Cat and Dog

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:08 pm
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[personal profile] laurieopal
I've been working very intensely in wax and have been both starting new work and finishing older designs. I'm casting a group of designs this week. I just put down a new design with a hyalite opal that will have a dark bronze setting with some translucent highlights after it's in metal.

And I finished one of the waxes for an exquisite knapped pieces of obsidian that I got on my trip. It's going to be a pendant with twisted textured silver ropes.

And the Saguaro Cactus pendant will be cast this week I hope.

Below is a cat pendant with obsidian that I made for Bayla Fine a long time ago. I photographed it when I visited her in June. It's in sterling and about 2.5" wide.




And I may have put this Irish setter pendant with Laramar up before. But it seemed right to put them up together. It's in sterling about 3" high. From the collection of Wendy Czarnecki.




It's been along day. If there are typos...oh well

Rolling Around

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:56 pm
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[personal profile] kevin_standlee
This morning I left work at 11 AM to drive to Redwood Shores for my semi-annual dental check-up. (No problems.) This gave me the opportunity to have lunch at my favorite taqueria: El Metate in Belmont. (Good burritos at a fair price, and really great tortilla chips and salsa.) From there it was on to Fremont, where I finally paid my mechanic for the work he did on the Astro back in June. (He only got around to calling me with the final bill — $1200! — last week.) Then I went by Suju's Coffee in Fremont to buy a couple of pounds of whole-bean Columbian from them. (I don't come down to the Bay Area that often anymore, so I need to stock up when I'm here. Suju's was across the street from where I used to live in Fremont, and I like their coffee.) Then I refilled the forward tank on the Rolling Stone at one of the less-expensive gas stations in south Fremont. I'd intended to spend the rest of the afternoon at my employer's Fremont warehouse, but I had an in-person meeting scheduled for 4:30 PM back over in Sunnyvale. I was dismayed to hear on the radio of an accident on westbound CA-237. Fortunately, it had mostly cleared by the time I got back over there, and I managed to make it back with less than 30 minutes to spare. Whew! And that was driving in "off peak" and "counter commute" directions.

I hope to be able to get away before Noon on Friday, if work permits. I've put in enough hours that I can do so, but it requires that the urgent stuff gets done. If I don't get away before Noon, it's almost inevitable that I won't get home that night and will be obliged to lay up somewhere along the way, thanks to the never-ending traffic in the Bay Area and Sacramento.

Stick Insect

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Carol and Stick Insect_4


If you volunteer at the zoo (or get an internship), you might get to hold a bug* too.


* Technically, a stick insect is not a bug because it doesn’t suck. It chews instead.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

This Week in Nazi-Punching

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:15 pm
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[personal profile] jimhines

A video of a Nazi in Seattle getting punched and knocked out has been making the rounds. Responses range from satisfaction and celebration to the predictable cries of “So much for the tolerant left” and the related “Violence makes us as bad as them and plays right into their hands.”

A few things to consider…

1. According to one witness, the punch happened after the Nazi called a man an “ape” and threw a banana at him. With the disclaimer that I’m not a lawyer, that sounds like assault to me. I’m guessing Assault in the Fourth Degree. In other words, the punching was a response to an assault by the Nazi.

The witness who talks about the banana-throwing also says he was high on THC. I haven’t seen anyone disputing his account, but I haven’t seen corroboration, either.

2.Remember when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, and people like Geraldo Rivera said it was because Martin was wearing a hoodie, and that made Martin a potentially dangerous “suspicious character”? Utter bullshit, I know. But if our legal system let Zimmerman plead self-defense, saying he was afraid because Martin was wearing a hoodie, doesn’t that same argument apply against someone wearing a fucking swastika?

We’re talking about a symbol that announces, “I support genocide of those who aren’t white, aren’t straight, aren’t able-bodied…”

3. Buzzfeed presents this as anti-fascists tracking a Neo-Nazi to beat him up. While antifa Twitter appears to have been talking about this guy, there’s no evidence that the punch was thrown by someone who’s part of that movement. And even if he was, the guy didn’t throw a punch until after the Nazi committed assault (see point #1).

Those Tweets quoted on Buzzfeed also suggest the Nazi was armed, which could add to the self-defense argument in point #2.

Is Nazi-punching right? Is it legal? As any role-player will tell you, there’s a difference between whether something is lawful and whether it’s good.

