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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

March 28th, 2016 (01:44 pm)

Well, I’m back in the real world, and on the whole I’m glad for it. The day program maybe wasn’t quite as bad as I made it out to be last time, when I was in kind of a bad mood, but I don’t really think it was doing much for me. I signed out on Friday, and now here it’s Monday and I’m back to transcribing. And I still think I really need to do some writing or something else that would make me take myself seriously as a human being, but it’s not so bad being back at work; my concentration seems to be much better than it was before I left, anyway. I think I’m going to keep my schedule down to six hours a day to try to leave some room for writing. Then all I have to do is actually fucking write something. I have at least three book concepts I could start to flesh out, and my self-confidence is in negative digits, but if I can just do like 500 words a day or something for a start, I could build on that. Lord, here’s hoping. I can’t build a sense of purpose and identity on being a typist.

Books, though! Speaking of books! I have spent the last week organizing organizing organizing books, and now they are finally all organized! all the things about all my books, let me tell you themCollapse )

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

October 1st, 2015 (01:24 pm)

Well, it’s October 1st, and I’m tentatively back on other social media. But I’m still not sure I like the role Facebook and Twitter play in my life, so I’m posting these could-have-been status updates here, not there, even as their content is informed by things I came across on Facebook and Twitter. Hmm.

1. MOCKINGJAY 2 TICKETS ARE ON SALE WOOHOO! I have no idea if it’s going to be any good, as the other Hunger Games movies have ranged from very good to mediocre, and I am forever and always a hardcore diehard books fan and will probably be whispering furiously to λ through the whole thing about how they shouldn't have changed that what are they doing, but TICKETS ARE ON SALE LEMME AT ‘EM I ALREADY HAVE A GIGANTIC HONKING BIRD NECKLACE FOR THE OCCASION

2. Today is Julie Andrews’ 80th birthday and my major takeaway right now is that I am a bad fan who REALLY needs to remember when her birthday is because when I saw her trending on Twitter I freaked out completely, terrified that she was dead

3. Lin-Manuel Miranda just tweeted that there is a third, deleted Cabinet rap battle from Hamilton, in which Hamilton, Madison, and Jefferson go at it over slavery, and I NEED THIS YESTERDAY

4. Everyone is all over the Pope for visiting with Kim Davis, posting “He’s dead to me now” and “Never respect this guy again” and so on, and. Like. People. He’s the Pope. That means that by definition, he is Catholic. And that means that, if he upholds his own Church’s teachings, he is going to be super-liberal on certain stuff, like income inequality/poverty and the death penalty, and super-conservative on other stuff, like reproductive issues and women’s rights and, yes, LGBTQ stuff. That is the Catholic package. The trouble has been that in recent years, before Pope Francis, the Church really, really slacked on the income inequality etc. side of things and only focused on the stuff that fits neatly into a Republican party platform. So Francis shows up and he’s legitimately amazing with respect to actually upholding the whole “feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit those in prison” side of things -- like the traditional works of mercy and the command to treat “the least of these” as you would treat Jesus is really, truly top priority for him. And people see that and they think, oh, the last Pope was conservative, now this one is liberal! And they somehow expect him to support gay marriage. Guys, “Who am I to judge?” is the absolute best you can ever possibly expect from the Catholic Church, and is so much better than anything I have ever seen from it before. Judging gays is not a priority for him. But just because he’s not passing judgment on whether gays can be close to God doesn’t mean he doesn’t think gay marriage is wrong and a threat to the family, and doesn’t mean he’s not going to stand in solidarity with those who oppose it. I think it’s important to note here that Kim Davis is not one of the people who’s been spewing hate. She’s just a person who didn’t want to give licenses to marry gay people because that’s against her religion, but she got befuddled on what the definition of “conscientious objection” is (hint: it means quitting your job.) And apparently Pope Francis shares her befuddlement over conscientious objection. And he shares her conviction that gay marriage is wrong. Because he’s a Catholic. He is also not going to be tweeting #IStandwithPP in Latin anytime soon, if anyone was wondering. It’s time people stopped expecting him to adhere to the Democrat party line just because he cares about poor people. He’s never going to. No pope ever is going to. Time to accept that Catholics exist, and that the head of the Catholic church is one of them, and then appreciate the hell out of him for all of the good he is doing for the world. Because it’s a lot.

