[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
In 1932, an appliance salesman named Isidore Hochberg wrote a set of politically charged lyrics for a satirical musical called Americana. In one tune, the narrator builds railroads, fights wars, plows fields and erects skyscrapers in the space of a few verses, only to be undone by predatory capitalists. The show closed after only a couple of performances, but that song, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” became a smash hit, recorded by a young Bing Crosby.

Newbie

Nov. 19th, 2014 02:59 pm
[personal profile] seattlefreezer posting in [site community profile] dw_dev_training
Hello,

I'm a new developer (emphasis on the new). I'm trying to expand my skillset in programming and open-source works. I've been told you guys have a great community and are very helpful to newcomers. Please, if you have any tips, resources or suggestions send them my way.

I'm interested in front-end work, graphical interfaces and the like. I have some experience in java, python, html and css. I'm good at photoshop/illustrator as well if there is any need for something along those lines.

Specifically, I've tasked myself with converting the birthdays.tt code to run on foundation. Here's a question, where do I find the birthdays.tt page to see how it looks now?

Thank you very much and I look forward to learning and helping.

Aaron
tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
[personal profile] tim
I linked to some of these posts in 2013 and in 2012. It bears repeating.

Alyssa Caparas (2011):

I hate what TDoR has come to represent: a queer ‘holiday’ for embracing the narrative of fear; fear of violence, fear of death, self-stigmatization. The co-opting of POC trans women of a very-particular-background’s experiences as those of the ENTIRE trans community, regardless of race, class, or whatever. It’s a day to remind us all why we need to be afraid all the time and I think it’s a bunch of bullshit.

The large majority of people on the lists of the dead are NOT middle class white transwomen or men. They’re lower class PoC & PoC sex workers. I find it incredibly dissrespectful when white, middle, & upper middle class transpeople claim the narratives of transwomen of color & sex workers experiencess as their own. I’m sick of seeing Transbros at TDoR co-opting the narrative of transwomen’s experiences, internalizing them, and feeding those narratives back to everyone, then high-fiving each over how radical & edgey they are. I’m sick of being a Transwoman at TDoR and feeling marginalized by all the gender hipsters who’re there to bump up their scene cred.
(emphasis author's)

erica, ascendant (2012):

because trans identity is so caught up in Caucasianness, a new problem emerges with both the claiming of dead trans people of color altogether: if we weren’t “trans enough” in life, why are we suddenly being counted by the same people who wouldn’t have us once we’re dead? it’s because the idea that it’s dangerous to be trans has to be sold somehow, given that cis people generally ignore violence against trans people regardless of what color we are, and i do have no doubt that it seems like a good idea to use all these names. the trouble is that when this happens without any discussion of race, class, and how violence is often linked to certain types of work, reading our names uncritically is appropriative and using the deaths of people you didn’t care about in life as a vehicle for activism in death. i get that this has to be sold as a concept because cis people are often willfully ignorant that we’re getting killed out here. thing is, there are ways to sell this concept and be conscious of the racial/class/social politics involved herein. i see what the point of TDoR is in terms of public relations, but it isn’t so invaluable that the problematic things about it should go unchecked.
(emphasis author's)

Monica Maldonado, 2012

The truth is, the Trans Day of Remembrance is a day of political grand standing, using the deaths of trans women of colour as a numbers game to buy someone else’s pet project sympathy for votes, dollars, or attention. It’s a day where trans women of colour have greater value dead than we do alive.

We all too often hear that this day is a day where we must not let the deaths of these women be in vain, but this just underscores the transactional nature of these women’s deaths, most of whom fought no war. They lost their lives not in valour, but only as a result of being women in a world filled with gendered violence. They lost their lives because — all too often — our society casts out the disenfranchised and marginalized, no longer calling the huddled masses and tempest-tossed to our communities with heartfelt calls of liberty and virtue.

We should gather to mourn the dead, not conscript them into a battle they never had the privilege to fight while living. It pains me to stand here and remind you that these deaths, of our brothers and sisters and wives and husbands and daughters and sons, that these deaths are senseless tragedies that remain a black mark on society. These deaths are signs of a systemic, institutional, social, economic, and political failure to care for our most vulnerable and marginalized populations. But what may be worse, is the crude politicising of these deaths serves no cause more than that of the same vanity we decry.


