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June 2017

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Can somebody update me on the present legal status in the US of graphical user interfaces as intellectual property? Am I correct in believing they can't be patented (though the code can be copyrighted)?

What I really want to know: Can I rip off GVoice's old/retired web interface legally? Or more accurately, can I pay somebody else to do it for me with reasonable ability to assure them they won't go to jail or get sued into oblivion for doing it?

To be clear, there are some nifty functional subtleties I'd want to make off with, which I wouldn't even want to bother pretending I came up with on my own. For instance, there's some interesting algorithm for how texts are batched into threads which I haven't entirely reversed engineered, but make a huge difference in readability.
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I should have posted this yesterday, but appropriately enough, I was too busy prepping for the game I ran last night. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dice Tales: Essays on Roleplaying Games and Storytelling is out now! If you play RPGs and have an interest in them from the narrative side of things — the ways we use them to tell stories, and what GMs and players can do to make them work better in that regard — you may find it of interest. Follow the link to buy it from Book View Cafe, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, or (in a first for me) DriveThruRPG. And if any parts of it wind up working their way into the games you play or run, let me know!

Also, the New Worlds Patreon has headed off into the wilds of rudeness, with two posts on “Gestures of Contempt” and “Insults.” The theme will continue through the end of this month before turning in a new direction for August. Remember that patrons at the $5 level and above can request topics, so if there’s something you’d like to see me discuss, you can make that happen!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

thingth

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:21 pm
rimrunner: (Default)
[personal profile] rimrunner
Stuff is happening. Like:

- I got bit by something down on our land a week and a half ago. Two urgent care visits, two antibiotic prescriptions, and a shot in my hip later, things are finally on the way toward healing. No more shorts in tall brush for me. I had a follow-up with my PCP today; he was frustrated that there's no way to know what originally got me. It could even have been dermatitis from a plant (there are four on our land that I know of that could have caused it, and two that I haven't seen but whose presence can't be ruled out) though he thinks not. My guess is still ticks. They're way more common than spiders and are really bad this year. I have another few days of antibiotics and a bandage on my leg that people keep asking about.

- Another story came out, in See the Elephant magazine. It's the first story I workshopped at Stonecoast so I'm pretty happy about this one. My publications page is starting to grow.

- I built a picnic table, using a pattern from Popular Mechanics and instructional tips from Erik. I can use power tools. This is good. We have also built an outhouse; with that and the well, basic camping infrastructure has been established.

- I also took a basic home repair class through the local community college. There's only so much one can learn in a single day, but it's also true that a lot of basic repair work isn't terribly complicated. Erik says I get to do the next power outlet replacement. I'm kind of looking forward to it.

- Work continues to be political. After a great deal of back and forth, including a consulting architect who got as far as drafting three plans for a library renovation before being told that the project wouldn't be funded, we're getting a student success center in the library. It's being housed in the currently vacant offices where the associate provost and his assistant used to be, entails renovation of the academic assistance center, and they're taking over our two most-used group study spaces on the first floor as well.

The project isn't a bad idea. Our retention rate is below 80%, which is one reason for our ongoing budget woes (at least the library budget wasn't cut again--as far as we know). But it was more or less dictated from the provost's office, the person in charge of the project has spent maybe an hour in the building and has shown some sign of not really knowing what they're doing (18-foot conference tables??), and the provost herself is on medical leave for the rest of the summer. My boss is supposed to report to her and they didn't have a good working relationship before this.

- I recently finished reading Braiding Sweetgrass. It's a fairly astounding book, much about it telling me that I'm on the right track with some of the decisions I'm making. There's even a chapter about a guy who bought up a lot of recently clearcut timberland and started restoring it, viewing it as helping to fulfill his responsibility to the planet. I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time on the land; right now, dayjob and writing are taking up a lot of that time.

- Last week SPU left a door hanger on the front door indicating that they would be doing construction today and no water would be available from 9 until 5. Of course that's the day I'm working at home because my doctor's appointment was right in the middle of the day. I filled a bunch of water bottles and broke out a bottle of hand sanitizer. I'll still be glad when the water is available again.

- The cat Erik and I adopted last fall, Little Man, continues to be adorable and charming. He's even charmed Erik. It helps that his personality is what many would describe as dog-like.

- I am worried for some very dear friends, whose rough times have lasted for years. I won't delve into the details here. In any case their story is becoming all too common, and is why I am taking certain measures that I am fortunate and privileged to be able to do.

