Daily Happiness

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:12 pm
torachan: nepeta from homestuck (nepeta)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Busy day at work. My first day taking over the snack department from my coworker who quit (his last day was yesterday), so there's some extra work involved there. With my old departments I was familiar with the products and could make a good guess of what I needed to order for sales and stuff, but this department has a lot of sale items, a lot of sale displays, plus I don't have any idea of how much I need to order, so I have to look at past sales and that can be time consuming. A lot of the same items go on sale all the time, though, so once I get it down it will be easier.

2. We took a little bike ride this morning. Irene hasn't been out on her bike much in a few months, so it was nice to get out again. (I ride mine every day of course, but it was nice to take a ride together!)

3. She got a call from work today asking if she would rather be a cashier than work in the deli, and she said yes. She does like working with food, so that aspect of the deli would be good, but she was worried about dropping hot food or something because she has dizzy spells and sometimes her knee or ankle suddenly gives out and she loses her balance. Standing at a register will be better in that regard. (Of couse a job where she wasn't on her feet all day would be best, but maybe someday!) The only downside is that the reason they asked her is because it's for an opening shift and they want someone older and more responsible and all the people they've had applying recently have been kids. The store used to open like at six or six-thirty, but now they open at five. D: So that will be kind of a lifestyle adjustment. On the other hand, my manager has asked me if I would be willing to open some days and while our store doesn't open to customers until nine, someone needs to be there at six-thirty to let the janitor in, so if Irene is going to be regularly going to work at five, I might as well go in early, too.

It's my birthday!

Oct. 26th, 2014 12:11 am
sailorptah: Super Sailor Moon (sailor moon)
[personal profile] sailorptah
Classic anthem:

If you feel like doing something to celebrate, and you haven't already checked out But I'm A Cat Person, go check out But I'm A Cat Person. And if you're already reading, this occasion would be a great reason to plug it to other people. Tell your friends! Tell your followers! Tell the people next to you at the bus stop! Tell anyone who might be interested in adventure-comedy about queer geeks and their soulbonds with insecure shapeshifters.

If you like my art, now would be a cool time to commission me. Chibis are $5 each, and you can get a fullbody figure for as low as $20. I keep meaning to make a more graphics-heavy post advertising this -- but in the meantime, don't hesitate to comment, email me, PM me, etc. to work out the details.

Finally, if you don't want a commission but still feel like throwing a few bucks my way, you can send it via PayPal to sailorptah (at) yahoo (dot) com. I am, inexplicably, still not a millionaire from making webcomics, so every dollar helps.

Thank you for reading, and help yourself to some virtual cake on your way out:

Rather disappointing meal

Oct. 25th, 2014 05:39 pm
oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

We thought we would go to one really upmarket eatery in Munich, and even having eliminated the ones that even by London standards were horrendously pricey, it still turned out to be Quite Expensive, especially given that the food was really Not All That.

It did do a lot of the fine dining ritual.

However, I didn't feel that winter vegetable salad, even with wee baby veggies, had anything much to say to the artichoke bottom in my starter.

I did feel that if you make a big deal about serving the salt-baked sea bass two different ways, they should be a bit more distinguishable, even contrasty, than than they were. (Plus, grouch, I think if you say, for 2, eurosxx, one does not anticipate that that is per person rather than for the dish.)

Were I to be feeling kind I might say they were deploying an extremely subtle palette of flavour. Or I might just say it was all rather on the bland side.

The bread was very good but I thought it rather odd to set butter-knives but then just supply a selection of olive oils and fancy salts for dipping.

In supposedly ruinously expensive London I have spent less for better nosh.

Daily Happiness

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:37 pm
torachan: brandon flowers of the killers with the text "some beautiful boy to save you" (some beautiful boy to save you)
[personal profile] torachan
1. My work schedule is changing and I now have Mondays and Thursdays off instead of Sundays and Wednesdays. I'm really glad I was still (at least for now) able to keep the week divided pretty evenly (as evenly as you can get with a seven-day week), and although this means my next day off is pushed back a day, at least I'm working afternoons on Sundays so I can sleep in.

2. I can also sleep in tomorrow! Which I may need, considering I drank a lot of soda today. (I'm really tired right now, but that doesn't mean I'll actually be able to get to sleep, though I'm going to try.)

3. Today was my coworker's last day, so there was pizza at work. It's going to be weird without him there, though, as he's been working there since the store opened, same as me (and now we're down to only five people including me who have been there since the store opened).

4. We finished up watching Hataraku Maou-sama tonight, which made me want to get back to reading the books (I only read the first one before getting distracted by other stuff) and when I went to see how many there were now and saw that it was up to volume twelve, I was able to find the ones I was missing quite easily! (I still don't have volume twelve itself, but it was only released last month. I'm sure I'll be able to find it by the time I actually want to read it.)

