The Machineries of Tarot

Jul. 25th, 2017 08:51 am
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
For your amusement, hexarchate Tarot readings (coding and spreads by [personal profile] telophase, card meanings by me):
No art right now, just meanings. The 78-card jeng-zai deck corresponds to the traditional Tarot but is specifically a hexarchate Tarot circa Kel Cheris' era. As such, upright sixes are all positive while upright sevens are negative, and the fours are lucky/unlucky.

This site is for entertainment purposes only: neither guarantees nor apologies are given for the accuracy or inaccuracy of any reading you may receive, and no responsibility is taken for any calendrical rot that may ensue. Hopefully you do not live in the hexarchate.

Beer, Art, and Karma

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:06 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
[personal profile] stevenpiziks
On Saturday, Darwin and I tried to stop by the Ypsilanti Beer Festival. Neither of us really cares for beer, but it's a major local event and Darwin is city manager, so he wanted to put in an appearance.  When we arrived, however, the line to get into the park was several blocks long, and more people arrived to get in it as we watched.  So we gave that up as a bad job and headed for our next stop--the Ann Arbor Art Fair.

The AA Art Fair is going on 30 years, and is a sprawling affair that runs over many, many city blocks in downtown Ann Arbor, with food, music, street performers, and miles and miles of artists displaying their work.  We had our bikes with us, and we parked on a side street a ways from the fair and pedaled the rest of the way in, which avoided the usual $20 parking fees.  We chained our bikes to a lamp post and started browsing.

It was a hot day, and clouds came and went.  I thought to bring an umbrella with us, though, and I put it up for shade when the sun came out.  This made Darwin unhappy at first--he felt it was strange, and he was afraid I would hit someone--but he very quickly discovered the huge benefits of portable shade, and his objections quickly vanished.

We wandered through the fair.  I found a potter's booth and bought a matching spoon rest, liquid soap dispenser, and sponge holder for the kitchen.

At one of the many food areas, where a collection of local restaurants set up wagons and trucks, I got some delicious Korean noodles while Darwin ordered a plate of food from a Greek place.  At the last minute, the cook plopped tzatziki sauce on top of it all before Darwin could stop her.  Darwin doesn't like tzatziki, and told the woman so.  She shrugged and made him a new plate.  "Do you want this one?" she said to me.  "I'll just throw it away otherwise."

"Sure," I said.  She wrapped it in foil, and I took it.  Darwin and I headed for a shady patch of sidewalk to eat.  I actually had no idea what to do with the plate of food.  I couldn't put it in my backpack without making a mess, and I couldn't carry it on my bike.  It seemed a shame to toss it, though.

We were just about done eating when a homeless man--unkempt white hair, unshaven, thin, dirty clothes--shambled up to me.  He looked at my noodles, and then at me.

"Hi," I said.

"Can I have some?" he rasped.

"As it happens," I said, "you can."  And I handed him the wrapped up plate.  He thanked me and wandered off with it.

"That worked out," Darwin observed.

Beer, art, and karma, all in one day.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[personal profile] jon_chaisson
At this point next Sunday, A and I will be preparing ourselves to head out to the airport and catch a plane to London again!  Yes, once again we're heading out to our other favorite city in the world for a few weeks to see the sights, visit friends, and hit all the pubs.  And maybe buy a bunch of books and tunage, heh.  Bur seriously, we've been looking forward to this vacation for some time now.  We've both been overly busy for the last month or so with our Day Jobs, so this will be a very welcome reprieve.  Looking forward to it!

Once again we're in Kensington near the Earls Court tube station, at a 'boutique apartment' not that far from the hotel we stayed at previously.  We do like that neighborhood as it's within walking distance of a lot of really cool museums and shops, not to mention easy access to the Underground that can get us pretty much anywhere.  Plus it's relatively quiet at night!

In the meantime, we have one more week of Day Job drudgery and getting (reasonably) caught up before handing the baton off to one of our coworkers for a few weeks.  I'm hoping I won't have a crapton of things thrown at me this week, but given the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't be surprised.  Still, not going to worry if I don't get to all of it.

I'm actually more worried about not doing any work on Meet the Lidwells for a couple of weeks!!  I'll be bringing my tablet and Nook so I can do a bit of reading of what I have so far and maybe taking notes for what I can do for revision, but that's about it.  I *might* also bring a spare notebook or two and work on Secret Next Project, though...that one's coming along a lot faster than expected so perhaps kicking off a longhand rough draft of that might be in the cards.  As for my blogs, I'll most likely be doing fly-bys in the interim, as blogging from my tablet and/or phone isn't always the easiest thing to do.

And of course we have All the Packing to do.  Which I'm sure we'll have done by Tuesday, even though we won't be flying out until Sunday afternoon. :p

vid recs?

