Thursday, July 20th, 2017 08:08 pm

Except some of it doesn't seem to be, o hai, I am now making an effort, it is more that various academic things (seminars, conferences, etc) that I had flagged up in my diary ages ago finally came up and were all within the space of a few weeks, I don't know, it's the 'like buses' phenomenon. And some of them I did do some social interaction at and others I just slipped in and out, more or less.

Have booked up, what I was havering about, the annual conference in one of my spheres of interest that I was usually wont to go to but have missed the (I think) last two because I was not inspired by the overall theme that year. And it's not so much that I'm not inspired by this year's theme, it's more 'didn't they do something very similar a few years ago and I did a paper then, and don't really have anything new to say on the subject', so I didn't do that, but I think that it would be a useful one to go to to try and get me back into the groove for that thing that the editor at esteemed academic press was suggesting I might write and talk to people (if I can remember how to do that thing) and hear what's going on, and so on.

Also had a get-together with former line manager, which between the two of us and our commitments involves a lot of forward planning, but it was very nice to do it.

Have also done some (long) and (a bit less) outstanding life admin stuff, which I both feel pleased about and also as if I haven't actually done anything, which is weird.

Did I mention, getting revised article off last week, just before deadline? and then got out of office email from the editor saying away until end of month. WHUT. The peeves were in uproar.

And generally, I am still working out what I do with the day when it does not begin with posting an episode of Clorinda's memoirs and go on with compiling the next one. Okay, there are still snippets to come, but they come slowly.

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 10:47 am
(At the library again.) The summer trees are all in bloom - clouds of pink and white, with little birds flitting among them.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 01:17 pm
Remember the 17th Amendment, the one that made it possible for you to elect your Senators instead of having them chosen by power brokers and current Senators? ALEC -- the American Legislative Executive Council, a far-right pressure group designed to influence legislation their way -- and the Koch brothers want this changed. They want to go back to having Senators chosen by other Senators. Which is not a good thing for any of us. This is a Bill Moyers story -- read it.

Okay, this next one needs a little history. In the Constitution, war powers are given to the Senate: only the Senate, on majority vote, can declare war. George W. Bush managed to get war powers transferred to him, I think in the Patriot Act. A Dept. of Defense appropriations bill was approved that included removing war powers from the President, giving them back to the Senate. After it was approved, Paul Ryan took that wording out of the bill, which had been given bipartisan approval.

ETA: A scientist blows the whistle on the Trumpists moving scientists to non-science jobs in the hope they'll quit, while leaving their previous useful positions unfilled.

***

A Friend from my Meeting is walking, biking and rowing/paddling the US. Here's his blog, about his journeys.

The finding of a 14,000-year-old settlement verifies the land claim of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Canada.

Armed redneck lefties fight fascism.

Marble helped scholars whitewash ancient history.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 08:57 am
I am reading The Geek Feminist Revolution, and it is making me think about heroes. Kameron Hurley, the author, has an essay about societally-based-in-the-1950s ideas of heroes (male, straight, white) and about how the only women who are killers and who could be considered heroes in movies are Thelma and Louise and Aileen Wuornos (in 'Monster'). She talks about Charlise Theron's Furiosa from the last Mad Max movie separately, and well, but Imperator Furiosa is not, overall, a killer. She may be one of the few women heroes who isn't propelled by rape -- once you look around, that trope is everywhere -- but her story starts with maintaining the status quo and ends with her having entirely overturned it.

(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)

So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.

(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)

(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?

(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)

Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.

Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)

Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.

Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)

Eowyn, also LOTR, is certainly a hero -- gets into armor, rides into battle, kills the Witch King --"No man can kill me." "I am no man." She also shows 'womanly' virtues by caring for the ailing king, her uncle, and mourning her brother. I would dearly love to see a story in which she and Arwen are hanging out and talking, since they are the co-rulers of neighboring countries. Peter Jackson has much to answer for in not having Faramir's courtship of and marriage to Eowyn in the movie. Yes, it was three hours long. It could have been three hours and five minutes.

