Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 09:13 pm
A mourning dove has been settling in to the same hanging plant pot on the front porch, then flying off in terror when one of us comes near. But no eggs this time.
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 01:53 pm

What I read

Josh Lanyon, Fair Game (2010) m/m romantic thriller (I guess), following a rec from someone somewhere. It was okay - though I'd fingered one character as at least dodgy and concealing something quite early on - but I'm not inspired particularly to continue reading the series.

Robin Stevens, First Class Murder (2015).

On the go

Simon Brett, The Killing in the Café (2015).

Charlie Fox, This Young Monster (2017): 'hallucinatory celebration of artists who raise hell, transform their bodies, anger their elders and show their audience dark, disturbing things'. I did that somewhat reprehensible thing where one sees something in an indie bookshop that one should be supporting, and then goes away and gets the ebook a) because it's cheaper and b) because Boox We Are Too Menny and I am trying to cut back, not with entire success, on introducing more actual books into the household, at least until I have undertaken the long deferred purge.

Up Next

Dunno: I am in that state of mind vis a vis reading in which I have a massive tbr pile that includes things that I definitely want to get to, and yet keep getting distracted by other people's recs, thing I picked up in the charity shop, etc.

Oh yes, and had a thought that one of the reasons I did not get on with that Patricia Craig book was that our tastes do not seem to mesh: she either did not read or disliked some of the canonical works of my childhood, and liked things about which I was meh (I never got on with Just William, one would like to think that I already detected the misogyny, but I think it was the style that turned me off in my youth).

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 09:19 am
Happy birthday, [personal profile] thatyourefuse!
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 10:05 pm
I started to feel like I could get caught up at work today. I didn't have a lecture in the morning, and got a lot of stuff done. Since I don't have to go to clinical for the rest of the semester, this week is the beginning of the downhill slide toward summer break.

I answered some emails I was putting off, and posted my lecture notes for tomorrow. I fixed a preceptorship issue. I looked at Facebook. I took my lunch to the park across the street from the college and talked to myself about all the new greenery sprouting up all over. I spoke the word "nascent" out loud, and then wondered what it meant. I realized that while talking to myself, I used a word I didn't know, which was kind of strange. I looked up, "nascent", and found it appropriate. I made a Facebook entry about it.

I had a rare afternoon lecture with the 3rd semester students. Back when I first started teaching here, the 3rd semester Med-Surg teacher asked if anyone could take a couple of her lectures. She is the Department Chair and does all sorts of other things, in addition to being my officially designated mentor. So I offered to take a few of them, and have now been teaching them for about 3 years. Breast & prostate cancer and HIV. I like both lectures, and it gives me an opportunity to get to know the class I will have next semester.

I almost always have some connection with someone in the class, and this class was no exception. One of the students is the sister-in-law of someone I trained in the ICU years ago.

In 3rd semester lectures, the students are assigned to give a short presentation at the beginning of the class. I love watching them present. Some are really good, others not so much, but it is always nice to see teaching in its infancy.

The presenters for this class talked about the concept of "breast cancer fatigue" which is a condition that affects breast cancer survivors. At the end of their presentation, they passed around a bag with some treats for the students. I didn't pay much attention, as I was cueing up my own presentation.


In addition to chocolate, they passed out small tigers and zebras and giraffes and such. As I was talking, I noticed these animals on the desks. By the time I noticed, there were none left for me. I was bummed that I didn't get one. I'm failing all of them next semester.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 09:35 pm
Today is Tuesday March 29th.
Got up this morning, packed for Ukiah, did a little garden work.
At 11:15 left for my dental cleaning and checkup. I'm pleased to say that everything is good.
Tazlina and I left straight for Ukiah.
Got the last three items to finish the sprayer repair. Then realized I had to fix the electric fence at the Iris Barn first. The tenants had managed to kill the battery through a combination of ignorance, neglect and a lot of fast growing greenery. Sigh. I was concerned that the fence charger was dead as well. The new charger couldn't be put in the place of the old charger as it was just a bit too close to some overhead high voltage lines. They weren't a problem for the old chargers, but the new ones have fancier electronics that could be affected. The new chargers also need more ground rods, a total of four, six foot rods driven completely into the ground at the new site. I had three mostly driven in, but they all needed to go down one more foot into sticky hard clay. It took a lot of pounding with a sledgehammer. I managed to break one of the "acorn" connectors that fasten the wire to the ground stake. The replacement wouldn't fit over the top of the stake till I had filed off the edges where the sledgehammer had splayed it out.
Once the ground stakes were in and wired up I installed a wire under the gate leading to the east. I think that east fence line (which is falling apart) is the very first fence built way back in about 1985. It has needed electricity run to it since then!!! A little later it was extremely satisfying to see a young steer start to stick his head through the fence and push on it. Oops! He jumped back and trotted off shaking his head.
With a new battery and the fence charger housing moved, it was time to check the fence and weed whack under it. The first fence I mowed under clearly hadn't even been connected to the electric fence charger. Walking around the old arena revealed half a dozen young cattle and the bull, all in my horse pasture. The youngsters gaily walked through the fence. A quick glance showed that this fence too never been connected to the electricity. The bull was one fence further in. Tazlina and I opened a couple of gates, made a big circle around the bull and started moving him slowly toward the open gates. He was pretty good, eventually seeing his way out and trotting happily back to the cows. One of the important things is never to really pressure bulls. Give them plenty of time to think about what to do. Usually they will back down and move away. It was almost full dark before I had the fences pounded back, connected and the electricity on. Bet they don't go through those fences again!!
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 06:19 pm
The irises are valiantly flowering amidst the tall grass, oxalis, clover, and other wildflowers in the backyard. We had a nice sunny, breezy day, so I almost filled the washing line, and ran the mower through the prairie.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 08:21 pm

