kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
[personal profile] kaberett
The Red Turtle is a collaboration between Studio Ghibli and Oscar-winning British-Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit. Having premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, it's had a general release in the UK this week. [personal profile] me_and spotted a poster in one of our local stations; I've just started showing him the Studio Ghibli back catalogue; he suggested going. (It's Ghibli! It's turtles! These seemed like good things.)

The Guardian, in one of many rapturous reviews, says:
Suffice to say that the official one-line synopsis of The Red Turtle – "the milestones in the life of a human being" – rings entirely true; the cycle of birth, death and rebirth is expressed with piercing clarity.


... which is sort of accurate, but very telling about expected audiences, and reviewers, and... everyone involved in the thing.

'ware spoilers! )

To be clear, I'm glad that I saw it: I loved the animals and the textures and the ways in which one got to know the small island; I loved the atmosphere and the great sweeping shots of tiny people against a vast expanse of sea and sky; I loved the detail of the glass bottle that washed up on the shore, echoing a much earlier barrel.

I just really wish that it didn't, in framing itself as universal, once again write the experiences of anyone who's not a factory-default man completely out of the story.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
Prompted by having received an utterly anodyne response from the party that completely ignored all of the actual issues I raised.

So, with content notes for transmisogyny and transmisogynist violence, here's the very brief summary of why -- regardless of party leadership's opinion on that matter -- that poster is Not Okay. (Yes, I have explained this in painstaking detail in reply to the e-mail from the party.)

Read more... )

(no subject)

May. 28th, 2017 01:16 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy posting in [community profile] nuggan
Verily, pen-lids that look secure but secretly loosen themselves in your bag, bring about a plague of inkstains are an abomination unto Nuggan

Tweezed!

May. 28th, 2017 12:31 am
musyc: Ramses from "Ten Commandments" movie, looking annoyed, captioned "Oh, I am not pleased" (Other: Ramses unpleased)
[personal profile] musyc posting in [community profile] nuggan
A tiny little hair that is still one day away from being long enough to tweeze is an Abomination Unto Nuggan. And also painful.

Costs of rail privatisation

May. 23rd, 2017 06:21 pm
damerell: (trains)
[personal profile] damerell
I've been meaning to write this for a while, but I just got blocked on Twitter by the editor of Rail magazine for pointing it out (!), so now seems like a good time. If there is some reason I am laughably wrong, now's the time to point it out.

Fairly often, when renationalisation of the railways is discussed, a neat little pie chart turns up showing some small percentage of income goes on TOC profits (here is an example: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/images/structure/css/fact-about-fare-2014.jpg - this one discusses fare income, but as far as I can make out from http://www.orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/24149/uk-rail-industry-financial-information-2015-16.pdf today's figure of 1.9% does reflect the distribution of all income. I don't know why Network Rail can't replace their pie chart with one based on more recent figures...)

As far as I know this is true, but what pops up next is the assertion that only that small percentage is to be saved by renationalising the railways. That seems to be totally untrue, as a bit of a peek at the other slices of the pie chart will reveal.

First of all, there's a much bigger chunk (11% in 2014, 7% now) marked "leasing trains". Do the rolling stock companies (ROSCOs), which were of course created out of British Rail, make a profit? You bet they do. Their surplus is about 20%, so there's another 1.4% right there.

Secondly, there's "interest payments and other costs". There was a bit here about how the TOCs are probably hiding some profits via (say) borrowing money from associated companies in countries with less corporation tax, but as far as I can make out all the interest payments are made by Network Rail. There is a pretence that Network Rail is not just a bit of the government, and that compels it to borrow money at a higher interest rate than the government would.

(However, the ROSCOs may well be posting an artificially low surplus, either through such tax avoidance or via the private equity practice of buying an asset with a loan secured on that asset. That would represent yet more profit that doesn't show up on the pie chart.)

