Culture Consumed Sunday

Oct. 23rd, 2017 02:55 am
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Time to post this weekly update before it's a whole month late.

Books

Read Becky Chambers' The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, which strongly reminds me of that genre of Tumblr posts which has come to be called "space orcs", about humans from an alien perspective. TLWTASAP is not from the aliens' perspective, but there's that same liking and affection for humans as a spacefaring species among other spacefaring species. If you like your aliens very alien then this might not be the book for you. There was some treatment of disability issues that was... well, some good and some bad. Complicated. Structurally it was very episodic in a way that might or might not work for you. Also, without spoilers, I would like to say that in the last fifty pages or so I was like "What the fuck was that... wait, what the fuck was THAT?"

Bought JY Yang's The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune, which are twin novellas released this month, but haven't read them yet.

Reread Courtney Milan's Trade Me and Hold Me in the space of about two days. Am very impatiently waiting for What Lies Between You And Me and Find Me.

Comics

This particular Dumbing of Age strip was even funnier because I saw it after rereading Hold Me, in which Angela Choi and Blake Reynolds have a very similar argument about a dimetrodon.

TV and Movies

Watched Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger. (Side note: one of my local community library systems has a Kanopy subscription, and Kanopy has a whole lot of good stuff on it, including this documentary.) Squeed out loud at some bits, actually shouted with laughter a few times (sometimes as intended by the protagonist, sometimes not -- sapiosexual, really?), was mildly cross at other bits (I know the open letter thing hurt you, Auntie, it hurt me at the time just to watch that go down, and I wasn't even involved, but did you have to do a victory lap?) and mainly just was happily teary-eyed throughout. Strongly recommended (with the caveat that Aunty Kate is hir own content note and is not going to give you a moment to brace yourself before sie self-identifies using terms Tumblr doesn't like, talks about suicide or cancer, or gives detailed specifics of her BDSM practice.)

Here's Kate Bornstein and Sandy Stone describing how they met:

Kate Bornstein: "I found out about you through Janice Raymond's book. Janice introduced us!"
Sandy Stone [pretending to be Janice Raymond]: "Sandy [makes warding off evil eye gesture], I'd like you to meet Kate [makes warding off evil eye gesture again]."

Kate and interviewer (I think it's Sam Feder, the filmmaker? but I'm too faceblind to tell if that's them or someone else) discussing their project:
Sam Feder: "We are doing a new show about trailblazers and people who created the space that affords us the luxury to be so specific and make this trans men's magazine. we would have been severely remiss if not to include you, because you came before us and you carved out space."
Kate Bornstein: "You know, you say I carved out space? Well, carving out space is what male to female tranny surgery is all about, it's about carving out space!"

Kate Bornstein on reincarnation: "I know what I want to be next life. I want to be a golden retriever who belongs to a great butch lesbian."
[So I guess we know what hir daemon is. I'm actually surprised -- I would have thought sie'd go for a pug, same as hir patronus. But yeah, I can see it.]

Music

Listened to Kamil Szuszkiewicz's Istina, which is either modern classical with alternative influences or vice versa. Good shit if you like your modern classical to be unsettling and occasionally physically painful, which I do. (If you have a headache, maybe don't listen right now. If you don't have a headache, would you like one?) I cannot remember where on earth I found out about this album (I have a text file full of links to albums to try out and/or buy, it was there), maybe John Darnielle's twitter account? The second movement worried Beatrice. She jumped onto the couch and gave me the Concerned Stare then climbed onto my lap.

Listened to HAMM's SondHAMM, which is four Sondheim numbers with electronic instruments and voice. I really liked the arrangments and interpretation.

Games

Played grotesque amounts of Stardew Valley. (As you do. (that wasn't me, but it's funny.))

