"Current mood:"

Nov. 29th, 2014 02:10 am
rosefox: Me looking straight at the camera, calm and self-possessed. (calm)
[personal profile] rosefox
Every once in a while I use an old userpic and think I should replace it with a picture of how I look now. But I don't want to stop using the photos Liam took of me, partly because they keep me connected to him and partly because he had such a gift for capturing expressions on my face that perfectly match certain moods of mine. My hair and clothes may have changed, but my face hasn't. So I think I'll keep using these photos for a while.

This picture is tagged "calm". It's a very specific sort of calm, not just a pose but not going all the way down deep either. Deliberate and purposeful calm. Calm readiness. A tool in my emotional toolbox, necessary for fixing particular situations or at least getting myself and everyone else through them. When I have felt calm, lately, this is the sort that I've felt.

Today I achieved something more like real deep-down serenity. I slept enough; I ate enough; I picked up books at the library and stopped at the store for groceries; I took a meditation walk and caught the last of the sun; I snuggled with X and dined with J and Skyped with Miriam and IM'd with Graham; I hung out on Twitter and then turned it off; I played a game and read a book; I drank hot chocolate and ate the last of the homemade coffee cake. I didn't get any work done, and I probably should have, because I really really want to get everything wrapped up by Sunday night so I can enjoy being on vacation all next week. But I think I needed a day like this, with enough activity and enough rest and no work whatsoever. I think I needed that a lot.

Weekend plans look something like this:

Saturday
Conference call about engaging more white people in racial justice activism
Lunch
Gym
Maybe go into Manhattan for haircuts with X? If so, stop at Trader Joe's for more GF AP flour
Bake a crustless pumpkin pie (I have learned my lesson) and possibly also another coffee cake if I get flour and feel like exerting myself
Family evening
Work

Sunday
Afternoon get-together with my mother and brother
Introvert evening
Work

And then: vacation! I've been saying "I need a vacation" for months. Now that I finally get to have one, I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. I hope every day feels like today did.

Closing open tabs, saving links

Nov. 29th, 2014 04:00 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
http://www.viewster.com/movie/1286-19070-000/the-stars/ The Stars online film, ~30 minutes. Women Hockey Players.

http://rochellebarlow.com/2013/08/how-to-bruise-yourself-with-stage-makeup/ -- I found this when I was looking for pictures of rainbow bruises , such as you would get after being trampled by unicorns.

http://www.samefacts.com/2014/05/culture-and-civil-society/unlearning-how-white-people-ask-personal-questions/
When we ask someone what they do for a living for example, we are also asking for at least partial information on their income, their status in the class hierarchy and their perceived importance in the world. Unbidden, that question can be quite an invasion. The presumption that one is entitled to such information is rarely made explicit, but that doesn’t prevent it from forcing other people to make a painful choice: Disclose something they want to keep secret or flatly refuse to answer (which oddly enough usually makes them, rather than the questioner, look rude).

(social and economic and racial privilege)


http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/green-mac-cheese/
A recipe to try: dairy-free, contains soy

Green Mac And Cheese:

Ingredients
9 ounces (250 grams) dry macaroni
4.5 ounces (about 3/4 cup) shelled edamame with membranes removed
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
Directions
Boil the macaroni according to the package directions in salted water.
Put the peeled edamame, milk, nutritional yeast and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
When the pasta is done, drain it and stir in the green "cheese" sauce.
Yield: 3-4 servings


http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/fiction-this-week-etgar-keret-2014-12-01
There is something very intimate about smoking pot with someone—the fact that both of you put the same joint in your mouth and smoke something that will make you feel less in control. This is topped by the fact that you are sharing a secret, something illegal, which makes the smoking a de-facto declaration that you trust each other.

DW News: Happy December!

Nov. 28th, 2014 05:08 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
We've got at least a few more weeks to go before our next code push -- a few of our ongoing projects are in the 'not quite finished yet' stage and we'd like to get those a bit more polished before our next release -- but I wanted to make a quick announcement anyway: our annual December Holiday Promotion will once again begin 1 December and last to 31 December.

During the month of December, all orders (made by a logged-in account) for paid time or Dreamwidth Points will receive a 10% points bonus, saveable and spendable for Dreamwidth services in the future.

To take advantage of the promotion, visit the Dreamwidth Shop during the month of December and buy paid time or Dreamwidth Points, for yourself or for a friend. For instance, if you buy a 12-month paid account (350 points), we'll give you 35 points to spend later, once you complete your order.

