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woman who reads too much

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December 1st, 2016

02:21 am: december prompts
Is there anything you'd like me to write about? I'm not promising to write about certain topics on certain days, because that is not a promise I can keep. But, understanding that I do fall down a lot, and that if I fall down on your topic, that doesn't imply anything wrong with your topic or with how I feel about you, would you like to propose a topic that I will try to write about in December or sometime?

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12:24 am: Catch 'em being good
akirlu suggested that we collectively try to shape Donald Trump's behavior the way animal trainers and nursery school teachers do: shower him with positive reinforcement whenever he moves toward where you want him to be.

I think this strategy could work. Trump is hungry for praise the way some dogs are for food. He'd stand on his nose if that's what it took. But who's got the patience? I find it hard to spend that much time watching my dogs, and I love my dogs; even when they're doing something disgusting, I think they're adorable.

Maybe the Office of Government Ethics does: Ethics Office Praises Donald Trump for a Move He Hasn’t Committed To. (link to the New York Times)

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November 26th, 2016

11:56 pm: Don't Change the Game
A good idea: http://siderea.livejournal.com/1324762.html

Does your experience agree with siderea that
In an important sense, this is just politeness: don't selfishly hijack conversations that were going fine without you to be about what you'd prefer to discuss instead. On the other hand, I doubt anybody has ever in your entire lives suggested that changing a conversational topic is ever impolite, except, you know, this whole "derailing" concept from social justice activism on the internet. And most people are actually pretty terrible at discerning just what the topic is in a discussion, it not being a skill it ever crossed normal people's minds to desire to acquire.
?

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November 21st, 2016

12:48 pm: Paul Ryan and the ACA
ETA: asakiyume called (202) 225-3031 and got through to the survey.

Paul Ryan's phone number, which may or may not lead to a survey about whether to repeal the ACA, is 202-225-0600. I just called twice. The first time, there was no survey, just an a chance to leave voicemail, so I hung up. After a minute to think, I called back; I don't think I pressed a different combination of buttons, but this time I got the survey, pressed 1, and then got voicemail. I said, "My name is Susan Ramirez. My husband worked for Hewlett-Packard for 28 years. He got laid off this month. One of our children is in college, one just graduated. They both have jobs, but they don't have full-time jobs or health benefits. Please don't take affordable health insurance away from people like us."

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11:12 am: fortunately
+ Pest guy says termites are indeed really really rare here, and they wouldn't start colonizing a tree or a shed, they'd start with a heated building.

+ Right before my husband got laid off, we had a structural engineer look over the foundation, inside and out. (We were finally going to try to level the house and then fix the kitchen/bathroom situation.) He wasn't specifically looking for insect damage but if there were termite tunnels I think he would have noticed.

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November 19th, 2016

08:51 pm: fortunately, unfortunately
+ When I bought this house it came with a very big, very old apple tree.
- Which suddenly started to lean.
+ It didn't fall over and hurt anyone.
- Because it was leaning on the shed, which also began to lean: http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/boxofdelights/833604/58217/58217_900.jpg
+ I found a very competent, honest, and kind tree guy who took the tree the rest of the way down without damaging anything else except an old birdhouse where yellowjackets had been nesting.
- He discovered that the tree had not been taken out by old age. It had been killed by carpenter ants or termites. I thought termites didn't live around here, because the winters are too cold and dry, but I believe tree guy would know.

- Tree guy says that I should call an exterminator to treat the house,
- but I'm thinking that the insects would be even more likely to have infested the shed;
- but I can't ask an exterminator to look into the shed until I make it safe, so I don't know where to start.
- Also I am feeling guilty about not having realized that I needed to do something earlier.

