The hexarchate is a star-spanning polity of monstrosities small and great, where consensus reality is enforced not just by a rigid police state but by the ritual torture of "heretics" on state holidays. Lately it is not just wracked by internal dissent but by the discovery of rifts in time and space through which people from other worlds appear.
You are one of a hardy group of people--whether from the hexarchate (or heptarchate) itself, a foreign state, or another world in the multiverse entirely--who have gathered with the explicit goal of destroying the hexarchate by going back in time and preventing its creation, or otherwise seeding its destruction.
The question is, can you succeed before the hexarchate's agents catch on and eliminate you?
Interested? See the write-up for the guidelines and the character application! Hope to see some of y'all.
I wrote a pair of blog posts for work that came out last month!
Many developers don’t feel qualified to make security decisions. In many ways, that’s a perfectly healthy attitude to have: Security decisions are hard, and even folk with training make mistakes. But a healthy respect for a hard problem shouldn’t result in decisions that make a hard problem even harder to solve. Sometimes, we need to recognize that a lot of architectural decisions in a project are security decisions, whether we like it or not. We need to figure out how to make better choices.
The posts are about how to do very simple security risk assessments on open source packages, so you can make more informed choices about what you include in your code and get a sense of what makes a library look scary to security folk. They’ve got lots of real life examples of things we’ve seen, good, bad and embarrassing, and there’s a nice scorecard at the end that you can use to help you do quick assessments of your own. There are even some cat memes included!
I’m pretty proud to be able to share some of the things we’ve learned about open source security risk with the greater world and these posts fall in the category of “things I’ve made” so I thought I’d link them here. Hope you like them!
Prompt: hexarchate, "red pandas."
(NOTE: I promise this has a happy ending for the red panda.)
"Zoo?" High General Garit said. "Really, Jedao?"
Jedao, who was driving the car, glanced sideways to assess Garit's expression, even though the high general's tone of voice told him everything he needed to know. Garit had invited him along on this damned trip to a hunting preserve because Garit was desperate to bag a gray tiger, and alongside his record with firearms, Jedao had made the mistake of letting drop that he had grown up hunting. Jedao had tried to point out that going after pesky deer and jackalopes was not the same as gray tigers. Garit had merely clapped him on the back and told him not to be so modest. Modesty had nothing to do with it. On top of the stupid expense per round, the recoil on the ammo that Jedao was going to have to use was proportionate to something with its stopping power, and he wasn't looking forward to the ache in his shoulder.
"Just for an hour or two," Jedao said coaxingly. "My mom and my siblings wanted me to send home some vacation photos. And I promised my nieces that I would bring them back some souvenirs, and maybe the zoo's shop will have some mounted skeletons or the like."
"You spoil those kids rotten," Garit said with a snort.
"What are uncles for?" Jedao said. One of the great regrets of his life was that his job kept him away from his family for long periods of time. The girls grew so fast. "Besides, the folks down at the shop might have some tips for hunters."
Garit shook his head, amused. "You're transparent, but all right."
The zoo was not particularly busy. The two of them were off-duty, and the young woman who told them about the zoo regulations either didn't recognize them or didn't care, which Jedao found congenial. Jedao persuaded Garit to come into the zoo proper so Jedao could snap some photos.
Jedao fiddled with the manual exposure, trying to get the black panther to show up in its cave. The camera had been a gift from his brother, and was practically an antique. Jedao was not especially gifted at taking pictures that pleased his family ("These look like reconnaissance photos, who cares about all this kill zone stuff when you're snapping pics of an engagement party?" his sister had once complained) so he had resolved to do better.
"That's the oddest damned fox I've ever seen," Garit said, pointing.
Jedao gave up on the exposure and settled for a muddled silhouette in the shadows. "Beg pardon?" he asked.
They strolled closer to the enclosure Garit had indicated to have a look. A reddish, bushy-tailed creature was taking a nap in the branches of a tree. Bamboo shoots sprouted not far away. Some of them looked like they'd been gnawed on.
"That's not a fox," Jedao said, reading the enclosure's label. "Red panda. Apparently they eat bamboo. And sometimes birds and things."
"It's kind of cute," Garit said grudgingly. "Doesn't look like much of a challenge, though."
Jedao thought that coddled zoo creatures were generally unlikely to be much challenge, but he didn't say anything that would give Garit the idea of adding another kind of animal to his wishlist for this trip. "My nieces will like it," he said, and raised his camera.
