Cave Cricket

Sep. 25th, 2017 02:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Cave Cricket (Ceuthophilus gracilipes)_2


Per NatureServe, this cricket can be found in AL, IL, MO, and OK.


The crickets speak of Tennessee only in hushed whispers.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

No, really?

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:56 pm
oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)
[personal profile] oursin

Dept of, did you do any research?

That Uber vs TfL thing, with TfL refusing to renew their license - okay, I do not use Uber (I am probably not their target market) and everything I hear about it makes me deeply suspicious - but when I read various articles claiming that London black cab drivers are the trad white working class, I wonder how often, if ever, any of these people have ridden in a black cab. Because in my limited and anecdotal experience, finding a Trad London Cabbie who will give you his Salty Cockney Opinions whether you want him to or not, is not the default at all.

This article about Some Artist's exhibition on what he calls 'pseudo-Georgian architecture' in the UK and dates to the 1970s.

Marvel at a London Waitrose – “the pearl of Holloway Road”, according to Bronstein’s caption – with a cupola-crowned tower floating above its entrance. That oddly proportioned line of columns, running above the shopfront windows, suggest the architect once glimpsed a photograph of Vicenza, but not for long enough.
I know that Waitrose and shop there regularly and I am old enough to remember when it was Jones Brothers, by that time part of the John Lewis Partnership, but dating from an era when suburban department stores were built as retail palaces - as far as I can see, dates back to the 1890s.

***

Dept of, is that really the solution? PETA co-founder says we should stop wearing wool. I cannot help feeling that if there is no longer any economic reason for rearing, even if 'sheep are so gentle, they’re so dear!' they are likely to vanish from the face of the earth except in zoos (to which I imagine PETA are also opposed). Might not doing something about introducing legislation for more humane shearing practices be a better use of their time and energies?

Internetsmanship

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:53 am
supergee: (bug)
[personal profile] supergee
Alex Acks on how to win an online argument (fsvo win)

Thanx to File 770

Kit Reed 1932-2017

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:22 am
supergee: (mourning)
[personal profile] supergee
Kit Reed has been publishing excellent novels and short stories (sf, mimetic, and, as she would say, transgenre) for almost 60 years. We enjoyed her company at many ICFAs and Readercons. RIP.

fiber monday

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:13 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* A different kind of fiber: I've become a volunteer book-mender again. Reason's teacher says that she's never had one in nearly twenty years of teaching. Happy to serve (I offered it) as long as we keep a reasonable cadence....

(I've stitched a simple pamphlet-style binding with linen twine in place of one book's pair of staples, then put a layer of book-tape over it because first-graders aren't much better than preschoolers about picking at bits that stick out. Twine is fiber!)

* I've skated into that ridiculous chunk of pi shawls wherein every round is nearly 600 stitches and the chart segment accounts for half the stitch count of the whole damned shawl. At least I'm past several individually unpleasant rounds; the current patch has an easy-to-follow repeat. Though that makes it boring (a simple 26-st repeat completed 20 times per round, in a set of four rounds, itself repeated six times), at least I'm unlikely to mess it up. It'll change again.

* My mother's cardigan won't be finished by my target date, largely because it has so much k,p,k,p as to create a field of somnolence around its making. I've informed Reason that I will show it to my mother unfinished on the target date, then complete it by winter solstice. Reason remains concerned that my mother won't want it and I'll undo it, but I'd just lengthen the sleeves and keep it in that case....

More Adventures in Gaming

Sep. 24th, 2017 08:39 pm
wshaffer: (ace)
[personal profile] wshaffer
I think Younger Nephew and I have been sporadically playing Lego Star Wars II together for something like 4 years now. We've finally started to make progress on the story line in a serious way recently. Today we completed the entirety of Episode V. I might have to get some new games soon.

I find it entirely hilarious that when I'm playing Han Solo and he's playing Princess Leia, he repeatedly slaps Han Solo in the head and addresses him as "Dum dum". He also has absolutely no patience for Lando Calrissian's kissing of Leia's hand.

There are few moments in life that can match taking down an AT-AT by winding a cable around its legs with your snow speeder, and having your nephew look up at you and say, "We make a good team, don't we?" Thank you, development team for Lego Star Wars.

The Good Place

Sep. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
I've been watching this really clever sitcom while doing the exercise bike. Sadly, I only have a couple of episodes to go for the first season. Why couldn't it be longer?

It is so rare that I like a sitcom, but this one is smart and funny, and the actors terrific.

Giant Water Bug

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Giant Water Bug_1


The weight of parenthood is a lot lighter when you’re upside down.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Baaaaack

Sep. 24th, 2017 09:39 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

As our flight was not until after lunch, this morning after we'd packed and put our luggage in store we went to the Hipolit House: more historical domestic interiors, plus exhibition on the actress Antonina Hoffman and on theatre/acting more generally in C19th. Rather interesting.

Of the journey, not a great deal to be said except for the enormous distances walked within airports.

Anyway, ome agen.

radiantfracture: (alan bates)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
The St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church not only has a beautiful interior, very like the hull of an overturned ship; it has the best bookshop in town, Churchmouse Books. The shop is a side room filled with gently used volumes released (certainly not discarded) by a congregation of serious readers. All books are obtainable by donation. The other weekend they had an open house and larger book sale, with books laid out all along each pew -- it felt sacred and profane all at once -- whence I fished out this small remarkable creature.

Cover )
Title Page (bit blurry, sorry, it tried to escape) )

It appears to be a teleplay by novelist Elizabeth Bowen about Anthony Trollope: Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement (OUP, 1946). As you can see, it's a beautiful little booklet, maybe A6 size, with a marbled cover, presented more like a monograph than a script.

AbeBooks adds this: "A play broadcast by the BBC in 1945." Hmm, BBC.

Adding "BBC" to the search produces The Wireless Past: Anglo-Irish Writers and the BBC, 1931-1968 via Google Books:

This warning against nostalgia and advocacy of the 'now' appears most clearly in Bowen’s final radio feature, "Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement", which was broadcast two days before VE day in May 1945. In this broadcast, Bowen continues the ghost-novelist conceit of her other radio features while also communicating more explicit messages about the relationship between print culture and nostalgia. The later broadcast was evidently popular—Oxford University Press published the script as a pamphlet in 1946. (100)

It strikes me that while this book may have been of the "now" in 1946, it has become an object of almost irresistible print culture nostalgia. Someone surely was thinking of that, even at the time. The deckle edge. The marbling. And printed right after the war, too, when paper might still have been scarce.

...actually, Wireless goes on to discuss the shortage -- apparently these broadcasts were "oriented towards publics that could not access books" (103). I'm not, via skimming, entirely clear why Bowen is anti-nostalgia, but then, she seems like someone who would be.

Any readers of Bowen? I've only read The Death of the Heart for a graduate course on the modernist novel.

There's no indication on the pamphlet itself that it is a screenplay or was ever broadcast or has anything to do with the BBC -- at first thumb-through, I thought it was a monograph in avant-garde format. Which I guess it is, or rather the record thereof.

{rf}

Cheetah

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Cheetah


Cheetah pondering the phrase “to sow your wild oats”.


If the oats have been sown, then they’re not exactly wild now, are they?




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

letters, Johnson & DeVos

Sep. 24th, 2017 08:25 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Dear Senator Johnson:

You have been saying terrible things about people with "pre-existing" conditions for all of 2017, comparing us to cars, saying that we should pay more for our healthcare, even though most "pre-existing" conditions are not caused by anything a person does or by bad choices they make. In fact, since pregnancy is a "pre-existing condition," you are actively punishing people for having families--which seems to run counter to the agenda the Republican Party has been pushing for years The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal, which callously strips all protections from people like me (and which makes it entirely possible that a premature baby will hit his or her lifetime cap before leaving the hospital for the first time), makes it clear that in fact you have no idea of what it's like not to be able to afford healthcare, or to have a chronic, incurable condition, and that you don't even have enough imagination to be able to empathize with the people whose lives you are destroying.

Moreover, given that there is astonishing unity among healthcare professionals, patients' interest groups, and major insurers (plus all fifty Medicaid administrators and a current count of eighteen governors), it is quite clear that you aren't doing this because it's a good idea. You don't care whether it will be good or bad for your constituents. All you care about--and more than one of your Republican colleagues have admitted as much--is repealing "Obamacare." You're doing this because you made a campaign promise, and you're too blindly self-centered to see that this is a promise that would be better honored in the breach than in the observance. You and your colleagues are behaving childishly, destroying something only because you hate the person who built it. The ACA is not failing, as you keep claiming it is, Senator. It is suffering mightily from obstructionism and deliberate sabotage from you and your colleagues, and, yes, it does need reform. But your proposal isn't reform. It's wanton demolition of legislation that is working, legislation that is succeeding in making the lives of Americans better, demolition which you are pushing without the slightest consideration of its effects on the people you claim you serve.

I'm not writing this letter because I expect you will change your mind--or, frankly, even read it. I'm writing this letter because I'm angry and scared and unbelievably frustrated with your deliberately cruel and blindly stupid determination to do something that no one in this country wants. You won't change your mind, but you can't say you didn't know there was opposition.

P.S. I'd still really like to see you denounce white supremacism, Senator. Because right now, I unwillingly believe you don't think there's anything wrong with it.

***

Dear Ms. DeVos:

I am appalled at your decision to roll back the protections given to sexual assault survivors by Title IX. I'm not surprised, because it's perfectly in line with the other cruel, short-sighted, and bigoted decisions you've made since being appointed Secretary of Education, but I honestly wonder (and I wonder this about a number of Trump appointees, so you needn't think you're alone) how you live with yourself. How do you justify, even if only to yourself, the damage you're doing? Do you believe the lies you tell?

I'm not going to quote statistics, because I'm sure they've been shown to you. I'm not going to try to change your mind with personal stories. I am going to ask, futilely, that you stop and truly think about the young women whose college careers, already catastrophically imperiled by the sexual assault they have survived, may be destroyed because of the policies you're implementing. And I'm going to ask how on earth you think this destruction is part of your mandate as Secretary of Education?

Everyone's civil rights need to be respected. I believe this strongly enough to belong to the ACLU. But victims' rights are historically ignored, trampled on, and outright broken, especially in cases of sexual assault, especially when the perpetrator is white and male. I also strongly believe that the purpose of government should be to ensure that privilege is not used to skew justice. It was already crushingly difficult for sexual assault survivors to report their assailants. You have made it that much harder, and that much more likely that they will simply remain silent. I cannot help thinking that that silence is your goal, and that, Ms. DeVos, is truly shameful.

Humbolt Penguin

Sep. 24th, 2017 02:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Humbolt Penguin_6


I’ve posted a photo of a penguin tongue before, but I particularly like this one because it shows the cartilaginous barbs they use instead of teeth to hold onto the fish. You can see them at the top of the mouth and on the tongue, but they all point backwards, so slippery fish can be more easily swallowed.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Banded Flower Mantis

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Banded Flower Mantis


¡¡ʇuǝllǝɔxƎ




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Bisexual visibility day

Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:37 pm
supergee: (teddy bear)
[personal profile] supergee
I can see a whole lot of you, and you are encouraged to wave.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
[personal profile] cloudscudding
Purple Carrot is a vegetable-based ingredient+recipe delivery service. They also have a recipe section on their website! I was hoping this would be a way to find vegan/vegetable company recipes.

https://www.purplecarrot.com/plant-based-recipes/malai-chickpea-dumplings-with-almond-golden-raisin-pilaf

My first attempt was the Malai Chickpea Dumplings. The recipes have a few amounts or ingredients left deliberately vague. "Indian spice blend," for example, or "fresh ginger" without a quantity. I went with 2 tsp. garam masala plus 1/8 tsp. turmeric and 1/16 tsp. cayenne for the spice blend. I used 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger. I also used about 1/4 c. parsley as a sub for the cilantro (we hates it, precious). And I used 1 can of light coconut milk + 1 can of regular coconut milk because holy calories, Batman!

Result: 

The sauce was rich, creamy, mildly spicy, and pretty darn good. Two thumbs up for an Indian vegan recipe that has that particularly Indian blend of spice and buttery mouthfeel. BUT. The chickpea dumplings basically dissolved in the sauce. They were not very dumplingy at all. Maybe I did not make them large enough or cook them hot enough? I don't know. Also, the pilaf was a disappointment. Turns out that if you dump almonds and raisins into cooked white rice, it tastes like that's all you did.

Kid-take:

There was SO MUCH DRAMA at the dinner table because the kids wanted plain white rice, which was not available. Curries are usually a thing that works to feed the kids in my house, but this didn't work. It might if I also made plain white rice and offered the option of having the rice and curry in a chapati, burrito-style.

I learned:

Vegan yogurt is really expensive. It takes much longer than you might think to make chickpea flour in a food processor. Spinach sauteed in olive oil with a little bit of onion and salt and pepper ends up tasting pretty good! (Even if it contributed to the SO MUCH DRAMA from the kids.)

Verdict:

Might make the sauce again, but it's too calorie-heavy to be a regular meal and the dumplings and pilaf are a no-go.

P.S. Malai means 'cream', if you were wondering!

Picture of creamy Indian sauce with dumplings in cooking pan.
Picture from Purple Carrot

 

laurel: Picture of Laurel with Garibaldi cardboard standup (Default)
[personal profile] laurel
The sciatica returned for a bit, though less bad than it had been previously. Enough to be worrisome and annoying and with zaps of bad pain but not constant bad pain. I did All The Things and fortunately it went away after a week or so. Mostly. Was inspiration to keep doing the physical therapy stretches, that's for sure, which I'd skipped for a few days prior to this flare up.

+ + +

The new mattress is great so far, I think. I'm also sleeping with a pregnancy pillow at times (and no, I'm not pregnant and don't intend ever to be pregnant) and it seems to also help with the sciatica stuff. I think. Maybe. (It can be hard to tell.)

+ + +

We now have health insurance through MinnesotaCare! Hooray! Apparently from August onward and I'm still sorting out what we owe for various appointments in August and September and getting those paid for. Sadly doesn't cover the $600+ ER visit in July and I'm cranky about that but we'll cope. There were appeals and all manner of things we had to deal with to get this all sorted out. I think we should be covered for July too given our initial application (that was messed up by a Navigator) was made in June but it is not according to others. Harrumph. But we finally have health insurance we can actually afford and that is a great relief. Now I need to take advantage of it and get all the appointments made.

It works out that the local cheap federally subsidized clinic we've been going to is covered as well as my longtime psychiatrist at HealthPartners so that's excellent. (We went with the Healthpartners plan through MNCare.) I should be able to either go to HealthPartners for an eye exam (as I have my whole life) or to the aforementioned cheap clinic as both are covered. That reallllly needs to be my next appointment given my blurry vision which is blurry. (I really think it's just age-related changes to my eyes but it's trickier to tell for me than most given I'm already both farsighted and nearsighted, among other things. Trying to motivate myself to do that with the thought of new glasses plus, you know, seeing clearer.)

+ + +

I stalled for a bit in my Law & Order: Criminal Intent rewatch, ran into a couple of particularly gruesome episodes which surprised me a bit as I don't think of it as a gruesome show, it's not like Criminal Minds (which I gave up on because it seemed to embrace the truly grisly and gruesome). But that episode with Neil Patrick Harris as a cannibal of sorts? Ew ew ew.

Right after that comes "Great Barrier" which is the Nicole Wallace episode with two different endings. I'm in the midst of that one at the moment.

+ + +

The Minnesota Twins may make the postseason and this is exciting after several years of not very good baseball. Bad baseball. This year the team has been pretty great with all sorts of exciting things going on, during the first half of the season they had a lousy record at home so it didn't feel like the season was going quite as well as it actually was. They've done better at home in the second half so we've seen lots of wins and just plain exciting games.

There are also young players coming into their own, which is great to see.

And then there's Joe Mauer, back to being himself after a couple of years of not doing well due to concussions and changing positions on the field as a result. People were hard on him, but it was clear to those of us who've watched him his entire career that he had to have been struggling with post-concussion symptoms. Heck, in one interview Mauer basically admitted to playing major league baseball while experiencing blurred vision. Can you imagine? He was no longer great at baseball but was still above average. During chunks of at least one season with blurred vision. The big weirdo.

Mauer is my favorite player and it was hard watching him struggle. And certain members of the local media in Minnesota have done their best to make local baseball fans hate the guy. Seriously. Non-local baseball fans are stunned to learn Mauer is hated by a large group of people in Minnesota because honestly what on earth is there to hate about Joe Mauer? Okay, some grumble that he's overpaid but it's not like he's the only athlete who is and it's not like he didn't earn that payday by being the best player in baseball for a time. That's what happens when you award someone for an awesome season or two with a multi-year contract, it just is. And somehow these people who complain forget that Joe Mauer was playing for not a lot of money (as pay for baseball players go) during his first few seasons. The pay for athletes is weird. (Before baseball players make it to the big leagues, they often toil for years in the minor leagues where they are paid far less than even minimum wage and often have to room with host families and do ridiculous things just to find a way to eat. It's bad, you guys, and I get so cranky about this but fortunately there's real movement to improve the situation. I hope. Mauer didn't have to toil like this, but most others do.)

Some of the other things people complain about re Mauer are the sorts of things that seem Very Minnesotan. Minnesotans hating on Mauer for being reserved and Minnesotan is just . . . wrong. And yet many do. Ugh.

Anyway. Watching Mauer get back to being great is a joy, not just because I enjoy watching great athletes be great but because it's a good sign he's recovered fully (or mostly) from his brain injury. I like that. Brain injuries suck and are hard to recover from.

African Lion

Sep. 23rd, 2017 06:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

African Lion_7


When he knows you’re lion.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

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