I don't see Galadriel as a hero. Yes, she turns down the Ring. But that's it. Nothing changes for her after the movie -- she goes into the Weat, where all the elves were going anyway. She's a queen, a wise woman, a visionary -- but not a hero in these terms. And -- JRR Tolkien, why could you not have put Arwen and Galadriel in the same room *once*?

Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.

I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).

Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.

What women are your movie heroes, and why? (Y'all are forgetting to tell me why...)

ETA: It's a series, not a movie, but all the major women in Black Sails are heroes, in particular Eleanor Guthrie (who singlehandedly tries to keep the village of Nassau profitable), Max (who goes from slavery and prostitution to managing businesses, owning land, and not employing anyone enslaved), and Anne Bonney (who is a pirate, no excuses, no arguments, and who takes down a murderous thug who had already killed several men -- she noticed the shards of broken glass over to the side, and once she had them, it was as if she had her swords again.) They are all complex, complicated characters, who love and hate and make deals and make compacts and agreements and understand how their world works when many of the men around them don't.
Tags:
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 07:24 am
 
... reviews Dragonball Super, the (to me) very unexpected direct sequel to Dragonball/DBZ!
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 11:43 am
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Thursday, July 20th, 2017 08:50 am
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 10:12 pm
As I was sitting in the bathroom this morning, thinking, I noticed a very small spider, not much bigger than an ant, had let itself down on a strand of web from the ceiling, and stopped at eye level with me, just a few inches away. We watched each other for a bit. Eventually it started climbing back up toward the ceiling and I went on my way to face the rest of the day. I saw it as a good sign.

I went into work today to put some time in on the curriculum revision I am working on. I finished the revision part, and got a ways into the new content I am adding. This is for the community IV therapy course we have our students complete. I talked to my boss about it a bit, and she told me she was going to get me some funding for the hours I am putting into it. She's great like that.

I spent about 5 hours on the project, then came home and read one of my Hardy Boys books for a while. As things stand in the book, they just got arrested for mail theft and are in jail on a $50,000 bond. I can't imagine they will be able to get out of this, but there are subsequent books, so maybe.

chocko on the table

Chocko basks in the late afternoon light on the breakfast table. Don't tell Malida.
Thursday, July 20th, 2017 12:36 am
via [personal profile] twistedchick

it's free, they even give you supplies necessary to take care of the kitten.

all you have to to is feed them, care for them & clean up after then for a few weeks.

not sure how to take care of a kitten? humane society silicon valley has a 2-hour orientation & will give you the phone number of someone that will answer your questions.

this article has all the info, including links the the HSSV page & calendar with the next scheduled orientation.

if you're not near this place, check with your local shelter, they might have a foster program of some sort.

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 11:15 pm
I worked hard but well today. After work. I walked in Glendover Park. I read the sad news that Senator John McCain contracted brain cancer. I read someone's semi-snarky tweet about his condition. I nearly responded with my disapproval, but refrained. I wish people had a little more heart sometimes.  I learned a better new thing this week--an old friend's cancer went into remission. I re-watched the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie on television.  I listened to the "Ask Noah" podcast. I read a journal entry from Christmas Eve 2014.  I thought yesterday how much I love Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Recuerdo".


breakfast: instant oatmeal
lunch: BBQ chicken breast, green beans and a roll
dinner: baked salmon, roast potatoes, and green beans

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 09:10 pm
I've gotten feedback from several directions lately that the way I hold space for people, having been in hard places myself, is healing. "Life-changing," one person said. "A blessing," someone said today.

It's good to know that standing with people, saying, "Yes, that's hard. I see how hard you're working. No, you didn't deserve that," helps them. Because really, that's all I can do. I'd love to reach in and magically make them feel better, but that's not how this works. Sometimes people have done all the hard work, tried all the different solutions, and it still hurts. "You get to feel how you feel," I tell them.

