(no subject)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:28 pm
lurkingcat: (Tech Support)
[personal profile] lurkingcat
I'm exhausted which may explain why I've been sitting staring at the latest XKCD in disbelief and delight for a good ten minutes.

[personal profile] battlehamster has gone to a Larp this weekend, leaving Kheldar in charge of the house. It's probably good timing because I had to work late today and I'll have to go back into work on Sunday. As long as the building security guys remember to call me that is. If they don't then I'll have go in at Far Too Early O'Clock on Monday instead. There's some power work being done on the building so everything had to be switched off and unplugged before I left the office this evening - coffee machines, classroom kit, the entire server rack, eeeeverything.

I'm going to spend the rest of the weekend fretting until they call me and tell that the sparkies have finished and I can go and power everything back up again. We have a course starting on Monday that can't run without internet access so I'm really hoping that all the ISP and Corp team kit boots back up okay. On the plus side most of what's in the rack is less than a year old so shouldn't have died from shock just because it's been shut down.

Reading: Gemini

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:18 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
In the final book in Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolò series, Nicholas de Fleury returns to Scotland to try to make amends for the damage caused by his earlier actions and to safeguard his family from the enemies who have tried to kill both him and them so many times. For a while, I thought that Gemini was going to be a bit of an anticlimax to the series; several plot threads were resolved at the end of Caprice and Rondo, and Gemini is almost entirely set in Scotland, lacking the exotic locations of the earlier books. Nicholas has also changed and grown, and in Gemini is tackling the task of learning to care for people, and not just for the outcomes of his schemes. However, after a slow start, the novel gathers pace and the psychological drama is more than a match for the drama of any of Dunnett's other novels; there were just as many twists and edge-of-the-seat moments, and I found it just as hard to put down. It's a fitting end to the series, and like the ending of Checkmate leaves me wanting to go back and re-read key moments from earlier in the series in the light of the final revelations.

Fittingly, having started reading The Game of Kings on my 40th-birthday trip to Scotland, because I wanted to read something set in Scotland while I was there, I read Gemini while on holiday in Scotland once again. Three and a bit years, 14 books, at least 7,000 pages and an amazing sweep of European and Middle Eastern history in the early modern and late Middle Ages later, I can safely say that it has been one of the most intense reading experiences I've ever had. I can't actually remember who it was who made Dunnett sound intriguing enough for me to give her a try (I suspect it may have been a gestalt entity of friends and acquaintances), but it's been incredible, and in many ways I'm sorry to have come to the end. (I do still have King Hereafter to read, and will probably give the Johnson Johnson novels a try at least, but neither is going to be the same.)
beatrice_otter: Sha're in a blue veil (Shau'ri)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
For those of you who don't know, the Barna research group is a group that focuses on researching religious trends in America.  Although they are very DEFINITELY Christian and doing this for a Christian audience, they are also quite firm in their belief that in order to make good choices people need good, reliable information to base it on.  So they're pretty good about being as fair and accurate as they can in their research practices.

Their newest finding?  That in the last year, public opinion in America has swung quite dramatically in favor of immigration, diversity, and refugees, with most population segments adding at least 10% to their approval.  And practicing Christians who believe the US should welcome refugees more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, which is why there are currently more religious leaders across the board speaking to refugee and immigration issues.  (Evangelicals are the lone holdouts, surprise, surprise.)  For example, the Christian community is pretty much united in opposition to ending or limiting the DREAM program.  Even the Evangelicals agree there.

Unfortunately, the shift doesn't seem to be from racists, nationalists, and other right-wingers changing their minds.  Where the shift seems to be coming from is the people who were undecided a year ago moving towards open-mindedness, tolerance, and compassion.  So it's not that the whole country is moving towards tolerance, it's that the people in the middle are moving leftward on this issue.  Which is good, don't get me wrong!  It just means we've got our work cut out for us to reach out to the Evangelicals and the FOX newsers and all and help them see things in a different light.

