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[personal profile] copperbadge
Last night, R and I watched a bunch of documentaries, including one on Willie Nelson, which referenced his smash album Red Headed Stranger.

R: In the RV park, Red Headed Stranger is the only album I feel comfortable playing over my external speaker system. It’s the only music everyone can agree they like.

Sam: Isn’t Red Headed Stranger a concept album about going on the run after murdering your family?

R: People can relate. 

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[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
1. My little sister is visiting from the Republic of Ireland. She was in a pub in Dublin, and a couple of people asked her what she was doing in Ireland, and she said: "I'm British. I've come to take your land." And then she had to go to the airport and flee the country immediately. Well, no. I mean, yes but no. She's on loan back to a Scottish university to work on a project she doesn't want to be on, for a senior academic that she doesn't much like, for a grand total of zero pounds sterling (something holding references and publications over her head something something.) Sometimes I think about the difference between having a job and having a career, and at the moment I think it's that when I have to do things I don't want to do, at the behest of people I don't like, I at least get paid for it.

On her first day back, she was on a bus where somebody threw a bicycle at the driver, who stood up and chased him down the street. And because she hasn't been living in Glasgow for a couple of years she considered this 'weird' and 'frighting', and not 'a good reason to be late for work' or 'a tuesday'. So I've been loaning her my car, and as my car is held together by string and happy thoughts (that, of course, being the other big difference between having a career and a job) I'd warned her to keep an eye out for any of the engine management lights coming on. Anyway, cue later that night when she called frantic because there was a light on the dashboard that wouldn't go off. It was the handbrake light. She hadn't let the handbrake off, and it was the handbrake light. I love her.

2. I have had Freya - ridiculous mostly labrador, much loved bane of my existence, and reason for getting out of bed on mornings when I just want to go nope - for three years now, and to celebrate my mum made her a birthday cake. Liver & kidney, which, yes, is as disgusting as it sounds. It's worth noting that I have passed thirty-four birthdays on this green Earth, and my mother has yet resisted any temptation to make me a birthday cake.

I've actually been having some behaviour problems with Freya. Earlier in the summer she was attacked by two Vizslas (a couple of stitches in her eyelid, a bad fright, and me nearly coming to blows with the owner.) But ever since then she's been determined to get her revenge in first with almost every female dog she meets.

In almost all respects I think dogs are better than people, but you can't explain female solidarity or internalised misogyny to a dog; then again, you can't explain those to most people, so maybe we'll call that one a draw.

And she's still a total pet with people, so.

3. It occurred to me that I'd never actually made use of the Netflix free trial. I watched Below Her Mouth (porn, basically), a bunch of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (the best hangover telly there has ever been or will be), two seasons of You Me Her (actually really good), a season and a half of iZombie (I thought the first season was awesome; during the second I thought that the joke that Liv basically becomes the person whose brain she'd eaten was wearing thin, and I didn't give a rat's ass about anything that was going on with Major.)

I tried the first episodes of Santa Clarita Diet (too gross) and One Day at a Time (too much laugh track) but nah.

But the bigger thing was that Netflix has half-assed its crackdown on vpns, so while you can't watch anything, you can see how much better the US version is, kind of killing any desire I had to shell out for the clearly inferior UK version.

4. I have been on this thing of writing for more exchanges in 2017, and honestly, I'm not sure this has been leading to my best work: Exhibit A: my contributions to [community profile] auexchange

Truth, Justice, and a Really Good Dental Plan (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Superhero AU)

"What I'm saying is: do you think they're trying to Avengers Assemble us? Collecting New York's finest superheroes, and---"

The elevator doors dinged open, revealing Hitchcock and Scully.

"--'Kay," said Jake. "Never mind."


