Update: Karen Wins The Day!

Oct. 19th, 2017 03:56 pm
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
So everyone came out of the apheresis room, and was hungry, so we went across the road to a local restaurant for lunch. And were summoned back precipitately, because they had counted everyone's stem cells and the results were ready. Hearts in each other's mouths, back we came - and Oystein had 500 million, which was plenty, and Rafa had 750 million, which was awesome. And Karen had over 1000 million, and is best. Which of course we all knew already, right?

So now we're back in the chemotherapy room, being chemotherapised to kill off the immune system all but entirely. That's the rest of today and then tomorrow too. Saturday, she gets all her thousand million stem cells back, under firm instructions to get stemming, or celling, or whatever it is that they do.
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
Day Minus Two: and this is the big one, as far as treatment is concerned. We have been told to expect to be in the clinic for about twelve hours.

At seven this morning, Karen was allowed a breakfast of one (1) glass of water, one (1) granola bar, and one (1) piece of fruit with no added yogurt. Fortunately, I was allowed all the coffee I wanted.

At nine we piled into the team bus, and came to the clinic. Access ports were opened, blood was drawn, and we sat around for an hour while they tested that for stem cell wealth.

Once satisfied, they are taking us - or at least the patient half of us - into the apheresis room, to be attached to a machine for the next four hours. Their blood will be slurruped out of them, and the stem cells fished individually (I like to think) from the blood before it's pumped back in again. Karen is rated for 117,000,000 cells. Which is quite a big number, and I want to know how they count 'em.

After that comes five hours of chemo, also through the port. Then they take us home.

Karen's been connected up, and we caregivers are not allowed into the apheresis room. So guess what I get to do for the next four hours?

Uh-huh. Fortunately, while we were making our wills and giving all our worldly goods into the possession of a trust (The Trebizon Trust, did I mention? I am convinced that in a few hundred years it'll be this megacorp, dominating human space if not in fact the galaxy), our lawyer and I had a cheerful talk about how The Count of Monte Cristo is a masterpiece, and I thought, "Ooh..."

So I'm halfway through that, and there's enough reading left to keep me happy for a day or two to come. After that, though, Lord only knows what I'll turn to next. Suggestions of long, familiar comfort-reads available on e-book will be gratefully received.

Halloween lucky

Oct. 19th, 2017 09:42 am
asakiyume: (turnip lantern)
[personal profile] asakiyume
I always want to do something fun for Halloween, and then I leave it too late and don't do anything at all. This year, though, I'm hopeful I'll manage a thing: I've created good-luck cards, ten cards each in five categories of luck: lucky number, lucky creature, lucky sport, lucky ride, and lucky color. I've printed out enough to accommodate the vast numbers of children who come through our neighborhood, and now I'm cutting them.

Here are just a few:





I tell you, it was great fun picking these items! Geogemma barossii eats rust and poops magnets at 239 F, which means it's right at home in your autoclave. Or would be, if you had an autoclave.

PS: I do intend to do a few more inktobers, but stuff got away from me.

More Movie Stuff

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:48 am
moon_custafer: (Default)
[personal profile] moon_custafer
While I was trying to compile lists for my previous post, I looked up François Périer, who played supernatural chauffeur Heurtebise*, and noticed he’d also played a burglar in a 1946 romantic-comedy-fantasy, Sylvie et le Fantome, in which Jacques Tati plays a ghost. I wish Youtube had a better copy than this fuzzy one with the sound out of synch, but what I’ve been able to see is rather charming. It was an interesting decision to play the ghost, Alain, without dialogue, but then he is Jacques Tati.


ETA – according to Wikipedia, the special effects in this movie weren’t double-exposure – they set up and filmed Pepper’s Ghost effects for all Tati’s scenes. :O


*Pretty sure Orphee is where Tim Burton got the idea for the running gag in Beetlejuice that suicides become civil servants in the afterlife.

