the gift of fear

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:40 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I do think that there is value in Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, even though it doesn't work for me. It doesn't work for me on either end: I'm not much good at understanding strangers' intentions, and don't want to spend enough time and attention on strangers to get somewhat better. And I am good at attracting extra attention from security people, even though I don't intend to steal, smuggle, or damage anything. I don't know how much of that is racism, how much is missing communications cues because I'm partly deaf and have not much peripheral vision, especially on the same side as my deaf ear, and how much is behaving oddly because when I am in a crowd of strangers I am spending a lot of energy wishing that I were elsewhere, and hoping to escape with the least possible eye contact, talking, and being touched by strangers. But just by being myself I soak up enough security personnel attention that anyone who does want to steal, smuggle, or damage things should use me as a stalking horse.

Friday evening I was walking to the library with Aiko. I was on the north side of the street, heading east. I saw a couple walking toward me, but there was a break in traffic and I crossed the street before we met. On the south side of the street, Aiko was uneasy. He kept stopping and looking back. I looked back too, and saw the couple that had been on the north side of the street, going west, were now about half a block behind me, on the south side of the street, going east.

Well, people do change their minds and turn around. But Aiko would not settle down, so at the next street I turned south. The couple behind us also turned south, but I was on the east side of the street and they were on the west. I stopped and let Aiko sniff for a while, so I got to the next intersection after them. They crossed to the south side of that street. I did not. I turned east. They also turned east, and continued to walk about half a block behind me, on the other side of the street, for about seven blocks. Then we were in a well-populated area, and I didn't see them again.

I am a short fat old woman, and my hands were encumbered. I had library books in one hand, and a leash and a bag of dog poop in the other. But I was walking a German Shepherd! How did they plan to assault me without getting bit? Also without getting a bag of dog poop in the face? Though it was one of the good bags, and probably wouldn't have burst even if it had hit. Also, I didn't have any money on me, though they didn't know that. I was wearing a fanny pack, which is where my wallet would have been if I was wearing my wallet. I thought about taking my phone out and taking their picture, but they had dropped back far enough by the time I thought of it that it wouldn't have been much of a picture. The fanny pack has the kind of buckle that you squeeze to open. Probably they planned to run up beside me, grab the buckle, and run off with the fanny pack before Aiko could react. They would have got my phone and my housekeys, and could probably figure out where I live from the phone.

Anyway, I do think that there is observable, identifiable behavior that signals that one human being is looking at another human being as prey, and I think Aiko observed and correctly identified it.
thnidu: winged staff with two serpents coiled around it (caduceus)
[personal profile] thnidu

Oh, Lovely: The Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies Is Spreading

First comes the unscratchable itching, and the angry blossoming of hives. Then stomach cramping, and—for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death. In the last decade and a half, thousands of previously protein-loving Americans have developed a dangerous allergy to meat. And they all have one thing in common: the lone star tick.

Red meat, you might be surprised to know, isn’t totally sugar-free. It contains a few protein-linked saccharides, including one called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal, for short. More and more people are learning this the hard way, when they suddenly develop a life-threatening allergy to that pesky sugar molecule after a tick bite.

Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon. For years, physicians and researchers only reported the allergy in places the lone star tick calls home, namely the southeastern United States. But recently it’s started to spread. The newest hot spots? Duluth, Minnesota, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the eastern tip of Long Island, where at least 100 cases have been reported in the last year. Scientists are racing to trace its spread, to understand if the lone star tick is expanding into new territories, or if other species of ticks are now causing the allergy.

Slightly outdated buttons

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:06 pm
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
Before Balticon, I cleared out a lot of button slogans that I didn't think were selling well enough.*

So I've got about a thousand buttons that I have no obvious use for. They're generally in good condition and they're sorted by slogan.

I could just throw them out, but does anyone have any better ideas?

Would anyone like to pick up the buttons? I'm in South Philadelphia. Or I could mail them. I'm estimating the postage at $50 to $100, paid in advance. I'll come up with something more exact if anyone is interested.

