havocthecat: angry christina ricci with a chainsaw (feelings kill them all)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Not because I dislike the heat, because I unironically like 90+ degree hot, humid weather, but because it's given the ragweed fresh life. I'm sneezing non-stop.

Hands across the ocean

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:00 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Thanks to [personal profile] cesy for the heads-up -- Hope not Hate have launched a US site:

Hope Not Hate (Twitter: [twitter.com profile] hopenothate_USA)

By way of making a dramatic entry, this seems to have been timed to co-ordinate with the announcement of their epic undercover project: Patrik Hermansson, an extremely brave young Swedish grad student, infiltrated the alt-right and lived undercover in the movement in London and the US for nearly a year, wired for sound and carrying hidden cameras. This ultimately included being at Charlottesville and witnessing the car attack that killed Heather Heyer.

The documentary is coming soon, and the comprehensive report on the international alt-right (for which the infiltration was part of the research) is here:

The International Alternative Right

News reports:

New York Times: Undercover With the Alt-Right

Raw Story: ‘It’s gonna end with concentration camps’: Alt-right executive boasts of a future Europe with Hitler on their money

As you will have noticed, I love HnH. They have a long history working against fascist and far right groups in the UK, through research, infiltration, legal action, anti-racist/xenophobic education and campaigning, and their work seems to have naturally become international as the "alt-right" has (e.g. with the "Defend Europe" boat). I think their expertise (and the willingness of their reporters to put their necks on the line, holy fuck) will be a formidable addition to the US scene.

Also they will allow you to give them money to help sue Nigel Farage, and honestly I would love them for that alone. PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY, PLEASE.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Medieval porpoise 'grave' on Channel island puzzles archaeologists

I love everything about this story:

Archaeologists digging at an island religious retreat have unearthed the remains of a porpoise that, mystifyingly, appears to have been carefully buried in its own medieval grave.

MAYBE THE PORPOISE WAS A MONK, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THAT.

... and now I eagerly await the medieval monk were-porpoise shifter romance.

For a different kind of wonderful:

The Fader: This Artist Is Filling London With Murals Of Extraordinary Black Women

The art is gorgeous, but what I really love is that he's portraying his female friends, people who aren't famous but are ordinary/extraordinary people - a youth worker, a psychotherapist, and so on. And I love the shots of the murals with the real women posed next to them.
havocthecat: methos from highlander (hl methos)
[personal profile] havocthecat
In case anyone doesn't already know:

[community profile] hlh_shortcuts.

(I mean, I didn't. There might be someone else who doesn't?)

Graham-Cassidy

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:45 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Via [tumblr.com profile] vassraptor and [tumblr.com profile] realsocialskills:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network: ACA repeal is back – and so are we

Explanation, script and guide to contacting your representatives.
havocthecat: a magical tree (feelings tree magic)
[personal profile] havocthecat
We were reviewing the kidlet's U.S. history project on Colonial Virginia, which involved Jamestown, and I took it kind of farther than his teacher did. (I do that a lot. History is broadly expansive.) Also I got to explain that Captain John Smith was an asshole, and I got to whine later to Mr. Havoc that I really don't like Pocahontas (the Disney film), not because I don't like Pocahontas (she was awesome), but because John Smith was an asshole, not a romantic lead.

You have no idea how much my dad told me about John Smith and Jamestown when I was a kid. You really have no idea.

So I also learned that the kidlet didn't know why the Church of England formed, and this all culminated in my explaining to him that Henry VIII wanted to get remarried, the Pope told him no, and the Henry said, essentially, "Screw you, I'm the King of England! I'll start my own church!"

It was a glorious moment. I love being a parent.

Trick Or Treat Exchange 2017

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:01 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Hi, Ghostwriter or Ghostartist!

Thank you for writing for me, and I hope it's fun for you. I'm heavily cribbing this letter from last year's (which was heavily cribbed from the year before that) because writing Dear Writer letters breaks my brain. /o\

more )
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
is now OH JESUS FUCK BUTTERCUP'S GOING TO SAY SOMETHING ISN'T HE.

Today:

Trump claimed on Twitter that the terrorist attack involved “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard”, despite no such information having been released publicly by police. He also blamed it on “loser terrorists”, promoted his travel ban and advocated a “proactive and nasty” policy against Islamic State.

Note: since no information's been released publicly about whether the police even have suspects, let alone ones known to Scotland Yard, Buttercup is either a) violating the conventions on intelligence sharing (again), or b) completely making shit up.

