Moments of Permanence

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so my posts-think-backlog is growing Apr. 24th, 2017 @ 06:37 pm
My wrist is still borked. Typing is painful and probably a bad idea (and really annoying one-handed.)

Ultrasound and bone scan this week.

On the new Monkey [Magic] Apr. 21st, 2017 @ 04:19 pm
Have now seen a picture of the cast of the new version of Monkey/Journey to the West.

Thoughts:

1) Pigsy looks good. Looks "right" for a Pigsy character while still being definitely and clearly different.

2) Tripitaka could go either way, depending on performance. Am vaguely disapproving of visible hair, somehow.

3) Presumably-Sandy looks... well, we'll see, I'm very much withholding judgement.

4) MONKEY LOOKS WRONG

4a) He looks too smouldering.

4b) He looks too tall.

4c) He doesn't look like a monkey.

The original Monkey looked very monkey-like, and frankly, a lot of that was in the hair and makeup and I am very disapproving that new Monkey looks more like Antonio Banderas than a monkey. He also looks all smouldering and serious, and the nature of Monkey was irrepressible!

THESE DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT

how to know you are a jerk Apr. 19th, 2017 @ 11:44 am
Gentleman just stopped by our door with a petition about stronger reinforcement of the parking regulations in our area.

(We live in an inner suburb with lots of shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, and a stadium, and parking, unsurprisingly, sucks, because parking here would pretty much suck no matter how much parking there was.)

Apparently on his street it's fairly common that people even park across his driveway.

Seriously, people parking where they shouldn't is already pretty annoying around here, but that's just not okay anywhere ever.

We've once or twice had someone *half*-block ours, which was also super-annoying, but iirc we could sort of get around them because our driveway and next door's driveway form a sort of double-driveway that let us get around - narrowly - as the people next door were, at that precise time, out.

When my family lived a couple of doors down from the guy who won the Christmas lights competition (which creates massive, massive traffic snarls in the vicinity at Christmas-time and is also rather annoying) we once had someone park across our driveway, but at least we could go find the thoughtless individual who'd done it in the crowd and ask them oh-so-politely to move.

I am reminded that people change Apr. 17th, 2017 @ 12:04 pm
Just glanced at my bio on this very site. Observations:

1) it still said I was in my late twenties, which hasn't been true for a while

2) it kind of generally doesn't read like something I would write now, even if I don't find any of it offensively disagreeable or anything.

I was just looking over the news intro thing. My brain kind of fell in a hole the last couple of years so I'm really behind and out of touch with everything and everyone, and the discussion of seed accounts and why they try not to sell more of them etc made me realise that not only do I make rather light use of the paid features I get with my seed account, I no longer have any real idea of what they are.

I'm pretty sure I have more icons than a free account?

Also, I've been using DW - with some substantial gaps that one day I will probably regret - for almost eight years.

and now I demand those points Apr. 16th, 2017 @ 01:28 pm
I think a wound, even a little scratch on your finger (that still bled a lot) deserves bonus points if it was inflicted by a baby herbivore.

In very much related news, am back from going down south for the weekend. I did a number of interesting things, but the one that left a mark was helping feed a calf who is bucket-fed but very much wishes she wasn't. In her earnest yearning to suck on my fingers in the apparent conviction that they would be more satisfying than the bucket of milk I was holding for her, she managed to make a divot in my left ring finger with her baby herbivore grindy teeth.

Also, we went to see puppies. There is a labrador who, very very recently, had puppies.

Ten puppies.

They are tiny and snuffly and their eyes haven't opened yet and they make little squeaky squealy noises and one of them kept trying to wriggle elsewhere in the pile and getting it wrong and flipping over a sibling and rolling several inches away and having to try and snuffle his way back to the pile.

They are, unsurprisingly, aggressively cute.

so tiny so snuffly and squeaky and just a pile of so many puppies

an idle note Apr. 9th, 2017 @ 10:38 am
You know, I can accept the notion that it is pretty much guaranteed that there will be further terrorist attacks in the future.

I would really, really like to reverse the trend of this century so far and have the world at large consider maybe, just for a change, not letting the terrorists win.

