Our longtime neighbor's house is finally up for sale. The sign went up late yesterday, and a listing showed up this morning. By this afternoon, the listing realtor's site for it had been taken down. Did it sell that fast, or is something else going on? This third-party site still has the info and some photos of in and out:
Yup, it's the answer to life, the universe and everything!
All traces of Betty's gardens are gone.
A retro-fan friend of mine picked right up on the built-in radio, likely of the same vintage as the '57 Buick of a built-in oven we still have in our kitchen next door.
Anyway, all this can be yours (including the curtains). Unless it can't because it sold in under a day- which does happen around here these days.
Also last night, before I saw any of those pictures, I saw this one:
A friend and fellow aminal lover posted this tale from the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter:
Lilly is a 12-18 month old chocolate lab mix who came to the shelter when her owners moved out of their house and left her behind. A concerned neighbor brought her to our care.
REALLY?!? Who does that? She looked well cared for, and the rest of the listing said she was doing well meeting people and other dogs. I knew the time was all wrong- with Eleanor's three month layup, she's going to have enough trouble letting one dog out the back door during the day- but cmon. That FACCCCCE. So I detoured after court this morning and checked. Sadly (or happily, really), Lilly already got adopted out. There were plenty of other choices, most of them pitties, but no. This would have been for Tasha- our first doggie rescue, a Chocolate lab mix who we gave the best 12 years of her 13 years of life through a few years ago. I'll continue to say no, but I'll never say never.
In other transitions, a longtime friend lost her longtime cat companion the other day. But not many Rainbow Bridge residents have a whole series of mystery novels starring them for us to remember them by:
Closer to home, the longtime companion of a former coworker passed away this week after a very long series of end days. His funeral is Saturday morning, and I think I need to go to that.
I think I also need to go out of town tomorrow for my only trip this week. Nothing about THAT ever changes.
"That is not okay! You can’t do science with two people at once!"
"I mean, you can’t do science with two different people and not tell them about each other!"
(which of course won't make much sense unless you've read the 86 chapters before that part.)
And then I reflected that I could relate a lot more to that statement taken literally, than to that for which it might be interpreted as a metaphor.
Fittingly, having started reading The Game of Kings on my 40th-birthday trip to Scotland, because I wanted to read something set in Scotland while I was there, I read Gemini while on holiday in Scotland once again. Three and a bit years, 14 books, at least 7,000 pages and an amazing sweep of European and Middle Eastern history in the early modern and late Middle Ages later, I can safely say that it has been one of the most intense reading experiences I've ever had. I can't actually remember who it was who made Dunnett sound intriguing enough for me to give her a try (I suspect it may have been a gestalt entity of friends and acquaintances), but it's been incredible, and in many ways I'm sorry to have come to the end. (I do still have King Hereafter to read, and will probably give the Johnson Johnson novels a try at least, but neither is going to be the same.)
Now, I think I was completely wrong. I think that when you put the battery in, it *always* comes on. I just assumed that it would usually be off and didn't actually check that was true. So I got the impression it was lit *sometimes* on battery-connect, and connected that to the state it had before the battery was removed.
Wow, it's really easy to manufacture evidence for something even when you think you're avoiding that.
Presumably the "power on lit" is so that loose connections don't turn it off. OTOH, that would mean if it has a loose connection when it's being carried about, it might come on and drain the battery. Or maybe no-one thought about it and this just happened to be the case. Or maybe there's a regulation? I don't know.
Here's the thing: there's a difference between a group of people and a system of people. The difference is that a system of people comprises not only the individuals, but also the social constructs that guide the behavior of those individuals... in other words, the system itself.
For example, a company isn't just a bunch of people who coincidentally happen to work on the same projects in distributed ways. A school system isn't a bunch of teachers and administrators who independently happen to work the same way. A police precinct isn't a bunch of officers who just happen to follow the same rules.
In each of these cases there are policies and guidelines and hierarchies and informal structures and so forth that shape behavior. There's a system.
