tassosss: (Martha colors)
[personal profile] tassosss
1. I don't even have kids but my niece and nephew give me all the good germs anyway. I was on a two day work trip down to Chincoteague (ponies! planes!) when I got the tickle in the back of my throat and now I'm on day three of headache and stuffy nose.

2. I've barely written anything this month, and even though I let things slide the last two weeks, I'm starting to feel the guilt of not working on stories closing in. I just have to finish something this month. That's all. I'm sick of having stories that are stuck in the middle.

3. I'm almost to the end of Person of Interest season 2. I really need to write up thoughts because they've had several strong arcs in this season that I've loved. I am getting a little bit impatient with the fillers eps though. But I've met Shaw! And I still really like Root! This is how I envision origin of Bear: the directors went to the writers and said, we need something to make the exposition interesting and not a boring repeat every week and the writers said, sure no problem, we'll give Finch and Reese a dog. I love Bear. He's not allowed to die. At some point soon I'll write up thoughts on season 2.

4. We finished watching Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries season 1! Which was all kinds of excellent and amazing and now I have to track down season 2 somewhere. I feel like I need to make a love post for the show, or start actually making gifs for it for tumblr or something. I think the urge is wrapped up in my need to write but at the same time not wanting to write anything.

5. I kind of want to do an answer questions meme but then I remember that that requires writing too.

6. I'm really trying to work on my posture at work. I'm good and have been good since I started working here to get up every hour or two to take a walk around the building, but sitting upright at my desk is still a challenge. Even with the added incentive of avoiding the excruciating pain and inability to turn fully my neck because my shoulders are fucked. I really need to get off my ass and put together a standing workstation. And modify the standing desk I have at home with an external keyboard so I can have my laptop at one level and my arms at another.

7. There is no seven.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
In a post at his blog, science fiction writer Charlie Stross announces his support for Scottish separatism. This support, it turns out, is not only motivated by support for the independence of Scotland. Stross favours the more general breakdown of nation-states.

In the long term I favour a Europe—indeed, a world—of much smaller states. I don't just favour breaking up the UK; I favour breaking up the United States, India, and China. Break up the Westphalian system. We live today in a world dominated by two types of group entity; the nation-states with defined borders and treaty obligations that emerged after the end of the 30 Years War, and the transnational corporate entities which thrive atop the free trade framework provided by the treaty organizations binding those Westphalian states together.

I believe the Westphalian nation-state system isn't simply showing its age: it's creaking at the seams and teetering on the edge of catastrophic breakdown. The world today is far smaller than the world of 1648; the entire planet, in travel terms, is shrunk to the size of the English home counties. In 1648 to travel from the south of Scotland (from, say, Berwick-upon-Tweed, the debatable walled border city) to the far north-west would take, at a minimum, a couple of weeks by sea; to travel that distance by land was a harsh journey of hundreds of miles across mountains and bogs and through still-forested glens, on foot or horseback. Today it's a couple of noisy hours on board a turboprop airliner. Distance has collapsed under us. To some extent the definition of the Westphalian state as being able to control its own internal territory was a side-effect of distance: a foreign army couldn't rapidly and easily penetrate the inner lands of a state without fear of retaliation. (Tell that to the residents of the tribal provinces in Pakistan.)

Moreover, our nations today have not only undergone a strange geographical implosion since the 17th century: they have exploded in population terms. The population of the American Colonies in 1790 is estimated at roughly 2.7 million; the United States today has over 300 million inhabitants. In 1780 England and Wales had around 7.5 million inhabitants; they're now at 57 million. So we have a 1-2 order of magnitude increase in population and a 2-3 order of magnitude decrease in travel time ... and possibly a 3-5 order of magnitude decrease in communications latency.

Today we're seeing the fallout from this problem everywhere. Westphalian states can't, for the most part, control their own territory to the extent of keeping intruders out; just look at the ghastly situation in Ukraine right now. Non-state actors play an increasingly huge role in dictating our economic conditions. And it seems to me that something goes badly wrong with representative democracy in polities that grow beyond somewhere in the range 5-15 million people; direct accountability vanishes and we end up with what I've termed the beige dictatorship. Beige isn't the worst colour‐some of the non-beige contenders are distinctly alarming—but their popular appeal is a symptom of an institutional failure, a representational deficit: many voters feel so alienated by the beige that they'll vote for the brownshirts.

