Paella, the Musical

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:21 pm
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[personal profile] pink_halen
What if Busby Berkley was a Chef?


Opal Peacock

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:48 pm
laurieopal: opal (Default)
[personal profile] laurieopal
I've been working on the saguro cactus design - lots of detail on the cactus itself.  I've figured out the perspective. The cactus is huge and I have mountains in the distance.

I'm going to see the eclipse and then hopefully to collect some obsidian and some lava pieces. Maybe some photos. (I am very lucky in my cat sitter. George adores her.)

The pendant below is one I made along time ago and photographed when I was on the east coast. It's sterling silver with beautiful opals about 2.25 inches high. The matching opals were collected over several years. From the collection of Bayla Fine.

I'll be writing more when I get back.


Aug. 18th, 2017 09:24 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Woke up in a good mood, then alas I went to work and my mood slowly drifted downhill from there. Not helped by the weather. Whenever I went outside, I felt as if I was treading through water. The air was thick with perspiration and electricity...

1. This week, Sci-Fi fan Co-worker, the one who loans me books...which would be cool, except he likes to loan me books that have tiny print and he'd bought in the 1960s, so they make me sneeze...

Sci-Fi Co-worker aka RZ (short for Roger Zelzany fan): I saw the worst science fiction/fantasy series on television ever this weekend. And I do mean the worse of anything I've ever seen in my entire life.
(I take a breath and brace myself...just in case it's one I happen to like, there's so many to choose from. Also this is rare, because he pretty much likes all sci-fi/fantasy shows, even shows like Midnight, Texas. )
Me: Okay...what was it?
RZ: Twin Peaks.
(I burst out laughing.)
Me: Okay, do you mean the current one? Or the original?
RZ: Yes, the most recent..
Me: Did you watch the original?
RZ: No -
Me: Because the sequel won't make a lick of sense without watching the original, or so I've been told.
RZ: My wife saw the original...
Me: Did she like the sequel?
RZ: Really not. It made no sense. Everything about it was horrible...
Me: Well, you got to understand it's David Lynch. After the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, he sort of went off the rails...and decided to be surreal. So if you don't like pure surrealism, you probably won't like it...
RZ: Maybe. Except this was just awful.
Me: David Lynch is often an acquired taste. For me he's hit or miss. I liked the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, Mullohound Drive, and Blue Velvet. Not so much the other stuff. Dune was a disappointment.
RZ: Skip this.

Considering everyone online including my mother's cousin adores the sequel to Twin Peaks, I find this conversation rather amusing and somewhat informative.

2. Discussion with freshman roommate, who happens to be African-American, lives in Boston, and works as financial planner about that Racism chart that I posted the other day. This also includes my aunt, who had to pipe in her two cents. The national debate on necessary but extremely painful.

Ex-Roommate: I have a problem with us trying to define racism. What about people who march, make space, "put themselves in harms way" for other motives? Defy parents, low self-esteem, trying to prove something? What about POC who are racist against other POC? It's fine when people are obvious about racism, but you can't get into the minds and hearts of people, look at surface behavior and yell racism. I think this chart is fine, but its so much deeper then this.

Me: Thank you. I've been wondering about this as well. Can we define it so neatly? And is there a relationship between racism and "privilege", which should be emphasized? I think you are right -- it's much more complicated than this.

Ex-Roommate: I know plus size white women who say they can only date black men because white men aren't attracted to them. Is that racist? I know a woman who adopted a little girl from China, and she would constantly say racist things towards Asian people at work. When we called her out on it she said, "I'm not racist my little girl is from China." And I constantly have black people telling me, "You should have financial education classes just for black people as we don't know how to manage our money like white people." Racist?