The bonus only applies to purchase of paid time or DW Points; rename tokens or bonus icons don't receive points bonuses, since the cost for those is intended to cover the cost of delivering that service. If you buy paid time or points for a friend, the points will be delivered to you, not them: the points go to the account that placed the order.

Thank you to all of you who've bought paid time, DW points, or extra services this year. You're what allows us to keep this place running: since we have no outside investors, haven't taken any venture capital, and don't accept advertising, our income comes entirely from you. So thank you for helping us to keep this grand adventure humming merrily along, happy December holidays no matter which ones you celebrate, and here's to an awesome 2015.

(Comment notifications may be delayed for up to an hour or so after this post, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 1715 EST (see in your time zone).)

(no subject)

Nov. 28th, 2014 07:24 pm
fluffymormegil: @ (Default)
[personal profile] fluffymormegil

X-wings in ground effect.

I think I approve.

vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Post-apocalypse. Welll, no, it starts a few hours before teh apocalypse, features the actual apocalypse and a few days/weeks after, then skips ~7 years and continues on from there.

The book's from 1987, so I shan't use cuts (but, then, I probably won't spoil anything anyway). On the whole, it's solid writing, but there's a few plot elements that really rubs me the wrong way. There's the exploitation of people, for a variety of purposes. There's the weirdo mysticism that I can't quite nail down to any specific strain. And, well.

Am I happy I read it? Yes. Did I consider abandoning it? Yes, at least three times. Am I likely to re-read it? Only if I forget about it completely.

aaargh, don't touch my stuff

Nov. 28th, 2014 11:39 am
silentq: (pour)
[personal profile] silentq
I walked into my office this morning and immediately noticed that something was wrong: my glass tea pot was clean, the filter basket was sitting askew, and the tea ball was in the bottom of the basket (the plunger top broke a while back so I use a ball and keep the basket as a holder). I only clean it when I have the time to make sure that any soap residue is completely rinsed out, I usually just rinse it briefly at the end of the day, and I'm fine with it building up some brown stains. Okay, fine, I can deal, I know that my office isn't really private. I took a deep breath, the cleaner must have done something to it on Wednesday when he was cleaning the top of the shelf where it sits (though my desk was still dusty, and the spoon and bowl on the desk were untouched, and my tea mug was still stained) and thought it required cleaning. I take it into the kitchen to rinse again, see the soapy and tea stained sponge and finally notice that the chain is gone from the tea ball. Great, just wonderful. I found the ring to which it used to be attached, sitting forlornly in the sink waiting to be rinsed down the drain, but no sign of the chain, even with a careful look in the garbage. :-( It might be time to just get a new work teapot with a proper loose leaf system. *sigh* Time to rinse off my spoon and fish out the ball.

And my work laptop just decided not to come back from the screen saver. *watches the spinning beachball against a black background* Update: a reboot fixed it. See, minor crap like this.

Somewhere there's a trickster centipede spirit gleefully watching me, pleased with my frustration about wondering when the last shoe will drop this week. Tiny annoying shoes keep pattering down and disrupting my day, just a little bit. Well, I hope the laptop thing is tiny, I've got some unchecked in work on there. :-(

IKEA (prompted by a Spotify ad)

Nov. 28th, 2014 12:44 pm
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
Do you say 'Eye-key-ah' or 'Eee-key-ah'?

(I'm still wondering how much ad revenue Spotify make, given how many of the ads are for itself!The targeting is crap too.)

I need new tv shows

Nov. 28th, 2014 10:43 pm
skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
Rec me TV shows?

Currently I'm watching lots of stupid superheroes (eg. Arrow), cheesey American procedurals (eg. Castle, god, it's STILL GOING), and social history documentaries (everything Lucy Worsley has ever done, also O HAI [personal profile] oursin).

I feel like I could do with some cosy murder mysteries, but I may have exhausted most of the usual suspects (Miss Fisher, Doctor Blake, and Lewis are the most recent series I've watched and enjoyed).

Nothing too realistically dramatic, plz. I don't want to watch normal-seeming people having a shitty time. Unrealistically dramatic (in space! in crinolines! in SPACE CRINOLINES!) is fine. Also no reality shows with a competitive element, as this is actually too realistically dramatic for me. Seriously, I have low drama tolerance at present.

Super Surprisingly TV

Nov. 28th, 2014 09:19 pm
jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
[personal profile] jeshyr
As those who see me RL will know, I regularly record a ton of TV shows I later delete unwatched.

