jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Currently reading Freedom and Necessity, and enjoying it, as expected. One thing I hadn't expected: the print feels tiny. Unsure if this is just a natural result of Getting Old or if it's actually small. There doesn't appear to have been an ebook release, which makes me a little sad.

Gonna be a busy fall, bookwise. Just preordered new books from Kat Howard, Ann Leckie, eBear, and Steve Brust. Need to get on with that Great Big Dragarea Reread prior to late October. At least the eBear won't demand my immediate attention: reading Book One Of A Trilogy is a mistake I try to avoid making when the author is known to write bound book-fragments.

I biked for an hour and a half yesterday, going to a small get-together that may be the kind of thing I'm looking for. Mostly, a good ride, if overly sweaty, and tough going uphill. There's an exhilaration in a steep downhill, though, and a long gentle decline makes for a pleasant coast.

It occurred to me last week that my hip problem likely isn't just from wallet-induced sciatica. It's also possibly a result of babying my right ankle (and hence leg) for several months after I twisted it pretty sharply (CW: depiction of trauma, neither graphic nor permanent). So there's that.

Erin pointed out awhile ago that I do a lot of railing against the Confederacy (sometimes on FB, sometimes in person). I grew up hating everything about the South: the weather, the people, the history, the culture. I've mellowed on that a lot in the last decade or so, but Treason In Defence Of Slavery still gets me wound up. I think it's that it's a reminder of everything I hated about the South. Or maybe just that it's a part of my upbringing that's still acceptable to hate.

And in actual significant news, I've lost a friend over the breakup. One that I know of, I mean. I'd hoped for some compassion and understanding but it was not to be. I'm sad, and a little surprised, but only a little: she's prickly, far more invested in Emily's emotional state, and I suspect skeptical of the whole poly thing anyhow. (A conclusion I draw from sentences like "Since November I've watched you break up with Emily in slow motion.") Losing friends I care about doesn't get any easier. Especially not when they've been good friends and sources of support in the past. Oh well. She's not quite burned the bridge, I guess. She's poured gasoline on the bridge, offered me a book of matches, and walked away. Best I can do is not actually light the fire and be here if and when she changes her mind.

Overall? Still flailing around, still trying to sort out what I want my life to look like and how to make it look like that.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Over the weekend [personal profile] uilos and I went down to the states for a Mouths of Babes show. We ended up in a wine bar in Gig Harbor, WA, which appears to be a high-end waterfront community. It's located southwest of Seattle, across the Tacoma Narrows bridge. As a sometime engineering student this holds serious historical interest for me. I can vouch for the strong gusts of wind on the way back, though luckily the new bridge doesn't actually twist in the breeze.

The show itself was pretty great. Ty is still amazing, and for whatever reason I like Ingrid Elizabeth more live than in studio recordings. "Beehive" is fantastic, and Ty did "Amaze Me" (the 9/11 song) and "Young James Dean" (possibly the most Ty of the Girlyman songs). And of course, of course, "Brighter In the Dark" was written for a friend of Ty's who killed herself last year, which meant that we both sat in the back with tears pouring down our faces.

Yesterday there was ice cream, though no cake.



Today I have:
  • Watered my plant. I mean, this is an ongoing thing, but it's also a thing that makes the world a very tiny bit better, so. (Plant was a gift from a friend, and had died back almost entirely over the summer due to being accidentally starved of water. It's been encouraging to watch the shoots poke up and unfurl into leaves this fall and winter. Any metaphorical similarities to the current life situation of this journal writer are left as an exercise for the audience.)
  • Wrote to Jen Mooney, one of my college profs (RenLit and Tech Writing), to let her know that her classes meant something to me. I keep in touch with her via occasional Facebook comments, but that's not the same.
  • Signed up for Evo, the other Vancouver carshare, because I'm tired of being annoyed by seeing Evo cars around when I'm looking for a car2go.
  • Written an email to my folks that I've been composing in my head for a couple of weeks now, because the political events of the weekend warranted mention.
  • Done a nontrivial amount of actual work for work.
Tonight, laundry and general chilling.

