I wish I could un-know that...

Aug. 2nd, 2014 01:44 am
sineala: Greek red-figure painting of a Greek youth riding a rooster (youth riding a cock)
[personal profile] sineala
So [personal profile] lysimache and I have been reading Latin, as is our wont, and currently we (okay, me, with her helping me on the words I keep forgetting) are reading an adaptation of Cupid and Psyche, and oh my God I cannot believe Psyche believes some of this stuff. She is possibly too stupid to live, although the narrative basically conspires to keep her from actually killing herself -- she throws herself in a stream and it washes her up on the bank. Anyway.

If you've forgotten, there's a prophesy that says she's going to marry an evil monster and she marries Cupid but he says she isn't allowed to see him, and he only visits at night, but they live in an amazing house full of riches with talking things kind of exactly like in Beauty and the Beast. And now she's pregnant. And Psyche's evil sisters are really jealous, so when they figure out she doesn't even know what her husband looks like (because she can't keep her lies straight) they come up with a plan. Paraphrasing here:

SISTERS: You're in a lot of danger! We asked around and we talked to the farmers and the hunters and we know for a fact that your husband is a giant snake. A giant venomous snake. That you're secretly sleeping with at night. They've seen him coming back from feeding. Now, they all said that he's not going to eat you right away, but he's fattening you up, and after you give birth he's going to eat you and your kid. So you have to decide whether you want to live with us, free from danger, or in the guts of a wild beast!
PSYCHE: I'm really afraid that you might be right. I've never actually seen my husband's face, so I agree that he's a wild animal, like you said! Help me!
SISTERS: Okay, here's the plan. Get a covered lamp, and get a sharp razor, and hide the razor on your side of the bed. Wait until your husband comes to bed, and is deeply asleep, and then uncover the light and chop his head off. We'll be waiting for you. Make sure to bring all the fabulous treasure with you when you go. Then we'll get you married to an actual human!
ME: Wait, Psyche actually falls for "your husband is a snake?" She's slept with him! And she thinks he might legitimately be a snake?
LYSIMACHE: Did you want to think about why she can't tell her husband apart from a snake?
[Horrified silence ensues.]
ME: ...no. No, I really did not. Ick.
LYSIMACHE: *laughs a whole lot and looks immensely pleased with herself*

In conclusion: the snake is Cupid's penis.

Somehow no one tells you these things about myths when you're a kid. I think past!me is traumatized. Present!me kind of might be as well.

(In the next chapter, Psyche botches the execution and manages to poke herself in the thumb with one of Cupid's arrows -- because we needed all the phallic imagery, I guess -- and is therefore now in love with him. Whoops.)

Facts I have needed to learn again while reading this chapter: Latin does not actually distinguish between "high" and "deep," which meant that I may have said that Cupid flew away into the sea. My bad.

An attempt at a meme

Aug. 1st, 2014 02:11 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I am attempting a meme.

[profile] wordsofastory gave me...

rachelmanija and food.

Food is my passion. My first meeting with [personal profile] oyceter consisted of an hour-long discussion of tropical fruit. (Best tropical fruit: fresh lychees and Alphonso mangos. I have still, sadly, never had a mangosteen. Worst tropical fruit: custard apples. They taste fine. I just can't deal with the grainy AND slimy texture.)

One of the very best things about Los Angeles is the food. Even LA-haters cannot deny that this is a great city for food. We have great high-end fancy dining. We have excellent medium-priced restaurants. We have AMAZING low-end cheap food - taco kitchens at the back of corner stores, food trucks, guys with rainbow umbrellas selling fresh fruit - mangoes, soft young coconut, pineapple, oranges, cucumbers- that they slice up while you watch and douse in chili, seasoned salt, and lime.

People in LA love food. They are passionate about food. They photograph their meals and post them on the internet. They follow food trucks on twitter. They make earrings of teeny cupcakes and wear them to pastry shops. If you read the Chowhound board for Los Angeles, every single restaurant thread will have at least three posters claiming that it used to be good, but now it's gone downhill. This includes restaurants that opened last week. The sushi is always fresher on the other side of the freeway.

My grandmother used to say, "Food is love." I would say, "food is feeling." Food is memory. Food is culture. Food is passion. A bad relationship with food, or an illness that affects eating, or only bad food available will make you miserable in a way that goes way beyond the actual moments where you confront the problem food. Being able to enjoy food again is a shocking joy.

