vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
For those who might not have heard.

Controversial Australian Border Force visa checks, Operation Fortitude cancelled

Shit got very scary.

That public operation was cancelled after protesters flooded the CBD and the ABF officers were penned in Flinders Street Station and couldn't get out because there were so many protesters around them, but this isn't over.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
If something is a normal, natural process, a thing that everybody does/has (or that half the population does/has) then it's possible for it to go wrong (or to have natural variations on how it works that are not wrong, just different; but in addition to those variations, sometimes things plain go wrong,) and it's possible for people to need specialised treatments, interventions, or treatments to manage it.

Any system or function of the body. Any.

Everyone breathes. That's a normal, natural process, and we don't need any special woo-woo pseudoscientific interventions like lessons on how to breathe or equipment to help us do it, people have been doing it since before there were people, so stop pathologising this perfectly ordinary thing that everyone's body does correctly anyway if you just don't mess with it...

Excuse me, the phone just rang. It's people with asthma, cystic fibrosis, and a whole bunch of other respiratory problems. Turns out it's possible for breathing to go wrong. Just because it's meant to work a certain way, just because it's necessary to our survival for us to work that way, doesn't mean it always works that way.

Menstruation is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Reproduction is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Eating is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Hydration is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Pooping is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Your body's natural detoxification systems are normal and natural and can go wrong (and if they do, a macrobiotic diet is not going to save you.)

Sleeping is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Getting through stressful or dangerous situations and then readjusting to safety is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Childhood development is normal and natural and can go wrong.

I could go on, but I hope I've made my point.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading Ann Leckie's paragraph by paragraph posts of Ancillary Mercy AND SCREAMING. (That's not a spoiler, is it? I mean, I didn't say if it was good screaming or bad screaming or "is this bit where the Kalrs repaint Ship and we get a minute by minute account of how Breq watches the paint dry going to be an important plot point or...?" screaming.)

And then (today, Tuesday 18/08) the thing she sent me arrived. The first three chapters of Ancillary Mercy, along with a Mercy of Kalr lanyard, a bookplate, and two badges (Awn Elming and Dlique), because she is amazing and generous.

So I read that, and I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT ALL NOW, but spoilers. Also I want to read the rest, and may or may not be printing out a paper calendar so I can cross off every day until it comes out.

Non-Ancillary Mercy reading:

Finished reading the atevi soap opera. No, that's not fair. The atevi machimi. (For those who haven't read it: CJ Cherryh's Foreigner. Atevi are the aliens, machimi is their historical revenge drama TV series.) Will read the rest of them, eventually, while grumbling at myself for starting a 16-book series with my TBR pile/list in the state it's in.

Things that did not happen that I expected/hoped to have happen:
a) it turns out Barb betrayed Bren to the atevi bad guys, because she's tired of only existing to him as a booty call.
b) Bren, or anyone, recollects that human anthropologists and neurologists and zoologists have been wrong before about determining what emotions or cognition a given group of animals or people are capable of having, based on their anatomy and physiology. Like, a lot.
c) Bren's computer is simply too wet and battered to use.

Realised just last week why I keep thinking that the island of Mospheira has something to do with flies. My brain is merging the Spanish word "mosca" with the Australian fly spray Mortein.

Returned Fluent in 3 Months and Carpenteria to the library unfinished. I may or may not try again later, but they were overdue and now is not the time.

Picked Margery Kempe up again. Crying to follow.

Started S. Bear Bergman's Butch is a Noun. Found the first piece, about what butch is and is not, very uncomfortable reading. It was meant to be: it's about the ways we identity-police each other. But I felt more out than in, was reminded more and more that most people looking at me at the supermarket aren't going to see a genderqueer butch, they're going to see a frumpy woman who's not trying hard enough and must have some self-esteem issues to have let herself go like that. :(

Picked up Les Mis again. HAVE FINALLY FINISHED FANTINE, THANK YOU $DEITY. And now for a lengthy infodump about Waterloo. (I actually like that sort of thing, when my brain's working well enough for it. I am the kind of sicko who read Moby Dick and enjoyed the infodumps.) (n.b. not holding my breath or counting my chickens yet, but the new medication may be starting to work: my brain was working well enough for Les Mis this week.)