Me: I think it's prejudice and racism but it is socialized racism. But not necessarily discrimination in all cases? There's a huge difference between racial prejudice and racial discrimination and profiling. I mean everyone is prejudiced in some way, right? I think we all make generalizations based on physical traits and develop prejudices many of which we are socialized to believe. But, that doesn't justify racist or prejudicial behavior that hurts another. So I think it depends on the action? I.e. The woman who prefers dating black men because they see her as beautiful is a bit different than the coworker who thinks it is okay to say abusive and derogatory comments about the Chinese even though she has an adopted Chinese daughter. If anything what she's doing is worse because she's reinforcing negative racial views regarding her own daughter. Just as it is different for black people to use the "N'' word and for a white person to use it. Or a white guy to say blacks can't manage their money as opposed to the black woman stating it -- however in both cases it's not true. My white grandparents and many family members are horrific at it and I work with a lot of black financial whites.

Aunt: The chart is not diagnosing your racism. It's a tool to open your eyes as to where you stand and then hopefully, you strive to improve yourself. It's not a judgement tool. It's a self help tool.

Aunt to Ex-Roommate: No. Mentally maladjusted. I've worked in the public sector and, let's face it, there are some out there who are just plain nuts! (Whoops, I hope I wasn't being offensive to the mentally ill).

I don't know. Racism is admittedly a trigger for me. I have strong opinions regarding it. I think in part because I've seen up close and personal the consequences of it. I've met and talked and become close to people who were severely hurt by it. And I've listened to and sat with the bigots. I think I told you about my Uncle Earl, he died several years ago. The man would talk about "Nigger Ball" that's what he called Basketball. And he disowned his daughter for marrying a person of color. And at one point, he pointed out to my parents that they might want to worry about my brother marrying his wife, who was part Cherokee (and Jewish) because they tend be quite dark and will have...dark kids.
My father had to leave the room and could barely stand him. He called him "Lonseome Dove", half in jest.

I'm trying to listen. And not say too much. I think sometimes I say too much. I've been criticized a lot in my life for saying too much.

3. On a brighter note...Voyage to the Other World: A New Eulogy for Ray Bradbury by Margaret Atwood Okay, it's an eulogy, so maybe not brighter?

4. I don't know, I think several episodes of Great British Bake-Off need to be binged this weekend. I need a palate cleanser. Either that or the Defenders...although I think Great British Bake-Off would be better.

Recent events in the nation.

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:40 pm
numb3r_5ev3n: Mettaton NEO from Undertale (Default)
[personal profile] numb3r_5ev3n
In light of this week's events in Charlottesville and elsewhere: ere's the thing that gets me...and this is inspired by the fact that I just was in the flame war in the comments on Cloudflare's Disqus page, on their post about their decision to suspend their hosting of The Daily Stormer:

So many of the Daily Stormer advocates and fans, and people in the alt right movement in general are going "show me a single time we advocated for genocide or murder or killing of jews" and seem flabbergasted when people can in fact find multiple instances of all of this. Then one of them in the thread pointed to the boilerplate disclaimer on the Daily Stormer about how they supposedly do not support violence or illegal activity, as if that's supposed to cover their asses.

And from Crybaby Chris Cantwell's video, he too seems completely floored by the fact that people object to his statements.

It made me think of a couple of things. First: they think that for the most part that the alt right is some sort of secret club where they can say whatever they want and it is only being consumed by people of like mind; and when other people object, they seem to think that the other people had no business looking in on them (on a public website) and criticizing them for what they were saying anyway because "it's not for YOU." This is something that, as a previous member of Fandom_Wank, I used to see a lot in the early to mid aughts. It was a well documented phenomenon on their wiki while Fandom_Wank was a thing.

Second, if they are just "virtue signaling" on the right, it is obvious that several of them do mean what they say when they advocate violence and genocide, because several of them have committed acts of violence and seem eager to proceed on to genocide. So they shouldn't be shocked, or try to deny it or walk it back when people take them 100% at their word. They have to own this.