The objective of terrorism is, as the name suggests, to provoke terror. The objective is to cause people to freak out and panic and lose their shit in exactly the way that people keep doing, and seriously, World, could we not?

I'm looking at the media, here, especially.

As far as I'm concerned these should be the rules:

- If some idiot drives a truck into a crowd, he should not be called a terrorist, he should be called a bad driver, or a truck thief, or, you know, an idiot.

- If ISIS claim credit for something, they should be ignored. They want attention. Stop giving it to them. A couple of weeks ago I fell over and hit my head and sprained my wrist, and if I was globally important and they could find a pretext, ISIS would totally claim credit for that.

- For that matter? If there's a terrorist attack, and some idiots claim they were totally behind that, stop reporting that as "claiming credit". Report that they "acknowledged blame".

This keeps happening because it keeps working. Any time there's anything remotely resembling a terrorist attack, the reaction needs to follow these steps:

1) assess what the terrorists wanted out of this

2) make sure they don't get it

They want people to freak out? Don't. They want to ramp up ethno-religious tensions? Make a point of stepping up friendly inclusion. They want to be talked about? Don't use their names, dismiss any organisations wanting to be associated with it out of hand.

So some idiot killed four people in Sweden with a truck? Well, that's bad drivers for you. Apply necessary criminal penalties to his actions and don't give him any more reaction than that. Some creeps with a pretentious name somewhere want to say they were totally behind that? Them and, like, six others. Hush now, grownups are talking.

Because, seriously, this doesn't stop if it always works.
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I'm ready to run a country now Mar. 31st, 2017 @ 06:11 pm
nobody knew having a concussion and a sprained wrist would be this annoying

(am mostly fine)

Mar. 24th, 2017 @ 09:26 pm
Is there any greater demonstration of love for your friend than agreeing to play an aggressively terrible movie in the living room because she's not feeling well?

It can happen! Mar. 24th, 2017 @ 05:20 pm
I had an interesting discussion today. I was talking to a person who loves and respects me, and the subject of the Federal Government wanting to make changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act came up.

And this person was of the view that it totally needed changing, and among the examples of ridiculous things they brought up was an incident where many people were offended by a political cartoon that depicted indigenous Australian fathers as absent/uncaring/terrible.

A discussion ensued. I argued that that was offensive; I reviewed the notion of punching down and its applicability to satire, and pointed out that while there are real problems with child neglect in some parts of the indigenous community, a) they know that and don't need some white guy to tell them, b) reinforcing negative stereotypes to the broader white community isn't helping, and c) most importantly, it's inappropriate for a white Australian cartoonist to treat that subject cavalierly, considering the incredible damage done to indigenous families by having two to three generations of stolen children rupturing the bonds of family and community, even apart from the effects of all the other racist structural damage of the last two hundred years.

The conversation concluded with: "... Okay. Yes. Good point."

I was... surprised.
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Things Mar. 23rd, 2017 @ 06:36 pm
I have a new bed! And new pillows! My bedroom smells quite strongly of latex! (Because the mattress is latex and new and the pillows are latex and/or memory foam and also new.) And slightly of wood and varnish.

Have cautious hopes of, like, sleep and stuff, now.

My bed had, since I ordered the new one, gone critical and pretty much collapsed (also damaging the wall, it turns out) and for a few weeks I was sleeping on the mattress on the slats on the floor.

But now I have a bed. Having watched the delivery guy assemble it, I'm rather pleased with the design. The thing that meant the collapse of my old bed was that the welds gave way. My new bed isn't made of metal at all, and instead, the load strain goes directly down into solid jarrah about five inches thick.

Jan. 6th, 2017 @ 06:22 pm
Apparently, I've been so terrible about logging in to DW that I've forgotten my password. I'm writing this update in a wordpad window because my IP is temporarily blocked.

I apologise to anyone who has been concerned about my silence. It's been a stressful, um, couple of years, so I keep being too overwhelmed by everything to keep up with my reading list, and then I feel guilty and don't update, and...

... if nothing else, I have nothing to remind me of what's actually been happening. I traditionally also use DW as a diary, after all.