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November 17th, 2016

03:50 pm: PSA
The Seattle Review of Books is offering a new SFF column, written by Nisi Shawl:

The Future Alternative Past: our inaugural science fiction, fantasy, and horror column

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12:36 am: an ethical question
Suppose you read a newspaper article about an unjust oppressive thing happening to a kid. Suppose that later, you became possessed by a desire to write fiction about kids figuring out how to protest against injustice and oppression. You thought you'd start with something like that incident you'd read about, but you were mostly interested in how the kids might respond to it: what might they do, to try to change things? What effect could they have? What would people do to try to stop them? Who would help them? How would they feel about the unintended consequences of their actions? And so on.

Eventually you noticed that you had neglected to come up with a different inciting incident. In fact, a lot of what you had come up with was pretty firmly rooted in the details of the actual thing that happened to some actual child. Because the actual thing was pretty much perfect, for your story. You didn't want to give up any part of it.

Would it be enough to change the name, age, sex, and nationality of the kid the incident happened to? Or would you still feel like you were stealing someone else's story?

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November 15th, 2016

09:48 am: For voters in the US
So Trump is testing how far he can pull the Overton window to the alt-right. You have an opportunity to provide some resistance.

This post explains why and how to call on your representatives to protest the appointment of Steve Bannon as Trump's top advisor:
I'm incredibly sorry, but it looks like you need to make phone calls

This series of tweets explains why this is important: https://twitter.com/pookleblinky/status/798334846842142722

This comment gives a script: http://rydra-wong.dreamwidth.org/457613.html?thread=5084045#cmt5084045

Resistance is the secret of joy. So is this otter.

ETA what I said: "My name is Susan Ramirez, I live at [redacted], I voted for Jared Polis in last week's election. I am calling to ask Representative Polis to protest the appointment of Steve Bannon, a self-declared white supremacist, as Donald's Trump's chief strategist. This appointment tells Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan that they have the ear of the next president. I would like my representative to speak out against that."

ETA Cory Gardner's intern said he'd pass the message along.

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November 11th, 2016

05:10 pm: hope in the dark
My library's website's featured books this week are

10 steps to mastering stress : a lifestyle approach
The book of joy : lasting happiness in a changing world / His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams
Don't give up, don't give in : lessons from an extraordinary life / Louis Zamperini and David Rensin
Instructions for a broken heart / By Kim Culbertson
Meditation made easy : more than 50 exercises for peace, relaxation, & mindfulness

Do you think they're trying to tell us something?

Rebecca Solnit, author of "Men Explain Things to Me" and A Paradise Built in Hell, is offering the ebook of her Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities free, for four more days.

https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/791-hope-in-the-dark?discount_code=FREEHOPEINTHEDARK
Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.
I wrote this book in 2003 and early 2004 to make the case for hope. The text that follows is in some ways of its moment—it was written against the tremendous despair at the height of the Bush administration’s powers and the outset of the war in Iraq. That moment passed long ago, but despair, defeatism, cynicism, and the amnesia and assumptions from which they often arise have not dispersed, even as the most wildly, unimaginably magnificent things came to pass. There is a lot of evidence for the defense.


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November 8th, 2016

09:13 pm: eating many chocolate
how can this be
how can this be
how can this be happening

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November 5th, 2016

12:51 am: Serenity Rose, Vol. 1: Working Through the Negativity
Serenity Rose, Vol. 1: Working Through the Negativity, as told to Aaron A

This comic book hits the creepy/cute note that a lot of young teens and preteens love perfectly. The art is dark and crowded, but different styles of lettering and speech balloons make it possible to keep track of who is saying what. Variations in format keep adding bits of story from different perspectives: a newspaper article, a school essay, advertisements, Serenity's memories, and fantasies, and comics, and voiceovers from The Narrator. I usually love texts with a Narrator, but this one sneers so much at almost every character that I do not care for him.

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November 3rd, 2016

01:51 am: wednesday reading
Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, by Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt is weird, smart, and funny, and so is this book. It fits oddly in Biography, where my library classifies it, but my favorite pieces are the more memoirish ones. Patton Oswalt is really good at putting into words the way he perceived the world as a child.