- I'll be a featured reader at Two Hour Transport on July 26th. I'm excited.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael F. Haspil at Denver Comic-Con recently, and he had me at the word “Egyptology.” The hero of his debut novel is a mummy and former pharaoh — how could I not be interested in that! But I’ll let Michael tell you about how it took a different character to bring his mummy’s story to, er, life for him.

***

cover art for GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Michael F. HaspilI wrote the original version of GRAVEYARD SHIFT during NaNoWriMo some time ago. However, I still remember when the story really jumped into gear and, regrettably, that wasn’t truly in the first draft, though at the time I thought it was.

As I began revisions and sorted through the aftermath of a NaNo first draft, certain aspects stood out as being decent. The main character, Alex Menkaure, an immortal pharaoh now working in a special supernatural police unit in modern-day Miami, and his partner, Marcus, a vampire born in ancient Rome, needed minor work. The climactic battle at the end against the villains needed a lot of polish. While the action was solid, I wrote the section in a blur and it showed. Also, there was something missing. While Alex and Marcus are formidable, the villains I’d set up for them to go against were more so, and they needed help.

The help came in the form of Rhuna Gallier, a young but vicious shapeshifter with her own agenda. I’d had an idea for her character while brainstorming another novel, but realized with some minor tweaks, Rhuna and “The Pack” could fit into GRAVEYARD SHIFT’s story and world.

When I wrote the next draft, as I seeded Rhuna’s presence throughout the book, she threatened to take over the entire thing and make it hers. This may sound weird to non-writers, but she didn’t seem to understand this was Alex’s story and she was a supporting character. So I promised her besides the climax she would get a cool action scene. I knew in the scene Rhuna needed to be mostly on her own with minimal support so I could showcase her lethality.

In GRAVEYARD SHIFT’s world, a practice goes by the underground name of S&B. It stands for Sangers, a derogatory name for vampires, and Bleeders, humans who willingly let vampires feed on them to experience the pleasurable sensations that come with it. Participants meet in bloodclubs, which are akin to prohibition-era speakeasies. Many unsavory activities such as human trafficking, blood and drug dealing, and murder, happen near the clubs and they are part of Miami’s criminal underbelly.

In the early draft, I had a criminal vampire who liked to prey on young girls, take one of his victims to the club. It was an unhappy chapter and ended with the vampire killing another victim. In the new draft, Rhuna showed up. That’s when the story jumped to life. Rhuna took the place of the victim and suddenly where I had a naรฏve girl falling prey to an old vampire’s wiles, now I had Rhuna going in as a Trojan horse and the vampire and his companions never knew what hit them.

I rewrote the sequence, several chapters long, in one sitting. Now, I can’t wait to write Rhuna’s novel. It’s going to be great fun.

***

From the cover copy:

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, born in ancient Rome, are vice cops in a special Miami police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, bootleg blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When poisoned artificial blood drives vampires to murder, the city threatens to tear itself apart. Only an unlikely alliance with former opponents can give Alex and Marcus a fighting chance against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.

Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul. An avid gamer, he serves as a panelist on the popular โ€œThe Long Warโ€ webcasts and podcasts, which specializes in Warhammer 40,000 strategy, tactics, and stories. Graveyard Shift is his first novel. Find him online at michaelhaspil.com or @michaelhaspil.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

I've been sick as a dog for almost a week -- I haven't had a voice since Saturday morning -- so I was "lucky" enough to have coughed myself awake just in time to catch the announcement live via Twitter.

I've really been hoping for a woman of colour as the next Doctor, and I didn't recognise Jodie Whittaker by name, so I felt a weird stab of disappointment and even betrayal when I saw her white hand, coupled with simultaneous excitement that it was clearly a woman's hand.

I still think that a white woman was the easy option, casting-wise, but I've seen Whittaker in a few things -- including the first four episodes of Broadchurch, which I inhaled last night and enjoyed so much I completely forgot about Game of Thrones -- and she's very, very good.

And I also wonder if it would be unfair to an actress of colour, to throw her to the same wolves that drove Leslie Jones off Twitter, while also expecting her to lead a show with (so far) all-white writers. Which is not to excuse the implications of casting a white woman, I just think it might be complicated. Most things are. Whitakker's already been hit with a barrage of misogyny, and I hope the BBC is filtering her mail.