5. Wow, that item was a lot longer than I meant it to be and it probably should have been its own post. And now I am out.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]


September 29th, 2015 (12:10 pm)

Things I want to be doing with my day:

-Listening to the newly released Hamilton soundtrack
-Reading the newly available Hamilton lyrics
-Making Hamilton icons so I will at least have an appropriate icon to attach to this post
-Reading about how Lin-Manuel Miranda is getting a MacArthur Genius Grant for Hamilton
-Reading Tumblr posts about Hamilton
-Going to New York and winning the Hamilton lottery so I can actually see Hamilton again

Things I do not want to be doing with my day:
-Anything else

Things I want to be doing even less than anything else:
-My job


Seriously, though, you guys, if you have the tiniest speck of interest in American history, you need to check this show out. And if you don’t have the tiniest speck of interest in American history, but you like Broadway, or hip-hop, or things that are brilliant, you still need to check this show out, because I know absolutely nothing about American history and I am addicted to this show. Because it is a hip-hop retelling of the story of Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Fathers and it is amazing. Seriously, just go on Spotify and listen to Cabinet Rap Battle #1 or #2. See, here are Jefferson and Hamilton, having a rap battle in the Cabinet:

I could link you to about 500 phenomenal reviews of this show because I have not yet seen a review of the show that did not say it was the most amazing piece of theatre to come along in a really long time. No, like, seriously, the New York Times was like “I really wanted to hate on this show because I am getting so sick of everyone talking about how it’s the most amazing thing since sliced bread but I can’t really do anything about that because the truth of the matter is it’s actually more amazing than sliced bread.” Unfortunately I can’t do anything about getting you tickets because it’s sold out for like the next nine months or something and prices are high as fuck, but you can listen to the soundtrack, and since the show is sung/rapped through you will basically know everything that happens and then you can become an addict just like me and you can spend your days at work trying to get the lyrics to load properly in the Web browser so you can reread them and catch more nuances, and in fact they won’t load properly about halfway through, but tip: you can select the text that doesn’t show up and then paste it into Notepad and then you can read it! This has been a time-wasting tip from me to you!

Aaaaargh guys I have seriously spent most of my morning just rereading Broadway rap lyrics and I am so far behind on work now and I really REALLY should get down to it THIS IS NOT FAIR WHY DOES THE WORLD NOT STOP FOR THE AMAZINGNESS OF HAMILTON

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

September 22nd, 2015 (02:53 pm)


Like I have not had a chance to go through the new site yet so I don't really know exactly how it works and I suppose it could be just as bad as the old one for all I know but HEY IT'S NOT THE OLD ONE AND THE OLD ONE WAS THE WORST SO YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY SITE REDESIGN


(but someone please tell me how the hell I'm supposed to get any work done for the rest of the day)

(or for that matter the rest of the week)

ETA: OK, so I just took five minutes I don't really have to try to surf the new site and I'm... confused. I'm not finding it that easy to find the new material that I know was on the old Pottermore site, like the extended bio of Umbridge or the background on Azkaban or on thestrals or whatever -- I'm assuming it's all there somewhere, but I don't really know where, and the site seems to be very graphics-heavy and not so heavy on Straightforward Textual Lists of Things I Want to See, so I'm kind of lost. But it's got to be better than the old site, because the old site was horrendous. I will explore this later. *Xes out of Pottermore window VERY EMPHATICALLY*


the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

you know I bet I'm actually right about 20 in this icon

September 22nd, 2015 (01:15 pm)

current mood: calm

Hi, all! Have a meme, courtesy of celandineb!

How this works:

You comment, I give you an age (please tell me how old you currently are - I don't know all of your ages, unfortunately, so I don't want to pick an age for you that is impossible) and you fill out the meme questions with what applied to you back then, and now.

celandineb gave me age 20.

At 20, at 34 -- meme this wayCollapse )

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

September 9th, 2015 (06:11 pm)

current mood: exanimate

1. CVS is currently displaying Halloween items... and also Christmas ornaments. What is happening why is happening

2. However, they also have at least three cards specifically for same-sex weddings, which is new since I last looked. So that made me happy. Maybe they finally figured out they needed them when gay marriage became Officially Legal Everywhere No Really 4 Srs Now?
2a. There are no same-sex anniversary cards, which made me roll my eyes for a minute until I remembered that anniversary cards for one's spouse tend to be written in first-person and "I" is not a gendered word.
2b. Are there languages in which "I" is gendered? Interesting question. I'm glad I don't have to buy cards in one.