There is a lot of gross-out humor, which I suppose is useful to a standup comedian: you want to have some kind of effect on your audience, and this is a reliable way to get some. I throw up easily, always have, so I work hard at not letting my imagination go to work on disgusting imagery. Pines are good. Snow. Rocks. If you'd like to skip the gross-out parts, skip "Punch-Up Notes" and "Those Old Hobo Songs, They Still Speak to Us", and maybe also "Chamomile Kitten Greeting Cards".

A sample: There's a chapter of Oswalt wallowing in contempt for himself and everyone around him which ends "…and thought about how much I suddenly missed my grandma Runfola."
The next chapter is titled "Mary C. Runfola Explains Her Gifts" and it begins
EIGHTH BIRTHDAY
A picture of Chuck Yeager signed to someone named "Jimmy"
Grandma Runfola: Well I know how much you liked that Space Battles movie. And I thought--yes, all right, dear, yes, Star Wars. So anyway, I was at this rummage sale and they had a table--well, one man there had a table, and I don't think he was with the rummage sale people because he had his table set up a little bit off to the side. Well, he had two tables. One table was all these photographs of celebrities. And the other table had a large beach towel over it. And I couldn't see what was under the beach towel but I was standing there looking at the different pictures and every now and then a young man would come up to the man selling pictures. And all of these young men either had these really close crew cuts or blond hair and they looked like if a punch in the face could get up and walk around and wear clothing. And the man selling pictures would let them lift the towel and it looked like all these knives and Nazi stuff. And the punch-in-the-face men would buy a knife or a patch. Maybe they were actors buying props for a stage show.
Oh, but anyway, Chuck Yeager. Well, you liked Sp--yes, dear, Star Wars. Well you liked that movie so much and did you know Chuck Yeager was kind of a space pilot, like that Han Solo fellow? Oh, yes, I know Han Solo, your grandmother didn't just fall off the pickle truck. Han Solo and Mr. Spock and Robbie the Robot and everyone. Well, the signature meant that Chuck Yeager actually held this photo, which makes it even more valuable.

If you like his sense of humor, which I mostly do, you will enjoy this book. If you don't know it, I don't think this is the place to start.

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October 19th, 2016

08:55 pm: speaking of tomatoes
Newt loves tomatoes. I wanted a picture of him eating a tomato, so the last time he picked one, I took it away:2016-09-11 16.41.18

And then gave it back. But the taking-away part worried him enough that he had to devour the whole thing in two bites:2016-09-11 16.41.30
2016-09-11 16.41.33
2016-09-11 16.42.02
(That foot walking away looks Seussian!)

"I am the rat terrier
Who will eat anything
I eat stuff
Like it's my job
And if you ask me
If I ate anything
I'll just tell you
That I eat anything."

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02:28 pm: tomatoes
Low of 31 degrees F tonight. After that, at least two more weeks above freezing. I have picked everything that is ripe enough. There are still some orange and many full-size green Roma-type tomatoes. Would you pick everything and call it a summer, or cover and hope?

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October 18th, 2016

10:22 pm: free will astrology
Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
During the final ten weeks of 2016, your physical and mental health will flourish in direct proportion to how much outworn and unnecessary stuff you flush out of your life between now and October 25. Here are some suggested tasks: 1. Perform a homemade ritual that will enable you to magically shed at least half of your guilt, remorse, and regret. 2. Put on a festive party hat, gather up all the clutter and junk from your home, and drop it off at a thrift store or the dump. 3. Take a vow that you will do everything in your power to kick your attachment to an influence that's no damn good for you. 4. Scream nonsense curses at the night sky for as long as it takes to purge your sadness and anger about pain that no longer matters.

*

I'm declaring Newt an honorary Scorpio. He lost most of his incisors today, which should be good for his physical and mental health.

Aiko has a new wonder drug, Apoquel, for his allergies. $1.30 per pill. Two pills a day for 14 days, then one a day forever. If it works, it's worth it.

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October 12th, 2016

05:36 pm: sales tax followup
I got a reply to my query to the science museum.