Yet another case in which a bloke who has committed significant violence against a woman, of which there is no possible doubt, walks free (well, suspended sentence) apparently on the basis that it would ruin a promising career if he went to jail. (Which it does turn out he was somewhat less than truthful about.)

And okay, I have been seeing these sorts of cases for a very long time now, and one might even have hoped that this sort of thing would have come to an end -

And we note that it is very, very rare for anyone in the legal system or even in the reporting, to express any concern over the damage done to the woman's potential through injuries, long-term effects of trauma, etc.

So, I was thinking about this, and what came to mind was a famous 'gotcha' argument popular among the anti-abortion forces c. 1970 or so, which was to posit a particular case of mother with several children, family straits, disease, and when anyone remarked that it seemed a clear case for termination would go 'aha! you have terminated Beethoven!' (there may have been other instances: that is the one I remember).

Because women's lives have no value except for the male offspring they bear... (though statistically, very few of those are going to be Beethoven*).

A thought which would have led me to hurl against the wall, except that they were library books, far too many works of sf/fantasy in which a woman underwent various adventures and travails and this was not to fit her for her own role as The Chosen One, it was to get her in place to bear The Chosen One.

*Given all the relative advantages in terms of education and parental investment, relatively few men have ever been Shakespeare/Newton/Beethoven/etc. I will also reiterate here my argument that Great Male Leaders were not necessarily able to outwrestle all the men they lead, it was not about simply physical superiority.

Monday, March 27th, 2017 08:43 pm
I had an interesting and unusual dream last night. In the dream, I was transported, somehow, to an alternate reality, in the present day. I met my parents, both old, but still married to each other. The walked toward me on a tree-lined street and we stopped to talk. They were holding hands. They accepted the fact that I was from another reality without any real explanation. I mentioned to them that in my reality, they had divorced in 1968. They looked sadly at each other, as if the remembered how tough that year was for them.

In my reality, it was a tough year for me--probably one of the toughest of my life. It took me a long time to move past the trauma of my parents' divorce.

They told me that in their reality, I had gone to college right out of high school, and had gone on to become a physician. They advised against meeting myself, because apparently I was somewhat of an asshole.

I was unable to get back to my reality, and was sort of left as a refugee in theirs. I had no papers, no history, no money, and no way to make a living. They arranged to have the alternate me give me $100,000. My plan was to buy a nice camera and a new identity, and move to Thailand.


Jimmy, the newest addition to my desktop posse.

The faculty had a class on gerontology today. We are required by the board of nursing to maintain certification in gerontology, and this was our recertification. It could have been a boring 5 hours, but it wasn't. It was fascinating. The facilitator was engaging, and knew her stuff.

The facilitator was someone I had met years ago--almost 30 years ago, back when I was a brand new nurse. Back then she taught a seminar that I attended, and I always remembered her. I didn't immediately recognize her today until I was introduced to her. I mentioned that I had met her way back when, and that she had made an impression on me. We talked for a while about teaching and such.

As she taught our class, I had the strange sensation of seeing her both as she was then, and as she is now. It augmented the discussion on aging.