The Morning After the War Before (Person of Interest, Everybody Lives AU)

Sometimes Root wasn't sure that they hadn't lost the war after all, and that she wasn't living out some digital afterlife in the best simulation the Machine could come up with.
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[personal profile] copperbadge
Come in, please, come in. I can’t entertain you shipboard as I once could, but there is tea and plenty of food, and I understand you’ve done well for yourself at the gambling tables. I suppose I can afford to lose a little now and then. My late first husband was a wealthy man and I magnified his wealth – well, you know how.

I think there should be discipline in everything, you know, even lawlessness. When I ruled the sea and the Red Flag Fleet, no one disobeyed me. Literally. Those who did were beheaded. But, on the other hand, I think my rule was mainly benificent. Did you know I forbade those under my command to steal from villagers who supplied us? That only made sense, of course. Death was also the sentence for any assault on a female captive. One makes these laws when one grows up as I did.

I also insisted that anything taken from town or ship was to be presented, registered, and given out amongst all – oh, the original taker got a percentage, and twenty percent is better than nothing, you know. That’s how you keep a sailor happy.

My dear second husband, he also issued some laws, I suppose, but they weren’t written down or very well enforced. What were they? Who knows. What does it matter? My laws were what mattered.

Eventually, of course, it became easier just to tax the local cities than to keep sacking them. Nicer for all concerned and not so much work for us. Bureaucracy will have its day, sooner or later, always.

That is how I came to be here, you know; several years ago, after I defeated their entire Navy, the government offered amnesty to pirates. Well they might; what other option did they have? But I was wealthy, so why should I continue to work when I was no longer a criminal? It was in 1810 that I left crime behind forever and opened this little gambling house. Here I am content, you know, and I think I will be until I die. Hopefully not for a long, long time!

Oh, I am called many things. I was born Shi Xianggu, and I am called Cheng I Sao, sometimes, but mostly I am known as Ching Shih – the Widow Ching, wife of two pirates, but a pirate empress myself.

(After all, it’s Talk Like A Pirate day, not Talk Like Every Pirate day. I chose Ching Shih.)

(Also if you enjoyed this, consider dropping some spare change in my Ko-Fi!)

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(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 07:45 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we start, a quick note because I've had a handful of issues with this lately -- if you want to bring a cause to my attention the best way to go about it is to fill out the Radio Free Monday form (also linked from the sidebar of my tumblr page). It's not just that I might not see a post tagged to me or that it saves me a ton of time, but also that it makes sure I get the information I need to describe the situation, link the appropriate pages, and name and gender people correctly.

The form doesn't ask many questions, doesn't pull any metadata (literally it doesn't even record the date you entered the information), and is as anonymous as you want it to be -- there are options for complete or partial anonymity for the person submitting the item.

Ways To Give:

[tumblr.com profile] prismatic-bell linked to a fundraiser for Congregation Beth Yeshurun and their attached day school, which were flooded by Hurricane Harvey, which hit two Jewish neighborhoods in Houston especially hard. The families are currently attending Temple Brith Israel, and the children from the day school have had to scatter among several schools temporarily. You can read more about the damage here, reblog here, give directly to the rebuilding fund, or purchase toys and learning materials or replacement books for the school directly through Amazon.

[tumblr.com profile] reesa-chan is preparing for surgery and gathering supplies to make recovery go as smoothly as possible, but they're coming up short on a few things and surgery is looming. They have a Amazon Wishlist available here and have their paypal giving page here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] poplitealqueen, who is trying to help her mother get some experimental medical treatment which might allow her mobility without the use of a wheelchair. You can read more and reblog here (including links at the top to Patreon and Ko-fi) or give directly to their Ko-Fi here.

[tumblr.com profile] quinfirefrorefiddle linked to a fundraiser for [tumblr.com profile] niines9s, who is trying to escape an abusive home and needs funding for housing after graduation. They are offering commissions and also taking donations; you can read more, reblog, and find paypal information at their post.