And most of all, they shouldn't freak out about being called Nazis if they seem to idolize Hitler, they use all the signals of Nazis, and espouse and quote Nazi ideology. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

Anyway, I and several friends and going to the DFW anti-fascist rally tomorrow. A pro fascist counter protest is expected. If it does, and we are confronted by any damn Nazis, we're going to smile and ask, "HEY! ARE YOU GUYS NAZIS?" knowing that any of them can probably be identified through the magic of social media. Let's see if any more Nazis can have their fifteen minutes of crying on Youtube about arrest warrants fame.

[me, pshrinkery] Home Again

Aug. 18th, 2017 10:45 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
The conference is over, and I am super tired and omg why do my feet hurt? I didn't do that much walking, and indeed spent most of the last three days sitting. The physical spaces the conference was held in were agreeably compactly laid out, so I didn't have do a lot of hiking down halls to go from one session to the next. But I feel like I've walked for miles.

I'm being cagey about the identity of the conference because of reasons. Suffice it to say I spent three days getting my radical on with people who, hmm, could be said to identify as "psychiatric survivors" – people whom the mental health system has done profound harm and violated their human rights – from around the world, many (most?) of whom might be described as activists and there in that capacity, some of whom are also clinicians or ex-clinicians or psychology researchers. Lots of very explicit intersectionalism and inclusivism. Very emotionally intense, super intellectually stimulating, enormously morally compelling.

Since the default assumption at the conference was that attendees were psychiatric survivors, I was "out" about not being a psychiatric survivor myself but a mental health professional and there as an ally. That was... a very hard experience to describe. To do such a thing, and do it ethically, is extremely demanding of energy, because it entails such a high level of self-monitoring and attention to others, at literally every second. Yet at the same time, it was so wildly validating of my ethical values as a person and a clinician, in ways I hadn't even realized I was hungry for, it felt very spiritually nourishing and emotionally supportive. I realized after the second day that just in the program book and in the presentations I'd attended, that I'd heard the word "humanistic" more times in those two days than I'd heard it used by anybody not me in the previous five years. Or maybe more. I'm a humanistic therapist, and I'm literally welling up again just reflecting on that, and how clinically-philosophically isolated this reveals me to have been. And, my god, the first, like, three times the term went zipping by I thought, Hey, do they know what that means, technically, to a therapist? Ah, they're probably just using it as a synonym for "humanely", as lay people usually do. And it became clear that, no, at least some of the people using the term really did mean it clinically. And I was like Oh. They don't need me to explain it to them. They already know. Which, is, like, the fundamental unit of being understood. Talk about your being called in from the cold.

I went to this conference thinking of myself as an ally, someone there to support another people as they do their thing – an in a really important sense, that is exactly right – but to my surprise, I discovered that these people, despite not being clinicians, were clinically my people. I wound up doing a hell of a lot more personal sharing than I would ever have expected – certainly vastly, vastly more than I have ever done in a mental health professionals context. It was like, I suddenly realized I was in an environment in which I could talk about how furious I am that I am forced to use diagnoses on patients without their consent, how frustrated I am by how the bureacratic systems in which I must work compromise the integrity of the treatment I try to provide, how disgusted I often am by the conduct of colleagues and mental health institutions (I discovered the wonderful expression, "psychiatric hate-speech"), how indignant I am at all sorts of idiocy and injustice and unfairness in the system – all the things I am so careful never to say because of how poorly my colleagues may take it. (Not my imagination: The last session I attended drew quite a number of clinicians, who were all "AND FOR ANOTHER THING!"; the presenter afterwards told me she had presented the same talk at a conference on the philosophy of psychiatry for an audience that was half psychiatrists, and, in contrast, they were furious with her for her temerity.)