"We should catch you one to take home to them," Garit said.
Jedao made a face. "Have you ever looked at the customs forms for importing wildlife? I'm pretty sure these critters don't exist on my homeworld."
"Well, I'll look into expediting it as a favor to you if you can help me with my tiger problem," Garit said.
"That's very kind of you," Jedao said, as diplomatically as he could, "but my nieces are notoriously good at killing goldfish. Let's just leave the red pandas alone and go hit up the shop so I can buy bat skeletons or fox-eared hats or something, and we can head to the hunting grounds."
If you’re a science fiction fan, you’ve probably heard of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. If you’re not, here’s the cheat sheet straight from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas:
“The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children, as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.”
The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award is a juried award as well, with this year’s jury including Elizabeth Bear, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Nöel Sturgeon (one of Sturgeon’s children and trustee of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Estate).
It’s kind of a big deal for the science fiction field. And Cat Valente is it’s latest recipient.
That’s right: Cat’s short story “The Future is Blue,” published in Drowned Worlds (edited by Jonathan Strahan) took the prize! As you may have already seen on Twitter, Cat is incredibly excited, chuffed, and all-around honored to be awarded the Sturgeon Award.
Learn more about the award and past winners at the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award’s site.
Inspiring quote, which I found, of all places, in a memoir about de-cluttering, and comes, of all places, from the musical "Annie""
Don't it feel like the wind is always howlin'?
Don't it seem like there's never any light?
Once a day don't you want to throw the towel in?
It's easier than putting up a fight.
It's a hard-knock life!
Under threat from clearing and feral animals (due to both predation and competition for food), it was very unexpected to see one on the edge of the CBD, in Queen Victoria Gardens in Claisebrook. It was even more unexpected to see it in the middle of the day, right next to the main walk-path!
They are listed as Endangered in Australia.
( Cut for size )
I took these a while ago and kept forgetting to post them. Just some more photos of birds on our balcony, including a new set we hadn't seen before.
We'd been seeing one redwing blackbird for a while but later it was joined by a second one. Or possibly these were two entirely different birds given their more colorful markings
Among other things, it would automatically register eligible voters via information they provide to various government offices, such as the DMV. A number of states have take this kind of legislation up, and a few have passed it, but it would be wonderful to have this on a federal level, for all states.
It's S. 1353 in the Senate and H.R. 2876 in the House. Call your reps and ask them to support this act by co-sponsoring it.
What we're seeing right now in Washington with the AHCA is what happens when the elected officials are not sensitive to the needs of their constituents. To force them to care, we have to make it easier for those constituents to make their voices heard in the voting booth.
"The Game of Rat and Dragon" has stuck better in my memory, but at some point in college I was delighted to discover that there were more Instrumentality stories. The one that I remembered, years later, as being particularly interesting was "The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal." Peculiarly, I remembered that it had an unusual narrative structure/format, but not anything useful about its plot. Cue yesterday when I actually reread it, having checked out the posthumous collection When the People Fell from the library, and being bemused to discover that this story was almost certainly, before I ever heard of fanfic on the internet, my introduction to mpreg.
A spoilery discussion of the story follows beneath the cut.
 My high school library's sf/f holdings were very eclectic. They had a couple decades' worth of Analog under Stanley Schmidt. I read every page of every issue available, and remain fond of the zine although I have not read it in over a decade. They also had old classics like John Wyndham's Re-Birth, amusing curiosities like a litcrit book on the best fantasy novels by Michael Moorcock (possibly with a co-author; I no longer remember) in which he immodestly listed his own Stormbringer, a number of old Nebula anthologies, and a copy of Harlan Ellison's (ed.) Dangerous Visions that I read two or three or four times before someone else stole it or, more charitably, checked it out and lost it. (Years later, I still think Philip José Farmer's "Riders of the Purple Wage" was insufferably boring, and Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah" makes zero sense when you are barely aware of what sex is.) They had Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, which is where I encountered them. On the other hand, the librarians were very friendly, and for a number of years, because my sister and I were the only ones who made use of the request box, we pretty much got them to buy whatever we wanted to read for the year.
( Read more... )
Supreme Court sets higher bar for stripping citizenship (Reuters). The justices ruled 9-0 that a naturalized American citizen cannot be stripped of citizenship if a lie or omission on immigration forms was irrelevant to the government's original decision to grant entry into the United States.