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:39 pm
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
ETA: And if anyone knows where on earth I can find an Angel S4 AU vid to Will Smith's "Black Suits Comin'" I will be eternally grateful. (I can't remember the vidder, which is making this difficult to Google.) Also a Buffy/Angel shipper vid to Darren Hayes' "Insatiable," likewise apparently impossible to Google without the vidder's name.

I have gotten out of the habit of chasing down fan vids and would like to download some to my laptop for enjoyment purposes. I find them to be a lovely pick-me-up--they don't necessarily have to be cheerful vids. But I probably can't deal with extreme gore or realistic violence (I've seen half an extremely well done Hannibal vid that I had to nope out of because I am chicken).

Some vids already in my collection that I really like, to give you an idea (in no particular order):
- [personal profile] bironic's "Starships"
- bopradar's "I Kissed a Girl"
- Lithium Doll's "All These Things"
- [personal profile] laurashapiro's "Ing"
- [personal profile] giandujakiss's "A Charming Man"
- obsessive24's "Cuckoo" and "Remember the Name"
- [personal profile] shati's "Hope on Fire"
- sisabet's "Cowboy" and "Two Words"

Fandoms I especially like watching/or have some clue about:
- Buffyverse
- Firefly
- I like the visuals of Game of Thrones although I've only watched one episode (have read most of the extant books, though)
- Leverage
- Arrow
- The Good Place
- recent Star Wars
- The Great Queen Seondeok
- Suits
- The Good Wife

That being said, if the vid can be understood without having seen the show, I'm happy to watch it. :)

separate hobbies

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:47 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”

I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.

I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)

Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.

Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Dress Codes: the Final Word

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:10 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
[personal profile] stevenpiziks
My cousin Mark drew my attention to yet another rant about a girl who was sent home because her clothes violated the school dress code.  The mother posted photos of the offending outfit and howled that he daughter was body-shamed and the victim of a sexist school.

Sure.

As a high school teacher of 22 years, let me explain how this works--and what to do about it.

First, schools have the legal right to create dress codes or even force students to wear uniforms. The Supreme Court has ruled, it's law, and that's the way it is. Read Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District for full details, or look here: http://education.findlaw.com/student-rights/school-dress-codes.html  If you don't like it, the place to make a change is with your legislative body, not in the principal's office.  You will be completely unsuccessful if you storm into the school and shout, "You can't send my child home for wearing _____!"  Absolutely the school can, and the full force of the US government is behind it, so save your energy. (But see below for what you CAN do.)

Second, school dress codes are written to set a basic standard of appropriateness.  The school board decides, based on community standards, what is and is not appropriate for students to wear in school.  This isn't new, it's not strange or bad.  There are certain outfits and articles of clothing that are inappropriate for school, just like there are inappropriate outfits for worship services, a funeral, a wedding, or a job.  My youngest son recently applied for a job, for example, and he was handed an extremely strict dress code.  Our entire society dictates what you can wear and when.  Schools are no different.  Dress codes are NOT written to body shame girls or to stop girls from wearing clothes that will "distract boys."  I'm not sure where this idea got started.

Proper dress codes, such as the one in the district where I teach, spell out what clothes are allowed and which are not.  My district does not allow spaghetti straps, sleeveless shirts, off-shoulder shirts, visible underwear, "muscle" shirts, tank tops, or shorts above a certain length.  The sex of the wearer is irrelevant.  Both boys and girls cannot wear tank tops or short shorts.  If a boy showed up in spaghetti straps, he'd be sent home, though he'd be allowed to wear a skirt that came down to at least his fingertips.  A school that DOES mention girls not being allowed to wear Thing A and boys not being allowed to wear Thing B is asking for trouble and needs to change its code to focus on the clothes and not the wearer.

Third, students are not allowed to use clothes to "express themselves" and "be comfortable."  I'm not sure where that idea got started, either.  A student's primary job at school is to learn, and anything that interferes with that job must be removed.  The Supreme Court has also ruled on this (see Tinker above).  A school may, at its discretion, allow a certain amount of self-expression, but this is solely the district's choice, and not the student's. That's the way it is, and you won't have much luck in changing a Supreme Court ruling.  Save your energy.

Fourth, it's absolutely true that dress codes are often enforced unevenly.  That's just the nature of the animal.  This is because the main enforcers are teachers, and teachers are wildly different as people, and circumstances vary from class to class.  Here's what happens:

Linda wears an inappropriate outfit to first hour.  The teacher notices, but doesn't see enforcing the dress code as important, so she lets it go.  Linda's second hour has 37 students in it.  Linda slips into class and sits down while the teacher is dealing with 42 other problems, and the teacher doesn't even notice the outfit because he's so busy.  Linda's third hour teacher notices the outfit, but also notes that Linda only comes to class one day in four, and if he sends her out, she'll miss today, too, and he'd rather have her stay in class, so he says nothing.  Linda's fourth hour is gym, and she changes clothes for that one.  Linda's fifth hour has a sub who doesn't understand the dress code and says nothing.  Linda's sixth hour teacher says, "Your outfit isn't appropriate. You'll have to go down to the office and change or go home."  "That's not fair! I've been wearing it all day!" Linda protests.

