silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
I welcome all of the following types of comments on ANY of my entries:
  • Single or two word comments, e.g. , woo!, yay, yes, no, please, thanks, absolutely, agreed, seconded, so much, no way, etc.
  • "+1" or Facebook style "like".
  • Otherwise brief comments, e.g. single sentences.
  • A comment that is a punctuation mark(s) to let me know you read, e.g. a period, an asterisk.
  • A comment that is a punctuation mark(s) to express your response, e.g. an exclamation mark or question mark.
  • A comment that is an emoticon(s) to express your response, e.g. \o/, <3, :), :(, :-D, :-P, etc.
  • Long, wordy comments. Rambling is totally okay.
  • Comments and links on related topics.
  • Comments on single links, entities, paragraphs, topics, or words in the entry. I throw out a lot of things each entry, and I don't expect anyone to have to come up with a coherent comment on each and every one of them to comment.
  • Sequential commentary. It's totally okay to comment about one thing as you read it, then another thing in a separate comment, then a third thing after you've chewed on it for a while and feel ready to talk about it.
  • Incoherent comments. It’s all good. I would rather have you here and showing interest,, even if it's just a *flail*, than for you to stay silent because you are afraid or unable to get the perfect comment out.
  • Talking amongst yourselves in the comments is fine. I like creating a place where people get to interact!

I also welcome:

  • Comments on older entries, access-locked or public.
  • Comments on VERY OLD entries, access-locked or public. I have many years of archives.
  • Comments from people who are not subscribed to me.
  • Comments from people who I’ve never met.
  • Comments from people who haven’t talked to me in awhile.
  • Comments from people who’ve never talked to me.
  • I like knowing the provenance of new commenters. If you're new, I'd love to know where you came from and what brought you here.


My great anxiety is that there's nobody out there and I'm shouting into the wind. If you’re feeling like you want to comment with something, feel free to comment with what feels good and comfortable to you, whether that’s leaving a !!! or an essay. If you don't have the spoons for any comment, that's okay, too. No pressure, no obligations.

How I reply to comments:
  • I mostly try to reply to comments.
  • I normally try to reply to comments as soon after they arrive as I can.
  • My comments will probably try to elicit more discussion and longer-form commentary. Part of it is my professional training, part of it is because I like discussions.
  • You are never obligated to reply to a reply, nor to write longer-form than you wish.
  • If you would like a response to a comment, I encourage you to let me know. “I would appreciate a response to this if possible,” etc. is totally fine with me.
  • Absentminded. If I have forgotten to reply to something you want a reply to, a poke is totally okay.


Linking to my entries:
  • If it’s public, it’s fair game.
  • It’s access-locked, ask me.
  • Please do not archive my work without asking me first.
  • If you do link to me elsewhere, it warms my heart if you tell me where you linked, but it's not a requirement.
  • If something I linked or wrote inspired you, it warms my heart if you link me to it. Also not a requirement.


Transformative works:

As of the time of writing this (02013-09-09), the content of my blog is licensed CC-BY-SA (3.0 Unported), which says that if you use my work for something, your work should attribute me (the user name and a link back to my blog is usually sufficient) and your work should also be licensed under a license similar to the Attribution-Sharealike license. The stuff I link to is not governed under this license and may have additional requirements for you to use.

Adding and access:

If you want to add me, go ahead! Please feel encouraged to do so.

I like new subscribers. I also respect access-locks - if something you created is That Awesome, I'll ask for permission before excerpting or posting elsewhere.

I may not add you back - I tend to evaluate based on what's available on your entries page. If you're mostly access only, it may take some comments or a conversation in a third space before I have an idea of whether I want to subscribe. If your journal is a repository for your fiction efforts, I may not add you back, because I do not have near enough time to properly read anyone's fiction as a part of my daily list crawl. I would probably enjoy it, if I had the time.

I don't give access, generally. For one, nearly everything posted is public, so you're not missing out on anything by not having that access. If I do post something under access-lock, it is probably something intensely personal, and so I'd be hand-selecting who I want to see it.

(This idea stolen and modified from [personal profile] trascendenza, who first broached it in their own journal when talking about commenting culture and their own anxieties.)
silveradept: A representation of the green 1up mushroom iconic to the Super Mario Brothers video game series. (One-up Mushroom!)
Both things I said during my work shift yesterday...

"Well, that's the first time anyone has told me I have junk in the trunk."

And

"Is that Princess Cadence on roller skates?!"

(It was.)

What do you think the context for each of these lines was?
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
As many of your have already discovered, there's a thread on that love meme thing going around with my user name on it. Your supportive comments have been excellent ammunition against the idea that I have had zero effect on the universe and will become a forgotten entity. I still need a working framework on how to not be terrified at the reality of legacy and historicity, but thank you all the same for your comments.

I have become enamored with Friendship is Magic. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my Best Pony is Pinkie Pie. Significant Other's is Twilight Sparkle, whose negative qualities I identify too much with to be a proper Best Pony. If I am fortunate, perhaps I will be able to get caught up in time.

I have entirely too many links to go through. And chapters to write on my analysis project. And games to play. I do not have enough time for all of these things. Grr, argh.

Also, I am reading [personal profile] amarie24's thoughts about Avatar, the Last Airbender, which are excellent in their analysis. This is oddly combining with Ponies above, such that I am somehow casting various ponies into their Avatar world counterparts.

Rainbow Dash is by far the easiest to cast - she's Zuko in the original and Korra in the sequel. Their shared hothead nature and lack of preparation makes it easy. (No, Rainbow Dash is not an airbender, despite being a pegasus in the source.)

Next easiest is Applejack - she's a Beifong in both of them, first Toph, then Lin in the sequel. Hard-working, stubborn, well-connected with the earth - yep, that's it.

Pinkie Pie is a little more difficult, but the prankish nature and desire to befriend everyone makes her Aang in the original and Bolin in the sequel. Pinkie Pie would make a most interesting Avatar, that's for certain. Her Reality Warper powers would be up to 11. Maybe in the same level as Discord?

Fluttershy is difficult. There's nobody that's really shy in the Avatar stories, so we have to go off that iron core that only comes out when she's put under pressure. That suggests Katara, but Katara doesn't wait until everything is on the line before showing her hand. No, it seems best to make Fluttershy into Suki, leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, for the original, and then Asami, the Future Industries industrialist, for Korra.

Rarity is also difficult, as her fashion interest doesn't immediately translate, but she's also exacting in her requirements of herself, and capable of meeting those requirements, even if she does occasionally go off the rails into drama territory. She's also got a voracious interest in her chosen profession, so I'm going to slot Rarity in as Katara for the original and Jinoora for the sequel.

Which leaves us with Twilight Sparkle, who is incredibly strong in her element, determined, but also obsessive, neurotic, and prone to panic for no good reason. Her best fit would actually be Azula, but if we have to keep it on the heroic side, then Twilight Sparkle best fits in as...Cabbage Guy. Heh. It's not actually easy to put in an otherwise competent but super OCD character into the hero team. Until you get to Korra, that is, and then it's quite clear that Twilight Sparkle is Tenzin.

Why not put Twilight as Sokka? Because Spike is Sokka, right up through the projecting masculinity and being regularly overshadowed by others, despite being quite good at what he does as well. Spike translates to Mako in Korra, for similar reasons.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders in Korra round out the rest of Tenzin's family - Sweetie Belle is Ikki, Scootaloo is Milo, and Apple Bloom is Pemma. (Or possibly the very newest of the family, grown up some.) In the original Avatar, they might substitute wherever kids are needed.

And then there's Princess Troll, err, Celestia, who is clearly the trickster mentor with a much bigger perspective on everything, trying to guide their student along to the best possible outcome. Celestia is Iroh in the original, and can be either Bumi or Toph in the sequel. I'm leaning toward Toph, myself.

Princess Luna is a bit trickier to handle, mostly because she doesn't show up a lot. As a Dream Eater and Princess of the Night and the Moon, though, she can comfortably be Kanna or Yugoda, the woman Katara learns some of the healing properties of waterbending from. In Korra, Luna might be best as Avatar Won, or possibly the spirit of Rava, (which could technically apply backward, even though we don't meet Rava in the original series) but there aren't many places to put in the Princess.

One other thing rattling around in my head - that a lot of projects, fandoms, and parts of society that take the idea of "fics or it didn't happen", or that only those who produce tangible objects matter. When at Open Source Bridge, there are lots of presentations that were talking about how to get non-coders into open source projects by having them do documentation or human interactions, and to value those contributions as much as the ones that provide code. Creative endeavors have one or two names as the headliners, but if you watch their credits, read their acknowledgements, or think about the corporate structures where they operate (or don't), you realize that a whole lot of people do impressive work over their lives, but not necessarily getting credit or their names in lights for it. It's the House Hufflepuff issue again, and it's rattling around because it's touching on an existential crisis and source of anxiety for me about leaving some mark on the world, about a profession that does great work without necessarily getting a lot of recognition, and all those sorts of things that lead to to the conclusion that, well, it's not likely that anyone is going to remember me in a few generations. These are problems, though, that I would like to either not think about, because they have no answers, because they're only going to be sources of anxiety, or because they've been replaced with a plan and/or overarching goal that will be long-term enough as to focus the attention for years, instead of letting my mind spin its wheels. It's a shift from earlier in life, because there was a plan - get through school, get job, get financial security, and so on. As with all battle plans, it didn't survive contact with reality, and now, while most of those things happened, there needs to be reworking of the plan, and I think I'm floundering on that, and getting torqued up about the possibility of mortality without legacy or plan, because I don't exactly want to go to the grave without the life's work accomplished. If only I knew what it was. And trying to tell myself that I still have time for this, and that it's statistically unlikely that things will end at this point, we'll, I'm sure the rational brain agrees, but the anxiety production isn't coming from the rational brain, and the weasels just won't leave off.

So, basically need to get into the better practice of meditation, need to be patient enough to understand the plan will appear, and need to stop with the needs and shoulds and just be patient and okay with myself. Even if that includes a lot of playing match-three games and other such things as distractions and mental calming.
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
Some things are mostly to be remembered as warnings to others. That's why we call them monstrous. For a symbol that was used as the rallying cry for enslavement, racism, and inequality, and continues to be used as such today, one should not be surprised that in the wake of a horrific shooting of black people, Bree Newsome scaled a flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina legislature and took down the Confederate flag flying there.

And while the South Carolina legislature and governor decided not to let that symbol fly in their state again, there still needs to be a lot more work done on removing the underlying structures that produce the inequalities that still plague minorities today and on acknowledging history as it is and working to build an accurate way of viewing it. Because Confederate Memorial Day exists as an official holiday, state songs still lionize the wrongs done, and not everyone takes the time to examine their previous beliefs.

A compilation of the many many posts of Ta-Nehisi Coates on the matter of the Civil War.

How much emotion work are you doing in your life and at your job, and is that work being compensated or acknowledged? Odds are, if you're a woman, you're not being compensated for all the emotional and other work you're doing, and you have to fight a system that doesn't want to acknowledge it as work in the first place.

Useful information about gaslighting, including how someone suffering from the effect might feel while it's going on.

For his 80th birthday on 6 July, the Dalai Lama requested we share quotes, pictures, and videos of people acting with compassion, and hashtag it appropriately - #withcompassion.

A song of the city of London, of a place that one can hate only by getting used to a small sliver of it for too long.

Hope exists in the dystopian trend. It's just that the dystopian trend better reflects our current world.

Greece teeters on the brink of the decision between the rock and the hard place, with everyone hoping for a miracle rabbit to get pulled out of someone's hat.

There's a lot of really beautiful and great things going on in Sub-Saharan Africa that had nothing to do with images of crushing poverty meant to elicit pity. Similarly, African writers need the freedom of writing about whatever subjects and settings they want.

A standard list of sexist arguments and derails. The use of any of these in any conversation likely signifies the user can be safely ignored and blocked.

What would it look like if we treated men in the rock industry like we treat women? There's also the way those musicians will be described instead of interviewed.

There's a high possibility that people who oppose marriage equality have very specific notions about gender roles and who is allowed to be dominant and submissive in those roles. That idea may be religious or cultural in nature, but there's a good chance it exists. Much like even now, there are people with a sincere and active conviction that people not of their skin color are inferior and that the deity intended for this to happen. You don't have to actively hate someone to hold beliefs that will harm them. All it really needs is a willingness to put your own feelings as more important than the lives of other people, to say that so long as you aren't doing anything, the problem doesn't involve you. That's not true at all. It's not possible to benefit from racism and then claim that it doesn't involve you.

