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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 19:07
post-tags: instagram, crosspost "'Average #Boston #commute: 35.5 minutes' my ass." #stuckon93S #at3pmonawednesday
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 19:54
Just been on Radio Merseyside talking about driverless cars (about 1 hour 25 minutes in). It was a bit nerve-wracking and given the impetus for the story was Vince Cable's announcement today about running trials in the UK and loosening regulation I was a little surprised not to be asked about that. However I suppose the Google car is cooler and I'd thankfully read just about enough about it in the hours leading up to the interview that I could answer a few questions sensibly.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 16:58
I haven't been able to write posts because everything's just been so terrible - in that "upsetting my life in super inconvenient ways" sort of way - that what free time I've had I've invested in escapism.

Work is still hellaciously busy. SO MUCH SHIT GOING ON. And because I've been tired and not sleeping well I haven't even been able to stay late, so I just work super super hard during the day to make up for it. My only comfort is that maybe if I work super hard right now and in the next month I'll have a clearer desk when I go on vacation.

Apartment-wise, oh god. Oh god. It's just been a nightmare every single day. My roommate is apparently planning to take a lot more stuff than I anticipated, which leaves me a whole lot more stuff that needs to be replaced. I... did not plan for this. I didn't plan for a week of utter chaos while she's packing and I did not plan for expenses like new furniture right now :/ I should have, I guess? But I assessed what she'd be taking/selling differently, and I have no experience with being the roommate who's left instead of the one leaving, so I didn't know it would be this big of a mess and the apartment would basically be unlivable for a week. Also, my roommate has been an annoying asshole on top of the completely reasonable moving hassle, which hasn't helped.

I have a new roommate, maybe? There's a girl who's interested in the apartment, I met her and she seems nice - I mean you know, you never know until you live with people but she's slightly older than me, has lived with roommates for 7 years, doesn't identify as a geek but has a similar sort of temperament and is easy to talk to? We met for coffee and I just... really enjoyed the conversation? Like it wasn't awkward at all and I just kept feeling like I was talking to my kind of person, so. She's taking her time looking over the contract - which is reasonable - and hasn't made a final decision yet, though. At this point I just want it to be decided because I can't live with uncertainty anymore.

It's just been... a difficult month. Which I knew it would be, but there was no way to prepare for this. What I want more than anything is just a few days in the apartment on my own, peace and quiet, but even if it does take a few days for the potential new roommate to pack up her stuff and move in (my current roommate is leaving Friday) our apartment no longer has couches :( Which means I can't even lie around and read in the living room, or watch stuff on TV comfortably, and that makes the space unwelcoming and weird and unfamiliar :/

I'm considering just going to my parents' after work tomorrow, spending Friday at their place and then coming back to the city on Saturday. I think at this point even their place, where I don't have all my things or my comfortable bed, would be better than living in the cacophony and stress of my roommate leaving.

Oh, and of course, the war. Did I mention the war? There was a ceasefire last weekend and we managed to go to the beach. There was a rocket siren at 2:30am yesterday and I banged on my roommate's door so we could get to the bomb shelter in time. Every day on the news is a new pile of dead people. I can't even think about the broader ramifications of this, about what can and can't and should have been done to try and prevent this, I just want it to end, as soon as possible. That's all I can think about right now.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 13:23

This is the fourth Rivers of London book. It's still excellent and there's some neat stuff I didn't notice on the initial read-through that massively pays off way after it happens.

All in all, I find this whole series quite intriguing.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 13:05
[personal profile] recessional on appearing high-functioning.

I've got a loosely-organised collection of around 10 people who remind me to do basic self-care, visit me so I have a reason to prepare food when my housemate's out, do the laundry, help make groceries happen, definitely who facilitate sleep, prompt me to do housework that makes me feel better (see yesterday's todo/tada), and so on, and so forth.

All of this is work. I am simultaneously much less and much more independently functional than I look.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 11:34
My supervisor's spending the next two months on a boat; she's sailing as a petrologist, not a geochemist, so it won't exactly be like our normal work, but if you're interested her blog Crustal Death and Rebirth in the Ring of Fire is now syndicated on DW as [syndicated profile] crustaldeath_feed :-)
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 01:23
* Made a dick joke.
* Taught R that "bellend" is a dick reference.
* Refrained from pointing my Overlady in the direction of the non-portable fire. (She knows very well where it is.)
* Helped Lt. Michigander on the road to sorting his Adobe issue.
* Impressed Lt. Michigander and Researcher Carmageddon with my utter fury by calling last Wednesday's tech support guy a shitlord. (My language around my team is a lot cleaner than it is around nearly anyone but customers, friends' parents, and my mother.)
* Sorted out that issue with the helpdesk software: user error (and it wasn't mine).
* Communicated to the Escalation Manager what a fantastically bad idea tech N's idea that I ask every tech to add me to the worknotes was.
* Caused the Escalation Manager to send all the helpdesk techs an admonition to not put stuff meant for the user into worknotes like Shitlord Tech did that time.
* Got reassurances that Shitlord Tech has been Talked To, formally.
* Got the Escalation Manager's email address.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 01:05
Today is a much better day.
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 00:00
1. I am really loving Subway's current special, a BBQ steak & bacon sub. I also love that Subway offers cilantro as a topping because I always want it on every sandwich and now it annoys me when I go to other choose-your-own-topping type sandwich shops and they don't have it.

2. Got some manga posted tonight and more to post tomorrow.

3. Speaking of tomorrow, it's my day off, yay!

4. I got a new blanket Sunday when we went to Walmart and it's SO NICE. I'm really particular about blankets because if the feel of it bothers me, it makes it hard to sleep, but this is really nice and soft. I also really like the color, so that's a bonus.