Could be worse.
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
Ross was a friend of mine from Blacksburg (so, from college). We met when he wandered by the boardgame club table at the student club showcase and asked "Is this the Linux User's Group?" After college he worked briefly in North Dakota (or maybe South, I forget), and then moved back to Houston where he was from. We'd talk online occasionally, he came out for the cake and ice cream ceremony, I used to see him at Origins when I went to Origins.

He was anti-Facebook for a long time but last fall he got an account. I hesitated on accepting his friend request. I like Ross in small doses but he's ... a white male programmer from Texas, with most of what that implies.

It turns out that some amount of "what that implies" is being more willing to vote for Donald Trump for President than for Hillary Clinton.

A problem with political rhetoric is that it tends towards the exaggerated. Every election is pivotal; every opposing candidate is unspeakably awful and will bring down the Republic. So when we're faced with someone like Trump, who's so far outside the bounds of "normal" that they can't be seen with a telescope, we have no language to talk about just how bad it is. The attitude seems to be "Sure, people say Trump is bad, but people say Clinton is bad too!" There's not much of a way to get through that, particularly not to that breed of white male programmer.

I am pretty sure Ross is no longer speaking to me. I am pretty much okay with this, I think. This falls into the larger category of "i don't really miss most of my college friends," just ... more immediate.

In happier news, tomorrow I plan to lock myself in an air-conditioned movie theatre all afternoon and evening. (Blood Simple, To Live And Die In LA, and a wuxia that I'm unfamiliar with.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
"... but behind me, my cats are doing a conga line." (Reference)



I've had a new chair at work for about two weeks now. The desks at work supposedly go up and down so they can double as standing desks, only mine doesn't go up high enough to be a comfortable height for standing. I could get risers for it, but then it won't go down low enough to trade off sitting & standing. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I finally got a tall chair and a set of risers for the desk, so I've been a stand-up guy off and on. It's good: standing up means I move around more often and don't get quite so stiff.

I've had this chair for less than two weeks, *at work*, and it's already got cat hair on it.



Posts what I have not written and would like to:
  • Musicking
  • Why Transistor (the video game) Doesn't Work, Narratively Speaking
  • On the Impossibility of Finding an Apartment in This Town
  • Harrison Hot Springs, Again
  • Ask Me Where My Money Goes
  • Burnout Or Just Tired?
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
We're finally watching Treme, David "The Wire" Simon's series about a poor New Orleans neighborhood in the aftermath of Katrina.

Christ. If that storm had hit just a year earlier, before the 2004 election... well. I doubt I'd be in Vancouver, for one thing.

Also, when John Goodman is one of the least interesting parts of your show, either you have an amazing cast or you are criminally underusing John Goodman.



Today:
  • Catbox
  • Call Canada Revenue about missing tax refund Tax return accepted, will finally be processed on Friday.
  • Write to a random internet person Wrote to TWO random internet people! This is, in fact, more soul-crushing than jobhunting is.
  • Jobhunt Nothing new available. I did schedule a final interview for Thursday at a place that it would probably not totally suck to work.
  • Eat a thing Eggs and toast! Of which, one came out fine if v.slightly undercooked, and one overcooked. Still tasty.
  • Viola
  • Organize scattered novel brainstorming notes, preferably into something resembling an outline, or at least a structure.

Right. Back on my head.
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
On the one hand, yay for widespread recognition that the Confederate flag is a horribly racist emblem, even if it took a tragedy to get to that point.

On the other, I didn't really need confirmation that some number (greater than zero) of my relatives and in-laws are racist crackers.

Facebook: where you learn how much you can't stand your family.

snapshots

Dec. 20th, 2014 02:54 pm
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
Xmas is officially done. The hard part anyway, presents wrapped and shipped as necessary. I have had less enthusiasm for this xmas than for any in living memory. Even as a teenager shoved into a confined space with family for dozens of hours on end, I got kinda excited about finding/making the Right gift for friends. This year... meh. Meh all around.

But it's done. And the tree is up, and I've been listening to a bit of xmas music, and the light will come back soon.