5. Not only did I have pizza for lunch at work, but we got pizza for dinner, too. :D

Today in "but, what, why" news

Oct. 25th, 2014 12:12 am
sailorptah: Space (Default)
[personal profile] sailorptah
When The Onion produced an article headlined "Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away," I thought "wow, that's so true"...in the sense of "wow, that is a piece of grim satire, but it sure does highlight essential truths about global racial dynamics."

Turns out it's "so true" in the sense that we've had an Ebola vaccine that tested as 100% effective in nonhuman primates since 2005.

And if they had promptly moved on to human trials, "researchers said...a product could potentially be ready for licensing by 2010 or 2011."

Gidget goes Bavarian?

Oct. 24th, 2014 05:13 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Much of today has been about (mostly) C19th-early C20th German art - Neue Pinokoteck, the Schack Collection, the Stuck House.

On an entirely different note, during our perambulations we crossed a bridge over a waterway which was (not sure of reason) producing a tract of wave-type manifestations, and people were surfing on it - at least, one guy in a wetsuit was shooting the curl until the eventual wipeout, and a young woman similarly clad was standing on the edge with her surfboard.

On terrorism

Oct. 24th, 2014 05:07 am
jae: (Default)
[personal profile] jae
The word 'terrorism' has a very specific meaning, and that meaning is about the intent of the perpetrator(s) of an act. Is the intent behind an act to cause widespread fear in the general public and lead to chaos? Terrorism. Is the intent behind an act to harm a particular individual at a particular moment? Horrible, but not terrorism.

The fact that a perpetrator in the shootings at Parliament Hill in Ottawa had converted to Islam doesn't inherently make him a terrorist. Neither does the fact that you can point to lots of people on Twitter and say "look how scared they were!" (by that measure, lots of Fox News television journalists would be perpetrating acts of terrorism whenever they talk about Ebola these days). That's because terrorism is about intent.

The fact that he was an addict and possibly mentally ill doesn't make him not a terrorist, either, at least not inherently, and neither does the fact that he wasn't part of an organized group. The fact that he was Canadian-born certainly doesn't make him not a terrorist. That's because terrorism IS ABOUT INTENT, not religious affiliation, not birthplace, not mental status.

How do you show intent? Well, the way we tend to do that in this day and age is for a group that has already talked about its intent to take responsibility for the acts. But an individual could also show terrorist intent by having a manifesto stashed away somewhere (they didn't use the word at the time, but the Unabomber? totally a terrorist).

In the case of the Parliament Hill shootings, we know that the perpetrator attended a mosque in suburban Vancouver, where they were wary of him because of his erratic behaviour, but tried to help him anyway. We know he had a history of drug addiction and had spent some time homeless. We know he had perpetrated earlier crimes in an attempt to get himself locked up. We know that he was not close to his family, and didn't seem to have any friends. We know that the people who knew him at his mosque didn't think he had become "radicalized."

What we don't know (yet?) is why he shot a soldier at the War Memorial the other day and then went on shooting in various other Parliament Hill buildings. Maybe he was a terrorist, maybe he wasn't. I'm leaning toward "wasn't," myself, but I simply don't know yet--and you don't either. And in the absence of that knowledge, tossing around words like 'terrorism' is both potentially quite incorrect and an action that has the potential to cause a lot of damage.

31 Days of Horror: “Audrey Rose”

Oct. 24th, 2014 01:44 am
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (me)
[personal profile] brigid

Mirrored from Words, words, words, art..

“Audrey Rose” is a movie about white people discovering Hinduism.

There are good things to say about “Audrey Rose.” Anthony Hopkins is outstanding in the film as bereaved father slash stalker, and child actress Susan Swift was simply phenomenal. Additionally, unlike a lot of modern films, background New York is filled with People of Color: Black cops, a Black bailiff, a Jewish lawyer who talks about Shabbas and Dybbuks, a restaurant filled with patrons including a Black woman and a Sikh family, a mixed race jury, Indian expert witnesses. Most modern movies are notoriously, unrealistically white.

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t have much else redeeming it, and also suffers badly under Indian-specific Orientalism.

The plot of the movie is that young Ivy Templeton regularly has night terrors right around her birthday. They get worse the older she gets. Meanwhile, around her 11th birthday, a creeper dude (Hopkins) has been lurking around outside her school, following her and her mom home, trailing her dad en route to work, slipping gifts for her into her dad’s grocery bag, etc. The tension ramps up and then takes a frankly bizarre and almost preachy turn for pro-reincarnation… from a very Western European/Monotheistic point of view.