Anon linked to news about a Christian group, Faithfully LGBT, who are fundraising to aid transgender people with gender-confirming surgeries as a way of atoning for religious discrimination against transgender people. You can read and reblog the story here or give directly to the Tithe Campaign here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to a post called Saving Your Grades From A Mental Health Crisis, which is about what to do if you're in college and dealing with mental illness.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Dept. of Pain

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:40 pm
kaffyr: (Clara didn't ask for this)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Okay, This Is New. And Awful

Pain. Pain. Pain.  )
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Wow, you guys, the me of 2014 was such a good bro, he bought an extra three years of premium-level warranty coverage on his laptop.

I wasn’t even looking for whether I was still covered by warranty, I just assumed I wasn’t, but I went to Dell’s website to get the model number of my laptop so I could look up how to open it up properly and fix the terrible groaning noise my fan is making. And Dell was like hey, here’s your model number, also your warranty is good through June of 2018. 

I’m still gonna try to open it up and fix the fan myself, but if I can’t, I can send it in and get the fan fixed AND get a repair on the housing that’s starting to crack. 

Good job, 2014 Sam. You had no idea the crazy shit that was ahead of you but by god you knew you’d need three years of warranty. You and me, buddy, we’re fucking killing it in the adulting department lately. 

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kaffyr: The OT3 together, before PotW (Jack and Nine and Rose)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Title: Hearts & Moons Recall the Truth
Author: [personal profile] kaffyr  
Chapter: 28
Previous Chapter: Chap. 27, here, on LJ, or Teaspoon
Characters: the Ninth Doctor, Rose Tyler, Captain Jack Harkness
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: In which even villains think they're patriots, and we edge closer to a conclusion.
Edited by: the remarkable [personal profile] editrx , who helped me excise unnecessary verbiage and streamline the narrative - thanks! And by my beloved [livejournal.com profile] dr_whuh, without whom none of this would be possible. 
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole property of the BBC and their respective creators. I take no coin or credit, but do thank the BBC for letting me play in their sandbox. 

*************************

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[personal profile] copperbadge
Me: R’s in town this weekend so we may meet up.

Mum: Send me a picture of you and R when you’re hanging out!

Me: Not sure when it’ll be yet but I’ll do my best. It’s a little uncertain right now.

Mum: If it were certain, I’d be worried it wasn’t really R.

She knows us both so well. 

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Lovely Fics That I Have Read Recently

Sep. 15th, 2017 04:22 pm
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters by [personal profile] st_aurafina (Person of Interest; Root/Shaw, Reese/Finch, 52k, Sentinel AU)

In 2001, Harold advised on a project called Cascade, not knowing he was a Guide himself. Years later, he and John, a Sentinel on the run from Cascade, must help Shaw, who has just lost her own Guide when the Project turned on her. Complicating matters is Root, searching for Harold's Machine and interfering with their rescue of Shaw.

THIS IS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. I don't know the sentinel & guide trope from adam, but this slots it into PoI canon super neatly without ever feeling like it's being explained to you. And is basically just long, and in character, and really super delightful.

Perimeter Oscillations by [archiveofourown.org profile] architeuthis (DC movies; Lois/Diana; 14k)

On the trail of a mythological beast, Diana runs into Lois Lane, who is pursuing her own investigation.

Lois Lane is the saving grace of the DCEU's take on Superman, and this gives such good Lois.

Etta Candy's Last Stand by [archiveofourown.org profile] sanguinity (Wonder Woman; Etta/Diana; 2k)

This is the way Etta is going to die: trapped between a bed and Diana Prince’s breasts.

If you are having a bad day and puppy pictures just aren't cutting it for you, read this fic, I promise it will make you feel better. It is just super delightful.
kerravonsen: "Homicidal faeries make things more interesting." (homicidal-faeries)
[personal profile] kerravonsen

My rambling spoilery thoughts on the first two books of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire [twitter.com profile] seananmcguire. On audiobook, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal [twitter.com profile] MaryRobinette.

