yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
([personal profile] yhlee Apr. 30th, 2016 06:20 pm)
This is navel-gaze-y and likely to run long, so I will cut. Read more... )
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Martha Smith Good was one of the first female ministers in the Mennonite church in Ontario, back when women in leadership in the church was a Really Big Deal. (This is tragically not that long ago. Also it's still a Really Big Deal in some parts of the mennonite church.) This is her memoir.

It's a self-published book, and has the various minor flaws that come with that fact. Could have used an editor to tighten some things up, that kind of thing. BUT. It is still really worth reading, because Martha Smith Good is clearly a really impressive person.

She was raised in a pretty conservative church, conservative enough that she did not get any education above grade 8 because that would be too worldly. But she still managed, in her adult life, to go on to college and eventually get her D.Min.

She was a pastor, and found churches who wanted her as their pastor no matter her gender. And when the denomination didn't want to ordain her despite it not being technically against the rules (and wanted to change the rules so it WOULD be against the rules!), she stood her ground for her right to be ordained and won. For a number of years she was the campus minister at Goshen College (a mennonite university in Indiana) and while there became the faculty sponsor for the first gay/lesbian student group because she felt called to work on behalf of the oppressed.

And she talks with openness about her various life struggles (including dealing with anxiety and stress, and getting married at 39 and acquiring 4 step-children at once, and of course all the sexist bullshit the church had to offer) and how she overcame them, and without any castigation towards people who made things harder for her.

And she never really makes a thing of what a big deal she was, the incredible things she was doing. She's just telling her story.

I'm glad she chose to publish this book, even though there (presumably) wasn't any publishing house interested in it. It's an important story and I'm glad to have read it.
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([personal profile] thistleingrey Apr. 30th, 2016 02:21 pm)
* I considered having Post Amnesty Month for May, but it'd be boring: most of the pending drafts are from my having watched part of something months ago.

* The house has a front door that isn't coming unhinged! (There was a 1.5-cm gap between uppermost hinge and frame after Reason kicked in a glass pane at her knee level in January and slammed the door in anger a few times.) Now the door needs painting. *counts spoons* We'll see whether someone is willing to do such a small, inconvenient job; if not, I can do it, though I don't have or know about good primer. Suggestions welcome.

* I have a corrective-lens prescription that goes with my spine being in the right places! Glasses are on order. I will be so glad to put the interim ones into a donation box---hoping for less eyestrain with the correct scrip, and then someone with a smaller head can use my current frames....

* I also have a concern that the optometrist didn't share; since it's recurred for the third year running, next eye checkup ought probably to be with an ophthalmologist (last visited 25 years ago). Left eye has been receiving less light than right eye since my twenties, and the optometric one-eye-only tests suggest that the disparity has become more pronounced---shadows that I can't blink away. I try since last year not to drive at night. Eye pressure wasn't tested this time but was "basically fine" last year.

Well, keep wearing a hat outdoors, self. (Not mixing cataracts and glaucoma here. To the extent that genetics affect destiny, I'm likely to have both---long before I'm eighty, if I last---but cataracts are the one that a person can do a bit to stave off.)

* My aged uncle sounds better this year than last, clear of mind and voice. Though he groped for English words, he insisted on practicing English except for a few phrases. He tells me that my father said he was moving to another country (again). Has my father told me? He has not.

Read more... )
mildred_of_midgard: Johanna Mason head shot (Johanna)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 30th, 2016 03:18 pm)
Quite by accident, I ended up near a sports store today. At my partner's suggestion, I tried out one of the recumbent bikes. I spent over ten minutes reading on my phone while cycling, and when I got up, my tailbone did not hurt, not even a little bit. (Sometimes it only hurts when I change position, which is apparently normal. When I was stuck in San Jose a couple months ago, I managed to trade a hurts-all-the-time office chair for a hurts-only-when-shifting-position one.)

Hmm. Maybe it's time to give up on the upright bike, put it on freecycle for the cheap, cheap price of "you have to carry it down 2 flights of stairs"), and replace it with a recumbent. I wish the upright had worked out, because I was able to convert it into a desk with a laptop and large-book-supporting surface, but since I can't sit on it, it's not a very good desk, now is it?