Edited to add: Monika Mhz, 2013 (video):

The reading of each mispronounced name that usually happens, mostly from extracontinental locations, acts as a drop of emotional currency for the pimps feeding the masses hungry for misery pornography and serves validation upon their fears. I want to be clear that all fear is real, and I sympathize deeply with the way that events like this -- the general climate of fear, nonlethal violence, and broader aspects of discrimination felt by our community can impact our lives in real ways, regardless of whether or not our risks truly match. But if we are to move forward in creating the change, if we are to move forward in ending the lethal, nonlethal, discursive, institutional and cultural violence that plagues our society, if we're to forge a future where trans women of color's lives are cherished and we don't find reason to feel that we must need to look over our shoulders every waking moment, then we have to be willing to have a real discussion about the violence that faces our community.


fake cis girl, 2013

The dead are us. They’re trans women of color trying to live their damn lives. They’re killed by partners, by clients, by random encounters on the street. I mean, seriously, the silence of white trans people when Islan Nettles was beaten to death walking down the damn street, and even worse the attempts at victim-blaming, were truly horrific…including some invective hurdled about how walking around in the hood comes with such risks. There is such a severe disconnect that part of what would help is that if white trans people in general listened to us this one day a year it could be a catalyst, or so I try to believe. Our realities include much more than how we’re seen in the TDoR list-of-names format: dead people. We are so much more than that, and our realities might be uncomfortable to the “trans community” or maybe, just maybe, the “trans community” will see us as something more than just a list of names of dead people and a bunch of inconvenient bodies and realities to dismiss in life.


Morgan Collado, 2014:

Trans Day of Remembrance is filled to the brim with the names of murdered Black and brown trans women, but is a single evening of remembering enough? And what does it mean that TDoR doesn’t explicitly talk about race and is often dominated by white people? Here in Austin there’s this tradition of calling the names of the dead and then having an audience member sit in a chair that represents where the dead trans woman would sit. The seats are always filled with white people and non-trans women. What do our deaths mean when our bodies, our lives, the physical space we take up, is appropriated by white folks? How can I mourn for my sisters when the space set up for that mourning is so thoroughly colonized? And how can I even see hope of living a full life when I don’t see myself reflected in what is supposed to be my community?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to honor those women who came before us, those women murdered by colonial patriarchy. But it seems like more often than not, the queer community at large is content with just remembering. We only hear about trans women after their deaths. And even our deaths are not our own. A week doesn’t go by without a white queer citing the deaths of trans women of color as the evidence of how oppressed they are. These stats are often used in service of their own assimilation; meanwhile, they’re happy to leave us out in the cold. We don’t even have dignity in death, nor the ability to decide what it will mean for us.


fake cis girl (2014):

TDoR generally sees trans women of color as acceptable losses as a central part of the minstrel show that it is. You can’t have a list of dead trans people without it mostly being dead trans women of color with a significant scattering of disabled trans women, too. This common thread between trans suicide and homicides of trans people is no accident, because the violence of rejection may not be the same force of violence that comes from a killer’s blade, but it’s violence nevertheless, and that violence drives some people to suicide. That violence, unlike the violence of a killer, is tolerated and even encouraged in our community. From Ryan Blackhawke’s since-deleted libelous comments complaining about last year’s version of this article to Andrea James’ harassment to the exclusionary nature of the only spaces trans women have (spaces like Ingersoll) comes this violence, and it needs to stop.

TDoR is still broken and still fails trans women of color. Gwen Smith still keeps the list manicured and controlled for whatever political purpose she’s aiming for, refusing to discuss race on the official site of TDoR itself, a day Ms. Smith continues to claim to “own”, and she hasn’t shown any willingness to change the reprehensible fact that deaths in custody don’t count when trans women are frequently targets of police harassment which disproportionately affects trans women of color, which leads to the logical conclusion that we’re more likely to be victims of police and governmental violence.

Mostly offline this week

Nov. 18th, 2014 05:43 am
[personal profile] yendi
At a conference. Have actually spent most of my non-conference time with dear friends (a trend that will continue tonight). So not only not posting much (a not-uncommon trend these days, alas), but not reading much online (a truly uncommon occurrence). And that extends to other social media services, too, although my day-job Twitter account might get active.

Anyway, hope everyone's doing well.

HOWTO: Dreamwidth API

Nov. 17th, 2014 09:55 pm
vlion: cut of the flammarion woodcut, colored (Default)
[personal profile] vlion posting in [site community profile] dw_dev_training

HOWTO Use the Dreamwidth API

DW endpoint: "https://www.dreamwidth.org/interface/xmlrpc"

Invoke LJ.XMLRPC.getchallenge on the endpoint, receiving something like...