So yes, the codes aren't always enforced fairly.  Such is life.  If you want to ensure the codes are fairly enforced, you could volunteer to the district to be a dress code monitor.  Call today!

What do you do if you run into dress code problems with your student?

First, per-emptively make sure your student has a selection of appropriate clothes.  Teenagers push back, yes.  Welcome to parenthood.  Your job is to be a mom or dad, not a best friend.  Remove inappropriate clothes from their wardrobe.  Also be aware that even well-behaved teens will sometimes rebel, and a common tactic is to change clothes at school.  If this happens and your student gets in trouble with the office, let them deal with it without support from you.  Don't leave work to rush over with a new outfit.  Let them wear the ugly set of school sweats all day or sit in the office until the end of school.  It's a learning experience.

Second, understand that posting a rant on Facebook or Instagram about your daughter being "body-shamed" isn't anything but a bid for attention.  You're just fishing for people to say how wronged you were and how lovely your daughter is, and you're secretly hoping the district will get deluged with emails or phone calls so they'll make changes without any work from you.  The district won't cave to random phone calls and emails from strangers outside the district.  Experienced administrators know that all they have to do is wait a week, and the outrage will die down.  Nothing will change, though you may have duped a few more people into following you on Instagram, and it's pretty shitty to drag the school into your scheme.

Finally, if you think the dress code is unfair, get a group of like-minded parents together and talk to the school board.  (Not the principal--the principal generally has no control over the dress code.)  Going in a group will give you more clout.  Outline what changes you think should be made, without yelling.  If the code mentions the gender of the student, lobby to have it reworded to focus on the clothing instead.  Have a list of reasons.  Avoid things like "she needs to feel comfortable" or "he wants to express himself."  Those won't go far.  Instead, focus on things like, "These clothes are acceptable in our community," and "This is accepted public dress around here." 

We have dress codes at work, in worship, and yes, in school.  Having them in school gets students ready for dealing with them in adult life.  They aren't going away, though you can have an impact on them if you do it right.


Going through the motions

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:07 am
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[personal profile] jon_chaisson
Related to a few previous posts.  Been thinking more about my current adjustments in time management.

Noted, giving myself reminders has always worked well for me: keeping tabs open for the blogs and the daily words, and closing everything else unneeded or unnecessary.   Jumping in on urges to work on something rather than 'I'll get to it soon enough.'  [This last one can be tricky during Day Job hours if I have fires to put out, but it there are slow moments, I can usually at least sow a seed or two that will bear fruit when 
I fully focus on it later.]

Going through the motions of time management for necessary evils.  (In some respects, the slower, more automated moments of the Day Job, where I'm just answering emails or doing minor research.  If dedication and focus is needed, it'll be provided.  Otherwise, I'm Going Through the Motions.)  Less stress, less concern about things I don't necessarily need or want to be concerned about.

I seem to be doing the same with social media.  I no longer want to be #LIVE and #BREAKING.  Things are much calmer and more serene that way.  Just me, some tunes, my creative projects, and maybe some coffee or tea, and I'm golden.

Out-foxed

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:02 am
peartreealley: (tea)
[personal profile] peartreealley
The other night, around 11PM, G and I were settling into bed when we began hearing an intermittent disturbance outside. The property next to us is a derelict, abandoned warehouse that tends to attract misbehavior from the local youths and seasonal squatters, so G bellowed out the window "who's out there?!" as we believed someone might be trying to use the dual-gated side passage between our house and the warehouse to gain entry to one or other properties, possibly were trying to break into our car (parked in front of the passage), or perhaps that someone had fallen off the roof--where we've seen squatters try to access the building before. It went silent for a while, and then the noise of attempts to climb in the side passage began again.

Eventually, we called 999 about a potential intruder and the police arrived to investigate.

We explained to the police officers what we'd been hearing and about the side passage. As we were explaining, the thrashing and noise started again. The police officer with us motioned us away, readied his taser and threw the gate open.

And then started laughing. And closed the gate again quickly.



In addition to the squatters, we also have at least three neighborhood foxes. That's a picture of a fox climbing the wall in between our house and the warehouse (taken level with the second storey balcony), and disappearing over the top of the side passage. We think they also go to the warehouse roof because the only other option is our enclosed patio and we know they're not going there. (We're not sure why they go to the roof, but hey.) We suspect the trapped fox had fallen off the wall into the side passage. Anyway, everyone relaxed and we wedged the forecourt gate open for a while so the fox could get free.