Also note: almost all our terrorists recently have been home-grown, so a travel ban would do exactly fuck-all.

Also pre-emptively and doubtless ineffectively: DON'T EVEN THINK OF COMING AT OUR MAYOR YOU FUCKER.
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Other than major news incidents, which are mostly weather-related these days. Okay, not really, but I'm not getting into politics right now. I'm not in the right headspace to handle that.

Please tell me how you're doing! What's going on in your life?

Things in my life after the kidlet's bar mitzvah have mostly been terrible and I'm not ready to talk about them yet, which is why I haven't been updating any of them yet. Distract me from that, please.

I'm so far behind on my tv-watching that I'm just now getting to the Supergirl finale. One spoilery quibble with the first half of the finale that relates to U.S. Constitutional law. )

I'm very much enjoying everything about Supergirl otherwise, at least. I haven't even touched on my summer tv watching yet. It's been that kind of summer.

So it looks like ...

Sep. 11th, 2017 09:42 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
... Macmillan did more research to establish that someone who claimed to have written "My Immortal" had actually written "My Immortal" (she sounds pretty cool, btw) than the Times Literary Supplement did to establish that someone who claimed to have decoded the Voynich manuscript had actually decoded the Voynich manuscript.

2017, people.

(Yes, it probably is a women's health manual, but we knew that anyway.)

(I mean, maaaaaybe Gibbs has proof which he's holding back that his theory holds up, but right now it's pinging people's bullshit meters.)

http://ciphermysteries.com/2017/09/06/whats-wrong-todays-voynich-theory#comments
https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/09/experts-are-extremely-dubious-about-the-voynich-solution/
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
TPM: Report: Trump Is Refusing To Make Eye Contact With Gary Cohn

In fact, according to the linked NYT article, Buttercup "virtually ignored" Cohn at a meeting Cohn was supposed to be leading.

On which note, I think it's past time to start a White House deadpool, re: next person to resign and/or be fired.

I'm finding it fascinating trying to guess who'll be next, and I'm fairly sure (given plot twists so far) that any bet I make will be entertainingly wrong. I mean, Cohn would be the obvious bet, but maybe Mnuchin will crack first? But then apparently Omarosa is being crowded out by Kelly -- and even Kelly's got to have a breaking point ...

ETA: OMFG IT'S A REALITY TV SHOW. Week by week, members of the cast get eliminated! It's just a frustratingly post-modern reality tv show where we don't (as far as we know) have cameras inside the White House but have to piece together each ep's narrative from leaks in different newspapers/websites.

Culture Consumed Sunday

Sep. 10th, 2017 11:01 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
(one month after last such post edition)

Books

Read Sacha Lamb's 'Avi Cantor Has Six Months To Live', which is a very sweet YA boy-meets-boy short story about transness, Judaism, single parents, same sex parents, found family, suicidality, witches, and demons. My reaction amounts to: yes, good, more like this please.

Read that interview by Paul Chance with Ivar Lovaas. You know the one. (If you don't: tw for ableism and graphic descriptions of child abuse from the self-congratulatory perspective of the perpetrator.) All I'd read of it before was that one paragraph that always gets quoted. It is not any better in context. I didn't expect it to be. I don't know what I was expecting to get out of reading this, only that I had to know. In summary: Dead Dove, Do Not Eat.

Finished Max Gladstone's Four Roads Cross, which took me an unreasonably long time considering how good it was. I love Tara so much. The big battle was amazing, and I don't even usually care much about big battles, but this one pulled together so many narrative threads and had so many twists and emotional resolutions and it was just really satisfying. Also, I liked the cameo by Ashleigh Wakefield from Choice of the Deathless. (Ashleigh is male or female in that game depending on your character's orientation. In Four Roads Cross Ashleigh fights all the way through a major supernatural court case without being hit by a single third person pronoun. Role model.)

An actual sentence from this novel: "Umar's face looked like saws fucking." Context is that there were serrated patches of light shining on him, but who needs context?

Fandom

I missed the deadline for [community profile] trickortreatex, but there are plenty of fandoms there that I like enough to request or offer, so that's good. Yuletide nominations are open now, and I'm determined not to miss that.

Read [personal profile] st_aurafina's long-awaited Sentinel AU Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Person of Interest, Finch/Reese, Root/Shaw). Worth the wait. I really liked the worldbuilding, always one of my favourite parts of fusion fic -- figuring out how Canon A works in Canon B's setting is so much fun.