"auth_scheme" :STRING "c0"
"server_time" :INTEGER <epoch time>
"challenge" :STRING "c0:1416283200:2410:60:4QoGWOXV0uB9gBaZ0LB0:5a1901a0feccabcb30fbe6e85878f758")
"expire_time" :INTEGER <epoch time>))

Pick challenge out, md5_hex[0] the challenge concatenated with the md5_hex of the account password; call the result response.

response = md5(concat(challenge, md5(password)))

Then, for function in the API, invoke LJ.RPC.function using auth_method = challenge and auth_response = response.

Proceed as appropriate for said function

[0] .. digest in hexadecimal form. The length of the returned string will be 32 and it will only contain characters from this set: '0'..'9' and 'a'..'f'.

[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

Daniel Cornwall:

Some thought provoking reading.

Originally posted on Blogging for a Good Book:

handI work on a public service desk, so I see lots of people from all walks of life and economic classes. When they ask for computer help, or to use the phone, it is impossible not to see or hear what they’re doing. (The cardinal sin of librarianship is denying them service based on those observations.) But when I hear someone reeking of cigarettes negotiating a payday loan, or see a woman with a toddler and a baby bragging about her sexual adventures on Facebook, it’s hard not to mentally question their choices. Linda Tirado has given me 191 pages of smackaround for my presumption in asking those questions.

Tirado came to international attention when her essay on the bad decisions many poor people make went viral. Based on that attention she was able to get a book deal to expand on the post, and to share the experiences of other…

View original 329 more words


Filed under: Uncategorized
[syndicated profile] diceytillerman_feed
One step in integrating fat politics into your life is refraining from imposing fatphobia on others, which means (among other things) refraining from urging weight loss on anyone. Much urging of weight loss hides behind the guise of concern for health when really it’s an insidious mix of aesthetic, moral, and cultural discomfort at fat people existing—and especially at fat people existing without trying to lose weight. Refraining from saying or hinting that fat people in general or a certain fat person should strive to be less fat—that’s big. Once folks are on board with fatpol, they pick up this important step pretty quickly.

Something that’s harder for folks learning fatpol to absorb is that making a statement about oneself is actually making a statement about other people. When a person talks about their own weight-loss diet—or some exercise that they hope will lead to weight loss or prevent weight gain, or the notion of calories being burned, or a diet food they purchased or ate—that’s feeding into cultural fatphobia. There’s no way to say those things without reinscribing the status quo fatphobia. Simply saying that you are trying to lose weight—or wish you could lose weight, or bought a Lean Cuisine, or burned some calories doing whatever—taps into the current of fatphobia. Fatphobia is a fierce and unforgiving current that never stops flowing. There’s no still pool into which your simple comment can go. When you mention weight loss stuff—unless you’re questioning or undermining the assumption that weight loss is good—you are invoking cultural fatphobia. You’re giving fatphobic oppression a tiny boost.

If you say that kind of thing near a fat person—if you mention joy at weight loss, wish for weight loss, sadness about weight gain, purchase of a diet food, the burning of calories—you are talking about that fat person. Even if you mean to be talking only about yourself, you’re not. You can’t. You don’t have that power. It’s not your fault that you don’t, but you don’t. Cultural fatphobia is that strong.

I don’t mean that it’s anti-fatpol to mention activities that happen to burn calories. But it is anti-fatpol to mention the calories. If you mention calories, you’re referring to weight loss and weight control. There are plenty of ways to talk about the jumping, dancing, running, swimming, sex that you just did or are about to do without tying it to weight control. Don’t mention the calories.

Or, you know, do. It’s your right to mention whatever you want. Maybe you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Maybe your cousin is, and you just toss that fact into the conversation. You and your cousin have the right to do whatever you want with your own bodies. But know that when you talk about it—even the quickest mention of calories or Slimfast—you’re not talking only about yourself. You’re talking about the fat person near you and all the fat people who aren’t near you. You can’t help but. There is no neutral. Cultural fatphobia is just that big.

It’s like individual book characters. A fat bully character in a book implies that fatness is connected to bullying—because our culture already has that stereotype entrenched. A fat bully character in an individual book invokes the culture in which it exists, and brings all that to bear. Can’t help but.

You know how I said there’s no neutral? There’s a good side to that. If you seem to be actually achieving neutral, you’re probably actively helping. If you refer to yourself or a book character as “fat” and you say it neutrally, without denigration and without symbolism? That’s helping. That’s activism. If you write a fat character whose fatness isn’t symbolic of anything? That’s helping. If you walk through the world—no matter what your body size—as if fatness is a neutral trait, that’s helping. That’s magnificent.
[syndicated profile] diceytillerman_feed
Crazy by Linda Vigen Phillips has some interesting things about the treatment of mental illness in the 1960s. I have reservations about the ending regarding treatment of mental illness and would like to discuss the ending if any of you have read it.