My feeling is that we'd be better served by a group of much smaller nations working in a loose confederation or treaty structure. Their job should be to handle local issues(yes, this is localism) while compartmentalizing failure modes: the failure modes of a gigantic imperial power are almost always far worse than those of a smaller nation (compare the disintegration of the Soviet Union with that of Czecheslovakia). Rather than large monolithic states run by people at the top who are so remote from their constituents that they set policy to please lobbyists rather than their electors, I'd prefer to see treaty organizations like NATO and the EU emerging at consensus after discussions among numerous smaller stakeholder entities, where representatives are actually accountable to their electors. (Call me a utopian, if you will.)

Yes, this is also an argument for Wales, the North of England, and London itself all becoming independent nations. But they aren't on the ballot. So Scottish independence is a starting point.

Thoughts? I'm rather more skeptical of this argument for a general breakdown than Stross, or many of the commenters at his blog. Isn't the construction of larger federations with some degree of democratic responsibility preferable to more fragile and less legitimate coalitions of smaller states? There's room for flexibility, but a general reconfiguration strikes me as a non-starter.

cat hospital update

15 Sep 2014 10:36 pm
loligo: (neko)
[personal profile] loligo
1) Sterling, our oldest cat who had the three abscessed teeth removed, is fully recovered, except for that he drools prodigiously in his sleep. "Well, his jaw is smaller than he's used to," said the vet, "plus he doesn't have those big teeth holding his lips in place anymore." So when he wakes up, someone needs to go after him with a wet washcloth, which he likes about as much as a toddler getting their nose wiped.

2) Jay, one of the two youngest, ate something very large and/or awful several days ago (he's the one cat who still insists on going outside every day). He was horribly sick to his stomach all weekend and spent yesterday hiding under our bed, refusing food and water. Several expensive tests later, the vet said that whatever it was had made its way to the colon, but needs some encouragement to complete its journey. So he got enough sub-q fluids today to look like a furry hunchback, and if the extra hydration doesn't help things out by tomorrow morning, it's on to kitty laxatives.

3) Lucinda, the frail elderly stray, is diabetic. So, this is the part where you can all laugh and say I told you so: since we have plenty of experience with diabetic animals, we're going to try keeping her. The big hurdle here is whether she can get along with the other cats -- but I don't think we can even try introducing them until she's feeling better. She weighs only 3.5 lbs right now, that's how emaciated she is; a healthy weight for her is probably 6. The vet recommended trying these pheromone collars when we're ready for the introductions. I really really hope this works out, because I cannot handle another war of territorial peeing. If it comes to that, she will have to go. And by "go" I mean "die", unless some other fairy godmother appears out of the woodwork.
china_shop: Empty gumboots (gumboots)
[personal profile] china_shop
tahi. I spent all of Calvary thinking Aidan Gillen was Edward Norton.
I spent the trailer for Predestination thinking Ethan Hawke was Christian Bale.

*fails at faces*

Otoh, the boy spent all of Attack the Block thinking the young stoner dude was Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful, and he wasn't. He was his twin brother.

rua. Housebound, a New Zealand film about a young woman who's on home detention in a haunted house, is excellent and hilarious in a Shaun of the Dead kind of way, and I strongly feel it should be reaching a wider audience. Highly rec. Three thumbs up.

toru. Dear unidentified neighbour,

If you live in a city commonly described as "The Windy City", wind chimes are probably not a good garden accessory.

Love, me.

wha. I feel oogie and gross, mostly because I'm stressing out about this weekend's general election. I have no idea whether pilates this evening is a good idea. I might throw up.

*slithers back into reading endless comment threads/resting my arms*

Road Trip

16 Sep 2014 01:11 pm
mergatrude: polar cubs - bloodies (polar cubs - bloodied)
[personal profile] mergatrude
On Sunday afternoon the danosaurus and I took off in the little red car for Sydney. As the upward movement in his eye has failed to improve, his opthalmologist suggested we go and see a (bigger?) opthalmologist who happens to have his offices in Carlingford. The lad (wisely, as it turned out) insisted that we stay overnight, so we had a mini holiday staying in a relatively posh hotel that had a special rate.

