Tuesday, December 14, 2010
But then the woman in question described how she fixed the trouble, which was that she attended a session with a local psychic who helped her higher self talk to her husband's higher self. Not that he was there in person or even knew anything about it. Somehow during the course of this description she mentioned having taken "some psychology--oh, I don't mean like you have, or anything" (meaning, what? She knew I have a Ph.D. in the subject but she took...Intro Psych? Abnormal Psych? during her undergrad years before getting into the clerical field? Who knows.)
Anyway, apparently this psychic session fixed everything between them, and now she goes regularly, at nearly $90 a pop. Others at the table were asking interested questions and wanted referrals (surprisingly, I quietly demurred).
TheLimey wandered up just at this moment and from what he heard of the conversation interpreted it as "we're laughing at the idea of auras and such," and started in on a humorous tale of someone he knew who had gone to a psychic who---SCREECH! even after a dozen years or so over here, his British sense of social transgression remains acute enough that he correctly interpreted my frozen-eyed expression as meaning "STOP right there for the love of God" and his anecdote quickly trailed off into inoffensive vague mumbling. But I probably should have allowed him to continue.
Because just then, the Higher Self Woman enthusiastically proclaimed to all present that the process works better than....she paused, clearly suddenly remembering who she was standing right next to...and then apparently decided she either didn't care or else had already gone too far, and said that it works a lot better than therapy!
I'm guessing this is not based on actual scientific research, which has not shown similar results. And I didn't hear that she even tried therapy, either.
Later TheLimey was aghast to learn that the apparent premise for this kind of secret psychic communication is that higher selves vibrate on the same plane as each other (even when you don't know it). This has led to all kinds of midnight jokes, such as "My higher self is flipping you off right now--can you sense it?" and "My higher self doesn't so much vibrate as twitch, writhe, or sometimes flop around like a fish."
And really, if someone is actually helped in their everyday life by whatever culturally appropriate tradition they subscribe to, that's great. Sometimes just feeling like someone cares for you, or that you're doing something to help yourself, can lead to useful outcomes. But this whole psychic planes business sure leaves the door open for a helluva lot of charlatans to squeeze money out of gullible persons, and with little or no oversight.
That last bit feels particularly ironic and galling to me right now, considering that even with 16 years of study and practice towards my degree in an actual proven treatment field, the bottleneck to my working with people is that I have to get even more oversight and practice and pay hundreds of dollars to take even more exams before I can be pronounced safe enough for licensure.
But hey. I guess that's because therapy "doesn't work," right? At least according to
the experts who've taken Intro Psych at some point in their lives. Therefore it must be okay to let who-the-heck-ever put out a psychic shingle and charge $90 to stroke your aura, or whatever.
PS: thanks Google, for all the ads for clairvoyant healing, quantum jumping, and so forth in the margins as I compose this entry. That's super-appropriate.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
(certainly not on the Long's Park website) about the petting zoo,
except to say that it exists. So I actually went to the park today to
look at the actual signs at the petting zoo, and thought I'd post it
in case anyone else had the same problem. So here's what I found out:
-open Mid-May through Labor Day
-hours: 10am to 3pm weekdays and weekends
-BUT they close for lunch, 11:45-12:35
-it appears to be free. People were wandering in and out through the
gates and there was no ticket area or anything like that.
-I saw horses, a llama, and veterinary certificates for potbelly pigs.
There are more animals but I was looking at the signs more intently
than at the animals.
-no strollers are allowed inside the fence
Message for David. D[xxxx] David, this is Ann with posh
pool squirming marshmallows. We did receive your order as our
exit meeting here to get back to you. I will email you to
let you know though that we are out of a couple of
flavor. Yeah. Okay, so maybe we can still get the order
out. Maybe a gentle with a little bit more of some other
flavors. I'll just email at info to you later than that
long voicemail. Okay. Hi David.
The actual voicemail was not from any kind of squirming anything, but
from Plush Puffs Homemade Marshmallows, and instead of "gentle" she
intends to juggle. Oddly, the transcript threw that "yeah" in there
for no apparent reason.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"Hi Babe, It's Melissa down the burgers, bagels, I was just calling to let you know are are both possums just gonna have to eat up for a little. I know you said you're not in a hurry to get the bagels. Would you like. If you'd like, I can just give you a call back whenever they're ready. It shouldn't be that much longer than I said but by stuff to wait for the avenue he back up, so just give me a call back down here anytime. Alright, thanks bye."