[Seattle] Landlords Are Now Required to Provide Voter Registration Info (Seattle Met). Very cool look at how voting accessibility can be addressed on the city level.
Steyer to plow $7.5 million into voter mobilization efforts (Politico). Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said Thursday he will put more than $7.5 million into an effort to register and turn out young voters in eight states ahead of the midterm elections.
A Self-Guided Tour of Member Gardens, Presented by the Somerville Garden Club
When: Sunday June 25, 2017, 11:00 am. – 4:00 p.m.,
Rain or Shine! (Should be a sunny day!)
Where: Somerville and Cambridge
Cost: Tickets are $18. Ticket holders receive a brochure with a map to the featured gardens.
The SGC 2017 Garden Tour, Big Gardens, Small Spaces, celebrates the creativity and variety of compact gardens.
Walk through gardens of different styles, featuring shady perennials, colorful sun-loving flowers, statuary, vegetable plots, ponds, bee hives, unusual shrubs and trees, native plants, and interesting hardscaping surrounding Somerville Garden Club member homes, and three of our garden sites. Proceeds support the educational programs and public plantings of the Somerville Garden Club.
Advance Tickets are on sale at:
Pemberton Garden Center, 2225 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Center, Cambridge
Capone Foods, 14 Bow Street, Union Square, Somerville
Through our website: www.somervillegardenclub.org.
Day of Event Tickets: Sunday June 25. 11:00a.m. - 3:00p.m., Davis Square Statue Park, opposite the MBTA Davis Square Station.
There are some amazing private gardens on this tour! (including mine)!
Also, was trying to watch Star Trek Beyond and why is Kirk so fucking TERRIBLE at negotiation? Is he or is he not supposed to have been tops in all his subjects? So why was he so sarcastic and impatient and lacking in empathy? Why was the entire negotiation scene played for jokes? Star Trek is SUPPOSED to be about diplomacy as well as fighting, these motherfuckers can only focus on action? Frankly I wouldn't want to live anywhere near the Federation, they are clearly the same shitheads that militaries today are. Which was not quite the intention of the original. This medicore ass, fratboy ass white imperialistic ass fuckwittery tho. Its so frustrating when the fanfic IS SO MUCH BETTER than the shit these so called professionals GET PAID FOR.
Finally watching Cowboy Bebop. SO GOOD. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the architecture of the world, the gates are BADASS and the diversity of the characters?! There are darskinned folk up in there! And I love the fact that they are having adventures but it aint about war. I am so SICK of war. I feel like describing war as action adventure is erasure. War isn't adventure. Not by a long shot.
One thing about it that I didnt like was the story line about terrorist environmentalists. Made me annoyed because I feel like I keep seeing movies in which environmentalists are set up as cuckoo terrorists who go too far. Considering teh fact that coporations and their captive govts are responsible for the current destruction of the planet for human habitation ... says a lot about the ideologies of the ruling class. More environmentalists as heroes I say. And more corporations as the destructive moneygrubbing villians that they are. Speaking of, I need several articles that look into the specifics of corporate welfare. The drumbeat of lazy mooching poor continues unabated while corporations make billions more than in tax dollars the poor ever manage to but have their misdeeds cozily hidden by our fourth estate. Then again corporations own the fourth estate. Apparently folk are going to have to learn up close and personal AGAIN that monopolies are bad for us. Hoo-fucking-ray.
I would like to seee a movie in which a James Bond type or platoon of them come in to fuck up a government in a POC majority country and the heroes are the security forces of said countries who repel the invaders and embarass the shit out of the colonizing country. Actually I would like to see several movies about this.
I need to write more. I am brimming with ideas but the resilency to sit down and write is lacking. Because I keep getting hung up on the fact that what sounds great in my head doesnt come out as such on paper. *sigh*
( More butterflies )
Prompt: "Shuos pranks."
with apologies to the black squirrels of Stanford University campus
Jedao and Ruo had set up shop at the edge of one of the campus gardens, the one with the carp pond and the carefully maintained trees. Rumor had it that some of the carp were, in addition to being over a hundred years old, outfitted with surveillance gear. Like most Shuos cadets, Jedao and Ruo would, if questioned, laugh off the rumors while secretly believing in them wholeheartedly--at least the bit about surveillance gear. Jedao had argued that the best place to hide what they were doing was in plain sight. After all, who would be so daft as to run a prank right next to surveillance?
"Lovely day, isn't it?" Ruo said brightly.