I got to have conversations about capitalism and disability, culture and identity, the history of psychiatry, the history of nationalism, what you can and can't do inside the health care system, other countries' nationalized (or not, where mental health is concerned) health care, and how money affects mental health care; I heard a slew of what I would call "mental health radical coming out stories". I met someone who is as into the history of the DSM as I am, and someone who has written an academic article about the ethical and clinical problems of diagnosis. I got politely chewed out once, early on, for using oppressive language, and then immediately apologized to for it, them saying ruefully that they have "a chip on [their] shoulder" about mental health care professionals and shouldn't have talked to me like that, and I assured them I was there to be chewed out and have my vocabulary corrected and was fine with it; I'm pretty sure they were way more upset about what they said to me than I was, and I feel bad about putting them in that position by my ignorance – but we've exchanged phone numbers and I'm hoping I might yet make it up to them.

There was a point where somebody asked me something like whether I had been learning a lot at the conference so far, and I thought a moment and replied that I had, but, "I am at this conference not just to learn things. I am here because, as a person and a clinician, these are my values."

So it was an experience that was weirdly simultaneously hard and easy. If you had asked me four days ago I would have said that it's probably impossible for an experience to require a very high level of scrupulous self-monitoring and yet feel welcoming of and safe for emotional vulnerability and risktaking. Yet that was precisely my experience.

It was demanding and beautiful and powerful and huggy and astonishing and uplifting and I'm exhausted and weepy and have like twenty new best friends.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
It should be pretentious and snobbish to say: “Sure I eat hot dogs, I have homemade mustard and homemade lingonberry ketchup on it”. Then to take the DIY philosophy serious you have to make the hot dog yourself.

Context sounds delicious!

Hymns by Sherman Alexie

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:24 pm
taiga13: Raylan Givens from Justified (Justified)
[personal profile] taiga13 posting in [community profile] poetry
Published August 16, 2017 in response to recent events in the United States

Why do we measure people's capacity
To love by how well they love their progeny?

That kind of love is easy. Encoded.
Any lion can be devoted

To its cubs. Any insect, be it prey
Or predator, worships its own DNA.

Like the wolf, elephant, bear, and bees,
We humans are programmed to love what we conceive... )

assorted stuff from a hell of a week

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:19 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
"Things won't change if the Grand Wizard remains in office." And he's running out of Republicans to alienate. Mitt Romney called on him to back away from his response to Charlottesville.

Since the police refused to protect the Charlottesville synagogue, the synagogue has hired armed security guards.

You'll never be as radical as this 18th Century Quaker dwarf. So you know: Quakers did not wear military uniforms or take up arms. This is relevant.

White pride is not a culture. And Southern pride in a time of terror, which talks about real Southern culture.

A social justice syllabus.

The entire US military has broken away from Trump and openly denounced racism.

The ACLU will no longer defend hate groups protesting while carrying firearms. This is a first.

A 21-year-old Nazi sympathizer who marched in Charlottesville is now whining that his life is over because he was identified as marching with Nazis and KKK. I don't have a violin small enough.

The real horror of Trump's response to Charlottesville.

A Charlottesville ER nurse talks, after a day of decompression.

Retracing Willa Cather's steps in the south of France.

Are we different writers when we move from longhand to a screen? I can say that I write poetry differently with a pen in hand, and essays differently, and I don't write nonfiction there at all.

The landscape of Civil War commemoration. 13,000 monuments, and descriptions.

Churches Uniting in Christ statement on white nationalism and white supremacism. The member churches of CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

The president's Arts and Humanities Council, founded by Obama, has resigned over Trump's Charlottesville response.

Bannon's out of the White House; Trumpists are more afraid of him now.

3 major charities canceled Mar-a-Lago galas.

Charlottesville forces media and tech companies to draw a line on what they will allow.

In Oregon, rural Muslims fight for safety and inclusion.

In Iran, cracking down on journalists.

Ranking countries by their blasphemy laws.

New Dallas police officers face questions on how an ethical officer would act.