*Removing "Free Hugs" was an error. I'll be putting it back in the trays.

reading wednesday

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:55 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

The Heiress Effect, by Courtney Milan.
The conceit of this book is brilliant. She has to stay single, for complicated family reasons, but her plan will stop working if she turns down any reasonable offer, so she has to make her person repellent enough to counterbalance the attraction of her considerable fortune -- without letting anyone see that she's doing it on purpose. I love it when the obstacles in a romance are not stupid! I love comedy of manners, when it puts extra constraints on the protagonist's solution space! Especially when the protagonist using a formidable intelligence and an immense amount of work to seem foolish and ineffectual!
I was disappointed that this book ignores the constraints that don't assist the story it wants to tell. (For example, these unmarried gentlewomen would not go to a dinner-party in a house without a hostess. One of them is accompanied by a chaperone, another is with her sister, and that is adequate for excursions in public places in daylight, but after dark, in a house full of young men -- no. It would not do.) These elements might not move the story forward directly, but they would do a lot to make the societal forces our heroes are working against seem powerful and real.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer. DNF. It isn't a bad book, but the more I read of it the more I found myself resenting the idea that it would be one of the approximately 3000 new books I have time left to read. Its greatest appeal for me is how thoroughly Schumer fights against shame. Read for Tawanda book group.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I put a Climbing Mount TBR challenge on my Habitica To-Do list, but I'm not sure how to tackle it. Two of my book groups are on summer hiatus, so I have room to move. I like [personal profile] melannen's FMK polls, and I keep thinking I could do that too, but when I look at my shelves and ask, "Which of these are you going to read, really?" and "Which of these do you need to keep, really?" my answer is always, "All of them. All. Yes, even that one."
thnidu: Double spiral, spinning out from the empty space at a common center (heyiya-if)
[personal profile] thnidu
From my synagogue:

17 year-old Nabra Hassanen was assaulted and killed early Sunday morning in Sterling, Virginia. This heinous act of violence against a young Muslim woman has transpired during the holy month of Ramadan - and in the wake of increased violence around the world.

We invite you to join your fellow Philadelphians this Wednesday evening, June 21, for an interfaith vigil to honor Nabra's memory and to condemn her killing and the hatred that led to her death. The evening will begin at 8:00 p.m. with remarks from community members.

The vigil will be followed by Maghrib/ Ma'ariv prayers, and a communal potluck Iftar (breaking of the fast) dinner in the park. Water and dates will be provided. All are invited to join us in breaking the fast, even if you are not fasting. People of all faiths are welcome, as are those who do not identify with a religious or faith community. Ours is a table of sacred healing and resistance. By sharing together, we stand against those who would divide us. We will gather for Nabra in the spirit of Rumi’s words:

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

If you plan to join us for the iftar and are able, please bring something to share: snacks or other food not containing pork or shellfish would be welcome. For help deciding what to bring, please email Raquel or Yosef.

Sunset Interfaith Vigil for Nabra & Communal Iftar

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Rittenhouse Square
8PM Vigil / 8:34 Prayers and Iftar

Sponsored by Sacred Justice, (List in Formation and will be updated)

The song in my head and in the “Music:” tag. YouTube 3:01 )
thnidu: Red pen. Text: The red penis the editor's friend; editing mark "insert space" in "penis". from lj:stormsdotter (editor's friend)
[personal profile] thnidu
Letter to AARP:

Your community page treats "kudos" as a plural. It's not. It's from Greek and it means "praise". "One kudo" is absurd, as bad as "One prai" (singular of "praise", isn't it?). So are "two kudos" and "Who kudoed this?" and "Top Kudoed Authors". Even "two kudoses", "Who kudosed…", and "Top Kudosed…" would be better.

kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
Or rather, the lack thereof, because a study had indicated that the cats that live with humans are still not very different from their wild cousins.

“Stonehenge Decoded”

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:13 pm
thnidu: cat staring out at you, photoshopped into wild colors (Pow Wow cat)
[personal profile] thnidu
I was planning to watch Year Million on the National Geographic Channel tonight from 9 to 10. Turned on the TV at 8:56. Year Million was just ending. Feh. These schedules are wholly unreliable.

But now I'm watching Discovery, same channel in the time slot. Tonight's program is "Stonehenge Decoded". Here's the narrator at 9:17 (Mike Parker Pearson, then of the University of Sheffield, is the archeologist whose theories and exploration the program focuses on):

Parker Pearson has found the lost city of the builders of Stonehenge. This is the largest settlement found in northern Europe. From the density of houses he's discovered, Parker Pearson calculates that the population ran into the thousands.
There are hundreds of actors, old, young, and children, dressed in skins as the people of the time.* There is some dialogue, subtitled, which makes me curious about the conlang. Gotta wait for the credits for that. (Just wish I didn't have to mute the commercials.)

* Also dogs, boars, and goats, but no dialogue for them.

Very interesting.

