lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
Indicative of my day yesterday, I started a "What are You Reading Wednesday?" post, only to discover this morning that I hadn't finished it...it was still sitting here, in a tab, in draft form, on my computer.

*sigh*

I mean, to be fair, I haven't had much to report in terms of reading lately beyond "my Broad Universe mentee's manuscript," but I did finish My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi, which I reviewed here: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/my-solo-exchange-diary-hitori-koukan-nikki-by-nagata-kabi/ Thanks to a VERY QUIET night at Maplewood on Tuesday, I also have a bunch of books being pulled for me at the Ramsey County Library from the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List. So, hopefully, I'll have a better list of things I've read soon.  

Yesterday, I was also unaccountably sad to have heard about Opportunity, the Mars rover.  I know it lasted much longer than expected and it's _just_ a robot, but I feel like maybe a person is a little bit inhuman if they don't shed a small tear at its final communication: "Battery dying. Everything is going dark."  Jesus F*cking Christ, NASA. 

Then, on top of that, this morning I turned on the radio to AM950 and heard about the horrific destruction scheduled for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as Trump's bulldozers and border control are seizing PRIVATE PROPERTY with immanent domaine.  I'm planning, on payday, of becoming a member in order to help them fight this, legally... even though I don't have a lot of hope that they'll win. And that's it, the frogs and the butterflies and the tiny little owls are all going to die because we're all a bunch of racist pig-sh*ts.

And, Shawn says to me this morning, "Hey, happy Valentine's Day, BBC is reporting that Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage."

It's honestly this sh*t that's going to break me.

Ugh.

In happier news, Mason really enjoys judging debate tournaments. He had one last night, at Washington, and he came home almost giddy with stories of the middle schoolers he critiqued and graded. "I'm SO PROUD of them!" he says to me, beaming. 

Next Monday we go to the informational meeting for PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunities, a program that allows public school students to attend university for free, particularly if there's need--like for Mason, he's exhausted high school math, as of this year. Technically, he was done with the official HS math curriculum last year, but Washington Tech has a "College In Schools" Calc I class that he's in this year.). Mason also talked to his school councilor who is really supportive (especially after his early PSAT scores) of him going full-time PSEO next year. We're still debating the merits and the drawbacks to that, but the idea that Mason could basically be in college next year is kind of amazing. I think it could potentially be really good for him. He's a funny kid. The more rigorous the class, the better his grades tend to be. If he's in any class where there's a lot of busywork that most people would find to be "low-hanging fruit," (ie easily done), he struggles to do it, because he can't see the point. We tease him that he's the only person who get A+s in Calc I, but can barely pass "Independent Living." 

In much happier news, I have a book contract on the horizon.

It's a kind of funny story about how that happened. So, as reported here, Wizard Tower Press has put out an omnibus edition of all 5 of my AngeLINK books. As I was going around posting all the various self-promotion things one does, I came across an email from a fan complaining that she could not get a copy of Song of Secrets a book that Rachel Calish and I wrote together (but which has since been removed by the publisher for various reasons) AND she wanted to know when he heck I was going to get around to publishing that sequel to Precinct 13.

Those who have been following along at home know that i have a large portion of a sequel already written. I was posting it in installments on Wattpad for a while, but then I ran out of steam and never finished it.

WELL. I thought to myself, I wonder if Cheryl Morgan, my publisher at Wizard Tower Press, would be interested in that. Plus, if Cheryl gave me a deadline (and a contract), I might actually get off my depressed BUTT and finish it.  

Turns out, Cheryl was more than willing to send me out a contract... so, I now have a deadline of September 2019 to get things into shape. Should be very doable.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK CHERYL BEFORE. Thank you, random complainer! Without you, it would NEVER have occurred to me that I could just see if Wizard Tower Press was up for a new novel by me.

So that's kind of big news. It's not official-Official yet, per se, so I'm not shouting it from the rooftop--but, dang near. I have a draft contract in hand and everything looks very much green to go.

It's crazy, but just having this in the works has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like a _real_ writer again.
lydamorehouse: (cranky aizen)
 Last night, completely unexpectedly, we had to say good-bye to Inky.

Big, old black cat on a comfy chair

I'd noticed he was kind of poking at his food and water, but he is our quiet, retiring boy, so, while I was worried, it didn't seem dire. Until yesterday. He was hiding more than usual and seemed to be limping a little. After how fast we lost Ball, I thought: nope, get him in right now.  So, rather than wait for an appointment, I took him to the emergency veterinary last night around 6 pm. 

By 9 o'clock, he was gone.

I don't know what the f*ck is happening with this house, but it needs to stop. I can't take this. 

Doctors say it was a fast-moving cancer, a lymphoma or pancreatic. What the actual hell. How did this happen so fast that we never saw it coming? Doctor assured me that some cancers are like that and that cats are terrible about letting you know when they're ill--moreover, it probably ripped through him in no more than a couple of weeks.

Just like Ball.

I looked at her and said, "Okay, but you're sure this isn't something contagious? Because I can not." She told me there was nothing like that in cats. (I mean, there is Feline Leukemia, but they've all been tested and no one goes outside...)

We have sat down with our remaining three cats and explained to them that they are simply NOT ALLOWED to get sick.

Yesterday, we also found a bird frozen at our bird feeder. She may have gotten her head stuck in the feeding tube, or... who knows, but she was hanging there, dead, and it was awful, and so f*ck right off, everything is awful, and I am done with dealing with death, and so NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO GET SICK, Y'ALL TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES.

And, especially: JANUARY, GO HOME. YOU'RE THE WORST. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN FOR ANOTHER WHOLE YEAR. GOT THAT???

I could not be happier that we have started February.  February is time for renewal. We're going to renew our house blessing and celebrate the renewing spirit of Imbolc, because we're done with this bullsh*t now, k?

Here's a picture of Inky (the black one) and Buttercup (orange/sandy) playing together on the iPad in a rare moment of harmony. Buttercup was always very much "Notice me, sempai!" about Inky, but Inky never much wanted much to do with the "new kid" so this was a photographically significant moment.

