Fix all the things!

Aug. 19th, 2017 10:54 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I have the correct invoice for the Tour!  And I've paid it!  So I must be going to Europe soon!!  By the way, if you are reading this, and you are in Europe and would like to catch up, send me a message, and I'll let you know all my dates and where I will be, so we can give it a try.  Sadly, I won't be getting to England this time - I'm really only away for three weeks, and I'm spending the first 12 days of them racing around east Germany, Austria and Prague - but if you are able to pop across to the continent, I will be winding up in Paris, so that might work.

It's been a bit of a mad week.  My wrist is still causing me grief, and the exercises my physio gave me weren't helping (and with 4 repeats of a half hour routine every day, they would have had to help a lot and fast to be worth my while), and I felt that she wasn't really listening when I told her the issues I was having, so when she forgot to ring me to touch base, I decided not to bother following up.  Ghosting on one's physio is probably not the best move, but at this stage I know SO MANY wrist exercises and I think I'm really better off resting my wrist and trying those for a week or two and then trying someone new.

Despite this, I managed to write not one but two short stories for my Stories Under Paris site.  Basically, I had Chardon Lagache station, which clearly required a thistle-related story, and depending on how you translate gâche it means all sorts of things, ranging from 'trowel' to 'spoils'.  I had this plan to do a whole bunch of drabbles, but then I realised that one of the drabbles wanted to be a proper story about Sir Gareth of Orkney (also known as Sir Gareth Beaumains), who spent his first year at Camelot in the kitchens and was notably mild tempered, and thus clearly my sort of knight.  And then I realised that I had another story I could write about him crossing paths with the princess from Donkey Skin, because really, if any knight of the Round Table ought to be sympathetic to someone who was trying to escape the threat of incest, the mild-tempered brother of Mordred ought to be that knight.

So I wrote The Trowel and the Thistle: Two Lost Stories of Sir Gareth Beaumains, and I think they are both rather sweet, provided one ignores the fact that one starts with attempted incest and the other one has sort of got cannibalism in it.  (My choir friend told me that she thought I had found the blurred line of cannibalism, which is not a line I had ever wanted to blur, but there you go.)

Meanwhile, Australian politicians continue to turn out to be not quite Australian enough (there was a nice article today suggesting that actually, since New Zealand recently changed its laws regarding the rights of Australian citizens, nobody in Australia is eligible to sit in Parliament any more.  I don't think that this will fly, but it's a pleasing thought.).  I emailed my parents to check whether I was still the only person in the family who was eligible to sit in Parliament, and they said yes, and then Dad went to the Italian Embassy website and said, oh, actually, maybe not.  This is frustrating, because I was told when I was 18 that not only was I not Italian, but I couldn't even apply for citizenship without living in Italy for a year first, which was thoroughly annoying, since my brother, being under 18, got citizenship when Dad got back his.  Except that, oops, I was advised wrongly, and I've been Italian all along.  Which is really quite infuriating, because I would definitely have made some different decisions about where I was going to live long-term if I'd known this back then.

Also, apparently I can't become a member of parliament unless I renounce my Italian citizenship, even though I've never got any good use out of it.  But, on the bright side, I could compete in Eurovision for Italy, so I suppose that's a silver lining...

Work has been interesting this week.  One of my favourite postdocs came and asked me to join the Women In Science Parkville Precinct group, because apparently they have lots of brilliant ideas and very little ability to bring any of them to fruition, and she thinks that I can get them sorted out.  I had never thought of myself as someone who could do this, but yes, from what she is describing, I certainly could get them focused and pointed in the same direction, and it's an interesting opportunity, so I've said yes.  I'm going to regret this for sure.

In politics, oh Lord.  I'm finding it very hard to read Facebook and Dreamwidth at the moment, because there are so many posts that are saying 'You need to be doing something about the Nazis, yes, you, and if you are not, you are complicit', which make me feel terribly guilty because I am not currently doing anything specifically about Nazis, but that's mostly because I'm way over here in Australia, where we have our own horrible government doing terrible things, and I'm pretty sure I have to make that my priority.  I mean, I only have so many hours and resources, and we are in a very big glass house when it comes to racism in Australia, and I'd rather put my energies towards preventing home-grown racists here.  And I already feel guilty about not doing enough about that.  Feeling guilty about not stopping Nazis in the USA seems excessive.  And I know those posts are not necessarily directed at me, specifically, but my emotional brain inevitably reads them that way, because she already thinks that she is responsible for every single bad thing happening in the world that she is not actively fighting (which, realistically is everything), and it's all a bit much. 