(The reason I got a new one is that the main blanket I use (the one that touches me) is very heavy and while it's great in winter, it's not so good in summer, and all the other blankets I have that are thinner are only good for putting on top of the main blanket, because I don't like the way they feel.)
Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 02:03
I'm so behind on wearing these to review/evaluate them -- I've mostly been smelling in the bottle as part of decanting and as part of my "order a screaming whackload of imp collections off eBay, pick through them for the ones you want to try, use the rest for decant circle frimps" orders. (Speaking of decant circle frimps: the Neil Gaiman circle is still taking signups, and thanks to the generosity of [personal profile] elisem, will also include prototypes sniffies.)

Behind the cut: reviews of Ginny the Reaper, The Floating Market, Ice, Enterprise of the Night, Yurei, Sin.

6 scents )
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 22:48
Finally we wrap up volume 2! Hopefully we can manage more double releases and get the next volume out faster. :)

Title: Himegoto
Original Title: ヒメゴト~十九歳の制服~ (Himegoto~Juukyuu Sai no Seifuku~)
Author: Minenami Ryou
Publisher: Big Comics
Genre: Seinen
Status in Japan: 6 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Krim + Kurokishi Scans
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: This is the story of three college freshmen with secrets: Yuki, aka Yoshiki, a boyish girl who gets off on wearing her old high school uniform skirt; Mikako, who acts innocent around her classmates, but at night pretends to be a 15-year-old and has sex for money; and finally there's Kaito, who's obsessed with Mikako to the point of dressing up like her.

Chapter Summary: Kaito takes Yoshiki shopping for girl clothes and Yoshiki has a startling realization...

Chapter 24: First Love

Full volume download here.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 20:58
At work we have a variety of reference collections. Minerals, auto paint, rope, wood, explosives, glass, things like that.

We also have a glitter reference collection. Glitter. Organized nicely like baseball cards in a binder in little ziplock pouches. Glitter. How is this even?
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 16:07
Con is imminent.
Woggy is staff at con, director of a department, King of all Ops. Or something like that. He has a lot of responsibilities and is facing many sleepless nights.

My woe seems very minor compared to that. I am just cooking! I like cooking! I cook, and then I deliver food. But I am still feeling Con Trauma.

I feel bad being anxious and woe at woggy. He has many things to do, compared to me! I feel like a wimp for being so scared.

But I am scared, I am scared of cons in general, and new places, and parking downtown, and breaking rules by bringing food, even though I was _requested_ to bring food.

Not requesting solutions to any of my issues. Just hoping that venting might help, in some way. Even if the person most likely to read is the same Woggy I am trying to avoid stressing out.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 20:28
todo )

tada )
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 11:21
So far, the responses to my article "Killing the Messenger at Mozilla" on Model View Culture have been almost completely positive. (That's almost a bit disappointing, because if no one gets shirty about it, then I worry that I haven't done my job.)

But there's one response that may superficially seem compelling. I thought about addressing it in the article, but ended up leaving it out for space reasons and because I felt like I, and others, had talked about it over and over, and that at this point, if someone is still using this argument, they are simply not listening. I'm an eternal optimist, though, so I want to summarize my thoughts on it one more time. The tl;dr version is that concern over "forcing the resignations of CEOs over political donations" is a red herring. The concern is not really about political donations, but about forcing the resignations of CEOs over the kinds of political donations that white heterosexual cis men tend to make -- thus, the concern is really about excluding people in that narrow social clique of folks who have always taken for granted that they will be included in any space they want to be in.

Who pays for free speech?

A representative example of the argument is:

"...but I remain unconvinced that we really want to force the resignations of CEOs over political donations." -- Jason Pontin

(I'm picking this tweet for concreteness, not out of a desire to portray Pontin's specific comment as uniquely heinous.)

It makes me viscerally angry that this is still a tenable response to critiquing putting bigots in charge of public interest organizations. I think it makes me so angry because it's so disingenuous. Literally nobody believes that there is never an occasion when a CEO could make a political donation that is incompatible with the mission of their company or organization. The debate is about which donations are acceptable, and it frustrates me to no end that folks make such an absolutist, obviously shallow argument to avoid confronting the real issue.

The hidden assumption is that public spaces belong to heterosexual men. Everyone else dwells in public spaces at the pleasure of heterosexual men. Therefore, to exclude a heterosexual man from such a space -- especially from a leadership position! -- requires far more basis than excluding anybody else.

I want to be absolutely clear that I don't think this response is quite the same response as the even shallower (but still popular) "Everybody has the right to do and say whatever they want and keep their jobs, because free speech." This response has been addressed exhaustively (see Valerie Aurora's "What Free Speech Really Means" for just one example), far beyond what the time and effort it deserves.

The question "do we really want to drive someone out because of a different opinion?" is different because rather than appealing to shady constructions of individual rights, it raises a question about the public good. Latent in the question is the liberal (with a small 'l') notion that diversity of ideas is always a good thing. Subscribers to this, the liberal viewpoint, say that if we merely include people with a variety of ideas and opinions in our community, the best outcome will naturally happen rather than if we made any intentional effort to actually make a variety of people feel safe in that community.

Donations, by the way, are definitely speech. A political donation is political speech, and as such, is necessarily public. Don't trust me on that one -- just ask the Supreme Court. Donating money is absolutely a form of speech, and as such, should be assessed in the same way as other kinds of public speech would be.

But what about the "public" part? There is a very good reason why political donations are public. It's not, as some have suggested, a procedural accident that means Eich's donation record should be politely ignored. The privilege of privately donating money to influence the political process and thereby affect the public is inseparable from corruption. Put another way, if you are going to interfere with my life, you don't get to keep your own identity a secret from me while doing so -- if you want privacy, you always have the option of not interfering with my life. Given that I can't opt out of a law preventing me from marrying, it's only fair that the people who underwrote that law can't opt out of me knowing who they are.