Thursday night I tried halfheartedly to run my LG&S game but had no brain and low energy, and ended by calling it about halfway through. Today it occurs to me that I've probably had a low-grade cold since sometime Thursday. I've got what feels like a ball of snot hanging out in my back nasal passages, and I'm vaguely spacey.

If this stays at 'low-grade cold' level and doesn't blossom into a full-bore sinus infection, that will be the first time that's happened in a long time. I never get really seriously hide-under-blankets-with-soup-and-television-for-three-days sick, but I also never have just plain colds either.



The old apartment had a super-fancy hotel across the street. In spring & summer we made a habit of being appalled by the proms and weddings that got hosted there, and of watching the seagull chicks grow up on the roof.

This apartment has a hotel across the street, but it's much less fancy. It's also got an IHOP-style pointy roof, so I doubt it will have seagull chicks.

What it does have, or has for the past few days anyhow, is a bald eagle who's decided it's a great place to hang out. So that's kinda cool.



NYT commenter "Vin" from Manhattan, a couple of days ago:
Look, I can appreciate that it’s a tough decision to normalize relations with a police state whose police forces routinely murder civilians (and whose top political leaders have engaged in torture of prisoners with impunity), but Cuba did the right thing.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Walter Jon Williams on the recent US torture revelations: "So we need to consider whether we are a rogue nation, unaccountable to any law of God or man." No we (you? we. alas) don't. The answer is obvious. The object of power is power, and the object of torture is torture.

On a lighter note...

Famous Author Bios: "Ernest is a writer and a man. He's writing this while eating a rare steak and parasailing."

This Old Man: a mostly-enjoyable, partly-stabbingly-sad exploration of what it's like to be ninety.

Restoring the American Chestnut: "Now here’s the deal: researchers from SUNY-ESF (that’s an environmental science college) have worked for 25 years to develop a true, non-hybrid blight-resistant American chestnut tree... and as of this month, November 2014, they’ve declared success."

My Article On Doing Something I Wouldn’t Normally Do For A Period of Time: "In conclusion: Doing Things I Would Normally Do is existentially horrible, whereas Doing Something I Wouldn't Normally Do For A Period Of Time has brought me great insight into What It Is All About These Days Anyway."

Patented harpoon pins down whale age: "The century-old harpoon fragment was found in May by an Eskimo whaling crew.... The metal projectile can be traced back to an 1879 patent and a narrow window of time in which it was likely to have been fired, indicating that this whale was between 115-130 years old when it died."

A Complete History of the Soviet Union As Told By A Humble Worker, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris: "I am the man who arranges the blocks..."

And because I will still read anything about Robert Moses, Horrible Human Being: 'The Power Broker,' 40 Years Later. Apparently Caro has just finished work on an annotated edition. Hmm.
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
Supreme Court rules Wal-Mart must compensate workers at closed Quebec store: "The store shut down a few months after the 190 workers became the first Wal-Mart employees in North America to be unionized in 2004."

(You may, if you wish, compare and contrast this decision with almost any recent decision by the US Supreme Court.)

Something I've noticed: there are unions in Canada that will actually go on strike. Since I've been here I've noticed: the Post Office, a month after we got here. (Ended badly: the union staged 'rolling strikes' of roughly one spot per day to make a statement while not inconveniencing anyone too much, management responded by locking out *all* postal workers and then blaming it on 'the strike,' and the gov't signed back-to-work legislation.); truckers at the Port of Vancouver, sick of making no money while sitting around waiting for the Port to unload/load. (An agreement was reached; the Port is dragging its feet on implementing its end, and the truckers are making more strike noises.); and BC teachers, currently ongoing.

American individualism is American exceptionalism taken to ridiculous extremes. The idea that helping everyone else get ahead means that everyone else is dragging us down may be the most pernicious I've ever heard. It's certainly up there with "the rich deserve their money" and "work good, pleasure bad."

