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Monday, October 16th, 2017 08:18 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Ashley linked to a fundraiser set up by a California credit union, Redwood Credit Union, to help communities impacted by the California wildfires. You can read more and give at their donation page.

[personal profile] kuwdora is a long-time fandom vidder who recently enrolled in a career coaching program with tv/film editor Zack Arnold, and she is now working to pay off the last installment of the program and transition from a vidding hobby to a professional editing career in Hollywood. You can read more here, give to her gofundme here, and buy art from her etsy here.

[tumblr.com profile] catlinyemaker linked to a fundraiser for [twitter.com profile] neolithicsheep, a disabled Navy vet and sustainable agriculture educator who is raising funds to get a border collie to help them with their Sovay sheep. You can read more about the fundraiser and retweet in a twitter thread here, and purchase various shirts and other branded goods at their Teespring here.

[personal profile] xturtle linked to their friend Marcia, who is raising funds to help cover vet bills for her sick bunny; she is running out of unemployment benefits and looking for work; in the meantime Caspian needs testing to determine what the lump in his stomach is and get his teeth fixed. You can read more and help out here.

Anon linked to a fundriaser for [tumblr.com profile] ohcrakerjacks, a victim of black toxic mold. She and her parents are raising funds to replace walls, insulation, flooring, and furniture. You can read more and check out commissions here and give to her ko-fi here, which will support supply purchases for the cross-stitch embroidery she sells.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] suriel's husband is about to have two surgeries, each costing several thousand dollars, and they are raising money to cover expenses. They have sales in all their online shops: Fandom buttons and more, caramels and toffees, and their band shop. You can read and reblog here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] vaspider, who is running a sale on their Etsy shop ($10% off $30 or more) to help with living expenses and home repairs after a job loss and other unexpected life events this year. You can check out the Etsy shop here; it includes a lot of nerdy/geeky Judaica as well as secular clothes, accessories, and cosplay.

News To Know:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to a writeup that [personal profile] kaberett posted about desensitizing themselves to board games; Board Game Desensitization Process is a template for people who may have a difficult relationship to card/board games but want to participate in the increasingly popular social events focused around them.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Sunday, October 15th, 2017 02:15 pm
Because I am me, I systematized my home search as much as I could – I have a spreadsheet in google that has not just my list of Best, Acceptable, and Totally Unacceptable buildings in it but also my mortgage calculator from the bank and various other financial stuff. I also went into the top few real estate websites (primarily Zillow and Estately) and set several different searches to be sent to my non-fandom inbox, where they were then filtered into a Housing folder (different from my other Housing folder, which has all my documents/communications with my realtor). 

Now I’m looking at my Housing folder which constantly has new emails in it and wishing there was just an “I BOUGHT A HOME, YOUR SERVICES ARE NOW IN VAIN” button I could press to notify all of those sites that no, really, I seriously do not anymore need your Real Estate Tips And Tricks newsletter anymore. 

Fortunately changing my address everywhere won’t be the nightmare my mum always complains it is, because I also have a spreadsheet of every website I’ve ever built a login for, and I just go through the spreadsheet (also it’s an excellent opportunity to delete my account from sites I never use). 

I’ve rarely lived anywhere for more than five years, and my phone number was deeply unstable for a while for similar reasons, but it’s a small wonder our generation prefers email to most other forms of communication – after all, my gmail addresses have been stable now for more than ten years. 

I believe I have now been Copperbadge On Social Media for longer than I have ever lived in any single residence. 

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Friday, October 13th, 2017 09:55 am
Rydra Wong has collected links on the horrible ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, many of whom have gone to a refugee camp in Bangladesh, where the locals are welcoming but there is not enough of much of anything. Doctors Without Borders is there. (NYTimes at the last link) Why don't the Myanmar people like them? The Rohingya are Muslim, in a largely Buddhist country. Not all Buddhists are peaceful.