What she actually said in the voicemail recording was this:
"Hi Dave, It's Melissa down at Bruegger's Bagels, I was just calling to let you know our oven was off, so it's just gonna have to heat up for a little. I know you said you're not in a hurry to get the bagels. Would you like--If you'd like, I can just give you a call back whenever they're ready. It shouldn't be that much longer than I said but I still have to wait for the oven to heat back up, so, um, just give me a call back down here anytime. Alright, thanks bye."
I hope that this Dave fellow got his bagels eventually and wasn't too angry with this Melissa person for not calling him. Instead of me.
But I liked the bit with the possums.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
So if the protagonist was a woman, it was a chick flick. If the protagonist was Black, then it was an African-American film. If the protagonist was Gay, then it was a gay film. I know you're immediately going to think of the exceptions, such as any Snipes flick or...Lara Croft (though "she's" clearly a male fantasy/avatar)...or...some other exception.
But those really are exceptions. If you don't believe me, go right now and look at the films section of your newspaper [note: yes, I'm that old] for this weekend and count the number of heterosexual White male protagonists compared to "others."
And when's the last time you saw a popular, mainstream movie that had, say, an Asian (whatever that means) Queer woman in a wheelchair as the protagonist? And if you did, what are the chances that her being Asian, Queer, or having a disability weren't the focus of the story rather than just part of her profile as she went about the story? Yeah, I thought so.
So the next thing that happens with characters who have a non-dominant status is that they might be included as The Sidekick. Preferably to help out the White hetero guy with some status-stereotypical ability of theirs, like the Gay Sidekick might...I don't know, design something, or the Black Sidekick might kick somebody's ass, or the Female Sidekick might use feminine wiles to sexually lure and then betray some "bad guy" or so forth. So you see how it goes to be relegated to sidekick status. (You get to use your otherwise reviled stereotypical powers in the service of "good" for once.)
This whole phenomenon is pretty standard in literature, too--and by that of course I also mean books that aren't considered "literature" (like really any damn thing you might find me reading these days.)
So what are the possible permutations for fictional situations, then?
1. "Standard": Characters are simply all White, heterosexual, able-bodied...usually there's some gender mixing, if only for background of the male characters. (Because even the most rabid misogynist has a hard time avoiding all contact with women throughout his life, as opposed to the most rabid racial bigot who can likely avoid people of Color nearly all the time, simply because of population statistics.)
2. Also "Standard" but hey now it's "Progressive": Protagonist is as above, but with some peripheral characters being Sidekicks of Subordinate Status.
So given this situation, what do you write, if you're a White hetero able male writer, and don't want to be an ass writing culture-blind material?
Maybe you'd decide to write, for example, a protagonist who does not have all dominant statuses. Someone who would be in Sidekick Land in most "mainstream" fiction. For example, a person of Color for your protagonist.
I'm going to examine this mostly in terms of race, just for the sake of discussion, although psychologically and socially speaking prejudice pretty much works the same across other statuses as well and a lot of the issues would apply cross-status.
When I was thinking about this, I Googled around a bit and found a lot of discussion about this in terms of race. Pieces by the rather adorable Monica Jackson (wonderfully explicit in her criticism), Molara Wood (includes quite a few informative links), Nisi Shawl (I found his piece oddly removed and anthropological about "others"), Neesha Meminger guesting on Racialicious, the Rejectionist, ... and there are more you can probably find yourself.
There are clearly a few pros (demarginalization?) and a number of cons (cultural appropriation?) to writing characters of Color when you're White.
Sometimes it helps me to think in analogies that are relevant to my own life. Though of course there's never any direct parallel, analogy can be very useful. For example, what do I think of men who write women protagonists? (Hmmm...who are those guys, anyway?) Or middle-class/rich writers writing low-SES characters? If you know some good (or bad) examples of these, let me know.
Justine Larbalestier writes on why she, a White woman, writes characters of Color, and her reasoning seems persuasive and positive to me. To me, but that doesn't mean it's right.
So how, and what, should dominant-culture writers write? In terms of race, since I'm White, should I write scenarios 1 or 2 with White protagonists only? Am I not then perpetuating marginalization of people of Color? Or should I write characters of Color, and risk cultural appropriation at best and bigoted ignorance at worst?
There is a lot of information out there about what not to do, but not a lot about what to do in avoiding wielding unearned privilege.