At least if I'm going back to non-writing activities, I can replace my damaged Kindle and start reading again while I cycle. Then I can continue putting giant biochemistry textbooks on my lap or the dining room table. Yay for dining room chairs that I bought specifically to accommodate my tailbone. I'm impressed that I managed to figure out what surface would work just from a picture on the internet.

Icon for Johanna, who has legit chronic pain in my fic. I just have chronic "can't sit on my exercise bike, have nothing to complain about compared to people with real problems."
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davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
([personal profile] davidgillon Apr. 30th, 2016 06:33 pm)

Just back from the first day of Rochester's Sweep's Festival, and first time I've done it in a chair (I opted out last year as I was three days post surgery). The crowds were surprisingly good about getting out of the way of the chair - once they'd noticed me! Of course it was Rochester, so cobbles everywhere, and my back is letting me know it isn't happy with me.

Slight shortage of the usual suspects, bumped into my friend Ray in the beer tent at the Gordon Hotel, but that was it for today, when we've had as many as a dozen in the group in the past, though we had a pleasant chat with a couple of the bell ringing crowd he knew. Should be more people out tomorrow hopefully. Caught the end of Green Diesel's set in the Gordon as I arrived, female fiddler/vocalist backed by four guys on guitar, ukelele etc, then went up to the Castle Gardens to see most of their second set. 'Most' as by the time we'd queued for the cash machine (all three machines at Asda had been flat out of cash when I tried earlier), then I'd pushed most of the way around the castle to get to the accessible gate, they'd already started. Worth a listen.

Somewhat annoyed that Medway have done their usual thing and shut down the disabled parking by the Castle to put stalls on, though not to the point of not buying a pasty from one...

And the weather held, which after Tuesday's hail showers is an relief. It did go ominously grey at five o'clock as the afternoon session was winding down, but now it's back to sunny again. We've done the evening session as well in the past, but that needs a reasonable number of you, so I headed across to the station to grab a taxi home - the new station is much more convenient for that than the old one, though I'm now forced to pay for taxis both ways, when in the past I'd have walked at least one way.

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oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
([personal profile] oursin Apr. 30th, 2016 05:39 pm)

On Their Death Bed, Physical Books Have Finally Become Sexy.

Mind you, that is written by someone who hasn't visited Charing Cross Road very recently, as in, several decades, because you will no longer find numerous secondhand bookshops there.

Also, as I have remarked many times before, Not All Books are yet electronic.

Though on the curious contemporary fetishisation of reading, see all those self-help articles on how good it is for you - my most recent larf-I-fair-lay-on-the-ground moment was seeing an exhortation to read SIX books a year - and about bibliotherapy.

Sigh.

Read because it's fun. Flaunt your tatty and even embarrassingly covered paperbacks. Get your nose into a book.

jjhunter: Serene person of color with shaved head against abstract background half blue half brown (scientific sage)
([personal profile] jjhunter Apr. 30th, 2016 11:25 am)
Let's take a breath for poetry. It is April, and as good a time as any for a collaborative poetry fest. Please find below a starting stanza or two of a brand new haikai (what's a haikai, you ask? Think extended haiku: alternating stanzas of 5-7-5 and 7-7). Comment with a following stanza to build on that seed. Someone (most likely me) will respond with another stanza, and so on and so forth throughout the day.
===

what lasts, that we build?
stones over our bones like stakes?
relations? stories?
mildred_of_midgard: my great-grandmother (mildred)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 29th, 2016 09:06 pm)
My tailbone is a fucking bastard and is welcome to stop hurting ANY TIME NOW. It only bothers me on certain surfaces, but my exercise bike is still one of them. I bought this thing in April of last year. I haven't been able to use it, because I injured my tailbone in January 2015. My partner tried crocheting a custom-made seat cover for me, but I managed to establish that part of the problem is the configuration: even if my tailbone is nowhere near the surface, my buttocks end up squeezing it during the cycling progress, and squeezing hurts after about 2 minutes and then proceeds to hurt for the rest of the day.