We apologized for wasting the police officers' time, and they pointed out that there's no visibility into the side passage and we had couldn't have known what manner of desperate, living creature was inside. But I think we were all glad in the end that it wasn't a person, and we were able to free the fox.

fountain pen sale

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
The time has come to find new homes for some of the vintage fountain pens in my collection.

These are all great pens, but the truth is I have a fair number of great pens and these are ones that simply aren't making it into my rotation. I'd rather someone else get some enjoyment out of them!

All prices include shipping within the continental USA. Elsewhere, please inquire--I will probably have to charge you shipping at cost. I accept payment via Paypal.

If interested, either leave a comment or email me (yoon at yoonhalee dot com).





From left to right:

1. Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir (a sort of dark swirly marbled green). Lever filler. The great thing about this pen is that it has a #3 adjustable nib. It goes from Fine to Broad on the flexiest setting. The only reason I'm letting this go is that I have a Wahl-Eversharp Doric in black with a #7 adjustable nib, and I honestly don't need two adjustable Dorics.

Please note that the #3 Doric is a petite pen--unless you have very small hands, you will probably want to use this posted.

Price: $225. SOLD

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it!

2. Waterman Lady Patricia that I bought from Mauricio Aguilar of Vintage Fountain Pens. He graded it a superflex, and it's a pleasurable and absolutely reliable writer; I've always had great experiences with the pens I've bought from Mauricio. Lever filler. Again, this is a lovely pen that I simply don't use--in this case because I'm busy using a different pen that I bought from Mauricio, a Waterman 52V (for which Jedao's Patterner 52 was named :p). Like the #3 Doric, this is a petite pen, and probably best used posted unless you have very small hands.

This is a handsome pen with green and brown swirls, and I love looking at it, but I really prefer for all my pens to be working pens that get used. Maybe you can have fun with it!

Price: $410.

3. Conklin Crescent Filler--the crescent filling mechanism is not that different from lever filling and is very simple to use, and really neat if you love geeking out about different filling mechanisms. This is a wet noodle that does hairlines, if you're into flex writing or copperplate; I probably wouldn't recommend it for sketching because of the fineness of the nib, but it would make a great fountain pen for non-sketch-speed line art.

Price: $320.

4. Osmia 34 in gray candy. This is a very flexy nib that goes from Fine to Broad, and unusually, it's in a piston filler. Please note that the material is discolored along about half the barrel (ambering)--this doesn't affect the pen's functionality, although if you care more about aesthetics this is not the pen for you. This nib has an almost painterly feel to it that is very pleasurable for writing.

Price: $240. [Going to [personal profile] rushthatspeaks for a trial run!]

5. The last two are a Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, fountain pen and mechanical pencil set. The fountain pen is a lever filler and has a flex nib; I'm not sure what width graphite the pencil takes, although it comes loaded with one. The set is very handsome; please note that the fountain pen has a chip near the lever. This doesn't affect function but may be an aesthetic concern.

Price: $210.

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it! (She decided to get the Wahl-Eversharp Doric instead, so this pen and pencil set is available!)

Chicks Dig Gaming

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:25 pm
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
[personal profile] yhlee
Chicks Dig Gaming, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith? [this appears to be part of the author name, as it's listed with the interrogation point in multiple places], and Lars Pearson is one of the books I picked up at Pandemonium Books & Games in Boston. It's an absolutely delightful collection of essays about gaming by women, ranging the gamut from board games to video games to one anthropologist non-gamer who decided to play Portal to study the phenomenon of gaming and explore her reasons for not being a gamer. :p

A few of the essays didn't speak to me personally, but that's fine--for example, there was one about adventure games through the lens of the Monkey Island games, which I did play, but I didn't imprint on the genre. It's not that it was a bad essay, but rather that it was a type of gaming experience I just wasn't as interested in. And that's fine; for some other reader that could be entirely their thing.

Here's a rundown:

cut for length )

To sum up: highly recommended.

Recent Reads: A WRINKLE IN TIME

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:09 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Holding Pattern

Jul. 18th, 2017 02:52 pm
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[personal profile] jon_chaisson
Sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern.  A slow loop around the airport, waiting for my turn to pop into the queue so I can land.  I used to feel like that in high school, waiting for that bit of compulsory education to be finished so I could move on to the college thing.  It's like a slow waiting period I have to go through before moving closer to my goal.  I took it with patience instead of impatience...just something I had to get done.

Currently feeling the same way right now for a few differing reasons -- upcoming vacation, writing situation, long-term career outlook, that sort of thing.  A lot of personal reasons as well.

Today I was thinking about this, and realized, wait...why am I waiting, anyway?  I mean, sure, some of this wait is due to hard and fast dates (like the vacation, two weeks away) or needing to actually finish the cycle (that is, finishing the first draft of Meet the Lidwells).  I'm talking about other things.  Why am I future-dating my plans when I could start some of them now?

Sometimes this holding pattern is of my own making, and the landing strip is wide and clear.  Perhaps it's time to land.

