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Viable Paradise is now taking applications for 2010. It would be awfully hard to explain how much I look forward to helping staff VP every year, unless you've been there yourself--in which case, I likely don't need to explain. And by golly, the apps have already started arriving, too -- which is just so COOL!

So I have just tuned the acoustic guitar, (got a capo for Christmas!) and set about learning this, in time for next year's VP:

There are a lot of words. The Archie Fisher version has even more than the Stan Rogers version--so again, really a lot to memorize. But! Fun!

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Here's the most beautiful smith in the world, we're told.

I dunno about that, though I have a more than passing fondness for women who blacksmith - but she damn sure does beautiful work.

The artist's name is Cal Lane. And the metalworking stuff she's doing is

 (I was looking for a jellyfish for [ profile] avocadovpx , but ran across this, instead -- and haven't been able to stop thinking about it.)

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Here's me, wishing you joy, peace, and love.


And this, too, because it's so very cheerfully obnoxious it sort of makes me wrinkle my brow in horrified bemusement, and laugh, all at once:

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Happy birthday, [ profile] ellen_fremedon - may the year be filled with joy, friendship, fanfic, curling, and light.
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Good Samhain, all.

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One of the things I like about XKCD is the ironic meta-commentary that happens on multiple levels.

However, I don't actually know any women who wish the complete stranger but-cute boy on the train would talk to them. Women are trapped on trains and buses, until the vehicle stops. A woman is typically a lot more aware of whether the creepy guy from the bus is following her to work, than whether or not the "cute boy" -- who is nonetheless a complete stranger -- will ever work up the nerve to talk to her. So the XKCD strip? It isn't a scenario I can even imagine a woman writing.

I happened across this particular strip from a comments thread link, following this post:
Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced

Although the writer makes a number of assumptions with which I'm not in complete agreement, she also makes a some points that bear discussion and reflection, and sharing with your friends and acquaintances. And in the comments thread, before things go all to hell, woman after woman makes the point that she tries very hard to pointedly read her book or look out the window -- and inevitably, when some guy tries to make conversation, she's braced for him to escalate things to "Jeez, I'm being nice, bitch - what's your problem?"

From the post linked above:

Now, you want to become acquainted with a woman you see in public. The first thing you need to understand is that women are dealing with a set of challenges and concerns that are strange to you, a man. To begin with, we would rather not be killed or otherwise violently assaulted.

“But wait! I don’t want that, either!”
Well, no. But do you think about it all the time? Is preventing violent assault or murder part of your daily routine, rather than merely something you do when you venture into war zones? Because, for women, it is. When I go on a date, I always leave the man’s full name and contact information written next to my computer monitor. This is so the cops can find my body if I go missing. My best friend will call or e-mail me the next morning, and I must answer that call or e-mail before noon-ish, or she begins to worry. If she doesn’t hear from me by three or so, she’ll call the police.

It brings to mind a number of thoughtful posts I've seen from men, the last few years, as well.

Joss Whedon on "What's wrong with women?" wrote:
I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.

Jim Hines wrote:
How pathetic is it that, in our culture, the only thing you have to do to be a good guy is say, "Hey, one of these days I'll write something about rape." Even that sort of vague, empty comment about rape is enough to make you stand out. Because that's already more than most guys seem willing to say or do.

From an essay on, called Feminism and Joss Whedon: Men, Women, and Dollhouse:
We are taught, as a collective society, that women’s bodies are public property, and that they are always available for sex [Emphasis added]. The female body is an object of collective social consumption, not something which is private. While people may argue that rape is viewed as socially unacceptable, our entire society is structured around the idea of female availability, which is one of the reasons why many women and feminists have reacted so strongly to the troubling themes of personhood, body, and agency in Dollhouse. Even the perception of rape in the real world is complicated, which makes a reading of the events on Dollhouse far from simple. For women and feminists, the show is skirting dangerously close to a reality which already exists, a world in which women’s bodies are assumed to come with consent attached and in which grey areas are automatically not rape. In perhaps the most classic example of how this plays out in the real world, it is assumed that rape cannot take place in a relationship, because consent is built into the structure of the relationship, which means that the body is always available for sex, even when the body’s owner “isn’t there” in the sense that she is drugged, or drunk, or asleep. Even when she explicitly denies consent, it is not rape, because, in the eyes of society, how could you revoke consent once you’re in a relationship?
I'm thinking a lot about women, women's bodies, and sexual politics in SF, partly because I'm reading Bear's Carnival, and thinking about how to go about writing a long essay about the book as a sort of ironic meta-commentary/response to the 20th century feminist utopian novel tradition.

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There's a new article about the mounting evidence that she died a castaway on an island in the Pacific:

"For years, Richard Gillespie, TIGHAR's executive director and author of the book "Finding Amelia," and his crew have been searching the Nikumaroro island for evidence of Earhart. A tiny coral atoll, Nikumaroro was some 300 miles southeast of Earhart's target destination, Howland Island."