Apparently Roy Moore, fundy judge and Senate candidate, has received at least $180,000 for part-time work at a charity. Um. If that's part-time, I have to wonder how wealthy the charity is.

Trump's people are keeping unaccompanied immigrant minors from getting abortions. So. Be underage, get raped, be forced to have the child -- who, by being born here, would be a citizen. Or would they be born here?

The Ninth Federal Circuit Court has ruled that there is no constitutional right to sell firearms.

Dakota Access Pipeline update: The oil flows, but the fight continues.

Republicans are kicking people off food stamps.

Conservative leaders call on McConnell to resign, in order to resolve the legislative gridlock.

Rose McGowan's Twitter account has been locked since she posted about Harvey Weinstein's abuse.

An old-school pharmacy hand-delivers drugs to Congresspeople. And that includes prescriptions for Alzheimer drugs.

Out of control on contraception.

The growing use of mandatory arbitration, removing from people their right to a jury trial.

***

The photo ark. And more here.

How about conservation efforts for reptiles?

Black Elk, the Lakota medicine man turned Catholic teacher, is being promoted for sainthood. Is this problematic, and to whom?

Congratulations to the 50+ First Nations who defeated Trans-Canada's Energy East pipeline!

111 types of clothing that changed the world.
Friday, October 13th, 2017 01:04 pm
In the late 1950s or so, how would a couple go about getting married in France? Was there civil marriage (I think there was but I do not know details)? Where would it be conducted? Would a Catholic marriage be refused to a couple if one was Protestant? Was a license needed, and from whom? In either case, was there a waiting period (such as required by banns elsewhere)? I probably wouldn't need to write the details, but it would help to know then so I wouldn't write the wrong thing.

Thanks very much!
Thursday, October 12th, 2017 01:54 pm
The owners of the condo I offered on have accepted my offer at $180K, with the only condition that they will do no repairs or remodels before I take possession. 

*head between knees*

GONNA BE A HOMEOWNER.

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Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 11:40 am

  • I'm not transgender as in "we need cis allies", I'm transsexual as in "fuck you".
  • I'm not bisexual as in "here's my 5000-word thinkpiece on why that doesn't mean I'm not attracted to non-binary people", I'm pansexual as in "I don't eliminate potential partners based on their gender".
  • I'm not "gay" as in happy, I'm queer as in "fuck you".
  • I'm not liberal as in "universal acceptance and inclusion is possible while including fascists and white supremacists", but rather, anarcho-communist as in understanding what the Paradox of Tolerance means.
  • I'm not poly and kinky as in "understand my bizarre tendencies", I'm poly and kinky as in "almost everyone's conceptions of family and sexuality would benefit from radical change."
  • I'm not mentally ill as in "I need to be changed into a different person from who I am", I'm neuroatypical as in "other people need to accept the person who I am."


Go forward, do no harm, and take no shit.
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 11:09 am
California: Burning. Here are the numbers -- but with the blaze moving at the speed of a football field every 3 seconds, and 0% contained, this isn't the last of it. Before and after photos.

Puerto Ricans are dying for lack of health care, food and water. Don't believe FEMA: they're saying "delivered" means stuff got to the port, not to the people. An eyewitness account from a former US Army staff sergeant and Cavalry scout.

Harvey Weinstein's having a no good very bad time of it. Women are coming out of every closet in NY and Hollywood and everywhere inbetween to talk about how he sexually harassed them, and worse. The list includes Angelina, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth, and Rosanna Arquette. In each case the situation occurred when they were young and vulnerable actresses at the start of their careers, dealing with a man who could make or break those careers. Gwyneth says more here. And so does Jamie Lee Curtis. And a New Yorker article (reviewed here) does not mince words in its title: "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein's Accusers Tell Their Stories. Oh, and his wife of 10 years is leaving him.

Yep. We've got a kakistocracy here.