3. The 5:55 Needham Heights train is chronically delayed lately and I Do Not Like It, mostly because if the T can't get its shit together when it's 95 degrees out, I shudder to think what the winter will bring.

4. These are the sorts of things that would really be better posted on Twitter. Sorry, LJ.

5. Another thing that would be better posted to Twitter, and better still not posted at all: I was in Target over the weekend and they were selling posters of Anna and Elsa with the caption "An act of love will thaw a freezing heart." You know, from the hit movie, Freezing. I am Frozen trash and could not rest until I told somebody this.

6. Happy Wednesday.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

yes I already posted about this & yes my point is too big a deal's being made of it, WHAT'S UR POINT

September 9th, 2015 (03:05 pm)

current mood: annoyed

Continuing to read about the Kim Davis thing, which is one of the stupidest three-ring circuses I've ever seen, and I'm particularly hung up on Mike Huckabee offering to go to jail for her. Like I don't even know which part of that is the stupidest part. Is it the fact that it is the emptiest promise possible, since we do not actually live in a society where we let people send in designated hitters for jail sentences? Is it the fact that he offered this as she was leaving the jail? Is it the fact that news stories are all pulling that one quote and publishing it as though it bears a single scrap of relevance, or demonstrates even a passing connection with reality? I DON'T KNOW, GUYS, THERE IS SO MUCH STUPID MY HEAD IS SPINNING

This is seriously one of the biggest tempests in a teapot I've ever seen. One city clerk in one tiny county decided one day to make a Big Principled Stand, and when it turned out that the actual principled stand that would have made sense, aka resigning, would not kick up a giant media hullabaloo and get her national attention, she decided to take a principled stand that does not make any sense and insist that she should be allowed to get paid for her job while refusing to do her job. And then assholes on both sides got involved* and she wound up in jail for a 100% preventable and 1,000% stupid situation, and then she got out and held a fucking rally while playing "Eye of the Tiger" because she apparently thinks refusing to issue marriage licenses is the same thing as being Rocky??? and now Survivor is mad and I just cannot even with this whole deal. And now I'm talking about it too, and not for the first time, because I just do not understand how something so trivial turned into something this overwhelmingly silly.

I don't know. I guess the simplicity of the narrative appeals to people. Depending on your perspective either she's a saint and gay people are the devil or she's a devil and gay people are saints. And it's just. Like. I actually respect the fact that she is willing to stand up for her beliefs on this. I don't think she's probably a bad person. I don't think she's necessarily a big hypocrite; yes, she has three previous marriages, but she was only born-again four years ago, so within her framework, those are sins she committed before she found Jesus, and now she's living a different life. I am willing to believe that her faith is a real thing to her and that she really feels that she would be committing a terrible sin if she gave out gay marriage certificates. My two complaints about her really are these: a.) I think she's getting off on the media circus, and b.) I don't think she's very smart. She is also surrounded by people who are hungry for more media circus, and who are hungry for money (I am thinking specifically of her lawyers here). They have a vested interest in protecting her from the undramatic truth that the only thing she can do here, ethically, legally, or logically, is to quit her job.** And Republican presidential candidates can grandstand on this because of the aforementioned simplicity of the narrative: Saint Kim! Demon Gays! IT'S THE EYE OF THE TIGER, IT'S THE THRILL OF THE FIGHT

*sigh* Whatever. I keep reading the news stories about her, so clearly I've fallen victim to this just like everybody else. And it doesn't show any signs of ending anytime soon; she's going to go back to refusing to allow her deputies to issue marriage licenses, and she'll go back to jail, and presumably she will eventually get out again, and they'll play Don't Stop Believin' that time, and we'll rinse and repeat and they'll start pawing through Bon Jovi's back catalogue, all while the Kentucky legislature refuses to impeach her and put an end to this nonsense. And meanwhile everybody except six couples who are actively involved in this lawsuit*** (well, plus however many more of them decide to try to shove their way into the spotlight by seeking out their own licenses from her) will get married as they please, gay and straight alike, and the world will continue spinning and the climate will continue rising and refugees will keep fleeing Syria, but nobody in America will care. Our eyes will all be glued on the nonstop coverage of the nonsituation in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Whatever. Today is my eight-year anniversary with λ and I am heartily, heartily glad that we live in Massachusetts, where none of this nonsense applies, or has applied for eleven years. And I'm very glad that everyone in this country who is willing to get a marriage license somewhere other than Rowan County has the same rights that we do.