While it's a bit more sophisticated than "but free speech?", "do we really want to drive someone out because of a different opinion?" is still the wrong question. I think a better question is, "Is a man who paid money to run advertisements insinuating that dozens of his employees rape children, not because they have actually done so but because they have queer relationships with adults, someone who is well-equipped to carry out the mission of his company?" Details matter.

Not only is it the wrong question, it implies a false equivalence. The subtext here (made much more explicit by various voices online) is that anti-queer bullying -- including bullying backed up with the full power of the state, such as the ultimately-unsuccessful effort to make Proposition 8 law in California -- is exactly the same thing as fighting back against that bullying. "You're just as bad as they are!", say these voices, shaming queer folks with the suggestion that we deserve no empathy, compassion or tolerance because our defiance of oppression makes us exactly like our oppressors.

Not only is it the wrong question, it's misleading, and it's hard to believe that it's not deliberately misleading. While Pontin's question explicitly refers only to donations rather than opinions or beliefs, it's hard to understand it except via an appeal to (once again) the liberal notion of diversity of ideas and tolerance for all ideas (including ideas that would, if broadly adopted, destroy liberalism). Without some belief in the inherent value of diversity of opinion, it would be hard to understand why someone shouldn't be held to account for their political donations. The statement "but I remain unconvinced that we really want to force the resignations of CEOs over their actions" would plainly be absurd. And there is no special reason to grant immunity to the act of paying other people to do things, other than (perhaps) desire to give rich people an additional way to do wrong without accountability. If there was, contract killing would be less harshly punished than any other form of murder. We're talking about actions, not ideas.

People keep talking about how Brendan Eich shouldn't have been held accountable for his views about "homosexuals", or his views about "traditional marriage", in one breath, and in the next breath about how his donation doesn't reveal anything about his views about "homosexuals" or marriage. You can't have it both ways. In point of fact, I agree with Eich's defenders about one thing: we don't know anything about Eich's views on queer people, marriage, or anything else pertaining to Proposition 8. We only know about his actions, which can and should be judged in their own right. If the conversation we're having was about Eich's "private" beliefs, we wouldn't be having it, because we wouldn't know anything about those beliefs! That's the definition of "private", after all.

If we take it as a given that the conversation is about actions rather than beliefs, the question remains of how to evaluate Eich's actions. Here are some concrete effects that the campaign for Proposition 8 had:

  • It caused more people to think that queer people are more likely to abuse children than heterosexuals are (actually, the opposite is true), and/or strengthened their existing misconceptions to that effect.
  • It provided further moral legitimacy to those who terrorize queer youth (and queer adults) with physical and verbal violence.
  • It contributed to the levels of fear and stress experienced by queer people, especially young queer people. The copious deleterious physical and emotional effects of chronic stress are well-documented.
  • It incited kids and teenagers to bully their peers whose parents are queer.

Here are some concrete effects that the campaign did not have:

  • It did not strengthen marriages between heterosexual men and heterosexual women. (As far as I know, the divorce rates are still where they were before.)
  • It did not result in the passage of the legislation it purported to pass.

The second point is worth dwelling on. Proposition 8 proposed an unconstitutional law. There was nothing particularly subtle about this. In his Perry v. Brown decision, Judge Vaughn Walker noted the absolute vacuity of all the arguments that were presented in favor of the proposition's constitutionality. If the case was Prop. 8 supporters' best effort to show that the state of California had a compelling interest in regulating intimate relationships, they failed spectacularly. It's hard to imagine that they didn't see that coming. I'm sure many people who voted for and financially supported Prop. 8 believed it would be feasible to make it the law of the land, but I think the folks who campaigned hardest for it were probably bright enough to realize it was doomed. It's hard to imagine that in their minds, the expected value of sneaking an unconstitutional law through the legislative process exceeded the expected value of conducting a smear campaign against members of gender, romantic, and sexual minorities.

It frustrates me that the folks saying things like what Pontin said refuse to own up to what the vague language of "political donations" actually refers to here: violence. This is not hyperbole -- according to the World Health Organization, violence is

"the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation." -- WHO Violence Prevention Alliance

As per the WHO's typology of violence, political donations like the ones made in support of Prop. 8 fall under the category of "collective violence": "violence committed by larger groups of individuals and can be subdivided into social, political and economic violence."

Let's try rephrasing that comment yet again:

"...but I remain unconvinced that we really want to force the resignations of CEOs over violence."

I'm not going to say that no one would sincerely make this statement -- after all, many people leapt to the defense of Scott Kveton, who was (at most) obliged to take a leap of absence. But it's harder to defend than the initial formulation. If you want to argue about whether or not it's really violence to fund a propaganda campaign aimed at encouraging scapegoating of a vulnerable minority group, I guess you can. It would at least beat disingenuously claiming that everybody should find any political activity their supervisor undertakes to be acceptable.

I do think it's difficult for some people to understand the difference between "differences of opinion" and violence aimed at a vulnerable minority group. If you have ever been in a vulnerable minority group, you know the difference. I've been over this before in "A Problem With Equality".

What if I want something that hasn't got spam in it?

As I also wrote about in "A Problem With Equality", some points of view have the effect of dominating discourse and making it hard or impossible for other points of view to flourish.

An analogy is weeding a garden: even people who love plants need to get rid of plants that use a disproportionate share of space. While there's nothing wrong with letting your front yard grow wild (so long as you aren't subject to an HOA's rules, anyway), you will probably have fewer different species of plants as a result than you would if you pulled weeds and made a deliberate effort to plant many different kinds of flowers. Likewise, people responsible for parks and open spaces make an effort to reduce or eliminate the share of resources taken up by invasive species. This isn't because they want less diversity of plant species -- it's because they want more diversity of plant species.