Anyway, I've curated my social media so well that I haven't seen a single friend or acquaintance saying they're opposed to a female Doctor as such.

On the other hand, I've seen a lot of performative finger-wagging, reminding us that this is only a victory for white women (got it, thanks) and that we can't rely on pop culture to save the world (no, really? Good heavens, I had no idea, thank goodness I had you, random Twitter person, to tell us off for being invested in a hobby!).

I guess I'm weary of performative wokeness, and, while everyone's entitled to an opinion, I find a lot of opinions on Doctor Who from people who aren't or haven't been in the fandom ... lack context? Which is sometimes valuable, and sometimes it's just the hot take equivalent of "DID YOU KNOW THAT 'TORCHWOOD' IS AN ANAGRAM OF 'DOCTOR WHO'?"

ANYWAY. Whitakker. I'm looking forward to her run, I'm still holding out hope for Alexander Siddig or Sophie Okonedo as Fourteen (it's never too soon!), people are already complaining that Whitakker is too young and too old, so, like women everywhere, we already know she just can't win.
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[tech, domesticity] Oy, Verizon

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:28 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
The one logistical thing that has not gone swimmingly with D's move to assisted living has been moving her landline.

The extent to which Verizon has screwed this up has been epic. [personal profile] tn3270 referred to it as a Russian novel.

Penultimately, I had a conversation with billing that went approximately thus:
Billing: Hello, Verizon Billing, this is [NAME]. How can I help you today?

Me: You can waive this month's bill because Verizon has screwed up two move orders so far, and the 90 year old account holder hasn't had access to her phone line for five days and counting. It's still not on at her new place, but I understand there's an expedited technician order for today. But who knows? You're the seventh Verizon employee I've talked to so far, and I've been told a variety of wrong and contradictory things every step of the way. This has been the worst corporate fiasco I've been involved with in years.

Billing: ...yes, we will totally credit the account for the month.

I had originally thought that we might have trouble because Verizon had security and stuff, and I wasn't the account holder (D) and I wasn't the contact on the account ([personal profile] tn3270). But no. I text chatted with Verizon in advance of putting in the order (CSR #1), and they told me what authentication tokens I needed to authorize the move order, I got them, and they worked fine when I put the order in.

No, everything went to hell apparently due to galloping incompetence on Verizon's (staff's) part(s).

Initially, I was told we didn't need a technician to come out for the line move, unless we wanted help plugging the phone into the wall; they could do it on their end. For the record, this is a good ol' fashioned POTS line, and moving within the same town. Fine. Once we'd nailed down the move date and booked movers โ€“ June 30th, to be precise โ€“ I got back in touch โ€“ btw, I was using the Verizon website realtime customer service chat, because I couldn't find a damn customer service phone number. It's 1800VERIZON, btw. So I fired up the chat thingy, and talked to a customer serv rep (CSR#2), who said they'd be happy to do the move order for me. Somewhere in the middle of the process, he apologized to me and said that the system was saying that a technician is required for that address; that there were no available technicians on the move in date, but could do the day after (7/13) between 1pm and 5pm, and it wouldn't cost anything to have the technician. I said to make it so, so he put the move order in. I asked him to confirm the service and he quotes me a price that I later find out is almost twice D's usual bill. I ask him whether he needs the account contact there to meet the technician, and he doesn't know, so he transfers me to another cust serv rep (CSR#3), who says, no, any adult who can let the tech in is fine, and who confirms the order is all complete, and (he specifically said this) the previous CSR did everything necessary.

Subsequently, [personal profile] tn3270 got a phone call from Verizon confirming the incipient move.

On Thursday, 7/13, 6pm no Verizon tech, and D's landline still has no dial tone at the new place, and is still working at her old place.

I am working until 9pm, so when I get home around 10pm, I get back on the text chat, and ask what happened. I'm informed they can find no move order on the account. The cust serv rep (CSR#4) asks if I have an ID number for the move order, and I don't have one. But they're happy to submit a new move order. Grrrrr. I say, yes, do it. After a long pause, the cust serv rep apologizes and says they can't do the move. Because it's a landline. The text-chat customer serv reps can't do landline moves. For that you have to call in. 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM EST Monday through Friday or 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday. Also, he tells me, I might need to present paperwork in person at a local Verizon office.

It's after 10pm on Thursday, so I have to wait until the phone is staffed again. Why they can have 24/7 text chat CSRs but not 24/7 phone CSRs, I don't know.

