Archive | April 2015

I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached

ClearThere are so many topics I want to write about now, but most of them are so outrageous that trying to figure out how to reasonably discuss them will take too much time from my other writing, so I’m instead going to write about how forgetful I am.

This story requires a little context. I’m not a morning person. At all. I consider myself exceedingly lucky to have worked most of my life in jobs that don’t demand that I be at my desk precisely at 8:00:00 am ready to go. While I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, though, I still have to get to the office within a certain window each day.

My poor husband is not any more of a morning person than I am, but his work requires him to be there earlier than, frankly, I even want to be awake. And I have such a hard time getting up in the morning, that I have a three-level alarm system to get me moving. My husband is usually leaving for work about 15 minutes before the second alarm in my system goes off, so I’m usually still in bed at least half-asleep when he comes in to kiss me good-bye.

Monday morning I stayed in bed until the third alarm went off, so I had almost no time for anything to go wrong in my getting-ready-for-work routine. After I had eaten, packed my lunch, showered, gotten dressed, packed my backpack, I was getting all of my pocket stuff together: phone off charger and into one pocket, watch off charger and on my wrist, keys in another pocket, and wallet–

My wallet was not where it ought to have been. Now this is no cause for panic on its own, because I am one of the most absent-minded people on the planet, and despite decades of trying to teach myself to always put things in consistent places so I can find them, the reality is that I misplace either my keys, eyeglasses, phone, shoes, hat, et cetera nearly every day. So when my wallet wasn’t where it belonged, all that meant is that I needed to check the five other places where it sometimes gets left around the house. That only took a couple minutes, no big deal, usually.

Usually.

My wallet wasn’t in the usual places. So I started looking underneath things, pulling out drawers and packs, poking into the pockets of coats in the closet, pulling pairs of pants out of the hamper and checking their pockets, and so on, and so on, and so on…

Throughout this process, I am getting increasingly angry and frantic. At first I was just muttering under my breath, “Where did I leave it?” Which soon became “Where the f– did I leave it!?” Soon I was no longer just muttering. How could I do this to my self again?

About forty-five minutes later I had turned over every corner of the house, when it finally occurred to me to check the car. As soon as I think of the car, I know exactly where it is. On Sunday, after we’d finished grocery shopping, we took the car to the automatic car wash. Because we had been planning to do that, as I was getting in the car in the grocery store parking lot, I pulled my wallet out of my pocket and set it on the inner console, because wrestling with my pocket to extract the wallet so I can put cash in the little machine at the car wash after I’m belted in is not fun.

I ran out to the car, my mind boiling over with the recollections of the times our car has been broken into, along with all the recent reports (both in the news and from neighbors) of overnight car prowls in our neighborhood.

I got to the car. Relieved to see no broken windows. There, sitting on the console, is not only my wallet, but a very visible wad of the bills the car wash payment machine had given me as change. I unlocked the car, retrieved the wallet and money, locked the car again, and rushed back inside.

I was running quite late by then. Fortunately, I had no morning meetings on Monday, and no one anxiously waiting for me to handle any emergencies when I got in.

Tuesday morning, I tried to get up and moving sooner. I had one meeting before noon, and I was feeling a little worried about something else going wrong.

My worries were not misplaced. I couldn’t find my keys. I tore the house up, again, checking all the usual places. The wallet has only four or five usually misplaced locations; the keys, unfortunately, have about thirty such places. Once I had checked those locations with no luck, I pulled everything out of my backpack and felt around in the bottom of its compartments before I gave up and called my husband to see if he remembered seeing my keys at an unusual spot. He had not.

We haven’t gotten any extra house keys made since the new doors were put in (I just keep forgetting), so I didn’t have any way to lock the deadbolt behind me. My husband told me to just lock the lower lock and get to work.

I hadn’t spent as much time looking, but I had to catch the next bus if I were going to make my meeting. I didn’t run the almost half-mile to the bus stop, but I walked really fast. Which wasn’t entirely easy, because my hasty re-packing of the backpack had left things cattywumpus in there, and I had an uncomfortable lump in the middle of the pack pressing into my back the whole way.