I wish I could find that for myself. Someone who's been in the hard places, done the hard work, and can hold space for me to be exactly how I am right then. I tried a therapist the other day, and she seemed knowledgeable, skilled, compassionate - and distant. I don't think she's been there. I think she's helping from the outside, and that's not what it feels like I need.

The thing she said that resonated the most was wanting tending and care. Wanting to learn how to rest. I'm not sure what kind of practitioner helps with that. I picked "solace" for my word of the year, and I think this is what I was trying to get at. I forgot all about it for a while, but I'm starting to keep it in mind again.

I've been tired all the time for months. I stopped reading Twitter. I started taking my vitamin D & iron regularly again. I'm going to try not eating any rice (the only grain I eat) for a week. I do get sleep and eat well and exercise regularly. I want to enjoy my days rather than toughing them out.

(Not looking for advice, but your own experiences are welcome if you feel like talking about them.)
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 09:04 pm
America is Regressing into a Developing Nation for Most People by Lynn Parramore.
In a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, draws a portrait of the new reality in a way that is frighteningly, indelibly clear: America is not one country anymore. It is becoming two, each with vastly different resources, expectations, and fates.


20% of US folks are thriving, if they're in FTE (Finance, Technology, Electronics). 80% are not. We kinda knew that, but it's good to see it laid out clearly. Having a tech job part of the time lets me see both sides.

Bonus link: Finding love that doesn’t hurt: Keeping yourself safe in the aftermath of abuse by Artemisia Solstice. Makes the excellent point that we can find a way out of repeated abusive relationships by committing to self-care. As we treat ourselves well, we will require that others also treat ourselves well.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 08:34 pm
It will come as no surprise to my Gentle Readers that I'm a "wee bit" obsessional. Part is my medical training, part is my Army background, and part is, well, uh, just always been that way. Believe it or not, Evil Secretary is worse than I am.

Most of our billing is paperless/cashless via the Quebec Medicare system. There are some sundry charges. Even today, some people actually pay cash for them (ask your grandparents, younger generation), plus there's always some need for petty cash in an office, so we always need to have on hand a number of small bills. For time-to-time, when I'm at the bank, I pick up a packet of small bills. Banks usually give you the money all facing the same way, and ordered by denomination. (Although I've noticed they've been getting lazy about that "all facing the same way" thing. Bah humbug on modern life, those slackers.) One time, some years back, I'd dropped the envelope of neatly-arranged bills, and being a hurry, just stuffed them back in willly-nilly. When I got to the office and handed them to Evil Secretary, she accused me of deliberately messing up the order to play with her head. No, I didn't have the time to do that. She then immediately started to put them in order. At that time, Canada was in the middle of changing over the design of the bills, so there were two different versions of most denominations in circulation. I realized that she was not only facing them all alike, and putting them in order of denomination, she was separating the old and new billls of the same denomination. I laughed at her for that.
"Oh, like you don't in your wallet?" she asked indignantly.
"No."
"I don't believe you," she scoffed.
"Really."
"I don't believe you. Give me your wallet."
I handed her my wallet. She actually pulled all the money out of it, and rearranged it. She wasn't joking, it really bugged her that my wallet wasn't in the "proper" order. I almost fell on the floor laughing.

Today, I brought in another packet of small bills for petty cash (all $5's of current design). She grabbed it and started checking if it was in order, "good, you lined them up already."
"It came that way from the bank. What are you going to do now, put them in order of serial number?"
"No," she scoffed. A moment's quiet shuffling of paper. "Hey, they are in order of serial number." She was actually delighted - and yes, she had actually checked when I'd teased her.
I looked over the bills. They were sequentially numbered. They must have been from a series of new bills that were being put into circulation. Regardless, it actually made her day that the pettty cash was in perfect order for once.
Bwahahaha.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 01:21 pm
I saw the mostly white cat again, so he/she hasn't moved after all. But the main consumer(s) of the catfood on the porch now seems to be one or more tabbies; I'm not sure whether the brown tabby and the silver tabby are the same cat, but one is apparently living under the bush by the front steps. So we may have a barn cat again.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 01:19 pm
At the library again.