Goat fandom: [tumblr.com profile] pipistrellus (who has awesome goats) opened my eyes to how sometimes livestock classifieds are hilarimazing rather than just depressing or enraging. From an ad on Gumtree: "free goat, male, Railton, Tasmania. can be tethered, very friendly. He ate all the blackberries and now I don't have any use for him." It's poetry. Goat poetry. Goatry.

Theatre

Decided I want to do Fringe this year. Went to the website and opened a tab for every event that looked interesting. From there I longlisted 39 events. From there I medium-listed 25 events. Reminded myself firmly that Fringe is 21 days, therefore the maximum practical for a person who can do one big outing per day is 21, and I am not such a person, not to mention budgetary considerations, NOT TO MENTION that I have volunteer commitments and housekeeping and cats and friends and am currently not even managing to get through one book a week, and that doesn't require going anywhere at a given time and then staying there the full time.

TV and Movies

Finished watching the BBC Watergate documentary, which took forever because my TV stamina lately has mostly been limited to very small bites. It was so good, and a great relief from present day politics.

Watched the second episode of Black Sails, then gave up on the grounds that the DVD set was seriously overdue and I don't want to think about what my library fines are going to be like. I have heard such good things about the relationships in the second and later seasons, but right now I have lots of other things to watch/listen to/read and am putting this aside.

Music

I made my first ever mash-up.

Listening-wise, re-listened to some albums I already owned and hadn't played in a while. The Opera Australia highlights CD of Julio Cesare with Yvonne Kenny as Cleopatra, the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, and the soundtrack of Keating! the musical. I now have 'The Arse End of the Earth' lodged very hard in my head. (There's only 50 seconds of it on YouTube, and it doesn't really get the flavour of Gareth Evans' verses, although at least it includes the ABC bit. (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, our equivalent of the BBC, used to have this little three note motif, do'-fa-sol, at the end of its ident (here's an example from the early 90s) and if you watched public broadcasting here in the 90s then just hearing it probably made you draw the ABC logo in the air with your finger. It was iconic. The guitarist quotes it after Gareth mentions them.) (I cannot emphasise enough how odd and wonderful this musical is. It's a musical. About Australian politics in the 90s. How.)

Games

Mini Metro was at half price on Steam, so I yoinked that. It's hard but very soothing (minimalist visual design, and the sound is limited to quiet sound effects, no sountrack.) The object of the game is to design an efficient public transport system. There are eighteen different maps, each of real places (just the basic geographic features, not the town etc. Pretty much just rivers and lakes.) The stations randomly appear. They come in different types, representing different passenger needs (e.g. some passengers arrive at a square station and want to go to any circle station, some passengers start at a circle station and want to go to any triangle station. Some stations are stars or rhombuses and there's only one of them, so if your line doesn't connect to it, the passengers can't get there.) You get a limited number of tunnels/bridges, lines, locomotives and carriages, with a new carriage or locomotive every week (different places have different resources, like Osaka has the Shinkasen as well as regular trains, and places with lots of water have more tunnels.)

For some reason Melbourne's map is the tramways, not the trains. irl Melbourne's train map is reasonably logical, but its trams... well, they look like someone was playing Mini Metro and wasn't very good at it and also had a huge Eastern suburbs bias and hate poor people.

Beat the second-last boss in Super Star Path. Getting this far took eight hours of gameplay, and there are only six levels, and they're not long. Suffice it to say I'm not great at shooters.

Podcasts

Listened to episode 1 of Dylan Marron's Conversations With People Who Hate Me. Dylan Marron is a social justice podcaster (and a gay white cis man), and this is a project where he interviews people who've sent him hate mail and tries to have serious, productive, good-faith conversations about their differing opinions.

...Yeah, I'm not going to listen to another episode. Not soon, anyway. It's a very brave thing he's doing, and I agree with it in principle, and I think that the people he's interviewing are most likely to change their minds incrementally, one careful, kind, gentle conversation like that at a time, but if I listen to said conversations I'm gonna burn out even faster.

Perfume

The BPAL imps I bought from [personal profile] kaberett arrived. I'm spacing them out, but have smelled two so far. cut for length )

Crafts

Got around to putting my yarn in ziplock bags within the knitting bag, so they don't all tangle together. This has the advantage that everything isn't a tangled mess in there, but the disadvantage of sorting through a maze of plastic bags all alike in order to find the one specific ball I want. I am a slow knitter, and it takes me an hour or more to knit one 15x15st mitred square. My mitred square blanket is now an 8x8 block of these squares (it's been I can't remember how many years, but looking through this tag, it was 6x6 around this time in 2014. So, it... nearly doubled in size in 3 years?)