The funny thing is, most of those people are probably looking to make sure their long-lasting love stays together. Additionally, there's a good reason to believe that strengthening individuals and families will produce the desired uptick in marriages that conservatives desire. Although if you listen to prominent conservatives, they're very insistent that marriage is not about love, but about something else. And yes, there's still a lot of hand-wringing about the lack of marriage, wherever you go.

Not obviously related at all - the dwindling fortunes of Rush Limbaugh, who can break actual news about something and have it go uncommented on for nine days.

There's also the exercise of using free speech to combat free speech.

Shame, blame, and guilt, instilled in women, may make them more nurturing and helpful. And also may make them more prone to mental illness. And it probably also works in some subset of men who are prone to the same influences. Franz Kafka sent a letter to his father about all the problems the came from his lack of parenting, which has a lot of prescient information before psychiatry and psychology would pick it up more formally.

Young women and girls who are being sexually advised often end up in the justice system through aggressive enforcement of minor things, perpetrated by a society that believes the victims are perpetrators of crimes, even when too young to consent.

School-age children do better when their responsible adults work with them in determining causes and solutions, instead of imposing punishments, teaching and modeling problem-solving skills they want the kids to pick up.

Your profession is hemorrhaging women (and minorities, too) when it creates conditions that make it impossible to have a life outside of work. And yet, with the way things are set up, the system doesn't have to change, because it can just choose other people who are desperate for anything that they will accept the impossible conditions.

Trans issues today have echoes of the earlier issues of lesbians and gay men - we can both hope that they move faster in getting to acceptance, and use our media outlets to do the right kinds of stories. this that acknowledge gender dysphoria is one possible way to be trans, but there are many others, just as valid, even if dysphoria is the key that unlocks medical diagnosis and treatment.

Doing the right kinds of stories includes not having your characters in literature engage in fat-shaming or invisibling fat characters with book cover choices.

It also means writing your queer women in such a way that they're not there for the Male Gaze and not allowing them to become stereotypes.

It means talking about all the authors who have had influence on your life, not just men and maybe one high-profile woman. And making sure that your women in prominent positions, like actresses, don't have obvious reasons to decry your system.

Your religious belief attracts the people who look or think like you. If you want to attract the marginalized, expect to need someone who looks like them.

More consequences of insightful algorithms - Google Ads will show more ads about high-paying jobs to men than to women.

Yet another example of white privilege - all the things a white woman can still get away with that a black anyone would be arrested or worse for. It should be no wonder that those who can leave the country are doing so, to try and minimize the risk that their child will be harmed by racists, whether on the police force or off it.

President Obama delivered the eulogy for Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, and in it, we hear the hope of what we want to accomplish with our lives.

Jeb Bush misunderstands - productivity is supposed to reduce our hours, not increase them, and workforce participation increases if there are meaningful jobs.

Amy Poehler talks about being a woman who is incredibly female-focused and trying to avoid much of what passes for standard reality in television, both on and off screen.

A photo project intended to show First Nations people outside of stereotype.

Attempting to flowchart the processes by which someone can avoid creating or participating in an attacking mob online. Which stands in contrast to decisions made to close commenting because the signal-to-noise ratio was too small and moderators were expending too much effort.

Wouldn't it be nice if your public transit system could sound like a composition of pleasant tones instead of a cacophony of angry beeps?

An abandoned shoe factory transformed into an adult-size playground (kids welcome). That's neat. So is the artist taking child drawings and creating stuffed versions of them. much like how a local glass blowing institution makes glass sculpture out of child drawings.

Klimt paintings are dressed by designs that were real, by a woman whose designs are seeing the fashion stage, far too long after she is gone to appreciate them.

Semicolon markings and tattoos to indicate a point where someone might have stopped, but instead chose to press on with their lives. I'm putting in a description of a game called Final Girls, which plays as the support group meeting for women who have experienced horrors, and also allows for skipping content without penalties.

Con Man continues in the tradition of Nathan Fillion happily making fun of himself and his career - but this time, it's Alan Tudyk in the driver seat, doing the same for his career as well as Fillion's.

A Kickstarter-funded operation about the romantic lives of geek women will have cartoons from Margaret Atwood.

Good friends built small houses and a large common area in Texas so they could live together and socialize with each other for the rest of their lives.

Advice on getting things done and overcoming inertia, paired with advice on getting through your media queue.

The Mary Sue points out The 100 as a show worth watching because of all the women in prominent roles that nobody is quibbling about whether the women should be in prominent roles. And then there's Orphan Black, where all the women there are full characters, despite being clones of each other. Which we can add to buy pointing out how quickly comics are evolving and diversifying now that women are able to headline and do work for them and the upcoming Legend of Korra comic that focuses on the Korra/Asami relationship only made mostly explicit at the very end of the television series.

Hayley Atwell continues to be a fan favorite for her engagement with costars and fans. And Ian McKellen is clearly having a much better time out of the closet than he did when he was in. There's also the amount that fandom may owe the cast and writers of Star Trek for never definitively squashing Kirk/Spock. Unfortunately, there's also the decision to deliberately sideline and fridge the women of the Ant-Man movie, seriously screwing with Marvel's own continuity.

Examining another crowdsourced application from the worker perspective, this one that employs humans to be an Invisible Boyfriend or Girlfriend. Like other crowdsourced things, the wages are abysmal and there are no protections, so naturally there are plenty of people trying to get the jobs.

Research using actual mothers helps to deliver products that are useful to mothers, as well as insight into the lives of mothers. The people in charge of the companies are learning more than they ever wanted to.

Unlike the series it came from, Grey is completed and...is much like the Fifty Shades it came from, which means it's probably worth avoiding.

Better than this, though, is the public awareness campaign about STDs running in Norway involving a person dressed as a penis.

A flight safety video utilizing characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Very neat. The latest flight I took had various Internet memes as their spice to the video.

Tumblr has developed its own language conventions, which are different enough to qualify it as at least a new dialect. Because language will always need new developments to meet the needs of every generation using it.

Your librarians have information for you about how they relate to their collection. Follow their advice. They've been doing it for a very long time and in just about every situation of peace and war as well.

The nighttime photography of Jack Fusco, which is lovely to look at.

Many words that we consider to be commonplace in English entered through India and the way that imperial cultures reacted to East Asia. We can also thank a botched translation across languages for the birth of the unicorn.

Quilts that have the composition of molecules stitched into them, following in the tradition of things like coffee mugs with molecule designs on them.

A backpack with ports, speakers, charging battery, and more, including a place for your stuff, which gets paired well with travel gadgets intended to make being away from home easier.

The subject matter of many European and Appalachian folk songs, many involve either sheep, women, or disasters.

The science consultants to the movie Inside Out talk about the portrayal of emotions and the role of Sadness as useful in the film. I think they see it the same way I did - a sad film with a happy ending.

Infographics about baking and confectionary crafting, and the variations on ramen. Also a guide on the average life of fresh produce.

If you have been wealthy enough to stay at Trump properties recently, your credit data may have been stolen.

In technology, automobiles are distressingly easy to compromise and control, since they are now things connected to networks that need to be hardened. This is a thing that should probably be worked on in conjunction with field tests of self-driving cars.

Sometimes, a technology that will become a mainstream staple has its origins in a carnival sideshow. Like incubators for babies born premature.

And possibly the development of mechanical structures that brains will accept and interface with, which could put our heads in the cloud along with computers using machine learning to both interpret and create images. The question, though, is whether they can help us clear out our earworms, or at least replace them.

There is an application available to match up excess food from parties or cafeterias with those that need food - only currently for San Francisco, but hopefully expandable to other places.

Science builds on the work of itself, even when the results are things that make previous work less accurate. And even then, sometimes the less accurate work is good enough for practical purposes.

Amazon's trying to use algorithms to detect bias, but won't reveal the process, even when it incorrectly determines someone knows an author.

YouTube offers a method of slowing down videos without causing their pitch to lower as well.

Robot fiiiiiight...sometime next year. The United States versus Japan in a big mobile suit battle.

Hold on to your devices for as long as they will last, as much of their construction may involve materials sourced from areas of the world that are distinctly hostile to anyone outside the ruling junta. If you are upgrading, consider donating your used technology to organizations that can make excellent use of it, like domestic violence shelters.

Even if it's only on the promotional art and the title screens, having a character of color as a protagonist in your game says a lot.

A concept design for a kitchen where the table displays recipes and is the cook surface, and pantry and refrigeration are rolled into a single set of shelves. Looks like it would work well with small dwellings and apartments.

The company that makes the Bubble Wrap brand is rolling out a new variety that will not be poppable, meaning substitution or applications will have to take the stress-relieving place.

Despite the many new advances that could make men also able to have a reversible both control method, until it becomes a thing that bodies of all genders can carry children to term unwillingly, only certain people will be tasked with the requirements of preventing pregnancy.

More generally, medical training is failing to teach doctors about women and women's health issues, including how women present symptoms differently and what issues might affect them predominantly.

A 14-foot Starcraft II display made completely of Lego bricks.

The problem of end of life decisions regarding robotic pets - what happens when the company that manufactured them no longer manufactures parts? The ethical idea would be to open source the parts and make it possible for someone to go to a fabrication lab or machine shop and get spares. This will be an ethical question long before we develop robots with their own personalities or that are meant to be companions. We should start on solving these questions now.

Examples of natural adaptation that will help solve human-created problems and disasters.

Touchable holograms...of very small sizes.

Advice on invoking the protection of the Shadow Cat Council to protect your computer from intrusion attempts.

Milk became a staple after being mostly a baby food...thanks to the same person who gave us corn flakes...among others.

Last for tonight, Deadpoolachu, Korra and Asami dressed in the fashion of their setting, boudoir photoshoots of lovely couples, a cat and an owl that get along exceedingly cute, a newborn porcupine, a daily corgi pin, puppies falling asleep in almost any spot, dog adoption success stories, cat adoption success stories, big cats and their cardboard boxes, pictures of animals enjoying belly rubs, methods to lend your talents to animal shelters, tips on what to do if you discover a kitten all by itself, an unexpected shark, a formal dinner with the family cats,

firefly shows in synchronicity, dragonflies close up, using a three dimensional printer to generate artificial rats for anatomy lessons, relieving the need for actual rats to dissect, reasons why cats are giving their humans disapproval, rescuing a cat from choking, what it is like to be a camera operator for the Puppy Bowl, a yoga studio that has shelter cats come and participate with the yoga classes, and more watercolor cats.

And altered pet store labels.
silveradept: A plush doll version of C'thulhu, the Sleeper, in H.P. Lovecraft stories. (C'thulhu)
Let's begin with Japanese words that fit situations that would be awkward to explain in English. And follow it up with Macho Café, where everything is served by muscular men that will flex and pose for your viewing pleasure and a Boy's Love cafe.

One hundred short science fiction stories, all by women, from the last 75 years.

The United States Treasury Department is looking for ideas on who to put on the new $10 bill.

Classic profanity, in the definition of profane being an invocation of a holy thing in a not holy context.

A campaign in India suggested that women thank the men in their lives for not sexually assaulting them. Which leads nicely into the many bullshit ways that people try to justify sexual assault.

Perhaps we should think about teaching more comprehensively about sexuality, love, and what constitutes good special experience earlier than the never that seems to be standard operating procedure in the United States.

Would you like a good role model for masculinity? Pacific Rim has plenty, in all sorts of ways. They clearly are following the gentleman's guide to behavior in These Modern Times.

The credibility of an NAACP chapter leader has suffered after revelations that they have been lying about their experiences and racial makeup.

How about a good coming out story about being poly.

And a softball squadron that wants to play as a team of Elsa of Arendelle.

Also, making fun of the redpillers that believe body acceptance by women is oppression of men.

Take a look at these pictures of wounded veterans of the current worldwide conflicts. They show the consequences of war.

Two recent studies of deaths involving police officers by the Washington Post and The Guardian give us more insight into what makes someone more likely to be shot or stun gunned.

An infographic offers suggestions on how to sleep so as to minimize pain in common areas.