By the time I got to the bus stop, One Bus Away indicated I had about seven minutes until the bus arrived, so I sat on one of the benches and contemplated the pros and cons of trying to straighten out the contents of the backpack. I felt the lump in the center of the back of the pack… and it felt an awful lot like keys.

This backpack has a weird little elastic pocket on the back panel of the main compartment. It is odd shaped and in a spot that’s difficult to get into, so I never use it. Monday afternoon the weather had been very warm, so before leaving the office I had shoved my jacket and my keys on top of everything else in the main compartment before walking home. When I reached home, my husband was already there (as usual), and the door was unlocked, so I hadn’t needed my keys to get into the house. The keys had apparently worked their way into the pocket, not sliding down all the way into it until after I took the pack off when I got home.

I felt like such an idiot.

Wednesday morning, for whatever reason, I woke up, fully awake and ready to get out of bed, about a half hour before the second alarm went up. So I was puttering around the living room and kitchen when Michael needed to leave.

He came downstairs and asked, “Where are your keys?”

I walked over to the coffee table, pointed to my keys, wallet, and hat. “That’s the wrong question,” I explained. “If my luck keeps running badly, today it will be something else entirely. My glasses, or my phone, or—”

“So, where are they?”

As I was gathering my glasses and phone, he started listing other things. “Where’s your jacket? Your iPad? Your headphones? Lunchbag?”

I asked him why he puts up with me. He just laughed and kissed me good bye.

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It bothers some people that we exist, part 2

...especially if it means make the world a brighter place. (MemeBlender.Com)

…or especially if it means make the world a brighter place. (MemeBlender.Com)

Being reminded that queer people exist at all drives some people to crazy lengths. For instance, as noted at the Crime and the Forces of Evil blog, the Sad Puppies are angry that books containing queer characters aren’t clearly marked. For those not in the know, the Sad Puppies (and an allied group, the Rabid Puppies) are a bunch of arch-conservative sci fi writers and fans who organized a bloc-voting scheme to game the selection process for the Hugo Awards and put a specific slate of anti-progressive authors, editors, and fans in every major category. Their rhetoric leading up to their success was full of blatant misogynist and homophobic language (and threats), and only slightly-less-blatant racist language. It’s worth noting that they’ve been trying this for a few years without success. It appears that their success this year is primarily due to the fact that they managed to enlist a bunch of GamerGate trolls into the process… Read More…

Marriage legal for everyone, everywhere

11175054_3836322863643_6839804740260912550_nThe Supreme Court is hearing arguments today on four cases involving Marriage Equality. Over the last year, the Court has declined to hear appeals of cases where a federal court struck down a ban on same-sex marriage. These four cases are ones in which the lower courts have struck down some aspect of a state ban, and an appellate court has stayed or overruled the lower court ruling. It’s not a done deal by any means, but it seems clear that a majority of the court is at least willing to let marriage equality become the law of the land. My own worry is not that the court won’t rule that gays have a right to marry, but rather that the less enthusiastic justices will force a very narrow ruling that would ultimately allow people to get fired from their jobs if they marry, businesses to refuse to sell to gay people, and so on.

Anyway, they will hear arguments today, but the ruling is not likely to be announced until nearly the end of the term, in June. Still, people are rallying in Washington, D.C., and there are local rallies happening around the country today.

But here are two nice videos that sum up our side of things:

Nobody’s Memories – PFLAG Canada:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

It’s Time for the Freedom to Marry:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

How I learned to stop being a jerk and love the wish list

Some years ago (on another blog) I said some extremely stupid (and dickish) things about wish lists. One friend brought the dickish aspect to my attention, and I felt like a complete heel. As well I should have. I didn’t say what I said merely because I was a jerk1. I had reasons for feeling the way I did. But like any emotional baggage, we are seldom aware of just how off-kilter our perception is thrown by carrying itRead More…

Weekend Update: 4/25/2015

Click to embiggen!

