Watched iZombie

Jun. 23rd, 2017 04:16 am

Baths

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:16 am
travelswithkuma: (Default)
[personal profile] travelswithkuma
Bears hads baths todays. Pouts bears nots likes baths evens ifs baths is goods fors bears. Musts bes ats bears bests as is times tos seeess everys ones ats conventions

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:38 pm
gwydion: (Default)
[personal profile] gwydion
* "Trump: I don't want a 'poor person' in Cabinet economic jobs:" http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/22/politics/donald-trump-poor-person-cabinet/index.html

* "Election Hackers Altered Voter Rolls, Stole Private Data: Officials:" http://time.com/4828306/russian-hacking-election-widespread-private-data/

* "White House Warns Reporters Not to Report on Instructions About Not Reporting on Thursday’s Press Conference:" http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/06/22/white_house_press_conference_no_camera_notice_is_not_reportable_white_house.html

* "GOP threat to Medicaid threatens liberty of millions of Americans:"

Embed: )

* "Parents of sick kids try to remind Congress what the health-care debate should be about:" https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/parents-of-sick-kids-try-to-remind-congress-what-the-health-care-debate-should-be-about/2017/06/22/784231b2-574e-11e7-ba90-f5875b7d1876_story.html?utm_term=.64636d0f76f7

* "What's in the Senate Republican Health-Care Bill:" https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/whats-in-the-senate-republican-health-care-bill/531258/

* "Obama Rips The Senate GOP Health Care Bill:" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-health-care_us_594c1ad8e4b0a3a837bea75d

* "GOP Health Care Bill or Tax Cuts for the Rich?:"

Embed: )

* "Trump's Habit of Firing the People Investigating Him:"

Embed: )

* "Republicans Want A Vote, Not A Debate, On Healthcare:"

Embed: )

* I'm a hundred down on bills, plus we haven't money for electricity and Internet as we had to pay for car repairs (four hundred), so clearly it's ebay time: http://www.ebay.com/sch/lethran/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Details cut for your pleasure: )

* TOS Rewatch, Season 2:

- ":"

* TNG Rewatch, Season 6:

-

* July 4 2017, 12pm
June 27 2017, 8AM
June 30 2017, 2am
June 29 2017, 4:30 pm

+news +log @recycle Enter Seal Lord Sail water l/out


*****
* Full list of Resistance and charity links has been migrated to my profile as it was getting out of hand.

* "What can I do to help Syria?:" http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/161385222607/what-can-i-do-to-help-syria

* This App phones your rep for you: http://takeastance.us/

* Here is one that will send your reps a fax: https://resistbot.io/

* "So, what can people do?*:" http://brigdh.tumblr.com/post/161640495373/so-what-can-people-do

* Want to fight Climate Change? "Ready to Mobilize? Start Here!:" http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/start_here

* Distressed by the anti-gay genocide in Chechnya and the anti-gay laws in Russia? Donate here: https://lgbtnet.org/en

* The Rainbow Road and other ways to help Gay Refugees: http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/160470723507/the-rainbow-railroad-is-helping-gay-men-escape

* This is a Real Life friend of mine. They do very much need the money and a number of people and beasts depend on him and his husband. They have been incredibly helpful and supportive of me. If you can kick in, it is a kindness.: https://www.youcaring.com/tod-788345

* This is my oldest continuous Real Life friend. She is disabled and really needs the money for herself and beasts. To buy jewelry from her: https://www.etsy.com/shop/karjack

* Help pay for cat food, litter, meds, medical copays: Paypal Lethran@gmail.com

* Want Game of Thrones without the creepy? We need new players. We are very inclusive. "Game of Bones MUSH:" gobmush.wikidot.com

Friday also a write-off

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:59 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
After lazing about all yesterday, hoping I was getting enough rest, I then went and ran errands in the late afternoon (acquired 'Mao's Last Dancer' at very acceptable price so youngest could finish watching it as they had missed that class session; dealt with 'need more credit' on youngest's phone; gave in to temptation at a cheap books stall), stopped in at the shops and bought sausages at the butcher and hot chips at the chippy, and then socialised.

And then this morning I dragged myself out of bed and went with artisanat and eldest to deal with shopping. Halfway through, I realised that this had been more of a commitment than I was cut out for, so instead of going with artisanat to the next thing, I flopped in bed and let everyone else do the responsible adult things (mostly putting the cold items in fridge/freezer). Did go with artisanat to get him to work after that, and drove the car home, but have spent the rest of the day so far in bed. Painkillers, coffee, left-overs, and a helpful other individual are all good things, but even put together have not got my pain below three-ish.

Comic for June 23, 2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:59 pm
[syndicated profile] dilbert_feed
Dilbert readers - Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:59 pm
gwydion: (Default)
[personal profile] gwydion
* "Donald Trump gets a royal snub:"

Embed: )

* "Wheelchair users dragged away from McConnell’s office for protesting health care bill:" https://thinkprogress.org/wheelchair-protesters-arrested-ahca-dc-c7ecf4c94f59

Police brutalized peaceful protesters. " ADAPT’s D.C. area branch tweeted that officers were picking people up and dropping them, which video footage of the incident appears to corroborate. Several onlookers also reported seeing blood on the floor as activists were hauled away by police."