Read 'The Nalendar' by Ann Leckie while I was waiting for more Ancillary Mercy. Spent probably more time than I should have trying to work out how to pronounce the protagonist's name. Liked the story anyway. :D


A non-zero number of Foreigner fics. As many as looked like they wouldn't spoiler me for the later books. I misjudged that, but it's okay. n.b. Yes, there is Foreigner fic. Some. Also Chanur and Cyteen. I may investigate the Cyteen stuff later.

Also some Last Herald-Mage fics. There's something very pleasantly nostalgic about reading fanfic written in a good imitation of Mercedes Lackey's style.


Succumbed to peer pressure and started Mass Effect. So far have only played as far as almost to the end of the first mission. Is there a way to pause this thing during cutscenes? For disability related reasons, I would like to be able to bail whenever I need to, no matter what is happening onscreen. On one occasion I was about to approach this guy and I knew there'd be a cutscene so I got up to go pee before starting the dialogue, and just as I reached the door, the fucking dialogue started without me clicking anything. Rude.

Also why is the "get out your weapon" button right next to the "go forward" button? Yeah, I know that is a completely standard layout for modern computer games, but my video game ability peaked with NES Classic sidescrollers. I shot the console next to one of the guys I had to talk to. Thankfully, the game didn't acknowledge this in any way.

I'm playing Jane Shepard, born in space, joined the military as an adept, woobie backstory. I'm playing her as mostly neutral with a bit of angry. She is brown and scarred and has a very male gazey body that unfortunately I couldn't modify to be any less so.

I would like it if Ashley didn't snap at me every time I accidentally pressed E instead of W and engaged her in conversation during a firefight when all I meant to do was walk forward.

It'll get better when I get better at third-person shooters. This will come in time, probably.


First tulip bloomed. Second tulip budded.

visual evidence )
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
an electronic billboard, blue background, words say 'this ad wants to know you're ok

And I see it a lot, since there's one at my local supermarket.

It is everything I hate worst about the "RU OK?" campaign.

It doesn't want to know if I'm not okay. It doesn't want to listen to my answer at all. It wouldn't know what to do with the truth. It doesn't, can't, engage with the complicated facts of access to mental health care in this country (this Robot Hugs comic, 'Access', does a good job of outlining why it's not okay to tell someone to "just go see a therapist already") and is certainly not doing anything to make that any better.

It doesn't want to uplift the voices of people with mental illnesses, just to encourage uninformed strangers and acquaintances to try to drag confidences out of them in the name of "being a part of the health system" (the broken one I mentioned before, and our government is trying to break it further.)

It expects gratitude and credit for asking the question, even if it didn't help at all by asking, even if it wasn't wanted. (The smaller print on this billboard says "Outdoor advertising supports great causes like Beyond Blue & RU OK? Day." In other words, they donated advertising space to remind people of the campaign's existence, what more do you want?)

It (the campaign, not the billboard) tells non-mentally-ill people "inspiring" stories, primes them to believe that they are Making a Difference and that their poor, benighted friends will thank them for asking, or that if they don't, that's a problem with the friend, not with their approach. It took money from a company that is actively working to make people less okay.

Above all, it doesn't want to ask mentally ill people what sort of help and support we need and want, and listen to the answer.

It's "raising awareness" in the emptiest, most superficially feelgood way possible, and I want to smash it with a hammer while singing My Chemical Romance's 'I'm Not Okay'.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
For the past three weeks.


Started listening to Alexis Wright's Carpenteria on audiobook in the car. It started out lyrical, and got upsetting very quickly. Unsurprisingly so.

Still reading CJ Cherryh's Foreigner. The main character first appears on page 66. AFAIK none of the characters mentioned up until that page appear ever again. It got good fast once the protagonist actually appeared, though.

And then I looked at Cherryh's wikipedia page and found that it's the first of an unfinished series of which 16 books are already in print (the most recent one three months ago.) Why did I not check this before embarking? IDEK. I was stupid. And reckless. (I've read two other Cherryh novels before this: Cyteen, which I liked a lot, and The Pride of Chanur, which I didn't click with.)

I am having trouble with Malguri, in that it keeps making me think of Malgudi. Wrong genre!

