Getting old

Jul. 27th, 2017 06:47 am
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
[personal profile] altivo
One of the things about getting older is that other people get older too. Most of us notice our friends and relatives aging without quite seeing the same thing happening to ourselves unless serious health issues arise.

While I've been pretty fortunate in that respect, I've now survived the loss of nearly all my older relatives. My family was never all that large, but grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, a number of cousins and an older sibling have all passed away, leaving me the oldest survivor of my immediate family. Oddly, I still don't feel "old" in spite of having retired from daily work and being able to take advantage of the occasional "senior discount."

However, it gets closer to home when personal friends are affected. A good friend for many years now, who attended the same university I did (though we had not yet met) and has been fairly close to my husband and me for as long as we've been together (35 years!) has been seriously ill with histoplasmosis. That's a systemic infection by a parasitic fungus if I understand it correctly. It's typically acquired from bat or bird droppings and not very common. Difficult to diagnose and with complex symptoms, the disease can be life-threatening if untreated. He was not diagnosed early, and eventually reached a state of emergency before getting a correct diagnosis. Fortunately, that came just in time and treatment is succeeding, but he has been hospitalized for many weeks and is only now recovering his ability to walk, eat, and perform the tasks of daily life. He is only a couple of years older than I am, and has always been a very active outdoors individual. This is sobering and a bit frightening.

Meanwhile, husband Gary's younger brother has been hospitalized for over two months due to major heart issues. He has had two major heart attacks in the past, and has become so weak that they put him on the waiting list for a heart transplant. This week he received an LVAD, a heart-assist mechanism, in a six hour surgical procedure. His doctors hope this will keep him going until a replacement heart becomes available. He is five or six years younger than I am.

My own younger brother has had both knees and a hip replaced, and has also had back surgery and major heart issues more than once but seems to be continuing a pretty normal life. Fortunately he is married to a very skilled and wise master nurse who can spot issues early and take appropriate action.

So far I've had no big problems and everything seems to be under control. But I begin to wonder if the proverbial sword of Damocles is up there waiting to fall on me.

if you need a cute

Jul. 26th, 2017 11:48 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Loads of cute animal photos and suchlike shiny things from sweet_sparrow.

http://sweet-sparrow.dreamwidth.org/723470.html

Soothing animal sounds:

(video and audio):
Canadian lynx purring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_0jJiM7nyU
Squirrel eating nuts and rustling around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iGoDNlKY-g
Loon on water calling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdDLAQO7t0E

(audio in video format):
Crickets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKmRkS1os7k
Cicadas: (turn sound down or it will be loud) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGKH6IYD30k
Loon Call: (with explanation, some still pics): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU

I can do some things. And one of them is share soothing adorable animals.

Girling in public

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:04 am
jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
[personal profile] jewelfox

Content note: Mostly-positive talk about body image and issues, MtF gender transitioning, family, society, and moving.

Read more... )

Question: Should I post pics? Trans girls do that on Twitter and Tumblr and stuff, right? I'd probably make the pics access-locked, but I thought I should do an interest check first.

aris_tgd: "Tune your ear to the frequency of despair and cross-reference by the latitude and longitude of a heart in agony." (Lyttle Lytton Spider-Man Agony)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
But between massive high-level incompetence and irritating low-level incompetence I'm not sure I believe it.

So I ordered a thing online, and like many things it was made in India, and it was shipped by Express Mail--and due to shenanigans, if I wanted a tracking number, I had to order it sign-on-delivery.

So I got a message--not from the post office, but from the person I ordered from--that they attempted to deliver on Saturday, didn't get me, and I needed to phone up and figure out what to do next.

Well, I phoned up the USPS, spent something like forty-five minutes on their phone tree, and got a confirmation that they would hold it for delivery at the downtown post office.

... I actually get mail from the westside post office?

When I actually went to the downtown post office, they were also confused. I did convince the postal worker to check the confirmation number, and he confirmed that it was at the westside office... and had been scheduled for redelivery.

So THAT'S annoying. Especially because there's really no way to get over there before I have to be on campus tomorrow (I have to leave around 8:30 to be there in time for our lab prep, with the way the buses run, or I'd drive over first thing.) So I'll have to leave campus early to make it back in time to drive out before the office close, which is of course earlier than the downtown office. Irritating! Not vital, but annoying.

And now it's time to figure out how matrix algebra works, grade, and take a nice hot shower to work on the kink in my back.

the world

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:41 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
I don't know how to fix this.

