(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:46 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
apologies for TMI but I keep injuring myself in ways that leave scabs like Lake Baikal and within a few days the edges are all ready to be done but the center is still very strongly attached.
Maybe I need body armor.

Nun preaches the trans gospel.

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:51 pm
sistawendy: (stern nun)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Remember that five-minute version of "How to Change Sex the Easy Way" I was working on? Well, I delivered it last night.

Lesson #1: If you know you're going to be speaking in a hall with excellent acoustics for unamplified music and not a small, dead room, you'll want to talk slowly. I didn't go quite far enough in whittling my 45-minute talk down.

Lesson #2: Talking fast makes some mics - in this case a cardioid headset - crackle. The sound techs asked me if I could talk slower. You know, this talk I'd practiced several dozen times with precisely 15 seconds per slide. 'Not so much,' I thought. They dispensed with the cardioid; luckily they had two other headsets.

Lesson #3: Microsoft Powerpoint needs to be banned. Like so many MS products, it doesn't seem to understand "I want it here."

The talk itself went OK. I almost failed to notice one slide transition, but the boozed-up audience helped me out. I think I got the point across that my way was the easy way by far, even though it wasn't that easy. It seems to have been well received.

Mine was one of two queer-themed talks. The other was an excellent talk by a bi woman about, well, being bi. It was nothing new to anyone who knows (vast thundering mobs of) bi people as I do, but it was stuff that did need to be said.

Oh by the way, there as an adorable lesbian from Arizona who delivered a talk about her guinea pigs. No, really. I hung out with her a lot at the party afterward, natch.

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:27 pm
threemeninaboat: (Default)
[personal profile] threemeninaboat
I got asked more than once today about how somebody gets 17 contact lenses stuck in their eye.

I'm betting they were Acuvue Dalies, the crappiest of all the lenses. They fold, shatter, and get lost really easily in there. I stopped wearing them because I couldn't find all the tiny pieces in my eyeball and that's my job.

drive-by weekend

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:28 pm
sistawendy: (smoldering windblown Merc alley)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Poutine and mighty fine absinthe at the Gainesbourg with J & R Friday night. It's almost as if they're keeping their killer selection a secret - you have to ask for the list, at least these days - and they've got the best stuff in town. Strange.

I attempted to have a date with Much Younger Woman at the Merc on Saturday night, but she bailed at the last minute due to brain issues. Le sigh. I'd even dressed sexy.

Was a sleepy zombie yesterday, but still managed to take care of business. Currently at StartupCo's annual conference. Grenade is here again. Much excitement tomorrow and the next day, some of which will take me away from my son. I'm not pleased about that.

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:34 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
So let me tell you...
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Today was my grandmother's 100th birthday party.
N was feeling awful so I did some cleaning around the house, pulled fistfuls of hair out of the tub drain and grape-sized clots out of the sink drain, and then headed down to the middle of nowhere, where my aunt and uncle live in a very expensive house in a gated community, and my grandmother lives in their basement.
She was really together. She's been getting foggy the last couple of years, but she and I got to have a couple long conversations that stayed on topic. She gets a bit aphoristic if I don't lead the conversation, but I think that's because she hangs out with my aunt way too much.
My very conservative but pleasant uncle got into another long intense conversation with my very liberal aunt (from the other side), which seems to happen every time everyone gets together. He's conservative as in his brother made a half million dollars writing Left Behind imitations and his family disowned another brother who announced he was gay but going to spend his life celibate so as to not sin. Apparently celibacy wasn't good enough. My aunt is liberal as in got a degree in Chinese history in 1970 at UC Berkeley. Again: no idea why the two of them talk so much.
I got to see my cousin's ex-wife for the first time since the divorce four years ago, as she brought their kids over to drop them off. She's looking like a tired redhed-going-grey housewife, which is an improvement over last time I saw her, when she had jet-black hair, a very short skirt, and knee-high combat boots, as part of her effort to keep the marriage together. (Which must have driven her crazy: literally her entire immediate family works for James Dobson/Focus On The Family.) She took off pretty quickly when my cousin showed up with his new girlfriend, who has jet-black hair, a very short skirt, and knee-high bright green leather boots.
anyway. Grammy was okay. We talked. I talked a bunch to my cousin's kids, who are all really cool.
I drove home and went out to the shop to start working on machining a test fixture for a new product for Mad Scientist Hut. I set up the thousand-dollar sprinkler while I was doing that. (You know those old sprinklers like tractors that drive across the lawn, following the hose? I found one in an alley, brought it home, we used it, then we had one of those springs where it's 35C and the grass is all brown and dying so I water it and the next day we get a knee deep snowstorm and while walking the compost out to the pit I managed to step on the free trash sprinkler and break one of the arms off, so I went and bought a metal lathe and fixed the free trash sprinkler, so it's the thousand dollar sprinkler, yo.)
So the sprinkler's running and I stick my head out to make sure it hasn't gotten stuck and there are three kids half-running through the yard, sobbing, which means a dog has gotten away and they are trying to catch it. This is a regular event.
Of course I join in. These kids are really young. Well, everyone less than 18 looks like they should be wearing diapers, pretty much. But I think these kids were really young since they couldn't jump off the retaining wall between my house and Ray's, and it's only a meter and change high.
We all piled through that and headed towards the church, where I saw the dog.
It's a huge german shepard. Huge. I think I could have put two of these kids on it.
I can't outrun a german shepard.
I tried, though.
And I'm a lot more canny than it, because I've caught 30-something dogs over the last few years.
It of course ran straight to the main road where all the traffic is and started running down the side of the road. I crossed the road and started running along behind/beside it, because it was definitely scared of me. That way, it wasn't going to run INTO the road.
I paralleled it until it got distracted by a smell, then got ahead of it and started moving back towards it, so it reversed course. My thought was either I'd chase it back to its kids or up the hill away from the road. We did both at various points. Eventually the three kids, two joggers, and I managed to corral it in someone's yard and one kid got her hands on its collar and we all headed back to the church.
Where we found kid number four lying in the grass making horrible noises.
She claimed she was having an asthma attack.
As a long-term asthma person, I'm pretty sure what she was having was a panic attack.
But not the time to screw around.
So I chucked it back into high gear and ran home, got the car, and drove back, at which point other family members were there, but she couldn't walk and nobody in her family had the oomph to do much about it.
I picked her up and carried her to her mom's car, and they drove off.
Whew.
About ten minutes later, the first three kids showed up again. One of them had lost her cellphone in the shenanigans and they were retracing their steps.
As we were looking around my yard, another kid said "what do you have in that weird little barn?"
I said "a bunch of broken bikes."
She said "huh. Can I have one?"
I had to explain they were all 40 year old bikes, too large for her, with no wheels or seats.