Fifty-one writers talk about the favorite thing they've done so far in their careers. Which makes me wish there were more than two seasons of Pushing Daisies.

Hollywood obsesses with pretty young people, and needs to be better about casting and employing people at all stages of life.

Mr. Scalzi points out that most people think about the disposition of their physical property with their wills, but they also need to think about the disposition of their creative and intellectual properties.

Laverne Cox talks about Caitlyn Jenner and the issues of trans women and cis beauty standards. We follow on from that with some common mistakes trans allies make about their allyship.

As one might guess, at the intersection of any set of disprivileging identity markers are the challenges of intersectionality, including trans and multiple.

Also, insulting things said to people with autism.

Going the other way, take a look at how easily male privilege is conferred, even on trans* men that look male enough. In contrast, Facebook's name policy means that someone can use their preferred name when working for the company, but not actually on the service.

Ever notice how many bands in the festival circuit are all men, excepting things like, oh, Fleetwood Mac?

The Swan Tower has many smart things to say about the process that should go into a decision on whether to engage in a depiction of sexual assault in print or on screen.

The guide for giving male characters in books the same close and detailed reviews female characters get. Additionally, a good for interacting with your fellow fandom peoples.

Racism manifests in all sorts of ways that sound like edge cases, but are instead mainstream bias.

Children have the right to their bodily autonomy, including refusing hugs, which is a thing we do not do well with them at all.

A famed Paris bridge that lovers attached locks to is undergoing a renovation that will remove the locks and prevent the attachment of new ones, as the weight of all that declared love was stressing the bridge significantly.

Self-acceptance is not the same as resignation to fate - only by acknowledging who we are right now can we do change or realize something isn't going to change. It may also be necessary to get rid of long-held and oft-reinforced beliefs about body size.

Introverts are not a monolith, and "advice" that treats them as such is not good for anyone.

Someone is stealing rare and expensive wine from restaurants and other places where it's being held. And not just stuff that people know is rare, but the expensive stuff that only people who know wine want.

Women in and on video games is an exhausting affair, including the lack of memory or permanence the industry seems to have and the even less permanent Internet where a lot of the conversation takes place. It's difficult, no matter where they are - in Russia, women are just starting to be taken seriously when they talk about their husbands being violent to them.

Miss Piggy is receiving an award for feminism - she explains why it is right and proper for her to receive such a thing, despite her naysayers.

Wardrobe advice on how to repel men, especially those misogynists that you want to avoid anyway.

An at-a-glance look at how the world legally views marriage equality. For which there are far too many countries that aren't in the full acceptance and legality column. Just take a look at what there is to look forward to once marriage is equal.

Infographics of the Marvel Universe, cinematic and otherwise.

Bits and bonds about that devil of a writer, Screwtape.

An all-female musical revue group will be putting on Rurouni Kenshin.

United States film studios have a very long history of casting people of color into stereotype, almost as much as casting a woman as a vampire likely carries with it subtler or more over tones of feminism.

Strength may not be the correct lens to view women characters with, as strength still tends to be associated as a masculine virtue.

It is okay to not like Joss Whedon and still be appreciative of his contributions to more diversified and feminist media. Honest.

Toshirō Mifune, veteran of the Japanese cinema and favorite of Kurosawa, will be receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Crime fiction and thrillers appeal to different persuasions of people who are looking for different plot beats. Oh, and creative people and celebrities, as always, have more pull with average people than politicians do.

Musical taste may be more of a class signifier than other things, as certain economic classes tend to like (and be exposed to) certain types of music.

To combat racism, white allies need to invest time in creating more white allies. That way, narratives that blame civil unrest on black people, instead of the white structures that create those situations, get challenged. Because it is the job of all of us to find ways to be creatively disruptive from the inside of our society.

Speaking of, if your campaign wants to use music for the candidate, you should check with the artist about it, if the artist is still alive.

As much truth as one gets with regard to the creation of Good Omens, the novel.

Pictures of people who live in the space that a capsule hotel encompasses.

If someone around you has social anxiety (or other anxieties), there are things you can do that will help them feel more at ease. Not necessarily "better", but you can at least do things that will help them avoid panicking about you.

Pronouncing global cuisine correctly - and the insistence on the wrong pronunciation as right. Elsewhere, ruthless methods for ensuring your spice cabinet is fresh and appealing.

Sesame Street is as effective or more effective than many preschool options on the United States, which says more about the lack of quality affordable preschool options in the country than anything.

Being a mental health person in a prison or jail is fraught with problems where security concerns are interfering with patient care.

The increased visibility of disabled people in our society is more a function of not trying to sequester or destroy them rather than any uptick in diagnosis. Now that we believe the disabled can function in society, we're not trying to pack them into asylums.

After the influx of donations brought about by the ice bucket challenge, the foundations related to ALS released their spending plans - getting all their clinics back to full funding and sinking the rest into research possibilities. Unfortunately, the Red Cross managed to bungle and waste the influx they got to engage in relief efforts in Haiti.

ProPublica offers tips on how to make your charitable donations do better. And Stanford research indicates a lot of historical humanitarian projects are closely tied to ideology that is anything but affirming of the basic human worth of everyone.

If you want a program that has an excellent track record, direct cash transfers to those people that need it most works best.

English, as a language, mugs other languages and rifles their pockets for spare grammar - so words that appear to be related aren't. They follow the rules of the language they originated with.

In situations where you're likely to interact with people more than once, benefits accrue to those who are nice rather than cutthroat. Additionally, tips on getting jobs and promotions that aren't in standard career advice.

Zen Cho writes about their specific thoughts on writing, and breaking through writer blockages, as well as an interview with Zen Cho about writing and a round table on diversity in the speculative fiction department.

More on writing - the power that authors actually have with their work, the ways that diverse authors need to be able to have the power to tell their own stories, frequently asked questions and answers about the craft of writing, the possibility that growth happens in fits and spurts, rather than on a constant plane of improvement, and ways to make your fiction better and more gripping, while keeping in mind every writer means something different when they ask or give critique.

Also, remember to give your own work a final once-over after the machines have had a look at it.

Lolita fashion is eminently compatible with requirements of religious belief such as hijab. Last of the haters have focused on the hijab, rather than the fashion, but even here, there are intersections.

What Ariel, the Disney Princess, might look like depending on the part of the ocean she hangs out in the most.

Watching nature do what it does to our human constructions is sometimes quite beautiful. And sometimes seeing what people do with their political border points is interesting.

In technology, a website that allows you to identify the birds in the pictures you upload to them and a website and app that will help you identify plants from pictures taken of them.

Seed and crop diversity over the last one hundred years has gone down significantly, often thanks to agribusiness and their patented seeds that prevent sharing. On the other side, if we are going to deal with artificial foods, we should be demanding that they be excellent artifical foods.

Mapping the microbes of the prairies, the viruses of the ocean, and the bacteria in the guts.

Tempescope, a device that displays the weather as actual rain, mist, or simulated storms and sun. The only thing it doesn't do is snow. It also has an open hardware and software version so that you can build your own - it's an Arduino.

Gadgets for the kitchen or that will help the kitchen move from out of the kitchen.

Record labels, while high-profile, are a small drop in the bucket of what might be properly considered the music industry. If you're wandering outside of those places, or you just have a lot of music stuff to work with, there are many excellent applications for getting all your metadata cleaned up.

We have the right to fix our own devices and make modifications to them. Because endless consumption is not actually a thing we want, nor can we afford, so being held hostage by planned obsolescence is not in our designs.

Plasma tubes exist above the known atmosphere, according to the research completed by an undergraduate in Australia. Staying in the theme of lines that aren't easily visible, humans apparently have stripes.

The colors of eyes are determined by variations of melanin and collagen amounts in our irises. Which, in turn changes the reflection of light. Neat.

The lack of rigid structures in jellyfish allow them to reorganize their symmetry fairly quickly after losing a limb.

Washable underwear for women designed to help with menses that have their absorbent pads built in, with much of their monies donated to helping those in underdeveloped countries get reusable pads as well. Elsewhere, the nearly-ubiquitous bindi is being used as an iodine delivery system to get impoverished areas necessary nutrients.

Learning new things causes damage to DNA - age-related conditions may be a result of an inability to repair the damage quickly enough or well enough. Much like how exercise causes the destruction and rebuilding of muscle tissue, perhaps?

Disney and others have built a robot that can draw lovely pictures in the sand.

Microbes have a method to detect DNA that they do not want and excise it on a precision basis. This technique can be exploited by scientists looking for sequences to eliminate and possibly replace with others.

As more and more tools are developed to help us with our biology and to enhance our biology, we have to think about who benefits and who should benefit.

A large art sculpture is also a functional water filtration device, pouring form and function together.

A suitcase with a fold-out desk and stool, perfect for people doing work on the go, or cosplayers and artists that need a surface for makeup or for creation or sale of their work. This is excellent and why hasn't it happened before?

Games such as the original Super Mario Brothers used to have their levels designed on graph paper, with changes marked and discussed using transparent papers on top of the original level design. That's pretty cool.

Last for tonight, Photography of over and under water of the same things. And the under water is usually more colorful than the over. Also punk taking time out to enjoy the cute, cute baby animals, a husky with cat tendencies, happy puppies, corgies chasing a camera that's at eye level for them, a government building that allows employees to take local shelter cats back to their desk for an hour, as well as providing a high-visibility spot for the cats to be adopted by the public, Steve Irwin's daughter is continuing the family legacy of wildlife conservation and advocacy, a convention devoted to cats in Los Angeles, the elevation of a cat from stationmaster to goddess, traveling the world with one's cat, an infographic about the various communications cats do to us and each other, animals that are seeking warmth, fascinating fox facts, with a picture of what foxes can do if you respect them, hippopotamuses appearing to give a duckling a lift, a cafe with owls as the main attraction, underwater views added to the Street Maps in honor of World Oceans Day, and reasons why getting a dog are good - assuming you're also willing to put up the requirements, as well as justification for watching all those lovely videos, gifsets, and pictures.
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
Ah-hem. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States brought their country into the Century of the Fruitbat, declaring that those states that have refused to honor legal marriages performed elsewhere based on the partners having the same professed gender identity do not have grounds to continue doing so, and so also require new marriages of the same to be acknowledged wherever someone wishes to get married.

The opinion of the Court in Obergfell v. Hodges, and the two dissents that go with it.

For everyone who has been waiting for this eventful decision, congratulations. We hope that for the next fight over human rights, the privileged are faster to extend their hands and welcome everyone else into the circle, and that courts will continue to move toward justice for effective. How wonderful it is that we have this - and here is my fervent hope, that we will now work to make sure that everyone is able to be a full person in society, without discrimination and with assistance where needed.

There will still be people who get to turn someone else's religious bigotry into an awesome yard display, of course.

Also helping the President, The subsidized exchanges key to the success of the Affordable Care Act are upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Read the official opinion of the Court, and the dissent authored by Scalia in King v. Burwell.

So there are now two signature achievements of the current Democratic administration - anyone who wants to take advantage of them could run as a proper liberal.

We could use a proper liberal, for once. But for now, celebrations!
silveradept: The letters of the name Silver Adept, arranged in the shape of a lily pad (SA-Name-Small)
We begin with the Republic of Ireland saying "Hell yes!" to the Century of the Fruitbat, with more than 60 percent of the population voting yes on a referendum to approve marriage equality.

The success of EVE Online and its decision to build an advisory council of players that meet in Iceland twice a year to help guide the game.

Library rules, all created for very good reasons in the libraries they are posted in. Forserious, if you see a weird library rule, ask what happened to produce it.

Handy rulesets for various board and card games.

The Dead Pool Band welcomes home legendary musician B.B. King at 90 years of age, who has the distinction of being featured in a Blues Brothers movie.

If you're looking for a film to go see, If one of your criteria is "enough feminism to piss off the MRAs", then your selections are apparently Mad Max: Fury Road and Terminator: Genesys. because, as history points out to us, women are revolutionary. Including all the women in the Mad Max movie doing their own stunt work. But also all these reasons why feminism still matters and needs to be practiced. And, truthfully, masculinity, especially the toxic kind, is less likely to improve the world and more likely to destroy it, Mad Max style. There's no putting the genie back in the bottle, though, so trying to keep women away from things that improve their freedom is a fool's errand.

We need more stories about and starring women to win prizes, so that more stories about women and that have women protagonists get published. And they get recommended, too.