As I type, I am drinking a cup of coffee with powdered creamer because my milk ran out, and eating wafer cookies with black sesame cream.

rachelmanija and werewolves.

The biggest influence on how I think of shapeshifters is Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. If you transform yourself into an animal, you think as an animal thinks. Will you remember how to become a human again? Will you still want to, when you can soar as a hawk?

To me, the most interesting thing about being a person who can become an animal is what it would feel like to be an animal. I can't know what that would be like, but when I think of the moments when I've thought the least and felt the most, when I've reacted most purely on instinct... they're all moments that felt, if not good exactly, very pure. Very clear. Stripped down to the basics. Usually, in fact, that does feel good. If it doesn't, it's because of context - like, you're fighting for your life. But that can feel good, too.

When I imagine being an animal, I think of a combination of being enraptured in the present moment, caught by the beauty of a sunrise or the taste of a peach, and of an adrenaline rush. Halfway between combat and meditation.

I'd like being a wolf, I think. It would be very tempting to stay one.

rachelmanija and fashion.

I had no interest in fashion until [personal profile] oyceter convinced me to watch Project Runway, and in between designers squabbling and having meltdowns, I started getting a sense of how different silhouettes and colors create different feelings, and the history of fashion, and why people get very passionate about matchy-matchy. Watching the designers dissect the designs and listening to them explain why they liked one dress and disliked another, I started seeing what they saw. And then I started having opinions.

I now own quite a few dresses. And shoes. And blouses. And skirts. I periodically poke through ebay and etsy, and I wear shoes to work that I bought in Paris. I have Betsey Johnson dresses and Prabal Gurung for Target shirts and a dress. I wear my matchy-matchy belt and shoes and smile to myself.

For myself, I like very girly dresses with fitted tops and skirts that swing. I like bright colors and jewel tones and patterns, and also slinky black and corsets. I like black leather jackets and Battenberg lace, and slashed tops and high boots and trench coats. I don't wear stiletto heels.

The main thing I learned from Project Runway is that fashion is supposed to be fun, and it's about wearing things that you like and that make you look good.

I used to think of it as this horrible game of one-upmanship and that it was all about desperately keeping up with the correct thing, or else everyone laughs at you. But now that I'm out of high school, I think of it as a buffet you pick and choose from, and a set of elements that, if you understand them, you can use to create a look that will say what you want to convey. It's like writing, if you think of it. You select the tropes, or you select the silhouettes and colors and shoes. If you do it right, you have said, and you feel, "Playful!" or "Sexy!" or "Badass!" or "Classic Elegance!"

You are embodying a feeling, not just a look. Sometimes you're embodying a story. See how these dressesconvey the sense of an atmosphere and a story? And these convey a different story.

Half of My Two Cents on E-Lit

Aug. 1st, 2014 07:52 pm
[syndicated profile] grandtextauto_feed

Posted by Nick Montfort

Long ago (well, at the end of 2012) I was asked by .Cent magazine, a free-to-read, nicely designed online multimedia publication out of London, for a few comments about my work and my approach to electronic literature. Amazingly, having recently unearthed my responses, I find that they are still relevant! You can read my answers and the rest of the issue in its full splendor, but, very belatedly, I’ll offer my response here as well:

I see electronic literature as a something beyond a genre or a literary movement: It’s an argument that literary art and literary experience have a place in our digital environment alongside the many other ways that networked computing is used. Those of us working in electronic literature are demonstrating that we can have poetic, imaginative, narrative, conceptual, and other sorts of work and experiences online, in addition to commercial, communication, and gaming experiences. We don’t have to share an aesthetic or hold similar political ideas in order to make this argument together, because we’re arguing for something fundamental to future work: The chance to develop literature (of any sort) using the capabilities of the computer and the network.

My own focus is on projects that engage collaboration and computation to bring us into a new, disoriented, and potentially productive relationship to the computer and the world. A recent project that is both highly collaborative and highly computational is Sea and Spar Between, a poetry generator Stephanie Strickland and I developed. In it, we bring together words from the vocabulary of Melville and Dickinson, present a sea of textual data that is far beyond the human ability to read but which can be understood in some ways, and suggest a collaborative, computational, and literary-historical perspective on the natural world. In my “solo career” I have written very short programs such as those in the ppg256 series and those in the set Concrete Perl, to investigate, poetically, how computation and a particular programming language hook into the English language. Some of my other collaborative e-lit projects are Implementation with Scott Rettberg and Three Rails Live with Scott and Roderick Coover, both of these dealing with urban and global experiences buy cutting up narrative forms in new ways.