It's hard to find an impartial jury for pharmaceuticals scammer Martin Shkreli's

Books I’ve Read

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:04 pm
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

Some books I’ve recently read and enjoyed! As always, none of this comes close to anything like a review, because reviewing isn’t a thing I’m good at.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Dr. Greta Helsing (yes, she’s related) specializes in treating London’s supernatural denizens–people whose safety might be at risk if most Londoners knew they existed, and who might not get any sort of healthcare otherwise. It’s not going to make her rich, and it’s difficult enough with her small practice to care for vampires, mummies, ghouls, and…other sorts of creatures, without someone going around trying to kill her patients.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and am looking forward to the next installment. You can read the first chapter here.

Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth Powell

It took me way too long to read this, but that gives you some idea of how out of control my TBR stack is. Back in 2014 I was absolutely tickled when Ack Ack Macaque tied with Ancillary Justice for the Best Novel BSFA, and I was really glad to be able to meet Gareth in person at Worldcon later that year. Now I’ve finally read this! It was a lot of fun. In the wake of WW2, France and Britain have unified–look, just go with it, ok?–and a hundred years later there are nuclear powered airships, and actual monkey Ack Ack Macaque is the central character of an amazingly popular online multiplayer game. In the non-game real world, murders and skulduggery are happening and the very survival of everyone on Earth is at stake. This book is great fun, a quick, compelling read. I’m putting the sequels on my ever-growing TBR pile.

The Course of Honour by Avoliot

Okay, this one is kind of a bonus. As in, it’s free! You can click that link and find the Download button (up there in the righthand corner) and nab a copy in your favorite ebook format. Or, you know, you can read a chapter right here on your screen, and then click on to the next at whatever pace.

I want to thank Liz Bourke for tweeting about this, because I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ve said before that I’m not much for category romance (though I do enjoy them now and again), but the fact is I’m a sucker for a good Arranged Marriage/Fake Marriage plot. And this was a good one! Jainan was married to Prince Taam of Iskat–a marriage arranged for political reasons, and when Taam suddenly dies [ahem] accidentally, the Emperor of Iskat declares that party-loving Prince Kiem will step up. And…look, I’ll just paste in the “additional tags” here, so you’ll see what you’re getting into:

Romance, Slow Burn, Arranged Marriage, Pining, past abusive relationship, space princes, Court Politics, Emotional Hurt/Comfort

Space princes. I mean. Seriously. Give it a look, and maybe leave some kudos if you like it.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

Worldcon Oddity: Peeing in Helsinki

Aug. 18th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Jeffrey A. Carver

Every worldcon I’ve been to in recent years has had its own oddities. In Spokane, it was four days of breathing smoke from wildfires on the US/Canadian border. In London, it was staying an hour from the con on a cramped sailboat that had been misleadingly billed on Airbnb as a houseboat. Also, there was Wardrobe Malfunction Day, when my belt broke and I walked around the convention center holding my pants up with both hands.

In Helsinki, it was peeing in the convention center restrooms. The urinals looked perfectly normal, but there was nothing to warn you that they flushed automatically both before and after use. So you would step up to the fixture and before you could even reach to do what you had come to do—floosh!—the thing would flush energetically in your face. (It didn’t spray literally in your face, but it felt as though it was about to.) Granted, it fit with the image of Scandinavian cleanliness, but it was certainly disconcerting.

Startling, too, was the high-speed hand-dryer mounted next to one sink, so close that when you stepped up to wash your hands, you got an instant blast of hot air on your left shoulder.

Perhaps weirdest were the urinals in one restaurant, which apparently had been installed by a very tall Viking plumber—because they were mounted too high on the wall for a person of mere modest height like me to use. I briefly contemplated ballistic trajectories of peeing upward and outward and hoping for the best, but I finally opted to choose other means. I’m sure the janitorial staff thanked me.

We now return you to our regular non-weird programming.


New Worlds: Curse You!

Aug. 18th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Marie Brennan

(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)

If good-luck charms are one of the most common types of folk magic, I suspect curses are right up there with them.