Jedao winced. "Not so loud," he said. His head was still pounding after last night's excesses, and the sunlight wasn't helping. Why did he keep letting Ruo talk him into things? It wasn't just that Ruo was really good in bed. He had this way of making incredibly risky things sound fun. Going out drinking? In itself, not that bad. Playing a drinking game with unlabeled bottles of possibly-alcohol-possibly-something-else stolen from Security's hoard of contraband? Risky. Some of those hallucinations had been to die for, though, especially when he started seeing giant robots in the shape of geese.
Fortunately, this latest idea wasn't that risky. Probably. Besides, of the many things that the other cadets had accused Jedao of, low risk tolerance wasn't one of them.
"Not my fault you can't hold your drink," Ruo said, even more brightly.
"I'm going to get you one of these days," Jedao muttered.
Ruo's grin flashed in his dark brown face. "More like you'll lose the latest bet and--" He started describing what he'd do to Jedao in ear-burning detail.
At last one of the other first-years, puzzled by what Jedao and Ruo were doing by the carp pond with a pair of fishing poles, approached. Jedao recognized them: Meurran, who was good at fixing guns despite their terrible aim, and who had a glorious head of wildly curling hair. "Security's not going to approve of you poaching the carp," Meurran said.
"Oh, this isn't for the carp," Ruo said. He flicked his fishing pole, and the line with its enticing nut snaked out toward one of the trees.
Meurran gave Ruo a funny look. "Ruo," they said, "the fish are in the opposite direction."
"Please," Jedao said, "who cares about the fish? No one has anything to fear from the fish. That's just nonsense."
"All right," Meurran said, sounding distinctly unimpressed, "then what?"
Come on, Jedao thought, the nut is right there...
As if on cue, a black squirrel darted down from the tree, then made for the nut.
Ruo tugged the nut just out of reach.
The black squirrel looked around, then headed for the nut again.
"Oh, isn't that adorable?" Meurran said.
"Don't be fooled!" Ruo said as he guided the squirrel in a figure-eight through the grass. "Why would the commandant be so stupid as to rely on carp, which can't even leave their pond?"
Meurran glanced involuntarily at the pond, where two enormous carp were lazily circling near the surface, as if the carp, in fact, had a habit of oozing out onto the land and spying on lazy cadets. "You're saying the squirrels--?"
Ruo continued to cause the squirrel to chase after the nut. "It makes sense, doesn't it? Everyone thinks the black squirrels are the cutest. They're even featured in the recruitment literature. Damnably clever piece of social engineering if you ask me."
Meurran was starting to look persuaded in spite of themselves.
Meanwhile, as Ruo made his case, Jedao leaned back and studied the squirrel with a frown. The local population of black squirrels was mostly tame to begin with and had proven to be easy to train with the aid of treats. (Ruo had made Jedao do most of this, "because you're the farm boy.") But while Ruo and Meurran argued about squirrel population dynamics, Jedao caught a slight flash from behind the squirrel's eyes--almost like that of a camera?
He opened his mouth to interrupt.
The squirrel made an odd convulsing motion, and the light flashed again, this time directly into Jedao's eyes.
Jedao closed his mouth, and kept his thoughts to himself.
- a bunch of purple kohlrabi with greens
- a bunch of kale (I was lucky and got one of the few lacinato ones)
- two heads of lettuce (I chose a red leaf and a Boston, and was given a third, another Boston)
- a bunch of scallions
- 5 ounces of garlic scapes
- a bunch of cilantro (traded for more scapes)
- two pickling cucumbers
- two small summer squashes (and was given a third)
- six ounces of yellow oyster mushrooms
First thoughts: green salad, of course (I'm bringing one to Shabbat dinner tomorrow night). Cook the kohlrabi greens and kale with sweet potato, maybe some soy sausage. Sauteed summer squash with mozzarella, maybe a bit of tomato sauce. Kohlrabi-carrot slaw with mustard dressing, also scallions.
From left to right, for the curious: Waterman 52V, Webster Four-Star, Scriptorium Pens Master Scrivener in Red Stardust, Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust, Aurora 75th Anniversary, Nakaya Naka-ai in aka-tamenuri, Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir with #3 adjustable nib, and Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight.
Meanwhile, I swear I am writing flash fic right now. This caffeine is taking an unholy amount of time to kick in...
