Link Love

We’ve now hit the point where it is as bad as I thought it would be back in 2016.  We did delay them for two years.  This could have happened a lot faster.  And even more terrible things will keep happening if we don’t step up (read this about how apartheid happened in South Africa).  I’m going to another protest today in the hot Southern sun, because that is something I can do.  I don’t want to.  I hate protesting, but every call we make, every additional protest sign, every donation, every person we get to vote, even every tweet or post slows down the horror that is currently happening and saves lives.  I am overwhelmed and back to getting my news through a few twitter feeds, but every morning I do a political action.  I’m trying to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t change.  There is nobody to save us but ourselves.  We cannot be complacent.  We must fight.

Something folks in both red and blue states can do to fight is to call their senators or visit them to keep a horrifying supreme court justice from being installed.  Here’s indivisible’s guide to that.  Folks with Democratic senators should be really clear that they don’t want their senators to play nice.  Folks with Republican senators need to make it very clear that there are levels to which the Republicans will not be allowed to stoop.  Now is also a great time to look into your local elections and see who is running and how you can support the good people.  Look at swing states and see who you can support in those states as well.  SwingLeft is a great resource for that (here’s how to join).  And be sure to look into contested elections outside of the senate as well– governors, deputy governors, attorneys general, these all can have lasting impact federally as well.  State legislators and reps can determine how gerrymandered districts are and how difficult it is for people to vote.  State-wide political signs are popping up all over my neighborhood, something I haven’t seen in 8 years, and unlike 8 years ago, they’re all for Democratic candidates.  Another list of places to donate to help immigrants.

Bardiac talks about going to a Republican town hall in her state

Immigrant toddlers ordered to appear in court alone

ICE spokesman quits after being ordered to knowingly lie.

National guardsman:  Immigrants are “lucky we aren’t executing them”

Boston public schools helped ICE to deport children

Resistance ramping up

The legitimacy problem arising out of the interaction of mccconnell/garland and Russia and the 2016 election

How about it?

Arguments about civility are never symmetric.  It’s always, you must bend over backwards while I kick you where it hurts.  It’s:  you can’t politely tell someone they are not welcome to be served in a restaurant, but then death threats to the restaurant workers are just fine.  (#restaurants4sarah) We want more pies in Nazi faces, more prosecuting death threats.  Also, keep not dating neo-Nazis/fascists.

We must protect Due Process.  No one is safe.

Do you have Plan B?

Turns out women actually do ask

Unpopular policies in visual form

Diversity in silicon valley?

Barbie Robotics Engineer

DC1 is having some trouble understanding why geometric proofs are so picky and seemingly convoluted.  I dug up this list of jokes.

Oxford comma

Quotes from this season of the bachelorette

This isn’t completely accurate, but mostly so.  (Ex, you still owe SS and Medicare with a part-time job!)

The changing disutility of work

HSA

Let your browser tabs cheer you up with puppies and kittens

 

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Ask the grumpies: scar, mole, or tattoo?

Leah asks:

Scar, mole, or tattoo?  Any cool stories surrounding those?

#1 has a lot of scars (mostly on my hands) and a lot of moles and no tattoos.  I keep meaning to write up a thing about why I will never have a tattoo or get my ears pierced or really do any sort of body ornamentation.  I suspect in another society it would be considered a psychological disorder.  Fortunately in this society nobody notices the absence.

I don’t know that I have any cool stories.  My moles were merely one of the reasons I was teased as a child.  One scar is from dropping a brick on my finger at swimming (we had to bring bricks up off the pool floor).  Another scar is from breaking a glass with my wrist when play-wrestling one of my college almost-boyfriends (I think he found me smart, physically attractive, but annoying).  My largest scar is from when I got a linoleum carving set for Christmas and the carver slipped and cut my left palm open from edge to edge.  I probably should have gotten stitches, but my grandma was a nurse and just bandaged it up.  I think could see my tendons.  I almost passed out–maybe I did.  I still used the set later and made some pretty nice Christmas and Birthday cards, just with heavy duty gloves.  I have a lot of memories from childhood that probably should have been traumatic but I was very good at dissociating.