Danno insisted we eat in the hotel restaurant rather than at Macca's, and then spent most of the meal under the table. Because...it's nice on the carpet? I enjoyed a nice steak instead of a crappy burger, so was happy to indulge him. He pretty much charmed everyone we met, up until we were actually with the opthalmologist because the drops they needed to put in his eyes stung and he was so over the whole process.

The (bigger?) opthalmologist said he wants Danno to have an MRI, which will mean a general anaesthetic because you can't expect a six-year-old to lie still in a huge machine for twenty-five minutes. Hopefully, we can get it done here, otherwise it's another trip to Sydney, followed by another trip to Sydney for the (probably inevitable) surgery at the Westmead Children's Hospital.

The school's insurance will likely cover the medical bills, but the out-of-pocket expenses, and the seven hour round trip are all our own.
therienne: mighty hunter (Default)
[personal profile] therienne
This evening, there was an event that went like this:

Me: *Industriously taking out the trash in the early evening hours, obliviously meandering down my own front path.* When suddenly....
Me: Holy shit! I'm going to run away now!! What do I do with this bag of trash!
Skunk: I'm just an innocent young skunk! Why are you assaulting me!
Skunk: You monster! I can run away FASTER!
Me: Running ridiculously fast to the back door in the hopes of pounding on it and getting [personal profile] mollyamory to let me in.
Skunk: Also running
Me and Skunk: Arriving at the same spot in the back yard from different directions around the house
Me: Running the hell back to the front of the house and back in the front door
Mollyamory: What the hell are you doing?
chomiji: Doa from Blade of the Immortal can read! Who knew? (Doa - books)
[personal profile] chomiji

"For the first time in a long time, I was totally relaxed, sure that nothing was going to ruin my good mood."

— October (Toby) Daye at the start of Chapter 2 of The Winter Long, vol. 8
of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (a/k/a Mira Grant)

Toby never learns, does she?

(Also, I still can't see "Amy" as a nickname for the name "Amandine" ... plus, to me, "amandine" is a culinary term that means with almonds.")

a pause

15 Sep 2014 06:50 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
I attended a digital humanities grad-student group meeting recently at which one of the few other non-students said he would be giving a talk about how postdocs and recent PhDs in hum/soc could present themselves to potential employers. He asked for ideas. There was an awkward silence, a reply by a recent BA, and a reply by me. I realized suddenly that though many of the grad attendees had had jobs, they'd either had jobs that they thought didn't count (teaching as a grad student doesn't require prior teaching experience) or that they didn't respect (entry-level retail, e.g.).

But, um, what are we as a society doing, or what is academia doing, that a bunch of bright, capable twentysomethings don't have thoughts they're willing/able to articulate in each other's presence on how to present oneself to employers? They were plenty chatty the rest of the time.

I have mostly had the dubious luck of falling into jobs: either someone took a chance and hired me despite minimal clear overlap with the job description, or I was the only likely possibility at an unexpected time (my current gig was "Here, hold this bag" as someone else ran off). Or it was a position that, like grad teaching, has non-job-specific hurdles. Apparently, having had a non-university job between undergrad and grad schools is The Great Divide for mindset here? I felt old, but I would've felt old at twenty-three in this situation (having someone shove the project lead bag into your hands when you're twenty-one can do that).

Your BOFQ quote of the day!

15 Sep 2014 09:49 pm
cesperanza: (spock<3)
[personal profile] cesperanza
For reasons, I have been thinking a lot about The Man From Uncle today, which led me to look up the reboot movie, which led me to finding out that Henry Cavill has replaced Tom Cruise (WHICH GOOD I HATE TC), which led me to this article on "12 things We Learned from 2014's Summer Movies" (which has a nice shoutout to The Winter Soldier as the year's first big hit, so yay) but also this quote, which made me cry and feel old, and now I hate everybody:
Word on the street says that 2014 was an off year between mega-franchises—that next year will unleash Hollywood’s A-Game. After all, summer 2015 has Avengers: Age of Ultron. And a Jurassic Park reboot starring everyone’s favorite new movie star. And a Fantastic Four movie that didn’t show up to Comic-Con. And a Terminator movie with a funny name. And… oh, um, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. remake your grandparents have been asking for.