Inky and Buttercup playing with the iPad

Gucci, gucci Inky. You were a good cat.
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 ...that went down the drain? THIS drain?

a snapped lead pipe on a dusty floor.

Magic works, people. Magic WORKS.

Unfortunately.

I think, at least, I reversed the spell soon enough that it won't cost us the full amount that I had written on the paper, but holy hell.

So, what happened? Well, Mason went to take his bath last night. A wash cloth fell behind the tub. He couldn't reach it, so he thought, "I'll shift the tub a little." The other pipes going into the tub are clearly flexible, so he didn't even consider the 110 year old lead pipe connecting the tub to the drain pipe. SNAP! And a, "Ummmm.... mom? Ima?"

He feels terrible, but we all talked about THAT SPELL, so no one is blaming him. Or me, for that matter. We're all pretty cranky with Llwellyn's spell proof reader, but you know... the truth is, if it snapped that easily, it was bound to happen. My reversal of the spell may have saved us from the "what if" of had Mason not noticed until it was time to drain his bath.  That might have cost us a new pipe, a new bathroom floor, and, as this is our second story bathroom, a new kitchen ceiling as well.

As we say here in Minnesota: Could be worse.

Today I was supposed to meet my friend Anna D. at the Science Museum, but that will be postponed until Friday, as I have to ADUT today and secure a plumber.  Fun times!

Sick Kitty

Dec. 18th, 2018 07:58 pm
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
 Ms. Ball, who is Mason's kitty, has suddenly become quite thin.

We have a vet appointment scheduled for her ASAP, so we'll find out what's going on then, but in the meantime feel free to keep her in your thoughts. Here she is in better days, sleeping in her usual spot, on Mason's arm.

Ms. Ball sleeping

But, I didn't sleep terribly well last night, worrying about her.

You know how it is.

Otherwise, I spent a good portion of the day dealing with our internet/phone providers. Our landline suddenly stopped working, probably some time on Sunday. Like most people in this day and age, our landline normally only rings when a spambot is calling, so I didn't entirely notice we were offline until we missed the normal Sunday night robocall from Mason's school. Every Sunday, at 7 pm, Washington Technical's principle sends out a canned message informing us of various goings-on at the high school, like which of their sports teams did well and things like that. At that point we realized something was up. Shawn checked the neighborhood group and since other people who had Centurylink were experiencing problems, we waited to see if it would resolve itself.

It did not.

This morning I called and had a guy come out to investigate the situation. Turns out, we had never actually had our phones shifted to fiber and were still running copper to the house. It was supposed to have been disconnected and removed when we got fiber YEARS ago.  So, the technician took care of that for us. Our barbaric, old-fashioned landline is once again up and running.

Spambots everywhere may rejoice.

The guy was at our house for HOURS though. It turns out, a large part of his time was spent on hold.... to his own company.

APPARENTLY, Centurylink requires its technician to use the exact same horrific phone tree that customers use.  He apologized for taking so long, but apparently the first person he got connected to, didn't understand the issue, told him the line was fine, and hung up on him. So, he had to go through the whole rigamarole of WAITING ON HOLD AGAIN until he could talk to someone who could _properly_ test the line.

As my mechanic Tor would say: "What the fuck. Excuse my language, but What. The. FUCK."

The worst part? This guy spent several hours of his workday in our "Silence of the Lambs" basement, looking around at all the weird ass stuff we have collected down there. I wonder what he thought of my ceramic head? Or the sad, empty gerbil cage that we haven't quite gotten the nerve up to part with yet, despite the fact that the gerbil has been gone for years (I mean, it's a cleaned out cage, but still.)

I, meanwhile, had a lovely afternoon. [personal profile] naomikritzer came over to chat and we gossiped like old women over lunch (I made homemade pizza in a cast iron pan), while the technician sat on hold in my basement. 

Mason came home late today because his robotics team is having a bake sale to raise funds. For health safety reasons, they have to cook/bake everything they sell themselves, in the school's culinary arts classroom.  So, the whole team was there making cake pops until almost 7 pm. The team (@4229Magnetech) posted a picture of their efforts on Twitter (Mason is in the maroon shirt in the middle, mostly obscured by other people):

team in industrial kitchen setting

In other news, I _finally_ formally accepted a pinch hit for Yuletide, so if I disappear for several days, it's because I am frantically writing that. I actually already wrote a couple of treats for people this year, but I hadn't accepted an actual assignment.  

Wish me luck!

Hope you are all doing well!
lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 I call this batch "A Sound of Thunder" for reasons.... 

dinosaurs and butterflies

For those that might not be familiar: "A Sound of Thunder" is the Ray Bradbury story in which a time traveling tourist goes back to the age of dinosaurs and is warned to stay on the predetermined path. They end up stepping off the path, accidentally killing a butterfly, and famously think, 'Ah, well, at least it wasn't anything important,' only to discover the world is monumentally changed by this single, 'insignificant' act. The term "the butterfly effect" was coined, in part, due to this story.

I made these nerdy cookies in order to share them with my cousin Tracy who lives in Saint Louis. She's a former chemist and all around geek, so I suspect that they will make her smile.

Yesterday, besides making and decorating these, I finished our Yule decorations, including prepping our Yule Log.  Our Yule Log is birch and was 'liberated' (read: stolen) from the Eloise Butler Nature Center by Shawn and our mutual friend Julie, back in the 1990s. We drilled three holes in it for candles and every year I staple some pine boughs to it and decorate it with pine cones and ornaments. If I remember, I'll take a picture of it at some point. It sits on top of our piano, which serves as our mantle, where we hang our stockings.

Yesterday, I also hung out with [personal profile] naomikritzer who has finished up her yearly "Gifts for People You Hate" post over on her WordPress blog, which is always a delight to read. 

Thanks to a conversation with her (and then again later with my wife Shawn) about the Loscon 45 incident with Gregory Benford, Shawn and I started to read the link he posted to about victimhood (in lieu of an apology) that seems to imply that people are just too sensitive today and are over-exaggerating issues of oppression in what the authors consider today's "victimhood culture."  Okay.  I'd been feeling sympathetic with Benford having been escorted out of the con in the middle of his signing--which I still think was overkill--but maybe just apologize for some bad behavior too? Instead of linking to an article that basically implies YOU PEOPLE ARE TOO SENSITIVE?