***

In Utah, the cop who arrested and dragged a nurse out of the hospital, because she would not allow him to violate a patient's rights, has been fired.

In Massachusetts, suing Trump over the loss of contraception coverage.

The MacArthur Foundation announces its 2017 Fellows who receive genius grants.

I grew up playing bocce; it was what we all did at some family gatherings. Now Italy is trying to save the game, which dates from the Romans, from extinction -- which would also extinguish dozens of local dialects.

Friends Journal on talking to young people about conscientious objection.

The hidden truth behind Victoria and Abdul -- the relationship the royals didn't want known.
Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 11:37 am
Did you ever want to see where the birds migrate to? Watch.
Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 01:53 pm
I used to be confused, as a child, about why you would buy a new calendar in September – a calendar that would contain September-December and then the entire next year. Because surely you had a calendar that went through the end of the year, no calendar ever ENDS in August. 

But as an adult now I get it, because I keep a private calendar in google docs and I just had to move the October, November, and December tabs into the 2018 calendar since I’m already bookin’ shit out for January and February. At this point, starting in November I’m traveling at least once a month, every month, from November to June, except in May. 

Clearly I better book a trip in May. :D  

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Monday, October 9th, 2017 01:51 pm
Inside the CIA's black site torture room. Not a horror movie. A horror reality.
Monday, October 9th, 2017 12:40 pm
We are living through the birth pangs of a Third Reconstruction, and the Rev. William Barber describes exactly what that means.

San Francisco may require disclosure of antibiotics in meat.

28 cool independent bookstores in the US. You know of one that isn't here? Talk about it in comments!

I wish it wasn't necessary to write this: Best journalistic practices for covering mass shootings.

***

I am linking the Dept. of Health and Human Services draft strategic plan for 2018-2022 not because I want to torture you but because it includes such concept as "human life starts at conception" and goes on from there -- a specifically theological viewpoint that has no place in a secular government document.

And do not trust that the chapter titles are any real indication of what's in the chapter. This is classic doublespeak territory.

They're asking for comments. Give them comments, please.

***

From the New England Yearly Meeting of Quakers: the Healing Racism Toolkit -- an extensive compilation of sources online that is growing and modifying -- be sure to keep bookmarks of articles you find helpful.

Should women make their own pop music canon? Based on this article, I say yes.

Frances McDormand plays difficult women.

How cities can do better than the fight for $15 an hour.

4 less-known moments of resistance in sports history.

Status PR -- daily statistics on how Puerto Rico is recovering.

I may not have mentioned this, but a federal judge struck down a Florida county's "official prayer" practice.

Ashley Graham isn't a sample size, but she's a supermodel.

Undermining the rule of law at the EPA.

How to bring mindfulness into a journalism curriculum.

Why and how to let go of fear.

Believing in the Goblin King, and the kindness of David Bowie.
Monday, October 9th, 2017 08:24 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for his great-aunt, who can't afford to pay back-taxes on the house which accrued while her mother was dying. She is elderly and disabled, and raising funds to cover $6K in back taxes she was unaware of when she got the house. You can read more and give at her gofundme.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] geckohq, an autistic disabled trans man whose mother recently passed away and who is now on his own to pay off her bills and cover his own expenses. You can read and reblog here where there is a paypal donation link, and you can check out the amigurumi geckos, dragons, and plushies for sale at his etsy here, including geckos that come in various Pride flag colors.

[personal profile] lizcommotion linked to a fundraiser for Beth, who is trying to pay down medical debt while navigating the labyrinth of applying for disability benefits for her chronic medical conditions. You can read more and give at their YouCaring.

[tumblr.com profile] i-will-not-be-caged linked to a fandom fundraiser organized by [tumblr.com profile] hansbekhart, benefitting ConPRmetios, an organization raising money for long-term relief for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. You can read more and sign up at [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico, or read more and reblog at their tumblr post here.