#2:  I have no cool stories. Sorry.

 

What are we reading?

I read a novella called River of Teeth. It was super fun! A caper. (“It’s not a caper! It’s an operation.”)

A great middle-grade graphic novel is Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. It’s about how it’s hard to make friends and being friends is cool, but sometimes complicated.

Greenglass House, by Kate Milford the main character is a 12-year-old boy who lives with his parents in an old weird huge B&B.  Snowed in over winter break, he and his friend start LARPing a D&D campaign in the inn! THERE ARE SO MANY MYSTERIES maybe a secret identity or two, I dunno.  It had a satisfying ending.  The second book is also good, though it drags a bit.

You should read Ladycastle by Delilah S. Dawson.  There’s references to Hamilton, Oracle from the Batman universe, Beauty and the Beast, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Monty Python.

Someone to love by Mary Balogh was pretty boring, and has a bit of unnecessary cultural appropriation.  I guess it’s the first in a series and she’s introducing more interesting characters than the two main ones.  I dunno.  Sadly there is absolutely nothing original about the book (even the cultural appropriation) and the hero isn’t fleshed out enough (or the sex scenes sexy enough) for it to stand on merits other than plot.  Someone to Wed was better than Someone to Love.  It’s the third but for some reason the library got it before the second, so I requested them out of order.  Worth a library read, but not a purchase, I think.  The second book, Someone to Hold, started off strong with a really great heroine (someone finding herself), but the hero was meh and the romance was rushed.  It would have done better to meander and grow throughout rather than have sex and misunderstandings.  Another worth it from the library but don’t need to own.  The fourth was also fine, but not great, so I’m glad our library is invested in getting Baloghs when they come out so I can try without having to buy.

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne could have been good, but it wasn’t.  Also:  this is the second “lady auctioneer tries to save auction-house despite her older brother’s whatever” plot I’ve read in the past month.  The other one was better.  The main failing of this one is a hero who deliberately ignores the heroine’s express no, which somehow is supposed to be fine when it is the hero.  In a sort of meta thing, once she does surrender she loses her voice and herself and the book becomes all about him.  Pretty blah.  I wouldn’t have finished if it weren’t for wanting the missing brother thing to be resolved.  But then that was resolved off-screen, so… I assume book 3 or 4 has the actual on-screen bits.  I’m not sure if I want to bother or not.  Probably not.  :/  I mean I’ve read worse, but…  Right now I’m feeling the need to reread a regency in which we discover that consent is super sexy.  Sooo sexy.

The Lightning-Struck Heart. Gay humorous fantasy. It’s hilarious but also packs in a surprising amount of emotion. However be prepared for MANY sex puns. It has excellent dialog among a group of friends as well as between the love interests. When I first started reading it, I was like, this is too cutesy to live. But it turned out to be good. Sadly the second turned into a weird anti-Trump thing and just wasn’t that enjoyable.  The first one’s still brain candy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Buncle’s book. It’s in the Pippa Passes line of literature which I generally enjoy (like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day or Cold Comfort Farm). Very fresh for something written in the 1930s (there’s some stuff that is a bit dated, but overall, surprisingly fresh for something that was never made into a movie!).

Kelly Bowen is my newest love.  You should all get Between the Devil and the Duke. It has a plot, mystery, and adventure! blackmail! intrigue! highwaymen! military veterans! businesswomen!(plural!) It is a little bit sordid and it does have a few sex scenes if you’re not into that. The hero falls in love with the heroine early in the book when she asks him to choose between different mathematical scenarios, which, not coincidentally, is when I fell in love with the book. And it has a completely satisfying climax and denouement. I now need to get the rest of her books even though my library only has 3 of them. (I’m buying this one.)  The first two in that series (Duke of my heart, A duke to remember) are fine, but not as good.  They’re also more sordid and have rape (including child/teen rape) as a back story but don’t go into much detail.  Note that with all three of them, historical accuracy is not a priority.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is an odd but fun romp.  The hero isn’t particularly likable or multi-dimensional (your standard brooding Duke) and if you care at all about historical accuracy this one is not for you (there are Star Wars jokes!) but it’s over-the-top silliness makes it worth at least a library read.  Just don’t start it expecting anything serious. Cosplayers! Bats! Secret passageways! Ermine!  Total brain candy.

