However, the greater questions of member safety, trust, transparency, and so on are still awaiting any sort of public action from the concom. Frenkel was eventually banned from Wiscon, yes. But it took over 14 months, several huge missteps from the concom, and an incredibly painful process for the victims.
I'm quite interested in seeing that never happen anymore, and would like to know what steps are currently being taken to ensure that the next time a bad actor acts badly at Wiscon it doesn't take over a year of suffering on the part of the reporter. Because that's a big drag, and a disincentive to reporting.
I plotted a little and then took the J and N to the beach, worked and had lunch from a cafe. The train wasn't too bad, though it took an hour. Lunch at Beachside (food not as nice as it looked, no wireless, but outside tables) Then worked from the Java hut or whatever it is, and then once it got really sunny scooted across the Great Highway and went up to where there is a sidewalk (opposite the windmill at the corner of Golden Gate Park).
I walked a little way into the sand next to some sand dunes thinking maybe i could establish myself in some way looking at the ocean.
Sand is good for challenging all your small different muscles in your ankles and knees. Like with the whale watching, I could feel things happening in my ankles that were exciting but scary. Either I'm re-damaging them in horrible ways, or I'm breaking adhesions or scar tissue in there deep down. I can move my ankles better in the last couple of weeks, bending them further up. and have been icing them at least twice a day (often all night)
I could not get very far into the sand and the beach is very huge. I thought how I am lucky to get to do this and felt congratulatory for at least getting to the beach twice this summer at all (once with the kids to Aquatic Park which is super easy access and narrow) and glad that I picked a good day that was sunny and warm. Then suddenly felt sad like I could not bear the pollyannaish being glad thing. It is true I am lucky and can feel appreciative and yet I also have the horrible thought every time I do something that maybe this is the best it gets and I will never get any further onto a beach, or with walking, or whatever, and everything will get more difficult. Still, whatever, right, because I am also lucky enough to cope well with it and have a ton of support, skills, privilege, job, etc. to make things extremely pleasant and easy. And, a month ago I could not have done this as I was still too exhausted and weak from not being able to eat/gastritis/esophagus or whatever it is. Fuck, 2 weeks ago I was also getting over a cold and was hapy just to be carted along on yatima's errand. (which was great... and took us to the presidio and beach side both... but i was decrepit.) So obviously I felt happy to be able to have an independent outing and my usual pride in being bad ass enough to go across town in my tiny scooter. Take that, FEAR. I felt in planning it that I was brave enough to do it because the scooter will fit into a car and I could call a taxi which woudl actually come get me, if I got so tired that taking two trains back was daunting or if I hurt myself by accident.
BUT I thought, well here I am alone at the beach in a desolate spot. No one is looking. Perhaps I could just have a brief cry about it all. I felt some grief and loss. I wished i could have been at the beach on the east coast where my family was a few weeks ago, and there would be beach roses instead of eternal west coast ice plant/sea fig. Everything would smell "right" and would be lovely though sad in other ways. Mostly I just wished I could climb around and run around in the sand and go down to the water and feel more free to explore as I very much like to do. I cried a bit for when we were at bean hollow last week with my dad and I couldn't go look at the tide pools with moomin though I really wanted to. At least he did what i told him and went without me and had a good long look at them on his own. OK. So I cried on the beach for 10 minutes and felt very self indulgent. I wished I could just be in a sad mood for the rest of the day. I thought how nice it would be to have a strong drink or be on the super duper drugs they shoot into my veins when I get my back injections. (I think some combo of valium and other things) Then I felt better and went back to the cafe and worked some more and got a VERY crowded train home.
I am still kind of weepy to be honest.
I plotted future trips and thought it would be nice to go out again but allow much more time, and go all the way up to cliff house and the nature center/overlook/gift shop/coffee bar just above Sutro baths. Or even further and scooter all along the walkways around the point whatever that is called which I haven't been on for years.
It was a tantalizing but not really satisfying beach trip.
I'd like to go to Moss Landing but have a magic dune buggy to go out along the beach and also be able to kayak through the slough there without hurting the hell out of my hands. Not sure if I could really do it anymore. Maybe in a tandem kayak. An could it be an invisible dune buggy so I could chill the fuck out and get in and out of my wheelchair without 800 people staring at me and stuff.
