. Also, talk about late to the party but I am just now getting around to watching Band of Brothers. Yes, I know. That is so 2001. What can I say? I finally caved and got a subcription to Amazon Prime and there's tons of stuff on it. I watched all of the Sopranos, too, and that was also something I hadn't ever watched despite the hoopla. Anyway, I just finished watching season 2 of Billions, so watching a young Damian Lewis as Winters is kind of a continuing treat. Winters is nothing like Bobby Axelrod, which is probably a good thing.

6. Billions is outstanding, fyi. Highly highly recommend but it's not a fannish show.

7. I started watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, and fully agree with the critics about the treatment of suicide in this thing. Yikes.

8. ETA - Forgot to mention that I INHALED all of the new Anne of Green Gables, Anne with an E on Netlfix. I watched it in 2 days which I never do. Normally I stretch out a tv show for weeks. Anyway, to say I loved it is an understatement. It is not the Anne of Green Gables of my youth. And I don't care. It was awesome. Amazing. I want all the more seasons it deserves to be. ALL OF THEM.

~~~~

In other news, my mental vacation from writing is at an end I'm diving back into rewriting the second book. OY. REWRITING SUCKS YO. haha I just realized that oy and yo are the same two letters flipped. It's the little things.

I would also like to tackle some fan fiction I got brewing, and although the last 2 months would have been ideal to knock some of those out, apparently my brain had other plans. Like sloth. haha. Whatever, I will manage somehow.

I am going to Spain! For two whole weeks! In September. And considering I am allergic to olives and olive oil I might die! I have no idea what I'm going to eat while I'm there. Pray for me.

Mother continues to have misadventures in this new life after moving back to Los Angeles. That's a post for another day.

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