Selena Ouija — Tejana Oracle

Aug. 1st, 2014 07:38 pm
[syndicated profile] rio_yanez_feed

Posted by yanez


Continuing with my ongoing Board Game series is the Selena Ouija. The first edition of Selena Ouija is available exclusively through MACLA’s Community Supported Arts program. Each board/print comes with a Selena-themed planchette that allows you to divine messages from the beyond. Of all the board games I’ve designed so far this was the most fun and interesting to do research on. The real and fabricated story of the Ouija’s inventor William Fuld is fascinating. Get one tonight at MACLA’s CSA party! More info: http://maclaarte.org/artist-resources/csa-program/



Ask A Man

Aug. 1st, 2014 11:38 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
May I recommend to you Ask A Man. (A personal favorite, to start with.)

From the description:
Stephen Shaughnessy is a Certified Man who lives in England in 1882. He answers questions on tumblr through the strangest of black magics, which he does not choose to explain here.
But Stephen Shaughnessy first saw the light of day as a helpful guy in the pages of The Suffragette Scandal, by Courtney Milan, currently $3.99 on Amazon Kindle:
It has come to the attention of the editorial staff that our newspaper, with its determination to be "by women, about women, and for women," cannot possibly impress anyone as we lack the imprimatur of a man to validate our thoughts. To that end, we have procured an Actual Man to answer questions. Please address all inquiries to Man, care of Women's Free Press, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. - F.M.
I know people who scoff at the idea of comfort reading. Which is fine: you don't have to like all the things I like. Though I will note by the way that a number of you have sources of comfort in basically all of your reading that not all of us have. Representation, of course; and the characters who represent you not having mysteriously gone llama. The subtle reinforcement of the social pyramid is a nearly unnoticeable source of comfort to those of us on top! But, you know, that's cool, like I said, you don't have to like romance novels or anything like that, and it's not like Milan is immune to it in her own ways. If you're not into femme stuff, or fluff, peace out now; I want to talk about Courtney Milan, and her books are romance, and fluff, and they are the best fluff ever and if you like this sort of thing you need to read these. NOW.

Here is the key to the joy of Courtney Milan, helpfully summed up in the title of one of her very own novellas:
The Lady Always Wins
Remember when I wrote about Georgette Heyer?
Hugo wants Anthea and Anthea wants Hugo, that is a fact. But in the way their conflict is set up - the classic way that courtship is set up - if Hugo is cleverer than Anthea, Hugo and Anthea get each other, and if Anthea is cleverer than Hugo, neither of them gets to be happy. What's Anthea's motivation to be clever, or funny, or effective, or wise, when doing it gets her punished instead of rewarded?
Oh my God, Heyer is funny and fun, but all of her heroines (but Sophy! Go, Sophy) have to accept their proposals in tears, reposing on the manly bosoms of men who have masculinely rescued them and corrected them and sorted out their lives, because God knows the women were making a dog's breakfast of them. Elizabeth is so very Wrong about Darcy and Wickham (Darcy needs to be less of a dickhead, but he's not Wrong about Elizabeth's family being jerks, because: jerks.) Marianne is Wrong about, uh, everything, and needs to nearly die and admit that she is just so goddamn emotional and wrong before "by general consent" she can become the reward of everyone's obligations to Colonel Brandon. Jo is Wrong about wanting to be a boy and a writer and not marry and she needs to stop writing all that awful trash that they put in newspapers! where kids can read it! and marry a much older man (all covered in crumbs, obviously) and start a Boys' School where she can teach Boys and have Boys because Boooooooooys, fuck it.

