Dash's Journal of Flexible Boundaries, Xenophilia, and Other Transformations

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11th May 2015

9:56pm: Bus Fire
I was behind this bus as it was being towed down Rt. 128 to Rt. 9. And I was like holy crap, that bus EXPLODED. I hope no one was hurt! (...And I wonder if I'll see this on the news when I get home!)

A police cruiser was driving slowly behind the bus, for safety. The door of the bus was hanging open. At the exit to Rt. 9, they stopped on the ramp, and the driver got out and shut the door. Then they got onto Rt. 9 and I was able to (slowly, carefully) pass. I recognized the towing company (they're based near my house). They took the turn off to the towing company and I drove off to my next student's house.

So, a bus caught fire. Good news: No one was hurt.
Current Mood: yikes!

14th March 2015

9:26pm: Happy Pi Day!
3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679...
Current Mood: pi

25th December 2014

8:17am: Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!

And may those of you who are having challenging times with your families right now (many folks I know, sadly) have as peaceful a holiday as possible.
Current Mood: tired

20th December 2014

3:13am: Is There A Word For This?
What is is called when two completely different cultures wind up developing a very similar practice, and for similar reasons, even though the respective histories are wildly different? (For example, two entirely unrelated religions with no historical overlap developing a similar practice?)

Is there a "convergent evolution" model for anthropology/sociology?
Current Mood: curious
3:00am: My Arisia Schedule (2015)
I will be arriving at Arisia on Thursday afternoon, pre-con, and leaving Wednesday morning (well past con, giving me time to go to Dead Dog on Monday night, and then wind down and mentally unpack on Tuesday).

I do not know yet all the panels I will be attending, nor when my office hours will be, so this schedule isn't final. There will also be parties, which also aren't listed here! I do, however, know the panels I will be on.

Friday, 7:00 PM: Psi, SF, and Storytelling (moderator)

"Since the days of John W. Campbell at Astounding, psi has been a staple in SF, though public discussion of the subject, by those with these experiences in real life, has been limited. Why do so many real life psi people find irresistible even problematic SFnal narratives? As children or adults, how do we identify with these depictions of people "like us," for better or worse? What do we gain? What do we lose? And what from these flawed but enticing narratives do we embrace, reject, or reclaim?"

Friday, 8:30 PM: Transgender Fen: The Next Generation

"Let's discuss the experiences and needs of the younger transgender fen community (including non-binary folk). What concerns and messages do trans* youth and young adults have to share with the larger community?"

Saturday, 4:00 PM: Transgender Fen

"Sci-Fi and Fantasy can be very progressive in its treatment of gender and gender identity, but how does this translate to the real world experience of the trans* fan? What does the community get right when it comes to accepting transgender individuals into fandom and what areas need improvement? And when is Sci-Fi and Fantasy not as progressive as it thinks it is?"

Sunday, 7:00 PM: Asexuality 101 (moderator)

"We're all familiar by now with the sexual orientations homosexual, heterosexual, and bi/pansexual. Much less discussed are asexuals, people who do not experience sexual attraction (but who may experience romantic attraction). We'll discuss what asexuality is and is not, the umbrella of asexual identities, and talk about some common challenges asexual people face and why visibility matters."

Sunday, 8:30 PM: Diversity and Inclusion

"Arisia is a diverse community, and with that comes multiple voices and potentially divergent perspective and ideas. How do we discuss multiple perspectives and points of view—some of which may be mutually exclusive or hard to hear—and make sure everyone gets heard without resorting to the kinds of name-calling and divisiveness that often marks such discussions?"
Current Mood: accomplished

13th December 2014

3:12am: This s Amazing. Also They Sell T-Shirts.
Minority Monsters.
Current Mood: impressed

22nd November 2014

12:37am: Weird Intersex News On NBC
Hunters shoot intersex deer

Imagine that, intersex animals exist, too!

Polish town officials decide that Winnie the Pooh is intersex, or castrated, or something

Except not like that.

I dunno, NBC. I just don't know.

And then there was this story in the Washington Post about Michael Phelps' girlfriend.

I'm not understanding something here. Why has she locked her cell phone in a safe deposit box in order to prove to someone (or the public) that they were dating? How is having dated him or not linked to her coming out as intersex? And why is she coming out to the media about being intersex, if she thinks that doing so will cause him to terminate their relationship? (She doesn't seem to be an activist, and says she hasn't come out to friends and parters in the past, and now she comes out in the Washington Post, before she's told her bf?) Yes, intersex people exist. How is "person we've never heard of comes out as intersex" a news story?