Ilisidi is awesometerrifying. She has a murder pony named Babs. The murder pony is a macheita, which is a large, alien quadruped with sharp tusks. Babs is short for Babsidi, which means Lethal. Not that I don't like Bren, but I would prefer this book to be all about the adventures and political disappointments of Ilsidi and Babs the murder pony.


Reread Bas's R2D2/C3PO series droids need love too. Had forgotten it was written 15 YEARS AGO. I remember her posting it, and then arguing with LJV about whether "socket for hire" was about blowjobs or not.

TV and Movies

Watched Steven Universe episodes 1 and 2. Okay, yeah. I like this. Amethyst is my fave so far, but Garnet and Pearl and Steven are so great too that I could see myself changing faves from episode to episode. Purely by chance, I watched these cartoons on a Saturday morning.

Watched the first three episodes of Community. Yeah, I know, the very latest. I was a little disappointed, in that I fully expected the film theory teacher to die unexpectedly.

Obvs Abed is my favourite, but Troy and Annie and Shirley are great too. And Pierce is a pretty good example of his type. I think this show could be greatly improved by the immediate, permanent removal of Jeff and Britta.

Abed's father made me cry, in a good way. He got how Abed communicates. And how film helps with that. And how it's not "Abed has trouble communicating", it's that "other people find Abed hard to understand." He got it. He got there.


Played through Long Live The Queen again. I lost the naval battle and swam back to shore, my father won a magical duel but nearly died in the process, and my musician-spy informed me that my aunt had been trying to assassinate me, so I executed her whole family.

Started another playthrough of Hatoful Boyfriend. I'm romancing Yuuya this time around, and trying my best (without cheating... yet) to figure out what's going on with the infirmary.


Made a card and a little notebook for my father's birthday.


DAFFODILS. Two of them.
photographic evidence of daffodils )


Went on a KMart shopping spree. Bought totally adult things like a USB car charger and a spare lightning cable in case I'm out of phone battery and need to call for help and my car battery still works but I can't drive. And a pack of blank cards and envelopes, because I am more likely to do the hand-making card shit if I don't try to find cardboard to salvage from Coke cartons or whatever when it's someone's birthday. So that's pretty adult. And... another dinosaur cushion (I had one already) and a ROBOT CUSHION. Okay, it's a statement piece. Like those sharks everyone's buying. ...And weird sand.

Okay, the weird sand was the main purpose of my visit. And it is AWESOME. Not least because it smells like the inside of an Ikea. I guess that is what polydimethylsiloxane smells like. I like that smell, and now I can have it without the stress of an Ikea visit. It feels like fine-grained sand if you stick your fingers in it, but if you pick it up and rub it between your fingers, it abruptly feels like not-sand. More like brown sugar after the moths got to it. But if you pick up a bigger bit of it and let it fall, it falls exactly like sand, only in slow motion. When you just let it lie there, it settles down into a texture like hard-packed (without moths) brown sugar. I bought the green colour, which is lighter than the box, somewhere between grass and lichen. The other options in stock were pink, purple, blue, and some metallic ones that were cool-looking but the same price for less sand.
vass: Hothead Paisan says "FEH MUH NIST". (Hothead)
Could someone please hook me up with a link to a decent 101-level explanation of women-only/minority-only spaces? I'd like to try my father on it.

On the weekend he told me that he didn't see any difference between a club whose membership is restricted to men, and a club whose membership is restricted to women. And the same about clubs that exclude white people. (I didn't get into LGBT spaces, that part of the conversation ended before then. It concluded with his saying "I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree, then," and my saying "No, you're wrong.")

Oddly he did think it was okay to have a club only for Jews or only for Muslims. Religion is different?

My mother (who wasn't there for the conversation) thinks he was just winding me up, but I'd like to assume good faith, and it didn't sound like a wind-up to me.

(Please don't just post an explanation here. I am not linking my father to my online journal, and I don't want to explain it to him again myself, I want to direct him to a written authority that is not his offspring.)
vass: wonder girl facepalming (Facepalm)
In the page on their free range section:

"We believe animals should be ethically raised and tendered with care."

Oh, I bet you do.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
"How To Update Flashplugin For Firefox 64bit 3.6 Help Videos"


(No, the videos were not in HTML5, why would they be in HTML5?)