This time I don’t mean profanity (though there’s a degree of overlap there). I mean actual malevolent attempts to cause someone harm by supernatural means. Sometimes people do this deliberately, out of a desire for power or revenge; other times it’s a subconscious process, the metaphysical consequence of negative emotions like anger, jealousy, or fear. The latter shows up in the Japanese concept of an ikiryō, a “living ghost” that is the projection of a person’s spirit, or in the (I think) Asante concept of witchcraft as a thing people can do without meaning to or realizing that it’s happening.

The deliberate versions are easier to talk about because they are, for obvious reasons, more concrete. Many curses amount to codified ill-wishing, with a profoundly fuzzy boundary between religion and magic — here taking “magic” in the sense of “supernatural means not approved of by religious authorities”. Imprecatory prayer is the act of petitioning gods, saints, demons, or other such powers to bring misfortune on your enemies. In Greco-Roman times these were often written on curse tablets. Some religions think that kind of thing is totally fine; some don’t; and some just avoid commenting on the fact that praying for your own side to be victorious in battle amounts to wishing for the other side to die. (Mark Twain commented on it, though.) Is it not a curse if the negative consequences for someone else are just an ancillary effect, rather than the focus of your prayer? Is there a meaningful difference between “please, God, lead my allies to victory” and “please, God, lead my enemies to defeat?”

That’s a topic for theologians and ethicists to debate. We’ve got more than enough genuine, unquestionable examples of curses to keep us busy. Consider the poppet, aka the “voodoo doll” (which does not actually originate with that religion). Operating on the principles of sympathetic magic, which hold that an object which resembles or contains a piece of the target has a connection to that target, people all over the world have crafted little dolls and figures for supernatural use, both good and bad. Sticking pins in the doll is meant to cause illness; burning it or “drowning” it is meant to kill the target. In Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet, a number of poppets are tied up in a veil as a magical effect to prevent them from “seeing clearly,” i.e. realizing what the villain is up to. Fear of what sympathetic magic might do has led people to take precautions with their hair clippings, fingernails, and so forth, burning or otherwise disposing of them lest they be employed in a poppet or other curse. Execration texts leverage names for the same connection, which is why certain magico-religious traditions of both the real and fictional variety have practices designed to protect people’s names against such threats.

Other types of objects can inflict ill fortune. Maybe you craft some sort of “hex bag” and hide it in the target’s house or under their bed, or bury it under their front step. Or you bury it along a road or path you know they’ll travel, and when they cross over it, the curse will attach to them. Subtle, hidden curses of that sort are intended to be more difficult to detect and counter. On the other hand, sometimes lack of subtlety is the point: the Indigenous Australian bone-pointing practice is a very public delivery of a death curse. The Germanic “nithing pole” or niðstang involves cutting off the head of a horse and sticking it on the end of a rune-carved pole, facing toward your enemy’s house — which amounts to a neon sign announcing you wish your target ill, at least if you put the pole anywhere visible. (And in getting the Wikipedia links, I am weirdly charmed to find that some Indigenous Australians performed the bone-pointing ritual against their prime minister in 2004, and Icelanders stuck cod heads on poles in 2016 to protest their prime minister. Anyone who thinks such things are confined to the past is wrong.)

Curses can also be set up such that certain actions will trigger them, as with the protective spells sometimes placed on Egyptian tombs by priests seeking to deter grave robbers. Stealing precious objects from religious sites is in general a route to misfortune, for obvious reasons: angering a deity is rarely a good idea. Book thieves have been threatened since the days of Ashurbanipal; medieval European scribes warned them of a variety of punishments, ranging from mortal measures (excommunication, execution) to divine intervention (damnation). Breaking an oath may leave the traitor accursed in one fashion or another, which is sometimes laid out explicitly in the oath itself. People may place curses with their dying breaths, or the simple fact of their death may lay the curse — especially if the victim was the killer’s kin, such acts being deeply taboo in many cultures (cf Cain and the Greek notion of the Furies).