Ideas are like that too. If you believe that all opinions are worth listening to, I suggest that you try turning off your email program's spam filter for a week and see if you can still conduct your professional and personal life. In truth, no one believes that all opinions are equally desirable. If this was really a widely accepted truth, your city or town hall would be covered in Lyndon LaRouche flyers, you wouldn't be able to attend a conferences without someone standing up during the question and answer period to talk about chemtrails, and you would say "yes" whenever a street canvasser asks whether you have a moment to spare for the environment. The world would be a very different place. It's not just that everyone has their own set of preferences for which opinions they listen to, tolerate, or detest. It's also that everybody recognizes that the presence of some kinds of speech makes the metaphorical garden of ideas less diverse, not more, just as invasive plants make literal gardens less diverse. It's why we have spam filters, the do-not-call list, and "No Soliciting" signs. If we didn't have these things, we wouldn't have any time to develop our own ideas -- we'd be too busy listening to people trying to sell us something.

Given that the supposed goal of anti-queer activism is to make everybody heterosexual, I think the analogy with invasive species is apt. At least Scotch broom doesn't try to turn other plants into Scotch broom besides just taking away their room to grow! Really, though, I think most anti-queer activists probably know that other people's sexuality is non-negotiable, and merely seek to make queer people's lives as difficult as possible.

It's hard to grow and thrive when people around you are telling you that you should change fundamental aspects of your self or that you don't belong in your community because of those fundamental traits. It's especially difficult when those people are your managers or the heads of your company. Given the choice, you might just choose to go to a company where your managers and executives won't say those things. If they're not telling you those things directly, merely making it a matter of public record that they want your life to be harder than it is, that's not necessarily any easier to tolerate. Even if bigotry-underwriting CEOs are always nice to you to your face, never treat you in a way that's obviously unfair, their presence corrodes your ability to trust the fairness of your organization's decision-making processes. In an environment of fairness, you can be sure that if your manager criticizes your performance, it's because they think you need to work on improving something. When your leaders' support for bigotry is on the public record, it's impossible to be free from the nagging question of whether it's really about your work, or the fact that somebody up there wishes you didn't exist.

Different goals, not different tactics

Returning to Pontin's words, "...we really want to..." raises the question of who "we" are and what we want. Perhaps he and I just want different things.

I want to encourage diversity of opinion, and tactically, I would advise anyone else who wants the same thing to make a specific effort to include points of view that usually get marginalized. The points of view that enjoy majority endorsement will take care of themselves. Of course, other people might not want what I want. But I don't think it's so controversial that all other things being equal, a public organization should strive to encourage diversity of opinion within their ranks -- indeed, this is exactly what many of Eich's defenders have said.

So if we assume for the sake of argument that we all want to encourage diversity of opinion, how are we to go about doing so -- concretely, in the organizations where we work or volunteer? One approach is the laissez-faire method: just let it all hang out. But if you've ever attended a meeting without a moderator, you know that approach doesn't work. The people who can yell the loudest will get heard, leaving everybody else to fight just to get a word in.

Another approach is to maintain a social contract that explicitly calls out inclusion. It's best when such a contract is explicit rather than implicit, because it's not fair to expect people to follow rules they don't know about. I think this is a better approach than the laissez-faire approach, because having explicit policies makes it possible for everyone to be heard, not just those who can yell the loudest and longest. Part of such a social contract can be the expectation that people will refrain from public speech that has a chilling effect on the free speech of others -- particularly on the speech of those who are most vulnerable to oppression, since protecting the free speech of people who are politically powerful is superfluous. Sometimes these contracts are called codes of conduct.

Another thing that's very frustrating about the "do we really want to drive out a person for? ..." approach is that it mistakes a difference of opinion about goals for a difference of opinion about tactics. I don't think someone asking this question has the same goals as I do. I can only conclude that they have the goal of making corporations safe places for people who have any opinions that a white heterosexual man would be likely to have, while I have the goal of making them safe places for everybody who is willing to work respectfully with others. It's easy for other heterosexual men to defend Eich because they can imagine themselves being in his shoes, but can't imagine what it's like to be a queer person in a heterosexual world. I realize that it's easier for someone who looks a lot like Eich to imagine no longer being welcome in their job because the world has made progress that they haven't caught up with than it is for them to imagine dealing with the daily microaggressions that come with being part of a minority group. But it's still frustrating for me that they refuse to even try to take another point of view, given how much time I have to spend taking their point of view just so I can survive.

False equivalences

"It's important to be able to work with people who you disagree with." I can't count the number of times this has been said about the Eich crisis, and it's closely related to the idea that we don't really want to force the resignations of CEOs over political donations. It's smarmy, condescending, and erases power imbalances.

It is condescending to tell me I need to be able to work with people I disagree with when if I refused to work with people I disagree with, I would immediately be unemployed and, shortly afterward, bankrupt. Working with people we disagree with is a necessary survival skill for those of us whose basic humanity is still up for debate. Not only do we have to work with people we disagree with -- we have to work with people who disagree with us about whether we're people, about whether we're capable of telling the truth about our own subjective experiences. The smarmy folks talking down to us about how we need to be able to tolerate differences will never have to experience that.

It also erases power imbalances to implore us to "work with people [we] disagree with" -- the recasting of structural violence as "disagreement" implies falsely that a queer person who says "no, really, I'm telling the truth when I say I love my partner just as much as you love your spouse" to a heterosexual person has equal power -- is accorded as much respect and credence -- as a heterosexual person who says "gay people's relationships are just about sex, not love". There is a difference between supervising employees who vote Democratic when you vote Republican, and having a boss who (or knowing that someone at the top of your reporting chain) has taken specific action to take away your civil rights.

It is not just outright speech or actions towards the goal of eliminating queer people that hurts us (and when I say "us", I mean everybody, because an environment that tolerates eliminating a group of people because of a non-negotiable trait diminishes everybody's dignity). For many of us, it's insulting as heck when people claim to agree with us, but nonetheless go to the mat for the conviction that whether or not queer people are people should be subject to debate, should be hashed out in the free marketplace if ideas. It is hurtful when someone who claims to be my ally is more interested in fostering open dialogue about the pros and cons of accepting that I'm human than they are in showing solidarity with me.