* This one has a bunch of footage, but less written inforamation. "Wheelchair-bound protesters removed from protest outside Mitch McConnell's office:" http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/wheelchair-bound-protesters-removed-from-protest-outside-mitch-mcconnells-office/article/2626808

* Please folks, they are voting next week to gut medicaid, return lifetime caps, bar coverage for pre-existing conditions so they can give the richest 1% massive tax cuts. They are going to kill a lot of us by denying us medication, chemotherapy, basic medical care. Please, please please. Now is when we really need phone calls, angry in person visits to offices, and die ins. Please, please, please, if you can protest, do.

* "The Senate health care bill is a blatant attack on America’s most vulnerable.:" https://newrepublic.com/minutes/143478/senate-health-care-bill-blatant-attack-americas-vulnerable

* "TransGriot Perv Watch- Guess Who Wasn't Caught In This Houston Area Child Predator Sting?:" http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2017/06/transgriot-perv-watch-guess-who-wasnt.html

* "Women in Canada have no legal recourse against pickup artists filming them:" https://mic.com/articles/180468/women-in-canada-have-no-legal-recourse-against-pickup-artists-filming-them?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=main&utm_source=policymicTBLR#.GGHsuY7jP

* "New Video Breaks Down Why Hollywood Needs Transgender Actors:" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transgender-hollywood-video_us_594964b8e4b08709c82fe34c?utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&utm_source=qv_fb&utm_medium=facebook&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000050

* "This Powerful Photo Series Shares People's Personal Stories Of The Pulse Nightclub Shooting:" https://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/dear-world-series?utm_term=.oiYwr4GGX#.cqVdm233l

* "The Famous Speech Chief Seattle Never Made:" http://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts/the-famous-speech-chief-seattle-never-made.htm

* I have lost track of how many days it's been since I had proper sleep. I'm thinking maybe a week ago? I am irritatingly struggling with the bare minimum as a result. This is likely negatively effecting my availability and quality. Apologies.

* I'm a hundred down on bills, plus we haven't money for electricity and Internet as we had to pay for car repairs (four hundred), so clearly it's ebay time: http://www.ebay.com/sch/lethran/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Details cut for your pleasure: )

*****
* Full list of Resistance and charity links has been migrated to my profile as it was getting out of hand.

* "What can I do to help Syria?:" http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/161385222607/what-can-i-do-to-help-syria

* This App phones your rep for you: http://takeastance.us/

* Here is one that will send your reps a fax: https://resistbot.io/

* "So, what can people do?*:" http://brigdh.tumblr.com/post/161640495373/so-what-can-people-do

* Want to fight Climate Change? "Ready to Mobilize? Start Here!:" http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/start_here

* Distressed by the anti-gay genocide in Chechnya and the anti-gay laws in Russia? Donate here: https://lgbtnet.org/en

* The Rainbow Road and other ways to help Gay Refugees: http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/160470723507/the-rainbow-railroad-is-helping-gay-men-escape

* This is a Real Life friend of mine. They do very much need the money and a number of people and beasts depend on him and his husband. They have been incredibly helpful and supportive of me. If you can kick in, it is a kindness.: https://www.youcaring.com/tod-788345

* This is my oldest continuous Real Life friend. She is disabled and really needs the money for herself and beasts. To buy jewelry from her: https://www.etsy.com/shop/karjack

* Help pay for cat food, litter, meds, medical copays: Paypal Lethran@gmail.com

* Want Game of Thrones without the creepy? We need new players. We are very inclusive. "Game of Bones MUSH:" gobmush.wikidot.com

Briefly sore throat for me...

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:22 pm
archangelbeth: Bleary-eyed young woman peers up, pillow obscuring the lower half of her face. Text reads: SO not a morning person. (So Not A Morning Person)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Kid is slowly recovering. Slowly. Miserably.

I got to bed at 3, and then the kid needed me back after all (nightmares last night...) about an hour later, so I spent about 3-4 hours sleeping on the foot of þeir bed. Then back to bed again. Less than 7 hours all told. I did get about an hour's nap later this afternoon, BUT.

Then to optometrist, and it was decided that my left eye did indeed need a different prescription. I have some hopes that I will be able to cope with the progressives once the left lens is better.

I have a depressed. O:p

I also read a lot of the series that starts with The Magpie Lord, which is a pseudo-regency with magic, and a m/m relationship (which gets explicit, FYI), and when I finished the first one, I bought the second, and when I finished the second, I bought the third. I blame fadethecat for mentioning that Magpie Lord was good, and then I went to see how expensive it was, and I already had it (so it was cheap or free when I looked at some point I forgot about), so... Well.