I think there are a number of issues going on here.

One of them is going to be an on-going problem until the next generation decides they whether or not to fully invest in the culture of live, in-person science fiction conventions, and, that is, "you get what you pay for." Which is to say that panels like the one Benford was on are assigned on VOLUNTEER basis.  

It sounds, in fact, like LosCon _tried_ to have decent representation on this panel--a woman panelist was a no-show and there _were_ two people of color on the panel (which led to Benford's other alleged comment about Latinx names having "too many" vowels for him to properly remember them). So, this con had enough volunteers to attempt to mitigate the "old, white guy" problem. Unfortunately, the more incidents like this, the less women and PoCs feel WELCOME both in the audience, but ESPECIALLY at the table, as it were--to volunteer to be on the panel. So, this sort of thing is likely to remain an issue until we swing the demographics in our favor--and provided that that's what we want. That is, people may chose to abandon cons entirely. I'm not sure I would blame the next generation if they did just that.  

Let me just say, that I love going to science fiction conventions and have been doing so, as a fan and as a professional, since some time before the internet.... which was when cons were particularly useful, as it was one of the ways to find one's fan group, one's people.

The thing is, I recently did a podcast with my friend Minster Faust, who is the author of COYOTE KINGS OF THE SPACE-AGE BACHELOR PAD (among other things.) I met him at a science fiction convention, NorwesCON, when we were both up for the Philip K. Dick award. He's Canadian and a PoC and when we chatted, WorldCON 76 was blowing up, and so we talked about all of this. He was very leery of the benefits of attending cons-because travel is expensive (in his case, international), and the question is: do you get anything out of it other than a slap in the face? I spent some time trying to convince Malcolm that the sense of community was worth it, but I ended up stopping myself from pushing that idea too hard, because this girl has all sorts of privilege that Malcolm would not. And, it's not just an issue of systematic racism, which is absolutely a factor, but also because I have a ton of advantages, including being well-known to my local capital-F, Fandom (which is to say, the in-person, con-going community, as opposed to a specific interest group) AND living in a town where you can hardly turn around without hitting a local science fiction convention that only costs me, at MOST, the price of admission. 

A lot more people out there are in Malcolm's shoes than mine, which is to say that they are trying to make financial decisions (as writers or fans) about travel, hotel costs, food expenses, etc., and weighing the question of "is all that money worth it" against the whole series of issues, including very basic ones, like, will they even get impanelled, as it were, being somewhat "unknown"? Add to that concerns of having to deal with being misgendered in the programming material or being actively harassed on a panel for having too many vowels in your name or just looking around thinking "WTF, am I the only [queer, trans, PoC, disabled] person here?? How uncomfortable is this??"

So, to me, this is the number one issue that these incidents like Benford's blow-up and non-apology represents. The more crap like this happens, the less likely it is to convince people that cons are a worthwhile venture. If fewer people show up, the smaller the list of panel volunteers there will be, and... you guessed it, the more of these fails will happen because all that will be left are the dinosaurs...

The other general issue that things like this keep bringing to mind is that authors of a certain age, but really, all of us, need to understand the ways in which "the interwebs" have changed con culture.

It used to be, back in the late Jurassic, a person could say something that was maybe even just an innocent "failure mode of humor" (= a$$hole) and only offend the 70 or so people in the room.  Now, you say something like that and there is a statistically significant chance that it might go viral. Or, at the very least, if you are an "esteemed con guest" be noteworthy of a site like File770.

I have no idea to the extent to which Benford's comments were, in fact, the failure mode of humor, but it doesn't matter.

As an author, he should know that authorial intent really doesn't mean diddly if the audience doesn't read things that way.  This is a lesson learned I learned in critique group when I was twenty-five years old: if six or so people, out of the seven who read your work don't GET the point and, in fact, take it the opposite way you intended the scene to read, you have FAILED to express the scene appropriately and the story needs revision. That's just how writing works. And, as it happens, real life. If you fail at a joke and accidentally fall into failure mode (aka a$$holery), you can apologize and try to be better the next time, aka, a kind of revision of the story of your life.

/rant

Anyway, the cookies are delicious. And, apparently, Mason's favorites.
lydamorehouse: (shield)
 Many cold people in the snow.

MN Capitol steps covered in protestors

This photo of people crowding the Minnesota capitol steps (by my FB friend Sondra Mann)  still doesn't very accurately show the scale of the people who turned out last night. MoveOn.org suggested 500, but I think they counted early, because people were still streaming in as late as 5:30 pm.  Besides, those capitol steps are wide and two tiered. I would bet closer to 800-1,000, though I'm never great at guesstimating crowd-size.

I have a blurry picture that shows a much better sense of scale, which I took as I was leaving at 6 pm. They told us we could disperse after only an hour because they didn't have much in the way of "programming." (Several speakers spoke, which is, honestly, my least favorite part of protest gatherings. No one can hear them; most of them are not professional speakers and so are often rambling and boring.)  I wonder if they'd have let the protest grow naturally, how much we might have have in terms of turnout by say 7 pm or even 8 pm. I mean the protest only officially started at 5 pm!  That only gave people who might be running late a half-hour to catch the tail end of things!

Let's see, so a full recap.

I picked Shawn up early from work, because the three of us wanted to head out to Barnes & Noble to get Mason an AP Calculus booklet, which he's been agitating for. I guess he plans to take the AP Calculus test, even though he's technically NOT in AP Calculus, but CIS (College-in-School) Calculus. This is another one of those things that Mason decided _entirely_ on his own.  I have to say our laissez-faire/free range parenting seems to have really paid off with Mason. He is a better advocate for himself than we are. He's on the ground and seizes every opportunity and, even, in this case (and with his job at the Science Museum) hunts them down. So, I mean, kudos to him!