(In these days of the 50 Shades trailer coming out and everyone falling all over themselves to go on about how awful it is that women just keep throwing their wallets at that crap, I'd like to take a moment to say that I haven't read 50 Shades, but I have read Twilight now, and I saw the movie, and my understanding of the rest of them is that it kind of boils down to this:

Bella: Damn, you are hot.
Edward: You are also hot and fascinating, and I would like to spend eternity hearing about your favorite bands, but I can never be with you because I am too sexy and powerful and dangerous!
Bella: Wow, really? I would like to have a sexy powerful dangerous boyfriend who thinks I am hot and fascinating. Incidentally, I would also like to MYSELF be this sexy powerful dangerous thing.
Edward: No, I can't! It's too dangerous!
Bella: And sexy and powerful?
Edward: Maybe.
Plot: [Occurs.]
Bella: [Gets every single thing she wants.]
Bella: Huh, this is what I used to want, and what I tried to get, and now that I have it…I'm really happy and pleased with my undeath choices. Plus we even have a magical daughter who was sleeping through the night 30 minutes after she was born. Let's make out!
[makeouts] [interrupted by wrestling mountain lions and punching a dude who used to kiss her without permission]


Anyway, Courtney Milan, back to her: it's like a romance novel, with the focus on women, and the comfort reading style, and the sexy parts, but without the bit where the women are doing everything Wrong and the men swoop in and correct them. Instead, the women are doing various other things! Sometimes they are not daring to let themselves be great and they need someone to encourage them to be great. Sometimes they are in a tough situation but they meet someone else who is in a tough situation and they find ways that they can help each other. Sometimes they are in a tough situation but they meet someone who needs help and that gives them an idea for a way in which they can help the other person and also themselves. Sometimes they meet someone who is Wrong and just needs his ass kicked. Sometimes, although in minor parts, they are lesbians. They're pretty cute about it!

And the lady. Always. Wins.

And Milan is seriously just getting better and better. Like she says: don't start with the Carhart series - unless, going back to representation, you would cry with gratitude to read a happy ending romance novel about a good person who happens to be struggling with what looks like bipolar, in which case you want Trial by Desire. But every book she has published is better than the one before. Last year I was raving about The Countess Conspiracy, because Ms. Milan knows what unspeakable desire really lurks in the hearts of women: a powerful, sexy man who is devoted to the dream of getting his beloved her rightful principal investigator status on her published scientific discoveries and then becoming a faculty husband.

But The Suffragette Scandal is even better.

So read it.

If you like that sort of thing.

tact, you haz none

Aug. 1st, 2014 02:11 pm
antimony: photo of the goodyear blimp over Cleveland, OH (goodyear blimp)
[personal profile] antimony
Ugh, this spin class substitute instructor.

If I come up to you after class, pull you aside where there are no other people, and quietly tell you that the reason I asked if we could have the lights on wasn't because I wanted to see the readout on the bike (which is also nice to be able to do) but because I can't hear you over the music without lipreading and didn't want to shout that with everyone there (work gym, so these are coworkers), the correct response is:

1. Turn away from me (music still on) while replying.
2. Walk back into the group of people.
3. Shout, oh, you wanted to LIPREAD, you should have said something then.
4. All of the above.

hint: none of these answers are correct.

I could have gone to gaming at lunchtime and then done one of my podcast spin sessions and had a better workout, blah. Especially since she was big on having us grind in very tough gears while seated, which is a quick way for me to re-tweak my knees, because I can push them harder than they can really take and not feel it until later.
sasha_feather: neat looking overcoat (coat)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Quoting [profile] firecatstef:

This "spoon shortages explained" poster is good, but I'd prefer a poster that also mentions that any of these activities could randomly develop a spoon leak.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=657536917659006&set=a.471348919611141.1073741826.345920125487355&type=1&fref=nf [image is below if you don't want to click]
In fact, I am going to generally ponder thinking about disability-related energy shortfalls in terms of liquid rather than discrete entities like spoons. Some liquids evaporate/freeze/boil/expand/contract at different rates depending on conditions. Some liquids interact with their containers. It's easy to spill liquids of the containers aren't handled properly. And so on.

I also liked this image "Understanding Invisible Illness", which shows an iceberg, things above the surface and those below. Taken from FB's "Chronic Illness Cat" page.

image )
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

My siblings and I were all home-schooled, and we all turned out all right, finished school, have decent jobs…until tale-end Charlie was born twelve years after the rest of us. My parents decided to home-school Charlie (PUBLIC SCHOOL EVIL! DRUGS! GANGS! ROCK MUSIC!) except by then they were both tired of the time commitment and just…didn’t.

They kept Charlie home and didn’t teach him anything. Since they live in a state with zero government oversight (BECAUSE FREEDOM!) they got away with it. One of my other brothers taught Charlie to read when he was ten. I’m the oldest and I moved to another state when Charlie was seven, and moved out the house when he was four. I knew on one level things were slacking, but I was wrapped up in my life, finishing college, and getting the hell out of my hometown. I never spent very much time at home for various reasons I won’t get into, but my cousin would tell me Charlie doesn’t know this, or Charlie doesn’t know that so I’d talk to my parents and they always had a reason.