(Obviously I'm not talking to people who aren't safe or wouldn't be safe if they tried to reach out, whether psychologically or physically.
monanotlisa: (ignoranus)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Also off my trusty friendslist, here is a dossier on white supremacy in the US -- from a source on the inside who infiltrated key organizations for years.

White Supremacy background and history, plus of course present danger: The International Alternative Right

monanotlisa: Lucca Quinn, centered, looking thoughtful (lucca - the good fight)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
C/p'd from [personal profile] giandujakiss:

The GOP broke off bipartisan talks with Dems to shore up ACA's insurance markets, and now they're trying - again - to unilaterally repeal ACA and take with it a huge chunk of Medicaid (which will, of course, completely destabilize our entire healthcare system, but that's where we are).

You can find more information by googling Graham-Cassidy, but here's one link [on this new attempt to dismantle the ACA].

Apparently, Lindsey Graham - one of the bill's sponsors - got on Breitbart radio (yes, now we're integrating Breitbart into GOP mainstream, fun times ahead) to urge listeners to call in support of the new bill, so it's VERY IMPORTANT that the Senate be flooded with opposition calls.

Here is one script and information resource.

L'shanah tovah!

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:01 am
monanotlisa: (apples how you like dem)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
A little early, but I won't be around later, so: a happy start of the High Holy Days to you, if you celebrate!

My secular Jewish household will mostly eat apples and sweet honey when it comes to action. But both my wife and I will think of the Jewish community, in our different ways as an American Jew and a German Gentile.

Early Morning Surprise

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:33 pm
lurkingcat: (Default)
[personal profile] lurkingcat
The changing light patterns outside are waking me up before my alarm goes off at the moment. Which isn't great for my sleep patterns. It's totally brilliant if you're Kheldar though because he usually manages to sneak into the bedroom when I get up and go to the bathroom.

Today it was not so great for Kheldar. I woke up about 45 minutes early and he got to hop into the space between me and the edge of the bed and have a good wash and go to sleep and then... then my alarm went off.

I got out of bed, trying not to tip him off the duvet on the way, and turned the alarm off. Meanwhile Kheldar's Loud Noise Threat Assessment System attempted to wake the rest of the cat up. What mostly happened was a thud as he hit the floor and then nothing. I looked down. Kheldar's head tipped up so that his eyes could look at me. His eyes were open but I don't think he was really seeing anything. He'd frozen in place with one hind leg off the floor and one front leg off the floor because loud noise had now stopped and his body didn't know what it was supposed to be doing any more and most of him was still asleep anyway.

So I picked him up and put him back on the duvet and he kind of fell over sideways into a cat cushion and went straight back to sleep. He'd clearly had a busy night and I thought at least one of us should get the opportunity of some more sleep.

He's still mildly disgruntled about the whole business this evening.

dipping_sauce: (Default)
[personal profile] dipping_sauce
Pairing: Bobby Drake | Iceman / Cameron Hodge
Fandom: Marvel 616
Spoilers: None, aside that Bobby being gay is now canon? I am super not caught up on X-Men comics

I ship Iceman and Cameron Hodge. I am the cancer killing fandom. )

Rally versus rally

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:04 pm
mikeneko: Calico cat (Default)
[personal profile] mikeneko
Watching through the archive of the dual livestreams of two Washington, DC, rallies on the Fox News affiliate: Mother of All Rallies (Trump supporters) and the Juggalos. So amusing.

Vice News has been covering the Gathering of the Juggalos for a few years, and I always read their articles and think it sounds like it must be lots of fun if you're into mud and stickiness, which I'm not particularly. Faygo flinging aside, they're not an especially alarming group. Unlike, say, the Fyre Festival people (hee).