Recordings are sometimes one-off picks from the TV guide but more commonly they're series that I know I like or keyword recordings set off by the presence of a particular keyword or actor name in the description, so I don't always know what's being recorded. I delete things after watching, but otherwise deletions mostly happen when my hard drive is close to filling up and I go through and delete a bunch of stuff that's sat around unwatched for a long time.

One of the slightly humorous consequences of this approach is I often have recorded shows which I either didn't know were being recorded or have completely forgotten about. There was one there tonight called "Predators In Your Backyard". That's all I knew about it - it was recorded six weeks ago from a keyword I think so I don't recall anything about it except the title.

It's been sitting there for a while as the second oldest unwatched thing... I had assumed it was going to be about bugs and beetles and the whole teeny tiny ecosystem we have there in our backyards. David Attenborough type science of the very small.

I just turned it on ... it's about wolves in Yellowstone national park.

My brain feels slightly broken ...


r
lovingboth: ([default])
[personal profile] lovingboth
Oooh, Shredder Chess is free until tomorrow. This is by one of the great chess programmers and if you can beat this one when its playing at its top level, you are better than I am. Fortunately, it will also adapt to mere mortals and give them a good game.

(I see that ChessGenius by another of the greats is also on sale.)

Others include Bejewelled 2, the classic 'match three' puzzle. Quell Memento and EDGE are also good.
[syndicated profile] infotropism_feed

Posted by Skud

I seem to have had this discussion a few times lately, so I’m going to save myself the trouble of repeating it and just write down all the problems I have with hackathons. (Yes, I know lots of people have previously posted about what they don’t like about hackathons; I’ve linked some of them at the bottom of this post, if you want some other opinions too.)

They’re too much commitment

Me: I’m kind of interested in your thing. How can I get involved?
Them: We have a hackathon coming up. You should come!

Here’s how that sounds to me:

Me: I’d like to get a little more physically active.
Them: You should come run a marathon on the weekend!

The suffix “-athon” should tip you off here. Hackathons are intense and exhausting, and they’re meant to be. They’re usually a whole weekend of focused work, often with insufficient sleep, and too much encouragement to use masses of caffeine to stay awake and coding for 48 hours.

Sorry, but I’m not going to do that for my projects, let alone yours.

They exclude people with lives and responsibilities

This follows naturally from the marathon nature. A hackathon usually takes up a whole weekend, often starting Friday night and going through until Sunday evening. Sometimes you’re expected or encouraged to stay on-site overnight, or sometimes the norm is to go home to sleep, but either way it chews up multiple consecutive days.

I have other things going on in my life: errands to run, friends to see, a veggie garden to keep watered, and other community events and commitments to schedule around. Attending a weekend-long event means massively rearranging my life. And I don’t have kids or other people to care for; if I did, it would be pretty much impossible.

That exclusion is not evenly distributed

I see fathers of kids at hackathons pretty often, perhaps because their wives are looking after the kids. I see mothers far less often. Domestic and carer responsibilities are unevenly distributed, which means women are more likely to be too busy to attend hackathons than men are.

Until I did some research for this post, I’d never yet seen a hackathon with childcare or which provides information or assistance for parents; not even the women-only hackathon held recently in a city near me. (After some research, I now have heard of one.)

Sure, most younger women don’t yet have childcare responsibilities, but that just points out another unequal exclusion: the older you are, the more responsibilities you are likely to have, and the less energy you have for all-night Red Bull fuelled hacking sessions. Unsurprisingly, hackathon participants are generally on the young side.

It’s well documented that diverse teams have more creative ideas. So why exclude entire categories of people by holding an event that is hard for them to participate in?

They’re unhealthy

I’ve been to a few of these events, and I’ve never yet felt like I didn’t come out of it less healthy than I went in. Speaking for myself, I like daylight, moving around, eating lots of veggies, and drinking lots of water. I work at a standing desk part of the day (looking out the window at trees and birds), take lots of breaks to clear my mind and move my body, and usually make lunch with homebaked bread and something from my garden. I also like getting a good night’s sleep.

I’m not saying that everyone can or should do what I do. It’s entirely up to you to do what makes your body feel good, or to balance feeling good with other priorities. But I know that for me, when I attend a hackathon, if I spend two long days in poor lighting and poor ventilation, sitting hunched over my laptop at a meeting table in an uncomfortable chair, eating pretty average catering food or pizza (almost always especially mediocre because I go for the vegetarian option), I feel like crap.

Now, sometimes I’m prepared to feel like crap for a weekend for a good cause. But it has to be a pretty convincing cause.

Competition, meh.

