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So apparently they're going to remake Ben Hur. I Looooove Ben Hur and I think a reboot would be fun as long as they keep the Messala is Gay For Ben Hur plot, which is the best thing about the movie.
Who should be cast in this glorious remake?
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I tried to write up a convincing discussion of my current alienation from parentdom as regards educational goals and ideals but I fell down on the job.
In the meantime I am spending time earning money (short-term contract), signing the kids up for summer camps, negotiating the terms of my divorce and enjoying the weather. Did I mention I was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency a while back? I think I did. It turns out to be rather mild as these things go, upon further investigation. I'm taking my supplements and risking the no-sunscreen look.
I also cleaned out my closet today. I have a lot of shoes to give away.
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Les Mis progress:
That "digression" about slang (see my previous theory that the "plot" bits of Les Mis are the *actual* digressions) turned out to be much longer than I thought. I suspect this is one of the sections that is often abridged, if for no other reason than it must be a beast to translate. But we're through to the other side; time for more romance.
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They moved him to hospice / palliative care yesterday. Thank God, the independent-living community my mom is planning to move to had an opening for him in one of their palliative-care rooms. I think trying to do hospice at home would have been an untenable burden on Mom (two-story rowhouse, only bathroom is upstairs – and he can’t move one leg). Of course my brother and SIL would have helped as much as they could, but they have to be at work all day. I will visit in a few weeks – I was going to go sooner, but it turns out my brother and SIL (who work together) have a business trip they can’t get out of, so I’ll go be supportive while they’re gone. I’ll have to go back again, whenever …. afterward, but Ted will go with me that time. It turns out the state of Oregon has family leave policies that are much better than the FMLA, so I should be able to use some of that leave. It applies after you’ve worked for a company for six months – I couldn’t have used FMLA< because that requires a year and I haven’t worked here that long. Also, they offer up to two weeks (unpaid) leave for bereavement, which is a huge relief when you have to travel across the country.
I am really pleased that Mom is still planning on selling the house and moving to the independent-care place, even though it will be just her. She’s a bit worried about being too young for it (they take people from a full ten years younger than she is, but of course there aren’t many of those unless they’re ill). There are a lot of good reasons for her to move, though. For one, the neighborhood is going downhill; there were two shootings on the next block a month ago, and her car got broken into last year. For another, she hates being there alone. She gets lonely, and none of the old neighbors (the ones who were there the whole time I was growing up) are there anymore. The older ones have died and their kids moved away; the last one (someone my age who bought her parents’ home) moved a few years ago. There are still a couple of newer neighbors Mom likes and talks to, but it’s not the support system it was (there’s a reason I was allowed to babysit for my brother from the time I was 11, during our parents’ occasional nights out). Mom is a very social person; she likes planned activities and people around her. She also worries about what would happen if something was wrong with her – she’s in good health, but she’s had a few issues (broke an ankle a few years back, for instance). This new place will provide lots of activities – she can even have a garden plot if she wants. Three will be carers nearby if needed; everyone gets an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” bracelet. She’ll have people to eat with, and won’t have to cook but has a kitchen if she does want to. I think it will be very good for her, and now he won’t need to worry about whether she can get in later when her health does require it.
The other thing she likes, for now, is that Dad’s hospice room is in the same complex where her apartment will be. She can stop by anytime, leave if he’s sleeping, ask the nurse to call her when he wakes up, and go back.
Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.
Wed, Apr. 23rd, 2014, 03:15 pm || sairaali:
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I was going to write a response to the response to the response to the Hugo announcements, but screw that. Cishet white dudes have chewed up enough of my emotional bandwidth this week.
( Wiscon, new schedule!Collapse )
And because this week hasn't had anywhere near enough good things in it:
( A photo of Siddig El Fadil giving the prettiest shy smile everCollapse )
In completely different news, I've been using Blue Apron for a while now. As you know Bob, I've been horribly depressed for ages, with close to zero energy for anything. I hadn't cooked a meal from scratch, except on dates with the now-ex cute person, all last fall and winter. This was not okay, but I didn't have the energy to do anything about it. Enter Blue Apron, which sends me a box of perfect portions of groceries (no buying a whole bunch of celery when I only need one stalk for example) and recipes every week. It's a lazy way to cook, and ideally I'd be well enough to do my own damn meal planning and shopping, but it's better than frozen dinners and pizzas and takeout every night. I've been pleasantly surprised by how good the food is.