“We haven’t started the unit on that yet, that’s the next grade, we’re taking break for Nov/Dec because of all the holidays and we’ll start again in Jan, I just ordered this great new curriculum…”

I should have called the police on them years ago. But I didn’t. I still believed my parents could turn this around and teach Charlie like they taught the rest of us. I didn’t want to call the police on my own parents. But I should’ve. If I could go back in time I would.

Last fall, I had a heart-to-heart with Charlie via skype and his desires to join the military and Do Exciting Things do not at all jib with what he knows. Every time I asked him about school he’d say he was really studying hard, then (over skype) I got him to show me his ‘Math reviewing’. It was a third-grade adding-columns-of-numbers book like the dollar store sells. Which he couldn’t do because he didn’t know/had forgotten how carrying works. I flipped out on my parents, who promptly blamed everything on Charlie (who was deeply addicted to WoW and ‘wouldn’t study’, therefore it’s Charlies fault).

I live in another state so I started tutoring Charlie over Skype every second we were both home. We covered third and fourth grade math in three months. Charlie’s smart, he’s just *NEVER* had to study/take tests/learn how to push through frustration to comprehend information before. Right after he turned eighteen, he moved in with me and my wife. Using a hodge-podge of elementary school/middle school resources, we covered the basics up to sixth grade, and now he’s doing seventh grade work at a REAL, ACCREDITED, online middle school.

The problem: Charlie WILL NOT study/do school unless I sit at his elbow. My wife and I both work full-time. Charlie has a job with erratic hours at a cleaning service to pay for his car and insurance, so there’s no regular time we’re all home, and he’s got to cover five years of school. I want to send him to school, but since he’s eighteen he’d have to go to the alternative school in town and each grade takes a year to cover…and he couldn’t go past the age of twenty anyway. This is bullshit. I can’t hire a tutor, we don’t have the money. I would like to do other things besides stick to Charlie like a tick on my few hours off. (I work 4 12s and a 6).

I am so angry at my parents for allowing this to happen, and I’m so angry at Charlie for screwing off and ‘catching up on Netflix/assorted bullshit’ instead of studying and working through his classes. I can log onto the website and *see* he only spent twenty minutes on a lesson, when I know (because I rolled him out of bed at seven before I left) he doesn’t go in until noon). If he’d bust ass and do it, he could finish school in about two and a half years but I don’t know how to make him understand working at the cleaner is not a successful life-choice. He’s really good at faking knowledge to get by. He says he doesn’t like learning all this because it makes him ‘feel dumb’. His solution is to ignore all the things he doesn’t know instead of learn them. He has no interest in a trade (probably because my parents have always sneered at trade-schools). When asked, he claims he wants to join the military and be an infantry commander. I have explained the military does not want him with his lack of education, he says he understands, but he’s NOT TAKING THE STEPS TO FIX IT.

What do I do? How do I motivate an adult? I want my brother to have a shot at a decent life. But he won’t do school without me right there and that’s not going to work for the *years* this process is going to take.

Please help me.

This is slightly edited – I missed the detail where Charlie lives with the LW the first time and thought he was still living with the parents.

I am going to start with a moderation note because I’ve seen the shitshow of amateur debate shenanigans that happens when you mention the word “homeschooling” on the internet:

Successful homeschooling exists. The Letter Writer had it. It in no way looks like the above model of how “Charlie” was educated. If you are here to talk about why homeschooling is the best idea ever, how it worked for you, and soapbox in favor of it, I will delete your comment. If you are here to talk about why homeschooling is stupid and useless and shouldn’t be allowed, I will delete your comment. It can be right for certain kids. It can be abusive and neglectful for other kids. This is not Debate Club, and I don’t want to read your arguments or collect anecdata for an unwinnable argument (since we don’t have a time machine and can’t go back and get Charlie what he needed as a kid). Please keep your comments to the above  specific situation and focused on constructively, actively helping the LW and their brother. If your experiences apply to that end, like, you were neglectfully homeschooled and then got an education later, by all means, share them. But if you want to write extensively about the merits or evils of homeschooling, may I suggest your own blog.