There's certainly some of that attitude up here, but there's still some leftover pushback against it too. It's nice to see.
jazzfish: "Do you know the women's movement has no sense of humor?" "No, but hum a few bars and I'll fake it!" (the radical notion that women are people)
Screw capitalism, part one:
The Municipal-Industrial Complex Around the World: "So that's how it works: we shovel them boatloads of money. They stick us with substandard products. We fuss and holler, to no avail." Rick Perlstein is the author of Before the Storm and Nixonland, analyses of the rise of modern conservatism via Goldwater and Nixon respectively, which I very much want to read except for how they will only anger and depress me.

Screw capitalism, part two:
Why Marketers Fear The Female Geek: "Yes, excluding people based on demographic data makes sense to a lot of people in marketing. It's considered a best practice and it actually is a pretty reliable way of increasing profit margins."

And a bonus side of screw the US health care system:
Rosemary 'Steerswoman' Kirstein diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was working on launching a Kickstarter campaign that would allow me to quit my day-job and write full time.Unfortunately, yes, that had to go out the window. For the next year, at least. For two reasons:

1. My day-job provides my health insurance. And this stuff is going to be crazy expensive.

2. I could not in good conscience ask people to pre-fund a year off to write when I might spend significant portions of that year too ill to do much of any use.
There is of course nothing to be done about point 2, and she's absolutely right. But, point 1... imagine if this had come up six months from now. Now imagine a) losing a brilliant writer and fantastic human being and b) NEVER FINDING OUT HOW THE STEERSWOMAN SAGA ENDS.

On a brighter note, The Steerswoman is now available as an ebook. It is amazing, and there are three more written and waiting to be converted to ebooks, and three more after that waiting to be written. (Fair warning: Kirstein is averaging about ten years between books, though they tend to be written-and-released in groups of two fairly close together.)



The Plight of Mrs. Beattie: "I've left the archives now and returned to my pedestrian life as a grad student, but the story of Mrs. Beattie keeps sticking in my mind even a month later." Fascinating.

Postcolonial Fantasy and Africa-- Against the Word "Tribe": "Tribe is used for people who trace to large precolonial states, people who never formed states, the followers of a particular local leader, extended kin-groups and people who just happen to live in a particular area."

A couple of weeks ago there was a snowstorm in Cairo. Worth clicking to see the Sphinx at Giza. (I've also seen a photo of the pyramids at Cheops but I can't find it at the moment.) Edit: Fake, via [livejournal.com profile] merseine.

The True History of Merlin (review): "Having got himself embedded in everyone's consciousness as the maker of Britain, Merlin then managed to slip the leash and started popping up in European chronicles as a kind of international Mr Fixit." I may need this book.

The Paris Review interviews Ursula K. Le Guin: "So I [submitted my first novel], and Knopf wrote a lovely letter back. He said, I can't take this damn thing. I would've done it ten years ago, but I can't afford to now. He said, This is a very strange book, but you're going somewhere! That was all I needed. I didn't need acceptance."

This extremely unhappy tiger kitten is being used for science: "Specifically, at the DC Zoo they throw the kittens in the pond to see if they sink."

On Smarm, the opposite of snark. "What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves."

Citation Needed, on why computers start counting at zero: there is a reason why, and it's not the why you think it is. "Whatever programmers think about themselves and these towering logic-engines we've erected, we're a lot more superstitious than we realize. We tell and retell this collection of unsourced, inaccurate stories about the nature of the world without ever doing the research ourselves, and there’s no other word for that but 'mythology'."

("Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration." --Stan Kelly-Bootle)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Happy International The Internet Gets Stupid Day.

On being under the influence at Ikea: "Unaware I was even moving, I have drifted up to a bank of attractive reading chairs, and I find myself ashore among them. I'm beginning to feel high, like the first alarming hints of a psychedelic come-up. Colors become brighter and more fascinating. I feel childlike -- abundant in possibility, un-driven, free-bonding, easily captivated."

What PTSD Is: "[I]n my expe­ri­ence, PTSD doesn’t get fixed. ... Because PTSD isn't a dis­ease, it's a world view."

I Have a Few Things to Say About Adria contains a) an excellent summary of and b) some good commentary on the Adria Richards/PyCon explosion of two weeks ago.

