Specifically to the splendid shiny new Books Are Magic, which has an amazing children's section complete with big bean bags and a squishy couch to sit on. I recommend it highly.
Kit was very serious and focused on the subway, the way they are in new situations. grahamsleight was with us and kept trying to get their attention, but they were too focused on absorbing all information from the surroundings. But when they saw the books, they lit up with delight. They've been to libraries, and of course at home they're surrounded by bookshelves. They understand bookshelves.
They zoomed over to the shelf of board books and picked out some familiar ones before looking at the rest. After a little while of watching them pick books up and drop them and bang them on other books, Graham said "Kit, look!" and rotated the revolving rack of Little Golden Books.
So then they pulled down some books and rotated the rack and that was fun. They were very puzzled by the Little Golden Books being so thin and would grab several at a time, thinking they were one book.
Eventually they went back to the board books. They liked grabbing multiple copies of a single title and waving them all around. They turned pages in a book they'd never seen before, got to a (fairly crude) drawing of a kid in a bath, and signed "bath". I nearly fainted. The other day I saw them turn to a book page that shows people dancing and start doing their adorable chair-boogie dance, but it was a familiar book. This was completely new. MY BABY UNDERSTANDS SEMIOTICS. WHAT.
(I later had some deeper thoughts about how if Kit can look at a picture that looks nothing like bathtime at our house and still understand it as "bath", that makes it all the more imperative to show them books about kids and families of all kinds so that they internalize broad concepts of "happy kid" and "family", and that ended with me buying two board books about kids with same-sex parents and emailing Rebecca Sugar via Cartoon Network Books to ask whether she could make a Steven Universe board book that shows Steven and his amazing loving cobbled-together family.)
kissane and dailyjuna joined us, and Graham read books to the kids (who were impossibly good together) while Erin and I kvelled. Kit spotted a little chair and pushed it all over the place. They repeatedly tried to go behind the counter. (I told them "You don't work here yet.") We eventually decamped to 61 Local, where Kit tried to drink some of my orange juice and had a remarkably contained meltdown when the noise got to be too much. As soon as I took them outside they quieted down, and they stayed very chill on the bus and home. What a good Brooklyn baby.
Every time I wear them in the front carrier, people express amazement, because they are enormous and I am small. But it was so nice to be able to just go up and down stairs instead of wrestling with the stroller and have them "on my lap" when I sat down instead of needing to take the backpack on and off (which is really tricky in transit), and my arms are very grateful to my hips and knees for taking the load. As soon as they can walk up and down stairs with help, the subway will be much more manageable with the stroller: it folds up small and slings over my shoulder, and that frees me to hold their hand on the steps. But carrying both stroller and baby is just impossible for me, I don't want to rely on strangers to not drop my baby down a flight of stairs, and most stations don't have elevators. So in the meantime, I'm building up leg and core strength. Maybe I should start working out again.
The photo above showing Mount Etna at left center was captured while flying from Catania (Sicily) to Rome on February 20, 2017. It's seen here aside a mid-level cloud deck just as morning was breaking. Etna, at 10,922 ft (3,329 m) is the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
The reddish strip at top is the Belt of Venus (Aphrodite). It results when sunlight, reddened by the increased path length of the low Sun, is scattered off the setting Earth's shadow -- the dark band below the Belt of Venus (just above Etna on the photo). According to Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the artisan and the smith of gods. Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, was his wife. They're featured together in this composition. The ancient Greeks and Sicilians believed that Hephaestus had both his abode and his forge under the Etna volcano and that the eruptions were the proof of his mighty work.
Photo Details: Camera Maker: Apple; Camera Model: iPhone 5s; Lens: iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2; Focal Length: 4.15mm (35mm equivalent: 29mm); Aperture: ƒ/2.2; Exposure Time: 0.020 s (1/50); ISO equiv: 50; Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5 (Windows).
2. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 tonight and it was so good! I liked the first one a lot, but this one was even better. ( SO MANY FEELS ) But yeah, this movie was pretty great.
3. We also went to Cheesecake Factory afterwards and got nachos (to eat there) and cheesecake (to bring home).
4. Sweet Molly!
This week's featured article is Sai Mantra, IG2 6HW, an Indian/Sri Lankan restaurant with some Indo-Chinese dishes too, in easterly Gants Hill. It's a bit nice inside, and does a chilli mogo starter you may just want to keep eating.
