siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
This is brilliantly put:


I know you want to, and you are constantly being told that you must, excel at and be committed to, for example:

1. earning a living wage
2. healing from and/or dealing with injury, illness, emotional trauma, disability
3. basic self-care and adulting (laundry, financial management, etc.)
[... nine more categories elided... ] enough downtime to keep you functional.

But excelling at each of those is equivalent to a full-time job and you cannot physically do them all. In fact, our society considers basic competence at two of them to be a passing grade. ONLY TWO.[...]
Read the whole thing. Recommended.

ETA: I would spin yet a thirteenth category off from #2. Distinct from health is recovering from catastrophe – I had to deal with both The Evacuation and exciting health issues in the past year, and they were quite distinct, though intersecting. Dealing with moving out of my home, having it remediated, and then moving back in, on no notice, was a full-time job. Heck, I'm not even done. TODAY I moved one of my large garment bags (full of summer clothes, natch) home from [personal profile] tn3270's place. I still have [personal profile] jducoeur's handcart. My house is still full of boxes (though, admittedly, that's its default state.) I still don't know where everything goes. Meanwhile along the way I was also trying to do physical therapy appointments and seeing an escalating chain of medical specialists. Whee.

German housing market

May. 28th, 2017 06:22 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
2011 link:

Germany has a rental dominated housing market, with stable prices. Features:

* constitution protects right-to-build: if there's not an explicit rule against, you can build, no need for permission.
* local gov't gets grants based on # of inhabitants, so they have an incentive to encourage development.
* strong tenant protections, including what sounds like rent control, constrained rent increases. Between that and the majority doing it, renting is seen as a first-class choice.
* tight mortgage financing.

Article contrasts with the UK, with lots of fiddling restriction on building, deregulate and landlord-favoring market so renting is second-class choice, easy mortgage credit. Tight supply, easy credit, propensity to panic buying. So basically a factory for making market bubbles.

not that Fig is a fussbudget

May. 28th, 2017 05:32 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But if he notices Ibid is sleeping with his tongue out, he tries to tuck it in.

There is nothing quite like

May. 28th, 2017 05:21 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A gaggle of adorable little girls spontaneously charging towards the edge of the stage to divide people into those who freeze in a crisis and those who don't.
xuenay: (Default)
[personal profile] xuenay
In roughly chronological order:

1. J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings
2. Eliezer Yudkowsky: The Less Wrong Sequences
3. Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine: Against Intellectual Monopoly
4. Olivia Fox Cabane: The Charisma Myth
5. Marshall Rosenberg: Non-Violent Communication
6. Eugene Gendlin: Focusing; Connirae Andreas & Tamara Andreas: Core Transformation

Tolkien, because he got me really into fantasy.

The Sequences woke me from a certain super-postmodern thought, where I basically felt that I could believe in anything as long as I came up with a sufficiently clever argument for it. They made me realize that there are actual mathematical laws regarding the kind of evidence I must have witnessed in order to start believing in something, if I wish to have correct beliefs. Also convinced me about AI being the biggest thing in the history of humanity, and got me on the career path that I'm still on.

Against Intellectual Monopoly bolted me from a very strong, principled "all online piracy is wrong" mindset to one where I later ended up as one of the founding members of the Finnish Pirate Party. It was also my first introduction to pro-market thinking and theories, with me having grown up in a climate that was very left economically.

The Charisma Myth got me to realize that one can be charismatic without being extroverted, and that being charismatic doesn't necessarily mean saying interesting things all the time. It made me understand that just being present and paying genuine attention to the other person were things that could already give you considerable charisma, and furthermore these were some skills that I already possessed. It meant the start of my conversations with people going from the constant question of "oh now what do I say next?!?" to actually being present in the moment and not worrying so much.

Non-Violent Communication started me on the path where I can actually usefully work with the underlying needs and beliefs behind my emotional reactions, instead of treating them as atomic reactions that I can do very little about.

I'm bunching Focusing and Core Transformation together, as I think of them as two books that discuss variants of what's fundamentally the same technique. I've found the Core Transformation version of it really powerful during some of the last few months, on the order of taking maybe half an hour to permanently cure psychological issues that had plagued me for decades. That said, I suspect I wouldn't have been able to properly use the technique had I not first read Focusing and practiced with the instructions there.

Honorable mentions:

* David Friedman: The Machinery of Freedom. The book which further shook my very leftist thought, and got me to realize that libertarians also have some pretty damn compelling arguments, and that I'm not really qualified to say who's right. Decided that I'd avoid taking any strong positions on economics from now, given how complicated the whole thing is. (have had varying levels of success with this decision)

* Pema Chödrön: The Wisdom of No Escape: How to love yourself and your world. Only read this book in the beginning of this year, but it has been very powerful in changing my thought and putting me on a path of greater self-compassion and self-acceptance.