I'm starting to think about getting rid of this and getting a treadmill. I wanted a bicycle to avoid the foot and leg injuries I'm prone to when walking and jogging, but at this point, I'm not exercising at all, so...

Exercise is the only downside of working from home: I used to work anywhere from 3 to 10 miles a day into my commute, but now my commute is about 1 meter, since my bed got moved into my study. At best it's 10 meters when the mice are behaving.

Omg, I'm starting to think in meters. I already think in Celsius, because I have to communicate temperatures with my family approximately 300 times a day in Boston, which has actual weather.
mildred_of_midgard: (Eowyn)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 29th, 2016 09:04 pm)
We've had mice in the walls for the last 2 months. They are LOUD. They woke me up on the first night, and I had to move my mattress from my nice bedroom to my now too-crowded study.

We're currently arranging for the exterminator to come back and see if he can make them go away for real this time. Part of the reason it took so long for us to summon him back is that I'm the only one in a position to handle exterminators and contractors and such people coming over, and I've been working weird hours and trying to manage my sleep schedule. If there's one thing that causes me stress and unhappiness, it's being exhausted from work and knowing I could take a nap except I have to stay awake for when the [insert person doing work] comes over. So I waited a few weeks in hopes that they would die off before my sleep schedule got fixed.

Alas.

Also, who knew mice were this loud? When they wake you up, you think there's an actual human being in the room with you being noisy.
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My sleep schedule is finally getting under control. I've been tired 5 days out of the last 7, but I've gone from sleeping until 10-11 to sleeping until 6-8. Work is entirely to blame: I was getting up at 6 in February, then they made me fly to San Jose for stupid reasons, and my schedule got shifted by 3 hours. I got infected during the trip (everybody was either sick or got sick on that trip), had to travel while sick, and took my revenge on them by using sick days that I would normally work through.

Then I had to do a bunch of 6 am deployments several weeks in a row when I wasn't ready to be waking up before 6. After several weeks of this, my brain got programmed to wake up at ~5:30, lie awake for a couple hours, and then sleep several hours, EVEN when there was no deployment. It was like IMAGINARY DEPLOYMENT in my brain.
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mildred_of_midgard: Johanna Mason head shot (Johanna)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 29th, 2016 08:51 pm)
Some people (who are not me) would like a backyard pool if it's feasible. Someone (who is me) is going to have to do the leveling of the EXTREMELY uneven and grassy ground. I did some scoping this evening and determined that step 1, digging up the grass, might be feasible. About 1/6 in 1 hour, although I may have started with the easiest 1/6th.

Step 2 is carting the clumps of grass and dirt away in the wheelbarrow and is definitely doable.

Step 3 is leveling the earth once it's in a more accessible format (grass is incredibly difficult to dig; plain dirt is easy in comparison). We'll see. I guess it depends on just *how* level it has to be. Leveling a path in the front yard last year was crazy hard, but that was for individual patio tiles that had to align perfectly. So there's a slightly bumpy path in the yard now. :P I'm assuming a pool just has to have the sides at the same height and the ground underneath even enough to cancel out the water pressure everywhere, not that it has to be centimeter-perfect.

Icon because Johanna does a lot of work with a shovel in my fic, clearing roads and train tracks and stuff, because D7 is technologically primitive.
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mildred_of_midgard: (books)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 29th, 2016 08:50 pm)
Because writing is slowing down and I'm no longer having crazy intense marathons, I'm expanding my hobbies again. I've started studying genetics again this week. Yay. Hopefully I can make more progress once I'm sleeping better and more alert.

And I'm posting again, apparently.
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mildred_of_midgard: (schreiben)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 29th, 2016 08:49 pm)
Writing is slowing down, mostly because I'm nearing the end of the first draft, and only the more difficult/unknown scenes remain. However, I find that I know enough about what happens in the missing parts that if I keep chipping away, I keep closing the gap to the finished first draft. So my plan is to keep adding material little by little and keep brainstorming the plot, but not devote my entire day every day to writing or expect any more major marathons.

I'm looking forward to having a finished draft that I can edit! I might finish this thing by the end of 2016 after all!
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mildred_of_midgard: (uhura)
([personal profile] mildred_of_midgard Apr. 29th, 2016 08:47 pm)
I'm sampling data science at work to see if it's something I want to do and would be good at. I'm taking online courses and otherwise educating myself on the subject, and I'm starting to take on small accept data science projects.