Ypsilanti Dirt

Jul. 18th, 2017 04:54 pm
stevenpiziks: (Default)
[personal profile] stevenpiziks
Today I visited the Ypsilanti Historical Library for the Work in Progress.  I needed to verify a few facts.  To do so, I needed to check the history of the First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti, which was founded in the early 1800s.  They first met in a frame house, then built a brick church with one spire, then rebuilt the church so it had two spires.  I've been trying to find out exactly when the two spires version was done.  I have three different dates, and can't seem to verify any of them.

Anyway, the Historical Library archives has a file on the FSCoY, and the archivist cheerfully handed it over to me for perusal.  It's a hanging file about four inches thick, stuffed with a pile of papers, transcripts, orders of service, century-old pamphlets, and other memorabilia.  One object in the file is a heavy, punch-bound book of transcripts.  I paged through it and realized someone had typed up all the hand-written notes from weekly church meetings from 1832 until 1875.  This had to be a monumental task--the original pages were included in the file, and the handwriting old-fashioned, spidery stuff done with a dip pen, barely legible.  This historian had meticulously read and typed up hundreds of pages, and for this I was grateful.

The church meetings were mostly records of who had joined the church (lots of people moved to Ypsilanti from other areas, and they seem to have brought with them letters of recommendation from their previous ministers, which helped matters), who had been baptized, and who had left the church, either by moving away or dying.

There were several references, incidentally, to the church calling various members up in front of the council to defend themselves for drinking, either beer or hard liquor.  (Temperance was a hot social topic in Michigan during this time period, and apparently the First Presbies landed on the "alcohol is evil" side.)  One member confessed to the drinking, but said it was "for his health."  The council rejected this argument and banned him from attending church until he could prove he had made proper penance (which wasn't specified).  This sort of thing seemed to happen fairly often, and you would think the church would give it up as a lost cause, but the council showed continued enthusiasm for alcohol's punishment and penance.

The last page truly caught my eye.  It seemed to be random notes. It said:

Mr. Hammond's Testimony - that Mrs. G. admitted he got in a passion - was sorry that it had happened - cross examined - Mrs. Hammond - Talking hard of her Mother Octavia - could live in this way -
Mrs. Hyde - choked - threw potatoes -
  -   - pushing his wife
  -   - pushing his Motherinlaw [sic] - ordering her out the door -
William Glover -

What the heck?  "Got in a passion"?  Was this anger?  Sex?  Who threw potatoes?

I paged through more of the book.  In entries dated April, 1835, my eye flitted across another reference to Samuel Glover.  There were several references to him and to Mrs. Hyde over several weeks.  Eagerly, I paged over them, flipping backward until I found the earliest one--and the beginning of the story.

From what I could gather from Church Clerk Ezra Carpenter's cryptic notes, Samuel Glover was married to Virena Glover, and they had a son William.  Virena's mother Lucy Hyde lived with them, and she and Samuel did NOT get along.

According to Virena, the two of them fought quite often, mostly because Samuel beat Virena.  One day, Virena was carrying in a heavy basket of potatoes, and she asked Samuel to help her.  He refused, and she became upset with him.  He shouted and cursed at her and threw several potatoes at her head, until Lucy intervened and told him to stop.  This didn't make Samuel very happy.

Another time, Samuel was arguing with Virena and shouting at her in the front yard.  A neighbor saw Lucy trying to get him to stop.

Another tidbit says Samuel called a neighbor a "God damned Frenchman."  Someone else testified to him shouting "J___ C____" in public.  (Ezra Carpenter refused to put "Jesus Christ" into a transcript as a curse, though he readily put the word "god" down as one.)  Someone else testified to hearing Samuel use the word "devilish" to describe his children, and also calling them "little devils."

Another time, Lucy Hyde testified that Samuel whirled an ox whip over Virena's head and swore he would beat Virena "by J____ C____."  She also said she saw Samuel choke Virena and push her to the floor more than once.

Then Samuel got really mad at Lucy and one day literally shoved her out the door, ordering her to never "darken his doorstep" again and "if I rotted above ground he would never bury me."  She went to a friend's house, and the next day various people persuaded her to return.  Samuel allowed that she could as long as she was nice to him.  Lucy reluctantly returned.

The pastor asked if Samuel was nice to Lucy after that, but (according to Mr. Carpenter's terse prose), Lucy wouldn't answer directly, which speaks volumes.

Samuel claimed he had witnesses who would speak to his good character, but none of them showed up at any of the hearings, which also speaks volumes.

In the end, the council rendered its unanimous, terrifying verdict: Samuel was guilty of violating the church's covenant in multiple ways.

His sentence?

No church for three months.

That's it.  And there were no more references to Samuel Glover or Lucy Hyde in the rest of the book.