The older dude they've got covering the Juggalos protest is hilarious -- he's clearly so charmed in spite of himself. Right off the bat, he was like, I dunno, I dunno, I can't see any police, where are the police, I guess they're not expecting any problems? There's only the national park patrol. (Camera zooms in on some park patrol officers chatting with each other, and a Juggalo petting the horse.) The longer Old Dude's there ... the desk anchor keeps asking him (repeatedly, in a leading tone) if people are "giving him trouble" when he tries to interview them, and he's like, No! Everyone's being so nice! And then he's like, Uh, there's a lot of 'f-words' being flung about, so if that's offensive, you should, uh, not watch this coverage, uh. The periodic chanting consists of "Fuck that shit!" and "You fucked up!" (re: the FBI), and occasionally "L O V!" It's a fairly healthy crowd, a lot of them are dressed in weird stuff or band merch. The steady, small crowd in front of the stage is actually listening to the speakers and rap acts, and busts into a minor mosh pit once in a while.

It's pretty clear that he's enjoying his assignment.

The MOAR is visibly poorly attended, the speakers (what we hear of them) are just as amateurish as those at the Juggalo rally, but they're boring, and the small crowd in front of the stage gets smaller and smaller every time the coverage drops back in -- by four hours in, it's nothing but a handful of people. The rest are wandering around looking sleepy or zoned out in lawnchairs. The reporter at the MOAR rally is trying SO HARD to make it sound awesome and is just ... failing. Oh, now she's walking over to a sign -- propped up by an empty table with no people anywhere near it -- and saying, "See? This is what this rally is about! Patriotism. Not racism or any of that." (Earlier, the camera had settled on -- then quickly cut away from -- the two women holding up a bedsheet banner with "BUILD THAT WALL" written all over it in marker.) She points to a trailer with a big sign on it. And at the handful of people in front of the stage. She's trying so hard to push this rally and make it sound cool -- which is why I don't feel sorry for her.

It's pretty clear she's not enjoying her assignment. She should have asked to cover the Juggalos.


MOAR Dude on stage: "It seems the left will never be satisfied until they move America foward in a direction that leads to distruction. Right off a liberal cliff that leads to failure and hell."

Juggalo Dude on stage yanks up his shirt: "Those are Juggalo titties!"

ETA2: Oh ho. Anti-fa Black Block have crashed the Juggalo's protest and are camping out on the lawn in a group. Now the D.C. police have shown up, too. Hmm. Everyone is worried, old dude says. But Old Dude also is ... actually chuckling about people smoking joints: "People are definitely smoking some dope (heh heh)." And again: "People are being so nice to us." <-- I wonder if people have been sharing with him. He sounds so upset that the Black Block is crashing his awesome rally. ^___^

ETA3: Sign in crowd: "Fandom is not a felony."

ETA4: ICP rant is decidedly left wing here. LOL.

ETA5: Violent J's fiery, enlightened political speech: "Taking away somebody's opinion is no different than sewing their butthole shut. Do you want to sew a man's butthole shut?* I mean, I might want to watch what happens. In fast forward. But I don't wanna do the actual sewing. The point is, fuck discrimination! Right?" LOLOLOL.
(*Crowd: No! One woman, loudly: Yes!)

ETA6: Shaggy-2-Dope's version: "There's many Americans who don't fucking wanna see any more played-out, 1960-fuckin-4 old-guard, old-money, old wriggly red-necked, whiskey-throat, bigot, bitch-boy, richie-dick-head, douchery discrimination and this played-out bullshit in our country anymore. The good people, the hard-working people, the heart-having, free-thinking, moral-minded people are demanding better treatment for each other, on each other, in this day and age. In this day and age, we're talking about the American government still doing this bullshit. That's why you're here, right now. You're in the Crowd to be Proud. You're the ones demanding no discrimination. Why the fuck would anybody wanna be on the other side in the argument? Why?"

Holy shit. S2D's ten-times more articulate than Trump. And it's most definitely a political rally now. Even if we set aside the earlier exhortations by VJ to masturbate in the maple trees for FBI cameras.