Havva Quote
I really gotta get out of this habit of thinking I'll blog about a thing and then not doing it and then not blogging about the next thing because I need to blog about the other thing first.
--http://tkingfisher.dreamwidth.org/1487859.html



INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

First, my initial thoughts, as rendered on Twitter.

Now, let me talk a little bit more about the part where I say “rich people don’t miss their taxes,” since I think there are people who may be reasonably skeptical about this. Warning: I’m going to talk about my money. Then I’m going to talk about other people’s money.

To begin: I pay taxes on a quarterly basis, because I’m self-employed and the IRS, alas not entirely unreasonably, questions whether self-employed people will keep track of their money for a full year in order to pay off one big tax bill. So every quarter, I pay taxes. And in each of those quarterly tax payments, I pay in taxes roughly what I grossed (and definitely more than I netted) in income from the entire four-and-half years of my first job out of college, working for a newspaper. Add up my yearly tax bill, and it’s close to what I grossed my first ten years of being a professional writer — and there was never a time in there I didn’t do okay; it was a solid continuous progression up the middle-class income ladder.

So these days, whenever I see how much I pay in taxes annually, my first thought is always something like HOLY CRAP that’s a lot of money. I could totally use that! As someone who grew up poor and has worked his way steadily up the income ladder, it’s a freakin’ huge amount in terms of the raw dollars.

And then I pay my taxes and I discover that anything I would have used that ridiculous wad of tax money for, I still have enough in my net income for. I literally cannot think of a thing I want — or need — that my post-tax income can’t handle. Because as it happens, even with federal, state and local taxes, my tax burden is reasonable. I don’t pay taxes in 1980, when the highest marginal federal income tax rate was 70%; I pay taxes in 2017, where top federal tax bracket maxes out at just under 40%. With state and local taxes, I would have to break a sweat to have a total tax indebtedness of 50% — but I don’t come anywhere near that, because like lots of people in my position I have a very smart accountant who finds me lots of deductions.

So even with literally the full (pre-deduction) tax burden someone in Ohio can pay — we max out all the marginal rates — there is more than enough left over for pretty much anything that we want to do, individually, as a couple or as a family. We save a lot, invest a bunch, and thus take that money out of the short-term income pool we use for bills, household spending and, uh, “consumer activity,” and we’re still just fine, thanks. I suppose it’s possible that we could spend so much of our post-tax income that we’re left with little or nothing and thus would wish we had some of the money that we paid in taxes back into our hands, but speaking from experience, this takes effort, and some willful stupidity about your money. Yes, I’m looking at you, Nick Cage and Johnny Depp. But if you’re not the sort of person who spends $30,000 a month on wine, you’re probably going to be fine.

We do just fine. The other people I know who have similar or better incomes than we have also do just fine. The ones I know with substantially better incomes than we have are also doing just fine. No one at my income level or better actively misses the money they spend on taxes, because they’re still rich after they pay taxes.

Would I like to pay less in taxes? When I look at the raw number of dollars I send to the IRS, sure. When I think about the actual impact on my day-to-day life having that money would make, versus the actual and positive impact on the day-to-day life of millions of other people, when people like me pay our taxes? Nope. I have certain (in more than one sense of that word) opinions about how those taxes I pay in should be used, and whether they are being used effectively, and whether I’m getting value for what I pay, to be sure. Those are different issues, however.

Cratering health care for millions in the United States (and crippling Medicaid in the bargain) in order to give people like me a tax cut means that we are taking something from people who need it, often desperately, to give something to people who don’t need it and may not even notice it in any substantial way. In the House version of this legislation, you have to make more than $200k to get any tax benefit from it; people with incomes between $200k and $500k a year would get a tax break of $510 on average. $510 is not a lot to get in return for asking millions of other Americans to be potentially priced out of health coverage, have lifetime insurance caps reinstituted, be denied for pre-existing conditions, get sicker and die earlier. And the roughly 95% of Americans who don’t make $200,000 a year won’t even get that.

Rich people don’t need any more tax cuts. They’re doing just fine. They will continue to do just fine. And no, their tax burden isn’t onerous. Trust me, I know. I live that tax burden daily. It doesn’t hurt. What does hurt is knowing that people I know and care for will likely die sooner and sicker than they should just so someone like me gets back a few more dollars they won’t notice. Don’t come at me with “but the rich earned those dollars.” Dude, I earned my dollars, too. I earned them in a country that helped me get where I am in part through taxes. I earned them understanding that getting rich came with an obligation to the society I live in and benefit from, an obligation discharged, in part, by paying a perfectly reasonable amount of taxes.

The motto of the United States is not, in fact, “Fuck you, I got mine.” It was, and should have remained, “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one. We’re all Americans. We all deserve the blessings this country can provide. This one is willing to pay his taxes for the benefit of the many.


Meanwhile, in Austin, Texas

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:41 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Sunset is the same time as in NYC, but sunrise is an hour later.

So... from here to Wavre, the time of sunset is different this time of year but the time of sunrise is the same. And from here to Austin, the time of sunset is the same this time of year but the time of sunrise is different. But on the other solstice, it's the other way around - Austin and NYC share a sunrise time, Wavre and NYC share a sunset time.