* John Yates & Matthew Immergut & Jeremy Graves: The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness. The best book on meditation that I've ever read. This is also something I started reading *very* recently (many thanks, Juha!), but I'm already provisionally ready to nominate it for an honorable mention, because it's meditation instructions have been super-useful. They've helped install an automatic habit of my mind automatically dropping any lines of thought that will only be harmful (e.g. worrying about things that I have no control over); time will show whether that habit will last.

History question

May. 28th, 2017 09:55 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
History question: does anyone remember the dates of the 1979 King Tut exhibit in Toronto? Aside from the year?


May. 28th, 2017 08:02 am
marthawells: (SGA Team)
[personal profile] marthawells
Good things that happened:

* My husband made short bread from scratch, and it was so delicious. Store bought shortbread is going to taste like cereal from now on.

* I cleaned out the guestroom closet and a friend took the debris away for her school's garage sale. Now you can walk into the closet and see all the stuff like sheets, coats, blankets, dining room table leaves, Xmas boxes, etc that needs to be in there. (One of the reasons we bought this old, comfortable, shitshow of a house is that it has closets in almost every room and they're huge. The downside of that is stuff gets put in them and you forget it's there and just put stuff in on top of it.)

* I also cleaned out and did some rearrangement of my office, mainly getting rid of the desk which wasn't being used since I don't have a desktop computer anymore. A lot of old publishing letters and paperwork went to my archive at Cushing Library, freeing up filing cabinet drawers for things to go into and I gave away some more stuff to the school garage sale. We're going to put a chair in there so people can actually go in, sit down, and read. (The process started with the realization that we didn't actually have to keep the door closed to keep the cats out since Jack and Tasha don't eat paper, plastic, and string like Harry did.)

* I love the new mattress. I'm actually having longer more detailed dreams, or at least remembering longer more detailed dreams, because I'm not constantly waking up trying to find a position that's not painful.

* I lucked into a half-price frame sale and got some prints we bought at Comicpalooza framed and hung up in the hallway.

* I've been gradually trying to get the choking vines out of the front flower bed, and it's sort of almost starting to look better.

* Doctor Who has been awesome. God, I love Bill as much as Donna. I want Donna to get her memory back and she and Bill have to find the Tardis and go off to rescue the Doctor.

Stuff I need to do today:

* Finish off the Raksura Patreon story ( and get it posted. I'm almost done with it, I just need the concentration to finish a tricky conversation.

* Pull more vines out of flower bed.

Stuff I need to do this week:

* Re-paint the trim in the stairwell.

* Make some serious progress on Murderbot 4.

* more vines

Things I have coming up:

* I'm doing a signing with Rachel Caine at Murder by the Book in Houston, TX, on Saturday July 15, at 4:30

If you can't come in person, you can order signed copies of The Harbors of the Sun and The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red and Rachel's Ash and Quill, the latest in her Great Library series, and Stillhouse Lake. Plus whichever of our other books the store can order.

fireflies and stars at Congaree

May. 28th, 2017 01:11 am
darkoshi: (Default)
[personal profile] darkoshi
Yesterday after work, I drove to Congaree Park with my mom. From the status updates posted by the park, the peak firefly activity might have already been over. But even if so, I thought it would still be neat to be in a wilderness area after nightfall. Most other parks around here close at dusk. The forecast was for clear skies, so maybe there would also be a nice starry sky - here in town there is too much ambient light to see more than the brightest ones.

I looked up directions on how to drive there. I found that the Google Maps app has an option for downloading a zoomable map of a selected area. You can download maps of where you are planning to go using WiFi, and later on use them to navigate with GPS, without using any cellular data.

But my car also has a built-in navigator. So once I reached the outskirts of town, I turned it on and entered the address. I just wanted to be sure that I didn't miss the turn-off way down on Bluff Road. The expected route displayed on the screen, but once I started driving, it told me to turn right when I was certain that I should turn left. I stopped to verify on Google Maps that my memory was correct. Then I turned left and drove on. It started nagging "Turn left... recalculating", "Turn left ... recalculating", "Make a U-turn!" and so on and so on. I have no idea where it was trying to take me to. I wanted to turn it off, but neither my mom nor I could figure out how. Finally, after parking the car again and pressing a bunch of things on the screen, I turned it off.

The park's website had said that only flashlights with red filters or covers should be used, to avoid disturbing the fireflies. I happened to have a flashlight, plus a small BugLit flashlight, plus a headlamp, all with red LEDs. As my mom was coming too, I also brought 2 other flashlights, with red/pink cellophane covering the lights. But they weren't necessary. I only needed a flashlight on the way out. My mom only used the BugLit. The ones with the cellophane covers were still really way too bright anyway.