As with good-luck charms, there’s a psychological effect in play. The nocebo response is real; it’s the opposite of a placebo, making negative outcomes or side effects more common if you expect them. Knowing someone has cursed you may have all kinds of effects, ranging from depressing your immune system to making you more accident-prone to drawing your attention toward the bad things that happen to you, causing you to see a pattern in them where another person might see random chance. Performing a curse against someone reinforces your dislike of or opposition, which may encourage you to take other actions against them, or rally other people to your side. So even in stories not built around the assumption that things like curses have metaphysical force, the idea may still show up, because it still carries very real social weight.

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Some ideas echo

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:05 am
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Posted by Gillian Polack

Some words resonate far more than their user intends. “Nevertheless, she persisted,” did that with me. I live on the other side of the world from the US, but I live in a capital city and I’ve seen those attitudes over and over again. I wanted to say “Nevertheless, he persisted” in silencing, but I found myself thinking about just how common that type of silencing is and how many of us have seen those words and heard our own lives being echoed.

My story in Mindy Klasky’s wonderful volume is about those lives. Small lives that have been stepped on and rubbed out and ignored and whose owners nevertheless persist.

It always, always hurts that the owners of the loud voices who try to silence us do it by not hearing why we say things. They don’t care for who we are. They just want to make us behave in whatever way they’ve decided we should, before they meet us. I don’t know many women who are good at this. I know far more women who are individual and strong and often sarcastic.

My fiction is usually about the lives of women who are individual and strong and often sarcastic. I suspect this is my way of persisting.

My way of annoying those who tell us all to behave, to be silent, to not be ourselves is to let them know what they’re missing. Wildlife that isn’t what you think it will be, roads that misbehave, gates that lead somewhere special. This is my Australia. One day I might write a novel set there, in a special house near a place called Robertson where the wildlife is not what it ought to be. I’ve pictures for that exploration and some very strange stories. My house needs someone to manage it, and “After Eden” is the story of the job interview and how two very individual and often sarcastic women found themselves travelling in strange lands in pursuit of that job.

Photograph by Gillian Polack

I can’t give you pictures of my women who persisted, but I’m littering this post with photographs of some of the countryside they drove through as part of their persistence. I went through the first half of it myself, with a group of students to Edrom. From Canberra to Edrom and back, but we failed to see a platypus at Bombala. From Moss Vale to Robertson, I was on a bus to see an opera about mice. After the performance, the singers turned into vampires. The reality of Australia is often as odd as our stories.

The park, photograph by Gillian Polack



Farm update

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:08 pm
sasha_feather: horses grazing on a hill with thunderheads (horses and lightning)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
I love the farm. I just love how quiet and peaceful and gorgeous it is.

The adolescent guineas and pheasants in the shed get meal worms as a treat. Meal worms are the BEST, according to them. The internet says that pheasants are wild and won't tame down, but apparently these sites don't know about meal worms. Anyways, today I picked up the bucket where they are stored, and one of the guineas was so excited that she Flew At Me, hit my chest, bounced off and ran away.

Abbie had a couple of good sprints down to the barn and back.

Today I saw:
A hummingbird feeding off the cannas
A Monarch butterfly
A female cardinal
A woodpecker (I just heard this)

A life of firsts: Life of the Day

Aug. 18th, 2017 11:34 pm
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Today's biography from the Oxford DNB:
Heilbron, Dame Rose (1914-2005), barrister and judge
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[personal profile] yhlee
I did not finish this book not because I thought it was poorly argued or poorly written, but because, despite it being very interesting, I just cannot brain this right now. (I'm under deadline for a novel.)

Heath Fogg Davis is a trans man and associate professor in political science at Temple University, and his book, Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? suggests that there are many situations in which clinging to gender categories is not necessary and even counterproductive. The context appears to largely be USAn, although I only got a little way into the book so that might not be true of later chapters.