The last couple of years have sucked, though. "Was sick." Who wants to remember?

I'm finally a bit less sick, though. And I even had a good Christmas for once - I went down to the farm with [personal profile] velithya and [personal profile] myfyr. [personal profile] myfyr's brother taught me to drive a tractor and use the hydraulic forks to shift a hay bale. That was pretty cool.

Yesterday I was doing research to buy a new bed, because my bed is currently held up by stacks of books and the fact that another, smaller bed is stored under it, and is still bordering on outright collapse.

It is amazing how many businesses still, to this day, have terrible terrible websites. Having a bad website can lose you business! If I try to look at your website and it is sufficiently terrible I kind of assume you're incompetent. Alternatively, if your website promises me you have a "huge range" and I click on it and then it tells me that my product search returned zero examples, that is also unhelpful enough that I will look elsewhere.

(Seriously. "Check out our huge range of beds!" I click the Beds link. Zero results. That is not a huge range.)

In the end, I ordered one yesterday from a Perth company that manufactures their own beds in jarrah with a nice, pleasingly minimalist aesthetic. Their prices are surprisingly reasonable for such things and they seemed very nice. (Brett's Beds and Futons in Malaga, if anyone cares.)

Today I found a cat Oct. 30th, 2016 @ 06:33 pm
I am regretting not having taken photos of him when he was basking in the sun, he had beautiful, beautiful fur - black around the head and legs, with a deep, dark chocolate around the body.

I was walking down the street, then turned around to walk back the other way, because I wasn't going anywhere, I'm just trying to be less sick. Suddenly there was a cat walking down the middle of the footpath I'd just walked along a few seconds earlier.

He walked straight up to me, gave the longest, most plaintive mewl I have ever heard, and leaned against my leg.

I stroked him, and could feel every bone beneath his matted, dirty fur - this cat was three-quarters starved and clearly faltering, because a cat that isn't keeping itself clean is generally a cat near to giving up on life.

He had a collar, but it was very loose on him.

To skip many details: our lease does not permit pets, at all, so tonight he is spending the night with my parents. He's had food, and last I heard was sitting in my father's lap. (Dad will probably wash him and clip the mats from his fur later.)

He was chipped in 2002, but the website the vet's office checked had no details on him, and another was having issues loading; my parents have been given the chip number and some places to try tomorrow to see if he has a findable family.

If so, they've probably been missing him terribly; he's very sweet, friendly and affectionate, and before his recent suffering I suspect was well cared-for.
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by the way I still exist Jul. 11th, 2016 @ 10:10 pm
My thermometer keeps having beepy panic attacks at me. My temperature has been averaging about 38.5-ish for weeks, you'd think it would be used to it by now.

Today we discovered that there's a Vietnamese restaurant one street away that sells gluten-free broth. Jen left her own dinner getting cold to go and fetch me some; apparently, she's not entirely thrilled with my current diet of "tinned apple, vanilla ice cream, lemon mineral water, and occasionally cheese and crackers". So tonight, I had some chicken broth, and tomorrow, we're thinking I might have beef broth with rice noodles! Such excitement.

Generally speaking I don't eat Vietnamese food, as it's usually either too spicy for me, or made with coconut, to which I am horribly allergic, but broth I can do.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm also seeing a new doctor. Personally, I've given up on ever not being sick again, but my housemates are convinced that, no, really, we can totally find a GP who actually considers it to be a problem that I've been sick for over six months and I'm constantly running a moderately high fever and stuff (and more recently have started to lose the ability to eat most categories of food without nausea).

still not dead Feb. 29th, 2016 @ 12:40 pm
... Have nonetheless been sick since, what, October? Something like that?

Currently it seems like it may be to do with a medication change, which I'm walking back, but the net result is that I'm still occasionally feverish, and now almost constantly severely afflicted with vertigo.

And my brain still isn't working very well, in general, although I'm feeling moderately less stupid than I was.