Stalker Elliot Hoover reveals that lost his wife and daughter in a horrific car crash almost 11 years ago, and that night terror afflicted Ivy is his daughter reincarnated, and her soul can’t rest because reasons. Ivy’s mother Janice, who is very ineffectual (sobbing and screaming while her daughter has a night terror, for instance), falls for Hoover’s line of bull very quickly to her husband Bill’s disgust. The movie seesaws for a while between “Is Hoover just a creepy stalker” and “no this is for real come on” and comes down too heavily pro-reincarnation. It’s very much a Movie With A Message (reincarnation is totally cool and every single person in India has no fear of death and never grieves for the dead because they all, every single one of them, believe in reincarnation and everything’s totally peaceful and cool if filled with violence and starvation they’re just, you know, so SPIRITUAL) that includes a freaking court trial to determine whether or not Ivy is Hoover’s reincarnated daughter.

They decide to settle things with a dose of hypnosis/age regression which people keep stressing out about how OMG DANGEROUS!!!!!!!!! it is. Ivy dies from it, for ~reasons~ and the movie closes with Janice penning a thank you letter to Hoover where she talks about both reincarnation and heaven. The cosmology is sloppy.

I wanted to like this movie a lot, and would have enjoyed it more if there’d been more of a question over whether or not reincarnation existed/Ivy was Audrey Rose reincarnated. Also if there’d been less cultural appropriation of reincarnation/Hinduism. Anthony Hopkins is absolutely incredible, though, so if you’re a big fan watch it just for him.

This movie gets 2 out of 5 stars.

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Daily Happiness

Oct. 23rd, 2014 11:32 pm
torachan: devil boy from sinfest with his arms thrust up victoriously (yatta)
[personal profile] torachan
We stopped in the cheesecake shop this evening and I got a slice of green tea guava ube cheesecake. *_* It was so good! Green tea cheesecake with chunks of ube in it and a guava glaze on top. It's over $6 for one slice, so it's not somewhere we go often, but I definitely want to try and get that again at some point.

They had a lot of other stuff that sounded really good, too. I wish I could try more of them out! (But right now if I were going to splurge for another piece, I would definitely get more of this than try something else new...)
silveradept: The logo for the Dragon Illuminati from Ozy and Millie, modified to add a second horn on the dragon. (Dragon Bomb)
[personal profile] silveradept
[personal profile] plures linked us to a piece on "hateability", or the invisible attribute applied to certain groups that make them acceptable targets for violence, harassment, and trolling, by [personal profile] amorpha in 2011. Now I have a single word what used to take the entire Geek Social Hierarchy to try and hint at, and for that, I am immensely thankful.

The applicability of the word and concept are immediate and far-reaching. For example, in current Republican and conservative politics, women and minorities have much more hateability than white men, and poor people are also more hateable, even if they are white, perhaps especially if they are white. Also, though, intelligent people are more hateable, because people have successfully been sold on the idea that people who are smarter than you believe they are better than you - by people who are smarter than they are and do believe their intelligence, wealth, and privilege make them better.

The piece, however, mentions plural bodies and the Otherkin as examples of how groups can receive the invisible stigma that marks them as acceptable targets based on models of the world that must categorize everything, and generally do so dualistically into things that are/are possible/are desirable, and those that are not. Things that exist outside the mental model must be reclassified in such a way that brings them into these mental model - so plurals who choose to live plurally are refused existence as themselves and become not really plural with the accusation of "faking it" or "not really being multiple/dissociative" because they don't meet the definition a hater uses to define the world around them (to mean "one body, one mind, one entity inside"). Anybody outside "cis, straight" as their self-perception and orientation doesn't meet the definition conservative Abrahamic religions use to define real people. Anyone who doesn't see themselves as human entities, but are yet stuck in human bodies don't meet the definition of real people because body is definition. By their target not meeting the definition of "real", a hater no longer has to feel empathy for the target, and therefore can hate without tripping their own conscience.

One of the things a cursory study of Eastern religious and philosophical thought will turn up is a running theme that things do not sort so easily into categorizations without harm being done. Not This, Not That. Buddhism seeks to separate a person from being caught in the illusion of This And That by ceasing the operations of a mind that insists it must categorize and distinguish, least reality itself come undone. To which the Buddhists point out that the reality the mind insists is there is also an illusion, crafted by that same mind that must distinguish. Quiet and still the mind, and all the illusions will fall away, leading to the enlightenment where one no longer insists on This or That.

The Daoists are a little less dour about it, but they also point out that from the cosmic whole came two, and from them, innumerable things, all of which are still part of the cosmic whole, and which contain their opposite inside them, nebulously, at all times, so every This has a That already in it, and so trying to exclude That from This is a pointless exercise.

In other beliefs and traditions that are nominally invested in the saving of as many souls as possible for their deity, there's at least a wave at the idea that everyone should be at least given the option to join the committee of the select. Yet here we have people being jerks and assholes to other people they have never met, based entirely on whether or not those other people fit an arbitrary definition of normality. Its not like someone can choose whether or not to climb Mount Normal or not. And for many, to do so would do great violence to their selves and leave them as much less than what they are.