And when we praise or condemn the public school system, or the police, or Microsoft, or etc. we mostly aren't praising or condemning a whole group because of some good or bad individuals. I mean, sure, those individuals exist, but they aren't the reason. We are praising/condemning a whole group because of the system that organizes it. And the larger the system we're talking about, the more true that is: when we say that democracies are more just than totalitarian states, or that capitalism is more efficient than communism, or that communism is more humane than capitalism, or various other claims along those lines, we're basically not saying anything at all about any individual.
Or at least, that's how it should be. I mean, sure, sometimes we praise or condemn a group of people just because we're applying aggregate-level stereotypes to all the individuals in that group. And in those cases the "We shouldn't condemn a whole group because of some bad individuals. There are good people and bad people in that group." narrative makes sense: we really shouldn't! Or at least, we're overwhelmingly likely to be mistaken when we do; we can draw our own ethical conclusions from there.
(I am reminded now of a friendship I broke some time back by expressing both the idea that condemning individuals because of their group affiliations is bad, and the idea that analyzing the common behaviors of individuals is the only way we can identify pathological systems, in ways that struck them as infuriatingly and relationship-endingly hypocritical.)
And sure, sometimes we make analysis errors in this space. Sometimes there's a system operating we're unaware of. Sometimes we infer the presence of systems that don't actually operate, or aren't relevant to what we're talking about. It's easy to talk about the behavior of people while ignoring the systems that shape us, and it's easy to handwave about notional systems without actually making any concrete or testable claims about whether they exist.
I'm not saying I expect us to be perfectly accurate when we describe groups and systems. But I want us to be better about acknowledging that they are two different things.
When someone condemns racism as a systemic attribute of a society, for example, there are folks who reply that no, racism is a property of individuals, end-of-story.
And in principle that can be a legitimate disagreement; if someone wants to argue that there really aren't any social systems underlying/guiding/constraining/
But usually they aren't arguing that; rather, they are simply insisting that we can only talk about individuals, because when we say that racism is also demonstrated through the systems that essentially all white people in this country participate in, we're talking about a whole group, and (all together now) "we shouldn't condemn a whole group because of some bad individuals. There are good people and bad people in that group."
And I don't know how to say all of this, or any of it, in ways that are at all useful within the conversation itself. And I watch other people trying to do it, and not getting very far either.
And I understand that often that's because other people just don't want to hear it, and in general I don't believe that there's a way to say everything that will be accepted by the person I'm talking to and that it's my job to find it. But still, I try to express myself clearly and compellingly.
So, anyway. I am so very tired of the narrative of "We shouldn't condemn a whole group because of some bad individuals. There are good people and bad people in that group."
While I’m recovering from Insane Bike Ride 2017 (Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.), I should probably let you know I’ll be at Hal-Con, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this weekend. The gust list is pretty awesome – come check it out!
Friday, Sept. 22
- 4 pm – 5 pm Signing, Booth A2
- 6:00pm – 7:00pm ~ Sketch Battle (Coca-Cola Stage)
Saturday, Sept. 23
- 12:00pm – 12:45pm ~ Dork Tower and Munckin – A +10 Life in Gaming (Room 301)
- 1 pm – 2 pm Signing, Booth A2
- 7:00PM – 9:00pm ~ Stargazer Soiree in Delta Halifax
Sunday, Sept. 24
- 12:45pm – 1:30pm ~ Creating Fun: Game Creation From Script to Sale (Room 302-3)
- 1:45 – 2:45 Signing, Booth A2
Hal-Con very generously gave me a table (a2 – about as appropriate for a British-born cartoonist as you could imagine), but I won’t be bringing anything to sell. I’ll post additional times there, though, if you’d like to bring anything along to get signed. Saturday and Sunday I’ll try and be there as soon as the doors open.
Judith and I adore Canada, and it will be great to be back!
Insane Charity Bike Ride 2017 was magnificent. A record-breaker, even! Thank you all!
I’ll try and post a full report soon, but here’s how I spent my Sunday night:
I'm uh, still reading about it, and even just as I was reading and trying to find out which version I have - without actually opening the program because holy crappola - Windows Defender displayed behind-the-scenes scan results saying it found an infection...in CCleaner. I'm not sure what to tell anyone as far as "what to do" because I don't know the answer to that.
