foxy

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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foxy

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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foxy

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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foxy

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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foxy

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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foxy

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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foxy

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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foxy

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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