Rosemary and Rue )

In regard to the audiobook itself, Mary Robinette Kowal did a great job. I don't think I can imagine Toby as sounding like anyone else, now. Of the other voices she did... I love Tybalt the best.

So I went on to "A Local Habitation". Audiobook again. Chores become so much more pleasant when one is listening to an urban fantasy mystery. Massive SPOILERS for A Local Habitation )

Yes, more audiobooks of this series are on their way to me.

Dept. of Woo-Hoo!

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:11 pm
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
[personal profile] kaffyr
I Am Typing This Headline ...

... on my own, my very own, my beloved and darling, laptop PC. 
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
You guys today I researched someone who is such a rank evil motherfucker that the person who was going to meet them to ask for money came over to my desk after seeing my research and was like “What a rank evil motherfucker.” 

And I was like I DIDN’T EVEN PUT THE WORST OF IT IN BECAUSE WE CAN’T PROVE THE WORST STUFF SINCE IT’S ALL TECHNICALLY SPECULATION BY LIBERAL WATCHDOG GROUPS BUT I KNOW THEY DID IT. They gave millions of dollars to climate-change denial (which I learned today is referred to as CLIMATE INACTIVISM) two weeks ago. 

But I am heartened that a) the fundraiser saw through my VERY CAREFULLY professionally neutral report to the truth of the matter and b) they called their boss and were like “I’m not taking this meeting” and THEIR BOSS read my report and said “Yeah this is a PR disaster waiting to happen, don’t take the meeting.”

And normally I’d be like “yes take their money, take it all, take them for everything you can wring from them” but what makes this one so unsettling is that their donations always come with creepy post-contract strings. If we take the money, we’re gonna pay for it down the line, so I’m just as glad we aren’t. 

Once in a while in my profession I come across someone who is such a force for destruction on an international scale that I genuinely hope they will die in some very public and ironic way. I yearn for the day I read of their demise.

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(no subject)

Sep. 11th, 2017 07:40 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Melissa, a trans girl who recently escaped an abusive home and is struggling to make ends meet. She has been unable to get car insurance, and is also recovering from expenses and injuries from a recent accident. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] nivcharayahel and her sister are raising funds for help with September's rent, to avoid eviction; they are dealing with recent unemployment and underemployment. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] butnotinthisone is dealing with fallout from hurricane Harvey, including being unable to return to their apartment due to continued flooding; their apartment is on the first floor and they will likely be facing property loss and damage from the water. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

[livejournal.com profile] rua_m linked to Zooniverse, specifically their Weather Rescue project, which allows you to help recover forgotten weather data by transcribing Ben Nevis observatory records. Zooniverse is a great site that lets people participate in citizen science and historical preservation by categorizing and transcribing documents; I'm actually a member and work on some of their animal-related stuff.

Anon linked to Halloween Lifestyle, a Halloween website recently put up (and so still a little sparse) by the mother of [tumblr.com profile] nextrrickanvils. You can read more and reblog here or go directly to the site here.

Housing:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is looking for a new housemate in London, in Fulham SW6, bordering Hammersmith. Two professional females, at least one fandom friendly. You can read more and get in touch here; they also have an ad up on SpareRoom here with photos.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Dept. of Ear Worms

Sep. 10th, 2017 08:02 pm
kaffyr: Two elegant dancers (Dance)
[personal profile] kaffyr
It Won't Let Go

I find myself still drenched in Steely Dan, with many of the band's songs in my head when I wake up. This one especially; it's the one that makes me want to dance, and the one whose words least remind me of Becker's and Fagen's intermittently irritating schoolboy cynicism. 