There is some way this all makes sense, and I know I've had it explained to me before, but... I guess it didn't make enough sense. (It has something to do with how the sun appears to move in a figure 8?)

Semi-related, Mr. "How did they know it was noon?" reminded me of something. There is an algorithm to convert sundial time to clock time, and vice versa. Apparently, when mechanical clocks first became common, their time was considered inaccurate, and true time was sundial time. This is blindingly obvious the second you hear it explained, but it didn't occur to me until I happened to read it on Wikipedia while looking up common sundial mottoes. (It's later than you think!)

There must have been a middle period in there where the younger generation was chronically annoying the older generation by showing up for things at clock time when the older generation obviously meant real time.

*******************


The Deseret Alphabet, a 38-Letter Writing System Developed by Mormons

Pictures: Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees (There's something to pointlessly engineer - flowers with multicolored nectar to make multicolored honey! If they think they can sell pink pineapples, colorful honey is sure to be a hit. And it won't be garbage, so it won't be gross.)

Census: US growing older and more racially diverse

The Mussels That Eat Oil

When the Bus Stop Button is Broken

Medieval medical books could hold the recipe for new antibiotics

Man sent home from work for wearing shorts in over 30°C heat comes back in a dress

Memory for stimulus sequences distinguishes humans from other animals

This ‘Indian Dr. Seuss’ Is Very Fond of Nonsense

How the Liberal Arts Help Veterans Thrive

Urban agriculture only provides small environmental benefits in northeastern US

Supreme Court Says You Can't Ban People From The Internet, No Matter What They've Done

People with disabilities at risk in Central African Republic

Abused children find Japan’s shelters provide little comfort

Desperate Venezuelans set sights on Colombia as worry mounts

Hundreds of Inmates Still Confined to Tent City During Phoenix Heat Wave

Former immigration detainees challenge labor practices

How Our Modern Lifestyles Perpetuate Slavery

War-torn Yemen to get cholera vaccines as death toll mounts

U.S. will take weapons from Kurds after Islamic State defeat: Turkey
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

#TFG = #thatfuckingguy

Ahoy, Captain!

I would appreciate any advice you could give on supporting a friend (female pronouns) who is not yet ready to leave an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend. This has been an ongoing issue for about 2 years, but something happened a few days ago and I could use an outside perspective.

I would describe the boyfriend as coercive (in past conversations she has alluded to having sex with him just so that he will stop begging, even when she doesn’t want to) and one of my big concerns is that Friend will be extremely isolated in our current city without me. I think he looks through her phone and computer, so I pretty much assume that he could read any written communication I send. I censor myself in written communication with her and we only have frank conversations when we go for walks in the nearby park. He often invites himself along to things we have planned and it feels like he is monitoring our friendship. He also makes controlling comments, but when I call them out, he always says, “I was just joking. [Friend] knows I’m just joking. She’s amazing and the best thing ever…etc.” They live together, but he does none of the domestic work and will only do paid work (freelance) when she nags him.

A couple times a year, she will reach a boiling point and tell him to shape up or she will leave. He will improve for about 2 weeks and then go back to the status quo. Her work/school schedule has been grueling the past few years and she hasn’t had the energy to deal with the inevitable fallout of a breakup. Most of our one-on-one conversations end with me reiterating an offer that she is always welcome to stay at my apartment when she is ready to leave. She’s not blinded by love or anything, just doesn’t feel like there is a good way or time to exit the relationship. He is currently estranged from his family and not really working, so she feels like if she dumps him, he will have nothing. One of my priorities is staying in her life, so I don’t want to overstep and give her boyfriend ammunition for isolating her further. Her parents think her boyfriend is fantastic and her other close friends live in other cities and are busy with newborn babies.

A couple days ago, I ended up spending about 30 minutes alone with her boyfriend while we were stuck in terrible traffic, on our way to pick her up and go to an event. I don’t enjoy his company and generally avoid spending time with him. Our one-on-conversation (mostly him doing a monologue) was frightening. He was delusional, paranoid, and unable to remember things I had said 5 minutes earlier. I had to repeatedly remind him where we were going and why we were going. He was extremely animated in his conversation and was looking at me while he talked and not the road, often swerving at the last minute. His ranting mostly focused on how the [creative] industry was scared of his success and how “they” wanted to keep his [art] away from “the people” and that this was a huge mistake because “the universe was going to revolt” if they didn’t get access to his [art]. At first I thought he was joking and just being overly full of himself, but he was completely serious. He then segued into how his estrangement with his family was a concern of the Catholic Church. Apparently, him “stepping out of line” is crumbling the foundation of the church by upsetting the established hierarchy. At several points, he referred to himself as royalty and referred to his lifelong “fame” that comes with being part of his family. Before you wonder, you have no clue who he is. His “fame” comes from the local and state politics his family is involved with in one of the poorest states in the country.