Other stuff comes up, that has priority Friday, so I don't get to call Verizon until Saturday, 7/15. The rep I speak to (CSR#5) tells me she sees no record of the move order for Thursday, but she can totally put in a move order for right now immediately. I say the guy I talked to on Thursday said I needed a technician and special documentation; she said she had no idea what he was on about, no technician was needed, and no, they didn't need any special documentation. She said it would be done by "5 today, though maybe really more like by midnight". I make her give me the order number for this move order.

Sunday, 7/16, still no dialtone at her new place, dialtone at the old place. Verizon is closed for phone calls.

Today, Monday, 7/17, I call Verizon and ask WTELF. The CSR (CSR#6) calls up the account and says, "Oh, I see you had a move order for last Thursday." "WAIT. WUT. You can see that order? I was told you guys had no record of that order!" I make him read me the order number; so now I have the order numbers for both move orders that failed to happen. He then apologizes on Verizon's behalf and tells me they over-booked technicians, and that is why no technician came out. "BUT, BUT, WAIT. NOBODY EVER CALLED OR EMAILED. I WAS TOLD THERE WAS NO ORDER. THE LAST PERSON TOLD ME WE DIDN'T NEED A TECHNICIAN AT ALL." The CSR apologized again, and said he'd put the order in, and expedite it, and a technician would be by today.

Then I explained that I wanted the bill credited, and he referred me to billing (CSR#7), who both credited the bill ([personal profile] tn3270 has already got the confirmation email) and confirmed her service level and price, contra CSR#2.

Miraculously, a Verizon technician actually showed up at the assisted living facility today. He did a bunch of stuff, including something in the network closet and sticking some sort of probe in her wall socket, and assured us everything in the building is all set.

She still doesn't have dialtone, though; the technician confidently told [personal profile] tn3270 that the problem was on the pole outside. They'll have a lineman deal with that tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/18).

Next up, contacting the Mass DTC to see about filing an official complaint.

Not of particular interest

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:49 am
vicarz: (Pikacutie!)
[personal profile] vicarz posting in [community profile] lifting_heavy_things
I forgot I joined this group. I used to (heart) gymrats in eljayland.

It's over a year since my unexplained nerve pinch injury, and I'm mostly back?

My weakest area remains my bench, but it's not far off. I used to hit 235 for 1-2, yesterday I hit 215 for a single. I'm trying to do more size (big but boring) work and put dips back in, trying to nail form rather than show off by tying on 70-90 lbs hanging from a belt.

My squat is mixed, but mostly up. I've pushed from my 315 plateau to singles and doubles at 345. I had some unexplained setbacks / fails at 345 and am unsure of whether to repeat or drop (probably repeat). I'm also doing more light rep work at some expense of lunges and front squats. I want to do them all but when my workouts hit 2 hours I am kinda done.

My DL is a mild disappointment, where I think I peaked at doubles at 445, now I've only hit - and failed - singles at 445 recently. I'm 100% doing a reset on DL. I also wonder if my recent form-cue changes have impacted this, but I'd rather fix my form than have another mystery nerve pinch.
* in my public gold's gym world, a 405 DL is often a wow-conversation starter

OP is about as weak as bench, where I had previously done 155 for doubles, now I'm 145 for a single. I'm 80% less likely to cheat though, fighting the urge to lean back and wiggle up my weights. There is no medal for back-bending inverted bench air press (give me some credit, at least I don't push press and deny it).

I thnk the big-but-boring 5x10 50/60% reps are helping with my lack of formal conditioning, but I'm also trying to do just a little, some 3 minute jumprope sessions and the like. I may try to see if I can heavybag without my bad elbows creeping back up. Pokemon walking probably isn't conditioning, but it does make people look at me strangely. "Doesn't my grandson play that game?"

[me] Update on MiALFM

Jul. 13th, 2017 01:10 am
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
D moved in to her room at her chosen assisted living facility today.

Despite her being resolutely and bravely determined to do this, despite the movers being wonderful, despite all the staff being lovely, despite all the residents being super friendly and even outgoing, despite her room turning out to have rather more space in it when her furniture was in it that we expected, despite everything being about as optimal as one could possibly dream of...

It was still utterly wrenching and distressing for D. At one point I was reassuring her that this was normal, and said not to underestimate the challenge this was for her. "It's probably the hardest thing you've done in forty years," I said, thinking of her divorce. "Ninety," she corrected me.