I enjoyed Cat Sebastian’s latest, Unmasked by the Marquess, but I know it really wasn’t that great a book.  Like, I kept reading it and thinking about how amazing KJ Charles is.  And yet, it was silly and unbelievable, and I do not begrudge the $3.99 I spent on it nor the fact I will probably reread it some day.

I gave up on two library checkouts:  Six Impossible Things by Elizabeth Boyle which wasn’t bad, but also wasn’t any good.  I tried, but I just could not care and the book needed editing.  Books like these make me really appreciate imperfect books like the Cat Sebastian or the Tessa Dare above– silly, unbelievable, but at least one likable believable character in each (most of the main characters in the Cat Sebastian were likable).   Couldn’t get into Jane Ashford’s Once again a bride.  Skipped to the end and wasn’t impressed by the ending and decided there was no point in trying out the middle.  I had gotten lucky with my last few new tries.  Now I have to decide whether it’s worth paying money to take a chance of the Kelly Bowens I haven’t read yet or if I should try more of what my library has to offer even though that sometimes means spending more time looking for books than actually reading them.  (Or I can reread some that I already own– there’s one book that I really want to reread but I can’t remember which one it was!  Right now I’m thinking maybe it was one of the temptation books by Lauren Royal, but maybe it’s a Loretta Chase that I never purchased… I don’t know!)

It’s summertime!  What are you reading?

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Sad update on Little Kitty, and no kitchen renovation this summer

Little kitty has had repeat ear infections for a few months now.  After the last round of treatment, she suddenly started losing her balance when walking.  We left her at the vet and the vet found a tumor in her ear canal.  A biopsy showed (a week later) that it was malignant.  The surgical specialist we were referred to did a bunch more tests (~$1.6K worth) including a CT-scan and determined that the tumor was very large and in a bad position in her ear (the bottom of the ear canal L) and had caused additional bone growth.  That means it was inoperable.  The tumor itself was slow-growing but had started to affect the nerves on her left side.  We were given the choice between radiation treatments which could not shrink the tumor or stop it, but just slow the growth.  She would still have all her dizziness.  And there’s no research with numbers telling us how much time the radiation would buy us or how effective it is without surgery (there’s a lot of research on radiation in conjunction with surgery, but not radiation by itself).  The other choice was hospice at home.  And they would give us good drugs to ease her pain.  With Little Kitty being 15 years old and having difficulty walking, we opted for hospice.

They did quote some prices for the radiation therapy, but I forget what they were (we’d pretty much decided before the vet brought up prices and were grieving pretty hard when she mentioned them).  I think maybe a couple thousand for the 5x treatment and ~6K for the 20x treatment, but don’t quote me.  But even if it were free we would have made the same choice.  If the radiation could have shrunk the tumor and brought her straight walking back, we would have paid it.  But we wouldn’t have paid an infinite amount– DH and I discussed earlier what our limits were… more than 30K we wouldn’t pay, under 10K we definitely would and would only consider what was best for Little Kitty.  In between 10 and 30 we’d have to think about it.  I feel guilty about this– if it were my children I would mortgage the house and go into debt if we needed to (heaven forbid), but our beloved 15 year old Little Kitty… no.  She is more important than a kitchen renovation (or a new car), but there are limits.

In any case, I don’t want kitchen repair people around the house with Little Kitty doing hospice.  She deserves peace and quiet and treats and chicken and time curled up on the sunny patio.  And headbonks and love.  New counters can wait.  Not all decisions are determined by money.

We love her so much.

Link Love

Let’s start with things you can do to help before getting into the why we need to help.

Here’s scripts from Celeste Pewter.  (You can also check her twitter account daily for things to do.)