Meanwhile, Crazy holds a stellar example of how white America uses the notion of Indian-ness as something for itself. There are no Indian people in the book. There are three mentions of a mountain range near the white protagonist's house. Here's the first one (slashes indicate a line break; the prose is free verse):

“my favorite mountains, / the ones that always remind me of an old Indian chief / lying on his back / with his hands across his chest / like he’s sleeping peacefully, / and I can smell the wild sage growing / in the field across the road / and the crisp air feels good / on my hot cheeks” [42].

Two later references to the "Indian chief" mountain shape [81, 163] are about the same. Indians aren't real breathing humans; they're a concept for a white character's metaphorical and emotional use. Indians connote nature and romanticized comfort for this white girl. Indian-ness is not about real Indian people; Indian-ness is a symbol, for white people to use for themselves.

Harnessing the Stars

Nov. 17th, 2014 03:49 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Here’s my take on wishes: They’re generally a bad idea. Whether you end up sparring with a loophole-loving genie; you get exactly what you thought you wanted, only to find it’s not all it’s cracked up to be; or you end up selling your soul to the Devil or a future favor to one of the fae, you’re more likely to end up with a greasy sausage hanging off of your nose than you are to gain fame or fortune or beauty or strength or love or whatever else you might desire.

Catholic, Again

Nov. 17th, 2014 05:30 am
[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

Hi All,

I’m posting this entry because back in 2012 I blogged the reasons that I left the Catholic Church. About a month ago I returned to the Church.

My main reasons are twofold – one is that my wife, a cradle Catholic, has really re-engaged with our parish over the last year or so and it was hard for me having her go to one service and me to another. I completely respect mixed marriages that can make separate services work, but that isn’t where I am.  The other reason was realizing that my political differences with the US Catholic Bishops Conference was not the same as having fundamental faith differences with the Catholic Church. To me, I can now see it as analogous as to being very unhappy with Congress, but not giving up my US citizenship over that unhappiness.

I don’t feel ready to have a discussion of my choice with the blogosphere at large, so I do not have comments enabled on this post. But since I used this platform to proclaim a break with the Church, I feel compelled to use it use it to announce my reconciliation and reunion.

I haven’t abandoned my political differences. I still see the US Bishop’s interference on civil marriage and adoption issues to be unacceptable in a pluralistic society. But I’m done with letting the political get in the way of faith. Although I still love the Episcopal parish of Holy Trinity in Juneau, Alaska, where I found a home for two years; I feel like I’m where God wants me to be at this time.


Filed under: me

Still fevery

Nov. 16th, 2014 03:05 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Still running a fever, taking it super easy, doing little bits of housework. I sorted out several armloads of books and filled up the little free library. Played Monument Valley new levels last night with Milo and then again by myself this morning.

I had a brief silly moment of wondering if I have listeria then realized that some sort of flu is more likely. Still it gave me pause and I thought some more about going off the Enbrel experimentally for, say, 6 months.

Read a couple of Tessa Dare romance novels and enjoyed them.

Not realy up to anything creative. It was all puttering and reading and resting. Very domestic.

I was ambitious to go to the hardware store and buy a large flowerpot for my philodendron in the living room and re-pot it, but realized this is unwise, I'm still too sick, maybe this is a situation where not pushing anything will keep the bronchitis away, or whatever.

I got myself a new pair of long underwear as I realize the REI sale extends to the online bit not just the store. And got milo a new pair of jeans off amazon. Levis 513 slim or the gap skinny ones fit him best. Last week he showed up wearing ada's black jeans that have black brocade-style roses all over them and he looked so fantastic. it was subtle, yet glam. he had not noticed that his pants were flowery. Somehow,he has ended up with more pants at his dad's house than here. How does this happen? He comes here in one pair of pants. He leaves in another. How? Maybe there was some point where he was packing to go on a trip, or camping; packed here and unpacked at his dad's.

Earlier this week while going up the hill for groceries I went to the kids' resale store and cruised it for pants for him. but came out with a red velvet dress for ada instead. this may be the very last moment of usefully using up my store credit there. The batch they are both wearing now is the top range of their sizes, so I can resell them and get credit and use it for my nephew... It was so handy to get them cheap clothes there. I'll miss it!