(ca. 9:40) Holy shit! The stones of Stonehenge are joined with carved mortise-and-tenon joints to hold the horizontal lintels in place on the upright sarsens, and tongue-and-groove joints to keep the lintels aligned with each other horizontally. That's Huge amounts of carving. ... And they're showing reenactment of the (reconstructed) engineering by which the stones were hauled to the site, tipped into their holes (all of different depths for the different length of the uprights, to keep the tops level), and pulled upright.
Stonehenge Decoded episodes

Stonehenge Decoded examines British archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson’s ground-breaking theory – one that places this ancient monument at the centre of one the largest prehistoric religious complexes in the world. His team is unearthing surprising new evidence, supporting a radical new vision of Stonehenge and the people who built it.

Just a few kilometres from Stonehenge, the revelations begin as the team uncovers the first evidence of a 4,500 year-old lost settlement. With at least 300 houses, it is the largest Stone Age settlement ever found in northern Europe. At its centre lie the remains of a mysterious second circle. Now, the excavations and radiocarbon dating reveal that this lost monument was in fact a near replica of Stonehenge built of wood - and that both circles stood at the same time.

As the archaeologists investigate how the two may be connected, they make another astonishing find: a 30-metre wide ceremonial avenue made of packed flint, leading away from the second, wooden circle at Durrington Walls. It is the only road of this type found in Britain, and it leads directly to the nearby river Avon. There are more dramatic discoveries to come. Pits filled with animal bones yield clues about the lives of the ancient people who built Stonehenge. Post holes found on a ridge above the river may give new insight into the way they treated their dead—and the role the great stone circle played in their rituals.

(9:45, funny scene with two huge kaiju fighting over a city. Turns out to be part of a car ad, but it's still funny.)

Steven Brust at Balticon

Jun. 19th, 2017 05:30 pm
thnidu: A propellor beanie with an icebag. Smoffing the Filkers, (fanac)
[personal profile] thnidu

Steven Brust at Balticon, T-shirt photo Steven Brust T-shirt Balticon_zpskwc0twop.jpg

One of my most very favorite authors
He was almost as chuffed to meet me as I was to meet him
Ultra-cool wordies shirt



Jun. 19th, 2017 02:44 pm
thnidu: warning symbol, black exclamation mark in yellow triangle (warning)
[personal profile] thnidu
I'm getting a couple of absurd bills from something called Omnisure. They're a scam (look up "Omnisure" on the web, even the Better Business Bureau site). Rather than write them a nasty letter, I'm deciding to ignore them.

He's a sweetheart, calls me Mistress

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:30 am
kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
It seems I can htell Pyewacket to call me "Mistress."

I also tried out the "Tell me something interesting" command, and Google Assistant's interesting fact was that, according to the Smithsonian, there are about ten quitrillion bugs alive on the earth at any one time.

"That's not very interesting," I said (yes, I did actually think it was interesting, but this was an experiment, for science).

"I know. I'm sorry. I get so excited about facts!"

Big surprise: even my smart phone is a Ravenclaw.

I certainly didn't expect this

Jun. 16th, 2017 08:47 pm
thnidu: a dandelion plant, the symbol of filk (filk)
[personal profile] thnidu
On a copyeditors' list I follow, someone asked about scheduling work and the way the current state of the publishing industry causes dry spells and tsunamis in work flow. One tale concluded
I spent one Christmas week wrapping up five books.
Someone commented
Surely we all do that?
and another replied
That's gift wrapping, right?   :-)

And then my head started boiling over, and this bubbled out:
longish poem )

And I've never even liked rap much, let alone done it.

May it be so for us all.

Dear Zindagi

Jun. 16th, 2017 01:37 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I just watched Dear Zindagi and I loved it. I had to stop for a while in the middle because I thought for sure it was going to do something terrible ), but it didn't! Also it showed work, friendship (especially friendship with other women), and family as being foundational to happiness, with romantic love as a joyful addition when you're ready.

Also I found the constant language-switching delightful.

Is there a lot of Bollywood like this? Can you recommend any?

Bet my morning was weirder than yours

Jun. 15th, 2017 07:11 am
kestrell: (Default)
[personal profile] kestrell
Wandering into the kitchen to get some caffeine, my slipper got stuck to something and, when I went to peel whatever it was off, I found that it was a glue trap. More precisely, it was a *giant* glue trap, made up of five glue traps stuck together. And it really did not want to give my slipper back. I finally gave up and went into the bathroom to wash my hands, which is when M. came into the kitchen and paused at the sight of a single slipper stuck to a giant glue trap in the middle of the kitchen floor. So I came back in and explained about how my slipper found the glue trap and M.--who also had no idea why there was a giant glue trap there to begin with--took pity on me and pried my slipper off it using a pair of pliers.