[personal profile] naamah_darling is raising funds to pay for medical care for a special-needs cat, Smooch, who has just been diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. You can read more here, read and reblog here, or give directly at their youcaring.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is having a moving sale! Right now they have a sofa bed available but the post also has a list of other items which will be available in November (the location is listed as SW6 which I believe is a London-area location). You can check out the post here and she says feel free to PM on DW/LJ/Tumblr or the site link if you're interested or want photos.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 02:47 am
Please brainstorm with me.

What's been going on:


Here's the story so far. It's a few pages long, which I realize is considered a wall of text when you're reading on a screen. (In any other context that would be fairly short. Weird how our perceptions work.) Skim it or whatever you need. But context matters. If you're going to help, you should know where I'm coming from, what I've been through, what I've tried, etc.

The short version is that I've got chronic illness, I'm over the hill, and I'm stuck trying to figure out what to do with myself to make a meaningful life.

The following lists will probably be updated as more things come to mind, but here's the overview:

What I'm trying to do:


  • Find a way to be productive.
  • Find a way to make a positive difference in the world. Better, happier, fairer.
  • See if I can start a business that can at least help support me so I'm not reliant on my family's generosity for the rest of my life.


What I've Got Going For Me:


  • I can listen to people, sympathize with them, and try to be supportive. I have patience and a willingness to try to see different points of view.
  • I have enough money available to maybe start a small business.
  • I can often write clearly to express ideas even when I'm too exhausted to think.
  • I've got an above average knowledge and comprehension of science, politics, and various random subjects. I've got a pretty good memory for concepts I've learned, and I can usually explain them in ways that make sense to people.
  • I've got a loving family and good friends who try their best to be understanding and supportive.
  • My immune system kicks butt, and not just my own.
  • I can sew stuffed animals and pillows. (Though I spend more on materials than I could possibly sell them for.)
  • Puns just come naturally to me. My brain likes to make odd connections between random things.
  • I don't have a wheelbarrow here, but I could probably get one. It's worth listing among our assets. (I do not, however, have a flammable cloak.)


My Limitations:


  • I'm physically exhausted. Getting less than 9 hours of sleep in a night can mess me up for days. It's not uncommon for me to be so weary I can't sit up, can hardly draw breath, am really woozy, etc. On a good day, I can walk a mile or so. But I'll pay for it the next day. On a bad day, I can spend the entire day crashed on the couch, barely functional. I cannot, in general, predict when I'll have good or bad days. A string of bad days can last for months or longer.
  • Attempting to exert myself, mentally or physically, exhausts me frighteningly fast. That can include keeping up with realtime conversations, particularly via audio instead of text.
  • My nerves are hypersensitive. I'm constantly in pain. Bright lights, loud noises, high pitched noises, physical contact, etc. etc. are painful. More some days than others. But a friendly slap on the back can ache for several minutes. On rough days, I'm sensitive enough that people making small sounds halfway across the house, though a closed door, while I'm wearing high-end noise dampening ear protectors designed for the gun range, can still be overwhelming.
  • I've got a non-24 "free running" sleep schedule, meaning that I'm awake different hours from week to week. I generally average a 25 hour day, but it can be hard to predict more than a couple of weeks in advance (at best) what hours I'll be awake. Makes regular commitments very difficult.
  • Due to the exhaustion, it can be hard to focus mentally, and I can't maintain focus for long.
  • I'm somewhat dyslexic. (It runs in the family, but I can never remember on which side...) Possibly related is a difficulty translating information from one form to another. It makes coding and diagrams very difficult.
  • I've also got various other autoimmune disorders. Diabetes, hypothyroidism, alopecia totalis (i.e. no hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes).


What I'm Looking For:


  • Practical advice for what I can do.
  • Brainstorming for what kind of business I can start that would employ others in a way that makes a positive impact on the world and generates income for me.