I wrote: "Science and culture are a public good, and should get some public funding. But sales taxes are regressive. They take a larger proportion of the income of people who already can't afford your tickets. If Issue 200 passes, will you do anything for the people who are supporting you through taxes but not through ticket sales or memberships?"

and the executive director replied:

"Dear Susan,

Thank you for contacting FCMoD with your question about Ballot Issue 200.

If the Larimer County SCFD ballot initiative is adopted by the voters, FCMoD would anticipate being able to increase outreach to our school partners and increase accessibility for low-income families through our Opportunity Program. You may not be aware that we have had a long-standing program that partners with local social service agencies to provide low-income families with free access to the museum. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to meet the demand, and hope that the SCFD funding will help us fill the gap."

I think that's a pretty good answer.


Tonight I can go to the classics book group, which is always interesting, and tonight is discussing Dracula. Or, at the same time, Connie Willis will be talking and then signing books. Both are in walking distance though it is quite cold. Which would you choose?

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October 9th, 2016

01:39 am: sales tax
My county is considering creating a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, to be funded by adding 0.1% to the county sales tax. The text of the proposition is here:

http://onyourballot.vote411.org/race-detail.do?id=14981883

Scientific and cultural facilities are public goods, and should get some public money, but sales taxes are regressive and bad. I can't decide what I should do. I didn't sign the petition to get it onto the ballot, but now that it's on, voting it down would feel like rejecting the idea of public support for science and culture.

But sales tax! Surely science and culture as a public good shouldn't take a larger share of poor people's income than rich people's.

Advice?


ETA: I sent this message to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (a very nice science museum; I had a family membership back when they were much smaller and poorer, and my kids were smaller and lived with me):
Subject*
Ballot Issue 200
Message*
Science and culture are a public good, and should get some public funding. But sales taxes are regressive. They take a larger proportion of the income of people who already can't afford your tickets. If Issue 200 passes, will you do anything for the people who are supporting you through taxes but not through ticket sales or memberships?
I'll let you know if I hear back from them.

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September 29th, 2016

01:30 am: reading wednesday
On Wednesday! But not from this Wednesday. I opened the post window to write about something else and found this.

• What are you reading?

This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. I love the art; everyone has their own face, so real and individual that if I met these people on the street I would recognize them. What it focuses on and what it looks away from feel appropriate to that one summer when you are coming to grips with the fact that boobs apply to you -- not some future you, who will have become a woman and understood all those things that you will understand when you're older, but the real you, the you that you are.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Audiobook of Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut, read by Stanley Tucci. I just wanted Stanley Tucci to read me a bedtime story. I was delighted to find Breakfast of Champions still good! Still sexist, yeah, but 70% less annoying than Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. Maybe because Vonnegut isn't kidding himself that he understands women? The biggest change it has undergone is that thirty years ago, "asshole" and the n-word were about equally shocking.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee, for SF book group.


Checked out from the library:

This one summer / Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki.
Deathless / Catherynne M. Valente.
Six-gun Snow White / Catherynne M. Valente ; with illustrations by Charlie Bowater.
The eyes of the dragon : a story / by Stephen King ; with illustrations by David Palladini.
A man called Ove : a novel / Fredrik Backman.
The grand Sophy / Georgette Heyer.

The hunger games [videorecording]
Man up [videorecording] /
Far from the madding crowd [videorecording] /
Fortitude [videorecording] /
Deadpool [videorecording] /
Orphan black. Season three /

Dogs : a startling new understanding of canine origin, behavior, and evolution / Raymond Coppinger and Lorna Coppinger.
Dog tricks : fun and games for your clever canine / Mary Ray, Justine Harding.
Detroit City is the place to be : the afterlife of an American metropolis / Mark Binelli.
Zombie spaceship wasteland : a book / by Patton Oswalt.
Second reading : notable and neglected books revisited / Jonathan Yardley
Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail / Cheryl Strayed.
When breath becomes air / Paul Kalanithi ; foreword by Abraham Verghese.
Being mortal : medicine and what matters in the end / Atul Gawande.

