This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
Episode Kobe twenty
Everything I can think to post sounds dumb. Anyway, cardinal rule of posting is to barrel on ahead.
On Wednesday night I woke up halfway through the night because my pinky was simultaneously numb and on fire. I was too out of it to figure out what was going on, but now I think I'd been sleeping with it pinched on the edge of my ipad. It's still numb in that one spot!
I am really sick of people having new ideas of things to do and implement. When do we ever scale back? When do conferences get phased out because maybe there are too many conferences? When do clubs and organizations get sunsetted? Why do people keep coming up with new things and just barrel on ahead with them, where even if you don't agree to help organize, it requires a bare amount of attention to keep from sabotaging their hard work because you're automatically roped into participating because of your child or your job? When does the finance sector and medical insurance industry get repurposed as public servants and substitute teachers?
I saw a little tik-tok where they asked librarians what book they wish they could read for the first time again, and it seemed like a good prompt. However, when I was trying to think of my own answer, I came up empty, and instead I drifted to the Cal III course I'm teaching this semester. I wish I could take Cal III all over again for the first time. In fact, I feel that way about a lot of my math classes.
On a different occasion, my aunt was telling me about a square-dancing class, which is a life-long hobby of hers, and I was noticing that I can't remember the last time I had to learn something in a classroom setting from an instructor. (Besides dumb work trainings.) It's been a long time since I've had to do that specific kind of communication, where you're simultaneously trying to learn and trying to decode what someone is saying imprecisely into what they might mean that would move you forward on the topic. Like, "What general things do experts care about that this one might they be trying to lead me towards by using that phrase?"
When I was 12 or 13 or so, at summer camp, we used to play a game called "If You Love Me Baby, Let Me See You Smile". In our version, the boys were sent to one side of the room and the girls to the other. If it was your turn, you selected someone of the opposite gender and went over to them. Your goal was to make them smile. You had three attempts to deliver that line, "If you love me, baby, let me see you smile," and you could do anything as long as you didn't say anything else. Each time, they had to respond "I love you, baby, but I just can't smile," without breaking a smile. If you lost the round, you had to approach the next person.
The game was so, so terrible, but also hilarious, exhilarating, and exciting. (I've always been someone who translates being uncomfortable into laughing hysterically.) After I mastered how to ham it up, and completely mask any actual romantic sentiments, I didn't fear the whole debacle so much. I imagine some kids found it torturous, though. This was a camp for academic nerds, with a low amount of bullying and teasing and a high tolerance for kids skipping out on activities, so it probably wasn't quite as bad as it could have been.
I recently remembered this in the course of a conversation with my own kids, who were reasonably horrified by the prospect. (We stopped to figure out how to update the game for 2020, and finally decided everyone should sit in a circle and you can approach anyone you want.)
The thing I'm a little stuck on is how the game came to the group. I strongly suspect an adult had us play the first time, but maybe it was another camper. Even then, it seemed old-fashioned, like the game where you pass an apple without using your hands, by tucking it under your chin. But it seems super anachronistic to have adults encouraging 6th and 7th graders to play an extremely suggestive, flirty game.
Mossy sends in this link, US Alleges 'Transnational Repression' Scheme Involving China's Secret Police
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice held a press conference to announce cases against five individuals charged with "stalking, harassing, and spying on U.S. residents on behalf of the PRC secret police." The five individuals - named as Fan "Frank" Liu, Matthew Ziburis, Shujun Wang, Qiming Lin, and Qiang "Jason" Sun - are alleged to have worked with China's Ministry of State Security - the civilian intelligence agency - to commit "transnational repression," attempting to silence individuals residing in the United States who were or are critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Three of the defendants have been arrested; Lin and Sun remain at large.
It goes into what each of them is accused of, which is interesting.