Food

Baked brownies (the Alton Brown cocoa brownies recipe.) Made a large quantity of red lentil dhal (winged it, but bothered to dry-fry the spices instead of just dumping them in with the oil and onions, or worse, in with the water, like I have in the past. It made a huge difference. Am doing it this way from now on.) Baked bread. This recipe, which I've tried before with success. This time I tried a variation, swapping wholemeal flour for one of the cups of plain flour, and honey for the sugar. It was too dry after I added the water (not all of the flour would mix in) so I added half a cup more water, and that must have been too much, because it was gummy. Alas.

Other

I've been having fun with tech.

So. I'd been thinking about wanting to watch DVDs in bed (as opposed to ripping DVDs and putting the file on my phone/tablet, the problem with which is that it adds another step every time I borrow a DVD from the library, not to mention all the DVDs I own and am not using because I haven't bothered to do that yet.) I thought about various solutions to this (small TV screen and DVD player, cheap secondhand portable DVD player, cheap-ish secondhand laptop, somehow figure out how to get my phone or tablet to connect to my external optical drive), and then realised... I have a RasPi. I could connect that to the external optical drive, and make it my media centre. The only component I don't already have is a spare monitor. And guess what? My local Linux-based computer recycling organisation sells those at a price I can afford.

As a proof of concept, I downloaded OSMC, flashed it to an SD card, and tried booting the RasPi up on my actual TV (which I have not used in literally years and should probably donate or sell.) I managed to remember: a) how to power on the RasPi, b) where to plug in the TV so it can connect to an external antenna. I did not manage to get the TV to display the RasPi, and remain unsure whether the RasPi is booting at all or not. I know I got it working back when I got it, but I can't remember if that was with the TV or if I have an HDMI to DVI converter somewhere and can't remember where (my computer monitor doesn't have HDMI, and the RasPi doesn't have DVI.)

But while I was hunting for RasPi components, I found where I'd put my old EeePC. The one I got in 2009. The keyboard doesn't work, but that's what USB keyboards are for. Long story short, I installed Crunchbang++ on it, and now it's usable again (except for the keyboard.) It plays DVDs. And now I have something I can take to NaNoWriMo write-ins this November.

Cats

Dorian's been making fetch happen again. He's discovered that I will throw the toy for him to retrieve many more times if he jumps up onto my knee with it in his mouth and then drops it in my hand, rather than drop it on the floor near me and wait expectantly. This is fun for both him and me, but does have the slight downside that he then launches himself off my knee after the toy as though rocket-propelled. And, not in fact being rocket-propelled, uses his claws and my leg for the traction needed to achieve lift-off. The scratches are quite impressive. I am sufficiently insensitive to that kind of pain, and sufficiently lazy, that I'd still rather he did it that way than wait for me to bend down and pick up the toy every time.

Beatrice has been grumpier than usual, and instigated enough cat fights with Dorian that I took her for a vet checkup. The verdict was that she seems fine but if problems persist bring her back for bloodwork.

Dorian's been digging... okay, that needs a little unpacking. As mentioned before, Dorian enjoys the water feature in the smallest room in my apartment. Keeping the lid down whenever I am not using said water feature myself seems to have put a stop to this where closing the door did not (he learned to jump up and turn the handle) but he still tries to get in there whenever possible. And I have a little pot of cacti on the windowsill in there, that being the one room I thought the cats would not get into. So yeah, yesterday I walked in there and found Dorian standing on the cistern with his front paws up on the windowsill, investigating the cacti.

UK stuff

Sep. 9th, 2017 10:11 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Mark your calendars:

The 3 Million: Mass Lobby 13 September

A mass lobby at Parliament (by people directly affected and their friends) to be followed by a rally in Trafalgar Square in the evening, in support of the rights of EU nationals in Britain (and the British in Europe).

The Guardian: Second day of action called to show migrants' contribution to UK

One Day Without Us are calling for a second day of events and action on 17 Feb 2018.

The Guardian: Opposition condemns government's Commons committee 'power grab'

Basically, Theresa May is trying another power-grab by attempting to change the rules on how standing committes are formed so that significant committees could be guaranteed a majority of Tory MPs, instead of composition having to reflect the composition of the House of Commons (where the Tories do not have a majority).

Here's the 38 Degrees petition against it:

https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/2643

If you've got a Tory MP, you might want to e-mail or phone (it's being debated on Tuesday, I believe, so probably too late for letters).

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