Eyes bigger than my... eyes, I guess?

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September 15th, 2016

03:38 pm: go or no?
I just heard about this movie, Captain Fantastic, which is extremely relevant to my interests. It is still playing at one theater. The theater is within walking distance. (I don't have a car right now.) Unfortunately, today is the last day and there is only one showing, at 8:50, so I'd be walking home at 11:00. Is it worth it?

We saw Kubo and the Two Strings with our daughter when she was visiting and we give it three thumbs up. Its beauty is definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

August 25th, 2016

07:22 pm: Oh, you-- Mother Hubbard!
Great British Bake Off is back!

Last week, when GBBO was not yet back, I watched the Big Fat Quiz that Sue Perkins was a contestant on (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9nQPO4xwAs). She mentioned having to talk to a man who was "so boring, my eyes were double-glazing over." I think that joke is perfect. I can't decide whether it would still be perfect if Sue Perkins didn't wear glasses.

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August 9th, 2016

01:38 am: a book list
A list, from [personal profile] firecat, of 60 SF books, which I have resorted into three groups:

I've read these:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Synners by Pat Cadigan
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
The God Stalker Chronicles by P.C. Hodgell
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
God's War by Kameron Hurley
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
Farthing by Jo Walton
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

I have not read these, but have read something else by the author:

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Tithe by Holly Black
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
King's Dragon by Kate Elliott
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

I have not read these:

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
Survival by Julie E. Czerneda
Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff
Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz
Ash by Malinda Lo
Warchild by Karin Lowachee
Legend by Marie Lu
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna
Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
City of Pearl by Karen Traviss

I think this says that I am old. The newer a book is, the less likely I am to read it.

Is there a book in the first group you'd like me to review?
Is there a book in the second or third groups you think I should read?

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August 7th, 2016

10:11 pm: about not writing again
The card not shown but at the center of the cross, represents the atmosphere surrounding the central issue. Daughter of Wands (Radha), when reversed: Unfulfilled potential.

The card visible at the center of the cross represents the obstacle that stands in your way - it may even be something that sounds good but is not actually to your benefit. Nine of Stones (Material Gain), when reversed: Misusing material gain. Greed.

The card at the top of the cross represents your goal, or the best you can achieve without a dramatic change of priorities. Five of Stones (Material Difficulty): Wintry times. Money troubles. Illness. Isolation.

The card at the bottom of the cross represents the foundation on which the situation is based. Two of Cups (Love): Relationship. Possibly, the need to make a commitment.

The card at the left of the cross represents a passing influence or something to be released. Six of Cups (Happiness), when reversed: The happy moment may be passing. Not recognizing happiness. Unbalanced or excessive behavior.

The card at the right of the cross represents an approaching influence or something to be embraced. Three of Stones (Work): Work. Satisfaction.

The card at the base of the staff represents your role or attitude. Two of Swords (Peace), when reversed: Disruption. Seek tranquility within.

The card second from the bottom of the staff represents your environment and the people you are interacting with. Ace of Swords, when reversed: Anger. Aggression. Distorted thinking.

The card second from the top of the staff represents your hopes, fears, or an unexpected element that will come into play. Ten of Swords (Ruin), when reversed: Troubles passing. Relief. Need to rest.

The card at the top of the staff represents the ultimate outcome should you continue on this course. Five of Swords (Defeat): An overwhelming situation. Need to hold onto principles until the time comes to make a change.

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August 5th, 2016

01:01 am: accessible schoolbussing
How do kids who use wheelchairs get to school? Do schoolbuses normally have ramps or lifts? Does it depend on how rich the school district is?

Is it still common for there to be a different bus for kids with special needs? Is "shortbus" still a slur that elementary school kids would understand?