I doubt Samuel stopped abusing Virena and Lucy.  I suspect he just got better at hiding it--or of terrifying them into silence.  Lucy was already uncertain about testifying this time.  I hope they eventually left him, or threw him out, but I doubt it.  The church couldn't even bring itself to censure Samuel for more than 90 days, let alone grant a divorce.

And you'll notice that despite several people testifying that Samuel was guilty of assault many times over, there was no mention of legal involvement.  None.  Virena and Lucy went to the church for help, and barely got any.  (The testimony took place over several weeks.)

Domestic abuse.  It ain't a new idea.

Incidentally, I did find the date of the spire, but it was from a secondary source, and it's still unconfirmed for me.  Sigh.


ETA

A little digging turned up a bit more information elsewhere.  Samuel and Virena (whose name may have been Vinera--records disagree) had a total of twelve children.  The last two were twins, born on February 14, 1847 in Osceola, Michigan, which means the Glovers moved.  The twins died two weeks later.  Virena died the following March at age 44.  So Virena stayed with Samuel another 11 years and died, worn out from giving birth over and over, and from the beatings he gave her.  (Another Glover child, Sarah, died two years later, by the way, at age 24.)

And Samuel?  He left Ypsilanti and slunk back to New York, where his parents originally came from.  By 1850, he was married to a woman named Maria, who had five children of her own.  Only TWO of Samuel and Virena's children came with him--Alanson and Daniel.  What happened to the others?

Three--Sarah and the twins--had died.

Four were adults by 1850 and didn't need to live with their families.  None were living in Ypsilanti.  It's telling that they moved away from their father.

Samuel Glover, Jr. (age 15) went to live with a merchant named John Cody and his family.

Vinera Josephine Glover (age 10) is unaccounted for.  She is not with her father or any of her adult brothers or sisters.  Where did she go?  She marries William P. Paine in 1857 in Ionia County, Michigan.  She would have been about 17 then, though the question is, how did she get all the way up to Ionia and meet him?

George W. Glover (age 8) vanishes entirely. No records of what happened to him exist.

The 1860 censucs shows Maria Glover (Samuel's second wife) Census living in Webster, New York as a widow, but Samuel is still alive at this time and living a little ways away in Rochester, New York.  He died in 1870.  Did Maria divorce him and lie about her marital status?  What happened there?

Having a blended family that's a hot mess isn't anything new!


squee!

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:46 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
You guys, among many many other works, Ninefox Gambit is listed as one of the inspirations for Paizo's forthcoming RPG Starfinder! Tons of other authors and media there too.

I'm also chuffed to see I'm not the only one who has found Jack L. Chalker inspirational for sf purposes (although in my case it was Soul Rider and one that's not mentioned in the list, Rings of the Master).

My husband has preordered Starfinder but does this mean I now have to fight him over the hardcopy? LOL.
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

la! sewing hopes

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:12 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I have just ordered Gillian Conahan's The Hero's Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming [Amazon] and am looking forward to it. :D Conahan is the editor-in-chief of Vogue Patterns (!).

A couple reasons:
- I have toyed with the idea of getting into cosplay but need to learn to sew.
- I would love to learn to do basic sewing things and maybe work up to fancier sewing things. Like, it would be great to be able to shorten pants legs on my own, or shorten sleeves! That would expand my wardrobe options tremendously. (I know tailors do this stuff, but we are too disorganized to get to the tailor.) Not-so-secretly I want to be able to make slightly fancier outfits for dancing in or cosplay, BUT I know that would be a long way away and I should start with easy basic stuff, like pillowcases. =)

One of the book's reviews indicates that it's good for beginners and talking you through pattern alterations. I might try to swing a beginning sewing class eventually, but first I'm going to try Youtube and check this book.

I have also ordered a couple of Japanese pattern books for menswear and unisex (is that still the preferred term?) military jackets. I have a military surplus military jacket that I love dearly, but for half the year in Baton Rouge it is too damn hot to wear comfortably. I crave a military-jacket-alike done in very lightweight fabric that I can wear most of the rest of the year. But I will have to learn to read and alter patterns for this, so this is more in the nature of motivational hoarding.

Also, if I learned to sew cosplay outfits, I could deck out family members and pose them and take photos of them for art photo reference purposes. =D

Right now the big obstacle is that my sewing machine, which I had only played with a little, was one of the flood casualties. I was not really happy with the bobbin-loading whatever, which seemed to come out really lopsided no matter how I did it, so I might go with a different model this time.

So the subgoal to that is to scrape up the money for a sewing machine. I think a budget of $300 will probably get me a machine that is both friendly to beginners and capable enough to last me as I *knock wood* learn to use it and grow more skilled. (This is based on casually Googling for "best sewing machine for beginners 2017.")

