Condolences to his family and friends.
Condolences to his family and friends.
What have you just finished reading?
Loveless (manga) volume 11, Seanan McGuire's An Artificial Night (October Daye #3), and Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery.
Loveless managed to ratchet up both the angst and the humor (spoiler for the latter: Yohji manages to unhook his first bra - Shinonome's, of course! She thwacks him on the head with a book.). I wonder if we'll ever find out how Seimei became such an awful person?
In An Artificial Night, Toby is getting a little more sensible, but just a little. I was really enthralled with the first two thirds of this one. Then McGuire started to adhere to a classical trope of legend – one with which I am very familiar – and did it basically paint-by-numbers, which sort of wrecked the whole mood for me.
In the Anne books, it becomes more and more clear that Montgomery has hundreds of little vignettes that she wants to share. Anne of Windy Poplars, which is framed as a series of letters from Anne to her fiance, actually got a bit tedious. The narrator's voice is a little more wry and tart than Anne's, and it makes a better foil to the endless series of incidents in which Anne manages to tame human ogres, dragons, and snakes. I was gratified that Anne had a couple of protégées this time around, as well as a young man whom she's trying to encourage to continue his education.
What are you currently reading?
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read; almost finished), Richard K. Morgan's The Steel Remains, and Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery. The contrast in moods and subject matter between the latter two is giving me whiplash of the brain.
What do you think you'll read next?
I should try to re-read Redshirts by John Scalzi, and write it up. Ditto with Among Others by Jo Walton. The Morgan book will require antidotes in the form of more Anne and maybe some favorite children's books. I'm also beta-reading a book manuscript for an old friend, but I'm not sure that counts.
Of course, it could have a somewhat discordant effect on the unwary:
Rest well, sir, and thanks.
Evidence: Adams has been blogging for years, and every so often the pointy-haired boss does a post and there is a big kerfuffle.
Latest example: "Science will someday be able to identify sociopaths and terrorists by their patterns of Facebook and Internet use." Bruce Schneier considers the possibility rationally.
Yes, it's harder to eat in ways that are coded as "healthy" if you are poor. Yes, it may be harder to get exercise if you are poor. I think it would be great to work on solving those issues. But if one's possible responses to fatness are either contempt or pity, that's hardly any better than just contempt.
It's the "ignorance" part of it that gets me especially. Because any time you say that any person doesn't have enough knowledge to have the right to control their own life, you are headed to a very dangerous place.
(Started eating healthier when I moved closer to the food co-op. Still fat.)
I have been teaching web-enhanced classes since the 1990s, and went nearly full-time online in 2006. My current plan is to shift most if not all of my online undergraduate courses to web-enhanced, with dedicated face/face time because I think students will do better and learn more. I'm doing the same for some of my graduate courses as well.
I am ALL about the teaching with technology and online elements (this fall, I'll be opening up a Youtube Channel and using a private Facebook group for one of my classes), but I have been Dr. Grumpy Face about all the hoo-hah about MOOCS, and Dr. Let Me Say Oh HELL NO to the corporate partnerships.
So I was pretty darn glad to see this article about provosts at Big Name Universities questionining the corporatization of education via MOOCS
And these provosts from some of America’s top research universities have concluded that they – not corporate entrepreneurs and investors -- must drive online education efforts.
I am the radical who stands up and says that the TEACHERS should be driving online education efforts -- I know what happened when one of the deans here imposed online courses by fiat on his whole college one year. But yes, administrators do play a role (I'm just not sure that they get to drive -- especially those who have never.fracking.taught.online.) (My Dean, when he was department head, assigned himself an online course his first summer, to get the experience--my Dean is fantastic.)
Sands said the provosts’ talks have been primarily driven by a desire to improve education using technology. But there are also secondary concerns about partnerships with companies and what those deals mean for student data and for faculty intellectual property rights.
Standing and cheering here!
When I was starting to teach fulltime (adjunct for three years before I went back and got my Ph.D.), I heard from some of my senior colleagues (this was, again, mid-1980s) about how administrators really wanted to use the cutting edge new VHS technology to revolutionize teaching: they could just record all those
It would be so much cheaper, you see.
*is getting cynical the older I get*
So, I kind of have a problem with problem novels about bullying where the answer is to just stand up for yourself, because realistically, there are a lot of times that doesn't work. And on the other hand, the more realistic happy endings -- like the one in this book -- often take the agency out of the hands of the protagonist. It's the way the world works, but it's a little unsatisfying at the same time?
Nevertheless I have to say that while it's a bit of an issue book, it's a very good book, and it's one of the few books I've read that really manages to convey what it's like to live in fear because of bullying. Also, there are a lot of good Latina characters. The relationship between Piedad and her mom's friend -- sort of a surrogate-aunt relationship -- is very well done and not something I've seen before. And the not-quite-romance doesn't present sex as all about True Love, and doesn't pathologize it either -- this is still pretty rare in YA!