In studying severe psychological distress among the United States, women were always more likely to have it, and the uninsured were also more likely to have it. That's not surprising, considering how much women are put in situations that will cause them distress and give them both no solutions and no outlets. And being uninsured is a highly, highly stressful thing, especially if you already have problems that really require insurance to manage without bankruptcy.

The shooting technique of Mad Max: Fury Road also made it easy to edit by keeping the important action to the center of the frame or by getting the eye to follow a natural path to the next point.

Sunbow Productions is taking a look at the Delphic Maxims, one at a time, starting with commentary about their possible origins.

There's new Sandman, an overture that comes before the main series - Neil looking back on the whole thing and marveling how it got done.

Now that the media has been given enough examples that they cannot ignore, the true depth and breadth of reality in regards to young black men versus white people with guns is beginning to sink in...or more examples are starting to fund coverage, anyway. Monroe Bird was shot by the security guard for his home complex, who had marijuana on his person, for being a young black man where he "didn't belong" with his white girlfriend, although the official reasons are the more standard litany of lies and blaming the black man that are the first defense any time someone reports on the phenomenon. Monroe Bird is now a quadriplegic, but his insurance denied all of his claims for care because the district attorney blamed Monroe for getting shot rather than prosecuting the man that shot him.

David Duchovny put on a music show in New York City, and Gillian Anderson stopped by to sing with him for the encore. Elsewhere, Sarah Michelle Gellar stopped by a party thrown by Alyson Hannigan and Alexis Denisof, and good pictures were had by both.

Hayley Atwell apparently improvised the part where Agent Carter reaches out and touches the new Captain America after the Super Soldier treatment produces his new body.

If they didn't tell you, you wouldn't know that the men in this article went through a transition. One of them is even a cover model. Caitlyn Jenner revealed herself in the July issue of Vanity Fair, the completion of the transition from Bruce Jenner, and she looks good. Did we also mention that there is currently a trans man leading the vote to be the cover man for the November issue of Men's Health? It would be really neat if this were the generation where all the barriers about gender identity and sexual attraction came down and everybody just got to be themselves and live whomever, however many, they want or are attracted to.

A museum in Spain is encouraging touching of the artwork in an exhibit designed explicitly for the blind, and providing blindfolds for the sighted so that they may also experience the art the same way.

Seanan McGuire on the virtue of kindness, especially in the field of writers. Some hopefully heartening advice that many in creative professions are really just making it up as they go along. But also some advice on how to prevent characters from collapsing into one dimension when faced with a giant threat, the necessity of correct setting when writing middle grade or young adult fiction, the part where queer teens still need stories, and not the kind that would be After School Specials, and advice on getting into the translation industry from those who are already there.

Oh, also, it's not just you. It never is.

Popular short story names. Although the most popular one is only used 18 times in 500K entries, so not too bad at all.

If you think people choose not to eat the way you do, dress the way you do, or have a fixed living place like you do, you're exhibiting classism. Because most people in those situations are there because someone else put them there, or because the RNG hates them more than it does you. Not because they thought they would make self-destructive choices deliberately.

Here in the States, we often substitute "fitness" for "faith", and the fad diets and exercise crazes of this and other years are the symptoms of our religious zeal. Which means all the rules about not forcing your religion on other people, especially those with more experience than you, apply.

A call for recipes from people in all walks of fandom, to come together and make a cookbook.

If your religion places more importance on protecting the group than on loudly and definitively condemning molestation in the group, your religion must adjust or it will die. For no amount of proselytizing will be able to protect you from the repercussions of being a religion of child molesters. And if you also subscribe to a religion that promotes views that are increasingly less likely to be healthy for someone, your religion is also likely to be forced into the choice of adapting or dying.

Better and more precise terminology: it is not an abusive relationship, instead, someone has an abusive partner.

It's time to stop blaming the younger generation for problems that the generations before have created, and to stop demonizing the fact that the younger generation is using things that look like fun to do and find their work. And also building structures designed to mirror the comforts of a home for those who work away from it for long periods of time. It's the logical antithesis to the capsule hotel for crashing.

Reworking your elevator speech so that you land with an emotional impact may make you more memorable.

Before getting a reduction for health reasons, a nude photo shoot as a reminder of what was.

If you see someone as a person and worthy of respect, use their pronouns. If not, don't be surprised if you don't see them all that much any more.

The United States Internal Revenue Service admitted that thieves had been able to access sensitive taxpayer data and file fraudulent returns for about 100,000 taxpayers through a third-party service that had been cracked. Significantly disturbing is that to do this, the thieves already had to have access to significant amounts of sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers.

The legislature of North Carolina is trying to pass a bill, over the governor's veto, to allow local magistrates to prevent marriage if the magistrate has a sincere religious objection to the marriage.

Perennial presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee said he wanted to be transgender so that he could shower with the women and see them naked.

If you're looking for socks to wear inside that will be comfortable, Japan has long since figured it all out.

Because of legal immunity from being sued, the parents of a victim of the Colorado Dark Knight shooting now owe more than 200000 USD in legal fees to ammunition manufacturers, since there is a law that says those that lose legal cases have to pay the winners' legal bills.

ISIS is both looting and destroying priceless art and artifacts in Syria. And then others are rebuilding the artifacts using 3D printing and modeling.

FIFA officials across the organization were indicted in a racketeering conspiracy.

Former United States House Speaker Dennis Hastert was arraigned on charges of covering up previous wrongdoing and lying to the federal authorities about the payoffs.

In technology, Daimler had built a system that allows a tractor trailer truck to drive itself on the highways, the first step toward building trucks that will be able to handle much of the tedium of freight shipping themselves.

Very small batteries that can power very small electronics, meaning very small electronics can be in many more places.

It appears that the brain does have lymph corridors close to the blood vessels, which means there may be some new methods to study brain issues and find ways of improving functions or helping the brain clear out the problems.

A list of websites that are useful for specific purposes, including turning off your social media, getting a throwaway email, and figuring out what to make for dinner.

Defeating facial recognition through the use of creative hairstyle and makeup. Which may make you memorable to all the humans around, though. There must be a happy medium that allows for privacy from machines and unremarkability from humans.

A faucet that spins its water into geometric patterns, and manages to use less water than a standard faucet while doing so.

Lab-grown cow tissue is doable at about $80 per kilogram, which is getting quite close to "affordable". There are still some parts to be worked out towards making it a completely pain-free experience for all involved, but within a few decades, it may be possible to do the switch to artificially-grown meats.

Using differing-colored baking pans for different results from the baking. If you want things to brown more, use darker pans.

Last for tonight, cats and their staff in the poses they were in as kittens, parents and kids in nature, portraiture of animals, and animals with butterflies, a squirrel with an umbrella, a moose and her calves cooling off when a kind human turned on their sprinklers, pictures of crystals, putting plants that will survive in your spaces, folk art cut from a single sheet of paper, and artwork that is cubes of unprocessed food, arranged in a grid pattern. Makes me wonder if someone would use it as a "how many of these things can you guess?" sort of game.

Also, the answers to some very important questions about cats, by someone who knows a lot about cats.
silveradept: Charles Schulz's Charlie Brown lays on Snoopy's doghouse, sighing. (Charlie Brown Sighs)
So. This is a bit awkward to write, not just because there's a whole cultural Thing involved here, but because, y'know, we try so hard to put up a front of invincibility, or at least competence, that it's difficult to say that you've basically Failed.

I've bought into the myth of the American Dream, where it should be possible for any person to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle with a family (or at least a significant other and yourself) on a single income, especially one of a government functionary with a reasonably good college degree. Perhaps in another economy, this might be possible.

I knew that this was basically impossible for someone at a minimum wage job, even providing for themselves. For a while, living by myself, it seemed like I could pull it off - at least for living by myself. Then, well, relationships, and pets, and unexpected expenses, and let's just say that the budget is not looking healthy. And continues to not look healthy.

This is not, unfortunately, the kind of thing where I can say "I just need a little money to take care of those unexpected expenses and all will be well." I would rather not be a charitable burden on someone for an indefinite amount of time, until my salary catches up or the budget gap gets filled with work from my significant other. So, to try and fill the budgetary gap, at least until my S.O. can find steady work, I present the following offer:

I Want Work.

I have various and sundry skills - I can write, read, edit, create ePUBs, make simple static web pages, research, simply edit audio, images, and video, and and other things. I have various oracles that may be helpful to you. Programming, unfortunately, is beyond my ken. I'm pretty good at looking at something and being able to adaptit with some examples and a lot of thinking, but creating stuff out of whole cloth? Not my thing right now.

There are a few caveats:
  1. Obviously, whatever Work you have to offer will have to be something done electronically (or that you're willing to pay for the postage cost to and back for). I cannot travel, nor do I expect you to be willing to travel for the Work
  2. This must be Work that you are willing to pay for. I can't take much in trade (unless it's a Really Cool Trade) because the bills still have to be paid.


Prices are to be negotiated based on the Work you would like me to do. Payment method will have to be negotiated, as I do not have PayPal or other electronic methods. You can leave a comment or use the private messaging system to contact me. Any comment threads will be screened upon request.

So, yeah, I need work. And lots of it.

Please pass the message along to your contacts and others who might have some money to spare and Work they are willing to pay someone to do. I know, in this economy, that this is unlikely, but it never hurts to ask.

Please link to this post so that I can be sure that everything is in one place.
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
The eighth April Moon prompt is another feather, this time in focus, with a brick pathway in the background. The feather itself appears to be one from a male peacock or a related species, with the blue and green eye that is part of the fantastic plumage males use to attract mates.

This time around, though, the plumage brings to mind things like failure and effort. I put in to speak at a couple conferences this year as part of a goal for myself to go out and do more at conferences and maybe network a bit more.

I got back responses - one put me on a waitlist as a possible alternate speaker, the other said no. Which, as someone who thinks they might be good at this, kind of hurts, in the way that ego gets bruised when you have a higher opinion of yourself than reality.

Because the conference selection process is usually opaque (and often with good reasons), it's not easy to determine why someone was selected and why someone wasn't. Which leaves the person who want selected with the...opportunity, I suppose, to construct their preferred narrative about the reasons. What they decide to do with it depends on them and the situation they're in.

It's easiest to blame external forces for why things didn't happen - after all, someone else was making the decision about whether or not I came. This sort of external attribution can run the spectrum from benign ideas to malice-filled conspiracies. More and more in seeing the malice part of it. This seems to be a backlash against the increasing trend of conferences adopting Codes of Conduct regarding attendee and presenter behavior to curb instances of harassment and conferences adopting explicit calls and stances to increase the diversity of their presenters. If you're playing on an easier difficulty level (as I am), the explicit diversity call is an easy scapegoat to hang why you weren't selected - some "quota" that let in less-qualified presenters and kept out you. It's not fair, something something, political correctness. Which conveniently feeds the idea that white people, and especially white men, are the real victims of discrimination these days and the world should go back to the way it was, with white men unquestionably the best at everything and everyone else underneath, using bootheels if necessary. You can see that mentality everywhere - the Republican Party, Fox News, MRAs, PUAs, the idea that there are such things as "alpha" and "beta" men, redpillers, Gamergate, the Sad and Rabid Puppies, the serious use of the ideas "feminazi" or "social justice warrior", and so forth. It boils down to an attitude that believes expressing a preference for anything other than straight cis white Protestant men is embracing lawlessness and license to do anything illegal or immoral, because that preference hurts their ego and self-insistent belief that white men did everything to build civilization and are the only people who can preserve it, so clearly they deserve the position at the head of the table (and every other position, too) and the adoration of all the others who would otherwise be uncivilized if left to their own devices. It's very easy to blame the outside.

It's equally easy to blame the inside. The first thing that came to mind at those results was, "Huh. Maybe I'm not as good at this as I think I am." Which can be a realistic assessment of capabilities and contexts, or which can lead to "...and therefore I should stop trying and accept that I am useless and worthless at this." That way lies Impostor Syndrome, which can be inculcated very early on in life, in those places where we are reduced to our quantifiable selves by entities scrutinizing our potential and to caricatures of our complex selves in our social interactions - school. If the narrative that has been constructed around you says you're the smart kid, failure is an opportunity for ridicule and shame, not a useful building block to success. If you're the dumb kid, you may never get to show your true intelligence because remedial classes eat your time and leave you no elective. Die as much lip service is given to the idea of the "well-rounded child", there is precious little in the way of allowing children to learn and demonstrate those things that allow them to become a complex person in the eyes of others. If the self internalizes the message that there are only a few, or one, thing(s) about them that matter, any blow to those things reverberates throughout. If I don't succeed at the things I'm supposed to be good at, what is there left for me to build myself with? A rather fragile tower can collapse easily and take the rest of self-esteem with it. In earlier parts of life, it would have.