Fighting Fear with a Lion's Help

Nov. 14th, 2014 05:16 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Back in 2001, the great Russell Hoban wrote a picture book called Jim’s Lion with velvety-soft illustrations from Ian Andrew. On shelves this week is a new edition of the book, re-imagined as a graphic novel with the artwork of talented British illustrator Alexis Deacon. I don’t know if we have the publisher, Candlewick Press, or the illustrator (or even someone else) to thank for the bold idea of transforming this into a graphic novel. This could have ended poorly, but it really works. I think, in fact, this is a story that was nearly begging to have new life in this way, with all respect to the work of Ian Andrew. Deacon takes the story in all-new, unsettling and beautiful directions.

Japanese Literature Ultimate Battle

Nov. 14th, 2014 10:10 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Because I was tweeting with [personal profile] laceblade about Soseki, and Japanese literature, this is the story of my Japanese Literature Ultimate Death Battle.

It's August, 2002. I'm towards the end of a one-year scholarship at Nagasaki University. I figured that it would be a lot easier to finish up my degree in 3 years at McGill than to try to get transfer credit for my Nagasaki U classes, so I wasn't worried about completing requirements for a major; I filled my schedule up with the required Japanese language classes, my advisor's Classical Japanese classes, some linguistics, some fluff that didn't require much linguistic competence (music, pottery), and a class in modern Japanese literature.

The classes in Classical Japanese were too hard for me, but my advisor more or less expected me just to learn to read the handwriting and sort of follow along with the story as best I could. But my professor in Modern Japanese Lit expected me to be roughly on par with the other (native speaker) students. We read The Dancing Girl by Mori Ogai, which was way above my head because of the prewar kana and kanji usage. We read Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, which was easier but still pretty rough. We read a Murakami Haruki short story that was later turned into Norwegian Wood.

So basically I was reading a lot about awful people and suicide, and it was very hard, all the time, on top of the expected language stress and homesickness and isolation.

It came time for my Japanese Literature final exam. There were three essay questions, and I answered two of them without huge problems, but the third was "Answer the question that was written on the blackboard in our last class."

To this day I do not know why I did not copy down the question on the blackboard. Did I skip that class? Did I write it down in the wrong notebook? Did I not notice it there? Anyway -- next week my advisor called me into a meeting to tell me that I was going to fail that class, but my professor was going to let me write an essay for partial credit. "You read Norwegian Wood, right? So just write a two-page essay on that tonight, and turn it in, and you can pass the class."

A careful reader will note that since I was not counting on getting any credit with McGill for any of the classes I was taking, failing a class was going to affect me in no way whatsoever. I did not think about this. It was TEN YEARS before I thought about that. (I mean, it would have been socially unacceptable to tell my advisor, "What the hell do I care if I fail that class?" or to not write that essay, so it would not have made that much difference, BUT STILL.) I was, back then, even more terrified of failure than I am now. It wasn't about consequences; it wasn't about the approval of others; it was just an unshakeable conviction that failing, at anything, was the worst thing imaginable.

There was one minor other point.

I had not read Norwegian Wood.

I had read, in high school, about half of Norwegian Wood in the original Japanese. This took me several months of very slow reading with a dictionary. I was liking it well enough, except that I got really worried that Naoko was going to kill herself, and that got all tangled up with being worried about the mental health of a friend of mine, and I got to the point where I just couldn't bear to go on.

I could not write an essay on a book I had only half read; I could not finish the book in time to write an essay; I could not tell the truth to my advisor; so I just said that I'd do it, and I'd try hard and do my best, and then I took the trolley to Kinokuniya and bought the English translation of Norwegian Wood, and I finished it while mostly sobbing into my donburi, and I went back to my dorm. I sat down to write my essay. Kids were setting off firecrackers in the streets, and there was music coming from somewhere, and I was crying on my grid paper.

And I wrote an essay on how Murakami correctly makes the case that everything is terrible and pointless.

And I turned it in and I guess it was marginally acceptable.

I still can't contemplate Soseki, or Mori Ogai, without thinking about that semester which was so full of books that made me sad and angry and made me feel like a Bad Student who was spending all her time reading yaoi novels and couldn't hack Real Literature.

A few years ago I was massively weeding my book collection and came upon my terribly beat-up Japanese copy of Norwegian Wood, and I thought I should throw it out -- I didn't actually like the book that much, and it was in bad shape. And I couldn't do it. It felt like a relic from a hard-fought battle.

Reading lots of fic!