I talked a good long while with a guy whose mom had a stroke and has a jazzy, at the train platform behind the safeway. he was very nice and we discussed the intricacies of scootering. She needs a joystick controller really and more stabilty than a travelscoot but there could still be smaller powerchairs (she is small) that fold up. Also, an off duty muni driver at the java hut talked with me a while about his wife who has MS and another kind of large scooter that she has trouble fitting anywhere. She would like something more portable but insurance will not pay. She could handle or nearly handle something like my scooter. I got him to drive it around a little bit to try it out. Also, I talked with many, many other people from kids to surfers to random slightly limping older ladies who all liked the scooter and thought it looked cool and wished they had one to play with or get around better on. I should keep count. I always have slightly ambiguous grumpy feelings about the people who seem to approve of me extra because I take up less space and "look cool". Thanks but how about if I didn't, would you just hate on me or what. I try to take it as best as possible and I also utterly don't mind children who are like HOLY SHIT I MUST DRIVE THIS FUN TINY MOTOR TRICYCLE THING while their parents are scared I will be angry. Hahahhaa.
Day of Feelings!
21st August 2014: to cut a cabbage leaf
I've been looking into PhD possibilities. But more of that later.
And we visited the John Rylands Library for the first time, a beautiful place in Victorian Gothic made as a memorial to a local industrialist. (The law students among you may know him as a party to Rylands v Fletcher.) It has an impressive collection of books and manuscripts, including the oldest known fragment of the New Testament, part of John's gospel copied only a few decades after the book was written.
As if that weren't enough, the building is quite breathtakingly beautiful. Here's part of the reading room:
The library also contains a dragon named Grumbold. Regular readers who remember Not Ordinarily Borrowable, a story of mine largely about dragons and libraries, may judge of my surprise to discover it coming true.
A poem of mine
STORYTELLING, PART II (T80)
When Merlin looked upon this land,
he knew by magic arts
the anger in the acts of men,
the hatred in their hearts:
he saw despair and deadly things,
and knew our hope must be
the magic when the kettle sings
to make a pot of tea.
When Galahad applied to sit
in splendour at the Table,
he swore an oath to fight for good
as far as he was able.
But Arthur put the kettle on,
and bade him sit and see
the goodness that is brought anon
by making pots of tea.
When Arthur someday shall return
in glory, with his knights,
he'll rout our foes and bless the poor
and put the land to rights.
And shall we drink his health in ale?
Not so! It seems to me
he'll meet us in the final tale
and share a pot of tea.
I was out fishing all day,
and I seem to have caught the sun
Suppose I asked you to name the world's great heroes? (For example, as you may recall, some talk of Alexander.) Well, in the Middle Ages, a fair amount of thought went into the list. Who was an example of virtue and valour; whose chivalry was worth emulating?
One such list is known in English as the Nine Worthies. It was drawn up in the early 1300s, and remained a popular theme in art for centuries after. Here they are in 1460, looking for all the world like a medieval pack of Top Trumps:
Even though some of these men had lived (or were supposed to have lived) millennia earlier, they are all drawn wearing armour of the time, and bearing their own coat of arms, as if they lived in that very moment. This is because they are deliberately idealised-- after all, as a careful perusal of the Old Testament will show, not all of them were in fact models of chivalry.
They are divided into three groups of three: three Jewish heroes, three Christian heroes, and three pagan heroes-- that is, pagan in the old sense of not following an Abrahamic religion.
The Jewish heroes are: Joshua the son of Nun, who led the invasion of Canaan; David the son of Jesse, who became king and wrote psalms; and Judas Maccabeus, who led the revolt against the Syrians now commemorated by Hanukkah. (Don't confuse Judas Maccabeus with Judas Iscariot.)
The pagan heroes are: Hector of Troy, a great warrior of the Trojan War; Julius Caesar, the first emperor of Rome; and Alexander the Great.
The Christian heroes are: Arthur, the hero of the Matter of Britain; Charles the Great, also called Charlemagne, the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire; and Godfrey of Bouillon, who became the first crusader king of Jerusalem but disclaimed the title.
I am particularly interested by the heraldry. How did they make up new and unique coats of arms for people who had been dead for three thousand years? David has a harp because he composed psalms (and not because he was king of Ireland). Julius has an eagle rather like the one on the Roman standard; Charles has the same, appropriately for someone who was also trying to become Emperor of Rome, but combined with the lily pattern known as "France Ancient". Others of them are baffling to me: what is Joshua bearing, for example? I did find a reference to the arms they made up for Alexander in a book, but frustratingly I ran out of time to research this.