Christopher Bram, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America
Eminent Outlaws covers gay male American writers from World War II onward, starting with Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Edward Albee, and Gore Vidal, and moving forward to roughly the present day.
I want literary histories to be full of entertaining anecdotes and sparkling prose, and a good balance between literary criticism, biography, and cultural history. This is all that and an excellent introduction to some books I'm largely, sadly, ignorant of.
(I'm embarrassed to say that I have read exactly one of the books Bram discusses, even very briefly -- Peter Cameron's excellent YA Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You. It doesn't count that I watched A Single Man on a plane trip, I guess, but at least now I know I like the book ending better. It seems like most people get some Tennessee Williams in high school, at least, but I didn't!)
So full of quotable bits and "Oh no they didn't!" moments -- I guess that sounds flippant, but really, when someone says that James Baldwin is too charming to be a major writer, what do you call it?
I never thought about how difficult it was, until quite recently (not that it is easy even now) for these writers to write books that reflected their own hearts, and life as they knew it. And I feel strangely less alone to know a little more about all of these writers who spent years on books that didn't quite work, who couldn't quite figure out what to write or how to write it. Writing YA, you definitely get the feeling that you write a book a year (at least!) or you're just being lazy, and I don't know that I'll ever manage to be a great or ambitious writer, but it IS kind of comforting to think -- even if you work really hard, you're lucky if you manage one great book in your whole life. One great book in your whole life is a lot.
Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire
This is a book about creating beauty and holding onto hope in circumstances that make it almost impossible; about bearing witness to history; about living with trauma, living with the knowledge that some things will never be fixed but it is still worth patching together a life for yourself. Also there is poetry in it. Good poetry.
You would think that there should be a lot of books out there that make an earnest and compelling argument for simple things like courage, and kindness, and paying forward the privileges you've been given. There should be, but there aren't; so when you meet one, you hold onto it.
"No slavery can be abolished without a double emancipation, and the master will benefit by freedom more than the freed-man." -- Thomas Huxley
[Though I guess it can take a few generations for some groups to get the clue and stop trying to hold other folks down ... *sigh*]
( Sewing stuff )
Between researching for my survival at DCon and chucking a large portion of my makeup collection, I've been on an anti-gluten anxious rampage for a few days. ( Ebil, ebil gluten )
Sadly, Ima back to normal brain fog levels today. Not sure why. Maybe the starchy carbs aren't working anymore, maybe its the suddenly-storm weather going on in NYC today and tomorrow. Or b/c I accidentally got shampoo in my mouth last night, cuz I ain't perfect.
I also had hummus on Friday and Saturday, for the first time since ... September? Are chickpeas giving me hangovers now? Ugh, I hope not.
Today is begrudgingly my 2 year anniversary of "Noticing I Might Have CFS" so... um... yay? Also, I think it was early July that I had the migraine from hell that got my old doctor to send me for an MRI. Fun.
I think it was June of 2012 where I freaked out on how horrible I felt overall, and finally exclaimed 'FINE SEND IN THE FAITH HEALERS WAAAARGH.' Instead I got into acupuncture, and the needler, and then my new doctor, both recommended I try the (badly named) Paleo Diet to see if I had any food sensitivities. Which I did. And I started to feel better, tho in stops and starts, until I crashed again around January. More stops and starts, and I'm mostly sure that today I'm better than I was last June, so that's good. I'm not great, but I'm better than I was.
( Weight & Body Image )
Tho also b/c of that discussion online and in my head, I realized I had weeks of food tracking data written down in my notepad that I could plug into an online calorie counter to see what's up. I've been tracking food by weight, more for financial than health reasons, b/c of wanting to try and stay on a grocery budget. And also in case individual foods cause weird flareups/reactions. And to see what happened. Counting calories is just too abstract for me, and requires too much work to track and count everything via internets. For weight I just use my kitchen scale.
It looks like I've been bobbing around 1800 calories per day pretty steadily, usually with 2-2.25 lbs per day. A bit low on carbs, but fat and protein in normie ranges, and the low side of normal for fiber (but too much of that messes me up in unhappy ways). On the other hand, that was just last week, when I was reintroducing starchy corn chips. Will work on earlier data later.
Am still unsure of what was going on with last week's energy spike. If it was the starchy carbs, will that help me indefinitely, or just for a little while before I crash out again? Am I just re-contributing to a chronic/adrenal fatigue relapse? Maybe I just need something a bit easier to digest, and thus 'processed', b/c I'm still healing off years of gluten/dairy abuse on my insides, and 5oz of rice at lunch + 1oz ricecakes at dinner wasn't enough.