Wait, why is "famous person may have dated an intersex person" a news story EITHER?

I am so confused.
Current Mood: what.

4th November 2014

9:58pm: MA Governor's Race And Transgender Rights
The Rainbow Times article here -- Baker prefers the current law, which excludes protections for transgender people in public accommodations.

MTPC's article from 2013 on what equal accommodations means and why it matters

The Daily Kos on Baker's runningmate and her anti-LGBT history

Just putting this out there so you all know.
Current Mood: accomplished
1:28am: Write 50,000 Words Of Fiction In The Month Of November
Which in my case makes November no different from every other month of the year. O.O

I don't always make quite that word count (in just fiction), but I make up for it in time spent revising and reworking drafts and chapters, and making my writing polished, or scrapping things and rewriting them. /shrug/
Current Mood: amused

30th October 2014

6:32am: HELP ME FIND THIS SONG!
It came out in the summer of 2011 or 2012 (or at least, a month it was warm out). I checked the top 100 lists for all these months and can't find it!

It's sung by a teenage boy, and sounds REALLY like the old Backstreet Boys or N'Sync sound (I thought it was by them at first, or produced by the same people). The kid was a one-hit wonder, though, so now that I've forgotten his name, I can't find the song! The lyrics are the typical "boy likes that one special girl" fare. The guy who produced the song has produced a lot of other hits (I recall looking the song up on Wikipedia to see if the producer did BSB or N'Sync).

Also, I'm pretty sure the kid was blond.

Help!
Current Mood: curious

11th October 2014

6:34am: How To Type An Email In Hebrew (Russian, etc.)?
I found this site, and at first it worked well, but then it started acting really buggy, in many different ways. I had to spend as much time fixing the errors it inserted into the message (both formatting and the letters themselves) as I spent composing the message itself.

When I went to copy the text into an email, all sorts of other formatting problems happened! I think I spent a half hour on the email and a half hour trying to fix the bugs that the websites were inserting into the message. Obviously this is not workable.

(And when it finally looked good on the screen, and I sent the message, more formatting errors appeared in the message that was actually sent.)

Writing with the English alphabet would be much faster, but I would like to have the option of actually using other alphabets!

I cannot seem to get Microsoft Word to behave, either.

Help?
Current Mood: curious

2nd October 2014

12:32am: TESOL/TEFL
What is the best TESOL/TEFL certification course in Boston?
Current Mood: curious

13th September 2014

10:34pm: This Is Not Truth In Advertising
I am disappointed to find that the lychee juice I purchased is actually mostly pear juice, with at most a hint of lychee flavor. Maybe. Unless I am imagining it because I want to believe I can taste it.

The picture of the carton is of large lychees -- no pears. It wasn't advertised as pear AND lychee juice (except in the fine print where it says "100% fruit juice blend"), it was advertised as lychee juice. And yet the first ingredient is pear juice.

It is good as pear juice, or pear/lychee cocktail, but it is not "lychee juice"!
Current Mood: disappointed

12th September 2014

2:00am: Interview!
My interview with Jim Harrington is now live on his blog (I know, I am a bit late in announcing this, sorry!). He is doing a project, asking editors of speculative fiction magazines six questions about what they look for in submissions, and what, to them, constitutes "good writing" (along with other questions).

Thank you Jim for allowing me to participate in your project!
Current Mood: accomplished

5th September 2014

4:58am: Trolls
Is there a way to flag a YouTube comment as abusive? Because, even with the cesspool that YouTube comments are, there's someone who really and truly needs to be flagged.

The sad thing is, this person posted their abusive rants two months ago -- so everyone who saw it since then (now including me, sadly) has also been struck by this abuse.
Current Mood: angry

27th August 2014

6:09pm: OK, Now This Was Strange
I just had "conversation" with a computer telemarketer.

Someone called from "Life Giving Moments" and asked to speak with my father (giving his first name).

"He's not here at the moment, can I take a message?"

"That's OK, we were actually calling for either one of you." ((??!!))

"No no no, I'm not his wife. I'm not his wife. What is your company?" I repeat this. "Who are you? What is your company?"

"That's OK, I can try again later."

Click.

I knew this was no human. So I Googled them.

I came up with this.

Ha!

"I see what you did there."

Also, there's this site on them.
Current Mood: what the heck
12:54am: Bees
Today I went for a long walk with a friend. We passed some very fragrant flowers, so I stopped to sniff and look at them. And I saw some bees diligently going about their pollinating business, as bees do.