I'm pleased to glimpse that one of the local houses that sold recently has had the line of ratty sheltered parking spaces at the rear replaced with an actual backyard. Lawn and stuff.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 02:16 pm
Yes, yes, I said I was walking away for a while -- and then we got wall-to-wall contractors (today, stonemasons and the installer for a new garbage disposal, and possible another beyond that) and I have to be here.

ETA: Got the new disposal, but the pipe needs to be snaked *below* the disposal, and this was discovered after it was installed. Plumber won't come till Friday. We're going to eat out a lot.

Anyway, now you suffer through a few links I tripped over:

Let's look at matters educational (or not):

School should be impractical. hmm.

Women's colleges may say they support women, but that doesn't always show in the way they treat adjuncts.

As paperwork goes missing, student loans may be wiped away.

Predatory programs aren't just from for-profit colleges. Look again. One of them is at Harvard, the American Repertory Theatre Institute. And as a result of people learning that ART Institute burdens students with tons of debt, that program isn't accepting admissions for the next 3 years.

In theatre, seeing your own face, your gender, your ethnicity on stage is important. It can, in fact, be magic.

Marriage and Brehon law in ancient Ireland. And all 10 forms of marriage are listed.

Media:

Ken Burns is doing a documentary on Vietnam. It's taken 10 years -- he's done a lot of interview, and nobody agrees about anything. He wanted to avoid the old tropes and the old narrative, and here's why it was difficult. And it starts in September.

Disney wants to acquire a new generation of Star Wars fans.

Behind the scenes of The Last Jedi.

The voice of Kermit the Frog has been fired.

Arundhati Roy on writing, life, politics and the air we breathe.

TED: Life lessons from writers.


Black Lives Matter:

If you don't know Ida B. Wells Barnett, you should.

Why I'm leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.


Trumpery and WTFery:

The real plan is to cut legal immigration.

Jeff Sessions was the guest speaker to attorneys from the rabid Alliance Defending Freedom, and he made them some promises: he told them to go ahead and impose their Christianist beliefs on unbelievers, LGBTQ people and more.
Money quote:

In all of this litigation and debate, this Department of Justice will never allow this secular government of ours to demand that sincere religious beliefs be abandoned. We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs. And they must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.

Note that he is promising that the entire Justice Dept. will back up this behavior.

This town melts down.

Something good: The House rejected an Islamophobic proposal that would have required Muslims to receive special scrutiny from the Defense Dept.

Something not good: Trump only plays golf on courses he owns. When he plays at the course along the Potomac, wounded veterans doing on-the-water rehab and Olympic kayak and boating teams are banned from the water for security.

A lawsuit forced Trump to hand over the secret Mar-a-Lago guest list to three watchdog groups.

The closing of the Republican mind.

Yes, Trump Tower is being used for money laundering, according to the eighth man in one of the meetings with the Russians. *looks out the window* I can almost see the grimy soapsuds from here.


None of the above:

Oops!

400 soldiers from Maryland that disappeared during the Revolution may have been found, in NYC. And no, they have not been on a bender the whole time.

Sacred architecture, not necessarily welcome.

Polyamory, not necessarily unwelcome.

How a hunter-gatherer diet affects the body. Also thoughts on decolonizing your diet.

Climate change is making Native people adapt their rituals. And would a revenue-neutral carbon tax slow it down?

The Kitten Rental Program is saving lives.

The defiant, refugee-loving history of New Mexico.

Is R. Kelly holding women against their will, in a cult?

To be a genius, think like a 94-year-old.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 08:22 am
I went to meet with one of the women's groups that's just starting up at my Quaker Meeting last night. And something happened that I both did and didn't expect.

I didn't know what to say. behind cut for length )