What did I learn about aging today? That it shouldn't scare us. We don't become different people when we get old. We stay who we are. Nurses tend to have a distorted picture of aging, as we see a lot of sick old people. Sometimes it is good to be reminded that that is not aging--it is illness.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 05:23 pm
Eric Schneiderman, the NY attorney general, is accepting calls to investigate Trump's violations of the emoluments clause and EAGERLY tallying up public support. He doesn't care whether it comes from residents of New York or other states.

Staffers recommended we call AND e-mail, (212) 416-6218 and e-mail address:

Your message only needs to say: "Hi, my name is [ ] and as a concerned American, I urge you to please investigate President Trump's possible violations of the Emoluments Clause."

(That's the clause in the Constitution that says that the President may not enrich himself because of his office while serving as president.)
Monday, March 27th, 2017 03:47 pm
When I hear someone say, "The White House says..." I don't buy it. Not because someone who is temporarily in that structure might or might not say whatever it is, but because what they're saying should not always have the psychological weight -- the assumed gravitas -- it acquires from being said from within that place.

What is that place? A building, constructed by slave labor from wood and stone and glass, built to be impressive but also built to be a public official's private home. It has had laundry hung indoors from lines stretched across meeting rooms when the weather was wet and the sheets *had* to get dry. (The weather can be wet in that particular part of downtown in summer more often than elsewhere; it has to do with land contours, prevailing winds, and the affinity of humidity for places near major waterways -- the Potomac, the Tidal Basin, even all those reflecting pools. Thunderstorms that turn the sky purple-black can come up out of nowhere sometimes, and afterward it's still as humid as before.)

It's been rebuilt and reworked every few years, sometimes by necessity; Harry Truman's beloved piano was heavy enough that it nearly fell through the floor of the room it was in (damp rot, anyone?) Also, it was rebuilt from the original pale yellow structure after the War of 1812, of which it was a casualty. There is a swimming pool, and a bowling alley, a cafeteria and a catering center. There are guest rooms and historical rooms where previous occupants said or did things. There are public and private areas in a building that is, at least in a titular way, public.

It is just a building. Those who say things, all of them, any of the things, could be out on the lawn instead of in the Oval Office with the blue rug and the changeable eagle (yes, characters on "The West Wing", I do check to see which way it's facing). They could be outdoors under the cover of the portico. They could be in the so-called War Room or the hyperconnected command center downstairs. They could be in the bunker underneath the house itself -- what a message that would make!

The White House does not say anything. Neither does its West Wing, regardless of the TV series. Neither does the Senate wing of the Capitol, or the House wing. Neither do the Senate or House office buildings, whose longer formal names I forget.

The only people who let buildings do their talking, or try to, are ones who don't have the nerve to take credit for their own words. It's a political maneuver, to give them deniability. It's also dishonest.

The White House doesn't say a damn thing. Remember that, the next time some bloviating newscaster alleges that it does. If it did, it might say something entirely different from what the current occupants and the officials and anyone else might expect. But that would not make the news, would it?
Monday, March 27th, 2017 12:25 pm
On the way home I consented to answer a survey for a VTA employee. He must normally work at the natural gas recharging station or something, because he was woefully ignorant of the buses: he had left his bag unattended on a seat, so strictly speaking I should have informed the driver of a potential bomb, and when I agreed to answer his questions he clearly didn't know the route (of the 22, far and away the most heavily used bus because it's the only one that runs frequently and reliably enough to be useful to many people. And doubles as the homeless hostel on wheels). He also had trouble with the concept that I caught a bus at 7 am from work, but I expected that. The VTA as a whole is clueless about how their services are used; instead of surveys, they need to ask their drivers. I declined to answer any personal questions, but at one point he asked me whether I was Hispanic (he was, judging by his accent), and when I said no, asked me "What are you?" I said "I self-identify as white", but of course only thought after I got off the bus - I should have said Declared.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 06:50 pm

Mixed martial arts is the fastest-growing sport on Earth.... what does this bloody spectacle say about the world we live in?

I don't know what, if anything, it says about the world we live in, but that article suggests to me someone who does not know a great deal about the history of sport/popular entertainment - I am like, o tempora, o mores, what are these days when somebody can write an article on fighting as spectacle and not name-check gladiators in the Coliseum? Infamy, infamy, etc.

I am totally given to wonder what a person knows about the history of sport if they can write this:

Victorian rules of football and rugby codified an attitude towards team play that made sense in the factory and on the battlefield.
Victorian rules were the imposition of a disciplinary structure (where is Michel Foucault when you need him?) on the rather more freeform sports constituting various kinds of football: which pretty much combined the football and the hooliganism in one package.

