I guess my sketchy photography teacher just couldn't find a good publisher, like this guy. He did, in fact, write a novel about our relationship, which I never read because I only found out about it when I was 17, at the time things actually got sexual and I broke it off. (Not long after my birthday into the age of consent in DC; very thoughtful.) But it was all about how he had been in love with me from the first day he saw me in 8th grade. Did he burn the manuscript or is it sitting somewhere? His children, does he have girls? I think the author of the linked book is a shithead and his victim's feelings that she is being violated again by his book should be respected by not reviewing that shit in the NYRB or whatever, on moral principles. Part of the book is written in her voice?!!! God, I would want to kill him if that happened.
A song I find pretty and sweet. I think this should be reworked into a modern, indie version.
A thing I hate: brain teasers that taunt "5 year olds find this SOOO easy!" I saw two of these in the past five days. I really want to just ruin them for you. In one, the point was to identify the color of the font, rather than to read the word outloud. In the other, the point was to notice that they were separating capital letters formed with straight lines from those formed with curvy lines.
I can't stand the moralistic, ejected-from-Eden undertones, when of course kindergartners think about colors and forming their letters more than I do.
Here's another one, but I won't spoil it, but any five year old could figure it out! Why are you so stupid and uncreative?
What's the next row?
It's worth pointing out that Newt's position on immigration is not totally insane. Well, except this part:
English must be the official language of government.
What is it about the monoglots of the US who are forever tormented by availability of salsa in the grocery store and the option to marque dos para español?
Someone should definitely tell them that English is under no threat. Really. Lots of people really, desperately want to learn to speak it. It's rather quite a useful language to speak at this particular historical moment.
And tucking the "English as the official language" dog whistle in an otherwise sensible starting point for a conversation about immigration policy suggests to me that the Newter knows it's just fear mongering about the Other.
I was recently reminded that I own (in the sense that it's tucked away somewhere at my parents' house) a sword of Spanish origin, handed down to me by my step-grandfather-to-be, who passed away a few months before I was born.
It's a dress sword, with what look like rubies or some other stone. And I don't know what to do with it.
Should I get it assessed and consider selling it? Would that be crass?
If not, hang on to it? Start a sword collection, and Reebok-shoe collection to match?
Advise me, 'shafters.
Via Helpy-chalk, texts from Bennett is amazing.
Boy howdy, does this story manage to grate while being simultaneously informative:
"They put them out on a piece of paper on the desk right in front of me and I was like, whoa. It just seemed so fashionable to have kids in your 40s, these days," she says.
It is. The fastest-growing rates of childbearing are for those 40 and older. But Nail says she didn't realize until she started trying to conceive herself that many older moms struggled, enduring costly fertility treatments.
According to a recent poll, Nail is far from alone. The survey, funded by the bio-pharmaceutical company EMD Serono, finds women do realize fertility declines with age, but they dramatically underestimate by how much.
What's the chance a 30-year-old can get pregnant in one try? Many thought up to 80 percent, while in reality it's less than 30 percent. For a 40-year-old, many assumed up to a 40 percent success rate. It's actually less than 10 percent. And when you keep trying? The survey finds many think you can get pregnant more quickly than it actually happens. It also shows many women underestimate how successful fertility treatments are. Nail has now had six unsuccessful rounds of in vitro fertilization.
Huh. I hadn't realized the percentages were that low.
At the same time, that the story fails to mention, even in passing, the existence of other alternatives to Having One's Own Personal Genetic Scion (adoption! not having kids and being happy anyway!), is odd and frustrating.
I tried to learn "Rehab" today. That intro drum part is tricky!
Er, at least the way I've rendered it is. Which looks like this:
The writing at Cracked.com is annoying as shit. Sill, 7 Movies That Put Insane Work Into Details You Didn't Notice is a fun read.
More importantly, I bet the Unfogged hive mind have some less famous, truly great examples of this kind of thing.
Woman on the plane: We have a two-hour layover in Detroit, followed by a thirty minute flight to Indiana! Isn't that crazy? I just don't understand why they'd do it that way.
I spent way too long trying to figure out what exactly she was confused by, before throwing in the towel and assuming she was just speaking loosely.
Facebook status in my feed:
Tonight I asked [my kid] what she wanted for Christmas. This is her request: A pink truck, a candy cane, a small pink bowl, a princess skateboard and princess stickers. Could she ask for anything more random?
You won't be surprised to learn that I stared at this for a while trying to figure out what the hell she meant by 'random'.
Incredibly forthright personal account of a PhD student who has been faking it for a long, long time. Sometimes vague in places where I'd love some concrete details.
My diagnosis: in part, this is the curse of the important-but-not-urgent quality to research. He would probably do better in a context with more not-important-but-urgent tasks. The nice kind where you feel productive and nothing is terribly burdensome.
Girl Y has asthmatic bronchitis but was not held overnight; the whole ER experience took 1.5 hours and cost $85 including medicine (and would have included any X-rays or even MRI's!). Because FABIAN SOCIALISM!!1!!
I also have asthmatic bronchitis but I didn't feel well enough to go to the doctor today. I realize this is weak. I'll go tomorrow.
I am feeling 90% better, not thinking about killing myself alla time, generally improved, have gotten off the Team Robot roster, and in general good progress is being made. Which leads me to:
Physical pain is really far preferable to mental pain. A lot. A walk in the fucking park. I have a fever, and my back is badly hurt and radiating down my leg in a suspicious way I refuse to have looked at, and I can't breathe properly. Who the fuck cares?