Tomorrow we'll head to Santa Cruz, and hit up Monterey on the way, and after a couple of nights in Santa Cruz, we'll go to San Francisco.
I'm really liking the beachfront place. The front office gave us two rooms, one with a view of the ocean downstairs, and one upstairs with a fireplace. And I snagged the downstairs immediately because I wanted to work at a desk with a view of the sea. It's not been working, of course, because I spent most of the evening texting with A instead of working. But hope spring eternal?? We don't have to check out until noon anyway.
If I were to attempt CHEESECAKE  pinup art of a hexarchate character for lulz, it should be
Kel Cheris 
someone else I will name in comments
ticky the EXTREMELY DISAPPROVING tocky
 May or may not feature CHEESY partial nudity.
 The incomparable telophase once did me a sketch of blonde, busty Cheris with her space ferret because I kept joking that I would get a cover featuring blonde, busty Cheris with her space ferret. (Hexarchate AU...?!)
(In real life, I'm working on an art assignment...ahahahahaha.)
(Dear Louisiana: PLEASE STOP RAINING. At least it isn't downpouring enough that I feel that I have to pack for emergency evacuation, it's just raining drearily, but...)
My dad was a good model for how to gently enjoy human absurdity and I remember him being super entertained by the pet rock and playing along with it super well.
I am still behind on reviewing stuff because I had Six Wakes and All Systems Red and A Close and Common Orbit all in at the library, plus All The Sedoretu, and sometimes you just have to priortize?
But in honor of the Tiptree anthology I picked up for the sedoretu story in it (and Pride), this week's theme is LGBT& content! (Most of these are Tiptree or Gaylactic Spectrum finalists, in fact.)
How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.
I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.
Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)
( Poll! Bear, Chabon, Doran, Gerrold, Lackey, Monette, Orlando & Rebelka, Scott, St. Clair )
The opinions on the poll about bookmarking were interestingly split - pretty consistently 2-1 in favor of bookmarking, but the anti-bookmarking people seem to feel more strongly about it. I guess the only solution is for more people to start adding stuff to that collection so mine don't stand out as much!
I also finally read Another Story, or, a Fisherman of the Inland Sea, which is the first and longest of Le Guin's O stories. Or possibly I had already read it and then blocked it out. I am... not sure how I feel about it? It is definitely the most SF-based of them, with quantum physics and interplanetary travel and so on (and probably the most useful for people who want to think about sedoretu in the context of a much larger and more cosmopolitan society than we see in either "Mountain Ways" or "Unchosen Love".)
( blehhhhh )
Anyway, I still really really like the worldbuilding!
I have managed to narrow it down to ten prompts in the Sedoretu fest that I probably *could* write. (As opposed to the ones I most want to see written, which includes many that I am definitely not the person to write.) They all have pros and cons, which I shall now ramble about here:
( Discworld, HP, Sagas, O, LM, Nimona, SW:TFA, Barrayar )
...this is weirdly stressful compared to a prompt meme community where I can just blather on in comments without committing to anything until somebody else either writes the thing or I know exactly what I am doing
People always ask me what I'm passionate about, and I tell them the following story: When I was a little kid, my grandmother took me to see an injustice. I got so mad! I threw my red white and blue popsicle down on the ground. My grandmother picked it up and said, "Winner, these colors are sacred. Never let them drop." And I said, "I know, Grandma, but I don't like to see injustice!" and she said, "That's just the world we live in. Unless you grow up and devise common-sense policy solutions to do something about it. And don't forget the men who died to give that right to you, and proudly stand up to defend her still today."
I think sex is bad unless it falls into one of the five categories below that also conveniently align with my policy proposals:
-- you are thinking about tax reform during it
-- other people are having it and you are vocally disapproving of it
-- at least one of the people involved is committed to being a great dad
-- it involves one willing participant who is a male celebrity
-- it is binding Americans together and serving to restore our common values
So one way I know that I am hopelessly sentimental about civic virtue and so on, and that part of me is an utter sucker for "common-sense policy solutions"/"binding Americans together"-type rhetoric, is that even this parody makes me mist up a little bit. Also I have literally cried (albeit on an airplane) at a Doritos ad that championed bipartisanship.
(As a young'un I came across a copy of Art Buchwald's I Never Danced at the White House and read it and thus learned about Watergate. Art Buchwald was a political humor columnist for the Washington Post. I am imagining some twelve-year-old girl in 2039 reading a Petri collection, getting about 30% of the jokes and enjoying it a lot.)