Nov. 13th, 2014 07:35 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I have been on a fic-reading kick this week. I read Born from the Earth, which I highly recommend! Will never think of Iron Man the same way again. It is so good!!!!!

Then went looking for anything either crossover or AU that has, well, anything I recognize in it, that is long enough to keep me occupied for an hour or so and that has good ratings (high number of kudos or comments) I could almost go watch or learn something about Teen Wolf just in order to read all this stuff. My search resulted in lots of Marvel and LOTR fic and some very odd Pern AU. Pernlock... OK! I don't even like Benedict whatever, but naturally, he improves with dragons, knife fights, and so on.

Missing delux who used to exchange all the silliest and most amazing of it with me.

Right now am in the middle of an epic rewrite of The Hobbit where Bilbo goes sort of back in time to live his life from age 50 onwards again to try and fix everything so that his friends don't die; it's very sweet.

Recommendations welcome! I am especially into novel length or series length works! Angst and drama ++!

Swashbuckling with Heidi Schulz

Nov. 13th, 2014 05:21 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
A narrator who despises children. The daughter of Captain Hook himself, who fails miserably at finishing school and, instead, sets out to avenge her father’s death. A ticking crocodile, numerous swords, frequent swashbuckling and lots of bravery. They all add up to the debut middle-grade novel from Heidi Schulz, Hook’s Revenge, which includes cover art and interior illustrations from John Hendrix. 
tim: A warning sign with "Danger" in white, superimposed over a red oval on a black rectangle, above text  "MEN EXPLAINING" (mansplaining)
[personal profile] tim
I wrote the following on a closed Facebook group for Wellesley alums, and since I spent all that time writing it, thought it would be worth it to share with a larger audience.

See also: How to Fail Out of Grad School Without Really Trying (which I wrote while I was still in grad school).


I thought everyone in this group was tired of me talking about why grad school is a mistake ;) For me, grad school turned out not to be what it says on the tin. That is, I went (to two different Ph.D programs) thinking I was going to learn how to be a researcher. Instead, I found I was being evaluated on things that had nothing to do with ability to do research. My first program had a prelim that was basically filtering out anybody with any degree of impostor syndrome. My second program didn't want me there because I wouldn't tolerate sexual harassment (I wrote about that at length).

I also found that graduate programs -- compared to anyplace I've worked that wasn't a university -- are very unforgiving of, basically, any sign of humanity: chronic illness (regardless of whether it's coded as "physical" or "mental") that interferes with work or causes you to need extended time off. In my experience, if a company hires me, they value me and, all other things being equal, don't want to lose me. So they have a reason to accommodate me (not that companies are perfect about this, of course; the job I stayed at the longest, I left because my manager there made my disability the focus of my annual performance review). In a Ph.D program, though, you're disposable and interchangeable; you're paid very little, so in the same way you might throw away something cheap you bought at Target whereas if you invested in an expensive piece of furniture, you'd fix it, your department generally has no reason to keep you around when they see a way to replace you with somebody healthier.

Don't underestimate the effect of spending 5-6 years or more -- which are, for most other college-educated people, the very years they spend building their careers (often, the years when they can just focus on work and don't yet have a lot of family obligations) being severely underpaid. Of course, this is something that varies a lot by field, and if somebody is in (say) sociology I realize there aren't a surfeit of high-paying jobs outside academia. But for me (I'm in computer science), if I went back to grad school today, that would cut my pay to a sixth of what it is now. Even if you don't care about money (and I didn't think I did when I was starting grad school), it's easy to underestimate the psychological effects of being paid fairly vs. being grossly underpaid because your employer hopes you'll fall for the promise of jam tomorrow (that is, a tenure-track job, which in reality is all but unavailable anymore) and give them your labor for practically nothing now. It really changes the relationship between you and your employer when they're paying you enough that they value their investment in you and won't kick you out the door the first time you show you're human.

When you're considering opportunity costs, also make sure you understand the real costs of grad school. Obviously, don't go anywhere that won't pay your tuition in full and give you a stipend for living expenses. But also know what the cost of housing is where you're going to be going to school; whether you can afford to live near the university or whether you'll have to factor the costs of commuting in (both economic and psychological; having any length of commute to work is apparently a major cause of stress and unhappiness in people's lives); whether or not your program will cover your health insurance or will add insult to injury by claiming you're not an employee (at the university I left, I had to pay thousands of dollars a year out of pocket -- a huge percentage of my stipend -- because they deliberately hired research assistants at 0.45 FTE to avoid paying for benefits); and whether or not you'll have easy access to mental health resources (which some of the most stable and well-adjusted people I know needed after a couple years in grad school).