The story of her life and her disappearance has fascinated me since I was a child, and first read about her.

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It's right around 40 degrees, this morning; chilly, damp, and gray.

Had a lovely walk, and got to pet other people's dogs. Sunday morning seems to be the "take my new pup out for socializing and trail-manners work" day.

And! Pictures of the bay!

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I'm 4474th against discrimination by health insurers. Women deserve equal coverage for equal premiums.
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What you'll need (flexible sort of a list):

A bag of mixed dried lentils/beans
A couple of onions
A bunch of garlic, according to taste
olive oil or butter (depending on audience)
Some variety of winter squash
veggie stock/broth
curry paste
coconut milk
(at VP I use the "lite" variety)
mixed greens: kale, collards, chard, spinach, etc

Rinse then soak your mixed beans and lentils overnight, drain, cover in veggie stock and pop into slow cooker or kettle on lowish heat. Cook for a long time. At some convenient point, clean and peel the squash, cube it up, and toss into pot with beans. This should be a fairly thick mixture, after cooking down. Toss in a pinch of cayenne. Or two.

Slice your onion and garlic into desired sizes and shapes. Saute in butter (or olive oil, if you're worried about that sort of thing) until transparent. At some point, when you happen to think of it, put a big old glop or three of curry paste into the onions while they cook. Keep the heat low enough you don't burn your spices. I usually go hunting for cinnamon sticks to throw into the cooking onions and garlic, too -- and when I can't find them, I resort to a pinch or two of the powdered cinnamon that seems to live in every American kitchen, regardless of region. You can also omit the coconut milk, and instead crunch up a couple of spoonfuls of coriander with a mortar and pestle (I eschew food-processing. Mostly because I just think it sounds nasty) to add to your spice mix, cooked with the onion and garlic.

When onions are transparent and fragrant with spices, add into your bubbling lentils/squash mix. Core and quarter those sorry-looking tomatoes in the veggie crisper, and toss them into the pot, as well.  Taste. Add more curry paste, if need be. And cayenne. Add in coconut milk, according to your personal level of fondness for coconut milk.

Wash and coarsely chop your mixed greens, and add to the pot about five minutes before you're ready to serve. (Over way more cooked rice than you anticipated needing.)

Full disclaimer: This will never happen the same way twice.

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Uploaded to Flickr, here. Cheers!
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Unpacking is odious. Much more odious than packing. However it's really lovely to be home, and my cat isn't even punishing me, she's so happy.

Meanwhile, my avoidance activity list includes catching up on my friends list, and taking internet quizzes I usually avoid. Via [ profile] gryphynshadow:

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

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Laundry first, actually, then packing.

And I must make a decision regarding the guitar, because I fly out for VP in the morning.

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This? This is very, very cool. Extremely fun to watch. Now I must go out and buy a case of Rust-Oleum paint.

And maybe a panel van, to go with the case of paint...
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Mary Travers has died.

My mom had all their records, stuck in the very back of the big console record player, with her previous name written with indelible marker, using careful and pretty cursive, on the album covers.

I asked about those albums, once. The resulting conversation was one of those odd and slightly disconcerting experiences that result when children discover that a parent was complete human being, with stories of her own, before having children.
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Questions from Jay Lake.

A brief health care survey from behind the cut for my non-political friends who can't stand the idea of talking about this any more.But if you're interested in talking about it... )
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I just realized I leave for VP in less than a month. Mostly because Kate Salter pointed it out to me... *g*

Good lord.

Also, I need a haircut. Again. The stuff grows like crazy, and I'm noticing distinct shocks of gray. Close-cropped should be kind of salt-n-pepper awesome, until it sun-bleaches out into hairs-of-indeterminate-color again. :D

And there are red pears, which are yummy, because it is Autumn.
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There are times that it would be perhaps nice to be a wee bit more linear than I am.

For example, when driving somewhere new, or even newish? Sometimes it gets boring, so I depart from the approved route. Which, y'know, people have been known to find alarming, irritating, or even just . . . odd. And sometimes I end up somewhere completely else from where I intended to go.

This isn't usually too much of an issue, if I'm driving by myself, except it often means a later-than-planned arrival. Or if I'm driving with someone else who is also a bit non-linear. Which is how Cory Doctorow and I missed the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. And then how come Cory got left on foot in Wood's Hole, when I took the NEXT ferry to Martha's Vineyard. Because, well, he got out of the car and wandered off to look for coffee. (It all turned out fine! See? It works. You just can't get all tense about that kind of stuff.)

But when doing stuff like server and software upgrades? Turns out following the map is a REALLY good idea. It's not that this stuff is a completely unintuitive process, of course, but it's more like a Choose Your Own Adventure than it might ideally be. Thank god for people who know a lot more than I do.

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