ETA7: She's interviewing a dude who had a tee-shirt made that shows White Jesus petting a Trump photo, it says, "I picked you for President." Uh huh. She's also managed to somehow find a "Latina for Trump" woman and a "Jews for Trump" teaparty guy, who also seems to be ... deeply weird. She's admitting (a bit reluctantly) that the crowd has gotten ... less.

ETA8: The Juggalo March is more of a Juggalo Leisurely Stroll and Chat. The cop on the motorbike has to stop because it's so slow he can't roll enough to stay upright. Hee. He's wound up far back of the Black Block, who brought a very professional looking "Whoop Whoop" banner with them -- they're easy to spot, as they're the only ones with bandanas over their faces.

ETA9: Back to (exceedingly placid and sparse) MOAR, where she's insisting that the crowd got "quite rowdy" for a singer who sang two numbers, "Build That Wall" and "MAGA." As the camera zooms in tightly on probably the only Asian guy in attendance -- and lingers there for some reason -- she insists (again), "That's what this is really about today. Celebrating being patriotic. Celebrating the American flag. Celebrating being American really." Then she goes on about how everyone's here to support the president, to support what he's trying to do! I'm not sure why she clearly doesn't grasp how one does not necessarily equate with the other. She's also talking about how when protestors showed up, they weren't allowed past the fences -- in other words, some Democrats did come to their rally, but they didn't let them in.* Hee.

What weird coverage.

(*An hour or so earlier they'd found this woman to babble on camera about how Democrats obviously weren't interested in patriotism and supporting America or they'd be there, too. Because it's a rally about supporting America! ... Where every person is decked out in Trump gear. Where the speaker on the stage behind her is ranting about how Democrats are godless, evil incarnate.)

OH LOOOOL. Over at MOAR they're playing "Play That Funky Music" over the loudspeaker. And each time the lyric "Play that funky music, white boy" comes up, the network's messing with the sound so you can't hear it. LOOOOL.

ETA10: Back to the Juggalo March -- which has disappeared. Poor dude sounds so disappointed. They walked down the reflecting pool and went ... somewhere. He doesn't know where. But he checked the website, and it says they're supposed to have a concert tonight, but they seem to be taking down the stage! (Camera swivels to the stage -- where they're obviously revamping it from rally to concert modes.)  He sounds rather sad. Now they're discussing how the antifa people are "known to be violent" ... but didn't do anything. He sounds disappointed. POOR PAUL. She's really insistent, she wants to know: WHAT DID THE ANTIFA PEOPLE DO??? He says, Uh, I think they just walked along with the crowd? But everyone's gone...

"We did see a couple of undercover officers." <-- LOLOL. They must have been pretty shit at undercover then.


Surfacing, the real-life edition

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:29 am
monanotlisa: Lincoln Lee against a red jagged background, captioned "mind is a razorblade" (Lincoln Lee - Fringe)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Let's start with five good things about my life right now:

1. Ask, and ye shall receive. Under pressure at work to put together a presentation in October, I texted one of my non-profit co-founders on a whim, not expecting her to have time or interest in co-chairing a webinar. But she immediately said yes; we're having a planning session tonight. Now I'm both relieved and a little bit excited about the subject of much procrastination.

2. Our wedding celebration preparation is almost done. WHICH IS GOOD, BECAUSE IT IS NEXT WEEKEND. Can't claim I was the driving force here; my wife was much better. But still, I too knocked several preparation points off our list. There's a price to pay if neither you nor your life partner are Planners or Organizers, but we had the privilege to pay in hard coin (i.e. having vendors do more for us) rather than familial currency (i.e. putting it on a date fitting for her auntie, who would have loved to go full Weddingpalooza).

3. The cats are very affectionate these days. Still semi-feral, of course, and not into being petted :( or even touched, although Poppet tolerates it from my wife. But they are social with us, head-butting and nose-sniffing and watching us Do Important Human Things In The Kitchen through the glass without feigning the usual disinterest...okay, fine, sometimes they feign disinterest; they're cats. :)

4. If one door closes, a window opens. (It's small, but it's a window.) I was devastated when the only dedicated gluten-free sweet pastry shop in San Francisco with actually good baked goods (glutless) closed, but they have just re-opened as a delivery-only service for Fridays and weekends. Weekends aren't excellent for someone living in the East Bay, but Fridays, Fridays I shall feast on cake! Except this upcoming one, given no. 2.