The parking lot was full already at the park, so I parked behind another car on the side of the road. It was already dusk. On the boardwalk, we walked past a lot of other people. We finally stopped at what seemed a good spot. (Beset by thoughts of "Maybe there are more fireflies further down. Or maybe there are fewer. Maybe that would only take us closer to that crying baby.") There were a lot of people noises. In the beginning, people were also constantly walking past behind us in both directions. Later on, much of that subsided and it was more peaceful. Surely there are places in the park where one could see fireflies too, without the crowds of people. But you'd need to be familiar with the park to know where to go.

There were a lot of fireflies, but not as many as I had hopefully envisioned. The peak activity must already be past. I didn't notice much synchronicity going on, although there were moments when a small group of them would flash at nearly the same time, and then go dark, and then do that again a few times. But there were also other fireflies around them doing their own thing, so it wasn't very obvious. The status posted by the park today said "Fireflies were again active last night (Friday, May 26). Visitors reported that separate groups of fireflies were synchronized (as opposed to all of them being synchronized together)." Maybe it was more obvious in other spots, than where we were standing.

When I see fireflies in my yard, the color of their flash is bright yellow. But the flash of the ones in the park was more white, like moonlight. (Maybe that was only because they were further away - the ones that were closer did have more color). But that white light made them look like twinkling stars in amongst the trees. Very magical. Twinkling moving stars. The kind of thing which might make you believe in fairies. In the moments when people were being quiet, you could hear the nighttime insect noises all around. There were occasional owl (I assume) calls. (Not hoot-hoot sounds. Though now checking YouTube for owl calls, it didn't sound like those, so maybe they weren't owls after all.)

We stayed after most other people had left. It was nicer then, without all the distractions, even though the twinkling fireflies seemed fainter by then, more misty and dreamlike. As we were on the way out, a few other people arrived. Perhaps they wanted to avoid the crowds too.

Other than the fireflies and the flashlights of people walking by, at ground-level it was quite dark. But looking up, you could see the sky a lighter blue between the dark outlines of trees. Even when we left, around 11pm, the sky still was that color. Not pitch black pierced by white stars, as I'd expect. Although the stars themselves were plentiful and beautiful. Does the night sky never really get black, even in the countryside? The moon was almost new, so the light wasn't from it. Maybe it was still ambient light from town; the park is only about half an hour away. Or do the stars always make the night sky seem a lighter color?

On the way out, I stopped at another small parking lot to get a better view of the sky. It was beautiful. I wasn't able to see the milky way (would it be overhead? I don't even know where to look). I think there was a pond nearby, but it was too dark to tell. There were some weird animal noises coming from the other side. I have no idea what it was. My mom guessed it might be a male deer. Maybe, based on this - the sound was sort of like that, though it's hard to remember now.

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
This had better be awesome. I'd forgotten how much work sautéing ground sausage is. Ow.

Originally from the Peace, Love and Low Carb blog. I have, as usual, changed it:

3lb ground Italian sausage (used Johnsonville)
2 + 2 Tbsp butter
2 + 1 Tbsp olive oil
2 C spinach, packed (baby, and all of a 5oz package)
1 C carrots, diced
1 leek, not so small, cleaned and sliced
1 box (6oz) minced onion and celery
~5 C chicken stock
1.5 C lentils (green)
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C Parmesian cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Original instructions: Heat slow cooker on low setting. Thoroughly rinse lentils, and add to slow cooker with chicken stock.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage in olive oil and butter.
Using a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings. Add the cooked sausage to the slow cooker.
Add spinach, carrots, onions, garlic, leek, celery and a little salt and black pepper to the pan. Sauté vegetables over medium heat until tender. About 10 minutes.
Add sauteed vegetables to the slow cooker and mix in.
Stir in heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and red wine vinegar. Cover and allow to cook on low 6-8 hours.

What I'm doing:
Brown sausage in olive oil and butter. Sauté veggies + salt & pepper in drippings. Package everything up and put in the fridge.
Do everything else tomorrow.

The original had one sautéing 1.5lb ground sausage in 2 Tbsp each of olive oil and butter. I wound up buying 3 1lb packs, and running low on oil in the pan about half way through and sloshed more olive oil in there. Then when sautéing the veggies (which were, like 2x the original) in the drippings, it looked too dry, so I added 2 more Tbsp of butter.

Right now I have the sausage browned and the veggies sautéd; I'm pretty much ready to combine everything when I wake up tomorrow so it can cook through the day.