To say that 'queers are subhuman' is a valuable perspective that improves a community is, itself, an act of rhetorical violence against queer people.

Ethical Culture Fit?

The last reason why I think it's disingenuous to treat "forcing someone to resign over political donations" as an outrage is that in Silicon Valley, people literally get fired (and I mean fired, not voluntarily resigning in order to cease hurting your organization, despite being implored by the organization's other leaders to stay on) -- or constructively dismissed, or rejected for jobs -- for having "different views" ALL THE TIME. This phenomenon is usually called "culture fit". In principle, there's nothing wrong with it, except that a very narrow culture tends to dominate and it's hard for the majority who don't fit with that culture to be in tech.

But if there's nothing wrong with "culture fit" hiring, there's certainly nothing wrong with a person recognizing that his views make him a poor fit with a culture that has changed while he has not, and voluntarily exiting. While I don't think that's exactly what happened with Eich leaving Mozilla, in principle, if an organization has a culture that supports queer people's freedom to be who they are, there is nothing wrong with declining to select leaders who oppose that freedom. At least, if you think there is something wrong with it, you should probably also criticize companies where if you aren't a bearded white guy who wears T-shirts and jeans and likes to drink with your colleagues after work, you will be ostracized to the point where it hurts your performance.

The near-universal acceptance of "culture fit" as a valid gatekeeping mechanism makes it clear that "no one should be pushed out for their opinions", or whatever, is disingenuous. They're not objecting to people getting pushed out for their opinions. They're objecting to people like themselves getting pushed out for their opinions, or perhaps to people getting pushed out for opinions they can imagine themselves holding. More so, they're protesting the fact that they no longer have exclusive control of the discourse -- that somebody other than themselves is now involved in deciding which opinions are acceptable. Most of the time, when you see someone calling for tolerance or acceptance who already enjoys a great deal of tolerance and acceptance, what they're really asking you to do is tolerate their domination of you.


Some of the same people who wrung their hands about "people being driven out for having different opinions" when Eich resigned are approaching maximum beardhurt because Steve Klabnik is both a contract technical writer for Mozilla, and a critic of capitalism. To which I say: good.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 12:22
I'll be arriving in Seattle just after 9:00 on Monday the 4th. I have a friend to stay with for that night, and I'll be leaving for Bellingham a little after 4:00.

So, Seattle people: if you would like to meet up on Aug. 5th before 4:00 PM, please let me know and we can try to work something out! Anon comments screened if you'd rather talk privately.

(hsgfgahhhh one of these days I really will move with more than a couple days notice.)
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 10:48

I am home sick today with a nasty migraine. It started yesterday afternoon and I suspect it was triggered by the glare of the midday sun along with the need to get new glasses. Unfortunately, I just got glasses in January so no appointment until next January.

My migraine pain has subsided enough that I can function, thanks to ketaprofen. I hate that it's prescription only, but it is the only non-migraine med to actually cut some of the pain that I've found.

Brent and I had a huge fight Sunday. It got some things out into the open that have made things better now that we both know about it. I might calligrapher a sign and stick it to the door or mirror or somewhere prominent that says, 'WE CAN'T READ EACH OTHER'S MIND. TALK TO ME.' It might help some, hah.

We're going to Maryland next week and I'm going to get to meet Brent's family. He met my mother's side of the family two weeks after we started dating and then a week after that, he met my dad's side of the family. We've been together a little under seven years and I've still not met most of his family because they're mostly in Northern Maryland - Hagerstown? So if there's anything interesting on the way from Hattiesburg to Hagerstown, someone please let me know!

pecuniary discussions )

Still. We'll work something out.

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014 13:42
Can't imagine I'm going to get any of the other categories read before the deadline, so this + Best Novel (previous post) is probably where we're at (unless I get my act together to the portfolios of fan artists).

Which does raise a point - I remain curious about my apparent intense reluctance to read anthologies/collection on ereader. I suspect it in part has to do with having it be difficult to tell in the moment how much of the particular thing you're reading there is left to go, and therefore whether to stick with it for completionism's sake or not; I suspect it also has to do with feeling simultaneously like a whole thing and like fragments, and that particular combination doing my how-do-I-approach-this decision-making process in.

The Not-A-Hugo )

Best Novella )

Best Novelette )

Best Short Story )
Monday, July 28th, 2014 21:39
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
Monday, July 28th, 2014 21:06
Why yes, Comcast, I did only need you to decide that you were going to stop letting me send mail through the SMTP server for absolutely no good reason.

I hate technology.
Monday, July 28th, 2014 18:38
On the off chance that I am not the last person to know about this debacle:

Wiscon continues doing everything wrong.

(Elise's jewelry catalogue is available here)
Monday, July 28th, 2014 16:44
I think it's trying to communicate! The dishwasher(s) in [my location] have been singing little notes that are doubtless meaningful if you speak the binary language of moisture vaporators, or whatever language it is that these dishwashers speak. I don't know if they're functioning, not functioning, in between functioning... what I do know is, they're loud.

2014 07 28 23 33 23 - alunatic

Please send someone quickly to shut this thing off. At any given moment, ten engineers cluster around it, trying to figure out some way to stop the dishwasher's eerie, haunting song.
Monday, July 28th, 2014 12:06

My student loans people have agreed to stop taking payments out of my account!

Dear God, that's an extra $300 a month. I can stop going into overdraft! I can feed my credit card! \o/
Monday, July 28th, 2014 16:38
GUYS, I'M GOING TO LONDON! Who wants to meet up?

I will be there September 26th to October 1st (I leave early in the morning on Oct 2nd). Will be staying with [personal profile] cesy, south of the river.