I fully expect for her to adjust substantially in a day or two, but right now it's all terrifying, anguishing, infuriating, and all-round overwhelming.

[personal profile] tn3270 took yesterday, today, and tomorrow off from work to be with her. He spent the day before the move over her house, helping her pack and generally being an emotionally stabilizing presence. He slept over, and ran the move; I traveled up to meet them a little before noon. I helped with the unpacking and setting up the space, and being emotional support; we had lunch there with her. Then he and I went back to her house to get some things they forgot (her cane!). Then we spent more time hanging with her in her room, being supportive. Then she dismissed us, and said she was all set, and we could go home. I informed her that we'd leave, but we'd be in the area (North Shore) for some time, and to call if she needed us back. She insisted she wouldn't. She did, about three hours later. We didn't leave until around 7:45pm.

[personal profile] tn3270 will be there tomorrow morning to spend the day with her. Friday will be her first day there without us. I think [personal profile] tn3270 is planning on being there on Saturday and we'll both go up to visit Sunday afternoon. Hopefully by that point everything will be much more familiar and she will be more confident in her ability to navigate it all, and in the staff's kindness and availability to help her.

ETA, Thursday 2:15pm, just got off the phone with [personal profile] tn3270: Last night when D was freaking out a la I CAN'T LIVE HERE IF THIS IS HOW THE PLACE MAKES ME FEEL O GOD SIDEREA WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY, I reassured her it was temporary and she would feel 80% better tomorrow. This morning she felt 80% better. \o/

[personal profile] tn3270, however, is not unexpectedly something of a wreck. He had been planning on spending the whole day, but later in the morning D announced that she had to learn to handle the place on her own, and he clearly needed some rest, so she ordered him home to bed. So he's home taking a nap now.

I am beginning to wonder if we've found the best assisted living facility on earth. They've, top to bottom, been incredibly helpful and easy to work with, and they are so understanding and considerate and cooperative. Like, usually there's a fee for room service, but we told them that she needs to hermit a bit in her room to adjust and they're waiving the fee. Like, one of the staff had me literally coach him how to approach her for her maximal comfort. The staff are following our instructions about how to handle encountering her in her room, and it's apparently going really well. Staff are dropping by one at a time to introduce themselves, so she's learning who people are at a steady slow drip, on her own turf, rather than all at once in busy congregate areas.

D continues to impress me with her determination and guts. There's three options for breakfast at this place: the dining room (restaurant-style service), room service, and a continental breakfast set out in a "kitchen"-style lounge on each floor. This morning, she decided to go check out the continental breakfast, even though she could have had room service, and she's terrified she'll get lost in the hallways. Apparently she loved it, and met another resident who is a regular at the continental breakfast. Crucially, she discovered that the continental breakfast has better coffee than she can make herself, and promptly did something that was tantamount to deciding never to make coffee for herself again: she told [personal profile] tn3270 to take away her coffee maker.

Note, she had asked us yesterday to fetch her her coffee maker from home on our trip to pick up the cane. [personal profile] tn3270 assured me it was safe and she could leave it on for days without it burning down the building, aeb the fact her home was still standing. So we brought it to her; and now she's decided she doesn't need it after all. Transitional objects come in many forms, yall.

I think, ironically, one of the things exacerbating this transition for D has been that D has been pushing herself too hard, and not allowing for her own emotional limits. For instance, she broadsided [personal profile] tn3270 and I with the announcement at the intake assessment on move-in day, that she wanted the medication-administration service after all, which has a variety of emotional challenges for her, which suddenly got dumped on top of her move-in stresses. Now, we think having her meds administered to her is great, we're all in favor of this, I had asked them about the service weeks ago anticipating it might become necessary. But D didn't talk to either of us first, and just up and did this on the one day she really, really didn't need additional stressors. I wasn't there for that meeting; when I arrived, she was already fully into OH GOD SIDEREA DID I MAKE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE ASKING THEM TO DO MY MEDS?!

Had I been at that meeting and had I known how badly it would throw her for a loop on a day that was already looking like a serving of cheerios, I would have put my foot down and insisted that she was going to self-administer for now, and we could discuss it again in a week. Because, ironically, the facility can't immediately start administering her meds, anyways. So all she got herself was the stress of knowing this was coming, without any of the relief of someone taking that chore off her hands. She's still stuck self-administering her meds anyways, for the time being. This is seriously worst-of-both-worlds. Oh, D.