ETA, 5/28 17:54:

Goddamn, this is good. After having a few tastes, with steely resolve [personal profile] tn3270 and I portioned it into individual servings – seven of them – and packed them into the fridge for later. And then scraped the liner and licked the spoon. My apartment smells amazing.

I put it to cook at 11:30am, and came home to it being done with the lentils just past al dente at 5:30pm. So 6 hours was fine.

The crockpot was about half full, i.e. I could have doubled the overall quantity (again) and it still would have fit. And that's having doubled the sausage and veggies already (the amounts listed above are about 2x the original). I probably should have doubled the lentils, too; the photos were not at all representative and the lentils are now a footnote among the sausage.

So I could have done 6lbs of sausage, etc; 6lbs of meat is pretty standard for when I cook meat in the crockpot.

The problem with that plan is that I already had to sauté the sausage in three batches, in series, and then the veggies completely filled the pan, to the point I had to feed in the spinach gradually to get it all in there and it was so full had trouble stirring the veggies without sending them everywhere. Doubling the veggies again means two batches of veggie sauté. And I think my wrist would snap before I got through the fourth (of six!) batch of sausage; I was hurting pretty bad after the second one. (Hey, ! About a year ago you were looking for recs for slowcooker recipes with elaborate prep. Found you one!)

This is frustrating, because it seems pretty delicious, and I prefer to cook at scale; I generally want 10 to 16 servings of something. It's my first time cooking with leeks for myself, and oh god I had forgotten how much I love leeks. (Everybody, please rec leek recipes.)

Okay, the other problem is that this is not cheap. The ground sausage was on sale for about $4.50/lb. At six lbs, that's $27 just in meat. It's normally $5.50/lb. Leeks were also on sale; I got that one for about $1.50, but normally it would be a shade under $2. I bought pre-chopped celery+onion, for $2.50; chopping my own is a non-starter for a recipe already this hard on my arms. The small package of spinach was on sale for $2.79, normally $3.50. The one cup of cream was $1.99. I alread had the chicken stock in the house: one had been $2 on sale, regularly $2.50, the other $3.50. Call it $5 for the stock. Double all those item's regular prices, and that's another $30. Plus nominal amounts of lentils (like $1.50 for twice what I needed), carrots ($2 for twice as much as I needed), garlic, mustard, vinegar, butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Doubling this recipe would push the price over $60 – way over $60 if the sausage isn't on sale – for 14 servings. Which is between $4 and $5 per modest sized serving. Ouch. At that price, and with this amount of work, it had damned well better be fabulous.

Reminder: NaNoDownUnder

May. 28th, 2017 06:10 pm
china_shop: You can't wait for inspiration to strike. You have to go after it with a club. (writing - inspiration)
[personal profile] china_shop
Just a reminder that [community profile] nanodownunder starts on 1 June (New Zealand time).

Want to kick-start your writing?

Set your own goals -- this doesn't have to be a full 50K-word endeavour, just whatever you want to aim for. Pick a WIP to finish, or set a daily time- or wordcount-goal. Or just wing it, if you prefer.

Daily check-in posts. Locked comm so we can chat/cheer/commiserate in semi-privacy (ie, you have to join to play, but membership isn't moderated). Come one, come all...

April-May Newsletter

May. 27th, 2017 02:46 pm
frameacloud: A stylized green dragon person reading a book. (Default)
[personal profile] frameacloud
What I’ve been up to for the last couple months:

Over the years, my otherkin comic Theri There has suffered some link rot, so I went through and fixed it. Oh, and I found some more old pages of Theri There that I overlooked while migrating the archives to the new host, so I need to post those soon, too.

I just posted a sketch of Sythyry, and I have a few more drawings to post during the next few days.

I deleted the $9 reward tier on my Patreon. See my March newsletter about what happened with it.

Now I’ve got an account on Ko-fi, so if you’ve liked my creations, you can buy me a coffee.

I didn't put out many creations during the last couple months, because I was keeping myself very busy with getting a job. Good news: I got a job! Bad news: It's a while until the job starts, so I won't get my first paycheck until July. If you can chip in to my Patreon or Ko-fi, it'll help me make ends meet in the meantime.

the bee's knees

May. 27th, 2017 05:13 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
[personal profile] darkoshi
Ah, man. I know I'm getting old, when while pulling weeds in the yard, I think to myself "You know, I think I'll get that stool from inside to sit down on". Because bending and unbending my knees is no longer such an easy effortless thing.

Culture clash in Canada

May. 27th, 2017 10:44 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Fess up

May. 27th, 2017 12:04 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which of you mentioned "cultural appropriation" to Orson Scott Card?

Also, are Irish accents really as hard as all that for Americans to understand?

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