Dept. of Things Get Better

Sep. 9th, 2017 07:54 pm
kaffyr: (Happy Kyouso Giga daughter)
[personal profile] kaffyr
A Productive Saturday

After feeling uncomfortably down by the end of Friday night, and after worrying about having to clean up the storage basement so early Saturday morning, I found that it worked out quite nicely. I rolled out of bed, staggered to the grocery to buy some bagels, orange and grapefruit juice for whatever laboring condo owners were going to turn up to help clean, and discovered a nice little group of them ready to go. That was a relief, since one of my worries had been that no one would show up (I was supposed to put out a pre-cleanup notice by email and forgot; that, too, made me feel down.) I did discover that yesterday was one of the days where I couldn't drink grapefruit juice, which was a shame, since I love the stuff, but by the end of the cleanup, I felt a lot better than I had going to bed Friday night. 

My mood temporarily tanked when I came into the house and found that I'd forgotten to put the lid down on my work laptop; Phillip immediately got on it, and managed to turn on a function that I couldn't turn off, and which made working on the laptop progressively more difficult. I reached the point of screaming at the computer, because doing that prevented me from actually slamming the thing into the floor. I'm not kidding. When I get furious, physical action is something that often happens, and is often the stupidest thing I could do (i.e. tossing everything out of a dresser drawer when I can't find something I want, or physically hitting a piece of machinery that's acting up. It's a serious and dangerously immature habit of which I've never quite broken myself.) Hence the screaming, which damaged nothing except, possibly, my husband's sense of calm. 

All hail, therefore, to 
[personal profile] owlboy , for answering my plaintive cry for help; he correctly ID'd my problem, and led to the brightening of my world. (And since my own laptop is still in the shop, this is even more important.) I told him he deserved a sonnet, but I didn't have the mental wherewithal to write him one. I may yet do it, although I'm not sure whether that's a threat or a promise ....
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[personal profile] copperbadge
On April 1, 1985, a piece by George Plimpton was published in Sports Illustrated, called “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch”. It presented a new rookie pitcher for the Mets: Sidd Finch, an aspirant Buddhist monk and French horn aficionado, who could throw a pitch around 160mph. If you’re not familiar with baseball, a 90mph pitch is a good ticket to the majors, and the fastest pitch on record is around 105mph. The article was a joke, of course – April Fool’s – but the reaction especially among Mets fans was electric. Within sports journalism it’s widely considered to be one of the best hoaxes of all time.

Plimpton eventually expanded the article into a novel in 1987, and I finally got around to digging it up and reading it – it’s what I’ve been reading on the train to the last few Railcats games of the season. The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, as a novel, is in a way a time capsule; it captures a very weird era for the country and a pre-player’s strike, pre-Moneyball era for baseball. But it’s not really a book about baseball, despite Plimpton being primarily a sports journalist. It’s easily accessible if you don’t know a ton about the game, primarily because neither does Sidd Finch.

Rather, the book struck me as drawing heavily on what I think of as the “parable novel”, a genre popular in the seventies – part religious/philosophical treatise and part self-help book disguised as a fictional narrative (the most famous is probably Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach).

The novel’s narrator and fictional author is Robert Temple, a former journalist living in Florida and suffering from a decade-long writer’s block; he literally can’t write anything, including shopping lists and notes to self. (I’ll come back to this.) By a chance of fate he learns that the Mets have a rookie player named Sidd Fitch who can throw a 160mph fastball with uncanny accuracy, but who is still uncertain he actually wants to sign with the club. After getting thrown out of his boarding house for bringing a girl over, Sidd and his girlfriend Debbie Sue end up living with Temple at the request of the Mets, who hope Temple can convince him to sign with the team while he attends spring training in Florida.

It’s a really compelling read with enjoyable characters, and there’s some good tension set up in the question of whether Sidd will sign with the Mets, and whether it would be good for both Sidd and the sport as a whole for him to do so. And I appreciated that the one full pro game Sidd pitches isn’t the climax of the book – this is not a book about sport but a book that uses sport to meditate on other matters.

