Delta's safety video

Jul. 23rd, 2014 09:35 am
[personal profile] yendi
Okay, Delta as an airline is still far from my favorite (as our recent trip to and from Florida confirmed), but their current safety video is kind of awesome:

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 04:45 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I took an extended break from bike riding because

1) I was sad.

2) Even though I felt okay after a tiny accident (both physically and nerves-wise), the cumulative effect of honks, dicey merges, close calls with cars making left turns right in front of me, etc., wore me down to the point where I often really didn't look forward to riding.

3) I had a really nice ride into Manhattan last fall which had some bad moments when the Manhattan(?) bridge had a really fast, steep drop-off into Brooklyn, and I just couldn't get enough leverage on my brakes. Was angry at myself for not having big enough or strong enough hands. Finally realized my brakes are badly adjusted.

4) THAT HORRIBLE WINTER.

I think maybe it would be easier if I didn't put pressure on myself to commute, even though it would save time? Even if I rode my bike a little before/after work when I had time, and on weekends? I know that I need a lot of physical training to be able to do long-distance rides, but... yeah, ultimately I'm much more interested in riding to the Hudson or the Rockaways or up into New Jersey or to get pie than riding to work. And commuting is much more a game of terrifying Frogger than actual physical conditioning. (Prospect Park has all the hills I need, at least for now.)

Will try and get my brakes adjusted this weekend. Then, pie?

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2014 06:48 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Today we went over to Poughkeepsie to rent bikes and ride along the local rail trail.

It was a very nice ride! And here is what happened:

I was slightly distracted, and got way closer to the edge of the road than I was comfortable with, because I'm always scared of getting the tire caught along a vertical drop-off. For some reason it made more sense in my head for me to slow down than to just steer the other way, except the brakes on my rental bike were really sensitive, so what I intended as fast braking turned into panic-braking, and... luckily I was riding quite slowly to keep pace with my sister (who's scared of going fast due to previous bike trauma), or I could've sent myself over the handlebars; instead I just stopped fast enough that I went down on top of my bike. I got some good scrapes on one toe and a tiny bit of road rash on the heels of my hands, and then I yelled "I'M FINE" and got up as soon as I could disentangle myself from my bicycle.

I understand that a Sunday rail-trail ride is different from a daily commute, but I can't help but be a little annoyed that nobody stopped to help me when I was lying at the side of the road with a broken arm and a bloody nose, nobody stopped to help me when I had a minor altercation with a car, and everybody stopped to help me when, other than my horribly wounded pride and dignity, I had no injuries worth mentioning.

I used to get "DO YOU NEED HELP?" a lot on rides when I was just resting (the central-to-western portion of North Carolina is quite hilly, and I am neither light nor strong of leg) but I don't know if I'm seeing sexism where there's just genuine helpfulness.

My mom keeps being surprised that I'm in good shape, LOL.

Geek social fallacy corollaries

Jul. 14th, 2014 11:07 am
[personal profile] yendi
(Bringing out a comment I left on another post and expanding)

Beyond the original bunch of fallacies:

1. Being MUCH more willing to ostracize someone for "making trouble" - defined here as "things that could disrupt our parties" - than for raping or attacking someone within the community (as long as they don't disrupt a party when doing so). Obviously, these aren't people who are afflicted with GSF1, but they are ones who laser-focus their ostracism on people who are loud, or disruptive, or complain. If you do horrible things in private, but are happy and friendly in public (even if that's where you go to find people to do horrible things to), you don't get ostracized.

2. The notion that "our community is fracturing!" is more of a problem than "there's a predator in our community." This goes beyond GSF into outright "asshole" territory, imho. People who believe this way are living a childhood fantasy. Yes, it sucks when communities fracture, but ALL COMMUNITIES FRACTURE ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Life is not "Sex and the City," with your core four besties hanging out ever day, and in large open groups, people move in and out all the time. There are physical moves, there are petty arguments, there are philosophical debates that get out of hand, there are things that are interesting to some members and not others. And there are rapes, sexual assaults, and other horrific things (including people who defend rapists). The more people there are in a "community," the more change (both peaceful and calamitous) there will be.

3. Being flat-out unwilling to accept that someone you're romantically or sexually interested in might do wrong. Pretty self-explanatory, but especially in the sort of geeks who judge themselves based on romantic partnerships, this is a big issue. If you're interested in someone, what does it say about you if they're a predator? So clearly, there's a "misunderstanding," and maybe someone is "missing some of the facts," and your crush/fuckbuddy/partner isn't really a bad person. Or, you know, you're in fucking denial and would rather let your libido trump your empathy for a victim.

4. Redemption magically happens. "It's been a year or two, and surely he hasn't raped/assaulted anyone again, and can't we all just forgive him and move on now?" Has he actually done anything to warrant forgiveness? And by "done anything," I don't mean "offered to bartend for free at the next party." Has he acknowledged his wrongs? Sought counseling? Apologized? Anything? Or are you just tired of keeping someone out of your circle because it's work? Hint: It's probably the latter (or #3 above).

Return to the land of the bustling

Jul. 13th, 2014 09:54 am
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Feeling a bit better and I am able to eat more and walk around the house. Huzzah!

Not out of the woods yet but as long as I can actually eat, things are great.

When you stop eating things get scary kind of fast!

Random doc not actually useful; kept recommending naturopath, betaine hcl. She started the ball rolling to switch my stomach meds to some fancier one, and did some blood tests, which is fine. I didn't have a lot of expectations. I just wanted to establish contact and some sort of baseline reality because last time things went so badly.

I read The Stone Boatmen, The Savage Detectives, and a book about Korean court life and also some very stupid girls' boarding school books by Jean Webster (Just Patty) and Alta's memoir called "Momma" which was very good but a bit devastating. Stone Boatmen felt like a long strange dream. Good but won't be for everyone.

Played some MTG with Moomin.

I sat in the sun on the front porch yesterday and had the energy to start dusting off and sweeping under all the flowerpots with a little whisk broom, which I could do gradually and while sitting down next to the flowerpots. Several of them need repotting or other major care. Then I swept off all the leaves (though they are still on the stairs) Had giant allergy attack from having temerity to touch outdoor things. As usual.

I also fixed the garbage disposal, which was full of the remains of fish soup making the house pretty gross smelling. The nice plumber emailed me how to do it (unplug it; stick an allen wrench underneath in a little hole in the center of the disposal; turn the wrench till the motor turns with it and the whole thing un-jams; hit reset button)

Now my porch sitting spot is much more peaceful. I plan to inhabit it some more today. I would also like to clean off the desk (another thing I can do mostly sitting down)
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
During the summer, I spend a lot of time drinking ice water, so I spend a lot of time opening and closing the freezer door. Today, I noticed that when I closed the freezer door, there was a weird sound. A metallic rustling-clattering. I couldn't hazard a guess as to what it might be. The fridge was still cooling things all right; the freezer was still freezing things all right; I couldn't think of anything I'd done to the freezer recently. I inched the fridge out a little bit, but then I realized I didn't have the energy to bother with moving it all the way out, cleaning behind it, and moving it all the way back. (If I move the fridge more than an inch or two out of its corner, I trap myself in the kitchen.)

However, I began to panic. If there was something wrong with my fridge -- if my freezer needed to be replaced -- would I be able to argue my landlord into it? How long would it take? Would it be impossible to schedule a day when I would be home so that they could deliver a new one? Would they fail to come on the scheduled day and then I would have to take even more days off?

(Keep in mind, these things look like anxiety!worries, but... I know what landlords are like, and these worries are also completely realistic.)

But, you know, my fridge was still cooling things, so I decided to ignore it for now.

Tonight, I went to put another tray of ice cubes in the freezer. As I closed the door, I heard that horrible rustling-clattering.

My eyes went to the top of the freezer. To the opened plastic bag of rice sitting on top of the freezer.

And suddenly I realized that horrible rustling-clattering is exactly the sound of a handful of rice, jostled by the closing of a freezer door, falling out of their plastic bag and onto a tile floor.

(no subject)

Jul. 11th, 2014 09:25 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
In the wake of my fabulous success finishing the short story I'd been working on for HALF A YEAR and submitting it to a magazine, I've decided to set myself a goal: 8000 words a month of fiction, freewriting, brainstorming, revising, et cetera, even when I'm not working on a novel (or even if it's not work on the novel that I'm working on.)

I've been going too long feeling like short stories don't pay real money and I'm bad at writing them, and both may be true, but it would at least help to combat the feeling that I'm getting absolutely nothing done in my writing!

Apropos of something

Jul. 10th, 2014 02:59 pm
[personal profile] yendi
I finished listening to the audiobook of Laura Lippman's I'd Know You Anywhere yesterday. It's superb, made even better by Linda Emond's near-perfect narration.

Like many of Lippman's standalone novels, it's a nontraditional mystery/thriller; the "thriller" element exists mostly in flashback (where we know the overall outcome, just not the awful details), while the present-day events are mostly about emotional tension than any immanent danger (and there's certainly never any doubt about whodunit).

One thing I found interesting was that the convicted killer at the center of the novel is obsessed with saving his life by focusing intently on one basic point of minutia, to the exclusion of all else; he's not concerned with the morality of his own actions, or making amends, or even if anyone has been hurt. He wants to focus on something small, and only if it's interpreted the way he wants. Anything that makes him the monster he actually is, he denies. Anything that focuses on any of the much bigger things, he ignores and shunts off.

It's a fascinating mix of hyperfocus and denial, and reveals as much about him as almost anything else. Of course, in this book, the same character is practicing both the denial and the evil acts he's denying, but it's equally fascinating to watch those who defend and rationalize things take this approach.

Anyway, damned fine book. Not quite as good as this year's After I'm Gone (an often gorgeous story of the disappearance of a Jewish mobster in '70s Baltimore, and the impact he has on his wife and three daughters over the ages), but utterly gripping.
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