What I'm Not Looking For:


  • "Buck up. Others have it worse." Irrelevant. Yes, you can always find someone who has it worse than you. That doesn't mean that your own struggles aren't real. I'm dealing with my life. My limits. My needs. I'm dealing mentally as best I can. But I need actual practical solutions. Being told to just cheer up and/or get over it is unhelpful.
  • "Have you tried this cure/treatment?" I've been at this for decades. I've worked with more doctors than I can count. We've done research. I've tried medications and treatment regimens. I've explored some "alternative" treatments. I know how to meditate. I'm doing the best I can for myself. Medical marijuana isn't for me and it's not a magical cure-all. If you've got some suggestion that's got actual clinical evidence, I'll consider it. But odds are I've already tried it or been advised by a medical professional that it doesn't apply to my individual case.
  • "Seek professional help." I've tried. Psychiatrists, psychologists, antidepressants, a hypnotherapist. It hasn't been helpful. And it's not what I'm looking for now. I need to address the root issue.
  • Unhelpful or negative comments. I'll ignore them. Spam and trolling will be deleted.


Anyone can comment. I'll respond as I can, if I have something to say. You do not have to have an account or log in to comment, but if you comment anonymously I would appreciate it if you would tell me who you are. If you're not comfortable doing that, I understand.

You can also sign in using OpenID. You should be able to use your WordPress, Blogspot, AOL, Yahoo, LiveJournal, or other participating account to sign in here. You just need your provider's OpenID URL and to be logged in at that provider. For more information, you can try OpenID Explained or the Wikipedia article. (Yeah, I know. You probably haven't used any of those services in years. But the option is there if you want.)

Alternatively, you can message me on Discord (WearsHats) or Twitter (@hataroni) or email me (hatman at dreamwidth dot org). I'd prefer to keep everything here in one place, especially since it allows people to review what others have said and bounce ideas around. But if public comments don't work for you, I'll take them where I can.

You may share this post if you think doing so would bring in helpful responses.
Sunday, October 8th, 2017 05:24 pm
I am watching the horrible Speed 2 movie, because at the end of it for just a few minutes it shows the beautiful city of Marigot on the island of St. Martin, the way it was only a few weeks ago before the storms hit. Even for a few minutes, I get to see the place as it was, where we walked, where the spice market had heaps of fresh spices for sale, where the little bistro was and the cafe that had superb crepes.

It won't be like that if it is ever rebuilt, not again. But at least I can remember.
Sunday, October 8th, 2017 03:11 pm
I thought about the Women's Group that I've been going to, and sent a letter to resign from it, with the reason that I'm "not a good fit" for it. and why, which is not in the letter. )

So, I've contacted the original groups organizer, gotten two names and sent emails to them asking if either of them has room in their group for me. I've stressed that I don't want to be the only retired person in the group -- which I don't think would be a problem because both of them are retired.

Wish me luck.
Saturday, October 7th, 2017 12:22 pm
I am tired of the competition, the contest, the numbers game that gets played out in the news, and then on Facebook and elsewhere.

Which 'lone gunman' killed more people? Or was it at that school (which one?) What about small-group slaughters, like My Lai? Or Wounded Knee? Or the Wyoming Valley Massacre, during the Revolution, where a small group of British irregulars and warriors of half a dozen or more affiliated Indian tribes killed 81 settlers and took the rest captive? What about Pearl Harbor? What about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or the Holocaust? How about Alexander the Great (or the Infamous, depending on your culture) who wiped entire countries and cultures -- the battlefields running red with blood, and so were the streets of the cities --that would not bow to his army and become part of his empire?

because it's long )
Saturday, October 7th, 2017 12:08 pm
If you're using AIM to talk to your friends and family who aren't in the same room -- or state -- or country, find something else fast. It's shutting down in mid-December for good.

It's taken 27 years to happen, but DC will pay a former secretary in a sexual discrimination case concerning the Dept. of Corrections.
Friday, October 6th, 2017 06:58 pm
Let's do the bad news first:

ETA: Trump has 'rolled back' the coverage of birth control that was in the ACA. Now any employer can refuse to include birth control in health care coverage. My language in response to this would light the computer on fire.