Truncated transcript from [the Prop 8] SCOTUS argument:
SOTOMAYOR: Aside from marriage, do you think the government can discriminate against gays and lesbians?

COOPER: No, that would be wrong.

SOTOMAYOR: Then what the actual fuck are you doing standing up here?
Wright Is Wrong?: "The authoritative Jane's All the World’s Aircraft has reversed course and now recognizes Gustave Whitehead's 1901 flight in the Condor as the first successful powered flight in history, not the Wright Brothers' 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk."

Rollin' Safari: "What if animals were round?"

The Island and Lake Combination. Nice. I believe it was Zarf who said "If you know what recursion is, just remember the answer. Otherwise, find someone who's standing closer to Douglas Hofstadter than you are and ask them."

Prince Rupert's Drop at 130,000 fps. I've been hoping someone would do this since reading about them in, um, that Gorilla Glass article from a few months ago.

Go home pills, you are drunk.

things!

Feb. 28th, 2013 11:09 pm
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Cripes, is it Friday already? (No, not quite, I guess.) Work's been stupid busy all week. Probably was last week too, but I wasn't around for that part. Will write about the rest of Los Cabos later. Have some other stuff in the meantime.

Glass viruses. Beautiful.

Brink Back Postal Banking: "Americans should have a public option for simple banking that could shield them from the most predatory practices and extend saving options to all reaches of society." This... is an idea.

Teach the Controversy t-shirts: so much awesome.

YOU HAD ONE JOB!: like Failblog, but amusing.

The Game Over Tinies. "E is for Ecco, and he was delicious / F is for Frogger, who got too ambitious."

Should men be allowed to vote?: classic snark from Alice Duer Miller, an early twentieth-century suffragist.

Pad Thai: "In between surviving multiple point-blank-range assassination attempts and a failed kidnapping in which he emerged alive from the burning wreckage of a battleship his own air force had just bombed, Pibulsongkram decided that Thailand needed noodles that would advance the country's industry and economy."

We Found Our Son in the Subway: "The story spread like an urban myth: You're never going to believe what my friend's cousin's co-worker found in the subway."

Allan Calhamer, designer of Diplomacy, 1931-2013. No word on whether he was found with a knife in his back. In all seriousness, Dip is a game that I admire greatly, enjoy reading about, and will never, ever, play again. This is not a game to play with your friends unless you are tired of having friends.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tip Your Server and Save the World: "There are two types of people in America: those who have worked in the service industry, and those who have not.... Those who haven't are, virtually without exception, the reason stories like this exist." Yeah. Time to start tipping 20% and rounding up.

Leslie Fish on cats: "About breeding cats for intelligence: it started off as a college Psychology project, and just sort of grew from there." Scary smart cats, including one who invented the lever.

The Reply Given in Arkell v. Pressdram: "This case is well known among lawyers and journalists, especially the phrase 'I refer you to the reply given in Arkell and Pressdram'."

Obituary: John E. Karlin, inventor of the push-buttons on the push-button phone. People have been "calling from a touch-tone phone" for fifty years now.

An amazing photo of someone feeding birds in Krakow. No, really.

Thriving since 1960, my garden in a bottle: "In fact, on the last occasion he watered it Ted Heath was Prime Minister and Richard Nixon was in the White House." I want one. Will have to keep an eye out at thrift stores etc for an appropriate glass jar.

It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being 'It': "Mr. Dennehy and nine of his friends have spent the past 23 years locked in a game of 'Tag.'"

Sharp Suits: "Ad creatives, designers, animators, directors, illustrators and more took time out to dress up their favourite worst feedback from clients, transforming quotes that would normally give you a twitch, into a diverse collection of posters."

If you lose your cellphone, don't blame Wayne Dobson: "An unexplained glitch with at least one cellphone company is directing people with missing phones to [Dobson's] North Las Vegas home." Oh dear.