One of these problems comes from an excess of ego, the other from an unstable one. Neither are particularly healthy. At the same time, I don't think that meditation or other methods that are supposed to help get ego out of the way will help with these things.

The best way forward is between those two points. Pointed out to me was the possibility that I am as good as I think I am, and the selection committees just didn't choose me. Ego intact, truth still true, no need to attribute motivations, conspiracies, or demerits and self-destructive ideas to anyone. The universe being random, people making decisions based on the strength of the presentations and their ideals and desires to see more people who may have been excluded from presenting get a chance to do so. It's the easiest and the most difficult decision to make, the one that confirms reality and chooses not to substitute a more convenient narrative. If you wanted something to kill ego, living in reality, acknowledging it as it comes, rather than trying to make reality fit your own ideas, will be very effective. And possibly depressing. But it also allows you to be your fully complex self by not letting any one aspect come to dominance or lead you to believe that it is the sole aspect that matters.

There's always going to be another time to show off and try again, much like the fanning of the plumage.
silveradept: The emblem of Organization XIII from the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. (Organization XIII)
Good morning. I'm going to start with a post about stories with non-villainous dragons, which warms my heart completely. As do proper cards to be sending for serious illnesses, insects made from discarded circuit boards and components, and the incredible power of shared storytelling. (Or of universes that allow for infinite possibilities.)

Then there's sick systems that people set up to make sure their partners or employees stay with them forever. Which could sound suspiciously like many relationships that I see...or experience.

More on the Hugos and how the rabid faction took over and promoted fascism with their slate. On the other hand, on the matter of dogs, the groups claiming canid origins aren't really acting like dogs. For a palate cleanser, a review of the 1963 Hugo winner, that is basically unavailable, but sounds like an excellent book.

The strength of the cloister is that all tasks have time assigned and that all tasks will have to be done again, preventing stressing out at any one instance of the task. Which is great for those tasks that have to be done repeatedly. Not so good for the ones that are important but that only appear so often or only once.

In San Francisco, the Lexington Club, a bar that was for an explicitly lesbian and queer women crowd, closed after 20 years. And I feel, even just from an article, that a piece of the history of the city and the Mission neighborhood goes with it.

On the other end, the explicitly trans-exclusionary Michigan Womyn's Festival is closing after forty years.

The power of the Internet is that it permits people to get 101 educated on issues on their own time, instead of asking people who are having a more advanced discussion to teach them.

Teaching prosocial behavior to young children is tricky - assuming that the people teaching and parenting believe that children can learn to modify their behavior in the first place.

Fashion fails to fit, including things that are supposed to be designed for larger women.

if you ask them, sixty percent of people in the United States favor marriage equality. Which is something to take into account when the Supreme Court is required to make a decision about whether to allow equal marriage to continue. As one might guess, there are many stories to tell about the road to marriage equality. Some involve scarves.

Queensland, Australia no longer considers "gay panic" an acceptable partial defense against a murder charge after a Catholic priest led a campaign to have it removed - the priest saw firsthand the results of that defense and found it unconscionable.

The testimony of a guard at the infamous Auschwitz prison continued in conjunction with his trial for being an accessory to hundreds of thousands of deaths of the camp's prisoners.

Leak classified secrets as the CIA chief to your lover? Two years of probation. If you're a lower-level analyst and you expose atrocities and other illegal operations, though, you can expect a lot more jail time as well as being called a traitor.

The upshot of being called a traitor is that an appeals court rules that the bulk metadata collection program is not legal and the NSA's reading of the applicable law is wrong.

An appeals court overturned the obstruction of justice conviction for Barry Bonds, concluding that being rambling does not constitute obstruction.

Now that Hillary is running for President, the Clinton money trail is going to be very complicated to untangle. Including the millions of dollars given to the Clinton charities by foreign governments while she was the Secretary of State. That said, the book helpfully titled "Clinton Cash" is not likely to be authoritative, as its author has a history of bad research.

And there is a progressive challenger to the Clinton campaign now - Bernie Sanders will at least try to pull the centrist-conservative Clinton more toward the left if not mount a serious challenge to her.

Senator Warren expresses contempt for secret trade deals from her administration, while Senator Cruz expresses contempt for the democratic process in the District of Columbia. Which of these two Senators would you like as yours?

A proposed bill in Wisconsin would restrict two-thirds of food stamp money to items found on the official Women, Infants, and Children list, because it irritates a Republican that food stamps might actually be used for things life shellfish, and because Republicans delight in hurting and creating more obstacles for the poor, who they wish would either die or get properly hired as a servant for less than minimum wage. Minnesota looks well on their way to getting rid of any funding for helping the sick get healthy or insured. This is not only a bad idea, it's the underpinnings of how the privatized world sees health care for the poor, in their own country or in others - if you pay, you live, otherwise, die, even if your death will contribute to the sickness and death of others.

The election in the United Kingdom that put the Conservatives in power means the erosion of the social safety net already underway that has claimed several dozens of lives is likely to accelerate. Environmental issues like alternative power sources are likely to be put on the block as well. And the social ministers are on record as being hostile to the types of things they are supposed to be administering.

We do better in taking care of the emotional needs of people whose pets are dying or dead than we do those whose important people are.

Drone strikes have consequences - so why aren't we talking about them, or whether we use drones at all? Because we're too busy chasing conspiracies about the Army using war games as a cover for overthrowing the elected government of states. Which seems to share some mental states with estranged parents that never actually tell why they're estranged, despite having been told repeatedly what the problem is, instead insisting they are not at fault and nothing they did caused the rift.

Donald Trump has someone in his corner ready to be his superPAC of he should decide to seek a presidential nomination again.

Because of the lack of consequences for agents involved in sex and drug parties at the DEA, it should be no surprise that Congress lacks faith in the head of the DEA, who has subsequently resigned their post.

The management of Duke Energy repeatedly denied requests for inspection that would have prevented the fouling of a river with their chemical waste, we find, as they settle with the government over violations of the Clean Water Act.

Investigators are trying to piece together the cause of an Amtrak train that derailed after accelerating to twice the speed limit of a curve in Philadelphia, killing eight.

The person who consulted on what would become a lethal injection protocol adopted in all the states that have a death penalty said they did not anticipate unqualified people administering the injections and doesn't believe there is a more humane method of ending prisoner life.

The Baltimore Police think they have found a way, by beating a 25 year-old black man to death, visiting sufficient violence on him as to sever 80% of his spine. Baltimore has, predictably, reacted with demands for prosecution and accountability for the police, for a new reality to come into being. Charges have been brought against the officers involved. If you want to see what the reality of Baltimore is [personal profile] synecdochic knows. The real Baltimore is not the thing on the television machine, just like the real Ferguson wasn't. The real Baltimore hangs signs across from posh white clubs telling them that black lives matter.

Woe, says columnist, for men have no reason to get married anymore, and feminism is to blame by allowing men to get sex without marriage as well as the reduction of the man from respected provider to mere buffoon. In addition to the fundamental holes in the premise, marriage as described in the column sounds awful and nobody should want one like that. Besides, everyone knows that the cake bakers are the people whose endorsement you have to have.

Bullying by peers produces worse long-term mental health effects that being maltreated by an adult.

In science, Even if we could, it would probably be impractical and possibly unethical to bring back the mammoth. There are other species that would be better to being back from extinction that could have just as large an effect...but of course we like to believe big things are the right achievement.

Graphics cards are now a potential vector of attack for malware, now that we have enough experience programming them to do other things.

The reaction has mostly been snark.

If S.H.I.E.L.D. were really about the Logistics Division part, they'd have a network like these ones for shipping people and material around the world.

baby foxes in the backyard, bigger foxes in the Arctic, and learning what your cat commands with their communication.

A synaesthete paints songs in oils and acrylics. And someone else pants iconic characters with coffee.

Last for tonight, It doesn't surprise anyone that major fatigue accompanies autoimmune conditions. Additionally, self-care for depression is difficult because feelings of all sorts are tangled up in being depressed and safely surviving a depressive episode.

And
idiomatic language in other tongues.

We leave you with the musical abilities of Vienna Teng.
silveradept: A plush doll version of C'thulhu, the Sleeper, in H.P. Lovecraft stories. (C'thulhu)
The seventh April Moon prompt is a child's drawing of a blonde-haired alien princess (or perhaps a fairy princess or a Moogle) with a magic star wand, standing atop a tombstone (maybe?) which is setting on top of something that could be a door.

Since it's a child's drawing, there's an ambiguity about what the characters and setting might be. This isn't a bug, but a feature of children drawing. Children draw from the imagination and provide details and clues that are obvious to them, but can sometimes be difficult for us to interpret, given that we are used to certain forms, lines, and shapes to mean things, whether as exact replications of what we see in nature or as stylized forms that are supposed to represent them. This can result in the thing that should not be done to young artists and creatives.

Kevin Smith tells us it costs nothing to encourage an artist, as they might turn out to be the ones that make something that becomes a favorite. Ira Glass's advice for beginners is not to get discouraged that the things they turn out at first are not going to be up to their own standards for "good enough". There's an oft-cited number that says ten thousand hours of practice is what's needed to become an expert at something, whatever it may be. That's a very long row to hoe, especially for something that's maybe a side project, a work of passion, or something being done to explore new facets of identity. To make it all the way to mastery, there's going to be a lot of encouragement needed.

So while there are worse places to go, I would say that any child that has to go through the United States public school system has a very strong chance that their creative impulses will be destroyed or severely shackled.

U.S. schools reflect the culture around them, and that culture is obsessed with quantification. Numbers define and augment reality, too the point where having numerical data makes things appear more authoritative. Paradoxically, there is very little training on how to interpret and understand numbers, which creates a situation where more people are afraid of them, and it becomes easier to bullshit someone if there are numbers involved in what you are saying. Yet quantification continues and expands, so that there are now batteries of standardized tests for students, "productivity" measures for workers, and all sorts of serious money invested in trying to find numeric and algorithmic ways of understanding people. And even more serious money in making sure schools continue to progress in their number score every year, resulting in the cutting back of things that cannot be quantized in favor of those things that can. In such an environment, the necessary encouragement for creative endeavor is absent, because there is no space for creative endeavors in the first place.

The more perverse problem with a focus on numbers is that numbers themselves are an abstraction, a thing that both The Prisoner and Magritte knew quite well. Especially that borrowed Arabic rascal, zero. There is a lot that can be done with numbers and maths, such as bringing the cosmos down to a human-understandable level, or being able to comprehend and compute extremely large quantities of things, or as handy things to use to show off patterns that appear on our lives. Numbers are not a thing unto themselves, but always, always a representation of a specific something else. Whole persons do not easily abstract into numbers - something is always left out. The same person can support more than one candidate, hold more than one idea, do more than one thing, all simultaneously. To count a person, you must first define what part of them matters to your count, even if there are other things about them that will influence whether they end up in the count or not. Whole branches of the social sciences are dedicated to trying to find new and better ways of abstracting people so as to capture more of them into the numbers, so that more of the things that people do in their contexts can be captured and analyzed, and so there are less surprises that appear.

When it comes to schooling and the quantification of students, legislatures almost universally agree that the important parts of a student are whether they can pass tests in certain subjects so that our students can be compared to other students in a global contest of who has the best test-taking students. The standardized test components usually ask students to return bytes of knowledge on questions, often multiple-choice, with a later section asking for analysis or more complex construction of sentence and grammar, along with an argument or the critique of one. There's very little in standardized testing that says "Answer this question in the written form that suits you best." I suspect that they could get some very interesting and well-expressed verse, quips, or drawings that would indicate understanding as well as or better than a five-point essay. The things that are being sought in standardized tests are things that only a certain part of the population has as strengths, and only certain others can learn well enough to get by. Unsurprisingly, one of the things that matters in those cases is whether or not the school has enough funding to be able to give each student enough attention to ensure they are learning the material. And whether the home neighborhood of the students is peaceful and wealthy enough that they can concentrate on their studies. And whether the is a cultural attitude in that area that says doing well in school is an important priority. And a whole host of other things that have nothing to do at all with the abilities and strengths of the students themselves, which the test is trying and falling to capture, so that there can be decisions made about where money goes - perversely, the most goes to the places that need it least.