And then there's the question of what you're going to do afterward. I originally wanted to be a professor. After my second experience in grad school, I no longer did, because I didn't want to be like the professors in my department who defended a grad student who sexually harassed his colleague while blaming the victim. But even if that hadn't happened, I doubt I would ever have been able to find a tenure-track job; even though there are still some TT jobs in computer science (although they're disappearing like in every other field), they're reserved for only the people who scored highest in the privilege lottery and have a monomaniacal focus on work. One or the other (generally) doesn't cut it. In grad school, I never wanted to spend all my waking hours on research, which meant that if I'd graduated, I would have had at most 2 or 3 publications; when I read CVs for tenure-track faculty candidates who were coming to meet with grad students, they had as many as 20 publications straight out of grad school. I realized that I didn't like research enough to spend that much time on it, and in fact, I don't like *any* one thing enough to spend that much time on it. I'm passionate about more than one thing, and I'd even like to start a family sooner or later. I've talked to one too many people who had to choose between going hard for tenure and watching their children grow up, chose the former, and regretted it.

(edited to add:) If you already know you don't want to be a professor or work at a research lab, and you get a Ph.D, be prepared to have to remove it from your résumé to get a job; at least in computer science, a Ph.D actually lowers your expected salary compared to a master's. Be prepared to enter every job interview on your guard, explaining why you're not overqualified or why you won't be bored at a job that your interviewer is already assuming is "beneath you". (This is, at least, the experience of some of my friends with computer science Ph.Ds.) Some people describe a Ph.D as a "union card" to teach at a university -- if you already know that's not what you want to do, think especially hard about why you want to get one. At least in my field, everything else you can do along the way (teaching, learning, reading, writing) is work you can do outside a university -- often, as part of an industry job, while getting paid a lot more for it.

Now, just because grad school is essentially a huge scam that promises much in order to extract extremely cheap labor from grad students and make them feel like they're getting an education, that doesn't mean it isn't the right choice for some people. If you read all this and think "hmm, I really still want to go," then you should probably go. Some books you should read first, though:

Leaving the Ivory Tower, Barbara Lovitts: It's about why Ph.D students leave grad school (spoiler: the reason is usually structural in that a huge number of departments systematically identify a few favorites among each incoming cohort of Ph.D students and actively neglect the rest; but faculty take credit for their successful students while placing all the blame on the individuals who don't succeed).

Getting What You Came For, Robert Peters: very readable, and describes what you need to be doing to get through a Ph.D program. It won't help if your advisor is determined to defend sexual harassment, of course, but if you read this book and more-or-less do what it says I think that you'll avoid some of the major mistakes that are avoidable.
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I have been walking around the house more and doing much better! Today I went to the warm pool over by the zoo where my new PT has a group session. Adventure out on the 23 bus. The pool staff I got to on the phone (2 different people) could not tell me anything about how to get there by bus, where the bus stops were, whether there were sidewalks or what.... Totally new concept I guess. It is partly a rehab pool and partly a place where people take their infants and toddlers for swim lessons. The bus ride was pleasant - not crowded and one of the old-style lower buses with the fold out ramp. The rehab/rec center is sort of a whole complex, like the nicest possible community rec center. there are gardens and gyms and other things like art rooms and i think maybe some domestic animals. So it is a place where if you live in a group home I think you get taken there by bus.

The pool was super super nice. it even has a window that looks out over the lake merced area. it was Actually Warm, over 90 degrees, and the entire room and locker rooms were also not uncomfortably cold for me. I have never experienced that outside of a spa. The PT was nice. The group was him, two of his surfer friends with injuries (one who is recovering from a high spine injury), an older guy with sciatica, and an older lady who has been going there for years and mostly hung onto the edge. I was so excited and happy to be able to move around well in the water and stay in for long enough for it to be worth the entire trip. (Unlike ymca where it is so cold i can't stay in very long) That said I would still love it to be EVEN WARMER. When i got out I started shivering and my teeth chattering though I wasn't uncomfortable in the pool. Maybe as I get more in shape I'll be less cold sensitive.

I did lots of work on gait and walking around, sideways, backwards, doing squats, and some sort of arm lift with a kickboard that strengthens your core muscles. I had great trouble keeping my back in the right posture but finally could feel how it should be. I have forgotten how to walk right and be correctly upright. My pelvis just doesn't want to do it. Weird. I found this unexpectedly upsetting. It felt amazing to be exercising though.