 

They also serve who only

Oct. 18th, 2017 02:39 pm
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
As I write this, Karen’s in surgery. By the time I can post it - for I have no wifi at this hospital - we’ll be back at the apartment, and she’ll be fine. Drowsy, maybe. It’s a minor procedure, to connect a port to her bloodstream so that she can be a cyborg for a few days; local anaesthetic and a sedative, no more, but they say she’ll go to sleep.

We have a room that is ours for the duration, and all I have to do is sit in it and wait. Half my task here is waiting. (I have never liked waiting, and do it poorly.)

Outside our room in one of those windowcleaners’ cradles that hang on cables from the roof. Two men are in it with all the tools, and they are doing all the things to the wall at my back: hammering, sawing, drilling. It’s like being in the apartment, transposed to a minor key: for there they are building another tower block just next to ours, and that affords us all the noises of major construction.

I am in a weird mood, I find. I feel ... pent. Potentially eruptive. Popacatepetl in miniature. It’s just the waiting. Karen will be fine, and so will I.

I’m rereading an old favourite novel, Elizabeth Lynn’s “A Different Light”. I still hope to meet her one day, for I know she’s local and we have friends in common. (I’m also rereading “The Count of Monte Cristo”, though I have no hope of meeting Dumas. That’s on the other Kindle, back at the apartment. Reading different books on different Kindles may seem perverse, or contraindicated, but really it’s just about power management. This one, the original, a full charge lasts for weeks; t’other is a tablet-in-embryo and I only get a few hours out of it, less than my phone even.)

I thought I’d be doing more work than I am, but apparently a man can just read and shop and cook and watch TV. Maybe after this week is over, when the procedures are behind us and Karen’s just apartment-bound in neutropenia, I’ll find the mindspace again. These next few days are going to be rough: apharesis and chemo and then at last the transplant. At the moment she’s in a lot of pain - or would be, but for the shots - which they tell us is a good thing, a sign that the process is working as it should. Her bone-marrow is sending lots of stem cells out into her bloodstream, ready to be harvested, yay: but this is a painful process, and her bones ache. Tonight’s going to be the worst of that, and she’ll have the discomfort of today’s operation to deal with also. Plus a lot of stress about tomorrow, when we’ll be all day at the clinic.

Now there are weird noises happening just outside the door. Power-tool of some kind, I think. I’m not going to look. They said I can go down to the cafeteria and get some coffee, but I think I’m just going to sit here and wait till Karen gets back.

Apologies like the birds in the sky

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:29 am
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
[personal profile] sovay
I have been having an absolutely miserable night, but after venting at length to [personal profile] spatch about Brian Jacques' Outcast of Redwall (1995) I spent at least an hour reading about various mustelids online, including several species (tayra, hog badger, ferret-badger, grison) I hadn't known existed, and I think that was good for me.

(I liked ferrets. I found them clever, beautiful, charming creatures. I had had a stuffed animal black-footed ferret since late elementary school. By the time Outcast came out, I even knew several domestic ferrets in person; they were playful and I did not object to their smell. That was the novel where I realized that Jacques' species essentialism was immutable, and I felt painfully betrayed. I understood the long shadow of The Wind in the Willows, but I couldn't understand how Jacques could miss that his readers would at some point identify with Veil, the orphaned ferret kit adopted into a society of mice and voles and moles—the outsider, the one who feels there's something wrong with them for just being what they are—and then fail to see how it would hurt them to have Veil confirmed as irredeemable, genetically evil after all. He went so far as to give a morally ambiguous character a selfless death scene and then retract it a few chapters later. That ending accomplished what endless recipes for damson and chestnut and Mummerset dialect could not: I burnt out on the series on some deep level and have never even now gone back, despite positive memories of the first four books and their unique combination of cozy talking animals and total batshit weirdness. If you can't appreciate ferrets, I'm out of time for you.)

(no subject)

Oct. 17th, 2017 01:02 pm
moon_custafer: (Default)
[personal profile] moon_custafer

There’s been a “five movies to watch if you want to understand me” meme going around on Facebook, and sovay noted it recently on Dreamwidth. I’ve begun trying to pick five – it’s tricky to select movies that I think explain something about myself, rather than ones I simply like; and then, I think one of the things about myself that I might need to convey is a sort of fragmented way of looking at things, which might be easier to get across if I could individual scenes to the list, i.e. “Jamaica Inn, but just the bit where Sir Humphrey is weirdly polite about tying up the heroine,” “Orphee, but only the scenes with Heurtebise,” or “the “Freedonia’s going to war” sequence from Duck Soup.”

 

Then there are tv shows – I was quietly, wrigglingly obsessed, for part of the early ‘nineties, with a 1976-78 low-budget Grenada tv show called The Ghosts of Motley Hall that YTV was re-running. It was the work of Richard Carpenter, better known for Robin of Sherwood, and I think part of the reason it fascinated me was that I couldn’t quite figure out who, besides myself, had been the target audience for a children’s gothic/folk-horror britcom shot on a single set (though I’ve since come to believe that sort of thing was probably quite normal for 1970s UK television). Even then, it was very specific bits that touched me – mainly the conversations between Bodkin (Arthur English) and Matt (Sean Flanagan), and perhaps the ghosts’ wry affection for Mr. Gudgin, who can’t see them.

 

So, mentioning those things, but leaving them off the official list:

 

 The Old Dark House (1932) 

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953)

Subway (1985)

Ghost in the Shell 2 – Innocence (2004)

 

For the fifth movie, I’m torn between two documentaries,both from 1965, each containing footage from older works:

 Buster Keaton Rides Again, or The Epic That Never Was.

 

 

I’m not entirely sure what this list and it’s notes say about me, except that I evidently like ghosts.

 


desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
Day Minus Four, and this is the last of the easy days we get, this side of the countdown. Well, they're all fairly easy for me, obvs: all I have to do is shop and cook and wash dishes and keep an eye on Karen. But we've had a week of largely being in the apartment with no calls on our time; she's had injections morning and evening (when the doctors come to us), a regime of many pills, and that's been it.

Tomorrow morning, we go to hospital for a surgical procedure, to fit Karen with a port below her clavicle, a direct line into a blood vessel for both input and output. Thursday they tap her precious bodily fluids for a few hours, to filter out 117 million stem cells; then they immediately turn the tap the other way and pump in more chemo. And more yet on Friday. Saturday is Day Zero, when her stem cells are returned to her to start restoring an immune system, hopefully one with better discipline, that won't be trying to eat her hereafter.

These few days are going to be the hardest, by the doctors' own admission. After that it's a couple of weeks of recovery in more or less isolation. If you're curious, look up "neutropenia". Karen gets to eat astronaut food and/or very well-cooked meat & fish. No salads, no fresh veg, no fruits. We wear masks, and she probably doesn't leave the apartment. She probably won't want to.

And then we're done, or at least they're finished with us. We come home (and trust me, you have no idea how attractive those words sound), and spend the next year rebuilding Karen's health. Lots of home-cooked food (hah!), lots of rest. A degree of care in social contact [get your flu shots, people! Herd immunity is going to be our friend, for the foreseeable future]. An ongoing drug regime for a while, but nothing onerous. Oh, and making friends with the cats again, because we will smell of the vet.
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I am not really catching up on anything. The night we got home from New York, there was an exciting cat-related incident at five in the morning that kept everyone from sleeping until after the sun came up (everyone is fine, cats included), and this morning we were awoken shortly after eight by the sounds of construction thinly separated from our bedroom by some tarpaper and shingles. It is the roofers finally come to prevent further ice dams, but they were supposed to come this weekend while we were out of town and instead they are forecast for the rest of the week. I assume I will sleep sometime on Saturday.

1. There is a meme going around Facebook about the five films you would tell someone to watch in order to understand you. I've been saying Powell and Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944), Ron Howard's Splash (1984), Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein (1993), John Ford's The Long Voyage Home (1940), and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953). Which is hardly complete, but adding postscripts feels like cheating, so I haven't. The internet being what it is, of course, I first saw this meme in the mutated form of the five weird meats you would tell someone to eat in order to understand you, to which I had no difficulty replying: venison, blood sausage, snails, goat, and raw salmon.

2. In other memetic news, I tried the Midwest National Parks' automatic costume generator:

National Park Costume Ideas


and while I don't think "Paranoid Hellbender" is a good costume, it'd be a great hardcore band.

3. I haven't done an autumnal mix in a while, so here is a selection of things that have been seasonally rotating. This one definitely tips more toward Halloween.

The sound of a thousand souls slipping under )

I would really like to be writing about anything.

P.S. I just want to point out that if you have recently seen The Robots of Death (1977) and you open a copy of the official tie-in anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (2017) and see a pair of characters named Poul and Toos, it is extremely confusing that the former is female, the latter is male, they are respectively a senior and a junior officer aboard the Death Star, and neither of them has a problem with robots.

representation

Oct. 16th, 2017 03:57 pm
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
One of the surprisingly large number of biopics opening this month is "Breathe," based on the lives of Robin and Diana Cavendish. After getting polio in his late 20s, in 1958, Robin was paralyzed from the neck down, using a mechanical ventilator to breathe. Among other things, the Cavendishes worked with Teddy Hall to invent a wheelchair with a respirator, the first of its kind. The movie hasn't gotten great reviews in general, but it is the latest movie prompting annoyance, at least, from disabled people who think that non-disabled actors (in this case Andrew Garfield) should not be given the role instead of a disabled actor. Another film currently in some theaters is "Stronger," in which Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, in the story of Bauman's wounding and rehab during/after the Boston Marathon bombing. Bauman has supported JG's casting, and worked with the cast and crew of the film. My general casting opinion is that anybody should play any role in a live theatrical production (color, gender, age, whatever). For movies and TV, though, I think the characters should be portrayed by people who match their salient characteristics as much as possible. For better or for worse, people believe what they see on film (digits), and I think an effort should be made to get it right. I am glad that the kid who plays JJ on "Speechless" actually is someone with Cerebral Palsy (as the character is), even though he is not quite the same - as one might gather from the title, JJ can't talk, but actor Micah Fowler can. Things have improved since 1989, when "My Left Foot" (also about a person with CP) came out. Daniel Day Lewis won an Oscar for playing the adult Christy Brown (Hugh O'Conor, who played his as a child, didn't get any awards that I know of). I don't think anybody tried to find an actor with CP in that case, but nearly thirty years have passed. I have some sympathy with casting a non-disabled person in the case of before and after stories - the other option would be casting a disabled person for the after part and doing a lot of CGI stuff for before. But when it is someone who has always been in a wheelchair/used a ventilator/been blind/whatever, a genuine effort should be made to find an actor with the features of the character. Something that is interesting is that as far as I recall, characters with Down Syndrome always are played by actors with DS. There is the weird example of "Glee," in which case the characters with DS were played by actors with DS, but the character who was paraplegic, using a wheelchair, was played by a non-disabled actor. Inconsistent, and confusing.

pine-needle kintsugi

Oct. 15th, 2017 03:41 pm
asakiyume: (autumn source)
[personal profile] asakiyume
You can see examples of kintsugi--repairing ceramics with gold, so the crack itself becomes a thing of beauty, and the object-with-cracks is celebrated and appreciated--various places online (here's one). This morning I saw pine needles doing kintsugi with cracks in the road, laying down in the crevices and repairing the road very beautifully:

pine-needle kintsugi (1)

pine-needle kintsugi (2)

pine-needle kintsugi (3)

Negative time, positive vibes

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:14 am
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
Good morning, from Day Minus Six! (I actually nearly typed Seven there, which would have been wrong. Happily I had the wit to check. These negative hours pass inconsistently, I find, and I lose my place in the calendar.)

This morning I learned in Mexico what had eluded me for five years in California: that not only does the Bay Area have an active cricket league, but that Sunnyvale has a cricket club which is a bright star in that league, and has a dedicated permanent cricket pitch a short cycle-ride from our house. I may have renewed sports fandom in my future. Ah, the crack of willow upon leather: how I have missed thee, my Hornby and my Barlow long ago!

Karen had a couple of utterly miserable days post-chemo, constantly sick and not at all interested in food. Ginger ale and water saw her through, with the aid of ginger candies; yesterday she had oatmeal for breakfast (how right was I, to bring steel-cut oats from California? *preens self*), a little soup for lunch and a little chicken and brussels sprouts for dinner. This morning I am making French onion soup and croutons, and we will see how the day plays out.

They're odd, these days. We're very detached from the world in here, and with Karen having been so sick we're a little detached from our own group as well. Everybody else had a roof-party yesterday, with real Mexican food and music; we lingered below in the backwash. We see doctors morning and evening, with Karen's shots; I go to the store as often as I can make excuse for it; otherwise we hang out in here, reading and dozing. We haven't even been watching much TV, though Netflix is a saviour and "Breaking Bad" turns out to be really rather good. I've been working on the Crater School - oh, and cooking, obviously - and I have The Count of Monte Cristo on my Kindle. An old friend, and always reliable. (Actually I think it a work of genius; our lawyer and I bonded over that, last month.)

With that first round of chemo having been so hard on Karen, we're anticipating a difficult second week, because the next round will be worse. But we're a quarter of the way through this whole process now, so that's a thing. And Karen will still be weak and immunocompromised, and it may be a year before she's fully recovered, but nevertheless. Our friends are awesome, and I'm there to do all the things, and with any luck it will all prove worthwhile. *nods affirmatively*
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
We are returned from our whirlwind trip to New York. Notes, because I need to fall over—

It is probably just as well that the Great Northern Food Hall is two states away, because otherwise I can see myself eating there until I go broke or burn out on the taste of rye flour, neither of which I want to happen. Not only do they make a superlative cold-smoked salmon, which if you order it as smørrebrød comes on a dense, chewy rye with thin slices of pickled cucumber and radish and generous dots of stiff savory sour cream and if you order it off the regular menu changes up the radish for celery pickle (which it seems I like much better than any other format of celery) and offers you slices of a lighter, crusty sourdough to plate it on for yourself, they serve a pink peppercorn and raspberry shrub which reminded me strongly of Fire Cider, only in a different key of flavors. Their beef tartare had too much red onion for [personal profile] spatch to eat safely, but we both liked the cubes of smoked beet and the startling green dollops of chive mayonnaise. The roast beef mini smørrebrød had a kind of remoulade on top and then little reddish-purple shells of endive. The avocado mini smørrebrød may or may not have needed green tomato pickle, but the chili oil was a nice touch. The server advised about two small plates per person; in fact three small plates at the Great Northern Food Hall was about half a plate more than either of us could handle, but it was all so delicious that we left only bread. I even got to try the sorrel sorbet because they were giving sorbet away for free, saying quite honestly that they had too much left at the end of the week and didn't want it to go to waste. It was a juicy green, vegetal-sweet, and I licked at it as we ran for the trains to Lincoln Center.

I want some kind of credit for changing all of my clothes except for socks and shoes in a stall in the orchestra-level ladies' room of the Met, especially since I had a laptop-containing backpack and my corduroy coat to manage at the same time. I had brought nice clothes for the opera and I was going to wear them, dammit. I dropped nothing in the toilet and got complimented on my hair afterward.

The opera was wonderful. The thing about Les contes d'Hoffmann is that Offenbach died while working on it—he had a complete piano score but only partial orchestration and a lot of dramaturgical questions unresolved—and as a result there has been an ongoing argument about authenticity and convention and dramatic coherence and musical feasibility for the last hundred and thirty-six years. A non-exhaustive list of variations would include: the order in which the second two acts are staged; how one of them ends; whether there is recitative or spoken dialogue in the tradition of the opéra comique; whether the four soprano roles are performed by the same singer; the degree to which the mezzo role is present in the story; which arias are performed by the bass-baritone; how the opera itself ends. Counting Powell and Pressburger's The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), I have literally never seen or heard the same version twice. Not all of this one worked for me as either an interpretation or an edition, but as a production it was oustanding. I liked Vittorio Grigolo's Hoffmann, self-destructive and feverishly hopeful and not one minute sober; I loved Laurent Naouri's Lindorf and other villains, the same dry dark amusement in his voice each act like his changes of coat, different styles, all black; Tara Erraught made the most complex Muse I have seen, a conspirator in each of Hoffmann's romantic disillusions until she begins to wonder if the eventual art is going to pay off the cost or if she's just going to break her poet instead. The mise-en-scène was generally 1920's Mitteleuropa, with excursions to a Parisian fairground for the Olympia act, a remote and wintry forest for the Antonia act, and a smoky Venetian bordello for the Giulietta act, cheerfully and non-naturalistically peppered with waiters in the whiteface of the Kit Kat Klub, carnival callbacks to Tod Browning, and Venetian courtesans in green glitter star-shaped pasties. (Rob said afterward, "That was more skin than I expected from grand opera." Then he got Tom Waits' "Pasties and a G-string" stuck in my head for the rest of the night.) And here the notes started to run away into an actual review which I had to break off abruptly because it hurt too much to type; I'll try to say more tomorrow. At the beginning of the Giulietta act, the Muse in her guise of Nicklausse the student woke up in a pile of pasties-and-G-string ladies with her vest unbuttoned and her cravat untied and I hope each and every one of those ladies went home and wrote an epic poem, or painted, or sculpted, or composed a song. I don't see what else waking up in a pile with the Muse is supposed to do.

We stayed the night with friends who live in Morristown, who had not managed to catch dinner before the opera, so at one-thirty in the morning we were at a diner somewhere in New Jersey, variously ordering things like Greek salad, Tex-Mex rolls, disco fries, and hot chocolate. This is the most collegiate thing that has happened to me in years.

Unfortunately I woke on their semi-fold-out couch the next afternoon with my shoulder frozen and screaming at me, which meant that a lot of getting around Manhattan today was accomplished by Rob carrying my backpack and me making noises whenever I tried to pick anything up, but we made it to the Strand and now I have copies of Derek Jarman's Kicking the Pricks (The Last of England, 1987) and Smiling in Slow Motion (2000) and we had dinner at Veselka, as is now our tradition. They make a borscht better than anything I can get in Boston. I always remember the Baczynski is huge, but forget quite how huge that is, although at least it means I can eat the second half some hours later on the train when I'm hungry again. Much less elevatedly, I can't remember ever eating a Twix bar before, but Rob brought one back from the café car and a lot of candy bars confuse me, but I can say nothing against a biscuit layered in caramel and chocolate.

(It is a small reason among many, but I do resent the resurgence of actual Nazism for making it more difficult to describe the shoutily officious gateman who ordered the woman next to me to drop out of line so that the business class passengers could have their own line to board first from—he kept yelling at her to move over and I along with two or three other people yelled back, "There's nowhere to move!"—as a tin Hitler.)

My shoulder is now hurting in the way it has been all week where the pain runs down my arm and into my fingers, which I suspect means I should call a doctor about it on Monday and definitely stop typing now. But it was worth it. It was a good birthday present.
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
Stanislas Petrov died this year. When I saw the news, I wrote, "I feel this is a bad year to lose a man who knew how not to blow up the world."

The nuclear football is the briefcase containing the launch codes for the nuclear weapons in the arsenal of the United States. Currently, in order to open the football and take advantage of its contents, a President of the United States need do nothing more than positively identify himself. The two-man rule requiring the assent of the Secretary of Defense before proceeding to the use of nuclear weapons is something of a fig leaf since, while the Secretary of Defense must verify that the order really came from the President, he cannot legally countermand it. Currently the President of the United States is a man who shows every sign of wanting quite seriously to use nuclear weapons and he can do it without warning and without authorization; he can do it on a whim and I feel that trusting in on-the-spot interference to prevent him—his generals actually tackling him, taking the football out of his hands—is an only marginally less wishful fantasy than the actual ghost of Stanislas Petrov appearing to arrest the turning of launch keys at the last minute, although I'm not saying he shouldn't do that if he feels like it. I would just prefer not to reach that stage if we can help it.

We can help it. There is right now a bill in the Senate and the House—S.200, H.R.669, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017—that would remove the power to launch a preemptive nuclear strike from the President and return it to Congress, which would need to declare war before the authorization of a nuclear strike could even be considered, and [personal profile] rachelmanija has started a campaign to get this bill passed. It is called Pull the Football – Save the World. Its principle is simple. Call your Congresspeople. Write them letters, e-mails, postcards, faxes. Tweet at them. Message them on Facebook. If they are already co-sponsors of the bill, thank them. If they are not, tell them to co-sponsor the bill and then keep telling them. Call again. Write again. Tweet to break the monotony and then call some more. Even if there's not a hope in the domain of much-maligned Hades that they'll act like reasonable human beings, keep reminding them that you expect them to. See Rachel's post for sample scripts, phone numbers, and other helpful information. And if you haven't got Congresspeople at all, please share this information on your social media so that it can reach even more people who do. The idea is the same kind of wave of public outcry as the protests against the repeal of the ACA, only this time in favor of taking action—and in defense of more than just American lives.

I belong to the only country in the world that has employed nuclear weapons in war. For many, many reasons, let's not do it again. And let's start with the football.
sovay: (Rotwang)
[personal profile] sovay
Normally I write about trains while I am on them, but today the wireless on the Amtrak Regional was broken until about fifteen minutes before we had to change for the Metro-North at New Haven and the Metro-North doesn't have wi-fi, period. It's a beautiful day to watch the world slide past: light striking dryly off everything, roofs, windshields, fenders, the not yet turning leaves, the daguerreotype glitter of the water beneath a dissolving, overexposed sky and then suddenly crisp metallic blue under the mathematical swells of bridges and between the billows of salt marsh, tawny with fall like the weeds at the side of the tracks. I got the window seat to New Haven, [personal profile] spatch gets it to New York, left-hand side so that we can properly see the sea. A black-bottomed boat bobbing by the docks in New London, a fountain pouring water from the lifted flukes of a bronze whale's tail. Old pilings standing raggedly in the water by a power station in Bridgeport. Small islands in an inlet outside Cos Cob, one or two trees to each, and rowers in a scull like a water strider stroking toward them. Gulls. Graffiti. I never remember to bring a camera, I just stare at the panorama and try to put it into memory. I really like this planet. I'd really like us not to cook it to death.

Around Darien, I looked across the aisle on the Metro-North and the woman with the copy of the New York Post was reading an article with the title "'Psycho' Analysis" with two photographs of Janet Leigh in the shower scene, reminding me that I still owe a review I want very much to write. This week disappeared into work and doctors, as too many of them do.

There is wi-fi in Grand Central Station, or I'd never get this posted. To dinner, and then to meet friends, and then to opera. [edit] The Great Northern Food Hall has superlative smoked salmon. I only wish I had room for the sorrel sorbet.

Ironing is hard

Oct. 13th, 2017 01:03 pm
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
One of the slavery adverts from October 1767 lists a "girl who can wash as well as any in the province, and iron tolerably well." This is not an uncommon adjective (or adverb, depending on the ad) - in "The Cooking Gene," Michael W. Twitty compiled a list of "tolerable cooks." But she's one of a number of good washers advertised this fall (-250) who were tolerable at ironing. Being a good ironer is hard now, and would have more so then. I think from time to time of getting rid of our iron and ironing board altogether, but occasionally use them in sewing projects. Arthur sometimes uses hotel irons when traveling, if his seminar shirt got crumpled on route. I am OK with wrinkles, mostly, but sometimes feel sloppy.

It continues to be worth the time to read these ads. The people who write the ads seem to be trying not to overstate the person's skills too much (hence tolerable), but no positive adjectives protected the person on the block from being minutely examined, often naked. The advertiser never says "I am a terrible person, and am complicit in human rights abuse." That would be truth in advertising.
https://adverts250project.org/

Separate checks and balances

Oct. 13th, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] desperance
Day minus eight, or "Friday" in the common tongue: and Karen is ongoingly sick, except for the brief windows afforded by her anti-nausea medications. Of course we expected this, and in honesty it's not as bad as my worst imaginings; but over the last twenty-four hours she's taken in nothing but water and ginger ale, and most of that has come back out again. And of course she feels lousy, and of course I can't help. My prime function here is to cook, and she doesn't want to eat. I mostly eat in the other room, so as not to upset her further.

Other people in the group are having other symptoms, but I think Karen's the only one who's still throwing up. They say it should last no more than forty-eight hours, so fingers crossed.

In other news, there is no other news. During this stage of the treatment we don't have to go anywhere; the medications she needs are brought to us here in the apartment, in the form of injections morning and evening to stimulate her stem cells and encourage them to move from her marrow to her bloodstream, where they can be more readily harvested. Also she has many pills to take, but those are here in our little blue bag, ready to be supplemented by others from the little white bag at need and on instruction. Instructions come through the cellphone we were given; we are a WhatsApp community, chit-chatting back and forth from our separate monkish cells. That's probably why it's called a cellphone, right?

There's a communal area up on the roof which is actually rather nice. Views of Popacatepetl and so forth. Karen's not up for going there just now, but hopefully in a day or two, when she's feeling better. Meanwhile I shop and work and noodle on the internets. And scratch. I have mosquito bites all up one shoulder, and it turns out that mosquito bites are itchy. They itch for days. Who knew?
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
[personal profile] asakiyume
The ending of this show was intensely satisfying and mainly (maybe not entirely) realistic. Thinking back over the entire story arc and all the characters, I do have a few criticisms, but mainly so much love and so much admiration for the storycraft and the character development. It would be an excellent show to use with kids to get them thinking about how characters grow and change (and why this is important) and what motivations are--but beyond all that, it's so engaging!

My main criticism was that the main conflict for Belky, the protagonist, gets sorted out three-fourths of the way through the show, and then, rather than simply focusing on remaining conflicts/difficulties, which are not as high-color but very important (things about how she relates with her boyfriend and her family--that sort of thing), a whole new existential threat is introduced, one that's kind of cheap and tired compared with everything else in the show. Furthermore, it involves Belky, who's generally wary and mistrustful, trusting a simply odious character, and while the show's at pains to show how that character wins her trust, it still just doesn't seem likely. And, it's very hard to focus on the very interesting stories of the side characters when there's this existential threat hanging over Belky. I would have been happier without that storyline, honestly.

BUT STILL. The remaining storylines develop the main supporting characters wonderfully. People make bad decisions for good reasons and then have to extricate themselves. People have to take emotional risks, and it isn't easy. There are lots of excellent heart-to-heart conversations.

And the show is really progressive, too: there's a young lawyer who's wheelchair bound who gets to be heroic and who gets a happily ever after: he's just the right person for the woman he ends up with. There's a gay guy who's portrayed as an accomplished, brave, smart person, who's always wanted to be a father and is able to co-parent with a single mother, while maintaining his romantic life separately. Belky has a moving conversation with the older of her two younger sisters about becoming sexually active and making it be about her choice and not something she's pressured into. Public, pressureful marriage proposals and apologies are shown to be NOT A GOOD IDEA.

And more and more--but this is enough for now. Gotta get back to the day's tasks.

Inktober 11 and 12

Oct. 12th, 2017 04:01 pm
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Hmmm, I fell behind again.

Yesterday (October 11) was "run"

run

And today's prompt is "shattered." I was thinking about the mirror in The Snow Queen, which, when it broke, caused such problems for human eyes and hearts

shatter

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