Wait, what?

Aug. 26th, 2015 01:28 pm
[personal profile] yendi
I'm about halfway through Marcia Muller's excellent (so far) 1982 detective novel Ask the Cards a Question, and hit this passage:

". . . the chocolate bar she had eaten had been Hershey's, an excellent brand. As far as serious chocolate lovers were concerned, the best thing about Ghirardelli was the wrapper."


Don't get me wrong -- Muller (well, technically her detective, Sharon McCone, but this seems like a pretty clear example of the author speaking through the character here) is correct about Ghirardelli, especially since this was during the period when it was owned by Rice-a-Roni. But has Hershey ever in my lifetime been "an excellent brand?" I mean, sure, when I was ten (as I was when the book was released), I loved their stuff, but even by the time I got to high school, I knew that the best thing that could be said for Hershey bars is that they weren't Nestle bars. Now, it's not that Hershey's sucks, per se -- they have Special Dark, and Reese's, and a few other things I'll eat. But since the late '80s, I can't remember anyone ever really regretting not eating a Hershey's bar unless they were making s'mores.

So for folks slightly (or significantly) older than me, or who have access to that information (including via articles of the time), was Hershey's actually the sort of chocolate that a "serious chocolate lover" would ever actually crave?

Schoolbooks & Sorcery

Aug. 26th, 2015 09:34 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
My story "The Delicate Work of Bees" will be in the upcoming Schoolbooks & Sorcery anthology! There are some great authors in the lineup -- including Nina Kiriki Hoffman, who I've been a fan of since I was in high school!

I swear I wrote this story before Jupiter Ascending came out and all of fandom simultaneously started going wild over bees. (The main character is a young witch in training, who is apprenticed with her beekeeper aunt.)

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2015 11:52 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Sometimes it's hard being a Chomskyite in a world of people who don't know linguistics.

Like, at one level it doesn't even matter to the majority of language learners whether language is represented in your brain as deep structure (a little like computer code, with strict rules about nesting and syntax and recursion) or just a huge database of statistical data that, like my Swiftkey keyboard, can predict that when I type "most," the next words are often "important thing." I don't know that it much impacts the best strategies for learning languages either way.

But I do end up chasing down a Theory now and again, because "more comprehensible input" is usually the best advice I have, and that leads back to Krashen, and the whole idea of comprehensible input as the foundation for everything else sort of sounds like weird magic snake oil unless you go all the way back to Chomsky and his ideas for how your brain processes and models language.

There are not a lot of people writing at a curious-amateur level for people who want to know basic linguistics. Steven Pinker is actually pretty good when he's writing about linguistics instead of writing wrong political stuff (he represents a lot of stuff as true that's actually pretty controversial, but I agree with him about most of the controversial stuff, so I don't mind as much as I should). Bill Bryson is just incredibly wrong about most things.

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2015 06:17 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
It is the worst when you have a seemingly very good interview and a specific time frame for hearing back, and then you don't hear back, and you don't know whether it's the silence of rejection or the silence of very long time frames for library hiring.

("THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL," THE LIBRARY DIRECTOR SAID TO THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR. I TELL YOU. No matter how diligently I try to practice Not Getting My Hopes Up, I was thinking I could get my hopes up a little.)
alixtii: Riley and Venom, from the end of season 3. (Riley/Venom)
[personal profile] alixtii
The penultimate chapter of "Where the Heart Is," complete with the climax everybody's been waiting for (myself most especially)! Whew. Took me long enough. (Remember this fic was supposed to be written for Yuletide 2013.) Now I just need to finish the denoument/conclusion . . . and then I can start thinking about sequels/prequels.

Where the Heart Is (17979 words) by Alixtii
Chapter: 7/8
Fandom: Folgers Holiday Commercial (2009), Folgerscest - Fandom, Original Work, Ghost Soup Infidel Blue RPF
Relationship: Brother/Sister, Folgerscest
Summary: After spending five years in West Africa, a young man returns home to the United States for the holidays. But sometimes home isn't a place so much as it is a person.

The awkward morning after Gwen's drunken proposition. Then, a formalwear New Year's Eve party, and Lexie finally makes her decision.

( Where the Heart Is, 7/8 )

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2015 12:38 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Riding the subway today, I had the strange impression that it was Cecil Palmer reading the subway announcements.

Alas, I don't think I'm going to write that fic; but I can tell you it almost certainly has the line,

"Remember, courtesy is contagious; but it's rarely fatal."

(Footnote for those who have not been on the NYC subways recently: one of the pre-recorded announcements exhorting passengers to give up their seats for people who are elderly, pregnant, or disabled ends with "Remember, courtesy is contagious; and it begins with you.")
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] deborah
Yet another pass through the cycle that periodically afflicts me.