In this environment, governed by those numbers, creative expression has no place. It does not teach core competencies. Music's stringent maths requirements, exposure to foreign language terms, collaboration exercises, and abstract thinking training (the annotated dots on the page themselves do not music make, after all) are unseen, because one cannot teach music that way - it can only be done by making music, which means the sound of learning is in the sound itself, rather than a quantifiable element.

You can teach form and rhyme and style for poetry and prose. You can test to make sure someone understands how it goes. But the actual creation... more often than not, we remember the things that speak to us, that take the form and make it different or

break

it at just the right time. The twist ending, the way it's done - that can't be taught or mechanized yet. Some poetry only works when set to a beat, others only when spoken. Some poetry has to be seen.

The manual arts - sculpture, painting, architecture, smithing, fabrication, and more - the techniques can be taught, the forms studied, even replicated. Without these arts we do not exist and yet these are not considered important things for learning, nor is the time set aside at school for expression of these or other things, unless the school has decided that some part of their students' lives will not be dictated by numbers.

Against all of these odds, it is a wonder that any creativity survives. Employers are mentioning that they aren't getting graduates with the ability to think and analyze and come up with those elegant solutions, in code, in design, in implementation. Without the encouragement, a child, a student, a learner looks at all the works that have already been done and says, "I will not have that skill. Why should I try to do this?" And then the creativity goes with it.

It costs nothing to encourage an artist. Nurture that ambiguity and imagination of the children around you, regardless of how fantastical you find it or how much you think there's no skill present. Remind the adults around you that taste exceeds talent at the beginning, but talent will catch up with time and practice. It's easy to give up long before the point where it starts to click.

The numbers are abstractions, even the ones that have currency symbols in front of them that, regrettably, dictate how many of us get to pursue our art full-time and who gets to use what things to create with.

It's okay if we're not sure what the drawing is. That it is there is important, the rest are details.
silveradept: Blue particles arranged to appear like a rainstorm (Blue Rain)
The sixth April Moon prompt is a black and white photograph of an insect. The picture is composed, however, so that we only see the silhouette of the insect against the wall, and the reflection of that silhouette on a particular axis underneath the shadow of a dividing pipe. The insect itself is not visible, nor the pipe.

We're really good, as humans, about paying attention to the shadow and not the thing itself. It's a staple of horror movies, games, and the like to have a looming shadow approaching the protagonist or the next victim while they do what they are doing, unaware of the danger. In comedy, the thing casting the shadow turns out to be small. In straight horror, it usually turns into a Discretion Shot as someone gets killed or otherwise removed from humanity.

Plato spoke a myth of a cave, where prisoners watched shadows on a wall, gave them names, argued about them, and otherwise invested themselves in insubstantial things, rather than finding a way to break their chains and get out into the light and the real world. Buddhists could conceivably be described as thinking of our entire existence as shadows and insubstantial things, born of desires that wish to perpetuate themselves, but that eventually will cease in the achievement of oneness with the cosmos itself. Not this, not that. Xion, no. i.

We make entertainment out of shadows as well - contorting hands or constructing objects such that when the light is applied, the silhouette of something very different appears. It's the magic of illusions, of seeing something that is right there and yet cannot actually be. Whether we appreciate the effect or, as skilled practitioners of our own illusions, the method by which the illusions are built, there is something that we all enjoy in seeing the unreal become real.

Of course, that's only when we're doing it, as the disclaimer says, "for entertainment purposes only." When we start building and exposing other people to illusions because we want them to do, not do, or believe something, it becomes much less entertaining and much more angry-making. For example, the man responsible for allowing an experiment about guards and prisoners to continue long after it had exceeded ethical boundaries says that young men are not receiving proper support and instruction in correct masculinity, because a lack of male role models means technology and women are the primary definers of what it means to be a man.

This is an increasingly writ topic as many men that thought they knew what gender roles meant (and that were quite happy with being the top of the heap) find women are increasingly able to live lives, raise children, and have careers without requiring a man to provide financial or other support for any of these tasks. And furthermore, that women may have opinions and preferences about what kind of men they will willingly consort with, rather than having to choose from bad options to ensure survival. The shadow being cast here is one where men are both unnecessary and not present in the lives of young men, although it's usually called "feminism" when people such as Zimbardo are writing about it.

The "absent fathers" problem is paradoxical, in that "Absent fathers" is both "men who leave their male children because they are insufficiently manly" and "women who kick men to the curb because feminism teaches them they don't need men". Even though the supposed solution, forcing women and children to stay with the men that impregnated them by removing their agency, supposedly works in both cases, ignoring the litany of good reasons why men and women should separate and stay very far away from each other. The presence of a father in someone's life is no guarantee that the father is an appropriate role model of masculinity. Zimbardo proves this by citing a poor example of why a father is necessary - conditional love. According to him, mothers give love unconditionally to their children, but fathers do not, and the lesson that some people will only like you based on whether you perform for them or please them is apparently essential to the development of a healthy man. According to Zimbardo, men require extrinsic motivation from another man to develop properly.

If this seems nonsensical, or rings your bullshit alarm, look past the thing itself and watch the shadow that it casts. The unstated part is that "conditional love" is a code word for "discipline". The statement above then transforms into "Mothers love their children too much to effectively discipline them, therefore every child needs a father who will provide the necessary structure and discipline." Which is no more a true statement than "mothers give unconditional love, fathers give conditional love", but at least makes more sense as to why "conditional love" would be touted as essential to proper masculinity instruction. Zimbardo admits as such when taking about how many black homes have no fathers and that this syndrome is now spilling into white culture as well (because blaming black people makes it safe to admit that white people have a problem).

The other great shadow of fear labeled "feminism" by those in masculinity crisis is the march of women into spaces previously thought exclusively the province of men. Those that define their masculinity as the space where men can be that women cannot go find themselves attacked on all sides by non-discrimination statutes and lawsuits as well as women just showing up in male spaces and demanding to be treated as an equal. To that man, as Zimbardo is, this is not seen as equality, but unacceptable "feminization" of these spaces. The increased success of women in these spaces, combined with the "absent father" scare, the shadows they cast for young men are a world controlled by women where there are no spaces for men to bond with other men, apart from women, and to engage in those behaviors that are the rite of passage from boys to men.

It is unsurprising, then, that Zimbardo chooses places that are still seen as nearly-exclusively male (and resisting the presence and inclusion of women) as the refuges these boys are supposedly retreating to - porn, video games, and anti-hyperactivity drugs. Considering that the piece is about the lack of masculinity in young men, it shouldn't be a surprise that the justifications for these three elements engage in gender essentialism, but it disrupts the flow for me.

Video games are addictive because they reinforce the innate male desire to do things rather than reflect and engage in self-awareness, says Zimbardo. As such, they don't appeal to girls. And thus, Gamergate and the entire horde of examples of active exclusion perpetuated at girls and women who want to play games with their friends or in mixed company. Because games aren't appealing to girls. But more importantly, video games prevent boys from engaging in self-examination and developing an individual identity that can withstand the pressures outside.

Which might be true in a world where single identifying markers constitute the entirety of a person's identity for the entire time they are there - that is to say, high school - but the outside world is generally multifaceted, and assuming that their spirit hasn't been crushed by the time they leave high school, most men likely have more than one thing they can claim as a part of their identity. They may have several parts that have been waiting to flourish, now that they have left the single-facet world.

Plus, have you seen games these days? Especially on the indie circuits, there are a lot of games that encourage self-reflection and moral decision-making.

Porn is an easy one for them to tie into the current narrative - lacking appropriate role models of working, living relationships in their lives, and because women and girls always conceive of sex in terms of romance and feels instead of rutting, young men turn to porn to get their visual brains satisfied, and as a consequence, absorb the world of porn as instructive in how their sex lives should be, without narrative, romance, love, touching, or anything other than an endless parade of sex acts that is supposed to be normal.

Furthermore, because they can have a fantasy life that always works without rejection, boys will never navigate the world of dating, being turned down, breaking up, and all of that turmoil. It's phrased as boys not knowing what a girl's agenda is our what she wants, rather than the real risk of rejection, especially in high school, so that Zimbardo can make sure his blame stays squarely on women.

His conclusion is that since boys don't risk anything, they don't get anything, either, and the increasing realism of porn will soon mean they don't have to talk to real women if they don't want. An entire generation of men that don't need women.

Which does not mesh with reality at all. I doubt many men think of porn as the instruction guide to sex and sexuality, especially in this age of Internet, where real and useful information is available to those with a Web browser, including places where questions are answered about all sorts of topics. I suspect it holds cachet because it is, at least to U.S. society, the forbidden fruit for the underage. It's less about what it is and more about how it's not allowed. And it does have an upside, ish - it can be really handy for figuring out preferences, kinks, and things that are arousing, without endangering a partner with inexperience or having them go tell the world of your high school about what kind of sick pervert you are. As an experienced graduate of small-town school, I assure you that the pressures on kids to not be seen in any way that attracts scorn and derision is quite high, and that gossip travels fast. If there is to be conversation and possibly even flirting, there has to be a safe scenario to talk in, where even if rejection is possible, it will not turn into school-enveloping drama. It's not about a woman's "agenda", it's about fostering a safe environment for both men and women to be able to try, fail, and succeed without disastrous consequences.

Rather than relying on a gender essentialist argument, though, this could easily feed the narrative so far constructed - a lack of fathers and male role models means there aren't men in their life who can answer the embarrassing questions and teach them properly about what to do with their actual identities.

No, group settings with a nurse don't count, as the peer pressure present means very few of the real questions on anyone's mind will be asked. And that is assuming that someone gets to that point in school - plenty of religious objections will pull students, even in public schooling, out of classes that talk about sex. It also assumes that the school program itself will be comprehensive and accurate, which is not always the case in states with meddling legislatures and Moral Guardians.

Let me put it this way: in all the conversations I had with my dad about sex (which were, we note, all one way, from him to me), I learned only a few things:
  • Sex outside of marriage is forbidden by God. Don't do it.
  • Looking at naked women who aren't your wife is forbidden by God. Don't do it.
  • If you have sex, you are indicating you want God to bless you with a child.
Considering my dad is a devout Catholic who has been married to his wife for decades now, this should surprise exactly nobody.

What this does, though, is point out the lie that having a male role model is enough to avoid porn. Plenty of people that I know who had fathers present will admit to having seen some. No, the point to be made here is that if your parents choose to avoid educating you about your sexuality, whether because of deeply held religious beliefs or similarly deep discomforts with talking about it with their children, they should provide an alternative who will talk frankly with their children and answer questions honestly, with or without the instructions of religion about those topics. To not provide this means the curious will go about finding that information on their own, and the best you can do is hope they find somewhere informative and accurate, instead of somewhere with an agenda on how everyone should behave. You're leaving that very important thing up to their judgment to exercise good search strategy and to sift and test the information they receive for bullshit. If you don't trust your kids to be able to do that, then you need to provide them with an alternative that will work.

If you wanted to scare people, though, All you have to do is lop off the parental responsibility part, and there's your scary spectre of kids getting wrong information from the Internet. Or porn.

As for hyperactivity medications, this is more a swipe at the idea that teachers and schools are geared to women, who sit, read, write, and have no trouble talking about feelings. Boys and men, of course, are the doers who move, act up, and otherwise get bored because their kinesthetic learning centers (and they're all kinesthetic learners, of course) aren't being satisfied. No gym, no sport, and assignments that require composition and reflection, quelle horreur, because diaries are for girls. (We note the above lament about action versus reflection in video games is apparently not remembered, or has been sacrificed to this newer point.) In any case, since they are not being properly stimulated, the boys become disruptive and get ADHD medication they don't need.