The book opens with the case of a public transit system in Philadelphia that used to issue passes in both male and female variants. It begins with the dilemma of a trans woman who bought a female pass, only to be bounced off the bus because the bus driver judged her not to be a "real" woman, so she bought a male pass, and was bounced off the bus for not being male. At that point, she's screwed--what does she do? But trans people weren't the only one hit by this--a lot of cis people who didn't match certain bus drivers' preconceptions of gender presentation/appearance were also sometimes denied passage.

Davis then goes on to examine the reason why bus passes even had this designation to begin with. Apparently the stated intent was to reduce fraud--basically, each person was supposed to buy their own pass, and they were trying to prevent husbands and wives from sharing a single pass. Except, of course, if you look at the problem and the "solution," it makes no sense--you could easily still have fraud with two people of the same "sex" (whatever that means, a topic Davis takes up later) sharing a pass. So basically the "solution" screwed a lot of people, was intrusive and humiliating, and didn't even solve the problem.

The chapters in this book are:

Introduction: Sex Stickers
1. The Sex Markers We Carry: Sex-Marked Identity Documents
2. Bathroom Bouncers: Sex-Segregated Restrooms [1]
3. Checking a Sex Box to Get into College: Single-Sex Admissions
4. Seeing Sex in the Body: Sex-Segregated Sports
Conclusion: Silence on the Bus
Appendix: The Gender Audit: A How-to Guide for Organizations

[1] I lived for two years in a dorm in undergrad that had co-ed restrooms. Nothing bad happened. My dad would have blown a gasket if he had found out, though. :p

I only got through the intro and the very beginning of chapter 1 and what I saw looked encouraging and thought-provoking, but please don't ask me what's in the rest of the book because I genuinely don't know. I'm going to return this and hope to check it out later when I have more brain so I can think about the issues properly; it's good knowing the book exists so I can return to it at some later point.

(no subject)

Aug. 18th, 2017 03:56 pm
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[personal profile] coyotegoth
I feel as though someone brandished a D&D holy symbol at Bannon and cried, "AWAY, THING OF EVIL!"

Bemelmans Bar in New York, New York

Aug. 18th, 2017 06:00 pm
[syndicated profile] atlas_obscura_places_feed

The murals feature scenes from Central Park, which is nearby.

In a bar in Manhattan that is covered in art, lives the last public place Ludwig Bemelmans' whimsy plays a big part.

The story of the feisty literary heroine Madeline begins in Paris, but the girl with the red hair and big yellow hat travels all around the world in the books written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans. Much like his most famous character, Bemelmans’ life began in Europe, in the Austrian Tirol, but he emigrated to the United States when he was nearly 20 years old. After working in the hotel industry and serving in the army, he began writing and illustrating books for children. He found huge success with his Madeline series, the first book of which came out in 1939.

He went on to write five books about the spunky seven-year-old and her adventures, and also produced popular artwork for publications like The New Yorker and Vogue. In the 1940s, Bemelmans took on a commission that combined two of his passions: hotels and painting. He was contracted to decorate the new bar that was built in The Carlyle, a luxury hotel in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

For this, he was paid not in cash, but received free board for himself and his family for a year and a half, the duration it took for the wall murals to be completed.

The dull yellow of the walls is enlivened by elephants, rabbits, and other animals frolicking around Central Park, all painted in Bemelmans’ trademark style. Madeline and her friends can also be spotted, alongside other typical park scenes like dogs sprinting with their owners and nurses taking babies for a stroll. The simplicity of the wall art is contrasted by the more luxurious Art Deco interiors of the bar. The ceilings are coated in gold leaf and leather banquettes line the walls, placed near glass-top tables. 

The whimsical artwork adds to the New York City piano bar’s quiet appeal and it is the only remaining place where Bemelmans' work that is open to the public. It's all there is, and there isn't anymore.


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BC Holmes

July 2017

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