Click to embiggen!

There are a few stories I linked to yesterday (or in earlier Friday Links) that have had further developments. There are also a few stories I found after posting Friday Links that I would have included if I had seen them sooner.

First, I posted about the straight high school student who, when seeing that his best friend who happens to be gay was lamenting online about the fact that once again he’s on the planning committee for a dance, but he doesn’t have a date, got together with a couple of friends to make a big banner that said, “You’re hella gay, and I’m hella Str8, but you’re like my brother, so be my D8.” Here are some more pictures. I like this because, well, just think about how far things have come. It’s been pretty amazing that so many kids are out as queer in high schools, now. And it’s cool that most of them can go to prom without hassle from fellow students, or administrators threatening to expel them (only most, there were a few of the other kind in the news earlier in the month, alas). And it’s cool that openly lesbian, gay, and trans students have been elected Prom Kings and Queens.

Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen.

But when a straight guy can do this, and nobody bats an eye (look at the grins on the faces of two of the kids taking pics/vids of Anthony and Jacob), where the straight guy doesn’t worry about what people will think… well, it’s even more amazing. And in a really good way.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a virulent anti-gay group that has been losing, and losing, and losing and refusing to admit it, is hosting their third annual March For Marriage in Washington D.C. today. Two years ago they got 2000 people, but claimed to get 15,000 (and they photoshopped a picture of the crowd from President Obama’s inauguration into one of their pictures, posted it to the web, and tried to claim it was their rally). Last year they got far less than a thousand—and half the crowd were older ladies who spoke no English who were tricked into taking “a bus ride to see the monuments in Washington DC!” by an anti-gay New York state legislator; I’m not kidding, the ladies stood around confused until all the speeches the didn’t understand were over, then they didn’t march, the left to go look at monuments on their own! Even the most conservative news sites admitted the crowd was disappointingly small. I haven’t seen numbers, yet, but Jeremy Hooper from Good As You, posted (along with a link to their livestream) “Watch live at 11:30 ET: NOM’s hilariously out of touch (and likely final) #March4Marriage.”

I listened to one of the speakers while I was catching screen caps for the first update and writing part of this post, and it is definitely out of touch. The speaker was repeating their usual claim that activist judges have forces marriage equality on all 37 states that currently have it (completely ignoring four states where the voters approved marriage equality at the polls, and the several states who have approved it at the legislature). He doubled-down on that falsehood a minute later, repeating their lie that no marriage equality measure has been approved at the ballot box and that the vast majority of americans are opposed to “gay marriage.” They’re holding the rally on Saturday this year, instead of a weekday like before. And even more hilariously, instead of Tuesday, when the Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on Marriage Equality. Everyone is assuming that they’re holding it today and not Tuesday because they might get a bigger crowd to show up on their side on a weekend when fewer of their base would have to take a day off work, and because it is pretty certain that the pro-equality side will have huge crowds on Tuesday. 5 Reasons NOM Will Need Much More Than A Prayer At The March For Marriage 2015.

In much, much happier news, Nation Public Radio reports Transgender Teen Wins Case To Wear Makeup In DMV Photo. When will these state officials realize that, if nothing else, it’s a violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection before the law to impose dress codes and so forth based on a person’s gender. In many ways, this isn’t even about the fact that she’s transgender. Insisting that because they believe she’s a guy, she can’t wear makeup for her photo? Anyway, I’ve glad Chase has won, and hope she looks better in her new driver’s license picture than most of us do.

Friday Links (glass bottomed frog edition!)

Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

Costa Rican Amphibian Research Centre

It’s Friday. April is nearly over! Now I’m starting to freak out just a bit about how fast the year is careening by!

Anyway, here is a collection of some of the things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

Glass frog’s organs are visible through its belly.

For more information about other species of glass frogs: Glass Frogs – The See-through Frogs.