(You know that app for generating zero-day exploits, which also lets you view cat videos? The latest non-Chrome Linux patch finally arrived, two days after everyone else's patches did. But the update script isn't working properly -- it identifies that there's a more recent version upstream, then ignores it and sticks to the version already installed. I think it's a pinning problem, from the kludge I use to have Firefox-not-Iceweasel on my Debian install. And yeah, I can just download the tarball and install the update manually -- I just did that -- but I'd like to solve the real problem too.)
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Finished In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. It was powerful and important, and I dislike the author's personality but like much of what he has to say.

Started Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis, the self-described "charming Irish polyglot". I think he's probably sound on language learning methods, but I'd skip the introduction and first chapter if you don't like motivational speeches of the "reasons are excuses! if I/she/they can do this, SO CAN YOU! get out of your comfort zone!" bullshit variety.

Comics and Manga

Finished Fullmetal Alchemist vol 8. IT GOT BETTER. I've put a reserve on my library's copies of volumes 9 to 11.


I discovered that there was Kittens Game fanfic. (Read the comments. They are a work of art, if "being insulting to zebras" is an artistic medium. YOU STRIPEY FUCKBAG.)

This one has disturbingly graphic unicorn sacrifices, but I love what they made of the setting and characters.

This one threw me out of the story when Molly put her paws behind her back. I hadn't realised they were anthropomorphic kittens until that point.

TV and Movies

Watched an episode of Sesamstrasse. Grover geht ins Bett, aber er hat Angst deswegen es ist dunkel und finster. Seine Mutter gibt ihn ein Nachtküss, dann hat er kein mehr Angst. And some other stuff happened, but I only cared about Grover. Oh, and there was a song about a fisher who kept fishing junk out of the river, and uses most of it to build a house, and sells the rest to buy a fish for dinner, that was cute.


Ticked off a few more Choice of the Deathless achievements. I haven't mentioned before how much I like one small detail about this game: when you're romancing a character, the option "try to kiss her" or "try to kiss him" always leads to a dialogue in which you ask the character if you can kiss them. You can't just grab them and plant one on them. And then you and that character kiss each other. It is explicitly described as being mutual, not something you are doing to them. I really appreciate that.

Still playing Capitalist Dystopian Kittens. They've been around a little over 400 years now. I can't help noticing that their leader, Molly Fur, is listed as 45 years old. I appointed her leader... I don't remember the date, but it was definitely in the first century. Undead Kitten Kings?

As of this week, the kittens have managed to achieve a housing crisis whereby poor and middle-class kittens are priced out of the housing market and the developers can only build mansions. This is too realistic. DDDDDDDDDDDDDD:

Still playing Two Dots. I've reached the area where there are green eyes everywhere on the map, and funnels everywhere on the playing board. I cannot get the tune out of my head.
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
LGBT History
Victor Mukasa successfully sued a government official for illegally searching his home. In 2005, in Uganda. They were looking for evidence of LGBT activity. He is a trans man. He also founded Sexual Minorities Uganda. He's now living in the US, but is still active with the group he founded.

Protest Music
Wiring, by Jen Msumba, a survivor of the Judge Rotenberg Center. Content notes: child harm, psychiatric abuse.

Food Timeline

Things that exist
lo mi jufra, by selpa'i. An original rap song in Lojban. Yes, Lojban rap. Lojban. Rap. I have no idea what it says. Also, by the same performer, jmive za'o, or 'Still Alive' in Lojban.

Australian Music
Australian Folk Songs

Star Wars
The Icelandic saga version.

Marquess of Queensberry Rules
Why Don't Men Kick Each Other In The Balls?

Historical Mythbusting
Sinking Myths: Men actually Most Likely To Survive Shipwrecks. Titanic was the exception, not the rule.

More Things That Exist
The Post Office Electrical Engineer's Journal

Angry Birds
Hatebeak were a heavy metal band active from 2003-2009. Their lead vocalist was an African Grey parrot. They never toured, so as not to harm the bird. Their albums were Beak of Putrefaction, Bird Seeds of Vengeance, and The Thing That Should Not Beak.

My evening

Jun. 28th, 2015 12:56 am
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Went to [personal profile] fasangel's birthday dinner. Left not too long after 11pm, which is a good thing, as it gave my car more time to break down on my way home.