Since we were out there we stopped into Smash Burgers for dinner and discovered that the Har Mar Mall now not only has a ramen place (an Ichido) but also a new Hot Pot place. My Canadian introduced me to the joys of hot potting and now I need to convince my family of same! 

I got everyone home and grabbed my signage and extra layers of warm clothes and headed out around 4:15 pm. I left early because I wasn't sure about parking. I've parked in one of the public lots before and it's actually almost as far away from the capitol steps as the Minnesota Historical Society and I wanted to have time to get a spot, pay, put the ticket back in the car window, and hike the two and a half really LOOOOONG capitol lawn blocks up to the steps.

When I first arrived, I thought, "Oh, okay, it's going to be like this."

Minnesota Capitol with a smattering of protestors looking cold and lost

To be fair, I took this picture around 4:30 pm, maybe 4:45 pm. The protest hadn't even officially started.  And, as I was walking the long haul of the capitol lawn, I kept watching streams of people coming in with each light rail stop (approximately every ten minutes). So, I thought, okay, all right, we'll be a couple hundred, you know, the steps are big, they make us look small... it'll be fine.

Then more people kept coming.

I was really surprised because the Russian investigation is... weird. It's not an easy one-ticket kind of slogan-y protest. I mean, this sign will work at almost any rally:

well-done art project of a cut-out of a very orange baby POTUS with russian doll and sickle and hammer baby bottle

When I admired this sign and asked to take a picture of it, the woman said thank you and "Don't piss off the art teachers, am I right?" I was like, you are right!

My friend Shaz Stiteler caught me "in action" once the crowd started to swell.

Fat-butt Lyda doing her protest thang

Running into Shaz was funny if only because she is one of those people who I recognize on sight, BUT in different contexts. Like, I knew who she was when she said, "Hey, Lyda," but I turned to her and was like "??" because my brain was very "Is it CONvergence? Am I in Minneapolis??" I totally forgot that she's a park ranger and works here in the capitol city. So, she ended up giving me the, "Uh... it's me, Shaz." And I had to say, "Oh! Of course!" which made me seem like such a knuckle-dragger I'm sure.

Speaking of knuckle-draggers, we had one loan pro-Trump supporter standing in the back heckling us, holding a huge "Trump, Make America Great Again" flag and his red MAGA hat.  (Rev 13:16: "And they shall wear a mark upon upon their foreheads... bearing the name of the Beast.") As I was leaving, I walked past him and accidentally caught his eye and he said, "I'm on the right side of history." I'm sorry to admit that I legit burst out laughing. I mean, "You, sir, are the epitome of delusional." We were just shouting "Restore the Rule of Law".... how contorted does your brain have to be to believe that being IN OPPOSITION to the rule of law and justice for all is the "right side" of anything, much less HISTORY????

But, any time he tried to engage people in a more serious argument someone else passing would remind us with a shout, "Don't feed the trolls!" 

Because, it's NOT worth our time. If there was more than one of them? If he shouted racial slurs or transphobic remarks or other bullshit Nazi bigotry, YES. But, not if he's just muttering "But her emails."

Moron.

Anyway, that was my night. Even though I think they would have had a better crowd if they'd held out until 7 pm, my toes were happy they didn't. I came home in the driving snow flurries and hopped straight into a hot tub.  
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 I have to admit that even *I'm* getting a little sick of these.

But, since Trump forced Sessions's resignation yesterday*, MoveOn.org has mobilized their rapid-response to Mueller firing protest. Here in St. Paul, we are gathering at the State Capitol at 5pm.  It's 25 F/ -3 C here, today, with windchills that feel much, much lower. Mason this morning said, "Why? Why do we always end up having to protest in sub-zero weather??" I dunno, son, I said. It's the price of democracy: cold toes.

protest sign that reads PROTECT MUELLER

The sign (this one reads: PROTECT MUELLER) looks shiny because of my many "protest hacks" I have learned in the last two years, is that covering your sign in strips of packing tape will keep the markers from smudging and running in inclement weather (we had a touch of snow, earlier.) 

I have to admit I struggled with pithy, clever things to say this time. Admittedly, I have been taking the advice of an early 'protest self-care' blog that suggested that you pick one or two causes and follow those deeply and let others pick up the slack on the zillion other distractions that our so-called president has been flinging at us, like poo.  So, I have been leaving the Mueller investigation/Russia probe to my more politically wonky friends.  Thus, sitting in my dinning room attempting to have short, memorable signage was surprisingly difficult. I finally broke down and went for longer text on the "back side" of another sign:

protest sign that reads: you think our blue wave was a bust? Maxine Waters will have the power of financial subpoena

This one reads: "You think our BLUE WAVE was a bust? Maxine Waters will have the power of Financial Subpoena." As I was looking up how to spell "subpoena," I kept thinking, "You try and spell that right, Trump supporters!"  

There are slogans on the flip sides of these as well. Another one of my "protest hacks" is that it's actually very useful to be visible from the BACK as well as the front. People can take your picture without worrying about getting your permission, if your face isn't visible. This is one way that I end up in a lot of protest albums. Not that THAT is a life goal, but it means that I don't have to take a protest selfie. I can just download the picture of me on the protest's website.

Wow, what is this going to read like five years from now? Is this going to be one of those "ha-ha, protest selfie! Gramma! Really?" or "THANK GOD YOU WERE ON THE FRONT LINES, GRANDMOTHER" moments?

Anyway, the flip side of the top one is this:

Protest sign reads: NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

I am weirdly proud of my red-white-and-blue look here, even though I always feel like I'm some kind of kindergartener in comparison to some of the protest art that I will (HOPEFULLY) see tonight.

I have a very bad feeling that this is going to be a small crowd. I had a weird dream last night in which Mason and I brought a tent to this protest (and our computers for some reason--dream reason, I guess,) and when I stepped out to see if anyone had shown up, we filled the capitol lawn like we did at the Women's March. 

I've been thinking about the timing of this march (5 pm) and whether or not I should bring clip on lights to my protest signs. The sun is going to be setting, because: daylight savings. Hmmm, I will put my mind to that. I definitely should bring flashlights, though.  Currently, Mason will be joining me, but he may decide not to. To be fair to him, the last one of these he went with me to was for Net Neutrality and it was also SO COLD and there were, at MOST, 30 of us.