The solutions proposed for all these problems might look like feminism if viewed in the right context. More men as teachers, men clubs where young men can get mentorship and rule models from older men, video games that aren't as violent and are more cooperative, parents taking to their kids about sex, and getting men to learn how to dance - the kind of dancing one does with a partner, I'm guessing, since it's being used as a way for young men to be able to talk to women. There's also a bit about reforming welfare to encourage fathers to stay, which is a no, because no woman should be dependent on the presence of a man to be able to raise her children, but the rest are pretty good, if we assume that the mentorship and modeling the young men are getting represent healthy models of interaction that respect women and don't perpetuate outdated or retrograde ideas. I'm not very hopeful for that, because of the person advocating for it, but I remain willing to be surprised.

Mr. Zimbardo is doubtful his vision will come into reality, though, because he doesn't think that the terrible state for men is going to change any time soon. The citation here is a documentary that seems to be better at convincing is that the current model of masculinity is in need of change, and that the change should be away from doubling down on the current practice of masculinity that Zimbardo and others have been building as the solution to the twin spectres of absent male role models and the march of feminism. If the outer shell of toughness and the inner core of fear are what the current situation produce, we need a new situation. One that needs mentors and role models and talking and teachers and librarians and all of that... but oriented toward making sure we don't reinforce what's already not working.

We have to deal with the insect, not be afraid of its shadow.
silveradept: A star of David (black lightning bolt over red, blue, and purple), surrounded by a circle of Elvish (M-Div Logo)
The fifth April Moon prompt is... confusing. It's a father, maybe from an owl, on a background that's a few patches of light shining through what could be a barred window behind the camera. The lit stripes have an orange tint to them that is reminiscent of tiger coloration.

The image itself, however, is out of focus to the point where everything is blurry. Which, as it turns out, is a pretty good metaphor for life, as we are creatures that always have incomplete information. Our pictures of life are always out of focus to greater or lesser degrees, since we lack the ability to know everything even on the simplest of things. The interesting part of that is sometimes the lack of focus makes things that are uninteresting with looking at, and other things that are lookable become blurred and fade away.

What would having perfect information look like for anything? To be able to see all sides of an issue, and all of the motivation behind all of those perspectives, their contexts and influences, and how each of the options that are presented will turn out, with their ripple effects, changes, and consequences. To get perfect information on just one decision would probably require more storage space and study time than any one human could manage, and it would be out of the reach of the storage capacity of most computers. And even then, it wouldn't guarantee a good result - wed just know what was going to happen based on the information. If the options were "You're screwed, you're screwed, and you're totally screwed", then I can see the forecasting system becoming part of the scrap heap quickly.

I've heard two different versions of Pandora's Box that tell the same narrative and only diverge at what's in the box when Pandora closes it for the first time. Most versions have Hope in the box, which convinces Pandora to let it out so that we can survive against all the other evils that are already out. The one that stuck with me, though, is the one where Pandora slams the box shut before Foreknowledge gets out. Because if that one has gotten out, there would not have been a human species to speak of, with every person knowing exactly the course their life would take. That's the scarier version of the tale - a true catastrophe averted, rather than there having been a good thing in the box to help with all the bad.

And as it turns out, the universe itself is a bit fuzzy. At our current level of technology, we can see where an electron is or where it is going, but not both at the same time. There are particles that change their state upon being observed, some to whatever the observer was expecting to see at the time of the observation. It is possible to pair particles, separate them over long distances and then change the information in one set and have it replicate in other other set almost instantaneously, despite the distance. It may be possible to unlock these secrets to develop greater communication possibilities or to make the vast amounts of distance between Terra and other stars and bodies shrink such that they can be traversed in a lifetime.

We will never have complete knowledge of our own universe, because we are part of it, and that stops us from knowing all of it, but it's in the fuzzy parts, the bits that are out of focus, that our curiosity, our inspiration, and the requirements to act on situations all lie.

So while the picture itself may be unremarkable, the composition of the image is not. This applies to more than just pictures.
silveradept: The emblem of the Heartless, a heart with an X of thorns and a fleur-de-lis at the bottom instead of the normal point. (Heartless)
[personal profile] nanila asked if I would do a link set on "chromatic" as an idea, which could cover all sorts of possibilities of color or music or any other sequence where you go from one end to the other, stopping at all the important points along the way. And maybe I'll do a more fun version of that later, but it seems the gods have dropped a rather large group of related things on my lap that can serve as a spectrum, although one without much for a lighter end.

Minnesota doesn't really care if you die,
Since all you are is a thorn in corporate profits' side
.
In Wisconsin they say that all should eat like the pregnant women do,
Because Republicans don't care about you.

Sexist reviewers do get sacked, after Twitter shows how many are mad enough to act.
That said, when harassed at a construction site repeatedly and without fail, a woman going to the police is told by her assailant that she's a "silly girl", even though he's the one with the conviction for the same kind of behavior. And that it was "just banter". Which didn't stop and did escalate, so bullshit on that. And similarly on the excuse that hair-pulling is also just banter. That kind of stuff is gaslighting and contributes to the problem of women being told their experiences aren't real.

And then there's the Dude Social Fallacies.

Women still excluded from all-men clubs,
"No penis, no power" the cry of some schlubs
.
So to take that power, they dress in masks and make noise for others who are awesome.

It's a spectrum of aggressions, some small, some large, but all of them wearing away just that much more on the women who deserve better than this stuff.

And sometimes, there is actual progress, even if it isn't enough.
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
The fourth April Moon prompt is a picture of cobblestone. There's nothing special about these stones - they're not painted any colors, there aren't any cracked, broken, or uneven stones in the picture, and there's no other thing in the distance that might indicate context. The most unique feature for this set of otherwise the same is that it looks like the center stone has bird droppings on it. As inspiration goes, this one looks at first blush to be a dud.

Since May 1 was International Workers Day, I could talk about solidarity and how the United Nations says that trade unions are a human right, and how my own union and its bargained disciplinary process are probably what kept me from losing my job under the reign of the Capricious Manager, so everyone who works for a wage under someone should have those kinds of protections, and not subject to mysterious closures of their worksite for nonexistent reasons to prevent their organization into a collective bargaining unit.

May 1 was also Blogging Against Disablism day, but as a member of a privileged group, it seems a better idea for me to let people who have the experience talk about the ways that the rest of us can make things better. The cobblestone reminds me of places that use bricks in their crosswalks - probably as a visual effect or as a show of wealth or history in the town, but I wonder whether people who navigate by cane or chair users would find that kind of change to be good or useful, since brick isn't usually a fully smooth surface to move on.

Disability also makes me think about Section 508 of the ADA, which mandates that websites for government services or entities (like tax-funded libraries) have to be accessible to people using assistive technologies to browse the Web. I'm not sure what sort of testing we do on our own site, and I suspect that anyone who navigated to it and found it frustrating is not going to pen us a letter or email detailing all the things that we got wrong with the site. It's not their job to educate us, and the people in charge of the website may or may not actually be able to fix the problem.

Plus, since we buy our website components a lot of the time, there's no guarantee our developers will have implemented proper compatibility, either, even if we made it part of the request. Really, at some point, someone in the organization should use the website with assistive technology and see whether the experience is comparable to without. The mobile catalog is a pale shade of the normal one, so I don't have high hopes. Accessibility should be a thing for all of us.

The way the picture is taken, the cobblestone could also be roof tile, which brings up this of the costs of adulthood and home ownership, as re-roofing is expensive, and all the time I spent on collegiate summers painting houses, some of which is probably still visible in the very first few years of my journaling. Those summers were the ones where I got intimately familiar with either the hits of yesteryear or whatever was on the pop charts of the current year, and where I think it was a compliment to my work that the crew leader would put me on a wall of the house and say "All yours for this morning/afternoon". (You can see how having esteem issues cam complicate even things that should be simple.) Some of the engineering problems that had to be solved so that ladders and other things could be safely brought up and down onto different parts of the house and so that all the boards got painted were pretty complex.

It was a good way of spending a summer making money, but it, like much of my undergraduate, was marking time until I could get into professional school and start my intended career path. I'd like to think I chose wisely about that, at least, because the wait was a long one.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
The third April Moon prompt is a black and white piece of art, incorporating spiral designs and various patterns in each of the arms of the inward spiral.

I have a relationship with art and creativity that is probably not the healthiest. Because creative talent has always been defined to me as the ability to make things from scratch, without having or needing a recipe or formula to produce them. And heavily weights toward visual art, although music and writing are in the scope of that idea. Creative people come up with ideas and then have the ability to put those ideas on their chosen medium. They don't copy or face or take something else and build on it.

It's kind of like the relationship Sheldon and Leonard of the Big Bang Theory have with each other, namely that Sheldon forever considers Leonard an inferior physicist, because Leonard, the experimental physicist, is only taking other people's ideas and seeing if they work, instead of coming up with the ideas and theories themselves. (They both look down on Howard, the engineer that actually builds and repairs stuff, for not having a doctorate and for not working with a "pure" science. It's very Platonic, actually, both this idea of creativity and the heirarchy of the geeky professions.) Creativity was defined in a narrow band of possibilities within a limited range of disciplines. And since, at the formative stage, I didn't have the ability to create things from whole cloth in those disciplines, I haven't really ever felt like a creative person.

With age comes wisdom, though, and an expanded appreciation of what creativity entails. Remix culture, for example, expands the available creative space to people who can put together already existing things in novel ways. Fanworks and transformative works say that creativity exists in those who can take the raw blocks of a setting and characters and produce new things. (With a proper public domain, that creative work could be sold or otherwise profited upon to make a living openly.) Music performance involves making runtime decisions about what the symbols on the page actually mean in terms of the intended sound - does your "medium volume" actually mean "medium volume underneath the melodic line" or "medium volume as the melodic line, so don't step on your accompaniment" or just "medium volume, because my scored dynamics make sure everything comes out correctly"? There is a gap between playing what's on the page and making music that has to be filled by the creative capacities of each player. Writers need editors, cover artists, and other creative talents to take a manuscript and make a book, and so forth.

Perhaps because I'm still a bit blocked on my own "out of nothing" abilities, or because, as Ira Glass notes, my talent Gant caught up to my taste, I find I've got the knack for taking other people's work and helping them refine it, or snagging something and adapting it to my needs. I might not be able to create the script or program from the beginning, but if someone's already done it, or there's an idea present, I can often get to completion. So while I don't draw, I have picked up the skill of digital line drawing and put it to use digitizing the works that appear on my drawing pad at work. I took a shell script that pointed at one file and then made copies to point at other files so that RetroPie could play all of the games needed instead of just one.

And I've been helping flesh out ideas for the summer program by taking the skeletons of other ideas and transforming them into fuller, more complete versions. It's the mid-work that's the province of Hufflepuff - it's got to get done, and it gets done by people who are just putting their heads down and working.

Which is why it was such a delight to see an email in my inbox giving praise for the work done on a particular idea. And praise in the form that mentioned how creative it was. That kind of encouragement is pretty rare. At least in the States, where we value the innovator, the discoverer, the "creative force" that does it first, being the person that comes next, or the one that takes the idea and makes something practical and useful out of it sometimes means a lifetime membership in House No Credit.

Doing all of this, though, and boosted some by the compliment given, I think I'm starting to come to the conclusion that there is creativity in tinkering, in changing, in deconstructing and analyzing, and in transformation. Such that yes, even in the work of the library, we can all say that we are creative beings, even if none of us have ever made a thing from scratch.

I think it would do wonders for our perception of self.
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
April Moon's second image is a flower. I couldn't tell you what it is, but that's because I tend to avoid flowers - many of them smell the same to me, which isn't very pleasant, and most of them tend to make me sneeze. Which makes the Great Outdoors not very appealing to me, and that's before the bugs come out to bite on me. I really don't like the itching and irritation that comes from the mosquitos, and they always find unique places to bite, so as to make it worse and extra aggravating.

The animals also have to be looked after, fed, run outside to eliminate, and have their differences resolved for harmony. Plus sleeping in something that's not quite big enough in places that aren't quite comfortable enough.

It's not so much that I can't have fun outside or camping, just that I know there are certain costs that come with it, and the possible fun has to get over those costs.

I may also be prejudiced against trips to the outdoors because a lot of my formative trips were with the local Boy Scout troop. Who were less about merit badges and building camaraderie between a diverse group and more about being the popular kids hanging out and making fun of those outside their social group. Which my friends and I definitely were, being tech-y and nerdy and interested in science fiction and such. So a lot of those trips later on for me would be going out to do occasional things with the merit badge people and spending a lot of time down at the archery range, because while I'm still not good at it, I do like shooting arrows at targets.