Take that, Mike Huckabee.


*I have absolutely no use for those gay guys who traveled halfway across the country to try to get a marriage license from her in the middle of all this, and then claimed to be "devastated" by the fact that she wouldn't give them one. I understand wanting a marriage certificate from your home county, and I understand deliberately seeking a license from her in order to keep the system honest, but one of those circumstances doesn't apply here and the other was already being taken care of. Stop media-whoring, assholes.
**The only other potential logical solution I have seen from anybody was one lawyer who wanted the Kentucky legislature to pass a law that marriage licenses would be changed to read that they were issued under the authority of the state and not the authority of the clerk. But they're not meeting until January to discuss that, so we've got a long 3-4 months of silliness before that potentially comes about. I still think that her quitting her job makes more sense than passing a whole new law, but whatever, I don't care as long as everybody can get married and nobody gets to defy the law. I would be interested in hearing more about whether it actually matters in any way whether the certificate is technically issued by the state or by the clerk.
***I know they got their licenses from the deputies, but apparently there's debate over whether those licenses are valid since they were issued without her authorization while she was in jail, or something? So I guess now those people get married, but then her lawyers go after them and seek to invalidate their marriages? At which point presumably they go back to her office and start all over again? God, this is stupid.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

September 9th, 2015 (12:14 pm)

current mood: happy

Happy happy eighth anniversary to my beloved λ, eigenkumquat! I am so blessed to have met you (and in a state that let us get married eight years ago, no less). By now I have no idea what I would do without you, so let’s not find out. This year is apparently our pottery anniversary, and though I expected in two years we would get some kind of great traditional present, it turns out ten years is tin. So that is disappointing. But I vote that we keep giving each other tickets to Broadway shows and the like (I can put your card this year in a clay bowl if you like?) and just hang in there until we hit gold. Love you, bean!

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]


September 8th, 2015 (01:45 pm)

So there was a study done on cats recently, a study that seems to have thought it was about whether cats care about their humans. What the people running the study actually did to determine this was that they put cats in an unfamiliar environment with their owner, with a stranger, and alone, and then monitored how they behaved in this situation. Their theory was that if cats cared about their people, they would go to them for comfort. If they didn’t go to them for comfort, it must mean cats don’t care about their people.

First of all, this is some serious anthropomorphizing shit that they are pulling right here. They are assuming that when a cat is stressed out, instead of going into hyperalert mode to assess the situation (as our Basil cat does) or just hiding from everything entirely (as our Ari does), they are going to run to their human companion like a kid hiding behind its mother’s leg. Apparently dogs do that, and, I mean, good for dogs. But the fact that a cat doesn’t turn to its human in that situation doesn’t mean that cats never care about humans. Other, better studies have shown that cats pretty much perceive their humans as being basically the same as themselves -- they think we're big giant clumsy bald cats, basically. You wouldn’t study whether cats cared about each other by putting them in a stressful situation and then watching to see if they cuddled close together. You would just observe them in their daily lives, wouldn’t you? See if they spent time together, see if they groomed each other, see if they played together, see if they enjoyed each other’s company? How did this study get from “cats don’t turn to humans for comfort in this one specific stressful situation” to “cats don’t care about people”?

And then the news reporting! The study is stupid enough, but the reporting! Sorry, but your cat really doesn’t need you, says the Huffington Post. Really? Because right now I’m the reason they have food and water. Research suggests cats don’t miss you when you’re gone, says the San Diego Tribune and half of the other articles on the subject, and just -- really? How in the world did they get to that conclusion? No one studied the cats being left alone for an extended period of time in their normal habitat! That is not even close to being what this study was about! And my personal favorite, from the Hindustan Times (for some reason several Indian newspapers picked this up, all with similar headlines), and bewilderingly classed under “Sex and Relationships”: Mean kitty, bad kitty: Your cat doesn’t mind your absence. Yes. Yes, that is exactly what we have determined. All cats are mean and all cats are bad. Because they become alert and wary in strange situations, instead of seeking comfort from humans. They are bad. Bad, bad creatures. Go kick that cat you’ve got right out on the curb and get yourself to the shelter to pick up a nice dog. Don’t worry. The cat won’t care.