  • Follow professional colleagues on twitter.
  • Be relatively quiet and well-behaved on twitter because it's a professional forum.
  • Follow more social justice folks on twitter because that's where they are.
  • Tweet more about politics because these issues are important.
  • Get stressed about tweeting about politics because I'm inexplicably followed on twitter by my boss, my grandboss, my great-grandboss, and my CEO.
  • Get equally stressed about tweeting during the workday because see above, even though I'm responsible about when I check it.
  • Hope they have me muted.
  • Follow lots of people using twitter as a long-form platform because the New Web is weird, y'all.
  • Start to long-form tweet because I pick up the languages of cultures I'm immersed in far too quickly.

With a soupçon of "I have all these blog topics half-drafted; why do I never finish them or reply to comments?" and a dash of "I seem to be so destractable and irritable lately."

I did eventually figure out that one of the reasons I was doing long-form tweeting is my perception that more people will read a storify than a blog post (unless it's on medium, *snort*). Which, (a) aargh, whatever, this is not a productive of my focus, and (b) I'm not widely read anyhow. [footnote]

I also keep running into the situation where I'm capable of being ridiculously diplomatic in situations where I believe it's called for (basically, any situation which has already become fraught), but in pretty much any other situation I am my father's daughter. I call that "assuming that in any non-politicized situation everyone is an adult and is willing to speak frankly with each other and hear frank and open opinions", though I suppose my father probably would have called it "not having time for assholes". To be fair, he also would have said something to the effect of "you're your father's daughter, and we're both assholes."

(Sometimes I miss the hell out of my dad. ♥♥♥♥♥)

This has led to the odd situation where some people believe I am incredibly diplomatic and can be called on to moderate awkward conversations, and some people think I am a bull in a china shop and should not be allowed out in public. Both of which are actually situationally true! But twitter, in any case, is one of the situations where it will not occur to me to be incredibly diplomatic, even though almost by his very nature it is already fraught.

It was at this point that I recalled I could disable Echofon notifications on my phone.

I'm hoping this will stick.

Certainly I'm not widely read in the accessibility community, where I'd like to have some influence. On the one hand this is deeply frustrating, because I do have a lot to add to that conversation with respect to technology, usability, and standards. On the other hand, that arguably means I can burn bridges freely.

Which, as I watch (as I have over the last decade) women, people with disabilities, and people of color get shunted to the side in accessibility standards making, accessibility voices cited, and people in the field given credit for their work, is something I have been considering more and more lately. If I'm not going to be allowed to help improve the accessibility of the web as a whole, why not focus on improving the accessibility of individual websites? I am too practical to bang my head against this particular wall forever.

Also, today was my first real mansplain! (Since its coinage.) I mean a For Serious dude in my mentions Calmly Explaining Me Things, when it became clear via three separate threads that he had no idea what he was talking about, and I, who had assumed he knew more than I did because he was so confident about it, was the more more knowledgeable of the two of us.

I was grimly thinking last week about the great day in the future when I will be able to burn all of those aforementioned bridges and speak a truth or too about the way things happen in the accessibility community, when I remembered the also aforementioned "the accessibility community doesn't particularly value my voice." Which again, means I can be tactless enough to make a post such as, say, this one, without even worrying about ticking people off. I could even link to it from twitter, honestly, although that would arguably be counter-productive for my own mental health.
[personal profile] mjg59
I bumped into Mark Shuttleworth today at Linuxcon and we had a brief conversation about Canonical's IP policy. The short summary:
  • Canonical assert that the act of compilation creates copyright over the binaries, and you may not redistribute those binaries unless (a) the license prevents Canonical from restricting redistribution (eg, the GPL), or (b) you follow the terms of their IP policy. This means that, no matter what Dustin's blogpost says, Canonical's position is that you must ask for permission before distributing any custom container images that contain Ubuntu binaries, even if you use no Ubuntu trademarks in the process. Doing so without their permission is an infringement of their copyright.
  • Canonical have no intention of clarifying their policy, because Canonical benefit from companies being legally uncertain as to whether they have permission to do something or not.
  • Mark justifies maintaining this uncertainty by drawing an analogy between it and the perceived uncertainties that exist around certain aspects of the GPL. I disagree with this analogy pretty strongly. One of the main reasons for the creation of GPLv3 was to deal with some more ambiguous aspects of GPLv2 (such as what actually happened after license termination and how patents interacted with the GPL). The FSF publish a large FAQ intended to provide further clarity. The major ambiguity is in what a derivative work actually is, which is something the FSF can't answer absolutely (that's going to be up to courts) but will give its opinion on when asked. The uncertainties in Canonical's IP policy aren't a result of a lack of legal clarity - they're a result of Canonical's refusal to answer questions.

The even shorter summary: Canonical won't clarify their IP policy because they believe they can make more money if they don't.

Why do I keep talking about this? Because Canonical are deliberately making it difficult to create derivative works, and that's one of the core tenets of the definition of free software. Their IP policy is fundamentally incompatible with our community norms, and that's something we should care about rather than ignoring.