The “victim” has every right to press charges. But for some reason, he didn’t want to talk to police about the incident.

Was punching this guy a good thing? I mean, there’s a difference between comic books and real life. The Nazi was standing in front of some sort of tile wall. He could have struck his head on the corner after being punched, or when he fell to the ground. In other words, there’s a chance–albeit probably a slim one–that this could have killed him.

My country and culture glorify violence. I’d much rather avoid violence when possible. I think most rational people would. But there are times it’s necessary to fight, to choose to defend yourself and others. I think it’s important to understand the potential consequences of that choice.

Multiple accounts agree this man was harassing people on the bus, and later on the street. He was a self-proclaimed Nazi. Police say they received calls that he was instigating fights, and it sounds like he escalated from verbal harassment to physical assault … at which point another man put him down, halting any further escalation.

I don’t know exactly what I would have done in that situation, but I see nothing to make me condemn or second-guess this man’s choice in the face of a dangerous Nazi.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Rosh Hashana 5778

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:55 pm
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[personal profile] filkerdave

Tonight at sundown marks the start of the Rosh Hashanah and the year 5778. May all of you reading this be inscribed in the Book of Life for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.

לשנה טובה

My brain has been interrogated.

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:48 am
gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
[personal profile] gridlore
It has been said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I mostly agree with that, it's another variant of "know yourself" and other such truisms making it clear that you need to be in touch with yourself before you can make it anywhere.

I would like to point out that I did pretty well as a blissfully ignorant soldier and truck driver, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here. For the last few weeks, starting literally the day after we returned from Burning Man, I have been having my brain stretched by my neuropsychologist.

These evaluations and tests run the board from the kind of surveys that ask you about your feelings to tests of my ability to retain information to my critical thinking abilities and perception. The results, just from where I'm sitting, have been interesting.

Also exhausting. I leave these sessions feeling wrung out. Some of these tests are extremely hard, forcing me to really push my brain to manage them. Thinking can be hard work, especially when you are forcing yourself into areas that don't work so well due to some traumatic incident. Like a stroke.

So what have I learned just from my observations? My ability to retain and recall information is crap. I forget things really fast or lose them entirely in moments. This is even more pronounced when it comes to numbers. I simply cannot hold numbers in my head. This helps me understand why I am so bad with handling money these days. I can't keep the idea that we only have X to spend when I'm looking at an item that costs Y. Trying to keep those two figures is too much for me, so all I see is Y, and forget that X even exists.

This is why I ask Kirsten for permission to spend any money that isn't cash-in-hand. Even a five-dollar download for Civilization VI has to be cleared through her. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since I think it's good to have one person being the final word on a family's finances, but it can be annoying. I'm a 52-year-old guy who needs permission to buy a book. But we deal with it.

While my ability to retrieve information is shot, I am much more likely to recall information if I'm prompted. We've done several exercises where there were lists of words in pairs. Trying to just remember the words was almost impossible. But when prompted with the first word, I was usually able to give the correct response. Same goes for the long lists of single words. Trying to remember them was a wash, but when asked for them by a category, like "vehicles" or "furniture", I was suddenly able to remember far more of the words than when just asked for the list.

I've also done many tests designed to examine my reasoning. Mostly puzzles and following directions. I'm happy to say those features seem to be working well. But again, when numbers come in I start to flounder. I suspect that my life-long troubles with math have only been made worse by the stroke. Thank Halford for calculators.

Where does this leave me? I'm not sure. I'm waiting for Dr. Dahl to score my last few assessments to see if we need to do a few more to nail down my exact diagnosis or if we are ready to move ahead with a treatment plan for my depression and hair-trigger emotional swings. I'm good with either path. To me, the important thing is moving forward.

But oddly, the most telling thing about my psyche that I've learned about in these past weeks didn't come in a nice office, but at Burning Man. I've volunteered with the Porta Potty Project a few times. It's a team that does education about how to keep the 1,400 blue rooms on the Playa in good shape, goes around to make sure that each john has toilet paper, and locks off the ones that have been vandalized or, um, desecrated beyond usability. This year, I learned that we might become an official part of the team that runs Black Rock City, and I might be able to drive my truck as an official vehicle to do the necessary work at the banks that lie in the deep Playa.

The way the concept of being able to drive in an official capacity again hit me is hard to describe. I spent nearly twenty years in the transportation industry, most of that as a truck driver. Even if it is just driving a couple of guys and boxes of toilet paper around, it will mean being a driver again. It will mean being part of a team. It will mean I have that part of me back if only for one week a year.