But upon closer inspection, I saw many more bees, clinging to the flowers, unmoving. I lightly shook the branches, and the bees did not stir. If these bees were dead, then I'd say there were perhaps ten dead bees for three or four live ones.
Current Mood: observant

18th August 2014

4:48am: Guess What My City Plans To Do?
Convert all 8,406 streetlights in the city to the new LED kind, by the end of next month.

The bulbs last twenty years.

It's not like I could have protested against this, either, since there was no way I could have known they would make me sick until the city started installing them!

Cue panic.

(I have already drafted and sent a letter to the Department of Public Works, and plan to hand-deliver another copy of it in person today or tomorrow.)
Current Mood: scared

17th August 2014

5:18am: Avoiding Streetlights
Two days avoiding them (one day going out and taking other routes, one day not going out) -- and no migraines. Documenting this in case someone says, "yeah, but how to do you know the streetlights are causing them?"

It's also odd that I have no problem with the bright white fluorescent lights in the parking lot of the other supermarket, or the ones on the access road near the supermarket. Just the new ones they've installed by my house.

I currently have other roads I can take to and from my house, other than the one with those streetlights. It might take longer to drive those routes, but I can do it. I can also avoid the third supermarket, and send my dad to that one for the few items that can only be purchased there. I can shop elsewhere.

But what if they put them all across town? "I'm sorry I have to leave the party so early. I must get home by sundown, or I will turn into a pumpkin."
Current Mood: frustrated

14th August 2014

9:10pm: Help Internet, Please?
The city installed some new, bright white (possibly LED) street lamps on the street next to mine. I noticed this last night (so it must have been done yesterday). Driving down that street instantly triggered a very painful migraine headache, with nausea, light sensitivity, etc. (even though I immediately flipped down the sun shield, because OUCH). I had left the house during daylight hours, so I only saw the new lights on the way home. I took painkillers, and the symptoms subsided.

Today, I took a different route. But they've also been installed by the supermarket in another part of the city! So I got to the market, and the migraine symptoms began. I bought what I needed, but as I spent more time in the market, the symptoms got worse. I drove home at 20 mph because I needed to shield my eyes against those lights, and once I got back to "normal" lighting, every single light hurt my eyes so much. Again, I came home to intense pain, nausea, etc.

I absolutely have to get myself down to City Hall ASAP and let them know what is happening. But I also don't expect them to change the bulbs because of me. What am I to do?! I work nights. I have to go out at night. I cannot wear sunglasses while driving at night; that is not safe. Even if someone else drives me around (not feasible anyway), I will still have to keep my eyes shut, because even one second of exposure to these things triggers a migraine.

I have never heard of such a thing!

Help??!!
Current Mood: in pain

3rd August 2014

6:08am: More Puppy!
I played with a golden retriever puppy! (He thought my shoes were chew toys. No, they are not.)

This is a puppy: "Can I bite it? Can I bite it? Can I bite it? Chase it! Chase it! Chase it! Can I bite it? Can I can I can I can I?"

I will visit again when he is more trained, or his owners will bring him over my house and out on the porch where we can play without possibly triggering the allergies of those in my family who are allergic.
Current Mood: amused

2nd August 2014

2:58am: Wildlife
Yesterday (two days ago by the clock) I saw two deer across from my house! A mom and a spotted baby. :-) They were standing by the (18th century) red barn across the street.

When I got out of my car, a woman out for a walk told me "there's a deer across the street!" and she and I talked for a bit, before I went to see the deer (two, actually). She said she always looks for them but is never out at the right time of day, and always misses them. Though recently she saw one run across the street.

The deer usually stay away from people, but these let me stand there and watch them for a while before running off.

My great-aunt and her son both saw (separately) the same family of wild turkeys walking around, too (a little further from my house, near the border with the next town). Two adults and four little chicks.

And the neighborhood is overrun with bunnies. I saw two just yesterday. It's hard to drive around without seeing at least one bunny. They used to be pretty rare in our neighborhood but they're bunnies -- now we have lots of them.
Current Mood: yay wildlife!

28th July 2014

3:14am: Rising Anti-Semitic Violence In Europe
The Telegraph in the UK covers some of the recent events here.
Current Mood: defiant

27th July 2014

11:31pm: More Puppies!
And here's a pile of Golden Retriever puppies.

Huge pic of pile of puppiesCollapse )
Current Mood: more puppies!
11:22pm: Dear World
Have a puppy. We all need a puppy.



(I don't have a pic yet of my cousin's new puppy, so here's a different puppy instead!)
Current Mood: puppy!
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