It's tricky, because a lot of the people doing this sort of calling out are writing other important things that I think I really do need to be aware of and understand better (racism, for example, is something that I know is an issue everywhere, and it's something I rarely comment on because I don't feel educated enough to do so), so I don't want to mute them entirely.  But I don't know what I can do, and I'm feeling overwhelmed at present, with so many people around me suffering from awful things and wanting to support them, and our government determined to make everything worse.

I think it's a matter of sorting out useful guilt from useless guilt, which I can do to an extent on an intellectual level, but I'm kind of bad at emotionally.

I may have to give myself a social-media-free day once a week to clear my head.  I can't leave entirely, because it's how I promote the political action I *do* manage to do.  And the fun stuff, too.

Of course, all this stuff about how I should be putting my energies towards acting locally is less justifiable when I'm not doing enough about that, either, but I'm overwhelmed on that front, too.  How do people manage to support multiple causes at once?  How do people manage to survive at all?  It boggles the mind.

Anyway.  Right now, I'm kind of doing Marriage Equality stuff to the exclusion of all else, because it is directly affecting my friends, and because it might actually be something where I can be effective.  I wrote a post today updating people on how to register to vote, and also included a link farm for people who really needed to read something affirming and non-depressing about LGBTQI people right now.

So at least I've done that.  Still feeling guilty about refugees, of course.

I wish I could stop being politically aware.  It must be so nice.

LBCF, No. 147: ‘The Holy Hand’

Aug. 18th, 2017 05:26 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

“If any of it was true, all of it was true” seems to be simply another version of the fundamentalist insistence that if any of it is not true, then none of it is true. This is the house-of-cards implication fundies draw from their notion of biblical “inerrancy” which, again, has very little to do with the supposed inerrancy of what the Bible actually says and everything to do with their own alleged inerrancy as its interpreters.

Left Behind and Trumpism

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:48 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

The Left Behind series sold more than 65 million copies. I can't offer a precise Venn diagram comparing those 65 million readers with the just-under 63 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, but I would imagine the overlap in the middle would be pretty big. Their appeal is the same, and so is the audience.

Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng!

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:39 pm
gramarye1971: Jim Hacker about to receive some illegal alcohol in "The Moral Dimension" (YM: Diplomacy)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
As a small bright spot in an otherwise dismal weekend, I received a AO3 message requesting permission to translate Resource Allocation, the extremely silly Harry Potter/Yes, Minister crossover drabble I wrote ages ago, into Chinese. So with thanks to [archiveofourown.org profile] liangdeyu, 【翻译】Resource Allocation资源分配, is now available. I'm very pleased to see it.

(This does remind me that at some point I need to pick up a copy of Yes, Prime Manipulator, a book about the Chinese translation of YPM -- Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng -- written by the translator.)

Paula Deen and Charlottesville

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:49 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Drew G.I. Hart’s discussion of Paula Deen seems timely. This is from his fine book, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. Hart reviews the “really ugly comments” the celebrity chef made back in 2013, resulting in her near-universal condemnation in public: Deen’s racism was too overt, and she broke all the rules. […]

Sunday favorites

Aug. 13th, 2017 10:29 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern."

LBCF, No. 146: ’28:06:42:12′

Aug. 11th, 2017 11:40 am
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Posted by Fred Clark

The central figure in this message is not Christ, but the Antichrist. It’s fair to ask, then, if LaHaye and Jenkins’ religion might not be more accurately called “Antichristianity.” In their defense, however, we should note that the essential focus of their religion is not to celebrate or serve the Antichrist, but rather to oppose him. That would make their religion something more like “Anti-Antichrist-ianity.” To their way of thinking, Anti-Antichristianity is pretty much the same thing as Christianity.

Friday

Aug. 11th, 2017 11:03 am
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Less than six weeks to Europe!  This would be even better if the invoice I was sent on Tuesday had been the correct invoice.  Since said invoice is meant to be paid by Sunday, and they haven't actually managed to send me the correct one yet, I'm feeling a little concerned...

(I have been informed that the deadline will be extended for me.  But I still would like to know how much everything will cost.  Between deductions for home stay, additions for one more night in Prague, additions for single-share, but a deduction for three nights of twin-share, and an addition for a later flight back, I really have no clue how much my final bill will be.  But I do know that one more night in Prague can't possibly be costing $621, so the bill I was sent was definitely not mine...)