I think I might also take a break from acupuncture in July, just to see what happens. I felt better last week (maybe?) without a needle appointment, and I continued to feel awful from winter thru spring with regular appointments. If I hit another "OH DEAR GODS HELP ME" point I can always call them and make the earliest available appointment, having learned my lesson.
Take a minute, think about this.
Now imagine that you can do anything in this life that you do now and more. You can walk underwater, without scuba gear, and not drown. You can fly. You can change the size, shape and color of your body at any time, change your gender, change your species. Your world is large; it has at least 40,000 places to go, many of which include a variety of smaller sites. You can travel to them by teleporting; you can travel within them by boat or plane or helicopter or train or trolley or car or horse or bicycle or paper airplane or anything else that flies. It is international; the population varies with the clock, so that the Europeans are getting offline just as the Midwesterners are getting busy, and the Asian crowd keeps a different schedule altogether. Some sites are private; some are group owned; some are entirely public. Some are dedicated to specific purposes, and some have many purposes.
No illness. No AIDS. No allergies, broken bones, head colds, flu. No need for wheelchairs, or glasses, unless you choose to have and use them.
The learning curve is not gentle; it is alpine -- and at times it can feel like walking up an Olympic ski jump in the first few weeks. But there are places that can teach you what you need to learn -- and there are classes in a wide variety of areas, in many places, and they are all free. You can, if you want, learn to find everything you need for free. You can learn how to have a business there to make money, if you want. You can learn to build houses, make clothes, create movies, compose or write dances or plays. You can go to festivals, dances, parties, live radio broadcasts, theatrical productions, races, pubs, fishing competitions and more. You can choose to live in a society that reflects the past, sometimes the ancient past, or the future, or the present, or something that is none of the above.
What would you do with that life? If you're wise, you'd follow the greatest goal: to find something that makes you happy and do it. You'd meet other people who are also doing this, and some of them might become good friends. You might create a living society of people who meet in that life to enjoy each other's company, to raise money for good causes, to create things that nobody has ever seen before, to celebrate living in any way that is possible.
Doesn't sound like just a game, does it? Life is open-ended. Anything is possible. The goals are what you choose them to be. If you want to put restrictions on yourself, nobody will stop you; you have free will. The only restrictions you would face are those you choose.
This is what I see in Second Life: a chance to do anything and everything, free from fear.
"Maybe the most disturbing implication of the famous sentence 'They create a desolation and call it peace' is that apologists for violence, by means of euphemism, come to believe what they hear themselves say." -- David Bromwich, "Euphemism and American Violence", The New York Review of Books, v.55,#5, 2008-04-03
Now more real black people, and "real" black people, are nurses and such, and one would like to think the problem was solved. But no. Alisa Valdez reports that when she suggested a show about Latinas, the suits complained that her characters were too ordinary. A suggestion:
Why don’t we make the girls debating whether or not to date men in prison? I know that’s what Latinas talk about, just like it’s what black women talk about.Thanx to Feministing
"Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad." -- James Madison (b. 1751-03-16, d. 1836-06-28; US President 1809-1817; principal author of US Constitution; co-author of the Federalist Papers), 1798-05-13 (letter to Thomas Jefferson)
As colleges begin using massive open online courses (MOOC) to reduce faculty costs, a Johns Hopkins University professor has announced plans for MOOA (massive open online administrations). Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, author of The Fall of the Faculty, says that many colleges and universities face the same administrative issues every day. By having one experienced group of administrators make decisions for hundreds of campuses simultaneously, MOOA would help address these problems expeditiously and economically. Since MOOA would allow colleges to dispense with most of their own administrators, it would generate substantial cost savings in higher education.
"Studies show that about 30 percent of the cost increases in higher education over the past twenty-five years have been the result of administrative growth," Ginsberg noted. He suggested that MOOA can reverse this spending growth. "Currently, hundreds, even thousands, of vice provosts and assistant deans attend the same meetings and undertake the same activities on campuses around the U.S. every day," he said. "Imagine the cost savings if one vice provost could make these decisions for hundreds of campuses."
Asked if this "one size fits all" administrative concept was realistic given the diversity of problems faced by thousands of schools, Ginsberg noted that a "best practices" philosophy already leads administrators to blindly follow one another's leads in such realms as planning, staffing, personnel issues, campus diversity, branding and, curriculum planning. The MOOA, said Ginsberg, would take "best practices" a step further and utilize it to realize substantial cost savings.