The Hidden FM Radio Inside Your Pocket, And Why You Can’t Use It.

Men’s Rights Activist Group Honey Badger Radio Removed From Calgary Expo For False Information, Disruption.

Dan Savage Mocks GOP Presidential Hopefuls For Their ‘Imaginary Hypothetical Gay Friends’.

Mystery of Largest Structure Ever Identified in the Universe –The Eridanus Supervoid and Cold Spot.

Ceres’ Bright Spots Come Back Into View.

Oldest crucible steel weapon in East Europe found by Russian archaeologists.

In 2017, Norway will be first country to shut down FM radio. Analog radio is going away, which is why last week’s story about networks petitioning smart phone makes to turn on the FM chip in more phones is another example of skating to where the puck is…

Chemistry Ph.D. student illustrates her thesis in comic book.

Iron Age Owl Brooch Unearthed in Denmark.

A massive study of 95,000 children finds no link between MMR vaccines and autism spectrum disorders. Still and again!

Neighbors at war over feeding of crows in Portage Bay.

Iceman Already Kinda Sorta Tried to Come Out as Gay in the 1990s.

Scott Walker, forever tarnished: Republican governors have tanked the GOP brand.

Dr. Oz Can’t Afford Me.

Falling meteor may have changed the course of Christianity.

MONTANA FINALLY JOINS 49 OTHER STATES AS GOVERNOR SIGNS ANTI-BULLYING BILL INTO LAW.

10 egregious myths the religious perpetuate about atheists, debunked.

CNN/ORC Poll: Economic optimism hits new peak under Obama.

Finally, a Democrat who calls “bulls**t”: Martin O’Malley drops a profane truth bomb on GOP’s deranged economic policy.

Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Crosses Finish Line.

Hoosier Finds Inspiration, Hope at Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference.

Taking the Homophobia Out of Fantasy.

A young man who survived “ex-gay ministries” taught me what it means to be a Christian. “The campaign against marriage equality sent me fleeing from the church. Here’s what brought me back.”

CDEJG_3VIAALTVgChristian America is an invention: Big business, right-wing politics and the religious lie that still divides us. The idea of “one nation under God” is a modern one — and does not date back to the Founding Fathers

The Tea Party will never understand the Constitution: What the right misses about its favorite document.

New WaPo/ABC News Poll: Support for Same-Sex Marriage at Record High. And opposition to state bans is ALSO had a record high!

Keeping Up With the Hugos.

Janet Porter: Gay Marriage To Blame For Noah’s Flood, Will Usher In End Times.

Why it’s legal to fire someone for being gay in 28 states.

Nevada state Assembly rejects controversial transgender ‘bathroom bill’.

“You are entitled to this”: The real reason Amy Schumer’s rape culture takedown is so perfect.

Portraits Of Lord Byron, In Order Of Lord Byron-ness.

Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch as Attorney General After Long Delay.

Sign Of The Times: Straight High School Student Asks His Gay Best Friend To The Prom.

MR HOLMES – OFFICIAL UK TRAILER [HD] – IAN MCKELLEN:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Kevin Kantor – “People You May Know” (CUPSI 2015 Finals) {When He Stumbled Across His Rapist’s Facebook Profile}:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

In 1966 Lucille Ball filmed a special called “Lucy in London” and Phil Spectre, wrote, produced, and sang a song about it:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

The story of an all-electric, record-shattering ’68 Mustang:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Imperial Stormtrooper Muppets live from Star Wars Celebration VI (mute it as soon as you get there…):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

A most excellent man

We’d gathered at a friend’s place for gaming, and we were reminded not to turn on a particular light switch because the fixture needed replacing. My husband, Michael, pointed at it and said something along the lines of, “Is there a hardware store nearby?”

“We were going to get someone to come in and—” the friend began.

Michael had already pulled a multitool from his pocket and was checking the wires. “Naw, this will take me a couple minutes, tops.”