I realise that there are many people in the world less intelligent than I am and that doesn't reflect badly on their character or anything, but it's a special level of frustration and cognitive dissonance and alienation from your sense of self plus, for me, flashback to severe childhood head trauma, when you can feel your own inability to think, when you look at your own writing and can't understand it, when you look at puzzles you know you used to be able to solve and you just can't... Just this once, can I say "stupid" like it's a bad thing and not be accused of elitism? Because I don't have other words for it, when my thoughts are slow, but worse, when I feel like there should be ways to connect ideas that I just can't see, when any thought process more complex than looking at the NBA results shatters without warning and is then just gone.

My body is a wreck wright now. My mind is all I have and it's not working either and it's awful. This post would be a mess of bad spelling and typos if I didn't have the as-you-go red squiggle spell checker. I don't entirely even feel like me.

because this might bring some people joy Dec. 7th, 2015 @ 02:13 pm
It's officially Not Christmas Yet (because in my family, Christmas season does not start until after my birthday), but: Sensitive Santa is a thing where rooms are being set up where children with special needs, particularly autistic children, can get to visit with Santa in a quiet room with minimal unnecessary sensory inputs.

One of the kids mentioned in the article didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, so he and Santa played with toys on the floor.

They're also in talks to arrange a sign-language-proficient Santa for deaf children.
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America's ongoing return to racism, or: Where did all the TV black people go? Aug. 8th, 2015 @ 12:35 pm
So I was thinking about something last night.

From the perspective of an outsider, it kinda seems like America has become more racist over the last few years.

It *really* seems like American television has. And that's odd, and problematic.

See, one of the causes often cited for the rise in the general acceptability of gay people in America is "the Will and Grace effect" - basically, TV representation equals familiarity equals acceptability, kind of thing.

But at the same time, black people have become so much *less* visible, and I wonder if that increases the "othering" effect.

When I was a kid, there were lots of American black people on TV. I have vague memories of loving a show called Good Times, and of course, although now problematically, there was the Cosby Show. At some point there was Family Matters, and into the 90s there was The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. There were no doubt others, but those are the ones I recall from Australian TV.

Meanwhile, not for nothing, but back in the freakin' 70s, there was M*A*S*H, which despite a white regular cast quite frequently featured black (and other POC) secondary characters, minor characters, and extras, with regards to whom their skin colour was not their defining factor, even in episodes that were definitely About Racism.

There was an episode where the doctors determine that a field officer is assigning the most dangerous duty to black soldiers, because he's a horrible racist and he doesn't like a desegregated Army and he wants them out of his unit.

For extended scenes involving dialogue, the main black characters in that episode are one of the soldiers, who nonetheless gets some chat about where he's from and is also shown having been spending time playing board games with Father Mulcahy and other things to suggest that he's actually a person, and an officer, who joins the doctors in exposing the racist commander and forcing him to resign his commission. (Who is also a dentist, and gets to tie the episode's main and sub-plots together and have one of the episode's best lines.)

In another episode, there's a field medic named Moody, who is respected and liked, but at one point turns up being treated for minor injuries to his hands after he's apparently been in a fight at Rosie's Bar. When I was a kid, I never fully understood why he'd been fighting - what he tells Hawkeye is that, "Some guys wanted to know if I could tap dance."

I understand that now, but at the time, all I knew was that this clearly bothered him, because Moody is annoyed that he let them get to him - he knows better, because he'll have something guys like that will never have: self-respect.

In another, meanwhile, there's a wounded black soldier being treated under local anaesthetic for a shoulder injury, so he's sitting on a gurney with no shirt, but some dressings visible. He's a well-built, broad-shouldered sort of fellow, and gets an admiring look from one or two nurses; when he asks if his shoulder is bad, Hawkeye tells him something like, "Are you kidding? I wish I had shoulders like yours. Compared to you I have no shoulders at all, my neck goes straight on down to my hips."

Then he says something like it's going to be fine, don't worry, I think, but... that's that.

Why is it that, forty odd years later, I find it a lot harder to think of characters on broadly popular TV shows whose characterisation is informed by their race, but not defined by it?