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August 4th, 2016

09:35 pm: about not writing
The Shadow Truth spread provides insight into your attitudes and hidden feelings. This spread is used when you are having trouble confronting something, or fear that you are concealing something from yourself.

The card in the center represents the attitude you assume. Eight of Staves (Swiftness), when reversed: Bewilderment. Awe. Temporary immobility.

The card to the right represents the thoughts and feelings that underly your attitudes. Nine of Swords (Cruelty): Revenge. Excessive or violent response to a problem. Jealousy.

The card at the top represents how your attitude is evolving and will evolve in the future. Page of Coins, when reversed: An unrealistic deluded state of mind. Rationalizations. Pseudoscience.

The card to the left represents how others perceive your attitude. Ten of Cups (Satiety), when reversed: Emotional turbulence. Unrequited love. Family disagreements.

The card at the bottom represents what you cannot confront or are hiding from yourself. The World, when reversed: World out of balance. Incompleteness, Vain striving, Gracelessness.

Your strength seems to make some people uncomfortable. I don't want that to become a problem for you. Maybe you could get away with toning down your potency at other times, but not now. It would be sinful to act as if you're not as competent and committed to excellence as you are. But having said that, I also urge you to monitor your behavior for excess pride. Some of the resistance you face when you express your true glory may be due to the shadows cast by your true glory. You could be tempted to believe that your honorable intentions excuse secretive manipulations. So please work on wielding your clout with maximum compassion and responsibility.

*

Lowest common denominator

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July 29th, 2016

06:02 pm: osprey cam
http://explore.org/live-cams/player/charlo-montana-osprey-nest

Thanks to [personal profile] telophase.

The raptor rehab I volunteer at had to euthanize an osprey fledgling last week. It had gotten one foot tangled in plastic baling twine, so badly that the foot was almost completely amputated when it was brought in. Apparently ospreys love that baling twine for building nests. They also love utility poles for building nests on. The power company puts up nesting platforms nearby, to deflect them from the utility poles they build on. They will send someone up to remove all the plastic baling twine every year, as long as we call to remind them every year; the power company is well-meaning but forgetful. I think it is an institutional memory problem: you explain it to the person in the job, who remembers, but it never gets incorporated into any specific job's responsibilities, so when that person moves on the thing about the baling twine gets forgotten.

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July 27th, 2016

12:34 am: regrets by proxy
I asked my cousin Vickydali, who has lived in New York pretty much all her adult life, whether she has seen Hamilton. No, she said, you can't get tickets for that for a year. I thought you might have heard of it before it got big, I said. She had, she said; her cousin on her father's side, who still lives in Puerto Rico, came to New York in order to see it. Vickydali loves musicals, and is interested in the success of fellow Nuyoricans, but -- a *rap* musical? Probably not for her, she thought.

I sent her links to Wait For It and The Room Where It Happens. I wonder whether the infatuation will take hold.

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June 27th, 2016

10:45 pm: No pressure, no diamond. No grit, no pearl. No cocoon, no butterfly. All these clichés will be featured themes for you during the next 12 months. But I hope you will also come up with fresher ways to think about the power and value that can be generated by tough assignments. If you face your exotic dilemmas and unprecedented riddles armed with nothing more than your culture's platitudes, you won't be able to tap into the untamed creativity necessary to turn problems into opportunities. Here's an example of the kind of original thinking you'll thrive on: The more the growing chamomile plant is trodden upon, the faster it grows.

The card not shown but at the center of the cross, represents the atmosphere surrounding the central issue. Two of Rods (Dominion): Established power and influence over others. Setting goals and a vision for the future. Coming to grips with the impact of past decisions, considering the current state of affairs, and developing a plan of action. Responsible leadership.

The card visible at the center of the cross represents the obstacle that stands in your way - it may even be something that sounds good but is not actually to your benefit. The Magician: Mastery over word, mind, and matter. The ability to turn ideas into actions, handle problems, and control one's life. The initiation of new projects, great works, or a new way of life. Eloquent and moving communication. Arcane and eldritch technologies.