(Especially if you want to hang out on weekdays since [personal profile] cesy will be away and I would love someone to do stuff with/have dinner with/etc.)

Also, if you are NOT in London please be aware that I will also be in Germany and France in September-October. The schedule for that isn't totally figured out yet, and I'll post when it is, but meanwhile - let me know if either of those places is better for you for a meetup (if you haven't let me know already).
Monday, July 28th, 2014 13:12
She has no booooooones.
Read more... )
Monday, July 28th, 2014 11:29

This is the second time I'm reading this book. Which reminds me that I have to re-acquire books #1 and #2, in "easily portable" format. It's pretty good the second time around. Quite a bit of the "mystery" is gone, since I pretty much remembered how it went, last time around. But some surprise was still to be had, because I was moderately conflating this book with Broken Homes (the next book in the series) and, well...

Still, Rivers of London is a pretty good series and if you think the conflation between "police procedural" and "urban magic" sounds appealing, this may be it.
Monday, July 28th, 2014 08:08
via http://ift.tt/1ozqXYy at July 28, 2014 at 03:00AM:


George Takei describes the moment when he and his family were sent to an internment camp.
Monday, July 28th, 2014 07:07
via http://ift.tt/1tgcZ0z at July 28, 2014 at 02:00AM:
“You are Iron.”

Forget stardust—you are iron. Your blood is nothing but ferrous liquid. When you bleed, you reek of rust. It is iron that fills your heart and sits in your veins. And what is iron, really, unless it’s forged? You are iron. And you are strong.

n.t. (via thelittle-hobbit)

Damn right you’re iron, and do you know where iron comes from? Do you know how iron gets here? Let me tell you.

It does start with a star, but it’s not some dismal castoff from an eternal beauty, it’s so much more. Everything that makes our world came from stars, but nothing had as much effect on that star as iron.

See the sun burning in the sky? The light you see and the heat you feel are created when the sun fuses elements, the building blocks of our world, into new and heavier elements. The sun lives because more energy comes from that process than is needed to support it.


Fusing iron — burning it to make a star shine — is nigh on impossible. Iron is strong and iron is heavy. Iron is so strong and so heavy that to make new elements from iron takes more energy than it produces. The star can’t keep up, it starts to die.

The iron that flows through your veins KILLED A STAR.

Those other metals that we so value, like gold, owe their existence to iron. As the star died it collapsed, crushing itself and making gold and platinum and other precious and powerful things. Then it exploded and scattered those metals throughout space.

Chief among them was iron. The iron whose formation was the death knell of the star. The iron whose intensity made other metals possible. The iron that was the last thing the living star could make.

Stars lived to make iron.

Stars died to make you.

(via noctumsolis)
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 22:22
1. We got a car today and went to Ikea and Walmart, which is an exhausting combination, but we got some stuff, so that was good. Though one of the main reasons we wanted to go to Ikea is because we're looking to get a chair or small loveseat to put in the computer room now that we took out the CD shelves, but the two we liked turned out to be not available online. >_< (I wasn't planning on buying anything today, but I don't want to buy a chair without trying it out first, so the plan was to see what they had and then order online at some point if we found something we liked.) We also stopped at Smart & Final to get a couple of their gigantic charcoal bags, since they're such a good price, but there's no way you can haul that home on the bus.

2. We've still been watching The Simpsons every night, usually 2-3 episodes with dinner and I've been enjoying it so much. We're on season 11 now and one of the episodes we watched tonight was the one with Gary Coleman, which is such a great episode. Three prawns is hardly a galaxy!
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 18:17
Irene made the switch to an iPad mini, so we're looking to sell her old iPad.

It's a 4th generation black 32gb iPad with retina display and lightning port. It has wi-fi, but is not the cellular-enabled type. More specs here on Amazon.

It's in great condition except for the screen, which is cracked, and one roughed-up corner. It has one of those plastic film screen protectors on it so it's still usable even with the cracked screen (she's been using it like this for months), but it is probably best to replace the screen.

Pics )

There's also a Logitech keyboard/cover. It snaps on as a cover and can be removed to use with the iPad like a notebook.

I'm looking to get $250 for both the iPad and the cover, shipping within the US included. Please comment, DM, or email me at kyuuketsukirui@gmail.com if you're interested.
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 16:51
On a different blog I write I talked about how my family never ever likes to talk about anything unpleasant and how we can’t do conflict worth a damn.

And now my uncle has asked my father to ask me to tone it down a notch.

"You can totally ignore me," Dad said. "I'm just letting you know."

(I plan to ignore him but none of the posts I have waiting in the wings are about my family, and I'm not about to come up with some just to be rebellious.)

IN OTHER NEWS, my mom just adopted a little orange kitten named Gallagher. I have received NO photos or videos of this kitten. NONE. I am CRUELLY MISTREATED BY MY FAMILY, y'all.
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 23:30
On Friday evening we sat on a fifth-floor balcony under darkening skies with cheese and bread and fig jam and alcohol. I dangled my legs through the railings and admired the railings across the way. We talked and talked and talked some more. I gave him the selected works of Neruda I'd picked up in the branch of Foyles at St Pancras on my way over; I note with sadness that it shuts at the end of the month. (Still in England, barely outside London, the train passed a field of red double-decker buses that had been put out to pasture.)

On Saturday we ate at an intriguing vegetarian restaurant recommended by a friend (welcome to identify yourself in comments, just wasn't sure whether you'd be okay w/ naming <3) who was very kind about texting back & forth enthusiastically over the course of the morning. The afternoon we spent at the Louvre, where I was very fond of dragons and the cuticles/lines on a Nisus&Euryalis; and there was a tiny gallery of watches about which I was very excited because there was actually a set-up I'd never seen before -- watches with inbuilt sundials + compasses, presumably so that when they wound down/went too badly out you could establish the time in order to correct them! (Really, really excited - I've visited enough horology galleries to be genuinely surprised to come across styles of timepiece I haven't met before.) Said gallery also featured a very nice implementation of the hourglasses-displaying-subdivisions thing -- instead of a rack of 3-4 hourglasses to be turned simultaneously, it was a column of glass blobs that (one infers) emptied sequentially on the quarter hour. AND there was a gallery of scientific instruments and tiny portable armillary spheres, which always make me happy.