One thing that doesn’t convince me: competition. For so many hackathons, the end-game is “create the best X and win a prize”. I really, really don’t care. In fact it puts me off, and makes me less likely to attend.

To start with, I know how to do a cost-benefit analysis. The last hackathon in my area, I think the average prize awarded per attendee (i.e. dividing the prizes won by the number of people present) was around $100. Though, of course, most attendees actually got zero. I might be broke, but not broke enough to consider that a good use of two whole days of my time.

Surprise: extrinsic motivation isn’t all that motivating!

Quite apart from that, though, I’m not motivated by competition. Tell me you’re going to judge whose hack is the “best” and I get crippled by stereotype threat, instantly flashing back to being the last picked for the team in gym class. And I’m a developer with 20 years’ experience under my belt, who’s worked with dozens of APIs in several languages, and is comfortable with everything from wireframing to git. Imagine if I was new and less sure of my abilities?

You can tell me all you like about how collaborative the atmosphere of your event is, but if you are awarding prizes for the “best X”, you just sound hypocritical. If you want me to believe the event is collaborative, don’t make it a competition.

Why can’t I work on an existing project?

Every hackathon I’ve been to has required that you come up with a new idea to hack on. At some hackathons, I’ve seen people complain that teams are cheating if they come with anything prepared or have done any work ahead of time.

I spend most of my time working on projects that I think are important and worthwhile. My head is full of them, I know my way around my toolkit and the codebase, and I have endless ideas for improvements and new features I want to work on.

Now you want me to show up at your event, put aside all the investment and focus I’ve built up for my project, and work on some new toy for the weekend.

They’re just toys

The result is that people build quick hacks that are cute and flashy, but have little depth. Meh.

And then they’re gone.

People say that hackathon projects are just prototypes, and that great things can later emerge from them. However, hackathon projects seldom survive beyond the weekend of the hack. Sure, I see hackathon organisers trying to take steps to ensure that projects have longevity but does this actually work?

I reviewed a handful of hacks, including many of the prize-winners, from the last hackathon I was at — the one with the longevity page linked above — and found not a single one with a code commit since the hackathon five months ago.

Here’s why: hackathons intentionally select for people who work intensely for a weekend, then give prizes for the flashiest results that can be produced in that short time. There are no incentives for sustainable projects, long-term collaboration, or maintainable code. Therefore, none of those things happen.

So what are hackathons good for?

They can be a pretty good PR exercise.

They can raise awareness of new technologies, APIs, or datasets among developers and give them a space to experiment with them.

They can be stimulate your creativity, if your creativity happens to be stimulated by short deadlines and so on.

They can be a feel-good networking experience for the (overwhelmingly self-confident, young, and male) participants.

Here’s what I want instead

Ongoing projects, that are maintained and used over several years.

A welcoming environment for people of all skill and confidence levels, with opportunity for mentorship, learning, and working at your own pace.

A schedule that makes it possible to participate without having to make heroic efforts to juggle your other responsibilities.

My main project, Growstuff, holds a monthly get-together called “Hackstuff” to work on Growstuff or any other project people care to bring along. It seems to be working well for us so far, and we have several participants who have become regular contributors to the project. I’d like to set up a similar civic hacking meetup in my town, if I can find a suitable venue.

I’d love to hear whether anyone else has experience running recurring, collaborative, low-commitment civic hacking events. If you’re doing something like that, please get in touch and tell me about it!

And some links

Who’s (not) welcome at hackathons?

Finding childcare for a UX sprint showed up when I searched for childcare and hackathons, and I was delighted to find that almost every woman named in the article is a friend of mine :)

Hackathons and minimal viable prototypes talks about what you can actually build at a hackathon (it’s not a product).

On hackathons and solutionism (do hackathons actually solve problems?)

National Day of Hacking your own Assumptions and Entitlement (a spot on satire).

Why Hackathons Suck from Thoughtworks, who I note sponsor an awful lot of hackathons. Huh?

skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
This is a crosspost from Infotropism. You can comment here or there.

I seem to have had this discussion a few times lately, so I’m going to save myself the trouble of repeating it and just write down all the problems I have with hackathons. (Yes, I know lots of people have previously posted about what they don’t like about hackathons; I’ve linked some of them at the bottom of this post, if you want some other opinions too.)

They’re too much commitment

Me: I’m kind of interested in your thing. How can I get involved?
Them: We have a hackathon coming up. You should come!

Here’s how that sounds to me:

Me: I’d like to get a little more physically active.
Them: You should come run a marathon on the weekend!