Thank you. We now return to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Letter Writer, I suggest that you express to your parents how angry and worried you are. Use words like “criminal neglect.” Use words like “I think you failed him, and I feel guilty for not being around to pick up the slack, and terribly worried about his future. Is that a concern at all for you?” Ask them outright to pay for Charlie to go to school and for all of his educational needs.

Then I suggest that you offer yourself as a sounding board or tutor to Charlie when he wants it. “When you are ready to go to school, or study on your own, I am here for you.”

And then I suggest that you back the hell off for a while and focus on your own life, and drop all statements like “I don’t know how to make him understand working at the cleaner is not a successful life-choice.” He’s eighteen, he has a job, working at a cleaner is a job. Your family’s snobbery – toward public school, toward trade schools and trades (which I’m glad you realize is wack)- is one of the things that has y’all in this mess, I suggest you dismantle as much of it as you can for yourself. Keep having weekly Skype chats Brother Time. Don’t make all of your time together about tutoring/teaching him unless he wants to do that. It’s okay to make staying in school/completing school work regularly a condition of his continued living with you, but once you articulate that and create a structure to spend time with him that works for you, focus on having a relationship with your brother where you show him that you like him and aren’t just testing his ignorance or looking to fix or improve or parent him. That is, seriously and from the heart, your best chance in having him actually come to you when he is ready to buckle down. We avoid people who only want to fix us. If you see him as an ignorant failure, if you talk to him and about him like someone who is not living up to his potential, if you audit him for all the things he doesn’t know and can’t do, if you keep him as a living example of how your parents fucked up (and your anger at them for not sending you all to school-school), he will eventually delete you from his life in favor of people who are, well, nice to him. He doesn’t owe it to you to turn out a certain way.

Charlie may well drift for a while. He may fake it for a while. He may work jobs that you see as below his potential for a while. He will do this until he wants something different – like, to really join the military, for real, or to impress a romantic partner, or to get a promotion/better job/earn more money so he can get his own place, or just because it interests him. I know your worry, that it may be “too late” – too late for the alternative school that ends at 20, yes, probably/possibly. But eventually he will grab onto something that he wants to learn how to do. Or he will figure out other ways to be happy and other things that he values. The author of this book is that Canadian guy who said a bunch of dipshit things about teaching female authors in his classes, so, caveat emptor, but I think it’s a good read and is a good read for you specifically, right now. His bright, lazy son was struggling with school so they made an agreement: You can drop out, as long as you watch a movie with me every week and we talk about it. A list of movies can be a syllabus. Yes, you have to know some math. Yes, it’s embarrassing to not know certain facts. But there are a lot of ways to be educated, and many many functioning autodidacts have good jobs and careers doing stuff they like.

I teach beginning students at an open enrollment arts college, which means that I meet a lot of people who took nontraditional paths to get where they are. Returning veterans, including a senior citizen Vietnam vet who finally cashed in on the GI Bill benefits he was entitled to. Kids from struggling high schools that didn’t supply toilet paper or have a library. Kids from fancy suburban schools that had video programs for 14 year olds with fancier gear than the college has. Homeschooled kids (who do just fine/great). Foreign students who are doing college in their non-native language and doing it beautifully and blowing me away with their dedication and courage. I meet a lot of students who struggled, gradewise, in traditional school settings but who thrive when they apply themselves to making art. I meet a lot of students who were straight A students who struggle with creative expression, because, like, how do I make it perfect the first time? And I meet a lot of people who should not be in college. They don’t want to be there, they don’t know why they are there beyond “it was the logical next step” and “I think it will get me a good job” (this has become less and less true of late, have you noticed?) but they don’t have a real interest in anything. I also meet kids like Charlie, smart, lazy, shockingly ignorant in some areas, who wake up and learn to thrive by being challenged and having their asses consistently kicked by something that can’t be faked. There are a lot of ways to be smart, and a lot of paths to learning, and the students with great test scores and supportive families and the single, teen parents who stock shelves all night at Costco and then come to class in the morning all teach me more than I teach them. When he wants it, That Thing, whatever it is, it will be there for him.