Anyway, I tell you all this because I have a bunch of coupons for free meals I can distribute. Each shipment contains food and recipes for three dinners for two people. If you're interested in trying them out, let me know. They are totally unable to deal with allergies or veganism. The most control you get over your food is saying yes or no to six categories of meat (shellfish, fish, pork, lamb, beef, and poultry).
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What did you just finish?
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan. Robert is a Duke with radical politics, involved in printing handbills that encourage factory workers to strike, introducing pensions for workers fired for trying to organize unions, and just generally working to "abolish the hereditary peerage in its entirety" (in his own words). YES IT IS ACTUALLY A ROMANCE NOVEL THAT IS CRITICIZING THE STRUCTURE OF THE ARISTOCRACY I LOVE IT (I mean, the hero's still a Duke, so there's a limit to the amount of credit you can give it, but I'm impressed). And Robert isn't perfect! He makes mistakes, he's a bit self-centered, and could do with listening to others a bit more, but it is generally an excellent portrayal of someone with privilege genuinely trying to work against it.
Minnie is a woman on the very poor end of 'Society', striving very hard to be normal and find an entirely unremarkable husband. Because she has a Tragic Backstory, wherein as a child her father dressed her as a boy and when the truth was eventually discovered, Minnie was caught by a stone-throwing mob, leaving her unable to handle large crowds or much attention. They both have issues with trust (Minnie is certain that her backstory renders her illegible, Robert was very nearly criminally neglected by both his parents as a child, leaving him both needy and doubtful of love). I love a lot of the little details here: Robert's mother and her character growth, the enjoyment both characters take in exploring sex once they get together, dramatic fainting and rescuing scenes!, the charity Minnie works on, Robert encouraging Minnie to be extraordinary. Also, God, I loved the entire scene on the train, in which Robert's friend embarass him in front of Minnie, SO MUCH. Here's an excerpt:
Miss Pursling looked over at the other woman, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion. “Play princess?”
“Yes,” Violet answered. “We did when we were children. Over the summers, his father would go off visiting, and he’d leave Robert with his sister—Sebastian’s mother. Robert, Sebastian, and I used to play a game that they called ‘Knights and Dragons,’ and that I called ‘Extremely Boring.’ They got to be knights, but I had to sit around as the princess and wait for them to rescue me.”
“So one day,” the countess continued serenely, “while they were charging about pretending to attack the dragon, I wrote a note saying that I had run away to tread the boards.”
Mr. Malheur snorted. “I believe you added that you meant to give your virtue to an entire group of bandits first.”
The countess didn’t seem the least bit offended by this. “At the time I had no notion what that entailed, but my governess was constantly warning me to protect my virtue with my life. It seemed the worst threat I could muster.”
Miss Pursling leaned forward with a slight smile on her face. She lifted her eyes to Violet’s. “What did your valiant knights do when your defection was discovered?”
“They decided it was their duty to hunt me down and feed me to the dragon as punishment.” Violet frowned at the mess she’d made of her knitting and then calmly began to pick out the last row. “They were not successful. In any event, it made for a far more amusing game.”
“Mud was involved,” Sebastian supplied.
“Thereafter,” Violet continued equably, “it was agreed that it was patently unfair for me to play princess every time. So we tossed a coin for it. But Robert never would play princess—not even when it was his turn.” The countess frowned at Robert, and he looked about.
“A coin only has two sides,” he said. “There was no way to assign a side to me.”
Robert raised a hand. “And now is not the time to get into methods for making coin tosses balance amongst three. Suffice to say, I would have made a very bad princess.”
“I see,” Minnie said slowly.
“You don’t,” Mr. Malheur threw in. “You’re thinking that Violet might make a reasonable princess. But she was exactly like this when she was a child—all prim and proper on the outside, but a hellion when no adults were looking. She only looks respectable. I don’t know how she did it, but Robert and I would return from our outings covered head to toe in mud, and Violet would look fresh as a spring day.”