In a desert, on the shores of a long river with seasonal life-giving floods, is the city-nation of Gujaareh. It has very little crime and almost no signs of poverty. Its people die of disease far less often than do the citizens of other nations. The priests of the city's patron deity, the dream goddess Hananja, succor her people with the four dream humors, with which they can cure most physical and mental illnesses and remediate many birth defects. One of these humours, Dreamblood, is harvested from the dying: those who suffer because they cannot be cured by other methods, those who have simply outlived their time in the walking world — and those whom the priesthood have judged corrupt.
Ehiru, the most talented and respected of the Gatherers (those who collect the Dreamblood), loses control of one of his tithing operations and learns that something is badly amiss in his peaceful land. He and his devoted new apprentice, Njiri, find their lives entwined with that of Sunandi, a foreign diplomat accused of crimes against Gujaareh. Magic, dirty politics, and angst ensue. I enjoyed it.
Jemisin plays some games with U.S. cultural norms in this. The society of Gujaareh far from perfect, and as in many societies, some groups of people are considered better than others. Higher-caste people have darker skin. Women "are goddesses": for this reason, they are not expected — or permitted — to work at most professions. The sequel, The Shadowed Sun, delves more deeply into the issue of women in this society.
One aspect of the worldbuilding that I especially liked is that the neighboring country of Kisuati is Gujaareh's motherland. The two cultures have a number of aspects in common, still: for example, Hananja is also a goddess there, although she is just part of a wide pantheon instead of reigning supreme. This is a realistic situation that existed and still exists in many places in our world, but it doesn't come up all that often in fantasy.( Read more ... with some spoilers )
For very odd reasons that will go unspecified at the moment, I may need to re-read one of the volumes of this series. And I got to wondering about how many of you have read it, and what you all think about it. And because I am a DW/LJ kind of person, that means it's time for a poll!
So, the Lymond Chronicals by Dorothy Dunnett:
Are among the most awesome books ever written!
Are quite good, although they suffer from problems such as a bit too much melodrama and the stereotypes of the time in which they were written.
Are OK. I don't regret having read them, but I'm not tempted to read them again (especially given how long they are).
Are pretty bad. And they took me forever to read, too.
Are terrible! OMG, I can't believe people actually re-read them!
Are something I have not read, but I have heard of them.
Are something else that I will explain in comments
For the completely uninitiated: Dorothy Dunnett's Excellent Adventures. ( And I don't like the Niccolò series nearly as much.)
See LJ Post if you prefer. Ignore LJ crosspost info below because polls don't translate right, so I had to re-post.
Origins is going on right now down at the MarCon hotel in Columbus, OH, but if you can't be there you can still take advantage of Free RPG Day. New adventures, accessories, quickstart systems! If you've never been in a role-playing game, or it's been a very long time for you, you might want to take a few minutes, find your local game store, and go make some lifelong friends in the pursuit of one of the most dazzling and rewarding hobbies there is.
What are your favorite pen-and-paper RPG rules? Mine, no question, are RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, and Tunnels & Trolls. With a bonus nod towards Chivalry & Sorcery and Bushido. (Yeah, I'm old-school. What?)
"Snipers aren't deadly because they carry the biggest guns; they're deadly because they've learned how to weaponize math." -- Robert Evans, "5 Weapon Myths You Probably Believe (Thanks to Movies)", Cracked.com 2012-10-14 (spotted via link in a friend's locked LJ entry)
( A special kind of stupid )
And after four days of feeling suprisingly really good this week, full of getting things done and talking to ppl I actually like, today I'm a brain fried wreck. B/c some stupid, thoughtless, senile old woman decided to call a number she knew was wrong three days ago at 1am in the morning. And not for any kind of emergency either, just to bother her kid at a time when he would also probably be sleeping.
It is bringing up things that don't work in my head, so that's interesting. I can't stand stupid moms, people that don't listen to me, people who make me suffer via their own selfishness or stupidity, or senseless intrusions into my privacy (phone roach?). However, given my chosen profession I should really work on getting over these issues. Or its ulcers forever.
I'm also really unhappy that *one* sleep interruption, relatively early in my sleep cycle, can completely f#$% me the next day. Even if I get back to sleep (eventually, I was really pissed). After four days of increased energy and decreased brainfog. I really don't want to be this sensitive.
On the other hand, now I know that while I do want to be more social this summer, I should NOT sacrifice my sleep for it. Because it will f#$% me up real good and leave me unable to function later, even if I only lose a tiny bit. Time to start applying my budget skills to my time, if I ever have enough energy for socializing again. Right now it doesn't feel like it :-P
From Orion Shall Rise by Poul Anderson (1983, Timescape Books):
"Sir President, honored Seniors, Clansfolk and people of the Domain, let me first thank you sincerely and humbly for your patience. This occasion is unprecedented and therefore twice difficult--"
Not altogether meaningless noise. Monkeys groom each other with fingers, humans with words.