Probably the fastest way of raising the money is selling off the stash of older BPAL LE bottles that my mother-in-law uncovered [1] and also trying to sell off some of my spare fountain pens. Is anyone here in the market for vintage fountain pens? FPN Classifieds or asking a seller I have bought from before for an appraisal is probably the likelier bet...? Let's be real, I have a number of lovely vintage pens that are just not making it into the rotation, e.g. a Waterman Lady Patricia with a superflex nib and a wet noodle Sheaffer Balance and another wet noodle Conklin Crescent and a wet noodle Wahl-Eversharp Doric with #3 adjustable nib, are you sensing a theme? [2] Since they're on the somewhat spendy end, the appraisal might be best, but if anyone here has been in the market for a wet noodle/superflex fountain pen, THIS COULD BE YOUR CHANCE.

[1] I don't have a list right now; I'm recovering from a migraine (yay Excedrin) and I made Joe take the perfumes into another room because something in there (the cinnamon AT MINIMUM) was setting off the migraine like whoa.

[2] I have basically settled into my Waterman 52V and Wahl-Eversharp Doric #7 adjustable nib as the two wet noodle pens that will do me for the rest of my life. The rest have become kind of redundant.
yhlee: Shuos Jedao (Hellspin Fortress) (hxx Jedao 1x10^6)
[personal profile] yhlee
PREAMBLE: I had a conversation with someone at Readercon whom I'm not going to name to save them the embarrassment. They will undoubtedly recognize themselves if they stop by. You're not a bad person, but you're human and you messed up, and I need to explain why and maybe reduce the odds of something like this happening to me again. Please don't ~FEELINGS~ at me here, even if you're tempted to; I don't need or want an apology; just go think about it in your own space, with your own people.

So. I was chatting with someone who knew of my writing but whom I did not know personally (we were meeting for the first time in any venue), and as the topic meandered, they asked me if they could ask me a personal question.

Fine, I said. (How bad could it be?)

They asked me about living in Louisiana, and whether my marriage to my husband Joe was considered valid.

Well, I said, Louisiana doesn't do gay marriage. [EDIT: 0] However, I haven't transitioned legally (or physically) [1]. On all my legal documentation I'm a woman. So as far as the state of Louisiana is concerned, my marriage to Joe is a marriage between a man and a woman, and I'm legally in the clear. (Please refrain from telling me about how terrible this situation is. Rest assured that I'm in Louisiana, I'm not stupid, I have my own thoughts.)

[0] Huh--it was banned the last time I looked it up several years ago, but the ban apparently has since been struck down. So I said this in error; on the other hand, I would personally have serious reservations about visibly going around as half of a m/m couple in my daily life.

[1] I have reasons for this that are none of your business, and I will not be discussing them here.

Point the first, before I recount more of this conversation. I feel rather strongly that asking a complete stranger about the validity of their marriage is something that you should refrain from doing, even if you have taken the precaution of asking if you can ask a personal question. I answered the question, but I was honestly kind of taken aback and I was in "I must show my public face as an author interacting politely with a reader" mode. The blunter version is that the question was rude.

Anyway, my interlocutor blurted out (in response to my explanation about being listed as a woman on all my legal documentation), "They just MISGENDER YOU???" (with about that emphasis).

Let me explain to you why this form of performative pearl-clutching is deeply unhelpful. The misgendering is a consequence of decisions I have made about my own life. As y'all have figured out, I live in Louisiana; I'm in a more or less conservative part of the country. In addition to choosing not to pursue legal or physical transition, part of not attempting to present as male in my daily life in Baton Rouge (besides the fact that I can't reliably pass, absent transition) involves my calculations regarding personal safety.

Again: I made this choice because it's my life and I have to live it. There are a lot of complicated factors involved that I do not feel the need to explain to the world at large. Who the hell are you, a complete stranger, to judge my life choices? Because that's what that was. Judgment.

What happened next was that my interlocutor was extremely performatively upset "on my behalf" to the point that I had to spend the next ten minutes calming them down and reassuring them that I was all right. This was exhausting for me. Look, I live this shit every day, and I have coping mechanisms, but it's deeply unhelpful to have to come up with extra coping for a complete stranger. If you find the whole situation viscerally horrible or whatever, fine, but that's your damage, not mine; I have my own. Deal with your damage on your own time. For my part, I can't sit here clutching my pearls about my own life situation 24/7 or I'd be paralyzed to the point of uselessness.

Dear reader, next time you're tempted to open your mouth and ask a complete stranger about the status of their marriage, or force them to perform emotional labor reassuring you about the details of their own life, maybe consider shutting your mouth, going away, and working through whatever issues you have on your own time. You're not evil; but you're not helping, either.