Here's hoping it happens.
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Prairie Dog_10


I will discharge it in either your straw-colour

beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain

beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your

perfect yellow.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Abbreviated freshers' week

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:48 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Somehow all my freshers' week stuff was mostly crammed into three days, which is kind of nice since I'm done with it now, which gives me time for volunteering orientation, a passport interview, a doctor's appointment, and a weekend of being in Yorkshire because of Thought Bubble.

Overall it's gone pretty well. I was nervous of feeling out of place but I really haven't. Everyone's been nice and neither I nor anyone else has called attention to me being twice their age (though I have felt it, especially since I keep coming home and taking naps, and they've been going out every night according to scraps of overheard conversation).

I've done all the bureaucracy: enrolled on everything (except my language, working on that), got my student card, met my advisor, peppered my department's admin with questions...I've been to welcome talks and figured out where some of the rooms in the rabbit warren that is the building I'll be spending most of my time in.

I've made a friend! I went to this divisional "party" thing on Monday, which is where you stand in an echoy room with a bunch of other people standing inexplicably close together. This was on Monday so I was at my most self-conscious and sure no one would talk to me, but she just walked right up and did. She's called Kitty...well, she's not because she's Chinese and can't expect people to say her name. But she told it to me, Weijia, and I said it back to her and she said my pronunciation was good but I can't remember it now! She turned up in the group meeting with our advisor today, and we were happy to see each other.

I had my introductory meeting with disability services yesterday, too. Which was great, but kind of weird. I left it convinced that if I'd had even half that support when I first went to college, I wouldn't have to be trying again now. At the time I was still firmly of the belief that I wasn't mentally ill, I was just rubbish. So much of that could have been different.

But then if it was I might not have written so much that Andrew saw on LiveJournal and he wouldn't have been able to identify with me as much as he did and maybe wouldn't have wanted to talk to me and I certainly wouldn't have visited him here if my life had stayed on the track it was supposed to be on. Things would be so different down the other leg of the trousers of time that it doesn't bear thinking about.

Grackle

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Grackle_2


Grackle starting to think this isn’t St. Louis after all.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
autographedcat: (Default)
[personal profile] autographedcat
A lovely walk in the woods by a river...
A lovely walk in the woods by a river...

(Sitka National Historical Park)

Juneau, Alaska!

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:09 am
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[personal profile] autographedcat
Juneau, Alaska!
Juneau, Alaska!

(Mount Roberts)

A Blast From the Past

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:05 pm
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[personal profile] kevin_standlee
Yesterday, I had called to my attention the list of what we would today call the finalists for the 1956 Hugo Awards. The historical listing on The Hugo Awards web site did not include finalists because we did not have a list of them, nor did any of the other historical archives on which we based our initial load of finalists/winners. So I spent some time between the end of work and heading off to BASFA entering the data. (And for the most part it appears faithfully reproducing typos in the original, some of which I've now corrected.) So we now have the 1956 Hugo Awards page updated with finalist information.

It's important to realize that 1956 was only the third time the Hugo Awards had been presented. The 1954 Worldcon didn't present them after 1953 ran them. The Awards could easily have been a "one-off" thing had 1955 not decided to present them again, and 1956 continued them. However, in those far-off days, there wasn't a long document listing the rules for the Awards. The members didn't make the rules through the Business Meeting. It was all made up on the fly by the individual Worldcon committees, who as far as I can see could do as they pleased subject only to their own scruples and how they thought they'd be treated by their fellow fans. Thus you end up with variable-length finalist lists (and no indication of how a work/person made the short list), write-in votes, first-past-the-post voting, and (if rumors I recall reading can be trusted), cases where "close enough" was enough to generate a "tie." I don't know if that tie in Best Fanzine is "real" or not, and it's quite possible that we'll never know for sure.

As time has gone on, Worldcon's model for running the Hugo Awards has evolved considerable, to the model today where the rules are specified by the members through the WSFS Business Meeting, and the Administrators are expected to release just about every piece of information other than the raw ballots themselves. This is pretty consistent with an assumption that runs throughout the structure of WSFS, which is "I trust nobody but thee and me — and I'm none too sure of thee." We cede the bare minimum necessary to keep the organization running, and deeply distrust all central authority. This structure seems crazy to many people, and yet it has lasted for more than 75 years.