(Also I should look up whether there is critical scholarship discussing Alexandra Petri, Alexandra Erin, the Toast work of Mallory Ortberg, and whoever else is doing .... this kind of thing in this era. *handwave*)
My parents knew I was a witch before I was born. The signs were there, they told me. They were unmistakable.
Well. Not all of the signs, or they never would have kept me as long as they did. But enough: My mother’s hair, previously sedate and well-mannered, turned curly and wild during her pregnancy, sometimes even grabbing forks from other people’s hands at meals. Clocks ran backward when she went near them, and thirteen grey cats took up residence in our front yard for the last month before I was born.
Also, I was born on a Tuesday.
I loved this from beginning to end. It's a pretty fast read (under 4,000 words), in lucid candle-language. Give it a try.
[Note to the pedantic: my "books" tag is for stories as well because I am lazy and bad at tagging.]
I am most interested in the following possible new stories in a hexarchate short collection
Jedao backstory when he was growing up with his family
what happened to Jedao's sister Nidana after Hellspin
Jedao backstory when he was serving with the Kel
what happens to Cheris after everything, with bonus math pedagogy
how Kel Ragath got Up to Things
gay romance on the Citadel of Eyes ([redacted]/Niath) with bonus angst
the misadventures of Andan Zhe Navo during her first military assignment
the founding of the heptarchate feat. Liozh and Kel
mini-gamebook about Jedao and his first anchor (actually, you're getting this regardless)
Nirai Mahar's backstory
follow-up on Tseya vs. Mikodez
Moroish Nija's training
Mikodez's rise to power, feat. Zehun
ticky the talky tocky
something else I will suggest in comments
ETA: If it helps, the mini-gamebook will also feature snarky commentary from Mikodez and Zehun.
Prompt: hexarchate, "birth dates."
When she was six, Cheris stopped receiving Mwennin birthday pastries.
For reasons that wouldn't become clear to her until much later, her parents had just moved out of the Mwennin ghetto in the City of Ravens Feasting and to a small house nearer the sea. Cheris missed their old home, even though it had been smaller, and she also missed the other Mwennin children who gathered in the streets to skip rope, or play tag, or chant the counting games that were so risky in the hexarchate. But the new house wasn't all bad. It had a garden, and Cheris liked to chase the dragonflies or pick flowers for her mother and father.
Her mother had impressed upon her that she had two birthdays. One of them was the ordinary birthday that all hexarchate citizens shared. Everyone (so her mother said) was a year old when they were born, for the time spent either in womb or crèche, and then they added another year each New Year. This way no one's birthday was singled out.
But the Mwennin did it differently. They had their own calendar, which Cheris had memorized. Most nights her mother made her go to bed early so that she wouldn't be too tired in the morning when she had school. But sometimes her mother let her stay up, not to play make-believe with her collection of plush dragon toys or read a book, but to study the Mwennin calendar and its feast-days.
Cheris was very good at numbers, and very good at both the high calendar and the Mwennin calendar. Even after she'd gone to bed, she'd lay awake in the darkness, staring at the comforting candlevines that glowed faintly from the walls. Her mother and father always made sure to turn them down low, but not too low, so she wouldn't have to be afraid of the shadow-monsters that lived in the closet. Her teacher at school had assured her that, yes, meditation, especially during remembrances, would keep away the shadow-monsters, but when she repeated this to her parents, their faces turned sad, so she didn't talk about that anymore.
Because she was very good at calendars, she had a hard time falling asleep the night before her Mwennin birthday. Back in the old neighborhood, on your birthday, people would bring you pastries of fine flaky dough with sweet almond paste and rosewater syrup, or little kumquat candies, goat's milk caramels with little crunchy flecks of pistachios. And after dark, in the safety of your home, people would gather and sing songs in archaic Mwen-dal. Cheris liked the songs best of all, even if she stumbled over some of the words, because she had a clear, sweet voice and the adults always complimented her on how well she stayed in tune.
Her parents woke her early the next morning. She blinked up blearily at the pale morning light filtering through the curtains, then sat up in glee, thinking of the gifts that were to come. Then she noticed the looks on her parents' faces. They'd had the same ones when she said the teacher had encouraged her to meditate.
Cheris's father took her hands between his, then looked at Cheris's mother.
"Cheris," her mother said, "we can't celebrate your Mwennin birthday anymore. Do you understand? It's too risky."
Cheris didn't understand.
"You can have an extra dessert tonight," her mother went on. "But there will be no more Mwennin birthdays. Not for any of us."
Cheris's mother circled her with her arms. "We'll go for a walk by the shore when I get out of work," she said. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
Cheris sensed that her mother was even more upset than she was, and her mother didn't even like sweets. At least, she always gave her sweets to Cheris. "I'm all right," she said, because she wanted to be brave for her mother. "Can we have extra pastries on New Year's instead?"
There was a catch in her mother's voice. "Of course, my dear."
Cheris still wasn't sure why her mother was upset. True, she had hoped for something nice to eat today, but if she had the same number of pastries in total over the course of the year, it was basically the same. It wasn't so important what day she got to eat them.
And her mother was as good as her promise. Every New Year after that, up until Cheris left for Kel Academy, there were extra pastries.
Original vent / post:
West Somerville folks - I just had a terrible experience in Teele Square, bad enough that I would like to spread my rage at the proprietor of a local business, the Knight Moves Cafe on Broadway. Please stay far away from this business with kids. If you have any kids who walk to and from the west somerville school, please make sure they steer clear of the business as well.
The proprietor (edit: manager) of this business threatened to call the Somerville police and made my children cry, for the crime of disagreeing over what to get with a few bucks each at the conveience store, and the crime of waiting for me on the sidewalk rather than inside the dry cleaners on the same block, and then choosing to get into my unlocked car with the cold drinks they had bought at the convenience store, while my 5 min errand lasted 15 min because the folks at the dry cleaners were trying to repair a broken zipper for me on a coat I had cleaned out of my closet and intended to donate.
Seriously if you have any choice in ever doing business with them, and support the right of elementary school kids to have a little independence and learn from their disagreements on whether mom said they could get ice cream, I urge you steer clear.
I am FURIOUS at having been confronted for going to the dry cleaners and letting my kids go to the convenience store to enjoy their refreshing cold drinks. And I even like board games and was pleased when they came to town.
I am SURE that plenty of kids the age of mine walk home from WSNS through Teele Square every school day. Yes, even when it's hot out. But if your first grader has an argument with their big sibling in the vicinity of Teele you can expect the police to be called, next time.
But I just found out that a startled fox on a London balcony will, if feeling cornered, drop two storeys onto the top of a garden wall, bounce off that onto the ground, land with somewhat less dignity than it had intended but apparently without injury, and trot off hurriedly.
In my defense, I really didn't mean to make the fox feel cornered; it's just that my immediate, automatic response to "unexpected furry cat-sized creature" is "stay still, make crooning noises at it, try to edge a bit closer." Had I fled, it would have been able to go round to the other side of the balcony, where you only have to drop down half a storey to an adjacent roof.
ETA: I can't help noticing that there is a very well-chewed yellow foam ball on my balcony, which I did not put there.
Also, by way of apology, I have left a dish of water out on the balcony, because it is a heatwave.
[Two ducklings, one facing the camera and one showing us its fluffy backside.]
Someone left the top gate on our canal lock open today and these two plus their four siblings got stuck at the far end of the lock next to the closed gate. They couldn't scramble out to meet their momma standing on the lock edge. I went out to chivvy her back toward the open gate, and luckily the ducklings trapped in the lock followed her all the way out the gate, which I shut behind them. All seem to be okay if a little peeved with me, and I can take it!
- The Shawarma Place, in Cutter Square (EDIT: moved to 215 Highland Ave)
- Aguacate Verde, in Wilson Square
- Union Mart and Subway, in Union Square
I just shaved about a pound of side hair off (it is thick) and have put it in the worm bin. Good compost aeration! And, felt happy I had cleaned and organized the closet weeks ago as I easily found my little box of house dresses.
I'm wearing this amazing reversible soft linen sleeveless dress, with a pocket for my handkerchief, that I got from Flax on skud's recommendation a few years ago (converting me fervently to linen) And my hair has been up in a top of the head ponytail all day (now much more effective with the side hair shaved off.) I think of skud affectionately whenever I wear this amazing dress (maroon on one side and lavender on the other). The pocket handkerchief is daintily printed with violets. I ironed it the other day, as I enjoy doing.
Now you know everything. All my secrets. Dresses, ironing, and the fact that I have that chicken yodeling song stuck in my head.
The top of the home page identifies it as a City of Boston site, and says
The City of Boston wishes to acknowledge and attribute this information to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies for the decades of work that they have done to advance the fight against climate change. While this information may not be readily available on the agency’s webpage right now, here in Boston we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it.
I haven't explored very much yet, but there's a lot there.
What I went to the library to check out: Batman and Psychology. It was missing from the shelves of the main branch but the nice librarian put a copy on hold for me from one of the other branches, so I'll get to pick it up in a few days.
What I came away with from the one-cent-per-book discard sale:
- Replica and Resistance by Jenna Black. Casual perusal of the back cover suggests there is a replica with missing memories from his original who has been murdered PLEASE DON'T SUCK I eat this particular trope up with SPOONS.
- Gail Carriger's Curtsies and Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, and Manners and Mutiny, books 2-4 of Finishing School; I will have to obtain book 1 somehow (I think someone else beat me to it at the discard sale). I don't even CARE if they're any good, those are fab titles, and at one cent per book it's hard to argue.--It turns out the library has book 1, Etiquette and Espionage, on Overdrive, so I could theoretically start it whenever I wanted to.
- David Marusek's Getting to Know You, a short story collection--the name sounds familiar but I can't place it. Anyway, I'll try the short stories and who knows? Maybe I'll enjoy them. Again, at one cent, not a huge loss if it's not for me after all.
- And finally, THE BEST FIND (well, other than CLONE AMNESIA, which is always Relevant To My Interests): America's Maritime Heritage by Eloise Engle & Arnold S. Lott, ©1975 by the United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland. I am dying of curiosity and also, I suck at all naval history that is not the Imjin War, so even a flawed--even a jingoistic--textbook will be interesting.
Which book(s) from my library haul should I read first?
David Marusek's GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Engle & Lott's AMERICA'S MARITIME HERITAGE
Gail Carriger's ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE
Jenna Black's REPLICA
ticky the tacky tocky!
ETA: Feel free to elaborate on your votes in comments! =)
I really enjoyed this set of post-series Harry Potter snippets.
Gotta love Rebecca Solnit.
This site has a great detailed overview of the Trump-Russia scandal.
Oh, this is hella cute.
This story about refugees in Dallas gave me some hope.
This story took some of that hope away. :-(
This article discusses how the federal flood insurance program cannot withstand global sea level rise.
This Outside Magazine article about pre-existing conditions has politics showing up in usual circumstances.
Sophie Gilbert on toxic masculinity, in The Atlantic.
The more studies I read, the more I learn that no single food or diet affects everyone the same way. It's fascinating.
Holy crap this is fantastic. In 2013, Ward and a colleague bought an old lobster boat and anchored it in the path of a 40,000-ton coal freighter at Brayton Point in Massachusetts. The state brought charges, and on the day of the trial-with climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and activist Bill McKibben standing ready to testify-Bristol County district attorney Sam Sutter stunned the court by dropping the charges and announcing that the protesters were right. Standing in front of the courthouse, waving an essay by McKibben, DA Sutter called climate change one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced and declared that the political leadership was failing the people. He then joined Ward in a climate march in New York, in Central Park. From this article about the folks who closed the valves on the DAPL.
In other news, I reached the end of Marie Brennan's Lady Trent novels this week. In the Sanctuary of Wings was very enjoyable, and my only complaint is that the series is over. :-(
In other news, it's the hottest day of the year, but I had a head of home-grown garlic from my brother's MIL, so I had to use it to make roasted garlic bread. ( Roasted garlic bread )
The theme of this week seems to be Secrecy in the Senate to Screw us on Healthcare.
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Healthcare - McConnell wants the trumpcare vote to happen before the July 4th recess. That's two weeks away.
Healthcare Call Scripts from Indivisble
Indivisible Guide: Contact for Senate Staffers
Senate Contact Info
Stop #TrumpCare Senate Call-In Day
Hustle and Slack: MoveOn Text Team Training
Pride Month: Donate to LGBT+ groups
Brennan Center Report on Trump-Russia Investigation
Mississippi River Alliance
Indivisible: Defending the Climate in Local Action
How's everyone doing?
called my one senator
called my other senator
called my representative
called my governor
called my state reps
called my city reps
sent a letter/postcard/fax/email
attended a town hall
donated moeny to a cause
attended an in person sctivist group
participated in online phone training
went to a protest
signed up for alerts
took care of myself
not a US citizen but worked in solidarity in my own community
did something else
committed to action in the coming week