One new article is Patisserie Joie de Vie in (High) Barnet. Get your bakery and crepe/galette needs sorted if you're out this way.
Finally, an update to The Butcher's Arms, a pub also out that way. It's all nicely refurbished, but you may be listening to sport at a higher volume than is ideal. (I'll let you decide what constitutes an ideal volume for sport.)
The last is a real concern. I live in a very dry city that varies between extreme heat and uncomfortable levels of cold. Our rainy season is a joke. I've lived in extremely cold places in the US and Canada. They've been dry on the whole. I've also lived in the UK briefly, but that's a manageable level of 'keep an umbrella handy and wear waterproof shoes' wet. I have NO idea what to do in tropical climates experiencing proper monsoon. Between the flooding and the heat and the mosquitoes, and the sense that umbrellas will function as merely an ineffectual layer of plastic between one and the all-pervading moisture, I'm baffled. Also, I hate hate hate humid wet heat. Dry heat is fine; put me in 43 degrees Celsius and I'll whine but I know what to do, even without air conditioning, even without electricity: drink a lot of water, sweat freely, cover my head, stay in the shade, and if possible, spray the ground with water periodically to settle dust and cool things off temporarily. But when it's humid, I'm sticky, sweaty, hot—and can't do anything about it! Even air conditioning only does so much. Urgh.
Speaking of rain, it's been unseasonably wet here, with two thunderstorms in a week, and one the week before, during what should be the hottest, driest, worst part of the summer. It's hard to complain, but it's worrying that the weather is so out of joint. Also, leaking roofs are not things anyone is prepared to tackle in May. I think it's a blockage in the drain that's causing seepage rather than anything worse, but it seemed like a good idea to call the plumber; he sounded utterly blank because he's gone to his village in Rajasthan, not anticipating such work for another couple of months at least. At this point I talked to my landlady, who was also bemused, but she'll send someone to climb up and see what the problem is, and if it's just a blocked drain, it can be cleaned out, hopefully.
Anyway. I bought waterproof sandals, a thin rain jacket with hood that niftily folds into a pouch (the thing I like best about it is that when unfolded, the pouch becomes a zipped pocket; such a useful thing to have in the rain), and a pair of not-skin-tight leggings that are supposed to dry quickly. I also booked flights and Air BnBs, sorted out fish-feeding and plant-watering for all but two days of the trip, and put the garden in order. so things seem mostly on track.
( Gardening (and pics) )
My mother seems to think I'm an elephant. This is how much fruit she imagines (insists) I can eat, alone, in four days. I am trying to persuade colleagues at work to take some off my hands...
Putin looks so suspicious of Macron's hand (not without reason), while Macron is all "PUT IT HERE PAL, I AM SO READY FOR THIS."
For background on this deeply serious issue (and close-ups of the Macron-Trump handshake), see:
The Guardian: The Trump handshake: how world leaders are fighting back
Round the world, I imagine national leaders sitting at their desks covertly squeezing Captains of Crush grippers.
One of the things that became clear when I asked for suggestions as to questions to ask assisted living facilities is that a lot of people have no idea what an assisted living facility is, and were answering thinking of nursing homes. This confusion is endemic. Neither tn3270 nor I understood the distinctions before we started looking into it; even his mother, D – who had been the person who asked us to find her a place – didn't understand how different an assisted living facility is from a nursing home. Not until she first set foot in one, a few weeks ago.
As those following this journal know, tn3270 and I have been shopping assisted living facilities for D for most of the last two months. I started writing this four hours after returning from the first "short list" tour of an assisted living residence – the first time we returned to one and brought D with us to check it out for herself. Over lunch – a complementary lunch visit is a typical second-step of the assisted living shopping experience – I asked D if it was like what she had imagined. No. Not even a little bit. She thought it would be like the rehab she had been in after breaking her hip, or the nursing homes her sisters were in. Her mind was (favorably) blown.
So I thought I would do a public service and try to share that experience with my readers, to edify you as to the differences.
At least in Massachusetts. Readers, be cautioned: I literally have no idea how universal these terms are, or whether they mean the same thing everywhere. This is how things are here. How they are where you are, if you are not here, I do not know.
Since apparently more people have far more experience with nursing homes and rehabs (for reasons that will become apparent below) – and since a lot of people don't necessarily know whether facilities they've visited or been nursing homes or something else (they were probably nursing homes) – I thought I'd start there.