“There is this lovely thing called water,” Violet put in. “Boys seem to be unaware of its existence.” She cast a look at Minnie over her knitting. “Hygiene is important.”
Miss Pursling smiled and looked down.
“Incidentally,” Mr. Malheur added, “for the sake of my dignity, Miss Pursling, I must inform you that when I played the role, it was called ‘prince.’ Not princess.”
“Called prince by you,” Robert put in. “The rest of us called you ‘princess.’ It doesn’t make sense otherwise. Dragons want to devour princesses. They don’t care about princes.”
“You have a great deal to learn about dragons. Think about it: We get more beef from steers than cows. It’s well known that the male of the species produces finer flesh.”
“I thought,” Miss Pursling said, “that we didn’t eat female cows because we preferred to save them for their milk.”
Not this argument. Down this road there could only lie doom. Robert hunkered back in his chair and waited for the inevitable time in which Sebastian would send Miss Pursling screaming.
Mr. Malheur winked at Miss Pursling. “Dragons like cheese.”
“But dragons cannot milk princesses,” Miss Pursling responded. “They do not have opposable thumbs.”
Mr. Malheur looked upward. “Very clever, and you’d almost be right. But dragons have minions. In any event, it’s quite clear that the female of the human species has inferior meat. They are saddled with those unfortunate fatty deposits round the front. Whereas flank of manflesh is lean, tender, and succulent.” He emphasized this by standing up and setting one hand against the seat of his trousers.
The countess rolled her eyes. “The least said about flank of manflesh, the happier we all will be. Besides, I thought you rather liked those unfortunate fatty deposits round the front. You spend enough time—”
Robert coughed loudly.
“My preferences are irrelevant,” Sebastian managed, with a great deal of haughty grandness. “I am not a dragon.”
“True,” Robert put in. “You’re a peacock—flaunting your feathers for the female of the species.”
“If it works…” Sebastian smiled, and then turned his head, peering at imaginary tail feathers on his behind. “And yes, that is one of my better features, thank you.”
The countess let out a loud, defeated sigh. “Are we talking about Sebastian’s buttocks again? Has he no other body parts?”
SO GOOD.A Kiss For Midwinter
by Courtney Milan. This was a short novella about Lydia, Minnie's best friend, and her relationship with Dr. Jonas Grantham. When Lydia was fifteen, an older man took advantage of her youth and ignorance, and lied and manipulated her into a relationship which ended when she became pregnant. Her parents, despite receiving advice to the contrary, supported her, and when she has an unfortunate miscarriage, they agree to keep the whole thing a secret, so that Lydia may have the same sort of life and marriage she would have expected before.
Years later, Lydia is a grown woman, determined to be optimistic and see the bright side of any situation. She also mistrusts her own emotions, especially love, and associates passion with bad decisions. Jonas, one of the doctors who treated her while pregnant, has fallen in love with her after meeting her again years later. Jonas's father is a hoarder in ill-health (Jonas has a strong reaction to this which I'm not quite sure is supposed to be read as mild OCD or not), and Jonas himself is a cynic with a sarcastic, black sense of humor. I really enjoyed this book's emphasis on optimism as an act that takes strength and which is no less mature than pessimism. I also really liked the emphasis on condoms (and other preventive measures) and women having knowledge about sex and their own bodies. The Countess Conspiracy
by– guess who?– Courtney Milan! Sebastian is a joker and a rake and infamous for his scandalous scientific theories about the heritability of traits (essentially Mendel's experiments with pea flowers). However, they're not actually his theories, but those of Violet, a respectable widow who could not get any scientific journals to accept her papers under her own name. Violet is heavily constrained by the rules of proper behavior that her mother drilled into her as a child, to survive the scandal when Violet's father committed suicide. The rules worked well enough that Violet married an Earl, in what turned out to be an INCREDIBLY TERRIBLE marriage that has left her with its own scars. Sebastian has been in love with her since they were children, but has to convince her (and his brother) that he's actually serious this time. Basically it is an entire novel about Victorian lady scientists claiming their own work and acknowledgement and it is AWESOME. I love the scene where they discover and name chromosomes! I love that it is explicitly a relationship where penetrative sex is not the default! I REALLY LOVE
THAT VIOLET'S MOTHER KILLED HER HUSBAND OMG AWESOME. I didn't see that coming at all!