ETA, 9-20-17: Current recommendations are to either use System Restore to roll back your system to a time before CCleaner 5.33 (32-bit) was installed, or else to "refresh" (Windows 10) or completely re-install your copy of Windows.
It's a backdoor called Backdoor:Win32/Floxif that's been in the wild since CCleaner v.5.33 released in August of 2017. ETA, 9-20-17: But it affects 32-bit versions of CCleaner only. You can tell which version you have by opening CCleaner and looking in the top left corner, where it will say if it's 32-bit or 64-bit.
Time to reinstall my OS, if the fucking backdoor hasn't already destroyed our ability to do so...ETA, 9-20-17: and I did just that. It didn't destroy our ability to do so, at least not as far as I can tell.
Our main building, containing cafeteria, store, offices, classrooms, is under construction. An enormous scaffold surrounds the front doors. Today, exiting with a sustaining bannana in one hand, I heard the burr of welding and then felt a sudden hot-cold shower on the left side of my head, just about the region of the parietal lobe. I put up my hand and plucked a speck of grit from my hair.
As I crossed the quad and mounted the stairs to my building, I began to work out that I'd been sprayed with tiny bits of metal -- little curled chips of aluminum were in my hair and speckled my sweater-vest like glittering lint.
It was not a great cascade of sparks or anything -- just a smattering and a peculiar sensation -- but Jesus. That could have gone into my eye. I spent the whole of my lesson on proper quotation partially convinced that a speckling of tiny holes might newly pepper my skull, like a thought-colander.
After Ted Hughes
I imagine this midday moment's sensation-salad:
Something hot but lifeless
burrows into the occipital
makes a blank page of this field where
newly kindled hallucinations move
Sorry, Here's "The Thought-Fox" to Make Up for That
Actually by Ted Hughes
I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.
Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:
Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now
Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come
Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Coming about its own business
Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox,
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.
* * * * *
I feel like "midnight moment's forest" must have kinship with Hopkins' "morning's morning's minion" from "The Windhover." Discuss.
Fine, Here's "The Windhover" As Well
Gerard Manley Hopkins
I caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
* * * * *
Nobody alliterates like our Gerry.
Downdates (What an Update Isn't)
I skipped the monthly reading post for August because, well, there was so little to discuss. I have trouble directing sustained attention under conditions of anxiety (such as term prep). Combining with September will give the list a more respectable heft.
At least I'm transparent in my machinations.
Likewise I think if I'm writing a report on how the term is going -- which is an idea I like a lot as a way to chronicle the development of this course I love -- it'll have to be a biweekly report at best.
A propos of some (very positive) recent events -- I wish I didn't feel so terrible when happy things breathe themselves across the membrane.1
Something wonderful takes place and afterwards it feels like a crisis -- I can't be happy because I'm so convinced that it was secretly a disaster or I am about to make it one.
Too much jouissance. Not enough swimming laps and meditation.
1. Isn't transpire a great word? All those spire words are a gift basket from Latin: conspire (to breathe together); inspire (to breathe in); aspire (to breathe on); expire (to breathe out) -- my library card is about to breathe its last -- what else? What others? I love them.
2. Actually, if I weren't so tired I might write though the whole of "The Thought-Fox" just for the exercise.
I acknowledge, of course, that we are all imperfect humans, and what an individual officer does in a specfic situation is always the result of a million variables that are impossible to predict and often impossible to determine after the fact.
That's why I tend to focus more on training and evaluation protocols than on specific events. It's unjust to expect officers to do X in a sitution if they've been trained to do Y, but it's perfectly reasonable to expect officers to be trained to do X if we prefer that they do X in a situation.
I would prefer that police be trained and evaluated as peacekeepers rather than killers. So I would prefer, for example, they be trained and expected to identify situations that don't require a death, and to act so as to not create a death where none is required.
That said, how police are trained and evaluated is a collective decision, and if we collectively prefer police to choose deaths that aren't required -- for example, if we prefer to train and equip police as military officers who happen to deploy among civilian populations -- then that's how we should train and evaluate them, regardless of my preferences. That's part of the price I pay for living in a collective.