I don't feel like someone shot me right in the chest and there is a giant fucking hole of not-me right at the center of me. All the edges around it decaying and crumbling, falling into the hole, all the crumbs of my spirit, all my love for my children, crackling and turning to stone and flaking down, bit by bit.
I know I'd change my tune if I got bone cancer, but on the whole I'd take feeling like I feel now plus 2 or 3 bamboo slivers under the finger per day to perfect health and how I felt six days ago.
OK, not being able to breathe properly is pretty lame. It always makes you have bad dreams about being smothered by the sheer weight of a mob of zombies, too frenzied to work together, failing even to bite you in the cold scrum, just pushing you down to the bottom. So, yeah, not the greatest. But where do I sign? Hook me UP with some of that smothering, just as long as you take that other feeling away that you will do anything to stop. Anything anything anything.
UPDATED UPDATE: Should I just start myself on the predator (i.e. predisone)? The doctor will do it tomorrow anyway, and I can't breathe for shit. You can only hit that inhaler so many times. But it's supposed to start with a WHAM big dose and taper. I eat 60mg at this time of night and I ain't never going to sleep. Fuck it. 30mg and some valium. Titration, people. Bearable living through chemistry.
I saw this story on the American Samoan soccer team qualifying for the World Cup a few days ago, but forgot about it until I saw it again at Wissewords. On a side issue, I have no idea how American Samoa can be in the World Cup, given that it isn't a country -- someone who understands soccer should explain what sorts of things are qualified to have World Cup soccer teams.
But the neat bit of the story is that the team has the first transgender (well, fa'afafine, which from a US perspective is basically transgender) player in world-class soccer, Jayiah Salelua. She's an XY woman playing on a men's team, which makes perfect sense given that (I'm guessing, from what I know of Samoa) she probably hasn't used any medical support for her transition (there must have been a better way to say that, but you know what I mean).
And the cool thing is that while I can see that it's a huge first for transgender athletes, in a Samoan context it really isn't much of a big thing; transgender simply isn't a weird, freak-people-out status there, the way people react to it in most of the US. So much of the dialogue around trans issues here seems to be about respecting the fact that straight cis people are inevitably going to be viscerally disturbed by trans people, and that they need to be gently educated to get past that natural, ingrained reaction. It's nice having an international story that gives a little publicity to the fact that there are entire countries where no one is putting a huge effort into being tolerant of trans people, it's just an ordinary way to be; if you are, you are, and if you're not, it's not really your problem.
This post by Brian Tamanaha at Balkinization says that fewer people are taking the LSAT, and fewer people who do take the test are going on to law school. The post uses the words ominous, problematic, serious, and alarming.
My mildly belligerent response: So what? The world is hardly suffering from a lack of lawyers; the debt burden taken on by law school graduates is substantial and represents a monumental opportunity cost; and it's entirely likely that people who would have gone to law school 10 years ago are going to do something as valuable or more so with their lives now.
Of course, there are some potential negative consequences. For one, if enough people fail to go to law school, some law schools may eventually go out of business. Losing your job is no fun, although I tend to assume that even administrative workers in a law school have more alternative careers open to them than people in other types of jobs.
Then again, my own prejudices are on this topic are pretty highly developed. So I'm prepared to believe I've got equally strong blind spots. What am I missing?
To be fair, Tamanaha is only using those ominous words in the context of whether or not law schools should be scared. He's not talking about whether or not society as a whole should be scared of these trends. In a link from the link, he places the downward trend of applicants in context of the oversupply of lawyers, which is the right context to think about what's in the best interests of the young, sleazy whippersnappers.
Me: "You guys denied benefits, and it says 'either the patient could not be identified, or was not eligible for benefits' on the bill I got. The bill does have my son's last name misspelled - is that the problem?"
Them: What was the date of service?
Me: November 2nd.
Them: We do not show any record of a benefit for your son on that date.
Me: If I give you the misspelling, can you look up if there was a denied benefit under that name?
Them: No, our computer does not store information of denied benefits if we can't identify the patient.
Me: But you had his member ID number and group number, and my name (spelled correctly).
Them: But if we can't identify the individual, we can't store the information, and so if that's what happened, then we don't have a record of it.
Of course you don't. Fuck you, Principal Financial/Primary PhysicianCare. (Easily resolved - the lab will re-bill them with the right name. The point is the 'fuck you'.)
You know this "Facebook: you're not the consumer, you're the product" and this giant swirling behind-the-scenes data collection and acres of spreadsheets, from Amazon and Google and Facebook and all the rest, being resold to companies, and on and on and on?
I have no concrete information, but all that must be a giant economic bubble. There's no way that all that data and money and targeting is all paying off in increased consumer sales. I would believe it could help little niche Etsy shops, but they can't afford it. Or they can probably afford a small bit of it, but not on the scale that's actually supporting all the data collection companies. It must be driven by the huge, well-known stores, and it must be on the premise that it will pay off in the future, and it's a bubble that is not going to pan out.
The question came up tonight: who's my favorite U.S. president? Jimmy Carter.
He gave the Panama Canal back to Panama early, because, hey, we're nice.
Americans viewed him as weak in the forthcoming election.
I have a sweet poster and everything.
Still haven't bought those Doc Martens or anything else in that category, but some recurring knee pain prompted me to get new running shoes. I'd put over a year of use on the old ones. The new ones are the bomb. I endorse them enthusiastically.
It is hard to know what is most infuriating in this story, though the 17-year-old who states that cheating is "almost not wrong" because it's "any way you that you can get an advantage" is likely to place well.