Michael and the friend walked to a nearby store while the rest of us set up food and reviewed what happened the previous gaming session. When they got back, Michael set to work.

One of the other friends there looked at me and said, “You’re married to MacGuyver!”

Before I could answer, another one of the friends there said, “You’re just now figuring that out?”

Fixing some badly mangled wires and installing a new fixture is not a super complicated task, obviously (though the number different kinds of things my husband can repair, refurbish, or build is a quite impressive). No, the extraordinary thing is how blithely and eagerly he jumps into such tasks, and the fact that he’s always got a number of tools, spare parts, et al handy.

Sometimes I think he physically feels pain when he sees a machine not functioning correctly. He certainly empathizes strongly with people who are struggling with a device that isn’t working properly. I’m constantly finding computers, phones, or other gadgets stashed around the house in various states of repair he’s got in process. When I ask, about half the time he says, “so-and-so needs a better computer/phone/iPod so I’m trying to get them something newer and more reliable.”

When he doesn’t have someone specifically in mind for a device, he says, “I figured if I get it fixed, I’ll start checking around to see if someone could benefit from the upgrade.”

And those are just a few of his more obvious sterling character traits. I’ve written a few times before about what an incredibly sweet, kind, smart, talented, knowledgeable, skilled, patient, and funny person my husband is. And I am hardly the only person who thinks he’s awesome.

I hope you have a happy birthday, Michael. You’ve more than earned it!

Why I hate hay fever #5938, plus 4312 & 3786 & 3113 & 2488 & 2149 & 1364, and don’t forget #23

a911f13ae3885462f794446568e835f9ddc0ba0b4115862e596bb0585ca7484eGo back four weeks. Find every day that I didn’t post anything on the blog. Imagine a post that begins with the phrase, “Why I hate hay fever…”

That’s been my life. More than four weeks, now, every day the pollen count is up in the red (nearly, there were two days it barely dipped into the orange, okay? But only barely).

It saps my energy. It makes it hard to even think. It is so difficult to stay in a good mood. Occasionally I get just the right combination of medicine, rest, and fluids to feel almost human for several hours.

My husband was suggesting spending hundreds of dollars on a positive air flow full face-mask filtration respirator. His thinking is that if I wear that for a few hours every night, my sinuses may clear for at least a few hours and my immune system will get a rest for those hours and it will make the rest of the misery more manageable.

“And you can scare the neighbors!”

So I replied, “You want me in a respirator like Darth Vader, where I’ll be tempted to say to random people,” and I lowered my face, “I find your lack of faith… disturbing!”

He laughed and replied, “Just the facemask and helmet!”

When I summarized this on Twitter, our friend @kehf said that if I get the mask system, the line I should be saying to scare people is, “I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.”

Of course, I know that what I really need to do is clean out the filters on the two air cleaners in the house and otherwise make sure they’re doing their utmost. It’s been a while since they were cleaned. Maybe just getting a few nights in the house with the filters going will have the effect he’s going for with the respirator.

Weekend Update: 4/18/2015

Pastor Manning and his church are at it again with  weird anti-gay messages on their church sign. (Click to embiggen)

Pastor Manning and his church are at it again with weird anti-gay messages on their church sign. (Click to embiggen)

There have been further developments of some of the stories I posted about in yesterday’s Friday Links (Hugos and movies edition), as well as some things I would have included if I had seen them earlier.

Eric Flint delivers Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards. Specifically explaining why any system of awards drifts into a subset of any large set of works. It’s a really good read if just for the information about some of the giants in the field who never won awards.

The Family Research Council is once again calling for weeks of fasting and praying to save America from the evil of homosexuality (they say it’s about other things, but just take a look at the list of prayer topics in the article). As part of this they have been publishing a suggested prayer each day. After they published one earlier this week that seemed to be suggesting that gay people raising children should be forcibly drowned, news sites started publishing stories about the other awful anti-gay things said in all of the published prayers. Suddenly, FRC has decided that the prayers needed “editing” and removed them. Fortunately, someone took screen captures each day as they were published: WHOA: FRC ‘reediting’ all those heinous fasting-for-marriage prayers I’ve been showing you!