This grandiose sense of self and paranoia about “the establishment” trying to prevent him from success is worrisome. There were also times when he said things that I know for a fact aren’t true, but he seems to have fully convinced himself of this alternate version. I have considered that he may have been on drugs during that conversation, though that possibility does not alleviate my worry. He does not believe in therapy, though Friend has suggested it to him many times over the last two years.

I have already sent Friend a vague text and we are getting together this weekend for a walk where we will be able to speak more frankly. I just feel powerless to help and that my support has fallen woefully short. I don’t know how to be a supportive friend in this situation and I’m really worried that he is acting like this with her on a regular basis. It was exhausting for 30 minutes, I can’t imagine what it is doing to her longterm. I don’t think he is violent now, but think he could become violent if she breaks up with him. I feel like Friend is the frog in the pot of water, slowly boiling to death. She’s been unhappy, but the decline has been gradual so there hasn’t been a catalyst for her to jump ship.

I know I can’t make her leave, but I do want to make sure I am there for her if she needs support. Any words of wisdom to help me be a good friend in this situation?

-Helpless & Worried (female pronouns)

Dear Helpless & Worried,

I think you’re doing as well as you can with this. You’ve figured out how to communicate with her around his possible monitoring of her electronic conversations. You’ve made it clear that you’ll be a landing place when and if she leaves him. Let me refer you to some past posts that deal with the issue of being a good friend in a basically impossible situation.

Let’s address the elephant in the room:

Without diagnosing this dude (seriously, no “It sounds like x!” comments, please, we don’t actually have to narrow it down), the grandiosity, short-term memory slips, and erratic driving behavior he displayed might correlate to a number of mental health conditions that all have one important thing in common: They will not get better and will most likely get worse without focused regular psychiatric care & medication. You and your friend both might benefit from calling or texting the support folks at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), describing what you experienced with this guy, and seeing what they recommend. Your friend can’t make him get treatment, nor can you, but their support resources for “family members and caregivers” might be able to walk her through what she’s dealing with and have checklists and methods for coaxing reluctant people into treatment.

Important: If you’re ever dealing with someone who is having the paranoid sort of delusions and they are getting very upset and agitated, it doesn’t help to try to convince them of what’s real or deny the truth of what they are describing. They are experiencing whatever it is as if it’s real, so it’s better to validate their feelings until you can get them to Help or Help to them. You don’t have to participate in the delusion yourself, so try “I don’t see any spiders, but that must be a truly awful sight” or “I don’t hear anything, but that must feel really strange and scary.” Be honest about where your own perceptions differ but validate and comfort the upset feelings the person is having without arguing them out of feeling them. Source: A NAMI-created education session for friends/family/loved ones I went to back when Mr. Awkward was hospitalized a few years ago for a bad episode with his bipolar disorder .

It’s a sad, true fact that one can be a clingy, controlling, abusive jerk who needs to be dumped and have some pretty serious mental health stuff going on. Correlation is not causation. Even if he gets treatment (unlikely, since he “doesn’t believe in therapy”), your friend will most likely be better off without this guy in her life, and I don’t want to suggest that she’s responsible somehow for making this happen or that she needs to stay until his mental health is stabilized. Just, knowledge is power, and also, support resources who are not you are useful things to have.

I’m now going to stuff that elephant back into a tightly sealed container, because he didn’t write to me and she didn’t write to me and this is about you and the limits of what you can do here.

If you ever witness an episode like the one you did, when you’re safely out of the car it’s okay to say, “You are not making a lot of sense today, and your driving was very erratic. You seem really not okay to me, like, maybe there’s something going on that a doctor should take a look at.” Say it directly to him as gently and directly as you are able. He may argue that he doesn’t believe in therapy or “Big Pharma” or whatever, which, okay, cool. Don’t talk about therapists or psychiatrists, use the generic catch-all of “doctor.” “I think you should make an appointment with a doctor and tell that person you’re having problems with memory and concentration, especially when driving. Dude, get yourself checked out – if it’s nothing, then why not rule it out?” He sees you at least nominally as a friend, so, use that and speak to him the way a friend would.

He 99.9% won’t go. On some level he suspects that if he goes to a doctor then “They” or “The System” will know there’s something bigger going on. That’s okay. Say it anyway, offer to be the driver on the way back – “I just don’t feel safe with you behind the wheel after what I just saw, and it’s even more worrying that you don’t remember what happened, why don’t you let me get us home, I’d feel much more comfortable” – and if he won’t budge, definitely find your own transportation home. Don’t make it about all future rides or ultimatums, just take it one ride at a time – Right now, you’d feel more comfortable if someone else drove. And in future conversations with him, if those happen, you can keep referring back to that particular night that you personally witnessed (instead of the shitty behavior you know about). “You don’t remember, but when we were in the car that night, your behavior was very disturbing. I really, really hope you’ll talk to a doctor about it. There’s no shame in trying to get to the bottom of something like that so you can feel better/drive safely/put my & girlfriend’s mind at ease.”