The suffix “-athon” should tip you off here. Hackathons are intense and exhausting, and they’re meant to be. They’re usually a whole weekend of focused work, often with insufficient sleep, and too much encouragement to use masses of caffeine to stay awake and coding for 48 hours.

Sorry, but I’m not going to do that for my projects, let alone yours.

They exclude people with lives and responsibilities

This follows naturally from the marathon nature. A hackathon usually takes up a whole weekend, often starting Friday night and going through until Sunday evening. Sometimes you’re expected or encouraged to stay on-site overnight, or sometimes the norm is to go home to sleep, but either way it chews up multiple consecutive days.

I have other things going on in my life: errands to run, friends to see, a veggie garden to keep watered, and other community events and commitments to schedule around. Attending a weekend-long event means massively rearranging my life. And I don’t have kids or other people to care for; if I did, it would be pretty much impossible.

That exclusion is not evenly distributed

I see fathers of kids at hackathons pretty often, perhaps because their wives are looking after the kids. I see mothers far less often. Domestic and carer responsibilities are unevenly distributed, which means women are more likely to be too busy to attend hackathons than men are.

Until I did some research for this post, I’d never yet seen a hackathon with childcare or which provides information or assistance for parents; not even the women-only hackathon held recently in a city near me. (After some research, I now have heard of one.)

Sure, most younger women don’t yet have childcare responsibilities, but that just points out another unequal exclusion: the older you are, the more responsibilities you are likely to have, and the less energy you have for all-night Red Bull fuelled hacking sessions. Unsurprisingly, hackathon participants are generally on the young side.

It’s well documented that diverse teams have more creative ideas. So why exclude entire categories of people by holding an event that is hard for them to participate in?

They’re unhealthy

I’ve been to a few of these events, and I’ve never yet felt like I didn’t come out of it less healthy than I went in. Speaking for myself, I like daylight, moving around, eating lots of veggies, and drinking lots of water. I work at a standing desk part of the day (looking out the window at trees and birds), take lots of breaks to clear my mind and move my body, and usually make lunch with homebaked bread and something from my garden. I also like getting a good night’s sleep.

I’m not saying that everyone can or should do what I do. It’s entirely up to you to do what makes your body feel good, or to balance feeling good with other priorities. But I know that for me, when I attend a hackathon, if I spend two long days in poor lighting and poor ventilation, sitting hunched over my laptop at a meeting table in an uncomfortable chair, eating pretty average catering food or pizza (almost always especially mediocre because I go for the vegetarian option), I feel like crap.

Now, sometimes I’m prepared to feel like crap for a weekend for a good cause. But it has to be a pretty convincing cause.

Competition, meh.

One thing that doesn’t convince me: competition. For so many hackathons, the end-game is “create the best X and win a prize”. I really, really don’t care. In fact it puts me off, and makes me less likely to attend.

To start with, I know how to do a cost-benefit analysis. The last hackathon in my area, I think the average prize awarded per attendee (i.e. dividing the prizes won by the number of people present) was around $100. Though, of course, most attendees actually got zero. I might be broke, but not broke enough to consider that a good use of two whole days of my time.

Surprise: extrinsic motivation isn’t all that motivating!

Quite apart from that, though, I’m not motivated by competition. Tell me you’re going to judge whose hack is the “best” and I get crippled by stereotype threat, instantly flashing back to being the last picked for the team in gym class. And I’m a developer with 20 years’ experience under my belt, who’s worked with dozens of APIs in several languages, and is comfortable with everything from wireframing to git. Imagine if I was new and less sure of my abilities?

You can tell me all you like about how collaborative the atmosphere of your event is, but if you are awarding prizes for the “best X”, you just sound hypocritical. If you want me to believe the event is collaborative, don’t make it a competition.

Why can’t I work on an existing project?

Every hackathon I’ve been to has required that you come up with a new idea to hack on. At some hackathons, I’ve seen people complain that teams are cheating if they come with anything prepared or have done any work ahead of time.

I spend most of my time working on projects that I think are important and worthwhile. My head is full of them, I know my way around my toolkit and the codebase, and I have endless ideas for improvements and new features I want to work on.

Now you want me to show up at your event, put aside all the investment and focus I’ve built up for my project, and work on some new toy for the weekend.

They’re just toys

The result is that people build quick hacks that are cute and flashy, but have little depth. Meh.

And then they’re gone.

People say that hackathon projects are just prototypes, and that great things can later emerge from them. However, hackathon projects seldom survive beyond the weekend of the hack. Sure, I see hackathon organisers trying to take steps to ensure that projects have longevity but does this actually work?