Yet haters are still gonna hate. Because in our brains, we have to determine who's in and who's out as a question of surviving and thriving with each other. The brain says to trust those who are like you and distrust those who aren't. And even in this technologically advanced age, we're still struggling with that - discrimination of certain forms is prohibited by law, but those whose job it is to enforce the law end up in a lot of situations that look like they're discriminating in precisely those forbidden forms, and the people who can prove it are conveniently dead. Or sentenced to very long prison stays.

Or their politicians engage in that discrimination by passing laws and initiatives that say "you cannot have these rights, we reserve them for people like us only, who believe as we do." And "you may have these rights, but you cannot access them except at great expense and difficulty, because we believe you should not have them but are barred from taking them away completely."

Or they use their money to purchase the government so that the rules will be rewritten to favor them and give them the power to enforce their own beliefs on their employees, whether legally permitted or not, with the very real threat of leaving and taking the economy with them as their leverage.

Or they use the power of their technology or their fame to intimidate, harass, and silence those voices that talk about the advantages conferred by looking or acting a certain way, by holding a particular position in society, or how media and technology often cater to certain groups without considering the large swath of others who are also interested in this thing and want it to work for them too.

Because they lack the ability to see with new eyes, from perspectives not their own. Because they've been told they should be ruling at the top, but instead they're toiling at the bottom. Because there's so much invested in making sure that they fight with each other instead of fighting together. Because they're sure they aren't one of the players that gets to play, so the remaining option is to be the hater that's gonna hate.

As an example, have I mentioned how much I love Sarah Mensinga's Dragon Girl? It's a great story because it's about a princess asserting herself and getting what she wants, after some false starts where others try to convince her that she should be happy in some other role.

It is also an Otherkin fairy tale. Not because Sarah Mensinga is Otherkin (to the best of my knowledge, anyway), nor because the tale is explicitly so (Vylah's motivation for wings and fire breath is so that she can stay with the family she's always had), but because it is about a girl who wants a body form more like the dragons she was raised by, and because the tale explicitly ends "And so she did. And Vylah was happy." So it's not a story, like the others, where someone is transformed by magic as a curse and wants to go back to their human forms, but one where the princess wants to not be human. And for someone who understands at the core of their being that they are not human, a story about someone who wants and gets what they want in this way can be powerful.

Does that make this tale more hateable? Having pointed out this aspect of the story, does that revise anyone's opinion of it? Should Sarah Mensinga be persecuted by the under-bridge dwellers of the World Wide Web because she created a story with a strong woman? Because it could be read as a tale for a group that is traditionally very hateable? Because princess stories should be cast in the Disney mold, with happy marriage as the end result for princesses always? (Even Frozen does this - Princess Anna is getting married, Queen Elsa isn't.)

If any of those questions sound ridiculous, it's because they are. But not all cases are this explicit. And not all cases will be this detached, either. Because there is an organized anti-you brigade out there somewhere, waiting for the point in time where you identify or ally with their chosen target. You can see them at work on others who are vocal about their membership in hateable groups.

So, if there's an Us and a Them, is it because there's a difference, sometimes strong, but that essentially the two can coexist or the errors can be corrected? Or is it because one group is being excised out entirely and becoming an acceptable target? Down the latter path lies atrocities considered acceptable. That way lies the Bad End for everyone.

Touristic with culture, food etc

Oct. 23rd, 2014 08:52 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Hotel is quite good, but the WiFi is a bit flakey, and why do hotels have, in their breakfast buffet, really tasteless mixed fruit salad, &/or unripe 'fresh' fruit?

It's all pretty much about the Art: why Munich now was pretty much because Bellotto exhibition at the Alte Pinkotek, as partner is v keen on Bellotto, the nephew of Canaletto, and confusingly also sometimes known by that name in Northern Europe where he spent most of his career as a court painter. Will concede that he is rather less the churning out of upmarket versions of picture postcard Venice and includes recognisable human figures going about their business in his landscapes, views of palaces,etc.

Swathes of the Alte Pinkotek are closed for renovation but there are still some v nice C15th-C17th Netherlands, German and Italian works on display.

The cafe there does really amazingly great patisserie though actual lunch selections a bit thin.

Today we did the Residenz of the former Electors/Kings of Bavaria - not the most OTT stuff perhaps which prob remains in Mad King Ludwig II's castles - so not really in the same class as the collections of Augustus the Strong in Dresden - but still Lots of Things, does anyone need quite so many silver dinner services?

Lunch today at the Cafe Bistro Dallmayr - there is also a restaurant but even by London fine dining standards its prices were eye-bleeding. Very good. Also, there is large porcelain parrot.


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