LGBTQ Americans won't be counted in the 2020 US Census. There was going to be a separate question about sexuality; it has been removed. And the Dept. of (In)Justice now says discrimination against transgender people is legal. Also, they want to be able to fire good employees just because they're not het. You may freely imagine what should happen to Jeff Sessions now.

Betsy DeVos wants to rescind Title IX protections -- which will make it harder for sexual assault victims to report having been raped. I have no patience for this woman.

ICE has targeted sanctuary cities and arrested hundreds who had no criminal record.

In North Carolina, police wear body cameras, but by law the public can't see what's been photographed.

In Texas, tax-paid family planning funds were spent to pro-birth "crisis pregnancy centers," instead of being used for, say, actual family planning.

***

Thoughts against self-criticism.

8 gaslighting techniques for beginners. The response to the guy who said "it's already been explained" is, "So, that should make it easier for you to say it again."

TED: What I learned as a prisoner in North Korea and the warmth and wisdom of mud buildings.

Jimmy Carter on what he's learned from North Korean leaders.

Justice Sonia Sotomayer deconstructs the argument in Gill v. Whitford with one question.

An animated guide to nature's best pathfinding secrets.

Badass giant straw animals.

If you live in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or Washington state, and you want to travel anywhere by plane, the TSA won't accept your driver's licenses as ID. You will have to have a passport or other acceptable ID.
Friday, October 6th, 2017 05:18 am
Dearest Darlingist Yuletide Author,

I promise I will like anything you write me because it will be for me, in one of the tiny fandoms of my heart. And they are all tiny fandoms of my heart. There is little or no fic for any of my requested fandoms, so I can promise I will be equally thrilled by stories for any of them.

This year all my requests are for books or book series with canon queer relationships, but I’m also quite happy with gen in any of these fandoms, as long as the canon relationships remain intact. Several of my requested characters are bisexual (and one is in a canon het relationship), and I’m happy to have that aspect of their character/sexuality addressed in any fic you write.

I read het, slash, gen and poly fic pretty much indiscriminately, with a particular passion for poly fic, especially poly-fic about non-closed relationships. However, this year my requests have ended up being entirely about male or non-binary characters.

On the AO3 I’m [archiveofourown.org profile] FairestCat.

I’m most active fannishly these days here and on twitter, where I’m also [twitter.com profile] fairestcat.

Also, I realize the below is A LOT of optional details, because I have too many thoughts and feelings about these fandoms, but optional details are optional, feel free to use or discard this information as you see fit.

Things I Love: queerness, polyamory, found family, emotional intimacy, friends to lovers, friends with benefits to lovers, enemies to lovers, age differences, shifting power dynamics, emotional h/c, AUs of any variety, time travel, future-fic, characters who are bad at feelings, relationship negotiations, trope subversion, cultural differences, class differences, self-destructive tendencies, unusual/experimental prose style (epistolary fic, interactive fiction, documents, etc.), moral ambiguity, loyalty, first times, banter, snark, historical details, unreliable narrators, trust, political maneuvering, unusual mythology, competence, porn with plot

Smutty Thing I Love: D/s, bondage, rough sex, orgasm delay/denial, edging, multiple orgasms, body worship, possessiveness, fisting, double-penetration, face-fucking, fingering, dirty talk, praise kink, strength kink, sex toys, biting, bruising, voyeurism, angry sex, pain play, humiliation kink, wall sex, consent play, partially-clothed sex, dub-con, rape roleplay, strength kink, spanking, gang bangs, overstimulation, a/b/o heats, impact play