It does have its issues, however. Temple, the narrator, draws the reader in because we understand that he was a writer and no longer is, but we don’t know why – we know he’s suffered some terrible psychological blow, just not exactly what: 

If he had taken the time to check it out, he would have discovered that I was not capable of writing a paragraph, much less a line of copy. I was a completely defused member of the communications industry. 

[….]

I took my sister by the elbow afterward and I said, “Well, that’s my problem, isn’t it? I’m not really alive. I’m perhaps a quarter alive.”

“You’re coming along,” she said. 

I think it would have been best for that information to come out slowly in drips here and there, perhaps eventually being told more fully when Temple explains to Sidd or Debbie Sue why he can’t write. Instead we get an early-on chapter about it – basically a brief autobiography where he goes to Vietnam to cover the war as a journalist, has a breakdown, and retires to Florida where he fills empty days with pointless tasks as a way of keeping himself alive. It’s…not the most interesting chapter. And then he can’t really explain it to the others because we’ve already sat through it once. 

This complicated history is also a problem with Sidd, our young pitcher – Sidd is struggling with both his faith and what his purpose in life should be, and that’s immediately something people can identify with. The issue is that Plimpton, the actual author, built on the biography he created for Sidd in the Sports Illustrated article, which was a joke and thus comedically complicated. Sidd is an orphan from England adopted by an English anthropologist who then died in a plane crash when Sidd was a teenager, and he found Buddhism while looking for his father in the Himalayas. Sidd also, randomly, is very good at the French horn. This is a complex backstory for a baseball player and it’s not entirely well-told within the boundaries of the book, though it’s also a pretty ripping adventure story as Sidd runs away from boarding school to look for his dad and eventually ends up an aspirant monk who uses Buddhists lung-gom teachings to train himself to throw a 160mph baseball.

We never really get to the heart of why Sidd walked up to a Mets talent scout one day and decided to get himself recruited; there are hints here and there, and it does lead to a masterful set of discussions about why baseball is a game for mystics:

“Why baseball?” Frank Cashen asked. “Why didn’t he go back to England and play cricket?” 

Dr. Burns put his fingertips together. “Baseball is the perfect game for the mystic mind. Cricket is unsatisfactory because it has time strictures. The clock is involved. Play is called. The players stop for tea. No! No! No!” Burns sounded quite petulant. “On the other hand, baseball is so open to infinity. No clocks. No one pressing the buttons on stopwatches. The foul lines stretch to infinity. In theory, the game of baseball can go on indefinitely.” 

[…]

“I got very interested in the idea of causing a commotion at Point B when standing a long distance away at Point A. To throw an object that connects those two points is a very heady thing to be able to do…especially if you can do it time and time again with accuracy. It is something archers and hunters know all about – the trigonometric closing of lines.” 

[…]

I suddenly had a clear image of what Sidd was doing to the game. It was what the listeners were suggesting – he was changing the properties and the essence of the ball itself. It struck me how often the ball is inspected during a game, as if anyone who touches it has to make sure the ball has not changed its properties. If the ball disappears over the fence, another, like a youngster’s dream pinball game, emerges from a black sack at the umpire’s side. He looks at it and gives it to the catcher, who rubs it briefly, and after a glance fires it out to the pitcher; he looks at the ball and rubs it with both hands, his glove dangling from its wrist strap, and then, as he stares down at the catcher for the signal, his fingers maneuver over its surface feeling for the comfort of some response – yes, this time it will do exactly as he wishes! […] Football players do not have this kind of kinship with their ball. Most of the players don’t even touch the thing during the course of a game. It sits stolidly on the grass. The center comes up over the ball from the huddle and barely giving it a glance turns it under his hands; his eyes are staring across the line of scrimmage at the unpleasant visage of the nose guard opposite. A defensive tackle is so uncomfortable with the ball that if he chances to pick it up on the practice-field he tends to throw it end over end to get rid of it. […] Tennis balls are not kept on the mantlepiece. Too many of them around. Who cares?
 