And now I am safely returned to the aerie hoping I don't meet up with that mouse.

feels like Heaven

Jun. 14th, 2017 05:16 pm
thnidu: edited from (smiley)
[personal profile] thnidu
Taking a stroll around my neighborhood-- the first day in a week, it seems, that it's been possible to do so comfortably. Stats )

And, at that, sitting in the cool air-conditioned Mood Cafe sipping a coconut lassi feels like Heaven.

Troll cake

Jun. 14th, 2017 03:37 pm
thnidu: X RATED Food Porn. The X is a crossed fork & knife (food porn)
[personal profile] thnidu
This Baker Makes Internet Trolls Eat Their Words -- Literally
June 12, 2017 11:12 AM ET
Noor Wazwaz

Kat Thek's New York City bakery, Troll Cakes, sends Internet trolls baked goods with their words written on them.

The social media world is heavily populated by trolls — you know, those people who write nasty, mean comments online. Sometimes it can be tempting to respond back, but what if there's a better alternative? Like sending them a cake.... with their words written on it.

New York City baker Kat Thek does just that. She's the founder of Troll Cakes, a bakery and detective agency.

The process is simple. First, customers go to the Troll Cakes site to submit the comment and address of the troll in question. Thek will then bake a cake, write the comment on it using frosting or fondant letters, wrap it up in festive confetti, and send it to the perpetrator.

"When you open it up, [the box] looks like 100 percent good news," Thek laughs. "And then you see a screen grab of your comment, and it says, 'Congratulations! Your Internet comment has been made into a Troll Cake.' "

Don't know the address of your troll? That's where the "detective agency" part of Thek's business comes into play. She offers to do the investigating for you. She will search for the troll's address and send it to his or her home or workplace.

Customers can also send cake orders to the White House. After all, President Trump is tweeter-in-chief. Thek calls it the "Tiny Hands Special" and promises on her site that these cakes are "bigly satisfying."

Thek has designed a cake that included Trump's comment that he draws higher television ratings than did the September 11 attacks.

"That went on a cake," Thek said.

The president's infamous "I don't stand by anything" quote was also iced on a cake, as well as his tweet, "I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke."

Thek's customers can also send cake orders to the White House.

Thek jokes that if the White House is all set for cakes, she doesn't mind sending some to Mar-a-Lago or "wherever else Trump is hanging out."

The self-taught baker was inspired to start this business after she saw a rude comment on Dolly Parton's Facebook that read, "Your momma be so disappointed in you."

"It was infuriating, but also hilarious, because who would actively try to hurt her feelings? It was so ridiculous," Thek said.

And so she put those words on a cake and sent it to that Facebook user.

The Internet is a "bottomless pit of mean things," Thek says, but her goal isn't to "cure the world of pettiness." Thek wants to poke fun and have people imagine what their comments would look like on a cake.

So for those trolls out there, be careful what you write, because you never know — you just may end up eating your own words.

Still too hot

Jun. 13th, 2017 11:33 pm
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
[personal profile] thnidu
85°F (29.4°C) inside. About to take cool shower #5 of the day.

res ipsa loquitur

Jun. 13th, 2017 06:40 pm
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
[personal profile] thnidu

In my apartment about 5:30 this afternoon

Quotation of the day

Jun. 13th, 2017 06:36 pm
thnidu: colorful Hebrew calligraphy: JUSTICE, JUSTICE SHALL YOU PURSUE (Deut. 16:20). © Michael Noyes (justice)
[personal profile] thnidu
In Scott, the court held that sacks of sugar do not fall out of warehouses and crush passers-by without somebody having been negligent along the way.


Hotter 'n Hell

Jun. 13th, 2017 11:13 am
thnidu: a button by from lj:mdlbear. (not depressed - depleted)
[personal profile] thnidu
According to AccuWeather, the temperature here right now is 86°F (30°C for you out there in the civilized world), RealFeel 91°(33). The forecast for today is record high temperatures: high of 96°(36), low 73°(23), no RealFeel prediction.

Meanwhile, my wall thermometer here in my apartment already says 91° (33). I think maybe I better go out to a library for much of the day.

ETA: See my next post but one, Res ipsa loquitur.

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