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Xalapa Dos-Dos

Oct. 22nd, 2017 20:40
al_zorra: (Default)
[personal profile] al_zorra
 We have returned from the Veracruz - Cortés expedition -- at the height of un bruto of heat and sun -- to find a beautiful blue and black winged butterfly perched on the mirror above the bathroom sink.  Butterflies of all kinds have been around us all day.  

   . . . . One particular part of yesterday's visit to  El Museo de Antropología de Xalapa have remained with me, recollecting with el V afterward, in my dreams last night, and talking about it with Patricá and her mother today. It has to do with women.

With a single exception that is one of the Colossal Great Heads, there is nothing representing women, the female side of life -- anything to do with them at all, in any of the epochs covered until we get to the last section of the chronology, which is the era of the Azteca Empire and then that of the collision of the Azteca and the Conquistadores at the beginning of the 16th century.

Our young woman guide said, "Wait, when we get there it will be good because this culture admired women."

In fact there was an entire gallery dedicated to female goddesses, and, then, of course, even children, those who died with their mothers during childbirth.  Among them is Tlazolteotl, the goddess of filth / dirt / lust. 



She is the one to whom people come to be cleansed of their crimes and bad deeds.  She is also then, of course, a goddess of the dead, and a translator between the duality of below and above.  I remarked, "Yah, of course, here, just like all over the world, men make a mess, and then expect a woman to clean it up and fix it for them.  Both of the two younger women jumped up and down, clapping and laughing, and going, "O yes, that's right, we're always having to do it."

The two males respectfully did not mansplain or interrupt.  Good guys they are!

When I brought this up with el V later, he responded, "Yah.  This is global by now, women knowing and noticing and its making a difference.  I hope. For s.ome of us men, anyway. I hope."

Today, in the car, to and from Veracruz, both Patricá and her mother, as a matter of course, spoke of women having the rights to be more than they have been allowed to be for so long.  One can see how much / how well! her mother has reared her lovely daughter.  It is so good to witness.

Once again I am struck so hard by the incredible being that a latina or latinx woman is, whether she's Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Mexican or Brasilian.  She's strong, educated, energetic, she gets things done, she is so brave.  She's also feminine in a way that I can never be, naturally and elegantly, and never worries about it either.

I am so fortunate that I am able to keep meeting women like this.  O yah, they sing and dance in a way I envy terribly!

     . . . . One other other thing from the museo comes back to me now.  I had noticed that there are shoe stores of every kind everywhere -- so many of them, and so large.  I saw it in Veracruz today too.  Beautiful shoes, boots, sandals, sneakers -- whatever one could want.  The male guide yesterday pointed out the shoes on the feet of so many of the representations we were viewing. 

Olmec Ball Player circa 1500 B.C.



 He said with pride, "We were making and wearing real shoes -- not moccasins or sandals -- 2000 years ago.  Are the number of shoe stores today connected with this, one wonders? 

I have become a podcast addict

Oct. 22nd, 2017 16:02
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Apart from everybody's favorite (right?) comedy/D&D podcast "The Adventure Zone", I mostly prefer history. 

There are a lot of bad -- and beloved, in some cases -- history podcasts in which the author postures, makes bad jokes, and assumes you don't know much and only want to know a little more.    Two exceptions to this are "The History of the Mongols", which is excellent and clear and takes a fair amount of concentration, and "Revolutions",* which takes an in-depth look to various European revolutions starting with the English Civil War.   I've just gotten to Charles I leaving London for the last time (although he doesn't know it).

If there were ever a more shining counterexample to the Divine Right of Kings than Charles I, it has to be one of the monarchs who was actually insane or intellectually disabled.

* Revolutions' podcaster, Mike Duncan, is known for an earlier history of Rome, which I haven't listened to but hear is excellent.

If you like true crime that is dispassionate rather than overblown, I highly, highly recommend "True Crime Japan".   The podcasters are gaijin living in Japan, and they do an excellent job of explaining Japanese customs and cultural aspects that are relevant to how crimes took place.   These are not crimes that have been rehearsed over and over in English-speaking media -- no Ripper, Bundy, Lizzie Borden -- which makes them all the more engrossing.

All of the above are, of course, available on iTunes and other aggregators; I'm linking to the authors' sites.