It's almost worse that I almost, almost have myself together, but I don't quite - not to where I can really just get through the stuff I need to get through readily, or feel like there's extra energy there that I don't urgently need to use on things if I could just make myself do them. I don't have an excuse, and I don't have a plan.

The world has so many people doing terrible things.

ETA: Will hang in there. Did some things. Tomorrow will do different things. Always trying to be kind.

today and tomorrow

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:59 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Today I am grateful for:

- rereading the Toby Daye books

- lots of new nonfiction books

- coffee, meds, food I know is okay, sunlight, naps, all the things that help me feel functional

- shiny objects like metal washers that are just there waiting for someone to pick them up and polish them and make treasures

- a partner who loves me and pets me when I just want to lie there and be a flat cat

Slight case of brainweasels and fwump: Read more... )

Time wasting

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:22 am
aris_tgd: Whitestar crashing, "And when you fall as Lucifer fell, you fall in flame" (Whitestar Lucifer Fall)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
I got an invite to the closed alpha of Sunless Skies, so when it wouldn't load I decided to take Sunless Sea for a turn and make sure that it wasn't on my end. Turned out there were a few things I could fiddle with to get both of them working properly (Sunless Sea originally wouldn't load, then I looked in its settings and found out that it had been set to a window size of 1280x3. Not 300, 3.)

So... Sunless Sea, man, that's rather addictive.

I now have like five dead zee-captains. Alas, poor... whoever.

My favorite death actually was when I was out of fuel and prayed to one of the gods of the underzee, who decided to drop me in port at Kingeater's Castle, the farthest point on the map. It was obviously somewhere my tiny little steamer Should Not Have Been. And then I got blown to smithereens, which is how most of my adventures have ended.

Still haven't managed to get back to port with those smuggled souls for the Cheery Man, blast it! I managed to pick them up successfully once, but nothing else.

Oh, Sunless Skies? Looks pretty! It hasn't really crashed since I got it to actually run, but there's not much to actually do in it yet. They're still building systems.
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Welcome to the second half of 2017, which will go by in what feels like three weeks but will also feel like 19 years thanks to Political Shenanigans. Time is weird! Luckily, we have books to get us through it all.

I always enjoy looking at all the books I may read, even the ones that I'm going to have to make hard purchasing decisions about. Out of my anticipated books last time, I've read 10. For a lot of them I'm waiting for them to cycle out of the new collection and into general at the library so I can enjoy all the things I check out for a full, glorious month. I suspect I won't get to some of these until 2018 when my library buys all the late-year release books and cycles the others out of new. I love my library, but I wish the new book check out time was longer than two weeks. Two and a HALF weeks would help me. Alas, alas.

I have my eye on a ton of science fiction IN SPACE this time around. Some of these I suspect I'll buy if my finances work out so I can use them for my space opera challenge. Read more... )

What great-sounding books have I missed? What's everyone else looking forward to?
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

We finally took the time to bring our new pet rabbit, Columbo, outside. We'd taken Stephen out several times and he seemed to like sitting around in the portable wire cage, eating grass and dandelions and myrtle and scaring off all the squirrels from the yard. But we hadn't had the chance to take Columbo out yet and wondered what he would make of the outside world. That we finally re-found the harness encouraged us to take him out.

First step: would he put up with the harness around his chest? Some rabbits won't tolerate even this, and in that case we'd have to move the wire cage out. But, no, he was perfectly compliant as we snapped the harness around and that's made me belatedly remember that his shelter's folks said he was often taken on display for events. He either has the sort of temperament that doesn't mind harnesses or he's been trained to accept them. Second step: would he tolerate having a leash attached? And yes, turns out he does. Many rabbits, Stephen among them, don't know what to make of that, especially if they try hopping out of range and get tugged back by a mysterious force. Columbo had no trouble with this. It helps that he tends to lope, carefully, in an unfamiliar location, rather than try to run; it's easy to keep up with him.

Ah, but what does he think of the outside? And that seemed to be ... he could take or leave it. He did some prowling around, but was uninterested in eating anything. The grass before him? No. Dandelion or plantain leaves? Thanks, he's aware of their work. The rose bushes? He might poke around them, but otherwise leave them alone. He did want to get underneath some shrubs beside the house, and he wanted to explore down to the neighbors' yard, just as Stephen had. But he wasn't interested in tasting any of the world around. Nor in binkying or doing anything too expressive.