With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had known to have a conversation with her in advance about make no changes to the plan for the first week. And also that I had realized just how much her best character features can set her up for failure, and that she needed someone to tell her to take her move as easy as she can. Me, I in her situation would have been like NOPE, WHATEVER IT IS CAN WAIT UNTIL AFTER MY MOVE IN, ALL MY COPE IS BOOKED โ€“ hell, it is how I've handled her move, and I'm not even the one moving. It never occurred to me that she would multiply her own stressors like that out of a sense of "should".

So she's been making decisions on "it would be good for me" basis in blithe disregard for her own human limitations. Thus she exceeds her limits of cope, and melts down. Then she starts catastrophizing like she's trying to make the US Olympic catastrophizing team.

Things we've successfully done that were super helpful:

1) Not believing her when she airily declares that she'll be fine, and have plans in place for when she is (inevitably) not fine after all.

2) [personal profile] tn3270 taking those three days off. There was a point late on Wednesday, the move-in day, when D was freaking out and the following approximate dialog happened:

D: OH GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TOMORROW WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE AND I'M ALL ALONE!

[personal profile] tn3270: Mom, I'm going to be here tomorrow and you won't be all alone.

D: OH GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TOMORROW WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE AND I'M ALL ALONE!

[personal profile] tn3270: MOM, I'M GOING TO BE HERE TOMORROW. I'VE TAKEN THE DAY OFF WORK.

D: ... you're coming after work?

[personal profile] tn3270: No, in the morning.

D: What about your job?!

[personal profile] tn3270: MOM, I'VE TAKEN THE DAY OFF. I'LL BE HERE ALL DAY.

D: You'll be here tomorrow?

[personal profile] tn3270: YES, MA.

(Of course, he had gone over this plan with her numerous times in previously. But when when she gets going into a freakout, it doesn't matter what she has been told. If she's afraid of being alone, that becomes the cognition I WILL BE ALONE, which overwrites any less emphatic contradictory information in her memory. We're just lucky that it didn't manifest in the delusional certainty that [personal profile] tn3270 would be in a car accident on the way up.)

3) We quite deliberately established a pattern of "go away and come back". For instance, there were some things she needed today from her house: rather than go to her house first to pick them up and then go visit her, [personal profile] tn3270 first went to see her, then made a round trip to the house to pick up the things and brought them to her. This manufactured for her a span of time when she was alone in her room, but knew her son was coming right back. We did this on move-in day, too, at several removes โ€“ leaving her in her room to go talk to staff about things but still being on-site, leaving the facility to go pick things up for her with a plan of returning soon, and leaving the facility but staying the local area (with no scheduled return) for her to be able to call us back; and of course the go-away-come-back of finally our going home and [personal profile] tn3270 coming back the next day.

This seems to be really working for her. It's giving her some control over how alone she's being, which allows her to balance her independence and need for solitude with her anxiety about being abandoned and neglected, and provide her adequate scaffolding for learning to tolerate that separation. Attachment theory FTW!

4) Lots of doting on her: I brought her flowers; [personal profile] tn3270 got her some nice new sheets for her bed; lots of hugs and kisses and back rubs and literal handholding.

5) I helped her do some moving in things that were familiar domestic tasks (making the bed, organizing her kitchenette, etc) which were re-skilling, and marvelously distracting and organizing for her. I got her to give me orders about how she wanted things in her room, which she found soothing and calming.
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The Battle for the Net

Jul. 12th, 2017 01:06 pm
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[personal profile] swan_tower

I posted a little while ago about today, July 12th, being the “Battle for the Net.” The short version is that the FCC is trying to roll back the “net neutrality” protections we currently enjoy, which would have the effect of letting corporations control how you interact with the internet. Think of your cable company: you know how they charge you more money for “premium channels”? You might find yourself paying your internet provider extra fees to access “premium sites.” (Not paying the sites; paying Comcast. Or whoever provides your internet connection.) Sites they don’t have a financial stake in might load more slowly. Streaming sites could be throttled to the point where you can’t watch a video or listen to music or play an online game without constant hiccups.

All of those things are bad. But here’s what’s worse.