If he doesn’t listen to you or seek treatment, it doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. Sometimes speaking up about an issue isn’t about convincing the other person, it’s because it’s good for you to not stay silent. It’s good for you to name what’s happening, to remind yourself that it’s not normal, to remind yourself what you witnessed and experienced, and to put that out there in the world and not just silently fret about it.

When you next talk to your friend, another thing you can do is accurately and honestly describe what you saw. Talk about the behaviors, especially the scary driving, and talk about how they impacted you. You won’t be riding in a car with the boyfriend as the driver any more and you recommend that she doesn’t, either. He could have killed someone. He could have killed you. He could kill her. This is a very big deal and it can’t be waved away.

You can also talk about the grandiosity and the memory lapses and the other strange behavior you observed. Message: “I think there is something very serious going on with him, and he needs serious help – more help than you can possibly give or be expected to give.

He doesn’t believe in therapy so of course he won’t want to go and she’ll doubtless raise that objection. Your script is: “I think this might beyond our friendly neighborhood therapist, even. This is serious doctor stuff.” Then give her the NAMI resources or whatever else you’ve found and that our nice commenters recommend.

Then, here’s your script for the one big serious talk:

“You are my friend forever, and I always want to see you. If you ever need a place to stay, a listening ear, a ride, whatever I can give, it’s yours. I will keep making communication safe between us and making time for these walks when I can see you. 

I am seriously worried about you the longer you stay in this relationship. I think it is draining the life out of you, and I don’t think it’s your responsibility to support and help this guy even one minute longer than you already have. I think that he needs help that you can’t give, and the longer he tries to make you his girlfriend/mommy/financial support/mental health care substitute/pacifier, the longer he will delay seeking that care. I think it’s okay for you to call in medical professionals here, or think about contacting his family to see if they can help somehow – I think things are that serious and that they’ll only get worse from here. I know that’s overwhelming to contemplate, but if things stayed just like they are now and didn’t get any better, how long would you stay? Another year? Another 5 years? Forever?

In the end, only you can decide what’s right for you, and I trust you to take care of yourself and make a good decision about what to do. You don’t owe me a breakup with him, you don’t owe me anything but being my friend. You do what you need to do, and if you need me, I’ll be there, no questions asked.

That said, I can’t ride in a car with him anymore, anywhere. I have to make that boundary for my own safety. And I can’t pretend the way he behaves lately is normal or okay with me. I also don’t want him inviting himself along on our plans anymore, so what do you need from me to help make that happen?”  

Your friend will have some stuff to say, so, listen to her.

And then, in the aftermath of this talk, as you go forward in this friendship, here’s what I want you to do:

Make your friendship about something other than “helping” and “supporting” her in regards to him. Make your friendship about how much you like her and want her company in your life. In practice, this means:

  • It’s okay to redirect conversations about him. “You already know what I think, so, what are you asking?“What do you think you’ll do?” “How do you want to handle that?” 
  • It’s okay to nope out of some conversations about him and not make all the time you spend together time that you chew on the gristle of her relationship problems. “Ugh, that sucks, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that, but I’ve reached my Dude-talk limit for the day.” U R Not The Asshole Whisperer.
  • It’s more than okay to recommend that she see a therapist or counselor. He’s the one with big, dramatic issues, but if she’s being drained dry by him, her having a safe place to talk and an advocate for herself within the mental health system is not a bad thing at all. You don’t have to be her sole outlet.
  • I know you’re worried about her becoming isolated from having other friendships and relationships, but I’m serious about not getting in a car with him again, not ever. It’s okay to keep that boundary. “If Dude is driving, sorry, I can’t make it, but I’ll see you at the usual time for our walk.”
  • Get out of the role of being the only mentor/advice-giver/”the okay one” or whatever. Make it a point to ask her advice about things that she’s good and knowledgable about. Ask her for help with things that she’d be good at helping with. You can’t make “getting her out of the relationship” the project of your friendship with her for a lot of reasons, not least because it takes the average victim multiple attempts to leave before they actually do.
  • Make sure there is a fluffy/fun/positive/enjoyable thing that you share and talk about, whether it’s trading books or watching a favorite show together or a shared hobby or your weekly walks or texting cute animal photos. If he’s monitoring her communications (BAD, VERY BAD, RED FLAG) you having an innocuous conversation topic is a good thing, but it’s also important that you enjoy your friendship with each other as much as possible.
  • I hate that this is a thing, but referring to your time together as Girl Time!!! and planning really female-coded activities for when you hang out can help somewhat in minimizing how much he tags along to your plans. “Sorry, this is Lady Time! No boys allowed!” sometimes translates better for misogynists than “Steve, you’re not invited!”
  • Lady-Time Expanded: Is there a way for the two of you to join an all-woman choir or sport or other hobby group that meets periodically? Community for her, community for you, no That Guy.

If you’re doing that stuff, you’re doing the best you can under the circumstances.