The card at the top of the cross represents your goal, or the best you can achieve without a dramatic change of priorities. The Judgment, when reversed: Procrastination and indecision. Disillusionment and the inability bring a matter to conclusion.

The card at the bottom of the cross represents the foundation on which the situation is based. Queen of Cups, when reversed: The dark essence of water, such as a deep and foreboding lake: Discomfort with the worlds of mind and matter, leading to a retreat to the spiritual. The embrace of negative relationships, driven by the desperate fear of being alone. Devotion to fantasies and daydreams, to the exclusion of practical skills or the pursuit of knowledge. Insecurity leading to dishonor, vice, and undue susceptibility to outside influences.

The card at the left of the cross represents a passing influence or something to be released. The Tower: Unforeseen catastrophe. An abrupt change, perhaps leading to a new lifestyle and enlightenment. May indicate a broken relationship, divorce, or failure in business or career.

The card at the right of the cross represents an approaching influence or something to be embraced. Five of Rods (Strife): An intense struggle motivated purely by the love of competition. A state of seeming chaos driven by endless small disputes and complications. A hotly contested race, debate, game, or other challenge. A stressful situation that brings out the best in the participants.

The card at the base of the staff represents your role or attitude. King of Pentacles, when reversed: The dark essence of earth behaving as air, such as a diamond: An unyielding businessman, with a gift for identifying weakness and exploiting it for personal gain. One well informed about material affairs, but ignorant of larger, more pressing issues. A blind devotee of business as usual, unconcerned with the unintended results, and contemptuous of new ideas. A person full of greed and avarice, easily corrupted by luxury or the temptations of the flesh.

The card second from the bottom of the staff represents your environment and the people you are interacting with. The Hierophant, when reversed: Authoritarianism. Inflexible and dogmatic thinking. A calcified old regime. Bad or incompetent advice. Inability to hear a higher or inner voice, or pretending to hear it for personal gain.

The card second from the top of the staff represents your hopes, fears, or an unexpected element that will come into play. Seven of Swords (Futility): An opportunity to withdraw from a hopeless situation and fight another day. Disengagement from a struggle you should never have been involved in. A desperate attempt to resolve a matter without conflict. The use of cleverness or outright deception to turn the tide in your favor.

The card at the top of the staff represents the ultimate outcome should you continue on this course. The Empress, when reversed: Stifling matriarchal influence. Unhappiness, selfishness, poverty and disruption of the home or family. Indecision, paranoia, and jealous rage. Sterility.


Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic

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June 23rd, 2016

02:41 am: reading wednesday
• What are you reading?

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Claire North. I find Harry's predicament interesting, but not himself. I probably wouldn't finish if it weren't for SF bookgroup.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson. Says interesting things about performance art.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins, for Tawanda bookgroup, this Sunday. I read it decades ago, but I appear not to have a copy, and neither does my library. I suspect I will find that the Sexism Fairy has chewed through this book like a colony of silverfish.

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June 20th, 2016

01:02 am: mixed emotions
My dad died a few weeks ago. I didn't go. I would have wanted to forgive him, if he wanted to be forgiven, but more likely he would not have been able to resist one last opportunity to be cruel. He really enjoyed being cruel. And he never, when I knew him, ever wanted forgiveness.


Today siderea asked:
Quick poll for people who identify as geeky, engineers, scientists, and/or programmers:

Please comment:

1) How did you first get into geek stuff?
2) At what age?
3) At that time, what was your gender presentation, and if different your sex?
4) Your current age.

I answered:
My dad brought home The Hobbit, when I was five. He read me the first few pages and then gave me the book. Followed by a lot more fantasy and science fiction, and Star Trek, and Star Wars when it came out -- we didn't often go to movie theaters, but for that we did. I was a girl. I had an older brother and a younger sister, and we were all smart, but I was the precocious reader, and I was the one he shared his interests with. I am 52 now.


I loved him. I'm still angry. It's complicated.

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