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My captain’s keyboard has stopped working. :}

I’m almost positive I know what the problem is. There are about 8 keys that don’t work, and there’s a pin in the PS/2 connector that got bent a while ago. I was able to nudge it back into place, but it got yanked and bent again and although I’ve nudged it back into place again, I think the base of the pin is no longer connecting.

I’m also almost positive this could be fixed by splicing a new PS/2 connector into place.

The PROBLEM is that the OTHER end of the connection is wired directly into the keyboard (of course), and the keyboard, being two unwieldy pieces, is a pain in the ass to bring anywhere. Assuming there’s even somewhere around here that would do this kind of thing.

It’s frustrating knowing I probably know half a dozen people who could do this in 30 minutes, but they all live on the other side of the world. >.<

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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[personal profile] eyelessgame
So yes, the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance annoys me. But some aspects of it annoy me more than others. Here, in countdown form, is what bothers me the most about it.

4. The religious reference - that is, "Under God". Yes, it's a revision that undermines the message of the original pledge, yes it violates the Constitution, yes it has no place in a secular government, yadda yadda. It's awful. But honestly the backstory of why we include this is hilarious.

If you don't know, the reason "Under God" was added to the pledge in 1956 - the same year that it was mandated that all our money, every coin and bill, include "In God We Trust" - was to root out Communists, who would evidently catch fire if they recited those words. It was honestly believed that if you caught someone omitting "under God", it meant they were a Communist and you should report them. Kids would look sidewise at each other to make sure they said it.

If anything, that utter foolishness gives me hope for the world today; it makes me reflect that people have always been this stupid; it's not a new thing.


3. The idea of reciting a loyalty oath in the first place. Creepier than the religious reference, though, is the fact that we have a daily ritual where children face the flag, salute, and recite a loyalty oath.

Think about that for a minute.

North Korea does that.

The Soviet Union did that.

Those Guys In Central Europe Back At That Time did that.

Nobody else does it. Nobody. Nobody but us.

People from any other country in the world who see the Pledge being spoken in one of our classrooms universally have the same reaction: "what the fuck?"

The only thing that ameliorates my offense at this is the fact that children mostly don't take it seriously. There are a hundred different quietly mocking versions of it, using childrens' rhymes to make it clear this is a meaningless, horseshit ritual done so parents are happy. Kids in America are smart enough - a lot of them, anyway - to know how to treat this. It's only some adults who are moronic enough to think it's important.

That said, there's something kids do take seriously, and it's worse.


2. The lie that the Pledge recitation is actually okay because it's "optional". We don't require the Pledge. Any student who wants to can opt out of it.

Suuuure.

Nobody who makes that claim with a straight face remembers what it was like to be nine years old.

There really are children, especially older children, who consider it an offense to recite the Pledge, and either do refuse to say it, or who wrack themselves in guilt for knowing they should refuse but lack the courage to.

Because it does take courage, for a real reason. Children who stand out by not participating, even in a stupid ritual nobody takes seriously, get ostracized and beaten by their peers.

And it tends to be the kids who already stand apart. Children who follow minority religions, who know the "God" being referred to isn't theirs. Children whose families have escaped from repressive societies that insisted on loyalty oaths and have a very good reason not to participate in one. Children, especially older children, who have read and understood the words of Jefferson and Madison enough to be actual patriots, taking a stand against something that's wrong and that betrays the ideals of the nation.

And they get beaten for this. You know it, I know it, and the people who pretend the Pledge is optional know it. And they consider this a feature, not a bug.


1. The lie that it's not done anymore "for fear of offending someone."

For me, this is the most damaging thing about the Pledge.

About once every month or so, some conservative friend-of-a-friend circulates a "We don't say the Pledge any more in our schools, because it made liberals all offended. 'Like and share' if you agree we should go back to saying the Pledge of Allegiance!"

I live in goddamn California. My kids went to public school - my youngest is still in high school - and they said the Pledge every goddamn day. It is a lie that the Pledge is no longer recited in schools.

But it's not just that it's a lie. It's not even that it's such a transparently obvious lie.

It's what this lie is there to do.

This lie - like a million other lies circulated by conservatives, like everything spewed by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the rest of the conservative worldview - feeds a false narrative of persecution to the third or so of America that wants to hear it. That wants to hear how their fellow citizens are disloyal, their fellow citizens aren't real Americans, that America is descending into chaos because only a few citizens actually feel patriotism.

I don't like the Pledge, but you can go to hell if you think that makes me even a little bit less than patriotic. I don't like the Pledge - I wish schools would decide not to recite it - but that's because I understand what my country stands for and what real patriotism is.

I think we ought to have a Pledge recitation for those who want it.

But I want it to be old-school. Not in the wording. Keep "under God" in it.

I think it should be outdoors, where everyone can see and take pictures. I think if parents want their children to recite the Pledge, they should have to be there and stand behind them.

Just this one old-school requirement.

Children reciting the Pledge should be required to give the flag the original Pledge salute.

The Bellamy salute. (Google it. I'll wait.)

Do that, and we'll all understand what it means for children to recite a daily loyalty oath to the flag.

separate hobbies

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:47 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”

I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.

I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)

Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.

Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Recent Reads: A WRINKLE IN TIME

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:09 pm
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Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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[personal profile] mizkit

Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

still toxic

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:23 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.

That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.

The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.

I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.

Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*

I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)

There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.

I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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