I reviewed a handful of hacks, including many of the prize-winners, from the last hackathon I was at — the one with the longevity page linked above — and found not a single one with a code commit since the hackathon five months ago.

Here’s why: hackathons intentionally select for people who work intensely for a weekend, then give prizes for the flashiest results that can be produced in that short time. There are no incentives for sustainable projects, long-term collaboration, or maintainable code. Therefore, none of those things happen.

So what are hackathons good for?

They can be a pretty good PR exercise.

They can raise awareness of new technologies, APIs, or datasets among developers and give them a space to experiment with them.

They can be stimulate your creativity, if your creativity happens to be stimulated by short deadlines and so on.

They can be a feel-good networking experience for the (overwhelmingly self-confident, young, and male) participants.

Here’s what I want instead

Ongoing projects, that are maintained and used over several years.

A welcoming environment for people of all skill and confidence levels, with opportunity for mentorship, learning, and working at your own pace.

A schedule that makes it possible to participate without having to make heroic efforts to juggle your other responsibilities.

My main project, Growstuff, holds a monthly get-together called “Hackstuff” to work on Growstuff or any other project people care to bring along. It seems to be working well for us so far, and we have several participants who have become regular contributors to the project. I’d like to set up a similar civic hacking meetup in my town, if I can find a suitable venue.

I’d love to hear whether anyone else has experience running recurring, collaborative, low-commitment civic hacking events. If you’re doing something like that, please get in touch and tell me about it!

And some links

Who’s (not) welcome at hackathons?

Finding childcare for a UX sprint showed up when I searched for childcare and hackathons, and I was delighted to find that almost every woman named in the article is a friend of mine :)

Hackathons and minimal viable prototypes talks about what you can actually build at a hackathon (it’s not a product).

On hackathons and solutionism (do hackathons actually solve problems?)

National Day of Hacking your own Assumptions and Entitlement (a spot on satire).

Why Hackathons Suck from Thoughtworks, who I note sponsor an awful lot of hackathons. Huh?

marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Gentle Readers
a newsletter made for sharing
volume 2, number 5
27th November 2014: the land of green ginger
What I’ve been up to

I've been preparing for the funeral tomorrow of my grandmother Joy, who died earlier this month. I've written her a poem which I'll be reading in the service; I'll post it in the next issue of GR. I shall miss her a lot.

I don't have much of a Something Wonderful to write this time, except that in York there is a street called Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate, and in Hull there is a street called The Land of Green Ginger. Suggestions of other excellent street names are welcome to the usual address.

A poem of mine

SOLSTICE

Perhaps I might compare... oh damn it. No.
It's four, and it's already almost night.
The land lies suffocated under snow:
they say "the dead of winter", and they're right.
My life's on hold until the first of May:
until that morning comes I have to cope
with dragging on through every darkened day.
July will come: I have to live in hope.
No. You're the one I'm missing, not July.
Yours is the warmth, not April's, that I miss.
I miss your smiles far more than May, and I
lie longing, not for June, but for your kiss;
I'm cold and tired. I don't know what to do.
Shall I compare a summer's day to you?

A picture

https://gentlereaders.uk/pics/emotional-rollercoaster
Emotional rollercoaster

 
Something from someone else

Because it's that time of year, and because I remember that Gentle Reader Toby likes it:

NO
by Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

No sun — no moon!
No morn — no noon —
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day —
No sky — no earthly view —
No distance looking blue —
No road — no street — no "t'other side the way" —
No end to any Row —
No indications where the Crescents go —
No top to any steeple —
No recognitions of familiar people —
No courtesies for showing 'em —
No knowing 'em!
No travelling at all — no locomotion —
No inkling of the way — no notion —
"No go" — by land or ocean —
No mail — no post —
No news from any foreign coast —
No park — no ring — no afternoon gentility —
No company — no nobility —
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member —
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,
November!

Colophon

Gentle Readers is published on Mondays and Thursdays, and I want you to share it. The archives are at https://gentlereaders.uk, and so is a form to get on the mailing list. If you have anything to say or reply, or you want to be added or removed from the mailing list, I’m at thomas@thurman.org.uk and I’d love to hear from you. The newsletter is reader-supported; please pledge something if you can afford to, and please don't if you can't. ISSN 2057-052X. Love and peace to you all.

rosefox: Me staring off into the sunset. (wistful)
[personal profile] rosefox
In lieu of watching a parade that is literally an homage to colonialist capitalism, I suggest exploring the video collections of Native Faces of Beauty and Lizard Light Productions. Lizard Light's videos of hoop dancers are particularly superb.