I am glad to report that there were also nine female Worthies to balance out the nine men. Unfortunately none of the writers seem to agree about which nine women they were.
When a certain Charles Macklin claimed he could repeat any sentence he heard, no matter how complex, Samuel Foote allegedly composed this sentence impromptu:
THE GREAT PANJANDRUM
by Samuel Foote
So she went into the garden
to cut a cabbage-leaf
to make an apple-pie;
and at the same time
a great she-bear, coming down the street,
pops its head into the shop.
What! no soap?
So he died,
and she very imprudently married the Barber:
and there were present
and the Joblillies,
and the Garyulies,
and the great Panjandrum himself,
with the little round button at top;
and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can,
till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots
The small, walled community of Las Anclas bears little resemblance to Los Angeles, whose ancient ruins sprawl nearby. To Ross, a badly wounded prospector fleeing a powerful enemy, it’s paradise compared to what he’s used to—to its residents, not so much. Yuki misses the freedom of the wild ocean and dreams of escaping with Paco. Engineer Mia loves blowing things up, but she feels socially awkward. Felicité, the daughter of the mayor and defense chief, knows precisely what she wants: to make half of a power couple with Indra, Jennie’s boyfriend. Jennie herself is delighted to be chosen as a Ranger, the town’s elite defense corps; she’d feared that prejudice against the Changed, people like her who’ve acquired strange powers, made her a long shot. Mia and Jennie, best friends, find themselves attracted to secretive Ross. Characterization is rich and stereotype-free. For gays and lesbians, sexual orientation is neither more nor less a defining characteristic than it is for heterosexuals. Equally exceptional is the depiction of conflict. The confusing adrenaline rush of war is followed by PTSD, its lingering afterimage. The five dynamic narrators and action-packed plot deliver thrills while slyly undermining genre clichés.
A first-rate page turner that leaves its own compelling afterimage.
Will Wildman, talking about Ender's space empathy:
[...] basically everyone loves Ender because he's so caring and smart, and he doesn't need to actually interact with people in order to maintain empathy, and he's capable of jetting into a situation that he's never heard of before, becoming an expert, and speaking with absolute truth and conviction on the matter in a couple of weeks.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MORMON MISSIONARIES THINK.
Here, let me give you a quote. This is what I repeated each week at Missionary Prep class, and what they're apparently still teaching the kids today:
I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him - to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.
My Commission is to do what He wants done; To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work. How great is my calling!
And to make matters worse, Card went on a Mormon mission to Brazil, before writing this book (Speaker for the Dead) where Ender goes to a Brazilian space colony and apparently solves all their problems for them.
Ender is Orson Scott Card's self-insert, and he relates to the whole Enderverse the way a 19-year-old Mormon missionary relates to the non-members around him. He thinks he knows them better than they do, has perfect love for the image in his mind he's constructed of them, and wants only the best for them ... even when that means annihilating them.
I never got around to reading these, despite hearing very positive things, because American historical racism— particularly in the slavery era— is something I find crushingly depressing. Just to be clear: contemporary racism is also depressing. However, there’s certain topics which I personally find really hard to handle, either from over-exposure or just because. Slavery in America is in the top five, along with the Holocaust. I am also a very hard sell on books set in concentration camps.
However, several fans pointed out to me that the Benjamin January series is not solely about racism, and that later books in the series focus more on adventuring. Also that there’s dueling, hurt-comfort, and pirates, and that really the series is about found family and community.
I give you this preface in case you’ve also been avoiding the series for fear of crushing depressingness. This book is not crushingly depressing! I really enjoyed it. Also, for those of you who like worldbuilding, it creates an engrossing, vivid, complex, and, as far as I’m aware, extremely historically accurate milieu. Lots of suspense! Great female characters. Also great male characters. Even very minor characters, who appear only for a scene or two, often suggest an entire novel’s worth of backstory.
I am horrible at following the plots of mysteries and basically read them for the characters and the setting. So I will avoid a close description of the plot. I will just say that Benjamin January was born a slave and freed as a child, became a surgeon in Paris but couldn’t make a living because he was black, and recently moved back to New Orleans after his wife died because everything in Paris reminded him of her.