Still, this in hindsight ought not have surprised us. He's a more reserved rabbit, and more quietly investigative than Stephen was. He also seems more suspicious; at least, he's prone to distrusting things on first impression. I had quipped that he dislikes doing anything for the first time, much like me. That would extend to even the wonders of eating fresh, growing plants too. We've since had the chance to give him more time outside, on a live lawn, and he warmed up considerably to the experience. So while the day out might have technically been a disappointment, it was one that set him up for better days afterwards.

Trivia: Insurance premiums for newsreel cameramen on hazardous assignments, around 1938, were something like $15 per day and up to $6,000 per year for ten thousand dollars coverage. Cameramen also had a group-insurance plan, paid by their companies, for about $4,000 coverage per person. Source: The American Newsreel, 1911 - 1967, Raymond Fielding.

Currently Reading: The Story Of Story Book Land, Tina Skinner.

austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

So during the Rollapalooza tournament there was this long, steady, deep rumbling. Since the tournament was in a bowling alley this was not particularly surprising. Except it seemed like a pretty long rumbling for a bowling alley that wasn't actually all that busy at the moment. A quick check out during some down time revealed yeah, it was thunder. A lot of thunder, and a lot of rain.

When I say ``a lot of rain'' please understand: I mean more rain than you're thinking of. This was too much rain to say it was raining cats and dogs. This was a rain so intense that I could point to it and tell [profile] bunny_hugger that that was what the monsoons in Singapore were like. It was a heavy enough rain we couldn't see the cars in the parking lot, and that from the front door. Helping the absolute curtain of rain was that the overhang in front of the building gathered and dropped water in sheets at the edge of the patio.

As a vast, mind-boggling amount of rain this inspired cheer. Laughter. Gratitude that we weren't driving in it. BIL, a high school teacher and organizer of multiple tournaments in his basement, led some of the kids in quick races out into the rain and back in again. Some of the adults too. I didn't join. The bowling alley was air-conditioned enough that I didn't want to tromp around inside in wet clothes.

The amazing thing for how intense the rain was is how long it went on. It would eventually drop down to a moderate rain, but that took an hour-plus. That would give us time to not make finals and to eventually decide to head home. It was rainy, sure, but I'm not a timid driver.

I got to be timid, when the rain picked up again and approached, at least, the intensity of that initial front. It's harrowing to be on the Interstate and need to slow to about thirty miles an hour, hazard signals flashing because there's just no visibility. That we got past without difficulty and then realized what was waiting for us near Lansing.

The interstates, being, well, interstates in-between cities and with plenty of grass to absorb the water handled the rain tolerably well. The surface streets in town? Not so much. There were inches of rain on the roads we needed to get to our actual home. We tried to think of the route that kept us to the most major roads, and the ones with the fewest potholes, and even then had to swerve around some standing lakes that threatened to sink my low-riding Scion tC.

The last road we couldn't avoid, what with our living on it. I just had to plunge ahead and trust that the car wouldn't stall out or have anything else permanently bad happen to it. And, for a wonder, our block with all the potholes was no particular trouble, a relief after a couple blocks of unavoidable ponds and waves of the car splashing into it. No harm done.

So I thought, anyway. The next time I took the car out I heard a scraping, some of the time. This proved to be the shield underneath the engine, which had gotten pulled half loose and would scrape on many inclines. At the dealership they judged that some of the mounting points had gotten ripped off, surely by the car trying to get through flooded streets. There was no replacing the mounting points without replacing the front bumper. But they could (and did) push the shield back up, trusting that the remaining bolts and the lip of the bumper would keep it safe, at least until the next time I had to drive through a reemergent Lake Algonquin. Shall see.

Trivia: A force of about a hundred US Marines remained in Nicaragua from the end of the civil war in 1912 until 1925 and the formation of a coalition government between conservative President Carlos Solórzano and liberal Vice-President Bautista Sacaso. Shortly after the Marines left General Emiliano Chamorro Vargas and Adolfo Díaz launched a coup driving the liberals from office and, by January, Solórzano too. Source: America's Wars, Alan Axelrod.

Currently Reading: The Story Of Story Book Land, Tina Skinner.

PS: There's Still Time To Ask For Things For The Mathematics A To Z, a reminder.

austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

My strategy for Richmond Rollapalooza was to put up one score on each table, then look at the standings, and then play whatever my lowest-ranked table was, trusting that eventually I'd have a breakthrough game and get at least high enough to qualify. This is not a customized strategy; it's basically what I use for every tournament with this qualifying format. It's hard to think of an alternate sensible one, except maybe for playing the game you're most confident, for whatever reason, you're likely to have a breakthrough on. Or skipping a game you know has got you licked. I followed the process well, especially since I found I could use the bowling alley's Wi-Fi on my iPod. What never came was my breakthrough game, though.