Podcasts

Listened to a lot of podcasts while playing Stardew. Bounced off MechaBetty and Death at a Low Price, decided Juno Steele wasn't for me. Got entirely caught up on X-Plain the X-Men (I was so behind that it had gone on hiatus and then come back while I was still catching up) and almost caught up on One From The Vaults. Started Thor: the Lightning and the Storm and Titan Up The Defense.

Crafts

Not crafts I did myself, but I saw this YouTube video on how to make a Pokedex-themed phone case out of perler beads. By the same vlogger, a perler bead 3D Pokeball/ring box. I had not previously considered the possible synergies between perler beads and a glue gun, and am intrigued.

In much less advanced perler bead crafts, I bought a magnet sheet, cut off a little bit of it, and stuck that to a perler Captain America shield I'd made ages ago and had no idea what to do with. It's a fridge magnet now. Tried to do the same to the larger Batsignal I made at the same time as the shield, but because it doesn't lie flat enough, or maybe because it's too large no matter how many magnets I stick on, it won't stay on the fridge. I might get a stronger magnet and try that.

Other

Bought a cheap recycled monitor and installed OSMC on my RasPi and played with it for a bit. I hate it. I hate it SO MUCH. Towering rage. It's everything I hate about the trend in computing to simplify the user interface and remove options from the new user while increasing the learning curve and throwing more barriers in the way of their becoming a power user.

The install process was fun, though. (And when two days of repeatedly looking for parts and installing and wiping and reformatting and reinstalling things on sd cards is the fun part...) It'd be better if I had a more modern pi than I do (mine's the original B model, their recommended model is 3) and were using a remote control or a controller, not a mouse and keyboard (which it wouldn't listen to apart from the three finger salute) and had a widescreen monitor not a square Dell from probably the early 2000s, but EVEN IF I had my setup exactly the way they thought I should (ugh) I would still have found their interface horrible.

I couldn't find the "shut down" option. No help menu. They had no way of adjusting the screen resolution for a non-standard sized monitor (maybe that's why I couldn't find a help menu or a shutdown option.) So much autoscroll, and the cursor was both laggy AND skippy, and this combined with the autoscroll meant I'd frequently have to wait while they cycled through the available options multiple times before I successfully selected one. They wouldn't let you scroll ANYTHING under your own power -- read the GPL at a snail's pace or click 'agree' without reading (I know what the GPL says, of course, BUT STILL.)

The default skin was the sort of thing that I can recognise as good design even if it's not my thing personally, but that was just about the only good thing. Well, except that I got all the way through the install, which I didn't with Raspberry Pi's own NOOBS installer, but if the end result is no working keyboard and a barely-working mouse, it's hard to call that a success. Well, except that I was more interested in building my own media centre than I was in having a media centre, so... mission accomplished? After that I installed Raspbian on it, and my next step is to fuck around with that some more and set it up so it's also usable as a media centre but less vass-hostile than OSMC for the same purpose, even if it doesn't look like a sleek modern media centre interface. The nice thing about the RasPi's sd card as hard drive deal is, it makes OS switching very straightforward (so long as the Pi isn't your only computer.) One can simply swap SD cards.

Back on my desktop, with the help of this comment I got i3 to put a random wallpaper on each workspace. Like most of i3's users, I hardly ever see my workpaces except covered with open windows, but it's still a happymaking thing. What I'm really hoping for is to get it so it puts a random wallpaper in every container. After which I can fire up Compiz and get transparency working and then every terminal window will have a different background showing through it! Which will probably get exhausting and overstimulating after a while, but I want to learn how to do it! (Huh. It miiiight actually be easier to attach the act of making a new wallpaper to opening a terminal, not to opening a container. Not sure. Needs testing. That would suit me, since terminal's about the only application I'd want to run with transparency and a wallpaper behind it.)

Cats

Dorian redecorated the toilet by knocking the cactus pot off the window sill above it.

today's xkcd

Oct. 19th, 2017 08:30 am
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
[personal profile] vass
Research Risks

I have some thoughts:

1. Marine biology is low risk of misuse by supervillains? Come on! Sharks!

2. Molasses storage's low risk of breaking free and threatening local population: didn't that actually happen at least once? If we're counting trucks as facilities, I mean. Never mind, I should have looked at the mouseover text before posting.