New Orleans is both familiar and foreign to him after his long absence, which makes him a perfect narrator: he knows everything the reader needs to know, and notices everything because it’s all slightly alien to him. He’s a believably honorable and decent person who tries his best to do the right thing, even in circumstances that make that seem like the worst possible option.
A woman is murdered at a ball, and he’s sucked deeper and deeper into the investigation. The mystery is cleverly constructed, but it’s also an excuse to introduce the society, the characters, and their complex relationships. January is intensely conscious of everyone’s place in society, including his own; the scenes which I did find hard to read were the ones where he’s forced to abase himself to white people in order to survive. Like noir, the murder investigation inevitably uncovers the rot and injustice in society; unlike noir, people who take care of each other and try to do the right thing may well triumph.
I found the novel interesting but slow going for about the first two thirds. There are a lot of characters, some of whom have several names, and I kept losing track of the minor ones. But at that two-thirds mark, January leaves New Orleans to investigate, and the book becomes incredibly suspenseful from that point on. Also, a certain favorite thing of mine makes a delightful surprise appearance that I won't spoil.
I will definitely read more of this. Especially now that I’ve figured out who everyone is and how they’re related. I spent an embarrassingly long time thinking that Minou and Dominique were two different people rather than one person with a nickname.
(I also did this in the Lymond chronicles, which had a character named something like Edmund, Earl of Sandwich, who was alternately called Edmund and Sandwich. It took me two books to figure out that they were the same guy. You’d think I’d have less trouble with movies, but I once was startled when the black-haired, blue-eyed protagonist of a war movie reappeared after his tragic death. I then realized that there were two black-haired, blue-eyed soldiers.)
In short: if you want to read a meticulously researched historical novel in which intersectionality is essential to the story, this book is it. But if that’s all you’ve previously heard about it, I wanted to point out that it’s also surprisingly fun. Daring escapes and dramatic battles figure prominently in the last third.
A Free Man of Color
I have...reservations about this, but still need to see if it's practicable given my own impending switch from full- to part-time availability. Anyway, casual google fu is failing to turn up useful answers at the moment, so I'd be much obliged for any help any of you can provide re: finding answers for the following: ( Read more... )
I backed this cute little thing on kickstarter called the Microview, which is basically a teensy arduino with an oled display attached. It was too adorable to pass up: I’ve wanted a little programmable necklace for a while, and this meant that project would be really easy to build.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the MicroView and it finally came today. So I popped open the instructions page and the first thing I see is a big apology. Uh oh…
So I check my email and sure enough, there’s an email about a big problem. Short version: they sent out a whole pile of units without bootloaders, so it runs the demo but won’t run any new code. Both of my MicroViews, it seems, are in the affected batches. More details here:
So that’s disappointing, but they’re shipping out replacement units, and I suppose I can wait a bit longer to play. It’s not like I don’t have other toys to play with.
But here’s the super awesome news: it’s possible to dissect the unit and fix it!
So… with a bit of hacking, and assuming I don’t break anything, I may have double the number of MicroViews by the time this is done, and I’ll have had an excuse to dissect my new toys.
I’ve never been so pleased about receiving a defective product.
In the meantime, I guess I can play the tutorial game:
Well, this is encouraging. Sigh.
I enjoyed this review of The Expendables 3, though. The movie borrows so liberally from other action films that it starts to feel at times a bit like a BuzzFeed listicle.
Oh, wonderful: The Toast has an appreciation of Leigh Brackett.
Courtesy of the comment section on The Toast, here's a commentary by Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Rosa Diaz on Brooklyn 9-9.
I read this story yesterday, it's about a British animal-rights activist who fell in love and had a child with another activist, who turned out to be an undercover cop. He lived with her for two years, they had a child together, and then he disappeared; she didn't find him again until their son was an adult. As they say on Tumblr, I can't even. (Makes me consider Tom Quinn, The World's Worst Spy, in a new light, though: at least he didn't disappear for 20 years before admitting the truth.)
I am flailing a bit with my NFE assignment. I tried one of the prompts. And then I tried again, from a different angle, and it still didn't work. And then I gave up on that one and am trying something else, but at least I think I have a hook for it. Argh.
Content note: Spoilers for the Ender's Game film, and a certain PC strategy game.
5 minutes later ...
And now for our thoughts about how the story itself should have gone, inspired by Will Wildman's spectacular Ender's Game deconstruction.
( Read more... )