( Read More [4,980 Words] )
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I've also been watching a bunch of Netflix. The new MST3k is a lot of fun! I haven't had anything completely blow me away yet, but it's a nice thing to have on to watch when I want something funny that I don't have a great deal of emotional attachment to. I really like the host segments and the conceit of how they've built up the universe is pretty funny. I've now seen Reptilicus, Cry Wilderness (and let me take a moment to say: WTF is with that movie?), Time Travelers, and Avalanche. I feel like they're getting better as the season goes on, so we'll see!
I've also finally started watching Season 2 of Sense8 and I'm really enjoying it so far!
I am attempting to keep watching Critical Role but the episodes are SO LONG. I am barely making any progress, I am in the middle of the episode with the underwater tomb where two of their Slayers' Take pals come back for a couple episodes. It's a lot of fun! But like four hours an episode and I have so much science I ought to be doing.
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 1 of 1
word count (story only): 1214
:: A teaser story, potentially the start of a short series, set in the Schrodinger's Heroes universe. For those new to the universe, the “white cat” is a spoiler, sorry. If you'd like more, let me know!::
It was just past one in the morning when Wendy's careful plans burned to ash in a fiery conflagration of bad luck, betrayed trust, and wildly intrusive government regulations.
Well, she couldn't exclude the cat, either. He had woken her, yowling persistently. As she had stumbled over him, literally, a white beam of light cut through the darkness. Crouched over the cat twining between her legs, her knuckles white as she gripped the foot board of her narrow twin bed, she caught a slanted glimpse of a black all-terrain vehicle with a rack of spotlights on the roof.
And two men dressed in black.
And a rifle rack mounted in the cab behind their heads.
( Read more... )
(Does anyone else get kind of high on a second cup of coffee? Like your brain goes a little floaty.)
The 1-6 tooth (with the root canal) is feeling vaguely 'fizzy' again. I'm not sure it's ever going to feel 'normal' again. I'm also getting mild aches in the head again, and the right foot is again feeling very sensitive.
I'm chalking all this up to playing hockey - increased sensitivity in one part buzzing all the pain and sensitivity channels in the rest of my body. It's still a little disturbing, and kind of exhausting.
Parentals are home on Friday, B1 will probably move back in that night. It will be nice to have someone else in the house again.
And then I offered to cook dinner on Saturday...
Australian Populism: What If Australia already had its Trump moment...and it was Tony Abbott?
Perhaps not all is lost?
Mind you, Australia is very different to the rest of 'the West' - ocean borders, a much younger nationalistic identity and therefore not as entrenched, a western country in a very non-white region, and one of the most urban populations in the world with corresponding intermingling of culture and influx of immigrants. As a result, the reasons that populism has perhaps passed are not necessarily going to be replicated in Europe and the North Americas.
Sydney Writer's Festival: Six Things We Learned
1. "On Such Small Things Do Fate And The Future Depend": Hitler, Drugs, the Third Reich, And The Movement Of Mussolini.
2. "Not What You Can Write, But How Do You Write It?": A white man writes a story about a black man raping a white woman and hands it in to his black Lit teacher. It's gonna be a long discussion class tomorrow...
3. "The Immigrant And The Xenophobe Are Close Cousins When It Comes To The Concept Of Refuge": is refuge what we seek or what we defend? Is refuge a refuge if it isn't exclusionary by nature and therefore sought?
4. "The White Gaze And Review Culture": White people can review anything, but Indigenous reviewers are only relevant when it's Indigenous culture.
5. "As Many Brits Living Outside Of Britain as Syrians Living Outside Of Syria": facts and the distortion of them for false inference.
6. "There's Always Someone In The Audience Who Wants To Get Their Id Out In Public": #NotAllAudienceQuestions
Racism: Poisonous Racism At The Root Of Western Societies
“This is my history too,” Tempest continued, her voice shaky. “I’m living it, it’s happening. We are at the end of colonial history, British history. I want to say something to you, I want to be able to talk about it. Guilt is not good enough any more. Guilt is narcissism. Your guilt is about you. My guilt is about me. It’s not good enough.
“Empathy. Empathy, humility, reparation and change,” she urged.
Aaron's method is based on three cornerstones: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm.
By knowledge, Aaron means you should know what you're going to write before you write it. This doesn't just mean outlining in the usual sense that most writers use, but even something so simple (as she mentions) as sitting down for five minutes before your daily writing session and jotting down notes on how you want your scene to go.