The Texas Tribune has been doing an amazing job of reporting on the migrant situation.  You can donate to help support them here.

Here’s something an invincible summer is doing.

The next big protest is June 30th.  See if there’s one in your area.

Suggestions from Slate

Here’s a letter that academics can sign

(The rest of wandsci’s thread is worth reading as well– she asks, where’s your line and gives some suggestions for things you can do.)

When someone (*cough* the Atlantic *cough*) says that what’s happening now isn’t the holocaust, remind them that the Nazis didn’t start with gas chambers.  Here’s a compelling thread showing the parallels between now and 1933.  We must fight.  We must stop it while we still can.  It isn’t the holocaust *yet* and we’re the only thing keeping it from happening.

In case you were confused about what’s been happening, here’s a thread from the Texas Tribune from before the EO was signed.  The Texas Tribune is doing really amazing reporting and explaining on recent issues.

Reveal News report documents that immigrant children have been forcibly injected with powerful psychiatric drugs at a US gov’t shelter outside of Houston.

Reports of physical and verbal abuse against migrant children in at least 3 federal detention centers

Separated children headed towards shelters with a history of abuse

Members of congress are barred from talking to children at border patrol facilities, they cannot take photos, and they must give two weeks notice before visiting.

Children get their stuffed animals confiscated when they are taken into custody.

10 stages of genocide

Not the onion…

GOP bills to lock up families together are fulfilling the Trump Admin’s wishes

Psychologically damaging children is the goal

We are torturing children

If you missed the audio of crying children separated from parents and Border Patrol agents joking about it… you can link to it here.  Heartbreaking.

An American citizen discusses the effects of family separation

There is no decency

Dads get organized to fight for sensible gun control legislation

Data visualization on distressed communities

Yet another PF blog thinks about families

Fear prevents Hispanic citizens from using government benefits for their kids.

LGBT dance party for Mike Pence

The only good kind of civil war reenactment— Buffalo soldiers won’t you come out tonight?

You can donate used clothes in good condition to hospitals.

Congrats to donebyforty!  (We left a message about diapers, but apparently it got eaten)

Nono the foster bulldog

Pandas

 

Ask the grumpies: If you could travel anywhere without any hassle, where would you go and why?

Solitary Diner asks:

If you could travel anywhere and not have to deal with practical considerations (cost, vacation time, hassle of actually getting there), where would you choose to go and why? You can choose to do an adults-only vacation or a kids involved vacation (or one of each if you’re feeling really inspired to write).

#1:

  • Back to Italy! Alllll the Italy. I haven’t finished eating every foodstuff they make there yet. There are more things to see. It’s beautiful!
  • Wales. Lovely countryside, history, Hay-on-Wye.
  • Probably some other places. There are other places I would like to visit or re-visit, both abroad and closer to home. Being able to teleport there would be a plus.  [Ed:  except for that whole teleportation as murder thing]

#2:  I still have not been to Italy and I would very much like to go on an eating tour there.  Just not enough to deal with the practical considerations of doing so yet.  Watching Solitary Diner’s recent travelogues, I’m also considering the benefits of just popping over to France to eat.  Really I just like to eat amazing food.  DH is considering a trip to Seattle/Portland for our 20th anniversary because we’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest.