Then we have staffing costs (25% of the pie chart). Fragmenting the railway has added untold layers of bureaucracy; the ROSCOs have staff to deal with leasing the trains to the TOCs and the TOCs have staff to deal with leasing the trains from the ROSCOs. The TOCs have staff to deal with Network Rail and Network Rail has staff to deal with the TOCs - a lot, because a train cannot simply be delayed now without a careful apportioning of the costs arising from that delay. A vast management tree is essentially duplicated across 20-odd TOCs (yes, it would be a bit bigger in a company the size of BR, but there wouldn't be 20 of it). It's hard to obtain any decent estimate of this (I would be intrigued to see figures on the relative number of officebound staff employed by BR and the current system, but I suspect they are well hidden) but it's hard to suppose it's too small a proportion of that 25% to show up.

So I think two things are true; the proportion of the railways' income that is lost to the structures of privatisation certainly is not 1.9% - it must be at least as high as 3.3% if we add the ROSCOs' profits in - and there is every reason to suppose it is considerably higher, even if it is hard to know exactly how much.

A thing I had not previously realised

May. 23rd, 2017 04:13 pm
kaberett: Lin Beifong crying (lin-tear)
[personal profile] kaberett
You know the way tear are an excretionary mechanism for Nope Too Much Of That Emotion Let's Have Less Of It? No, they really are, maybe: emotional tears contain more misc hormonal wossnames. Have an art project!

Newly local characters

May. 22nd, 2017 03:13 pm
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (Tacoma)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Once I move at the beginning of June, there will be a new local set of people.


Me: y'all know me. Lunatic, infovore. Gender: no thank you. Pronoun set: plural-they.

Partner: a witty, kind geekfolk, fascinated by books and shows and links and sports and hardware and eking every last ounce of usefulness out of old gear. I have known them for about 10 years at this point. Infovore. Gender: has a lot of oppressive constructs which should be BURNED THE FUCK DOWN while not endangering the vulnerable folks who depend on some of its supportive ones. Pronoun set: anonymous-they.

Metamour: has been seeing my partner since February-ish. Met them over a game of CAH; knew they had to be friends when they had pretty much the same answer. Witty, beautiful. Likes baking. Gender: woman. Pronoun set: she/her.

Tay-Tay: my younger (biological) sister, and soon to be my roommate. I say she is my "baby" sister but she's actually a year older than my partner. Violinist and general ball of energy. Short and tiny; I can kind of lift her in one arm so she can be on eye level with my partner. Gender: probably woman-ish and she likes kicking over gender norms and dancing on top. Pronoun set: she/her.

The Kitten: a small, loud, grey indoor lap cat who loves my partner and will punch people who try to pet her without her permission. Previous owners declawed her. She is food-insecure, and cannot be left to free-feed. She's antisocial to other cats. She does not like Master Jerkface very much at all. She is most often found perched on the back of my partner's desk chair and getting hair on their jacket, on my partner's lap with her tail in their face demanding to be petted, or on top of them when they're asleep.

Master Jerkface (and other equally unflattering nicknames): the abusive ex of my beloved partner. I hope to not meet them. Gender: they have one. Pronoun set: as used here, anonymous-they.

The Man-Child: Tay's boyfriend, who I didn't hear about in the context of a Relationship until September 2016, literally as I was coming back from the Oakland radiation oncology department. Musician, outdoorsy hiker type. A few decades too old for man-childishness to be excused. Gender: man, probably. Pronoun set: he/him.


Team Partner: a bunch of people who came together to help my partner in their hour of need. They include:

an old internet friend of mine who reads the Vorkosigan books
their wife
a friend of theirs

The first hosts: one of my partner's former co-workers who went into tech and her husband

The second hosts: another co-worker-ish person and her husband


Assorted now-local friends of mine include:

Mr. Zune: a former co-worker from Virtual Hammer who is now at the SEA-TAC outpost as his career was portable
Mr. Zune's Girlfriend: got a dream job in the Seattle area

[livejournal.com profile] tygerr: an old friend and Listee
[livejournal.com profile] tygerr's wife: an excellent and fun geek lady

Carnelian: a friend of mine from the late 90s; we had various different paths in life but now we're talking again and comparing notes.
Terezi: Carnelian's daughter, who infamously needed two stacked baby gates to keep her contained as a toddler. Now a proud teenage tumblr bb. (I haven't seen her in Many Years, but I'm likely to run into her more often now.)