*sigh* Cats are cats, guys. They are naturally independent. They are also capable of forming emotional bonds with their people, and liking to be around their people, and missing their people when they’re gone. We had to hospitalize Ari once and you should have seen her when we came to visit her for the first time. Even before she could see us, the second she heard our voices, she bolted upright in the cage and started jumping up and down, trying to see us. When we got to see her she ran all around the cage (with an IV in her foot, no less, which was knocking everything all over the place) and then kept shoving her head in our hands over and over, begging for pets. She kept doing that for maybe 15 minutes, and then she got up and ate for the first time in weeks -- that was why she’d been hospitalized, because she had some illness, probably pancreatitis, that was keeping her from eating. The illness had settled down when she was in the hospital, but she still wouldn’t eat until we got there. She was as excited to see us as any puppy could be. But most of the time, in less extreme circumstances, she doesn’t jump up and down and thrust her head into your hands like a puppy would. She expresses her love and affection like a cat -- by following us from room to room, walking with her tail straight up and a little crook in the tip, by crawling on us, by exposing her belly, by blinking slowly. Basil is less affectionate but uses the same signals. And when we go to the vet Basil explores things with his tail down and Ariadne hides wherever she can, and we do not take that as a sign that they don’t love us. We take it as a sign that they are cats.

It is unsurprising that this particular study was originally designed, not for assessing the emotions of cats, but for assessing the emotions of humans. It was supposed to gauge how kids behaved in a weird situation, whether they'd cling to their parents or not, and was supposed to be an index of parental attachment.* The idea that you can just grab a study model like that and impose it on species it was not designed for is kind of ludicrous. The fact that there are like 300 articles about it today is more ridiculous still. And people will continue to think that animals should behave just like people, and they will continue to miss their cats' affection signals, but there probably won't be that many of those anyway if they keep treating cats like people instead of like cats.

Anyway. Tl;dr, there is bad reporting about cats in the world, and I am salty about it.


*Which seems like bad study design even for humans? What about kids who respond to unfamiliar situations by exploring them instead of running to their parents for comfort? What does the study say about them? What about parents who are *deliberately raising* their kids to respond to unfamiliar situations that way? Do they love their kids less, do those kids love their parents less? WAAAAAAAT1

1Except apparently that is not even what the study is supposed to measure, and kids who are close to their parents are supposed to explore a strange situation confidently when a parent is around, show distress when they leave and run to them when they come back. This makes more sense, but this is not what three of the articles about the cat study that I read said. They clearly stated that cats were not seeking comfort from their humans when their humans were in the room. Did they take the same study model that they used for studying humans but change up the expectations for cats? Because if so they did a terrible job and basically I don't understand anything about this study except that it sucked.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

Appropriate icon is appropriate

September 4th, 2015 (01:03 pm)

current mood: lonely

So it turns out that according to my recent poll, of the 300 people I used to have on my flist, 16 of them are still here at least occasionally. O LJ, my LJ. Anyway, so I thought it would be a good idea to seek out new LJ friends, so I am doing a... well, not so much a friending meme... more a thing where I ask you guys to tell me people you know who are still on LJ that you think I would like, and then I go friend them. It wouldn’t be much of a meme. But I am seeking recommendations! Friend recommendations! Whom should I friend? Speak to me, beloved 16!

(also if you want to tell people to friend me I would accept that as well)

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

September 3rd, 2015 (11:27 am)


(well actually the subject matter is more desperate than celebratory BUT MAKING IT FELT CELEBRATORY ANYWAY)

Are you still here?

Yes! I am here! I am here all the time!
I'm here once every day or two, probably
I'm here occasionally
I am hardly ever here
I am not here but I have set up a bot to answer all your polls because they are just that special to me
Wherever I am is here so I'm not quite sure what you're getting at
You would have a lot more responses to this poll if LJ would let wombats get accounts, I bet

What killed LJ?