See also, boxing before Queensbury: not that boxing in its present form doesn't have significant risks, even if they're long term ones about brain damage rather than blood on the floor.

I suspect that there is a significant history of sports starting as something close to a brawl and gradually developing rules, rather than the rules coming first.

On a somewhat less extreme level, beach volleyball has that pattern of informality to codification.

I am also, why is he not, if not doing historical analogies, linking this woezery to a loooong tradition of dystopian fiction? - because the concept was not a new one in The Hunger Games.

Monday, March 27th, 2017 09:58 am
Did another quick trip to Ukiah on Saturday Mar 25th.  Marty drove thank goodness!  Company!  My goal was to get the sprayer all ready to go.  It was just a tiny bit too wet to spray, so I concentrated on getting oil in the new engine, topping up the oil in the pump and putting on new hoses.  While replacing the hoses I remembered that when the old plastic elbows on the spray booms failed I'd replaced them with galvanized fittings, which really was a bad thing.  Chemicals, by their very nature are caustic and both booms had badly rusted.  Rust is bad enough in water pipes, in a sprayer they shed bits of rust and plug up the spray nozzles repeatedly.  Today I called Wyatt Irrigation and ordered nice new brass elbows and hose barbs.  The old brass fittings elsewhere on the spray rig look perfect.  It is kind of exciting to get the sprayer all fixed up.  Poor old thing had gotten really run down over the last 19 years!

Clara was at the Red Barn and asking where to move the horses next.  We walked out over most of the available fields and looked at them, talking about what was growing on them and how suitable they were for grazing.  Filaree is poking it's little needle like seeds up all over most of the ones by the arena.  Clara had never thought of seeds as "grain" before....  Eventually we fenced off the back of the Goat pasture and turned grateful horses into knee deep grass.  I thought Clara and her husband were wonderful, they helped untangle some really nasty electric fence rope, and got the temporary fence up in the Goat pasture very efficiently.  She also seemed to get the concepts of why we do rotational grazing.

Sunday was another day of work at the St Francis putting in yet another corporate event.  JC, M and Donald went to see Into the Woods.  I really wanted to see it, but...  We all went to dinner at a nice Italian place after the show. 

Today I'm at liberty until this evening when my nephew Will and his son have invited us to dinner with them.  They are touring through looking at colleges.  Gardening, paperwork and some studious reading of a lighting board manual are on my agenda.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 12:36 pm
Finnish Weird an online journal of fiction and commentary by Finnish authors. ETA: the link has the English translation, so you need not brush up on language skills before reading.
Sunday, March 26th, 2017 09:18 pm
Seagulls were screaming and wheeling over the street as I walked home from the bus this morning, and rain began to fall, but it stopped after only a few drops.
Sunday, March 26th, 2017 08:21 pm
Today was pretty much a typical Sunday. Malida woke me up at 6:30 and said, "Lets go out for a walk," then rolled over and slept until about 8:30. I got up and made coffee, and did some homework until we actually did go for a walk at about 10:30.


It was kind of cloudy, but not raining. We were surprised by how much greener everything is than the last time we thought everything was green. It's like someone pushed the saturation bar all the way to the right. There were lots of friendly people out walking today. Everyone said hi to everyone else.

As usual, after our walk we went to the noodle place for lunch. I decided to get some chow mein with crispy noodles instead of pho. It was really good, and a nice change. I have enough left over for lunch tomorrow. Sarah, our regular server stopped by to chat for a bit.

After we ate we went shopping for the week. We were thinking about having spaghetti this evening, but felt too full from our lunch, so I bought a big artichoke, which is what I ultimately had. There is a recent law in California that the grocery stores can't give you bags anymore. You either have to bring your own or buy them for $.10 each. I'm ok with this. Hopefully it will keep some plastic out of our landfill. I always forget to bring our reusable bags, though, so I pay for paper bags. I use the paper bags to collect our recyclables.

The checker asked if I wanted to buy bags today, and I said I did, and specified paper. He asked how many, and I said, "however many it takes". It seemed to throw him a little. I guess he is used to having decisive customers who can say, "two bags!"

I met with my small school group this afternoon to go over our group assignment. We are doing a powerpoint presentation on something. I got all my slides in this morning, including the one that describes the hype cycle. One of my classmates took the time to critique my slides and change stuff she didn't like. Unfortunately, her attention to detail on my work prevented her from completing her own, and none of her slides were done. She drives me crazy. I am glad this is the last ever school assignment I will ever have to do with her on my team. Grrrr.

We have a four-hour class at work tomorrow to update our gerontology certifications. Whee.