Various #dw, #dw_kvetch, and #lj_s folk!!!

Goodbye, Virtual Hammer.

May. 20th, 2017 05:38 pm
azurelunatic: Blue-iced cupcake with sprinkles.  (cupcake)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Friday was more boxes. Putting olives and pineapple and a few other things in a sturdy box half-filled it, but it was already heavy enough. I made up the rest of the space with dry noodle soup cups: not easily crushed, but hella light.

It was beer bash day at Virtual Hammer, and my last one. My former manager's last day had been the week before (onward and upward). I was skeptical of the food choices, as the theme was "pizza party", and I was aware of what the "catering pizza" was like.

By 2pm, when the maintenance guy hadn't shown up for the pre-departure inspection, I called the office. I didn't want to miss beer bash. He came through at 2:45. No major issues, and maybe X place would be good for the moving pod, but it was a hard problem. (In this case, "major issues" is holes in walls, destroyed appliances, etc. I am sure there will be "minor issues".)

I headed for beer bash, slightly melancholy. (My partner urged me to try for not too much sadness.) I chatted with Nora, of course. I walked briskly up the path, but paused at the duck pond to take a few last pictures.

The duck pond at Virtual Hammer, glowing in the sunlight (with a certain amount of algae bloom).

Purple called just about then, as he was about a hundred meters behind me and wanted to catch up. He had a new-ish teammate with him, someone of a delightfully compatible sense of humor.

We grabbed some pizza (fortunately, there was sufficient pepperoni pizza, as the veggie pizza was laced with bell pepper), and contemplated the desserts.

1) Streusel pizza, an uninspiring-looking cinnamon-sugar crumb on something flat and pale.
2) Brownie pizza, with toasted mini marshmallows and peanut butter cups.
3) Popcorn with some red coating on it; this would prove to be mostly spicy.
4) Cookie pizza, chocolate chip with frosting, coconut shreds, and walnuts on top.

#1 looked like a waste of carbohydrate. #3 looked like not-dessert (and upon tasting, was indeed not-dessert).
I texted my partner with the descriptions of #2 and #4, and got back some incredulous punctuation. I loathe peanut butter, and have an oral hypersensitivity reaction to walnuts. (It burns and the lining of my mouth peels off. It's great.) My partner has complementary reactions: oral hypersensitivity to peanuts, and loathes walnuts.

Purple and his teammate and I had a lovely time in one of the tucked-away back tables. There was a lovely view out the windows. We talked about squirrels (Purple's noticed that modern squirrels know how to freeze and duck for cars), bees (Purple's childhood home had a prodigious amount of comb removed from a wall), the nature of "Netflix and Chill", and other such things.

Eventually, Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly called, and we figured out dinner. I spotted the cute receptionist across the upper quad, and said goodbye. We wandered back down to the lower quad, and Purple wrapped up. I dropped some spare buttons from the 2015 department conference, because I didn't really need that many as keepsakes, and someone at work might think they were cool.

We headed off for dinner. Goodbye, campus in the hills. You were beautiful, and I met so many lovely people there. Perhaps I'll visit again someday.

Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly had been delayed in leaving for dinner, because as she was heading out, there was a machine overheating, so she'd had to spray the fans with compressed air and such. I was careful to avoid "blowing" jokes at first. The restaurant had the air conditioning cranked up high, which had likely been appropriate in the heat of the day, but was less and less appropriate as the air cooled. I put on my jacket. Purple ran out to his car to grab his button-down shirt.

The on-table tablet thing behaved itself this time, by which I mean Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly was able to look at the drinks menu and pick out something, and then we were able to aim it away from us without it blinking. I got a sip of Purple's drink, which was just about the right amount. (Two would have been an okay amount too, but it was a little sour for me.)

Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly has picked up a new online game, where she is now known as "Finger." Most of the obvious jokes were less made than they were implied. She observed that it's very important to not (as someone had) leave the punctuation out of the greeting "Finger, my friend!" What happened was that she'd joined the game and picked a nickname; some dick had immediately taken offense to her basic existence. She'd argued that this was the internet, perhaps she didn't exist at all! Perhaps she was just a disembodied finger, typing. And thus her new name.

Purple walked me to my car. We chatted about this and that, and the move. I'll be fine. I tend to pre-react, rather than post-react. (Purple post-reacts.) My partner and I have good communications. I'll be sad to leave California, but not heartbroken like I was about leaving Darkside.

We set the date and time for our last dinner: Tuesday night, in the hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean place where they treat us like family. I'll want to say goodbye there, too.

The language of apology

May. 20th, 2017 04:10 pm
azurelunatic: A baji-naji symbol.  (baji-naji)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I started contemplating the components that make up an effective apology to me. There are the "five apology languages", which are siblings of the "five love languages", or something. That's interesting, but it isn't quite what I'm looking for.

What am I looking for?

a) Acknowledgment of the effect, and regret. (Regret is one of the apology languages.) Something happened and I was hurt; in an intimate and trustworthy relationship, I want them to know how I was hurt, and why it was hurtful. (Late to an event, hurt feelings, stubbed toe, irritated, etc.) Since they need to care for my well-being, I feel that it's appropriate that they regret my well-being was affected.
(In an untrustworthy relationship, giving them more information on how they have hurt me just gives them ammunition to hurt me further. If you find in your life that there are people where you don't want to let them know that you are hurt or how, contemplate your options for reducing those people's access to you.)

b) Root-cause analysis. What are the factors that led to this happening? Some are the responsibility of the person. (Accepting responsibility is one of the apology languages.) Sometimes there are factors that are nobody's responsibility, or are the responsibility of entities who are in no position to have things changed as a result of the incident. (A terrible day at the DMV is not likely to be solved by anyone saying "Hey, this was terrible.")

c) Making restitution, if appropriate. (Making restitution is one of the apology languages.) A date can often be rescheduled. Doing something nice and out of the ordinary is a mood-lifter. Fixing or replacing the broken thing. Sometimes there isn't really anything that can be done to make it better, and that probably should be acknowledged.

d) Failure prevention. (In the listed apology languages, "genuinely repenting" seems to fit this the closest.) With root-cause analysis and knowledge of the effects, we can use those to plan to avoid circumstances where this comes up again, and make a plan for mitigating the effects if it does come up again.


In my present primary relationship, my partner always genuinely regrets the hurt. They don't always understand why it was hurtful, so that portion often involves a lot of discussion. (And I can contribute to things going better by being more flexible in when and how that discussion happens.) The root cause often involves things that have grown out of traumatic experiences and situations in our past, which is ... fun. Restitution hasn't been a huge factor.

Root cause analysis and failure prevention tend to slide together, even though I have them listed as separate steps. It's at the failure prevention step where, like magic, I start calming down and feeling incredibly secure and loved. Since some of the factors involve trauma, the failure prevention often involves the slow process of healing (with and without the assistance of professionals), and my understanding and forgiveness of those things.

We're learning how to fight well and safely, and I love them so much.

a tumblr grouch

May. 20th, 2017 08:37 pm
kaberett: Photo of a cassowary with head tilted to one side (cassowary)
[personal profile] kaberett
is there a current way to get it to disgorge a list of all the tags you've ever used? I'm running searches but not managing to turn up anything relevant to the current site layout.

Understanding St Paul

May. 19th, 2017 02:06 pm
wildeabandon: crucifix necklace on a purple background (religion)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
I recently read “Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle” by Karen Armstrong on [personal profile] angelofthenorth’s recommendation, followed by a reread of Meeting God in Paul by Rowan Williams for comparison. Both were good, and left me with a deeper understanding of Paul’s writings, as well as of the context which surrounded it. I felt as though I got more out of the Williams, but that was more because the thing that it was doing was of more interest to me personally, than because it was a better book in general. To me the most marked difference between the two books is that the Armstrong felt like a history book with theological implications, whereas the Williams (based, as it was, on three sermons) was a theology book with historical underpinnings.