Which this could totally be.

protest sign: Look who IS Afraid of our BLUE WAVE

The sign reads: Look who _is_ afraid of our Blue Wave. (This is the flip-side of the Maxine Waters one.)  
 
--
*Good F*CKING riddance, jacka$$.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 It's easy for me to say.

I'm sitting in Minnesota, where we went from Blue to Navy Blue. I'm sitting in a state that has protected voter's enfranchisement for generations, where voting is nearly as easy as breathing (nearly--when we get automatic voter registration, then it will be.) The lines were noticeable here, but we all voted in reasonable time and we know our votes are counted as cast because WE VOTED ON PAPER. 

Your tears are valid this morning, however. Hard fought battles were lost. But, please, please keep fighting. We have to remember that the wall that Republicans have built to shore up their failing, bigoted policies has been built over decades. We wanted our wave to break it all down. But, my brothers, my sisters, my siblings--please remember, this was our FIRST effort.  Those tea party pricks had the "indivisible handbook" long, long before we did. We only JUST thought to copy their methods. LOOK WHAT WE DID IN TWO YEARS! All of your efforts were worth it, even if you didn't win. (And if they are still counting votes where you are, fight for EVERY VOTE and do not, DO NOT concede.) We might not have taken back both houses of congress, but, really, we knew the Senate was a long shot, and we have the House of Representatives now. The stranglehold on democracy HAS BEEN BROKEN. You did that. We did that.

Do not underestimate this. It could mean everything going forward. You were voting to save Democracy? You very well may have. 

If no other thing comforts you, remember this: the gains we made for voter enfranchisement are LEGION, they _will_ be future game changers, MARK MY WORDS. The more people who can vote freely, the freer we will all be, in the end. I believe this.

Stand up. Keep fighting.

lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Poster reading "They is here to Stay"

Lindsey Flicker (Facebook) caught a picture of me "in action" at the #WeWontBeErasedMN day of solidarity on Sunday afternoon. The other side of my sign read "Trans Ally"

I can't tell you how powerful this day of visibility was, even for me, who has zero reason to feel particularly validated by all the trans flags and the people who honked and waved or flashed us the peace sign. I loved the idea of it the moment I read what the plan was, which was for people not to march, but to stand shoulder to shoulder and to see if we could span the distance between the approximate heart of Minneapolis (Chicago & Lake) to the "Peace Bridge" (which is the River Road & Lake/Marshall Avenue) into Saint Paul. From their webpage: "Trans folks & allies, does anyone else just want to stand out in public with each other, in a never ending line and be seen? Not a protest, per se but a Trans visibility event."

What still makes me tear up a little? We did it.

To span that distance--approximately six miles--means that literally THOUSANDS of people must have been lining the streets.

On Sunday morning, I got up early to go to Walgreen's to get my 'Sunday Go to Protest" supplies. I was happy that they had blue and pink sharpies, since those are the colors of the trans flag.  The morning looked like it might be rainy, so I made sure to coat my sign in packing tape. But, by the time I left to go meet some friends at the Blue Moon Cafe, the sun was so bright that I grabbed my sunglasses.  I had coffee with Anna D., and two other people I only knew tangentially, Marion E. and Patricia Z.  Anna wanted to stand near the deaf interpreter site, which was actually planned to be close to the coffee shop, so Marion and I stopped where there was a gap that needed filling and Anna and Patricia continued on.  We stood there for an hour as people filled in and spread, and, like I said, we didn't _do_ anything--no chants, no singing (although apparently, there were spots assigned for the folks that wanted to sing AND apparently a band showed up)--but it felt weirdly amazing to wave and be waved at... maybe because there's so damn much hate in the world, the simple act of being smiled at felt astoundingly up-lifting.

But, like I said, this wasn't FOR me. It was for the kids who were standing next to me holding a trans flag with white knuckles because their LIVES depended on it, it was for my friend's friend who I stood beside who is genderqueer. It was for my friends and my cousin and for everyone who really, really needed to hear that people SEE them and LOVE them. 

The signs were all amazing, too. If you need cheering up, you should go to the website and just scroll down the "discussion" section.

Me on my porch holding a sign that says "Trans Ally."

Vote

Oct. 24th, 2018 11:17 am
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
 I don't know if you've heard, but there's an upcoming election here in the U.S.

Much like this time last year, I find myself feeling very... anxious. After I finish my second bowl of breakfast chili (don't judge!), I'm going to go outside and do a f*ck-ton of yard work. I feel like I'm having a bit of deja vu and also, why, given how horrible politics has been this last year, isn't my yard more AMAZING?  I guess the real answer is that I don't consistently do yard work as stress relief. Like a lot of Americans I think I spend far too much time staring at the wall wondering what I should be _doing_ to save democracy as we know it.

Anyway, please vote.

It really matters. 



lydamorehouse: (temporary incoherent rage)
 I mostly managed to stay off the internet today because I knew what was coming. 

Today was Mason's first day at his new job at the Science Museum. When I picked him up around 2 pm, there were a lot of other parents waiting out front in their cars. This program hired 80 students, I think. Most of what I know about what Mason will be doing is still fairly vague, but it seems like he's enjoying it. Today, apparently, they did a lot of getting to know you exercises and got a tour of the Science Museum (and the special employee tour which included the cheap, slightly broken vending machines.)

Shawn and I went to Menard's to pick up some plastic bins. We're continuing to deal with the fallout of Mason's reorganization of his room. He wanted a desk, which we bought for him some time ago, but moving the desk in meant moving OUT a bunch of books and disassembling (and selling) the top part of his bunk bed. A number of the books that got moved out will go to the little free library. But, there are also a lot of sentimental favorites that will be saved for the next generation of Morehouse-Rounds, and so those are getting put into bins and hauled up to the attic. (Which of course also necessitated a slight re-organization of the attic, because: of course.)

By the end of this we were all tired, cranky, and hangry. We ended up having a spat about dinner, which resulted in a drive through Culver's and a trip to Cafe Latte for gigantic pieces of PIE and CAKE because f*ck everything.