Then I finished the test fixture, went grocery shopping, made dinner (Marcella Hazan's chicken breast sauteed in butter/lemon/parsley) and am just right now finishing it, sitting down while not driving for the first time since about 11AM.

Book review: Life of Johnson

Jul. 14th, 2017 03:15 pm
gfish: (Default)
[personal profile] gfish
The first quarter of this was pretty good, being a standard biography of Samuel Johnson. (The dictionary guy, that one.) Unfortunately it then hits the point at which the author (Boswell) became friends with Johnson. From that point on, it's a never-ending series of anecdotes, mostly with the goal of demonstrating just how cool it was that Boswell was such close friends with such a great figure. The density of the material increases non-linearly as we approach the end of Johnson's life, ending with pretty much every letter he wrote in the last year of his life.

I stalled out a bit under 50% last December, but I recently dove back in to finish it off. It definitely was improved by >1 playback speeds, and I was able to go as high as 2x without any noticeable loss of absorption. Helps that it was pretty breezy material for the most part, and I'm now wondering if the narrator was unusually slow to begin with.

I was a bit surprised just how turgid this book was. It's quite famous for inventing the modern biography. I guess I'm just glad it was the more grounded and human, less hagiographic aspects that caught on with other authors, not the obsessive day-by-day chronicling.

As often in pre-modern contexts, I can't help but wondering if their friendship had a sexual component. I think I have some very close friends, but I really can't imagine expressing my deep affection for them in the overtly romantic ways that Boswell and Johnson regularly did for each other. But is that just a modern tendency to view everything through a sexual lens? Certainly the open acknowledgement of homosexuality has been a mass-extinction-level event for the expression of male-male affection in my culture over the last several decades. I don't know how to begin to detangle my own cultural programming in this instance.

With this finally finished, I'm getting to the end of the Great Book series. (At least all the ones I'm ever likely to read. I doubt I'll ever be up for Plotinus or Aquinas, for instance.) I have a bit more John Locke on my Kindle right now that I'd like to get through, and I suspect I'll eventually get around to all 120 hours of Gibbon's Decline and Fall, but that's it. Oh well! It's been convenient, having a big list like this to work from, but it's not like there is any shortage of other things to be read.

some good political news from WA

Jul. 14th, 2017 11:20 am
sistawendy: (butterfly)
[personal profile] sistawendy
I just learned, a week after the fact, that "bathroom bill" initiative 1552 did not get enough signatures to be on the ballot here in Washington state. This despite the 1552 proponents' ties to deep-pocketed national organizations including the Family Research Council, and all the lies they told to get signatures.

How did I miss this? Not reading enough in Zuckerberg's data mine, probably. I can't say I regret that, though. My son, who usually finds out about things later than I do because I'm a Twitter addict, knew before I did but didn't tell me, which now that I think of it is kind of weird.

How did it happen? Sure, trans folks had an organization in Washington Won't Discriminate, and I know I've done what I can to throw cash and raise awareness. But mainly I think it's because the mighty, the awesome Evergreen State doesn't suck.