Your parents failed Charlie, horribly, and believe me, I get why you are angry. And I admire your commitment to your brother. But you can’t re-parent him and if you try you will poison all that is good between you. Set up a weekly date to hang out, and don’t stop checking in with him or being close to him. And tell him, “Charlie, I really want you to try to go to school, and I want us to work together to push mom and dad to get you into that alternative program while you still qualify. I hope you can just trust me that opportunities will be better for you if you have a high school diploma. Whatever you decide, I am always here if you have questions about schoolwork or want ideas for stuff to read and watch and learn. But I don’t want our relationship to be just about that, and I don’t want to bug you and feel like I’m forcing you. You’re an adult, or about to be, so you let me know when you want to work, and otherwise we’ll just keep talking.” Offer the opportunity to work when you talk, but ask him if he wants it. “Do you want to work on some more math today, or just hang out?” Go with whatever he says, teach him that it’s up to him and that you will respect him either way.Then, ask him questions, like, how was your day? Do you like your job? Did you meet anyone cool there? Are you dating anyone? Find the stuff that he is smart and knowledgeable about. Be a big brother who loves him and sticks by him and encourages him.

Final note, on pedagogy, since you asked a teacher your question, and you’ve stumbled into two of my bugaboos, namely 1) Education is about more than getting a job someday 2) Seriously, why “be educated” unless there is some pleasure & personal fulfillment aspect to it? One problem in Charlie’s life right now, a real problem, is that middle school schoolwork is fucking boring as fuck. It was boring as fuck when I was in middle school and reading secretly* under my desk, and you could not pay me to redo that stuff now. Online courses can be great, if there is a lot of student-teacher attention and interaction, and the course materials are made by someone with basic design/videography skills, but it can also be very boring and hard to make yourself sit through. I’m taking a class on teaching & learning online through Coursera, and even though the videos are decently-produced and it’s a subject I actually care about, it’s still a struggle for me to get my ass in the chair to focus on something that feels dry and impersonal for a visual learner like myself.

One way to motivate Charlie as a learner is to plunge him into more advanced, age-appropriate material that he can read for pleasure. Middle school history texts and reading exercises, or Devil in the White City? A Distant Mirror? Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee? Guns, Germs, and Steel? Manhunt? There’s a lot of good stuff out there for someone who is interested in the military down the road, right? And I’m sure this commentariat can recommend more history books and popular science books for a Big Brother/Little Brother Book Club. The other thing I suggest is signing him up for in-person arts classes if possible:  theater, film, music, whatever. They have a social aspect to them, they involve doing and making, and he doesn’t have to become a professional artist or musician to benefit from learning something about them. Divorce yourself from the idea that he needs to “learn the basics first”, or somehow “earn” the pleasures of “difficult,” interesting books or creative arts. A kid who gets sucked into subject matter and a kid who is learning something as part of a community is a kid who will level up so fast you won’t even be able to see it.


*Not so secretly, since my 6th grade teacher started acquiring new books and placing them at my eye level on the shelf right next to my desk. <3

[syndicated profile] hathorlegacy_feed

Posted by SunlessNick

So during the Q&A part of Orphan Black’s Comic-Con panel, a girl called Taylor stood up and demonstrated in epic fashion why it really matters whether characters of marginalised identities are humanised: Both transcript and video (Taylor’s bit starts at about 1 minute 50). I was going to try and say something to this, but […]

Even/Odd Sudoku by Thomas Snyder

Aug. 1st, 2014 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] grand_master_puzzles_feed

Posted by drsudoku

Sudoku by Thomas Snyder


Theme: Two-Sided Problem

Author/Opus: This is the 187th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: Standard Sudoku rules. Also, digits in circles must be odd and digits in squares must be even.

Answer String: Enter the 4th row from left to right, followed by a comma, followed by the 2nd column from top to bottom.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 3:45, Master = 8:00, Expert = 16:00

Note: Follow this link for other less common variations of Sudoku. Many specific variations of Sudoku have their own categories in the sidebar to the left. Follow this link for classic Sudoku.

The post Even/Odd Sudoku by Thomas Snyder appeared first on The Art of Puzzles.

Supreme Gesture

Aug. 1st, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed
Photograph shows a white supremacist activist surrounded by smiling blacks.
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
This upcoming Monday will be the final of my summer course, and the 100th year anniversary of the start of WWI. I am struck, suddenly, that women have had the vote in the US for less than a hundred years.


Small details catch in my attention re: recent disease outbreak news updates about Ebola:Read more... )

Last year "a microbial manifesto — a declaration of bacterial significance"1 was published in PNAS title + link ) I was alive, but I did not know this until now. It makes me wonder whether the present truly is the time we can know the best, or whether living in a time gives us built-in blinders as to what we think there is to be known, what we think we know that we really only know in parts or erroneously or not at all.