It seemed clear to me that we all had short fuses because we knew what had happened in the Senate.

It's been an awful week.

And we have only just begun to fight.

SHEEPLE

Sep. 13th, 2018 05:28 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I wanted share a funny indecent from yesterday.

I picked up Mason from a robotics meeting at school. It was one of those days, the kind where I'm late to pick him up and on the way, the car beeped at me, because it was low on gas. So, we stopped at the gas station on Lexington to fill-up and from there took University Avenue home, which we almost never do, because it's one stoplight after another.

So, we're stopped at University and Hamline or thereabouts and a firetruck pulled up along side the sidewalk by Wal-Mart's back wall. There's a bunch of scrub brush there and gravel. The firetruck driver uses his megaphone on high volume: "WAKE UP." Two seconds later in very bad, high school Spanish: "¿CÓMO ESTÁ?"

My only guess is that a homeless person had fallen asleep in the bushes, but both Mason and I were very startled.  It was very strange.  

But now Mason and I will sometimes randomly yell out: "WAKE UP! ¿CÓMO ESTÁ?"
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 I have to leave for work in 20-some minutes. I have a short shift at White Bear Lake: 10 am to 2 pm.  Four hours should be very do-able, even though White Bear is one of the branches that's small enough to be busy/not busy in odd ways.  I'm sure it will be fine, though, I like the people there a lot.  White Bear has a strong science fiction collection.

Otherwise, like a lot of people, I've been cheering on the surviving students from Stoneman Douglas in Florida. When people are asking "why are these students so different than those that came before," I think it's important to note that this is the year Teen Vogue went rogue, went radical.  I think it's just as important to note that the student leaders are mostly white and affluent. Sadly, their whiteness means they're being listened to in a way others have not been.  But that does not negate the power of their message. If it takes a cis-perceived, straight-perceived white boy to bring down the NRA and to stand up to Rubio and make the news, I'll stand behind him.  I'll stand behind all of them. 

I've already told Mason he has our blessing to walk out of school, to organize... whatever he needs to do to not feel helpless in this day and age. I tell him every day to smash the patriarchy, and this is how you do it. 

Right, well, I'm off to work.  Viva la revolution, my comrades.


lydamorehouse: (yaoi)
Wow, today, huh? It started out nice enough with a Valentine's Day smooch from my wife, but then it proceeded to get... hassle-ish? Shawn needed to pick up doughnuts for her volunteers. We stopped at our usual place, Sugah Rush, only to discover a sign that said "Closed" with a "back at 7:30" sign underneath that.  Okay, that was weird, since they're usually up and running at 6:30 am, but okay. I dropped Mason off, then Shawn, bought myself a coffee, and drove back. I arrived at 7:32 am. The door was still closed. So I waved over the counter girl who explained, that no, they were closed the whole week (possibly for Chinese New Year?) I suggested maybe they handwrite a sign? Because we could have gone somewhere else rather than looping back.

I go next to Wollet's, which is open, but significantly more expensive. I make up the difference between what Shawn gave me from petty cash and have the nice lady there give me an assortment.

Off I go to MHS. Only to discover that the History Center's doors are locked AND I'm completely out of minutes on my phone. I see someone coming in and I say, "Excuse me, these doughnuts need to go to Shawn Rounds in the State Archives. Could you deliver them?" He says he could, and I think, "Okay, good. PROBLEM SOLVED."

Only, when I finally get home and call Shawn on the landline, she hasn't seen her doughnuts.

I think someone just stole our doughnuts.

I'm hoping Shawn will call soon and let me know that I'm wrong and that they actually arrived, unscathed.

It's Reading Wednesday also, I guess? Well, I finished that manuscript that's been hanging around my neck like an albatross. So, that's definitely a good thing. I also read Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown, which is a book that I got from the library which was listed on the most recent Locus Magazine "recommended reading list," in the subcategory of debut authors. I like reading debut authors for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that since they're brand-new, it's extremely unlikely that I'll have to hunt up the rest of a series in order to enjoy their current title (sometimes, of course, this might be a first novel, but they have a ton of short fiction.) Also, obviously, it gives me a taste of the new blood coming into science fiction/fantasy.

I really liked Tropic of Kansas. I'm going to go over to Goodreads in a bit and see if I'm alone in this. Thing is, I could see people feeling differently, if only because the book very much goes off the "if things continue this way" premise of Trump-inspired future. Brown does take some pains to make it clear this is actually an AU, (Reagan's assassination is successful, for one,) but the fascist dictator and his "first girlfriends" bare a certain resemblance in spirit to 45. Luckily, the story is about the underground attempt to overthrow fascism, which is always a story I can read, even in these, the waning days of Babylon. (Goodreads has very mixed reviews that do seem to depend somewhat on one's political leanings.)

I read a couple of fluff volumes of manga, too. I read Plum Crazy!: Tales of a Tiger-Striped Cat (volumes 1 & 2) by Natsumi Hashing. I picked those up at the library, in the juvenile section (even though its Japanese publishing rating is  'josei' which is for more adult readers). This is a story about people who own cats, or maybe cats who own people.  Plum belongs to the household of a woman and her son who run a traditional dance studio in small town Japan.  Plum has adventures there and, along the way, discovers an abandoned kitten, who she rescues and who causes all sorts of trouble. It is, however, kind of about nothing at all... which is often the kind of slice-of-life manga I adore tremendously.  A good antidote to the dystopia of Tropic of Kansas.

What are you reading?

I'm off in a little bit to go fetch some ingredients for Mason's Chinese class. He and another student are making "longevity noodles with chicken" for the class's Chinese New Year celebration tomorrow.  I'm thinking about hitting United Noodle because I love that place. (I'm pretty sure I could get the noodles elsewhere, but hey, and excuse to go to United Noodle for the win!)

UPDATED DOUGHNUT STATUS: UNDELIVERED. But, Shawn was able, through an MHS-wide email, discover that my "helper" had dropped them off at the information desk with no note or explanation. Shawn is on her way to pick them up now. 