RBOC

  • Lately I’ve been feeling a bit creative about foods.  For example, I recently decided to make savory pancakes with Northwoods seasoning (similar to Emeril’s, but available from Penzey’s– kind of a paprika thyme garlic salt mix) and no sugar, just eggs, flour, a little olive oil, and seasoning.  We also made a roasted red pepper dip that I really want to add sour cream to and use as the base cream for a vegetable tart which would be like a fruit tart but with roasted veggies instead of fruit and this red pepper cream instead of custard.  Maybe puff pastry on the bottom.  I wish we still had easy access to WW puff pastry squares with butter like we did back in Paradise.
  • When dealing with blog/internet drama, we often ask, “What would Scalzi do?”  That’s generally a good guide.
  • I made the mistake of looking at the youtube comments on Georgy Girl (the song) and they were full of misogynist men ranting about feminists and how songs like this were so wholesome (and to go to the Ukraine to get wives because they’re totally subservient)… but… Georgy Girl (the movie) is one of the least innocent movies I’ve ever seen.  Maybe these commenters see themselves in the position of the creepy rich old man at the end (more likely they just don’t actually know anything).  (Georgy Girl is definitely a movie that works as a cautionary tale for women to never be dependent on a man!)
  • I’ve noticed my OCD tendencies gradually getting worse.  I suspect this has to do with feeling like I have no locus of control with world events.  So nameplates need to be centered and teas need to be organized and categorizing things is even more soothing than usual.  (Looking at my home and workplace you’d never know I had these tendencies unless you looked at my spices or my bookcases.  I am a very alphabetized slob.)
  • My fear of crowds has also gotten worse since I had that panic attack at the first women’s march.  I had to do CBT breathing walking around a dealer’s hall at a spec fic convention in a nearby city, which is something I haven’t really had to do before because the level of crowding didn’t used to hit my panic-meter (unlike, say, amusement parks during the busy season).
  • I am excited that wide pants are coming back (at least where I live– my most recent trip to the east coast shows they’re still wearing skin-tight pants) and that ripped jeans are in and that it’s summer.  This means I was able to unearth my favorite pair of jeans that got put into storage many years ago because the knee is ripped across and I am a grown-up.  They are SO COMFY!  And fashionable!
  • If you hate a lot of people, chances are I am one of them.  (Not counting the hate we should all have for fascists and racists and Nazis.)  Except #2 likes me, which is the exception that proves the rule.
  • Obviously the room labeled “Quiet Area” is where you go to have a conversation. Of course. Because it’s quiet.
  • DC1 was in the “worst” (and largest) of 3 orchestras in middle school this past year.  Zie was kind of upset because zie had hoped zie would at least make it into the middle orchestra after the previous year, even though zie started a year behind (in 5th grade zie played trumpet while we were on leave instead of violin).  Zie worked super hard this year, practicing at least 30 min/day every day and doing more pointed practicing (zie read the intro to “Practice Perfect” and a lot of what hir previous orchestra teacher had been trying to say about how to practice finally made sense), and we got a better (and very strict) outside teacher who started teaching hir basic stuff like how to correctly hold a bow.  (DH and I both played brass so we are completely clueless when it comes to strings.)  Zie is one of TWO kids moving from the enormous “bad” orchestra to the smaller “best” orchestra.  (Most of the movement comes from the middle orchestra to the small best one or from the best players at the previous school.) We weren’t expecting this outcome at all– DC1 had been hoping to make it to the middle orchestra and is worried that zie isn’t ready for the small elite one, but we have 3 months and lots of summer lessons for hir to get ready.  I’m super proud at how hard zie has worked.  :)
  • The fourth child (third daughter) of DH’s relative is going to graduate from high school a year early (!) and has definite college plans.  She wants to be either a teacher or a journalist, but probably a teacher (because her top choice state school isn’t the journalism school but has a good teaching program).  We told the relative not to bother with community college since she’s state-school eligible and we would 100% foot the bill.  We’re trying paying for high school summer camp for her even though that didn’t work out well for the oldest when we tried 7 or so years ago because of homesickness.  But they are different people.  And if there is homesickness, I guess that will help make the community college or not decision.  It would really be nice if the last two kids get degrees right out of high school.
  • i made chicken tetrazzini (cooking light style) and I really liked it.  It was a real comfort food which is odd because it isn’t one my family made, but definitely a midwestern potluck staple.  So much comfort food that is out of style these days.  I did leave out the pimiento and increased the mushrooms and roux (with milk in place of water) instead of using a can of cream of mushroom soup.  So updated a bit and the cooking light version had more veggie than the tetrazzini of my youth.
  • I saw a high temp forecasted for tomorrow and I said, I kid you not, “Holy schnorkles!”  I do not know what has happened to my words.
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