One thread that was common to both books was the emphasis on how radical Paul’s teachings were. He often gets characterised as a fuddy duddy conservative, misogynist and homophobic, corrupting Jesus’ message and making it more acceptable to the traditionalists at the time, but actually, in the context of the hierarchical worlds of the Roman Empire and the Jewish religious authorities, his proclamation in Galatians that “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female -- for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” would have been ground-breaking. Similarly, in Corinthians, where he says “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does”, this was just common wisdom at the time, but to follow it as he does with “and in the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” would have been shockingly egalitarian. The whole letter to Philemon, in which he exhorts his friend to take his disgraced runaway slave back into his household, but as an equal, was turning the established order of things on its head. The question of how we square this with some other verses where he seems more sexist or pro-slavery is a difficult one, and Williams notes but doesn’t address it. Armstrong makes an argument that some of the other verses were later additions by another writer, and I don’t have sufficient knowledge to assess its robustness.

Both books are short and engagingly written, and both were improved by reading the other at a similar time.

Moving!

May. 18th, 2017 07:43 pm
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (Tacoma)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
So as I alluded to in passing, I'm moving.

My departure from the Bay Area is May 31st.

The moving pod(s) will be with me from sometime May 26 through sometime May 31st.

I am driving to Tacoma with some of the stuff that's too delicate or otherwise unsuitable to be trusted to a pod. (Alcohol in the trunk. My computer. Stuff I'll need to survive for a week or so without things from the pod. The ancestral tea set from Dad's mom's side of the family, eventually destined for Ev. The box with the paper volumes of my journal.) The drive often takes two days; it's possible that I may accomplish it in one go, though I haven't yet driven it. (I did the Phoenix/SF drive in two days the first time, and one day on the two subsequent trips.)

The plan for Tacoma is:
* some sort of long-term pre-payable hotel for the first ~month, keeping in mind that I'll be off at Open Source Bridge for part of that, too
* two specific call centers to apply to
* look for a ~year lease
* look for a better job

Oh yes, and: see my partner and metamour on a regular basis.

This is earlier than I thought I'd be going, but it was suddenly time.

My world is boxes. Company would be welcome but is not necessary, and the number of sitting surfaces in here is drastically lower than usual.

ten good things

May. 18th, 2017 11:00 pm
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. Food. )

2. I received a quotation for the wheelchair repairs currently ongoing; they're somewhere under half of what I was bracing myself for, which is a great relief.

3. Excellent lunch with a good friend in a small friendly deli in South London. I was particularly intrigued by (but alas did not sample) the tiny gluten-free strawberry-and-elderflower cheesecake.

4. The trip to and from same: a beautiful cherry-blossom mural on a building's front wall; a garden riotous with poppies somewhere between bud and full bloom; irises and weird little fuzzy orange things and colours everywhere.

5. Physio, on the train to and from, and reading books with it: still working on Hope In The Dark, but I'm about halfway through now and then I'll move on to Hugo reading.

6. I dyed A's hair again last night, and am pleased with the result. (It is all-over red, because red seems to wash out of his hair more quickly than blue, in the interests of i. checking whether the new red is actually a red and ii. getting it to a state where I can actually try putting a rainbow in it with minimal rebleaching of previously-bleached hair. In fact, because this means I put a lot of red on over blue, he's got what is in essence a red-into-deep-purple ombre going on, with a darker red layer on top and a lighter red layer underneath.)

7. I am delighted by the conversation that's going on in comments over at the enchilada recipe. Thank you, folk, I keep cackling with delight. <3

8. Academia. )

9. I am continuing to sincerely enjoy Pokemon Go.

10. Chelsea Manning.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
On Tuesday I turned 27; [personal profile] me_and got me a set of lockpicks and a practice padlock, and took me to Ottolenghi Spitalfields for dinner.