In related news, I now have minutes on my phone.
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Last night was the big Team Internet "Save Net Neutrality" rally across the nation.  Here in Saint Paul, a small group of us met outside of a Verizon store on Hamline and University at 5:00 pm. I guess there was one over in Minneapolis, and I know there was one much earlier in the day in Apple Valley.  Net Neutrality is one of Mason's issues, so he came along.  The organizer did a great job. She and her partner filed for a protest permit from the city and discussed with the police ahead of time where we'd be allowed to stand (since Verizon's store and parking lot are private property.) There were fliers to pass out to passers-by, extra signs for those of use struggling to be pithy about a hard-to-conceptualize issue, etc.

They expected 100 or so people. I'm not sure all of them came out, however. I'm terrible at crowd-size, but I'm getting better at guesstimating thanks to attending a lot of these sorts of things and I would have figured 50-75? When Mason and I first arrived, we thought it might be a wash. We were there five minutes before things were supposed to start and there were no more than a half-dozen people.  The organizers had brought coffee and hot chocolate, though, which made me happy. As Mason said, "Join the Revolution, we have hot coffee!"  I have no idea what the temperature was, but it's been in the 20s F / -6.6 C in the sun, and the sun already setting by 5:00 so I would bet the temperature was dropping rapidly. That could account some for the poor turn out. But, it was also at a tough time.  5 pm.  Some people are only just getting off work at 5. I did notice that the crowd got larger the longer we stood there.  We even had random people joining us as they got off the light rail.  

Mason's toes got cold pretty quickly.  As a veteran of Minnesota winter protests, I had suggested he bundle up, but I apparently failed to teach him my double-socks (plus long underwear) trick for keeping the legs and toes warm.  He now knows for next time, because, of course there will be a next time. But, so we didn't stay more than 45 minutes?  Mason gave up to go warm his toes before me, but it was a school night, so I didn't stay much longer after he bailed for the car.

But we were there long enough to appear on Channel 5's news.  I'm right behind the guy being interviewed near the end of this clip, Josh, (you can only see my sign), and you can see Mason's red-coated arm waving a sign.  The organizer sent us a link to it:  http://kstp.com/news/net-neutrality-protests-minnesota/4699389/

One woman came with a homemade sign that read: "Al Franken supports Net Neutrality." When she first showed us the sign, a number of people groaned because... uh, talk about a tough sell right now.  (My thoughts on Al are complicated, as I think are a lot of Minnesotan's, so... YEAH.) But, hey, free speech.  And we were all there for the same cause.  

I really don't know if any of this makes any difference, but the protests did do what they were supposed to do: we got attention for the cause. These days, you have to take whatever small victories you can.


lydamorehouse: (??!!)
 Yeah, so, talk about awkward.

There I was, scrolling down Facebook, like you do, reading up on my various friends lives. One of my friends noted that she feels very old to have discovered that a concert she wants to go to is sponsored by the AARP.  I'd been noticing that, too, and--because I have this very nerd-like habit of thinking about my reply two seconds later, I scrolled back to drop my comment, right?

ONLY, I missed.

I ended up typing this lighthearted thing about growing old and having our favorite bands sponsored by the AARP on another friend's comment on the TEXAS SHOOTING.  

O.M.G.

The best part is that I didn't even notice I'd done it until I got this very confused, "Is this related?" note.  Luckily, that friend noticed almost immediately so we had a very civil and apologetic back and forth via PM, because 'Holy Inappropriate, Batman," and she deleted my comment thread with my blessing.  In our PM, she was very sweet at said, "I even Googled AARP + Texas shooting" in case there was some connection I was missing, and I'm like, "Oh my god, no. I'm just an idiot!"  

But, you know, it was a nice counterpoint to my previous rant about people on the Internet. There is, unfortunately, a scenario out there where I did something like that on someone else's feed and they went, pardon the pun, ballistic on me. I mean, it seemed so CLEARLY out of place, but people have a tendency, as I've talked about, to assume the worst in this digital age, so it was, ultimately, a civil (if initially confused) interaction. 

I don't even know what to say about the Texas shooting other than to note what I did on another friend's comment about it, which is that I knew instantly that the shooter was white because of how it was reported. When the incident happened in New York, I heard "terrorist attack" before I heard any of the details.  I didn't hear "Nine run over in bicycle lane in New York," I heard the blanket, "terrorist attack in New York."  Only later did I learn any salient details. I had to follow the headline to find out that the guy was in a van, running people over. 

With Texas, it was the opposite, "25 dead in Texas shooting." That was how this was initially reported. Given the lack of "terrorist" designation, I knew the shooter was white. Though, in the opposite of the New York reporting, I had to go to the papers to confirm my suspicion of the race/country of origin/presumed religion of the shooter.

There's so much wrong with this, America.

Also, how many people have white men with guns killed in the last 90 days?  Hardly anyone even talks about the guy who shot up the Walmart  in Colorado.  I guess it's not newsworthy since he only killed three people?  Jesus wept.

lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
Wednesday and yesterday, I finished painting the window trim of half of our house... well, less than that, really. I was able to do both the second and first floors in the back, because we have a walk-out flat roof back there.  I could only reach the bottom half of the side of the house that faces University Avenue/our neighbors, James and Katherine. Given the forecasted rain and the temperature drop that MAY be it for this year.  I'm hopeful for a few more decent days so that, maybe, I can also do the side that faces Shields. I'm loathe to paint the front if we can't do the top as well, though it looks surprisingly nice on James and Katherine's side.

We're going with a deep, glossy black.  

It kind of classes the place up.   

Today I spent some time weeding out all the jeans that don't fit any more from my closet.  While I was in there, I looked through a bunch of shirts and pulled those out, too. They're all in a pile waiting for Shawn to decide if any of the material is rug worthy or not.

Then, I changed a few kitty litters (a constant job in a house of five cats) and then mopped the kitchen floor.

This is what I do when the world is falling apart.  