But there’s never that moment where Sidd says, this is why I came to America to play baseball. Especially since he knows so little about it going in. I suppose Plimpton had to make him a foreigner so he wouldn’t know much about the sport, but honestly, you can grow up in America and not know much about baseball, especially at the pro level. Though I do enjoy some of the eccentricities of the game that Plimpton chose to focus on: 

“They have shown me the heavy ring that one slides on the bat to make it seem lighter. I had thought originally that the heavy ring was a talisman to bless the wood. No! One has only oneself to rely on within the confines of the batting box.” 

There’s also some pretty lowered stakes in this book because everyone, even Sidd, is wealthy. Temple can afford to do nothing all day for a decade while still seeing an expensive private therapist about his writer’s block (and eventually supporting Sidd and Debbie Sue when they move in) because his family is rich and supportive. Sidd, an innocent who travels with very little, still has access to his father’s fortune and has a mansion waiting for him in England. Debbie Sue, the free-spirited beach bum that Sidd falls in love with, comes from a wealthy family and was attending an ivy league school before she left it all behind to windsurf full-time in Florida. Even the most desperate people in the book, namely the coaching staff of the Mets, are only desperate to get Sidd to play. Nobody’s life or livelihood is riding on anything in the book, which to me makes it slightly less effective as a philosophical treatise because everyone starts from a place of wealth and comfort. On the other hand, it does allow the reader to engage fully with the psychological side of things, and there’s something to be said for not having to worry about where Sidd’s next meal is coming from:

Rather haltingly, Sidd asked me if I would come to New York and see him through August and September…perhaps share an apartment. He didn’t feel he was going to feel at ease in the city. Over the phone he made one of his brilliant vocal imitations – the sound of a taxi horn, a police siren, and the sigh of a bus pulling away from its passenger stop.

“There are no mantras,” he said, “to take care of this sort of thing.”

All that said, it is a really fun book. Everyone in it is charming and funny, Sidd’s bewilderment over the rituals of pro baseball is touching, and there’s an interesting hint of threesome-ness (probably unintentional) to the bond between Sidd, Debbie Sue, and Temple. As a baseball fan I appreciated the thought Plimpton put into how and where the characters and the sport interacted, and you can tell he has a genuine love of the game. He also appears to have done his research about Buddhism – it’s not just a stand in for woo-woo esotericism, the way it was a bit in the original article. There is some of that, but there is also a lot of genuine discussion of Buddhism which seems, in my admittedly very limited experience, to be correct.

Sidd smiled…very much as Dennis Brain probably had on the stage of the Jubilee Hall. “There’s a saying of Buddha,” he said. “Be earnest in cessation although there is nothing to cease; practice the cessation although there is nothing to practice.” 

So yeah, do recommend The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch if you’re interested in baseball or just in a pretty good story about a baseball player. 

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kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Help!

Calling all ships at sea, particularly those who know their way around a Mac. 

I foolishly left the cover of my Mac open while I did some chores; BB came back to find Phil sitting on the keyboard (because cat). He shoo'ed him off, but the damage had been done; I now have a visual panel, or pane, up that I can't get rid of because I don't know what it's called, and I don't know which keys were depressed in what manner by the ^&%$@ cat to make this function start. 

It appears to be a panel that tells me exactly what my cursor is doing and where it is. Unless I turn the sound off, I also get a mechanical voice saying the same thing that appears in the panel. And whatever I put my cursor on gets etched in black (that's in addition to the descriptive panel.)

It therefore appears to be something that would describe what the cursor is doing, while making that description easy to understand for either a visually or aurally impaired computer user. So you'd think there'd be something in the files under "accessibility" or "accessibility aids," but there isn't, or at least not that I can find out. 

I've checked my Mac help files under "description pane" and "description panel," under "text pane (and panel)"; under "cursor," "cursor description pane" and a lot of other descriptors I can think of. Nothing leads me to any help subject that I can understand. 