5. No periods forevermore, and everything works. Once the non-surgery issues were resolved, for the most part, life without a uterus has been excellent...except on the one day of my cycle when everything is terrible and the world is dull and gray, of course. But even that pleases me conceptually, because that plus the other two signs of an upcoming period mean my left (heh) ovary has taken over the full hormone production, and I don't have to consider HRT.

Unfortunately, like humans are wont to, I make bad decisions in the spur of the moment, so right now I am struggling with an old-new issue. Oral surgery talk, pretty gruesome, so please mind the cut-tag )

Reading: The Shortest Way to Hades

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:08 am
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
The Shortest Way to Hades is the second of Sarah Caudwell's Hilary Tamar novels, and is very similar to the first; Hilary, Professor of Legal History at Oxford, is called in by the junior members of the barristers' chambers at 62 New Square to investigate the death of a young woman who was recently involved in a variation of trusts case in which all of them represented various parties, and which they feel was suspicious. Like the first novel, it's entertaining and contains some lovely comic scenes; I particularly enjoyed the account of how Selena, on finding herself present at an orgy, decides that her preferred pleasure is in fact reading the copy of Pride and Prejudice she happened to have in her bag (a woman after my own heart!), and, having an Oxford background, I also very much liked Hilary's justification for not taking part in examining, which was an absolutely pitch-perfect example of the Oxford don's refusal to carry out a disagreeable task couched as a favour to absolutely everyone else. Meanwhile, the mystery was well enough plotted that I didn't come anywhere close to suspecting the real murderer until the final reveal, which is all you can really ask of a mystery, after all.

I think I enjoyed Thus Was Adonis Murdered more, but I'm not sure whether that's because the second book is so similar that I knew exactly what I was going to be getting and there wasn't the pleasure of discovering something new, or if I simply wasn't quite in the right mood for it; I certainly think it's just as good a book.


Sep. 15th, 2017 11:31 pm
lurkingcat: (Default)
[personal profile] lurkingcat
... this new laptop business is working out well. I mean, I have done other things today but there's certainly been a lot of marvelling at the wonders of a top-notch piece of new technology compared to the old faithful beast that I've been bumbling along with.

There's also been a certain amount of amusement in the discovery that I hadn't been hearing some of the newer albums in the household properly due to the sound of the fans. I'd gotten so used to the noise that machine made that my brain was mostly ignoring it. Today's been a bit of a revelation.

In other news Special Agent Kheldar would like to register a complaint about the repeated incidents in which water fell from the sky and interrupted his patrols.

Reading Meme on my day off

NSFW Sep. 15th, 2017 09:51 am
glinda: Hera quote text: No I tried to SEE if I could kill you. For Science! (semantics/for science!)
[personal profile] glinda
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )

Tidying Up

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:46 pm
lurkingcat: (Default)
[personal profile] lurkingcat
I spent part of yesterday tidying up my old laptop and transferring files onto a USB disk. Including the stuff that I transferred across to that laptop eight years ago, meant to do something about and never did. I'll get to that folder one of these days, really I will.

Today I got to spend time with [personal profile] teebee again and... the new laptop arrived a day earlier than originally anticipated. I am going to bed any minute, really I am. I just need to install... er... actually quite a bit. It's amazing how much two factor authentication I've got switched on these days. My poor phone isn't used to receiving so many texts.

And I'm leaving this link here mostly to remind myself to read it later because I had a game tonight and it's looong. Jenny Trout's review of Handbook for Mortals, the first few paragraphs of which made me giggle. And which also contain a useful link to a write up of the whole NYT bestsellers list scam.
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