The news cycle is killing me, I swear. It's actually really hard to keep from spiraling into despair between the hurricanes, the mass shootings, and now that fuck Sessions announcing that transgender people are no longer covered by anti-discrimination laws.  As I was writing to my Canadian friend today, I just don't understand what's happened to this world. When did it become a viable political stance to say, "Yeah, actually, those people? You can go ahead and screw them over. As Americans. who have a proud history of defending the weak and sheltering the injured. we give literally no shits about THEM"? How is this ever okay? I mean, yes, I KNOW people have always been like this and that America has actually been a land of racism and discrimination of all varieties for a long, long, LONG time, but didn't we used to at least PRETEND we were all equal under the law?

Ugh.

Goddamn it. What else needs cleaning?
lydamorehouse: (yaoi)
I have written here, in the past, about how I have suspected that some of my International Pen Friends, who have sent me "rejection" letters, after a few back-and-forths, might have done so because I chose to come out to them as a lesbian. I have no ACTUAL proof, of course.  No one has ever written to say, "I'm sorry I can't write to you any more; you are a disgusting queer."  Mostly, they say, "Oh, jeez, look at the time. I committed to writing to you, but suddenly I can't because.... uh, BUSY.  HONEST." Yet, these letters (I've gotten two) would IMMEDIATELY follow my telling them that, yeah, actually "Shawn" is a lady, and my wife.

Now, I should be clear, I've had a number of success stories. My pen pal in Netherlands who loves "F.R.I.E.N.D.S." has a lesbian daughter, so coming out to her was a no-brainer. Both of my Australians could care less. Another one of my German pen friends is clearly a LITTLE prickly about it, but my sense is she's kind of prickly about a LOT of things. :-)

But, here's a new piece in the puzzle of "What is up with the conservative streak in pen friends?"  

A couple of entries ago, I explained FBs (Friend Books).  Several days ago a random person in Maryland who found my name on a FB, sent me a pile of them.  Most of them were half-way full and this Maryland correspondent had included her name in all of them, like you do.  However.  One of them was from that someone I shall call "Cass," who started one for herself.  She had a long entry on her front cover about the various things she was interested in and things she'd be willing to swap, all very typical stuff.  Then she adds, "I am bi, open-minded pen pals only, please." 

No one had added their name.

Not one soul.

Not even the person who sent it to me, who had put her name in literally every other FB.

Despite a plea from Cass that the FB be "passed quickly." 

I know I live in the era of Trump, when people boldly and proudly wear their bigotry on their sleeves. Yet, pen palling, by its nature, seemed to me to be the sort of hobby that would naturally attract people who were interested in other people. It's a hobby that requires you to talk to strangers. The entire POINT of pen friends is to reach out, sometimes across international borders, with a hand out in friendship.  

Of course I wrote to Cass. I sent her a picture of my family, a short introductory note that suggested that we could be pals, and sent her a pile of FBs to "swap," hoping that somewhere in all of them, she would find someone else who would write back.  I added my name to the FB that she started and sent it on to a friend who I know is open-minded, even though she isn't part of the pen palling community.  

But, I don't entirely understand it.  I mean, yes, pen palling is an old-fashioned kind of hobby. I guess maybe that 'old-fashionedness' lends itself to certain stereotype of a stay-at-home mom, who is lonely... but I still don't see how that lends itself to "eew, gay!" Also what are these people worried about? That we're going to write long letters detailing our sex lives?  No, I'm just as boring a pen pal as anyone else. I talk about my failed garden projects and my cats.  Do you suppose other pen pals are worried about being hit on?  Even though I explain I am MARRIED with kids.

It's weird and baffling, and it makes me sad.
lydamorehouse: (shield)
Let's see. What's been going on with me?

Last night Mason and I went to a vigil for Charlottesville at Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun,) over in Minneapolis.  Did we end racism by gathering. listening to a few speakers, lighting candles, and singing a few songs?  No, of course not.  But I needed to get out of the house and be with likeminded people, and that helped. The Minneapolis weather witches kept us dry, providing a break in the drizzle. Once we were safely home, the sky opened up and all the rain came down. It was a howler, as they say.

It's been very rainy here and that has done very little to improve my mood.  It's supposed to rain all week. It's also a busy work week for me, I work Tuesday night and Thursday afternoon (and maybe Saturday, too. I'll have to check the calendar.) 

So, I dunno, just sort of blah. You?
lydamorehouse: (shield)
 Today, democracy looks like a mad scientist (photo credit to Curtis Johnson, Stand Up Minnesota.)



My own sign was less clever, but I did manage to make one before I left for the March for Science (Saint Paul, Minnesota):

400

This march was smaller than the Women's March, but there was still a HUGE turn out.  I can't believe the reports that are only counting us at 10,000. I would easily have said 50 or 60 thousand.  I went with Mason and his friend Rosemary and her mom (and a friend of her mom's).  We were able to get fairly close to the Cathedral to be dropped off.  We could even have found parking, but the plan was for a drop-off. It may be that with the nice weather, a lot more people were finding non-car ways of getting to the march.  I know that my friend Naomi biked, and she reported that she could hardly find a spot to lock her bike.  Given that this march took place on Earth Day, I wouldn't be surprised if a large number of people biked in (there was still snow on the ground for the Women's March.)

The signs were all amazing. So many math puns. 

As I remarked to Rosemary's mom, it was impressive how "on theme" everyone was.  I mean, there were a couple of re-treads. I saw at least one: "Things are so bad, the Introverts are here!" and one or two on the overarching theme of Trump Sucks, which could have been recycled from the Women's March.  But, from what I saw, science really was the main theme. The T-Rexes were there. Someone (people, probably,) had a giant wholly mammoth puppet.  Lab coats seemed to be a bigger theme than the knitted "brain" hats (which were meant to the be science version of the pussy hats.)    

The sun was bright.  It was actually kind of hot, despite the typical Spring-like weather.  Me and the kids gave up early (the acoustics for the speakers were still really very bad) and we hopped on the light rail and went to Ichiddo Ramen for some sustenance.  Then we light railed it the rest of the way home.  

It was a good march, I'd say.  Am I fired up to keep fighting?  I hope so.  I hope everyone there is still making all the calls and sending the postcards.  We must continue to resist!

Via la revolution!

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