Fandom drama
Six Apart (remember them?)
Humanity's waning attention span in the smartphone era
Video, flushed with its success in killing the radio star and yearning to be a serial killer, launched itself at LJ
No seriously, YouTube actually probably had something to do with it
The fact that people like YOU just LEFT, Kylie
SUP wants you to know that LJ is actually VERY ALIVE in Russia
There is no wombat option in this question because wombats would never kill LJ

Why is the create-a-poll form so weird and confusing now?

Because you have been gone for five years, Kylie
But I don't think that's any excuse, LJ

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

News in Brief: God Wondering How Far He Could Throw Earth

September 1st, 2015 (05:41 pm)

Honestly, after glancing over the headlines on Google News, I'm rooting for God's throwing arm here. People are actually taking that clerk's "religious freedom" shtick seriously and there's a new shooting every five seconds in this country and there's a trans teenager who is apparently at the center of a national firestorm for daring to want to use the bathroom and Donald Trump is running for president and this is so far from being the worst country out there that that's it, I'm out, pitch us into a black hole.

(Hi. This share feature is new since I left. Does anyone actually use it? It makes LJ feel much more like Facebook and Tumblr, but I have developed some strong habits in my years of using those sites and neglecting LJ, so. Whatever.)

Originally posted by theonionfeed at News in Brief: God Wondering How Far He Could Throw Earth

THE HEAVENS—His gaze shifting from the terrestrial planet out to the expanse of the universe and then back, The Lord Almighty, Our Heavenly Father, reportedly wondered aloud Tuesday just how far He could throw the Earth. “Oh, yeah, if I got a really good windup I bet I could chuck it four or five thousand light-years,” said God as He eyed the third planet from the Sun, adding that He could probably toss it right into the Pleiades star cluster with His eyes closed. “This thing weighs, what, 6 sextillion tons? With a running start, there’s no way I couldn’t get it past the Crab Nebula. Probably farther.” At press time, the Lord was loosening up His arm by lobbing Mercury and Venus into the nearby A0620-00 black hole.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

can you impeach a county clerk?

September 1st, 2015 (02:00 pm)

Hi, guys. I’m thinking of coming back to LJ for awhile. I’ve been doing a project of staying away from Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter for a couple months, to see if it helps with my concentration. More about that in a later post, maybe, if I feel like soul-baring. But I took August off from all social media and am now reintroducing LJ because I think long-form blogging is better for me than status updates, tweets and gifs.

ANYWAY, right now I am kind of losing my frigging mind over this case with the Kentucky clerk who is refusing to do her job, refusing to quit her job, and refusing to admit that she is, of her own free will, digging herself into a really big hole. Specifically, for anyone who’s missed it, she won’t issue marriage licenses to gay people (or to straight people either, on the hilarious notion that this is going to protect her from lawsuits) and every court up to and including the Supreme Court has said “No, your religion doesn’t give you the right to not do your job,” but she is Adamant! I just cannot get over the fact that she thinks she has the right to retain a job she is openly avowing she cannot do. Your God may be telling you not to license gay marriages, lady, but I will need to see the Bible verse where God insists that the only job on His green earth that you can ethically hold is that of county clerk. Because I really, really don’t think that’s part of His dictate. Resign your fucking job and find a new one. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, right? Go work for the Family Research Council. I’m positive they can fit you in.

Anyway. So there’s this whole kerfuffle, but the thing I have been thinking about the most is a story I found on Snopes a few months ago, when I was reading Snopes chronically because I have been feeling very dumb lately and I was enjoying reading about people who are dumber than me. This particular story about people dumber than me was a story about a guy who went to a WalMart and, when he got to checkout, found that the clerk in his lane was not checking out alcoholic beverages. He saw the clerk’s name on his nametag, noted that it was “not Steve,” and concluded that a.) the clerk’s name was Muslim, b.) the clerk was not checking out alcoholic beverages in accordance with his religious beliefs, and c.) SHARIA LAW WAS BEING UNLOOSED UPON THE NATION.