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 15:21
lycomingst: (anya wedding)
[personal profile] lycomingst
Netflix movie Telstar: The Joe Meek Story )

Nothing much happened this week because I kept getting up in the morning and going back to bed an hour later to sleep most of the day away. I have no idea why I was so sleepy. I did, however, at one point make the best chicken stock I’ve ever made.

Meme, cause everybody’s doin’ it.

Without looking beneath the cut, pick five fandoms.

The Office (US)
Mad Men
Midsomer Murders

Now, answer the questions…

Read more... )
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • In a NOW Toronto cover feature, Rob Downie profiles 1960s trans R&B Toronto star Jackie Shane as she stages a late comeback.

  • Elio Ianucci at The Globe and Mail profiles Jackie Shane's biography and (continuing!) history in Toronto.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Elisabeth de Mariaffi argues that Gord Downie's spirit is tied deeply to exotic rural Ontario.

  • MacLean's looks at Gord Downie's deep connections to a Kingston personally familiar to me.

  • Patrick Finn writes about Gord Downie's contributions to an ever-evolving Canadian culture.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • CBC takes a look at the different Canadian cities which applied to become Amazon's next headquarters.

  • The National Post reports on the unlikely bid of Sault Sainte Marie for Amazon's HQ2.

  • The New York Times shares an argument that Amazon contributed to spiraling inequality in Seattle.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Cetacean intelligence evolved under the same pressures as primate intelligence, and in the same ways. We are peers. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Raccoons recently tested highly on a controlled test of their ingenuity and intelligence. A York study, of course. National Geographic reports.

Not much cooking

Oct. 22nd, 2017 20:18
oursin: The Accomplisht Ladies' Delight  frontispiece with a red cross through it (No cooking)
[personal profile] oursin

I made a Psomi loaf during the week, and brown grated apple rolls with molasses and mixed spice for Saturday breakfast.

And then last night my innards were in upheaval, a situation that continued for a substantial part of today, and I was not feeling like food or cooking it.

Crime & Detectives Comm

Oct. 22nd, 2017 20:07
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[personal profile] lost_spook posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo

[community profile] mystery_mansion: a comm for all fictional mystery, crime and detective-related fandoms (in whatever medium). News, reviews, discussion, links, promotions, fests, fanworks of all kinds etc. etc.

Sunday foliage report

Oct. 22nd, 2017 14:39
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

More leaves down, more rusty colors. A few asters have resumed blooming, and saw an incongruous patch of daisies in the middle of a lawn. Autumn advances.

Roadkill limited to gray squirrels.

Temperature got up to about 55 F with light wind, so I added the ski top to my bike gear and headed out. Did not die.

May be the last ride of the year, depending on weather. Put me at 1200 miles for the season.

20.73 miles, 1:44:31

Lunar Tunnels

Oct. 22nd, 2017 13:12
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 Tunnels have been confirmed on the Moon.  While these make a promising site for settlement, I would prefer to make sure there are plenty of them before wrecking the first one we've found.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is the last day of the half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics, so if you're still planning to buy anything, now's the time. 

So far I have sold four poems.  Three of those have been posted.  "A Moment of Atonement" hasn't been posted yet.  There are also two poems in a pool, the Iron Horses entries "Come Out of the Darkness" and "Sheltered and True."  Contact [personal profile] ng_moonmoth if you are interested in contributing toward those.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • There are, happily, new breeds of coffee plants being bred to cope with climate change. The Toronto Star reports.

  • High labour and infrastructure costs means that Ethiopia is the only African power likely to challenge China in manufactures. Quartz reports.

  • Wired's Kevin Kelly is perhaps on a limb in suggesting the lifestyle of Mongolian nomads is a viable world model.

  • The flowing waters of icy Mars were icy, as Universe Today reports.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:41
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on the naming of the features of the surface of Ceres.

  • D-Brief notes that small-scale robotic manufacturing is now a thing.

  • The Dragon's Gaze reports on a new study of exoplanets and their stars.

  • The Dragon's Tales has a nice round-up of news on hominin research and primates generally.

  • Hornet Stories notes that there is apparently a debate about women as drag queens. I don't see why they should not, frankly.