Will it happen again? Probably. It happened before with I-1515, and witness how long-lived Tim Eyman's odious career has been even years after it largely stopped being successful.

I have taken the anti-1552 sign down from my front window, and cancelled my vandalism plans.

ETA: I'm kind of hoping there will be a victory party like the one for 1515. That was fun.

my son; my speech

Jul. 13th, 2017 02:27 pm
sistawendy: (amused eighteenthcent)
[personal profile] sistawendy
I made dinner for m'boy last night, which wouldn't be noteworthy except that I hadn't done so in about a month. After dinner, as I did the dishes, he scoured the neighborhood for the latest issue of The Economist. Happiness. I do wish, however, that he would walk instead of drive because my neighborhood is walkable and not that well supplied with parking. I'm afraid living on the east side (of Lake Washington, i.e. Seattle's eastern suburbs for you non-locals) taught him some bad habits that he has yet to unlearn.
I've been practicing the bejeezus out of a five-minute version of my talk "How to Change Sex the Easy Way" for a series of talk to be delivered at StartupCo's annual marketing conference next week. The founder of the company asked me to do it, and I wasn't about to say no because of him, me, and all my trans peeps.

Twenty slides, exactly 15 seconds per slide. It's kind of brutal. I've had to ditch a lot of the emotional content of the original 45-minute talk that I think is the best part. I'm a tiny bit worried that the talk won't go over well even if my delivery is right on. All I can do now is polish the delivery.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 06:36 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
Our power was out all last night, so I didn't get a chance to update anything.
And I was just starting to make an adapter so I could stick a 12v DC motor intended for electric bikes onto a cycle trainer so I can generate pedal power. Unfortunately, it takes a lathe to make the adapter.

returning to the nunly normal

Jul. 11th, 2017 12:31 pm
sistawendy: (mad woman)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Back into the work groove, which always involves fighting fires more than it ought to.

Lambert House last night. I finally got around to asking the director, Ken, what to do about folks in trans group who suck all the oxygen out of the room. This is a frequent occurrence, and I'm not proud to admit that I've never really known how to deal with it, so I didn't try.

Also, I told Ken about my tabling at Pride, especially that people wanted to know about the house's financial situation. He was hoping he could get some pro fundraisers on board before he had to message that, but he might have to reconsider, he said; props to him for being careful. As usual, I got an earful about incompetence and skullduggery at city hall, and stuff I need to do to the database to protect the house from it. I'm on it, but only time will tell if it's soon enough.

The Wendling is back with me for four nights to make up for when I was at Critical. I'd barely seen him for two weeks. Yeah, I missed him. He put his clean laundry away before I got home without needing to be reminded. That made me inordinately happy, and I told him so.

Other things that make me happy:
  • Making plans with the Siberian Siren to make plans for the Folsom Street Fair.
  • Planning a date with Much Younger Woman.
  • Getting a record recommendation from the Tickler that I have no doubt is solid.
  • Hearing from Ex that an old college chum has tracked me down, but doesn't yet know about my sex switcheroo.
mimerki: (anarchy)
[personal profile] mimerki
Today's random question: Does one take notes directly in the book or not?

What do you do, oh readers?

I have been both of these people. I am typically not one to take notes directly in books anymore. I was in college. My ex was adamant about not (to the extent that we had a fight about the fact that I had in books of my own before we met). I still do in textbooks (my Japanese textbooks are pretty marked up), but not usually in other books.

(no subject)

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:30 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
We went over to Old Town to visit the library, played a bit of Pokemon, and had a bit of ice cream. My main phone has died so I'm using my backup phone, which became my backup phone when the screen burnt out so it's visible in dark conditions but I can't see anything on the screen in sunlight, so it was sort of guesswork Pokemon. When we were in the library, there was a girl in there on a plastic tricycle, racing her brother across the library. Aiee.
Anyway, then we drove the Spitfire over to the grocery store, because I'd run out of eggs, potatoes, and other sundry items making breakfast. When we came out of the store there was a very small, old man trying to do something with his Lexus, which he'd obviously just rammed into the back of someone else's car, and then pulled into the parking lot beside the Spitfire to try to repair enough to drive home. The bumper was on the ground, as were some of the electronics, like the headlight module. He was trying to put the bumper cover on the hood and then attach a bungee cord from the steel subframe that had supported the bumper, up over the cover, around it, and back down to the same subframe. Of course, the result is that the bumper wants to hang from beneath the highest point at which it's attached. He clearly wasn't going to make much progress. I finally walked over, helped him hold up the bumper so he could try to attach it, and then grabbed a dropped bungee and attached it to the shock tower, well back in the engine compartment, around the bumper cover, and to the bumper steel, so it was at least held in place. He looked at it, sighed, and handed me the other bungee cord, which I did the same thing with on the other side. I hope he made it home.
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