Jumping into life

Aug. 17th, 2015 09:26 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Overwhelmed a bit at how many people want to come see me or have lunch or coffee etc or hang out. This is a good problem to have!!!!! But it is still overwhelming.

Beach vacation fabulous, sometimes frustrating as I wanted to do so much more than I could, but on the other hand it was hilariously just like my life here, but with frequent swimming, a golf cart, and daily house cleaning. We all woke up and read books or played games or whatever (me reading with coffee on the beach) There was some swimming, I had to nag the kids to put on sunscreen and eat and drink and pick up after themselves, and I would go off to the little grocery store to get food (daily) which was a treat for me. More swimming. Naps. Kids wilting in heat, more computering. Then we would wander somewhere and eat dinner.

I laid around on the porch, in bed, or on the beach lounge chairs a lot, reading my Black Panther Party books and thinking and writing poetry. elaine brown book (fascinating! intense!) Huey Newton's Revolutionary Suicide, also very good, but I feel kind of impatient/mad with them both tbh. Reading Kathleen Cleaver now and also George Jackson's prison letters and next I will read Ho Chi Minh's Prison Diaries (can't believe i have never come across this) And a book of Fannie lou Hamer's speeches.

I think this heavy reading is something of a response to the super bad level of books I was reading while sick. Could not tolerate much so was re-reading kids' books and things that I thought were kind of brainless and silly.

On the trip I got to kayak a bit with kayaks that were *right* next to our beach access spot. Very conveniently. I had a moment of self indulgent crying in the middle of the bay by myself because i felt so free and in control and powerful and wished I could always feel that way and get around on my own power.

So my trick has to be (i resolved) to take that feeling and transpose it (as I mostly do already) to whatever way I'm getting around. I also felt like this in the golf cart as i miss driving around in my car very much. I wondered also if this was the last time I would even be able to kayak like that or if I can still pull it off sometimes. I think I am not at the end of kayaking (though it really hurts my hands and I can't do it for long). Most opportunities I would have to do it are giant excursions and since I can only do it for like 10 or 20 minutes and not hours, that doesn't work.

It has to be some situation where I can get to kayaks myself, without help (or much help) and there is no fuss and I can stop whenever needed without inconveniencing anyone.

Torso still sore and I have realized I don't fit into my pants anyway. Hrmmm. Need new pants.

New poem which I am pretty happy with, and will read it this Saturday in Berkeley.

D.'s cat is pretty clearly dying at this point. she is also peeing all over the bathroom floor. we came home to a lake of (days worth) of pee. i washed it a bunch of times but I don't think even time and scrubbing will help because it soaked into the grout around the tiles. Bathroom will smell like pee forever until tiles are ripped up and floor re-done. I am sad and thinking of other cats gone who i loved very much. And death in general. However I am also just tackling the amount of work it is to nurse her and clean after her (food and pee, luckily just in the bathroom) and am fussing and making sure she eats a little bit many times a day. Maybe it is possible for her to rally but if not then I want her to be fussed over and comfortable and happy. I am worrying that if she pees on the bed I will be in hell and we will have to buy a new mattress so am considering buying a waterproof thing for the bed(s). Must think about what then happens when she dies ie what to do with cat body. We do have some dirt in the side yard, I think sufficient if we get a big shovel. But I am not sure, and it is very hard dirt. We are all petting and cuddling her. She seems to be happy.

My friend S.'s talk was great tonight and I was so happy to go "OUT". Thought about how much I liked going to things like this and then going to dinner with people to talk more intensely. Now this is usually just not wise for me to do. I miss it. It made me extra happy that so many women showed up and were talking, and that B. was there and liked the book. We are not actually particular friends but I like and admire her a lot.

A. liked her first day of school. Moomin's is tomorrow. I so feel for him with the amount of homework that is about to descend. Last year was ridiculous. Way more work than I ever did in college. I'm glad he has so much knowledge cramming into his brain though. He is a thinker! It is that he needs a bit more space to think and freedom to discuss. Hope he will find it. He is intensely following this webcomic right now which I need to fire up and read all of on the ipad (too hard to read on computer screen)

So this is to say that nothing is easy but life is very nice right now.

Monday links

Aug. 17th, 2015 09:21 pm
grrlpup: (rose)
[personal profile] grrlpup

Sometimes I am unobservant. Sunflowers don’t track the sun across the sky! They mostly face east. Via Pam Rentz.

More deets about Post-Apocalyptic Little Women. The girls aren’t Marmee’s? WHERE IS MARMEE.

Though I find it sad, and I don’t necessarily agree that Schultz should have done what Watterson did, I agree with this run-down of Peanuts over the years. I’m glad the early collections were part of my childhood, at garage sales and my dad’s office. How Snoopy Killed Peanuts. Via Jeff.

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

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