If it had to break down, this was a pretty good way for it to do it. I stopped at the lights a few streets away from home, right next to a 7-11, and it just wouldn't start again when the light changed. Or rather, the engine was running just fine, but I couldn't get it into gear. At all.

So I put on my hazard lights, and tried to call roadside assistance. But my phone was out of battery. So I got out and asked the 7-11 guy to call roadside for me. But I couldn't remember their number (it was in my phone.)

So I went back to my car, where I remembered that there was a sticker with their number on it, but while I was getting out a pen to write it down, a police car came by and gestured "are you okay?" and I shook my head and opened the door.

So they reproduced the problem for themselves (I know this is the first step of all tech support, but it still rankles a little bit) and confidently pronounced "It's your gearbox." Which is what I thought it was, yes, since I couldn't get it in gear, and I have been driving a manual car since I first learned to drive.

So they pushed the car into the 7-11 carpark, called roadside for me, waited to get a callback to let me know when they'd be there, told me it'd be 90 minutes, then gave me a receipt and drove away to their next call. The receipt had a reference number, the time and date and station name and, in red, the reassuring words THIS IS NOT A FINE AND YOU ARE NOT UNDER ARREST.

I checked if the 7-11 had any car chargers that fit my phone (no) and bought a hot chocolate, tidied my handbag, sorted the petrol vouchers by date and disposed of the expired ones, then was about to resort to writing fic longhand in my notebook when the roadside assistance van showed up, 60 minutes earlier than expected.

He said "your gearbox is fine, it's the linkage, a piece has broken off." He jiggled various things, tightened various other things, and then told me that I could try driving home on it -- I'd be stuck in first the whole way, but if I was that close to home and there weren't hills, I could make it. Or I could wait an hour for a tow truck.

I asked him to wish me luck, and chose door number one. And cooed "good car, you can do it" all the way home.

So now I am home, and my car is safely waiting for me to call the tow truck in the morning and take it to be repaired (ugh, I have a bad feeling this is going to be one of those things where they have to order the part from overseas) and my phone is charging, and Beatrice is hunting pompoms, and I'm going to bed.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
"According to medical experts, pain in the upper arm is usually located between the shoulder and the elbow."

You don't say.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Finished the slow reread of Ancillary Justice I've been doing all month.

Still reading C.J. Cherryh's Foreigner.

Started Gabor Maté's In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, about addiction. So far he definitely knows his stuff, is very erudite, and can write well, and he definitely has empathy for his patients, and has important things to say about addiction. Very important, which is why I'm persisting. (Well, that and it is a very compelling read.)

But... I always don't like how he writes about them. I like very much that he got their permission and asked how they wanted to be named (under a pseudonym or not) and they got to read what he was writing about them before it was published (he doesn't state if they were allowed to make amendments.) But there's this vibe.

And I think I've already reached my lifetime exposure limit on cultured, analytical doctors who are charmingly self-aware about their own narcissistic tendencies.

He makes me think that at least Hannibal doesn't regurgitate his patients all over the press.

I didn't even know there were people who loved Mozart's Don Giovanni and identified primarily with the title role. He compares Don Giovanni's womanising with his own addiction to music collecting. And dude, NO. Mozart and da Ponte never make that mistake. Don Giovanni the character does, but the librettist and composer and the opera itself do not agree with him. They don't think Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, Zerlina, and the other 2063 women are consumable objects.

TV and Movies

Watched Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time in a long time.
Watched Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the first time... ever. Yeah. I'm that bad at watching movies.

I like the special effects. Of course they're not great by modern standards, but they were AMAZING back then, and unlike the ones in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, they serve the story. No fucking ten minutes shuttle launch sequence.

Mark Hamill's acting is growing on me. And I like Leia a lot. Both Carrie Fisher's acting (and unimpressed facial expressions) and the character herself. How much she gets to do even though she still had to be The Girl. I don't like Han. And I hate Han/Leia.

My biggest ships so far: Han/Chewbacca, R2D2/C3PO. I'm really feeling for Chewie and R2.


Kitten Industrialism continues. They have a basilica. And chemistry.