Think about the flood of online political activity we’ve had in the last year. All those petitions, all those videos, all those political blogs. Right now, the only thing controlling your access to them is your level of interest and will to engage. But if we let the FCC empower internet providers to become the internet’s gatekeepers, then it may get a hell of a lot harder for us to make our voices heard. A lot of the groups speaking out right now are precisely the ones being disadvantaged by the current administration’s policies; they’re the ones who can’t afford to pay prioritization fees to keep their sites from being buried. This would be another way to screw them over, to make sure the voices we hear first, last, and loudest are the ones with money behind them: a negative feedback loop that ensures that power stays in the hands of those who already have it.

We can’t let this happen. Call your senators. Call your representative. Write a letter to the FCC. Speak up now, while you still can. As tools for speech go, the internet is up there with the printing press and the invention of writing itself — and our democracy depends on freedom of speech. We have to protect it.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Back at it

Jul. 11th, 2017 06:44 pm
romeoshaun: (Default)
[personal profile] romeoshaun posting in [community profile] lifting_heavy_things
Hey,

So, three months out and a lot of sporadic training over the years but finally I am back at it, feeling more optimistic than ever. When I first started out I ate a load of junk and trained hard, I got big, but not in a good way, I had t shirt muscles. I learnt the hard way, so, now I'm starting afresh, I have cut down and lost a lot of weight, goes to show how much bf I was carrying when I thought I was hench (big and muscley) I wasn't, I was a lump of, well, you get the picture. I'm feeling pretty awesome at the moment, doing it all properly now, clean diet, hard training and a whole new mindset. I have learnt so much in the 6 years I have been working out but feel now is where I truly begin my journey lifting heavy things. This is where it all begins. :)

This started out as a joke yesterday, but then I figured — why not?

SO! I am offering a signed book from my stash of author copies for someone who can provide me with a quick cartoon-style/chibi/super-deformed sketch of this man:

standing on a pressure plate and looking extremely grumpy, while this woman:

armed and armored like a D&D rogue, skips around sticking pink companion cube hearts on him:

. . . because yeah, last game session my PC left the Blackjack standing on a pressure plate in a hallway to disarm a trap while she went inside to plant a magical surveillance device. Which led to jokes that he was her companion cube, a la Portal. And then my sister said she would totally draw this cartoon if she could draw, except she can’t, and neither can I, but maybe one of you can! There’s a signed book in it for you if you do. ๐Ÿ˜€

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Breakfast meat? Why choose?

Jul. 8th, 2017 06:07 pm
brooksmoses: (Two)
[personal profile] brooksmoses
A Dittmer's Wursthaus today, I discovered a thing they call a Hannover wurst.

Hannover wurst appears to be what happens is when you have the question of whether to have sausage or bacon with your breakfast, and you make the obvious-in-retrospect choice of "Both! At the same time!" and make sausage in part out of bacon.

Needless to say, it is delicious.

Tomorrow’s Kin, by Nancy Kress

Jul. 7th, 2017 06:27 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Review copy provided by Tor Books.

I am really torn about my review of this book, because there are a lot of things that I found grating and clunky in it. There are copy editing errors that make sense into nonsense, there are sentences that grate on the ear, there are near-future references that are actually already near-past references, there are places where a character introduces a piece of gratuitous racism and the protagonist gratuitously excuses him for it only to find that it has no bearing whatsoever on the larger plot. The gay character is basically labeled THE GAY in sparkly foot-high letters with no other character traits. The sections from the points of view of the Black lady assistant and the kids read as pretty patronizing to me.

And yet. And yet it is a near-future science fiction novel substantially from the POV of an older lady, and how many of those do we have right now? Not too bloody many. And she is an older lady who is a mom who is realistically concerned about her kids and eventually grandkids–she is explicitly not enmeshed in a network of friends, but she at least has some family, some life outside a career. She gets to have a love life. And her family disagrees thoroughly, completely, on politics, the economy, and the ecology. As families really, truly do.

And there is an ecology. There is a character who is obsessed with purple loosestrife. Sometimes this is a metaphor for alien or displaced ecological disruption in the main plot of the book, because there are aliens of size and conversational ability, and also there are space spores. But sometimes? Sometimes it’s not a metaphor. Sometimes it’s just purple loosestrife. Those are my favorite times of all.

So I am torn. The structure of this book is weird–its focus shifts around–and there are so many nits to pick. And yet there are also a lot of things it’s doing that are not as widely available as I would really want. Mixed bag, is I guess where I come down in the end. Not my favorite Nancy Kress, but not without its points.

Please consider using our link to buy Tomorrow’s Kin from Amazon.