Recommended reading: the suppressed 1970 Thanksgiving speech of Wamsutta.

And for Giving Tuesday on December 2, here are some charities worth donating to:

The American Indian College Fund
The Association on American Indian Affairs
The Indian Law Resource Center
The Native American Rights Fund

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"About #BlackoutBlackFriday: We ask those who stand with Ferguson, victims of police brutality and us to refrain from shopping on Black Friday and participate in a nationwide day of action and activism." There are special events in NYC and Los Angeles.

For those who do embark on holiday shopping this time of year, please consider supporting Black shop owners on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/teams/20664/black-owned-etsy-shops-boes
https://www.etsy.com/teams/5649/black-business-etsy

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Today I'm reminding myself that in three and a half weeks, the days start getting longer again.

Assorted things you might like

Nov. 27th, 2014 07:19 pm
ceb: (moon viewing ceremony)
[personal profile] ceb
Kickstart a moon mission:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lunarmissionone/lunar-mission-one-a-new-lunar-mission-for-everyone?ref=nav_search
Send your name to the moon!

Electronics stickers:
https://www.crowdsupply.com/chibitronics/circuit-stickers
and
https://www.crowdsupply.com/chibitronics/circuit-stickers-holiday-greeting-card
I got some of these for last Christmas and they are great!

Chocolate brownie recipe:
http://www.globeathay.org/blog/christmas-recipes-chocolate-orange-brownies-with-caramalised-orange-and-popping-candy/
My popping candy was too old to be useful and wasn't really detectable, and I didn't do the orange on top, but these were nevertheless excellent.

Excellent anthology:
http://kaleidoscope.twelfthplanetpress.com/
I picked this up at Worldcon not really knowing what it was; turns out it's an anthology of young adult SF and fantasy stories with diverse characters (i.e. not all white, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, etc. etc.). As well as being a breath of fresh air it's also an excellent read (and all the stories in it were first published in 2014, so are Hugo-nominable. Just sayin'). I particularly commend it to [personal profile] rmc28, [personal profile] liv, and [livejournal.com profile] ghoti but also whole-heartedly recommend it just in general.

inadvertent knee progress

Nov. 27th, 2014 12:33 pm
silentq: (toes)
[personal profile] silentq
I was determined to take advantage of the day off today to hit up Allure last night, and ended up deciding to take the T instead of braving the still snow covered roads. Of course the bus timing was inconvenient, so I was rushing to get ready and, in the spirit of lots of little things going wrong lately, the stairwell light wasn't working. I was pushing it to catch the bus, next one was in 45 minutes, so I carefully inched my way down the stairs in the dark. *sigh* Then as I was a block away from the stop, I heard the tell tale sound of the bus engine and without thinking started running for it. O.o I made it, though the driver gave me a tiny lecture about running out into the street (I'd checked for traffic and was going to stop if the bus didn't obviously). No pain! Speed! *happy dance* :-) Then later in the evening, after my second drink ended up being way stronger than I needed/wanted (my well G&T was $11 and weak, the elderflower + good gin cocktail was $12 and super strong and big), a lovely lady pulled me out onto the dance floor and I actually danced! Whee! :-) Granted, yes, there was some alcoholic anesthetic and someone to lean on, but no pain this morning, except a bit in my head from a minor hangover (thanks for the reminder text about drinking water!). I'm really not going to trust the bartenders there any more, I'd actually had my flask set up on my counter and had planned to bring a pre club tipple with me, but ran out of time.

Nanowrimo: I broke 45k this morning, and am thinking I'll hit 50k before I run out of trip diaries. I think for the last two I had pretty extensive calendar notes, so I can copy/paste a fair amount then. It's been validating my feeling that I was super behind though.

Thanksgiving: turkey soup stock is simmering, house smells amazing, and I'm about to roast some veggies. I hope to give the finished soup some time to cool before I pack it for the trip to Arlington, but the ziplock bag + juice pitcher solution should work again to keep the liquid contained.

It's my birthday

Nov. 27th, 2014 03:37 pm
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
[personal profile] damerell
I am 39! Also, my brain is no better, but such is life.

I will be at the Carlton as usual this evening, but also with S at the Pembury in London on Sunday from about 2pm. If you know where one of those places is, come and say hello.

Bits

Nov. 27th, 2014 11:11 am
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
(That's annoying: Firefox just crashed, and I've now been logged out of *everything*. Even Amazon doesn't know who I am.)