Things I DNW: infidelity, jealousy presented as romantic, body horror, non-sexual humiliation, embarrassment, character death, unhappy endings, food kink, medical kink, mpreg, watersports, scat, vore, monogamous soulmates/soulbonds, public sex, animal harm, disparaging previous romantic/sexual partners, we're not gay we just love each other, bisexual erasure, non-con, knotting, daddy kink (except in limited amounts in Scientific Method Universe)

Gun To My Head - Dira Lewis )

Peter Darling - Austin Chant )

Scientific Method Universe - Kris Ripper )

Society of Gentlemen - K. J. Charles )

Prosperity Series - Alexis Hall )

The Turner Series - Cat Sebastian )
Thursday, October 5th, 2017 04:46 pm
I was changing channels on cable yesterday and came across a "horror movie" I hadn't seen. I don't know anything about it except it had a young Sarah Michele Gellar in it and some girl I didn't recognize who was a little taller and had long straight brown hair.

And I can guarantee you that whoever wrote and directed and filmed this was not from Maryland or the Eastern Shore.

Here's how I know:

Somewhere in the first third or so of it (an estimation since I didn't come in at start), the girl with brown hair opened the trunk of her car and started screaming her head off. When the camera showed us what she was looking at, I expected a body, or parts of one, or a skeleton or something.

Instead? It was a trunk full of live Maryland blue crabs, big ones. Fine specimens of Callinectes sapidus. The one in the middle was especially large (maybe 8" instead of 6"?) and beautifully colored, and waved its pincers around a bit.

Trust me, if someone dumped a bushel or two of blue crabs in my trunk? I'd gather them up, pull out the steamer pot and the Old Bay and some cocktail sauce and invite everyone I know for dinner. Blue crabs are not scary. They are food, and not cheap -- something like $50 a bushel. Okay, they're a hobby masquerading as food -- you might spend as much energy getting some of the meat out of the shell as you get from eating it, but it's healthy, and very tasty.

But I also had this little story going through my mind...:

Old Callie hadn't gotten to his size by being rude in bad situations. He and his children and brethren had been kept in an uncomfortable enclosed space, without enough water, for far too long. So when the top of it opened, and he could see light, and someone or something standing there, he drew himself to his full height, extended his eye stalks, and bowed (or did the corresponding motion for a crab.) It was a human, and the human opened its mouth and made a strange noise.

"Pardon me, noble human, but could you tell me where the nearest ocean is?" Callie asked. He waved his claws, keeping them politely closed.

The human continued to make a loud noise.

"If you would kindly point out the general direction, my family and I will do our best to get out of this uncomfortable situation and not bother you again."

The top closed again.

Callie withdrew his eyestalks. Clearly, he had offended the human in some way. He began a mental review of known encounters with humans. Perhaps his claw motions had been less polite than he intended?

... and at that point I gave up since I changed the channel.
Thursday, October 5th, 2017 02:18 pm
I think I saw Ghost this morning. 

I got up around 3, which is early even for me, so after some breakfast and a little work I curled up on the couch to sleep for about forty minutes, which I often do on mornings I get up super early, especially as the weather starts to get colder. I sleep pretty lightly on the couch so I do tend to drift in and out of REM, but I swear I felt fully awake when I opened my eyes and saw a woman in my living room, standing and looking at me. I blinked and “woke up” a second time and she had vanished, so it was probably a dream, but it was really odd. Especially since I saw her face very clearly, and I almost never see faces of any kind when I dream. 

She was very short, and didn’t seem particularly threatening, like I wasn’t upset that there was a STRANGE WOMAN IN MY HOME. She was smiling and she wore some kind of large jacket and a poofy sort of head covering, like a mob cap but not quite so old fashioned (it didn’t have the frill). Couldn’t pin down an era, but she didn’t look fully modern. 

I’ve long thought that Ghost was either a young adult woman (early 20s) or a preadolescent boy, because of a previous encounter where I heard their voice. Perhaps it’s time to go digging through history again and see if I can work out what kinds of women might have been in my building in the early to mid 20th century (it was an office building for most of the 20th century, until it was turned into condos about 15 years ago). Or more to the point, who might have died there, I suppose…

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Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 04:26 pm
So, I put together a list of Yuletide requests and offers -- and my computer reloaded and it vanished.