I made a screen capture of it, and will show it here, if I can actually get photo bucket or the Google image process to work. If anyone can help guide me to whatever I need to do to get rid of this thing, I'd be grateful. 

Welp: I can't get the fucking image uploaded anywhere in order to embed it in this post, so I can't show you the thing that I'm looking at on the screen, which means that you really don't have anything with which to identify the stupid pane I'm dealing with. But it's making use of this computer - the only one I have to deal with, and my work computer, if you'll remember - almost impossible. It won't let me scroll properly, so it's incredibly hard to edit anything. Perhaps this information can help, though: As I'm typing this, the pane is actually showing each individual key I'm typing, including typing out the word "space" when I hit the space bar.

Ah, So That's Why

Sep. 9th, 2017 10:43 pm
kerravonsen: What is essential is invisible to the eye (essential-invisible)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
One thing that has baffled me quite a bit in these angry arguments about things like abortion and gay marriage, is the protest "religions shouldn't impose their morals on other people". To me, that has sounded completely unfair, because it's like declaring that anyone who follows a religion shouldn't have a say in a democracy, because obviously their opinions and their votes are going to be informed by their morals, their conscience, their beliefs.

I had an "aha!" moment recently, during a discussion on Twitter. (yes, very unwise to try to discuss anything on Twitter, but it was initially a cordial and respectful discussion, I think.) There are two classes of moral rules: those that apply to everybody, and those that only apply to some people. I think we can agree that things like "don't murder" and "don't steal" apply to everybody. The usual rule of thumb is "if it harms someone else, it applies to everybody". The ones that only apply to some people (I think?) are in the form of a promise made by a person to do or not to do something. Like promising to be faithful to your spouse; doesn't apply to those who don't have a spouse. My "aha" moment was the realisation that non-believers in (Judeo-Christian Abrahamic) religions think that ALL of the religious moral rules ONLY ever apply to followers of that religion; because they're in the form of a promise to obey those rules when they follow that religion, and if you didn't promise to, you don't have to. Whereas followers of Judeo-Christian Abrahamic religions believe that since God/Yahweh/Allah is the ruler/owner of the entire universe, there are some rules that He has laid down which apply to everybody, believer and non-believer alike, and that these rules are self-evident.
Read more... )
The basis of any cordial discussion of differences is the assumption of good will on the part of the participants. Without it, there is no discussion, just an acrimonious argument.

I'm leaving comments on for the moment, because I am interested in what you think, but the moment someone starts engaging in verbal fisticuffs, I will turn commenting off; I can't deal with the stress.

Dept. of Weariness

Sep. 8th, 2017 10:59 pm
kaffyr: Animated rain falls on the bathhouse from Spirited Away (Bath house in the rain)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Friday

BB and I went to see "Spiderman: Homecoming" tonight. If you can get to see it, do so. It's the best superhero movie I've seen since, well, "The Avengers," and I loved all the other MCU movies, so that's saying a lot. It's funny — I haven't laughed out loud in a theater for quite some time — and smart, and has a villain who's both villainous and perfectly understandable, with a work ethic and a sense of responsibility to his staff and family. I found myself cheering him on in a couple of instances, a little to my surprise. Michael Keaton does villainy right. Tom Holland as a 15-year-old Peter Parker is so good that I can forget that he looks more like a 17-year-old kid. Sure, that's only two years' difference, but it's a difference. And that may be the only thing I can find to nitpick about. 

I'm glad I went to the movie, but I'm still fighting the Black Dog. In my case, it's probably more of a Black Puppy, but he (or she, who can tell with these little demonettes?) keeps dashing out of the shadows and nipping at my emotional ankles. Fucking puppy.  

So perhaps it's time to go to bed. I have another working weekend; helping clean out the condo storage basement, something I completely forgot until this morning, and then one of two separate union meetings, neither of which I want to go to, on Sunday morning. 

Fucking puppy. 

Oh, I said that already. 

Down, boy. 





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