"A lady protects what is hers!" Violet's niece's plot! Violet hiding scientific articles in fashion magazines so that she can read them without anyone else knowing! The marbles! The entire scene about Oliver's bachelor party! What are you currently reading?NOS4A2
by Joe Hill. Taking a break from Courtney Milan, now that I've finished her Brothers Sinister
series, to get back to this. It's getting good and scary!The Far Pavilions
by M.M. Kaye. Still terrible! In recent developments of the terribleness, Anjuli (Ash's One True Love) and her sister Shushila have been condemned to be burned alive. (I also have a lot of Doylist criticisms of the climatic event of the novel being a European dude rescuing an Indian woman from sati, but let's stick to Watsonian terribleness for the moment.)
But obviously Ash only really cares about saving one woman from this fate, because, yo, he's not in love with Shushila so who cares what happens to her? Or, as he says to Anjuli when she feels obligated to watch Shushila (WHO, AGAIN, IS HER SISTER) till the end:"Shushila!" Ash spat out the name as though it were an obscenity. "Always Shushila – and selfish to the end. I suppose she made you promise to do this? She would! Oh, I know she saved you from burning with her, but if she'd really wanted to repay you for all you have done for her, she could have saved you from reprisals at the hands of the Diwan by having you smuggled out of the state, instead of begging you to come here and watch her die."
"You don't understand," whispered Anjuli numbly.
"Oh, yes I do. That's where you are wrong. I understand only too well. You are still hypnotized by that selfish, hysterical little egotist."
Or later, after Shushila has died and Anjuli is still mourning her (it's been, like, less than a month, by the way):"You will not", said Ash, speaking between clenched teeth, "say that name to me again. Now or ever! Do you understand? I'm sick and tired of it. While she was alive I had to stand aside and see you sacrifice yourself and our whole future for her sake, and now that she's dead it seems that you are just as determined to wreck the rest of our lives by brooding and moping and moaning over her memory. She's dead, but you still refuse to face that. You won't let her go, will you?"
He pushed Anjuli away with a savage thrust that sent her reeling against the wall for support, and said gratingly: "Well, from now on you're going to let the poor girl rest in peace, instead of encouraging her to haunt you. You're my wife now, and I'm damned if I'm going to share you with Shu-shu. I'm not having two women in my bed, even if one of them is a ghost, so you can make up your mind here and now; myself or Shushila."
OH ASH SO ROMANTIC. But hey, it turns out to be okay, because then Anjuli relates a long story about how Ash was right all along, and Shushila was totally an evil bitch just like her mother, because I guess evil (and sexiness!) is genetic. I can't wait until I'm done with this book.
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I went to bed early last night (10 pm) so I could catch up on sleep. Then I woke up at 2 am and had monkey-mind until 4 am. I could have just stayed up playing Tomb Raider til midnight, damnit.
Wed, Apr. 23rd, 2014, 12:02 pm || marydell: My tweets
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- Tue, 15:01: More Than 40 People Were Shot In Chicago Over Easter Weekend And The Feds Are Stepping In http://t.co/s5vShd0AxO via @HuffPostCrime
- Wed, 10:56: Re: Jamie/Cersei/GOT, I for one am glad to see sibling incest depicted for once as the screwed-up abusive horror that it is. +
- Wed, 11:01: + What Jamie and Cersei had before this moment was always totally dysfunctional. Incest is no more romantic than rape or DV, in my opinion.
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Please help me with the title of the following science fiction book. In a scene they use lasers to cut off the power supply and to enter the building to kidnap the alien queens larve. The main characters girlfriend is shot as they are climbing up the ropes back to their shuttle. They then contact the alien queen and force her to resign her post, and at the end of the chapter they end up killing the larve anyway. It's Sharship Trooper esque and I thought it was Old Man's War, but evidently it isn't. Thanks for all the help!!!
Wed, Apr. 23rd, 2014, 10:36 am || bplutchak:
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If someone does a thing to make a political point it is important to take up the political argument. Particularly, if someone is trying to build a following and control the cultural narrative in a way that has real world consequences.