Random House to Reissue Ruth Chew's Fantasy Oeuvre: "Random House Books for Young Readers has acquired the rights to Ruth Chew’s 29-book canon of middle-grade fantasy novels." Yay! I devoured these when I was in early elementary school, and they're as responsible as anything for my love of fantasy.

did you know how hilarious the patch notes to the sims are: "Sims who are on fire will no longer be forced to attend graduation before they can put themselves out."
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
(With apologies to Kieran Healy)

What will I not do?

Argue politics on the internet.

With whom will I not argue politics on the internet?

Those with whom I disagree about consequences, also known as idiots.

Whom else?

Those with whom I disagree about first principles, also known as evil bastards.

And?

Those to whom I am related, on the rare occasion when they do not fall into the previous categories.

In what circumstances may I argue politics?

When I am talking with people I respect and who respect me.

When will these circumstances arise on the internet?

Not at times when I feel an urge to argue politics.

What will I not do?

Argue politics on the internet.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Scott Lynch responds to a critic of one of his characters: "Why shouldn't middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that 'Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.' I can't think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom."

The squaddie and the squirrel: Soft-hearted soldier who nursed dying baby creature back to health by feeding it every four hours: "Minsk [the squirrel] even accompanies Pankratau, now a taxi driver, as he drives passengers around the city." Adorable.

Argentavis magnificens, Magnificent Argentine Bird: "... with feathers the size of Samurai swords, it rivals some light aeroplanes in size."

Bugs, by Alignment: I would have replaced caterpillars with some variety of spiders, but otherwise, mostly accurate.

My Larry Hagman Story: "The following is the story as told to me by Mr. Hagman and if it isn't true, it oughta be."

How To Be A (Male) Ally: this is a fantastic post.

They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside: the story as advertised contains a great deal of awesome, and yet it's all the little details and side notes that really fascinate me. Like "He built an algorithm that would translate Dante’s Inferno based on the user’s choice of meter and rhyme scheme."

Politics Without Should: "If you’re pro-life, you’d better also be pro-welfare. If you vote pro-life but against welfare, you’re actually pro-child-misery."

Flip All The Pronouns: "... and all the dialog will now refer to Link as a young woman, rather than as a young man." Holy cow.

Wedding Rings for Geeks: some of these are quite clever. I approve.

15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails: Oh my. (Technically safe for work.)

Restaurant Review - Guy's American Kitchen & Bar: "Why did the toasted marshmallow taste like fish?" Yow. (Also as delivered by adorable kittens).

Santa Is a Game People Play: finding the balance between not lying to your kids and not making them playground outcasts.
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
First and foremost, I/we have ESTABLISHED A PLAN by which, once the immigration stuff is done and the income situation is a bit more stable, I can take some unspecified amount of time off. Said time will be used primarily for actual vacation, and also writing, and generally recuperating from burnout. Downside: this is at least a year away, and probably more like two.

This morning I donated to the Chicago Teachers Union, who've gone on strike as of this morning. I have no kids; I'll never have kids; I still think that education "reform" is among the worst things to come out of the last ten (or thirty) years. Bonus reading: Why the Chicago Teachers Union is striking; Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong.

In running news I made it around Lost Lagoon and back home today, for a total of 1.8 miles according to GMap Pedometer, without stopping to walk. 20 minutes running. "Running," rather, not much faster than a walk for the last five-plus, and I remain a crap runner of the "gasping for breath the whole way" variety. Still. It's a thing, and it's faster improvement than I've seen before.

And I clicked the button to list myself as "Going" to a local [REDACTED] event tomorrow night. Eep.
jazzfish: "Do you know the women's movement has no sense of humor?" "No, but hum a few bars and I'll fake it!" (the radical notion that women are people)
Public Statement By the Readercon Convention Committee. tl;dr: we screwed up, and we are fixing it and working on not screwing up again.

Props to the Readercon committee for saying a great many right things. Special props to Rose Fox, who has as far as I can tell been the public face of the Readercon concomm[1] through this and has been absolutely fantastic. Rose, you rock.

[1] The concomm is a bunch of volunteers; the board, who originally responded to Ms Valentine's harassment complaint, is five people elected from the concomm.