  • Joe. My. God links to a Rolling Stone article celebrating Erotica and Sex, by Madonna, on their 25th anniversary.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the way Dollar General caters to a permanent underclass. Like Dollarama in Canada?

  • Language Hat notes that Xibe, related to Manchu, is receiving protection from China.

  • The NYR Daily reports on the mass killings, approaching genocide, in Indonesia in 1965.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel reports on the proofs we have for the current age of the universe.

A few reminders

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:03
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
When people want to restrict free speech to speech they approve of, they ought to remember that they aren't the only ones playing the game. In that contest, the victory goes to the most ruthless. Here are a couple examples I've encountered recently:

A Muslim Canadian student, Masuma Khan, is facing disciplinary action for "harassment" because some people didn't like a Facebook post of hers. She wrote, "white fragility can kiss my ass. Your white tears aren't sacred, this land is." That sort of race-baiting is ugly, but there's no reason a university should take action against a student for writing it. If you think that speech which offends anybody shouldn't be free speech, though, the university's action is perfectly reasonable.

The daughter of the owner of a Massachusetts coffee shop wrote on Facebook that she would never host a "coffee with a cop" event. The owner of the shop denounced her own daughter's comments to the police, but that wasn't good enough for the pro-police-violence crowd, which bombarded the shop with negative reviews (without ever having visited it), harassing phone calls, and threats. The owner ended up closing the shop because she couldn't take it any more. No doubt the people running the campaign are now hugging each other and declaring what a coward she is.

If you think free speech should be restricted to ideas you approve of, what you believe in is authorized speech, not free speech. So do people who don't approve of your ideas.
green_knight: (Autumn)
[personal profile] green_knight
Rogues Ahoi )

Haven't discovered any new casual games if you discount the rogue-likes. Finding good casual games that are not mobile ports and crawling with monetisation and gamification is HARD.

Overall, I don't think rogue-likes work for me as a genre, even though I'm enjoying this one tremendously right now: I do not like losing everything I've worked for/fought for/found. I had a lot of fun right now with a weapon with knockback, - so very, very satisfying - and I would have loved to keep it.

Picoreviews )

Valley, with spoiler )

Cross of the Dutchman (with spoiler and youtube link; warning for advanced misogyny) )

Putting my cards on the table: the inherent sexism of Cross of the Dutchman means that while I may appreciate parts of it, I will never _like_ it. The game has burnt that bridge very thoroughly; but just because the game developers chose to build two sides - people for whom this game is meant to be (men) and people who are the butt of jokes (women) does not mean I cannot examine and learn from it. There are a lot of unusual choices in this game, which are worth studying, and worth considering how much they contribute to potential enjoyment (or not) of gameplay.

Gameplay Observations. With major story spoiler (or you could just read Wikipedia) )

Bonus reviewlet: Dinosaur Hunt

This is a first-person shooter I picked up for 57p on Steam. I don't like the genre as such - I WILL NOT shoot at people - but, well, dinosaurs... it was worth trying out.

You get dumped in the darkness. Something glows slightly, it's another weapon. You can pick it up. I then spent several minutes positioning myself and pressing keys and trying to pick it up until I eventually found the right angle.
'You had enough time, here comes the dinosaur'

Right. I look left, right centre, around me, up and down. I get killed. I repeated this several times - each time I was savaged by an invisible enemy - and deleted. Not worth my time.

Also not playing: VanHelsing. I have redownloaded the game in the very slim hope that it might have been fixed - I *LOVE* it, but I've given up complaining to the developers since their responses have been 'this error has been fixed, you cannot experience it' and 'so what' when I told them the game would no longer run. As a last resort, I can try to get it to run in emulation, and I might just get fed up enough to try that.

AM Playing: Civilisation 5. [personal profile] caper_est has been putting a fair few hours into this, and is currently playing a Middle-Earth mod which looks just *so* much fun.

I'll do another full post on this another time - this has gotten quite long, but I will say that I needed help to get into this, and have now logged 35 hours for my first proper game, and feel a lot more comfortable with it. In fact, I've made use of the MacGamestore $10 sale to grab all of the DLC (offer will also work on Windows, it's a Steam Code), so I can play some more, including - eventually - Middle Earth.

Err, expect fewer new games to be tried and rejected in November.