Well, it turned out that the clerk’s non-Steve name had nothing to do with why he wasn’t checking out alcoholic beverages. He wasn’t checking them out because he was underage. But the conservatives got a good fury-boost out of it anyway. Which leads me to this: here we have a situation where a clerk -- in a private establishment, no less -- was purportedly refusing to do a portion of his job because of his religion. Alcoholic beverages were being checked out by other clerks in other lanes, just as, we are constantly told by conservatives, gay marriage licenses are being issued by other clerks in Kentucky.* Furthermore, another clerk could quickly step into that clerk’s lane and check out the alcohol if a transaction was already in progress, just as, as Kim Davis’ legal team notes, a clerk from a neighboring county could be deputized to issue Rowan County gay marriage licenses so Davis wouldn’t have to do it. I mean, it’s a really small concession to make to protect someone’s religious freedom, right? Just go to the next lane, or the next county? Everybody gets their alcohol, or their gay marriage, and nobody has to violate their religious freedom? What could possibly be wrong with that?

Well, in the case of WalMart, it’s that that would apparently be a forerunner of the establishment of sharia law in the US, despite the fact that it was a private establishment (unlike the county clerk’s office) whose employee was not doing anything in the name of the government (unlike Kim Davis) and that was not trying to establish a legal precedent that would impact the country at large (unlike Kim Davis). None of those last things matter because it would be fundamentally wrong to allow someone to plead off from doing their job because of their religious convictions!

But Kim Davis? I mean. She’s Christian. So none of that applies. Right?


*Which argument makes me BATSHIT because WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY START REFUSING GAY MARRIAGE LICENSES EN MASSE, AS COULD WELL HAPPEN IN A HEAVILY CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVE STATE. The argument “there are other people who will do this” only holds meaning if THE LAW IS MAKING THEM DO IT. But anyway.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

June 30th, 2014 (03:05 pm)

LJ Idol Week 13

Topic: Open topic
Keywords: fiction, teen, bullying, suicide, gossip, pastiche, dialogue, newspaper article, people being assholes
Triggers: attempted suicide, homophobia, bullying
Notes: This is part of something I'm hoping to make into a longer work. I've had some trouble getting motivated on it so I decided to use "open topic" to prompt me to give it another go this week. So, uh, here's what I managed.  Hope you like it.

JasonCollapse )

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

LJ Idol Week 10: so very not helpful

May 29th, 2014 (08:23 pm)

LJ Idol Week 11
Topic: "If you have come here to help me, you are wasting both our time"
Keywords: fiction, teen, family troubles, alternative school, Internet, fandom, narrator with capslock problem
NOTE: This is a slightly-revised excerpt from a longer work, which is written entirely in blog posts, emails, chat logs, etc. I hope this section can stand alone. The narrator is a 15-year-old named Jane with a bit of an Internet dependency problem.

so very not helpfulCollapse )

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

May 21st, 2014 (08:26 pm)

Hey, so, uh, I totally told myself I wasn't going to do this anymore unless I absolutely had to, but right now I'm in last place by a fair amount in this week's LJ Idol competition in my tribe, and the poll ends in like 24 hours, so if any of you liked my entry about the "Keep Calm and _____" meme and would like to throw me a vote, I would be so happy. I've really been enjoying writing for this, and I'd hate to leave so soon. As always, there's some great stuff up there by other people, and if you've the time to spare there's a lot that's well worth reading. I'm hoping to do a rec list by midday tomorrow myself. But, yeah. Thanks, and hope you're not grinding your teeth at my friendspage-spamming!

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

May 19th, 2014 (07:57 pm)

LJ Idol Week 9
Topic: "Keep Calm and End This Meme"
Trigger warnings: Some gore, reference to sexual violence
NOTE: I have taken some liberty with history here. As many of you will know, the sign KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON was originally designed for display around Britain during World War II, but was never actually posted before the war ended. In my story, the sign has been distributed and is posted during the war. My apologies to history buffs who may be bothered by the change.