Readercon is still at an awkward time of year and in an unpleasant hotel that's far away from amenities... but it's also a good convention. So it's back at the "maybe" level. Reply hazy, ask again closer to next summer.
jazzfish: "Do you know the women's movement has no sense of humor?" "No, but hum a few bars and I'll fake it!" (the radical notion that women are people)
What the hell, Readercon. (tl;dr: con's stated harassment policy of 'zero-tolerance, offenders banned for life' is changed retroactively to 'offenders banned for two years if they're Really Sorry and/or Big Name Fans.')

I don't care how sorry the gentleman in question is, or whether he's learned from his actions, or what. There was an existing policy in place, and choosing to not follow that policy renders suspect any other policies the board may implement.

Not to mention that a harassment policy isn't about punishing or educating the harasser, which is what the board seems to be saying. It's about providing a safe and harassment-free environment for the con attendees.

Be interesting to see if anything changes over the weekend. Based on prior experience with one of the board members (Mr. Van showed up in comments to Genevieve Valentine's original report of harassment and did an excellent job of Not Getting It) I don't really expect it to, but maybe the loud and instantaneous outcry will have some effect.

If not, well. This does make next summer's con choices a little easier.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
On clear days I can see the mountains behind North Vancouver out my window. On cloudy days the inlet's obscured, so it's just the cedars in Stanley Park with a spooky mist behind. Right now I can't even see that far; the fog has taken the Westin tower (no great loss) and all the glass condos except for the closest one. I'm starting to get a bit nervous. If you don't hear from me for a few days send a search party.



Where the End of Mail as We Know It Really Came From: "You really have to give the conservatives credit on this one. It's a damn masterpiece." US as failed state in three, two...

I Just Want to Go on a Walk is worth reading in full. The comments (yes, I know better) also provided this: "People who steal unlocked cars usually still get caught, chased down, (often) shot by police, cuffed, and sent to prison for decades. In NO court of law is leaving a car unlocked an excuse for car theft."

"Why didn't you kick him in the balls?" explores why that's a stupid question to ask someone.

On a lighter note, I was unaware that Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany, was possessed of a sense of humor. (Also, anyone referring to Lord Dunsany in print should use his full name at least once, because it is the second most awesome twentieth-century name I can think of after Sir Rupert Iain Kay Moncreiffe of that Ilk, 11th Baronet.)

Graduate School Barbie (TM): "WARNING: Do not place Grad Student Barbie and Real Job Skipper too close to each other, as there have been several cases of children leaving the room and coming back to find Barbie's hands mysteriously fused to Skipper's throat."

Oldest and Fatherless: The Terrible Secret of Tom Bombadil: "A question: what is the most dangerous place in Middle Earth? First place goes to the Mines of Moria, home of the Balrog, but what is the second most dangerous place? Tom Bombadil’s country."

Squadron Leader Fuchida Mitsuo Liveblogs World War II: December 7, 1941

And while we're on the subject, [livejournal.com profile] xiphias has found what he calls the most awesome photo EVER. I can't really argue.
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
Uncle-in-law C--: "I really liked living in Vancouver, but, you know, you're paying like 40% of your income straight to the government, you never see it."

What I said: "Yeah, and I'm also getting full health care for two people for $110 a month[1]." At which point, irreconcilable differences having been expressed and acknowledged, we went about our business.

What I did not say: "You, with your giant house and your three cars, complaining about taxes while taking public transit to and from work, are half of what's wrong with this country, and the main reason why I will almost certainly never live there again if I have any choice in the matter."

What I also did not say: "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody."

How sad is it that I cannot remember the last time someone prominent stood up and argued that in public?



[1] Fudging a bit: there are things (such as drugs, or chiro, or psychological outpatient counseling, to name three I've run into in the last couple of weeks) that the provincial[2] Medical Services Plan doesn't cover. I'm also enrolled in a supplemental insurance plan that covers a lot of what the MSP doesn't, and the supplemental is paid entirely by work.

[2] In Canadian this word lacks the same overtones of "backwards and country," as in Canadian "province" means "state." Note that "territory" also sort of means "state," except for the ways in which it doesn't.

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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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