I've focused on race (partly because there is a lot of discussion out there about it) but am always interested in what people have to say about other statuses as well. I'd particularly like to hear from commenters who are not dominant-cultured, writers or not.
Trolling, flaming, and ignorantly prejudiced responses won't be approved or will be removed--whichever way this platform works. I can't be bothered with remedial Prejudice 101 right now when there is so much already out there to inform yourself about it (see included links). That is all.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
‘Star Wars’ Quotes On ‘Star Wars’ Day! May The Fourth Be With You… » MTV Movies Blog
Star Wars Wedding Cakes You Wish You'd Had
Now, must go dig out my metal bikini.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
winding them up yet, but I have at least been able to clear a space
off the coffee table and see some of the loose ends.
For about two weeks now, Limelet has been relatively healthy and
sleeping well. It's had a profound effect on our everyday lives. I
think that for a month or so last autumn this happened, but as I was
still recovering from the whole broken-leg incident I was not able to
take advantage of it or appreciate it as well. It's been three and a
half years that we've been living with some level of sleep
deprivation...from agonizing torture to merely exhausting
Lately, until about two weeks ago, the night usually went like this:
Limelet finally asleep around 10:30 or so after bedtime routine begun
at 8:15. (Mentally shakes fist at daycare naptime that lasts until
3pm). I want to read before bed the entire time I'm putting him to
sleep, but once he's asleep I'm usually too tired. So I fall asleep
shortly thereafter. Maybe three or four minutes thereafter. Limelet
starts tossing and turning at about 12:45, may calm down quickly with
a little soothing from me. Again at about 3:00, and then 4:30, and
then 5:30. At each instance he becomes more awake and has a harder
time getting back to sleep, sometimes five minutes, sometimes two
hours. We may both end up just being awake in bed from 5:30 onwards,
or from 4:30 to 7:00. Which is exactly when I have to get him up for
That routine is still loads better than it was only a year ago, but
So it is with great relief that I have welcomed this recent upgrade of
his sleeping habits to pretty much staying asleep until 7:00. Now I do
have to still soothe him a bit through the night from time to time,
but only for a minute or two. In fact, Friday night he slept
completely solid all the way to 4:30. Unprecedented!
I can't believe what a change this has effected.
The coffee table is nearly cleared off, my clean laundry and Limelet's
have both been hung up for a week now instead of piled on the floor
near our closets as it has been since we moved here, we got more done
(both work and fun) yesterday than we normally would in an entire
weekend, the dishes are clean, garden's weeded, food is made ahead,
the finances and other paperwork are in order, social obligations are
starting to be met, etc.
It's like what one would picture a "normal" family might be like! You
know, people doing stuff. Not slouching around dispiritedly and
exhaustedly, while we alternate child care for a miserably sick and
tired kid, so that the other might get some urgent basic household
task done. Which is what our lives have been like every day for years.
Solid. Years. This past couple of weeks has felt like escaping some
kind of prison. I literally do not know what to do with myself during
the days! Hopefully I can finally send out those résumés I planned
You know what this means, right? It means I am certain to discover
that I'm pregnant any second now. I just bet.
*With apologies to my husband, as he will be sure doom is headed our way since I dared to speak aloud that anything is going well. We've both become very superstitious about this over the past couple of years. Every time we've dared to say anything like "I'm feeling good" or "things are going well" something terrible has happened nearly immediately. Really!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
about daylight savings and how that should be changed. Ideally,
eradicated. For God's sake let it die already. So, yeah, I've got some
ideas about that.
Anyway, I also have other lunatic fringe ideas about other dearly held
social conventions. Such as the seven-day week. It's not based on
natural phenomena like months (although some claim some kind of
relationship with "four" moon phases, which to me begs the question),
or even like the number of our digits.
Since earlier societies had "weeks" of anywhere from four to ten days,
as I read, we could reasonably still choose something in that range. I
think six days would be better. And we have to maintain the two-day
weekend, too. Five workdays in a row is just too many! So there'd be
five weeks per month and, what, 61 weeks per year? Perfect.
Perhaps we can start a religion that uses the six-day week, just to
get it some publicity.
* * * * * *
I have been thinking about this, mostly at 3:30 and 5:15 in the morning. Now as far as what day I would remove from the week--it's not the one you'd imagine: Monday. No, with a six-day week no one would need to dread Mondays. And I like the whole "Sunday, Moonday" aspect. In fact, that's what I'd change it to. Anyway. It's Tuesday I'd remove.