Played through Choice of the Deathless again. I have now romanced all the romanceable characters -- I romanced Ash and Cass as a female character, Vega as a male character. I hadn't realised until the most recent play-through that Ash is male or female depending on whether you like men or women. I still have a few more achievements left: I haven't deposed the goddess, paid off my student loan, or the two "take another path" options.


Bought the original cast recording of Fun Home. Listened to the whole thing. ;_______; Still not over 'Telephone Wire' and how she manages to create suspense even though it's a forgone conclusion.

Put together a huge playlist of various stuff, and have been listening to it on shuffle.


Bubble-glazed most of my windows. It looks ridiculous, but I think my flat is slightly warmer.

New gadget

Jun. 22nd, 2015 04:41 am
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
I bought a minimum-maximum thermometer for my flat, to find out how cold it actually gets in here.

After a few minutes of really intense confusion, followed by one website and one YouTube video, I've come to the conclusion that this thermometer is faulty.

Right this moment, the mercury (not the indicator pins, the mercury itself) on the minimum side reads 20'C, and the maximum side reads 14'C. (btw, outside it is 7.1'C according to the BOM.) They are supposed to read the same thing. Dammit.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading CJ Cherryh's Foreigner, which so far is dry and distant, but I have definitely read more dry and distant Cherryh novels. Ann Leckie's mentioned Cherryh in general (which I could have guessed) and this novel in particular as a big formative influence. I can definitely see it. So far I have yet to meet Bren, whom Breq's named after. The structure seems kind of back-heavy: two really short sections then a third great long section.

Reading Economic Principles, 3rd edition, by Bajada, Jackson, McIver, and Wilson. I am not very far in, and consequently I'm dealing with a very shallow introduction to the terminology and principles, and keep going "But -- but --" all the time. Like, in the example where we're introduced to opportunity cost, they state "as you can see, unit X is equal to unit Y," and I'm like "Yes, I see that you stated that unit X is 100,000 chocolate bars, and unit Y is 1000 tractors, and you're stating that they're equal and therefore the graph makes this curve. But you're the one who decided on the units, and you haven't told me how you decided on them. If you chose different units, the curve would be different. Are we going to go into How To Lie With Statistics? Because it seems very relevant to this discipline."

Comics and Manga

Started Fullmetal Alchemist vol 8. For the second time attempting it. I'm still not feeling it. People who read manga: at what point should I know if I'm going to like this series? I'm not sure how much of it's that I'm not as good at following visual-spatial narration (for instance, I literally cannot tell what is happening in the fight scenes. At all.) and how much is that I'm missing literary conventions I don't know that would be giving me more subtext/background/nuance and make me have feels about what's happening to the characters.

TV and Movies

Watched The Song of the Sea, the most visually beautiful animated movie I've watched since... maybe ever. Recommended. The soundtrack is beautiful too.


Spent three days trying to get through level 104 of Two Dots. I passed it in the end, but I've lost most of my pleasure in this game.

Started playing Kitten Industrialism again. (aka "bloodrizer's Kittens Game", aka The Worst Game In The World, aka Kitten Radch ("you are Anaander Meownaai in a forest of catnip...") It's been over 200 years. I have 58 kittens. They have a steamworks with a printing press and a high speed engine. They have navigation and a couple of trade ships and are working on a collection of observatories. The zebras hate them for no reason. (Do you think that "no reason" could have something to do with their aggressive expansionism and their endless, all-devouring strip-mining of the planet? Or their militarism? Or how they'd sacrifice their own mother for catnip?)

Playing Kitten Industrialism while reading my economics textbook is... odd. One of the fundamental principles of economics is that resources are scarse but human want is infinite. This game certainly bears that out. (I keep wondering why, if our wants are infinite, companies have to keep on finding ways to manufacture wants where they didn't exist before.)

Played Max Gladstone's Choice of the Deathless, which is an interactive fiction set in the same universe as his Craft Sequence novels. It's really good. I've played it a couple times through, and will probably end up playing it at least a few more times to get more of the accomplishments.


Listened to an episode of Ultima Thule. I'm not a big fan of ambient music, but maybe I could be more of one than I thought. It was nice in the background, and usually for sensory reasons I'm very much not a fan of background music.

Listened to every song from Fun Home that I could find. I'm gonna have to buy the cast recording. I didn't expect to cry, which shows what I know. It's a lot less emotionally detached and controlled than the graphic novel (which I love.)