The power of grit

Oct. 22nd, 2017 15:50
green_knight: (Determination)
[personal profile] green_knight
(Videogames are just the example here. This is not a gaming post as such. It's more about language, and how having mainly negative terms for a concept makes it hard to view it positively.)

Before I praise myself for the incredible staying power that led me to finish a video game (which I shall review, in detail, in another post), I have to admit that it was a short one: other players managed in two hours, it took me three; the moment of sticking it out came after around one hour. So the amount of willpower I would need was always fairly limited; we're not talking about the person who spent 93 hours learning to play Dota 2 (a brief venture into message boards brings up people who have played 800-1200 h and who still don't feel they're very good... that's one time-intensive hobby!)

I have, in the spirit of my previous post, invested half an hour into watching a beginner's introduction to Dota 2 and... no. Good luck to people who love this, but I will not even start.

This is a post where I try to get my thoughts in order in regard to sticking things out, giving up, and the things we invest time and willpower in.

What I learnt from sticking it out, and why I won't do it again )

In my mind, at least, going back to a game I do not care about again and again just so I could beat it wasn't worth it. And rather than going 'see? I can overcome these hurdles and develop the skills necessary to do this thing' and going 'ok, I'm going to reinstall [games a, b, and c that I gave up on recently]' I'm going 'I'm grateful I didn't slip into that _super-determined, sticking-my-lower-jaw-out, must-do-this-or-die_ mode for any of the others; I totally give myself permission to bail from future games even earlier if I'm not feeling the love.'

Maybe we need a more nuanced vocabulary. Which we have, it's just all jumbled up inside my head, so maybe I should start by defining them, because 'in the future, I'm going to give up sooner' does not sound like a very positive statement, so the next thing I'm going to do in this post is look at how we talk about the cluster of things you invest a lot of time in, sticking with something, and walking out.

An attempt at taxonomy )

I think most people - at least in theory/retrospect/from a distance - can tell the difference between these perfectly well: when something takes over your life (or all of your mental/physical energy), it becomes a negative force, even if it's a fun thing. Even if it's a selfless thing that helps others.

Which brings us to staying power and its opposite.

I found that when writing this post almost all of the terms - direct or metaphorical - I could come up with for continuing to invest time and energy into a situation were positive. I say this as the owner of a 'determination' icon which I often use to signify 'I will push through this, I will not give up, I will not let this beat me'.

But let's bring the last one back to gaming, for a moment, because that's bringing out the issue so very, very clearly: there is a school of video game design that tries to set players puzzles they cannot solve easily. You're pitching your skills against the guys (usually guys) who _created the bloody playing field_. As I see it, failing - or deciding that you don't want to play - is not anything to be ashamed of: if someone wants to beat you with a deck of their own construction, in a game of their own making, of course they can.

Over on there are regular discussions about how to recognise that a situation isn't working for you - whether friendship, partnership, workplace - and moving on. (I really wish more people would divorce _while they still kind of liked each other_.)

Pulling the plug on a bad situation is a positive action, yet we have mainly negative words for it. Staying in a bad situation is, by definition, a bad action, yet English has plenty of ways to praise staying and very few negative terms for it.

I have twice in my life stuck things out when I should have walked away. Both times mildly abusive situations. At the end of the first, I walked away with the knowledge that I'd stuck things out and a borderline nervous breakdown; at the end of the second I walked away with nothing after all and a severe crash and having to rebuild my life from scratch over a very, very long time. Both times, quitting would have done me immense good - I would have been able to seek a better situation much, much sooner. There are a number of other situations I've walked away from, and came out slightly bruised but in much better fighting spirit; because knowing when you cannot change a situation and extracting yourself from it IS a positive action.

And yet. The only negative persistence term I could come up with is 'banging your head against a brick wall'; I'm still looking for a positive way to say 'I quit'.

The fact remains that persistence is not always a good trait: if you're in a bad (or even just meh) relationship, a dysfunctional workplace, or something that should give you joy makes you feel more stressed and less competent, then you should get out, cast off your shackles (which is not always easy), and start again.