I have started and discarded half a dozen posts in odd places this week to point people toward [personal profile] jenett's roundup of [personal profile] elisem's x-posted post about what happened after she reported harassment. There is something that wants to be said Read more... )


Somehow this entire post feels in conversation with Nicola Griffith's 'Who Owns SF?' guest post at BVC yesterday. Perhaps this part most especially: quote behind the cut )

(no subject)

Aug. 1st, 2014 12:30 pm
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[personal profile] nny
Hello all!

Thank you for still reading despite my lengthy absences, and my lack of support in terms of reading/commenting on your posts. I've moved house (again) and updated my contact post accordingly, and I've just been a little off the wall with the changes and upheaval. My life is kind of disorganised and crazy at the moment, and I have a terrifying amount of work to do, so I've been on tumblr more than here.

Tumblr just caters to an entirely different part of the brain, an unthinking entertainment fuzz part, a part that helpfully covers up all the thinking (and therefore terrified) parts. But I'm going to do better and be around more here, because I miss you guys and I'm not being a very good friend. I'll do better.

(no subject)

Aug. 1st, 2014 01:23 am
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[personal profile] jhameia
Got an email today from Graduate Division. I'd forgotten about it, but I applied to be an International Graduate Peer Mentor which would be far more intensive than the International Center's peer program. Even required a couple of hours a week of office hours, so I thought, hey, that sounds kinda cool, I'll try that, especially since I'm good at being a peer adviser, it seems, and there're a ton of things that international students need but either don't know how to ask for or don't know where to look.

The problem is that I already have a TAship for the fall and that puts me at my limits for how much I can work per week as an international student. It's a federal law, too. Boo! This might also explain why I haven't heard back about my application to be a GSA Appointed Officer. I was told I'd hear back "in two weeks" and that was back in early June.

And finally sent out the first round of responses for SEA steampunk!! Some of the rejections were hard; I feel like there are several stories with a great deal of potential but would require so much more work, and there are other stronger pieces. I really must get my SEA SFF zine started as soon as I get home.

here, have a happy vid

Aug. 1st, 2014 12:05 am
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[personal profile] kate_nepveu
My car's being totaled, I can't find my passport, and the weather's looking dodgy for SteelyKid's outdoor birthday party on Saturday. This calls for a re-watch of an adorable and well-structured Leverage vid: "Parachute" by [personal profile] thingswithwings.

(Everything will be fine, plans are in place to deal with it all, it's just a lot of hassle all at once. Thus, a happy thing before falling into bed.)

Review – The New Old Bar

Aug. 1st, 2014 03:34 am
[syndicated profile] cocktail_hacker_feed

Posted by Reese

Guest post by Elisabeth, Cocktail Hacktress in training.

The New Old Bar is a cocktail book authored by The Hearty Boys (Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith). The Hearty Boys have gathered a great collection of cocktail and snack recipes for your enjoyment. The book is very attractive, with great pictures and easy to read text. The Hearty Boys first cover some of the cocktailing basics in Chapters 1 & 2. Chapter 3 has a great selection of over 150 cocktail recipes for you to peruse. These cocktail recipes cover everything from classic cocktails such as the Manhattan to original recipes. Recipes for garnishes and bar snacks are also provided.

We tested out a few of the recipes in this book. The first of these was the “Mayfair” cocktail – a blend of gin, apricot brandy and orange juice. This one was definitely tasty and easy to drink. The Eastern Sin, a scotch-based drink wasn’t my favorite, but it could really appeal to someone that appreciates a unique cocktail.

Sloe Gin Froze

Finally, we tried the Sloe Gin Froze. This drink was a blended drink, which was absolutely perfect for July. As published, this recipe was way too sweet for Reese. I tend to prefer the sweeter cocktails, but I would probably even eliminate the simple syrup. If you are looking for a good summer cocktail, I highly suggest giving sloe gin a try. If you are looking for a well-rounded cocktail recipe book, pick up “The New Old Bar” at a bookseller near you!

Sloe Gin Froze
1.5 oz sloe gin
1 oz ginger liqueur
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
1 cup cracked ice
Lemon wheel for garnish

Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a well-chilled glass and serve garnished with a lemon wheel. Yield – 1 cocktail.

† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.


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