Listened to Calexico's The Black Light, which I heard about on... This American Life? Wait Wait Don't Tell Me? Something, years and years ago, and bookmarked for future reference, and caught up with just this week. I liked it a lot.


Regression. I spent $6 at the supermarket and got a dinosaur colouring book and a box of crayons and have been getting my stegosaurus on. When I'm tired of the coloured-in pages, they'll become envelopes and wrapping paper.

Also I'm drawing on my own skin in Sharpie, inspired by a Tumblr post I saw. So far I did knuckle tats saying EXAM TIME when I was revising for the accounting exam, and last night I drew T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics, with the word STOMP underneath him. It's helping with the thing where I've been craving a new tattoo, but I don't know what I want, or what I want it to commemorate, and I'd rather not permanently alter myself until I've sorted that out.


Made Nutella fudge again.

Also made this pineapple cake I saw a link for on Facebook. It has three ingredients: 2 cups of S.R. flour, 1 cup of caster sugar, and one 440g tin of pineapple in syrup (syrup and all.) Stir together and bake for 55 minutes at 180'C. Or rather don't, because it's... really not great. Tasted like the first cake I ever made in my life. Which was wonderful when I was I think five years old? Something like that. And woke up early one morning and went into the kitchen on my own, climbed up on a stool to reach the bench, and mixed flour and milk and sugar together and made a batter, put them all in a tin, then woke my mother up and asked her to operate the oven for me, and she took a photo of me first, and another of me with the finished cake. And that is a very happy memory, and the taste brings it back, but frankly it was nearly thirty years ago, and I'm not much of a baker but I can do better than that.


Bought a heated blanket, the sort you can wrap around yourself. It is very nice. I should have listened to [personal profile] bookgirlwa about hers sooner.
vass: Google ad, advertising "invisible knapsack" (Knapsack)
"A typical example [of the post hoc fallacy], as follows clearly indicates the fallacy in such reasoning. Suppose that early each spring the medicine man or woman of a tribe performs their ritual by dancing around the town in a green costume. A week later the trees and grass tun green. Can we safely conclude that event X, the medicine man's gyrations has caused event Y, the landscape turning green? Day follows night, but this doesn't mean that night is the cause of day!" (Economic Principles, 3rd edition, Bajada, Jackson, McIver, and Wilson. McGraw Hill, Sydney, 2014.)

I bet if you thought harder about it, you could have come up with a more racist, colonialist example. But you did pretty well at that without even trying.

This is not a difficult concept to illustrate without going all ha ha tribal people have funny customs and illogical beliefs. Come on.

Oh, won't this be a fun term.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
[Written on Tuesday, the night before an exam which I definitely did fail. Note that I like the subject, actually quite a lot, and do take it more seriously than this implies -- cracking jokes is my coping mechanism for the whole part where I undertook study at a time when my health was not up to the task.]

In dialogue form. Both sides of the dialogue are me.

What is the Accounting Cycle?
It is a very cool vehicle on which accountants ride to work. It has lots of fins.

What are the basic steps in the Accounting Cycle?
It's just a jump to the left (debit)
And then a step to the right (credit)
Put your hands on your assets
And draw your equity in tight
But it's the statement of cash flows
That really drives you insaaaaane
Let's do the accounting cycle again.

No, what are the basic steps in the Accounting Cycle?
more )
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Time to get back in the blogging saddle. Or something. So, since I last updated culture consumed:

Anita Heiss's Tiddas, as mentioned before.

Courtney Milan, The Governess Affair and The Duchess War. I liked them both, and will read more.

Lia Silver, Prisoner. This is the sequel to Laura's Wolf. I liked it, especially the hero's taste in music. I did keep wondering why DJ had never been dxed with ADHD in addition to his dyslexia. Maybe that's in the next book (which I've already bought and will probably get around to reading soon.)

And I'm rereading Ancillary Justice, to no one's surprise at all.

And I've made some more progress on Margery since last time I updated. I'm just gonna quote my own Twitter:

@vassl: Back to reading Margery Kempe. She just begged her confessor to let her kiss lepers. He says she may NOT kiss male lepers. Lady lepers ok.