Russian Squirrel

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Russian Squirrel


Squirrel pondering his investment options.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Prairie Dog_8


I do digest the poison of thy flesh,

Being strumpeted by thy contagion.

Keep then far league and truce with thy true bed;

I live unstain’d, thou undishonoured.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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[personal profile] scarlettina
It's like clockwork around here: Labor Day comes and Mother Nature flicks a switch. Though Seattle summers are usually mild, this year, we're going from scorching hot days to cooler temps and now the rains have come. They started yesterday and continue today; I think we've seen the last of the sun for a while.

I'm not quite ready for autumn. I haven't changed over my wardrobe; I suppose that happens this week and weekend. Last night I changed my blanket from summer- to winter-weight. I don't have quite the right shoes for this weather; the boots that I've worn for three years now have got holes in them--perhaps not the quality I thought they were when I bought them.

And Rosh Hashannah is bearing down upon us with me, once again, not having tickets for services anywhere because I don't belong to a synagogue and because it's the busiest time of year for me at work. (Most synagogues don't know what to do with me anyway; they're set up for families, not for independent Women of a Certain Age.) I failed to get tickets for services at UW's Hillel, which I've done before. I live within walking distance of the local Chabad House (the only congregation in town that doesn't require a donation for High Holiday tickets), but I wasn't brought up Orthodox. And though their outreach is friendly and welcoming, I'm a little intimidated by the prospect of what will surely be a less-than-egalitarian approach to services. I'm not the sitting-in-the-back-row type. And so I'm once again a little bereft at this time of year.

And, as mentioned above, it's the busiest time of year at work, which means I've got tons of work to do, oftentimes overseen by a million managers, all of whom want to have check-in meetings to ensure the work is getting done. Which means talking to my actual manager about the irony of negotiating the work needing to be done versus attending meetings to report on said work. I can meet or I can execute; I can't do both effectively simultaneously. This year, it seems like it's worse than it's ever been. I keep putting off or declining meetings, and the managers who run said meetings want just five minutes, which often ends up turning into an hour anyway. And then I have to explain myself and my work to everyone. Especially irritating are the compliance managers, who insist that they don't have to be familiar with our website (on which I work) but then insist that I give them a tour to ensure I'm doing the work. It's maddening.

So, yeah. The turn of the calendar comes and the darker, cooler, wetter days, the busier days, come along with it. I miss living somewhere with a more gradual segue into autumn and winter. But every now and then we get a glimpse of the beauty that autumn can offer and I'm pleased.

Cow

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Cow


Some cows aren’t tall enough to lick the food out of people’s hands.


Some cows have developed workarounds.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

A, C, D

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:28 am
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[personal profile] lauradi7dw
It dawned on me the other day that the US issues that worry me most* can be summarized by the first few letters of the alphabet. There is so much going on that a frightening number of people are unaware that the ACA might really be destroyed in the next couple of weeks by the heartless GOP.
Short, terrifying summary (the vote is expected before a new CBO score could happen:
https://mobile.twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/908072873964826624/photo/1
Clear, almost snide opinion piece
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/09/18/on-health-care-cassidy-flunks-his-own-jimmy-kimmel-test/?utm_term=.692efd8a31ea

I called my parents' senators about C-G last week while I was in NC. I thought about going to DC today to participate in the rally outside the Capitol building (it's at 12:15, if you're around), but decided to send the money that would be spent on transportation by donating to organizations like Indivisible. Bernie's timing promoting single-payer, as is often the case, seems self-aggrandizing rather than useful. It's a good idea, but right now we need to save lives that depend on the current system.

Updated - saw on twitter that Senator Murkowski (R) AK is accepting out of state calls, so I'm on hold, listening to patriotic music played by a brass band, presumably one of the military bands. Hard to beat the Stars and Stripes Forever ( about the fifth song I heard. The phone answerer was surprised to hear that I was calling from MA, so maybe it was just a rumor, but I thanked her).

Or, alphabetically, (ADA), one could worry about the House instead, and oppose HR 620. That's a bad thing, but proportionally the effects won't be as (literally) deadly as Cassidy-Graham.
https://www.aclu.org/other/hr-620-myths-and-truths-about-ada-education-and-reform-act

And of course, there is the whole DACA business.

*(other than individual things like three people dying in a bus crash in NYC yesterday)
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