Anyway.  Europe will be good.  And I now have a YELLOW suitcase (it's definitely YELLOW and not just yellow), and have ordered walking socks, and bought power adaptors and a neck pillow of a design that looks like it might not give me bachache, and next pay I shall replace my boots, which are beginning to be holier than needed.  (Nobody really wants religious boots.)

The concert music is well-chosen, I must say.  Duruflé's requiem, plus a lot of shorter pieces by Bruckner, Rossini and Bach, and a sequence of very short pieces by a contemporary Australian composer.  It's good music, and there's not a lot I couldn't sing creditably after two rehearsals.  Quite a bit of it I have sung before.  After two rehearsals.  After the extreme difficulty of the last two conferences, I'm pleased to see that the music I will be singing while jetlagged is, indeed, music I can sing in my sleep.

In other news, our government continues to be a toxic embarrassment.  Their latest idea is a non-compulsory, non-binding, postal vote on marriage equality, to be run not by our electoral commission, but by the bureau of statistics, alongside Australia post, over a period of two months, with no bar on abusive or false campaigning because the Australian public can apparently be trusted to be respectful and polite.

Here are some of the ways Australian politicians have been respectful and polite on this subject in the last 24 hours.

It's frankly disgusting – a way for Malcolm to cling to his Prime Ministership for just a little longer, and also to distract from the refugee situation.

I have some opinions about this.

I'm also wondering whether it would be a good idea or a patronising one to try to counter some of the nastiness headed in the direction of my GLBTQI friends over the coming months by finding and sharing a positive news story about GLBTQI people each day. 

And that's about all.  My wrist still hates me typing, which is a pain.  I'm a little depressed and feeling burned out at work.  And my next story can't decide whether it will be about artichokes or the Jacobite rebellion (the station in question has chardon in its name, which means thistle).  If I can make it about both, that would be fun, but I don't think that's where it is going.  

A letter from the faculty lounge

Aug. 10th, 2017 11:32 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Richard Mouw and Jerry Falwell Jr. are both evangelical Christians, both leaders of prominent evangelical institutions. But, as Mouw writes to Falwell, they "travel in very different parts of the evangelical world." That understates the situation. They travel in different worlds -- in the distinct realms of separate constituencies that rarely, if ever, communicate.
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Posted by Fred Clark

Specific, skeptical questions about purported signs and wonders are not theological but journalistic -- who? what? when? where? Whether or not those asking such basic factual questions can recite any given sectarian catechism is irrelevant to the answers. Catechizing me instead of pursuing those answers seems like an attempt to evade the original question of what, if anything, just happened.
gramarye1971: Punie Tanaka from Dai Mahou Touge, looking satisfied in front of a burning Tokyo Tower (Dai Mahou Touge: Tora Tora Tora)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
I'm feeling a bit too disorganised to post much at the moment, but one fun thing I've been doing lately has been testing out an online Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop game through roll20.net, a site that lets you use webcams and chatrooms to run tabletop campaigns in real time. The GM's a friend who's run a number of our campaigns before, but we're playing with several other different people in different time zones, so there's a new element to it as well.

Our game is set in a cyberpunk retrofuture 2020 Baltimore, with the following premises:
- Basically, there are cell phones but no real Internet, Taylor Swift is the current U.S. president, the Cold War turned hot in space about two decades ago, and the Inner Harbor and Johns Hopkins University are two of a handful of arcologies in a sea of shantytowns and otherwise crumbling infrastructure.
- Our characters are an A-Team-like group of hired guns and techies who operate out of a food truck that sells kimchi tacos.
- I'm essentially playing a character from the Gunslinger Girl anime: a cybernetically modified Ukrainian sniper/former child soldier who looks about 14 or 15 but is actually in her early 20s. She was "rescued" (more like kidnapped) by a U.S. charity that's involved in money laundering under the guise of helping war orphans, and she's young and blonde enough to be a public face for their child solider rehabilitation program. Unfortunately, she actually rather enjoyed wetwork operations, so she's working with the kimchi taco folks to save up money to go back to her home country and jump right back into the action.

Apart from some technical glitches, we managed our first mission well enough -- no one in our party died or caught on fire, and we got a busted-out sedan as a secondary vehicle to supplement the food truck. It's been a while since I've played such a morally bankrupt character type, but dumping all of my good stats into the weapons skills means that I don't feel too bad about treating her like a point-and-shoot glass cannon. Will see if the mechanics continue to work out.

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