In addition there's currently a formal-gardens competition going on -- Notre Dame and a few other associated places seem to have decided on a theme of "The Illusion", by which they mean they've dumped a bunch of 5' tall mirrors in flowerbeds, which is fascinating if slightly creepy.

AND in the EVENING, after a route home via the confusingly-named Luxembourg park that to its credit contained an excellent brass band, we had EIERSCHWAMMERL. I was staggeringly excited to find them at the shop round the corner from P's, because they are very difficult to get hold of in any appropriate form at any appropriate price in the UK, but I got to do all the appropriate things with respect to frying them in butter with garlic and then drowning them in parsley, and lo it was good :-) (At same said stall I was delighted to find that at least in some parts of France the thing I would call Zwetschke is a questche! Not sure which way the etymology goes but will have a go at hunting it down.)

And then TODAY I slept a lot and then feasted well for breakfast (both mornings P popped to the bakery around the corner and returned with a bag of fresh croissant & pain au chocolat while I murbled around still being asleep in bed; it was great) and eventually we left the house; we walked past bookshops & coffee shops & through parks & the Musee d'Armee (nice dome!) & paused to eat fresh bread & fig jam & Selles-sur-Cher, which is my favourite goat cheese and much more readily available in France than in the UK; and ended up at the Musee d'Orsay, where I fell in love with the giant clock faces as architectural features on the top floor and also suddenly got the point of art galleries in front of le jardin de Monet, les iris -- or at least, I suddenly understood why someone might want to just sit and stare at a painting for hours. Additionally: lots of very nice stuff in the Art Nouveau exhibits, and once we got chucked out we hung around on the bank of the Seine to see the Tour de France go past -- P sort of felt he ought to, and so did I, as I'd ignored it in both Cambridge and London and it was right there and due to go by pretty much as the museum was closing...

... and that, having skipped over a fair amount of the intervening raspberry-and-pistachio-ice-cream, was that; I waved at the Centre Pompidou, managed through cunning overscheduling to fail to make it to Etat Libre d'Orange's flagship shop, for which my wallet no doubt thanks me, exclaimed with delight over a very great deal of architecture and a large number of flowerbeds, was delighted to come face-to-face with ponies, swore a lot about how much I hate people, was very glad I'd taken the wheelchair with me, and ate cherries. I continue impressed by how thoroughly pleasant it is to travel by Eurostar with chair - flat rate gets you business lounge & business premier & actually genuinely tasty food on board, so! I was happy and will do the thing again in the future.

Yes. Good weekend. No work, lots of reading of books, good company. Good.
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 18:01
I probably should have taken pictures of the leather bracers I'm working on for the Mando beskar'gam. Oh well.

four images of HARD WORK AND EFFORT )
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 17:34

(The reason for the subject line is that the least annoying song on the radio stream is Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball. Someone please, shoot my Spotify.)

I HAVE PICTURES. Of part of the project, anyway. I used this stuff in a purple tube that Brent calls 'Goop' to glue the ceramic magnets to the metal plates and now my diamond is missing. The diamond is the middle part in between the chest plates and MINE IS MISSING. Now I've got to cut another one. Dagnabbit. I think I can do it with some 16ga metal and some tin snips, but the fact that the piece is missing is what's annoying me. I have to cut one and glue a magnet to it and paint it. I was very careful to make sure all the pieces were in the bag.

I took pictures of the shield I finished up for Brent, as well. As soon as all the glue dries (or at least dries enough for me to take off the stabilizing magnets) I'm going to turn it all over and take another picture, then post them in the next entry.

Brent's currently making maps for the next part of Reign of Winter, the Pathfinder adventure path we're playing. It's getting to be serious times in this game!

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 20:12
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Rosemary focaccia for @farmandfable Cookbook Club. L-R: tries 1, 2, 3.
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 15:23
For the first time in my life with this job I feel a semblance of balance and productivity that has literally never occurred before. I know that if I weren't still deep in the dredges of school I'd be positively thrilled with my life and DOING ALL THE THINGS in my spare time. 

It is 35 hours a week, but actual 35 hours a week (... well, sort of: we count our extra time up and get to take it off when it is convenient to do so. Averages out.), and in those hours I am accomplishing so much, and I am saving the world.

Saving the world.

And getting paid for it. And having fun doing it, learning, seeing spots of this country that most people will never see. Catching and finding animals, and learning the secrets of plants. On days when I'm not out in the field I'm actually making steady progress in front of a computer instead of beating myself up in front of one until crumbling into the sweet solace of the internet.

And because I actually have some time off I've been chipping away at other things I'd like to do, and I've been feeling honest to goodness relaxed occasionally. But I am still deep in the dredges of school and so that precious precious down time I see my co-worker relishing is squirreled away into a workaholic-procrastination death spiral a lot of the time as well. Can I be done yet? I just want to finish. *whimpers*

See I say that, but I still have been avoiding it like crazy. 

Anyway, the point of this post is that, once I am done this school session, and once I am done this job (which is unfortunately ending in 5 weeks), I am not ... NOT getting myself into this situation again. One full time thing and the rest is voluntary. I flaked on some friend's BBQ yesterday, and people are already well aware that when they invite me to an event I will likely bail last minute or say no immediately. I am tired of being "that guy" and I'm also very tired of being someone who watches the clock tick even when enjoying something, instead of getting lost in it. 

But really, this job is amazing for letting me see that potential again. I remember so many lazy walks anywhere, staying up till whenever, because of that freedom, and oh, oh, those are the stars I want.