Sometimes relationships need work (but that's another rant for another day), sometimes you cannot simply walk out of your job (then again, I've left a dysfunctional job, which led to me having to move out of my home and it was STILL the best decision I could have made!), sometimes work is boring and learning is hard or frustrating, but if you're trying to learn a complex skill and not feeling moments of success, you are probably not using the best method for you. Taking control over my learning in both programming and art has been the best thing I could have done; I was getting nowhere with 'how one should learn' or 'how everyone learns' and it would have been far too easy to give up and feel that I just had no talent at all... but I had to stop what I was doing in order to reflect and find something better to pour my energy into.

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 16:20
ayliner: (me and jayden)
[personal profile] ayliner posting in [community profile] addme
NAME: Ayana.
AGE: 34.
INTERESTS & HOBBIES: Painting, drawing, photography, animals, graphic- & web design, piercings, tattoos.
LOOKING FOR: I'm not too picky, long as we have some things in common.
ANYTHING ELSE?: I'm Schizotypal, socially awkward, I mainly post personal thoughts, art, photos, weightloss progress, (icon) textures and so on.

Photo under here! )
rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Yellow leaves above #toronto #dovercourtvillage #dovercourtroad #fall #autumn #yellow #leaves

Perhaps it is the protracted warmth that is making this fall less of a showy season for autumn leaves in Toronto than usual. At least there are still some enclaves of fall warmth.

Sunday uncluttering

Oct. 22nd, 2017 21:21
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How does today's uncluttering go?

It will probably surprise absolutely no-one that I have been sorting paper again. This time, I think that I have found all of the banking statements, and so Friday I took the relevant paperwork to the accountant. Yesterday I tidied up some of the piles that I had left lying around. Today, I didn't touch anything, but I have identified two files that can be pruned of items >10 years old.

I have also been sorting electronic clutter - I added all my ebooks to iBooks, and have now read two of them!

D.O.P.-T. (yesterday)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 06:02
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
[personal profile] weofodthignen
Bad boys. One night recently, I was about to cross El Camino to start my work shift after getting coffee at the 7-11, when I heard a bang and looked to my right just in time to see a bright blue car—this year's color—finishing its bumpy way across the high divider studded with river rocks from the wrong side of the road to the correct side, with white smoke puffing out as the clot wrecked his transmission. He proceeded away with no lights on, and hopefully didn't hit anybody before the car died. It looked like a Firebird, that kind of cheap sort-of sports car. Then last night customers told me there had been a shooting up at Scott and the police had access to the bank there blocked off. (It was close to two hours before they returned with enough cash to complete the purchase.) In the morning my relief was later than usual and said El Camino was blocked off, so I walked in the other direction and caught the bus at the next express stop, where I knew it would re-emerge if they were detouring via the back streets; as it happened the block must have been lifted because a lady who catches it from my stop waved to me as I got on. Apparently this was what had happened, so El Camino had been closed for over 5 hours.

Yankees out

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:00
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

Air temperature 46 F, dew point 35, broken clouds, wind north about 8 mph. Bike ride may be on schedule.

Phoning it in

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:27
oursin: Cod with aghast expression (kepler codfish)
[personal profile] oursin

Oh dear, another blooper from David Mitchell in this week's Observer New Review.

Or, at least, a classic case of writing about something before reading it properly.

The first was that Cambridge University lecture timetables are being labelled with “trigger warnings” about the plots of various literary works, including The Bacchae and Titus Andronicus. So English literature undergraduates are being protected from the knowledge of, among other things, what one of Shakespeare’s plays is about, in case it upsets them.
That is so not what the furore about this that I saw across my bits of social media was: what I saw was the push-back against the elitist assumption that eny fule already no that Titus Andronicus contains murder, rape, mutilation, and involuntary cannibalism (not to mention massive amount of racism).

And trigger-warnings aren't about protecting people from the knowledge that works of art contain disturbing material: they're precisely about letting people who haven't yet encountered them know that they contain material some people may find upsetting. Like the warnings you see at the beginning of a movie, just so you know what you're letting yourself in for.

And I'm really not sure that one can assume general cultural familiarity with one of the less-produced of Shakespeare's plays (the one that suggests that, had he been writing in the 1960s, he'd have been working for Hammer Horror - while some of the early comedies suggest also possibly moonlighting for the Carry On films, but I digress). Okay, there has been a movie version of the play itself, and Theatre of Blood alludes to it in one of the vengeances taken against the critics of the protag. But I doubt it's all that well-known to the individual on the Clapham omnibus.