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What I read
Well, I galloped through The Book of Strange New Things (2014: ARC) which was extremely compelling reading; I wasn't sure I wanted to start it (but then I just glanced at the first few pages...) and then I was worried that I would have to abandon it part-read when going away at the weekend (it is a fat hardback); and then I basically gave in to it and read on and on. It's amazing, and I'm still chewing it over in my mind. It's v different from, but just as good as (at least as good as) The Crimson Petal and the White and does for sf (proper sf, no evasion) the same kind of visceral, even tactile, feel that that did for a v specifically located bit of Victorian era.
I also, finally, finished Philip Hensher's The Northern Clemency (2008) which I got as a freebie last autumn and managed to get onto my tablet but somehow haven't been reading things on my tablet much even since the Sekkrit Projekt ended and couldn't find any way to transfer it to the e-reader and it did rather get pushed down the pile but I was sufficiently engaged to think of getting back to it rather than letting it languish, so I was reading it over the weekend and it was really very good. It was not somehow what I expected from Hensher - two families in a northern provincial city over a period of several decades, against a background of the various upheavals, 60s-80s, but v much through how they touched on the lives of the various characters. It's about time and chance and change.
In a remainder shop I picked up 3 for £5 VMC editions of novels by Muriel Spark , who is one of those novelists always being recommended, and read The Comforters (1957), her first novel, which was quite good but somehow I still do not entirely warm up to Spark (okay, intro to this edition is all about she was more about head than heart, but it's also possible to warm up on the cerebral level), although I will probably read the other two at some stage.
Also finally got to, what has been languishing on the e-reader for ages, Anne Lyle's Prince of Lies (2013), conclusion to the Night's Masque trilogy, which was v good - the various competing forces almost reached a Dunnetian level of making alliances with one set of enemies to confound another set - and the period feel still excellent, though I wish I had left somewhat less of a gap since the previous one.
On the go
On Friday I was feeling sinus-headachey and not very productive for most of the day (which I'd intended to work on the Lecture) and ended up picking up GB Stern's Another Part of the Forest (1941). Awww, Gladys/ or should I say Peter/ how nice to spend time with you.
I also started Una McCormack, Hollow Men (2005) and while I can quite see its merits, I am not really well enough up in DS9 for a full appreciation I suspect.
Have had Laurence Housman's An Englishwoman's Love Letters (1900) on my e-reader for ages and finally began this one-time succes de scandale by one of my pet early C20th gay pacifist male feminists. A lot of the scandale at the time was the belief that it was non-fiction, and certainly so far it doesn't seem very shocking, unless a woman being articulate about her emotions towards the love-object counts as that. I'm not sure it's something one would want to read a great deal of at any one sitting but I shall dip in and out, I think.
No idea, really. At the moment I am a bit about looking at my tbr piles (solid and virtual) and seeing what takes my fancy.
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My pal didn't wake up till 4PM. !!!!!!!. ok, party night?? nope. He stayed up watching the Detroit Tigers lose. He gets upset that way.
Me? I watched the Red WIngs take to the ice and couldn't believe my eyes! Wow, these guys don't need practice, they need lessons!
But I guess my Rangers did ok, now if only the Black Hawks come through.
I had to change my plans on what I was going to get done yesterday and today. Sure, I'm still checking out the cane thing, but Mr .Computer, "THOR" to you, seems to have gotten himself all cluttered up with junk for the last year or so. It's time to clean his buffers. The only for sure way to do that is to format the hard drive and reinstall the OS. Windows 7, to be sure.
I've personally found Windows 7 to be the most robust, stable and safe OS Microsoft has every came out with. well, NT 4 would have a close 2nd.
Did I mention that it's 40 degrees colder today than Monday? Yes, Spring and Summer were short this year, but they were nice too.
Ok, I'm off .
Hey, do any of you know what Yorkshire pudding is made of??
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Last night I saw a baby horse!! He was born on Thursday.
His knees are knobbly & he's skittish about everything/everyone. I guess "skittish as a colt" is a phrase for a reason.
The pregnant horse in the stall next to the foal/his mom kept sticking her head over the wall. My instructor said she really likes being a mom, & wants to steal the baby horse since she hasn't given birth to her own yet, lmao.