Two major advantages of doing it this way: if I don't like, or turn out not to be good at it, nothing lost, I still have a good job as a DBA. And if I do like it and I decide I want to do it full time, I can continue transitioning from DBA to data science until my data science salary at least matches my DBA salary (I'm told that data scientists potentially make more). Whereas if you try to apply for a data science job on two months of experience, you probably won't be hired, and even if you get some kind of internship, you're not making what an experienced DBA makes.

We'll see how it goes. Fun so far. Especially since it's new and I'm feeling challenged, which I haven't lately. I'm pretty much plateauing as DBA at this company, so something has to change, either the company or the nature of the work I do or both.

But I admit my biggest motivation for learning statistics is my academic work. How am I supposed to publish on methodology if I don't even know statistics? How am I supposed to respect myself as an applied philosopher? Which I may not have mentioned here, but that's how I'm starting to see myself.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
([personal profile] forestofglory Apr. 29th, 2016 05:43 pm)
So it is almost the end of the month, which means it is time for short fiction recs. However right now I'm feeling a bit discouraged about this project. The Hugo finalist were announced last week, and the bigoted slaters were able to control most of the nominations. This year more than 4000 people nominated, and I had hoped that would make difference. I'm angry for the people who nominated for the 1st time this year, that they had such cruddy experience, and I hope they won't all be discouraged from nominating again.

Really though, I'm so sad for the stories I loved last year. It was such great year for short fiction and I really hoped to see some of my favorites be recognized. Or if my favorites couldn't be on the short list, I wanted the stories that beat them out to have done so because people loved them. And it feels self aggrandizing to admit it but part of the purpose of this project is to help people find fiction they love to nominate for the Hugos, and I was hoping to have some impact on the final ballot. Which is silly because only an handful of people read my recs.

Anyways I do have some recs, because this project is also about sharing things I love with my friends. I wish this set was a bit more cheerful, but I hope you enjoy them.

"Dragon Brides" by Nghi Vo A slightly creepy story about what happens a princess after she is rescued form a dragon.

"This Is a Letter to My Son" by KJ Kabza (content note: cancer death) A sweet domestic story in the near future, featuring a trans girl and her dead mother.

"A Salvaging of Ghosts" by Aliette de Bodard (Content note: death of an adult child) This story is so beautiful and sad, and lovey. You should read it especially if you liked The Citadel of Weeping Pearls.

"From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review" by Marie Brennan I adore The Memoirs of Lady Trent, this story takes place between volumes 3 and 4 and stands on its own though it does contain spoilers. It is in the form of exchange of letters in scientific journal.

Have you read any good short fiction lately? Recs for something cheerful would be especially appreciated just now.
Title: Native Tongue (Native Tongue Book 1)
Author: Suzette Haden Elgin
Published: New York: Feminist Press, 2000 (1984)
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 325
Total Page Count: 185,450
Text Number: 546
Read Because: interest in feminist SFF, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: In a future society where they've been entirely disenfranchised, linguist women construct a language of their own. The extremity of this sexist dystopia and Elgin's sarcastic, farcical tone is reminiscent of Sheri S. Tepper's feminist novels and distinctly offputting. But her themes and use of speculative fiction as a linguistic and feminist thought experiment are cogent, if flawed. As such, the afterward by Susan M. Squier and Julie Vedder in the Feminist Press edition is arguably more successful and certainly more pleasant to read, condensing the content, providing historical perspective, and discarding the tone entirely. I wouldn't recommend Native Tongue on its own merit, but I recognize it as an feminist artifact and sincerely enjoyed the afterward; I can't bring myself to read the sequels.
yhlee: red and black tentacle heart pendant (tentacle heart)
([personal profile] yhlee Apr. 29th, 2016 04:34 pm)
I don't have an actual appropriate icon, so have a tentacle heart instead as an expression of my love.

Spoilers: Read more... )

In conclusion: I wish someone had told me much earlier that S2 would be RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. ;) Don't worry, I forgive y'all!
.

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