I am an outliner--I outline at the chapter level because I find it almost impossible to finish stories that don't have some level of preexisting structure. (I learned this the hard way, after leaving dead story-corpses all over my hard drive and not being able to finish things for years. There's a reason my short story output per year is not great.) I rarely outline in more depth than that because I have almost never found it helpful to do so. Well, in a spirit of open-mindedness, I tried Aaron's method while working on Dragon Pearl. I spent about five minutes and worked out where I thought the scene was going to go. Within 500 words, I had gone completely off the rails, so that was pretty much a waste of time. I could have tried it again, but I know myself well enough to be pretty convinced that going off the rails would be a regular occurrence. I mean, I'm the person who tossed off Kel formation instinct almost as a throwaway worldbuilding detail only to have to practically take over the trilogy (it's a major theme and plot factor in both Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun), and a character who had not even existed in the outline for Revenant Gun ended up becoming one of the major secondary characters. So, uh, yeah. Since I'm prone to zig where I was supposed to zag, this bit of advice is not helpful to me. But it might work for you.
By time Aaron means time management--not just making the time to write, but figuring out your own writing output patterns and playing to your strengths. So if you take a couple weeks to record your wordcount output and discover that you write fastest in the evenings, then prioritize writing in the evenings. If you write best when you have several uninterrupted hours, try to arrange your life to make that possible. Things like that. This part I'm pretty comfortable with. I don't work another day job--I'm a stay-at-home parent. I can pretty much arrange my hours however I want. I'm not great at time management, but this is more a function of my terrible willpower than lack of self-knowledge.
The last bit is enthusiasm, by which she means that stuff you're genuinely enthusiastic about writing will go faster--often much faster--than stuff you're not. I have experienced this; I think many of us have. Unfortunately, this doesn't really help me. I am sitting on a weapons-grade mood disorder. My being able to sustain enthusiasm about ANYTHING for longer than a few hours is pretty much never going to happen. When I have writing projects scheduled out a couple years in advance, it's pretty hard to imagine being able to maintain any level of enthusiasm for the work to come. And, I mean, besides bipolar disorder being disruptive, I spend a lot of time depressed, including depressed about my writing. So this is just a wash.
She does have one useful insight that I've observed about my own writing (and which I wish someone had told me rather earlier), which is that when you seem "stuck" in your writing, sometimes it's because your subconscious is trying to tell you that there's a glitch in what you're currently trying to do, and you need to reconsider your approach. I have definitely had that experience--generally once I figure out a solution to the problem in the writing, the "blocked" feeling resolves itself.
Anyway, the Rachel Aarons of the world may well be able to write a decent novel draft in the twelve days that she cites, but I am never going to be able to do that. I can't sustain much more than 2,000-2,500 words per day without burning out, partly because I don't think fast, partly because writing is a painful endeavor for me. I guess I will have to be resigned to being slow and suboptimal. Her observation that you should be as excited about your writing as you want your readers to be particularly dismays me, because I spend most of my time hating my professional writing  and by this standard I'm just doomed. :/ But that's not Aaron's problem, it's mine.
 In all fairness, my fanfic isn't much better, it's just that in fanficlandia people tend to not actually leave comments if they think your fic sucks, they just leave crickets. :p
At Portrait Adoption:
At Sketch Fest, I did 6 (!) pieces, 3 coloring page sketches, 2 little paintings (for Torn World, below), and a toned paper portrait sketch (finished as a portrait, above).
For Torn World:
(several more were posted at the site, but they're part of April's update because that's when I released them in my blog.)
I did sketches at the Morris Thompson complex, including this one:
(Patreon patrons got more sketches.)
STILL NONE. (Okay, I did a little outlining.)
A bear photo of Guppy on her birthday:
I re-coded Torn World to use the database of the rest of EMG. It was a MASSIVE upgrade, and I also added Muse Fusion functionality at the site itself.
I also worked on several projects that wouldn't be released until much later!
Aside: my DVR didn't know what to do with a block that didn't have proper season/episode information attached and shoved it down at the bottom of the list, which made me think it hadn't recorded at first, that is, panic.
( SPOILERS, SO MANY SPOILERS, ALL THE SPOILERS )
One of the sketches I did on vacation the month prior.
At Portrait Adoption:
Just one sketch (a little painting) for Sketch Fest: https://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/
A little brainstorming. No actual words, I think.
My favorite photo, from January's vacation:
I did taxes. Woot.
And I published a book. It spent a few days in the top 500 books of Amazon, which was lovely!