@vassl: So she runs up to women with leprosy, gets down on her knees, and begs them in Jesus' name to let her kiss them on the mouth.

@vassl: Can you imagine being afflicted with both leprosy AND Dame Margery? She kisses them, cries, & splains how lucky they are to have leprosy.

@vassl: "stirred them to meekness and patience so they should not grudge about their sickness," jfc, how did this woman not get punched?

@vassl: Margery's latest wish: to be naked on a hurdle while men stare at her and pelt her with mud, for Jesus, SO LONG AS IT DOESN'T IMPERIL THEIR SOULS.

[n.b. I didn't have enough characters to articulate that "mud" is maybe not precisely what she wanted to be pelted with.]

@vassl: She follows this up with "May your wish be fulfilled, not mine," possibly aware that Jesus' imagination is way less... intense than hers.

Comics and Manga

Read the three Young Avengers tpbs from the 2013 reboot. Ridiculous in a good way. I felt like I was missing a lot, and like the creative team were really shoving the whole concept of Millennials down my throat (exhibit A: the entire page formatted like a Tumblr dash) but it was fun.


Went on a Polly/Mal (from Monstrous Regiment) kick and read nearly all of that tag in AO3. I really love the nonbinary Mal fanon.

TV and Movies

Finished the first season of Parks and Rec.


As mentioned, played CAH with friends.

Have been obsessively playing Dots.

Still sporadically playing Pokemon: LeafGreen. I got all the badges and am working on Victory Road Cave.

And tonight I did my first play-through of Hatoful Boyfriend. My character (who is a human girl aged about 15 or 16) ended up romancing her maths teacher, who is a narcoleptic button quail. I disapprove.

I'm looking forward to playing more and finding up what the sinister subtext between him and the scary patridge doctor was about.


Listened to Amy Ray's Prom (loved it, as expected), Men Make Music's Labor (too dance clubby for me, but still good,) and CN Lester's Ashes (liked, think it will grow on me with more listening.


Mainly have been listening to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men and Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap.


Got around to setting up the sewing machine and sewing the new cushion covers I bought the fabric for late last year. I was incredibly sloppy about it and just used white thread for everything and called it a feature, because I'd been procrastinating all year and was too inertia-less to do it if I had to stop one more time.

And tried again with the glitter stencil journal thing, and this time succeeded. For a slightly Pyrrhic value of "succeeded" in that I'll never, EVER stop finding little bits of green glitter around my flat.

pics )


Repotted the lavender (which is still alive but only barely,) planted the tulip bulbs and some of the daffodil bulbs. Ran out of potting soil, will need to go get more so I can plant the rest of the daffodil bulbs and repot the catnip, which is flourishing. Parsley also seems happy enough. Basil is barely alive - it's a cold autumn.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

  • In 2008, inflation in Zimbabwe was 100,000%. A hundred thousand per cent. Or rather, that's what my accounting lecturer says. I looked it up on Wikipedia and found that the official inflation rate in July 2008 (the last date before they stopped even trying to give an official inflation rate) was 231,150,888.87%. This link is to a scan (sharpened up in Photoshop but not otherwise changed) of a real Zimbabwean $100 trillion dollar note.

  • At the Royal Festival Hall, the recorded voice that tells you to make sure your mobile phone and watch alarms are switched off and to keep coughing to a minimum, is Sir Ian McKellen.

  • Another Sir Ian McKellen story: in 1988 he was lobbying against Section 28. Michael Howard, the Environment Secretary at the time, was still in favour of Section 28, but asked for an autograph for his children. McKellan got out a piece of paper and wrote "Fuck off, I'm gay."

  • In the 19th century there was an American gang leader and river pirate (there were river pirates in 19th century America!) named Sadie Farrell, who was known as Sadie the Goat because she liked headbutting people. Seriously, she flew the Jolly Roger. She MADE PEOPLE WALK THE PLANK. Also she lost an ear in a bar fight: the bouncer, Gallus Mag, bit it off.

  • According to Gallus Mag's own Wikipedia page, she bounced people by dragging them to the door by the ear using her teeth. This was a human being, not a cat. If they objected, she bit their ears off and kept them in a jar of alcohol behind the bar. This is not George from Tamora Pierce's Alanna quartet, she was a real person.


vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

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