It’s not just national anti-gay rights activists who are suddenly deleting things they were saying quite opening just a few weeks ago. The Sad Puppies (a.k.a. the anti-gay, racist, misogynist GamerGate allies who are trying to screw up science fiction awards) are suddenly trying to erase hateful things they posted, sometimes just weeks ago. Fortunately there’s Google Cache, Wayback Machine, and screen captures: since some puppies are deleting things.

As Predicted, Antigay Mechanic Says He’s Received Death Threats, Calls For Support From Fellow Christians.

The National Organization of Marriage’s (NOM) email money begs have started claiming they may have to cancel some of the buses to bring people to D.C. for this year’s anti-gay “march for marriage.” Jeremy Hooper as Good As You thinks that NOM pre-spins its likely low #March4Marriage attendance. Given how they tried to explain away the low turn-out last year, I bet he’s right.

I can’t not share these great stories about parents supporting their kids: Doubts Removed: The Day My Son’s Breasts Were Surgically Taken Off. Which lets me end this update on a positive note!

Friday Links (Hugos and movies edition)

Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. (Yes, Disney bought them, but this is how Disney says to attribute the trademark!)

Star Wars: TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. (Yes, Disney bought them, but this is how Disney says to attribute the trademark!)

It’s Friday. April is flying past quickly, now. Amazing how time just keeps moving forward. My NaNoWriMo word count is not flying by, but then, I’m only counting net words, so whenever I delete stuff as I’m revising, that lowers my count.

Anyway, here is a collection of some of the things that I ran across over the course of the week which struck me as worthy of being shared:

Is Fanfiction Legal? Great summary (the answer is not what most of you think!)

Harvard prof falsified sleep data: Sleep Apnea Not Related to Weight.

4,000-Year-Old Copper Crown Found in India.

World’s oldest stone tools discovered in Kenya.

‘Pull my finger!’ say scientists who solve knuckle-cracking riddle.

The long reign of terror: he fascinating history of the Terror Birds.

Cow Milk Without the Cow Is Coming to Change Food Forever.

‘Love hormone’ turns mothers into moms.

Sasquan Replaces Two Ineligible Nominees on Hugo Ballot.

WHY I WON’T BE A PRESENTER AT THE HUGO AWARDS THIS YEAR.

Hugo Story Withdrawn.

a statement on my hugo nomination.

The Real Problem With That Chart.

Will the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre Ever Stop Lying?

Marco Rubio is an empty suit.

I Will Not Be Held Hostage by This Election: Hillary or No Hillary.

Coffee Shop Gives Anti-LGBT Lawmakers A Taste Of Their Own Medicine With New ‘Ban’.

CNN host wallops Marco Rubio: On marriage equality, ‘you’re the candidate of yesterday’.

Christian Pastor Condemns Colleague for Not Wanting Gay People Put to Death.

FRC’s eighth day of fasting-for-discrimination: Uses passage about forced drowning to condemn gay parents.

FATAL SHOOTING OF GAY NC COLLEGE PRINT SHOP MANAGER UNDER INVESTIGATION AS HATE CRIME.

Michigan Mechanic Won’t Serve The Queers, Time To Crank Up The Old GoFundMe.

Meanwhile, I wrote about The stories I have to tell and Pronoun trouble.

WAS BUGS BUNNY THE FIRST TV DRAG QUEEN? (thanks to @sharpclaw for the link!):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Marriage Equality: Bring Your Family With You (a beautiful ad about the upcoming vote in Ireland):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Mad Max: Fury Road – Legacy Trailer – Official Warner Bros. UK:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

I Really Like You Lip Sync – 23 People In One Van:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

Garbage – The Chemicals feat. Brian Aubert (Official Video):

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

[Official Video] Daft Punk – Pentatonix:

(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)

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