3. I wouldn't put linguistics that low for supervillain risk, assuming the validity of the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. (Yes, everything I knew about Sapir-Whorf did come from that one Delany book.)

4. But then, he put palaeontology low as well, and. Well. Do that right/wrong enough and you get both microbiology (bubonic plague! anthrax!) AND ornithology (dinosaurs!)

5. HE LEFT OUT ECONOMICS. And poli-sci (between history and sociology?) but imo economics is WAY scarier from both a supervillain and accidental escape perspective.

6. Really, isn't any discipline high supervillain risk if the supervillain has the right mental attitude?

7. If prosthetics is high supervillain risk/low escape risk, and dentistry is low supervillain risk/low escape risk, are dentures high or low supervillain risk?

Melbourne Storm

Oct. 19th, 2017 05:48 am
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
[personal profile] vass
It's been a week of 30 degree days (86 if you use Fahrenheit) and there seems to be a storm coming right about now. I have just realised that this might be why Dorian's been quite this excitable all day. The changing barometric conditions might be sending him into Anxious Soccer Ball mode.

Beatrice, being pounced on, responded to this by playing soccer.

More "Ghost in the Crown"

Oct. 16th, 2017 06:39 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
More bits of my poem "The Ghost in the Crown":

And I showed them the script
That I held in my hand.
“I call this play Catching­-The­-Mouse.
Understand?”
...

I'll fish for the king
With a play for a net.
I said, "With my net
I can catch him, I bet.
I bet, with my net,
I can catch the king yet."

...

"My head needs a pillow!
Your lap, to be blunt,
Is soft, and to hand,
And it’s pretty vacant."

...

So I went to her room.
But I passed, on the way,
A room where my uncle
Was kneeling to pray.
This must be the moment
To cut off his head!
But as I crept closer
I heard what he said:
“I murdered my brother!
I freely admit!
Dear God, please forgive me.
I’m rather a git.”
And I couldn’t kill him.
My blow was prevented.
For if he should die
Now he’s prayed and repented,
He’d go up to heaven;
That’s all very well,
But doesn’t seem fair
When my father’s in hell.
So I went on my way
As he muttered amen,
I hope that he’s sinned
When I see him again.

...

"And here is the head
Of a person historic!"
He gave me a skull.
And alas! It was Yorick!
I looked at the bones
And I thought as I sighed,
How he kissed me, and gave me
A piggy­back ride.
And now he’s a skull
And he’s silent and scary!
Now what has become
Of your dancing so airy?
The songs that you sang?
And the jokes that you said?
Now all that you have
Are the bones of your head?

...

The Lady Ophelia
Of whom you were fond.
She climbed up a willow
And fell in a pond.
And most of her talk
At the times she was verbal
Was straight from the pages
Of Culpeper’s Herbal!

...

I'm quiet, and I'm dead,
And I’m tired of my quest.
I’m glad of the silence.
I needed a rest.

"Give us the ballot"

Oct. 15th, 2017 01:42 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
On 17 May 1957, Dr King preached:

Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot, and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the South, and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence. Give us the ballot, and we will transform the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. Give us the ballot, and we will fill our legislative halls with men of goodwill, and send to the sacred halls of Congress men who will not sign a “Southern Manifesto” because of their devotion to the manifesto of justice.

Sixty years on, one in thirteen black men in the United is still disenfranchised. In many southern states it’s far worse: the Florida figure is one in four.

https://www.salon.com/2016/11/28/felony-disenfranchisement-the-untold-story-of-the-2016-election_partner/

https://theintercept.com/2016/12/22/a-quarter-of-floridas-black-citizens-cant-vote-a-new-referendum-could-change-that/

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