While this is all going on, I also want you to take excellent care of yourself. Don’t neglect your other friendships and your social life. You need friendships without this abusive jerk hanging out in the background all the time. Don’t neglect your career, your finances, your education, your housekeeping. Above all, don’t neglect your own enjoyment and pleasure in life. Taking care of people and supporting them is great, but when your power to change a situation is as limited as it is here, making sure you can disengage is healthy.

This is all so imperfect. The mental health system is imperfect. Someone else’s relationship troubles are completely unfixable by you, and abusive people poison everything around themselves and the person in their grasp. You can’t make yourself like him, there’s only so long you can lie and pretend around him, and there’s only so long you can make vague soothing noises. There is no great, wonderful, awesome, brilliant way to handle this, there is only telling the truth and offering what you can safely offer.


The Big Idea: Curtis C. Chen

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:01 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… well, if you’re Curtis C. Chen, maybe you think about setting a novel there. Here’s Chen now to explain Kangaroo Too’s lunar connection.

CURTIS C. CHEN:

It is very likely that I set Kangaroo Too on the moon because of The Fifth Element.

In that movie, there’s a throwaway line of dialogue when Korben Dallas’ mother telephones him and complains that he never visits her on the moon. I had totally forgotten this until I went to see a 20th anniversary screening this year (yes, we really are that old), but it must have been stewing in my subconscious all that time.

Because why wouldn’t you put a retirement community on the moon? Gravity there is only one-sixth of Earth’s, so elders with mobility issues will find it easier to get around. Every habitat needs to be pressurized and climate-controlled anyway, so it can be as tropical as residents want. The only downside is that your family will have even more excuses for not visiting. Q.E.D.

Using the moon as a setting also let me put characters in a wider variety of awkward situations. Most of the first novel took place in a single location—a cruise spaceship traveling from Earth to Mars—but each hemisphere of the moon is roughly as wide across as the entire continental United States. Add a futuristic high-speed subway connecting population centers, and a reckless secret agent can get into plenty of trouble all over the place.

One lunar feature I latched onto early in my research was a “crater of eternal darkness.” The moon is tidally locked to the Earth (i.e., one hemisphere always faces toward us), and there are places along the day/night terminator that either always or never see sunlight. If you want continuous free electricity to power a transportation network, put solar panels on mountaintops near the north pole; if you want to keep something hidden, bury it under the deepest crater at the south pole.

And, of course, I had to include visits to at least a couple of Apollo landing sites, which are preserved as historical museums in this future. I’m sure the same thing will happen in reality. As soon as people can affordably travel to other planets, there’s going to be a booming space tourism industry. Everybody wants to stand on the Lunar surface, see the Earth rise over the horizon, and cover that blue marble with their thumb.

But back to aging on the moon. NASA recently conducted a Twins Study in which they followed identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly for one year, while Scott lived aboard the International Space Station and Mark remained on Earth. The final report isn’t out yet, but researchers are already seeing unexpected results (e.g., telomere lengthening) which raise many interesting questions. It seems possible that humans could naturally live longer in low gravity environments.

Of course, the most important scientific question raised in Kangaroo Too is: could we actually keep chickens on the moon, and therefore have fresh eggs? The only way to know for sure is to establish a Lunar base and start breeding livestock up there. Make me a liar, Fish!

—-

Kangaroo Too: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s blog. Follow him on Twitter.


Munich Meetup June 28

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:40 pm
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

From Hannah, the organizer:

We will meet in the Michaeligarten beer garden in Ostpark on Wednesday
28th June at 18.00. If it is raining, we will postpone and meet on
Friday 30th instead. If the weather looks bad, we will discuss on the
“Munich?” thread on the forums whether or not to postpone, so check in
there for a decision.

The nearest U-Bahn station is Michaelibad on the U5. You can bring
your own food into the beer garden or buy food there, although you
won’t be able to bring in drinks.

I will bring a teddy bear to put on the table so people can find us.
If you need to get in touch, you can post in the “Munich?” thread on
the forums or email me on hannah.in.munich@gmail.com.

Thanks so much!

Have a good time!


[syndicated profile] charlie_stross_diary_feed

Hi: I'm back. And a regular commenter asked me an interesting question anent the state of current US/UK politics: how much money can you make by crying fire in a crowded theatre?

Note that "crowded theatre" and "crying fire" are not to be taken literally; rather, it's a question about how much money you can make by manipulating social media to drive public opinion.

I'm going to start with the money markets: hedge funds bet big on Brexit, because they predicted that in event of a "leave" vote going through, shares in the FTSE 100 would underperform by 20%: so they shorted the entire market. However, it's a bet that, by and large, they lost money on. Rather than the FTSE 100 dropping 20%, Sterling dropped 20% and the shares continued to trade at much the same level (in the now-debased currency). Oops. Notably, billionaire Peter Hargreaves, who donated £3.2M to the Leave campaign, managed to lose on the order of £400M (warning: DM over-simplification alert—the market didn't tank, his portfolio lost value). Still, as bets go, it's a good if obvious example of crying fire in a crowded theatre for pleasure and profit: put £3.2M into sending 15 million letters to voters urging them to vote one way, aiming to profit to the tune of hundreds of millions.