Why don't I know of any current all-or-almost-all-black sitcoms? I know I don't really keep up with sitcoms, generally, but you know, there's usually at least one on that it's impossible not to know is there. Currently it's The Big Bang Theory, which seems to include an Indian guy but no black people, from what I know, and for a number of years it was Friends, which managed to exist in some kind of parallel universe New York where there were no black people in New goddamn York.

But back in the day it WAS The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The Cosby Show was huge. Good Times, Family Matters, The Jeffersons - which I don't think I ever even saw, but it was famous enough that I've heard of it in the same way I've heard of Three's Company.

Current Mood: tired


Shut up, Scalia, and meanwhile, Borderlands Jun. 27th, 2015 @ 01:21 pm
The Supreme Court rules 5-4 in favour of marriage equality. Scalia calls it a "judicial Putsch" and claims it threatens democracy because: "They are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution..."

Please, explain to me how that argument doesn't also work for literally anything else. At some point, if something is wrong, there must be a point where people recognise that it is wrong.

As far as I can tell, not one argumeent Scalia has wouldn't also apply to a dissent in Loving vs Virginia, in which the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of inter-racial marriage.

Meanwhile: I've been playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

I'd just like to note that this is a modern shoot-em-up video game in which:

- The main protagonist is female, and modestly dressed.

- The surrounding narrative is framed as a discussion primarily between two women, to which male characters make only occasional contributions.

- There are four base playable characters, and two additional available as DLC. Of the four base, two are female, one male but with a disability, and one a robot; the two DLC are one male, one female. The robot, inasmuch as a box on a wheel is gendered, is gendered male, but that still makes a fifty-fifty split. One of the DLC characters has medium-brown skin, but I'm not sure how she counts from a diversity perspective, since she's the sister of an existing NPC.

- It had previously been established that that particular NPC appears to draw his romantic partners exclusively from the pool of other ruggedly manly men. (Sir Hammerlock is extremely rugged and manly, despite his refined, English-accented elocution.) This information was available if you did side missions which included him mentioning, in passing, his ex-boyfriend, and suchlike comments.

- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel ups the ante with some gentle flirtation between Athena, the primary protagonist, and Janey Springs, the "black marketeer with a heart of gold" who, it is mentioned, is "not into dudes". It is confirmed, later in the story, that subsequent to the events that the story actually follows, Springs and Athena totally got together, and were even living together.

- Extra bonus: Mister Torgue!

So, Mister Torgue is... an odd chap. He's the super-muscular head of the Torgue Corporation, which specialises in guns that do bonus explosive damage. He's a huuuge fan of explosions. He talks in a non-stop scream that gets captioned in allcaps.

A side-mission has you collecting parts for building lasers on behalf of Janey Springs. Mister Torgue, however, wants you to destroy it, because he's very sad about laser guns.

When Janey asks you to bring the component back, Torgue suggests: "OR, YOU COULD DESTROY IT FOR ME AND GET A COOL TORGUE GUN. WHY? BECAUSE I RESENT LASERS AND I'M SUPER GOOD AT HOLDING GRUDGES. IT'S A SERIOUS PERSONALITY PROBLEM."

Springs observes that she "kinda feel[s] sorry for the big bag of muscles" and assures you that if you do as he asks, she'll still like you - it's up to you.

If you choose to return it to Springs nonetheless, Torgue sobs: "AW, EVERYONE'S ENJOYING THEIR LASER WEAPONS AND I'M JUST SITTING AROUND MAKING THINGS EXPLODE. MY LIFE SUCKS!"

Because she's kind of awesome, Springs comforts him, assuring him that people still like explosions, including her, and he's great.

Torgue: REALLY? I LIKE YOU NOW! DO YOU WANT TO GO OUT?
Springs: Sorry. I'm not into guys.
Torgue: FRIENDZOOOONED!

However, this whole thing is framed as Athena recounting the events at a later date, so at this point, Mister Torgue cuts in again: "HEY, IS ATHENA TELLING THE STORY ABOUT THE LIGHT REACTOR THINGY? I'D LIKE TO JUST POINT OUT THAT I WAS IN A DARK PLACE BACK THEN, AND I KNOW THAT "FRIENDZONING" IS AN IMAGINARY MISOGYNISTIC WAY OF LOOKING AT RELATIONSHIPS!"