As I was leaving the locker room filled up with old ladies with obvious bad hips or knees and they were very nice and cheery. i could maybe eventually go to their class. I started crying though a few times over today. I had complicated feelings as it pointed up to me that my situation kind of sucks. There were like 30 women older than me hobbling around with canes but they all walked into that complex somehow from a car or bus, went up a hill or a ramp and (harde than it sounds) got undressed and were prepared to do it all again in reverse. I could imagine 3 years ago before my ankles blew out that I could have daringly parked close and walked in, maybe. Now I can't imagine that and wouldn't be able to do it in the manual chair either. I guess the old ladies in my comparable situation might not have had the resources to get to the pool at all. But, the ones who were there, I can't keep up with them. I know it isn't about compareing yourself to anyone, but because I stick to the same routines.... sometimes some of these things aren't obvious to me.

i woudl like to go to this pool as often as possible !!!!!!

I am dreaming of being able to take a month or even 2 off work (i woudl totally do it unpaid leave) and swim every single day. But, what if I did this, and then fucked myself up worse, or, without it being my fault had some sort of flareup and then was off work and still unable to rehab properly? I think I could do it though. Even if I messed it up I would still be stronger and maybe my bad leg would not go off the rails so often. i thought of all the times i have been on medical leave or been super messed up and not been working. always, as soon as possible I was working again (or, in school and working part time) I think there were a couple of months in 2002 or so when i didn't ahve work, still had childcare full time, and drove around and wrote a lot of poetry. Other than that I have never been able to make the space to do lots of PT.

i am still super healthy1 which is so lucky. like my cholesterol and blood sugar and blood pressure and organs and everything work fine. well except my stomach. other organs fine. i should swim all the fucking time!!!

it was glorious to walk around and feel my legs do al the things. i am sore now but didn't damage anything. it is like actual muscles being used sore. tomorrow wil be v. stiff. nothing is spasming, popping, or grinding, or feeling "stuck" (I'm looking at you, right big toe) . other than my bad leg nerve thing, which isn't any worse than it was yesterday or this morning. buzz buzz.

my book The Pain Survival Guide: How to Reclaim Your Life, which I am halfway through and like very much, has a chapter where it reminds us that our pain is not interesting to anyone but ourselves and we should not talk about it all the time and not complain. Other than this chapter the book is brilliant. on the other other hand, other than here or to Danny I don't go around describing my pain. I don't think. i have tons of other kinds of conversations and listen to people a lot. danny says he does not mind and we can commiserate on our ailments and i certainly talk with him about other things too. so, good. and, take that, pain survival guide.

I felt very grimly determined but also this time, more hopeful than usual that I can make the effort and stick with it, at least once or twice a week. maybe then take a month off in the early spring and try to strengthen up? is this an unthinkable plan? i will ask my doctor what he thinks in a few weeks. i know i can't take medical leave to do this because obviously, I Can Work. i thnk that i will work much longer in my life in general if I take time out and successfully strengthen up.

Kate, Emily, and Sabriel

Nov. 11th, 2014 07:37 pm
grrlpup: (rose)
[personal profile] grrlpup

I made Jean Little’s Kate my bedside book recently, then of course followed it up with Look Through My Window. They’re comfort books that I’ve read over and over. But this time I felt more on the outside of Kate than any other time I’d read it. The first note of the book, Kate finding herself enchanted with an eight-year-old soulmate when she herself is nearly in high school? It’s not a wrong note, but it’s not usual. It just is, without explanation even when we learn more about Susannah later.

The Kate+Emily friendship is the best, the best. I still love it so much, but I guess I don’t project myself into it quite as much as I used to. But I definitely still firmly believe that they will be friends when they are old, old ladies. (I was so happy and grateful that Jacqueline Woodson let us know at the end of Brown Girl Dreaming that she and Maria are still close friends!)

Look Through My Window has some very episodic chapters that, again, are just there without apology, like the one about Ann’s accident with the car. And Chapter 18 jumps into Kate’s point of view after 17 chapters of Emily. These things, they work, and it makes me want to keep that freedom and not have to press everything into a seamless narrative. But in previous readings I just went with it all. This time I noticed, and then went with it.

Now I’m reading Sabriel for the first time. It reminds me of reading The Dark Is Rising at twelve, a new world laid out for me and knowing there’s several books to be lived in it.

I made pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. They are delicious.

 

This post also appears at read write run repeat. Comments read and welcomed in either place!

Page generated Nov. 20th, 2014 08:32 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios