Today was beautiful

Apr. 30th, 2019 11:42 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Just lovely!

But I probably should not have celebrated the arrival of good weather by going to the bookstore....

****


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Soooooo I really am a bit sedentary

Apr. 24th, 2019 03:26 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Well, sedentary with long walks because I'd always rather walk than take the bus, but still.

On the one hand, I want to exercise more for general health reasons. I don't want to end up old and find out that immobility has snuck up on me, nor do I want to discover that it's really true that being inactive increases your risk of dementia. (It's all well and good for me to assert that dementia doesn't run in my family, but that only works if I ignore my father's mother. Which I mostly do, but still. Probably I should stop doing that.)

On the other hand, I don't want to exacerbate existing joint issues, which would really suck and probably not help my old age mobility at all, especially not if that's connected to arthritis. In the past month my mother has mentioned off-hand an alarming number of relatives who were severely restricted due to arthritis at rather young ages - and that's only counting the ones who developed it in adulthood! There's at least one cousin of hers or her mother's who was apparently "totally crippled" before puberty. She can preen all she likes about how that gene seems to have skipped her, I see my sister increasingly worried and yet dodging the thought that she might already be developing arthritis. She's not even 40 yet! (She ought to go to a doctor. I think we all know that neither funds nor time is really the reason she hasn't.)

So clearly the thing to do is find some 15 or 20 minute daily exercise routine that's reasonably high intensity but isn't going to screw up my joints, at least, not more than they already are. Preferably something that can be done by somebody with no real coordination - I can't jump rope, I can't ride bikes, every day I nearly trip over my own two feet/my pants/the dogs and break my glasses.

Maybe I should just buy myself an exercise bike. When I don't need to balance, I am very unlikely to fall down. I'm not worried about myself so much as my poor glasses.

Postal Woes

Apr. 24th, 2019 08:29 am
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
 Yesterday, my postal carrier delivered two piece of mail to our house, neither of them actually addressed to us. One was to "current resident" at our address and the other "valued customer." 

We get a lot of spam mail, it's true. But, I have DOZENS of pen pals across the globe and so I'm used to seeing at least _one_ piece of personalized mail in the box, a utility bill at the very least.  

When I complained to Shawn about it this morning, she said, "Oh, yeah, wasn't there an article about this recently?" Apparently, there was! The Pioneer Press ran an article about mail delivery issues in St. Paul's east side. Shawn, who has subscribed to all of the neighborhood groups, said that she'd seen people complaining about slow mail delivery in other neighborhoods as well. 

I love getting mail.

I don't know what I'm going to do if we stop reliably getting mail.

I mean, I don't care if we get our bills--though I'm sure, given that we do NOT pay electronically, our services will care quite a bit more than I do, but what if I'm not getting the latest news from Austraila or Canada!??? !!! It's unbearable to think about! 

I understand that "snail mail" has become a thing of the past for a lot of people, but it's my hobby.  I enjoy getting paper letters and sending them. I guess I'm not worried about my mail going OUT. Shawn has long taken my letters to work, since she's downtown and the Minnesota Historical Society has a huge volume of mail that goes in and out. I still, however, occasionally leave letters out for my postal carrier to pick up, and now I'm wondering if that's wise?  

*sigh*

The Umbrella Academy (Spoilers)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 03:16 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I finally got around to watching The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, after hearing lots of mostly-positive comments and reviews. Naturally, I must now share ALL OF MY OWN COMMENTS AND REVIEWS. Such is the nature of the internet…

I mostly enjoyed it, though the ending felt empty and unsatisfying.

Details behind the spoiler cut…

Read the rest of this entry » )
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
utterly uninspired. What's everybody else cooking?

*****


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lydamorehouse: (??!!)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
 Me, apparently.

And, then I promptly forgot I was supposed to be at White Bear Lake library until I got a call from my boss about twenty minutes after I was supposed to have started, who said, "So... are you planning on going to White Bear?" There was some work inappropriate swearing, fumbling, and rushing out the door. I made it in an hour late.  White Bear was surprisingly gracious, even though I kind of looked a bit like I'd rolled out of bed. 

The other funny part of this story was that I was doing the dishes before my boss called, and I was watching a very SPECIAL episode of "Morose Mononokean." It was a story about saying goodbye to a friend and I was sobbing like a fool. So, when I answered the call from my boss I was clearly coming off a crying jag, which may be why I got a question instead of a stern talking to?  

I'm going to go with yes.

Surprise!Work, of course, derailed all the things I was going to get done yesterday, but I mean, it was a rainy, dreary day anyway, so I might as well have spent it making a few dollars.

I have double-checked the calendar. I do NOT work today. So, hopefully, between that and the sunshine, I will get some stuff done today.
chefxh: (avatar)
[personal profile] chefxh
Right knee swollen and red and warm, ouch. Still rode the bike to work and home from the bus station, but will be resting it tomorrow and traveling by car. Ow, dammit.

(no subject)

Apr. 22nd, 2019 01:42 pm
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday! I managed to get it done today!

Ways To Give

[tumblr.com profile] merpancake is raising funds to help keep her family in their rental; they are struggling on one income while trying to get disability help for her husband, and they are unexpectedly pregnant. Currently they are trying to make a month's rent and get current on bills; you can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] iamshadow21 linked to a fundraiser for Bill Mantlo, a comic book writer and co-creator of Rocket Raccoon and Cloak and Dagger, who has been in care since a hit and run left him with a permanent brain injury nearly thirty years ago. His younger brother, who has been the primary supporter of his care, is retired and would like to bring Bill home from the institution he has been in for a decade; unfortunately he is in nearly $100K of debt and needs funding to help out. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] typewrittenwolf is fundraising to save their house from code enforcement liens and possible issues with the bank; both they and their parents are disabled, making earning the money difficult. You can give through ko-fi here or purchase off their amazon wishlist here.

[tumblr.com profile] ellie-elizabeth21 is a disabled, nonbinary person fundraising to leave an unsafe household where they are being harassed by their landlord and dealing with an abusive parent. You can read more, reblog, and find a link to donate here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for top surgery for Krysta, an agender person whose fundraiser has been stagnant for the last few months. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] ravenreyamidala linked to a fundraiser the Magicians fandom created after a controversial death of a character in the most recent season finale. They are raising awareness about harmful television tropes and also raising money for LGBTQ+ youth support foundation The Trevor Project, including holding an online auction. You can get more information and see all the latest updates at [tumblr.com profile] thankqforthehope or give directly through their Trevor Project fundraising page.

[tumblr.com profile] thewalrus-said's beloved cat was unexpectedly hospitalized recently with as-yet unidentified stomach problems, and they are fundraising to cover vet bills and fees. The upper end of the estimate is $3.4K, not counting whatever treatment she may need once the problem is diagnosed. You can read more and reblog here or give directly through paypal here.

Anon linked to fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] deadcatwithaflamethrower and [tumblr.com profile] drougnor, who are fundraising for rent for their family after Droug lost his job. You can read and reblog fundraising links here, see and purchase jewelery for sale here, or give through her Ko-Fi or paypal. They also have a wishlist here, as a couple of family birthdays are coming up.

Katy linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] grrlcookery and her partner, who need help to keep their home as her partner's business hasn't had any orders or contracts in the past two months and they are currently facing eviction. They're raising $1500 for two months of rent and food, and also to set up a shed for soapmaking to help earn some extra cash. You can read more and reblog here or give through ko-fi here.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
 It's rather dreary outside, so I thought I'd take a moment or two to write up some of my experiences at this year's Minicon. 

I am one of the people in local Fandom (capital-F meaning 'those people who attend cons' as opposed to one's community based on favorite media/etc.,) who is old enough to remember the Great Fan Schism that broke Minicon into its various parts. Back in the day, the difference between the factions was roughly translated as CONvergence = media fans and their followers; MiniCON = literary snobs. I mean, I suspect that last bit was unfair even at the time, but in the hazy murkiness of memory, this is how I remember the fight being portrayed. So, like so many, many, MANY (as it turned out) others, I abandoned Minicon for the younger media crowd, to whom I felt a closer kinship to, despite being an aspiring writer.  

The first time I really went back to Mnicon was last year, when I was one of the guests of honor. This year it was, [personal profile] naomikritzer  So, I decided to try the con out as an attendee. 

I... had a amazing time.

Do I sound surprised? I suppose I am, in a way. Perhaps one of the reasons I am *surprised* I had such a good time is that I had an extremely light programming schedule. I was only signed up for four panels. It goes against conventional Lyda wisdom that a light load would equal a good time. Normally, a light programming schedule at a con is a recipe for disaster, in that, as an extreme extrovert (and complete diva), I LOSE energy when not directly engaged/in the spotlight. But, I found a LOT of good hallway discussions at Minicon this year, and that seems to have been the cure/the thing that put the con over the top, in terms of my enjoyment of it. 

So, a lot of what I have to report can be summed up by: "I hung out with a lot of really cool people!"

The panels I did were all very good, too. I started off with one that initially felt like a huge disaster because no one on the panel seemed particularly interested? well-versed? in the topic, which was also weirdly specific? It was called "Fae Rites of Passage" and the description made it sound like it was supposed to be very specific to Irish fairy and maybe actual rites, or maybe some specific pieces of literature that didn't end up being named in the description, so none of us knew what they were?  So, it started out very "???" but since Jane Yolen was one of the panelists, we basically just ended up talking about women's roles in fairy tales and myth, and THAT was a fascinating topic of discussion.  By the end, Jane was saying, "I could talk about this all night!" In fact, Jane kept coming up to me for the rest of the con saying, "We need to do that again. It was fun!" Which, I mean, is cool on a lot of levels, right?

The next panel was my interview of Naomi, which... I mean, the thing about Naomi and I is that we once talked the entire drive down to Chicago and back without hardly taking a breath and that is my favorite thing, so, even though I did prepare a number of questions to ask, I was NOT worried that there would be a ton of awkward silences (like the time I interviewed Sheri S. Tepper for Science Fiction Chronicle. Which was early in my interviewing career and I was NOT PREPARED for someone who would answer terse yes/no replies to open ended questions.) Anyway, a couple of people came up to me to tell me specifically they enjoyed the interview, so that was also a success.

Then, I was on a panel about Artificial Intelligences., which I'm not as convinced that I had a huge amount to contribute to other than enthusiasm and a few Alexa jokes.  With that one, I felt that the far end of the table where Eleanor and a guy who was an actual scholar in this area, hardly got more than a few words in edgewise, but it was still a LOT of fun.  I was reminded about the Saudi Arabia case by an audience member, where Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to "Sophia," an AI. (Link is to an article about what she's been doing since. The article about her also links to another case of an AI in Japan who has been granted 'residency. Interesting stuff!!)

My last panel on Sunday was "Fan Fic is Real Writing," which was very life-affirming on a lot of levels. Much squee was had. 

So, Minicon was exactly the kind of con I wanted to have. Lots and lots and LOTS of good conversation with interesting people and very good panels. I'm only sad that I missed all the opportunities to hang out with [personal profile] jiawen  [identity profile] . Boo. but, I suppose if the con were PERFECT there'd be no reason to keep going back, which, at the moment, I totally intend to do!
 
How was your Easter/Passover/Other weekend? Do anything fun?

Happy Easter and Passover!

Apr. 27th, 2019 06:06 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
And anything else you might celebrate or not :)

Links )
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
but at least it's gone now. Plus! Less phlegm! I think my cold is going away!

*************


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So, you know my opinion on Stuy

Apr. 25th, 2019 01:15 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Mainly, that those schools are overrated, that test needs a serious overhaul and critical review, and that everybody obsessed with that school (and the others) seriously needs to get a grip and reconsider the life choices that brought them to this place.

But nobody ever takes my excellent advice, and so they won't stop talking about those schools, and so I keep on reading. It's like a very boring trainwreck that I narrowly escaped but not really.

With that said, I have to admire the NY Times slipping in this snide commentary in this article here: “The bureaucrats who run these school districts have swallowed hook, line and sinker the idea of racial diversity” as an essential part of education in America, added Mr. Yoo, who is best known as the legal architect of Mr. Bush’s so-called torture memos.

Man, that's some serious, if factually-accurate, shade.

On the subject of affirmative action, way in the comments to that article somebody quoted Clarence Thomas opining that affirmative action just makes people doubt the merits of blacks. I will go on the record as saying that it is neither his race nor the specter of affirmative action that makes me doubt Clarence Thomas' credentials, capacity for critical thought, jurisprudence, or ethics. In fact, I have made it a long-standing policy to support what he doesn't, just on general principle, and that policy has yet to steer me wrong. So if Clarence Thomas is against affirmative action, that is certainly good enough for me.

(No, I do not intend to get into a discussion here and now about whether or not policies intended to increase representation of some or all racial minorities are good or bad, or if they're racist against other minorities and/or any or all whites, either in the abstract or with regard to specific situations. Not nearly enough spoons for that today.)
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
so when I realized she'd never seen or heard of The Sixth Sense, I added it to our movie line-up.

She was actually surprised by the twist. This is such a novel experience, I felt I had to record it for posterity.

We've also watched Empire Records (Eva was deeply caught up in the question of whether or not Joe is actually Lucas' foster father, or if he's just fatherly) and 10 Things I Hate About you (we lost Heath Ledger entirely too soon). Also, unrelated to this all, Jenn and Eva watched Legally Blonde. I was surprised that Jenn had never seen that movie before. She was surprised that I've watched it at least seven times already. I'm not sure which fact is more surprising.

*******


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conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I finally got through the two published Kiranmala books.

These are solid middle grade fantasy - good mix of jokes, though-provoking-ness, adventure, and feelings. Plus some weird worldbuilding (in the best way) and social consciousness.

Two things, though. No, three things.

First, our protagonist is amazingly clueless, especially when it comes to her crush, in particular, and his feelings about her. She's clueless in other ways, too - at several points people explicitly tell her things, but she completely ignores them and then has to come across her epiphany the hard way. Only once does she realize she's done this. It's good for the reader to be a little ahead of the protagonist, but nobody wants to be this far ahead. Even when you account for the age of the target audience, this girl needs to smarten up.

Secondly, the author has clearly read The Hunger Games. Well, everybody's read The Hunger Games*, but I mean to say that the second book has a very Hunger Games vibe that was a wee bit disorienting.

Third, the refugee crisis is very topical. I think, however, that having your obvious metaphor conveyed with actual monsters that eat humans is, perhaps, in bad taste. Yes, we all get the moral that you shouldn't judge entire groups of people on hearsay and vicious rumors... but that moral is rather muddied when our main character, aside from making friends in That Persecuted Group and then having a cluebat generously applied, has also encountered several members of that same group who have hunted her and threatened to eat her. Indeed, one of her friends threatened to eat her at one point.




* For a given value of "everybody", of course.

Minicon Schedule

Apr. 18th, 2019 09:12 am
lydamorehouse: (ichigo hot)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
I will be at MiniCON 54 this weekend. I'm not on a huge amount of programming, but I will try to be at the con probably much of Saturday. I notice in the programming that there's a lot of people I'd like to see and hang out with doing things early that day, plus [personal profile] naomikritzer will be one of the guests of honor, so.....

Here's my official schedule.
 
Friday 8:30 PM
Right of Passages Fae Style
A rite of passage is a ceremony of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It often comes with a significant change of status. Who are the Fae? How do the Fae go about their rituals, and are we in any danger just by discussing it? Right of passages stories in which faeries feature prominently are often female-centric. Why?
Park 2
Tom Hogan, Jane Yolen, Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer


Saturday 4:00 PM
GOH Interview - Naomi Kritzer
The interview of our Guest of Honor Naomi Kritzer
Park 1
Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer


Saturday 8:30 PM
Artificial Intelligence Best Practices - What do AI's want?
'OK Google, tell me why humans should be afraid of Artificial Intelligence.' In 1951, the year of the first rudimentary chess program and neural network, Alan Turing predicted that machines would 'outstrip our feeble powers' and 'take control.' In 1965, Turing's colleague Irving Good posited that devices more intelligent than humans could design devices more intelligent than themselves, ad infinitum: 'Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.'
What can we do to minimize the chances that our robots and computers turn against humanity or enslave us for our own good? Is it possible to create a free-willed intelligence that finds humanity likeable? What will Artificial Intelligence look like and what will it want?
Park 2
Sharon Kahn (m), Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, Eleanor Arnason, Shaun Jamison


Sunday 1:00 PM
Fanfic Writing Is Writing.
Many People write Fanfic, including some pros. What's fun about writing in an established universe? What does a writer get from the experience that's different than other writing styles? When does an author decide to file off the serial numbers and send it off to the publisher?
Park 2
Katie Clapham (m), Ruth Berman, Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, Peg Kerr


Ana, delightful child, gave me a cold

Apr. 23rd, 2019 04:28 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Achoo.

I wanted earlier to say that this cold is wiping me out, and I also wanted to say that it's kicking my butt, two phrases which are semantically similar. What came out is "This cold is wiping my butt", which isn't. ("This cold is kicking me out" would have been equally puzzling, but less funny.)

*****


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