15 Sep 2014 08:51 pm
norah: Monkey King, lookin' sly (Default)
[personal profile] norah
Meet the new puppies )

Also, I am taking this daily posting thing very casually. Like, I had to pick six pounds of raspberries and more of apples and eat amazing food and catch grasshoppers for the kids to look at with a magnifying glass and enjoy the perfect fall weather and drive to Wisconsin for work and adopt some puppies and take naps, okay, I have priorities. ♥
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
The New Yorker's Nick Paumgartner's "Take Picture" describes some remarkable photos of the World Trade Center taken just months before the complex's destruction.

In June, 2001, Konstantin Petrov, an immigrant from Estonia, got a job as an electrician at Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the north tower of the World Trade Center. He was given a little office without cabinets, and after he built a shelf there, by bolting a steel plate to an exposed steel girder, he sent his friends a photograph of himself lying across it, and boasted that if the shelf ever collapsed the building would go down with it.

Petrov worked the night shift. This suited him, not only because he had a day job, as the superintendent of an apartment building at the other end of Manhattan, but because he was an avid photographer, and the emptiness of the Trade Center at night, together with the stunning vistas at dawn, gave him a lot to shoot, and a lot of time and space in which to shoot it. In the summer of 2001, he took hundreds of digital photographs, mostly of offices, table settings, banquettes, sconces, stairwells, kitchen equipment, and elevator fixtures. Many shots were lit by the rising sun, with the landscape of the city in the background, gleaming and stark-shadowed, more than a hundred floors below.

Paumgartner's evaluation of Petrov's photos elsewhere strikes me as correct.

Petrov’s photos, viewed now, contain the premonition of obliteration. It’s amazing to behold this ordinariness and know that it will soon be consigned to dust. The dawn glow in many of the shots makes the arrival of the planes seem imminent. There’s something apocalyptic, too, about the absence of people, as though these were dispatches from a different calamity, of the cinematic kind, in which the cities endure but the citizens do not—just a few survivors roaming around, foraging for food. Here is the hideous décor of Windows on the World, in itself a kind of aesthetic innocence; it didn’t know any better. You half expect to see Burt Reynolds. But fate imbues the restaurant with a retroactive dignity. These aren’t the bygone glories of, say, the old Penn Station, but all of lost New York has a corner in the kingdom of Heaven.

Konstantin Petrov's Fotki photo archive is all online.
chomiji: Screen shot of my Flight Rising matriarch, Yarok (Flight Rising)
[personal profile] chomiji posting in [community profile] flight_rising

I bought a boy dragon that I was sure was a girl dragon.

I was deluding myself, mostly, because I keep plotting to replace Give (or give her a co-spouse, I guess), because ripple-current isn't nearly as popular as IriShim. And there was an IriShimCircuit, obsidian/thistle/mulberry mirror! And he was already named Regetta, which I took as a female name (actually, it turns out to be the name of a male Gundam character), and then the Foresee Progeny tool let me match him with Dimdoum!

*sigh* The babies were adorable ... .

Oh well. He's already 5th level, I guess I can train him some more and Exalt him. He was 25 KT ... not all that much (but more than I usually pay).

tessercat: (broken watches)
[personal profile] tessercat
For the first time in like... five years? idek at this point ... I am caught up on a currently airing series. And yes, that would be Doctor Who.

Netflix provided us with all of 'new' Who, and we finally slogged our way through the last of S7 after seeing "Deep Breath" in the theatre. (The dinosaur looks better on a small screen, frankly.)

Peter Capaldi is brilliant. I want Oswin back. And good grief do I want Moffat to stop writing. So far this season has been a poorly heated rehash of previous season eps.

Want to talk spoilers? Feel free in comments. Just keep in mind that I haven't yet managed to watch any old Who, so references to earlier series require citation. :)


kaigou: Sorry to barge in, but we have a slight apocalypse. (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

September 2014



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