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 12:32
  • I returned from the Canadas. That was a while ago, whoops.
  • I am two decades old as of yesterday! Le Dad and I went canoeing in the Kankakee River and had sushi, and this morning I had the taaaastiest mushroom+asparagus crepe. No longer am I technically a teenager!1 I can feel less awkward about revealing my age!
  • I seem to be on track to move in the beginning of August. I finally got the right documents together to open a bank account, I'm in talks with a couple of people about rooms for August, and I haven't got too much packing to do.
  • Kinda stressed. Definitely under time pressure. Waiting for a bunch of stuff I can't control to come together.
  • I will now pack a box. Packing a box is a thing I can control.
  • I wish the weather was cool enough for me to want tea.

1 In base 10. Fuck, in dozenal I've got four more years to go.

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 12:41
And I am very very glad to be home. But Woggy has the Blergh, and we both are "ahhhhh" Fandem is in a week. And I need to try and be a functional person for work tomorrow, and I've hauled home even more Stuff after we'd talked about trying to have less stuff, even though it is USEFUL stuff, with a little bit of special stuff.

And I am tired so gonna lay down for a while and try to deal with the Stuff later.
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 11:07
My new roommate is a human labrador retriever. Lovable but energetic and extroverted. He's an Army boy from Calgary, here to study electrical engineering. Last night he was like OH MAN NEW ROOMMATES I'M SO EXCITED! and told me I could use any of his cookbooks if I wanted especially this really cool one his sister the professional chef swears by, here he will demonstrate its features; and laughed at Landlord and me for texting when within earshot of each other ("It's called a nerd whisper." "OH MY GOD. What happened to talking?") Then he bought everyone pizza and was like "WHAT'S A GOOD TV SERIES FOR US TO WATCH???" so we showed him the first episode of Farscape while he and Landlord tried his new gin. He kept questioning the worldbuilding and I had to say things like, "Because sometimes the ship gets tired."

Character subtype: Skipper Griffith/Raleigh Beckett.

(Before anyone asks, he has a girlfriend/is monogamous.)
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 10:38

Summer, thank all things good and great, is almost over. I know that the season isn't almost over, but the University summer is almost over and that means a steady 'I can live on the amount of money I'm making' paycheck coming in. Things have been very tight and while I'm okay with austerity, Brent is... hilariously not. Coupons are all well and good, but first you have to have money for them to work, Brent, so no, the $25 off a $50 purchase isn't a good savings right now. Bless. I don't think he's used to going without.

We got Mass Effect back from Tim! We've been playing that again - rather, Brent's been playing as a Renegade Shepard and I've been telling him what a terrible person he's being. It's quite a lot of fun. I think when we're done with Mass Effect, we'll go on to Mass Effect 2.
I know he is sort of wanting to play Pokemon as well. I don't know if it's possible to have more than one playthrough on a system, but if there is, he so wants to play. I think it's because his brother John is playing through on Y and I have X. I married a man who wants to collect 'em all.

I'm wondering how hard it would be to replicate King Edmund's crown from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with cardboard and that foamy clay stuff Crayola put out, whatever it's called these days. Then I could spray paint it silver and put the dark bits in it with some paint (is that aging it even if it's a new crown?) Here, have a picture of it -

That doesn't look too hard to make. Much easier than either of the girls - I'm not exactly great with wire work. I'll leave that to Osprey, the jeweler I know.

(Oh heavens, Brent just found a Beaudreux joke I hadn't heard. It was awful but at the same time, aren't all the Beaudreux jokes?)

Back to the crown. Yeah, I think I can make that. Might be a nice project. Don't know what I'll do with it afterwards, but it'll be fun.
I need to work on my beskar'gam as well as my buy'ce. My buy'ce is ... badly damaged? It was made very quickly out of 'For Sale' signs and a skater helmet, so I'm ready to cover the whole thing in hot glue and fix it. I also need to work on the sharp edges of my back plate. Patrick helped me with that one - it looks sooo good. And it fits! It also didn't help that all the hammers that he used were twice the size of what I used. Eep. Patrick is my height but he's also about as barrel chested as my height. If you're at Pennsic, Estrella or Gulf Wars, go by Darkwood Armory and tell him hi!

I finished up the loaner shield for the Shire. Brent had gotten a bit ... I don't know how to describe it. Osprey had said something about how the loaner gear was going to look better than most of the Shire members' armor and then Brent got down about finishing it. I am not down with not finishing a project even if it takes forever, so I finished it. It took an hour at most. Right now it's drying the polyurethane I sprayed on it. I want to leave it out there so it doesn't get sticky or anything, then I'm going to take a picture of it so I'll know what it looked like before people started beating on it. Yes. Very important, documenting the process.

We didn't make it to APA this year due to some stuff happening. The next event we'll probably make it to is Fall Coronation in Louisiana and definitely Fall Crown here in Hattiesburg. This gives me time to go through my garb and check on it at least. I can get rid of some of the stuff I don't wear that was handed down to me and a couple of the items that were handed up. Since I'm pretty firmly planted into early period Rus and probably going to branch out into late period Russian (the pearls) for the shinies, I can get rid of some of the other stuff. I wonder if Isa is going to have another garb swap any time soon. I'll email her.

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 18:02
Other than holiday planning, which is also going slow these days, I am not leading a terribly interesting life at the moment. I am usually either

* working or commuting to work
* reading way too many blogs
* exercising (handstand kicks are progressing nicely!)
* doing housework (is it September yet so I can have my husband back?)
* rewatching old TV series (Buffy season 3, The West Wing season 1)
* playing Ingress (almost level 14!)

No, this entry doesn't have a big point...
Sunday, July 27th, 2014 15:13
Been a while since i've posted a ginny-on-my-desk pic. she's gotten bigger; my desk has not.
Read more... )