Readercon bookspoils

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:22 pm
yhlee: chessmaster (chess pieces) (chessmaster)
[personal profile] yhlee
*shifty eyes*

From Pandemonium Books & Games:
- Chicks Dig Games, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith?, and Lars Pearson. I'm only a little way into this but really enjoying it, and looking forward to passing it on to my daughter (a girl gamer!) to read.
- Kingdom by Ben Robbins. This is "a role playing game about communities," recommended to me by [personal profile] maga ages ago. I'm glad to have a chance to pick it up in hardcopy (I prefer hardcopy for games).

- David Weber's The Shadow of Saganami (recommended by [personal profile] davidgillon [1])

[1] I ordinarily do not take book recommendations UNLESS I ask for them. I asked David for a specific reason. Please no book recs; it's not you, it's me.

- Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which he gave to me since he was toting around a copy and was pondering giving it away, and I said, "Give it to me! The ARC you gave me drowned in last year's flood." So he did. =D I love this book so much, and I'm excited for the sequel, parts of which I've read in draft.
- C.J Cherryh's The Faded Sun trilogy, the three-volume SFBC hardcovers with the not very good cover art. I love this trilogy and my omnibus with the lovely Michael Whelan cover art (originally from Kutath, I believe) drowned. This was in the "free books" area at Readercon--some astonishingly good stuff got dropped off there, although of course it got picked over within minutes. I decided this was enough of a lucky find and then took it and ran rather than being greedy and looking for more. ^_^
- William Barton's Dark Sky Legion, which I grabbed last-minute from the free table because, although it looked like no one else wanted it, flipping open to a random page suggested that it might have SURPRISE CLONES. =D Also, it has a cover that honestly looks like...look. The smoldering (figuratively, not literally! with sf/f you have to specify XD) white man appears to be buck-naked, is holding a bunch of wires or something that conveniently, along with some smoke, conceal his crotch area, and also he is ripped. =D I mean, this book could be COMPLETELY TERRIBLE, but who knows? It might live down to its cover in wonderfully cracktastic ways! Especially if there are SURPRISE CLONES!

And then I fell prey to the used books available for sale in the Bookshop at Readercon--mainly because a lot of these I am not sure are even available as ebooks and if they're cheap, why not? (We're going to need another bookcase though...)

- David Feintuch's Fisherman's Hope. I've read the Seafort Saga before; this is vol. 4, my favorite one, and later this week I should probably talk about why.
- Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia. I pounced on this when I spotted it--I had previously owned but not actually yet read a copy of this novel, and then flood. So this time I'm going to read it, dammit.
- Walter Jon Williams' The Praxis, The Sundering, and Conventions of War, first three books of the Dread Empire's Fall space opera series. I have read something short by Williams somewhere and remember being intrigued, so I figure this might be worth a try? Joe might like it?
- Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Book Four, Crown of Kings. =D =D =D I used to own this in hardcopy and flood, so being able to replace it = A++.

still toxic

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:23 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.

That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.

The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.

I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.

Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*

I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)

There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.

I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Weekend Update Has Plans

Jul. 15th, 2017 07:31 pm
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[personal profile] jon_chaisson
After a frustrating week on the Day Job -- no stressful situations, just a ridiculous volume to slog through -- my best laid plans for having a writing session on Friday evening fell by the wayside.  Instead we watched the insanity that is Nichijou (a good example of the inherent absurdity of this anime can be seen here).  Ten out of the thirty some-odd episodes.  It's quite ridiculous and fun.  And the opening and ending themes are very catchy!

That said...having a nice relaxing weekend so far, recharging and planning ahead.  We'll be heading to London for a few weeks at the end of the month so we're both going through our projects to see what to bring along and what to put behind.  I will most likely be working on Secret Next Project during this time, as I won't be bringing my laptop but will be bringing along my tablet and/or Nook.  Sure, I'm a little nervous about being away from the Lidwells project for a couple of weeks, but I'll at least have access to it via Dropbox so I can give it a read-through and make notes on things I need to fix/revise 

In other news, recently I did a bit of cleaning up and rearranging in Spare Oom, straightened up a few book shelves (and pulled off some titles I can donate), broke down a lot of boxes, and put away things that needed putting away.  The access to the closet is a bit wider now, and the guitar stands have been angled to take up less room.    Now I just need to get myself back into the habit of playing that keyboard more often instead of using it as a temporary table to put things on!  [Come to think of it, I should probably change the batteries in it as well, as I'm sure they're old and on the verge of getting sketchy.  Also: do we have a power cord for that thing?  I should see if I can find it, or order one from somewhere...]

This ties in with my plan to get back into my other two creative loves: art and music.  I still fiddle around a lot on my guitars, but I haven't written many new songs in years.  I'd like to try my hand at laying down some new tracks with some cheap mixing software, just for the fun ot it.  And for the art, I'm hoping to get back into that as well.  It's been far too long since I've done any art of substance other than maybe a few maps and whatnot.  I have the supplies and the art pads...I just need to do something with them.

That's in store for the latter half of 2017: time to come back to my love of writing, art, and music, and dedicate more time to them.

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