Badass.

A nation of contradiction Jun. 9th, 2015 @ 11:17 am
I'm gradually working my way through a biography of Pope Francis. As I read the section about his youth, this naturally involves learning more about the Argentina in which he grew up: a nation in which, as far as I can tell, for many decades a bunch of people did the wrong thing for the right reasons, or the right thing for the wrong reasons, or just the wrong thing for wrong reasons, but other people had their own reasons to think it was right.

It at least becomes slightly less surprising that Argentina could produce Diego Maradona, someone who can be a flagrant cheat and smugly arrogant about it, and even make a hero of him anyway.

Doesn't quite excuse the whole Falklands thing though, even though the weirdly counter-intuitive pattern of Argentinian political history continues there: after all, what you have in the disagreement over the Falkland Islands is a situation where it's Britain vs a foreign power that was once subject to European colonialism, but Britain is actually in the right, which usually never happens.

I figure that's probably why so many people - even English people - assume that Britain is in the wrong on the Falklands, but they're just not. There is, in my view, no argument on which you can base a real case for Argentinian possession of those islands.

First, the clearest (in my view) moral question: What do the people who live there want? Answer, as provided by voting: they unequivocally want to stay British.

Second, though, what about historical claims?

Answer: Argentina's is questionable at best, nonexistent at worst.

The Falkland islands, as discovered by the British, were uninhabited. (There is apparently some archaelogical evidence that South American natives may have visited the relatively barren and storm-lashed rocks that are the Falkland Islands, decided they didn't like them very much, and left again, but the islands had no indigenous population and no trace of pre-Columbian buildings has been found.)

The first proper settlements were made by France and Britain. The Spanish attacked it a bit later. Britain withdrew for a while, leaving behind a plaque declaring it was still totally theirs. The Spanish pulled out (also leaving a plaque) and whalers used it as a base for a bit. Some settlements were attempted out of the United Provinces of the River Plate, which would eventually become Argentina. They didn't go very well. Britain returned and took over in the early 19th century.

If it was ever properly an Argentine territory, it was such only between 1820 and 1833. The Argentine Congress protested British occupation until 1849, then didn't mention it again until 1885, and while the Argentine government maintains it totally protested all the time, like seriously, there's no official record of their making an issue of it from then until about 1950 - but they have to claim otherwise, because under international law, generally speaking if you don't make an issue over territory for fifty years, you don't have a claim any more.

On sex education: this doesn't have to be complicated May. 24th, 2015 @ 06:18 pm
So, there's this ongoing debate in Certain Countries (*cough*) about sex education; between, well, actual education, and a concept I find nonsensical called 'abstinence-only'.

The reason I find it nonsensical is this: it is safe to assume that, of any group of teenagers, the majority of them will, at some point in their lives, engage in sexual activity.

This is true even if they remain purely abstinent virgins until their church-based heterosexual marriage. And most heterosexual married couples these days do, in fact, use contraception.

This means that the use of contraception falls fairly firmly into the category of general life skills that high school education should be teaching, anyway.

I think the approach my school took was actually pretty good. It opened with: "Here are the studies that show that becoming sexually active too young is really quite unhealthy for your emotional and social development. So, you know, keep that in mind. Also, if someone wants to have sex with you, it's your decision, and if they're pressuring you, it's a pretty good sign you should say no."

So far so good, in terms of discouraging us from going right out and banging the first person we saw.

However, it continued, more or less: "However, at some point in your lives, hopefully a fairly significant number of years from now, odds are most if not all of you are going to have sex, at which point it would be good for you to know a few things..."

At which point the class covered sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, methods of contraception, and the success rates to be expected from different forms of contraception with regards to pregnancy and disease prevention.

All in a framework of: We're telling you this now because ideally, it shouldn't be relevant yet, but we want you to know it when it is.

Hmm. Apr. 9th, 2015 @ 08:53 am
Do I *want* to know what this #SadPuppies thing is about?

I've started seeing references to it that also make references to people like Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and apparently hers is a name that I now associate with: "... probably needs to sit on her hands and play the quiet game for a few minutes."
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