If police _are_ trained to choose unnecessary deaths, we should (individually and collectively) treat calling the police, permitting them into our homes, and otherwise making use of their services as a use of deadly force. Consequently, if we don't individually endorse the use of deadly force in those situations, we should not call the police, any more than we would fire a gun.
Those are individual decisions, not collective ones, and it's perfectly reasonable to hold one another as individuals accountable for them.
I acknowledge that this means that individuals who eschew deadly force in a situation may find themselves in conflict with any police who may arrive. I don't like this, and I don't endorse it, but I acknowledge it.
The Wednesday dental appointment was the more routine one- just a semiannual cleaning. The new hygienist is very young, very good, but very chatty. Better to be that during a cleaning than during what came two days later.
Emily's office is just down the road from Dr. Ron's, so I stopped over there to drop off a copy of Nothing- a quirky Canadian film our friend Ann recommended to us. Since I was running a little behind schedule, I just found her car in the parking lot and slipped the DVD under her windshield. I even texted her that I would probably do that....
which she apparently forgot. By the time she got home, a good 20 mile drive, she hadn't realized I'd done it, but amazingly, it was still there under the wiper. Good thing it hadn't rained that day;)
Two days later, I was back there, to take care of problems with two teefs. One, I'd known about for ages; the other came up on an x-ray last time I was in. Either could have turned into a major crown job, but we got them both filled and smoothed out with much less time and expense. Before that, I also finished Will Number Two for Wednesday's couple, and got back here at a decent hour for, among other things, watching a goofy Scandinavian film that Netflix sent us; both of us were getting deja vu throughout, which made sense, because not only had we seen it before, we own it. Then last night, we watched Repo Man, which we knew we owned, in honor of the passing of Harry Dean Stanton.
Small world time at the dog park today. I'd fallen behind on a lot of paperwork with the time spent driving and sitting in dentists' chairs, so I tried cranking out a bunch of stuff from home on Saturday morning. It wasn't going well- the printer jammed, the work was dreary, and I was in Such A Mood when I left to finish up at the office, I decided to work in a workout first. It shouldn't have been overtiring (I check their unofficial schedule on reddit before booking anything), but for whatever reason it really wore me out. But the instructor is a really nice guy- my second class with him at the studio on the other side of town that is actually closer to my office than my "regular" one is.
Turns out I'd already met him before. Not long into our first trip round the Parp!, we saw a couple of beagles who've been there before- Peter and Piper. Their male human looked at me kinda funny, and we finally concluded that he's the trainer I'd done the class with the day before.
Recording Vietnam as I finish this. I don't know if I'll get into it, but everything I've read about it, and about Burnsian documentaries in general, has been very positive.
I left the project half-finished last night, intending to fill the radiator with the water that had been lost in pulling out the water temperature sensor. This morning I got up, intending to drive the Spitfire over to the Annual Little British Car Show, poured a bunch of water in, and watched it cascade out of the sensor recess. Tightening the nutbolt (a bolt with a hole through the center that the sensor lives in) down didn't help. I drove my normal car over, checked out some pretty cars, and drove back, and then removed the sensor and started poking at it. Halfway up the bulb that lives in the water, there's a tapered ring of metal. I thought it was a precision tapered ring, that sealed against the matching taper inside the water pump. But this is automotive: there is nothing precision outside of the innards of the engine and transmission. Instead there was secretly a rubber gasket that, when I removed the old sensor, had stayed inside the water pump housing. It was totally shot, and no amount of trying to carefully put it back in was going to save it. I ended up getting an o-ring from my collection of high temperature water-resistant o-rings and using that instead, but because it was smaller, the nutbolt no longer managed to press the sensor down well enough to seal. I had to cut a little collet on the lathe, like a thick washer but sawed in half so it could be put in two pieces around the sensor line. With that, everything sealed correctly, as far as I can tell, and the car is ready to go again. A quick jaunt around the block shows the water temperature gauge indicating roughly the right numbers. I'll check tonight to see if the radiator is full of water.