And then I did it again, and it happened again.

So what I put together the third time is what got sent in.

It's going to be an interesting season.
Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 08:58 am
I learned to shoot when I was 10, aiming a .38 and then a rifle at beat-up bowling pins in the back yard. The pins had been discarded by a local alley as too unstable to stand up; some of them had to be braced to keep them up. I started with the lower section, then the top, and then the little striped area on the narrow neck of the pin.

And I became a good shot, with a handgun or rifle (*hate* the kickback) or with a bow and arrow.

None of that means that I want anyone to own and use military-type, semi-automatic or high-powered firearms. They are *unnecessary*. They cannot be used for hunting; they destroy the animal so its meat is shredded. They are a poor choice for personal self-defense. And they are only useful -- and largely used -- for killing other people. We do not need to have them in American society, in American homes. There is no point to it other than authorizing murders. I want Congress to pass a law banning the civilian ownership of such weapons -- and I want the guns gone. Maybe then we can work toward having a peaceable culture, and better ways to solve differences than with weapons.

Toward the end of his life my father became increasingly paranoid. He kept loaded rifles and shotguns at the door and by several windows. Fortunately, he was too physically ill to lift and use them. If we had proper gun control and licensing, it would keep other families from having to deal with that situation.

***

477 days. 521 mass shootings. No action from Congress.

Rosanne Cash: Country musicians, stand up to the NRA.

"House Republicans have decided to postpone a vote on their Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act a bill that would not only "gut the 1964 Wilderness Act and the protections afforded to every unit of America's 110 million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System," but also potentially make deadly mass shootings like the one just experienced in Las Vegas even worse. That's because it would roll back 80-year old restrictions on the sale of gun silencers." Why do they want silencers? To "help protect the hearing of America's hunters." Never mind the lives of the rest of us who don't want to be shot by snipers.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says Congress is too weak and too cowardly to stand up to the gun industry. Where is Tony Stark when we need him?

Roll Call: Politics and guns.

Some small steps that could be taken toward fewer gun-related deaths in general.
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 07:29 pm
Hello! Whether I know you or not, I am glad you are writing for me, and I look forward to reading what you write first thing on Christmas morning.

Behind the cut, some general and specific thoughts about fandoms and likes/dislikes: go on in )
Tags:
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 03:34 pm
Workers are upstairs finishing off my hardwood floors. We're only two months behind our unpacking timeline. I suppose that is an improvement over the stuff at the last place.

I am also a good month behind on sending out our moving postcards. If you want one PM me as I'll use your last address in my book otherwise. Sorry it says stuff about labor day - Yeah.

LOL

Still have to do the trim ourselves. I won't be able to pick it up until this coming weekend because hub had to take the truck to the airport. He's off to help clients, do business meetings, and see about a new contract!

Next week is my first commission meeting, so there is that. Until then it's try to get things in a bit better shape.

Congrats to those who got new jobs, new computers, and all the new shiny. And to those having a rough patch, I am thinking of you even if I'm not responding much right now.

Now time to try to get a photography website up and going. Man my Wordpress skills have gone to pot!
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 12:22 am
Okay kids, I have backed up my ailing laptop, backed up the backup, cleared off all the sensitive data, removed the password protection, affixed a picture of The Tick saying “Please don’t reimage my hard drive! It’s where I keep all my stuff!” to the screen, wrapped the whole thing in Manufacturer Approved Bubble Wrap, boxed it up with its power cord, filled out the maintenance request form including a thank-you note to the poor techs who have to witness the filth of a laptop keyboard after three years of my use, sealed it all, and set the box by the front door to be given to FedEx tomorrow. 

Everybody think good thoughts, my poor laptop needs them.

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