You probably think that's crazy (as opposed to the rest of the scheme), but hear me out. So we have Sunday, Moonday, ... Tuesday? I can never for the life of me remember what that's named for. Odinsday and Thorsday, those are pretty obvious. And Freiaday. Since Freia is one of my favorite chocolate companies, I'd make that a day sacred to chocolate-eating. But then we have...ta-da! Saturnsday. What the heck? Sun, moon, Norse pantheon, and then...Saturn? Isn't that Roman? I'm changing that. It can be, let's say...Lokisday. For the sake of continuity.
Now somebody go look up the meaning of Tuesday for me, please, as I have run out of time.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Dangit; can't get this to post properly. Well, later.
Meanwhile, deal with it.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
Life and Letters: Becoming Mary Poppins: newyorker.com
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
So here's the original post, about a woman with a doorknob to fix.
I was a little surprised to see so many commenters suggesting she have her boyfriend walk her through it. Or telling her it doesn't matter that much anyway, so don't fix it. Or implying that maybe she's not really mechanically apt, anyway.
I think they are missing the real issue entirely. So here's my response, not that she'll ever see it:
Oh, Courtney. Maybe you're not mechanically apt as some have suggested. But I doubt it. Most people of average "intelligence" (whatever that is) could surely fix a doorknob if they knew how.
Maybe you can ask your boyfriend to show you how to fix it, as a whole heckuva lot of people have suggested. But I have a hunch this would just perpetuate your feeling of being one-down to men when it comes to this kind of task, regardless of how personally nice and helpful your specific man may be. Teach me, O mechanical one! --I've been there, though not necessarily with this specific issue. If you're already feeling like a hardware loser, it will just make you feel like a (comparative) kid.
Make no mistake: this is not about the immediacy or urgency or importance of fixing the doorknob itself. This is about your sense of agency in and ability to affect your world.
The thing that made me start Doing Stuff like this myself was having a female friend who Did Stuff. Seeing her Do Stuff made me feel that it was a given that I could Do Stuff too, and why on Earth hadn't I Done Stuff before?
If, as you say, you learn best by having a human person help you with it, find a nice hardware-oriented chick to help you with it. I liked the suggestion of finding female store employees if you don't think any of your female friends are into doorknob fixing. Maybe you'll still feel one-down to her, but I doubt it. It won't perpetuate this belief you've acquired somewhere along the line (along with the rest of us) that Men Do, Women Do Not.
It's waiting to come out. Do Stuff.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I decided to see if I could get a copy for home use, and ordered some used game disks on Amazon.com for cheap. The descriptions stated that they would play on Windows or XP.
However, when I tried them out on my laptop, there was no sound no matter what I did. This was a problem, because at least half the fun is the sounds that things make in the game. Also, it's how you know what to do in the game. However, it's not surprising that some things won't work, as the disk states "copyright 1992". (I'm writing this post in 2010.)
I tried lots of things to make it work, including trying compatibility mode, which I guess doesn't stretch far back enough in time for a prehistoric game like this.
However, after spending hours and hours clambering through the tubes of the internets and experimenting with stuff, I found something that did work and is pretty easy once you know what to do.
Basically, you install what I think of as a "viewer" for old games on your current computer, and play the game "through" it. If that makes any sense to you, you probably think the internet is tubes like I do.
If, like me, you may be technologically very ignorant (but not technologically stupid!) you can still do this. The application you want is called ScummVM and is freeware or maybe shareware...actually open-source freeware or shareware. (But I was so excited when it worked that I donated some money to them anyway in thanks.)
Their description of the procedure can be found here. Anyway, hang on with it: we'll get to that in a minute.
The descriptions of what to do were confusing to me, as they were written for people who know what the heck they're doing, and I had to figure it out piece by piece. For example, it may say "copy the blah blah files into your hard drive." What does that mean, exactly? What are those files, and where are they? And where in my hard drive do they go, in what form? And how does one do all that, anyway?
So here's my step-by-step translation of what I did. If something's unclear, please comment and I'll see if I can clarify. But unless you're doing pretty much what I was doing, I may not know either. My PhD's in another field!