The morning of, they called A to confirm the booking -- and, he tells me, followed up with "... and there's a note about a wheelchair in the booking...?" So, naturally, he braced, and was very pleasantly surprised when what they actually wanted to say was "... we've got a folding ramp and we can get it out for you."

We arrived. "Just one moment," said front-of-house, and went to get the ramp. They did not try to grab me as I was going up it. "Through this way," they said, and showed us to a table for two that was easy for me to get to, adjacent a wall neatly out of the way of everyone's path, with the sensible chair already removed for me to just slot in.

This is much better than even fancy restaurants normally manage; I was -- we were! -- impressed.

Also, they fed us really very well.

Read more... )

... and then, after a little extra faff involving buying one of the cookbooks, they got the ramp back out and held the doors open and cheerfully let me back out into the outside world, with some commiseration about the part where it had started drizzling gently. However, as I said to A, while it might not have been the best kind of rain it was definitely in my top five, so I was absolutely fine with that.

I had a lovely evening and was delighted; A has, as mentioned, been before and been a fan, so I rather suspect more visits are (however sporadically!) in our future.


Unrelated (except insofar as it's about food, and specifically pistachio cake): someone I know tweaked last month's Smitten Kitchen pistachio loaf cake recipe to include blackberries and lemon.

Calvary

May. 18th, 2017 10:12 pm
emperor: (Default)
[personal profile] emperor
I'm rubbish at films. I read a review or see a trailer or somesuch, and think "Oh, I should go to see that". But then somehow I never quite get round to it, and then the film's no longer on. One such film was Calvary, which I imagine I saw reviewed in the Church Times or similar. This evening, idly browsing iplayer, I saw it was available (for another 11 days at the time of writing), so thought I'd watch it.

It's a very good film, but deals with a number of difficult themes (clerical abuse, guilt, suicide, sin, forgiveness). The main character, Father James, is a priest as real person rather than the stereotypes that priests in fiction often are, and that makes him believable as well as sympathetic. He's trying to live out his vocation and make sense of it in difficult circumstances. It's a very witty film, as well, quite sharply observed in places, with a number of lines that feel like they're commenting on the film itself.

90 minutes feels quite short for a film these days, and you might find yourself wishing there was more of this film. Well worth your time, but not easy watching.

Worldcon travel

May. 17th, 2017 11:07 pm
damerell: NetHack. (Default)
[personal profile] damerell
I've finally got around to looking at travel for the Worldcon. What I wrote here before is moot because it turns out the Travemünde-Helsinki ferry is much cheaper than I expected (you can get a berth in a cabin with 3 strangers), so I'm taking that.

[food] White folk enchilada

May. 17th, 2017 08:34 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
... by request of [personal profile] sebastienne. I haven't written this one up because it basically arose from me pointing out to an ex-housemate that it was fine that we were out of spice mix, we did in fact have all the components and could recombine things ourselves adjusted to taste.

Read more... )
kaberett: Photo of a cassowary with head tilted to one side (cassowary)
[personal profile] kaberett
Shut The Fuck Up, Marvel:
"Shut The Fuck Up, Marvel" is a nearly 30k long essay, a spiritual sequel to The Problems With Comics, a deep dive into the true issues with Marvel's economics and business - and how an obsession with short term profit, the constant renumbering and relaunches and events, all compounded by a complete inability to understand basic marketing techniques or outside audiences, has absolutely destroyed the sales stability of many of their former best selling books, all as they condescend to those who criticize them on their stories, or on how they try to sell comics.


Marvel's Secret Empire kicks off by doubling down on Captain America's Nazi past.

(no subject)

May. 15th, 2017 09:54 pm
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)
[personal profile] musyc posting in [community profile] nuggan
Sourdough pretzels are an abomination unto Nuggan! (Because they are too hard for me to eat properly. Otherwise, they are a blessing.)