The baby horse was so soft!! omg.
Last night I saddled up Chief. Since I rode Jake (who was already saddled for me) last week, & was in Florida the week before, I was a little out of practice. My legs were shaking after picking the mud from Chief's hooves, let alone brushing/saddling him! omggggg body. Please get stronger faster!
After saddling up, I rode outside for the first time ever!!! We rode around the pastures of the entire property (or at least the horse-friendly portions). Chief likes to be in the lead - appropriate, yes - & would huff & puff to get ahead of Cheyenne whenever Cheyenne pulled ahead.
The only thing that scared Chief was a police car that went by when we were next to the road, sirens/lights going. All he did was pull away from the road, though - very easy to control.
Chief needed some constant reminding to slow down - he was so excited to be outside, & in at least one of the fields for the first time this year, that he kept starting to go into a trot, even when we were going up hill.
This was easily my favorite lesson so far, even if my body hates me this morning. I like walking outside in the woods Up North with my dad, but I always get tired & feel gross. Viewing the world from a horse is way better, imo.
We had some pretty views. Chained dogs barked at us, & we heard a peacock from somewhere.
My dismount is still abysmal.
I really liked coming back into the barn with Chief. All the other horses stick their heads out of the stalls to greet him, & I know them well enough by now to know which ones might try to bite him, & which ones might be goofy & stick their heads by mine to ask for cookies. There are rows of fuzzy faces who are at least interested in our return, if not pleased to see us (more likely Chief than me, lol).
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I`m looking for this trilogy but I don`t remember the exact plot ... but what I do remember is that there`s a library which has doors that connect to different parts of the world (or different worlds - not quite sure) and a group of high schoolers end up in it. There`s this girl who`s always dressed in black (she falls in love with a prince or a king?) and apparently, the black dress code is for magicians or something. There`s another girl who`s blinded at some point in the series ... and there are twins ( a girl and a boy) as well ... In addition, I think different parts of the library is ruled by different factions or something ... ( I think they`re called factions)
One of the characters MIGHT have been named alex ?
I`ve been searching for this trilogy for days but I can`t seem to find it ! I remember reading this in high school but the name of the author or the title is lost to me :/
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That more or less sums it up, but here's the rest: I read this book when I was young, so late-80's/early-90's, and I remember it as intermediate reader level. (There's also a good chance it was like a Troll/Scholastic Book Fair/Club buy, if that helps.)
The main thing I remember is that the school in the book bans t-shirts with print on them (because someone wore something offensive?), and the kids have a big protest where they all wear them at the same time. The main character is a boy and he makes his own shirt by writing "WORDS" on a shirt with black marker, except the "O" is a no-symbol. There's a girl he likes who is super-impressed by this idea.
My brain keeps telling me that he runs a school newspaper or has something to do with computers, but that's vague and might be a different book. (I just thought I'd mention it in case it turns out to be true!) Either way I think he is a ringleader behind the protest.
Thanks in advance!
Tue, Apr. 22nd, 2014, 11:27 pm || jinian: good things
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1. Slept much better than I have lately after discussing self-soothing strategies and taking a bath (for which I cleverly rigged lighting so I could read Year of the Griffin in the tub despite my terrible bathroom configuration).
2. I do not understand how this happened, but this happened:
3. Rainbowgrads is updating their constitution. I am so happy that my little organization is still holding together and doing things!
4. Cracked myself up with my own reaction to these vaginal fingering techniques when I got to "Cervix Clock" -- I made a terrible face, squirmed, thought "ewww noooo", and actually crossed my legs. (This undermines all my grand pronouncements about having a reaction-filter pretty thoroughly, doesn't it?) Some of the others were just like "who came up with THAT?" and the cumulative effect of the whole strangely creative and specific page had me crying with suppressed laughter (because of course I was reading this at work).
5. More crying at work, courtesy of Greg Rucka. "I am the father of a daughter, and she is my light, and she shines, and I want for her every-fucking-thing she desires, and I want those things for her earned, not given; I want for her the reward of effort. I want for her inclusion. I want for her validation. I want for her a world that recognizes her worth as a human being." YES. That fiercest love. (Emphasis mine.)
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