Another fairly obvious example is the investment by the current Russian leadership in cyberwar ops against the perceived-as-more-competent candidate in the last US presidential election. Regardless of her other characteristics, Clinton was experienced in foreign affairs and no friend of Russia's. Russia today is primarily an oil and gas exporter, with the world's second largest (official) reserves after Saudi Arabia, and the current leadership can't help but be aware that they're vulnerable to some of the same factors that brought down the USSR —notably vulnerability to externally induced commodity price fluctuations. Clinton could have continued the transition to renewables that the Obama administration began, and applied the decreased US dependency on fossil fuel as an economic weapon against Russia (by depressing global oil prices): she had to be defeated at all costs. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is full of fossil fuel connections. Oil, gas, and coal companies contributed heavily to Trump's campaign, to his inauguration, and in federal lobbying since then, with predictable results.

Anyway, those are the two big recent examples; investors pushing Brexit propaganda not because they think leaving the EU would be good for the UK but in the pursuit of short-term profit: and big fossil fuel interests (national-level actors like Russia/Gazprom and corporate actors like Koch Industries) seeking a fossil-fuel-friendly policy environment by buying targeted political campaigning and deploying cyberwar techniques against politicians perceived as being less receptive to their desire for profit.

Aside from these two examples, and also leaving aside the Grenfell Tower disaster (latest: inflammable cladding may have been used on up to 600 other high-rise apartment buildings in the UK; replacing that is going to cost billions), what other examples can you think of where you can profit by crying fire in a crowded theatre?

More Fireflies

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:11 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

I’m getting a smidgen better at taking pictures of these little glowy dudes. The secret, which is not a secret at all, is long exposures on steady platforms, and low ISO settings so you don’t blow out the picture. This one, which is actually a detail of a larger photo, is a 20 second exposure at ISO 250 at late dusk (close to 10 pm here because it was literally the night before the solstice), so the sky was darker than it is here. I used the birdbath in the front yard as a platform.

I was focused on the fireflies but as you can see a little here, and rather better in the photo linked above, I caught some stars in there too, as well as twenty seconds of their movement across the sky, which was apparently just long enough to catch some streaking. I think this is pretty cool.

I’ll probably post one or two more firefly photos before the season is done. I think they’re pretty.


Sciophobia

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:18 pm
sideways: [inside] boy looking upwards to next challenge (►we're coming back for more)
[personal profile] sideways posting in [community profile] 100words
Title: Sciophobia
Original
Rating: G
Notes: I do not own bunkers.

She crooks her fingers against the candlelight, casting puppets for the giggling children. Here is a bunny: hop, hop. Then she draws an ear down into a crinkled snout, folds her thumb out, and the same hand shapes a new shadow. Here come the sharp teeth: run and hide.

The meeting is still going, low voices at the table quieting when trucks rumble overhead. The virus, they murmur. Not yet. Yes yet. Too great a cost to use. Too great a cost to not.

Which will they be remembered as in the end, she wonders: the rabbit, or the wolf?

oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin
[R]ed tape also means regulations that protect citizens, at a certain cost to companies that otherwise have little incentive to sacrifice some profit to mitigate risk. It is because of red tape that you cannot buy a flammable sofa, and that you are very unlikely to die in an air crash.

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. Modern regulatory regimes as a whole came into being in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of public outrage at the dangerous practices of unrestrained industry.

This is perhaps partly similar to the phenomenon that having effective infrastructure and ongoing regular maintenance of same is not as dramatic a story as horrendous accidents.

It's possibly also analogous to people becoming anti-vaxxers, because vaccination programmes have been so successful that there is no notion of the risks there used to be from common diseases of childhood.

For the first few years of 'there were no new cases of polio in the last twelve months' this is news. And then that becomes the default setting.

For those who decry 'Elf and Safety, I recommend a salutary reading of the London Medical Officer of Health reports from the C19th, freely available digitised and searchable online.

There are some Victorian values one can get behind, and the rise of public health is one of them.

On other Victorian values, however, and those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, this person seems unaware that providing tied housing contingent upon working for a particular employer is nothing like a 'welfare state':

it was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spending is around $30m to provide short-term, prefab housing for 300 of its employees because Silicon Valley housing is in such short supply. Tech giants helped cause a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, now it seems they are becoming landlords. It’s feudalism 2.0.
Not so much feudalism as C19th model towns, e.g. Saltaire, founded by businessmen to keep their workers contented and (I hypothesise) spurning the trades union movement (having had to do with a late C19th enterprise with some of the same elements of benevolent paternalism towards the workforce).

And, looking at that article, was New Lanark really quite the same thing? Enlightened capitalism not quite the same as utopian socialism.

Also had the thought that people who are 'regulation BAD' seem to reverse this opinion when it comes to panic measures against terrorism that are often symbolic rather than proven efficacious.

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