I had some successes, grinding my way up slowly, but I never had the breakout game on anything that I needed. Looking over the statistics I don't seem to have broken the top ten on any game, Classics or Main. In Classics --- again, my traditional strength --- I don't even come close, finishing six spaces and twenty points out of qualifying for the B Division. In the Main tournament I fare better, failing to qualify for the B Division, but only by two points. Conceivably, another fifteen minutes to play might have got me at least into the B Division. Another half-hour and a couple breakthrough games and I might have launched into the bottom of A Division.

[profile] bunny_hugger had a worse time. She finished below me in Classics. In Main, she finished one point above me, tied for the last place in B Division. The tiebreaker game? FunHouse. This was one of the games mentioned repeatedly in the tournament's advertising, and was surely meant to lure us over. It's both our favorite games. It hasn't been treating her well today; she hasn't even broken ten million points. For a game set on tournament-level hard that's not awful, but it hadn't even got her into tenth place in qualifying. Still, it is the game she likes above all others. She ... puts up a lousy tiebreaker game, something like three million points. Her competition has two even worse balls, and there's some slender cause for hope. At least, I hope. She doesn't. She's justified in this. She watches him squeeze out a multiball and take the last slot in the finals.

We try not to act too heartbroken and maybe everybody distracted by being in finals is too distracted to notice. Among other things, there was an awesome thunderstorm rolling in, one that deserves its own entry because it got all kinds of crazypants. And we putter around a little, playing some of the games that aren't in the finals for either tournament. It's hard: while there are some games free, most are reserved. And they're tempting ones too, like Surf 'n Safari, a waterpark-themed game from Data East; or Spanish Eyes, with a compellingly bizarre backglass that apparently came from an art student happening to be carrying his portfolio near the Williams offices when a guy ``with a thin moustache'' and having a cigarette asked, ``Hey ... you an artist?''. Ah, the 70s.

After a while of consoling ourselves --- we ended up playing a round of Game of Thrones with someone who's apparently a regular at Flint contests and whom we didn't know --- and hearing that the (wedding?) MWS was at was running a little bit longer yet, we gave in for the night and went home. The Betrayal game we'd brought would end up unused after all.

Trivia: On the 25th of July, 1945, Jewish representatives from camps across Western Germany issued a proclamation demanding entry to Palestine. They did so from the Munich beer hall where Hitler staged his 1923 coup attempt. Source: Year Zero: A History of 1945, Ian Buruma.

Currently Reading: The Story Of Story Book Land, Tina Skinner.

Miracles can happen if you do

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

My mathematics blog had what counts as a sleepy week, because I am getting ready for a new A To Z project (featuring art by [personal profile] thomaskdye, who's open for commissions) and I need to gather my strength for it. But freshly published there anyway the past week have been:

Also, you know what's going on in Alley Oop? Would you believe it still involves the mind-control ray gun? Now you do. With that content aggregated let's get back to Michigan's Adventure and closing day of last year.

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A barrel of fun at Michigan's Adventure's petting zoo!


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That llama posing for the cover to his acoustic album.


SAM_6329.jpg

Talks between [profile] bunny_hugger and a pen full of ducks and fluffy chickens continued into the night.


SAM_6332.jpg

Actually, [profile] bunny_hugger and the goat parted on good terms and would be happy to help each other with projects should some deserving cause present itself.


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Bunny sinking beneath the waves of bunniness in a pile of bunnies in bunny bunny bun rabbit bunny floof twitch nosewiggle.


Trivia: Joel Schumaker wrote the screenplay adapting The Wiz to the movies. Source: A Brief Guide To Oz: 75 Years Going Over The Rainbow, Paul Simpson.

Currently Reading: The Story Of Story Book Land Tina Skinner.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:02 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
A superlatively skilled and gifted Bard of my acquaintance is seeking themes for writing prompts. Some selected themes will be the basis of upcoming Poetry Fishbowls, a regularly scheduled audience-participation event, which results in the writing of excellent poetry. Much of the artist's previous work has been in serial narratives featuring vivid characters of variously marginalized identities.

http://ysabetwordsmith.dreamwidth.org/11059588.html

Please go suggest themes! What topic do you really wish someone would tackle that never comes up? What genre, mood, symbol-set, or aesthetic pleases you?
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