I'm sure there are other (and probably better) ways to do a lot of these procedures, but I'm just going to tell you what I did that worked for me. So here's what I did to get Putt-Putt up and running:
1. Have the disk of the game. I'm using "Putt-Putt Goes to the Moon" for this demonstration.
2. Go to this page and look up the game you're using. You must do this part in order to know what files to copy. [Note: I used ctrl-f to search the page for "putt" since the page is so huge.]
3. Within the "Putt Putt" title I'm looking at, there are several section headings: 3DOS, DOS Demo, Windows Demo, and Windows. We want to know the names of the files listed under "Windows." As you can see, for this game, those would be:
4. On your start menu, open "my computer" and then open Disk C. Create a new folder (right click, new, new folder) right there in your C drive. I called mine "puttmoon files".
5. Put the disk in your computer's drive. Select "quit" not "play" if the little screen comes up.
6. On your computer's start menu, select "search." (Heck, use the search companion if you want--I did!) Search under "all files and folders" within the drive where your game disk is. Probably Drive D or Disk D. I searched for all files with "puttmoon.he" in the title, since most of the required files for my game started with puttmoon.he.
7. Some files came up in your search box, right? Called puttmoon.he or whatever your game requires? Good.
a. Okay, now under the edit menu of your open search box, select all the files that came up by using "select all", then--
b. --copy them using "copy". If there are doubles then copy both--it won't hurt anything. (And I don't know which ones you're supposed to use, do you?)
c. Now paste them all into the empty folder you created ("puttmoon files"?) in your C drive. Answer "yes" if it asks to copy over any doubles or whatever.
8. There was one other file the list mentioned that was not a puttmoon.he (PUTMOON.BRS), so I repeated the procedure with that one, searching for "putmoon.brs". Make sure you've got ALL the file names in your new folder that are listed in your game listing.
9. Now we need to get the "viewer" or virtual monitor, which is ScummVM (description here.)
10. Google "download scummvm for xp". (What came up for me was Softonic.) (I hope you have a virus checker installed so you know if the page is safe!) Click on Download Free. Softonic gave me a choice to download a $2.99 version (from their guaranteed source or whatever) or a free version; I risked the free version and it was fine. There may be lots of pirated ScummVM out there, but I doubt it, considering its attributes. Anyway, an install wizard should come up that will install it pretty easily. Just run it all when it asks, and make sure it IS pinned to your start menu when it asks.
11. Once it's installed, open your start menu and you'll probably see "new program installed." Go to "all programs" and open the folder. I copied the shortcut (a green "S") and pasted it on my desktop, because I like easy access.
12. Okay, we're almost ready. Run ScummVM (click on the shortcut if you made one). A little ScummVM black window will come up, and then a yellowish one with actions.
13. Select ADD GAME.
14. It will probably start looking for games by opening Drive C, but if it doesn't, then browse to Drive C. Select your folder name ("Puttmoon".) Then click CHOOSE and any other acceptance button that comes up.
15. There will now be a window with names of the games you've loaded into ScummVM (maybe only one game if this is your first.) Select the game you want, and click START.
16. Putt-Putt is going to the moon!! Yippee for old-game geeks!
17. If you're as happy as I was with the results, then give the nice geeks some well-earned support in their hard work here at this page, bottom right ("Support this Project").
I played with the options a bit. I tried making the game window bigger as it seemed small to me, but it just created screwy and also huge graphics that wouldn't allow me to escape the window. I had to turn off the computer to get out. I also tried fullscreen mode*, which had different yet similarly bad effects. We now use the small window and it's fine.
I tried the sound options, and turned down that loud background music (but not the speech and sound fx), and that worked great.
I had to get a kitchen timer like they had at the day care to limit game play to 15 minutes at a time, because my son is already addicted and would probably not eat, sleep, or go potty if I let him play as much as he wanted. (What have I done?! Such a bad mother!)
*Update: you can use alt-enter for fullscreen (on Putt-Putt anyway). Just make sure to toggle it off before you let your computer sleep, or your cursor will have disappeared when it wakes up.
Also, for some people (including me) the topiary creatures song is not triggered when the hedge animals are clicked. However, it does work at my son's daycare, so...not sure why. Could be a licensing issue or something like that.
Monday, February 01, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Greatly enjoyed seeing City on the Edge of Tomorrow, a Season 1 Star Trek I must have missed back in the day. Didn't know that a) Joan Collins was in it, and b) Harlan Ellison wrote it. Neat-o! Now must research whether he wrote any other of the Season 1 episodes.