The Boy Scouts were really a means to see friends - maybe if the troop had been more interested in the merits and achievements part, I would have had a better experience. As it was, the national organization's continued stance on excluding gay scouts and gay or lesbian leaders as insufficiently "morally straight" spelled doom for any remaining like I have for them as an organization. Not just because it tripped my social justice tendencies, but because adhering to their morals would have meant giving up dear friends, and I would much rather keep the friends than someone else's moral system.

Which makes it a bit... something that as part of my work, I regularly help troops of Cub and Boy Scouts get acclimated to the resources of the library and show them where to find resources that will help them advance along their own paths of merit. Because we serve everyone, regardless of their personal or institutional beliefs, so long as they follow our rules and don't try to interfere with other people's use.

In the end, I'm pretty sure the Boy Scouts are going to lose. As with all things, though, the arc that bends toward justice always seems to be taking longer to get there than it should.
silveradept: A young child with a book in hand, wearing Chinese scholar's dress. He's happy. (Chiriko)
The picture of the prompt, April Moon 2015 #1, is of a pair of sneakers straddling the word "Ciao" in a word balloon. Which brings up some painful memories of a time where I was that close to being told "We don't want you here any more." For reasons that didn't seem serious, or that refused to change in the face of the truth.

Perhaps ironically, I got that kind of dismissal, for reasons that can be as incomprehensible as the others, from places that I would normally do some part of my job. That indirect feedback provoked more direct conversation about skill building and such, and I've been assured that this is not that situation before, but there's been very little acknowledgement of what they think about the situation and a lot more of just getting to solutions. It makes it harder to believe that everything's okay. Because whether or not the situation resolves well depends on other people. That's not a situation I really ever want to be in again, considering how poorly the first one went.

The shoes could also mean someone tarrying at saying goodbye, which is always tough when the goodbye is permanent. You want to both stay right there in the hope that things will reverse and be better, and you want to be very far away from it so that you don't have to see the conclusion when things go bad.

But now, there's just reminders and comparisons. And the knowledge that one day, they'll all be saying "Ciao" to me, too.
silveradept: A representation of the green 1up mushroom iconic to the Super Mario Brothers video game series. (One-up Mushroom!)
Grabbed from [personal profile] atelierlune


  1. Do you try to stay away from walkthroughs?

    Nah. When I had time to work through tricky puzzles and platformer sequences, I didn't use them, but at that time, they were "strategy guides" and "hint books" and were quite expensive. Or you could call a hint line. These days, since I have precious little time to game as it is, I generally use the walkthrough to make sure that I experience the entire game, or as much as possible, the first time around. Since I like long RPGs, this is pretty important.

  2. Company you're always loyal to?

    The Sierra/Dynamix combination is a strong, strong pull for me. Much of my training in games was on their adventure and puzzle offerings, but one they stopped making those signature style games, I pretty much put offerings under that name into discontinuity, because it's some other company just using the name.

  3. Best game you've ever played?

    Ooh, that's tough, but I think the game I've had the very most fun with was The Incredible Toon Machine, because it was all about building ridiculous contraptions to help a debonair cat catch a mobster mouse. And explosives that sounded bored to explode.

  4. Worst game you've ever played?

    I think it's going to be Duke Nukem 3D, but that might only be because I haven't played Duke Nukem Forever...

    ...or Daikatana.

    No, wait, it's the original Alone in the Dark.

  5. A popular series/game you just can't get into no matter how much you try?

    If by "can't", you mean "have zero interest in trying", then Five Nights at Freddy's. I have no interest in jump scares or too many other scary kinds of games, because I scare easily and I tend to react violently to scares. I like my computers and devices too much to hurt them for frightening me.

  6. A game that's changed you the most?

    I don't know if there's a single game that's changed me, but I like big sweeping story kinds of games for their ability to let me feel like I can save the world or do big things.

  7. A game you'll never forget?

    Probably Crono Trigger. Mostly for Doreen. And the part where the party finally confronts the truth of their future and decides to Do Something.

  8. Best soundtrack?

    There are a lot of candidates for this one, because I grew up with increasingly excellent synthesized music that has since been orchestrated and fanmixed for extra excellence beyond the original. I suppose the winner is the soundtrack that I like all the tracks to, rather than just some: Okami.

  9. A game you turn your volume off every time you play it?

    I tend to do this most often with first person shooters, despite the obvious advantages of audio cues in figuring things out. Perhaps the sound of constant gunfire and monsters doesn't do it for me.

  10. A game you've completely given up on?

    The original Half-Life. There's a spot right before you get to the platforming section on the other world where you have to protect a squishy scientist from aliens and despite having all the cool guns, it doesn't happen. That said, I'm apparently not missing much.

  11. Hardest game you've played?

    In what terms? Geometry Wars is really rather difficult to achieve a high score on, but not the most difficult to play.

    Console first person shooters tend to be tough for me, because I don't have the skill of aiming with a control stick. I think that makes Goldeneye the hardest game I've played.

  12. Shortest time you've beaten a game in?

    Super Mario Brothers 3 for NES could be vanquished in an hour or less with two warp whistles and the knowhow of World 8.

  13. A game you were the most excited for when it wasn't released yet?

    The fifth Quest for Glory game, which is ironically the most disappointing one for me, but some day, with time and DOSBOX, I'll put the whole series through, start to finish.

  14. A game you think would be cool if it had voice acting?

    So many of them do now, and a lot of the ones that didn't picked it up in later installations. I think, perhaps if the Krondor game had gotten enough, but the Feist license might have been a lot.

  15. Which two games do you think would make an awesome crossover?

    Torin's Passage and either Sam and Max or Day of the Tentacle. Characters that, for the most part, are accidentally going to save the world mixed with a mostly comedic plot to do it with. Plus, I'd love to see how Max handles being in a high-fantasy world.

  16. Character you've hated most? From what game?

    Let's see, which poor A. I. escort do I choose?

    Actually, no, it's the A. I. itself from a multitude of fighting games where it crosses into "cheap, cheating, [expletive]" and you're just expected to handle that.

  17. What game do you never tell people you play?

    There shouldn't be a game that you're afraid of saying you play, unless it's like h-games or Leisure Suit Larry, you're not old enough to be playing those, and you're talking to someone who cares about that.

  18. A game you wish your friends knew about?

    My friends tend to introduce me to games, not the other way around, but the Lego series of properties is surprisingly accessible and playable in cooperative mode regardless of the skill levels of the players, which is a pretty important consideration as your life continues.

  19. Which game do you think deserves a revival?

    An old turn-based online dungeon crawl called The Shadows of Yserbius. Mostly because it was freaking hard to do alone, and because I think a lot of people would appreciate having a truly turn-based MMO to play, instead of one that requires some action component.

  20. What was the first video game you ever played?

    I remember playing either Hunt the Wumpus or Ladders on a Kaypro at a very early age.
  21. How old were you when you first played a video game?

    I think I was three at the time, so I wasn't very good at it.

  22. If you could immerse yourself in any game for one day, which game would it be? What would you do?

    If death wasn't permanent, I might enjoy taking a day in the Smash Brothers universe, battling and using items to see if I could defeat a demented hand.

  23. Biggest disappointment you've had in gaming?

    I'm not so sure it counts as a disappointment, but finishing the hidden temple in Commander Keen 4...

  24. Casual, Hardcore, or in the middle?

    False distinction, and I don't like buying into the rhetoric of people who want to exclude games they don't like as not real games.

  25. Be honest; have you ever used cheats (like ActionReplay or Gameshark)?

    Absolutely. I'm a bit ticked that there aren't more cheats and such built in to games these days, because I firmly believe that everyone has the right to experience their game in the way they want to without mockery or derision. If that means God Mode, so be it.

  26. Handheld or console?

    PC mostly, thanks.

  27. Has there ever been a moment that has made you cry?

    Only in frustration at the difficulty spikes.

  28. Which character's clothes do you wish you owned the most?

    I'll take anything that gives me access to the pocket dimension that adventure heroes have for storing their stuff, but in terms of actually wanting their clothes, I think I'd like Sora or Roxas's outfits.

  29. Which is more important, gameplay or story?

    Story if the game intends to have one, gameplay otherwise. Good gameplay will help with your story, of course, because it will mean people get to experience it, instead of a major frustration.

  30. A game that hasn't been localized in your country that you think should be localized.

    There's an entire back catalogue of RPGs that could come across and get localized, if for no other reason than to have, say, the entire set of Dragon Warrior or Secret of Mana series available to play through completely.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
So, perhaps as a change of pace, I thought perhaps we could participate in the idea of [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw, posting content meant just for this platform, for three weeks or so.

Leaving me in the usual quandary - what do I write about?

So, if you're prompt-inclined, please do leave topics or entire writing prompt sequences on the doorstep, and I'll see what I can get. I could also do
  • the April Moon image sequence
  • a series of video game prompts that look fun
  • more baseball Tarot
...or something else entirely. Prompt away, please!
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
So Secretary of State Clinton used a private email address for work purposes, but claims no wrongdoing.

Hillary Clinton is officially in for the Presidential campaign of 2016. it seems like the Democrats are willing to let her have the nomination. Not for lack of candidates, but because everyone seems to be okay with Hillary Clinton as the candidate. Elizabeth Warren, however, could make it a primary all the same.

The GOP field is working itself together - Jeb Bush wants to outraise everyone else, while trying to distance himself from both of the other unpopular Bushes in the family, Ted Cruz wants true believers, Marco Rubio wants to be seen as serious, and Rand Paul is hoping for some of the magical appeal Ron Paul always got.

...and all the dark money that corporations can buy plus whatever voter identification laws can be passed.

The shooting of a black man by police in Wisconsin prompted an apology from the police chief after protests. Then, a manslaughter charge against a deputy who shot an unarmed black man, the sentencing of Blackwater guards that killed Iraqi civilians, and a murder charge for an officer that used his stun gun and then shot a fleeing suspect in the back four times.

Here's the thing, though. There are so many other incidents of brutality that go unreported and without comment, because it takes white people caring about black lives for change to happen.

it counts for other minorities, too. It's great to hear that the Administration will support efforts at banning conversion therapy, especially for teens, but legislation would be better, and enforcement of that beyond legislation the best still.

A terror group claimed responsibility for an attack in Kenya that appeared to target non-Muslims for death, killing almost 150.

Republicans wrote a letter to Iran warming them that deals made with this president still had to go through Congress, a move they admitted in retrospect was not the smartest thing. And a deal was still struck.

A Cuba thaw is underway, as the federal government removes Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

In what could have been more than eight billion dollars USD of fines, New Jersey governor Christie accepted a $250 million USD settlement from ExxonMobil over environmental damage. And then had the temerity to brag about it. Whose palms got greased there? And whose might be in the investigation into an oil rig explosion in Mexico?

Loretta Lynch is a qualified candidate for Attorney General. So why is she languishing, even though the Republicans hate Eric Holder more?

The largest remaining cache of chemical weapons in the United States is slated for destruction. And this makes the rest of the world safer. On a more local level, a group tried to raise awareness of gun violence by stocking a store with prop weapons and stories of the violence committed with weapons like that.

So does not building a big tar sands oil pipe from Canada.

The troop levels in Afghanistan are likely to remain higher than the planned drawdown. Because endless war is totally what everyone wants. The way we fight it, with unmanned vehicles, we're saying a lot more about what's happening when things go wrong.

While the High Court considers whether lethal injection will be allowed to continue, Utah authorized the use of a firing squad for executions as a backup. Because the right to kill someone is apparently a thing no state wants to give up.

Arkansas passed a bill that said it was okay to discriminate against others, so long as you're doing so from a religious conviction. It follows Indiana in doing so, and the backlash is already on its way, trying to dissuade others from following suit. The technology industry is leading some of the pushback, but the politicians are not very far behind. some of that oddball has resulted in states modifying their laws, but not repealing them.

The Missouri Republican Party chair whose ads suggested untrue things about the State Auditor before the Auditor took his own life days he's been cleared and nobody should be talking about the incident with his name near it. Even though the ads were untrue and muck and in favor of his preferred candidates. The apparent suicide if the Auditor's spokesperson isn't helping subside any thoughts on the matter.

A nationwide strike of low-wage workers trying to raise the minimum wage to $15 USD/hr.

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