Yesterday, GB got into the garden: he nipped through the gate as the ducks were going the other way at bed time. He did just walk along the back of the garage and up the steps, before turning around and going back to the stableyard, but he has now seen All That Grass, which is a bit worrying: we'll have to be careful about keeping the gate closed when they're hanging around in there. (Esme, on the other hand, had just had to be removed from the garage and carried back to the garden: she knew it was bed time, and as the gate was blocking her from going the usual way she decided to improvise. I think we might have to put bird netting on that bit of the fence, as they can apparently just about get through the stock netting if they try hard enough.)

The day before that, we went to see Smokey, who was way too forward. I should have realised it wasn't even worth getting on him when we saw how much the woman was holding him back when she rode. New rule: if the rider is obviously holding him back, ask to see all three paces on a long rein. Another one tomorrow, just around the corner as it happens.

The day before *that*, I was coming back from walking Jo and -- wonder of wonders -- found that the stile was mid-repair. Have just sent a thank you email off to the council chap, who must have put a letter in the post the same day as my last email to him for it to have got sorted that quickly.

And before that, we had a lovely visit from S&C&W, who was a bit scared of Jo but then Jo is probably twice her size so it's not so unusual.

(Pedro, in the end, got approved by our instructor provided we didn't pay the full price but then sold (not sure for how much) to the person who was already booked in to come and see him the day after we did (as we didn't actually go with the intention of seeing that horse, it is absolutely right that the other people got priority).)

Our field is in a horrible state, although we're slightly hopeful that we can get them out for a couple of houses this afternoon after we've ridden: a combination of rain and waiting for a Tesco delivery scuppered the chances of riding in the morning. We have had a couple of frosty nights and cold, sunny days, but mostly it's just been moist.

PT #4

Nov. 26th, 2014 10:50 am
silentq: (toes)
[personal profile] silentq
More hands on manipulation today (with bent knee for a while), the inner side was a bit tender but that was about it. I asked about some non-knee-irritating quad stretches, my best bet is still the foam roller. New twist to the stand on one leg and juggle exercise: do it on an unstable surface. *sigh* That was frustrating. I had to take my sock off just to stop sliding off of the balance thingy. Will try it with a pillow at home, that will have more surface friction at least. More electro stim, at a higher setting this time, no pinching, just buzzing. He'll re-evaluate my knee next week and that's probably when the MRI/no MRI decision will get made. *fingers crossed*

I rode to work via the grocery store to try and get my weekend shopping done, forgetting that I'd half planned on taking my laptop home if I left early due to the storm. It'll be a heavy load if I do. My phone also completely lost the weather ap connection after the last update at 2:15am, and it can't seem to connect to google. I was thinking it was due to the switch to a new plan with international minutes added, but the PT receptionist said that they'd lost their connection to the Pandora server and had to reset their iPhones as well. I seem to have lost digital service at this point, will reboot and see if that helps.

Skipped my morning writing as well as home PT in favour of sleeping in a bit and rushing to my appointment (riding up the ridge is much faster than walking it!). I'd walked over to La Brasa with [livejournal.com profile] drwex last night and that took longer than expected, and I wasn't keeping my planned early bed time in mind. Luckily I remembered to top up my work tea stash yesterday, so time to dig into it. Looking forward to the day off tomorrow, not looking forward to having to work on Friday. Not 100% sure I'll make it to Garage Lounge tonight, I'll keep watching the weather and the state of the roads.

Running (shoes)

Nov. 26th, 2014 02:13 pm
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I went running this morning! And Monday! And Saturday! Okay, that's not very many times yet, but it's twice more than I usually manage when I decide that I'm going to take up running, so my hopes are up. This morning I did the first episode of Zombies! Run!, which was pretty good fun, and I think will make it easier to keep it going. I've also ordered some gloves and warmer running gear, as it's been bloody cold when I first get started, and it's probably going to get a fair bit colder before the spring.

I think I could probably also do with getting some new trainers, as the ones I have now are about seven years old, and were pretty cheap and cheerful back then, but that strikes me as something that requires a bit more thought than gloves and leggings. People who run - any pointers on where I should get them, anything I should look out for, and how much should I be expecting to spend? FWIW, I expect to be running about 2-3 times/week, and usually no more than about 5km. Maybe with the occasional 10k run on weekends once I'm a lot fitter than I am now.

Also, in between vignettes about zombies I have music playing, and am really really bad/lazy about picking songs, so if anyone has any good exercise Spotify playlists to share/recommend, that would be fab.