Keep Calm and Carry OnCollapse )

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

May 9th, 2014 (11:58 am)

The other day, I read Madeleine L’Engle’s Many Waters for the first time. I’d read the first three books in the Time Quintet, but when I was a kid I started Many Waters and was really bored almost immediately. Reading it as an adult, I wasn’t bored, but I was confused, because she decided to take on the topic of Noah and the flood and yet dodged all the challenging parts of the story. It’s not just that she doesn’t explore in any kind of depth the consequences or, really, any of the disturbing aspects of the idea of God wiping out the entire world. The characters who are fated to drown are drawn as not very nice people, but they’re not drawn so harshly as to make it seem okay that they’re all getting axed by God. But she basically passes that over without making the reader feel like the flood is anything particularly cruel. spoiler cut for those who haven"t read it (apparently I do spoiler-cuts for 30-year-old books nowCollapse )

I know that a core aspect of L’Engle’s faith is that God is kind and merciful. Which is a vision of God I’ve always liked, but it’s also a vision that involves tossing out most of the Old Testament. And that’s fine by me, because I’m not someone who thinks the Bible is some sort of incontrovertible history/biography of God. My understanding of God casts a wider net, draws from different traditions. But if that’s not how L’Engle’s faith works, fine, cool. What I don’t get is her taking on one of the cruelest stories in the Bible and then refusing to address its cruelty. Why would you choose to write about the flood if you’re not going to engage with the emotional and moral implications of the story?

I saw the movie Noah in the theater and was actually kind of impressed by it, though Lord knows it wasn’t perfect (rock monsters, srsly?). But it didn’t pull its punches too much in confronting the horror of God’s killing everybody on the planet except for half a dozen people, and Noah’s single-mindedness in refusing to question the morality of every dictate he (thinks) he’s hearing from God is an interesting and, I think, illuminating take on the story. It wasn’t a movie that I was super-impressed by in the theater, but I find myself still thinking about it months after I saw it, so I guess it was doing something right. And I think the something was its willingness to face all the aspects of the story of the flood, including the troubling ones, honestly and thoughtfully.

I’m curious as to whether anybody reading this has read Many Waters and what their (your) thoughts are on it. I thought it was surprisingly facile for a Madeleine L’Engle novel, which was disappointing. But maybe I’m missing something.

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

LJ Idol Week 8: "Yes, and"

May 8th, 2014 (07:51 pm)

LJ Idol Week 8
Topic: "Yes, and"
Keywords: dialogue, marital disharmony, hole-digging, fiction
Rating: R-rated for sexual references and a few incidences of Very Bad Language

Yes, andCollapse )

the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

(no subject)

May 7th, 2014 (01:01 pm)

Man, I am getting annoyed at Switched at Birth. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s an ABC Family show about, yes, two teenage girls who were switched at birth, and most people look at the title and network and assume it’s awful. I don’t blame them, either. But for its first few seasons it was the best take on disability issues that I’ve ever seen on television. One of the girls became Deaf when she was a toddler, and most of the show circles around that: the general difficulties of living in the world as a Deaf person and the reaction of her (privileged, ignorant) birth family to her Deafness, yes, but also explorations of Deaf pride/culture -- why some Deaf people choose not to have cochlear implants to become hearing, why some Deaf people are proud and happy to be Deaf, why some Deaf people would rather just live in a community of other Deaf people, why some Deaf people would not want to see hearing students being integrated into a Deaf school. Stuff like that. And the characters were well-drawn and the writing was sharp and smart and thoughtful, and all characters with disabilities are played by really great actors who also have those disabilities (MARLEE MATLIN, 4 REALZ), which, sadly, is pretty close to being a first on television*. (Think about Glee. I mean.) Whoever writes the show was clearly part of or at least very familiar with the Deaf community and very committed to presenting it accurately and intelligently. I was nuts about this show, and kept trying to talk it up every chance I got. I don’t think anyone I ever talked it up to actually started watching it, but I was trying!

Unfortunately, it seems like it’s a rare television show that can sustain high quality for long. (Ask me my thoughts on the last two seasons of Modern Family.) I mean, it hasn’t gotten *bad*, exactly. There’s still a lot that’s worth watching. But it’s drifting, and I’m sad. spoilersCollapse ) I don’t know. It’s still worth watching, I guess, but compared to the fantastic all-sign-language episode last season where spoilerCollapse ), it’s failing.

This entry presented to you by “I’m Bored at Work, Let Me Rant About Television” and the letter K.


*It isn’t just Deaf characters. They’ve got a kid in a wheelchair this season and they found a good actor for the role and are doing a nice job with that plotline.
**OK, not the stupidest thing ever. Grey’s Anatomy, frex, has done much, much stupider things. But it was bad.

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